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Title: Bits of Blarney
Author: Mackenzie, R. Shelton
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Bits of Blarney" ***

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  IRISH BAR," &c.





Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1854, by

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for
the Southern District of New York.

  26 Frankfort St., N. Y.


MY DEAR SIR:--The deified heroes of the Norse mythology are believed to
spend their afternoons in drinking something stronger than lemonade out
of their enemies' skulls, and some ill-natured persons, seizing on the
idea, have declared that publishers use the skulls of their authors as
drinking-cups, in the same manner. For my own part, I discredit the
assertion--as far as my relations with yourself enable me to judge; I
suspect that the time has gone by when Napoleon's health was drank as "a
friend of literature," because he had shot a bookseller; and I give you
unlimited permission to use my skull, in the Norse fashion, provided
that you wait until "in death I shall calm recline," when I shall have
no further occasion for it. In such case, the least you can do will be
to drink my memory, "in solemn silence"--the beverage being
whiskey-punch, as a delicate compliment to my country.

Seriously speaking (or writing), however, I take leave to dedicate this
volume to you, with the solemn assurance that my doing so must not be
taken as--a Bit of Blarney.

The book is Irish--to all intents and purposes, and is put forth with
the least possible pretence. It contains Legends--familiar to me in my
youth; Stories, which, more or less, are literally "founded upon facts;"
recollections of Eccentric Characters, whose peculiarities it would have
been difficult to exaggerate;--and Sketches of the two great Irish
leaders of the last and present century, Grattan, who won National
Independence for Ireland, and O'Connell, who obtained Emancipation for
the great majority of his countrymen. The Sketch of the great Agitator
has extended almost to a biography--but I knew the man well, and write
of him on that knowledge. In _this_ volume he is certainly entitled to a
niche, having been the greatest professor of "Blarney" these later days
have seen or heard.

                                                       Yours faithfully,
                                                    R. SHELTON MACKENZIE

  NEW YORK, _August 20, 1855_.



  BLARNEY CASTLE                                  9

  LEGEND OF THE LAKE                             16
  LEGEND OF CORRIG-NA-CAT                        21
  LEGEND OF THE ROCK CLOSE                       27

  CON O'KEEFE AND THE GOLDEN CUP                 35

  LEGENDS OF FINN MAC COUL                       48

  FINN AND THE FISH                              53
  THE BREAKS OF BALLYNASCORNEY                   61
  FINN MAC COUL'S FINGER-STONE                   64

Irish Stories.

  1. WHO THE PIPER WAS                           74
  2. WHAT THE PIPER DID                          85
  3. HOW THE PIPER GOT ON                        91
  5. HOW IT ALL ENDED                           121

  THE GERALDINE                                 145

  1. THE WAKE                                   151
  2. THE LEADER                                 165
  3. THE COURSE OF TRUE LOVE                    172
  4. CHURCHTOWN BARRACKS                        181
  5. THE ATTACK ON ROSSMORE                     191
  6. THE TRIAL                                  201

  A NIGHT WITH THE WHITEBOYS                    223

  BUCK ENGLISH                                  231

  Eccentric Characters.

  THE BARD O'KELLY                              251

  FATHER PROUT                                  271

  FATHER PROUT'S SERMON                         283

  IRISH DANCING MASTERS                         291

  CHARLEY CROFTS                                305

Irish Publicists.

  HENRY GRATTAN                                 323

  DANIEL O'CONNELL                              342



How many have heard of "Blarney," and how few know how and why this
appropriate term has originated! How could they, indeed, unless they had
made a pilgrimage to the Castle, as I did, in order to man[oe]uvre Tim
Cronin into a narration of its legends?--They may go to Blarney,
whenever they please, but the _genius loci_ has vanished. Tim Cronin has
been gathered to his fathers. By no lingering or vulgar disease did he
perish; he died----of a sudden.

