The Wild Goose/Number 6
A Collection of Ocean Waifs.
Nora Daly’s Christmas Gift:
Tale of the South of Ireland.
One fine afternoon about the middle of October in the year 1859, a hooker was weaving around Roche’s Point towards the small fishing village of Guileen, situated on a cliff of about thirty feet high between the Point and the bold promontory of Power Head. The little beach at the foot of the cliff presented a lively scene. Men were busily engaged in unlading boats of newly caught fish, whilst women assisted in preparing them to be salted, selecting a few for home use. On the top of the cliff, a row of houses faced the sea, forming one of the two streets of the village; the other, with a row on either side, running at right angles to it towards the country. Women were busy making nets, washing, and knitting in front of their doors; an exasperated mother occasionally diversifying her occupation by administering a gratuitous cuff to some too demonstrative child, who, perchance, was clung to the hair of one of its fellows, or lay sprawling in the mud, screaming with all the power of its lungs. Just on the edge of the height, in front of one of the houses, a young, fair-haired girl, in a blue merino dress, stood waving handkerchief towards an incoming vessel. Her light blue eyes sparkled joyously, and her full fair features glowed with the warm tint of pleasure. As she stood there, with her unconfined tresses of gold, through which the amorous zephyrs wantonly frolicked, and unconscious of the etiquette the required her delicately moulded feet to be encased from the vulgar view, she appeared like the realization of a poet’s dream, or beauty personified. Certain as it is, that, for miles around,—though many fair flowers bloom in that region,—none could equal Nora Daly in elegance of person, or—what is better still—in vivacity or amiableness of disposition. To her signal of welcome, a form, standing on the gunwale of the hooker, and holding onto a stay by one hand, wave a hat with the other in response. Soon, to the maiden’s evident satisfaction, the sails of the hooker were taken in, and her anchor dropped in the little bay. A boat was then lowered, and put off from her side, containing a man and a boy. The young girl was about to descend the narrow path that wound down to the beach to welcome the newcomers, when her attention was diverted by the appearance of the lithe and graceful figure of a young gentleman, fashionably attired, and sporting a hot-house rose in his button-hole. His handsome countenance was lighted up with a smile, and, raising his hat, he saluted Nora with polished courtesy: "Good morrow, Nora, I am extremely delighted to meet you this afternoon."
"Thank you kindly, Master James," replied the fair girl, "an’ I hope you are well."
"And if I were not," he returned, "the sight of your lovely face, my dear Nora, would restore me to full health. I do not know another the whole country round it would give me such pleasure to meet. Your presence acts upon me as the genial rays of the sun upon the flower which has been drooping and pining away in the unfriendly shade."
"It’s makin’ game of me you are, I can see plain enough, Master James."
"Now, by this sweet little hand I"—But the hand that he caught within his own was quickly snatched away.
"No, no, Master James," said the little fairy, shaking her head, it may all do very well for fine ladies; but a simple country girl like myself can’t understand these fine speeches."
"Nora," he said, vexed rather at her manner than her words, "you are unkind. There are very few fine ladies I know that merit half the devotion I feel for you, and there is certainly not one that could share it with you."
The blushing girl saw, with no little anxiety, a young sailor coming quickly towards them, from the path path that led towards the beach. he was a fair-haired, ruddy-featured youth of about eighteen years of age, strong and active in appearance. In all the exuberance of adolescence, he, unheeding the presence of another, caught the not unwilling girl in his arms; but the bashful maiden successfully evaded the kiss he attempted to bestow on her rosy cheek. "Ah, John,!" she said, as she released herself from his embrace, "welcome back! it seems as if you niver would come home."
"Well, in truth, though we weren’t any longer than usual, I thought it an age myself. ’Tis a fine day, Mr. Cotter," he said, condescendingly turning towards the young gentleman. "And ’tis a great pity that the gintlemen of the country don’t take as much intherest in stopin’ at home, as you do in this miserable hole of a village."
The other, with a haughty stare, said coldly, "Ah, John O’Regan! I hope you disposed of your cargo to advantage. The girls of Queenstown were loth to part with their handsome sailor boy, I’ll be bound."
"Well, Mr Cotter," was the reply, "the few girls I know there are always glad to see me, I’ve no doubt; but its little thought o’ me throubles thin, when I’m not present. But we’re delayin’ you You must excuse us. Come Nora, I have somethin’ to speak to you about."
