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to a boy than belonging to wiser and maturer manhood. This feeling of my being considered by my companion merely as a wild romantic youth made me positively miserable, and often tied my tongue for fear I should not speak sensibly enough, or "like folk of this world" to my fair friend, who was so strangely unimpulsive if not phlegmatic. I think on the present occasion the spray and thin sand flying on the wind were annoying her, for her eyes were fast shut, and presently she pulled down her veil, leaving me alone in the glory of my feelings and my fervour; for surely there is nothing in physical nature so stirring to the blood, so bracing to the animal nerves, so quickening to the pulses, and so delightfully bewildering, as the roar of a great ocean weltering in the agony of a tempest, or scourged into madness by the lashings of a wild nor-wester. While amidst the world of its waves, some rise, and swell, and rushing cast their foam into air; some meet each other, and scatter in fierce collision, and perish in the strife; others come rollingly on in suicidal madness, to dash themselves to death against the beach; while some, like snowy wolves, are seen to climb the black stern cliffs, only to fall back again and mingle in the sweeping surge in which they are lost for ever.
Before us now, the mountains were clear and defined in sharp outlines against a deep indigo sky; behind us the clouds were all huddled together in grey and black masses, moving and disarranged, like the broken squares of a beaten army unwilling to fly, and still obstinately contending for supremacy. Between the thundering of the sea, and the wind blowing so strongly in our faces, it was difficult to hear; but as we neared the cliffs, the deep tones of my uncle's voice were audible, "Now, Mis. Cardonald, do you see yonder little white house? There we must alight and leave our car; from thence to the puffing hole is only ashort hour's walk, but along so beautiful a path that you will scarce feel any fatigue ; for I will take you to the cliffs by the way of our lovely Glenroe, than which there is not in the wide world a valley more sweet.' "" Amidst broken sentences of response on the part of
the lady, which came to us across the car, like "winged words" of "charming!" "interesting!" "intellectual !” we had now arrived at the farm house, where we alighted, and disencumbering our fair companions of their muffling, we proceeded up a long bureen or bridle road which ascended from the plain, till suddenly coming to a gate, we turned in at right angles along a wooded path which ran up one side of a very narrow and dark gorge of the mountain. Opposite to us, the side of the glen presented a lofty wall of black slate, with scarce a ledge which would support a crow; in the centre ran a river, murmuring over its pebbles, like the wail of infancy, when compared to the terrible roar of wave and wind we had just left, and from which the seclusion of our present position entirely sheltered us. The ladies were delighted with the rural beauty of the place. "Quite a happy valley, General," said Mrs. Cardonald. "I can fancy Mr. Walter as another Rasselas, while you might enact Imlac from your superior wisdom." My uncle smiled, and Miss Cardonald suddenly asked me "had I ever fished this stream, and were there large trout in it, or in the small lake from which it issued, and which lay at the head of the gorge." I replied that "Mr. Montfort had often whipped the stream, and caught fine trout there." The General pointed out how thickly the copsewood grew; how rich were the rowan trees, and beech and dwarf oak; and to what a prodigious size the laurels had attained. "The whole glen," said he,
was full of splendid oak trees & century ago, but the Admiral cut them all down to pay a wine bill, and the present stunted forest timber is but à rénaissance of what was originally a fine wood. You perceive how the glen is sheltered from all winds but the south, and my gardener tells me it would grow myrtles and geraniums and other delicate plants successfuily; and the verdure of that long strip of meadow which skirts the stream is as soft and as velvety as the emerald grass which grows on the banks of our far-famed Colnabinna river in this county. I could not help smiling when you spoke of this as a "happy valley;" for whatever be our felicity at
