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CHAPTER II.

Chasing the lessons of maturer age
Come fancy's coinings ; Runes and nurs'ry tales,
And prattled mysteries, the fairy page,
The “ once upon a time,” which never fails
To silence murmur. Lullaby of pain,
Leader of thought — Fiction—thy halcyon sails
Waft us to childhood's wonders back again.

Thus did we hold converse with the dead, each in a chosen nook ; oftimes interchanging thoughts and sympathies, quoting or reciting from a favored author, and by this commerce of opinion participating somewhat in each other's studies. Marion's legends won more fixed attention than our abstruser themes: even my uncle was at times detected skulking from the field of Marathon, to listen to the feats of O’Driscol or McCarthy, St. Lawrence or De Courcy. Helen also often deserted El dorado for figments as ingenious : while her sister read, she would interweave the graver subject of her own reflections with the chivalric or romantic fiction, and incorporating therewith traits of humble life and “right merry conceits” —such specimens of drollery and untutored sentiment as our mountain clan afforded,-she would shadow out a tale to which, at even-tide, we all became wide-gaping auditors.

Whenever a variety was wanted Quinilla would wedge in some apt absurdity-absurdity at least to our untaught conceptions, in which the world's traffickers obscurely floated. Quinilla was indeed, to us, “mankind's epitome;" the only one of us who knew of life, of conventional, punctilious life---polite she called it, She had kept up her early training in gentility by annual visits to Mrs. Bullock, a brazier's wife in Cork, and erst a school-mate of our cousin. This Mrs. B. (thus termed in soft elision by Quinilla,) had lost a leetle caste, but gained encrease of substance, by her union with the brazier; and though some Plebs related to the husband were grudgingly admitted to her routs, yet still the wife kept up her aristocracy by an interfusion of tip-tops.

What a flash would Quinny make in this her yearly issue from eclipse !—I see her at this moment equipped in scarlet riding-dress, pillioned behind Slauveen on Lanty Maw, a testy rat-tailed pack-horse, my uncle's only beast of burthen.

Slauveen was the most accomplished member of the household. There was not a bird or beast in our rough glen whose tone he could not borrow- he seemed engrafted into every tribe, adopted by the sympathies of every genus, and when he wished the creatures followed him. Also, he commanded half a dozen countenances, the which he shifted so adroitly to serve his own and puzzle others' speculations, that the visage nature gave him could rarely be detected.

He had been selected by Quinilla as a fit recipient of her syllogisms; something to exhaust her erudition on. When old enough he was appointed Esquire to our cousin on her city visits, and drilled into a type of Mrs.

Bullock's week-day shop-boy, and Sunday lacquey. His lady changed the pet name of “ Slauvecn,” bestowed by his compeers of the glen, into “ Patricius," and by vociferous remonstrance won him to wear shoes and “look like something human;" still, but at longer intervals, imparting “ erudition,” which her discreet disciple rejected or received according to his humour, for not even Quinilla's rhetoric could fix Slauveen's attention when Marion's quick, light footstep struck his ear-vainly would our cousin spend her moving eloquence; the page was like a post. I have seen her weep with rage while her Patricius stood a statue of himself, a living log, until the climax of her wrath would burst into the welcome words - get out !”—The moment after, nothing of Slauveen confronted his insulted patroness, but just his empty shoes; echo had not repeated the command before the barefooted delinquent was already half way up the “ Fairies' pathway," directed by Marion's wild, arch, laugh.

Of all the various tribes of indistinct realities diinly revealed to, or dreamed of, by enthu

siasts the romancers of our glen held most communion with the fairies ; wayward spirits, in conic caps, gold tunics, and red slippers, whose elements were twilight, moonshine, dew, and perfumes. Slauveen, as head of the glenboys, was particularly noticed by these etherial substances. He knew every part of their establishment, their courts and kitchens, double-bedded rooms and stables; and often was indebted to their bounty for a hot supper and night's lodging. To Helen and me, (the uninitiated in fairy mysteries,) his luminous description of these visible invisibles and their nimble exploits was perplexing ; but by Marion, (who would have dived to the earth's centre to embrace a Gnome, or into a volcano for one bright glance of Salamandrine,) these inklings of adventure with the tiny confraternity were received without the drawback of a single doubt.

I have announced myself a feeble, sickly boy, by accident debarred that exercise which might have corrected constitutional debility. My lameness rendered the rough ascents up which our rambles led, distressing. When I

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