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Title: Handy Andy, Volume One - A Tale of Irish Life, in Two Volumes
Author: Lover, Samuel, 1797-1868
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Andy Icing Champagne]

The Collected Writings of SAMUEL LOVER

TREASURE TROVE EDITION

In Ten Volumes

Volume Three



THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF SAMUEL LOVER



HANDY ANDY

A Tale of Irish Life



IN TWO VOLUMES--VOLUME ONE



BOSTON
LITTLE, BROWN AND COMPANY
_MDCCCCIII_


Copyright, 1901, by
Little, Brown, & Co.


UNIVERSITY PRESS
JOHN WILSON AND SON
CAMBRIDGE, U.S.A.



ADDRESS


I have been accused in certain quarters, of giving flattering portraits
of my countrymen. Against this charge I may plead that, being a
portrait-painter by profession, the habit of taking the best view of my
subject, so long prevalent in my eye, has gone deeper, and influenced
my mind:--and if to paint one's country in its gracious aspect has been
a weakness, at least, to use the words of an illustrious compatriot,

    "--the failing leans to virtue's side."

I am disinclined, however, to believe myself an offender in this
particular. That I love my country dearly I acknowledge, and I am sure
every Englishman will respect me the more for loving _mine_, when he
is, with justice, proud of _his_--but I repeat my disbelief that I
overrate my own.

The present volume, I hope, will disarm any cavil from old quarters on
the score of national prejudice. The hero is a blundering fellow whom
no English or other gentleman would like to have in his service; but
still he has some redeeming natural traits: he is not made either a
brute or a villain; yet his "twelve months' character," given in the
successive numbers of this volume, would not get him a place upon
advertisement either in "The Times" or "The Chronicle." So far am I
clear of the charge of national prejudice as regards the hero of the
following pages.

In the subordinate personages, the reader will see two "Squires" of
different types--good and bad; there are such in all countries. And, as
a tale cannot get on without villains, I have given some touches of
villainy, quite sufficient to prove my belief in Irish villains, though
I do not wish it to be believed that the Irish are _all villains_.

I confess I have attempted a slight sketch, in one of the persons
represented, of a gentleman and a patriot;--and I conceive there is a
strong relationship between the two. He loves the land that bore
him--and so did most of the great spirits recorded in history. His own
mental cultivation, while it yields him personal enjoyment, teaches him
not to treat with contumely inferior men. Though he has courage to
protect his honour, he is not deficient in conscience to feel for the
consequences; and when opportunity offers the means of _amende_, it is
embraced. In a word, I wish it to be believed that, while there are
knaves, and fools, and villains in Ireland,--as in other parts of the
world,--honest, intelligent, and noble spirits are there also.

I cannot conclude without offering my sincere thanks for the cordial
manner in which my serial offering has been received by the public, and
noticed by the critical press, whose valuable columns have been so
often opened to it in quotation; and, when it is considered how large
an amount of intellect is employed in this particular department of
literature, the highest names might be proud of such recognition.

_London, 1st December_, 1842.


The reprinting of the foregoing address, attached to the First Edition,
sufficiently implies that my feelings and opinions respecting my
country and my countrymen remain unchanged. So far, enough said.

I desire, however, to add a few words to inform those who may, for the
first time, read the story in this the Fourth Edition, that the early
pages were written fifteen years ago, as a magazine article;--that the
success of that article led to the continuation of the subject in other
articles, and so on, till, eventually, twelve monthly numbers made up a
book. A story thus originated could not be other than sketchy and
desultory, and open to the captiousness of over-fastidious criticism:
it was never meant to be a work of high pretension--only one of those
easy trifles which afford a laugh, and require to be read in the same
careless spirit of good humour in which they are written.

In such a spirit, I am happy to say, "Handy Andy" _was_ read fourteen
years ago, and has continued to be read ever since; and as this
reprint, in a cheaper form, will open it to thousands of fresh readers,
I give these few introductory words to propitiate in the future the
kindly spirit which I gratefully remember in the past.

SAMUEL LOVER.

_London, 26th July_, 1854.



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

VOLUME ONE


Andy Icing the Champagne                          _Frontispiece_

Andy's First Attempt at Music                _Vignette on Title_

Andy's Introduction to the Squire                 _Page_      6

An Irish Inquest                       "                     80

Andy's Welcome Home                    "                    102

The Reward of Humanity                 "                    129

The Widow Flanagan's Party             "                    295

_Etched by W. H. W. Bicknell from drawings by Samuel Lover_



HANDY ANDY



CHAPTER I


Andy Rooney was a fellow who had the most singularly ingenious knack of
doing everything the wrong way; disappointment waited on all affairs in
which he bore a part, and destruction was at his fingers' ends; so the
nickname the neighbours stuck upon him was Handy Andy, and the jeering
jingle pleased them.

Andy's entrance into this world was quite in character with his after
achievements, for he was nearly the death of his mother. She survived,
however, to have herself clawed almost to death while her darling
"babby" was in arms, for he would not take his nourishment from the
parent fount unless he had one of his little red fists twisted into
his mother's hair, which he dragged till he made her roar; while he
diverted the pain by scratching her, till the blood came, with the
other. Nevertheless, she swore he was "the loveliest and sweetest
craythur the sun ever shined upon;" and when he was able to run about
and wield a little stick, and smash everything breakable belonging to
her, she only praised his precocious powers, and she used to ask, "Did
ever any one see a darlin' of his age handle a stick so bowld as he
did?"

Andy grew up in mischief and the admiration of his mammy; but, to do him
justice, he never meant harm in the course of his life, and he was most
anxious to offer his services on all occasions to those who would accept
them; but _they_ were only the persons who had not already proved Andy's
peculiar powers.

There was a farmer hard by in this happy state of ignorance, named Owen
Doyle, or, as he was familiarly called, _Owny na Coppal_, or, "Owen of
the Horses," because he bred many of these animals, and sold them at the
neighbouring fairs; and Andy one day offered his services to Owny when
he was in want of some one to drive up a horse to his house from a
distant "bottom," as low grounds by a river-side are called in Ireland.

"Oh, he's wild, Andy, and you'd never be able to ketch him," said Owny.

"Troth, an' I'll engage I'll ketch him if you'll let me go. I never
seen the horse I couldn't ketch, sir," said Andy.

"Why, you little spridhogue, if he took to runnin' over the long bottom,
it 'ud be more than a day's work for you to folly him."

"Oh, but he won't run."

"Why won't he run?"

"Bekaze I won't make him run."

"How can you help it?"

"I'll soother him."

"Well, you're a willin' brat, anyhow; and so go on, and God speed you!"
said Owny.

"Just gi' me a wisp o' hay an' a han'ful iv oats," said Andy, "if I
should have to coax him."

"Sartinly," said Owny, who entered the stable and came forth with the
articles required by Andy, and a halter for the horse also.

"Now, take care," said Owny, "that you are able to ride that horse if
you get on him."

"Oh, never fear, sir. I can ride owld Lanty Gubbins' mule betther nor
any o' the boys on the common, and he couldn't throw me th' other day,
though he kicked the shoes av him."

"After that you may ride anything," said Owny; and indeed it was true;
for Lanty's mule, which fed on the common, being ridden slily by all
the young vagabonds in the neighbourhood, had become such an adept in
the art of getting rid of his troublesome customers that it might well
be considered a feat to stick on him.

"Now take great care of him, Andy, my boy," said the farmer.

"Don't be afeared, sir," said Andy, who started on his errand in that
peculiar pace which is elegantly called a "sweep's trot;" and as the
river lay between Owny Doyle's and the bottom, and was too deep for
Andy to ford at that season, he went round by Dinny Dowling's mill,
where a small wooden bridge crossed the stream.

Here he thought he might as well secure the assistance of Paudeen, the
miller's son, to help him in catching the horse; so he looked about the
place until he found him, and telling him the errand on which he was
going, said, "If you like to come wid me, we can both have a ride."
This was temptation sufficient for Paudeen, and the boys proceeded
together to the bottom, and they were not long in securing the horse.
When they had got the halter over his head, "Now," said Andy, "give me
a lift on him;" and accordingly, by Paudeen's catching Andy's left foot
in both his hands clasped together in the fashion of a stirrup, he
hoisted his friend on the horse's back; and as soon as he was secure
there, Master Paudeen, by the aid of Andy's hand, contrived to scramble
up after him; upon which Andy applied his heel to the horse's side with
many vigorous kicks, and crying "hurrup!" at the same time, endeavoured
to stimulate Owny's steed into something of a pace as he turned his
head towards the mill.

"Sure arn't you going to crass the river?" said Paudeen.

"No, I'm going to lave you at home."

"Oh, I'd rather go up to Owny's, and it's the shortest way acrass the
river."

"Yes, but I don't like."

"Is it afeared that you are?" said Paudeen.

"Not I, indeed!" said Andy; though it was really the fact, for the
width of the stream startled him, "but Owny told me to take grate care
o' the baste, and I'm loath to wet his feet."

"Go 'long wid you, you fool! what harm would it do him? Sure he's
neither sugar nor salt, that he'd melt."

"Well, I won't anyhow," said Andy, who by this time had got the horse
into a good high trot, that shook every word of argument out of
Paudeen's body; besides, it was as much as the boys could do to keep
their seats on Owny's Bucephalus, who was not long in reaching the
miller's bridge. Here voice and halter were employed to pull him in,
that he might cross the narrow wooden structure at a quiet pace. But
whether his double load had given him the idea of double exertion, or
that the pair of legs on each side sticking into his flanks (and perhaps
the horse was ticklish) made him go the faster, we know not; but the
horse charged the bridge as if an Enniskilliner were on his back, and an
enemy before him; and in two minutes his hoofs clattered like thunder on
the bridge, that did not bend beneath him. No, it did _not_ bend, but it
broke; proving the falsehood of the boast, "I may break, but I won't
bend;" for, after all, the really strong may bend, and be as strong as
ever: it is the unsound that has only the seeming of strength, which
breaks at last when it resists too long.

Surprising was the spin the young equestrians took over the ears of the
horse, enough to make all the artists of Astley's envious; and plump
they went into the river, where each formed his own ring, and executed
some comical "scenes in the circle," which were suddenly changed to
evolutions on the "flying cord" that Dinny Dowling threw to the
performers, which became suddenly converted into a "tight rope" as he
dragged the _voltigeurs_ out of the water; and for fear their blood
might be chilled by the accident, he gave them an enormous thrashing
with a _dry_ end of the rope, just to restore circulation; and his
exertions, had they been witnessed, would have charmed the Humane
Society.

As for the horse, his legs stuck through the bridge, as though he had
been put in a _chiroplast_, and he went playing away on the water with
considerable execution, as if he were accompanying himself in the song
which he was squealing at the top of his voice. Half the saws, hatchets,
ropes, and poles in the parish were put in requisition immediately, and
the horse's first lesson in _chiroplastic_ exercise was performed
with no other loss than some skin and a good deal of hair. Of course
Andy did not venture on taking Owny's horse home; so the miller sent him
to his owner, with an account of the accident. Andy for years kept out
of Owny na Coppal's way; and at any time that his presence was
troublesome, the inconvenienced party had only to say, "Isn't that Owny
na Coppal coming this way?" and Andy fled for his life.

When Andy grew up to be what in country parlance is called "a brave lump
of a boy," his mother thought he was old enough to do something for
himself; so she took him one day along with her to the squire's, and
waited outside the door, loitering up and down the yard behind the
house, among a crowd of beggars and great lazy dogs, that were thrusting
their heads into every iron pot that stood outside the kitchen door,
until chance might give her "a sight o' the squire afore he wint out, or
afore he wint in;" and after spending her entire day in this idle way,
at last the squire made his appearance, and Judy presented her son, who
kept scraping his foot, and pulling his forelock, that stuck out like a
piece of ragged thatch from his forehead, making his obeisance to the
squire, while his mother was sounding his praises for being the
"handiest craythur alive--and so willin'--nothin' comes wrong to him."

[Illustration: Andy's introduction to the Squire]

"I suppose the English of all this is, you want me to take him?" said
the squire.

"Throth, an' your honour, that's just it--if your honour would be
plazed."

"What can he do?"

"Anything, your honour."

"That means _nothing_, I suppose," said the squire.

"Oh, no, sir. Everything, I mane, that you would desire him to do."

To every one of these assurances on his mother's part Andy made a bow
and a scrape.

"Can he take care of horses?"

"The best of care, sir," said the mother; while the miller who was
standing behind the squire, waiting for orders, made a grimace at Andy,
who was obliged to cram his face into his hat to hide the laugh, which
he could hardly smother from being heard, as well as seen.

"Let him come, then, and help in the stables, and we'll see what we can
do."

"May the Lord----"

"That'll do--there, now go."

"Oh, sure, but I'll pray for you, and----"

"Will you go?"

"And may the angels make your honour's bed this blessed night, I pray."

"If you don't go, your son shan't come."

Judy and her hopeful boy turned to the right about in double-quick
time, and hurried down the avenue.

The next day Andy was duly installed into his office of stable-helper;
and, as he was a good rider, he was soon made whipper-in to the hounds,
for there was a want of such a functionary in the establishment; and
Andy's boldness in this capacity soon made him a favourite with the
squire, who was one of those rollicking boys on the pattern of the old
school, who scorned the attentions of a regular valet, and let any one
that chance threw in his way bring him his boots, or his hot water for
shaving, or his coat, whenever it _was_ brushed. One morning, Andy, who
was very often the attendant on such occasions, came to his room with
hot water. He tapped at the door.

"Who's that?" said the squire, who had just risen, and did not know but
it might be one of the women servants.

"It's me, sir."

"Oh--Andy! Come in."

"Here's the hot water, sir," said Andy, bearing an enormous tin can.

"Why, what the d----l brings that enormous tin can here? You might as
well bring the stable bucket."

"I beg your pardon, sir," said Andy, retreating. In two minutes more
Andy came back, and, tapping at the door, put in his head cautiously,
and said, "The maids in the kitchen, your honour, say's there's not so
much hot water ready."

"Did I not see it a moment since in your hand?"

"Yes, sir; but that's not nigh the full o' the stable-bucket."

"Go along, you stupid thief! and get me some hot water directly."

"Will the can do, sir?"

"Ay, anything, so you make haste."

Off posted Andy, and back he came with the can.

"Where'll I put it sir?"

"Throw this out," said the squire, handing Andy a jug containing some
cold water, meaning the jug to be replenished with the hot.

Andy took the jug, and the window of the room being open, he very
deliberately threw the jug out. The squire stared with wonder, and at
last said--

"What did you do that for?"

"Sure you _towld_ me to throw it out, sir."

"Go out of this, you thick-headed villain!" said the squire, throwing
his boots at Andy's head, along with some very neat curses. Andy
retreated, and thought himself a very ill-used person.

Though Andy's regular business was "whipper-in," yet he was liable to
be called on for the performance of various other duties: he sometimes
attended at table when the number of guests required that all the subs
should be put in requisition, or rode on some distant errand for the
"mistress," or drove out the nurse and children on the jaunting-car;
and many were the mistakes, delays, or accidents, arising from Handy
Andy's interference in such matters;--but as they were seldom serious,
and generally laughable, they never cost him the loss of his place, or
the squire's favour, who rather enjoyed Andy's blunders.

The first time Andy was admitted into the mysteries of the dining-room,
great was his wonder. The butler took him in to give him some previous
instructions, and Andy was so lost in admiration at the sight of the
assembled glass and plate, that he stood with his mouth and eyes wide
open, and scarcely heard a word that was said to him. After the head
man had been dinning his instructions into him for some time, he said
he might go, until his attendance was required. But Andy moved not; he
stood with his eyes fixed by a sort of fascination on some object that
seemed to rivet them with the same unaccountable influence which the
rattlesnake exercises over its victim.

"What are you looking at?" said the butler.

"Them things, sir," said Andy, pointing to some silver forks.

"Is it the forks?" said the butler.

"Oh, no, sir! I know what forks is very well; but I never seen them
things afore."

"What things do you mean?"

"These things, sir," said Andy, taking up one of the silver forks, and
turning it round and round in his hand in utter astonishment, while the
butler grinned at his ignorance, and enjoyed his own superior
knowledge.

"Well!" said Andy, after a long pause, "the devil be from me if ever I
seen a silver spoon split that way before!"

The butler gave a horse laugh, and made a standing joke of Andy's split
spoon; but time and experience made Andy less impressed with wonder at
the show of plate and glass, and the split spoons became familiar as
"household words" to him; yet still there were things in the duties of
table attendance beyond Andy's comprehension--he used to hand cold
plates for fish, and hot plates for jelly, &c. But "one day," as Zanga
says--"one day" he was thrown off his centre in a remarkable degree by
a bottle of soda-water.

It was when that combustible was first introduced into Ireland as a
dinner beverage that the occurrence took place, and Andy had the luck
to be the person to whom a gentleman applied for some soda-water.

"Sir?" said Andy.

"Soda-water," said the guest, in that subdued tone in which people are
apt to name their wants at a dinner-table.

Andy went to the butler. "Mr. Morgan, there's a gintleman----"

"Let me alone, will you?" said Mr. Morgan.

Andy manoeuvred round him a little longer, and again essayed to be
heard.

"Mr. Morgan!"

"Don't you see I'm as busy as I can be? Can't you do it yourself?"

"I dunna what he wants."

"Well, go ax him," said Mr. Morgan.

Andy went off as he was bidden, and came behind the thirsty gentleman's
chair, with, "I beg your pardon, sir."

"Well!" said the gentleman.

"I beg your pardon, sir; but what's this you axed me for?"

"Soda-water."

"What, sir?"

"Soda-water: but, perhaps you have not any."

"Oh, there's plenty in the house, sir! Would you like it hot, sir?"

The gentleman laughed, and supposing the new fashion was not understood
in the present company said, "Never mind."

But Andy was too anxious to please to be so satisfied, and again
applied to Mr. Morgan.

"Sir!" said he.

"Bad luck to you!--can't you let me alone?"

"There's a gentleman wants some soap and wather."

"Some what?"

"Soap and wather, sir."

"Divil sweep you!--Soda-wather you mane. You'll get it under the
side-board."

"Is it in the can, sir?"

"The curse o' Crum'll on you! in the bottles."

"Is this it, sir?" said Andy producing a bottle of ale.

"No, bad cess to you!--the little bottles."

"Is it the little bottles with no bottoms, sir?"

"I wish _you_ wor in the bottom o' the say!" said Mr. Morgan, who was
fuming and puffing, and rubbing down his face with a napkin, as he was
hurrying to all quarters of the room, or, as Andy said, in praising his
activity, that he was "like bad luck--everywhere."

"There they are!" said Mr. Morgan at last.

"Oh, them bottles that won't stand," said Andy; "sure them's what I
said, with no bottoms to them. How'll I open it?--it's tied down."

"Cut the cord, you fool!"

Andy did as he was desired; and he happened at the time to hold the
bottle of soda-water on a level with the candles that shed light over
the festive board from a large silver branch, and the moment he made the
incision, bang went the bottle of soda, knocking out two of the lights
with the projected cork, which, performing its parabola the length of
the room, struck the squire himself in the eye at the foot of the table:
while the hostess at the head had a cold bath down her back. Andy, when
he saw the soda-water jumping out of the bottle, held it from him at
arm's length; every fizz it made, exclaiming, "Ow!--ow!--ow!" and, at
last, when the bottle was empty, he roared out, "Oh, Lord!--it's all
gone!"

Great was the commotion;--few could resist laughter except the ladies,
who all looked at their gowns, not liking the mixture of satin and
soda-water. The extinguished candles were relighted--the squire got his
eye open again--and the next time he perceived the butler sufficiently
near to speak to him, he said in a low and hurried tone of deep anger,
while he knit his brow, "Send that fellow out of the room!" but, within
the same instant, resumed his former smile, that beamed on all around
as if nothing had happened.

Andy was expelled the _salle à manger_ in disgrace, and for days kept
out of the master's and mistress' way: in the meantime the butler made a
good story of the thing in the servants' hall; and, when he held up
Andy's ignorance to ridicule, by telling how he asked for "soap and
water," Andy was given the name of "Suds," and was called by no other
for months after.

But, though Andy's functions in the interior were suspended, his
services in out-of-door affairs were occasionally put in requisition.
But here his evil genius still haunted him, and he put his foot in a
piece of business his master sent him upon one day, which was so simple
as to defy almost the chance of Andy making any mistake about it; but
Andy was very ingenious in his own particular line.

"Ride into the town and see if there's a letter for me," said the squire
one day to our hero.

"Yes, sir."

"You know where to go?"

"To the town, sir."

"But do you know where to go in the town?"

"No, sir."

"And why don't you ask, you stupid thief?"

"Sure I'd find out, sir."

"Didn't I often tell you to ask what you're to do, when you don't know?"

"Yes, sir."

"And why don't you?"

"I don't like to be throublesome, sir."

"Confound you!" said the squire; though he could not help laughing at
Andy's excuse for remaining in ignorance.

"Well," continued he, "go to the post-office. You know the post-office,
I suppose?"

"Yes, sir, where they sell gunpowder."

"You're right for once," said the squire; for his Majesty's postmaster
was the person who had the privilege of dealing in the aforesaid
combustible. "Go then to the post-office, and ask for a letter for me.
Remember--not gunpowder, but a letter."

"Yis, sir," said Andy, who got astride of his hack, and trotted away to
the post-office. On arriving at the shop of the postmaster (for that
person carried on a brisk trade in groceries, gimlets, broadcloth, and
linen-drapery,) Andy presented himself at the counter, and said, "I
want a letther, sir, if you plaze."

"Who do you want it for?" said the postmaster, in a tone which Andy
considered an aggression upon the sacredness of private life: so Andy
thought the coolest contempt he could throw upon the prying impertinence
of the postmaster was to repeat his question.

"I want a letther, sir, if you plaze."

"And who do you want it for?" repeated the postmaster.

"What's that to you?" said Andy.

The postmaster, laughing at his simplicity, told him he could not tell
what letter to give him unless he told him the direction.

"The directions I got was to get a letther here--that's the directions."

"Who gave you those directions?"

"The masther."

"And who's your master?"

"What consarn is that o' yours?"

"Why, you stupid rascal! if you don't tell me his name, how can I give
you a letter?"

"You could give it if you liked: but you're fond of axin' impident
questions, bekase you think I'm simple."

"Go along out o' this! Your master must be as great a goose as yourself,
to send such a messenger."

"Bad luck to your impidence," said Andy; "is it Squire Egan you dar to
say goose to?"

"Oh, Squire Egan's your master, then?"

"Yes, have you anything to say agin it?"

"Only that I never saw you before."

"Faith, then you'll never see me agin if I have my own consint."

"I won't give you any letter for the squire, unless I know you're his
servant. Is there any one in the town knows you?"

"Plenty," said Andy, "it's not every one is as ignorant as you."

Just at this moment a person to whom Andy was known entered the house,
who vouched to the postmaster that he might give Andy the squire's
letter. "Have you one for me?"

"Yes, sir," said the postmaster, producing one--"fourpence."

The gentleman paid the fourpence postage, and left the shop with his
letter.

"Here's a letter for the squire," said the postmaster; "you've to pay me
elevenpence postage."

"What 'ud I pay elevenpence for?"

"For postage."

"To the devil wid you! Didn't I see you give Mr. Durfy a letther for
fourpence this minit, and a bigger letther than this? and now you want
me to pay elevenpence for this scrap of a thing. Do you think I'm a
fool?"

"No: but I'm sure of it," said the postmaster.

"Well you're welkum to be sure, sure;--but don't be delayin' me now:
here's fourpence for you, and gi' me the letther."

"Go along, you stupid thief!" said the postmaster, taking up the letter,
and going to serve a customer with a mouse-trap.

While this person, and many others were served, Andy lounged up and down
the shop, every now and then putting in his head in the middle of the
customers, and saying, "Will you gi' me the letther?"

He waited for above half an hour, in defiance of the anathemas of the
postmaster, and at last left, when he found it impossible to get common
justice for his master, which he thought he deserved as well as another
man; for, under this impression, Andy determined to give no more than
the fourpence.

The squire in the meantime was getting impatient for his return, and
when Andy made his appearance, asked if there was a letter for him.

"There is, sir," said Andy.

"Then give it to me."

"I haven't it, sir."

"What do you mean?"

"He wouldn't give it to me, sir."

"Who wouldn't give it you?"

"That owld chate beyant in the town--wanting to charge me double for
it."

"Maybe it's a double letter. Why the devil didn't you pay what he asked,
sir?"

"Arrah, sir, why would I let you be chated? It's not a double letther at
all: not above half the size o' one Mr. Durfy got before my face for
fourpence."

"You'll provoke me to break your neck some day, you vagabond! Ride back
for your life, you omadhaun; and pay whatever he asks, and get me the
letter."

"Why, sir, I tell you he was sellin' them before my face for fourpence
a-piece."

"Go back, you scoundrel! or I'll horsewhip you; and if you're longer
than an hour, I'll have you ducked in the horse-pond!"

Andy vanished, and made a second visit to the post-office. When he
arrived, two other persons were getting letters, and the postmaster was
selecting the epistles for each, from a large parcel that lay before him
on the counter; at the same time many shop customers were waiting to be
served.

"I'm come for that letther," said Andy.

"I'll attend to you by-and-by."

"The masther's in a hurry."

"Let him wait till his hurry's over."

"He'll murther me if I'm not back soon."

"I'm glad to hear it."

While the postmaster went on with such provoking answers to these
appeals for dispatch, Andy's eye caught the heap of letters which lay on
the counter: so while certain weighing of soap and tobacco was going
forward, he contrived to become possessed of two letters from the heap,
and, having effected that, waited patiently enough till it was the great
man's pleasure to give him the missive directed to his master.

Then did Andy bestride his hack, and in triumph at his trick on the
postmaster, rattled along the road homeward as fast as the beast could
carry him. He came into the squire's presence, his face beaming with
delight, and an air of self-satisfied superiority in his manner, quite
unaccountable to his master, until he pulled forth his hand, which had
been grubbing up his prizes from the bottom of his pocket; and holding
three letters over his head, while he said, "Look at that!" he next
slapped them down under his broad fist on the table before the squire,
saying--

"Well! if he did make me pay elevenpence, by gor, I brought your honour
the worth o' your money anyhow!"



CHAPTER II


Andy walked out of the room with an air of supreme triumph, having laid
the letters on the table, and left the squire staring after him in
perfect amazement.

"Well, by the powers! that's the most extraordinary genius I ever came
across," was the soliloquy the master uttered as the servant closed the
door after him; and the squire broke the seal of the letter that Andy's
blundering had so long delayed. It was from his law-agent on the subject
of an expected election in the county, which would occur in case of the
demise of the then sitting member;--it ran thus:

    "Dublin, _Thursday_.

    "My dear Squire,--I am making all possible exertions to have every
    and the earliest information on the subject of the election. I say
    the election,--because, though the seat of the county is not yet
    vacant, it is impossible but that it must soon be so. Any other man
    than the present member must have died long ago; but Sir Timothy
    Trimmer has been so undecided all his life that he cannot at present
    make up his mind to die; and it is only by Death himself giving the
    casting vote that the question can be decided. The writ for the
    vacant county is expected to arrive by every mail, and in the
    meantime I am on the alert for information. You know we are sure of
    the barony of Ballysloughgutthery, and the boys of Killanmaul will
    murder any one that dares to give a vote against you. We are sure of
    Knockdoughty also, and the very pigs in Glanamuck would return you;
    but I must put you on your guard on one point where you least
    expected to be betrayed. You told me you were sure of Neck-or-nothing
    Hall; but I can tell you you're out there; for the master of the
    aforesaid is working heaven, earth, ocean, and all the little
    fishes, in the other interest; for he is so over head and ears in
    debt, that he is looking out for a pension, and hopes to get one
    by giving his interest to the Honourable Sackville Scatterbrain,
    who sits for the Borough of Old Goosebery at present, but whose
    friends think his talents are worthy of a county. If Sack wins,
    Neck-or-nothing gets a pension--that's _poz_. I had it from the
    best authority. I lodge at a milliner's here:--no matter; more when
    I see you. But don't be afraid; we'll bag Sack, and distance
    Neck-or-nothing. But, seriously speaking, it's too good a joke that
    O'Grady should use you in this manner, who have been so kind to him
    in money matters: but, as the old song says, 'Poverty parts good
    company;' and he is so cursed poor that he can't afford to know you
    any longer, now that you have lent him all the money you had, and
    the pension _in prospectu_ is too much for his feelings. I'll be
    down with you again as soon as I can, for I hate the diabolical town
    as I do poison. They have altered Stephen's Green--_ruined_ it I
    should say. They have taken away the big ditch that was round it,
    where I used to hunt water-rats when a boy. They are destroying the
    place with their d----d improvements. All the dogs are well, I hope,
    and my favourite bitch. Remember me to Mrs. Egan, whom all admire.

    "My dear squire, yours per quire,

    "Murtough Murphy.

    "_To Edward Egan, Esq., Merryvale._"

Murtough Murphy was a great character, as may be guessed from his
letter. He was a country attorney of good practice; good, because he
could not help it--for he was a clever, ready-witted fellow, up to all
sorts of trap, and one in whose hands a cause was very safe; therefore
he had plenty of clients without his seeking them. For if Murtough's
practice had depended on his looking for it, he might have made broth
of his own parchment; for though to all intents and purposes a good
attorney, he was so full of fun and fond of amusement, that it was
only by dint of the business being thrust upon him he was so extensive
a practitioner. He loved a good bottle, a good hunt, a good joke, and
a good song, as well as any fellow in Ireland: and even when he was
obliged in the way of business to press a gentleman hard--to hunt his
man to the death--he did it so good-humouredly that his very victim
could not be angry with him. As for those he served, he was their
prime favourite; there was nothing they _could_ want to be done in the
parchment line, that Murtough would not find out some way of doing;
and he was so pleasant a fellow, that he shared in the hospitality of
all the best tables in the county. He kept good horses, was on every
race-ground within twenty miles, and a steeple-chase was no
steeple-chase without him. Then he betted freely, and, what's more,
won his bets very generally; but no one found fault with him for that,
and he took your money with such a good grace, and mostly gave you a
_bon mot_ in exchange for it--so that, next to winning the money
yourself, you were glad it was won by Murtough Murphy.

The squire read his letter two or three times, and made his comments
as he proceeded. "'Working heaven and earth to'--ha!--so that's the
work O'Grady's at--that's old friendship,--foul!--foul! and after all
the money I lent him, too;--he'd better take care--I'll be down on him
if he plays false;--not that I'd like that much either:--but--let's
see who's this coming down to oppose me?--Sack Scatterbrain--the
biggest fool from this to himself;--the fellow can't ride a bit,--a
pretty member for a sporting county! 'I lodge at a milliner's'--divil
doubt you, Murtough; I'll engage you do. Bad luck to him!--he'd rather
be fooling away his time in a back parlour, behind a bonnet shop, than
minding the interests of the county. 'Pension'--ha!--wants it sure
enough;--take care, O'Grady, or, by the powers, I'll be at you. You
may baulk all the bailiffs, and defy any other man to serve you with a
writ; but, by jingo! if I take the matter in hand, I'll be bound I'll
get it done. 'Stephen's Green--big ditch--where I used to hunt
water-rats.' Divil sweep you, Murphy, you'd rather be hunting
water-rats any day than minding your business. He's a clever fellow
for all that. 'Favourite bitch--Mrs. Egan.'--Aye! there's the end of
it--with his bit o' po'thry, too! The divil!"

The squire threw down the letter, and then his eye caught the other
two that Andy had purloined.

"More of that stupid blackguard's work!--robbing the mail--no less!--that
fellow will be hanged some time or other. Egad, may be they'll hang him
for this! What's best to be done? May be it will be the safest way to
see whom they are for, and send them to the parties, and request they
will say nothing: that's it."

The squire here took up the letters that lay before him, to read their
superscriptions; and the first he turned over was directed to Gustavus
Granby O'Grady, Esq., Neck-or-nothing Hall, Knockbotherum. This was
what is called a curious coincidence. Just as he had been reading all
about O'Grady's intended treachery to him, here was a letter to that
individual, and with the Dublin post-mark too, and a very grand seal.

The squire examined the arms; and, though not versed in the mysteries
of heraldry, he thought he remembered enough of most of the arms he had
seen to say that this armorial bearing was a strange one to him. He
turned the letter over and over again, and looked at it back and front,
with an expression in his face that said, as plain as countenance could
speak, "I'd give a trifle to know what is inside of this." He looked at
the seal again: "Here's a--goose, I think it is, sitting on a bowl with
cross-bars on it, and a spoon in its mouth: like the fellow that owns
it, may be. A goose with a silver spoon in its mouth--well, here's the
gable-end of a house, and a bird sitting on the top of it. Could it be
Sparrow? There is a fellow called Sparrow, an under-secretary at the
Castle. D----n it! I wish I knew what it's about."

The squire threw down the letter as he said, "D----n it!" but took it up
again in a few seconds, and catching it edgewise between his forefinger
and thumb, gave a gentle pressure that made the letter gape at its
extremities, and then, exercising that sidelong glance which is peculiar
to postmasters, waiting-maids, and magpies who inspect marrowbones,
peeped into the interior of the epistle, saying to himself as he did so,
"All's fair in war, and why not in electioneering?" His face, which was
screwed up to the scrutinising pucker, gradually lengthened as he caught
some words that were on the last turn-over of the sheet, and so could be
read thoroughly, and his brow darkened into the deepest frown as he
scanned these lines: "As you very properly and pungently remark, poor
Egan is a spoon--a mere spoon." "Am I a spoon, you rascal?" said the
squire, tearing the letter into pieces, and throwing it into the fire.
"And so, _Misther_ O'Grady, you say I'm a spoon!" and the blood of the
Egans rose as the head of that pugnacious family strode up and down the
room: "I'll spoon you, my buck!--I'll settle your hash! may be I'm a
spoon you'll sup sorrow with yet!"

Here he took up the poker, and made a very angry lunge at the fire that
did not want stirring, and there he beheld the letter blazing merrily
away. He dropped the poker as if he had caught it by the hot end, as he
exclaimed, "What the d----l shall I do? I've burnt the letter!" This
threw the squire into a fit of what he was wont to call his
"considering cap;" and he sat with his feet on the fender for some
minutes, occasionally muttering to himself what he began with,--"What
the d----l shall I do? It's all owing to that infernal Andy--I'll
murder that fellow some time or other. If he hadn't brought it--I
shouldn't have seen it, to be sure, if I hadn't looked; but then the
temptation--a saint couldn't have withstood it. Confound it! what a
stupid trick to burn it! Another here, too--must burn that as well, and
say nothing about either of them:" and he took up the second letter,
and, merely looking at the address, threw it into the fire. He then
rang the bell, and desired Andy to be sent to him. As soon as that
ingenious individual made his appearance, the squire desired him, with
peculiar emphasis, to shut the door, and then opened upon him with--

"You unfortunate rascal!"

"Yis, your honour."

"Do you know that you might be hanged for what you did to-day?"

"What did I do, sir?"

"You robbed the post-office."

"How did I rob it, sir?"

"You took two letters that you had no right to."

"It's no robbery for a man to get the worth of his money."

"Will you hold your tongue, you stupid villain! I'm not joking: you
absolutely might be hanged for robbing the post-office."

"Sure I didn't know there was any harm in what I done; and for that
matther sure, if they're sitch wonderful value, can't I go back again
wid 'em?"

"No, you thief! I hope you've not said a word to any one about it."

"Not the sign of a word passed my lips about it."

"You're sure?"

"Sartin!"

"Take care, then, that you never open your mouth to mortal about it, or
you'll be hanged, as sure as your name is Andy Rooney."

"Oh! at that rate I never will. But may be your honour thinks I ought
to be hanged?"

"No,--because you did not intend to do a wrong thing; but, only I have
pity on you, I could hang you to-morrow for what you have done."

"Thank you, sir."

"I've burnt the letters, so no one can know anything about the business
unless you tell on yourself: so remember,--not a word."

"Faith, I'll be dumb as the dumb baste."

"Go now; and once for all, remember you'll be hanged so sure as you
ever mention one word about this affair."

Andy made a bow and a scrape, and left the squire, who hoped the secret
was safe. He then took a ruminating walk round the pleasure-grounds,
revolving plans of retaliation upon his false friend O'Grady; and
having determined to put the most severe and sudden measure of the law
in force against him, for the money in which he was indebted to him, he
only awaited the arrival of Murtough Murphy from Dublin to execute his
vengeance. Having settled this in his own mind, he became more
contented, and said, with a self-satisfied nod of the head, "We'll see
who's the spoon."

In a few days Murtough Murphy returned from Dublin, and to Merryvale he
immediately proceeded. The squire opened to him directly his intention
of commencing hostile law proceedings against O'Grady, and asked what
most summary measures could be put in practice against him.

"Oh! various, various, my dear squire," said Murphy; "but I don't see
any great use in doing so _yet_--he has not openly avowed himself."

"But does he not intend to coalesce with the order party?"

"I believe so--that is, if he's to get the pension."

"Well, and that's as good as done, you know; for if they want him, the
pension is easily managed."

"I am not so sure of that."

"Why, they're as plenty as blackberries."

"Very true; but, you see, Lord Gobblestown swallows all the pensions
for his own family; and there are a great many complaints in the market
against him for plucking that blackberry-bush very bare indeed; and
unless Sack Scatterbrain has swingeing interest, the pension may not be
such an easy thing."

"But still O'Grady has shown himself not my friend."

"My dear squire, don't be so hot; he has not _shown_ himself yet."

"Well, but he means it."

"My dear squire, you oughtn't to jump at a conclusion as you would at a
twelve-foot drain or a five-bar gate."

"Well, he's a blackguard!"

"No denying it; and therefore keep him on your side if you can, or
he'll be a troublesome customer on the other."

"I'll keep no terms with him;--I'll slap at him directly. What can you
do that's wickedest?--latitat, capias--fee-faw-fum, or whatever you
call it?"

"Halloo! squire, your overrunning your game: may be after all, he
_won't_ join the Scatterbrains, and----"

"I tell you it's no matter; he intended doing it, and that's all the
same. I'll slap at him--I'll blister him!"

Murtough Murphy wondered at this blind fury of the squire, who, being a
good-humoured and good-natured fellow in general, puzzled the attorney
the more by his present manifest malignity against O'Grady. But _he_
had not seen the turn-over of the letter: he had not seen "spoon,"--the
real and secret cause of the "war-to-the-knife" spirit which was kindled
in the squire's breast.

"Of course, you can do what you please; but, if you'd take a friend's
advice----"

"I tell you I'll blister him."

"He certainly _bled_ you very freely."

"I'll blister him, I tell you, and that smart. Lose no time, Murphy, my
boy: let loose the dogs of law on him, and harass him till he'd wish
the d----l had him."

"Just as you like, but----"

"I'll have it my own way, I tell you; so say no more."

"I'll commence against him at once, then, as you wish it; but it's no
use, for you know very well that it will be impossible to serve him."

"Let me alone for that! I'll be bound I'll find fellows to get the
inside of him."

"Why, his house is barricaded like a jail, and he has dogs enough to
bait all the bulls in the country."

"No matter: just send me the blister for him, and I'll engage I'll
stick it on him."

"Very well, squire; you shall have the blister as soon as it can be got
ready. I'll tell you when you may send over to me for it, and your
messenger shall have it hot and warm for him.  Good bye, squire."

"Good bye, Murphy!--lose no time."

"In the twinkling of a bedpost. Are you going to Tom Durfy's
steeple-chase?"

"I'm not sure."

"I've a bet on it. Did you see the widow Flannagan lately? You didn't?
They say Tom's pushing it strong there. The widow has money, you know,
and Tom does it all for the love o' God; for you know, squire, there are
two things God hates--a coward and a poor man. Now, Tom's no coward;
and, that he may be sure of the love o' God on the other score, he's
making up to the widow; and as he's a slashing fellow, she's nothing
loth, and, for fear of any one cutting him out, Tom keeps as sharp a
lookout after her as she does after him. He's fierce on it, and looks
pistols at any one that attempts putting his _comether_ on the widow,
while she looks 'as soon as you plaze,' as plain as an optical lecture
can enlighten the heart of man: in short, Tom's all ram's horns, and the
widow all sheep's eyes. Good bye, squire." And Murtough put his spurs to
his horse, and cantered down the avenue, whistling the last popular
tune.

Andy was sent over to Murtough Murphy's for the law process at the
appointed time; and as he had to pass through the village, Mrs. Egan
desired him to call at the apothecary's for some medicine that was
prescribed for one of the children.

"What'll I ax for, ma'am?"

"I'd be sorry to trust to you, Andy, for remembering. Here's the
prescription; take care of it, and Mr. M'Garry will give you something
to bring back; and mind, if it's a powder----"

"Is it gunpowdher, ma'am?"

"No--you stupid--will you listen? I say, if it's a powder, don't let it
get wet as you did the sugar the other day."

"No, ma'am."

"And if it's a bottle, don't break it, as you did the last."

"No, ma'am."

"And make haste."

"Yis, ma'am;" and off went Andy.

In going through the village, he forgot to leave the prescription at
the apothecary's and pushed on for the attorney's: there he saw
Murtough Murphy, who handed him the law process, inclosed in a cover,
with a note to the squire.

"Have you been doing anything very clever lately, Andy?" said Murtough.

"I don't know, sir," said Andy.

"Did you shoot any one with soda-water since I saw you last?"

Andy grinned.

"Did you kill any more dogs lately, Andy?"

"Faix, you're too hard on me, sir; sure I never killed but one dog, and
that was an accident----"

"An accident!--curse your impudence, you thief! Do you think, if you
killed one of the pack on purpose, we wouldn't cut the very heart o'
you with our hunting whips?"

"Faith, I wouldn't doubt you, sir; but, sure, how could I help that
divil of a mare runnin' away wid me, and thramplin' the dogs?"

"Why didn't you hold her, you thief?"

"Hould her, indeed!--you just might as well expect to stop fire among
flax as that one."

"Well, be off with you now, Andy, and take care of what I gave you for
the squire."

"Oh, never fear, sir," said Andy, as he turned his horse's head
homewards. He stopped at the apothecary's in the village, to execute
his commission for the "misthis." On telling the son of Galen that he
wanted some physic "for one o' the childre up at the big house," the
dispenser of the healing art asked _what_ physic he wanted.

"Faith, I dunna what physic."

"What's the matter with the child?"

"He's sick, sir."

"I suppose so, indeed, or you wouldn't be sent for medicine, you're
always making some blunder. You come here, and don't know what
description of medicine is wanted."

"Don't I?" said Andy, with a great air.

"No, you don't, you omadhaun!" said the apothecary.

Andy fumbled in his pockets, and could not lay hold of the paper his
mistress entrusted him with, until he had emptied them thoroughly of
their contents upon the counter of the shop; and then, taking the
prescription from the collection, he said, "So you tell me I don't know
the description of the physic I'm to get. Now, you see, you're out; for
_that's_ the _description_!" and he slapped the counter impressively
with his hand as he threw down the recipe before the apothecary.

While the medicine was in the course of preparation for Andy, he
commenced restoring to his pockets the various parcels he had taken
from them in hunting for the recipe. Now, it happened that he had laid
them down close beside some articles that were compounded, and sealed
up for going out, on the apothecary's counter: and as the law process
which Andy had received from Murtough Murphy chanced to resemble in
form another inclosure that lay beside it, containing a blister, Andy,
under the influence of his peculiar genius, popped the blister into his
pocket instead of the package which had been confided to him by the
attorney, and having obtained the necessary medicine from M'Garry, rode
home with great self-complacency that he had not forgot to do a single
thing that had been entrusted to him. "I'm all right this time," said
Andy to himself.

Scarcely had he left the apothecary's when another messenger alighted
at its door, and asked "If Squire O'Grady's things _was_ ready?"

"There they are," said the innocent M'Garry, pointing to the bottles,
boxes, and _blister_, he had made up and set aside, little dreaming
that the blister had been exchanged for a law process: and Squire
O'Grady's own messenger popped into his pocket the legal instrument
that it was as much as any seven men's lives were worth to bring within
gunshot of Neck-or-nothing Hall.

Home he went, and the sound of the old gate creaking on its hinges at
the entrance of the avenue awoke the deep-mouthed dogs around the
house, who rushed infuriate to the spot to devour the unholy intruder
on the peace and privacy of the patrician O'Grady; but they recognised
the old grey hack and his rider, and quietly wagged their tails and
trotted back, and licked their lips at the thoughts of the bailiff they
had hoped to eat. The door of Neck-or-nothing Hall was carefully
unbarred and unchained, and the nurse-tender was handed the parcel from
the apothecary's, and re-ascended to the sick room with slippered foot
as quietly as she could; for the renowned O'Grady was, according to her
account, "as cross as two sticks;" and she protested, furthermore,
"that her heart was grey with him."

Whenever O'Grady was in a bad humour, he had a strange fashion of
catching at some word that either he himself, or those with whom he
spoke, had uttered, and after often repeating it, or rather mumbling it
over in his mouth, as if he were chewing it, off he started into a
canter of ridiculous rhymes to the aforesaid word, and sometimes one of
these rhymes would suggest a new idea, or some strange association
which had the oddest effect possible; and to increase the absurdity,
the jingle was gone through with as much solemnity as if he were
indulging in a deep and interesting reverie, so that it was difficult
to listen without laughing, which might prove a serious matter when
O'Grady was in one of the _tantarums_, as his wife used to call them.

Mrs. O'Grady was near the bed of the sick man as the nurse-tender
entered.

"Here's the things for your honour, now," said she, in her most
soothing tone.

"I wish the d----l had you and them!" said O'Grady.

"Gusty, dear!" said his wife. (She might have said stormy instead of
gusty.)

"Oh! they'll do you good, your honour," said the nurse-tender, curtsying,
and uncorking bottles, and opening a pill-box.

O'Grady made a face at the pill-box, and repeated the word
"pills" several times, with an expression of extreme disgust.
"Pills--pills--kills--wills--ay--make your wills--make them--take
them--shake them. When taken--to be well shaken--shew me that bottle."

The nurse-tender handed a phial, which O'Grady shook violently.

"Curse them all!" said the squire. "A pretty thing to have a gentleman's
body made a perfect sink, for these blackguard doctors and apothecaries
to pour their dirty drugs into--faugh! drugs--mugs--jugs!" he shook the
phial again, and looked through it.

"Isn't it nice and pink, darlin'?" said the nurse-tender.

"Pink!" said O'Grady eying her askance, as if he could have eaten her.
"Pink, you old besom, pink"--he uncorked the phial, and put it to his
nose. "Pink--phew--!" and he repeated a rhyme to pink which would not
look well in print.

"Now, sir, dear, there's a little blisther just to go on your chest--if
you plaze."

"A _what_?"

"A warm plasther, dear."

"A _blister_ you said, you old _divil_!"

"Well, sure its something to relieve you."

The squire gave a deep growl, and his wife put in the usual appeal of
"Gusty, dear!"

"Hold you tongue, will you? How would _you_ like it? I wish you had it
on your----"

"Deed-an-deed, dear," said the nurse-tender.

"By the 'ternal war! if you say another word, I'll throw the jug at
you!"

"And there's a nice dhrop o' gruel I have on the fire for you," said
the nurse, pretending not to mind the rising anger of the squire, as
she stirred the gruel with one hand, while with the other she marked
herself with the sign of the cross, and said in a mumbling manner, "God
presarve us! he's the most cantankerous Christian I ever kem across!"

"Shew me that infernal thing!" said the squire.

"What thing, dear?"

"You know well enough, you old hag!--that blackguard blister!"

"Here it is, dear. Now just open the _burst_ o' your shirt, and let me
put it an you."

"Give it into my hand here, and let me see it."

"Sartinly, sir;--but I think, if you'd let me just----"

"Give it to me, I tell you!" said the squire, in a tone so fierce that
the nurse paused in her unfolding of the packet, and handed it with
fear and trembling to the already indignant O'Grady. But it is only
imagination can figure the outrageous fury of the squire when, on
opening the envelope with his own hand, he beheld the law process
before him. There, in the heart of his castle, with his bars, and
bolts, and bull-dogs, and blunderbusses around him, he was
served--absolutely served--and he had no doubt the nurse-tender was
bribed to betray him.

A roar and a jump up in bed, first startled his wife into terror, and
put the nurse on the defensive.

"You infernal old strap!" shouted he, as he clutched up a handful of
bottles on the table near him and flung them at the nurse, who was near
the fire at the time: and she whipped the pot of gruel from the grate,
and converted it into a means of defence against the phial-pelting
storm.

Mrs. O'Grady rolled herself up in the bed-curtains while the nurse
screeched "Murther!" and at last, when O'Grady saw that bottles were of
no avail, he scrambled out of bed, shouting, "Where's my blunderbuss?"
and the nurse-tender, while he endeavoured to get it down from the rack
where it was suspended over the mantel-piece, bolted out of the door
and ran to the most remote corner of the house for shelter.

In the meantime, how fared it at Merryvale. Andy returned with his
parcel for the squire, and his note from Murtough Murphy, which ran
thus:--

                    *      *      *      *      *

    "My Dear Squire,--I send you the _blister_ for O'Grady as you
    insist on it; but I think you won't find it easy to serve him with
    it.--Your obedient and obliged,

    "Murtough Murphy.

    "_To Edward Egan, Esq., Merryvale._"

                    *      *      *      *      *

The squire opened the cover, and when he saw a real instead of a
figurative blister, grew crimson with rage. He could not speak for some
minutes, his indignation was so excessive. "So," said he at last, "Mr.
Murtough Murphy, you think to cut your jokes with me, do you? By all
that's sacred, I'll cut such a joke on you with the biggest horsewhip I
can find, that you'll remember it. '_Dear Squire, I send you the
blister._' Bad luck to your impidence! Wait till awhile ago--that's
all. By this and that, you'll get such a blistering from me, that all
the spermaceti in M'Garry's shop won't cure you."



CHAPTER III


Squire Egan was as good as his word. He picked out the most suitable
horsewhip for chastising the fancied impertinence of Murtough Murphy;
and as he switched it up and down with a powerful arm, to try its
weight and pliancy, the whistling of the instrument through the air was
music to his ears, and whispered of promised joy in the flagellation of
the jocular attorney.

"We'll see who can make the sorest blister," said the squire.

"I'll back whalebone against Spanish flies any day. Will you bet,
Dick?" said he to his brother-in-law, who was a wild, helter-skelter
sort of fellow, better known over the country as Dick the Divil than
Dick Dawson.

"I'll back your bet, Ned."

"There's no fun in that, Dick, as there is nobody to take it up."

"May be Murtough will. Ask him before you thrash him: you'd better."

"As for _him_" said the squire, "I'll be bound he'll back my bet
after he gets a taste o' this;" and the horsewhip whistled as he spoke.

"I think he had better take care of his back than his bet," said Dick
as he followed the squire to the hall-door, where his horse was in
waiting for him, under the care of the renowned Andy, who little
dreamed of the extensive harvest of mischief which was ripening in
futurity, all from his sowing.

"Don't kill him quite, Ned," said Dick, as the squire mounted to his
saddle.

"Why, if I went to horsewhip a gentleman, of course I should only shake
my whip at him; but an attorney is another affair. And, as I'm sure
he'll have an action against me for assault, I think I may as well get
the worth of my money out of him, to say nothing of teaching him better
manners for the future than to play off his jokes on his employers."
With these words off he rode in search of the devoted Murtough, who was
not at home when the squire reached his house; but as he was returning
through the village, he espied him coming down the street in company
with Tom Durfy and the widow, who were laughing heartily at some joke
Murtough was telling them, which seemed to amuse him as much as his
hearers.

"I'll make him laugh at the wrong side of his mouth," thought the
squire, alighting and giving his horse to the care of one of the little
ragged boys who were idling in the street. He approached Murphy with a
very threatening aspect, and confronting him and his party so as to
produce a halt, he said, as distinctly as his rage would permit him to
speak, "You little insignificant blackguard, I'll teach you how you'll
cut your jokes on _me_ again; _I'll_ blister you, my buck!" and laying
hands on the astonished Murtough with the last word, he began a very
smart horsewhipping of the attorney. The widow screamed, Tom Durfy
swore, and Murtough roared, with some interjectional curses. At last he
escaped from the squire's grip, leaving the lappel of his coat in his
possession; and Tom Durfy interposed his person between them when he
saw an intention on the part of the flagellator to repeat his dose of
horsewhip.

"Let me at him, sir, or by----"

"Fie, fie, squire!--to horsewhip a gentleman like a cart-horse."

"A gentleman!--an attorney you mean."

"I say a gentleman, Squire Egan," cried Murtough fiercely, roused to
gallantry by the presence of a lady, and smarting under a sense of
injury and whalebone. "I'm a gentleman, sir, and demand thesatisfaction
of a gentleman. I put my honour into your hands, Mr. Durfy."

"Between his finger and thumb, you mean, for there's not a handful of
it," said the squire.

"Well, sir," replied Tom Durfy, "little or much, I'll take charge of
it. That's right, my cock," said he to Murtough, who notwithstanding
his desire to assume a warlike air, could not resist the natural
impulse of rubbing his back and shoulders which tingled with pain,
while he exclaimed, "Satisfaction! satisfaction!"

"Very well," said the squire, "you name yourself as Mr. Murphy's
friend?" added he to Durfy.

"The same, sir," said Tom. "Whom do you name as yours?"

"I suppose you know one Dick the Divil?"

"A very proper person, sir;--no better: I'll go to him directly."

The widow clung to Tom's arm, and looking tenderly at him, cried, "Oh,
Tom, Tom, take care of your precious life!"

"Bother!" said Tom.

"Ah, Squire Egan, don't be so bloodthirsty!"

"Fudge, woman!" said the squire.

"Ah, Mr. Murphy, I'm sure the squire's very sorry for beating you."

"Divil a bit," said the squire.

"There, ma'am," said Murphy, "you see he'll make no apology."

"Apology!" said Durfy, "apology for a horsewhipping, indeed! Nothing
but handing a horsewhip (which I wouldn't ask any gentleman to do), or
a shot, can settle the matter."

"Oh, Tom! Tom! Tom!" said the widow.

"Ba! ba! ba!" shouted Tom, making a crying face at her. "Arrah, woman,
don't be making a fool of yourself. Go in to the 'pothecary's, and get
something under your nose to revive you: and let _us_ mind our _own_
business."

The widow with her eyes turned up, and an exclamation to Heaven, was
retiring to M'Garry's shop, wringing her hands, when she was nearly
knocked down by M'Garry himself, who rushed from his own door, at the
same moment that an awful smash of his shop-window and the demolition
of his blue and red bottles alarmed the ears of the bystanders, while
their eyes were drawn from the late belligerent parties to a chase
which took place down the street of the apothecary, roaring "Murder!"
followed by Squire O'Grady with an enormous cudgel.

O'Grady, believing that M'Garry and the nurse-tender had combined to
serve him with a writ, determined to wreak double vengeance on the
apothecary, as the nurse had escaped him; and, notwithstanding all his
illness and the appeals of his wife, he left his bed and rode to the
village, to "break every bone in M'Garry's skin." When he entered the
shop, the pharmacopolist was much surprised, and said, with a
congratulatory grin at the great man, "Dear me, Squire O'Grady, I'm
delighted to see you."

"Are you, you scoundrel!" said the squire, making a blow of his cudgel
at him, which was fended off by an iron pestle the apothecary
fortunately had in his hand. The enraged O'Grady made a rush behind the
counter, which the apothecary nimbly jumped over, crying, "Murder!" as
he made for the door, followed by his pursuer, who gave a back-handed
slap at the window-bottles _en passant_, and produced the crash which
astonished the widow, who now joined her screams to the general hue and
cry; for an indiscriminate chase of all the ragamuffins in the town,
with barking curs and screeching children, followed the flight of
M'Garry and the pursuing squire.

"What the divil is all this about?" said Tom Durfy, laughing. "By the
powers! I suppose there's something in the weather to produce all this
fun--though it's early in the year to begin thrashing, for the harvest
isn't in yet. But, however, let us manage our little affair, now that
we're left in peace and quietness, for the blackguards are all over the
bridge after the hunt. I'll go to Dick the Divil immediately, squire,
and arrange time and place."

"There's nothing like saving time and trouble on these occasions," said
the squire. "Dick is at my house, I can arrange time and place with you
this minute, and he will be on the ground with me."

"Very well," said Tom; "where is it to be?"

"Suppose we say the cross-roads, halfway between this and Merryvale?
There's very pretty ground there, and we shall be able to get our
pistols and all that ready in the meantime between this and four
o'clock--and it will be pleasanter to have it all over before dinner."

"Certainly, squire," said Tom Durfy; "we'll be there at four. Till
then, good morning, squire;" and he and his man walked off.

