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paintings, too little relieved by imagination or passion to excite or gratify the curiosity of the reader. He is happiest among the fanciful legends of his native country, treasuring up their romantic features, quoting fragments of song, describing a lake or ruin, hitting off a dialogue or merry jest, and chronicling the peculiarities of his countrymen in their humours, their superstition, and rustic simplicity. The following is the account which he puts into the mouth of one of his characters, of the last of the Irish serpents.
which, to be sure, it never can be: and that's the way St Patrick settled the last of the sarpints, sir.
The national character of Ireland was further illustrated by two collections of tales published anonymously, entitled To-day in Ireland, 1825; and Yesterday in Ireland, 1829. Though imperfectly acquainted with the art of a novelist, this writer is often correct and happy in his descriptions and historical summaries. Like Banim, he has ventured on the stormy period of 1798, and has been more minute than his great rival in sketching the circumstances of the rebellion. MR CROWE, author of The English in Italy and France, a work of superior The merit, is said to be the author of these tales. REV. CESAR OTWAY, of Dublin, in his Sketches of Ireland, and his Tour in Connaught, &c. 1839, has displayed many of the most valuable qualities of a novelist, without attempting the construction of a regular story. His lively style and humorous illustrations of the manners of the people render his topographical works very pleasant as well as instructive reading. Mr Otway was a keen theolo gian, a determined anti-Catholic, but full of Irish feeling and universal kindliness. He died in March
Sure everybody has heard tell of the blessed St Patrick, and how he druve the sarpints and all manner of venomous things out of Ireland; how he 'bothered all the varmint' entirely. But for all that, there was one ould sarpint left, who was too cunning to be talked out of the country, and made to drown himself. St Patrick didn't well know how to manage this fellow, who was doing great havoc; till, at long last he bethought himself, and got a strong iron chest made with nine boults upon it. So one fine morning he takes a walk to where the sarpint used to keep; and the sarpint, who didn't like the saint in the least, and small blame to him for that, began to hiss and show his teeth at him like anything. Oh,' says St Patrick, says he, where's the use of making such a piece of work about a gentleman like myself coming to see you. 'Tis a nice house I have got made for you agin the winter; for I'm going to civilise the GERALD GRIFFIN, author of some excellent Irish whole country, man and beast,' says he, and you can tales, was born at Limerick on the 12th of December come and look at it whenever you please, and 'tis my- 1803. His first schoolmaster appears to have been self will be glad to see you.' The sarpint hearing such a true Milesian pedant and original, for one of his smooth words, thought that though St Patrick had advertisements begins-When ponderous pollydruve all the rest of the sarpints into the sea, he meant syllables promulgate professional powers!'-and he no harm to himself; so the sarpint walks fair and boasted of being one of three persons in Ireland who easy up to see him and the house he was speaking knew how to read correctly; namely, the Bishop of about. But when the sarpint saw the nine boults Killaloe, the Earl of Clare, and himself, Mr Mac upon the chest, he thought he was sould (betrayed), and was for making off with himself as fast as ever he Eligot! Gerald was afterwards placed under a pricould. Tis a nice warm house, you see,' says St vate tutor, whence he was removed to attend a school at Limerick. While a mere youth, he became conPatrick, and 'tis a good friend I am to you.' 'I nected with the Limerick Advertiser newspaper; but thank you kindly, St Patrick, for your civility,' says the sarpint; but I think it's too small it is for me having written a tragedy, he migrated to London in meaning it for an excuse, and away he was going.imself in literature and the drama. Disappointhis twentieth year, with the hope of distinguishing 'Too small!' says St Patrick, stop, if you please,' says he, you're out in that, my boy, anyhow-I am sure 'twill fit you completely; and I'll tell you what,' says he, I'll bet you a gallon of porter,' says he, that if you'll only try and get in, there'll be plenty of room for you.' The sarpint was as thirsty as could be with his walk; and 'twas great joy to him the thoughts of doing St Patrick out of the gallon of porter; so, swelling himself up as big as he could, in he got to the chest, all but a little bit of his tail. There, now,' says he, I've won the gallon, for you see the house is too small for me, for I can't get in my tail.' When what does St Patrick do, but he comes behind the great heavy lid of the chest, and, putting his two hands to it, down he slaps it with a bang like thunder. When the rogue of a sarpint saw the lid coming down, in went his tail like a shot, for fear of being whipped off him, and St Patrick began at once to boult the nine iron boults. Oh, murder! wont you let me out, St Patrick' says the sarpint; I've lost the bet fairly, and I'll pay you the gallon like a man.' Let you out, my darling,' says St Patrick, to be sure I will, by all manner of means; but you see I haven't time Low, so you must wait till to-morrow.' And so he cook the iron chest, with the sarpint in it, and pitches it into the lake here, where it is to this hour for certain; and 'tis the sarpint struggling down at the bottom that makes the waves upon it. Many is the ing man (continued Picket) besides myself has heard the sarpint crying out from within the chest under the water Is it to-morrow yet?-is it to-morrow yet?
