We are going totalk, if you please, in the ensuing chapters, of what was going on inChapelizod about a hundred years ago. A hundredyears,tobe sure, is a goodwhile; but though fashions have changed, some old phrases dropped out, andnew ones come in; and snuff andhairpowder, and sacques and solitaires quitepassed away—yet men and women were men and women all the same—as elderlyfellows, like yourhumble servant, who have seen and talked withrearward stragglers of that generation—now all and long marched off—cantestify, if they will.
In those days Chapelizod was about thegayest and prettiest of the outpost villages in which old Dublin took acomplacent pride. The poplars which stood, in military rows, here and there,just showed a glimpse of formality among the orchards and old timber thatlined the banks of the river and the valley of the Liffey, with a lively sortof richness. The broad old street looked hospitable and merry, with steeproofs and many coloured hall-doors. The jolly old inn, just beyond theturnpike at the sweep of the road, leading over the buttressed bridge by themill, was first to welcome the excursionist from Dublin, under the sign ofthe Phœnix. There, in the grand wainscoted back-parlour, with 'the great andgood King William,' in his robe, garter, periwig, and sceptre presiding inthe panel over the chimneypiece, and confronting the large projecting window,through which the river, and the daffodils, and the summer foliage looked sobright and quiet, the Aldermen of Skinner's Alley—a club of the 'true blue'dye, as old as the Jacobite wars of the previous century—the corporation ofshoemakers, or of tailors, or the freemasons, or the musical clubs, loved todine at the stately hour of five, and deliver their jokes, sentiments, songs,and wisdom, on a pleasant summer's evening. Alas! the inn is as clean gone asthe guests—a dream of the shadow of smoke.
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