The widow, in the meantime, had been left to the care of theapothecary's
boy, whose tender mercies were now, for the first time in his life,
demanded towards a fainting lady; for the poor raw country lad, having
to do with a sturdy peasantry in every-day matters, had never before
seen the capers cut by a lady who thinks it proper, and delicate, and
becoming, to display her sensibility in a swoon; and truly her sobs,
and small screeches, and little stampings and kickings, amazed young
gallipot. Smelling salts were applied;--they were rather weak, so the
widow inhaled the pleasing odour with a sigh, but did not recover. Sal
volatile was next put into requisition;--this was something stronger,
and made her wriggle on her chair, and throw her head about with sundry
"Ohs!" and "Ahs!" The boy, beginning to be alarmed at the extent of the
widow's syncope, bethought himself of assafoetida; and, taking down a
goodly bottle of that sweet-smelling stimulant, gave the widow the
benefit of the whole jar under her nose. Scarcely had the stopper been
withdrawn, when she gave a louder screech than she had yet executed,
and exclaiming "Faugh!" with an expression of the most concentrated
disgust, opened her eyes fiercely upon the offender, and shut up her
nose between her forefinger and thumb against the offence, and snuffled
forth at the astonished boy, "Get out o' that, you dirty cur! Can't you
let a lady faint in peace and quietness? Gracious Heavens! would you
smother me, you nasty brute? Oh, Tom, where are you?" and she took to
sobbing forth "Tom! Tom!" and put her handkerchief to her eyes, to hide
the tears that were _not_ there, while from behind the corner of the
cambric she kept a sharp eye on the street, and observed what was going
on. She went on acting her part very becomingly, until the moment Tom
Durfy walked off with Murphy; but then she could feign no longer, and
jumping up from her seat, with an exclamation of "The brute!" she ran
to the door, and looked down the street after them. "The savage!"
sobbed the widow; "the hardhearted monster! to abandon me here to
die--oh! to use me so--to leave me like a--like a"--(the widow was fond
of similes)--"like an old shoe--like a dirty glove--like a--like I
don't know what!" (the usual fate of similes). "Mister Durfy, I'll
punish you for this--I will!" said the widow, with an energetic
emphasis on the last word; and she marched out of the shop, boiling
over with indignation, through which nevertheless, a little bubble of
love now and then rose to the surface; and by the time she reached her
own door, love predominated, and she sighed as she laid her hand on the
knocker: "After all, if the dear fellow should be killed, what would
become of me!--oh!--and that wretch, Dick Dawson, too--_two_ of them.
The worst of these merry devils is they are always fighting."

The squire had ridden immediately homewards, and told Dick Dawson the
piece of work that was before them.

"And so he will have a shot at you, instead of an action?" said Dick.
"Well there's pluck in that: I wish he was more of a gentleman, for
your sake. It's dirty work, shooting attorneys."

"He's enough of a gentleman, Dick, to make it impossible for me to
refuse him."

"Certainly, Ned," said Dick.

"Do you know, is he anything of a shot?"

"Faith, he makes very pretty snipe shooting; but I don't know if he has
experience of the grass before breakfast."

"You must try and find out from some one on the ground; because, if the
poor divil isn't a good shot, I wouldn't like to kill him, and I'll let
him off easy--I'll give it to him in the pistol-arm, or so."

"Very well, Ned. Where are the flutes? I must look over them."

"Here," said the squire, producing a very handsome mahogany case of
Rigby's best. Dick opened the case with the utmost care, and took up
one of the pistols tenderly, handling it as delicately as if it were a
young child or a lady's hand. He clicked the lock back and forward a
few times; and, his ear not being satisfied at the music it produced,
he said he should like to examine them: "At all events they want a
touch of oil."

"Well, keep them out of the misthriss' sight, Dick, for she might be
alarmed."

"Divil a taste," says Dick; "she's a Dawson, and there never was a
Dawson yet that did not know men must be men."

"That's true, Dick. I would not mind so much if she wasn't in a delicate
situation just now, when it couldn't be expected of the woman to be so
stout; so go, like a good fellow, into your own room, and Andy will
bring you anything you want."

Five minutes after, Dick was engaged in cleaning the duelling pistols,
and Andy at his elbow, with his mouth wide open, wondering at the
interior of the locks which Dick had just taken off.

"Oh, my heavens! but that's a quare thing, Misther Dick, sir," said
Andy, going to take it up.

"Keep your fingers off it, you thief, do!" roared Dick, making a rap of
the turnscrew at Andy's knuckles.

"Shure, I'll save you the trouble o' rubbin' that, Misther Dick, if you
let me; here's the shabby leather."

"I wouldn't let your clumsy fist near it, Andy, nor your _shabby_
leather, you villain, for the world. Go get me some oil."

Andy went on his errand, and returned with a can of lamp-oil to Dick,
who swore at him for his stupidity; "The divil fly away with you!--you
never do anything right; you bring me lamp-oil for a pistol."

"Well, sure I thought lamp-oil was the right thing for burnin'."

"And who wants to burn it, you savage?"

"Aren't you going to fire it, sir?"

"Choke you, you vagabond," said Dick, who could not resist laughing,
nevertheless; "be off, and get me some sweet oil; but don't tell any
one what it's for."

Andy retired, and Dick pursued his polishing of the locks. Why he used
such a blundering fellow as Andy for a messenger might be wondered at,
only that Dick was fond of fun, and Andy's mistakes were a particular
source of amusement to him, and on all occasions when he could have
Andy in his company he made him his attendant. When the sweet oil was
produced, Dick looked about for a feather; but, not finding one,
desired Andy to fetch him a pen. Andy went on his errand, and returned,
after some delay, with an ink bottle.

"I brought you the ink, sir; but I can't find a pin."

"Confound your numskull! I didn't say a word about ink--I asked for a
pen."

"And what use would a pin be without ink, now I ax yourself, Misther
Dick?"

"I'd knock your brains out if you had any, you _omadhaun_! Go along,
and get me a feather, and make haste."

Andy went off, and having obtained a feather, returned to Dick, who
began to tip certain portions of the lock very delicately with oil.

"What's that for, Misther Dick, sir, if you plaze?"

"To make it work smooth."

"And what's that thing you're grazin' now, sir?"

"That's the tumbler."

"O Lord! a tumbler--what a quare name for it. I thought there was no
tumbler but a tumbler for punch."

"That's the tumbler you would like to be cleaning the inside of, Andy."

"Thrue for you, sir. And what's that little thing you have your hand on
now, sir?"

"That's the cock."

"Oh, dear, a cock! Is there e'er a hin in it, sir?"

"No, nor a chicken either, though there _is_ a feather."

"The one in your hand, sir, that you're grazin' it with?"

"No: but this little thing--that is called the feather-spring."

"It's the feather, I suppose, makes it let fly."

"No doubt of it, Andy."

"Well, there's some sinse in that name, then; but who'd think of sich a
thing as a tumbler and a cock in a pistle? And what's that place that
open and shuts, sir?"

"The pan."

"Well, there's sinse in that name too, bekase there's fire in the thing;
and it's as nath'ral to say pan to that as to a fryin'-pan--isn't it,
Misther Dick?"

"Oh! there was a great gunmaker lost in you, Andy," said Dick, as he
screwed on the locks, which he had regulated to his mind, and began to
examine the various departments of the pistol-case, to see that it was
properly provided. He took the instrument to cut some circles of thin
leather, and Andy again asked him for the name o' _that_ thing?

"This is called the punch, Andy."

"So there is the punch as well as the tumbler, sir."

"Ay, and very strong punch it is, you see, Andy;" and Dick, struck it
with his little mahogany mallet, and cut his patches of leather.

"And what's that for, sir?--the leather I mane."

"That's for putting round the ball."

"Is it for fear 't would hurt him too much when you shot him."

"You're a queer customer, Andy," said Dick, smiling.

"And what weeshee little balls thim is, sir."

"They are always small for duelling-pistols."

"Oh, then _thim_ is jewellin' pistles. Why, musha, Misther Dick, is it
goin' to fight a jule you are?" said Andy, looking at him with earnestness.

"No, Andy, but the master is; but don't say a word about it."

"Not a word for the world. The masther's goin' to fight! God send him
safe out iv it! amin. And who is he going to fight, Misther Dick?"

"Murphy, the attorney, Andy."

"Oh, won't the masther disgrace himself by fightin' the 'torney?"

"How dare you say such a thing of your master?"

"I ax your pard'n, Misther Dick: but sure you know what I mane. I hope
he'll shoot him."

"Why, Andy, Murtough was always very good to you, and now you wish him
to be shot."

"Sure, why wouldn't I rather have him kilt more than the masther?"

"But neither may be killed."

"Misther Dick," said Andy, lowering his voice, "wouldn't it be an
iligant thing to put two balls into the pistle instead o' one, and give
the masther a chance over the 'torney?"

"Oh, you murdherous villain!"

"Arrah! why shouldn't the masther have a chance over him!--sure he has
childre, and 'Torney Murphy has none."

"At any rate, Andy, I suppose you'd give the masther a ball additional
for every child he has, and that would make eight. So you might as well
give him a blunderbuss and slugs at once."

Dick loaded the pistol-case, having made all right, and desired Andy to
mount a horse, carry it by a back road out of the demesne, and wait at
a certain gate he named until he should be joined there by himself and
the squire, who proceeded at the appointed time to the ground.

Andy was all ready, and followed his master and Dick with great pride,
bearing the pistol-case after them to the ground, where Murphy and Tom
Durfy were ready to receive them; and a great number of spectators were
assembled, for the noise of the business had gone abroad, and the
ground was in consequence crowded.

Tom Durfy had warned Murtough Murphy, who had no experience as a pistol
man, that the squire was a capital shot, and that his only chance was
to fire as quickly as he could. "Slap at him, Morty, my boy, the minute
you get the word; and if you don't hit him itself, it will prevent his
dwelling on his aim."

Tom Durfy and Dick the Devil soon settled the preliminaries of the
ground and mode of firing, and twelve paces having been marked, both
the seconds opened their pistol-cases and prepared to load. Andy was
close to Dick all the time, kneeling beside the pistol-case, which lay
on the sod; and as Dick turned round to settle some other point on
which Tom Durfy questioned him, Andy thought he might snatch the
opportunity of giving his master "the chance" he suggested to his
second. "Sure, if Misther Dick wouldn't like to do it, that's no raison
I wouldn't," said Andy to himself, "and, by the powers! I'll pop in a
ball _onknownst_ to him." And, sure enough, Andy contrived, while the
seconds were engaged with each other, to put a ball into each pistol
before the barrel was loaded with powder, so that when Dick took up his
pistols to load, a bullet lay between the powder and the touch-hole.
Now, this must have been discovered by Dick, had he been cool: but he
and Tom Durfy had wrangled very much about the point they had been
discussing, and Dick, at no time the quietest person in the world, was
in such a rage that the pistols were loaded by him without noticing
Andy's ingenious interference, and he handed a harmless weapon to his
brother-in-law when he placed him on his ground.

The word was given. Murtough, following his friend's advice, fired
instantly--bang he went, while the squire returned but a flash in the
pan. He turned a look of reproach upon Dick, who took the pistol
silently from him, and handed him the other, having carefully looked to
the priming after the accident which happened to the first.

Durfy handed his man another pistol also; and before he left his side,
said in a whisper, "Don't forget--have the first fire."

Again the word was given. Murphy blazed away a rapid and harmless shot;
for his hurry was the squire's safety, while Andy's murderous
intentions were his salvation.

"D----n the pistol!" said the squire, throwing it down in a rage. Dick
took it up with manifest indignation, and d----d the powder.

"Your powder's damp, Ned."

"No, it's not," said the squire, "it's you who have bungled the
loading."

"Me!" said Dick, with a look of mingled rage and astonishment. "_I_
bungle the loading of pistols! _I_, that have stepped more ground and
arranged more affairs than any man in the country! Arrah, be aisy,
Ned!"

Tom Durfy now interfered, and said for the present it was no matter,
as, on the part of his friend, he begged to express himself satisfied.

"But it's very hard _we_'re not to have a shot," said Dick, poking the
touch-hole of the pistol with a pricker, which he had just taken from
the case which Andy was holding before him.

"Why, my dear Dick," said Durfy, "as Murphy has had two shots, and the
squire has not had the return of either, he declares he will not fire
at him again; and, under these circumstances, I must take my man off
the ground."

"Very well," said Dick, still poking the touch-hole, and examining the
point of the pricker as he withdrew it.

"And now Murphy wants to know, since the affair is all over and his
honour satisfied, what was your brother-in-law's motive in assaulting
him this morning, for he himself cannot conceive a cause for it."

"Oh, be _aisy_, Tom."

"'Pon my soul it's true!"

"Why, he sent him a blister--a regular apothecary's blister--instead of
some law process, by way of a joke, and Ned wouldn't stand it."

Durfy held a moment's conversation with Murphy, who now advanced to the
squire, and begged to assure him there must be some mistake in the
business, for that he had never committed the impertinence of which he
was accused.

"All I know is," said the squire, "that I got a blister, which my
messenger said you gave him."

"By virtue of my oath, squire, I never did it! I gave Andy an enclosure
of the law process."

"Then it's some mistake that vagabond has made," said the squire. "Come
here, you sir!" he shouted to Andy. Now Andy at this moment stood
trembling under the angry eye of Dick the Devil, who, having detected a
bit of lead on the point of the pricker, guessed in a moment Andy had
been at work, and the unfortunate rascal, from the furious look of
Dick, had a misgiving that he _had_ made some blunder. "Why don't you
come here when I call you?" said the squire. Andy laid down the
pistol-case, and sneaked up to the squire. "What did you do with the
letter Mr. Murphy gave you for me yesterday?"

"I brought it to your honour."

"No, you didn't," said Murphy. "You've made some mistake."

"Divil a mistake I made," answered Andy, very stoutly. "I wint home the
minit you gev it to me."

"Did you go home direct from my house to the squire's?"

"Yis, sir, I did--I went direct home, and called at Mr. M'Garry's by
the way for some physic for the childre."

"That's it!" said Murtough; "he changed my enclosure for a blister
there; and if M'Garry has only had the luck to send the bit o'
parchment to O'Grady, it will be the best joke I've heard this month of
Sundays."

"He did! he did!" shouted Tom Durfy; "for don't you remember how
O'Grady was after M'Garry this morning?"

"Sure enough," said Murtough, enjoying the double mistake. "By dad!
Andy, you've made a mistake this time that I'll forgive you."

"By the powers o' war!" roared Dick the Devil; "I won't forgive him
what he did now, though. What do you think?" said he, holding out the
pistols, and growing crimson with rage, "may I never fire another shot,
if he hasn't crammed a brace of bullets down the pistols before I
loaded them; so no wonder you burned prime, Ned."

There was a universal laugh at Dick's expense, whose pride in being
considered the most accomplished regulator of the duello was well
known.

"Oh, Dick, Dick! you're a pretty second!" was shouted by all.

Dick, stung by the laughter, and feeling keenly the ridiculous position
in which he was placed, made a rush at Andy, who, seeing the storm
brewing, gradually sneaked away from the group, and when he perceived
the sudden movement of Dick the Devil, took to his heels, with Dick
after him.

"Hurra!" cried Murphy, "a race--a race! I'll bet on Andy--five pounds
on Andy."

"Done!" said the squire: "I'll back Dick the Divil."

"Tare an' ouns!" roared Murphy, "how Andy runs! Fear's a fine spur."

"So is rage," said the squire. "Dick's hot-foot after him. Will you
double the bet?"

"Done!" said Murphy.

The infection of betting caught the bystanders, and various gages were
thrown and taken up upon the speed of the runners, who were getting
rapidly into the distance, flying over hedge and ditch with surprising
velocity, and, from the level nature of the ground, an extensive view
could not be obtained, therefore Tom Durfy, the steeple-chaser, cried,
"Mount, mount! or we'll lose the fun--into our saddles, and after
them."

Those who had steeds took the hint, and a numerous field of horsemen
joined in the pursuit of Handy Andy and Dick the Devil, who still
maintained great speed. The horsemen made for a neighbouring hill,
whence they could command a wider view; and the betting went on
briskly, varying according to the vicissitudes of the race.

"Two to one on Dick--he's closing."

"Done! Andy will wind him yet."

"Well done--there's a leap! Hurra! Dick's down! Well done, Dick!--up
again and going."

"Mind the next quickset hedge--that's a rasper, it's a wide gripe, and
the hedge is as thick as a wall--Andy'll stick in it--mind him--well
leaped, by the powers! Ha! he's sticking in the hedge--Dick'll catch
him now. No, by jingo! he's pushed his way through--there, he's going
again on the other side. Ha! ha! ha! ha! look at him--he's in tatters!
he has left half of his breeches in the hedge!"

"Dick is over now. Hurra! he has lost the skirt of his coat! Andy is
gaining on him--two to one on Andy."

"Down he goes!" was shouted as Andy's foot slipped in making a dash at
another ditch, into which he went head over heels, and Dick followed
fast, and disappeared after him.

"Ride! ride!" shouted Tom Durfy; and the horsemen put their spurs into
the flanks of their steeds, and were soon up to the scene of action.
There was Andy, rolling over and over in the muddy bottom of a ditch,
floundering in rank weeds and duck's meat, with Dick fastened on him,
pummelling away most unmercifully, but not able to kill him altogether,
for want of breath.

The horsemen, in a universal _screech_ of laughter, dismounted, and
disengaged the unfortunate Andy from the fangs of Dick the Devil, who
was dragged out of the ditch much more like a scavenger than a
gentleman.

The moment Andy got loose, away he ran again, with a rattling
"Tally-ho!" after him, and he never cried stop till he earthed himself
under his mother's bed in the parent cabin.

Murtough Murphy characteristically remarked, that the affair of the day
had taken a very whimsical turn;--"Here are you and I, squire, who went
out to shoot each other, safe and well, while one of the seconds has
come off rather worse for the wear; and a poor devil, who had nothing
to say to the matter in hand, good, bad, or indifferent, is nearly
killed."

The squire and Murtough then shook hands, and parted friends half an
hour after they had met as foes; and even Dick contrived to forget his
annoyance in an extra stoup of claret that day after dinner--filling
more than one bumper in drinking _confusion_ to Handy Andy, which
seemed a rather unnecessary malediction.



CHAPTER IV


After the friendly parting of the foes (_pro tempore_), there was a
general scatter of the party who had come to see the duel: and how
strange is the fact, that as much as human nature is prone to shudder
at death under the gentlest circumstances, yet men will congregate to
be its witnesses when violence aggravates the calamity! A public
execution or a duel is a focus where burning curiosity concentrates; in
the latter case, Ireland bears the palm for a crowd; in the former, the
annals of the Old Bailey can _amply_ testify. Ireland has its own
interest, too, in a place of execution, but not in the same degree as
England. They have been too used to hanging in Ireland to make it
piquant: "_toujours perdrix_" is a saying which applies in this as in
many other cases. The gallows, in its palmy days, was shorn of its
terrors: it became rather a pastime. For the victim it was a pastime
with a vengeance; for through it all time was past with him. For the
rabble who beheld his agony, the frequency of the sight had blunted the
edge of horror, and only sharpened that of unnatural excitement. The
great school, where law should be the respected master, failed to
inspire its intended awe;--the legislative lesson became a mockery; and
death, instead of frowning with terror, grinned in a fool's cap from
the scaffold.

This may be doubted now, when a milder spirit presides in the councils
of the nation and on the bench; but those who remember Ireland not very
long ago, can bear witness how lightly life was valued, or death
regarded. Illustrative of this, one may refer to the story of the two
basket-women in Dublin, who held gentle converse on the subject of an
approaching execution.

"Won't you go see de man die to-morrow, Judy?"

"Oh no, darlin'," said Judy. (By-the-bye, Judy pronounced the _n_
through her nose, and said "_d_o.")

"Ah do, jewel," said her friend.

Judy again responded, "_D_o."

"And why won't you go, dear?" inquired her friend again.

"I've to wash de child," said Judy.

"Sure, didn't you wash it last week?" said her friend, in an
expostulatory tone.

"Oh, well, I _won't_ go," said Judy.

"Throth, Judy, you're ruinin' your health," said this soft-hearted
acquaintance; "dere's a man to die to-morrow, and you won't
come--augh!--you _d_ever take _d_o divarshin!"

And wherefore is it thus? Why should tears bedew the couch of him who
dies in the bosom of his family, surrounded by those who love him,
whose pillow is smoothed by the hand of filial piety, whose past is
without reproach, and whose future is bright with hope? and why should
dry eyes behold the duellist or the culprit, in whom folly or guilt may
be the cause of a death on which the seal of censure or infamy may be
set, and whose futurity we must tremble to consider? With more reason
might we weep for the fate of either of the latter than the former, and
yet we _do_ not. And why is it so? If I may venture an opinion, it is
that nature is violated: a natural death demands and receives the
natural tribute of tears; but a death of violence falls with a stunning
force upon the nerves, and the fountain of pity stagnates and will not
flow.

Though there was a general scattering of the persons who came to see
the duel, still a good many rode homeward with Murphy, who, with his
second, Tom Durfy, beside him, headed the party, as they rode gaily
towards the town, and laughed over the adventure of Andy and Dick.

"No one can tell how anything is to finish," said Tom Durfy; "here we
came out to have a duel, and, in the end, it turned out a hunt."

"I am glad you were not in at _my_ death, however," said Murphy, who
seemed particularly happy at not being killed.

"You lost no time in firing, Murtough," said one of his friends.

"And small blame to me, Billy," answered Murphy; "Egan is a capital
shot, and how did I know but he might take it into his head to shoot
me?--for he's very hot when roused, though as good-natured a fellow in
the main as ever broke bread; and yet I don't think, after all, he'd
have liked to do me much mischief either; but, you see, he couldn't
stand the joke he thought I played him."

"Will you tell us what it was?" cried another of the party, pressing
forward, "for we can't make it out exactly, though we've heard
something of it--wasn't it leeches you sent to him, telling him he was
a blood-sucking villain?"

A roar of laughter from Murtough followed this question. "Lord, how a
story gets mangled and twisted!" said he, as soon as he could speak.
"Leeches! what an absurdity! No, it was----"

"A bottle of castor oil, wasn't it, by way of a present of noyeau?"
said another of the party, hurrying to the front to put forward _his_
version of the matter.

A second shout of laughter from Murphy greeted this third edition of
the story. "If you will listen to me, I'll give you the genuine
version," said Murtough, "which is better, I promise you, than any
which invention could supply. The fact is, Squire Egan is enraged
against O'Grady, and applied to me to harass him in the parchment line,
swearing he would blister him; and this phrase of blistering occurred
so often, that when I sent him over a bit o' parchment, which he
engaged to have served on my bold O'Grady, I wrote to him, 'Dear
Squire, I send you the blister;' and that most ingenious of all
blunderers, Handy Andy, being the bearer, and calling at M'Garry's shop
on his way home, picked up from the counter a _real_ blister, which was
folded up in an inclosure, something like the process, and left the
law-stinger behind him."

"That's grate!" cried Doyle.

"Oh, but you have not heard the best of it yet," added Murphy. "I am
certain the bit of parchment was sent to O'Grady, for he was hunting
M'Garry this morning through the town, with a cudgel of portentous
dimensions--put that and that together."

"No mistake!" cried Doyle; "and divil pity O'Grady, for he's a
blustering, swaggering, overbearing, ill-tempered----"

"Hillo, hillo, Bill!" interrupted Murphy, "you are too hard on the
adjectives; besides, you'll spoil your appetite if you ruffle your
temper, and that would fret me, for I intend you to dine with me
to-day."

"Faith an' I'll do that same, Murtough, my boy, and glad to be asked,
as the old maid said."

"I'll tell you what it is," said Murphy; "boys, you must all dine with
me to-day, and drink long life to me, since I'm not killed."

"There are seventeen of us," said Durfy; "the little parlour won't hold
us all."

"But isn't there a big room at the inn, Tom?" returned Murphy, "and not
better drink in Ireland than Mrs. Fay's. What do you say, lads--one and
all--will you dine with me?"

"Will a duck swim?" chuckled out Jack Horan, an oily veteran, who
seldom opened his mouth but to put something into it, and spared his
words as if they were of value; and to make them appear so, he spoke in
apophthegms.

"What say you, James Reddy?" said Murtough.

"Ready, sure enough, and willing too!" answered James, who was a small
wit, and made the aforesaid play upon his name at least three hundred
and sixty-five times every year.

"Oh, we'll all come," was uttered right and left.

"Good men and true!" shouted Murphy; "won't we make the rafters shake,
and turn the cellar inside out! Whoo! I'm in great heart to-day. But
who is this powdhering up the road? By the powers! 't is the doctor, I
think; 't is--I know his bandy hat over the cloud of dust."

The individual thus designated as _the_ doctor now emerged from the
obscurity in which he had been enveloped, and was received with a loud
shout by the whole cavalcade as he approached them. Both parties drew
rein, and the doctor, lifting from his head the aforesaid bandy hat,
which was slouched over one eye, with a sinister droop, made a low
obeisance to Murphy, and said, with a mock solemnity, "Your servant,
sir--and so you're not killed?"

"No," said Murphy; "and you've lost a job, which I see you came to look
for--but you're not to have the carving of me yet."

"Considering it's so near Michaelmas, I think you've had a great
escape, signor," returned the doctor.

"Sure enough," said Murphy, laughing; "but you're late this time: so
you must turn back, and content yourself with carving something more
innocent than an attorney to-day--though at an attorney's cost. You
must dine with me."

"Willingly, signor," said the doctor; "but pray don't make use of the
word 'cost.' I hate to hear it out of an attorney's mouth--or _bill_, I
should say."

A laugh followed the doctor's pleasantry, but no smile appeared upon
_his_ countenance; for though uttering quaint and often very good, but
oftener very bitter, things, he never moved a muscle of his face, while
others were shaking their sides at his sallies. He was, in more ways
than one, a remarkable man. A massive head, large and rather protruding
eyes, lank hair, slouching ears, a short neck, and broad shoulders,
rather inclined to stooping, a long body, and short legs, slightly
bowed, constituted his outward man; and a lemon-coloured complexion,
which a residence of some years in the East Indies had produced, did
not tend to increase his beauty. His mind displayed a superior
intelligence, original views, contempt of received opinions, with a
power of satire and ridicule, which rendered him a pleasing friend or a
dangerous enemy, as the case might be; though, to say the truth, friend
and foe were treated with nearly equal severity, if a joke or sarcasm
tempted the assault. His own profession hated him, for he unsparingly
ridiculed all stale practice, which his conviction led him to believe
was inefficient, and he daringly introduced fresh, to the no small
indignation of the more cut and dry portion of the faculty, for whose
hate he returned contempt, of which he made no secret. From an extreme
coarseness of manner, even those who believed in his skill were afraid
to trust to his humour: and the dislike of his brother-practitioners to
meet him superadded to this, damaged his interest considerably, and
prevented his being called in until extreme danger frightened patients,
or their friends, into sending for Dr. Growling. His carelessness in
dress, too, inspired disgust in the fair portion of the creation: and
"snuffy" and "dirty," "savage" and "brute," were among the sweet words
they applied to him.

Nevertheless, those who loved a joke more than they feared a hit, would
run the risk of an occasional thrust of the doctor's stiletto, for the
sake of enjoying the mangling he gave other people; and such rollicking
fellows as Murphy, and Durfy, and Dawson, and Squire Egan petted this
social hedgehog.

The doctor now turned his horse's head, and joined the cavalcade to the
town. "I have blown my Rosinante," said he; "I was in such a hurry to
see the fun."

"Yes," said Murphy, "he smokes."

"And his master takes snuff," said the doctor, suiting the action to
the word. "I suppose, signor, you were thinking a little while ago that
the squire might serve an ejectment on your vitality?"

"Or that in the trial between us I might get damages," said Murphy.

"There is a difference, in such case," said the doctor, "between a
court of law and the court of honour; for in the former, the man is
plaintiff before he gets his damages, while in the latter, it is after
he gets his damages that he complains."

"I'm glad my term is not ended, however," said Murphy.

"If it had been," said the doctor, "I think you'd have had a long
vacation in limbo."

"And suppose I had been hit," said Murphy, "you would have been late on
the ground. You're a pretty friend!"

"It's my luck, sir," said the doctor; "I'm always late for a job.
By-the-bye, I'll tell you an amusing fact of that musty piece of
humanity, Miss Jinkins. Her niece was dangerously ill, and she had that
licensed slaughterer from Killanmaul trying to tinker her up, till the
poor girl was past all hope, and then she sends for me. She swore, some
time ago, I shall never darken her doors; but when she began to
apprehend that death was rather a darker gentleman than I, she
tolerated my person. The old crocodile met me in the hall--by-the-bye,
did you ever remark she's _like_ a crocodile, only not with so pleasing
an expression?--and wringing her hands she cried, 'Oh, doctor, I'll be
bound to you forever!'--I hope not, thought I to myself. 'Save my
Jemima, doctor, and there's nothing I won't do to prove my gratitude.'
'Is she long ill, ma'am?' said I. 'A fortnight, doctor.' 'I wish I had
been called in sooner, ma'am,' says I--for, 'pon my conscience, Murphy,
it is too ridiculous the way the people go on about me. I verily
believe they think I can raise people out of their graves; and they
call me in to repair the damages disease _and_ the doctors have been
making; and while the gentlemen in black silk stockings, with
gold-headed canes, have been fobbing fees for three weeks, perhaps,
they call in poor Jack Growling, who scorns Jack-a-dandyism, and _he_
gets a solitary guinea for mending the bungling that cost something to
the tune of twenty or thirty perhaps. And when I have plucked them from
the jaws of death--regularly cheated the sexton out of them--the best
word they have for me is to call me a pig, or abuse my boots, or wonder
that the doctor is not more particular about his linen--the fools! But
to return to my gentle crocodile. I was shown upstairs to the sick
room, and there, sir, I saw the unfortunate girl, speechless, at the
last gasp absolutely. The Killanmaul dandy had left her to
die--absolutely given her up; and _then_, indeed, I'm sent for! Well, I
was in a rage, and was rushing out of the house, when the crocodile
way-laid me in the hall. 'Oh, doctor, won't you do something for my
Jemima?' 'I can't, ma'am,' says I; 'but Mr. Fogarty can.' 'Mr.
Fogarty!' says she. 'Yes, ma'am,' says I. 'You have mistaken my
profession, Miss Jinkins--I'm a doctor, ma'am; but I suppose _you took
me for an undertaker_!'"

"Well, you hit her hard, doctor," said Murphy.

"Sir, you might as well hit a rhinoceros," returned the doctor.

"When shall we dine?" asked Jack Horan.

"As soon as Mrs. Fay can let us have the eatables," answered Murphy;
"and, by-the-bye, Jack, I leave the ordering of the dinner to you, for
no man understands better how to do that same; besides, I want to leave
my horse in my own stable, and I'll be up at the inn, after you, in a
brace of shakes."

The troop now approached the town. Those who lived there rode to their
own stables, and returned to the party at Mrs. Fay's: while they who
resided at a distance dismounted at the door of the inn, which soon
became a scene of bustle in all its departments from this large influx
of guests; and the preparation for the dinner, exceeding in scale what
Mrs. Fay was generally called upon to provide, except when the assizes,
or races, or other such cause of commotion, demanded all the resources
of her establishment, and more, if she had them. So the Dinnys, and the
Tims, and the Mickeys, were rubbing down horses, cleaning knives, or
drawing forth extra tables from their dusty repose; and the Biddys, and
Judys, and Nellys, were washing up plates, scouring pans, and
brightening up extra candlesticks, or doing deeds of doom in the
poultry-yard, where an audible commotion gave token of the premature
deaths of sundry supernumerary chickens.

Murphy soon joined his guests, grinning from ear to ear, and rubbing
his hands as he entered.

"Great news, boys," said he; "who do you think was at my house, when I
got home, but M'Garry, with his head bandaged up, and his whole body,
as he declares, bearing black and blue testimony to the merciless
attack of the bold O'Grady, against whom he swears he'll bring an
action for assault and battery. Now, boys, I thought it would be great
fun to have him here to dinner--it's as good as a play to hear him
describe the thrashing--so I asked him to come. He said he was not in a
fit state to dine out; but I egged him on by saying that a sight of him
in his present plight would excite sympathy for him, and stir up public
feeling against O'Grady, and that all would tell in the action, as most
likely some of the present company might be on the jury, and would be
the better able to judge how far he was entitled to damages, from
witnessing the severity of the injury he had received. So he's coming;
and mind, you must all be deeply affected at his sufferings, and
impressed with the _powerful_ description he gives of the same."

"Very scientific, of course," said old Growling.

"Extensively so," returned Murphy; "he laid on the Latin _heavy_."

"Yes--the fool!" growled the doctor: "he can't help sporting it even on
me. I went into his shop one day, and asked for some opium wine, and he
could not resist calling it _vinum opii_ as he handed it to me."

"We'll make him a martyr!" cried Durfy.

"We'll make him dhrunk!" said Jack Horan, "and that will be better. He
brags that he never was what he calls 'inebriated' in his life; and it
will be great fun to send him home on a door, with a note to his wife,
who is proud of his propriety."

As they spoke, M'Garry entered, his head freshly bound up, to look as
genteel as possible amongst the gentlemen with whom he was to have the
honour of dining. His wife had suggested a pink ribbon, but M'Garry,
while he acknowledged his wife's superior taste, said black would look
more professional. The odd fellows to whom he had now committed
himself, crowded round him, and, in the most exaggerated phrases,
implied the high sense they entertained of _his_ wrongs and O'Grady's
aggression.

"Unprovoked attack!" cried one.

"Savage ruffian!" ejaculated another.

"What atrocity!" said a third.

"What dignified composure!" added a fourth, in an audible whisper,
meant for M'Garry's ear.

"Gentlemen!" said the apothecary, flurried at the extreme attention of
which he became the object; "I beg to assure you I am deeply--that
is--this proof of--of--of--of symptoms--gentlemen--I mean sympathy,
gentlemen--in short, I really----"

"The fact is," said Growling, "I see Mr. M'Garry is rather shaken in
nerve--whether from loss of blood or----"

"I have lost a quantity of blood, doctor," said M'Garry; "much
vascular, to say nothing of extra-vasated."

"Which, I'll state in my case," said Murphy.

"Murphy, don't interrupt," said Growling, who, with a very grave face,
recommenced: "Gentlemen, from the cause already stated, I see Mr.
M'Garry is not prepared to answer the out-pouring of feeling with which
you have greeted him, and if I might be permitted----"

Every one shouted, "Certainly--certainly!"

"Then as I am permitted, I _will_ venture to respond _for_ Mr. M'Garry,
and address you, as he _would_ address you. In the words of Mr.
M'Garry, I would say--Gentlemen--unaccustomed as I am"--Some smothered
laughter followed this beginning; upon which the doctor, with a mock
gravity, proceeded--

"Gentlemen, this interruption I consider to be an infringement on the
liberty of the subject. I recommence, therefore, in the words of my
honourable and wounded friend, and our honourable and wounded feelings,
and say, as my friend would say, or, to speak classically, M'Garry
_loquitur_"--

The apothecary bowed his head to the bit of Latin, and the doctor
continued--

"Gentlemen--unaccustomed to public thrashing, you can conceive what my
feelings are at the present moment, in mind and body. [_Bravo_!] You
behold an outrage [_much confusion_]! Shall an exaggerated savagery
like this escape punishment, and 'the calm, sequestered vale' (as the
poet calls it) of private life be ravaged with impunity? [_Bravo,
bravo!_] Are the learned professions to be trampled under foot by
barbarian ignorance and brutality? No; I read in the indignant looks of
my auditory their high-souled answers. Gentlemen, your sympathy is
better than diachylon to my wounds, and this is the proudest day of my
life."

Thunders of applause followed the doctor's address, and every one shook
M'Garry's hand, till his bruised bones ached again. Questions poured
upon him from all sides as to the nature and quantity of his drubbing,
to all of which M'Garry innocently answered in terms of exaggeration,
spiced with scientific phrases. Muscles, tendons, bones, and sinews,
were particularised with the precision of an anatomical demonstration;
he swore he was pulverised, and paralysed, and all the other lies he
could think of.

"A large stick you say?" said Murphy.

"Sir! I never saw such a stick--'t was like a weaver's beam!"

"I'll make a note of that," said Murphy. "A weaver's beam--'t will tell
well with a jury."

"And beat you all over?" said Durfy.

"From shoulder to flank, sir, I am one mass of welts and weals; the
abrasures are extensive, the bruises terrific, particularly in the
lumbar region."

"What's that," asked Jack Horan.

"The lumbar region is what is commonly called the loins, sir."

"Not always," said the doctor. "It varies in different subjects: I have
known some people whose _lumber_ region lay in the head."

"You laugh, gentlemen," said M'Garry, with a mournful smile; "but you
_know_ the doctor--he _will_ be jocular." He then continued to describe
the various other regions of his injuries, amidst the well-acted pity
and indignation of the queer fellows who drew him out, until they were
saturated, so far, with the fun of the subject. After which, Murphy,
whose restless temperament could never let him be quiet for a moment,
suggested that they should divert themselves before dinner with a
badger-fight.

"Isn't one fight a day enough for you, signor?" said the doctor.

"It is not every day we get a badger, you know," said Murphy; "and I
heard just now from Tim the waiter that there is a horse-dealer lately
arrived at the stables here, who has a famous one with him, and I know
Reilly the butcher has two or three capital dogs, and there's a wicked
mastiff below stairs, and I'll send for my 'buffer,' and we'll have
some spanking sport."

He led his guests then to the inn yard, and the horse-dealer, for a
consideration, allowed his badger to wage battle: the noise of the
affair spread through the town, while they were making their
arrangements, and sending right and left for dogs for the contest; and
a pretty considerable crowd soon assembled at the place of action,
where the hour before dinner was spent in the intellectual amusement of
a badger-fight.



CHAPTER V


The fierce yells of the badger-fight ringing far and wide, soon
attracted a crowd, which continued to increase every minute by
instalments of men and boys, who might be seen running across a small
field by the road-side, close to the scene of action, which lay at the
back of the inn; and heavy-caped and skirted frieze coats streamed
behind the full-grown, while the rags of the gossoons[1] fluttered in
the race. Attracted by this evidence of "something going on," a
horseman, who was approaching the town, urged his horse to speed, and
turning his head towards a yawning double ditch that divided the road
from the field, he gracefully rode the noble animal over the spanking
leap.

      [1] Boys.

The rider was Edward O'Connor; and he was worthy of his name--the pure
blood of that royal race was in his heart, which never harboured a
sentiment that could do it dishonour, and overflowed with feelings
which ennoble human nature, and make us proud of our kind. He was young
and handsome; and as he sat his mettled horse, no lady could deny that
Edward O'Connor was the very type of the gallant cavalier. Though
attached to every manly sport and exercise, his mind was of a refined
order; and a youth passed amidst books and some of the loveliest
scenery in Ireland had nurtured the poetic feeling with which his mind
was gifted, and which found its vent in many a love-taught lyric, or
touching ballad, or spirit-stirring song, whose theme was national
glory. To him the bygone days of his country's history were dear, made
more familiar by many an antique relic which hung around his own room
in his father's house. Celt and sword, and spear-head of Phoenician
bronze, and golden gorget, and silver bodkin, and ancient harp, and
studded crosier, were there; and these time-worn evidences of arts, and
arms, and letters flattered the affection with which he looked back on
the ancient history of Ireland, and kept alive the ardent love of his
country with which he glowed--a love too deep, too pure, to be likely
to expire, even without the aid of such poetic sources of excitement.
To him the names of Fitzgerald, and Desmond, and Tyrone, were dear; and
there was no romantic legend of the humbler outlaws with which he was
not familiar: and "Charley of the Horses," and "Ned of the Hill," but
headed the list of names he loved to recall; and the daring deeds of
bold spirits who held the hill-side for liberty, were often given in
words of poetic fire from the lips of Edward O'Connor.

And yet Edward O'Connor went to see the badger-fight.

There is something inherent in man's nature, urging him to familiarise
himself with cruelty: and, perhaps, without such a power of witnessing
savage deeds, he would be unequal to the dominion for which he was
designed. Men of the highest order of intellect the world has known
have loved the chase. How admirably Scott displays this tendency of
noble minds, in the meeting of Ellen with her father, when Douglas
says--

    "The chase I followed far;
    'T is mimicry of noble war."

And the effect of this touch of character is heightened by Douglas in a
subsequent scene--Douglas, who could enjoy the sport which ends in
death, bending over his gentle child, and dropping tears of the
tenderest affection--tears which

    "Would not stain an angel's cheek."

Superadded to this natural tendency, Edward O'Connor had an additional
motive. He lived amongst a society of sporting men, less cultivated
than he was, whose self-esteem would have easily ignited the spark of
jealousy if he had seemed to scorn the things which made their
principal enjoyment, and formed the chief occupation of their lives;
and his good sense and good heart (and there is an intimate connection
between them) pointed out to him that, wherever your lot is cast, duty
to yourself and others suggests the propriety of adapting your conduct
to the circumstances in which you are placed (so long as morality and
decency are not violated), and that the manifestation of one's own
superiority may render the purchase too dear, by being bought at the
terrible price of our neighbour's dislike. He, therefore, did not tell
everybody he wrote verses: he kept the gift as secret as he could. If
an error, however gross, on any subject, were made in his presence, he
never took willing notice of it; or if circumstances obliged him to
touch upon it, it was always done with a politeness and tact that
afforded the blunderer the means of retreat. If some gross historical
error, for instance, happened to be committed in a conversation _with
himself_ (and then only), he would set the mistake right, as a matter
of conscience, but he would do so by saying there was a great
similarity between the event spoken of and some other event. "I know
what you are thinking of," he would say, "but you make a slight mistake
in the dates; the two stories are very similar, and likely to mislead
one."

But with all this modest reserve, did the least among his companions
think him the less clever? No. It was shrewdly suspected he was a poet;
it was well known he was highly educated and accomplished; and yet
Edward O'Connor was a universal favourite, bore the character of being
a "real fine fellow," and was loved and respected by the most
illiterate of the young men of the country; who, in allusion to his
extensive lore on the subject of the legendary heroes of the _romantic_
history of Ireland, his own Christian name, and his immediate place of
residence, which was near a wild mountain pass, christened him "Ned of
the Hill."

His appearance amidst the crowd assembled to witness the rude sport was
hailed with pleasure--varying from the humble but affectionate respect
of the peasant, who cried "Long life to you, Misther O'Connor," to the
hearty burst of equality, which welcomed him as "Ned of the Hill."

The fortune of the fight favoured the badger, who proved himself a
trump; and Murphy appreciated his worth so highly that, when the battle
was over, he would not quit the ground until he became his owner, at a
high price to the horse-dealer. His next move was to _insist_ on Edward
O'Connor dining with him; and Edward, after many excuses to avoid the
party he foresaw would be a drinking bout--of which he had a special
horror, notwithstanding all his toleration--yielded to the entreaties
of Murphy, and consented to be his guest, just as Tim the waiter ran
up, steaming from every pore, to announce that the dinner was "ready to
be sarved."

"Then sarve it, sir," said Murphy, "and sarve it right."

Off cantered Tim, steaming and snorting like a locomotive engine, and
the party followed to the inn, where a long procession of dish-bearers
was ascending the stairs to the big room, as Murphy and his friends
entered.

The dinner it is needless to describe. One dinner is the same as
another in the most essential points, namely, to satisfy hunger and
slake consequent thirst; and whether beef and cabbage, and heavy wet,
are to conquer the dragon of appetite, or your stomach is to sustain
the more elaborate attack fired from the _batterie de cuisine_ of a
finished _artiste_, and moistened with champagne, the difference is
only of degree in the fashion of the thing and the tickling of the
palate: hunger is as thoroughly satisfied with the one as the other;
and headaches as well manufactured out of the beautiful, bright, and
taper glasses which bear the foam of France to the lip, as from the
coarse, flat-bottomed tumblers of an inn that reek with punch. At the
dinner there was the same tender solicitude on the part of the carvers
as to "Where would you like it?" and the same carelessness on the part
of those whom they questioned, who declared they had no choice, "but if
there _was_ a little bit near the shank," &c., or "if there was a liver
wing to _spare_." By the way, some carvers there are who push an
aspirant's patience too far. I have seen some who, after giving away
both wings, and all the breast, two sidebones, and the short legs, meet
the eager look of the fifth man on their left with a smile, and ask
him, with an effrontery worthy of the Old Bailey, "Has he any choice?"
and, at the same time, toss a drum-stick on the destined plate, or
boldly attempt to divert his melancholy with a merry-thought. All this,
and more, was there at Murtough Murphy's dinner, long memorable in the
country from a frolic that wound up the evening, which soon began to
warm, after the cloth was removed, into the sort of a thing commonly
known by the name of a jollification. But before the dinner was over,
poor M'Garry was nearly pickled: Jack Horan, having determined to make
him drunk, arranged a system of attack on M'Garry's sobriety which bade
defiance to his prudence to withstand. It was agreed that every one
should ask the apothecary to take wine; and he, poor innocent man! when
gentlemen whom he had never had the honour to meet at dinner before
addressed him with a winning smile, and said, "Mr. M'Garry, will you do
me the _honour_?" could not do less than fill his glass every time;
so that, to use Jack Horan's own phrase, the apothecary was "sewed up"
before he had any suspicion of the fact; and, unused to the indications
of approaching vinous excitement, he supposed it was the delightful
society made him so hilarious, and he began to launch forth after
dinner in a manner quite at variance with the reserve he usually
maintained in the presence of his superiors, and talked largely. Now,
M'Garry's principal failing was to make himself appear very learned in
his profession; and every new discovery in chemistry, operation in
surgery, or scientific experiment he heard of, he was prone to shove
in, head and shoulders, in his soberest moments; but now that he was
half-drunk, he launched forth on the subject of galvanism, having read
of some recent wonderful effects produced on the body of a recent
murderer who was hanged and given over to the College of Surgeons in
Dublin. To impress the company still more with a sense of his learning,
he addressed Growling on the subject, and the doctor played him off to
advantage.

"Don't you think it very wonderful, doctor?" inquired M'Garry, speaking
somewhat thickly.

"Very," answered the doctor, drily.

"They say, sir, the man--that is, the subject--when under the influence
of the battery, absolutely twiddled his left foot, and raised his right
arm."

"And raised it to some purpose, too," said the doctor; "for he raised a
contusion on the Surgeon-General's eye, having hit him over the same."

"Dear me!--I did not hear that."

"It is true, however," said the doctor; "and that gives you an idea of
the power of the galvanic influence, for you know the Surgeon-General
is a powerful man, and yet he could not hold him down."

"Wonderful!" hiccupped M'Garry.

"But that's nothing to what happened in London," continued the doctor.
"They experimented there the other day with a battery of such power,
that the man who was hanged absolutely jumped up, seized a scalpel from
the table, and making a rush on the assembled Faculty of London,
cleared the theatre in less than no time; dashed into the hall; stabbed
the porter who attempted to stop him; made a chevy down the south side
of Leicester Square; and as he reached the corner, a woman, who was
carrying tracts published by the Society for the Suppression of Vice,
shrieked at beholding a man in so startling a condition, and fainted;
he, with a presence of mind perfectly admirable, whipped the cloak from
her back, and threw it round him, and scudding through the tortuous
alleys which abound in that neighbourhood, made his way to the house
where the learned Society of Noviomagians hold their convivial
meetings, and, telling the landlord that he was invited there to dinner
as a curiosity, he gained admittance, and, it is supposed, took his
opportunity for escaping, for he has not since been heard of."

"Good Heaven!" gasped M'Garry; "and do you believe that, doctor?"

"Most firmly, sir! My belief is, that galvanism is, in fact, the
original principle of vitality."

"Should we not rejoice, doctor," cried M'Garry, "at this triumph of
science?"

"I don't think you should, Mister M'Garry," said the doctor, gravely;
"for it would utterly destroy _your_ branch of the profession:
pharmacopolists, instead of compounding medicine, must compound with
their creditors; they are utterly ruined. Mercury is no longer in the
ascendent; all doctors have to do now is to carry a small battery about
them, a sort of galvanic pocket-pistol, I may say, and restore the
vital principle by its application."

"You are not serious, doctor?" said M'Garry, becoming _very_ serious,
with that wise look so peculiar to drunken men.

"Never more serious in my life, sir."

"That would be dreadful!" said M'Garry.

"_Shocking_, you mean," said the doctor.

"Leave off your confounded scientifics, there," shouted Murphy from the
head of the table, "and let us have a song."

"I can't sing, indeed, Mister Murphy," said M'Garry, who became more
intoxicated every moment; for he continued to drink, having overstepped
the boundary which custom had prescribed to him.

"I didn't ask you, man," said Murphy; "but my darling fellow, Ned here,
will gladden our hearts and ears with a stave."

"Bravo!" was shouted round the table, trembling under the "thunders of
applause" with which heavy hands made it ring again; and "Ned of the
Hill!" "Ned of the Hill!" was vociferated with many a hearty cheer
about the board that might indeed be called "festive."

"Well," said O'Connor, "since you call upon me in the name of Ned of
the Hill, I'll give you a song under that very title. Here's Ned of the
Hill's own shout;" and in a rich, manly voice he sang, with the fire of
a bard, these lines:--

    THE SHOUT OF NED OF THE HILL.[2]

    I

    The hill! the hill! with its sparkling rill,
      And its dawning air so light and pure,
    Where the morning's eye scorns the mist, that lie
      On the drowsy valley and the moor.
    Here, with the eagle, I rise betimes;
      Here, with the eagle, my state I keep;
    The first we see of the morning sun,
      And his last as he sets o'er the deep,
    And there, while strife is rife below,
      Here from the tyrant I am free:
    Let shepherd slaves the valley praise,
      But the hill! the hill for me!

      [2] The songs in this work are published by Duff and Hodgson, 65,
      Oxford Street.

    II

    The baron below in his castle dwells,
      And his garden boasts the costly rose;
    But mine is the keep of the mountain steep,
      Where the matchless wild flower freely blows.
    Let him fold his sheep, and his harvest reap--
      I look down from my mountain throne;
    And I choose and pick of the flock and the rick,
      And what is his I can make my own.
    Let the valley grow in its wealth below,
      And the lord keep his high degree;
    But higher am I in my liberty--
      The hill! the hill for me!

O'Connor's song was greeted with what the music-publishers are pleased
to designate, on their title-pages, "distinguished applause;" and his
"health and song" were filled to and drank with enthusiasm.

"Whose lines are those?" asked the doctor.

"I don't know," said O'Connor.

"That's as much as to say they are your own," said Growling. "Ned,
don't be too modest--it is the worst fault a man can have who wants to
get on in this world."

"The call is with you, Ned," shouted Murphy from the head of the table;
"knock some one down for a song."

"Mr. Reddy, I hope, will favour us," said Edward, with a courteous
inclination of his head towards the gentleman he named, who returned a
very low bow, with many protestations that he would "do his best," &c.:
"but after Mr. O'Connor, really,"--and this was said with a certain
self-complacent smile, indicative of his being on very good terms with
himself. Now, James Reddy wrote rhymes--bless the mark!--and was
tolerably well convinced that, except Tom Moore (if he _did_ except
even him), there was not a man in the British dominions his equal at a
lyric. He sang, too, with a kill-me-quite air, as if no lady could
resist his strains; and to "give effect," as he called it, he began
every stanza as loud as he could, and finished it in a gentle
murmur--tailed it off very taper, indeed; in short, it seemed as if a
shout had been suddenly smitten with consumption, and died in a
whisper. And this, his style, he never varied, whatever the nature or
expression of the song might be, or the sense to be expressed; but as
he very often sang his own, there were seldom any to consider. This
rubbish he had set to music by the country music-master, who believed
himself to be a better composer than Sir John Stevenson, to whom the
prejudices of the world gave the palm; and he eagerly caught at the
opportunity which the verses and vanity of Reddy afforded him, of
stringing his crotchets and quavers on the same hank with the abortive
fruits of Reddy's muse, and the wretched productions hung worthily
together.

Reddy, with the proper quantity of "hems and haws," and rubbing down
his upper lip and chin with his forefinger and thumb, cleared his
throat, tossed his nose into the air, and said he was going to give
them "a little _classic_ thing."

"Just look at the puppy!" snarled out old Growling to his neighbour:
"he's going to measure us out some yards of his own fustian, I'm
sure--he looks so pleased."

Reddy gave his last "a-hem!" and sang what he called

    THE LAMENT OF ARIADNE

    The graceful Greek, with gem-bright hair,
    Her garments rent, and rent the air;

"What a tearing rage she was in!" said old Growling in an under-tone.

        With sobs and sighs
        And tearful eyes,
    Like fountain fair of Helicon!

"Oh, thunder and lightning!" growled the doctor, who pulled a letter
out of his pocket, and began to scribble on the blank portions of it,
with the stump of a blunt pencil, which he very audibly sucked, to
enable it to make a mark.

    For ah, her lover false was gone!
        The fickle brave,
        And fickle wave,

"And pickled cabbage," said the doctor.

    Combined to cheat the fickle fair.
        O fickle! fickle! fickle!
    But the brave should be true,
    And the fair ones too--
    True, true,
    As the ocean's blue!
    And Ariadne had not been,
    Deserted there, like beauty's queen.
    Oh, Adriadne!--adne!--adne!

"Beautiful!" said the doctor, with an approving nod at Reddy, who
continued his song, while the doctor continued to write.

    The sea-nymphs round the sea-girt shore
        Mocked the maiden's sighs;
    And the ocean's savage roar
        Replies--
    Replies--replies--replies, replies, replies.

    (_After the manner of_ "Tell me where is fancy bred.")

"Very original!" said the doctor.

        With willow wand
        Upon the strand.
    She wrote, with trembling heart and hand,
        "The brave should ne'er
        Desert the fair."
    But the wave the moral washed away,
        Ah, well-a-day! well-a-day!
        A-day!--a-day!--a-day!

Reddy smiled and bowed, and thunders of applause followed; the doctor
shouted "Splendid!" several times, and continued to write and take
snuff voraciously, by which those who knew him could comprehend he was
bent on mischief.

"What a beautiful thing that is!" said one.

"Whose is it?" said another.

"A little thing of my own," answered Reddy, with a smile.

"I thought so," said Murphy. "By Jove, James, you _are_ a genius!"

"Nonsense!" smiled the poet; "just a little classic trifle--I think
_them_ little classic allusions is pleasing in general--Tommy Moore is
very happy in his classic allusions, you may remark--not that I, of
course, mean to institute a comparison between so humble an individual
as myself and Tommy Moore, who has so well been called 'the poet of all
circles, and the idol of his own;' and if you will permit me, in a
kindred spirit--I hope I _may_ say the kindred spirit of a song--in
that kindred spirit I propose _his_ health--the health of Tommy Moore!"

"Don't say _Tommy_!" said the doctor, in an irascible tone; "call the
man Tom, sir;--with all my heart, Tom Moore!"

The table took the word from Jack Growling, and "Tom Moore," with all
the honours of "hip and hurra!" rang round the walls of the village
inn--and where is the village in Ireland _that_ health has not been
hailed with the fiery enthusiasm of the land whose lays he hath "wedded
to immortal verse,"--the land which is proud of his birth, and holds
his name in honour?

There is a magic in a great name; and in this instance that of Tom
Moore turned the current from where it was setting, and instead of
quizzing the nonsense of the fool who had excited their mirth, every
one launched forth in praise of their native bard, and couplets from
his favourite songs rang from lip to lip.

"Come, Ned of the Hill," said Murphy, "sing us one of _his_ songs,--I
know you have them all as pat as your prayers."

"And says them oftener," said the doctor, who still continued
scribbling over the letter.

Edward, at the urgent request of many, sang that most exquisite of the
melodies, "And doth not a meeting like this make amends?" and long rang
the plaudits, and rapidly circulated the bottle, at its conclusion.

"We'll be the 'Alps in the sunset,' my boys," said Murphy; "and here's
the wine to enlighten us! But what are _you_ about there, doctor?--is
it a prescription you are writing?"

"No. Prescriptions are written in Latin, and this is a bit of Greek I'm
doing. Mr. Reddy has inspired me with a classic spirit, and if you will
permit me, I'll volunteer a song [_bravo! bravo!_], and give you
another version of the subject he has so beautifully treated--only mine
is not so heart-breaking."

The doctor's proposition was received with cheers, and after he had
gone through the mockery of clearing his throat, and pitching his voice
after the usual manner of your would-be fine singers, he gave out, to
the tune of a well-known rollicking Irish lilt, the following burlesque
version of the subject of Reddy's song:--


    LOVE AND LIQUOR

    _A Greek Allegory_

    I

          Oh sure 't would amaze yiz
          How one Misther Theseus
    Desarted a lovely young lady of owld.
          On a dissolute island,
          All lonely and silent,
    She sobbed herself sick as she sat in the cowld.
          Oh, you'd think she was kilt,
          As she roar'd with the quilt
    Wrapp'd round her in haste as she jumped out of bed,
          And ran down to the coast,
          Where she looked like a ghost,
    Though 't was _he_ was departed--the vagabone fled
          And she cried, "Well-a-day!
          Sure my heart it is grey:
    They're deceivers, them sojers, that goes on half-pay."

    II

          Whilst abusing the villain,
          Came riding postilion
    A nate little boy on the back of a baste,
          Big enough, faith, to ate him,
          But he lather'd and bate him,
    And the baste to unsate him ne'er struggled the laste,
          And an iligant car
          He was dhrawing--by gar!
    It was finer by far than a Lord Mayor's state coach,
          And the chap that was in it
          He sang like a linnet,
    With a nate kag of whisky beside him to broach.
          And he tipped now and then
          Just a matter o' ten
    Or twelve tumblers o' punch to his bold sarving-men.

    III

          They were dress'd in green livery,
          But seem'd rather shivery,
    For 't was only a trifle o' leaves that they wore;
          But they caper'd away
          Like the sweeps on May-day,
    And shouted and tippled the tumblers galore.
          A print of their masther
          Is often in plasther
    O' Paris, put over the door of a tap;
          A fine chubby fellow,
          Ripe, rosy, and mellow,
    Like a peach that is ready to drop in your lap.
          Hurrah! for brave Bacchus,
          A bottle to crack us,
    He's a friend of the people, like bowld Caius Gracchus.

