網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

excit an interest that attaches almost exclusively to their class. All accounts coincide in representing them as being endowed with minds peculiarly alert and quick of comprehension, as if their intellects were preternaturally sharpened by the very necessities of their condition. This fact is but an illustration of an old anecdote, which, however familiar to some of our readers, may be new to most of them; it appears to be even more novel to some who have heard it before than to others, so true is the aphorism that "nothing is so new as what we have forgotten." A learned foreigner, on a visit to London, after his friend had shewn him all the notabilities of that vast city, inquired whether they had any building there for the reception and accommodation of the prime intellect of the nation. "Yes," was the answer, 66 come and I will shew it to you;" and then, taking him opposite to the gaol of Newgate, and pointing to that gloomy structure, he said, "There be our wits!" But those "wits" had undergone a long and assiduous training before they had duly qualified themselves for the privilege which a paternal government had provided for them,-free commons and free quarters, with the advantage of further improving themselves in the deeper mysteries of their craft. They had begun earlymost of them; practised sedulously, and pursued their calling skilfully. Will any one teli us that the young urchin who steals our pocket-handkerchief has evinced less dexterity than the weaver who made it? Will it be maintained that the young burglar who has picked our patent lock is a more bungling craftsman than the locksmith who constructed it? Yet out of such material are our most formidable felons formed. "It is only his first offence," says the police officer, or the magistrate. Only his FIRST offence! Only the first step beyond the edge of the precipice;-only the first

plunge into the water on the verge of the cataract! Why, this is the very turning point of the poor child's career. The moment Justice lays her hand upon the culprit, society instinctively shrinks from all contact with him. An unspotted name is the very panoply of character; that once lost, the enamel is gone! True, the poor child may, in the eye of God and in the belief of man, have repented of his fault, and firmly resolved to amend it. True, he may be willing to enter upon an honest calling, or to turn to any occupation he can obtain. But who will employ him? And this brings us to a point to which we are most anxious to draw the notice of our readers-the wide and abundant field of labour which lies open to the legitimate activity of those excellent individuals who are bestirring themselves so landably in the cause of neglected and outcast children. If they will look at the soil that thus invites their cultivation, they will find that though the domain of the Law be lamentably wide, that of Philanthropy is wider still. We do not guage the depths of juvenile delinquency, when we give the number of our convicts, or even of committals. There is a vast fermenting mass of youthful crime that never reaches legal detection; a vast mass of idleness and ignorance just hovering on the verge of crime, which is sure to fall into it if a timely hand do not interpose to stay its course, and to turn it into a better channel, and direct it towards a proper end. These constitute what are called the Arabt population of our alleys and larger towns; and in the education and training of these, the most active philanthropy may find ample scope for the exercise of its most ardent and untiring energy, without trenching upon an office to which neither the ordinance of God nor the law of man has called it.

An unfortunate misnomer, closely verging upon a palpable colecism. The Arab, with his roving and nomadic habits, no more resembles those settled tenants of our lanes and alleys, than a butterfly is like a barnacle.

FAITH.

BY FRANCIS DAVIS.

I.

The name of faith 's a holy word,
Though men at times abuse it,
And faith itself 's a conquering sword
When earnestly we use it.
Believe yourself a paltry slave,
And freedom falls behind you;
Believe yourself a man, and brave
And such the world shall find you.
For faith's a nerve and stay of steel
To lofty and to lowly-

A heavenly lamp for humau weal
Where human will is holy.

II.

"Tis faith that veils the darts of death,
Or arms us for his tournay;

"Tis faith that points the patriot's path,
And feasts him on his journey.
Believe you're cursed with cobweb-soul,
And every breath will break it—
Believe you've might to make the goal,
And here's my hand you'll make it ;
For faith a mover is of mounds,
A raiser of the lowly,

A trump of soul-begetting sounds,
Where ear and heart are Loy.

III.

Then take ye Faith, nor ever fear
Ye err by such assumption,
No matter how the taunt and jeer
May name the nymph Presumption.
And grasp her firm when evils lower-
The closer clasped, the warmer—
For faith in your right arm is more
Than countless suits of armour.
Oh faith's a shield to mighty men,
A love-light to the lowly,

And if a smiter now and then,
The work, at times, is holy,

IV.

