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odious custom called cess—a sort of free quarters—these swordsmen, thus battening on the tenantry, abused their privilege of demanding support, contrived to supply their want of pay by extorting money, and often subjected their hosts and the females of the family to insolence and the grossest outrage. Many of the officers and men of the army having married Gaelic wives, these native Moabitish women sometimes gave information to the enemy of the intended movements of the forces. Again, the greater proportion of the small standing army were companies formed solely of natives, whose “truth and service,” in the event of a general insurrection, were considered doubtful. It is, however, to be declared, in high honour of these Irish Sepoys, that instances of determined mutiny among them can hardly be discovered. The anpalist then describes, from his own observation, the state of the four provinces. Three of them were much devastated by internal conflicts, while the natural wealth remaining in the fourth, the region of Ulster, was about to be employed in supporting the intended defensively rebellious war of its dreaded king, Shane the Proud. The Leinster clans, who, being nearest to the seat of government, had felt the conquering power most severely, were, “in their accustomable manner, wholly bent on spoils and mischief.” A large part of the south-western province, lately wealthy and stored with cattle, was become “bare and beggarlie,” in consequence of the feud between the houses of Ormond and Desmond. Much of the western district, "one of the goodliest, pleasantest, and most fertile, and, in times past, rich, and well inhabited,” lay waste from quarrels between the Earl of Clanricarde and the Bourkes of Mayo. Ulster was, indeed, well stored with corn and cattle, for it contained not only its own produce, but was the receptacle of most of the plunder of the other provinces, the freebooters of the disturbed districts being in the practice of driving their four-footed booty thither, where they could not be pursued, and where they could readily dispose of it. “But as for loyalty," says our authority, dutifulness, and obedience to the Queen, the Ultonians were most disordered and rebellious.” Such was the distracted state of Ireland when Sydney assumed the sword.
About a dozen miles from Dusseldorf lies the village of Graefrath, and thither we found ourselves bound one fine bright morning. It is a dreary road to that same Graefrath, and when at the rate of four miles an hour it should come in view, it is to be nowhere seen. The traveller scans the horizon, and finding it not there, he upward looks, and certainly finding it not there, he looks again, and lo! it is at his feet. If he took a good spring he would alight on the roof of the inn, or on the church, or in the fountain, to the discomfiture of the numerous washing damsels there assembled--for Graefrath is in a hole-a large and pleasant hole if you like, but still in a hole. All the drags in the world would be put on in
England where there are cautious Jehus and timorous dowagers, to go down such a hill as leads to Graefrath ; but here, the driver in utter subversion of recognised things, slackens his reins, cracks his whip, encourages his lean animals with a shout, whiffs out smoke in volumes, and sometimes on their legs, often on their haunches, and occasionally on their noses, do these sagacious creatures reach the bottom of the hill. We alight at the inn—an inn of large dimensions, with a landlord portly and consequential, and who has a daughter. We notice this maiden that she is comely, and wears a bodice of velvet and earrings of price, and has a foot she is not too proud to exhibit, and ascending in the scale of her attractions has glossy black hair arranged with marvellous skill, and lips that smile with marvellous skill too. We inquire the hour of dinner, but we might have spared ourselves this trouble, for does anybody ever dine in this staid land at any other hour but one o'clock ? We engage a seat, and then look around us.
Graefrath is an ordinary village, better paved and somewhat cleaner than the generality of German villages; but as we extend our scrutiny, we are not long in discovering an air of superiority and prosperity which owes itself surely to some more potent charm than the natural march of improvement, which, in a place so primitive and out of the way, would be scarcely any at all. Yes, reader, there is a charm hanging over Graefrath, worked by an enchanter wise and good. The wide world knows of the great curer of eyes, the renowned, the generous, the benevolent, the Hofrath de Leuw, physician par excellence to the King of Hanover, but restorer of sight to all those in the universe who put themselves under his spell. And distant lands send their blind and going blind to him. They come from America, from Spain, from Mexico, from France, from Holland, and from our own bright land. Some come like old Elymas, not having seen the sun for a season, but go away like Bartimeus, rejoicing in its light and glory. Some come of course only to have their sentences confirmed, for whom there is no Siloam, and by whom green fields, and sunny skies, and tender looks are things only to be remembered to their graves.
