The Romany Rye
George Borrow

Part 7 out of 9

An Old Acquaintance.

Leaving the church, I strolled through the fair, looking at the
horses, listening to the chaffering of the buyers and sellers, and
occasionally putting in a word of my own, which was not always
received with much deference; suddenly, however, on a whisper
arising that I was the young cove who had brought the wonderful
horse to the fair which Jack Dale had bought for the foreigneering
man, I found myself an object of the greatest attention; those who
had before replied with stuff! and nonsense! to what I said, now
listened with the greatest eagerness to any nonsense I wished to
utter, and I did not fail to utter a great deal; presently,
however, becoming disgusted with the beings about me, I forced my
way, not very civilly, through my crowd of admirers; and passing
through an alley and a back street, at last reached an outskirt of
the fair, where no person appeared to know me. Here I stood,
looking vacantly on what was going on, musing on the strange
infatuation of my species, who judge of a person's words, not from
their intrinsic merit, but from the opinion--generally an erroneous
one--which they have formed of the person. From this reverie I was
roused by certain words which sounded near me, uttered in a strange
tone, and in a strange cadence--the words were, "them that finds,
wins; and them that can't find, loses." Turning my eyes in the
direction from which the words proceeded, I saw six or seven
people, apparently all countrymen, gathered round a person standing
behind a tall white table of very small compass. "What!" said I,
"the thimble-engro of--Fair here at Horncastle." Advancing nearer,
however, I perceived that though the present person was a thimble-
engro, he was a very different one from my old acquaintance of--
Fair. The present one was a fellow about half-a-foot taller than
the other. He had a long, haggard, wild face, and was dressed in a
kind of jacket, something like that of a soldier, with dirty hempen
trousers, and with a foreign-looking peaked hat on his head. He
spoke with an accent evidently Irish, and occasionally changed the
usual thimble formule, "them that finds wins, and them that can't--
och, sure!--they loses;" saying also frequently, "your honour,"
instead of "my lord." I observed, on drawing nearer, that he
handled the pea and thimble with some awkwardness, like that which
might be expected from a novice in the trade. He contrived,
however, to win several shillings, for he did not seem to play for
gold, from "their honours." Awkward, as he was, he evidently did
his best, and never flung a chance away by permitting any one to
win. He had just won three shillings from a farmer, who, incensed
at his loss, was calling him a confounded cheat, and saying that he
would play no more, when up came my friend of the preceding day,
Jack, the jockey. This worthy, after looking at the thimble-man a
moment or two, with a peculiarly crafty glance, cried out, as he
clapped down a shilling on the table, "I will stand you, old
fellow!" "Them that finds wins; and them that can't--och, sure!--
they loses," said the thimble-man. The game commenced, and Jack
took up the thimble without finding the pea; another shilling was
produced, and lost in the same manner; "this is slow work," said
Jack, banging down a guinea on the table; "can you cover that, old
fellow?" The man of the thimble looked at the gold, and then at
him who produced it, and scratched his head. "Come, cover that, or
I shall be off," said the jockey. "Och, sure, my lord!--no, I mean
your honour--no, sure, your lordship," said the other, "if I covers
it at all, it must be with silver, for divil a bit of gold have I
by me." "Well, then, produce the value in silver," said the
jockey, "and do it quickly, for I can't be staying here all day."
The thimble-man hesitated, looked at Jack with a dubious look, then
at the gold, and then scratched his head. There was now a laugh
amongst the surrounders, which evidently nettled the fellow, who
forthwith thrust his hand into his pocket, and pulling out all his
silver treasure, just contrived to place the value of the guinea on
the table. "Them that finds wins, and them that can't find--
LOSES," interrupted Jack, lifting up a thimble, out of which rolled
a pea. "There, paddy, what do you think of that?" said he, seizing
the heap of silver with one hand, whilst he pocketed the guinea
with the other. The thimble-engro stood, for some time, like one
transfixed, his eyes glaring wildly, now at the table, and now at
his successful customers; at last he said, "Arrah, sure, master!--
no, I manes my lord--you are not going to ruin a poor boy!" "Ruin
you!" sail the other; "what! by winning a guinea's change? a pretty
small dodger you--if you have not sufficient capital, why do you
engage in so deep a trade as thimbling? come, will you stand
another game?" "Och, sure, master, no! the twenty shillings and
one which you have cheated me of were all I had in the world."
"Cheated you," said Jack, "say that again, and I will knock you
down." "Arrah! sure, master, you knows that the pea under the
thimble was not mine; here is mine, master; now give me back my
money." "A likely thing," said Jack; "no, no, I know a trick worth
two or three of that; whether the pea was yours or mine, you will
never have your twenty shillings and one again; and if I have
ruined you, all the better; I'd gladly ruin all such villains as
you, who ruin poor men with your dirty tricks, whom you would knock
down and rob on the road, if you had but courage; not that I mean
to keep your shillings, with the exception of the two you cheated
from me, which I'll keep. A scramble, boys! a scramble!" said he,
flinging up all the silver into the air, with the exception of the
two shillings; and a scramble there instantly was, between the
rustics who had lost their money and the urchins who came running
up; the poor thimble-engro tried likewise to have his share; and
though he flung himself down, in order to join more effectually in
the scramble, he was unable to obtain a single sixpence; and having
in his rage given some of his fellow-scramblers a cuff or two, he
was set upon by the boys and country fellows, and compelled to make
an inglorious retreat with his table, which had been flung down in
the scuffle, and had one of its legs broken. As he retired, the
rabble hooted, and Jack, holding up in derision the pea with which
he had outmanoeuvred him, exclaimed, "I always carry this in my
pocket in order to be a match for vagabonds like you."

The tumult over, Jack gone, and the rabble dispersed, I followed
the discomfited adventurer at a distance, who, leaving the town,
went slowly on, carrying his dilapidated piece of furniture; till
coming to an old wall by the roadside, he placed it on the ground,
and sat down, seemingly in deep despondency, holding his thumb to
his mouth. Going nearly up to him, I stood still, whereupon he
looked up, and perceiving I was looking steadfastly at him, he
said, in an angry tone, "Arrah! what for are you staring at me so?
By my shoul, I think you are one of the thaives who are after
robbing me. I think I saw you among them, and if I were only sure
of it, I would take the liberty of trying to give you a big
bating." "You have had enough of trying to give people a beating,"
said I; "you had better be taking your table to some skilful
carpenter to get it repaired. He will do it for sixpence." "Divil
a sixpence did you and your thaives leave me," said he; "and if you
do not take yourself off, joy, I will be breaking your ugly head
with the foot of it." "Arrah, Murtagh!" said I, "would ye be
breaking the head of your friend and scholar, to whom you taught
the blessed tongue of Oilien nan Naomha, in exchange for a pack of
cards?" Murtagh, for he it was, gazed at me for a moment with a
bewildered look; then, with a gleam of intelligence in his eye, he
said, "Shorsha! no, it can't be--yes, by my faith it is!" Then,
springing up, and seizing me by the hand, he said, "Yes, by the
powers, sure enough it is Shorsha agra! Arrah, Shorsha! where have
you been this many a day? Sure, you are not one of the spalpeens
who are after robbing me?" "Not I," I replied, "but I saw all that
happened. Come, you must not take matters so to heart; cheer up;
such things will happen in connection with the trade you have taken
up." "Sorrow befall the trade, and the thief who taught it me,"
said Murtagh; "and yet the trade is not a bad one, if I only knew
more of it, and had some one to help and back me. Och! the idea of
being cheated and bamboozled by that one-eyed thief in the
horseman's dress." "Let bygones be bygones, Murtagh," said I; "it
is no use grieving for the past; sit down, and let us have a little
pleasant gossip. Arrah, Murtagh! when I saw you sitting under the
wall, with your thumb to your mouth, it brought to my mind tales
which you used to tell me all about Finn-ma-Coul. You have not
forgotten Finn-ma-Coul, Murtagh, and how he sucked wisdom out of
his thumb." "Sorrow a bit have I forgot about him, Shorsha," said
Murtagh, as we sat down together, "nor what you yourself told me
about the snake. Arrah, Shorsha! what ye told me about the snake,
bates anything I ever told you about Finn. Ochone, Shorsha!
perhaps you will be telling me about the snake once more? I think
the tale would do me good, and I have need of comfort, God knows,
ochone!" Seeing Murtagh in such a distressed plight, I forthwith
told him over again the tale of the snake, in precisely the same
words as I have related it in the first part of this history.
After which, I said, "Now, Murtagh, tit for tat; ye will be telling
me one of the old stories of Finn-ma-Coul." "Och, Shorsha! I
haven't heart enough," said Murtagh. "Thank you for your tale, but
it makes me weep; it brings to my mind Dungarvon times of old--I
mean the times we were at school together." "Cheer up, man," said
I, "and let's have the story, and let it be about Ma-Coul and the
salmon and his thumb." "Arrah, Shorsha! I can't. Well, to oblige
you, I'll give it you. Well, you know Ma-Coul was an exposed
child, and came floating over the salt sea in a chest which was
cast ashore at Veintry Bay. In the corner of that bay was a
castle, where dwelt a giant and his wife, very respectable and
decent people, and this giant, taking his morning walk along the
bay, came to the place where the child had been cast ashore in his
box. Well, the giant looked at the child, and being filled with
compassion for his exposed state, took the child up in his box, and
carried him home to his castle, where he and his wife, being dacent
respectable people, as I telled ye before, fostered the child and
took care of him, till he became old enough to go out to service
and gain his livelihood, when they bound him out apprentice to
another giant, who lived in a castle up the country, at some
distance from the bay.

"This giant, whose name was Darmod David Odeen, was not a
respectable person at all, but a big old vagabond. He was twice
the size of the other giant, who, though bigger than any man, was
not a big giant; for, as there are great and small men, so there
are great and small giants--I mean some are small when compared
with the others. Well, Finn served this giant a considerable time,
doing all kinds of hard and unreasonable service for him, and
receiving all kinds of hard words, and many a hard knock and kick
to boot--sorrow befall the old vagabond who could thus ill-treat a
helpless foundling. It chanced that one day the giant caught a
salmon, near a salmon-leap upon his estate--for, though a big ould
blackguard, he was a person of considerable landed property, and
high sheriff for the county Cork. Well, the giant brings home the
salmon by the gills, and delivers it to Finn, telling him to roast
it for the giant's dinner; 'but take care, ye young blackguard,' he
added, 'that in roasting it--and I expect ye to roast it well--you
do not let a blister come upon its nice satin skin, for if ye do, I
will cut the head off your shoulders.' 'Well,' thinks Finn, 'this
is a hard task; however, as I have done many hard tasks for him, I
will try and do this too, though I was never set to do anything yet
half so difficult.' So he prepared his fire, and put his gridiron
upon it, and lays the salmon fairly and softly upon the gridiron,
and then he roasts it, turning it from one side to the other just
in the nick of time, before the soft satin skin could be blistered.
However, on turning it over the eleventh time--and twelve would
have settled the business--he found he had delayed a little bit of
time too long in turning it over, and that there was a small, tiny
blister on the soft outer skin. Well, Finn was in a mighty panic,
remembering the threats of the ould giant; however, he did not lose
heart, but clapped his thumb upon the blister in order to smooth it
down. Now the salmon, Shorsha, was nearly done, and the flesh
thoroughly hot, so Finn's thumb was scalt, and he, clapping it to
his mouth, sucked it, in order to draw out the pain, and in a
moment--hubbuboo!--became imbued with all the wisdom of the world.

Myself. Stop, Murtagh! stop!

Murtagh. All the witchcraft, Shorsha.

Myself. How wonderful!

Murtagh. Was it not, Shorsha? The salmon, do you see, was a fairy

Myself. What a strange coincidence

Murtagh. A what, Shorsha?

