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A GERMAN IN DUBLIN.*
We went to Dublin in the Sea Nymph. This vessel crosses dailySunday excepted—the Irish Channel, and conveys to wealthy England from fertile Ireland eggs, butter, fish, cattle, porter, and—working strength. On our passage the steamer had on board four hundred Irish, who were returning to their families with their savings from a fortnight's work at harvesting. Each had a small bundle and a stick, which they call a shillelagh. They were true children of their country, badly dressed, badly fed, and weary-looking. But when night set in they began to sing; à piper sprang up among them, and, ere we expected it, they were dancing on the scanty space allotted them the Irish national dance-the jig-with all the liveliness peculiar to them. The night was mild, the sea calm, and at six A.M. we ran into the bay of Dublin, which has so often been compared with that of Naples. The city forms a semicircle facing the new arrival, behind it are woods and country-houses, and the picture is filled in by the lines of the Dublin and Wicklow hills.
At the landing-place we had some difficulty in escaping from the goodhumouredly smiling, but dirty-looking fellows who offered us their services. There were three of us—one being a son of the country—and we took a car. This is an open vehicle used in Ireland, and also in Wales, in which you sit with your elbow against the carman, and dos-à-dos with your companion. The first ride in a car is not at all pleasant. This side-ride, without a support before you or a covering over you, has something startling about it, and you can easily recognise the novice by his clutching at his neighbour's arm at every jolt.
As we bad no special recommendation to any hotel, we entrusted ourselves to the guidance of the carman, for he assured us that he would take us to an excellent inn. Turning to the right, out of the handsome, broad Sackville-street, he stopped before an unpretending house. * That does not look inviting," one remarked.
“Be good enough to overlook the exterior," our carman objected; "inside it's fine."
Well, it was not exactly so : the want of cleanliness was unmistakable, and we resolved to look out for a better hotel during the course of the day. But to make up for this, we had an interesting conversation with the landlady. ** Your honours come from England, I suppose ?" “Yes." " It's a fine country, isn't it?” “ Yes; and the people in it are very cleanly.”
“ I have heard so; but, by your leave, cleanliness costs a deal of time. And the English have no time for amusement, because they are so very clean. That wouldn't please us Irish.”
*This article is a bona fide statement of the impression produced on a Berlin gentleman by a visit to Ireland during the last Exhibition. Although his letter was Lot written with any intent of publication, I found it so amusing that I obtained his permission to transcribe those passages which appear to me best adapted for English readers.-L. W.
And, upon this, she praised her Phoenix Park and Donnybrook Fair, which lasted nine days, and was just going to begin, and told us to mind and be sure to visit O'Connell's tomb. "
O'Connell! How often did we hear this name during our short stay in Ireland! He still lives in the heart of his people, even though he sent his own to Rome.
After breakfast we again jumped on a car and drove through the main streets, which are very pretty and broad, but offended us “ English” from the fact that they were not kept clean, and that so many ragged, barefooted men sat about idly on the door-steps and round the monuments, like the lazzaroni of Naples. A stranger coming from the wealthy parts of London is inclined to believe that there is no indolence and raggedness, for in the capital the greatest misery is thrust back into streets and lanes, into which the eye does not easily penetrate. How many of the millions who inhabit London are acquainted with Tyndall's or Charlotte's buildings, or Petticoat-lane, or have ever heard even the name of these nursery. grounds of physical and moral destitution ?
The eyes of our Irish companion, on the other hand, flashed with delight. He had not been in his beloved country for ten years, and our driver was eloquence itself, and did the honours of the city. But the very people who passed us seemed to take an interest in us strangers, and smiled kindly to us. Mr. Rogers, the Englishman, criticised and grumbled in the mean while, and his opinions drew out many an excellent retort from our Irishman, Mr. Foster, and the carman.
MR. FOSTER. Do you notice how broad Sackville-street is? You might almost call it a square. Such a street is not to be found in London,
MR. ROGERS. It's broad enough, and dirty enough too.
Mr. FOSTER. This is the Nelson's column. Nelson was an Englishman, but, for all that, we gave him a monument.
Mr. ROGERS. Wellington was an Irishman, and we have put half a dozen statues up to him in London.
MR. FOSTER. Wellington hadn't a drop of Irish blood in him, although he was born in our green island. He did not love Ireland either, and only served England.
Mr. ROGERS. When he thrashed Napoleon at Waterloo it was as much a service for Ireland as for England.