The Hofrath's* house is in the village-a substantial residence, with more pretensions to the comfortable than the elegant; but the wise man sees not his patients there—his house is his castle and is not to be invaded—he holds his court at an hotel, the “ · Hollandische Hof," and thither flock his patients, old and young, poor and rich, humble and patrician. The Hofrath is no respecter of persons: as they come, so do they enter his benign presence. This rule is jealously preserved by a sort of usher of the chambers, which is rather a highsounding title for the trusty Schneider, who attends his master and regulates the order of going. If the rule is ever relaxed, it is when Schneider maliciously makes the most impatient for an interview wait the longest for it. It is said that not long ago a lady of gentle blood, but whose title and riches had proved no safeguard against cataract, heard of the fame of him of Graefrath ; so she went with her horses and her chariot, and stood at the door of the hotel of the Hofrath, and she summoned Schneider, and gave him to understand who she was, as though
* "Hofrath” is an honorary title of distinction-councillor of the court.
her name were a talisman which could procure her instant admission to the presence of the sage ; but she knew not Schneider nor him he served -she was indignant and demonstrative, but for all that it was the third day of her arrival at Graefrath that her eyes met those of the doctor.
But if the Hofrath's cures are numerous and world renowned, so are they within the reach of all who can get over the “premier pas” of the journey to Graefrath. Smile not in derision, gentle reader, as you call to mind the untold sovereigns, with the mystical shillings to boot, slipped as it were by stealth into the velvet and not reluctant
palm of him of the soft step, and tongue soft too, and yet, alas, how often false! The fee of the great Hofrath is half a thaler, or one shilling and sixpence of English money! It need hardly be said that those who can afford more, and which may be said of the large majority of the Hofrath's patients, give more. If a rich man is cured, and he be grateful, he gives of his riches. If a poor man is cured, he gives what he can, and if he is content, so is the Hofrath. A poor woman was told that her sight could only be restored by a delicate and painful operation. “ Alas, then," she cried, “I must be content to remain as I am—my means entirely forbid so expensive a remedy." “Let not that disturb thee, friend,” replied the benevolent Hofrath; “ by those I cure I am content to be paid—but those who cannot pay, I am still content to cure, if so be it I may.” Generous Hofrath! mayst thou long be spared to be a blessing and a pride to those whose misfortune, and yet whose privilege, it is to seek thy aid !
By the time we had made ourselves acquainted with these brief particulars, a natural instinct, added to an ominous gnawing of the inner man, convinced us that the hour of dinner was near at hand; and, on arriving at the Hôtel de la Poste, we were ushered by the fair one with the velvet bodice into a salon of ample dimensions, wherein a table in the form of a horse-shoe was spread for the “mittag essen.” It was a low-pitched room, with nothing much to distinguish it from other sallesà-manger.
On the walls were suspended the usual number of inferior lithographs of “ Herzoge” and “ Herzoginnin,” generals, crown princes, and other individuals entitled to the privilege of having their features transmitted to admiring posterity. Pre-eminent amongst these was the Hofrath de Leuw, the veritable genius of the place. A printed notice warned the traveller that smoking was interdicted, for of a surety tobaccosmoke can scarcely be good for ailing eyes. Another notice told how the service of the Church of England was performed every Sunday to those religiously and devoutly disposed. The eye in vain sought other objects to divert them, which, however, was of the less consequence to us, as the soup now made its appearance, and the guests, who had in the mean time assembled, took their accustomed places.
It was certainly a singular and somewhat melancholy collection of eaters. Every known disorder of the eye seemed to have its representative here, from the cataract in its triple variety of lenticular, capsular, and complicated, to the formidable amaurosis, or gutta serena, so trying and often so bafiling to the skill of the oculist. As the patients greeted one another, the ordinary salutation, “How do you do to-day?" gave way to one more novel and appropriate, “ How do you see to-day p The generality of the guests wear a pale blue calico shade, sufficiently deep to conceal the features as effectually as the mask of a model prison. If the unfortunate wearer, in
defiance of a prohibition, attempts to catch a glimpse of passing events, he can only succeed by throwing back his head at the risk of the dislocation of his neck, and if at this moment you should be unlucky enough to catch his eyes or eye, as the case may be, you will probably feel a sympathetic and uncomfortable sensation in your own.
But what of the dinner? It is good, if somewhat homely. It is whispered that the Hofrath is rather a despot about dinner, and cries woe to the landlord who introduces upon his board the viand which may interfere with the efficacy of his remedies. We missed also those graceful, longnecked bottles from which issue the rich perfumes of the generous Asmanhauser and the delicate Hocheimer. As did Jonadab command his sons that they should drink no wine, so in this very land of the grape
is its juice forbidden to the lips of those who take counsel of the Hofrath.