Myself. Why, that the very same tale should be told of Finn-ma-
Coul, which is related of Sigurd Fafnisbane.

"What thief was that, Shorsha?"

"Thief! 'Tis true, he took the treasure of Fafnir. Sigurd was the
hero of the North, Murtagh, even as Finn is the great hero of
Ireland. He, too, according to one account, was an exposed child,
and came floating in a casket to a wild shore, where he was suckled
by a hind, and afterwards found and fostered by Mimir, a fairy
blacksmith; he, too, sucked wisdom from a burn. According to the
Edda, he burnt his finger whilst feeling of the heart of Fafnir,
which he was roasting, and putting it into his mouth in order to
suck out the pain, became imbued with all the wisdom of the world,
the knowledge of the language of birds, and what not. I have heard
you tell the tale of Finn a dozen times in the blessed days of old,
but its identity with the tale of Sigurd never occurred to me till
now. It is true, when I knew you of old, I had never read the tale
of Sigurd, and have since almost dismissed matters of Ireland from
my mind; but as soon as you told me again about Finn's burning his
finger, the coincidence struck me. I say, Murtagh, the Irish owe
much to the Danes--"

"Devil a bit, Shorsha, do they owe to the thaives, except many a
bloody bating and plundering, which they never paid them back.
Och, Shorsha! you, edicated in ould Ireland, to say that the Irish
owes anything good to the plundering villains--the Siol Loughlin."

"They owe them half their traditions, Murtagh, and amongst others,
Finn-ma-Coul and the burnt finger; and if ever I publish the
Loughlin songs, I'll tell the world so."

"But, Shorsha, the world will never believe ye--to say nothing of
the Irish part of it."

"Then the world, Murtagh--to say nothing of the Irish part of it--
will be a fool, even as I have often thought it; the grand thing,
Murtagh, is to be able to believe oneself, and respect oneself.
How few whom the world believes believe and respect themselves."

"Och, Shorsha! shall I go on with the tale of Finn?"

"I'd rather you should not, Murtagh; I know all about it already."

"Then why did you bother me to tell it at first, Shorsha? Och, it
was doing my ownself good, and making me forget my own sorrowful
state, when ye interrupted me with your thaives of Danes! Och,
Shorsha! let me tell you how Finn, by means of sucking his thumb,
and the witchcraft he imbibed from it, contrived to pull off the
arm of the ould wagabone, Darmod David Odeen, whilst shaking hands
with him--for Finn could do no feat of strength without sucking his
thumb, Shorsha, as Conan the Bald told the son of Oisin in the song
which I used to sing ye in Dungarvon times of old;" and here
Murtagh repeated certain Irish words to the following effect: -

"O little the foolish words I heed
O Oisin's son, from thy lips which come;
No strength were in Finn for valorous deed,
Unless to the gristle he suck'd his thumb."

"Enough is as good as a feast, Murtagh, I am no longer in the cue
for Finn. I would rather hear your own history. Now tell us, man,
all that has happened to ye since Dungarvon times of old?"

"Och, Shorsha, it would be merely bringing all my sorrows back upon

"Well, if I know all your sorrows, perhaps I shall be able to find
a help for them. I owe you much, Murtagh; you taught me Irish, and
I will do all I can to help you."

"Why, then, Shorsha, I'll tell ye my history. Here goes!"


Murtagh's Tale.

"Well, Shorsha, about a year and a half after you left us--and a
sorrowful hour for us it was when ye left us, losing, as we did,
your funny stories of your snake--and the battles of your military-
-they sent me to Paris and Salamanca, in order to make a saggart of

"Pray excuse me," said I, "for interrupting you, but what kind of
place is Salamanca?"

"Divil a bit did I ever see of it, Shorsha!"

"Then why did ye say ye were sent there? Well, what kind of place
is Paris? Not that I care much about Paris."

"Sorrow a bit did I ever see of either them, Shorsha, for no one
sent me to either. When we says at home a person is going to Paris
and Salamanca, it manes that he is going abroad to study to be a
saggart, whether he goes to them places or not. No, I never saw
either--bad luck to them--I was shipped away from Cork up the
straits to a place called Leghorn, from which I was sent to--to a
religious house, where I was to be instructed in saggarting till
they had made me fit to cut a dacent figure in Ireland. We had a
long and tedious voyage, Shorsha; not so tedious, however, as it
would have been had I been fool enough to lave your pack of cards
behind me, as the thaif, my brother Denis, wanted to persuade me to
do, in order that he might play with them himself. With the cards
I managed to have many a nice game with the sailors, winning from
them ha'pennies and sixpences until the captain said I was ruining
his men, and keeping them from their duty; and, being a heretic and
a Dutchman, swore that unless I gave over he would tie me up to the
mast and give me a round dozen. This threat obliged me to be more
on my guard, though I occasionally contrived to get a game at
night, and to win sixpennies and ha'pennies.

"We reached Leghorn at last, and glad I was to leave the ship and
the master, who gave me a kick as I was getting over the side, bad
luck to the dirty heretic for kicking a son of the church, for I
have always been a true son of the church, Shorsha, and never
quarrelled with it unless it interfered with me in my playing at
cards. I left Leghorn with certain muleteers, with whom I played
at cards at the baiting-houses, and who speedily won from me all
the ha'pennies and sixpences I had won from the sailors. I got my
money's worth, however, for I learnt from the muleteers all kind of
quaint tricks upon the cards, which I knew nothing of before; so I
did not grudge them what they chated me of, and when we parted we
did so in kindness on both sides. On getting to--I was received
into the religious house for Irishes. It was the Irish house,
Shorsha, into which I was taken, for I do not wish ye to suppose
that I was in the English religious house which there is in that
city, in which a purty set are educated, and in which purty doings
are going on if all tales be true.

"In this Irish house I commenced my studies, learning to sing and
to read the Latin prayers of the church. 'Faith, Shorsha, many's
the sorrowful day I passed in that house learning the prayers and
litanies, being half-starved, with no earthly diversion at all, at
all; until I took the cards out of my chest and began instructing
in card-playing the chum which I had with me in my cell; then I had
plenty of diversion along with him during the times when I was not
engaged in singing, and chanting, and saying the prayers of the
church; there was, however, some drawback in playing with my chum,
for though he was very clever in learning, divil a sixpence had he
to play with, in which respect he was like myself, the master who
taught him, who had lost all my money to the muleteers who taught
me the tricks upon the cards; by degrees, however, it began to be
noised about the religious house that Murtagh, from Hibrodary, {1}
had a pack of cards with which he played with his chum in the cell;
whereupon other scholars of the religious house came to me, some to
be taught and others to play, so with some I played, and others I
taught, but neither to those who could play, or to those who could
not, did I teach the elegant tricks which I learnt from the
muleteers. Well, the scholars came to me for the sake of the
cards, and the porter and cook of the religious house, who could
both play very well, came also; at last I became tired of playing
for nothing, so I borrowed a few bits of silver from the cook, and
played against the porter, and by means of my tricks I won money
from the porter, and then I paid the cook the bits of silver which
I had borrowed of him; and played with him, and won a little of his
money, which I let him win back again, as I had lived long enough
in a religious house to know that it is dangerous to take money
from the cook. In a little time, Shorsha, there was scarcely
anything going on in the house but card-playing; the almoner played
with me, and so did the sub-rector, and I won money from both; not
too much, however, lest they should tell the rector, who had the
character of a very austere man, and of being a bit of a saint;
however, the thief of a porter, whose money I had won, informed the
rector of what was going on, and one day the rector sent for me
into his private apartment, and gave me so long and pious a lecture
upon the heinous sin of card-playing, that I thought I should sink
into the ground; after about half-an-hour's inveighing against
card-playing, he began to soften his tone, and with a long sigh
told me that at one time of his life he had been a young man
himself, and had occasionally used the cards; he then began to ask
me some questions about card-playing, which questions I afterwards
found were to pump from me what I knew about the science. After a
time he asked me whether I had got my cards with me, and on my
telling him I had, he expressed a wish to see them, whereupon I
took the pack out of my pocket, and showed it to him; he looked at
it very attentively, and at last, giving another deep sigh, he
said, that though he was nearly weaned from the vanities of the
world, he had still an inclination to see whether he had entirely
lost the little skill which at one time he possessed. When I heard
him speak in this manner, I told him that if his reverence was
inclined for a game of cards, I should be very happy to play one
with him; scarcely had I uttered these words than he gave a third
sigh, and looked so very much like a saint that I was afraid he was
going to excommunicate me. Nothing of the kind, however, for
presently he gets up and locks the door, then sitting down at the
table, he motioned me to do the same, which I did, and in five
minutes we were playing at cards, his reverence and myself.

"I soon found that his reverence knew quite as much about card-
playing as I did. Divil a trick was there connected with cards
that his reverence did not seem awake to. As, however, we were not
playing for money, this circumstance did not give me much
uneasiness; so we played game after game for two hours, when his
reverence, having business, told me I might go, so I took up my
cards, make my obedience, and left him. The next day I had other
games with him, and so on for a very long time, still playing for
nothing. At last his reverence grew tired of playing for nothing,
and proposed that we should play for money. Now, I had no desire
to play with his reverence for money, as I knew that doing so would
bring on a quarrel. As long as we were playing for nothing, I
could afford to let his reverence use what tricks he pleased; but
if we played for money, I couldn't do so. If he played his tricks,
I must play mine, and use every advantage to save my money; and
there was one I possessed which his reverence did not. The cards
being my own, I had put some delicate little marks on the trump
cards, just at the edges, so that when I dealt, by means of a
little sleight of hand, I could deal myself any trump card I
pleased. But I wished, as I said before, to have no dealings for
money with his reverence, knowing that he was master in the house,
and that he could lead me a dog of a life if I offended him, either
by winning his money, or not letting him win mine. So I told him I
had no money to play with, but the ould thief knew better; he knew
that I was every day winning money from the scholars, and the sub-
rector, and the other people of the house, and the ould thaif had
determined to let me go on in that way winning money, and then by
means of his tricks, which he thought I dare not resent, to win
from me all my earnings--in a word, Shorsha, to let me fill myself
like a sponge, and then squeeze me for his own advantage. So he
made me play with him, and in less than three days came on the
quarrel; his reverence chated me, and I chated his reverence; the
ould thaif knew every trick that I knew, and one or two more; but
in daling out the cards I nicked his reverence; scarcely a trump
did I ever give him, Shorsha, and won his money purty freely. Och,
it was a purty quarrel! All the delicate names in the 'Newgate
Calendar,' if ye ever heard of such a book; all the hang-dog names
in the Newgate histories, and the lives of Irish rogues, did we
call each other--his reverence and I! Suddenly, however, putting
out his hand, he seized the cards, saying, 'I will examine these
cards, ye cheating scoundrel! for I believe there are dirty marks
on them, which ye have made in order to know the winning cards.'
'Give me back my pack,' said I, 'or m'anam on Dioul if I be not the
death of ye!' His reverence, however, clapped the cards into his
pocket, and made the best of his way to the door, I hanging upon
him. He was a gross, fat man, but, like most fat men, deadly
strong, so he forced his way to the door, and, opening it, flung
himself out, with me still holding on him like a terrier dog on a
big fat pig; then he shouts for help, and in a little time I was
secured and thrust into a lock-up room, where I was left to myself.
Here was a purty alteration. Yesterday I was the idol of the
religious house, thought more on than his reverence, every one
paying me court and wurtship, and wanting to play cards with me,
and to learn my tricks, and fed, moreover, on the tidbits of the
table; and to-day I was in a cell, nobody coming to look at me but
the blackguard porter who had charge of me, my cards taken from me,
and with nothing but bread and water to live upon. Time passed
dreary enough for a month, at the end of which time his reverence
came to me, leaving the porter just outside the door in order to
come to his help should I be violent; and then he read me a very
purty lecture on my conduct, saying I had turned the religious
house topsy-turvy, and corrupted the scholars, and that I was the
cheat of the world, for that on inspecting the pack he had
discovered the dirty marks which I had made upon the trump cards
for to know them by. He said a great deal more to me, which is not
worth relating, and ended by telling me that he intended to let me
out of confinement next day, but that if ever I misconducted myself
any more, he would clap me in again for the rest of my life. I had
a good mind to call him an ould thaif, but the hope of getting out
made me hold my tongue, and the next day I was let out; and need
enough I had to be let out, for what with being alone, and living
on bread and water, I was becoming frighted, or, as the doctors
call it, narvous. But when I was out--oh, what a change I found in
the religious house! no card-playing, for it had been forbidden to
the scholars, and there was now nothing going on but reading and
singing; divil a merry visage to be seen, but plenty of prim airs
and graces; but the case of the scholars, though bad enough, was
not half so bad as mine, for they could spake to each other,
whereas I could not have a word of conversation, for the ould thaif
of a rector had ordered them to send me to 'Coventry,' telling them
that I was a gambling cheat, with morals bad enough to corrupt a
horse regiment; and whereas they were allowed to divert themselves
with going out, I was kept reading and singing from morn till
night. The only soul who was willing to exchange a word with me
was the cook, and sometimes he and I had a little bit of discourse
in a corner, and we condoled with each other, for he liked the
change in the religious house almost as little as myself; but he
told me that, for all the change below stairs, there was still
card-playing on above, for that the ould thaif of a rector, and the
sub-rector, and the almoner played at cards together, and that the
rector won money from the others--the almoner had told him so--and,
moreover, that the rector was the thaif of the world, and had once
been kicked out of a club-house at Dublin for cheating at cards,
and after that circumstance had apparently reformed and lived
decently till the time when I came to the religious house with my
pack, but that the sight of that had brought him back to his ould
gambling. He told the cook, moreover, that the rector frequently
went out at night to the houses of the great clergy and cheated at

