« AnteriorContinuar »
inclined, with all due respect to Miss Plumptre, to believe that the said Chapel may resemble York Minster, as the Golden Cross Jun, at Charing Cross, does King Henry the Seventh's Chapel. If we are in an error we beg her and Sir William Betham's pardon.
Miss Plumptre is so fond of Knights, that she takes the liberty of conferring that dignity herself—ihus we have twice or thrice over that eminent friend to his country, Mr. Foster, (well known to every body but Miss Plumptre, for his long public services, and for the most active and generous patronage of the arts and manufactures of Ireland,) travestied into Sir John Foster.—This trivial mistake proves Miss Plumptre's general state of ignorance, with regard to Ireland, to a greater extent than at first appears : for it is impossible to have given any attention to the history of Irish politics, finances, arts, manufactures, or agriculture for the last fifty years, without being acquainted with the name of Mr. Foster.
We really have some compunction in mentioning the names of persons, whom the unlucky friendship of Miss Plumptre exposes to ridicule in her book—they may, for aught we know, be as ridiculous as her portraits represent them, but as we do not know that they are so, we shall spare them the disgrace of being quoted by name as accomplices in Miss Plumptre's vulgar absurdity; but we cannot refrain from giving the conclusion of her eulogy on a hiterary gentleman and his wife, whose name we shall, however, suppress,the whole passage is too long to be extracted, but the last two paragraphs will shew the taste in which Miss Plumptre writes, and the happy consistency of her ideas.
Mr. —'s ardour in pursuing the objects by which he is thus deeply interested has a very able and admirable support, in one of the happiest and most extensive of memories: the minute details which are stored in his mind, and which he puts forth in conversation in the most instructive manner, are really astonishing. Besides his rich collections relative to Irish antiquities, he has a number of scarce and valuable books in a great variety of languages both ancient and modern, with books of prints, &c. &c. in short, his library is an inexhaustible source of instruction and entertainment. I saw it in a state of great disorder, as he was but just removed into a new house in Harcourt-street, and half the books were lying scattered about the floor. Mrs. M-a most lovely and amiable woman, alike in person and disposition, has a few very fine specimens of old china.'-pp. 35, 36.
Another of her female acquaintance, whose name we also suppress, she praises, not for old china but, for a quality which quite startles us, when attributed to a lady, nay, to a titled lady. She is very musical,' says her admirer, and possesses a singular talent
approaching to ventriloquism.'(p. 46.) This is an addition to a lady's musical accomplistiments of which we never heard before.
We must not, however, push our discretion to the extent of concealing from our readers, the names of 'two poets of the country,' (p. 88) whom Miss Plumptre met at a certain "hospitable mansion, namely, Mr. Weld Hartstonge and Mr. Henry Monk Mason; and we mention these names the rather, because their fame has hitherto not reached this country. Mr. Weld, it seems, bas written a poem, called Marion of Dryminagh, a tale of Erin, in the style and manner of Walter Scott. To this poem, Miss Plumptre informs us, there is a note appended relative to the derivation of the name Plantagenet, ' which from its excessive whimsicalness, and to shew how some persons will run all lengths after a derivation, deserves notice. It is this: The first Earl of Anjou, who bore the name, having been stung with remorse for some wicked action which he had committed, in atonement of his offence undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Here, as a part of his penance, he caused himself to be plentifully scourged with twigs of the broom-plant (genista), and thence he afterwards assumed the name of Plantagenet (broom-plant), which was ever after borne by his royal successors.'-p. 88.
Miss Plumptre's ainazement at this derivation, of which she first hears in the notes to Marion of Drymnagh, eviuces her profound knowledge of English history and antiquities.
Of the other poet, she says, that his poem refers to St. Kevin, whose name is connected with the seven churches at Glendaloch. • Of these Mr. Mason has treated somewhat at large, in the notes to his poem.' (p. 89) We know not whether these brother poets will consider it as a complinient, that the notes seem to have made more impression on the fair writer than the poems themselves.
Miss Plumptre now quits the living poets for the dead.
• At the theatre in Warburgh-street were presented (she says) two plays by natives of Ireland, the Royal Master, acted in 1638, the author of which was Mr. Shirley; and Landgartha, written by H. Burnell. Neither possessed sufficient merit to be handed down to posterity. I believe the names alone are all that remain of them extant.'
It is to be regretted that Miss Plumptre ventured to speak on this subject, before she had consulted the associate of her literary labours, the mineralogical footman. He would have informed her, (for there cannot be another instance of such deplorable ignorance,) that Langartha is still extant; that Shirley, so far from being a native of Ireland, was born and educated in England, where he past the whole of bis long life, with the exception of two or three summers, spent at Dublin; that the Royal Master,'
which she presumes had not sufficient merit to reach posterity, passed through several editions; and, finally, that the author of this single play, whose name she believes her liberal researches bave rescued from oblivion, wrote nearly forty dramas, besides other works in prose
in fact, one of the most prolific as well as popular writers of the age.
And now it is that we have the satisfaction to state to our readers, that though Miss Plumptre quotes, emulates, and admires Sir John Carr—she blames that ingenious knight for indicting the printer of a certain work, called . My Pocket Book,' in which his style (and Miss Plumptre's by anticipation) is held up to derision—she even thinks this little work did good, because
No tourist could now venture to write down a memorandum in the presence of company: I carefully avoided it, and reserved till evening, when I had retired to my own apartment, the task of taking down my notes and observations upon what I had heard or seen in the day. if any one should choose to make a sketch of me, either with pen or pencil, at this my nocturnal occupation, I resign myself to them freelythey may rest assured that they will not be prosecuted.'--p. 90. With this generous assurance from the benevolence and benignity of Miss Anne Plumptre, we shall pursue our observations upon her with renewed alacrity and confidence.
