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The Purcell Papers, Volume 2 by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

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Being a Seventh Extract from the Legacy of the late
Francis Purcell, P. P. of Drumcoolagh.

You will no doubt be surprised,
my dear friend, at the subject of
the following narrative. What
had I to do with Schalken, or Schalken
with me? He had returned to his native
land, and was probably dead and buried,
before I was born; I never visited Holland
nor spoke with a native of that country.
So much I believe you already know. I
must, then, give you my authority, and
state to you frankly the ground upon
which rests the credibility of the strange
story which I am, about to lay before

I was acquainted, in my early days,
with a Captain Vandael, whose father had
served King William in the Low Countries,
and also in my own unhappy land during
the Irish campaigns. I know not how it
happened that I liked this man's society,
spite of his politics and religion: but so it
was; and it was by means of the free
intercourse to which our intimacy gave
rise that I became possessed of the curious
tale which you are about to hear.

I had often been struck, while visiting
Vandael, by a remarkable picture, in
which, though no connoisseur myself, I
could not fail to discern some very strong
peculiarities, particularly in the distribu-
tion of light and shade, as also a certain
oddity in the design itself, which interested
my curiosity. It represented the interior
of what might be a chamber in some
antique religious building--the foreground
was occupied by a female figure, arrayed
in a species of white robe, part of which is
arranged so as to form a veil. The dress,
however, is not strictly that of any religious
order. In its hand the figure bears
a lamp, by whose light alone the form and
face are illuminated; the features are
marked by an arch smile, such as pretty
women wear when engaged in successfully
practising some roguish trick; in the
background, and, excepting where the dim red
light of an expiring fire serves to define
the form, totally in the shade, stands the
figure of a man equipped in the old fashion,
with doublet and so forth, in an attitude
of alarm, his hand being placed upon the
hilt of his sword, which he appears to be
in the act of drawing.

'There are some pictures,' said I to my
friend, 'which impress one, I know not
how, with a conviction that they represent
not the mere ideal shapes and combinations
which have floated through the imagination
of the artist, but scenes, faces, and
situations which have actually existed. When
I look upon that picture, something assures
me that I behold the representation of a

Vandael smiled, and, fixing his eyes upon
the painting musingly, he said:

'Your fancy has not deceived you, my
good friend, for that picture is the record,
and I believe a faithful one, of a remarkable
and mysterious occurrence. It was
painted by Schalken, and contains, in the
face of the female figure, which occupies
the most prominent place in the design, an
accurate portrait of Rose Velderkaust, the
niece of Gerard Douw, the first and, I
believe, the only love of Godfrey Schalken.
My father knew the painter well, and from
Schalken himself he learned the story of
the mysterious drama, one scene of which
the picture has embodied. This painting,
which is accounted a fine specimen of
Schalken's style, was bequeathed to my
father by the artist's will, and, as you
have observed, is a very striking and
interesting production.'

I had only to request Vandael to tell
the story of the painting in order to be
gratified; and thus it is that I am enabled
to submit to you a faithful recital of what
I heard myself, leaving you to reject or to
allow the evidence upon which the truth
of the tradition depends, with this one
assurance, that Schalken was an honest,
blunt Dutchman, and, I believe, wholly
incapable of committing a flight of
imagination; and further, that Vandael, from
whom I heard the story, appeared firmly
convinced of its truth.

There are few forms upon which the
mantle of mystery and romance could
seem to hang more ungracefully than
upon that of the uncouth and clownish
Schalken--the Dutch boor--the rude and
dogged, but most cunning worker in oils,
whose pieces delight the initiated of the
present day almost as much as his manners
disgusted the refined of his own; and yet
this man, so rude, so dogged, so slovenly,
I had almost said so savage, in mien and
manner, during his after successes, had
been selected by the capricious goddess, in
his early life, to figure as the hero of a
romance by no means devoid of interest or
of mystery.

Who can tell how meet he may have
been in his young days to play the part of
the lover or of the hero--who can say that
in early life he had been the same harsh,
unlicked, and rugged boor that, in his
maturer age, he proved--or how far the
neglected rudeness which afterwards
marked his air, and garb, and manners,
may not have been the growth of that
reckless apathy not unfrequently produced
by bitter misfortunes and disappointments
in early life?

These questions can never now be answered.

We must content ourselves, then,
with a plain statement of facts, or what
have been received and transmitted as
such, leaving matters of speculation to
those who like them.

When Schalken studied under the
immortal Gerard Douw, he was a young
man; and in spite of the phlegmatic
constitution and unexcitable manner which he
shared, we believe, with his countrymen,
he was not incapable of deep and vivid
impressions, for it is an established fact that
the young painter looked with considerable
interest upon the beautiful niece of his
wealthy master.

Rose Velderkaust was very young,
having, at the period of which we speak,
not yet attained her seventeenth year, and,
if tradition speaks truth, possessed all the
soft dimpling charms of the fail; light-
haired Flemish maidens. Schalken had
not studied long in the school of Gerard
Douw, when he felt this interest deepening
into something of a keener and intenser
feeling than was quite consistent with the
tranquillity of his honest Dutch heart;
and at the same time he perceived, or
thought he perceived, flattering symptoms
of a reciprocity of liking, and this was
quite sufficient to determine whatever
indecision he might have heretofore
experienced, and to lead him to devote
exclusively to her every hope and feeling of his
heart. In short, he was as much in love
as a Dutchman could be. He was not
long in making his passion known to the
pretty maiden herself, and his declaration
was followed by a corresponding confession
upon her part.

Schalken, however, was a poor man,
and he possessed no counterbalancing
advantages of birth or position to induce
the old man to consent to a union which
must involve his niece and ward in the
strugglings and difficulties of a young and
nearly friendless artist. He was, therefore,
to wait until time had furnished him with
opportunity, and accident with success; and
then, if his labours were found sufficiently
lucrative, it was to be hoped that his
proposals might at least be listened to by her
jealous guardian. Months passed away,
and, cheered by the smiles of the little
Rose, Schalken's labours were redoubled,
and with such effect and improvement as
reasonably to promise the realisation of his
hopes, and no contemptible eminence in
his art, before many years should have

The even course of this cheering
prosperity was, however, destined to
experience a sudden and formidable
interruption, and that, too, in a manner so
strange and mysterious as to baffle all
investigation, and throw upon the events
themselves a shadow of almost supernatural horror.

Schalken had one evening remained in
the master's studio considerably longer
than his more volatile companions, who
had gladly availed themselves of the
excuse which the dusk of evening afforded,
to withdraw from their several tasks, in
order to finish a day of labour in the
jollity and conviviality of the tavern.

But Schalken worked for improvement,
or rather for love. Besides, he was now
engaged merely in sketching a design, an
operation which, unlike that of colouring,
might be continued as long as there was
light sufficient to distinguish between
canvas and charcoal. He had not then,
nor, indeed, until long after, discovered the
peculiar powers of his pencil, and he was
engaged in composing a group of extremely
roguish-looking and grotesque imps and
demons, who were inflicting various
ingenious torments upon a perspiring and
pot-bellied St. Anthony, who reclined in
the midst of them, apparently in the last
stage of drunkenness.

The young artist, however, though
incapable of executing, or even of
appreciating, anything of true sublimity,
had nevertheless discernment enough to
prevent his being by any means satisfied
with his work; and many were the patient
erasures and corrections which the limbs
and features of saint and devil underwent,
yet all without producing in their new
arrangement anything of improvement or
increased effect.

