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´╗┐Title: Phelim Otoole's Courtship and Other Stories - Traits And Stories Of The Irish Peasantry, The Works of - William Carleton, Volume Three
Author: Carleton, William, 1794-1869
Language: English
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TRAITS AND STORIES OF THE IRISH PEASANTRY

BY WILLIAM CARLETON



Contents:

     Phelim O'toole's Courtship
     Wildgoose Lodge
     Tubber Derg; Or, The Red Well.
     Neal Malone
     Art Maguire; Or, The Broken Pledge.



PHELIM O'TOOLE'S COURTSHIP.


Phelim O'Toole, who had the honor of being that interesting personage,
an only son, was heir to a snug estate of half an acre, which had been
the family patrimony since the time of his grandfather, Tyrrell O'Toole,
who won it from the Sassenah at the point of his reaping-hook, during a
descent once made upon England by a body of "spalpeens," in the month
of August. This resolute little band was led on by Tyrrell, who, having
secured about eight guineas by the excursion, returned to his own
country, with a coarse linen travelling-bag slung across his shoulder, a
new hat in one hand, and a staff in the other. On reaching once more his
native village of Teernarogarah, he immediately took half an acre, for
which he paid a moderate rent in the shape of daily labor as a cotter.
On this he resided until death, after which event he was succeeded by
his son, Larry O'Toole, the father of the "purty boy" who is about to
shine in the following pages.

Phelim's father and mother had been married near seven years without
the happiness of a family. This to both was a great affliction. Sheelah
O'Toole was melancholy from night to morning, and Larry was melancholy
from morning to night. Their cottage was silent and solitary; the floor
and furniture had not the appearance of any cottage in which Irish
children are wont to amuse themselves. When they rose in the morning,
a miserable stillness prevailed around them; young voices were not
heard--laughing eyes turned not on their parents--the melody of angry
squabbles, as the urchins, in their parents' fancy, cuffed and scratched
each other--half, or wholly naked among the ashes in the morning,
soothed not the yearning hearts of Larry and his wife. No, no; there was
none of this.

Morning passed in a quietness hard to be borne: noon arrived, but the
dismal dreary sense of childlessness hung upon the house and their
hearts; night again returned, only to add its darkness to that which
overshadowed the sorrowful spirits of this disconsolate couple.

For the first two or three years, they bore this privation with a strong
confidence that it would not last. The heart, however, sometimes becomes
tired of hoping, or unable to bear the burthen of expectation, which
time only renders heavier. They first began to fret and pine, then to
murmur, and finally to recriminate.

Sheelah wished for children, "to have the crathurs to spake to," she
said, "and comfort us when we'd get ould an' helpless."

Larry cared not, provided they had a son to inherit the "half acre."
This was the burthen of his wishes, for in all their altercations, his
closing observation usually was--"well, but what's to become of the half
acre?"

"What's to become of the half acre? Arrah what do I care for the half
acre? It's not that you ought to be thinkin' of, but the dismal poor
house we have, wid not the laugh or schreech of a _single pastiah_ (*
child) in it from year's end to year's end."

"Well, Sheelah?--"

"Well, yourself, Larry? To the diouol I pitch your half acre, man."

"To the diouol you--pitch--What do you fly at me for?"

"Who's flyin' at you? They'd have little tow on their rock that 'ud fly
at you."

"You are flyin' at me; an' only you have a hard face, you wouldn't do
it."

"A hard face! Indeed it's well come over wid us, to be tould that by the
likes o' you! ha!"

"No matther for that! You had betther keep a soft tongue in your head,
an' a civil one, in the mane time. Why did the divil timpt you to take a
fancy to me at all?"

"That's it. Throw the _grah_ an' love I _once_ had for you in my teeth,
now. It's a manly thing for you to do, an' you may be proud, of it. Dear
knows, it would be betther for me I had fell in consate wid any face
but yours."

"I wish to goodness you had! I wouldn't be as I am to-day. There's that
half acre--"

"To the diouol, I say, I pitch yourself an' your half acre! Why do you
be comin' acrass me wid your half acre? Eh?--why do you?"

"Come now; don't be puttin' your hands agin your sides, an waggin' your
impty head at me, like a rockin' stone."

"An' why do you be aggravatin' at me wid your half acre?"

"Bekase I have a good right to do it. What'll become of it when I d--"

"----That for you an' it, you poor excuse!"

"When I di--"

"----That for you an' it, I say! That for you an' it, you atomy!"

"What'll become of my half acre when I die? Did you hear that?"

"You ought to think of what'll become of yourself, when you die; that's
what you ought to think of; but little it throubles you, you sinful
reprobate! Sure the neighbors despises you."

"That's falsity; but they know the life I lade wid you. The edge of your
tongue's well known. They pity me, for bein' joined to the likes of you.
Your bad tongue's all you're good for."

"Aren't you afeard to be flyin' in the face o' Providence the way you
are? An' to be ladin' me sich a heart-scalded life for no rason?"

"It's your own story you're tellin'. Sure I haven't a day's pace wid
you, or ever had these three years. But wait till next harvest, an' if
I'm spared, I'll go to England. Whin I do, I've a consate in my head,
that you'll never see my face agin."

"Oh, you know that's an' ould story wid you. Many a time you threatened
us wid that afore. Who knows but you'd be dhrowned on your way, an' thin
we'd get another husband."

"An' be these blessed tongs, I'll do it afore I'm much oulder!"

"An' lave me here to starve an' sthruggle by myself! Desart me like a
villain, to poverty an' hardship! Marciful Mother of Heaven, look down
upon me this day! but I'm the ill-thrated, an' ill-used poor crathur,
by a man that I don't, an' never did, desarve it from! An' all in regard
that that 'half acre' must go to strangers! Och! oh!"

"Ay! now take to the cryin', do; rock yourself over the ashes, an' wipe
your eyes wid the corner of your apron; but, I say agin, _what's to
become of the half acre?_"

"Oh, God forgive you, Larry! That's the worst I say to you, you poor
half-dead blaguard!"

"Why do you massacray me wid your tongue as you do?"

"Go. an--go an. I won't make you an answer, you atomy! That's what I'll
do. The heavens above turn your heart this day, and give me strinth to
bear my throubles an' heart burnin', sweet Queen o' Consolation! Or take
me into the arms of Parodies, sooner nor be as I am, wid a poor baste of
a villain, that I never turn my tongue on, barrin' to tell him the kind
of a man he is, the blaguard!"

"You're betther than you desarve to be!"

To this, Sheelah made no further reply; on the contrary, she sat
smoking her pipe with a significant silence, that was only broken by an
occasional groan, an ejaculation, or a singularly devout upturning
of the eyes to heaven, accompanied by a shake of the head, at once
condemnatory and philosophical; indicative of her dissent from what he
said, as well as of her patience in bearing it.

Larry, however, usually proceeded to combat all her gestures by viva
voce argument; for every shake of her head he had an appropriate answer:
but without being able to move her from the obstinate silence she
maintained. Having thus the field to himself, and feeling rather annoyed
by the want of an antagonist, he argued on in the same form of dispute,
whilst she, after first calming her own spirit by the composing effects
of the pipe, usually cut him short with--

"Here, take a blast o' this, maybe it'll settle you."

This was received in silence. The good man smoked on, and every puff
appeared, as an evaporation of his anger. In due time he was as placid
as herself, drew his breath in a grave composed manner, laid his pipe
quietly on the hob, and went about his business as if nothing had
occurred between them.

These bickerings were strictly private, with the exception of some
disclosures made to Sheelah's mother and sisters. Even these were
thrown out rather as insinuations that all was not right, than as direct
assertions that they lived unhappily. Before strangers they were perfect
turtles.

Larry, according to the notices of his life furnished by Sheelah, was
"as good a husband as ever broke the world's bread;" and Sheelah "was
as good a poor man's wife as ever threw a gown over her shoulders."
Notwithstanding all this caution, their little quarrels took wind; their
unhappiness became known. Larry, in consequence of a failing he had, was
the cause of this. He happened to be one of those men who can conceal
nothing when in a state of intoxication. Whenever he indulged in
liquor too freely, the veil which discretion had drawn over their
recriminations was put aside, and a dolorous history of their
weaknesses, doubts, hopes, and wishes, most unscrupulously given to
every person on whom the complainant could fasten. When sober, he had no
recollection of this, so that many a conversation of cross-purposes took
place between him and his neighbors, with reference to the state of his
own domestic inquietude, and their want of children.

One day a poor mendicant came in at dinner hour, and stood as if to
solicit alms. It is customary in Ireland, when any person of that
description appears during meal times, to make him wait until the meal
is over, after which he is supplied with the fragments. No sooner had
the boccagh--as a certain class of beggars is termed--advanced past the
jamb, than he was desired to sit until the dinner should be concluded.
In the mean time, with the tact of an adept in his calling, he began
to ingratiate himself with Larry and his wife; and after sounding the
simple couple upon their private history, he discovered that want of
children was the occasion of their unhappiness.

"Well good people," said the pilgrim, after listening to a dismal story
on the subject, "don't be cast down, sure, whether or not. There's a
Holy Well that I can direct yez to in the county--. Any one, wid trust
in the Saint that's over it, who'll make a pilgrimage to it on the
Patthern day, won't be the worse for it. When you go there," he added,
"jist turn to a Lucky Stone that's at the side of the well, say a Rosary
before it, and at the end of every dicken (decade) kiss it once, ache of
you. Then you're to go round the well nine times, upon your bare knees,
sayin' your Pathers and Avers all the time. When that's over, lave a
ribbon or a bit of your dress behind you, or somethin' by way of an
offerin', thin go into a tent an' refresh yourselves, an' for that
matther, take a dance or two; come home, live happily, an' trust to the
holy saint for the rest."

A gleam of newly awakened hope might be discovered lurking in the
eyes of this simple pair, who felt that natural yearning of the, heart
incident to such as are without offspring.

They looked forward with deep anxiety to the anniversary of the Patron
Saint; and when it arrived, none certainly who attended it, felt a more
absorbing interest in the success of the pilgrimage than they did.

The days on which these pilgrimages are performed at such places are
called Pattern or Patron days. The journey to holy wells or holy lakes
is termed a Pilgrimage, or more commonly a Station. It is sometimes
enjoined by the priest, as an act of penance; and sometimes undertaken
voluntarily, as a devotional, work of great merit in the sight of God.
The crowds in many places amount to from five hundred to a thousand, and
often to two, three, four, or five thousand people.

These Stations have, for the most part, been placed in situations
remarkable for wild and savage grandeur, or for soft, exquisite, and
generally solitary beauty. They may be found on the high and rugged
mountain top; or sunk in the bottom of some still and lonely glen, far
removed from the ceaseless din of the world. Immediately beside them, or
close in their vicinity, stand the ruins of probably a picturesque
old abbey, or perhaps a modern chapel. The appearance of these gray,
ivy-covered walls is strongly calculated to stir up in the minds of
the people the memory of bygone times, when their religion, with its
imposing solemnities, was the religion of the land. It is for this
reason, probably, that patrons are countenanced; for if there be not
a political object in keeping them up, it is beyond human ingenuity to
conceive how either religion or morals can be improved by debauchery,
drunkenness, and bloodshed.

Let the reader, in order to understand the situation of the place we are
describing, imagine to himself a stupendous cliff overhanging a green
glen, into which tumbles a silver stream down a height of two or three
hundred feet. At the bottom of this rock, a few yards from the basin
formed by the cascade, in a sunless nook, was a well of cool, delicious
water. This was the "Holy Well," out of which issued a slender stream,
that joined the rivulet formed by the cascade. On the shrubs which
grew out of the crag-cliffs around it, might be seen innumerable rags
bleached by the weather out of their original color, small wooden
crosses, locks of human hair, buttons, and other substitutes for
property; poverty allowing the people to offer it only by fictitious
emblems. Lower down in the glen, on the river's bank, was a smooth
green, admirably adapted for the dance, which, notwithstanding the
religious rites, is the heart and soul of a Patron.

On that morning a vast influx of persons, male and female, old and
young, married and single, crowded eagerly towards the well. Among them
might be noticed the blind, the lame, the paralytic, and such as were
afflicted with various other diseases; nor were those good men and their
wives who had no offspring to be omitted. The mendicant, the pilgrim,
the boccagh, together with every other description of impostors,
remarkable for attending such places, were the first on the ground, all
busy in their respective vocations. The highways, the fields, and the
boreens, or bridle-roads, were filled with living streams of people
pressing forward to this great scene of fun and religion. The devotees
could in general be distinguished from the country folks by their
Pharisaical and penitential visages, as well as by their not wearing
shoes; for the Stations to such places were formerly made with bare
feet: most persons now, however, content themselves with stripping off
their shoes and stockings on coming within the precincts of the holy
ground. Human beings are not the only description of animals that
perform pilgrimages to holy wells and blessed lakes. Cows, horses, and
sheep are made to go through their duties, either by way of prevention,
or cure, of the diseases incident to them. This is not to be wondered
at, when it is known that in their religion every domestic animal has
its patron saint, to whom its owner may at any time pray on its behalf.
When the crowd was collected, nothing in the shape of an assembly
could surpass it in the originality of its appearance. In the glen were
constructed a number of tents, where whiskey and refreshments might be
had in abundance. Every tent had a fiddler or a piper; many two of them.
From the top of the pole that ran up from the roof of each tent, was
suspended the symbol by which the owner of it was known by his friends
and acquaintances. Here swung a salt herring or a turf; there a
shillelah; in a third place a shoe, in a fourth place a whisp of hay, in
a fifth an old hat, and so on with the rest.

The tents stood at a short distance from the scene of devotion at the
well, but not so far as to prevent the spectator from both seeing and
hearing what went on in each. Around the well, on bare knees, moved a
body of people thickly wedged together, some praying, some screaming,
some excoriating their neighbors' shins, and others dragging them out of
their way by the hair of the head. Exclamations of pain from the sick
or lame, thumping oaths in Irish, recriminations in broken English, and
prayers in bog Latin, all rose at once to the ears of the patron
saint, who, we are inclined to think--could he have heard or seen his
worshippers--would have disclaimed them altogether.

"For the sake of the Holy Virgin, keep your sharp elbows out o' my
ribs."

"My blessin' an you, young man, an' don't be lanin' an me, i' you
plase!"

"_Damnho sherry orth a rogarah ruah!_* what do you mane? Is it my back
you're brakin'?"

     * Eternal perdition on you, you red rogue.

"Hell pershue you, you ould sinner, can't you keep the spike of your
crutch out o' my stomach! If you love me tell me so; but, by the livin'
farmer, I'll take no such hints as that!"

"I'm a pilgrim, an' don't brake my leg upon the rock, an' my blessin' an
you!"

"Oh, murdher sheery! my poor child'll be smothered!"

"My heart's curse an you! is it the ould cripple you're trampin' over?"

"Here, Barny, blood alive, give this purty young girl a lift, your sowl,
or she'll soon be undhermost!"

     "'Och, 'twas on a Christmas mornin'
     That Jeroosillim was born in
     The Holy Land'----'

"Oh, my neck's broke!--the curse----Oh! I'm kilt fairly, so I am! The
curse o' Cromwell an you, an' hould away--

     'The Holy Land adornin'
     All by the Baltic Say.
     The angels on a Station,
     Wor takin' raycrayation,
     All in deep meditation,
     All by the'----

contints o' the book if you don't hould away, I say agin, an' let me go
on wid my _rann_ it'll be worse force for you!--

     'Wor takin' raycraytion,
     All by the Baltic Say!"

"Help the ould woman there."

"Queen o' Patriots pray for us!--St. Abraham----go to the divil, you
bosthoon; is it crushin' my sore leg you are?--St. Abraham pray for us!
St. Isinglass, pray for us! St. Jonathan,----musha, I wisht you wor
in America, honest man, instid o' twistin' my arm like a gad f-- St.
Jonathan, pray for us; Holy Nineveh, look down upon us wid compression
an' resolution this day. Blessed Jerooslim, throw down compuncture an'
meditation upon us Chrystyeens assembled here afore you to offer up our
sins! Oh, grant us, blessed Catasthrophy, the holy virtues of Timptation
an' Solitude, through the improvement an' accommodation of St.
Kolumbdyl! To him I offer up this button, a bit o' the waistband o' my
own breeches, an' a taste of my wife's petticoat, in remimbrance of us
having made this holy Station; an' may they rise up in glory to prove it
for us at the last day! Amin!"

Such was the character of the prayers and ejaculations which issued from
the lips of the motley group that scrambled, and crushed, and screamed,
on their knees around the well. In the midst of this ignorance and
absurdity, there were visible, however, many instances of piety,
goodness of heart, and simplicity of character. From such you could hear
neither oath nor exclamation. They complied with the usages of the place
modestly and attentively: though not insensible, at the same time, to
the strong disgust which the general conduct of those who were both
superstitious and wicked was calculated to excite. A little from the
well, just where its waters mingled with those of the cascade, men and
women might be seen washing the blood off their knees, and dipping such
parts of their body as Were afflicted with local complaints into the
stream. This part' of the ceremony was anything but agreeable to the
eye. Most of those who went round the well drank its waters; and several
of them filled flasks and bottles with it, which they brought home for
the benefit of such members of the family as could not attend in person.

Whilst all this went forward at the well, scenes of a different kind
were enacted lower down among the tents. No sooner had the penitents
got the difficult rites of the Station over, than they were off to the
whiskey; and decidedly, after the grinding of their bare knees upon
the hard rock--after the pushing, crushing, and exhaustion of bodily
strength which they had been forced to undergo--we say, that the
comforts and refreshments to be had in the tents were very seasonable.
Here the dancing, shouting, singing, courting, drinking, and fighting,
formed one wild uproar of noise, that was perfectly astounding. The
leading boys and the prettiest girls of the parish were all present,
partaking in the rustic revelry. Tipsy men were staggering in every
direction; fiddles were playing, pipes were squeaking, men were rushing
in detached bodies to some fight, women were doctoring the heads of such
as had been beaten, and factions were collecting their friends for a
fresh battle. Here you might see a grove of shillelahs up, and hear
the crash of the onset; and in another place, the heads of the dancing
parties bobbing up and down in brisk motion among the crowd that
surrounded them.

The pilgrim, having now gone through his Station, stood hemmed in by a
circle of those who wanted to purchase his beads or his scapulars. The
ballad-singer had his own mob, from among whom his voice might be heard
rising in its purest tones to the praise of--

     "Brave O'Connell, the Liberathur,
     An' great Salvathur of Ireland's Isle!"

As evening approached, the whiskey brought out the senseless prejudices
of parties and factions in a manner quite consonant to the habits of the
people. Those who, in deciding their private quarrels, had in the
early part of the day beat and abused each other, now united as the
subordinate branches of a greater party, for the purpose of opposing in
one general body some other hostile faction. These fights are usually
commenced by a challenge from one party to another, in which a person
from the opposite side is simply, and often very good-humoredly, invited
to assert, that "black is the white of his enemy's eye;" or to touch the
old coat which he is pleased to trail after him between the two opposing
powers. This characteristic challenge is soon accepted; the knocking
down and yelling are heard; stones fly, and every available weapon
is pressed into the service on both sides. In this manner the battle
proceeds, until, probably, a life or two is lost. Bones, too, are
savagely broken, and blood copiously spilled, by men who scarcely know
the remote cause of the enmity between the parties.

Such is a hasty sketch of the Pattern, as it is called in Ireland, at
which Larry and Sheelah duly performed their station. We, for our parts,
should be sorry to see the innocent pastimes of a people abolished; but,
surely, customs which perpetuate scenes of profligacy and crime should
not be suffered to stain the pure and holy character of religion.

It is scarcely necessary to inform our readers that Larry O'Toole and
Sheelah complied with every rite of the Station. To kiss the "Lucky
Stone," however, was their principal duty. Larry gave it a particularly
honest smack, and Sheelah impressed it with all the ardor of a devotee.
Having refreshed themselves in the tent, they returned home, and, in
somewhat less than a year from that period, found themselves the happy
parents of an heir to the half-acre, no less a personage than young
Phelim, who was called after St. Phelim, the patron of the "Lucky
Stone."

The reader perceives that Phelim was born under particularly auspicious
influence. His face was the herald of affection everywhere.

From the moment of his birth, Larry and Sheelah were seldom known to
have a dispute. Their whole future life was, with few exceptions, one
unchanging honeymoon. Had Phelim been deficient in comeliness, it would
have mattered not a _crona baun_. Phelim, on the contrary, promised to
be a beauty; both, his parents thought it, felt it, asserted it; and who
had a better right to be acquainted, as Larry said, "wid the outs an'
ins, the ups an' downs of his face, the darlin' swaddy!"

For the first ten years of his life Phelim could not be said to owe
the tailor much; nor could the covering which he wore be, without more
antiquarian loire than we can give to it, exactly classed under any
particular term by which the various parts of human dress are known. He
himself, like some of our great poets, was externally well acquainted
with the elements. The sun and he were particularly intimate; wind and
rain were his brothers, and frost also distantly related to him. With
mud he was hand and glove, and not a bog in the parish, or a quagmire
in the neighborhood, but sprung up under Phelim's tread, and threw him
forward with the brisk vibration of an old acquaintance. Touching his
dress, however, in the early part of his life, if he was clothed with
nothing else, he was clothed with mystery. Some assert that a cast-off
pair of his father's nether garments might be seen upon him each Sunday,
the wrong side foremost, in accommodation with some economy of his
mother's, who thought it safest, in consequence of his habits, to join
them in this inverted way to a cape which he wore on his shoulders. We
ourselves have seen one, who saw another, who saw Phelim in a pair of
stockings which covered him from his knee-pans to his haunches, where,
in the absence of waistbands, they made a pause--a breach existing from
that to the small of his back. The person who saw all this affirmed, at
the same time, that there was a dearth of cloth about the skirts of
the integument which stood him instead of a coat. He bore no bad
resemblance, he said, to-a moulting fowl, with scanty feathers, running
before a gale in the farm yard.

Phelim's want of dress in his merely boyish years being, in a great
measure, the national costume of some hundred thousand young Hibernians
in his rank of life, deserves a still more, particular notice. His
infancy we pass over; but from the period at which he did not enter
into small clothes, he might be seen every Sunday morning, or on some
important festival, issuing from his father's mansion, with a piece of
old cloth tied about him from the middle to the knees, leaving a pair
of legs visible, that were mottled over with characters which would,
if found on an Egyptian pillar, put an antiquary to the necessity of
constructing a new alphabet to decipher them. This, or the inverted
breeches, with his father's flannel waistcoat, or an old coat that swept
the ground at least two feet behind him, constituted his state dress. On
week days he threw off this finery, and contented himself, if the season
were summer, with appearing in a dun-colored shirt, which resembled
a noun-substantive, for it could stand alone. The absence of soap and
water is sometimes used as a substitute for milling linen among the
lower Irish; and so effectually had Phelim's single change been milled
in this manner, that, when disenshirting at night, he usually laid
it standing at his bedside where it reminded one of frosted linen in
everything but whiteness.

This, with but little variation, was Phelim's dress until his tenth
year. Long before that, however, he evinced those powers of attraction
which constituted so remarkable a feature in his character. He won all
hearts; the chickens and ducks were devotedly attached to him; the cow,
which the family always intended to buy, was in the habit of licking
Phelim in his dreams; the two goats which they actually did buy, treated
him like I one of themselves. Among the first and last he spent a great
deal of his early life; for as the floor of his father's house was but
a continuation of the dunghill, or the dunghill a continuation of the
floor, we know not rightly which, he had a larger scope, and a more
unsavory pool than usual, for amusement. Their dunghill, indeed, was the
finest of it size and kind to be seen; quite a tasteful thing, and so
convenient, that he could lay himself down at the hearth, and roll
out to its foot, after which he ascended it on his legs, with all the
elasticity of a young poet triumphantly climbing Parnassus.

One of the greatest wants which Phelim experienced in his young days,
was the want of a capacious pocket. We insinuate nothing; because with
respect to his agility in climbing fruit-trees, it was only a species of
exercise to which he was addicted--the eating and carrying away of the
fruit being merely incidental, or, probably, the result of abstraction,
which, as every one knows, proves what is termed "the Absence of
Genius." In these ambitious exploits, however, there is no denying that
he bitterly regretted the want of a pocket; and in connection with this
we have only to add, that most of his solitary walks were taken about
orchards and gardens, the contents of which he has been often seen to
contemplate with deep interest. This, to be sure, might proceed from
a provident regard to health, for it is a well-known fact that he
has frequently returned home in the evenings, distended like a
Boa-Constrictor after a gorge; yet no person was ever able to come at
the cause of his inflation. There were, to be sure, suspicions abroad,
and it was mostly found that depredations in some neighboring orchard
or garden had been committed a little before the periods in which it was
supposed the distention took place. Wo mention these things after the
example of those "d----d good-natured" biographers who write great men's
lives of late, only for the purpose of showing that there could be no
truth in such suspicions. Phelim, we assure an enlightened public, was
voraciously fond of fruit; he was frequently inflated, too, after the
manner of those who indulge therein to excess; fruit was always
missed immediately after the periods of his distention, so that it was
impossible he could have been concerned in the depredations then
made upon the neighboring orchards. In addition to this, we would beg
modestly to add, that the pomonian temperament is incompatible with the
other qualities for which he was famous. His parents were too ignorant
of those little eccentricities which, had they known them, would have
opened up a correct view of the splendid materials for village greatness
which he possessed, and which, probably, were nipped in their bud
for the want of a pocket to his breeches, or rather by the want of
a breeches to his pocket; for such was the wayward energy of his
disposition, that he ultimately succeeded in getting the latter, though
it certainly often failed him to procure the breeches. In fact, it was
a misfortune to him that he was the Son of his father and mother at all.
Had he been a second Melchizedec, and got into breeches in time,
the virtues which circumstances suppressed in his heart might have
flourished like cauliflowers, though the world would have lost all the
advantages arising from the splendor of his talents at going naked.

Another fact, in justice to his character, must not be omitted. His
penchant for fruit was generally known; but few persons, at the period
we are describing, were at all aware that a love of whiskey lurked as a
predominant trait in his character, to be brought out at a future era in
his life.

Before Phelim reached his tenth year, he and his parents had commenced
hostilities. Many were their efforts to subdue some peculiarities of his
temper which then began to appear. Phelim, however, being an only son,
possessed high vantage ground. Along with other small matters which
he was in the habit of picking up, might be reckoned a readiness
at swearing. Several other things also made their appearance in
his parents' cottage, for whose presence there, except through his
instrumentality, they found it rather difficult to account. Spades,
shovels, rakes, tubs, frying-pans, and many other-articles of domestic
use, were transferred, as if by magic, to Larry's cabin.

As Larry and his wife were both honest, these things were, of course,
restored to their owners, the moment they could be ascertained. Still,
although this honest couple's integrity was known, there were many
significant looks turned upon Phelim, and many spirited prophecies
uttered with especial reference to him, all of which hinted at the
probability of his dying something in the shape of a perpendicular
death. This habit, then, of adding to their furniture, was one cause of
the hostility between him and his parents; we say one, for there were at
least, a good round dozen besides. His touch, for instance, was fatal to
crockery; he stripped his father's Sunday clothes of their buttons,
with great secrecy and skill; he was a dead shot at the panes of his
neighbors' windows; a perfect necromancer at sucking eggs through
pin-holes; took great delight in calling home the neighboring farmers'
workingmen to dinner an hour before it was ready; and was in fact a
perfect master in many other ingenious manifestations of character, ere
he reached his twelfth year.

Now, it was about this period that the small-pox made its appearance in
the village. Indescribable was the dismay of Phelim's parents, lest
he among others might become a victim to it. Vaccination, had not then
surmounted the prejudices with which every discovery beneficial to
mankind is at first met; and the people were left principally to the
imposture of quacks, or the cunning of certain persons called "fairy
men" or "sonsie women." Nothing remained now but that this formidable
disease should be met by all the power and resources of superstition.
The first thing the mother did was to get a gospel consecrated by the
priest, for the purpose of guarding Phelim against evil. What is termed
a Gospel, and worn as a kind of charm about the person, is simply a slip
of paper, on which are written by the priest the few first verses of the
Gospel of St. John. This, however, being worn for no specific purpose,
was incapable of satisfying the honest woman. Superstition had its own
peculiar remedy for the small-pox, and Sheelah was resolved to apply it.
Accordingly she borrowed a neighbor's ass, drove it home with Phelim,
however, on its back, took the interesting youth by the nape of the
neck, and, in the name of the Trinity, shoved him three times under it,
and three times over it. She then put a bit of bread into its mouth,
until the ass had mumbled it a little, after which she gave the savory
morsel to Phelim, as a _bonne bouche_. This was one preventive against
the small-pox; but another was to be tried.

She next clipped off the extremities of Phelim's elf locks, tied them in
linen that was never bleached, and hung them beside the Gospel about
his neck. This was her second cure; but there was still a third to be
applied. She got the largest onion possible, which, having cut into nine
parts, she hung from the roof tree of the cabin, having first put the
separated parts together. It is supposed that this has the power of
drawing infection of any kind to itself. It is permitted to remain
untouched, until the disease has passed from the neighborhood, when it
is buried as far down in the earth as a single man can dig. This was
a third cure; but there was still a fourth. She borrowed ten asses'
halters from her neighbors, who, on hearing that they were for Phelim's
use, felt particular pleasure in obliging her. Having procured these,
she pointed them one by one at Phelim's neck, until the number nine
was completed. The tenth, she put on him, and with the end of it in
her hand, led him like an ass, nine mornings, before sunrise, to a
south-running stream, which he was obliged to cross. On doing this, two
conditions were to be fulfilled on the part of Phelim; he was bound, in
the first place, to keep his mouth filled, during the ceremony, with a
certain fluid which must be nameless: in the next, to be silent from the
moment he left home until his return.

Sheelah having satisfied herself that everything calculated to save her
darling from the small-pox was done, felt considerably relieved, and
hoped that whoever might be infected, Phelim would escape. On the
morning when the last journey to the river had been completed, she
despatched him home with the halters. Phelim, however, wended his way to
a little hazel copse, below the house, where he deliberately twined
the halters together, and erected a swing-swang, with which he amused
himself till hunger brought him to his dinner.

"Phelim, you idle thief, what kep you away till now?"

"Oh; mudher, mudher, gi' me a piece o' arran? (* bread.)

"Why, here's the praties done for your dinner. What kep you?"

"Oh, be gorra, it's well you ever seen me at all, so it is!"

"Why," said his father, "what happened you?"

"Oh, bedad, a terrible thing all out. As I was crassin' Dunroe Hill, I
thramped on hungry grass. First, I didn't know what kem over me, I got
so wake; an' every step I wint, 'twas waker an' waker I was growin',
till at long last, down I dhrops, an' couldn't move hand or fut. I dunna
how long I lay there, so I don't; but anyhow, who should be _sthreelin_'
acrass the hill, but an old _baccagh_.

"'My _bouchaleen dhas_,' says he--'my beautiful boy,' says he--'you're
in a bad state I find. You've thramped upon Dunroe _hungry grass_, an'
only for somethin' it's a _prabeen_ you'd be, afore ever you'd see home.
Can you spake at all?' says he.

"'Oh, murdher,' says I,' I b'lieve not.'

"'Well here,' says the baccagh, 'open your purty gub, an' take in a
thrifle of this male, an' you'll soon be stout enough.' Well, to be
sure, it bates the world! I had hardly tasted the male, whin I found
myself as well as ever; bekase you know, mudher, that's the cure for
it. 'Now,' says the baccagh, 'this is the spot the fairies planted their
hungry grass, an' so you'll know it agin when you see it. What's your
name?' says he.

"'Phelim O'Toole,' says I.

"'Well,' says he, 'go home an' tell your father an' mother to offer up
a prayer to St. Phelim, your namesake, in regard that only for him you'd
be a corp before any relief would a come near you; or, at any rate, wid
the fairies.'"

The father and mother, although with a thousand proofs before them that
Phelim, so long as he could at all contrive a lie, would never speak
truth, yet were so blind to his well-known propensity, that they
always believed the lie to be truth, until they discovered it to be a
falsehood. When he related a story, for instance, which carried not
only improbability, but impossibility on the face of it, they never
questioned his veracity. The neighbors, to be sure, were vexed and
nettled at the obstinacy of their credulity; especially on reflecting
that they were as sceptical in giving credence to the narrative of any
other person, as all rational people ought to be. The manner of training
up Phelim, and Phelim's method of governing them, had become a by-word
in the village. "Take a sthraw to him, like Sheelah O'Toole," was often
ironically said to mothers remarkable for mischievous indulgence to
their children.

The following day proved that no charm could protect Phelim from the
small-pox. Every symptom of that disease became quite evident; and the
grief of his doting parents amounted to distraction. Neither of them
could be declared perfectly sane; they knew not how to proceed--what
regimen to adopt for him, nor what remedies to use. A week elapsed, but
each succeeding day found him in a more dangerous state. At length, by
the advice of some of the neighbors, an old crone, called "Sonsy Mary,"
was called in to administer relief through the medium of certain
powers which were thought to be derived from something holy and also
supernatural. She brought a mysterious bottle, of which he was to take
every third spoonful, three times a day; it was to be administered by
the hand of a young girl of virgin innocence, who was also to breathe
three times down his throat, holding his nostrils closed with her
fingers. The father and mother were to repeat a certain number of
prayers; to promise against swearing, and to kiss the hearth-stone nine
times--the one turned north, and the other south. All these ceremonies
were performed with care, but Phelim's malady appeared to set them
at defiance; and the old crone would have lost her character in
consequence, were it not that Larry, on the day of the cure, after
having promised not to swear, let fly an oath at a hen, whose cackling
disturbed Phelim. This saved her character, and threw Larry and Sheelah
into fresh despair.

They had nothing now for it but the "fairy man," to whom, despite the
awful mystery of his character, they resolved to apply rather than see
their only son taken from them for ever. Larry proceeded without delay
to the wise man's residence, after putting a small phial of holy water
in his pocket to protect himself from fairy influence. The house in
which this person lived was admirably in accordance with his mysterious
character. One gable of it was formed by the mound of a fairy Rath,
against the cabin, which stood endwise; within a mile there was no other
building; the country around it was a sheep-walk, green, and beautifully
interspersed with two or three solitary glens, in one of which might be
seen a cave that was said to communicate under ground with the rath. A
ridge of high-Peaked mountains ran above it, whose evening shadow, in
consequence of their form, fell down on each side of the rath, without
obscuring its precincts. It lay south; and, such was the power of
superstition, that during summer, the district in which it stood was
thought to be covered with a light decidedly supernatural. In spring, it
was the first to be in verdure, and in autumn the last. Nay, in winter
itself, the rath and the adjoining valleys never ceased to be green,
these circumstances were not attributed to the nature of the soil, to
its southern situation, nor to the fact of its being pasture land;
but simply to the power of the fairies, who were supposed to keep its
verdure fresh for their own revels.

When Larry entered the house, which had an air of comfort and snugness
beyond the common, a tall thin pike of a man, about sixty years of age,
stood before him. He wore a brown great-coat that fell far short of his
knees; his small-clothes were closely fitted to thighs not thicker than
hand telescopes; on his legs were drawn gray woollen stockings, rolled
up about six inches over his small-clothes; his head was covered by a
bay bob-wig, on which was a little round, hat, with the edge of the leaf
turned up in every direction. His face was short and sallow; his chin
peaked; his nose small and turned up. If we add to this, a pair of
skeleton-like hands and arms projecting about eight inches beyond the
sleeves of his coat; two fiery ferret-eyes; and a long small holly wand,
higher than himself, we have the outline of this singular figure.

"God save you, nabor," said Larry.

"Save you, save you, neighbor," he replied, without pronouncing the name
of the deity.

"This is a thryin' time," said Larry, "to them that has childhre."

The fairy-man fastened his red glittering eyes upon him, with a sinister
glance that occasioned Larry to feel rather uncomfortable.

"So you venthured to come to the fairy-man?"

"It is about our son, an' he all we ha--"

"Whisht!" said the man, waving his hand with a commanding air. "Whisht;
I wish you wor out o' this, for it's a bad time to be here. Listen!
Listen! Do you hear nothing?"

Larry changed color. "I do," he replied--"The Lord protect me: Is that
them?"

"What did you hear?" said the man.

"Why," returned the other, "I heard the bushes of the rath all movin',
jist as if a blast o' wind came among them!"

"Whisht," said the fairy-man, "they're here; you mustn't open your lips
while you're in the house. I know what you want, an' will see your son.
Do you hear anything more? If you do, lay your forefinger along your
nose; but don't spake."

Larry heard with astonishment, the music of a pair of bagpipes. The tune
played was one which, according to a popular legend, was first played
by Satan; it is called: "Go to the Devil and shake yourself." To our own
knowledge, the peasantry in certain parts of Ireland refuse to sing it
for the above reason. The mystery of the music was heightened too by
the fact of its being played, as Larry thought, behind the gable of the
cabin, which stood against the side of the rath, out of which, indeed,
it seemed to proceed.

Larry laid his finger along his nose, as he had been desired; and this
appearing to satisfy the fairy-man, he waved his hand to the door, thus
intimating that his visitor should depart; which he did immediately, but
not without observing that this wild-looking being closed and bolted the
door after him.

It is unnecessary to say that he was rather anxious to get off the
premises of the good people; he therefore lost little time until he
arrived at his own cabin; but judge of his wonder when, on entering it,
he found the long-legged spectre awaiting his return.

"_Banaght dhea orrin!_" he exclaimed, starting back; "the blessing of
God be upon us! Is it here before me you are?"

"Hould your tongue, man," said the other, with a smile of mysterious
triumph. "Is it that you wondher at? Ha, ha! That's little of it!"

"But how did you know my name? or who I was? or where I lived at all?
Heaven protect us! it's beyant belief, clane out."

"Hould your tongue," replied the man; "don't be axin' me any thing o'
the kind. Clear out, both of ye, till I begin my pisthrogues wid the
sick child. Clear out, I say."

With some degree of apprehension, Larry and Sheelah left the house as
they had been ordered, and the Fairy-man having pulled out a flask of
poteen, administered a dose of it to Phelim; and never yet did patient
receive his medicine with such a relish. He licked his lips, and fixed
his eye upon it with a longing look.

"Be Gorra," said he, "that's fine stuff entirely. Will you lave me the
bottle?"

"No," said the Fairy-man, "but I'll call an' give you a little of it
wanst a day."

"Ay do," replied Phelim; "the divil a fear o' me, if I get enough of it.
I hope I'll see you often."

The Fairy-man kept his word; so that what with his bottle, a hardy
constitution, and light bed-clothes, Phelim got the upper hand of his
malady. In a month he was again on his legs; but, alas! his complexion
though not changed to deformity, was wofully out of joint. His principal
blemish, in addition to the usual marks left by his complaint, consisted
in a drooping of his left eyelid, which gave to his whole face a cast
highly ludicrous.

When Phelim felt thoroughly recovered, he claimed a pair of "leather
crackers," * a hare-skin cap, and a coat, with a pertinacity which kept
the worthy couple in a state of inquietude, until they complied with
his importunity. Henceforth he began to have everything his own way. His
parents, sufficiently thankful that he was spared to them, resolved to
thwart him no more.

     * Breeches made of sheep's skin, so called from the
     noise they make in walking or running.

"It's well we have him at all," said his mother; "sure if we hadn't him,
we'd be breakin' our hearts, and sayin' if it 'ud plase God to send him
back to us, that we'd be happy even wid givin' him his own way."

"They say it breaks their strinth, too," replied his father, "to be
crubbin' them in too much, an' snappin' at thim for every hand's turn,
an' I'm sure it does too."

"Doesn't he become the pock-marks well, the crathur?" said the mdther.

"Become!" said the father; "but doesn't the droop in his eye set him off
all to pieces!"

"Ay," observed the mother, "an' how the crathur went round among all the
neighbors to show them the 'leather crackers!' To see his little pride
out o' the hare-skin cap, too, wid the hare's ears stickin' out of his
temples. That an' the droopin: eye undher them makes him look so cunnin'
an' ginteel, that one can't help havin' their heart fixed upon him."

"He'd look betther still if that ould coat wasn't sweepin' the ground
behind him; an' what 'ud you think to put a pair o' _martyeens_ on his
legs to hide the mazles! He might go anywhere thin."

"Throth he might; but Larry, what in the world wide could be in the
Fairy-man's bottle that Phelim took sich a likin' for it. He tould me
this mornin' that he'd suffer to have the pock agin, set in case he was
cured wid the same bottle."

"Well, the Heaven be praised, any how, that we have a son for the
half-acre, Sheelah.'

"Amin! An' let us take good care of him, now that he's spared to us."

Phelim's appetite, after his recovery, was anything but a joke to
his father. He was now seldom at home, except during meal times; for
wherever fun or novelty was to be found, Phelim was present. He became
a regular attendant upon all the sportsmen. To such he made himself very
useful by his correct knowledge of the best covers for game, and the
best pools for fish. He was acquainted with every rood of land in the,
parish; knew with astonishing accuracy where coveys were to be sprung,
and hares started. No hunt was without him; such was his wind and speed
of foot, that to follow a chase and keep up with the horsemen was to him
only a matter of sport. When daylight passed, night presented him with
amusements suitable to itself. No wake, for instance, could escape him;
a dance without young Phelim O'Toole would have been a thing worthy
to be remembered. He was zealously devoted to cock-fighting; on
Shrove-Tuesday he shouted loudest among the crowd that attended the
sport of throwing at cooks tied to a stake; foot-ball and hurling never
occurred without him. Bull-baiting--for it was common in his
youth--was luxury to him; and, ere he reached fourteen, every one knew
Phelim O'Toole as an adept at card-playing. Wherever a sheep, a leg of
mutton, a dozen of bread, or a bottle of whiskey was put up in a shebeen
house, to be played for by the country gamblers at the five and ten, or
spoil'd five, Phelim always took a hand and was generally successful. On
these occasions he was frequently charged with an over-refined
dexterity; but Phelim usually swore, in vindication of his own
innocence, until he got black in the face, as the phrase among such
characters goes.

The reader is to consider him now about fifteen--a stout, overgrown,
unwashed cub. His parents' anxiety that he should grow strong, prevented
them from training him to any kind of employment. He was eternally going
about in quest of diversion; and wherever a knot of idlers was to be
found, there was Phelim. He had, up to this period, never worn a shoe,
nor a single article of dress that had been made for himself, with the
exception of one or two pair of sheepskin small-clothes. In this way he
passed his time, bare-legged, without shoes, clothed in an old coat much
too large for him, his neck open, and his sooty locks covered with the
hare-skin cap, the ears as usual sticking out above his brows. Much of
his time was spent in setting the idle boys of the village to fight; and
in carrying lying challenges from one to another. He himself was seldom
without a broken head or a black eye; for in Ireland, he who is known
to be fond of quarrelling, as the people say, usually "gets enough
an' lavins of it." Larry and Sheelah, thinking it now high time that
something should be done with Phelim, thought it necessary to give
him some share of education. Phelim opposed this bitterly as an
unjustifiable encroachment upon his personal liberty; but, by bribing
him with the first and only suit of clothes he had yet got, they at
length succeeded in prevailing on him to go.

The school to which he was sent happened to be kept in what is called
an inside Kiln. This kind of kiln is usually--but less so now than
formerly--annexed to respectable farmers' outhouses, to which, in
agricultural districts, it forms a very necessary appendage. It also
serves at the same time as a barn, the kiln-pot being sunk in the shape
of an inverted cone at one end, but divided from the barn floor by
a wall about three feet high. From this wall beams run across the
kiln-pot, over which, in a transverse direction, are laid a number of
rafters like the joists of a loft, but not fastened. These ribs are
covered with straw, over which again is spread a winnow-cloth to keep
the grain from being lost. The fire is sunk on a level with the bottom
of the kiln-pot, that is, about eight or ten feet below the floor of the
barn. The descent to it is by stairs formed at the side wall. We have
been thus minute in describing it, because, as the reader will presently
perceive, the feats of Phelim render it necessary.

On the first day of his entering the school he presented himself with
a black eye; and as his character was well known to both master and
scholars, the former felt no hesitation in giving him a wholesome
lecture upon the subject of his future conduct. For at least a year
before this time, he had gained the nick-name of "Blessed Phelim," and
"Bouncing," epithets bestowed on him by an ironical allusion to his
patron saint, and his own habits.

"So, Blessed Phelim," said the master, "you are comin' to school!!!
Well, well! I only say that miracles will never cease. Arrah, Phelim,
will you tell us candidly--ah--I beg your pardon; I mean, will you tell
us the best lie you can coin upon the cause of your coming to imbibe
moral and literary knowledge? Silence, boys, till we hear Blessed
Phelim's lie."

"You must hear it, masther," said Phelim. "I'm comin' to larn to read
an' write."

"Bravo! By the bones of Prosodius, I expected a lie, but not such a
thumper as that. And you're comin' wid a black eye to prove it! A black
eye, Phelim, is the blackguard's coat of arms; and to do you justice,
you are seldom widout your crest."

For a few days Phelim attended the school, but learned not a letter. The
master usually sent him to be taught by the youngest lads, with a hope
of being able to excite a proper spirit of pride and emulation in a mind
that required some extraordinary impulse. One day he called him up to
ascertain what progress he had actually made; the unsuspecting teacher
sat at the time upon the wall which separated the barn-floor from the
kiln-pot, with his legs dangling at some distance from the ground. It
was summer, any rafters used in drying the grain had been removed. On
finding that Blessed Phelim, notwithstanding all the lessons he had
received, was still in a state of the purest ignorance, he lost his
temper, and brought him over between his knees, that he might give
him an occasional cuff for his idleness. The lesson went on, and the
master's thumps were thickening about Phelim's ears, much to the worthy
youth's displeasure.

"Phelim," said the master, "I'll invert you a scarecrow for dunces. I'll
lay you against the wall, with your head down and your heels up like a
forked carrot."

"But how will you manage that?" said Phelim. "What 'ud I be doin' in the
mane time?"

"I'll find a way to manage it," said the master.

"To put my head down an' my heels up, is it?" inquired Phelim.

"You've said it, my worthy," returned his teacher.

"If you don't know the way," replied the pupil, "I'll show you;" getting
his shoulder under the master's leg, and pitching him heels over his
head into the kiln-pot. He instantly seized his cap, and ran out of the
school, highly delighted at his feat; leaving the scholars to render the
master whatever assistance was necessary. The poor man was dangerously
hurt, for in addition to a broken arm, he received half a dozen severe
contusions on the head, and in different parts of the body.

This closed Phelim's education; for no persuasion could ever induce him
to enter a school afterwards; nor could any temptation prevail on the
neighboring teachers to admit him as a pupil.

Phelim now shot up rapidly to the stature of a young man; and a
graceful slip was he. From the period of fifteen until nineteen, he was
industriously employed in idleness. About sixteen he began to look
after the girls, and to carry a cudgel. The father in vain attempted
to inoculate him with a love of labor; but Phelim would not receive the
infection. His life was a pleasanter one. Sometimes, indeed, when he
wanted money to treat the girls at fairs and markets, he would prevail
on himself to labor a week or fortnight with some neighboring farmer;
but the moment he had earned as much as he deemed sufficient, the spade
was thrown aside. Phelim knew all the fiddlers and pipers in the barony;
was master of the ceremonies at every wake and dance that occurred
within several miles of him. He was a crack dancer, and never attended a
dance without performing a horn-pipe on a door or a table; no man could
shuffle, or treble, or cut, or spring, or caper with him. Indeed it was
said that he could dance "Moll Roe" upon the end of a five-gallon keg,
and snuff a mould candle with his heels, yet never lose the time. The
father and mother were exceedingly proud of Phelim, The former, when he
found him grown up, and associating with young men, began to feel a kind
of ambition in being permitted to join Phelim and his companions, and
to look upon the society of his own son as a privilege. With the girls
Phelim was a beauty without paint. They thought every wake truly a scene
of sorrow, if he did not happen to be present. Every dance was doleful
without him. Phelim wore his hat on one side, with a knowing but
careless air; he carried his cudgel with a good-humored, dashing spirit,
precisely in accordance with the character of a man who did not care a
traneen whether he drank with you as a friend or fought with you as a
foe. Never were such songs heard as Phelim could sing, nor such a
voice as that with which he sang them. His attitudes and action were
inimitable. The droop in his eye was a standing wink at the girls;
and when he sang his funny songs, with what practised ease he gave the
darlings a roguish chuck under the chin! Then his jokes! "Why, faix,"
as the fair ones often said of him, "before Phelim speaks at all, one
laughs at what he says." This was fact. His very appearance at a wake,
dance, or drinking match, was hailed by a peal of mirth. This heightened
his humor exceedingly; for say what you will, laughter is to wit what
air is to fire--the one dies without the other.

Let no one talk of beauty being on the surface. This is a popular error,
and no one but a superficial fellow would defend it Among ten thousand
you could not get a more unfavorable surface than Phelim's. His face
resembled the rough side of a cullender, or, as he was often told in
raillery, "you might grate potatoes on it." The lid of his left eye,
as the reader knows, was like the lid of a salt-box, always closed; and
when he risked a wink with the right, it certainly gave him the look of
a man shutting out the world, and retiring into himself for the purpose
of self-examination. No, no; beauty is in the mind; in the soul;
otherwise Phelim never could have been such a prodigy of comeliness
among the girls. This was the distinction the fair sex drew in his
favor. "Phelim," they would say, "is not purty, but he's very comely.
Bad end to the one of him but would stale a pig off a tether, wid his
winnin' ways." And so he would, too, without much hesitation, for it was
not the first time he had stolen his father's.

From nineteen until the close of his minority, Phelim became a
distinguished man in fairs and markets. He was, in fact, the hero of
the parish; but, unfortunately, he seldom knew on the morning of the
fair-day the name of the party or faction on whose side he was to fight.
This was merely a matter of priority; for whoever happened to give him
the first treat uniformly secured him. The reason of this pliability
on his part was, that Phelim being every person's friend, by his good
nature, was nobody's foe, except for the day. He fought for fun and for
whiskey. When he happened to drub some companion or acquaintance on
the opposite side, he was ever ready to express his regret at the
circumstance, and abused, them heartily for not having treated him
first.

Phelim was also a great Ribbonman; and from the time he became initiated
into the system, his eyes were wonderfully opened to the oppressions of
the country. Sessions, decrees, and warrants he looked upon as I gross
abuses; assizes, too, by which so many of his friends were put to
some inconvenience, he considered as the result of Protestant
Ascendancy--cancers that ought to be cut out of the constitution.
Bailiffs, drivers, tithe-proctors, tax-gatherers, policemen, and
parsons, he thought were vermin that ought to be compelled to emigrate
to a much warmer country than Ireland.

There was no such hand in the county as Phelim at an alibi. Just give
him the outline--a few leading particulars of the fact--and he would
work wonders. One would think, indeed, that he had been born for that
especial purpose; for, as he was never known to utter a syllable of
truth but once, when he had a design in not being believed, so there was
no risk of a lawyer getting truth out of him. No man was ever afflicted
with such convenient maladies as Phelim; even his sprains, tooth-aches,
and colics seemed to have entered into the Whiteboy system. But, indeed,
the very diseases in Ireland are seditious. Many a time has a tooth-ache
come in to aid Paddy in obstructing the course of justice; and a colic
been guilty of misprision of treason. Irish deaths, too, are very
disloyal, and frequently at variance with the laws: nor are our births
much better; for although more legitimate than those of our English
neighbors, yet they are in general more illegal. Phelim, in proving his
alibis, proved all these positions. On one occasion, "he slep at
the prisoner's house, and couldn't close his eye with a thief of a
tooth-ache that parsecuted him the whole night;" so, that in consequence
of having the tooth-ache, it was impossible that the prisoner could
leave the house without his knowledge.

Again, the prisoner at the bar could not possibly have shot the
deceased, "bekase Mickey slept that very night at Phelim's, an' Phelim,
bein' ill o' the colic, never slep at all durin' the whole night; an',
by the vartue of his oath, the poor boy couldn't go out o' the house
unknownst to him. If he had, Phelim would a seen him, sure."

Again, "Paddy Cummisky's wife tuck ill of a young one, an' Phelim was
sent for to bring the midwife; but afore he kem to Paddy's, or hard o'
the thing at all, the prisoner, airly in the night, comin' to sit awhile
wid Paddy, went for the midwife instead o' Phelim, an' thin they sot up
an' had a sup in regard of the 'casion; an' the prisoner never left
them at all that night until the next mornin'. An' by the same token,
he remimbered Paddy Cummisky barrin' the door, an' shuttin' the windies,
bekase it's not lucky to have them open, for fraid that the fairies 'ud
throw their _pishthrogues_ upon the young one, an' it not christened."

Phelim was certainly an accomplished youth. As an alibist, however, his
career was, like that of all alibists, a short one. The fact was, that
his face soon became familiar to the court and the lawyers, so that his
name and appearance were ultimately rather hazardous to the cause of his
friends.

Phelim, on other occasions, when summoned as evidence against his
well-wishers or brother Ribbonmen, usually forgot his English, and gave
his testimony by an interpreter. Nothing could equal his ignorance and
want of common capacity during these trials. His face was as free from
every visible trace of meaning as if he had been born an idiot. No block
was ever more impenetrable than he.

"What is the noble gintleman sayin'?" he would ask in Irish; and on
having that explained, he would inquire, "what is that?" then demand a
fresh explanation of the last one, and so on successively, until he was
given up in despair.

Sometimes, in cases of a capital nature, Phelim, with the consent of his
friends, would come forward and make disclosures, in order to have them
put upon their trial and acquitted; lest a real approver, or some one
earnestly disposed to prosecute, might appear against them. Now the
alibi and its usual accompaniments are all of old standing in Ireland;
but the master-stroke to which we have alluded is a modern invention.
Phelim would bear evidence against them; and whilst the government--for
it was mostly in government prosecutions he adventured this--believed
they had ample grounds for conviction in his disclosures, it little
suspected that the whole matter was a plan to defeat itself. In
accordance with his design, he gave such evidence upon the table as
rendered conviction hopeless. His great object was to damn his own
character as a witness, and to make such blunders, premeditated slips,
and admissions, as just left him within an inch of a prosecution for
perjury. Having succeeded in acquitting his friends, he was content
to withdraw amid a volley of pretended execrations, leaving the
Attorney-General, with all his legal knowledge, outwitted and foiled.

All Phelim's accomplishments, however, were nothing when compared to his
gallantry. With personal disadvantages which would condemn any other man
to old bachelorship, he was nevertheless the whiteheaded boy among the
girls. He himself was conscious of this, and made his attacks upon their
hearts indiscriminately. If he met an unmarried female only for five
minutes, be she old or ugly, young or handsome, he devoted at least four
minutes and three-quarters to the tender passion; made love to her with
an earnestness that would deceive a saint; backed all his protestations
with a superfluity of round oaths; and drew such a picture of her beauty
as might suit the Houries of Mahomet's paradise.

Phelim and his father were great associates. No two agreed better. They
went to fairs and markets together; got drunk together; and returned
home with their arms about each other's neck in the most loving and
affectionate manner. Larry, as if Phelim were too modest to speak for
himself, seldom met a young girl without laying siege to her for the
son. He descanted upon his good qualities, glossed over his defects, and
drew deeply upon invention in his behalf. Sheelah, on the other hand,
was an eloquent advocate for him. She had her eye upon half a dozen of
the village girls, to every one of whom she found something to say in
Phelim's favor.

But it is time the action of our story should commence. When Phelim had
reached his twenty-fifth year, the father thought it was high time for
him to marry. The good man had, of course, his own motives for this.
In the first place, Phelim, with all his gallantry and cleverness, had
never contributed a shilling, either toward his own support or that of
the family. In the second place, he was never likely to do so. In the
third place, the father found him a bad companion; for, in good truth,
he had corrupted the good man's morals so evidently, that his character
was now little better than that of his son. In the fourth place, he
never thought of Phelim, that he did not see a gallows in the distance;
and matrimony, he thought, might save him from hanging, as one poison
neutralizes another. In the fifth place, the half-acre Was but a shabby
patch to meet the exigencies of the family, since Phelim grew up.
"Bouncing Phelim," as he was called for more reasons than one, had the
gift of a good digestion, along with his other accomplishments; and with
such energy was it exercised, that the "half-acre" was frequently in
hazard of leaving the family altogether. The father, therefore, felt
quite willing, if Phelim married, to leave him the inheritance, and seek
a new settlement for himself. Or, if Phelim preferred leaving him, he
agreed to give him one-half of it, together with an equal division of
all his earthly goods; to wit--two goats, of which Phelim was to get
one; six hens and a cock, of which Phelim was to get three hens, and the
chance of a toss-up for the cock; four stools, of which Phelim was to
get two; two pots--a large one and a small one--the former to go with
Phelim; three horn spoons, of which Phelim was to get one, and the
chance of a toss-up for a third. Phelim was to bring his own bed,
provided he did not prefer getting a bottle of fresh straw as a
connubial luxury. The blanket was a tender subject; for having been
fourteen years in employment, it entangled the father and Phelim,
touching the prudence of the latter claiming it all. The son was
at length compelled to give it up, at least in the character of an
appendage to his marriage property. He feared that the wife, should he
not be able to replace it by a new one, or should she herself not be
able to bring him one, as part of her dowry, would find the honeymoon
rather lively. Phelim's bedstead admitted of no dispute, the floor of
the cabin having served him in that capacity ever since he began to
sleep in a separate bed. His pillow was his small clothes, and his quilt
his own coat, under which he slept snugly enough.

The father having proposed, and the son acceded to these arrangements,
the next thing to be done was to pitch upon a proper girl as his wife.
This being a more important matter, was thus discussed by the father and
son, one evening, at their own fireside, in the presence of Sheelah.

"Now, Phelim," said the father, "look about you, an' tell us what girl
in the neighborhood you'd like to be married to."

"Why," replied Phelim, "I'll lave that to you; jist point out the girl
you'd like for your daughter-in-law, an' be she rich, poor, ould, or
ugly, I'll delude her. That's the chat."

"Ah, Phelim, if you could put your comedher an Gracey Dalton, you'd be a
made boy. She has the full of a rabbit-skin o' guineas."

"A made boy! Faith, they say I'm that as it is, you know. But would you
wish me to put my comedher on Gracey Dalton? Spake out."

"To be sure I would."

"Ay," observed the mother, "or what 'ud you think of Miss Pattherson?
That 'ud be the girl. She has a fine farm, an' five hundre pounds. She's
a Protestant, but Phelim could make a Christian of her."

"To be sure I could," said Phelim, "have her thumpin' her breast,
and countin' her Padareens in no time. Would you wish me to have her,
mudher?"

"Throth an' I would, avick."

"That 'ud never do," observed the father. "Sure you don't think she'd
ever think of the likes o' Phelim?"

"Don't make a goose of yourself, ould man," observed Phelim. "Do you
think if I set about it, that I'd not manufacture her senses as asy as
I'd peel a piatee?"

"Well, well," replied the father, "in the name o' Goodness make up to
her. Faith it ud' be somethin' to have a jauntin' car in the family!"

"Ay, but what the sorra will I do for a suit o' clo'es?" observed
Phelim. "I could never go near her in these breeches. My elbows, too,
are out o' this ould coat, bad luck to it! An' as for a waistcoat, why,
I dunna but it's a sin to call what I'm wearin' a waistcoat at all. Thin
agin--why, blood alive, sure I can't go to her barefooted, an' I dunna
but it 'ud be dacenter to do that same, than to step out in sich excuses
for brogues as these. An' in regard o' the stockins', why, I've pulled
them down, strivin' to look dacent, till one 'ud think the balls o' my
legs is at my heels."

"The sorra word's in that but thruth, any how," observed the father;
"but what's to be done? For we have no way of gettin' them."

"Faith, I don't know that," said Phelim. "What if we'd borry? I could
get the loan of a pair of breeches from Dudley Dwire, an' a coat from
Sam Appleton. We might thry Billy Brady for a waistcoat, an' a pair of
stockings. Barny Buckram-back, the pinsioner, 'ud lend me his pumps; an'
we want nothing now but a hat."

"Nothin' under a Caroline 'ud do, goin' there," observed the father.

"I think Father O'Hara 'ud oblige me wid the loan o' one for a day or
two;" said Phelim; "he has two or three o' them, all as good as ever."

"But, Phelim," said the father, "before we go to all this trouble, are
you sure you could put your comedher on Miss Pattherson?"

"None o' your nonsense," said Phelim, "don't you know I could? I hate
a man to be puttin' questions to me, when he knows them himself. It's a
fashion you have got, an' you ought to dhrop it."

"Well thin," said the father, "let us set about it to-morrow. If we can
borry the clo'es, thry your luck."

Phelim and the father, the next morning, set out each in a different
direction, to see how far they could succeed on the borrowing system.
The father was to make a descent on Dudley Dwire for the breeches, and
appeal to the generosity of Sam Appleton for the coat. Phelim himself
was to lay his case before the priest, and to assail Buckram-back, the
pensioner, on his way home, for the brogues.

When Phelim arrived at the priest's house, he found none of the family
up but the housekeeper. After bidding her good morrow, and being desired
to sit down, he entered into conversation with the good woman, who felt
anxious to know the scandal of the whole parish.

"Aren't you a son of Larry Toole's, young man?"

"I am, indeed, Mrs. Doran. I'm Phelim O'Toole, my mother says."

"I hope you're comin' to spake to the priest about your duty."

"Why, then, be gorra, I'm glad you axed me, so I am--for only you seen
the pinance in my face, you'd never suppose sich a thing. I want to make
my confishion to him, wid the help o' Goodness."

"Is there any news goin', Phelim?"

"Divil a much, barrin' what you hard yourself, I suppose, about Frank
Fogarty, that went mad yesterday, for risin' the meal on the poor, an'
ate the ears off himself afore anybody could see him."

"_Vick na hoiah_, Phelim; do you tell me so?"

"Why man o' Moses, is it possible you did not hear it, ma'am?"

"Oh, worra, man alive, not a syllable! Ate the ears off of himself!
Phelim, acushla, see what it is to be hard an the poor!"

"Oh, he was ever an' always the biggest nagar livin', ma'am. Ay, an'
when he was tied up, till a blessed priest 'ud be brought to maliwgue
the divil out of him, he got a scythe an' cut his own two hands off."

"No thin, Phelim!"

"Faitha, ma'am, sure enough. I suppose, ma'am, you hard about Biddy
Duignan?"

"Who is she, Phelim?"

"Why the misfortunate crathurs a daughter of her father's, ould Mick
Duignan, of Tavenimore."

"An' what about her, Phehm! What happened her?"

"Faix, ma'am, a bit of a mistake she met wid; but, anyhow, ould Harry
Connolly's to stand in the chapel nine Sundays, an' to make three
Stations to Lough Dergh for it. Bedad, they say it's as purty a crathur
as you'd see in a day's thravellin'."

"Harry Connolly! Why, I know Harry, but I never heard of Biddy Duiguan,
or her father at all. Harry Connolly! Is it a man that's bent over his
staff for the last twenty years! Hut, tut, Phelim, don't say sich a
thing."

"Why, ma'am, sure he takes wid it himself; he doesn't deny it at all,
the ould sinner."

"Oh, that I mayn't sin, Phelim, if one knows who to thrust in this
world, so they don't. Why the desateful ould--hut, Phelim, I can't give
into it."

"Faix, ma'am, no wondher; but sure when he confesses it himself! Bedad,
Mrs. Doran, I never seen you look so well. Upon my sowl, you'd take the
shine out o' the youngest o' thim!"

"Is it me, Phelim? Why, you're beside yourself."

"Beside myself, am I? Faith, an' if I am, what I said's thruth, anyhow.
I'd give more nor I'll name, to have so red a pair of cheeks as you
have. Sowl, they're thumpers."

"Ha, ha, ha! Oh, that I mayn't sin, but that's a good joke! An ould
woman near sixty!"

"Now, Mrs. Doran, that's nonsense, an' nothing else. Near sixty! Oh, by
my purty, that's runnin' away wid the story entirely--No, nor thirty.
Faith, I know them that's not more nor five or six-an'-twenty, that 'ud
be glad to borry the loan of your face for a while. Divil a word o' lie
in that."

"No, no, Phelim, aroon, I seen the day; but that's past. I remimber when
the people did say I was worth lookin' at. Won't you sit near the fire?
You're in the dhraft there."

"Thank you kindly, ma'am; faith, you have the name, far an' near, for
bein' the civilest woman alive this day. But, upon my sowl, if you wor
ten times as civil, an' say that you're not aquil to any young girl in
the parish, I'd dispute it wid you; an' say it was nothin' else than a
bounce."

"Arrah, Phelim, darlin, how can you palaver me that way? I hope your
dacent father's well, Phelim, an' your honest mother."

"Divil a fear o' them. Now, I'd hould nine to one that the purtiest o'
them hasn't a sweeter mout' than you have. By dad, you have a pair o'
lips, God bless them that--well, well--"

Phelim here ogled her with looks particularly wistful.

"Phelim, you're losin' the little sense you had."

"Faix, an' it's you that's taken them out o' me, then. A purty woman
always makes a fool o' me. Divil a word o' lie in it. Faix, Mrs. Doran,
ma'am, you have a chin o' your own! Well, well! Oh, be Gorra, I wish I
hadn't come out this mornin' any how!"

"Arrah, why, Phelim? In throth, it's you that's the quare Phelim!"

"Why, ma'am--Oh bedad it's a folly to talk. I can't go widout tastin'
them. Sich a pair o' timptations as your lips, barrin' your eyes, I
didn't see this many a day."

"Tastin' what, you mad crathur?"

"Why, I'll show you what I'd like to be afther tastin'. Oh! bedad, I'll
have no refusin'; a purty woman always makes a foo----"

"Keep away, Phelim; keep off; bad end to you; what do you mane? Don't
you see Fool Art lyin' in the corner there undher the sacks? I don't
think he's asleep."

"Fool Art! why, the misfortunate idiot, what about him? Sure he hasn't
sinse to know the right hand from the left. Bedad, ma'am the truth is,
that a purty woman always makes a----"

"Throth an' you won't," said she struggling.

"Throth an' I will, thin, taste the same lips, or we'll see whose
strongest!"

A good-humored struggle took place between the housekeeper and Phelim,
who found her, in point of personal strength, very near a match for him.
She laughed heartily, but Phelim attempted to salute her with a face
of mock gravity as nearly resembling that of a serious man as he could
assume. In the meantime, chairs were overturned, and wooden dishes
trundled about; a crash was heard here, and another there. Phelim drove
her to the hob, and from the hob they both bounced into the fire, the
embers and ashes of which were kicked up into a cloud about them.

"Phelim, spare your strinth," said the funny housekeeper, "it won't do.
Be asy now, or I'll get angry. The priest, too, will hear the noise, and
so will Fool Art."

"To the divil wid Fool Art an' the priest, too," said Phelim, "who cares
abuckey about the priest when a purty woman like you is consarn--

"What's this?" said the priest, stepping down from the parlor--"What's
the matter? Oh, ho, upon my word, Mrs. Doran! Very good, indeed! Under
my own roof, too! An' pray, ma'am, who is the gallant? Turn round young
man. Yes, I see! Why, better and better! Bouncing Phelim O'Toole, that
never spoke truth! I think, Mr. O'Toole, that when you come a courting,
you ought to consider it worth your while to appear somewhat more smooth
in your habiliments. I simply venture to give that as my opinion."

"Why sure enough," replied Phelim, without a moment's hesitation; "your
Reverence has found us out."

"Found you out! Why, is that the tone you speak in?"

"Faith, sir, thruth's best. I wanted her to tell it to you long ago, but
she wouldn't. Howsomever, it's still time enough.--Hem! The thruth, sir,
is, that Mrs. Doran an' I is goin' to get the words said as soon as we
can; so, sir, wid the help o' Goodness, I came to see if your Reverence
'ud call us next Sunday wid a blessin'."

Mrs. Doran had, for at least a dozen round years before this, been in
a state-of hopelessness upon the subject of matrimony; nothing in the
shape of a proposal having in the course of that period come in her way.
Now we have Addison's authority for affirming, that an old woman who
permits the thoughts of love to get into her head, becomes a very odd
kind of animal. Mrs. Doran, to do her justice, had not thought of it for
nearly three lustres, for this reason, that she had so far overcome her
vanity as to deem it possible that a proposal could be ever made to her.
It is difficult, however, to know what a day may bring forth. Here
was an offer, dropping like a ripe plum into her mouth. She turned
the matter over in her mind with a quickness equal to that of Phelim
himself. One leading thought struck her forcibly: if she refused to
close with this offer, she would never get another.

"Is it come to this, Mrs. Doran?" inquired the priest.

"Oh, bedad, sir, she knows it is," replied Phelim, giving her a wink
with the safe eye.

Now, Mrs. Doran began to have her suspicions. The wink she considered
as decidedly ominous. Phelim, she concluded with all the sagacity of a
woman thinking upon that subject, had winked at her to assent only for
the purpose of getting themselves out of the scrape for the present. She
feared that Phelim would be apt to break off the match, and take some
opportunity, before Sunday should arrive, of preventing the priest from
calling them. Her decision, however, was soon made. She resolved, if
possible to pin down Phelim to his own proposal.

"Is this true, Mrs. Doran?" inquired the priest, a second time.

Mrs. Doran could not, with any regard to the delicacy of her sex, give
an assent without proper emotion. She accordingly applied her apron to
her eyes, and shed a few natural tears in reply to the affecting query
of the pastor.

Phelim, in the meantime, began to feel mystified. Whether Mrs. Doran's
tears were a proof that she was disposed to take the matter seriously,
or whether they were tears of shame and vexation for having been caught
in the character of a romping old hoyden, he could not then exactly
decide. He had, however, awful misgivings upon the subject.

"Then," said the priest, "it is to be understood that I'm to call you
both on Sunday."

"There's no use in keepin' it back from you," replied Mrs. Doran. "I
know it's foolish of me; but we have all our failins, and to be fond
of Phelim there, is mine. Your Reverence is to call us next Sunday, as
Phelim tould you. I am sure I can't tell you how he deluded me at all,
the desaver o' the world!"

Phelim's face during this acknowledgment was, like Goldsmith's Haunch
of Venison, "a subject for painters to study." His eyes projected like a
hare's until nothing could be seen but the balls. Even the drooping lid
raised itself up, as if it were never to droop again.

"Well," said the priest, "I shall certainly not use a single argument to
prevent you. Your choice, I must say, does you credit, particularly when
it is remembered that you have come at least to years of discretion.
Indeed, many persons might affirm that you have gone beyond them; but I
say nothing. In the meantime your wishes must be complied with. I will
certainly call Phelim O'Toole and Bridget Doran on Sunday next; and one
thing I know, that we shall have a very merry congregation."

Phelim's eyes turned upon the priest and the old woman alternately,
with an air of bewilderment which, had the priest been a man of much
observation, might have attracted his attention.

"Oh murdher alive, Mrs. Doran," said Phelim, "how am I to do for clo'es?
Faith, I'd like to appear dacent in the thing, anyhow."

"True," said the priest. "Have you made no provision for smoothing the
externals of your admirer? Is he to appear in this trim?"

"Bedad, sir," said Phelim, "we never thought o' that. All the world
knows, your Reverence, that I might carry my purse in my eye, an' never
feel a mote in it. But the thruth is, sir, she was so lively on the
subject--in a kind of a pleasant, coaxin' hurry of her own--an' indeed
I was so myself, too. Augh, Mrs. Doran! Be gorra, sir, she put her
comedher an me entirely, so she did. Well, be my sowl, I'll be the
flower of a husband to her anyhow. I hope your Reverence 'll come to the
christ'nin'? But about the clo'es;--bad luck saize the tack I have
to put to my back, but what you see an me, if we wor to be married
to-morrow."

"Well, Phelim, aroon," said Mrs. Doran, "his Reverence here has my
little pences o' money in his hands, an' the best way is for you to get
the price of a suit from him. You must get clo'es, an' good ones, too,
Phelim, sooner nor any stop should be put to our marriage."

"Augh, Mrs. Doran," said Phelim, ogling her from the safe eye, with a
tender suavity of manner that did honor to his heart; "be gorra, ma'am,
you've played the puck entirely wid me. Faith, I'm gettin' fonder an'
fonder of her every minute, your Reverence."

He set his eye, as he uttered this, so sweetly and significantly upon
the old house-keeper, that the priest thought it a transgression of
decorum in his presence.

"I think," said he, "you had better keep your melting looks to yourself,
Phelim. Restrain your gallantry, if you please, at least until I
withdraw."

"Why, blood alive! sir, when people's fond of one another, it's hard to
keep the love down. Augh, Mrs. Doran! Faith, you've rendhored my heart
like a lump o' tallow."

"Follow me to the parlor," said the priest, "and let me know, Bridget,
what sum I am to give to this melting gallant of yours."

"I may as well get what'll do the weddin' at wanst," observed Phelim.
"It'll save throuble, in the first place; an' sackinly, it'll save time;
for, plase Goodness, I'll have everything ready for houldin' the weddin'
the Monday afther the last call. By the hole o' my coat, the minute I
get the clo'es we'll be spliced, an' thin for the honeymoon!"

"How much money shall I give him?" said the priest.

"Indeed, sir, I think you ought to know that; I'm ignorant o' what 'ud
make a dacent weddin'. We don't intend to get married undher a hedge;
we've frinds an both sides, an' of course, we must have them about us,
plase Goodness."

"Be gorra, sir, it's no wondher I'm fond of her, the darlin'? Bad win to
you, Mrs. Doran, how did you come over me at all?"

"Bridget," said the priest, "I have asked you a simple question,
to which I expect a plain answer. What money am I to give this
tallow-hearted swain of yours?"

"Why, your Reverence, whatsomever you think may be enough for full, an'
plinty, an' dacency, at the weddin'."

"Not forgetting the thatch for me, in the mane time," said Phelim.
"Nothin' less will sarve us, plase your Reverence. Maybe, sir, you'd
think 'of comin' to the weddin' yourself?"

"There are in my hands," observed the priest, "one hundred and
twenty-two guineas of your money, Bridget. Here, Phelim, are ten for
your wedding suit and wedding expenses. Go to your wedding! No!
don't suppose for a moment that I countenance this transaction in the
slightest degree. I comply with your wishes, because I heartily
despise you both; but certainly this foolish old woman most. Give me an
acknowledgment for this, Phelim."

"God bless you, sir!" said Phelim, as if he had paid them a compliment.
"In regard o' the acknowledgment, sir, I acknowledge it wid all my
heart; but bad luck to the scrape at all I can write."

"Well, no matter. You admit, Bridget, that I give this money to this
blessed youth by your authority and consent."

"Surely, your Reverence; I'll never go back of it."

"Now, Phelim," said the priest, "you have the money; pray get married as
soon as possible."

"I'll give you my oath," said Phelim; "an' be the blessed iron tongs in
the grate there, I'll not lose a day in gettin' myself spliced. Isn't
she the tendher-hearted sowl, your Reverence? Augh, Mrs. Doran!"

"Leave my place," said the priest. "I cannot forget the old proverb,
that one fool makes many, but an old fool is worse than any. So it is
with this old woman."

"Ould woman! Oh, thin, I'm sure I don't desarve this from your
Reverence!" exclaimed the housekeeper, wiping her eyes: "if I'm a little
seasoned now, you know I wasn't always so. If ever there was a faithful
sarvant, I was that, an' managed your house and place as honestly as
I'll manage my own, plase Goodness."

As they left the parlor, Phelim became the consoler.

"Whisht, you darlin'!" he exclaimed. "Sure you'll have Bouncin' Phelim
to comfort you. But now that he has shut the door, what--hem--I'd
take it as a piece o' civility if you'd open my eyes a little; I
mane--hem--was it--is this doin' him, or how? Are you--hem--do you
undherstand me, Mrs. Doran?"

"What is it you want to know, Phelim? I think everything is very plain."

"Oh, the divil a plainer, I suppose. But in the mane time, might one
axe, out o' mere curiosity, if you're in airnest?"

"In airnest! Arrah, what did I give you my money for, Phelim? Well, now
that everything is settled, God forgive you if you make a bad husband to
me."

"A bad what?"

"I say, God forgive you if you make a bad husband to me. I'm afeard,
Phelim, that I'll be too foolish about you--that I'll be too fond of
you."

Phelim looked at her in solemn silence, and then replied--"Let us trust
in God that you may be enabled to overcome the weakness. Pray to Him
to avoid all folly, an' above everything, to give you a dacent stock of
discration, for it's a mighty fine thing for a woman of your yea--hem--a
mighty fine thing it is, indeed, for a sasoned woman, as you say you
are."

"When will the weddin' take place, Phelim?"

"The what?" said Phelim, opening his brisk eye with a fresh stare of
dismay.

"Why, the weddin', acushla. When will it take place? I think the Monday
afther the last call 'ud be the best time. We wouldn't lose a day thin.
Throth, I long to hear my last call over, Phelim, jewel."

Phelim gave her another look.

"The last call! Thin, by the vestment, you don't long half as much for
your last call as I do."

"Arrah, Phoilim, did you take the--the--what you wor wantin' awhile
agone? Throth, myself disremimbers."

"Ay, around dozen o' them. How can you forget it?"

The idiot in the corner here gave a loud snore, but composed himself to
sleep, as if insensible to all that passed.

"Throth, an' I do forget it. Now, Phelim, you'll not go till you take a
cup o' tay wid myself. Throth, I do forget it, Phelim darlin', jewel."

Phelim's face now assumed a very queer expression. He twisted his
features into all possible directions; brought his mouth first round to
one ear and then to the other; put his hand, as if in great pain, on the
pit of his stomach; lifted one knee up till it almost touched his
chin, then let it down, and instantly brought up the other in a similar
manner.

"Phelim, darlin', what ails you?" inquired the tender old nymph.
"Wurrah, man alive, aren't you well?"

"Oh, be the vestment," said Phelim, "what's this at all? Murdher,
sheery, what'll I do! Oh, I'm very bad! At death's door, so I am! Be
gorra, Mrs. Doran, I must be off."

"Wurrah, Phelim dear, won't you stop till we settle everything?"

"Oh, purshuin' to the ha'p'orth I can settle till I recover o' this
murdherin' colic! All's asthray wid me in the inside. I'll see you--I'll
see you--_Hanim an dioul!_ what's this?--I must be off like a shot--oh,
murdher sheery?--but--but--I'll see you to-morrow. In the mane time,
I'm--I'm--for ever oblaged to you for--for--lendin' me the--loan of--oh,
by the vestments, I'm a gone man!--for lendin' me the loan of the ten
guineas--Oh, I'm gone!"

Phelim disappeared on uttering these words, and his strides on passing
out of the house were certainly more rapid and vigorous than those of
a man laboring under pain. In fact, he never looked behind him until
one-half the distance between the priest's house and his father's cabin
had been fairly traversed.

