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are not well acquainted with Ireland, I have been particular in giving the time and place, in order to afford them an opportunity of ascertaining the fact.
I have thus far digressed from my subject, presuming that this detail of fairyism will not not be unacceptable to the reader. To resume:-Reilly's story was believed in general, and several of the neighbours, whose friends had died suddenly, came to enquire of him if they were among the good people. His inventive genius was never at a loss for an appropriate answer. After having spent five months raising the wind in this manner, I, for the first time in my life, began to reflect, being hitherto guided solely by impulse. I felt compunction for the life I was leading, and saw that it was not the way to fortune or to fame; for though we had been successful in our schemes, “what is ill got is in general ill gone.” We indulged freely in liquor, and lived as much above our finances as our credit enabled us. I therefore dissolved partnership with Reilly, and put on a resolution to reform. In consonance with this, I with much difficulty prevailed on myself to dishurden my conscience of its accumulated guilt by going to confession. The reader can imagine what a mass of dirty work I had to wade through, and with what reluctance I undertook this Augean task, having to account for all my thoughts, words, and deeds, since I had left college. Before I could get absolution I was obliged to confess once every week for a month, and ultimately to go to the Bishop, on account of the sacerdotal functions which I had assumed in hearing confessions in the chapel.
Much as the system of auricular confession and absolution is censured and ridiculed, I deem it, (if not abused, the most salutary and national ingredient in the religion. I speak from conviction, when I say, that it operates as a restraint on evil doings. Many refrain from bad acts, to avoid the disagreeable necessity of confessing them. I do not imagine that any person is induced to commit a crime from a prospect of being absolved from its moral guilt, for absolution will not be given unless where sincere repentance and a firm resolution of amendment shall appear to the priest ; and it seldom happens that a person does an evil act with an intention to repent for it. When the mind is burdened with guilt, it feels little remorse in adding to the weight, and is less scrupulous in the commission of crimes than if it were at ease: whereas, when it is exonerated from an oppressive charge, its aversion to those acts that induced its past sufferings is increased, while the delight it experiences renders it more tenacious of its purity.
It was thus with me, when, having whitewashed my conscience, I steered my course towards Dublin, with a light heart and an empty pocket, in search of a tuition as before; and after having made several unsuccessful applications, I ultimately succeeded in engaging, for three months, on trial, with a magistrate in the county of Kildare, for two guineas, and board and lodgings, with a promise of an increase at the end of the quarter, should I give satisfaction. This was a change from one extreme to another
from unbounded liberty to absolute slavery: and if the patience with which I bore it was not a proof of my resolution to amend, it at least entitled me to my
credit for pliancy of temper. There were three pupils placed under my charge, the eldest was twelve, and the youngest eight years old. I was desired to call them Master Henry, Master John, and Master George. I was not to correct nor reprove them, nor make free with them: to do all the duties of a nursery-maid. Should I act contrary to these orders they were desired to complain of me.
I was obliged to take my meals at a side-table in the parlour, while pupils took theirs with the family. This was a most grievous restraint on me, for I was so very awkward, that I did not know how to use a knife or fork, and was therefore a constant subject of ridicule to them all: my language was a piebald compound of English and Irish, and whenever I spoke I was laughed at. I was so shy that I would rather starve than ask for more than I was served with first. The magistrate, who was very stingy, knew this well, and took advantage of it. He was too polite to help me plentifully, or to press me; he often complimented me on the smallness of my appetite, and I endeavoured to support the reputation at the expence of a lank belly. I was not even allowed the run of the kitchen, which was my proper element; nor to make free with the servants, though I was obliged to sleep in the same room with them. I verily believe that I should have starved were it not for the good-nature of a man servant who used to steal potatoes for me. The parents spoke of me in the presence of the children with contempt, and as one of the common people. Yet, after all this, it was expected that I should induce my pupils to attend to their business and behave with propriety, through sheer reverence for my power.
To this treatment I submitted with perfect resignation, and gave such satisfaction that at the end of the quarter he made me his clerk, and allowed me the perquisites arising from writing summonses and informations, in addition to my former salary. This I turned to good advantage; for the presents I used to receive from litigants, for interposing on their behalf, were considerable; for the magistrate was partially inclined towards me. At this time of the tutorship and clerkship, I made about 201. a year. After having continued in this situation for a year and a quarter, I entered Trinity College as sizar.
