IRISH LIFE, IN THE CASTLE, THE COURTS, AND THE COUNTRY.
Tins novel is a singular instance of considerable powers of de-
lineation without any other literary qualifications. When the author is describing the life with which he is fluniliar, he is
true and characteristic nus soon as he quits, not merely the known, but that with which he is thoroughly acquainted, he be- comes dull or ridiculous. The style of living of the genuine Milesian Orange squire, with his reckless and ruinous show and " hospitality," is drawn with a firm and knowing hand. Equally good is a inure respectable personage—the Irish gen- tleman of limited means, worldly knowledge, an allowance of native humour, no small share of national prejudices, but a high sense of honour withal : and Captain Barry exhibits it higher kind of merit in the author, from appearing in action as well as descrip- tion. Lifb in a Dublin boarding-house seems as true in delinea-
tion, but is more laboured and less striking in itself, With the exception of a few passing sketches, all beyond these is naught, or worse than naught, fbr it is positively bad. The only .knowledge of "the Castle" possessed by the author, seems to be what he has picked up at second-hand, or observed from geeing On the
people going to the Lord-Lieutenant's levees ; and his account* are literal and dull, or only enlivened by poor local jokes, wItor point is imperceptible beyond the place of their production, liffi
romance is ludicrous from its exaggeration and improbability ; his notions of feminine refinement and delicacy are odd enough ; but his ethics are the funniest things. For example, the hero falls in with the deserted victim of a naval Lothario, and introduces him- self to her with Milesian confidence : from his high-flown sentiment and transcendental morality the reader is induced to suppose that her restoration to her family is his first object—next, that he is about to marry her it turns out, however, that by " discharging a duty," and " rescuing from possible degradation here and eternal ruin hereafter, one that amid misfortune commanded respect," means taking the lady under his own protection !
The structure of the novel is well enough contrived to exhibit " Irish Life, in the Castle, the Courts, and the Country," had the author possessed the requisite knowledge and ability to fill up his design. The form is autobiographical. The hero, young Tarleton, is the son of an Irish Judge, who takes a dislike to his child because he was disappointed in the amount of his mother's fortune ; though the reader may conceive that the conduct of the young gentleman might have something to do with it. How- ever, on his return from keeping terms in London, young Tarle- ton follows the law and mixes in the first society in Dublin, with full scope for describing both the Castle and the Courts had he known any thing of them beyond their outsides. A friend of his is bent upon redressing the wrongs of Ireland in a forcible way; but an associate turns a design for the outburst of an indignant people into a scheme of incendiarism and robbery, and Mr. O'Don- nell is seized by the myrmidons of the law. This episode, with which young Tarleton is connected, first as a Mentor to his friend and afterwards as a patron, is well calculated, however, to display the political agitators of Ireland, her agrarian insur- rections, and the proceedings in her criminal courts ; and the ruffian politicians, with the gentlemanly patriot of broken fortune and ruined hopes, are not badly sketched, but are ineffective front the forced mode of their introduction. The night attack and de- fence of the baronet's mansion, though somewhat literal, have the interest of action ; but the trial and the love-story connected with it are absurd.
In consequence of young Mr. Tarleton's " discharging his duty" towards Mary Elston, and his connexion with O'Donnell after fre- quent warnings, his flither discards hint ; which leads to the most lifelike part of the story—the second-rate society of Dublin, her bailiffs, and her gaol. There are various incidents after the hero's liberation from debt and durance, to bring about a lame and impo- tent conclusion ; but they have neither likelihood, purpose, nor attraction, beyond that of getting to the end. • In noticing novels, lately, we have had continually to remark on the want of art they display : which, we take it, arises from the growing carelessness of writers, and the numbers who wish to throw their notions and their knowledge into this mode of composition, tempted by its asserted case, and the large sums reported to be gained by such authors as make a hit. In Irish Life, though there is a succession of events, there is no story—scarcely beginning, middle. or end, beyond what is made by the printer's paging. All, and more than all that is probable in it, might occur to any foolish young loan of " noble sentiments" and irregular conduct, who had quarrelled with his fluidly. Such romance as there is belongs not to the hero Tarleton, but to his friend O'Donnell ; and that is so morally impossible as to be devoid of interest. The elder novelists violated nature and probability to have their story " end happily" : the author of /risk Li/k' runs counter both to art and nature, in order to make a deathbed-scene and some miscry at its end, by the vulgar and worn-out tricks of consumption and eternal constancy to the dead, for a lady seen some two or three times ; not, however, in his own case, Ibr 3Ir. Tarleton's troubles take the more substantial form of the loss of an inheritance.