THE CARMAN (politely touching his hat). Beg your pardon, sir. They do say here that the Prussian general Blottcher (so is Blücher's name pronounced in England and Ireland) did the best bit of work at Waterloo. Then he suddenly stopped, and said: “ This is Merrion-square. Here lived O'Connell, the great liberator.”
MR. ROGERS. The great agitator
Mr. Foster. Carman, drive us to No. 30. That was O'Connell's house. There are still the same green blinds at his windows as there were during his lifetime. From this balcony he once addressed a mob beneath, and it increased so greatly that it no longer had room in the street, and broke the iron railings of the square.
“Yes, sir, so it was! exactly so," the driver interposed; “and when the magistrate insisted on O'Connell paying the damage, because it was his fault the fine railings were broken, O'Connell broke an action against the inagistrate, and conducted it himself; for he was a lawyer, and so clever paid.
a one, that there was not another like him in the world; and, bedad, he gained the action, and the magistrate was obliged to pay for the railings and the costs in the bargain! Served him right!" (A crack of the Thip.) We turned into Merrion-row. Mr. FOSTER. This is the chapel the expenses of building which he MR. ROGERS. That is no conjuring. He got it together by collections.
MR. FOSTER. I often met him at matins. He was accustomed to be wrapped up in his cloak; and on his eap he wore a gold tassel. I fancy · I can see him before me now.
The CARMAN. Shall I drive to Glasnevin Cemetery ?
We drove to the handsome cemetery, which contains twenty-six acres. In its centre stands the O'Connell's pillar, commanding all the other monuments. From the gateway, where a priest stands sentry up to the vault, wherever the paths eross, signposts are put up with the inscriptiou, “ This is the way to O'Connell's Grave." To our regret, we heard that the vault would not be opened till the afternoon, and hence we could not enter it. A man, who was making large bouquets of flowers to decorate the cemetery chapel, told us that the throng to O'Connell's grave during the morning hours, when the burials take place, was so enormous, that it was found necessary to open the grave to visitors in the afternoon alone. He added, that within a short time the corpse would be removed to the foot of the lofty pillar.
After a short consultation, we resolved to drive once more slowly through the city, and then go to Phænix Park. Dublin has many fine and much larger squares than London, and passers-by have a perfect view of them, while in London the railings are so covered with bushes that it would be as easy to see through a wall as through these green fences. The Liffey Aows through the centre of the city, and in its course of one mile and a half divides it into two halves, which are connected by Doble bridges.
The fact that the houses of Dublin are not all ashen grey, like those of London, but red, green, and yellow, produces a pleasant impression on the man who has not grown habituated to fog.
* That is our poet, Tommy Moore," said the carman, pointing to a statue of grey marble; "and this one”-it was an equestrian statue in bronze_" is King William.” And Mr. Foster exclaimed, “ William of Orange! Have we not given him a fine site in one of the best streets of Dublin !"
The Phænix Park has been called by others, beside our two Irishmen, "the finest park in the world.” It contains seventeen hundred acres, whieh, with the exception of the small portion belonging to the viceroy's summer palace, are open to the people. Broad carriage-roads cross it in all direetions; there are no ditches and barriers, as in the London Parks ; the entire beautifully green Irish Green Park is open, and filled with stags and deer.
The Park was almost utterly deserted; only here and there was a solitary rider, a cadet from the military school, which is in the Park itself, or
a lad looking for mushrooms. It had struck us before, in the squares, that so few people were walking about them.
MR. ROGERS. The Park is like a city of the dead.
THE CARMAN. The quality are not in town, and the others are pot at liberty till the evening.
MR. ROGERS. Who do you reckon here among the quality ?
THE CARMAN. The merchants, lawyers, and doctors. When they return from their summer tours, it is lively enough here. Gentlemen and ladies on horseback, and carriages as fine as the viceroy's own.
Mr. ROGERS. H'm! It can never be like the life in Hyde Park, for • the wealthy nobility stay at the most only a few days in Dublin.
The CARMAN. There your honour is quite right. Our great gentry, to whom the land belongs, have the money sent them by their agents to London, or wherever they may be. We poor devils only wish they would spend it here (sighing). Yes, we wish that from our heart.
Mr. Foster. Our Ireland, the Eden of the West, is forced to send them everything that her woods and fields and her teeming waters produce. They leave behind potatoes, at the most, for the great mass at home.
The Carman. And we don't complain so long as the potatoes remain sound; but when they go bad, we want for everything.