The average number of sizarships in Trinity College is about ten every year, and the number of candidates from eighty to one hundred, of various ages, from sixteen to forty years; the majority of whom have long experience in teaching. School merit alone, as far as it can be distinguished, succeeds; but, ceteris paribus, the preference is given to youth. The advantages attending a sizarship, are, first, an exemption from the college and tutor's fees, which amount to fourteen pounds a year; commons gratis for four years; besides some lucrative offices and chambers, which are conferred according to merit. Independent of these, a sizarship is a criterion of classical attainments; it is a strong recommendation to tuitions and situations in schools; so that, altogether, it is highly desirable. Though sizars are the lowest description of students in college, yet they are subject to nothing humiliating; formerly they were obliged to wait on the fellows at dinner, but much to the credit of the Board, that has been latterly dispensed with, so that they are liable to no servile duties, and
have a separate table to themselves. Some of the brightest ornaments of the Church, the Bar, and the Senate, have been of this class. As a proof of this, I need only mention a Curran, a Plunkett, a Magee, and a Yelverton. The encouragement and facilities for literary promotion held out by this university, polish and refine for sterling ornaments to the state and to society, several of those rich but rude minerals of the mind, with which Ireland abounds, and which otherwise would moulder away under the rust of ignorance and neglect. It admits as students, persons of all religious persuasions indisciminately; but with the exception of sizarships, the beneficial places are conferred on members of the Established Church alone, whereby a strong inducement to proselytism is held out to the poorer class, the majority of whom are Catholics.
There were, in my time, in college, about twenty apostates who had been schoolfellows of mine, and who were originally intenıled for the priesthood. I think I may safely say, that one half of the scholarships (which average twelve every year) are conferred on converts from Catholicism. Among the facilities afforded by this university, it dispenses with attendance on lectures, and residence within the college, both of which are required at Oxford, and the former at Cambridge; so that a student may pursue his studies where he pleases, being required only to attend the quarterly examinations, and is not necessarily subject to any other expences than, as fellow commoner, 261. a year, and as pensioner, 141. After having gained a sizarship I became a convert to Protestantism, not from a conviction of the errors of Popery, but merely with a view of gaining a scholarship. I felt much compunction at first, but it wore away by degrees, yet the principles of Catholicism were so deeply imprinted in my mind, that I was still partial to it. When I became a little more enlightened, I perceived that there were many silly ceremonies connected with it; but though I deemed it less rational, I did not consider it less genuine on that account. In a short time after I had entered into college, my tutor procured me a private tuition with a gentleman of respectability and fortune in the Queen's County, who gave me a salary of fifty pounds a year, with board and lodgings. Rude and boorish as I was he admitted me to his own table, took great pains to refine my manners, and treated me with high respect. In my second year I succeeded in gaining a scholarship; whereupon my salary was raised to 601. a year.
After having held this tuition for three years, in which time I prepared two of my pupils for college, (having four in all,) I became a Member of the Honourable Society of the King's Inus as a student, and took up my residence in college, where I enjoyed the benefits of my scholarship, which were chambers and commons gratis, with some other trivial perquisites; whereupon I got tuitions in Dublin, which brought me in about 1201. a year. I continued here for two years, at which period I had secured all my terms in the King's Inns, and taken out a bachelor's degree.
The forms necessary for the Irish Bar are to serve nine terms in the King's Inns, Dublin, and eight in some of the Inns of Court in London. The latter requisite is rather an unnecessary hardship on the Irish students, and does not seem to be founded on reason, it only tends to throw difficulties in the way: it is not attended with any beneficial effect, for the majority of the students reside no longer in London than while they are eating their dinners.
In compliance with this unmeaning ceremony I came to London and entered Gray's Inn, it being mostly frequented by Irish students on account of the facility of keeping terms. In a few months after I got a reportership, with a salary of 21. 108. a week on the Morning Herald Having continued on this establishment for one year, I was engaged on the Morning Chronicle for 41. a week; I held this situation for three years, at which period I had realized about three hundred pounds (for I lived economically.) I then returned to Ireland, and was called to the Bar.
