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ART. III. A Trip to Kilkenny, from Durham, by way of Whitehaven
and Dublin, in the Year 1776. Containing Remarks on the Situ. acions and Distances of Places; the Customs and Manners of the People, interspersed with short Digreflions, and some Observations on the Climate, Productions, and Curiofities of Ireland, In a Series of Letters to a friend.
2 s. fewed.
Stockton printed, and fold by Goldsmith, London. 1778. TRIPS, and Tours, and Excursions, and Sentimental Journeys
, are become so much the ton, that every rambler, who can write (tolerably or intolerably), assumes the pen, and gives the Public a journal of the occurrences and remarks to which his preregrinations have given birth.
In the number of these inquisitive and communicative persons, Mr. Elftob will not, we fear, hold a very distinguished rank. He is not a Johnson, nor a Pennant, nor does he even attain the excellencies of Mr. Wraxall, or Mr. Twiss*. -As a writer +,
he • Gentlemen whose Tours have been reviewed in our Journal.
+ Such expressions as the following, ought by no means to appear in a work addressed to the public; they would scarce be excused in a private letter. By being too attentive on the different scenery around me,' p. 12. The people seemed to have juit risen and to be making on their fires,' p. 40. This, indeed, may be an error of the press.
The very moment I entered the Choir (of St. Patrick's, Dublin), I fixed my eye on the priest.-“ Dearly beloved Roger," leaped infiantly into my head - Poor Swift' that was once thy place :- casi steadily about for Roger-but, in a little tine, I recollected my mistake-the beloved Roger did not belong here, p. 96. I believe it will concord with the general opinion of the people,' p. 19;.
To these we may add the following uncommonly figurative, mysterious, or occult passages : ' A few miles from Barnard caiile, quick hedges begin to decay; the fences change into one walls,' p. 19. Should this description deceive the curious naturaliit of Crane court, or Leicester square, and prompt him to make a Northern tour, in the fond expectation of behoiding some new and wonderful process of petrefaction, we think he would be lawfully entitled to call upon Mr. Elftob for the expences of his journey.
• The lower part is the theep-market (at Appleby), and the higher part, on the left, is the place for Galloways, kiloes, &c. p. 20. Now, in the name of wonder, what are chele Kiloes! Some animal, belike; but whether of the Horse, or Ass, or Ox kind, we Southern folk are left in vain to guess.
And now for a metaphorical flight! speaking of the mischievous effects of the Irish whiskey, when drank to excess, as is too commonly the case, among the lower sort, the Author says “it is the parent of that savage, brutal temper, so conspicuous in the common Irim, and is certainly the foundation of all their peculiar calamities and misfortunes. In short, it renders their minds unapi for serious thinking, and their bodies inactive in uleiul labour; reduces them
he is, perhaps, inferior to all his brother Trippers or Tourists, whose itineraries have fallen under our inspection; but, howa ever, he is a man of some observation; and there are pallages in his little volume, that will, at least, afford fome degree of amusement; though we do not perceive in it much new or important information.
As we have just mentioned Mr. Twiss, who lately made the tour of Ireland, and offered some remarks on that country, which have not a little disgusted the natives, we shall here extract what Mr. Elftob has observed, relative to that gentleman,, and to his publication *.
Speaking of the productions of the press in Dublin, and among other articles, of the Irish edition of Mr. Twiss's Tour, he proceeds to tell us, that the number of times he was asked whether he knew Mr. Twiss, would appear incredible. None,' says he, here thank him for his remarks, and few approve of his book. I am ashamed of them when I reflect on their behaviour to his effigy ; -and their aukward sarcasms thrown out at that. ingenious and worthy gentleman, shew no good temper. I was indeed much entertained one day in a Pottery warehouse, on seeing some chamber-pots, with a head enamelled on the bottom, having the mouth wide open, and these words below it,
66 Come let us p
« On Mr. Twifs ;" which led me to conclude, that the head was a representation, or in the place, of Mr. Twiss's. These curiosities are, as I was told, in almost every house; and, I judge, are universally used. His mouth is open to receive the stream--but his eyes too are open-and this it was that entertained me. -Mr. Twiss must surely acknowledge his great obligation to the condescending ladies who use him so freely, and deign to treat him with such showers of affability, or he is quite void of every species of gratitude. Was he to start up in person-he might immediately return the compliment, if the sudden emerfion did not too much, ruffle the lady's disposition.
Travelling one day in company with a young lady, some.. thing introduced Mr. Twiss into discourse. I never heard him spoken of in Ireland with so much candour and applause. She approved of every paragraph (fave one) in the book, either with regard to accuracy or intention (she presumed). The passages far below the dignity of their nature--and but too often urges to such offences, as juftly open the folding arms of the avenging law to hug them in endless eternity.' This seems to be a species of hugging never yet defined. We have heard of the Cornish hug, the amorous hug, and the friendly hug; but this gallows hug is a sort that a man would pot chuse to be better acquainted with. See Rev, vol, lv.
which appeared harsh or severe to most people, the hoped would have their intended use-produce good effets, and make thein better; but in one single point he had made too free -- he had peeped too curiously-the could not forgive him -- he had nobusiness with the ladies' legs. The paffage she alluded to is this" As to the natural history of the Irish species, they are only remarkable for the thickness of their legs, especially those of the plebeian females.” This, ihe contended, was aimed obliquely at the ladies, or at least they were included (-1 believe they might-), but she could not support her opinion with any tolerable arguments, so it dropt.'
To what we have said in the note, concerning whiskey, we may add our Author's.farther account of that coarse and pernicious. dram.
