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   Chapter 8 DUBLIN.

Autobiographic Sketches By Thomas de Quincey Characters: 33577

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02

In Sackville Street stood the town house of Lord Altamont; and here, in the breakfast room, we found the earl seated. Long and intimately as I had known Lord Westport, it so happened that I had never seen his father, who had, indeed, of late almost pledged himself to a continued residence in Ireland by his own patriotic earnestness as an agricultural improver; whilst for his son, under the difficulties and delays at that time of all travelling, any residence whatever in England seemed preferable, but especially a residence with his mother amongst the relatives of his distinguished English grandfather, and in such close neighborhood to Eton. Lord Altamont once told me, that the journey outward and inward between Eton and Westport, taking into account all the unavoidable deviations from the direct route, in compliance with the claims of kinship, &c., (a case which in Ireland forced a traveller often into a perpetual zigzag,) counted up to something more than a thousand miles. That is, in effect, when valued in loss of time, and allowance being made for the want of continuity in those parts of the travelling system that did not accurately dovetail into each other, not less than one entire fortnight must be annually sunk upon a labor that yielded no commensurate fruit. Hence the long three-years' interval which had separated father and son; and hence my own nervous apprehension, as we were racing through the suburbs of Dublin, that I should unavoidably lay a freezing restraint upon that reunion to which, after such a separation, both father and son must have looked forward with anticipation so anxious. Such cases of unintentional intrusion are at times inevitable; but, even to the least sensitive, they are always distressing; most of all they are so to the intruder, who in fact feels himself in the odd position of a criminal without a crime. He is in the situation of one who might have happened to be chased by a Bengal tiger (or, say that the tiger were a sheriff's officer) into the very centre of the Eleusinian mysteries. Do not tease me, my reader, by alleging that there were no sheriffs' officers at Athens or Eleusis. Not many, I admit; but perhaps quite as many as there were of Bengal tigers. In such a case, under whatever compulsion, the man has violated a holy seclusion. He has seen that which he ought not to have seen; and he is viewed with horror by the privileged spectators. Should he plead that this was his misfortune, and not his fault, the answer would be, "True; it was your misfortune; we know it; and it is our misfortune to be under the necessity of hating you for it." But there was no cause for similar fears at present; so uniformly considerate in his kindness was Lord Altamont. It is true, that Lord Westport, as an only child, and a child to be proud of,-for he was at that time rather handsome, and conciliated general good will by his engaging manners,-was viewed by his father with an anxiety of love that sometimes became almost painful to witness. But this natural self-surrender to a first involuntary emotion Lord Altamont did not suffer to usurp any such lengthened expression as might too painfully have reminded me of being "one too many." One solitary half minute being paid down as a tribute to the sanctities of the case, his next care was to withdraw me, the stranger, from any oppressive feeling of strangership. And accordingly, so far from realizing the sense of being an intruder, in one minute under his courteous welcome I had come to feel that, as the companion of his one darling upon earth, me also he comprehended within his paternal regards.

It must have been nine o'clock precisely when we entered the breakfast room. So much I know by an a priori argument, and could wish, therefore, that it had been scientifically important to know it-as important, for instance, as to know the occultation of a star, or the transit of Venus to a second. For the urn was at that moment placed on the table; and though Ireland, as a whole, is privileged to be irregular, yet such was our Sackville Street regularity, that not so much nine o'clock announced this periodic event, as inversely this event announced nine o'clock. And I used to affirm, however shocking it might sound to poor threadbare metaphysicians incapable of transcendental truths, that not nine o'clock was the cause of revealing the breakfast urn, but, on the contrary, that the revelation of the breakfast urn was the true and secret cause of nine o'clock-a phenomenon which otherwise no candid reader will pretend that he can satisfactorily account for, often as he has known it to come round. The urn was already throwing up its column of fuming mist; and the breakfast table was covered with June flowers sent by a lady on the chance of Lord Westport's arrival. It was clear, therefore, that we were expected; but so we had been for three or four days previously; and it illustrates the enormous uncertainties of travelling at this closing era of the eighteenth century, that for three or four days more we should have been expected without the least anxiety in case any thing had occurred to detain us on the road. In fact, the possibility of a Holyhead packet being lost had no place in the catalogue of adverse contingencies-not even when calculated by mothers. To come by way of Liverpool or Parkgate, was not without grounds of reasonable fear; I myself had lost acquaintances (schoolboys) on each of those lines of transit. Neither Bristol nor Milford Haven was entirely cloudless in reputation. But from Holyhead only one packet had ever been lost; and that was in the days of Queen Anne, when I have good reason to think that a villain was on board, who hated the Duke of Marlborough; so that this one exceptional case, far from being looked upon as a public calamity, would, of course, be received thankfully as cleansing the nation from a scamp.