"In this melancholy state, with respect to myself, things continued
a long time, when suddenly there was a report that his Holiness the
Pope intended to pay a visit to the religious house in order to
examine into its discipline. When I heard this I was glad, for I
determined after the Pope had done what he had come to do, to fall
upon my knees before him, and make a regular complaint of the
treatment I had received, to tell him of the cheating at cards of
the rector, and to beg him to make the ould thaif give me back my
pack again. So the day of the visit came, and his Holiness made
his appearance with his attendants, and, having looked over the
religious house, he went into the rector's room with the rector,
the sub-rector, and the almoner. I intended to have waited until
his Holiness came out, but finding he stayed a long time I thought
I would e'en go into him, so I went up to the door without anybody
observing me--his attendants being walking about the corridor--and
opening it I slipped in, and there what do you think I saw? Why,
his Holiness the Pope, and his reverence the rector, and the sub-
rector, and the almoner seated at cards; and the ould thaif of a
rector was dealing out the cards which ye had given me, Shorsha, to
his Holiness the Pope, the sub-rector, the almoner, and himself."

In this part of his history I interrupted Murtagh, saying that I
was afraid he was telling untruths, and that it was highly
improbable that the Pope would leave the Vatican to play cards with
Irish at their religious house, and that I was sure, if on his,
Murtagh's authority, I were to tell the world so, the world would
never believe it.

"Then the world, Shorsha, would be a fool, even as you were just
now saying you had frequently believed it to be; the grand thing,
Shorsha, is to be able to believe oneself; if ye can do that, it
matters very little whether the world believe ye or no. But a
purty thing for you and the world to stickle at the Pope's playing
at cards at a religious house of Irish; och! if I were to tell you
and the world, what the Pope has been sometimes at, at the
religious house of English thaives, I would excuse you and the
world for turning up your eyes. However, I wish to say nothing
against the Pope. I am a son of the church, and if the Pope don't
interfere with my cards, divil a bit will I have to say against
him; but I saw the Pope playing, or about to play, with the pack
which had been taken from me, and when I told the Pope, the Pope
did not--Ye had better let me go on with my history, Shorsha;
whether you or the world believe it or not, I am sure it is quite
as true as your tale of the snake, or saying that Finn got his
burnt finger from the thaives of Loughlin; and whatever you may
say, I am sure the world will think so too."

I apologized to Murtagh for interrupting him, and telling him that
his history, whether true or not, was infinitely diverting, begged
him to continue it.


Murtagh's Story continued--The Priest, Exorcist, and Thimble-engro-
-How to Check a Rebellion.

I was telling ye, Shorsha, when ye interrupted me, that I found the
Pope, the rector, the sub-rector, and the almoner seated at the
table, the rector with my pack of cards in his hands, about to deal
out to the Pope and the rest, not forgetting himself, for whom he
intended all the trump-cards, no doubt. No sooner did they
perceive me than they seemed taken all aback; but the rector,
suddenly starting up with the cards in his hand, asked me what I
did there, threatening to have me well disciplined if I did not go
about my business; 'I am come for my pack,' said I, 'ye ould thaif,
and to tell his Holiness how I have been treated by ye;' then going
down on my knees before his Holiness, I said, 'Arrah, now, your
Holiness! will ye not see justice done to a poor boy who has been
sadly misused? The pack of cards which that old ruffian has in his
hand are my cards, which he has taken from me, in order to chate
with. Arrah! don't play with him, your Holiness, for he'll only
chate ye--there are dirty marks upon the cards which bear the
trumps, put there in order to know them by; and the ould thaif in
daling out will give himself all the good cards, and chate ye of
the last farthing in your pocket; so let them be taken from him,
your Holiness, and given back to me; and order him to lave the
room, and then, if your Holiness be for an honest game, don't think
I am the boy to baulk ye. I'll take the old ruffian's place, and
play with ye till evening, and all night besides, and divil an
advantage will I take of the dirty marks, though I know them all,
having placed them on the cards myself.' I was going on in this
way when the ould thaif of a rector, flinging down the cards, made
at me as if to kick me out of the room, whereupon I started up and
said, 'If ye are for kicking, sure two can play at that;' and then
I kicked at his reverence, and his reverence at me, and there was a
regular scrimmage between us, which frightened the Pope, who,
getting up, said some words which I did not understand, but which
the cook afterwards told me were, 'English extravagance, and this
is the second edition;' for it seems that, a little time before,
his Holiness had been frightened in St. Peter's Church by the
servant of an English family, which those thaives of the English
religious house had been endeavouring to bring over to the Catholic
faith, and who didn't approve of their being converted. Och! his
Holiness did us all sore injustice to call us English, and to
confound our house with the other; for however dirty our house
might be, our house was a clane house compared with the English
house, and we honest people compared with those English thaives.
Well, his Holiness was frighted, and the almoner ran out, and
brought in his Holiness's attendants, and they laid hold of me, but
I struggled hard, and said, 'I will not go without my pack; arrah,
your Holiness! make them give me my pack, which Shorsha gave me in
Dungarvon times of old;' but my struggles were of no use. I was
pulled away and put out in the ould dungeon, and his Holiness went
away sore frighted, crossing himself much, and never returned

"In the old dungeon I was fastened to the wall by a chain, and
there I was disciplined once every other day for the first three
weeks, and then I was left to myself, and my chain, and hunger; and
there I sat in the dungeon, sometimes screeching, sometimes
hallooing, for I soon became frighted, having nothing in the cell
to divert me. At last the cook found his way to me by stealth, and
comforted me a little, bringing me tidbits out of the kitchen; and
he visited me again and again--not often, however, for he dare only
come when he could steal away the key from the custody of the thaif
of a porter. I was three years in the dungeon, and should have
gone mad but for the cook, and his words of comfort, and his
tidbits, and nice books which he brought me out of the library,
which were the 'Calendars of Newgate,' and the 'Lives of Irish
Rogues and Raparees,' the only English books in the library.
However, at the end of three years, the ould thaif of a rector,
wishing to look at them books, missed them from the library, and
made a perquisition about them, and the thaif of a porter said that
he shouldn't wonder if I had them; saying that he had once seen me
reading; and then the rector came with others to my cell, and took
my books from me, from under my straw, and asked me how I came by
them; and on my refusal to tell, they disciplined me again till the
blood ran down my back; and making more perquisition they at last
accused the cook of having carried the books to me, and not
denying, he was given warning to leave next day, but he left that
night, and took me away with him; for he stole the key, and came to
me and cut my chain through, and then he and I escaped from the
religious house through a window--the cook with a bundle,
containing what things he had. No sooner had we got out than the
honest cook gave me a little bit of money and a loaf, and told me
to follow a way which he pointed out, which he said would lead to
the sea; and then, having embraced me after the Italian way, he
left me, and I never saw him again. So I followed the way which
the cook pointed out, and in two days reached a seaport called
Chiviter Vik, terribly foot-foundered, and there I met a sailor who
spoke Irish, and who belonged to a vessel just ready to sail for
France; and the sailor took me on board his vessel, and said I was
his brother, and the captain gave me a passage to a place in France
called Marseilles; and when I got there, the captain and sailor got
a little money for me and a passport, and I travelled across the
country towards a place they directed me to called Bayonne, from
which they said I might, perhaps, get to Ireland. Coming, however,
to a place called Pau, all my money being gone, I enlisted into a
regiment called the Army of the Faith, which was going into Spain,
for the King of Spain had been dethroned and imprisoned by his own
subjects, as perhaps you may have heard; and the King of France,
who was his cousin, was sending an army to help him, under the
command of his own son, whom the English called Prince Hilt,
because when he was told that he was appointed to the command, he
clapped his hand on the hilt of his sword. So I enlisted into the
regiment of the Faith, which was made up of Spaniards, many of them
priests who had run out of Spain, and broken Germans, and foot-
foundered Irish, like myself. It was said to be a blackguard
regiment, that same regiment of the Faith; but, 'faith, I saw
nothing blackguardly going on in it, for you would hardly reckon
card-playing and dominoes, and pitch and toss blackguardly, and I
saw nothing else in it. There was one thing in it which I
disliked--the priests drawing their Spanish knives occasionally,
when they lost their money. After we had been some time at Pau,
the army of the Faith was sent across the mountains into Spain, as
the vanguard of the French; and no sooner did the Spaniards see the
Faith than they made a dash at it, and the Faith ran away, myself
along with it, and got behind the French army, which told it to
keep there, and the Faith did so, and followed the French army,
which soon scattered the Spaniards, and in the end placed the king
on his throne again. When the war was over the Faith was
disbanded; some of the foreigners, however, amongst whom I was one,
were put into a Guard regiment, and there I continued for more than
a year.

