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accommodation of visitors. The gloom and uncertain depth of the grotto, the sound of the water, and the beauty of the surrounding solitary scene, surveyed through the dark arched entrance, shagged with weeds and the roots of trees, give the spot an impressive effect. Grose gives a jocose account of the origin of the name of the cave. Old Mother Ludlam, he tells us, was a white witch, one who neither killed hogs, rode on broomsticks, nor made children vomit nails and crooked pins, but on the contrary did all the good she could. That the country people, when in want of any article, say a frying-pan or a spade, would come to the cave at midnight, and turning three times round, would three times say, “Pray, good Mother Ludlam, lend me such a thing and I will return it within two days.” The next morning on going there again, the article would be found laid at the entrance of the cave. At length the borrower of a large cauldron was not punctual in returning it, which so irritated the good mother, that when it did come she refused to take it in again, and in course of time it was conveyed away to Waverley Abbey, and, at the dissolution of the monasteries, was deposited in Frensham church. From the hour of the non-appearance of the cauldron, however, at its proper time, Mother Ludlam never would lend the slightest thing.
The resorts and residences of Swift in London, during his life there, have no very peculiar interest. He frequented freely the houses of the great political characters with whom he was connected. His immediate friends were Harley, Boling broke, Godolphin. He was a frequent attendant at Leicester-house, the court of the Prince of Wales, afterwards George II. He was on the most familiar terms with all the literati, Gay, Pope, Addison, and for a considerable period, Steele, etc. He was often at Twickenham for months together, and Button's coffeehouse was the constant resort of the wits of the time, amongst whom he played a very conspicuous part. It is not in these places, however, that the deep interest of Swift's life has settled, and, therefore, we pass at once across the channel to Ireland, and seek his homes there. We have already noticed his brief abode at Kilroot ; his next residence was at Laracor, in Meath.
Swift was about thirty-two years of age when he attended Lord Berkeley, one of the Lords Justices of Ireland, to that country as his chaplain and private secretary. Berkeley had promised him the first good church living that fell vacant, but the rich deanery of Derry soon after falling out, he would only sell it to Swift for a thousand pounds. Swift resented this in such a manner, that to prevent making so formidable an enemy, he gave him the next vacancy,—the rectory of Agher, and the vicarage of Laracor and Rathbeggan. These livings, united, amounted to about 2301. yearly; and the prebend of Dunlavin being added in the year 1700, raised Swift's income to betwixt 3501. and 4001. His manner of taking possession of Laracor, where he resolved to live, was characteristic. He was a great walker, and he is said to have walked down incognito to Laracor from Dublin, making doggrel rhymes on the places which he passed through. Many anecdotes are related of this journey. Arriving, he entered the curate's house, demanded his name, and announced himself bluntly “as his master.” All was bustle to receive a person of such consequence, who, apparently, was determined to make his consequence felt. The curate's wife was ordered to lay aside the doctor's clean shirt and stockings, which he carried in his pocket; nor did Swift relax his airs of domination until he had excited much alarm, which his subsequent and friendly conduct to the worthy couple turned into respectful attachment.
These brusqueries of the dean's were, no doubt, very amusing to himself, and are agreeable enough to read of, but they must have been anything but agreeable to those upon whom they were played off. They betray a want of regard to the feelings of others, and were, every one of them, offences against the best laws of society, which every one who regards the kindly sparing of the feelings of the humble and the modest ought to condemn. However respectful might be the after attachment of this worthy curate and his wife, we may well believe that the first strange rudeness and severity of the dreaded dean would leave a wound and a terror behind that were not deserved, and that no one ought willingly to inflict. There were cases where folly merited the eccentric chastisement which Swift gave them. The farmer's wife who invited him to dinner, and then spoiled the dinner by repeatedly complaining that it really was too poor for him to sit down to, though the table groaned with good things, deserved, in some degree, the retort, —" Then why did you not get a better?-you knew I was coming; I have a good mind to go away and dine on a red herring." Yet even there, the good-natured country habit of the woman was somewhat too severely punished. She meant well.
