Volume One


12


JOHN NOWLAN continued anxious to get a second and full view of Mr. Horrogan; with one of the name he had been acquainted; and the supposition that Mr. Stokes's brother-missionary could he the same person, much astonished him. But as Mr. Horrogan and he sat at the same side of the table, with a dozen ladies and gentlemen hetween, all poking their heads out, while they ate or drank, or spoke to their opposite neighbours, and also as he did not wish to appear particular in his scrutiny, it was some time before he became assured, one way or the other. Meantime, a short, harsh, monkeyish kind of titter, which often sounded from the quarter occupied hy Mr. Horrogan, and to which, or to something very like it, his ear was familiar, rather confirmed his disagreeable misgivings.

     Letty sat almost straight before him, looking pale and confused, but not once raising her eye to his face. By her side was her beautiful and languishing sister, Emily Matilda, at whose ear, her young admirer, Mr. Sirr, as the magistrate has already announced him, talked, in a low and soft voice, the gentle little things natural to his age and situation, and for which the general approval of Mr. and Mrs. Adams had given him a license. John looked on, while Letty still avoided his eye, with as much envy and pain as if the gentleman had been his rival. His feelings were wayward and moody, yet not far-fetched. He thought to himself, "There is a young man, a clergyman like me, and he can give way to the most delightful impulses of the heart, and in the face of the world avow them, and ask to have them admitted and responded; while here I sit, loving, as he loves—against my seeking, indeed, against my will and wish—God knows that—and, beloved too, as he is—better than he is—for the love of such a woman as Letty must far surpass the love of yonder die-away beauty—and placed opposite to her I love—adore—ay, in spite of the world—of more than the world—adore! and yet I must not interchange with her one assuring word, or sigh—no, not one look can we give or take. Wretched creature that I am!—outcast from the happiness of my race!— victim of a nature that no sense of duty can control, and of the ill-judging policy of friends that has dragged me into duties I am not framed to perform!—See!—see the bliss that sparkles in his eye, and mounts to his cheek, after her soft lisping answer! Tortures! what irremovable certainty have I that the discipline which dooms me to this is—but, God forgive me, God pity and forgive me!" and John, recollecting the conversation of Frank the previous evening, had the pangs of remorse added to his other pangs, as he bent his head over his plate, and trifled with the food, not a particle of which could pass his choked and pained throat. In a few seconds, he bethought to ask himself, "Where now is her brother Frank? does he take notice of me?" and turned and found him at his elbow; the young gentleman's eyes, fixed, indeed, on his legible brow, and smiling calmly as he whispered, "Why should you not be at Letty's side, Mr. Nowlan, as well as Mr. Sirr is at Emily's? you are both clergymen; and you might, Sir, and be a clergyman still."

     John smiled faintly one of his composed smiles in return, and, while his heart sickened and his forehead shot out a cold perspiration, strove to pass the dreaded topic.

     The dinner was over, and Mr. Adams proposed, in a flowing tumbler of potheen, the health of the Reverend Mr. Stokes, his welcome to Ireland and to Mount Nelson, and success to his mission among the poor Irish. All drank the toast in silence except John, who did not touch his glass, though few perceived the remissness, and Mr. Horrogan, who loudly repeated the words in an inveterate brogue, then tittered in approval, and then swallowed at a draught his own good tumbler. At the sound of his voice, John remained no longer in doubt; even the full view at last afforded him of the speaker's face and figure was not needful to give him certainty. This was the very Mr. Horrogan he had known in the bishop's school, and known as a curious compound of character; and if he still retained the peculiarities by which he was there distinguished, he could, in John Nowlan's estimation, scarcely benefit any new cause of which he was an advocate.

     "Mike Horrogan," when at his scholastic studies, was alternately the laughing-stock, the tom- fool, and the wonder of his class-fellows, and always the plague of his teachers. No kind of coercion could tame him into discipline. Acting as if governed by a kind of uncontrollable impulse, yet incapable of steady action; uncouth as the poor peasant father who had, by a miraculous effort, sent and maintained him at college; untraceable and noisy; his language, his manners, his enjoyments, gave the idea of an idiot; and his jumping, jirking motions, that of a vicious monkey. The vulgarity of his mere boyish days could not be preached or driven out of him. He spoke volubly, though disjointedly, in a great broad brogue, mixing up with the phraseology of the peasant's hearth, theological or mathematical words, not always pertinently brought in. Yet he possessed a certain aptness in his class, and had a rude knack of twisting the plainest truths into the most fantastic doubts, with which he would sometimes vex or pose his tutors, and at once amuse and astonish his more intellectual companions; while for the duller ones he framed propositions and puzzles that, as he loved to express it, "used to bother the sowls in their bodies."