ment very naturally followed, and Gerald betook himself to reporting for the daily press and contributing to the magazines. In 1825 he succeeded in getting an operatic melodrama brought out at the English Opera House; and in 1827 appeared his Holland-Tide, or Munster Popular Tales, a series of short stories, thoroughly Irish, and evincing powers of observation and description from which much might be anticipated. This fortunate beginning was followed up the same year by Tales of the Mas ster Festivals, containing Card-Drawing, the Half-Sir, and, Suil Dhuv the Coiner, three volumes. nationality of these tales, and the talent of the author in depicting the mingled levity and pathos of the Irish character, rendered them exceedingly popular. His reputation was still further increased by the publication, in 1829, of The Collegians; a Second Series of Tales of the Munster Festivals, three volumes, which proved to be the most popular of all his works, and was thought by many to place Griffin as an Irish novelist above Banim and Carleton. Some of the scenes possess a deep and melancholy interest; for, in awakening terror, and painting the sterner passions and their results, Griffin displayed the art and power of a master. The Collegians' says a writer in the Edinburgh Review, is a very liv-interesting and well-constructed tale, full of incident and passion. It is a history of the clandestine union of a young man of good birth and fortune with s girl of far inferior rank, and of the consequences
which too naturally result. The gradual decay of an attachment which was scarcely based on anything better than sensual love-the irksomeness of concealment-the goadings of wounded pride-the suggestions of self-interest, which had been hastily neglected for an object which proves inadequate when gained-all these combining to produce, first, neglect, and lastly, aversion, are interestingly and vividly described. An attachment to another, superior both in mind and station, springs up at the same time; and to effect a union with her, the unhappy wife is sacrificed. It is a terrible representation of the course of crime; and it is not only forcibly, but naturally displayed. The characters sometimes express their feelings with unnecessary energy, strong emotions are too long dwelt upon, and incidents rather slowly developed; but there is no common skill and power evinced in the conduct of the tale.' In 1830 Mr Griffin was again in the field with his Irish sketches. Two tales, The Rivals, and Tracey's Ambition, were well received, though improbable in plot and ill-arranged in incident. The author continued his miscellaneous labours for the press, and published, besides a number of contributions to periodicals, another series of stories, entitled Tales of the Five Senses. These are not equal to his Munster Tales,' but are, nevertheless, full of fine Irish description and character, and of that dark and touching power' which Mr Carleton assigns as the distinguishing excellence of his brother novelist. In 1832 the townsmen of Mr Griffin devolved upon him a very pleasing duty -to wait upon Mr Moore the poet, and request that he would allow himself to be put in nomination for the representation of the city of Limerick in parliament. Mr Moore prudently declined this honour, but appears to have given a characteristically kind and warm reception to his young enthusiastic visitor, and his brother, who accompanied him.
Seven dreary winters gone and spent,
I left my Irish home and you.
How passed those years I will not say;
And blest be he for all their good.
I left my youthful sister then, And now in sweet religious rest
I see my sister there again.
