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bestower of praise on all; though these epithets seem to differ a little from those you used for another individual, you appear inclined to give general commendation.”
The gentleman answered, “The two beings I most reverence and love, are those of whom we have just been speaking; you appear to know them, and must allow the justice of 'my remarks.”
"At any rate, J dare not contradict them," said Lady Harriet, smiling
And if you had dared, which I dare venture to think,” said the stranger, "a lady of your apparent courage would have done, I do not think you could have found one fault, or one folly to have taxed them with. Delaware is certainly gay, and, may be, sometimes throws more of liveliness into all he does than may suit the starch and stiff opinions of many ; but his animation is never boisterous, his intimacy never degenerates into familiarity, nor does his gaiety ever betray him into a single act of levity, and with all these qualifications it would indeed be a crime to dislike aught about him."
Why,” said her Ladyship, “I did not ask you for a vindication of the man; I never bestowed a moment's thought upon his had qualities; his good ones are too radiant, they dazzle my eyes, and prevent my sight.”
Yes,” said he; “I suppose, Madam, it is the lustre of the sun's beams that prevent our beholding the spots that are said to exist upon its surface."
The conversation between them continued for a long time, and became animated and highly interesting. Lady Harriet was dying with curiosity to know with whom she was conversing. She asked many questions which she thought must lead to something like an explanation, but they were either neglected or evaded by some observation, which gradually led them away to other topics.
Both seemed to enjoy mutual pleasure from this unexpected acquaintance. They wandered over many subjects of interest, and wit and pleasantry were excited on both sides ; indeed an intimacy of years could scarcely have established the freedomalmost friendship-between two people who were totally unacquainted with each other : and, at length, Lady Harriet summoned up courage boldly to ask, to whom she was indebted for the great gratification she had experienced, as she hoped at some future time to be enabled to resume the acquaintance, and she should always look back with pleasure to the opportunity that had been afforded her of receiving instruction and mental gratification. She paused, and seemed to wait an answer, for which the elegant unknown appeared quite unprepared.
He hesitated for a few minutes, as if he was on the point of acknowledging his name and character; however, after a short
pause, he said, “I do not know whether I am at liberty to tell you my name, for although Lady Norfolk knows me to be here, and knows the business on which I came, I must inform you I am not a visitor to her; nay, was she aware that I have had the pleasure of seeing you, such is her nervous sensibility, that I almost doubt she would wish you to know who I am.”
Why, surely,” said Lady Harriet, with a laugh, “I have not been betraying myself to a spy, who has only come to find out the nakedness of the land." This, though said with an air of pleasantry, did not seem to please the stranger : an instantaneous crimson flush was on his cheek, a look of hauteur and pride crossed his brow, but it was difficult to think it was any thing but the sense of conscious innocence; it was, however, ambiguous, and for a moment the confidence, with which she had before treated him was changed.
At length he said, “ Be assured, Madam, you will one day have reason to believe the individual who has had the honour of addressing you never has and never will forfeit the claim of respect from those whom he considers the best pledges of fair fame and honour.” In a very short time this tête-à-tête was put a stop to, by a servant announcing to the gentleman that his carriage was at the door.
He then took his leave of Lady Harriet : He hoped the impression he had made was not so unfavourable but that when they chanced to meet again in the world, he might claim the liberty of addressing her; he regretted he was so situated as to be unable to give her his name, and of course, under those circumstances, he could not consider himself justified in requesting to know who was the fair partner of this morning; he doubted not they should soon meet without having any veil of mystery thrown over him, a pleasure, he said, with a peculiar look of admiration, that he should anticipate was not at a very great distance.
The lady assured him, with an air that seemed to speak the truth her heart felt, she should always have much satisfaction in renewing the pleasure of the morning. After some little expression of regret that he was obliged to leave such delightful society, he took his departure, to the very great mortification of the lady. He had baffled all her inquiries when they were indirectly made, and at last had confessed he could not acknowledge his name.
She revolved in her mind all the circumstances that had passed: she found every thing he had said during their interview had made a most favourable impression on her, and she acknowledged to herself that even Lord Delaware was excelled by him in powers of fascination; there was more earnestness and warmth about him : every thing he said seemed to carry conviction with it, as it appeared the result of reflection, not the momentary flash of wit which was certainly amusing, but was not to be relied on. She was on the rack of expectation till the arrival of the Countess
of Norfolk, but even then she thought her anxiety would not be gratified; every question would only tend to alarm so nervous a person, who would fancy some cause lurked behind any inquiry that she might make; besides which, she felt she should herself experience some little trepidation, for she knew she had taken too great an interest in this person to ask any questions about him, without betraying some emotion. Any indirect plan of gaining information her well-regulated mind taught her to avoid, since the stranger had given her to understand there was something like mystery attached to his appearance at the house.