     His face and figure set off this meagre eccentricity of character. He was diminutive, thin, and badly jointed, with a disproportioned head, coarse black hair and eyebrows, from beneath which his large grey eyes would roll and start without perceivable meaning. His gash of a mouth vainly tried to close over a chevaux-de-frize of wild-beast teeth, that might have been flung in a handful at his gums, and caught in them at sixes and sevens. He had a broad-winged, flapped nose; a round back, and tallow complexion. At college, he used to wear a suit of coarse frieze, dyed a brownish black, with blue worsted stockings, and native brogoes; a black string fastening his shirt-collar, and his hat hanging on the remote part of his head, and allowing his wiry hair to stick out ferociously; and this face and figure he would contort, whether in mirth or argument, in such a way as to excite at once laughter and compassion; his motion, when he went along, being a kind of limping jump from leg to leg, while his arms were half bent at the elbows, and his chin poked up to the clouds.

     Yet John Nowlan regarded this specimen of a conversion from his own faith with mixed alarm and interest. He felt it add another twitch to his impatience of the restraint which now held mortal combat with his constitutional throbbings after happiness. Letty before him, Frank at his elbow, and the scene of envied bliss between Mr. Sirr and Emily still going on under his eyes, John trembled to find himself thinking—"as Horrogan has done, surely I may do;"—and he thrilled with anxiety to meet Horrogan alone, and call on him for a full statement of the convictions that had caused a change in his religious principles.

     "Have you imparted much to the crowd of poor famishing souls we left you with in the village, Mr. Horrogan?" asked Mr. Stokes, soon after he had returned due thanks for the hospitable and benevolent toast given by Mr. Adams.

     "Nations to me, no, Sir, no," answered Mr. Horrogan, with a horse laugh that, when very much excited, was the climax of his sputtering titter—" poor cratures! they only shillooed at me, as usual, poor cratures, you see,' (placing the genuine southern emphasis on the you) "when I was just beginning to lay down my syllogism, by which I intended to show, to a Q. E. D. that, sowls and bodies, they were all in darkness and error and peril; and then, it's my head they wanted to break," (another horse laugh)—"and I was forced to be off, in a ratio, I'm quite of opinion, with the velocity of a man riding far the bare life, you see."

     Mr. Adams slapt the table, and said, "that was the whole long and short of it;" Mr. Sirr stared at the speaker; Mr. Long smilingly turned to address one of his nieces; and Mr. Stokes, with a sigh, resumed. But, before he speaks much more, it is necessary to premise that Mr. Stokes was one of those amiable persons, rather abounding in England, who, ignorant of the real state, past or present, of the sister country; of its feelings, or, indeed, its fitness to receive the kindness offered at their hands; nay, of its want of such kindness; either take from others, or invent to themselves, interested or romancing accounts of an imaginary state, imaginary feelings, fitness and wants, crying loudly for their interference. Without investigating the truth or error of the thousand statements repeated among the members, men and women, of his society; without reading history, or parliamentary reports, or counter-statements, to prepare his mind for a task most important, if at all necessary; Mr. Stokes had sailed to Ireland, in some resigned misgivings about his personal safety, to act upon an emergency that, the people of Ireland said, had no existence but in the heads of him and of his colleagues, and, in doing so, rashly to cast another firebrand among a community already asserting sufficient cause to be inflamed, and already well disposed to burn and crackle too fiercely.

     The utmost possible credit is here given to Mr. Stokes's views and motives. It is not attempted to accuse him of hypocrisy, or, taking up the mildest word, dissimulation. It is not insinuated that while he only professed to enlighten, to the full extent of their permitted lights, millions of people, he contemplated the useless as well as very doubtful result of changing their religious creed altogether. It is not meant that he could equivocate in the service of his Master. This cannot be meant, because he and the majority of his fellow-labourers denied the supposition. Much less is Mr. Stokes accused of the mad theory lately preached to some of his brethren, by a genuine representative of the old Scottish fanatics, namely, that, although blood might flow in the struggle, the people of Ireland were to be converted to his plan of salvation. With or without a mask of any kind, Mr. Stokes was really too good-hearted a man to echo this savage roar. Indeed, the thing most obvious about the gentle lunatic, was the perfect ease of heart with which he followed up his chimeras. Fixed in prepossession, deaf to remonstrance, his fanciful case of necessity lulled into calm his approving conscience. He could not be alarmed about a possible result. His resolution was taken, and his soul beatifically at ease. Argue with him, and he only smiled amiably, raised the palms of his hands off the table, and looked out at the window; give him facts for his dreams, and, seeing you grow serious, he only changed his smile into a sigh, lifted up his eyes, and shook his head. But he would have been less formidable to John Nowlan if he were a more ranting opponent.

     Simply and secludedly as John had passed his life, he never before imagined the possibility of an antagonist appearing so assured of truth, so impressed with conviction. He had taken as granted that all who differed from his religion did so in passion, or somehow in a confusion of ideas that could not give the semblance of a tranquil breast. Now to behold an amiable and elegant old gentleman calmly denouncing, as miserable error, the creed he had deemed quite removed from such an imputation, first surprised, then shook, and then set him doubting more than ever. "After all," he thought, "I may have been wrong;" and his blood rushed in a tide of happiness at the hope of what might follow a confirmation of this hypothesis.

