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No country I ever saw, abounds more in picturesque situations than the North of Ireland. This house, Rose Hill, is in a most delightful one. It stands on the green brow of a little hill, which overlooks the town of B
and commands an assemblage of hill and dale, of wood and water, of verdant mead and lofty mountain, the beauty of which it is impossible to describe. An extensive garden is in front, arranged in terraces. It is now in its highest perfection. Flora herself seems to preside over it, and Proserpine might come hither to gather her fairesi flowers. The rose is in endless profusion, and sheds its rich fragrance on the room where I write. I love this flower; nor would I think myself solitary in a wilderness that was blooming with the rose. The name, eren, and all its combinations, are beautiful, and the soft dew of heaven becomes more beatified still when it is called la rosse. Well might the heroine of a German drama, when with enthusiastic rapture she recalled the voice of young and mutual love, exclaim,
Methought it was the song of the nightingale ; methought it was the smell of the rose.” If there were a place, indeed, upon earth where care could not enter, it might be supposed to be here, and in what fairy scenes of delight does the imagination revel, when it figures to itself the happiness virtuous love might enjoy in this wilderness of wild pleasures and solitude of sweets.
The family of my hospitable entertainer, consists of his wife, of whom I shall presently speak, an old bachelor, his brother, and an unmarried daughter, I do not, however, know, that he who sees in this an Arcadia would choose her for his queen. She is a sickly-looking young woman, with a remarkably pale face, and an expression of deep melancholy. The
complexion, indeed, is rather the lividness of a corpse, than the paleness of a living being. To explain the paleness and melancholy of a female countenance, romance is always at hand, and ascribes it to love—the most powerful of all the passions--in a tale. But love is only one of the many sources of human misery, perhaps not the most powerful, and certainly not the most lasting--slight causes often produce powerful effects, and what is little romantic is sometimes very distressing. The young lady owes her ill health and pale face, to a cause that has injured the health and looks of thousands. When a growing girl she was inclining to be fat, and had besides, what she thought, a rustic floridness of countenance. She drank therefore, large quantities of vinegar, and has for ever got rid both of flesh and complexion. She has likewise contracted a kind of nervous movement of her head and shoulders, which is disagreeable. If, indeed, it were permitted me to say so of people, to whom I am indebted for so much hospitality, they seem all rather originals. In proportion as we recede from the metropolis, original characters become more common. Men who live much together lose their peculiarities. Men who live apart retain them, and acquire new ones. It is impossible to live long in a retired country, surrounded by mountains and glens, and torrents, without receiving their impression on the soul, and acquiring a disregard of the common usages and objects of life. The brother assisted the Americans in their revolution, and had the rank of captain in their service. He was wounded in the head at the battle of Princetown, and is, I understand, completely deranged whenever he drinks wine or spirits; of both of which, like most old soldiers, he is inordinately fond. His brother, on this account, therefore, seldom goes into company, and as seldom sees any, for as Doctor Johnson has remarked, nobody in Ireland visits where he cannot drink. Presbyterians, I have elsewhere remarked, are enthusiasts in favour of liberty—they bow down reluctantly to kings, lords, or bishops, and to get rid of them, particularly the two latter, as much as to better their condition, was probably the reason why so many of them emigrated to America. It is not wonderful, therefore, that almost universally they took part with her in her struggle for freedom, as they would consider it. Almost the entire Pennsylvania line, as it was called, were Irish Presbyterians. Of the veneration which the old gentleman, I am speaking of, bears the country for which he bled, it is difficult to form a conception. He actually shrieked at the idea, that, in what I must deem the most unfortunate struggle about again to commence between them, the mercenary slaves of England should prove a match for the free-born sons of America. I thought he would have suffocated, nor was I relieved from my apprehensions, until I saw the tears of affection roll down the poor man's furrowed cheeks, as in imagination he beheld the future greatness of his beloved adopted country.
“ And oh !” exclaimed he " that I may be permitted to look down a hundred years hence, and to see her greatness extending from the rising to the setting of the sun. I warrant ye her low minded enemies will be then as low laid."
