The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Irish Penny Journal, Vol. 1 No. 10, September 5, 1840

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Title: The Irish Penny Journal, Vol. 1 No. 10, September 5, 1840

Author: Various

Release date: February 12, 2017 [eBook #54156]

Language: English

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[Pg 73]


Number 10. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 1840. Volume I.
The castle of Rinn-Duin


The mighty Shannon—the monarch of island rivers—in all its mazy wanderings almost from one extremity of Ireland to the other, presents upon its green and diversified banks but few features of greater natural beauty or historic interest than the point called Rinn-duin—a peninsula which stretches into that great expansion of its waters called Lough Ree, between the counties of Roscommon, Westmeath, and Longford. This peninsula, which is situated upon the Roscommon shore of the lake, about eight miles to the north of Athlone, is nearly a mile in length, and, at its widest part, a quarter of a mile in breadth; but it narrows gradually towards its extremity, and the lake nearly insulates a moiety of it at its centre. Its direction being southerly, the eastern side faces the expanse of the lake, and commands an extensive prospect of its islands and the opposite shores, while its western side, facing the land, forms a beautiful bay, fringed with green sloping declivities.

A spot so circumstanced must have struck the early inhabitants of the country as a sort of natural fortress, which could be easily strengthened by art; and that it was so strengthened and used as a fortress in the remotest historic times, may be inferred from its most ancient Celtic name—Rinn-duin, the point of the Dun or Fort, by which it is still known in the Irish language, though commonly anglicised Randown, and more generally called St John’s. It is mentioned by this name in the following record in the Annals of the Four Masters at the year 1156:—

“There occurred a great fall of snow and a frost in the winter of this year, so that the lakes and rivers of Ireland were frozen over. The frost was so great that Roderick O’Conor was enabled to have his ships and boats carried on the ice from Blein Gaille on the Shannon (at Lough Ree) to Rinn-duin.”

Of the earlier history of this fort, however, which was doubtless but an earthen one, no accounts are preserved, though it may be safely conjectured that it was seized on and used as a stronghold by the Danish King Turgesius in the ninth century, as it appears certain from our annals that he had a strong fastness and harbour for his ships upon Lough Ree. But, be this as it may, we learn from another record in the Annals above quoted, that Rinn-duin was used as a fastness by the first Anglo-Norman invaders of Ireland as early as the close of the twelfth century, when they were forced to seek safety in it after a defeat which they had sustained in a battle with Cathal Carrach O’Conor, the son of Roderick and King of Connaught. The passage is as follows:—

“A. D. 1199. John de Courcy, at the head of the English of the North, and the son of Hugh de Lacy, at the head of the English of Meath, marched to Kilmacduach to aid Cathal the Red-handed O’Conor. Cathal Carrach, at the head of[Pg 74] the Connacians, gave them battle. The English of Ulidia and Meath were defeated with such slaughter, that of their five battalions only two survived, and these were pursued from the field of battle to Rinn-duin on Lough Ree, in which place John was hemmed in. Many of his English were killed and others drowned, for they had no mode of effecting their escape but by crossing the lake in boats.”

It was not, however, long after this event till the English, taking advantage of the civil wars which raged in Connaught between the sons of Roderick and the sons of Cathal the Red-handed, got the peninsula of Rinn-duin into their own hands, and, fortifying it in their own more skilful manner, erected the noble castle, the ruins of which still remain, and form the subject of our prefixed illustration. The erection of this castle is thus recorded in the Annals of the Four Masters:—

“A.D. 1227. Hugh, the son of Roderick O’Conor, and William de Burgo, marched with a great army to the north of Connaught, burned Inis Meadhoin, plundered the country as they passed along, and took hostages. Geoffry Mares (or de Marisco), and Turlogh, the son of Roderick O’Conor, marched with an army into Magh Aoi (county of Roscommon), erected a castle at Rinn-duin, and took the hostages of Siol-Muireadhaigh.”

It was at this period also that the lower portion of the peninsula was artificially insulated as an additional protection to the castle, by a broad ditch, still to be seen, though no longer filled with water, and which is connected with a beautiful little harbour for boats, called Safe Harbour, immediately beneath the castle.

But though, as we have shown, the peninsula of Rinn-duin was thus fortified by the English, it was not till the power of the O’Conors was still more broken by their own divisions, that the former were able to keep permanent possession of it. From a subsequent record in the Annals of the Four Masters, we find it shortly after in the possession of Turlogh O’Conor, the son of Roderick, who had been set up by the English in opposition to his cousin and rival Felim, the son of Cathal the Red-handed, and by whom he was ultimately slain. This record gives a curious picture of the mode of warfare of the time, and is worth presenting to our readers in full:—

“A.D. 1236. Felim, the son of Cathal the Red-handed, returned to Connaught after his banishment, being invited thither by some of the Connacians, namely, by O’Kelly, O’Flynn, the son of Hugh, who was son of Cathal the Red-handed O’Conor, and the son of Art O’Melaghlin, all forming four equally strong battalions. They marched to Rinn-duin, where Brian, the son of Turlogh (O’Conor), Owen O’Heyne, Conor Boy, the son of Turlogh, and Mac Costelloe, had all the cows of the country; and Felim’s people got over the enclosures of the Island; and the leaders and subleaders of the army drove off each a proportionate number of the cows, as they found them on the way before them; and they then dispersed, carrying off their booty in different directions, and leaving only, of the four battalions, four horsemen with Felim. As Brian, the son of Turlogh, Owen O’Heyne, and their troops, perceived that Felim’s army was scattered, they set out quickly and vigorously with a small party of horse, and many foot soldiers, to attack Felim and his few horsemen. Conor Boy, the son of Turlogh, came up with the son of Hugh, who was the son of Cathal the Red-handed, and with his party; and mistaking them for his own people, he fell by Roderick, the son of Hugh, who was the son of Cathal the Red-handed. Felim (the king) strained his voice calling loudly after his army, and ordering them to return to oppose their enemies. Many of the host were killed by Felim upon the island; and outside the island were slain many bad subjects, and perpetrators of evil, as they all were, excepting only Teige, son of Cormac, who was son of Tomaltagh M’Dermott.”

Our records are too scanty to enable us to trace the history of this castle and its various possessors with any clearness or consecutive order. It may, however, be inferred from the subsequent annals that it fell into the hands of Felim O’Conor after the attack above stated, and also that he kept possession of it till his death in 1264. During this period, though harassed by the De Burgos or Burkes, and still more by factious rivals of his own race, he usually preserved at least the semblance of peace with the English monarch, and had more than once his hereditary patrimony of five cantreds of land in Roscommon secured to him by royal charters. Upon one of those occasions the scene of conference between the representatives of the British monarch and the Connaught king was the Castle of Rinn-duin, as thus stated in the Annals of the Four Masters:—

“A. D. 1256. A lord justice arrived in Ireland from England, and he and Hugh O’Conor (the son of Felim) held a conference at Rinn-duin, when a peace was established between them, on condition that while the lord justice should retain his office, no part of the province of Connaught should be taken from O’Conor.”

