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Castle Rackrent eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 136 pages of information about Castle Rackrent.
There was ’such a fine whillaluh at Sir Patrick’s funeral, you might have heard it to the farthest end of the county, and happy the man who could get but a sight of the hearse.’  Then came Sir Murtagh, who used to boast that he had a law-suit for every letter in the alphabet.  ‘He dug up a fairy-mount against my advice,’ says Thady, ’and had no luck afterwards. . . .  Sir Murtagh in his passion broke a blood-vessel, and all the law in the land could do nothing in that case. . . .  My lady had a fine jointure settled upon her, and took herself away, to the great joy of the tenantry.  I never said anything one way or the other,’ says Thady, ’whilst she was part of the family, but got up to see her go at three o’clock in the morning.  “It’s a fine morning, honest Thady,” says she; “good-bye to ye,” and into the carriage she stepped, without a word more, good or bad, or even half-a-crown, but I made my bow, and stood to see her safe out of sight for the sake of the family.’

How marvellously vivid it all is! every word tells as the generations pass before us.  The very spirit of romantic Irish fidelity is incarnate in Thady.  Jason Quirk represents the feline element, which also belongs to our extraordinary Celtic race.  The little volume contains the history of a nation.  It is a masterpiece which Miss Edgeworth has never surpassed.  It is almost provoking to have so many details of other and less interesting stories, such as early lessons, A knapsack, the Prussian vase, etc., and to hear so little of these two books by which she will be best remembered.

AUTHOR’S PREFACE

The Prevailing taste of the public for anecdote has been censured and ridiculed by critics who aspire to the character of superior wisdom; but if we consider it in a proper point of view, this taste is an incontestable proof of the good sense and profoundly philosophic temper of the present times.  Of the numbers who study, or at least who read history, how few derive any advantage from their labours!  The heroes of history are so decked out by the fine fancy of the professed historian; they talk in such measured prose, and act from such sublime or such diabolical motives, that few have sufficient taste, wickedness, or heroism, to sympathise in their fate.  Besides, there is much uncertainty even in the best authenticated ancient or modern histories; and that love of truth, which in some minds is innate and immutable, necessarily leads to a love of secret memoirs and private anecdotes.  We cannot judge either of the feelings or of the characters of men with perfect accuracy, from their actions or their appearance in public; it is from their careless conversations, their half-finished sentences, that we may hope with the greatest probability of success to discover their real characters.  The life of a great or of a little man written by himself, the familiar letters, the diary of any individual published

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