"One day, being at a place called the Escurial, I took stock, as
the tradesmen say, and found I possessed the sum of eighty dollars
won by playing at cards, for though I could not play so well with
the foreign cards as with the pack you gave me, Shorsha, I had yet
contrived to win money from the priests and soldiers of the Faith.
Finding myself possessed of such a capital, I determined to leave
the service, and to make the best of my way to Ireland; so I
deserted, but coming in an evil hour to a place they calls Torre
Lodones, I found the priest playing at cards with his parishioners.
The sight of the cards made me stop, and then, fool like,
notwithstanding the treasure I had about me, I must wish to play,
so not being able to speak their language, I made signs to them to
let me play, and the priest and his thaives consented willingly; so
I sat down to cards with the priest and two of his parishioners,
and in a little time had won plenty of their money, but I had
better never have done any such thing, for suddenly the priest and
all his parishioners set upon me and bate me, and took from me all
I had, and cast me out of the village more dead than alive. Och!
it's a bad village that, and if I had known what it was I would
have avoided it, or run straight through it, though I saw all the
card-playing in the world going on in it. There is a proverb about
it, as I was afterwards told, old as the time of the Moors, which
holds good to the present day--it is, that in Torre Lodones there
are twenty-four housekeepers, and twenty-five thieves, maning that
all the people are thaives, and the clergyman to boot, who is not
reckoned a housekeeper; and troth I found the clergyman the
greatest thaif of the lot. After being cast out of that village I
travelled for nearly a month, subsisting by begging tolerably well,
for though most of the Spanish are thaives, they are rather
charitable; but though charitable thaives they do not like their
own being taken from them without leave being asked, as I found to
my cost; for on my entering a garden near Seville, without leave,
to take an orange, the labourer came running up and struck me to
the ground with a hatchet, giving me a big wound in the arm. I
fainted with loss of blood, and on reviving I found myself in a
hospital at Seville, to which the labourer and the people of the
village had taken me. I should have died of starvation in that
hospital had not some English people heard of me and come to see
me; they tended me with food till I was cured, and then paid my
passage on board a ship to London, to which place the ship carried

"And now I was in London with five shillings in my pocket--all I
had in the world--and that did not last for long; and when it was
gone I begged in the streets, but I did not get much by that,
except a month's hard labour in the correction-house; and when I
came out I knew not what to do, but thought I would take a walk in
the country, for it was spring-time, and the weather was fine, so I
took a walk about seven miles from London, and came to a place
where a great fair was being held; and there I begged, but got
nothing but a halfpenny, and was thinking of going farther, when I
saw a man with a table, like that of mine, playing with thimbles,
as you saw me. I looked at the play, and saw him win money, and
run away, and hunted by constables more than once. I kept
following the man, and at last entered into conversation with him;
and learning from him that he was in want of a companion to help
him, I offered to help him if he would pay me; he looked at me from
top to toe, and did not wish at first to have anything to do with
me, as he said my appearance was against me. 'Faith, Shorsha, he
had better have looked at home, for his appearance was not much in
his favour: he looked very much like a Jew, Shorsha. However, he
at last agreed to take me to be his companion, or bonnet as he
called it; and I was to keep a look-out, and let him know when
constables were coming, and to spake a good word for him
occasionally, whilst he was chating folks with his thimbles and his
pea. So I became his bonnet, and assisted him in the fair, and in
many other fairs beside; but I did not like my occupation much, or
rather my master, who, though not a big man, was a big thaif, and
an unkind one, for do all I could I could never give him pleasure;
and he was continually calling me fool and bogtrotter, and twitting
me because I could not learn his thaives' Latin, and discourse with
him in it, and comparing me with another acquaintance, or bit of a
pal of his, whom he said he had parted with in the fair, and of
whom he was fond of saying all kinds of wonderful things, amongst
others, that he knew the grammar of all tongues. At last, wearied
with being twitted by him with not being able to learn his thaives'
Greek, I proposed that I should teach him Irish, that we should
spake it together when we had anything to say in secret. To that
he consented willingly; but, och! a purty hand he made with Irish,
'faith, not much better than I did with his thaives' Hebrew. Then
my turn came, and I twitted him nicely with dulness, and compared
him with a pal that I had in ould Ireland, in Dungarvon times of
yore, to whom I teached Irish, telling him that he was the broth of
a boy, and not only knew the grammar of all human tongues, but the
dialects of the snakes besides; in fact, I tould him all about your
own sweet self, Shorsha, and many a dispute and quarrel had we
together about our pals, which was the cleverest fellow, his or

"Well, after having been wid him about two months, I quitted him
without noise, taking away one of his tables, and some peas and
thimbles; and that I did with a safe conscience, for he paid me
nothing, and was not over free with the meat and the drink, though
I must say of him that he was a clever fellow, and perfect master
of his trade, by which he made a power of money, and bating his not
being able to learn Irish, and a certain Jewish lisp which he had,
a great master of his tongue, of which he was very proud; so much
so, that he once told me that when he had saved a certain sum of
money he meant to leave off the thimbling business, and enter
Parliament; into which, he said, he could get at any time, through
the interest of a friend of his, a Tory Peer--my Lord Whitefeather,
with whom, he said, he had occasionally done business. With the
table, and other things which I had taken, I commenced trade on my
own account, having contrived to learn a few of his tricks. My
only capital was the change for half-a-guinea, which he had once
let fall, and which I picked up, which was all I could ever get
from him: for it was impossible to stale any money from him, he
was so awake, being up to all the tricks of thaives, having
followed the diving trade, as he called it, for a considerable
time. My wish was to make enough by my table to enable me to
return with credit to ould Ireland, where I had no doubt of being
able to get myself ordained as priest; and, in troth,
notwithstanding I was a beginner, and without any companion to help
me, I did tolerably well, getting my meat and drink, and increasing
my small capital, till I came to this unlucky place of Horncastle,
where I was utterly ruined by the thaif in the rider's dress. And
now, Shorsha, I am after telling you my history; perhaps you will
now be telling me something about yourself?"

I told Murtagh all about myself that I deemed necessary to relate,
and then asked him what he intended to do; he repeated that he was
utterly ruined, and that he had no prospect before him but
starving, or making away with himself. I inquired "How much would
take him to Ireland, and establish him there with credit." "Five
pounds," he answered, adding, "but who in the world would be fool
enough to tend me five pounds, unless it be yourself, Shorsha, who,
may be, have not got it; for when you told me about yourself, you
made no boast of the state of your affairs." "I am not very rich,"
I replied, "but I think I can accommodate you with what you want.
I consider myself under great obligations to you, Murtagh; it was
you who instructed me in the language of Oilein nan Naomha, which
has been the foundation of all my acquisitions in philology;
without you, I should not have been what I am--Lavengro! which
signifies a philologist. Here is the money, Murtagh," said I,
putting my hand into my pocket, and taking out five pounds, "much
good may it do you." He took the money, stared at it, and then at
me--"And you mane to give me this, Shorsha?" "It is no longer mine
to give," said I; "it is yours." "And you give it me for the
gratitude you bear me?" "Yes, " said I, "and for Dungarvon times
of old." "Well, Shorsha," said he, "you are a broth of a boy, and
I'll take your benefaction--five pounds! och, Jasus!" He then put
the money in his pocket, and springing up, waved his hat three
times, uttering some old Irish cry; then, sitting down, he took my
hand, and said, "Sure, Shorsha, I'll be going thither; and when I
get there, it is turning over another leaf I will be; I have learnt
a thing or two abroad; I will become a priest; that's the trade,
Shorsha! and I will cry out for repale; that's the cry, Shorsha!
and I'll be a fool no longer." "And what will you do with your
table?" said I. "'Faith, I'll be taking it with me, Shorsha; and
when I gets to Ireland, I'll get it mended, and I will keep it in
the house which I shall have; and when I looks upon it, I will be
thinking of all I have undergone." "You had better leave it behind
you," said I; "if you take it with you, you will, perhaps, take up
the thimble trade again before you get to Ireland, and lose the
money I am after giving you." "No fear of that, Shorsha; never
will I play on that table again, Shorsha, till I get it mended,
which shall not be till I am a priest, and have a house in which to
place it."

Murtagh and I then went into the town, where we had some
refreshment together, and then parted on our several ways. I heard
nothing of him for nearly a quarter of a century, when a person who
knew him well, coming from Ireland, and staying at my humble house,
told me a great deal about him. He reached Ireland in safety, soon
reconciled himself with his Church, and was ordained a priest; in
the priestly office he acquitted himself in a way very
satisfactory, upon the whole, to his superiors, having, as he
frequently said, learned wisdom abroad. The Popish Church never
fails to turn to account any particular gift which its servants may
possess; and discovering soon that Murtagh was endowed with
considerable manual dexterity--proof of which he frequently gave at
cards, and at a singular game which he occasionally played at
thimbles--it selected him as a very fit person to play the part of
exorcist; and accordingly he travelled through a great part of
Ireland, casting out devils from people possessed, which he
afterwards exhibited, sometimes in the shape of rabbits, and
occasionally birds and fishes. There is a holy island in a lake in
Ireland, to which the people resort at a particular season of the
year. Here Murtagh frequently attended, and it was here that he
performed a cure which will cause his name long to be remembered in
Ireland, delivering a possessed woman of two demons, which he
brandished aloft in his hands, in the shape of two large eels, and
subsequently hurled into the lake, amidst the shouts of an
enthusiastic multitude. Besides playing the part of an exorcist,
he acted that of a politician with considerable success; he
attached himself to the party of the sire of agitation--"the man of
paunch," and preached and hallooed for repeal with the loudest and
best, as long as repeal was the cry; as soon, however, as the Whigs
attained the helm of Government, and the greater part of the loaves
and fishes--more politely termed the patronage of Ireland--was
placed at the disposition of the priesthood, the tone of Murtagh,
like that of the rest of his brother saggarts, was considerably
softened; he even went so far as to declare that politics were not
altogether consistent with sacerdotal duty; and resuming his
exorcisms, which he had for some time abandoned, he went to the
Isle of Holiness, and delivered a possessed woman of six demons in
the shape of white mice. He, however, again resumed the political
mantle in the year 1848, during the short period of the rebellion
of the so-called Young Irelanders. The priests, though they
apparently sided with this party, did not approve of it, as it was
chiefly formed of ardent young men, fond of what they termed
liberty, and by no means admirers of priestly domination, being
mostly Protestants. Just before the outbreak of this rebellion, it
was determined between the priests and the -, that this party
should be rendered comparatively innocuous by being deprived of the
sinews' of war--in other words, certain sums of money which they
had raised for their enterprise. Murtagh was deemed the best
qualified person in Ireland to be entrusted with the delicate
office of getting their money from them. Having received his
instructions, he invited the leaders to his parsonage amongst the
mountains, under pretence of deliberating with them about what was
to be done. They arrived there just before nightfall, dressed in
red, yellow, and green, the colours so dear to enthusiastic
Irishmen; Murtagh received them with great apparent cordiality, and
entered into a long discourse with them, promising them the
assistance of himself and order, and received from them a profusion
of thanks. After a time Murtagh, observing, in a jocular tone,
that consulting was dull work, proposed a game of cards, and the
leaders, though somewhat surprised, assenting, he went to a closet,
and taking out a pack of cards, laid it upon the table; it was a
strange dirty pack, and exhibited every mark of having seen very
long service. On one of its guests making some remarks on the
"ancientness" of its appearance, Murtagh observed that there was a
very wonderful history attached to that pack; it had been presented
to him, he said, by a young gentleman, a disciple of his, to whom,
in Dungarvon times of yore, he had taught the Irish language, and
of whom he related some very extraordinary things; he added that
he, Murtagh, had taken it to -, where it had once the happiness of
being in the hands of the Holy Father; by a great misfortune, he
did not say what, he had lost possession of it, and had returned
without it, but had some time since recovered it; a nephew of his,
who was being educated at--for a priest, having found it in a nook
of the college, and sent it to him.