* * * * *

Ireland was still smoking with the embers of rebellion; and Lord Cornwallis, who had been sent expressly to extinguish it, and had won the reputation of having fulfilled this mission with energy and success, was then the lord lieutenant; and at that moment he was regarded with more interest than any other public man. Accordingly I was not sorry when, two mornings after our arrival, Lord Altamont said to us at breakfast, "Now, if you wish to see what I call a great man, go with me this morning, and you shall see Lord Cornwallis; for that man who has given peace both to the east and to the west-taming a tiger in the Mysore that hated England as much as Hannibal hated Rome, and in Ireland pulling up by the roots a French invasion, combined with an Irish insurrection-will always for me rank as a great man." We willingly accompanied the earl to the Phoenix Park, where the lord lieutenant was then residing, and were privately presented to him. I had seen an engraving (celebrated, I believe, in its day) of Lord Cornwallis receiving the young Mysore princes as hostages at Seringapatam; and I knew the outline of his public services. This gave me an additional interest in seeing him; but I was disappointed to find no traces in his manner of the energy and activity I presumed him to possess; he seemed, on the contrary, slow or even heavy, but benevolent and considerate in a degree which won the confidence at once. Him we saw often; for Lord Altamont took us with him wherever and whenever we wished; and me in particular (to whom the Irish leaders of society were as yet entirely unknown by sight) it gratified highly to see persons of historical names-names, I mean, historically connected with the great events of Elizabeth's or Cromwell's era-attending at the Phoenix Park. But the persons whom I remember most distinctly of all whom I was then in the habit of seeing, were Lord Clare, the chancellor, the late Lord Londonderry, (then Castlereagh,) at that time the Irish chancellor of the exchequer, and the speaker of the House of Commons, (Mr. Foster, since, I believe, created Lord Oriel.) With the speaker, indeed, Lord Altamont had more intimate grounds of connection than with any other public man; both being devoted to the encouragement and personal superintendence of great agricultural improvements. Both were bent on introducing through models diffused extensively on their own estates, English husbandry, English improved breeds of cattle, and, where that was possible, English capital and skill, into the rural economy of Ireland.

Amongst the splendid spectacles which I witnessed, as the most splendid I may mention an installation of the Knights of St. Patrick. There were six knights installed on this occasion, one of the six being Lord Altamont. He had no doubt received his ribbon as a reward for his parliamentary votes, and especially in the matter of the union; yet, from all his conversation upon that question, and from the general conscientiousness of his private life, I am convinced that he acted all along upon patriotic motives, and in obedience to his real views (whether right or wrong) of the Irish interests. One chief reason, indeed, which detained us in Dublin, was the necessity of staying for this particular installation. At one time, Lord Altamont had designed to take his son and myself for the two esquires who attend the new-made knight, according to the ritual of this ceremony; but that plan was laid aside, on learning that the other five knights were to be attended by adults; and thus, from being partakers as actors, my friend and I became simple spectators of this splendid scene, which took place in the Cathedral of St. Patrick. So easily does mere external pomp slip out of the memory, as to all its circumstantial items, leaving behind nothing beyond the general impression, that at this moment I remember no one incident of the whole ceremonial, except that some foolish person laughed aloud as the knights went up with their offerings to the altar; the object of this unfeeling laughter being apparently Lord Altamont, who happened to be lame-a singular instance of levity to exhibit within the walls of such a building, and at the most solemn part of such a ceremony, which to my mind had a three-fold grandeur: 1st, as symbolic and shadowy; 2d, as representing the interlacings of chivalry with religion in the highest aspirations of both; 3d, as national; placing the heraldries and military pomps of a people, so memorably faithful to St. Peter's chair, at the foot of the altar. Lord Westport and I sat with Lord and Lady Castlereagh. They were both young at this time, and both wore an impressive appearance of youthful happiness; neither, happily for their peace of mind, able to pierce that cloud of years, not much more than twenty, which divided them from the day destined in one hour to wreck the happiness of both. We had met both on other occasions; and their conversation, through the course of that day's pomps, was the most interesting circumstance to me, and the one which I remember with most distinctness of all that belonged to the installation. By the way, one morning, on occasion of some conversation arising about Irish bulls, I made an agreement with Lord Altamont to note down in a memorandum book every thing throughout my stay in Ireland, which, to my feeling as an Englishman, should seem to be, or should approach to, a bull. And this day, at dinner, I reported from Lady Castlereagh's conversation what struck me as such. Lord Altamont laughed, and said, "My dear child, I am sorry that it should so happen, for it is bad to stumble at the beginning; your bull is certainly a bull; [1] but as certainly Lady Castlereagh is your countrywoman, and not an Irishwoman at all." Lady Castlereagh, it seems, was a daughter of Lord Buckinghamshire; and her maiden name was Lady Emily Hobart.