When Miss Plumptre ascends a mountain called Knock-Laid, the summit of which is, as she tells us, 1500 feet above the level of the sea; she adds :
"The head of this mountain is very much rounded, so that it was only by taking a mathematical measurement that the highest point could be determined.'--p. 117.
We suppose from this statement, that this scientific lady herself measured the mountain; we wish she had given us a hint or two, as to the process she employed; her description of the mode of measurement, as it at present stands, being involved in no small obscurity.
With that nice accuracy which belongs to her, Miss Plunspire informs us that the Catholics' in Ireland are universally called Romans;' and on this datum she builds the following pleasant story:
' The Romans is so much the appellation by which the Catholics are called in Ireland, that some people seem scarcely to have an idea but that it is exclusively theirs. Once in a large dinner company, when subjects of cookery, as happens not unfrequently, occupied a considerable share in the conversation, one of the company observed, that the Romans seemed to have made the science of cookery their study very much, that they appeared to have been very great eaters. “Well,"
said a lady in company very eagerly, “ so my husband says. He dined among a whole heap of 'em the other day, and he says you may talk of their fasting as much as you please, but he never saw people eat such dinners in his life.” '-pp. 211, 212.
Now, unfortunately for Miss Plumptre's veracity, as well as her pleasantry, we believe we may venture to assert that the Catholics of Ireland never were, never are, and never will be called Romans. One wonders how the poor woman could have fallen into so gross a blunder; but we suspect that some person had acquainted her that the Roman Catholics were in Ireland universally called Catholics only, (such is the fact,) and that out of this information ill remembered, she contrived to make the blunder, and out of the blunder, the facetious story.
But Miss Plumptre, unfortunate in all things, is most unfortupate in her attempts at pleasantry—she misquotes a famous distich
• He who saw these new roads before they were made,
their hands and bless General Wade.' and then says, that she had noted it down as an Irish blunder from an Irish finger-post; but was much disappointed to find, from Miss Edgeworth’s Essay, that she ascribes it to England. See how ingenious ignorance is in betraying itself! We thought that every school-boy and school-girl knew that, after the Scottish rebellion, Marshal Wade was employed in making roads through the Highlands; and it is in reference to these roads that the two lines above mentioned are quoted, we believe, by Grose.
But Miss Plumptre is not more happy in her personal experience, than in her recollections. The following story, of which she assures us that she was an eye and ear-witness, we are constrained to say we do not believe.
• Once in the pit of Drury-lane theatre, when Mr. Kean was performing his favourite character of Richard the Third, I observed a sailor not far from me uncommonly attentive; every look, every word, was eagerly devoured by him, till at last he could contain himself no longer, and exclaimed aloud,“ God bless the man, I declare he deserves a whole pint of grog." A higher compliment I believe the son of Neptune did not think could be paid, and I never witnessed one that seemed to come more truly from the heart.'—p. 237. A sailor was no more likely to decree, as an extraordinary reward, a thing so common and familiar with him as a pint of grog, than Miss Plumptre would have been to exclaim, in like circumstances, · Bless the man, I declare he deserves a whole dish of tea.
This leads us to observe, that the most wonderful wonder which Miss Plumptre encountered in all her travels was Mr. Kean. She has the good fortune to meet him every where, and every where with
increased admiration, and a new volubility of gossipping applause. She does not tell us by what mathematic process she measured the height of mountains, whose heads are very much rounded, but Mr. Kean is the barometer by which she seems to measure the abilities of all other men and women ; and she rates mankind exactly in proportion to the admiration they may feel towards this god of her idolatry, whom she distinguishes from all other actors by the figurative cognomen of Nature Restored.'—p. 237.
As Miss Plumptre is a scientific lady, and as her book is a gravelooking quarto of 400 pages, she of course thought it worthy of a copious index to guide her readers to the various valuable matters and learned observations which it contains. A reference to it will shew the share which Mr. Kean has in the work, and the paramount importance which she gives to all that concerns this great man.
The number of references in this index to the city of Dublin, with all its objects of art, science, or polity, is 17-to the Giant's Causeway 12-to the cities of Cork and Kilkenny 12—to those of Belfast and Limerick 8 and 5-while Mr. Kean has 17 distinct references appended to his name, which is more than any other topic in the work has obtained, except the Lake of Killarney, which has 19, one of which, however, is about Mr. Kean. Nay, Miss Plumptre so far forgets her love of mineralogy, that she does not think a gentleman sufficiently distinguished by being 'a great mineralogist, unless she can connect him in some way with Mr. Kean. Thus we have :
Mac DONNELL, Dr. of Belfast, a great mineralogist, 97—his different collections, 98—his inquiries concerning Mr. Kean, ib.'!
We must now take leave of Miss Plumptre and (which is nearly the same thing) of Mr. Kean: with all due respect for this gentleman's talents, we do not think they ought to faire tous les frais' of Miss Plumptre's journey; and we assure our readers that this subject, as it is the most frequent, seems to be one of the most useful, important, and satisfactory which is to be found in the whole work.
ART. IV. Travels in Brazil. By Henry Koster. 4to. pp. 501.
London. 1816. THERE is, perhaps, no part of the Christian world with which
the English public are so little acquainted as Brazil, both as to its history and its present state. Mr. Lindley, the master of a trading vessel, who was arrested when carrying on a contraband trade there