Murtagh and the leaders then played various games with this pack,
more especially one called by the initiated "blind hockey," the
result being that at the end of about two hours the leaders found
they had lost one-half of their funds; they now looked serious, and
talked of leaving the house, but Murtagh begging them to stay to
supper, they consented. After supper, at which the guests drank
rather freely, Murtagh said that, as he had not the least wish to
win their money, he intended to give them their revenge; he would
not play at cards with them, he added, but at a funny game of
thimbles, at which they would be sure of winning back their own;
then going out, he brought in a table, tall and narrow, on which
placing certain thimbles and a pea, he proposed that they should
stake whatever they pleased on the almost certainty of finding the
pea under the thimbles. The leaders, after some hesitation,
consented, and were at first eminently successful, winning back the
greater part of what they had lost; after some time, however,
Fortune, or rather Murtagh, turned against them, and then, instead
of leaving off, they doubled and trebled their stakes, and
continued doing so until they had lost nearly the whole of their
funds. Quite furious, they now swore that Murtagh had cheated
them, and insisted on having their property restored to them.
Murtagh, without a word of reply, went to the door, and shouting
into the passage something in Irish, the room was instantly filled
with bogtrotters, each at least six feet high, with a stout
shillelah in his hand. Murtagh then turning to his guests, asked
them what they meant by insulting an anointed priest; telling them
that it was not for the likes of them to avenge the wrongs of
Ireland. "I have been clane mistaken in the whole of ye," said he,
"I supposed ye Irish, but have found, to my sorrow, that ye are
nothing of the kind; purty fellows to pretend to be Irish, when
there is not a word of Irish on the tongue of any of ye, divil a
ha'porth; the illigant young gentleman to whom I taught Irish, in
Dungarvon times of old, though not born in Ireland, has more Irish
in him than any ten of ye. He is the boy to avenge the wrongs of
Ireland, if ever foreigner is to do it." Then saying something to
the bogtrotters, they instantly cleared the room of the young
Irelanders, who retired sadly disconcerted; nevertheless, being
very silly young fellows, they hoisted the standard of rebellion;
few, however, joining them, partly because they had no money, and
partly because the priests abused them with might and main, their
rebellion ended in a lamentable manner; themselves being seized and
tried, and though convicted, not deemed of sufficient importance to
be sent to the scaffold, where they might have had the satisfaction
of saying -

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori."

My visitor, after saying that of the money won, Murtagh retained a
considerable portion, that a part went to the hierarchy for what
were called church purposes, and that the--took the remainder,
which it employed in establishing a newspaper, in which the private
characters of the worthiest and most loyal Protestants in Ireland
were traduced and vilified, concluded his account by observing,
that it was the common belief that Murtagh, having by his services,
ecclesiastical and political, acquired the confidence of the
priesthood and favour of the Government, would, on the first
vacancy, be appointed to the high office of Popish Primate of


Departure from Horncastle--Recruiting Sergeant--Kauloes and

Leaving Horncastle I bent my steps in the direction of the east. I
walked at a brisk rate, and late in the evening reached a large
town, situate at the entrance of an extensive firth, or arm of the
sea, which prevented my farther progress eastward. Sleeping that
night in the suburbs of the town, I departed early next morning in
the direction of the south. A walk of about twenty miles brought
me to another large town, situated on a river, where I again turned
towards the east. At the end of the town I was accosted by a
fiery-faced individual, somewhat under the middle size, dressed as
a recruiting sergeant.

"Young man," said the recruiting sergeant, "you are just the kind
of person to serve the Honourable East India Company."

"I had rather the Honourable Company should serve me," said I.

"Of course, young man. Well, the Honourable East India Company
shall serve you--that's reasonable. Here, take this shilling; 'tis
service-money. The Honourable Company engages to serve you, and
you the Honourable Company; both parties shall be thus served;
that's just and reasonable."

"And what must I do for the Company?"

"Only go to India; that's all."

"And what should I do in India?"

"Fight, my brave boy! fight, my youthful hero!"

"What kind of country is India?"

"The finest country in the world! Rivers, bigger than the Ouse.
Hills, higher than anything near Spalding! Trees--you never saw
such trees! Fruits--you never saw such fruits!"

"And the people--what kind of folk are they?"

"Pah! Kauloes--blacks--a set of rascals not worth regarding."

"Kauloes!" said I; "blacks!"

"Yes," said the recruiting sergeant; "and they call us lolloes,
which, in their beastly gibberish, means red."

"Lolloes!" said I; "reds!"

"Yes," said the recruiting sergeant, "kauloes and lolloes; and all
the lolloes have to do is to kick and cut down the kauloes, and
take from them their rupees, which mean silver money. Why do you
stare so?"

"Why," said I, "this is the very language of Mr. Petulengro."

"Mr. Pet-?"

"Yes," said I, "and Tawno Chikno."

"Tawno Chik-? I say, young fellow, I don't like your way of
speaking; no, nor your way of looking. You are mad, sir; you are
mad; and what's this? Why, your hair is grey! You won't do for
the Honourable Company--they like red. I'm glad I didn't give you
the shilling. Good day to you."

"I shouldn't wonder," said I, as I proceeded rapidly along a broad
causeway, in the direction of the east, "if Mr. Petulengro and
Tawno Chikno came originally from India. I think I'll go there."



A Word for Lavengro.

Lavengro is the history up to a certain period of one of rather a
peculiar mind and system of nerves, with an exterior shy and cold,
under which lurk much curiosity, especially with regard to what is
wild and extraordinary, a considerable quantity of energy and
industry, and an unconquerable love of independence. It narrates
his earliest dreams and feelings, dwells with minuteness on the
ways, words, and characters of his father, mother, and brother,
lingers on the occasional resting-places of his wandering half
military childhood, describes the gradual hardening of his bodily
frame by robust exercises, his successive struggles, after his
family and himself have settled down in a small local capital, to
obtain knowledge of every kind, but more particularly philological
lore; his visits to the tent of the Romany chal, and the parlour of
the Anglo-German philosopher; the effect produced upon his
character by his flinging himself into contact with people all
widely differing from each other, but all extraordinary; his
reluctance to settle down to the ordinary pursuits of life; his
struggles after moral truth; his glimpses of God and the
obscuration of the Divine Being, to his mind's eye; and his being
cast upon the world of London by the death of his father, at the
age of nineteen. In the world within a world, the world of London,
it shows him playing his part for some time as he best can, in the
capacity of a writer for reviews and magazines, and describes what
he saw and underwent whilst labouring in that capacity; it
represents him, however, as never forgetting that he is the son of
a brave but poor gentleman, and that if he is a hack author, he is
likewise a scholar. It shows him doing no dishonourable jobs, and
proves that if he occasionally associates with low characters, he
does so chiefly to gratify the curiosity of a scholar. In his
conversations with the apple-woman of London Bridge, the scholar is
ever apparent, so again in his acquaintance with the man of the
table, for the book is no raker up of the uncleanness of London,
and if it gives what at first sight appears refuse, it invariably
shows that a pearl of some kind, generally a philological one, is
contained amongst it; it shows its hero always accompanied by his
love of independence, scorning in the greatest poverty to receive
favours from anybody, and describes him finally rescuing himself
from peculiarly miserable circumstances by writing a book, an
original book, within a week, even as Johnson is said to have
written his "Rasselas," and Beckford his "Vathek," and tells how,
leaving London, he betakes himself to the roads and fields.

In the country it shows him leading a life of roving adventure,
becoming tinker, gypsy, postillion, ostler; associating with
various kinds of people, chiefly of the lower classes, whose ways
and habits are described; but, though leading this erratic life, we
gather from the book that his habits are neither vulgar nor
vicious, that he still follows to a certain extent his favourite
pursuits, hunting after strange characters, or analysing strange
words and names. At the conclusion of the last chapter, which
terminates the first part of the history, it hints that he is about
to quit his native land on a grand philological expedition.

Those who read this book with attention--and the author begs to
observe that it would be of little utility to read it hurriedly--
may derive much information with respect to matters of philology
and literature; it will be found treating of most of the principal
languages from Ireland to China, and of the literature which they
contain; and it is particularly minute with regard to the ways,
manners, and speech of the English section of the most
extraordinary and mysterious clan or tribe of people to be found in
the whole world--the children of Roma. But it contains matters of
much more importance than anything in connection with philology,
and the literature and manners of nations. Perhaps no work was
ever offered to the public in which the kindness and providence of
God have been set forth by more striking examples, or the
machinations of priestcraft been more truly and lucidly exposed, or
the dangers which result to a nation when it abandons itself to
effeminacy, and a rage for what is novel and fashionable, than the

With respect to the kindness and providence of God, are they not
exemplified in the case of the old apple-woman and her son? These
are beings in many points bad, but with warm affections, who, after
an agonizing separation, are restored to each other, but not until
the hearts of both are changed and purified by the influence of
affliction. Are they not exemplified in the case of the rich
gentleman, who touches objects in order to avert the evil chance?
This being has great gifts and many amiable qualifies, but does not
everybody see that his besetting sin is selfishness? He fixes his
mind on certain objects, and takes inordinate interest in them,
because they are his own, and those very objects, through the
providence of God, which is kindness in disguise, become snakes and
scorpions to whip him. Tired of various pursuits, he at last
becomes an author, and publishes a book, which is very much
admired, and which he loves with his usual inordinate affection;
the book, consequently, becomes a viper to him, and at last he
flings it aside and begins another; the book, however, is not flung
aside by the world, who are benefited by it, deriving pleasure and
knowledge from it: so the man who merely wrote to gratify self,
has already done good to others, and got himself an honourable
name. But God will not allow that man to put that book under his
head and use it as a pillow: the book has become a viper to him,
he has banished it, and is about another, which he finishes and
gives to the world; it is a better book than the first, and every
one is delighted with it; but it proves to the writer a scorpion,
because he loves it with inordinate affection; but it was good for
the world that he produced this book, which stung him as a
scorpion. Yes; and good for himself, for the labour of writing it
amused him, and perhaps prevented him from dying of apoplexy; but
the book is banished, and another is begun, and herein, again, is
the providence of God manifested; the man has the power of
producing still, and God determines that he shall give to the world
what remains in his brain, which he would not do, had he been
satisfied with the second work; he would have gone to sleep upon
that as he would upon the first, for the man is selfish and lazy.
In his account of what he suffered during the composition of this
work, his besetting sin of selfishness is manifest enough; the work
on which he is engaged occupies his every thought, it is his idol,
his deity, it shall be all his own, he won't borrow a thought from
any one else, and he is so afraid lest, when he publishes it, that
it should be thought that he had borrowed from any one, that he is
continually touching objects, his nervous system, owing to his
extreme selfishness, having become partly deranged. He is left
touching, in order to banish the evil chance from his book, his
deity. No more of his history is given; but does the reader think
that God will permit that man to go to sleep on his third book,
however extraordinary it may be? Assuredly not. God will not
permit that man to rest till he has cured him to a certain extent
of his selfishness, which has, however, hitherto been very useful
to the world.