    IV

          Now Bacchus perceiving
          The lady was grieving,
    He spoke to her civil, and tipp'd her a wink;
          And the more that she fretted,
          He soother'd and petted,
    And gave her a glass her own health just to dhrink;
          Her pulse it beat quicker,
          The thrifle o' liquor
    Enliven'd her sinking heart's cockles, I think;
          So the MORAL is plain,
          That if love gives you pain,
    _There's nothing can cure it like taking to dhrink!_

Uproarious were the "bravos" which followed the doctor's impromptu; the
glasses overflowed, and were emptied to his health and song, as
laughing faces nodded to him round the table. The doctor sat seriously
rocking himself in his chair backwards and forwards, to meet the
various duckings of the beaming faces about him; for every face beamed,
but one--and that was the unfortunate M'Garry's. He was most deplorably
drunk, and began to hold on by the table. At last he contrived to shove
back his chair and get on his legs; and making a sloping stagger
towards the wall, contrived by its support to scramble his way to the
door. There he balanced himself as well as he could by the handle of
the lock, which chance, rather than design, enabled him to turn, and
the door suddenly opening, poor M'Garry made a rush across the
landing-place, and, stumbling against an opposite door, would have
fallen, had he not supported himself by the lock of that also, which,
again yielding to his heavy tugs, opened, and the miserable wretch
making another plunge forward, his shins came in contact with the rail
of a very low bed, and into it he fell head foremost, totally unable to
rise, and, after some heavy grunts, he sank into a profound sleep.

In this state he was discovered soon after by Murphy, whose inventive
faculty for frolic instantly suggested how the apothecary's mishap
might be made the foundation of a good practical joke. Murtough went
down-stairs, and procuring some blacking and red pickled cabbage by
stealth, returned to the chamber where M'Garry now lay in a state of
stupor, and dragging off his clothes, he made long dabs across his back
with the purple juice of the pickle and Warren's paste, till poor
M'Garry was as regularly striped as a tiger, from his shoulder to his
flank. He then returned to the dinner-room, where the drinking bout had
assumed a formidable character, and others, as well as the apothecary,
began to feel the influence of their potations. Murphy confided to the
doctor what he had done, and said that, when the men were drunk enough,
he would contrive that M'Garry should be discovered, and then they
would take their measures accordingly. It was not very long before his
company were ripe enough for his designs, and then ringing the bell, he
demanded of the waiter, when he entered, what had become of Mr.
M'Garry. The waiter, not having any knowledge on the subject, was
desired to inquire, and, a search being instituted, M'Garry was
discovered by Mrs. Fay in the state Murphy had left him in. On seeing
him, she was so terrified that she screamed, and ran into the
dinner-room, wringing her hands, and shouting "Murder." A great
commotion ensued, and a general rush to the bedroom took place, and
exclamations of wonder and horror flew round the room, not only from
the gentlemen of the dinner-party, but from the servants of the house,
who crowded to the chamber on the first alarm, and helped not a little
to increase the confusion.

"Oh! who ever see the like of it!" shouted Mrs. Fay. "He's kilt with
the batin' he got! Oh, look at him--black and blue all over! Oh, the
murther it is! Oh, I wouldn't be Squire O'Grady for all his fort'n."

"Gad, I believe he's killed sure enough," said Murphy.

"What a splendid action the widow will have!" said Jack Horan.

"You forget, man," said Murphy, "this is not a case for action of
damages, but a felony--hanging matter."

"Sure enough," said Jack.

"Doctor, will you feel his pulse?" said Murphy.

The doctor did as he was required, and assumed a very serious
countenance. "'T is a bad business, sir--his wounds are mortifying
already."

Upon this announcement, there was a general retreat from the bed, round
which they had been crowding too close for the carrying on of the joke;
and Mrs. Fay ran for a shovel of hot cinders, and poured vinegar over
them, to fumigate the room.

"A very proper precaution, Mrs. Fay," said the doctor, with
imperturbable gravity.

"That villainous smoke is choking me," said Jack Horan.

"Better that, sir, than have a pestilence in the house," said Growling.

"I'll leave the place," said Jack Horan.

"And I, too," said Doyle.

"And I," said Reddy; "'t is disgusting to a sensitive mind."

"Gentlemen!" said Murphy, shutting the door, "you must not quit the
house. I must have an inquest on the body."

"An inquest!" they all exclaimed.

"Yes--an inquest."

"But there's no coroner here," said Reddy.

"No matter for that," said Murphy. "I, as the under-sheriff of the
county, can preside at this inquiry. Gentlemen, take your places; bring
in more lights, Mrs. Fay. Stand round the bed, gentlemen."

"Not too close," said the doctor. "Mrs. Fay, bring more vinegar."

Mrs. Fay had additional candles and more vinegar introduced, and the
drunken fellows were standing as straight as they could, each with a
candle in his hand, round the still prostrate M'Garry.

Murphy then opened on them with a speech, and called in every one in
the house to ask did they know anything about the matter; and it was
not long before it was spread all over the town, that Squire O'Grady
had killed M'Garry, and that the coroner's inquest brought in a verdict
of murder, and that the squire was going to be sent to jail.

This almost incredible humbug of Murphy's had gone on for nearly half
an hour, when the cold arising from his want of clothes, and the riot
about him, and the fumes of the vinegar, roused M'Garry, who turned on
the bed and opened his eyes. There he saw a parcel of people standing
round him, with candles in their hands, and countenances of drunken
wonder and horror.

He uttered a hollow groan, and cried--

"Save us and keep us! where am I?"

"Retire, gentlemen," said the doctor, waving his hand authoritatively;
"retire--all but the under-sheriff."

Murphy cleared the room, and shut the door, while M'Garry still kept
exclaiming, "Save us and keep us! where am I? What's this? O Lord!"

"You're dead!" said Murphy; "and the coroner's inquest has just sat on
you!"

[Illustration: An Irish Inquest]

"Dead!" cried M'Garry, with a horrified stare.

"Dead!" repeated the doctor, solemnly.

"Are _you_ not Doctor Growling?"

"You see the effect, Mr. Murphy," said the doctor, not noticing
M'Garry's question--"you see the effect of the process."

"Wonderful!" said Murphy.

"Preserve us!" cried the bewildered apothecary. "How could I know you
if I was dead, doctor? Oh, doctor dear, sure I'm not dead?"

"As a herring," said the doctor.

"Lord have mercy on me! Oh, Mr. Murphy, sure I'm not dead?"

"You're dead, sir," said Murphy; "the doctor has only galvanised you
for a few moments."

"O Lord!" groaned M'Garry. "Doctor--indeed, doctor?"

"You are in a state of temporary animation," said the doctor.

"I do feel very odd, indeed," said the terrified man, putting his hands
to his throbbing temples. "How long am I dead?"

"A week next Tuesday," said the doctor. "Galvanism has preserved you
from decomposition."

M'Garry uttered a heavy groan, and looked up piteously at his two
tormentors. Murphy, fearful the shock might drive him out of his mind,
said, "Perhaps, doctor, you can preserve his life altogether: you have
kept him alive so long?"

"I'll try," said Growling; "hand me that tumbler."

Murphy handed him a tumbler full of water, and the doctor gave it to
M'Garry, and desired him to try and drink it; he put it to his lips and
swallowed a little drop.

"Can you taste it?" asked the doctor.

"Isn't it water?" said M'Garry.

"You see how dull the nerves are yet," said Growling to Murphy; "that's
aquafortis and assafoetida, and he can't taste it; we must give him
another touch of the battery. Hold him up, while I go into the next
room, and immerse the plates."

The doctor left the bed-room, and came back with a hot poker and some
lemon-juice and water.

"Turn him gently round," said he to Murphy, "while I conduct the
wires."

His order was obeyed; and giving M'Garry a touch of the hot poker, the
apothecary roared like a bull.

"That did him good!" said Growling. "Now try, can you taste anything?"
and he gave him the lemon-juice and water.

"I taste a slight acid, doctor dear," said M'Garry, hopefully.

"You see what that last touch did," said Growling gravely; "but the
palate is still feeble; that's nearly pure nitric."

"Oh, dear!" said M'Garry, "is it nitric?"

"You see his hearing is coming back too," said the doctor to Murphy.
"Try, can he put his legs under him?"

They raised the apothecary from the bed; and when he staggered and
fell forward, he looked horrified. "Oh, dear! I can't walk. I'm afraid
I am--I am no more!"

"Don't despair," said the doctor; "I pledge my professional reputation
to save you now, since you can stand at all, and your senses are partly
restored. Let him lie down again; try, could he sleep----"

"Sleep!" said M'Garry, with horror; "perhaps never to awaken!"

"I'll keep up the galvanic influence--don't be afraid; depend upon
me--there, lie down. Can you shut your eyes? Yes, I see you can:
don't open them so fast. Try, can you keep them shut? Don't open them
till I tell you--wait till I count two hundred and fifty. That's
right--turn a little more round--keep your eyes fast; that's it.
One--two--three--four--five--six--seven;" and so he went on, making a
longer interval between every number, till the monotonous sound, and
the closed eye of the helplessly drunken man, produced the effect
desired by the doctor; and the heavy snoring of the apothecary soon
bore witness that he slept.

We hope it is not necessary to assure our fair readers that Edward
O'Connor had nothing to do with this scene of drunken absurdity. No:
long before the evening's proceedings had assumed the character of a
regular drinking bout, he had contrived to make his escape, his head
only sufficiently excited to increase his sentimentality; so, instead
of riding home direct, he took a round of some eight miles, to have a
look at Merryvale, for there dwelt Fanny Dawson--the Darling Fanny
Dawson, sister to Dick, whose devilry was more than redeemed in the
family by the angelic sweetness of his lovely and sportive sister. For
the present, however, poor Edward O'Connor was not allowed to address
Fanny; but his love for her knew no abatement notwithstanding; and to
see the place where she dwelt had for him a charm. There he sat in his
saddle, at the gate, looking up the long line of old trees through
which the cool moonlight was streaming; and he fancied that Fanny's
foot had trodden that avenue perhaps a few hours before, and even
_that_ gave him pleasure: for to those who love with the fond
enthusiasm of Edward O'Connor, the very vacancy where the loved one has
been is sacred.

The horse pawed impatiently to be gone, and Edward reined him up with a
chiding voice; but the animal continuing restless, Edward's apostrophes
to his mistress, and warnings to his horse, made an odd mixture; and
we would recommend gentlemen, after their second bottle, not to let
themselves be overheard in their love-fits; for even as fine a fellow
as Edward O'Connor is likely to be ridiculous under such circumstances.

"Oh, Fanny!" cried Edward, "my adored Fanny!"--then to his horse, "_Be
quiet, you brute!_--My love, my angel;--_you devil, I'll thrash you, if
you don't be quiet!_--though separated from me, you are always present
to mind; your bright eyes, your raven locks--_your mouth's as hard as a
paving-stone, you brute!_--Oh, Fanny! if fate be ever propitious--should
I be blessed with the divine possession of your charms, you should then
know--_what a devil you are!_--you should then know the tenderest care.
I'll guard you, caress you, fondle you--_I'll bury my spurs in you, you
devil!_--Oh, Fanny! beloved one!--farewell--good night--a thousand
blessings on you!--_and now go and be hanged to you!_" said he,
bitterly, putting his spurs to his horse and galloping home.

                    *      *      *      *      *

When the doctor was satisfied that M'Garry was fast asleep, he and
Murphy left the room, and locked the door. They were encountered on the
lobby by several curious people, who wanted to know, "was the man
dead?" The doctor shook his head very gravely, and said "Not quite;"
while Murphy, with a serious nod, said "All over, I'm afraid, Mrs.
Fay;" for he perceived among the persons on the lobby a servant of
O'Grady's, who chanced to be in the town, and was all wonder and fright
at the news of his master having committed murder. Murphy and the
doctor proceeded to the dinner-room, where they found the drunken men
wrangling about what verdict they should bring in, and a discursive
dispute touching on "murder," and "manslaughter," and "accidental
death," and "the visitation of God," mingled with noisy toasts and
flowing cups, until any sagacity the company ever possessed was
sacrificed to the rosy god.

The lateness of the hour, and the state of the company, rendered riding
home impossible to most of them; so Mrs. Fay was called upon to prepare
beds. The inn did not afford a sufficiency of beds to accommodate every
gentleman with a single one, so a toss-up was resorted to, to decide
who should sleep double. The fortune of war cast the unfortunate James
Reddy upon the doctor, who, though one of the few who were capable of
self-protection, preferred remaining at the inn to riding home some
miles. Now James Reddy, though very drunk indeed, had sense enough left
to dislike the lot that fate had cast him. To sleep with such a
slovenly man as the doctor shocked James, who was a bit of a dandy. The
doctor seemed perfectly contented with the arrangement; and as he bade
Murphy "good night," a lurking devilment hung about his huge mouth. All
the men staggered off, or were supported, to their various beds, but
one--and he could not stir from the floor, where he lay hugging the leg
of the table. To every effort to disturb him he replied with an
imploring grunt, to "let him alone," and he hugged the leg of the table
closer, exclaiming, "I won't leave you, Mrs. Fay!--my darling Mrs. Fay!
rowl your arms round me, Mrs. Fay!"

"Ah, get up and go to bed, Misther Doyle," said Tim. "Sure the
misthress is not here at all."

"I know she's not," said Doyle. "Who says a word against her?"

"Sure you're talkin' to her yourself, sir."

"Pooh, pooh, man!--you're dhrunk."

"Ah, come to bed, Misther Doyle!" said Tim, in an imploring tone. "Och
sure, my heart's broken with you."

"Don't say your heart's broke, my sweet landlady--my darling Mrs. Fay!
the apple of my eye you are."

"Nonsense, Misther Doyle."

"True as the sun, moon, and stars. Apple of my eye, did I say?--I'd
give the apples of my eyes to make sauce for the cockles of your heart.
Mrs. Fay, darling, don't be coy. Ha! I have you fast!" and he gripped
the table closer.

"Well, you _are_ dhrunk, Misther Doyle," said Tim.

"I hope my breath is not offensive from drink, Mrs. Fay," said Doyle,
in an amatory whisper to the leg of the table.

"Ah, get out o' that, Misther Doyle," said Tim; accompanying the
exclamation with a good shake, which somewhat roused the prostrate
form.

"Who's there?"

"I want you to come to bed, sir;--eh, don't be so foolish, Misther
Doyle. Sure you don't think the misthress would be rowlin' on the flure
there wid you, as dhrunk as a pig----"

"Dare not wound her fame! Who says a word of Mrs. Fay?"

"Arrah, sure you're talkin' there about her this half-hour."

"False villain!--Whisht, my darling," said he to the leg of the table;
"I'll never betray you. Hug me tight, Mrs. Fay!"

"Bad luck to the care I'll take any more about you," say Tim. "Sleep on
the flure, if you like." And Doyle was left to pass the night in the
soft imaginary delights of Mrs. Fay's mahogany embraces.

How fared it with James Reddy? Alas! poor James was doomed to a night
of torment, the effects of which he remembered for many days after. In
fact, had James been left to his choice, he would rather have slept
with the house-dog than with the doctor; but he dreaded the
consequences of letting old Jack perceive his antipathy; and visions of
future chastisement from the doctor's satirical tongue awed him into
submission to the present punishment. He sneaked into bed, therefore,
and his deep potations ensured him immediate sleep, from which he
awoke, however, in the middle of the night in torture, from the deep
scratches inflicted upon him by every kick of old Growling. At last
poor Reddy could stand it no longer, and the earliest hour of dawn
revealed him to the doctor putting on his clothes, swearing like a
trooper at one moment, and at the next apostrophising the genius of
gentility. "What it is to have to do with a person that is not a
gentleman!" he exclaimed, as he pulled on one leg of his trousers.

"What is the matter with you?" asked old Jack from the bed.

"The matter, sir, is, that I'm going."

"Is it at this hour! Tut, man, don't be a fool. Get into bed again."

"Never, sir, with _you_ at least. I have seldom slept two in a bed, Dr.
Growling, for my gentlemanly habits forbid it; but when circumstances
have obliged me, it has been with gentlemen--_gentlemen_, doctor," and
he laid a stress on the word--"gentlemen, sir, who cut their toe-nails.
Sir, I am a serious sufferer by your coarse habits; you have scratched
me, sir, nearly to death. I am one gore of blood----"

"Tut, man! 't was not my nails scratched you; it was only my spurs I
put on going to bed, to keep you at a distance from me; you were so
disgustingly drunk, my _gentleman_!--look there!" and he poked his leg
out of bed, and there, sure enough, Reddy saw a spur buckled: and,
dumb-foundered at this evidence of the doctor's atrocity, he snatched
up his clothes, and rushed from the room, as from the den of a bear.

Murphy twisted a beneficial result to M'Garry out of the night's
riotous frolic at his expense; for, in the morning, taking advantage of
the report of the inquest which he knew must have reached Neck-or-Nothing
Hall, he made a communication to O'Grady, so equivocally worded that the
Squire fell into the trap. The note ran as follows:--

    "Sir,--You must be aware that your act of yesterday has raised a
    strong feeling in the country against you, and that so flagrant a
    violation of the laws cannot fail to be visited with terrible severity
    upon you: for, though your position in rank places you far above the
    condition of the unfortunate man on whom you wreaked your vengeance,
    you know, sir, that in the eye of the law you are equal, and the
    shield of justice protects the peasant as well as the prince. Under
    these circumstances, sir, considering the _awful consequences_ of
    your ungoverned rage (which, I doubt not, now, you deplore), I would
    suggest to you by a timely offer of compromise, in the shape of a
    handsome sum of money--say two hundred pounds--to lull the storms
    which must otherwise burst on your devoted head, and save your name
    from dishonour. I anxiously await your answer, as proceedings must
    instantly commence, and the law take its course, unless Mrs. M'Garry
    can be pacified.

    "I have the honour to be, Sir,

    "Your most obedient Servant,

    "Murtough Murphy.

    "_To Gustavus Granby O'Grady, Esq.,
    Neck-or-Nothing Hall._"

O'Grady was thoroughly frightened; and strange as it may appear, did
believe he could compromise for killing only a plebeian; and actually
sent Murphy his note of hand for the sum demanded. Murtough posted off
to M'Garry: he and his wife received him with shouts of indignation,
and heaped reproaches on his head, for the trick he had played on the
apothecary.

"Oh! Misther Murphy--never look me in the face again!" said Mrs.
M'Garry, who was ugly enough to make the request quite unnecessary; "to
send my husband home to me a beast!"

"Striped like a tiger!" said M'Garry.

"Blacking and pickled cabbage, Misther Murphy!" said the wife. "Oh fie,
sir!--I did not think you could be so low."

"Galvanism!" said M'Garry, furiously. "My professional honour wounded!"

"Whisht, whisht, man!" said Murphy; "there's a finer plaister than any
in your shop for the cure of wounded honour. Look at that!"--and he
handed him the note for two hundred: "there's galvanism for you!"

"What _is_ this?" said M'Garry, in amazement.

"The result of last night's inquest," said Murphy. "You have got your
damages without a trial; so pocket your money, and be thankful."

The two hundred pounds at once changed the aspect of affairs. M'Garry
vowed eternal gratitude, with protestations that Murphy was the
cleverest attorney alive, and ought to be chief justice. The wife was
equally vociferous in her acknowledgments, until Murtough, who, when he
entered the house, was near falling a sacrifice to the claws of the
apothecary's wife, was obliged to rush from the premises to shun the
more terrible consequences of her embraces.



CHAPTER VI


We have sat so long at our dinner, that we have almost lost sight of
poor Andy, to whom we must now return. When he ran to his mother's
cabin, to escape from the fangs of Dick Dawson, there was no one
within: his mother being digging a few potatoes for supper from the
little ridge behind her house, and Oonah Riley, her niece--an orphan
girl who lived with her--being up to Squire Egan's to sell some eggs;
for round the poorest cabins in Ireland you scarcely ever fail to see
some ragged hens, whose eggs are never consumed by their proprietors,
except, perhaps, on Easter Sunday, but sold to the neighbouring gentry
at a trifling price.

Andy cared not who was out, or who was in, provided he could only
escape from Dick; so without asking any questions, he crawled under the
wretched bed in the dark corner, where his mother and Oonah slept, and
where the latter, through the blessed influence of health, youth, and
an innocent heart, had brighter dreams than attended many a couch whose
downy pillows and silken hangings would more than purchase the
fee-simple of any cabin in Ireland. There Andy, in a state of utter
exhaustion from his fears, his race, and his thrashing, soon fell
asleep, and the terrors of Dick the Devil gave place to the blessing of
the profoundest slumber.

Quite unconscious of the presence of her darling Andy was the widow
Rooney, as she returned from the potato ridge into her cabin; depositing
a _skeough_ of the newly dug esculent at the door, and replacing the
spade in its own corner of the cabin. At the same moment Oonah
returned, after disposing of her eggs, and handed the three pence she
had received for them to her aunt, who dropped them into the deep
pocket of blue striped tick which hung at her side.

"Take the pail, Oonah, _ma chree_, and run to the well for some wather
to wash the pratees, while I get the pot ready for bilin' them; it
wants scourin', for the pig was atin' his dinner out iv it, the
craythur!"

Off went Oonah with her pail, which she soon filled from the clear
spring; and placing the vessel on her head, walked back to the cabin
with that beautiful erect form, free step, and graceful swaying of the
figure, so peculiar to the women of Ireland and the East, from their
habit of carrying weights upon the head. The potatoes were soon washed;
and as they got their last dash of water in the _skeough_, whose open
wicker-work let the moisture drain from them, up came Larry Hogan, who,
being what is called a "civil-spoken man," addressed Mrs. Rooney in the
following agreeable manner:--

"Them's purty pratees, Mrs. Rooney; God save you, ma'am!"

"'Deed an' they are--thank you kindly, Mr. Hogan; God save you and
yours too! And how would the woman that owns you be?"

"Hearty, thank you."

"Will you step in?"

"No, I'm obleeged to you--I must be aff home wid me; but I'll just get
a coal for my pipe, for it wint out on me awhile agone with the
fright."

"Well, I've heer'd quare things, Larry Hogan," said Oonah, laughing and
showing her white teeth; "but I never heer'd so quare a thing as a pipe
goin' out with the fright."

"Oh, how sharp you are!--takin' one up afore they're down."

"Not afore they're down, Larry; for you said it."

"Well, if I was down, you were down _on_ me; so you are down too, you
see. Ha, ha! And afther all now, Oonah, a pipe is like a Christian in
many ways: sure it's made o' clay like a Christian, and has the spark
o' life in it, and while the breath is in it the spark is alive; but
when the breath is out of it the spark dies, and then it grows cowld
like a Christian; and isn't it a pleasant companion like a Christian?"

"Faix, some Christians isn't pleasant companions at all!" chimed in
Mrs. Rooney, sententiously.

"Well, but they ought to be," said Larry; "and isn't a pipe sometimes
cracked like a Christian, and isn't it sometimes choked liked a
Christian?"

"Oh, choke you and your pipe together, Larry! will you never have
done?" said the widow.

"The most improvinist thing in the world is smokin'," said Larry, who
had now relit his pipe, and squatted himself on a three-legged stool
beside the widow's fire. "The most improvinist in the world"--(paugh!)--and
a parenthetical whiff of tobacco-smoke curled out of the corner of
Larry's mouth--"is smokin': for the smoke shows you, as it were, the
life o' man passin' away like a puff--(paugh!)--just like that; and the
tibakky turns to ashes like his poor perishable body; for, as the song
says--

          "'Tibakky is an Indian weed,
          Alive at morn and dead at eve;
          It lives but an hour,
          Is cut down like a flower,
    Think o' this when you're smoking tiba-akky!'"

And Larry sung the ditty as he crammed some of the weed into the bowl
of his pipe with his little finger.

"Why, you're as good as a sarmint this evenin', Larry," said the widow,
as she lifted the iron pot on the fire.

"There's worse sarmints nor that, I can tell you," rejoined Larry, who
took up the old song again--

          "'A pipe it larns us all this thing--
          'T is fair without and foul within,
          Just like a sowl begrim'd with sin.
    Think o' this when you're smoking tiba-akky!'"

Larry puffed away silently for a few minutes, and when Oonah had placed
a few sods of turf round the pot in an upright position, that the flame
might curl upward round them, and so hasten the boiling, she drew a
stool near the fire, and asked Larry to explain about the fright.

"Why I was coming up by the cross-road there, when what should I see
but a ghost----"

"A ghost!!!" exclaimed the widow and Oonah, with suppressed voices and
distended mouth and eyes.

"To all appearance," said Larry; "but it was only a thing was stuck in
the hedge to freken whoever was passin' by; and as I kem up to it there
was a groan, so I started, and looked at it for a minit, or thereaway;
but I seen what it was, and threwn a stone at it, for fear I'd be
mistaken: and I heer'd tittherin' inside the hedge, and then I knew
't was only devilment of some one."

"And what was it?" asked Oonah.

"'T was a horse's head, in throth, with an owld hat on the top of it,
and two buck-briars stuck out at each side, and some rags hanging on
them, and an owld breeches shakin' undher the head; 't was just
altogether like a long pale-faced man, with high shouldhers and no
body, and very long arms and short legs:--faith, it frightened me at
first."

"And no wondher," said Oonah. "Dear, but I think I'd lose my life if I
seen the like?"

"But sure," said the widow, "wouldn't you know that ghosts never
appears by day?"

"Ay, but I hadn't time to think o' that, bein' taken short wid the
fright--more betoken, 't was the place the murdher happened in long
ago."

"Sure enough," said the widow. "God betune us and harm!" and she marked
herself with the sign of the cross as she spoke; "and a terrible
murdher it was," added she.

"How was it?" inquired Oonah, drawing her seat closer to her aunt and
Larry.

"'T was a schoolmaster, dear, that was found dead on the road one
mornin', with his head full of fractions," said the widow.

"All in jommethry,"[3] said Larry.

      [3] Anything very badly broken is said by the Irish peasantry to be
      in "jommethry."

"And some said he fell off the horse," said the widow.

"And more say the horse fell on him," said Larry.

"And again, there was some said the horse kicked him in the head," said
the widow.

"And there was talk of shoe-aside," said Larry.

"The horse's shoe was it?" asked Oonah.

"No, _alanna_," said Larry; "shoe-aside is Latin for cutting your
throat."

"But he didn't cut his throat," said the widow.

"But sure it's all one whether he done it wid a razhir on his throat,
or a hammer on his head; it's shoe-aside all the same."

"But there was no hammer found, was there?" said the widow.

"No," said Larry, "but some people thought he might have hid the hammer
afther he done it, to take off the disgrace of the shoe-aside."

"But wasn't there any life in him when he was found?"

"Not a taste. The crowner's jury sot on him, and he never said a word
agin it, and if he was alive he would."

"And didn't they find anything at all?" said Oonah.

"Nothing but the vardict," said Larry.

"And was that what killed him?" said Oonah.

"No, my dear; 't was the crack in the head that killed him, however he
kem by it; but the vardict o' the crowner was, that it was done, and
that some one did it, and that they wor blackguards, whoever they wor,
and persons onknown; and sure if they wor onknown then, they'd always
stay so, for who'd know them afther doing the like?"

"Thrue for you, Larry," said the widow; "but what was that to the
murdher over at the green hills beyant?"

"Oh! that was the terriblest murdher ever was in the place, or nigh it:
that was the murdher in earnest!"

With that eagerness which always attends the relation of horrible
stories, Larry and the old woman raked up every murder and robbery that
had occurred within their recollection, while Oonah listened with mixed
curiosity and fear. The boiling over of the pot at length recalled them
to a sense of the business that ought to be attended to at the moment,
and Larry was invited to take share of the potatoes. This he declined;
declaring, as he had done some time previously, that he must "be off
home," and to the door he went accordingly; but as the evening had
closed into the darkness of the night, he paused on opening it with a
sensation he would not have liked to own. The fact was that, after the
discussion of numerous nightly murders, he would rather have had
daylight on the outside of the cabin; for the horrid stories that had
been revived round the blazing hearth were not the best preparation for
going a lonely road on a dark night. But go he should, and go he did;
and it is not improbable that the widow, from sympathy, had a notion
why Larry paused upon the threshold; for the moment he had crossed it,
and that they had exchanged their "Good night, and God speed you," the
door was rapidly closed and bolted. The widow returned to the fireside
and was silent, while Oonah looked by the light of a candle into the
boiling pot, to ascertain if the potatoes were yet done, and cast a
fearful glance up the wide chimney as she withdrew from the inspection.

"I wish Larry did not tell us such horrid stories," said she, as she
laid the rushlight on the table; "I'll be dhramin' all night o' them."

"'Deed an' that's thrue," said the widow; "I wish he hadn't."

"Sure you was as bad yourself," said Oonah.

"Troth, an' I b'lieve I was, child, and I'm sorry for it now: but let
us ate our supper, and go to bed, in God's name."

"I'm afeared o' my life to go to bed!" said Oonah. "Wisha! but I'd give
the world it was mornin'."

"Ate your supper, child, ate your supper," said her aunt, giving the
example, which was followed by Oonah; and after the light meal, their
prayers were said, and perchance with a little extra devotion, from
their peculiar state of mind; then to bed they went. The rushlight
being extinguished, the only light remaining was that shed from the red
embers of the decaying fire, which cast so uncertain a glimmer within
the cabin, that its effect was almost worse than utter darkness to a
timid person; for any object within its range assumed a form unlike its
own, and presented some fantastic image to the eye; and as Oonah,
contrary to her usual habit, could not fall asleep the moment she went
to bed, she could not resist peering forth from under the bed-clothes
through the uncertain gloom, in a painful state of watchfulness, which
became gradually relaxed into an uneasy sleep.

The night was about half spent when Andy began to awake; and as he
stretched his arms, and rolled his whole body round, he struck the
bottom of the bed above him in the action and woke his mother. "Dear
me," thought the widow, "I can't sleep at all to-night." Andy gave
another turn soon after, which roused Oonah. She started, and shaking
her aunt, asked her, in a low voice, if it was she who kicked her,
though she scarcely hoped an answer in the affirmative, and yet dared
not believe what her fears whispered.

"No, _a cushla_," whispered the aunt.

"Did _you_ feel anything?" asked Oonah, trembling violently.

"What do you mane, _alanna_?" said the aunt.

Andy gave another roll. "There it is again!" gasped Oonah; and in a
whisper, scarcely above her breath, she added, "Aunt--there's some one
under the bed!"

The aunt did not answer; but the two women drew closer together and
held each other in their arms, as if their proximity afforded
protection. Thus they lay in breathless fear for some minutes, while
Andy began to be influenced by a vision, in which the duel, and the
chase, and the thrashing were all enacted over again, and soon an odd
word began to escape from the dream. "Gi' me the pist'l, Dick--the
pist'l!"

"There are two of them!" whispered Oonah. "God be merciful to us! Do
you hear him asking for the pistol?"

"Screech!" said her aunt.

"I can't," said Oonah.

Andy was quiet for some time, while the women scarcely breathed.

"Suppose we get up, and make for the door?" said the aunt.

"I wouldn't put my foot out of the bed for the world," said Oonah. "I'm
afeard one o' them will catch me by the leg."

"Howld him! howld him!" grumbled Andy.

"I'll die with the fright, aunt! I feel I'm dyin'! Let us say our
prayers, aunt, for we're goin' to be murdhered!" The two women began to
repeat with fervour their _aves_ and _paternosters_, while at this
immediate juncture, Andy's dream having borne him to the dirty ditch
where Dick Dawson had pommelled him, he began to vociferate, "Murder,
murder!" so fiercely, that the women screamed together in an agony of
terror, and "Murder! murder!" was shouted by the whole party; for, once
the widow and Oonah found their voices, they made good use of them. The
noise awoke Andy, who had, be it remembered, a tolerably long sleep by
this time: and he having quite forgotten where he had lain down, and
finding himself confined by the bed above him, and smothering for want
of air, with the fierce shouts of murder ringing in his ear, woke in as
great a fright as the women in the bed, and became a party in the
terror he himself had produced; every plunge he gave under the bed
inflicted a poke or a kick on his mother and cousin, which was answered
by the cry of "Murder!"

"Let me out--let me out, Misther Dick!" roared Andy. "Where am I at
all? Let me out!"

"Help! help! murdher!" roared the women.

"I'll never shoot any one again, Misther Dick--let me up!"

Andy scrambled from under the bed, half awake, and whole frightened by
the darkness and the noise, which was now increased by the barking of
the cur-dog.

"Hie at him, Coaly!" roared Mrs. Rooney; "howld him! howld him!"

Now as this address was often made to the cur respecting the pig, when
Mrs. Rooney sometimes wanted a quiet moment in the day, and the pig
didn't like quitting the premises, the dog ran to the corner of the
cabin where the pig habitually lodged, and laid hold of his ear with
the strongest testimonials of affection, which polite attention the pig
acknowledged by a prolonged squealing, that drowned the voices of the
women and Andy together; and now the cocks and hens that were roosting
on the rafters of the cabin were startled by the din, and the crowing
and cackling and the flapping of the frightened fowls, as they flew
about in the dark, added to the general uproar and confusion.

"A--h!" screamed Oonah, "take your hands off me!" as Andy, getting from
under the bed, laid his hand upon it to assist him, and caught a grip
of his cousin.

"Who are you at all?" cried Andy, making another claw, and catching
hold of his mother's nose.

"Oonah, they're murdhering me!" shouted the widow.

The name of Oonah, and the voice of his mother, recalled his senses to
Andy, who shouted, "Mother, mother! what's the matter?" A frightened
hen flew in his face, and nearly knocked Andy down. "Bad cess to you,"
cried Andy, "what do you hit me for?"

"Who are you at all?" cried the widow.

"Don't you know me?" said Andy.

"No, I don't know you; by the vartue o' my oath, I don't; and I'll
never swear again you, jintlemen, if you lave the place and spare our
lives!"

Here the hens flew against the dresser, and smash went the plates and
dishes.

"Oh, jintlemen dear, don't rack and ruin me that way: don't destroy a
lone woman."

"Mother, mother, what's this at all? Don't you know your own Andy?"

"Is it you that's there?" cried the widow, catching hold of him.

"To be sure it's me," said Andy.

"You won't let us be murdhered, will you?"

"Who'd murdher you?"

"Them people that's with you." Smash went another plate. "Do you hear
that?--they're rackin' my place, the villains!"

"Divil a one's wid me at all!" said Andy.

"I'll take my oath there was three or four under the bed," said Oonah.

"Not one but myself," said Andy.

"Are you sure?" said his mother.

"Cock sure!" said Andy, and a loud crowing gave evidence in favour of
his assertion.

"The fowls is going mad," said the widow.

"And the pig's distracted," said Oonah.

"No wonder! the dog's murdherin' him," said Andy.

"Get up, and light the rushlight, Oonah," said the widow: "you'll get a
spark out o' the turf cendhers."

"Some o' them will catch me, maybe," said Oonah.

"Get up, I tell you!" said the widow.

Oonah now arose, and groped her way to the fireplace, where, by dint of
blowing upon the embers and poking the rushlight among the turf ashes,
a light was at length obtained. She then returned to the bed, and threw
her petticoat over her shoulders.

"What's this at all?" said the widow, rising, and wrapping a blanket
round her.

"Bad cess to the know I know!" said Andy.

"Look under the bed, Oonah," said the aunt.

Oonah obeyed, and screamed, and ran behind Andy. "There's another here
yet!" said she.

Andy seized the poker, and, standing on the defensive, desired the
villain to come out: the demand was not complied with.

"There's nobody there," said Andy.

"I'll take my oath there is," said Oonah; "a dirty blackguard, without
any clothes on him."

"Come out, you robber!" said Andy, making a lunge under the truckle.

A grunt ensued, and out rushed the pig, who had escaped from the
dog--the dog having discovered a greater attraction in some fat that
was knocked from the dresser, which the widow intended for the dipping
of rushes in; but the dog being enlightened to his own interest without
rushlights, and preferring mutton fat to pig's ear, had suffered the
grunter to go at large, while he was captivated by the fat. The clink
of a three-legged stool the widow seized to the rescue was a stronger
argument against the dog than he was prepared to answer, and a remnant
of fat was preserved from the rapacious Coaly.

"Where's the rest o' the robbers?" said Oonah; "there's three o' them,
I know."

"You're dhramin'," said Andy. "Divil a robber is here but myself."

"And what brought you here?" said his mother.

[Illustration: Andy's Welcome Home]

"I was afeard they'd murdher me!" said Andy.

"Murdher!" exclaimed the widow and Oonah together, still startled by
the very sound of the word. "Who do you mane?"

"Misther Dick," said Andy.

"Aunt, I tell you," said Oonah, "this is some more of Andy's blundhers.
Sure Misther Dawson wouldn't be goin' to murdher any one; let us look
round the cabin, and find out who's in it, for I won't be aisy ontil I
look into every corner, to see there's no robbers in the place: for I
tell you again, there was three o' them undher the bed."

The search was made, and the widow and Oonah at length satisfied that
there were no midnight assassins there with long knives to cut their
throats; and then they began to thank God that their lives were safe.

"But, oh! look at my chaynee!" said the widow, clasping her hands, and
casting a look of despair at the shattered delf that lay around her;
"look at my chaynee!"

"And what _was_ it brought _you_ here?" said Oonah, facing round on
Andy, with a dangerous look, rather, in her bright eye. "Will you tell
us that--what _was_ it?"

"I came to save my life, I tell you," said Andy.

"To put us in dhread of ours, you mane," said Oonah. "Just look at the
_omadhaun_ there," said she to her aunt, "standin' with his mouth open,
just as if nothin' happened, and he after frightening the lives out of
us."

"Thrue for you, _alanna_," said her aunt.

"And would no place sarve you, indeed, but undher our bed, you vagabone?"
said his mother, roused to a sense of his delinquency; "to come in like
a merodin' villain as you are, and hide under the bed, and frighten the
lives out of us, and rack and ruin my place!"

"'T was Misther Dick, I tell you," said Andy.

"Bad scran to you, you unlucky hangin' bone thief!" cried the widow,
seizing him by the hair, and giving him a hearty cuff on the ear, which
would have knocked him down, only that Oonah kept him up by an equally
well-applied box on the other.

"Would you murdher me?" shouted Andy, as he saw his mother lay hold of
the broom.

"Aren't you afther frightenin' the lives out of us, you dirty,
good-for-nothing, mischief-making----"

On poured the torrent of abuse, rendered more impressive by a whack at
every word. Andy roared, and the more he roared, the more did Oonah and
his mother thrash him.



CHAPTER VII


    "Love rules the camp, the court, the grove,
    And men below and saints above:
    For Love is Heaven, and Heaven is Love--"

So sang Scott. Quite agreeing with the antithesis of the last line,
perhaps in the second, where he talks of men and saints, another view
of the subject, or turn of the phrase, might have introduced sinners
quite as successfully. This is said without the smallest intention of
using the word _sinners_ in a questionable manner. Love, in its purest
shape, may lead to sinning on the part of persons least interested in
the question; for is it not a sin when the folly, or caprice, or
selfishness of a third party or fourth makes a trio or quartette of
that which nature undoubtedly intended for a duet, and so spoils it?

Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts--ay, and even
cousins--sometimes put in their oar to disturb that stream which is
troubled enough without their interference, and, as the Bard of Avon
says,

    "Never did run smooth."

And so it was in the case of Fanny Dawson and Edward O'Connor. A piece
of innocent fun on the part of her brother, and blind pertinacity--indeed,
downright absurdity--on her father's side, interrupted the intercourse
of affection, which had subsisted silently for many a long day between
the lovers, but was acknowledged, at last, with delight to the two whom
it most concerned, and satisfaction to all who knew or held them dear.
Yet the harmony of this sweet concordance of spirits was marred by
youthful frolic and doting absurdity. This welding together of hearts
in the purest fire of nature's own contriving was broken at a blow by a
weak old man. Is it too much to call this _a sin_? Less mischievous
things are branded with the name in the common-place parlance of the
world. The cold and phlegmatic may not understand this; but they who
_can_ love know how bitterly every after-hour of life may be poisoned
with the taint which hapless love has infused into the current of
future years, and can believe how many a heart equal to the highest
enterprise has been palsied by the touch of despair. Sweet and holy is
the duty of child to parent; but sacred also is the obligation of those
who govern in so hallowed a position. Their rule should be guided by
justice; they should pray for judgment in their mastery.

Fanny Dawson's father was an odd sort of person. His ancestors were
settlers in Ireland of the time of William the Third, and having won
their lands by the sword, it is quite natural the love of arms should
have been hereditary in the family. Mr. Dawson, therefore, had served
many years as a soldier, and was a bit of a martinet, not only in
military but all other affairs. His mind was of so tenacious a
character, that an impression once received there became indelible; and
if the Major once made up his mind, or indulged the belief, that such
and such things were so and so, the waters of truth could never wash
out the mistake--stubbornness had written them there with her own
indelible marking-ink.

Now, one of the old gentleman's weak points was a museum of the most
heterogeneous nature, consisting of odds and ends from all parts of the
world, and appertaining to all subjects. Nothing was too high or too
low: a bronze helmet from the plains of Marathon, which, to the classic
eye of an artist, conveyed the idea of a Minerva's head beneath it,
would not have been more prized by the Major than a cavalry cap with
some bullet-mark of which _he could tell an anecdote_. A certain skin
of a tiger he prized much, because the animal had dined on his dearest
friend in one of the jungles of Bengal; also a pistol which he vouched
for as being the one with which Hatfield fired at George the Third; the
hammer with which Crawley (of Hessian-boot memory) murdered his
landlady; the string which was on Viotti's violin when he played before
Queen Charlotte; the horn which was _supposed_ to be in the lantern of
Guy Fawkes; a small piece of the coat worn by the Prince of Orange on
his landing in England; and other such relics. But far above these, the
Major prized the skeleton of a horse's head, which occupied the
principal place in his museum. This he declared to be part of the
identical horse which bore Duke Schomberg when he crossed the Boyne, in
the celebrated battle so called; and with whimsical ingenuity, he had
contrived to string some wires upon the bony fabric, which yielded a
sort of hurdy-gurdy vibration to the strings when touched: and the
Major's most favourite feat was to play the tune of the Boyne Water on
the head of Duke Schomberg's horse. In short, his collection was composed
of trifles from north, south, east, and west: some leaf from the
prodigal verdure of India, or gorgeous shell from the Pacific, or paw
of bear, or tooth of walrus; but beyond all teeth, one pre-eminently
was valued--it was one of his own, which he had lost the use of by a
wound in the jaw, received in action; and no one ever entered his house
and escaped without hearing all about it, from the first shot fired in
the affair by the skirmishers, to the last charge of the victorious
cavalry. The tooth was always produced along with the story, together
with the declaration, that every dentist who ever saw it protested it
was the largest human tooth ever seen. Now some little sparring was not
unfrequent between old Mr. Dawson and Edward, on the subject of their
respective museums: the old gentleman "pooh-poohing" Edward's "rotten
rusty rubbish," as he called it, and Edward defending, as gently as he
could, his patriotic partiality for natural antiquities. This little
war never led to any evil results; for Edward not only loved Fanny too
well, but respected age too much to lean hard on the old gentleman's
weakness, or seek to reduce his fancied superiority as a collector; but
the tooth, the ill-omened tooth, at last gnawed asunder the bond of
friendship and affection which had subsisted between the two families
for so many years.

The Major had paraded his tooth so often, that Dick Dawson began to
tire of it, and for the purpose of making it a source of amusement to
himself, he stole his father's keys, one day, and opening the cabinet
in which his tooth was enshrined, he abstracted the grinder which
nature had bestowed on the Major, and substituted in its stead a
horse's tooth of no contemptible dimensions. A party some days after
dined with the old gentleman, and after dinner the story of the
skirmish turned up, as a matter of course, and the enormous size of the
tooth wound up the tedious tale.

"Hadn't you better show it to them, sir?" said Dick, from the foot of
the table.

"Indeed, then, I will," said the Major, "for it really is a curiosity."

"Let me go for it, sir," said Dick, well knowing he would be refused.

"No, no," answered his father, rising; "I never let any one go to my
pet cabinet but myself;" and so saying he left the room, and proceeded
to his museum. It has been already said, that the Major's mind was of
that character, which once being satisfied of anything could never be
convinced of the contrary; and having for years been in the habit of
drawing his own tooth out of his own cabinet, the increased size of the
one which he now extracted from it never struck him; so he returned to
the dining-room, and presented with great exultation to the company the
tooth Dick had substituted. It may be imagined how the people stared,
when an old gentleman, and moreover a major, declared upon his honour,
that a great horse's tooth was his own; but having done so, politeness
forbade they should contradict him, more particularly at the head of
his own table, so they smothered their smiles as well as they could,
and declared it was the most wonderful tooth they ever beheld: and
instead of attempting to question the fact, they launched forth in
expressions of admiration and surprise, and the fable, instead of being
questioned, was received with welcome, and made food for mirth. The
difficulty was not to laugh; and in the midst of twisted mouths,
affected sneezing, and applications of pocket-handkerchiefs to
rebellious cachinnations, Dick, the maker of the joke, sat unmoved,
sipping his claret with a serenity which might have roused the envy of
a Red Indian.

"I think that's something like a tooth!" said Dick.

"Prodigious--wonderful--tremendous!" ran round the board.

"Give it to me again," said one.

"Let me look at it once more," said another.

"Colossal!" exclaimed a third.

"Gigantic!" shouted all, as the tooth made the circuit of the table.

The Major was delighted, and never remembered his tooth to have created
such a sensation; and when at last it was returned to him, he turned it
about in his own hand, and cast many fond glances at the monstrosity,
before it was finally deposited in his waistcoat pocket. This was the
most ridiculous part of the exhibition: to see a gentleman, with the
use of his eyes, looking affectionately at a thumping horse's tooth,
and believing it to be his own. Yet this was a key to the Major's whole
character. A received opinion was with him unchangeable, no alteration
of circumstances could shake it: _it was his tooth_. A belief or a
doubt was equally sacred with him; and though his senses in the present
case should have shown him it was a horse's tooth--no, it was a piece
of himself--his own dear tooth.

After this party, the success which crowned his anecdote and its
attendant relic made him fonder of showing it off; and many a day did
Dick the Devil enjoy the astonishment of visitors as his father
exhibited the enormous tooth as his own. Fonder and fonder grew the
Major of his tooth and his story, until the unlucky day Edward O'Connor
happened to be in the museum with a party of ladies, to whom the old
gentleman was showing off his treasures with great effect and some
pains; for the Major, like most old soldiers, was very attentive to the
fair sex. At last the pet cabinet was opened, and out came the tooth.
One universal exclamation of surprise arose on its appearance: "What a
wonderful man the Major was to have such a tooth!" Just then, by an
unlucky chance, Edward, who had not seen the Major produce the wonder
from his cabinet, perceived the relic in the hand of one of the ladies
at the extremity of the group, and, fancying it had dropped from the
horse's head, he said--

"I suppose that is one of the teeth out of old Schomberg's skull."

The Major thought this an impertinent allusion to his political bias,
and said, very sharply, "What do you mean by old Schomberg?"

"The horse's head, sir," replied Edward, pointing to the musical relic.

"It was of _my_ tooth you spoke, sir, when you said 'old Schomberg,'"
returned the Major, still more offended at what he considered Edward's
evasion.

"I assure you," said Edward, with the strongest evidence of a desire to
be reconciled in his voice and manner--"I assure you, sir, it was of
_this_ tooth I spoke;" and he held up the tooth the Major had
produced as his own.

"I know it was, sir," said the Major, "and therefore I didn't relish
your allusions to my tooth."

"_Your_ tooth, sir?" exclaimed Edward, in surprise.

"Yes, sir, mine!"

"My dear sir," said Edward, "there is some mistake here; this is a
horse's tooth."

"Give it to me, sir!" said the Major, snatching it from Edward. "You
may think this very witty, Mr. O'Connor, but _I_ don't; if my tooth is
of superhuman size, I'm not to be called a horse for it, sir;--nor
Schomberg, sir!--horse--ahem! better than ass, however."

While this brief but angry outbreak took place, the bystanders, of
course, felt excessively uncomfortable; and poor Edward knew not what
to do. The Major he knew to be of too violent a temper to attempt
explanation for the present: so bowing to the ladies, he left the room,
with that flushed look of silent vexation to which courteous youth is
sometimes obliged to submit at the hands of intemperate age.

Neither Fanny nor Dick was at home when this occurred, so Edward
quitted the house, and was forbidden to enter it afterwards. The Major
suddenly entertained a violent dislike to Edward O'Connor, and hated
even to hear his name mentioned. It was in vain that explanation was
attempted; his self-love had received a violent shock, of which Edward
had been the innocent means. In vain did Dick endeavour to make himself
the peace-offering to his father's wounded consequence; in vain was it
manifest that Fanny was grieved: the old Major persisted in declaring
that Edward O'Connor was a self-sufficient jackanapes, and forbade most
peremptorily that further intercourse should take place between him and
his daughter; and she had too high a sense of duty, and he of honour,
to seek to violate the command. But though they never met, they loved
not the less fondly and truly; and Dick, grieved that a frolic of his
should have interrupted the happiness of a sister he loved and a friend
he valued, kept up a sort of communion between them by talking to
Edward about Fanny, and to Fanny about Edward, whose last song was
sure, through the good offices of the brother, to find its way into the
sister's album, already stored with many a tribute from her lover's
muse.

Fanny was a sweet creature--one of those choice and piquant bits of
Nature's creation which she sometimes vouchsafes to treat the world
with, just to show what she _can_ do. Her person I shall not attempt to
describe; for however one may endeavour to make words play the part of
colour, lineament, voice, and expression--and however successfully--still
a verbal description can never convey a true notion of personal charms;
and personal charms Fanny had, decidedly; not that she was strictly
beautiful, but, at times, nevertheless, eclipsing beauty far more
regular, and throwing symmetry into the shade, by some charm which even
they whom it fascinated could not define.

Her mind was as clear and pure as a mountain stream; and if at times it
chafed and was troubled from the course in which it ran, the temporary
turbulence only made its limpid depth and quietness more beautiful. Her
heart was the very temple of generosity, the throne of honour, and the
seat of tenderness. The gentlest sympathies dwelt in her soul, and
answered to the slightest call of another's grief; while mirth was
dancing in her eye, a word that implied the sorrow of another would
bring a tear there. She was the sweetest creature in the world!

The old Major, used to roving habits from his profession, would often
go on a ramble somewhere for weeks together, at which times Fanny went
to Merryvale to her sister, Mistress Egan, who was also a fine-hearted
creature, but less soft and sentimental than Fanny. She was of the
dashing school rather, and before she became the mother of so large a
family, thought very little of riding over a gate or a fence. Indeed,
it was her high mettle that won her the squire's heart. The story is
not long, and it may as well be told here--though a little out of
place, perhaps; but it's an Irish story, and may therefore be gently
irregular.

The squire had admired Letitia Dawson, as most of the young men of her
acquaintance did--appreciated her round waist and well-turned ankle,
her spirited eyes and cheerful laugh, and danced with her at every ball
as much as any other fine girl in the country: but never seriously
thought of her as a wife, until one day a party visited the parish
church, whose old tower was often ascended for the fine view it
commanded. At this time the tower was under repair, and the masons were
drawing up materials in a basket, which, worked by rope and pulley,
swung on a beam protruding from the top of the tower. The basket had
just been lowered for a fresh load of stones, when Letitia exclaimed,
"Wouldn't it be fine fun to get into the basket, and be hauled up to
the top of the tower?--how astonished the workmen would be to see a
lady get out of it!"

"I would be more astonished to see a lady get into it," said a
gentleman present.

"Then here goes to astonish you," said Letitia, laying hold of the rope
and jumping into the basket. In vain did her friends and the workmen
below endeavour to dissuade her; up she would go, and up she did go;
and it was during her ascent that Egan and a friend were riding towards
the church. Their attention was attracted by so strange a sight: and,
spurring onward, Egan exclaimed, "By the powers! 't is Letty Dawson!
Well done, Letty!--you're the right girl for my money! By Jove! if ever
I marry, Letty's the woman." And sure enough she _was_ the woman,
in another month.

Now, Fanny would not have done the basket feat, but she had plenty of
fun in her, notwithstanding; her spirits were light; and though, for
some time, she felt deeply the separation from Edward, she rallied
after a while, felt that unavailing sorrow but impaired the health of
the mind, and, supported by her good sense, she waited in hopefulness
for the time that Edward might claim and win her.

At Merryvale now all was expectation about the anticipated election.
The ladies were making up bows of ribbon for their partizans, and Fanny
had been so employed all the morning alone in the drawing-room; her
pretty fingers pinching, and pressing, and stitching the silken
favours, while now and then her hand wandered to a wicker-basket which
lay beside her, to draw forth a scissors or a needlecase. As she
worked, a shade of thought crossed her sweet face, like a passing cloud
across the sun; the pretty fingers stopped--the work was laid down--and
a small album gently drawn from the neighbouring basket. She opened the
book and read; they were lines of Edward O'Connor's which she drank
into her heart; they were the last he had written, which her brother
had heard him sing and had brought her

    THE SNOW

    I

    An old man sadly said,
      "Where's the snow
    That fell the year that's fled?--
      Where's the snow?"
    As fruitless were the task
    Of many a joy to ask,
      As the snow!

    II

    The hope of airy birth,
      Like the snow,
    Is stain'd on reaching earth,
      Like the snow:
    While 't is sparkling in the ray,
    'T is melting fast away,
      Like the snow!

    III

    A cold, deceitful thing
      Is the snow,
    Though it come on dove-like wing--
      The false snow!
    'T is but rain disguised appears;
    And our hopes are frozen tears,
      Like the snow!

A tear _did_ course down Fanny's cheek as she read the last couplet;
and closing the book and replacing it in the little basket, she sighed,
and said, "Poor fellow!--I wish he were not so sad!"



CHAPTER VIII


Love is of as many patterns, cuts, shapes, and colours as people's
garments; and the loves of Edward O'Connor and Fanny Dawson had very
little resemblance to the tender passion which agitated the breast of
the Widow Flanagan, and made Tom Durfy her slave. Yet the widow and Tom
demand the offices of the chronicler as well as the more elevated pair;
and this our veracious history could never get on, if we exhausted all
our energies upon the more engaging personages, to the neglect of the
rest: your plated handles, scrolls, and mountings are all very well on
your carriage, but it could not move without its plain iron bolts.

Now the reader must know something of the fair Mistress Flanagan who
was left in very comfortable circumstances by a niggardly husband, who
did her the favour to die suddenly one day, to the no small satisfaction
of the pleasure-loving widow, who married him in an odd sort of a hurry,
and got rid of him as quickly. Mr. Flanagan was engaged in supplying the
export provision trade, which, every one knows, is considerable in
Ireland; and his dealings in beef and butter were extensive. This
brought him into contact with the farmers for many miles round, whom he
met, not only every market-day at every market-town in the county, but
at their own houses, where a knife and fork were always at the service
of the rich buyer. One of these was a certain Mat Riley, who, on small
means, managed to live, and rear a son and three bouncing, good-looking
girls, who helped to make butter, feed calves, and superintend the
education of pigs; and on these active and comely lasses Mr. Flanagan
often cast an eye of admiration, with a view to making one of them his
wife; for though he might have had his pick and choice of many fine
girls in the towns he dealt in, he thought the simple, thrifty, and
industrious habits of a plain farmer's daughter more likely to conduce
to his happiness and _profit_--for in that principally lay the aforesaid
happiness of Mr. Flanagan. Now, this intention of honouring one of the
three Miss Rileys with promotion he never hinted at in the remotest
degree, and even in his own mind the thought was mixed up with fat
cattle and prices current; and it was not until a leisure moment one
day, when he was paying Mat Riley for some of his farming produce, that
he broached the subject thus:

"Mat." "Sir."

"I'm thinking o' marrying."

"Well, she'll have a snug house, whoever she is, Misther Flanagan."

"Them's fine girls o' yours."

Poor Mat opened his eyes with delight at the prospect of such a match
for one of his daughters, and said they were "comely lumps o' girls,
sure enough; but, what was betther, they wor good."

"That's what I'm thinking," says Flanagan. "There's two ten-poun'
notes, and a five, and one is six, and one is seven; and three tenpinnies
is two-and-sixpence; that's twenty-seven poun' two-and-sixpence:
eight-pence-ha'penny is the lot; but I haven't copper in my company,
Mat."

"Oh, no matther, Misther Flanagan. And is it one o' my colleens you've
been throwing the eye at, sir?"

"Yes, Mat, it is. You're askin' too much for them firkins?"

"Oh, Misther Flanagan, consider it's prime butther. I'll back my girls
for making up a bit o' butther agen any girls in Ireland; and my cows
is good, and the pasture prime."

"'T is a farthing a poun' too high, Mat; and the market not lively."

"The butther is good, Mr. Flanagan; and not decenther girls in Ireland
than the same girls, though I'm their father."

"I'm thinking I'll marry one o' them, Mat."

"Sure, an' it's proud I'll be, sir; and which o' them is it, maybe?"

"Faith, I don't know myself, Mat. Which do you think yourself?"

"Throth, myself doesn't know--they're all good. Nance is nice, and
Biddy's biddable, and Kitty's cute."

"You're a snug man, Mat; you ought to be able to give a husband a
trifle with them."