By the death of Felim, however, the house of O’Conor received a blow which it never thoroughly recovered; for, though his son Hugh, who succeeded him in the government, inherited to the full extent his father’s energy and valour, if not his prudence, he was less successful in his enterprises, and his death in 1274 gave additional strength to the English interest in Connaught. From a record in the Annals of the Four Masters it appears that the Castle of Rinn-duin was in the possession of the English settlers some years before his death, for it is stated at the year 1270 that

“The castle of Ath-Angaile, the castle of Sliabh-Lugha, and the castle of Cill Calman, were demolished by O’Conor; Roscommon, Rinn-duin, and Uillin-Uanach, wore also burned by him.”

From this period forward the Castle of Rinn-duin appears to have been permanently garrisoned by the English, and its history can be traced only in the English records. In the great roll of the pipe, 1 Edward I. (1273), among the disbursements of John de Saundford of the escheats and wards of the Lord the King, it is stated that £12 18s was paid to Geoffry de Geneville, chief justice of Ireland, for the re-edification and repairs of the Castle of Rendon; and also that 45 shillings were paid to Master Rico le Charpentier (or the carpenter) for 40 stone and 5 pounds of steel for the construction of a certain mill at the same place. Again, in the account of the expenses of the same Geoffry de Geneville, from Wednesday next after the Assumption of the Virgin, anno 1 Edward I., to Michaelmas, 2 Edward I. (1273 to 1274), the following item occurs:—

“For the Castle of Rendon, to pay for the garrison and other necessaries £439 0 3¼”

So in the account of Robert de Ufford, chief justice of Ireland, of all receipts, expenses, &c., delivered by Adam de Wettenhall into the Exchequer, from Christmas to Michaelmas, 4 Edward I. (1276), among the items are allowances for supplies of victuals for the garrison of Ren-duin, the construction of a mill, and other works of a new construction, the repairing of a fosse there, &c. Again, in the accounts for the following year, 1277, the following item occurs:—

“To Richard de Marisco, for works in the fosse and castle of Rendon £7 10 0”

And in the pipe roll of the 8th Edward I. there are similar accounts of disbursements for repairs to this fortress.

These notices are perhaps of little general interest, but they afford conclusive evidences of the ancient importance of this fastness, and the value set upon its possession as necessary to the support of the English interests in Connaught. The same records preserve the names of three of its constables, viz:—

Walter le Enfant was constable in 1285-87.

Richard Fitz-Simon Fitz-Richar was constable, with the annual fee of £40, in 1326.

John de Funtayns was constable, with the same fee, in 1334.

It appears that during the reigns of the first three Edwards, Rinn-duin became the seat of a town of some importance; and it was also the seat of a parish church and two monastic establishments, of which one was a priory for Knights Hospitallers, or for Cross-bearers, which, according to Ware, was said to have been founded in the reign of King John, and, as some writers say, by his express command. Be this, however, as it may, Philip de Angulo, or Costelloe, was a great benefactor to it in the reign of Henry III., if not actually, as it is probable, its founder.

From the Annals of the Four Masters we learn that the celebrated Irish historian and topographer John More O’Dugan died, “among the monks of John the Baptist,” in this monastery in 1372. He was the hereditary antiquary of Hy Maine, or O’Kelly’s country, and author of the topographical and historical poem reciting the names of the principal tribes and districts in Meath, Ulster, and Connaught, with the names of the chiefs who presided over them at the close of the twelfth century, as well as of several other works of great value which have descended to our times.

[Pg 75]

In 1305, the Prior of this abbey sued Odo, the Prior of Athlone, for the advowson of the vicarage of the church of Randowne.—Rol. P. B. T. No. 52.

The other abbey is said to have been founded under the invocation of the Holy Trinity for Præmonstre Canons, by Clarus Mac Moylin O’Maolchonry, Archdeacon of Elphin, about the year 1215.

Of all these structures, as well military as religious and domestic, there only remain at present deserted and time-worn ruins, but these ruins are of great interest, and speak most eloquently of the past. The most important feature amongst them is the castle, which occupies a rocky eminence, rising abruptly from the water on the shore of the small inlet called Safe Harbour, in which it may be presumed that the armed vessels employed upon Lough Ree found security under the walls of the fortress. This castle is well described by Mr Weld, in his excellent Survey of Roscommon, as being built nearly in the form of the letter P, the tail of the letter being short in proportion, and occupied by a spacious apartment for banqueting or assembly. In the head of the letter, next the upright stem, is placed the keep, a lofty, massive, and before the use of artillery, impregnable structure: it has a court before it to the east, which was defended along the curve by a strong wall, with banquette and parapet, and ditches of great depth, on the outer side. The line represented by the stem of the letter, stretching in a direction across the point, is in length above two hundred and forty feet, and is protected at its base by that great artificial fosse which insulated this lower portion of the peninsula and the castle as already stated, but which is now nearly dry, the level having been altered by the rubbish which has fallen into it from the ruins. Nearly in the centre of this line appear the remains of abutments, both on the castle and outer side of the fosse, marking the site of the draw-bridge, and opposite to a small gateway in the castle wall. “The keep,” Mr Weld observes, “as beheld both on the land side and from the lake, presents a very imposing mass, its outer walls being entire, and its great tower rising to a very considerable elevation: but the edifice on the land side appears almost shapeless, owing to the extraordinary luxuriance of the ivy with which it is overrun, originating from two vast flatted stems which spring up over the base of the walls, just over the long fosse. I had the curiosity to measure them, and found the one to be four feet six inches, and the other seven feet five inches broad, presenting, though with many sinuosities, an undivided face of bark, from side to side, and still growing with great vigour. I cannot call to recollection having seen a more vast and uninterrupted mass of ivy foliage.

The great tower is about fifty feet broad next the fosse: in the upper story, traces of windows appear through the ivy, and of small watch-towers at the angles. Like the other great castles of the country, it was evidently destroyed by violence; and nothing short of the powerful effects of gunpowder could have cast down the prodigious fragments of masonry which stand insulated in the inner court. The view of the castle is extremely pleasing from the water, and more particularly so, when the sheltered harbour beneath its walls receives a little fleet of the beautiful sailing pleasure-boats which are used upon this lake, the gaiety of whose ensigns and painted sides forms a remarkable contrast to the sombre tints of the ancient ivied walls, and the grey rocks on which they repose.”