She however felt some relief to her thoughts when she heard the approach of the carriages which brought Lady Norfolk and her party, amongst whom she looked round to find a kindred soul, but saw none; there was no one with whom she had the slightest acquaintance no one who was likely to tell her who was the interesting stranger.
(To be continued.)
THE BEAUTIFUL STAR.
BY LEIGH CLIFFE, ESQ.
WHERE wer't thou ?—where wer't thou, thou beautiful star,
What hast thou beheld, Oh! thou beautiful gem,
Did'st thou shine on the Magi, thou gem of the sky,
TALES OF THE PARISH WAKE.
BY PADDY THE PIPER.
The corpse was laid out on a large deal table, in a moderatesized room, which boasted of no article of furniture, excepting some eight or nine forms, and a smaller table beside the bier.
It was the kitchen of an empty house, borrowed from the publican 'hard by,' and the neighbours added the different housiel' commodities to contribute to the 'dacency' of the entertainment.
There's no happening in all Ireland, which is productive of so much real diversion to the boys and girls,' as a true genuine wake. A wedding rarely provides them more than an hour's jollity. A pattern, or fair, with some few exceptions, outlives not the twenty-four hours; but the wake--the wake—the open wake, is the jubilant protraction of three days and three nights—the feast where every body is welcome though none invited—where laughter, and folly, and smoking, and drinking, and crying, and jesting, and playing, and telling, and lying—the nine Muses, with Momus for their Apollo-sanctify the scene and make it the happiest hour in the life of an Hibernian.
Not only is such rude wassail' not forbidden by the friends and relatives of the deceased, but it is looked for and expected, as a compliment to the dead, to make the room resound with orgies and mad revels; for which purpose whiskey is distributed in large quantities, and the more vociferous the merriment the greater the respect paid to the corpse.
Besides this, perhaps as a counterpoise to the hyperbolical mirth, or else according merely with old customs, those who can bear the expense, procure one, two, three, or more keenerskeentheciauners, or criers over the body; and these, seated at head and foot, bowl out their shrill coronachs in their native tongue-tearing their hair and beating their breasts, while they enumerate, in a kind of wild melody, and in extempore verse, the good qualities and endowments of the deceased, whom mostprobably they had never seen till after the ultimate washing, nor haply heard of before they themselves had screamed forth its goodness and virtues, and for which they had merely to tax their memory, not its report.
It sometimes occurs that there is some curb to the latitude of
the night's fun; and this happens where real grief afflicts the house ;-a husband loses an early wife, a mother an only son, or such like; when, if visitors be admitted, they are treated with tobacco and whiskey, but forbidden from the merriness and riot habitual on like occasions.
But no such embargo was laid in the present instance.
The late Mary, alias Poll, Sweetman, washerwoman, clearstarcher, ironer, and soul proprietor of the dead body now before us, most fortunately for my readers, had none of those peculiar ties of relationship or life which could avert or impede the extremest jollification of an Irish wake. She had no husband individually to bemoan her irreparable loss, nor child to break its little heart over her hapless fate ; and even if she had, 'twere question whether regret would have proceeded so far as to interfere with or infringe upon the liberties of the people, and deprive them of those immunities which time out of mind they had been accustomed to expect—a legacy without the will—when any of the neighbours chose to bid them a last adieu, and left his body for their amusement and his soul to their prayers. No woman within twenty parishes dared compete with Polí over a tub of suds or a bucket of clothes, when she was sober, but alas! that when excluded nine-tenths of the linen-scrubber's waking moments, and all her sleeping ones. No gossip in the whole county had a quieter or more harmless tongue than poor Poll, provided always you agreed with her, or that she suffered no interruption in her sayings, or that-mortals are fallible, you know—nobody found fault when she did wrong, or in fine, when happening to be in a good humour before the grog made its direct manifestation she was civil and oblegin ;' but the smallest contradiction or the slightest interruption had such a strange effect on our deceased friend's soft temperament and otherwise tractable nature, that a nursing tigress, a hydrophobiacal mastiff, or a hyæna on workhouse allowance, were incarnations of meekness in comparison with the washerwoman in her hours of waked wrath.
“ The good is oft interred with the bones—so let it be with noble Cæsar.” The evil sometimes buried with the flesh-so let it be with Poll Sweetman.
Who ever thinks while leaning over a dead body of its faultsits foibles—its errors—or its crimes ? Anger dies with it; Reproach is dumb—and Pity and Sorrow, two death-bed cherubs, defeat each harsher feeling, and reign supreme. Memory is no reviler—and least of all, of the dead; for even the blackest enmity is purified by the recurrence of some white spot, and the ugliness of human failings rouged into things sweet and beautiful to think upon: as we behold in a theatre objects at a distance made to look lovely; and memory, however vivid, is but the opera-glass of the past.
Poor Poll! she died from an overflow of spirits, and here she