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It must be added, that though these cars maintain their ground in uncultivated districts, they are quickly disappearing, in the improved parts of Ireland, before the Scotch carts introduced by the agricultural societies.
The Irish " jaunting-car," the " jingle," the " noddy," and a variety of other carriages, which ply for hire in Dublin, are wholly distinct and superior vehicles.
The following interesting narrative, in the words of its author, illustrates the nature of the car, the state of the roads, and the " manners" of the people.
A JAUNT IN A COUNTRY CA»
From Lismere to Fermoy
Having hired a car at Lismore to take us to Fermoy, and wishing to walk part of the way along the banks of the Blackwater, we desired the driver to meet us at a given point. On arriving there, the man pretended not to have understood we were thiee in party, and demanded, in consequence, an exorbitant addition to the sum agreed on. Although we were without any other means of conveyance for eight Irish miles, it was resolved not to submit to this imposition, and we accordingly withdrew our lupgage and dismissed the car, intending to seek another amongst a few cabins that appeared at a little distance from the road side. A high dispute ensued with the driver, who, of course, was incensed at this proceeding, and endeavoured to enlist in his cause the
few straggling peasants that had collected around us; but having taken refuge and placed our trunks in the nearest cabin, ourselves and property became sacred, and the disposition to hostility, which had been at first partially expressed, gradually died away. When we began to make inquiries for a horse and car of any kind to take us into Fermoy, our endeavours were for some time fruitless. One person had a car, but no horse. Another had a car building, which, if Dennot Leary were as good as his word, would be finished next week some time, "God willing." At length we gained intelligence of a horse that was " only two miles off, drawing turf: sure he could be fetched in less than no time." But then again, "that big car of Thaddy Connor's was too great a load for him entirely. Sure the baste would never draw the car into Fermoy, let alone their honours and the trunks." After some further consultation, a car was discovered more adapted to the capabilities of the miserable animal thus called upon to " leave work and carry wood," and though of the commonest kind we were glad to secure it. By means of our trunks and some straw we formed a kind of lodgment on the car, which, being without springs and on the worst possible of roads, was not exactly a bed of down. The severe contusions we received on precipitating into the numerous cavities, though no joke, caused some laughter; on which the driver turned round with a most facetious expression of countenance, suggesting that 'May be the motion did not just agree with the
lady, but never fear, she would soon get Jihod to it, and be asleep before we not half wav to Fcrmoy." This prediction, itwill readily be supposed, was not fulfilled; and I believe it was three days before we recovered from the bruises of that journey. It is difficulty to say whether our situation will excite mirth or sympathy in the minds of our readers, but a sketch may do no injury to the description. [In Mr. Croker's volume an engraving on wood is inserted.]
Many Irish villages boast a post-chaise, the horses for which are not unfrequently taken from the plough, and the chaise itself submitted to a temporary repair before starting, to render it, if the parody of a nautical phrase mav be allowed, "road-worthy;' but the defects are never thought of one moment before the chaise is required; and the miseries of posting in Ireland have, with justice, afforded subject for the caricaturist. Tired horses or a break-down are treated by a driver, whose appearance is the very reverse of the smart jockey-like costume of an Engl lish postilion, with the utmost resignation, as matters of unavoidable necessity. With a slouched hat—slovenly shoes and stockings—and a long, loose great coat wrapped round him, he sits upon a bar in front of the carriage and urges on his horses by repeated applications of the whip, accompanied with the most singular speeches, and varied by an involuntary burst of his musical talent, whistling a tune adapted to the melancholy pace of the fatigued animals, as he walks slowly beside them up the ascent of every hill.
"Did you give the horses a feed of oats at the village where we stopped to sketch?" inquired one of my fellow-travellers of the driver, who for the last three or four miles had with much exertion urged on the jaded hacks.
"I did not, your honour," was the reply, "but sure, and they know I promised them a good one at Limerick.''
Nor is this instance of pretended understanding between man and horse singular. Riding once in company with a poor farmer from Cork to Mallow, I advised him to quicken the pace of his steed as the evening was closing in, and the lurid appearance of the sky foreboded a storm.
"Sure then that I would with the greatest pleasure in life for the honour I have out of your company, sir; but I promised the batte to let him walk, and
I never belie myself to any one, much less to a poor creature that carries me— for, says the batte to me, I'm tired, as good right I have, and I'll not go a step faster—and you won't make me—I scorn it says I, so take your own way."
A verbatim dialogue on an Irish breakdown happily characterises that accident: the scene, a bleak mountain, and the time, the return of the driver with another chaise from the nearest station which afforded one—seven miles distant.
"Is the carriage you have brought us safe J"
(One of the travellers attempts to get in)
"Oh never fear, sir; wait till I just bail out the water and put a little sop of hay in the bottom—and sure now and 'tis a queer thing that the ould black chaise should play such a trick, and it has gone this road eleven years and never broke down afore. But no wonder poor cratur, the turnpike people get money enough for mending the roads, and bad luck to the bit of it they mend, but put it all in their pockets."
