‘Ye can ride him, and what else, agrah?’
‘I can leap him over a six-foot wall,’ said I.
‘Over a wall, and what more, agrah?’
‘Nothing more,’ said I; ‘what more would you have?’
‘Can you do this, agrah?’ said the smith; and he uttered a word which I had never heard before, in a sharp pungent tone. The effect upon myself was somewhat extraordinary, a strange thrill ran through me; but with regard to the cob it was terrible; the animal forthwith became like one mad, and reared and kicked with the utmost desperation.
‘Can you do that, agrah?’ said the smith.
‘What is it?’ said I, retreating, ‘I never saw the horse so before.’
‘Go between his legs, agrah,’ said the smith, ‘his hinder legs’; and he again showed his fang.
‘I dare not,’ said I, ‘he would kill me.’
‘He would kill ye! and how do ye know that, agrah?’
‘I feel he would,’ said I, ‘something tells me so.’
’And it tells ye truth, agrah; but it’s a fine beast, and it’s a pity to see him in such a state: Is agam an’t leigeas’—and here he uttered another word in a voice singularly modified, but sweet and almost plaintive; the effect of it was as instantaneous as that of the other, but how different!—the animal lost all its fury, and became at once calm and gentle. The smith went up to it, coaxed and patted it, making use of various sounds of equine endearment; then turning to me, and holding out once more the grimy hand, he said, ’And now ye will be giving me the Sassannach tenpence, agrah?’
A fine old city—Norman master-work—Lollards’ Hole—Good blood—The Spaniard’s sword—Old retired officer—Writing to a duke—God help the child—Nothing like Jacob—Irish brigades—Old Sergeant Meredith—I have been young—Idleness—Only course open—The bookstall—A portrait—A banished priest.
From the wild scenes which I have attempted to describe in the latter pages I must now transport the reader to others of a widely different character. He must suppose himself no longer in Ireland, but in the eastern corner of merry England. Bogs, ruins, and mountains have disappeared amidst the vapours of the west: I have nothing more to say of them; the region in which we are now is not famous for objects of that kind: perhaps it flatters itself that it can produce fairer and better things, of some of which let me speak; there is a fine old city before us, and first of that let me speak.
A fine old city, truly, is that, view it from whatever side you will; but it shows best from the east, where the ground, bold and elevated, overlooks the fair and fertile valley in which it stands. Gazing from those heights, the eye beholds a scene which cannot fail to awaken, even in the least sensitive bosom, feelings of pleasure and admiration. At the foot of the heights flows a narrow and deep river,