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where to go? Ah! where? Home ?-never! I dare not show my guilty face to you. To the country?-pshaw !-let me fly to the remotest spot of earth, will not Rumour, with her hundred tongues, be sure to hunt me out. No-no! there is but one safe, quiet place of refuge for me now, and that is the grave-the silent grave! "Death-inextricable, eternal Death, then, is my stern resolve. One other half-hour, and this breathing form will be a lifeless mass. And yet, great God! what agony-what bitter-racking agony is it to rend-irreparably rend asunder all the tender ties that bind us to this poor existence! to say 'farewell' for ever and ever to all the darling beings that make this paltry life most precious to our hearts, Oh! my dear mother! my loved-my much loved Blanche, how does my poor soul writhe again to leave yeye! its only care, its only joy, its only glimpse of heaven, and, moreover, to leave ye thus! But there is no alternative. It mustit must be done. So farewell! for ever fare ye well!-EUGENE.'
The aged Count could say no more. Sorrow, deep, overwhelming sorrow, stifled his discourse. The tears trickled quickly down his furrowed cheeks, and loud and fast the sobs came gurgling from his breast. He struggled violently to overcome the sturdy anguish, and at length (still sobbing between each word,) resumed his doleful tale.
"What my feelings were after reading this wretched letter, human tongue can never disclose, nor human mind conceive. Suffice it. Let the strong grief that now almost suffocates me at the mere remembrance of the thing, give you some faint idea of the rigid agony I must have then endured. At first I thought to follow my poor victim to the tomb; but deliberation bade me live, and by repentance-deep and absorbing repentance-strive to expunge, if possible, the crime from out my soul.
"Such has ever been the steadfast, anxious object of my life. Not an ear but thine, not even his mother's, has ever listened to the melancholy history of that young man's death. Many, and most bitter have been the tears which I have shed over his grave. His mother, who ever believed her darling son had fallen by some robber's hand, I made my strictest care while living; and when she died--she died beseeching blessings on my head. His sister, Blanche, I spared no means of mine to cure her of her disease, and ultimately made her partner of my rank and fortune. My whole days have I devoted to charity, and prayers for the soul of poor Eugene, and I trust by a few more years of rigid penitence yet to be able, ere I die, to atone for all.
"And, now," emphatically added the sorrowful old Count, "I pray you let this be a warning to you, young man. Hoard it in your heart; and, when you think again of play, remember-oh! remember, THE TALE OF THE MORGUE!"
No wonder that our Irish boys should be so free and frisky,
National Song-" St. Patrick was a Gentleman."
To attempt a description of Dublin, or indeed of any part of Ireland, without devoting a chapter to the whiskey, would really be "criticising the play, and forgetting the chief performer;" for, as it will be seen before this paper is read through, the whiskey is the chief performer in Ireland; and though political opinion is the cause of much excitement, religious opinion of more, yet the whiskey exceeds them both, and is stronger than all.
"There are some things," says an Irishman, "that must_be treated with extreme delicacy, and one of them is-a potato." If I might be allowed to add a rider" to the remark, I should say, "and another is the whiskey ;"-first, because it is the great "Dictator" of Ireland, being the cause of more wit, merriment, and laughter, poverty, wretchedness, and crime, than all the other exciting causes of the green Isle put together; and secondly, because next to the love of life is an Irishman's love of whiskey, and it is doubtful whether the former does not depend in a great measure upon the latter. Sure, where's the Irishman that doesn't love the crathur' before any other licker in the world, barring the holy wather?" And it is undoubtedly because the honour of "inventing" whiskey is considered by an Irishman the greatest which could be bestowed on any man, that that honour has been conferred upon St. Patrick. "The force of flattery could no further go"-even in the land of Blarney Stone.
