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istence. The society thus assembled are fit denizens for the homes thus painted, the characters not being indeed elaborately painted but exceedingly well sketched, the whole forming a happy group of which every individual acids to the enjoyment of every other; the true but little practised secret of pleasure in society. But as a tale would indeed be destitute of interest if without a heroine, our author, not aiming at dramatic effect, has throughout his recital, kept one fair and gentle creature constantly in the fore.ground, throwing around her a species of interest which he has happily conducted to a crisis which may be easily guessed at by the experienced world ; we mean of course, the happy and holy state of matrimony.
St. Patrick's Eve; or, Three Eras in the Life of an Irish Peasant.
By the Author of “ Charles O'Malley." This is a small volume from the pen of Mr. Lever. It is got up in imitation of the “ Christmas Carol" and the “Chimes” of Mr. Dickens. It is not equal in merit to Mr. Lever's other works. As a specimen of its matter, we give a scene which may be called
Owen and his father exchanged glances; the same idea flashed across the minds of both that the visitor was a magistrate come to take information against the Joyces for an assault; and however gladly they would have embraced any course that promised retaliation for their injuries, the notion of recurring to the law was a degree of baseness they would have scorned to adopt.
“I'll take the ‘vestment' I never seen it at all," said the old man eagerly, and evidently delighted that no manner of cross-questioning or badgering could convert him into an informer.
“And the little I saw,” said Owen, “they knocked out of my memory with this ;” and he pointed to the half-healed gash on his forehead.
“ But you know something of how the row began ? '
“ I never heerd that he did anything-unagreeable,” said Owen, after hesitating for a few seconds in his choice of a word.
“So, then, I'm not likely to obtain any information from either of you?”
They made no reply, but their looks gave as palpable a concurrence to this speech as though they swore to its truth.
« Well, I have another question to ask. It was you saved this young gentleman, I understand. What was your motive for doing so, when, as by your own confession, you were at a distance when the fight began ?”
“He was my landlord's son,” said Owen, half roughly; “I hope there is no law agin that."
“I sincerely trust not,” ejaculated the gentleman. “Have you been long on the estate?”
“Three generations of us now, yer honour," said the old man. “And what rent do you pay ?”
“Oh, musha, we pay enough; we pay fifteen shillings an acre for the bit of callows below near the lake, and we pay ten pounds a-year for the mountain ; and bad luck to it for a mountain ! it's breaking my heart trying to make something out of it."
"Then, I suppose you'd be well pleased to exchange your farm, and take one in a better and more profitable part of the country?"
Another suspicion here shot across the old man's mind, and, turning to Owen, he said in Irish, “He wants to get the mountain for sporting over; but I'll not lave it."
The gentleman repeated his question. “Troth, no then, your honour; we've lived here so long we'll just stay our time in it.”
“But the rent is heavy, you say."
"I believe I must go back again as wise as I came," muttered the gentleman. “Come, my good old man, and you Owen, I want to know how I can best serve you for what you've done for me; it was my son you rescued in the
"Are you the landlord-is yer honour Mr. Leslie ?” exclaimed both, as they rose from their seats as horrified as if they had taken such a liberty before royalty.
"Yes, Owen; and I grieve to say that I should cause so much surprise to any tenant at seeing me. I ought to be better known on my property, and I hope to become so, but it grows late, and I must reach the valley before night. Tell me, are you really attached to this farm, or have I any other, out of lease at this time, you like better?”
"I would not leave the ould spot, with yer honour's permission, to get a demesne and a brick house; nor Owen neither.”
"Well, then, be it so; I can only say that, if you ever change your mind, you'll find me both ready and willing to serve you. Meanwhile you must pay no more rent here."
“No more rent!”
“Not a farthing ; I'm sorry the favour is so slight a one, for indeed the mountain seems a bleak and profitless tract.”
“There is not its equal for mutton--'
" I'm glad of it, Owen; and it only remains for me to make the shepherd something more comfortable. Well, take this; and wben I next come up here (which I intend to do to fish the lake), I hope to find you in a better house ; ” and he pressed a pocket-book into the old man's hand as he said this, and left the cabin ; while both Owen and his father were barely able to mutter a blessing upon him, so overwhelming and unexpected was the whole occurrence.
We subjoin another extract. It throws some light on a particular phase of Irish society ; perhaps its most appropriate heading would be,
THE NEW AGENT. The new agent had commenced his campaign with an activity before un. known. Arears of rent were demanded to be peremptorily paid up; leases, whose exact conditions had not been fulfilled, were declared void ; tenants Occupying sub-let land were noticed to quit ; and all the threatening signs of that rigid management displayed, by which an estate is assumed to be “admirably regulated," and the agent's duty most creditably discharged.