A short distance to the east of the castle, the remains of a round watch-tower, as it would appear to be, crown the summit of a promontory which is the highest point of the peninsula. Its diameter within is about fourteen feet, and the walls are four feet thick. The entrance and the window opposite to it face the water, and command most pleasing views up and down the lake. The window, surmounted by a flat rounded arch, about seven feet in height, is more spacious than such as are usually seen in a building of this kind, and affords ample light to the chamber. Tho ground between this promontory and the eminence occupied by the castle is low and marshy, and water probably once flowed over it.

In addition to the fosse already described, the castle, and indeed the whole peninsula, was further protected by a great wall which crossed from one side to the other. According to Mr Weld’s measurements, this wall is 564 yards in length from water to water, its distance from the castle-fosse being 700 yards. “Nearly in the middle of it is an arched gateway, with its defences still tolerably entire, twenty-four feet deep, and presenting a front of twenty-one feet: between this gate and the water at either side there are square towers, at unequal intervals of from sixty to ninety yards, advanced about thirteen feet beyond the line of the walls, and being in breadth about fifteen feet: in the interior the dimensions are about eight feet six inches. These towers doubtless afforded stations for the archers, and also facilitated the access to the parapet and banquette of the wall. Whether there ever had been a fosse on the outer side, I am unable to say; the probability is, that there was; but if so, the ground has been levelled, and the rank luxuriance of vegetation has obliterated its lines. The building of the wall, however, appears in many parts to have been hastily executed, and cement to have been sparingly used, yet it still remains a most interesting monument of the military works of past ages.”

Of the ecclesiastical edifices of Rinn-duin, but small remains exist, and as their names are lost to tradition, it is difficult now to identify them with certainty. The principal ruin, which is situated near the draw-bridge over the great fosse, on the land side, is most probably the church erected in the commencement of the thirteenth century, and dedicated to the Holy Trinity. Neither windows nor doorways exist to give any idea of its style, but its walls are in sufficient preservation to show the form and dimensions of the building. Like most important Irish churches it consists of a nave and choir; the nave is sixty feet long and twenty-four feet wide, the choir thirty-three feet long and eighteen wide. This church, it may be presumed, stood in a conspicuous part of the town; but not a vestige now remains of any other edifice, either ecclesiastical or domestic, between the castle and the fortified wall across the isthmus. The rude remains of the other ecclesiastical buildings are situated on the outer side of the fortified wall, and are connected with a burial-ground still much used; but there is nothing in these remains worthy of particular notice.

A desire to supply, as far as in our power, a chasm in our local histories, has induced us to extend our notice of the remains of Rinn-duin to a greater length than that usually allotted to our topographical papers, the history of these remains having been hitherto involved in great darkness. Dr Ledwich, in his account of the castle, written for Grose’s Antiquities of Ireland, briefly states that there are no memorials of its structure! And even Mr Weld, the latest writer who has described this locality, remarks, that “as to its past history, it is involved in a mysterious and perhaps now impenetrable obscurity.” By the publication, for the first time, of much matter hitherto locked-up in manuscript records, we have, as we trust, thrown no small additional light on the history of these interesting remains; and we have only to add, that for the documents which we have used, we are in part indebted to the kindness of Sir W. Betham, and still more to that of our friend Mr O’Donovan, who has allowed us the use of his translation of the unpublished Annals of the Four Masters.



When in Venice, I had but two zecchinos left wherewith to fight my way through this wicked world. My spirits for the first time deserted me: I never passed so miserable a night in my life, and in shame of my “doublet and hose,” I felt very much inclined to “cry like a child.” While tossing on my pillow, however, I chanced to recollect a letter which my landlord of Bologna, Signor Passerini, had given me to a friend of his, a Signor Andrioli; for, as he told me, he thought the introduction might be of use to me.

In the morning I went to the Rialto coffee-house, to which I was directed by the address of the letter. Here I found the gentleman who was the object of my search. After reading my credentials very graciously, he smiled, and requested me to take a turn with him in the Piazza St Marc. He was a fine-looking man, of about sixty years of age. I remarked there was an aristocratic manner about him, and he wore a very large tie-wig, well powdered, with an immensely long tail. He addressed me with a benevolent and patronizing air, and told me that he should be delighted to be of service to me, and bade me from that moment consider myself under his protection. “A little business,” said he, “calls me away at this moment, but if you will meet me here at two o’clock, we will adjourn to my cassino, where, if you can dine on one dish, you will perhaps do me the favour to partake of a boiled capon and rice. I can only offer you that; perhaps a rice soup, for which my cook is famous; and it may be just one or two little things not worth mentioning.”

A boiled capon—rice soup—other little things, thought I—manna[Pg 76] in the wilderness! I strolled about, not to get an appetite, for that was ready, but to kill time. My excellent, hospitable, long-tailed friend was punctual to the moment; I joined him, and proceeded towards his residence.

As we were bending our steps thither, we happened to pass a luganigera’s (a ham-shop), in which there was some ham ready dressed in the window. My powdered patron paused,—it was an awful pause; he reconnoitred, examined, and at last said, “Do you know, Signor, I was thinking that some of that ham would eat deliciously with our capon:—I am known in this neighbourhood, and it would not do for me to be seen buying ham. But do you go in, my child, and get two or three pounds of it, and I will walk on and wait for you.”

I went in of course, and purchased three pounds of the ham, to pay for which I was obliged to change one of my two zecchinos. I carefully folded up the precious viand, and rejoined my excellent patron, who eyed the relishing slices with the air of a gourmand; indeed, he was somewhat diffuse in his own dispraise for not having recollected to order his servant to get some before he left home. During this peripatetic lecture on gastronomy, we happened to pass a cantina, in plain English, a wine-cellar. At the door he made another full stop.

“In that house,” said he, “they sell the best Cyprus wine in Venice—peculiar wine—a sort of wine not to be had any where else; I should like you to taste it; but I do not like to be seen buying wine by retail to carry home; go in yourself; buy a couple of flasks, and bring them to my cassino; nobody hereabouts knows you, and it won’t signify in the least.”

This last request was quite appalling; my pocket groaned to its very centre; however, recollecting that I was on the high road to preferment, and that a patron, cost what he might, was still a patron, I made the plunge, and, issuing from the cantina, set forward for my venerable friend’s cassino, with three pounds of ham in my pocket, and a flask of wine under each arm.

I continued walking with my excellent long-tailed patron, expecting every moment to see an elegant, agreeable residence, smiling in all the beauties of nature and art; when, at last, in a dirty miserable lane, at the door of a tall dingy-looking house, my Mæcenas stopped, indicated that we had reached our journey’s end, and, marshalling me the way that I should go, began to mount three flights of sickening stairs, at the top of which I found his cassino: it was a little Cas, and a deuce of a place to boot; in plain English, it was a garret. The door was opened by a wretched old miscreant, who acted as cook, and whose drapery, to use a gastronomic simile, was “done to rags.”