The large, old-fashioned room was
silent, and, with the exception of himself,
quite deserted by its usual inmates. An
hour had passed--nearly two--without
any improved result. Daylight had
already declined, and twilight was fast giving
way to the darkness of night. The
patience of the young man was exhausted,
and he stood before his unfinished production,
absorbed in no very pleasing ruminations,
one hand buried in the folds of his
long dark hair, and the other holding the
piece of charcoal which had so ill executed
its office, and which he now rubbed, without
much regard to the sable streaks which
it produced, with irritable pressure upon
his ample Flemish inexpressibles.

'Pshaw!' said the young man aloud,
'would that picture, devils, saint, and all,
were where they should be--in hell!'

A short, sudden laugh, uttered start

lingly close to his ear, instantly responded
to the ejaculation.

The artist turned sharply round, and
now for the first time became aware that
his labours had been overlooked by a

Within about a yard and a half, and
rather behind him, there stood what was,
or appeared to be, the figure of an elderly
man: he wore a short cloak, and broad-
brimmed hat with a conical crown, and in
his hand, which was protected with a
heavy, gauntlet-shaped glove, he carried a
long ebony walking-stick, surmounted with
what appeared, as it glittered dimly in the
twilight, to be a massive head of gold,
and upon his breast, through the folds
of the cloak, there shone what appeared
to be the links of a rich chain of the same

The room was so obscure that nothing
further of the appearance of the figure
could be ascertained, and the face was
altogether overshadowed by the heavy flap
of the beaver which overhung it, so that
not a feature could be discerned. A
quantity of dark hair escaped from
beneath this sombre hat, a circumstance
which, connected with the firm, upright
carriage of the intruder, proved that his
years could not yet exceed threescore or

There was an air of gravity and
importance about the garb of this person, and
something indescribably odd, I might say
awful, in the perfect, stone-like movelessness
of the figure, that effectually checked
the testy comment which had at once
risen to the lips of the irritated artist.
He therefore, as soon as he had suf-
ficiently recovered the surprise, asked the
stranger, civilly, to be seated, and desired
to know if he had any message to leave for
his master.

'Tell Gerard Douw,' said the unknown,
without altering his attitude in the
smallest degree, 'that Mynher Vanderhauseny
of Rotterdam, desires to speak
with him to-morrow evening at this
hour, and, if he please, in this room, upon
matters of weight--that is all. Good-night.'

The stranger, having finished this
message, turned abruptly, and, with a
quick but silent step, quitted the room,
before Schalken had time to say a word in

The young man felt a curiosity to see in
what direction the burgher of Rotterdam
would turn on quitting the studio,
and for that purpose he went directly
to the window which commanded the

A lobby of considerable extent
intervened between the inner door of the
painter's room and the street entrance, so
that Schalken occupied the post of
observation before the old man could possibly
have reached the street.

He watched in vain, however. There
was no other mode of exit.

Had the old man vanished, or was he
lurking about the recesses of the lobby
for some bad purpose? This last suggestion
filled the mind of Schalken with a
vague horror, which was so unaccountably
intense as to make him alike afraid to
remain in the room alone and reluctant to
pass through the lobby.

However, with an effort which ap-
peared very disproportioned to the
occasion, he summoned resolution to leave
the room, and, having double-locked the
door and thrust the key in his pocket,
without looking to the right or left, he
traversed the passage which had so
recently, perhaps still, contained the person
of his mysterious visitant, scarcely venturing
to breathe till he had arrived in the
open street.

'Mynher Vanderhausen,' said Gerard
Douw within himself, as the appointed
hour approached, 'Mynher Vanderhausen
of Rotterdam! I never heard of the man
till yesterday. What can he want of me?
A portrait, perhaps, to be painted; or a
younger son or a poor relation to be
apprenticed; or a collection to be valued; or
--pshaw I there's no one in Rotterdam to
leave me a legacy. Well, whatever the
business may be, we shall soon know it all.'

It was now the close of day, and every
easel, except that of Schalken, was
deserted. Gerard Douw was pacing the
apartment with the restless step of
impatient expectation, every now and then
humming a passage from a piece of music
which he was himself composing; for,
though no great proficient, he admired the
art; sometimes pausing to glance over the
work of one of his absent pupils, but more
frequently placing himself at the window,
from whence he might observe the passengers
who threaded the obscure by-street
in which his studio was placed.

'Said you not, Godfrey,' exclaimed
Douw, after a long and fruitless gaze from
his post of observation, and turning to
Schalken--'said you not the hour of ap-
pointment was at about seven by the clock
of the Stadhouse?'

'It had just told seven when I first saw
him, sir,' answered the student.

'The hour is close at hand, then,' said
the master, consulting a horologe as large
and as round as a full-grown orange.
'Mynher Vanderhausen, from Rotterdam
--is it not so?'

'Such was the name.'

'And an elderly man, richly clad?'
continued Douw.

'As well as I might see,' replied his
pupil; 'he could not be young, nor yet
very old neither, and his dress was rich
and grave, as might become a citizen of
wealth and consideration.'

At this moment the sonorous boom of
the Stadhouse clock told, stroke after
stroke, the hour of seven; the eyes of
both master and student were directed to
the door; and it was not until the last
peal of the old bell had ceased to vibrate,
that Douw exclaimed:

'So, so; we shall have his worship
presently--that is, if he means to keep his
hour; if not, thou mayst wait for him,
Godfrey, if you court the acquaintance of
a capricious burgomaster. As for me, I
think our old Leyden contains a
sufficiency of such commodities, without an
importation from Rotterdam.'

Schalken laughed, as in duty bound;
and after a pause of some minutes, Douw
suddenly exclaimed:

'What if it should all prove a jest, a
piece of mummery got up by Vankarp, or
some such worthy! I wish you had run
all risks, and cudgelled the old burgomaster,
stadholder, or whatever else he
may be, soundly. I would wager a dozen
of Rhenish, his worship would have
pleaded old acquaintance before the third

'Here he comes, sir,' said Schalken,
in a low admonitory tone; and instantly,
upon turning towards the door, Gerard
Douw observed the same figure which
had, on the day before, so unexpectedly
greeted the vision of his pupil

There was something in the air and
mien of the figure which at once satisfied
the painter that there was no mummery
in the case, and that he really stood in the
presence of a man of worship; and so, without
hesitation, he doffed his cap, and courteously
saluting the stranger, requested him
to be seated.

The visitor waved his hand slightly, as,
if in acknowledgment of the courtesy, but
remained standing.

'I have the honour to see Mynher
Vanderhausen, of Rotterdam?' said Gerard

'The same,' was the laconic reply of his

'I understand your worship desires to
speak with me,' continued Douw, 'and I
am here by appointment to wait your

'Is that a man of trust?' said Vanderhausen,
turning towards Schalken, who
stood at a little distance behind his master.

'Certainly,' replied Gerard.

'Then let him take this box and get the
nearest jeweller or goldsmith to value its
contents, and let him return hither with a
certificate of the valuation.'

At the same time he placed a small case,
about nine inches square, in the hands of
Gerard Douw, who was as much amazed
at its weight as at the strange abruptness
with which it was handed to him.

In accordance with the wishes of the
stranger, he delivered it into the hands of
Schalken, and repeating HIS directions,
despatched him upon the mission.

Schalken disposed his precious charge
securely beneath the folds of his cloak, and
rapidly traversing two or three narrow
streets, he stopped at a corner house, the
lower part of which was then occupied by
the shop of a Jewish goldsmith.

