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eastward path, and often made us turn round to admire their striking singularity and beauty; I refer to the two lofty and isolated hills at the mouth of Sligo Harbour, the one on the south side already mentioned, Knocknara or Knocknaree; the other on the north side, the still more beautiful Benbulben, with its congenerous peaks of Benduff and Benwicken. The loftiest of these three peaks, that which gives name to the mountain, is about 1700 feet above the sea-level. In about two miles after leaving Sligo, we passed through the magnificent woods of Hazelwood, the seat of Mr. Wynne, and skirted his extensive farm, almost as magnificent in its way.
We had seen no farm to be compared with this since we saw Lord Lansdowne's at Coollattin, either for the size of the fields, the excellence of the cultivation, or the goodness of the crops. It was a perfect Scotch farm; and we found another, almost as good, at no great distance from it, belonging, I think, to another proprietor.
On emerging from Mr. Wynne's woods and grounds, we found ourselves on the northern bank of the charming Lough Gill. This lake is principally in the county of Sligo, but partly also in that of Leitrim, and is about four miles in length and from half a mile to a mile and a half in breadth. With the exception of the lakes of Killarney, it presents decidedly the most beautiful piece of lake scenery we have yet seen in Ireland.
It resembles Killarney in the wooded beauty of its shores and islands, and in its general sweet and smiling aspect, but it wants much of the grandeur thrown around the former by the magnificent mountains that environ them. Not that the shores of Lough Gill are, by any means, tame; on the contrary, the steep and wooded hill that rises abruptly from its edge, and constitutes its southern boundary, rises to the height of 800 feet, and certainly contributes not a little to enhance the charm of the placid waters and the wood-crowned shores at its foot. The lake is said to cover an extent of 3600 acres, and to contain no less than twenty islands, most of them richly wooded. Two of the largest are inhabited, or at least are in a state of cultivation, and one contains some very ancient ruins, whence it derives its name of Church Island.
At the eastern extremity of Lough Gill we turned for a short time northward, until we reached the main road leading to Manor Hamilton and Enniskillen, when we once more turned our faces to the east. The country for some miles after leaving Lough Gill presented to us a more continuous tract of gentle beauty and quiet picturesqueness than we had before seen in Ireland. It consisted of a succession of small green low hills with bluff shoulders, constantly broken by naked cliffs of rock projecting from the green turf or blossoming heath, and separated from one another by a network of little fairy valleys, winding and twisting about in all directions. It had no trace of the bog or the moor, and put one in mind of some of those small half-wild half-tame sheep-walks which are occasionally met with in the north of Devon. It was, to my taste, as pretty a bit of quiet landscape as could well be seen.
The whole country retained somewhat of the same aspect all the way to Manor Hamilton, but afterwards it resumed, here and there, a good deal of the old tame, flat, and boggy character, though, on the whole, much more cultivated and more peopled than the part of Sligo we had traversed the day before. We were now in the county of Leitrim.
In passing through the pretty parish of Drumlease, some distance beyond the east end of Lough Gill, we stopped at several cottages to examine their condition, and that of their inmates. Neither presented any remarkable difference from what we had already seen further south. I called also at a little farmhouse, which was in no way better than a cottar's cabin, except that it was somewhat more roomy and had a few sheds attached to it. The little farm consisted of thirteen acres, for which and the house only 61. rent was paid. The farmer kept four cows and one horse, and he had a few pigs and a donkey. The horse was not employed in ploughing, as all the work of the farm was done by hand, the digging being performed by the farmer himself, with the aid of one or two men, hired for the occasion, and to whom he paid 10d. per day. The
poor-rate on the farm was 88. in the half-year, and the county-cess 8s. 4d. for the whole year.
The man had occupied this little farm for five years, and had found it always hard work to pay his rent and keep his family. Previously to engaging on the farm, he had been a ploughman with a neighbouring gentleman for many years, receiving as wages one shilling a day, besides his food and a free house. His wife complained bitterly of her altered fortunes since her husband had changed his mode of life. Formerly, she said, she had not only all that was necessary for herself and children, but was able to indulge in many simple luxuries which
now forced to forego. It was admitted that this man's allowances, while in service, were uncommonly large, in consequence of his being a favorite with his master, a man of extraordinary liberality to his labourers; but the goodwife declared that she and her family would be greatly better off if her husband were again in service, though with considerably smaller wages. I could not help considering the history of this humble household, as offering a good illustration of the comparative advantages of the cottar system and the consolidated farm system. The vote of the mother of the family (I did not see her husband) would obviously be in favour of service over so-called independence.
The poor woman was not in good health, and in giving her some counsel respecting it, I had occasion to question her as to her age. She told me at once, but with a blush indicative of some. thing wrong, which she explained by stating that, having married a husband much younger than herself, she had usually passed for a good-dealyounger woman than she was.
I record this trifling fact as another instance of the singular candour which I have already mentioned as characteristic of the Irish peasantry, although it may be fairly objected that the want of candour in concealing her age may well balance the candour towards me. In one sense this is true; still the spontaneous confession of previous wrong must be admitted to be an act of candour.
When I entered the open door of this cabin, 1 found it tenanted by the good woman of the house, a female friend seated by her at the hearth, with a sickly-looking child on her knee, and a boy and a donkey. The boy, I found, was the son of the family, and the donkey was his, he having brought it up when deprived of its mother shortly after its birth. Although evidently familiar with its present locality, and under no sort of restraint before company, I was made to understand that this was really not the donkey's proper abode, he being only admitted an occasional visitor as the pet of the family-pet. The boy was a fine smart lad, very decently clad, and was an attendant at the National School of the parish, where he paid the usual weekly penny. He told me there were 40 boys now in the school. I see by the Commissioners' Reports, that