this moment, this glen was once the theatre of utter misery and wretchedness. It is a sad truth, that most of our national' local legends, like the floor of Holyrood Palace, have the stain of blood upon them; and this place has its name of Glenroe, or the red glen, from a deed of murder. In the year 1641, when the Irish massacre took place, a Scotchman lived here; he fed sheep, snared hares, shot red deer, and traded in rabbit skins. Do you see far down across the bend of the river, on a flat bank, a huge cairn of stones? His house was there, but it is now his tomb. He was a hard, stern, money-making man, and an alien in religion from the people. So when the rebellion broke out, they murdered him and his aged maiden sister, an equally unamiable person by all accounts as himself. When we have gone a hundred yards further, we shall open on a long flat stone. It is called "The Macdougal's Red Table," for the rebels dragged the brother and sister to it and there slew them, as if they had been re-enacting the barbaric solemnities of their northern ancestors, and this stone had been a cromlech for human sacrifices. The legend is, that the blood of the victims remained an inch deep on the stone for twenty-four hours after the deed was done; and that all the rains and dews from heaven of near two hundred years cannot efface the guilty stain. But the true fact is, that the rock is covered with the red lichen called, I think, (for I am but a very fallible botanist) Cocciferus, or scarlet cupped lichen, whose colour favors the legend." As he spoke, the gorge was narrowing to our advancing and ascending sreps; the path became more steep; the shadows fell more black; the air was closer; the rocks were darker; the sides of the glen more broken and precipitous, and studded with trees, moss clad rocks, and ferns. "Now," said my uncle, who led the way, "the red table is yonder amidst the long fern; see how the modest ivy, as if ashamed of the cruel slaughter, is wreathing and wrapping it in its shining green mantle. This is our magnificent large leaved Irish ivy, which you, my good English neighbours, cannot always match: but here is a natural arbour, and a soft bank to rest on. I fear
you are fatigued, so pray be seated; and surely a more exquisite glenlandscape could not be met with, as the eye falls from this spot into the whole green and shadowy sweep of the rocky hollow of Glenroe."
Mrs. Cardonald was profuse in her admiration and compliments; her daughter did not speak much, nor did she appear to have any particu lar share of enthusiasm concerning scenery; perhaps she was not an artist. I should say she had more sense than sentiment, and was rather of a reasoning than a romantic nature. She had been collecting Irish mosses and plants; and now said quietly, "I wish I had some of that scarlet licken from the red table, as a curiosity for my herbal." "Well, dear young lady," said my uncle, "I know not of what stuff modern youths are made; but some fifty years ago, when I was a boy-cragsman, your wish should not long have been ungratified." He had scarce finished speaking, when I threw myself over the step bank, along whose side our path crept. The descent was all but perpendicular, but I was strong, and very active, and by swinging myself from branch to branch, and holding on by the stems of trees, I reached the bottom in two minutes, with a few scratches, and having had a couple of hearty rolls from a branch breaking, and the grass being so slippery. Crossing the valley through the tall wet fern, I leaped the brook, at its narrowest and deepest place here, and reached the "red table," where I culled the freshest garland of ivy, and the reddest moss, and returned to my party, rather out of breath, having had a tough scramble up the bank, down whose face I had come rather too hastily, some ten minutes before.
Miss Cardonald received my offering with a pleased smile, and a blush, which sent my boy's blood back on my heart, and awoke a rush of feeling within me. Her mother was exuberant in her praises of my prowess, which made me feel ashamed and half vexed, till my uncle came to the rescue, and said laughingly, "Why it was very awkwardly done: I advise you when next you go over a precipice, Walter, to take it more coolly :-I assure you, Mrs. Cardonald, he was twice as composed when he acted as my aid-decamp on the night of the battle of the
Darragh. The next time you go on a message down a steep bank, Walter, you must keep your feet better, and tumble less. You had a most ungraceful fall yonder, I assure you, just as you completed your descent; and I was by no means certain that you had not broken some of your bones, till I saw you bounding over the river like a stag-hound." And thus the good old man's pleasantry relieved me from all embarrassment. "How singularly still is every thing here," remarked Mrs. Cardonald-(we were all sitting together on a mossy knoll)--" I can hear nothing but the faint bleat of yonder lambs, and that but indistinctly." She had scarcely spoken, when a wild cry or bark resounded from above us, and over a lofty scarp of rock at the opposite side of the gien, a large brown eagle sailed with the wind into the valley: we all started to our feet to watch him. "Ha," said the General, "parlez des agneaux et voila le loup. I hope he is not going to meddle with our bleating population; yet the poor people here say that the eagle is like the agent-he always comes at Lammas time. See how he is wheeling over us."
