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heralded by "There were shepherds abiding"-and again pouring forth their united carol in the gladsome news that "Unto us a Child is born, a Son is given."
The service concluded, the fashionable crowd pours out into the nave and aisles of the cathedral, and, to quote the simple words of the poet,
Each for ither's welfare kindly speers.
All very well in its time and place, but these are certainly not the courts of God's house. We must stop for an instant to admire Farrell's noble statue of Captain Boyd, and the quaint old monument of the Boyle family, Earls of Cork, before taking a parting glance at the noble coup d'œil of pillared aisles, vaulted roof, and windows glowing with rich tints; on one side the battle-worn colours of the illustrious 18th Royal Irish Regiment hang above the buried dust of prelates, soldiers, and peers, while in an obscure side aisle is the monumental tablet to the memory of the talented, but unhappy, Dean Swift, a name which must ever remain linked with the history of St. Patrick's. And here we would add our tribute of praise and gratitude to the splendid munificence of its restorer, Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness, whose liberality in this work recals the princely acts of the ages of chivalry, and our worthy countryman will certainly require no other "stoned urn or animated bust" to transmit his memory to succeeding generations.*
Here, on a spring morning some few months ago, were assembled all that is distinguished and of noble birth in Ireland, besides numerous notabilities from the sister countries, to witness the imposing and quaintly medieval ceremony of the installation of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales. We regret that this noble religious edifice should have been so entirely "secularised" as it was for the occasion, the interior fittings of the chancel and the most solemn adjuncts of public worship being cleared away in order to "adapt" the cathedral for a pageant. Yet must we confess that the spectacle was one combining such elements of sublimity and solemnity as can be witnessed but once in a lifetime. The "long-drawn aisles" filled with a brilliant crowd, conspicuous with the uniforms of deputy-lieutenants of counties, military and naval officers, &c., the crimson pathway along which the procession of knights, peers, and dignitaries passed to the Ladye Chapel at the extreme east of the church, the chief interest, of course, being centred on the royal "postulant" (to use herald's language) and his sweet princess, accompanied by the scarcely less distinguished viceregal family-but, more than all, the glorious flood of harmony poured forth as the
* Since the above was written, the munificent restorer of St. Patrick's has passed away, after receiving the highest honours possible to a commoner from the assembled knights on the recent occasion of the installation.
mighty organ took up the trumpet's notes which announced the entry of the procession, and the voices of many sweet singers gave back Te Deum to the echoing walls-all, all combined, must remain fixed on the memory of most who witnessed that scene, now a thing of the past.
The illusions which are called up in the mind by a visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral, especially during the pageant just mentioned, are somewhat rudely dispelled by a glance at its external surroundings. In this miserable quarter of our city, squalid and hopeless poverty drags out a wretched existence in whole streets and lanes of tottering houses. Many exertions have been made to alleviate the condition of our poor, but the Celtic race seems to sink more hopelessly into misery and dirt than perhaps any other European nation.
It would be of little interest to any casual reader to follow the course of the festivities of our season. Balls and assemblies are much the same as in any other city, and we need only mention that performances of amateur theatricals of a high character are generally given by officers of some of the regiments in garrison. Unfortunately, the inclement northern winter prevents our enjoying that greatest of civilised pleasures, the Italian Opera, at this season. The visit of these song-birds is reserved for a later period in the year, just as the autumn evenings begin to close in, and when the greater portion of "society" is still absent from the city. Yet do full houses nightly assemble to listen to the artistic warblings of "the Italians," for we are essentially a music-loving people. Then may the romantically minded among us pass night by night into the realms of cloudland; then, wrapt for the time being in a haze of sweetest harmonies, we are transported to the sunny streets of Seville or the "silent pathways" of Venice; then does Don Juan serenade, and Count Almaviva act the tender lover, while the ever fresh and sparkling Rosina sing sweetest of "music lessons;" then are the mournful accents of the troubadour heard bewailing his hard fate within the moated fortress, and the gipsy mother softly murmurs her mountain song, while the shadow of approaching death hangs heavily on her. Anon Sir Huon, best and bravest of knights, obeys the magic commands of Oberon, and seeks the caliph's daughter by "Babylon's wave," while Fatima, in the moonlit cave, apostrophises ocean in the sublimest of scenas, and the mermaid glides along the sea-beach in her shell-chariot, with tenderest melody luring the shipwrecked and storm-tossed mariner. Nor shall we forget the Druid priestess and her frantic love, poured forth in the gloriously melodious strains of that sweetest of composers, Bellini, though where, alas! shall we find another "Norma," since "La Divi Grisi" took her last farewell of the lyric stage!
But to return to our subject. Easter week is always a festive
time in our city, when country folks run up for a short holiday in town. The cattle show is a great attraction to many; the ladies even not disdaining to display the latest fashions at this gathering. A flower show, too, is generally added to the attractions of the metropolis at this season, but the event, par excellence, of the week, is what we may term the Irish Derby. These national steeplechases are held at a place some sixteen miles from Dublin, which bears the somewhat amusing name of "Punchestown." Here all the national love for sport has a full opportunity of displaying itself, and we might fill several pages with an account of the road and the course.