Some misgivings occurred to the old housekeeper, but her vanity, having
been revived by Phelim's blarney, would not permit her to listen
to them. She had, besides, other motive to fortify her faith in his
attachment. First, there was her money, a much larger sum than ever
Phelim could expect with any other woman, young or old; again, they were
to be called on the following Sunday, and she knew that when a marriage
affair proceeds so far, obstruction or disappointment is not to be
apprehended.

When Phelim reached home, he found the father returned after having
borrowed a full suit of clothes for him. Sam Appleton on hearing from
Larry that Bouncing Phelim was about to get a "Great Match,"* generously
lent him coat, waistcoat, hat, and small-clothes.

     * When a country girl is said to have a large fortune,
     the peasantry, when speaking of her in reference to
     matrimony, say she's a "Great Match."

When Phelim presented himself at home, he scarcely replied to the
queries put to him by his father and mother concerning his interview
with the priest. He sat down, rubbed his hands, scratched his head, rose
up, and walked to and fro, in a mood of mind so evidently between mirth
and chagrin, that his worthy parents knew not whether to be merry or
miserable.

"Phelim," said the mother, "did you take anything while you wor away?"

"Did I take anything! is it? Arrah, be asy, ould woman! Did I take
anything! Faith you may say that!"

"Let us know, anyhow, what's the matther wid you?' asked the father.

"Tare-an'-ounze!" exclaimed the son, "what is this for, at all at all?
It's too killin' I am, so it is."

"You're not lookin' at Sam Appleton's clo'es," said the father, "that he
lent you the loan of, hat an' all?"

"Do you want to put an affront upon me, ould man? To the divil wid
himself an' his clo'es! When I wants clo'es I'll buy them wid my own
money!'

"Larry," observed the mother, "there's yourself all over--as proud as
a payoock when the sup's in your head, an' 'ud spake as big widout the
sign o' money in your pocket, as if you had the rint of an estate."

"What do you say about the sign o' money?" exclaimed Phelim, with a
swagger. "Maybe you'll call that the sign o' money!" he added, producing
the ten guineas in gold. The father and mother looked at it for a
considerable time, then at each other, and shook their heads.

"Phelim!" said the father, solemnly. "Phelim!" said the mother, awfully;
and both shook their heads again.

"You wor never over-scrupulous," the father proceeded, "an' you know
you have many little things to answer for, in the way of pickin' up what
didn't belong to yourself. I think, too, you're not the same boy you wor
afore you tuck to swearin' the alibies.

"Faith, an' I doubt I'll haye to get some one to swear an alibi for
myself soon," Phelim replied.

"Why, blessed hour!" said Larry, "didn't I often tell you never to join
the boys in anything that might turn out a hangin' matther?"

"If this is not a hangin' matther," said Phelim, "it's something nearly
as bad: it's a marryin' matther. Sure I deluded another since you seen
me last. Divil a word o' lie in it. I was clane fell in love wid this
mornin' about seven o'clock."

"But how did you get the money, Phelim?"

"Why, from the youthful sprig that fell in love wid me. Sure we're to be
'called' in the Chapel on Sunday next."

"Why thin now, Phelim! An' who is the young crathur? for in throth she
must be young to go to give the money beforehand!"

"Murdher!" exclaimed Phelim, "what's this for! Was ever any one done
as I am? Who is she! Why she's--oh, murdher, oh!--she's no other
than--hem--divil a one else than Father O'Hara's housekeeper, ould Biddy
Doran!"

The mirth of the old couple was excessive. The father laughed till he
fell off his stool, and the mother till the tears ran down her cheeks.

"Death alive; ould man! but you're very merry," said Phelim. "If you wor
my age, an' in such an' amplush, you'd laugh on the wrong side o' your
mouth. Maybe you'll tarn your tune when you hear that she has a hundhre
and twenty guineas."

"An' you'll be rich, too," said the father. "The sprig an' you will be
rich!--ha, ha, ha!"

"An' the family they'll have!" said the mother, in convulsions.

"Why, in regard o' that," said Phelim, rather nettled, "if all fails us,
sure we can do as my father and you did: kiss the Lucky Stone, an' make
a Station."

"Phelim, aroon," said the mother, seriously, "put it out o' your head.
Sure you wouldn't go to bring me a daughter-in-law oulder nor myself?"

"I'd as soon go over," (* be transported) said Phelim; "or swing itself,
before I'd marry sich a piece o' desate. Hard feelin' to her! how she
did me to my face!"

Phelim then entered into a long-visaged detail of the scene at
Father O'Hara's, dwelling bitterly on the alacrity with which the old
housekeeper ensnared him in his own mesh.

"However," he concluded, "she'd be a sharp one if she'd do me
altogether. We're not married yet; an' I've a consate of my own, that
she's done for the ten guineas, any how!"

A family council was immediately held upon Phelim's matrimonial
prospects. On coming close to the speculation of Miss Patterson, it
was somehow voted, notwithstanding Phelim's powers of attraction, to be
rather a discouraging one. Gracey Dalton was also given up. The matter
was now serious, the time short, and Phelim's bounces touching his own
fascinations with the sex in general, were considerably abated. It was
therefore resolved that he ought to avail himself of Sam Appleton's
clothes, until his own could be made. Sam, he said, would not press him
for them immediately, inasmuch as he was under obligations to Phelim's
silence upon some midnight excursions that he had made.

"Not," added Phelim, "but I'm as much, an' maybe more in his power, than
he is in mine."

When breakfast was over, Phelim and the father, after having determined
to "drink a bottle" that night in the family of an humble young woman,
named Donovan, who, they all agreed, would make an excellent wife for
him, rested upon their oars until evening. In the meantime, Phelim
sauntered about the village, as he was in the habit of doing, whilst the
father kept the day as a holiday. We have never told our readers that
Phelim was in love, because in fact we know not whether he was or not.
Be this as it may, we simply inform them, that in a little shed in
the lower end of the village, lived a person with whom Phelim was very
intimate, called Foodie Flattery. He was, indeed, a man after Phelim's
own heart, and Phelim was a boy after his. He maintained himself by
riding country races; by handing, breeding, and feeding cocks; by
fishing, poaching, and serving processes; and finally, by his knowledge
as a cow-doctor and farrier--into the two last of which he had given
Phelim some insight. We say the two last, for in most of the other
accomplishments Phelim was fully his equal. Phelim frequently envied him
his life. It was an idle, amusing, vagabond kind of existence, just
such a one as he felt a relish for. This man had a daughter, rather
well-looking; and it so happened, that he and Phelim had frequently
spent whole nights out together, no one knew on what employment. Into
Flattery's house did Phelim saunter with something like an inclination
to lay the events of the day before him, and to ask his advice upon his
future prospects. On entering the cabin he was much surprised to find
the daughter in a very melancholy mood; a circumstance which puzzled
him not a little, as he knew that they lived very harmoniously together.
Sally had been very useful to her father; and, if fame did not belie
her, was sometimes worthy Foodie's assistant in his nocturnal exploits.
She was certainly reputed to be "light-handed;" an imputation which
caused the young men of her acquaintance to avoid, in their casual
conversations with her, any allusion to matrimony.

"Sally, achora," said Phelim, when he saw her in distress, "what's the
fun? Where's your father?"

"Oh, Phelim," she replied, bursting into tears, "long runs the fox, but
he's cotch at last. My father's in gaol."

Phelim's jaw dropped. "In gaol! _Chorp an diouol_, no!"

"It's thruth, Phelim. Curse upon this Whiteboy business, I wish it never
had come into the counthry at all."

"Sally, I must see him; you know I must. But tell me how it happened?
Was it at home he was taken?"

"No; he was taken this mornin' in the market. I was wid him sellin' some
chickens. What'll you and Sam Appleton do, Phelim?"

"Uz! Why, what danger is there to either Sim or me, you darlin'?"

"I'm sure, Phelim, I don't know; but he tould me, that if I was provided
for, he'd be firm, an' take chance of his thrial. But, he says, poor
man, that it 'ud break his heart to be thransported, lavin' me behind
him wid' nobody to take care o' me.--He says, too, if anything 'ud make
him stag, it's fear of the thrial goin' against himself; for, as he said
to me, what 'ud become of you, Sally, if anything happened me?"

A fresh flood of tears followed this disclosure, and Phelim's face,
which was certainly destined to undergo on that day many variations of
aspect, became remarkably blank.

"Sally, you insinivator, I'll hould a thousand guineas you'd never guess
what brought me here to-day?"

"Arrah, how could I, Phelim? To plan some thin' wid my fadher, maybe."

"No, but to plan somethin' wid yourself, you coaxin' jewel you. Now
tell me this--Would you marry a certain gay, roguish, well-built young
fellow, they call Bouncin' Phelim?"

"Phelim, don't be gettin' an wid your fun now, an' me in affliction.
Sure, I know well you wouldn't throw yourself away upon a poor girl like
me, that has nothin' but a good pair of hands to live by."

"Be me sowl, an' you live by them. Well, but set in
case--supposin'--that same Bouncin' Phelim was willing to make you
mistress of the Half Acre, what 'ud you be sayin'?"

"Phelim, if a body thought you worn't jokin' them--ah, the dickens go
wid you, Phelim--this is more o' your thricks--but if it was thruth you
wor spakin', Phelim?"

"It is thruth," said Phelim; "be the vestment, it's nothin' else. Now,
say yes or no; for if it's a thing that it's to be a match, you must go
an' tell him that I'll marry you, an' he must be as firm as a rock. But
see, Sally, by thim five crasses it's not bekase your father's in I'm
marryin' you at all. Sure I'm in love wid you, acushla! Divil a lie in
it. Now, yes or no?"

"Well--throth--to be sure--the sorra one, Phelim, but you have quare
ways wid you. Now are you downright in airnest?"

"Be the stool I'm sittin' on!"

"Well, in the name o' Goodness, I'll go to my father, an' let him know
it. Poor man, it'll take the fear out of his heart. Now can he depind on
you, Phelim?"

"Why, all I can say is, that we'll get ourselves called on Sunday next.
Let himself, sure, send some one to autorise the priest to call us.
An' now that's all settled, don't I desarve somethin'? Oh, be gorra,
surely."

"Behave, Phelim--oh--oh--Phelim, now--there you've tuck it--och, the
curse o' the crows on you, see the way you have my hair down! There now,
you broke my comb, too. Troth, you're a wild slip, Phelim. I hope you
won't be goin' on this way wid the girls, when you get married."

"Is it me you coaxer? No, faith, I'll wear a pair of winkers, for fraid
o' lookin' at them at all! Oh be gorra, no, bally, I'll lave that to the
great people. Sure, they say, the divil a differ they make at all."

"Go off now, Phelim, till I get ready, an' set out to my father. But,
Phelim, never breathe a word about him bein' in goal. No one knows it
but ourselves--that is, none o' the neighbors."

"I'll sing dumb," said Phelim. "Well, _binaght lath, a rogarah!_* Tell
him the thruth--to be game, an' he'll find you an' me sweeled together
whin he comes out, plase Goodness."

     * My blessing be with you, you rogue!

Phelim was but a few minutes gone, when the old military cap of Fool Art
projected from the little bed-room, which a wicker wall, plastered with
mud, divided from the other part of the cabin.

"Is he gone?" said Art.

"You may come out, Art," said she, "he's gone."

"Ha!" said Art, triumphantly, "I often tould him, when he vexed me an'
pelted me wid snow-balls, that I'd come along sides wid him yet. An'
it's not over aither. Fool Art can snore when he's not asleep, an' see
wid his eyes shut. Wherroo for Art!"

"But, Art, maybe he intinds to marry the housekeeper afther all?"

     "Hi the colic, the colic!
     An' ho the colic for Phelim!"

"Then you think he won't, Art?"

     "Hi the colic, the colic!
     An' ho the colic for Phelim!"

"Now, Art, don't say a word about my father not bein' in gaol. He's to
be back from my grandfather's in a short time, an' if we manage well,
you'll see what you'll get, Art--a brave new shirt, Art."

"Art has the lane for Phelim, but it's not the long one wid no turn in
it. Wherroo for Art!"

Phelim, on his return home, felt queer; here was a second matrimonial
predicament, considerably worse than the first, into which he was hooked
decidedly against his will. The worst feature in this case was the
danger to be apprehended from Foodie Flattery's disclosures, should
he take it into his head to 'peach upon his brother Whiteboys. Indeed,
Phelim began to consider it a calamity that he ever entered into their
system at all; for, on running over his exploits along with them, he
felt that he was liable to be taken up any morning of the week, and
lodged in one of his majesty's boarding-houses. The only security he had
was the honesty of his confederates; and experience took the liberty of
pointing out to him many cases in which those who considered themselves
quite secure, upon the same grounds, either dangled or crossed the
water. He remembered, too, some prophecies that had been uttered
concerning him with reference both to hanging and matrimony.
Touching the former it was often said, that "he'd die where the bird
flies"--between heaven and earth; on matrimony, that there seldom was a
swaggerer among the girls but came to the ground at last.

Now Phelim had a memory of his own, and in turning over his situation,
and the prophecies that had been so confidently pronounced concerning
him, he felt, as we said, rather queer. He found his father and mother
in excellent spirits when he got home. The good man had got a gallon of
whiskey on credit; for it had been agreed on not to break the ten golden
guineas until they should have ascertained how the matchmaking would
terminate that night at Donovan's.

"Phelim," said the father, "strip yourself, an' put on Sam's clo'es: you
must send him down yours for a day or two; he says it's the least he may
have the wearin' o' them, so long as you have his."

"Right enough," said Phelim; "Wid all my heart; I'm ready to make a fair
swap wid him any day, for that matther."

"I sent word to the Donovans that we're to go to coort there to night,"
said Larry; "so that they'll be prepared for us; an' as it would be
shabby not to have a friend, I asked Sam Appleton himself. He's to folly
us."

"I see," said Phelim, "I see. Well, the best boy in Europe Sam is, for
such a spree. Now, Fadher, you must lie like the ould diouol tonight.
Back everything I say, an' there's no fear of us. But about what she's
to get, you must hould out for that. I'm to despise it, you know. I'll
abuse you for spakin' about fortune, but don't budge an inch."

"It's not the first time I've done that for you, Phelim; but in regard
o' these ten guineas, why you must put them in your pocket for fraid
they be wantin' to get off wid layin' down guinea for guinea. You see,
they don't think we have a rap; an' if they propose it we'll be up to
them."

"Larry," observed Sheelah, "don't make a match except they give that pig
they have. Hould out for that by all means."

"Tare-an'-ounze!" exclaimed Phelim, "am I goin' to take the counthry out
o' the face? By the vestments, I'm a purty boy! Do you know the fresh
news I have for yez?"

"Not ten guineas more, Phelim?" replied the father.

"Maybe you soodhered another ould woman," said the mother.

"Be asy," replied Phelim. "No, but the five crasses, I deluded a young
one since! I went out!"

The old couple were once more disposed to be mirthful; but Phelim
confirmed his assertion with such a multiplicity of oaths, that they
believed him. Nothing, however, could wring the secret of her name
out of him. He had reasons for concealing it which he did not wish to
divulge. In fact, he could never endure ridicule, and the name of Sally
Flattery, as the person whom he had "deluded," would constitute, on his
part, a triumph quite as sorry as that which he had achieved in
Father O'Hara's. In Ireland no man ever thinks of marrying a female
thief--which Sally was strongly suspected to be--except some worthy
fellow, who happens to be gifted with the same propensity.

When the proper hour arrived, honest Phelim, after having already made
arrangements to be called on the following Sunday, as the intended
husband of two females, now proceeded with great coolness to make,
if possible, a similar engagement with a third. There is something,
however, to be said for Phelim. His conquest over the housekeeper was
considerably out of the common course of love affairs. He had drawn
upon his invention, only to bring himself and the old woman out of the
ridiculous predicament in which the priest found them. He had, moreover,
intended to prevail on her to lend him the hat, in case the priest
himself had refused him. He was consequently not prepared for the
vigorous manner in which Mrs. Doran fastened upon the subject of
matrimony. On suspecting that she was inclined to be serious, he
pleaded his want of proper apparel; but here again the liberality of
the housekeeper silenced him, whilst, at the same time, it opened an
excellent prospect of procuring that which he most required--a decent
suit of clothes. This induced him to act a part that he did not feel.
He saw the old woman was resolved to outwit him, and he resolved to
overreach the old woman.

His marriage with Sally Flattery was to be merely a matter of chance. If
he married her at all, he knew it must be in self-defence. He felt that
her father had him in his power, and that he was anything but a man to
be depended on. He also thought that his being called with her, on the
Sunday following, would neutralize his call with the housekeeper; just
as positive and negative quantities in algebra cancel each other. But he
was quite ignorant that the story of Flattery's imprisonment was merely
a plan of the daughter's to induce him to marry her.

With respect to Peggy Donovan, he intended, should he succeed in
extricating himself from the meshes which the other two had thrown
around him, that she should be the elected one to whom he was anxious to
unite himself. As to the confusion produced by being called to three at
once, he knew that, however laughable in itself, it would be precisely
something like what the parish would expect from him. Bouncing Phelim
was no common man, and to be called to three on the same Sunday, would
be a corroboration of his influence with the sex. It certainly chagrined
him not a little that one of them was an old woman, and the other of
indifferent morals; but still it exhibited the claim of three women
upon one man, and that satisfied him. His mode of proceeding with Peggy
Donovan was regular, and according to the usages of the country. The
notice had been given that he and his father would go a courting, and of
course they brought the whiskey with them, that being the custom among
persons in their circumstances in life. These humble courtships very
much resemble the driving of a bargain between two chapmen; for, indeed,
the closeness of the demands on the one side, and the reluctance of
concession on the other, are almost incredible. Many a time has a match
been broken up by a refusal on the one part, to give a slip of a pig,
or a pair of blankets, or a year-old calf. These are small matters
in themselves, but they are of importance to those who, perhaps, have
nothing else on earth with which to begin the world. The house to
which Phelim and his father directed themselves was, like their own,
of the-humblest description. The floor of it was about sixteen feet by
twelve; its furniture rude and scanty. To the right of the fire was a
bed, the four posts of which ran up to the low roof; it was curtained
with straw mats, with the exception of an opening about a foot and a
half wide on the side next the fire, through which those who slept in it
passed. A little below the foot of the bed were ranged a few shelves of
deal, supported by pins of wood driven into the wall. These constituted
the dresser. In the lower end of the house stood a potato-bin, made up
of stakes driven into the floor, and wrought with strong wicker-work.
Tied to another stake beside this bin stood a cow, whose hinder part
projected so close to the door, that those who entered the cabin were
compelled to push her over out of their way. This, indeed, was effected
without much difficulty, for the animal became so habituated to the
necessity of moving aside, that it was only necessary to lay the hand
upon her. Above the door in the inside, almost touching the roof, was
the hen-roost, made also of wicker-work; and opposite the bed, on the
other side of the fire, stood a meal-chest.

Its lid on a level with the little pane of glass which served as a
window. An old straw chair, a few stools, a couple of pots, some wooden
vessels and crockery, completed the furniture of the house. The pig to
which Sheolah alluded was not kept within the cabin, that filthy custom
being now less common than formerly.

This catalogue of cottage furniture may appear to our English readers
very miserable. We beg them to believe, however, that if every cabin
in Ireland were equally comfortable, the country would be comparatively
happy. Still it is to be remembered, that the _dramatis personae_ of our
story are of the humblest class.

When seven o'clock drew nigh, the inmates of this little cabin placed
themselves at a clear fire; the father at one side, the mother at the
other, and the daughter directly between them, knitting, for this is
usually the occupation of a female on such a night. Everything in the
house was clean; the floor swept; the ashes removed from the hearth;
the parents in their best clothes, and the daughter also in her holiday
apparel. She was a plain girl, neither remarkable for beauty, nor
otherwise. Her eyes, however, were good, so were her teeth, and an
anxious look, produced of course by an occasion so interesting to
a female, heightened her complexion to a blush that became her. The
creature had certainly made the most of her little finery. Her face
shone like that of a child after a fresh scrubbing with a strong towel;
her hair, carefully curled with the hot blade of a knife, had been
smoothed with soap until it became lustrous by repeated polishing, and
her best red ribbon was tied tightly about it in a smart knot, that
stood out on the side of her head with something of a coquettish air.
Old Donovan and his wife maintained a conversation upon some indifferent
subject, but the daughter evidently paid little attention to what they
said. It being near the hour appointed for Phelim's arrival, she sat
with an appearance of watchful trepidation, occasionally listening, and
starting at every sound that she thought bore any resemblance to a man's
voice or footstep.

At length the approach of Phelim and his father was announced by a verse
of a popular song, for singing which Phelim was famous;--

     "A sailor coorted a farmer's daughter
     That lived contagious to the Isle of Man,
     A long time coortin', an' still discoorsin'
     Of things consarnin' the ocean wide;
     At linth he saize, 'My own dearest darlint,
     Will you consint for to be my bride?'"

"An' so she did consint, the darlin', but what the puck would she do
else? God save the family! Paddy Donovan, how is your health? Molly,
avourneen, I'm glad to hear that you're thrivin'. An' Peggy--eh? Ah, be
gorra, fadher, here's somethin' to look at! Give us the hand of you, you
bloomer! Och, och! faith you're the daisey!"

"Phelim," said the father, "will you behave yourself? Haven't you the
night before you for your capers? Paddy Donovan, I'm glad to see you!
Molly, give us your right hand, for, in troth, I have a regard for you!
Peggy, dear, how are you? But I'm sure, I needn't be axin when I look at
you! In troth, Phelim, she is somethin' to throw your eye at."

"Larry Toole, you're welcome," replied Donovan and his wife, "an' so
is your son. Take stools both of you, an' draw near the hearth. Here,
Phelim," said the latter, "draw in an' sit beside myself."

"Thank you kindly, Molly," replied Phelim; "but I'll do no sich thing..
Arrah, do you think, now, that I'd begin to gosther wid an ould woman,
while I have the likes o' Peggy, the darlin', beside me? I'm up to a
thrick worth nine of it. No, no; this chest 'll do. Sure you know, I
must help the 'duck of diamonds' here to count her stitches."

"Paddy," said Larry, in a friendly whisper, "put this whiskey past for
a while, barrin' this bottle that we must taste for good luck. Sam
Appleton's to come up afther us an', I suppose, some o' your own
cleavens 'll be here afther a while."

"Thrue for you," said Donovan. "Jemmy Burn and Antony Devlin is to come
over presently. But, Larry, this is nonsense. One bottle o' whiskey was
lashins; my Goodness, what'll we be doin' wid a whole gallon?"

"Dacency or nothin', Paddy; if it was my last I'd show sperit, an' why
not? Who'd be for the shabby thing?"

"Well, well, Larry, I can't say but you're right afther all! Maybe I'd
do the same thing myself, for all I'm spakin' aginst it."

The old people then passed round an introductory glass, after which they
chatted away for an hour or so, somewhat like the members of a committee
who talk upon indifferent topics until their brethren are all assembled.

Phelim, in the meantime, grappled with the daughter, whose knitting he
spoiled by hooking the thread with his finger, jogging her elbow until
he ran the needles past each other, and finally unravelling her clew;
all which she bore with great good-humor. Sometimes, indeed, she
ventured to give him a thwack upon the shoulder, with a laughing frown
upon her countenance, in order to correct him for teasing her.

When Jemmy Burn and Antony Devlin arrived, the spirits of the party got
up. The whiskey was formally produced, but as yet the subject of the
courtship, though perfectly understood, was not introduced. Phelim and
the father were anxious to await the presence of Sam Appleton, who was
considered, by the way, a first-rate hand at match-making.

Phelim, as is the wont, on finding the din of the conversation raised
to the proper pitch, stole one of the bottles and prevailed on Peggy to
adjourn with him to the potato-bin. Here they ensconced themselves very
snugly; but not, as might be supposed, contrary to the knowledge and
consent of the seniors, who winked at each other on seeing Phelim
gallantly tow her down with the bottle under his arm. It was only
the common usage on such occasions, and not considered any violation
whatsoever of decorum. When Phelim's prior engagements are considered,
it must be admitted that there was something singularly ludicrous in
the humorous look he gave over his shoulder at the company, as he went
toward the bin, having the bottom of the whiskey-bottle projecting
behind his elbow, winking at them in return, by way of a hint to mind
their own business and allow him to plead for himself. The bin, however,
turned out to be rather an uneasy seat, for as the potatoes lay in
a slanting heap against the wall, Phelim and his sweetheart were
perpetually sliding down from the top to the bottom. Phelim could be
industrious when it suited his pleasure. In a few minutes those who sat
about the fire imagined, from the noise at the bin, that the house was
about to come about their ears.

"Phelim, you thief," said the father, "what's all that noise for?"

"_Chrosh orrin!_" (* The cross be about us!) said Molly Donovan, "is that
tundher?"

"Devil carry these piatees," exclaimed Phelim, raking them down with
both hands and all his might, "if there's any sittin' at all upon them!
I'm levellin' them to prevint Peggy, the darlin', from slidderin' an' to
give us time to be talkin', somethin' lovin' to one another. The curse
o' Cromwell an them! One might as well dhrink a glass o' whiskey wid his
sweetheart, or spake a tinder word to her, on the wings of a windmill as
here. There now, they're as level as you plase, acushla! Sit down,
you jewel you, an' give me the egg-shell, till we have our Sup o' the
crathur in comfort. Faith, it was too soon for us to be comin' down in
the world?"

Phelim and Peggy having each emptied the egg-shell, which among the
poorer Irish is frequently the substitute for a glass, entered into
the following sentimental dialogue, which was covered by the loud and
entangled conversation of their friends about the fire; Phelim's arm
lovingly about her neck, and his head laid down snugly against her
cheek.

"Now, Peggy, you darlin' o' the world--bad cess to me but I'm as glad as
two ten-pennies that I levelled these piatees; there was no sittin' an
them. Eh, avourneen?"

"Why, we're comfortable now, anyhow, Phelim!"

"Faith, you may say that--(a loving squeeze). Now, Peggy, begin an' tell
us all about your bachelors."

"The sarra one ever I had, Phelim."

"Oh, murdher sheery, what a bounce! Bad cess to me, if you can spake
a word o' thruth afther that, you common desaver! Worn't you an' Paddy
Moran pullin' a coard?"

"No, in throth; it was given out on us, but we never wor, Phelim.
Nothin' ever passed betune us but common civility. He thrated my father
an' mother wanst to share of half a pint in the Lammas Fair, when I was
along wid them; but he never broke discoorse wid me barrin', as I sed,
in civility an' friendship."

"An' do you mane to put it down my throath that you never had a
sweetheart at all?"

"The nerra one."

"Oh, you thief! Wid two sich lips o' your own, an' two sich eyes o' your
own, an' two sich cheeks o' your own! Oh,--, by the tarn, that won't
pass."

"Well, an' supposin' I had--behave Phelim--supposin' I had, where's the
harm? Sure it's well known all the sweethearts, you had, an' have yet, I
suppose."

"Be gorra, an' that's thruth; an' the more the merrier, you jewel you,
till, one get's married. I had enough of them, in my day, but you're the
flower o' them all, that I'd like to spend my life wid"--(a squeeze.)

"The sorra one word the men say a body can trust. I warrant you tould
that story to every one o' them as well as to me. Stop Phelim--it's well
known that what you say to the colleens is no gospel. You know what they
christened you 'Bouncin' Phelim!"

"Betune you an' me, Peggy, I'll tell you a sacret; I was the boy for
deludin them. It's very well known the matches I might a got; but you
see, you little shaver, it was waitin' for yourself I was."

"For me! A purty story indeed I'm sure it was! Oh, afther that! Why,
Phelim, how can you----Well, well, did any one ever hear the likes?"

"Be the vestments, it's thruth. I had you in my eye these three years,
but was waitin' till I'd get together as much money as ud' set us up in
the world dacently. Give me that egg-shell agin. Talkin's dhruthy
work. _Shudorth, a rogarah!_ (* This to you you rogue) an' a pleasant
honeymoon to us!"

"Wait till we're married first, Phelim; thin it'll be time enough to
dhrink that."

"Come, acushla, it's your turn now; taste the shell, an' you'll see how
lovin' it'll make us. Mother's milk's a thrifle to it."

"Well, if I take this, Phelim, I'll not touch another dhrop to-night.
In the mane time here's whatever's best for us! Whoo! Oh, my! but that's
strong! I dunna how the people can dhrink so much of it!"

"Faith, nor me; except bekase they have a regard for it, an' that it's
worth havin' a regard for, jist like yourself an' me. Upon my faix,
Peggy, it bates all, the love an likin' I have for you, an' ever
had these three years past. I tould you about the eyes, mavourneen,
an'--an'--about the lips--"

"Phelim--behave--I say--now stop wid you--well--well--but you're the
tazin' Phelim!--Throth the girls may be glad when you're married,"
exclaimed Peggy, adjusting her polished hair.

"Bad cess to the bit, if ever I got so sweet a one in my life--the
soft end of a honeycomb's a fool to it. One thing, Peggy, I can tell
you--that I'll love you in great style. Whin we're marrid it's I that'll
soodher you up. I won't let the wind blow on you. You must give up
workin', too. All I'll ax you to do will be to nurse the childhre; an'
that same will keep you busy enough, plase Goodness."

"Upon my faix, Phelim, you're the very sarra, so you are. Will you be
asy now? I'll engage when you're married, it'll soon be another story
wid you. Maybe you'd care little about us thin!"

"Be the vestments, I'm spakin' pure gospel, so I am. Sure you don't know
that to be good husbands runs in our family. Every one of them was as
sweet as thracle to their wives. Why, there's that ould cock, my fadher,
an' if you'd see how he butthers up the ould woman to this day, it 'ud
make your heart warm to any man o' the family."

"Ould an' young was ever an' always the same to you, Phelim. Sure the
ouldest woman in the parish, if she happened to be single, couldn't
miss of your blarney. It's reported you're goin' to be marrid to an ould
woman.'

"He---hem--ahem! Bad luck to this cowld I have! it's stickin' in my
throath entirely, so it is!--hem!--to a what?"

"Why to an ould woman, wid a great deal of the hard goold!"

Phelim put his hand instinctively to his waistcoat pocket, in which he
carried the housekeeper's money.

"Would you oblage one wid her name?"

"You know ould Molly Kavanagh well enough, Phelim."

Phelim put up an inward ejaculation of thanks.

"To the sarra wid her, an' all sasoned women. God be praised that the
night's line, anyhow! Hand me the shell, an' we'll take a _gauliogue_
aich, an' afther that we'll begin an' talk over how lovin' an' fond o'
one another we'll be."

"You're takin' too much o' the whiskey, Phelim. Oh, for Goodness'
sake!--oh--b--b--n--now be asy. Faix, I'll go to the fire, an' lave you
altogether, so I will, if you don't give over slustherin' me, that way,
an' stoppin' my breath."

"Here's all happiness to our two selves, _acushla machree!_ Now thry
another _gauliogue_, an' you'll see how deludin' it'll make you."

"Not a sup, Phelim."

"Arrah, nonsense! Be the vestment, it's as harmless as new milk from the
cow. It'll only do you good, alanna. Come now, Peggy, don't be ondacent,
an' it our first night's coortin'! Blood alive! don't make little o' my
father's son on sich a night, an' us at business like this, anyhow!"

"Phelim, by the crass, I won't take it; so that ends it. Do you want
to make little o' me? It's not much you'd think o' me in your mind, if
I'd dhrink it."

"The shell's not half full."

"I wouldn't brake my oath for all the whiskey in the kingdom; so don't
ax me. It's neither right nor proper of you to force it an me."

"Well, all I say is, that it's makin' little of one Phelim O'Toole, that
hasn't a thought in his body but what's over head an' ears in love wid
you. I must only dhrink it for you myself, thin. Here's all kinds o'
good fortune to us! Now, Peggy,--sit closer to me acushla!--Now, Peggy,
are you fond o' me at all? Tell thruth, now."

"Fond o' you! Sure you know all the girls is fond of you. Aren't you the
boy for deludin' them?--ha, ha, ha?"

"Come, come, you shaver; that won't do. Be sarious. If you knew how my
heart's warmin' to you this minute, you'd fall in love wid my shadow.
Come, now, out wid it. Are you fond of a sartin boy not far from you,
called Bouncin' Phelim?"

"To be sure I am. Are you satisfied now? Phelim! I say,"--

"Faith, it won't pass, avourneen. That's not the voice for it. Don't
you hear me, how tendher I spake wid my mouth brathin' into your ear,
_acushla machree?_ Now turn about, like a purty entisin' girl, as you
are, an' put your sweet bill to my ear the same way, an' whisper what
you know into it? That's a darlin'! Will you, achora?"

"An' maybe all this time you're promised to another?"

"Be the vestments, I'm not promised to one. Now! Saize the one!"

"You'll say that, anyhow!"

"Do you see my hands acrass? Be thim five crasses, I'm not promised to
a girl livin', so I'm not, nor wouldn't, bekase I had you in my eye. Now
will you tell me what I'm wantin' you? The grace o' Heaven light down
an you, an' be a good, coaxin darlin' for wanst. Be this an' be that,
if ever you heerd or seen sich doin's an' times as we'll have when we're
marrid. Now the weeny whisper, a colleen dhas."

"It's time enough yet to let you know my mind, Phelim. If you behave
yourself an' be-----Why thin is it at the bottle agin you are? Now don't
dhrink so much, Phelim, or it'll get into your head. I was sayin' that
if you behave yourself, an' be a good boy, I may tell you somethin'
soon."

"Somethin' soon! Live horse, an' you'll get grass! Peggy, if that's the
way wid you, the love's all on my side, I see clearly. Are you willin'
to marry me, anyhow?"

"I'm willin' to do whatsomever my father an' mother wishes."

"I'm for havin' the weddin' off-hand; an' of coorse, if we agree
to-night, I think our best plan is to have ourselves called on Sunday.
An' I'll tell you what, avourneen--be the holy vestments, if I was to be
'called' to fifty on the same Sunday, you're the darlin' I'd marry."

"Phelim, it's time for us to go up to the fire; we're long enough here.
I thought you had only three words to say to me."

"Why, if you're tired o' me, Peggy, I don't want you to stop. I wouldn't
force myself on the best girl that ever stepped."

"Sure you have tould me all you want to say, an' there's no use in us
stayin' here. You know, Phelim, there's not a girl in the Parish 'ud
believe a word that 'ud come but o' your lips. Sure there's none o' them
but you coorted one time or other. If you could get betther, Phelim, I
dunna whether you'd be here to-night at all or not."

"Answer me this, Peggy. What do you! think your father 'ud be willin' to
give you? Not that I care a _cron abaun_ about it, for I'd marry you wid
an inch of candle."

"You know my father's but a poor man, Phelim, an' can give little or
nothing. Them that won't marry me as I am, needn't come here to look for
a fortune."

"I know that, Peggy, an' be the same token, I want no fortune at all wid
you but yourself, darlin'. In the mane time, to show you that I could
get a fortune--_Dhera Lorha Heena_, I could have a wife wid a hundre an'
twenty guineas!"

Peggy received this intelligence much in the same manner as Larry and
Sheelah had received it. Her mirth was absolutely boisterous for at
least ten minutes. Indeed, so loud had it been, that Larry and her
father could not help asking:--

"Arrah, what's the fun, Peggy, achora?"

"Oh, nothin'," she replied, "but one o' Phelim's bounces."

"Now," said Phelim, "you won't believe me? Be all the books--"

Peggy's mirth prevented his oaths from being heard. In vain he declared,
protested, and swore. On this occasion, he was compelled to experience
the fate peculiar to all liars. Even truth, from his lips, was looked
upon as falsehood.

Phelim, on finding that he could neither extort from Peggy an
acknowledgment of love, nor make himself credible upon the subject
of the large fortune, saw that he had nothing for it now, in order to
produce an impression, but the pathetic.

"Well," said he, "you may lave me, Peggy achora, if you like; but out o'
this I'll not budge, wid a blessing, till I cry my skinful, so I won't.
Saize the toe I'll move, now, till I'm sick wid cryin'! Oh, murdher
alive, this night! Isn't it a poor case entirely, that the girl I'd
suffer myself to be turned inside out for, won't say that she cares
about a hair o' my head! Oh, thin, but I'm the misfortunate blackguard
all out! Och, oh! Peggy, achora, you'll break my heart! Hand me that
shell, acushla--for I'm in the height of affliction!"

Peggy could neither withhold it, nor reply to him. Her mirth was even
more intense now than before; nor, if all were known, was Phelim less
affected with secret laughter than Peggy.

"It is makin' fun o' me you are, you thief, eh?--Is it laughin' at my
grief you are?" exclaimed Phelim. "Be the tarn' o' wor, I'll punish you
for that."

Peggy attempted to escape, but Phelim succeeded, ere she went, in taking
a salutation or two, after which both joined those who sat at the fire,
and in a few minutes Sam Appleton entered.

Much serious conversation had already passed in reference to the
courtship, which was finally entered into and debated, pro and con.

"Now, Paddy Donovan, that we're altogether, let me tell you one thing:
there's not a betther natur'd boy, nor a stouther, claner young fellow
in the parish, than my Phelim. He'll make your daughther as good, a
husband as ever broke bread!"

"I'm not sayin' against that, Larry. He is a good-nathur'd boy: but I
tell you, Larry Toole, that my daughter's his fill of a wife any day.
An' I'll put this to the back o' that--she's a hard-workin' girl, that
ates no idle bread."

"Very right," said Sam Appleton. "Phelim's a hairo, an' she's a beauty.
Dang me, but they wor made for one another. Phelim, _abouchal_, why
don't you--oh, I see you are. Why, I was goin' to bid you make up to
her."

"Give no gosther, Sam," replied Phelim, "but sind round the bottle, an'
don't forget to let it come this way. I hardly tasted a dhrop to-night."

"Oh, Phelim!" exclaimed Peggy.

"Whisht!" said Phelim, "there's no use in lettin' the ould fellows be
committin' sin. Why, they're hearty (* Tipsy) as it is, the sinners."

"Come, nabors," said Burn, "I'm the boy that's for close work. How does
the match stand? You're both my friends, an' may this be poison to me,
but I'll spake like an honest man, for the one as well as for the other.

"Well, then," said Donovan, "how is Phelim to support my daughther,
Larry? Sure that's a fair questin', any way."

"Wiry, Paddy," replied Larry, "when Phelim gets her, he'll have a patch
of his own, as well as another. There's that 'half-acre,' and a betther
piece o' land isn't in Europe!"

"Well, but what plenishin' are they to have, Larry? A bare half acre's
but a poor look up."

"I'd as soon you'd not make little of it, in the mane time," replied
Larry, rather warmly. "As good a couple as ever they wor lived on that
half acre; along wid what they earned by hard work otherwise."

"I'm not disparagin' it, Larry; I'd be long sorry; but about the
furniture? What are they to begin the world wid?"

"Hut," said Devlin, "go to the sarra wid yez!--What 'ud they want, no
more nor other young people like them, to begin the world wid? Are you
goin' to make English or Scotch of them, that never marries till they're
able to buy a farm an' stock it, the nagurs. By the staff in my hand, an
Irish man 'ud lash a dozen o' them, wid all then prudence! Hasn't Phelim
an' Peggy health and hands, what most new-married couples in Ireland
begins the world wid? Sure they're not worse nor a thousand others?"

"Success, Antony," said Phelim. "Here's your health for that!"

"God be thanked they have health and hands," said Donovan. "Still,
Antony, I'd like that they'd have somethin' more."

"Well, then, Paddy, spake up for yourself," observed Larry. "What will
you put to the fore for the colleen? Don't take both flesh an' bone!"

"I'll not spake up, till I know all that Phelim's to expect," said
Donovan. "I don't think he has a right to be axin' anything wid sich a
girl as my Peggy."

"Hut, tut, Paddy! She's a good colleen enough; but do you think she's
above any one that carries the name of O'Toole upon him? Still, it's but
raisonable for you to wish the girl well settled. My Phelim will have
one half o' my worldly goods, at all evints."

"Name them, Larry, if you plase."

"Why, he'll have one o' the goats--the gray one, for she's the best o'
the two, in throth. He'll have two stools; three hens, an' a toss-up
for the cock. The biggest o' the two pots; two good crocks; three good
wooden trenchers, an'--hem--he'll have his own--I say, Paddy, are
you listenin' to me?--Phelim, do you hear what I'm givin' you, _a
veehonee?--his own bed!_ An' there's all I can or will do for him. Now
do you spake up for Peggy."

"I'm to have my own bedstead too," said Phelim, "an' bad cess to the
stouter one in Europe. It's as good this minute as it was eighteen years
agone."

"Paddy Donovan, spake up," said Larry.

"Spake up!" said Paddy, contemptuously. "Is it for three crowns' worth
I'd spake up? The bedstead, Phelim! _Bedhu husth_, (* hold your tongue)
man!"

"Put round the bottle," said Phelim, "we're dhry here."

"Thrue enough, Phelim," said the father. "Paddy, here's towarst you
an' yours--nabors--all your healths--young couple! Paddy, give us your
hand, man alive! Sure, whether we agree or not, this won't put between
us."

"Throth, it won't, Larry--an' I'm thankful to you. Your health, Larry,
an' all your healths! Phelim an' Peggy, success to yez, whether or not!
An' now, in regard o' your civility, I will spake up. My proposal is
this:--I'll put down guinea for guinea wid you."

Now we must observe, by the way, that this was said under the firm
conviction that neither Phelim nor the father had a guinea in their
possession.

"I'll do that same, Paddy," said Larry; "but I'll lave it to the present
company, if you're not bound to put down the first guinea. Nabors, amn't
I right?"

"You are right, Larry," said Burn; "it's but fair that Paddy should put
down the first."

"Molly, achora," said Donovan to the wife, who, by the way, was engaged
in preparing the little feast usual on such occasions--"Molly, achora,
give me that ould glove you have in your pocket."

She immediately handed him an old shammy glove, tied up into a hard
knot, which he felt some difficulty in unloosing.

"Come, Larry," said he, laying down a guinea-note, "cover that like a
man."

"Phelim carries my purse," observed the father; but he had scarcely
spoken when the laughter of the company rang loudly through the
house--The triumph of Donovan appeared to be complete, for he thought
the father's alusion to Phelim tantamount to an evasion.

"Phelim! Phelim carries it! Faix, an' I, doubt he finds it a light
burdyeen."

Phelim approached in all his glory.

"What am I to do?" he inquired, with a swagger.

"You're to cover that guinea-note wid a guinea, if you can," said
Donovan.

"Whether 'ud you prefar goold or notes," said Phelim, looking pompously
about him; "that's the talk."

This was received with another merry peal of laughter.

"Oh, goold--goold by all manes!" replied Donovan.

"Here goes the goold, my worthy," said Phelim, laying down his guinea
with a firm slap upon the table.

Old Donovan seized it, examined it, then sent it round, to satisfy
himself that it was a _bona fide_ guinea.

On finding that it was good, he became blank a little; his laugh lost
its strength, much of his jollity was instantly neutralized, and his
face got at least two inches longer. Larry now had the laugh against
him, and the company heartily joined in it.

"Come, Paddy," said Larry, "go an!--ha, ha, ha!"

Paddy fished for half a minute through the glove; and, after what was
apparently a hard chase, brought up another guinea, which he laid down.

"Come, Phelim!" said he, and his eye brightened again with a hope that
Phelim would fail.

"Good agin!" said Phelim, thundering down another, which was instantly
subjected to a similar scrutiny.

"You'll find it good," said Larry. "I wish we had a sackful o' them. Go
an, Paddy. Go an, man, who's afeard?"

"Sowl, I'm done," said Donovan, throwing down the purse with a hearty
laugh--"give me your hand, Larry. Be the goold afore us, I thought to do
you. Sure these two guineas is for my rint, an' we mustn't let them come
atween us at all."

"Now," said Larry, "to let you see that my son's not widout something to
begin the world wid--Phelim, shill out the rest o' the yallow boys."

"Faix, you ought to dhrink the ould woman's health for this," said
Phelim. "Poor ould crathur, many a long day she was savin' up these for
me. It's my mother I'm speakin' about."

"An' we will, too," said the father; "here's Sheelah's health,
neighbors! The best poor man's wife that ever threwn a gown over her
shouldhers."

This was drank with all the honors, and the negotiation proceeded.

"Now," said Appleton, "what's to be done? Paddy, say what you'll do for
the girl."

"Money's all talk," said Donovan; "I'll give the girl the two-year ould
heifer--an' that's worth double what his father has promised Phelim;
I'll give her a stone o' flax, a dacent suit o' clo'es, my blessin'--an'
there's her fortune."

"Has she neither bed nor beddin'?" inquired Larry.

"Why, don't you say that Phelim's to have his own bed?" observed
Donovan. "Sure one bed 'ill be plinty for them."

"I don't care a damn about fortune," said Phelim, for the first time
taking a part in the bargain--"so long as I get the darlin' herself. But
I think there 'ud be no harm in havin' a spare pair o' blankets--an',
for that matther, a bedstead, too--in case a friend came to see a body."

"I don't much mind givin' you a brother to the bedstead you have,
Phelim," replied Donovan, winking at the company, for he was perfectly
aware of the nature of Phelim's bedstead.

"I'll tell you what you must do," said Larry, "otherwise I'll not stand
it. Give the colleen a chaff bed, blankets an' all other parts complate,
along wid that slip of a pig. If you don't do this, Paddy Donovan, why
we'll finish the whiskey an' part friends--but it's no match."

"I'll never do it, Larry. The bed an' beddin' I'll give; but the pig
I'll by no manner o' manes part wid."

"Put round the bottle," said Phelim, "we're gettin' dhry agin--sayin'
nothin' is dhroothy work. Ould man, will you not bother us about
fortune!"

"Come, Paddy Donnovan," wid Devlin, "dang it, let out a little,
considher he has ten guineas; and I give it as my downright maxim an
opinion, that he's fairly entitled to the pig."

"You're welcome to give your opinion, Antony, an' I'm welcome not to
care a rotten sthraw about it. My daughter's wife enough for him, widout
a gown to her back, if he had his ten guineas doubled."

"An' my son," said Larry, "is husband enough for a betther girl nor ever
called you father--not makin' little, at the same time, of either you or
her."

"Paddy," said Burn, "there's no use in spakin' that way. I agree wid
Antony, that you ought to throw in the 'slip.'"

"Is it what I have to pay my next gale o' rint wid? No, no! If he won't
marry her widout it, she'll get as good that will."

"Saize the 'slip," said Phelim, "the darlin' herself here is all the
slip I want."

"But I'm not so," said Larry, "the 'slip' must go in, or it's a brake
off. Phelim can get girls that has money enough to buy us all out o'
root. Did you hear that, Paddy Donovan?"

"I hear it," said Paddy, "but I'll b'lieve as much of it as I like."

Phelim apprehended that as his father got warm with the liquor, he
might, in vindicating the truth of his own assertion, divulge the affair
of the old housekeeper.

"Ould man," said he "have sinse, an' pass that over, if you have any
regard for Phelim."

"I'd not be brow-bate into anything," observed Donovan.

"Sowl, you would not," said Phelim; "for my part, Paddy, I'm ready to
marry your daughther (a squeeze to Peggy) widout a ha'p'orth at all,
barrin' herself. It's the girl I want, an' not the slip."

"Thin, be the book, you'll get both, Phelim, for your dacency," said
Donovan; "but, you see I wouldn't be bullied into' puttin' one foot past
the other, for the best man that ever stepped on black leather."

"Whish!" said Appleton, "that's the go! Success ould heart! Give us your
hand, Paddy,--here's your good health, an' may you never button an empty
pocket!"

"Is all settled?" inquired Molly.

"All, but about the weddin' an' the calls," replied her husband. "How
are we to do about that, Larry?"

"Why, in the name o' Goodness, to save time," he replied, "let them be
called on Sunday next, the two Sundays afther, an thin marrid, wid a
blessin'."

"I agree wid that entirely," observed Molly; "an' now Phelim, clear
away, you an' Peggy, off o' that chist, till we have our bit o' supper
in comfort."

"Phelim," said Larry, "when the suppers done, you must slip over to
Roche's for a couple o' bottles more o' whiskey. We'll make a night of
it."

"There's two bottles in the house," said Donovan; "an', be the
saikerment, the first man that talks of bringin' in more, till these is
dhrunk, is ondacent."

This was decisive. In the meantime, the chest was turned into a table,
the supper laid, and the attack commenced. All was pleasure, fun,
and friendship. The reader may be assured that Phelim, during the
negotiation, had not misspent the time with Peggy, Their conversation,
however, was in a tone too low to be heard by those who were themselves
talking loudly.

One thing, however, Phelim understood from his friend Sam Appleton,
which was, that some clue had been discovered to an outrage in which he
(Appleton) had been concerned. Above all other subjects, that was one on
which Phelim was but a poor comforter. He himself found circumspection
necessary; and he told Appleton, that if ever danger approached him, he
had resolved either to enlist, or go to America, if he could command the
money.

"You ought to do that immediately," added Phelim.

"Where's the money?" replied the other. "I don't know," said Phelim;
"but if I was bent on goin', the want of money wouldn't stop me as long
as it could be found in the counthry. We had to do as bad for others,
an' it can't be a greater sin to do that much for ourselves."

"I'll think of it," said Appleton. "Any rate, it's in for a penny, in
for a pound, wid me."

When supper was over, they resumed their drinking, sang songs, and told
anecdotes with great glee and hilarity. Phelim and Peggy danced jigs and
reels, whilst Appleton sang for them, and the bottle also did its duty.

On separating about two o'clock, there was not a sober man among them
but Appleton. He declined drinking, and was backed in his abstemiousness
by Phelim, who knew that sobriety on the part of Sam would leave himself
more liquor. Phelim, therefore, drank for them both, and that to such
excess, that Larry, by Appleton's advice, left him at his father's in
consequence of his inability to proceed homewards. It was not, however,
without serious trouble that Appleton could get Phelim and the father
separated; and when he did, Larry's grief was bitter in the extreme. By
much entreaty, joined to some vigorous shoves towards the door, he was
prevailed upon to depart without him; but the old man compensated for
the son's absence, by indulging in the most vociferous sorrow as he
went along, about "Ma Phelim." When he reached home, his grief burst out
afresh; he slapped the palms of his hands together, and indulged in a
continuous howl, that one on hearing it would imagine to be the very
echo of misery, When he had fatigued himself, he fell asleep on the bed,
without having undressed, where he lay until near nine o'clock the next
morning. Having got up and breakfasted, he related to his wife, with an
aching head, the result of the last night's proceedings. Everything
he assured her was settled: Phelim and Peggy were to be called the
following Sunday, as Phelim, he supposed, had already informed her.

"Where's Phelim?" said the wife; "an' why didn't he come home wid you
last night?"

"Where is Phelim? Why, Sheelah, woman sure he did come home wid me last
night."

"_Ghrush orrin_, Larry, no! What could happen him? Why, man, I thought
you knew where he was; an' in regard of his bein' abroad so often at
night, myself didn't think it sthrange."

Phelim's absence astounded them both, particularly the father, who
had altogether forgotten everything that had happened on the preceding
night, after the period of his intoxication. He proposed to go back to
Donovan's to inquire for him, and was about to proceed there when Phelim
made his appearance, dressed in his own tender apparel only. His face
was three inches longer than usual, and the droop in his eye remarkably
conspicuous.

"No fear of him," said the father, "here's himself. Arrah, Phelim, what
became of you last night? Where wor you?"

Phelim sat down very deliberately and calmly, looked dismally at his
mother, and then looked more dismally at his father.

"I suppose you're sick too, Phelim," said the father. "My head's goin'
round like a top."

"Ate your breakfast," said his mother; it's the best thing for you."

"Where wor you last night, Phelim?" inquired the father.

"What are you sayin', ould man?"

"Who wor you wid last night?"

"Do, Phelim," said the mother, "tell us, aroon. I hope it wasn't out you
wor. Tell us, avourneen?"

"Ould woman, what are you talking about?"

Phelim whistled "_ulican dim oh_," or, "the song of sorrow." At length
he bounced to his feet, and exclaimed in a loud, rapid voice:--"_Ma
chuirp an diouol!_ ould couple, but I'm robbed of my ten guineas by Sam
Appleton!"

"Robbed by Sam Appleton! Heavens above!" exclaimed the father.

"Robbed by Sam Appleton! _Gra machree_, Phelim! no, you aren't!"
exclaimed the mother.

"_Gra machree_ yourself! but I say I am," replied Phelim; "robbed clane
of every penny of it!"

Phelim then sat down to breakfast--for he was one of those happy mortals
whose appetite is rather sharpened by affliction--and immediately
related to his father and mother the necessity which Appleton's
connection had imposed on him of leaving the country; adding, that while
he was in a state of intoxication, he had been stripped of Appleton's
clothes; that his own were left beside him; that when he awoke the next
morning, he found his borrowed suit gone; that on searching for his own,
he found, to his misery, that the ten guineas had disappeared along with
Appleton, who, he understood from his father, had "left the neighborhood
for a while, till the throuble he was in 'ud pass over."

"But I know where he's gone," said Phelim, "an' may the divil's luck go
wid him, an' God's curse on the day I ever had anything to do wid
that hell-fire Ribbon business! 'Twas he first brought me into it, the
villain; an' now I'd give the town land we're in to be fairly out of
it."

"_Hanim an diouol!_" said the father, "is the ten guineas gone? The
curse of hell upon him, for a black desaver! Where's the villain,
Phelim?"

"He's gone to America," replied the son* "The divil tare the tongue
out o' myself,' too! I should be puttin' him up to go there, an' to get
money, if it was to be had. The villain bit me fairly."

"Well, but how are we to manage?" inquired Larry. "What's to be done?"

"Why," said the other, "to bear it an say nothin'. Even if he was in his
father's house, the double-faced villain has me so much in his power,
that I couldn't say a word about it. My curse on the Ribbon business, I
say, from my heart out!"

That day was a very miserable one to Phelim and the father. The loss of
the ten guineas, and the feverish sickness produced from their debauch,
rendered their situation not enviable. Some other small matters, too,
in which Phelim was especially concerned, independent of the awkward
situation in which he felt himself respecting the three calls on the
following day, which was Sunday, added greater weight to his anxiety. He
knew not how to manage, especially upon the subject of his habiliments,
which certainly were in a very dilapidated state. An Irishman, however,
never despairs. If he has not apparel of his own sufficiently decent to
wear on his wedding-day, he borrows from a friend. Phelim and his father
remembered that there were several neighbors in the village, who would
oblige him with a suit for the wedding; and as to the other necessary
expenses, they did what their countrymen are famous for--they trusted to
chance.

"We'll work ourselves out of it some way," said Larry. "Sure, if all
fails us, we can sell the goats for the weddin' expenses. It's one
comfort that Paddy Donovan must find the dinner; an' all we have to get
is the whiskey, the marriage money, an' some other thrifies."

"They say," observed Phelim, "that people have more luck whin they're
married than whin they're single. I'll have a bout at the marriage, so
I will; for worse luck I can't have, if I had half a dozen wives, than I
always met wid."

     * This is another absurd opinion peculiar to the
     Irish, and certainly one of the most pernicious that
     prevail among them. Indeed, I believe there is no
     country in which so many absurd maxims exist.

"I'll go down," observed Larry, "to Paddy Donovan's, an' send him to the
priest's to dive in your names to be called to-morrow. Faith, it's well
that you won't have to appear, or I dunna how you'd get over it."

"No," said Phelim, "that bill won't pass. You must go to the priest
yourself, an' see the curate: if you go near Father O'Hara, it 'ud knock
a plan on the head that I've invinted. I'm in the notion that I'll make
the ould woman bleed agin. I'll squeeze as much out of her as I'll
bring me to America, for I'm not overly safe here; or, if all fails,
I'll marry her, an' run away wid the money. It 'ud bring us all across."

Larry's interview with the curate was but a short one. He waited on
Donovan, however, before he went, who expressed himself satisfied with
the arrangement, and looked forward to the marriage as certain. As for
Phelim, the idea of being called to three females at the same time, was
one that tickled his vanity very much. Vanity, where the fair sex was
concerned, had been always his predominant failing. He was not finally
determined on marriage with any of them; but he knew that should he
even escape the three, the _eclat_, resulting from so celebrated a
transaction would recommend him to the sex for the remainder of his
life. Impressed with this view of the matter, he sauntered about as
usual; saw Foodie Flattery's daughter, and understood that her uncle had
gone to the priest, to have his niece and worthy Phelim called the next
day. But besides this hypothesis, Phelim had another, which, after all,
was the real one. He hoped that the three applications would prevent the
priest from calling him at all.

The priest, who possessed much sarcastic humor, on finding the name of
Phelim come in as a candidate for marriage honors with three different
women, felt considerably puzzled to know what he could be at. That
Phelim might hoax one or two of them was very probable, but that he
should have the effrontery to make him the instrument of such an affair,
he thought a little too bad.

"Now," said he to his curate, as they talked the matter over that night.
"it is quite evident that this scapegrace reckons upon our refusal to
call him with any of those females to-morrow. It is also certain that
not one of the three to whom he has pledged himself is aware that he is
under similar obligations to the other two."

"How do you intend to act, sir?" inquired the curate.

"Why," said Mr. O'Hara, "certainly to call him to each: it will give
the business a turn for which he is not prepared. He will stand exposed,
moreover, before the congregation, and that will be some punishment to
him."

"I don't know as to the punishment," replied the curate. "If ever a
human being was free from shame, Phelim is. The fellow will consider it
a joke."

"Very possible," observed his superior, "but I am anxious to punish this
old woman. It may prevent her from uniting herself with a fellow who
certainly would, on becoming master of her money, immediately abandon
her--perhaps proceed to America."

"It will also put the females of the parish on their guard against him,"
said the innocent curate, who knew not that it would raise him highly in
their estimation.

"We will have a scene, at all events," said Mr. O'Hara; "for I'm
resolved to expose him. No blame can be attached to those whom he has
duped, excepting only the old woman, whose case will certainly excite
a great deal of mirth. That matters not, however; she has earned the
ridicule, and let her bear it." It was not until Sunday morning that the
three calls occurred to Phelim in a new light.

He forgot that the friends of the offended parties might visit upon his
proper carcase the contumely he offered to them. This, however, did not
give him much anxiety, for Phelim was never more in his element than
when entering upon a row.

The Sunday in question was fine, and the congregation unusually large;
one would think that all the inhabitants of the parish of Teernarogarah
had been assembled. Most of them certainly were.

The priest, after having gone through the usual ceremonies of the
Sabbath worship, excepting those with which he concludes the mass,
turned round to the congregation, and thus addressed them:--

"I would not," said he, "upon any other occasion of this kind, think it
necessary to address you at all; but this is one perfectly unique, and
in some degree patriarchal, because, my friends, we are informed that
it was allowed in the times of Abraham and his successors, to keep
more than one wife. This custom is about being revived by a modern,
who wants, in rather a barefaced manner, to palm himself upon us as a
patriarch. And who do you think, my friends, this Irish Patriarch is?
Why, no other than bouncing Phelim O'Toole!"

This was received precisely as the priest anticipated: loud were the
snouts of laughter from all parts of the congregation.

"Divil a fear o' Phelim!" they exclaimed. "He wouldn't be himself, or
he'd kick up a dust some way."

"Blessed Phelim! Just like him! Faith, he couldn't be marrid in the
common coorse!"

"Arrah, whisht till we hear the name o' the happy crathur that's to be
blisthered with Phelim! The darlin's in luck, whoever she is, an' has
gained a blessed prize in the 'Bouncer.'"

"This bouncing patriarch," continued the priest, "has made his selection
with great judgment and discrimination. In the first place, he has
pitched upon a hoary damsel of long standing in the world;--one blessed
with age and experience. She is qualified to keep Phelim's house well,
as soon as it shall be built; but whether she will be able to keep
Phelim himself, is another consideration. It is not unlikely that
Phelim, in imitation of his great prototypes, may prefer living in a
tent. But whether she keeps Phelim or the house, one thing is certain,
that Phelim will keep her money. Phelim selected this aged woman, we
presume, for her judgment; for surely she who has given such convincing
proof of discretion, must make a useful partner to one who, like Phelim,
has that virtue yet to learn. I have no doubt, however, but in a short
time he will be as discreet as his teacher."

"Blood alive! Isn't that fine language?"

"You may say that! Begad, it's himself can discoorse! What's the
Protestants to that?"

"The next upon the list is one who, though a poor man's daughter, will
certainly bring property to Phelim. There is also an aptness in this
selection, which does credit to the 'Patriarch.' Phelim is a great
dancer, an accomplishment with which we do not read that the patriarchs
themselves were possessed: although we certainly do read that a light
heel was of little service to Jacob. Well, Phelim carries a light heel,
and the second female of his choice on this list carries a 'light hand;'
(* Intimating theft) it is, therefore, but natural to suppose that, if
ever they are driven to extremities, they will make light of many things
which other people would consider as of weighty moment. Whether Phelim
and she may long remain stationary in this country, is a problem
more likely to be solved at the county assizes than here. It is not
improbable that his Majesty may recommend the 'Patriarch' and one of
his wives to try the benefit of a voyage to New South Wales, he himself
graciously vouch-saving to bear their expenses."

"Divil a lie in that, anyhow! If ever any one crossed the wather, Phelim
will. Can't his Reverence be funny whin he plases?"

"Many a time it was prophecized for him: an' his Reverence knows best."

"Begad, Phelim's gettin' over the coals. But sure it's all the way the
father an' mother reared him."

"Tunder-an'-trff, is he goin' to be called to a pair o' them?"

"Faix, so it seems."

"Oh, the divil's clip! Is he mad? But let us hear it out."

"The third damsel is by no means so, well adapted for Phelim as either
of the other two. What she could have seen in him is another problem
much more difficult than the one I have mentioned. I would advise her
to reconsider the subject, and let Phelim have the full benefit of the
attention she may bestow upon it. If she finds the 'Patriarch' possessed
of any one virtue, except necessity, I will admit that it is pretty
certain that she will soon discover the longitude, and that has puzzled
the most learned men of the world. If she marries this 'Patriarch', I
think the angels who may visit him will come in the shape of policemen;
and that Phelim, so long as he can find a cudgel, will give them
anything but a patriarchal reception, is another thing of which we may
rest pretty certain.

"I. now publish the bans of matrimony between Phelim O'Toole of
Teernarogarah, and Bridget Doran of Dernascobe. If any person knows of
any impediment why these two should not be joined in wedlock, they are
bound to declare it.

"This Bridget Doran, my friends, is no other than my old housekeeper;
but when, where, or how, Phelim could have won upon her juvenile
affections is one of those mysteries which is never to be explained.
I dare say, the match was brought about by despair on her side, and
necessity on his. She despaired of getting a husband, and he had a
necessity for the money. In point of age I admit she would make a very
fit wife for any 'Patriarch.'"

Language could not describe the effect which this disclosure produced
upon the congregation. The fancy of every one present was tickled at
the idea of a union between Phelim and the old woman. It was followed by
roars of laughter which lasted several minutes.

"Oh, thin, the curse o' the crows upon him, was he only able to butther
up the ould woman! Oh, _Ghe dldven!_ that flogs. Why, it's a wondher he
didn't stale the ould slip, an' make a run-away match of it--ha, ha, ha!
Musha, bad scran to her, but she had young notions of her own! A purty
bird she picked up in Phelim!--ha, ha, ha!"

"I also publish the banns of matrimony between Phelim O'Toole of
Teernarogarah and Sally Flattery of the same place. If any of you knows
of any impediment why they should not be joined in wedlock you are bound
to declare it."

The mirth rose again, loud and general. Poodle Flattery, whose character
was so well known, appeared so proper a father-in-law for Phelim, that
his selection in this instance delighted them highly.

"Betther an' betther, Phelim! More power to you! You're fixed at last.
Poodle Flattery's daughter--a known thief! Well, what harm? Phelim
himself has pitch on his fingers--or had, anyhow, when he was growin'
up--for many a thing stuck to them. Oh, bedad, now we know what his
Reverence was at when he talked about the 'Sizes, bad luck to them!
Betune her an' the ould woman, Phelim 'ud be in Paradise! Foodie
Flattery's daughter! Begad, she'll 'bring him property' sure enough, as
his Reverence says."

"I also publish the banns of matrimony between Phelim O'Toole--whom we
must in future call the 'Patriarch'--of Teernarogarah, and Peggy Donovan
of the same place. If any of you knows any impediment in the way of
their marriage, you are bound to declare it."

"Bravo! Phelim acushla. 'Tis you that's the blessed youth.
Tundher-an'-whiskey, did ever any body hear of sich desate? To do three
o' them. Be sure the Bouncer has some schame in this. Well, one would
suppose Paddy Donovan an' his daughter had more sinse nor to think of
sich a runagate as Bouncin' Phelim."

"No, but the Pathriark! Sure his Reverence sez that we musn't call him
anything agin but the Pathriark! Oh, be gorra, that's the name!--ha, ha,
ha!"

When the mirth of the congregation had subsided, and their comments
ended, the priest concluded in the following words:--

"Now, my friends, here is such a piece of profligacy as I have never,
in the whole course of my pastoral duties, witnessed. It is the act of
Phelim O'Toole, be it known, who did not scruple to engage himself for
marriage to three females--that is, to two girls and an old woman--and
who, in addition, had the effrontery to send me his name and theirs, to
be given out all on the same Sunday; thus making me an instrument in his
hands to hoax those who trusted in his word. That he can marry but
one of them is quite clear; but that he would not scruple to marry the
three, and three more to complete the half-dozen, is a fact which no one
who knows him will doubt. For my part, I know not how this business may
terminate. Of a truth he has contrived to leave the claims of the three
females in a state of excellent confusion. Whether it raise or lessen
him in their opinion I cannot pretend to determine. I am sorry for
Donovan's daughter, for I know not what greater calamity could befall
any honest family than a matrimonial union with Phelim O'Toole. I trust
that this day's proceedings will operate as a caution to the females
of the parish against such an unscrupulous reprobate. It is for this
purpose only that I publish the names given in to me. His character was
pretty well known before; it is now established; and having established
it, I dismiss the subject altogether."

Phelim's fame was now nearly at its height. Never before had such a case
been known; yet the people somehow were not so much astonished as might
be supposed. On the contrary, had Phelim's courtship gone off like that
of another man, they would have felt more surprised. We need scarcely
say, that the "giving out" or "calling" of Phelim and the three damsels
was spread over the whole parish before the close of that Sunday. Every
one had it--man, woman, and child. It was told, repeated, and improved
as it went along. Now circumstances were added, fresh points made out,
and other _dramatis personae_ brought in--all with great felicity, and
quite suitable to Phelim's character.

Strongly contrasted with the amusement of the parishioners in general,
was the indignation felt by the three damsels and their friends. The old
housekeeper was perfectly furious; so much so, indeed, that the priest
gave some dark hints at the necessity of sending for a strait waistcoat.
Her fellow-servants took the liberty of breaking some strong jests upon
her, in return for which she took the liberty of breaking two strong
churnstaves upon them. Being a remarkably stout woman for her years,
she put forth her strength to such purpose that few of them went to bed
without sore bones. The priest was seriously annoyed at it, for he found
that his house was a scene of battle during the remainder of the day.

Sally Flattery's uncle, in the absence of her father, indignantly
espoused the cause of his niece. He and Donovan each went among their
friends to excite in them a proper resentment, and to form a faction for
the purpose of chastising Phelim. Their chagrin was bitter on finding
that their most wrathful representations of the insult sustained by
their families, were received with no other spirit than one of the most
extravagant mirth. In vain did they rage and fume, and swear; they could
get no one to take a serious view of it. Phelim O'Toole was the author
of all, and from him it was precisely what they had expected.

Phelim himself, and the father, on hearing of the occurrence after mass,
were as merry as any other two in the parish. At first the father was
disposed to lose his temper; but on Phelim telling him he would bear no
"gosther" on the subject, he thought proper to take it in good humor.
About this time they had not more than a week's provision in the house,
and only three shillings of capital. The joke of the three calls was too
good a one to pass off as an ordinary affair; they had three shillings,
and although it was their last, neither of them could permit the
matter to escape as a dry joke. They accordingly repaired to the little
public-house of the village, where they laughed at the world, got drunk,
hugged each other, despised all mankind, and staggered home, Fagged and
merry, poor and hearty, their arms about each other's necks, perfect
models of filial duty and paternal affection.

The reader is aware that the history of Phelim's abrupt engagement
with the housekeeper, was conveyed by Fool Art to Sally Flattery. Her
thievish character rendered marriage as hopeless to her as length of
days did to Bridget Doran. No one knew the plan she had laid for Phelim,
but this fool, and, in order to secure his silence, she had promised him
a shirt on the Monday after the first call. Now Art, as was evident
by his endless habit of shrugging, felt the necessity of a shirt very
strongly.

About ton o'clock on Monday he presented himself to Sally, and claimed
his recompense.

"Art," said Sally, "the shirt I intended for you is upon Squire Nugent's
hedge beside their garden. You know the family's goin' up to Dublin on
Thursday, Art, an' they're gettin' their washin' done in time to be off.
Go down, but don't let any one see you; take the third shirt on the row,
an' bring it up to me till I smooth it for you."

Art sallied down to the hedge on which the linen had been put out to
dry, and having reconnoitered the premises, shrugged himself, and cast a
longing eye on the third shirt. With that knavish penetration, however,
peculiar to such persons, he began to reflect that Sally might have
some other object in view besides his accommodation. He determined,
therefore, to proceed upon new principles--sufficiently safe, he
thought, to protect him from the consequences of theft. "Good-morrow,
Bush," said Art, addressing that on which the third shirt was spread.
"Isn't it a burnin' shame an' a sin for you," he continued, "to have
sich a line white shirt an you, an' me widout a stitch to my back. Will
you swap?"

Having waited until the bush had due time to reply.

"Sorra fairer," he observed; "silence gives consint."

In less than two minutes he stripped, put on one of the Squire's best
shirts, and spread out his own dusky fragment in its place.

"It's a good thing," said Art, "to have a clear conscience; a fair
exchange is no robbery."

Now, it so happened that the Squire himself, who was a humorist, and
also a justice of the peace, saw Art putting his morality in practice at
the hedge. He immediately walked out with an intention of playing off
a trick upon the fool for his dishonesty; and he felt the greater
inclination to do this in consequence of an opinion long current, that
Art, though he had outwitted several, had never been outwitted himself.

Art had been always a welcome guest in the Squire's kitchen, and never
passed the "Big House," as an Irish country gentleman's residence is
termed, without calling. On this occasion, however, he was too cunning
to go near it--a fact which the Squire observed. By taking a short cut
across one of his own fields, he got before Art, and turning the angle
of a hedge, met him trotting along at his usual pace.

"Well, Art, where now?"

"To the crass roads, your honor."

"Art, is not this a fine place of mine? Look at these groves, and the
lawn, and the river there, and the mountains behind all. Is it not equal
to Sir William E-----'s?"

Sir William was Art's favorite patron.

"Sir William, your honor, has all this at his place."

"But I think my views are finer."

"They're fine enough," replied Art; "but where's the lake afore the
door?"

The Squire said no more about his prospects.

"Art," he continued, "would you carry a letter from me to M-----?"

"I'll be wantin' somethin' to dhrink on the way," said Art.

"You shall get something to eat and drink before you go," said the
Squire, "and half-a-crown for your trouble."

"Augh," exclaimed Art, "be dodda, sir, you're nosed like Sir William,
and chinned like Captain Taylor." This was always Art's compliment when
pleased.

The Squire brought him up to the house, ordered him refreshment, and
while Art partook of it, wrote a _letter of mittimus_ to the county
jailor, authorizing him to detain the bearer in prison until he should
hear further from him.

Art, having received the half-crown and the letter, appeared delighted;
but, on hearing the name of the person to whom it was addressed, he
smelt a trick. He promised faithfully, however, to deliver it, and
betrayed no symptoms whatever of suspicion. After getting some distance
from the big house, he set his wits to work, and ran over in his mind
the names of those who had been most in the habit of annoying him. At
the head of this list stood Phelim O'Toole, and on Phelim's head did
he resolve to transfer the revenge which the Squire, he had no doubt,
intended to take on himself.

With considerable speed he made way to Larry O'Toole's, where such a
scene presented itself as made him for a moment forget the immediate
purport of his visit.

Opposite Phelim, dressed out in her best finery, stood the housekeeper,
zealously insisting' on either money or marriage. On one side of him
stood old Donovan and his daughter, whom he had forced to come, in the
character of a witness, to support his charges against the gay deceiver.
On the other were ranged Sally Flattery, in tears, and her uncle in
wrath, each ready to pounce upon Phelim.

Phelim stood the very emblem of patience and good-humor. When one of
them attacked him, he winked at the other two when either of the other
two came on, he Winked still at those who took breath. Sometimes he trod
on his father's toe, lest the old fellow might lose the joke, and not
unfrequently proposed their going to a public-house, and composing their
differences over a bottle, if any of them would pay the expenses.

"What do you mane to do?" said the housekeeper; "but it's asy known
I'm an unprojected woman, or I wouldn't be thrated as I am. If I had
relations livin' or near me, we'd pay you on the bones for bringin' me
to shame and scandal, as you have done."

"Upon my sanies, Mrs. Doran, I feel for your situation, so I do," said
Phelim. You've outlived all your friends, an' if it was in my power to
bring any o' them back to you I'd do it."

"Oh, you desaver, is that the feelin' you have for me, when I thought
you'd be a guard an' a projection to me? You know I have the money, you
sconce, an' how comfortable it 'ud keep us, if you'd only see what's
good for you. You blarnied an' palavered me, you villain, till you
gained my infections an' thin you tuck the cholic as an excuse to lave
me in a state of dissolution an' disparagement. You promised to marry
me, an' you had no notion of it."

"You're not the only one he has disgraced, Mrs. Doran," said Donovan.
"A purty way he came down, himself an' his father, undher pretence of
coortin' my daughter. He should lay down his ten guineas, too, to show
us what he had to begin the world wid, the villain!--an' him had no
notion of it aither."

"An' he should send this girl to make me go to the priest to have him
and her called, the reprobate," said Nick Flattery; "an' him had no
notion of it aither."

"Sure he sent us all there," exclaimed Donovan.

"He did," said the old woman.

"Not a doubt of it," observed Flattery.

"Ten guineas!" said the housekeeper. "An' so you brought my ten guineas
in your pocket to coort another girl! Aren't you a right profligate?"

"Yes," said Donovan, "aren't you a right profligate?"

"Answer the dacent people," said Mattery, "aren't you a right
profligate?"

"Take the world asy, all of ye," replied Phelim. "Mrs. Doran, there was
three of you called, sure enough; but, be the vestments, I intinded--do
you hear me, Mrs. Doran? Now have rason--I say, do you hear me? Be the
vestmints, I intinded to marry only one of you; an' that I'll do still,
except I'm vexed--(a wink at the old woman). Yet you're all flyin' at
me, as if I had three heads or three tails upon me."

"Maybe the poor boy's not so much to blame," said Mrs. Doran. "There's
hussies in this world," and here she threw an angry eye upon the other
two, "that 'ud give a man no pace till he'd promise to marry them."

"Why did he promise to them that didn't want him thin?" exclaimed
Donovan. "I'm not angry that he didn't marry my daughther--for I
wouldn't give her to him now--but I am at the slight he put an her."

"Paddy Donovan, did you hear what I said jist now?" replied Phelim, "I
wish to Jamini some people 'ud have sinse! Be them five crasses, I knew
thim I intinded to marry, as well as I do where I'm standin'. That's
plain talk, Paddy. I'm sure the world's not passed yet, I hope"--(a wink
at Paddy Donovan.)

"An' wasn't he a big rascal to make little of my brother's daughter as
he did?" said Flattery; "but he'll rub his heels together for the same
act."

"Nick Flathery, do you think I could marry three wives? Be that
horseshoe over the door, Sally Flathery, you didn't thrate me dacent.
She did not, Nick, an' you ought to know that it was wrong of her to
come here to-day."

"Well, but what do you intind to do Phelim, avourn--you profligate?"
said the half-angry, half-pacified housekeeper, who, being the veteran,
always led on the charge. "Why, I intind to marry one of you," said
Phelim. "I say, Mrs. Doran, do you see thim ten fingers acrass--be thim
five crasses I'll do what I said, if nothing happens to put it aside."

"Then be an honest man," said Flattery, "an' tell us which o' them you
will marry."

"Nick, don't you know I always regarded your family. If I didn't that
I may never do an ill turn! Now! But some people can't see anything.
Arrah, fandher-an'-whiskey, man, would you expect me to tell out before
all that's here, who I'll marry--to be hurtin' the feelin's of the rest.
Faith, I'll never do a shabby thing."

"What rekimpinse will you make my daughter for bringin' down her name
afore the whole parish, along wid them she oughtn't to be named in the
one day wid?" said Donovan.

"An' who is that, Paddy Donovan?" said the housekeeper, with a face of
flame.

"None of your broad hints, Paddy," said Nick. "If it's a collusion to
Sally Flattery you mane, take care I don't make you ate your words."

"Paddy," exclaimed Phelim, "you oughtn't to be hurtin' their
feelin's!"--(a friendly wink to Paddy.)

"If you mane me," said the housekeeper, "by the crook on the fire, I'd
lave you a mark."

"I mane you for one, thin, since you provoke me," replied Donovan.

"For one, is it?" said Nick; "an' who's the other, i' you plase?"

"Your brother's daughter," he replied. "Do you think I'd even (*
compare) my daughter to a thief?"

"Be gorra," observed Phelim, "that's too provokin', an' what I wouldn't
bear. Will ye keep the pace, I say, till I spake a word to Mrs Doran?
Mrs. Doran, can I have a word or two wid you outside the house?"

"To be sure you can," she replied; "I'd give you fair play, if the
diouol was in you."

Phelim, accordingly, brought her out, and thus accosted her,--

"Now, Mrs. Doran, you think I thrated you ondacent; but do you see that
book?" said he, producing a book of ballads, on which he had sworn many
a similar oath before? "Be the contints o' that book, as sure as you're
beside me, it's you I intind to marry. These other two--the curse o'
the crows upon them! I wish we could get them from about the place--is
bothyrin' for love o' me, an' I surely did promise to get myself called
to them. They wanted it to be a promise of marriage; but, says I, 'sure
if we're called together it's the same, for whin it comes to that, all's
right,'--an' so I tould both o' them, unknownst to one another. Arra,
be me sowl, you'd make two like them, so you would; an' if you hadn't
a penny, I'd marry you afore aither o' them to-morrow. Now, there's the
whole sacret, an' don't be onaisy about it. Tell Father O'Hara how it
is, whin you go home, an' that he must call the three o' you to me agin
on next Sunday, and the Sunday afther, plase Goodness; jist that I may
keep my promise to them. You know I couldn't have luck or grace if I
marrid you wid the sin of two broken promises on me."

"My goodness, Phelim, but you tuck a, burdyeen off o' me! Faix, you'll
see how happy we'll be."

"To be sure we will! But I'm tould you're sometimes crass, Mrs. Doran.
Now, you must promise to be kind an' lovin' to the childre, or be the
vestment, I'll break off the match yet."

"Och, an' why wouldn't I, Phelim, acushla? Sure that's but rason."