The other, frowning, bit his lip. "Good by, Nora, for the present," he said, gallantly kissing his ungloved hand to the young girl; "I shall see you again;" and, without further speech, her turned on his heel, whistling as he walked off.
"Nora," said John O’Regan, "what was that youngsayin’ to you?"
"Nothin’, but biddin’ me ’good morrow,’ whin you just came up. An’ I must say, his absence is betther company than his presence."
Well, niver mind him, darlin’; but lets take a turn to the end of the cliff, as I have somethin’ to tell you."
And side by side the young pair walked up the street. When they arrived at the end which terminated in a turn of the cliff,—"Nora, my heart’s treasure," said the young sailor, "I’m goin’ to lave you."
"Goin’ to lave us, John!" she exclaimed, catching him by the arm, and gazing at him with astonished eyes,—"goin’ to lave us!"
"Yes, my darlin’," he iterated, "I am goin’ to lave you. I engaged this blessed day with one Captain Barry to go sailorin’ with him to New York."
"O John! John! an’ what will take you across the wide say? And what will your poor mother do?"
"And what will my poor Nora do?" he asked, deeply affected. "Its the will of God,, an’ I must go. My poor father is unable to pay his rint; and the agent—the father of that young , Cotter,—threatens to turn him out, and the landlord won’t listen to raison. An’ wat use would I be to my poor father in his trouble? Wouldn’t it be better for me—for us all—that I should go where I can earn heaps of money, that I may be able to repay the kindness of my mother an’ father when I was a helpless crayther, an’ not, be a burthen on thim. It won’t be long before I’m home again,—in six weeks maybe. Besides, don’t I want to lay aside a penny for a future day?" And, as he said this, he archly stole his arm around the fair girl’s waist, and suddenly kissed her soft, blooming cheek.
This time, as no rude observer was standing near, the young girl offered no resistance to the prerogative of love, and feelingly said, "Well, John, the will of God must be done; and I can only hope that the ragin’ says will be calm and gentle to you; and I shall always be prayin’ the merciful God to have you in His keepin’, and to soften the hearts of the black sthrangers to you. Whin you are far away,you will think of me whin you see this cross, which you must wear for my sake;" taking off at the same time a necklace of coral, to which a silver crucifix was pendant. "It was the gift of my poor father, God be merciful to his soul, come next Christmas two years, just two months before his death." Tears were fast streaming down her lovely cheeks, whilst the lad, scarce able to conceal his own emotion, pressed her tenderly to his bosom.
"Don’t, darlin’, don’t!" he cried, "or my heart will burst. God knows I need strength to give me courage to take lave of you all, and this smiling land where I have spent so many happy hours with those I love. Nora, I will wear this for your sake; and, every time I look at it, it will not only remind me of all our blessed Lord did for us, but of the love my Nora feels for me. What I can give you in return to keep for me is but a small thing,—this neck-kerchief made for me by my mother. It is all I have. God knows I would give you my heart; but," added he slyly, "it isn’t in my keepin’, as a little girl, called Nora Daly, has taken it from me, and kep’ it this many a long day. but, come, my darlin’, dry your eyes, an’ lets be goin’. My mother must be comforted, as I dare say my father’s hand set to do it, though he wint home before me to try."
The pair retraced their steps, and stopping at the door of the cabin of Widow Daly—Nora’s mother—they went in. The good woman was making a cup of tea, to which she cordially invited John O’Regan; but, declining, he explained to her why he had delayed Nora. "May the grate God, in his mercy, watch over you, child, and bring you home safe! and my prayers and blessings follow you wherever you go." Promising the widow to be sure to come and spend an evening with her before he took his final leave, and embracing Nora once more, he hastened home.
Outside the entrance to the village was situated the cottage of Michael O’Regan. It was one of the most respectable in Guileen, and had attached to it about twenty acres of average land. O’Regan had a large share in a fishing vessel; but of late his business had been attended with ill-fortune, and he fell in arrears with for rent. Mr. Cotter, the agent for the landlord, Mr. Molloy, of Cove (at present called Queenstown), had pressed O’Regan for the balance due, and threatened him with eviction. In vain, the unfortunate man had protested; the agent was inexorable. The day before, O’Regan, with his son John and a couple of men, went to Queenstown to dispose of a cargo of fish. With his own share of the proceeds, he went to the landlord to pay a half-year’s rent, and begged for a little more time to pay up the balance, which the landlord refused to grant, declining to interfere with his agent’s arrangements, as, he said, "if I do it for one, I must do it for all, and then I might as well be my own agent." Michael O’Regan left him with a heavy heart; and an hour later when he fell in with an old acquaintance, Captain Barry, of the "Black Bugle," his consent was obtained without much difficulty to the departure of his son—much to John’s satisfaction—as a sailor before the mast in that gallant vessel.