Scarcely any part of Ireland has attained more celebrity than the
far-famed village of Blarney, in the county, and near the city of Cork.
At Blarney may be seen the mysterious talisman, which has the
extraordinary power of conferring remarkable gifts of persuasion on the
lips which, with due reverence and proper faith in its virtues, invoke
the hidden genii of The Stone, to yield them its inspiration. The
ceremony is brief:--only a kiss on the flinty rock, and the kisser is
instantly endowed with the happy faculty of flattering the fair sex _ad
libitum_, without their once suspecting that it can be flattery. On the
masculine gender it is not less effective. Altogether, it enables the
kisser, like History,

    "To lie like truth, and still most truly lie."

Immortal poesie has already celebrated the locality of Blarney. The
far-famed _chanson_, written by Richard Alfred Milliken,[1] and called
"The Groves of Blarney," has been heard or read by every one:--in these
later days the polyglot edition, by him who has assumed the name of
Father Prout, is well known to the public. There is an interpolated
verse, which may be adopted (as it sometimes is) into the original
_chanson_, on account of the earnestness with which it declares that

    "The stone this is, whoever kisses,
      He never misses to grow eloquent:
    'Tis he may clamber to a lady's chamber,
      Or become a member of Parliament."

Blarney Castle is surrounded by the Groves mentioned in the song. It
stands four miles to the northwest of "the beautiful city called Cork,"
and, of course, in the fox-hunting district of Muskerry. All that can
now be seen are the remains of an antique castellated pile, to the east
of which was rather incongruously attached, a century ago, a large
mansion of modern architecture.

     [1] In Lockhart's Life of Scott, this renowned Song is attributed
     to "the poetical Dean of Cork" (Dr. Burrowes, who wrote "The Night
     before Larry was stretched"), but really was written by Milliken, a
     poetical lawyer of whom Maguire says (O'Doherty Papers, vol. ii.,
     p. 181) that not even Christopher North himself--

     "Be he tipsy or sober, Was not more than his match, in wine,
     wisdom, or wit."

The Castle stands on the north side of a precipitous ridge of limestone
rock, rising from a deep valley, and its base is washed by a small and
beautifully clear river called the Aw-martin. A large, square, and
massive tower--a sort of Keep,--is all that remains of the original
fortress. The top of this building is surrounded with a parapet,
breast-high, and on the very summit is the famous Stone which is said to
possess the power, already mentioned, of conferring on every gentleman
who _kisses_ it the peculiar property of telling any thing, in the way
of praise (commonly called flattery), with unblushing cheek and
"forehead unabashed." As the fair sex have to receive, rather than
bestow compliments, the oscular homage to the Stone conveys no power to
_them_. From the virtues which it communicates to the masculine
pilgrims, we have the well-known term _blarney_ and _blarney-stone_.

The real Stone is in such a dangerous position, from its elevation, that
it is rarely kissed, except by very adventurous pilgrims of the Tom
Sheridan class, who will _do_ the thing, and not be content with saying
they have done it! The stone which officiates as its deputy, is one
which was loosened by a shot from the cannon of Oliver Cromwell's
troops, who were encamped on the hill behind the Castle. This stone is
secured in its place by iron stanchions, and it is this that the
visitors kiss, as aforesaid, and by mistake. The Song, it may be
remembered, speaks of the Cromwellian bombardment of the Castle:

    "'Tis Lady Jeffreys that owns this station,
      Like Alexander, or like Helen, fair.
    There's no commander throughout the nation
      In emulation can with her compare:
    Such walls surround her, that no nine-pounder
      Could ever plunder her place of strength,
    Till Oliver Cromwell he did her pummel,
      And made a breach in her battlement."

Between Blarney Castle and the hill whereon Cromwell's troops
_bivouacked_, is a sweet vale called the Rock Close. This is a charming
spot, whereon (or legends lie) the little elves of fairy-land once loved
to assemble in midnight revelry. At one end of this vale is a lake of
unfathomable depth, and Superstition delights to relate stories of its

When Sir Walter Scott was in Ireland, he visited Blarney, accompanied by
Anne Scott, Miss Edgeworth, and Mr. Lockhart. A few days after he was
there, it was my fortune to tread in his steps to the same classic

The barefooted and talkative guide who _would_ accompany me over the
Castle, thus described "the Ariosto of the North," and his
companions:--"A tall, bulky man, who halted a great deal, came here,
with his daughter and a very small lady, and a dash of a gentleman, with
a bright keen eye that looked here, and there, and everywhere in a
minute. They thrust themselves, ransacking, into every nook and cranny
that a rat would not go through, scarcely. When the lame gentleman came
to the top of the Castle, wasn't he delighted, and didn't he take all
the country down upon paper with a pencil, while one of us sang 'The
Groves of Blarney.' He made us sing it again, and gave me a crown-piece,
and said that he'd converse a poem on the Castle, himself, may-be!"