Many of the arrears were concessions made by the landlord in seasons of hardship and distress, but were unrecorded as such in the rent-roll or the tenant's receipt. There had been no intention of ever demanding them; and both parties had lost sight of the transaction until the sharp glance of a “new agent” discovered their existence. So of the leases; covenants to build, or plant, or drain, were inserted rather as contingencies, which prosperity might empower, than as actual conditions essential to be fulfilled ; and as for sub
letting, it was simply the act by which a son or a daughter was portioned in the world, and enabled to commence the work of self-maintenance.
This slovenly system inflicted many evils. The demand of an extravagant rent rendered an abatement not a boon, but an act of imperative necessity; and while the overhanging debt supplied the landlord with a means of tyranny, it deprived the tenant of all desire to improve his condition. “Why should I labour," said he, “when the benefit can never be mine?' The landlord then declaimed against ingratitude at the time that the peasant spoke against oppression. Could they both be right? The impossibility of ever becoming independent soon suggested that dogged indifference, too often confounded with indolent habits. Sustenance was enough for him, who, if he earned more, should surrender it-hence the poor man became chained to his poverty. It was a weight which grew with his strength-privations might as well be incurred with little labour as with great—and he sunk down to the condition of a mere drudge, careless and despondent. “He can only take all I have !" was the cottier's philosophy; and the maxim suggested a corollary, that the “all” should be as little as might be.
But there were other grievances flowing from this source. The extent of these debatements usually depended on the representation of the tenants themselves, and such evidences as they could produce of their poverty and destitution. Hence a whole world of falsehood and dissimulation was fostered. Cabins were suffered to stand half-roofed ; children left to shiver in rags and nakedness; age and infirmities exhibited in attitudes of afflicting privations; habits of mendicity encouraged-all, that they might impose upon the proprietor, and make him believe that any sum wrung from such as these, must be an act of cruelty. If these schemes were sometimes successful, so in their failure they fell as heavy penalties upon the really destitute, for whose privations no pity was felt. Their misery, confounded in the general mass of dissimulation, was neglected; and for one who prospered in his falsehood, many were visited in their affliction.
That men, in such circumstances as these, should listen with greedy ears to any representation which reflected heavily on their wealthier neighbours, is little to be wondered at. The triumph of knavery and falsehood is a bad lesson for any people ; but the fruitlessness of honest industry is, if possible, a worse one. Both were well taught by this system. And these things took place, not, be it observed, when the landlord or his agent were cruel and exacting--very far from it. They were the instances so popularly expatiated on by newspapers and journals--they were the cases headed * Example for Landlords !” “Timely Benevolence !" and paragraphed thus :-“We learn, with the greatest pleasure, that Mr. Muldrennin, of Kilbally-drennin, has, in consideration of the failure of the potato-crop, and the severe pressure of the season, kindly abated five per cent. of all his rents. Let this admirable example be generally followed, and we shall once more see," &c., &c. There was no explanatory note to state the actual condition of that tenantry, or the amount of that rent from which the deduction was made. Mr. Muldrennin was then free to run his career of active puffers throughout the kingdom, and bis tenantry to starve on as before.
Of all worldly judgments there is one that never fails--no man was ever instrumental, either actively or through neglect, to another's demoralization, that he was not made to feel the recoil of his conduct on himself. Such had been palpably the result here. The confidence of the people lost, they had taken to themselves the only advisers in their power, and taught themselves to suppose that relief can only be effected by legislative enactments, or their own efforts. This lesson once learned, and they were politicians for life. The consequence has been, isolation from him to whom once all respect and attachment were rendered-distrust and dislike follow-would that the catalogue went no further!
The little volume is tastefully got up, and contains several excellent llustrations,
Stray Leaves from the German; or Select Essays from Zschokke. Trans
lated by the Rev. W. B. Flower, B. A. Nos. I. II. III. The German author, from whose works this translation is made, has long been distinguished among the divines of his own country. He is a man of decided piety and great talents; and Mr. Flower has done good service to the cause of religion, hy clothing his “Stray Leaves" in an English dress. We give as a specimen of the author's manner a quotation from his
MEDITATIONS ON PROVIDENCE. THERE may be moments, and hours, and weeks of pain, which shake all our courage, and extinguish all our hopes. At some period misfortunes may ally themselves against us on all sides, and make us confused in our holiest convictions, and even shake in our soul, belief in the Eternal Providence.
Oft through fear, oft by argument, we see malice triumph, and justice enslaved; we see the righteous Christian, who, with modesty, has laid the foundation of much good in quiet; we see him misunderstood, calumniated, and persecuted, whilst any self-interested, cunning, or powerful miscreant, is favoured with success in all his undertakings :-we ask ourselves with doubtwhat? does not the eye of Providence watch above the stars ?