The best part of " Irish Life in the Country " is not shown in the story, but described by a person of the novel, in after-dinner conversation with his friend Barry, at the boarding-house. here is an IRISH GRAND JURY DINNER.
But I say, how did the Grand Jury dinner go off?
" Capital, Sir. capital I. never saw them fr.e.) off so well ; it was not like a grand jury dinner. Aundien and I picked the list so well that we hadn't a single num that was not a the right Flnt—We were all like brothers; it was like a dinner at Castle Barry or Lislinedu it for all the world, except a trifle larger, and 1 'wed imt say more ; you know yourself what it must have been ; the claret (and there Was 110(11111g CISO) W ;IS :,(1111e that remained of poor old Sneyd's; there was no going off the coffee, or any :melt shirking ; no, Sir, every man stood to his post, and charged in his turn ; and Aurelian, to his immortal Credit he it call, as became a man that tilled Ids office, sat to the last, and never ilinelad cm kilo thrie wes 1110 h.'. (10 hini illStiVO. 1 never lived out to see it myself, but I muummil frOln One of Wait CIS that it W as glorious to see him.
Cool awl composed, rennin in his seat until they were all (Lsposed and, like
the captain of a ship, was the very last man to move. That's the sort of man we want for the first magistrate of the county ; and if pal saw how we toasted Lim l—the enthusiasm and cheering was bey ond any thing I ever saw or heard: every man of them seemed actually: to love him as if he was his own father or brother. I vow it was positively alieeting to see poor, good, honest Aurelian, at about hat-pact twelve o'clock returning thatihs, his eyes actually streaming With tears for joy : but this was nothing to w led it WaS when Sir George Boozer got up to propose 3drs. O'Reilly. I can't describe it, y ou must imagine it."
AN /RISII mutt stifturre's "Do the thiog well, or not at all, my dear Aurelian," says I. " Ves," says Mrs. : and th'61 and foremost, may love, I must have two footmen whenever I drive out."
"I low the will you do that, Mrs. O'Reilly?" says he, "considering we have only got Brennan the butler, and that boy that you would have in the Louse to help him, width VIII sure be didn't want." " Tut, Aurelian," I said, " Mre. O'Reilly is quite right ; what can be easier? Let Brennan put on livery for the year ; send the boy into the stables, or to attend on the gentlemen in the barrack-room who don't bring their own ser- vants; and 1 don't think many of them will—" Nor I either, by Jove," inter- posed Barry : and write up to Dublin at once to hire a proper footmau, a regular good servant, to whom you'll give sixteen or eighteen pounds a year ; and do the thing genteel at once, if you must do it at all—it will only be for your year of office. So, Sir, we carried it; and two footmen you'll find in splendid liveries to receive you in the hall of Lishmakeel Castle: the one from Dublin is not like a Westmeath touch at all, but quite like a gentleman when he speaks—indeed I think he must be an Englishman, as be is so particular about his eating, turns up his nose at good bread and milk, and is not content without bread and butter and tea ; which Aurelian said was quite out of the question, but Mrs. O'Reilly and I prevailed on him to give in, as it was only to be for a year : but in my own opinion, once the tea system is introduced, it will not be so easy to change it again, as Brennan has insisted upon being treated alike; and I'm told the coachman takes it very- hard that he, who has better wages than either, should fare worse. However, that's not my business; let Aurelian look to that himself: all I have to do is to bring him through his shrievalty with credit to himself and honour to the county."
THE HIGH small:es MEANS.
" But, Terry, has Aurelian money enough to do all this? I know him very well, but I have no idea what be has to spend : you ought to be able to give a close guess at what he is really worth. This seems an infernal dear ollice he has got, in the way you describe it." " Wire, Barry, as to that, I should think, indeed I am quite sure, that the
whole cf the family estates produce something very close upon eight thousand
a year—that's the property, but what he has got to spend is another question: however, I am quite certain that one tldng wIth. another he has not got less than tour or live-and-twenty hundred a year clear of every thing; this year it will be a little better, but then it cc ill never cover the year's expenses. I lay it that even to do the thing quietly, if at all genteelly, he'll have to tic another knot on the estate to the tune of a couple of thousand. Mrs. O'Reilly has bargained for one, but that I know will never do it Aurelian himself; I believe, is foolish enouh to fancy his ordinary income will meet it ; but that of course is quite out of 'the question : he must enlarge his notions a little ; and, as Mrs. O'Reilly say 5, in which I quite agree, it will be money well laid out—it will give him intent:0 with the County Members, who are to be over at, Easter on a visit at LisIimakeei cc ith Sante friend:, Ur theirs from EnfrItual; aunt be wants YO get off a couple of his boys, and these Ildlows will be able to stuff them into the Army or something, else, and the mistress is dying to get the second boy into a red coat ; the eldest fellow has been, you know, sent over to Oxtbrd, as she thinks now that Aurelian is a High- Sheriff, Trinity College would scarcely answer for the eldest, though it may do very well for sume of the young brats by-and-by." EXCHANGE or BOOTS.