While I am thus gossiping, I am neglecting Tim Cronin, "the best
story-teller" (to use his own words) "within the whole length, and
breadth, and cubic mensuration of the Island."

After my visit to Blarney Castle, I met this worthy. I had struck from
the common path into that which led through the Rock Close. This valley
is divided into several fields, all of which are extremely fertile,
except that immediately washed by the waters of the lake. It was now far
in the summer; and, although the mowers had to cut down the rich grass
of the other fields, there was scarcely a blade upon this. It was as
smooth, green, and close-shaven as the trim turf before a cottage
_ornée_. While I was remarking this, I was startled by a sudden touch
upon the shoulder, and, turning round, I found myself _vis-à-vis_ with a
Herculean-built fellow, who doffed his hat, with a sort of rude
courtesy, made an attempt at a bow, and, before I could say a word,
struck into conversation.

"Wondering at this meadow being so bare, I warrant you, sir?"

I confessed that it had surprised me.

"Didn't know the why nor the wherefore of it, may-be? It's Tim
Cronin--and that's myself--that can tell you all about it, before you
have time to get fat."

I ventured to exhibit my ignorance, by asking who Tim Cronin might be?

"Faith, sir, you may know a great deal of Latin and Greek--and 'tis easy
to see that the College mark is upon you--but you know little of _real_
literature in old Ireland, if you don't know _me_. Not know Cronin, the
renowned Philomath, that bothered the Provost of old Trinity in
Algebra--from the Saxon _al_, noble, and the Arabic _Geber_, the
philosopher? Never once heard, perhaps, of the great Cronin that does
all the problems and answers, for the Lady's Diary, in mathematics--from
the Greek _mathema_, instruction? Nothing like getting at the roots of
words--the _unde derivatur?_"

Even at the hazard of appearing as an ignoramus in the eyes of Mr.
Cronin, I was fain to admit that I had not previously heard of his name
and erudition. I ventured to intimate, as a sort of half-apology, that I
was a stranger in that part of the country.

"Strange enough, I'll be bound," said he, with a shrug of the shoulders.
"Know, then, that I am that same Tim Cronin,--'our ingenious
correspondent,' as the Mathematical Journal calls me, when it refuses
one of my articles, 'from want of space,'--bad luck to 'em, as if they
could not push out something else to make room for me. Curious, sir, not
to have heard of me, that keeps one of the finest academies, under a
hedge, in the Province of Munster! Just sit down on the bank here, and
I'll soon enlighten you so, about that good-looking lake before your two
eyes, that I'll be bound you won't forget me in a hurry."

Complying with the request of this august personage, I had the
satisfaction of listening to his legend, thus:


Once upon a time, and there was no lake here, at all at all. In the
middle of the place where that lake is, there stood a large castle, and
in it dwelt an unbaptized giant--it was before blessed Saint Patrick
came into the country, Heaven rest his soul--and this giant had martial
rule over all the country, far and near.

In his time, the Aw-martin, nor any other river, did not flow near us.
Indeed, though there was plenty of wine in the Castle, there was a great
want of water. This was very inconvenient for the ladies--the fellow had
as many wives as a Turk--because they were always wanting to wash their
clothes, and their pretty faces, and their white hands, and their
well-shaped bodies; and, more than that, they could not make themselves
a raking cup of tea, by any means, for the want of good soft water. So,
one and all, they sent a petition to the giant, praying that he would
have the kindness to procure them a well of water. When he read it, he
made no more ado but whipped off through the air--just like a bird of
Paradise--to his old aunt, who was a fairy, and had foretold that, some
day or other, water would be the death of him. Perhaps that was the
reason that he always took his liquor neat.