"Nothing worth _your_ while, anyhow, Misther Flanagan. But sure one o'
my girls without a rag to her back, or a tack to her feet, would be
betther help to an honest industherin' man than one o' your showy
lantherumswash divils out of a town, that would spend more than she'd
bring with her."

"That's thrue, Mat. I'll marry one o' your girls, I think."

"You'll have my blessin', sir; and proud I'll be--and proud the girl
ought to be--_that_ I'll say. And suppose, now, you'd come over on
Sunday, and take share of a plain man's dinner, and take your pick o'
the girls--there's a fine bull goose that Nance towld me she'd have
ready afther last mass; for Father Ulick said he'd come and dine with
us."

"I can't, Mat; I must be in the canal boat on Sunday; but I'll go and
breakfast with you to-morrow, on my way to Bill Mooney's, who has a
fine lot of pigs to sell--remarkable fine pigs."

"Well, we'll expect you to breakfast, sir."

"Mat, there must be no nonsense about the wedding."

"As you plase, sir."

"Just marry her off, and take her home. Short reckonings make long
friends."

"Thrue for you, sir."

"Nothing to give with the girl, you say?"

"My blessin' only, sir."

"Well, you must throw in that butther, Mat, and take the farthin' off."

"It's yours, sir," said Mat, delighted, loading Flanagan with "Good
byes," and "God save yous," until they should meet next morning at
breakfast.

Mat rode home in great glee at the prospect of providing so well for one
of his girls, and told them a man would be there the next morning to
make choice of one of them for his wife. The girls, very naturally,
inquired who the man was; to which Mat, in the plenitude of patriarchal
power, replied, "that was nothing to them;" and his daughters had
sufficient experience of his temper to know there was no use in asking
more questions after such an answer. He only added, she would be "well
off that should get him." Now, their father being such a curmudgeon,
it is no wonder the girls were willing to take the chance of a
good-humoured husband instead of an iron-handed father; so they set to
work to make themselves as smart as possible for the approaching trial
of their charms, and a battle royal ensued between the sisters as to
the right and title to certain pieces of dress which were hitherto
considered a sort of common property amongst them, and of which the
occasion of a fair, or a pattern,[4] or market-day was enough to
establish the possession, by whichever of the girls went to the public
place; but now, when a husband was to be won, privilege of all sorts was
pleaded, in which discussion there was more noise than sound reason, and
so many violent measures to secure the envied _morceaux_, that some
destruction of finery took place where there was none to spare; and, at
last, seniority was agreed upon to decide the question; so that when
Nance had the first plunder of the chest which held all their clothes in
common, and Biddy made the second grab, poor Kitty had little left but
her ordinary rags to appear in. But as, in the famous judgment on Ida's
Mount, it is hinted that Venus carried the day by her scarcity of
drapery, so did Kitty conquer by want of clothes: not that Love sat in
judgment; it was Plutus turned the scale. But, to leave metaphor and
classic illustration, and go back to Mat Riley's cabin--the girls were
washing, and starching, and ironing all night, and the morning saw
them arrayed for conquest. Flanagan came, and breakfasted, and saw the
three girls. A flashy silk handkerchief which Nancy wore put her _hors
de combat_ very soon; she was set down at once, in his mind, as
extravagant. Biddy might have had a chance if she had made anything
like a fair division with her youngest sister; but Kitty had been so
plundered, that her shabbiness won an easy victory over the niggard's
heart: he saw in her "the making of a thrifty wife;" besides which, she
was possibly the best looking, and certainly the youngest of the three;
and there is no knowing how far old Flanagan might have been influenced
by those considerations.

      [4] A half-holy, half-merry meeting, held at some certain place,
      on the day dedicated to the saint who is supposed to be the
      PATRON of the spot--hence the name "PATTERN."

He spoke very little to any of the girls; but, when he was leaving the
house, he said to the father, as he was shaking hands with him, "Mat,
I'll do it;" and, pointing to Kitty, he added, "That's the one I'll
have."

Great was the rage of the elder sisters, for Flanagan was notoriously a
wealthy man; and when he quitted the house, Kitty set up such a shout
of laughter, that her father and sisters told her several times "not to
make a fool of herself." Still she laughed, and throughout the day
sometimes broke out into sudden roars; and while her sides shook with
merriment, she would throw herself into a chair, or lean against the
wall, to rest herself after the fatigue of her uproarious mirth. Now
Kitty, while she laughed at the discomfiture of her greedy sisters,
also laughed at the mistake into which Flanagan had fallen; for, as her
father said of her, she was, "'cute," and she more than suspected the
cause of Flanagan's choice, and enjoyed the anticipation of his
disappointment, for she was fonder of dress than either Nancy or Biddy,
and revelled in the notion of astonishing "the old niggard," as she
called him; and this she did "many a time and oft." In vain did
Flanagan try to keep her extravagance within bounds. She would either
wheedle, reason, bully, or shame him into doing what she said "was
right and proper for a snug man like him." His house was soon well
furnished: she made him get her a jaunting car. She sometimes _would_
go to parties, and no one was better dressed than the woman he chose
for her rags. He got enraged now and then, but Kitty pacified him by
soft words and daring inventions of her fertile fancy. Once, when he
caught her in the fact of wearing a costly crimson silk gown, and
stormed, she soothed him by telling him it was her old black one she
had dyed; and this bouncer, to the great amusement of her female
friends, he loved to repeat, as a proof of what a careful contriving
creature he had in Kitty. She was naturally quick-witted. She managed
him admirably, deceived him into being more comfortable than ever he
had been before, and had the laudable ambition of endeavouring to
improve both his and her own condition in every way. She set about
educating herself, too, as far as her notions of education went; and,
in a few years after her marriage, by judiciously using the means which
her husband's wealth afforded her of advancing her position in society,
no one could have recognised in the lively and well-dressed Mrs.
Flanagan the gawky daughter of a middling farmer. She was very
good-natured, too, towards her sisters, whose condition she took care
to improve with her own; and a very fair match for the eldest was made
through her means. The younger one was often staying in her house,
dividing her time nearly between the town and her father's farm, and no
party which Mrs. Flanagan gave or appeared at went off without giving
Biddy a chance to "settle herself in the world." This was not done
without a battle now and then with old Flanagan, whose stinginess would
exhibit itself upon occasion; but at last all let and hindrance to the
merry lady ceased, by the sudden death of her old husband, who left her
the entire of his property, so that, for the first time, his _will_ was
her pleasure.

After the funeral of the old man, the "disconsolate widow" was
withdrawn from her own house by her brother and sister to the farm,
which grew to be a much more comfortable place than when Kitty left;
for to have remained in her own house after the loss of "her good man"
would have been too hard on "the lone woman." So said her sister and
her brother, though, to judge from the widow's eyes, she was not very
heart-broken: she cried as much, no doubt, as young widows generally do
after old husbands--and could Kitty be expected to do more?

She had not been many days in her widowhood, when Biddy asked her to
drive into the town, where Biddy had to do a little shopping--that
great business of ladies' lives.

"Oh, Biddy, dear, I must not go out so soon."

"'T will do you good, Kitty."

"I mustn't be seen, you know--'t wouldn't be right; and poor dear
Flanagan not buried a week!"

"Sure, who'll see you? We'll go in the covered car, and draw the
curtains close, and who'll be the wiser?"

"If I thought no one would see me!" said the widow.

"Ah, who'll see you?" exclaimed Biddy. "Come along--the drive will do
you good."

The widow agreed; but when Biddy asked for a horse to put to the car,
her brother refused, for the only horse not at work he was going to
yoke in a cart that moment, to send a lamb to the town. Biddy vowed she
would have a horse, and her brother swore the lamb should be served
first, till Biddy made a compromise, and agreed to take the lamb under
the seat of the car, and so please all parties.

Matters being thus accommodated, off the ladies set, the lamb tied neck
and heels and crammed under the seat, and the curtains of the car ready
to be drawn at a moment's notice, in case they should meet any one on
the road; for "why should not the poor widow enjoy the fresh air as
they drove along?" About half way to the town, however, the widow
suddenly exclaimed--

"Biddy, draw the curtains!"

"What's the matter?" says Biddy.

"I see him coming after us round a turn o' the road!" and the widow
looked so horrified, and plucked at the curtains so furiously, that
Biddy, who was superstitious, thought nothing but Flanagan's ghost
could have produced such an effect; and began to scream and utter holy
ejaculations, until the sight of Tom Durfy riding after them showed her
the cause of her sister's alarm.

"If that divil, Tom Durfy, sees me, he'll tell it all over the country,
he's such a quiz; shove yourself well before the door there, Biddy,
that he can't peep into the car. Oh, why did I come out this day!--I
wish your tongue was cut out, Biddy, that asked me!"

In the meantime Tom Durfy closed on them fast, and began telegraphing
Biddy, who, according to the widow's desire, had shoved herself well
before the door.

"Pull up, Tim, pull up!" said the widow, from the inside of the car, to
the driver, whom she thumped on the back at the same time to impress
upon him her meaning; "turn about, and pretend to drive back. We'll let
that fellow ride on," said she, quietly to Biddy.

Just as this manoeuvre was executed, up came Tom Durfy.

"How are you, Miss Riley?" said he, as he drew rein.

"Pretty well, thank you," said Biddy, putting her head and shoulders
through the window, while the widow shrunk back into the corner of the
car.

"How very sudden poor Mr. Flanagan's death was!--I was quite
surprised."

"Yes, indeed," says Biddy. "I was just taking a little drive; good
bye."

"I was very much shocked to hear of it," said Tom.

"'T was dreadful!" said Biddy.

"How is poor Mrs. Flanagan?" said Tom.

"As well as can be expected, poor thing! Good bye!" said Biddy,
manifestly anxious to cut short the conference.

This anxiety was so obvious to Tom, who, for the sake of fun, loved
cross-purposes dearly, that he determined to push his conversation
further, just because he saw it was unwelcome.

"To be sure," continued he, "at his time of life----"

"Very true," said Biddy. "Good morning."

"And the season has been very unhealthy."

"Doctor Growling told me so yesterday," said Biddy; "I wonder you're
not afraid of stopping in this east wind--colds are very prevalent.
Good bye!"

Just now the Genius of Farce, who presides so particularly over all
Irish affairs, put it into the lamb's head to bleat. The sound at first
did not strike Tom Durfy as singular, they being near a high hedge,
within which it was likely enough a lamb might bleat; but Biddy,
shocked at the thought of being discovered in the fact of making her
jaunting-cart a market-cart, reddened up to the eyes, while the widow
squeezed herself closer into the corner.

Tom, seeing the increasing embarrassment of Biddy, and her desire to be
off, still _would_ talk to her, for the love of mischief.

"I beg your pardon," he continued, "just one moment more--I wanted to
ask, was it not apoplexy, for I heard an odd report about the death?"

"Oh, yes," says Biddy; "apoplexy--good bye!"

"Did he speak at all?" asked Tom.

"_Baa!_" says the lamb.

Tom cocked his ears, Biddy grew redder, and the widow crammed her
handkerchief into her mouth to endeavour to smother her laughter.

"I hope poor Mrs. Flanagan bears it well?" says Tom.

"Poor thing!" says Biddy, "she's inconsolable."

"_Baa-a!_" says the lamb.

Biddy spoke louder and faster, the widow kicked with laughing, and Tom
then suspected whence the sound proceeded.

"She does nothing but cry all day!" says Biddy.

"_Baa-a-a!_" says the lamb.

The widow could stand it no longer, and a peal of laughter followed the
lamb's bleat.

"What is all this?" said Tom, laying hold of the curtains with
relentless hand, and, spite of Biddy's screams, rudely unveiling the
sanctuary of sorrowing widowhood. Oh! what a sight for the rising--I beg
their pardon, the sinking--generation of old gentlemen who take young
wives did Tom behold! There was the widow lying back in the corner--she
who was represented as inconsolable and crying all day--shaking with
laughter, the tears, not of sorrow, but irrepressible mirth rolling down
a cheek rosy enough for a bride.

Biddy, of course, joined the shout. Tom roared in an agony of delight.
The very driver's risibility rebelled against the habits of respect,
and strengthened the chorus; while the lamb, as if conscious of the
authorship of the joke, put in a longer and louder "_Baa--a-a-a!!!_"

Tom, with all his devilment, had good taste enough to feel it was not a
scene to linger on; so merely giving a merry nod to each of the ladies,
he turned about his horse as fast as he could, and rode away in roars
of laughter.

When, in due course of time, the widow again appeared in company, she
and Tom Durfy could never meet without smiling at each other. What a
pleasant influence lies in mutual smiles! We love the lips which
welcome us without words. Such sympathetic influence it was that led
the widow and Tom to get better and better acquainted, and like each
other more and more, until she thought him the pleasantest fellow in
the county, and he thought her the handsomest woman:--besides, she had
a good fortune.

The widow, conscious of her charms and her money, did not let Tom,
however, lead the quietest life in the world. She liked, with the usual
propensity of her sex, occasionally to vex the man she loved, and
assert her sway over so good-looking a fellow. He, in his turn, played
off the widow very well; and one unfailing source of mirthful
reconciliation on Tom's part, whenever the widow was angry, and that he
wanted to bring her back to good humour, was to steal behind her chair,
and coaxingly putting his head over her fair shoulder, to pat her
gently on her peachy cheek, and cry "_Baa!_"



CHAPTER IX


Andy was in sad disgrace for some days with his mother; but, like all
mothers, she soon forgave the blunders of her son--and indeed mothers
are well off who have not more than blunders to forgive. Andy did all
in his power to make himself useful at home, now that he was out of
place and dependent on his mother, and got a day's work here and there
where he could. Fortunately the season afforded him more employment
than winter months would have done. But the farmers soon had all their
crops made up, and when Andy could find no work to be paid for, he
began to cut the "scrap o' meadow," as he called it, on a small field
of his mother's. Indeed, it was but a "scrap;" for the place where it
grew was one of those broken bits of ground so common in the vicinity
of mountain ranges, where rocks, protruding through the soil, give the
notion of a very fine crop of stones. Now, this locality gave to Andy
the opportunity of exercising a bit of his characteristic ingenuity;
for when the hay was ready for "cocking," he selected a good thumping
rock as the foundation for his haystack, and the superstructure
consequently cut a more respectable figure than one could have
anticipated from the appearance of the little crop as it lay on the
ground; and as no vestige of the rock was visible, the widow, when she
came out to see the work completed, wondered and rejoiced at the size
of the haystack, and said, "God bless you, Andy, but you're the natest
hand for putting up a bit o' hay I ever seen; throth, I didn't think
there was the half of it in it!" Little did the widow know that the
cock of hay was as great a cheat as a bottle of champagne--more than
half bottom. It was all very well for the widow to admire her hay; but
at last she came to sell it, and such sales are generally effected in
Ireland by the purchaser buying "in the lump," as it is called, that
is, calculating the value of the hay from the appearance of the stack
as it stands, and drawing it away upon his own cars. Now, as luck would
have it, it was Andy's early acquaintance, Owny na Coppal, bought the
hay; and in consideration of the _lone woman_, gave her as good a
price as he could afford--for Owny was an honest, open-hearted fellow,
though he was a horse-dealer; so he paid the widow the price of her hay
on the spot, and said he would draw it away at his convenience.

In a few days Owny's cars and men were sent for this purpose; but when
they came to take the haystack to pieces, the solidity of its centre
rather astonished them--and instead of the cars going back loaded, two
had their journey for nothing, and went home empty. Previously to his
men leaving the widow's field, they spoke to her on the subject, and
said, "'Pon my conscience, ma'am, the centre o' your haystack was
mighty heavy."

"Oh, indeed, it's powerful hay!" said she.

"Maybe so," said they; "but there's not much nourishment in that part
of it."

"Not finer hay in Ireland!" said she.

"What's of it, ma'am," said they. "Faix, we think Mr. Doyle will be
talkin' to you about it." And they were quite right; for Owny became
indignant at being overreached, as he thought, and lost no time in
going to the widow to tell her so. When he arrived at her cabin, Andy
happened to be in the house; and when the widow raised her voice
through the storm of Owny's rage, in protestations that she knew
nothing about it, but that "Andy, the darlin', put the cock up with his
own hands," then did Owny's passion gather strength.

"Oh! it's you, you vagabone, is it?" said he, shaking his whip at Andy,
with whom he never had had the honour of a conversation since the
memorable day when his horse was nearly killed. "So this is more o'
your purty work! Bad cess to you! wasn't it enough for you to nigh-hand
kill one o' my horses, without plottin' to chate the rest o' them?"

"Is it _me_ chate them?" said Andy. "Throth, I wouldn't wrong a
dumb baste for the world."

"Not he, indeed, Misther Doyle!" said the widow.

"Arrah, woman, don't be talkin' your balderdash to me," said Doyle;
"sure you took my good money for your hay!"

"And sure I gave all I had to you--what more could I do?"

"Tare an' ounty, woman! who ever heerd of sich a thing as coverin' up a
rock wid hay, and sellin' it as the rale thing?"

"'T was Andy done it, Mr. Doyle; hand, act, or part, I hadn't in it."

"Why, then, aren't you ashamed o' yourself?" said Owny Doyle,
addressing Andy.

"Why would I be ashamed?" said Andy.

"For chatin'--that's the word, since you provoke me."

"What I done is not chatin'," said Andy. "I had a blessed example for
it."

"Oh! do you hear this!" shouted Owny, nearly provoked to take the worth
of his money out of Andy's ribs.

"Yes, I say a blessed example," said Andy. "Sure, didn't the blessed
Saint Peter build his church upon a rock, and why shouldn't I build my
cock o' hay on a rock?"

Owny, with all his rage, could not help laughing at the ridiculous
conceit. "By this and that, Andy," said he, "you're always sayin' or
doin' the quarest things in the counthry, bad cess to you!" So he laid
his whip upon his little hack instead of Andy, and galloped off.

Andy went over the next day to the neighbouring town, where Owny Doyle
kept a little inn and a couple of post-chaises (such as they were), and
expressed much sorrow that Owny had been deceived by the appearance of
the hay; "but I'll pay you the differ out o' my wages, Misther
Doyle--in throth I will--that is, whenever I have any wages to get: for
the Squire turned me off, you see, and I'm out of place at this
present."

"Oh, never mind it," said Owny. "Sure, it was the widow woman got the
money, and I don't begrudge it; and now that it's all past and gone, I
forgive you. But tell me, Andy, what put such a quare thing into your
head?"

"Why, you see," said Andy, "I didn't like the poor mother's pride
should be let down in the eyes o' the neighbours; and so I made the
weeshy bit o' hay look as dacent as I could--but, at the same time, I
wouldn't chate any one for the world, Misther Doyle."

"Throth, I b'lieve you wouldn't, Andy; but, 'pon my sowl, the next time
I go buy hay, I'll take care that Saint Pether hasn't any hand in it."

Owny turned on his heel, and was walking away with that air of satisfaction
which men so commonly assume after fancying they have said a good
thing, when Andy interrupted his retreat by an interjectional "Misther
Doyle?"

"Well," said Owny, looking over his shoulder.

"I was thinkin', sir," said Andy.

"For the first time in your life, I b'lieve," said Owny: "and what was
it you wor thinkin'?"

"I was thinkin' o' dhrivin' a chay, sir."

"And what's that to me?" said Owny.

"Sure I might dhrive one o' your chaises."

"And kill more o' my horses, Andy--eh? No, no, faix, I'm afeer'd o'
you, Andy."

[Illustration: The Reward of Humanity]

"Not a boy in Ireland knows dhrivin' betther nor me, any way," said
Andy.

"Faix, it's any way and every way but the way you ought you'd dhrive,
sure enough, I b'lieve: but, at all events, I don't want a post-boy,
Andy--I have Micky Doolin, and his brother Pether, and them's enough
for me.

"Maybe you'd be wantin' a helper in the stable, Misther Doyle?"

"No, Andy; but the first time I want to make hay to advantage, I'll
send for you," said Owny, laughing, as he entered his house, and
nodding at Andy, who returned a capacious grin to Owny's shrewd smile,
like the exaggerated reflection of a concave mirror. But the grin soon
subsided, for men seldom prolong the laugh that is raised at their own
expense; and the corners of Andy's mouth turned down as his hand turned
up to the back of his head, which he rubbed, as he sauntered down the
street from Owny Doyle's.

It was some miles to Andy's home, and night over-took him on the way.
As he trudged along in the middle of the road he was looking up at a
waning moon and some few stars twinkling through the gloom, absorbed in
many sublime thoughts as to their existence, and wondering what they
were made of, when his cogitations were cut short by tumbling over
something which lay in the middle of the highway; and on scrambling to
his legs again, and seeking to investigate the cause of his fall, he
was rather surprised to find a man lying in such a state of insensibility
that all Andy's efforts could not rouse him. While he was standing over
him, undecided as to what he should do, the sound of approaching
wheels, and the rapid steps of galloping horses, attracted his
attention; and it became evident that unless the chaise and pair which
he now saw in advance were brought to pull up, the cares of the man in
the middle of the road would be very soon over. Andy shouted lustily,
but to his every "Halloo there!" the crack of the whip replied, and
accelerated speed instead of a halt was the consequence; at last, in
desperation, Andy planted himself in the middle of the road, and with
out-spread arms before the horses, succeeded in arresting their
progress, while he shouted "Stop!" at the top of his voice.

A pistol-shot from the chaise was the consequence of Andy's summons,
for a certain Mr. Furlong, a foppish young gentleman, travelling from
the castle of Dublin, never dreamed that a humane purpose could produce
the cry of "Stop," on a _horrid Irish_ road; and as he was reared
in the ridiculous belief that every man ran a great risk of his life
who ventured outside the city of Dublin, he travelled with a brace of
loaded pistols beside him; and as he had been anticipating murder and
robbery ever since nightfall, he did not await the demand for his
"money or his life" to defend both, but fired away the instant he heard
the word "Stop!" and fortunate it was for Andy that the traveller's
hurry impaired his aim. Before he could discharge a second pistol, Andy
had screened himself under the horses' heads; and recognising in the
postilion his friend Micky Doolin, he shouted out, "Micky, jewel, don't
let them be shootin' me!"

Now Micky's cares were quite enough engaged on his own account: for the
first pistol-shot made the horses plunge violently, and the second time
Furlong blazed away set the saddle-horse kicking at such a rate, that
all Micky's horsemanship was required to preserve his seat; added to
which, the dread of being shot came over him, and he crouched low on
the grey's neck, holding fast by the mane, and shouting for mercy as
well as Andy, who still kept roaring to Mick, "not to let them be
shootin' him," while he held his hat above him, in the fashion of a
shield, as if that would have proved any protection against a bullet.
"Who are you at all?" said Mick.

"Andy Rooney, sure."

"And what do you want?"

"To save the man's life."

The last words only caught the ear of the frightened Furlong; and as
the phrase "his life" seemed a personal threat to himself, he swore a
trembling oath at the postilion that he would shoot him if he did not
_dwive_ on, for he abjured the use of that rough letter, R, which
the Irish so much rejoice in. "Dwive on, you wascal, dwive on!"
exclaimed Mr. Furlong.

"There's no fear o' you, sir," said Micky, "it's a friend o' my own."

Mr. Furlong was not quite satisfied that he was therefore the safer.

"And what is it at all, Andy?" continued Mick.

"I tell you there's a man lying dead in the road here, and sure you'll
kill him, if you dhrive over him."

"How could I kill him any more than he _is_ kilt," says Mick, "if
he's dead already?"

"Well, no matther for that," says Andy. "'Light off your horse, will
you, and help me to rise him?"

Mick dismounted, and assisted Andy in lifting the prostrate man from
the centre of the road to the slope of turf which bordered its side.
They judged he was not dead, however, from the warmth of the body; but
that he should still sleep seemed astonishing, considering the quantity
of shaking and kicking they gave him.

"I b'lieve it's drunk he is," said Mick.

"He gave a grunt that time," said Andy; "shake him again, and he'll
spake."

To a fresh shaking the drunken man at last gave some tokens of returning
consciousness, by making several winding blows at his benefactors, and
uttering some half-intelligent maledictions.

"Bad luck to you, do you know where you are?" said Mick.

"Well!" was the drunken ejaculation.

"By this and that, it's my brother Pether," said Mick. "We wondhered
what had kept him so late with the return shay, and this is the way it
is. He tumbled off his horses, dhrunk: and where's the shay, I wondher?
Oh, murdher! what will Misther Doyle say?"

"What's the weason you don't dwive on?" said Mr. Furlong, putting his
head out of the chaise.

"It's one on the road here, your honour, almost killed."

"Was it wobbers?" asked Mr. Furlong.

"Maybe you'd take him into the shay wid you, sir?"

"What a wequest!--dwive on, sir!"

"Sure I can't lave my brother on the road, sir."

"_Your_ bwother!--and you pwesume to put your bwother to wide with me?
You'll put me in the debdest wage if you don't dwive on."

"'Faith, then, I won't dhrive on and lave my brother here on the road."

"You rascally wappawee!" exclaimed Furlong.

"See, Andy," said Micky Doolan; "will you get up and dhrive him, while
I stay with Pether?"

"To be sure I will," said Andy; "where is he goin'?"

"To the Squire's," said Mick; "and when you lave him there, make haste
back, and I'll dhrive Pether home."

Andy mounted into Mick's saddle; and although the traveller "pwotested"
against it, and threatened "pwoceedings" and "magistrates," Mick was
unmoved in his brotherly love. As a last remonstrance, Furlong
exclaimed, "And pewhaps this fellow can't wide, and don't know the
woad."

"Is it not know the road to the Squire's?--wow! wow!" said Andy. "It's
I that'll rattle you there in no time, your honour."

"Well, wattle away then!" said the enraged traveller, as he threw
himself back in the chaise, cursing all the postilions in Ireland.

Now, it was to Squire O'Grady's that Mr. Furlong wanted to go; but in
the confusion of the moment the name of O'Grady never once was
mentioned; and with the title of "Squire," Andy never associated
another idea than that of his late master, Mr. Egan.

Mr. Furlong, it has been stated, was an official of Dublin Castle, and
had been despatched on electioneering business to the country. He was
related to a gentleman of the same name who held a lucrative post under
government, and was well known as an active agent in all affairs
requiring what in Ireland was called "Castle influence;" and this,
his relative, was now despatched, for the first time, on a similar
employment. By the way, while his name is before one, a little anecdote
may be appropriately introduced, illustrative of the wild waggery
prevailing in the streets of Dublin in those days.

Those days were the good old days of true virtue! When a bishop who had
daughters to marry, would advance a deserving young curate to a good
living, and, not content with _that_ manifestation of his regard,
would give him _one of his own children_ for a wife! Those were
the days when, the country being in danger, fathers were willing to
sacrifice, not only their sons, but their daughters on the altar of
patriotism! Do you doubt it?--unbelieving and selfish creatures of
these degenerate times! Listen! A certain father waited upon the Irish
Secretary, one fine morning, and in that peculiar strain which
secretaries of state must be pretty well used to, descanted at some
length on the devotion he had always shown to the government, and yet
they had given him no _proof of their confidence_. The Secretary
declared they had the highest sense of his merits, and that they had
given him their entire confidence.

"But you have given me nothing else, my lord," was the answer.

"My dear sir, of late we have not had any proof of sufficient weight in
our gift to convince you."

"Oh, I beg your pardon, my lord; there's a majority of the ---- dragoons
vacant."

"Very true, my dear sir; and if you _had_ a child to devote to the
service of your country, no one should have the majority sooner."

"Thank you, my lord," said the worthy man with a low bow; "then I
_have_ a child."

"Bless me, sir! I never heard you had a son."

"No, my lord, but I have a daughter."

"A daughter!" said my Lord Secretary, with a look of surprise; "but you
forget, sir--this is a regiment--a _dragoon_ regiment."

"Oh, she rides elegant," said her father.

"But, my dear sir--a woman?"

"Why shouldn't a woman do her duty, my lord, as well as a man, when the
country is in danger? I'm ready to sacrifice my daughter," said the
heroic man, with an air worthy of Virginius.

"My dear sir, this is really impossible; you _know_ it's
impossible."

"I know no such thing, my lord. But I'll tell you what I know: there's
a bill coming on next week--and there are _ten friends of mine_
who have not made up their minds yet."

"My dear sir," said the Lord Secretary, squeezing his hand with
vehement friendship, "why place us in this dreadful difficulty? It
would be impossible even to draw up the commission;--fancy, 'Major
_Maria_,' or 'Major _Margery_'!"

"Oh, my lord," said my father quickly, "I have fancied all that long
ago, and got a cure ready for it. My wife not having been blessed with
boys, we thought it wise to make the girls ready for any chance that
might turn up, and so we christened the eldest George, the second Jack,
and the third Tom; which enables us to call them Georgina, Jacqueline,
and Thomasine, in company, while the secret of their real names rests
between ourselves and the parish register. Now, my lord, what do you
say? I have George, Jack, and Tom--think of your _bill_!" The argument
was conclusive, and the patriotic man got the majority of a cavalry
corps, with perpetual leave of absence, for his daughter Jack, who
would much rather have joined the regiment.

Such were the days in which our Furlong flourished; and in such days it
will not be wondered at that a Secretary, when he had no place to give
away, invented one. The old saying has it, that "Necessity is the
mother of invention;" but an Irish Secretary can beat necessity hollow.
For example--

A commission was issued, with a handsome salary to the commissioner, to
make a measurement through all the streets of Dublin, ascertaining the
exact distances from the Castle, from a furlong upwards: and for many a
year did the commission work, inserting handsome stone slabs into walls
of most ignorant houses, till then unconscious of their precise
proximity or remoteness from the seat of government. Ever after that,
if you saw some portly building, blushing in the pride of red brick,
and perfumed with fresh paint, and saw the tablet recording the
interesting fact thus--

                         +------------------+
                         | FROM THE CASTLE, |
                         |   ONE FURLONG.   |
                         +------------------+

Fancy might suggest that the house rejoiced, as it were, in its honoured
position, and did

    --"look so fine, and smell so sweet,"

because it was under the nose of viceroyalty, while the suburbs
revealed poor tatterdemalion tenements, dropping their slates like
tears, and uttering their hollow sighs through empty casements, merely
because they were "one mile two furlongs from the Castle." But the new
stone tablet which told you so seemed to mock their misery, and looked
like a fresh stab into their poor old sides; as if the rapier of a king
had killed a beggar.

This very original measure of measurement was provocative of ridicule
or indignation, as the impatient might happen to be infected; but while
the affair was in full blow, Mr. Furlong, who was the commissioner,
while walking in Sackville-street, one day, had a goodly sheet of paper
pinned to his back by some--

    --"sweet Roman hand,"

bearing, in large letters, the inversion of one of his own tablets,

                         +------------------+
                         |   ONE FURLONG    |
                         | FROM THE CASTLE. |
                         +------------------+

and as he swaggered along in conscious dignity, he wondered at the
shouts of laughter ringing behind him, and turned round occasionally to
see the cause; but ever as he turned, faces were screwed up into
seriousness, while the laughter rang again in his rear. Furlong was
bewildered, and much as he was used to the mirthfulness of an Irish
populace, he certainly _did_ wonder what fiend of fun possessed them
that day, until the hall porter of the secretary's office solved the
enigma by respectfully asking would he not take the placard from his
back before he presented himself. The Mister Furlong who is engaged in
our story was the nephew of the man of measurement memory; and his
mother, a vulgar woman, sent her son to England to be educated, that he
might "pick up the ax'nt; 't was so jinteel, the Inglish ax'nt!" And,
accordingly, the youth endeavoured all he could to become _un_-Irish in
everything, and was taught to believe that all the virtue and wisdom in
Ireland was vested in the Castle and hangers-on thereof, and that the
mere people were worse than savages.

With such feelings it was that this English Irishman, employed to open
negotiations between the government and Squire O'Grady, visited the
wilds of Ireland; and the circumstances attendant on the stopping of
the chaise afforded the peculiar genius of Handy Andy an opportunity of
making a glorious confusion, by driving the political enemy of the
sitting member into his house, where, by a curious coincidence, a
strange gentleman was expected every day on a short visit. After Andy
had driven some time, he turned round and spoke to Mr. Furlong, through
the pane of glass with which the front window-frame of the chaise was
_not_ furnished.

"Faix, you wor nigh shootin' me, your honour," said Andy.

"I should not wepwoach myself, if I had," said Mr. Furlong, "when you
quied stop on the woad: wobbers always qui stop, and I took you for a
wobber."

"Faix, the robbers here, your honour, never axes you to stop at all,
but they stop you without axin', or by your lave, or wid your lave.
Sure, I was only afeerd you'd dhrive over the man in the road."

"What was that man in the woad doing?"

"Nothin' at all, 'faith, for he wasn't able; he was dhrunk, sir."

"The postilion said he was his bwother."

"Yis, your honour, and he's a postilion himself--only he lost his
horses and the shay--he got dhrunk, and fell off."

"Those wascally postilions often get dwunk, I suppose?"

"Oh, common enough, sir, particular now about the 'lection time; for
the gentlemin is dhrivin' over the country like mad, right and left,
and gives the boys money to dhrink their health, till they are killed
a'most with the falls they get."

"Then postilions often fall on the woads here?"

"Throth, the roads is covered with them sometimes, when the 'lections
comes an."

"What howwid immowality! I hope you're not dwunk?"

"Faix, I wish I was!" said Andy. "It's a great while since I had a
dhrop; but it won't be long so, when your honour gives me something to
dhrink your health."

"Well, don't talk, but dwive on."

All Andy's further endeavours to get "his honour" into conversation
were unavailing; so he whipped on in silence till his arrival at the
gate-house of Merryvale demanded his call for entrance.

"What are you shouting there for?" said the traveller; "cawn't you
wing?"

"Oh, they understand the _shilloo_ as well, sir;" and in confirmation
of Andy's assurance, the bars of the entrance gates were withdrawn, and
the post-chaise rattled up the avenue to the house.

Andy alighted, and gave a thundering tantara-ra at the door. The
servant who opened it was surprised at the sight of Andy, and could not
repress a shout of wonder. Here Dick Dawson came into the hall, and
seeing Andy at the door, gave a loud halloo, and clapped his hands in
delight--for he had not seen him since the day of the chase.

"An' is it there you are again, you unlucky vagabone?" said Dick; "and
what brings you here?"

"I come with a jintleman to the masther, Misther Dick."

"Oh, it's the visitor, I suppose," said Dick, as he himself went out,
with that unceremonious readiness so characteristic of the wild fellow
he was, to open the door of the chaise for his brother-in-law's guest.

"You're welcome," said Dick; "come, step in--the servants will look to
your luggage. James, get in Mr. ----, I beg your pardon, but 'pon my
soul, I forgot your name, though Moriarty told me."

"Mr. Furlong," gently uttered the youth.

"Get in the luggage, James. Come, sir, walk into the dinner-room: we
haven't finished our wine yet." With these words Dick ushered in
Furlong to the apartment where Squire Egan sat, who rose as they
entered. "Mr. Furlong, Ned," said Dick.

"Happy to see you, Mr. Furlong," said the hearty Squire, who shook
Furlong's hand in what Furlong considered a most savage manner. "You
seem fatigued?"

"Vewy," was the languid reply of the traveller, as he threw himself
into a chair.

"Ring the bell for more claret, Dick," said Squire Egan.

"I neveh dwink."

Dick and the Squire both looked at him with amazement, for in the
friend of Moriarty they expected to find a hearty fellow.

"A cool bottle wouldn't do a child any harm," said the Squire. "Ring,
Dick. And now, Mr. Furlong, tell us how you like the country."

"Not much, I pwotest."

"What do you think of the people?"

"Oh, I don't know:--you'll pawdon me, but--a--in short there are so
many wags."

"Oh, there are wags enough, I grant; not funnier d----ls in the world."

"But I mean _wags_--tatters, I mean."

"Oh, rags. Oh, yes--why, indeed, they've not much clothes to spare."

"And yet these wetches are fweeholders, I'm told."

"Ay, and stout voters too."

"Well, that's all we wequire. By-the-bye, how goes on the canvass,
Squire?"

"Famously."

"Oh, wait till I explain to you our plan of opewations from head-qwaters.
You'll see how famously we shall wally at the hustings. These _Iwish_
have no idea of tactics: we'll intwoduce the English mode--take them by
supwise. We _must_ unseat him."

"Unseat who?" said the Squire.

"That--a--Egan, I think you call him."

The Squire opened his eyes; but Dick, with the ready devilment that was
always about him, saw how the land lay in an instant, and making a
signal to his brother-in-law, chimed in with an immediate assent to
Furlong's assertion, and swore that Egan would be unseated to a
certainty. "Come, sir," added Dick, "fill one bumper at least to a
toast I propose. Here's 'Confusion to Egan, and success to O'Grady.'"

"Success to O'Gwady," faintly echoed Furlong, as he sipped his claret.
"These _Iwish_ are so wild--so uncultivated," continued he; "you'll see
how I'll supwise them with some of my plans."

"Oh, they're poor ignorant brutes," said Dick, "that know nothing: a
man of the world like you would buy and sell them."

"You see, they've no finesse: they have a certain degwee of weadiness,
but no depth--no weal finesse."

"Not as much as would physic a snipe," said Dick, who swallowed a glass
of claret to conceal a smile.

"What's that you say about snipes and physic?" said Furlong; "what
queer things you _Iwish_ do say."

"Oh, we've plenty o' queer fellows here," said Dick; "but you are not
taking your claret."

"The twuth is, I am fatigued--vewy--and if you'd allow me, Mr. O'Gwady,
I should like to go to my woom; we'll talk over business to-mowwow."

"Certainly," said the Squire, who was glad to get rid of him, for the
scene was becoming too much for his gravity. So Dick Dawson lighted
Furlong to his room, and after heaping civilities upon him, left him to
sleep in the camp of his enemies, and then returned to the dining-room,
to enjoy with the Squire the laugh they were so long obliged to repress,
and to drink another bottle of claret on the strength of the joke.

"What shall we do with him, Dick?" said the Squire.

"Pump him as dry as a lime-kiln," said Dick, "and then send him off to
O'Grady--all's fair in war."

"To be sure," said the Squire. "Unseat me, indeed! he was near it, sure
enough, for I thought I'd have dropped off my chair with surprise when
he said it."

"And the conceit and impudence of the fellow," said Dick. "The ignorant
_Iwish_--nothing will serve him but abusing his own countrymen! 'The
ignorant Irish!'--oh, is that all you learn in Oxford, my boy?--just wait,
my buck--if I don't astonish your weak mind, it's no matter!"

"'Faith, he has brought his pigs to a pretty market here," said the
Squire; "but how _did_ he come here? how was the mistake made?"

"The way every mistake in the country is made," said Dick. "Handy Andy
drove him here."

"More power to you, Andy," said the Squire. "Come, Dick, we'll drink
Andy's health--this is a mistake on the right side."

And Andy's health _was_ drunk, as well as several other healths. In
short, the Squire and Dick the Devil were in high glee--the dining-room
rang with laughter to a late hour; and the next morning a great many
empty claret bottles were on the table--and a few on the floor.



CHAPTER X


Notwithstanding the deep potations of the Squire and Dick Dawson the
night before, both were too much excited by the arrival of Furlong to
permit their being laggards in the morning; they were up and in
consultation at an early hour, for the purpose of carrying on
prosperously the mystification so well begun on the Castle-agent.

"Now, first of all, Dick," said the Squire, "is it fair, do you think?"

"Fair!" said Dick, opening his eyes in astonishment. "Why who ever
heard of any one questioning anything being fair in love, or war, or
electioneering? To be sure, it's fair--and more particularly when the
conceited coxcomb has been telling us how he'll astonish with his plans
the poor ignorant Irish, whom he holds in such contempt. Now, let me
alone, and I'll get all his plans out of him, turn him inside out like
a glove, pump him as dry as a pond in the summer, squeeze him like a
lemon--and let him see whether the poor ignorant _Iwish_, as he softly
calls us, are not an overmatch for him at the finesse upon which he
seems so much to pride himself."

"Egad! I believe you're right, Dick," said the Squire, whose qualms
were quite overcome by the argument last advanced; for if one thing
more than another provoked him, it was the impertinent self-conceit of
presuming and shallow strangers, who fancied their hackneyed and
cut-and-dry knowledge of the common-places of the world gave them a
mental elevation above an intelligent people of primitive habits, whose
simplicity of life is so often set down to stupidity, whose contentment
under privation is frequently attributed to laziness, and whose poverty
is constantly coupled with the epithet "ignorant." "A poor ignorant
creature," indeed, is a common term of reproach, as if poverty and
ignorance must be inseparable. If a list could be obtained of the
_rich_ ignorant people, it would be no flattering document to stick on
the door of the temple of Mammon.

"Well, Ned," said Dick, "as you agree to _do_ the Englishman, Murphy
will be a grand help to us; it is the very thing he will have his heart
in. Murtough will be worth his weight in gold to us; I will ride over
to him and bring him back with me to spend the day here; and you, in
the mean time, can put every one about the house on their guard not to
spoil the fun by letting the cat out of the bag too soon; we'll _shake
her_ ourselves in good time, and maybe we won't have fun in the hunt!"

"You're right, Dick. Murphy is the very man for our money. Do you be
off for him, and I will take care that all shall be right at home
here."

In ten minutes more Dick was in his saddle, and riding hard for
Murtough Murphy's. A good horse and a sharp pair of spurs were not long
in placing him _vis-à-vis_ with the merry attorney, whom he found in
his stable-yard up to his eyes in business with some ragged country
fellows, the majority of whom were loud in vociferating their praises
of certain dogs; while Murtough drew from one of them, from time to
time, a solemn assurance, given with many significant shakes of the
head, and uplifting of hands and eyes, "that was the finest badger in
the world!" Murtough turned his head on hearing the rattle of the
horse's feet, as Dick the Devil dashed into the stable-yard, and with a
view-halloo welcomed him.

"You're just in time, Dick. By the powers! we'll have the finest day's
sport you've seen for some time."

"I think we shall," said Dick, "if you come with me."

"No; but you come with me," said Murtough. "The grandest badger-fight,
sir."

"Pooh!" returned Dick; "I've better fun for you." He then told them of
the accident that conveyed their political enemy into their toils; "and
the beauty of it is," said Dick, "that he has not the remotest suspicion
of the condition he's in, and fancies himself able to buy and sell all
Ireland--horse-dealers and attorneys included."

"That's elegant!" said Murphy.

"He's come to enlighten us, Murtough," said Dick.

"And maybe, we won't return the compliment," said Murtough. "Just let me
put on my boots. Hilloa, you Larry! saddle the grey. Don't you cut the
pup's ears till I come home! and if Mr. Ferguson sends over for the
draft of the lease, tell him it won't be ready till to-morrow. Molly!
Molly! where are you, you old divil? Sew on that button for me--I forgot
to tell you yesterday--make haste! I won't delay you a moment, Dick.
Stop a minute, though. I say, Lanty Houligan--mind, on your peril, you
old vagabone, don't let them fight that badger without me. Now, Dick,
I'll be with you in the twinkling of a bedpost, and _do_ the Englishman,
and that smart! Bad luck to their conceit! they think we can do nothing
regular in Ireland."

On his arrival at Merryvale and hearing how matters stood, Murtough
Murphy was in a perfect agony of delight in anticipating the
mystification of the kidnapped agent. Dick's intention had been to take
him along with them on their canvass, and openly engage him in all their
electioneering movements; but to this Murphy objected, as running too
great a risk of discovery. He recommended rather to engage Furlong in
amusements which would detain him from O'Grady and his party, and gain
time for their side; and get out of him all the electioneering plot of
the other party, _indirectly_; but to have as little _real_ electioneering
business as possible. "If you do, Dick," said Murphy, "take my word, we
shall betray ourselves somehow or other--he could not be so soft as not
to see it; but let us be content to amuse him with all sorts of absurd
stories of Ireland--and the Irish--tell him magnificent lies--astonish
him with grand materials for a note-book, and work him up to
publish--that's the plan, sir!"

The three conspirators now joined the family party, which had just sat
down to breakfast; Dick, in his own jolly way, hoped Furlong had slept
well.

"Vewy," said Furlong, as he sipped his tea with an air of peculiar
_nonchalance_ which was meant to fascinate Fanny Dawson, who, when
Furlong addressed to her his first silly common-place, with his peculiar
_non_-pronunciation of the letter R, established a lisp directly, and it
was as much as her sister, Mrs. Egan, could do to keep her countenance,
as Fanny went on slaughtering the S's as fast as Furlong ruined R's.

"I'll twouble you for a little mo' queam," said he, holding forth his
cup and saucer with an affected air.

"Perhapth you'd like thum more theugar," lisped Fanny, lifting the
sugar-tongs with an exquisite curl of her little finger.

"I'm glad to hear you slept well," said Dick to Furlong.

"To be sure he slept well," said Murphy; "this is the sleepiest air in
the world."

"The sleepiest air?" returned Furlong, somewhat surprised. "That's vewy
odd."

"Not at all, sir," said Murphy; "well known fact. When I first came
to this part of the country, I used to sleep for two days together
sometimes. Whenever I wanted to rise early, I was always obliged to get
up the night before."

This was said by the brazen attorney, from his seat at a side-table,
which was amply provided with a large dish of boiled potatoes, capacious
jugs of milk, a quantity of cold meat and game. Murphy had his mouth
half filled with potatoes as he spoke, and swallowed a large draught of
milk as the stranger swallowed Murphy's lie.

"You don't eat potatoes, I perceive, sir," said Murphy.

"Not for bweakfast," said Furlong.

"Do you for thupper?" lisped Fanny.

"Never in England," he replied.

"Finest things in the world, sir, for the intellect," said Murphy. "I
attribute the natural intelligence of the Irish entirely to their eating
them."

"Oh, they are thometimes tho thleepy at the Cathtle," said Fanny.

"Weally!" said the exquisite, with the utmost simplicity.

"Fanny is very provoking, Mr. Furlong," said Mrs. Egan, who was obliged
to say something with a smile, to avoid the laugh which continued
silence would have forced upon her.

"Oh, no!" said the dandy, looking tenderly at Fanny; "only vewy
agweable--fond of a little wepa'tee."

"They call me thatirical here," said Fanny, "only fanthy!" and she cast
down her eyes with an exquisite affectation of innocence.

"By-the-bye, when does your post awive here--the mail I mean?" said
Furlong.

"About nine in the morning," said the Squire.

"And when does it go out?"

"About one in the afternoon."

"And how far is the post town fwom your house?"

"About eight or nine miles."

"Then you can answer your letters by wetu'n of post?"

"Oh dear, no!" said the Squire; "the boy takes any letters that may be
for the post the following morning, as he goes to the town to look for
letters."

"But you lose a post by that," said Furlong.

"And what matter?" said the Squire.

The official's notions of regularity were somewhat startled by the
Squire's answer; so he pushed him with a few more questions. In reply
to one of the last, the Squire represented that the post-boy was saved
going twice a day by the present arrangement.

"Ay, but you lose a post, my dear sir," said Furlong, who still clung
with pertinacity to the fitness of saving a post. "Don't you see that
you might weceive your letter at half-past ten; well, then you'll have
a full hour to wite you' answer; that's quite enough time, I should
think, for you wetu'ning an answer."

"But, my dear sir," said Murtough Murphy, "our grand object in Ireland
is _not_ to answer letters."

"Oh!--ah!--hum!--indeed!--well, that's odd; how _vewy_ odd you
Iwish are!"

"Sure, that's what makes us such pleasant fellows," said Murtough. "If
we were like the rest of the world, there would be nothing remarkable
about us; and who'd care for us?"

"Well, Mr. Muffy, you say such queer things--weally."

"Ay, and I _do_ queer things sometimes--don't I, Squire?"

"There's no denying it, Murphy."

"Now, Mr. O'Gwady," said Furlong, "had we not better talk over our
election business?"

"Oh, hang business to-day!" said Murphy: "let's have some fishing: I'll
show you such salmon-fishing as you never saw in your life."

"What do _you_ say, Mr. O'Gwady?" said Furlong.

"'Faith, I think we might as well amuse ourselves."

"But the election is weally of such consequence; I should think it would
be a wema'kably close contest, and we have no time to lose; I should
think--with submission----"

"My dear sir," said Murphy, "we'll beat them hollow: our canvass has
been most prosperous; there's only one thing I'm afraid of."

"What's that?" said Furlong.

"That Egan has money; and I'm afraid he'll bribe high."

"As for bwibewy, neve' mind that," said Furlong, with a very wise nod of
his head and a sagacious wink. "_We'll spend money too._ We're pwepawed
for that: plenty of money will be advanced, for the gov'nment is weally
anxious that Mr. Scatte'bwain should come in."

"Oh, then, all's right?" said Murphy. "But--whisper--Mr. Furlong--be
cautious how you mention _money_, for there are sharp fellows about
here, and there's no knowing how the wind of the word might put the
other party on their guard, and, maybe, help to unseat our man upon a
petition."

"Oh, let me alone," said Furlong. "I know a twick too many for that: let
them catch me betwaying a secwet!  No, no--_wather_ too sharp for that!"

"Oh! don't suppose, my dear sir," said Murphy, "that I doubt your
caution for a moment. I see, sir, in the twinkling of an eye, a man's
character--always did--always could, since I was the height o' that;"
and Murphy stooped down and extended his hand about two feet above the
floor, while he looked up in the face of the man he was humbugging with
the most unblushing impudence--"since I was the height o' that, sir, I
had a natural quickness for discerning character; and I see you're a
young gentleman of superior acuteness and discretion; but, at the same
time, don't be angry with me for just hinting to you, that some of these
Irish chaps are d----d rogues. I beg your pardon, Mrs. O'Grady, for
saying d----n before a lady;" and he made a low bow to Mrs. Egan, who
was obliged to leave the room to hide her laughter.

"Now," said Furlong, "suppose befo'e the opening of the poll, we should
pwopose, as it were, with a view to save time, that the bwibery oath
should not be administe'd on either side."

"That's an elegant idea!" said Murphy. "By the wig o' the chief
justice--and that's a big oath--you're a janius, Misther Furlong, and I
admire you. Sir, you're worth your weight in gold to us!"

"Oh, you flatte' me!--weally," said Furlong, with affected modesty,
while he ran his fingers through his Macassar-oiled ringlets.

"Well, now for a start to the river, and won't we have sport! You
English-taught gentlemen have only one fault on the face of the
earth--you're too fond of business--you make yourselves slaves to
propriety--there's no fun in you."

"I beg pawdon--there," said Furlong, "we like fun in good time."

"Ay; but there's where we beat you," said Murphy, triumphantly; "the
genuine home-bred Paddy makes time for fun sooner than anything else--we
take our own way, and live the longer."

"Ah! you lose your time--though--excuse me; you lose your time, indeed."

"Well, 'divil may care,' as Punch said when he lost mass, 'there's more
churches nor one,' says he, and that's the way with us," said Murphy.
"Come, Dick, get the fishing-lines ready; heigh for the salmon-fishery!
You must know, Misther Furlong, we fish for salmon with line here."

"I don't see how you could fish any other way," said the dandy, smiling
at Murphy, as if he had caught him in saying something absurd.

"Ah, you rogue," said Murphy, affecting to be hit; "you're too sharp
for us poor Irish fellows; but you know the old saying, 'An Irishman
has leave to speak twice;' but, after all, it's no great mistake I've
made: for when I say we fish for salmon with a line, I mean we don't
use a rod, but a leaded line, the same as in sea-fishing."

"How vewy extwao'dinary! Why, I should think that impossible."

"And why should it be impossible?" said Murphy, with the most unabashed
impudence. "Have not all nations habits and customs peculiar to
themselves? Don't the English catch their fish by striking them under
water with a long rough stick, and a little cur-whibble of a bone at
the end of it?"

"Speawing them, you mean," said Furlong.

"Ay, you know the right name, of course; but isn't that quite as odd,
or more so than our way here?"

"That's vewy twue indeed; but your sea-line fishing in a wiver, and for
salmon, strikes me as vewy singular."

"Well, sir, the older we grow the more we learn. You'll see what fine
sport it is; but don't lose any more time: let us be off to the river
at once."

"I'll make a slight change in my dwess, if you please--I'll be down
immediately;" and Furlong left the room.

During his absence, the Squire, Dick, and Murphy, enjoyed a hearty
laugh, and ran over the future proceedings of the day.

"But what do you mean by this salmon-fishing, Murphy?" said Dick; "you
know there never was a salmon in the river."

"But there will be to-day," said Murphy; "and a magnificent gudgeon
will see him caught. What a spoon that fellow is!--we've got the
bribery out of him already."

"You did that well, Murphy," said the Squire.

"Be at him again when he comes down," said Dick.

"No, no," said Murphy, "let him alone; he is so conceited about his
talent for business, that he will be talking of it without our pushing
him: just give him rope enough, and he'd hang himself; _we'll have the
whole of their campaign out before the day is over_."



CHAPTER XI


All men love to gain their ends; most men are contented with the
shortest road to them, while others like by-paths. Some carry an innate
love of triumph to a pitch of epicurism, and are not content unless the
triumph be achieved in a certain way, making collateral passions
accessories before or after the fact; and Murphy was one of the number.
To him, a triumph without _fun_ was beef without mustard, lamb without
salad, turbot without lobster sauce. Now, to entangle Furlong in their
meshes was not sufficient for him; to detain him from his friends, every
moment betraying something of their electioneering movements, though
sufficiently ludicrous in itself, was not enough for Murtough!--he would
make his captive a source of ridicule as well as profit, and while
plenty of real amusements might have served his end, to divert the
stranger for the day, this mock fishing-party was planned to brighten
with fresh beams the halo of the ridiculous which already encircled the
magnanimous Furlong.

"I'm still in the dark," said Dick, "about the salmon. As I said before,
there never was a salmon in the river."

"But, as I said before," replied Murphy, "there will be to-day; and you
must help me in playing off the trick."

"But what _is_ this trick? Confound you, you're as mysterious as a
chancery suit."

"I wish I was likely to last half as long," said Murphy.

"The trick!" said Dick. "Bad luck to you, tell me the trick, and don't
keep me waiting, like a poor relation."

"You have two boats on the river?" said Murphy.

"Yes."

"Well, you must get into one with our victim: and I can get into the
other with the salmon."

"But where's the salmon, Murphy?"

"In the house, for I sent one over this morning, a present to Mrs. Egan.
You must keep away about thirty yards or so, when we get afloat, that
our dear friend may not perceive the trick--and in proper time I will
hook my dead salmon on one of my lines, drop him over the off-side of
the boat, pass him round to the gun-wale within view of our intelligent
castle customer, make a great outcry, swear I have a noble bite, haul up
my fish with an enormous splash, and, affecting to kill him in the boat,
hold up my salmon in triumph."

"It's a capital notion, Murphy, if he doesn't smoke the trick."

"He'll smoke the salmon sooner. Never mind, if I don't hoax him: I'll
bet you what you like he's done."

"I hear him coming down-stairs," said the Squire.

"Then send off the salmon in a basket by one of the boys, Dick," said
Murphy; "and you, Squire, may go about your canvass, and leave us in
care of the enemy."

All was done as Murphy proposed, and, in something less than an hour,
Furlong and Dick in one boat, and Murphy and his attendant _gossoon_ in
another, were afloat on the river, to initiate the Dublin citizen into
the mysteries of this new mode of salmon-fishing.

The sport at first was slack, and no wonder; and Furlong began to grow
tired, when Murphy hooked on his salmon, and gently brought it round
under the water within range of his victim's observation.

"This is wather dull work," said Furlong.

"Wait awhile, my dear sir; they are never lively in biting so early as
this--they're not set about feeding in earnest yet. Hilloa! by the
Hokey I have him!" shouted Murphy. Furlong looked on with great
anxiety, as Murphy made a well-feigned struggle with a heavy fish.

"By this and that, he's a whopper!" cried Murphy in ecstasy. "He's
kicking like a two-year old. I have him, though, as fast as the rock o'
Dunamase. Come up, you thief!" cried he, with an exulting shout, as he
pulled up the salmon with all the splash he could produce; and suddenly
whipping the fish over the side into the boat, he began flapping it
about as if it were plunging in the death-struggle. As soon as he had
affected to kill it, he held it up in triumph before the castle
conjuror, who was quite taken in by the feint, and protested his
surprise loudly.

"Oh! that's nothing to what we'll do yet. If the day should become a
little more overcast, we'd have splendid sport, sir."

"Well, I could not have believed, if I hadn't seen it," said Furlong.

"Oh! you'll see more than that, my boy, before we've done with them."

"But I haven't got even a bite yet!"

"Nor I either," said Dick; "you're not worse off than I am."

"But how extwao'dinawy it is that I have not seen a fish wise since I
have been on the wiver."

"That's because they see us watching them," said Dick. "The d----l such
cunning brutes I ever met with as the fish in this river: now, if you
were at a distance from the bank, you'd see them jumping as lively as
grasshoppers.  Whisht! I think I had a nibble."

"You don't seem to have good sport there," shouted Murphy.

"Vewy poo' indeed," said Furlong, dolefully.

"Play your line a little," said Murphy; "keep the bait lively--you're
not up to the way of fascinating them yet."

"Why, no; it's wather _noo_ to me."

"'Faith!" said Murphy to himself, "it's new to all of us. It's a bran
new invention in the fishing line. Billy," said he to the _gossoon_, who
was in the boat with him, "we must catch a salmon again to _divart_ that
strange gentleman--hook him on, my buck."