When John, after leaving Nora, reached home, he found his mother in an agony of tears. She drew her boy to her bosom. "" she cried, "and has it come to this, that the boy of my heart is goin’ to lave his poor old mother, to be tossed about on the stormy says, and perhaps to find a wathery grave. O Johnny, darlin’ stop at home; bether for us to beg by the roadside together than that by the light of my eyes should be thrown among cold-hearted strangers."
"Whisht, Mary!" said her husband, who had just been relating to her all that had happened, "don’t unman the boy. He needs comfort, as we all do, God help us!"
Reconciled to what she became at last convinced was a necessity, his mother set about preparing such things for his comfort as their limited means would allow, trusting that God would preserve her boy from the dangers of the deep and the wiles of the world.
The day for John’s departure at length arrived. the leave-taking with his family was tender and affectionate. His father with great difficulty repressed his grief; but his distracted mother could scarce be prevailed upon to release the boy from her arms. His parting with Nora was heart-rending. "Nora," he said, as he kissed her passionately, "when I return at Christmas, I shall bring you a present worth keepin’, that will show you how much value your love." At the beach, renewed blessings and prayers for his safety were freely poured out. Springing into the boat that waited for him, he shouted a last farewell, and was soon on board a hooker bound for Queenstown. His parents and Nora watched the vessel till it rounded Roche’s Point, and then turned sadly towards home; each feeling as if a heartstring had been rent in sunder.
(To be Continued.)
What power, next the holy word which God to man has given,
Can guide the wayward heart from sin and lead the path to heaven,
Or when the soul is deeply plunged in Error’s scathing flood,
What holy feeling still remains to lure it back to good?
What is it?—even crime and shame can drive it not away?
’Tis the memory and the love of her who taught us how to pray.
Oh! ’tis powerful and holy—he who feels it is not lost,
Tho’ dark may be the sea on which his wandering soul is tossed.
He who still looks back to childhood—still her loving face recalls—
On whose ear again in memory her gentle warning falls,
Whose heart those tender thoughts enshrine—tho’ of all else bereft,
And harsh to outward eye—has something good and noble left.
Where’er his mother’s spirit is, a suppliant voice is there,
And God will hear before aught else a mother’s earnest prayer.
But some of these are—Alas! not few—the erring path have trod,
For whom no mother’s voice is raised to plead their cause with God;
No gentle warning voice to them, nor tender thoughts can come;
They have no fond remembrances of childhood or of home.
In want and vice—uncared for—thro’ life they wander on;
God help them! they have nothing when, thy holy grace is gone.
Oh, judge them not too harshly, ye who dwell in happier spheres:
Were your spirits, think you, spotless, had your lot been like theirs?
Help them, cheer them, and with gentle words supply a mother’s place;
’Tis the truest act of Christian love to win them back to grace.
Think of Him who came on earth to call the sinners from their way;
Help the erring ones—His children—and thou shalt not pass away:
He who e’en a "cup of water" to His little ones has given
Shall be paid by endless treasure and eternal rest in Heaven.