Well, he told her what he had come about, and after a world of
entreaty--for she had a foreboding that something unfortunate would come
of it--the old fairy put a little bottle into his hands. "Take this,"
said she, "and drill a hole in the rock at the foot of the Castle
barbican, where the sun throws his latest ray before he sinks into the
west. Make a stone-cover for the top of it--one that will fit it
exactly. Then pour the water from this bottle into that hole in the
rock, and there will be a well of pure water, for the use of yourself
and your family. But, when no one is actually taking water out of this
well, be sure that the close-fitting stone-cover is always left upon it,
for it is the nature of the liquid to overflow, unless it be kept

He gave her a thousand thanks, and home he went. The first thing he did
was to drill a hole in the rock (and he did not find _that_ a very easy
job), then to fit it with an air-tight stone-cover, and, lastly, to pour
in the water out of the little bottle.

Sure enough, there immediately bubbled up an abundance of bright, clear,
and sparkling water. The giant then assembled all his family, and told
them how the stone-cover must always be kept over the well when they
were not using it. And then his wives agreed that, as they had been so
anxious to get this water, one of them, turn about, should sit by the
well, day and night, and see that no one left it uncovered. They were
content to submit to this trouble, rather than run the risk of losing
the water.

Things went on very well for some time. At last, as _must_ be the case
when a woman is to the fore, there came a tremendous blow-up. One of the
giant's ladies was a foreigner, and had been married, in her own
country, before she fell into his hands. Mild and pale she always was,
pretty creature! lamenting the land she had left and the lover she had
lost. It happened, one day as she sat by the well, that an old pilgrim
came to the gate, asked for a draught of water, in God's name, and held
out his pitcher for it. Her thoughts were far away, never fear, but she
had a tender heart, and she raised the cover from the well to fill his
vessel. While she was doing this, the pilgrim pulled off his gown and
his false beard, and who should he be but her own husband! She sprang
off her seat towards him, and then, faint with joy and pale as death,
she sank back into the oaken chair on which she had been sitting, as the
guardian of the well. A bird never flew through the air faster than _he_
flew towards _her_. He seated himself beside her in the chair, held her
lovingly in his arms, kissed her cheeks and lips twenty times over,
called her all manner of fond names, and sprinkled her with water until
the fresh color came again into her face, and the warm life into her

All this time the well was left uncovered, and the waters
rose--rose--rose, until they surrounded the Castle. Higher and higher
did they rise, until, at last, down fell the gates, and then the stream
rushed in, drowning every living soul within the place, and settling
down into the very lake that we sit by now.

The moral of the story is, that the lady and the pilgrim escaped--for
the oaken chair supported them and floated them until they safely put
their feet on dry land. All the rest perished, because they had
willingly consented to live in sin with the giant; but this one lady had
been kept there entirely against her will. The two thanked God for their
escape, and returned to their own country, where they lived long and
happily. It had been the giant's pride to put all his best jewels on
whoever kept watch over the well, in order that all who passed might
notice them and pay respect to his wealth. As this lady had them all
upon her when the Castle was swallowed up, she and her husband had money
enough, out of the sale of them, to keep them in a very genteel way of
life at home. Some people say that, at times, the walls of the drowned
Castle can be seen through the waters of the lake,--but I won't swear to
the fact, as I never noticed it myself.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such was Tim Cronin's account of the formation of the lake--a version
more pleasant than probable. I ventured to inquire how the meadow next
the waters came to be so bare, while all the others bore such luxuriant
grass and grain? Mr. Cronin asked me, whether I saw a gray rock on the
left, with three pines on its summit. I noticed them, as required.
"Then," said he, "look well at the place all around, and I shall tell
you another story or two about Blarney."