One other public scene there was, about this time, in Dublin, to the eye less captivating, but far more so in a moral sense; more significant practically, more burdened with hope and with fear. This was the final ratification of the bill which united Ireland to Great Britain. I do not know that any one public act, or celebration, or solemnity, in my time, did, or could, so much engage my profoundest sympathies. Wordsworth's fine sonnet on the extinction of the Venetian republic had not then been published, else the last two lines would have expressed my feelings. After admitting that changes had taken place in Venice, which in a manner challenged and presumed this last and mortal change, the poet goes on to say, that all this long preparation for the event could not break the shock of it. Venice, it is true, had become a shade; but, after all,-

"Men are we, and must grieve when even the shade

Of that which once was great has passed away."

But here the previous circumstances were far different from those of Venice. There we saw a superannuated and paralytic state, sinking at any rate into the grave, and yielding, to the touch of military violence, that only which a brief lapse of years must otherwise have yielded to internal decay. Here, on the contrary, we saw a young eagle, rising into power, and robbed prematurely of her natural honors, only because she did not comprehend their value, or because at this great crisis she had no champion. Ireland, in a political sense, was surely then in her youth, considering the prodigious developments she has since experienced in population and in resources of all kinds.

This great day of UNION had been long looked forward to by me; with some mixed feelings also by my young friend, for he had an Irish heart, and was jealous of whatever appeared to touch the banner of Ireland. But it was not for him to say any thing which should seem to impeach his father's patriotism in voting for the union, and promoting it through his borough influence. Yet oftentimes it seemed to me, when I introduced the subject, and sought to learn from Lord Altamont the main grounds which had reconciled him and other men, anxious for the welfare of Ireland, to a measure which at least robbed her of some splendor, and, above all, robbed her of a name and place amongst the independent states of Europe, that neither father nor son was likely to be displeased, should some great popular violence put force upon the recorded will of Parliament, and compel the two Houses to perpetuate themselves. Dolorous they must of course have looked, in mere consistency; but I fancied that internally they would have laughed. Lord Altamont, I am certain, believed (as multitudes believed) that Ireland would be bettered by the commercial advantages conceded to her as an integral province of the empire, and would have benefits which, as an independent kingdom, she had not. It is notorious that this expectation was partially realized. But let us ask, Could not a large part of these benefits have been secured to Ireland remaining as she was? Were they, in any sense, dependent on the sacrifice of her separate parliament? For my part, I believe that Mr. Pitt's motive for insisting on a legislative union was, in a small proportion, perhaps, the somewhat elevated desire to connect his own name with the historical changes of the empire; to have it stamped, not on events so fugitive as those of war and peace, liable to oblivion or eclipse, but on the permanent relations of its integral parts. In a still larger proportion I believe his motive to have been one of pure convenience, the wish to exonerate himself from the intolerable vexation of a double parliament. In a government such as ours, so care-laden at any rate, it is certainly most harassing to have the task of soliciting a measure by management and influence twice over-two trials to organize, two storms of anxiety to face, and two refractory gangs to discipline, instead of one. It must also be conceded that no treasury influence could always avail to prevent injurious collisions between acts of the Irish and the British Parliaments. In Dublin, as in London, the government must lay its account with being occasionally outvoted; this would be likely to happen peculiarly upon Irish questions. And acts of favor or protection would at times pass on behalf of Irish interests, not only clashing with more general ones of the central government, but indirectly also (through the virtual consolidation of the two islands since the era of steam) opening endless means for evading British acts, even within their own separate sphere of operation. On these considerations, even an Irishman must grant that public convenience called for the absorption of all local or provincial supremacies into the central supremacy. And there were two brief arguments which gave weight to those considerations: First, that the evils likely to arise (and which in France have

