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be specially applied to Irishmen ? and must we be content to prove a pendant to the truism of an old Latin writer, that "scholars are the most foolish men in the world ?"

I will not attempt to unravel the metaphysical thread I have been here insensibly weaving for myself; but will at once burst through the web, though it be of my own spinning, and return to the major of my essay, if I must not call it my argument.

In the whole neighbourhood of my early life there was scarcely a gentleman's house that had not attached to it a semi-intelligent, half-witted omadthaun, who was the knife-cleaner, yard-sweeper, cow-caller, pigfeeder the servant of the servants, the link between the men and beasts of the establishment. These beings did not hold their tenures, like the court-jesters of former days, by forcing jokes for the amusement of those who should have been their betters; or by pandering to the licentiousuess of those whose knavery was in a direct ratio with their folly;-but merely by doing the dirty work of the house, not the court; and sometimes, perhaps, being the medium of a platonic intercourse between the butler and the cook, or other friends and loveyers, as the case might be. They always fed on the leavings of the kitchen-table, slept in an out-house, went bare-legged and bare-headed; and whether young, old, or middleaged, were respectively called " the b'y." Of all those boys whom I can now call to memory, I scarcely recollect an exception that exceeded five feet in height, or that had not flaxen-coloured hair, and light-blue eyes. I now speak of the "born" animals, who "wore motley in their brain," by some unfathomable secret of nature. Those who gained enrolment into the corps by the palpable agencies of whiskey, shillelah, or lovepowders, were of all sizes and complexions.

It was curious to mark the accuracy with which the poor stunted omadthauns did the duties of their respective stations. These were limited, no doubt; but they required the certain exercise of faculties, the exact definition of which I leave to those more deeply learned in "discourse of reason." The turnspit could tell to a minute when the joint was properly roasted; the cow-boy knew to a nicety the moment for milking; the somewhat higher grade of being intrusted with the letter-bag never missed the mail as it passed the avenue-gate, or was after time at the post-office in the village, to which he cut across through bog and brake, by twists and turnings that would have puzzled the very hares he used to kick up from their forms as he scudded along.

Í have heard of affecting instances of fidelity in these poor creatures. A wealthy and better sort of farmer was for three days missing in the ruthless times that succeeded the Rebellion of 1798. Mat, his halfwitted cow-boy, or, more technically speaking, "the b'y," had been missing at the same time, and was absurdly suspected of having made away with his master. But, on the fourth morning of the search, the poor omadthaun was found stretched beside the farmer's murdered body, in a lonely island in the bog of Allan, actually dying of starvation from his long watch by the corpse, which he would not quit, from the moment he stumbled on it in one of his wanderings, and did not attempt to remove, from excessive sorrow acting on want of sense.

The strong sentiment of filial attachment evinced by beings of the very lowest grade in the scale of intellect, is a puzzling fact for physiologists, and goes far to prove that Locke's "sheet of white paper" bears, after all, an instinctive though vapoury water-mark of natural affection.

Several touching instances of this kind are strong in my memory. An idiot in our neighbourhood, who bore the curious cognomen of "Godsham," having, in one of the deadly visitations of "the faver," lost his mother, by whom he had been reared in all the bleak indulgences of beggary, carried to her narrow bed, on every day for many months after her death, his snatched and scanty meal, and, dividing into equal parts, made holes in the turf, and obtruded the food into them, that she might, as when living, partake of his repast. I have seen him, when the rain poured down in torrents, strip off his coat to cover the grave, and have heard him address the most affectionate complaints to her, whom he supposed to be listening to them, for her obstinacy in not speaking to him. The sublime and the ridiculous had here no step between them.

"Arrah, then, mother dear, why won't you come back home wid me agin? Why, then, sure the divil is busy wid you, to be lying out here, ketching your death of could in the open air! It's yourself that used not to be such an ould runt of a fool; whatever's comed over you of late? Arrah! swop a word wid me, mother jew'l, if it's only to call me a 'madthaun,' as you used to do; and more shame for you, when I'm a nate, clane, sinsible b'y. Here's a pinch of snuff I've brought you, any how, and a drop o' the crathur this could evening, and much good may it do you wid it, mother avich!"

And as he spoke he made holes at the head of the mound, putting in the snuff and pouring the whisky from his little phial into that part where he judged the face to be; and, though much addicted to that treacherous comforter of the wretched and the poor, he would not even taste what he had appropriated to his mother, while all his plaints, lamentations, and reproaches were thus poured into " the cold, dull ear of death."

