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do?-that's very bad, me boy. Now, how often do you be sayin' that? do you say it twice a day?" “Oh! begor, an' I do, an' more, your riverence." 'Do you say it twenty times a day, me good boy?" "Augh! begor, an' I do; an' more than forty times a day, your riverence!" "This is very bad indeed, me good boy. Go home now," said the priest, "and get your sister to make you a bag, and hang it round your neck; and every time you say, Be the Holy Father, drop a little stone in it, and come here to me this day week.
"Well, that day week his riverence was hearin' as usual in his box, and he heard an awful noise in the church, so he looked out ov the dure; and what does he see but his penitent, an' he draggin' a sack up the body ov the church! "Tady Mulloy," says he, "what do ye mane be sich conduck as that in de church?" "Shure, yer riverence," says the fellow, "dese is all the Be de Holy Fathers, an' de rest of um's outside in the dray."
"There was a Kerry priest,' began Ned Shea, and he had the fashion of hearin' confessions wid a slate an' pencil; an' he'd write down every sin, an' the price of it opposite. Well, one day a big mountainy fellow came to his duty, an', says he, I bruk a man's head last Hallow-eve." "That's ninepence," says the priest. "I cut the tail iv Larry Kelly's cow." "That's a shillin': oh, begob, a shillin' that is!" and down it went on the slate. 66 I murthered me wife twice." "That's thruppence, go on." "I kilt an Orangeman." "Whoo!" says the priest, rubbin' out everything; "that clanes out all the rest."
""Listen, then,' said Miss Eily Rafferty; here's a wrinkle for you, Mary Doyle. Did any of ye hear this story? Mother Paul told it to mamma last day she was visiting at St. Swithin's. There was a young lady, a great friend of her own (so now it must be true), livin' on the Laracore Road, just out that way a bit to the Green Lanes; and she was most anxious to get settled. Do ye mind how a nun never Bays get married," it is always settled they call it-ho! ho!' and Miss Eily giggled irreverently. Well, the girl began a novena to Saint Joseph; and the ninth day, when the novena was done, and nobody turned up to marry her, she flew in a rage, and says she to Saint Joseph, "Old boy, you've been here long enough," says she"and out you go!" An', me dear, what do you think but she opened the window, and she hurls the imidge plump into the street! 'Tis a fact! Well, a gentleman was passin' by, an' he saw the white thing fallin' down, an' me dear, he caught it, and he came up and knocked at the hall door. Well, her mother was in the hall; an' of course, the least thing she could do in mere politeness was to ask him in. Then, the girl she comes down, an', me dear, her mother introduced her, an' they were married in a month. So now!'"
We had marked other passages for quotation, but must refer to the work itself, which, though not of first-class excellence, has some good stuff in it, and will afford entertainment to the majority of readers.
ST ALBAN'S ABBEY.
FOR the preservation of the early traditions concerning the Abbeychurch, bearing the name of England's first martyr, we are, as is usual in similar cases, principally indebted to the chroniclers who worked in the scriptorium of the Monastery. We hear of a monk William who wrote in 1170, and Walter in 1181; but the first St. Alban's annalist of any note was Roger de Wendover, whose chronicles are full but inaccurate, and too deeply tinged, moreover, with priestly sympathies. His work was formerly attributed to Matthew Paris, who had merely transcribed and revised the manuscripts of his predecessor. In Bohn's "Antiquarian Library" we have translations by Dr. Giles of both these chroniclers. Roger de Wendover's record ceases in 1235. Dr. Giles, in the preface to his translations, remarks "that it was far from the intention of Matthew Paris to claim in the slightest degree what was due to another;" for in the margin of one of the early manuscript copies now remaining, at the year 1235, we read, "So far is copied from an old book;" and in another old manu
script of the same work are found the words "Mister Roger of Wendover, formerly prior of Belvoir, has thus far digested his chronicles."