Schalken entered the shop, and calling
the little Hebrew into the obscurity of its
back recesses, he proceeded to lay before
him Vanderhausen's packet.

On being examined by the light of a
lamp, it appeared entirely cased with lead,
the outer surface of which was much
scraped and soiled, and nearly white with
age. This was with difficulty partially
removed, and disclosed beneath a box of
some dark and singularly hard wood; this,
too, was forced, and after the removal of
two or three folds of linen, its contents
proved to be a mass of golden ingots,
close packed, and, as the Jew declared, of
the most perfect quality.

Every ingot underwent the scrutiny of
the little Jew, who seemed to feel an
epicurean delight in touching and testing
these morsels of the glorious metal; and
each one of them was replaced in the box
with the exclamation:

'Mein Gott, how very perfect! not one
grain of alloy--beautiful, beautiful!'

The task was at length finished, and the
Jew certified under his hand the value of
the ingots submitted to his examination to
amount to many thousand rix-dollars.

With the desired document in his bosom,
and the rich box of gold carefully pressed
under his arm, and concealed by his cloak,
he retraced his way, and entering the
studio, found his master and the stranger
in close conference.

Schalken had no sooner left the room,
in order to execute the commission he had
taken in charge, than Vanderhausen
addressed Gerard Douw in the following

'I may not tarry with you to-night more
than a few minutes, and so I shall briefly
tell you the matter upon which I come.
You visited the town of Rotterdam some
four months ago, and then I saw in the
church of St. Lawrence your niece, Rose
Velderkaust. I desire to marry her, and
if I satisfy you as to the fact that I am
very wealthy--more wealthy than any
husband you could dream of for her--I
expect that you will forward my views to
the utmost of your authority. If you
approve my proposal, you must close with it
at once, for I cannot command time
enough to wait for calculations and delays.'

Gerard Douw was, perhaps, as much
astonished as anyone could be by the very
unexpected nature of Mynher Vanderhausen's
communication; but he did not
give vent to any unseemly expression of
surprise, for besides the motives supplied
by prudence and politeness, the painter
experienced a kind of chill and oppressive
sensation, something like that which is
supposed to affect a man who is placed
unconsciously in immediate contact with
something to which he has a natural anti-
pathy--an undefined horror and dread
while standing in the presence of the
eccentric stranger, which made him very
unwilling to say anything which might
reasonably prove offensive.

'I have no doubt,' said Gerard, after
two or three prefatory hems, 'that the
connection which you propose would prove
alike advantageous and honourable to my
niece; but you must be aware that she has
a will of her own, and may not acquiesce
in what WE may design for her advantage.'

'Do not seek to deceive me, Sir Painter,'
said Vanderhausen; 'you are her guardian
--she is your ward. She is mine if YOU like
to make her so.'

The man of Rotterdam moved forward
a little as he spoke, and Gerard Douw, he
scarce knew why, inwardly prayed for the
speedy return of Schalken.

'I desire,' said the mysterious gentleman,
'to place in your hands at once an
evidence of my wealth, and a security for
my liberal dealing with your niece. The
lad will return in a minute or two with a
sum in value five times the fortune which
she has a right to expect from a husband.
This shall lie in your hands, together with
her dowry, and you may apply the united
sum as suits her interest best; it shall be
all exclusively hers while she lives. Is that

Douw assented, and inwardly thought
that fortune had been extraordinarily kind
to his niece. The stranger, he thought,
must be both wealthy and generous, and
such an offer was not to be despised, though
made by a humourist, and one of no very
prepossessing presence.

Rose had no very high pretensions, for
she was almost without dowry; indeed,
altogether so, excepting so far as the
deficiency had been supplied by the generosity
of her uncle. Neither had she any right to
raise any scruples against the match on the
score of birth, for her own origin was by
no means elevated; and as to other objections,
Gerard resolved, and, indeed, by the
usages of the time was warranted in
resolving, not to listen to them for a moment.

'Sir,' said he, addressing the stranger,
'your offer is most liberal, and whatever
hesitation I may feel in closing with it
immediately, arises solely from my not
having the honour of knowing anything of
your family or station. Upon these points
you can, of course, satisfy me without

'As to my respectability,' said the
stranger, drily, 'you must take that for
granted at present; pester me with no
inquiries; you can discover nothing more
about me than I choose to make known.
You shall have sufficient security for my
respectability--my word, if you are honourable:
if you are sordid, my gold.'

'A testy old gentleman,' thought Douw;
'he must have his own way. But, all
things considered, I am justified in giving
my niece to him. Were she my own
daughter, I would do the like by her. I
will not pledge myself unnecessarily, however.'

'You will not pledge yourself unnecessarily,'
said Vanderhausen, strangely uttering
the very words which had just floated
through the mind of his companion; 'but
you will do so if it IS necessary, I presume;
and I will show you that I consider it in-
dispensable. If the gold I mean to leave
in your hands satisfy you, and if you
desire that my proposal shall not be at once
withdrawn, you must, before I leave this
room, write your name to this engagement.'

Having thus spoken, he placed a paper
in the hands of Gerard, the contents of
which expressed an engagement entered
into by Gerard Douw, to give to Wilken
Vanderhausen, of Rotterdam, in marriage,
Rose Velderkaust, and so forth, within one
week of the date hereof.

While the painter was employed in
reading this covenant, Schalken, as we have
stated, entered the studio, and having
delivered the box and the valuation of the
Jew into the hands of the stranger, he
was about to retire, when Vanderhausen
called to him to wait; and, presenting the
case and the certificate to Gerard Douw,
he waited in silence until he had satisfied
himself by an inspection of both as to the
value of the pledge left in his hands. At
length he said:

'Are you content?'

The painter said he would fain have an
other day to consider.

'Not an hour,' said the suitor, coolly.

'Well, then,' said Douw, 'I am content;
it is a bargain.'

'Then sign at once,' said Vanderhausen;
'I am weary.'

At the same time he produced a small
case of writing materials, and Gerard signed
the important document.

'Let this youth witness the covenant,'
said the old man; and Godfrey Schalken
unconsciously signed the instrument which
bestowed upon another that hand which
he had so long regarded as the object and
reward of all his labours.

The compact being thus completed, the
strange visitor folded up the paper, and
stowed it safely in an inner pocket.

'I will visit you to-morrow night, at
nine of the clock, at your house, Gerard
Douw, and will see the subject of our
contract. Farewell.' And so saying, Wilken
Vanderhausen moved stiffly, but rapidly
out of the room.

Schalken, eager to resolve his doubts,
had placed himself by the window in order
to watch the street entrance; but the
experiment served only to support his
suspicions, for the old man did not issue from
the door. This was very strange, very
odd, very fearful. He and his master
returned together, and talked but little on
the way, for each had his own sub-
jects of reflection, of anxiety, and of

Schalken, however, did not know the
ruin which threatened his cherished

Gerard Douw knew nothing of the
attachment which had sprung up between
his pupil and his niece; and even if he
had, it is doubtful whether he would have
regarded its existence as any serious
obstruction to the wishes of Mynher Vanderhausen.

Marriages were then and there matters
of traffic and calculation; and it would have
appeared as absurd in the eyes of the guardian
to make a mutual attachment an
essential element in a contract of marriage,
as it would have been to draw up his bonds
and receipts in the language of chivalrous

The painter, however, did not communicate
to his niece the important step which
he had taken in her behalf, and his resolution
arose not from any anticipation of
opposition on her part, but solely from a
ludicrous consciousness that if his ward
were, as she very naturally might do, to
ask him to describe the appearance of the
bridegroom whom he destined for her, he
would be forced to confess that he had not
seen his face, and, if called upon, would find
it impossible to identify him.