Upon a ricketty apology for a table were placed a tattered cloth, which once had been white, and two plates; and presently in came a large bowl of boiled rice.

“Where’s the capon?” said my patron to his man.

“Capon!” echoed the ghost of a servant; “the——”

“Has not the rascal sent it?” cried the master.

“Rascal!” repeated the man, apparently terrified.

“I knew he would not,” exclaimed my patron, with an air of exultation, for which I saw no cause. “Well, well, never mind, put down the ham and the wine; with those and the rice, I dare say, young gentleman, you will be able to make it out. I ought to apologise, but in fact it is all your own fault that there is not more; if I had fallen in with you earlier, we should have had a better dinner.”

I confess I was surprised, disappointed, and amused; but as matters stood, there was no use in complaining, and accordingly we fell to, neither of us wanting the best of all sauces—appetite.

I soon perceived that my promised patron had baited his trap with a fowl to catch a fool; but as we ate and drank, all care vanished, and, rogue as I suspected him to be, my long-tailed friend was a clever witty fellow, and, besides telling me a number of anecdotes, gave me some very good advice; amongst other things to be avoided, he cautioned me against numbers of people who in Venice lived only by duping the unwary. I thought this counsel came very ill from him. “Above all,” said he, “keep up your spirits, and recollect the Venetian proverb, ‘A hundred years of melancholy will not pay one farthing of debt.’”—Reminiscences of Michael Kelly.

Poets often compare life to the sea; and the truth is, that, however bright the surface may be, they are both of them, whenever analysis is used, salt water.


(Translated for the Irish Penny Journal.)



Sir Isegrim, the Wolf, was grown old. The years that had passed over his head, too, had brought with them changes hardly to be expected in a wolf at any season of life. All his fierceness and ferocity were gone; he was no longer the slayer of sheep and terror of shepherds: no; he had lost his teeth, and was now a philosopher. To superficial observers, perhaps, the alteration in his character might not have been very obvious; but he himself knew that he was no more what he had been—that his lupuline prowess had departed from him. He resolved accordingly on showing mankind what a reformation had overtaken him. “One of my brethren,” said he, “once assumed the garb of a lamb, but he was still a wolf at heart. I reverse the fable; I seem outwardly a wolf, but at heart I am a lamb. Appearances are deceptive; whatever prejudices may be excited against me by my exterior, with which I was born, and for which I am not accountable, I have that within which passeth show. I trust that I feel an exemplary horror for the blood-thirstiness of my juvenile instincts, and the savage revellings of my maturer years. I am determined, therefore, to accommodate my way of life in future to the usages of society—to march with the spirit of the age—to cut no more throats—to become in short quite civilized—and set an example which may have the effect of eventually bringing all the wolves of the forest into the same reputable position as my own.”

Full of these thoughts, and possibly some others, which he kept to himself, he set out upon a journey to the hut of the nearest shepherd, which he soon reached.

“Shepherd,” said he, “I have come to talk over a little matter with you, personal to myself. You have been long the object of my esteem; I entertain a special regard for you; but you requite my esteem and regard with suspicion and hatred. You think me a lawless and sanguinary robber. My friend, you labour under a deplorable prejudice. What have I done, at least for many years back, worse than others? The head and front of my offending is that I eat sheep. Suppose so: must not every animal eat some other animal? I have the misfortune to be subject, like all quadrupeds (as well as bipeds), to hunger. Only guarantee me from the attacks of hunger; and upon my honour, Shepherd, I will never even dream of pillaging your fold. Give me enough to eat, and you may turn your dogs loose, and sleep in security. Ah! Shepherd, believe me, you do not know what a gentle, meek, sleek-tempered animal I can become when I have got what I think enough.”

“When you have got what you think enough!” retorted the Shepherd, who had listened to this harangue with visible impatience; “ay, but when did you ever get what you thought enough? Did Avarice ever think it had got enough? No: you would cram your maw as the miser would his chest, and when both were gorged to repletion, the cry would still be, More! More! Go your way; you are getting into years; but I am even older than you; and your cajolery is wasted. Try somebody else, old Isegrim!”


I see that I must, thought the Wolf; and prosecuting his journey farther, he came to the habitation of a second shepherd.

“Come, Shepherd!” he began stoutly, “I have a proposal to make to you. You know me, who I am, and how I live. You know that if I choose to exert my energies, I can dine and sup upon the heart’s blood of every sheep and lamb under your care. Very well: now mark me; if you bestow on me half a dozen sheep every twelvemonth, I pledge you my word that I will look for no more. And only think what a fine thing it will be for you to purchase the safety of your entire flock at the beggarly price of half a dozen sheep!”

“Half a dozen sheep!” cried the Shepherd, bursting into a derisive laugh; “why, that’s equal to a whole flock!”

“Well, well, I am reasonable,” said the Wolf; “give me five.”

“Surely you are joking,” said the Shepherd. “Why, if I[Pg 77] were in the habit of sacrificing to Pan, I don’t think I should offer him more than five sheep the whole year round.”

“Four, then, my dear friend,” urged the Wolf, coaxingly; “you won’t think four too many?”

“Ah,” returned the Shepherd, with a sly glance from the corner of his eye, “don’t you wish you may get them?”

The selfish scoundrel, how he mocks me! thought the Wolf. “Will you promise me three, or even two?”

“Not even one—not the ghost of one!” replied the Shepherd, emphatically. “A pretty protector of my flock I should prove myself, truly, to surrender it piecemeal into the claws of my inveterate enemy! Take yourself off, my fine fellow, before you chance to vex me!”


The third attempt generally creates or dissipates the charm, cogitated Isegrim. May it be so in this present instance! As he mentally uttered this ejaculation, he found himself in the presence of a third shepherd.

“Ah! my worthy, my excellent friend,” cried he, “I have been looking for you the whole day. I want to communicate a piece of news to you. You must know that I have been struggling desperately of late to regenerate my character. The enormity of my past career, haunted as it is with phantoms of blood and massacre, is for ever before my eyes, and humbles me—oh, dear! how much nobody can guess. I have grown very penitent, and very, very soft-hearted altogether, Shepherd.” Here Isegrim hung his head, overcome for a moment by his emotions. “Still, Shepherd, still—and this is what I want you to understand—I find I can make after all but slight progress by myself. I go on smack smooth enough for a while, and then my zeal flags. I require encouragement and sympathy, and the companionship of the good and the gentle, who could give me advice, and point out to me the path of rectitude continually. In short, you see, if—if you would be but generous enough to allow a sheep or two of enlightened principles to take a walk out with me occasionally, in the cool of the evening, along some sequestered valley, sacred to philosophic musings, I feel that it would prove of the greatest advantage to me, in a moral and intellectual point of view. But ah! I perceive you are laughing at me: may I ask whether there is any thing in my request that strikes you as ridiculous?”