     But we too long interrupt Mr. Stokes. After Mr. Horrogan had given the unpleasant account of his reception among the village crowd, the reverend enthusiast gently sighed, raised his eyes, and remarked—

     "Ay, Sir, ay, you speak truly; our labours must be long and great before the light can dispel the darkness and superstition from this poor land."

     "May I enquire what kind of darkness you exactly mean, Sir?" asked Mr. Long, turning from his niece, with whom he had been conversing; "religious or literary darkness?"

     "Both, good Sir, both; should I not say both, Mr. Horrogan?"

     "Nations to me, yes, Sir, to be sure."

     "And yet I believe the people of Ireland understand their own religion," continued Mr. Long, smiling politely; "none of us deny that; and if so, containing as it does, and as all Christian sects do, many of the great dogmas in which we believe, I scarce see how the darkness of Ireland can be called a religious darkness; unless, we call the creed of an Alfred, a Bede, a Fenelon, a More, a Ganganelli, or a Montesquieu, by such a name; or unless the purest light of our own, which is also the purest light of theirs, be not light, but darkness. I fear, Mr. Stokes, there is not a necessity equal to the risk of fermenting the minds of a whole people with our well-meant interference on this subject."

     "You amaze me, my good Sir: will you count as nothing a necessity for exertion towards that certain success which the distribution of Bible light most ensure? Are not the poor people longing for the dawn of that light? do they not look towards it?—do they not, Mr. Horrogan?"

     "Ay, Sir, nations to me, and towards nothing else," answered Horrogan, with his horse-laugh.

     "But it is some time since their yearning has been gratified," continued Mr. Long; "some time since your Bible light has shone on them; and where is the certain success? what good has been done?"

     "A few years only in doubt and inexperience, have we yet spent in imparting the word; the future must answer you, Sir."

     "Pardon me, Mr. Stokes; even the esteemed plan of supplying to the Irish translations of the Bible in their own language is one hundred and forty years old. In my Lord Spencer's rare and valuable library, I have seen, while in England, a quarto edition of the Holy Bible, translated under the care of Bedel, Bishop of Kilmore, 'for the public good of the Irish nation,' in 1685; also a pocket edition reprint of the quarto, five years after, that is in 1690; so, Sir, I am at liberty to call upon the past as well as the future for an answer to my question, which still is—what good has been done? Since 1685 to this day, how many converts have been made by Bible distribution, among the Irish? are there now less Catholics in the country than there were then? do we not all know there are, even proportionately to the increase of population, a great many more? and if, after an attempt of a century and a half Protestantism has diminished, instead of extending; and if you still go on for another century and a half, with only the same success, what may we not end in at last?"

     "——to my sowl," roared the Magistrate, still slapping the table, there's raison in that, afther all, Mr. Stokes; so stop in time, say I, before the woodcock is sthroked down into a wran.

     "Before what, good Sir?" asked Mr. Stokes.

     "Why, I'll tell you, Sir; it's a little thing that happened to myself. Tom and I were out afther the woodcocks, one day, from morning till night, but divil a one we could get a shot at, and home we were coming, down in the mouth, as you may suppose, at our bad sport, and only a single poor jack-snipe in the bag; when, at a turn o' the road to Mr. Long's house, we met a counthry-fellow with as fine a bird in his hands as ever you clapt an eye on; so we stopped and asked him where he was going with it; to Mr. Long's to be sure, he answered; I tipt a wink to Tom, and bid the man let me handle it; he gave it to me, and—'a fine bird, a noble bird,' says I, sthroking it dnwn,—in this manner;—'what's that?' cries Tom, pointing to nothing at all; the fellow turned away his head; I slipt it into my bag, pulled out the jack, laid it on one hand, and began sthroking it just as I sthroked the cock; when he looked at me again, I saw him staring as if the horned divil was before him; and 'a noble bird,' still says I, till at last he snapt it from me, singing out, "Tundher-an-ouns, Sir, give it to us, or you ll be afther stroking it into a wran at last, so you will."

     "In truth," said Mr. Sirr, "from some real knowledge of the country, I begin to fear there can be little chance of forcing upon the people of Ireland any religious instruction, save what their priests approve; and ample or deficient as this maybe, I believe, whatever may be our regret, we must rest content with it, or else squander much time, energy, and money, to no purpose, and at the same time, promote dissension instead of teaching peace and good-will. Whoever expects to separate from their priesthood a people who have, for centuries of suffering, only clung closer to them, has been taught rather bad philosophy, and is peculiarly ignorant of Ireland, and of Irish temperament. I think it my duty to say so much."