Upon the next day, Gerard Douw having
dined, called his niece to him, and having
scanned her person with an air of satisfaction,
he took her hand, and looking upon
her pretty, innocent face with a smile of
kindness, he said:

'Rose, my girl, that face of yours will
make your fortune.' Rose blushed and
smiled. 'Such faces and such tempers
seldom go together, and, when they do,
the compound is a love-potion which few
heads or hearts can resist. Trust me, thou
wilt soon be a bride, girl. But this is
trifling, and I am pressed for time, so
make ready the large room by eight o'clock
to-night, and give directions for supper at
nine. I expect a friend to-night; and
observe me, child, do thou trick thyself out
handsomely. I would not have him think
us poor or sluttish.'

With these words he left the chamber,
and took his way to the room to which we
have already had occasion to introduce
our readers--that in which his pupils

When the evening closed in, Gerard
called Schalken, who was about to take his
departure to his obscure and comfortless
lodgings, and asked him to come
home and sup with Rose and Vanderhausen.

The invitation was of course accepted,
and Gerard Douw and his pupil soon
found themselves in the handsome and
somewhat antique-looking room which
had been prepared for the reception of the

A cheerful wood-fire blazed in the capacious
hearth; a little at one side an old-
fashioned table, with richly-carved legs,
was placed--destined, no doubt, to receive
the supper, for which preparations were
going forward; and ranged with exact
regularity, stood the tall-backed chairs,
whose ungracefulness was more than
counterbalanced by their comfort.

The little party, consisting of Rose, her
uncle, and the artist, awaited the arrival of
the expected visitor with considerable impatience.

Nine o'clock at length came, and with it
a summons at the street-door, which, being
speedily answered, was followed by a slow
and emphatic tread upon the staircase; the
steps moved heavily across the lobby, the
door of the room in which the party which
we have described were assembled slowly
opened, and there entered a figure which
startled, almost appalled, the phlegmatic
Dutchmen, and nearly made Rose scream
with affright; it was the form, and arrayed
in the garb, of Mynher Vanderhausen;
the air, the gait, the height was the same,
but the features had never been seen by
any of the party before.

The stranger stopped at the door of the
room, and displayed his form and face
completely. He wore a dark-coloured
cloth cloak, which was short and full, not
falling quite to the knees; his legs were
cased in dark purple silk stockings, and his
shoes were adorned with roses of the same
colour. The opening of the cloak in front
showed the under-suit to consist of some
very dark, perhaps sable material, and his
hands were enclosed in a pair of heavy
leather gloves which ran up considerably
above the wrist, in the manner of a gauntlet.
In one hand he carried his walking-
stick and his hat, which he had removed,
and the other hung heavily by his side.
A quantity of grizzled hair descended in
long tresses from his head, and its folds
rested upon the plaits of a stiff ruff, which
effectually concealed his neck.

So far all was well; but the face!--all
the flesh of the face was coloured with the
bluish leaden hue which is sometimes pro-
duced by the operation of metallic
medicines administered in excessive quantities;
the eyes were enormous, and the white
appeared both above and below the iris,
which gave to them an expression of
insanity, which was heightened by their
glassy fixedness; the nose was well enough,
but the mouth was writhed considerably to
one side, where it opened in order to give
egress to two long, discoloured fangs, which
projected from the upper jaw, far below the
lower lip; the hue of the lips themselves
bore the usual relation to that of the face,
and was consequently nearly black. The
character of the face was malignant, even
satanic, to the last degree; and, indeed,
such a combination of horror could hardly
be accounted for, except by supposing the
corpse of some atrocious malefactor, which
had long hung blackening upon the gibbet,
to have at length become the habitation of
a demon--the frightful sport of Satanic

It was remarkable that the worshipful
stranger suffered as little as possible of his
flesh to appear, and that during his visit he
did not once remove his gloves.

Having stood for some moments at the
door, Gerard Douw at length found breath
and collectedness to bid him welcome, and,
with a mute inclination of the head, the
stranger stepped forward into the room.

There was something indescribably odd,
even horrible, about all his motions,
something undefinable, that was unnatural, un-
human--it was as if the limbs were guided
and directed by a spirit unused to the
management of bodily machinery.

The stranger said hardly anything during
his visit, which did not exceed half an
hour; and the host himself could scarcely
muster courage enough to utter the few
necessary salutations and courtesies: and,
indeed, such was the nervous terror which
the presence of Vanderhausen inspired,
that very little would have made all his
entertainers fly bellowing from the room.

They had not so far lost all self-
possession, however, as to fail to observe two
strange peculiarities of their visitor.

During his stay he did not once suffer
his eyelids to close, nor even to move in
the slightest degree; and further, there
was a death-like stillness in his whole
person, owing to the total absence of the
heaving motion of the chest, caused by the
process of respiration.

These two peculiarities, though when
told they may appear trifling, produced a
very striking and unpleasant effect when
seen and observed. Vanderhausen at
length relieved the painter of Leyden of
his inauspicious presence; and with no
small gratification the little party heard the
street-door close after him.

'Dear uncle,' said Rose, 'what a frightful
man! I would not see him again for
the wealth of the States!'

'Tush, foolish girl!' said Douw, whose
sensations were anything but comfortable.
'A man may be as ugly as the devil, and
yet if his heart and actions are good, he
is worth all the pretty-faced, perfumed
puppies that walk the Mall. Rose, my
girl, it is very true he has not thy pretty
face, but I know him to be wealthy and
liberal; and were he ten times more

'Which is inconceivable,' observed Rose.

'These two virtues would be sufficient,'
continued her uncle, 'to counterbalance all
his deformity; and if not of power sufficient
actually to alter the shape of the features,
at least of efficacy enough to prevent one
thinking them amiss.'

'Do you know, uncle,' said Rose, 'when
I saw him standing at the door, I could
not get it out of my head that I saw the
old, painted, wooden figure that used to
frighten me so much in the church of St.
Laurence of Rotterdam.'

Gerard laughed, though he could not
help inwardly acknowledging the justness
of the comparison. He was resolved,
however, as far as he could, to check his
niece's inclination to ridicule the ugliness
of her intended bridegroom, although he
was not a little pleased to observe that she
appeared totally exempt from that mysterious
dread of the stranger which, he could
not disguise it from himself, considerably
affected him, as also his pupil Godfrey

Early on the next day there arrived,
from various quarters of the town, rich
presents of silks, velvets, jewellery, and so
forth, for Rose; and also a packet directed
to Gerard Douw, which, on being opened,
was found to contain a contract of marriage,
formally drawn up, between Wilken
Vanderhausen of the Boom-quay, in Rotterdam,
and Rose Velderkaust of Leyden, niece to
Gerard Douw, master in the art of painting,
also of the same city; and containing
engagements on the part of Vanderhausen to
make settlements upon his bride, far more
splendid than he had before led her guardian
to believe likely, and which were to
be secured to her use in the most unexceptionable
manner possible--the money being
placed in the hands of Gerard Douw himself.

I have no sentimental scenes to describe,
no cruelty of guardians, or magnanimity of
wards, or agonies of lovers. The record I
have to make is one of sordidness, levity,
and interest. In less than a week after
the first interview which we have just
described, the contract of marriage was
fulfilled, and Schalken saw the prize which
he would have risked anything to secure,
carried off triumphantly by his formidable

For two or three days he absented
himself from the school; he then returned
and worked, if with less cheerfulness, with
far more dogged resolution than before;
the dream of love had given place to that
of ambition.

