Patrick's Day

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter VII (16) | Start of Chapter

Patrick's-day was opened with a little apprehension on the part of the people throughout the country. "Conciliation Hall" had given an invitation to all parts, for the people to assemble that day, and send a united and earnest appeal to government for a redress of grievances and Repeal of the Union, holding up France as an encouragement for action. The deplorable state of the country, the loss of confidence in landlords, and the abatement of the influence of the priests, left something to fear, that when so many should be assembled, the irascible temper of the nation would be stirred up to dangerous acts. In Castlebar, the people collected had mass; the priests exhorted them to be quiet; and in the evening the principal houses were illuminated. Boys assembled, lit up a tar-barrel, drew it through the streets, shouting, "Hurra for the Republic," while men walked soberly on, more as if following a hearse than if stimulating their countrymen to deeds of valor, or rejoicing at conquest. The mirth of the land has emphatically ceased, the spirit is broken; every effort at conviviality appears as if making a last struggle for life. The shamrock was sprinkled here and there upon a hat, but, like its wearer, seemed drooping, as being conscious that its bloom was scathed and its beauty dying forever. The deep disease in this body politic has never been thoroughly probed, and the evil lies where probably it has been least suspected. The habits of the higher classes for centuries have had little tendency to enlighten or moralize the lower order, and yet, when all is taken into consideration, drinking habits included, the scale must preponderate in favor of the latter.