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tender meeting between the thief and the Major; and a man, who stood in a conspicuous situation, proclaimed aloud to those below him, the name or title of members as they entered. That,' said he, is the Earl of A———— ; the lame gentleman, I mean.' Perhaps, however, his knowledge did not extend so far as to the politics of a nobleman who had taken no violent or factious part in public affairs. At least, the dreaded insults did not follow, or only in the very feeblest manifestations. We entered; and, by way of seeing everything, we went even to the robing room. The man who presented his robes to Lord A—, seemed to me, of all whom I saw on that day, the only one who wore a face of grief: his voice and manner also marked a depression of spirits. But whether this indicated the loss of a lucrative situation, or was really disinterested sorrow; and, if such, whether for a private loss, or out of a patriotic trouble, at the knowledge that he was now officiating for the last time, I cannot say. The House of Lords, decorated (if I remember) with hangings, representing the battle of the Boyne, was nearly empty when we entered. Lord A took this opportunity of explaining to us the whole course and arrangement of public business on ordinary occasions, and also of rehearsing the chief circumstances in the coming ceremonial.
Gradually the house filled: beautiful women sate intermingled amongst the Peers; and, in one party of these, surrounded by a bevy of admirers, we saw our fair, but frail enchantress of the packet. She, on her part, saw and recognised us by an affable nod; no stain upon her cheek, indicating that she suspected to what extent she was indebted to our discretion; for we had not so much as mentioned to Lord A- the scene which chance had revealed to us. Then came a stir within the house, and an uproar resounding from without, which announced the
arrival of his Excellency. Entering the house, he also, like the other Peers, wheeled round to the throne, and made to the vacant seat a profound homage. Then commenced the public business, in which, if I recollect, the Chancellor played the most conspicuous part, that Chancellor, of whom it was affirmed in those days by a political opponent, that he might swim in the innocent. blood which he had caused to be shed. Then were summoned to the bar-summoned for the last time the gentlemen of the House of Commons; in the van of whom, and drawing all eyes upon himself, stood Lord Castlereagh. Then came the recitation of many acts passed during the session, and the sounding ratification, the jovial
'Annuit, et nutu totum tremefecit Olympum.'
contained in the Soit fait comme il est desiré, or the more peremptory Le Roi le veut. At which point, in the order of succession, came the Royal assent to the Union Bill, I do not distinctly recollect. But this I do recollect — that no audible expression, no buzz, even, testified the feelings which, doubtless, lay concealed and rankling in many bosoms. Setting apart all public or patriotic considerations, even then I said to myself, as I surveyed the whole assemblage of ermined Peers - How is it, and by what unaccountable magic, that William Pitt can have prevailed on all these hereditary legislators and heads of patrician houses, to renounce so easily, with nothing worth the name of a struggle, and with no indemnification, the very brightest jewel in their coronets? This morning they all rose from their couches Peers of Parliament, individual pillars of the realm, indispensable parties to every law that is passed. To-morrow they will be nobody men of straw -terræ filii. What madness has persuaded them to part
with their birthright, and to cashier themselves and their children for ever into mere titular Lords? As to the Commoners at the bar, their case was different: they had no life estate at all events in their honors; and they might have the same chance for entering the Imperial Parliament amongst the hundred Irish members, as for re-entering a native Parliament. Neither, again, amongst the Peers was the case at all equal. Several of the higher had English titles, which would, at any rate, open the central Parliament to their ambition. That privilege, I believe, attached to Lord A. And he, in any case, from his large property, was tolerably sure of finding his way thither-[as in fact for the rest of his life he always did] - amongst the twenty-eight representative Peers. The wonder was in the case of petty and obscure Lords, who had no weight, personally, and none in right of their estates. Of these men, as they were notoriously not enriched by Mr. Pitt, as the distribution of honors was not very large, and no honor could countervail the one they lost, of these men I could not, and cannot fathom the policy. Thus much I am sure of, that, had such a measure been proposed by a political speculator previously to Queen Anne's reign, he would have been scouted as a dreamer and a visionary, who calculated upon men being generally somewhat worse than Esau, viz., giving up their birthrights, and without the mess of pottage. However, on this memorable day, the Union was ratified; the Bill received the Royal assent, without a murmur, or a whisper, one way or other. Perhaps there might be a little pause, - a silence like that which follows an earthquake; but there was no plain-spoken Lord Belhaven, as on the corresponding occasion in Edinburgh, to fill up the silence with, So, there's an end of an auld sang!' All was, or looked courtly, and free from vulgar emotion. One person
only I remarked, whose features were suddenly illuminated by a smile, a sarcastic smile, as I felt it. It was Lord Castlereagh; who, at the moment when the irrevocable words were pronounced, looked earnestly, and with a penetrating glance amongst a party of ladies. His own wife was one of the party; but I did not discover the particular object on whom his smile had settled. After this I had no leisure to be interested in anything which followed. 'You are all,' thought I to myself, a pack of vagabonds henceforward, and interlopers, with no more right to be here than myself.' Apparently they thought so themselves; for soon after this solemn fiat of Jove had gone forth, their Lordships, having no farther title to their robes, (for which I could not help wishing that a party of Jewish old clothes-men would at this moment have appeared, to bid a shum of moneysh,) made what haste they could to lay them aside for ever. The House dispersed much more rapidly than it had assembled. Major Sirr was found outside, just where we left him, laying down the law (as before) about pocket-handkerchiefs to old and young practitioners; and all parties adjourned to find what consolation they might in the great evening event of dinner.
Thus we were set at liberty from Dublin. Parliaments and installations, and masqued balls, with all other secon dary splendors in celebration of original splendors, at length had ceased to shine upon the Irish metropolis. The 'season,' as it is called in great cities, was over; unfortunately the last season of all that were ever destined to illuminate the society, or to stimulate the domestic trade of Dublin. It began to be thought scandalous to be found in town: nobody, in fact, remained, except some two hundred thousand people, who never did, nor ever would, wear ermine; and in all Ireland there remained nothing
at all to attract, except that which no King, and no two Houses can, by any conspiracy, abolish, viz., the beauty of her most verdant scenery. I speak of that part which chiefly it is that I know, -the scenery of the west,Connaught, especially; and in Connaught, especially Mayo. There it was, and in the county next adjoining, that Lord A's large estates were situated; the family mansion and beautiful park being in Mayo. Thither, as nothing else now remained to divert us from what, in fact, we had thirsted for throughout the heats of summer, and throughout the magnificences of the capital, at length we set off by slow and very circuitous movements. Making but short journeys on each day, and resting always at the house of some private friend, I thus obtained an opportunity of seeing the old Irish nobility and gentry more extensively, and on a more intimate footing than I had hoped for. No experience, in my whole life, so much interested, or so much surprised me. In a little work, not much known, of Suetonius, the most interesting record which survives of the early Roman literature, [De illustribus Grammaticis,] it comes out incidentally that many books, many idioms, and verbal peculiarities belonging to the primitive ages of Roman culture, were to be found still lingering in the old Roman settlements, both Gaulish and Spanish, long after they had become obsolete (and sometimes unintelligible) in Rome. From the tardiness and the difficulty of communication, the want of newspapers, &c., it followed naturally enough that the distant provincial towns, though not without their literature and their literary professors, were always one or two generations in the rear of the metropolis; and thus it happened, that, about the time of Augustus, there were some grammatici in Rome, answering to our black-letter critics, who sought the material of their researches in Boulogne [Ges