"Well, take this book an' swear it. Be gorra, your word won't do,
for it's a thing my mind's made up on. It's I that'll be fond o' the
childre."

"An' how am I to swear it, Phelim? for I never tuck an oath myself yet."

"Take the book in your hand, shut one eye, and say the words afther me.
Be the contints o' this book,"

"Be the contints o' this book,"

"I'll be kind an' motherly, an' boistherous,"

"I'll be kind, an' motherly, an boistherous,"

"To my own childhre,"

"To my own childhre,"

"An' never bate or abuse thim,"

"An' never bate or abuse thim,"

"Barrin' whin they desarve it;"

"Barrin' whin they desarve it;"

"An' this I swear,"

"An' this I swear,"

"In the presence of St. Phelim,"

"In the presence of St. Phelim," "Amin!"

"Amin!"

"Now, Mrs. Doran, acushla, if you could jist know how asy my conscience
is about the childhre, poor crathurs, you'd be in mighty fine spirits.
There won't be sich a lovin' husband, begad, in Europe. It's I that'll
coax you, an' butther you up like a new pair o' brogues; but, begad,
you must be sweeter than liquorice or sugar-candy to me. Won't you,
darlin'?"

"Be the crass, Phelim, darlin', jewel, I'll be as kind a wife as ever
breathed. Arrah, Phelim, won't you come down to-morrow evenin'? There'll
be no one at home but myself, an'--ha, ha, ha!--Oh, you coaxin' rogue!
But, Phelim, you musn't be--Oh, you're a rogue! I see you laughin'! Will
you come darlin?"

"Surely. But, death alive! I was near for-gettin'; sure, bad luck to the
penny o' the ten guineas but I paid away."

"Paid away! Is it my ten guineas?"

"Your ten guineas, darlin'; an' right well I managed it. Didn't I secure
Pat Hanratty's farm by it? Sam Appleton's uncle had it as good as taken;
so, begad, I came down wid the ten guineas, by way of airles, an' now we
have it. I knew you'd be plased to hear it, an' that you'd be proud to
give me ten more for clo'es an' the weddin' expenses. Isn't that good
news, avourneen? Eh, you duck o' diamonds? Faith, let Phelim alone! An'
another thing--I must call you Bridget for the future! It's sweeter an'
more lovin'."

"Phelim, I wish you had consulted wid me afore you done it: but it
can't be helped. Come down to-morrow evenin', an' we'll see what's to be
done."

"The grace o'heaven upon you, but you are the winnin'est woman alive
this day! Now take my advice, an' go home without comin' in. I'm wantin'
to get this other pair off o' my hands, as well as I can, an' our best
way is to do it all widout noise. Isn't it, darlin'?"

"It is, Phelim, jewel; an' I'll go."

"Faith, Bridget, you've dealt in thracle afore now, you're so sweet.
Now, acushla, farewell: an' take care of yourself till tomorrow
evenin'!"

Phelim, on re-entering his father's cabin, found Larry and Peggy Donovan
placed between her father and Flattery, each struggling to keep them
asunder. Phelim at first had been anxious to set them by the ears,
but his interview with the old woman changed his plan of operations
altogether. With some difficulty he succeeded in repressing their
tendency to single combat, which, having effected, he brought out
Flattery and his niece, both of whom he thus addressed:--

"Be the vestment, Sally, only that my regard an' love for you is
uncommon, I'd break off the affair altogether, so I would."

"An' why would you do so, Phelim O'Toole?" inquired the uncle.

"Bekase," replied Phelim, "you came here an' made a show of me, when I
wished to have no _bruliagh_, at all at all. In regard of Peggy Donovan,
I never spoke a word to the girl about marriage since I was christened.
Saize the syllable! My father brought me down there to gosther awhile,
the other night, an' Paddy sent away for whiskey. An' the curse o'
Cromwell on myself! I should get tossicated. So while I was half-saes
over, the two ould rip set to makin' the match--planned to have us
called--an' me knowin' nothin' about it, good, bad, or indifferent.
That's the thruth, be the sky above us."

"An' what have you to say about the housekeeper, Phelim?"

"Why I don't know yet, who done me there. I was about takin' a farm, an'
my father borried ten guineas from her. Somebody heard it--I suspect Sam
Appleton--an' gave in our names to the priest, to be called, makin' a
good joke of it. All sorts o' luck to them, barrin' good luck, that did
it; but they put me in a purty state! But never heed! I'll find them out
yet. Now go home, both o' you, an' I'll slip down in half an hour, with
a bottle o' whiskey in my pocket. We'll talk over what's to be done.
Sure Sally here, knows that it's my own intherest to marry her and no
one else."

"If my father thought you would, Phelim, he'd not stag, even if he was
to cras the wather!"

"Go home, Sally darlin' till I get this mad Donovan an' his daughter
away. Be all that's beautiful I'll be apt to give him a taste o'
my shillely, if he doesn't behave himself! Half an hour I'll be
clownin--wid the bottle; an' don't you go, Nick, till you see me."

"Phelim," said the uncle, "you know how the case is. You must aither
marry the girl, or take a long voyage, abouchal. We'll have no bouncin'
or palaver."

"Bedad, Mick, I've great patience wid you," said Phelim, smiling: "go
off, I say, both of you."

They proceeded homewards, and Phelim returned to appease the anger of
Donovan, as he had that of the others. Fresh fiction was again drawn
forth, every word of which the worthy father corroborated. They promised
to go down that night and drink another bottle together; a promise which
they knew by the state of their finances, it was impossible to fulfil.
The prospect of a "booze," however, tranquillized Donovan, who in his
heart relished a glass of liquor as well as either Phelim or the father.
Shaking of hands and professions of friendship were again beginning to
multiply with great rapidity, when Peggy thought proper to make a few
observations on the merits of her admirer.

"In regard to me," she observed, "you may save yourself the throuble o'
comin'. I wouldn't marry Phelim, afther what the priest said yistherday,
if he had the riches o' the townland we're spakin' in. I never cared for
him, nor liked him; an' it was only to plase my father an' mother, that
I consinted to be called to him at all. I'll never join myself to the
likes of him. If I do, may I be a corpse the next minute!"

Having thus expressed herself, she left her father, Phelim, and Larry,
to digest her sentiments, and immediately went home.

Donovan, who was outrageous at this contempt of his authority, got his
hat with the intention of compelling her to return and retract, in
their presence, what she had said; but the daughter, being the more
light-footed of the two, reached home before he could overtake her,
where, backed by her mother, she maintained her resolution, and
succeeded, ere long, in bringing the father over to her opinion.

During this whole scene in Larry's, Fool Art sat in that wild
abstraction which characterizes the unhappy class to which he belonged.
He muttered to himself, laughed--or rather chuckled--shrugged his
shoulders, and appeared to be as unconscious of what had taken place as
an automaton. When the coast was clear he rose up and plucking Phelim's
skirt, beckoned him towards the door.

"Phelim," said he, when they had got out, "would you like to airn a
crown?"

"Tell me how, Art?" said Phelim.

"A letther from, the Square to the jailer of M------ jail. If you bring
back an answer, you'll get a crown, your dinner, an' a quart o' strong
beer."

"But why don't you bring it yourself, Art?"

"Why I'm afeard. Sure they'd keep ma in jail, I'm tould, if they'd catch
me in it. Aha! Bo dodda, I won't go near them: sure they'd hang me for
shootin' Bonypart.--Aha!"

"Must the answer be brought back today, Art?"

"Oh! It wouldn't do to-morrow, at all. Be dodda, no! Five shillins,
your dinner, an' a quart of sthrong beer!--Aha! But you must give me
a shillin' or two, to buy a sword; for the Square's goin' to make me a
captain: thin I'll be grand! an' I'll make you a sargin'."

This seemed a windfall to Phelim. The unpleasant dilemma in which Sally
Flattery had placed him, by the fabricated account of her father's
imprisonment, made him extremely anxious to see Foodie himself, and to
ascertain the precise outrage for which he had been secured. Here
then was an opportunity of an interview with him, and of earning
five shillings, a good dinner, and a quart of strong beer, as already
specified.

"Art," said he, "give me the letther, an' I'm the boy that'll soon do
the job. Long life to you, Art! Be the contints o' the book, Art, I'll
never pelt you or vex you agin, my worthy; an' I'll always call you
captain!" Phelim immediately commenced his journey to M------, which was
only five miles distant, and in a very short time reached the jail, saw
the jailer, and presented his letter.

The latter, on perusing it, surveyed him with the scrutiny of a man
whose eye was practised in scanning offenders.

Phelim, whilst the jailer examined him, surveyed the strong and massy
bolts with which every door and hatchway was secured. Their appearance
produced rather an uncomfortable sensation in him; so much so, that
when the jailer asked him his name, he thought it more prudent, in
consequence of a touch of conscience he had, to personate Art for the
present, inasmuch as he felt it impossible to assume any name more safe
than that of an idiot.

"My name is Art Maguire," said he in reply to the jailer. "I'm messenger
to Square S----, the one he had was discharged on Friday last. I expect
soon to be made groom, too."

"Come this way," said the jailer, "and you shall have an answer."

He brought Phelim into the prison-yard, where he remained for about
twenty minutes, laboring under impressions which he felt becoming
gradually more unpleasant. His anxiety was not lessened on perceiving
twenty or thirty culprits, under the management of the turnkeys, enter
the yard, where they were drawn up in a line, like a file of soldiers.

"What's your name?" said one of the turnkeys.

"Art Maguire," replied Phelim.

"Stand here," said the other, shoving him among the prisoners. "Keep
your head up, you villain, an' don't be ashamed to look your friends in
the face. It won't be hard to identify you, at any rate, you scoundrel.
A glimpse of that phiz, even by starlight, would do you, you dog. Jack,
tell Mr. S. to bring in the gintlemen--they're all ready."

Phelim's dismay on finding himself under drill with such a villainous
crew was indescribable. He attempted to parley with the turnkey, but was
near feeling the weight of his heavy keys for daring to approach a man
placed in authority.

While thus chewing the cud of sweet and bitter fancy, three gentlemen,
accompanied by the jailer, entered the yard, and walked backward and
forward in front of the prisoners, whose faces and persons they examined
with great care. For a considerable time they could not recognize any
of them; but just as they were about to give up the scrutiny, one of the
gentlemen approached Phelim, and looking narrowly into his countenance,
exclaimed,

"Here, jailer, this man I identify. I can-not be mistaken in his face;
the rough visage and drooping eye of that fellow put all doubt as to his
identity out of question. What's his' name?"

"He gives his name, sir, as Arthur Maguire."

"Arthur what, sir?" said another of the turnkeys, looking earnestly
at Phelim. "Why, sir, this is the fellow that swore the alibis for the
Kellys--ay, an' for the Delaneys, an' for the O'Briens. His name is
Phelim O'Toole; an' a purty boy he is, by all report."

Phelim, though his heart sank within him, attempted to banter them out
of their bad opinion of him; but there was something peculiarly dismal
and melancholy in his mirth.

"Why, gintlemen--ha, ha!--be gorra, I'd take it as a convanience--I
mane, as a favor--if you'd believe me that there's a small taste of
mistake here. I was sent by Square S. wid a letter to Mr. S-----t, an'
he gave me fifty ordhers to bring him back an answer this day. As for
Phelim O'Toole, if you mane the rascal that swears the alibis, faith, I
can't deny but I'm as like him, the villain, as one egg is to another.
Bad luck to his 'dhroop,' any how; little I thought that it would ever
bring me into throuble--ha, ha, ha! Mr. S------t, what answer have you
for the Square, sir? Bedad, I'm afeard I'll be late."

"That letter, Master Maguire, or Toole, or whatever your name is,
authorizes me to detain you as a prisoner, until I hear further from Mr.
S."

"I identify him distinctly," said the gentleman, once more. "I neither
doubt nor waver on the subject; so you will do right to detain him. I
shall lodge information against him immediately."

"Sir," said Phelim to the jailer, "the Square couldn't mane me at all,
in regard that it was another person he gave the letter to, for to bring
to you, the other person gave it to me. I can make my oath of that. Be
gorra, you're playin' your thrieks upon sthrangers now, I suppose."

"Why, you lying rascal," said the jailer, "have you not a few minutes
ago asserted to the contrary? Did you not tell me that your name was
Arthur, or Art Maguire? That you are Mr. S.'s messenger, and expect to
be made his groom. And now you deny all this."

"He's Phelim O'Toole," said the turnkey, "I'll swear to him; but if you
wait for a minute, I'll soon prove it."

He immediately retired to the cell of a convict, whom he knew to be from
the townland of Teernarogarah: and ordering its inmate to look through
the bars of his window, which commanded the yard, he asked him if there
was any one among them whom he knew.

The fellow in a few minutes replied, "Whethen, divil a one, barrin'
bouncin' Phelim O'Toole."

The turnkey brought him down to the yard, where he immediately
recognized Phelim as an old friend, shook hands with him, and addressed
him by his name.

"Bad luck to you," said Phelim in Irish, "is this a place to welcome
your friends to!"

"There is some mystery here," said the jailer. "I suppose the fact is,
that this fellow returned a wrong name to Mr. S., and that that accounts
for the name of Arthur Maguire being in the letter."

All Phelim's attempts to extricate himself were useless. He gave them
the proper version of the letter affair with Fool Art, but without
making the slightest impression. The jailer desired him to be locked up.

"Divil fire you all, you villains!" exclaimed Phelim, "is it goin' to put
me in crib ye are for no rason in life? Doesn't the whole parish
know that I was never off o' my bed for the last three months, wid a
complaint I had, until widin two or three days agone!"

"There are two excellent motives for putting you in crib," said the
jailer; "but if you can prove that you have been confined to your bed so
long as you say, why it will be all the better for yourself. Go with the
turnkey."

"No, tarenation to the fut I'll go," said Phelim, "till I'm carried."

"Doesn't the gintleman identify you, you villain," replied one of the
turnkeys; "an' isn't the Square's letther in your favor?"

"Villain, is id!" exclaimed Phelim. "An' from a hangman's cousin, too,
we're to bear this!--eh? Take that, anyhow, an' maybe you'll get more
when you don't expect it. Whoo! Success, Phelim! There's blood in you
still, abouchal!"

He accompanied the words by a spring of triumph from the ground, and
surveyed the already senseless turnkey with exultation. In a moment,
however, he was secured, for the purpose of being put into strong irons.

"To the devil's warmin' pan wid ye all," he continued, "you may do your
worst. I defy you. Ha! by the heavens above me, you'll suffer for
this, my fine gintleman. What can ye do but hang or thransport me, you
villains? I tell ye, if a man's sowl had a crust of sin on it a foot
thick, the best way to get it off 'ud be jist to shoot a dozen like you.
Sin! Oh, the divil saize the sin at all in it. But wait! Did ye ever
hear of a man they call Dan O'Connell? Be my sowl, he'll make yez rub
your heels together, for keepin' an innocent boy in jail, that there's
no law or no warrant out for. This is the way we're thrated by thim
that's ridin' rough shod over us. But have a taste o' patience, ye
scoundrels! It won't last, I can tell yez. Our day will soon come, an'
thin I'd recommend yez to thravel for your health. Hell saize the day's
pace or happiness ever will be seen in the country, till laws, an'
judges, an' Jries, an' jails, an' jailers, an' turnkeys, an' hangmen is
all swep out of it. Saize the day. An' along wid them goes the parsons,
procthors, tithes an' taxes, all to the devil together. That day's not
very far off, d----d villains! An' now I tell ye, that if a hair o' my
head's touched--ay, if I was hanged to-morrow--I'd lave them behind me
that 'ud put a bullet, wid the help an' blessin' O Grod, through any one
that'll injure me! So lay that to your conscience, an' do your best. Be
the crass, O'Connell I'll make you look nine ways at wanst for this!
He's the boy can put the pin in your noses! He's the boy can make yez
thrimble, one an' all o' yez--like a dog in a wet sack! An', wid the
blessin' o' God, he'll help us to put our feet on your necks afore
long!"

"That's a prudent speech," observed the jailer; "it will serve you very
much."

Phelim consigned him to a very warm settlement in reply.

"Bring the ruffian off" added the jailer; "put him in solitary
confinement."

"Put me wid Foodie Flattery," said Phelim; "you've got him here,
an' I'll go nowhere else. Faith, you'll suffer for givin' me false
imprisonment. Doesn't O'Connell's name make you shake? Put me wid Foodie
Flattery, I say."

"Foodie Flattery! There is no such man here. Have you got such a person
here?" inquired the jailer of the turnkey.

"Not at present," said the turnkey; "but I know Foodie well. We've had
him here twice. Come away, Phelim; follow me; you're goin' to be put
where you'll have an opportunity of sayin' your prayers."

He then ushered Phelim to a cell, where the reader may easily imagine
what he felt. His patriotism rose to a high pitch; he deplored the
wrongs of his country bitterly, and was clearly convinced that until
jails, judges, and assizes, together with a long train of similar
grievances, were utterly abolished, Ireland could never be right, nor
persecuted "boys," like himself, at full liberty to burn or murder the
enemies of their country with impunity. Notwithstanding these heroic
sentiments, an indifferent round oath more than once escaped him against
Ribbonism in whole and in part. He cursed the system, and the day, and
the hour on which he was inveigled into it. He cursed those who had
initiated him; nor did his father and mother escape for their neglect
of his habits, his morals, and his education. This occurred when he had
time for reflection. Whilst thus dispensing his execrations, the jailer
and the three gentlemen, having been struck with his allusion to Foodie
Flattery, and remembering that Foodie was of indifferent morals, came to
the unanimous opinion that it would be a good plan to secure him; and by
informing him that Phelim was in prison upon a capital charge, endeavor
to work upon his fears, by representing his companion as disposed
to turn approver. The state of the country, and Foodie's character,
justified his apprehension on suspicion. He was accordingly taken,
and when certified of Phelim's situation, acted precisely as had been
expected. With very little hesitation, he made a full disclosure of the
names of several persons concerned in burnings, waylayings, and robbery
of arms. The two first names on the list were those of Phelim and
Appleton, with several besides, some of whom bore an excellent, and
others an execrable, character in the country.

The next day Fool Art went to Larry's, where he understood that Phelim
was on the missing list. This justified his suspicions of the Squire;
but by no means lessened his bitterness against him, for the prank
he had intended to play upon him. With great simplicity, he presented
himself at the Big House, and met its owner on the lawn, accompanied by
two other gentlemen. The magistrate was somewhat surprised at seeing Art
at large, when he imagined him to be under the jailer's lock and key.

"Well, Art," said he, concealing his amazement, "did you deliver my
letter?"

"It went safe, your honor," replied Art. "Did you yourself give it into
his hands, as I ordered you?"

"Whoo! Be dodda, would your honor think Art 'ud tell a lie? Sure he read
it. Aha!"

"An' what did he say, Art?"

"Whoo! Why, that he didn't know which of us had the least sense. You for
sendin' a fool on a message, or me for deliverin' it."

"Was that all that happened?"

"No, sir. He said," added the fool, with bitter sarcasm, alluding to
a duel, in which the Squire's character had not come off with flying
colors--"he said, sir, that whin you have another challenge to fight,
you may get sick agin for threepence to the poticarry."

This having been the manner in which the Squire was said to have evaded
the duel, it is unnecessary to say that Art's readiness to refresh his
memory on the subject prevented him from being received at the Big House
in future.

Reader, remember that we only intended to give you a sketch of Phelim
O'Toole's courtship. We will, however, go so far beyond our original
plan, as to apprise you of his fate.

When it became known in the parish that he was in jail, under a charge
of felony, Sally Mattery abandoned all hopes of securing him as a
husband. The housekeeper felt suitable distress, and hoped, should the
poor boy be acquitted, that he might hould up his head wid any o' them.
Phelim, through the agency of his father, succeeded in getting ten
guineas from her, to pay the lawyers for defending him; not one penny of
which he applied to the purpose for which he obtained it. The expenses
of his defence were drawn from the Ribbon fund, and the Irish reader
cannot forget the eloquent and pathetic, appeal made by his counsel to
the jury, on his behalf, and the strength with which the fact of his
being the whole support of a helpless father and mother was stated.
The appeal, however, was ineffectual; worthy Phelim was convicted, and
sentenced to transportation for life. When his old acquaintances heard
the nature of his destiny, they remembered the two prophecies that
had been so often uttered concerning him. One of them was certainly
fulfilled to the letter--we mean that in which it was stated, "that the
greatest swaggerer among the girls generally comes to the wall at last."
The other, though not literally accomplished, was touched at least upon
the spirit; transportation for life ranks next to hanging. We,cannot
avoid mentioning a fact connected with Phelim which came to light while
he remained in prison. By incessant trouble he was prevailed upon, or
rather compelled, to attend the prison school, and on examining him,
touching his religion? knowledge, it appeared that he was ignorant of
the plainest truths of Christianity; that he knew not how or by whom the
Christian religion had been promulgated; nor, indeed, any other moral
truth connected with Revelation.

Immediately after his transportation, Larry took to drink, and his
mother to begging, for she had no other means of living. In this mode
of life, the husband was soon compelled to join her. They are both
mendicants, and Sheelah now appears sensible of the error in their
manner of bringing Phelim up.

"Ah! Larry," she is sometimes heard to say, "I doubt that we wor wrong
for flyin' in the face o' God, becase He didn't give us childhre. An'
when it plased Him to grant us a son, we oughtn't to 've spoiled him by
over-indulgence, an' by lettin' him have his own head in everythin'
as we did. If we had sint him to school, an' larned him to work, an'
corrected him when he desarved it, instead of laughin' at his lies, an'
misbehavior, and his oaths, as if they wor sport--ay, an abusin' the
nabors when they'd complain of him, or tell us what he was--ay!--if we
had, it's a credit an' a comfort he'd be to us now, an' not a shame an'
a disgrace, an' an affliction. We made our own bed, Larry, an' now we
must lie down an it. An' God help us! We made his bed too, poor boy, an'
a hard one it is. God forgive us! but, anyhow, my heart a breakin', for
bad as he was, sure we havn't him to look upon!"

"Thrue," replied Larry. "Still he was game an' cute to the last. Biddy
Doran's ten guineas will sarve him beyant, poor fellow. But sure the
boys' kep their word to him, anyhow, in regard of shootin' Foodie
Flattery. Myself was never betther plased in my life, than to hear that
he got the slugs into his heart, the villain!"

*****

We have attempted to draw Phelim O'Toole as closely as possible to the
character of that class, whose ignorance, want of education and absence
of all moral principle, constitute them the shame and reproach of
the country. By such men the peace of Ireland is destroyed, illegal
combinations formed, blood shed, and nightly outrages committed. There
is nothing more certain than this plain truth, that if proper religious
and moral knowledge were impressed upon the early principles of persons
like Phelim, a conscience would be created capable of revolting from
crime. Whatever the grievances of a people may be, whether real or
imaginary, one thing is clear, that neither murder nor illegal violence
of any description, can be the proper mode of removing or redressing
them. We have kept Phelim's Ribbonism in the background, because its
details could excite only aversion, and preferred exhibiting his utter
ignorance of morality upon a less offensive subject, in order that the
reader might be enabled to infer, rather than to witness with his mind's
eye, the deeper crimes of which he was capable.



WILDGOOSE LODGE


I had read the anonymous summons, but from its general import I believed
it to be one of those special meetings convened for some purpose
affecting the usual objects and proceedings of the body; at least
the terms in which it was conveyed to me had nothing extraordinary or
mysterious in them, beyond the simple fact, that it was not to be a
general but a select meeting: this mark of confidence flattered me, and
I determined to attend punctually. I was, it is true, desired to keep
the circumstances entirely to myself, but there was nothing startling
in this, for I had often received summonses of a similar nature.
I therefore resolved to attend, according to the letter of my
instructions, "on the next night, at the solemn hour of midnight,
to deliberate and act upon such matters as should then and there be
submitted to my consideration." The morning after I received this
message, I arose and resumed my usual occupations; but, from whatever
cause it may have proceeded, I felt a sense of approaching evil hang
heavily upon me; the beats of my pulse were languid, and an undefinable
feeling of anxiety pervaded my whole spirit; even my face was pale, and
my eye so heavy, that my father and brothers concluded me to be ill; an
opinion which I thought at the time to be correct, for I felt exactly
that kind of depression which precedes a severe fever. I could not
understand what I experienced, nor can I yet, except by supposing that
there is in human nature some mysterious faculty, by which, in coming
calamities, the dread of some fearful evil is anticipated, and that it
is possible to catch a dark presentiment of the sensations which they
subsequently produce. For my part I can neither analyze nor define it;
but on that day I knew it by painful experience, and so have a thousand
others in similar circumstances.

It was about the middle of winter. The day was gloomy and tempestuous,
almost beyond any other I remember; dark clouds rolled over the hills
about me, and a close sleet-like rain fell in slanting drifts that
chased each other rapidly towards the earth on the course of the blast.
The outlying cattle sought the closest and calmest corners of the fields
for shelter; the trees and young groves were tossed about, for the wind
was so unusually high that it swept in hollow gusts through them, with
that hoarse murmur which deepens so powerfully on the mind the sense of
dreariness and desolation.

As the shades of night fell, the storm, if possible, increased. The moon
was half gone, and only a few stars were visible by glimpses, as a rush
of wind left a temporary opening in the sky. I had determined, if the
storm should not abate, to incur any penalty rather than attend the
meeting; but the appointed hour was distant, and I resolved to be
decided by the future state of the night.

Ten o'clock came, but still there was no change: eleven passed, and on
opening the door to observe if there were any likelihood of its clearing
up, a blast of wind, mingled with rain, nearly blew me off my feet. At
length it was approaching to the hour of midnight; and on examining it a
third time, I found it had calmed a little, and no longer rained.

I instantly got my oak stick, muffled myself in my great coat, strapped
my hat about my ears, and, as the place of meeting was only a quarter of
a mile distant, I presently set out.

The appearance of the heavens was lowering and angry, particularly in
that point where the light of the moon fell against the clouds, from a
seeming chasm in them, through which alone she was visible. The edges of
this chasm were faintly bronzed, but the dense body of the masses that
hung piled on each side of her, was black and inpenetrable to sight. In
no other point of the heavens was there any part of the sky visible;
a deep veil of clouds overhung the whole horizon, yet was the light
sufficient to give occasional glimpses of the rapid shifting which took
place in this dark canopy, and of the tempestuous agitation with which
the midnight storm swept to and fro beneath it.

At length I arrived at a long slated house, situated in a solitary part
of the neighborhood; a little below it ran a small stream, which was
now swollen above its banks, and rushing with mimic roar over the flat
meadows beside it. The appearance of the bare slated building in such
a night was particularly sombre, and to those, like me, who knew the
purpose to which it was usually devoted, it was or ought to have been
peculiarly so. There it stood, silent and gloomy, without any appearance
of human life or enjoyment about or within it. As I approached, the moon
once more had broken out of the clouds, and shone dimly upon the wet,
glittering slates and windows, with a death-like lustre, that gradually
faded away as I left the point of observation, and entered the
folding-door. It was the parish chapel.

The scene which presented itself here was in keeping not only with the
external appearance of the house, but with the darkness, the storm, and
the hour, which was now a little after midnight. About forty persons
were sitting in dead silence upon the circular steps of the altar. They
did not seem to move; and as I entered and advanced, the echo of my
footsteps rang through the building with a lonely distinctness, which
added to the solemnity and mystery of the circumstances about me. The
windows were secured with shutters on the inside, and on the altar a
candle was lighted, which burned dimly amid the surrounding darkness,
and lengthened the shadow of the altar itself, and those of six or
seven persons who stood on its upper steps, until they mingled in the
obscurity which shrouded the lower end of the chapel. The faces of the
men who sat on the altar steps were not distinctly visible, yet their
prominent and more characteristic features were in sufficient relief,
and I observed, that some of the most malignant and reckless spirits in
the parish were assembled. In the eyes of those who stood at the altar,
and those whom I knew to be invested with authority over the others, I
could perceive gleams of some latent and ferocious purpose, kindled,
as I soon observed, into a fiercer expression of vengeance, by the
additional excitement of ardent spirits, with which they had stimulated
themselves to a point of determination that mocked at the apprehension
of all future responsibility, either in this world or the next.

The welcome which I received on joining them was far different from
the boisterous good-humor that used to mark our greetings on other
occasions; just a nod of the head from this or that person, on the part
of those who sat, with a _dhud dhemur tha fhu?_ (* How are you?) in a
suppressed voice, even below a common whisper: but from the standing
group, who were evidently the projectors of the enterprise, I received
a convulsive grasp of the hand, accompanied by a fierce and desperate
look, that seemed to search my eye and countenance, to try if I were a
person likely to shrink from whatever they had resolved to execute.
It is surprising to think of the powerful expression which a moment of
intense interest or great danger is capable of giving to the eye, the
features and the slightest actions, especially in those whose station
in society does not require them to constrain nature, by the force of
social courtesies, into habits that conceal their natural emotions.
None of the standing group spoke; but as each of them wrung my hand
in silence, his eye was fixed on mine, with an expression of drunken
confidence and secrecy, and an insolent determination not to be gainsaid
without peril. If looks could be translated with certainty, they seemed
to say, "We are bound upon a project of vengeance, and if you do not
join us, remember we can revenge." Along with this grasp, they did not
forget to remind me of the common bond by which we were united, for
each man gave me the secret grip of Ribbonism in a manner that made the
joints of my fingers ache for some minutes afterwards.

There was one present, however--the highest in authority--whose actions
and demeanor were calm and unexcited. He seemed to labor under no
unusual influence whatever, but evinced a serenity so placid and
philosophical, that I attributed the silence of the sitting group, and
the restraint which curbed in the outbreaking passions of those who
stood, entirely to his presence. He was a schoolmaster, who taught his
daily school in that chapel, and acted also on Sunday, in the capacity
of clerk to the priest--an excellent and amiable old man, who knew
little of his illegal connections and atrocious conduct.

When the ceremonies of brotherly recognition and friendship were past,
the Captain (by which title I shall designate the last-mentioned person)
stooped, and, raising a jar of whiskey on the corner of the altar, held
a wineglass to its neck, which he filled, and with a calm nod handed
it to me to drink. I shrank back, with an instinctive horror, at the
profaneness of such an act, in the house, and on the altar of God, and
peremptorily refused to taste the proffered I draught. He smiled mildly
at what he considered my superstition, and added quietly, and in a low
voice, "You'll be wantin' it I'm thinkin', afther the wettin' you
got."

"Wet or dry," said I--

"Stop, man!" he replied, in the same tone; "spake low. But why wouldn't
you take the whiskey? Sure there's as holy people to the fore as you:
didn't they all take it? An' I wish we may never do worse nor dhrink a
harmless glass o' whiskey, to keep the cowld out, any way."

"Well," said I, "I'll jist trust to God and the consequences, for the
cowld, Paddy, ma bouchal; but a blessed dhrop of it won't be crossin' my
lips, avick; so no more ghostlier about it;--dhrink it yourself if you
like. Maybe you want it as much as I do; wherein I've the patthern of
a good big-coat upon me, so thick, your sowl, that if it was rainin'
bullocks, a dhrop wouldn't get undher the nap of it."

He gave me a calm, but keen glance as I spoke.

"Well, Jim," said he, "it's a good comrade you've got for the weather
that's in it; but, in the manetime, to set you a dacent patthern, I'll
just take this myself,"--saying which, with the jar still upon its
side, and the fore-finger of his left hand in his neck, he swallowed
the spirits--"It's the first I dhrank to-night," he added, "nor would
I dhrink it now, only to show you that I've heart an' spirit to do the
thing that we're all bound an' sworn to, when the proper time comes;"
after which he laid down the glass, and turned up the jar, with much
coolness, upon the altar.

During our conversation, those who had been summoned to this mysterious
meeting were pouring in fast; and as each person approached the altar,
he received from one to two or three glasses of whiskey, according as he
chose to limit himself; but, to do them justice, there were not a few
of those present, who, in despite of their own desire, and the Captain's
express invitation, refused to taste it in the house of God's worship.
Such, however, as were scrupulous he afterwards recommended to take it
on the outside of the chapel door, which they did, as, by that means,
the sacrilege of the act was supposed to be evaded.

About one o'clock they were all assembled except six: at least so the
Captain asserted, on looking at a written paper.

"Now, boys," said he in the same low voice, "we are all present except
the thraitors, whose names I am goin' to read to you; not that we are to
count thim thraitors, till we know whether or not it was in their power
to come. Any how, the night's terrible--but, boys, you're to know, that
neither fire nor wather is to prevint you, when duly summoned to attind
a meeting--particularly whin the summons is widout a name, as you have
been told that there is always something of consequence to be done
thin."

He then read out the names of those who were absent, in order that the
real cause of their absence might be ascertained, declaring that they
would be dealt with accordingly. |

After this, with his usual caution, he shut and bolted the door, and
having put the key in his pocket, ascended the steps of the altar,
and for some time traversed the little platform from which the priest
usually addresses the congregation.

Until this night I had never contemplated the man's countenance with any
particular interest; but as he walked the platform, I had an opportunity
of observing him more closely. He was slight in person, apparently not
thirty; and, on a first view, appeared to have nothing remarkable in his
dress or features. I, however, was not the only person whose eyes were
fixed upon him at that moment; in fact, every one present observed him
with equal interest, for hitherto he had kept the object of the meeting
perfectly secret, and of course we all felt anxious to know it. It was
while he traversed the platform that I scrutinized his features with a
hope, if possible, to glean from them some evidence of what was passing
within him. I could, however, mark but little, and that little was at
first rather from the intelligence which seemed to subsist between him
and those whom I have already mentioned as standing against the altar,
than from any indication of his own. Their gleaming eyes were fixed upon
him with an intensity of savage and demon-like hope, which blazed out in
flashes of malignant triumph, as upon turning, he threw a cool but rapid
glance at them, to intimate the progress he was making in the subject to
which he devoted the undivided energies of his mind. But in the course
of his meditation, I could observe, on one or two occasions, a dark
shade come over his countenance, that contracted his brow into a deep
furrow, and it was then, for the first time, that I saw the satanic
expression of which his face, by a very slight motion of its muscles,
was capable. His hands, during this silence, closed and opened
convulsively; his eyes shot out two or three baleful glances, first to
his confederates, and afterwards vacantly into the deep gloom of the
lower part of the chapel; his teeth ground against each other, like
those of a man whose revenge burns to reach a distant enemy, and
finally, after having wound himself up to a certain determination, his
features relapsed into their original calm and undisturbed expression.

At this moment a loud laugh, having something supernatural in it, rang
out wildly from the darkness of the chapel; he stopped, and putting his
open hand over his brows, peered down into the gloom, and said calmly in
Irish, "_Bee dhu husth; ha nih anam inh_:--hold your tongue, it is not
yet time."

Every eye was now directed to the same spot, but, in consequence of its
distance from the dim light on the altar, none could perceive the person
from whom the laugh proceeded. It was, by this time, near two o'clock in
the morning.

He now stood for a few moments on the platform, and his chest heaved
with a depth of anxiety equal to the difficulty of the design he wished
to accomplish.

"Brothers," said he--"for we are all brothers--sworn upon all that's
blessed an' holy, to obey whatever them that's over us, manin' among
ourselves, wishes us to do--are you now ready, in the name of God, upon
whose althar I stand, to fulfil yer oaths?"

The words were scarcely uttered, when those who had stood beside the
altar during the night, sprang from their places, and descending its
steps rapidly turned round, and raising their arms, exclaimed, "By all
that's good an' holy we're willin'."

In the meantime, those who sat upon the steps of the altar, instantly
rose, and following the example of those who had just spoken, exclaimed
after them, "To be sure--by all that's sacred an' holy we're willin'."

"Now, boys," said the Captain, "ar'n't ye big fools for your pains? an'
one of ye doesn't know what I mane."

"You're our Captain," said one of those who had stood at the altar, "an'
has yer ordhers from higher quarthers; of coorse, whatever ye command
upon us we're bound to obey you in."

"Well," said he, smiling, "I only wanted to thry yez; an' by the oath
ye tuck, there's not a captain in the county has as good a right to be
proud of his min as I have. Well, ye won't rue it, maybe, when the right
time comes; and for that same rason every one of ye must have a glass
from the jar; thim that won't dhrink it in the chapel can dhrink it
widout; an' here goes to open the door for thim."

He then distributed another glass to every one who would accept it, and
brought the jar afterwards to the chapel door, to satisfy the scruples
of those who would not drink within. When this was performed, and all
duly excited, he proceeded:--

"Now, brothers, you are solemnly sworn to obay me, and I'm sure there's
no thraithur here that 'ud parjure himself for a thrifle; but I'm sworn
to obay them that's above me, manin' still among ourselves; an' to show
that I don't scruple to do it, here goes!"

He then turned round, and taking the Missal between his hands placed it
upon the altar. Hitherto every word was uttered in a low precautionary
tone; but on grasping the book he again turned round, and looking upon
his confederates with the same satanic expression which marked his
countenance before, he exclaimed, in a voice of deep determination,
first kissing the book!


[Illustration: PAGE WG939-- By this sacred an' holy book of God]



"By this sacred an' holy book of God, I will perform the action which we
have met this night to accomplish, be that what it may; an' this I swear
upon God's book, and God's althar!"

On concluding, he struck the book violently with his open hand, thereby
occasioning a very loud report.

At this moment the candle which burned before him went suddenly out, and
the chapel was wrapped in pitchy darkness; the sound as if of rushing
wings fell upon our ears, and fifty voices dwelt upon the last words of
his oath with wild and supernatural tones, that seemed to echo and to
mock what he had sworn. There was a pause, and an exclamation of
horror from all present; but the Captain was too cool and steady to be
disconcerted. He immediately groped about until he got the candle,
and proceeding calmly to a remote corner of the chapel, took up a
half-burned peat which lay there, and after some trouble succeeded in
lighting it again. He then explained what had taken place; which indeed
was easily done, as the candle happened to be extinguished by a pigeon
which sat directly above it. The chapel, I should have observed, was at
this time, like many country chapels, unfinished inside, and the pigeons
of a neighboring dove-cot had built nests among the rafters of the
unceiled roof; which circumstance also explained the rushing of the
wings, for the birds had been affrighted by the sudden loudness of
the noise. The mocking voices were nothing but the echoes, rendered
naturally more awful by the scene, the mysterious object of the meeting,
and the solemn hour of the night.

When the candle was again lighted, and these startling circumstances
accounted for, the persons whose vengeance had been deepening more and
more during the night, rushed to the altar in a body, where each, in
a voice trembling with passionate eagerness, repeated the oath, and as
every word was pronounced, the same echoes heightened the wildness
of the horrible ceremony, by their long and unearthly tones. The
countenances of these human tigers were livid with suppressed rage;
their knit brows, compressed lips, and kindled eyes, fell under the dim
light of the taper, with an expression calculated to sicken any heart
not absolutely diabolical.

As soon as this dreadful rite was completed, we were again startled by
several loud bursts of laughter, which proceeded from the lower darkness
of the chapel; and the Captain, on hearing them, turned to the
place, and reflecting for a moment, said in Irish, "_Gutsho nish,
avohenee_--come hither now, boys."

A rush immediately took place from the corner in which they had secreted
themselves all the night; and seven men appeared, whom we instantly
recognized as brothers and cousins of certain persons who had been
convicted, some time before, for breaking into the house of an honest
poor man in the neighborhood, from whom, after having treated him with
barbarous violence, they took away such fire-arms as he kept for his own
protection.

It was evidently not the Captain's intention to have produced these
persons until the oath should have been generally taken, but the
exulting mirth with which they enjoyed the success of his scheme
betrayed them, and put him to the necessity of bringing them forward
somewhat before the concerted moment.

The scene which now took place was beyond all power of description;
peals of wild, fiendlike yells rang through the chapel, as the party
which stood on the altar and that which had crouched in the darkness
met; wringing of hands, leaping in triumph, striking of sticks and
fire-arms against the ground and the altar itself, dancing and cracking
of fingers, marked the triumph of some hellish determination. Even the
Captain for a time was unable to restrain their fury; but, at length, he
mounted the platform before the altar once more, and with a stamp of his
foot, recalled their attention to himself and the matter in hand.

"Boys," said he, "enough of this, and too much; an' well for us it is
that the chapel is in a lonely place, or our foolish noise might do us
no good. Let thim that swore so manfully jist now, stand a one side,
till the rest kiss the book one by one."

The proceedings, however, had by this time taken too fearful a shape for
even the Captain to compel them to a blindfold oath; the first man he
called flatly refused to answer, until he should hear the nature of the
service that was required. This was echoed by the remainder, who, taking
courage from the firmness of this person, declared generally that, until
they first knew the business they were to execute, none of them would
take the oath. The Captain's lip quivered slightly, and his brow again
became knit with the same hellish expression, which I have remarked
gave him so much the appearance of an, embodied fiend; but this speedily
passed away, and was succeeded by a malignant sneer, in which lurked,
if there ever did in a sneer, "a laughing devil," calmly, determinedly
atrocious.

"It wasn't worth yer whiles to refuse the oath," said he, mildly, "for
the truth is, I had next to nothing for yez to do. Not a hand, maybe,
would have to rise, only jist to look on, an' if any resistance would
be made, to show yourselves; yer numbers would soon make them see
that resistance would be, no use whatever in the present case. At all,
evints, the oath of secrecy must be taken, or woe be to him that will
refuse that; he won't know the day, nor the hour, nor the minute, when
he'll be made a spatch-cock of."

He then turned round, and, placing his right hand on the Missal, swore,
"In the presence of God, and before his holy altar, that whatever might
take place that night he would keep secret, from man or mortal, except
the priest, and that neither bribery, nor imprisonment, nor death, would
wring it from his heart."

Having done this, he again struck the book violently, as if to confirm
the energy with which he swore, and then calmly descending the steps,
stood with a serene countenance, like a man conscious of having
performed a good action. As this oath did not pledge those who refused
to take the other to the perpetration of any specific crime, it was
readily taken by all present. Preparations were then made to execute
what was intended: the half burned turf was placed in a little pot;
another glass of whiskey was distributed; and the door being locked
by the Captain, who kept the key as parish clerk and schoolmaster, the
crowd departed silently from the chapel.

The moment those who lay in the darkness, during the night, made their
appearance at the altar, we knew at once the persons we were to visit;
for, as I said before, they were related to the miscreants whom one of
those persons had convicted, in consequences of their midnight attack
upon himself and his family. The Captain's object in keeping them unseen
was, that those present, not being aware of the duty about to be imposed
on them, might have less hesitation about swearing to its fulfilment.
Our conjectures were correct; for on leaving the chapel we directed our
steps to the house in which this devoted man resided.

The night was still stormy, but without rain: it was rather dark, too,
though not so as to prevent us from seeing the clouds careering swiftly
through the air. The dense curtain which had overhung and obscured the
horizon was now broken, and large sections of the sky were clear, and
thinly studded with stars that looked dim and watery, as did indeed the
whole firmament; for in some places black clouds were still visible,
threatening a continuance of tempestuous weather. The road appeared
washed and gravelly; every dike was full of yellow water; and every
little rivulet and larger stream dashed its hoarse murmur into our ears;
every blast, too, was cold, fierce, and wintry, sometimes driving us
back to a standstill, and again, when a turn in the road would bring
it in our backs, whirling us along for a few steps with involuntary
rapidity. At length the fated dwelling became visible, and a short
consultation was held in a sheltered place, between the Captain and the
two parties who seemed so eager for its destruction. Their fire-arms
were now loaded, and their bayonets and short pikes, the latter shod and
pointed with iron, were also got ready. The live coal which was brought
in the small pot had become extinguished; but to remedy this, two or
three persons from a remote part of the county entered a cabin on the
wayside, and, under pretence of lighting their own and their comrades'
pipes, procured a coal of fire, for so they called a lighted turf. From
the time we left the chapel until this moment a profound silence had
been maintained, a circumstance which, when I considered the number of
persons present, and the mysterious and dreaded object of their journey,
had a most appalling effect upon my spirits.

At length we arrived within fifty perches of the house, walking in a
compact body, and with as little noise as possible; but it seemed as
if the very elements had conspired to frustrate our design, for on
advancing within the shade of the farm-hedge, two or three persons found
themselves up to the middle in water, and on stooping to ascertain more
accurately the state of the place, we could see nothing but one immense
sheet of it--spread like a lake over the meadows which surrounded the
spot we wished to reach.

Fatal night! The very recollection of it, when associated with the
fearful tempests of elements, grows, if that were possible, yet more
wild and revolting. Had we been engaged in any innocent or benevolent
enterprise, there was something in our situation just then that had a
touch of interest in it to a mind imbued with a relish for the savage
beauties of nature. There we stood, about a hundred and thirty in
number, our dark forms bent forward, peering into the dusky expanse of
water, with its dim gleams of reflected light, broken by the weltering
of the mimic waves into ten thousand fragments, whilst the few stars
that overhung it in the firmament appeared to shoot through it in broken
lines, and to be multiplied fifty-fold in the gloomy mirror on which we
gazed.

Over us was a stormy sky, and around us; a darkness through which we
could only distinguish, in outline, the nearest objects, whilst the wild
wind swept strongly and dismally upon us. When it was discovered that
the common pathway to the house was inundated, we were about to abandon
our object and return home. The Captain, however, stooped down low for
a moment, and, almost closing his eyes, looked along the surface of the
waters; and then, rising himself very calmly, said, in his usually quiet
tone, "Ye needn't go back, boys, I've found a way; jist follow me."

He immediately took a more circuitous direction, by which we reached a
causeway that had been raised for the purpose of giving a free passage
to and from the house, during such inundations as the present. Along
this we had advanced more than half way, when we discovered a breach
in it, which, as afterwards appeared, had that night been made by the
strength of the flood. This, by means of our sticks and pikes, we found
to be about three feet deep, and eight yards broad. Again we were at
a loss how to proceed, when the fertile brain of the Captain devised a
method of crossing it.

"Boys," said he, "of coorse you've all played at leap-frog; very well,
strip and go in, a dozen of you, lean one upon the back of another from
this to the opposite bank, where one must stand facing the outside
man, both their shoulders agin one another, that the outside man may be
supported. Then we can creep over you, an' a dacent bridge you'll be,
any way."

This was the work of only a few minutes, and in less than ten we were
all safely over.

Merciful Heaven! how I sicken at the recollection of what is to follow!
On reaching the dry bank, we proceeded instantly, and in profound
silence, to the house; the Captain divided us into companies, and then
assigned to each division its proper station. The two parties who had
been so vindictive all the night, he kept about himself; for of those
who were present, they only were in his confidence, and knew his
nefarious purpose; their number was about fifteen. Having made these
dispositions, he, at the head of about five of them, approached the
house on the windy side, for the fiend possessed a coolness which
enabled him to seize upon every possible advantage. That he had
combustibles about him was evident, for in less than fifteen minutes
nearly one-half of the house was enveloped in flames. On seeing this,
the others rushed over to the spot where he and his gang were standing,
and remonstrated earnestly, but in vain; the flames now burst forth with
renewed violence, and as they flung their strong light upon the faces
of the foremost group, I think hell itself could hardly present anything
more satanic than their countenances, now worked up into a paroxysm of
infernal triumph at their own revenge. The Captain's look had lost all
its calmness, every feature started out into distinct malignity, the
curve in his brow was deep, and ran up,to the root of the hair, dividing
his face into two segments, that did not seem to have been designed
for each other. His lips were half open, and the corners of his mouth a
little brought back on each side, like those of a man expressing intense
hatred and triumph over an enemy who is in the death-struggle under his
grasp. His eyes blazed from beneath his knit eyebrows with a fire that
seemed to be lighted up in the infernal pit itself. It is unnecessary,
and only painful, to describe the rest of his gang; demons might have
been proud of such horrible visages as they exhibited; for they worked
under all the power of hatred, revenge, and joy; and these passions
blended into one terrible scowl, enough almost to blast any human eye
that would venture to look upon it.

When the others attempted to intercede for the lives of the inmates,
there were at least fifteen guns and pistols levelled at them.

"Another word," said the Captain, "an' you're a corpse where you stand,
or the first man who will dare to spake for them; no, no, it wasn't to
spare them we came here. 'No mercy' is the pass-word for the night, an'
by the sacred oath I swore beyant in the chapel, any one among yez that
will attempt to show it, will find none at my hand. Surround the house,
boys, I tell ye, I hear them stirring. 'No quarter--no mercy,' is the
ordher of the night."

Such was his command over these misguided creatures, that in an instant
there was a ring round the house to prevent the escape of the unhappy
inmates, should the raging element give them time to attempt it; for
none present durst withdraw themselves from the scene, not only from an
apprehension of the Captain's present vengeance, or that of his gang,
but because they knew that even had they then escaped, an early and
certain death awaited them from a quarter against which they had
no means of defence. The hour now was about half-past two! o'clock.
Scarcely had the last words escaped from the Captain's lips, when one of
the windows of the house was broken, and a human head, having the hair
in a blaze, was descried, apparently a woman's, if one might judge
by the profusion of burning tresses, and the softness of the tones,
notwithstanding that it called, or rather shrieked aloud for help and
mercy. The only reply to this was the whoop from the Captain and his
gang, of "No mercy--no mercy!" and that instant the former, and one of
the latter, rushed to the spot, and ere the action could be perceived,
the head was transfixed with a bayonet and a pike, both having entered
it together. The word "mercy" was divided in her mouth; a short silence
ensued, the head hung down on the window, but was instantly tossed back
into the flames.

This action occasioned a cry of horror from all present, except the gang
and their leader, which startled and enraged the latter so much, that he
ran towards one of them, and had his bayonet, now reeking with the blood
of its innocent victim, raised to plunge it in his body, when, dropping
the point, he said in a piercing whisper, that hissed in the ears of
all: "It's no use now, you know; if one's to hang, all will hang; so our
safest way, you persave, is to lave none of them to tell the story. Ye
may go now, if you wish; but it won't save a hair of your heads. You
cowardly set! I knew if I had tould yez the sport, that none of you,
except my own boys, would come, so I jist played a thrick upon you; but
remimber what you are sworn to, and stand to the oath ye tuck."

Unhappily, notwithstanding the wetness of the preceding weather, the
materials of the house were extremely combustible; the whole dwelling
was now one body of glowing flame, yet the shouts and shrieks within
rose awfully above its crackling and the voice of the storm, for the
wind once more blew in gusts, and with great violence. The doors and
windows were all torn open, and such of those within as had escaped the
flames rushed towards them, for the purpose of further escape, and
of claiming mercy at the hands of their destroyers; but whenever they
appeared, the unearthly cry of "no mercy" rang upon their ears for a
moment, and for a moment only, for they were flung back at the points of
the weapons which the demons had brought with them to make the work of
vengeance more certain.

As yet there were many persons in the house, whose cry for life was
strong as despair, and who clung to it with all the awakened powers
of reason and instinct. The ear of man could hear nothing so strongly
calculated to stifle the demon of cruelty and revenge within him, as the
long and wailing shrieks which rose beyond the elements, in tones that
were carried off rapidly upon the blast, until they died away in the
darkness that lay behind the surrounding hills. Had not the house been
in a solitary situation, and the hour the dead of night, any person
sleeping within a moderate distance must have heard them, for such a cry
of sorrow rising into a yell of despair was almost sufficient to have
awakened, the dead. It was lost, however, upon the hearts and ears that
heard it: to them, though in justice be it said, to only comparatively
a few of them, it appeared as delightful as the tones of soft and
entrancing music.

The claims of the surviving sufferers were now modified; they
supplicated merely to suffer death by the weapons of their enemies; they
were willing to bear that, provided they should be allowed to escape
from the flames; but no--the horrors of the conflagration were
calmly and malignantly gloried in by their merciless assassins, who
deliberately flung them back into all their tortures. In the course of
a few minutes a man appeared upon the side-wall of the house, nearly
naked; his figure, as he stood against the sky in horrible relief, was
so finished a picture of woebegone agony and supplication, that it is
yet as distinct in my memory as if I were again present at the scene.
Every muscle, now in motion by the powerful agitation of his sufferings,
stood out upon his limbs and neck, giving him an appearance of desperate
strength, to which by this time he must have been wrought up; the
perspiration poured from his frame, and the veins and arteries of his
neck were inflated to a surprising thickness. Every moment he looked
down into the flames which were rising to where he stood; and as he
looked, the indescribable horror which flitted over his features might
have worked upon the devil himself to relent. His words were few:--

"My child," said he, "is still safe, she is an infant, a young crathur
that never harmed you, or any one--she is still safe. Your mothers, your
wives, have young innocent childhre like it. Oh, spare her, think for a
moment that it's one of your own; spare it, as you hope to meet a just
God, or if you don't, in mercy shoot me first--put an end to me, before
I see her burned!"

The Captain approached him coolly and deliberately. "You'll prosecute no
one now, you bloody informer," said he: "you'll convict no more boys for
takin' an ould gun an' pistol from you, or for givin' you a neighborly
knock or two into the bargain."

Just then, from a window opposite him, proceeded the shrieks of a woman,
who appeared at it with the infant, in her arms. She herself was almost
scorched to death; but, with the presence of mind and humanity of her
sex, she was about to put the little babe out of the window. The Captain
noticed this, and, with characteristic atrocity, thrust, with a sharp
bayonet, the little innocent, along with the person who endeavored to
rescue it, into the red flames, where they both perished. This was the
work of an instant. Again he approached the man: "Your child is a coal
now," said he, with deliberate mockery; "I pitched it in myself, on the
point of this,"--showing the weapon--"an' now is your turn,"--saying
which, he clambered up, by the assistance of his gang, who stood with
a front of pikes and bayonets bristling to receive the wretched man,
should he attempt, in his despair, to throw himself from the wall.
The Captain got up, and placing the point of his bayonet against his
shoulder, flung him into the fiery element that raged behind him. He
uttered one wild and terrific cry, as he fell back, and no more. After
this nothing was heard but the crackling of the fire, and the rushing of
the blast; all that had possessed life within were consumed, amounting
either to eight or eleven persons.

When this was accomplished, those who took an active part in the murder,
stood for some time about the conflagration; and as it threw its red
light upon their fierce faces and rough persons, soiled as they now were
with smoke and black streaks of ashes, the scene seemed to be changed to
hell, the murderers to spirits of the damned, rejoicing over the arrival
and the torture of some guilty soul. The faces of those who kept aloof
from the slaughter were blanched to the whiteness of death: some of them
fainted, and others were in such agitation that they were compelled to
lean on their comrades. They became actually powerless with horror:
yet to such a scene were they brought by the pernicious influence of
Ribbonism.

It was only when the last victim went down, that the conflagration shot
up into the air with most unbounded fury. The house was large, deeply
thatched, and well furnished; and the broad red pyramid rose up with
fearful magnificence towards the sky. Abstractedly it had sublimity, but
now it was associated with nothing in my mind but blood and terror. It
was not, however, without a purpose that the Captain and his gang stood
to contemplate its effect. "Boys," said he, "we had betther be sartin
that all's safe; who knows but there might be some of the sarpents
crouchin' under a hape o' rubbish, to come out an' gibbet us to-morrow
or next day: we had betther wait a while, anyhow, if it was only to see
the blaze."

Just then the flames rose majestically to a surprising height. Our eyes
followed their direction; and we perceived, for the first time, that
the dark clouds above, together with the intermediate air, appeared
to reflect back, or rather to have caught the red hue of the fire. The
hills and country about us appeared with an alarming distinctness; but
the most picturesque part of it was the effect of reflection of the
blaze on the floods that spread over the surrounding plains. These, in
fact, appeared to be one broad mass of liquid copper, for the motion of
the breaking-waters caught from the blaze of the high waving column,
as reflected in them, a glaring light, which eddied, and rose, and
fluctuated, as if the flood itself had been a lake of molten fire.

Fire, however, destroys rapidly. In a short time the flames sank--became
weak and flickering--by and by, they shot out only in fits--the
crackling of the timbers died away--the surrounding darkness
deepened--and, ere long, the faint light was overpowered by the thick
volumes of smoke that rose from the ruins of the house and its murdered
inhabitants.

"Now, boys," said the Captain, "all is safe--we may go. Remember,
every man of you, what you've sworn this night, on the book an' altar of
God--not on a heretic Bible. If you perjure yourselves, you may hang
us; but let me tell you, for your comfort, that if you do, there is
them livin' that will take care the lease of your own lives will be but
short."

After this we dispersed every man to his own home.

Reader,--not many months elapsed ere I saw the bodies of this Captain,
whose name was Patrick Devann, and all those who were actively concerned
in the perpetration of this deed of horror, withering in the wind, where
they hung gibbeted, near the scene of their nefarious villany; and
while I inwardly thanked Heaven for my own narrow and almost undeserved
escape, I thought in my heart how seldom, even in this world, justice
fails to overtake the murder, and to enforce the righteous judgment of
God--that "whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed."

*****

This tale of terror is, unfortunately, too true. The scene of hellish
murder detailed in it lies at Wildgoose Lodge, in the county of Louth,
within about four miles of Carrickmacross, and nine of Dundalk. No such
multitudinous murder has occurred, under similar circumstances, except
the burning of the Sheas, in the county of Tipperary. The name of the
family burned in Wildgoose Lodge was Lynch. One of them had, shortly
before this fatal night, prosecuted and convicted some of the
neighboring Ribbonmen, who visited him with severe marks of their
displeasure, in consequence of his having refused to enrol himself as
a member of their body. The language of the story is partly fictitious;
but the facts are pretty closely such as were developed during the
trial of the murderers. Both parties were Roman Catholics, and either
twenty-five or twenty-eight of those who took an active part in the
burning, were hanged and gibbeted in different parts of the county of
Louth. Devann, the ringleader, hung for some months in chains, within
about a hundred yards of his own house, and about half a mile from
Wildgoose Lodge. His mother could neither go into nor out of her cabin
without seeing his body swinging from the gibbet. Her usual exclamation
on looking at him was--"God be good to the sowl of my poor marthyr!"
The peasantry, too, frequently exclaimed, on seeing him, "Poor Paddy!" A
gloomy fact that speaks volumes!



TUBBER DERG; Or, THE RED WELL.


The following story owes nothing to any coloring or invention of
mine; it is unhappily a true one, and to me possesses a peculiar and
melancholy interest, arising from my intimate knowledge of the man whose
fate it holds up as a moral lesson to Irish landlords. I knew him well,
and many a day and hour have I played about his knee, and ran, in my
boyhood, round his path, when, as he said to himself, the world was no
trouble to him.

On the south side of a sloping tract of light ground, lively, warm,
and productive, stood a white, moderate-sized farm-house, which, in
consequence of its conspicuous situation, was a prominent and, we may
add, a graceful object in the landscape of which it formed a part. The
spot whereon it stood was a swelling natural terrace, the soil of which
was heavier and richer than that of the adjoining lands. On each side
of the house stood a clump of old beeches, the only survivors of that
species then remaining in the country. These beeches extended behind the
house in a land of angle, with opening, enough at their termination to
form a vista, through which its white walls glistened with beautiful
effect in the calm splendor of a summer evening. Above the mound on
which it stood, rose two steep hills, overgrown with furze and fern,
except on their tops, which were clothed with purple heath; they were
also covered with patches of broom, and studded with gray rocks, which
sometimes rose singly or in larger masses, pointed or rounded into
curious and fantastic shapes. Exactly between these hills the sun went
down during the month of June, and nothing could be in finer relief
than the rocky and picturesque outlines of their sides, as crowned with
thorns and clumps of wild ash, they appeared to overhang the valley
whose green foliage was gilded by the sun-beams, which lit up the scene
into radiant beauty. The bottom of this natural chasm, which opened
against the deep crimson of the evening sky, was nearly upon a level
with the house, and completely so with the beeches that surrounded it.
Brightly did the sinking sun fall upon their tops, whilst the neat white
house below, in their quiet shadow, sent up its wreath of smoke
among their branches, itself an emblem of contentment, industry, and
innocence. It was, in fact, a lovely situation; perhaps the brighter
to me, that its remembrance is associated with days of happiness and
freedom from the cares of a world, which, like a distant mountain,
darkens as we approach it, and only exhausts us in struggling to climb
its rugged and barren paths.

There was to the south-west of this house another little hazel glen,
that ended in a precipice formed, by a single rock some thirty feet,
high, over which tumbled a crystal cascade into a basin worn in its
hard bed below. From this basin the stream murmured away through the
copse-wood, until it joined a larger rivulet that passed, with many a
winding, through a fine extent of meadows adjoining it. Across the foot
of this glen, and past the door of the house we have described, ran a
bridle road, from time immemorial; on which, as the traveller ascended
it towards the house, he appeared to track his way in blood, for a
chalybeate spa arose at its head, oozing out of the earth, and spread
itself in a crimson stream over the path in every spot whereon a
foot-mark could be made. From this circumstance it was called Tubber
Derg, or the Red Well. In the meadow where the glen terminated, was
another spring of delicious crystal; and clearly do I remember the
ever-beaten pathway that led to it through the grass, and up the green
field which rose in a gentle slope to the happy-looking house of Owen
M'Carthy, for so was the man called who resided under its peaceful roof.

I will not crave your pardon, gentle reader, for dwelling at such length
upon a scene so clear to my heart as this, because I write not now so
much for your gratification as my own. Many an eve of gentle May have
I pulled the Maygowans which grew about that well, and over that smooth
meadow.

Often have I raised my voice to its shrillest pitch, that I might hear
its echoes rebounding in the bottom of the green and still glen, where
silence, so to speak, was deepened by the continuous murmur of the
cascade above; and when the cuckoo uttered her first note from among the
hawthorns on its side, with what trembling anxiety did I, an urchin of
some eight or nine years, look under my right foot for the white hair,
whose charm was such, that by keeping it about me the first female name
I should hear was destined, I believed in my soul, to be that of my
future wife.* Sweet was the song of the thrush, and mellow the whistle
of the blackbird, as they rose in the stillness of evening over the
"hirken shaws" and green dells of this secluded spot of rural beauty.
Far, too, could the rich voice of Owen M'Carthy be heard along the hills
and meadows, as, with a little chubby urchin at his knee, and another in
his arms, he sat on a bench beside his own door, singing the "Trouglia".
in his native Irish; whilst Kathleen his wife, with her two maids, each
crooning a low song, sat before the door milking the cows, whose sweet
breath mingled its perfume with the warm breeze of evening.

Owen M'Carthy was descended from a long-line of honest ancestors,
whose names had never, within the memory of man, been tarnished by
the commission of a mean or disreputable action. They were always a
kind-hearted family, but stern and proud in the common intercourse of
life. They believed; themselves to be, and probably were, a branch of
the MacCarthy More stock; and, although only the possessors of a small
farm, it was singular to observe the effect which this conviction
produced upon their bearing and manners. To it might, perhaps,
be attributed the high and stoical integrity for which they were
remarkable. This severity, however, was no proof that they wanted
feeling, or were insensible to the misery and sorrows of others: in
all the little cares and perplexities that chequered the peaceful
neighborhood in which they lived, they were ever the first to console,
or, if necessary, to support a distressed neighbor with the means which
God had placed in their possession; for, being industrious, they were
seldom poor. Their words were few, but sincere, and generally promised
less than the honest hearts that dictated them intended to perform.
There is in some persons a hereditary feeling of just principle, the
result neither of education nor of a clear moral sense, but rather a
kind of instinctive honesty which descends, like a constitutional
bias, from father to son, pervading every member of the family. It is
difficult to define this, or to assign its due position in the scale
of human virtues. It exists in the midst of the grossest ignorance, and
influences the character in the absence of better principles. Such was
the impress which marked so strongly the family of which I speak. No one
would ever think of imputing a dishonest act to the M'Carthys; nor would
any person acquainted with them, hesitate for a moment to consider their
word as good as the bond of another. I do not mean to say, however, that
their motives of action were not higher than this instinctive honesty;
far from it: but I say, that they possessed it in addition to a strong
feeling of family pride, and a correct knowledge of their moral duties.

     * Such is the superstition; and, as I can tell,
     faithfully is it believed.

I can only take up Owen M'Carthy at that part of the past to which my
memory extends. He was then a tall, fine-looking young man; silent, but
kind. One of the earliest events within my recollection is his wedding;
after that the glimpse of his state and circumstances are imperfect; but
as I grew up, they became more connected, and I am able to remember him
the father of four children; an industrious, inoffensive small farmer,
beloved, respected, and honored. No man could rise, be it ever so early,
who would not find Owen up before him; no man could anticipate him in an
early crop, and if a widow or a sick acquaintance were unable to get in
their harvest, Owen was certain to collect the neighbors to assist them;
to be the first there himself, with quiet benevolence, encouraging
them to a zealous performance of the friendly task in which they were
engaged.

It was, I believe, soon after his marriage, that the lease of the farm
held by him expired. Until that time he had been able to live with
perfect independence; but even the enormous rise of one pound per acre,
though it deprived him in a great degree of his usual comforts, did not
sink him below the bare necessaries of life. For some years after that
he could still serve a deserving neighbor; and never was the hand of
Owen M'Carthy held back from the wants and distresses of those whom he
knew to be honest.

I remember once an occasion upon which a widow Murray applied to him for
a loan of five pounds, to prevent her two cows from being auctioned
for a half year's rent, of which she only wanted that sum. Owen sat at
dinner with his family when she entered the house in tears, and, as well
as her agitation of mind permitted, gave him a detailed account of her
embarrassment.

"The blessin' o' God be upon all here," said she, on entering.

"The double o' that to you, Rosha," replied Owen's wife: "won't you sit
in an' be atin'?--here's a sate beside Nanny; come over, Rosha."

Owen only nodded to her, and continued to eat his dinner, as if he felt
no interest in her distress. Rosha sat down at a distance, and with the
corner of a red handkerchief to her eyes, shed tears in that bitterness
of feeling which marks the helplessness of honest industry under the
pressure of calamity.

"In the name o' goodness, Rosha," said Mrs. M'Carthy, "what ails you,
asthore? Sure Jimmy--God spare him to you--wouldn't be dead?"

"Glory be to God! no, avourneen machree. Och, och! but it 'ud be the
black sight, an' the black day, that 'ud see my brave, boy, the staff
of our support, an' the bread of our mouth, taken away from us!--No, no,
Kathleen dear, it's not that bad wid me yet. I hope we'll never live to
see his manly head laid down before us. 'Twas his own manliness, indeed,
brought it an him--backin' the sack when he was bringin' home our last
_meldhre_ * from the mill; for you see he should do it, the crathur, to
show his strinth, an' the sack, when he got it an was too heavy for him,
an' hurted the small of his back; for his bones, you see, are too young,
an' hadn't time to fill up yet. No, avourneen. Glory be to God! he's
gettin' betther wid me!" and the poor creature's eyes glistened with
delight through her tears and the darkness of her affliction.

Without saying a word, Owen, when she finished the eulogium on her
son, rose, and taking her forcibly by the shoulder, set her down at the
table, on which a large potful of potatoes had been spread out, with
a circle in the middle for a dish of rashers and eggs, into which dish
every right hand of those about it was thrust, with a quickness that
clearly illustrated the principle of competition as a stimulus to
action.

"Spare your breath," said Owen, placing her rather roughly upon the
seat, "an' take share of what's goin': when all's cleared off we'll hear
you, but the sorra word till then."

"Musha, Owen," said the poor woman, "you're the same man still; sure
we all know your ways; I'll strive, avourneen, to ate--I'll strive,
asthore--to plase you, an' the Lord bless you an' yours, an' may you
never be as I an' my fatherless childhre are this sorrowful day!" and
she accompanied her words by a flood of tears.

     * Meldhre--whatever quantity of grain is brought to the
     mill to be ground on one occasion.

Owen, without evincing the slightest sympathy, withdrew himself from the
table. Not a muscle of his face was moved; but as the cat came about his
feet at the time, he put his foot under her, and flung her as easily as
possible to the lower end of the kitchen.

"Arrah, what harm did the crathur do," asked his wife, "that you'd kick
her for, that way? an' why but you ate out your dinner?"

"I'm done," he replied, "but that's no rason that Rosha, an' you, an'
thim boys that has the work afore them, shouldn't finish your male's
mate."

Poor Rosha thought that by his withdrawing he had already suspected
the object of her visit, and of course concluded that her chance of
succeeding was very slender.

The wife, who guessed what she wanted, as well as the nature of her
suspicion, being herself as affectionate and obliging as Owen, reverted
to the subject, in order to give her an opportunity of proceeding.

"Somethin' bitther an' out o' the common coorse, is a throuble to you,
Rosha," said she, "or you wouldn't be in the state you're in. The Lord
look down on you this day, you poor crathur--widout the father of your
childhre to stand up for you, an' your only other depindance laid on the
broad of his back, all as one as a cripple; but no matther, Rosha; trust
to Him that can be a husband to you an' a father to your orphans--trust
to Him, an' his blessed mother in heaven, this day, an' never fear but
they'll rise up a frind for you. Musha, Owen, ate your dinner as you
ought to do, wid your capers! How can you take a spade in your hand upon
that morsel?"

"Finish your own," said her husband, "an' never heed me; jist let me
alone. Don't you see that if I wanted it, I'd ate it, an' what more
would you have about!"

"Well, acushla, it's your own loss, sure, of a sartinty. An' Rosha,
whisper, ahagur, what can Owen or I do for you? Throth, it would be a
bad day we'd see you at a _deshort_ * for a friend, for you never wor
nothin' else nor a civil, oblagin' neighbor yourself; an' him that's
gone before--the Lord make his bed in heaven this day--was as good a
warrant as ever broke bread, to sarve a friend, if it was at the hour of
midnight."

     * That is at a loss; or more properly speaking, taken
     short, which it means.

"Ah! when I had him!" exclaimed the distracted widow, "I never had
occasion to trouble aither friend or neighbor; but he s gone an' now
it's otherwise wid me--glory be to God for all his mercies--a wurrah
dheelish! Why, thin, since I must spake, an' has no other frind to go
to--but somehow I doubt Owen looks dark upon me--sure I'd put my hand to
a stamp, if my word wouldn't do for it, an' sign the blessed crass that
saved us, for the payment of it; or I'd give it to him in oats, for I
hear you want some, Owen--Phatie oates it is, an' a betther shouldhered
or fuller-lookin' grain never went undher a harrow--indeed it's it
that's the beauty, all out, if it's good seed you want."

"What is it for, woman alive?" inquired Owen, as he kicked a
three-legged stool out of his way."

"What is it for, is it? Och, Owen darlin', sure my two brave cows is
lavin' me. Owen M'Murt, the driver, is over wid me beyant, an' has them
ready to set off wid. I reared them both, the two of them, wid my own
hands; _Cheehoney_, that knows my voice, an' would come to me from the
fardest corner o' the field, an' nothin' will we have--nothin' will my
poor sick boy have--but the black wather, or the dhry salt; besides the
butther of them being lost to us for rent, or a small taste of it, of an
odd time, for poor Jimmy. Owen, next to God, I have no friend to depind
upon but yourself!"

"Me!" said Owen, as if astonished. "Phoo, that's quare enough! Now do
you think, Rosha,--hut, hut, woman alive! Come, boys, you're all done;
out wid you to your spades, an' finish that _meerin_ (* a marsh ditch, a
boundary) before night. Me!--hut, tut!"

"I have it all but five pounds, Owen, an' for the sake of him that's in
his grave--an' that, maybe, is able to put up his prayer for you"--

"An' what would you want me to do, Rosha? Fitther for you to sit down
an' finish your dinner, when it's before you. I'm goin' to get an ould
glove that's somewhere about this chist, for I must weed out that bit
of oats before night, wid a blessin'," and, as he spoke he passed into
another room, as if he had altogether forgotten her solicitation, and in
a few minutes returned.

"Owen, avick!--an' the blessin' of the fatherless be upon you, sure, an'
many a one o' them you have, any how, Owen!"

"Well, Rosha--well?"

"Och, och, Owen, it's low days wid me to be depindin' upon the
sthranger? little thim that reared me ever thought it 'ud come to this.
You know I'm a dacent father's child, an' I have stooped to you, Owen
M'Carthy--what I'd scorn to do to any other but yourself--poor an'
friendless as I stand here before you. Let them take the cows, thin,
from my childhre; but the father of the fatherless will support thim an'
me. Och, but it's well for the O'Donohoes that their landlord lives at
home among themselves, for may the heavens look down on me, I wouldn't
know where to find mine, if one sight of him 'ud save me an' my childre
from the grave! The Agent even, he lives in Dublin, an' how could I lave
my sick boy, an' small girshas by themselves, to go a hundre miles, an'
maybe not see him afther all. Little hopes I'd have from him, even if I
did; he's paid for gatherin' in his rents; but it's well known he wants
the touch of nathur for the sufferins of the poor, an' of them that's
honest in their intintions."

"I'll go over wid you, Rosha, if that will be of any use," replied Owen,
composedly; "come, I'll go an' spake to Frank M'Murt.''

"The sorra blame I blame him, Owen," replied Rosha, "his bread's
depindin' upon the likes of sich doins, an' he can't get over it; but a
word from you, Owen, will save me, for who ever refused to take the word
of a M'Carthy?"

When Owen and the widow arrived at the house of the latter, they found
the situation of the bailiff laughable in the extreme. Her eldest son,
who had been confined to his bed by a hurt received in his back, was
up, and had got the unfortunate driver, who was rather old, wedged in
between the dresser and the wall, where his cracked voice--for he was
asthmatic--was raised to the highest pitch, calling for assistance.
Beside him was a large tub half-filled with water, into which the little
ones were emptying small jugs, carried at the top of their speed from
a puddle before the door. In the meantime, Jemmy was tugging at the
bailiff with all his strength--fortunately for that personage, it was
but little--with the most sincere intention of inverting him into the
tub which contained as much muddy water as would have been sufficient to
make him a subject for the deliberation of a coroner and twelve honest
men. Nothing could be more conscientiously attempted than the task
which Jemmy had proposed to execute: every tug brought out his utmost
strength, and when he failed in pulling down the bailiff, he compensated
himself for his want of success by cuffing his ribs, and peeling his
shins by hard kicks; whilst from those open points which the driver's
grapple with his man naturally exposed, were inflicted on him by the
rejoicing urchins numberless punches of tongs, potato-washers, and
sticks whose points were from time to time hastily thrust into the
coals, that they might more effectually either blind or disable him in
some other manner.

As one of the little ones ran out to fill his jug, he spied his mother
and Owen approaching, on which, with the empty vessel in his hand, he
flew towards them, his little features distorted by glee and ferocity,
wildly mixed up together.

"Oh mudher, mudher--ha, ha, ha!--don't come in yet; don't come in, Owen,
till Jimmy un' huz, an' the Denisses, gets the bailie drownded. We'll
soon have the _bot_ (* tub) full; but Paddy an' Jack Denis have the
eyes a'most pucked out of him; an' Katty's takin' the rapin' hook from,
behind the _cuppet_, to get it about his neck."

Owen and the widow entered with all haste, precisely at the moment when
Frank's head was dipped, for the first time, into the vessel.

"Is it goin' to murdher him ye are?" said Owen, as he seized Jemmy with
a grasp that transferred him to the opposite end of the house; "hould
back ye pack of young divils, an' let the man up. What did he come to
do but his duty? I tell you, Jimmy, if you wor at yourself, an' in full
strinth, that you'd have the man's blood on you where you stand, and
would suffer as you ought to do for it."

"There, let me," replied the lad, his eyes glowing and his veins
swollen with passion; "I don't care if I did. It would be no sin, an' no
disgrace, to hang for the like of him; dacenter to do that, than stale a
creel of turf, or a wisp of straw, 'tanny rate."

In the meantime the bailiff had raised his head out of the water, and
presented a visage which it was impossible to view with gravity. The
widow's anxiety prevented her from seeing it in a ludicrous light; but
Owen's severe face assumed a grave smile, as the man shook himself and
attempted to comprehend the nature of his situation. The young urchins,
who had fallen back at the appearance of Owen and the widow, now burst
into a peal of mirth, in which, however, Jemmy, whose fiercer passions
had been roused, did not join.

"Frank M'Murt," said the widow, "I take the mother of heaven to witness,
that it vexes my heart to see you get sich thratement in my place; an'
I wouldn't for the best cow I have that sich a _brieuliagh_ (* squabble)
happened. _Dher charp agusmanim_, (** by my soul and body) Jimmy, but
I'll make you suffer for drawin' down this upon my head, and me had
enough over it afore."

"I don't care," replied Jemmy; "whoever comes to take our property from
us, an' us willin' to work will suffer for it. Do you think I'd see thim
crathurs at their dhry phatie, an' our cows standin' in a pound for no
rason? No; high hangin' to me, but I'll split to the skull the first man
that takes them; an' all I'm sorry for is, that it's not the vagabone
Landlord himself that's near me. That's our thanks for paying many
a good pound, in honesty and dacency, to him an' his; lavin' us to a
schamin' agent, an' not even to that same, but to his undher-strap-pers,
that's robbin' us on both sides between them. May hard fortune attind
him, for a landlord! You may tell him this, Frank,--that his wisest plan
is to keep clear of the counthry. Sure, it's a gambler he is, they say;
an' we must be harrished an' racked to support his villany! But wait a
bit; maybe there's a good time comin', when we'll pay our money to thim
that won't be too proud to hear our complaints wid their own ears,
an' who won't turn us over to a divil's limb of an agent. He had need,
anyhow, to get his coffin sooner nor he thinks. What signifies hangin'
in a good cause?" said he, as the tears of keen indignation burst from
his glowing eyes. "It's a dacent death, an' a happy death, when it's
for the right," he added--for his mind was evidently fixed upon the
contemplation of those means of redress, which the habits of the
country, and the prejudices of the people, present to them in the first
moments of passion.

"It's well that Frank's one of ourselves," replied Owen, coolly,
"otherwise, Jemmy, you said words that would lay you up by the heels.
As for you, Frank, you must look over this. The boy's the son of dacent
poor parents, an' it's a new thing for him to see the cows druv from the
place. The poor fellow's vexed, too, that he has been so long laid up
wid a sore back; an' so you see one thing or another has put him through
other. Jimmy is warm-hearted afther all, an' will be sorry for it when
he cools, an' renumbers that you wor only doin' your duty."

"But what am I to do about the cows? Sure, I can't go back widout either
thim or the rint?" said Frank, with a look of fear and trembling at
Jemmy.

"The cows!" said another of the widow's sons who then came in; "why, you
dirty spalpeen of a rip, you may whistle on the wrong side o' your mouth
for them. I druv them off of the estate; an' now take them, if you dar!
It's conthrairy to law," said the urchin; "an' if you'd touch them, I'd
make my mudher sarve you wid a _lattitat_ or _fiery-flashes_."

This was a triumph to the youngsters, who, began to shake their little
fists at him, and to exclaim in a chorus--"Ha, you dirty rip! wait till
we get you out o' the house, an' if we don't put you from ever drivin'!
Why, but you work like another!--ha, you'll get it!"--and every little
fist was shook in vengeance at him.

"Whist wid ye," said Jemmy to the little ones; "let him alone, he got
enough. There's the cows for you; an keen may the curse o' the widow
an' orphans light upon you, and upon them that sent you, from first to
last!--an' that's the best we wish you!"