Then, God of nations! sow each soil,
Each city, hill, and hollow

With faith-with more, the will to toil,

And all man seeks must follow: For had each soul but faith and will,

By all yon sun's adorning,

The tallest mount of human ill

The sea should have ere morning.

Oh faith, thou might in muscle's dearth, Not all hell's hosts may flout thee;

God bless thee, light of heaven and earth--For both were black without thee.

OUR COLOURS AND CREEDS.

▲ SONG FOR SUMMER,

BY FRANCIS DAVIS,

I.

Brown Summer 's abroad, and is shepherd-like keeping
Her brightness and odour by mountain and vale,
Where sainted young Melody, heavenward leaping,

Rolls, gushing and gushing, her heart on the gale.
The hills of our Ulster-the queenly, the olden-

Like passion-souled poets of beauty-of God Gleam forth with their flower-thoughts-emerald and goldenWhere many a light-leaving angel hath trod. Then lovingly mingle these flowers, my brotherThe gold of the lily and green of our land— For, oh! while they aid us in hating each other, Far better our isle were a desert of sand.

II.

Oh! say not ye deem that the God of Creation

Had love in his heart, when he lighted this world With beauties like these, if the soul of a nation

Must groan at each glimpse of their glory unfurled ; Nor say you believe that the Child of the manger,

In coming, in going, in aught, was divine,

If the creed which you hold the best beacon in danger
Must lead you to look like a demon on mine:
If heaven be love-if religion be holy-

If God be a Being whom man should obey, Oh! hate not, but pity, your brother, if folly,

Or creed and conviction have led him astray.

III.

Oh! if, in our darkness, we've wantonly lingered
To pile up the altar where Liberty bleeds,
Why-why to our folly cling on, gory-fingered,

Till crushed through the earth by our colours and creeds? Let's hang the red past, like a beacon, before us,

Not lighting up passions by heaven abhorred,

But melting those clouds by our madness hung o'er us,
The scoff of the nations-the curse of the Lord!
Ah, heaven! no more may those passions have power

To wring from thy teachings the scourge and the chain; No more o'er the tint of a leaf or a flower

May bigotry brandish the club of a Cain !

[blocks in formation]

Is about a fortnight after the events recorded in the last chapter, my cousin Gilbert returned from his séjour at Castle O'Skerrett; and my uncle, who was all frankness and action, asked him at once what he had been doing on the Trasnagh Sands, and what was the nature of his acquaintance with Mr. Marellos and his daughter. It was after dinner, and just when the ladies had withdrawn, and the good old General had esconced himself in the black chair, that he put this question; and I do think had he fired a pistol at my cousin's head, he could not have been more thunderstruck. He became deadly pale, nay, yellow and livid for a moment, then mastering his emotion with a strong effort, he answered in a slow, constrained voice, the colour coming back to his face in a rush of blood with the effort of each word, "that he employed Marellos as a clerk to draw leases that his mare had gone dead lame a mile beyond Ballytrasnagh the day after he had left the Darragh, and that he had returned to the hotel in that village, and had gone out next morning to the sea beach to seek for agates with Marellos, whose daughter wished to witness the surf breaking on the shore, &c., &c." In fact, he explained any little mystery in the transaction so simply, and so much to our satisfaction, that whatever suspicion had been created by his singular agitation when commencing his explanation, was effectually dissipated by the candour which appeared in its conclusion. And I am sure my uncle never thought more of the matter: nor did I, till the explosion of after events laid it bare to the reasonings of my memory:

[ocr errors]

Our two ladies seemed much YOL. XLVIII-NO. CCLXXXIV,

The Young Man's Dream.

pleased at Mr. Kildoon's reinstatement in our household; for, living as he did occasionally in the society of the county, he had a faculty of small talk, and a budget of Lilliputian histories, consisting of the sayings and doings of our neighbours in the Wild West,

The Brownes, the Bodkins, and the Frenches;
Squire Blake and Captain Kirwan :
My Lord Clancarty and all the Trenches;
And-Mrs. General Irwin,"

which were apples and nuts to the appetite and Cheltenhamized habits of our elder guest, and certainly not unacceptable to her fair daughter. In fact, Gilbert was a first-rate talker of persons, while whatever little conversational power I possessed was on things. And my uncle's tastes were mine.

