Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

arrived safely and cheaply at Liverpool.-One singular advantage which this plan had, and for which Miss Plumptre ingenuously applauds it, was, that instead of obliging her to travel sixty additional miles in Ireland, the country which she was prosessedly going to visit and write about, it led her through the counties of Gloster, Shropshire, and Chester.

At Liverpool, however, they embarked, and while all the other passengers contented themselves with laying in provisions for the body, Miss Plumptre—she must take the whole credit to herself -had the providence to lay in 'food for the mind,' and she accordingly put up with her sea-stores, what ?— Lady Morgan's excellent novel of'O'Donnell'—'food for the mind' with a vengeance! for it seems it was to serve her as a chart at sea, a road-book ashore, and an introduction into society

• As I was going to visit a part of Ireland admirably described in this work, the county of Antrim, and had besides a letter of introduction to the amiable authoress at Dublin, it received great additional interest from being read as I was crossing the Irish Channel.'--pp. 8. 9. Our readers will easily judge of a tour made under such auspices. But this work was not Miss Plumptre's only guide : before she left London, she had the good fortune to meet, and the good sense to engage, a very singular sort of companion,

• A servant hired for the excursion—who having, like mysell, acquired a smattering of mineralogical knowledge, was not less eager in the pursuit of aliinent to increase and nourish it.'-p. 3.

The happy promise which these preparations give, our readers will find that the work amply fulfils. The historical and geographical parts are fully cqual to Lady Morgan's romance, and the scientific parts do great honour to the mineralogical footman.

Miss Plumptre hastens to show the whole extent of her skill, and to astound us in an early stage of our acquaintance, with the variety and accuracy of her information, by acquainting us, on the subject of the Lighthouse of hown stone which is built nearly in the middle of the bay of Dublin, that

'In order to obviate the objection to the sandy foundation on which this structure was of necessity to be raised, it is built on empty woolpacks; an idea for wbich the engineer was indebted to the ingenuity of bis wife.'-p. 10.

We could have wished that the philosophical footman had explained in a note on this passage what his mistress meant by an impty woolpack, and in what way woolpacks, full or empty, could have occurred to the mind of the engineer's wife as a fit foundatior sor a lighthouse.

Her lasie in landscape and the fine arts is equally cxquisite-she

finds the bay of Dublin very beautiful, but not so much so as the bay of Toulon and Belfast Lough; and she gives a view of it which certainly would justify her preferring Sheerness harbour or one of the Lincolnshire washes to this celebrated scene. It was drawn by her good friend Mr.C-who, living in one of the houses' of an unfinished street in the outskirts of Dublin ‘was struck with the view and sketched it. It presents,' Miss Plumptre adds with great naïveté, 'a different view of the bay from any hitherto given to the public. It certainly does—it excludes three-fourths of the extent, and all the beauty of the scene--it exhibits neither the bay, nor the villas, nor the mountains; nor the river, nor the city which adorns its banks; but there happens to be in one corner of the bay a muddy shoal, the land bordering upon which is a fetid morass, with a salt-work and a few wretched cottages, in which the lowest class of labourers reside,

and this is just the view of the bay of Dublin which her friend Mr. C- selected to sketch, and which Miss Plumptre chooses to present to us : if our ideas of the local he correct, there was no other spot on the shores of the bay from which the whole of its beauties could have been excluded. No wonder that it presents a view hitherto unknown to the public!

Miss Plumptre has the good fortune to find in Dublin all the advantages which the age of chivalry could have afforded to a wandering damsel and her squire--she is attended by two knights, at whose potent command ihc recesses of the most secret and mysterious curiosities are thrown open to her.

Sir Arthur Clarke, who is, it seems, a respectable apothecary, procured her, “through his obliging attentions, and his connexion with the proprietors,' not merely an admission into the Bank of Ireland-but, (such was his potency,) into places of the building not commonly shown. Whatever those places may have been, Miss Plumptre has behaved with a discretion which justifies Sir Arthur's confidence, for she certainly does not mention any thing which may not be found drawn or described in every work which affects to treat of this edifice.

While Sir Arthur Clarke opened to Miss Plumptre the Bank, and the Custom House and Surgeons' Hall, and certain nameless places within these buildings which are not commonly shown, Sir William Betham, another Knight, (by profession a herald at arms,) by his politeness and patronage,' procured her the advantage of seeing that most recondite and mysterious adytum, the Castle Chapela beautiful specimen (she says) of modern laste and industry; the ornaments being chielly copied from York Cathedral, (p. 30.) We shrewdly suspect that Miss Plumptre never saw York Cathedral, and we confess that we never saw the Castle Chapel : but we are

inclined, with all due respect to Miss Plumptre, to believe that the said Chapel may resemble York Minster, as the Golden Cross Inn, 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—thus 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 Jast 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 literary 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 show 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 bis 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

[ocr errors]

approaching to ventriloquism,' (p. 46.) This is an addition to a lady's musical accomplishments 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, has written a poem, called Marion of Drymnagh, 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 show 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, be caused himself to be plentifully scourged with twigs of the broom-plant (genista), and thence he afterwards assumed the name of Plantagenet (broom-plant), wbich was ever after borne by his royal successors.'--p. 88.

Miss Plumptre's amazement at this derivation, of which she first hears in the notes to Marion of Drymnagh, evinces 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 compliment, 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 be. lieve the names alone are all that remain of them extant.

It is lo 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 his long life, with the exception of iwo 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 have rescued from oblivion, wrote nearly forty dramas, besides other works in prose and verse, and was, 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 bad 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 freely—ihey 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 matbematical measurement that the highest point could be determined.'--p. 117.

Wc suppose from this statement, that this scientific lady her. self 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 Plumptre 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 sbare 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

« AnteriorContinuar »