“Permit me to answer your question by another,” said the Shepherd, with a sneer. “Pray, Master Wolf, how old are you?”

“Old enough to be fierce enough,” exclaimed Isegrim, with something of the ferocity of old days in his tone and eye; “let me tell you that, Master Shepherd.”

“And, like all the rest you have been telling me, it is a lie,” was the Shepherd’s response. “You would be fierce if you could; but, to your mortification, you are grown imbecile—you have the will, but want the power. Your mouth betrays you, if your tongue don’t, old deceiver! Yet, though you can bite no longer, you are still, I dare say, able to mumble; and on the whole, I shouldn’t fancy being a sheep’s head and shoulders in your way just now. What’s bred in the bone will never come out of the flesh, says the proverb; and I believe you are one of the last animals one could expect to falsify it. I’ll take right good care to keep you at crook’s length, my crafty neighbour; make yourself certain of that!”


The wrath of the Wolf was excessive, but after some time it began to subside. Mankind, it was evident, at least the pastoral portion of them, did not appreciate as they ought the dawn of intelligence among the lupuline race—the first faint efforts of the brute intellect to attain emancipation from ignorance and savageism. However, he would try again. Perseverance might conquer destiny. The Great, thought he, are not always thus unfortunate. Certainly it should not be so in my case. Ha! here we are at the door of another shepherd, and methinks a man of a thoughtful and benevolent aspect. Let us see how we shall get along with his new crookship.

So he began: “How is this, my dear friend?” he asked; “you seem rather depressed in spirits. Nothing unpleasant, I hope?—no domestic fracas, or thing of that sort—eh?”

“No,” returned the Shepherd, sighing, “but I have lost my faithful dog—an animal I have had for years—and I shall never be able to supply his place. I have been just thinking what a noble creature he was.”

“Gadso! that’s good news!” cried the Wolf—“I mean for myself—ay, and on second thoughts, let me add for you too, Shepherd. You have me exactly in the nick of time. It’s just the nicest thing that could have happened!”

“What do you mean?” cried the shepherd. “Nicest thing that could have happened! I don’t understand you.”

“I’ll enlighten you, my worthy,” cried Isegrim in high spirits. “What would you think? I have just had the bloodiest battle you can imagine with my brethren in the forest; they and I quarrelled upon a point of etiquette; so I tore a dozen and a half of them to pieces, and made awful examples of all the rest. The consequence is, that the whole of the brute world is up in arms against me; I can no longer herd with my kind; for safety sake I must make my dwelling among the children of men. Now, as you have lost your dog, what can you do better than hire me to fill his place? Depend upon it, I shall have such a constant eye to your sheep! And, as to expense, I shall cost you nothing; for as employment, and not emolument, is my object, I shall manage to live on a mere idea—in fact, I don’t care whether I eat or drink; I’ll feed upon air, if you only take me into your service!”

“Do you mean to say,” demanded the Shepherd, “that you would protect my flock against the invasions of your own brethren, the wolves?”

“Mean to say it! I’ll swear it,” cried Isegrim. “I’ll keep them at such a distance that no eye in the village shall see them; that their very existence shall become at length matter of tradition only; so that people shall think there is only one Wolf—that’s myself—in the world!”

“And pray,” asked the Shepherd, “while you protect my sheep against other wolves, who will protect them against you? Am I to suppose that though you hold the place of a dog, you can ever forget that you inherit the nature of a wolf? And if I cannot suppose so, should I not be a madman to employ you? What! introduce a thief into my house that he may forestall by his own individual industry the assaults of other thieves on my property? Upon my word, that’s not so bad! I wonder in what school you learned such precious logic, Master Isegrim?”

“You be hanged!” cried the Wolf in a rage, as he took his departure; “a pretty fellow you are to talk to me of schools, you who were never even at a hedge-school!”


“What a bore it is to be superannuated!” soliloquized the Wolf. “I should get on famously, but for these unfurnished jaws of mine;” and he gnashed his gums together with as much apparent fervour as if he had got a mouthful of collops between them. “However, I must cut my coat according to my cloth. ‘’Tis not in mortals to command success.’” With which quotation from an English poet, Sir Isegrim made a halt before the cottage of a fifth shepherd.

“Good morrow, Corydon,” was his courteous greeting.

The accosted party cast his eyes upon Isegrim, but made no reply.

“Do you know me, Shepherd?” asked the Wolf.

“Perhaps not you, as an individual,” said the Shepherd, “but at least I know the like of you.”

“I should think not, though,” suggested Isegrim. “I should think you cannot. I should think you never saw the like of me, Corydon.”

“Indeed!” cried Corydon, opening his eyes; “and why not, pray?”

“Because, Corydon,” answered Isegrim, “I am a singular sort of wolf altogether—marvellous, unique, like to myself alone. I am one of those rare specimens of brute intellectuality that visit the earth once perhaps in three thousand years. My sensibilities, physical and moral, are of a most exquisite order. To give you an illustration—I never could bear to kill a sheep; the sight of the blood would be too much for my nerves; and hence, if I ever partake of animal food, it can only be where life has been for some time extinct in the natural way. I wait until a sheep expires at a venerable old age, and then I cook him in a civilized manner. But why do I mention all this to you? I’ll tell you frankly, my admirable friend. My refined susceptibilities have totally disqualified me for living in the forest, and I want a home under your hospitable roof. I know that after what I have said you cannot refuse me one, for even you yourself eat dead sheep; and I protest most solemnly that I will dine at your table.”

“And I protest most solemnly that you shall do no such thing,” returned the Shepherd. “You eat dead sheep, do you? Let me tell you that a wolf whose appetite is partial to dead sheep, may be now and then persuaded by hunger to[Pg 78] mistake sick sheep for dead, and healthy sheep for sick. Trot off with your susceptibilities elsewhere, if you please. There’s a hatchet in the next room.”


Have I left a single stone unturned to carry my point? demanded the Wolf of himself. Yes, there is a chance for me yet. I have it! And full of hope he came to the cottage of the sixth shepherd.

“Look at me, Shepherd!” he cried. “Am I not a splendid quadruped for my years? What’s your opinion of my skin?”

“Very handsome and glossy indeed,” said the Shepherd. “You don’t seem to have been much worried by the dogs.”

“No, Shepherd, no,” replied Isegrim, “I have not been much worried by dogs, but I have been and am worried, awfully worried, Shepherd, by hunger. Now, the case being so, as you admire my skin, you and I shall strike a bargain. I am grown old, and cannot live many days longer: feed me then to death, cram me to the gullet, Shepherd, and I’ll bequeath you my beautiful skin!”