"Yes, sir," said Billy, with delighted eagerness, for the boy entered
into the fun of the thing heart and soul, and as he hooked on the salmon
for a second haul, he interlarded his labours with such ejaculations as,
"Oh, Misther Murphy, sir, but you're the funny jintleman. Oh, Misther
Murphy, sir, how soft the stranger is, sir. The salmon's ready for
ketchin' now, sir. Will you ketch him yet, sir?"

"Coax him round, Billy," said Murphy.

The young imp executed the manoeuvre with adroitness; and Murphy was
preparing for another haul, as Furlong's weariness began to manifest
itself.

"Do you intend wemaining here all day? Do you know, I think I've no
chance of any spo't."

"Oh, wait till you hook _one_ fish, at all events," said Murphy; "just
have it to say you killed a salmon in the new style. The day is
promising better. I'm sure we'll have sport yet. Hilloa! I've another!"
and Murphy began hauling in the salmon. "Billy, you rascal, get ready;
watch him--that's it--mind him now!" Billy put out his gaff to seize the
prize, and, making a grand swoop, affected to miss the fish. "Gaff him,
you thief, gaff him!" shouted Murphy, "gaff him, or he'll be off."

"Oh, he's so lively, sir!" roared Billy; "he's a rogue, sir--he won't
let me put the gaff undher him, sir--ow, he slipped away agin."

"Make haste, Billy, or I can't hold him."

"Oh, the thief!" said Billy; "one would think he was cotcht before, he's
so up to it. Ha!--hurroo!--I have him now, sir." Billy made all the
splash he could in the water as Murphy lifted the fish to the surface
and swung him into the boat. Again there was the flopping and the riot,
and Billy screeching, "Kill him, sir!--kill him, sir!--or he'll be off
out o' my hands!" In proper time the fish _was_ killed and shown up in
triumph, and the imposture completed.

And now Furlong began to experience that peculiar longing for catching a
fish, which always possesses men who see fish taken by others; and the
desire to have a salmon of his own killing induced him to remain on the
river. In the long intervals of idleness which occurred between the
occasional hooking up of the salmon, which Murphy _did_ every now and
then, Furlong _would be talking_ about business to Dick Dawson, so that
they had not been very long on the water until Dick became enlightened
on some more very important points connected with the election. Murphy
now pushed his boat on towards the shore.

"You're not going yet?" said the anxious fisherman;--"_do_ wait till I
catch a fish!"

"Certainly," said Murphy: "I'm only going to put Billy ashore, and send
home what we've already caught.  Mrs. O'Grady is passionately fond of
salmon."

Billy was landed, and a large basket in which the salmon had been
brought down to the boat, was landed also--_empty_; and Murphy, lifting
the basket as if it contained a considerable weight, placed it on
Billy's head, and the sly young rascal bent beneath it, as if all the
fish Murphy had pretended to take were really in it; and he went on his
homeward way, with a tottering step, as if the load were too much for
him.

"That boy," said Furlong, "will never be able to cawwy all those fish to
the house."

"Oh, they won't be too much for him," said Dick. "Curse the fish!  I
wish they'd bite. That thief, Murphy, has had all the sport; but he's
the best fisherman in the county, I'll own that."

The two boats all this time had been drifting down the river, and on
opening a new reach of the stream, a somewhat extraordinary scene of
fishing presented itself. It was not like Murphy's fishing, the result
of a fertile invention, but the consequence of the evil destiny which
presided over all the proceedings of Handy Andy. The fishing-party in
the boats beheld another fishing-party on shore, with this difference
in the nature of what they sought to catch, that while they in the
boats were looking for salmon, those on shore were seeking for a
post-chaise; and as about a third part of a vehicle so called was
apparent above the water, Furlong exclaimed with extreme surprise--

"Well, if it ain't a post-chaise!"

"Oh! that's nothing extraordinary," said Dick; "common enough here."

"How do you mean?"

"We've a custom here of running steeple-chases in post-chaises."

"Oh, thank you," said Furlong. "Come, that's _too_ good."

"You don't believe it, I see," said Dick. "But you did not believe the
salmon-fishing till you saw it."

"Oh, come now! How the deuce could you leap a ditch in a post-chaise?"

"I never said we leaped ditches; I only said we rode steeple-chases. The
system is this:--You go for a given point, taking high road, by-road,
plain, or lane, as the case may be, making the best of your way how you
can. Now our horses in this country are celebrated for being good
swimmers, so it's a favourite plan to shirk a bridge sometimes by
swimming a river."

"But no post-chaise will float," said Furlong, regularly arguing against
Dick's mendacious absurdity.

"Oh! we are prepared for that here. The chaises are made light, have
cork bottoms, and all the solid work is made hollow; the doors are made
water tight, and, if the stream runs strong, the passenger jumps out and
swims."

"But that's not fair," said Furlong; "it alters the weight."

"Oh! it's allowed on both sides," said Dick, "so it's all the same.
It's as good for the goose as the gander."

"I wather imagine it is much fitter for geese and ganders than human
beings. I know I should wather be a goose on the occasion."

All this time they were nearing the party on shore, and as the
post-chaise became more developed, so did the personages on the bank of
the river: and amongst these Dick Dawson saw Handy Andy in the custody
of two men, and Squire O'Grady shaking his fist in his face and storming
at him. How all this party came there, it is necessary to explain. When
Handy Andy had deposited Furlong at Merryvale, he drove back to pick up
the fallen postilion and his brother on the road; but before he reached
them, he had to pass a public-house--I say _had_ to pass--but he didn't.
Andy stopped, as every honourable postilion is bound to do, to drink the
health of the gentleman who gives him the last half-crown: and he was so
intent on "doing that same," as they say in Ireland, that Andy's driving
became very equivocal afterwards. In short, he drove the post-chaise
into the river; the horses got disentangled by kicking the traces (which
were very willing to break) into pieces; and Andy, by sticking to the
neck of the horse he rode, got out of the water. The horses got home
without the post-chaise, and the other post-chaise and pair got home
without a postilion, so that Owny Doyle was roused from his bed by the
neighing of the horses at the gate of the inn. Great was his surprise at
the event, as, half clad, and a candle in his hand, he saw two pair of
horses, one chaise, and no driver, at his door. The next morning the
plot thickened. Squire O'Grady came to know if a gentleman had arrived
at the town on his way to Neck-or-Nothing Hall. The answer was in the
affirmative. Then "Where was he?" became a question. Then the report
arrived of the post-chaise being upset in the river. Then came stories
of postilions falling off, of postilions being changed, of Handy Andy
being employed to take the gentleman to the place; and out of these
materials the story became current, that "an English gentleman was
dhrownded in the river in a post-chaise." O'Grady set off directly with
a party to have the river dragged, and near the spot encountering Handy
Andy, he ordered him to be seized, and accused him of murdering his
friend.

It was in this state of things that the boats approached the party on
land, and the moment Dick Dawson saw Handy Andy, he put out his oars and
pulled away as hard as he could. At the moment he did so, Andy caught
sight of him, and pointing out Furlong and Dick to O'Grady, he shouted,
"There he is!--there he is!--I never murdhered him? There he is!--stop
him! Misther Dick, stop, for the love of God!"

"What's all this about?" said Furlong, in great amazement.

"Oh, he's a process-server," said Dick; "the people are going to drown
him, maybe."

"To dwown him?" said Furlong, in horror.

"If he has luck," said Dick, "they'll only give him a good ducking; but
we had better have nothing to do with it. I would not like you to be
engaged in one of these popular riots."

"I shouldn't wellish it myself," said Furlong.

"Pull away, Dick," said Murphy; "let them kill the blackguard, if they
like."

"But will they kill him weally?" inquired Furlong, somewhat horrified.

"'Faith, it's just as the whim takes them," said Murphy; "but as we
wish to be popular on the hustings, we must let them kill as many as
they please."

Andy still shouted loud enough to be heard. "Misther Dick, they're
goin' to murdher me."

"Poo' w'etch!" said Furlong, with a very uneasy shudder.

"Maybe you'd think it right for us to land, and rescue him," said
Murphy, affecting to put about the boat.

"Oh, by no means," said Furlong. "You're bettaw acquainted with the
customs of the countwy than I am."

"Then we'll row back to dinner as fast as we can," said Murphy. "Pull
away, my hearties!" and, as he bent to his oars, he began bellowing the
Canadian Boat-Song, to drown Andy's roar, and when he howled--

    "Our voices keep tune,"

there never was a more practical burlesque upon the words; but as he
added--

    "Our oars keep time,"

he seemed to have such a pleasure in pulling, and looked so lively and
florid, that Furlong, chilled by his inactivity on the water, requested
Murtough to let him have an oar, to restore circulation by exercise.
Murtough complied; but the novice had not pulled many strokes, before
his awkwardness produced that peculiar effect called "catching a crab,"
and a smart blow upon his chest sent him heels over head under the
thwarts of the boat.

"Wha-wha-a-t's that?" gasped Furlong, as he scrambled up again.

"You only caught a crab," said Murtough.

"Good Heaven!" said Furlong, "you don't mean to say there are crabs as
well as salmon in the wiver."

"Just as many crabs as salmon," said Murtough; "pull away, my hearty.

    "Row, brothers, row--the stream runs fast,
    The rapids are near, and the daylight's past!"



CHAPTER XII


The boats doubled round an angle in the river, and Andy was left in the
hands of Squire O'Grady still threatening vengeance; but Andy, as long
as the boats remained in sight, heard nothing but his own sweet voice
shouting at the top of its pitch, "They're going to murdher me!--Misther
Dick, Misther Dick, come back for the love o' God!"

"What are you roaring like a bull for?" said the Squire.

"Why wouldn't I roar, sir? A bull would roar if he had as much rayson."

"A bull has more reason than ever you had, you calf," said the Squire.

"Sure there he is, and can explain it all to you," said Andy, pointing
after the boats.

"Who is there?" asked the Squire.

"Misther Dick, and the jintleman that I dhruv there."

"Drove where?"

"To the Squire's."

"What Squire?"

"Squire Egan's, to be sure."

"Hold your tongue, you rascal; you're either drunk still, or telling
lies. The gentleman I mean wouldn't go to Mister Egan's; he was coming
to me."

"That's the jintleman I dhruv--that's all I know. He was in the shay,
and was nigh shootin' me; and Micky Doolin stopped on the road, when his
brother was nigh killed, and towld me to get up, for he wouldn't go no
farther, when the jintleman objected----"

"What did the gentleman object to?"

"He objected to Pether goin' into the shay."

"Who is Peter?"

"Pether Doolin, to be sure."

"And what brought Peter Doolin there?"

"He fell off the horses----"

"Wasn't it Mick Doolin you said was driving but a moment ago?"

"Ay, sir, but that was th' other shay."

"What other chaise, you vagabond?"

"Th' other shay, your honour, that I never see at all, good or
bad--only Pether."

"What diabolical confusion you are making of the story, to be sure!
There's no use in talking to you here, I see. Bring him after me," said
the Squire, to some of his people standing by. "I must keep him in
custody till something more satisfactory is made out about the matter."

"Sure it's not makin' a presner of me you'd be?" said Andy.

"You shall be kept in confinement, you scoundrel, till something is
heard of this strange gentleman. I'm afraid he's drowned."

"D----l a dhrowned. I dhruv him to Squire Egan's, I'll take my book
oath."

"That's downright nonsense, sir. He would as soon go into Squire Egan's
house as go to Fiddler's Green."[5]

      [5] Fiddler's Green is supposed to be situated on this (the cooler)
      side of the regions below.

"'Faith, then, there's worse places than Fiddler's Green," said Andy,
"as some people may find out one o' these days."

"I think, boys," said O'Grady, to the surrounding countrymen, "we must
drag the river."

"Dhrag the river if you plase," said Andy; "but, for the tendher mercy
o' Heaven, don't dhrag me to jail! By all the crosses in a yard o'
check, I dhruv the jintleman to Squire Egan's!--and there he was in that
boat I showed you five minutes agone."

"Bring him after me," said O'Grady. "The fellow is drunk still, or
forgets all about it; I must examine him again. Take him over to the
hall, and lock him up till I go home."

"Arrah sure, your honour," said Andy, commencing an appeal.

"If you say another word, you scoundrel," said the Squire, shaking his
whip at him, "I'll commit you to jail this minute. Keep a sharp eye
after him, Molloy," were the last words of the Squire to a stout-built
peasant, who took Andy in charge as the Squire mounted his horse and
rode away.

Andy was marched off to Neck-or-Nothing Hall; and, in compliance with
the Squire's orders, locked up in the justice-room. This was an
apartment where the Squire, in his magisterial capacity, dispensed what
he called justice, and what he possible meant to be such; but poor
Justice coming out of Squire O'Grady's hands was something like the
little woman in the song, who, having her petticoats cut short while she
was asleep, exclaimed on her waking--

    "As sure as I'm a little woman, this is none of I:"

only that Justice, in the present instance, did not doubt her identity
from her nakedness, but from the peculiar dressing Squire O'Grady
bestowed upon her--she was so muffled up in O'Gradyism that her own
mother (who, by the same token, was Themis) wouldn't know her. Indeed,
if I remember, Justice is worse off than mortals respecting her
parentage; for while there are many people who do not know who were
their fathers, poets are uncertain who was Justice's mother:--some say
Aurora, some say Themis. Now, if I might indulge at this moment in a bit
of reverie, it would not be unreasonable to suppose that it is the
classic disposition of Ireland, which is known to be a very ancient
country, that tends to make the operations of Justice assimilate with
the uncertainty of her birth; for her dispensations there are as
distinct as if they were the offspring of two different influences. One
man's justice is not another man's justice; which, I suppose, must arise
from the difference of opinion as to who and what Justice is. Perhaps
the rich people, who incline to power, may venerate Justice more as the
child of Jupiter and Themis; while the unruly ones worship her as the
daughter of Titan and Aurora; for undoubtedly the offspring of _Aurora_
must be most welcome to "_Peep-o'-day boys_."

Well--not to indulge further in reverie--Andy, I say, was locked up in
the justice-room; and as I have been making all these observations about
Justice, a few words will not be thrown away about the room which she
was supposed to inhabit. Then I must say Squire O'Grady did not use her
well. The room was a cold, comfortless apartment, with a plastered wall
and an earthen floor, save at one end, where a raised platform of boards
sustained a desk and one high office-chair. No other seat was in the
room, nor was there any lateral window, the room being lighted from the
top, so that Justice could be in no way interested with the country
outside--she could only contemplate her native heaven through the
sky-light. Behind the desk were placed a rude shelf, where some "modern
instances," and old ones too, were lying-covered with dust--and a
gun-rack, where some carbines with fixed bayonets were paraded in show
of authority; so that, to an imaginative mind, the aspect of the books
and the fire-arms gave the notion of Justice on the shelf, and Law on
the rack.

But, Andy thought not of these things; he had not the imagination which
sometimes gives a prisoner a passing pleasure in catching a whimsical
conceit from his situation, and, in the midst of his anxiety, anticipating
the satisfaction he shall have in saying a good thing, even at the
expense of his own suffering. Andy only knew that he was locked up in
the justice-room for something he never did. He had only sense enough to
feel that he was wronged, without the spirit to wish himself righted;
and he sauntered up and down the cold, miserable room, anxiously waiting
the arrival of "his honour, Squire O'Grady," to know what his fate might
be, and wondering if they would hang him for upsetting a post-chaise in
which a gentleman _had been_ riding, rather than brooding future means
of redress for his false imprisonment.

There was no window to look out of; he had not the comfort of seeing a
passing fellow-creature--for the sight of one's kind _is_ a comfort. He
could not even behold the green earth and the freshness of nature,
which, though all unconsciously, has still a soothing influence on the
uncultivated mind; he had nothing but the walls to look at, and they
were blank, save here and there that a burnt stick in the hand of one of
the young O'Gradies emulated the art of a Sandwich Islander, and
sketched faces as grotesque as any Pagan could desire for his idol; or
figures after the old well-established school-boy manner, which in the
present day is called Persian painting, "warranted to be taught in three
lessons." Now, this bespeaks degeneracy in the arts; for, in the time we
write of, boys and girls acquired the art without any lessons at all,
and abundant proofs of this intuitive talent existed on the aforesaid
walls. Napoleon and Wellington were fighting a duel, while Nelson stood
by to see fair play, he having nothing better to do, as the battle of
Trafalgar, represented in the distance, could, of course, go on without
him. The anachronism of jumbling Buonaparte, Wellington, and Nelson
together, was a trifle amongst the O'Gradies, as they were nearly as
great proficients in history, ancient and modern, as in the fine arts.
Amidst these efforts of genius appeared many an old rhyme, scratched
with rusty nails by rustier policemen, while lounging in the
justice-room during the proceedings of the great O'Grady, and all these
were gone over again and again by Andy, till they were worn out, all but
one--a rough representation of a man hanging.

This possessed a sort of fascination for poor Andy; for at last,
relinquishing all others, he stood riveted before it, and muttered to
himself, "I wondher can they hang me--sure it's no murdher I done--but
who knows what witnesses they might get? and these times they sware
mighty hard; and Squire O'Grady has such a pack o' blackguards about
him, sure he could get anything swore he liked. Oh, wirra! wirra!
what'll I do at all! Faix! I wouldn't like to be hanged--oh! look at him
there--just the last kick in him--and a disgrace to my poor mother into
the bargain. Augh!--but it's a dirty death to die--to be hung up like a
dog over a gate, or an old hat on a peg, just that-away;" and he
extended his arm as he spoke, suspending his _caubeen_, while he looked
with disgust at the effigy. "But sure they _can't_ hang me--though now I
remember Squire Egan towld me long ago I'd be hanged some day or other.
I wondher does my mother know I'm tuk away--and Oonah, too, the
craythur, would be sorry for me. Maybe, if my mother spoke to Squire
Egan, his honour would say a good word for me:--though that wouldn't do;
for him and Squire O'Grady's bitther inimies now, though they wor once
good friends. Och hone! sure that's the way o' the world; and a cruel
world it is--so it is. Sure 't would be well to be out of it a'most, and
in a betther world. I hope there's no po'chaises in heaven!"

The soliloquy of poor Andy was interrupted by a low, measured sound of
thumping, which his accustomed ear at once distinguished to be the
result of churning; the room in which he was confined being one of a
range of offices stretching backward from the principal building and
next door to the dairy. Andy had grown tired by this time of his
repeated contemplation of the rhymes and sketches, his own thoughts
thereon, and his long confinement; and now the monotonous sound of the
churn-dash falling on his ear, acted as a sort of _busho_,[6] and the
worried and wearied Andy at last laid down on the platform and fell
asleep to the bumping lullaby.

      [6] A soft, monotonous chant the nurses sing to children to induce
      sleep.



CHAPTER XIII


The sportsmen, having returned from their fishing excursion to dinner,
were seated round the hospitable board of Squire Egan; Murphy and Dick
in high glee, at still successfully hoodwinking Furlong, and carrying
on their mystification with infinite frolic.

The soup had been removed, and they were in the act of enjoying the
salmon, which had already given so much enjoyment, when a loud knocking
at the door announced the arrival of some fresh guest.

"Did you ask any one to dinner, my dear?" inquired Mrs. Egan of her
good-humoured lord, who was the very man to invite any friend he met in
the course of the day, and forget it after.

"No, my dear," answered the Squire. "Did you, Dick?" said he.

Dick replied in the negative, and said he had better go and see who it
was; for looks of alarm had been exchanged between him, the Squire, and
Murphy, lest any stranger should enter without being apprised of the
hoax going forward; and Dawson had just reached the dining-room door on
his cautionary mission, when it was suddenly thrown wide open, and in
walked, with a rapid step and bustling air, an active little gentleman
dressed in black, who was at Mrs. Egan's side in a moment, exclaiming
with a very audible voice and much _empressement_ of manner--

"My dear Mrs. Egan, how do you do? I am delighted to see you. Took a
friend's privilege, you see, and have come unbidden to claim the
hospitality of your table. The fact is, I was making a sick visit to
this side of my parish; and finding it impossible to get home in time
to my own dinner, I had no scruple in laying yours under contribution."

Now this was the Protestant clergyman of the parish, whose political
views were in opposition to those of Mr. Egan; but the good hearts of
both men prevented political feeling from interfering, as in Ireland it
too often does, with the social intercourse of life. Still, however, if
Dick Dawson had got out of the room in time, this was not the man to
assist them in covering their hoax on Furlong, and the scene became
excessively ludicrous the moment the reverend gentleman made his
appearance. Dick, the Squire, and Murphy, opened their eyes at each
other, while Mrs. Egan grew as red as scarlet when Furlong stared at
her in astonishment as the newcomer mentioned her name. She stammered
out welcome as well as she could, and called for a chair for Mr.
Bermingham, with all sorts of kind inquiries for Mrs. Bermingham and
the little Berminghams--for the Bermingham manufactory in that line was
extensive.

While the reverend gentleman was taking his seat, spreading his napkin
and addressing a word to each round the table, Furlong turned to Fanny
Dawson, beside whom he was sitting (and who, by-the-bye, could not
resist a fit of laughter on the occasion), and said with a bewildered
look--

"Did he not addwess _Madame_ as Mistwess Egan?"

"Yeth," said Fanny, with admirable readiness; "but whithper." And as
Furlong inclined his head towards her, she whispered in his ear, "You
muthn't mind him--he's mad, poor man!--that is, a _little_ inthane--and
thinks every lady is Mrs. Egan. An unhappy pathion, poor fellow!--but
_quite harmleth_."

Furlong uttered a very prolonged "Oh!" at Fanny's answer to his inquiry,
and looked sharply round the table, for there was an indefinable
something in the conduct of every one at the moment of Mr. Bermingham's
entrance that attracted his attention, and the name "Egan," and
everybody's _fidgetiness_ (which is the only word I can apply), roused
his suspicion. Fanny's answer only half satisfied him; and looking at
Mrs. Egan, who could not conquer her confusion, he remarked "How _vewy_
wed Mistwess O'Gwady gwew!"

"Oh! thee can't help bluthing, poor soul! when he thays 'Egan' to her,
and thinks her his _furth_ love."

"How _vewy_ widiculous to be sure," said Furlong.

"Haven't you innothent mad people thumtimes in England?" said Fanny.

"Oh _vewy_" said Furlong, "but this appea's to me so wema'kably
stwange an abbewation."

"Oh," returned Fanny, with quickness, "I thuppose people go mad on
their ruling pathion, and the ruling pathion of the Irish, you know,
is love."

The conversation all this time was going on in other quarters, and
Furlong heard Mr. Bermingham talking of his having preached last Sunday
in his new church.

"Suwely," said he to Fanny, "they would not pe'mit an insane gle'gyman
to pweach?"

"Oh," said Fanny, almost suffocating with laughter, "he only
_thinkth_ he's a clergyman."

"How vewy dwoll you are!" said Furlong.

"Now you're only quithing me," said Fanny, looking with affected
innocence in the face of the unfortunate young gentleman she had been
quizzing most unmercifully the whole day.

"Oh, Miste' O'Gwady," said Furlong, "we saw them going to dwown a man
to-day."

"Indeed!" said the Squire, reddening, as he saw Mr. Bermingham stare at
his being called O'Grady; so, to cover the blot, and stop Furlong, he
asked him to take wine.

"Do they often dwown people here?" continued Furlong, after he had
bowed.

"Not that I know of," said the Squire.

"But are not the lowe' o'ders wather given to what Lo'd Bacon
calls----"

"Who cares about Lord Bacon?" said Murphy.

"My dear sir, you supwise me!" said Furlong, in utter amazement. "Lord
Bacon's sayings----"

"'Pon my conscience," said Murphy, "both himself and his sayings are
very _rusty_ by this time."

"Oh, I see, Miste' Muffy. You neve' will be sewious."

"Heaven forbid!" said Murphy--"at least at dinner, or _after_
dinner. Seriousness is only a morning amusement--it makes a very poor
figure in the evening."

"By-the-bye," said Mr. Bermingham, "talking of drowning, I heard a very
odd story to-day from O'Grady. You and he, I believe," said the
clergyman, addressing Egan, "are not on as good terms as you were."

At this speech Furlong did _rather_ open his eyes, the Squire hummed and
hawed, Murphy coughed, Mrs. Egan looked into her plate, and Dick, making
a desperate rush to the rescue, asked Furlong which he preferred, a
single or a double barrelled gun.

Mr. Bermingham, perceiving the sensation his question created, thought
he had touched upon forbidden ground, and therefore did not repeat his
question, and Fanny whispered Furlong that one of the stranger's mad
peculiarities was mistaking one person for another; but all this did
not satisfy Furlong, whose misgivings as to the real name of his host
were growing stronger every moment. At last, Mr. Bermingham, without
alluding to the broken friendship between Egan and O'Grady, returned to
the "odd story" he had heard that morning about drowning.

"'T is a strange affair," said he, "and our side of the country is all
alive about it. A gentleman who was expected from Dublin last night at
Neck-or-Nothing Hall, arrived, as it is ascertained, at the village,
and thence took a post-chaise, since which time he has not been heard
of; and as a post-chaise was discovered this morning sunk in the river,
close by Ballysloughgutthery bridge, it is suspected the gentleman has
been drowned either by accident or design. The postilion is in
confinement on suspicion, and O'Grady has written to the Castle about
it to-day, for the gentleman was a government agent."

"Why, sir," said Furlong, "that must be me!"

"_You_, sir!" said Mr. Bermingham, whose turn it was to be
surprised now.

"Yes, sir," said Furlong, "I took a post-chaise at the village last
night, and I'm an agent of the gove'ment."

"But you're not drowned, sir--and he was," said Bermingham.

"To be su'e I'm not dwowned; but I'm the pe'son."

"Quite impossible, sir," said Mr. Bermingham. "You can't be the
person."

"Why, sir, do you expect to pe'suade me out of my own identity!"

"Oh," said Murphy, "there will be no occasion to prove identity till
the body is found, and the coroner's inquest sits; that's the law,
sir--at least, in Ireland."

Furlong's bewildered look at the unblushing impudence of Murphy was
worth anything. While he was dumb from astonishment, Mr. Bermingham,
with marked politeness, said, "Allow me, sir, for a moment to explain
to you. You see, it could not be you, for the gentleman was going to
Mr. O'Grady's."

"Well, sir," said Furlong, "and here I am."

The wide stare of the two men as they looked at each other was killing;
and while Furlong's face was turned towards Mr. Bermingham, Fanny
caught the clergy-man's eye, tapped her forehead with the fore-finger
of her right hand, shook her head, and turned up her eyes with an
expression of pity, to indicate that Furlong was not quite right in his
mind.

"Oh, I beg pardon, sir," said Mr. Bermingham. "I see it's a mistake of
mine."

"There certainly is a vewy gweat mistake somewhere," said Furlong, who
was now bent on a very direct question. "Pway, Miste' O'Gwady," said
he, addressing Egan, "that is, if you _are_ Miste' O'Gwady, will
you tell me, _are_ you Miste' O'Gwady?"

"Sir," said the Squire, "you have chosen to call me O'Grady ever since
you came here, but my name is Egan."

"What!--the member for the county?" cried Furlong, horrified.

"Yes," said the Squire, laughing; "do you want a frank?"

"'T will save your friends postage," said Dick, "when you write to them
to say you're safe."

"Miste' Wegan," said Furlong, with an attempt at offended dignity, "I
conside' myself vewy ill used."

"You're the first man I ever heard of being ill used at Merryvale
House," said Murphy.

"Sir, it's a gwievous w'ong!"

"What _is_ all this about?" asked Mr. Bermingham.

"My dear friend," said the Squire, laughing--though, indeed, that was
not peculiar to _him_, for every one round the table, save the victim,
was doing the same thing (as for Fanny, she _shouted_),--"My dear
friend, this gentleman came to my house last night, and _I_ took him for
a friend of Moriarty's, whom I have been expecting for some days. _He_
thought, it appears, this was Neck-or-Nothing Hall, and thus a mutual
mistake has arisen. All I can say is, that you are most welcome, Mr.
Furlong, to the hospitality of this house as long as you please."

"But, sir, you should not have allowed me to wemain in you' house,"
said Furlong.

"That's a doctrine," said the Squire, "in which you will find it
difficult to make an Irish host coincide."

"But you must have known, sir, that it was not my intention to come to
your house."

"How could I know that, sir?" said the Squire, jocularly.

"Why, Miste' Wegan--you know--that is--in fact--confound it, sir!" said
Furlong, at last, losing his temper, "you know I told you all about our
electioneering tactics."

A loud laugh was all the response Furlong received to this outbreak.

"Well, sir," repeated he, "I pwotest it is extremely unfair."

"You know, my dear sir," said Dick, "we Irish are such _poor ignorant
creatures_, according to your own account, that we can make no use
of the knowledge with which you have so generously supplied us."

"You know," said the Squire, "we have no _real_ finesse."

"Sir," said Furlong, growing sulky, "there is a certain finesse that is
_fair_, and another that is _unfair_--and I pwotest against----"

"Pooh, pooh!" said Murphy. "Never mind trifles. Just wait till to-morrow,
and I'll show you even better salmon-fishing than you had to-day."

"Sir, no consideration would make me wemain anothe' wower in this
house."

Murphy screwed his lips together, puffed out something between a whistle
and the blowing out of a candle, and ventured to suggest to Furlong he
had better wait even a couple of hours, till he had got his allowance of
claret. "Remember the adage, sir, '_In vino veritas_,' and we'll tell
you all _our_ electioneering secrets after we've had enough wine."

"As soon, Miste' Wegan," said Mr. Furlong, quite chapfallen, "as you can
tell me how I can get to the house to which I _intended_ to go, I will
be weddy to bid you good evening."

"If you are determined, Mr. Furlong, to remain here no longer, I shall
not press my hospitality upon you; whenever you decide upon going, my
carriage shall be at your service."

"The soone' the bette', sir," said Furlong, retreating still further
into a cold and sulky manner.

The Squire made no further attempt to conciliate him; he merely said,
"Dick, ring the bell. Pass the claret, Murphy."

The bell was rung--the claret passed--a servant entered, and orders were
given by the Squire that the carriage should be at the door as soon as
possible. In the interim, Dick Dawson, the Squire, and Murphy, laughed
as if nothing had happened, and Mrs. Egan conversed in an under-tone
with Mr. Bermingham. Fanny looked mischievous, and Furlong kept his hand
on the foot of his glass, and shoved it about something in the fashion
of an uncertain chess-player, who does not know where to put the piece
on which he has laid his finger.

The carriage was soon announced, and Mrs. Egan, as Furlong seemed so
anxious to go, rose from table; and as she retired, he made her a cold
and formal bow. He attempted a tender look and soft word to Fanny--for
Furlong, who thought himself a _beau garçon_, had been playing off his
attractions upon her all day, but the mischievously merry Fanny Dawson,
when she caught the sheepish eye, and heard the mumbled gallantry of the
Castle Adonis, could not resist a titter, which obliged her to hide her
dimpling cheek and pearly teeth in her handkerchief, as she passed to
the door. The ladies being gone, the Squire asked Furlong, would he not
have some more wine before he went.

"No, thank you, Miste' Wegan," replied he, "after being twicked in the
manner that a----"

"Mr. Furlong," said the Squire, "you have said quite enough about that.
When you came into my house last night, sir, I had no intention of
practising any joke upon you. You should have had the hospitality of an
Irishman's house, without the consequence that has followed, had you not
indulged in sneering at the Irishman's country, which, to your shame be
it spoken, is _your own_. You vaunted your own superior intelligence and
finesse over us, sir; and told us you came down to overthrow poor Pat in
the trickery of electioneering movements. Under these circumstances,
sir, I think what we have done is quite fair. We have shown you that you
are no match for us in the finesse upon which you pride yourself so
much; and the next time you talk of your countrymen, and attempt to
undervalue them, just remember how you have been outwitted at Merryvale
House. Good evening, Mr. Furlong, I hope we part without owing each
other any ill-will." The Squire offered his hand, but Furlong drew up,
and amidst such expletives as "weally," and "I must say," he at last
made use of the word "atwocious."

"What's that you say?" said Dick. "You don't speak very plain, and I'd
like to be sure of the last word you used."

"I mean to say that a----" and Furlong, not much liking the _tone_
of Dick's question, was humming and hawing a sort of explanation of
what "he meant to say," when Dick thus interrupted him--

"I tell you this, Mr. Furlong; all that has been done is my doing--I've
humbugged you, sir,--_hum-bugged_. I've sold you--dead. I've pumped you,
sir--all your electioneering bag of tricks, _bribery_ and all, exposed;
and now go off to O'Grady, and tell him how the poor ignorant Irish have
_done_ you; and see, Mr. Furlong," in a quiet under-tone, "if there's
anything that either he or you don't like about the business, you shall
have any satisfaction you like, and as often as you please."

"I shall _conside'_ of that, sir," said Furlong, as he left the house,
and entered the carriage, where he threw himself back in offended
dignity, and soliloquised vows of vengeance. But the bumping of the
carriage over a rough road disturbed the pleasing reveries of revenge,
to awaken him to the more probable and less agreeable consequences
likely to occur to himself for the blunder he had made; for, with all
the puppy's self-sufficiency and conceit, he could not by any process of
mental delusion conceal from himself the fact that he had been most
tremendously _done_, and how his party would take it was a serious
consideration. O'Grady, another horrid Irish squire--how should he face
_him_? For a moment he thought it better to go back to Dublin, and he
pulled the check-string--the carriage stopped--down went the front
glass. "I say, coachman."

"I'm not the coachman, sir."

"Well, whoever you are----"

"I'm the groom only, sir; for the coachman was----"

"Sir, I don't want to know who you are, or about your affairs; I want
you to listen to me--_cawn't_ you listen?"

"Yes, sir."

"Well, then--dwive to the village."

"I thought it was to the Hall I was to dhrive, sir."

"Do what you're told, sir--the village!"

"What village, sir?" asked Mat, the groom, who knew well enough, but
from Furlong's impertinence did not choose to understand anything
gratuitously.

"Why the village I came from yeste'day."

"What village was that, sir?"

"How stoopid you are!--the village the mail goes to."

"Sure the mail goes to all the villages in Ireland, sir."

"You pwovoking blockhead!--Good Heavens, how _stoopid_ you Iwish
are!--the village that leads to Dublin."

"'Faith they all lead to Dublin, sir."

"Confound you--you must know!--the posting village, you know--that is,
not the post town, if you know what a post town is."

"To be sure I do, sir--where they sell blankets, you mane."

"No--no--no! I want to go to the village where they keep
post-chaises--now you know."

"Faix, they have po'chayses in all the villages here; there's no betther
accommodation for man or baste in the world than here, sir."

Furlong was mute from downright vexation, till his rage got vent in an
oath, another denunciation of Irish stupidity, and at last a declaration
that the driver _must_ know the village.

"How would I know it, sir, when you don't know it yourself?" asked the
groom; "I suppose it has a name to it, and if you tell me that, I'll
dhrive you there fast enough."

"I cannot wemember your howwid names here--it is a Bal, or Bally, or
some such gibbewish----"

Mat would not be enlightened.

"Is there not Bal or Bally something?"

"Oh, a power o' Bailies, sir; there's Ballygash, and Ballyslash, and
Ballysmish, and Ballysmash, and----" so went on Mat, inventing a string
of Ballies, till he was stopped by the enraged Furlong.

"None o' them! none o' them!" exclaimed he, in a fury; "'t is something
about 'dirt' or 'mud.'"

"Maybe 't would be _gutther_, sir," said Mat, who saw Furlong was near
the mark, and he thought he might as well make a virtue of telling him.

"I believe you're right," said Furlong.

"Then it is Ballysloughgutthery you want to go to, sir."

"That's the name!" said Furlong, snappishly; "dwive _there_!" and,
hastily pulling up the glass, he threw himself back again in the
carriage. Another troubled vision of what the secretary would say came
across him, and, after ten minutes' balancing the question, and
trembling at the thoughts of an official blowing up, he thought he had
better even venture on an Irish squire; so the check-string was again
pulled, and the glass hastily let down.

Mat halted. "Yes, sir," said Mat.

"I think I've changed my mind--dwive to the Hall!"

"I wish you'd towld me, sir, before I took the last turn--we're nigh a
mile towards the village now."

"No matte', sir!" said Furlong; "dwive where I tell you."

Up went the glass again, and Mat turned round the horses and carriage
with some difficulty in a narrow by-road.

Another vision came across the bewildered fancy of Furlong: the
certainty of the fury of O'Grady--the immediate contempt as well as
anger attendant on his being bamboozled--and the result at last being
the same in drawing down the secretary's anger. This produced another
change of intention, and he let down the glass for the third time--once
more changed his orders as concisely as possible, and pulled it up
again. All this time Mat was laughing internally at the bewilderment of
the stranger, and as he turned round the carriage again he muttered to
himself, "By this and that, you're as hard to dhrive as a pig; for
you'll neither go one road nor th' other." He had not proceeded far,
when Furlong determined to face O'Grady instead of the Castle, and the
last and final order for another turnabout was given. Mat hardly
suppressed an oath; but respect for his master stopped him. The glass of
the carriage was not pulled up this time, and Mat was asked a few
questions about the Hall, and at last about the Squire. Now Mat had
acuteness enough to fathom the cause of Furlong's indecision, and
determined to make him as unhappy as he could; therefore to the question
of "What sort of a man the Squire was?" Mat, re-echoing the question,
replied--"What sort of a man, sir?--'Faith, he's not a man at all, sir,
he's the devil."

Furlong pulled up the glass, and employed the interval between Mat's
answer and reaching the Hall in making up his mind as to how he should
"face the devil."

The carriage, after jolting for some time over a rough road skirted by a
high and ruinous wall, stopped before a gateway that had once been
handsome, and Furlong was startled by the sound of a most thundering
bell, which the vigorous pull of Mat stimulated to its utmost pitch; the
baying of dogs which followed was terrific. A savage-looking gatekeeper
made his appearance with a light--not in a lantern, but shaded with his
tattered hat; many questions and answers ensued, and at last the gate
was opened. The carriage proceeded up a very ragged avenue, stopped
before a large rambling sort of building, which even moonlight could
exhibit to be very much out of repair, and after repeated knocking at
the door (for Mat knew _his_ squire and the other squire were not
friends now, and that he might be impudent), the door was unchained and
unbarred, and Furlong deposited in Neck-or-Nothing Hall.



CHAPTER XIV


    "Such is the custom of Branksome Hall."

                             _Lay of the Last Minstrel._

    NECK-OR-NOTHING HALL

    CANTO I

    Ten good nights and ten good days
    It would take to tell thy ways,
    Various, many, and amazing:
    Neck-or-Nothing bangs all praising.
    Wonders great and wonders small
    Are found in Neck-or-Nothing Hall.

    Racing rascals of ten a twain,
    Who care not a rush for hail nor rain,
    Messages swiftly to go or to come,
    Or duck a taxman or harry a bum,[7]
    Or "clip a server,"[8] did blithely lie
    In the stable parlour next to the sky[9]
    Dinners, save chance ones, seldom had they,
    Unless they could nibble their beds of hay;
    But the less they got, they were hardier all--
    'T was the custom of Neck-or-Nothing Hall.

      [7] A facetious phrase for bailiff, so often kicked.

      [8] Cutting off the ears of a process-server.

      [9] Hayloft.

    One lord there sat in that terrible hall,
    Two ladies came at his terrible call,--
    One his mother and one his wife,
    Each afraid of her separate life;
    Three girls who trembled--four boys who shook
    Five times a day at his lowering look,
    Six blunderbuses in goodly show,
    Seven horse-pistols were ranged below,
    Eight domestics, great and small,
    In idlesse did nothing but curse them all;
    Nine state beds, where no one slept--
    Ten for family use were kept;
    Dogs eleven with bums to make free,
    With a bold thirteen[10] in the treasury--
    (Such its numerical strength, I guess
    It can't be more, but it may be less).
    Tar-barrels new and feathers old
    Are ready, I trow, for the caitiff bold
      Who dares to invade
      The stormy shade
      Of the grim O'Grade,
    In his hunting hold.

      [10] A shilling, so called from its being worth thirteen pence in
      those days.

    When the iron tongue of the old gate bell
    Doth summon the growling grooms from cell,
      Through cranny and crook
      They peer and they look,
    With guns to send the intruders to heaven.[11]
    But when passwords pass
    That might "serve a mass,"[12]
    Then bars are drawn and chains let fall,
    And you get into Neck-or-Nothing Hall.

      [11] This is not the word in the MS.

      [12] Serving mass occupies about twenty-five minutes.

    CANTO II

    And never a doubt
      But when you are in,
      If you love a whole skin,
      I'll wager (and win)
    You'll be glad to get out.

                             _Dr. Growling's Metrical Romance._

The bird's-eye view which the doctor's peep from Parnassus has afforded,
may furnish the imagination of the reader with materials to create in
his own mind a vague yet not unjust notion of Neck-or-Nothing Hall; but
certain details of the Hall itself, its inmates and its customs, may be
desired by the matter-of-fact reader or the more minutely curious, and
as the author has the difficult task before him of trying to please all
tastes, something more definite is required.

The Hall itself was, as we have said, a rambling sort of structure.
Ramifying from a solid centre, which gave the notion of a founder well
to do in the world, additions, without any architectural pretensions to
fitness, were _stuck_ on here and there, as whim or necessity suggested
or demanded, and a most incongruous mass of gables, roofs, and chimneys,
odd windows and blank walls, was the consequence. According to the
circumstances of the occupants who inherited the property, the building
was either increased or neglected. A certain old bachelor, for example,
who in the course of events inherited the property, had no necessity for
nurses, nursery-maids, and their consequent suite of apartments; and as
he never aspired to the honour of matrimony, the ball-room, the
drawing-room, and extra bed-chambers were neglected; but being a
fox-hunter, a new kennel and range of stables were built, the
dining-room enlarged, and all the ready money he could get at spent in
augmenting the plate, to keep pace with the racing-cups he won, and
proudly displayed at his drinking-bouts; and when he died suddenly
(broke his neck), the plate was seized at the suit of his wine-merchant;
and as the heir next in succession got the property in a ruinous
condition, it was impossible to keep a stud of horses along with a wife
and a large family, so the stables and kennel went to decay, while the
ladies and family apartments could only be patched up. When the house
was dilapidated, the grounds about it, of course, were ill kept. Fine
old trees were there, originally intended to afford shade to walks which
were so neglected as to be no more walkable than any other part of the
grounds--the vista of aspiring stems indicated where an avenue had been,
but neither hoe nor rolling-stone had, for many a year, checked the
growth of grass or weed. So much for the outside of the house: now for
the inside.

That had witnessed many a thoughtless, expensive, headlong and irascible
master, but never one more so than the present owner; added to which, he
had the misfortune of being unpopular. Other men, thoughtless, and
headlong, and irritable as he, have lived and had friends; but there was
something about O'Grady that was felt, perhaps, more than it could be
defined, which made him unpleasing--perhaps the homely phrase
"cross-grained" may best express it, and O'Grady was essentially a
cross-grained man. The estate, when he got it, was pretty heavily
saddled, and the "galled jade" did not "wince" the less for his riding.

A good jointure to his mother was chargeable on the property, and this
was an excuse on all occasions for the Squire's dilatory payment in
other quarters. "Sir," he would say, "my mother's jointure is sacred--it
is more than the estate can well bear, it is true, but it is a sacred
claim, and I would sooner sacrifice my life, my _honour_, sir, than see
that claim neglected!" Now all this sounded mighty fine, but his mother
could never see her jointure regularly paid, and was obliged to live in
the house with him: she was somewhat of _an oddity_, and had apartments
to herself, and, as long as she was let alone, and allowed to read
romances in quiet, did not complain; and whenever a stray ten-pound note
_did_ fall into her hands, she gave the greater part of it to her
younger grand-daughter, who was fond of flowers and plants, and
supported a little conservatory on her grand-mother's bounty, she paying
the tribute of a bouquet to the old lady when the state of her botanical
prosperity could afford it. The eldest girl was a favourite of an uncle,
and _her_ passion being dogs, all the presents her uncle made her in
money were converted into canine curiosities; while the youngest girl
took an interest in the rearing of poultry. Now the boys, varying in age
from eight to fourteen, had their separate favourites too--one loved
bull-dogs and terriers, another game-cocks, the third ferrets, and the
fourth rabbits and pigeons. These multifarious tastes produced strange
results. In the house, flowers and plants, indicating refinement of
taste and costliness, were strongly contrasted with broken plaster,
soiled hangings, and faded paint; an expensive dog might be seen lapping
cream out of a shabby broken plate; a never-ending sequence of wars
raged among the dependent favourites, the bull-dogs and terriers
chopping up the ferrets, the ferrets killing the game-cocks, the
game-cocks killing the tame poultry and rabbits, and the rabbits
destroying the garden, assisted by the flying reserve of pigeons. It was
a sort of Irish retaliation, so amusingly exemplified in the nursery
jingle--

    The water began to quench the fire,
    The fire began to burn the stick,
    The stick began to beat the dog,
    The dog began to bite the kid.

In the midst of all these distinct and clashing tastes, that of Mrs.
O'Grady (the wife) must not be forgotten; her weak point was a feather
bed. Good soul! anxious that whoever slept under her roof should lie
softly, she would go to the farthest corner of the county to secure an
accession to her favourite property--and such a collection of luxurious
feather beds never was seen in company with such rickety bedsteads and
tattered and mildewed curtains, in rooms uncarpeted, whose paper was
dropping off the wall,--well might it be called paper-hanging
indeed!--whose washing-tables were of deal, and whose delf was of the
plainest ware, and even that minus sundry handles and spouts. Nor was
the renowned O'Grady without his hobby, too. While the various members
of his family were thwarting each other, his master-mischief was
thwarting them all; like some wicked giant looking down on a squabble of
dwarfs, and ending the fight by kicking them all right and left. Then
_he_ had _his_ troop of pets too--idle blackguards who were
slingeing[13] about the place eternally, keeping up a sort of "cordon
sanitaire," to prevent the pestilential presence of a bailiff, which is
so catching, and turns to jail fever, a disease which had been fatal in
the family. O'Grady never ventured beyond his domain except on the back
of a fleet horse--there he felt secure; indeed, the place he most
dreaded legal assault in was his own house, where he apprehended
trickery might invade him: a carriage might be but a feint, and hence
the great circumspection in the opening of doors.

      [13] An Hibernicism, expressive of lounging laziness.

From the nature of the establishment, thus hastily sketched, the reader
will see what an ill-regulated jumble it was. The master, in difficulties,
had disorderly people hanging about his place for his personal security;
from these very people his boys picked up the love of dog-fights,
cock-fights, &c.; and they, from the fights of their pets, fought
amongst themselves, and were always fighting with their sisters; so the
reader will see the "metrical romance" was not overcharged in its rhymes
on Neck-or-Nothing Hall.

When Furlong entered the hall, he gave his name to a queer-looking
servant with wild scrubby hair, a dirty face, a tawdry livery, worse
for wear, which had manifestly been made for a larger man, and hung upon
its present possessor like a coat upon a clothes-horse; his cotton
stockings, meant to be white, and clumsy shoes, meant to be black, met
each other half-way, and split the difference in a pleasing neutral
tint. Leaving Furlong standing in the hall, he clattered up-stairs, and
a dialogue ensued between master and man so loud that Furlong could hear
the half of it, and his own name in a tone of doubt, with that of
"Egan," in a tone of surprise, and that of his "sable majesty" in a tone
of anger, rapidly succeeded one another; then such broken words and
sentences as these ensued--"fudge!--humbug!--rascally trick!--eh!--by
the hokey, they'd better take care!--put the scoundrel under the pump!"

Furlong more than half suspected it was to him this delicate attention
was intended, and began to feel uncomfortable: he sharpened his ears to
their keenest hearing, but there was a lull in the conversation, and he
could ascertain one of the gentler sex was engaged in it by the ogre-like
voice uttering, "Fudge, woman!--fiddle-de-dee!" Then he caught the words,
"perhaps," and "gentleman," in a lady's voice; then out thundered "that
rascal's carriage!--why come in that?--friend!--humbug!--rascal's
carriage!--tar and feather him, by this and that!"

Furlong began to feel very uncomfortable; the conversation ended; down
came the servant, to whom Furlong was about to address himself, when the
man said, "He would be with him in a minit," and vanished; a sort of
reconnoitering party, one by one, then passed through the hall, eyeing
the stranger very suspiciously, any of them to whom Furlong ventured a
word scurrying off in double-quick time. For an instant he meditated a
retreat, and, looking to the door, saw a heavy chain across it, the
pattern of which must have been had from Newgate. He attempted to
unfasten it, and as it clanked heavily, the ogre's voice from up-stairs
bellowed, "Who the d----l's that opening the door?" Furlong's hand
dropped from the chain, and a low growling went on up the staircase. The
servant whom he first saw returned.

"I fear," said Furlong, "there is some misappwehension."

"A what, sir?"

"A misappwehension."

"Oh, no, sir! it's only a mistake the master thought you might be
making; he thinks you mistuk the house, maybe, sir?"

"Oh, no--I _wather_ think he mistakes me. Will you do me the favo',"
and he produced a packet of papers as he spoke--"the favo' to take my
cwedentials to Mr. O'Gwady, and if he throws his eye over these
pape's----"

At the word "papers," there was a shout from above, "Don't touch them,
you thief, don't touch them!--another blister,--ha! ha! By the 'ternal
this and that, I'll have him in the horse-pond!" A heavy stamping
overhead ensued, and furious ringing of bells; in the midst of the din,
a very pale lady came down-stairs, and pointing the way to a small
room, beckoned Furlong to follow her. For a moment he hesitated, for
his heart misgave him; but shame at the thought of doubting or refusing
the summons of a lady overcame his fear, and he followed to a little
parlour, where mutual explanations between Mrs. O'Grady and himself,
and many messages, questions, and answers, which she carried up and
down stairs, at length set Furlong's mind at ease respecting his
personal safety, and finally admitted him into the presence of the
truculent lord of the castle--who, when he heard that Furlong had been
staying in the enemy's camp, was not, it may be supposed, in a sweet
temper to receive him. O'Grady looked thunder as Furlong entered, and
eyeing him keenly for some seconds, as if he were taking a mental as
well as an ocular measurement of him, he saluted him with--

"Well, sir, a pretty kettle of fish you've made of this. I hope you have
not blabbed much about our affairs?"

"Why, I weally don't know--I'm not sure--that is, I won't be positive,
because when one is thwown off his guard, you know----"

"Pooh, sir! a man should never be off his guard in an election. But how
the d----l, sir, could you make such a thundering mistake as to go to
the wrong house?"

"It was a howwid postilion, Miste' O'Gwady."

"The scoundrel!" exclaimed O'Grady, stamping up and down the room.

At this moment, a tremendous crash was heard; the ladies jumped from
their seats; O'Grady paused in his rage, and his poor, pale wife
exclaimed--

"'T is in the conservatory."

A universal rush was now made to the spot, and there was Handy Andy,
buried in the ruins of flower-pots and exotics, directly under an
enormous breach in the glass roof of the building. How this occurred a
few words will explain. Andy, when he went to sleep in the justice-room,
slept soundly for some hours, but awoke in the horrors of a dream, in
which he fancied he was about to be hanged. So impressed was he by the
vision, that he determined on making his escape if he could, and to
this end piled the chair upon the desk, and the volumes of law books on
the chair, and, being an active fellow, contrived to scramble up high
enough to lay his hand on the frame of the sky-light, and thus make his
way out on the roof. Then walking, as well as the darkness would permit
him, along the coping of the wall, he approached, as it chanced, the
conservatory; but the coping being loose, one of the flags turned under
Andy's foot, and bang he went through the glass roof, carrying down in
his fall some score of flower-pots, and finally stuck in a tub, with
his legs upwards, and embowered in the branches of crushed geraniums
and hydrangeas.

He was dragged out of the tub, amidst a shower of curses from O'Grady;
but the moment Andy recovered the few senses he had, and saw Furlong,
regardless of the anathemas of the Squire, he shouted out, "There he
is!--there he is!" and rushing towards him, exclaimed, "Now, did I
dhrowned you, sir,--did I? Sure, I never murdhered you!"

'T was as much as could be done to keep O'Grady's hands off Andy, for
smashing the conservatory, when Furlong's presence made him no longer
liable to imprisonment.

"Maybe he has a vote," said Furlong, anxious to display how much he was
on the _qui vive_ in election matters.

"_Have_ you a vote, you rascal?"

"You may sarche me if you like, your honour," said Andy, who thought a
vote was some sort of property he was suspected of stealing.

"You are either the biggest rogue or the biggest fool I ever met," said
O'Grady. "Which are you now?"

"Whichever your honour plazes," said Andy.

"If I forgive you, will you stand by me at the election?"

"I'll stand anywhere your honour bids me," said Andy humbly.

"That's a thorough-going rogue, I'm inclined to think," said O'Grady,
aside to Furlong.

"He looks more like a fool in my appwehension," was the reply.

"Oh, these fellows conceal the deepest roguery sometimes under an
assumed simplicity. You don't understand the Irish."

"Und'stand!" exclaimed Furlong; "I pwonounce the whole countwy quite
incompwhensible!"

"Well!" growled O'Grady to Andy, after a moment's consideration, "go
down to the kitchen, you house-breaking vagabond, and get your supper!"

Now, considering the "fee, faw, fum" qualities of O'Grady, the reader
may be surprised at the easy manner in which Andy slipped through his
fingers, after having slipped through the roof of his conservatory; but
as between two stools folks fall to the ground, so between two rages
people sometimes tumble into safety. O'Grady was in a divided
passion--first his wrath was excited against Furlong for _his_ blunder,
and just as that was about to explode, the crash of Andy's sudden
appearance amidst the flower-pots (like a practical parody on "Love
among the roses") called off the gathering storm in a new direction,
and the fury sufficient to annihilate one, was, by dispersion, harmless
to two. But on the return of the party from the conservatory, after
Andy's descent to the kitchen, O'Grady's rage against Furlong, though
moderated, had settled down into a very substantial dissatisfaction,
which he evinced by poking his nose between his forefinger and thumb,
as if he meditated the abstraction of that salient feature from his
face, shuffling his feet about, throwing his right leg over his left
knee, and then suddenly, as if that were a mistake, throwing his left
over the right, thrumming on the arm of his chair, with his clenched
hand, inhaling the air very audibly through his protruded lips, as if
he were supping hot soup, and all the time fixing his eyes on the fire
with a portentous gaze, as if he would have evoked from it a
salamander.

Mrs. O'Grady in such a state of affairs, wishing to speak to the
stranger, yet anxious she should say nothing that could bear upon
immediate circumstances lest she might rouse her awful lord and master,
racked her invention for what she should say; and at last, with "bated
breath" and a very worn-out smile, faltered forth--

"Pray, Mr. Furlong, are you fond of shuttlecock?"

Furlong stared, and began a reply of "Weally, I _cawn't_ say
that----"

When O'Grady gruffly broke in with, "You'd better ask him, does he love
teetotum."

"I thought you could recommend me the best establishment in the
metropolis, Mr. Furlong, for buying shuttlecocks," continued the lady,
unmindful of the interruption.

"You had better ask him where you can get mouse-traps," growled
O'Grady.

Mrs. O'Grady was silent, and O'Grady, whose rage had now assumed its
absurd form of tagging changes, continued, increasing his growl, like a
_crescendo_ on the double-bass, as he proceeded:--"You'd better ask,
I think--mouse-traps--steel-traps--clap-traps--rat-traps--rattle-traps--
rattle-snakes!"

Furlong stared, Mrs. O'Grady was silent, and the Misses O'Grady cast
fearful sidelong glances at "Pa," whose strange irritation always
bespoke his not being in what good people call a "sweet state of mind;"
he laid hold of a tea-spoon, and began beating a tattoo on the
mantel-piece to a low smothered whistle of some very obscure tune, which
was suddenly stopped to say to Furlong, very abruptly--

"So Egan diddled you?"

"Why, he certainly, as I conceive, pwactised, or I might say, in
short--he--a--in fact----"

"Oh, yes," said O'Grady, cutting short Furlong's humming and hawing;
"oh, yes, I know--diddled you."

Bang went the spoon again, keeping time with another string of nonsense.
"Diddled you--diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped
over the moon--who was there?"

"A Mister Dawson."

"Phew!" ejaculated O'Grady with a doleful whistle; "Dick the devil! You
are in nice hands! All up with us--up with us--

    Up, up, up,
    And here we go down, down, down, down, derry down!

Oh, murther!" and the spoon went faster than before. "Any one else?"

"Mister Bermingham."

"Bermingham!" exclaimed O'Grady.

"A cle'gyman, I think," drawled Furlong.

"Bermingham!" reiterated O'Grady. "What business has he there, and
be ----!" O'Grady swallowed a curse when he remembered he was a
clergyman. "The enemy's camp--not his principles! Oh, Bermingham,
Bermingham,--B_rim_magem, B_rum_magem, Sheffield, Wolverhampton--Murther!
Any one else? Was Durfy there?"

"No," said Furlong; "but there was an odd pe'son, whose name wymes to
his--as you seem fond of wymes, Mister O'Gwady."

"What!" said O'Grady, quickly, and fixing his eyes on Furlong;
"Murphy?"

"Yes. Miste' Muffy."