Returning from that stormy world,
How pleasing is a sight like this! To see that bark with canvass furled Still riding in that port of peace.
WILLIAM CARLETON, author of Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry, was born at Prillisk, in the parish of Clogher, and county of Tyrone, in the year 1798. His father was a person in lowly station-a peasant-but highly and singularly gifted. His memory was unusually retentive, and as a teller of old tales, legends, and historical anecdotes, he was unrivalled; and his stock of them was inexhaustible. He spoke the Irish and English languages with nearly equal fluency. His mother was skilled in the native music of the country, and possessed the sweetest and brated for the effect she gave to the Irish cry or most exquisite of human voices.* She was celekeene.' 'I have often been present,' says her son, 'when she has "raised the keene" over the corpse of some relative or neighbour, and my readers may this expression of her sympathy, when I assure them judge of the melancholy charm which accompanied that the general clamour of violent grief was gradu
Notwithstanding the early success and growing reputation of Mr Griffin, he appears to have soon become tired of the world, and anxious to retreat from its toils and its pleasures. He had been edu-ally diminished, from admiration, until it became cated in the Roman Catholic faith, and one of his ultimately hushed, and no voice was heard but her own-wailing in sorrowful but solitary beauty.' With sisters had, about the year 1830, taken the veil. such parents Carleton could not fail to imbibe the This circumstance awakened the poetical and devotional feelings and desires that formed part of his peculiar feelings and superstitions of his country. His humble home was a fitting nursery for Irish character, and he grew daily more anxious to quit genius. His first schoolmaster was a Connaught man, the busy world for a life of religious duty and sernamed Pat Frayne, the prototype of Mat Kavanagh vice. The following verses, written at this time, in the Hedge School.' He also received some inare expressive of his new enthusiasm :struction from a classical teacher, a tyrannical blockhead' who settled in the neighbourhood, and it was afterwards agreed to send him to Munster, as a poor scholar, to complete his education. The poor scholars of Munster are indebted for nothing but their bed and board, which they receive from the parents of the scholars. In some cases a collection is made to provide an outfit for the youth thus leaving home; but Carleton's own family supplied the funds supposed to be necessary. The circumstances attending his departure Mr Carleton has related in his fine tale, The Poor Scholar.' As he journeyed slowly along the road, his superstitious fears got the better of his ambition to be a scholar, and stopping for the night at a small inn by the way, a disagreeable dream determined the home-sick lad to return to his father's cottage. His affectionate parents were equally joyed to receive him; and Carleton seems to have done little for some years but join in the sports and pastimes of the people, and attend every wake, dance, fair, and merry-making in the
Oh, darling of a heart that still,
By earthly joys so deeply trod, At moments bids its owner feel
The warmth of nature and of God!
Still be his care in future years
And when our Christmas days are past,
And life's vain shadows faint and dim,
When her pure hands are raised for him!
His mind, fixed on this subject, still retained its youthful buoyancy and cheerfulness, and he made a tour in Scotland, which afforded him the highest satisfaction and enjoyment. He retired from the world in the autumn of 1838, and joined the Christian Brotherhood (whose duty it is to instruct the poor) in the monastery at Cork. In the second year of his noviciate he was attacked with typhus fever, and died on the 12th of June 1840.