Doubtless most, or all, of my readers have at some period of their lives witnessed the very amusing experiments in biology with which it is the custom of its professors to entertain their audiences, and, after having enjoyed a hearty laugh, have asked themselves if the professor were not a charlatan and his science a hoax. It is on the latter point I wish to "offer a few remarks." Biology, then, is not a cheat, but is as real as any of the other respectable "(illegible text) sitting of (illegible text) five to ten minutes, on an average one out of every four or five persons will be found to be impressible—some much more so than others; but are found to be impressibly, but require additional time and trouble before they can be acted upon,—some just being found susceptible until after a second or third sitting. Unlike, in mesmerism, the operator cannot have the faintest knowledge beforehand, who are of are not impressible; but, as a rule, workers in metal—particularly iron,—soldiers and others accustomed to discipline give a higher average of impressible subjects than any other class. Neither strength of will nor of constitution have aught to do with enabling a man to resist the biologist—persons possessed of both being found the best subjects. Of the many experiments performed, that of depriving the eyes, when open, of all power of seeing, is perhaps the most wonderful; and medical men have convinced themselves of the reality of this fact by examining the eyes of subjects thus performed upon, and have found them top present the usual appearances of blindness. It is not to be supposed that the amusing of experiments of the public performances are the only effects produced by Biology. It is found to be still more useful than amusing in very many instances, coming to the aid of the medical practitioner where medicine has totally failed, effecting seemingly miraculous cures. It is quite commonly employed to give immediate relief to persons suffering from toothache and even to enable them to have teeth extracted without the slightest pain, and also to cause warts and other unsightly disfigurements to disappear. In connexion with this branch of the science of magnetism, there is a theory which goes far to explain the magic of the water finder’s divining rod, and to account to for the appearance of ghosts in the vicinity of Churchyards, &c., but the infancy of the science itself will not allow us, with any certainty, to receive deductions that the advance of knowledge may prove illusory and false.." It is one of the phases of Animal Magnetism, acting by , as Mesmerism does by . Its different professors propound different theories as to its laws; but none of them pretend to infallibility. All that is certainly known is, that by certain processes, certain results are obtained. Once initiated, any person can practise it successfully, and with perfect safety; In
Log for Week.
|Decr. 9||S. 40°16’ E 2.10||Decr. 13th||S. 44°.51' E 20°.04’|
| " 10||S. 41.06 E 5.57|| " 14||S. 46.15. E 23.20|
| " 11||S. 42.21 E 10.19||Cape of Good Hope|
| " 12||S. 43.36 E 15.17||Lat S. 34°.28’ E 18°.25|
Answers to Correspondents.
""—Held over until next week.
"Onewhokeepsadiary"—Asks us to enumerate some of the principal. There are single reefs and double reefs in the sails of a ship, Coral reefs in the sea, the Irishman’s reef—generally in his coat or breeches, Tene , and we suppose many others; but for further information, we refer him to the Nautical Almanac.
"Wooloomooloo."—We believe the principal export of Western Australia is blackwool. One house has a monopoly on this article; the supply is derived from the hears of the aborigines, who an (illegible text) and shown by some desperate men commonly called ’s!—hence the derivation of the word "hero."
"Nelson."—Yes, where a ship falls away about the waist, they tighten her stays.
"Enquir."—It is of course the Captain’s and officer’s duty to attend to the education of all on board, and they take a great interest in having all.
"Captain Kidd" wishes to know if every ship runs with the winds eye when she goes to, and if any bad consequences arise from such an occasion. We don’t answer frivolous questions.
"They’ll come again when south winds blow."
SATURDAY, DEC. 14, 1867.
A Look Within.
To men so unhappily placed as we are undergoing a long monotonous voyage, with the full consciousness of being shut out from Life, in the ordinary acceptation of the term,—nothing is more natural that we should calmly try to look within this, now to us, abstract thing; nothing more natural than that we should try to analyse it, and it necessarily follows that to do this we must also look within ourselves—the best of all studies. What is life? However difficult it may seem of definition,, we believe we may simply define it as the pursuit of pleasure or happiness—for in this instance, both may be regarded as synonymous terms; and whether we regard it in connection with an individual main or with men in general, the definition will hold good. If we look within our own individual lives in the first instance, and next within life in its more extended sense, we shall find it to be nothing more or less than an endless pursuit of happiness.—or quite the same thing, the means of attaining it. From the cradle to the grave we are ever pursuing this phantom, never obtaining it; for "man never is, but always to be, blessed." Happiness theof life that leads us o’er hill and dale, through brake and briar; still alluring us on, sometimes by paths that lead through pleasant places, sometimes through ways strewn with thorns. The paths followed by men in their pursuit after happiness are as numerous and as different as the men themselves; and often a man trips many different ones in the span of his short life. This pursuit is carried on by two great highways—the intellectual, and the material, or animal, from which branch off the thousand different by-paths by which individual men diverge in the pursuit. men place their hopes of its attainment in, amongst other things, Riches, Power, the Ideal, Science, Art, Philanthropy, Ambition, Avarice, and sensual indulgence of the more animal propensities, and some even causing misery to others, according to their different idiosyncrasies, and they attain a comparative success according as their path is selected from the highways of Intellectuality or Materialism,—the former affording a purer and more axalted pleasure to those who pursue it; that afforded by the latter being on a par with that of the brute creation; whilst of the demoniacal pleasure sought after by some in causing the misery of others,—we know not what to say. It is a melancholy trait in human nature that men are formed who try to build up their own happiness by pulling down something that is the happiness of another—often his reputation.
