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As he was returning late in the evening from this farewell hunt, passing through a lonely glen he came upon an old man playing backgammon, betting on his left hand against his right, and crying and cursing because the right would win. "Come and bet with me," said he to Sculloge."Faith I have but a sixpence in the world," was the reply; "but if you like I'll wager that on the right." "Done," said the old man, who was a Druid; "if you win I'll give you a hundred guineas." So the game was played, and the old man, whose right hand was always the winner, paid over the guineas and told Sculloge to go to the devil with them.
Instead of following this bit of advice, however, the young farmer went home and began to pay his debts, and next week he went to the glen and won another game, and made the Druid rebuild his mill. So Sculloge became prosperous again, and by and by he tried his luck a third time, and won a game played for a beautiful wife. The Druid sent her to his house the next morning before he was out of bed, and his servants came knocking at the door and crying, "Wake up! wake up! Master Sculloge, there's a young lady here to see you." "Bedad, it's the vanithee, [a corruption of Gaelic bhan a teaigh, lady of the house,'] herself," said Sculloge; and getting up in a hurry, he spent three quarters of an hour in dressing himself. At last he went down stairs, and there on the sofa was the prettiest lady ever seen in Ireland Naturally, Sculloge's heart beat fast and his voice trembled, as he begged the lady's pardon for this Druidic style of wooing, and besought her not to feel obliged to stay with him unless she really liked him. But the young lady, who was a king's daughter from a far country, was wondrously charmed with the handsome farmer, and so well did they get along that a priest was sent for without further delay, and they were married before sundown. Sabina was the vanithee's name; and she warned her husband to have no more dealings with Lassa Buaicht, the old man of the glen. So for a while all went happily, and the Druidic bride was as good as she was beautiful. But by and by Sculloge began to think he was not earning money fast enough. He could not bear to see his wife's white hands soiled with work, and thought it would be a fine thing if he could only afford to keep a few more servants, and drive about with Sabina in an elegant carriage, and see her clothed in silk and adorned with jewels.
"I will play one more game and set the stakes high," said Sculloge to himself one evening, as he sat pondering over these things; and so, without consulting Sabina, he stole away to the glen, and played a game for ten thousand guineas. But the evil Druid was now ready to pounce on his prey, and he did not play as of old. Sculloge broke into a cold sweat with agony and terror as he saw the left hand win! Then the face of Lassa Buaicht grew dark and stern, and he laid on Sculloge the curse which is laid upon the solar hero in misfortune, that he should never sleep twice
under the same roof, or ascend the couch of the dawn-nymph, his wife, until he should have procured and brought to him the sword of light. When Sculloge reached home, more dead than alive, he saw that his wife knew all. Bitterly they wept together, but she told him that with courage all might be set right. She gave him a Druidic horse, which bore him swiftly over land and sea, like the enchanted steed of the Arabian Nights, until he reached the castle of his wife's father, who, as Sculloge now learned, was a good Druid, the brother of the evil Lassa Buaicht. This good Druid told him that the sword of light was kept by a third brother, the powerful magician, Fiach O'Duda, who dwelt in an enchanted castle, which many brave heroes had tried to enter, but the dark sorcerer had slain them all. Three high walls surrounded the castle, and many had scaled the first of these, but none had ever returned alive. But Sculloge was not to be daunted, and taking from his father-in-law a black steed, he set out for the fortress of Fiach O'Duda. Over the first high wall nimbly leaped the magic horse, and Sculloge called aloud on the Druid to come out and surrender his sword. Then came out a tall, dark man, with coalblack eyes and hair, and melancholy visage, and made a furious sweep at Sculloge with the flaming blade. But the Druidic beast sprang back over the wall in the twinkling of an eye and rescued his rider, leaving, however, his tail behind in the court-yard. Then Sculloge returned in triumph to his father-in-law's palace, and the night was spent in feasting and revelry.
Next day Sculloge rode out on a white horse, and when he got to Fiach's castle, he saw the first wall lying in rubbish. He leaped the second, and the same scene occurred as the day before, save that the horse escaped unharmed.
The third day Sculloge went out on foot, with a harp like that of Orpheus in his hand, and as he swept its strings the grass bent to listen and the trees bowed their heads. The castle walls all lay in ruins, and Sculloge made his way unhindered to the upper room, where Fiach lay in Druidic slumber, lulled by the harp. He seized the sword of light, which was hung by the chimney sheathed in a dark scabbard, and making the best of his way back to the good king's palace, mounted his wife's steed, and scoured over land and sea until he found himself in the gloomy glen where Lassa Buaicht was still crying and cursing and betting on his left hand against his right.
"Here, treacherous fiend, take your sword of light!" shouted Sculloge in tones of thunder: and as he drew it from its sheath the whole valley was lighted up as with the morning sun, and next moment the head of the wretched Druid was lying at his feet, and his sweet wife, who had come to meet him, was laughing and crying in his arms.
RANDMOTHER is so old, she has so many wrinkles, and her hair is quite white; but her eyes! they shine like two stars, nay, they are much finer-they are so mild, so blissful to look into. And then she knows the most amusing stories, and she has a gown with large, large flowers on it, and it is of such thick silk that it actually rustles. Grandmother knows so much, for she has lived long before father and mother-that is quite sure.
Grandmother has a psalm-book with thick silver clasps, and in that book she often reads. In the middle of it lies a rose, which is quite flat and dry; but it is not so pretty as the roses she has in the glass, yet she smiles the kindliest to it, nay, even tears come into her eyes!
Why does Grandmother look thus on the withered flower in the old book? Do you know why?
