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the country parts of Ireland to the use of spirits as they are here. Indeed, with all their faults as a nation,-and heaven knows their name is “legion,”—I do not anywhere know females so humble, so devoted, so free from every vestige of self, as the Irish cotters' wives. Forbearing help-mates, tender mothers, hospitable, affectionate friends are to be met with in the wayside sheelings: though the wind penetrates the thatch and the rain enters at the open door, still there is a kindliness which makes all warm, and a cheerfulness which blazes even more brightly than the gay turf-fire that is heaped to make the traveller welcome! # # * # * * #
“God bless you, lady! Sure, I knew all your people; and Master Ben's in Waterford;—and maybe if I’d come down to the big house, you'd read me Matty's letter from London, and incense me into what I'd best say to her " “And have you had your daughter’s letter all this time in your pocket, and not heard it read yet?” I inquired of Martha Brine, who stood curtseying before me. .. “Oh, no, my lady; not that, only there’s a dale in the differ—gettin' a thing read by them that can't read, and gettin' a thing read by them that have larnin', is as different as might from day; and it's not every one that has the larnin’ that one’s heart warms too, or that one u’d like to let into one’s secrets, Ma'am, dear.” “Very true, indeed, Martha; learning is the very last thing to win a person's heart.” “It's very grand, to be sure,” replied Mrs. Brine, again curtseying“Very grand intirely,” she repeated—“but I’m thinking it's a could thing, afther all. My boy Dominick, who went to the Americees, had five times the larnin’ of poor Matty, and yet sorra a scratch of a pen I've got from him these six years! I’m sure it’s could,” repeated the widow, wiping her eyes, and, truth to say, I echoed the sentiment—it is cold In the evening Mrs. Brine came, and with her a letter, and a long sheet of foolscap, and a quill, the “head-feather,” as she assured me, of her goose's wing, “ and just pluckt.” Matty's letter deserved to be immortalized for its nature and good feeling ; her poor mother seated her. self on the floor, and clasped her hands over her knees, while I read“My DARLINT MothHR,--Sure it’s my heart bleeds when I look at what I've written, and think how poor it is to tell what I feel for ye. and how I long for to see you, and spend, if it was only one hour, down by the stream forement our house, and see Mary’s pleasant face in the water, while she beetles the clothes, which I hope she does cleaner than she used, and hear once more the cry of my little sister—the child of ye'r old age—and smell the sweet fresh air that used to come dancing of a summer morning over the meadow blossom and the yellow broom; but it isn’t to be yet awhile—I won't say never, because never's a long day, and maybe so best; and London's a fine place to live and learn in—with no end to the houses, you might walk one long May-day from morning till night, and never get shut of them;-only houses—houses—houses. And I have got a good place—ten pounds a year, and find myself—that is, the tay and sugar, which I don’t much throuble, and not over work to signify—only I can’t hould out at the eatin', as they do here for ever more. They’re a quare people, and think as much of a pound of paytees as they do of a pound of meat;-and the mistress is kind to mo,
and the masther's a fine figure of a man, only a shocking color, with the smoke I suppose, as he goes into the dark part of the town, what they call the City, every morning;—and (only don't let on, Mother, and God bless you, for the neighbours would make little of me, if you did), sure he’s got a shop away from his own house, and thinks no shame of it—though his brother's a rale Counsellor, and keeps a footman—(we, I mean)—and all sort of gentility,+and a cab, which is a gig with a head to it; and a tiger, Mother, which isn’t a wild animal, but a dawshy boy, about the size of our Kit; and sure it’s Kit would make the beautiful tiger if he was here, but, Mother, he’s happier where he is. And I saw the King, and indeed you'd hardly know him from a gentleman, only for the soldiers, who are quiet and asy enough —fine well-behaved men; and I hear tell how they’re building the King a new house—and indeed the ould one, which—(Mother, is nt it quare among the Protestants to call the King’s house St. James)—is shabby, mot half so good as the rock of Cashel or the Castle of Kilkenny; only I can’t think why he dos’nt take one that’s ready built, of which there's plenty to be had. And, Oh, Mother, dear, if you could but see our alter-piece in Moor-field's Chapel, where I go every second Sunday, which is all the religion I have; but I can't tell you about it, it’s so beautiful intirely. And, Mother, you'll mind to keep the thrifle under the seal for yourself, for the tea, Mother; and my blessing to Mary, and to know how the young pigs get on with her, and tell her not to forget how she promised to buy you a new cloak out of the money ; and to remember the lucky side of the river for bleaching flax. Oh, Mother, Mother, if I was with you but for one while, which I would be, only for him, and “Ma’m, dear,” interrupted the poor woman, “read that part asy for fear any would hear you; and sure, only for the promise I made her, that same man would bear my curse as a mark upon his soul; but read it asy, lady honey—read it asy.” “To whom does she allude?” I inquired. “To