||THE ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS.
||[Oct. 7, 1843.
IRELAND AND THE IRISH.
We resume, from page 101, our characteristic illustration of Irish life and manners; and shall merely premise that there has scarcely been a period at which it was more important to obtain a precise view of the people of Ireland than at the present moment. Our present sketches, as heretofore, have the guarantee of being the results of recent tours of the artists and authors.
That poor old
beggarman, crippled and bedridden, is one of the most powerfully-drawn pictures in our collection. He is carried about on a half "settle," half stretcher, by neighbour to
neighbour, and from door to door. If people have nothing to give him, for 'tis hard to give to al that plant themselves or are dropped down at your door in Ireland, you can at least send him on. Good feeling as well as convenience prompts the suggestion. The old man has his hands closed, and the fingers elevated as if in supplication; and he can say prayers by the yard of the column for the souls of all that ever died of your "kith and kin," if they chance to belong to the faithful departed. Woe betide you if you talk to him about poorlaws and political economy, and drive him away in anger. You will have his curses, in such cases, both loud and deep. The beggar's curse in Ireland is deemed as bad as
Kehama's, or the excommunication of the church; and before the gate where he drops it the grass is expected to grow before a twelvemonth shall have passed away.
IRISH CAR DRIVERS AND CARS.
Those gentlemen with the dudheens in their mouths are out and out
Repealers, you may rest assured. They do not drink whiskey as of yore; so far they have been de-nationalized for the better by Father Mathew. The great apostle of Temperance would find it very difficult, however, to get the lower orders of the Irish to give up the use of tobacco. At home or abroad, in the field or on the road, Paddy cannot get on without "the blast of the pipe." In we weather it warms, in hot it cools him, and in both it sends comfort home to a heart which has not got much to cheer it otherwise. The Irish carman or carrier goes through a deal of hardship, and has many a severe night on the road. When he puts up for the night, however, at the Carman's Stage, a name given to "his inn" in Ireland, he forgets the labours of the day in the merry songs and stories that circle round the cheering fire of the common room. His frieze coat is a well-tried and constant friend. In winter, like all great coats, it is of the greatest advantage; but he also finds use for it in summer, when he goes to mass, to fair, market, wedding, and wake, with it tucked up behind on his back, not occupying as high a position as a soldier's knapsack, but considerably lower down, like a Frenchwoman's bustle, and looking just as natural. In the warmest day in July he presents this picturesque appearance. In fact, take Paddy in his frieze great coat, and you have him in full dress, as "nate and complayte" in his own opinion, as if he walked out of the last book of the fashions. The Irish jamming-car, which appears in the background, merits particular attention. The following is Inglis's description of the national vehicle, on which, no doubt, our traveller's bones got many a hearty shaking during his tour through Ireland in 1834:--
Although there are carriages of all description in Ireland, and coaches too on all the public roads, the jaunting car is the national vehicle; and Ireland would scarcely be Ireland without it. It may be said completely to supersede, as a favourite vehicle, the whole of the gig tribe-- dennet, tilbury, cabriolet, &c.-- and to be a formidable rival to the coach, as a public conveyance. Throughout the whole of the south, and a great part of the west of Ireland, the public as well as the mails are chiefly conveyed by cars; and it is no small convenience to the traveller that he may travel post, by a car, at eightpence, and in some parts at sixpence per mile throughout Ireland, as expeditiously, and in fine weather far more agreeably, than in a post-chaise. But to return to its peculiarities and pros and cons, everybody has no doubt seen an Irish car; for a stray specimen now and then makes its appearance across the channel; and I need not therefore tell that an Irish car is a vehicle generally drawn by one horse, and that two, four, or six persons sit back to back. How anything so unsociable should at first be thought of, it is difficult to understand; but it is fair to admit that, when but few persons are seated on a car, there is an easy lounging way of sitting not absolutely prohibitory of social intercourse. The great advantage of an Irish car is the facility of getting up and down, which in travelling on a hilly road is very desirable.
There can be no doubt that in a hilly country the car is a great advantage, and in hilly or flat, equally so during the summer months. In Dublin, however, where you can get a "jaunt" and a "set down" in any part of it for a shilling, the advantage does not seem quite so clear, on account of the crowded thoroughfares through which you have to pass. An Englishman seated on one side and the driver on the other, which the latter takes when driving a single fare, instead of the front dickey, to preserve the balance, feels instinctively alarmed for his personal salvation when he observes another car coming up to him from an opposite direction, at a similarly furious rate at which he is going a-head. He transfers his legs rapidly from the foot-board to the cushion, and whilst he is in the act his opponent has passed like a flash of lightening at a close shave. Should the foot-boards meet, the shock is irresistible as a first-rate charge in the lists of chivalry. Both chargers-- we mean the Dublin hacks-- are on their haunches; perhaps the girths are broken. The two unfortunate wayfarers are in the air, or tossed, perhaps, into the wells-- a neutral space between the seats of their respective vehicles; and the drivers are slashing and swearing at each other with all the fecundity of the national genius, and all the fervour of the national character.
The Dublin carman is quite unique in his way, and may be looked upon as the most witty of the lower orders in Ireland. Everybody who has seen the late lamented Mr. Matthews "at home," remembers his description of this most particular Irishman. A large three volume budget of fun might be published of the sayings and doings of this extraordinary race of beings; but in the absence of such a desideratum to the mirth-loving traveller in Ireland, we should advise, whilst in Dublin, to step some morning into the police-office which is exclusively dedicated to the litigations of the carmen and their customers. The Dublin carman is exceedingly rejoiced when employed by an Englishman, and for an additional sixpence or shilling to his fare he will afford five times the value in downright drollery, and wit of the sharpest description. The best part of the fun is, that when you think you have caught him in an absurdity, and are about to pin him into a corner, ten to one if he don't "sell you." A traveller was once passing the post-office in Dublin on one of those cars, during a shower of rain, and turning round to the driver, inquired of him what characters the three figures in front, over the portico, were intended to represent? "The twelve apostles, your honour."-- "Why, how can that be, they are only three?" -- "May be the other three are gone out of the rain." -- "That's only six." -- "And may be the rest are helping St. Patrick to sort the letters!"
The origin of the Irish car is unknown, and must remain so until some future henry O'Brien shall rise up and delight the antiquarian world with an essay on it, as learned as that upon the Round Towers of Ireland. Some say that it came originally from Britain, but it seems just as probable that it was on a
jingledycooch Caractacus or Boadicea charged the Romans, as that it was patronised by any of Homer's heroes. An extraordinary esprit du corps, or fellow-feeling, exists amongst the
carmen, and especially those of the metropolis. If one of the body is to be married, an immense number of them turn out in grand procession to do honour to the wedding; and if a carman die, or his wife, or any of his relatives, the cavalcade at the funeral, in which the women and children form the chief feature, is still more numerous.
Turf is retailed for lighting fires, &c., in which mode considerable quantities are used. Those two gentlemen who form the principal figures in front of the turf-market claim particular attention. They are regulating the knotty point of how many sods a penny, with as much importance and effect as if they consulted about the price of stocks on the Bourse or the Stock Exchange. The chief turf-markets are near the banks of the Grand and Royal Canals, whither the turf is transported from the Bog of Allen in kishes or kreels (large baskets) placed on low-backed cars.
COTTAGE, OR CABIN
The other cabin, into which the young female is driving one "de grege Epicuri" is a degree removed above the miserable hovel which we described and engraved at page 101. The smoke escapes through a hole in the roof. There is a dunghill on one side of the doorway, and a green pool on the other. The children are sitting before the cabin, enjoying the air and the sun after their meagre meal of potatoes; and the pig is under orders to clear the floor of the peelings which they have scattered about. Pigs, in Ireland, are, in many cases, fed to an enormous size; to effect which, in England, would not pay for the outlay in provisions, tending to the animals, themselves, and other incidental expenses. In Ireland "they are made to pay" on account of there being no separate provision made for their keep. As to bed and board, the pig takes "pot-luck" with Paddy, and lies down with the family, of which he is the recognised companion and benefactor.