*These particulars concerning the personal history of the novelist are contained in his introduction to the last edition of the Traits and Stories,'
neighbourhood. In his seventeenth year he went to various scenes which passed before him in his native assist a distant relative, a priest, who had opened a district and during his subsequent rambles. In exaclassical school near Glasslough, county of Monaghan, mining into the causes which have operated in where he remained two years. A pilgrimage to the forming the character of the peasantry, Mr Carleton far-famed Lough-derg, or St Patrick's Purgatory, alludes to the long want of any fixed system of excited his imagination, and the description of that wholesome education. The clergy, until lately, took performance, some years afterwards, not only,' he no interest in the matter, and the instruction of the says, 'constituted my debut in literature, but was children (where any instruction was obtained) was also the means of preventing me from being a plea- left altogether to hedge schoolmasters, a class of sant strong-bodied parish priest at this day; indeed men who, with few exceptions, bestowed 'such an it was the cause of changing the whole destiny of my education upon the people as is sufficient almost, in subsequent life.' About this time chance threw a the absence of all other causes, to account for much copy of Gil Blas in his way, and his love of adven- of the agrarian violence and erroneous principles ture was so stimulated by its perusal, that he left which regulate their movements and feelings on that his native place, and set off on a visit to a Catholic and similar subjects.' The lower Irish, too, he justly clergyman in the county of Louth. He stopped remarks, were, until a comparatively recent period, with him a fortnight, and succeeded in procuring a treated with apathy and gross neglect by the only tuition in the house of a farmer near Corcreagh. class to whom they could or ought to look up for This, however, was a tame life and a hard one, and sympathy or protection. Hence those deep-rooted he resolved on precipitating himself on the Irish me- prejudices and fearful crimes which stain the history tropolis, with no other guide than a certain strong of a people remarkable for their social and domestic feeling of vague and shapeless ambition. He entered virtues. In domestic life,' says Mr Carleton, ⚫ there Dublin with only 2s. 9d. in his pocket. From this is no man so exquisitely affectionate and humanised period we suppose we must date the commencement as the Irishman. The national imagination is active, of Mr Carleton's literary career. In 1830 appeared and the national heart warm, and it follows very nahis Traits and Stories,' two volumes, published in turally that he should be, and is, tender and strong Dublin, but without the author's name. Mr Carleton, in all his domestic relations. Unlike the people of in his preface, assures the public, that what he offers other nations, his grief is loud, but lasting; vehement, is, both in manufacture and material, genuine Irish; but deep; and whilst its shadow has been chequered yes, genuine Irish as to character, drawn by one born by the laughter and mirth of a cheerful disposition, amidst the scenes he describes-reared as one of the still, in the moments of seclusion, at his bed-side people whose characters and situations he sketches prayer, or over the grave of those he loved, it will -and who can cut and dress a shillaly as well as put itself forth, after half a life, with a vivid power any man in his majesty's dominions; ay, and use it of recollection which is sometimes almost beyond too; so let the critics take care of themselves.' belief.' A people thus cast in extremes-melancholy The critics were unanimous in favour of the Irish and humorous-passionate in affection and in hatred sketcher. His account of the northern Irish-the-cherishing the old language, traditions, and recolUlster creachts-was new to the reading public, and lections of their country-their wild music, poetry, the dark mountains and green vales' of his native and customs-ready either for good or for evil-such Tyrone, of Donegal, and Derry, had been left un- a people certainly affords the novelist abundant matetouched by the previous writers on Ireland. A rials for his fictions. The field is ample, and it has second series of these tales was published by Mr been richly cultivated. Carleton in 1832, and was equally well received. In 1839 he sent forth a powerful Irish story, Fardorougha the Miser, or the Convicts of Lisnamona, in which the passion of avarice is strikingly depicted, without its victim being wholly dead to natural tenderness of a long green hill, the outline of which formed a The village of Findramore was situated at the foot and affection. Scenes of broad humour and comic low arch, as it rose to the eye against the horizon. extravagance are interspersed throughout the work. This hill was studded with clumps of beeches, and Two years afterwards (1841) appeared The Fawn of sometimes enclosed as a meadow. In the month of Spring Vale, The Clarionet, and other Tales, three July, when the grass on it was long, many an hour volumes. There is more of pathetic composition in have I spent in solitary enjoyment, watching the this collection than in the former; but one genial light-wavy motion produced upon its pliant surface by the hearted humorous story, The Misfortunes of Barney sunny winds, or