arisen) from what is termed, in modern politics, the principle of centralization, have been for us either evaded or neutralized. The provinces, to the very farthest nook of these "nook-shotten" islands, react upon London as powerfully as London acts upon them; so that no counterpoise is required with us, as in France it is, to any inordinate influence at the centre. Secondly, the very pride and jealousy which could avail to dictate the retention of an independent parliament would effectually preclude any modern "Poyning's Act," having for its object to prevent the collision of the local with the central government. Each would be supreme within its own sphere, and those spheres could not but clash. The separate Irish Parliament was originally no badge of honor or independence: it began in motives of convenience, or perhaps necessity, at a period when the communication was difficult, slow, and interrupted. Any parliament, which arose on that footing, it was possible to guard by a Poyning's Act, making, in effect, all laws null which should happen to contradict the supreme or central will. But what law, in a corresponding temper, could avail to limit the jurisdiction of a parliament which confessedly had been retained on a principle of national honor? Upon every consideration, therefore, of convenience, and were it only for the necessities of public business, the absorption of the local into the central parliament had now come to speak a language that perhaps could no longer be evaded; and that Irishman only could consistently oppose the measure who should take his stand upon principles transcending convenience; looking, in fact, singly to the honor and dignity of a country which it was annually becoming less absurd to suppose capable of an independent existence.

Meantime, in those days, Ireland had no adequate champion; the Hoods and the Grattans were not up to the mark. Refractory as they were, they moved within the paling of order and decorum; they were not the Titans for a war against the heavens. When the public feeling beckoned and loudly supported them, they could follow a lead which they appeared to head; but they could not create such a body of public feeling, nor, when created, could they throw it into a suitable organization. What they could do, was simply as ministerial agents and rhetoricians to prosecute any general movement, when the national arm had cloven a channel and opened the road before them. Consequently, that great opening for a turbulent son of thunder passed unimproved; and the great day drew near without symptoms of tempest. At last it arrived; and I remember nothing which indicated as much ill temper in the public mind as I have seen on many hundreds of occasions, trivial by comparison, in London. Lord Westport and I were determined to lose no part of the scene, and we went down with Lord Altamont to the house. It was about the middle of the day, and a great mob filled the whole space about the two houses. As Lord Altamont's coach drew up to the steps of that splendid edifice, we heard a prodigious hissing and hooting; and I was really agitated to think that Lord Altamont, whom I loved and respected, would probably have to make his way through a tempest of public wrath-a situation more terrific to him than to others, from his embarrassed walking. I found, however, that I might have spared my anxiety; the subject of commotion was, simply, that Major Sirr, or Major Swan, I forget which, (both being celebrated in those days for their energy, as leaders of the police,) had detected a person in the act of mistaking some other man's pocket handkerchief for his own-a most natural mistake, I should fancy, where people stood crowded together so thickly. No storm of any kind awaited us, and yet at that moment there was no other arrival to divide the public attention; for, in order that we might see every thing from first to last, we were amongst the very earliest parties. Neither did our party escape under any mistake of the crowd: silence had succeeded to the uproar caused by the tender meeting between the thief and the major; and a man, who stood in a conspicuous situation, proclaimed aloud to those below him, the name or title of members as they drove up. "That," said he, "is the Earl of Altamont; the lame gentleman, I mean." Perhaps, however, his knowledge did not extend so far as to the politics of a nobleman who had taken no violent or factious part in public affairs. At. least, the dreaded insults did not follow, or only in the very feeblest manifestations. We entered; and, by way of seeing every thing, we went even to the robing room. The man who presented his robes to Lord Altamont seemed to me, of all whom I saw on that day, the one who wore the face of deepest depression. But whether this indicated the loss of a lucrative situation, or was really disinterested sorrow, growing out of a patriotic trouble, at the knowledge that he was now officiating for the last time, I could not guess. The House of Lords, decorated (if I remember) with hangings, representing the battle of the Boyne, was nearly empty when we entered-an accident which furnished to Lord Altamont the opportunity required for explaining to us the whole course and ceremonial of public business on ordinary occasions.