Thus admonished, I took a closer survey of the place. The rock rose with
a gentle swell in the distance, but its front was so precipitous as to
be nearly perpendicular; and it was thickly covered with ivy, tangled
like network, with which were mingled wild honeysuckle, dog-rose, and
other parasites. There was a sort of rugged entrance at its base, over
which the wild-brier and honeysuckle had formed a natural arch. Except
this, the rock had a commonplace aspect.


We call that rock by a strange name--from a strange circumstance, said
Cronin. Upon the top, some hundreds of years ago, there stood a castle,
belonging to the old Kings of Muskerry. Some cousin of theirs lived in
it with his family, and was as happy as the day is long. How it
happened, never could be ascertained; but happen it certainly did, that,
one night, castle and people and all suddenly disappeared. I misdoubt
that there were bad spirits at work. However, the general belief is,
that the rock opened and swallowed all up, and that the lord and lady
are kept there, spell-bound, as it were, in the shape of cats. From
this, the rock is called Corrig-na-cat, or the Cat Rock. 'Tis a mighty
pretty derivation.

Whether the castle were swallowed up in that manner, or not, strange
sights have been seen, by the light of the full moon, about that place.
There is a little green spot on the brow of the hill, where there is a
fairy-circle; on that spot sweet music has been heard by night, and the
good people (as well as the fairies) have been seen dancing on the green
turf, dressed in green and gold, with beautiful crowns upon their
heads, and white wands in their little hands. Ah, sir, you may smile,
but that's the belief in this part of the country, and he'd be looked
upon as no better than a heathen who'd venture to say a word against it.

My grandfather, although a trifle given to drink, was as honest a man as
ever broke bread. One summer night, while he lay in bed, between asleep
and awake, he heard a strange deep voice speak to him. It said, " The
words of fate! heed them. Go, at midnight, to Corrig-na-cat; take with
you a box of candles and a hundred fathoms of line; fasten one end of
the line to the tree that grows just outside the mouth of the cave, and,
tying the other end round your waist, boldly advance with a pair of
lighted candles in your hands: the use of the line is, that you may roll
it up as you come back, and not lose your way. Keep to the right-hand
side, and go on until you come to a large room with two cats in it. In
the room beyond that, there is as much gold as would buy a kingdom. You
may take with you a bag to carry away as much of it as you please; but,
on your peril, do not touch anything else; your life will not be worth a
brass sixpence, if you do."

You may be sure, sir, that this piece of information astonished my
grandfather. But he was a sensible man, and, doubting whether two heads
would be better than one in such a serious matter, nudged my grandmother
with his elbow, to know if she was awake. She slept--sound as a top; so
he let her sleep on. He was rather too knowing to let _her_ into the
secret. He thought over all that he had ever heard of Corrig-na-cat; he
called to mind how his mother had always said that our family were the
real descendants of the lord and lady of the castle. He began to fancy
that this was some great oracle that had come to visit him, in order
that _he_ might break the spell that kept the castle and its inhabitants
closed up in the rock. Indeed, he was very much perplexed, but
determined to wait a bit, and carefully keep his own counsel.

A warning from the world of spirits is worth nothing, if it is not
repeated. The next night, my grandfather again was cautioned to listen
to the words of fate. The third night the visitation was repeated. He
knew, then, that the thing was no feint; and on the fourth night, he
stole out of the house to go on the adventure.

It was as pitch dark as if light had never been invented. He took the
hundred fathoms of line, the box of candles, a sack to bring home a
supply of gold, and a good-sized flask of strong whiskey. When he
reached the rock, his heart began to fail him. The night was so still
that he could hear the beating of his heart--thump, thump, thump,
against his breast. He could hear the bats flying about, and he could
see the owls looking on him with their great, round, brown eyes.
Swallowing most of the contents of the flask at one pull, he found his
spirits wonderfully restored, and he pushed forward to the mouth of the
cave. He fastened one end of the line to the tree; he said an _Ave_ or
two--for we are all of us a pious family--he drained the flask, and then
he dashed forward.