the flight of the cloud shadows, like Branagan,' was a prodigious favourite. The collection gigantic phantoms, as they swept rapidly over it, was pronounced by a judicious critic to be calculated whilst the murmur of the rocking trees, and the 'for those quiet country haunts where the deep and glancing of their bright leaves in the sun, produced a natural pathos of the lives of the poor may be best heartfelt pleasure, the very memory of which rises in read and taken to heart. Hence Mr Carleton ap- my imagination like some fading recollection of a propriately dedicates his pages to Wordsworth. But brighter world. they have the fault common to other modern Irish At the foot of this hill ran a clear deep-banked novels, of an exaggerated display of the darker vicis-river, bounded on one side by a slip of rich level situdes of life: none better than the Rydal philo-meadow, and on the other by a kind of common for sopher could teach the tale-writer that the effect of the village geese, whose white feathers during the mists, and rains, and shadows, is lost without sun- summer season lay scattered over its green surface. breaks to relieve the gloom.' The great merit, how-It was also the play-ground for the boys of the village ever, of Mr Carleton, is the truth of his delineations school; for there ran that part of the river which, and the apparent artlessness of his stories. If he with very correct judgment, the urchins had selected has not the passionate energy-or, as he himself has as their bathing-place. A little slope or wateringtermed it, the melancholy but indignant reclama- ground in the bank brought them to the edge of the tions' of John Banim, he has not his party prejudices stream, where the bottom fell away into the fearful or bitterness. He seems to have formed a fair and depths of the whirlpool under the hanging oak on just estimate of the character of his countrymen, the other bank. Well do I remember the first time and to have drawn it as it actually appeared to him I ventured to swim across it, and even yet do I see in at home and abroad-in feud and in festival-in the imagination the two bunches of water flagons on
[Picture of an Irish Village and School-house.]
which the inexperienced swimmers trusted themselves in the water.
About two hundred yards above this, the boreen* which led from the village to the main road crossed the river by one of those old narrow bridges whose arches rise like round ditches across the road-an almost impassable barrier to horse and car. On passing the bridge in a northern direction, you found a range of low thatched houses on each side of the road; and if one o'clock, the hour of dinner, drew near, you might observe columns of blue smoke curling up from a row of chimneys, some made of wicker creels plastered over with a rich coat of mud, some of old narrow bottomless tubs, and others, with a greater appearance of taste, ornamented with thick circular ropes of straw sewed together like bees' skeps with the peel of a brier; and many having nothing but the open vent above. But the smoke by no means escaped by its legitimate aperture, for you might observe little clouds of it bursting out of the doors and windows; the panes of the latter being mostly stopped at other times with old hats and rags, were now left entirely open for the purpose of giving it a free escape.
Before the doors, on right and left, was a series of dunghills, each with its concomitant sink of green rotten water; and if it happened that a stout-looking woman with watery eyes, and a yellow cap hung loosely upon her matted locks, came, with a chubby urchin on one arm and a pot of dirty water in her hand, its unceremonious ejection in the aforesaid sink would be apt to send you up the village with your finger and thumb (for what purpose you would yourself perfectly understand) closely, but not knowingly, applied to your nostrils. But, independently of this, you would be apt to have other reasons for giving your horse, whose heels are by this time surrounded by a dozen of barking curs, and the same number of shouting urchins, a pretty sharp touch of the spurs, as well as for complaining bitterly of the odour of the atmosphere. It is no landscape without figures; and you might notice-if you are, as I suppose you to be, a man of observation-in every sink as you pass along a slip of a pig' stretched in the middle of the mud, the very beau ideal of luxury, giving occasionally a long luxuriant grunt, highly expressive of his enjoyment; or perhaps an old farrower, lying in indolent repose, with half a dozen young ones jostling each other for their draught, and punching her belly with their little snouts, reckless of the fumes they are creating; whilst the loud crow of the cock, as he confidently flaps his wings on his own dunghill, gives the warning note for the hour of dinner.
Seated upon a hob at the door you may observe a toil-worn man without coat or waistcoat, his red muscular sunburnt shoulder peering through the remnant of a shirt, mending his shoes with a piece of wisted flax, called a lingel, or perhaps sewing two
A little road.
footless stockings, or martycens, to his coat, as a substitute for sleeves.
In the gardens, which are usually fringed with nettles, you will see a solitary labourer, working with that carelessness and apathy that characterise an Irishman when he labours for himself, leaning upon his spade to look after you, and glad of any excuse to be idle.