     "Let a practicable system of school-education be devised; let all parties unite in it; and that would be doing good to those poor people," resumed Mr. Long:—" for my own part, I believe such an effort might benefit every rank and sect amongst us; I believe, if we all agreed to teach the grand principles of morality inculcated by the general scripture belief we all hold, we should witness, at one and the same time, a good result among the poor and illiterate, to the fullest extent required, and an increase of Christianity towards each other; in a word, Mr. Stokes, would to God we could all read alike the text meant to benefit all alike;—would to God we were all Christians of one sect or another;—for my own part, I scarcely care which: I only want to have the whole circle of my friends united in their hopes of God as well as in their human sympathies."

     "And I," cried Letty, speaking for the first time, quickly and ardently— "I only want that;" and for the first time too, her eye met John Nowlan's, with an expression which he felt in the recesses of his heart.

     "We, Sir, it is we alone must undertake even the school-education of the unhappy Irish," said Mr. Stokes: "experience shows us the fact;—the experience of ages; for ages we have waited to see their own priests endeavour to effect even that slight good; for ages we have not interfered between them and their flock; yet to this day, while capable of raising an enormous sum for other purposes, the popish priests of Ireland neglect the commonest duty of their situation."

     "All this I know has been said over and over, Mr. Stokes; you have heard it from the lips of hundreds of your friends, and, in its most disgusting form, from one individual whom a sad chance sent in among the representative wisdom of Great Britain. But suffer me to assure you of the fallacy of the whole of these statements. You have been imposed upon."

     "You have, my dear Sir," echoed the young clergyman; "the assertions of your friends are without much foundation."

     "What, gentlemen! after the laborious enquiries of a number of zealous men, this contradiction from Protestant gentlemen—from a Protestant minister, too, is astonishing!"

     "From Protestant Irish gentlemen, good Sir, whose zeal does not clash with the peace of their country, and to whom, at all times, facts are of some importance," said Mr. Long mildly.

     "And I have started nothing, my dear Sir," added the young clergyman, "against the principle. Even taking into account the charge made against us of proselytizing, because I look upon that as a thing we are bound to endeavour, I only state my doubts as to the practicability; and I will go so far as to say, that the result may be increased to rancorous division, rather than to conversion, or even instruction."

     "To give you some facts, Sir," said Mr. Long, "opposed to the statements you have just made. Although Camden authorizes us to assume for Ireland, in the sixth century, a great literary reputation; and although such assumption would not leave her unlearned, nor unenlightened at the visit of Henry II, in 1172, (her priests, alone, appearing as her tutors,) yet let us avoid that point altogether. We say that England began, under Henry II, to civilize Ireland; did Henry educate? did he establish means for making the people conversant with a new system of education, in a new tongue? No; yet Cambridge was established in his own country in 1110; Oxford in 896; so he knew what to do: and supposing him (as some say it) to have obstructed native Irish literature; or suppose he legislated for a people destitute of any mental light; still it was great neglect towards the country he affected to rule and enlighten, when, with such precedents before him, he left Ireland destitute of a national school.

     "I fear, Mr. Stokes, it will not gratify the vanity of any reasoning Englishman to continue. For four hundred and twenty years afterwards, Cambridge and Oxford went on, pouring forth the great flood of mind upon which, in the reign of Elizabeth, England was floated to her classic rank; and you went on for four hundred and twenty years, branding Ireland with barbarism, and still denying her the means of refuting your assertion.

     "Let us not forget that, in the time of Henry V, when literary students from Ireland abounded in England, the Parliament passed a law, expelling them from the country—them, the descendants of men who, as some of your own historians assert, educated, in their native land, your own Alfred; them, the people to whom, at home, you refused an opportunity for becoming enlightened, and against whom, in England, you thus shut the very doors of knowledge.

     "But Dublin got a university in 1591; to excite the mental ambition of the people of Ireland? No, Sir; talk as we may, the Catholics are, in spite of us, the people; and to them every situation of collegiate rank and emolument was denied.

     "Charity schools were established by charter," continued Mr. Long; "to enlighten what portion of the poor of Ireland? Not the Catholic, who could not cross their threshold; but a few base-born or kidnapped boys, who were taught in their catechisms, that the people of the country believed 'in corruptions of the Popish worship the most gross and intolerable;' and, for this kind of instruction, these hot-beds of the true barbarism had grants of 46,000 a-year, while the country still remained unassisted in the education of its own poor. Worse than that, I am sorry to say.

     "Notwithstanding all this neglect, amounting, in fact, to interdiction, the craving for knowledge remained active in Ireland; and Roman Catholics governed schools of their own, and, even under the difficulties of a new language, the national mind marched on. But now listen, Mr. Stokes. Precisely at this time comes the Seventh of William and Mary, making it highly penal for 'Roman Catholics to teach in a school publicly, or in a private house, or as ushers to Protestants'

     . "This law has not been repealed many years; and what, then, becomes of the case of your friends, that, for centuries, the priests of Ireland, or any individuals of Ireland, were left free to educate their peasantry?"

     "That's all sthroked down into a wran, too, by——," cried the Magistrate; and he again made the glasses jump on the table: "——my sowl, but you're all going the chase in fine style; to him again, my hearty; soho!—but stop, take a sup to give you wind; I say, Misther what's-your- name; ay, you're the man I mean"—to Horrogan—"why don't you help the docthor?"