“Upon my word!” exclaimed the Shepherd. “You come to the person of all on earth most interested in compassing your death, and you demand of him the means to enable you to live. How modest of you! No, no, my good fellow, your skin would cost me in the end seven times its worth. If you really wish to make me a present of it, give it to me now. Here’s a knife, and I’ll warrant you I’ll disembarrass you of it before you can say Trapstick.”

But the Wolf had already scampered off.


“Oh, the bloody-minded wretches!” he exclaimed, “give them fair words or foul, their sole retort to you is still, the hatchet! the cleaver! the tomahawk! Shall I endure this treatment? Never! I’ll return on my trail this moment, and be revenged on the whole of the iniquitous generation.”

So saying, he furiously dashed back the way he had come, rushed into the shepherds’ huts, sprang upon and tore the eyes out of several of their children, and was only finally subdued and killed after a hard struggle, during which he managed to inflict a number of rather ugly wounds upon his captors.

It was then that a venerable shepherd of five score years and ten, the patriarch of the village, spoke to them as follows:—“How much better, my friends, would it have been for us if we had acceded at first to the terms proposed by this reckless destroyer! Whether he was sincere or not, we could have easily established so vigilant a system of discipline with respect to him that he should not have had it in his power to injure us. Now, too late, we may deplore the evil that we cannot remedy. Ah, believe me, my friends, it is an unwise policy to drive the vicious to desperation: the hand of the outcast from society becomes at last armed against all mankind; he ceases after a season to distinguish between friends and enemies. Few, perhaps none, are so bad as to be utterly irreclaimable; and he who discourages the first voluntary efforts of the guilty towards reforming themselves, on the pretence that they are hypocritical, arrogates to himself that discrimination into motives which belongs alone to the Supreme Judge of all hearts, and becomes in a degree responsible for the ruinous consequences that are almost certain to result from his conduct.”


BY J. U. U.

Believe not I forget thee: not for one
Dark moment, have I been thus self-divided
From that deep consciousness which is for ever
The light of all my thoughts; it were to lose
My own existence—a chill blank in life:
For all is colourless when love deserts
The heart—sole centre of all joy and woe;
Whose light or gloom all nature wears. Believe
My breast still weary till it turns to thee,
The load-star of its constant faith—unchanged
By distance or by time. For thee it cares:
For thee its joys are treasured up untasted,
As scattered sweets which the home-loving bee
Hoards for its mossy dwelling far away.


The Jerusalem artichoke affords a plentiful supply of winter food for sheep and cattle, and is highly serviceable in situations where, owing to the unfitness of the soil, or a deficiency of manure, turnips, carrots, mangold wortzel, or potatoes, can be cultivated only to a small extent. Mr Morewood, in the “History of Inebriating Liquors,” p. 399, thus treats of the advantages attending its cultivation:—“In some parts of the north of France the root of the Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) has been introduced for the purpose of distillation. The wash from this vegetable is found to yield a very pure strong spirit, which resembles that obtained from the grape more than any substitute that has hitherto been tried. As the root grows readily in Great Britain, and might be cultivated abundantly, it would be well to try the experiment here, as we have no medium spirit between genuine French brandy and the fiery produce of grain sold under the denominations of gin and whisky. In Ireland the cultivation of this plant would be attended with great advantage, since it thrives well in a boggy soil; and in a country like it, where there are so many unreclaimed and waste lands, its culture would be a profitable speculation, for while the roots would afford a fine material for distillation, the tops would yield more fodder than the same space of ground, if sown with ordinary grain.”

In Scotland this plant is only to be found in the gardens, the agriculturists of that country being, it would seem, as yet unacquainted with its value as a fodder. According to Mr Tighe, in the “Survey of Kilkenny,” p. 342, it has been partially introduced into that county. He says, “The Jerusalem artichoke has been tried as a food for sheep by the Rev. Dr Butler; he found them very fond of the roots, which agreed well with them; the quantity produced in ground without manure was calculated to be at the rate of one hundred barrels per acre (a barrel is five bushels or twenty stones). Being very hardy plants, they will thrive in a poor soil without any manure, and are extremely productive: pigs may be fed with them as well as sheep; and as horses are said to be fond of the tops, it is surprising that their use in agriculture has not been more general. One advantage attends their cultivation—they are not liable to be stolen like turnips, cabbage, young rape, and similar plants; they are not with more difficulty extirpated from ground than potatoes, though this had been objected to them, and will perish soon when the field is laid down with grass.”


We do not know if it be stated in the Life of Sir Walter Scott that several years previous to his death he had proposed to write a work on the early difficulties to which the most illustrious men of genius in the British islands had been subjected, but it is within our own knowledge that during his visit to Ireland he avowed this intention, and for this purpose collected facts relative to our own most distinguished countrymen, some of which were obtained from ourselves. Such a work, as that great man would have written it, would be of inestimable value; and it is deeply to be lamented that the difficulties in which his own latter years were involved should have prevented him from undertaking it. We have been reminded of this interesting fact by the following anecdote, which has been communicated to us by a friend, illustrative of the early difficulties with which one of our most eminent countrymen had to contend, and from which he succeeded in extricating himself, no less by persevering energy of mind, independence of spirit, and propriety of conduct, than by the possession and cultivation of talents of the highest order—we allude to the author of the opera of “Amilie, or the Love Token.” We give the anecdote in our friend’s own words:—

“William M. Rooke, the composer of the delightful music of ‘Amilie,’ an opera which has spread his musical fame far and wide, had in early life to contend for years, in his native city, Dublin, against difficulties which would have broken the spirit of any one, save a man endowed with the strongest mental powers: indeed, many men of great talents have sunk under trials which the genius and perseverance of Rooke have at length overcome, placing him at his present height of celebrity as a British composer. None can so truly estimate his merits as those who are aware of the hard fortune of his early days,[Pg 79] and what he had to struggle against previous to his visiting London in 1821.

In reference to these struggles, the following singular fact may not prove uninteresting to those fond of the marvellous; and had not the circumstance occurred in my presence, I should have doubted its truth:—One morning during the summer of 1818, I called at Rooke’s lodgings, and on entering the room found him in a state of great dejection. ‘How are you, Billy?’ said I (my usual salute). ‘As well as a man can be,’ he replied, ‘who has not yet had his breakfast, and who has not a farthing in his pocket to procure one.’ This was at eleven o’clock. At the very moment that this reply was uttered, our eyes were attracted by a light piece of paper, which for a short time floating over our heads, finally settled upon the floor; and our astonishment may be imagined on discovering it to be a bank note! It would not be easy to describe my feelings. I gazed on the object intently, scarcely believing it a reality, although I could plainly see the prominent features of its value—Thirty Shillings! We both remained for some minutes motionless, except that our eyes were cast alternately from the object of our wonder to the various parts of the room, seeking a cause for so unexpected but welcome a visitor. This apparent mystery, however, was soon explained. Some months previous, Rooke had missed a thirty-shilling note, and supposed it to have been stolen from him. On the morning of my call he had been seeking some manuscript music stowed away in a press near the window, the upper sash of which was down; and in his search the long-lost note had thus been exposed to a strong current of air, which ultimately dislodging it from its place of concealment, restored it to its owner at a moment when it was so much wanted.