The houses, however, are not all such as I have described-far from it. You see here and there, between the more humble cabins, a stout comfortable-looking farm-house with ornamental thatching and wellglazed windows; adjoining to which is a hay-yard with five or six large stacks of corn, well-trimmed and roped, and a fine yellow weather-beaten old hayrick, half-cut-not taking into account twelve or thirteen circular strata of stones that mark out the foundations on which others had been raised. Neither is the rich smell of oaten or wheaten bread, which the good-wife is baking on the griddle, unpleasant to your nostrils; nor would the bubbling of a large pot, in which you might see, should you chance to enter, a prodigious square of fat, yellow, and almost transparent bacon tumbling about, to be an unpleasant object; truly, as it hangs over a large fire, with well-swept hearthstone, it is in good keeping with the white settle and chairs, and the dresser with noggins, wooden trenchers, and pewter dishes, perfectly clean, and as well polished as a French courtier.
As you leave the village, you have, to the left, a view of the hill which I have already described, and to the right a level expanse of fertile country, bounded by a good view of respectable mountains peering decently into the sky; and in a line that forms an acute angle from the point of the road where you ride, is a delightful valley, in the bottom of which shines a pretty lake; and a little beyond, on the slope of a green hill, rises a splendid house, surrounded by a park well-wooded and stocked with deer. You have now topped the little hill above the village, and a straight line of level road, a mile long, goes forward to a country town which lies immediately behind that white church with its spire cutting into the sky before you. You descend on the other side, and having advanced a few perches, look to the left, where you see a long thatched chapel, only distinguished from a dwelling-house by its want of chimneys, and a small stone cross that stands on the top of the eastern gable; behind it is a grave-yard, and beside it a snug public-house, well white-washed; then, to the right, you observe a door apparently in the side of a clay bank, which rises considerably above the pavement of the road. What! you ask As you advance, you will also perceive several faces yourself, can this be a human habitation? But ere thrust out of the doors, and rather than miss a sight you have time to answer the question, a confused of you, a grotesque visage peeping by a short cut buzz of voices from within reaches your ear, and the through the paneless windows, or a tattered female appearance of a little gorsoon with a red closeflying to snatch up her urchin that has been tumbling cropped head and Milesian face, having in his hand itself heels up in the dust of the road, lest the gintle- a short white stick, or the thigh-bone of a horse, man's horse might ride over it;' and if you happen to which you at once recognise as 'the pass' of a village look behind, you may observe a shaggy-headed youth school, gives you the full information. He has an in tattered frize, with one hand thrust indolently in ink-horn, covered with leather, dangling at the buttonhis breast, standing at the door in conversation with hole (for he has long since played away the buttons) the inmates, a broad grin of sarcastic ridicule on his of his frize jacket-his mouth is circumscribed with a face, in the act of breaking a joke or two upon your-streak of ink-his pen is stuck knowingly behind his self or your horse; or perhaps your jaw may be saluted ear-his shins are dotted over with fire-blisters, black, with a lump of clay, just hard enough not to fall red, and blue-on cach heel a kibe-his leather asunder as it flies, cast by some ragged gorsoon from crackers' videlicet, breeches-shrunk up upon him, behind a hedge, who squats himself in a ridge of corn and only reaching as far down as the caps of his to avoid detection. knees. Having spied you, he places his hand over his brows, to throw back the dazzling light of the sun, and peers at you from under it, till he breaks out into a laugh, exclaiming, half to himself, half to
You a gintleman!-no, nor one of your breed never was, you procthorin' thief you!'
You are now immediately opposite the door of the seminary, when half a dozen of those seated next it notice you.
'Oh, sir, here's a gintleman on a horse!-masther, sir, here's a gintleman on a horse, wid boots and spurs on him, that's looking in at us.'
'Silence!' exclaims the master; 'back from the door-boys rehearse every one of you rehearse, I say, you Boeotians, till the gintleman goes past!' I want to go out, if you plase, sir.' 'No, you don't, Phelim.'