We watched him as he flew slowly up and down the valley. "I declare he is a noble bird," said the General: a fine golden eagle-the aquila chrysaetos, as my friend Dr. Macrologos of T.C.D. would style him. He is the gentleman of his tribe, and as stately as you please, 'proud eye; plumed limb; fierce claw; strong wing,' is an old definition of this bird. See how he is rowing himself with those strong wings out of the glen; and borne on the breeze, he will be among my rabbits at once, and will scarce go home to his eyrie in the cliff without having made a full meal. But what is that you are saying, Miss Cardonald, about destroying these birds !"
Miss Cardonald." I was telling Mr. Nugent, sir, how my father had all the eagles on his estate in Scotland killed, they were so destructive to his lambs; and how he was in the habit of quoting the practice of a certain grand jury in the North of Ireland, who paid out of the county funds 20s. for every dead eagle, 10s. for every hawk, and so on in a decreasing scale down to foxes, otters, and ferrets."
The General (rather indignant).
"And did these gentlemen classify these animals, noble and ignoble, altogether as vermin?"
Miss Cardonald. "I believe that was the name they gave to all.”
The General (much excited).-“I confess I am not utilitarian enough to join this guerilla warfare against animated nature; if I had lived in King Edgar's days, I would have shot my wolf, and joined heartily in extirpating the savage enemy of my species; but I could not-would not shoot an eagle; he is, at all events when here, my noble guest; and is welcome to his dinner, choose it where he will. Why should we quarrel with him because he has, like ourselves, carnivorous tastes? Í think it is La Fontaine who makes an ox the judge, who with a sober jury of twelve calves, brings in man guilty of death for eating beef and having an appetite for veal. 'Nomine mutato, de te fabula narratur.' the tables were thus to be turned, I am afraid it would go very hard with us all; not to speak of our penchant for venison, and our decided mutton iniquities. But this is a rare and wonderful bird. I could not maim so noble a creature, or break with ruffian shot the proud brown wing which bears him to the sun, or dim that kingly eye."
Miss Cardonald (smiling).-" Yet, sir, I have heard you speak with much enthusiasm of a day in the mountains spent in killing grouse."
The General."A fair rejoinder! dear young lady. I suppose I am a little inconsistent; but wild-fowl like the grouse are our natural food. We are permitted, nay enjoined their use in the Bible. We may arise, kill, and eat;' but we should not arise, kill, and torture; much less ought we to arise, kill, and extirpate; and that, one of the Creator's truest patterns of nobleness; which this bird, living so lonely a life in his lofty eyrie, so dignified in his habits, and so independent and so rarely obtrusive, most surely is.
Mrs. Cardonald.—“ My dear General, I quite agree with you; your sentiments are mine precisely, and I think the sweet Bard of Avon has a fine idea about cruelty to animals, and how excessively improper it is to kill flies, or tread on a beetle, if we can possibly help it. The late Judge lost a good number of lambs off his sheep
braes in Glenmorloch; but the truth was, he had a dishonest shepherd, who purloined the animals, and laid the blame on the eagles, and the Judge was too much occupied professionally and too ignorant of country matters, to attend to his Highland farms; so he would cry, Shoot the earns-shoot them all;' but at all events he never would suffer me to interfere in any thing, he was clever himself and wise." Here the lady's voice sunk to a lachrymose tone, and as we pursued our way up the path, she went off into one of her long, soft, silly, reiterative monotones, in which she repeated herself a hundred times-in which she spoke much and said nothing-in which she was droll enough to listen to at the beginning, but became dull and wearisome at the end. Her daughter seemed to be a reaction from this; she certainly was at times a little short in her manner, matter-of-fact, and even abrupt. Perhaps she inherited this from her father, old Glenmorloch, who had been a Scotch Lord of Session, with a proverbially short temper, but surely greatly softened in its transmission to his fair daughter.
We had emerged up from the glen, and were standing on a piece of high table land adjoining the cliffs. "Now, ladies," said the General, "take your last look at bonny Glenroe, its woods, its waters, its shadows, and its stillness, for you must henceforth battle with the wind and hear the waves roar. Ha! here we are; the gale, too, is lulling. Yonder is the Thubber-aThallin, about three hundred yards off, just under where the sea-gull is wheeling, and there goes a splendid shot from its great stone gun-barrel." As he spoke, a bright green jet of water arose from the distant rocks in a liquid pillar of considerable height, and, broken and shattered into a million of diamonds, or aqua marine gems, as it fell back, was swept through its funnel into the deep sea vault from which it had been forced by the action of the waves and the wind below, and accompanied by a report as loud as that of a sixtypounder.