a black villain,” replied the mother: “A black, bitter villain, who came here, and pretended to be a single man; and just as he was going to be married to Matty, she discovered he was married before, and that made her turn against the place, for her heart was in him, and it's hard to draw the heart of a woman back; but when she knew she'd no right to him, ‘Mother,’ says she (I mind it well, it was of a Sunday noon in April, after a shower), ‘Mother,’ says, she, “everything I see about the place tells me of him, and when the bitterness of a curse rises to my lip, my heart calls it back, and turns it to a blessing, and then I think, may-be that’s sinful; and when I see his wife, and his two little children last Sunday at chapel—God forgive me, and look down upon me—I felt mighty strange towards her: and it's...for her I should have prayed—not for him—but I couldn't-and I'm distracted intirely —I can't settle to nothing—so, mother, I’ll go to London to Your aunt's cousin, and thanks to you, I'm not so ignorant but I can make my way there, and God will bless me.’ And then she cried; and I thought my heart would break, for she was my eldest, and a second mother,” the children. And as we were crying together the sun came out shining, and dried up all the rain-drops off the blackberry bushes; and, poor girl, she'd away of noticing every little thing, and drawing some good out of it. So, “Mother, dear,’ says she, “if the sun that God made can dry up the rain, sure the Almighty can dry our tears; and you needn't think it 'ill be out of sight out of mind with me; and the strange things, and plenty of work, will make me quite another girl.’ Well, God bless her, I say ; and now, dear lady, go on with the letter, if you please— there's the place, you see, where the handwriting’s so shakey, and—I don’t know—but those two or three blots look mighty like tears—only I hope” (and the poor creature herself was weeping) “I do hope she wouldn't be so foolish !”
“And mother, I heard from one who knew that that same man is gone away intirely, and that his wife and the children are in great poverty, not very far from our own place. And mother, I do be often thinking of that poor thing that I caused a deal of throuble to ; and I mind, that when she looked at me as if she pitied me, I walked away with a proud, hateful sort of feeling, which God forgive! And now what I want to say is, that if you'll advance her a trifle,_say, send her a present of white-eyes, or a sitting-hen and eggs to the eldest child, that she may turn a penny by rearing chickens, or a couple of stone of meal, or anything that you know would be useful, I'll work my arms off my body to make it more than good; but do it dacently—don't let any one be the wiscrof it, for she’s of a proud stock, though God knows she didn’t look proud on me.
“Mother, dear, there's a very fine young man a baker, who's turned his fancy for marriage on me; but I’ve put an end to it, for I tould him I loved once, and should never love again,_which, he says, isn't the English fashion. I wish you could see the pathern of the things they have here to keep the clothes on the bushes, to hinder them from tearing, clothes-pegs they call them, but they an’t pegs, but forks; I thought they were fire-wood at the first going off. Oh! but the English make a dale of fun out of us in their own way, but I don’t let 'em know I mind it, for fear they’d make more; sure, any way they’ll stop when their tired. And now my love and blessing to every one in the town land, and may the Almighty pour every happiness in life upon you,
“Prays, my dear mother, “Your dutiful and loving daughter, “ MATTY BRINE.
“P.S. Don’t forget his wife and children "
A woman’s heart is ever in the postscript they say, and I believe it; it is so natural to put off les affaires du ca’ur to the last page—to the last line, if possible, and then dash it in carelessly, as a young lady throws her handsome chain a little over the left shoulder, so—as if she did not care about it, while all the time it is the thing of all her ornaments she most values. “I hope,” I exclaimed, “she may marry the baker, for I assure you that the life of an Irish servant amongst English ones is not by any means enviable.” “Ah, Ma'am, dear!” replied Mrs. Brine, “why don't you have Irish servants yourself?” - “Mrs. Brine, I have had, at the very least calculation, twenty; and out of that twenty there is only one whom I really value, and I look
* upon poor Alcey, though she is now in another house, more as an humble friend than a mere servant.” “Sure, Ma'am, dear, they're honest.” - “Yes, but wasteful; and so exceedingly fond of display, that they would squander your property to make you ‘look grand.’” a" The widow smiled, and replied, “Aye, Ma'am, but sure that’s the * fashion of the country—our country, I mean. Might I make bould to ask if you consider them dirty?” “Not dirty, but so careless—and then always making one thing answer half a dozen purposes.” * ** Sure that’s the cleverness of them.” o “Then they are so irregular—never time themselves properly. An ... Irish cook never has dinner to the minute; and an Irish footman will give you his opinion when you want him to obey a command.” is “You see, Ma'am, as to the cook, they don’t value the eatin’; and sure it’s a servant’s duty to advise their master and mistress for their ... good.” o I perceived clearly that we should not agree upon this point, and poor Mrs. Brine saw also that there was little chance of my receiving Matty