"What, the road?" "Noe, your honour, the money." To such as can bear with composure and indifference lesser and temporary misfortunes, those attendant on an Irish tour become objects of merriment; the very essence of the innate ingenuity and wit of the people is called out by such evils; and the customary benediction muttered by the peasant on the meeting a traveller, is changed into the whimsical remark or shrewd reply that mock anticipation.
Of late, jingles, as they are termed, have been established between the principal towns. These are carriages on easy springs, calculated to contain six or eight persons. The roof is supported by a slight iron frame capable of being unfixed in fine weather, and the curtains, which may be opened and closed at will, afford complete protection from sun and rain; their rate of travelling is nearly the same as that of the stage-coach, and they are both a cheaper and more agreeable conveyance.
On our way from Cork to Youghall in one of these machines, we were followed by a poor wretch ejaculating the most dreadful oaths and imprecations in Irish. His head was of an uncommonly large and stupid shape, and his idiotic countenance was rendered fierce and wild by a long and bushy red heard. On our driver giving him a piece of bread, for which he had run beside the jingle at least half a mile, he uttered three or four terrific screams, accompanied by some antic and spiteful gestures. I should not remark this circumstance here were it one of less frequent occurrence; but on most of the public roads in the south of Ireland, fools and idiots (melancholy spectacles of humanity !) are permitted to wander at large, and in consequence of this freedom have acquired vicious habits, to the annoyance of every passenger: throwing stones, which they do with great dexterity, is amongst the most dangerous of their practices, and a case is known to me where the wife of a respectable fanner, having been struck on the temple by a stone thrown at her by an idiot, died a few days after. Within my recollection, Cove-lane, one of the most frequented parts of Cork, as leading to the Cove-passage, Carrigaline and Monkstown roads, was the station of one of these idiots, who seldom allowed an unprotected woman to pass without following her, and inflicting the most severe pinches on her back and arms; yet this unfortunate and mischievous being for many years was suffered by the civil power to remain the tenor of every female, and that too within view of a public asylum for the reception of such. But to return from this digression.
The charges at inferior towns and villages are extravagant in an inverse proportion to the indifference of their accommodation, and generally exceed those of the first hotels in the metropolis. Our bill at Kilmallock was any thing but moderate, and yet the house, though the best the town afforded, appeared to be one where carmen were oftener lodged than gentry. The landlady stood at the door, and with a low curtsey and a goodhumoured smile welcomed us to "the ancient city of Kilmallock ;" in the same breath informed us, that she was a gentlewoman bom and bred, and that she had a son, "as fine an officer as ever you could set eyes on in a day's walk, who was a patriarch (a patriot) in Sonth America;" then leading us up a dark and narrow staircase to the apartment we were to occupy, wished to know our names and business, whence we came and where we were going; but left the room on our inquiring, in the first place, what we could have to eat. After waiting a reasonable time our demands were
attended to by a barefooted female, who to our anxiety respecting what we could have for supper, replied with perfect confidence, "Just any thing you like, sure 1" "Have you any thing in the house V "Indeed and we have not; but it's likely I might be able to get an egg for ye."
An examination of the bedrooms will not prove more satisfactory; a glass or soap are luxuries seldom found. Sometimes one coarse and very small towel is provided; at Kilmallock, the measurement of mine was half a yard in length and a quarter in breadth; its complexion, too, evinced that it had assisted in the partial ablutions of many unfastidious persons. Mr. Arthur Young's constant ejaculation, when he lighted on such quarters in Ireland, usually occurred to my mind, " Preserve me, Fate, from such another I" and I have no doubt he would agree with me, that two very essential requisites in an Irish tour are a stock of linen, and a tolerable partiality for bacon. But travellers, any more than beggars, cannot always be choosers, and those who will not submit with patience to the accidents and inconveniences of a journey, must sit at home and read the road that others travel. "Who alwaics walkcs, on carpet soft and
gay. Knowes not hard hills, nor likes the noun taine way."*
Mean Temperature . . 39 ■ 17.
On p. 187 there is a " Letter," delivered to a favourite servant at parting, which deserves to be printed in letters of gold, or, what is better, because it is easier and more useful, it should be imprinted on the memory of every person who reads it. There are sentiments in it as useful to masters and mistresses as their domestics. The following " Rules" may likewise be perused with advantage by both; they are deemed "seasonable,' because, as good-livers say, good things are never out of season.
* Mr. Croker's Researches in the South of Ireland, 1824, 4to. This gentleman's excursions were made between the years IB12 and 1822.
I. A good character is valuable to every < ne, but especially to servants; for it is I heir bread, and without it they cannot be admitted into any creditable family; and happy it is that the best of characters is in every one's power to deserve.
II. Engage yourself cautiously, but stay long in your place, for long service shows worth—as quitting a good place through passion, is a folly which is always lamented of too late.
III. Never undertake any place you are not qualified for; for pretending to what you do not understand, exposes yourself, and, what is still worse, deceives them whom you serve.