At a public house at Skerries, the landlady, brought hiin a, noggin of her plain whiskey, but she told him that gentlemen always drank currant whiskey. « This is a spirituous liquor made from malt; the plain fort tastes somewhat like gin, especially in those parts where juniper-berries are to be had. The currant whiskey is made by infusing currants in the plain whiskey.' p. 56.Again, p, 105, the out-skirts of Dublin consist mostly of cabins. Each cabin has generally a small piece of ground belonging to it, which produces a few potatoes, cabbages, and onions, the constant food of the Irish poor all the year
round. Flesh seldom enters their miserable dwellings, and bread not often. But whiskey they will have they think it, almost impoffible to subsist without it:-it is their darling, and their ruin-it contributes much to their present deplorable state of stupidity and poverty. Their faculties are benumbed by the extravagant use of it, and their families are thereby plunged to. the very bottom of distress,' We are afraid that this reflected view of the sordid manner in which the poor Irish cabiners live, affords but too just a picture of that clais of the inhabitants of our sister island; hence it is the less to be wondered at, that so many
of them come to the Irish hug Mr. Elstob adds his teftimony to the common assertion that Ireland is freed from venomous animals of every kind.' The. truth of this exemption, he adds, has been questioned, and by some flatly denied; but, he roundly avers, it is a fact, beyond all doubtt:'-None, however, of those who have admitted this fact, have ever pretended to account for it.
* Vide preceding note.
+ Beyond all doubt, with this Writer, it may be ; but others have their doubts on this subject. Among that number may be ranked the Monthly Reviewers; who, however, have neither leisure nor opportunity, at present, for debating the point.
Some particulars from our Author's account of St. Winefred's well, may be here selected, as supplementary to the circumstances mentioned in the Review for January *, from Mr. Pennant's Welch Tour.
· Holywell (the town of) consists of three principal streets, which branch out from the market-place, as from a center. We entered the town at the West street-turned a little to the right out of the market-place into the South-west street-leaving the North street on our left hand, At the foot, or extreme, of the North street, is the celebrated spring known by the name of St. Winefred's well
As this is the place where dinner is commonly provided for the passengers, I employed a few leisure minutes in visiting the well. I had no need of making much enquiry for the road to it-there are generally people standing ready about the inn to guide you in the way, if you are a stranger, and have no idea of its situation; but these conductors are not easily fatisfied for their trouble, though the labour might be abridged to ten words, and a slight motion with the right hand; but that is a species of wit incompatible with avarice--the means would fubvert the ends. Avarice is always officious, and profusely lavish in words and little complimental actions-these are its peculiar characteristics—and by these it is always known, and easily detected.-But to return-many attendants are likewise constantly stationed at the well--one with a beaker glass presents you with a draught of the water-another expatiates on its virtues-gives you a long detail of the many wonderful cures performed by the use of it, and concludes with a catalogue of the annual and casual visitants who come thither to bathe, and drink the water-and, in this account, you are sure of hearing the names of Dr. Solander and Mr. Banks perhaps more than once mentioned. A third person has papers explaining the origin, &c. of the spring, and these they sell at fixpence (if
possible), or threepence (if you please).-The following account is the substance of one of those descriptive papers which are sold at the place.
“The rise of St. Winefred's well is by some accounted a , miracle, and related as follows :-That in the year 700 lived Winefred, a virgin of extraordinary sanctity, who made a vow of chastity during life, and dedicated herself to the service of God.- A heathen prince named Cradoc, having often attempted Winifred's chastity in vain, met her some time after upon the top of the hill near Holywell church, and struck off her head, which rolling down the hill, was taken up by the priest of Holywell, who being a favourite of the Almighty's, did, by divine allistance, replace the head on Winifred's shoulders,
+ P. 32.
who was thereby restored to life, and lived fifteen years afterwards.-In the present loose and degenerate age, many may reckon this relation fabulous; but, if it be considered, that the Old and New Testaments furnith us with many surprizing and miraculous things, done by the power of God and Chrift, there can be no dispute at least as to the possibility of it.'
Whether we are obliged to Mr. Elstob for this reflection on the possibility of St. Winifred's recovering her loft head, or to the person who drew up the paper from which he has abftracted these particulars, is to us a matter of fome uncertainty; and therefore we fall only remark upon it, that to good Catholics, the miracle of St. Winefrede, and every other pious miracle in the martyrology, is, to be sure, very possible; and that if they reap any benefit from their belief in such miracles, no liberal minded Protestant, we suppose, would wish to dispute them out of it. But to return to the well.
These waters it is added, “ seem to be of a singular nature, and not to be excelled; for, from the original rise of this spring to this day, the water, by bathing therein, performs wonderful cures :--It heals those troubled with the leprosy, and many other diseases ; restores the lame to the use of their limbs, as well as the blind to their fight, and ftrengthens such as are recovered of the small-pox. The phyficians are of opinion the water is of that excellent nature as not to be equalled in the universe; which has caused so great a resort, that, from a few houses, Holywell is encreased to a large market-town of fine buildings, fufficient to entertain the greatest number of people, and the bathing is every way rendered as agrecable as at any other wells or baths.
Here it may not be improper to take notice of what to some people may seem incredible, but the truth of what is offered will at any time be demonstrated to the curious; that is, that by the gauge,
the bason and well hold about two hundred and forty tons of water, which, when let out, fill again in less than two minutes. The experiment was tried for a wager, on Tuesday the twelfth of July, 1731; Mr. Price, the Rector of Holywell, Mr. Williams, Mr. Wynne, Dr. Taylor, and many other gentlemen of Holywell, as well as strangers, and the Writer of this relation, being present; when, to the furprise of the company, the well and bason filled in less than two minutes; which plainly shews that this spring raises more than one hundred tons of water every minute. And although the water in the bason is more than four feet deep, it is so transparent that a small piece of money, or a pin, may be seen at the bottom. rises up in the well as if it were in a Brewer's boiler and violently agitated by heat.'