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all proportion with the capabilities of the land; while education and civilization fell equally short of the strength and numbers of the people; nay, industry was paralized by distress, and emulation cramped for want of encouragement and pecuniary means. In my quality of examiner I have no right to talk to government on these subjects, but (Scotchman like) the less I said on this subject, the more I thought, and the more I was convinced that Caledonia was the happiest and best used Sister of the two. In vain I looked for the parks and five hundreds per annum of the 0.'s and the Mac's, my studying and travelling acquaintances. The father of one of them tenanted a mud edifice upon a bog, and was ground to death by tithes, taxes, and a bad landlord. Perhaps these parks, rent- tolls, &c. were mere figures in speech, and as such let them rest. There was no lack of noble mansions and fine estates springing up amongst surrounding misery, the possessors of which were, even then, absentees; and whose stewards and land-agents were pounding the cattle of the indigent, and driving them to despair. This prefatory matter may, perchance, be considered superfiuous by my reader ; but I beg leave to assure him, or her, that it leads to the subject of MatchMaking. .
In the course of my tour through a great part of the country, I sojourned for a short time in the Counties of Galway and Roscommon; from the former I was frightened away by the constant reports of pistols discharged in duels, sometimes fought in public; for the amateurs there would turn out to see a couple of gentlemen decide an affair of honour, with as much avidity
as the fancy resort to Moulsey Hurst, or Wormwood Scrubs, to witness two fellow-creatures half-murdering each other for a purse of gold and their colours, a silk handkerchief, of vulgar pattern, for the neck of a ruffian. How much more honourable would it be to bleed for their national flag! But there is knavery as well as barbarity in these contests, and we will leave the scrubs of all denominations to themselves. From the latter I was driven by the almost certainty (if I remained) of breaking my neck over the stone walls, which it was quite fashionable and almost nécessary to leap over, in and out of the sporting field. In each of these counties there was a prodigious deal of Match-Making; the country gentlemen who really had some hundreds of pounds annually, dipped and mortgaged a little, had another drawback of their unemployed stock, in the form of fine-grown, smiling-eyed, affable young ladies : now the market being overstocked, and the price being much lowered by the over-produce of these fair and flourishing plants, the owners were obliged to part with these valuables (for such as wives and mothers, they generally were) at a very low rate indeed; since this was not a dead stock on hand, but one which consumed other articles which must come from, instead of going to, market. For these mighty reasons, parents were incessantly on the alert for sons-in-law; sisters helped each other off in the best manner they could ; the brothers turned husband-hunters; and if a stranger came amongst them, he was not made game of in the vulgar ordinary way, but he was either ensnared by bright eyes and warm complexions, brought down by the long bow of a brother, or taken by hook or by crook, by the angling, wiling, coursing, and heart-shooting of sisters and self, all of whom the happy man might be fortunate enough to have for six months in the year at his table. When these gamesome practices and pairings failed, the field was very often taken in another way; incautious birds were winged, and shy ones were now and then bagged by the undertaker, in punishment for their want of taste and feeling, and for their stubborn adherence to celibacy. It has erroneously and impolitely been advanced, that you could not look at an Irish woman at table without her saying, “ Port, if you please :" this I never found; on the contrary, I always met with ladies of this country, who were as mild and temperate as any in the world; and I must say, that I consider them charming creatures at table and every where else; but although I deny the assertion of “ Port, if you please," I must confess that I often trembled lest, by looking at a pretty girl in Galway or Roscommon, I should draw on me the question, from a big brother, or militia cousin, of, “ Pray sir, are your views honourable towards MaryAnn, Eugenia, or Fanny? Which of them have you fixed your eye upon ? I have perceived very markea (an observation worthy of a marksman!) attentions to the first, and she has much susceptibility, and shall not have her feelings sported with,” &c. Right sporting language! thought I, to myself, so I kept much on my guard, and departed as soon as possible; for, be it observed, the questioning gentleman is always a sporting character, and a good shot; the lady is usually the sister who has been longest on hand ; no time is to be lost; and if the lover is not off like a shot, a shot may be off at him before he can cry“ peccari.” Under these impressions, I returned to Scotland, convinced that Match-Making belonged most to the Irish, in which idea I was confirmed by two gentlemen having each disposed of a daughter (the one to a Northern Peer, and the other to a Colonel, since a General officer) pretty much in the way just described. On my return I trumpetted the uxorious disposition, the marriage-making, nuptial-seeking propensities of my western friends all over Edinburgh ; but had to change my opinion ere long, finding, from having now directed my attention to the subject, that the Irish were not match-monopolists; the same trade being successfully carried on in the north, and even in the capital thereof, the manner only differing, and being far more discreet. It was submitted to my consideration that large families were no rarities in the Land of Cakes, and that if, in the Land of Potatoes, an offhand kind of dexterity was used in marrying the females of the families to the first or best bidders at home, a quiet system existed in the former, of exporting its golden-haired lasses to warmer climates; and, that where one took growth, half a dozen sisters or cousins were sure to be planted by her side. Then again, the provident and affectionate brother of Bel, Barbara, and Janet, only requires to get a footing in a productive country, and he will speedily have a brace of sisters out on speculation, the one to keep his own, the other his neighbour's house; whereas Pat, when hc migrates, leaves all entailments behind him, and his changeful disposition operates against the young
ladies' change of condition and home. Or the truth of this remark I soon became convinced ; for, on going to a private ball in Edinburgh, and sceing the crowd of female candidates for partners, the thing became still more obvious. I enquired of one worthy dame where her other fair daughters were (there being three in the room) and she told me, “ Marion is with her brother in India, her sister Jessie is very well married in the same country ; Bessie has just ta'en a planter in Jamaica, and she has sent for Susan as her companion ; but” (turning to the only grown up daughter of the remaining three) “there is your old acquaintance Annie.” As much as to say, “ she is grown up a fine lassie, and is to be had if sought for." 'A gentle traffic this, but doubtless a successful one; for I observed son James engaging his sister to a number of his brother officers, on leave of absence, and after one engagement another, perhaps, may follow. As further instances of Scotch match-making, a lady of very high rank was such a dab at these negotiations that, when she married off all her daughters to titles and fortunes, which she almost did vi et armis, which let us translate by the force of argument and those arms which female attractions make use of on these occasions, she turned her views to pairing off her more distant relations; and so fond was she of these matchings and marryings, that an old baronet informed me, he dared not go to - Castle, for fear she should insist upon his wedding one of her maids or other female attendants, just by way of keeping in her hand, and having something to do in this line.