The way was as straight as an arrow for about thirty yards, but, after
that, it took as many turnings and twistings as a problem of Euclid in
the sixth book, and branched out into many directions. My grandfather
followed on the right-hand side, as he had been told, and soon found
himself at the gateway of an old hall. He pushed open the door, and saw
that there were doors upon doors, leading off to many a place. He still
kept to the right, and in a few minutes found himself in a
state-chamber. Pillars of white marble supported the roof, and, at the
farthest end, the hall opened into an apartment, through which there
beamed a soft and beautiful light, as if it came from a thousand shaded

Here was the end of his journey. A carved mantel-piece of white marble
was over the fireplace, and there lay two beautiful white cats, on
crimson-velvet cushions, before the fire. Diamonds and rubies, emeralds
and amethysts, pearls and topazes, were piled on the ground in heaps,
and ceiling and walls were covered all over with them, so that rays of
light gleamed down upon him, wherever he looked.

There was no living thing in the room with my grandfather but the cats.
The creatures had golden collars, embossed with diamonds, round their
necks; and to these were fastened long gold chains, which just gave them
liberty to move round the room, being fastened to the walls, one at each
side, by golden staples. He noticed that the animals steadily kept their
eyes upon him, and appeared to watch every motion of his.

My grandfather passed on into the inner room. The gold lay on the floor
like wheat in a miller's store. He filled his sack with the coin to the
brim, until, though he was said to be the strongest man in the whole
barony, he had some difficulty in lifting it. As he passed through the
room in which the cats were, he paused for a moment, to have a parting
glance at all the treasures he was leaving. There was one golden star,
studded with diamonds as big as walnuts, and blazing like a lamp,
hanging down before him from the ceiling. It was too tempting. He forgot
the advice not to touch anything but the gold in the inner room, and
reached out his hand to seize the sparkling prize. One of the cats, who
had eagerly watched his motions, sprang forward as he touched the jewel,
and quick as a lightning-stroke, hit out his right eye with a sharp dash
of his paw. At the same moment, an invisible hand whipped off the sack
of gold from his shoulders, as if it were only a bag of feathers. Out
went all the lights. My grandfather groped his way out as well as he
could, by the help of the guiding-line fastened to his wrist, and cursed
his greediness, that would not be content with enough. He got home by
daybreak, with only one eye in his head, and that, without meaning to
joke on his misfortune, was the _left_ one.

Next day he sent for the priest, and told him what had happened. My
grandmother said that all the misfortune was owing to _her_ not being in
the secret. The priest said nothing. Before long, all the country heard
of the story, and half the country believed it. To be sure, as my
grandfather was rather addicted to liquor (and there was a private
still, in those days, in almost every corner), it was a chance that he
might have dreamt all this:--but then, there was his right eye absent.
There were some malicious people, indeed, who hinted that he fell over
the cliff, in a drunken fit, and that his eye was scratched out in that
manner. But it would ill beseem me to make a story-teller of my
dead-and-gone grandfather, and so I maintain the truth of his own
statement. If it is not true, it deserves to be.

In this conclusion I fully agreed, and the Philomath, proud of the
display of his legendary lore, and happy on having fallen in with a
patient and willing auditor, next proceeded to acquaint me with the
accredited legend of the meadow next the lake. As before, I shall
endeavor, in repeating it, to adhere to the very words of my informant.


About a thousand years ago, or so--but, of course, _after_ this lake was
formed, to fulfil the old fairy's prophecy, that the giant would come to
his death by water--there was a man who owned all the fields in the Rock
Close. He was a farmer--a plain, honest man. Not long after he had
purchased the place, he noticed that, though this very field we are now
sitting in had the same cultivation as the others, it never gave him any
return. He had no idea of having a meadow look like a lawn in front of a
gentleman's country-house, and lost no time in speaking about it to his
herdsman, a knowledgeable man, who said it might be worth while to watch
the place, for, although he often saw the blades of grass a foot high at
night, all was as closely shaved as a bowling-green in the morning. His
master, who was one of the old stock of the Mac Carthies, thought there
was reason in what he said, and desired him to be on the watch, and try
to find out the real facts of the matter.