"Well done! brave Thubber," said the General; "that was a noble shot, but we shall have an unwished-for shower-bath by standing here. The
next discharge will wet us through, and though blue water' will not give cold, it will spoil clothes. So, Walter, let us bring the ladies round to windward of the Thubber, and we can stand within a few yards of it, and sustain no damage." This we accordingly did, and remained for nearly an hour watching this singular natural phenomenon.
"This Thubber-a-Thallin," said the General, "signifies the 'Salt Fountain,' and for brightness, volume, and power, Versailles can boast of nothing like it. It is also called 'M'Loughlin's Cup'-I never heard why. Puffing holes like these are common among the Irish sea-cliffs; the finest of them is in the county of Donegal, on the noble promontory of Horn Head. This, when compared to that, is but as a pop-gun to a pistol shot. On the same precipitous and ironbound coasts are the loftiest cliffs perhaps in Great Britain-certainly in Ireland. They are called the cliffs of Slieve League, aud are close on two thousand feet high. Still more southward, as Donegal approaches Sligo, there is on the sea-shore what is called the Fairy Hole.' Here, when the winds are high, a perpetual mist issues from the orifice, which is accompanied by a wild sound like chanting, and so loud as to be heard from a distance. This I have never seen, but know it to be the fact."
"Yes," I added as my uncle paused, "and we have the subjoined testimony of Peter Sleveen, who was there in one of his wanderings, and actually looked down into the hole during a gale of wind, and saw through the rifts of the mist most wondrous sights: a round table covered with a sea-green cloth, and tassels of searack, and seated about it a whole bevy of musicians, and none of them more than six inches high; little old men with brown coats, and yellow waistcoats, and grey small-clothes, and sky-blue caps, and white silks, and diamond knee-buckles; and tiny old ladies also, no bigger, Peter said, than a child's doll, in red velvet gowns, and large fans, and their cheeks beautifully rouged, and their hair powdered. And they were all singing and playing on flutes, and trombones, trumpets, and triangles, and jewsharps, tambourines and barrel-organs. And the king of the fairies was there, a little
old minnikin of a man, dressed all in green and gold, with gold buckles to his shoes, each of them as large as a pancake, and a gold chain dangling from his fob, and real gold spectacles on his nose like a complete gentleman, as no doubt he was; and the weeshy creature was seated on a three-legged stool in the middle of the table, and sawing away with his fiddle at 'Planxty O'Connor Dhu.' And all this time, said Peter, the great waves were rolling and rushing into the cave, and whirling round its sides, but never touched or wet the good people or their table; and big fishes were there whales, and sharks, and dolphins, and congour eels, grinning and gaping and glaring at the little folk, and swimming round them, but did not touch or harm them, or offer to lay a hand on them, but kept still going round and round the inside of the cave, listening to the fairy music, and humouring it too: the sharks whisking their tails to and fro, and snapping their white teeth; and the dolphins splashing the salt water up into Peter's face in their admiration of the performance; and the congour eels wagging and wriggling their bodies, and winking with their eyes; and the whales swimming slowly, and beating time steadily with their fins on their long fat sides to the Planxty; and the little people, all the time, sitting in the hollow of the water, quite dry and comfortable. At last Peter became so excited that he could stand it no longer, but got desperate; so pulling off his boots, he seized his kit, and was just in the act of slipping on his dancing shoes, that he might hark in with the concert, and fling and foot it to the Planxty, when the wind ceased, and the mist fell thick and heavy, and the music died away in a deep mournful wail; and when Peter bent over the funnel to look down, all was dark and still; he heard nothing but the sobbing of the waves, and the hollow plashing of the water against the sides of the cavern. And so ends my version of Peter Sleveen's vision at the Fairy Hole."
"Which," said my uncle, smiling, "would have been told with more spirit and about as much truth by Peter himself, whose semi-insane stories please my fancy, though I dislike his dancing, and pronounce it a satire upon our common manhood. I