Then, again, in the tale of Peter Williams, is not the hand of
Providence to be seen? This person commits a sin in his childhood,
utters words of blasphemy, the remembrance of which, in after life,
preying upon his imagination, unfits him for quiet pursuits, to
which he seems to have been naturally inclined; but for the
remembrance of that sin, he would have been Peter Williams the
quiet and respectable Welsh farmer, somewhat fond of reading the
ancient literature of his country in winter evenings, after his
work was done. God, however, was aware that there was something in
Peter Williams to entitle him to assume a higher calling; he
therefore permits this sin, which, though a childish affair, was
yet a sin, and committed deliberately, to prey upon his mind till
he becomes at last an instrument in the hand of God, a humble Paul,
the great preacher, Peter Williams, who, though he considers
himself a reprobate and a castaway, instead of having recourse to
drinking in mad desperation, as many do who consider themselves
reprobates, goes about Wales and England preaching the word of God,
dilating on his power and majesty, and visiting the sick and
afflicted, until God sees fit to restore to him his peace of mind;
which he does not do, however, until that mind is in a proper
condition to receive peace, till it has been purified by the pain
of the one idea which has so long been permitted to riot in his
brain; which pain, however, an angel, in the shape of a gentle
faithful wife, had occasionally alleviated; for God is merciful
even in the blows which He bestoweth, and will not permit any one
to be tempted beyond the measure which he can support. And here it
will be as well for the reader to ponder upon the means by which
the Welsh preacher is relieved from his mental misery: he is not
relieved by a text from the Bible, by the words of consolation and
wisdom addressed to him by his angel-minded wife, nor by the
preaching of one yet more eloquent than himself; but by a quotation
made by Lavengro from the life of Mary Flanders, cut-purse and
prostitute, which life Lavengro had been in the habit of reading at
the stall of his old friend the apple-woman, on London Bridge, who
had herself been very much addicted to the perusal of it, though
without any profit whatever. Should the reader be dissatisfied
with the manner in which Peter Williams is made to find relief, the
author would wish to answer, that the Almighty frequently
accomplishes his purposes by means which appear very singular to
the eyes of men, and at the same time to observe that the manner in
which that relief is obtained, is calculated to read a lesson to
the proud, fanciful, and squeamish, who are ever in a fidget lest
they should be thought to mix with low society, or to bestow a
moment's attention on publications which are not what is called of
a perfectly unobjectionable character. Had not Lavengro formed the
acquaintance of the apple-woman on London Bridge, he would not have
had an opportunity of reading the life of Mary Flanders; and,
consequently, of storing in a memory, which never forgets anything,
a passage which contained a balm for the agonized mind of poor
Peter Williams. The best medicines are not always found in the
finest shops. Suppose, for example, if, instead of going to London
Bridge to read, he had gone to Albemarle Street, and had received
from the proprietors of the literary establishment in that very
fashionable street, permission to read the publications on the
tables of the saloons there, does the reader think he would have
met any balm in those publications for the case of Peter Williams?
does the reader suppose that he would have found Mary Flanders
there? He would certainly have found that highly unobjectionable
publication, "Rasselas," and the "Spectator," or "Lives of Royal
and Illustrious Personages," but, of a surety, no Mary Flanders; so
when Lavengro met with Peter Williams, he would have been
unprovided with a balm to cure his ulcerated mind, and have parted
from him in a way not quite so satisfactory as the manner in which
he took his leave of him; for it is certain that he might have read
"Rasselas," and all other unexceptionable works to be found in the
library of Albemarle Street, over and over again, before he would
have found any cure in them for the case of Peter Williams.
Therefore the author requests the reader to drop any squeamish
nonsense he may wish to utter about Mary Flanders, and the manner
in which Peter Williams was cured.

And now with respect to the old man who knew Chinese, but could not
tell what was o'clock. This individual was a man whose natural
powers would have been utterly buried and lost beneath a mountain
of sloth and laziness, had not God determined otherwise. He had in
his early years chalked out for himself a plan of life in which he
had his own ease and self-indulgence solely in view; he had no
particular bad passions to gratify, he only wished to live a happy
quiet life, just as if the business of this mighty world could be
carried on by innocent people fond of ease or quiet, or that
Providence would permit innocent quiet drones to occupy any portion
of the earth and to cumber it. God had at any rate decreed that
this man should not cumber it as a drone. He brings a certain
affliction upon him, the agony of which produces that terrible
whirling of the brain which, unless it is stopped in time, produces
madness; he suffers indescribable misery for a period, until one
morning his attention is arrested, and his curiosity is aroused, by
certain Chinese letters on a teapot; his curiosity increases more
and more, and, of course, in proportion as his curiosity is
increased with respect to the Chinese marks, the misery in his
brain, produced by his mental affliction, decreases. He sets about
learning Chinese, and after the lapse of many years, during which
his mind subsides into a certain state of tranquillity, he acquires
sufficient knowledge of Chinese to be able to translate with ease
the inscriptions to be found on its singular crockery. Yes, the
laziest of human beings, through the Providence of God, a being too
of rather inferior capacity, acquires the written part of a
language so difficult that, as Lavengro said on a former occasion,
none but the cleverest people in Europe, the French, are able to
acquire it. But God did not intend that man should merely acquire
Chinese. He intended that he should be of use to his species, and
by the instrumentality of the first Chinese inscription which he
translates, the one which first arrested his curiosity, he is
taught the duty of hospitality; yes, by means of an inscription in
the language of a people, who have scarcely an idea of hospitality
themselves, God causes the slothful man to play a useful and
beneficent part in the world, relieving distressed wanderers, and,
amongst others, Lavengro himself. But a striking indication of the
man's surprising sloth is still apparent in what he omits to do; he
has learnt Chinese, the most difficult of languages, and he
practises acts of hospitality, because he believes himself enjoined
to do so by the Chinese inscription, but he cannot tell the hour of
the day by the clock within his house; he can get on, he thinks,
very well without being able to do so; therefore from this one
omission, it is easy to come to a conclusion as to what a
sluggard's part the man would have played in life, but for the
dispensation of Providence; nothing but extreme agony could have
induced such a man to do anything useful. He still continues, with
all he has acquired, with all his usefulness, and with all his
innocence of character, without any proper sense of religion,
though he has attained a rather advanced age. If it be observed,
that this want of religion is a great defect in the story, the
author begs leave to observe that he cannot help it. Lavengro
relates the lives of people so far as they were placed before him,
but no further. It was certainly a great defect in so good a man
to be without religion; it was likewise a great defect in so
learned a man not to be able to tell what was o'clock. It is
probable that God, in his loving kindness, will not permit that man
to go out of the world without religion; who knows but some
powerful minister of the church full of zeal for the glory of God,
will illume that man's dark mind; perhaps some clergyman will come
to the parish who will visit him and teach him his duty to his God.
Yes, it is very probable that such a man, before he dies, will have
been made to love his God; whether he will ever learn to know
what's o'clock is another matter. It is probable that he will go
out of the world without knowing what's o'clock. It is not so
necessary to be able to tell the time of day by the clock as to
know one's God through His inspired word; a man cannot get to
heaven without religion, but a man can get there very comfortably
without knowing what's o'clock.

But, above all, the care and providence of God are manifested in
the case of Lavengro himself, by the manner in which he is enabled
to make his way in the world up to a certain period, without
falling a prey either to vice or poverty. In his history, there is
a wonderful illustration of part of the text, quoted by his mother,
"I have been young, but now am old, yet never saw I the righteous
forsaken, or his seed begging his bread." He is the son of good
and honourable parents, but at the critical period of life, that of
entering into the world, he finds himself without any earthly
friend to help him, yet he manages to make his way; he does not
become a Captain in the Life Guards, it is true, nor does he get
into Parliament, nor does the last volume conclude in the most
satisfactory and unobjectionable manner, by his marrying a dowager
countess, as that wise man Addison did, or by his settling down as
a great country gentleman, perfectly happy and contented, like the
very moral Roderick Random, or the equally estimable Peregrine
Pickle; he is hack author, gypsy, tinker, and postillion, yet, upon
the whole, he seems to be quite as happy as the younger sons of
most earls, to have as high feelings of honour; and when the reader
loses sight of him, he has money in his pocket honestly acquired,
to enable him to commence a journey quite as laudable as those
which the younger sons of earls generally undertake. Surely all
this is a manifestation of the kindness and providence of God: and
yet he is not a religious person; up to the time when the reader
loses sight of him, he is decidedly not a religious person; he has
glimpses, it is true, of that God who does not forsake him, but he
prays very seldom, is not fond of going to church; and, though he
admires Tate and Brady's version of the Psalms, his admiration is
rather caused by the beautiful poetry which that version contains
than the religion; yet his tale is not finished--like the tale of
the gentleman who touched objects, and that of the old man who knew
Chinese without knowing what was o'clock; perhaps, like them, he is
destined to become religious, and to have, instead of occasional
glimpses, frequent and distinct views of his God; yet, though he
may become religious, it is hardly to be expected that he will
become a very precise and straightlaced person; it is probable that
he will retain, with his scholarship, something of his gypsyism,
his predilection for the hammer and tongs, and perhaps some
inclination to put on certain gloves, not white kid, with any
friend who may be inclined for a little old English diversion, and
a readiness to take a glass of ale, with plenty of malt in it, and
as little hop as may well be--ale at least two years old--with the
aforesaid friend, when the diversion is over; for, as it is the
belief of the writer that a person may get to heaven very
comfortably without knowing what's o'clock, so it is his belief
that he will not be refused admission there, because to the last he
has been fond of healthy and invigorating exercises, and felt a
willingness to partake of any of the good things which it pleases
the Almighty to put within the reach of his children during their
sojourn upon earth.


On Priestcraft.

The writer will now say a few words about priestcraft, and the
machinations of Rome, and will afterwards say something about
himself, and his motives for writing against them.

With respect to Rome, and her machinations, much valuable
information can be obtained from particular parts of Lavengro, and
its sequel. Shortly before the time when the hero of the book is
launched into the world, the Popish agitation in England had
commenced. The Popish propaganda had determined to make a grand
attempt on England; Popish priests were scattered over the land,
doing the best they could to make converts to the old superstition.
With the plans of Rome, and her hopes, and the reasons on which
those hopes are grounded, the hero of the book becomes acquainted,
during an expedition which he makes into the country, from certain
conversations which he holds with a priest in a dingle, in which
the hero had taken up his residence; he likewise learns from the
same person much of the secret history of the Roman See, and many
matters connected with the origin and progress of the Popish
superstition. The individual with whom he holds these
conversations is a learned, intelligent, but highly-unprincipled
person, of a character however very common amongst the priests of
Rome, who in general are people void of all religion, and who,
notwithstanding they are tied to Rome by a band which they have
neither the power nor wish to break, turn her and her practices,
over their cups with their confidential associates, to a ridicule
only exceeded by that to which they turn those who become the dupes
of their mistress and themselves.

It is now necessary that the writer should say something with
respect to himself, and his motives for waging war against Rome.
First of all, with respect to himself, he wishes to state, that to
the very last moment of his life, he will do and say all that in
his power may be to hold up to contempt and execration the
priestcraft and practices of Rome; there is, perhaps, no person
better acquainted than himself, not even among the choicest spirits
of the priesthood, with the origin and history of Popery. From
what he saw and heard of Popery in England, at a very early period
of his life, his curiosity was aroused, and he spared himself no
trouble, either by travel or study, to make himself well acquainted
with it in all its phases, the result being a hatred of it, which
he hopes and trusts he shall retain till the moment when his spirit
quits the body. Popery is the great lie of the world; a source
from which more misery and social degradation have flowed upon the
human race, than from all the other sources from which those evils
come. It is the oldest of all superstitions; and though in Europe
it assumes the name of Christianity, it existed and flourished
amidst the Himalayan hills at least two thousand years before the
real Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea; in a word, it is
Buddhism; and let those who may be disposed to doubt this
assertion, compare the Popery of Rome, and the superstitious
practices of its followers, with the doings of the priests who
surround the grand Lama; and the mouthings, bellowing, turnings
round, and, above all, the penances of the followers of Buddh with
those of Roman devotees. But he is not going to dwell here on this
point; it is dwelt upon at tolerable length in the text, and has
likewise been handled with extraordinary power by the pen of the
gifted but irreligious Volney; moreover, the elite of the Roman
priesthood are perfectly well aware that their system is nothing
but Buddhism under a slight disguise, and the European world in
general has entertained for some time past an inkling of the fact.

And now a few words with respect to the motives of the writer for
expressing a hatred for Rome.