But, corpo di Bacco ! our eyes are good, we read the Times without spectacles, and neither require the lotions nor the ointments of the Hofrath, so we beckon to the maiden with the glossy hair, and proceed to give her a look which satisfies her in an instant that our eyes are whole, and persuasive and penetrating withal, and that she may safely do our bidding without fear of the Hofrath. So she brings us wine. We drink, we smack our lips, we wink our eyes, and, as we are devout and grateful, we inwardly thank Heaven we have eyes to wink. But who smacks his lips when he drinks water? The sound is an unusual and forbidden one, and we see a commotion at the table, and divers heads thrown back, and we feel that three or four pairs of eyes, such as they are, and probably an odd one or two, are concentrating their imperfect gaze upon our bottle, and then we hear a faint sigh heaved, and we cease in an instant to exult in the strength of our eyesight, and even the charm of the wine is gone!
But who are they that enter the salle-à-manger so late, and fill the vacant places by our side? Why are all those shaded heads thrown back? Why this commotion? Why is the door thrown open to its fullest extent by the landlord, so portly and consequential ? And why does she of the pretty feet seem endowed on the sudden with fresh vitality ?
A man is led in by a maiden. Surely it is Belisarius redivivus, who has revisited this earth in modern costume for the express purpose of having his eyesight restored by the Hofrath, and giving him an everlasting testimonial like Lord Aldborough did Professor Holloway when he cured him of his rheumatism. He somewhat impatiently lays aside his shade and reveals his face, which is grand and majestic. His figure is tall and commanding, and seems to betray nothing of that air of helplessness generally so painfully apparent in blindness --indeed, had not the pupils of his eyes appeared somewhat dilated and immovable, no other defect would have been discoverable in them. His complexion tells of a southern sky; his hair, once black and curly, is still curly, though the black is greatly outnumbered by the grey ; it has disappeared altogether from his temples, but its absence only adds space and massiveness to a forehead to which Nature had given dimensions sufficiently grand and imposing. That he is a soldier we should gather from his mien, did we not from the ribbon which is attached to his button-hole, and tells of valiant deeds, and the coat buttoned over his broad chest in the fashion we call military. That he is blind, or going blind, we know because he is here, and because he is
led to his chair by one we perceive is his child the moment we carry our gaze from him to her.
She was a true daughter of Spain; her eyes would have been lustrous under any circumstances, but oh! how they sparkled here amongst that collection of forlorn, semi-opaque, uncomfortable orbs with which they came in such vivid contrast. Her complexion was rich olive, her lips ruddy and pouting, and betraying, as they parted, a row of teeth, of which the natural whiteness was enhanced because everything else about her was so dark. Her hair was raven black, and profuse in quantity, and gathered up at the back of her head in a large knot, which clearly belonged to no other fashion but the picturesque. The sparkle of her eye, which no sorrow could quench, told of spirits gay and buoyant, but her smile was gentle and subdued, and betrayed the care which made heavy her
young heart. But there was a third to the party who seated himself not. He was tall and lank, erect as a poplar, his complexion swarthy, and ploughed, either by time or exposure to the elements, into innumerable minute furrows. His grizzled hair was cut close to his head, but his moustaches luxuriated, and were prodigious. They were, moreover, twirled to a point, and were objects evidently of mingled pride and solicitude. He stood behind the chair of his master, for he bore no other relationship to the blind man than that of attendant, and watched him with an eye both jealous and tender. No other hand supplied his plate, or, when empty, removed it; he replenished his glass with the pure element, he whispered in his ear the names of the various dishes as in succession they appeared at that frugal banquet. With the eye of a gastronomer he selected the daintiest morsels, he skilfully divided them, he watched their passage from the plate to the palate of his dear lord, and when, at the termination of the meal, to his anxious inquiry, "Has his excellency well dined,” his excellency nodded an assent, his eyes gleamed with mingled triumph and satisfaction. As may be imagined, we could hardly be in such close proximity to so much beauty without experiencing a strong desire to put ourselves in communication with it. The recognised freedom of a table d'hôte rendered this not difficult, so, summoning up
all our courage and our best French, we inquired, with becoming hesitation, what hope the Hofrath had of restoring her father's sight. She turned upon us those full, lustrous eyes, and, with an utter absence of all bashfulness, thanked us for our inquiry, and said they had only arrived in Graefrath the preceding day. They had travelled all the way from Valencia; the long and tedious journey had taxed to the utmost her father's powers of endurance, and thus prevented him having an interview with the physician, who had, however, appointed one for that same afternoon. The blind man, catching a strange voice coupled with the soft tones of his child, bent forward, and with ready acuteness recognising the accent with which we spoke a language foreign to us both, demanded if the English stranger was also blind, or under what complaint of the eye he was labouring. We had then to explain that our vision was unimpaired, but that the widely-spread frame of the Hofrath had attracted us in our rambles to a spot over which a genius wise and benevolent seemed to preside. Our conversation then took a wider range; the blue shades had gradually and silently groped their way out, leaving us the sole occupants of the salon, when the gaunt Antonio made his appearance, and