Months passed away, and, contrary to
his expectation, and, indeed, to the direct
promise of the parties, Gerard Douw heard
nothing of his niece, or her worshipful
spouse. The interest of the money, which
was to have been demanded in quarterly
sums, lay unclaimed in his hands. He
began to grow extremely uneasy.

Mynher Vanderhausen's direction in
Rotterdam he was fully possessed of. After
some irresolution he finally determined to
journey thither--a trifling undertaking, and
easily accomplished--and thus to satisfy
himself of the safety and comfort of his
ward, for whom he entertained an honest
and strong affection.

His search was in vain, however. No
one in Rotterdam had ever heard of Mynher

Gerard Douw left not a house in the
Boom-quay untried; but all in vain. No
one could give him any information whatever
touching the object of his inquiry;
and he was obliged to return to Leyden,
nothing wiser than when he had left

On his arrival he hastened to the
establishment from which Vanderhausen had
hired the lumbering though, considering
the times, most luxurious vehicle which
the bridal party had employed to convey
them to Rotterdam. From the driver of
this machine he learned, that having
proceeded by slow stages, they had late in
the evening approached Rotterdam; but
that before they entered the city, and
while yet nearly a mile from it, a small
party of men, soberly clad, and after the
old fashion, with peaked beards and
moustaches, standing in the centre of the road,
obstructed the further progress of the car-
riage. The driver reined in his horses,
much fearing, from the obscurity of the
hour, and the loneliness of the road, that
some mischief was intended.

His fears were, however, somewhat
allayed by his observing that these strange
men carried a large litter, of an antique
shape, and which they immediately set
down upon the pavement, whereupon the
bridegroom, having opened the coach-door
from within, descended, and having assisted
his bride to do likewise, led her, weeping
bitterly and wringing her hands, to the
litter, which they both entered. It was
then raised by the men who surrounded it,
and speedily carried towards the city, and
before it had proceeded many yards the
darkness concealed it from the view of the
Dutch charioteer.

In the inside of the vehicle he found a
purse, whose contents more than thrice
paid the hire of the carriage and man.
He saw and could tell nothing more of
Mynher Vanderhausen and his beautiful
lady. This mystery was a source of deep
anxiety and almost of grief to Gerard

There was evidently fraud in the dealing
of Vanderhausen with him, though for what
purpose committed he could not imagine.
He greatly doubted how far it was possible
for a man possessing in his countenance
so strong an evidence of the presence of
the most demoniac feelings, to be in reality
anything but a villain; and every day that
passed without his hearing from or of his
niece, instead of inducing him to forget
his fears, on the contrary tended more and
more to exasperate them.

The loss of his niece's cheerful society
tended also to depress his spirits; and in
order to dispel this despondency, which
often crept upon his mind after his daily
employment was over, he was wont frequently
to prevail upon Schalken to accompany
him home, and by his presence
to dispel, in some degree, the gloom of his
otherwise solitary supper.

One evening, the painter and his pupil
were sitting by the fire, having accomplished
a comfortable supper, and had
yielded to that silent pensiveness
sometimes induced by the process of digestion,
when their reflections were disturbed by
a loud sound at the street-door, as if
occasioned by some person rushing forcibly and
repeatedly against it. A domestic had run
without delay to ascertain the cause of the
disturbance, and they heard him twice or
thrice interrogate the applicant for admis-
sion, but without producing an answer or
any cessation of the sounds.

They heard him then open the hall-door,
and immediately there followed a light and
rapid tread upon the staircase. Schalken
laid his hand on his sword, and advanced
towards the door. It opened before he
reached it, and Rose rushed into the room.
She looked wild and haggard, and pale with
exhaustion and terror; but her dress
surprised them as much even as her
unexpected appearance. It consisted of a kind
of white woollen wrapper, made close about
the neck, and descending to the very
ground. It was much deranged and
travel-soiled. The poor creature had
hardly entered the chamber when she fell
senseless on the floor. With some difficulty
they succeeded in reviving her, and
on recovering her senses she instantly ex-
claimed, in a tone of eager, terrified impatience:

'Wine, wine, quickly, or I'm lost!'

Much alarmed at the strange agitation
in which the call was made, they at once
administered to her wishes, and she drank
some wine with a haste and eagerness which
surprised them. She had hardly swallowed
it, when she exclaimed, with the same

'Food, food, at once, or I perish!'

A considerable fragment of a roast joint
was upon the table, and Schalken immediately
proceeded to cut some, but he was
anticipated; for no sooner had she become
aware of its presence than she darted at it
with the rapacity of a vulture, and, seizing
it in her hands she tore off the flesh with
her teeth and swallowed it.

When the paroxysm of hunger had been
a little appeased, she appeared suddenly to
become aware how strange her conduct
had been, or it may have been that other
more agitating thoughts recurred to her
mind, for she began to weep bitterly and to
wring her hands.

'Oh! send for a minister of God,' said
she; 'I am not safe till he comes; send
for him speedily.'

Gerard Douw despatched a messenger
instantly, and prevailed on his niece to
allow him to surrender his bedchamber to
her use; he also persuaded her to retire
to it at once and to rest; her consent was
extorted upon the condition that they would
not leave her for a moment.

'Oh that the holy man were here!' she
said; 'he can deliver me. The dead and
the living can never be one--God has
forbidden it.'

With these mysterious words she
surrendered herself to their guidance, and
they proceeded to the chamber which
Gerard Douw had assigned to her use.

'Do not--do not leave me for a
moment,' said she. 'I am lost for ever if
you do.'

Gerard Douw's chamber was approached
through a spacious apartment, which they
were now about to enter. Gerard Douw
and Schalken each carried a was candle,
so that a sufficient degree of light was cast
upon all surrounding objects. They were
now entering the large chamber, which, as
I have said, communicated with Douw's
apartment, when Rose suddenly stopped,
and, in a whisper which seemed to thrill
with horror, she said:

'O God! he is here--he is here! See,
see--there he goes!'

She pointed towards the door of the
inner room, and Schalken thought he saw
a shadowy and ill-defined form gliding into
that apartment. He drew his sword, and
raising the candle so as to throw its light
with increased distinctness upon the objects
in the room, he entered the chamber into
which the shadow had glided. No figure
was there--nothing but the furniture which
belonged to the room, and yet he could
not be deceived as to the fact that
something had moved before them into the

A sickening dread came upon him, and
the cold perspiration broke out in heavy
drops upon his forehead; nor was he more
composed when he heard the increased
urgency, the agony of entreaty, with which
Rose implored them not to leave her for
a moment.

'I saw him,' said she. 'He's here! I
cannot be deceived--I know him. He's
by me--he's with me--he's in the room.
Then, for God's sake, as you would save,
do not stir from beside me!'

They at length prevailed upon her to lie
down upon the bed, where she continued
to urge them to stay by her. She
frequently uttered incoherent sentences,
repeating again and again, 'The dead
and the living cannot be one--God has
forbidden it!' and then again, 'Rest
to the wakeful--sleep to the sleep-walkers.'

These and such mysterious and broken
sentences she continued to utter until the
clergyman arrived.