His dress bespeaks his fondness, as forcibly as his conversation. He wears upwards of two dozen of silver buttons on his single-breasted blue coat and waistcoat-on each of which are engraved some great American statesman, general, or event. General Washington occupies the upper button of the coat, and Mr, Handcock, President of Congress, the same station on the waistcoat. Should (no uncommon thing with books) the history of that memorable æra be ever worn out, we may obtain a tolerable knowledge of it from this worthy veteran's habiliments, and his silver buttons may be of as much use to the future enquirer into American affairs, as ever a series of medals was to the curious in Greek or Roman antiquity : for, with a modest distrust of his own abilities, the artist has engraved on the exergue of each button the name or the event it commemorates.
I write this from a farm house, sixteen miles from Strabane It might be six hundred, the change in climate, soil and manners, is so great. In England, a man may travel much and see little. Gloucester is Lincoln, and a man or maid of Kent,
little different from a man or maid of Salop. But in the north of Ireland we have every progression of climate, soil, and manners, in the course of a few hours' riding or even walking.
The people with whom I am, are Presbyterians. They are industrious and wealthy. Their house is what a farm house ought to be, comfortable and neat, without finery or fashion. It is situated in a most dreary country, and may be said to be on the very verge of civilization in this quarter. Before my windows rise the immense mountains, which separate the county of Tyrone, from the counties of Donegal and Fermanagh. The appearance of these mountains, though gloomy and forlorn, is not uninteresting. They are covered with a sort of brown heath, interspersed with scanty green rushes, and scantier blades of green grass. They are such scenes as Ossian would love to describe, and probably many of his heroes did tread those heaths, over which the wind now passes in mournful gusts, and moves in melancholy unison with the memory of years that are gone.
For an extent of several miles forward, there are only a few cabins inhabited by the herdsmen of my friend. They are called shepherds, but heu quantum mutati ab illis, which the imagination pictures. This is no Arcadia. The shepherd's life in these mountains has little embellishment-little for poetry, or fancy, to exercise itself on. Here is no bright sun, no verdant mead, or daisied bank for love to repose on-no sound of pastoral music, or rustic pipe to beguile care, and gladden the sorrowing heart. Life, like the mountains which sustain it, like the wind which howls over them, like the mists which ever rest upon them, and now come slowly down in thick and drizzling rain, is solemn and lugubrious. Yet, the herdsmen have a kind of song or chaunt, as they bring their cattle home, which, were it not for the indistinct ideas one attaches to shepherds and their flocks, would not be unpleasing
These mountains are inhabited entirely by Catholics. In ancient times they were the asylum of those unfortunate people, and they were not dispossessed of them, probably, be
cause no other people would live in them. In these mountains therefore, we meet with a people purely Irish, professing what may be well called the Irish religion, and retaining most of the old Irish customs, usages, opinions, and prejudices. I hold long conversations with them, as I meet them on the roads, or sit with them in their own houses. Hardly a day has passed since my arrival, that I have not walked from eight to ten miles, and either address, or am addressed by every person I meet. In almost every instance, I have been impressed with their singular acuteness of intellect, and extensive information of what is passing in the world. A London tradesman could not detail the wonderful events we are daily witnessing, more correctly, and probably, would not half so energetically. An Irish peasant, like a Frenchman, speaks with every part of his body, and his arms and countenance, are as eloquent as his tongue.
I was invited to day to a christening, but was prevented from going by the weather. It has been raining the greatest part of the day, and I have passed my time, (not unpleasantly passed it) between the kitchen and parlour of my friend's house. Parlours are pretty much the same every where. I shall, therefore, say nothing of this—I cannot, however, pass the kitchen over so quietly. I do not say that there never was a merrier one; but certainly it was a very merry, a very noisy and at the last, a very niusical one.
In the forenoon it was occupied by the churu--my host makes great quantities of butter for sale ; it is, therefore, an immense one, and so is the churn staff. This latter is made of the mountain ash, or rowan tree as it is commonly called. Superstition attaches to the rowan tree as many
properties, as it does to the witch-elm, and churn-staffs are universally made of it:
Then no planets strike,
After the churning was finished, the servants and labourers