So when Gilbert, after tea that evening, unbuckled his post bag which he had been replenishing during his stay with O'Skerrett-who was himself both long-eared and loquacious-the outrush of news and gossip was so continuous as effectually to dumbfound me, and nearly swept my uncle's patience off its feet, as he paced the drawing-room with a quicker and a more jerky step than usual, and an occasional clearing of his throat, unwonted with him. This, though visible and audible to me, was unobserved by the narrator, whose graphic recitals went smoothly in amidst the muslins, and pleasantly over the crochet-work to the ears and sensorium of his gentle auditory, who sat sewing at a sofatable, and ever and anon repaying his labours with sweet smiles, an a degree of attentive gusto which I was painfully aware no powers of

mine could elicit. To be sure, to make amends for this, I had Miss Cardonald all to myself when she wished to ride or desired to sing. Gilbert had no time for the former, and neither taste nor tune for the latter. I had both; and Isabella Cardonald was as graceful on the saddle as she was charming at the piano. So we rode together on the sounding shore, or amidst the dark ravines of the mountains-sometimes with the General, but more frequently by ourselves; and we sang together in the evenings, she initiating me into the tender pathos of the ballad music of Scotland, and I awakening her taste to the wild and thrilling sorrow of the Irish melody :-and so it came to pass naturally enough, that before the ash-buds had gone forth into leaves, and before the spring had warmed into summer, I had become attached to Miss Cardonald. I am not ashamed to state this now. True, she was some years my senior, but she was the first really nice lady visitor I had seen since I had lost my Madeline; and I was a boy-proud, shy, and romantic-with an imagination whose activity I often mistook for feeling, and a mind which had come in contact with but little society, save the few occasional visitors at my uncle's house. He early saw my attachment, and spoke to me of it, like himself, right nobly and candidly. "Walter," he said, "I do not quite approve of your fancy you are too young and too impulsive to exercise a just discretion in matters where your affections are concerned; yet I throw no stone at you, for at your age we are more hasty to feel than calm to judge; and thus the heart outsails the head. I grant you that the young lady is very pretty, and by no means deficient in intelligence; but remember what a teacher she has had all her life; and how her mother's character and society must have exercised an influence over her. Her father was Lord Glenmorloch, a Scotch judge, with a coarse mind, a keen tongue, a cool, clever head, and a heart as cold as a snowball. He fell in love with her mother for her pretty face, but made her but an ill-tempered husband, frequently breaking in upon her silly speeches with, Hold your tongue, a'am,' or, Lucy, you're a fool.' To

6

6

me, Walter, I confess, this poor lady is absolutely revolting, and her sojourn at my house and at my cottage has been one of the most wearisome chapters in the life of my old age. Pardon my warmth, dear nephew, but I cannot away with her affectation; and I confess I should have rejoiced if she and her daughter had returned to England after her first visit to my poor house, and not taken this cottage, settling themselves thus at my very fireside. My dear Walter, you used to speak of your Madeline as your pattern of all that is nice and feminine. Is this young lady like her? And do you think had our Madeline been spared, that she and Miss Cardonald would have become as intimate from accordance of character as you would have desired them to be? I trow not.' Is the young lady religious? Is she thoroughly refined? Is she fond of what you are so given to - books-scenery? Would your natural or educational tastes ever agree? I am afraid not. What is this the old Latin says -'Idem nolle, atque idem velle, id demum amicitia vera est.' I fear I quote incorrectly, for my Latin, like my cavalry sabre, is rusting from disuse; but I know I reason right, because I do so dispassionately and calmly, with true love for you, and no unkindness towards the young lady. Walter, do you recollect what happened at the village of Barnagee?" My uncle here alluded to an occurrence which had taken place a month before this.

Mrs. Cardonald had expressed a desire to see an immense brown bog which supplied our house, and indeed half the country side, with excellent fuel. A village stood on a hill beyond the bog; here the General had built a schoolhouse, to teach the young idea of the rustic population how to shoot; and to this village we had driven one day after luncheon; a shower was falling, and we went into the schoolroom for shelter-it was a large barn-like edifice-the children had been dismissed, and at the master's desk stood a man whom my uncle recognised as the celebrated G-- 0-- a travelling missionary from the Wesleyan body to the Celtic population. On the present occasion he had congregated upwards of sixty of the peasantry, and was preparing

« 上一頁繼續 »