This expressed abhorrence of the author for Rome might be entitled
to little regard, provided it were possible to attribute it to any
self-interested motive. There have been professed enemies of Rome,
or of this or that system; but their professed enmity may
frequently be traced to some cause which does them little credit;
but the writer of these lines has no motive, and can have no
motive, for his enmity to Rome, save the abhorrence of an honest
heart for what is false, base, and cruel. A certain clergyman
wrote with much heat against the Papists in the time of--who was
known to favour the Papists, but was not expected to continue long
in office, and whose supposed successor, the person, indeed, who
did succeed him, was thought to be hostile to the Papists. This
divine, who obtained a rich benefice from the successor of--who
during -'s time had always opposed him in everything he proposed to
do, and who, of course, during that time affected to be very
inimical to Popery--this divine might well be suspected of having a
motive equally creditable for writing against the Papists, as that
which induced him to write for them, as soon as his patron, who
eventually did something more for him, had espoused their cause;
but what motive, save an honest one, can the present writer have,
for expressing an abhorrence of Popery? He is no clergyman, and
consequently can expect neither benefices nor bishoprics, supposing
it were the fashion of the present, or likely to be the fashion of
any future administration, to reward clergymen with benefices or
bishoprics, who, in the defence of the religion of their country
write, or shall write, against Popery, and not to reward those who
write, or shall write, in favour of it, and all its nonsense and

"But if not a clergyman, he is the servant of a certain society,
which has the overthrow of Popery in view, and therefore," etc.
This assertion, which has been frequently made, is incorrect, even
as those who have made it probably knew it to be. He is the
servant of no society whatever. He eats his own bread, and is one
of the very few men in England who are independent in every sense
of the word.

It is true he went to Spain with the colours of that society on his
hat--oh! the blood glows in his veins! oh! the marrow awakes in his
old bones when he thinks of what he accomplished in Spain in the
cause of religion and civilization with the colours of that society
in his hat, and its weapon in his hand, even the sword of the word
of God; how with that weapon he hewed left and right, making the
priests fly before him, and run away squeaking: "Vaya! que demonio
es este!" Ay, and when he thinks of the plenty of Bible swords
which he left behind him, destined to prove, and which have already
proved, pretty calthrops in the heels of Popery. "Halloo!
Batuschca," he exclaimed the other night, on reading an article in
a newspaper; "what do you think of the present doings in Spain?
Your old friend the zingaro, the gitano who rode about Spain, to
say nothing of Galicia, with the Greek Buchini behind him as his
squire, had a hand in bringing them about; there are many brave
Spaniards connected with the present movement who took Bibles from
his hands, and read them and profited by them, learning from the
inspired page the duties of one man towards another, and the real
value of a priesthood and their head, who set at nought the word of
God, and think only of their own temporal interests; ay, and who
learned Gitano--their own Gitano--from the lips of the London
Caloro, and also songs in the said Gitano, very fit to dumbfounder
your semi-Buddhist priests when they attempt to bewilder people's
minds with their school-logic and pseudo-ecclesiastical nonsense,
songs such as -

"Un Erajai
Sinaba chibando un sermon--."

- But with that society he has long since ceased to have any
connection; he bade it adieu with feelings of love and admiration
more than fourteen years ago; so, in continuing to assault Popery,
no hopes of interest founded on that society can sway his mind--
interest! who, with worldly interest in view, would ever have
anything to do with that society? It is poor and supported, like
its founder Christ, by poor people; and so far from having
political influence, it is in such disfavour, and has ever been,
with the dastardly great, to whom the government of England has for
many years past been confided, that they having borne its colours
only for a month would be sufficient to exclude any man, whatever
his talents, his learning, or his courage may be, from the
slightest chance of being permitted to serve his country either for
fee, or without. A fellow who unites in himself the bankrupt
trader, the broken author, or rather book-maker, and the laughed-
down single speech spouter of the House of Commons, may look
forward, always supposing that at one time he has been a foaming
radical, to the government of an important colony. Ay, an ancient
fox who has lost his tail may, provided he has a score of radical
friends, who will swear that he can bark Chinese, though Chinese is
not barked but sung, be forced upon a Chinese colony, though it is
well known that to have lost one's tail is considered by the
Chinese in general as an irreparable infamy, whilst to have been
once connected with a certain society, to which, to its honour be
it said, all the radical party are vehemently hostile, would be
quite sufficient to keep any one not only from a government, but
something much less, even though he could translate the rhymed
"Sessions of Hariri," and were versed, still retaining his tail, in
the two languages in which Kien-Loung wrote his Eulogium on
Moukden, that piece which, translated by Amyot, the learned Jesuit,
won the applause of the celebrated Voltaire.

No! were the author influenced by hopes of fee or reward, he would,
instead of writing against Popery, write for it; all the trumpery
titled--he will not call them great again--would then be for him,
and their masters the radicals, with their hosts of newspapers,
would be for him, more especially if he would commence maligning
the society whose colours he had once on his hat--a society which,
as the priest says in the text, is one of the very few Protestant
institutions for which the Popish Church entertains any fear, and
consequently respect, as it respects nothing which it does not
fear. The writer said that certain "rulers" would never forgive
him for having been connected with that society; he went perhaps
too far in saying "never." It is probable that they would take him
into favour on one condition, which is, that he should turn his pen
and his voice against that society; such a mark "of a better way of
thinking" would perhaps induce them to give him a government,
nearly as good as that which they gave to a certain ancient radical
fox at the intercession of his radical friends (who were bound to
keep him from the pauper's kennel), after he had promised to foam,
bark, and snarl at corruption no more; he might even entertain
hopes of succeeding, nay, of superseding, the ancient creature in
his government; but even were he as badly off as he is well off, he
would do no such thing. He would rather exist on crusts and water;
he has often done so, and been happy; nay, he would rather starve
than be a rogue--for even the feeling of starvation is happiness
compared with what he feels who knows himself to be a rogue,
provided he has any feeling at all. What is the use of a mitre or
knighthood to a man who has betrayed his principles? What is the
use of a gilt collar, nay, even of a pair of scarlet breeches, to a
fox who has lost his tail? Oh! the horror which haunts the mind of
a fox who has lost his tail; and with reason, for his very mate
loathes him, and more especially if, like himself, she has lost her
brush. Oh! the horror which haunts the mind of the two-legged
rogue who has parted with his principles, or those which he
professed--for what? We'll suppose a government. What's the use
of a government, if the next day after you have received it, you
are obliged for very shame to scurry off to it with the hoot of
every honest man sounding in your ears?

"Lightly liar leaped and away ran."

But bigotry, it has been said, makes the author write against
Popery; and thorough-going bigotry, indeed, will make a person say
or do anything. But the writer is a very pretty bigot truly!
Where will the public find traces of bigotry in anything he has
written? He has written against Rome with all his heart, with all
his mind, with all his soul, and with all his strength; but as a
person may be quite honest, and speak and write against Rome, in
like manner he may speak and write against her, and be quite free
from bigotry; though it is impossible for any one but a bigot or a
bad man to write or speak in her praise; her doctrines, actions,
and machinations being what they are.

Bigotry! The author was born, and has always continued in the
wrong church for bigotry, the quiet, unpretending Church of
England; a church which, had it been a bigoted church, and not long
suffering almost to a fault, might with its opportunities, as the
priest says in the text, have stood in a very different position
from that which it occupies at present. No! let those who are in
search of bigotry, seek for it in a church very different from the
inoffensive Church of England, which never encourages cruelty or
calumny. Let them seek for it amongst the members of the Church of
Rome, and more especially amongst those who have renegaded to it.
There is nothing, however false and horrible, which a pervert to
Rome will not say for his church, and which his priests will not
encourage him in saying; and there is nothing, however horrible--
the more horrible indeed and revolting to human nature, the more
eager he would be to do it--which he will not do for it, and which
his priests will not encourage him in doing.

Of the readiness which converts to Popery exhibit to sacrifice all
the ties of blood and affection on the shrine of their newly-
adopted religion, there is a curious illustration in the work of
Luigi Pulci. This man, who was born at Florence in the year 1432,
and who was deeply versed in the Bible, composed a poem, called the
"Morgante Maggiore," which he recited at the table of Lorenzo de
Medici, the great patron of Italian genius. It is a mock-heroic
and religious poem, in which the legends of knight-errantry, and of
the Popish Church, are turned to unbounded ridicule. The pretended
hero of it is a converted giant, called Morgante; though his
adventures do not occupy the twentieth part of the poem, the
principal personages being Charlemagne, Orlando, and his cousin
Rinaldo of Montalban. Morgante has two brothers, both of them
giants, and in the first canto of the poem, Morgante is represented
with his brothers as carrying on a feud with the abbot and monks of
a certain convent, built upon the confines of heathenesse; the
giants being in the habit of flinging down stones, or rather huge
rocks, on the convent. Orlando, however, who is banished from the
court of Charlemagne, arriving at the convent, undertakes to
destroy them, and, accordingly, kills Passamonte and Alabastro, and
converts Morgante, whose mind had been previously softened by a
vision, in which the "Blessed Virgin" figures. No sooner is he
converted than, as a sign of his penitence, what does he do, but
hastens and cuts off the hands of his two brothers, saying -

"Io vo' tagliar le mani a tutti quanti
E porterolle a que' monaci santi."

And he does cut off the hands of his brethren, and carries them to
the abbot, who blesses him for so doing. Pulci here is holding up
to ridicule and execration the horrid butchery or betrayal of
friends by popish converts, and the encouragement they receive from
the priest. No sooner is a person converted to Popery, than his
principal thought is how he can bring the hands and feet of his
brethren, however harmless they may be, and different from the
giants, to the "holy priests," who, if he manages to do so, never
fail to praise him, saying to the miserable wretch, as the abbot
said to Morgante:-

"Tu sarai or perfetto e vero amico
A Cristo, quanto tu gli eri nemico."

Can the English public deny the justice of Pulci's illustration,
after something which it has lately witnessed? Has it not seen
equivalents for the hands and feet of brothers carried by popish
perverts to the "holy priests," and has it not seen the manner in
which the offering has been received? Let those who are in quest
of bigotry seek for it among the perverts to Rome, and not amongst
those who, born in the pale of the Church of England, have always
continued in it.


On Foreign Nonsense.

With respect to the third point, various lessons which the book
reads to the nation at large, and which it would be well for the
nation to ponder and profit by.

There are many species of nonsense to which the nation is much
addicted, and of which the perusal of Lavengro ought to give them a
wholesome shame. First of all, with respect to the foreign
nonsense so prevalent now in England. The hero is a scholar; but,
though possessed of a great many tongues, he affects to be neither
Frenchman, nor German, nor this or that foreigner; he is one who
loves his country, and the language and literature of his country,
and speaks up for each and all when there is occasion to do so.
Now what is the case with nine out of ten amongst those of the
English who study foreign languages? No sooner have they picked up
a smattering of this or that speech than they begin to abuse their
own country, and everything connected with it, more especially its
language. This is particularly the case with those who call
themselves German students. It is said, and the writer believes
with truth, that when a woman falls in love with a particularly
ugly fellow, she squeezes him with ten times more zest than she
would a handsome one, if captivated by him. So it is with these
German students; no sooner have they taken German in hand than
there is nothing like German. Oh, the dear delightful German! How
proud I am that it is now my own, and that its divine literature is
within my reach! And all this whilst mumbling the most uncouth
speech, and crunching the most crabbed literature in Europe. The
writer is not an exclusive admirer of everything English; he does
not advise his country people never to go abroad, never to study
foreign languages, and he does not wish to persuade them that there
is nothing beautiful or valuable in foreign literature; he only
wishes that they would not make themselves fools with respect to
foreign people, foreign languages or reading; that if they chance
to have been in Spain, and have picked up a little Spanish, they
would not affect the airs of Spaniards; that if males they would
not make Tomfools of themselves by sticking cigars into their
mouths, dressing themselves in zamarras, and saying, carajo! {2}
and if females that they would not make zanies of themselves by
sticking cigars into their mouths, flinging mantillas over their
heads, and by saying carai, and perhaps carajo too; or if they have
been in France or Italy, and have picked up a little French or
Italian, they would not affect to be French or Italians; and
particularly, after having been a month or two in Germany, or
picked up a little German in England, they would not make
themselves foolish about everything German, as the Anglo-German in
the book does--a real character, the founder of the Anglo-German
school in England, and the cleverest Englishman who ever talked or
wrote encomiastic nonsense about Germany and the Germans. Of all
infatuations connected with what is foreign, the infatuation about
everything that is German, to a certain extent prevalent in
England, is assuredly the most ridiculous. One can find something
like a palliation for people making themselves somewhat foolish
about particular languages, literatures, and people. The Spanish
certainly is a noble language, and there is something wild and
captivating in the Spanish character, and its literature contains
the grand book of the world. French is a manly language. The
French are the great martial people in the world; and French
literature is admirable in many respects. Italian is a sweet
language, and of beautiful simplicity--its literature perhaps the
first in the world. The Italians!--wonderful men have sprung up in
Italy. Italy is not merely famous for painters, poets, musicians,
singers, and linguists--the greatest linguist the world ever saw,
the late Cardinal Mezzofanti, was an Italian; but it is celebrated
for men--men emphatically speaking: Columbus was an Italian,
Alexander Farnese was an Italian, so was the mightiest of the
mighty, Napoleon Bonaparte;--but the German language, German
literature, and the Germans! The writer has already stated his
opinion with respect to German; he does not speak from ignorance or
prejudice; he has heard German spoken, and many other languages.
German literature! He does not speak from ignorance, he has read
that and many a literature, and he repeats-- However, he
acknowledges that there is one fine poem in the German language,
that poem is the "Oberon;" a poem, by the bye, ignored by the
Germans--a speaking fact--and of course, by the Anglo-Germanists.
The Germans! he has been amongst them, and amongst many other
nations, and confesses that his opinion of the Germans, as men, is
a very low one. Germany, it is true, has produced one very great
man, the monk who fought the Pope, and nearly knocked him down; but
this man his countrymen--a telling fact--affect to despise, and, of
course, the Anglo-Germanists: the father of Anglo-Germanism was
very fond of inveighing against Luther.

