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FATHER MATHEW AS A DIRECTOR.'.
people from the country, many of whom then spoke no other language than Irish, Father Mathew set himself diligently to learn the native tongue; and that after a time he became sufficiently conversant with it for the purposes of his ministry.
An incident occurred to him on one occasion which left a deep impression on his mind. It was on a Sunday morning, when he had been engaged in the church from six o'clock until after ten, in hearing confessions, celebrating Mass, and again hearing confessions. He had been in his confessional the night before till eleven o'clock; so that, when on this morning he was about to leave the church in order to get his breakfast, he was both hungry and weary. But as he was just about to leave, four sailors rolled in, and requested him to hear their confessions. 'Why did you not come at a more reasonable hour?' asked Father Mathew, in a tone of momentary irritation; 'I can't hear you now, come in the morning.' The sailors turned to go, when a devout poor woman, who had witnessed the interview, gently approached him, and touching his arm, said, in a voice of respectful entreaty, 'They may not come again, sir.' This implied remonstrance made an instantaneous impression on his mind; and running after the sailors, who had left in the meantime, he brought them back to the confessional, and remained with them until he had administered the sacraments to each. He then entertained them at breakfast, and dismissed them in a happy state of mind. He afterwards thanked the poor woman, through whom,' he said, 'the Holy Ghost had spoken to him.'
In some years subsequent to the period of which we now treat, a Catholic lady said to an elderly servant in her house- Well, Kitty, how do you like Father Mathew as a director?' Wisha, purty well, ma'm.' 'What do you mean by "purty well?" enquired the mistress. 'Well, indeed, ma'm, he's a beautiful director, not a doubt about it; but—' here Kitty paused. 'What do you mean by your "but?" persevered the mistress, whose interest was excited by the manner of her servant. Then, ma'm, the way of it is this-the worse you are in the beginning, the more he'd like you, and the better he'd use you; but if you didn't improve very soon, there is no usage too bad for you.' The mistress was strongly in favour of Kitty not changing her new director.
Day by day the young friar won his to the hearts of the poor, and to the respect and confidence of the rich. The people could not think of him without love, or speak of him without enthusiasm. was so gentle and compassionate to them, so respectful to poverty, in which, as he frequently said, he ever saw the image of the Redeemer ; he was so earnest in his desire to rescue the erring from vice, and to raise the fallen to a new life; he was so full of fervour and zeal, and
yet without harshness or austerity-that he took captive the affections of all who came within the reach of his influence. This is not the testimony of one; it is that of hundreds.
As the circle of his acquaintance became extended, so likewise was multiplied the number of his friends; and, with Father Mathew, once his friend, his friend for ever-for that must have been a quarrelsome and perverse person indeed, whose conduct severed the sacred tie with one who literally revelled in the delights of friendship. He thus began to be more generally known; and as he became more known, so did his influence extend among the class whose assistance was frequently of use to him in the promotion of those good works to which he soon turned his attention.
An instance may here be given of the devotedness of his friendship. It was in the summer of the year 1817, when he had been about three years in Cork, that that city was visited with an outbreak of fever of a peculiarly malignant character-in fact, the worse form of typhus a disease which has long made its home in Ireland, and which, in the period of pressure arising from scarcity of food, is sure to manifest its dreaded presence. Father Mathew was then very intimate with a family of great worth, well known and universally respected on account of their religious and charitable disposition. The eldest son, who was springing into manhood, was struck down by the sickness, which was making fearful ravages amidst the poor, and rapidly picking out its victims from among the wealthier class, to which the family in question belonged. Their residence was some distance, perhaps a mile and a half, from Father Mathew's little crib in Blackamoor Lane, where, like his predecessor, Father O'Leary, he was buried amid salt-houses and stables.' But as early as five o'clock in the morning, the watchman, were he in the way, might have seen a slight active figure climbing the wall which surrounded the pleasure ground attached to the residence, and rapidly making its way to the rear of the building. This was Father Mathew, whose anxiety for the safety of his young friend was so intense, that he sought the earliest intelligence of how he had passed the night, but / whose consideration for the people of the lodge would not suffer him to disturb them at that hour to open the gate for him, and admit him in the usual way. The invalid, who was the object of so much solicitude, recovered from the attack, and lives to this day to tell, with grateful emotion, of a friendship so earnest and so sincere,
: CHAPTER III.
Father Mathew establishes Literary and Industrial Schools-Attracts the Young to him-Founds valuable Societies-Economy of TimePunctuality in keeping Appointments-Early Rising-Same Kindness to all-His lavish Charities-Instances of his Kindness-The imaginary Temptation-The Dean's Bees-He loses his youngest Brother-Instance of his Humility-His Preaching His Passion Sermon-Charity Sermons-Establishes a Cemetery--The Cholera of 1832-His Services in the Hospital-Saved!