O'Grady gave a more doleful whistle than before, and banging the spoon
faster than ever, exclaimed again, "Murphy!--then I'll tell you what it
is; do you see that?" and he held up the spoon before Furlong, who,
being asked the same question several times, confessed he _did_ see the
spoon. "Then I'll tell you what it is," said O'Grady again, "I wouldn't
give you _that_ for the election;" and, with a disdainful jerk, he threw
the spoon into the fire, after which he threw himself back in his chair
with an appearance of repose, while he glanced fiercely up at the
ceiling, and indulged in a _very_ low whistle indeed. One of the girls
stole softly round to the fire and gently took up the tongs to recover
the spoon; it made a slight rattle, and her father turned smartly round,
and said, "Can't you let the fire alone?--there's coal enough on it; the
devil burn 'em all--Egan, Murphy, and all o' them! What do you stand
there for, with the tongs in your hands, like a hairdresser, or a stuck
pig? I tell you, I'm as hot as a lime-kiln; go out o' that."

The daughter retired, and the spoon was left to its fate; the ladies did
not dare to utter a word; O'Grady continued his gaze on the ceiling and
his whistle; and Furlong, very uncomfortable and much more astonished,
after sitting in silence for some time, thought a retreat the best move
he could make, and intimated his wish to retire.

Mrs. O'Grady gently suggested it was yet early; which Furlong
acknowledged, but pleaded his extreme fatigue after a day of great
exertion.

"I suppose you were canvassing," said O'Grady, with a wicked grin.

"Ce'tainly not; they could sca'cely pwesume on such a thing as that, I
should think, in _my_ pwesence."

"Then what fatigued you?--eh?"

"Salmon-fishing, sir."

"What!" exclaimed O'Grady, opening his fierce eyes, and turning suddenly
round. "Salmon-fishing! Where the d----l were you salmon-fishing?"

"In the wiver, close by here."

The ladies now all stared; but Furlong advanced a vehement assurance,
in answer to their looks of wonder, that he had taken some very fine
salmon indeed.

The girls could not suppress their laughter; and O'Grady, casting a
look of mingled rage and contempt on the fisherman, merely uttered the
ejaculation, "Oh, Moses!" and threw himself back in his chair; but
starting up a moment after, he rang the bell violently. "What do you
want, my dear?" said his poor wife, venturing to lift her eyes, and
speaking in the humblest tone--"what do you want?"

"Some broiled bones!" said O'Grady, very much like an ogre; "I want
something to settle my stomach after what I've heard, for, by the
powers of ipecacuanha, 't is enough to make a horse sick--sick, by the
powers!--shivering all over like a dog in a wet sack. I must have
broiled bones and hot punch!"

The servant entered, and O'Grady swore at him for not coming sooner,
though he was really expeditious in his answer to the bell.

"Confound your lazy bones; you're never in time."

"'Deed, sir; I came the minit I heerd the bell."

"Hold your tongue!--who bid you talk? The devil fly away with you!--and
you'll never go fast till he does. Make haste now--go to the cook----"

"Yes, sir."

"Curse you! can't you wait till you get your message? Go to the devil
with you!--get some broiled bones--hot water and tumblers--don't forget
the whisky--and pepper them well. Mind, hot--everything hot--screeching
hot. Be off, now, and make haste--mind, make haste!"

"Yes, sir," said the servant, whipping out of the room with celerity,
and thanking Heaven when he had the door between him and his savage
master. When he got to the kitchen, he told the cook to make haste, if
ever she made haste in her life, "for there's owld Danger up-stairs in
the divil's temper, God bless us!" said Mick.

"Faix, he's always that," said the cook, scurrying across the kitchen
for the gridiron.

"Oh! but he's beyant all to-night," said Mick; "I think he'll murther
that chap up-stairs before he stops."

"Oh, wirra! wirra!" cried the cook; "there's the fire not bright, bad
luck to it, and he wantin' a brile!"

"Bright or not bright," said Mick, "make haste I'd advise you, or he'll
have your life."

The bell rang violently.

"There, do you hear him tattherin'?" said Mick, rushing up-stairs.

"I thought it was tay they wor takin'," said Larry Hogan, who was
sitting in the chimney-corner, smoking.

"So they are," said the cook.

"Then I suppose, briled bones is genteel with tay?" said Larry.

"Oh, no; it's not for tay, at all, they want them; it's only ould Danger
himself. Whenever he's in a rage, he ates briled bones."

"'Faith, they are a brave cure for anger," said Larry; "I wouldn't be
angry myself, if I had one."

Down rushed Mick, to hurry the cook--bang, twang! went the bell as he
spoke. "Oh, listen to him!" said Mick: "for the tendher mercy o' Heaven,
make haste!"

The cook transferred the bones from the gridiron to a hot dish.

"Oh, murther, but they're smoked!" said Mick.

"No matther," said the cook, shaking her red elbow furiously; "I'll
smother the smoke with the pepper--there!--give them a good dab o'
musthard now, and sarve them hot!"

Away rushed Mick, as the bell was rattled into fits again.

While the cook had been broiling bones for O'Grady below, he had been
grilling Furlong for himself above. In one of the pauses of the storm,
the victim ventured to suggest to his tormentor that all the mischief
that had arisen might have been avoided, if O'Grady had met him at the
village, as he requested of him in one of his letters. O'Grady denied
all knowledge of such a request, and after some queries about certain
portions of the letter, it became manifest it had miscarried.

"There!" said O'Grady; "there's a second letter astray; I'm certain they
put my letters astray on purpose. There's a plot in the post-office
against me; by this and that, I'll have an inquiry. I wish all the
post-offices in the world were blown up; and all the postmasters hanged,
postmaster-general and all--I do--by the 'ternal war, I do--and all the
mail coaches in the world ground to powder, and the roads they go on
into the bargain--devil a use in them but to carry bad news over the
universe--for all the letters with any good in them are lost; and if
there's a money enclosure in one, that's sure to be robbed. Blow the
post-office, I say--blow it, and sink it!"

It was at this moment Mick entered with the broiled bones, and while he
was in the room, placing glasses on the table, and making the necessary
arrangements for making "screeching hot punch," he heard O'Grady and
Furlong talking about the two lost letters.

On his descent to the kitchen, the cook was spreading a bit of supper
there, in which Andy was to join, he having just completed some
applications of brown paper and vinegar to the bruises received in his
fall. Larry Hogan, too, was invited to share in the repast; and it was
not the first time, by many, that Larry quartered on the Squire. Indeed,
many a good larder was opened to Larry Hogan; he held a very deep
interest in the regards of all the female domestics over the country,
not on the strength of his personal charms, for Larry had a hanging lip,
a snub nose, a low forehead, a large ugly head, whose scrubby grizzled
hair grew round the crown somewhat in the form of a priest's tonsure.
Not on the strength of his gallantry, for Larry was always talking
morality and making sage reflections, while he supplied the womankind
with bits of lace, rolls of ribbon, and now and then silk stockings. He
always had some plausible story of how they happened to come in his way,
for Larry was not a regular pedlar; carrying no box, he drew his chance
treasures from the recesses of very deep pockets contrived in various
parts of his attire. No one asked Larry how he came by such a continued
supply of natty articles, and if they had, Larry would not have told
them; for he was a very "close" man, as well as a "civil-spoken," under
which character he was first introduced to the reader on the memorable
night of Andy's destructive adventure in his mother's cabin. Larry Hogan
was about as shrewd a fellow as any in the whole country, and while no
one could exactly make out what _he_ was, or how he made the two ends of
his year meet, he knew nearly as much of every one's affairs as they did
themselves; in the phrase of the country, he was "as 'cute as a fox, as
close as wax, and as deep as a draw-well."

The supper-party sat down in the kitchen, and between every three
mouthfuls poor Mick could get, he was obliged to canter up-stairs at
the call of the fiercely rung bell. Ever and anon, as he returned, he
bolted his allowance with an ejaculation, sometimes pious, sometimes
the reverse, on the hard fate of attending such a "born devil," as he
called the Squire.

"Why he's worse nor ever, to-night," says the cook. "What ails him at
all--what is it all about?"

"Oh, he's blackguardin' and blastin' away about that quare
slink-lookin' chap, up-stairs, goin' to Squire Egan's instead of comin'
here."

"That was a bit o' your handy work," said Larry, with a grim smile at
Andy.

"And then," said Mick, "he's swearin' by all the murthers in the world
agen the whole counthry, about some letthers was stole out of the
post-office by somebody."

Andy's hand was in the act of raising a mouthful to his lips, when
these words were uttered; his hand fell, and his mouth remained open.
Larry Hogan had his eye on him at the moment.

"He swares he'll have some one in the body o' the jail," said Mick;
"and he'll never stop till he sees them swing."

Andy thought of the effigy on the wall, and his dream, and grew pale.

"By the hokey," said Mick, "I never see him in sitch a tattherin'
rage!"--bang went the bell again--"Ow, ow!" cried Mick, bolting a piece
of fat bacon, wiping his mouth on the sleeve of his livery, and running
up-stairs.

"Misses Cook, ma'am," said Andy, shoving back his chair from the table;
"thank you, ma'am, for your good supper. I think I'll be goin' now."

"Sure, you're not done yet, man alive."

"Enough is as good as a feast, ma'am," replied Andy.

"Augh! sure the morsel you took is more like a fast than a feast," said
the cook, "and it's not Lent."

"It's not lent, sure enough," said Larry Hogan, with a sly grin; "it's
not _lent_, for you _gave_ it to him."

"Ah, Misther Hogan, you're always goin' on with your conundherums,"
said the cook; "sure, that's not the lent I mane at all--I mane Good
Friday Lent."

"Faix, every Friday is good Friday that a man gets his supper," said
Larry.

"Well, you _will_ be goin' on, Misther Hogan," said the cook. "Oh,
but you're a witty man; but I'd rather have a yard of your lace, any
day, than a mile o' your discourse."

"Sure, you ought not to mind my goin' _on_, when you're lettin'
another man go _off_, that-a-way," said Larry, pointing to Andy,
who, hat in hand, was quitting the kitchen.

"Faix an' he mustn't go," said the cook; "there's two words to that
bargain;" and she closed the door, and put her back against it.

"My mother's expectin' me, ma'am," said Andy.

"Throth, if 't was your wife was expectin' you, she must wait a bit,"
said the cook; "sure you wouldn't leave the thirsty curse on my
kitchen?--you must take a dhrop before you go; besides the dogs outside
the place would ate you onless there was some one they knew along wid
you: and sure, if a dog bit you, you couldn't dhrink wather afther, let
alone a dhrop o' beer, or a thrifle o' sper'ts: isn't that thrue,
Misther Hogan?"

"Indeed an' it is, ma'am," answered Larry; "no one can dhrink afther a
dog bites them, and that's the rayson that the larn'd fackleties calls
the disaise high-_dhry_----"

"High-dhry what?" asked the cook.

"That's what I'm thinkin' of," said Larry.
"High-dhry--high-dhry--something."

"There's high-dhry snuff," said the cook.

"Oh, no--no, no, ma'am!" said Larry, waving his hand and shaking his
head, as if unwilling to be interrupted in endeavouring to recall

    "Some fleeting remembrance;"

"high-dhry--po--po--something about po; 'faith, it's not unlike
popery," said Larry.

"Don't say popery," cried the cook; "it's a dirty word! Say Roman
Catholic when you spake of the faith."

"Do you think _I_ would undhervalue the faith?" said Larry, casting up
his eyes. "Oh, Missis Mulligan, you know little of me; d' you think I
would undhervalue what is my hope, past, present, and to come?--_what_
makes our hearts light when our lot is heavy?--_what_ makes us love our
neighbour as ourselves?"

"Indeed, Misther Hogan," broke in the cook, "I never knew any one
fonder of calling in on a neighbour than yourself, particularly about
dinner-time----"

"What makes us," said Larry, who would _not_ let the cook
interrupt his outpouring of pious eloquence--"what makes us fierce in
prosperity to our friends, and meek in adversity to our inimies?"

"Oh! Misther Hogan!" said the cook, blessing herself.

"What puts the leg undher you when you are in throuble? why, your
faith: what makes you below desait, and above reproach, and on neither
side of nothin'?" Larry slapped the table like a prime minister, and
there was no opposition. "Oh, Missis Mulligan, do you think I would
desaive or bethray my fellow-crayture? Oh, no--I would not wrong the
child unborn,"--and this favourite phrase of Larry (and other rascals)
was, and is, unconsciously, true; for people, most generally, must be
born before they _can_ be much wronged.

"Oh, Missis Mulligan," said Larry, with a devotional appeal of his eyes
to the ceiling, "be at war with sin, and you'll be at paice with
yourself!"

Just as Larry wound up his pious peroration, Mick shoved in the door,
against which the cook supported herself, and told Andy the Squire said
he should not leave the Hall that night.

Andy looked aghast.

Again Larry Hogan's eye was on him.

"Sure I can come back here in the mornin'," said Andy, who at the
moment he spoke was conscious of the intention of being some forty
miles out of the place before dawn, if he could get away.

"When the Squire says a thing, it must be done," said Mick. "You must
sleep here."

"And pleasant dhrames to you," said Larry, who saw Andy wince under his
kindly worded stab.

"And where must I sleep?" asked Andy, dolefully.

"Out in the big loft," said Mick.

"I'll show you the way," said Larry; "I'm goin' to sleep there myself
to-night, for it would be too far to go home. Good night, Mrs.
Mulligan--good night, Mickey--come along, Andy."

Andy followed Hogan. They had to cross a yard to reach the stables; the
night was clear, and the waning moon shed a steady though not a bright
light on the enclosure. Hogan cast a lynx eye around him to see if the
coast was clear, and satisfying himself it was, he laid his hand
impressively on Andy's arm as they reached the middle of the yard, and
setting Andy's face right against the moonlight, so that he might watch
the slightest expression, he paused for a moment before he spoke; and
when he spoke, it was in a low mysterious whisper--low, as if he feared
the night breeze might betray it,--and the words were few, but potent,
which he uttered; they were these--"_Who robbed the post-office?_"

The result quite satisfied Hogan; and he knew how to turn his knowledge
to account. O'Grady and Egan were no longer friends; a political contest
was pending; letters were missing; Andy had been Egan's servant; and
Larry Hogan had enough of that mental chemical power, which, from a few
raw facts, unimportant separately, could make a combination of great
value.

Soon after breakfast at Merryvale the following morning, Mrs. Egan
wanted to see the Squire. She went to his sitting-room--it was bolted.
He told her, from the inside, he was engaged just then, but would see
her by-and-by. She retired to the drawing-room, where Fanny was singing.
"Oh, Fanny," said her sister, "sing me that dear new song of 'The
Voices,' 't is so sweet, and must be felt by those who, like me, have a
happy home."

Fanny struck a few notes of a wild and peculiar symphony, and sang her
sister's favourite.

    THE VOICE WITHIN

    I

    You ask the dearest place on earth,
      Whose simple joys can never die;
    'T is the holy pale of the happy hearth,
      Where love doth light each beaming eye.
            With snowy shroud
            Let tempests loud
    Around my old tower raise their din;--
            What boots the shout
            Of storms without,
    While voices sweet resound within?
            O dearer sound
            For the tempests round,
              The voices sweet within!

    II

    I ask not wealth, I ask not power;
      But, gracious Heaven, oh grant to me
    That, when the storms of Fate may lower,
      My heart just like my home may be!
          When in the gale
          Poor Hope's white sail
    No haven can for shelter win,
          Fate's darkest skies
          The heart defies
    Whose still small voice is sweet within
          O, heavenly sound,
          'Mid the tempests round,
            That voice so sweet within!

Egan had entered as Fanny was singing the second verse; he wore a
troubled air, which his wife at first did not remark. "Is not that a
sweet song, Edward?" said she. "No one ought to like it more than you,
for your home is your happiness, and no one has a clearer conscience."

Egan kissed her gently, and thanked her for her good opinion, and asked
her what she wished to say to him. They left the room.

Fanny remarked Egan's unusually troubled air, and it marred her music;
leaving the piano, and walking to the window, she saw Larry Hogan
walking from the house, down the avenue.



CHAPTER XV


If the morning brought uneasiness and distrust to Merryvale, it dawned
not more brightly on Neck-or-Nothing Hall. The discord of the former
night was not preparatory to harmony on the morrow, and the parties
separating in ill-humour from the drawing-room were not likely to look
forward with much pleasure to the breakfast-parlour. But before
breakfast sleep was to intervene--that is, for those who could get
it--and the unfortunate Furlong was not amongst the number. Despite the
very best feather bed Mrs. O'Grady had selected for him from amongst her
treasures, it was long before slumber weighed down his feverish eyelids;
and even then, it was only to have them opened again in some convulsive
start of a troubled dream. All his adventures of the last four-and-twenty
hours were jumbled together in strange confusion--now on a lonely road,
while dreading the assaults of robbers, his course was interrupted not
by a highwayman, but a river, whereon embarking, he began to catch
salmon in a most surprisingly rapid manner, but just as he was about to
haul in his fish it escaped from the hook, and the salmon, making wry
faces at him, very impertinently exclaimed, "Sure, you wouldn't catch a
poor, ignorant, Irish salmon?" He then snapped his pistols at the
insolent fish--then his carriage breaks down, and he is suddenly
transferred from the river to the road; thieves seize upon him and bind
his hands, but a charming young lady with pearly teeth frees him from
his bonds, and conducts him to a castle where a party is engaged in
playing cards; he is invited to join, and as his cards are dealt to him
he anticipates triumph in the game, but by some malicious fortune his
trumps are transformed into things of no value, as they touch the board;
he loses his money, and is kicked out when his purse has been emptied,
and he escapes along a dark road pursued by his spoilers, who would take
his life, and a horrid cry of "broiled bones," rings in his ears as he
flies; he is seized and thrown into a river, where, as he sinks, shoals
of salmon raise a chorus of rejoicing, and he wakes out of the agonies
of dream-drowning to find himself nearly suffocated by sinking into the
feathery depths of Mrs. O'Grady's pet bed. After a night passed in such
troubled visions the unfortunate Furlong awoke unrefreshed, and, with
bitter recollections of the past and mournful anticipations of the
future, arose and prepared to descend to the parlour, where a servant
told him breakfast was ready.

His morning greeting by the family was not of that hearty and cheerful
character which generally distinguishes the house of an Irish squire;
for though O'Grady was not so savage as on the preceding evening, he
was rather gruff, and the ladies dreaded being agreeable when the
master's temper blew from a stormy point. Furlong could not help
regretting at this moment the lively breakfast-table at Merryvale,
nor avoid contrasting to disadvantage the two Miss O'Gradys with
Fanny Dawson. Augusta, the eldest, inherited the prominent nose of
her father, and something of his upper lip too, beard included; and these,
unfortunately, were all she was ever likely to inherit from him; and
Charlotte, the younger, had the same traits in a moderated degree.
Altogether, he thought the girls the plainest he had ever seen, and the
house more horrible than anything that was ever imagined; and he sighed
a faint fashionable sigh, to think his political duties had expelled him
from a paradise to send him

    "The other way--the other way!"

Four boys and a little girl sat at a side-table, where a capacious jug
of milk, large bowls, and a lusty loaf were laid under contribution
amidst a suppressed but continuous wrangle, which was going forward
amongst the juniors; and a snappish "I will" or "I won't," a "Let me
alone" or a "Behave yourself," occasionally was distinguishable above
the murmur of dissatisfaction. A little squall from the little girl at
last made O'Grady turn round and swear that, if they did not
_behave_ themselves, he'd turn them all out.

"It is all Goggy, sir," said the girl.

"No, it's not, you dirty little thing," cried George, whose name was
thus euphoniously abbreviated.

"He's putting----" said the girl, with excitement.

"Ah, you dirty little----" interrupted Goggy, in a low, contemptuous
tone.

"He's putting, sir----"

"Whisht! you young devils, will you?" cried O'Grady, and a momentary
silence prevailed; but the little girl snivelled and put up her bib[14]
to wipe her eyes, while Goggy put out his tongue at her. Many minutes
had not elapsed when the girl again whimpered--

      [14] Pinafore.

"Call to Goggy, papa; he's putting some mouse's tails into my milk,
sir."

"Ah, you dirty little tell-tale!" cried Goggy, reproachfully; "a
tell-tale is worse than a mouse's tail."

O'Grady jumped up, gave Master Goggy a box on the ear, and then caught
him by the aforesaid appendage to his head, and as he led him to the
door by the same, Goggy bellowed lustily, and when ejected from the room
howled down the passage more like a dog than a human being. O'Grady, on
resuming his seat, told Polshee[15] (the little girl) she was always
getting Goggy a beating, and she _was_ a little cantankerous cat and a
dirty tell-tale, as Goggy said. Amongst the ladies and Furlong the
breakfast went forward with coldness and constraint, and all were glad
when it was nearly over. At this period, Mrs. O'Grady half filled a
large bowl from the tea-urn, and then added to it some weak tea, and
Miss O'Grady collected all the broken bread about the table on a plate.
Just then Furlong ventured to "twouble" Mrs. O'Grady for a _leetle_ more
tea, and before he handed her his cup he would have emptied the sediment
in the slop-basin, but by mistake he popped it into the large bowl of
_miserable_ Mrs. O'Grady had prepared. Furlong begged a thousand
pardons, but Mrs. O'Grady assured him it was of no consequence, _as it
was only for the tutor_!

      [15] Mary.

O'Grady, having swallowed his breakfast as fast as possible, left the
room; the whole party soon followed, and on arriving in the
drawing-room, the young ladies became more agreeable when no longer
under the constraint of their ogre father. Furlong talked slip-slop
common-places with them; they spoke of the country and the weather, and
he of the city; they assured him that the dews were heavy in the
evening, and that the grass was _so_ green in that part of the country;
he obliged them with the interesting information, that the Liffy ran
through Dublin, but that the two sides of the city communicated by means
of bridges--that the houses were built of red brick generally, and that
the hall-doors were painted in imitation of mahogany; to which the young
ladies responded, "La, how odd!" and added, that in the country people
mostly painted their hall-doors green, to match the grass. Furlong
admitted the propriety of the proceeding, and said he liked uniformity.
The young ladies quite coincided in his opinion, declared they all were
so fond of uniformity, and added that one of their carriage horses was
blind. Furlong admitted the excellence of the observation, and said, in
a very soft voice, that Love was blind also.

"Exactly," said Miss O'Grady, "and that's the reason we call our horse
'Cupid'!"

"How clever!" replied Furlong.

"And the mare that goes in harness with him--she's an ugly creature, to
be sure, but we call her 'Venus.'"

"How dwoll!" said Furlong.

"That's for uniformity," said Miss O'Grady.

"How good!" was the rejoinder.

Mrs. O'Grady, who had left the room for a few minutes, now returned and
told Furlong she would show him over the house if he pleased. He
assented, of course, and under her guidance went through many
apartments; those on the basement story were hurried through rapidly,
but when Mrs. O'Grady got him upstairs, amongst the bed-rooms, she dwelt
on the excellence of every apartment. "This I need not show you, Mr.
Furlong--'t is your own; I hope you slept well last night?" This was the
twentieth time the question had been asked. "Now, here is another, Mr.
Furlong; the window looks out on the lawn: so nice to look out on a
lawn, I think, in the morning, when one gets up!--so refreshing and
wholesome! Oh! you are looking at the stain in the ceiling, but we
couldn't get the roof repaired in time before the winter set in last
year; and Mr. O'Grady thought we might as well have the painters and
slaters together in the summer--and the house does want paint, indeed,
but we all hate the smell of paint. See here, Mr. Furlong," and she
turned up a quilt as she spoke; "just put your hand into that bed; did
you ever feel a finer bed?"

Furlong declared he never did.

"Oh, you don't know how to feel a bed!--put your hand into it--well,
that way;" and Mrs. O'Grady plunged her arm up to the elbow into the
object of her admiration.  Furlong poked the bed, and was all
laudation.

"Isn't it beautiful?"

"Cha'ming!" replied Furlong, trying to pick off the bits of down which
clung to his coat.

"Oh, never mind the down--you shall be brushed after; I always show my
beds, Mr. Furlong. Now, here's another;" and so she went on, dragging
poor Furlong up and down the house, and he did not get out of her
clutches till he had poked all the beds in the establishment. As soon as
that ceremony was over, and that his coat had undergone the process of
brushing, he wished to take a stroll, and was going forth, when Mrs.
O'Grady interrupted him, with the assurance that it would not be safe
unless some one of the family became his escort, for the dogs were very
fierce--Mr. O'Grady was _so_ fond of dogs, and _so_ proud of a
particular breed of dogs he had, so remarkable for their courage--he
had better wait till the boys had done their Latin lesson. So Furlong
was marched back to the drawing-room.

There the younger daughter addressed him with a message from her
grandmamma, who wished to have the pleasure of making his acquaintance,
and hoped he would pay her a visit. Furlong, of course, was "quite
delighted," and "too happy," and the young lady, thereupon, led him to
the old lady's apartment.

The old dowager had been a beauty in her youth--one of the belles of
the Irish court, and when she heard "a gentleman from Dublin Castle"
was in the house she desired to see him. To see any one from the seat
of her juvenile joys and triumphs would have given her delight, were it
only the coachman that had driven a carriage to a levee or drawing-room;
she could ask him about the sentinels at the gate, the entrance-porch,
and if the long range of windows yet glittered with lights on St.
Patrick's night; but to have a conversation with an official from that
seat of government and courtly pleasure was, indeed, something to make
her happy.

On Furlong being introduced, the old lady received him very courteously,
at the same time with a certain air that betokened she was accustomed to
deference. Her commanding figure was habited in a loose morning wrapper,
made of grey flannel; but while this gave evidence she studied her
personal comfort rather than appearance, a bit of pretty silk
handkerchief about the neck, very knowingly displayed, and a becoming
ribbon in her cap showed she did not quite neglect her good looks; it
did not require a very quick eye to see, besides, a small touch of rouge
on the cheek which age had depressed, and the assistance of Indian ink
to the eyebrow which time had thinned and faded. A glass filled with
flowers stood on the table before her, and a quantity of books lay
scattered about; a guitar--not the Spanish instrument now in fashion,
but the English one of some eighty years ago, strung with wire and tuned
in thirds--hung by a _blue ribbon_ beside her; a corner cupboard,
fantastically carved, bore some curious specimens of china on one side
of the room; while, in strange discord with what was really scarce and
beautiful, the commonest Dutch cuckoo-clock was suspended on the
opposite wall; close beside her chair stood a very pretty little Japan
table, bearing a looking-glass with numerous drawers framed in the same
material; and while Furlong seated himself, the old lady cast a sidelong
glance at the mirror, and her withered fingers played with the fresh
ribbon.

"You have recently arrived from the Castle, sir, I understand."

"Quite wecently, madam--awived last night."

"I hope his Excellency is well--not that I have the honour of his
acquaintance, but I love the Lord Lieutenant--and the aides-de-camps
are so nice, and the little pages!--put a marker in that book," said
she, in an under-tone, to her granddaughter, "page seventy-four--ah,"
she resumed in a higher tone, "that reminds me of the Honourable
Captain Wriggle, who commanded a seventy-four, and danced with me at
the Castle the evening Lady Legge sprained her ankle. By-the-bye, are
there any seventy-fours in Dublin now?"

"I wather think," said Furlong, "the bay is not sufficiently deep for
line-of-battle ships."

"Oh dear, yes! I have seen quantities of seventy-fours there; though,
indeed, I am not quite sure if it wasn't at _Splithead_. Give me the
smelling salts, Charlotte, love; mine does ache indeed! How subject the
dear Duchess of Rutland was to headaches; you did not know the Duchess
of Rutland?--no, to be sure, what am I thinking of? you're too young;
but those were the charming days! You have heard, of course, the
duchess's _bon mot_ in reply to the compliment of Lord ----, but I must
not mention his name, because there was some scandal about them; but the
gentleman said to the duchess--I must tell you she was Isabella, Duchess
of Rutland--and he said, 'Isabelle _is_ a _belle_,' to which the duchess
replied, 'Isabelle _was_ a _belle_.'"

"Vewy neat, indeed!" said Furlong.

"Ah! poor thing," said the dowager, with a sigh, "she was beginning to
be a little _passée_ then;" she looked in the glass herself, and added,
"Dear me, how pale I am this morning!" and pulling out one of the little
drawers from the Japan looking-glass, she took out a pot of rouge and
heightened the colour on her cheek. The old lady not only heightened her
own colour, but that of the witnesses--of Furlong particularly, who was
_quite_ surprised. "Why am I so very pale this morning, Charlotte love?"
continued the old lady.

"You sit up so late reading, grandmamma."

"Ah, who can resist the fascination of the muses? You are fond of
literature, I hope, sir?"

"Extwemely," replied Furlong.

"As a statesman," continued the old lady--to whom Furlong made a deep
obeisance at the word "statesman"--"as a statesman, of course your
reading lies in the more solid department; but if you ever _do_
condescend to read a romance, there is the sweetest thing I ever met I
am just now engaged in; it is called 'The Blue Robber of the Pink
Mountain.' I have not come to the pink mountain yet, but the blue robber
is the most perfect character. The author, however, is guilty of a
strange forgetfulness; he begins by speaking of the robber as of the
middle age, and soon after describes him as a young man. Now, how could
a young man be of the middle age?"

"It seems a stwange inaccuwacy," lisped Furlong. "But poets sometimes
pwesume on the pwivelege they have of doing what they please with their
hewoes."

"Quite true, sir. And talking of heroes, I hope the Knights of St.
Patrick are well--I do admire them so much!--'t is so interesting to see
their banners and helmets hanging up in St. Patrick's Cathedral, that
venerable pile!--with the loud peal of the organ--sublime--isn't
it?--the banners almost tremble in the vibration of the air to the loud
swell of the 'A-a-a-men!'--the very banners seem to wave 'Amen!' Oh,
that swell is so fine!--I think they are fond of swells in the choir;
they have a good effect, and some of the young men are so good
looking!--and the little boys, too--I suppose they are choristers'
children?"

The old lady made a halt, and Furlong filled up the pause by declaring,
"He weally couldn't say."

"I hope you admire the service at St. Patrick's?" continued the old
lady.

"Ye-s, I think St. Paytwick's a vewy amusing place of wo'ship."

"Amusing," said the old lady, half offended. "Inspiring, you mean; not
that I think the sermon interesting, but the anthem!--oh, the anthem,
it is so fine!--and the old banners, those are my delight--the dear
banners covered with dust!"

"Oh, as far as that goes," said Furlong, "they have impwoved the
cathedwal vewy much, fo' they white-washed it inside, and put up
_noo_ banners."

"Whitewash and new banners!" exclaimed the indignant dowager; "the
Goths! to remove an atom of the romantic dust! I would not have let a
house-maid into the place for the world! But they have left the anthem,
I hope?"

"Oh, yes; the anthem is continued, but with a small diffewence:--they
used to sing the anthem befo' the se'mon, but the people used to go
away afte' the anthem and neve' waited fo' the se'mon, and the bishop,
who is pwoud of his pweaching, orde'ed the anthem to be postponed till
afte' the se'mon."

"Oh, yes," said the old lady, "I remember, now, hearing of that, and
some of the wags in Dublin saying the bishop was jealous of old
Spray;[16] and didn't somebody write something called 'Pulpit versus
Organloft'?"

      [16] One of the finest tenors of the last century.

"I cawn't say."

"Well, I am glad you like the cathedral, sir; but I wish they had not
dusted the banners; I used to look at them all the time the service
went on--they were so romantic! I suppose you go there every Sunday?"

"I go in the summe'," said Furlong; "the place is _so_ cold in the
winte'."

"That's true indeed," responded the Dowager, "and it's quite funny,
when your teeth are chattering with cold, to hear Spray singing,
'Comfort ye, my people;' but, to be sure, _that_ is almost enough
to warm you. You are fond of music, I perceive?"

"Vewy!"

"_I_ play the guitar--(citra--cithra--or lute, as it is called by
poets). I sometimes sing, too. Do you know 'The lass with the delicate
air'? a sweet ballad of the old school--my instrument once belonged to
Dolly Bland, the celebrated Mrs. Jordan now--ah, there, sir, is a
brilliant specimen of Irish mirthfulness--what a creature she is! Hand
me my lute, child," she said to her granddaughter; and having adjusted
the blue ribbon over her shoulder, and twisted the tuning-pegs, and
thrummed upon the wires for some time, she made a prelude and cleared
her throat to sing "The lass with the delicate air," when the loud
whirring of the clock-wheels interrupted her, and she looked up with
great delight at a little door in the top of the clock, which suddenly
sprang open, and out popped a wooden bird.

"Listen to my bird, sir," said the old lady.

The sound of "cuckoo" was repeated twelve times, the bird popped in
again, the little door closed, and the monotonous tick of the clock
continued.

"That's my little bird, sir, that tells me secrets; and now, sir, you
must leave me; I never receive visits after twelve. I can't sing you
'The lass with the delicate air' to-day, for who would compete with the
feathered songsters of the grove? and after my sweet little warbler up
there, I dare not venture: but I will sing it for you to-morrow. Good
morning, sir. I am happy to have had the honour of making your
acquaintance." She bowed Furlong out very politely, and as her
granddaughter was following, she said, "My love, you must not forget
some seeds for my little bird." Furlong looked _rather_ surprised, for
he saw no bird but the one in the clock; the young lady marked his
expression, and as she closed the door she said, "You must not mind
grandmamma; you know she is sometimes a little queer."

Furlong was now handed over to the boys, to show him over the domain;
and they, young imps as they were, knowing he was in no favour with
their father, felt they might treat him as ill as they pleased, and
quiz him with impunity. The first portion of Furlong's penance
consisted in being dragged through dirty stable-yards and out-houses,
and shown the various pets of all the parties; dogs, pigeons, rabbits,
weasels, et cætera, were paraded, and their qualities expatiated upon,
till poor Furlong was quite weary of them, and expressed a desire to
see the domain. Horatio, the second boy, whose name was abbreviated to
Ratty, told him they must wait for Gusty, who was mending his spear.
"We're going to spear for eels," said the boy; "did you ever spear for
eels?"

"I should think not," said Furlong, with a knowing smile, who suspected
this was intended to be a second edition of quizzing _à la mode de
saumon_.

"You think I'm joking," said the boy, "but it's famous sport, I can
tell you; but if you're tired of waiting here, come along with me to
the milliner's, and we can wait for Gusty there."

While following the boy, who jumped along to the tune of a jig he was
whistling, now and then changing the whistle into a song to the same
tune, with very odd words indeed, and a burden of gibberish ending with
"riddle-diddle-dow," Furlong wondered what a milliner could have to do
in such an establishment, and his wonder was not lessened when his
guide added, "The milliner is a queer chap, and maybe he'll tell us
something funny."

"Then the milline' is a man?" said Furlong.

"Yes," said the boy, laughing; "and he does not work with needle and
thread either."

They approached a small out-house as he spoke, and the sharp clinking
of a hammer fell on the ear. Shoving open a rickety door, the boy
cried, "Well, Fogy, I've brought a gentleman to see you. This is Fogy,
the milliner, sir," said he to Furlong, whose surprise was further
increased, when, in the person of the man called the milliner, he
beheld a tinker.

"What a strange pack of people I have got amongst," thought Furlong.

The old tinker saw his surprise, and grinned at him. "I suppose it was
a nate young woman you thought you'd see when he towld you he'd bring
you to the milliner--ha! ha! ha! Oh, they're nate lads, the Master
O'Gradys; divil a thing they call by the proper name, at all."

"Yes, we do," said the boy, sharply; "we call ourselves by our proper
name. Ha! Fogy, I have you there."

"Divil a taste, as smart as you think yourself, Masther Ratty; you call
yourselves gentlemen, and that's not your proper name."

Ratty, who was scraping triangles on the door with a piece of broken
brick, at once converted his pencil into a missile, and let fly at the
head of the tinker, who seemed quite prepared for such a result, for,
raising the kettle he was mending, he caught the shot adroitly, and the
brick rattled harmlessly on the tin.

"Ha!" said the tinker, mockingly, "you missed me, like your mammy's
blessin';" and he pursued his work.

"What a very odd name he calls you," said Furlong, addressing young
O'Grady.

"Ratty," said the boy. "Oh, yes, they call me Ratty, short for Horatio.
I was called Horatio after Lord Nelson, because Lord Nelson's father
was a clergyman, and papa intends me for the Church."

"And a nate clargy you'll make," said the tinker.

"And why do they call you milline'?" inquired Furlong. The old man
looked up and grinned, but said nothing.

"You'll know before long, I'll engage," said Ratty; "won't he, Fogy?
You were with old Gran' to-day, weren't you?"

"Yes."

"Did she sing to you 'The lass with the delicate air'?" said the boy,
putting himself in the attitude of a person playing the guitar,
throwing up his eyes, and mimicking the voice of an old woman--

    "So they call'd her, they call'd her,
      The lass--the lass
            With a delicate air,
      De--lick-it--lick-it--lick-it
    The lass with a de--lick-it air."

The young rascal made frightful mouths, and put out his tongue every
time he said "lick-it," and when he had finished, asked Furlong, "Wasn't
that the thing?" Furlong told him his grandmamma had been going to sing
it, but this pleasure had been deferred till to-morrow.

"Then you did not hear it?" said Ratty.

Furlong answered in the negative.

"Och! murder! murder! I'm sorry I told you."

"Is it so _vewy_ pa'ticula', then?" inquired Furlong.

"Oh, you'll find out that, and more too, if you live long enough," was
the answer. Then turning to the tinker, he said, "Have you any milliner
work in hand, Fogy?"

"To be sure I have," answered the tinker; "who has so good a right to
know that as yourself? Throth, you've little to do, I'm thinkin', when
you ax that idle question. Oh, you're nate lads! And would nothin' sarve
you but brakin' the weathercock?"

"Oh, 't was such a nice cock-shot; 't was impossible not to have a shy
at it," said Ratty, chuckling.

"Oh, you're nice lads!" still chimed in the tinker.

"Besides," said Ratty, "Gusty bet me a bull-dog pup against a rabbit, I
could not smash it in three goes."

"Faix, an' he ought to know you betther than that," said the tinker;
"for you'd make a fair offer[17] at anything, I think, but an answer to
your schoolmasther. Oh, a nate lad you are--a nate lad!--a nice clargy
you'll be, your _rivirence_. Oh, if you hit off the tin commandments as
fast as you hit off the tin weathercock, it's a good man you'll be--an'
if I never had a headache till then, sure it's happy I'd be!"

      [17] A "fair offer" is a phrase amongst the Irish peasantry, meaning
      a successful aim.

"Hold your prate, old Growly," said Ratty; "and why don't you mend the
weathercock?"

"I must mend the kittle first--and a purty kittle you made of it!--and
would nothing sarve you but the best kittle in the house to tie to the
dog's tail? Ah, Masther Ratty, you're terrible boys, so yiz are!"

"Hold your prate, you old thief!--why wouldn't we amuse ourselves?"

"And huntin' the poor dog, too."

"Well, what matter!--he was a strange dog."

"That makes no differ in the _crulety_."

"Ah, bother! you old humbug!--who was it blackened the rag-woman's
eye?--ha! Fogy--ha! Fogy--dirty Fogy!"

"Go away, Masther Ratty, you're too good, so you are, your rivirince.
Faix, I wondher his honour, the Squire, doesn't murdher you sometimes."

"He would, if he could catch us," replied Ratty, "but we run too fast
for him, so divil thank him!--and you, too, Fogy,--ha, old Growly! Come
along, Mr. Furlong, here's Gusty;--bad scran to you, Fogy!" and he
slammed the door as he quitted the tinker.

Gustavus, followed by two younger brothers, Theodore and Godfrey (for
O'Grady loved high-sounding names in baptism, though they got twisted
into such queer shapes in family use), now led the way over the park
towards the river. Some fine timber they passed occasionally; but the
axe had manifestly been busy, and the wood seemed thinned rather from
necessity than for improvement; the paths were choked with weeds and
fallen leaves, and the rank moss added its evidence of neglect. The boys
pointed out anything _they_ thought worthy of observation by the way,
such as the best places to find a hare, the most covered approach to the
river to get a shot at wild ducks, or where the best young wood was to
be found from whence to cut a stick. On reaching their point of
destination, which was where the river was less rapid, and its banks
sedgy and thickly grown with flaggers and bulrushes, the sport of
spearing for eels commenced. Gusty first undertook the task, and, after
some vigorous plunges of his implement into the water, he brought up the
prey, wriggling between its barbed prongs. Furlong was amazed, for he
thought this, like the salmon-fishing, was intended as a quiz, and,
after a few more examples of Gusty's prowess, he undertook the sport; a
short time, however, fatigued his unpractised arm, and he relinquished
the spear to Theodore, or Tay, as they called him, and Tay shortly
brought up his fish, and thus, one after another, the boys, successful
in their sport, soon made the basket heavy.

Then, and not till then, they desired Furlong to carry it; he declared
he had no curiosity whatever in that line, but the boys would not let
him off so easy, and told him the practice there was, that every one
should take his share in the day's sport, and as he could not catch the
fish he should carry it. He attempted a parley, and suggested he was
only a visitor; but they only laughed at him--said that might be a very
good Dublin joke, but it would not pass in the country. He then
attempted laughingly to decline the honour; but Ratty, turning round to
a monstrous dog, which hitherto had followed them, quietly said, "Here!
Bloodybones; here! boy! at him, sir!--make him do his work, boy!" The
bristling savage made a low growl, and fixed his eyes on Furlong, who
attempted to remonstrate; but he very soon gave _that_ up, for another
word from the boys urged the dog to a howl and a crouch, preparatory to
a spring, and Furlong made no further resistance, but took up the basket
amid the uproarious laughter of the boys, who continued their sport,
adding every now and then to the weight of Furlong's load; and whenever
he lagged behind, they cried out, "Come along, man-Jack!" which was the
complimentary name they called him by for the rest of the day. Furlong
thought spearing for eels worse sport than fishing for salmon, and was
rejoiced when a turn homeward was taken by the party; but his annoyances
were not yet ended. On their return, their route lay across a plank of
considerable length, which spanned a small branch of the river; it had
no central support, and consequently sprang considerably to the foot of
the passenger, who was afforded no protection from handrail, or even a
swinging rope, and this rendered its passage difficult to an unpractised
person. When Furlong was told to make his way across, he hesitated, and,
after many assurances on his part that he could not attempt it, Gusty
said he would lead him over in security, and took his hand for the
purpose; but when he had him just in the centre, he loosed himself from
Furlong's hold, and ran to the opposite side. While Furlong was praying
him to return, Ratty stole behind him sufficiently far to have purchase
enough on the plank, and began jumping till he made it spring too high
for poor Furlong to hold his footing any longer; so squatting on the
plank, he got astride upon it, and held on with his hands, every
descending vibration of the board dipping his dandy boots in the water.

"Well done, Ratty!" shouted all the boys.

"Splash him, Tay!" cried Gusty. "Pull away, Goggy."

The three boys now began pelting large stones into the river close
beside Furlong, splashing him so thoroughly, that he was wringing wet
in five minutes. In vain Furlong shouted, "Young gentlemen! young
gentlemen!" and, at last, when he threatened to complain to their
father, they recommenced worse than before, and vowed they'd throw
him into the stream if he did not promise to be silent on the subject;
for, to use their own words, if they _were_ beaten, they might as well
duck him at once, and have the "worth of their licking." At last, a
compromise being effected, Furlong stood up to walk off the plank.
"Remember," said Ratty, "you won't tell we hoised[18] you?"

      [18] A vulgarism for "hoisted."

"I won't indeed," said Furlong and he got safe to land.

"But I will!" cried a voice from a neighbouring wood; and Miss O'Grady
appeared, surrounded by a crowd of little pet-dogs. She shook her head
in a threatening manner at the offenders, and all the little dogs set up
a yelping bark, as if to enforce their mistress's anger. The snappish
barking of the pets was returned by one hoarse bay from "Bloodybones,"
which silenced the little dogs, as a broadside from a seventy-four would
dumbfounder a flock of privateers, and the boys returned the sister's
threat by a universal shout of "Tell-tale!"

"Go home, tell-tale!" they all cried; and with an action equally
simultaneous, they stooped one and all for pebbles, and pelted Miss
Augusta so vigorously, that she and her dogs were obliged to run for
it.



CHAPTER XVI


Having recounted Furlong's out-door adventures, it is necessary to say
something of what was passing at Neck-or-Nothing Hall in his absence.

O'Grady, on leaving the breakfast-table, retired to his justice-room to
transact business, a principal feature in which was the examination of
Handy Andy, touching the occurrences of the evening he drove Furlong to
Merryvale; for though Andy was clear of the charge for which he had been
taken into custody, namely, the murder of Furlong, O'Grady thought he
might have been a party to some conspiracy to drive the stranger to the
enemy's camp, and therefore put him to the question very sharply. This
examination he had set his heart upon; and reserving it as a _bonne
bouche_, dismissed all preliminary cases in a very off-hand manner, just
as men carelessly swallow a few oysters preparatory to dinner.

As for Andy, when he was summoned to the justice-room, he made sure it
was for the purpose of being charged with robbing the post-office, and
cast a sidelong glance at the effigy of the man hanging on the wall, as
he was marched up to the desk where O'Grady sat in magisterial dignity;
and, therefore, when he found it was only for driving a gentleman to a
wrong house all the pother was made, his heart was lightened of a heavy
load, and he answered briskly enough. The string of question and reply
was certainly an entangled one, and left O'Grady as much puzzled as
before whether Andy was stupid and innocent, or too knowing to let
himself be caught--and to this opinion he clung at last. In the course
of the inquiry, he found Andy had been in service at Merryvale; and
Andy, telling him he knew all about waiting at table, and so forth, and
O'Grady being in want of an additional man-servant in the house while
his honourable guest, Sackville Scatterbrain, should be on a visit with
him, Andy was told he should be taken on trial for a month. Indeed, a
month was as long as most servants could stay in the house--they came
and went as fast as figures in a magic lantern.

Andy was installed in his new place, and set to work immediately
scrubbing up extras of all sorts to make the reception of the honourable
candidate for the county as brilliant as possible, not only for the
honour of the house, but to make a favourable impression on the coming
guest; for Augusta, the eldest girl, was marriageable, and to her
father's ears "The Honourable Mrs. Sackville Scatterbrain" would have
sounded much more agreeably than "Miss O'Grady."

"Well--who knows?" said O'Grady to his wife; "such things have come to
pass. Furbish her up, and make her look smart at dinner--he has a good
fortune, and will be a peer one of these days--worth catching. Tell her
so."

Leaving these laconic observations and directions behind him, he set
off to the neighbouring town to meet Scatterbrain, and to make a
blow-up at the post-office about the missing letters. This he was the
more anxious to do, as the post-office was kept by the brother of
M'Garry, the apothecary; and since O'Grady had been made to pay so
dearly for thrashing him, he swore eternal vengeance against the whole
family. The post-master could give no satisfactory answer to the charge
made against him, and O'Grady threatened a complaint to headquarters,
and prophesied the postmaster's dismissal. Satisfied for the present
with this piece of prospective vengeance, he proceeded to the inn, and
awaited the arrival of his guest.

In the interim, at the Hall, Mrs. O'Grady gave Augusta the necessary
hints, and recommended a short walk to improve her colour; and it was
in the execution of this order that Miss O'Grady's perambulation was
cut short by the pelting her sweet brothers gave her.

The internal bustle of the establishment caught the attention of the
dowager, who contrived to become acquainted with its cause, and set
about making herself as fascinating as possible; for though, in the
ordinary routine of the family affairs, she kept herself generally
secluded in her own apartments, whenever any affair of an interesting
nature was pending, nothing could make her refrain from joining any
company which might be in the house;--nothing;--not even O'Grady
himself. At such times, too, she became strangely excited, and
invariably executed one piece of farcical absurdity, of which, however,
the family contrived to confine the exercise to her own room. It was
wearing on her head a tin concern, something like a chimney-cowl,
ornamented by a small weathercock, after the fashion of those which
surmount church-steeples; this, she declared, influenced her health
wonderfully, by indicating the variation of the wind in her stomach,
which she maintained to be the grand ruling principle of human
existence. She would have worn this head-dress in any company, had she
been permitted, but the terrors of her son had sufficient influence over
her to have this laid aside for a more seemly _coiffure_ when she
appeared at dinner or in the drawing-room; but while she yielded really
through fear, she affected to be influenced through tenderness to her
son's infirmity of temper.

"It is very absurd," she would say, "that Gustavus should interfere
with my toilette; but, poor fellow, he's very queer, you know, and I
_humour_ him."

This at once explains why Master Ratty called the tinker "the
milliner."

It will not be wondered at that the family carefully excluded the old
lady from the knowledge of any exciting subject; but those who know
what a talkative race children and servants are, will not be surprised
that the dowager sometimes got scent of proceedings which were meant to
be kept secret. The pending election, and the approaching visit of the
candidate, somehow or other, came to her knowledge, and of course she
put on her tin chimney-pot. Thus attired, she sat watching the avenue
all day; and when she saw O'Grady return in a handsome travelling
carriage with a stranger, she was quite happy, and began to attire
herself in some ancient finery, rather the worse for wear, and which
might have been interesting to an antiquary.

The house soon rang with bustle--bells rang, and footsteps rapidly
paced passages, and pattered up and down stairs. Andy was the nimblest
at the hall-door at the first summons of the bell; and, in a livery too
short in the arms and too wide in the shoulders, he bustled here and
there, his anxiety to be useful only putting him in everybody's way,
and ending in getting him a hearty cursing from O'Grady.

The carriage was unpacked, and letter-boxes, parcels, and portmanteaus
strewed the hall. Andy was desired to carry the latter to "the
gentleman's room," and, throwing the portmanteau over his shoulder, he
ran upstairs. It was just after the commotion created by the arrival of
the _Honourable_ Mr. Scatterbrain that Furlong returned to the
house, wet and weary.

He retired to his room to change his clothes, and fancied he was now
safe from further molestation, with an inward protestation that the
next time the Master O'Gradys caught him in their company, they might
bless themselves; when he heard a loud sound of hustling near his door,
and Miss Augusta's voice audibly exclaiming, "Behave yourself,
Ratty!--Gusty, let me go!"--when, as the words were uttered, the door
of his room was shoved open, and Miss Augusta thrust in, and the door
locked outside.

Furlong had not half his clothes on. Augusta exclaimed, "Gracious
me!"--first put up her hands to her eyes, and then turned her face to
the door.

Furlong hid himself in the bed-curtains, while Ratty, the vicious
little rascal, with a malicious laugh, said, "Now, promise you'll not
tell papa, or I'll bring him up here--and then, how will you be?"

"Ratty, you wretch!" cried Augusta, kicking at the door, "let me out!"

"Not a bit, till you promise."

"Oh, fie, Maste' O'Gwady!" said Furlong.

"I'll scream, Ratty, if you don't let me out!" cried Augusta.

"If you screech, papa will hear you, and then he'll come up and kill
that fellow there."

"Oh, don't squeam, Miss O'Gwady!" said Furlong, very vivaciously, from
the bed-curtains; "don't squeam, pway!"

"I'm not squeamish, sir," said Miss Augusta; "but it's dreadful to be
shut up with a man who has no clothes on him.  Let me out, Ratty--let
me out!"

"Well, will you tell on us?"

"No."

"'Pon your honour?"

"'Pon my honour, no! Make haste! Oh, if papa knew of this!"

Scarcely had the words been uttered, when the heavy tramp and gruff
voice of O'Grady resounded in the passage, and the boys scampered off
in a fright, leaving the door locked.

"Oh, what will become of me!" said the poor girl, with the extremity of
terror in her look--a terror so excessive, that she was quite heedless
of the dishabille of Furlong, who jumped from the curtains, when he
heard O'Grady coming.

"Don't be fwightened, Miss O'Gwady," said Furlong, half frightened to
death himself. "When we explain the affair----"

"Explain!" said the girl, gasping. "Oh, you don't know papa!"

As she spoke, the heavy tramp ceased at the door--a sharp tap
succeeded, and Furlong's name was called in the gruff voice of the
Squire.

Furlong could scarcely articulate a response.

"Let me in," said O'Grady.

"I am not dwessed, sir," answered Furlong.

"No matter," said the Squire; "you're not a woman."

Augusta wrung her hands.

"I'll be down with you as soon as I am dwessed, sir," replied Furlong.

"I want to speak to you immediately--and here are letters for you--open
the door."

Augusta signified by signs to Furlong that resistance would be vain;
and hid herself under the bed.

"Come in, sir," said Furlong, when she was secreted.

"The door is fastened," said O'Grady.

"Turn the key, sir," said Furlong.

O'Grady unlocked the door, and was so inconsistent a person, that he
never thought of the impossibility of Furlong's having locked it, but,
in the richest spirit of bulls, asked him if he always fastened his
door on the outside. Furlong said he always did.

"What's the matter with you?" inquired O'Grady. "You're as white as the
sheet there;" and he pointed to the bed as he spoke.

Furlong grew whiter as he pointed to that quarter.

"What ails you, man?--Aren't you well?"

"Wather fatigued--but I'll be bette' pwesently. What do you wish with
me, sir?"

"Here are letters for you--I want to know what's in
them--Scatterbrain's come--do you know that?"

"No--I did not."

"Don't stand there in the cold--go on dressing yourself; I'll sit down
here till you can open your letters: I want to tell you something
besides." O'Grady took a chair as he spoke.

Furlong assumed all the composure he could; and the girl began to hope
she should remain undiscovered, and most likely she would have been so
lucky, had not the Genius of Disaster, with aspect malign, waved her
sable wand, and called her chosen servant, Handy Andy, to her aid. He,
her faithful and unfailing minister, obeyed the call, and at that
critical juncture of time gave a loud knock at the chamber-door.

"Come in," said O'Grady.

Andy opened the door and popped in his head. "I beg your pardon, sir,
but I kem for the jintleman's portmantle."

"What gentleman?" asked O'Grady.

"The Honourable, sir; I tuk his portmantle to the wrong room, sir; and
I'm come for it now, bekase he wants it."

"There's no po'tmanteau here," said Furlong.

"O yis, sir," said Andy; "I put it undher the bed."

"Well, take it and be off," said O'Grady.

"No--no--no," said Furlong, "don't distu'b my woom, if you please, till
I have done dwessing."

"But the Honourable is dhressing too, sir; and that's why he wants the
portmantle."

"Take it, then," said the Squire.

Furlong was paralysed, and could offer no further resistance: Andy
stooped, and lifting the valance of the bed to withdraw the portmanteau,
dropped it suddenly, and exclaimed, "O Lord!"

"What's the matter?" said the Squire.

"Nothin', sir," said Andy, looking scared.

"Then take the portmanteau, and be hanged to you."

"Oh, I'll wait till the jintleman's done, sir," said Andy, retiring.

"What the devil is all this about?" said the Squire, seeing the
bewilderment of Furlong and Andy. "What is it at all?" and he stooped as
he spoke, and lifted the valance. But here description must end, and
imagination supply the scene of fury and confusion which succeeded. At
the first fierce volley of imprecation O'Grady gave vent to, Andy ran
off and alarmed the family, Augusta screamed, and Furlong held for
support by the bedpost, while, between every hurricane of oaths, O'Grady
ran to the door, and shouted for his pistols, and anon returned to the
chamber to vent every abusive epithet which could be showered on man and
woman. The prodigious uproar soon brought the whole house to the spot;
Mrs. O'Grady and the two spare girls amongst the first; Mat, and the
cook, and the scullion, and all the housemaids in rapid succession; and
Scatterbrain himself at last; O'Grady all the time foaming at the mouth,
stamping up and down the room, shaking his fist at Furlong, and, after a
volley of names impossible to remember or print, always concluding with
the phrase, "Wait till I get my pistols!"

"Gusty, dear," said his trembling wife, "what is it all about?"

He glared upon her with his flashing eyes, and said, "Fine education
you give your children, ma'am. Where have you brought up your daughters
to go to, eh?"

"To church, my dear," said Mrs. O'Grady, meekly; for she being a Roman
Catholic, O'Grady was very jealous of his daughters being reared staunch
Protestants, and she, poor simple woman, thought that was the drift of
his question.

"Church, my eye, woman!--Church, indeed!--'faith, she ought to have
gone there before she came where I found her. Thunderan'ouns, where are
my pistols?"

"Where _has_ she gone to, my love?" asked the wife in a tremor.

"To the divil, ma'am. Is that all you know about it?" said O'Grady.
"And you wish to know where she is?"

"Yes, love," said his wife.

"Then look under that bed, ma'am, and you'll see her without
spectacles."

Mrs. O'Grady now gave a scream, and the girls and the housemaids joined
in the chorus. Augusta bellowed from under the bed, "Mamma! mamma!
indeed it's all Ratty--I never did it."

At this moment, to help the confusion, a fresh appearance made its way
into the room; it was that of the Dowager O'Grady--arrayed in all the
bygone finery of faded full-dress, and the tin chimney-pot on her head.
"What is all this about?" she exclaimed, with an air of authority;
"though my weathercock tells me the wind is nor'west, I did not expect
such a storm. Is any one killed?"

"No," said O'Grady; "but somebody will be soon. Where are my pistols?
Blood and fire! will nobody bring me my pistols?"

"Here they are, sir," said Handy Andy, running in.

O'Grady made a rush for the pistols, but his mother and his wife threw
themselves before him, and Scatterbrain shoved Andy outside the room.

"Confound you, you numscull! would you give pistols into the hands of a
frantic man?"

"Sure, he ax'd for them, sir."

"Go out o' this, you blockhead! Go and hide them somewhere, where your
master won't find them."

Andy retired, muttering something about the hardness of a servant's
case, in being scolded and called names for doing his master's bidding.
Scatterbrain returned to the room, where the confusion was still in
full bloom; O'Grady swearing between his mother and wife, while Furlong
endeavoured to explain how the young lady happened to be in his room;
and she kicking in hysterics amidst the maids and her sisters, while
Scatterbrain ran to and fro between all the parties, giving an ear to
Furlong, an eye to O'Grady, and smelling salts to his daughter.