     "Nations to me," began Mr. Horrogan, "but I'll prove that his consthruction is bad, and that his definition doesn't apply at all, you see; ergo, his argument won't apply to the lading proposition, and, let me see, throwing his face into a wicked grimace, "the three propositions, nations to me, are primarily theological; it is to be demonsthrated that beatification is consthructed on bible- with-out-note-oe-comment, an nothin' else; first then, the—"

     "When I have concluded, young man, you can reply to me," said Mr. Long mildly.

     "Ay, by——" cried the host, "all fair; let him bag his first shot, first, and then we'll soho him foe you; to it, my boy; that's a pet."

     The magistrate seemed to regard the battle of intellect in true sportsman go–t.

     "But why have not the priests done their duty since the wisdom of the legislature mercifully repealed the law?" asked Mr. Stokes; "it is well known that, to this hour, they do all they can to obstruct the commonest school education—is it not, Mr. Horrogan?"

     "It is, Sir, to be sure, nations to me," answered Mr. Horrogan, laughing in a way that made one fear he was sputtering out his teeth.

     "And all in the apprehension that literary light will but herald the breaking forth of the true light," continued Mr. Stokes. "What, Sir?"

     "The very thing, Sir, you see."

     John's face glowed, and his eyes sparkled with a reply; but Mr. Long caught his glance, and, smiling kindly, nodded to him to permit his advocacy. Letty fixed her eyes on her uncle's face.

     "The assertion is made, and, amongst a certain circle of ladies and gentlemen, credited, Mr. Stokes; but it is not, as you suppose, known to be true. I recollect nearly forty years back; and from my own observations, in different parts of Ireland, I can say that the Catholic priests have, during that period, been zealous and very successful too, in educating the poor of their flock. Without the slightest assistance from government grants, which richly endow school-houses hostile to their religion, or to which they are hostile, they have, in almost every parish in Ireland, established, partly from their own slight means, partly from annual subscriptions of a few shillings a-year, contributed by each subscriber, charity-schools, in which, along with religious education, the usual branches of humble learning are imparted. Throughout all the large towns you will find large schools of this kind at present existing. In the next large town, Limerick, you will find one, containing hundreds of children, founded, supported, and taught by two or three humble individuals, Catholics, and of a religious order of which the chief obligation binds them to educate their poor. You will also find in it a parochial school, governed by priests. In fact, Sir, it is astonishing to think—making the fullest allowances for the very zeal your ignorant or deluding friends wholly deny—how much, out of no visible means, and in the face of powerful competition, the priests of Ireland have done towards really enlightening its otherwise neglected, or else—and I regret to add the word—beguiled poor people.

     "Sir, they are at present educating thrice the number of poor, that, with more than thirty thousand a-year, an institution, called national, is able to educate; and this fact should be known to the legislature.* I do not mean that the institution is not willing to instruct as many, and more than the priests: able, is my word; and it answers all the purposes of good sense and good policy. As a Protestant gentleman I may, I do regret, that we cannot direct the mind of the people of this country so as to turn it, in time, into our own path; but when, after years, after centuries of experience, we find the hope extravagant, unfounded in human nature, impossible; when we see the Irish people still cling, through all the changes of associated benevolence and legal enactment, to their priests and their old creed; when we see those priests becoming more numerous, more enlightened, more combined, more watchful than ever, headed by a body of their bishops still more enlightened and more watchful, and powerfully aided by popular speakers, by popular newspapers and tracts,—the whole forming against us an array of zeal, talent, reflectiveness, caution, and even denunciation, such as our utmost efforts cannot coonteract;—when this appears to be the real state of the case—the stubborn fact—it strikes me, Mr. Stokes, that we should give up useless exertions, that lavish much precious money, much precious benevolence, and, more precious than all, that risk much of the peace and prosperity of a people.

     "And let us give up such useless exertion, for another reason. The people of Ireland pay all the taxes, all the tithings imposed upon them; submit to the voice or to the punishment of all the laws of England; contribute their quota to her navies and armies; being, meantime, Roman Catholics. Their religion, then, does not hinder them from being useful subjects; nor does whatever kind of school education they may have received from their priests, deprive England of their services. What urgency, then, in a legislative view, exists for changing their religion, or their mode of education? Will not a wise and paternal government (and it will, sooner or later) rather facilitate the kind of school education they are anxious to obtain, and which has yet produced it more good than harm? Since the Irish people are contented subjects—if allowed to remain so,—what use can it be to the legislature to convert them into Protestants?—The legislature has something else to do; and it must soon tire of countenancing a project at once profitless and unattainable."