"Here, Pat he cried, as the much-requested valet made his appearance: " thunderanounds, man, wbat do you mean in bringing me wrong baits : and there's 31m. Sleekly, who is waiting this hour and more for his hut water, he'll be late to his oflice, and ell on account of you, you spalpeen ! Look at the boots, Sir, and sec whose they are." 0 May I never live, Captain Barry, but you are rilit ; they are not yours at all, Sir—they are Doctor Mulrooney's, I knows them well; and be Ins gat yours, es sue2 as a gun, and is gone down stairs, atei may: be gone out too—at Taste he is ginirally off to the hospital afore this. Shall I run down and see, Captain ? "
" Do, Pat, do, run at once. By the holy fly I if I thought he knew it, I would make it personal with him."
" My dear Captain, you must not speak in that sort of way," interposed Mr. Sleekly ; " these mistakes will occur" " Ay.-, very true. my dear Sir: land, now I think of it. the very same thing happeued to me once befare. at my uncle's, at Cate Barry, in the county Westmathe, when Lord SwilIpunch was stopping in the !mese, and b. the same token your friend Rafferty. Oliatierty was there also ; the stupId scrvant gave rile his Lordship's boots, and the mistake was never discovered until after bre:lief:1st, as I was showim, him the fat stork in the far 'yard, Whelk his Lord- ship began to feel the water oozieg in—it was very Wit Weather at the time. By dad, says he, your uncle s servant has cut my boots, and all the water is coaling in; and that, you know, is a liquor I never cc is timid of. Barry, (his Lord- ship and I are as thick as thieves, and he always calls me Barry); with that he lifted up his foot to look. and blessed if I did II ci know my own old boot, that had half the solo oil, and that I had been threatenhig to send to the sloe- maker's for the tort night befuTe."
AN IRISH MEMBER'S SOURCE OF INFORMATION.
" I. oliJa m lmclluiv, (.,..iare,siq his servent,) why ileu't you get inefakfast ? " " The tay is wet, your honour." returned this import.di-u from Claslina- voeue. "I knew you would be In a harry. Sc, Lavin; to sf e so many pv0ple before yon went to cumin:deo and :is yen like to 1,e ii ti.00, fir, I Lave got every thing reedy, only the man Las no; emit, with thejupr yet.- " Dear me, that is very mravuikmmmg : see atter it at once, Mole: I want to see it particularly this morning." .Atal as Moray le:t the room. Ileek. with a fore of great wisdom and a back movement of tie. r Lamb over the sli odder, observed, " That is an tmcommonly sharp fellow of ifillie—a great- ii quisit km. I assure you. I was in great luck to drop upon hint over here, o here I found the poor fellow literally. starving, though he actually held the rank of colour-sergeant in the Legion. Ile is a Clashinvogue man, tin.1 so I am able to depend upon what he says ; and I tell it you in eontiihnee, thotieli I siloahl not like every one to know it, that it is through him, I am able to have such authentic information, and am so amazingly eorreet in my minor details. It is the astonishment of the Whole House. Sir Theophilus Brilliant, who is itot in the secret, said to me when I sat dime cc this morning. • Ten lily soul. ilault. I don't know bow it is, but we all think y on must ha, 0 lee tt in Spain yourself : where did you pick up so exactly the prceise number of lash. s that the man Murphy got ? it is nomietful. 'pan iccy. soul it is 11a, he Tar:eton. it is gode, is it not: lleV.11:41 rich. I say."
A reader who should peruse the work would feel surprised at the artificial sort of style in which other persons are male to dis- course: but w e fancy that the expression of 11.1tion.:1 eh:tractor, like Ilnit at imtionai music. is mi in a c:.\- difficult ti natives. At all event a, we 110i unfrequently tind persons capable of effectively sketching their own people,. who are ineapable of any thing else.