"Frank," said Owen to the bailiff, "is there any one in the town below
that will take the rint, an' give a resate for it? Do you think, man,
that the neighbors of an honest, industrious woman 'ud see the cattle
taken out of her byre for a thrifle? Hut tut! no, man alive--no sich
thing! There's not a man in the parish, wid manes to do it, would see
them taken away to be canted, at only about a fourth part of their
value. Hut, tut,--no!"

As the sterling fellow spoke, the cheeks of the widow were suffused with
tears, and her son Jemmy's hollow eyes once more kindled, but with a far
different expression from that which but a few minutes before flashed
from them.

"Owen," said he, and utterance nearly failed him: "Owen, if I was well
it wouldn't be as it is wid us; but--no, indeed it would not; but--may
God bless you for this! Owen, never fear but you'll be paid; may God
bless you, Owen!"

As he spoke the hand of his humble benefactor was warmly grasped in his.
A tear fell upon it: for with one of those quick and fervid transitions
of feeling so peculiar to the people, he now felt a strong, generous
emotion of gratitude, mingled, perhaps, with a sense of wounded pride,
on finding the poverty of their little family so openly exposed.

"Hut, tut, Jimmy, avick," said Owen, who understood his feelings; "phoo,
man alive! hut--hem!--why, sure it's nothin' at all, at all; anybody
would do it--only a bare five an' twenty shillins [it was five pound]:
any neighbor--Mick Cassidy, Jack Moran, or Pether M'Cullagh, would do
it.--Come, Frank, step out; the money's to the fore. Rosha, put
your cloak about you, and let us go down to the agint, or clerk, or
whatsomever he is--sure, that makes no maxin anyhow;--I suppose he
has power to give a resate. Jemmy, go to bed again, you're pale, poor
bouchal; and, childhre, ye crathurs ye, the cows won't be taken from
ye this bout.--Come, in the name of God, let us go, and see-everything
rightified at once--hut, tut--come."

Many similar details of Owen M'Carthy's useful life could be given, in
which he bore an equally benevolent and Christian part. Poor fellow! he
was, ere long, brought low; but, to the credit of our peasantry, much
as is said about their barbarity, he was treated, when helpless, with
gratitude, pity, and kindness.

Until the peace of 1814, Owen's regular and systematic industry
enabled him to struggle successfully against a weighty rent and sudden
depression in the price of agricultural produce; that is, he was able,
by the unremitting toil of a man remarkable alike for an unbending
spirit and a vigorous frame of body, to pay his rent with tolerable
regularity. It is true, a change began to be visible in his personal
appearance, in his farm, in the dress of his children, and in the
economy of his household. Improvements, which adequate capital would
have enabled, him to effect, were left either altogether unattempted,
or in an imperfect state, resembling neglect, though, in reality, the
result of poverty. His dress at mass, and in fairs and markets, had,
by degrees, lost that air of comfort and warmth which bespeak the
independent farmer. The evidences of embarrassment began to disclose
themselves in many small points--inconsiderable, it is true, but not
the less significant. His house, in the progress of his declining
circumstances,ceased to be annually ornamented by a new coat of
whitewash; it soon assumed a faded and yellowish hue, and sparkled not
in the setting sun as in the days of Owen's prosperity. It had, in fact,
a wasted, unthriving look, like its master. The thatch became black
and rotten upon its roof; the chimneys sloped to opposite points; the
windows were less neat, and ultimately, when broken, were patched with a
couple of leaves from the children's blotted copy-books. His out-houses
also began to fail. The neatness of his little farm-yard, and the
cleanliness which marked so conspicuously the space fronting his
dwelling-house, disappeared in the course of time. Filth began to
accumulate where no filth had been; his garden was not now planted so
early, nor with such taste and neatness as before; his crops were later,
and less abundant; his haggarts neither so full nor so trim as they were
wont to be, nor his ditches and enclosures kept in such good repair. His
cars, ploughs, and other farming implements, instead of being put under
cover, were left exposed to the influence of wind and weather, where
they soon became crazy and useless.

Such, however, were only the slighter symptoms of his bootless struggle
against the general embarrassment into which the agricultural interests
were, year after year, so unhappily sinking.

Had the tendency to general distress among the class to which he
belonged become stationary, Owen would have continued by toil and
incessant exertion to maintain his ground; but, unfortunately, there was
no point at which the national depression could then stop. Year after
year produced deeper, more extensive, and more complicated misery; and
when he hoped that every succeeding season would bring an improvement
in the market, he was destined to experience not merely a fresh
disappointment, but an unexpected depreciation in the price of his corn,
butter, and other disposable commodities.

When a nation is reduced to such a state, no eye but that of God himself
can see the appalling wretchedness to which a year of disease and
scarcity strikes down the poor and working classes.

Owen, after a long and noble contest for nearly three years, sank, at
length, under the united calamities of disease and scarcity. The father
of the family was laid low upon the bed of sickness, and those of his
little ones who escaped it were almost consumed by famine. This two-fold
shock sealed his ruin; his honest heart was crushed--his hardy frame
shorn of its strength, and he to whom every neighbor fled as to a
friend, now required friendship at a moment when the widespread poverty
of the country rendered its assistance hopeless.

On rising from his bed of sickness, the prospect before him required his
utmost fortitude to bear. He was now wasted in energy both of mind and
body, reduced to utter poverty, with a large family of children, too
young to assist him, without means of retrieving his circumstances, his
wife and himself gaunt skeletons, his farm neglected, his house wrecked,
and his offices falling to ruin, yet every day bringing the half-year's
term nearer! Oh, ye who riot on the miseries of such men--ye who roll
round the easy circle of fashionable life, think upon this picture! To
vile and heartless landlords, who see not, hear not, know not those to
whose heart-breaking toil ye owe the only merit ye possess--that of
rank in society--come and contemplate this virtuous man, as unfriended,
unassisted, and uncheered by those who are bound by a strong moral duty
to protect and aid him, he looks shuddering into the dark, cheerless
future! Is it to be wondered at that he, and such as he, should, in the
misery of his despair, join the nightly meetings, be lured to associate
himself with the incendiary, or seduced to grasp, in the stupid apathy
of wretchedness, the weapon of the murderer? By neglecting the people;
by draining them, with merciless rapacity, of the means of life; by
goading them on under a cruel system of rack rents, ye become not their
natural benefactors, but curses and scourges, nearly as much in reality
as ye are in their opinion.

When Owen rose, he was driven by hunger, direct and immediate, to sell
his best cow; and having purchased some oatmeal at an enormous price,
from a well-known devotee in the parish, who hoarded up this commodity
for a "dear summer," he laid his plans for the future, with as much
judgment as any man could display. One morning after breakfast he
addressed his wife as follows:

"Kathleen, mavourneen, I want to consult wid you about what we ought to
do; things are low wid us, asthore; and except our heavenly Father puts
it into the heart of them I'm goin' to mention, I don't know what well
do, nor what'll become of these poor crathurs that's naked and hungry
about us. God pity them, they don't know--and maybe that same's some
comfort--the hardships that's before them. Poor crathurs! see how quiet
and sorrowful they sit about their little play, passin' the time for
themselves as well as they can! Alley, acushla machree, come over to
me. Your hair is bright and fair, Alley, and curls so purtily that the
finest lady in the land might envy it; but, acushla, your color's gone,
your little hands are wasted away, too; that sickness was hard and sore
upon you, a _colleen machree_ (* girl of my heart) and he that 'ud spend
his heart's blood for you, darlin', can do nothin' to help you!"

He looked at the child as he spoke, and a slight motion in the muscles
of his face was barely preceptible, but it passed away; and, after
kissing her, he proceeded:

"Ay, ye crathurs--you and I, Kathleen, could earn our bread for
ourselves yet, but these can't do it. This last stroke, darlin', has
laid us at the door of both poverty and sickness, but blessed be the
mother of heaven for it, they are all left wid us; and sure that's a
blessin' we've to be thankful for--glory be to God!"

"Ay, poor things, it's well to have them spared, Owen dear; sure I'd
rather a thousand times beg from door to door, and have my childher to
look at, than be in comfort widout them."

"Beg: that 'ud go hard wid me, Kathleen. I'd work--I'd live on next to
nothing all the year round; but to see the crathurs that wor dacently
bred up brought to that, I couldn't bear it, Kathleen--'twould break
the heart widin in me. Poor as they are, they have the blood of kings
in their veins; and besides, to see a M'Carthy beggin' his bread in the
country where his name was once great--The M'Carthy More, that was their
title-no, acushla, I love them as I do the blood in my own veins; but
I'd rather see them in the arms of God in heaven, laid down dacently
with their little sorrowful faces washed, and their little bodies
stretched out purtily before my eyes--I would--in the grave-yard there
beyant, where all belonging to me lie, than have it cast up to them, or
have it said, that ever a M'Carthy was seen beggin' on the highway."

"But, Owen, can you strike out no plan for us that 'ud put us in the way
of comin' round agin? These poor ones, if we could hould out for two or
three year, would soon be able to help us."

"They would--they would. I'm thinkin' this day or two of a plan: but I'm
doubtful whether it 'ud come to anything."

"What is it, acushla? Sure we can't be worse nor we are, any way."

"I'm goin' to go to Dublin. I'm tould that the landlord's come home from
France, and that he's there now; and if I didn't see him, sure I could
see the agent. Now, Kathleen, my intintion 'ud be to lay our case before
the head landlord himself, in hopes he might hould back his hand, and
spare us for a while. If I had a line from the agent, or a scrape of a
pen, that I could show at home to some of the nabors, who knows but I
could borry what 'ud set us up agin! I think many of them 'ud be sorry
to see me turned out; eh, Kathleen?"

The Irish are an imaginative people; indeed, too much so for either
their individual or national happiness. And it is this and superstition,
which also depends much upon imagination, that makes them so easily
influenced by those extravagant dreams that are held out to them by
persons who understand their character.

When Kathleen heard the plan on which Owen founded his expectations of
assistance, her dark melancholy eye flashed with a portion of its former
fire; a transient vivacity lit up her sickly features, and she turned a
smile of hope and affection upon her children, then upon Owen.

"Arrah, thin, who knows, indeed!--who knows but he might do something
for us? And maybe we might be as well as ever yet! May the Lord put it
into his heart, this day! I declare, ay!--maybe it was God put it into
your heart, Owen!"

"I'll set off," replied her husband, who was a man of decision; "I'll
set off on other morrow mornin'; and as nobody knows anything about it,
so let there not be a word said upon the subject, good or bad. If I have
success, well and good; but if not, why, nobody need be the wiser."

The heart-broken wife evinced, for the remainder of the day, a lightness
of spirits which she had not felt for many a month before. Even Owen
was less depressed than usual, and employed himself in making
such arrangements as he knew would occasion his family to feel the
inconvenience of his absence less acutely. But as the hour of his
departure drew nigh, a sorrowful feeling of affection rising into
greater strength and tenderness threw a melancholy gloom around his
hearth. According to their simple view of distance, a journey to Dublin
was a serious undertaking, and to them it was such. Owen was in weak
health, just risen out of illness, and what was more trying than any
other consideration was, that since their marriage they had never been
separated before.

On the morning of his departure, he was up before daybreak, and so were
his wife and children, for the latter had heard the conversation already
detailed between them, and, with their simple-minded parents, enjoyed
the gleam of hope which it presented; but this soon changed--when he was
preparing to go, an indefinite sense of fear, and a more vivid clinging
of affection marked their feelings. He himself partook of this, and
was silent, depressed, and less ardent than when the speculation first
presented itself to his mind. His resolution, however, was taken, and,
should he fail, no blame at a future time could be attached to himself.
It was the last effort; and to neglect it, he thought, would have been
to neglect his duty. When breakfast was ready, they all sat down in
silence; the hour was yet early, and a rushlight was placed in a wooden
candlestick that stood beside them to afford light. There was something
solemn and touching in the group as they sat in dim relief, every face
marked by the traces of sickness, want, sorrow, and affection. The
father attempted to eat, but could not; Kathleen sat at the meal, but
could taste nothing; the children ate, for hunger at the moment was
predominant over every other sensation. At length it was over, and Owen
rose to depart; he stood for a minute on the floor, and seemed to take a
survey of his cold, cheerless house, and then of his family; he cleared
his throat several times, but did not speak.

"Kathleen," said he, at length, "in the name of God I'll go; and may his
blessin' be about you, asthore machree, and guard you and these darlins
till I come back to yez."

Kathleen's faithful heart could bear no more; she laid herself on his
bosom--clung to his neck, and, as the parting kiss was given, she wept
aloud, and Owen's tears fell silently down his worn cheeks. The children
crowded about them in loud wailings, and the grief of this virtuous and
afflicted family was of that profound description, which is ever the
companion, in such scenes, of pure and genuine love.

"Owen!" she exclaimed; "Owen, _a-suilish mahuil agus machree!_ (* light
of my eyes and of my heart) I doubt we wor wrong in thinkin' of this
journey. How can you, mavourneen, walk all the way to Dublin, and you so
worn and weakly with that sickness, and the bad feedin' both before and
since? Och, give it up, achree, and stay wid us, let what will happen.
You're not able for sich a journey, indeed you're not. Stay wid me
and the childher, Owen; sure we'd be so lonesome widout you--will you,
agrah? and the Lord will do for us some other way, maybe."

Owen pressed his faithful wife to his heart, and kissed her chaste lips
with a tenderness which the heartless votaries of fashionable life can
never know.

"Kathleen, asthore," he replied, in those terms of endearment which flow
so tenderly through the language of the people; "sure whin I remimber
your fair young face--your yellow hair, and the light that was in your
eyes, acushla machree--but that's gone long ago--och, don't ax me to
stop. Isn't your lightsome laugh, whin you wor young, in my ears? and
your step that 'ud not bend the flower of the field--Kathleen, I can't,
indeed I can't, bear to think of what you wor, nor of what you are now,
when in the coorse of age and natur, but a small change ought to be upon
you! Sure I ought to make every struggle to take you and these sorrowful
crathurs out of the state you're in."

The children flocked about them, and joined their entreaties to those of
their mother. "Father, don't lave us--we'll be lonesome if you go, and
if my mother 'ud get unwell, who'd be to take care of her? Father, don't
lave your own 'weeny crathurs' (a pet name he had for them)--maybe
the meal 'ud be eat out before you'd come back; or maybe something 'ud
happen you in that strange place."

"Indeed, there's truth in what they say, Owen," said, the wife; "do
be said by your own Kathleen for this time, and don't take sich a long
journey upon you. Afther all, maybe, you wouldn't see him--sure the
nabors will help us, if you could only humble yourself to ax them!"

"Kathleen," said Owen, "when this is past you'll be glad I went--indeed
you will; sure it's only the tindher feelin' of your hearts, darlins.
Who knows what the landlord may do when I see himself, and show him
these resates--every penny paid him by our own family. Let me go,
acushla; it does cut me to the heart to lave yez the way yez are in,
even for a while; but it's far worse to see your poor wasted faces,
widout havin' it in my power to do anything for yez."

He then kissed them again, one by one; and pressing the affectionate
partner of his sorrows to his breaking heart, he bade God bless them,
and set out in the twilight of a bitter March morning. He had not gone
many yards from the door when little Alley ran after him in tears; he
felt her hand upon the skirts of his coat, which, she plucked with a
smile of affection that neither tears nor sorrow could repress. "Father,
kiss me again," said she. He stooped down, and kissed her tenderly. The
child then ascended a green ditch, and Owen, as he looked back, saw her
standing upon it; her fair tresses were tossed by the blast about her
face, as with straining eyes she watched him receding from her view.
Kathleen and the other children stood at the door, and also with deep
sorrow watched his form, until the angle of the bridle-road rendered him
no longer visible; after which they returned slowly to the fire and wept
bitterly.

We believe no men are capable of bearing greater toil or privation than
the Irish. Owen's viaticum was only two or three oaten cakes tied in a
little handkerchief, and a few shillings in silver to pay for his bed.
With this small stock of food and money, an oaken stick in his hand, and
his wife's kerchief tied about his waist, he undertook a journey of one
hundred and ten miles, in quest of a landlord who, so far from being
acquainted with the distresses of his tenantry, scarcely knew even their
names, and not one of them in person.

Our scene now changes to the metropolis. One evening, about half past
six o'clock, a toil-worn man turned his steps to a splendid! mansion in
Mountjoy Square; his appearance was drooping, fatigued, and feeble. As
he went along, he examined the numbers on the respective doors, until
he reached a certain one--before which he stopped for a moment; he
then stepped out upon the street, and looked through the windows, as if
willing to ascertain whether there was any chance of his object being
attained. Whilst in this situation a carriage rolled rapidly up, and
stopped with a sudden check that nearly threw back the horses on their
haunches. In an instant the thundering knock of the servant intimated
the arrival of some person of rank; the hall door was opened, and Owen,
availing himself of that opportunity, entered the hall. Such a visitor,
however, was too remarkable to escape notice. The hand of the menial
was rudely placed against his breast; and, as the usual impertinent
interrogatories were put to him, the pampered ruffian kept pushing him
back, until the afflicted man stood upon the upper step leading to the
door.

"For the sake of God, let me spake but two words to him. I'm his tenant;
and I know he's too much of a jintleman to turn away a man that has
lived upon his honor's estate, father and son, for upwards of three
hundred years. My name's Owen ------"

"You can't see him, my good fellow, at this hour. Go to Mr. M------,
his Agent: we have company to dinner. He never speaks to a tenant on
business; his Agent manages all that. Please, leave the way, here's more
company."

As he uttered the last word, he pushed Owen back; who, forgetting that
the stairs were behind him, fell,--received a severe cut, and was so
completely stunned, that he lay senseless and bleeding. Another carriage
drove up, as the fellow now much alarmed, attempted to raise him from
the steps; and, by order of the gentleman who came in it, he was brought
into the hall. The circumstance now made some noise. It was whispered
about, that one of Mr. S------'s tenants, a drunken fellow from the
country, wanted to break in forcibly to see him; but then it was also
asserted, that his skull was broken, and that he lay dead in the hall.
Several of the gentlemen above stairs, on hearing that a man had
been killed, immediately assembled about him, and, by the means of
restoratives, he soon recovered, though the blood streamed copiously
from the wound in the back of his head.

"Who are you, my good man?" said Mr. S------.

Owen looked about him rather vacantly; but soon collected himself,
and implied in a mournful and touching tone of voice--"I'm one of
your honor's tenants from Tubber Derg; my name is Owen M'Carthy, your
honor--that is, if you be Mr. S------."

"And pray, what brought you to town, M'Carthy?"

"I wanted to make an humble appale to your honor's feelins, in regard to
my bit of farm. I, and my poor family, your honor, have been broken down
by hard times and the sickness of the sason--God knows how they axe."

"If you wish to speak to me about that, my good man, you must know I
refer all these matters to my Agent. Go to him--he knows them best;
and whatever is right and proper to be done for you, he will do it.
Sinclair, give him a crown, and send him to the ------ Dispensary, to
get his head dressed, I say, Carthy, go to my Agent; he knows whether
your claim is just or not, and will attend to it accordingly."

"Plase, your honor, I've been wid him, and he says he can do nothin'
whatsomever for me. I went two or three times, and couldn't see him,
he was so busy; and, when I did get a word or two wid him, he tould me
there was more offered for my land than I'm payin'; and that if I did
not pay up, I must be put out, God help me!"

"But I tell you, Carthy, I never interfere between him and my tenants."

"Och, indeed! and it would be well, both for your honor's tenants and
yourself, if you did, sir. Your honor ought to know, sir, more about
us, and how we're thrated. I'm an honest man, sir, and I tell you so for
your good."

"And pray, sir," said the Agent, stepping forward, for he had arrived
a few minutes before, and heard the last observation of M'Carthy--"pray
how are they treated, you that know so well, and are so honest a
man?--As for honesty, you might have referred to me for that, I think,"
he added.

"Mr. M------," said Owen, "we're thrated very badly. Sir, you needn't
look at me, for I'm not afeerd to spake the thruth; no bullyin', sir,
will make me say anything in your favor that you don't desarve. You've
broken the half of them by severity; you've turned the tenants aginst
yourself and his honor here; and I tell you now, though you're to the
fore, that, in the coorse of a short time, there'll be bad work upon the
estate, except his honor, here, looks into his own affairs, and hears
the complaints of the people. Look at these resates, your honor; they'll
show you, sir,--"

"Carthy, I can hear no such language against the gentleman to whom I
entrust the management of my property; of course, I refer the matter
solely to him. I can do nothing in it."

"Kathleen, avourneen!" claimed the poor man, as he looked up
despairingly to heaven; "and ye, poor darlins of my heart! is this the
news I'm to have for yez whin I go home?--As you hope for mercy, sir,
don't turn away your ear from my petition, that I'd humbly make to
yourself. Cowld, and hunger, and hardship, are at home before me, yer
honor. If you'd be plased to look at these resates, you'd see that I
always paid my rint; and 'twas sickness and the hard times--"

"And your own honesty, industry, and good conduct," said the Agent,
giving a dark and malignant sneer at him. "Carthy, it shall be my
business to see that you do not spread a bad spirit through the tenantry
much longer.--Sir, you have heard the fellow's admission. It is an
implied threat he will give us much serious trouble. There is not such
another incendiary on your property--not one, upon my honor."

"Sir," said a servant, "dinner is on the table."

"Sinclair," said his landlord, "give him another crown, and tell him
to trouble me no more." Saying; which, he and the Agent went up to
the drawing-room, and, in a moment, Owen saw a large party sweep
down stairs, full of glee and vivacity, by whom both himself and his
distresses were as completely forgotten as if they had never existed.

He now slowly departed, and knew not whether the house-steward had given
him money or not until he felt it in his hand. A cold, sorrowful weight
lay upon his heart; the din of the town deadened his affliction into
a stupor; but an overwhelming sense of his disappointment, and a
conviction of the Agent's diabolical falsehood, entered like barbed
arrows into his heart.

On leaving the steps, he looked up to heaven in the distraction of
his agonizing thoughts; the clouds were black and lowering--the wind
stormy--and, as it carried them on its dark wing along the sky, he
wished, if it were the will of God, that his head lay in the quiet
grave-yard where the ashes of his forefathers reposed in peace. But he
again remembered his Kathleen and their children; and the large tears of
anguish, deep and bitter, rolled slowly down his cheeks.

We will not trace him into an hospital, whither the wound on his head
occasioned him to be sent, but simply state, that, on the second week
after this, a man, with his head bound in a handkerchief, lame, bent,
and evidently laboring under a severe illness or great affliction,
might be seen toiling slowly up the little hill that commanded a view of
Tubber Derg. On reaching the top he sat down to rest for a few minutes,
but his eye was eagerly turned to the house which contained all that was
dear to him on this earth. The sun was setting, and shone, with half his
disk visible, in that dim and cheerless splendor which produces almost
in every temperament a feeling of melancholy. His house which, in
happier days, formed so beautiful and conspicuous an object in the
view, was now, from the darkness of its walls, scarcely discernible.
The position of the sun, too, rendered it more difficult to be seen; and
Owen, for it was he, shaded his eyes with his hand, to survey it more
distinctly. Many a harrowing thought and remembrance passed through his
mind, as his eye traced its dim outline in the fading-light'. He had
done his duty--he had gone to the fountain-head, with a hope that his
simple story of affliction might be heard; but all was fruitless: the
only gleam, of hope that opened upon their misery had now passed into
darkness and despair for ever. He pressed his aching forehead with
distraction as he thought of this; then clasped his hands bitterly, and
groaned aloud.

At length he rose, and proceeded with great difficulty, for the short
rest had stiffened his weak and fatigued joints. As he approached home
his heart sank; and as he ascended the blood-red stream which covered
the bridle-way that led to his house, what with fatigue and affliction,
his agitation weakened him so much that, he stopped, and leaned on his
staff several times, that he might take breath.

"It's too dark, maybe, for them to see me, or poor Kathleen would send
the darlins to give me the _she dha veha_ (* the welcome). Kathleen,
avourneen machree! how my heart beats wid longin' to see you, asthore,
and to see the weeny crathurs--glory be to Him that has left them to
me--praise and glory to His name!"

He was now within a few perches of thy door; but a sudden misgiving shot
across his heart when he saw it shut, and no appearance of smoke from
the chimney, nor of stir or life about the house. He advanced--

"Mother of glory, what's this!--But, wait, let me rap agin. Kathleen,
Kathleen!--are you widin, avourneen? Owen--Alley--arn't ye widin,
childhre? Alley, sure I'm come back to you all!" and he rapped more
loudly than before. A dark breeze swept through the bushes as he spoke,
but no voice nor sound proceeded from the house;--all was still as death
within. "Alley!" he called once more to his little favorite; "I'm come
home wid something for you, asthore! I didn't forget you, alanna!--I
brought it from Dublin, all the way. Alley!" but the gloomy murmur of
the blast was the only reply.

Perhaps the most intense of all that he knew as misery was that which
he then felt; but this state of suspense was soon terminated by the
appearance of a neighbor who was passing.

"Why, thin, Owen, but yer welcome home agin, my poor fellow; and I'm
sorry that I haven't betther news for you, and so are all of us."

He whom he addressed had almost lost the power of speech.

"Frank," said he, and he wrung his hand, "What--what? was death among
them? For the sake of heaven, spake!"

The severe pressure which he received in return ran like a shoot, of
paralysis to his heart.

"Owen, you must be a man; every one pities yez, and may the Almighty
pity and support yez! She is, indeed, Owen, gone; the weeny fair-haired
child, your favorite Alley, is gone. Yestherday she was berrid; and
dacently the nabors attinded the place, and sent in, as far as they
had it, both mate and dhrink to Kathleen and the other ones. Now, Owen,
you've heard it; trust in God, an' be a man."

A deep and convulsive throe shook him to the heart. "Gone!--the
fair-haired one!--Alley!--Alley!--the pride of both our hearts; the
sweet, the quiet, and the sorrowful child, that seldom played wid the
rest, but kept wid mys--! Oh, my darlin', my darlin'! gone from my eyes
for ever!--God of glory; won't you support me this night of sorrow and
misery!"

With a sudden yet profound sense of humility, he dropped on his knees
at the threshold, and, as the tears rolled down his convulsed cheeks,
exclaimed, in a burst of sublime piety, not at all uncommon among our
peasantry--"I thank you, O my God! I thank you, an' I put myself an' my
weeny ones, my _pastchee boght_ (* my poor children) into your hands. I
thank you, O God, for what has happened! Keep me up and support me--och,
I want it! You loved the weeny one, and you took her; she was the light
of my eyes, and the pulse of my broken heart, but you took her, blessed
Father of heaven! an' we can't be angry wid you for so doin'! Still if
you had spared her--if--if--O, blessed Father, my heart was in the very
one you took--but I thank you, O God! May she rest in pace, now and for
ever, Amin!"

He then rose up, and slowly wiping the tears from his eyes, departed.

"Let me hould your arm, Frank, dear," said he, "I'm weak and tired wid
a long journey. Och, an' can it be that she's gone--the fair-haired
colleen! When I was lavin' home, an' had kissed them all--'twas the
first time we ever parted, Kathleen and I, since our marriage--the
blessed child came over an' held up her mouth, sayin', 'Kiss me agin,
father;' an' this was afther herself an' all of them had kissed me
afore. But, och! oh! blessed Mother! Frank, where's my Kathleen and the
rest?--and why are they out of their own poor place?"

"Owen, I tould you awhile agone, that you must be a man. I gave you the
worst news first, an' what's to come doesn't signify much. It was too
dear; for if any man could live upon it you could:--you have neither
house nor home, Owen, nor land. An ordher came from the Agint; your last
cow was taken, so was all you had in the world--hem--barrin' a thrifle.
No,--bad manners to it! no,--you're not widout a home anyway. The
family's in my barn, brave and comfortable, compared to what your own
house was, that let in the wather through the roof like a sieve; and,
while the same barn's to the fore, never say you want a home."

"God bless you, Frank, for that goodness to them and me; if you're not
rewarded for it here you will in a betther place. Och, I long to see
Kathleen and the childher! But I'm fairly broken down, Frank, and hardly
able to mark the ground; and, indeed, no wondher, if you knew but all:
still, let God's will be done! Poor Kathleen, I must bear up afore her,
or she'll break her heart; for I know how she loved the golden-haired
darlin' that's gone from us. Och, and how did she go, Frank, for I left
her betther?"

"Why, the poor girsha took a relapse, and wasn't strong enough to bear
up aginst the last attack; but it's one comfort that you know she's
happy."

Owen stood for a moment, and, looking solemnly in his neighbor's face,
exclaimed, in a deep and exhausted voice, "Frank!"

"What are you goin' to say, Owen?"

"The heart widin me's broke--broke!"

The large tears rolled down his weather-beaten cheeks, and he proceeded
in silence to the house of his friend. There was, however, a feeling
of sorrow in his words and manner which Frank could not withstand. He
grasped Owen's hand, and, in a low and broken voice, simply said--"Keep
your spirits up--keep them up."

When they came to the barn in which his helpless family had taken up
their temporary residence, Owen stood for a moment to collect himself;
but he was nervous, and trembled with repressed emotion. They then
entered; and Kathleen, on seeing her beloved and affectionate husband,
threw herself on his bosom, and for some time felt neither joy nor
sorrow--she had swooned. The poor man embraced her with a tenderness
at once mournful and deep. The children, on seeing their father safely
returned, forgot their recent grief, and clung about him with gladness
and delight. In the meantime Kathleen recovered, and Owen for many
minutes could not check the loud and clamorous grief, now revived by
the presence of her husband, with which the heart-broken and emaciated
mother deplored her departed child; and Owen himself, on once more
looking among the little ones, on seeing her little frock hanging up,
and her stool vacant by the fire--on missing her voice and her blue
laughing eyes--and remembering the affectionate manner in which, as with
a presentiment of death, she held up her little mouth and offered him
the last kiss--he slowly pulled the toys and cakes he had purchased for
her out of his pocket, surveyed them for a moment, and then, putting
his hands on his face, bent his head upon his bosom, and wept with the
vehement outpouring of a father's sorrow.

The reader perceives that he was a meek man; that his passions were not
dark nor violent; he bore no revenge to those who neglected or injured
him, and in this he differed from too many of his countrymen. No; his
spirit was broken down with sorrow, and had not room for the fiercer and
more destructive passions. His case excited general pity. Whatever his
neighbors could, do to soothe him and alleviate his affliction was done.
His farm was not taken; for fearful threats were held out against those
who might venture to occupy it. In these threats he had nothing to do;
on the contrary, he strongly deprecated them. Their existence, however,
was deemed by the Agent sufficient to justify him in his callous and
malignant severity towards him.

We did not write this story for effect. Our object was to relate facts
that occurred. In Ireland, there is much blame justly attached to
landlords, for their neglect and severity, in such depressed times,
towards their tenants: there is also much that is not only indefensible
but atrocious on the part of the tenants. But can the landed proprietors
of Ireland plead ignorance or want of education for their neglect and
rapacity, whilst the crimes of the tenants, on the contrary, may in
general be ascribed to both? He who lives--as, perhaps, his forefathers
have done--upon any man's property, and fails from unavoidable calamity,
has as just and clear a light to assistance from the landlord as if the
amount of that aid were a bonded debt. Common policy, common sense, and
common justice, should induce the Irish landlords to lower their rents
according to the market for agricultural produce, otherwise poverty,
famine, crime, and vague political speculations, founded upon idle hopes
of a general transfer of property, will spread over and convulse the
kingdom. Any man who looks into our poverty may see that our landlords
ought to reduce their rents to a standard suitable to the times and to
the ability of the tenant.

But to return. Owen, for another year, struggled on for his family,
without success; his firm spirit was broken; employment he could not
get, and even had it been regular, he would have found it impracticable
to support his helpless wife and children by his labor. The next year
unhappily was also one of sickness and of want; the country was not only
a wide waste of poverty, but overspread with typhus fever. One Saturday
night he and the family found themselves without food; they had not
tasted a morsel for twenty-four hours. There were murmuring and
tears and, finally, a low conversation among them, as if they held
a conference upon some subject which filled them with both grief and
satisfaction. In this alternation of feeling did they pass the time
until the sharp gnawing of hunger was relieved by sleep. A keen December
wind blew with a bitter blast on the following morning; the rain was
borne along upon it with violence, and the cold was chill and piercing.
Owen, his wife, and their six children, issued at day-break out of the
barn in which, ever since their removal from Tubber Derg, they had lived
until then; their miserable fragments of bed-clothes were tied in a
bundle to keep them dry; their pace was slow, need we say sorrowful; all
were in tears. Owen and Kathleen went first, with a child upon the
back, and another in the hand, of each. Their route lay by their former
dwelling, the door of which was open, for it had not been inhabited. On
passing it they stood a moment; then with a simultaneous impulse both
approached--entered--and took one last look of a spot to which their
hearts clung with enduring attachment. They then returned; and as they
passed, Owen put forth his hand, picked a few small pebbles out of the
wall, and put them in his pocket.

"Farewell!" said he, "and may the blessing of God rest upon you! We
now lave you for ever! We're goin' at last to beg our bread through the
world wide, where none will know the happy days we passed widin your
walls! We must lave you; but glory be to the Almighty, we are goin'
wid a clear conscience; we took no revenge into our own hands, but left
everything to God above us. We are poor, but there is neither blood, nor
murder, nor dishonesty upon our heads. Don't cry, Kathleen--don't cry,
childher; there is still a good god above who can and may do something
for us yet, glory be to his holy name!"

He then passed on with his family, which, including himself, made in
all, eight paupers, being an additional burden upon the country, which
might easily have been avoided. His land was about two years waste,
and when it was ultimately taken, the house was a ruin, and the money
allowed by the landlord for building a new one, together with the
loss of two years' rent, would if humanely directed, have enabled Owen
M'Carthy to remain a solvent tenant.

When an Irish peasant is reduced to pauperism, he seldom commences the
melancholy task of soliciting alms in his native place. The trial is
always a severe one, and he is anxious to hide his shame and misery from
the eyes of those who know him. This is one reason why some system
of poor laws should be introduced into the country. Paupers of this
description become a burden upon strangers, whilst those who are capable
of entering with friendly sympathy into their misfortunes have no
opportunity of assisting them. Indeed this shame of seeking alms from
those who have known the mendicant in better days, is a proof that
the absence of poor laws takes away from the poorer classes one of the
strongest incitements to industry; for instance, if every Pauper in
Ireland were confined to his own parish, and compelled to beg from his
acquaintances, the sense of shame alone would, by stirring them up to
greater industry, reduce the number of mendicants one-half. There is a
strong spirit of family pride in Ireland, which would be sufficient to
make many poor, of both sexes, exert themselves to the uttermost rather
than cast a stain upon their name, or bring a blush to the face of their
relations. But now it is not so: the mendicant sets out to beg, and in
most instances commences his new mode of life in some distant part of
the country, where his name and family are not known.

Indeed, it is astonishing how any man can, for a moment, hesitate to
form his opinion upon the subject of poor laws. The English and Scotch
gentry know something about the middle and lower classes of their
respective countries, and of course they have a fixed system of
provision for the poor in each. The ignorance of the Irish gentry, upon
almost every subject connected with the real good of the people, is only
in keeping with their ignorance of the people themselves. It is to be
feared, however, that their disinclination to introduce poor laws arises
less from actual ignorance, than from an illiberal selfishness. The
facts of the case are these: In Ireland the whole support of the
inconceivable multitude of paupers, who swarm like locusts over the
surface of the country, rests upon the middle and lower classes, or
rather upon the latter, for there is scarcely such a thing in this
unhappy country as a middle class. In not one out of a thousand
instances do the gentry contribute to the mendicant poor. In the first
place, a vast proportion of our landlords are absentees, who squander
upon their own pleasures or vices, in the theatres, saloons, or
gaming-houses of France, or in the softer profligacies of Italy, that
which ought to return in some shape to stand in the place of duties
so shamefully neglected. These persons contribute nothing to the poor,
except the various evils which their absence entails upon them.

On the other hand, the resident gentry never in any case assist a
beggar, even in the remote parts of the country, where there are no
Mendicity Institutions. Nor do the beggars ever think of applying to
them. They know that his honor's dogs would be slipped at them; or that
the whip might be laid, perhaps, to the shoulders of a broken-hearted
father, with his brood of helpless children wanting food; perhaps, upon
the emaciated person of a miserable widow, who begs for her orphans,
only because the hands that supported, and would have defended both her
and them, are mouldered into dust.

Upon the middle and lower classes, therefore, comes directly the heavy
burden of supporting the great mass of pauperism that presses upon
Ireland. It is certain that the Irish landlords know this, and that they
are reluctant to see any law enacted which might make the performance of
their duties to the poor compulsory. This, indeed, is natural in men who
have so inhumanly neglected them.

But what must the state of a country be where those who are on the way
to pauperism themselves are exclusively burdened with the support of
the vagrant poor? It is like putting additional weight on a man already
sinking under the burden he bears. The landlords suppose, that because
the maintenance of the idle who are able, and of the aged and infirm who
are not able to work, comes upon the renters of land, they themselves
are exempted from their support. This, if true, is as bitter a stigma
upon their humanity as upon their sense of justice: but it is not true.
Though the cost of supporting such an incredible number of the idle
and helpless does, in the first place, fall upon the tenant, yet, by
diminishing his means, and by often compelling him to purchase, towards
the end of the season, a portion of food equal to that which he has
given away in charity, it certainly becomes ultimately a clear deduction
from the landlord's rent. In either case it is a deduction, but in
the latter it is often doubly so; inasmuch as the poor tenants must
frequently pay, at the close of a season, double, perhaps treble, the
price which provision brought at the beginning of it.

Any person conversant with the Irish people must frequently have heard
such dialogues as the following, during the application of a beggar for
alms:--

Mendicant.--"We're axin your charity for God's sake!"

Poor Tenant.--"Why thin for His sake you would get it, poor crathur, if
we had it; but it's not for you widin the four corners of the house. It
'ud be well for us if we had now all we gave away in charity durin' the
Whole year; we wouldn't have to be buyin' for ourselves at three prices.
Why don't you go up to the Big House? They're rich and can afford it."

Mendicant, with a shrug, which sets all his coats and bags in
motion--"Och! och! The Big House, inagh! Musha, do you want me an' the
childhre here, to be torn to pieces wid the dogs? or lashed wid a whip
by one o' the sarvints? No, no, avourneen!" (with a hopeless shake of
the head.) "That 'ud be a blue look-up, like a clear evenin'."

Poor Tenant.--"Then, indeed, we haven't it to help you, now, poor man.
We're buyin' ourselves."

Mendicant.--"Thin, throth, that's lucky, so it is! I've as purty a grain
o' male here, as you'd wish to thicken wather wid, that I sthruv to get
together, in hopes to be able to buy a quarther o' tobaccy, along wid a
pair o' new bades an' scapular for myself. I'm suspicious that there's
about a stone ov it, altogether. You can have it anunder the market
price, for I'm frettin' at not havin' the scapular an me. Sure the Lord
will sind me an' the childhre a bit an' sup some way else--glory to his
name!--beside a lock of praties in the corner o' the bag here, that'll
do us for this day, any way."

The bargain is immediately struck, and the poor tenant is glad to
purchase, even from a beggar, his stone of meal, in consequence of
getting it a few pence under market price. Such scenes as this, which
are of frequent occurrence in the country parts of Ireland, need no
comment.

This, certainly, is not a state of things which should be permitted to
exist. Every man ought to be compelled to support the poor of his
native parish according to his means. It is an indelible disgrace to the
legislature so long to have neglected the paupers of Ireland. Is it to
bo thought of with common patience that a person rolling in wealth shall
feed upon his turtle, his venison, and his costly luxuries of
every description, for which he will not scruple to pay the highest
price--that this heartless and selfish man, whether he reside at home or
abroad, shall thus unconscionably pamper himself with viands purchased
by the toil of the people, and yet not contribute to assist them, when
poverty, sickness, or age, throws them upon the scanty support of casual
charity?

Shall this man be permitted to batten in luxury in a foreign land, or at
home; to whip our paupers from his carriage; or hunt them, like beasts
of prey, from his grounds, whilst the lower classes--the gradually
decaying poor--are compelled to groan under the burden of their support,
in addition to their other burdens? Surely it is not a question which
admits of argument. This subject has been darkened and made difficult by
fine-spun and unintelligible theories, when the only knowledge necessary
to understand it may be gained by spending a few weeks in some poor
village in the interior of the country. As for Parliamentary Committees
upon this or any other subject, they are, with reverence be it spoken,
thoroughly contemptible. They will summon and examine witnesses who, for
the most part, know little about the habits or distresses of the poor;
public money will be wasted in defraying their expenses and in printing
reports; resolutions will be passed; something will be said about it
in the House of Commons; and, in a few weeks, after resolving and
re-resolving, it is as little thought of, as if it had never been the
subject of investigation. In the meantime the evil proceeds--becomes
more inveterate--eats into the already declining prosperity of the
country--whilst those who suffer under it have the consolation of
knowing that a Parliamentary Committee sat longer upon it than so many
geese upon their eggs, but hatched nothing. Two circumstances, connected
with pauperism in Ireland, are worthy of notice. The first is this--the
Roman Catholics, who certainly constitute the bulk of the population,
feel themselves called upon, from the peculiar tenets of their religion,
to exercise indiscriminate charity largely to the begging poor. They act
under the impression that eleemosynary good works possess the power of
cancelling sin to an extent almost incredible. Many of their religious
legends are founded upon this view of the case; and the reader will find
an appropriate one in the Priest's sermon, as given in our tale of the
"Poor Scholar." That legend is one which the author has many a time
heard from the lips of the people, by whom it was implicitly believed.
A man who may have committed a murder overnight, will the next day
endeavor to wipe away his guilt by alms given for the purpose of getting
the benefit of "the poor man's prayer." The principle of assisting our
distressed fellow-creatures, when rationally exercised, is one of the
best in society; but here it becomes entangled with error, superstition,
and even with crime--acts as a bounty upon imposture, and in some degree
predisposes to guilt, from an erroneous belief that sin may be cancelled
by alms and the prayers of mendicant impostors. The second point, in
connection with pauperism, is the immoral influence that I proceeds
from the relation in which the begging poor in Ireland stand towards the
class by whom they are supported. These, as we have already said,
are the poorest, least educated, and consequently the most ignorant
description of the people. They are also the most numerous. There have
been for centuries, probably since the Reformation itself, certain
opinions floating among the lower classes in Ireland, all tending to
prepare them for some great change in their favor, arising from
the discomfiture of heresy, the overthrow of their enemies, and the
exaltation of themselves and their religion.

Scarcely had the public mind subsided after the Rebellion of
Ninety-eight, when the success of Buonaparte directed the eyes and the
hopes of the Irish people towards him, as the person designed to be
their deliverer. Many a fine fiction has the author of this work heard
about that great man's escapes, concerning the bullets that conveniently
turned aside from his person, and the sabres that civilly declined to
cut him down. Many prophecies too were related, in which the glory of
this country under his reign was touched off in the happiest colors.
Pastorini also gave such notions an impulse. Eighteen twenty-five was
to be the year of their deliverance: George the Fourth was never to fill
the British throne; and the mill of Lowth was to be turned three times
with human blood. "The miller with the two thumbs was then living,"
said the mendicants, for they were the principal propagators of these
opinions, and the great expounders of their own prophecies; so that of
course there could be no further doubt upon the subject. Several of them
had seen him, a red-haired man with broad shoulders, stout legs, exactly
such as a miller ought to have, and two thumbs on his right hand; all
precisely as the prophecy had stated. Then there was _Beal-derg_, and
several others of the fierce old Milesian chiefs, who along with their
armies lay in an enchanted sleep, all ready to awake and take a part in
the delivery of the country. "Sure such a man," and they would name one
in the time of the mendicant's grandfather, "was once going to a fair to
sell a horse--well and good; the time was the dawn of morning, a little
before daylight: he met a man who undertook to purchase his horse; they
agreed upon the price, and the seller of him followed the buyer into
a Bath, where he found a range of horses, each with an armed soldier
asleep by his side, ready to spring upon him if awoke. The purchaser
cautioned the owner of the horse as they were about to enter the
subterraneous dwelling, against touching either horse or man; but the
countryman happening to stumble, inadvertently laid his hand, upon a
sleeping soldier, who immediately leaped up, drew his sword, and asked,
'Wuil anam inh?' 'Is the time in it? Is the time arrived?' To which the
horse-dealer of the Bath replied, '_Ha niel. Gho dhee collhow areesht_.'
'No: go to sleep again.' Upon this the soldier immediately sank down in
his former position, and unbroken sleep reigned throughout the cave."
The influence on the warm imaginations of an ignorant people, of such
fictions concocted by vagrant mendicants, is very pernicious. They fill
their minds with the most palpable absurdities, and, what is worse, with
opinions, which, besides being injurious to those who receive them, in
every instance insure for those who propagate them a cordial and kind
reception.

These mendicants consequently pander, for their own selfish ends, to the
prejudices of the ignorant, which they nourish and draw out in a
manner that has in no slight degree been subversive of the peace of the
country. Scarcely any political circumstance occurs which they do not
immediately seize upon and twist to their own purposes, or, in other
words, to the opinions of those from whom they derive their support.
When our present police first appeared in their uniforms and black
belts, another prophecy, forsooth, was fulfilled. Immediately before the
downfall of heresy, a body of "Black Militia" was to appear; the police,
then, are the black militia, and the people consider themselves another
step nearer the consummation of their vague speculations.

In the year Ninety-eight, the Irish mendicants were active agents,
clever spies, and expert messengers on the part of the people; and to
this day they carry falsehood, and the materials of outrage in its worst
shape, into the bosom of peaceable families, who would, otherwise, never
become connected with a system which is calculated to bring ruin and
destruction upon those who permit themselves to join it.

This evil, and it is no trifling one, would, by the introduction of
poor-laws, be utterly abolished, the people would not only be more
easily improved, but education, when received, would not be corrupted
by the infusion into it of such ingredients as the above. In many other
points of view, the confirmed and hackneyed mendicants of Ireland are a
great evil to the morals of the people. We could easily detail them, but
such not being our object at present, we will now dismiss the subject of
poor-laws, and resume our narrative.

Far--far different from this description of impostors, were Owen
M'Carthy and his family. Their misfortunes were not the consequences
of negligence or misconduct on their own part. They struggled long but
unavailingly against high rents and low markets; against neglect on the
part of the landlord and his agent; against sickness, famine, and death.
They had no alternative but to beg or starve. Owen was willing to
work, but he could not procure employment: and provided he could, the
miserable sum of sixpence a day, when food was scarce and dear, would
not support him, his wife, and six little ones. He became a pauper,
therefore, only to avoid starvation.

Heavy and black was his heart, to use the strong expression of the
people, on the bitter morning when he set out to encounter the dismal
task of seeking alms, in order to keep life in himself and his family.
The plan was devised on the preceding night, but to no mortal, except
his wife, was it communicated. The honest pride of a man whose mind was
above committing a mean action, would not permit him to reveal what he
considered the first stain that ever was known to rest upon the name of
M'Carthy; he therefore sallied out under the beating of the storm,
and proceeded, without caring much whither he went, until he got
considerably beyond the bounds of his own parish.

In the meantime hunger pressed deeply upon him and them. The day had
no appearance of clearing up; the heavy rain and sleet beat into their
thin, worn garments, and the clamor of his children for food began to
grow more and more importunate. They came to the shelter of a hedge
which inclosed on one side a remote and broken road, along which,
in order to avoid the risk of being recognized, they had preferred
travelling. Owen stood here for a few minutes to consult with his wife,
as to where and when they should "make a beginning;" but on looking
round, he found her in tears.

"Kathleen, asthore," said he, "I can't bid you not to cry; bear up,
acushla machree; bear up: sure, as I said when we came out this mornin',
there's a good God above us, that can still turn over the good lafe for
us, if we put our hopes in him."

"Owen," said his sinking wife, "it's not altogether bekase we're brought
to this that I'm cryin'; no, indeed."

"Thin what ails you, Kathleen darlin'?"

The wife hesitated, and evaded the question for some time; but at
length, upon his pressing her for an answer, with a fresh gush of
sorrow, she replied,

"Owen, since you must know--och, may God pity us!--since you must know,
it's wid hunger--wid hunger! I kept, unknownst, a little bit of bread
to give the childhre this mornin', and that was part of it I gave you
yesterday early--I'm near two days fastin'."

"Kathleen! Kathleen! Och! sure I know your worth, avillish. You were too
good a wife, an' too good a mother, a'most! God forgive me, Kathleen! I
fretted about beginnin', dear; but as my Heavenly Father's above me, I'm
now happier to beg wid you by my side, nor if I war in the best house
of the province widout you! Hould up, avour-neen, for a while. Come on,
childhre, darlins, an' the first house we meet we'll ax their char--,
their assistance. Come on, darlins, and all of yees. Why my heart's
asier, so it is. Sure we have your mother, childhre, safe wid us, an'
what signifies anything so long as she's left to us?"

He then raised his wife tenderly, for she had been compelled to sit from
weakness, and they bent their steps to a decent farmhouse that stood a
few perches off the road, about a quarter of a mile before them.

As they approached the door, the husband hesitated a moment; his face
got paler than usual, and his lip quivered, as he said--"Kathleen--"

"I know what you're goin' to say, Owen. No, acushla, you won't; I'll ax
it myself."

"Do," said Owen, with difficulty; "I can't do it; but I'll overcome my
pride afore long, I hope. It's thryin' to me, Kathleen, an' you know it
is--for you know how little I ever expected to be brought to this."

"Husht, avillish! We'll thry, then, in the name o' God."

As she spoke, the children, herself, and her husband entered, to beg,
for the first time in their lives, a morsel of food. Yes! timidly--with
a blush, of shame, red even to crimson, upon the pallid features
of Kathleen--with grief acute and piercing--they entered the house
together.

For some minutes they stood and spoke not. The unhappy woman,
unaccustomed to the language of supplication, scarcely knew in what
terms to crave assistance. Owen himself stood back, uncovered, his
fine, but much changed features overcast with an expression of
deep affliction. Kathleen cast a single glance, at him, as if for
encouragement. Their eyes met; she saw the upright man--the last remnant
of the M'Carthy--himself once the friend of the poor, of the unhappy, of
the afflicted--standing crushed and broken down by misfortunes which he
had not deserved, waiting with patience for a morsel of charity. Owen,
too, had his remembrances. He recollected the days when he sought and
gained the pure and fond affections of his Kathleen: when beauty, and
youth, and innocence encircled her with their light and their grace, as
she spoke or moved; he saw her a happy wife and mother in her own
home, kind and benevolent to all who required her good word or her good
office, and remembered the sweetness of her light-hearted song; but now
she was homeless. He remembered, too, how she used to plead with himself
for the afflicted. It was but a moment; yet when their eyes met, that
moment was crowded by recollections that flashed across their minds with
a keen, sense of a lot so bitter and wretched as theirs. Kathleen could
not speak, although she tried; her sobs denied her utterance; and Owen
involuntarily sat upon a chair, and covered his face with his hand.

To an observing eye it is never difficult to detect the cant of
imposture, or to perceive distress when it is real. The good woman of
the house, as is usual in Ireland, was in the act of approaching them,
unsolicited, with a double handful of meal--that is what the Scotch and
northern Irish call a goivpen, or as much as both hands locked together
can contain--when, noticing their distress, she paused a moment, eyed
them more closely, and exclaimed--

"What's this? Why there's something wrong wid you, good people! But
first an' foremost take this, in the name an' honor of God."

"May the blessin' of the same _Man_* rest upon yees!" replied Kathleen.
"This is a sorrowful thrial to us; for it's our first day to be upon the
world; an' this is the first help of the kind we ever axed for, or ever
got; an' indeed now I find we haven't even a place to carry it in. I've
no--b--b--cloth, or anything to hould it."

     * God is sometimes thus termed in Ireland. By "Man"
     here is meant person or being. He is also called the
     "Man above;" although this must have been intended for,
     and often is applied to, Christ only.

"Your first, is it?" said the good woman. "Your first! May the marciful
queen o' heaven look down upon yees, but it's a bitther day yees war
driven out in! Sit down, there, you poor crathur. God pity you, I pray
this day, for you have a heart-broken look! Sit down awhile, near the
fire, you an' the childre! Come over, darlins, an' warm yourselves. Och,
oh! but it's a thousand pities to see sich fine childre--handsome an'
good lookin' even as they are, brought to this! Come over, good man; get
near the fire, for you're wet an' could all of ye. Brian, ludher them
two lazy thieves o' dogs out o' that. _Eiree suas, a wadhee bradagh,
agus go mah a shin!_--be off wid yez, ye lazy divils, that's not worth
your feedin'! Come over, honest man." Owen and his family were placed
near the fire; the poor man's heart was full, and he sighed heavily.

"May He that is plased to thry us," he exclaimed, "reward you for this!
We are," he continued, "a poor an' a sufferin' family; but it's the
will of God that we should be so; an' sure we can't complain widout
committin' sin. All we ax now, is, that it may be plasin' to him that
brought us low, to enable us to bear up undher our thrials. We would
take it to our choice to beg an' be honest, sooner, nor to be wealthy,
an' wicked! We have our failings, an' our sins, God help us; but still
there's nothin' dark or heavy on our consciences. Glory be to the name
o' God for it!"

"Throth, I believe you," replied the farmer's wife; "there's thruth an'
honesty in your face; one may easily see the remains of dacency about
you all. Musha, throw your little things aside, an' stay where ye are
today: you can't bring out the childre under the teem of rain an' sleet
that's in it. Wurrah dheelish, but it's the bitther day all out! Faix,
Paddy will get a dhrookin, so he will, at that weary fair wid the
stirks, poor bouchal--a son of ours that's gone to Bally-boulteen to
sell some cattle, an' he'll not be worth three hapuns afore he comes
back. I hope he'll have sinse to go into some house, when he's done,
an' dhry himself well, anyhow, besides takin' somethin' to keep out the
could. Put by your things, an' don't, think of goin' out sich a day."

"We thank you," replied Owen. "Indeed we're glad to stay undher your
roof; for poor things, they're badly able to thravel sich a day--these
childre."

"Musha, ye ate no breakfast, maybe?" Owen and his family were silent.
The children looked wistfully at their parents, anxious that they should
confirm what the good woman surmised; the father looked again at his
famished brood and his sinking wife, and nature overcame him.

"Food did not crass our lips this day," replied Owen; "an' I may say
hardly anything yestherday."

"Oh, blessed mother! Here, Katty Murray, drop scrubbin' that dresser,
an' put down, the midlin' pot for stirabout. Be livin' _manim an
diouol_, woman alive, handle yourself; you might a had it boilin' by
this. God presarve us!--to be two days widout atin! Be the crass, Katty,
if you're not alive, I'll give you a douse o' the churnstaff that'll
bring the fire to your eyes! Do you hear me?"

"I do hear you, an' did often feel you, too, for fraid hearin' wouldn't
do. You think there's no places in the world but your own, I b'lieve.
Faix, indeed! it's well come up wid us, to be randied about wid no less
a switch than a churnstaff!"

"Is it givin' back talk, you are? Bad end to me, if you look crucked but
I'll lave you a mark to remimber me by. What woman 'ud put up wid you
but myself, you shkamin flipe? It wasn't to give me your bad tongue I
hired you, but to do your business; and be the crass above us, if you
turn your tongue on me agin, I'll give you the weight o' the churnstaff.
Is it bekase they're poor people that it plased God to bring to this,
that you turn up your nose at doin' anything to sarve them? There's not
wather enough there, I say--put in more what signifies all the stirabout
that 'ud make? Put plinty in: it's betther always to have too much than
too little. Faix, I tell you, you'll want a male's meat an' a night's
lodgin' afore you die, if you don't mend your manners."

"Och, musha, the poor girl is doin' her best," observed Kathleen; "an'
I'm sure she wouldn't be guilty of usin' pride to the likes of us, or to
any one that the Lord has laid his hand upon."

"She had betther not, while I'm to the fore," said her mistress. "What
is she herself? Sure if it was a sin to be poor, God help the world. No;
it's neither a sin nor a shame."

"Thanks be to God, no," said Owen: "it's neither the one nor the other.
So long as we keep a fair name, an' a clear conscience, we can't ever
say that our case is hard."

After some further conversation, a comfortable breakfast was prepared
for them, of which they partook with an appetite sharpened by their long
abstinence from food. Their stay here was particularly fortunate, for as
they were certain of a cordial welcome, and an abundance of that which
they much wanted--wholesome food--the pressure of immediate distress
was removed. They had time to think more accurately upon the little
preparations for misery which were necessary, and, as the day's leisure
was at their disposal, Kathleen's needle and scissors were industriously
plied in mending the tattered clothes of her husband and her children,
in order to meet the inclemency of the weather.

On the following morning, after another abundant breakfast, and
substantial marks of kindness from their entertainers, they prepared
to resume their new and melancholy mode of life. As they were about to
depart, the farmer's wife addressed them in the following terms--the
farmer himself, by the way, being but the shadow of his worthy partner
in life--

Wife--"Now, good people, you're takin' the world on your heads--"

Farmer--"Ay, good people, you're takin' the world on your heads--"

Wife--"Hould your tongue, Brian, an' suck your dhudeen. It's me that's
spakin' to them, so none of your palaver, if you plase, till I'm done,
an' then you may prache till Tib's Eve, an' that's neither before
Christmas nor afther it."

Farmer--"Sure I'm sayin' nothin', Elveen, barrin' houldin' my tongue, a
shuchar" (* my sugar).

Wife--"Your takin' the world on yez, an' God knows 'tis a heavy load to
carry, poor crathurs."

Farmer--"A heavy load, poor crathurs! God he knows it's that."

Wife--"Brian! _Gluntho ma?_--did you hear me? You'll be puttin' in your
gab, an' me spakin'? How-an-iver, as I was sayin', our house was the
first ye came to, an' they say there's a great blessin' to thim that
gives, the first charity to a poor man or woman settin' out to look for
their bit."

Farmer--"Throgs, ay! Whin they set out; to look for their bit."

Wife--"By the crass, Brian, you'd vex a saint. What have you to say in
it, you _pittiogue_?* Hould your whisht now, an' suck your dhudeen, I
say; sure I allow you a quarther o' tobaccy a week, an' what right have
you to be puttin' in your gosther when other people's spakin'?"

     * Untranslatable--but means a womanly man a poor,
     effeminate creature.

Farmer--"Go an."

Wife--"So, you see, the long an' the short of it is that whenever you
happen to be in this side of the counthry, always come to us. You know
the ould sayin'--when the poor man comes he brings a blessin', an' when
he goes he carries away a curse. You have as much, meal as will last yez
a day or two; an' God he sees you're heartily welcome to all ye got?"

Farmer--"God he sees you're heartily welcome--"

Wife--"_Chorp an diouol_, Brian, hould your tongue, Or I'll turn you out
o' the kitchen. One can't hear their own ears for you, you poor squakin'
dhrone. By the crass, I'll--eh? Will you whisht, now?"

Farmer--"Go an. Amn't I dhrawin' my pipe?"

Wife--"Well dhraw it; but don't dhraw me down upon you, barrin--. Do you
hear me? an' the sthrange people to the fore, too! Well, the Lord be wid
yez, an' bless yez! But afore yez go, jist lave your blessin' wid us;
for it's a good thing to have the blessin' of the poor?"

"The Lord bless you, an yours!" said Owen, fervently. "May you and them
never--oh, may you never--never suffer what we've suffered; nor know
what it is to want a male's mate, or a night's lodgin'!"

"Amin!" exclaimed Kathleen; "may the world flow upon you! for your good,
kind heart desarves it."

Farmer--"An' whisper; I wish you'd offer up a prayer for the rulin' o'
the tongue. The Lord might hear you, but there's no great hopes that
ever he'll hear me; though I've prayed for it almost ever since I was
married, night an' day, winther and summer; but no use, she's as bad as
ever."

This was said in a kind of friendly insinuating undertone to Owen; who,
on hearing it, simply nodded his head, but made no other reply.

They then recommenced their journey, after having once more blessed,
and been invited by their charitable entertainers, who made them promise
never to pass their house without stopping a night with them.

It is not our intention to trace Owen M'Carthy and his wife through
all the variety which a wandering pauper's life affords. He never could
reconcile himself to the habits of a mendicant. His honest pride and
integrity of heart raised him above it: neither did he sink into the
whine and cant of imposture, nor the slang of knavery. No; there was
a touch of manly sorrow about him, which neither time, nor familiarity
with his degraded mode of life, could take away from him. His usual
observation to his wife, and he never made it without a pang of intense
bitterness, was--"Kathleen, dar-lin', it's thrue we have enough to ate
an' to dhrink; but we have no home--no home!" to a man like him it was a
thought of surpassing bitterness, indeed.

"Ah! Kathleen," he would observe, "if we had but the poorest shed that
could be built, provided it was our own, wouldn't we be happy? The bread
we ate, avourneen, doesn't do us good. We don't work for it; it's the
bread of shame and idleness: and yet it's Owen M'Carthy that ates it!
But, avourneen, that's past; an' we'll never see our own home, or
our own hearth agin. That's what's cuttin' into my heart, Kathleen.
Never!--never!"

Many a trial, too, of another kind, was his patience called upon to
sustain; particularly from the wealthy and the more elevated in
life, when his inexperiences as a mendicant led him to solicit their
assistance.

"Begone, sirrah, off my grounds!" one would say. "Why don't you work,
you sturdy impostor," another would exclaim, "rather than stroll about
so lazily, training your brats to the gallows?"

"You should be taken up, fellow, as a vagrant," a third would observe;
"and if I ever catch you coming up my avenue again, depend upon it, I
will slip my dogs at you and your idle spawn."

Owen, on these occasions, turned away in silence; he did not curse them;
but the pangs of his honest heart went before Him who will, sooner or
later, visit upon the heads of such men their cruel spurning and neglect
of the poor.

"Kathleen," he observed to his wife, one day, about a, year or more
after they had begun to beg; "Kathleen, I have been turnin' it in my
mind, that some of these childhre might sthrive to earn their bit an'
sup, an' their little coverin' of clo'es, poor things. We might put them
to herd cows in the summer, an' the girshas to somethin' else in the
farmers' house. What do you think, asthore?"

"For God's sake do, Owen; sure my heart's crushed to see them--my own
childhre, that I could lay down my life for--beggin' from door to door.
Och, do something for them that way, Owen, an' you'll relieve the heart
that loves them. It's a sore sight to a mother's eye, Owen, to see her
childhre beggin' their morsel."

"It is darlin'--it is; we'll hire out the three eldest--Brian, an' Owen,
an' Pether, to herd cows; an' we may get Peggy into some farmer's
house to do loose jobs an' run of messages. Then we'd have only little
Kathleen an' poor Ned along wid us. I'll try any way, an' if I can get
them places, who knows what may happen? I have a plan in my head that
I'll tell you, thin."

"Arrah, what is it, Owen, jewel. Sure if I know it, maybe when I'm
sorrowful, that thinkin' of it, an' lookin' forrid to it will make me
happier. An' I'm sure, acushla, you would like that."

"But maybe, Kathleen, if it wouldn't come to pass, that the
disappointment 'ud be heavy on you?"

"How could it, Owen? Sure we can't be worse nor we are, whatever
happens?"

"Thrue enough, indeed, I forgot that; an' yet we might, Kathleen. Sure
we'd be worse, if we or the childhre had bad health."

"God forgive me thin, for what I said! We might be worse. Well, but what
is the plan, Owen?"

"Why, when we got the childhre places, I'll sthrive to take a little
house, an' work as a cottar. Then, Kathleen, we'd have a home of our
own. I'd work from light to light; I'd work before hours an' afther
hours; ay, nine days in the week, or we'd be comfortable in our own
little home. We might be poor, Kathleen, I know that, an' hard pressed
too; but then, as I said, we'd have our own home, an' our own hearth;
our morsel, if it 'ud be homely, would be sweet, for it would be the
fruits of our own labor."

"Now, Owen, do you think you could manage to get that?"

"Wait, acushla, till we get the childhre settled. Then I'll thry the
other plan, for it's good to thry anything that could take us out of
this disgraceful life."

This humble speculation was a source of great comfort to them. Many
a time have they forgotten their sorrows in contemplating the simple
picture of their happy little cottage. Kathleen, in particular, drew
with all the vivid coloring of a tender mother, and an affectionate
wife, the various sources of comfort and contentment to be found even
in a cabin, whose inmates are blessed with a love of independence,
industry, and mutual affection.

Owen, in pursuance of his intention, did not neglect, when the proper
season arrived, to place out his eldest children among the farmers.
The reader need not be told that there was that about him which gained
respect. He had, therefore, little trouble in obtaining his wishes on
this point, and to his great satisfaction, he saw three of them hired
out to earn their own support.

It was now a matter of some difficulty for him to take a cabin and get
employment. They had not a single article of furniture, and neither bed
nor bedding, with the exception of blankets almost worn past use. He was
resolved, however, to give up, at all risks, the life of a mendicant.
For this purpose, he and the wife agreed to adopt a plan quite usual in
Ireland, under circumstances somewhat different from his: this was,
that Kathleen should continue to beg for their support, until the
first half-year of their children's service should expire; and in the
meantime, that he, if possible, should secure employment for himself.
By this means, his earnings and that of his children might remain
untouched, so that in half a year he calculated upon being able to
furnish a cabin, and proceed, as a cotter, to work for, and support his
young children and his wife, who determined, on her part, not to be idle
any more than her husband. As the plan was a likely one, and as Owen
was bent on earning his bread, rather than be a burthen to others, it
is unnecessary to say that it succeeded. In less than a year he found
himself once more in a home, and the force of what he felt on sitting,
for the first time since his pauperism, at his own hearth, may easily be
conceived by the reader. For some years after this, Owen got on slowly
enough; his wages as a daily laborer being so miserable, that it
required him to exert every nerve to keep the house over their head.
What, however, will not carefulness and a virtuous determination, joined
to indefatigable industry, do?

After some time, backed as he was by his wife, and even by his youngest
children, he, found himself beginning to improve. In the mornings and
evenings he cultivated his garden and his rood of potato-ground. He also
collected with a wheelbarrow, which he borrowed, from an acquaintance,
compost from the neighboring road; scoured an old drain before his door;
dug rich earth, and tossed, it into the pool of rotten water beside the
house, and in fact adopted several other modes of collecting manure. By
this means he had, each spring, a large portion of rich stuff on which
to plant his potatoes. His landlord permitted him to spread this for
planting upon his land; and Owen, ere long, instead of a rood, was able
to plant half an acre, and ultimately, an acre of potatoes. The produce
of this, being more than sufficient for the consumption of his family,
he sold the surplus, and with the money gained by the sale was enabled
to sow half an acre of oats, of which, when made into meal, he disposed
of the greater share.

Industry is capital; for even when unaided by capital it creates it;
whereas, idleness with capital produces only poverty and ruin. Owen,
after selling his meal and as much potatoes as he could spare, found
himself able to purchase a cow. Here was the means of making more
manure; he had his cow, and he had also straw enough for her provender
during the winter. The cow by affording milk to his family, enabled them
to live more cheaply; her butter they sold, and this, in addition to his
surplus meal and potatoes every year, soon made him feel that he had a
few guineas to spare. He now bethought him of another mode of helping
himself forward in the world: after buying the best "slip" of a pig he
could find, a sty was built for her, and ere long he saw a fine litter
of young pigs within a snug shed. These he reared until they were about
two months old, when he sold them, and found that he had considerably
gained by the transaction. This, department, however, was under the
management of Kathleen, whose life was one of incessant activity and
employment. Owen's children, during the period of his struggles and
improvements, were, by his advice, multiplying their little capital as
fast as himself. The two boys, who had now shot up into the stature of
young men, were at work as laboring servants in the neighborhood. The
daughters were also engaged as servants with the adjoining farmers. The
boys bought each a pair of two-year old heifers, and the daughter one.
These they sent to graze up in the mountains at a trifling charge, for
the first year or two: when they became springers, they put them to rich
infield grass for a few months, until they got a marketable appearance,
after which their father brought them to the neighboring fairs, where
they usually sold to great advantage, in consequence of the small outlay
required in rearing them.

In fact, the principle of industry ran through the family. There was
none of them idle; none of them a burthen or a check upon the profits
made by the laborer. On the contrary, "they laid their shoulders
together," as the phrase is, and proved to the world, that when the
proper disposition is followed up by suitable energy and perseverance,
it must generally reward him who possesses it.

It is certainly true that Owen's situation in life now was essentially
different from that which it had been during the latter years of his
struggles an a farmer. It was much more favorable, and far better
calculated to develop successful exertion. If there be a class of men
deserving public sympathy, it is that of the small farmers of Ireland.
Their circumstances are fraught with all that is calculated to depress
and ruin them; rents far above their ability, increasing poverty, and
bad markets. The land which, during the last war, might have enabled the
renter to pay three pounds per acre, and yet still maintain himself with
tolerable comfort, could not now pay more than one pound, or, at the
most, one pound ten; and yet, such is the infatuation of landlords,
that, in most instances, the terms of leases taken out then are
rigorously exacted. Neither can the remission of yearly arrears be said
to strike at the root of the evils under which they suffer. The fact
of the disproportionate rent hanging over them is a disheartening
circumstance, that paralyzes their exertion, and sinks their spirits. If
a landlord remit the rent for one term, he deals more harshly with the
tenant at the next; whatever surplus, if any, his former indulgence
leaves in the tenant's hands, instead of being expended upon his
property as capital, and being permitted to lay the foundation of
hope and prosperity, is drawn from him, at next term, and the poor,
struggling tenant is thrown back into as much distress, embarrassment,
and despondency as ever. There are, I believe, few tenants in Ireland
of the class I allude to, who are not from one gale to three in arrear.
Now, how can it be expected that such men will labor with spirit and
earnestness to raise crops which they may never reap? crops which the
landlord may seize upon to secure as much of his rent as he can.

I have known a case in which the arrears were not only remitted, but the
rent lowered to a reasonable standard, such as, considering the markets,
could be paid. And what was the consequence? The tenant who was looked
upon as a negligent man, from whom scarcely any rent could be got, took
courage, worked his farm with a spirit and success which he had not
evinced before; and ere long was in a capacity to pay his gales to the
very day; so that the judicious and humane landlord was finally a gainer
by his own excellent economy. This was an experiment, and it succeeded
beyond expectation.

Owen M'Carthy did not work with more zeal and ability as an humble
cotter than he did when a farmer; but the tide was against him as a
landholder, and instead of having advanced, he actually lost ground
until he became a pauper. No doubt the peculiarly unfavorable run of two
hard seasons, darkened by sickness and famine, were formidable obstacles
to him; but he must eventually have failed, even had they not occurred.
They accelerated his downfall, but did not cause it.

The Irish people, though poor, are exceedingly anxious to be
independent. Their highest ambition is to hold a farm. So strong is this
principle in them, that they will, without a single penny of capital, or
any visible means to rely on, without consideration or forethought, come
forward and offer a rent which, if they reflected only for a moment,
they must feel to be unreasonably high. This, indeed, is a great evil
in Ireland. But what, in the meantime, must we think of those imprudent
landlords, and their more imprudent agents, who let their land to
such persons, without proper inquiry into their means, knowledge of
agriculture, and general character as moral and industrious men? A farm
of land is to be let; it is advertised through the parish; application
is to be made before such a day, to so and so. The day arrives, the
agent or the land-steward looks over the proposals, and after singling
out the highest, bidder, declares him tenant, as a matter of course.
Now, perhaps, this said tenant does not possess a shilling in the
world, nor a shilling's worth. Most likely he is a new-married man,
with nothing but his wife's bed and bedding, his wedding-suit, and his
blackthorn cudgel, which we may suppose him to keep in reserve for the
bailiff. However, he commences his farm; and then follow the shiftings,
the scramblings, and the fruitless struggles to succeed, where success
is impossible. His farm is not half tilled; his crops are miserable; the
gale-day has already passed; yet, he can pay nothing until he takes it
out of the land. Perhaps he runs away--makes a moonlight flitting--and,
by the aid of his friends, succeeds in bringing the crop with him. The
landlord, or agent, declares he is a knave; forgetting that the man
had no other alternative, and that they were the greater knaves and
fools too, for encouraging him to undertake a task that was beyond his
strength.

In calamity we are anxious to derive support from the sympathy of our
friends; in our success, we are eager to communicate to them the power
of participating in our happiness. When Owen once more found himself
independent and safe, he longed to realize two plans on which he had
for some time before been seriously thinking. The first was to visit his
former neighbors, that they might at length know that Owen McCarthy's
station in the world was such as became his character. The second was,
if possible, to take a farm in his native parish, that he might close
his days among the companions of his youth, and the friends of his
maturer years. He had, also, another motive; there lay the burying-place
of the M'Carthys, in which slept the mouldering dust of his own
"golden-haired" Alley. With them--in his daughter's grave--he intended
to sleep his long sleep. Affection for the dead is the memory of the
heart. In no other graveyard could he reconcile it to himself to be
buried; to it had all his forefathers been gathered; and though
calamity had separated him from the scenes where they had passed through
existence, yet he was resolved that death should not deprive him of its
last melancholy consolation;--that of reposing with all that remained of
the "departed," who had loved him, and whom he had loved. He believed,
that to neglect this, would be to abandon a sacred duty, and felt sorrow
at the thought of being like an absent guest from the assembly of his
own dead; for there is a principle of undying hope in the heart, that
carries, with bold and beautiful imagery, the realities of life into the
silent recesses of death itself.

Having formed the resolution of visiting his old friends at Tubber Derg,
he communicated it to Kathleen and his family; Ids wife received the
intelligence with undisguised delight.

"Owen," she replied, "indeed I'm glad you mintioned it. Many a time the
thoughts of our place, an' the people about it, comes over me. I know,
Owen, it'll go to your heart to see it; but still, avourneen, you'd
like, too, to see the ould faces an' the warm hearts of them that pitied
us, an' helped us, as well as they could, whin we war broken down."

"I would, Kathleen; but I'm not going merely to see thim an' the place.
I intind, if I can, to take a bit of land somewhere near Tubber Derg.
I'm unasy in my mind, for 'fraid I'd not sleep in the grave-yard where
all belongin' to me lie."

A chord of the mother's heart was touched; and in a moment the memory of
their beloved child brought the tears to her eyes.

"Owen, avourneen, I have one requist to ax of you, an' I'm sure you
won't refuse it to me; if I die afore you, let me be buried wid Alley.
Who has a right to sleep so near her as her own mother?"

"The child's in my heart still," said Owen, suppressing his emotion;
"thinkin' of the unfortunate mornin' I wint to Dublin, brings her
back to me. I see her standin', wid her fair pale face--pale--oh, my
God!--wid hunger an' sickness--her little thin clo'es, an' her goolden
hair, tossed about by the dark blast--the tears in her eyes, an' the
smile, that she once had, on her face--houldin' up her mouth, an' sayin'
'Kiss me agin, father;' as if she knew, somehow, that I'd never see
her, nor her me, any more. An' whin I looked back, as I was turnin' the
corner, there she stood, strainin' her eyes after her father, that she
was then takin' the last sight of until the judgment-day."

His voice here became broken, and he sat in silence for a few minutes.

"It's sthrange," he added, with more firmness, "how she's so often in my
mind!"

"But, Owen, dear," replied Kathleen, "sure it was the will of God that
she should lave us. She's now a bright angel in heaven, an' I dunna if
it's right--indeed, I doubt it's sinful for us to think so much about
her. Who knows but her innocent spirit is makin' inthercession for us
all, before the blessed Mother o' God! Who knows but it was her that got
us the good fortune that flowed in upon us, an' that made our strugglin'
an' our laborin' turn out so lucky."

The idea of being lucky or unlucky is, in Ireland, an enemy to industry.
It is certainly better that the people should believe success in life
to be, as it is, the result of virtuous exertion, than of contingent
circumstances, over which they themselves have no control. Still there
was something beautiful in the superstition of Kathleen's affections;
something that touched the heart and its! dearest associations.

"It's very true, Kathleen," replied her husband; "but God is ever ready
to help them that keeps an honest heart, an' do everything in their
power to live creditably. They may fail for a time, or he may thry them
for awhile, but sooner or later good, intintions and honest labor will
be rewarded. Look at ourselves--blessed be his name!"

"But whin do you mane to go to Tubber Derg, Owen!"

"In the beginnin' of the next week. An', Kathleen, ahagur, if you
remimber the bitther mornin' we came upon the world--but we'll not
be spakin' of that now. I don't like to think of it. Some other time,
maybe, when we're settled among our ould friends, I'll mintion it."

"Well, the Lord bliss your endayvors, anyhow! Och, Owen, do thry an'
get us a snug farm somewhere near them. But you didn't answer me about
Alley, Owen?"

"Why, you must have your wish, Kathleen, although I intended to keep
that place for myself. Still we can sleep one on aich side of her; an'
that may be aisily done, for our buryin'-ground is large: so set your
mind at rest on that head. I hope God won't call us till we see our
childhre settled dacently in the world. But sure, at all evints, let his
blessed will be done!"

"Amin! amin! It's not right of any one to keep their hearts fixed too
much upon the world; nor even, they say, upon one's own childhre."

"People may love their childhre as much as they plase, Kathleen, if they
don't let their _grah_ for them spoil the crathurs, by givin' them their
own will, till they become headstrong an' overbearin'. Now, let my linen
be as white as a bone before Monday, plase goodness; I hope, by that
time, that Jack Dogherty will have my new clo'es made; for I intind to
go as dacent as ever they seen me in my best days."

"An' so you will, too, avillish. Throth, Owen, it's you that'll be the
proud man, steppin' in to them in all your grandeur! Ha, ha, ha! The
spirit o' the M'Carthys is in you still, Owen."

"Ha, ha, ha! It is, darlin'; it is, indeed; an' I'd be sarry it wasn't.
I long to see poor Widow Murray. I dunna is her son, Jemmy, married.
Who knows, afther all we suffered, but I might be able to help
her yet?--that is, if she stands in need of it. But, I suppose, her
childhre's grown up now, an' able to assist her. Now, Kathleen, mind
Monday next; an' have everything ready. I'll stay away a week or so, at
the most, an' afther that I'll have news for you about all o' them."

When Monday morning arrived, Owen found himself ready to set out for
Tubber Derg. The tailor had not disappointed him; and Kathleen, to do
her justice, took care that the proofs of her good housewifery should
be apparent in the whiteness of his linen. After breakfast, he dressed
himself in all his finery; and it would be difficult to say whether
the harmless vanity that peeped out occasionally from his simplicity
of character, or the open and undisguised triumph of his faithful wife,
whose eye rested on him with pride and affection, was most calculated to
produce a smile.

"Now, Kathleen," said he, when preparing for his immediate departure,
"I'm, thinkin' of what they'll say, when they see, me so smooth an'
warm-lookin'. I'll engage they'll be axin' one another, 'Musha, how, did
Owen M'Carthy get an, at all, to be so well to do in the world, as he
appears to be, afther failin' on his ould farm?'"