Matthew Paris, the appointed annalist from 1235-1259, was very diligent in collecting his materials, and as Newcome, in his "History of the Abbey of St. Alban's," remarks, "was of a temper too brave and independent to comply with, or to flatter the usurping pretensions of either the Pope or the King." Mr. Green in his "Short History of the English People," eulogizes Matthew Paris as "an annalist whose pages glow with the new outburst of patriotic feeling which the common oppression of the people and the clergy had produced. Matthew Paris," Mr. Green continues, "was an eminent artist as well as an historian, and many of the manuscripts which are preserved are illustrated by his own hand. A large circle of correspondence
furnished him with minute accounts of political and ecclesiastical proceedings. Pilgrims. from the East and Papal agents brought news of foreign events to his scriptorium at St. Alban's. He
had access to, and quotes largely from, state documents, charters, and exchequer rolls. The frequency of the royal visits to the Abbey brought him a store of political intelligence, and Henry III. himself contributed to the great chronicle which has preserved with so terrible a faithfulness the memory of his weakness and misgovernment." The sunshine of royal favour, which dazzled many of our old chroniclers, blinding them to the truth, left Matthew Paris independent, undaunted, and clear-sighted. Bravely he wrote. what he felt to be true; and this he did, well knowing the cost. "The case of historical writers," he says, "is hard; for if they tell the truth they provoke men, and if they write what is false they offend God." In a curious and valuable manuscript, now at the British Museum, namely, Matthew Paris's works which he presented to Henry III., we find many incidents of English History represented in illuminations done by his own hand. In Nichols's "Literary Anecdotes" (vol. viii. pp. 608 &c.) we come upon а correspondence between M. Tyson and R. Gough concerning Matthew Paris as an artist and a drawer of maps.
"The book of tracing-paper you have," Tyson writes to Gough,
English geography, and no doubt the able burin of my friend Basire will truly show the world that M. Paris could not make a map. think you have got those two blots which Giraldus Cambrensis calls England and Ireland; if not, pray let me send you such valuable companions to my Master Mat."
The manuscripts of the learned monk were in early times, as now, treasured with great reverence. In Knight's "Pictorial History of England" we read, "On a manuscript of Matthew Paris, now in the British Museum, there is an inscription, in Latin, dated 1st June, 1488, in the handwriting and with the signature of John Russell, then Bishop of Lincoln, in which whosoever shall obliterate or destroy the bishop's memorandum respecting the ownership of the volume is solemnly declared to be accursed."
Matthew Paris, who was remembered by his brother monks as the "pride and glory of their monastery," was succeeded in the scriptorium by William de Rishanger, who carried on the story of St. Alban's Abbey till 1272, the last year of Henry III. The "scant and and lifeless jottings " of this chronicler were collected and arranged by the last of the St. Alban's annalists, Thomas Walsingham, who, after a pause of considerable length, took up the thread of the narrative, threw together the successive annals, and produced the "Historia Anglicana," which was long known as Walsingham's History." Thomas Walsingham died in 1440. Independently of the above writings, we learn much from old chartularies, ledger-books, and shorter histories compiled in the Monastery. Thus we have a continued and regular account, more or less trustworthy, of St. Alban's Abbey until the time of its dissolution in 1539. According to monkish tradition, Offa, the re
nowned king of Mercia, when after a long career of worldly glory he was living in outward tranquillity at his palace of Winslow, was, in secret, the unhappy prey to gloomy memories. Doubtless, as the evening of life approached, he called to mind many a violent deed; but it is on the dark fate of his chosen son-in-law, Ethelbert, king of East Anglia, who was mysteriously slain within the walls of the royal palace, that the chroniclers especially dwell. Offa, they say, had no hand in the actual murder of his daughter's favoured suitor; and further in defence of the king we are told that he avenged the death of Ethelbert on his wife Drida, who, it appears, was the contriver of the ghastly inhospitality. However this may be, it was very plain that Offa had long desired the kingdom of East Anglia for his own, and that he scrupled not to seize upon it now that the people had lost their king; it is also plain that these things weighed heavily upon his mind. Still listening to the monastic historians, we learn that the unhappy broodings over the past resulted in the founding of St. Alban's Abbey.