If we pursue our analysis farther, we shall find that the men who (illegible text) society are not the brilliant ones, but rather those who, in a worldly sense, understand the science of life; , who best understand themselves and their fellow-man. but it is not our province nor intention to enter further into the subject, nor to point out the best way of attaining happiness; but simply to suggest that much instruction may be gained by all from an occasional look within—that we may understand ourselves, and, comparing the paths by which we seek happiness with those pursued by others, we may draw a useful inference from the comparison; and that thus learning to know ourselves and life, we may become the better for the "look within."
Many men, as if to show how little they care for living in peace with their fellows, openly cast aside the truest means of doing so. There are innumerable things belonging to everyday life, which, if we take them in their true an proper light, will most certainly give us what wealthy power, and their concomitants will fail to give,—namely, true peace of mind, and a more real and enduring happiness than we can ever derive from any material advantage. Amongst all the many ways of acquiring and conferring enjoyment, there are none which more simply or more effectually conduce to this end than the constant and kindly habit of speaking "gentle words."
To the geniality of men, the word poverty implies a want of wealth—a want of material comforts, on the possession of which depends our happiness, then, at present, we are poor indeed. Gold, we have none—comforts and pleasures to us are "few and far between," and even in the future, there is more than a probability that, for some years at least, the position of many will not change for the better. A short time since, many of us might have believed, and no doubt disbelieve, that in those material possession, were included the only real good.qwe know better. A great teacher—Adversity—has taught us. We know now that without gold, or power, or position we may be rich and powerful: rich in better things—rich in the possession of a means of becoming happy ourselves—powerful in being able to confer happiness on others. Gentle words are boons which we all possess and have in our power to bestow: and here, under the dark clouds of misfortune, they constitute our wealth and our power. We know, from our experience of life, how keen is the edge of an unkind word; we know also that when addressed to anyone dear to us, it has a double edge, and inflicts a wound upon ourselves as well as those to whom it is spoken. All round us there are sensitive hearts, and unkind words wound also with a double edge, and cut us as keenly as those of others. Harsh words have a scorpion sting to pain and wound the heart: gentle words have an angel’s power to give and to bring peace; they sink on the disturbed mind of the afflicted as oil on the troubled waters; and even on the unsettled heart of the erring one they fall with a grateful and soothing tone. gentle words give pleasure to the speaker, and their power does not cease even there. No, no, gentle words are immortal;—slight they may be and unheeded even by ourselves,—they may have been called forth by trivial matters that have left no trace in our memories—but the good words—the gentle words—will live and last forever.
It is certain that we can by attention and perseverance, acquire a habit of doing almost anything, even things which are most disagreeable at first. Would it not be deserving of some little exertion auld we acquire a habit of giving pleasure to ourselves, and to others at the same time? Gentle words will do this for us: They will mark those around us happy: and the smile beaming from their eyes will intensify their enjoyments of this life, and change the clouds that may linger above us into bright and golden tints.
The useful is the trunk and bough of the tree, the ornamental the leaves: the most useful man is the most valuable member of society. We are fast approaching, and about to become denizens of, a colony as yet in its infancy, and consequently in a not very advanced state with regard to the usual refinements of civilization. In such a land, whenever released from our present unhappy position, we shall find, not the ornamental, but the most useful, always the more valuable. Civilization has a tendency to multiply the divisions of labor, in order to obtain a higher state of perfection in all the different parts; but in a new colony such as Western Australia, this is not so much to be sought after as a more general knowledge of the many ordinary things of common life. We believe the man most likely to succeed in any newly settled state is the one who has a general knowledge of the more rude and useful things—not a critical knowledge of any one branch, but rather a good rough practical one of agricultural life, the manual trades and their general connection with each other, together with a knowledge of commercial affairs. We cannot value too highly the useful, nor should we neglect any means of mutual instruction. We owe it as a duty to each other to prepare ourselves for our life in perspective. Why should we not in future have daily class or an evening lecture for mutual instruction in "The Useful?"
Our columns are open to any suggestion or instruction from our friends, and we will be most happy to know that they have taken the matter into practical consideration.