"Well, but Owen, you know how to manage them."

"Throth, I do that. But there is one thing they'll never get out o' me,
any way."

"You won't tell that to any o' them, Owen?"

"Kathleen, if I thought they only suspected it, I'd never show my face
in Tubber Derg agin. I think I could bear to be--an' yet it 'ud be a
hard struggle with me too--but I think I could bear to be buried among
black strangers, rather than it should be said, over my grave, among
my own, 'there's where Owen M'Carthy lies--who was the only man, of his
name, that ever begged his morsel on the king's highway. There he lies,
the descendant of the great M'Carthy Mores, an' yet he was a beggar.'
I know, Kathleen achora, it's neither a sin nor a shame to ax one's bit
from our fellow-creatures, whin, fairly brought to it, widout any fault
of our own; but still I feel something in me, that can't bear to think
of it widout shame an' heaviness of heart."

"Well, it's one comfort, that nobody knows it but ourselves. The poor
childhre, for their own sakes, won't ever breathe it; so that it's
likely the sacret 'll be berrid wid us."

"I hope so, acushla. Does this coat sit asy atween the shouldhers? I
feel it catch me a little."

"The sorra nicer. There; it was only your waistcoat that was turned down
in the collar. Here--hould your arm. There now--it wanted to be pulled
down a little at the cuffs. Owen, it's a beauty; an' I think I have good
right to be proud of it, for it's every thread my own spinnin'."

"How do I look in it, Kathleen? Tell me thruth, now."

"Throth, you're twenty years younger; the never a day less."

"I think I needn't be ashamed to go afore my ould friends in it, any
way. Now bring me my staff, from undher the bed above; an', in the name
o' God, I'll set out."

"Which o' them, Owen? Is it the oak or the blackthorn?"

"The oak, acushla. Oh, no; not the blackthorn. It's it that I brought
to Dublin wid me, the unlucky thief, an' that I had while we wor a
shaughran. Divil a one o' me but 'ud blush in the face, if I brought
it even in my hand afore them. The oak, ahagur; the oak. You'll get it
atween the foot o' the bed an' the wall."

When Kathleen placed the staff in his hand, he took off his hat and
blessed himself, then put it on, looked at his wife, and said--"Now
darlin', in the name o' God, I'll go. Husht, avillish machree, don't be
cryin'; sure I'll be back to you in a week."

"Och! I can't help it, Owen. Sure this is the second time you wor ever
away from me more nor a day; an' I'm thinkin' of what happened both
to you an' me, the first time you wint. Owen, acushla, I feel that if
anything happened you, I'd break my heart."

"Arrah, what 'ud happen me, darlin', wid God to protect me? Now, God
be wid you, Kathleen dheelish, till I come back to you wid good news,
I hope. I'm not goin' in sickness an' misery, as I wint afore, to see a
man that wouldn't hear my appale to him; an' I'm lavin' you comfortable,
agrah, an' wantin' for nothin'. Sure it's only about five-an'-twenty
miles from this--a mere step. The good God bless an' take care of you,
my darlin' wife, till I come home to you!"

He kissed the tears that streamed from her eyes; and, hemming several
times, pressed her hand, his face rather averted, then grasped his
staff, and commenced his journey.

Scenes like this were important events to our humble couple. Life, when
untainted by the crimes and artificial manners which destroy its purity,
is a beautiful thing to contemplate among the virtuous poor; and, where
the current of affection runs deep and smooth, the slightest incident
will agitate it. So it was with Owen M'Carthy and his wife. Simplicity,
truth, and affection, constituted their character. In them there was no
complication of incongruous elements. The order of their virtues was not
broken, nor the purity of their affections violated, by the anomalous
blending together of opposing principles, such as are to be found in
those who are involuntarily contaminated by the corruption of human
society.

Owen had not gone far, when Kathleen called to him: "Owen,
ahagur--stand, darlin'; but don't come back a step, for fraid o' bad
luck."*

     * When an Irish peasant sets out on a journey, or to
     transact business in fair or market, he will not, if
     possible, turn back. It is considered unlucky: as it is
     also to be crossed by a hare, or met by a red-haired
     woman.

"Did I forget anything, Kathleen?" he inquired. "Let me see; no; sure
I have my beads an' my tobaccy box, an' my two clane shirts an'
handkerchers in the bundle. What is it, acushla?"

"I needn't be axin' you, for I know you wouldn't forget it; but for
'fraid you might--Owen, whin you're at Tubber Derg, go to little Alley's
grave, an' look at it; an' bring me back word how it appears. You might
get it cleaned up, if there's weeds or anything growin' upon it; an'
Owen, would you bring me a bit o' the clay, tied up in your pocket. Whin
you're there, spake to her; tell her it was the lovin' mother that bid
you, an' say anything that you think might keep her asy, an' give her
pleasure. Tell her we're not now as we wor whin she was wid us; that we
don't feel hunger, nor cowld, nor want; an' that nothin' is a throuble
to us, barrin' that we miss her--ay, even yet--_a suillish machree_ (*
light of my heart), that she was--that we miss her fair face an' goolden
hair from among us. Tell her this; an' tell her it was the lovin' mother
that said it, an' that sint the message to her."

"I'll do it all, Kathleen; I'll do it all--all, An' now go in, darlin',
an' don't be frettin'. Maybe we'll soon be near her, plase God, where we
can see the place she sleeps in, often."

They then separated again; and Owen, considerably affected by the
maternal tenderness of his wife, proceeded on his journey. He had not,
actually, even at the period of his leaving home, been able to determine
on what particular friend he should first call. That his welcome would
be hospitable, nay, enthusiastically so, he was certain. In the meantime
he vigorously pursued his journey; and partook neither of refreshment
nor rest, until he arrived, a little after dusk, at a turn of the
well-known road, which, had it been daylight, would have opened to him a
view of Tubber Derg. He looked towards the beeches, however, under which
it stood; but to gain a sight of it was impossible. His road now lying
a little to the right, he turned to the house of his sterling friend,
Frank Farrell, who had given him and his family shelter and support,
when he was driven, without remorse, from his own holding. In a
short time he reached Frank's residence, and felt a glow of sincere
satisfaction at finding the same air of comfort and warmth about it
as formerly. Through the kitchen window he saw the strong light of the
blazing fire and heard, ere he presented himself, the loud hearty laugh
of his friend's wife, precisely as light and animated as it had been
fifteen years before.

Owen lifted the latch and entered, with that fluttering of the pulse
which every man feels on meeting with a friend, after an interval of
many years.

"Musha, good people, can ye tell me is Frank Farrell at home?"

"Why, thin, he's not jist widin now, but he'll be here in no time
entirely," replied one of his daughters. "Won't you sit down, honest
man, an' we'll sind for him."

"I'm thankful to you," said Owen. "I'll sit, sure enough, till he comes
in."

"Why thin!--eh! it must--it can be no other!" exclaimed Farrell's wife,
bringing! over a candle and looking Owen earnestly in the face; "sure
I'd know that voice all the world over! Why, thin, marciful
Father--Owen M'Carthy,--Owen M'Carthy, is it your four quarthers that's
livin' an' well? Queen o' heaven, Owen M'Carthy darlin', you're
welcome!" the word was here interrupted by a hearty kiss from the kind
housewife;--welcome a thousand an' a thousand times! _Vick ne hoiah!_
Owen dear, an' are you livin' at all? An' Kathleen, Owen, an' the
childhre, an' all of yez--an' how are they?"

"Throth, we're livin' an' well, Bridget; never was betther, thanks be to
God an' you, in our lives."

Owen was now surrounded by such of Farrell's children as were old enough
to remember him; every one of whom he shook hands with, and kissed.

"Why, thin, the Lord save my sowl, Bridget," said he, "are these the
little bouchaleens an' colleens that were runnin' about my feet whin
I was here afore? Well, to be sure! How they do shoot up! An' is this
Atty?"

"No: but this is Atty, Owen; faix, Brian outgrew him; an' here's Mary,
an' this is Bridget Oge."

"Well!--well! But where did these two; young shoots come from? this boy
an' the colleen here? They worn't to the fore, in my time, Bridget."

"This is Owen, called afther yourself,--an' this is Kathleen. I needn't
tell you who she was called afther."

"_Gutsho, alanna? thurm pogue?_--come here, child, and kiss me," said
Owen to his little namesake; "an' sure I can't forget the little woman
here; _gutsho, a colleen_, and kiss: me too."

Owen took her on his knee, and kissed her twice.

"Och, but poor Kathleen," said he, "will be the proud woman of this,
when she hears it; in throth she will be that."

"Arrah! what's comin' over me!" said Mrs. Farrell. "Brian, run up to
Micky Lowrie's for your father, An' see, Brian, don't say who's wantin'
him, till we give him a start. Mary, come here, acushla," she added to
her eldest daughter in a whisper--"take these two bottles an' fly up
to Peggy Finigan's for the full o' them o' whiskey. Now be back before
you're there, or if you don't, that I mightn't, but you'll see what
you'll get. Fly, aroon, an' don't let the grass grow undher your feet.
An' Owen, darlin'--but first sit over to the fire:--here get over to
this side, it's the snuggest;--arrah, Owen--an' sure I dunna what to ax
you first. You're all well? all to the fore?"

"All well, Bridget, an' thanks be to heaven, all to the fore."

"Glory be to God! Throth it warms my heart to hear it. An' the childre's
all up finely, boys an' girls?"

"Throth, they are, Bridget, as good-lookin' a family o' childre as
you'd wish to see. An' what is betther, they're as good as they're
good-lookin'."

"Throth, they couldn't but be that, if they tuck at all afther their
father an' mother. Bridget, aroon, rub the pan betther--an' lay the
knife down, I'll cut the bacon myself, but go an' get a dozen o' the
freshest eggs;--an' Kathleen, Owen, how does poor Kathleen look? Does
she stand it as well as yourself?"

"As young as ever you seen her. God help her!--a thousand degrees
betther nor whin you seen her last."

"An' well to do, Owen?--now tell the truth? Och, musha, I forget who I'm
spakin' to, or I wouldn't disremimber the ould sayin' that's abroad this
many a year:--'who ever knew a M'Carthy of Tubber Derg to tell a lie,
break his word, or refuse to help a friend in distress.' But, Owen,
you're well to do in' the world?"

"We're as well, Bridget, or may be betther, nor you ever knew us,
except, indeed, afore the ould lase was run out wid us."

"God be praised again? Musha, turn round a little, Owen, for 'fraid
Frank 'ud get too clear a sight of your face at first. Arrah, do you
think he'll know you? Och, to be sure he will; I needn't ax. Your voice
would tell upon you, any day."

"Know me! Indeed Frank 'ud know my shadow. He'll know me wid half a
look."

And Owen was right, for quickly did the eye of his old friend recognize
him, despite of the little plot that was laid to try his penetration.
To describe their interview would be to repeat the scene we have already
attempted to depict between Owen and Mrs. Farrell. No sooner were the
rites of hospitality performed, than the tide of conversation began to
flow with greater freedom. Owen ascertained one important fact, which we
will here mention, because it produces, in a great degree, the want
of anything like an independent class of yeomanry in the country. On
inquiring after his old acquaintances, he discovered that a great many
of them, owing to high rents, had emigrated to America. They belonged
to that class of independent farmers, who, after the expiration of
their old leases, finding the little capital they had saved beginning
to diminish, in consequence of rents which they could not pay, deemed it
more prudent, while anything remained in their hands, to seek a country
where capital and industry might be made available. Thus did the
landlords, by their mismanagement and neglect, absolutely drive off
their estates, the only men, who, if properly encouraged, were capable
of becoming the strength and pride of the country. It is this system,
joined to the curse of middlemen and sub-letting, which has left the
country without any third grade of decent, substantial yoemen, who might
stand as a bond of peace between the highest and the lowest classes. It
is this which has split the kingdom into two divisions, constituting
the extreme ends of society--the wealthy and the wretched, If this third
class existed, Ireland would neither be so political nor discontented as
she is; but, on the contrary, more remarkable for peace and industry. At
present, the lower classes, being too poor, are easily excited by those
who promise them a better order of things than that which exists. These
theorists step into the exercise of that legitimate influence which the
landed proprietors have lost by their neglect. There is no middle class
in the country, who can turn round to them and say, "Our circumstances
are easy, we want nothing; carry your promises to the poor, for that
which you hold forth to their hopes, we enjoy in reality." The poor
soldier, who, because he was wretched, volunteered to go on the
forlorn hope, made a fortune; but when asked if he would go on a second
enterprise of a similar kind, shrewdly replied, "General, I am now an
independent man; send some poor devil on your forlorn hope who wants to
make a fortune."

Owen now heard anecdotes and narratives of all occurrences, whether
interesting or strange, that had taken place during his abscence. Among
others, was the death of his former landlord, and the removal of the
agent who had driven him to beggary. Tubber Derg, he found, was then the
property of a humane and considerate man, who employed a judicious and
benevolent gentleman to manage it.

"One thing, I can tell you," said Frank; "it was but a short time in the
new agent's hands, when the dacent farmers stopped goin' to America."

"But Frank," said Owen, and he sighed on putting the question, "who is
in Tubber Derg, now?"

"Why, thin, a son of ould Rousin' Redhead's of Tullyvernon--young Con
Roe, or the Ace o' Hearts--for he was called both by the youngsters--if
you remimber him. His head's as red an' double as big, even, as his
father's was, an' you know that no hat would fit ould Con, until he sent
his measure to Jemmy Lamb, the hatter. Dick Nugent put it out on
him, that Jemmy always made Rousin' Red-head's hat, either upon the
half-bushel pot or a five-gallon keg of whiskey. 'Talkin' of the keg,'
says Dick, 'for the matther o' that,' says he, 'divil a much differ the
hat will persave; for the one'--meanin' ould Con's head, who was a hard
dhrinker--' the one,' says Con, 'is as much a keg as the other--ha! ha!
ha!' Dick met Rousin' Redhead another day: 'Arrah, Con,' says he, 'why
do you get your hats made upon a pot, man alive? Sure that's the rason
that you're so fond o' poteen.' A quare mad crathur was Dick, an' would
go forty miles for a fight. Poor fellow, he got his skull broke in a
scrimmage betwixt the Redmonds and the O'Hanlons; an' his last words
were, 'Bad luck to you, Redmond--O'Hanlon, I never thought you, above
all men dead and gone, would be the death o' me.' Poor fellow! he was
for pacifyin' them, for a wondher, but instead o' that he got pacified
himself."

"An' how is young Con doin', Frank?"

"Hut, divil a much time he has to do aither well or ill, yit. There was
four tenants on Tubber Derg since you left it, an' he's the fifth. It's
hard to say how he'll do; but I believe he's the best o' thim, for so
far. That may be owin' to the landlord. The rent's let down to him; an'
I think he'll be able to take bread, an' good bread too, out of it."

"God send, poor man!"

"Now, Owen, would you like to go back to it?"

"I can't say that. I love the place, but I suffered too much in it. No;
but I'll tell you, Frank, if there was e'er a snug farm near it that I
could get rasonable, I'd take it."

Frank slapped his knee exultingly. "Ma chuirp!--do you say so, Owen?"

"Indeed, I do."

"Thin upon my song, thats the luckiest thing I ever knew. There's, this
blessed minute, a farm o' sixteen acres, that the Lacys is lavin'--goin'
to America--an' it's to be set. They'll go the week afther next, an'
the house needn't be cowld, for you can come to it the very day afther
they Live it."

"Well," said Owen, "I'm glad of that. Will you come wid me to-morrow,
an' we'll see about it?"

"To be sure I will; an' what's betther, too; the Agint is a son of ould
Misther Rogerson's, a man that knows you, an' the history o' them you
came from, well. An', another thing, Owen! I tell you, whin it's abroad
that you want to take the farm, there's not a man in the parish will bid
agin you. You may know that yourself."

"I think, indeed, they would rather sarve me than otherwise," replied
Owen; "an', in the name o' God, we'll see what can be done. Misther
Rogerson, himself, 'ud spake to his son for me; so that I'll be sure of
his intherest. Arrah, Frank, how is an ould friend o' mine, that I have
a great regard for--poor Widow Murray?"

"Widow Murray. Poor woman, she's happy."

"You don't mane she's dead?"

"She's dead, Owen, and happy, I trust, in the Saviour. She died last
spring was a two years."

"God be good to her sowl! An' are the childhre in her place still? It's
she that was the dacent woman."

"Throth, they are; an' sorrow a betther doin' family in the parish than
they are. It's they that'll be glad to see you, Owen. Many a time I seen
their poor mother, heavens be her bed, lettin' down the tears, whin
she used to be spakin' of you, or mintion how often you sarved her;
espeshially, about some way or other that you privinted her cows from
bein' canted for the rint. She's dead now, an' God he knows, an honest
hard-workin' woman she ever was."

"Dear me, Frank, isn't it a wondher to think how the people dhrop off!
There's Widow Murray, one o' my ouldest frinds, an' Pether M'Mahon, an'
Barny Lorinan--not to forget pleasant Rousin' Red-head--all taken away!
Well!--Well! Sure it's the will o' God! We can't be here always."

After much conversation; enlivened by the bottle, though but sparingly
used on the part of Owen, the hour of rest arrived, when the family
separated for the night.

The gray dawn of a calm, beautiful summer's morning found Owen up and
abroad, long before the family of honest Frank had risen. When dressing
himself, with an intention of taking an early walk, he was asked by his
friend why he stirred so soon, or if he--his host--should accompany him.
"No," replied Owen; "lie still; jist let me look over the counthry while
it's asleep. When I'm musin' this a-way I don't like anybody to be along
wid me. I have a place to go an' see, too--an' a message--a tendher
message, from poor Kathleen, to deliver, that I wouldn't wish a second
person to hear. Sleep, Frank. I'll jist crush the head o' my pipe agin'
one o' the half-burned turf that the fire was raked wid, an' walk out
for an hour or two. Afther our breakfast we'll go-an' look about this
new farm."

He sallied out as he spoke, and closed the door after him in that
quiet, thoughtful way for which he was ever remarkable. The season was
midsummer, and the morning wanted at least an hour of sunrise. Owen
ascended a little knoll, above Frank's house, on which he stood
and surveyed the surrounding country with a pleasing but melancholy
interest. As his eye rested on Tubber Derg, he felt the difference
strongly between the imperishable glories of nature's works, and those
which are executed by man. His house he would not have known, except
by its site. It was not, in fact, the same house, but another which had
been built in its stead. This disappointed and vexed him. An object on
which his affections had been placed was removed. A rude stone house
stood before him, rough and unplastered; against each end of which was
built a stable-and a cow-house, sloping down from the gables to low
doors at booh sides; adjoining these rose two mounds of filth, large
enough to be easily distinguished from the knoll on which he stood. He
sighed as he contrasted it with the neat and beautiful farm-house, which
shone there in his happy days, white as a lily, beneath the covering
of the lofty beeches. There was no air of comfort, neatness, or
independence, about it; on the contrary, everything betrayed the
evidence of struggle and difficulty, joined, probably, to want both of
skill and of capital. He was disappointed, and turned his gaze upon the
general aspect of the country, and the houses in which either his old
acquaintances or their children lived. The features of the landscape
were, certainly, the same; but even here was a change for the worse. The
warmth of coloring which wealth and independence give to the appearance
of a cultivated country, was gone. Decay and coldness seemed to brood
upon everything, he saw. The houses, the farm-yards, the ditches, and
enclosures, were all marked by the blasting proofs of national decline.
Some exceptions there were to this disheartening prospect, but they were
only sufficient to render the torn and ragged evidences of poverty,
and its attendant--carelessness--more conspicuous. He left the knoll,
knocked the ashes out of his pipe, and putting it into his waistcoat
pocket, ascended a larger hill, which led to the grave-yard, where his
child lay buried. On his way to this hill, which stood about half a mile
distant, he passed a few houses of an humble description, with whose
inhabitants he had been well acquainted. Some of these stood nearly as
he remembered them; but others were roofless, with their dark mud
gables either fallen in or partially broken down. He surveyed their
smoke-colored walls with sorrow; and looked, with a sense of the
transient character of all man's works upon the chickweed, docks, and
nettles, which had shot up so rankly on the spot where many a chequered
scene of joy and sorrow had flitted over the circumscribed circle of
humble life, ere the annihilating wing of ruin swept away them and their
habitations.

When he had ascended the hill, his eye took a wider range. The more
distant and picturesque part of the country lay before him. "Ay!" said
he in a soliloquy, "Lord bless us, how sthrange is this world!--an'
what poor crathurs are men! There's the dark mountains, the hills, the
rivers, an' the green glens, all the same; an' nothin' else a'most but's
changed! The very song of that blackbird, in the thorn-bushes an' hazels
below me, is like the voice of an ould friend to my ears. Och, indeed,
hardly that, for even the voice of man changes; but that song is the
same as I heard it for the best part o' my life. That mornin' star,
too, is the same bright crathur up there that it ever was! God help
us! Hardly any thing changes but man, an' he seems to think that he
can never change; if one is to judge by his thoughtlessness, folly, an'
wickedness!"

A smaller hill, around the base of which went the same imperfect road
that crossed the glen of Tubber Derg, prevented him from seeing the
grave-yard to which he was about to extend his walk. To this road he
directed his steps. On reaching it he looked, still with a strong memory
of former times, to the glen in which his children, himself, and his
ancestors had all, during their day, played in the happy thoughtlessness
of childhood and youth. But the dark and ragged house jarred upon his
feelings. He turned from it with pain, and his eye rested upon the
still green valley with evident relief. He thought of his "buried
flower"--"his-golden-haired darlin'," as he used to call her--and
almost fancied that he saw her once more wandering waywardly through its
tangled mazes, gathering berries, or strolling along the green meadow,
with a garland of gowans about her neck. Imagination, indeed, cannot
heighten the image of the dead whom we love; but even if it could, there
was no standard of ideal beauty in her father's mind beyond that of
her own. She had been beautiful; but her beauty was pensive: a fair yet
melancholy child; for the charm that ever encompassed her was one of
sorrow and tenderness. Had she been volatile and mirthful, as children
usually are, he would not have carried so far into his future life the
love of her which he cherished. Another reason why he still loved her
strongly, was a consciousness that her death had been occasioned by
distress and misery; for, as he said, when looking upon the scenes of
her brief but melancholy existence--"Avour-neen machree, I remimber to
see you pickin' the berries; but asthore--asthore--it wasn't for play
you did it. It was to keep away the cuttin' of hunger from your heart!
Of all our childhre every one said that you wor the M'Carthy--never
sayin' much, but the heart in you ever full of goodness and affection.
God help me, I'm glad--an', now, that I'm comin' near it--loth to see
her grave."

He had now reached the verge of the graveyard. Its fine old ruin stood
there as usual, but not altogether without the symptoms of change. Some
persons had, for the purposes of building, thrown down one of its
most picturesque walls. Still its ruins clothed with ivy, its mullions
moss-covered, its gothic arches and tracery, gray with age, were the
same in appearance as he had ever seen them.

On entering this silent palace of Death, he reverently uncovered his
head, blessed himself, and, with feelings deeply agitated, sought the
grave of his beloved child. He approached it; but a sudden transition
from sorrow to indignation took place in his mind, even before he
reached the spot on which she lay. "Sacred Mother!" he exclaimed, "who
has dared to bury in our ground? Who has--what villain has attimpted to
come in upon the M'Carthys--upon the M'Carthy Mores, of Tubber Derg? Who
could--had I no friend to prev--eh? Sacred Mother, what's this? Father
of heaven forgive me! Forgive me, sweet Saviour, for this bad feelin'
I got into! Who--who--could raise a head-stone over the darlin' o' my
heart, widout one of us knowin' it! Who--who could do it? But let me see
if I can make it out. Oh, who could do this blessed thing, for the poor
an' the sorrowful?" He began, and with difficulty read as follows:--

"Here lies the body of Alice M'Carthy, the beloved daughter of Owen and
Kathleen M'Carthy, aged nine years. She was descended from the M'Carthy
Mores.

"Requiescat in pace.

"This head-stone was raised over her by widow Murray, and her son, James
Murray, out of grateful respect for Owen and Kathleen M'Carthy, who
never suffered the widow and orphan, or a distressed neighbor, to crave
assistance from them in vain, until it pleased God to visit them with
affliction."

"Thanks to you, my Saviour!" said Owen, dropping on his knees over the
grave,--"thanks an' praise be to your holy name, that in the middle of
my poverty--of all my poverty--I was not forgotten! nor my darlin' child
let to lie widout honor in the grave of her family! Make me worthy,
blessed Heaven, of what is written down upon me here! An' if the
departed spirit of her that honored the dust of my buried daughter is
unhappy, oh, let her be relieved, an' let this act be remimbered to her!
Bless her son, too, gracious Father, an' all belonging to her on this
earth! an', if it be your holy will, let them never know distress, or
poverty, or wickedness?"

He then offered up a Pater Noster for the repose of his child's soul,
and another for the kind-hearted and grateful widow Murray, after which
he stood to examine the grave with greater accuracy.

There was, in fact, no grave visible. The little mound, under which lay
what was once such a touching image of innocence, beauty, and feeling,
had sunk down to the level of the earth about it. He regretted this,
inasmuch as it took away, he thought, part of her individuality. Still
he knew it was the spot wherein she had been buried, and with much of
that vivid feeling, and strong figurative language, inseparable from the
habits of thought and language of the old Irish families, he delivered
the mother's message to the inanimate dust of her once beautiful and
heart-loved child. He spoke in a broken voice, for even the mention of
her name aloud, over the clay that contained her, struck with a fresh
burst of sorrow upon his heart.

"Alley," he exclaimed in Irish, "Alley, _nhien machree_, your father
that loved you more nor he loved any other human crathur, brings a
message to you from the mother of your heart, avourneen! She bid me call
to see the spot where you're lyin', my buried flower, an' to tell you
that we're not now, thanks be to God, as we wor whin you lived wid us.
We are well to do now, _acushla oge machree_, an' not in hunger, an'
sickness, an' misery, as we wor whin you suffered them all! You will
love to hear this, pulse of our hearts, an' to know that, through all we
suffered--an' bittherly we did suffer since you departed--we never let
you out of our memory. No, _asthore villish_, we thought of you, an'
cried afther our poor dead flower, many an' many's the time. An' she bid
me tell you, darlin' of my heart, that we feel: nothin' now so much as
that you are not wid us to share our comfort an' our happiness. Oh, what
wouldn't the mother give to have you back wid her; but it can't be--an'
what wouldn't I give to have you before my eyes agin, in health an'
in life--but it can't be. The lovin' mother sent this message to you,
Alley. Take it from her; she bid me tell you that we are well an' happy;
our name is pure, and, like yourself, widout spot or stain. Won't you
pray for us before God, an' get him an' his blessed Mother to look on
us wid favor an' compassion? Farewell, Alley asthore! May you slelp in
peace, an' rest on the breast of your great Father in Heaven, until we
all meet in happiness together. It's your father that's spakin' to you,
our lost flower; an' the hand that often smoothed your goolden head is
now upon your grave."

He wiped his eyes as he concluded, and after lifting a little of the
clay from her grave, he tied it carefully up, and put it into his
pocket.

Having left the grave-yard, he retraced his steps towards Frank
Farrell's house. The sun had now risen, and as Owen ascended the larger
of the two hills which we have mentioned, he stood again to view the
scene that stretched beneath him. About an hour before all was still,
the whole country lay motionless, as if the land had been a land of the
dead. The mountains, in the distance, were covered with the thin mists
of morning; the milder and richer parts of the landscape had appeared in
that dim gray distinctness which gives to distant objects such a clear
outline. With the exception of the blackbird's song, every thing seemed
as if stricken into silence; there was not a breeze stirring; both
animate and inanimate nature reposed as if in a trance; the very trees
appeared asleep, and their leaves motionless, as if they had been of
marble. But now the scene was changed. The sun had flung his splendor
upon the mountain-tops, from which the mists were tumbling in broken
fragments to the valleys between them. A thousand birds poured their
songs upon the ear; the breeze was up, and the columns of smoke from the
farm-houses and cottages played, as if in frolic, in the air. A white
haze was beginning to rise from the meadows; early teams were afoot;
and laborers going abroad to their employment. The lakes in the
distance shone like mirrors; and the clear springs on the mountain-sides
glittered in the sun, like gems on which the eye could scarcely rest.
Life, and light, and motion, appear to be inseparable. The dew of
morning lay upon nature like a brilliant veil, realizing the beautiful
image of Horace, as applied to woman:

     Vultus nimium lubricus aspici.

By-and-by the songs of the early workmen were heard; nature had awoke,
and Owen, whose heart was strongly, though unconsciously, alive to the
influence of natural religion, participated in the general elevation
of the hour, and sought with freshened spirits the house of his
entertainer.

As he entered this hospitable roof, the early industry of his friend's
wife presented him with a well-swept hearth and a pleasant fire, before
which had been placed the identical chair that they had appropriated
to his own use. Frank was enjoying "a blast o' the pipe," after having
risen; to which luxury the return of Owen gave additional zest and
placidity. In fact, Owen's presence communicated a holiday spirit to the
family; a spirit, too, which declined not for a moment during the period
of his visit.

"Frank," said Owen, "to tell you the thruth, I'm not half plased wid you
this mornin'. I think you didn't thrate me as I ought to expect to be
thrated."

"Musha, Owen M'Carthy, how is that?"

"Why, you said nothin' about widow Murray raisin' a head-stone over our
child. You kept me in the dark there, Frank, an' sich a start I never
got as I did this mornin', in the grave-yard beyant."

"Upon my sowl, Owen, it wasn't my fau't, nor any of our fau'ts; for,
to tell you the thruth, we had so much to think and discoorse of last
night, that it never sthruck me, good or bad. Indeed it was Bridget that
put it first in my head, afther you wint out, an' thin it was too late.
Ay, poor woman, the dacent strain was ever in her, the heaven's be her
bed."

"Frank, if any one of her family was to abuse me till the dogs wouldn't
lick my blood, I'd only give them back good for evil afther that.
Oh, Frank, that goes to my heart! To put a head-stone over my weeny
goolden-haired darlin', for the sake of the little thrifles I sarved
thim in! Well! may none belongin' to her ever know poverty or hardship!
but if they do, an' that I have it----How-an'-iver, no matther. God
bless thim! God bless thim! Wait till Kathleen hears it!"

"An' the best of it was, Owen, that she never expected to see one of
your faces. But, Owen, you think too much about that child. Let us talk
about something else. You've seen Tubber Derg wanst more?"

"I did; an' I love it still, in spite of the state it's in."

"Ah! it's different from what it was in your happy days. I was spakin'
to Bridget about the farm, an' she advises us to go, widout losin' a
minute, an' take it if we can."

"It's near this place I'll die, Frank. I'd not rest in my grave if I
wasn't berrid among my own; so we'll take the farm if possible."

"Well, then, Bridget, hurry the breakfast, avourneen; an' in the name o'
goodness, we'll set out, an' clinch the business this very day."

Owen, as we said, was prompt in following up his determinations. After
breakfast they saw the agent and his father, for both lived together.
Old Rogerson had been intimately acquainted with the M'Carthys, and, as
Frank had anticipated, used his influence with the agent in procuring
for the son of his old friend and acquaintance the farm which he sought.

"Jack," said the old gentleman, "you don't probably know the history
and character of the Tubber Derg M'Carthys so well as I do. No man ever
required the written bond of a M'Carthy; and it was said of them, and
is said still, that the widow and orphan, the poor man or the stranger,
never sought their assistance in vain. I, myself, will go security, if
necessary, for Owen M'Carthy."

"Sir," replied Owen, "I'm thankful to you; I'm grateful to you. But
I wouldn't take the farm, or bid for it at all, unless I could bring
forrid enough to stock it as I wish, an' to lay in all that's wantin' to
work it well. It 'ud be useless for me to take it--to struggle a year
or two--impoverish the land--an' thin run away out of it. No, no; I have
what'll put me upon it wid dacency an' comfort."

"Then, since my father has taken such an interest in you, M'Carthy,
you must have the farm. We shall get leases prepared, and the business
completed in a few days; for I go to Dublin on this day week. Father,
I now remember the character of this family; and I remember, too, the
sympathy which was felt for one of them, who was harshly ejected
about seventeen or eighteen years ago, out of the lands on which his
forefathers had lived, I understand, for centuries."

"I am that man, sir," returned Owen. "It's too long a story to tell now;
but it was only out o' part of the lands, sir, that I was put. What
I held was but a poor patch compared to what the family held in my
grandfather's time. A great part of it went out of our hands at his
death."

"It was very kind of you, Misther Rogerson, to offer to go security for
him," said Frank; "but if security was wantin, sir, Id not be willin' to
let anybody but myself back him. I'd go all I'm worth in the world--an'
by my sowl, double as much--for the same man."

"I know that, Frank, an' I thank you; but I could put security in Mr.
Rogerson's hands, here, if it was wanted. Good-mornin' an' thank you
both, gintleman. To tell yez the thruth," he added, with a smile, "I
long to be among my ould friends--manin' the people, an' the hills, an'
the green fields of Tubber Derg--agin; an' thanks be to goodness, sure I
will soon."

In fact, wherever Owen went, within the bounds of his native parish,
his name, to use a significant phrase of the people, was before him.
His arrival at Frank Farrel's was now generally known by all his
acquaintances, and the numbers who came to see him were almost beyond
belief. During the two or three successive days, he went among his
old "cronies;" and no sooner was his arrival at any particular house
intimated, than the neighbors all flocked to him. Scythes were left
idle, spades were stuck in the earth, and work neglected for the time
being; all crowded about him with a warm and friendly interest, not
proceeding from idle curiosity, but from affection and respect for the
man.

The interview between him and widow Murray's children was affecting.
Owen felt deeply the delicate and touching manner in which they had
evinced their gratitude for the services he had rendered them; and young
Murray remembered with a strong gush of feeling, the distresses under
which they lay when Owen had assisted them. Their circumstances, owing
to the strenuous exertions of the widow's eldest son, soon afterwards
improved; and, in accordance with the sentiments of hearts naturally
grateful, they had taken that method of testifying what they felt.
Indeed, so well had Owen's unparalleled affection for his favorite child
been known, that it was the general opinion about Tubber Derg that her
death had broken his heart.

"Poor Owen, he's dead," they used to say; "the death of his weeny one,
while he was away in Dublin, gave him the finishin' blow. It broke his
heart."

Before the week was expired, Owen had the satisfaction of depositing the
lease of his new farm, held at a moderate rent, in the hands of Frank
Farrel; who, tying it up along with his own, secured it in the
"black chest." Nothing remained now but to return home forthwith, and
communicate the intelligence to Kathleen. Frank had promised, as soon as
the Lacy's should vacate the house, to come with a long train of cars,
and a number of his neighbors, in order to transfer Owen's family and
furniture to his new dwelling. Everything therefore, had been arranged;
and Owen had nothing to do but hold himself in readiness for the welcome
arrival of Frank and his friends.

Owen, however, had no sense of enjoyment when not participated in by his
beloved Kathleen. If he felt sorrow, it was less as a personal feeling
than as a calamity to her.

If he experienced happiness, it was doubly sweet to him as reflected
from his' Kathleen. All this was mutual between them. Kathleen loved
Owen precisely as he loved Kathleen. Nor let our readers suppose that
such characters are not in humble life. It is in humble life, where
the Springs of feeling are not corrupted by dissimulation and evil
knowledge, that the purest, and tenderest, and strongest virtues are to
be found.

As Owen approached his home, he could not avoid contrasting the
circumstances of his return now with those under which, almost
broken-hearted after his journey to Dublin, he presented himself to his
sorrowing and bereaved wife about eighteen years before. He raised
his hat, and thanked God for the success which had, since that period,
attended him, and, immediately after his silent thanksgiving, entered
the house.

His welcome, our readers may be assured, was tender and affectionate.
The whole family gathered about him, and, on his informing them that
they were once more about to reside on a farm adjoining to their beloved
Tubber Derg, Kathleen's countenance brightened, and the tear of delight
gushed to her eyes.

"God be praised, Owen," she exclaimed; "we will have the ould place
afore our eyes, an' what is betther, we will be near where Alley is
lyin'. But that's true, Owen," she added, "did you give the light of our
hearts the mother's message?"

Owen paused, and his features were slightly overshadowed, but only by
the solemnity of the feeling.

"Kathleen," said he, "I gave her your message; but, avourneen, have
sthrange news for you about Alley."

"What, Owen? What is it, acushla? Tell me quick?"

"The blessed child was not neglected--no, but she was honored in our
absence. A head-stone was put over her, an' stands there purtily this
minute."

"Mother of Glory, Owen!"

"It's thruth. Widow Murray an' her son Jemmy put it up, wid words upon
it that brought the tears to my eyes. Widow Murray is dead, but her
childher's doin' well. May God bless an' prosper them, an' make her
happy!"

The delighted mother's heart was not proof against the widow's
gratitude, expressed, as it had been, in a manner so affecting. She
rocked herself to and fro in silence, whilst the tears fell in showers
down her cheeks. The grief, however, which this affectionate couple felt
for their child, was not always such as the reader has perceived it to
be. It was rather a revival of emotions that had long slumbered, but
never died; and the associations arising from the journey to Tubber
Derg, had thrown them back, by the force of memory, almost to the period
of her death. At times, indeed, their imagination had conjured her up
strongly, but the present was an epoch in the history of their sorrow.

There is little more to be said. Sorrow was soon succeeded by
cheerfulness and the glow of expected pleasure, which is ever the
more delightful, as the pleasure is pure. In about a week their old
neighbors, with their carts and cars, arrived; and before the day was
closed on which Owen removed to his new residence, he found himself once
more sitting at his own hearth, among the friends of his youth, and the
companions of his maturer years. Ere the twelvemonth elapsed, he had his
house perfectly white, and as nearly resembling that of Tubber Derg in
its better days as possible. About two years ago we saw him one evening
in the month of June, as he sat on a bench beside the door, singing with
a happy heart his favorite song of "_Colleen dhas crootha na mo_." It
was about an hour before sunset. The house stood on a gentle eminence,
beneath which a sweep of green meadow stretched away to the skirts of
Tubber Derg. Around him was a country naturally fertile, and, in spite
of the national depression, still beautiful to contemplate. Kathleen
and two servant maids were milking, and the whole family were assembled
about the door.

"Well, childher," said the father, "didn't I tell yez the bitther
mornin' we left Tubber Derg, not to cry or be disheartened--that there
was a 'good God above who might do somethin' for us yet?' I never did
give up may trust in Him, an' I never will. You see, afther all our
little troubles, He has wanst more brought us together, an' made us
happy. Praise an' glory to His name!"

I looked at him as he spoke. He had raised his eyes to heaven, and a
gleam of elevated devotion, perhaps worthy of being-called sublime,
irradiated his features. The sun, too, in setting, fell upon his broad
temples and iron-gray locks, with a light solemn and religious.
The effect to me, who knew his noble character, and all that he had
suffered, was as if the eye of God then rested upon the decline of a
virtuous man's life with approbation;--as if he had lifted up the
glory of his countenance upon him. Would that many of his thoughtless
countrymen had been present! They might have blushed for their crimes,
and been content to sit and learn wisdom at the feet of Owen M'Carthy.



NEAL MALONE.


There never was a greater souled or doughtier tailor than little Neal
Malone. Though but four feet; four in height, he paced the earth with
the courage and confidence of a giant; nay, one would have imagined that
he walked as if he feared the world itself was about to give way under
him. Lot none dare to say in future that a tailor is but the ninth
part of a man. That reproach has been gloriously taken away from the
character of the cross-legged corporation by Neal Malone. He has wiped
it off like a stain from the collar of a second-hand coat; he has
pressed this wrinkle out of the lying front of antiquity; he has drawn
together this rent in the respectability of his profession. No. By him
who was breeches-maker to the gods--that is, except, like Highlanders,
they eschewed inexpressibles--by him who cut Jupiter's frieze jocks for
winter, and eke by the bottom of his thimble, we swear, that Neal Malone
was more than the ninth part of a man!

Setting aside the Patagonians, we maintain that two-thirds of mortal
humanity were comprised in Neal; and, perhaps, we might venture to
assert, that two-thirds of Neal's humanity were equal to six-thirds of
another man's. It is right well known that Alexander the Great was a
little man, and we doubt whether, had Alexander the Great been bred to
the tailoring business, he would have exhibited so much of the hero
as Neal Malone. Neal was descended from a fighting family, who had
signalized themselves in as many battles as ever any single hero
of antiquity fought. His father, his grandfather, and his great
grandfather, were all fighting men, and his ancestors in general, up,
probably, to Con of the Hundred Battles himself. No wonder, therefore,
that Neal's blood should cry out against the cowardice of his calling;
no wonder that he should be an epitome of all that was valorous and
heroic in a peaceable man, for we neglected to inform the reader that
Neal, though "bearing no base mind," never fought any man in his own
person. That, however, deducted nothing from his courage. If he did not
fight, it was simply because he found cowardice universal. No man would
engage him; his spirit blazed in vain; his thirst for battle was doomed
to remain unquenched, except by whiskey, and this only increased it. In
short, he could find no foe. He has often been known to challenge the
first cudgel-players and pugilists of the parish; to provoke men of
fourteen stone weight; and to bid mortal defiance to faction heroes of
all grades--but in vain. There was that in him which told them that an
encounter with Neal would strip them of their laurels. Neal saw all this
with a lofty indignation; he deplored the degeneracy of the times, and
thought it hard that the descendant of such a fighting family should be
doomed to pass through life peaceably, while so many excellent rows and
riots took place around him. It was a calamity to see every man's head
broken but his own; a dismal thing to observe his neighbors go about
with their bones in bandages, yet his untouched; and his friends beat
black and blue, whilst his own cuticle remained undiscolored.

"Blur-an'-agers!" exclaimed Neal one day, when half-tipsy in the fair,
"am I never to get a bit of fightin'? Is there no cowardly spalpeen to
stand afore Neal Malone? Be this an' be that, I'm blue-mowlded for want
of a batin'! I'm disgracin' my relations by the life I'm ladin'! Will
none o' ye fight me aither for love, money, or whiskey--frind or inimy,
an' bad luck to ye? I don't care a traneen which, only out o' pure
frindship, let us have a morsel o' the rale kick-up, 'tany rate. Frind
or inimy, I say agin, if you regard me; sure that makes no differ, only
let us have the fight."

This excellent heroism was all wasted; Neal could not find a single
adversary. Except he divided himself like Hotspur, and went to buffets,
one hand against the other, there was no chance of a fight; no person
to be found sufficiently magnanimous to encounter the tailor. On the
contrary, every one of his friends--or, in other words, every man in the
parish--was ready to support him. He was clapped on the back, until his
bones were nearly dislocated in his body; and his hand shaken, until his
arm lost its cunning at the needle for half a week afterwards. This, to
be sure, was a bitter business--a state of being past endurance. Every
man was his friend--no man was his enemy. A desperate position for any
person to find himself in, but doubly calamitous to a martial tailor.

Many a dolorous complaint did Neal make upon the misfortune of having
none to wish him ill; and what rendered this hardship doubly oppressive,
was the unlucky fact that no exertions of his, however offensive, could
procure him a single foe. In vain did lie insult, abuse, and malign all
his acquaintances. In vain did he father upon them all the rascality
and villany he could think of; he lied against them with a force and
originality that would have made many a modern novelist blush for
want of invention--but all to no purpose. The world for once became
astonishingly Christian; it paid back all his efforts to excite its
resentment with the purest of charity; when Neal struck it on the
one cheek, it meekly turned unto him the other. It could scarcely
be expected that Neal would bear this. To have the whole world in
friendship with a man is beyond doubt rather an affliction. Not to have
the face of a single enemy to look upon, would decidedly be considered
a deprivation of many agreeable sensations by most people, as well as by
Neal Malone. Let who might sustain a loss, or experience a calamity, it
was a matter of indifference to Neal. They were only his friends, and he
troubled neither his head nor his heart about them.

Heaven help us! There is no man without his trials; and Neal, the
reader perceives, was not exempt from his. What did it avail him that he
carried a cudgel ready for all hostile contingencies? or knit his brows
and shook his kipjoeen at the fiercest of his fighting friends? The
moment he appeared, they softened into downright cordiality. His
presence was the signal of peace; for, notwithstanding his unconquerable
propensity to warfare, he went abroad as the genius of unanimity, though
carrying in his bosom the redoubtable disposition the a warrior; just as
the sun, though the source of light himself, is said to be dark enough
at bottom.

It could not be expected that Neal, with whatever fortitude he might
bear his other afflictions, could bear such tranquillity like a hero. To
say that he bore it as one, would be to basely surrender his character;
for what hero ever bore a state, of tranquillity with courage? It
affected his cutting out! It produced what Burton calls "a windie
melancholie," which was nothing else than an accumulation of courage
that had no means of escaping, if courage can without indignity be ever
said to escape. He sat uneasy on his lap-board. Instead of cutting out
soberly, he nourished his scissors as if he were heading a faction; he
wasted much chalk by scoring his cloth in wrong places, and even caught
his hot goose without a holder. These symptoms alarmed, his friends, who
persuaded him to go to a doctor. Neal went, to satisfy them; but he knew
that no prescription could drive the courage out of him--that he was too
far gone in heroism to be made a coward of by apothecary stuff. Nothing
in the pharmacopoeia could physic him into a pacific state. His disease
was simply the want of an enemy, and an unaccountable superabundance of
friendship on the part of his acquaintances. How could a doctor remedy
this by a prescription? Impossible. The doctor, indeed, recommended
bloodletting; but to lose blood in a peaceable manner was not only
cowardly, but a bad cure for courage. Neal declined it: he would lose
no blood for any man until he could not help it; which was giving the
character of a hero at a single touch. His blood was not to be thrown
away in this manner; the only lancet ever applied to his relations was
the cudgel, and Neal scorned to abandon the principles of his family.

His friends finding that he reserved his blood for more heroic purposes
than dastardly phlebotomy, knew not what to do with him. His perpetual
exclamation was, as we have already stated, "I'm blue-mowlded for want
of a batin'!" They did everything in their power to cheer him with the
hope of a drubbing; told him he lived in an excellent country for a man
afflicted with his malady; and promised, if it were at all possible,
to create him a private enemy or two, who, they hoped in heaven, might
trounce him to some purpose.

This sustained him for a while; but as day after day passed, and no
appearance of action presented itself, he could not choose but increase
in courage. His soul, like a sword-blade too long in the scabbard, was
beginning to get fuliginous by inactivity. He looked upon the point of
his own needle, and the bright edge of his scissors, with a bitter pang,
when he thought of the spirit rusting within him: he meditated fresh
insults, studied new plans, and hunted out cunning devices for provoking
his acquaintances to battle, until by degrees he began to confound his
own bram, and to commit more grievous oversights in his business than
ever. Sometimes he sent home to one person a coat, with the legs of a
pair of trousers attached to it for sleeves, and despatched to another
the arms of the aforesaid coat tacked together as a pair of trousers.

Sometimes the coat was made to button behind instead of before, and he
frequently placed the pockets in the lower part of the skirts, as if he
had been in league with cut-purses.

This was a melancholy situation, and his friends pitied him accordingly.

"Don't bo cast down, Neal," said they, "your friends feel for you, poor
fellow."

"Divil carry my frinds," replied Neal, "sure there's not one o' yez
frindly enough to be my inimy. Tare-an'-ounze! what'll I do? I'm
blue-rhowlded for want of a batin'!"

Seeing that their consolation was thrown away upon him, they resolved
to leave him to his fate; which they had no sooner done than Neal had
thoughts of taking to the _Skiomachia_ as a last remedy. In this mood he
looked with considerable antipathy at his own shadow for several nights;
and it is not to be questioned, but that some hard battles would have
taken place between them, were it not for the cunning of the shadow,
which declined to fight him in any other position than with its back
to the wall. This occasioned him to pause, for the wall was a fearful
antagonist, inasmuch that it knew not when it was beaten; but there was
still an alternative left. He went to the garden one clear day about
noon, and hoped to have a bout with the shade, free from interruption.
Both approached, apparently eager for the combat, and resolved to
conquer or die, when a villanous cloud happening to intercept the light,
gave the shadow an opportunity of disappearing; and Neal found himself
once more without an opponent.

"It's aisy known," said Neal, "you haven't the blood in you, or you'd
come up to the scratch like a man."

He now saw that fate was against him, and that any further hostility
towards the shadow was only a tempting of Providence. He lost his
health, spirits, and everything but his courage. His countenance became
pale and peaceful looking; the bluster departed from him; his body
shrunk up like a withered parsnip. Thrice was he compelled to take in
his clothes, and thrice did he ascertain that much of his time would be
necessarily spent in pursuing his retreating person through the solitude
of his almost deserted garment.

God knows it is difficult to form a correct opinion upon a situation
so paradoxical as Neal's was. To be reduced to skin and bone by the
downright friendship of the world, was, as the sagacious reader will
admit, next to a miracle. We appeal to the conscience of any man who
finds himself without an enemy, whether he be not a greater skeleton
than the tailor; we will give him fifty guineas provided he can show
a calf to his leg. We know he could not; for the tailor had none, and
that was because he had not an enemy. No man in friendship with the
world ever has calves to his legs. To sum up all in a paradox of our
own invention, for which we claim the full credit of originality, we
now assert, that more men have risen in the world by the injury of their
enemies, than have risen by the kindness of their friends. You may take
this, reader, in any sense; apply it to hanging if you like, it is still
immutably and immovably true.

One day Neal sat cross-legged, as tailors usually sit, in the act of
pressing a pair of breeches; his hands were placed, backs up, upon the
handle of his goose, and his chin rested upon the back of his hands. To
judge from his sorrowful complexion one would suppose that he sat rather
to be sketched as a picture of misery, or of heroism in distress, than
for the industrious purpose of pressing the seams of a garment. There
was a great deal of New Burlington-street pathos in his countenance;
his face, like the times, was rather out of joint; "the sun was just
setting, and his golden beams fell, with a saddened splendor, athwart
the tailor's"----the reader may fill up the picture.

In this position sat Neal, when Mr. O'Connor, the schoolmaster, whose
inexpressibles he was turning for the third time, entered the workshop.
Mr. O'Connor, himself, was as finished a picture of misery as the
tailor. There was a patient, subdued kind of expression in his face,
which indicated a very full-portion of calamity; his eye seemed charged
with affliction of the first water; on each side of his nose might be
traced two dry channels which, no doubt, were full enough while the
tropical rains of his countenance lasted. Altogether, to conclude from
appearances, it was a dead match in affliction between him and the
tailor; both seemed sad, fleshless, and unthriving.

"Misther O'Connor," said the tailor, when the schoolmaster entered,
"won't you be pleased to sit down?"

Mr. O'Connor sat; and, after wiping his forehead, laid his hat upon the
lap-board, put his half handkerchief in his pocket, and looked upon the
tailor. The tailor, in return, looked upon Mr. O'Connor; but neither of
them spoke for some minutes. Neal, in fact, appeared to be wrapped up
in his own misery, and Mr. O'Connor in his; or, as we often have much
gratuitous sympathy for the distresses of our friends, we question but
the tailor was wrapped up in Mr. O'Connor's misery, and Mr. O'Connor in
the tailor's.

Mr. O'Connor at length said--"Neal, are my inexpressibles finished?"

"I am now pressin' your inexpressibles," replied Neal; "but, be my sowl,
Mr. O'Connor, it's not your inexpressibles I'm thinkin' of. I'm not the
ninth part of what I was. I'd hardly make paddin' for a collar now."

"Are you able to carry a staff still, Neal?"

"I've a light hazel one that's handy," said the tailor; "but where's
the use of carryin' it, whin I can get no one to fight wid. Sure I'm
disgracing my relations by the life I'm leadin'. I'll go to my grave
widout ever batin' a man, or bein' bate myself; that's the vexation.
Divil the row ever I was able to kick up in my life; so that I'm fairly
blue-mowlded for want of a batin'. But if you have patience----"

"Patience!" said Mr. O'Connor, with a shake of the head, that was
perfectly disastrous even to look at; "patience, did you say, Neal?"

"Ay," said Neal, "an', be my sowl, if you deny that I said patience,
I'll break your head!"

"Ah, Neal," returned the other, "I don't deny it--for though I am
teaching philosophy, knowledge, and mathematics, every day in my life,
yet I'm learning patience myself both night and day. No, Neal; I have
forgotten to deny anything. I have not been guilty of a contradiction,
out of my own school, for the last fourteen years. I once expressed
the shadow of a doubt about twelve years ago, but ever since I have
abandoned even doubting. That doubt was the last expiring effort at
maintaining my domestic authority--but I suffered for it."

"Well," said Neal, "if you have patience, I'll tell you what afflicts me
from beginnin' to endin'."

"I will have patience," said Mr. O'Connor, and he accordingly heard a
dismal and indignant tale from the tailor.

"You have told me that fifty times over," said Mr. O'Connor, after
hearing the story. "Your spirit is too martial for a pacific life. If
you follow my advice, I will teach you how to ripple the calm current
of your existence to some purpose. Marry a wife. For twenty-five years I
have given instructions in three branches, viz.--philosophy, knowledge,
and mathematics--I am also well versed in matrimony, and I declare that,
upon my misery, and by the contents of all my afflictions, it is my
solemn and melancholy opinion, that, if you marry a wife, you will,
before three months pass over your concatenated state, not have a single
complaint to make touching a superabundance of peace and tranquillity,
or a love of fighting."

"Do you mean to say that any woman would make me afeard?" said the
tailor, deliberately rising up and getting his cudgel. "I'll thank you
merely to go over the words agin till I thrash you widin an inch o' your
life. That's all."

"Neal," said the schoolmaster, meekly, "I won't fight; I have been too
often subdued ever to presume on the hope of a single victory. My spirit
is long since evaporated: I am like one, of your own shreds, a mere
selvage. Do you not know how much my habiliments have shrunk in, even
within the last five years? Hear me, Neal; and venerate my words as
if they proceeded from the lips of a prophet. If you wish to taste the
luxury of being subdued--if you are, as you say, blue-moulded for want
of a beating, and sick at heart of a peaceful existence--why, marry a
wife. Neal, send my breeches home with all haste, for they are wanted,
you understand. Farewell!"

Mr. O'Connor, having thus expressed himself, departed, and Neal stood,
with the cudgel in his hand, looking at the door out of which he passed,
with an expression of fierceness, contempt, and reflection, strongly
blended on the ruins of his once heroic visage.

Many a man has happiness within his reach if he but knew it. The tailor
had been, hitherto, miserable because he pursued a wrong object. The
schoolmaster, however, suggested a train of thought upon which Neal
now fastened with all the ardor of a chivalrous temperament. Nay, he
wondered that the family spirit should have so completely seized
upon the fighting side of his heart, as to preclude all thoughts of
matrimony; for he could not but remember that his relations were as
ready for marriage as for fighting. To doubt this, would have been to
throw a blot upon his own escutcheon. He, therefore, very prudently
asked himself, to whom, if he did not marry, should he transmit his
courage. He was a single man, and, dying as such, he would be the sole
depository of his own valor, which, like Junius's secret, must perish
with, him. If he could have left it, as a legacy, to such of his friends
as were most remarkable for cowardice, why, the case would be altered;
but this was impossible--and he had now no other means of preserving it
to posterity than by creating a posterity to inherit it. He saw, too,
that the world was likely to become convulsed. Wars, as everybody
knew, were certainly to break out; and would it not be an excellent
opportunity for being father to a colonel, or, perhaps, a general, that
might astonish the world.

The change visible in Neal, after the schoolmaster's last visit,
absolutely thunder-struck all who knew him. The clothes, which he had
rashly taken in to fit his shrivelled limbs, were once more let out. The
tailor expanded with a new spirit; his joints ceased to be supple, as
in the days of his valor; his eye became less fiery, but more brilliant.
From being martial, he got desperately gallant; but, somehow, he could
not afford to act the hero and lover both at the same time. This,
perhaps, would be too much to expect from a tailor. His policy was
better. He resolved to bring all his available energy to bear upon
the charms of whatever fair nymph he should select for the honor of
matrimony; to waste his spirit in fighting would, therefore, be a
deduction from the single purpose in view.

The transition from war to love is by no means so remarkable as we might
at first imagine. We quote Jack Falstaff in proof of this, or, if the
reader be disposed to reject our authority, then we quote Ancient Pistol
himself--both of whom we consider as the most finished specimens of
heroism that ever carried a safe skin. Acres would have been a hero had
he won gloves to prevent the courage from oozing out at his palms, or
not felt such an unlucky antipathy to the "snug lying in the Abbey;" and
as for Captain Bobadil, he never had an opportunity of putting his plan,
for vanquishing an army, into practice. We fear, indeed, that neither
his character, nor Ben Jonson's knowledge of human nature, is properly
understood; for it certainly could not be expected that a man, whose
spirit glowed to encounter a whole host, could, without tarnishing his
dignity, if closely pressed, condescend to fight an individual. But
as these remarks on courage may be felt by the reader as an invidious
introduction of a subject disagreeable to him, we beg to hush it for the
present and return to the tailor.

No sooner had Neal begun to feel an inclination to matrimony, than his
friends knew that his principles had veered, by the change now visible
in his person and deportment. They saw he had ratted from courage, and
joined love. Heretofore his life had been all winter, darkened by storm
and hurricane. The fiercer virtues had played the devil with him; every
word was thunder, every look lightning; but now all that had passed
away;--before, he was the Jortiter in re, at present he was the suaviter
in modo. His existence was perfect spring--beautifully vernal. All the
amiable and softer qualities began to bud about his heart; a genial
warmth was diffused over him; his soul got green within him; every day
was serene; and if a cloud happened to be come visible, there was
a roguish rainbow astride of it, on which sat a beautiful Iris that
laughed down at him, and seemed to say, "why the dickens, Neal, don't
you marry a wife?"

Neal could not resist the afflatus which descended on him; an ethereal
light dwelled, he thought, upon the face of nature; the color of the
cloth, which he cut out from day to day, was to his enraptured eye like
the color of Cupid's wings--all purple; his visions were worth their
weight in gold; his dreams, a credit to the bed he slept on; and his
feelings, like blind puppies, young and alive to the milk of love and
kindness which they drew from his heart. Most of this delight escaped
the observation of the world, for Neal, like your true lover, became
shy and mysterious. It is difficult to say what he resembled; no dark
lantern ever had more light shut up within itself, than Neal had in his
soul, although his friends were not aware of it. They knew, indeed, that
he had turned his back upon valor; but beyond this their knowledge did
not extend.

Neal was shrewd enough to know that what he felt must be love;--nothing
else could distend him with happiness, until his soul felt light and
bladder-like, but love. As an oyster opens, when expecting the tide, so
did his soul expand at the contemplation of matrimony. Labor ceased to
be a trouble to him; he sang and sewed from morning to night; his hot
goose no longer burned him, for his heart was as hot as his goose; the
vibrations of his head, at each successive stitch, were no longer sad
and melancholy. There was a buoyant shake of exultation in them which
showed that his soul was placid and happy within him.

Endless honor be to Neal Malone for the originality with which he
managed the tender sentiment! He did not, like your commonplace lovers,
first discover a pretty girl, and afterwards become enamored of her. No
such thing, he had the passion prepared beforehand--cut out and made up
as it were, ready for any girl whom it might fit. This was falling in
love in the abstract, and let no man condemn it without a trial; for
many a long-winded argument could be urged in its defence. It is always
wrong to commence business without capital, and Neal had a good stock
to begin with. All we beg is, that the reader will not confound it with
Platonism, which never marries; but he is at full liberty to call it
Socratism, which takes unto itself a wife, and suffers accordingly.

Let no one suppose that Neal forgot the schoolmaster's kindness, or
failed to be duly grateful for it. Mr. O'Connor was the first person
whom he consulted touching his passion. With a cheerful soul--he waited
on that melancholy and gentleman-like man, and in the very luxury of his
heart told him that he was in love.

"In love, Neal!" said the schoolmaster. "May I inquire with whom?"

"Wid nobody in particular, yet," replied Neal; "but of late I'm got
divilish fond o' the girls in general."

"And do you call that being in love, Neal?" said Mr. O'Connor.

"Why, what else would I call it?" returned the tailor. "Amn't I fond of
them?"

"Then it must be what is termed the Universal Passion, Neal," observed
Mr. O'Connor, "although it is the first time I have seen such an
illustration of it as you present in your own person."

"I wish you would advise me how to act," said Neal; "I'm as happy as a
prince since I began to get fond o' them, an' to think of marriage."

The schoolmaster shook his head again, and looked rather miserable. Neal
rubbed his hands with glee, and looked perfectly happy. The schoolmaster
shook his head again, and looked more miserable than before. Neal's
happiness also increased on the second rubbing.

Now, to tell the secret at once, Mr. O'Connor would not have appeared so
miserable, were it not for Neal's happiness; nor Neal so happy, were it
not for Mr. O'Connor's misery. It was all the result of contrast; but
this you will not understand unless you be deeply read in modern novels.

Mr. O'Connor, however, was a man of sense, who knew, upon this
principle, that the longer he continued to shake his head, the more
miserable he must become, and the more also would he increase Neal's
happiness; but he had no intention of increasing Neal's happiness at
his own expense--for, upon the same hypothesis, it would have been for
Neal's interest had he remained shaking his head there, and getting
miserable until the day of judgment. He consequently declined giving the
third shake, for he thought that plain conversation was, after all,
more significant and forcible than the most eloquent nod, however ably
translated.

"Neal," said he, "could you, by stretching your imagination, contrive to
rest contented with nursing your passion in solitude, and love the sex
at a distance?"

"How could I nurse and mind my business?" replied the tailor. I'll never
nurse so long as I'll have the wife; and as for imagination it depends
upon the grain of it, whether I can stretch it or not. I don't know that
I ever made a coat of it in my life."

"You don't understand me, Neal," said the schoolmaster. "In recommending
marriage, I was only driving one evil out of you by introducing another.
Do you think that, if you abandoned all thoughts of a wife, you would
get heroic again?--that is, would you, take once more to the love of
fighting?"

"There is no doubt but I would," said the tailor: "If I miss the wife,
I'll kick up such a dust as never was seen in the parish, an' you're
the first man that I'll lick. But now that I'm in love," he continued,
"sure, I ought to look out for the wife."

"Ah! Neal," said the schoolmaster, "you are tempting destiny: your
temerity be, with all its melancholy consequences, upon your own head."

"Come," said the tailor, "it wasn't to hear you groaning to the tune of
'Dhrimmind-hoo,' or 'The ould woman rockin' her cradle,' that I came;
but to know if you could help me in makin' out the wife. That's the
discoorse."

"Look at me, Neal," said the schoolmaster, solemnly; "I am at this
moment, and have been any time for the last fifteen years, a living
caveto against matrimony. I do not think that earth possesses such a
luxury as a single solitary life. Neal, the monks of old were happy men:
they were all fat and had double chins; and, Neal, I tell you, that all
fat men are in general happy. Care cannot come at them so readily as
at a thin man; before it gets through the strong outworks, of flesh
and blood with which they are surrounded, it becomes treacherous to its
original purpose, joins the cheerful spirits it meets in the system, and
dances about the heart in all the madness of mirth; just like a sincere
ecclesiastic, who comes to lecture a good fellow against drinking, but
who forgets his lecture over his cups, and is laid under the table with
such success, that he either never comes to finish his lecture, or
comes often; to be laid under the table, Look at me Neal, how wasted,
fleshless, and miserable, I stand before you. You know how my garments
have shrunk in, and what a solid man I was before marriage. Neal,
pause, I beseech you: otherwise you stand a strong chance of becoming a
nonentity like myself."

"I don't care what I become," said the tailor; "I can't think that you'd
be so: unsonable as to expect that any of the Malones; should pass
out of the world widout either bein' bate or marrid. Have rason, Mr.
O'Connor, an' if you can help me to the wife, I promise to take in your
coat the next time--for nothin'."

"Well, then," said Mr. O'Connor, "what-would you think of the butcher's
daughter, Biddy Neil? You have always had a thirst for blood, and here
you may have it gratified in an innocent manner, should you ever become
sanguinary again. 'Tis true, Neal, she is twice your size, and possesses
three times your strength; but for that very reason, Neal, marry her if
you can. Large animals are placid; and heaven preserve those bachelors,
whom I wish well, from a small wife: 'tis such who always wield the
sceptre of domestic life, and rule their husbands with a rod of iron."

"Say no more, Mr. O'Connor," replied the tailor, "she's the very girl
I'm in love wid, an' never fear, but I'll overcome her heart if I it can
be done by man. Now, step over the way to my house, an' we'll have a sup
on the head of it. Who's that calling?"

"Ah! Neal, I know the tones--there's a shrillness in them not to be
mistaken. Farewell! I must depart; you have heard the proverb, 'those
who are bound must obey.' Young Jack, I presume, is squalling, and I
must either nurse him, rock the cradle, or sing comic tunes for him,
though heaven knows with what a disastrous heart I often sing, 'Begone
dull care,' the 'Rakes of Newcastle,' or 'Peas upon a Trencher.' Neal,
I say again, pause before you take this leap in the dark. Pause, Neal, I
entreat you. Farewell!"

Neal, however, was gifted with the heart of an Irishman, and scorned
caution as the characteristic of a coward; he had, as it appeared,
abandoned all design of fighting, but the courage still adhered to him
even in making love. He consequently conducted the siege of Biddy Neil's
heart with a degree of skill and valor which would not have come amiss
to Marshal Gerald at the siege of Antwerp. Locke or Dugald Stewart,
indeed, had they been cognizant of the tailor's triumph, might have
illustrated the principle on which he succeeded--as to ourselves, we
can only conjecture it. Our own opinion is, that they were both animated
with a congenial spirit. Biddy was the very pink of pugnacity, and
could throw in a body blow, or plant a facer, with singular energy
and science. Her prowess hitherto had, we confess, been displayed only
within the limited range of domestic life; but should she ever find
it necessary to exercise it upon a larger scale, there was no doubt
whatsoever, in the opinion of her mother, brothers, and sisters, every
one of whom she had successively subdued, that she must undoubtedly
distinguish herself. There was certainly one difficulty which the tailor
had not to encounter in the progress of his courtship; the field was
his own; he had not a rival to dispute his claim. Neither was there any
opposition given by her friends; they were, on the contrary, all anxious
for the match; and when the arrangements were concluded, Neal felt his
hand squeezed by them in succession, with an expression more resembling
condolence than joy. Neal, however, had been bred to tailoring, and not
to metaphysics; he could cut out a coat very well, but we do not say
that he could trace a principle--as what tailor, except Jeremy Taylor,
could?

There was nothing particular in the wedding. Mr. O'Connor was asked by
Neal to be present at it: but he shook his head, and told him that
he had not courage to attend it, or inclination to witness any man's
sorrows but his own. He met the wedding party by accident, and was heard
to exclaim with a sigh, as they flaunted past him in gay exuberance of
spirits--"Ah, poor Neal! he is going like one of her father's cattle to
the shambles! Woe is me for having suggested matrimony to the tailor! He
will not long-be under the necessity of saying that he 'is blue-moulded
for want of a beating.' The butcheress will fell him like a Kerry ox,
and I may have his blood to answer for, and his discomfiture to feel
for, in addition to my own miseries."

On the evening of the wedding-day, about the hour of ten o'clock,
Neal--whose spirits were uncommonly exalted, for his heart luxuriated
within him--danced with his bride's maid; after the dance he sat beside
her, and got eloquent in praise of her beauty; and it is said, too, that
he whispered to her, and chucked her chin with considerable gallantry.
The tete-a-tete continued for some time without exciting particular
attention, with one exception; but that exception was worth a whole
chapter of general rules. Mrs. Malone rose up, then sat down again, and
took off a glass of the native; she got up a second time--all the wife
rushed upon her heart--she approached them, and in a fit of the most
exquisite sensibility, knocked the bride's maid down, and gave the
tailor a kick of affecting pathos upon the inexpressibles. The whole
scene was a touching one on both sides. The tailor was sent on all-fours
to the floor; but Mrs. Malone took him quietly up, put him under her arm
as one would a lap dog, and with stately step marched him away to the
connubial, apartment, in which everything remained very quiet for the
rest of the night.

The next morning Mr. O'Connor presented himself to congratulate the
tailor on his happiness. Neal, as his friend shook hands with him, gave
the schoolmaster's fingers a slight squeeze, such as a man gives who
would gently entreat your sympathy. The schoolmaster looked at him, and
thought he shook his head. Of this, however, he could not be certain;
for, as he shook his own during the moment of observation, he concluded
that it might be a mere mistake of the eye, or perhaps the result of a
mind predisposed to be credulous on the subject of shaking heads.

We wish it were in our power to draw a veil, or curtain, or blind of
some description, over the remnant of the tailor's narrative that is to
follow; but as it is the duty of every faithful historian to give
the secret causes of appearances which the world in general do not
understand, so we think it but honest to go on, impartially and
faithfully, without shrinking from the responsibility that is frequently
annexed to truth.

For the first three days after matrimony, Neal felt like a man who had
been translated to a new and more lively state of existence. He had
expected, and flattered himself, that, the moment this event should
take place, he would once more resume his heroism, and experience
the pleasure of a drubbing. This determination he kept a profound
secret--nor was it known until a future period, when he disclosed it to
Mr. O'Connor. He intended, therefore, that marriage should be nothing
more than a mere parenthesis in his life--a kind of asterisk, pointing,
in a note at the bottom, to this single exception in his general
conduct--a _nota bene_ to the spirit of a martial man, intimating that
he had been peaceful only for a while. In truth, he was, during the
influence of love over him, and up to the very day of his marriage,
secretly as blue-moulded as ever for want of a beating. The heroic
penchant lay snugly latent in his heart, unchecked and unmodified. He
flattered himself that he was achieving a capital imposition upon the
world at large--that he was actually hoaxing mankind in general--and
that such an excellent piece of knavish tranquillity had never been
perpetrated before his time.

On the first week after his marriage, there chanced to be a fair in
the next market-town. Neal, after breakfast, brought forward a bunch of
shillelahs, in order to select the best; the wife inquired the purpose
of the selection, and Neal declared that he was resolved to have a fight
that day, if it were to be had, he said, for love or money. "The thruth
is," he exclaimed, strutting with fortitude about the house, "the thruth
is, that I've done the whole of yez--I'm as _blue-mowlded_ as ever for
want of a batin'."

"Don't go," said the wife.

"I will go," said Neal, with vehemence; "I'll go if the whole parish was
to go to prevint me."

In about another half-hour Neal sat down quietly to his business,
instead of going to the fair!

Much ingenious speculation might be indulged in, upon this abrupt
termination to the tailor's most formidable resolution; but, for our own
part, we will prefer going on with the narrative, leaving the reader
at liberty to solve the mystery as he pleases. In the mean time, we say
this much--let those who cannot make it out, carry it to their tailor;
it is a tailor's mystery, and no one has so good a right to understand
it--except, perhaps, a tailor's wife.

At the period of his matrimony, Neal had become as plump and as stout
as he ever was known to be in his plumpest and stoutest days. He and the
schoolmaster had been very intimate about this time; but we know not how
it happened that soon afterwards he felt a modest bridelike reluctance
in meeting with that afflicted gentleman. As the eve of his union
approached, he was in the habit, during the schoolmaster's visits to
his workshop, of alluding, in rather a sarcastic tone, considering the
unthriving appearance of his friend, to the increasing lustiness of
his person. Nay, he has often leaped up from his lap-board, and, in the
strong spirit of exultation, thrust out his leg in attestation of his
assertion, slapping it, moreover, with a loud laugh of triumph, that
sounded like a knell to the happiness of his emaciated acquaintance.
The schoolmaster's philosophy, however, unlike his flesh, never departed
from him; his usual observation was, "Neal, we are both receding from
the same point; you increase in flesh, whilst I, heaven help me, am fast
diminishing."

The tailor received these remarks with very boisterous mirth, whilst
Mr. O'Connor simply shook his head, and looked sadly upon his limbs,
now shrouded in a superfluity of garments, somewhat resembling a slender
thread of water in a shallow summer stream, nearly wasted away, and
surrounded by an unproportionate extent of channel.

The fourth month after the marriage arrived. Neal, one day, near its
close, began to dress himself in his best apparel. Even then, when
buttoning his waistcoat, he shook his head after the manner of Mr.
O'Connor, and made observations upon the great extent to which it
over-folded him.

Well, thought he, with a sigh--this waistcoat certainly did fit me to a
T: but it's wondherful to think how--cloth stretches.

"Neal," said the wife, on perceiving him dressed, "where are you bound
for?"

"Faith, for life," replied Neal, with a mitigated swagger; "and I'd as
soon, if it had been the will of Provid--"

He paused.

"Where are you going?" asked the wife, a second time.

"Why," he answered, "only to the dance at Jemmy Connolly's; I'll be back
early."

"Don't go," said the wife. "I'll go," said Neal, "if the whole
counthry was to prevent me. Thunder an' lightnin,' woman, who am I?" he
exclaimed, in a loud but rather infirm voice; "arn't I Neal Malone, that
never met a man who'd fight him! Neal Malone, that was never beat by
man! Why, tare-an-ounze, woman! Whoo! I'll get enraged some time, an'
play the divil? Who's afeard, I say?"

"Don't go," added the wife a third time, giving Neal a significant look
in the face.

In about another half-hour, Neal sat down quietly to his business,
instead of going to the dance!

Neal now turned himself, like many a sage in similar circumstances, to
philosophy; that is to say--he began to shake his head upon principle,
after the manner of the schoolmaster. He would, indeed, have preferred
the bottle upon principle; but there was no getting at the bottle,
except through the wife; and it so happened that by the time it reached
him, there was little consolation left in it. Neal bore all in silence;
for silence, his friend had often told him, was a proof of wisdom.

Soon after this, Neal, one evening, met Mr. O'Connor by chance upon a
plank which crossed a river. This plank was only a foot in breadth, so
that no two individuals could pass each other upon it. We cannot find
words in which to express the dismay of both, on finding that they
absolutely glided past one another without collision.

Both paused, and surveyed each other solemnly; but the astonishment was
all on the side of Mr. O'Connor.

"Neal," said the schoolmaster, "by all the household gods, I conjure you
to speak, that I may be assured you live!"

The ghost of a blush crossed the churchyard visage of the tailor.

"Oh!" he exclaimed, "why the devil did you tempt me to marry a wife."

"Neal," said his friend, "answer me in the most solemn manner
possible--throw into your countenance all the gravity you can assume;
speak as if you were under the hands of the hangman, with the rope about
your neck, for the question is, indeed, a trying-one which I am about to
put. Are you still 'blue-moulded for want of beating?'"

The tailor collected himself to make a reply; he put one leg out--the
very leg which he used to show in triumph to his friend; but, alas, how
dwindled! He opened his waistcoat, and lapped it round him, until he
looked like a weasel on its hind legs. He then raised himself up on his
tip toes, and, in an awful whisper, replied, "No!!! the devil a bit I'm
blue-mowlded for want of a batin."

The schoolmaster shook his head in his own miserable manner; but, alas!
he soon perceived that the tailor was as great an adept at shaking the
head as himself. Nay, he saw that there was a calamitous refinement--a
delicacy of shake in the tailor's vibrations, which gave to his own nod
a very commonplace character.

The next day the tailor took in his clothes; and from time to time
continued to adjust them to the dimensions of his shrinking person.
The schoolmaster and he, whenever they could steal a moment, met and
sympathized together. Mr. O'Connor, however, bore up somewhat better
than Neal. The latter was subdued in heart and in spirit; thoroughly,
completely, and intensely vanquished. His features became sharpened
by misery, for a termagant wife is the whetstone on which all the
calamities of a hen-pecked husband are painted by the devil. He no
longer strutted as he was wont to do; he no longer carried a cudgel
as if he wished to wage a universal battle with mankind. He was now a
married man.--Sneakingiy, and with a cowardly crawl did he creep along
as if every step brought him nearer to the gallows. The schoolmaster's
march of misery was far slower than Neal's: the latter distanced him.
Before three years passed, he had shrunk up so much, that he could not
walk abroad of a windy day without carrying weights in his pockets to
keep him firm on the earth, which he once trod with the step of a giant.
He again sought the schoolmaster, with whom indeed he associated as
much as possible. Here he felt certain of receiving sympathy; nor was
he disappointed. That worthy, but miserable, man and Neal, often retired
beyond the hearing of their respective wives, and supported each other
by every argument in their power. Often have they been heard, in the
dusk of evening, singing behind a remote hedge that melancholy ditty,
"Let us both be unhappy together;" which rose upon the twilight breeze
with a cautious quaver of sorrow truly heart-rending and lugubrious.

"Neal," said Mr. O'Connor, on one of those occasions, "here is a book
which I recommend to your perusal; it is called 'The Afflicted Man's
Companion;' try if you cannot glean some consolation out of it."

"Faith," said Neal, "I'm forever oblaged to you, but I don't want it.
I've had 'The Afflicted Man's Companion' too long, and divil an atom of
consolation I can get out of it. I have one o' them I tell you; but, be
me sowl, I'll not undhertake a pair o' them. The very name's enough for
me." They then separated.

The tailor's _vis vitae_ must have been powerful, or he would have died.
In two years more his friends could not distinguish him from his own
shadow; a circumstance which was of great inconvenience to him. Several
grasped at the hand of the shadow instead of his; and one man was near,
paying it five and sixpence for making a pair of smallclothes. Neal, it
is true, undeceived him with some trouble; but candidly admitted that he
was not able to carry home the money. It was difficult, indeed, for the
poor tailor to bear what he felt; it is true he bore it as long as
he could; but at length he became suicidal, and often had thoughts of
"making his own quietus with his bare bodkin." After many deliberations
and afflictions, he ultimately made the attempt; but, alas! he found
that the blood of the Malones refused to flow upon so ignominious an
occasion. So he solved the phenomenon; although the truth was, that his
blood was not "i' the vein" for't; none was to be had. What then was to
be done? He resolved to get rid of life by some process; and the next
that occurred to him was hanging. In a solemn spirit he prepared a
selvage, and suspended himself from the rafter of his workshop; but here
another disappintment awaited him--he would not hang. Such was his want
of gravity, that his own weight proved insufficient to occasion his
death by mere suspension. His third attempt was at drowning, but he
was too light to sink; all the elements,--all his own energies joined
themselves, he thought, in a wicked conspiracy to save his life. Having
thus tried every avenue to destruction, and failed in all, he felt like
a man doomed to live for ever. Henceforward he shrunk and shrivelled by
slow degrees, until in the course of time he became so attenuated, that
the grossness of human vision could no longer reach him.

This, however, could not last always. Though still alive, he was, to all
intents and purposes, imperceptible. He could now only be heard; he was
reduced to a mere essence--the very echo of human existence, _vox
el praiterea nihil_. It is true the schoolmaster asserted that he
occasionally caught passing glimpses of him; but that was because he
had been himself nearly spiritualized by affliction, and his visual ray
purged in the furnace of domestic tribulation. By and by Neal's voice
lessened, got fainter and more indistinct, until at length nothing but
a doubtful murmur could be heard, which ultimately could scarcely be
distinguished from a ringing in the ears.