     "Sir! I hear you with amazement and grief!" cried Mr. Stokes, unusually animated. "What, Sir! is this question to be considered only by the lights of worldly or courtly wisdom? is there to be no zeal for millions of poor famishing souls?—is the word to abide direction from human lawgivers? Far, far be the day when our legislators shall agree in a view so unworthy; but," continued the enthusiast, his habitual blandness overcome by his really warm feelings, "even should that day come, the bidding of the Lord must be hearkened to by his more faithful servants; and though blindness and superstition should oppose struggles to zeal, still must the honest preacher walk boldly among the misguided of this land;—nor is he to pause for the dread of the worst consequences you foretell: it is written by Him, whose word we preach,—I being you not peace but the sword."

     "Ay, nations to 'em," echoed Mr. Horrogan, "as Mr. Lookaside, the great and worthy Scotch preacher says in London—though blood may flow—"

     "Silence, Sir!" said John Nowlan, half-starting up, and fixing a look on his old schoolfellow. At many periods during the evening he had striven to catch his eye, but Horrogan evidently shunned John Nowlan's recognition; and even now, without seeming to know who spoke, he merely obeyed a command his nature and recollections durst not oppose.

     All turned quickly to John, from whom a word had not previously escaped. Letty looked applause, and his heart melted from indignation into softness. Mr. Stokes stared; Mr. Adams clapped him on the back; Mr. Sirr smiled, as if not sorry for poor Horrogan's discomfiture; and Mr. Long said—

     "I would echo the young priest's word and—"

     "Young priest!" exclaimed Mr. Stokes, rivetting his stare.

     "And from my heart loathe the sentiment of that theatrical preacher. It well fits, indeed, a disciple of the gloomy and sanguinary sect who, with the text of God in their mouths, murdered Archbishop Sharpe in Scotland; and is a fair specimen of the sectarian frenzy that, under different names, has, since the establishment of Christianity, devastated kingdoms, and coolly set man to slaughter his fellow. In an age, and especially in a country like ours, such a sentiment merits the joint and unmeasured execration of all Christians. Let it be anathema by mankind."

     "A priest?" continued Mr. Stokes, unconscious of the last words spoken; "I am glad of it:—your hand, Sir;" and he rose and walked to John.

     "My hand, with all my heart, Sir," answered John, rising to receive him:—" but why so glad, Sir?"

     "Because, dear brother," resumed the amiable zealot, fully restored to the mildness of his ardour, as he still held his hand, "it is to our providential success with you, and such as you, we first look for a reaping of the harvest of our mission: the young priesthood of Ireland shall shame the obstinacy of the old; through them we are doomed to prosper."

     "Well, Sir," said John, smiling as the old gentleman returned to his seat, "may be so."

     "It must be so, good Sir," rejoined Mr. Stokes; "one proof of our success sits at my side, and others will not be wanting."

     "Nations to me, we'll have lashins of 'em," sputtered Mr. Horrogan. And John, who had kept his eye on Mr. Horrogan, perceived that he had become somewhat inebriated, clipping his words, and forgetting the presence he was in.

     "Silence, Sir!" again cried John; and he was again silent.

     "Nay; the good work of this day has not left us entirely hopeless of some regeneration among even the grey-headed of the poor Romish clergy: he was but an old friar, indeed, whom we met;—what, Mr. Horrogan?"

     "Yes, Sir; an ould Dominican, you see, out on the quest, poor crature; an' as crabbed as an oak stick, an' as cute as a pet fox, Sir."

     "And yet, I can assure you, Mr. Magistrate Adams, that, after we saluted him, on the road, Mr. Horrogan having some knowledge of the poor old man, and when I presented him with the precious gift of a New Testament, asking him to open it, and declare whether or no he had ever before seen such a book, his answer was, with the utmost humility, and an appearance of joy and thanksgiving: 'Sir, Sir, how could I?'—and, reverently saluting us, he put the holy volume in his bosom, close to his old heart: and perhaps, Mr. Adams, as the poor friar received some encouragement to spend with us an hour of this evening in nourishing discourse, he may yet be a trespasser on your hospitality."

     The magistrate, evidently delighted at such a mixture of clerics, properly answered this intimation; and John was about to reply to the nonsense he knew Mr. Stokes' story involved, when the friar himself,—a little old man, seated between two wallets filled with the corn he had begged on his "quest," and bestriding a middle-sized, greyish, rough-coated, but well-fed horse, who, the reins lying loose on his neck, poked down his head, and paced along very leisurely,—appeared crossing the parlour windows, in his way to the hall door.

     In a few minutes he entered the parlour, bowing, in an old-fashioned way, around him; and then, with a dry smile, another bow, a mock deference, and a "salve domine," advanced to Mr. Stokes, who warmly shook his hand. Though upwards of seventy, he was straight, sturdy, muscular, and stepped firmly. Unlike the friars of old, or our ideal of them, he showed no useless flesh. The out-door life he led, walking his steady horse from house to house, to beg the corn and other provisions that were his chief means of existence, had fixed, like the process of enamel- painting, a healthy brown on his shining cheeks; his small grey eyes were still keen and strong; and his hard, horny-looking, but well-shaped lips, kept themselves generally compressed, and ready for a shrewd smile. Of his dress, we cannot say (let it be known, however, not to be his Sunday one,) that it distinctly proclaimed his clerical character. The inside coat and vest were a rusty-black; the small-clothes, olive plush; the stockings, grey; and a surtout, that remained open, a muddy brown.