into my service at present. I therefore commenced writing a letter in reply to her daughter, and moreover engaged to deliver it myself. This promise cheered the mother's heart, and, on my departure, she made one with the servants of the house, who, headed by Rory, bade me a ... farewell of so affectionate a nature as not to be easily forgotten. The ... poor Irish are keen and cunning, fond of giving and receiving praise— pleasant, but not profitable to entertain; but it is a mistake to suppose ... that their faults are peculiar to their poverty. The same cunning, the same seeking after vain-glory, pervades the higher classes of society; but it is there educated and tempered, and renders its possessors quick, intelligent, and obliging. I wish we were less fond of tracing actions to their motives; it is not a pleasant task, czcept indeed when now and then we hit upon one of those noble-minded motives that stand out from amid the multitude of littlenesses and the mass of interests that spur men to exertion; then it is that its just proportions, its unity of purpose, is felt and appreciated; and, proud of the moral dignity conferred upon our kind, we try to wind ourselves up to the same pitch of reatness. When in our wayfaring journey we meet people who are kind, attentive, and obliging, it is better not to feel too narrowly for the organ of love of approbation, which phrenologists say is so distinguishing a bump amongst “good-natured folk.”—There is something touching in the adicus of a troop of Irish servants to those whom a little kindness has rendered popular amongst them. They leave of course their several employments for some time before the farewell commences; they have identified themselves with you—they talk of the chances of the weather, and wish you had remained either until new moon, or full moon, or whatever moon is not in the ascendant; they talk of your mother and your grandmother, and “your people,” and wish England was sunk in the sea before it took you away from them. All this chattering occurs of at the hall-door, the upper servants being on the inside—the lower ser- vants and the combined tails of all, assembling without. Then when you are really going, there are kindly smiles, and many blessings, and
a few tears—and all so earnest and so kindly, that you forget their blunders—their commissions and omissions—all but their heartfelt goodnature—and perhaps, in a fit of enthusiasm, you resolve to introduce Irish servants amongst your own trained domestics, forgetting how perfectly useless affection and enthusiasm are in “a well-regulated English house,” which, to confess the truth, deals in every thing more largely than the affections. Of course I resolved to present Matty’s letter myself, and went, for that purpose, to one of the peculiarly smart, neat—I had almost said vulgarly clean streets that skirt the Regent's Park. Nothing can be more at variance than the aristocratic-looking houses half buried in gloom, and excluding daylight as a too familiar object, in May Fair, and those prinky green and white dwellings, where city folk enjoy themselves and entertain their neighbours with hospitality and scandal. When arrived at the corner, I perceived a very prettylooking young woman in earnest conversation with, or rather I should say listening to the conversation of a very handsome baker, who looked as if he had been powdered all over. The girl certainly was pretty, but she was pale, very pale, and her black hair and dark deep eyes looked all the darker because of her pallid cheeks. Her clothes were neat and well put on, and I should have thought her an English girl, but that, glancing at her shoes, I perceived they were fast approaching to what is termed slip-shod. I hardly ever saw an Irish woman bien chaussée—their shoes are either too big, or crooked, or down behind, or slit before, or something that says as plainly as English shoe can say— “I am vilely treated by this Irish foot.” There stood Matty—I was sure it was Matty—desirous of escaping with her basket, from which the leaves of carrots peeped forth in company with the end of a roll of butter and a bunch of candles, evidently desirous of escaping from the baker’s arguments. Poor fellow, he had rolled his pass-book into a paper staff, and absolutely suffered the peculation of a little bare-legged boy, who kept picking morsels of bread from the basket that stood by his side, to go unpunished. I knocked at No. 5, and the instant the knock reverberated through the street, the young woman turned from the baker, who I observed looked after her until she disappeared in the area of the house I was entering as she descended. It was pleasant to hear her mistress commend Matty’s skill in getting up “ small things,” and praise her industry and good temper; and as she blushed and curtseyed before me, I could hardly fancy that shy creature the same person who wrote and felt the letter I had almost wept over at Bannow. I insisted upon her reading her mother's letter. “Master Ben never wrote this,” she said, and immediately added, “did you, Ma’am’” It was then she blushed indeed—and such a blush— “Matty,” said I, “you must really marry the baker.” Her mistress smiled. “I hope she will; for she has told me about it,” she said; “and the young man says that the love will come if she’ll only marry! and he’s a catholic—and I assure you, Ma'am, she makes excellent bread already.” The worthy woman left the room, and then the Irish maid’s feelings burst forth in tears and inquiries.