10 MARCH 1838, Page 20


THESE volumes contain some score of tales, which will form an agreeable relaxation for spare hours, as many of them possess considerable melodramatic interest, and some of them display very finished pictures of Irish character and Irish manners. If tested, however, by a higher standard, they may be compared to an infe- rior design, executed in common metal, and whose value is de- rived from the technical skill exhibited in the workmanship. The subjects are too generally slight; the conduct of the stories, espe• sially in the denouement, artificial, as if the writer were bent on pleasing by a pleasant termination without regard to the tendency Of character or previous events; and both strength and labour

are lavished on accessories, till they become disproportioned tee

principals. It is a more vulgar failing for the uriter coaetaboy to intrude himself and his art upon the reader.

The tales are pretty equally divided; some ten or eleven bei, Irish ; the remainder wandering through England and Frip-I and stretching even unto the East. Of these, theIrish are, door:. the best ; though the best are almost too slight for detailed critita notice, depending for their interest upon the evanescent qualitiad character and manners ; but the scope of the more striking ak,, be indicated. The Bit o' Writire derives its name and its sew; from the attempt of a small farmer to draw up a memorial tottei, ing prize-motley for an old sailor : its deeper interest springs(ii the means which the booty when obtained, (though not suety through the " bit o' writin',") gives the mild Admiral of escoo, sciously crossing true love. The scenes with this hearty old yy in all that concerns the writing and the prize-money, are trutbk, and humorous, though perhaps overdone in proportion to its effects which spring from them ; but the interview in whichlhati Meehan proposes on the part of the Admiral for his sister-inlay is admirable as a piece of humble tragedy : the good-natured tti thoughtless persi-tance of Murty, the selfishness of the meat; and the speaking silence of the daughter, are all as true as nature, "The Last of the Storm " is a story of the Rebellion, %taut,' to display the scope which it afforded to private malice tot the exercise of indiscreet authority ; but the groundwork al the tale is not particularly well designed, and the paaas which it incidentally brings out are now none of the newest "The Stolen Sheep" is a touching picture of distress, tem resignation, and honesty, whose truth all will recognize who but even been acquainted with favourable specimens of the lose class of Irish. The remainder of the tales are either an emboli!. ment of some superstition or traditional anecdote, or, when* BANIII travels beyond Ireland, of some incident which he his seen or heard and dressed up for the occasion.

In such a work, extracts cannot well be taken from the stoned part, at all events as illustrative of any story. We will therefore confine ourselves to those passages which are more general descriptive or characteristic. Here is a picture drawn duritg the last great famine.

Before proceeding to our story, let us be permitted to mention some gelled marks of Irish virtue, which, under flume circumstance,, we personally noticed

In poverty' in abject misery, and at a short and fearful notice, the poor eu

died like aChristian. Ile gave vent to none of the poor man's complaiaus Invectives against the rich man who had neglected him, or who, he might hi supposed, had done so till it was too late. Except for a glance—and, duuhtles,

a little inward pang while he glanced at the starving and perhaps infected Irift, or child, or old parent as helpless as the child—he blessed God, and died. Tk

appearance of a comforter at his wretched bedside,.even when he knew comfort to be useless, made his heart grateful and his spasmed lips eloquent is throb. In cases of indescribable misery—some members of his family lying Welts before his eyes, or else mime dying—stretched upon damp and unclean saw, on an earthen floor, without cordial for his lips, or potatoes to plat out at crying intact—often we have heard him whisper to (and to Anutherek bean! him !) " The [Anal girth and the Lot it t nketh away, blessed be the mate of the Lord." Such men need not always make bad neighbours.


ILI walked homeward without having broken his fast that day. "Bed muaha, what's the harm o' that ?" he said to hunself; "only here's the father, an' her pet boy, the weenock, without a pyatee either. Well akar, if they can't have the pvatees, they must have betther food, that's all; IF,' he muttered, clenching his hands at Isis sides, and imprecating fearfully is "an' so they must." He left his house again, and walked a good way to beg a few potatoes. & did not come back quite emptv-handed. His father and his child had a med. He ate but a few himself; and when be was about to lie down in his cordate the night, he maid to the old man, across the room, " Don't be a.cryiog night, father, you and the child there ; but sleep well, and ye'll have the goal breakhtst afore ye in the mornin'." "'f he good break'ast, ma.bauchal? (my boy) a.then, an' where 'ill id coo from ?"

"A body promised it to me, father."

"Avich Michaul, au' sure is't fun you're making of us now at say reel. Bud, the good night, a chorra (term of endearment), an' my blessiu' es your head, Michaul ; an' if we keep trust in the good God, an' ax his bleasin', tot mornin' an' evenin', gettin' sip an' lyin' down, I le'll be a friend to us at WU that was always an' ever my word to you, poor boy, since you was the yeas o your own weenock, now fast asleep at my side ; an' it's my word to you DA ma-bouchal ; an' you won't forget id ; and there's one sayin' the same to log out o' heaven this night—herself and her little angel-in-glory by the bead, Michaul a-rourneen." Having thus spoken in the fervent and rather exaggerated, though every* words of pious allusion of the Irish poor man, old Carroll soon dropt arieeP, with his arms round his little grandson, both overcome by an unusually abul• dant meal. In the middle of the night he was awakened by a stealthy mat Without moving be cast his eyes round the cabin. A small window, throdeh which the moon broke brilliantly, was open. He called to his son, but receive/ no answer. He called again and again : all remained silent. Ile arose add crept to the corner where Michaul had lain down : it was empty. He looked out through the window into tine moonlight. The figure of a man appeared!: a distance, just about to enter a pasture.held belonging to Mr. Evans.. The old man leaned his back against the wall of the cabin, trembler:tin sudden and terrible misgivings. 1Vith him the language of virtue, whiehr have heard him utter, was not cant. In early prosperity, in subiequent one fortunes, and in his late and present excess of wretchedness, he had Bever swerved in practice from the spirit of his own exhortations to honesty ?daft men, and love for and dependence upon God, which, as he has truly sa.sl, be

had constantly addressed to pis son since Isis earliest childhood. And hitherto that son had, indeed, walked by his precepts, further assisted by a regOT

observance of the duties of his religions. Was 1:e now about to terra rm° another path? to bring shame on his father in his old age? to putt stag' their family and their name, " the name that a rogue or a bould woman never bore ? " continued out Carroll, indulging in some of the pride and e, OtiEll ler which an Irish peasant is, under his circumstances, remarkable. An■1 came the thought of the personal peril incurred by Michaul; and his spat* incurred by the feebleness of age, nearly overpowered him.