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Thou soul and source of social life,
ABOUT the middle of April in the year 1814, a general rejoicing gladdened the whole kingdom of Ireland, on the cessation of arms caused by the abdication of Napoleon Buonaparte. Every city, town, and village, kindled with brightening flame, luminously expressive of the
common joy with which was hailed longabsent peace; and in every quarter of the kingdom were heard the harmless roar of cannon, and the merry changes of joy bells. The village of was not the least tardy in testifying the universal joy all felt on this occasion. Various were the gay groups that appeared in the thronged streets, each meeting with joyful gratulation his friends or neighbours; and radiant were the dwellings with innumerable lights, amidst which, on several of the windows, blazed curious emblematical devices. Here a branch of laurel, cut out of faded green silk, delineated withering triumph, and there a painting of two grey ducks, pulling between them, with voracious appetite, a stalk of beans, was intended to represent doves bearing the olive of peace! Another window presented to the admiring spectators Buonaparte dished, with the lion of England trampling him under his paw, and our mighty Wellington (the figure indeed rather
large for the background of a picture) appeared (where the clouds in the piece ought to be) soaring high above the prostrate hero!
Buonaparte dished failed not, however, to attract general notice; and though there were many who greeted this representation of the abject state of the fallen hero with a shout of approbation, there were others who turned away in disgust with a hiss of contempt. Of this last number was sir Richard Courteney's postboy, who, with his letter-pouch strapped to his breast, from which he had just been depositing letters in the office, and mounted on his long-tailed pony, had paused with gaping wonder, like the rest of the crowd, en passant, to gaze on this strange spectacle.
Arragh! by my sowl, boys," said he, "'tis all a bam: that raw-boned thing there is no more like Buonaparte himself than I am like an archbishop; and this, they say, is our own lord Wellington! B 3
only look where the damned rascal of a painter, who deserves a sound drubbing for the work, has put our great Irish hero riding in the air, and his charger rearing on nothing, like a leap-jack, just as if he wanted to insinuate that his victories were all a puff of wind; and that he fought, and our poor countrymen bled-for what? why for nothing at all, boys. Is not that the meaning of the picture?"
"I believe so," cried one." The postboy must know best," responded another; while Tom Pigeon cantered away, whistling a tune that expressed more of discontent than pleasure.
"Holla, Tom!" roared out an acquaintance, "wont you stop for a minute, man? You are in such a hurry, galloping off at the rate of a hunt, that I can scarce overtake you."
Tom, arrested by the voice of his friend, instantly drew up his long-tailed pony, and with a friendly shake of the hand, and
an interjection of agreeable surprise, returned with welcome salutation his loud hoarse greeting.
"Never better met," cried Tom. "Fine sport! rare doings to-night at the castle! Come, get up behind me."
Why! what is in the wind now?" demanded the other. "Is Mr. Charles come home, or Miss Courteney going to be married?"
"Neither; but better fun, I assure you. A wedding, you know, is often but a merry-come sorrow, and after a soldier's best joys come on wounds and bloodshed; but we shall have rare sport-such a blaze at the castle as you never heard of! Nothing less than a world of feasting, and as much drink, man, as a canal-boat would swim in between two locks; and then for the gentry, there will be fireworks and a ball. The whole country is invited; sir Richard has not been for many years in such high spirits; and as for my lady, she is near a change, or she never would have B 4