An American gentleman, walking one of the streets of Paris, was attracted by a sign, bearing to him unusual announcement, "Wine Baths." Anxious to indulge in such a novelty, he entered the establishment, and, on application, was at once conducted to a bath-room, where he luxuriated to his heart’s content in the vinion’s fluid. When he has bathed, he enquired of the attendant who happened to be a negro, what the charge was. "Five francs," was the reply. "Five francs!" was the astonished rejoinder, "how is it possible that this bah can be let so cheap"?—"Why, you see massa," said the darkey, "de wine dat you bade in runs down to a lower bath, which we let at three francs; and den goes down to another, which we lets to de common folk for a franc and half a bath; and den, massa," rolling up the whites of his eyes, "we bottle it up,"
Oh, once I loved a maiden,
Darling sweet Louisa Hayden,
And my life was honey laden,
Ans a happy as a dream.
Her sweet laugh, like music ringing,
Her light step, elastic springing,
And a thousand loves were winging
From her glances ardent beam.
E’en the memory of her glances
Yet like mystic spell entrances,
Spite of time that still advances
Swiftly blotting oer Life’s chart.
But power he may endeavor
To efface it, he can never
The sweet maiden’s image sever
From its altar in my heart.
Fresh as moss-rose in a bower,
When the dew is a diamond shower
Falling bright on leaf and shower,
Breathing perfume in the air.
Like a dewy moss-rose glowing,
Heart and eyes with love oerflowing,
And a perfume ever blowing
From her waving golden hair.
Oh! how sweet was every meeting
When I heard her loving greeting;
Alas! Alas! too fleeting
Was that bright ecstatic time.
When she my life, my blessing,
Pure and lustful and Caressing,
With a blush her love Confessing
In loves wiling pantomine.
’Neath towers of jasmine smiling,
Like the flow’rs our souls entwining
As we watched our star outshining
Souls as thrilling as its beam.
Oh! how I loved that maiden,
Darling sweet Louisa Hayden.
In those days of bliss oerladen
When my life was like a dream!
The Old School Clock.
Old memories rush o'er my mind just now
Of faces and friends of the past;
Of that happy time when life's dream was all bright,
E'er the clear sky of youth was o'ercast.
Very dear are those mem'ries,—they've clung round my heart.
And bravely withstood time's rude shock;
But not one is more hallowed or dear to me now
Than the face of the Old School Clock.
'Twas a quaint old clock with a quaint old face,
And great iron weights and chain;
It stopped when it liked,—and before it struck
It creaked as if 'twere in pain;
It had seen many years, and it seemed to say,
—"I'm one of the real old stock,"
To the youthful fry, who with reverence looked
On the face of the Old School Clock.
How many a time have I labored to sketch
That yellow and time-honored face,
With its basket of flowers, its figures and hands,
And the weights and the chains in their place!
How oft have I gazed with admiring eye.
As I sat on the wooden block.
And pondered and guessed at the wonderful things
That were inside that Old School Clock!
What a terrible frown did the old clock wear
To the truant, who timidly cast
An anxious eye on those merciless hands,
That for him had been moving too fast!
But it lingered not long, for it loved to smile
On the thoughtless, noisy flock,
And it creaked and whirred and struck with glee,—
Did that genial, good-humored old clock.
Well, years had passed, and my mind was filled
With the world, its cares and ways.
When again I stood in that little school
Where I passed my boyhood's days.
My old friend was gone! and there hung a thing
That my sorrow seemed to mock.
As I gazed with a tear and a softened heart
At a new-fashioned German clock.
'Twas a gaudy thing with bright-painted sides,
And it looked with insolent stare
On the desks and the seats and oh everything old
And I thought of the friendly air—
Of the face that I missed, with its weights and chains,—
All gone to the auctioneer's block:
'Tis a thing of the past,—never more shall I see
But in mem'ry that Old School Clock.
'Tis the way of the world: old friends pass away.
And fresh faces arise in their stead;
But still 'mid the din and the bustle of life
We cherish fond thoughts of the dead.
Yes, dear are those memories—they’ve cling round my heart,
And bravely withstand Time's rude shock;
But not one is more dear or more hallowed to me
Than the face of that Old School Clock.