Gradually the house filled; beautiful women sat intermingled amongst the peers; and, in one party of these, surrounded by a bevy of admirers, we saw our fair but frail enchantress of the packet. She, on her part, saw and recognized us by an affable nod; no stain upon her cheek, indicating that she suspected to what extent she was indebted to our discretion; for it is a proof of the unaffected sorrow and the solemn awe which oppressed us both, that we had not mentioned even to Lord Altamont, nor ever did mention, the scene which chance had revealed to us. Next came a stir within the house, and an uproar resounding from without, which announced the arrival of his excellency. Entering the house, he also, like the other peers, wheeled round to the throne, and made to that mysterious seat a profound homage. Then commenced the public business, in which, if I recollect, the chancellor played the most conspicuous part-that chancellor (Lord Clare) of whom it was affirmed in those days, by a political opponent, that he might swim in the innocent blood which he had caused to be shed. But nautical men, I suspect, would have demurred to that estimate. Then were summoned to the bar-summoned for the last time-the gentlemen of the House of Commons; in the van of whom, and drawing all eyes upon himself, stood Lord Castlereagh. Then came the recitation of many acts passed during the session, and the sounding ratification, the Jovian

"Annuit, et nutu totum tremefecit Olympum,"

contained in the Soit fait comme il est desiré, or the more peremptory Le roi le veut. At which point in the order of succession came the royal assent to the union bill, I cannot distinctly recollect. But one thing I do recollect-that no audible expression, no buzz, nor murmur, nor susurrus even, testified the feelings which, doubtless, lay rankling in many bosoms. Setting apart all public or patriotic considerations, even then I said to myself, as I surveyed the whole assemblage of ermined peers, "How is it, and by what unaccountable magic, that William Pitt can have prevailed on all these hereditary legislators and heads of patrician houses to renounce so easily, with nothing worth the name of a struggle, and no reward worth the name of an indemnification, the very brightest jewel in their coronets? This morning they all rose from their couches peers of Parliament, individual pillars of the realm, indispensable parties to every law that could pass. Tomorrow they will be nobody-men of straw-terrae filii. What madness has persuaded them to part with their birthright, and to cashier themselves and their children forever into mere titular lords? As to the commoners at the bar, their case was different: they had no life estate at all events in their honors; and they might have the same chance for entering the imperial Parliament amongst the hundred Irish members as for reentering a native parliament. Neither, again, amongst the peers was the case always equal. Several of the higher had English titles, which would, at any rate, open the central Parliament to their ambition. That privilege, in particular, attached to Lord Altamont. [2] And he, in any case, from his large property, was tolerably sure of finding his way thither (as in fact for the rest of his life he did) amongst the twenty-eight representative peers. The wonder was in the case of petty and obscure lords, who had no weight personally, and none in right of their estates. Of these men, as they were notoriously not enriched by Mr. Pitt, as the distribution of honors was not very large, and as no honor could countervail the one they lost, I could not, and cannot, fathom the policy. Thus much I am sure of-that, had such a measure been proposed by a political speculator previously to Queen Anne's reign, he would have been scouted as a dreamer and a visionary, who calculated upon men being generally somewhat worse than Esau, viz., giving up their birthrights, and without the mess of pottage." However, on this memorable day, thus it was the union was ratified; the bill received the royal assent without a muttering, or a whispering, or the protesting echo of a sigh. Perhaps there might be a little pause-a silence like that which follows an earthquake; but there was no plain-spoken Lord Belhaven, as on the corresponding occasion in Edinburgh, to fill up the silence with "So, there's an end of an auld sang!" All was, or looked courtly, and free from vulgar emotion. One person only I remarked whose features were suddenly illuminated by a smile, a sarcastic smile, as I read it; which, however, might be all a fancy. It was Lord Castlereagh, who, at the moment when the irrevocable words were pronounced, looked with a penetrating glance amongst a party of ladies. His own wife was one of that party; but I did not discover the particular object on whom his smile had settled. After this I had no leisure to be interested in any thing which followed. "You are all," thought I to myself, "a pack of vagabonds henceforward, and interlopers, with actually no more right to be here than myself. I am an intruder; so are you." Apparently they thought so themselves; for, soon after this solemn fiat of Jove had gone forth, their lordships, having no further title to their robes, (for which I could not help wishing that a party of Jewish old clothes men would at this moment have appeared, and made a loud bidding,) made what haste they could to lay them aside forever. The house dispersed much more rapidly than it had assembled. Major Sirr was found outside, just where we left him, laying down the law (as before) about pocket handkerchiefs to old and young practitioners; and all parties adjourned to find what consolation they might in the great evening event of dinner.