Gerard Douw began to fear, naturally
enough, that the poor girl, owing to terror
or ill-treatment, had become deranged; and
he half suspected, by the suddenness of
her appearance, and the unseasonableness
of the hour, and, above all, from the
wildness and terror of her manner, that she
had made her escape from some place of
confinement for lunatics, and was in
immediate fear of pursuit. He resolved to
summon medical advice as soon as the
mind of his niece had been in some
measure set at rest by the offices of the
clergyman whose attendance she had so
earnestly desired; and until this object had
been attained, he did not venture to put
any questions to her, which might
possibly, by reviving painful or horrible
recollections, increase her agitation.

The clergyman soon arrived--a man of
ascetic countenance and venerable age--
one whom Gerard Douw respected much,
forasmuch as he was a veteran polemic,
though one, perhaps, more dreaded as a
combatant than beloved as a Christian--of
pure morality, subtle brain, and frozen
heart. He entered the chamber which
communicated with that in which Rose
reclined, and immediately on his arrival she
requested him to pray for her, as for one who
lay in the hands of Satan, and who could
hope for deliverance--only from heaven.

That our readers may distinctly understand
all the circumstances of the event
which we are about imperfectly to describe,
it is necessary to state the relative position
of the parties who were engaged in it.
The old clergyman and Schalken were in
the anteroom of which we have already
spoken; Rose lay in the inner chamber,
the door of which was open; and by the
side of the bed, at her urgent desire, stood
her guardian; a candle burned in the bed-
chamber, and three were lighted in the
outer apartment

The old man now cleared his voice, as if
about to commence; but before he had
time to begin, a sudden gust of air blew
out the candle which served to illuminate
the room in which the poor girl lay, and
she, with hurried alarm, exclaimed:

'Godfrey, bring in another candle; the
darkness is unsafe.'

Gerard Douw, forgetting for the moment
her repeated injunctions in the immediate
impulse, stepped from the bedchamber into
the other, in order to supply what she

'O God I do not go, dear uncle!'
shrieked the unhappy girl; and at the
same time she sprang from the bed and
darted after him, in order, by her grasp, to
detain him.

But the warning came too late, for
scarcely had he passed the threshold, and
hardly had his niece had time to utter the
startling exclamation, when the door which
divided the two rooms closed violently
after him, as if swung to by a strong blast
of wind.

Schalken and he both rushed to the
door, but their united and desperate efforts
could not avail so much as to shake it.

Shriek after shriek burst from the inner
chamber, with all the piercing loudness of
despairing terror. Schalken and Douw
applied every energy and strained every
nerve to force open the door; but all in

There was no sound of struggling from
within, but the screams seemed to increase
in loudness, and at the same time they
heard the bolts of the latticed window
withdrawn, and the window itself grated
upon the sill as if thrown open.

One LAST shriek, so long and piercing
and agonised as to be scarcely human,
swelled from the room, and suddenly there
followed a death-like silence.

A light step was heard crossing the
floor, as if from the bed to the window;
and almost at the same instant the door
gave way, and, yielding to the pressure of
the external applicants, they were nearly
precipitated into the room. It was empty.
The window was open, and Schalken
sprang to a chair and gazed out upon
the street and canal below. He saw no
form, but he beheld, or thought he beheld,
the waters of the broad canal beneath
settling ring after ring in heavy circular
ripples, as if a moment before disturbed by
the immersion of some large and heavy mass.

No trace of Rose was ever after discovered,
nor was anything certain respecting
her mysterious wooer detected or even
suspected; no clue whereby to trace the
intricacies of the labyrinth and to arrive at
a distinct conclusion was to be found. But
an incident occurred, which, though it will
not be received by our rational readers as
at all approaching to evidence upon the
matter, nevertheless produced a strong and
a lasting impression upon the mind of

Many years after the events which we
have detailed, Schalken, then remotely
situated, received an intimation of his
father's death, and of his intended burial
upon a fixed day in the church of Rotterdam.
It was necessary that a very considerable
journey should be performed by
the funeral procession, which, as it will
readily be believed, was not very numerously
attended. Schalken with difficulty
arrived in Rotterdam late in the day upon
which the funeral was appointed to take
place. The procession had not then arrived.
Evening closed in, and still it did not appear.

Schalken strolled down to the church--
be found it open--notice of the arrival of
the funeral had been given, and the vault
in which the body was to be laid had been
opened. The official who corresponds to
our sexton, on seeing a well-dressed
gentleman, whose object was to attend the
expected funeral, pacing the aisle of the
church, hospitably invited him to share
with him the comforts of a blazing wood
fire, which, as was his custom in winter
time upon such occasions, he had kindled
on the hearth of a chamber which commu-
nicated, by a flight of steps, with the vault

In this chamber Schalken and his
entertainer seated themselves, and the sexton,
after some fruitless attempts to engage his
guest in conversation, was obliged to apply
himself to his tobacco-pipe and can to
solace his solitude.

In spite of his grief and cares, the
fatigues of a rapid journey of nearly forty
hours gradually overcame the mind and
body of Godfrey Schalken, and he sank
into a deep sleep, from which he was
awakened by some one shaking him
gently by the shoulder. He first thought
that the old sexton had called him, but HE
was no longer in the room.

He roused himself, and as soon as he
could clearly see what was around him, he
perceived a female form, clothed in a kind
of light robe of muslin, part of which was
so disposed as to act as a veil, and in her
hand she carried a lamp. She was moving
rather away from him, and towards the
flight of steps which conducted towards the

Schalken felt a vague alarm at the sight
of this figure, and at the same time an
irresistible impulse to follow its guidance.
He followed it towards the vaults, but
when it reached the head of the stairs, he
paused; the figure paused also, and, turning
gently round, displayed, by the light of
the lamp it carried, the face and features
of his first love, Rose Velderkaust. There
was nothing horrible, or even sad, in the
countenance. On the contrary, it wore
the same arch smile which used to enchant
the artist long before in his happy days.

A feeling of awe and of interest, too
intense to be resisted, prompted him to
follow the spectre, if spectre it were. She
descended the stairs--he followed; and,
turning to the left, through a narrow
passage, she led him, to his infinite
surprise, into what appeared to be an old-
fashioned Dutch apartment, such as the
pictures of Gerard Douw have served to

Abundance of costly antique furniture
was disposed about the room, and in one
corner stood a four-post bed, with heavy
black-cloth curtains around it; the figure
frequently turned towards him with the
same arch smile; and when she came to
the side of the bed, she drew the curtains,
and by the light of the lamp which she
held towards its contents, she disclosed to
the horror-stricken painter, sitting bolt
upright in the bed, the livid and demoniac
form of Vanderhausen. Schalken had
hardly seen him when he fell senseless
upon the floor, where he lay until
discovered, on the next morning, by persons
employed in closing the passages into the
vaults. He was lying in a cell of considerable
size, which had not been disturbed for
a long time, and he had fallen beside a
large coffin which was supported upon
small stone pillars, a security against the
attacks of vermin.

To his dying day Schalken was satisfied
of the reality of the vision which he had
witnessed, and he has left behind him a
curious evidence of the impression which
it wrought upon his fancy, in a painting
executed shortly after the event we have
narrated, and which is valuable as
exhibiting not only the peculiarities which
have made Schalken's pictures sought
after, but even more so as presenting a
portrait, as close and faithful as one taken
from memory can be, of his early love,
Rose Velderkaust, whose mysterious fate
must ever remain matter of speculation.