     After greeting Mr. Stokes, he sat down with much complacency and self-possession. A tumbler was placed before him, "the materials" pushed to his hand, and he readily mixed his punch and drank healths all round. One after another, he then took snuff from three snuff-boxes; one of gold, containing rapp‚; one of silver, containing Lundy-Foot; one of tortoise-shell, containing Prince's mixture: hemmed loudly, and lolled in his chair, and hung his arm upon the back of his neighbour's, which neighbour happened to be Letty.

     Some pause ensued. At last Mr. Stokes asked—"Have you yet drawn more and more comfort from that precious book, brother?"

     "Ay, Sir, more and more; and may you get your reward for the gift; and only it was questing day, and little to be had by it, either, (as long as we're left in the trade, a poor friar must live, you know)—only for that, I could tell more about it, at the first offer—ay, Magistrate," turning to Mr. Adams, "not a worse day's begging a poor friar ever made, which I lay chiefly to the dour of father Larissy, who, because he's a secular, thinks to forestal me and my poor grey, at every farmer's house in the country; but I'll be even with him,—a bitter bad day, Sir; bitter bad;" and, as he shoved two boxes to the magistrate, he snuffed a long-drawn pinch.

     "Well, holy friar," replied Mr. Adams; "we must think of that: here. Judy; go out to Patt, and bid him throw a male-bag of oats over Mr. Shanaghan's baste."

     "The Lord incrase your store, Magistrate," resumed Mr. Shanaghan. very demurely; "and now, my dear young pet," turning to Letty, who, her eyes fixed in wonder upon him, was startled at his sudden address, "as the tey is coming in "—(the servant appeared with it),—"maybe you'd jist sing a purty song for a poor ould beggarman of a friar? Do, my pet," tapping her cheek, "and I'll sing you one for it."

     The magistrate roared a request for Letty to comply; she did so. The friar stroked her head, and called her a good child: between his own cups of tea and tumblers of punch, performed over and over the promise he had given; singing no less than three songs; one French, one Irish, and one old college Latin. The magistrate, exceedingly pleased, contributed a hunting ditty, which was chorussed by the young gentlemen. The friar began again, and gave them, in good country style, as good a "sporting stave," in lieu of it; and, in short time, was the delight of his entire circle.

     Now and then, Mr. Stokes addressed to him sentences that were calculated to draw forth admissions of his zeal in the cause of the new crusade, and opinions of the great probability of converting the whole Romish priesthood, secular and regular, young and old. The friar, making his answers only a kind of interlineation to what he seemed really to consider the business of the evening, always returned an "Ay, Sir, ay," that, according to the will of the interpreter, might mean assent or query; but, as the evening fell, he at last finished the scene.

     "It's growing late, Magistrate," he said, rising; "and after the little bag of oats, and the two tumblers of good potheen, and the good tey, and all, I'm thinking of getting on the back of the poor grey. God reward you for your charity and good tratement; and my blessing be with you,"—to Letty,—"my good and kind child, for your song, and your smiles, and your good-humour; and good-night to Mrs. Adams, and all the family; and to you, too, Sir," as he passed Mr. Stokes, "and you may's well put that along with the rest—you'll want it;" drawing out and handing the holy book.

     "What, Sir!" Mr. Stokes began.

     "Why, then, I'll tell you, Sir," interrupted the old Dominican, confronting him, rather sternly, though still speaking at his ease; "the up and down of it is this. Put your book in your pocket, go home, and, before you next come among us, learn for what. Learn that a Catholic clergyman, as well as you, draws his religious knowledge and comforts from the word of God. Learn the plain fact, known to every child, that he cannot say his daily mass without reading a portion of the New Testament, and, always the beginning of the Gospel of St. John. Learn that he does not preach a sermon without a scripture text, as its head and subject; and that the catechism, placed by him in the hands of the humblest child, is made up of scripture texts, and of little else; while to none of his flock is the perusal of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, ever denied. I am ashamed, Sir, to find myself the tutor of any gentleman, on this threadbare subject; nor could I have thought the necessity for it possible, until your silly, ignorant, and, pardon me if I say, presumptuous address to me, upon the road, this day, proved it to me, and at the same time suggested a mode of chastisement, in the face of this large and respectable family, which, notwithstanding your years, I think you deserve. You have had the temerity, as well as absurdity, Sir, to suppose that a Christian clergyman, near four-score years old, was uninstructed in the creed to which he clung, and for his preaching and teaching of which he is awfully accountable. As to your young convert, you will know him soon enough: I wish you joy of Masther Horrogan. Good night, Sir; and God send you a little sense.

