Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ships and sea-sickness. You all can do just as you please, but as for myself, I'll be dd if I don't intend to ride that horse back home.” Good-bye. I go from here to Wales—thence to Ireland.

Truly your friend,

H. W. A.

LETTER NO. II.

BELFAST, IRELAND, July 20, 1859. EDITORS ADVOCATE:

I wrote you a few days since, and gave the letter to a friend who sailed yesterday on the Persia. I hope the letter has gone safe to hand, and that you will have received it before this reaches

you. When I wrote you I was on my way from Liverpool to Dublin. I stopped in Wales for two days, and had a very pleasant time. On the border of Wales, near the old town of Chester, is situated Eaton Hall, the seat of the Marquis of Westminster, the richest man in the British empire, his revenue being the snug little sum of $2,000,000 per annum! This estate of Eaton Hall is the most magnificent I ever saw, and completely throws into the shade every thing of the kind in our country. The residence is built after the Gothic style, is four stories high, and 500 feet in length. It is finished in the most costly and elaborate manner, and is ele gantly furnished. The hot-houses, conservatories, and pleasure-gardens, are very extensive, while a park, filled with deer, extends for miles around in every direction. The noble oaks here are almost objects of veneration. They are very aged, and carry you back to the days of the Druids, whose dark and bloody rites were no doubt often celebrated on this estate. The beautiful river Dee passes through Eaton Hall, and is spanned by many iron bridges, of most airy and elegant construction, each costing a small fortune. On this large estate live about one thousand tenants. Their houses are well built, and they all appear happy, thrifty, and contented. Thus far I have travelled much through England, Wales, and Ireland, but have seen nothing like the princely establishment of Eaton Hall. It is very properly called the Paradise of the “ Vale Royal of England.” From Chester I passed on through Wales, and stopped a while at Bangor, to see the celebrated tubular bridge across the Menai Straits. This is certainly the king of all bridges, and is well worth seeing. It is 1500 feet long, and is supported by only two arches, the spans being 432 feet long. This, which is considered to be the triumph of the art of bridge-building, is shaped precisely like a long train of railroad cars, and made of common boiler-iron, riveted together with two millions of rivets! The cars pass through heavily loaded, and at full speed. From Bangor I passed on to Holyhead, thence across the Channel to Dublin, or rather first to Kingston, the seaport for Dublin, and thence by rail (six miles) to the great Irish capital. Dublin is a monster city, and of great antiquity. It is the Dabh-linn (black pool) of the ancient Irish, and the Eblana of Ptolemy. Here one hears the “rich Irish brogue” in all its beauty, and sees Ireland as she is at home. It has been well said that Dublin is “a faded corporation,” for I saw no evidences of improvement of any kind. I spent three days in the city, and was riding round in an Irish car all the time sight-seeing, and I could only find one new house building, and that was a nunnery. Still this is a great city, and has many elegant if not magnificent buildings; all, however, bear the marks of time. St. Patrick's Cathedral is an object of great curiosity, for here lie the bones of Dean Swift. It is a splendid specimen of old Gothic art, but is surrounded by, squalid wretchedness and ragged vice. It really seems to be the centre of the “five points" of Dublin. I have never in all my life seen so many old clothes, old shoes, and old hats, offered for sale, as are to be found on every street surrounding St. Patrick's Cathedral. Dean Swift was a great man in his day. In his Drapier Letters, and numerous political tracts, he defended the Irish with great zeal and ability, but was doubtless actuated more by his hatred for the English than love for the Irish. His memory is deeply revered by every Irishman, and his

grave is visited almost daily by hundreds from all parts of the world. As I stood by the cold marble which marks his burial place, I thought of the devoted, the ill-requited Vanessa, the constant but

[ocr errors]

unhappy Stella. I thought of Dryden and of Pope, of Addison and Steel, of Bolingbroke and Gay, all of whom paid court to the mighty Dean, and thought it an honor to be considered his friend. Swift died a wretched death. He outlived his greatness, and became a drivelling idiot. He made a strange will

“He gave the little wealth he bad

To build a house for fools and mad;
And showed by one satiric touch
No nation wanted it so much."

The river Liffey, so much boasted of by patriotic Irishmen, is a small affair, not as large as the Bayou Grosse-tête, while the celebrated College Green is nothing to compare to our Jackson Square in New Orleans. Trinity College bears much evidence of antiquity. It is the Alma Mater of nearly all the great men of Ireland, and is looked on with much pride and veneration. In point of grandeur, size and elegance, Cambridge, Yale, and the University of Virginia, are all far ahead of it. It has, how

, ever, fourteen hundred students, many of whom are Americans. In the large and spacious Catholic Cemetery, I found the graves of Curran and O'Con

, nell—the one the great lawyer, the other the great orator. To O'Connell has been erected a splendid monument of granite, that towers proudly above all the rest, and stands in its solitary grandeur without any inscription whatever.

It was built by the masses of the Irish people, each giving a few pen

« AnteriorContinuar »