Such was the awful and mysterious fate of the tailor, who, as a hero,
could not of course die; he merely dissolved like an icicle, wasted into
immateriality, and finally melted away beyond the perception of mortal
sense. Mr. O'Connor is still living, and once more in the fulness of
perfect health and strength. His wife, however, we may as well hint, has
been dead more than two years.



ART MAGUIRE;

OR, THE BROKEN PLEDGE.


PREFACE.

In proposing to write a series of "Tales for the Irish People," the
author feels perfectly conscious of the many difficulties by which he
is surrounded, and by which he may be still met in his endeavors to
accomplish that important task. In order, however, to make everything as
clear and intelligible as possible, he deems it necessary, in the first
place, to state what his object is in undertaking it: that object is
simply to improve their physical and social condition--generally;
and through the medium of vivid and striking, but unobjectionable
narratives, to inculcate such principles as may enable Irishmen to think
more clearly, reason more correctly, and act more earnestly upon the
general duties, which, from their position in life, they are called upon
to perform. With regard to those who feel apprehensive that anything
calculated to injure the doctrinal convictions of the Catholic people
may be suffered to creep into these Tales, the author has only to assure
them--that such an object comes within the scope neither of his plan
or inclinations. It is not his intention to make these productions the
vehicles of Theology or Polemics; but studiously to avoid anything and
everything that even approaches the sphere of clerical duty. His
object, so far from that, is the inculcation of general, not peculiar,
principles--principles which neither affect nor offend any creed, but
which are claimed and valued by all. In this way, by making amusement
the handmaiden of instruction, the author believes it possible to let
into the cabin, the farm-house, and even the landlord's drawing-room,
a light by which each and all of them may read many beneficial
lessons--lessons that will, it is hoped, abide with them, settle down
in their hearts, and by giving them a, clearer sense of their respective
duties, aid in improving and regenerating their condition.

To send to the poor man's fireside, through the medium of Tales that
will teach his heart and purify his affections, those simple lessons
which may enable him to understand his own value--that will generate
self-respect, independence, industry, love of truth, hatred of deceit
and falsehood, habits of cleanliness, order, and punctuality--together
with all those lesser virtues which help to create a proper sense of
personal and domestic comfort--to assist in working out these healthful
purposes is the Author's anxious wish--a task in which any man may feel
proud to engage.

Self-reliance, manly confidence in the effect of their own virtues,
respect for the virtues that ought to adorn rank, rather than for
rank itself, and a spurning of that vile servility which is only the
hereditary remnant of bygone oppression, will be taught the people
in such a way as to make them feel how far up in society a high moral
condition can and ought to place them. Nor is this all;--the darker
page of Irish life shall be laid open before them--in which they will be
taught, by examples that they can easily understand, the fearful details
of misery, destitution, banishment, and death, which the commission of a
single crime may draw down, not only upon the criminal himself, but upon
those innocent and beloved connections whom he actually punishes by his
guilt.

It is, indeed, with fear and trembling that the Author undertakes such a
great and important task as this. If he fail, however, he may well say--

"_Quem si non tenuifc, tamon magnis excidit ausis_."

Still he is willing to hope that, through the aid of truthful fiction,
operating upon the feelings of his countrymen, and on their knowledge of
peasant life, he may furnish them with such a pleasing Encyclopedia of
social duty--now lit up with their mirth, and again made tender with
their sorrow--as will force them to look upon him as a benefactor--to
forget his former errors--and to cherish his name with affection, when
he himself shall be freed forever from those cares and trials of life
which have hitherto been his portion.

In the following simple narrative of "The Broken Pledge," it was his
aim, without leading his readers out of the plain paths of every-day
life or into the improbable creations of Romance, to detail the
character of such an individual as almost every man must have often seen
and noticed within the society by which he is surrounded. He trusts that
the moral, as regards both husband and wife, is wholesome and good,
and calculated to warn those who would follow in the footsteps of "Art
Maguire."

Dubin, July 4, 1845.



It has been often observed, and as frequently inculcated, through the
medium of both press and pulpit, that there is scarcely any human being
who, how striking soever his virtues, or how numerous his good qualities
may be, does not carry in his moral constitution some particular
weakness or failing, or perhaps vice, to which he is especially subject,
and which may, if not properly watched and restrained, exercise an
injurious and evil influence over his whole life. Neither have the
admonitions of press or pulpit ended in merely laying down this obvious
and undeniable truth, but, on the contrary, very properly proceeded to
add, that one of the most pressing duties of man is to examine his own
heart, in order to ascertain what this particular vice or failing in his
case may be, in order that, when discovered, suitable means be taken to
remove or overcome it.

The man whose history we are about to detail for the reader's
instruction, was, especially during the latter years of his life, a
touching, but melancholy illustration of this indisputable truth; in
other words, he possessed the weakness or the vice, as the reader may
consider it, and found, when too late, that a yielding resolution, or,
to use a phrase perhaps better understood, a good intention, was but a
feeble and inefficient instrument with which to attempt its subjection.
Having made these few preliminary observations, as being suitable, in
our opinion, to the character of the incidents which follow, we proceed
at once to commence our narrative.

Arthur, or, as he was more familiarly called by the people, Art Maguire,
was the son of parents who felt and knew that they were descended from
higher and purer blood than could be boasted of by many of the families
in their neighborhood. Art's father was a small farmer, who held about
ten acres of land, and having a family of six children--three sons, and
as many daughters--he determined upon putting one or two of the former
to a trade, so soon as they should be sufficiently grown up for that
purpose. This, under his circumstances was a proper and provident
resolution to make. His farm was too small to be parceled out, as is too
frequently the case, into small miserable patches, upon each of which
a young and inconsiderate couple are contented to sit down, with the
prospect of rearing up and supporting a numerous family with wofully
inadequate means; for although it is generally a matter of certainty
that the families of these young persons will increase, yet it is a
perfectly well-known fact that the little holding will not, and the
consequence is, that families keep subdividing on the one hand, and
increasing on the other, until there is no more room left for them.
Poverty then ensues, and as poverty in such cases begets competition,
and competition crime, so we repeat that Condy Maguire's intention,
as being one calculated to avoid such a painful state of things, was a
proof of his own good sense and forethought.

Arthur's brother, Frank, was a boy not particularly remarkable for any
peculiar brilliancy of intellect, or any great vivacity of disposition.
When at school he was never in a quarrel, nor engaged in any of those
wild freaks which are sore annoyances to a village schoolmaster, and
daring outrages against his authority. He was consequently a favorite
not only with the master, but with all the sober, well-behaved boys
of the school, and many a time has Teague Rooney, with whom he was
educated, exclaimed, as he addressed him:

"Go to your sate, Frank abouchal; faith, although there are boys endowed
wid more brilliancy of intellect than has fallen to your lot, yet you
are the very youth who understands what is due to legitimate authority,
at any rate, an' that's no small gift in itself; go to your sate, sorrow
taw will go to your substratum this bout, for not having your lesson;
for well I know it wasn't idleness that prevented you, but the natural
sobriety and slowness of intellect you are gifted wid. If you are slow,
however, you are sure, and I'll pledge my reputaytion aginst that of the
great O'Flaherty himself, that you and your brinoge of a brother will
both live to give a beautiful illustration of the celebrated race
between the hare and the tortoise yet. Go to your sate wid impunity, and
tell your dacent mother I was inquiring for her."

Such, indeed, was a tolerably correct view of Frank's character. He was
quiet, inoffensive, laborious, and punctual; though not very social or
communicative, yet he was both well-tempered and warm-hearted, points
which could not, without considerable opportunities of knowing him, be
readily perceived. Having undertaken the accomplishment of an object, he
permitted no circumstance to dishearten or deter him in working out
his purpose; if he said it, he did it; for his word was a sufficient
guarantee that he would; his integrity was consequently respected,
and his resolution, when he expressed it, was seldom disputed by his
companions, who knew that in general it was inflexible. After what we
have said, it is scarcely necessary to add that he was both courageous
and humane.

These combinations of character frequently occur. Many a man not
remarkable for those qualities of the head that impress themselves most
strikingly upon the world, is nevertheless gifted with those excellent
principles of the heart which, although without much show, and scarcely
any noise, go to work out the most useful purposes of life. Arthur, on
the contrary, was a contrast to his brother, and a strong one, too, on
many points; his intellect was far superior to that of Frank's, but,
on the other hand, he by no means possessed his brother's steadiness or
resolution. We do not say, however, that he was remarkable for the want
of either, far from it; he could form a resolution, and work it out as
well as his brother, provided his course was left unobstructed: nay,
more, he could overcome difficulties many and varied, provided only that
he was left unassailed by, one solitary temptation--that of an easy
and good-humored vanity. He was conscious of his talents, and of his
excellent qualities, and being exceedingly vain, nothing gave him
greater gratification than to hear himself praised for possessing
them--for it is a fact, that every man who is vain of any particular
gift, forgets that he did not bestow that gift upon himself, and that
instead of priding himself upon the possession of it, he should only be
humbly thankful to the Being who endowed him with it.

Art was social, communicative, and, although possessing what might be
considered internal resources more numerous, and of a far higher order
than did his brother, yet, somehow, it was clear that he had not the
same self-dependence that marked the other. He always wanted, as it.
were, something to lean upon, although in truth he did not at all
require it, had he properly understood himself. The truth is, like
thousands, he did not begin to perceive, or check in time, those early
tendencies that lead a heart naturally indolent, but warm and generous,
to the habit of relying first, in small things, upon external sources
and objects, instead of seeking and finding within itself those
materials for manly independence, with which every heart is supplied,
were its possessor only aware of the fact, and properly instructed how
to use them.

Art's enjoyments, for instance, were always of a social nature, and
never either solitary or useful in their tendencies; of this character
was every thing he engaged in. He would not make a ship of water
flaggons by himself, nor sail it by himself--he would not spin a top,
nor trundle a hoop without a companion--if sent upon a message, or to
dig a basket of potatoes in the field, he would rather purchase the
society of a companion with all the toys or playthings he possessed than
do either alone. His very lessons he would not get unless his brother
Frank got his along with him. The reader may thus perceive that he
acquired no early habit of self-restraint, no principle of either labor
or enjoyment within, himself, and of course could acquire none at all
of self-reliance. A social disposition in our amusements is not only
proper, but natural, for we believe it is pretty generally known, that
he who altogether prefers such amusements is found to be deficient
in the best and most generous principles of our nature. Every thing,
however, has its limits and its exceptions. Art, if sent to do a day's
work alone, would either abandon it entirely, and bear the brunt of his
father's anger, or he would, as we have said, purchase the companionship
of some neighbor's son or child, for, provided he had any one to whom he
could talk, he cared not, and having thus succeeded, he would finish it
triumphantly.

In due time, however, his great prevailing weakness, vanity, became well
known to his family, who, already aware of his peculiar aversion to any
kind of employment that was not social, immediately seized upon it,
and instead of taking rational steps to remove it, they nursed it into
stronger life by pandering to it as a convenient means of regulating,
checking, or stimulating the whole habits of his life. His family were
not aware of the moral consequences which they were likely to produce
by conduct such as this, nor of the pains they were ignorantly taking to
lay the foundation of his future misfortune and misery.

"Art, my good boy, will you take your spade and clane out the remaindher
o' that drain, between the Hannigans and us," said his father.

"Well, will Frank come?"

"Sure you know he can't; isn't he weedin' that bit of _blanther_ in
Crackton's park, an' afther that sure he has to cut scraws on the
Pirl-hill for the new barn."

"Well, I'll help him if he helps me; isn't that fair? Let us join."

"Hut, get out o' that, avourneen; go yourself; do what you're bid, Art."

"Is it by myself? murdher alive, father, don't ax me; I'll give him my
new Cammon if he comes."

"Throth you won't; the sorra hand I'd ever wish to see the same Cammon
in but your own; faix, it's you that can handle it in style. Well now,
Art, well becomes myself but I thought I could play a Cammon wid the
face o' clay wanst in my time, but may I never sin if ever I could match
you at it; oh, sorra taste o' your Cammon you must part wid; sure I'd
rather scower the drain myself."

"Bedad I won't part wid it then."

"I'd rather, I tell you, scower it myself--an' I will, too. Sure if I
renew the ould cough an me I'll thry the _Casharawan_, (* Dandelion) that
did me so much good the last time."

"Well, that's purty! Ha, ha, ha! you to go! Oh, ay, indeed--as if I'd
stand by an' let you. Not so bad as that comes to, either--no. Is the
spade an' shovel in the shed?"

"To be sure they are. Throth, Art, you're worth the whole o' them--the
sorra lie in it. Well, go, avillish."

This was this fine boy's weakness played upon by those who, it is true,
were not at all conscious of the injury they were inflicting upon him at
the time. He was certainly the pride of the family, and even while they
humored and increased this his predominant and most dangerous foible, we
are bound to say that they gratified their own affection as much as they
did his vanity.

His father's family consisted, as we have said, of three sons and three
daughters. The latter were the elder, and in point of age Art, as we
have said, was the youngest of them all. The education that he and his
brothers received was such as the time and the neglected state of the
country afforded them. They could all read and write tolerably well, and
knew something of arithmetic. This was a proof that their education had
not been neglected. And why should it? Were they not the descendants of
the great Maguires of Fermanagh? Why, the very consciousness of their
blood was felt as a proud and unanswerable argument against ignorance.
The best education, therefore, that could be procured by persons in
their humble sphere of life, they received. The eldest brother, whose
name was Brian, did not, as is too frequently the case with the eldest
sons of small farmers, receive so liberal a portion of instruction as
Frank or Art. This resulted from the condition and necessities of his
father, who could not spare him from his farm--and, indeed, it cost the
worthy man many a sore heart. At all events, time advanced, and the two
younger brothers were taken from school with a view of being apprenticed
to some useful trade. The character of each was pretty well in
accordance with their respective dispositions. Frank had no enemies, yet
was he by no means so popular as Art, who had many. The one possessed
nothing to excite envy, and never gave offence; the other, by the very
superiority of his natural powers, exultingly paraded, as they were, at
the expense of dulness or unsuccessful rivalry, created many vindictive
maligners, who let no opportunity pass of giving him behind his back the
harsh word which they durst not give him to his face. In spite of all
this, his acknowledged superiority, his generosity, his candor, and
utter ignorance or hatred of the low chicaneries of youthful cunning,
joined to his open, intrepid, and manly character, conspired to render
him popular in an extraordinary degree. Nay, his very failings added
to this, and when the battle of his character was fought, all the
traditionary errors of moral life were quoted in his favor.

"Ay, ay, the boy has his faults, and who has not; I'd be glad to know?
If he's lively, it's betther to be that, than a mosey, any day. His
brother Frank is a good boy, but sure divil a squig of spunk or spirits
is in him, an', my dear, you know the ould proverb, that a standin'
pool always stinks, while the runnin' strame is sweet and clear to the
bottom. If he's proud, he has a right to be proud, and why shouldn't he,
seein' that it's well known he could take up more larnin' than half the
school."

"Well, but poor Frank's a harmless boy, and never gave offence to
mortual, which, by the same token, is more than can be said of Art the
lad."

"Very well, we know all that; and maybe it 'ud be betther for himself
if he had a sharper spice of the dioual in him--but sure the poor boy
hasn't the brain for it. Offence! oh, the dickens may seize the offence
poor Frank will give to man or woman, barrin' he mends his manners, and
gats a little life into him--sure he was a year and a day in the Five
Common Rules, an' three blessed weeks gettin' the Multiplication Table."

Such, in general, was the estimate formed of their respective
characters, by those who, of course, had an opportunity of knowing them
best. Whether the latter were right or wrong will appear in the sequel,
but in the meantime we must protest, even in this early stage of our
narrative, against those popular exhibitions of mistaken sympathy, which
in early life--the most dangerous period too--are felt and expressed
for those who, in association with weak points of character, give strong
indications of talent. This mistaken generosity is pernicious to the
individual, inasmuch as it confirms him in the very errors which he
should correct, and in the process of youthful reasoning, which is
most selfish, induces him not only to doubt the whisperings of his
own conscience, but to substitute in their stead the promptings of the
silliest vanity.

Having thus given a rapid sketch of these two brothers in their
schoolboy life, we now come to that period at which their father thought
proper to apprentice them. The choice of the trade he left to their own
natural judgment, and as Frank was the eldest, he was allowed to choose
first. He immediately selected that of a carpenter, as being clean,
respectable, and within-doors; and, as he added--

"Where the wages is good--and then I'm tould that one can work afther
hours, if they wish."

"Very well," said the father, "now let us hear, Art; come, alanna, what
are you on for?"

"I'll not take any trade," replied Art.

"Not take any trade, Art! why, my goodness, sure you knew all along that
you war for a trade. Don't you know when you and Frank grow up, and, of
course, must take the world on your heads, that it isn't this strip of a
farm that you can depend on."

"That's what I think of," said Frank; "one's not to begin the world wid
empty pockets, or, any way, widout some ground to put one's foot on."

"The world!" rejoined Art; "why, what the sorra puts thoughts o' the
world into your head, Frank? Isn't it time enough for you or me to think
o' the world these ten years to come?"

"Ay," replied Frank, "but when we come to join it isn't the time to
begin to think of it; don't you know what the ould saying says--_ha nha
la na guiha la na scuillaba_--it isn't on the windy day that you are to
look for your scollops."*

     * The proverb inculcates forethought and provision.
     Scollop is an osier sharpened at both ends, by which
     the thatch of a house is fastened down to the roof. Of
     a windy day the thatch alone would be utterly useless,
     if there were no scollops to keep it firm.

"An' what 'ud prevent you, Art, from goin' to larn a trade?" asked his
father.

"I'd rather stay with you," replied the affectionate boy; "I don't like
to leave you nor the family, to be goin' among strangers."

The unexpected and touching nature of his motive, so different from what
was expected, went immediately to his father's heart. He looked at his
fine boy, and was silent for a minute, after which he wiped the moisture
from his eyes. Art, on seeing his father affected, became so himself,
and added--

"That's my only raison, father, for not goin'; I wouldn't like to lave
you an' them, if I could help it."

"Well, acushla," replied the father, while his eyes beamed on him with
tenderness and affection, "sure we wouldn't ax you to go, if we could
any way avoid it--it's for your own good we do it. Don't refuse to go,
Art; sure for my sake you won't?"

"I will go, then," he replied; "I'll go for your sake, but I'll miss you
all."

"An' we'll miss you, ahagur. God bless you, Art dear, it's jist like
you. Ay, will we in throth miss you; but, then, think what a brave fine
thing it'll be for you to have a grip of a dacent independent trade,
that'll keep your feet out o' the dirt while you live."

"I will go," repeated Art, "but as for the trade, I'll have none but
Frank's. I'll be a carpenter, for then he and I can be together."

In addition to the affectionate motive which Art had mentioned to his
father--and which was a true one--as occasioning his reluctance to learn
a trade, there was another, equally strong and equally tender. In the
immediate neighborhood there lived a family named Murray, between whom
and the Maguires there subsisted a very kindly intimacy. Jemmy Murray
was in fact one of the wealthiest men in that part of the parish, as
wealth then was considered--that is to say, he farmed about forty acres,
which he held at a moderate rent, and as he was both industrious and
frugal, it was only a matter of consequence that he and his were well
to do in the world. It is not likely, however, that even a passing
acquaintance would ever have taken place between them, were it not for
the consideration of the blood which was known to flow in the veins
of the Fermanagh Maguires. Murray was a good deal touched with
purse-pride--the most offensive and contemptible description of pride
in the world--and would never have suffered an intimacy, were it not for
the reason I have alleged. It is true he was not a man of such stainless
integrity as Condy Maguire, because it was pretty well known that in
the course of his life, while accumulating money, he was said to
have stooped to practices that were, to say the least of them, highly
discreditable. For instance, he always held over his meal, until there
came what is unfortunately both too well known and too well felt in
Ireland,--a dear year--a year of hunger, starvation, and famine. For the
same reason he held over his hay, and indeed on passing his haggard you
were certain to perceive three or four immense stacks, bleached by the
sun and rain of two or three seasons into a tawny yellow. Go into his
large kitchen or storehouse, and you saw three or four immense
deal chests filled with meal, which was reserved for a season of
scarcity--for, proud as Farmer Murray was, he did not disdain to fatten
upon human misery. Between these two families there was, as we have
said, an intimacy. It was wealth and worldly goods on the one side;
integrity and old blood on the other. Be this as it may, Farmer Murray
had a daughter, Margaret, the youngest of four, who was much about the
age of Arthur Maguire. Margaret was a girl whom it was almost impossible
to know and not to love. Though then but seventeen, her figure was full,
rich, and beautifully formed. Her abundant hair was black and glossy as
ebony, and her skin, which threw a lustre like ivory itself, had--not
the whiteness of snow--but a whiteness a thousand times more natural--a
whiteness that was fresh, radiant, and spotless. She was arch and full
of spirits, but her humor--for she possessed it in abundance--was so
artless, joyous, and innocent, that the heart was taken with it before
one had time for reflection. Added, however, to this charming vivacity
of temperament were many admirable virtues, and a fund of deep and
fervent feeling, which, even at that early period of her life, had made
her name beloved by every one in the parish, especially the poor and
destitute. The fact is, she was her father's favorite daughter, and he
could deny her nothing. The admirable girl was conscious of this, but
instead of availing herself of his affection for her in a way that
many--nay, we may say, most--would have done, for purposes of dress or
vanity, she became an interceding angel for the poor and destitute; and
closely as Murray loved money, yet it is due to him to say, that, on
these occasions, she was generally successful. Indeed, he was so far
from being insensible to his daughter's noble virtues, that he felt
pride in reflecting that she possessed them, and gave aid ten times
from that feeling for once that he did from a more exalted one. Such
was Margaret Murray, and such, we are happy to say--for we know it--are
thousands of the peasant girls of our country.

It was not to be wondered at, then, that in addition to the reluctance
which a heart naturally affectionate, like Art's, should feel on leaving
his relations for the first time, he should experience much secret
sorrow at being deprived of the society of this sweet and winning girl.

Matters now, however, were soon arranged, and the time, nay, the very
day for their departure was appointed. Art, though deeply smitten with
the charms of Margaret Murray, had never yet ventured to breathe to her
a syllable of love, being deterred naturally enough by the distance in
point of wealth which existed between the families. Not that this alone,
perhaps, would have prevented him from declaring his affection for her;
but, young as he was, he had not been left unimpressed by his father's
hereditary sense of the decent pride, strict honesty, and independent
spirit, which should always mark the conduct and feelings of any one
descended from the great Fermanagh Maguires. He might, therefore,
probably have spoken, but that his pride dreaded a repulse, and that he
could not bear to contemplate. This, joined to the natural diffidence of
youth, sufficiently accounts for his silence.

There lived, at the period of which we write, which is not a thousand
years ago, at a place called "the Corner House," a celebrated carpenter
named Jack M'Carroll. He was unquestionably a first-rate mechanic, kept
a large establishment, and had ample and extensive business. To him had
Art and Frank been apprenticed, and, indeed, a better selection could
not have been made, for Jack was not only a good workman himself, but an
excellent employer, and an honest man. An arrangement had been entered
into with a neighboring farmer regarding their board and lodging,
so that every thing was settled very much to the satisfaction of all
parties.

When the day of their departure had at length arrived, Art felt his
affections strongly divided, but without being diminished, between
Margaret Murray and his family; while Frank, who was calm and
thoughtful, addressed himself to the task of getting ready such luggage
as they had been provided with.

"Frank," said Art, "don't you think we ought to go and bid farewell to a
few of our nearest neighbors before we lave home?"

"Where's the use of that?" asked Frank; "not a bit, Art; the best plan
is jist to bid our own people farewell, and slip away without noise or
nonsense."

"You may act as you plaise, Frank," replied the other; "as for me, I'll
call on Jemmy Hanlon and Tom Connolly, at all events; but hould," said
he, abruptly, "ought I to do that? Isn't it their business to come to
us?"

"It is," replied Frank, "and so they would too, but that they think
we won't start till Thursday; for you know we didn't intend to go till
then."

"Well," said Art, "that's a horse of another color: I will call on them.
Wouldn't they think it heartless of us to go off widout seein' them? An'
besides, Frank, why should we steal away like thieves that had the hue
and cry at their heels? No, faith, as sure as we go at all, we'll go
openly, an' like men that have nothing to be afraid of."

"Very well," replied his brother, "have it your own way, so far as
you're consarned, as for me, I look upon it all as mere nonsense."

It is seldom that honest and manly affection fails to meet its reward,
be the period soon or late. Had Art been guided by Frank's apparent
indifference--who, however, acted in this matter solely for the sake of
sparing his brother's feelings--he would have missed the opportunity of
being a party to an incident which influenced his future life in all he
ever afterwards enjoyed and suffered. He had gone, as he said, to bid
farewell to his neighbors, and was on his return home in order to take
his departure, when whom should he meet on her way to her father's
house, after having called at his father's "to see the girls," as she
said, with a slight emphasis upon the word girls, but Margaret Murray.

As was natural, and as they had often done before under similar
circumstances, each paused on meeting, but somehow on this occasion
there was visible on both sides more restraint than either had ever yet
shown. At length, the preliminary chat having ceased, a silence ensued,
which, after a little time, was broken by Margaret, who, Art could
perceive, blushed deeply as she spoke.

"So, Art, you and Frank are goin' to lave us."

"It's not with my own consint I'm goin', Margaret," he replied. As he
uttered the words he looked at her; their eyes met, but neither could
stand the glance of the other; they were instantly withdrawn.

"I'll not forget my friends, at all events," said Art; "at least,
there's some o' them I won't, nor wouldn't either, if I was to get a
million o' money for doin' so."

Margaret's face and neck, on hearing this, were in one glow of crimson,
and she kept her eyes still on the ground, but made no reply. At
length she raised them, and their glances met again; in that glance the
consciousness of his meaning was read by both, the secret was disclosed,
and their love told.

The place where they stood was in one of those exquisitely wild but
beautiful green country lanes that are mostly enclosed on each side
by thorn hedges, and have their sides bespangled with a profusion
of delicate and fragrant wild flowers, while the pathway, from the
unfrequency of feet, is generally covered with short daisy-gemmed grass,
with the exception of a trodden line in the middle that is made solely
by foot-passengers. Such was the sweet spot in which they stood at the
moment the last glance took place between them.

At length Margaret spoke, but why was it that her voice was such music
to him now? Musical and sweet it always was, and he had heard it a
thousand times before, but why, we ask, was it now so delicious to his
ear, so ecstatic to his heart? Ah, it was that sweet, entrancing little
charm which trembled up from her young and beating heart, through its
softest intonations; this low tremor it was that confirmed the tale
which the divine glance of that dark, but soft and mellow eye, had just
told him. But to proceed, at length she spoke--

"Arthur," said the innocent girl, unconscious that she was about to do
an act for which many will condemn her, "before you go, and I know I
will not have an opportunity of seein' you again, will you accept of a
keepsake from me?"


[Illustration: PAGE AM994-- At length Margaret spoke]


"Will I? oh, Margaret, Margaret!"--he gazed at her, but could not
proceed, his heart was too full.

"Take this," said she, "and keep it for my sake."

Ho took it out of her hand, he seized the hand itself, another glance,
and they sank into each other's arms, each trembling with an excess of
happiness. Margaret wept. This gush of rapture relieved and lightened
their young and innocent hearts, and Margaret having withdrawn
herself from his arms, they could now speak more freely. It is not our
intention, however, to detail their conversation, which may easily be
conjectured by our readers. On looking at the keepsake, Art found that
it was a tress of her rich and raven hair, which, we may add here, he
tied about his heart that day, and on that heart, or rather the dust of
that heart, it lies on this.

It was fortunate for Art that he followed! his brother's judgment in
selecting the same trade. Frank, we have said, notwithstanding his
coldness of manner, was by no means deficient in feeling or affection;
he possessed, however, the power of suppressing their external
manifestations, a circumstance which not unfrequently occasioned it to
happen that want of feeling was often imputed to him without any just
cause. At all events, he was a guide, a monitor, and a friend to his
brother, whom he most sincerely and affectionately loved; he kindly
pointed out to him his errors, matured his judgment by sound practical
advice: where it was necessary, he gave him the spur, and on other,
occasions held him in. Art was extremely well-tempered, as was Frank
also, so that it was impossible any two brothers could agree better, or
live in more harmony than they did. In truth, he had almost succeeded
in opening Art's eyes to the weak points in his character, especially
to the greatest, and most dangerous of all--his vanity, or insatiable
appetite for praise. They had not been long in M'Carroll's establishment
when the young man's foibles were soon seen through, and of course began
to be played upon; Frank, however, like a guardian angel, was always at
hand to advise or defend him, as the case might be, and as both, in a
physical contest, were able and willing to fight their own battles, we
need not say that in a short time their fellow-workmen ceased to play
off their pranks upon either of them. Everything forthwith passed very
smoothly; Art's love for Margaret Murray was like an apple of gold in
his heart, a secret treasure of which the world knew nothing; they saw
each other at least once a month, when their vows were renewed, and,
surely, we need not say, that their affection on each subsequent
interview only became more tender and enduring.

The period of Frank's and Art's apprenticeship had now nearly expired,
and it is not too much to say that their conduct reflected the highest
credit upon themselves. Three or four times, we believe, Art had been
seduced, in the absence of his brother, by the influence of bad company,
to indulge in drink, even to intoxication. This, during the greater part
of a whole apprenticeship, considering his temperament, and the almost
daily temptations by which he was beset, must be admitted on the whole
to be a very moderate amount of error in that respect. On the morning
after his last transgression, however, apprehending very naturally a
strong remonstrance from his brother, he addressed him as follows, in
anticipation of what he supposed Frank was about to say:--

"Now, Frank, I know you're goin' to scould me, and what is more, I know
I disarve all you could say to me; but there's one thing you don't know,
an' that is what I suffer for lettin' myself be made a fool of last
night. Afther the advices you have so often given me, and afther what
my father so often tould us to think of ourselves, and afther the solemn
promises I made to you--and that I broke, I feel as if I was nothin'
more or less than a disgrace to the name."

"Art," said the other, "I'm glad to hear you speak as you do; for it's
a proof that repentance is in your heart. I suppose I needn't say that
it's your intention not to be caught be these fellows again."

"By the sacred--"

"Whisht," said Frank, clapping his hand upon his mouth; "there's no use
at all in rash oaths, Art. If your mind is made up honestly and firmly
in the sight of God--and dependin' upon his assistance, that is enough
--and a great deal betther, too, than a rash oath made in a sudden fit
of repentance--ay, before you're properly recovered from your liquor.
Now say no more, only promise me you won't do the like, again."

"Frank, listen to me--by all the--"

"Hould, Art," replied Frank, stopping him again; "I tell you once more,
this rash swearin' is a bad sign--I'll hear no rash oaths; but listen
you to me; if your mind is made up against drinkin' this way again, jist
look me calmly and steadily in the face, and answer me simply by yes
or no. Now take your time, an' don't be in a hurry--be cool--be
calm--reflect upon what you're about to say; and whether it's your
solemn and serious intention to abide by it. My question 'll be very
short and very simple; your answer, as I said, will be merely yes or no.
Will you ever allow these fellows to make you drunk again? Yes or no,
an' not another word."

"No."

"That will do," said Frank; "now give me your hand, and a single word
upon what has passed you will never hear from me."

In large manufactories, and in workshops similar to that in which the
two brothers were now serving their apprenticeship, almost every
one knows that the drunken and profligate entertain an unaccountable
antipathy against the moral and the sober. Art's last fit of
intoxication was not only a triumph over himself, but, what was still
more, a triumph over his brother, who had so often prevented him from
falling into their snares and joining in their brutal excesses. It
so happened, however, that about this precise period, Art had,
unfortunately, contracted an intimacy with one of the class I speak of,
an adroit fellow with an oily tongue, vast powers of flattery, and
still greater powers of bearing liquor--for Frank could observe, that
notwithstanding all their potations, he never on any occasion
observed him affected by drink, a circumstance which raised him in his
estimation, because he considered that he was rather an obliging, civil
young fellow, who complied so far as to give these men his society, but
yet had sufficient firmness to resist the temptations to drink beyond
the bounds of moderation. The upshot of all this was, that Frank, not
entertaining any suspicion particularly injurious to Harte, for such
was his name, permitted his brother to associate with him much more
frequently than he would have done, had he even guessed at his real
character.

One day, about a month after the conversation which we have just
detailed between the two brothers, the following conversation took place
among that class of the mechanics whom we shall term the profligates:--

"So he made a solemn promise, Harte, to _Drywig_"--this was a nickname
they had for Frank--"that he'd never smell liquor again."

"A most solemnious promise," said Harte ironically; "a most solemn and
solemnious promise; an' only that I know he's not a Methodist, I could
a'most mistake him for Paddy M'Mahon, the locality preacher, when he
tould me--"

"Paddy M'Mahon!" exclaimed Skinadre, the first speaker, a little thin
fellow, with white hair and red ferret eyes; "why, who the divil ever
heard of a Methodist Praicher of the name of Paddy M'Mahon?"

"It's aisy known," observed a fellow named, or rather nicknamed, Jack
Slanty, in consequence of a deformity in his leg, that gave him the
appearance of leaning or slanting to the one side; "it's aisy known,
Skinadre, that you're not long in this part of the country, or you'd not
ax who Paddy M'Mahon is."

"Come, Slanty, never mind Paddy M'Mahon," said another of them; "he
received the gift of grace in the shape of a purty Methodist wife and
a good fortune; ay, an' a sweet love-faist he had of it; he dropped the
Padereens over Solomon's Bridge, and tuck to the evenin' meetins--that's
enough for you to know; and now, Harte, about Maguire?"

"Why," said Harte, "if I'm not allowed to edge in a word, I had betther
cut."

"A most solemn promise, you say?"

"A most solemn and solemnious promise, that was what I said; never again
by night or day, wet or dry, high or low, in or out, up or down, here
or there, to--to--get himself snimicated wid any liquorary fluid
whatsomever, be the same more or less, good, bad, or indifferent, hot or
could, thick or thin, black or white--"

"Have done, Harte; quit your cursed sniftherin', an' spake like a
Christian; do you think you can manage to circumsniffle him agin?"

"Ay," said Harte, "or any man that ever trod on neat's leather--barrin'
one."

"And who is that one?"

"That one, sir--that one--do you ax me who that one is?"

"Have you no ears? To be sure I do."

"Then, Skinadre, I'll tell you--I'll tell you, sarra,"--we ought to add
here, that Harte was a first-rate mimic, and was now doing a drunken
man,--"I'll tell you, sarra--that person was Nelson on the top of the
monument in Sackville street--no--no--I'm wrong; I could make poor ould
Horace drunk any time, an' often did--an' many a turn-tumble he got off
the monument at night, and the divil's own throuble I had in gettin' him
up on it before mornin', bekaise you all know he'd be cashiered, or, any
way, brought to coort martial for leavin' his po-po-post."

"Well, if Nelson's not the man, who is?"

"_Drywig's_ his name," replied Harte; "you all know one _Drywig_, don't
you?"

"Quit your cursed stuff, Harte," said a new speaker, named Garvey; "if
you think you can dose him, say so, and if not, let us have no more talk
about it."

"Faith, an' it'll be a nice card to play," replied Harte, resuming his
natural voice; "but at all events, if you will all drop into Garvey's
lodgins and mine, to-morrow evenin', you may find him there; but don't
blame me if I fail."

"No one's goin' to blame you," said Slanty, "an' the devil's own pity it
is that that blasted _Drywig_ of a brother of his keeps him in leadin'
strings the way he does."

"The way I'll do is this: I'll ask him up to look at the pattern of my
new waistcoat, an' wanst I get him in, all I have to do is to lay it on
thick."

"I doubt that," said another, who had joined them; "when he came here
first, and for a long time afther, soapin' him might do; but I tell you
his eye's open--it's no go--he's wide awake now."

"Shut your orifice," said Harte; "lave the thing to me; 'twas I did it
before, although he doesn't think so, an' it's I that will do it again,
although he doesn't think so. Haven't I been for the last mortal month
guardin' him aginst yez, you villains?"

"To-morrow evenin'?"

"Ay, to-morrow evenin'; an' if we don't give him a gauliogue that'll
make him dance the circumbendibus widout music--never believe that my
name's any thing else than Tom Thin, that got thick upon spring wather.
Hello! there's the bell, boys, so mind what I tould yez; we'll give him
a farewell benefit, if it was only for the sake of poor _Drywig_. Ah,
poor _Drywig!_ how will he live widout him? Ochone, ochone! ha, ha, ha!"

Without at all suspecting the trap that had been set for him, Art
attended his business as usual, till towards evening, when Harte took an
opportunity, when he got him for a few minutes by himself, of speaking
to him apparently in a careless and indifferent way.

"Art, that's a nate patthern in your waistcoat; but any how, I dunna
how it is that you contrive to have every thing about you dacenter an'
jinteeler than another." This, by the way, was true, both of him and his
brother.

"Tut, it's but middlin'," said Art; "it's now but a has-been:--when it
was at itself it wasn't so bad."

"Begad, it was lovely wanst; now; how do you account, Art, for bein'
supairior to us in all in--in every thing, I may say; ay, begad, in
every thing, and in all things, for that's a point every one allows."

"Nonsense, Syl" (his name was Sylvester), "don't be comin' it soft over
me; how am I betther than any other?"

"Why, you're betther made, in the first place, than e'er a man among
us; in the next place, you're a betther workman;"--both these were
true--"an', in the third place, you're the best lookin' of the whole
pack; an' now deny these if you can:--eh, ha, ha, ha--my lad, I have
you!"

An involuntary smile might be observed on Art's face at the last
observation, which also was true.

"Syl," he replied, "behave yourself; what are you at now? I know you."

"Know me!" exclaimed Syl; "why what do you know of me? Nothing that's
bad I hope, any way."

"None of your palaver, at all events," replied Art; "have you got any
tobaccy about you?"

"Sorra taste," replied Harte, "nor had since mornin'."

"Well, I have then," said Art, pulling out a piece, and throwing it to
him with the air of a superior; "warm your gums wid that, for altho' I
seldom take a blast myself, I don't forget them that do."

"Ah, begorra," said Harte, in an undertone that was designed to be
heard, "there's something in the ould blood still; thank you, Art, faix
it's yourself that hasn't your heart in a trifle, nor ever had. I bought
a waistcoat on Saturday last from Paddy M'Gartland, but I only tuck it
on the condition of your likin' it."

"Me! ha, ha, ha, well, sure enough, Syl, you're the quarest fellow
alive; why, man, isn't it yourself you have to plaise, not me."

"No matther for that, I'm not goin' to put my judgment in comparishment
wid yours, at any rate; an' Paddy M'Gartland himself said, 'Syl, my boy,
you know what you're about; if this patthern plaises Art Maguire, it'll
plaise anybody; see what it is,' says he, 'to have the fine high ould
blood in one's veins.' Begad he did; will you come up this evenin' about
seven o'clock, now, like a good fellow, an' pass your opinion for me?
Divil a dacent stitch I have, an' I want either it, or another, made up
before the ball night."*

     * Country dances, or balls, in which the young men pay
     from ten to fifteen pence for whiskey "to trate the
     ladies." We hope they will be abolished.

"Well, upon my soundhers, Syl, I did not think you were such a fool; of
coorse I'll pass my opinion on it--about seven o'clock, you say."

"About seven--thank you, Art; an' now listen;--sure the boys intind to
play off some prank upon you afore you lave us."

"On me," replied the other, reddening; "very well, Syl, let them do
so; I can bear a joke, or give a blow, as well as another; so divil may
care, such as they give, such as they'll get--only this, let there be
no attempt to make me drink whiskey, or else there may be harder hittin'
than some o' them 'ud like, an' I think they ought to know that by this
time."

"By jing, they surely ought; well, but can you spell mum?"

"M-u-m."

"Ha, ha, ha, take care of yourself, an' don't forget seven."

"Never fear."

"Frank," said Art, "I'm goin' up to Syl Harte's lodgin's to pass my
opinion on the patthern of a waistcoat for him."

"Very well," said Frank, "of coorse."

"I'll not stop long."

"As long or short as you like, Art, my boy."

"I hope, Frank, you don't imagine that there's any danger of drink?"

"Who, me--why should I, afther what passed? Didn't you give me your
word, and isn't your name Maguire? Not I."

Art had seen, and approved of the pattern, and was chatting with Syl,
when a knock came to the room door in which they sat; Syl rose, and
opening the door, immediately closed it after him, and began in a low
voice to remonstrate with some persons outside. At length Art could hear
the subject of debate pretty well--

"Sorra foot yez will put inside the room this evenin', above all
evenin's in the year."

"Why, sure we know he won't drink. I wish to goodness we knew he had
been here; we wouldn't ax him to drink, bekase we know he wouldn't.

"No matther for that, sorrow foot yez'll put acrass the thrashel this
evenin'; now, I'll toll you what, Skinadre, I wouldn't this blessed
minute, for all I've earned these six months, that ye came this
evenin';--I have my raisons for it; Art Maguire is a boy that we have no
right to compare ourselves wid--you all know that."

"We all know it, and there's nobody denyin' it; we haven't the blood in
our veins that he has, an' blood will show itself anywhere."

"Well then, boys, for his sake--an' I know you'd do any day for his sake
what you wouldn't, nor what you oughtn't, for mine--for his sake, I say,
go off wid yez, and bring your liquor somewhere else, or sure wait till
to-morrow evenin'."

"Out of respect for Art Maguire we'll go; an' divil another boy in the
province we'd pay that respect to; good-evenin', Syl!"

"Aisy, boys," said Art, coming to the door, "don't let me frighten
you--come in--I'd be very sorry to be the means of spoilin' sport,
although I can't drink myself; that wouldn't be generous--come in."

"Augh," said Skinadre, "by the livin' it's in him, an' I always knew it
was--the rale drop."

"Boys," said Harte, "go off wid yez out o' this, I say; divil a foot
you'll come in."

"Arra go to--Jimmaiky; who cares about you, Syl, when we have Art's
liberty? Sure we didn't know the thing ourselves half an hour ago."

"Come, Syl, man alive," said Art, "let the poor fellows enjoy their
liquor, an', as I can't join yez, I'll take my hat an' be off."

"I knew it, an' bad luck to yez, how yez 'ud drive him away," said Syl,
quite angry.

"Faix, if we disturb you, Art, we're off--that 'ud be too bad; yes, Syl,
you were right, it was very thoughtless of us: Art, we ax your pardon,
sorra one of us meant you any offence in life--come, boys."

Art's generosity was thus fairly challenged, and he was not to be
outdone--

"Aisy, boys," said he; "sit down; I'll not go, if that'll plaise yez;
sure you'll neither eat me nor dhrink me."

"Well, there's jist one word you said, Slanty, that makes me submit to
it," observed Harte, "an' that is, that it was accident your comin' at
all;" he here looked significantly at Art, as if to remind him of their
previous conversation on that day, and as he did it, his face gradually
assumed a complacent expression, as much as to say, it's now clear that
this cannot be the trap they designed for you, otherwise it wouldn't be
accidental. Art understood him, and returned a look which satisfied the
other that he did so.

As they warmed in their liquor, or pretended to get warm, many sly
attempts to entrap him were made, every one of which was openly and
indignantly opposed by Harte, who would not suffer them to offer him a
drop.

It is not our intention to dwell upon these matters: at present it is
sufficient to say, that after a considerable part of the evening had
been spent, Harte rose up, and called upon them all to fill their
glasses--

"And," he added, "as this is a toast that ought always to bring a full
glass to the mouth, and an empty one from it, I must take the liberty of
axin Art himself to fill a bumper."

The latter looked at him with a good deal of real surprise, as the
others did with that which was of a very different description.

"Skinadre," proceeded Harte, "will you hand over the cowld wather, for
a bumper it must be, if it was vitriol." He then filled Art's glass with
water, and proceeded--"Stand up, boys, and be proud, as you have a
right to be; here's the health of Frank Maguire, and the ould blood of
Ireland!--hip, hip, hurra!"

"Aisy, boys," said Art, whose heart was fired by this unexpected
compliment, paid to a brother whom he loved so well, and who, indeed,
so well, deserved his love; "aisy, boys," he proceeded, "hand me the
whiskey; if it was to be my last, I'll never drink my brother's health
in cowld wather."

"Throth an' you will this time," said Harte, "undher this roof spirits
won't crass; your lips, an' you know for why."

"I know but one thing," replied Art, "that as you said yourself, if it
was vitriol, I'd dhrink it for the best brother that ever lived; I only
promised him that I wouldn't get dhrunk, an' sure, drinkin' a glass o'
whiskey, or three either, wouldn't make me dhrunk--so hand it here."

"Well, Art," said Harte, "there's one man you can't blame for this, and
that is Syl Harte."

"No, Syl, never--but now, boys, I am ready."

"Frank Maguire's health! hip, hip, hurra!"

Thus was a fine, generous-minded, and affectionate young man--who
possessed all the candor and absence of suspicion which characterize
truth--tempted and triumphed over, partly through the very warmth of
his own affections, by a set of low, cunning profligates, who felt only
anxious to drag him down from the moral superiority which they felt
he possessed. That he was vain, and fond of praise, they knew, and our
readers may also perceive that it was that unfortunate vanity which
gave them the first advantage over him, by bringing him, through its
influence, among them. Late that night he was carried home on a door, in
a state of unconscious intoxication.

It is utterly beyond our power to describe the harrowing state of
his sensations on awakening the next morning. Abasement, repentance,
remorse, all combined as they were within him, fall far short of what
he felt; he was degraded in his own eyes, deprived of self-respect, and
stripped of every claim to the confidence of his brother, as he was
to the well-known character for integrity which had been until then
inseparable from the name. That, however, which pressed upon him with
the most intense bitterness was the appalling reflection that he could
no longer depend upon himself, nor put any trust in his own resolutions.
Of what use was he in the world without a will of his own, and the power
of abiding by its decisions? None; yet what was to be done? He could not
live out of the world, and wherever he went, its temptations would beset
him. Then there was his beloved Margaret Murray! was he to make her the
wife of a common drunkard? or did she suspect, when she pledged herself
to him, that she was giving away her heart and affections to a poor
unmanly sot, who had not sense or firmness to keep himself sober? He
felt in a state between distraction and despair, and putting his hands
over his face, he wept bitterly. To complete the picture, his veins
still throbbed with the dry fever that follows intoxication, his stomach
was in a state of deadly sickness and loathing, and his head felt
exactly as if it would burst or fly asunder.

Alas! had his natural character been properly understood and judiciously
managed; had he been early taught to understand and to control his
own obvious errors; had the necessity of self-reliance, firmness, and
independence been taught him; had his principles not been enfeebled
by the foolish praise of his family, nor his vanity inflated by their
senseless appeals to it--it is possible, nay, almost certain, that he
would, even at this stage of his life, have been completely free
from the failings which are beginning even now to undermine the whole
strength of his moral constitution.

Frank's interview with him on this occasion was short but significant--

"Art," said he, "you know I never was a man of many words; and I'm
not goin' to turn over a new lafe now. To scould you is not my
intention--nor to listen to your promises. All I have to say is, that
you have broken your word, and disgraced your name. As for me, I can put
neither confidence nor trust in you any longer; neither will I."

A single tear was visible on his cheek as he passed out of the room;
and when he did, Art's violent sobs were quite audible. Indeed, if truth
must be told, Frank's distress was nearly equal to his brother's.
What, however, was to be done? He was too ill to attend his business,
a circumstance which only heightened his distress; for he knew that
difficult as was the task of encountering his master, and those who
would only enjoy his remorse, still even that was less difficult to
be borne than the scourge of his own reflections. At length a thought
occurred, which appeared to give him some relief; that thought he felt
was all that now remained to him, for as it was clear that he could no
longer depend on himself, it was necessary that he should find something
else on which to depend. He accordingly sent an intimation to his master
that he wished to have a few minutes' conversation with him, if he could
spare time; M'Carroll accordingly came, and found him in a state which
excited the worthy man's compassion.

"Well, Art," said he, "what is it you wish to speak to me about? I hear
you were drunk last night. Now I thought you had more sense than to let
these fellows put you into such a pickle. I have a fine, well-conducted
set of men in general; but there is among them a hardened, hackneyed
crew, who, because they are good workmen, don't care a curse about
either you or me, or anybody else. They're always sure of employment, if
not here, at least elsewhere, or, indeed, anywhere."

"But it wasn't their fault," replied Art, "it was altogether my own;
they were opposed to my drinkin' at all, especially as they knew that I
promised Frank never to get drunk agin. It was when Syl Harte proposed
Frank's health, that I drank the whiskey in spite o' them."

"Syl Harte," said his master with a smile, "ay, I was thinkin' so; well,
no matter, Art, have strength and resolution not to do the like again."

"But that's the curse, sir," replied the young man, "I have neither the
one nor the other, and it's on that account I sent for you."

"How is that, Art?"

"Why," said the other, "I am goin' to bind myself--I am goin' to swear
against it, and so to make short work of it, and for fraid any one might
prevent me"--he blessed himself, and proceeded--"I now, in the presence
of God, swear upon this blessed manwil (* Manual) that a drop of
spirituous drink, or liquor of any kind, won't cross my lips for the
next seven years, barrin' it may be necessary as medicine;" he then
kissed the book three times, blessed himself again, and sat down
considerably relieved.

"Now," he added, "you may tell them what I've done; that's seven years'
freedom, thank God; for I wouldn't be the slave of whiskey--the greatest
of tyrants--for the wealth of Europe."

"No, but the worst of it is, Art," replied his m ister, who was an
exceedingly shrewd man, "that whiskey makes a man his own tyrant and
his own slave, both at the same time, and that's more than the greatest
tyrant that ever lived did yet. As for yourself, you're not fit to work
any this day, so I think you ought to take a stretch across the country,
and walk off the consequence of your debauch with these fellows last
night."

Art now felt confidence and relief; he had obtained the very precise aid
of which he stood in need. The danger was now over, and a prop placed
under his own feeble resolution, on which he could depend with safety;
here there could be no tampering with temptation; the matter was clear,
explicit, and decisive: so far all was right, and, as we have said, his
conscience felt relieved of a weighty burden.

His brother, on hearing it from his own lips, said little, yet that
little was not to discourage him; he rather approved than otherwise, but
avoided expressing any very decided opinion on it, one way or the other.

"It's a pity," said he, "that want of common resolution should drive
a man to take an oath; if you had tried your own strength, a little
farther, Art, who knows but you might a' gained a victory without it,
and that would be more creditable and manly than swearin'; still, the
temptation to drink is great to some people, and this prevents all
possibility of fallin' into it."

Art, who, never having dealt in any thing disingenuous himself, was slow
to credit duplicity in others, did not once suspect that the profligates
had played him off this trick, rather to annoy the brother than himself.
It was, after all, nothing but the discreditable triumph of cunning and
debased minds, over the inexperience, or vanity, if you will, of one,
who, whatever his foibles might be, would himself scorn to take an
ungenerous advantage of confidence reposed in him in consequence of his
good opinion and friendly feeling.

The period of their apprenticeship, however, elapsed, and the day at
length arrived for their departure from the Corner House. Their master,
and, we may add, their friend, solicited them to stop with him still as
journeymen; but, as each had a different object in view, they declined
it. Art proposed to set up for himself, for it was indeed but natural
that one whose affections had been now so long engaged, should wish,
with as little delay as possible, to see himself possessed of a home
to which he might bring his betrothed wife. Frank had not trusted to
chance, or relied merely upon vague projects, like his brother; for,
some time previous to the close of his apprenticeship, he had been
quietly negotiating the formation of a partnership with a carpenter who
wanted a steady man at the helm. The man had capital himself, and
was clever enough in his way, but then he was illiterate, and utterly
without method in conducting his affairs; Frank was therefore the
identical description of person he stood in need of, and, as the
integrity of his family was well known--that integrity which they
felt so anxious to preserve without speck--there was of course little
obstruction in the way of their coming to terms.

On the morning of the day on which they left his establishment,
M'Carroll came into the workshop while they were about bidding farewell
to their companions, with whom they had lived--abating the three or four
pranks that were played off upon Art--on good and friendly terms, and
seeing that they were about to take their departure, he addressed them
as follows:--

"I need not say," he proceeded, "that I regret you are leaving me; which
I do, for, without meaning any disrespect to those present, I am bound
to acknowledge that two better workmen, or two honester young men, were
never in my employment. Art, indeed is unsurpassed, considering his
time, and that he is only closing his apprenticeship: 'tis true, he has
had good opportunities--opportunities which, I am happy to say, he has
never neglected. I am in the habit, as you both know, of addressing
a few words of advice to my young men at the close of their
apprenticeships, and when they are entering upon the world as you are
now. I will therefore lay down a few simple rules for your guidance,
and, perhaps, by following them, you will find yourselves neither the
worse nor the poorer men.

"Let the first principle then of your life, both as mechanics, and men,
be truth--truth in all you think, in all you say, and in all you do; if
this should fail to procure you the approbation of the world, it will
not fail to procure you your own, and, what is better, that of God. Let
your next principle be industry--honest, fair, legitimate industry, to
which you ought to annex punctuality--for industry without
punctuality is but half a virtue. Let your third great principle be
sobriety--strict and undeviating sobriety; a mechanic without sobriety,
so far from being a benefit or an ornament to society, as he ought to
be, is a curse and a disgrace to it; within the limits of sobriety all
the rational enjoyments of life are comprised, and without them are
to be found all those which desolate society with crime, indigence,
sickness, and death. In maintaining sobriety in the world, and
especially among persons of your own class, you will certainly have much
to contend with; remember that firmness of character, when acting upon
right feeling and good sense, will enable you to maintain and work out
every virtuous and laudable purpose which you propose to effect. Do not,
therefore, suffer yourselves to be shamed from sobriety, or, indeed,
from any other moral duty, by the force of ridicule; neither, on the
other hand, must you be seduced into it by flattery, or the transient
gratification of social enjoyment. I have, in fact, little further to
add; you are now about to become members of society, and to assume
more distinctly the duties which it imposes on you. Discharge them all
faithfully--do not break your words, but keep your promises, and respect
yourselves, remember that self-respect is a very different thing
from pride, or an empty overweening vanity--self-respect is, in fact,
altogether incompatible with them, as they are with it; like opposite
qualities, they cannot abide in the same individual. Let me impress
it on you, that these are the principles by which you must honorably
succeed in life, if you do succeed; while by neglecting them, you must
assuredly fail. 'Tis true, knavery and dishonesty are often successful,
but it is by the exercise of fraudulent practices, which I am
certain you will never think of carrying into the business of life--I
consequently dismiss this point altogether, as unsuitable to either
of you. I have only to add, now, that I hope most sincerely you will
observe the few simple truths I have laid down to you; and I trust, that
ere many years pass, I may live to see you both respectable, useful,
and independent members of society. Farewell, and may you be all we wish
you!"

Whether this little code of useful doctrine was equally observed by
both, will appear in the course of our narrative.

About a month or so before the departure of Frank and Art from the
Corner House, Jemmy Murray and another man were one day in the beginning
of May strolling through one of his pasture-fields. His companion was
a thin, hard-visaged little fellow, with a triangular face, and dry
bristly hair, very much the color of, and nearly as prickly as, a
withered furze bush; both, indeed, were congenial spirits, for it is
only necessary to say, that he of the furze bush was another of those
charital and generous individuals whose great delight consisted, like
his friend Murray, in watching the seasons, and speculating upon the
failure of the crops. He had the reputation of being wealthy, and
in fact was so; indeed, of the two, those who had reason to know,
considered that he held the weightier purse; his name was Cooney
Finigan, and the object of his visit to Murray--their conversation,
however, will sufficiently develop that. Both, we should observe,
appeared to be exceedingly blank and solemn; Cooney's hard face, as he
cast his eye about him, would have made one imagine that he had just
buried the last of his family, and Murray looked as if he had a son
about to be hanged. The whole cause of this was simply that a finer
season, nor one giving ampler promise of abundance, had not come within
the memory of man.

"Ah!" said Murray, with a sigh, "look, Cooney, at the distressin' growth
of grass that's there--a foot high if it's an inch! If God hasn't sed
it, there will be the largest and heaviest crops that ever was seen in
the country; heigho!"

"Well, but one can't have good luck always," replied Cooney; "only it's
the wondherful forwardness of the whate that's distressin' me."

"An' do you think that I'm sufferin' nothin' on that account?" asked
his companion; "only you haven't three big stacks of hay waitin' for a
failure, as I have."

"That's bekase I have no meadow on my farm," replied Cooney; "otherwise
I would be in the hay trade as well as yourself."

"Well, God help us, Cooney! every one has their misfortunes as well as
you and I; sure enough, it's a bitther business to see how every thing's
thrivin'--hay, oats, and whate! why they'll be for a song: may I never
get a bad shillin', but the poor 'ill be paid for takin' them! that's
the bitther pass things will come to; maurone ok! but it's a black
lookout!"

"An' this rain, too," said Cooney, "so soft, and even, and small, and
warm, that it's playin' the very devil. Nothin' could stand it. Why it
ud make a rotten twig grow if it was put into the ground."

"Divil a one o' me would like to make the third," said Murray, "for
'fraid I might have the misfortune to succeed. Death alive! Only think
of my four arks, of meal, an' my three stacks of hay, an' divil a pile
to come out of them for another twelve months!"

"It's bad, too bad, I allow," said the other; "still let us not despair,
man alive; who knows but the saison may change for the worse yet.
Whish!" he exclaimed, slapping the side of his thigh, "hould up your
head, Jemmy, I have thought of it; I have thought of it."

"You have thought of what, Cooney?"

"Why, death alive, man, sure there's plenty of time, God be praised for
it, for the--murdher, why didn't we think of it before? ha, ha, ha!"

"For the what, man? don't keep us longin' for it."

"Why for the pratie crops to fail still; sure it's only the beginning
o' May now, and who knows but we might have the happiness to see a right
good general failure of the praties still? Eh? ha, ha, ha!"

"Upon my sounds, Cooney, you have taken a good deal of weight off of me.
Faith we have the lookout of a bad potato crop yet, sure enough. How is
the wind? Don't you think you feel a little dry bitin' in it, as if it
came from the aist?"

"Why, then, in regard of the dead calm that's in it, I can't exactly
say--but, let me see--you're right, divil a doubt of it; faith it is,
sure enough; bravo, Jemmy, who knows but all may go wrong wid the crops
yet."

"At all events, let us have a glass on the head of it, and we'll drink
to the failure of the potato craps, and God prosper the aist wind, for
it's the best for you an' me, Cooney, that's goin'. Come up to the house
above, and we'll have a glass on the head of it."

The fastidious reader may doubt whether any two men, no matter how
griping or rapacious, could prevail upon themselves to express to each
other sentiments so openly inimical to all human sympathy. In holding
this dialogue, however, the men were only thinking aloud, and giving
utterance to the wishes which every inhuman knave of their kind feels.
In compliance, however, with the objections which maybe brought against
the probability of the above dialogue, we will now give the one which
did actually occur, and then appeal to our readers whether the first is
not much more in keeping with the character of the speakers--which ought
always to be a writer's great object--than the second. Now, the reader
already knows that each of these men had three or four large arks of
meal laid past until the arrival of a failure in the crops and a season
of famine, and that Murray had three large stacks of hay in the hope of
a similar failure in the meadow crop.

"Good-morrow, Jemmy."

"Good-morrow kindly, Cooney; isn't this a fine saison, the Lord be
praised!"

"A glorious saison, blessed be His name! I don't think ever I remimber a
finer promise of the craps."

"Throth, nor I, the meadows is a miracle to look at."

"Divil a thing else--but the white, an' oats, an' early potatoes, beat
anything ever was seen."

"Throth, the poor will have them for a song, Jemmy."

"Ay, or for less, Cooney; they'll be paid for takin' them."

"It's enough to raise one's heart, Jemmy, just to think of it."

"Why then it is that, an', for the same raison, come up to the house
above, and we'll have a sup on the head of it; sure, it's no harm to
drink success to the craps, and may God prevent a failure, any how."

"Divil a bit."

Now, we simply ask the reader which dialogue is in the more appropriate
keeping with the characters of honest, candid Jemmy and Cooney?

"And now," proceeded Cooney, "regard-in' this match between your
youngest daughter Margaret, and my son Toal."

"Why, as for myself," replied Murray, "sorra much of objection I have
aginst it, barrin' his figure; if he was about a foot and a half
higher, and a little betther made--God pardon me, an' blessed be the
maker--there would, at all events, be less difficulty in the business,
especially with Peggy herself."

"But couldn't you bring her about?"

"I did my endayvors, Cooney; you may take my word I did."

"Well, an' is she not softenin' at all?"

"Upon my sounds, Cooney, I cannot say she is. If I could only get her to
spake one sairious word on the subject, I might have some chance; but I
cannot, Cooney; I think both you an' little Toal had betther give it up.
I doubt there's no chance."

"Faith an' the more will be her loss. I tell you, Jemmy, that he'd outdo
either you or me as a meal man. What more would you want?"

"He's cute enough, I know that."

"I tell you you don't know the half of it. It's the man that can make
the money for her that you want."

"But aginst that, you know, it's Peggy an' not me that's to marry him.
Now, you know that women often--though not always, I grant--wish to
have something in the appearance of their husband that they needn't be
ashamed to look at."

"That's the only objection that can bo brought against him. He's the boy
can make the money; I'm a fool to him. I'll tell you what, Jemmy Murray,
may I never go home, but he'd skin a flint. Did you hear anything? Now!"

Murray, who appeared to be getting somewhat tired of this topic, replied
rather hastily--

"Why, Cooney Finnigan, if he could skin the devil himself and ait him
afterwards, she wouldn't have him. She has refused some of the best
looking young men in the parish, widout either rhyme or raison, an' I'm
sure she's not goin' to take your leprechaun of a son, that you might
run a five-gallon keg between his knees. Sure, bad luck to the thing his
legs resemble but a pair of raipin' hooks, wid their backs outwards. Let
us pass this subject, and come in till we drink a glass together."

"And so you call my son a leprechaun, and he has legs like raipin'
hooks!"

"Ha, ha, ha! Come in, man alive; never mind little Toal."

"Like raipin' hooks! I'll tell you what, Jemmy, I say now in sincerity,
that there is every prospect of a plentiful sayson; and that there may,
I pray God this day; meadows an' all--O above all, the meadows, for I'm
not in the hay business myself."

"So," said Murray, laughing, "you would cut off your nose to vex your
face."

"I would any day, even if should suffer myself by it; and now good-bye,
Jemmy Murray, to the dioual I pitch the whole thing! Rapin' hooks!"
And as he spoke, off went the furious little extortioner, irretrievably
offended.

The subject of Margaret's marriage, however, was on that precise period
one on which her father and friends had felt and expressed much concern.
Many proposals had been made for her hand during Art's apprenticeship;
but each and all not only without success, but without either hope or
encouragement. Her family were surprised and grieved at this, and the
more so, because they could not divine the cause of it. Upon the subject
of her attachment to Maguire, she not only preserved an inviolable
silence herself, but exacted a solemn promise from her lover that he
should not disclose it to any human being. Her motive, she said, for
keeping their affection and engagement to each other secret, was to
avoid being harassed at home by her friends and family, who, being once
aware of the relation in which she stood towards Art, would naturally
give her little peace. She knew very well that her relations would not
consent to such a union, and, in point of mere prudence and forethought,
her conduct was right, for she certainly avoided much intemperate
remonstrance, as afterwards proved to be the case when she mentioned it.
Her father on this occasion having amused them at home by relating the
tift which had taken place between Cooney Finnigan and himself, which
was received with abundant mirth by them all, especially by Margaret,
seriously introduced the subject of her marriage, and of a recent
proposal which had been made to her.

"You are the only unmarried girl we have left now," he said, "and surely
you ought neither to be too proud nor too saucy to refuse such a match
as Mark Hanratty--a young man in as thrivin' a business as there is in
all Ballykeerin; hasn't he a good shop, good business, and a good back
of friends in the country that will stand to him, an' only see how he
has thruv these last couple o' years. What's come over you at all? or do
you ever intend to marry? you have refused every one for so far widout
either rhyme or raison. Why, Peggy, what father's timper could stand
this work?"

"Ha, ha, ha! like raipin' hooks, father--an' so the little red rogue
couldn't bear that? well, at all events, the comparison's a good
one--sorra better; ha, ha, ha--reapin' hooks!"

"Is that the answer you have for me?"

"Answer!" said Margaret, feigning surprise, "what about?"

"About Mark Hanmity."

"Well, but sure if he's fond of me, hell have no objection to wait."

"Ay, but if he does wait, will you have him?"

"I didn't promise that, and, at any rate, I'd not like to be a
shopkeeper's wife."

"Why not?"

"Why, he'd be puttin' me behind the counter, and you know I'd be too
handsome for that; sure, there's Thogue Nugent that got the handsome
wife from Dublin, and of a fair, or market-day, for one that goes in to
buy anything, there goes ten in to look at her. Throth, I think he ought
to put her in the windy at once, just to save trouble, and give the
people room."

"Ha, ha, ha! well, you're the dickens of a girl, sure enough; but come,
avourneen, don't be makin' me laugh now, but tell me what answer I'm to
give Mark."

"Tell him to go to Dublin, like Thogue; he lives in the upper part of
the town, and Thogue in the lower, and then there will be a beauty in
each end of it."

"Suppose I take it into my head to lose my temper, Peggy, maybe I'd make
you spake then?"

"Well, will you give me a peck o' mail for widow Dolan?"

"No, divil a dust."

"Sure I'll pay you--ha, ha, ha!"

"Sure you'll pay me! mavrone, but it's often you've said that afore,
and divil a cross o' Your coin ever we seen yet; faith, it's you that's
heavily in my debt, when I think of all ever you promised to pay me."

"Very well, then; no meal, no answer."

"And will you give me an answer if I give you the meal?"

"Honor bright, didn't I say it."

"Go an' get it yourself then, an' see now, don't do as you always do,
take double what you're allowed."

Margiret, in direct violation of this paternal injunction, did most
unquestionably take near twice the stipulated quantity for the widow,
and, in order that there might be no countermand on the part of her
father, as sometimes happened, she sent it off with one of the servants
by a back way, so that he had no opportunity of seeing how far
her charity had carried her beyond the spirit and letter of her
instructions.

"Well," said he, when she returned, "now for the answer; and before you
give it, think of the comfort you'll have with him--how fine and nicely
furnished his house is--he has carpets upon the rooms, ay, an' upon my
sounds, on the very stairs itself! faix it's you that will be in state.
Now, acushla, let us hear your answer."

"It's very short, father; I won't have him."

"Won't have him! and in the name of all that's unbiddable and undutiful,
who will you have, if one may ax that, or do you intend, to have any one
at all, or not?"

"Let me see," she said, putting the side of her forefinger to her lips,
"what day is this? Thursday. Well, then, on this day month, father, I'll
tell my mother who I'll have, or, at any rate, who I'd wish to have;
but, in the mean time, nobody need ask me anything further about it till
then, for I won't give any other information on the subject."

The father looked very seriously into the fire for a considerable time,
and was silent; he then drew his breath lengthily, tapped the table a
little with his fingers, and exclaimed--"A month! well, the time will
pass, and, as we must wait, why we must, that's all."

Matters lay in this state until the third day before the expiration
of the appointed time, when Margaret, having received from Art secret
intelligence of his return, hastened to a spot agreed upon between them,
that they might consult each other upon what ought to be done under
circumstances so critical.

After the usual preface to such tender discussions, Art listened with
a good deal of anxiety, but without the slightest doubt of her firmness
and attachment, to an account of the promise she had given her father.

"Well, but, Margaret darlin'," said he, "what will happen if they
refuse?"

"Surely, you know it is too late for them to refuse now; arn't we as
good as married--didn't we pass the Hand Promise--isn't our troth
plighted?"

"I know that, but suppose they should still refuse, then what's to be
done? what are you and I to do?"

"I must lave that to you, Art," she replied archly.

"And it couldn't be in better hands, Margaret; if they refuse their
consent, there's nothing for it but a regular runaway, and that will
settle it."

"You must think I'm very fond of you," she added playfully, "and I
suppose you do, too."

"Margaret," said Art, and his face became instantly overshadowed with
seriousness and care, "the day may come when I'll feel how necessary you
will be to guide and support me."

She looked quickly into his eyes, and saw that his mind appeared
disturbed and gloomy.

"My dear Art," she asked, "what is the meaning of your words, and why is
there such sadness in your face?"

"There ought not to be sadness in it," he said, "when I'm sure of
you--you will be my guardian angel may be yet."

"Art, have you any particular meanin' in what you say?"

"I'll tell you all," said he, "when we are married."

Margaret was generous-minded, and, as the reader may yet acknowledge,
heroic; there was all the boldness and bravery of innocence about her,
and she could scarcely help attributing Art's last words to some fact
connected with his feelings, or, perhaps, to circumstances which his
generosity prevented him from disclosing. A thought struck her--

"Art," said she, "the sooner this is settled the better; as it is, if
you'll be guided by me, we won't let the sun set upon it; walk up with
me to my father's house, come in, and in the name of God, we'll leave
nothing unknown to him. He is a hard man, but he has a heart, and he is
better a thousand times than he is reported. I know it."

"Come," said Art, "let us go; he may be richer, but there's the blood,
and the honesty, and good name of the Maguires against his wealth--"

A gentle pressure on his arm, when he mentioned the word wealth, and he
was silent.

"My darlin' Margaret," said he, "oh how unworthy I am of you!"

"Now," said she, "lave me to manage this business my own way. Your good
sense will tell you when to spake; but whatever my father says, trate
him with respect--lave the rest to me."

On entering, they found Murray and his wife in the little parlor--the
former smoking his pipe, and the latter darning a pair of stockings.

"Father," said Margaret, "Art Maguire convoyed me home; but, indeed, I
must say, I was forced to ask him."

"Art Maguire. Why, then, upon my sounds, Art, I'm glad to see you. An'
how are you, man alive? an' how is Frank, eh? As grave as a jidge, as
he always was--ha, ha, ha! Take a chair, Art, and be sittin'. Peggy,
gluntha me, remimber, you must have Art at your weddin'. It's now widin
three days of the time I'm to know who he is; and upon my sounds, I'm
like a hen on a hot griddle till I hear it."

"You're not within three days, father."

"But I say I am, accordin' to your own countin'."

"You're not within three hours, father;"--her face 'glowed, and her
whole system became vivified with singular and startling energy as she
spoke;--"no, you are not within three hours, father; not within three
minutes, my dear father; for there stands the man," she said, pointing
to Art. She gave three or four loud hysterical sobs, and then stood
calm, looking not upon her father, but upon her lover; as much as to
say, Is this love, or is it not?

Her mother, who was a quiet, inoffensive creature, without any principle
or opinion whatsoever at variance with those of her husband, rose upon
hearing this announcement; but so ambiguous were her motions, that
we question whether the most sagacious prophet of all antiquity could
anticipate from them the slightest possible clue to her opinion. The
husband, in fact, had not yet spoken, and until he had, the poor woman
did not know her own mind. Under any circumstances, it was difficult
exactly to comprehend her meaning. In fact, she could not speak three
words of common English, having probably never made the experiment a
dozen times in her life. Murray was struck for some time mute.

"And is this the young man," said he, at length, "that has been the
mains of preventin' you from being so well married often and often
before now?"

"No, indeed, father," she replied, "he was not the occasion of that; but
I was. I am betrothed to him, as he is to me, for five years."

"And," said her father, "my consent to that marriage you will never
have; if you marry him, marry him, but you will marry him without my
blessin'."

"Jemmy Murray," said Art, whose pride of family was fast rising, "who am
I, and who are you?"

Margaret put her hand to his mouth, and said in a low voice--

"Art, if you love me, leave it to my management."

"Ho, Jemmy," said the mother, addressing her husband, "only put
your ears to this! _Ho, dher manim_, this is that skamin' piece of
_feasthealagh_ (* nonesense) they call _grah_ (*love). Ho, by my
sowl, it shows what moseys they is to think that--what's this you call
it?--low-lov-loaf, or whatsomever the devil it is, has to do wid makin'
a young couple man and wife. Didn't I hate the ground you stud on when
I was married upon you? but I had the _airighid_. Ho, faix, I had the
shiners."

"Divil a word o' lie in that, Madjey, asthore. You had the money, an'
I got it, and wern't we as happy, or ten times happier, than if we had
married for love?"

"To be sartin we am; an' isn't we more unhappier now, nor if we had got
married for loaf, glory be to godness!"

"Father," said Margaret, anxious to put an end to this ludicrous debate,
"this is the only man I will ever marry."

"And by Him that made me," said her father, "you will never have my
consent to that marriage, nor my blessin'."

"Art," said she, "not one word. Here, in the presence of my father and
mother, and in the presence of God himself, I say I will be your wife,
and only yours."

"And," said her father, "see whether a blessin' will attend a marriage
where a child goes against the will of her parents."

"I'm of age now to think and act for myself, father; an' you know this
is the first thing I ever disobeyed you in, an' I hope it 'ill be the
last. Am I goin' to marry one that's discreditable to have connected
with our family? So far from that, it is the credit that is comin' to
us. Is a respectable young man, without spot or stain on his name, with
the good-will of all that know him, and a good trade--is such a person,
father, so very high above us? Is one who has the blood of the great
Fermanagh Maguires in his veins not good enough for your daughter,
because you happen to have a few bits of metal that he has not? Father,
you will give us your consent an' your blessin' too; but remember that
whether you do, or whether you don't, I'll not break my vow; I'll marry
him."

"Margaret," said the father, in a calm, collected voice, "put both
consent and blessin' out of the question; you will never have either
from me."

"Ho _dher a Ihora heena_," exclaimed the mother, "I'm the boy for one
that will see the buckle crossed against them, or I'd die every day
this twelve months upon the top and tail o' Knockmany, through wind an'
weather. You darlin' scoundrel," she proceeded, addressing Art, in what
she intended to be violent abuse--"God condemn your sowl to happiness,
is I or am my husband to be whillebelewin' on your loaf? Eh, answer us
that, if you're not able, like a man, as you is?"

Margaret, whose humor and sense of the ludicrous were exceedingly
strong, having seldom heard her mother so excited before, gave one arch
look at Art, who, on the contrary, felt perfectly confounded at the
woman's language, and in that look there was a kind of humorous entreaty
that he would depart. She nodded towards the door, and Art, having shook
hands with her, said--

"Good-by, Jemmy Murray, I hope you'll change your mind still; your
daughter never could got any one that loves her as I do, or that could
treat her with more tendherness and affection."

"Be off, you darlin' vagabone," said Mrs. Murray, "the heavens be your
bed, you villain, why don't you stay where you is, an' not be malivogin
an undacent family this way."

"Art Maguire," replied Murray, "you heard my intention, and I'll never
change it." Art then withdrew.

Our readers may now anticipate the consequences of the preceding
conversation. Murray and his wife having persisted in their refusal to
sanction Margaret's marriage with Maguire, every argument and influence
having been resorted to in vain, Margaret and he made what is termed
a runaway match of it, that is, a rustic elopement, in which the young
couple go usually to the house of some friend, under the protection
of whose wife the female remains until her marriage, when the husband
brings her home.

And now they commence life. No sooner were they united, than Art,
feeling what was due to her who had made such and so many sacrifices for
him, put his shoulder to the wheel with energy and vigor. Such aid as
his father could give him, he did give; that which stood him most in
stead, however, was the high character and unsullied reputation of his
own family. Margaret's conduct, which was looked upon as a proof of
great spirit and independence, rendered her, if possible, still better
loved by the people than before. But, as we said, there was every
confidence placed in Art, and the strongest hopes of his future success
and prosperity in life expressed by all who knew him; and this was
reasonable. Here was a young man of excellent conduct, a first-rate
workman, steady, industrious, quiet, and, above all things, sober; for
the three or four infractions of sobriety that took place during his
apprenticeship, had they even been generally known, would have been
reputed as nothing; the truth is, that both he and Margaret commenced
life, if not with a heavy purse, at least with each a light heart. He
immediately took a house in Ballykeerin, and, as it happened that a
man of his own trade, named Davis, died about the same time of lockjaw,
occasioned by a chisel wound in the ball of the thumb, as a natural
consequence, Art came in for a considerable portion of his business;
so true is it, that one man's misfortune is another man's making. His
father did all he could for him, and Margaret's sisters also gave them
some assistance, so that, ere the expiration of a year, they found
themselves better off than they had reason to expect, and, what crowned
their happiness--for they were happy--was the appearance of a lovely
boy, whom, after his father, they called. Arthur. Their hearts had not
much now to crave after--happiness was theirs, and health; and, to make
the picture still more complete, prosperity, as the legitimate reward
of Art's industry and close attention to business, was beginning to dawn
upon them.

One morning, a few months after this time, as she sat with their lovely
babe in her arms, the little rogue playing with the tangles of her raven
hair, Art addressed her in the fulness of as affectionate a heart as
ever beat in a human bosom:--

"Well, Mag," said he, "are you sorry for not marryin' Mark Hanratty?"

She looked at him, and then at their beautiful babe, which was his
image, and her lip quivered for a moment; she then smiled, and kissing
the infant, left a tear upon its face.

He started, "My God, Margaret," said he, "what is this?"

"If that happy tear," she replied, "is a proof of it, I am."

Art stooped, and kissing her tenderly, said--"May God make me, and keep
me worthy of you, my darling wife!"

"Still, Art," she continued, "there is one slight drawback upon my
happiness, and that is, when it comes into my mind that in marryin' you,
I didn't get a parent's blessin'; it sometimes makes my mind sad, and I
can't help feelin' so."

"I could wish you had got it myself," replied her husband, "but you know
it can't be remedied now."

"At all events," she said, "let us live so as that we may desarve it; it
was my first and last offence towards my father and mother."

"And it's very few could say as much, Mag, dear; but don't think of it,
sure, may be, he may come about yet."

"I can hardly hope that," she replied, "after the priest failin'."

"Well, but," replied her husband, taking up the child in his arms, "who
knows what this little man may do for us--who knows, some day, but we'll
send a little messenger to his grandfather for a blessin' for his mammy
that he won't have the heart to refuse."

This opened a gleam of satisfaction in her mind. She and her husband
having once more kissed the little fellow, exchanged glances of
affection, and he withdrew to his workshop.

Every week and month henceforth added to their comfort. Art advanced in
life, in respectability, and independence; he was, indeed, a pattern
to all tradesmen who wish to maintain in the world such a character
as enforces esteem and praise; his industry was incessant, he was ever
engaged in something calculated to advance himself; up early and
down late was his constant practice--no man could exceed, him in
punctuality--his word was sacred--whatever he said was done; and so
general were his habits of industry, integrity, and extreme good conduct
appreciated, that he was mentioned as a fresh instance of the high
character sustained by all who had the old blood of the Fermanagh
Maguires in their veins. In this way he proceeded, happy in the
affections of his admirable wife--happy in two lovely children--happy in
his circumstances--in short, every way happy, when, to still add to that
happiness, on the night of the very day that closed the term of his oath
against liquor--that closed the seventh year--his wife presented him
with their third child, and second daughter.