Should the weather prove propitious, the sight is indeed an amusing one; after a battle for seats at the Dublin Railway terminus, we glide away from chimney-tops and roofs-past the quaint pinnacles of Kilmainham Hospital-away through the broad plains of Kildare, with the fine outline of the Dublin and Wicklow mountains on one side of us, and a well wooded country stretching away to the north and west.
About an hour's run brings us to Sallin's station, the nearest point to the course, and here we plunge out into a scene of confusion. Carmen shouting and gesticulating, men tumbling over each other in their haste to get a fair start on the road to Punchestown, which is about five miles distant. The car-drivers, after demanding fabulous prices for a "lift" to the course, gradually lower their terms as we advance, and return vehicles begin to follow each other in rapid succession.
On then-past old family seats, and through the long straggling town of Naas, up long and winding hills, the banks on each side of the road studded with early primroses, while the sweet carol of birds rejoicing in the fresh spring air is welcome to the tired Dubliner, who takes one of his few yearly holidays on the occasion of the "national."
At length the cars come to a "block," which tells that we are close to the course, and soon the crowded stand and numerous. carriages come in full view. Spread all over the course is a motley crowd of all sexes and ages, the country people for miles round flocking to this truly national gathering.
The course is, indeed, a 66 stiff one," with half a dozen difficult fences, besides a wide brook, to say nothing of a couple of stone walls six foot high-all which are closely scrutinised by the knowing in "horsey" matters, while waiting for the sport to begin. Soon the bell sounds, and after the customary difficulty-stewards laying on their whips pretty smartly on rustic legs and backs, which civilities are reciprocated by anathemas loud and deep, although occasionally taken in laughing part by the sufferers-the course in front of the winning post is cleared, and six beauties are trotted up to the starting place. The signal given, they are off;
and in less time than it takes us to write it, three or four fences have been crossed, and after leaving one poor fellow in the brook, and another rolled off by the stone wall, yellow jacket and blue pass the winning post neck to neck, yellow winning by only half a head.
The silence consequent on the interest which was felt in the race being at an end, a Babel of sound pervades the grand stand and its approaches; on the different carriages luncheon hampers are unpacked, and the popping of champagne corks, and clatter of knives and forks, awakes keen sensations in the stomachs of less fortunate spectators, who are fain to satisfy their cravings with sandwiches and porter dispensed in the neighbouring booths. This year a very unusual and agreeable sensation was experienced at Punchestown by the presence of the Prince and Princess of Wales, but so many able pens have been employed in chronicling the events of the "Prince's week," that we shall not attempt to describe the particulars of that "great day for Ireland!" The return journey from our "Derby" is quite as amusing, in its way, as that from the Epsom meeting, without, however, the practical and illnatured jokes so often perpetrated at the latter-all is jollity, good humour, and fun-Paddy in all his glory on "his Irish jaunting car," a vehicle which, notwithstanding all the changes taking place in the country, still holds its position in the "affections" of the people.
Towards the close of "our season," one of the chief attractions is a review in the Phoenix Park. This fine demesne puts on its most attractive garb about the month of May; the numerous old thorn-trees then become sheets of white bloom, and the noble elms put on their spring garb of tender green. Her gracious majesty's birthday is usually celebrated by a grand military display, at which "everybody" is present, and should the day prove fine-a necessary proviso in our fickle climate-the sight is really a brilliant one. Carriages are all grouped along one side of the Fifteen Acres, as that portion of the park appropriated to military exercises is denominated, a privileged few being ranged near the Flagstaff, where a space is kept for the lord-lieutenant's equipage. His excellency's arrival on the ground is the signal for the review to commence, and all the usual evolutions of a sham fight are gone through. Meanwhile, the occupants of the different vehicles amuse themselves according to their several bents. The more aristocratic portion of the company survey the proceedings of the day through critical eye-glasses, while the humbler occupants of cabs and cars make up in fun what may be wanting in dignity.
The love for military distinction, which forms a prominent feature in the Irish character, is greatly fostered by these displays, and many a brave soldier and distinguished commander was first
inspired with martial longings by witnessing the sham fights of the Fifteen Acres.
We feel that our reader's patience must be nearly exhausted by this rather discursive paper, but we hope we shall be pardoned if we have transgressed the limits of a brochure in dwelling on the various little incidents which distinguish a winter's residence in the good old city of Dublin, and we can only plead as an excuse the pleasure which we feel in lingering over the agreeable recollections attaching to " our season."
L. H. C.
THE LADY OF THE BEACH.
A GHOST STORY.
BY MRS. BUSHBY.
WHEN solemn midnight's latest chime
And why, when her steps yon dark cliff reach,
Why at this hour does she quit her home,
She walks-but her steps leave no more trace
The shuddering peasants pass with fear