'I do, indeed, sir.'
"What is it afther conthradictin' me you'd be? Don't you see the "porter's" out, and you can't go.' Well, 'tis Mat Meehan has it, sir; and he's out this half-hour, sir; I can't stay in, sir!'
You want to be idling your time looking at the gintleman, Phelim.'
'No, indeed, sir.'
'Phelim, I know you of ould-go to your sate. tell you, Phelim, you were born for the encouragement of the hemp manufacture, and you'll die promoting it.'
In the meantime the master puts his head out of the door, his body stooped to a half-bend'--a phrase, and the exact curve which it forms, I leave for the present to your own sagacity-and surveys you until you pass. That is an Irish hedge-school, and the personage who follows you with his eye a hedge
loftier order proceeding from the same pen; that
MISS MARY RUSSELL MITFORD.
COUNTESS OF BLESSINGTON.
MISS MARY RUSSELL MITFORD, the painter of English rural life in its happiest and most genial aspects, was born in 1789 at Alresford, in Hampshire. Reminiscences of her early boarding-school days are scattered through her works, and she appears to have been always an enthusiastic reader. When very young, she published a volume of miscellaneous poems, and a metrical tale in the style of Scott, entitled Christine, the Maid of the South Seas, founded on the discovery of the mutineers of the Bounty. In 1823 was produced her effective and striking tragedy of Julian, dedicated to Mr Macready the actor, for the zeal with which he befriended the production of a stranger, for the judicious alterations which he suggested, and for the energy, the pathos, and the skill with which he more than embodied its principal character.' Next year Miss Mitford published the first volume of Our Village, Sketches of Rural Character and Scenery, to which four other volumes were subsequently added, the fifth and last in 1832. Every one,' says a lively writer, now knows Our Village, and every one knows that the nooks and corners, the haunts and the copses so delightfully described in its pages, will be found in the immediate neighbourhood of Read-containing scarcely any plot, and few delineations of ing, and more especially around Three-Mile Cross, character, the greater part being filled with dialogues, a cluster of cottages on the Basingstoke road, in one criticism, and reflections. Her ladyship is sometimes of which our authoress has now resided for many sarcastic, sometimes moral, and more frequently per years. But so little were the peculiar and original sonal. One female sketch, that of Grace Cassidy, excellence of her descriptions understood, in the first a young Irish wife, is the only one of the characters instance, that, after having gone the round of rejec- we can remember, and it shows that her ladyship tion through the more important periodicals, they is most at home among the scenes of her early days. at last saw the light in no worthier publication To The Repealers' succeeded The Two Friends, The than the Lady's Magazine. But the series of rural Confessions of an Elderly Gentleman, The Confessions pictures grew, and the venture of collecting them of an Elderly Lady, Desultory Thoughts, The Belle of into a separate volume was tried. The public began a Season, The Governess, The Idler in Italy (three to relish the style so fresh, yet so finished, to volumes, 1839-40), The Idler in France (two volumes, enjoy the delicate humour and the simple pathos of 1841), The Victims of Society, and Meredith. Her the tales; and the result was, that the popularity recollections of Italy and France are perhaps the of these sketches outgrew that of the works of best of her works, for in these her love of anecdote, epigram, and sentiment, has full scope, without any of the impediments raised by a story.
This lady, well known in the world of fashion and literature, is a native of Ireland, daughter of Edward Power, Esq., late of Curagheen, county Waterford At the age of fifteen she became the wife of Captain Farmer of the 47th regiment, after whose death, in 1817, she was united to Charles John Gardiner, Earl of Blessington. In 1829 she was again left a widow. Lady Blessington now fixed her residence in London, and, by her rank and personal tastes, succeeded in rendering herself a centre of literary society. Her first publication was a volume of Travelling Sketches in Belgium, very meagre and illwritten. The next work commanded more attention: it was her Conversations with Lord Byron, whom she had met daily for some time at Genoa. In 1833 appeared The Repealers, a novel in three volumes, but
*Mr Chorley-The Authors of England.