The picture represents a chamber of
antique masonry, such as might be found
in most old cathedrals, and is lighted
faintly by a lamp carried in the hand of
a female figure, such as we have above
attempted to describe; and in the
background, and to the left of him who
examines the painting, there stands the
form of a man apparently aroused from
sleep, and by his attitude, his hand being
laid upon his sword, exhibiting considerable
alarm: this last figure is illuminated
only by the expiring glare of a wood or
charcoal fire.

The whole production exhibits a beauti-
ful specimen of that artful and singular
distribution of light and shade which has
rendered the name of Schalken immortal
among the artists of his country. This
tale is traditionary, and the reader will
easily perceive, by our studiously omitting
to heighten many points of the narrative,
when a little additional colouring might
have added effect to the recital, that we
have desired to lay before him, not a figment
of the brain, but a curious tradition
connected with, and belonging to, the
biography of a famous artist.


Being an Eighth Extract from the Legacy of the late
Francis Purcell, P. P. of Drumcoolagh.

I have observed, my dear friend,
among other grievous misconceptions
current among men otherwise
well-informed, and which tend to
degrade the pretensions of my native land,
an impression that there exists no such
thing as indigenous modern Irish composition
deserving the name of poetry--a
belief which has been thoughtlessly
sustained and confirmed by the unconscion-
able literary perverseness of Irishmen
themselves, who have preferred the easy
task of concocting humorous extravaganzas,
which caricature with merciless exaggeration
the pedantry, bombast, and blunders
incident to the lowest order of Hibernian
ballads, to the more pleasurable and
patriotic duty of collecting together the
many, many specimens of genuine poetic
feeling, which have grown up, like its wild
flowers, from the warm though neglected
soil of Ireland.

In fact, the productions which have
long been regarded as pure samples of
Irish poetic composition, such as 'The
Groves of Blarney,' and 'The Wedding
of Ballyporeen,' 'Ally Croker,' etc., etc.,
are altogether spurious, and as much like
the thing they call themselves 'as I to

There are to be sure in Ireland, as in all
countries, poems which deserve to be
laughed at. The native productions of
which I speak, frequently abound in
absurdities--absurdities which are often,
too, provokingly mixed up with what is
beautiful; but I strongly and absolutely
deny that the prevailing or even the
usual character of Irish poetry is that of
comicality. No country, no time, is
devoid of real poetry, or something
approaching to it; and surely it were a
strange thing if Ireland, abounding as she
does from shore to shore with all that is
beautiful, and grand, and savage in
scenery, and filled with wild recollections,
vivid passions, warm affections, and keen
sorrow, could find no language to speak
withal, but that of mummery and jest.
No, her language is imperfect, but there
is strength in its rudeness, and beauty in
its wildness; and, above all, strong feeling
flows through it, like fresh fountains in
rugged caverns.

And yet I will not say that the
language of genuine indigenous Irish
composition is always vulgar and uncouth:
on the contrary, I am in possession
of some specimens, though by no means
of the highest order as to poetic merit,
which do not possess throughout a single
peculiarity of diction. The lines which
I now proceed to lay before you, by way
of illustration, are from the pen of an
unfortunate young man, of very humble
birth, whose early hopes were crossed by
the untimely death of her whom he loved.
He was a self-educated man, and in after-
life rose to high distinctions in the Church
to which he devoted himself--an act which
proves the sincerity of spirit with which
these verses were written.

'When moonlight falls on wave and wimple,
And silvers every circling dimple,
That onward, onward sails:
When fragrant hawthorns wild and simple
Lend perfume to the gales,
And the pale moon in heaven abiding,
O'er midnight mists and mountains riding,
Shines on the river, smoothly gliding
Through quiet dales,

'I wander there in solitude,
Charmed by the chiming music rude
Of streams that fret and flow.
For by that eddying stream SHE stood,
On such a night I trow:
For HER the thorn its breath was lending,
On this same tide HER eye was bending,
And with its voice HER voice was blending
Long, long ago.

Wild stream! I walk by thee once more,
I see thy hawthorns dim and hoar,
I hear thy waters moan,
And night-winds sigh from shore to shore,
With hushed and hollow tone;
But breezes on their light way winging,
And all thy waters heedless singing,
No more to me are gladness bringing--
I am alone.

'Years after years, their swift way keeping,
Like sere leaves down thy current sweeping,
Are lost for aye, and sped--
And Death the wintry soil is heaping
As fast as flowers are shed.
And she who wandered by my side,
And breathed enchantment o'er thy tide,
That makes thee still my friend and guide--
And she is dead.'

These lines I have transcribed in order
to prove a point which I have heard
denied, namely, that an Irish peasant--
for their author was no more--may write
at least correctly in the matter of measure,
language, and rhyme; and I shall add
several extracts in further illustration of
the same fact, a fact whose assertion, it
must be allowed, may appear somewhat
paradoxical even to those who are
acquainted, though superficially, with
Hibernian composition. The rhymes are,
it must be granted, in the generality of
such productions, very latitudinarian
indeed, and as a veteran votary of the
muse once assured me, depend wholly
upon the wowls (vowels), as may be seen
in the following stanza of the famous
'Shanavan Voicth.'

' "What'll we have for supper?"
Says my Shanavan Voicth;
"We'll have turkeys and roast BEEF,
And we'll eat it very SWEET,
And then we'll take a SLEEP,"
Says my Shanavan Voicth.'

But I am desirous of showing you that,
although barbarisms may and do exist in
our native ballads, there are still to be
found exceptions which furnish examples
of strict correctness in rhyme and metre.
Whether they be one whit the better for
this I have my doubts. In order to
establish my position, I subjoin a portion
of a ballad by one Michael Finley, of
whom more anon. The GENTLEMAN spoken
of in the song is Lord Edward Fitzgerald.

'The day that traitors sould him and inimies bought him,
The day that the red gold and red blood was paid--
Then the green turned pale and thrembled like the dead leaves in
And the heart an' hope iv Ireland in the could grave was

'The day I saw you first, with the sunshine fallin' round ye,
My heart fairly opened with the grandeur of the view:
For ten thousand Irish boys that day did surround ye,
An' I swore to stand by them till death, an' fight for you.

'Ye wor the bravest gentleman, an' the best that ever stood,
And your eyelid never thrembled for danger nor for dread,
An' nobleness was flowin' in each stream of your blood--
My bleasing on you night au' day, an' Glory be your bed.

'My black an' bitter curse on the head, an' heart, an' hand,
That plotted, wished, an' worked the fall of this Irish hero
God's curse upon the Irishman that sould his native land,
An' hell consume to dust the hand that held the thraitor's

Such were the politics and poetry of
Michael Finley, in his day, perhaps, the
most noted song-maker of his country; but
as genius is never without its eccentricities,
Finley had his peculiarities, and among
these, perhaps the most amusing was his
rooted aversion to pen, ink, and paper, in
perfect independence of which, all his
compositions were completed. It is
impossible to describe the jealousy with
which he regarded the presence of writing
materials of any kind, and his ever wakeful
fears lest some literary pirate should
transfer his oral poetry to paper--fears
which were not altogether without warrant,
inasmuch as the recitation and singing of
these original pieces were to him a source
of wealth and importance. I recollect
upon one occasion his detecting me in the
very act of following his recitation with
my pencil and I shall not soon forget his
indignant scowl, as stopping abruptly in
the midst of a line, he sharply exclaimed:

'Is my pome a pigsty, or what, that you
want a surveyor's ground-plan of it?'