The herdsman did his bidding. The next morning he told Mac Carthy that
he had hid himself behind an old gateway (you may see the ruins of it
there to the left),--that, about midnight, he had seen the waters of the
lake very much disturbed,--that six cows came up out of the lake, and
set to, eating all the grass off the field, until, by daybreak, they had
made it as smooth as the palm of my hand,--and that, when the day
dawned, the cows walked back into the lake, and went down to the bottom,
as much at their ease as if they were on dry land.

This was strange news for Mac Carthy, and set him quite at his wits'
ends. The herdsman was a little man, with the heart of a lion, and he
offered to watch again on that evening, to seize one of the cows, and
either put it into the pound, or go down into the lake with it, and make
a regular complaint of the trespass. Aye, and he did it, too. At dusk he
went again, hid himself, as before, and waited to see what would happen.

The six cows came up out of the lake, as before, and nibbled off the
grass, until the field was quite smooth. They could not get into any
other field, because they were surrounded by high, quickset hedges, and
I have noticed that cows are not very fond of taking flying-leaps.

Just at dawn, as the last cow was passing by him, on her return to the
lake, the herdsman made a dart at her tail, and took a fast hold of it.
The cow walked on, as if nothing had happened, turned her head, winked
one of her large eyes at him in a knowing manner, and the herdsman
followed, still holding the tail.

Down dashed the beast into the waters--but the herdsman still kept his
grasp. Down they went--deep, deep, to the very bottom of the lake. Sure
enough, there was the giant's castle, that had been drowned centuries
before. A little boy was in the court-yard, playing with a golden ball.
All round the yard were piles of armor--spears and helmets, swords and
shields,--all ornamented with gold. Into the court-yard dashed the cows,
and with them went the bold herdsman.

Out came a lady, richly dressed up in velvets and jewels, and her eyes
as bright as the sunbeams that dance on the wall on the morning of
Easter Sunday.[2] She carried a golden milk-pail in her hand. Loud and
shrill was her cry when she saw the herdsman.

     [2] There is a popular belief in Ireland that the sunbeams dance on
     the wall on Easter Sunday morning. In my youth I have often got up
     at early dawn to witness the phenomenon.

I should have told you that, as they were going down, the cow whispered
to him, "I want to speak a word with you, in confidence."--"Honor
bright," said the herdsman.--"I think," said the cow, "that I'd like to
graze on that meadow of your master's, by day as well as by night, for
the grass is mighty sweet, and I don't think it agrees with my digestion
to be driven up and down the lake as I am. If I will you go bail that
the master will never put me into any other field but that?"--The
herdsman answered, "I'll promise you, by the holy poker, and that is as
good as if I was to swear by the blessed mud."--"Then my mind is at
ease," says the cow. "For the life of you, don't let go my tail,
whatever you may hear and see."

When the young lady shrieked with surprise at seeing a herdsman in that
place, out rushed a whole regiment of soldiers, with their cheeks as red
as the kitchen-fire five minutes before the dinner is done, and the
looks of them as fierce as if they were in the heat of battle--a little
fiercer, may-be.--"Oh, that villain!" says the lady, pointing to the
herdsman.--"Come here, and be killed," shouted the dragoons. But the
herdsman knew better. "Send your master to me," says he, as bold as
brass. "I always like to do business with principals."

They wondered, as well they might, at the fellow's impudence, but they
thought it best to call out their master. He came, with a golden crown
upon his head, and a purple velvet cloak on his shoulders, and a
beautiful pair of Hessian boots on his feet.--"I demand justice," said
the herdsman, "for the trespass that your cows have been committing on
Mac Carthy's field; and I seize this cow until the damage be ascertained
and made good."