I have been often told that I deserved much credit for having raised myself from the lowest state in society to so respectable a profession, without
any assistance or patronage, but I could never see what claim I have to merit; my abilities never exceeded mediocrity, and in all my struggles I never experienced more hardship or privation than I should if I had acquiesced in my original state, so that I owe all to ambition.
Nothing can be more uninteresting than the present state of theatrical affairs. Covent-garden (whose head is in Chancery) struggles to keep on its legs, but bears itself most unseemly; whilst Drury-lane (whose head is also in a precarious predicament) fights feebly in its distress. New operas, and plays, and farces, are produced in clusters, and die as regularly as they are produced. John Brown, the work of a Brown, has had only a few nights' immortality; and Mr. Charles Kemble has played Othello, and been well dressed on that occasion. *Mr. Braham has taken a bout with the John Bull for calling him a Jew. And a piece called the French Libertine, originally translated, by way of exercise, out of the Spanish into the French, by Washington Irving, and rendered into English from Irving's copy, has alarmed the moralities of the play-going British public for several nights. Nothing really succeeds. The Olympic is going, going, going—And poor little benefit-building Knight is gone - Liston is occasionally poorlyMacready is out of town—Young has descended from Tragedy's high trotting horse-Clown Sotheby's sprained ancle does not mend-and all is vexation and trouble of spirit!
Mr. Matthews is preparing his new Entertainment, we hear-or rather, others are preparing it as usual for him. Mr. Yates will also produce a budget of songs and anecdotes at the Adelphi about the same time. This sort of cabriolet entertainment, all drawn by one horse, is getting
Covent-garden should start Reeve, and Drury-lane Harley, and then we should have a diversity.
SKETCH OF THE REMARKABLE PERSONS WHO HAVE DIED IN FRANCE DURING 1925.
Paris, Jan. 10, 1826. MY DEAR FRIEND,—Before I introduce you into the literary bazaar, already well stocked with new or furbished articles of this year's manufacture, I cannot refrain from throwing a parting glance over the past year, so rich in disappointments and absurdities of every kind, from the mining companies of England, to the three per cents of M. de Villele; from M. Sosthènes' pious reforms in our opera, to the Jesuits' abominable law against sacrilege. Let us begin by a brief review of the remarkable men who have been removed from the stage within the year 1825. As royalty is sure to attract attention enough, I shall pass over the King of Bavaria and the Emperor Alexander.
The French peerage has lost nine of its members, of whom only three are likely to have any reputation in England. Among these is M. de Lacepède, known from his continuation of Buffon. As a member of the imperial senate, he had always set speeches ready, in support of the harshest measures. One of his harangues, which obtained some celebrity, is a defence of the rigours of the conscription and of the levy of the Ban and Arrière-han in 1812. He asserted that military maneuvres and excursions to the frontiers furnished agreeable recreation and salutary exercise for all classes and all ages. Napoleon said of him, “ I don't know what that man does to himself; he is a head taller than I, and yet I am always obliged to stoop when I speak to him." When he published his continuation of Buffon, an epigram appeared, in which his treatise on reptiles was thus eulogized :
Traité complet, s'il eut parlé de lui. He left many manuscript works behind him, written probably like his printed ones, in the style of a rhetor-never in that of a thinker. One posthumous historical work is going to be published, in which he affects to prove, as a naturalist, that rivers and mountains are the real and inevitable boundaries of nations. He will, of course, demonstrate to your satisfaction, that Scotland and Ireland cannot belong to England ; that Italy is separated into two countries by the Appenines; that every island is, of right, an independent state; and that, notwithstanding roads, canals, and steam-boats, nations are divided by physical obstacles, and not by the difference of institutions, or even of languages. In proof of the latter position, he adduces the fact that, in France, German is spoken in Alsace; Basque in Bayonne and its neighbourhood; Provençal, or Languedocian, in the southern provinces; and Celtic in Brittany. I have said enough to give you an idea of this book, which will of course be praised to the skies by all our journals, which lavished their encomiums on the insipid work of Professor Villemain.
The second peer whom we have lost during the year is the Count Ferrand, author of a work of very small merit, entitled Exprit de l'Histoire. It was much puffed in its day, because it had a monarchical tendency, and appeared at the moment when Napoleon was Marcu, 1826.