There are few, if any, amongst the beautiful scenes of our beautiful island that present a fairer picture than the valley of the Boyne; and its rarest beauty lies in that part which history has made famous. In this sketch the writer does not intend to sketch the "ill-fated river" along its whole course, but, beginning at Slane, merely to follow its windings to the sea below Drogheda. No justice could be done to the noble river in such a brief sketch as this must be, were the attempt made to show its beauties as it winds along through the rich rolling valleys of Meath. At Slane, then, we begin. It is a spot full of romantic as well as historic interest. On a noble lawn, sweeping up from the river, stands Slane Castle, the seat of the Marquis of Conyngham,—one of those grand old battlemented structures that bring back to the mind the days of mail-clad knights of tournament and chivalry. High over the river it rises in its pride, and its grey massive outlines show clear and sharp against the dark background of wood that lines the opposite side. Then sheer from the water’s edge rises Beauparc wood, spreading a dark shadow over the river beneath. Above the little town rises the celebrated hill of Slane, commanding an extensive view all round; and on its summit is the hoary ivy-clad ruins of an old Abbey, the tower of which stands yet with a broken winding stone stairs winding to the top. It is neither easy nor safe to attempt the ascent, but they who brave the toil and the danger are amply repaid for their toil and trouble. To the hill of Slane, it was that Saint Patrick proceeded, after landing at Colp below Drogheda: here on its summit he boldly lighted his fire on the night when pagan superstition commanded, under pain of death, that all fires should be extinguished with the exception of that of the monarch’s on the hill of Tara, from whence the fire lighted by the courageous Christian was plainly visible. Having thus broken one of the most sacred laws of the land, Saint Patrick was immediately carried to Tara to the presence of the incensed monarch, who was anxious to see the daring man who braved his power. Having been brought in his presence by the pagan priests, the good saint, like another Paul, began to speak in his own defence, and so forcible and eloquently, that when he had concluded, the pagan King and his greatest warriors in court—acknowledged his right and his power, and embraced with eagerness the pure doctrines of Christianity. But we will leave Slane, and follow the Boyne’s winding course. For some miles now, it flows through rich level plains, devoid of any striking scenery until we come to Dowth wood rising almost perpendicular from the water’s edge. From the table land above rises a fine specimen of the old monumental cairns, or moats, of our pagan ancestors. There are two caves beneath it—one easy of entrance, and running under the centre of the hill,—the other a dark low opening running in the direction of the river. Of the latter cave, the old and oft claimed legend is held of an unfortunate piper who entered it and was never seen again: but, although lost to view, he made himself heard, far, far away thro’ the wood and the river he can be heard to this day playing "the Lakes of Mullow" on his pipes. There is a very fine view from the moat of Dowth—Slane and Tara behind, rising one on the left, the other on the right side of the river; on the left a rich valley stretches away and meets the Boyne as its weeps round Oldbridge; on the right the river itself glistening and winding amongst the meadows and losing itself amid the dark woods on each side; in front two miles off is Oldbridge with its tall grey obelisk marking the battlefield, and which has a strange out-of-place look in the mist of the fields and woods; further on still can be seen the spire of Drogheda; and on clear days the sea is visible for away in the distance. Not far from the moat, in the centre of a fine park, is a majestic oak call "King William’s Oak," under which it is said the monarch slept the night before the battle of the Boyne. The park in which it stands rises high above the river, and this is perhaps the most beautiful of all Boyne scenery. The river runs through a deep narrow valley, the steep side, of which are covered with mighty forest trees, that stretch their arms far o’er the river below. Seldom does the sun ever greet the deep water here, flowing along without a ripple and looking as back as ink. here in the solitude of ten foot of a hill on the South side is a holy well called "Saint-Shanaghan’s Well," famed far around for its miraculous healing-power. For a mile the river runs thus beneath the trees; and both above and below there is a sudden sweep, so that the whole scene is shut out from the world, and the deep dark river appears as calm and motionless as a lake. Proceeding to the end of the valley the view gradually opens on the left, and on the right, rich meadows line its banks. We are now in Oldbridge—on the field of the battle. On that meadow on the right stood James’s army; and above them from the hill of Donore the pusillanimous monarch viewed the fortunes of the fight ere he fled from the scene.
(To be Continued.)
Botanical.—Several new plants of an entirely new order,—entirely-less—have been lately discovered by the Police.
It is not generally known that sea captains are sometimes well please with accidents at sea. We know one ourselves who derived the greatest pleasure during a three months’ voyage after having fowled his ship. Queer people these sailors—
Printed and published at the office, No. 5 Mess, "Intermediate Cabin," for the Editors, Messieurs John Flood and J.B. O’Reilly.