The whiskey of Ireland is peculiar to the country. It is not smoky like that of Scotland, and it is stronger than any that can be procured out of the country, since it is several degrees above the proof allowed in London, and it is not permitted to be exported until reduced to a certain degree of strength. Scotch whiskey is strong enough, but the Irish exceeds it, and this too, notwithstanding all the adulteration it undergoes. A story is told of the Scotch whiskey that deserves to be mentioned. A Scotch pedlar, stopping at a whiskey shop on the mountains, called for a naggin of the spirit, which he proceeded to drink neat. Wad ye na like water with it, sir?" said the serving girl. "Na, na, lassie," said the pedlar; "the man that's na satisfied with the water that's in it already must be unco hard to please." In Ireland the taste of whiskey is so well known, that it would be equally difficult to impose upon the consumer. The best spirit is procured from malt, of which an immense quantity is consumed annually for distillation. In colour the spirit resembles very light sherry, and possesses a peculiar odour, which, like all others, must be experienced to be understood. There is another kind of whiskey, the "poteen," or "mountain dew," the whole of which, I believe, is illicitly distilled. It is of a lighter colour than the former, and possesses a smoky flavour, highly prized by connoisseurs, but very disagreeable to a person who tastes it for the first time. These are the two species of the spirit so renowned in song and story for its potential effects upon the people; but it is in another form that its use is universal in Ireland, and its qualities more
highly prized. This is whiskey punch. The "crathur" is too strong to be drunk neat; it is therefore invariably used, except by the lowest class of dram-drinkers, in the form of punch. This word will mislead an Englishman unless explained. Unlike the famous punch of England, there is little mystery in the manufacture of this potion. It is no mixture of villainous compounds, it requires no apprenticeship to understand its manufacture, and it can be brewed equally well by the boy just come of age as by the old fox-hunter or village-doctor. It is, in truth, no more than what a Londoner would call by the plain name of "whiskey and water" hot, but which, for reasons unknown to me, has been honoured with the fine-sounding name of "punch" in this country. The word "whiskey" in Irish means "water." The etymology of poteen and punch I cannot pretend to explain.
The strongest evidence that can be given of the national love of whiskey, is its use by all classes of society. Unlike the various wines and spirits of England, the mere names of which will almost inform the hearer of the class by whom they are used; for who does not connect an idea of the lower orders with "gin,"-of sailors with 'grog,"—of wealthy citizens with "port and sherry,"-of the élite with "claret,"--and of fashionable rakes with "champaigne ;"--unlike these "degrees of spirit," the favourite beverage of all classes in Ireland is punch; so that to say that a man drinks punch, is merely understood as meaning that he is not a member of a Temperance Society-it conveys no idea of his rank or station. Rich and poor are alike its admirers; and, unfortunately, the latter are attached to it but too strongly. "You well know," says Martin Doyle, in his Hints to Small Farmers on Temperance and Morals, "that on almost every occasion on which people meet for business or pleasure, the whiskey-bottle is made a party; that neither wake nor funeral is without it; and that the solemnity of the grave is sometimes disturbed by its polluting presence. Is there a christening or a marriage without it? Is there a fair or a patron without it? Is there a single bargain concluded, a cow or a pig bought or sold in a market or a fair, without the whiskey-bottle being introduced before the payment ?" And with the better classes its use is equally general. At what Irish gentleman's table are not "the materials" for punch introduced after dinner?-if not before the ladies have retired, certainly after they have gone. And it might be added, what real Irish gentleman is there who would not prefer a glass of whiskey-punch before the finest wines of the Continent? Indeed, when well-made, it is a most agreeable mixture. It possesses none of the fiery and burning qualities of Hollands; and when taken to excess, if the spirit is pure, it causes but little of the nausea that invariably follows a debauch with wine. There are therefore good grounds for the national partiality, and some excuse for the enormous consumption of the spirit. Before alluding to the latter subject, however, a few instances of the love the people have for it may be interesting.
The Irish, from time immemorial, have been famed for their usquebaugh, or whiskey; and in the collection of ancient Irish songs lately published by Mr. Hardiman, called "Irish Minstrelsy,' being an attempt to effect for Irish literature what the "Percy Reliques," have accomplished for our own, there is the following
characteristic effusion of an ancient admirer of the whiskey. It is an address of an Irish Bard to the Spirit of Usquebaugh, and is remarkable as much for its truth as the fervour of its sentiment. The song is entitled
THE LIQUOR OF LIFE.
