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generous, his native politeness preserves him at an equal distance from the bluntness (miscalled honesty) of an Englishman. In short, if the Irish people resemble any other nation, it is the French : they are equally gay, volatile, and thoughtless : would that they were as happy!
The above question respecting the native wit of the Irish was agitated on one occasion by a party at Brookes's, and innumerable anecdotes were related in illustration. The writer presents the following to his reader, being those which come most readily to his memory.
Astley, the celebrated equestrian, had an amphitheatre in Dublin, where he often experienced rough usage from the lower orders, on account of his incessant expressions of ultra-loyalty ; which loyalty, however, recommended him to the favour of the people in power.
On the convalescence of the King, George the Third, in 1789, Lord Buckinghamshire celebrated the happy event by a splendid display of fire works on Stephen's Green ; the whole to be conducted by Astley. When every thing was
duly arranged, our pyrotechnist set off for the castle, to apprise the viceroy; and, on his way, stationed an artillery soldier on the leads of a house, at the top of Grafton Street, who was to let off a signal rocket for the commencement of le feu d'artifice.
This arrangement was overheard by some disloyal wags, who moved down the street after Astley. Having allowed as much time to pass as would suffice for him to go to the castle, probable delays there, and return, out roared one of them in the voice of one in haste, and exactly resembling Astley's, the sound being pitched to the roof of the mouth, and imitating the London cockney dialect—" Halloo ! you 'tilleryman! let auf that there rocket !"!
Away went the rocket, and off went the fire. works; of which there was not one scintilla remaining by the time the cortége arrived from the castle; to the extreme joy and amusement of the Dublin wags; but to the great mortification of poor Astley, who stamped and swore like a trooper.
He offered twenty guineas reward for the discovery of the delinquent; but this only made the affair more public ; for no one would 'peach, and whenever he performed at his theatre, his ears were sure to be saluted, from the gallery, with the ominous words-—-" Halloo ! you 'tilleryman! let auf that there rocket !”
At a large party in Munster, the celebrated O'Connor was asked, and gave permission that his piper should be present to entertain the company. This man was considered to be the most capital performer on the bag-pipes, of his time, in all Ireland. On the present occasion, he played several airs so delightfully, and with such expression, that all were in raptures.
In the course of the evening, one of the guests, desirous of making a display of his loyalty, called for “ God save the King!” To which the minstrel objected, saying, “ he did not play that tune.” The gentleman persevered in his request ; but the more importunate he was in urging it, the more obstinate was the piper in declining to play.
At length, having tried the poor man upon
every key, he demanded,
if the air was not grand, sublime,” &c. &c. : to which the minstrel readily acceded.
Why not play it, then,” continued the gentleman.
“I don't approve of the words," was the reply.
The gentleman endeavoured to obviate this objection, by observing that the company did not want the words; they wished merely to hear the air.
Impossible to separate them,” replied the minstrel ; " I make my pipes speak !”
• Much has been said," observed an Irish nobleman,“ respecting potatoes, as food for the Irish ; as if they could not eat or drink like other people -in fact, there are some persons who actually imagine that Paddy dislikes the very sight of fish, flesh, and fowl ; and that he has no notion of any kind of drink save raw potyeen, or whiskey!
“ That the potatoe contains a considerable quantity of nutritious matter, cannot be denied ; but that three-fourths of a nation, from whatever
cause, should be compelled to feed entirely upon this root, or starve, is disgraceful to the government which permits such a state of things; whilst it exhibits to an astonished world a greater degree of patience under oppression, than was ever before shown by any nation upon the face of the earth. I once asked an Irishman, whose wretched family was greedily devouring a dish of potatoes in their skins, why he did not kill one of his pigs to feed himself and children ?-he answered, Oh! by the powers ! your honur, that's more than I daur do! If I only laid a finger on a pig, or a cow, or a sheep, with intent to kill, I'd have the landlord, and the parson, and the tithe proctor upon me, before I could turn myself round! No, no, masthur, the craturs must
the rent, and tythes, and other dues, that myself knows nothing of; the divil fly away with them all !—if I can get a little dhrop of milk for the young childer, with their praetees, sure it's myself is content; for it's beyond the power of me to make things better.' But, let the opinion of one Irishman suffice for all upon this subject. I one day asked a poor fellow whether he was fond of potatoes.
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