One of the incidents which made the liveliest impression on my mind, in the transactions of the period of blood and flame just now alluded to, had relation to the fate of another idiot boy, in the close neighbourhood of our residence, not far from the foot of Carbery Hill, and on the edge of the before-named and celebrated bog of Allan. Almost close to a little shrubbery which skirted the lawn, on the side next the road leading from Edenderry to Carbery, was the cabin of the widow Henessey, a wretched, bed-ridden woman, whose sole subsistence was the charity of her neighbours, and whose sole comfort was the more than filial attachment of her only child Larry, who, from his cradle up, had never been a day out of her sight, and rarely an hour in any one day from her side. Her decrepitude and his idiotism were the bonds of a union, stronger than which never bound mother and son together. He cleaved to her, because nature whispered him to do so; and she believed her poor idiot boy a being favoured by Heaven, inasmuch as he could do no sin, and was therefore doomed to be saved. Her food was always served to her by Larry, and all the domestic offices of the hovel were performed by him. She, in her turn, kept together his tattered garments by the work of her feeble fingers, and talked to him in a way that he alone could comprehend, and replied to his imperfect jargon, intelligible only to her. Larry used, in fine weather, to sit silently at the cabin door, with a caubeen between his knees, to receive the chance offerings of the passers-by; while the widow, from her truckle-bed, placed just within the threshold, poured forth an eloquent strain of beg

ging and benediction for "a lone, infortn'te, crippled crathur iv a woman, an' her fatherless and motherless orphan, the naat'hral that's to the fore; an' the Lord reward the good Christhins this blessed day, an' keep thim and theirs from rheumatiz an' innocence, an' sind them to glory. Amin!"

In this way these forlorn beings picked up a good deal of money; and little of it being spent, in consequence of the supplies of food and fuel from the neighbouring gentry and the kind-hearted villagers of Kishawina, hard by, an actual store of coin was gathered, and deposited in a hole, rooted in a corner of the cabin, by the mother's directions and the mechanical obedience of the son, On this hole, which was covered over by the united cunning of avarice and folly, the old woman's eyes kept almost constant watch. When she slept, her ears did sentinel's duty, for they were so acute that the scratching of a mouse, or 66 the death-tick" of the big black spider in the roof, was enough to rouse her up. Larry, with wandering mind and less finely-constructed organs, forgot the treasure as fast as he added to the heap and closed in the cavity; yet he never was known to straggle twenty yards from the cabin, or out of his mother's call. His only amusement was the luxury of sunning himself at the foot of the high elder bushes that lined the road beside the cabin; and many a time I have peeped at his lank, diminutive figure, as he lay stretched on the bank, gazing vaguely up into the mysteries of the sky.

This was about the beginning of the Rebellion, the first marked event that made any impression on my memory, or at least effacing, by its greater weight, the faint traces of inferior circumstances. The battle of Clonard, as was called the attack and defence of a single house, was the first attempt of the rebels. The more successful surprise of Prosperous, and the burning of the barrack, with all its little garrison, came next: then the battle of Carbery, where the rebels were beaten, and which became famous from being the scene of an event (the strangulation of a prisoner dragged along by a rope thrown over the captor's shoulder) that gave to a certain Lieutenant Hepenstal the soubriquet of "Hemp-and-Stall, or the Walking Gallows." On the memorable night of that affair, our whole family were roused up to peep through the loop-holes of the strongly-barricadoed windows, and see, by the light of moon or stars (I forget which), the straggling march of the insurgents through the lawn, as they passed silently on to the scene of


The rattling volleys of musketry and the shouts of the rebels, as the assault on the village and charter-house of Carbery went on, were distinctly heard at our dwelling. The firing lasted a long time; but was ended by the total discomfiture of the rebels, who were surprised and taken in flank by a strong detachment of military, who hurried, on the first alarm, from Edenderry, three miles distant, and decided the affair. There was considerable slaughter at the conflict. The old adage

"When Carbery Church turns its back on the hill,
'Tis blood will be turning the wheel of the mill,"

was verified (at least so the inhabitants thought) on this occasion. The handsome church, just then finished on the hill-side, faced the village, contrary to the position of the old edifice; and, on the morning after the battle, it was said that the blood which poured down the street actually flowed into the mill-stream, and set the wheel a-going.

As morning began to dawn, the broken and defeated rebels fled on all

sides across the country, pursued by the cavalry, and cut down without mercy or remorse. Some brave hearts still held firm their weapons, and made a hopeless fight against their assailants; others baffled them by active leaps into copse-wood and gardens. The great mass of runaways threw aside every impediment-pikes, guns, coats, shoes-and fled towards that sure, and not distant refuge-the bog, which stretched far and wide at the rear of our farm. Several crawling, wounded wretches dropped by the road-side; others found temporary safety in the neighbouring cabins, abandoned by their inhabitants, either to aid the business of the previous night, or in fear of its results.

After such a lapse of time, names and titles are indistinct in my memory. I cannot state the regiments that distinguished themselves on this and similar occasions in our neighbourhood, which was the first crater where the volcano of revolt burst out. A couple of dragoon regiments are mixed up together in my recollection, associated with the fears and curses of the peasantry; and it was a detachment from one of those that swept down from the side of Carbery Hill that morning, dashed through the adjacent low grounds, tore along the road beforementioned, and scattered through the fields and shrubberies that surrounded our residence.