In Ireland there is generally a very festive spirit prevalent during
christenings, weddings, or other social meetings of a similar nature;
and so strongly is this spirit felt, that it is--or was, I should rather
say--not at all an unusual thing for a man, when taking an oath
against liquor, to except christenings or weddings, and very frequently
funerals, as well as Christmas and Easter. Every one acquainted with
the country knows this, and no one need be surprised at the delight with
which Art Maguire hailed this agreeable coincidence. Art, we have said
before, was naturally social, and, although he did most religiously
observe his oath, yet, since the truth must be told, we are bound
to admit that, on many and many an occasion, he did also most
unquestionably regret the restraint that he had placed upon himself with
regard to liquor. Whenever his friends were met together, whether at
fair, or market, wedding, christening, or during the usual festivals, it
is certain that a glass of punch or whiskey never crossed his nose
that he did not feel a secret hankering after it, and would often have
snuffed in the odor, or licked his lips at it, were it not that he
would have considered the act as a kind of misprision of perjury. Now,
however, that he was free, and about to have a christening in his house,
it was at least only reasonable that he should indulge in a glass,
if only for the sake of drinking the health of "the young lady." His
brother Frank happened to be in town that evening, and Art prevailed on
him to stop for the night.

"You must stand for the young colleen, Frank," said he, "and who do you
think is to join you?"

"Why, how could I guess?" replied Frank.

"The sorra other but little Toal Finnigan, that thought to take Margaret
from me, you renumber."

"I remimber he wanted to marry her, and I know that he's the most
revengeful and ill-minded little scoundrel on the face of the earth; if
ever there was a devil in a human bein', there's one in that misshapen
but sugary little vagabone. His father was bad enough when he was
alive, and worse than he ought to be, may God forgive him now, but this
spiteful skinflint, that's a curse to the poor of the country, as he is
their hatred, what could tempt you to ax him to stand for any child of
yours?"

"He may be what he likes, Frank, but all I can say is, that I found
him civil and obligin', an' you know the devil's not so black as he's
painted."

"I know no such thing, Art," replied the other; "for that matter, he may
be a great deal blacker; but still I'd advise you to have nothing to say
to Toal--he's a bad graft, egg and bird; but what civility did he ever
show you?"

"Why, he--he's a devilish pleasant little fellow, any way, so he is;
throth it's he that spakes well of you, at any rate; if he was ten
times worse than he is, he has a tongue in his head that will gain him
friends."

"I see, Art," said Frank, laughing, "he has been layin' it thick an'
sweet on you. My hand to you, there's not so sweet-tongued a knave in
the province; but mind, I put you on your guard--he's never pure honey
all out, unless where there's bitther hatred and revenge at the bottom
of it--that's well known, so be advised and keep him at a distance; have
nothin' to do or to say to him, and, as to havin' him for a godfather,
why I hardly think the child could thrive that he'd stand for."

"It's too late for that now,", replied Art, "for I axed him betther than
three weeks agone."

"An' did he consint?"

"He did, to be sure."

"Well, then, keep your word to him, of coorse; but, as soon as the
christenings over, drop him like a hot potato."

"Why, thin, that's hard enough, Frank, so long as I find the crathur
civil."

"Ay, but, Art, don't I tell you that it's his civility you should be
afeard of; throth, the same civility ought to get him kicked a dozen
times a day."

"Faix and," said Art, "kicked or not, here he comes; whisht! don't be
oncivil to the little bachelor at any rate."

"Oncivil, why should I? the little extortionin' vagabone never injured
or fleeced me; but, before he puts his nose into the house, let me
tell you wanst more, Art, that he never gets sweet upon any one that he
hasn't in hatred for them at the bottom; that's his carracther."

"I know it is," said Art, "but, until I find it to be true, I'll take
the ginerous side, an' I won't believe it; he's a screw, I know, an' a
skinflint, an'--whisht! here he is."

"Toal Finnigan, how are you?" said Art; "I was goin' to say how is every
tether length of you, only that I think it would be impossible to get a
tether short enough to measure you."

"Ha, ha, ha, that's right good--divil a man livin' makes me laugh so
much as--why then, Frank Maguire too!--throth, Frank, I'm proud to see
you well--an' how are you, man? and--well, in throth I am happy to see
you lookin' so well, and in good health; an' whisper, Frank, it's your
own fau't that I'm not inquirin' for the wife and childre."

"An' I can return the compliment, Toal; it's a shame for both of us to
be bachelors at this time o' day."

"Ah," said the little fellow, "I wasn't Frank Maguire, one of the best
lookin' boys in the barony, an' the most respected, an' why not? Well,
divil a thing afther all like the ould blood, an' if I wanted a pure
dhrop of that same, maybe I don't know where to go to look for it--maybe
I don't, I say!"

"It's Toal's fault that he wasn't married many a year ago," said Art;
"he refused more wives, Frank, than e'er a boy of his years from this to
Jinglety cooeh--divil a lie in it; sure he'll tell you himself."

Now, as Toal is to appear occasionally, and to be alluded to from time
to time in this narrative, we shall give the reader a short sketch or
outline of his physical appearance and moral character. In three words,
then, he had all his father's vices multiplied tenfold, and not one of
his good qualities, such as they were; his hair was of that nondescript
color which partakes at once of the red, the fair, and the auburn; it
was a bad dirty dun, but harmonized with his complexion to a miracle.
That complexion, indeed, was no common one; as we said, it was one
of those which, no matter how frequently it might have been scrubbed,
always presented the undeniable evidences of dirt so thorougly ingrained
into the pores of the skin, that no process could remove it, short
of flaying him alive. His vile, dingy dun bristles stood out in all
directions from his head, which was so shaped as to defy admeasurement;
the little rascal's body was equally ill-made, and as for his limbs,
we have already described them, as reaping-hooks of flesh and blood,
terminated by a pair of lark-heeled feet, as flat as smoothing-irons.
Now, be it known, that notwithstanding these disadvantages, little Toal
looked upon himself as an Adonis upon a small scale, and did certainly
believe that scarcely any female on whom he threw his fascinating eye
could resist being enamored of him. This, of course, having become
generally known, was taken advantage of, and many a merry country girl
amused both herself and others at his expenses while he imagined her to
be perfectly serious.

"Then how did you escape at all," said Frank--"you that the girls are so
fond of?"

"You may well ax," said Toal; "but at any rate, it's the divil entirely
to have them too fond of you. There's raison in every thing, but wanst
a woman takes a strong fancy to the cut of your face, you're done for,
until you get rid of her. Throth I suffered as much persecution that way
as would make a good batch o' marthyrs. However, what can one do?"

"It's a hard case, Toal," said Art; "an' I b'lieve you're as badly off,
if not worse, now than ever."

"In that respect," replied Toal, "I'm ladin' the life of a murdherer. I
can't set my face out but there's a pursuit after me--chased an' hunted
like a bag fox; devil a lie I'm tellin' you."

"But do you intend to marry still, Toal?" asked Frank; "bekaise if you
don't, it would be only raisonable for you to make it generally known
that your mind's made up to die a bachelor."

"I wouldn't bring the penalty an' expenses of a wife an' family on me,
for the handsomest woman livin'," said Toal. "Oh no; the Lord in mercy
forbid that! Amin, I pray."

"But," said Art, "is it fair play to the girls not to let that be
generally known, Toal?"

"Hut," replied the other, "let them pick it out of their larnin', the
thieves. Sure they parsecuted me to sich a degree, that they desarve no
mercy at my hands. So, Art," he proceeded, "you've got another mouth to
feed! Oh, the Lord pity you! If you go on this way, what 'ill become of
you at last?"

"Don't you know," replied Art, "that God always fits the back to the
burden, and that he never sends a mouth but he sends something to fill
it."

The little extortioner shrugged his shoulders, and raising his eyebrows,
turned up his eyes--as much as to say, What a pretty notion of life you
have with such opinions as these!

"Upon my word, Toal," said Art, "the young lady we've got home to us is
a beauty; at all events, her godfathers need not be ashamed of her."

"If she's like her own father or mother," replied Toal, once more
resuming the sugar-candy style, "she can't be anything else than a
beauty, It's well known that sich a couple never stood undher the roof
of Aughindrummon Chapel, nor walked the street of Ballykeerin."

Frank winked at Art, who, instead of returning the wink, as he ought
to have done, shut both his eyes, and then looked at Toal with an
expression of great compassion--as if he wished to say, Poor fellow, I
don't think he can be so bad-hearted as the world gives him credit for.

"Come, Toal," he replied, laughing, "none of your bother now. Ay was
there, many a finer couple under the same roof, and on the same street;
so no palaver, my man; But are you prepared to stand for the girsha? You
know it's nearly a month since I axed you?"

"To be sure I am; but who's the midwife?"

"Ould Kate Sharpe; as lucky a woman as ever came about one's house."

"Throth, then, I'm sorry for that," said Toal, "for she's a woman I
don't like; an' I now say beforehand, that devil a traneen she'll be the
betther of me, Art."

"Settle that," replied Art, "between you; at all events, be ready on
Sunday next--the christenin's fixed for it."

After some farther chat, Toal, who, we should have informed our readers,
had removed from his father's old residence into Ballykeerin, took his
departure, quite proud at the notion of being a godfather at all; for in
truth it was the first occasion on which he ever had an opportunity of
arriving at that honor.

Art was a strictly conscientious man; so much so, indeed, that he never
defrauded a human being to the value of a farthing; and as for truth,
it was the standard principle of his whole life. Honesty, truth, and
sobriety are, indeed, the three great virtues upon which all that
is honorable, prosperous, and happy is founded. Art's conscientious
scruples were so strong, that although in point of fact the term of his
oath had expired at twelve o'clock in the forenoon, he would not permit
himself to taste a drop of spirits until after twelve at night.

"It's best," said he to his brother, "to be on the safe side at all
events: a few hours is neither one way nor the other. We haven't now
more than a quarther to go, and then for a tight drop to wet my whistle,
an' dhrink the little girshas health an' her mother's. Throth I've put
in a good apprenticehip to sobriety, anyhow. Come, Madjey," he added,
addressing the servant-maid, "put down the kettle till we have a little
jorum of our own; Frank here and myself; and all of yez."

"Very little jorum will go far wid me, you know, Art," replied his
brother; "an' if you take my advice, you'll not go beyond bounds
yourself either."

"Throth, Frank, an' I'll not take either yours nor any other body's,
until little Kate's christened. I think that afther a fast of seven
years I'm entitled to a stretch."

"Well, well," said his brother; "I see you're on for it; but as you said
yourself a while ago, it's best to be on the safe side, you know."

"Why, dang it, Frank, sure you don't imagine I'm goin' to drink the town
dhry; there's raison in everything."

At length the kettle was boiled, and the punch made; Art took his
tumbler in hand, and rose up; he looked at it, then glanced at his
brother, who observed that he got pale and agitated.

"What ails you?" said he; "is there any thing wrong wid you?"

"I'm thinkin'," replied Art, "of what I suffered wanst by it; an'
besides, it's so long since I tasted it, that somehow I jist feel for
all the world as if the oath was scarcely off of me yet, or as if I was
doin' what's not right."

"That's mere weakness," said Frank; "but still, if you have any scruple,
don't drink it; I bekaise the truth is, Art, you couldn't have a scruple
that will do you more good than one against liquor."

"Well, I'll only take this tumbler an' another to-night; and then we'll
go to bed, plase goodness."

His agitation then passed away, and he drank a portion of the liquor.

"I'm thinkin', Art," said Frank, "that it wouldn't be aisy to find two
men that has a betther right to be thankful to God for the good fortune
we've both had, than yourself and me. The Lord has been good, to me, for
I'm thrivin' to my heart's content, and savin' money every day."

"And glory be to his holy name," said Art, looking with a strong sense
of religious feeling upward, "so am I; and if we both hould to this,
we'll die rich, plaise goodness. I have saved up very well, too; and
here I sit this night as happy a man as is in Europe. The world's
flowin' on me, an' I want for nothin'; I have good health, a clear
conscience, and everything that a man in my condition of life can stand
in need of, or wish for; glory be to God for it all!"

"Amen," said Frank; "glory be to his name for it!"

"But, Frank," said Art, "there's one thing that I often wonder at, an'
indeed so does every one a'most."

"What is that, Art?"

"Why, that you don't think o' marryin'. Sure you have good means to
keep a wife, and rear a family now; an' of coorse we all wonder that you
don't."

"Indeed, to tell you the truth, Art, I don't know myself what's the
raison of it--the only wife I think of is my business; but any way, if
you was to see the patthern of married life there is undher the roof
wid me, you'd not be much in consate wid marriage yourself, if you war a
bachelor."

"Why," inquired the other, "don't they agree?"

"Ay do they, so well that they get sometimes into very close an' lovin'
grips togather; if ever there was a scald alive she's one o' them, an'
him that was wanst so careless and aisey-tempered, she has now made him
as bad as herself--has trained him regularly until he has a tongue that
would face a ridgment. Tut, sure divil a week that they don't flake one
another, an' half my time's, taken up reddin' them."

"Did you ever happen to get the reddin' blow? eh? ha, ha, ha!"

"No, not yet; but the truth is, Art, that an ill-tongued wife has driven
many a husband to ruin, an' only that I'm there to pay attention to the
business, he'd be a poor drunken beggarman long ago, an' all owin' to
her vile temper."

"Does she dhrink?"

"No, sorra drop--this wickedness all comes natural to her; she wouldn't
be aisy out of hot wather, and poor Jack's parboiled in it every day in
the year."

"Well, it's I that have got the treasure, Frank; from the day that I
first saw her face till the minute we're spakin' in, I never knew her
temper to turn--always the same sweet word, the same flow of spirits,
and the same light laugh; her love an' affection for me an' the childher
there couldn't be language found for. Come, throth we'll drink her
health in another tumbler, and a speedy uprise to her, asthore machree
that she is, an' when I think of how she set every one of her people at
defiance, and took her lot wid myself so nobly, my heart burns wid love
for her, ay, I feel my very heart burnin' widin me."

Two tumblers were again mixed, and Margaret's health was drunk.

"Here's her health," said Art, "may God grant her long life and
happiness!"

"Amen!" responded Frank, "an' may He grant that she'll never know a
sorrowful heart!"

Art laid down his tumbler, and covered his eyes with his hands for a
minute or two.

"I'm not ashamed, Frank," said he, "I'm not a bit ashamed of these
tears--she desarves them--where is her aiquil? oh, where is her
aiquil? It's she herself that has the tear for the distresses of her
fellow-creatures, an' the ready hand to relieve them; may the Almighty
shower down his blessins on her!"

"Them tears do you credit," replied Frank, "and although I always
thought well of you, Art, and liked you betther than any other in the
family, although I didn't say much about it, still, I tell you, I think
betther of you this minute than I ever did in my life."

"There's only one thing in the wide world that's throublin' her,"
said Art, "an' that is, that she hadn't her parents' blessin' when she
married me, nor since--for ould Murray's as stiff-necked as a mule, an'
the more he's driven to do a thing the less he'll do it."

"In that case," observed Frank, "the best plan is to let him alone;
maybe when it's not axed for he'll give it."

"I wish he would," said Art, "for Margaret's sake; it would take away a
good deal of uneasiness from her mind."

The conversation afterwards took several turns, and embraced a variety
of topics, till the second tumbler was finished.

"Now," said Art, "as there's but the two of us, and in regard of the
occasion that's in it, throth we'll jist take one more a piece."

"No," replied Frank, "I never go beyant two, and you said you wouldn't."

"Hut, man, divil a matther for that; sure there's only ourselves two,
as I said, an' Where's the harm? Throth, it's a long time since I felt
myself so comfortable, an' besides, it's not every night we have you wid
us. Come, Frank, one more in honor of the occasion."

"Another drop won't cross my lips this night," returned his brother,
firmly, "so you needn't be mixin' it."

"Sorra foot you'll go to bed to-night till you take another; there, now
it's mixed, so you know you must take it now."

"Not a drop."

"Well, for the sake of poor little Kate, that you're to stand for; come,
Frank, death alive, man!"

"Would my drinkin' it do Kate any good?"

"Hut, man alive, sure if one was to lay down the law that way upon every
thing, they might as well be out of the world at wanst; come, Frank."'

"No, Art, I said I wouldn't, and I won't break my word."

"But, sure, that's only a trifle; take the liquor; the sorra betther
tumbler of punch ever was made: it's Barney Scaddhan's whiskey."*

     * Scaddhan, a herring, a humorous nickname bestowed
     upon him, because he made the foundation of his fortune
     by selling herrings.

"An' if Barney Scaddhan keeps good whiskey, is that any rason why
I should break my word, or would you have me get dhrunk because his
liquor's betther than another man's?"

"Well, for the sake of poor Margaret, then, an' she so fond o' you;
sure many a time she tould me that sorra brother-in-law ever she had she
likes so well, an' I know it's truth; that I may never handle a plane
but it is; dang it, Frank, don't be so stiff."

"I never was stiff, Art, but I always was, and always will be, firm,
when I know I'm in the right; as I said about the child, what good would
my drinkin' that tumbler of punch do Margaret? None in life; it would
do her no good, and it would do myself harm. Sure, we did drink her
health."

"An' is that your respect for her?" said Art, in a huff, "if that's it,
why--"

"There's not a man livin' respects her more highly, or knows her worth
betther than I do," replied Frank, interrupting him, "but I simply ax
you, Art, what mark of true respect would the fact of my drinkin' that
tumbler of punch be to her? The world's full of these foolish errors,
and bad ould customs, and the sooner they're laid aside, an' proper ones
put in their place, the betther."

"Oh, very well, Frank, the sorra one o' me will ask you to take it agin;
I only say, that if I was in your house, as you are in mine, I wouldn't
break squares about a beggarly tumbler of punch."

"So much the worse, Art, I would rather you would; there, now, you
have taken your third tumbler, yet you said when we sat down that you'd
confine yourself to two; is that keepin' your word? I know you may call
breakin' it now a trifle, but I tell you, that when a man begins to
break his word in trifles, he'll soon go on to greater things, and maybe
end without much regardin' it in any thing."

"You don't mane to say, Frank, or to hint, that ever I'd come to sich a
state as that I wouldn't regard my word."

"I do not; but even if I did, by followin' up this coorse you'd put
yourself in the right way of comin' to it."

"Throth, I'll not let this other one be lost either," he added, drawing
over to him the tumbler which he had filled for his brother; "I've an
addition to my family--the child an' mother doin' bravely, an' didn't
taste a dhrop these seven long years; here's your health, at all events,
Frank, an' may the Lord put it into your heart to marry a wife, an' be
as happy as I am. Here, Madgey, come here, I say; take that whiskey an'
sugar, an' mix yourselves a jorum; it's far in the night, but no matther
for that--an' see, before you mix it, go an' bring my own darlin' Art,
till he dhrinks his mother's health."

"Why now, Art," began his brother, "is it possible that you can have the
conscience to taich the poor boy sich a cursed habit so soon? What
are you about this minute but trainin' him up to what may be his own
destruction yet?"

"Come now, Frank, none of your moralizin'," the truth is, that the punch
was beginning rapidly to affect his head; "none of your moralizin',
throth it's a preacher you ought to be, or a lawyer, to lay down the
law. Here, Madgey, bring him to me; that's my son, that there isn't the
like of in Ballykeerin, any way. Eh, Frank, it's ashamed of him I ought
to be, isn't it? Kiss me, Art, and then kiss your uncle Frank, the best
uncle that ever broke the world's bread is the same Frank--that's a good
boy, Art; come now, drink your darlin' mother's health in this glass of
brave punch; my mother's health, say, long life an' happiness to her!
that's a man, toss it off at wanst, bravo; arra, Frank, didn't he do
that manly? the Lord love him, where 'ud you get sich a fine swaddy as
he is of his age? Oh, Frank, what 'ud become of me if anything happened
that boy? it's a mad-house would hould me soon. May the Lord in heaven
save and guard him from all evil and clanger!"

Frank saw that it was useless to remonstrate with him at such a
moment, for the truth is, intoxication was setting in fast, and all his
influence over him was gone.

"Here, Atty, before you go to bed agin, jist a weeshy sup more to drink
your little sisther's health; sure Kate Sharpe brought you home a little
sisther, Atty."

"The boy's head will not be able to stand so much," said Frank; "you
will make him tipsy."

"Divil a tipsy; sure it's only a mere draineen."

He then made the little fellow drink the baby's health, after which he
was despatched to bed.

"Throth, it's in for a penny in for a pound wid myself. I know, Frank,
that--that there's something or other wrong wid my head, or at any rate
wid my eyes; for everything, somehow, is movin'. Is everything movin',
Frank?"

"You think so," said Frank, "because you're fast getting tipsy--if you
arn't tipsy all out."

"Well, then, if I'm tip--tipsy, divil a bit the worse I can be by
another tumbler. Come, Frank, here's the ould blood of Ireland--the
Maguires of Fermanagh! And now, Frank, I tell you, it would more become
you to drink that toast, than to be sittin' there like an oracle, as you
are; for upon my sowl, you're nearly as bad. But, Frank."

"Well, Art."

"Isn't little Toal Finnigan a civil little fellow--that is--is--if
he was well made. 'There never stood,' says he, 'sich a couple in the
chapel of--of Aughindrumon, nor there never walked sich a couple up or
down the street of Ballykeerin--that's the chat,' says he: an' whisper,
Frank, ne--neither did there. Whe--where is Margaret's aiquil, I'd--I'd
like to know? an' as for me, I'll measure myself across the shouldhers
aginst e'er a--a man, woman, or child in--in the parish. Co--come here,
now, Frank, till I me--measure the small o' my leg ag--aginst yours;
or if--if that makes you afeard, I'll measure the--the ball of my leg
aginst the ball of yours. There's a wrist, Frank; look at that? jist
look at it."

"I see it; it is a powerful wrist."

"But feel it."

"Tut, Art, sure I see it."

"D--n it, man, jist feel it--feel the breadth of--of that bone.
Augh--that's the--the wrist; so anyhow, here's little Toal Finnigan's
health, an' I don't care what they say, I like little Toal, an' I will
like little Toal; bekaise--aise if--if he was the divil, as--as they say
he is, in disguise--ha, ha, ha! he has a civil tongue in his head."

He then commenced and launched out into the most extravagant praises of
himself, his wife, his children; and from these he passed to the ould
blood of Ireland, and the Fermanagh Maguires.

"Where," he said, "whe--where is there in the country, or anywhere else,
a family that has sich blood as ours in their veins? Very well; an'
aren't we proud of it, as we have a right to be? Where's the Maguire
that would do a mane or shabby act? tha--that's what I'd like to know.
Isn't the word of a Maguire looked upon as aiquil to--to an--another
man's oath; an' where's the man of them that was--as ever known to break
it? Eh Frank? No; stead--ed--steady's the word wid the Maguires, and
honor bright."

Frank was about to remind him that he had in his own person given a
proof that night that a Maguire could break his word, and commit
a disreputable action besides; but as he saw it was useless, he
judiciously declined then making any observation whatsoever upon it.

After a good deal of entreaty, Frank succeeded in prevailing on him to
go to bed; in which, however, he failed, until Art had inflicted on
him three woful songs, each immensely long, and sung in that peculiarly
fascinating drawl, which is always produced by intoxication. At length,
and when the night was more than half spent, he assisted him to bed--a
task of very considerable difficulty, were it not that it was relieved
by his receiving from the tipsy man several admirable precepts, and an
abundance of excellent advice, touching his conduct in the world; not
forgetting religion, on which he dwelt with a maudlin solemnity of
manner, that was, or would have been to strangers, extremely ludicrous.
Frank, however, could not look upon it with levity. He understood
his brother's character and foibles too well, and feared that
notwithstanding his many admirable qualities, his vanity and want of
firmness, or, in other words, of self-dependence, might overbalance them
all.

The next morning his brother Frank was obliged to leave betimes, and
consequently had no opportunity of advising or remonstrating with him.
On rising, he felt sick and feverish, and incapable of going into his
workshop. The accession made to his family being known, several of his
neighbors came in to inquire after the health of his wife and infant;
and as Art, when left to his own guidance, had never been remarkable
for keeping a secret, he made no scruple of telling them that he had
got drunk the night before, and was, of course, quite out of order that
morning. Among the rest, the first to come in was little Toal Finnigan,
who, in addition to his other virtues, possessed a hardness of head--by
which we mean a capacity for bearing drink--that no liquor, or no
quantity of liquor, could overcome.

"Well," said Toal, "sure it's very reasonable that you should be out of
ordher; after bein' seven years from it, it doesn't come so natural to
you as it would do. Howandiver, you know that there's but the one cure
for it--a hair of the same dog that bit you; and if you're afeared to
take the same hair by yourself, why I'll take a tuft of it wid you,
an' we'll dhrink the wife's health--my ould sweetheart--and the little
sthranger's."

"Throth I believe you're right," said Art, "in regard to the cure; so
in the name of goodness we'll have a gauliogue to begin the day wid, an'
set the hair straight on us."

During that day, Art was neither drunk nor sober, but halfway between
the two states. He went to his workshop about two o'clock; but his
journeymen and apprentices could smell the strong whiskey off him, and
perceive an occasional thickness of pronunciation in his speech, which
a good deal surprised them. When evening came, however, his neighbors,
whom he had asked in, did not neglect to attend; the bottle was again
produced, and poor Art, the principle of restraint having now been
removed, re-enacted much the same scene as on the preceding night, with
this exception only, that he was now encouraged instead of being checked
or reproved.

There were now only three days to elapse until the following Sabbath,
on which day the child was to be baptized; one of them, that is, the one
following his first intoxication with Frank, was lost to him, for, as
we have said, though not precisely drunk, he was not in a condition to
work, nor properly to give directions. The next he felt himself in much
the same state, but with still less of regret.

"The truth is," said he, "I won't be rightly able to do any thing till
afther this christenin', so that I may set down the remaindher o' the
week as lost; well, sure that won't break me at any rate. It's long
since I lost a week before, and we must only make up for it; afther the
christenin' I'll work double tides."

This was all very plausible reasoning, but very fallacious
notwithstanding; indeed, it is this description of logic which conceals
the full extent of a man's errors from, himself, and which has sent
thousands forward on their career to ruin. Had Art, for instance, been
guided by his steady and excellent brother, or, what would have been
better still, by his own good sense and firmness, he would have got up
the next morning in health, with an easy mind, and a clear conscience,
and been able to resume his work as usual. Instead of that, the
night's debauch produced its natural consequences, feverishness and
indisposition, which, by the aid of a bad proverb, and worse company,
were removed by the very cause which produced them. The second night's
debauch lost the following day, and then, forsooth, the week was nearly
gone, and it wasn't worth while to change the system, as if it was ever
too soon to mend, or as if even a single day's work were not a matter of
importance to a mechanic. Let any man who feels himself reasoning as Art
Maguire did, rest assured that there is an evil principle within him,
which, unless he strangle it by prompt firmness, and a strong conviction
of moral duty, will ultimately be his destruction.

There was once a lake, surrounded by very beautiful scenery, to which
its waters gave a fine and picturesque effect. This lake was situated on
an elevated part of the country, and a little below it, facing the
west, was a precipice, which terminated a lovely valley, that gradually
expanded until it was lost in the rich campaign country below. From this
lake there was no outlet of water whatsoever, but its shores at the same
time were rich and green, having been all along devoted to pasture.
Now, it so happened that a boy, whose daily occupation was to tend his
master's sheep, went one day when the winds were strong, to the edge of
the lake, on the side to which they blew, and began to amuse himself by
making a small channel in the soft earth with his naked foot. This small
identation was gradually made larger and larger by the waters--whenever
the wind blew strongly in that direction--until, in the course of time,
it changed into a deep chasm, which wore away the earth that intervened
between the lake and the precipice. The result may be easily guessed.
When the last portion of the earth gave way, the waters of the lake
precipitated themselves upon the beautiful and peaceful glen, carrying
death and destruction in their course, and leaving nothing but a dark
unsightly morass behind them. So is it with the mind of man. When
he gives the first slight assent to a wrong tendency, or a vicious
resolution, he resembles the shepherd's boy, who, unconscious of the
consequences that followed, made the first small channel in the earth
with his naked foot. The vice or the passion will enlarge itself by
degrees until all power of resistance is removed; and the heart becomes
a victim to the impetuosity of an evil principle to which no assent of
the will ever should have been given.

Art, as we have said, lost the week, and then came Sunday for the
christening. On that day, of course, an extra cup was but natural,
especially as it would put an end to his indulgence on the one hand, and
his idleness on the other. Monday morning would enable him to open a new
leaf, and as it was the last day--that is, Sunday was--why, dang it,
he would take a good honest jorum. Frank, who had a greater regard for
Art's character than it appeared Art himself had, Spoke to him privately
on the morning of the christening, as to the necessity and decency
of keeping himself sober on that day; but, alas! during this friendly
admonition he could perceive, that early as it was, his brother was
not exactly in a state of perfect sobriety. His remonstrances were very
unpalatable to Art, and as a consciousness of his conduct, added to the
nervousness produced by drink, had both combined to produce irritability
of temper, he addressed himself more harshly to his brother than he had
ever done in his life before. Frank, for the sake of peace, gave up the
task, although he saw clearly enough that the christening was likely to
terminate, at least so far as Art was concerned, in nothing less than
a drunken debauch. This, indeed, was true. Little Toal, who drank more
liquor than any two among them, and Frank himself, were the only sober
persons present, all the rest having successfully imitated the example
set them by Art, who was carried to bed at an early hour in the evening.
This was but an indifferent preparation for his resolution to commence
work on Monday morning, as the event proved. When the morning came,
he was incapable of work; a racking pain in the head, and sickness of
stomach, were the comfortable assurances of his inability. Here was
another day lost; but finding that it also was irretrievably gone, he
thought it would be no great harm to try the old cure--a hair of the
dog--as before, and it did not take much force of reasoning to persuade
himself to that course. In this manner he went on, losing day after day,
until another week was lost. At length he found himself in his workshop,
considerably wrecked and debilitated, striving with tremulous and
unsteady hands to compensate for his lost time; it was now, however,
too late--the evil habit had been contracted--the citadel had been
taken--the waters had been poisoned at their source--the small track
with the naked foot had been made. From this time forward he did little
but make resolutions to-day, which he broke tomorrow; in the course of
some time he began to drink with his own workmen, and even admitted his
apprentices to their potations. Toal Finnigan, and about six or eight
dissolute and drunken fellows, inhabitants of Ballykeerin, were his
constant companions, and never had they a drinking bout that he was
not sent for: sometimes they would meet in his own workshop, which was
turned into a tap-room, and there drink the better part of the day. Of
course the workmen could not be forgotten in their potations, and, as a
natural consequence, all work was suspended, business at a stand, time
lost, and morals corrupted.

His companions now availed themselves of his foibles, winch they drew
out into more distinct relief. Joined to an overweening desire to
hear himself praised, was another weakness, which proved to be very
beneficial to his companions; this was a swaggering and consequential
determination, when tipsy, to pay the whole reckoning, and to treat
every one he knew.

He was a Maguire--he was a gentleman--had the old blood in his veins,
and that he might never handle a plane, if any man present should pay a
shilling, so long as he was to the fore. This was an argument in which
he always had the best of it; his companions taking care, even if he
happened to forget it, that some chance word or hint should bring it to
his memory.

"Here, Barney Scaddhan--Barney, I say, what's the reckonin', you sinner?
Now, Art Maguire, divil a penny of this you'll pay for--you're too
ginerous, an' have the heart of a prince."

"And kind family for him to have the heart of a prince, sure we all know
what the Fermanagh Maguires wor; of coorse we won't let him pay."

"Toal Finnigan, do you want me to rise my hand to you? I tell you that
a single man here won't pay a penny o' reckonin', while I'm to the good;
and, to make short work of it, by the contints o' the book, I'll strike
the first of ye that'll attempt it. Now!"

"Faix, an' I for one," said Toal, "won't come undher your fist; it's
little whiskey ever I'd drink if I did."

"Well, well," the others would exclaim, "that ends it; howendiver, never
mind, Art, I'll engage we'll have our revenge on you for that--the next
meetin' you won't carry it all your own way; we'll be as stiff as you'll
be stout, my boy, although you beat us out of it now."

"Augh," another would say, in a whisper especially designed for him, "by
the livin' farmer there never was one, even of the Maguires, like him,
an' that's no lie."

Art would then pay the reckoning with the air of a nobleman, or, if he
happened to be without money, he would order it to be scored to him, for
as yet his credit was good.

It is wonderful to reflect how vanity blinds common sense, and turns
all the power of reason and judgment to nothing. Art was so thoroughly
infatuated by his own vanity, that he was utterly incapable of seeing
through the gross and selfish flattery with which they plied him. Nay,
when praising him, or when sticking him in for drink, as it is termed,
they have often laughed in his very face, so conscious were they that it
could be done with impunity.

This course of life could not fail to produce suitable consequences to
his health, his reputation, and his business. His customers began to
find now that the man whose word had never been doubted, and whose
punctuality was proverbial, became so careless and negligent in
attending to his orders, that it was quite useless to rely upon his
promises, and, as a very natural consequence, they began to drop off
one after another, until he found to his cost that a great number of his
best and most respectable supporters ceased to employ him.

When his workmen, too, saw that he had got into tippling and irregular
habits, and that his eye was not, as in the days of his industry,
over them, they naturally became careless and negligent, as did the
apprentices also. Nor was this all; the very individuals who had been
formerly remarkable for steadiness, industry, and sobriety--for Art
would then keep no other--were now, many of them, corrupted by his own
example, and addicted to idleness and drink. This placed him in a very
difficult position; for how, we ask, could he remonstrate with them so
long as he himself transgressed more flagrantly than they did? For this
reason he was often forced to connive at outbreaks of drunkenness and
gross cases of neglect, which no sober man would suffer in those whom he
employed.

"Take care of your business, and your business will take care of you,"
is a good and a wholesome proverb, that cannot bo too strongly impressed
on the minds of the working classes. Art began to feel surprised that
his business was declining, but as yet his good sense was strong enough
to point out to him the cause of it. His mind now became disturbed, for
while he felt conscious that his own neglect and habits of dissipation
occasioned it, he also felt that he was but a child in the strong grasp
of his own propensities. This was anything but a consoling reflection,
and so long as it lasted he was gloomy, morbid, and peevish; his
excellent wife was the first to remark this, and, indeed, was the first
that had occasion to remark it, for even in this stage of his life, the
man who had never spoken to her, or turned his eye upon her, but with
tenderness and affection, now began, especially when influenced by
drink, to give manifestations of temper that grieved her to the heart.
Abroad, however, he was the same good-humored fellow as ever, with a few
rare exceptions--when he got quarrelsome and fought with his companions.
His workmen all were perfectly aware of his accessibility to flattery,
and some of them were not slow to avail themselves of it: these were
the idle and unscrupulous, who, as they resembled himself, left nothing
unsaid or undone to maintain his good opinion, and they succeeded. His
business now declined so much, that he was obliged to dismiss some of
them, and, as if he had been fated to ruin, the honest and independent,
who scorned to flatter his weaknesses, were the very persons put out
of his employment, because their conduct was a silent censure upon his
habits, and the men he retained were those whom he himself had made
drunken and profligate by his example; so true is it that a drunkard is
his own enemy in a thousand ways.

Here, then, is our old friend Art falling fast away from the proverbial
integrity of his family--his circumstances are rapidly declining--his
business running to a point--his reputation sullied, and his
temper becoming sharp and vehement; these are strong indications of
mismanagement, neglect, and folly, or, in one word, of a propensity to
drink.

About a year and a half has now elapsed, and Art, in spite of several
most determined resolutions to reform, is getting still worse in every
respect. It is not to be supposed, however, that during this period he
has not had visitations of strong feeling--of repentance--remorse--or
that love of drink had so easy a victory over him as one would imagine.
No such thing. These internal struggles sometimes affected him even unto
agony, and he has frequently wept bitter tears on finding himself the
victim of this terrible habit. He had not, however, the courage to
look into his own condition with a firm eye, or to examine the state of
either his heart or his circumstances with the resolution of a man who
knows that he must suffer pain by the inspection. Art could not bear the
pain of such an examination, and, in order to avoid feeling it, he had
recourse to the oblivion of drink; not reflecting that the adoption of
every such remedy for care resembles the wisdom of the man, who, when
raging under the tortures of thirst, attempted to allay them by drinking
sea-water. Drink relieved him for a moment, but he soon found that in
his case the remedy was only another name for the disease.

It is not necessary to assure our readers that during Art's unhappy
progress hitherto, his admirable brother Frank felt wrung to the heart
by his conduct. All that good advice, urged with good feeling and good
sense, could do, was tried on him, but to no purpose; he ultimately lost
his temper on being reasoned with, and flew into a passion with Frank,
whom he abused for interfering, as he called it, in business which did
not belong to him. Notwithstanding this bluster, however, there was no
man whom he feared so much; in fact, he dreaded his very appearance, and
would go any distance out of his way rather than come in contact with
him. He felt Frank's moral ascendency too keenly, and was too bitterly
sensible of the neglect with which he had treated his affectionate and
friendly admonitions, to meet him with composure. Indeed, we must say,
that, independently of his brother Frank, he was not left to his own
impulses, without many a friendly and sincere advice. The man had been
so highly respected--his name was so stainless--his conduct so good,
so blameless; he stood forth such an admirable pattern of industry,
punctuality, and sobriety, that his departure from all these virtues
occasioned general regret and sorrow. Every friend hoped that he
would pay attention to his advice, and every friend tried it, but,
unfortunately, every friend failed. Art, now beyond the reach of
reproof, acted as every man like him acts; he avoided those who, because
they felt an interest in his welfare, took the friendly liberty of
attempting to rescue him, and consequently associated only with those
who drank with him, flattered him, skulked upon him, and laughed at him.

One friend, however, he had, who, above all others, first in place and
in importance, we cannot overlook--that friend was his admirable and
affectionate wife. Oh, in what language can we adequately describe
her natural and simple eloquence, her sweetness of disposition, her
tenderness, her delicacy of reproof, and her earnest struggles to win
back her husband from the habits which were destroying him! And in
the beginning she was often successful for a time, and many a tear of
transient repentance has she occasioned him to shed, when she succeeded
in touching his heart, and stirring his affection for her and for their
children.

In circumstances similar to Art's, however, we first feel our own
errors, we then feel grateful to those who have the honesty to reprove
us for them: by and by, on finding that we are advancing on the wrong
path, we begin to disrelish the advice, as being only an unnecessary
infliction of pain; having got so far as to disrelish the advice,
we soon begin to disrelish the adviser; and ultimately, we become so
thoroughly wedded to our own selfish vices, as to hate every one who
would take us out of their trammels.

When Art found that the world, as he said, was going against him,
instead of rallying, as he might, and ought to have done, he began
to abuse the world, and attribute to it all the misfortunes which he
himself, and not the world, had occasioned him. The world, in fact,
is nothing to any man but the reflex of himself; if you treat yourself
well, and put yourself out of the power of the world, the world will
treat you well, and respect you; but if you neglect yourself, do not at
all be surprised that the world and your friends will neglect you also.
So far the world acts with great justice and propriety, and takes
its cue from your own conduct; you cannot, therefore, blame the world
without first blaming yourself.

Two years had now elapsed, and Art's business was nearly gone; he had
been obliged to discharge the drunken fellows we spoke of, but not until
they had assisted in a great measure to complete his ruin. Two years of
dissipation, neglect of business, and drunkenness, were quite sufficient
to make Art feel that it is a much easier thing to fall into poverty and
contempt, than to work a poor man's way, from early struggle and the tug
of life, to ease and independence.

His establishment was now all but closed; the two apprentices had
scarcely anything to do, and, indeed, generally amused themselves in
the workshop by playing Spoil Five--a fact which was discovered by Art
himself, who came on them unexpectedly one day when tipsy; but, as he
happened to be in an extremely good humor, he sat down and took a hand
along with them. This was a new element of enjoyment to him, and instead
of reproving them for their dishonest conduct, he suffered himself to
be drawn into the habit of gambling, and so strongly did this grow upon
him, that from henceforth he refused to participate in any drinking
bout unless the parties were to play for the liquor. For this he had now
neither temper nor coolness; while drinking upon the ordinary plan
with his companions, he almost uniformly paid the reckoning from sheer
vanity; or, in other words, because they managed him; but now that it
depended upon what he considered to be skill, nothing ever put him
so completely out of temper as to be put in for it. This low gambling
became a passion with him; but it was a passion that proved to be the
fruitful cause of fights and quarrels without end. Being seldom either
cool or sober, he was a mere dupe in the hands of his companions; but
whether by fair play or foul, the moment he perceived that the game had
gone against him, that moment he generally charged his opponents with
dishonesty and fraud, and then commenced a fight. Many a time has
he gone home, beaten and bruised, and black, and cut, and every way
disfigured in these vile and blackguard contests; but so inveterately
had this passion for card-playing--that is, gambling for liquor--worked
itself upon him, that he could not suffer a single day to pass without
indulging in it. Defeat of any kind was a thing he could never think of;
but for a Maguire--one of the great Fermanagh Maguires--to be beaten
at a rascally game of Spoil Five, was not to be endured; the matter was
impossible, unless by foul play, and as there was only one method of
treating those who could stoop to the practice of foul play, why he
seldom lost any time in adopting it. This was to apply the fist, and as
he had generally three or four against him, and as, in most instances,
he was in a state of intoxication, it usually happened that he received
most punishment.

Up to this moment we have not presented Art to our readers in any other
light than that of an ordinary drunkard, seen tipsy and staggering in
the streets, or singing as he frequently was, or fighting, or playing
cards in the public-houses. Heretofore he was not before the world, and
in everybody's eye; but he had now become so common a sight in the town
of Ballykeerin, that his drunkenness was no longer a matter of surprise
to its inhabitants. At the present stage of his life he could not bear
to see his brother Frank; and his own Margaret, although unchanged and.
loving as ever, was no longer to him the Margaret that she had been.
He felt how much he had despised her advice, neglected her comfort, and
forgotten the duties which both God and nature had imposed upon him,
with respect to her and their children. These feelings coming upon him
during short intervals of reflection, almost drove him mad, and he
has often come home to her and them in a frightful and terrible
consciousness that he had committed some great crime, and that she and
their children were involved in its consequences.

"Margaret," he would say, "Margaret, what is it I've done aginst you and
the childre? I have done some great crime aginst you all, for surely if
I didn't, you wouldn't look as you do--Margaret, asthore, where is the
color that was in your cheeks? and my own Art here--that always pacifies
me when nobody else can--even Art doesn't look what he used to be."

"Well, sure he will, Art, dear," she would reply; "now will you let me
help you to bed? it's late; it's near three o'clock; Oh Art, dear, if
you were----"

"I won't go to bed--I'll stop here where I am, wid my head on the table,
till mornin'. Now do you know--come here, Margaret--let me hear you--do
you know, and are you sensible of the man you're married to?"

"To be sure I am."

"No, I tell you; I say you are not. There is but one person in the house
that knows that."

"You're right, Art darlin'--you're right. Come here, Atty; go to your
father; you know what to say, avick."

"Well, Art," he would continue, "do you know who your father is?"

"Ay do I; he's one of the great Fermanagh Maguires--the greatest family
in the kingdom. Isn't that it?"

"That's it, Atty darlin'--come an' kiss me for that; yes, I'm one of the
great Fermanagh Maguires. Isn't that a glorious thin', Atty?"

"Now, Art, darlin', will you let me help you to bed--think of the hour
it is."

"I won't go, I tell you. I'll sit here wid my head on the table all
night. Come here, Atty. Atty, it's wondherful how I love you--above all
creatures livin' do I love you. Sure I never refuse to do any thing for
you, Atty; do I now?"

"Well, then, will you come to bed for me?"

"To be sure I will, at wanst;" and the unhappy man instantly rose and
staggered into his bedroom, aided and supported by his wife and child;
for the latter lent whatever little assistance he could give to his
drunken father, whom he tenderly loved.

His shop, however, is now closed, the apprentices are gone, and the last
miserable source of their support no longer exists. Poverty now sets
in, and want and destitution. He parts with his tools; but not for the
purpose of meeting the demands of his wife and children at home; no;
but for drink--drink--drink--drink. He is now in such a state that he
cannot, dares not, reflect, and consequently, drink is more necessary
to him than ever. His mind, however, is likely soon to be free from
the pain of thinking; for it is becoming gradually debauched and
brutified--is sinking, in fact, to the lowest and most pitiable state of
degradation. It was then, indeed, that he felt how the world deals with
a man who leaves himself depending on it.


[Illustration: PAGE AM1018-- They immediately expelled him]


His friends had now all abandoned him; decent people avoided him--he
had fallen long ago below pity, and was now an object of contempt.
His family at home were destitute; every day brought hunger--positive,
absolute want of food wherewith to support nature. His clothes were
reduced to tatters; so were those of his wife and children. His frame,
once so strong and athletic, was now wasted away to half its wonted
size; his hands were thin, tremulous, and flesh-less; his face pale and
emaciated; and his eye dead and stupid. He was now nearly alone in the
world. Low and profligate as were his drunken companions, yet even they
shunned him; and so contemptuously did they treat him, now that he was
no longer able to pay his way, or enable the scoundrels to swill at his
expense, that whenever he happened to enter Barney Scaddhan's tap, while
they were in it, they immediately expelled him without ceremony, or
Barney did it for them. He now hated home; there was nothing there for
him, but cold, naked, shivering destitution. The furniture had gone by
degrees for liquor; tables, chairs, kitchen utensils, bed and bedding,
with the exception of a miserable blanket for Margaret and the child,
had all been disposed of for about one-tenth part of their value.
Alas, what a change is this from comfort, industry, independence, and
respectability, to famine, wretchedness, and the utmost degradation!
Even Margaret, whose noble heart beat so often in sympathy with the
distresses of the poor, has scarcely any one now who will feel sympathy
with her own. Not that she was utterly abandoned by all. Many a time
have the neighbors, in a stealthy way, brought a little relief in the
shape of food, to her and her children. Sorry are we to say, however,
that there were in the town of Ballykeerin, persons whom she had herself
formerly relieved, and with whom the world went well since, who now
shut their eyes against her misery, and refused to assist her. Her lot,
indeed, was now a bitter one, and required all her patience, all her
fortitude to enable her to bear up under it. Her husband was sunk
down to a pitiable pitch, his mind consisting, as it were, only of two
elements, stupidity and ill-temper. Up until the disposal of all the
furniture, he had never raised his hand to her, or gone beyond verbal
abuse; now, however, his temper became violent and brutal. All sense
of shame--every pretext for decency--all notions of self-respect, were
gone, and nothing was left to sustain or check him. He could not look in
upon himself and find one spark of decent pride, or a single principle
left that contained the germ of his redemption. He now gave himself over
as utterly lost, and consequently felt no scruple to stoop to any
act, no matter how mean or contemptible. In the midst of all this
degradation, however, there was one recollection which he never gave up;
but alas, to what different and shameless purposes did he now prostitute
it! That which had been in his better days a principle of just pride, a
spur to industry, an impulse to honor, and a safeguard to integrity, had
now become the catchword of a mendicant--the cant or slang, as it
were, of an impostor. He was not ashamed to beg in its name--to ask
for whiskey in its name--and to sink, in its name, to the most sordid
supplications.

"Will you stand the price of a glass? I'm Art Maguire; one of the great
Maguires of Fermanagh! Think of the blood of the Maguires, and stand
a glass. Barney Scaddhan won't trust me now; although many a pound and
penny of good money I left him."

"Ay," the person accosted would reply, "an' so sign's on you; you would
be a different man to-day, had you visited Barney Scaddhan's seldomer,
or kept out of it altogether."

"It's not a sarmon I want; will you stand the price of a glass?"

"Not a drop."

"Go to blazes, then, if you won't. I'm a betther man than ever you
wor, an' have betther blood in my veins. The great Fermanagh Maguires
forever!"

But, hold--we must do the unfortunate man justice. Amidst all this
degradation, and crime, and wretchedness, there yet shone undimmed one
solitary virtue. This was an abstract but powerful affection for his
children, especially for his eldest son; now a fine boy about eight or
nine. In his worst and most outrageous moods--when all other influence
failed--when the voice of his own Margaret, whom he once loved--oh how
well! fell heedless upon his ears--when neither Frank, nor friend, nor
neighbor could manage nor soothe him--let but the finger of his boy
touch him, or a tone of his voice fall upon his ear, and he placed
himself in his hands, and did whatever the child wished him.

One evening about this time, Margaret was sitting upon a small hassock
of straw, that had been made for little Art, when he began to walk.
It was winter, and there was no fire; a neighbor, however, had out of
charity lent her a few dipped rushes, that they might not be in utter
darkness. One of these was stuck against the wall, for they had no
candlestick; and oh, what a pitiable and melancholy spectacle did
its dim and feeble light present! There she sat, the young, virtuous,
charitable, and lovely Margaret of the early portion of our narrative,
surrounded by her almost naked children--herself with such thin and
scanty covering as would wring any heart but to know it. Where now was
her beauty? Where her mirth, cheerfulness, and all her lightness of
heart? Where? Let her ask that husband who once loved her so well, but
who loved his own vile excesses and headlong propensities better. There,
however, she sat, with a tattered cap on, through the rents of which her
raven hair, once so beautiful and glossy, came out in matted elf-locks,
and hung down about her thin and wasted neck. Her face was pale and
ghastly as death; her eyes were without fire--full of languor--full
of sorrow; and alas, beneath one of them, was too visible, by its
discoloration, the foul mark of her husband's brutality. To this had
their love, their tenderness, their affection come; and by what? Alas!
by the curse of liquor--the demon of drunkenness--and want of manly
resolution. She sat, as we have said, upon the little hassock, while
shivering on her bosom was a sickly-looking child, about a year old, to
whom she was vainly endeavoring to communicate some of her own natural
warmth. The others, three in number, were grouped together for the
same reason; for poor little Atty--who, though so very young, was his
mother's only support, and hope, and consolation--sat with an arm about
each, in order, as well as he could, to keep off the cold--the night
being stormy and bitter. Margaret sat rocking herself to and fro, as
those do who indulge in sorrow, and crooning for her infant the sweet
old air of "_Tha ma cullha's na dhuska me_," or "I am asleep and don't
waken me!"--a tender but melancholy air, which had something peculiarly
touching in it on the occasion in question.

"Ah," she said, "I am asleep and don't waken me; if it wasn't for your
sakes, darlins, it's I that long to be in that sleep that we will
never waken from; but sure, lost in misery as we are, what could yez do
without me still?"

"What do you mane, mammy?" said Atty; "sure doesn't everybody that goes
to sleep waken out of it?"


[Illustration: PAGE AM1019-- There's a sleep that nobody wakens from]


"No, darlin'; there's a sleep that nobody wakens from."

"Dat quare sleep, mammy," said a little one. "Oh, but me's could, mammy;
will we eva have blankets?"

The question, though simple, opened up the cheerless, the terrible
future to her view. She closed her eyes, put her hands on them, as if
she strove to shut it out, and shivered as much at the apprehension of
what was before her, as with the chilly blasts that swept through the
windowless house.

"I hope so, dear," she replied; "for God is good."

"And will he get us blankets, mammy?".

"Yes, darlin', I hope so."

"Me id rady he'd get us sometin' to ait fust, mammy; I'm starvin' wid
hungry;" and the poor child began to cry for food.

The disconsolate mother was now assailed by the clamorous outcries of
nature's first want, that of food. She surveyed her beloved little brood
in the feeble light, and saw in all its horror the fearful impress of
famine stamped upon their emaciated features, and strangely lighting up
their little heavy eyes. She wrung her hands, and looking up silently to
heaven, wept aloud for some minutes.

"Childre," she said at length, "have patience, poor things, an' you'll
soon get something to eat. I sent over Nanny Hart to my sisther's, an'
when she comes back yell get something;--so have patience, darlins, till
then."

"But, mother," continued little Atty, who could not understand her
allusion to the sleep from which there is no awakening; "what kind of
sleep is it that people never waken from?"

"The sleep that's in the grave, Atty, dear; death is the sleep I mean."

"An' would you wish to die, mother?"

"Only for your sake, Atty, and for the sake of the other darlins, if
it was the will of God, I would; and," she added, with a feeling of
indescribable anguish, "what have I now to live for but to see you all
about me in misery and sorrow!"

The tears as she spoke ran silently, but bitterly, down her cheeks.

"When I think of what your poor lost father was," she added, "when we
wor happy, and when he was good, and when I think of what he is now--oh,
my God, my God," she sobbed' out, "my manly young husband, what curse
has come over you that has brought you down to this! Curse! oh, fareer
gair, it's a curse that's too well known in the country--it's the curse
that laves many an industrious man's house as ours is this bitther
night--it's the curse that takes away good name and comfort, and honesty
(that's the only thing it has left us)--that takes away the strength of
both body and mind--that banishes dacency and shame--that laves many a
widow and orphan to the marcy of an unfeelin' world--that fills the
jail and the madhouse--that brings many a man an' woman to a disgraceful
death--an' that tempts us to the commission of every evil;--that curse,
darlins, is whiskey--drinkin' whiskey--an' it is drinkin' whiskey that
has left us as we are, and that has ruined your father, and destroyed
him forever."

"Well, but there's no other curse over us, mother?"

The mother paused a moment--

"No, darlin'," she replied; "not a curse--but my father and mother both
died, and did not give me their blessin'; but now, Atty, don't ask me
anything more about that, bekase I can't tell you." This she added from
a feeling of delicacy to her unhappy husband, whom, through all his
faults and vices, she constantly held up to her children as an object of
respect, affection, and obedience.

Again the little ones were getting importunate for food, and their cries
were enough to touch any heart, much less that of a tender and loving
mother. Margaret herself felt that some unusual delay must have
occurred, or the messenger she sent to her sister must have long since
returned; just then a foot was heard outside the door, and there was an
impatient cessation of the cries, in the hope that it was the return
of Nanny Hart--the door opened, and Toal Finnigan entered this wretched
abode of sorrow and destitution.

There was something peculiarly hateful about this man, but in the eyes
of Margaret there was something intensely so. She knew right well that
he had been the worst and most demoralizing companion her husband ever
associated with, and she had, besides, every reason to believe that,
were it not for his evil influence over the vain and wretched man, he
might have overcome his fatal propensity to tipple. She had often told
Art this; but little Toal's tongue was too sweet, when aided by his
dupe's vanity. Many a time had she observed a devilish leer of satanic
triumph in the misshapen little scoundrel's eye, when bringing home
her husband in a state of beastly intoxication, and for this reason,
independently of her knowledge of his vile and heartless disposition,
and infamous character, she detested him. After entering, he looked
about him, and even with the taint light of the rush she could mark that
his unnatural and revolting features were lit up with a hellish triumph.

"Well, Margaret Murray," said he, "I believe you are now nearly as badly
off as you can be; your husband's past hope, and you are as low as a
human bein' ever was. I'm now satisfied; you refused to marry me--you
made a May-game of me--a laughin' stock of me, and your father tould my
father that I had legs like reapin' hooks! Now, from the day you refused
to marry me, I swore I'd never die till I'd have my revinge, and I have
it; who has the laugh now, Margaret Murray?"

"You say," she replied calmly, "that I am as low as a human bein' can
be, but that's false, Toal Finnigan, for I thank God I have committed no
crime, and my name is pure and good, which is more than any one can say
for you; begone from my place."

"I will," he replied, "but before I go jist let me tell you, that I have
the satisfaction to know that, if I'm not much mistaken, it was I that
was the principal means of leavin' you as you are, and your respectable
husband as he is; so my blessin' be wid you, an that's more than your
father left you. Raipin' hooks, indeed!"

The little vile Brownie then disappeared.

Margaret, the moment he was gone, immediately turned round, and going to
her knees, leaned, with her half-cold infant still in her arms, against
a creaking chair, and prayed with as much earnestness as a distracted
heart permitted her. The little ones, at her desire, also knelt, and in
a few minutes afterwards, when her drunken husband came home, he found
his miserable family, grouped as they were in their misery, worshipping
God in their own simple and touching manner. His entrance disturbed
them, for Margaret knew she must go through the usual ordeal to which
his nightly return was certain to expose her.

"I want something to ait," said he.

"Art, dear," she replied--and this was the worst word she ever uttered
against him--"Art, dear, I have nothing for you till by an' by; but I
will then."

"Have you any money?"

"Money, Art! oh, where would I get it? If I had money I wouldn't be
without something' for you to eat, or the childre here that tasted
nothin' since airly this mornin'."

"Ah, you're a cursed useless wife," he replied, "you brought nothin' but
bad luck to me an' them; but how could you bring anything else, when you
didn't get your father's blessin'."

"But, Art, don't you remember," she said meekly in reply, "you surely
can't forget for whose sake I lost it."

"Well, he's fizzin' now, the hard-hearted ould scoundrel, for keepin'
it from you; he forgot who you wor married to, the extortin' ould
vagabone--to one of the great Fermanagh Maguires, an' he' not fit to
wipe their shoes. The curse o' heaven upon you an' him, wherever he is!
It was an unlucky day to me I ever seen the face of one of you--here,
Atty, I've some money; some strange fellow at the inn below stood to me
for the price of a naggin, an' that blasted Barney Scaddhan wouldn't let
me in, bekase, he said, I was a disgrace to his house, the scoundrel."

"The same house was a black sight to you, Art."

"Here, Atty, go off and, get me a naggin."

"Wouldn't it be better for you to get something to eat, than to drink
it, Art."

"None of your prate, I say, go off an' bring me a naggin o' whiskey, an'
don't let the grass grow under your feet."

The children, whenever he came home, were awed into silence, but
although they durst not speak, there was an impatient voracity visible
in their poor features, and now wolfish little eyes, that was a terrible
thing to witness. Art took the money, and went away to bring his father
the whiskey.

"What's the reason," said he, kindling into sudden fury, "that you
didn't provide something for me to eat? Eh? What's the reason?" and
he approached her in a menacing attitude. "You're a lazy, worthless
vagabone. Why didn't you get me something to ait, I say? I can't stand
this--I'm famished."

"I sent to my sister's," she replied, laying-down the child; for she
feared that if he struck her and knocked her down, with the child in
her arms, it might be injured, probably killed, by the fall; "when the
messenger comes back from my sister's----"

"D--n yourself and your sister," he replied, striking her a blow at
the same time upon the temple. She fell, and in an instant her face was
deluged with blood.

"Ay, lie there," he continued, "the loss of the blood will cool you.
Hould your tongues, you devils, or I'll throw yez out of the house," he
exclaimed to the children, who burst into an uproar of grief on seeing
their "mammy," as they called her, lying bleeding and insensible.
"That's to taich her not to have something for me to ait. Ay," he
proceeded, with a hideous laugh--"ha, ha, ha! I'm a fine fellow--amn't
I? There she lies now, and yet she was wanst Margaret Murray!--my own
Margaret--that left them all for myself; but sure if she did, wasn't I
one of the great Maguires of Fermanagh?--Get up, Margaret; here, I'll
help you up, if the divil was in you!"

He raised her as he spoke, and perceived that consciousness was
returning. The first thing she did was to put up her hand to her temple,
where she felt the warm blood. She gave him one look of profound sorrow.

"Oh, Art dear," she exclaimed, "Art dear--" her voice failed her, but the
tears flowed in torrents down her cheeks.

"Margaret," said he, "you needn't spake to me that way. You know any how
I'm damned--damned--lol de rol lol--tol de rol lol! ha, ha, ha! I have
no hope either here or hereafther--divil a morsel of hope. Isn't that
comfortable? eh?--ha, ha, ha"--another hideous laugh. "Well, no matter;
we'll dhrink it out, at all events. Where's Atty, wid the whiskey? Oh,
here he is! That's a good boy, Atty."

"Oh, mammy darlin'," exclaimed the child, on seeing the blood streaming
from her temple--"mammy darlin', what happened you?"

"I fell, Atty dear," she replied, "and was cut."

"That's a lie, Atty; it was I, your fine chip of a father, that struck
her. Here's her health, at all events! I'll make one dhrink of it; hoch!
they may talk as they like, but I'll stick to Captain Whiskey."

"Father," said the child, "will you come over and lie down upon the
straw, for your own me, for your own Atty; and then you'll fall into a
sound sleep?"

"I will, Atty, for you--for you--I will, Atty; but mind, I wouldn't do
it for e'er another livin'."

One day wid Captain Whiskey I wrastled a fall, But, t'aix, I was no
match for the Captain at all, Though the landlady's measures they wor
damnably small--But I'll thry him to morrow when I'm sober.

"Come," said the child, "lie down here on the straw; my poor mammy says
we'll get clane straw to-morrow; and we'll be grand then."

His father, who was now getting nearly helpless, went over and threw
himself upon some straw--thin and scanty and cold it was--or rather,
in stooping to throw himself on it he fell with what they call in the
country a soss; that is, he fell down in a state of utter helplessness;
his joints feeble and weak, and all his strength utterly prostrated.
Margaret, who in the meantime was striving to stop the effusion of blood
from her temple, by the application of cobwebs, of which there was no
scarcity in the house, now went over, and loosening his cravat, she got
together some old rags, of which she formed, as well as she could, a
pillow to support his head, in order to avoid the danger of his being
suffocated.

"Poor Art," she exclaimed, "if you knew what you did, you would cut that
hand off you sooner than raise it to your own Margaret, as you used to
call me. It is pity that I feel for you, Art dear, but no anger; an'
God, who sees my heart, knows that."

Now that he was settled, and her own temple bound up, the children once
more commenced their cry of famine; for nothing can suspend the stern
cravings of hunger, especially when fanged by the bitter consciousness
that there is no food to be had. Just then, however, the girl returned
from her sister's, loaded with oatmeal--a circumstance which changed the
cry of famine into one of joy.

But now, what was to be done for fire, there was none in the house.

"Here is half-a-crown," said the girl, "that she sent you; but she put
her hands acrass, and swore by the five crasses, that unless you left
Art at wanst, they'd never give you a rap farden's worth of assistance
agin, if you and they wor to die in the streets."

"Leave him!" said Margaret; "oh never! When I took him, I took him for
betther an' for worse, and I'm not goin' to neglect my duty to him now,
because he's down. All the world has desarted him, but I'll never desart
him. Whatever may happen, Art dear--poor, lost Art--whatever may happen,
I'll live with you, beg with you, die with you; anything but desart
you."

She then, after wiping the tears which accompanied her words, sent out
the girl, who bought some turf and milk, in order to provide a meal of
wholesome food for the craving children.

"Now," said she to the girl, "what is to be done? for if poor Art
sees this meal in the morning, he will sell the best part of it to get
whiskey; for I need scarcely tell you," she added, striving to palliate
his conduct, "that he cannot do without it, however he might contrive to
do without his breakfast." But, indeed, this was true. So thoroughly was
he steeped in drunkenness--in the low, frequent, and insatiable appetite
for whiskey--that, like tobacco or snuff, it became an essential portion
of his life--a necessary-evil, without which he could scarcely exist. At
all events, the poor children had one comfortable meal, which made them
happy; the little stock that remained was stowed away in some nook or
other, where Art was not likely to find it; the girl went home, and we
were about to say that the rest of this miserable family went to bed;
but, alas! they had no bed to go to, with the exception of a little
straw, and a thin single blanket to cover them.

If Margaret's conduct during these severe and terrible trials was not
noble and heroic, we know not what could be called so. The affection
which she exhibited towards her husband overcame everything. When Art
had got about half way in his mad and profligate career, her friends
offered to support her, if she would take refuge with them and abandon
him; but the admirable woman received the proposal as an insult; and the
reply she gave is much the same as the reader has heard from her lips,
with reference to the girl's message from her sister.

Subsequently, they offered to take her and the children; but this also
she indignantly rejected. She could not leave him, she said, at the very
time when it was so necessary that her hands should be about him. What
might be the fate of such a man if he had none to take care of him?
No, this almost unexampled woman, rather than desert him in such
circumstances, voluntarily partook in all the wretchedness, destitution,
and incredible misery which his conduct inflicted on her, and did so
patiently, and without a murmur.

In a few days after the night we have described, a man covered with
rags, without shoe, or stocking, or shirt, having on an old hat, through
the broken crown of which his hair, wefted with bits of straw, stood
out, his face shrunk and pale, his beard long and filthy, and his eyes
rayless and stupid--a man of this description, we say, with one child in
his arms, and two more accompanying him, might be seen begging
through the streets of Ballykeerin; yes, and often in such a state of
drunkenness as made it frightful to witness his staggering gait, lest he
might tumble over upon the infant, or let it fair out of his arms. This
man was Art Maguire; to such a destiny had he come, or rather had he
brought himself at last; Art Maguire--one of the great Maguires of
Fermanagh!

But where is she--the attached, the indomitable in love--the patient,
the much enduring, the uncomplaining? Alas! she is at length separated
from him and them; her throbbing veins are hot and rife with fever--her
aching head is filled with images of despair and horror--she is calling
for her husband--her young and manly husband--and says she will not be
parted from him--she is also calling for her children, and demands to
have them. The love of the mother and of the wife is now furious; but,
thank God, the fury that stimulates it is that of disease, and not of
insanity. The trials and privations which could not overcome her noble
heart, overcame her physical frame, and on the day succeeding that woful
night she was seized with a heavy fever, and through the interference
of some respectable inhabitants of the town, was conveyed to the fever
hospital, where she now lies in a state of delirium.

And Frank Maguire--the firm, the industrious, and independent--where is
he? Unable to bear the shame of his brother's degradation, he gave up
his partnership, and went to America, where he now is; but not without
having left in the hands of a friend something for his unfortunate
brother to remember him by; and it was this timely aid which for the
last three quarters of a year has been the sole means of keeping life in
his brother's family.

Thus have we followed Art Maguire from his youth up to the present stage
of his life, attempting, as well as we could, to lay open to our readers
his good principles and his bad, together with the errors and ignorances
of those who had the first formation of his character--we mean his
parents and family. We have endeavored to trace, with as strict an
adherence to truth and nature as possible, the first struggles of a
heart naturally generous and good, with the evil habit which beset him,
as well as with the weaknesses by which that habit was set to work upon
his temperament. Whether we have done this so clearly and naturally
as to bring home conviction of its truth to such of our readers as may
resemble him in the materials which formed his moral constitution, and
consequently, to hold him up as an example to be avoided, it is not for
ourselves to say. If our readers think so, or rather feel so, then we
shall rest satisfied of having performed our task as we ought.

Our task, however, is not accomplished. It is true, we have accompanied
him with pain and pity to penury, rags, and beggary--unreformed,
unrepenting, hardened, shameless, desperate. Do our readers now suppose
that there is anything in the man, or any principle external to him,
capable of regenerating and elevating a heart so utterly lost as his?

But hush! what is this? How dark the moral clouds that have been hanging
over the country for a period far beyond the memory of man! how black
that dismal canopy which is only lit by fires that carry and shed around
them disease, famine, crime, madness, bloodshed, and death. How hot,
sultry, and enervating to the whole constitution of man, physically and
mentally, is the atmosphere we have been breathing so long! The miasma
of the swamp, the simoom of the desert, the merciless sirocco,
are healthful when compared to such an atmosphere. And, hark! what
formidable being is that who, with black expanded wings, flies about
from place to place, and from person to person, with a cup of fire in
his hands, which he applies to their eager lips? And what spell or
charm lies in that burning cup, which, no sooner do they taste than they
shout, clap their hands with exultation, and cry out, "We are happy! we
are happy!" Hark; he proclaims himself, and shouteth still louder than
they do; but they stop their ears, and will not listen; they shut their
eyes and will not see. What sayeth he? "I am the Angel of Intemperance,
Discord, and Destruction, who oppose myself to God and all his laws--to
man, and all that has been made for his good; my delight is in misery
and unhappiness, in crime, desolation, ruin, murder, and death in a
thousand shapes of vice and destitution. Such I am, such I shall be, for
behold, my dominion shall last forever!"

But hush again! Look towards the south! What faint but beautiful light
is it, which, fairer than that of the morning, gradually breaketh upon
that dark sky? See how gently, but how steadily, its lustre enlarges
and expands! It is not the light of the sun, nor of the moon, nor of the
stars, neither is it the morning twilight, which heralds the approach of
day; no, but it is the serene effulgence which precedes and accompanies
a messenger from God, who is sent to bear a new principle of happiness
to man! This principle is itself an angelic spirit, and lo! how the sky
brightens, and the darkness flees away like a guilty thing before it!
Behold it on the verge of the horizon, which is now glowing with the
rosy hues of heaven--it advances, it proclaims its mission:--hark!

"I am the Angel of Temperance, of Industry, of Peace! who oppose myself
to the Spirit of Evil and all his laws--I am the friend of man, and
conduct him to the true enjoyment of all that has been made for his
good. My mission is to banish misery, unhappiness, and crime, to save
mankind from desolation, ruin, murder, and death, in a thousand shapes
of vice and destitution."

And now see how he advances in beauty and power, attended by knowledge,
health, and truth, while the harmonies of domestic life, of civil
concord, and social duty, accompany him, and make music in his path. But
where is the angel of intemperance, discord, and destruction? Hideous
monster, behold him! No longer great nor terrible, he flies, or rather
totters, from before his serene opponent--he shudders--he stutters and
hiccups in his howlings--his limbs are tremulous--his hands shake as
if with palsy--his eye is lustreless and bloodshot, and his ghastly
countenance the exponent of death. He flies, but not unaccompanied;
along with him are crime, poverty, hunger, idleness, his music the groan
of the murderer, the clanking of the madman's chain, filled up by the
report of the suicide's pistol, and the horrible yell of despair! And
now he and his evil spirits are gone, the moral atmosphere is bright and
unclouded, and the Angel of Temperance, Industry, and Peace goes abroad
throughout the land, fulfilling his beneficent mission, and diffusing
his own virtues into the hearts of a regenerated people!

Leaving allegory, however, to the poets, it is impossible that, treating
of the subject which we have selected, we could, without seeming to
undervalue it, neglect to say a few words upon the most extraordinary
moral phenomenon, which, apart from the miraculous, the world ever saw;
we allude to the wonderful Temperance Movement, as it is called, which,
under the guiding hand of the Almighty, owes its visible power and
progress to the zeal and incredible exertions of one pious and humble
man--the Very Rev. Theobald Matthew, of Cork. When we consider the
general, the proverbial character, which our countrymen have, during
centuries, borne for love of drink, and their undeniable habits of
intemperance, we cannot but feel that the change which has taken place
is, indeed, surprising, to say the least of it. But, in addition to
this, when we also consider the natural temperament of the Irishman--his
social disposition--his wit, his humor, and his affection--all of which
are lit up by liquor--when we just reflect upon the exhilaration of
spirits produced by it--when we think upon the poverty, the distress,
and the misery which too generally constitute his wretched lot, and
which it will enable him, for a moment, to forget--and when we remember
that all his bargains were made over it--that he courted his sweetheart
over it--got married over it--wept for his dead over it--and generally
fought his enemy of another faction, or the Orangeman of another creed,
when under its influence:--when we pause over all these considerations,
we can see how many temptations our countrymen had to overcome in
renouncing it as they did; and we cannot help looking at it as a moral
miracle, utterly without parallel in the history of man.

Now we are willing to give all possible credit, and praise, and honor to
Father Matthew; but we do not hesitate to say, that even he would have
failed in being, as he is, the great visible exponent of this admirable
principle, unless there had been other kindred principles in the
Irishman's heart, which recognized and clung to it. In other words it is
unquestionable, that had the religious and moral feelings of the Irish
people been neglected, the principle of temperance would never have
taken such deep root in the heart of the nation as it has done. Nay, it
could not; for does not every man of common sense know, that good moral
principles seldom grow in a bad moral soil, until it is cultivated for
their reception. It is, therefore, certainly a proof that the Roman
Catholic priesthood of Ireland had not neglected the religious
principles of the people. It may, I know, and it has been called a
superstitious contagion; but however that may be, so long as we have
such contagions among us, we will readily pardon the superstition. Let
superstition always assume a shape of such beneficence and virtue to
man, and we shall not quarrel with her for retaining the name. Such a
contagion could never be found among any people in whom there did not
exist predisposing qualities, ready to embrace and nurture the good
which came with it.

Our argument, we know, may be met by saying that its chief influence was
exerted on those whose habits of dissipation, immorality, and irreligion
kept, them aloof from the religious instruction of the priest. But to
those who know the Irish heart, it is not necessary to say that many
a man addicted to drink is far from being free from the impressions of
religion, or uninfluenced by many a generous and noble virtue. Neither
does it follow that every such man has been neglected by his priest, or
left unadmonished of the consequences which attended his evil habit.
But how did it happen, according to that argument, that it was this
very class of persons--the habitual, or the frequent, or the occasional
drunkard--that first welcomed the spirit of temperance, and availed
themselves of its blessings? If there had not been the buried seeds of
neglected instruction lying in their hearts, it is very improbable that
they would have welcomed and embraced the principle as they did. On the
other hand, it is much more likely that they would have fled from,
and avoided a spirit which deprived them of the gratification of their
ruling and darling passion. Evil and good, we know, do not so readily
associate.

Be this, however, as it may, we have only to state, in continuation
of our narrative, that at the period of Art Maguire's most lamentable
degradation, and while his admirable but unhappy wife was stretched upon
the burning bed of fever, the far low sounds of the Temperance Movement
were heard, and the pale but pure dawn of its distant light seen
at Ballykeerin. That a singular and novel spirit accompanied it, is
certain; and that it went about touching and healing with all the power
of an angel, is a matter not of history, but of direct knowledge and
immediate recollection. Nothing, indeed, was ever witnessed in any
country similar to it. Whereever it went, joy, acclamation, ecstasy
accompanied it; together with a sense of moral liberty, of perfect
freedom from the restraint, as it were, of some familiar devil, that had
kept its victims in its damnable bondage. Those who had sunk exhausted
before the terrible Molpch of Intemperance, and given themselves over
for lost, could now perceive that there was an ally at hand, that was
able to bring them succor, and drag them back from degradation and
despair, to peace and independence, from contempt and infamy, to respect
and praise. Nor was this all. It was not merely into the heart of the
sot and drunkard that it carried a refreshing consciousness of joy and
deliverance, but into all those hearts which his criminal indulgence had
filled with heaviness and sorrow. It had, to be sure, its dark side
to some--ay, to thousands. Those who lived by the vices
--the low indulgences and the ruinous excesses--of their
fellow-creatures--trembled and became aghast at its approach. The vulgar
and dishonest publican, who sold a _bona fide_ poison under a false
name; the low tavern-keeper; the proprietor of the dram-shop; of the
night-house; and the shebeen--all were struck with terror and dismay.
Their occupation was doomed to go. No more in the dishonest avarice of
gain where they to coax and jest with the foolish tradesman, until they
confirmed him in the depraved habit, and led him on, at his own expense,
and their profit, step by step, until the naked and shivering sot, now
utterly ruined, was kicked out, like Art Maguire, to make room for those
who were to tread in his steps, and share his fate.

No more was the purity and inexperience of youth to be corrupted by evil
society, artfully introduced for the sordid purpose of making him spend
his money, at the expense of health, honesty, and good name.

No more was the decent wife of the spendthrift tradesman, when forced by
stern necessity, and the cries of her children, to seek her husband in
the public house, of a Saturday night, anxious as she was to secure what
was left unspent of his week's wages, in order to procure to-morrow's
food--no more was she to be wheedled into the bar, to get the landlord's
or the landlady's treat, in order that the outworks of temperance, and
the principles of industry, perhaps of virtue, might be gradually broken
down, for the selfish and diabolical purpose of enabling her drunken
husband to spend a double share of his hardly-earned pittance.

Nor more was the male servant, in whom every confidence was placed, to
be lured into these vile dens of infamy, that he might be fleeced or his
money, tutored into debauchery or dishonesty, or thrown into the society
of thieves and robbers, that he might become an accomplice in their
crimes, and enable them to rob his employer with safety. No more was the
female servant, on the other hand, to be made familiar with tippling,
or corrupted by evil company, until she became a worthless and degraded
creature, driven out of society, without reputation or means of
subsistence, and forced to sink to that last loathsome alternative of
profligacy which sends her, after a short and wicked course, to the
jeering experiments of the dissecting-room.

Oh, no; those wretches who lived by depravity, debauchery, and
corruption, were alarmed almost into distraction by the approach
of temperance, for they knew it would cut off the sources of their
iniquitous gains, and strip them of the vile means of propagating
dishonesty and vice, by which they lived. But even this wretched class
were not without instances of great disinterestedness and virtue;
several of them closed their debasing establishments, forfeited their
ill-gotten means of living, and trusting to honesty and legitimate
industry, voluntarily assumed the badge of temperance, and joined its
peaceful and triumphant standard!

Previous to this time, however, and, indeed, long before the joyful
sounds of its advancing motion were heard from afar, it is not to be
taken for granted that the drunkards of the parish of Ballykeerin Avere
left to the headlong impulses of their own evil propensities. Before Art
Maguire had fallen from his integrity and good name, there had not been
a more regular attendant at mass, or at his Easter and Christmas
duties, in the whole parish; in this respect he was a pattern, as Father
Costelloe, the priest, often said, to all who were anxious to lead a
decent and creditable life, forgetting their duty neither to God nor
man. A consciousness of his fall, however, made him ashamed in the
beginning to appear at mass, until he should decidedly reform, which he
proposed and resolved to do, or thought he resolved, from week to week,
and from day to day. How he wrought out these resolutions our readers
know too well; every day and every week only made him worse and worse,
until by degrees all thought of God, or prayer, or priest, abandoned
him, and he was left to swelter in misery among the very dregs of
his prevailing vice, hardened and obdurate. Many an admonition has he
received from Father Costelloe, especially before he become hopeless,
and many a time, when acknowledging his own inability to follow up his
purposes of amendment, has he been told by that good and Christian man,
that he must have recourse to better and higher means of support, and
remember that God will not withhold his grace from those who ask it
sincerely and aright. Art, however, could not do so, for although he had
transient awakenings of conscience, that were acute while they lasted,
yet he could not look up to God with a thorough and heartfelt resolution
of permanent reformation. The love of liquor, and the disinclination to
give it up, still lurked in his heart, and prevented him from setting
about his amendment in earnest. If they had not, he would have taken a
second oath, as his brother Frank often advised him to do, but without
effect. He still hoped to be able to practise moderation, and drink
within bounds, and consequently persuaded himself that total abstinence
was not necessary in his case. At length Father Costelloe, like all
those who were deeply anxious for his reformation, was looked upon as
an unwelcome adviser, whose Christian exhortations to a better course of
life were anything but agreeable, because he spoke truth; and so strong
did this feeling grow in him, that in his worst moments he would rather
sink into the earth than meet him: nay, a glimpse of him at any distance
was sure to make the unfortunate man hide himself in some hole or corner
until the other had passed, and all danger of coming under his reproof
was over. Art was still begging with his children, when, after a long
and dangerous illness, it pleased God to restore his wife to him and
them. So much pity, and interest, and respect did she excite during
her convalescence--for it was impossible that her virtues, even in the
lowest depths of her misery, could be altogether unknown--that the heads
of the hospital humanely proposed to give her some kind of situation in
it, as soon as she should regain sufficient strength to undertake its
duties. The mother's love, however, still prompted her to rejoin her
children, feeling as she did, and as she said, how doubly necessary now
her care and attention to them must be. She at length yielded to their
remonstrances, when they assured her that to return in her present weak
condition to her cold and desolate house, and the utter want of all
comfort which was to be found in it, might, and, in all probability,
would, be fatal to her; and that by thus exposing herself too soon to
the consequences of cold and destitution, she might leave her children
motherless. This argument prevailed, but in the meantime she stipulated
that her children and her husband, if the latter were in a state of
sufficient sobriety, should be permitted occasionally to see her, that
she might inquire into their situation, and know how they lived. This
was acceded to, and, by the aid of care and nourishing food, she soon
found herself beginning to regain her strength.