MR. ROGERS (this time with a smile). The whisky, too, and that is certainly the worst.
The Carman. No, sir. The worst is starvation. MR. ROGERS. But, carman, supposing you had as much whisky and potatoes as your heart desires, I am afraid that you Irish would never live in peace and quietness. You are constantly quarrelling together, and the loss of the potato crop is not the cause of that. I think it is your old Irish way.
THE CARMAN. The gentleman means, I suppose, the quarrel between the Orangemen and the Catholics. I know who keep it up. Mr. ROGERS. So do I. The priests.
THE CARMAN. The agents. There are in Ireland not only agents who screw money out of the poor farmer for the landlord, but other agents whose business it is to keep us in a state of quarrelling. Sir, I would sooner remain a poor carman till my death than be an agent for a single day.
While conversing thus we had driven through the Park. We now stopped at a slight elevation, and Mr. Foster asked us if we felt inclined to see the strawberry-gardens. Although the strawberry season was long past, the question induced us to get down. The annual strawberry feast which is held here, as well as Donnybrook Fair, has such a celebrity among the Irish popular festivals, that we felt desirous to see the gardens at any rate.
Along the side of the high road runs a low chain of hillocks, for a distance of about two miles, densely grown with strawberry plants. At the foot of the hill are numerous small inns, where, during the strawberry season, there is never any lack of pipers, fiddlers, and harpers, to strike up a jig. The male and female dancers flock in in such numbers that dancing-rooms are improvised between the pot-houses by laying down a flooring of boards. Strawberries and ginger-beer constitute the refreshments.
An old woman was sitting by the side of the road : she had a basket of biscuits before her, and nodded kindly to us. On our inquiring what was the meaning of the hammering in the inn opposite to which we were standing, she replied that the dancing-ground was being repaired for the next day, Sunday. Dancing on a Sunday! This struck us, as we had just come from England and rigidly Presbyterian Wales. In Wales, says an Irish proverb, they hang the cat on the Monday for catching a mouse on a Sunday.
But we were not destined to leave without seeing a jig, for while we were standing there the piper struck up. We stepped into the open doorway of the inn. The old woman had followed us, seated herself with her basket on the threshold, and followed with sparkling eyes the movements of the dancers. And when we asked her whether she still danced, and how old she was, she replied : “ Heart and soul still dances, but the limbs will no longer move, for I am upwards of eighty."
When we gave her a trifle, she said, “I thank you. Of course you notice that biscuit selling is only a more genteel way of begging."
Such are the Irish. They may be recognised everywhere by their pointed answers, their rags, and a certain something which glistens in their eyes like a sunbeam.
In the hotel on the quay, to which we had removed on the first day of our stay, we found ourselves very comfortable. We noticed in the handsome, well-lit rooms no traces of Irish disorder. A life-size portrait of O'Connell, and another representing Dr. Cahill, decorated the walls of the coffee-room. Dr. Cahill is a Catholic priest and savant, who has been much talked about during later years. He travels about Great Britain, making speeches and preaching, and the best articles in the Catholic Telegraph, a paper appearing in Dublin, are from his pen.
In various conversations with the natives it became evident to us that the aversion of the Celtic race from the Anglo-Saxon has been in no way lessened by time. No greater contrast can well be imagined than that existing between the merry, careless son of Erin, who toys with the Muses, and Albion's silent, reflecting, industrious, and practical scion. It is only an allegory, that a relievo on the handsome Custom-house of Dublin represents England and Ireland as peaceable travelling companions in a shell carriage, from which Neptune drives away starvation and despair with his trident. If England and Ireland should be represented as travelling companions, let them be painted as the iron and the earthen pot preparing for a swim down the river.
Trinity College, or Dublin University, was founded by Queen Elizabeth, in 1591, for Protestant students, but since 1795 Catholics have also been received there. For all that, the Irish Catholics founded a few Fears ago, on the incitation of Pius IX., a university exclusively for Catholic students, and regard with an angry upon the mass of mixed schools which have been established and supported by government in Ireland, for they are firmly convinced that their principal object is proselytising, and as soup has been distributed in some of them, chiefly attended by poor children, the generic name of the mixed schools in Ireland is the “ Soup Schools.”
On Sunday afternoon we drove to Kingstown, a port and pretty watering-place near Dublin. Formerly this town was called Dunleary, but after George IV. visited it, it was rechristened as a reminiscence. It