Billeder på siden

neighbourhood could understand. But none of these patrons of genius ever thought of sending any equivalent,-to wit, the cash : this latter, he (“good easy man,'') overlooked the patrons and publisher shared the profit, and the disciple of Æsculapius was permitted to pay the incidental expenses.

Such was young Henry's tutor; and under him he was likely enough to become a ponderous scholar; but parental solicitude, perceiving that something was necessary to correct the same failing 80 discernible in the preceptor, determined O'Hara to sacrifice his love of retirement to the interests of his child, and introduce him to the world. To the University he turned his thoughts, and concluded by placing his name on the books, and attending to the progress of his studies there. A house was accordingly provided in Clare-street, and with reluctance he prepared to bid adieu to the seat of his ancestors, and enter once more on a world, to which he had lately supposed he had bidden an eternal farewell.

Since the decease of Mrs. O'Hara, a clumsy offer had been made by her brother towards a

[merged small][ocr errors]

reconciliation. O'Hara generously met these advances, and extended the “ olive-branch” to his undeserving relative ; and, anxious to show how sincerely he intended, he nominated young Moore (then admitted to the practice of the law) his agent, and established him with a liberal salary in his new office. This act of generous and kind confidence was requited as it did not merit; and an ill-fated reliance reposed in his false and wily kinsman, proved eventually ruinous to the fortunes of his son.

The morning of the departure of the widower was one of real sorrow; the carriage drew up to the hall-door ; it was the same Mrs. O'Hara had used during her life, and this was the first time it was employed by her husband, to convey him from a spot hallowed by her remembrance. The Major was deeply affected; tears coursed each other down his manly cheek, and while Molloy blessed his pupil, and cursed and cried alternately, the carriage started. The traveller threw himself back in an agony of distress, while Henry, in a mingled mood of joy and sorrow, watched the old gates closing—his solitude was de

serted, and now “ the world was all before him."

The period of young Henry's entrance into Dublin was fated to behold that city in the zenith of its greatness ; glittering amid an halo of surrounding splendour, like the tropical sun, glorious to the last, its brillianey was scarcely shaded for a moment, when it sunk in the waters for ever. The opulence and beauty of the Irish capital ranked it inferior to few cities in the world. Then, a native Parlia. . ment was assembled, and scarcely was there a man of rank and affluence in the kingdom who had not a winter residence in the metropolis Public and private amusements were conse quently splendid ; routes were every night to be heard of; the carriages of the nobility and gentry thronged the squares ; flambeaux glittered in the streets, and Venice and its carni. val was often emulated by the festive gaiety of the city of the “ Emerald Isle.” What a mournful contrast was it fated to exhibit ! Ten short years saw it splendid and wealthy deserted and undone! "The contemplation is

I 2

sickening,—like that melancholy air of Switzerland which maddens, by its reminiscence of lost liberty, those who were once free. Dublin as it was, and as it is.--But we shall not carry on these unhappy recollections. - The court of 1792, nearly equalled St. James's in splendour and display. The first and haughtiest in the empire trode its carpets,' and few, very few, of that nameless multitude, whom lack of better afterwards introduced, were ever seen within its halls.

The table was crowded with bidden guests; but, “ woe worth the day,” now the highways and streets are forced to contribute their quota, and eke out a lamentable deficiency with paupers or plebeians. The Irish court, preserving a semblance of royalty, then deferred to birth and talent. Now and then, when a whimsical vicegerent presided, a mercer, or music-master suffered knighthood in'a drunken frolic ; but, not presuming on the solemn-mockery, and feeling the bitter irony of their elevation, Sir John's voice was never loud, but in the choir; while the only alteration in Sir James

was, a more than common adroitness in slipping his scissars through the lutestring,-like the unschooled tuition of Scrub, when he wished to rival his brother Martin" at the knife-board, the good knight's envy and emulation never ranged beyond the confines of Skinner-row ; but tempora mutantur,—that is, the tables are turned,-and nothing so plenty in the metropolis, as knights and empty houses.

To a person returning after an absence of some years, the wonderful change in the occupations of the streets would forcibly strike him,—“ To what uses may we not return !" At that time, the beautiful row of houses in Sackville-street was undisfigured by shop or show-board; neither huge Elephant, nor tawdry Chinese merchant, had existence. The brass plates upon the doors informed the reader, that a Lord, or Lady, or M. P., was the occupant. But now, alas! names and trades glitter from the attic to the area; and the coronetted carriage has given place to the grocer's cart. Can Dublin yet sink lower ? Is degradation not consummated ?

« ForrigeFortsæt »