Every time that Grandmother's tears fall on the withered flower the colors become fresher; the rose then swells, and the whole room is filled with fragrance; the walls sink as if they were but mists; and round about it is the green, the delightful grove, where the sun shines between the leaves. And Grandmotheryes, she is quite young; she is a beautiful girl, with yellow hair, with round red cheeks, pretty and charming-no rose is fresher. Yet the eyes, the mild, blissful eyes, yes, they are still Grandmother's! By her side sits a man, young and strong; he presents the rose to her and she smiles. Yet Grandmother does not smile 80,-yes; the smile comes, he is gone. Many thoughts and many forms go past. That handsome man is gone; the rose lies in the psalm-book, and grandmother, - yes, she again sits like an old woman, and looks on the withered rose that lies in the book.
Now grandmother is dead!
She sat in the arm-chair, and told a long, long, sweet story. "And now it is ended!" said she, "and I am quite tired: let me now sleep a little!" And so she laid her head back to rest. She drew her breath, she slept, but it became more and more still; and her face was so full of peace and happiness-it was as if the sun's rays passed over it. She smiled, and then they said that she was dead.
She was laid in the black coffin; she lay swathed in the white linen: she was so pretty, and yet the eyes were closed-but all the wrinkles were gone. She lay with a smile around her mouth; her hair was so silvery white, so venerable, one was not at all afraid to look on the dead, for it was the sweet, benign grandmother. And the psalm-book was laid in the coffin under her head (she herself had requested it), and the rose lay in the old book-and then they buried grandmother.
On the grave, close under the church wall, they planted a rose
tree, and it became full of roses, and the nightingale sang over it, and the organ in the church played the finest psalms that were in the book under the dead one's head. And the moon shone straight down on the grave-but the dead was not there: every child could go quietly in the night-time and pluck a rose there by the church-yard wall. The dead know more than all we living know -the dead know the awe we should feel at something so strange as their coming to us. The dead are better than us all, and therefore they do not come.
There is earth over the coffin, there is earth within it; the psalm-book with its leaves is dust, the rose with all its recollections has gone to dust. But above it bloom new roses, above it sings the nightingale, and the organ plays: we think of the old grandmother with the mild, eternally young eyes. Eyes can never die! Ours shall once again see her, young and beautiful, as when she for the first time kissed the fresh red rose which is now dust in the grave.-Hans Andersen.
TOWARDS twelve o'clock Mr. Lytton Bulwer was announced, and enter the author of "Pelham." I had made up my mind how he should look, and between prints and descriptions thought I could scarcely be mistaken in my idea of his person. No two things could be more unlike, however, then the ideal of Mr. Bulwer in my mind, and the real Mr. Bulwer who followed the announcment. I liked his manners extremely. He ran up to Lady Blessington, with the joyous heartiness of a boy let out of school; and the "How d'ye, Bulwer?" went round as he shook hands with everybody in the style of welcome usually given to "the best fellow in the world." Bulwer's head is phrenologically a fine one. His forehead retreats very much, but is very broad and well-marked, and the whole air is that of decided mental superiority. His nose is aquiline. His complexion is fair, his hair profuse, curly, and of light auburn. A more good-natured, habitually smiling expression could hardly be imagined. . . Í can imagine no style of conversation calculated to be more agreeable than Bulwer's. Gay, quick, various, half-satirical, and always fresh and different from everybody else. Bulwer's voice, like his brother's, is exceedingly lover-like and sweet. -N. P. Willis.
IF Mr. Dicken's characters were gathered together, they would constitute a town populous enough to send a representation to
Parliament. Let us enter. The style of architecture is unparalleled. There is an individuality about the buildings. In some obscure way they remind one of human faces. There are houses slylooking, houses wicked-looking, houses pompous-looking. Heaven bless us what a rakish pump! What a self-important town hall! What a hard-hearted prison! The dead walls are covered with advertisements of Mr. Sleary's circus. Newman Noggs comes shambling along. Mr. and the Misses Pecksniff come sailing down the sunny side of the street. Miss Mercy's parasol is gay; papa's neckcloth is white and terribly starched. Dick Swiveller leans against a wall, his hands in his pockets, a primrose held between his teeth, contemplating the opera of Punch and Judy, which is being conducted under the management of Messrs. Codling and Short. You turn a corner, and you meet the coffin of little Paul Dombey borne along. In the afternoon you hear the rich tones of the organ from Miss La Creevy's first floor, for Tom Pinch has gone to live there now; and as you know all the people as you know your own brothers and sisters, and consequently require no letters of introduction, you go up and talk with the dear old fellow about all his friends and your friends, and towards evening he takes your arm, and you walk out to see poor Nelly's grave.-Alexander Smith.
CHARLES MACKAY is the first poet, so far as my knowledge extends, of the new epoch; the day-star of a brighter day of poetry than the world has yet seen. At the same time I fear that only the initiated-that is, the individuals with high moral organs, more or less cultivated-will understand and feel the divine harmony of his poetry. But his fame will rise and last. -George Combe.
HAPPY is the privilege of genius that can "float down the hungry generations" in a song; and, so far as I may venture to prophesy, such will be the fortune of Charles Mackay. He speaks emphatically for the people. Not inferior to Tennyson in artistic skill, he possesses some of the pathetic humour of Hood, with a simplicity which sometimes reminds me of Longfellow; but with a sprightliness, elasticity, and versatility which none of them possess. Douglas Jerrold.
(From the Popular Science Monthly.)
A SINGULAR RACE.-A French traveller, M. Duveyrier, describes, in "Ocean Highways," a curious race, the Imôhagh (called in our maps Tauricks or Tuâregs), who dwell in the heart of the Sahara. They are pure Berbers, with white skin, but their uncleanly habits give them the appearance of blacks. The men alone wear a thick black veil over the face, while the women dispense with that