     "But, Sir," resumed Mr. Stokes, "you kept the precious gift; you—"

     "I'll just tell your reverence a little story about that. There was a poor ould little Frenchman, a- hiding from the troublesome times in his country, came to live near me, in the house of a thrifty couple, who took into their heads that all Frenchmen occasionally lived upon garden-snails, were particularly fond of the dish, and would purchase it at any money. So, thinking to turn a good penny, the wife asked him, one day, what he thought of having a mess of snails for dinner, adding that they were very scarce and dear, but she would do her best. The poor foreigner felt much insulted; but seeing it was not meant, and sprang purely from ignorance and selfishness, planned his revenge: 'Yes—you vill go,' he said, 'and get me all de snail in de voeld; one, two, six horse loads, and I will pay you one, two, six guineas.' The man and his wife left their lawful work; went roaming about the country with their children, gathering all the snails in all the neighbour's gardens; hired horses and kishes; loaded and filled them; and returned in a few days to the Frenchman, and claimed their reward. 'Ve vill see,' cried Monsieur; 've vill see—stop—what is dis? Mon Dieu! de snail vid de horn! Bah! I vant all de snail vidout de horn, as I have in France, and here you bring me de snail vid de horn! Let dem all go—let dem run—de snail vid de horn vill never do.' "

     And after this anecdote, Friar Shanaghan left the parlour.

     Mr. Long, Letty, and Mr. Frank, prepared to return homeward: Mr. Stokes, Mr. Sirr, and Mr. Horrogan to accompany them part of the way. When all were mounted, John Nowlan, his doubts of the early part of the evening, something laid by all the conversation he had heard, called Horrogan aside; obliged him to recollect him; earnestly requested that they might adjourn together, to some place convenient for discourse; obtained his assent; noticed Mr. Long of his intended delay; and was forthwith led by Horrogan to a hedge-alehouse.

     "First give us a smoking tumbler, by the wit o' man," cried Horrogan to the proprietor, (as if he had not already had too much) laughing immoderately, and rubbing his hands. One was placed before him, John refusing to join him in his scalding beverage.

     "I have but one question, Mike Horrogan," he began. "Tell me your reasons fo
changing your religion—your conscientious reasons; and tell them plainly, for much depends on that."

     "Nations to me, man, wasn't their ould musty theology all bad logic, wasn't it?"

     "Explain yourself, Mike."

     Mr. Horrogan took a gulp before he replied. "My poor ould mother, God rest her sowl! often tould me, when my fool of a father was forcing me to go to their college, that I'd never be a priest, so I wouldn't; and, nations to me but she was right, so she was."

     "Well; but I particularly want to hear your reasons, Mike."

     "I tould you before, man-alive, so I did;" (another gulp) "their theology wasn't good Scripture theology, nations to me; their purgatory, their masses, their blessed clay, blessed beadses, and their prayers to kill the red-worms—why, there was no proposition in the Bible to take them from, and I'll prove it, so I will, nations to me: all problems demonstrated by the money they brought in, but no theology in 'em."

     "If I do not mistake, you speak of the abuses of some of their doctrines, not to the doctrines themselves."

     "Don't tell me, man-alive; didn't I make a penny of 'em myself, 'till they tuck the bit out o' my mouth, and wouldn't let me live by my theology:— didn't they?"

     "How was that, Mike?"

     Mr. Horrogan emptied the contents of his tumbler "at one fell swoop;" made two or three frightful faces as it passed down; stopt to recover himself before he went on, and then continued visibly much intoxicated, and thrown off his guard in consequence.

     "At the first going off, didn't the bishop refuse to give me orders to go on the mission?—aye, because I puzzled him in his theology, nations to him: then, when the friars tuck me in among 'em, there was nothing but lecture and reprimand all day, or else, questing, questing, questing, for ever—because I happened to be the junior, and the ould fellows snug at home, while I was sent out in all weathers: and just for spaking a civil word to red Peg Dwyer, didn't the suparior call me to account; and, another time, expose me before the whole house, only for taking a dhrop o' punch in the town of a fasting night, when my stomach was wake; though I could prove, by the mensuration of the stone jar, that they tuck it themselves at home; didn't they tell me to go out o' the convent, or be more regular. Regular! why, I could demonsthrate, as clear as an axiom, that I was a regular more than any of them; and so, John, I threw my ould scull cap at the masses and the purgatories, and the praying for the dead;—showing, in the long run, that my poor mother, God rest her! was right, any how, and that I wouldn't be a priest, nor a friar, either; and so—" he glued the glass to his lips, turned its bottom to the ceiling without effect, and then hit it smartly against the table; "and so,——"

     "I have heard enough," said John Nowlan; "good night, Mike."

     He mounted his horse and followed Mr. Long; thinking out, as he rode hard—"No Letty, no; my vow may be broken, not forsworn;—what have I said?" stopping himself, much affrighted—"what possibility have I admitted? Oh! God forgive and strengthen me! Yes; I will go home to-morrow morning.
















 










* It has since become so known.