The case was a hard one to a milder man than O'Grady--his speculation
about Scatterbrain all knocked on the head, for it could not be expected
_he_ would marry the lady who had been found under another man's bed. To
hush the thing up would be impossible, after the publicity his own fury
had given to the affair. "Would she ever be married after such an affair
was _éclaté_?" The question rushed into his head on one side, and the
answer rushed in at the other, and met it with a plump "No!"--the
question and answer then joined hands in O'Grady's mind, and danced down
the middle to the tune of "Haste to the wedding!"

"Yes," he said, slapping his forehead, "she must be married at once."
Then, turning to Furlong, he said, "You're not married, I hope?"

Furlong acknowledged he was not, though he regretted the moment he had
made the admission.

"'T is well for you," said O'Grady, "for it has saved your life. You
shall marry her, then!" He never thought of asking Furlong's
acquiescence in the measure. "Come here, you baggage!" he cried to
Augusta, as he laid hold of her hand, and pulled her up from her chair;
"come here! I intended you for a better man; but since you _have_ such a
hang-dog taste, why, go to him!" And he shoved her over to Furlong.
"There!" he said, addressing _him_, "take her, since you _will_ have
her. We'll speak of her fortune after."

The poor girl stood abashed, sobbing aloud, and tears pouring from her
downcast eyes. Furlong was so utterly taken by surprise, that he was
riveted to the spot where he stood, and could not advance a step towards
his drooping intended. At this awkward moment, the glorious old dowager
came to the rescue; she advanced, tin chimney-pot and all, and taking a
hand of each of the principals in hers, she joined them together in a
theatrical manner, and ejaculated, with a benignant air, "Bless you, my
children!"

In the midst of the mingled rage, confusion, fright, and astonishment of
the various parties present, there was something so exquisitely absurd
in the old woman's proceeding, that nearly every one felt inclined to
laugh; but the terror of O'Grady kept their risible faculties in check.
Fate, however, decreed the finale should be comic; for the cook,
suddenly recollecting herself, exclaimed, "Oh, murther! the goose will
be burned!" and ran out of the room; a smothered burst of laughter
succeeded, which roused the ire of O'Grady, who, making a charge right
and left amongst the delinquents, the room was soon cleared, and the
party dispersed in various directions, O'Grady's voice rising loud above
the general confusion, as he swore his way down-stairs, kicking his
mother's tin turban before him.



CHAPTER XVII


Canvassing before an election resembles skirmishing before a battle;--the
skirmishing was over, and the arrival of the Honourable Sackville
Scatterbrain was like the first gun that commences an engagement;--and
now both parties were to enter on the final struggle.

A jolly group sat in Murphy's dining-parlour on the eve of the day fixed
for the nomination. Hitting points of speeches were discussed--plans for
bringing up voters--tricks to interrupt the business of the opposite
party--certain allusions on the hustings that would make the enemy lose
temper; and, above all, everything that could cheer and amuse the
people, and make them rejoice in their cause.

"Oh, let me alone for _that_ much," said Murtough. "I have engaged
every piper and fiddler within twenty miles round, and divil a screech
of a chanter[19] or a scrape of catcut Scatterbrain can have for love or
money--that's one grand point."

      [19] The principal tube of a bagpipe.

"But," said Tom Durfy, "he has engaged the yeomanry band."

"What of that?" asked Dick Dawson;  "a band is all very well for making
a splash in the first procession to the hustings, but what good is it
in working out the details?"

"What do you call details?" said Durfy.

"Why, the popular tunes in the public-houses and in the tally-rooms,
while the fellows are waiting to go up. Then the dances in the
evening--Wow!--won't Scatterbrain's lads look mighty shy when they know
the Eganites are kicking their heels to 'Moll in the Wad,' while
_they_ haven't a lilt to shake their bones to?"

"To be sure," said Murphy; "we'll have the deserters to our cause from
the enemy's camp before the first night is over;[20] wait till the girls
know where the fiddles are--and won't they make the lads join us!"

      [20] In those times elections often lasted many days.

"I believe a woman would do a good deal for a dance," said Doctor
Growling; "they are immensely fond of saltatory motion. I remember,
once in my life, I used to flirt with a little actress who was a great
favourite in a provincial town where I lived, and she was invited to a
ball there, and confided to me she had no silk stockings to appear in,
and without them her presence at the ball was out of the question."

"That was a hint to you to buy the stockings," said Dick.

"No--you're out," said Growling. "She knew I was as poor as herself;
but though she could not rely on my purse, she had every confidence in
my taste and judgment, and consulted me on a plan she formed for going
to the ball in proper twig. Now, what do you think it was?"

"To go in cotton, I suppose," returned Dick.

"Out, again, sir--you'd never guess it; and only a woman could have hit
on the expedient; it was the fashion in those days for ladies in full
dress to wear pink stockings, and she proposed _painting her
legs_!"

"Painting her legs!" they all exclaimed.

"Fact, sir," said the doctor; "and she relied on me for telling her if
the cheat was successful----"

"And was it?" asked Durfy.

"Don't be in a hurry, Tom. I complied on one condition--namely, that I
should be the painter."

"Oh, you villain!" cried Dick.

"A capital bargain!" said Tom Durfy.

"But not a safe covenant," added the attorney.

"Don't interrupt me, gentlemen," said the doctor. "I got some rose-pink
accordingly, and I defy all the hosiers in Nottingham to make a tighter
fit than I did on little Jinney; and a prettier pair of stockings I
never saw."

"And she went to the ball?" said Dick.

"She did!"

"And the trick succeeded?" added Durfy.

"So completely," said the doctor, "that several ladies asked her to
recommend her dyer to them! So you see what a woman will do to go to a
dance. Poor little Jinney!--she was a merry minx. By-the-bye, she boxed
my ears that night, for a joke I made about the stockings. 'Jinney,'
said I, 'for fear your stockings should fall down when you're dancing,
hadn't you better let me paint a pair of garters on them?'"

The fellows laughed at the doctor's quaint conceit about the garters,
but Murphy called them back to the business of the election.

"What next?" he said, "public-houses and tally-rooms to have pipers and
fiddlers--ay--and we'll get up as good a march, too, as Scatterbrain,
with all his yeomanry band;--think a cartfull of fiddlers would have a
fine effect!"

"If we could only get a double-bass amongst them!" said Dick.

"Talking of double-basses," said the doctor, "did you ever hear the
story of the sailor in an admiral's ship, who, when some fine concert
was to be given on board----"

"Hang your concerts and stories!" said Murphy; "let us go on with the
election."

"Oh, the doctor's story!" cried Tom Durfy and Dick Dawson together.

"Well, sir," continued the doctor, "a sailor was handing in, over the
side, from a boat which bore the instruments from shore, a great lot of
fiddles. When some tenors came into his hand he said those were real
good-sized fiddles; and when a violoncello appeared, Jack, supposing it
was to be held between the hand and the shoulder, like a violin,
declared 'He must be a strapping chap that fiddle belonged to!' But
when the double-bass made its appearance, 'My eyes and limbs!' cried
Jack, 'I _would_ like to see the chap as plays that!!!'"

"Well, doctor, are you done?" cried Murphy; "for, if you are, now for
the election. You say, Dick, Major Dawson is to propose your
brother-in-law?"

"Yes."

"And he'll do it well, too; the Major makes a very good straightforward
speech."

"Yes," said Dick; "the old cock is not a bad hand at it. But I have a
suspicion he's going to make a greater oration than usual and read some
long rigmarolish old records."

"That will never do!" said Murphy, "as long as a man looks Pat _in_ the
face, and makes a good rattling speech 'out o' the face,' Pat will
listen to him; but when a lad takes to heavy readings, Pat grows tired.
We must persuade the Major to give up the reading."

"Persuade _my_ father!" cried Dick. "When did you ever hear of his
giving up his own opinion?"

"If he could be prevailed on even to shorten----" said Murphy.

"Oh, leave him to me," said Dick, laughing; "I'll take care he'll not
read a word."

"Manage that, Dick, and you're a jewel!"

"I will," said Dick. "I'll take the glasses out of his spectacles the
morning of the nomination, and then let him read, if he can."

"Capital, Dick; and now the next point of discussion is----"

"Supper, ready to come up, sir," said a servant, opening the door.

"Then, that's the best thing we could discuss, boys," said Murphy to
his friends--"so up with the supper, Dan. Up with the supper! Up with
the Egans! Down with the Scatterbrains--hurrah!--we'll beat them
gaily."

"Hollow!" said Durfy.

"Not hollow," said Dick; "we'll have a tussle for it."

"So much the better," cried Murphy; "I would not give a fig for an easy
victory--there's no fun in it. Give me the election that is like a
race--now one ahead, and then the other; the closeness calling out all
the energies of both parties--developing their tact and invention, and,
at last, the return secured by a large majority."

"But think of the glory of a large one," said Dick.

"Ay," added Durfy, "beside crushing the hope of a petition on the part
of your enemy to pull down the majority."

"But think of Murphy's enjoyment," said the doctor, "in defending the
seat, to say nothing of the bill of costs."

"You have me there, doctor," said Murphy; "a fair hit, I grant you; but
see, the supper is on the table. To it, my lads; to it! and then a
jolly glass to drink success to our friend Egan."

And glass after glass they did drink in all sorts and shapes of
well-wishing toasts; in short, to have seen the deep interest those men
took in the success of their friend, might have gladdened the heart of
a philanthropist; though there is no knowing what Father Mathew, had he
flourished in those times, might have said to their overflowing
benevolence.



CHAPTER XVIII


The morning of nomination which dawned on Neck-or-Nothing Hall saw a
motley group of O'Grady's retainers assembling in the stable-yard, and
the out-offices rang to laugh and joke over a rude but plentiful
breakfast--tea and coffee, there, had no place--but meat, potatoes,
milk, beer, and whisky were at the option of the body-guard, which was
selected for the honour of escorting the wild chief and his friend,
the candidate, into the town. Of this party was the yeomanry-band of
which Tom Durfy spoke, though, to say the truth, considering Tom's
apprehensions on the subject, it was of slender force. One trumpet, one
clarionet, a fife, a big drum, and a pair of cymbals, with a "_real_
nigger" to play them, were all they could muster.

After clearing off everything in the shape of breakfast, the
"musicianers" amused the retainers, from time to time, with a tune
on the clarionet, fife, or trumpet, while they waited the appearance of
the party from the house. Uproarious mirth and noisy joking rang round
the dwelling, to which none contributed more largely than the trumpeter,
who fancied himself an immensely clever fellow, and had a heap of
cut-and-dry jokes at his command, and practical drolleries in which he
indulged to the great entertainment of all, but of none more than Andy,
who was in the thick of the row, and in a divided ecstasy between the
"_blaky-moor's_" turban and cymbals and the trumpeter's jokes and music;
the latter articles having a certain resemblance, by-the-bye, to the
former in clumsiness and noise, and therefore suited to Andy's taste.
Whenever occasion offered, Andy got near the big drum, too, and gave it
a thump, delighted with the result of his ambitious achievement.

Andy was not lost on the trumpeter: "Arrah, maybe you'd like to have a
touch at these?" said the joker, holding up the cymbals.

"Is it hard to play them, sir?" inquired Andy.

"Hard!" said the trumpeter; "sure they're not hard at all--but as soft
and smooth as satin inside--just feel them--rub your fingers inside."

Andy obeyed; and his finger was chopped between the two brazen plates.
Andy roared, the bystanders laughed, and the trumpeter triumphed in his
wit. Sometimes he would come behind an unsuspecting boor, and give,
close to his ear, a discordant bray from his trumpet, like the note of a
jackass, which made _him_ jump, and the crowd roar with merriment; or,
perhaps, when the clarionet or the fife was engaged in giving the people
a tune, he would drown either, or both of them, in a wild yell of his
instrument. As they could not make reprisals upon him, he had his own
way in playing whatever he liked for his audience; and in doing so
indulged in all the airs of a great artist--pulling out one crook from
another--blowing through them softly, and shaking the moisture from them
in a tasty style--arranging them with a fastidious nicety--then, after
the final adjustment of the mouth-piece, lipping the instrument with an
affectation exquisitely grotesque; but before he began he always asked
for another drink.

"It's not for myself," he would say, "but for the thrumpet, the
crayther; the divil a note she can blow without a dhrop."

Then, taking a mug of drink, he would present it to the bell of the
trumpet, and afterwards transfer it to his own lips, always bowing to
the instrument first, and saying, "Your health, ma'am!"

This was another piece of delight to the mob, and Andy thought him the
funniest fellow he ever met, though he _did_ chop his finger.

"Faix, sir, an' it is dhry work, I'm sure, playing the thing."

"Dhry!" said the trumpeter, "'pon my ruffles and tuckers--and that's a
cambric oath--it's worse nor lime-burnin', so it is--it makes a man's
throat as parched as pays."

"Who dar says pays?" cried the drummer.

"Howld your prate!" said the trumpeter, elegantly, and silenced all
reply by playing a tune. As soon as it was ended, he turned to Andy and
asked for a cork.

Andy gave it to him.

The man of jokes affected to put it into the trumpet.

"What's that for, sir?" asked Andy.

"To bottle up the music," said the trumpeter--"sure all the music would
run about the place if I didn't do that."

Andy gave a vague sort of "ha, ha!" as if he were not quite sure whether
the trumpeter was in jest or earnest, and thought at the moment that to
play the trumpet and practical jokes must be the happiest life in the
world. Filled with this idea, Andy was on the watch how he could possess
himself of the trumpet, for could he get one blast on it, he would be
happy: a chance at last opened to him; after some time, the lively owner
of the treasure laid down his instrument to handle a handsome blackthorn
which one of the retainers was displaying, and he made some flourishes
with the weapon to show that music was not his only accomplishment. Andy
seized the opportunity and the trumpet, and made off to one of the sheds
where they had been regaling; and, shutting the door to secure himself
from observation, he put the trumpet to his mouth and distended his
cheeks near to bursting with the violence of his efforts to produce a
sound; but all his puffing was unavailing for some minutes. At last a
faint cracked squeak answered a more desperate blast than before, and
Andy was delighted. "Everything must have a beginning," thought Andy,
"and maybe I'll get a tune out of it yet." He tried again, and increased
in power; for a sort of strangled screech was the result. Andy was in
ecstasy, and began to indulge visions of being one day a trumpeter; he
strutted up and down the shed like the original he so envied, and
repeated some of the drolleries he heard him utter. He also imitated his
actions of giving a drink to the trumpet, and was more generous to the
instrument than the owner, for he really poured about half a pint of
beer down its throat: he then drank its health, and finished by
"bottling up the music," absolutely cramming a cork into the trumpet.
Now Andy, having no idea the trumpeter made a sham of the action, made a
vigorous plunge of a goodly cork into the throat of the instrument, and,
in so doing, the cork went further than he intended: he tried to
withdraw it, but his clumsy fingers, instead of extracting, only drove
it in deeper--he became alarmed--and, seizing a fork, strove with its
assistance to remedy the mischief he had done, but the more he poked,
the worse; and, in his fright, he thought the safest thing he could do
was to cram the cork out of sight altogether, and having soon done that,
he returned to the yard, and laid down the trumpet unobserved.

Immediately after, the procession to the town started. O'Grady gave
orders that the party should not be throwing away their powder and
shot, as he called it, in untimely huzzas and premature music. "Wait
till you come to the town, boys," said he, "and then you may smash away
as hard as you can; blow your heads off, and split the sky."

The party of Merryvale was in motion for the place of action about the
same time, and a merrier pack of rascals never was on the march.
Murphy, in accordance with his preconceived notion of a "fine effect,"
had literally "a cart full of fiddlers;" but the fiddlers hadn't it all
to themselves, for there was another cart full of pipers; and, by way
of mockery to the grandeur of Scatterbrain's band, he had four or five
boys with gridirons, which they played upon with pokers, and half a
dozen strapping fellows carrying large iron tea-trays, which they
whopped after the manner of a Chinese gong.

It so happened that the two roads from Merryvale and Neck-or-Nothing
Hall met at an acute angle, at the same end of the town, and it chanced
that the rival candidates and their retinues arrived at this point
about the same time.

"There they are!" said Murphy, who presided in the cart full of fiddlers
like a leader in an orchestra, with a shillelah for his _baton_, which
he flourished over his head as he shouted, "Now give it to them, your
sowls!--rasp and lilt away, boys!--slate the gridirons, Mike!--smaddher
the tay-tray, Tom!"

The uproar of strange sounds that followed, shouting included, may be
easier imagined than described; and O'Grady, answering the war-cry, sung
out to his band--"What are you at, you lazy rascals?--don't you hear
_them_ blackguards beginning?--fire away, and be hanged to you!" His
rascals shouted, bang went the drum, and clang went the cymbals, the
clarionet squeaked, and the fife tootled, but the trumpet--ah!--the
trumpet--their great reliance--where was the trumpet? O'Grady inquired
in the precise words, with a diabolical addition of his own. "Where the
d---- is the trumpet?" said he; he looked over the side of the carriage
as he spoke, and saw the trumpeter spitting out a mouthful of beer which
had run from the instrument as he lifted it to his mouth.

"Bad luck to you, what are you wasting your time there for?" thundered
O'Grady in a rage; "why didn't you spit out when you were young, and
you'd be a clean old man?  Blow and be d---- to you!"

The trumpeter filled his lungs for a great blast, and put the trumpet to
his lips--but in vain; Andy had bottled his music for him. O'Grady,
seeing the inflated cheeks and protruding eyes of the musician, whose
visage was crimson with exertion, and yet no sound produced, thought the
fellow was practising one of his jokes upon him, and became excessively
indignant; he thundered anathemas at him, but his voice was drowned in
the din of the drum and cymbals, which were plied so vigorously, that
the clarionet and fife shared the same fate as O'Grady's voice. The
trumpeter could judge of O'Grady's rage from the fierceness of his
actions only, and answered him in pantomimic expression, holding up his
trumpet and pointing into the bell, with a grin of vexation on his phiz,
meant to express something was wrong; but this was all mistaken by the
fierce O'Grady, who only saw in the trumpeter's grins the insolent
intention of jibing him.

"Blow, you blackguard, blow!" shouted the Squire. Bang went the drum.

"Blow--or I'll break your neck!" Crash went the cymbals.

"Stop your banging there, you ruffians, and let me be heard!" roared
the excited man; but as he was standing up on the seat of the carriage,
and flung his arms about wildly as he spoke, the drummer thought his
action was meant to stimulate him to further exertion, and he banged
away louder than before.

"By the hokey, I'll murder some o' ye!" shouted the Squire, who,
ordering the carriage to pull up, flung open the door and jumped out,
made a rush at the drummer, seized his principal drumstick, and giving
him a bang over the head with it, cursed him for a rascal for not
stopping when he told him; this silenced all the instruments together,
and O'Grady, seizing the trumpeter by the back of the neck, shook him
violently, while he denounced with fierce imprecations his insolence in
daring to practise a joke on him. The trumpeter protested his innocence,
and O'Grady called him a lying rascal, finishing his abuse by clenching
his fist in a menacing attitude, and telling him to play.

"I can't, yer honour!"

"You lie, you scoundrel."

"There's something in the trumpet, sir."

"Yes, there's music in it; and if you don't blow it out of it----"

"I can't blow it out of it, sir."

"Hold your prate, you ruffian; blow this minute."

"Arrah, thry it yourself, sir," said the frightened man, handing the
instrument to the Squire.

"D----n your impudence, you rascal; do you think I'd blow anything that
was in your dirty mouth? Blow, I tell you, or it will be worse for
you."

"By the vartue o' my oath, your honour----"

"Blow, I tell you!"

"By the seven blessed candles----"

"Blow, I tell you!"

"The trumpet is choked, sir."

"There will be a trumpeter choked, soon," said O'Grady, gripping him by
the neck-handkerchief, with his knuckles ready to twist into his throat.
"By this and that I'll strangle you, if you don't play this minute, you
humbugger."

"By the Blessed Virgin, I'm not humbiggin' your honour," stammered the
trumpeter with the little breath O'Grady left him.

Scatterbrain, seeing O'Grady's fury, and fearful of its consequences,
had alighted from the carriage and came to the rescue, suggesting to
the infuriated Squire that what the man said might be true. O'Grady
said he knew better, that the blackguard was a notorious joker, and
having indulged in a jest in the first instance, was now only lying to
save himself from punishment; furthermore, swearing that if he did not
play that minute he'd throw him into the ditch.

With great difficulty O'Grady was prevailed upon to give up the gripe
of the trumpeter's throat; and the poor breathless wretch, handing the
instrument to the clarionet-player, appealed to him if it were possible
to play on it. The clarionet-player said he could not tell, for he did
not understand the trumpet.

"You see there!" cried O'Grady. "You see he's humbugging, and the
clarionet-player is an honest man."

"An honest man!" exclaimed the trumpeter, turning fiercely on the
clarionet-player. "He's the biggest _villain_ unhanged for sthrivin' to
get me murthered, and refusin' the evidence for me!" The man's eyes
flashed fury as he spoke, and throwing his trumpet down, "Mooney!--by
jakers, you're no man!" Clenching his fist as he spoke, he made a rush
on the clarionet-player, and planted a hit on his mouth with such
vigour, that he rolled in the dust; and when he rose, it was with such
an upper lip that his clarionet-playing was evidently finished for the
next week certainly.

Now the fifer was the clarionet-player's brother; and he, turning on
the trumpeter, roared--

"Bad luck to you!--you did not sthrek him fair!"

But while in the very act of reprobating the foul blow, he let fly
under the ear of the trumpeter, who was quite unprepared for it,--and
he, too, measured his length on the road. On recovering his legs he
rushed on the fifer for revenge, and a regular scuffle ensued among
"the musicianers," to the great delight of the crowd of retainers, who
were so well primed with whisky that a fight was just the thing to
their taste.

In vain O'Grady swore at them, and went amongst them, striving to
restore order, but they would not be quiet till several black eyes and
damaged noses bore evidence of a busy five minutes having passed. In
the course of "the scrimmage," Fate was unkind to the fifer, whose
mouth-piece was considerably impaired; and "the boys" remarked, that
the worst stick you could have in a crowd was a "whistling stick," by
which name they designated the fifer's instrument.

At last, however, peace was restored, and the trumpeter again ordered
to play by O'Grady.

He protested, again, it was impossible.

The fifer, in revenge, declared he was only humbugging the Squire.

Hereupon O'Grady, seizing the unfortunate trumpeter, gave him a more
sublime kicking than ever fell to the lot of even piper or fiddler,
whose pay[21] is proverbially oftener in that article than the coin of
the realm.

      [21] Fiddlers' fare, or pipers' pay--more kicks than halfpence.

Having tired himself, and considerably rubbed down the toe of his boot
with his gentlemanly exercise, O'Grady dragged the trumpeter to the
ditch, and rolled him into it, there to cool the fever which burned in
his seat of honour.

O'Grady then re-entered the carriage with Scatterbrain, and the party
proceeded; but the clarionet-player could not blow a note; the fifer
was not in good playing condition, and tootled with some difficulty;
the drummer was obliged now and then to relax his efforts in making a
noise that he might lift his right arm to his nose, which had got
damaged in the fray, and the process of wiping his face with his cuff
changed the white facings of his jacket to red. The negro cymbal-player
was the only one whose damages were not to be ascertained, as a black
eye would not tell on him, and his lips could not be more swollen than
nature had made them. On the procession went, however; but the rival
mob, the Eganites, profiting by the delay caused by the row, got ahead,
and entered the town first, with their pipers and fiddlers, hurrahing
their way in good humour down the street, and occupying the best places
in the court-house before the arrival of the opposite party, whose
band, instead of being a source of triumph, was only a thing of jeering
merriment to the Eganites, who received them with mockery and laughter.
All this by no means sweetened O'Grady's temper, who looked thunder as
he entered the court-house with his candidate, who was, though a
good-humoured fellow, a little put out by the accidents of the morning;
and Furlong looked more sheepish than ever, as he followed his leaders.

The business of the day was opened by the high-sheriff, and Major Dawson
lost no time in rising to propose, that Edward Egan, Esquire, of
Merryvale, was a fit and proper person to represent the county in
parliament.

The proposition was received with cheers by "the boys" in the body of
the court-house; the Major proceeded, full sail, in his speech--his
course aided by being on the popular current, and the "sweet voices" of
the multitude blowing in his favour. On concluding (as "the boys"
thought) his address, which was straightforward and to the point, a
voice in the crowd proposed "Three cheers for the owld Major." Three
deafening peals followed the hint.

"And now," said the Major, "I will read a few extracts here from some
documents, in support of what I have had the honour of addressing to
you." And he pulled out a bundle of papers as he spoke, and laid them
down before him.

The movement was not favoured by "the boys," as it indicated a tedious
reference to facts by no means to their taste, and the same voice that
suggested the three cheers, now sung out--

"Never mind, Major--sure we'll take your word for it!"

Cries of "Order!" and "Silence!" ensued; and were followed by murmurs,
coughs, and sneezes, in the crowd, with a considerable shuffling of
hobnailed shoes on the pavement.

"Order!" cried a voice in authority.

"Order anything you plaze, sir!" said the voice in the crowd.

"Whisky!" cried one.

"Porther!" cried another.

"Tabakky!" roared a third.

"I must insist on silence!" cried the sheriff, in a very husky voice.
"Silence!--or I'll have the court-house cleared."

"'Faith, if you cleared your own throat it would be better," said the
wag in the crowd.

A laugh followed. The sheriff felt the hit, and was silent.

The Major all this time had been adjusting his spectacles on his nose,
unconscious, poor old gentleman, that Dick, according to promise, had
abstracted the glasses from them that morning. He took up his documents
to read, made sundry wry faces, turned the papers up to the light,--now
on this side, and now on that,--but could make out nothing; while Dick
gave a knowing wink at Murphy. The old gentleman took off his spectacles
to wipe the glasses.

The voice in the crowd cried, "Thank you, Major."

The Major pulled out his handkerchief, and his fingers met where he
expected to find a lens:--he looked very angry, cast a suspicious glance
at Dick, who met it with the composure of an anchorite, and quietly
asked what was the matter.

"I shall not trouble you, gentlemen, with the extracts," said the
Major.

"Hear, hear," responded the genteel part of the auditory.

"I tould you we'd take your word, Major," cried the voice in the crowd.

Egan's seconder followed the Major, and the crowd shouted again. O'Grady
now came forward to propose the Honourable Sackville Scatterbrain, as a
fit and proper person to represent the county in parliament. He was
received by his own set of vagabonds with uproarious cheers, and
"O'Grady for ever!" made the walls ring. "Egan for ever!" and hurras,
were returned from the Merryvalians. O'Grady thus commenced his
address:--

"In coming forward to support my honourable friend, the Honourable
Sackville Scatterbrain, it is from the conviction--the conviction----"

"Who got the conviction agen the potteen last sishin?" said the voice
in the crowd.

Loud groans followed this allusion to the prosecution of a few little
private stills, in which O'Grady had shown some unnecessary severity
that made him unpopular. Cries of "Order!" and "Silence!" ensued.

"I say the conviction," repeated O'Grady fiercely, looking towards the
quarter whence the interruption took place,--"and if there is any
blackguard here who dares to interrupt me, I'll order him to be taken
out by the ears. I say, I propose my honourable friend, the Honourable
Sackville Scatterbrain, from the conviction that there is a necessity
in this county----"

"'Faith, there is plenty of necessity," said the tormentor in the
crowd.

"Take that man out," said the sheriff.

"Don't hurry yourself, sir," returned the delinquent, amidst the
laughter of "the boys," in proportion to whose merriment rose O'Grady's
ill-humour.

"I say there is a necessity for a vigorous member to represent this
county in parliament, and support the laws, the constitution, the
crown, and the--the--interests of the county!"

"Who made the new road?" was a question that now arose from the
crowd--a laugh followed--and some groans at this allusion to a bit of
jobbing on the part of O'Grady, who got a grand jury presentment to
make a road which served nobody's interest but his own.

"The frequent interruptions I meet here from the lawless and
disaffected show too plainly that we stand in need of men who will
support the arm of the law in purging the country."

"Who killed the 'pothecary?" said a fellow, in a voice so deep as
seemed fit only to issue from the jaws of death.

The question, and the extraordinary voice in which it was uttered,
produced one of those roars of laughter which sometimes shake public
meetings in Ireland; and O'Grady grew furious.

"If I knew who that gentleman was, I'd pay him!" said he.

"You'd better pay _them you know_," was the answer; and this
allusion to O'Grady's notorious character of a bad payer, was relished
by the crowd, and again raised the laugh against him.

"Sir," said O'Grady, addressing the sheriff, "I hold this ruffianism in
contempt. I treat it, and the authors of it, those who no doubt have
instructed them, with contempt." He looked over to where Egan and his
friends stood, as he spoke of the crowd having had instruction to
interrupt him.

"If you mean, sir," said Egan, "that I have given any such instructions,
I deny, in the most unqualified terms, the truth of such an assertion."

"Keep yourself cool, Ned," said Dick Dawson, close to his ear.

"Never fear me," said Egan; "but I won't let him bully."

The two former friends now exchanged rather fierce looks at each other.

"Then why am I interrupted?" asked O'Grady.

"It is no business of mine to answer that," replied Egan; "but I repeat
the unqualified denial of your assertion."

The crowd ceased its noise when the two Squires were seen engaged in
exchanging smart words, in the hopes of catching what they said.

"It is a disgraceful uproar," said the sheriff.

"Then it is your business, Mister Sheriff," returned Egan, "to suppress
it--not mine; they are quiet enough now."

"Yes, but they'll make a wow again," said Furlong, "when Miste' O'Gwady
begins."

"You seem to know all about it," said Dick; "maybe _you_ have
instructed them."

"No, sir, I didn't instwuct them," said Furlong, very angry at being
twitted by Dick.

Dick laughed in his face, and said, "Maybe that's some of your
electioneering tactics--eh?"

Furlong got very angry, while Dick and Murphy shouted with laughter at
him--"No, sir," said Furlong, "I don't welish the pwactice of such
di'ty twicks."

"Do you apply the word 'dirty' to me, sir?" said Dick the Devil, ruffling
up like a game-cock. "I'll tell you what, sir, if you make use of the
word 'dirty' again, I'd think very little of kicking you--ay, or eight
like you--I'll kick eight Furlongs one mile."

"Who's talking of kicking?" asked O'Grady.

"I am," said Dick, "do you want any?"

"Gentlemen! gentlemen!" cried the sheriff, "order! pray order! do
proceed with the business of the day."

"I'll talk to you after about this!" said O'Grady, in a threatening
tone.

"Very well," said Dick; "we've time enough, the day's young yet."

O'Grady then proceeded to find fault with Egan, censuring his politics,
and endeavouring to justify his defection from the same cause. He
concluded thus: "Sir, I shall pursue my course of duty; I have chalked
out my own line of conduct, sir, and I am convinced no other line is
the right line. Our opponents are wrong, sir--totally wrong--all wrong;
and, as I have said, I have chalked out my own line, sir, and I propose
the Honourable Sackville Scatterbrain as a fit and proper person to sit
in parliament for the representation of this county."

The O'Gradyites shouted as their chief concluded; and the Merryvalians
returned some groans, and a cry of "Go home, turncoat!"

Egan now presented himself, and was received with deafening and
long-continued cheers, for he was really beloved by the people at
large; his frank and easy nature, the amiable character he bore in all
his social relations, the merciful and conciliatory tendency of his
decisions and conduct as a magistrate, won him the solid respect as
well as affection of the country.

He had been for some days in low spirits in consequence of Larry Hogan's
visit and mysterious communication with him; but this, its cause, was
unknown to all but himself, and therefore more difficult to support; for
none but those whom sad experience has taught can tell the agony of
enduring in secret and in silence the pang that gnaws a proud heart,
which, Spartan like, will let the tooth destroy, without complaint or
murmur.

His depression, however, was apparent, and Dick told Murphy he feared
Ned would not be up to the mark at the election; but Murphy, with a
better knowledge of human nature, and the excitement of such a cause,
said, "Never fear him--ambition is a long spur, my boy, and will stir
the blood of a thicker-skinned fellow than your brother-in-law. When he
comes to stand up and assert his claims before the world, he'll be all
right!"

Murphy was a true prophet, for Egan presented himself with confidence,
brightness, and good-humour on his open countenance.

"The first thing I have to ask of you, boys," said Egan, addressing the
assembled throng, "is a fair hearing for the other candidate."

"Hear, hear," followed from the gentlemen in the gallery.

"And, as he's a stranger amongst us, let him have the privilege of
first addressing you."

With these words he bowed courteously to Scatterbrain, who thanked him
very much like a gentleman, and accepting his offer, advanced to address
the electors. O'Grady waved his hand in signal to his body-guard, and
Scatterbrain had three cheers from the ragamuffins.

He was no great things of a speaker, but he was a good-humoured fellow,
and this won on the Paddies; and although coming before them under the
disadvantage of being proposed by O'Grady, they heard him with good
temper:--to this, however, Egan's good word considerably contributed.

He went very much over the ground his proposer had taken, so that,
bating the bad temper, the pith of his speech was much the same, quite
as much deprecating the political views of his opponent, and harping on
O'Grady's worn-out catch-word of "Having chalked out a line for
himself," &c. &c. &c.

Egan now stood forward, and was greeted with fresh cheers. He began in
a very Irish fashion; for, being an unaffected, frank, and free-hearted
fellow himself, he knew how to touch the feelings of those who possess
such qualities. He waited till the last echo of the uproarious greeting
died away, and the first simple words he uttered were--

"Here I am, boys!"

Simple as these words were, they produced "one cheer more."

"Here I am, boys--_the same I ever was_."

Loud huzzas and "Long life to you!" answered the last pithy words, which
were sore ones to O'Grady, who, as a renegade, felt the hit.

"Fellow-countrymen, I come forward to represent you, and, however I may
be unequal to _that_ task, at least I will never _mis_represent you."

Another cheer followed.

"My past life is evidence enough on _that_ point; God forbid I were of
the mongrel breed of Irishmen who speak ill of their own country. I
never did it, boys, and I never will! Some think they get on by it, and
so they do, indeed;--they get on as sweeps and shoe-blacks get on--they
drive a dirty trade and find employment;--but are they respected?"

Shouts of "No!--no!"

"You're right!--No!--they are not respected--even by their very
employers. Your political sweep and shoe-black is no more respected than
he who cleans our chimneys or cleans our shoes. The honourable gentleman
who has addressed you last confesses he is a stranger amongst you; and
is _he_, a stranger, to be your representative? You may be civil to a
stranger--it is a pleasing duty,--but he is not the man to whom you
would give your confidence. You might share a hearty glass with a
stranger, but you would not enter into a joint lease of a farm without
knowing a little more of him; and if you would not trust a single farm
with a stranger, will you give a whole county into his hands? When a
stranger comes to these parts, I'm sure he'll get a civil answer from
every man I see here,--he will get a civil 'yes' or a civil 'no' to his
questions; and if he seeks his way, you will show him his road. As to
the honourable gentleman who has done you the favour to come and ask you
civilly, will you give him the county, you as civilly may answer 'No,'
and _show him his road home again_. ('So we will.') As for the gentleman
who proposed him, he has chosen to make certain strictures upon my
views, and opinions, and conduct. As for views--there was a certain
heathen god the Romans worshipped, called Janus; he was a fellow with
two heads--and by-the-bye, boys, he would have been just the fellow to
live amongst us; for when one of his heads was broken he would have had
the other for use. Well, this Janus was called 'double-face,' and could
see before and behind him. Now, _I'm no double-face_, boys; and as for
seeing before and behind me, I can look back on the past and forward to
the future, and _both_ the roads are _straight ones_. (Cheers.) I wish
every one could say as much. As for my opinions, all I shall say is, _I_
never changed _mine_; Mr. O'Grady can't say as much."

"Sure there's a weathercock in the family," said the voice in the
crowd.

A loud laugh followed this sally, for the old dowager's eccentricity
was not _quite_ a secret. O'Grady looked as if he could have eaten
the whole crowd at a mouthful.

"Much has been said," continued Egan, "about gentlemen chalking out
lines for themselves;--now, the plain English of this determined
chalking of _their own_ line is _rubbing out every other man's line_.
(Bravo.) Some of these chalking gentlemen have lines chalked up against
them, and might find it difficult to pay the score if they were called
to account. To such, rubbing out other men's lines, and their own too,
may be convenient; but I don't like the practice. Boys, I have no more
to say than this, _We know and can trust each other!_"

Egan's address was received with acclamation, and when silence was
restored, the sheriff demanded a show of hands; and a very fine show of
hands there was, _and every hand had a stick in it_.

The show of hands was declared to be in favour of Egan, whereupon a
poll was demanded on the part of Scatterbrain, after which every one
began to move from the court-house.

O'Grady, in very ill-humour, was endeavouring to shove past a herculean
fellow, rather ragged and very saucy, who did not seem inclined to give
place to the savage elbowing of the Squire.

"What brings such a ragged rascal as you here?" said O'Grady, brutally;
"you're not an elector."

"Yis, I am!" replied the fellow, sturdily.

"Why, _you_ can't have a lease, you beggar."

"No, but maybe I have an article."[22]

      [22] A name given to a written engagement between landlord and
      tenant, promising to grant a lease, on which registration is
      allowed in Ireland.

"What is your article?"

"What is it?" retorted the fellow, with a fierce look at O'Grady.
"'Faith, it's a fine brass blunderbuss; _and I'd like to see the man
would dispute the title_."

O'Grady had met his master, and could not reply; the crowd shouted for
the ragamuffin, and all parties separated, to gird up their loins for
the next day's poll.



CHAPTER XIX


After the angry words exchanged at the nomination, the most peaceable
reader must have anticipated the probability of a duel;--but when the
inflammable stuff of which Irishmen are made is considered, together
with the excitement and pugnacious spirit attendant upon elections in
all places, the certainty of a hostile meeting must have been apparent.
The sheriff might have put the gentlemen under arrest, it is true, but
that officer was a weak, thoughtless, irresolute person, and took no
such precaution; though, to do the poor man justice, it is only fair to
say that such an intervention of authority at such a time and place
would be considered on all hands as a very impertinent, unjustifiable,
and discourteous interference with the private pleasures and privileges
of gentlemen.

Dick Dawson had a message conveyed to him from O'Grady, requesting the
honour of his company the next morning to "grass before breakfast!" to
which, of course, Dick returned an answer expressive of the utmost
readiness to oblige the Squire with his presence; and, as the business
of the election was of importance, it was agreed they should meet at a
given spot on the way to the town, and so lose as little time as
possible.

The next morning, accordingly, the parties met at the appointed place,
Dick attended by Edward O'Connor and Egan--the former in capacity of
his friend; and O'Grady, with Scatterbrain for his second, and Furlong
a looker-on: there were some straggling spectators besides, to witness
the affair.

"O'Grady looks savage, Dick," said Edward.

"Yes," answered Dick, with a smile of as much unconcern as if he were
going to lead off a country dance. "He looks as pleasant as a bull in a
pound."

"Take care of yourself, my dear Dick," said Edward seriously.

"My dear boy, don't make yourself uneasy," replied Dick, laughing.
"I'll bet you two to one he misses me."

Edward made no reply, but, to his sensitive and more thoughtful nature,
betting at such a moment savoured too much of levity, so, leaving his
friend, he advanced to Scatterbrain, and they commenced making the
preliminary preparations.

During the period which this required O'Grady was looking down sulkily
or looking up fiercely, and striking his heel with vehemence into the
sod, while Dick Dawson was whistling a planxty and eyeing his man.

The arrangements were soon made, the men placed on their ground, and
Dick saw by the intent look with which O'Grady marked him, that he meant
mischief; they were handed their pistols--the seconds retired--the word
was given, and as O'Grady raised his pistol, Dick saw he was completely
covered, and suddenly exclaimed, throwing up his arm, "I beg your pardon
for a moment."

O'Grady involuntarily lowered his weapon, and seeing Dick standing
perfectly erect, and nothing following his sudden request for this
suspension of hostilities, asked, in a very angry tone, why he had
interrupted him. "Because I saw you had me covered," said Dick, "and
you'd have hit me if you had fired that time: now fire away as soon as
you like!" added he, at the same moment rapidly bringing up his own
pistol to the level.

O'Grady was taken by surprise, and fancying Dick was going to blaze at
him, fired hastily, and missed his adversary.

Dick made him a low bow, and fired in the air.

O'Grady wanted another shot, saying Dawson had tricked him, but
Scatterbrain felt the propriety of Edward O'Connor's objection to
further fighting, after Dawson receiving O'Grady's fire; so the
gentlemen were removed from the ground and the affair terminated.

O'Grady, having fully intended to pink Dick, was excessively savage at
being overreached, and went off to the election with a temper by no
means sweetened by the morning's adventure, while Dick roared with
laughing, exclaiming at intervals to Edward O'Connor, as he was putting
up his pistols, "Did not I _do_ him neatly?"

Off they cantered gaily to the high road, exchanging merry and cheering
salutations with the electors, who were thronging towards the town in
great numbers and all variety of manner, group, and costume, some on
foot, some on horseback, and some on cars; the gayest show of holiday
attire contrasting with the every-day rags of wretchedness; the fresh
cheek of health and beauty making gaunt misery look more appalling, and
the elastic step of vigorous youth outstripping the tardy pace of feeble
age. Pedestrians were hurrying on in detachments of five or six--the
equestrians in companies less numerous; sometimes the cavalier who could
boast a saddle carrying a woman on a pillion behind him. But saddle or
pillion were not an indispensable accompaniment to this equestrian duo,
for many a "bare-back" _garran_ carried his couple, his only harness
being a halter made of a hay-rope, which in time of need sometimes
proves a substitute for "rack and manger," for it is not uncommon in
Ireland to see the _garran_ nibbling the end of his bridle when
opportunity offers. The cars were in great variety; some bore small
kishes,[23] in which a woman and some children might be seen; others had
a shake-down of clean straw to serve for cushions; while the better sort
spread a feather-bed for greater comfort, covered by a patchwork quilt,
the work of the "good woman" herself, whose own quilted petticoat vied
in brightness with the calico roses on which she was sitting. The most
luxurious indulged still further in some arched branches of hazel,
which, bent above the car in the fashion of a booth, bore another
coverlid, by way of awning, and served for protection against the
weather; but few there were who could indulge in such a luxury as this
of the "_chaise marine_," which is the name the contrivance bears, but
why, Heaven only knows.

      [23] A large basket of coarse wicker-work, used mostly for carrying
      turf--_Anglice_, peat.

The street of the town had its centre occupied at the broadest place
with a long row of cars, covered in a similar manner to the _chaise
marine_, a door or a shutter laid across underneath the awning,
after the fashion of a counter, on which various articles were
displayed for sale; for the occasion of the election was as good as a
fair to the small dealers, and the public were therefore favoured with
the usual opportunity of purchasing uneatable gingerbread, knives that
would not cut, spectacles to increase blindness, and other articles of
equal usefulness.

While the dealers here displayed their ware, and were vociferous in
declaring its excellence, noisy groups passed up and down on either side
of these ambulatory shops, discussing the merits of the candidates,
predicting the result of the election, or giving an occasional cheer for
their respective parties, with the twirl of a stick or the throwing up
of a hat; while from the houses on both sides of the street the scraping
of fiddles, and the lilting of pipes, increased the mingled din.

But the crowd was thickest and the uproar greatest in front of the inn
where Scatterbrain's committee sat, and before the house of Murphy, who
gave up all his establishment to the service of the election, and whose
stable-yard made a capital place of mustering for the tallies of Egan's
electors to assemble ere they marched to the poll. At last the hour for
opening the poll struck, the inn poured forth the Scatterbrains, and
Murphy's stable-yard the Eganites, the two bodies of electors uttering
thundering shouts of defiance, as, with rival banners flying, they
joined in one common stream, rushing to give their votes--for as for
their _voices_, they were giving _them_ most liberally and strenuously
already. The dense crowd soon surrounded the hustings in front of the
court-house, and the throes and heavings of this living mass resembled a
turbulent sea lashed by a tempest:--but what sea is more unruly than an
excited crowd?--what tempest fiercer than the breath of political
excitement?

Conspicuous amongst those on the hustings were both the candidates, and
their aiders and abettors on either side--O'Grady and Furlong, Dick
Dawson and Tom Durfy for work, and Growling to laugh at them all. Edward
O'Connor was addressing the populace in a spirit-stirring appeal to
their pride and affections, stimulating them to support their tried and
trusty friend, and not yield the honour of their county either to fears
or favours of a stranger, nor copy the bad example which some (who ought
to blush) had set them, of betraying old friends and abandoning old
principles. Edward's address was cheered by those who heard it:--but
being heard is not essential to the applause attendant on political
addresses, for those who do not hear cheer quite as much as those who
do. The old adage hath it, "Show me your company, and I'll tell you who
you are;"--and in the spirit of the adage one might say, "Let me see the
speech-maker, an' I'll tell you what he says." So when Edward O'Connor
spoke, the boys welcomed him with a shout of "Ned of the Hill for
ever!"--and knowing to what tune his mouth would be opened, they cheered
accordingly when he concluded. O'Grady, on evincing a desire to address
them, was not so successful;--the moment he showed himself, taunts were
flung at him: but spite of this, attempting to frown down their
dissatisfaction, he began to speak; but he had not uttered six words
when his voice was drowned in the discordant yells of a trumpet. It is
scarcely necessary to tell the reader that the performer was the
identical trumpeter of the preceding day, whom O'Grady had kicked so
unmercifully, who, in indignation at his wrongs, had gone over to the
enemy; and having, after a night's hard work, disengaged the cork which
Andy had crammed into his trumpet, appeared in the crowd ready to do
battle in the popular cause.--"Wait," he cried, "till that savage of a
baste of a Squire dares for to go for to spake!--won't I smother him!"
Then he would put his instrument of vengeance to his lips, and produce a
yell that made his auditors put their hands to their ears. Thus armed,
he waited near the platform for O'Grady's speech, and put his threat
effectually into execution. O'Grady saw whence the annoyance proceeded,
and shook his fist at the delinquent, with protestations that the police
should drag him from the crowd, if he dared to continue; but every
threat was blighted in the bud by the withering blast of a trumpet,
which was regularly followed by a peal of laughter from the crowd.
O'Grady stamped and swore with rage, and calling Furlong, sent him to
inform the sheriff how riotous the crowd were, and requested him to have
the trumpeter seized.

Furlong hurried off on his mission, and after a long search for the
potential functionary, saw him in a distant corner, engaged in what
appeared to be an urgent discussion between him and Murtough Murphy, who
was talking in the most jocular manner to the sheriff, who seemed
anything but amused with his argumentative merriment. The fact was,
Murphy, while pushing the interests of Egan with an energy unsurpassed,
did it with all the utmost cheerfulness, and gave his opponents a laugh
in exchange for the point gained against them, and while he defeated,
amused them. Furlong, after shoving and elbowing his way through the
crowd, suffering from heat and exertion, came _fussing_ up to the
sheriff, wiping his face with a scented cambric pocket-handkerchief. The
sheriff and Murphy were standing close beside one of the polling-desks,
and on Furlong's lisping out "Miste' Shewiff," Murphy, recognising the
voice and manner, turned suddenly round, and with the most provoking
cordiality addressed him thus, with a smile and a nod, "Ah! Mister
Furlong, how d'ye do?--delighted to see you; here we are at it, sir,
hammer and tongs--of course you are come to vote for Egan?"

Furlong, who intended to annihilate Murphy with an indignant repetition
of the provoking question put to him, threw as much of defiance as he
could in his namby-pamby manner, and exclaimed, "_I_ vote for Egan!"

"Thank you, sir," said Murphy. "Record the vote," added he to the
clerk.

There was loud laughter on one side, and anger as loud on the other, at
the way in which Murphy had entrapped Furlong, and cheated him into
voting against his own party. In vain the poor gull protested he never
_meant_ to vote for Egan.

"But you did it," cried Murphy.

"What the deuce have you done?" cried Scatterbrain's agent, in a rage.

"Of course, they know I wouldn't vote that way," said Furlong. "I
_couldn't_ vote that way--it's a mistake, and I pwotest against
the twick."

"We've got the trick, and we'll keep it, however," said Murphy.

Scatterbrain's agent said 't was unfair, and desired the polling-clerk
not to record the vote.

"Didn't every one hear him say, '_I vote for Egan_'?" asked
Murphy.

"But he didn't mean it, sir," said the agent.

"I don't care what he meant, but I know he said it," retorted Murphy;
"and every one round knows he said it; and as I mean what I say myself,
I suppose every other gentleman does the same--down with the vote,
Mister Polling-clerk."

A regular wrangle now took place between the two agents, amidst the
laughter of the bystanders, whose merriment was increased by Furlong's
vehement assurances he did not mean to vote as Murphy wanted to make it
appear he had; but the more he protested, the more the people laughed.
This increased his energy in fighting out the point, until Scatterbrain's
agent recommended him to desist, for that he was only interrupting their
own voters from coming up. "Never mind now, sir," said the agent, "I'll
appeal to the assessor about that vote."

"Appeal as much as you like," said Murtough; "that vote is as dead as a
herring to you."

Furlong, finding further remonstrance unavailing, as regarded his vote,
delivered to the sheriff the message of O'Grady, who was boiling over
with impatience, in the meantime, at the delay of his messenger, and
anxiously expecting the arrival of sheriff and police to coerce the
villainous trumpeter and chastise the applauding crowd, which became
worse and worse every minute.

They exhibited a new source of provocation to O'Grady, by exposing a
rat-trap hung at the end of a pole, with the caged vermin within, and
vociferated "Rat, rat," in the pauses of the trumpet. Scatterbrain,
remembering the hearing they gave him the previous day, hoped to
silence them, and begged O'Grady to permit _him_ to address them;
but the whim of the mob was up, and could not be easily diverted, and
Scatterbrain himself was hailed with the name of "Rat-catcher."

"You cotch him--and I wish you joy of him!" cried one.

"How much did you give for him?" shouted another.

"What did you bait your thrap with?" roared a third.

"A bit o' _threasury bacon_," was the answer from a stentorian voice
amidst the multitude, who shouted with laughter at the apt rejoinder,
which they reiterated from one end of the crowd to the other, and the
cry of "threasury bacon" rang far and wide.

Scatterbrain and O'Grady consulted together on the hustings what was to
be done, while Dick the Devil was throwing jokes to the crowd, and
inflaming their mischievous merriment, and Growling looking on with an
expression of internal delight at the fun, uproar, and vexation around
him. It was just a dish to his taste and he devoured it with silent
satisfaction.

"What the deuce keeps that sneaking dandy?" cried O'Grady to Scatterbrain.
"He should have returned long ago." Oh! could he have only known at that
moment, that his sweet son-in-law elect was voting against them, what
would have been the consequence?

Another exhibition, insulting to O'Grady, now appeared in the crowd--a
chimney-pot and weathercock, after the fashion of his mother's, was
stuck on a pole, and underneath was suspended an old coat, turned inside
out; this double indication of his change, so peculiarly insulting, was
elevated before the hustings, amidst the jeers and laughter of the
people. O'Grady was nearly frantic--he rushed to the front of the
platform, he shook his fist at the mockery, poured every abusive epithet
on its perpetrators, and swore he would head the police himself and
clear the crowd. In reply, the crowd hooted, the rat-trap and
weathercock were danced together after the fashion of Punch and Judy, to
the music of the trumpet; and another pole made its appearance, with a
piece of bacon on it, and a placard bearing the inscription of "Treasury
bacon," all which Tom Durfy had run off to procure at a huckster's shop
the moment he heard the waggish answer, which he thus turned to account.

"The military must be called out!" said O'Grady; and with these words
he left the platform to seek the sheriff.

Edward O'Connor, the moment he heard O'Grady's threat, quitted the
hustings also, in company with old Growling. "What a savage and
dangerous temper that man has!" said Edward; "calling for the military
when the people have committed no outrage to require such interference."

"They have poked up the bear with their poles, sir, and it is likely
he'll give them a hug before he's done with them," answered the doctor.

"But what need of military?" indignantly exclaimed Edward. "The people
are only going on with the noise and disturbance common to any election,
and the chances are, that savage man may influence the sheriff to
provoke the people, by the presence of soldiers, to some act which
would not have taken place but for their interference; and thus they
themselves originate the offence which they are forearmed with power to
chastise. In England such extreme measures are never resorted to until
necessity compels them. How I have envied Englishmen, when, on the
occasion of assizes, every soldier is marched from the town while the
judge is sitting; in Ireland the place of trial bristles with bayonets!
How much more must a people respect and love the laws, whose own purity
and justice are their best safeguard--whose inherent majesty is
sufficient for their own protection! The sword of justice should never
need the assistance of the swords of dragoons; and in the election of
their representatives, as well as at judicial sittings, a people should
be free from military despotism."

"But, as an historian, my dear young friend," said the doctor, "I need
not remind you, that dragoons have been considered 'good lookers-on' in
Ireland since the days of Strafford."

"Ay!" said Edward; "and scandalous it is, that the abuses of the
seventeenth century should be perpetuated in the nineteenth.[24] While
those who govern show, by the means they adopt for supporting their
authority, that their rule requires undue force to uphold it, they
tacitly teach resistance to the people, and their practices imply that
the resistance is righteous."

      [24] When Strafford's infamous project of the wholesale robbery of
      Connaught was put in practice, not being quite certain of his
      juries, he writes that he will send three hundred horse to the
      province during the proceedings, as "good lookers-on."

"My dear Master Ned," said the doctor, "you're a patriot, and I'm sorry
for you; you inherit the free opinions of your namesake 'of the hill,'
of blessed memory; with such sentiments you may make a very good Irish
barrister, but you'll never be an Irish judge--and as for a silk gown,
'faith you may leave the wearing of _that_ to your wife, for stuff
is all that will ever adorn your shoulders."

"Well, I would rather have stuff there than in my head," answered
Edward.

"Very epigrammatic, indeed, Master Ned," said the doctor. "Let us make
a distich of it," added he, with a chuckle; "for, of a verity, some of
the K. C.'s of our times are but dunces. Let's see--how will it go?"

Edward dashed off this couplet in a moment--

    "Of modern king's counsel this truth may be said,
    They have _silk_ on their shoulders, and _stuff_ in their head."

"Neat enough," said the doctor; "but you might contrive more sting in
it--something to the tune of the impossibility of making 'a silk purse
out of a sow's ear,' but the facility of manufacturing silk gowns out
of _bores'_ heads."

"That's out of your bitter pill-box, Doctor," said Ned, smiling.

"Put it into rhyme, Ned--and set it to music--and dedicate it to the
bar mess, and see how you'll rise in your profession! Good bye--I will
be back again to see the fun as soon as I can, but I must go now and
visit an old woman who is in doubt whether she stands most in need of
me or the priest. It's wonderful, how little people think of the other
world till they are going to leave this; and, with all their praises of
heaven, how very anxious they are to stay out of it as long as they
can."

With this bit of characteristic sarcasm, the doctor and Edward
separated.

Edward had hardly left the hustings, when Murphy hurried on the
platform and asked for him.

"He left a few minutes ago," said Tom Durfy.

"Well, I dare say he's doing good wherever he is," said Murtough; "I
wanted to speak to him, but when he comes back send him to me. In the
meantime, Tom, run down and bring up a batch of voters--we're getting a
little ahead, I think, with the bothering I'm giving them up there, and
now I want to push them with good strong tallies--run down to the yard,
like a good fellow, and march them up."

Off posted Tom Durfy on his mission, and Murphy returned to the
court-house.

Tom, on reaching Murphy's house, found a strange posse of O'Grady's
party hanging round the place, and one of the fellows had backed a car
against the yard gate which opened on the street, and was the outlet for
Egan's voters. By way of excuse for this, the car was piled with
cabbages for sale, and a couple of very unruly pigs were tethered to the
shafts, and the strapping fellow who owned all kept guard over them. Tom
immediately told him he should leave that place, and an altercation
commenced; but even an electioneering dispute could not but savour of
fun and repartee, between Paddies.

"Be off!" said Tom.

"Sure I can't be off till the market's over," was the answer.

"Well, you must take your car out o' this."

"Indeed now, you'll let me stay, Misther Durfy."

"Indeed I won't."

"Arrah! what harm?"

"You're stopping up the gate on purpose, and you must go."

"Sure your honour wouldn't spile my stand!"

"'Faith, I'll spoil more than your stand, if you don't leave that."

"Not finer cabbage in the world."

"Go out o' that now, 'while your shoes are good,'"[25] said Tom, seeing
he had none; for, in speaking of shoes, Tom had no intention of alluding
to the word _choux_, and thus making a French pun upon the _cabbage_--for
Tom did not understand French, but rather despised it as a jack-a-dandy
acquirement.

      [25] A saying among the Irish peasantry--meaning there is danger
      in delay.

"Sure, you wouldn't ruin my market, Misther Durfy."

"None of your humbugging--but be off at once," said Tom, whose tone
indicated he was _very much in earnest_.

"Not a nicer slip of a pig in the market than the same pigs--I'm
expectin' thirty shillin's apiece for them."

"'Faith, you'll get more than thirty shillings," cried Tom, "in less
than thirty seconds, if you don't take your dirty cabbage and
blackguard pigs out o' that!"

"Dirty cabbages!" cried the fellow, in a tone of surprise.

The order to depart was renewed.

