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'Tis sweet to Love in Childhood
VOLUMES I. TO VI.,
BOUND IN GREEN CLOTH, PRICE 4s. 60. EACH.
VOLUMES I., II., AND III.,
NUMEROUS SHORT STORIES WRITTEN EXPRESSLY FOR CHILDREN.
TWO NEW SONGS, THE WORDS AND MUSIC BY ELIZA COOK.
Now publishing, price Two Shillings each, sent postage free,
“THE RING AND THE KIRK,” and “ THE WEDDING BELLS."
Also a Second Edition of “DEAD LEAVES," A BALLAD.
Published at the Office of Eliza Cook's Journal. May be ordered of any Musicaeller.
“WELL,” said my uncle, “I like the idea vastly! It is true we have been bored enough, lately, with Irish politics, Irish potatoe disease, Irish emigration, and other Irish topics, but I should like to see the land about which we have had so much talk ; and above all, I should like to see its people. Germany and the Rhine have grown stale ; Paris is little better than a cockney suburb; Italy, Egypt, and even Spain, have become English highways: Ireland is still fresh and untrodden ground. It's a settled point, then, that we take Ireland for our autumn tour."
“Which part of Ireland shall it be? There's Dublin and Belfast,"
“No, no, those are little more than English and Scotch settlements — half Saxon, half Celt. Let's get among the Milesians, down in Munster. What say you to Cork, Limerick, and Tipperary? There we shall come upon the old blood of the country, and, I am told, the most fertile lands of Ireland.”
“Well, Munster be it then!”
I need not describe the journey across England, and from Holyhead to Dublin, which we reached in about thirteen hours from London. I confess, the first appearance of Dublin surprised me.
I had seen no city superior to it. Its streets are superb, and its public buildings magnificent. Its thoroughfares are bustling with life. Sackville Street and the Quays are matchless. But alas ! in the one you find a large admixture of squalor with wealth ; and along the other, you see but few evidences of the healthy stir of commerce. The first vessel we saw along the Quays was the Wave, nearly opposite the deserted Custom-house, -a Custom-house without Customs.
“A fine vessel, sir," said my uncle to a sailor standing on board.
“ She is, indeed ;—the finest emigrant ship sailing from Dublin."
“An emigrant ship! And is such the use to which your finest vessels are put ?”
“Troth, an' it is, sir. Dublin exports nothing but cattle, butter, and emigrants. But emigrants are the staple article now; emigration beats the cattle and butter trade hollow."
“The cattle and butter to England, and the emi. grants to America ? Isn't that the
of it?” “It is, sir. Before, the people went over to England to look after the cattle and the butter, and perhaps to get a share of them ; but now they nearly all go to America.”
Along the Quay were several young men and women, well clad, evidently in holiday dress. We found them to be emigrants—respectable peasants, the very bone and sinew of the country.
“So, you are leaving old Ireland,” said I to a young man who had stepped on shore again, after seeing some boxes safely deposited on board.
“I am, sir ; about three hundred of us sail to. morrow for America, in the Wave—she's a slow ship, but a safe one."
“And why do you emigrate ?”.
“Why? Because I have the means of going-a brother in America has sent money enough home to take out myself and my sister. No Irishman will stay in Ireland now, who has the means of leaving it.” “Yet, this is a rich country, beautiful and fertile."
Ay, a beautiful, green land, sir, but cursed cursed in its landlords, its laws, its potatoes, and its all. We are flying from Ireland at the rate of a thousand a day, and remittances are coming into the country at the rate of about ten thousand pounds a week, from our relations in America, to help us to fly thither. In ten years more we shall have nearly left the country altogether to you English, to do with as you will.”
And the young man turned away, to join his sister who was near at hand.
“Well,” said my uncle, “there must be some terrible evil beneath all this. The sight of that emigrant ship makes me almost heart-sick. To think of thousands of people flying from their old homes, and from the land they love, to brave unknown perils and hardships! It has a bad look, and indicates something rotten in the State."
We hailed a carman. Cars run along every street in Dublin ; they are the popular mode of conveyance for all who can afford to pay for them; they are light, convenient, and cheap. You leap up on one side, your friend on the other, and away drives the car, at a trot or a gallop, as you choose.
“What's the fare for an hour's drive ?” “A shilling an hour, yer honour.”
“Well, drive us through the best streets of Dublin.”
“I will, yer honour,” said the carman, and away we went. Along the noble Quay, up Sackville Street, past the Post-office, past the Lying-in Hospital, then up the hill, through many fine streets and squares.
“See there, sir,” said the carman, “these fine houses, that you now see standing empty, were all occupied by the lords and gentry of Ireland in the grand old times."
“The grand old times! When were they? The houses seem comparatively modern, and are certainly very handsome.
honour, I mean before the Union, when we had a Parliament of our own down there in College Green. They've turned our Parliament House into a rag-shop, you would see.”
“A rag-shop! Why, I thought it was the principal office of the Bank of Ireland ?"
“An' so it is, yer honour !"
“ Ah! I see," said my uncle; "by rags you mean Bank-notes. Well, that's one definition of a paper issue !"