BECOMING, after a time, thoroughly acquainted with the teeming population around him, their wants, their necessities, their vices as well as their virtues, he witnessed with pain the operation of two parent evils-ignorance and idleness; and he determined, so far as he could, to provide the usual remedies to counteract their baneful influence-namely, education and employment. There were some few schools in the city for the humblest class of the community; but at the time when Father Mathew drew round him active co-operators in his benevolent work, education was much more restricted than it is at present, when it is placed fairly within the reach of all who desire to avail themselves of its advantages. As to industrial training, it was not much thought of in those days. The efforts which Father Mathew then made in establishing a school in which industrial was combined with literary training, and in forming associations at once educational and charitable, were the fruitful germs of undertakings of far greater magnitude, which were afterwards developed into widely-extended and permanent usefulness. He opened a school for female children, and procured for it the attendance of a number of ladies who, at his earnest solicitation, devoted themselves with zeal to its superintendence. In this admirable school, which was established in a large store adjoining the Friary, hundreds of children were instructed in the ordinary rudiments of literary knowledge, and were also taught plain and other work, which was made for them a source of profit and support. They received from those good ladies, whom they had so much reason to respect, lessons of piety and virtue, which strengthened while they formed their moral character, and prepared them to resist some of the worst temptations common to their condition of life. This school progressed and prospered, and was ere long felt to be a blessing to the neighbourhood. Father Mathew cherished it as the apple of his eye. In the year 1824 there were 500 pupils, grown girls as well as children, in this school. The upper loft, or apartment,
was occupied by 200 girls, who were constantly employed in various kinds of work during the hours in which they were not engaged in learning the ordinary lessons taught in such schools. The lower loft of the store contained 300 children, a large proportion of them of tender years. There was also an evening or night school for boys, many of them orphan or deserted children, but all of the very humblest and poorest class.
To attract the young towards him by every honest art of persuasion and inducement, and to acquire and maintain over them a salutary yet gentle control, was with him an instinct as well as a policy. And few men were more calculated than he was to win the confidence of the young, and inspire them with a deep interest in what they were taught, and a sentiment of personal devotion to their teacher. Father Mathew naturally preferred adopting the suggestion of the blandi doctores of Horace to the stern maxim of Solomon. The crustula were, in his esteem, a more effectual agent than the rod. Sweet smiles, and gentle words, and tender caresses, and timely presents, and occasional feasts, and pleasant trips into the country-these were some of the means which he employed with a number of interesting boys and youths of the middle class, whom he attracted to his church, and formed into societies, whose objects were at once religious, educational, and charitable. The boys attended at the altar, and, by their decorum of conduct and gravity of demeanour, and the neatness and even picturesqueness of the costume which he had provided for them, added considerably to the pomp and impressiveness of the religious ceremonial for which the 'Little Friary,' as it was commonly called, became remarkable under Father Mathew's auspices. The young men taught catechism, and instructed poor children to read and write; and they improved their own minds through the aid of a well-stocked library, which their patron established for their use and enjoyment. They also visited the sick, and relieved their physical wants, as well as read for them and prayed with them. Here, in the Josephian Society of forty-five years since-for it was established by its founder in the year 1819-was the precursor of more than one association which in this day proves to be of so much advantage to its members, and which bridges over, as with a bridge of gold, the chasm that divides the different classes of society-especially those who possess almost everything, and those who want almost everything.
Father Mathew was most remarkable for his faculty of economising time. A favourite proverb of his was- Take time by the forelock, for he is bald behind;' and few ever so uniformly and persistently practised the wise lesson which it teaches as he did. He made time by husbanding and economising it. Rising early, generally about
EARLY RISING-THE SAME TO ALL.
five o'clock, and if necessary even earlier, he got through much business while other men were still in bed. Though, like all who are constantly engaged in some engrossing pursuit, he felt the day rapidly pass, he nevertheless found it to suffice for the discharge of his varied duties. He seemed to have the right moment for everything, and this too when his duties became more onerous and pressing, and the claims upon his attention were multiplied in consequence alike of his great popularity, and the every day widening circle of his acquaintance. In his appointments he was punctual to the minute, always at the appointed place at the appointed moment. 'In fact,' to use the words of a brother clergyman who knew and loved him from the first year of his ministry in Cork, he was never once absent from where his duty called him, whether by a public necessity or a private claim, or where his presence could console the afflicted, or give hope to the despairing. It might be added that he was as punctual as punctilious in his visits of friendship, and even of ceremony; though it must be admitted that he contrived to combine a little business with occasions of the kind. For instance, when visiting at the house of a friend, he was sure to ask after the 'young gentlemen' of the family; and when the young gentlemen appeared, perhaps in obedience to a special summons, and that he had fondled and caressed them, as usual, he contrived to whisper into their blushing ear, 'My dear, you are forgetting me altogether; I have not seen you of late,'- -a hint which was unfailingly understood, and which was generally successful. So that these visits of friendship enabled the watchful shepherd to keep his young flock from straying into devious paths. But, whatever the duty, public or private, he was certain to perform it with exemplary regularity; and thus by early rising, and the assistance of a programme, carefully prepared in the morning, Father Mathew got through an amount of work which three or four really active and energetic men, not possessing his method, would have found it hard to have equalled. Being one day asked by a friend how he contrived to rise so early as he did, he answered, while pointing to an adjoining cooperage, then in full operation, 'If I were a cooper, and bound to Mr. I should be up as early, so as to be at my work at the appointed time, and thus become pleasing to Mr. -, my master. But I have a higher calling, and I serve a better Master; and am I to be less desirous of pleasing that Master than I should be to satisfy
Mr. It will be seen how this habit of early rising, and the method with which he provided for each hour of the day, served him in those wonderful exertions which he subsequently displayed in his mission as leader of the Temperance movement.
Father Mathew was a gentleman by birth and association, and his