"Blackguard pigs!" cried Paddy, in affected wonder. "Ah, Masther Tom,
one would think it was afther dinner you wor."

"What do you mean, you rap?--do you intend to say I'm drunk?"

"Oh no, sir! But if it's not afther dinner wid you, I think you
wouldn't turn up your nose at bacon and greens."

"Oh, with all your joking," said Tom, laughing, "you won't find me
a chicken to pluck for your bacon and greens, my boy; so,
start!--vanish!--disperse!--my bacon-merchant."

While this dialogue was going forward, several cars were gathered round
the place, with a seeming view to hem in Egan's voters, and interrupt
their progress to the poll; but the gate of the yard suddenly opened,
and the fellows within soon upset the car which impeded their egress,
gave freedom to the pigs, who used their liberty in eating the cabbages,
while their owner was making cause with his party of O'Gradyites against
the outbreak of Egan's men. The affair was not one of importance; the
numbers were not sufficient to constitute a good row--it was but a
hustling affair, after all, and a slight scrimmage enabled Tom Durfy to
head his men in a rush to the poll.

The polling was now prosecuted vigorously on both sides, each party
anxious to establish a majority on the first day; and of course the
usual practices for facilitating their own, and retarding their
opponents' progress were resorted to.

Scatterbrain's party, to counteract the energetic movement of the
enemy's voters and Murphy's activity, got up a mode of interruption
seldom made use of, but of which they availed themselves on the present
occasion. It was determined to put the oath of allegiance to all the
Roman Catholics, by which some loss of time to the Eganite party was
effected.

This gave rise to odd scenes and answers, occasionally:--some of the
fellows did not know what the oath of allegiance meant; some did not
know whether there might not be a scruple of conscience against making
it; others, indignant at what they felt to be an insulting mode of
address, on the part of the person who said to them, in a tone savouring
of supremacy--"_You're_ a Roman Catholic?"--would not answer immediately,
and gave dogged looks and sometimes dogged answers; and it required
address on the part of Egan's agents to make them overcome such
feelings, and expedite the work of voting. At last the same herculean
fellow who gave O'Grady the fierce answer about the _blunderbuss tenure_
he enjoyed, came up to vote, and fairly bothered the querist with his
ready replies, which, purposely, were never to the purpose. The
examination ran nearly thus:--

"You're a Roman Catholic?"

"Am I?" said the fellow.

"Are you not?" demanded the agent.

"You say I am," was the answer.

"Come, sir, answer--What's your religion?"

"The thrue religion."

"What religion is that?"

"My religion."

"And what's _your_ religion?"

"My mother's religion."

"And what was your mother's religion?"

"_She tuk whisky in her tay._"

"Come, now, I'll find you out, as cunning as you are," said the agent,
piqued into an encounter of wits with this fellow, whose baffling of
every question pleased the crowd.

"You bless yourself, don't you?"

"When I'm done with, I think I ought."

"What place of worship do you go to?"

"The most convaynient."

"But of what persuasion are you?"

"My persuasion is that you won't find it out."

"What is your belief?"

"My belief is that _you're_ puzzled."

"Do you confess?"

"Not to you."

"Come! now I have you. Who would you send for if you were likely to
die?"

"Doctor Growlin'."

"Not for the priest?"

"I must first get a messenger."

"Confound your quibbling!--tell me, then, what your opinions are--your
conscientious opinions I mean."

"They are the same as my landlord's."

"And what are your landlord's opinions?"

"Faix, his opinion is, that I won't pay him the last half-year's rint;
and I'm of the same opinion myself."

A roar of laughter followed this answer, and dumb-foundered the agent
for a time; but, angered at the successful quibbling of the sturdy and
wily fellow before him, he at last declared, with much severity of
manner, that he _must_ have a direct reply. "I insist, sir, on your
answering, at once, _are_ you a Roman Catholic?"

"I am," said the fellow.

"And could not you say so at once?" repeated the officer.

"You never axed me," returned the other.

"I did," said the officer.

"Indeed, you didn't. You said I was a great many things, but you never
_axed_ me--you wor dhrivin' _crass_ words and _cruked_ questions at me,
and I gev you answers to match them, for sure I thought it was manners
to cut out my _behavor_ on your patthern."

"Take the oath, sir."

"Where am I to take it to, sir?" inquired the provoking blackguard.

The clerk was desired to "swear him," without further notice being
taken of his impertinent answer.

"I hope the oath is not _woighty_, sir, for my conscience is
tindher since the last _alibi_ I swore."

The business of the interior was now suspended for a time by the sounds
of fierce tumult which arose from without. Some rushed from the
court-house to the platform outside, and beheld the crowd in a state of
great excitement, beating back the police, who had been engaged in
endeavouring to seize the persons and things which had offended O'Grady;
and the police falling back for support on a party of military which
O'Grady had prevailed on the sheriff to call out. The sheriff was a
weak, irresolute man, and was over-persuaded by such words as "mob" and
"riot," and breaches of the peace being _about to be_ committed, if the
ruffians were not checked beforehand. The wisdom of _preventive
measures_ was preached, and the rest of the hackneyed phrases were
paraded, which brazen-faced and iron-handed oppressors are only too
familiar with.

The people were now roused, and thoroughly defeated the police, who
were forced to fly to the lines of the military party for protection;
having effected this object, the crowd retained their position, and did
not attempt to assault the soldiers, though a very firm and louring
front was presented to them, and shouts of defiance against the
"Peelers"[26] rose loud and long.

      [26] The name given to the police by the people--the force being
      first established by Sir Robert Peel, then Mr. Peel, Secretary for
      Ireland.

"A round of ball cartridge would cool their courage," said O'Grady.

The English officer in command of the party, looking with wonder and
reproach upon him, asked if _he_ had the command of the party.

"No, sir;--the sheriff, of course;--but if I were in his place, I'd
soon disperse the rascals."

"Did you ever witness the _effect_ of a fusilade, sir?" inquired
the officer.

"No, sir," said O'Grady, gruffly; "but I suppose I know pretty well
what it is."

"For the sake of humanity, sir, I hope you do not, or I am willing to
believe you would not talk so lightly of it; but it is singular how
much fonder civilians are of urging measures that end in blood, than
those whose profession is arms, and who know how disastrous is their
use."

The police were ordered to advance again and seize the "ringleaders:"
they obeyed unwillingly; but being saluted with some stones, their
individual wrath was excited, and they advanced to chastise the mob,
who again drove them back; and a nearer approach to the soldiers was
made by the crowd in the scuffle which ensued.

"Now, will you fire?" said O'Grady to the sheriff.

The sheriff, who was a miserable coward, was filled with dread at the
threatening aspect of the mob, and wished to have his precious person
under shelter before hostilities commenced; so, with pallid lips, and
his teeth chattering with fear, he exclaimed:--

"No! no! no!--don't fire--don't fire--don't be precipitate: besides, I
haven't read the Riot Act."

"There's no necessity for firing, I should say," said the captain.

"I thought not, captain--I hope not, captain," said the sheriff, who now
assumed a humane tone. "Think of the effusion of blood, my dear sir,"
said he to O'Grady, who was grinning like a fiend all the time--"the
sacrifice of human life--I couldn't, sir--I can't, sir--besides, the
Riot Act--haven't it about me--must be read, you know, Mister O'Grady."

"Not always," said O'Grady, fiercely.

"But the inquiry is always very strict after, if it is not, sir--I
should not like the effusion of human blood, sir, unless the Riot Act
was read, and the thing done regularly,--don't think I care for the
d----d rascals a button, sir,--only the regularity, you know; and the
effusion of human blood is serious, and the inquiry, too, without the
Riot Act. Captain, would you oblige me to fall back a little closer
round the court-house, and maintain the freedom of election? Besides,
the Riot Act is up-stairs in my desk. The court-house must be protected,
you know, and I just want to run up-stairs for the Riot Act; I'll be
down again in a moment. Captain, do oblige me--draw your men a _leetle_
closer round the court-house."

"I'm in a better position here, sir," said the captain.

"I thought you were under my command, sir," said the sheriff.

"Under your command to fire, sir, but the choice of position rests with
me; and we are stronger where we are; the court-house is completely
covered, and while my men are under arms here, you may rely on it the
crowd is completely in check without firing a shot."

Off ran the sheriff to the court-house.

"You're saving of your gunpowder, I see, sir," said O'Grady to the
captain, with a sardonic grin.

"You seem to be equally sparing of your humanity, sir," returned the
captain.

"God forbid I should be afraid of a pack of ruffians," said O'Grady.

"Or I of a single one," returned the captain, with a look of stern
contempt.

There is no knowing what this bitter bandying of hard words might have
led to, had it not been interrupted by the appearance of the sheriff at
one of the windows of the court-house; there, with the Riot Act in his
hand, he called out:--

"Now I've read it--fire away, boys--fire away!" and all his compunction
about the effusion of blood vanished the moment his own miserable
carcass was safe from harm. Again he waved the Riot Act from the window,
and vociferated, "Fire away, boys!" as loud as his frog-like voice
permitted.

"Now, sir, you're ordered to fire," said O'Grady to the captain.

"I'll not obey that order, sir," said the captain; "the man is out of
his senses with fear, and I'll not obey such a serious command from a
madman."

"Do you dare disobey the orders of the sheriff, sir?" thundered
O'Grady.

"I am responsible for my act, sir," said the captain--"seriously
responsible; but I will not slaughter unarmed people until I see
further and fitter cause."

The sheriff had vanished--he was nowhere to be seen--and O'Grady as a
magistrate had now the command. Seeing the cool and courageous man he
had to deal with in the military chief, he determined to push matters
to such an extremity that he should be forced, in self-defence, to
fire. With this object in view he ordered a fresh advance of the police
upon the people, and in this third affair matters assumed a more
serious aspect; sticks and stones were used with more effect, and the
two parties being nearer to each other, the missiles meant only for the
police overshot their mark and struck the soldiers, who bore their
painful situation with admirable patience.

"Now will you fire, sir?" said O'Grady to the officer.

"If I fire now, sir, I am as likely to kill the police as the people;
withdraw your police first, sir, and then I will fire."

This was but reasonable--so reasonable, that even O'Grady, enraged
almost to madness as he was, could not gainsay it; and he went forward
himself to withdraw the police force. O'Grady's presence increased the
rage of the mob, whose blood was now thoroughly up, and as the police
fell back they were pressed by the infuriated people, who now began
almost to disregard the presence of the military, and poured down in a
resistless stream upon them.

O'Grady repeated his command to the captain, who, finding matters thus
driven to extremity, saw no longer the possibility of avoiding
bloodshed; and the first preparatory word of the fatal order was given,
the second on his lips, and the long file of bright muskets flashed in
the sun ere they should quench his light for ever to some, and carry
darkness to many a heart and hearth, when a young and handsome man,
mounted on a noble horse, came plunging and ploughing his way through
the crowd, and, rushing between the half-levelled muskets and those who
in another instant would have fallen their victims, he shouted in a
voice whose noble tone carried to its hearers involuntary obedience,
"Stop!--for God's sake, stop!" Then wheeling his horse suddenly round,
he charged along the advancing front of the people, plunging his horse
fiercely upon them, and waving them back with his hand, enforcing his
commands with words as well as actions. The crowd fell back as he
pressed upon them with fiery horsemanship unsurpassable by an Arab; and
as his dark clustering hair streamed about his noble face, pale from
excitement, and with flashing eyes, he was a model worthy of the best
days of Grecian art--ay, and he had a soul worthy of the most glorious
times of Grecian liberty!

It was Edward O'Connor.

"Fire!" cried O'Grady again.

The gallant soldier, touched by the heroism of O'Connor, and roused by
the brutality of O'Grady beyond his patience, in the excitement of the
moment, was urged beyond the habitual parlance of a gentleman, and
swore vehemently, "I'll be _damned_ if I do! I wouldn't run the
risk of shooting that noble fellow for all the magistrates in your
county."

O'Connor had again turned round, and rode up to the military party,
having heard the word "fire!" repeated.

"For mercy's sake, sir, don't fire, and I pledge you my soul the crowd
shall disperse."

"Ay!" cried O'Grady, "they won't obey the laws nor the magistrates; but
they'll listen fast enough to a d----d rebel like you."

"Liar and ruffian!" exclaimed Edward. "I'm a better and more loyal
subject than you, who provoke resistance to the laws you should make
honoured."

At the word "liar," O'Grady, now quite frenzied, attempted to seize a
musket from a soldier beside him; and had he succeeded in obtaining
possession of it, Edward O'Connor's days had been numbered; but the
soldier would not give up his firelock, and O'Grady, intent on immediate
vengeance, then rushed upon Edward, and seizing him by the leg,
attempted to unhorse him; but Edward was too firm in his seat for this,
and a struggle ensued.

The crowd, fearing Edward was about to fall a victim, raised a fierce
shout, and were about to advance, when the captain, with admirable
presence of mind, seized O'Grady, dragged him away from his hold, and
gave freedom to Edward, who instantly used it again to charge the
advancing line of the mob, and drive them back.

"Back, boys, back!" he cried, "don't give your enemies a triumph by
being disorderly. Disperse--retire into houses, let nothing tempt you
to riot--collect round your tally-rooms, and come up quietly to the
polling--and you will yet have a peaceful triumph."

The crowd, obeying, gave three cheers for "Ned-o'-the-Hill," and the
dense mass, which could not be awed, and dreaded not the engines of
war, melted away before the breath of peace.

As they retired on one side, the soldiers were ordered to their
quarters on the other, while their captain and Edward O'Connor stood in
the midst; but ere they separated, these two, with charity in their
souls, waved their hands towards each other in token of amity, and
parted, verily, in friendship.



CHAPTER XX


After the incidents just recorded, of course great confusion and
excitement existed, during which O'Grady was forced back into the
court-house in a state bordering on insanity. Inflamed as his furious
passions had been to the top of their bent, and his thirst of revenge
still remaining unslaked, foiled in all his movements, and flung back as
it were into the seething cauldron of his own hellish temper, he was a
pitiable sight, foaming at the mouth like a wild animal, and uttering
the most horrid imprecations. On Edward O'Connor principally his curses
fell, with denunciations of immediate vengeance, and the punishment of
dismissal from the service was prophesied on oath for the English
captain. The terrors of a court-martial gleamed fitfully through the
frenzied mind of the raving Squire for the soldier; and for O'Connor,
instant death at his own hands was his momentary cry.

"Find the rascal for me," he exclaimed, "that I may call him out and
shoot him like a dog--yes, by ----, a dog--a dog; I'm disgraced while he
lives--I wish the villain had three lives that I might take them all at
once--all--all!" and he stretched out his hands as he spoke, and grasped
at the air as if in imagination he clutched the visionary lives his
bloodthirsty wishes conjured up.

Edward, as soon as he saw the crowd dispersed, returned to the hustings
and sought Dick Dawson, that he might be in readiness to undertake, on
his part, the arrangement of the hostile meeting, to which he knew he
should be immediately called. "Let it be over, my dear Dick, as soon as
possible," said Edward; "it's not a case in which delay can be of any
service; the insult was mortal between us, and the sooner expiated by a
meeting the better."

"Don't be so agitated, Ned," said Dick; "fair and easy, man--fair and
easy--keep yourself cool."

"Dear Dick--I'll be cool on the ground, but not till then--I want the
meeting over before my father hears of the quarrel; I'm his only child,
Dick, and you know how he loves me!"

He wrung Dick's hand as he spoke, and his eye glistened with tenderness;
but with the lightning quickness of thought all gentle feeling vanished
as he saw Scatterbrain struggling his way towards him, and read in his
eye the purport of his approach. He communicated to Edward his object in
seeking him, and was at once referred to Dawson, who instantly retired
with him and arranged an immediate meeting. This was easily done, as
they had their pistols with them since the duel in the morning; and if
there be those who think it a little too much of a good thing to have
two duels in one day, pray let them remember it was election time, and
even in sober England that period often gives rise to personalities
which call for the intervention of the code of honour. Only in Ireland
the thing is sooner over. We seldom have three columns of a newspaper
filled with notes on the subject, numbered from 1 to 25.[27] Gentleman
don't consider whether it is too soon or too late to fight, or whether a
gentleman is perfectly entitled to call him out or not. The title in
Ireland is generally considered sufficient in the _will_ to do it, and
few there would wait for the poising of a very delicately balanced scale
of etiquette before going to the ground; they would be more likely to
fight first, and leave the world to argue about the niceties after.

      [27] Just such a lengthy correspondence had appeared in the
      London journals when the first edition of this book was
      published.

In the present instance a duel was unavoidable, and it was to be feared
a mortal one, for deadly insult had been given on both sides.

The rumour of the hostile meeting flew like wildfire through the town,
and when the parties met in a field about a quarter of a mile beyond
the bridge, an anxious crowd was present. The police were obliged to be
in strong force on the ground to keep back the people, who were not
now, as an hour before, in the town, in uproarious noise and action,
but still as death; not a murmur was amongst them; the excitement of
love for the noble young champion, whose life was in danger for his
care of _them_, held them spell-bound in a tranquillity almost
fearful.

The aspect of the two principals was in singular contrast. On the one
side a man burning for revenge, who, to use a common but terrible
parlance, desired to "wash out the dishonour put upon him in blood." The
other was there, regretting that cause existed for the awful
arbitrament, and only anxious to defend his own, not take another's
life. To sensitive minds the reaction is always painful of having
insulted another, when the excitement is over which prompted it. When
the hot blood which inflamed the brain runs in cooler currents, the man
of feeling always regrets, if he does not reproach himself with, having
urged his fellow-man to break the commandments of the Most High, and
deface, perhaps annihilate, the form that was moulded in His image. The
words "liar and ruffian" haunted Edward's mind reproachfully; but then
the provocation--"rebel!"--no gentleman could brook it. Because his
commiseration for a people had endeared him to them, was he to be called
"_rebel_"? Because, at the risk of his own life, he had preserved
perhaps scores, and prevented an infraction of the law, was he to be
called "_rebel_"? He stood acquitted before his own conscience:--after
all, the most terrible bar before which he can be called in _this_
world.

The men were placed upon their ground, and the word to fire given.
O'Grady, in his desire for vengeance, deliberately raised his pistol
with deadly aim, and Edward was thus enabled to fire first, yet with
such cool precision, that his shot took effect as he intended; O'Grady's
arm was ripped up from the wrist to the elbow; but so determined was his
will, and so firm his aim, that the wound, severe as it was, produced
but a slight twitch in his hand, which threw it up slightly, and saved
Edward's life, for the ball passed through his hat _just_ above his
head.

O'Grady's arm instantly after dropped to his side, the pistol fell from
his hand, and he staggered, for the pain of the wound was extreme. His
second ran to his assistance.

"It is only in the arm," said O'Grady, firmly, though his voice was
changed by the agony he suffered; "give me another pistol."

Dick at the same moment was beside Edward.

"You're not touched," he said.

Edward coolly pointed to his hat.

"Too much powder," said Dick; "I thought so when his pistols were
loaded."

"No," said Edward, "it was my shot; I saw his hand twitch."

Scatterbrain demanded of Dick another shot on the part of O'Grady.

"By all means," was the answer, and he handed a fresh pistol to Edward.
"To give the devil his due," said Dick, "he has great pluck, for you
hit him hard--see how pale he looks--I don't think he can hurt you much
this time--but watch him well, my dear Ned."

The seconds withdrew; but with all O'Grady's desperate courage, he could
not lift the pistol with his right arm, which, though hastily bound in a
handkerchief, was bleeding profusely, and racked with torture. On
finding his right hand powerless, such was his unflinching courage, that
he took the pistol in his left; this of course impaired his power of
aim, and his nerve was so shattered by his bodily suffering, that his
pistol was discharged before coming to the level, and Edward saw the sod
torn up close beside his foot. He then, of course, fired in the air.
O'Grady would have fallen but for the immediate assistance of his
friends; he was led from the ground and placed in a carriage, and it was
not until Edward O'Connor mounted his horse to ride away, that the crowd
manifested their feelings. Then three tremendous cheers arose; and the
shouts of their joy and triumph reached the wounded man as he was driven
slowly from the ground.



CHAPTER XXI


The Widow Flanagan had long ago determined that, whenever the election
should take place, she would take advantage of the great influx of
visitors that event would produce, and give a grand party. Her
preparations were all made to secure a good muster of her country
friends, when once the day of nomination was fixed; and after the
election began, she threw out all her hooks and lines in every
direction, to catch every straggler worth having, whom the election
brought into the town. It required some days to do this; and it was not
until the eve of the fifth, that her house was turned upside down and
inside out for the reception of the numerous guests whose company she
expected.

The toil of the day's election was over; the gentlemen had dined and
refreshed themselves with creature comforts; the vicissitudes, and
tricks, and chances of the last twelve hours were canvassed--when the
striking of many a clock, or the consultation of the pocket-dial, warned
those who were invited to Mrs. O'Flanagan's party, that it was time to
wash off the dust of the battle-field from their faces, and mount fresh
linen and cambric. Those who were pleased to call themselves "good
fellows" declared for "another bottle;" the faint-hearted swore that an
autograph invitation from Venus herself to the heathen Olympus, with
nectar and ambrosia for tea and bread-and-butter, could not tempt them
from the Christian enjoyment of a feather-bed after the fag of such a
day; but the _preux chevaliers_--those who did deserve to win a fair
lady--shook off sloth and their morning trousers, and taking to tights
and activity, hurried to the party of the buxom widow.

The widow was in her glory; hospitable, she enjoyed receiving her
friends,--mirthful, she looked forward to a long night of downright
sport,--coquettish, she would have good opportunity of letting Tom Durfy
see how attractive she was to the men,--while from the women her love of
gossip and scandal (was there ever a lady in her position without it?)
would have ample gratification in the accumulated news of the county of
twenty miles round. She had but one _large_ room at her command, and
_that_ was given up to the dancing; and being cleared of tables, chairs,
and carpet, could not be considered by Mrs. Flanagan as a proper
reception-room for her guests, who were, therefore, received in a
smaller apartment, where tea and coffee, toast and muffins, ladies and
gentlemen, were all smoking-hot together, and the candles on the
mantel-piece trickling down rivulets of fat in the most sympathetic
manner, under the influence of the gentle sighing of a broken pane of
glass, which the head of an inquiring youth in the street had stove in,
while flattening his nose against it in the hope of getting a glimpse of
the company through the opening in the window-curtain.

At last, when the room could hold no more, the company were drafted off
to the dancing-room, which had only long deal forms placed against the
wall to rest the weary after the exertions of the jig. The aforesaid
forms, by-the-bye, were borrowed from the chapel; the old wigsby who had
the care of them for some time doubted the propriety of the sacred
property being put to such a profane use, until the widow's arguments
convinced him it was quite right, after she had given him a
tenpenny-piece. As the dancing-room could not boast of a lustre, the
deficiency was supplied by tin sconces hung against the wall; for ormulu
branches are not expected to be plenty in the provinces. But let the
widow be heard for herself, as she bustled through her guests and caught
a critical glance at her arrangements: "What's that you're faulting
now?--is it my deal seats without cushions? Ah! you're a _lazy Larry_,
Bob Larkin. Cock you up with a cushion indeed! if you sit the less,
you'll dance the more. Ah, Matty, I see you're eyeing my tin sconces
there; well, sure they have them at the county ball, when candlesticks
are scarce, and what would you expect grander from a poor lone woman?
besides, we must have plenty of lights, or how could the beaux see the
girls?--though I see, Harry Cassidy, by your sly look, that _you_ think
they look as well in the dark--ah! you _divil_!" and she slapped his
shoulder as she ran past. "Ah! Mister Murphy, I'm delighted to see you;
what kept you so late?--the election to be sure. Well, we're beating
them, ain't we? Ah! the old country for ever. I hope Edward O'Connor
will be here. Come, begin the dance; there's the piper and the fiddler
in the corner as idle as a mile-stone without a number. Tom Durfy, don't
ask me to dance, for I'm engaged for the next four sets."

"Oh! but the first to me," said Tom.

"Ah! yis, Tom, I was; but then, you know, I couldn't refuse the stranger
from Dublin, and the English captain that will be there by-and-by; he's
a nice man, too, and long life to him, wouldn't fire on the people the
other day; I vow to the Virgin, all the women in the room ought to kiss
him when he comes in. Ah, doctor! there you are; there's Mrs. Gubbins in
the corner dying to have a chat with you; go over to her. Who's that
_taazing_ the piano there? Ah! James Reddy, it's _you_, I see. I hope
it's in tune; 't is only four months since the tuner was here. I hope
you've a new song for us, James. The tuner is so scarce, Mrs. Riley, in
the country--not like Dublin; but we poor country people, you know, must
put up with what we can get; not like you citizens, who has lashings of
luxuries as easy as peas." Then, in a confidential whisper, she said, "I
hope your daughter has practised the new piece well to-day, for I
couldn't be looking after her, you know, to-day, being in such a bustle
with my party; I was just like a dog in a fair, in and out everywhere;
but I _hope_ she's _perfect_ in the piece;" then, still more
confidentially, she added, "for _he's_ here--ah! I _wish it was_, Mrs.
Riley;" then, with a nod and a wink, off she rattled through the room
with a word for everybody.

The Mrs. Riley, to whom she was so confidential, was a friend from
Dublin, an atrociously vulgar woman, with a more vulgar daughter, who
were on a visit with Mrs. Flanagan. The widow and the mother thought
Murtough Murphy would be a good speculation for the daughter to "cock
her cap at" (to use their own phrase), and with this view the visit to
the country was projected. But matters did not prosper; Murphy was not
much of a marrying man; and if ever he might be caught in the toils of
Hymen, some frank, joyous, unaffected, dashing girl would have been the
only one likely to serve a writ on the jovial attorney's heart. Now,
Miss Riley was, to use Murtough Murphy's own phrase, "a batch of brass
and a stack of affectation," and the airs she attempted to play off on
the country folk (Murphy in particular) only made her an object for his
mischievous merriment; as an example, we may as well touch on one
little incident _en passant_.

The widow had planned one day a walking party to a picturesque ruin,
not far from the town, and determined that Murphy should give his arm
to Miss Riley; for the party was arranged in couples, with a most
deadly design on the liberty of the attorney. At the appointed hour all
had arrived but Murphy; the widow thought it a happy chance, so she
hurried off the party, leaving Miss Riley to wait and follow under his
escort. In about a quarter of an hour he came, having met the widow in
the street, who sent him back for Miss Riley. Now Murtough saw the trap
which was intended for him, and thought it fair to make what fun he
could of the affair, and being already sickened by various disgusting
exhibitions of the damsel's affectation, he had the less scruple of
"taking her down a peg," as he said himself.

When Murtough reached the house and asked for Miss Riley, he was ushered
into the little drawing-room; and there was that very full-blown young
lady, on a chair before the fire, her left foot resting on the fender,
her right crossed over it, and her body thrown back in a reclining
attitude, with a sentimental droop of the head over a greasy novel: her
figure was _rather_ developed by her posture, indeed more so than Miss
Riley quite intended, for her ankles were not unexceptionable, and the
position of her feet revealed rather more. A bonnet and green veil lay
on the hearth-rug, and her shawl hung over the handle of the
fire-shovel. When Murphy entered, he was received with a faint "How d'
do?"

"Pretty well, I thank you--how are you?" said Murphy, in his rollicking
tone.

"Oh! Miste' Murphy, you are so odd."

"Odd, am I--how am I odd?"

"Oh! _so_ odd."

"Well, you'd better put on your bonnet and come walk, and we can talk
of my oddity after."

"Oh, indeed, I _cawn't_ walk."

"Can't walk!" exclaimed Murphy. "Why can't you walk? I was sent for
you."

"'Deed I cawn't."

"Ah, now!" said Murphy, giving her a little tender poke of his
forefinger on the shoulder.

"Don't, Mister Murphy, _pray_ don't."

"But why won't you walk?"

"I'm too delicate."

Murphy uttered a very long "Oh!!!!!"

"'Deed I am, Miste' Murphy, though you may disbelieve it."

"Well--a nice walk is the best thing in the world for the health. Come
along!"

"Cawn't indeed; a gentle walk on a terrace, or a shadowy avenue, is all
very well--the Rotunda Gardens, for instance."

"Not forgetting the military bands that play there," said Murphy,
"together with the officers of all the barracks in Dublin, clinking
their sabres at their heels along the gravel walks, all for the small
charge of a fi'penny bit."

Miss Riley gave a reproachful look and shrug at the vulgar mention of a
"fi'penny bit," which Murphy purposely said to shock her "Brummagem
gentility."

"How can you be so odd, Miste' Murphy?" she said. "I don't joke,
indeed; a gentle walk--I repeat it--is all very well; but these horrid
rough country walks--these _masculine_ walks, I may say--are not
consistent with a delicate frame like mine."

"A delicate frame!" said Murtough. "'Faith, I'll tell you what it is,
Miss Riley," said he, standing bolt upright before her, plunging his
hands into his pockets, and fixing his eyes on her feet, which still
maintained their original position on the fender--"I'll tell you what it
is, Miss Riley; by the _vartue_ of my oath, if your _other_ leg is a
match for the one I see, the _divil_ a harm a trot from this to Dublin
would do you!"

Miss Riley gave a faint scream, and popped her legs under her chair,
while Murphy ran off in a shout of laughter, and joined the party, to
whom he made no secret of his joke.

But all this did not damp Miss Riley's hopes of winning him. She
changed her plan; and seeing he did not bow to what she considered the
supremacy of her very elegant manners, she set about feigning at once
admiration and dread of him. She would sometimes lift her eyes to
Murtough with a languishing expression, and declare she never knew any
one she was so afraid of; but even this double attack on his vanity
could not turn Murphy's flank, and so a very laughable flirtation went
on between them, he letting her employ all the enginery of her sex
against him, with a mischievous enjoyment in her blindness at not
seeing she was throwing away her powder and shot.

But to return to the party; a rattling country dance called out at once
the energies of the piper, the fiddler, and the ladies and gentlemen,
and left those who had more activity in their heads than their heels to
sit on the forms in the background and exercise their tongues in open
scandal of their mutual friends and acquaintances under cover of the
music, which prevented the most vigorous talker from being heard further
than his or her next-door neighbour. Dr. Growling had gone over to Mrs.
Gubbins', as desired, and was buried deep in gossip.

"What an extraordinary affair that was about Miss O'Grady, doctor."

"Very, ma'am."

"In the man's bed she was, I hear."

"So the story goes, ma'am."

"And they tell me, doctor, that when her father, that _immaculate_
madman--God keep us from harm!--said to poor Mrs. O'Grady, in a great
rage, 'Where have you brought up your daughters to go to, ma'am?' said
he; and she, poor woman, said, 'To church, my dear,' thinking it was the
different religion the Saracen was after; so, says he, '_Church_,
indeed! there's the church she's gone to, ma'am,' says he, turning down
a quilted counterpane."

"Are you sure it was not Marseilles, ma'am?" said the doctor.

"Well, whatever it was, '_There's_ the church she is in,' says he,
pulling her out of the bed."

"Out of the bed?" repeated the doctor.

"Out of the bed, sir!"

"Then _her_ church was in the Diocese of _Down_," said the
doctor.

"That's good, docthor--indeed, that's good. 'She was caught in bed,'
says I; and 'It's the diocese of _Down_,' says _you_: 'faith, that's
good. I wish the diocese was your own; for you're funny enough to be a
bishop, docthor, you lay howld of everything."

"That's a great qualification for a mitre, ma'am," said the doctor.

"And the poor young man that has got her is not worth a farthing, I
hear, docthor."

"Then _he_ must be the curate, ma'am; though I don't think it's a
chapel of ease he has got into."

"Oh! what a tongue you have, docthor," said she, laughing; "'faith
you'll kill me."

"That's my profession, ma'am. I am a licentiate of the Royal College;
but, unfortunately for me, my humanity is an overmatch for my science.
Phrenologically speaking, my benevolence is large, and my
destructiveness and acquisitiveness small."

"Ah, there you go off on another tack; and what a funny new thing that
is you talk of!--that free knowledge or crow-knowledge, or whatever
sort of knowledge you call it. And there's one thing I want to ask you
about: there's a bump the ladies have, the gentlemen always laugh at, I
remark."

"That's very rude of them, ma'am," said the doctor drily. "Is it in the
anterior region, or the----"

"Docthor, don't talk queer."

"I'm only speaking scientifically, ma'am."

"Well, I think your scientific discourse is only an excuse for saying
impudent things; I mean the back of their heads."

"I thought so, ma'am."

"They call it--dear me, I forget--something--motive--motive--it's
Latin--but I am no _scholard_, docthor."

"That's manifest, ma'am."

"But a lady is not bound to know Latin, docthor."

"Certainly not, ma'am--nor any other language except that of the eyes."

Now, this was a wicked hit of the doctor's, for Mrs. Gubbins squinted
frightfully; but Mrs. Gubbins did not know that, so she went on.

"The bump I mean, docthor, is motive something--motive--motive--I have
it!--motive-_ness_."

"Now, I know what you mean," said the doctor; "amativeness."

"That's it," said Mrs. Gubbins; "they call it number one, sometimes; I
suppose amativeness is Latin for number one.  Now, what does that bump
mean?"

"Ah, madam," said the doctor, puzzled for a moment to give an
explanation; but in a few seconds he answered, "That's a beautiful
provision of nature. That, ma'am, is the organ which makes your sex
take compassion on ours."[28]

      [28] This very ingenious answer was really given by an Irish
      professor to an over-inquisitive lady.

"Wonderful!" said Mrs. Gubbins; "but how good nature is in giving us
provision! and I don't think there is a finer provision county in
Ireland than this."

"Certainly not, ma'am," said the doctor;--but the moment Mrs. Gubbins
began to speak of provisions, he was sure she would get into a very
solid discourse about her own farms; so he left his seat beside her and
went over to Mrs. Riley, to see what fun could be had in that quarter.

Her daughter was cutting all sorts of barefaced capers about the room,
"astonishing the natives," as she was pleased to say; and Growling was
looking on in amused wonder at this specimen of vulgar effrontery, whom
he had christened "The Brazen Baggage" the first time he saw her.

"You are looking at my daughter, sir," said the delighted mother.

"Yes, ma'am," said the doctor, profoundly.

"She's very young, sir."

"She'll mend of that, ma'am. We were young once ourselves."

This was not very agreeable to the mother, who dressed rather in a
juvenile style.

"I mean, sir, that you must excuse any little awkwardness about
her--that all arises out of timidity--she was lost with bashfulness
till I roused her out of it--but now I think she is beginning to have a
little self-possession."

The doctor was amused, and took a large pinch of snuff; he enjoyed the
phase "_beginning_ to have a _little_ self-possession" being applied to
the most brazen baggage he ever saw.

"She's very accomplished, sir," continued the mother. "Mister Jew-val
(Duval) taitches her dancin', and Musha Dunny-ai (Mons. Du Noyer)[29]
French. Misther Low-jeer (Logier) hasn't the like of her in his academy
on the pianya; and as for the harp, you'd think she wouldn't lave a
sthring in it."

      [29] My own worthy and excellent master, to whom I gladly pay this
      tribute of kindly remembrance.

"She must be a treasure to her teachers, ma'am," said the doctor.

"'Faith, you may well say _threasure_, it costs handfuls o' money; but
sure, while there's room for improvement, every apartment must be
attended to, and the vocal apartment is filled by Sir John--fifteen
shillin's a lesson, no less."

"What silvery tones she ought to bring out, ma'am, at that rate!"

"'Faith, you may say that, sir. It's coining, so it is, with them
tip-top men, and ruins one a'most to have a daughter; every shake I get
out of her is to the tune of a ten-poun' note, at least. You shall hear
her by-and-by; the minit the dancin' is over, she shall sing you the
'Bewildhered Maid.' Do you know the 'Bewildhered Maid,' sir?"

"I haven't the honour of her acquaintance, ma'am," said the doctor.

The dancing _was_ soon over, and the mother's threat put into execution.
Miss Riley was led over to the piano by the widow, with the usual
protestations that she was hoarse. It took some time to get the piano
ready, for an extensive clearance was to be made from it of cups and
saucers, and half-empty glasses of negus, before it could be opened;
then, after various thrummings and hummings and hawings, the
"Bewildhered Maid" made her appearance in the wildest possible manner,
and the final shriek was quite worthy of a maniac. Loud applause
followed, and the wriggling Miss Riley was led from the piano by James
Reddy, who had stood at the back of her chair, swaying backward and
forward to the music, with a maudlin expression of sentiment on his
face, and a suppressed exclamation of "B-u-tiful!" after every extra
shout from the young lady.

Growling listened with an expression of as much dissatisfaction as if
he had been drinking weak punch.

"I see you don't like that," said the widow to him, under her breath;
"ah, you're too hard, doctor--consider she sung out of good-nature."

"I don't know if it was out of good-nature," said he; "but I am sure it
was out of tune."

[Illustration: The Widow Flanagan's Party]

James Reddy led back Miss Riley to her mamma, who was much delighted
with the open manifestations of "the poet's" admiration.

"She ought to be proud, sir, of your _conjunction_, I'm sure. A poet
like you, sir!--what beautiful rhymes them wor you did on the 'lection."

"A trifle, ma'am--a mere trifle--a little occasional thing."

"Oh! but them two beautiful lines--

    "We tread the land that bore us
    Our green flag glitters o'er us!"

"_They_ are only a quotation, ma'am," said Reddy.

"Oh, like every man of true genius, sir, you try and undervalue your
own work; but call them lines what you like, to my taste they are the
most beautiful lines in the thing you done."

Reddy did not know what to answer, and his confusion was increased by
catching old Growling's eye, who was chuckling at the _mal-a-propos_
speech of the flourishing Mrs. Riley.

"Don't you sing yourself, sir?" said that lady.

"To be sure he does," cried the Widow Flanagan; "and he must give us
one of his own."

"Oh!"

"No excuses; now, James!"

"Where's Duggan?" inquired the poetaster, affectedly; "I told him to be
here to accompany me."

"I attend your muse, sir," said a miserable structure of skin and bone,
advancing with a low bow and obsequious smile: this was the poor
music-master, who set Reddy's rhymes to music as bad, and danced
attendance on him everywhere.

The music-master fumbled over a hackneyed prelude to show his command
of the instrument.

Miss Riley whispered to her mamma that it was out of one of her first
books of lessons.

Mrs. Flanagan, with a seductive smirk, asked, "what he was going to
give them?" The poet replied, "a little thing of his own--'Rosalie; or,
the Broken Heart,'--sentimental, but rather sad."

The musical skeleton rattled his bones against the ivory in a very one,
two, three, four symphony; the poet ran his fingers through his hair,
pulled up his collar, gave his head a jaunty nod, and commenced:

    ROSALIE;

    OR, THE BROKEN HEART.

    Fare thee--fare thee well--alas!
      Fare--farewell to thee!
    On pleasure's wings, as dew-drops fade,
      Or honey stings the bee,
    My heart is as sad as a black stone
      Under the blue sea.
                      Oh, Rosalie! Oh, Rosalie!

    As ruder rocks with envy glow,
      Thy _coral_ lips to see,
    So the weeping waves more briny grow
      With my salt tears for thee!
    My heart is as sad as a black stone
      Under the blue sea.
                      Oh, Rosalie! Oh, Rosalie!

After this brilliant specimen of the mysteriously-sentimental and
imaginative school was sufficiently applauded, dancing was recommenced,
and Reddy seated himself beside Mrs. Riley, the incense of whose praise
was sweet in his nostrils. "Oh, you _have_ a soul for poetry indeed,
sir," said the lady. "I was bewildered with all your beautiful _idays_;
that 'honey stings the bee' is a beautiful _iday_--so expressive of the
pains and pleasures of love. Ah! I was the most romantic creature myself
once, Mister Reddy, though you wouldn't think it now; but the cares of
the world and a family takes the shine out of us. I remember when the
men used to be making hats in my father's establishment--for my father
was the most extensive hatter in Dublin--I don't know if you knew my
father was a hatter; but you know, sir, manufactures must be followed,
and that's no reason why people shouldn't enjoy po'thry and refinement.
Well, I was going to tell you how romantic I was, and when the men were
making the hats--I don't know whether you ever saw them making hats----"

Reddy declared he never did.

"Well, it's like the witches round the iron pot in _Macbeth_; did
you ever see Kemble in _Macbeth_? Oh! he'd make your blood freeze,
though the pit is so hot you wouldn't have a dhry rag on you. But to
come to the hats. When they're making them, they have hardly any crown
to them at all, and they are all with great sprawling wide flaps to
them; well, the moment I clapt my eyes on one of them, I thought of a
Spanish nobleman directly, with his slouched hat and black feathers
like a hearse. Yes, I assure you, the broad hat always brought to my
mind a Spanish noble or an Italian noble (that would do as well, you
know), or a robber or a murderer, which is all the same thing."

Reddy could not conceive a hat manufactory as a favourable nursery for
romance; but as the lady praised his song, he listened complacently to
her hatting.

"And that's another beautiful iday, sir," continued the lady, "where
you make the rocks jealous of each other--that's so beautiful to bring
in a bit of nature into a metaphysic that way."

"You flatter me, ma'am," said Reddy; "but if I might speak of my own
work--that is, if a man may _ever_ speak of his own work----"

"And why not, sir?" asked Mrs. Riley, with a business-like air; "who
has so good a right to speak of the work as the man who _done_ it,
and knows what's in it?"

"That's a very sensible remark of yours, ma'am, and I will therefore
take leave to say, that the idea _I_ am proudest of, is the _dark_ and
_heavy_ grief of the heart being compared to a _black_ stone, and its
_depth_ of misery implied by the _sea_."

"Thrue for you," said Mrs. Riley; "and the _blue_ sea--ah! that didn't
escape me; that's an elegant touch--the black stone and the blue sea;
and black and blue, such a beautiful conthrast!"

"I own," said Reddy, "I attempted, in that, the bold and daring style of
expression which Byron has introduced."

"Oh, he's a fine _pote_ certainly, but he's not moral, sir; and I'm
afeard to let my daughter read such combustibles."

"But he's grand," said Reddy; "for instance--

    'She walks in beauty like the night.'

How fine!"

"But how wicked!" said Mrs. Riley. "I don't like that night-walking
style of poetry at all, so say no more about it; we'll talk of something
else. You admire music, I'm sure."

"I adore it, ma'am."

"Do you like the piano?"

"Oh, ma'am! I could live under a piano."

"My daughter plays the piano beautiful."

"Charmingly."

"Oh, but if you heerd her play the harp, you'd think she wouldn't lave
a sthring on it" (this was Mrs. Riley's favourite bit of praise); "and
a beautiful harp it is, one of Egan's double action, all over goold,
and cost eighty guineas; Miss Cheese chuse it for her. Do you know Miss
Cheese? she's as plump as a partridge, with a voice like a lark; she
sings elegant duets. Do you ever sing duets?"

"Not often."

"Ah! if you could hear Pether Dowling sing duets with my daughter! he'd
make the hair stand straight on your head with the delight. Oh, he's a
powerful singer! you never heerd the like; he runs up and down as fast
as a lamplighter;--and the beautiful turns he gives; oh! I never heerd
any one sing a second like Pether. I declare he sings a _second_ to that
degree _that you'd think it was the first_, and never at a loss for a
shake; and then off he goes in a run that you'd think he'd never come
back; but he _does_ bring it back into the tune again with as nate a fit
as a Limerick glove. Oh! I never heerd a singer like Pether!!!"

There is no knowing how much more Mrs. Riley would have said about
"Pether," if the end of the dance had not cut her eloquence short by
permitting the groups of dancers, as they promenaded, to throw in their
desultory discourse right and left, and so break up anything like a
consecutive conversation.

But let it not be supposed that all Mrs. Flanagan's guests were of the
Gubbins and Riley stamp. There were some of the better class of the
country people present; intelligence and courtesy in the one sex, and
gentleness and natural grace in the other, making a society not to be
ridiculed in the mass, though individual instances of folly and
ignorance and purse-proud effrontery were amongst it.

But to Growling every phase of society afforded gratification; and
while no one had a keener relish for such scenes as the one in which we
have just witnessed him, the learned and the courteous could be met
with equal weapons by the doctor when he liked.

Quitting the dancing-room, he went into the little drawing-room, where
a party of a very different stamp was engaged in conversation. Edward
O'Connor and the "dear English captain," as Mrs. Flanagan called him,
were deep in an interesting discussion about the relative practices in
Ireland and England on the occasions of elections and trials, and most
other public events; and O'Connor and two or three listeners--amongst
whom was a Mr. Monk, whose daughters, remarkably nice girls, were of
the party--were delighted with the feeling tone in which the Englishman
spoke of the poorer classes of Irish, and how often the excesses into
which they sometimes fell were viewed through an exaggerated or
distorted medium, and what was frequently mere exuberance of spirit
pronounced and punished as riot.

"I never saw a people over whom those in authority require more good
temper," remarked the captain.

"Gentleness goes a long way with them," said Edward.

"And violence never succeeds," added Mr. Monk.

"You are of opinion, then," said the soldier, "they are not to be
forced?"

"Except to do what they like," chimed in Growling.

"That's a very _Irish_ sort of coercion," said the captain,
smiling.

"And therefore fit for Irishmen," said Growling; "and I never knew an
intelligent Englishman yet, who came to Ireland, who did not find it
out. Paddy has a touch of the pig in him--he won't be _driven_; but
you may _coax_ him a long way: or if you appeal to his reason--for he
happens to _have_ such a thing about him--you may persuade him into what
is right if you take the trouble."

"By Jove!" said the captain, "it is not easy to argue with Paddy; the
rascals are so ready with quip, and equivoque, and queer answers, that
they generally get the best of it in talk, however fallacious may be
their argument; and when you think you have Pat in a corner and escape
is inevitable, he's off without your knowing how he slipped through
your fingers."

When the doctor joined the conversation, Edward, knowing his powers,
gave up the captain into his hands and sat down by the side of Miss
Monk, who had just entered from the dancing-room, and retired to a
chair in the corner.

She and Edward soon got engaged in a conversation particularly
interesting to him. She spoke of having lately met Fanny Dawson, and
was praising her in such terms of affectionate admiration, that Edward
hung upon every word with delight. I know not if Miss Monk was aware of
Edward's devotion in that quarter before, but she could not look upon
the bland though somewhat sad smile which arched his expressive mouth,
and the dilated eye which beamed as her praises were uttered, without
being then conscious that Fanny Dawson had made him captive.

She was pleased, and continued the conversation with that inherent
pleasure a woman has in touching a man's heart, even though it be not on
her own account; and it was done with tact and delicacy which only women
possess, and which is so refined that the rougher nature of man is
insensible of its drift and influence, and he is betrayed by a net whose
meshes are too fine for his perception. Edward O'Connor never dreamt
that Miss Monk saw he was in love with the subject of their discourse.
While they were talking, the merry hostess entered; and the last words
the captain uttered fell upon her ear, and then followed a reply from
Growling, saying that Irishmen were as hard to catch as quicksilver.
"Ay, and as hard to keep as any other silver," said the widow; "don't
believe what these wild Irish fellows tell you of themselves, they are
all mad divils alike--you steady Englishmen are the safe men--and the
girls know it. And 'faith, if you try them," added she, laughing, "I
don't know any one more likely to have luck with them than yourself;
for, 'pon my conscience, captain, we all doat on you since you would not
shoot the people the other day."

There was a titter among the girls at this open avowal.

"Ah, why wouldn't I say it?" exclaimed she, laughing. "I am not a
mealy-mouthed miss; sure _I_ may tell truth; and I wouldn't trust
one o' ye," she added, with a very significant nod of the head at the
gentlemen, "except the captain. Yes--I'd trust one more--I'd trust
Mister O'Connor; I think he really could be true to a woman."

The words fell sweetly upon his ear; the expression of trust in his
faith at that moment, even from the laughing widow, was pleasing; for
his heart was full of the woman he adored, and it was only by long
waiting and untiring fidelity she could ever become his.

He bowed courteously to the compliment the hostess paid him; and she,
immediately taking advantage of his acknowledgment, said that after
having paid him such a pretty compliment he couldn't refuse her to sing
a song. Edward never liked to sing in mixed companies, and was about
making some objections, when the widow interrupted him with one of those
Irish "Ah, now's," so hard to resist. "Besides, all the noisy pack are
in the dancing-room, or indeed I wouldn't ask you; and here there's not
one won't be charmed with you. Ah, look at Miss Monk, there--I know
she's dying to hear you; and see all the ladies _hanging on your lips_
absolutely. Can you refuse me after _that_, now?"

It was true that in the small room where they sat there were only those
who were worthy of better things than Edward would have ventured on to
the many; and filled with the tender and passionate sentiment his
conversation with Miss Monk had awakened, one of those effusions of
deep, and earnest, and poetic feeling which love had prompted to his
muse rose to his lips, and he began to sing.

All were silent, for the poet singer was a favourite, and all knew with
what touching expression he gave his compositions; but now the mellow
tones of his voice seemed to vibrate with a feeling in more than common
unison with the words, and his dark earnest eyes beamed with a devotion
of which she who was the object might be proud.

    A LEAF THAT REMINDS OF THEE

    I

    How sweet is the hour we give,
      When fancy may wander free,
    To the friends who in memory live!--
      For then I remember thee!
    Then wing'd, like the dove from the ark,
      My heart, o'er a stormy sea,
    Brings back to my lonely bark
      A leaf that reminds of thee!

    II

    But still does the sky look dark,
      The waters still deep and wide;
    Oh! when may my lonely bark
      In peace on the shore abide?
    But through the future far,
      Dark though my course may be,
    _Thou_ art my guiding star!
      My heart still turns to thee.

    III

    When I see thy friends I smile,
      I sigh when I hear thy name;
    But they cannot tell the while
      Whence the smile or the sadness came;
    Vainly the world may deem
      The cause of my sighs they know:
    The breeze that stirs the stream
      Knows not the depth below.

Before the first verse of the song was over, the entrance to the room
was filled with eager listeners, and, at its conclusion, a large
proportion of the company from the dancing-room had crowded round the
door, attracted by the rich voice of the singer, and fascinated into
silence by the charm of his song. Perhaps after mental qualities, the
most valuable gift a man can have is a fine voice; it at once commands
attention, and may therefore be ranked in a man's possession as highly
as beauty in a woman's.

In speaking thus of voice, I do not allude to the power of singing, but
the mere physical quality of a fine voice, which in the bare utterance
of the simplest words is pleasing, but, becoming the medium for the
interchange of higher thoughts, is irresistible. Superadded to this
gift, which Edward possessed, the song he sang had meaning in it which
could reach the hearts of all his auditory, though its poetry might be
appreciated by but few; its imagery grew upon a stem whose root was in
every bosom, and the song that possesses this quality, whatever may be
its defects, contains not only the elements of future fame, but of
immediate popularity. Startling was the contrast between the silence the
song had produced and the simultaneous clapping of hands outside the
door when it was over; not the poor plaudit of a fashionable assembly,
whose "bravo" is an attenuated note of admiration, struggling into a
sickly existence and expiring in a sigh--applause of so suspicious a
character, that no one seems desirous of owning it--a feeble forgery of
satisfaction which people think it disgraceful to be caught uttering.
The clapping was not the plaudits of high-bred hands, whose sound is
like the fluttering of small wings, just enough to stir gossamer--but
not the heart. No; such was not the applause which followed Edward's
song; he had the outburst of heart-warm and unsophisticated satisfaction
unfettered by chilling convention. Most of his hearers did not know that
it was disgraceful to admit being too well pleased, and the poor
innocents really opened their mouths and clapped their hands. Oh, fie!
tell it not in Grosvenor-square.

And now James Reddy contrived to be asked to sing; the coxcomb, not
content with his luck in being listened to before, panted for such
another burst of applause as greeted Edward, whose song he had no notion
was any better than his own; the puppy fancied his rubbish of the "black
stone under the blue sea" partook of a grander character of composition,
and that while Edward's "breeze" but "stirred the stream," he had
fathomed the ocean. But a "heavy blow and great discouragement" was in
store for Master James, for as he commenced a love ditty which he called
by the fascinating title of "The Rose of Silence," and verily believed
would have enraptured every woman in the room, a powerful voice, richly
flavoured with the brogue, shouted forth outside the door, "_Ma'am, if
you plaze, supper's sarved_." The effect was magical; a rush was made to
supper by the crowd in the doorway, and every gentleman in the little
drawing-room offered his arm to a lady, and led her off without the
smallest regard to Reddy's singing.

His look was worth anything as he saw himself thus unceremoniously
deserted and likely soon to be left in sole possession of the room; the
old doctor was enchanted with his vexation; and when James ceased to
sing, as the last couple were going, the doctor interposed his request
that the song should be finished.

"Don't stop, my dear fellow," said the doctor; "that's the best song I
have heard for a long time, and you must indulge me by finishing
it--that's a gem."

"Why, you see, doctor, they have all gone to supper."

"Yes, and the devil choke them with it," said Growling, "for their want
of taste; but never mind that: one judicious listener is worth a crowd
of such fools, you'll admit; so sit down again and sing for me."

The doctor seated himself as he spoke, and there he kept Reddy, who he
knew was very fond of a good supper, singing away for the bare life,
with only one person for audience, and that one humbugging him. The
scene was rich; the gravity with which the doctor carried on the quiz
was admirable, and the gullibility of the coxcomb who was held captive
by his affected admiration exquisitely absurd and almost past belief;
even Growling himself was amazed, as he threw in a rapturous "charming"
or "bravissimo," at the egregious folly of his dupe, who still continued
singing, while the laughter of the supper-room and the inviting clatter
of its knives and forks were ringing in his ear. When Reddy concluded,
the doctor asked might he venture to request the last verse again;
"for," continued he, "there is a singular beauty of thought and felicity
of expression in its numbers, leaving the mind unsatisfied with but one
hearing; once more, if you please."

Poor Reddy repeated the last verse.

"Very charming, indeed!" said the doctor.

"You really like it?" said Reddy.

"Like?" said the doctor--"sir, _like_ is a faint expression of what I
think of that song. Moore had better look to his laurels, sir!"

"Oh, doctor!"

"Ah, you know yourself," said Growling.

"Then that last, doctor----?" said Reddy, inquiringly.

"Is your most successful achievement, sir; there is a mysterious
shadowing forth of something in it which is very fine."

"You like it better than the 'Black Stone'?"

"Pooh! sir; the 'Black Stone,' if I may be allowed an image, is but
ordinary paving, while that 'Rose of Silence' of yours might strew the
path to Parnassus."

"And is it not strange, doctor," said Reddy, in a reproachful tone,
"that _them_ people should be insensible to that song, and leave the
room while I was singing it?"

"Too good for them, sir--above their comprehension."

"Besides, so rude!" said Reddy.

"Oh, my dear friend," said the doctor, "when you know more of the world,
you'll find out that an appeal from the lower house to the upper," and
he changed his hand from the region of his waistcoat to his head as he
spoke, "is most influential."

"True, doctor," said Reddy, with a smile; "and suppose _we_ go to
supper now."

"Wait a moment," said Growling, holding his button. "Did you ever try
your hand at an epic?"

"No, I can't say that I did."

"I wish you would."

"You flatter me, doctor; but don't you think we had better go to
supper?"

"Ha!" said the doctor, "your own House of Commons is sending up an
appeal--eh?"

"Decidedly, doctor."

"Then you see, my dear friend, you can't wonder at those poor inferior
beings hurrying off to indulge their gross appetites, when a man of
genius like you is not insensible to the same call. Never wonder again
at people leaving your song for supper, Master James," said the doctor,
resting his arm on Reddy, and sauntering from the room. "Never wonder
again at the triumph of supper over song, for the Swan of Avon himself
would have no chance against roast ducks."

Reddy smacked his lips at the word ducks, and the savoury odour of the
supper-room which they approached heightened his anticipation of an
onslaught on one of the aforesaid tempting birds; but, ah! when he
entered the room, skeletons of ducks there were, but nothing more; the
work of demolition had been in able hands, and the doctor's lachrymose
exclamation of "the devil a duck!" found a hollow echo under Reddy's
waistcoat. Round the room that deluded minstrel went, seeking what he
might devour, but his voyage of discovery for any hot fowl was
profitless; and Growling, in silent delight, witnessed his
disappointment.

"Come, sir," said the doctor, "there's plenty of punch left, however;
I'll take a glass with you, and drink success to your next song, for
the last is all I could wish;" and so indeed it was, for it enabled him
to laugh at the poetaster, and cheat him out of his supper.

"Ho, ho!" said Murtough Murphy, who approached the door; "you have
found out the punch is good, eh? 'Faith it is that same, and I'll take
another glass of it with you before I go, for the night is cold."

"Are you going so soon?" asked Growling, as he clinked his glass
against the attorney's.

"Whisht!" said Murphy, "not a word,--I'm slipping away after
Dick the Divil; we have a trifle of work in hand quite in his line,
and it is time to set about it. Good bye, you'll hear more of it
to-morrow--snug's the word."

Murphy stole away, for the open departure of so merry a blade would not
have been permitted, and in the hall he found Dick mounting a large
top-coat and muffling up.

"Good people are scarce, you think, Dick," said Murphy.

"I'd recommend you to follow the example, for the night is bitter cold,
I can tell you."

"And as dark as a coal-hole," said Murphy, as he opened the door and
looked out.

"No matter, I have got a dark lantern," said Dick, "which we can use
when required; make haste, the gig is round the corner, and the little
black mare will roll us over in no time."

They left the house quietly, as he spoke, and started on a bit of
mischief which demands a separate chapter.





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