Swift seemed to settle down at Laracor in good earnest. He found the church and parsonage much neglected and dilapidated, and set about their repairs at once. He was active and regular in the discharge of his clerical duties. He read prayers twice a week, and preached regularly on Sundays. The prayers were thinly attended, and it was on one of these occasions that Lord Orrery represents him as addressing the clerk, Roger Coxe, as “ My dearly beloved Roger.” The truth of the anecdote has been disputed, and is said to exist in an old jest-book, printed half a century before. This does not, however, render it at all improbable that Swift did not make use of the jest, especially when we know that Roger was himself a humourist and a joker; as, for instance, when Swift asked Roger why he wore a red waistcoat, and he replied, because he belonged to the church militant. Swift took much pleasure in his garden at Laracor ; con
verted a rivulet that ran through it into a regular canal, and planted on its banks avenues of willows. As soon as he was settled, Stella, and her companion
Mrs. Dingley, came over 田
and settled down too. They had a house near the gate of Knightsbrook, the old residence of the Perci
vals, almost half a mile from Swift's house, where they lived when Swift was at Laracor, or were the guests of the hospitable vicar of Trim, Dr. Raymond.
Whenever Swift left Laracor for a time, as on his annual journeys to England, the ladies then took possession of the vicarage of Laracor, and remained there during his absence. The site of Stella's house is marked on the Ordnance Survey of the county of Meath.
The residence of Swift at Laracor includes a most important portion of his life. It was, at the least, twelve years, as he took possession of his living in 1700, and quitted it for the deanery of St. Patrick in 1713. Here he was fully occupied with the duties of his parish, and the united labours of authorship and politics. Hardly was he settled when he wrote his pamphlet on the Dissensions between the Nobles and Commons of Rome, which applied to the impeachment by the Commons of Lords Somers, Oxford, Halifax, and Portland, on account of their share in the partition treaty. This brought him at once into the intimacy of Somers, Sunderland, and Halifax. Here he soon after published his Tale of a Tub, which had been written at Moorpark. This created a vast sensation, and though anonymous, like most of Swift's works, was soon known to be his, and his society was eagerly sought by men of the highest distinction both for rank and genius. Amongst the latter, Addison, Steele, Tickell, Philips, and others, at once became his friends. He now made use of his influence with government to obtain the gift of the first-fruits and tenths to the Church of Ireland, which he effected. Besides this boon to the Church at large, he increased the glebe of Laracor from one acre to twenty; and purchasing the tithes of Effernock, when he was not overburdened with money, settled them for ever on his successors. Here he amused himself with his quizzes upon Partridge the Astrologer, under the title of Isaac Bickerstaff, which almost drove that notorious impostor mad. Here he wrote the celebrated verses on Baucis and Philemon, and other of his poems. Here, in 1710, he made his grand political transit from the Whigs to the Tories, and became the great friend, assistant, and political counsellor of Harley and Bolingbroke; living, during his long sojourns in London, on the most familiar terms with those noblemen, and also with Pope, Gay, and all the more celebrated authors.
It is a singular subject of contemplation, and shows what momentous influence a mere private man may acquire in England by his talents,—that of Swift's political achievements at this time. Here was a country clergyman of an obscure parish in Meath, with a congregation, as he himself said, of "some halfscore persons,” who yet wielded the destinies of all Europe. It was more by the power of his pen in " The Examiner,” and by his counsels and influence, than by any other means, that the Tories were enabled to turn out of office the long triumphant Whigs, and, by the peace of Utrecht, put a stop to the triumphs of Marlborough on the continent. The vengeance which the Tories took on their adversaries the Whigs on regaining power for a time, in Anne's reign, is, perhaps, the most startling thing in the history of party. The Whigs had steadily pursued the war against Louis the Fourteenth, in which William had been engaged all his life. For nearly half a century, that is, from 1667 to 1713, had that French monarch driven on a desperate contest for the destruction of the liberties of Europe. In Spain, in the Netherlands, in Holland, in Italy and Germany, had his generals, Catinat, Luxemburg, Condé, Turenne, Vendome, Villars, Melac, Villeroi, Tallard, etc. etc., led on the French armies to the most remorseless devastations. To this day, the successive demon deeds of Turenne, Melac, Créqui, and their soldiers, are vividly alive in the hearts and the memories of the peasantry of the Palatinate, where they destroyed nearly every city, chased the inhabitants away, leaving all that beautiful and fertile region a black desert, and throwing the bones of the ancient Germanic emperors out of their graves in the cathedral of Speir, played at bowls with their sculls. To extinguish Protestantism, and to extend the French empire, appeared Louis's two great objects; in which he was supported by all the spiritual power of the king of superstitions, the Pope. Revoking the Edict of Nantes, he committed the most horrible outrages and destruction on his own Protestant subjects. He hoped, on the subjugation of Holland and the reformed states of Germany, to carry out there the same horrors of religious annihilation. Except in the person of Buonaparte, never has the spirit of conquest, and of political insolence, shown itself in so lawless,