More than one of Offa's enemies, flying from England, sought and found refuge at the Court of Charlemagne, who had from time to time judged it expedient to favour the cause of those daring to oppose Mercia's mightiest king. The two monarchs were not, however, brought into open collision until upon the occasion of a Kentish revolt Charlemagne, being applied to by the men of Kent for help against Offa, granted their prayer and was boldly defied by the Mercian king, whose army now achieved new victories. Subsequently the two conquerors were reconciled, and we hear, not only of rich gifts from the Frankish king, but of a treaty which secured pro
tection for English travellers to Rome. We read, moreover, that Charlemagne sent Offa certain letters wherein were statutes made in the provincial synods, strongly recommended as containing the rudiments of the Christian faith," and further, as being "very proper for the instruction of the British bishops." who were believed by Charlemagne to be "rudes et incompositos." These friendly advances were probably brought about by Offa's scholarly subject, Alcuin, who had, by the request of Charlemagne, taken up his abode at the Frankish Court and had gained the admiration and entire confidence of the mighty conqueror.
It was during the tranquillity following upon this reconciliation that Offa, seeking to atone for the death of Ethelbert by some grand act of charity, resolved to "build a stately church and monastery."
The original Abbey, or rather Anglo-Saxon church of St. Alban's, was entirely swept away, and rebuilt in Norman style by Paul, the fourteenth abbot, who, with the powerful assistance of Lanfranc, and afterwards of Anselm, succeeded in rearing "the vastest and sternest temple of his age, which, for size at least if not for beauty, has remained the wonder of all succeeding ages."
"This abbot," says Sir Gilbert Scott, "was very ambitious, and made his church half as big again as the metropolitan cathedral his cousin built at Canterbury." This majestic relic of the past, now, as we hope, about to resume something of its ancient grandeur and dignity, we possess in all substantial respects as it was at the death of Paul the Norman (1093). unmanageable masses of Roman material were, by those among his successors who cherished beauty of architecture, gradually moulded into something of grace and ornament, thus partially losing the rugged
simplicity of the original. Nevertheless, Abbot Paul's church remains to us, covering the sanre ground, and having the same walls and piers, shrouded as they are with their recasings.
After some difficulty, as we may suppose, in steering clear of other dedications, seeing that already there were about twenty abbeys in the land, and the same number of episcopal sees with their cathedrals, the king finally decided on St. Alban the Martyr, and we read much that is incredible, or perhaps we may say, symbolical, concerning the patient search made by the royal devotee for the saintly ashes of his chosen patron. According to Roger Wendover, revised by Matthew Paris, who as a devout monk of the thirteenth century, dutifully preserved the much-loved traditions of his monastery, Offa, supernaturally assisted, succeeded in his pious quest; and Matthew Paris, in his life of that king, tells us that Offa adorned the skull of St. Alban with a circlet of gold, after which, with great solemnity and followed by a grand procession, the dead saint was conveyed to an old church outside the town of Verulam. "This church," says Bede, was of admirable architecture, though built only of planks of wood."
hallow the site of his martyrdom, it is well to bear in mind how vague that tradition is, and how very far the story of St. Alban is from taking its place among the received facts of history. We will not lay any stress on the absence of proof of there being any persecution in Britain at that epoch. Individual deaths of Christians for their faith must have frequently occurred without any actual persecution. But the earliest reference to St. Alban is in connection with the anti-Pelagian mission of Germanus (A.D. 429.), who is said to have visited his relics, presumably at Verulam." Thus the story of St. Alban must, we fear, be regarded merely as one among a multitude of beautiful fictions, rich with meaning; and as for "St. Amphibalus," from whom St. Alban was alleged to have learned the doctrines of Christianity, as Fuller quaintly remarks: "He passeth nameless in all authors till about four hundred years since; when Jeffrey Monmouth was his godfather, and first calls him Amphibalus."
Bede merely mentions Amphibalus as clericum quendam."
Offa now commenced the building of St. Alban's Monastery, which he endowed with his palace and manor of Winslow, an estate twenty miles away and about twenty miles in circumference. As soon as the building assumed a habitable form, he placed there one hundred monks under the rule of an abbot of his own choice-Willegod, who was of royal affinity. Having made a good beginning of what he had long had it in his heart to accomplish, the Mercian king, now aged, withdrew to his palace at Offley, near Bedford, and here he died in 794.
Willegod sent an earnest request that he and his monks might have the solemn companionship of their dead benefactor, which request was refused by Offa's son, Egfrid, who