IV. Preserve your fidelity; for a faithful servant is a jewel, for whom no encouragement can be too great.
V. Adhere to truth; for falsehood is detestable, and he that tells one lie, must tell twenty more to conceal it.
VI. Be strictly honest; for it is shameful to be thought unworthy of trust.
VII. Be modest in your behaviour; it becomes your station, and is pleasing to your superiors.
VIII. Avoid pert answers; for civil language is cheap, and impertinence provoking.
IX. Be clean in your business; for those who are slovens and sluts, are disrespectful servants.
X. Never tell the affairs of the family you belong to; for that is a sort of treachery, and often makes mischief; but keep their secrets, and have none of your own.
XI. Live friendly with your fellowservants; for the contrary destroys the peace of the house.
XII. Above all tilings avoid drunkenness; for that is an inlet to vice, the ruin of your character, and the destruction of your constitution.
XIII. Prefer a peaceable life, with moderate gains, to great advantage and irregularity.
XIV. Save your money ; for that will be a friend to you in old age. Be not expensive in dress, nor marry too soon.
XV. Be careful of your master's property; for wastefulness is a sin.
XVI. Never swear; for that is a crime without excuse, as there is no pleasure in it.
XVII. Be always ready to assist a fellow-servant; for good nature gains the love of every one.
XVIII. Never stay when sent oa message; for waiting long is painful your master, and a quick return sho diligence.
XIX. Rise early; for it is difficult recover lost time.
XX. The servant that often changes h place, works only to be poor j for ** tl rolling-stone gathers no moss."
XXI. Be not fond of increasing- yor. acquaintances; for visiting leads you ou of your business, robs your master o your time, and often puts you to an ex pense you cannot afford. And above aJj things, take care with whom yon are acquainted; for persons are generally the better or the worse for the company they keep.
XXII. When out of place, be careful where you lodge; for living in a disreputable house, puts you upon a footing with those that keep it, however innocent you are yourself.
XXIII. Never go out on your own business, without the knowledge of the family, lest in your absence you should be wanted; for "Leave is light," and returning punctually at the time you promise, shows obedience, and is a proof of sobriety.
XXIV. If you are dissatisfied with your place, mention your objections modestly to your master or mistress, and give a fair warning, and do not neglect your business nor behave ill, in order to provoke them to turn you away; for this will be a blemish in your character, which you must always have from the last place you served in.
*t*AII who pay a due regard to the above preceptt, will be happy in themselvet, will never want friend*, and will alwayt meet with the attittance, protection, and encouragement of the wealthy, the worthy, and the wite.
The preceding sentences are contained in a paper which a young person committed to heart on first getting a place, and, having steadily observed, obtained a character for integrity and worth incapable of being shaken. By constantly keeping in view that" Honesty is the best policy," it led to prosperity, and the faithful servant became an opulent employer of servants.
Mean Temperature ... 41 ■ 70.
I hope the following description of an extraordinary custom which has obtained at Alnwick, in Northumberland, may be considered worthy preservation in The Every-Day Book.
About four miles from the above town there is a pond, known by the name of the Freeman's well; through which it has been customary for the freemen to pass from time immemorial before they can obtain their freedom. This is considered so indispensable, that no exemption is permitted, and without passing this ordeal the freedom would not be conferred. The pond is prepared by proper officers in such a manner, as to give the greatest possible annoyance to the persons who are to pass through it. Great dikes, or mounds, are erected in different parts, so that the candidate for his freedom is at one moment seen at the top of one of them only up to his knees, and the next instant is precipitated into a gulf below, in which he frequently plunges completely over head. The water is purposely rendered so muddy, that it is impossible to see where these dikes are situated, or by any precaution to avoid them. Those aspiring to the honour of the freedom of Alnwick, are dressed in white stockings, white panta
loons, and white caps. After they have "reached the point proposed," they are suffered to put on their usual clothes, and obliged to join in a procession, and ride for several miles round the boundaries of the freemen's property—a measure which is not a mere formality for parade, but absolutely indispensable; since, if they omit visiting any part of their property, it is claimed by his grace the duke of Northumberland, whose steward follows the procession, to note if any such omission occurs. The origin of the practice of travelling through the pond is not known. A tradition is current, that king John was once nearly drowned upon the ■ spot where this pond is situated, and saved his life by clinging to a holly tree; and that he determined, in consequence, thenceforth, that before any candidate could obtain the freedom of Alnwick, he should not only wade through this pond, but plant a holly tree at the door of his house on the same day; and this custom is still scrupulously observed. In the month of February, 1824, no less than thirteen individuals went through the above formalities.
I am, &c.
T. A. .
Mean Temperature ... 42 • 61.
1821. John Keats, the poet, died. Virulent and unmerited attacks upon his literary ability, by an unprincipled and malignant reviewer, injured his rising reputation, overwhelmed his spirits, and he sunk into consumption. In that state he fled for refuge to the climate of Italy, caught cold on the voyage, and perished in Rome, at the early age of 25. Specimens of his talents are in the former volume of this work. One of his last poems was in prospect of departure from his native shores. It is an
Ode to a Xightingali,
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains