Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

Now, when life's end is near,
And all seems dark and drear,
We breathless list to hear

The last hour-bell;
O, may the joyful word
In silver tones be heard

“ALL'S WELL.” Well, it must be admitted that this is dealing pretty extensively in rhymes, not to call them poetry; but how is one better to indite an ocean epistle than to present a view of such small things as transpire in the monotony of the voyage? True, all this would be omitted in an account of a stormy and dangerous trip, where fearful exposure and hairbreadth escapes were the order of the day as well as night; but, happily, we were spared this experience. Toward the end of the trip, when the passengers began to get acquainted with one another, we had a sort of literary reunion, two or three evenings, in the dining saloon, where, we remember, we listened to pleasant speeches from Horatio Stone, Mr. Wanamaker, the celebrated Sunday School teacher from Philadelphia, and others; and we had charming singing, also, by a Spanish Countess, as well as by Miss Edith Abell, who, with her mother, was on her way to Italy to study music, and of whose achievements in singing we have since heard very favorable accounts. Then, again, there were some quoit and other active games on deck during the day, and some card-playing among a few in the evening. All were delighted, when, on the early morning of

21st of May, land was espied on the coast of Ireland, and by five o'clock of the same day we ourselves and a few other passengers were safely landed at Queenstown, rejoiced to be once more on terra firma. The mails and some freight having also been

transferred to the tender, bearing the British and American flags, our good ship, with most of our compagnons de voyage, immediately proceeded on her way to her destined port of Liverpool - a sail of some eighteen hours.

CHAPTER II.

UEENSTOWN, MAY 21. – What a rest to be

on land again! and what a pleasant sight was the little village of Queenstown and its adjacent fields as we sailed into her snug harbor and waited for the tender to come and take us on shore. The land rises abruptly from near shore, and the village is situated on the sides of the hills facing the harbor. Much of the land seems fitted only for pasturage, covered here and there with patches of gorse, or furze, a thick, prickly shrub, now in full bloom, its flowers being of a bright yellow color. From a distance the contrast between the deep green of the early grass and the yellow of these flowers was very striking, and with the white-painted houses of the scattered villages on the one hand and the strong fortification on the other, presented a landscape which has doubtless commanded the pencil of more than one artist.

The custom-house officers were on the tender, and the luggage of the passengers was passed with little ceremony, so that soon after our arrival at the wharf we were ready to proceed directly to the railroad station, a distance of some thirty rods, where the train was shortly ready to take us to Cork.

A num

ber of Irish beggars, old and young, of both sexes, were ready on the wharf with their pressing appeals for alms, which, judging from their appearance, they were sadly in need of, for they were without shoes or stockings, and the few clothes they had on were extremely mean.

We hurried on to the station, where we settled with the porters for bringing our luggage, and although we thought their charge rather high, we supposed it to be all right until one of our ship companions from New Orleans, a native or former resident of Dublin, made his appearance, and knowing the legal rates for this service, informed us that we and all the passengers with us who had preceded him had been overcharged. He at once denounced the porters as rascals, when a police officer took the matter up and they made no hesitation in returning what they knew they had no right to charge.

We were told that far the pleasantest way to Cork was by the steamboat on the river Lee, along which the scenery is said to be very beautiful; but there was to be no boat this evening, and we, therefore, took the cars, which, in a half hour's time, brought us to the city. Fine as the scenery may be on the river, it can hardly be more charming than on some parts of the route by rail. The country through which we passed is very fertile, and appeared to be in the highest state of cultivation. We saw several beautiful residences, the grounds of which were laid out in the most elegant manner.

CORK, MAY 22.- Cork is situated on the north and south branches of the river Lee, which is spanned by many fine bridges. It presented a more cheerful aspect in every point of view than we expected to

We anticipated seeing here large numbers of

see.

that poverty-stricken class of Irish people, so many of whom emigrate from Southern Ireland to the United States, but of such we saw comparatively few (there might have been many in the suburbs.) while the great mass of citizens appeared to be well off and to enjoy life without complaint. Judging from what we saw in the short time we remained in the city, we came to the conclusion that every branch of trade was active and prosperous, as much so as in other seaport towns. We visited some of the churches, in one of which we saw a remarkable statue of Christ. One was the church of the Holy Trinity, a handsome Gothic building, founded by Father Mathew, to whose memory a monument has been erected here, being a statue of himself upon a raised pedestal, and presenting an excellent likeness of him as we remember him on the occasion of his visit to Washington.

In company with six of our fellow passengers we made a visit to Blarney Castle by private carriages, going by one road and returning by another, the distance being about six miles -a most pleasant trip, affording charming views of Queen's College, Black Rock, the Heights of Glenmire and the Groves of Blarney. The ruins of the famous Blarney Castle consist mainly of a large square structure or tower one hundred and twenty feet in height, completely covered with ivy. The “Blarney Stone" is situated twenty feet below the summit in a detached position not easily reached, yet all visitors, ambitious to do a foolish thing, usually try to kiss it. If there is any merit in the act, it is perhaps in the courage shown to accomplish it; for without some person to assist you in maintaining your balance as you lie stretched at full length to reach the stone, you would be in

danger of falling and breaking your neck. However, the feat is attempted, oftener than otherwise, no doubt, "for the fun of the thing;" and for the timid there is on the ground floor another stone, easy of access, and said to possess all the wonderful qualities of the more noted block.

CHAPTER III.

AKES OF KILLARNEY, MAY 24.- We came

here in three hours, by rail, from Cork, on Saturday evening, the 22d. Our hotel is beyond the village of Killarney, on the margin of the principal lake. The situation is charming, but we have found the weather a little too cool to make the tour of the lakes. Sunday was to us a welcome day of rest, following so soon after our ten days on the ocean; but on Monday forenoon we rode eight miles, to Dunloe Gap and back, passing the ruins of Aghadoe and Dunloe Castle, which is in good repair. We rode into the Gap to the end of the carriage road, followed by horsemen with their horses and saddles for hire through the Gap. Near the end of our journey, too, several brawny girls, barefoot and in short clothes, ran with the speed of a deer to keep up with our carriage, urging us in the most persistent manner to buy their bunches of wild flowers. Here, also, we were proffered "mountain dew" and goat's milk by the grand daughter of a celebrated character named Kate Kearney, who used to ply the same trade, and lived in a stone and mud house, which still serves as a shelter for her worthy descendant. Sufficiently toned up by

« ÎnapoiContinuați »