The Bard addresses Whiskey
Why, liquor of-life! do I love you so,
If you'll cheer me again in the morning.
The Whiskey replies—
When you've heard prayers on Sunday next,
The Bard resumes his address
You're my soul and my treasure without and within,
But all other enjoyment is vain, love!
My barley-ricks all turn to you,—
My tillage, my plough, and my horses too,-
Come" vein of my heart," then come in haste,
Oh! Usquebaugh, I love its kiss,
My guardian spirit I think it is,
Had my christening-bowl been filled with this,
Many's the quarrel and fight we've had,
When you smile at me full on the table
Och! I'll stand by you while I'm able.
This is a song of great antiquity, and Dr. D'Alton, by whom it is translated from the original Irish, thinks it was the composition of one of the many wandering minstrels who, with their harp upon their shoulder, roamed through the country in olden time, depending on the good feeling and love of the peasantry, and the benefactions of the Irish nobles, who resided in their castles in the country, for assistance and support. The song is exceedingly clever. It abounds with double meaning, which, though not strikingly apparent on the first perusal, evinces the talent of the composer.
A hundred thousand welcomes.
An evidence that the same enthusiastic love of the national beverage has always been felt by the people of this country may be found in the following statement by Mr. MacCulloch, respecting the attempts made from time to time to abolish the immoderate use of whiskey. This was at one time attempted by the imposition of enormous duties; and if heavy taxes, enforced by severe fiscal regulations, could make a people sober and industrious, the Irish would be the most so of any on the face of the earth. In order to make the possessors of property join heartily in suppressing illicit distillation, the novel expedient was here resorted to of imposing a heavy fine on every parish, townland, manorland, or lordship in which an unlicensed still was found, while the unfortunate wretches found working it were subjected to transportation for seven years. But, instead of putting down illicit distillation, these unheard-of severities rendered it universal, and filled the country with bloodshed, and even rebellion. It is stated by the Rev. Mr. Chichester, in his valuable work on the Irish distillery laws, published in 1818, that the Irish system seemed to have been formed in order to perpetuate smuggling and anarchy. It has culled the evils of both savage and civilized life, and rejected all the advantages which they contain. The calamities of civilized warfare are in general inferior to those produced by the Irish distillery laws; and I doubt whether any nation of modern Europe, which is not in a state of actual revolution, can furnish instances of legal cruelty commensurate to those which I have represented. These statements are borne out to the fullest extent by the official details in the Reports of the Revenue Commissioners. In 1811, the Commissioners state, when the duty on spirits was 2s. 6d. per gallon, duty was paid in Ireland on six and a half millions of gallons, whereas in 1822, when the duty was 5s. 6d. per gallon, only three millions of gallons were brought to the charge. The Commissioners estimate that the consumption of spirits annually at the latter period was not less than ten millions of gallons; and as scarcely three millions paid duty, it followed that seven millions were illegally supplied; and allowing one million as the quantity fraudulently furnished for consumption by the licensed victualler (distiller,) the produce of the unlicensed stills may be estimated at six millions of gallons. Now it is material to keep in mind that this vast amount of smuggling was carried on in the teeth of the above named barbarous statutes, and in despite of the utmost exertions of the military and police to prevent it, the only result being the exasperation of the populace, and the perpetration of revolting atrocities both by them and by the military. "In Ireland," say the Commissioners, "it will appear, from the evidence annexed to this Report, that parts of the country have been absolutely disorganized, and placed in opposition not only to the civil authorities, but to the military force of the government. The profits to be obtained from the evasion of the law have been such as to encourage numerous individuals to persevere in these desperate pursuits, notwithstanding the risk of property and life with which they have been attended." It may naturally be supposed that, with so strong a national feeling in favour of a particular beverage, its consumption must be exceedingly great, and such is undoubtedly the case; but it is not perhaps generally known that the quantity drank in Ireland, in proportion to the population, is only half that consumed in Scotland,