Owing to this absurd scruple, I have been
obliged, with one exception, that of the ballad
of 'Phaudhrig Crohoore,' to rest satisfied
with such snatches and fragments of his
poetry as my memory could bear away--a
fact which must account for the mutilated
state in which I have been obliged to
present the foregoing specimen of his

It was in vain for me to reason with
this man of metres upon the unreasonableness
of this despotic and exclusive assertion
of copyright. I well remember his
answer to me when, among other arguments,
I urged the advisability of some
care for the permanence of his reputation,
as a motive to induce him to consent to
have his poems written down, and thus
reduced to a palpable and enduring

'I often noticed,' said he, 'when a mist
id be spreadin', a little brier to look as big,
you'd think, as an oak tree; an'
same way, in the dimmness iv the nightfall,
I often seen a man tremblin' and crassin'
himself as if a sperit was before him, at
the sight iv a small thorn bush, that he'd
leap over with ase if the daylight and
sunshine was in it. An' that's the rason why
I think it id be better for the likes iv me
to be remimbered in tradition than to be
written in history.'

Finley has now been dead nearly eleven
years, and his fame has not prospered by
the tactics which he pursued, for his
reputation, so far from being magnified, has
been wholly obliterated by the mists of

With no small difficulty, and no inconsiderable
manoeuvring, I succeeded in procuring,
at an expense of trouble and
conscience which you will no doubt
think but poorly rewarded, an accurate
'report' of one of his most popular
recitations. It celebrates one of the many
daring exploits of the once famous
Phaudhrig Crohoore (in prosaic English,
Patrick Connor). I have witnessed
powerful effects produced upon large
assemblies by Finley's recitation of this
poem which he was wont, upon pressing
invitation, to deliver at weddings, wakes,
and the like; of course the power of
the narrative was greatly enhanced by
the fact that many of his auditors
had seen and well knew the chief actors in
the drama.


Oh, Phaudhrig Crohoore was the broth of a boy,
And he stood six foot eight,
And his arm was as round as another man's thigh,
'Tis Phaudhrig was great,--
And his hair was as black as the shadows of night,
And hung over the scars left by many a fight;
And his voice, like the thunder, was deep, strong, and loud,
And his eye like the lightnin' from under the cloud.
And all the girls liked him, for he could spake civil,
And sweet when he chose it, for he was the divil.
An' there wasn't a girl from thirty-five undher,
Divil a matter how crass, but he could come round her.
But of all the sweet girls that smiled on him, but one
Was the girl of his heart, an' he loved her alone.
An' warm as the sun, as the rock firm an' sure,
Was the love of the heart of Phaudhrig Crohoore;
An' he'd die for one smile from his Kathleen O'Brien,
For his love, like his hatred, was sthrong as the lion.

'But Michael O'Hanlon loved Kathleen as well
As he hated Crohoore--an' that same was like hell.
But O'Brien liked HIM, for they were the same parties,
The O'Briens, O'Hanlons, an' Murphys, and Cartys--
An' they all went together an' hated Crohoore,
For it's many the batin' he gave them before;
An' O'Hanlon made up to O'Brien, an' says he:
"I'll marry your daughter, if you'll give her to me."
And the match was made up, an' when Shrovetide came on,
The company assimbled three hundred if one:
There was all the O'Hanlons, an' Murphys, an' Cartys,
An' the young boys an' girls av all o' them parties;
An' the O'Briens, av coorse, gathered strong on day,
An' the pipers an' fiddlers were tearin' away;
There was roarin', an' jumpin', an' jiggin', an' flingin',
An' jokin', an' blessin', an' kissin', an' singin',
An' they wor all laughin'--why not, to be sure?--
How O'Hanlon came inside of Phaudhrig Crohoore.
An' they all talked an' laughed the length of the table,
Atin' an' dhrinkin' all while they wor able,
And with pipin' an' fiddlin' an' roarin' like tundher,
Your head you'd think fairly was splittin' asundher;
And the priest called out, "Silence, ye blackguards, agin!"
An' he took up his prayer-book, just goin' to begin,
An' they all held their tongues from their funnin' and bawlin',
So silent you'd notice the smallest pin fallin';

An' the priest was just beg'nin' to read, whin the door
Sprung back to the wall, and in walked Crohoore--
Oh! Phaudhrig Crohoore was the broth of a boy,
Ant he stood six foot eight,
An' his arm was as round as another man's thigh,
'Tis Phaudhrig was great--
An' he walked slowly up, watched by many a bright eye,
As a black cloud moves on through the stars of the sky,
An' none sthrove to stop him, for Phaudhrig was great,
Till he stood all alone, just apposit the sate
Where O'Hanlon and Kathleen, his beautiful bride,
Were sitting so illigant out side by side;
An' he gave her one look that her heart almost broke,
An' he turned to O'Brien, her father, and spoke,
An' his voice, like the thunder, was deep, sthrong, and loud,
An' his eye shone like lightnin' from under the cloud:
"I didn't come here like a tame, crawlin' mouse,
But I stand like a man in my inimy's house;
In the field, on the road, Phaudhrig never knew fear,
Of his foemen, an' God knows he scorns it here;

So lave me at aise, for three minutes or four,
To spake to the girl I'll never see more."
An' to Kathleen he turned, and his voice changed its tone,
For he thought of the days when he called her his own,
An' his eye blazed like lightnin' from under the cloud
On his false-hearted girl, reproachful and proud,
An' says he: "Kathleen bawn, is it thrue what I hear,
That you marry of your free choice, without threat or fear?
If so, spake the word, an' I'll turn and depart,
Chated once, and once only by woman's false heart."
Oh! sorrow and love made the poor girl dumb,
An' she thried hard to spake, but the words wouldn't come,
For the sound of his voice, as he stood there fornint her,
Wint could on her heart as the night wind in winther.
An' the tears in her blue eyes stood tremblin' to flow,
And pale was her cheek as the moonshine on snow;
Then the heart of bould Phaudhrig swelled high in its place,
For he knew, by one look in that beautiful face,

That though sthrangers an' foemen their pledged hands might
Her true heart was his, and his only, for ever.
An' he lifted his voice, like the agle's hoarse call,
An' says Phaudhrig, "She's mine still, in spite of yez all!"
Then up jumped O'Hanlon, an' a tall boy was he,
An' he looked on bould Phaudhrig as fierce as could be,
An' says he, "By the hokey! before you go out,
Bould Phaudhrig Crohoore, you ,must fight for a bout."
Then Phaudhrig made answer: "I'll do my endeavour,"
An' with one blow he stretched bould O'Hanlon for ever.
In his arms he took Kathleen, an' stepped to the door;
And he leaped on his horse, and flung her before;
An' they all were so bother'd, that not a man stirred
Till the galloping hoofs on the pavement were heard.
Then up they all started, like bees in the swarm,
An' they riz a great shout, like the burst of a storm,
An' they roared, and they ran, and they shouted galore;
But Kathleen and Phaudhrig they never saw more.

'But them days are gone by, an' he is no more;
An' the green-grass is growin' o'er Phaudhrig Crohoore,
For he couldn't be aisy or quiet at all;
As he lived a brave boy, he resolved so to fall.
And he took a good pike--for Phaudhrig was great--
And he fought, and he died in the year ninety-eight.
An' the day that Crohoore in the green field was killed,
A sthrong boy was sthretched, and a sthrong heart was stilled.'

It is due to the memory of Finley to
say that the foregoing ballad, though bearing
throughout a strong resemblance to Sir
Walter Scott's 'Lochinvar,' was nevertheless
composed long before that spirited
production had seen the light.

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