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conversation to the movements of strange will-o'-the-wisp. “Do you know how much gentlemen and ladies give me for showing them up to Dun AEngus * Two and three shillings,” he continued, on my negative response. And then he eyed me with such a keen and mercenary expression that I was astonished to see it in so young a face. I expressed my surprise at the generosity of the ladies and gentlemen whom he had escorted; but this was not to his purpose, for he asked me point-blank how much I intended to give him. “A shilling,” I replied. “Oh,” he cried, “no lady or gentleman ever gives me a shilling, but always two or three.” My reader perceives that it is not always civilization which makes humanity sordid, as he will admit that this child of nine years displayed ere I bade him goodby a persistent rapacity worthy of the most accomplished Shylock. Until we arrived at the fort, he strove by every possible artifice and argument—so much beyond his years in skill that I would have believed him an elfish changeling had I been credulous in such matters—to convince me that two shillings was the lowest possible sum I could offer him consistent with my own gentility and his services. The Dun, or fort, is built on the very edge of a precipice which stands three hundred feet above the sea. It is in horseshoe shape, the open side facing the sea. It consists of three inclosures, the innermost wall being the thickest; this inclosure measures one hundred and fifty feet from north to south. About the first century of the Christian era three brothers came from Scotland to Arran, AEngus, Conchovar, and Mil, and their names are still preserved in connection with buildings on the islands. The walls are eight or ten feet thick, built of comparatively small unhewn stones, without mortar, which manner of construction, we are told, affords less resistance to the wind, and is more durable, than the cemented edifices of later date. There is a doorway in perfect preservation, wherein the admirable ingenuity of the builders is shown; the immense thickness of the wall, and consequently great weight upon the lintel, is broken by several gradations, as it were, of supports, as shown in my sketch. My youthful companion, who had been
dancing about me with the utmost impatience during my researches, informed me, when we reached a certain point of the outer inclosure, that that was the consecrated place for paying him, and assured me that though he did not speak at all in his own interest, if I wished for good luck I would pay him then and there. “It's many a shilling,” he said, “ you have given to people—mere robbers— while you've been travelling about; but all that'll be so much bad luck to you unless you pay me well now.” With the respect which I always observe for the
Doorway, Fort AENGUs.
manners and customs of the country in which I travel, I immediately gave him a shilling, which he held between his thumb and finger, and with a look of indignant reprobation, his cold eye resting upon me as steadily as that of the Ancient Mariner on the wedding guest, he added, “Is that all you'll give me !” I assured him that it was. “If you’ll add twopence,” he said, “good luck will be with you; but if you don’t, you’ll be misfortunate for all the days of your life.” I gave him the twopence, which I am sure the wedding guest would have willingly given the Ancient Mariner to have escaped his gimlet eye; and in some fear of this indefatigably mercenary child, I descended the cliffs as the shades of evening came on. In the twilight I visited Teampull Mic Duach, a most interesting ruin, upon the grounds of a gentleman who rents the
larger portion of the island for grazing his cattle, while he resides elsewhere. His farmer, or overseer, takes a commendable pride in preserving the ruins on his master's domain. He told me, with swelling breast, that, although he had only lived on this island four years, and was not prejudiced in its favor, he did not believe there could be finer farming land. “Potatoes have been grown in the same ground for over one hundred years, and the cattle reared here, though never housed, and allowed no food save their pasture, take prizes in the English and Irish fairs.” I thought the grazing must be rich, for even when in certain rocky wastes it grows in the fissures of the rocks, the land, if land it may be called, is carefully fenced off, and rented at so much per acre. Indeed, the whole island is fenced off in little plots, from a few yards to half an acre in extent, for no other reason, that I could perceive, than that they knew not what other disposition to make of the stones, although as many were left on the ground as would make a thousand such walls. Teampull Mic Duach is certainly a beautiful little church. Antiquarians have decided that it was built in the sixth century, and the enormous undressed stones used in its construction, fitted with admirable exactitude, no cement being used, show that the builders of those times not only thought a great deal about their
work, but exercised a constructive ability not excelled in modern times. There is a window giving a curious example of a primitive kind of pointed arch. Two flat stones form the lintels, so nicely adjusted that, notwithstanding the extreme thickness of the walls, it is to-day as perfect as when constructed thirteen hundred years ago. The origin of the pointed arch has been claimed by many nations, but the best authorities declare that while it was introduced into England and the Continent in the time of the Crusades, probably from the East, it was used in Ireland long before there was any intercourse between the two countries; and Wilkinson says that though he does not claim that the pointed arch originated in Ireland, it existed there prior to the pe. riod when the pointed style was introduced through England to that country. The doorway of this little church is, curiously enough, an almost perfect copy of an entrance to an Egyptian tomb, simple and grand. At the northwestern extremity of the island are the ruins of the seven churches,
ston E window, TKAMPUll, Mic du Ach.
