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ST. MARTIN'S DAY.

Ir is, perhaps, not generally known, even in Ireland, that the Shannon, which derives its name from its patron, St. Senanus, is yet further honoured by the countenance of two minor spiritual dignitaries, St. Margaret and St. Martin. The former is looked up to in all cases of peril on the water, and every good boatman preserves a faithful copy of her extraordinary life about his person, as an infallible talisman; offering up occasionally a few paters and aves to win her more special regard. St. Martin, on the contrary, seems to receive their homage as his Satanic majesty is said to receive attention in some countries, rather out of fear than out of respect. They keep a holiday in honour of him once in the year, and seem to understand his temper so well, that if chance, or accident, should blow

them out of harbour during its tedious lapse, they anticipate, with no little degree of certainty, some unprecedented calamity.

With such prepossessions, it was no wonder it should have excited the astonishment of all the boatmen on the river, to see, on one of those festivals of rest, the Coobah, a handsome cutterrigged turf-boat, off Ringmoylan, beating up against a strong easterly gale, which was every hour becoming more formidable. It was not that Darby Whelan, the honest, hard-visaged, weather-beaten-looking old man at the helm, or his shipmate, Brian Kennedy, were ignorant of the danger incurred in the attempt, much less had they the temerity to despise a point of faith so orthodox among all the wayfarers from Thomond-bridge to Loop-head, but they had been unfortunately becalmed at Ahanish, on the preceding night, and in the morning found there was such a high swell running, that their little vessel, deeply laden as she was with oats, would, in all probability, fill at anchor. With hearts little willing, they therefore got under weigh, choosing, as it were, the less immediate of two evils. But even this, they very soon found

occasion to repent, for the wind, tack after tack, grew fiercer, and their hopes became infinitely more precarious. The waves were, now and then, breaking in frightful swells over the lee gunwale, and the prow was sometimes so buried in foam, that Brian, for moments, knee-deep on the forecastle, doubted if it would ever rise above water again.

There were ever and anon silent glances cast from stem to stern, between him and Darby, and perhaps there was as much of boldness and of caution, of eloquence and of argument, in these mute debates, as in the more wordy councils of prouder vessels, when in equal peril. At length, after luffing in a heavy squall, during which they took in something less than a ton of water, Darby gave Brian a look, tossed back his head, and, putting up the helm, bore away with a free sheet, resolved to run the boat ashore wherever they could make the best ground. In less than an hour they were stuck firm in the mud, on one of the islands in the mouth of the Clare river, the tremendous speed with which she was going having swept her almost high and dry out of the waters.

After having stowed the sails, and set all on deck right, they repaired to the cabin, a little room partitioned off at the bow of the boat, to the shape of which it strictly corresponded. There was a small brick hearth at the fore part, the turf upon which was manifesting a fair intention of translating itself into a snug fire; broken pipes, which had exchanged their original snow-white hue for the dun Ethiopian, with an old japanned tobacco-box, lay scattered on the hob; and overhead, strung through the gills on a piece of spun-yarn, waved half a dozen dried herrings, which they proceeded instantly to stretch full length over the fire, arranging them rank and file on a piece of bent iron hoop, which, though generally officiating in the higher department of a tongs, was sometimes thus constrained to act the gridiron. After regaling themselves duly, and deciding, on a reference to the state of the tide, that the boat could not float until day-break, they lay down to rest in the straw, where, as they were alone, they had fair and free room to stretch their limbs. The full felicity of this latter piece of good fortune

will be readily appreciated, when it is mentioned,

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that those apartments are seldom over six feet square, especially in that class of traders which do not mount a jib, and that they not unfrequently accommodate from sixteen to eighteen passengers, a circumstance that, it must be admitted, would be altogether impossible, but for the unanimity and social complacency with which they stow themselves, one over another, like the corn-bags in the hold.

They were not above two or three hours asleep, when Brian was awakened by having fallen over on Darby, on account of the heeling of the boat; in a few moments after, he was rolled back again by a heave to the contrary side; and, in short, she seemed to lean, now at that side, and now at this, for all the world as if she was tacking or beating against a gentle head-wind. Brian was, as may be well supposed, fairly puzzled at so extraordinary a phenomenon, and immediately shook up his friend, -"E'then Darby, man, glushan-thu?* Sure it isn't sailing we are?" "Wisha, that you mightened, Brian Kennedy, and to waken me * Do you hear?

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