At the earliest sounds of the horses galloping, the widow Henessey, always on the alert for the chances of the road, roused up Larry, who had slept the deep sleep of idiotcy during the whole of the night-alarms which she had so acutely listened to, without knowing their direction or extent. In a few minutes he sat at his usual post, on a low stool before the cabin door, gazing vacantly towards the ivy-covered ruins of Carbery Castle, unmoved by the warlike clatter, and holding forth his leafless caubeen, which was never again to catch the blessed dew of charity, or cover the brainless head of the idiot boy. Just as the old woman began to vociferate her usual chant, she was suddenly stopped by the sight of a man covered with blood, (which streamed and spouted from various wounds,) who, running for his life, rushed against poor Larry, overset him in the doorway, and threw himself upon the bed beside the crippled crone, crying out, with hoarse and choking voice, for shelter and protection. The old woman screamed aloud, and the idiot, in the instinct of filial alarm, sprang up and hastened towards her. Doubly terrified in the two tenderest points of her feelings, and wholly forgetting her personal affright, she muttered something to Larry, which he understood and obeyed, by hurrying to the money-hole in the corner, squatting down before it, and dragging his patched and piebald covering completely over him.

In a moment more the hovel was thronged with dragoons, who, dismounting at the door, pursued their prey, and half-a-dozen broadswords soon clashed and crossed over and in the poor rebel's body. The wretched woman shared his fate; a random stab struck her near the heart. She had just strength enough to yell forth the name of her boy ere she expired. One of the dragoons, on entering the hovel, had heard the mother's imperfect exclamation, and seen the idiot hide himself in the corner. In a moment he was dragged to light: the reeking blades thirsted for more blood; their wearers (let us hope) could not distinguish between right and wrong, reason or folly. Poor Larry answered the imprecations of his captors by some gibbering sounds, which none then living could interpret, and he was literally cut in pieces in front of

his hovel, and his mangled remains thrown into the ditch where he had used to lie for so many hours of breathing inanity.

A painful contrast to these last instances was furnished in the person of a poor girl, who was not only hideous in face and deformed in person, but who had the misfortune of being a cripple and an idiot. The affection of her unhappy parents for this girl, their only child, was unbounded, and, strange to say, it excited no feeling in her but an inveterate, and may we not say an unnatural, dislike, which was manifested on every possible occasion. Various were the pilgrimages undertaken by the father and mother to every holy well, or site of sanctity within many miles round, and as various were the penances imposed on themselves, in the hope of propitiating the saints to grant health and reason to their idiot daughter. They have been known to walk miles with peas in their shoes, (an ingenious and not uncommon mode of "mortifying " the soles of Irish sinners,) nay, they have gone barefooted over the most flinty roads, and traversed, on their bare knees, every stream to which miraculous properties were attributed, repeating various forms of incantations, in favour of the not-altogether senseless but cruelly insensible object who stood by, mocking with bitter taunts, and venting sarcasms on the luckless authors of her being. After each unsuccessful pilgrimage, she used to address them in some such as the following terms:

"Arrah! how are ye now, after all your kneeling and praying? Jist look at me then, amn't I much the betther for all the bother and blarny ? Amn't I a beauty, here to the fore? Yiz, faith and troth, I'm that same, and mighty sinsible too, into the bargain, foreby yiz don't think it. Arn't yiz proud to have sitch an iligant daughther? what a pity yiz hadn't twins of me! why then bad luck to yiz for your pains, you ould fools, for it isn't one of ye, but a pair that's in it; whin, if ye were good for any thing, ye'd throw me into the first well or ditch, instid of taking me round the country for a show."

Returning one evening from a pilgrimage to the holy well of Tubberara, (the exact locality is of small matter to the English reader) the father and mother bore her by turns, rolled in a cloak on their backs; and being wearied with their miserable burthen, they placed her for a moment on the parapet of a bridge over which they were passing. She by degrees most cunningly disengaged herself from the grasp of the father, who was leaning his back against the bridge, and threw herself into the river, screaming out, with a fiend-like grin, "Arrah! what'll yiz do for a daughter now!" The murderous water bubbling with her suffocating laugh, when carried down by the current, she sank to rise no more, and left her inconsolable parents, to bewail for many a day the loss of their "blessed innocent natharal." Never did this poor couple cease lamenting her. They treasured her ragged wardrobe as precious relics; and even her bitter taunts and reproaches were repeated, as proofs of "how cute and sinsible poor Avity was, for sure all she used to say was thrue enough for her, God rist her soul!"

But my recollections are not at present so much turned to female "innocence" as to male idiotcy; and I shall therefore cite but one more reminiscence of the former nature, and one for which I am happy not to know any parallel.

A female idiot, whose personal beauty attracted some brute in the shape of man, who took advantage of her situation and rendered her a

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