lying in a hollow between a little village and the sea. There are portions of two which are in only a tolerable state of preservation; others have fallen, leaving an altar or some piece of carved stone that belonged to a window or doorway. An old man issued from a little hovel in the village, having evidently been informed of my arrival by some staring children who had retreated at my approach. He saluted me as he hobbled down from grave to grave, and asked me if I had ever been there before; if not, he might as well go with me, for he knew every inch of the place, having lived here nearly eighty years. Between his remarks he would stoop and pluck little wisps of grass, and brush some old tombstone with affectionate care, or break the brambles that crept over them. Teampull Brecain, or the Church of St. Brecain, has a chancel of rude masonry, and a choir that is more modern—when I say modern in this case, I mean a date of four or five hundred years ago. In this, as nearly all the old churches of Ireland, the principal window is on the east, immediately over the altar. The floor is paved with graves, many of the slabs bearing recent dates, every nook and corner being filled with bones of the former occupants, which have been disturbed to give room to newcomers. The Old Mortality who acted as my guide slipped through the archway into the chancel, and pointing with his staff to a large stone in the corner, said, with an air of pride, that he had two sons – fine boys — under it. I asked if his name was upon it. “No, your honor; but I know they are there, and there was nothing in it but this,” pointing to a fragment of a skull that filled a gap made by a fallen stone. We sauntered about among these relics for a long time, where at every turn something rare presented itself. The Aharla, or sacred inclosure, where only saints were buried, is still visible, with undeciphered inscriptions upon the slabs. A few rags fluttered on some bushes by what I thought was a
small cave; but the old man said it was a holy well, that it was dry just now, but when the day of the patron saint arrived it was always full—in the summertime. The greatest curiosity he reserved until the last. On an old tombstone was placed a rare and beautiful cross, broken
evidently by force, for the stone shows no signs of decay, the fragments of which he told me had been found in various parts of these sacred grounds. Seating himself upon a grave, he related in the most solemn manner the history of the search for the pieces—how earnest had been his desire to bring together the remains, so that he could see the fulfillment of prophecy.
When St. Brecain preached in this church
a holy man visited him, and addressed the people; he meant only to say a few words
to them, but as he stood by the altar a divine light descended upon him, and il
luminated his face and breast. He was
inspired to tell them that they would be
DOORWAY OF TEAMPULL chiArtAiN.
persecuted and beaten, their churches and crosses destroyed, but their religion would outlive it all, and the crosses would be restored piece by piece. “And I have been allowed to see the truth of it,” he added; “there is only one piece wanting to that cross, and it will be found in God's own time.” A Scotch mist had so much overcome its national prejudices as to visit Ireland the day I started for Team pull Chiarain, one of the many churches on this little island. Again I encountered a formidable array of stone fences. I reached the church, however—which stands in the midst of a potato field—after a great deal of difficulty. It is one of the best-preserved on the island, having a beautiful east window, and a striking doorway, which gives an instance of the simple construction and common application of the arch in the various ancient edifices of Ireland, formed in most buildings of two stones only, which appear to have been worked from one, and afterward split in the centre. The next day I grew weary of the sheltered and inhabited side of the island, for the weather was so soft and balmy that one was invited to the open air. I sallied forth to where the cliffs present their rocky front as a barrier to the ocean, which in his wrath dashed against them with such mad fury that the surf rose in many places far above them, and the dark and awful green of the sea was thrown
back from these terrible cliffs into the boiling caldron below as white as the driven snow. Here the Black Fort, as it is called, frowns over a fearful precipice. It resembles Dun AEngus in character, though it is much smaller, and in less perfect preservation. I observed on the very verge of the
cliff two figures manoeuvring a large rope, as though they were fishing for sea-monsters. As I approached I saw that the end of the rope was attached to no monster, but to a man, who was delving into the crevices for some treasure, and the aerial anglers were moving the rope in accordance with signals made by a wave of his hand. When he arrived at the crevices in which the sea-birds made their homes, he seized dozens of them ere they could escape, and, loaded with his prey, he placed his feet against the perpendicular cliff, and while he was dragged by his friends above, walked up like a fly.
. As I turned my steps homeward, the noise of the mighty waves as they broke against the cliffs filling my ears, I saw on the other side of the island the waters of the bay, quiet as a lake, reflecting the rosy blush of the sunset sky, and wondered that the waters of this great sea could here be so wild and there so calm.
POSSIBILITIES OF HORTICULTURE.
YIVHE results of human labor and research in science are cumulative. Each scientist starts with the hoarded experience of centuries, and knowledge grows by the food handed down to it from the granary of the past. The wonderful insight into the secret mysteries of the universe obtained within forty years by discoveries in electricity, by the photograph, the spectroscope, the telephone, the phonograph, and other notable inventions, gives evidence unquestioned of the marvellous power which is preparing for the human race in the centuries to come. Art has no aid from this cumulated power; it is the product of individual brain, aided only by observation of the products of the past. The culture which it requires may, however, be the accumulated work of generations, and what we call genius may be only the impassioned fervor called out by that culture.
The artist can riot, like the scientist, take all the work of his predecessors, and with it establish a new starting-point for himself. He may study the works of Raphael and DaVinci, and from them gain inspiration, but he can not begin where they ended. If this be true in relation to sculpture and painting, it is eminently true in regard to horticulture.
The results of horticulture in the past are, in a certain sense, cumulative, for by them we have the varieties of form and color, and the discovery of a new plant is a gain to the plant artist as great as that of a new gem to the jeweller. But in grouping and shaping forms, in contrasting and harmonizing of colors, and in all which the painter or sculptor means by art, horticulture is still, and will ever remain, dependent upon the genius of its votaries, aided only, as the painter is aided, by study of the works of the past.