Alas! how many a pious, quiet, and once happy family, has become the sacrifice of war!-In what manner had they transgressed, that their dwelling, the abode of all domestic virtues, should become the prey of the flames ?– The sorrow-stricken father-how has he transgressed, that the whole of his property, for which he has worked so uninterruptedly, and so laboriously the whole of his life, should be taken away from him in a few hours? Those nights of sorrow—those days of care-those thousand drops of perspiration, which he has shed for the weal of his family—the sorrows and hopes of a long life-have all these been in vain? How has the poor infant sinned, who was the sole pleasure and love of its parents, that the lust of booty, and of warring hordes, should have sunk it and its family into the miserable situation of the deepest poverty; that it must haplessly press its way through life in indigence, and perhaps afterwards, when its parents shall finally have left it, must wander an outcast from street to street in search of foreign aid? We shudder when we see the most lamentable sacrifices, and ask :- does blind and cruel chance sport with the children of men, or does a higher Providence watch over us?
At the death-bed of a sick child, a comfortless mother kneels. The favorite, whom she bore with pains, and nurtured with tender care, lies before her like unto a fading flower, and all her best joys in this world fade with it. She raises him with crying eyes, weeping to heaven, and again fixes them passionately on the patient angel. She kisses his wan face; for the last time he opens his eyes, and once more smiles with sweet innocence on the good mother; once again he stretches out his little hand to his mothers, as though it were a farewell. Alas! he is very loath to leave a faithful mother's heart! But love is torn from love, and heart from heart. The mother faints powerless over the soulless body of her beloved. Have then all her pains and all her Sorrows been in vain. All her thousand hopes indulged in vain-a thousand tears shed in vain! In vain were the devout burning tears of her loneliness, as she prayed to heaven for the recovery of her child. Must there then be in this world insatiable grief-and no attention from above? Darkly she looks into the night of life, as if she sought aid, salvation, and God: and the sobs from her oppressed and heaving breast seemed to ask heaven, if there be a Providence, why does it forsake me?
When the floods of swelling streams sweep away numberless families, with their dwellings, and bury them in the depth of the waters—when earthquakes destroy whole towns with their inhabitants, the righteous and the wickedwhen, as it happened a few years ago in a neighbouring country, mountain heights loosen and roll down, and in one moment extirpate a whole vale full of joyous and happy herdsmen-men and women, young and old, strangers and natives--and bury them under an immense mass of ruins, so that no traces of them can ever again be seen : who can remain without fear-who casts not a searching glance into the train of accidents of Eternal Providence ?
But let us only look into ourselves with clear judgment, and we shall soon find out that Providence has not ceased to watch and to act, that the Deity is not fled from the world, but we shall find out the causes from which the want of our confidence in Providence, and the fickleness of our wavering faith have arisen.
GENERALLY,—and who can deny it?-MOST MEN ONLY BEGIN TO THINK OF AIDING PROVIDENCE IN THE MIDST OF THEIR MISFORTUNES. As long as they lived content in quiet, happy circumstances, it rarely, often never, occured to them, to reflect on the dispensations of God as regards the fate of those whom He has called into life. Thus the invalid first begins to esteem the happiness of his days in health, he despised the thought of sickness, and lived without moderation in his pleasures, till they became poison to him. But when want presses from all sides on failing man, then it is that he raises his eye to heaven, and under tbe weight of his misfortunes inquires, does Providence also watch over me? But in this harassing situation, in this timid state of mind, he is the very least suited properly to convince himself of the wise and enduring dispensations of Divine Providence. His heart is too much engaged by other matters, to give itself up to quiet and continuous researches. He only thinks of that of which he is afraid; he only feels what troubles him ; and because his harassed mind cannot gain a sudden conviction of God's wise rule, because it cannot immediately make itself acquainted with all the circumstances which alone could instruct him in the higher wisdom of Divine counsels, he becomes perplexed and doubtful. He only sees the present oppressing moment, and does not see the co-operation and plan of life. From the wondrous chain of millions of other events, he tears the single occurrence by which he has been grieved. No wonder then is it, that a mind, weak and inexperienced in the observation of the Divine government of the world, takes the individual for the whole, the secondary matter for the primary—that it deems itself and all things the games of blind, dead chance.
If in quiet day when our soul was capable of inquiries of a higher nature, if we had then inquired into the dark hand of the Eternal Ruler of the world in the life, and in the destiny of men; we should have acquired an exercise of power over our minds, which the greatest misfortune could not shake. If we had in many a lonely hour thought more on the curious, happy, and sad circumstances of our own life, then we should have more than once exclaimed with glad astonishment :—See there was the hand of God! We should have seen how many a matter, which seemed to us an incurable evil, often bore the best fruits of our whole life, for the good of our family. We should have recognised that if the one or the other of our most ardent wishes had been fulfilled, we should have been obliged to forfeit our present happiness-our present station. We should not be able to deny that many a thing for which we once toiled, prayed, and sighed in vain, would eventually, in the course of affairs, have proved to ourselves, and to others a misfortune. We should allow that many a dreadful occurrence, which once severely pressed on us in our life, produced a most beneficial effect upon our heart and habits of thought, and that now in the happy and golden hours of life, we owe much to this improved and wiser mode of thinking.