In the meantime the Temperance movement was rapidly and triumphantly
approaching. In a town about fifteen miles distant there was a meeting
advertised to be held, at which the great apostle himself was to
administer the pledge; Father Costelloe announced it from the altar, and
earnestly recommended his parishioners to attend, and enrol themselves
under the blessed banner of Temperance, the sober man as well as the
drunkard.

"It may be said," he observed, "that sober men have no necessity for
taking the pledge; and if one were certain that every sober man was
to remain sober during his whole life, there would not, indeed, be a
necessity for sober men to take it; but, alas! my friends, you know how
subject we are to those snares, and pitfalls, and temptations of life
by which our paths are continually beset. Who can say to-day that he
may not transgress the bounds of temperance before this day week? Your
condition in life is surrounded by inducements to drink. You scarcely
buy or sell a domestic animal in fair or market, that you are not
tempted to drink; you cannot attend a neighbor's funeral that you are
not tempted to drink--'tis the same at the wedding and the christening,
and in almost all the transactions of your lives. How then can you
answer for yourselves, especially when your spirits may happen to be
elevated, and your hearts glad? Oh! it is then, my friends, that the
tempter approaches you, and probably implants in your unguarded hearts
the germ of that accursed habit which has destroyed millions. How often
have you heard it said of many men, even within the range of your own
knowledge, 'Ah, he was an industrious, well-conducted, and respectable
man--until he took to drink!' Does not the prevalence of such a vile
habit, and the fact that so many sober men fall away from that virtue,
render the words that I have just uttered a melancholy proverb in the
country? Ah, there he is--in rags and misery; yet he was an industrious,
well-conducted, and respectable man once, that is--before he took to
drink! Prevention, my dear friends, is always better than cure, and in
binding yourselves by this most salutary obligation, you know not how
much calamity and suffering--how much general misery--how much disgrace
and crime you may avoid. And, besides, are we not to look beyond this
world? Is a crime which so greatly depraves the heart, and deadens its
power of receiving the wholesome impressions of religion and truth, not
one which involves our future happiness or misery? Ah, my dear brethren,
it is indeed a great and a cross popular error to say that sober men
should not take this pledge. I hope I have satisfied you that it is a
duty they owe themselves to take it, so long as they feel that they are
frail creatures, and liable to sin and error; and not only themselves,
but their children, their friends, and all who might be affected, either
for better or worse, by their example.

"There is another argument, however, which I cannot overlook, while
dwelling upon this important subject. We know that the drunkard, if God
should, through the instrumentality of this great and glorious movement,
put the wish for amendment into his heart, still feels checked and
deterred by a sense of shame; because, the truth is, if none attended
these meetings but such men, that very fact alone would prove a great
obstruction in the way of their reformation. Many, too many, are
drunkards; but every man is not an open drunkard, and hundreds, nay,
thousands, would say, 'By attending these meetings of drunken men, I
acknowledge myself to be a drunkard also;' hence they will probably
decline going through shame, and consequently miss the opportunity of
retrieving themselves. Now, I say, my friends, it is the duty of sober
men to deprive them of this argument, and by an act, which, after all,
involves nothing of self-denial, but still an act of great generosity,
to enable them to enter into this wholesome obligation, without being
openly exposed to the consequences of having acknowledged that they were
intemperate."

He then announced the time and place of the meeting, which was in the
neighboring town of Drumnabrogue, and concluded by again exhorting
them all, without distinction, to attend it and take the pledge. His
exhortations were not without effect; many of his parishioners did
attend, and among them some of Art's former dissolute companions.

Art himself, when spoken to, and pressed to go, hiccuped and laughed
at the notion of any such pledge reforming him; a strong proof that
all hope of recovering himself, or of regaining his freedom from
drunkenness, had long ago deserted him. This, if anything further was
necessary to do so, completed the scene of his moral prostration and
infamy. Margaret, who was still in the hospital, now sought to avail
herself of the opportunity which presented itself, by reasoning with,
and urging him to go, but, like all others, her arguments were laughed
at, and Art expressed contempt for her, Father Matthew, and all the
meetings that had yet taken place.

"Will takin' the pledge," he asked her, "put a shirt to my back, a thing
I almost forget the use of, or a good coat? Will it put a dacent house
over my head, a good bed under me, and a warm pair of blankets on us to
keep us from shiverin', an' coughin', an' barkin' the whole night long
in the could?

"No, faith, I'll not give up the whiskey, for it has one comfort, it
makes me sleep in defiance o' wind and weather; it's the only friend I
have left now--it's my shirt--its my coat--my shoes and stockin's--my
house--my blankets--my coach--my carriage--it makes me a nobleman, a
lord; but, anyhow, sure I'm as good, ay, by the mortual, and better,
for amn't I one of the great Maguires of Fermanagh! Whish, the ou--ould
blood forever, and to the divil wid their meetins!"

"Art," said his wife, "I believe if you took the pledge that it would
give you all you say, and more; for it would bring you back the respect
and good-will of the people, that you've long lost."

"To the divil wid the people! I'll tell you what, if takin' the pledge
reforms Mechil Gam, the crooked disciple that he is, or Tom Whiskey,
mind--mind me--I say if it reforms them, or young Barney Scaddhan, thin
you may spake up for it, an' may be, I'll listen to you."

At length the meeting took place, and the three men alluded to by Art,
attended it as they said they would; each returned home with his pledge;
they rose up the next morning, and on that night went to bed sober.
This was repeated day after day, week after week, month after month, and
still nothing characterized them but sobriety, peace, and industry.

Unfortunately, so far as Art Maguire was concerned, it was out of his
power, as it was out of that of hundreds, to derive any benefit from
the example which some of his old hard-drinking associates had so
unexpectedly set both him and them. No meeting had since occurred within
seventy or eighty miles of Ballykeerin, and yet the contagion of good
example had spread through that and the adjoining parishes in a manner
that was without precedent. In fact, the people murmured, became
impatient, and, ere long, demanded from their respective pastors
that another meeting should be held, to afford them an opportunity of
publicly receiving the pledge; and for that purpose they besought the
Rev. gentlemen to ask Father Matthew to visit Ballykeerin. This wish
was complied with, and Father Matthew consented, though at considerable
inconvenience to himself, and appointed a day for the purpose specified.
This was about three or four months after the meeting that was held in
the neighboring town already alluded to.

For the last six weeks Margaret had been able to discharge the duties of
an humble situation in the hospital, on the condition that she should
at least once a day see her children. Poor as was the situation in
question, it enabled her to contribute much more to their comfort, than
she could if she had resided with them, or, in other words, begged with
them; for to that, had she returned home, it must have come; and, as the
winter was excessively severe, this would have killed her, enfeebled as
she had been by a long and oppressive fever. Her own good sense taught
her to see this, and the destitution of her children and husband--to
feel it. In this condition then were they--depending on the scanty aid
which her poor exertions could afford them, eked out by the miserable
pittance that he extorted as a beggar--when the intelligence arrived
that the great Apostle of Temperance had appointed a day on which to
hold a teetotal meeting in the town of Ballykeerin.

It is utterly unaccountable how the approach of Father Matthew, and of
these great meetings, stirred society into a state of such extraordinary
activity, not only in behalf of temperance, but also of many other
virtues; so true is it, that when one healthy association is struck it
awakens all those that are kindred to it into new life. In addition to a
love of sobriety, the people felt their hearts touched, as it were, by
a new spirit, into kindness and charity, and a disposition to discharge
promptly and with good-will all brotherly and neighborly offices.
Harmony, therefore, civil, social, and domestic, accompanied the
temperance movement wherever it went, and accompanies it still wherever
it goes; for, like every true blessing, it never comes alone, but brings
several others in its train.

The morning in question, though cold, was dry and bright; a small
platform had been raised at the edge of the market-house, which was open
on one side, and on it Father Matthew was to stand. By this simple means
he would be protected from rain, should any fall, and was sufficiently
accessible to prevent any extraordinary crush among the postulants.
But how will we attempt to describe the appearance which the town of
Ballykeerin presented on the morning of this memorable and auspicious
day? And above all, in what terms shall we paint the surprise, the
wonder, the astonishment with which they listened to the music of the
teetotal band, which, as if by magic, had been formed in the town of
Drumnabogue, where, only a few months before, the meeting of which we
have spoken had been held. Indeed, among all the proofs of national
advantages which the temperance movement has brought out, we are not to
forget those which it has bestowed on the country--by teaching us what
a wonderful capacity for music, and what a remarkable degree of
intellectual power, the lower classes of our countrymen are endowed
with, and can manifest when moved by adequate principles. Early as
daybreak the roads leading to Ballykeerin presented a living stream of
people listening onwards towards the great rendezvous; but so much
did they differ in their aspect from almost any other assemblage of
Irishmen, that, to a person ignorant of their purpose, it would be
difficult, if not impossible, to guess the cause, not that moved them in
such multitudes towards the same direction, but that marked them by such
peculiar characteristics. We have seen Irishmen and Irishwomen going to
a country race in the summer months, when labor there was none; we
have seen them going to meetings of festivity and amusement of all
descriptions;--to fairs, to weddings, to dances--but we must confess,
that notwithstanding all our experience and intercourse with them, we
never witnessed anything at all resembling their manner and bearing on
this occasion. There was undoubtedly upon them, and among them, all the
delightful enjoyment of a festival spirit; they were easy, cheerful,
agreeable, and social; but, in addition to this, there was clearly
visible an expression of feeling that was new even to themselves, as
well as to the spectators. But how shall we characterize this feeling?
It was certainly not at variance with the cheerfulness which they felt,
but, at the same time, it shed over it a serene solemnity of manner
which communicated a moral grandeur to the whole proceeding that fell
little short of sublimity. This was a principle of simple virtue upon
which all were equal; but it was more than that, it was at once a
manifestation of humility, and an exertion of faith in the aid and
support of the Almighty, by whose grace those earnest but humble people
felt and trusted that they would be supported. And who can say that
their simplicity of heart--their unaffected humility, and their firmness
of faith have not been amply rewarded, and triumphantly confirmed by the
steadfastness with which they have been, with extremely few exceptions,
faithful to their pledge.

About nine o'clock the town of Ballykeerin was crowded with a multitude
such as had never certainly met in it before. All, from the rustic
middle classes down, were there. The crowd was, indeed, immense, yet,
notwithstanding their numbers, one could easily mark the peculiar class
for whose sake principally the meeting had been called together.

There was the red-faced farmer of substance, whose sunburnt cheeks, and
red side-neck, were scorched into a color that disputed its healthy hue
with the deeper purple tint of strong and abundant drink.

"Such a man," an acute observer would say, "eats well, and drinks well,
but is very likely to pop off some day, without a minute's warning, or
saying good-by to his friends."

Again, there was the pale and emaciated drunkard, whose feeble and
tottering gait, and trembling hands, were sufficiently indicative of his
broken-down constitution, and probably of his anxiety to be enabled to
make some compensation to the world, or some provision on the part of
his own soul, to balance the consequences of an ill-spent life, during
which morals were laughed at, and health destroyed.

There was also the healthy-looking drunkard of small means, who, had he
been in circumstances to do so, would have gone to bed drunk every night
in the year. He is not able, from the narrowness of his circumstances,
to drink himself into apoplexy on the one hand, or debility on the
other; but he is able, notwithstanding, to drink the clothes off his
back, and the consequence is, that he stands before you as ragged,
able-bodied, and thumping a specimen of ebriety as you could wish to
see during a week's journey. There were, in fact, the vestiges of
drunkenness in all their repulsive features, and unhealthy variety.

There stood the grog-drinker with his blotched face in full flower, his
eye glazed in his head, and his protuberant paunch projecting over his
shrunk and diminished limbs.

The tippling tradesman too was there, pale and sickly-looking, his thin
and over-worn garments evidently insufficient to keep out the chill of
morning, and prevent him from shivering every now and then, as if he
were afflicted with the ague.

In another direction might be seen the servant out of place, known by
the natty knot of his white cravat, as well as by the smartness with
which he wears his dress, buttoned up as it is, and coaxed about him
with all the ingenuity which experience and necessity bring to the aid
of vanity. His napeless hat is severely brushed in order to give the
subsoil an appearance of the nap which is gone, but it won't do; every
one sees that his intention is excellent, were it possible for address
and industry to work it out. This is not the case, however, and the hat
is consequently a clear exponent of his principles and position, taste
and skill while he was sober--vain pride and trying poverty now in his
drunkenness.

The reckless-looking sailor was also there (but with a serious air now),
who, having been discharged for drunkenness, and refused employment
everywhere else, for the same reason, was obliged to return home, and
remain a burden upon his friends. He, too, has caught this healthy
epidemic, and the consequence is, that he will once more gain
employment, for the production of his medal will be accepted as a
welcome proof of his reformation.

And there was there, what was better still, the unfortunate female, the
victim of passion and profligacy, conscious of her past life, and almost
ashamed in the open day to look around her. Poor thing! how her heart,
that was once innocent and pure, now trembles within a bosom where
there is awakened many a painful recollection of early youth, and the
happiness of home, before that unfortunate night, when, thrown off
her guard by accursed liquor, she ceased to rank among the pure and
virtuous. Yes, all these, and a much greater variety, were here actuated
by the noble resolution to abandon forever the evil courses, the vices,
and the profligacy into which they were first driven by the effects of
drink.

The crowd was, indeed, immense, many having come a distance of twenty,
thirty, some forty, and not a few fifty miles, in order to free
themselves, by this simple process, from the influence of the
destructive habit which either was leading, or had led them, to ruin.
Of course it is not to be supposed that among such a vast multitude
of people there were not, as there always is, a great number of those
vagabond impostors who go about from place to place, for the purpose of
extorting charity from the simple and credulous, especially when under
the influence of liquor. All this class hated the temperance movement,
because they knew right well that sobriety in the people was there
greatest enemy; the lame, the blind, the maimed, the deaf, and the dumb,
were there in strong muster, and with their characteristic ingenuity
did everything in their power, under the pretence of zeal and religious
enthusiasm, to throw discredit upon the whole proceedings. It was this
vile crew, who, by having recourse to the aid of mock miracles, fancied
they could turn the matter into derision and contempt, and who, by
affecting to be cured of their complaints, with a view of having
their own imposture, when detected, imputed to want of power in Father
Matthew;--it was this vile crew, we say, that first circulated the
notion that he could perform miracles. Unfortunately, many of the
ignorant among the people did in the beginning believe that he possessed
this power, until he himself, with his characteristic candor, disclaimed
it. For a short time the idea of this slightly injured the cause, and
afforded to its enemies some silly and senseless arguments, which, in
lieu of better, they were glad to bring against it.

At length Father Matthew, accompanied by several other clergymen and
gentlemen, made his appearance on the platform; then was the rush, the
stretching of necks, and the bitter crushing, accompanied by devices
and manoeuvres of all kinds, to catch a glimpse of him. The windows were
crowded by the more respectable classes, who were eager to witness the
effects of this great and sober enthusiasm among the lower classes. The
proceedings, however, were very simple. He first addressed them in
a plain and appropriate discourse, admirably displaying the very
description of eloquence which was best adapted to his auditory. This
being concluded, he commenced distributing the medal, for which every
one who received it, gave a shilling, the latter at the same time
repeating the following words: "I promise, so long as I shall continue
a member of the Teetotal Temperance Society, to abstain from all
intoxicating liquors, unless recommended for medical purposes, and to
discourage by all means in my power the practice of intoxication in
others." Father Matthew then said, "May God bless you, and enable you to
keep your promise!"

Such was the simple ceremony by which millions have been rescued from
those terrible evils that have so long cursed and afflicted society in
this country.

In this large concourse there stood one individual, who presented in his
person such symptoms of a low, grovelling, and unremitting indulgence in
drink, as were strikingly observable even amidst the mass of misery and
wretchedness that was there congregated. It is rarely, even in a life,
that an object in human shape, encompassed and pervaded by so many of
the fearful results of habitual drunkenness, comes beneath observation.
Sometimes we may see it in a great city, when we feel puzzled, by the
almost total absence of reason in the countenance, to know whether the
utter indifference to nakedness and the elements, be the consequence of
drunken destitution, or pure idiocy. To this questionable appearance had
the individual we speak of come. The day was now nearly past, and the
crowd had considerably diminished, when this man, approaching Father
Matthew, knelt down, and clasping his skeleton hands, exclaimed--

"Father, I'm afeard I cannot trust myself."

"Who can?" said Father Matthew; "it is not in yourself you are to place
confidence, but in God, who will support you, and grant you strength, if
you ask for it sincerely and humbly."

These words, uttered in tones of true Christian charity, gave comfort to
the doubting heart of the miserable creature, who said--

"I would wish to take the pledge, if I had money; but I doubt it's too
late--too late for me! Oh, if I thought it wasn't!"

"It's never too late to repent," replied the other, "or to return from
evil to good. If you feel your heart inclined to the right I course, do
not let want of money prevent you from pledging yourself to sobriety and
temperance."

"In God's name, then, I will take it," he replied; and immediately
repeated the simple words which constitute the necessary form.

"May God bless you," said Father Matthew, placing his hand on his head,
"and enable you to keep your promise!"

This man, our readers already guess, was Art Maguire.

Having thus taken the medal, and pledged himself to sobriety, and a
total abstinence from all intoxicating liquors, his first feeling was
very difficult to describe. Father Matthew's words, though few and
brief, had sunk deep into his heart, and penetrated his whole spirit.
He had been for many a long day the jest and jibe of all who knew him;
because they looked upon his recovery as a hopeless thing, and spoke to
him accordingly in a tone of contempt and scorn--a lesson to us that we
never should deal harshly with the miserable. Nor, however, he had been
addressed in accents of kindness, and in a voice that proclaimed an
interest in his welfare. This, as we said, added to the impressive
spirit that prevailed around, touched him, and he hurried home.

On reaching his almost empty house, he found Margaret and the children
there before him; she having come to see how the poor things fared--but
being quite ignorant of what had just taken place with regard to her
husband.

"Art," said she, with her usual affectionate manner; "you will want
something to eat; for if you're not hungry, your looks! belie you very
much. I have brought something for you and these creatures."

Art looked at her, then at their children, then at the utter desolation
of the house, and spreading his two hands over his face, he wept aloud.
This was repentance. Margaret in exceeding surprise, rose and approached
him:--

"Art dear," she said, "in the name of God, what's the matter?"

"Maybe my father's sick, mother," said little Atty; "sure, father, if
you are, I an' the rest will go out ourselves, an' you can stay at home;
but we needn't go this day, for my mammy brought us as much as will put
us over it."

To neither the mother nor child did he make any reply; but wept on and
sobbed as if his heart would break.

"Oh my God, my God," he exclaimed bitterly, "what have I brought you to,
my darlin' wife and childre, that I loved a thousand times betther than
my own heart? Oh, what have I brought you to?"

"Art," said his wife, and her eye kindled, "in the name of the heavenly
God, is this sorrow for the life you led?"

"Ah, Margaret darlin'," he said, still sobbing; "it's long since I ought
to a felt it; but how can I look back on that woful life? Oh my God, my
God! what have I done, an' what have I brought on you!"

"Art," she said, "say to me that you're sorry for it; only let my ears
hear you saying the words."

"Oh, Margaret dear," he sobbed, "from my heart--from the core of my
unhappy heart--I am sorry--sorry for it all."

"Then there's hope," she exclaimed, clasping her hands, and looking up
to heaven, "there is hope--for him--for him--for us all! Oh my heart,"
she exclaimed, quickly, "what is this?" and she scarcely uttered the
words, when she sank upon the ground insensible--sudden joy being
sometimes as dangerous as sudden grief.

Art, who now forgot his own sorrow in apprehension for her, raised her
up, assisted by little Atty, who, as did the rest of the children, cried
bitterly, on seeing his mother's eyes shut, her arms hanging lifelessly
by her side, and herself without motion. Water, however, was brought
by Atty; her face sprinkled, and a little put to her lips, and with
difficulty down her throat. At length she gave a long deep-drawn sigh,
and opening her eyes, she looked tenderly into her husband's face--

"Art dear," she said, in a feeble voice, "did I hear it right? And you
said you were sorry?"

"From my heart I am, Margaret dear," he replied; "oh, if you knew what I
feel this minute!"

She looked on him again, and her pale face was lit up with a smile of
almost ineffable happiness.

"Kiss me," said she; "we are both young yet, Art dear, and we will gain
our lost ground wanst more."

While she spoke, the tears of delight fell in torrents down her cheeks.
Art kissed her tenderly, and immediately pulling out the medal, showed
it to her.

She took the medal, and after looking at it, and reading the
inscription--

"Well, Art," she said, "you never broke your oath--that's one comfort."

"No," he replied; "nor I'll never break this; if I do," he added
fervently, and impetuously, "may God mark me out for misery and
misfortune!"

"Whisht, dear," she replied; "don't give way to these curses--they sarve
no purpose, Art. But I'm so happy this day!"

"An' is my father never to be drunk any more, mammy?" asked the little
ones, joyfully; "an he'll never be angry wid you, nor bate you any
more?"

"Whisht, darlins," she exclaimed; "don't be spakin' about that; sure
your poor father never beat me, only when he didn't know what he was
doin'. Never mention it again, one of you."

"Ah, Margaret," said Art, now thoroughly awakened, "what recompense can
I ever make you, for the treatment I gave you? Oh, how can I think of
it, or look back upon it?"

His voice almost failed him, as he uttered the last words; but his
affectionate wife stooped and kissing away the tears from his cheeks,
said--

"Don't, Art dear; sure this now is not a time to cry;" and yet her own
tears were flowing;--"isn't our own love come back to us? won't we now
have peace? won't we get industrious, and be respected again?"

"Ah, Margaret darling," he replied, "your love never left you; so don't
put yourself in; but as for me--oh, what have I done? and what have I
brought you to?"

"Well, now, thanks be to the Almighty, all's right. Here's something for
you to ait; you must want it."

"But," he replied, "did these poor crathurs get anything? bekase if they
didn't, I'll taste nothin' till they do."

"They did indeed," said Margaret; and all the little ones came joyfully
about him, to assure him that they had been fed, and were not hungry.

The first feeling Art now experienced on going abroad was shame--a
deep and overwhelming sense of shame; shame at the meanness of his past
conduct--shame at his miserable and unsightly appearance--shame at all
he had done, and at all he had left undone. What course now, however,
was he to adopt? Being no longer stupified and besotted by liquor, into
a state partly apathetic, partly drunken, and wholly shameless, he could
not bear the notion of resuming his habits of mendicancy. The decent but
not the empty and senseless, pride of his family was now reawakened in
him, and he felt, besides, that labor and occupation were absolutely
necessary to enable him to bear up against the incessant craving which
he felt for the pernicious stimulant. So strongly did this beset him,
that he suffered severely from frequent attacks of tremor and sensations
that resembled fits of incipient distraction. Nothing, therefore,
remained for him but close employment, that would keep both mind and
body engaged.

When the fact of his having taken the pledge became generally known,
it excited less astonishment than a person might imagine; in truth, the
astonishment would have been greater, had he refused to take it at all,
so predominant and full of enthusiasm was the spirit of temperance at
that period. One feeling, however, prevailed with respect to him, which
was, that privation of his favorite stimulant would kill him--that his
physical system, already so much exhausted and enfeebled, would, break
down---and that poor Art would soon go the way of all drunkards.

On the third evening after he had taken the pledge, he went down to the
man who had succeeded himself in his trade, and who, by the way, had
been formerly one of his own journeymen, of the very men who, while he
was running his career of dissipation, refused to flatter his vanity,
or make one in his excesses, and who was, moreover, one of the very
individuals he had dismissed. To this man he went, and thus accosted
him--his name was Owen Gallagher.

"Owen," said he, "I trust in God that I have gained a great victory of
late."

The man understood him perfectly well, and replied--

"I hope so, Art; I hear you have taken the pledge."

"Belyin' on God's help, I have."

"Well," replied Owen, "you couldn't rely on betther help."

"No," said Art, "I know I could not; but, Owen, I ran a wild and a
terrible race of it--I'm grieved an' shamed to think--even to think of
it."

"An' that's a good sign, Art, there couldn't be betther; for unless a
man's heart is sorry for his faults, and ashamed of them too, it's not
likely he'll give them over."

"I can't bear to walk the streets," continued Art, "nor to rise my head;
but still something must be done for the poor wife and childre."

"Ah, Art," replied Owen, "that is the wife! The goold of Europe isn't
value for her; an' that's what every one knows."

"But who knows it, an' feels it as I do?" said Art, "or who has the
right either? howandiver, as I said, something must be done; Owen, will
you venture to give me employment? I know I'm in bad trim to come into a
dacent workshop, but you know necessity has no law;--it isn't my clo'es
that will work, but myself; an', indeed, if you do employ me, it's not
much I'll be able to do this many a day; but the truth is, if I don't
get something to keep me busy, I doubt I won't be able to stand against
what I feel both in my mind and body."

These words were uttered with such an air of deep sorrow and perfect
sincerity as affected Gallagher very much.

"Art," said he, "there was no man so great a gainer by the unfortunate
coorse you tuck as I was, for you know I came into the best part of your
business; God forbid then that I should refuse you work, especially as
you have turned over a new lafe;--or to lend you a helpin' hand either,
now that I know it will do you and your family good, and won't go to the
public-house. Come wid me."

He took down his hat as he spoke, and brought Art up to one of
those general shops that are to be found in every country town like
Ballykeerin.

"Mr. Trimble," said he, "Art Maguire wants a plain substantial suit o'
clothes, that will be chape an' wear well, an' I'll be accountable for
them; Art, sir, has taken the pledge, an' is goin' to turn over a new
lafe, an' be as he wanst was, I hope."

"And there is no man," said the worthy shopkeeper, "in the town of
Ballykeerin that felt more satisfaction than I did when I heard he had
taken it. I know what he wants, and what you want for him, and he shall
have it both cheap and good."

Such was the respect paid to those who nobly resolved to overcome their
besetting sin of drink, and its consequent poverty or profligacy,
that the knowledge alone that they had taken the pledge, gained them
immediate good-will, as it was entitled to do. This, to be sure, was in
Art's favor; but there was about him, independently of this, a serious
spirit of awakened resolution and sincerity which carried immediate
conviction along with it.

"This little matter," said the honest carpenter, with natural
consideration for Art, "will, of coorse, rest between you an' me, Mr.
Trimble."

"I understand your feeling, Owen," said he, "and I can't but admire it;
it does honor to your heart."

"Hut," said Gallagher, "it's nothin'; sure it's jist what Art would do
for myself, if we wor to change places."

Thus it is with the world, and ever will be so, till human nature
changes. Art had taken the first step towards his reformation, and Owen
felt that he was sincere; this step, therefore, even slight as it was,
sufficed to satisfy his old friend that he would be safe in aiding him.
Gallagher's generosity, however, did not stop here; the assistance which
he gave Art, though a matter of secrecy between themselves, was soon
visible in Art's appearance, and that of his poor family. Good fortune,
however, did not stop here; in about a week after this, when Art was
plainly but comfortably dressed, and working with Gallagher, feeble as
he was, upon journeyman's wages, there came a letter from his brother
Frank, enclosing ten pounds for the use of his wife and children. It
was directed to a friend in Ballykeerin, who was instructed to apply it
according to his own discretion, and the wants of his family, only by
no means to permit a single shilling of it to reach his hands, unless on
the condition that he had altogether given up liquor. This seemed to Art
like a proof that God had rewarded him for the step he had taken; in
a few weeks it was wonderful how much comfort he and his family had
contrived to get about them. Margaret was a most admirable manager,
and a great economist, and with her domestic knowledge and good sense,
things went on beyond their hopes.

Art again was up early and down late--for his strength, by the aid of
wholesome and regular food, and an easy mind, was fast returning to
him--although we must add here, that he never regained the healthy and
powerful constitution which he had lost. His reputation, too, was fast
returning; many a friendly salutation he received from those, who,
in his degradation, would pass him by with either ridicule or solemn
contempt.

Nothing in this world teaches a man such well-remembered lessons of
life as severe experience. Art, although far, very far removed from his
former independence, yet, perhaps, might be said never to have enjoyed
so much peace of mind, or so strong a sense of comfort, as he did now in
his humble place with his family. The contrast between his past misery,
and the present limited independence which he enjoyed, if it could
be called independence, filled his heart with a more vivid feeling of
thankfulness than he had ever known. He had now a bed to sleep on,
with _bona fide_ blankets--he had a chair to sit on--a fire on his
hearth--and food, though plain, to eat; so had his wife, so had his
children; he had also very passable clothes to his back, that kept him
warm and comfortable, and prevented him from shivering like a reed in
the blast; so had his wife, and so had his children. But he had more
than this, for he had health, a good conscience, and a returning
reputation. People now addressed him as an equal, as a man, as an
individual who constituted a portion of society; then, again, he loved
his wife as before, and lived with her in a spirit of affection equal to
any they had ever felt. Why, this was, to a man who suffered what he and
his family had suffered, perfect luxury.

In truth, Art now wondered at the life he had led,--he could not
understand it; why he should have suffered himself, for the sake of
a vile and questionable enjoyment--if enjoyment that could be called,
which was no enjoyment--at least for the sake of a demoralizing and
degrading habit, to fall down under the feet as it were, under the
evil tongues, and the sneers--of those who constituted his world--the
inhabitants of Ballykeerin--was now, that he had got rid of the
thraldom, perfectly a mystery to him. Be this as it may, since he had
regenerated his own character, the world was just as ready to take him
up as it had been to lay him down.

Nothing in life gives a man such an inclination for active industry as
to find that he is prospering; he has then heart and spirits to work,
and does work blithely and cheerfully; so was it with Art. He and his
employer were admirably adapted for each other, both being extremely
well-tempered, honest, and first-rate workmen. About the expiration of
the first twelve months, Art had begun to excite a good deal of interest
in the town of Ballykeerin, an interest which was beginning to affect
Owen Gallagher himself in a beneficial way. He was now pointed out to
strangers as the man, who, almost naked, used to stand drunk and begging
upon the bridge of Ballykeerin, surrounded by his starving and equally
naked children. In fact, he began to get a name, quite a reputation for
the triumph which he had achieved over drunkenness; and on this account
Owen Gallagher, when it was generally known in the country that Art
worked with him, found his business so rapidly extending, that he was
obliged, from time to time, to increase the number of hands in his
establishment. Art felt this, and being now aware that his position in
life was, in fact, more favorable for industrious exertion than ever,
resolved to give up journey work, and once more, if only for the
novelty of the thing, to set up for himself. Owen Gallagher, on hearing
this from his own lips, said he could not, nor would not blame him, but,
he added--

"I'll tell you what we can do, Art--come into partnership wid me, for I
think as we're gettin' an so well together, it 'ud be a pity, almost a
sin, to part; join me, and I'll give you one-third of the business,"--by
which he meant the profits of it.

"Begad," replied Art, laughing, "it's as much for the novelty of the
thing I'm doin' it as any thing else; I think it 'ud be like a dhrame to
me, if I was to find myself and my family as we wor before." And so they
parted.

It is unnecessary here to repeat what we have already detailed
concerning the progress of his early prosperity; it is sufficient, we
trust, to tell our readers that he rose into rapid independence, and
that he owed all his success to the victory that he had obtained over
himself. His name was now far and near, and so popular had he become,
that no teetotaller would employ any other carpenter. This, at length,
began to make him proud, and to feel that his having given up drink,
instead of being simply a duty to himself and his family, was altogether
an act of great voluntary virtue on his part.

"Few men," he said, "would do it, an' may be, afther all, if I hadn't
the ould blood in my veins--if I wasn't one of the great Fermanagh
Maguires, I would never a' done it."

He was now not only a vehement Teetotaller, but an unsparing enemy to
all who drank even in moderation; so much so, indeed, that whenever
a man came to get work done with him, the first question he asked him
was--"Are you a Teetotaller?" If the man answered "No," his reply was,
"Well, I'm sorry for that, bekase I couldn't wid a safe conscience do
your work; but you can go to Owen Gallagher, and he will do it for you
as well as any man livin'."

This, to be sure, was the abuse of the principle; but we all know that
the best things may be abused. He was, in fact, outrageous in defence of
Teetotalism; attended all its meetings; subscribed for Band-money; and
was by far the most active member in the whole town of Ballykeerin. It
was not simply that he forgot his former poverty; he forgot himself.
At every procession he was to be seen, mounted on a spanking horse,
ridiculously over-dressed--the man, we mean, not the horse--flaunting
with ribands, and quite puffed up at the position to which he had raised
himself.

This certainly was not the humble and thankful feeling with which he
ought to have borne his prosperity. The truth, however, was, that Art,
in all this parade, was not in the beginning acting upon those broad,
open principles of honesty, which, in the transactions of business, had
characterized his whole life. He was now influenced by his foibles--by
his vanity--and by his ridiculous love of praise. Nor, perhaps, would
these have been called into action, were it not through the intervention
of his old friend and pot companion, Toal Finnigan. Toal, be it known
to the reader, the moment he heard that Art had become a Teetotaller,
immediately became one himself, and by this means their intimacy was
once more renewed; that is to say, they spoke in friendly terms whenever
they met--but no entreaty or persuasion could ever induce Toal to enter
Art's house; and the reader need not be told why. At all events, Toal,
soon after he joined it, put himself forward in the Teetotal Movement
with such prominence, that Art, who did not wish to be outdone in
anything, began to get jealous of him. Hence his ridiculous exhibitions
of himself in every manner that could attract notice, or throw
little Toal into the shade; and hence also the still more senseless
determination not to work for any but a Teetotaller; for in this,
too, Toal had set him the example. Toal, the knave, on becoming a
Teetotaller, immediately resolved to turn it to account; but Art,
provided he could show off, and cut a conspicuous figure in a
procession, had no dishonest motive in what he did; and this was
the difference between them. For instance, on going up the town of
Ballykeerin, you might see over the door of a middle-sized house,
"Teetotal Meal Shop. N. B.--None but Teetotallers need come here."

Now every one knew Toal too well not to understand this; for the truth
is, that maugre his sign, he never refused his meal or other goods to
any one that had money to pay for them.

One evening about this time, Art was seated in his own parlor--for he
now had a parlor, and was in a state of prosperity far beyond anything
he had ever experienced before--Margaret and the children were with him;
and as he smoked his pipe, he could not help making an observation or
two upon the wonderful change which so short a time had brought about.

"Well, Margaret," said he, "isn't this wondherful, dear? look at the
comfort we have now about us, and think of--; but troth I don't like to
think of it at all."

"I never can," she replied, "without a troubled and a sinkin' heart;
but, Art, don't you remember when I wanst wished you to become a
Teetotaller, the answer you made me?"

"May be I do; what was it?"

"Why, you axed me--and you were makin' game of it at the time--whether
Teetotallism would put a shirt or a coat to your back--a house over your
head--give you a bed to lie on, or blankets to keep you and the childre
from shiverin', an' coughin', an' barkin' in the could of the night?
Don't you remember sayin' this?"

"I think I do; ay, I remember something about it now. Didn't I say that
whiskey was my coach an' my carriage, an' that it made me a lord?"

"You did; well, now what do you say? Hasn't Teetotallism bate you in
your own argument? Hasn't it given you a shirt an' a coat to your back,
a good bed to lie on, a house over your head? In short, now, Art, hasn't
it given you all you said, an' more than ever you expected? eh, now?"

"I give in, Margaret--you have me there; but," he proceeded, "it's not
every man could pull himself up as I did; eh?"

"Oh, for God's sake, Art, don't begin to put any trust in your own mere
strength, nor don't be boasting of what you did, the way you do; sure,
we ought always to be very humble and thankful to God for what he has
done for us; is there anything comes to us only through him?"

"I'm takin' no pride to myself," said Art, "divil a taste; but this I
know, talk as you will, there's always somethin' in the ould blood."

"Now, Art," she replied, smiling, "do you know I could answer you on
that subject if I liked?"

"You could," said Art; "come, then, let us hear your answer--come
now--ha, ha, ha!"

She became grave, but complacent, as she spoke. "Well, then, Art," said
she, "where was the ould blood when you fell so low? If it was the ould
blood that riz you up, remember it was the ould blood that put you down.
You drank more whiskey," she added, "upon the head of the ould blood
of Ireland, and the great Fermanagh Maguires, than you did on all other
subjects put together. No, Art dear, let us not trust to ould blood or
young blood, but let us trust to the grace o' God, an' ax it from our
hearts out."

"Well, but arn't we in great comfort now?"

"We are," she replied, "thank the Giver of all good for it; may God
continue it to us, and grant it to last!"

"Last! why wouldn't it last, woman alive? Well, begad, after all, 'tis
not every other man, any way--"

"Whisht, now," said Margaret, interrupting him, "you're beginnin' to
praise yourself."

"Well, I won't then; I'm going down the town to have a glass or two o'
cordial wid young Tom Whiskey, in Barney Scaddhan's."

"Art," she replied, somewhat solemnly, "the very name of Barney Scaddhan
sickens me. I know we ought to forgive every one, as we hope to be
forgiven ourselves; but still, Art, if I was in your shoes, the sorra
foot ever I'd put inside his door. Think of the way he trated you; ah,
Art acushla, where's the pride of the ould blood now?"

"Hut, woman, divil a one o' me ever could keep in bad feelin' to any
one. Troth, Barney of late's as civil a crature as there's alive; sure
what you spake of was all my own fault and not his; I'll be back in an
hour or so."

"Well," said his wife, "there's one thing, Art, that every one knows."

"What is that, Margaret?"

"Why, that a man's never safe in bad company."

"But sure, what harm can they do me, when we drink nothing that can
injure us?"

"Well, then," said she, "as that's the case, can't you as well stay with
good company as bad?"

"I'll not be away more than an hour."

"Then, since you will go, Art, listen to me; you'll be apt to meet Toal
Finnigan there; now, as you love me and your childre, an' as you wish
to avoid evil and misfortune, don't do any one thing that he proposes to
you: I've often tould you that he's your bitterest enemy."

"I know you did; but sure, wanst a woman takes a pick (pique) aginst a
man she'll never forgive him. In about an hour mind." He then went out.

The fact is, that some few of those who began to feel irksome under the
Obligation--by which I mean the knaves and hypocrites, for it is not
to be supposed that among such an incredible multitude as joined the
movement there were none of this description--some few, I say, were in
the habit of resorting to Barney Scaddhan's for the social purpose of
taking a glass of the true Teetotal cordial together. This drinking of
cordial was most earnestly promoted by the class of low and dishonest
publicans whom we have already described, and no wonder that it was so;
in the first place, it's sale is more profitable than that of whiskey
itself, and, in the second place, these fellows know by experience that
it is the worst enemy that teetolism has, very few having ever strongly
addicted themselves to cordial, who do not ultimately break the pledge,
and resume the use of intoxicating liquor. This fact was well known at
the time, for Father Costelloe, who did every thing that man could do to
extend and confirm the principle of temperance, had put his parishioners
on their guard against the use of this deleterious trash. Consequently,
very few of the Ballykeerin men, either in town or parish, would taste
it; when they stood in need of anything to quench their thirst, or
nourish them, they confined themselves to water, milk, or coffee.
Scarcely any one, therefore, with the exception of the knaves and
hypocrites, tampered with themselves by drinking it.

The crew whom Art went to meet on the night in question consisted of
about half a dozen, who, when they had been in the habit of drinking
whiskey, were hardened and unprincipled men--profligates in every
sense--fellows that, like Toal Finnigan, now adhered to teetotalism from
sordid motives only, or, in other words, because they thought they
could improve their business by it. It is true, they were suspected
and avoided by the honest teetotallers, who wondered very much that Art
Maguire, after the treatment he had formerly received at their hands,
should be mean enough, they said, ever "to be hail fellow well met" with
them again. But Art, alas! in spite of all his dignity of old blood, and
his rodomontade about the Fermanagh Maguires, was utterly deficient in
that decent pride which makes a man respect himself, and prevents him
from committing a mean action.

For a considerable time before his arrival, there were assembled in
Barney Scaddhan's tap, Tom Whiskey, Jerry Shannon, Jack Mooney, Toal
Finnigan, and the decoy duck, young Barney Scaddhan himself, who merely
became a teetotaller that he might be able to lure his brethren in to
spend their money in drinking cordial.

"I wondher Art's not here before now," observed Tom Whiskey; "blood
alive, didn't he get on well afther joinin' the 'totallers?"

"Faix, it's a miracle," replied Jerry Shannon, "there's not a more
'spbnsible man in Ballykeerin, he has quite a Protestant look;--ha, ha,
ha!"

"Divil a sich a pest ever this house had as the same Art when he was a
blackguard," said young Scaddhan; "there was no keepin' him out of it,
but constantly spungin' upon the dacent people that wor dhrmkin' in it."

"Many a good pound and penny he left you for all that, Barney, my lad,"
said Mooney; "and purty tratement you gave him when his money was gone."

"Ay, an' we'd give you the same," returned Scaddhan, "if your's was
gone, too; ha, ha, ha! it's not moneyless vagabones we want here."

"No," said Shannon, "you first make them moneyless vagabones, an' then
you kick them out o' doors, as you did him."

"Exactly," said the hardened miscreant, "that's the way we live; when we
get the skin off the cat, then we throw out the carcass."

"Why, dang it, man," said Whiskey, "would you expect honest Barney here,
or his still honester ould rip of a father, bad as they are, to give us
drink for nothing?"

"Now," said Finnigan, who had not yet spoken, "yez are talkin' about Art
Maguire, and I'll tell yez what I could do; I could bend my finger that
way, an' make him folly me over the parish."

"And how could you do that?" asked Whiskey.

"By soodherin' him--by ticklin' his empty pride--by dwellin' on the ould
blood of Ireland, the great Fermanagh Maguires--or by tellin' him that
he's betther than any one else, and could do what nobody else could."

"Could you make him drunk to-night?" asked Shannon.

"Ay," said Toal, "an' will, too, as ever you seen him in your lives; only
whin I'm praisin' him do some of you oppose me, an' if I propose any
thing to be done, do you all either support me in it, or go aginst me,
accordin' as you see he may take it."

"Well, then," said Mooney, "in ordher to put you in spirits, go off,
Barney, an' slip a glass o' whiskey a piece into this cordial, jist to
tighten it a bit--ha, ha, ha!"

"Ay," said Tom Whiskey, "till we dhrink success to teetotalism, ha, ha,
ha!"

"Suppose you do him in the cordial," said Shannon.

"Never mind," replied Toal; "I'll first soften him a little on the
cordial, and then make him tip the punch openly and before faces, like a
man."

"Troth, it's a sin," observed Moonoy, who began to disrelish the
project; "if it was only on account of his wife an' childre."

Toal twisted his misshapen mouth into still greater deformity at this
observation--

"Well," said he, "no matter, it'll only be a good joke; Art is a dacent
fellow, and afther this night we won't repate it. Maybe," he continued
"I may find it necessary to vex him, an' if I do, remember you won't let
him get at me, or my bread's baked."

This they all promised, and the words were scarcely concluded, when Art
entered and joined them. As a great portion of their conversation did
not bear upon the subject matter of this narrative, it is therefore
unnecessary to record it. After about two hours, during which Art had
unconsciously drunk at least three glasses of whiskey, disguised in
cordial, the topic artfully introduced by Toal was the Temperance
Movement.

"As for my part," said he, "I'm half ashamed that I ever joined it. As I
was never drunk, where was the use of it? Besides, it's an unmanly thing
for any one to have it to say that he's not able to keep himself sober,
barrin' he takes an oath, or the pledge."

"And why did you take it then?" said Art.

"Bekaise I was a fool," replied Toal; "devil a thing else."

"It's many a good man's case," observed Art in reply, "to take an oath
against liquor, or a pledge aither, an' no disparagement to any man that
does it."

"He's a betther man that can keep himself sober widout it," said Toal
dryly.

"What do you mane by a betther man?" asked Art, somewhat significantly;
"let us hear that first, Toal."

"Don't be talking' about betther men here," said Jerry Shannon; "I tell
you, Toal, there's a man in this room, and when you get me a betther
man in the town of Ballykeerin, I'll take a glass of punch wid you, or a
pair o' them, in spite of all the pledges in Europe!"

"And who is that, Jerry," said Toal.

"There he sits," replied Jerry, putting his extended palm upon Art's
shoulder and clapping it.

"May the divil fly away wid you," replied Toal; "did you think me a
manus, that I'd go to put Art Maguire wid any man that I know? Art
Maguire indeed! Now, Jerry, my throoper, do you think I'm come to this
time o' day, not to know that there's no man in Ballykeerin, or the
parish it stands in--an' that's a bigger word--that could be called a
betther man that Art Maguire?"

"Come, boys," said Art, "none of your nonsense. Sich as I am, be the
same good or bad, I'll stand the next trate, an' devilish fine strong
cordial it is."

"Why, then, I don't think myself it's so good," replied young Scaddhan;
"troth it's waiker than we usually have it; an' the taste somehow isn't
exactly to my plaisin'."

"Very well," said Art; "if you have any that 'ill plaise yourself
betther, get it; but in the mane time bring us a round o' this, an'
we'll be satisfied."

"Art Maguire," Toal proceeded, "you were ever and always a man out o'
the common coorse."

"Now, Toal, you're beginnin'," said Art; "ha, ha, ha--well, any way, how
is that!"

"Bekaise the divil a taste o' fear or terror ever was in your
constitution. When Art, boys, was at school--sure he an' I wor
schoolfellows--if he tuck a thing into his head, no matter what, jist
out of a whim, he'd do it, if the divil was at the back door, or the
whole world goin' to stop him."

"Throth, Toal, I must say there's a great deal o' thruth in that. Divil
a one livin' knows me betther than Toal Finigan, sure enough, boys."

"Arra, Art, do you remember the day you crossed the weir, below Tom
Booth's," pursued Toal, "when the river was up, and the wather jist
intherin' your mouth?"

"That was the day Peggy Booth fainted, when she thought I was gone;
begad, an' I was near it."

"The very day."

"That may be all thrue enough," observed Tom Whiskey; "still I think
I know Art this many a year, and I can't say I ever seen any of these
great doing's. I jist seen him as aisy put from a thing, and as much
afeard of the tongues of the nabors, or of the world, as another."

"He never cared a damn for either o' them, for all that," returned
Toal; "that is, mind, if he tuck a thing into his head; ay, an' I'll go
farther--divil a rap ever he cared for them, one way or other. No, the
man has no fear of any kind in him."

"Why, Toal," said Mooney, "whether he cares for them or not, I think is
aisily decided; and whether he's the great man you make him. Let us hear
what he says himself upon it, and then we'll know."

"Very well, then," replied Toal; "what do you say yourself, Art? Am I
right, or am I wrong?"

"You're right, Toal, sure enough; if it went to that, I don't care a
curse about the world, or all Ballykeerin along wid it. I've a good
business, and can set the world at defiance. If the people didn't want
me, they wouldn't come to me."

"Come, Toal," said Jerry; "here--I'll hould you a pound note"--and lie
pulled out one as he spoke--"that I'll propose a thing he won't do."

"Aha--thank you for nothing, my customer--I won't take that bait,"
replied the other; "but listen--is it a thing that he can do?"

"It is," replied Jerry; "and what's more, every man in the room can do
it, as well as Art, if he wishes."

"He can?"

"He can."

"Here," said Toal, clapping down his pound. "Jack Mooney, put these in
your pocket till this matther's decided. Now, Jerry, let us hear it."

"I will;--he won't drink two tumblers of punch, runnin'; that is, one
afther the other."

"No," observed Art, "I will not; do you want me to break the pledge?"

"Sure," said Jerry, "this is not breaking the pledge--it's only for a
wager."

"No matther," said Art; "it's a thing I won't do."

"I'll tell you what, Jerry," said Toal, "I'll hould you another pound
now, that I do a thing to-night that Art won't do; an' that, like your
own wager, every one in the room can do."

"Done," said the other, taking out the pound note, and placing it in
Mooney's hand--Toal following his example.

"Scaddhan," said Toal, "go an' bring me two tumblers of good strong
punch. I'm a Totaller as well as Art, boys. Be off, Scaddhan."

"By Japers," said Tom Whiskey, as if to himself--looking at the same
time as if he were perfectly amazed at the circumstance--"the little
fellow has more spunk than Maguire, ould blood an' all! Oh, holy Moses;
afther that, what will the world come to!"

Art heard the soliloquy of Whiskey, and looked about him with an air of
peculiar meaning. His pride--his shallow, weak, contemptible pride, was
up, while the honest pride that is never separated from firmness and
integrity, was cast aside and forgotten. Scaddhan came in, and placing
the two tumblers before Toal, that worthy immediately emptied first one
of them, and then the other.

"The last two pounds are yours," said Jerry; "Mooney, give them to him."

Art, whose heart was still smarting under the artful soliloquy of Tom
Whiskey, now started to his feet, and exclaimed--

"No, Jerry, the money's not his yet. Barney, bring in two tumblers. What
one may do another may do; and as Jerry says, why it's only for a wager.
At any rate, for one o' my blood was never done out, and never will."

"By Japers," said Whiskey, "I knew he wouldn't let himself be bate. I
knew when it came to the push he wouldn't."

"Well, Barney," said Toal, "don't make them strong for him, for they
might get into his head; he hasn't a good head anyway--let them be
rather wake, Barney."

"No," said Art, "let them be as strong as his, and stronger, Barney; and
lose no time about it."

"I had better color them," said Barney, "an' the people about the place
'll think it's cordial still."

"Color the devil," replied Art; "put no colorin' on them. Do you think
I'm afeard of any one, or any colors?"

"You afeard of any one," exclaimed Tom Whiskey; "one o' the ould
Maguires afeard! ha, ha, ha!--that 'ud be good!"

Art, when the tumblers came in, drank off first one, which he had no
sooner emptied, than he shivered into pieces against the grate; he then
emptied the other, which shared the same fate.

"Now," said he to Barney, "bring me a third one; I'll let yez see what a
Maguire is."

The third, on making its appearance, was immediately drained, and
shivered like the others--for the consciousness of acting-wrong, in
spite of his own resolution, almost drove him mad. Of what occurred
subsequently in the public house, it is not necessary to give any
account, especially as we must follow Art home--simply premising, before
we do so, that the fact of "Art Maguire having broken the pledge," had
been known that very night to almost all Ballykeerin--thanks to the
industry of Toal Finnigan, and his other friends.

His unhappy wife, after their conversation that evening, experienced one
of those strange, unaccountable presentiments or impressions which every
one, more or less, has frequently felt. Until lately, he had not often
gone out at night, because it was not until lately that the clique began
to reassemble in Barney Scaddhan's. 'Tis true the feeling on her part
was involuntary, but on that very account it was the more distressing;
her principal apprehension of danger to him was occasioned by his
intimacy with Toal Finnigan, who, in spite of all her warnings and
admonitions, contrived, by the sweetness of his tongue, to hold his
ground with him, and maintain his good opinion. Indeed, any one who
could flatter, wheedle, and play upon his vanity successfully, was
sure to do this; but nobody could do it with such adroitness as Toal
Finnigan.

It is wonderful how impressions are caught by the young from those who
are older and have more experience than themselves. Little Atty, who had
heard the conversation already detailed, begged his mammy not to send
him to bed that night until his father would come home, especially
as Mat Mulrennan, an in-door apprentice, who had been permitted that
evening to go to see his family, had not returned, and he wished, he
said, to sit up and let him in. The mother was rather satisfied than
otherwise, that the boy should sit up with her, especially as all the
other children and the servants had gone to bed.

"Mammy," said the boy, "isn't it a great comfort for us to be as we are
now, and to know that my father can never get drunk again?"

"It is indeed, Atty;" and yet she said so; with a doubting, if not an
apprehensive heart.

"He'll never beat you more, mammy, now?"

"No, darlin'; nor he never did, barrin' when he didn't know what he was
doin'."

"That is when he was drunk, mammy?"

"Yes, Atty dear."

"Well, isn't it a great thing that he can never get drunk any more,
mammy; and never beat you any more; and isn't it curious too, how he
never bate me?"

"You, darlin'? oh, no, he would rather cut his arm off than rise it to
you, Atty dear; and it's well that you are so good a boy as you are--for
I'm afeard, Atty, that even if you deserved to be corrected, he wouldn't
do it."

"But what 'ud we all do widout my father, mammy? If anything happened to
him I think I'd die. I'd like to die if he was to go."

"Why, darlin'?"

"Bekase, you know, he'd go to heaven, and I'd like to be wid him; sure
he'd miss me--his own Atty--wherever he'd be."

"And so you'd lave me and your sisters, Atty, and go to heaven with your
father!"

The boy seemed perplexed; he looked affectionately at his mother, and
said--

"No, mammy, I wouldn't wish to lave you, for then you'd have no son at
all; no, I wouldn't lave you--I don't know what I'd do--I'd like to stay
wid you, and I'd like to go wid him, I'd--"

"Well, darlin', you won't be put to that trial this many a long day, I
hope."

Just then voices were heard at the door, which both recognized as those
of Art and Mat Mulrennan the apprentice.

"Now, darlin'," said the mother, who observed that the child was pale
and drowsy-looking, "you may go to bed, I see you are sleepy, Atty, not
bein' accustomed to sit up so late; kiss me, an' good-night." He then
kissed her, and sought the room where he slept.

Margaret, after the boy had gone, listened a moment, and became deadly
pale, but she uttered no exclamation; on the contrary, she set her
teeth, and compressed her lips closely together, put her hand on the
upper part of her forehead, and rose to go to the door. She was not yet
certain, but a dreadful terror was over her--Could it be possible that
he was drunk?--she opened it, and the next moment her husband, in a
state of wild intoxication, different from any in which she had ever
seen him, come in. He was furious, but his fury appeared to have been
directed against the apprentice, in consequence of having returned home
so late.

On witnessing with her own eyes the condition in which he returned, all
her presentiments flashed on her, and her heart sank down into a state
of instant hopelessness and misery.

"Savior of the world!" she exclaimed, "I and my childre are lost; now,
indeed, are we hopeless--oh, never till now, never till now!" She wept
bitterly.

"What are you cryin' for now?" said he; "what are you cryin' for, I
say?" he repeated, stamping his feet madly as he spoke; "stop at wanst,
I'll have no cry--cryin' what--at--somever."

She instantly dried her eyes.

"Wha--what kep that blasted whelp, Mul--Mulrennan, out till now, I say?"

"I don't know indeed, Art."

"You--you don't! you kno--know noth-in'; An' now I'll have a smash, by
the--the holy man, I'll--I'll smash every thing in--in the house."

He then took up a chair, which, by one blow against the floor, he
crashed to pieces.

"Now," said he, "tha--that's number one; whe--where's that whelp,
Mul--Mulrennan, till I pay--pay him for stayin' out so--so late. Send
him here, send the ska-min' sco--scoundrel here, I bid you.". Margaret,
naturally dreading violence, went to get little Atty to pacify him, as
well as to intercede for the apprentice; she immediately returned, and
told him the latter was coming. Art, in the mean time, stood a little
beyond the fireplace, with a small beach chair in his hand which he had
made for Atty, when the boy was only a couple of years old, but which
had been given to the other children in succession. He had been first
about to break it also, but on looking at it, he paused and said--

"Not this--this is Atty's, and I won't break it."

At that moment Mulrennan entered the room, with Atty behind him, but
he had scarcely done so, when Art with all his strength flung the hard
beach chair at his head; the lad, naturally anxious to avoid it, started
to one side out of its way, and Atty, while in the act of stretching out
his arms to run to his father, received the blow which had been designed
for the other. It struck him a little above the temple, and he fell,
but was not cut. The mother, on witnessing the act, raised her arms and
shrieked, but on hearing the heavy, but dull and terrible sound of the
blow against the poor boy's head, the shriek was suspended when half
uttered, and she stood, her arms still stretched out, and bent a little
upwards, as if she would have supplicated heaven to avert it;--her mouth
was half open--her eyes apparently enlarged, and starting as if it
were out of their sockets; there she stood--for a short time so full
of horror as to be incapable properly of comprehending what had taken
place. At length this momentary paralysis of thought passed away, and
with all the tender terrors of affection awakened in her heart, she
rushed to the insensible boy. Oh, heavy and miserable night! What pen
can portray, what language describe, or what imagination conceive, the
anguish, the agony of that loving mother, when, on raising her sweet,
and beautiful, and most affectionate boy from the ground whereon he lay,
that fair head, with its flaxen locks like silk, fell utterly helpless
now to this side, and now to that!

"Art Maguire," she said, "fly, fly,"--and she gave him one look; but,
great God! what an object presented itself to her at that moment. A man
stood before her absolutely hideous with horror; his face but a minute
ago so healthy and high-colored, now ghastly as that of a corpse, his
hands held up and clenched, his eyes frightful, his lips drawn back,
and his teeth locked with strong and convulsive agony. He uttered not
a word, but stood with his wild and gleaming eyes riveted, as if by the
force of some awful spell, upon his insensible son, his only one, if he
was then even that. All at once he fell down without sense or motion,
as if a bullet had gone through his heart or his brain, and there lay as
insensible as the boy he had loved so well.

All this passed so rapidly that the apprentice, who seemed also to have
been paralyzed, had not presence of mind to do any thing but look from
one person to another with terror and alarm.

"Go," said Margaret, at length, "wake up the girls, and then fly--oh,
fly--for the doctor."

The two servant maids, however, had heard enough in her own wild shriek
to bring them to this woful scene. They entered as she spoke, and, aided
by the apprentice, succeeded with some difficulty in laying their master
on his bed, which was in a back room off the parlor.

"In God's name, what is all this?" asked one of them, on looking at the
insensible bodies of the father and son.

"Help me," Margaret replied, not heeding the question, "help me to lay
the treasure of my heart--my breakin' heart--upon his own little bed
within, he will not long use it--tendherly, Peggy, oh, Peggy dear,
tendherly to the broken flower--broken--broken--broken, never to rise
his fair head again; oh, he is dead," she said, in a calm low voice,
"my heart tells me that he is dead--see how his limbs hang, how lifeless
they hang. My treasure--our treasure--our sweet, lovin', and only little
man--our only son sure--our only son is dead--and where, oh, where, is
the mother's pride out of him now--where is my pride out of him now?"

They laid him gently and tenderly--for even the servants loved him as
if he had been a relation--upon the white counterpane of his own little
crib, where he had slept many a sweet and innocent sleep, and played
many a lightsome and innocent play with his little sisters. His mother
felt for his pulse, but she could feel no pulse, she kissed his passive
lips, and then--oh, woful alternative of affliction!--she turned to his
equally insensible father.

"Oh, ma'am," said one of the girls, who had gone over to look at Art;
"oh, for God's sake, ma'am, come here--here is blood comin' out of the
masther's mouth."

She was at the bedside in an instant, and there, to deepen her
sufferings almost beyond the power of human fortitude, she saw the blood
oozing slowly out of his mouth. Both the servants were now weeping and
sobbing as if their hearts would break.

"Oh, mistress dear," one of them exclaimed, seizing her affectionately
by both hands, and looking almost distractedly into her face, "oh,
mistress dear, what did you ever do to desarve this?"

"I don't know, Peggy," she replied, "unless it was settin' my father's
commands, and my mother's at defiance; I disobeyed them both, and they
died without blessin' either me or mine. But oh," she said, clasping
her hands, "how can one poor wake woman's heart stand all this--a double
death--husband and son--son and husband--and I'm but one woman, one
poor, feeble, weak woman--but sure," she added, dropping on her knees,
"the Lord will support me. I am punished, and I hope forgiven, and he
will now support me."

She then briefly, but distractedly, entreated the divine support, and
rose once more with a heart, the fibres of which were pulled asunder, as
it were, between husband and son, each of whose lips she kissed, having
wiped the blood from those of her husband, with a singular blending
together of tenderness, distraction and despair. She went from the one
to the other, wringing her hands in dry agony, feeling for life in
their hearts and pulses, and kissing their lips with an expression of
hopelessness so pitiable and mournful, that the grief of the servants
was occasioned more by her sufferings than by the double catastrophe
that had occurred.

The doctor's house, as it happened, was not far from theirs, and in a
very brief period he arrived.

"Heavens! Mrs. Maguire, what has happened?" said he, looking on the two
apparently inanimate bodies with alarm.

"His father," she said, pointing to the boy, "being in a state of drink,
threw a little beech chair at the apprentice here, he stepped aside, as
was natural, and the blow struck my treasure there," she said, holding
her hand over the spot where he was struck, but not on it; "but, doctor,
look at his father, the blood is trickling out of his mouth."

The doctor, after examining into the state of both, told her not to
despair--

"Your husband," said he, "who is only in a fit, has broken a
blood-vessel, I think some small blood-vessel is broken; but as for the
boy, I can as yet pronounce no certain opinion upon him. It will be a
satisfaction to you, however, to know that he is not dead, but only in a
heavy stupor occasioned by the blow."

It was now that her tears began to flow, and copiously and bitterly they
did flow; but as there was still hope, her grief, though bitter, was not
that of despair. Ere many minutes, the doctor's opinion respecting one
of them, at least, was verified. Art opened his eyes, looked wildly
about him, and the doctor instantly signed to his wife to calm the
violence of her sorrow, and she was calm.

"Margaret," said he, "where's Atty? bring him to me--bring him to me!"

"Your son was hurt," replied the doctor, "and has just gone to sleep."

"He is dead," said Art, "he is dead, he will never waken from that
sleep--and it was I that killed him!"

"Don't disturb yourself," said the doctor, "as you value your own life
and his; you yourself have broken a blood-vessel, and there is nothing
for you now but quiet and ease."

"He is dead," said his father, "he is dead, and it was I that killed
him; or, if he's not dead, I must hear it from his mother's lips."

"Art, darlin', he is not dead, but he is very much hurted," she replied;
"Art, as you love him, and me, and us all, be guided by the doctor."

"He is not dead," said the doctor; "severely hurt he is, but not dead.
Of that you may rest assured."

So far as regarded Art, the doctor was right; he had broken only a small
blood vessel, and the moment the consequences of his fit had passed away,
he was able to get up, and walk about with very little diminution of his
strength.

To prevent him from seeing his son, or to conceal the boy's state from
him, was impossible. He no sooner rose than with trembling hands, a
frightful terror of what was before him, he went to the little bed on
which the being dearest to him on earth lay. He stood for a moment,
and looked down upon the boy's beautiful, but motionless face; he first
stooped, and putting his mouth to the child's ear said--

"Atty, Atty"--he then shook his head; "you see," he added, addressing
those who stood about him, "that he doesn't hear me--no, he doesn't hear
me--that ear was never deaf to me before, but it's deaf now;" he then
seized his hand, and raised it, but it was insensible to his touch, and
would have fallen on the bed had he let it go. "You see," he proceeded,
"that his hand doesn't know mine any longer! Oh, no, why should it? this
is the hand that laid our flower low, so why should he acknowledge it?
yet surely he would forgive his father, if he knew it--oh, he would
forgive that father, that ever and always loved him--loved him--loved
him, oh, that's a wake word, a poor wake word. Well," he went on, "I
will kiss his lips, his blessed lips--oh, many an' many a kiss, many a
sweet and innocent kiss--did I get from them lips, Atty dear, with those
little arms, that are now so helpless, clasped about my neck." He then
kissed him again and again, but the blessed child's lips did not return
the embrace that had never been refused before. "Now," said he, "you all
see that--you all see that he won't kiss me again, and that is bekaise
he can't do it; Atty, Atty," he said, "won't you speak to me? it's I,
Atty, sure it's I, Atty dear, your lovin' father, that's callin' you to
spake to him. Atty dear, won't you spake to me--do you hear my voice,
_asthore machree_--do you hear your father's voice, that's callin'
on you to forgive him?" He paused for a short time, but the child lay
insensible and still.

At this moment there was no dry eye present; the very doctor wept.
Margaret's grief was loud; she felt every source of love and tenderness
for their only boy opened in her unhappy and breaking heart, and was
inconsolable: but then compassion for her husband was strong as
her grief. She ran to Art, she flung her arms about his neck, and
exclaimed--

"Oh, Art dear, Art dear, be consoled: take consolation if you can, or
you will break my heart. Forgive you asthore! you, you that would shed
your blood for him! don't you know he would forgive you? Sure, I forgive
you--his mother, his poor, distracted, heart-broken mother forgives
you--in his name I forgive you." She then threw herself beside the body
of their child, and shouted out--"Atty, our blessed treasure, I have
forgiven your father for you--in your blessed name, and in the name of
the merciful God that you are now with, I have forgiven your unhappy
find heart-broken father--as you would do, if you could, our lost
treasure, as you would do."

"Oh," said his father vehemently distracted with his horrible
affliction; "if there was but any one fault of his that I could remimber
now, any one failin' that our treasure had--if I could think of a single
spot upon his little heart, it would relieve me; but, no, no, there's
nothin' of that kind to renumber aginst him. Oh, if he wasn't what he
was--if he wasn't what he was--we might have some little consolation;
but now we've none; we've none--none!"

As he spoke and wept, which he did with the bitterest anguish of
despair, his grief assumed a character that was fearful from the inward
effusion of blood, which caused him from time to time to throw it up in
red mouthfuls, and when remonstrated with by the doctor upon the danger
of allowing himself to be overcome by such excitement--

"I don't care," he shouted, "if it's my heart's blood, I would shed it
at any time for him; I don't care about life now; what 'ud it be to me
without my son? widout you, Atty dear, what is the world or all
that's in it to me now! An' when I think of who it was that cut you
down--cursed be the hand that gave you that unlucky blow, cursed may
it be--cursed be them that tempted me to drink--cursed may the drink be
that made me as I was, and cursed of God may I be that--"

"Art, Art," exclaimed Margaret, "any thing but that, remember there's a
God above--don't blasphame;--we have enough to suffer widout havin' to
answer for that."

He paused at her words, and as soon as the paroxysm was over, he sunk
by fits into a gloomy silence, or walked from room to room, wringing
his hands and beating his head, in a state of furious distraction, very
nearly bordering on insanity.

The next morning, we need scarcely assure our readers, that, as the
newspapers have it, a great and painful sensation had been produced
through the town of Bally-keerin by the circumstances which we have
related:--

"Art Maguire had broken the pledge, gone home drunk, and killed his only
son by the blow of an iron bar on the, head; the crowner had been sent
for, an' plaise God we'll have a full account of it all."

In part of this, however, common fame, as she usually is, was mistaken;
the boy was not killed, neither did he then die. On the third day, about
eight o'clock in the evening, he opened his eyes, and his mother, who
was scarcely ever a moment from his bedside, having observed the fact,
approached him with hopes almost as deep as those of heaven itself in
her heart, and in a voice soft and affectionate as ever melted into a
human ear--

"Atty, treasure of my heart, how do you feel?"

The child made no reply, but as his eye had not met hers, and as she had
whispered very low, it was likely, she thought, that he had not heard
her.

"I will bring his father," said she, "for if he will know or spake to
any one, he will, spake to him."

She found Art walking about, as he had done almost ever since the
unhappy accident, and running to him with a gush of joyful tears, she
threw her arms about his neck, and kissing him, said--

"Blessed be the Almighty, Art--" but she paused, "oh, great God, Art,
what is this! merciful heaven, do I smell whiskey on you?"

"You do," he replied, "it's in vain, I can't live--I'd die widout it;
it's in vain, Margaret, to spake--if I don't get it to deaden my grief
I'll die: but, what wor you goin' to tell me?" he added eagerly.

She burst into tears.

"Oh, Art," said she, "how my heart has sunk in spite of the good news I
have for you."

"In God's name," he asked, "what is it? is our darlin' betther?"

"He is," she replied, "he has opened his eyes this minute, and I want
you to spake to him."

They both entered stealthily, and to their inexpressible delight heard
the child's voice; they paused,--breathlessly paused,--and heard him
utter, in a low sweet voice, the following words--

"Daddy, won't you come to bed wid me, wid your own Atty?"

This he repeated twice or thrice before they approached him, but when
they did, although his eye turned from one to another, it was vacant,
and betrayed no signs whatsoever of recognition.

Their hearts sank again, but the mother, whose hope was strong and
active as her affection, said--

"Blessed be the Almighty that he is able even to spake but he's not well
enough to know us yet."

This was unhappily too true, for although they spoke to him, and placed
themselves before him by turns, yet it was all in vain; the child knew
neither them nor any one else. Such, in fact, was now their calamity,
as a few weeks proved. The father by that unhappy blow did not kill
his body, but he killed his mind; he arose from his bed a mild, placid,
harmless idiot, silent and inoffensive--the only words he was almost
heard to utter, with rare exceptions, being those which had been in his
mind when he was dealt the woful blow:--"Daddy, won't you come to bed
wid me, wid your own Atty?" And these he pronounced as correctly as
ever, uttering them with the same emphasis of affection which had marked
them before his early reason had been so unhappily destroyed. Now, even
up to that period, and in spite of this great calamity, it was not
too late for Art Maguire to retrieve himself, or still to maintain the
position which he had regained. The misfortune which befell his
child ought to have shocked him into an invincible detestation of all
intoxicating liquors, as it would most men; instead of that, however,
it drove him back to them. He had contracted a pernicious habit of
diminishing the importance of first errors, because they appeared
trivial in themselves; he had never permitted himself to reason against
his propensities, unless through the indulgent medium of his own vanity,
or an overweening presumption in the confidence of his moral strength,
contrary to the impressive experience of his real weakness. His virtues
were many, and his foibles few; yet few as they were, our readers
perceive that, in consequence of his indulging them, they proved the
bane of his life and happiness. They need not be surprised, then, to
hear that from the want of any self-sustaining power in himself he fell
into the use of liquor again; he said he could not live without it, but
then he did not make the experiment; for he took every sophistry that
appeared to make in his favor for granted. He lived, if it could be
called life, for two years and a half after this melancholy accident,
but without the spring or energy necessary to maintain his position, or
conduct his business, which declined as rapidly as he did himself. He
and his family were once more reduced to absolute beggary, until in the
course of events they found a poorhouse to receive them. Art was seldom
without a reason to justify his conduct, and it mattered not how feeble
that reason might be, he always deemed it sufficiently strong to satisfy
himself. For instance, he had often told his wife that if Atty had
recovered, sound in body and mind, he had determined never again to
taste liquor; "but," said he, "when I seen my darlin's mind gone, I
couldn't stand it widout the drop of drink to keep my heart an' spirits
up." He died of consumption in the workhouse of Ballykeerin, and there
could not be a stronger proof of the fallacy with which he reasoned than
the gratifying fact, that he had not been more than two months dead,
when his son recovered his reason, to the inexpressible joy of his
mother; so that had he followed up his own sense of what was right, he
would have lived to see his most sanguine wishes, with regard to
his son, accomplished, and perhaps have still been able to enjoy a
comparatively long and happy life.

On the morning of the day on which he died, although not suffering much
from pain, he seemed to feel an impression that his end was at hand. It
is due to him to say here, that he had for months before his death been
deeply and sincerely penitent, and that he was not only sensible of the
vanity and errors which had occasioned his fall from integrity, and cut
him off in the prime of life, but also felt his heart sustained by
the divine consolations of religion. Father Costello was earnest and
unremitting in his spiritual attentions to him, and certainly had the
gratification of knowing that he felt death to be in his case not merely
a release from all his cares and sorrows, but a passport into that life
where the weary are at rest.

About twelve o'clock in the forenoon he asked to see his wife--his own
Margaret--and his children, but, above all, his blessed Atty--for such
was the epithet he had ever annexed to his name since the night of the
melancholy accident. In a few minutes the sorrowful group appeared, his
mother leading the unconscious boy by the hand, for he knew not where he
was. Art lay, or rather reclined, on the bed, supported by two bolsters;
his visage was pale, but the general expression of his face was calm,
mild, and sorrowful; although his words were distinct, his voice was
low and feeble, and every now and then impeded by a short catch--for to
cough he was literally unable.

"Margaret," said he, "come to me, come to me now," and he feebly
received her hand in his; "I feel that afther all the warfare of this
poor life, afther all our love and our sorrow, I am goin' to part wid
you and our childhre at last."

"Oh, Art, darlin', I can think of nothing now, asthore, but our love,"
she replied, bursting into a flood of tears, in which she was joined by
the children--Atty, the unconscious Atty, only excepted.

"An' I can think of little else," said he, "than our sorrows and
sufferins, an' all the woful evil that I brought upon you and them."

"Darlin'," she replied, "it's a consolation to yourself, as it is to us,
that whatever your errors wor, you've repented for them; death is not
frightful to you, glory be to God!"

"No," said he, looking upwards, and clasping his worn hands; "I am
resigned to the will of my good and merciful God, for in him is my hope
an' trust. Christ, by his precious blood, has taken away my sins, for
you know I have been a great sinner;" he then closed his eyes for a few
minutes, but his lips were moving as if in prayer. "Yes, Margaret," he
again proceeded, "I am goin' to lave you all at last; I feel it--I
can't say that I'll love you no more, for I think that even in heaven
I couldn't forget you; but I'll never more lave you a sore heart, as
I often did--I'll never bring the bitther tear to your eye--the hue
of care to your face, or the pang of grief an' misery to your heart
again--thank God I will not; all my follies, all my weaknesses, and all
my crimes--"

"Art," said his wife, wringing her hands, and sobbing as if her heart
would break, "if you wish me to be firm, and to set our childre an
example of courage, now that it's so much wanted, oh, don't spake as you
do--my heart cannot stand it."

"Well, no," said he, "I won't; but when I think of what I might be this
day, and of what I am--when I think of what you and our childre might
be--an' when I see what you are--and all through my means--when I think
of this, Margaret dear, an' that I'm torn away from you and them in the
very prime of life--but," he added, turning hastily from that view of
his situation, "God is good an' merciful, an' that is my hope."

"Let it be so, Art dear," replied Margaret; "as for us, God will take
care of us, and in him we will put our trust, too; remimber that he is
the God and father of the widow an' the orphan."

He here appeared to be getting very weak, but in a minute or two he
rallied a little, and said, while his eye, which was now becoming heavy,
sought about until it became fixed upon his son--

"Margaret, bring him to me."

She took the boy by the hand, and led him over to the bedside.

"Put his hand in mine," said he, "put his blessed hand in mine."

She did so, and Art looked long and steadily upon the face of his child.

"Margaret," said he, "you know that durin' all my wild and sinful
coorses, I always wore the lock of hair you gave me when we wor young
next my heart--my poor weak heart."

Margaret buried her face in her hands, and for some time could not
reply.

"I don't wish, darlin'," said he, "to cause you sorrow--you will have
too much of that; but I ax it as a favor--the last from my lips--that
you will now cut off a lock of his hair--his hair fair--an' put it along
with your own upon my heart; it's all I'll have of you both in the grave
where I'll sleep; and, Margaret, do it now--oh, do it soon."

Margaret, who always carried scissors hanging by her pocket, took them
out, and cutting a long abundant lock of the boy's hair, she tenderly
placed it where he wished, in a little three-cornered bit of black silk
that was suspended from his neck, and lay upon his heart.

"Is it done?" said he.

"It is done," she replied as well as she could!

"This, you know, is to lie on my heart," said he, "when I'm in my grave;
you won't forget that!"

"No--oh, no, no; but, merciful God, support me! for Art, my husband, my
life, I don't know how I'll part with you."

"Well, may God bless you forever, my darlin' wife, and support you and
my orphans! Bring them here."

They were then brought over, and in a very feeble voice he blessed them
also.

"Now, forgive me all," said he, "forgive ME ALL!"

But, indeed, we cannot paint the tenderness and indescribable affliction
of his wife and children while uttering their forgiveness of all his
offences against them, as he himself termed it. In the meantime he kept
his son close by him, nor would he suffer him to go one moment from his
reach.

"Atty," said he, in a low voice, which was rapidly sinking;--"put his
cheek over to mine"--he added to his wife, "then raise my right arm, an'
put it about his neck;--Atty," he proceeded, "won't you give me one last
word before I depart?"

His wife observed that as he spoke a large tear trickled down his cheek.
Now, the boy was never in the habit of speaking when he was spoken to,
or of speaking at all, with the exception of the words we have already
given. On this occasion, however, whether the matter was a coincidence
or not, it is difficult to say, he said in a quiet, low voice, as if
imitating his father's--

"Daddy, won't you come to bed for me, for your own Atty?"

The reply was very low, but still quite audible--

"Yes, darlin', I--I will--I will for you, Atty."

The child said no more, neither did his father, and when the sorrowing
wife, struck by the stillness which for a minute or two succeeded the
words, went to remove the boy, she found that his father's spirit had
gone to that world where, we firmly trust, his errors, and follies, and
sins have been forgiven. While taking the boy away, she looked upon
her husband's face, and there still lay the large tear of love and
repentance--she stooped down--she kissed it--and it was no longer there.

There is now little to be added, unless to inform those who may take
an interest in the fate of his wife and children, that his son soon
afterwards was perfectly restored to the use of his reason, and that in
the month of last September he was apprenticed in the city of Dublin to
a respectable trade, where he is conducting himself with steadiness and
propriety; and we trust, that, should he ever read this truthful account
of his unhappy father, he will imitate his virtues, and learn to
avoid the vanities and weaknesses by which he brought his family to
destitution and misery, and himself to a premature grave. With respect
to his brother Frank, whom his irreclaimable dissipation drove out of
the country, we are able to gratify our readers by saying that he got
happily married in America, where he is now a wealthy man, in prosperous
business and very highly respected.

Margaret, in consequence of her admirable character, was appointed to
the situation of head nurse in the Ballykeerin Hospital, and it will not
surprise our readers to hear that she gains and retains the respect and
good-will of all who know her, and that the emoluments of her situation
are sufficient, through her prudence and economy, to keep her children
comfortable and happy.

Kind reader, is it necessary that we should recapitulate the moral we
proposed to show' in this true but melancholy narrative? We trust not.
If it be not sufficiently obvious, we can only say it was our earnest
intention that it should be so. At all events, whether you be
a Teetotaller, or a man carried away by the pernicious love of
intoxicating liquors, think upon the fate of Art Maguire, and do not
imitate the errors of his life, as you find them laid before you in this
simple narrative of "The Broken Pledge."





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