Thus we were set at liberty from Dublin. Parliaments, and installations, and masked balls, with all other secondary splendors in celebration of primary splendors, reflex glories that reverberated original glories, at length had ceased to shine upon the Irish metropolis. The "season," as it is called in great cities, was over; unfortunately the last season that was ever destined to illuminate the society or to stimulate the domestic trade of Dublin. It began to be thought scandalous to be found in town; nobody, in fact, remained, except some two hundred thousand people, who never did, nor ever would, wear ermine; and in all Ireland there remained nothing at all to attract, except that which no king, and no two houses, can by any conspiracy abolish, viz., the beauty of her most verdant scenery. I speak of that part which chiefly it is that I know,-the scenery of the west,-Connaught beyond other provinces, and in Connaught, Mayo beyond other counties. There it was, and in the county next adjoining, that Lord Altamont's large estates were situated, the family mansion and beautiful park being in Mayo. Thither, as nothing else now remained to divert us from what, in fact, we had thirsted for throughout the heats of summer, and throughout the magnificences of the capital, at length we set off by movements as slow and circuitous as those of any royal progress in the reign of Elizabeth. Making but short journeys on each day, and resting always at the house of some private friend, I thus obtained an opportunity of seeing the old Irish nobility and gentry more extensively, and on a more intimate footing, than I had hoped for. No experience of this kind, throughout my whole life, so much interested me. In a little work, not much known, of Suetonius, the most interesting record which survives of the early Roman literature, it comes out incidentally that many books, many idioms, and verbal peculiarities belonging to the primitive ages of Roman culture were to be found still lingering in the old Roman settlements, both Gaulish and Spanish, long after they had become obsolete (and sometimes unintelligible) in Rome. From the tardiness and the difficulty of communication, the want of newspapers, &c., it followed, naturally enough, that the distant provincial towns, though not without their own separate literature and their own literary professors, were always two or three generations in the rear of the metropolis; and thus it happened, that, about the time of Augustus, there were some grammatici in Rome, answering to our black-letter critics, who sought the material of their researches in Boulogne, (Gessoriacum,) in Arles, (Arelata,) or in Marseilles, (Massilia.) Now, the old Irish nobility-that part, I mean, which might be called the rural nobility-stood in the same relation to English manners and customs. Here might be found old rambling houses in the style of antique English manorial chateaus, ill planned, perhaps, as regarded convenience and economy, with long rambling galleries, and windows innumerable, that evidently had never looked for that severe audit to which they were afterwards summoned by William Pitt; but displaying, in the dwelling rooms, a comfort and "cosiness," combined with magnificence, not always so effectually attained in modern times. Here were old libraries, old butlers, and old customs, that seemed all alike to belong to the era of Cromwell, or even an earlier era than his; whilst the ancient names, to one who had some acquaintance with the great events of Irish history, often strengthened the illusion. Not that I could pretend to be familiar with Irish history as Irish; but as a conspicuous chapter in the difficult policy of Queen Elizabeth, of Charles I., and of Cromwell, nobody who had read the English history could be a stranger to the O'Neils, the O'Donnells, the Ormonds, (i. e., the Butlers,) the Inchiquins, or the De Burghs, and many scores beside. I soon found, in fact, that the aristocracy of Ireland might be divided into two great sections: the native Irish-territorial fixtures, so powerfully described by Maturin; and those, on the other hand, who spent so much of their time and revenues at Bath, Cheltenham, Weymouth, London, &c., as to have become almost entirely English. It was the former whom we chiefly visited; and I remarked that, in the midst of hospitality the most unbounded, and the amplest comfort, some of these were conspicuously in the rear of the English commercial gentry, as to modern refinements of luxury. There was at the same time an apparent strength of character, as if formed amidst turbulent scenes, and a raciness of manner, which were fitted to interest a stranger profoundly, and to impress themselves on his recollection.


[1] The idea of a bull is even yet undefined; which is most extraordinary, considering that Miss Edgeworth has applied all her tact and illustrative power to furnish the matter for such a definition, and Coleridge all his philosophic subtlety (but in this instance, I think, with a most infelicitous result) to furnish its form. But both have been too fastidious in their admission of bulls. Thus, for example, Miss Edgeworth rejects, as no true bull, the common Joe Miller story, that, upon two Irishmen reaching Barnet, and being told that it was still twelve miles to London, one of them remarked, "Ah! just six miles apace." This, says Miss E., is no bull, but a sentimental remark on the maxim, that friendship divides our pains. Nothing of the kind: Miss Edgeworth cannot have understood it. The bull is a true representative and exemplary specimen of the genus.

[2] According to my remembrance, he was Baron Monteagle in the English peerage.

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