When last in London, during an evening’s chat with my friend, casting our thoughts back upon old times and circumstances, I brought to his recollection the fact here related, the singularity of which principally rests upon the strange chance of the mislaid note re-appearing at such a time and in such a manner; and I question whether, in all its rambles before or since, the said thirty-shilling note ever came to hand so opportunely.”

B. W.


We concluded a previous notice of some of the uses to which water is subservient in nature, by mentioning that modern science had fully proved the incorrectness of the ancient idea of the elementary nature of water; and that by the processes which chemistry places at our disposal, we are now able to resolve water into its elements, or, having obtained these elements from other sources, to cause them to unite, and to produce water in combining. In the present article we shall point out the manner in which this may be accomplished, and describe some properties and uses of water which the space at our disposal did not allow us to notice before.

Water consists in great part of the substance to which is due the power the atmosphere possesses of supporting life and combustion, and of which we have formerly spoken under the name of oxygen. Every nine ounces of water contain eight ounces of oxygen, the remainder being made up of another and very peculiar substance, termed hydrogen. Hydrogen is a gas, invisible, colourless, and transparent, and consequently in all external characters precisely like the air we breathe. But it differs from it very much in other respects. If a lighted candle be placed in hydrogen gas, the candle is extinguished, for hydrogen does not support combustion, but the gas itself takes fire, where it mixes with the air, and burns with a pale yellowish flame, scarcely visible in broad day-light. Hence hydrogen is in its properties the very reverse of oxygen: it burns, which oxygen does not; oxygen supports combustion, which hydrogen cannot do. When hydrogen burns with oxygen, water is always formed.

Now, to decompose water it is only necessary to act upon the principle of hydrogen being a combustible substance. All substances are not equally combustible; that is to say, they do not burn or combine with oxygen with equal facility or quickness. Thus charcoal is more combustible than iron, iron is more combustible than copper, and copper than gold or silver, whilst phosphorus is still more combustible than charcoal. Now, oxygen will combine with any of these combustible substances; but if it have a choice, it will take that which is most combustible—that which it likes best. And even if the oxygen be already united with one body, and that another more combustible be brought into action on it, it will leave the former, and attach itself altogether to the latter substance. The combustibility of hydrogen is about equal to that of iron. It is inferior to carbon and to many other bodies; but it is superior to that of copper, silver, gold, and others. If, therefore, we take water in the state of steam, and bring it into contact with red-hot charcoal or coke, the oxygen of the water goes to the most combustible body, and the hydrogen is set free. In this way charcoal may be made to burn brilliantly without air, but not without oxygen. A red-hot bit of charcoal burns in steam, because it decomposes the water; it takes the oxygen, and turns the hydrogen out, which assuming the form of gas, may be collected by means of peculiar chemical apparatus.

Iron and hydrogen are, as mentioned above, about equally combustible: in fact it depends upon the degree of heat, which is the more combustible. If the iron be bright red, it decomposes water, taking away the oxygen; but if it be only dull red, then hydrogen is the more combustible; and if there be a compound of oxygen and iron ready formed (oxide of iron, rust), the hydrogen will decompose it, and water being formed, the iron will be set free. If, therefore, a gun barrel be laid across a fire, and heated to bright redness, and a little water be poured into it at one end by means of a tun-dish with a stop-cock soldered to it, hydrogen gas will issue from the other end, and may be burned, or collected for various purposes.

Hydrogen gas may be prepared more easily by other processes, which do not show, however, so clearly the fact of its being derived from the decomposition of the water. The property which iron acquires at a bright red heat may be given to it without any heat, by means of some oil of vitriol (called in the language of chemists, sulphuric acid). Iron quite cold will decompose water, if the water be previously mixed with some sulphuric acid. The oxygen goes to the iron, which dissolves, and the liquor contains green copperas. The metal zinc, which is now so very much used in the arts, may also be employed with sulphuric acid and water to decompose water, and it gives a purer hydrogen gas than iron, the latter metal containing always a little charcoal, which mixes with the hydrogen and contaminates it.

In all of these processes, although the water is decomposed, yet we obtain only one of its elements; the other, the oxygen, remaining combined with the iron, the charcoal, or the zinc. We may, however, produce the separation of water into its elements, so as to exhibit both. This is done by passing a current of electricity from the apparatus termed the galvanic battery, through the water. One of the grandest and most fruitful discoveries ever made in chemistry was that by Sir Humphry Davy, who proved that electricity possesses the power of separating compound substances into their elements; and by that means he succeeded in decomposing numerous bodies which had resisted all processes known before that time, and obtained new substances of a simple nature, and of most curious and important properties. To decompose water by means of electricity, the wires from the galvanic battery are made to dip into a little cup of water, and over each wire there is hung a bell-shaped vessel, inverted, full of water. When the current passes, pure oxygen gas is disengaged from one wire, and pure hydrogen gas is liberated at the other, and being received as the bubbles rise in the bell-glasses, the gases are collected for use.

So much for the separation of water into its elements; the production of water by the union of its elements is still easier. The simplest way to show this is to take a little bottle, and put into it the zinc, water, and sulphuric acid, by which the hydrogen is to be obtained, to fit to the mouth of the bottle a cork, through which passes a little glass or metal tube, ending in a fine jet. The gas may be set on fire as it issues from the jet, and by holding a cold plate or a tumbler over the flame, and at a little distance, a copious dew of water will be deposited upon it, which after a few moments will increase so much as to run into large drops. This water is formed by the hydrogen gas combining as it burns with the oxygen of the air.

Hydrogen gas in burning produces very little light: one cause of this is, that the product of combustion-formed water being in a state of steam, there is no solid substance in the flame; and it appears to be always true that no bright light can exist without a solid material. In order to produce a great light with the flame of hydrogen gas, it is only necessary to place a wire or a bit of flint, or any solid substance, in the flame. The solid immediately becomes intensely bright, and[Pg 80] by using lime or magnesia, which are peculiarly fitted for the purpose, a light so intense as to be only surpassed by the noon-day summer sun, may be obtained. This lime light has been introduced for experiment into lighthouses, and has been particularly serviceable in the trigonometrical surveys of those kingdoms, in consequence of which it is generally known as the Drummond light, from the eminent philosopher whose recent melancholy loss every Irishman must deplore. The heat produced by the flame of hydrogen is thus most intense; substances which are inattackable by the strongest furnaces melt like wax in the jet of oxygen and hydrogen, and in the Drummond light the lime appears gradually to evaporate.