We drove down the Quays, past the noble Four Courts--the Irish balls of justice, certainly one of the finest buildings of the kind in Europe-then across Carlisle Bridge again, and along Grafton Street.
“And this is your old Parliainent House ?" said I, pointing to the noble building now used as the Bank of Ireland. “It is not the first time that a temple, destined for other uses, has been taken possession of by the money-changers."
“They must be drove out, yer honour," said the carman,
“ if it isn't too late." I found “too late" was ever on this poor fellow's lips, when alluding to any of the popular measures for the regeneration of Ireland ; and I afterwards found the same expression, uttered in a tone of deep melancholy, by Irishmen, wherever I went.
"And this fine building here—what is that ?"
“ That's Trinity College, and a noble place it is, all round full of professors and libraries. I've known it this thirty year. It's a mighty grand place, your honour."
And so we drove on. These fine streets, it must be admitted, have a very English look, and the names over the doors of the shops, especially of the larger ones, are many of them English and Scotch. Indeed, while in Dublin, we saw posted up against the walls many flaring posters denouncing these “ Monster Houses."
Merrion Square, so widely known as containing the house wherein the great O'Connell dwelt, is a remarkably handsome square, though I perceived that many of its houses were untenanted. Among others, the house which O'Connell occupied had stuck in the window a notice “ To Let."
“They are all going,” said the driver. “The rich won't live in Dublin now, and they leave it to the poor, who can't get out of it. Our lords and gentry have all gone.
The Duke of Leinster's fine house there, is now a Museum. You see how it is, your honour !"
We had now driven back to a part of the city higher up the Quay, along which we were proceeding.
Now, look there," said my uncle, pointing to a large printed bill at a shop door, in a narrow street. “That's something curious.".
The bill announced for sale within, at so much a score, “ The Old Established Howth Oysters,” under the motto of “ Ireland for ever!” On the opposite side of the street was a rival shop, with the placard outside of, “ Erin go Bragh – The Real Original Clontarf Oysters for sale here."
" Then,” said my uncle to the carman, “have the Saxon oysters come to your shores, to compete for the
honour of occupying Dublin stomachs, that the old established,' and the 'real original' oysters are setting up their cry of 'Erin go Bragh ?'”
May be they are, your honour ; for if there's any good going here, the Saxon 's sure to be in for the largest share of it."
“Erin go Bragh oysters! It looks very like 'In 11 the name of the prophet, Figs !""
“Ah, here's another curious bill,” said I, pointing to a wall of boards stuck over by posters. get down and read these."
I confess to a partiality for the literature of dead walls everywhere. Nothing gives one a better insight into the political movements, the commercial life, and the social state of the people, than the placards addressed “ to the million," which are stuck up along the public thoroughfares. What did we see here, then? First, there was a flaming bill, headed “ Ireland for ever !" containing an address beginning, "Fellow-countrymen !--The public mind is in a state of great excitement, and very naturally so, in consequence of the afflicted state of Ireland, the Monster House Monopoly, the Irish Manufacture Movement, &c., &c., all of which require a very dispassionate consideration." After such an introduction, you would expect the promulgation of some grand plan of national amelioration--some mighty projection of philanthropy or benevolence :--but no--the writer merely goes on to announce that “a Capital Breakfast may be had at No., Street for 4d., and a Dinner for 6d.!"
“It's only the art of puffing got across the Channel,” said my uncle ;“ it seems to have come over with the Saxon, and become native and patriotic, like everything else here. See, there is the placard of a Patriotic Assurance Society.' But what have we here ? A 'Good Samaritan Lodge,' a working class benefit society, I suppose, “Registered by Act of Parliament,' and one of its provisions is, that 'at ; the death of each adult, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be offered for the happy repose of the soul of the deceased, and of all deceased members of the Society. Entrance 1s., weekly subscription 4d.' This is surely a new application of the mutual assurance principle! But come along, we have had enough of your favourite literature of the dead wall, though I admit it is quite as worthy of perusal as much that issues from the bookshop.”
Now, drive us through the poorest parts of the city, Mr. Driver, and let us see what there is beneath all this fair outside."
“Yes, sir ; shall I drive you through the Liberties ?”
"Ah yes, safe enough, your honour, though they're very poor people."
We drove up the hill from the south bank of the Liffey, towards St. Patrick's Cathedral, which stands on a fine site, though it is a miserable building, fast going to decay, notwithstanding its large revenues. Half of it is in ruin, and the remainder is fast following. The only things in it worth looking at and there is little in it worth hearing, except the chanting), are the busts of Swift and Curran--both very fine. As we drove up the narrow street towards the Cathedral, the squalid poverty of Dublin began to open out before us. We saw before us a population, apparently little, if at all, above the condition of beggars. Half-clad children, squalid, barefooted women, ragged and dirty men, filled the thoroughfares. A sickly stench pervaded the narrow, crooked streets. The shops were as mean and poverty-stricken as the people ; many of them repositories of old worn-out stuffs--old clothes, old furniture, old rags, old locks and bolts, old scraps of all kinds, and two of them we observed were devoted to old car-wheels !