The madness, or rather foolery, of the English for foreign customs,
dresses, and languages, is not an affair of to-day, or yesterday--
it is of very ancient date, and was very properly exposed nearly
three centuries ago by one Andrew Borde, who under the picture of a
"Naked man, with a pair of shears in one hand, and a roll of cloth
in the other," {3} inserted the following lines along with others:-

"I am an Englishman, and naked I stand here,
Musing in my mind what garment I shall weare;
For now I will weare this, and now I will weare that,
Now I will weare, I cannot tell what.
All new fashions be pleasant to mee,
I will have them, whether I thrive or thee;
What do I care if all the world me fail?
I will have a garment reach to my taile;
Then am I a minion, for I wear the new guise.
The next yeare after I hope to be wise,
Not only in wearing my gorgeous array,
For I will go to learning a whole summer's day;
I will learn Latine, Hebrew, Greek, and French,
And I will learn Dutch, sitting on my bench.
I had no peere if to myself I were true,
Because I am not so, divers times do I rue.
Yet I lacke nothing, I have all things at will
If I were wise and would hold myself still,
And meddle with no matters but to me pertaining,
But ever to be true to God and my king.
But I have such matters rowling in my pate,
That I will and do--I cannot tell what," etc.


On Gentility Nonsense--Illustrations of Gentility.

What is gentility? People in different stations in England--
entertain different ideas of what is genteel, {4} but it must be
something gorgeous, glittering, or tawdry, to be considered genteel
by any of them. The beau-ideal of the English aristocracy, of
course with some exceptions, is some young fellow with an imperial
title, a military personage of course, for what is military is so
particularly genteel, with flaming epaulets, a cocked hat and
plume, a prancing charger, and a band of fellows called generals
and colonels, with flaming epaulets, cocked hats and plumes, and
prancing chargers vapouring behind him. It was but lately that the
daughter of an English marquis was heard to say, that the sole
remaining wish of her heart--she had known misfortunes, and was not
far from fifty--was to be introduced to--whom? The Emperor of
Austria! The sole remaining wish of the heart of one who ought to
have been thinking of the grave and judgment, was to be introduced
to the miscreant who had caused the blood of noble Hungarian
females to be whipped out of their shoulders, for no other crime
than devotion to their country, and its tall and heroic sons. The
middle classes--of course there are some exceptions--admire the
aristocracy, and consider them pinks, the aristocracy who admire
the Emperor of Austria, and adored the Emperor of Russia, till he
became old, ugly, and unfortunate, when their adoration instantly
terminated; for what is more ungenteel than age, ugliness, and
misfortune! The beau-ideal with those of the lower classes, with
peasants and mechanics, is some flourishing railroad contractor:
look, for example, how they worship Mr. Flamson. This person makes
his grand debut in the year 'thirty-nine, at a public meeting in
the principal room of a country inn. He has come into the
neighbourhood with the character of a man worth a million pounds,
who is to make everybody's fortune; at this time, however, he is
not worth a shilling of his own, though he flashes about
dexterously three or four thousand pounds, part of which sum he has
obtained by specious pretences, and part from certain individuals
who are his confederates. But in the year 'forty-nine, he is
really in possession of the fortune which he and his agents
pretended to be worth ten years before--he is worth a million
pounds. By what means has he come by them? By railroad contracts,
for which he takes care to be paid in hard cash before he attempts
to perform them, and to carry out which he makes use of the sweat
and blood of wretches who, since their organization, have
introduced crimes and language into England to which it was
previously almost a stranger--by purchasing, with paper, shares by
hundreds in the schemes to execute which he contracts, and which
are his own devising; which shares he sells as soon as they are at
a high premium, to which they are speedily forced by means of
paragraphs, inserted by himself and agents, in newspapers devoted
to his interest, utterly reckless of the terrible depreciation to
which they are almost instantly subjected. But he is worth a
million pounds, there can be no doubt of the fact--he has not made
people's fortunes, at least those whose fortunes it was said he
would make; he has made them away; but his own he has made,
emphatically made it; he is worth a million pounds. Hurrah for the
millionnaire! The clown who views the pandemonium of red brick
which he has built on the estate which he has purchased in the
neighbourhood of the place of his grand debut, in which every
species of architecture, Greek, Indian, and Chinese, is employed in
caricature--who hears of the grand entertainment he gives at
Christmas in the principal dining-room, the hundred wax-candles,
the waggon-load of plate, and the ocean of wine which form parts of
it, and above all the two ostrich poults, one at the head, and the
other at the foot of the table, exclaims, "Well! if he a'n't bang
up, I don't know who be; why he beats my lord hollow!" The
mechanic of the borough town, who sees him dashing through the
streets in an open landau, drawn by four milk-white horses, amidst
his attendant out-riders; his wife, a monster of a woman, by his
side, stout as the wife of Tamerlane, who weighed twenty stone, and
bedizened out like her whose person shone with the jewels of
plundered Persia, stares with silent wonder, and at last exclaims
"That's the man for my vote!" You tell the clown that the man of
the mansion has contributed enormously to corrupt the rural
innocence of England; you point to an incipient branch railroad,
from around which the accents of Gomorrah are sounding, and beg him
to listen for a moment, and then close his ears. Hodge scratches
his head and says, "Well, I have nothing to say to that; all I know
is, that he is bang up, and I wish I were he;" perhaps he will add-
-a Hodge has been known to add--"He has been kind enough to put my
son on that very railroad; 'tis true the company is somewhat queer,
and the work rather killing, but he gets there half-a-crown a day,
whereas from the farmers he would only get eighteen-pence." You
remind the mechanic that the man in the landau has been the ruin of
thousands and you mention people whom he himself knows, people in
various grades of life, widows and orphans amongst them, whose
little all has been dissipated, and whom he has reduced to beggary
by inducing them to become sharers in his delusive schemes. But
the mechanic says, "Well, the more fools they to let themselves be
robbed. But I don't call that kind of thing robbery, I merely call
it out-witting; and everybody in this free country has a right to
outwit others if he can. What a turn-out he has!" One was once
heard to add, "I never saw a more genteel-looking man in all my
life except one, and that was a gentleman's walley, who was much
like him. It is true that he is rather under-sized, but then
madam, you know, makes up for all."


Subject of Gentility continued.

In the last chapter have been exhibited specimens of gentility, so
considered by different classes; by one class power, youth, and
epaulets are considered the ne plus ultra of gentility; by another
class pride, stateliness, and title; by another, wealth and flaming
tawdriness. But what constitutes a gentleman? It is easy to say
at once what constitutes a gentleman, and there are no distinctions
in what is gentlemanly, {5} as there are in what is genteel. The
characteristics of a gentleman are high feeling--a determination
never to take a cowardly advantage of another--a liberal education-
-absence of narrow views--generosity and courage, propriety of
behaviour. Now a person may be genteel according to one or another
of the three standards described above, and not possess one of the
characteristics of a gentleman. Is the emperor a gentleman, with
spatters of blood on his clothes, scourged from the backs of noble
Hungarian women? Are the aristocracy gentlefolks, who admire him?
Is Mr. Flamson a gentleman, although he has a million pounds? No!
cowardly miscreants, admirers of cowardly miscreants, and people
who make a million pounds by means compared with which those
employed to make fortunes by the getters up of the South Sea Bubble
might be called honest dealing, are decidedly not gentlefolks. Now
as it is clearly demonstrable that a person may be perfectly
genteel according to some standard or other, and yet be no
gentleman, so it is demonstrable that a person may have no
pretensions to gentility, and yet be a gentleman. For example,
there is Lavengro! Would the admirers of the emperor, or the
admirers of those who admire the emperor, or the admirers of Mr.
Flamson, call him genteel? and gentility with them is everything!
Assuredly they would not; and assuredly they would consider him
respectively as a being to be shunned, despised, or hooted.
Genteel! Why at one time he is a hack author--writes reviewals for
eighteenpence a page--edits a Newgate chronicle. At another he
wanders the country with a face grimy from occasionally mending
kettles; and there is no evidence that his clothes are not seedy
and torn, and his shoes down at the heel; but by what process of
reasoning will they prove that he is no gentleman? Is he not
learned? Has he not generosity and courage? Whilst a hack author,
does he pawn the books entrusted to him to review? Does he break
his word to his publisher? Does he write begging letters? Does he
get clothes or lodgings without paying for them? Again, whilst a
wanderer, does he insult helpless women on the road with loose
proposals or ribald discourse? Does he take what is not his own
from the hedges? Does he play on the fiddle, or make faces in
public-houses, in order to obtain pence or beer? or does he call
for liquor, swallow it, and then say to a widowed landlady,
"Mistress, I have no brass?" In a word, what vice and crime does
he perpetrate--what low acts does he commit? Therefore, with his
endowments, who will venture to say that he is no gentleman?--
unless it be an admirer of Mr. Flamson--a clown--who will, perhaps,
shout--"I say he is no gentleman; for who can be a gentleman who
keeps no gig?"

The indifference exhibited by Lavengro for what is merely genteel,
compared with his solicitude never to infringe the strict laws of
honour, should read a salutary lesson. The generality of his
countrymen are far more careful not to transgress the customs of
what they call gentility, than to violate the laws of honour or
morality. They will shrink from carrying their own carpet-bag, and
from speaking to a person in seedy raiment, whilst to matters of
much higher importance they are shamelessly indifferent. Not so
Lavengro; he will do anything that he deems convenient, or which
strikes his fancy, provided it does not outrage decency, or is
unallied to profligacy; is not ashamed to speak to a beggar in
rags, and will associate with anybody, provided he can gratify a
laudable curiosity. He has no abstract love for what is low, or
what the world calls low. He sees that many things which the world
looks down upon are valuable, so he prizes much which the world
condemns; he sees that many things which the world admires are
contemptible, so he despises much which the world does not; but
when the world prizes what is really excellent, he does not contemn
it, because the world regards it. If he learns Irish, which all


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