A mixture of hydrogen and oxygen, or of hydrogen and air, may be thus set fire to by a candle; and when previously mixed, a terrific explosion is produced. Persons should therefore be very cautious how they perform experiments with hydrogen, as even skilful chemists have occasionally suffered severely from accidents of this kind. When a young person makes hydrogen for the first time, he is naturally curious, and hastens to satisfy himself by seeing that it burns: he applies the candle before all the common air has been expelled from the apparatus, and the mixture inside being still explosive, the flame passes back, and the whole is shattered into pieces with the noise and violence of a bombshell. At the same time, therefore, that we would be happy if this article induced many of our young readers to satisfy themselves of the composition and decomposition of water by actual experiment, yet we trust they will do so prudently, and with the guidance of some older person who has previously seen how chemical apparatus are employed.

If a wide tube of glass be held over the jet of burning hydrogen gas, a very curious result is produced: a powerful musical sound is heard, which changes according as the jet is moved up and down in the tube. The nearer the jet is to the orifice, the graver, the higher up in the tube it is, the more acute, is the sound heard. The cause of this is, that the flame, which to the eye appears uniform and continuous, is in reality a number of very small explosions of mixed air and gas. These succeed one another so rapidly that the intervals of darkness which intervene are not perceived, and the quantity of gas which explodes is too small to produce any audible noise; but on bringing a tube, the air in which is capable of vibrating with the same quickness as the little explosions are produced, the air is thrown into vibrations which reach the ear, and produce the peculiar musical tone. With a selection of gas jets and tubes a variety of notes may be produced, so great that a musical instrument has been constructed by their means.

Hydrogen gas is the lightest substance in nature, and it is consequently used to fill balloons, by which men have been carried to a height in the air much exceeding that of the loftiest mountains. When balloons were first made use of, they were of the kind which are now termed fire-balloons: the bag of the balloon was open at the bottom, and in the car was a furnace, the chimney of which terminated at the aperture of the balloon. The hot air and gases generated by the burning of the fuel in the furnace ascending into the bag, expelled the heavier cold air, and a sufficient power of rising was thus obtained, by the difference between the weight of the heated and of the cold air, to enable the balloon to take up a very considerable weight. Hydrogen gas being, however, at least ten times as light as the hot air, was much more convenient, as it required only a much smaller balloon; and the unfortunate death of the most remarkable experimenter of the fire-balloon, Pilatre de Roxier, contributed also very much to show their great danger, and prevent their being used.

Although many persons had proposed from time to time to ascend by means of balloons filled with heated or rarified air, or with hydrogen gas, it was reserved for the brothers Montgolfier of Lyons to realize this bold and singular idea. These brothers had originally been destined to science, but on the death of an elder brother who had been an extensive paper maker at Lyons, they abandoned their former pursuits to continue the manufacture. They made large paper balloons, which, whether filled with hydrogen gas or heated air, ascended, and one brother ascended to a small height at Lyons. On introducing their invention to the notice of the public and the royal family at Paris, the greatest enthusiasm was excited, and personages of the highest rank accompanied the adventurous brothers in their aërial voyages. Pilatre de Roxier, then director of the king’s museum, devoted himself completely to the improvement of the new art of the navigation of the air; and after having ascended from Versailles frequently, and gained a considerably greater height than any of his predecessors, he resolved to cross the British Channel, and pass from France to England in a fire-balloon. He ascended from a village about half way between Calais and Boulogne, on September the 16th, 1784, with a gentleman of the town as a companion; and having attained a considerable height, was carried by the favourable wind over the sea in his proper course. The balloon however continuing to rise, got into a current of air in an opposite direction, and was brought again over the land; at this moment the spectators on shore were horrified to observe that the balloon, half lost in the clouds, was on fire, and after a moment the car was observed to fall. The remains of the car and of the unfortunate aëronauts, in whom scarcely a vestige of human form could be traced, were found in a field on the road to Abbeville; and a stone bearing the simple inscription of the fate of Pilatre de Roxier and his companion marks to the present day the place, close by the road-side, where the bodies were inhumed.

The substitution of hydrogen or of coal gas for the fire-balloon, has deprived aërial navigation of its greatest dangers. No good means of steering or tacking a balloon having been discovered, the art has not yet fulfilled the expectations that were at first formed of it: the balloon is at the mercy of the winds; and although the voyagers travel in ease and safety, and often with rail-road speed, yet as it cannot be foretold in what direction the balloon must go, voyages in the air have been as yet only an exciting and not very dangerous amusement.


The Theatre.—I approach a subject, on which a great variety of opinion exists, and that is the theatre. In its present state the theatre deserves no encouragement. It is an accumulation of immoral influences. It has nourished intemperance and all vice. In saying this, I do not say that the amusement is radically, essentially evil. I can conceive of a theatre which would be the noblest of all amusements, and would take a high rank among the means of refining the taste and elevating the character of a people. The deep woes, the mighty and terrible passions, and the sublime emotions of genuine tragedy, are fitted to thrill us with human sympathies, with profound interest in our nature, with a consciousness of what man can do, and dare, and suffer, with an awed feeling of the fearful mysteries of life. The soul of the spectator is stirred from its depths, and the lethargy in which so many live is roused, at least for a time, to some intenseness of thought and sensibility. The drama answers a high purpose when it places us in the presence of the most solemn and striking events of human history, and lays bare to us the human heart in its most powerful, appalling, glorious workings. But how little does the theatre accomplish its end! How often is it disgraced by monstrous distortions of human nature, and still more disgraced by profaneness, coarseness, indelicacy, low wit, such as no woman, worthy of the name, can hear without a blush, and no man can take pleasure in without self-degradation!—Dr Channing on Temperance.

Consecrated Irish Bells.—Consecrated bells were formerly held in great reverence in Ireland, particularly before the tenth century. Cambrensis, in his Welsh Itinerary, says, “Both the laity and clergy in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, held in such great veneration portable bells, and staves crook’t at the top, and covered with gold, silver, and brass, and similar relics of the saints, that they were much more afraid of swearing falsely by them than by the gospels, because from some hidden and miraculous power with which they were gifted, and the vengeance of the saint, to whom they were particularly pleasing, their despisers and transgressors are severely punished.” Miraculous portable bells were very common; Giraldus speaks of the Campana fugitiva of O’Toole, chieftain of Wicklow; and Colgan relates, that whenever St Patrick’s portable bell tolled, as a preservative against evil spirits and magicians, it was heard from the Giants’ Causeway to Cape Clear, from the Hill of Howth to the Western shores of Connemara.—Hardiman’s Irish Minstrelsy.

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