He was firm as a rock, and neither coaxing nor threatening could make
him yield as much as a pin's point. He stood upon his right, and they
could not get him off it. The cow had been seized in the very act of
trespass, and all they dared do was to tempt the herdsman to surrender
her. He knew better. At last the master of them said, "We must
compromise this little matter. Leave the cow here, make out your bill
for damage, and if I don't pay it to you either in sterling money, or
notes of Delacour's bank at Mallow, or Joe Pike's in Cork, you can have
your remedy at law, and summon me, on a process, before the Assistant
Barrister and the bench of Magistrates at the next Quarter
Sessions."--But the herdsman knew better than that, and said he'd prefer
leaving matters as they were. "A cow in the hand"--says he. Then the
master of them said, "Take that golden ball that the child has, and
leave us the cow."--"Hand it over to me," says the herdsman.--"Come for
it," said they, in the hope that he'd leave the cow.--"I've a touch of
the rheumatism in my knee," says he, "and 'tis ill-convenient to move
the limb."--With that, they handed him the ball, and, as soon as he saw
that it really was gold, he put it into his breeches pocket, and said it
was not half enough.

Then they began to whisper among themselves, and he could hear them
proposing to get out a bloodhound--one of the breed that the Spaniards
had to hunt down the Indians in America--and he thought it full time to
make himself scarce. So, he whispered to the cow:--"My little cow,"
said he, "I'd like to go home." The cow took the hint, like a sensible
animal as she was, and stole backward through half the lake before they
missed her. "If we get safely back on dry land," says she, "neither you
nor any one else must swear in my presence, for the spell is upon me,
and then I shall be obliged to return to the lake."

Just then the hound was slipped, and he cut through the water like a
dolphin. But the cow had the start of him, by a good bit. Just as she
set her foot on land, the dog caught hold of the herdsman, and his bite
tore away part of the skirt of his coat. Indeed, it was noticed for some
days that the herdsman declined sitting down, just as if he had been
newly made a Freemason, so I won't say that the dog did not bite more
than the garment.

Mac Carthy had been cooling his heels on the bank of the lake all the
while that the herdsman was away, and glad enough he was to see him come
back, in company with the little cow. The herdsman told him all that
happened, and handed him the golden ball, which, people say, is in the
Jeffreys' family to this day. The hound runs round the lake, from
midnight to sunrise, on every first of July, and is to run, on that day,
until his silver shoes are worn out,--whenever that happens, Ireland is
to be a great nation, but not until then.

The field was not visited any more by the cattle from the lake, for
their master, below there, thought that though gratis grazing was
pleasant enough, it was not quite so pleasant to have the cows impounded
for trespass. From that time, never another field in all Munster gave
such produce; sow it, or sow it not, there was always a barn-full of
grain out of it. About half an acre of it was kept under grass, and on
that the cow from the lake had constant feeding.

In due season, the cow had young ones--the same breed that we now call
Kerry cows--those cattle, small in size, but good in substance, that
feed upon very little, yield a great deal of milk, and always fetch the
best of prices.

Mac Carthy was in a fair way of making a little fortune out of that cow
of his, she gave such a power of milk, but that, one day as a nag of his
was leaping over a hedge into the pasturage where the cow was, Mac
Carthy burst out with a rattling oath. The moment the words left his
lips, the cow cocked her ears, winked her eye knowingly at him, gave her
tail a toss in the air, and made one spring down into the lake. The
waters closed over her, and that was the last that mortal eye ever saw
of her.

From that time forth the field was again visited by the cattle from the
lake, and that's the reason why it is as smooth as you see it now. It is
supposed that so it will continue until somebody has the bold heart to
go down again and make another seizure for trespass.

Mr. Jeffreys, hearing a great deal of the treasures which are said to be
at the bottom of the lake, laid out a power of money in trying to drain
it. But it filled faster than the men could empty it. They might as well
think of emptying the Atlantic with a slop-basin.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having thanked Mr. Tim Cronin, Philomath, for his legends, I took the
liberty of asking if he believed them? "Well," said he, "that same
question is a poser. If I am pressed on the point, I must admit that I
do not believe them _entirely_; but, when I meet curious gentlemen, I am
proud to tell them these stories--particularly when they invite me to
spend the afternoon with them at the little inn at the foot of the hill
beyond there."

The hint was taken--as far as enabling him, as he said, to partake of
his own hospitality, for my own time was limited, as I had to return to
dine in Cork. Thus, I was unable to judge whether Mr. Cronin was as
conversable after feeding-time as before it. He died some two years ago,
I have been told, and it will be difficult to meet with a Cicerone so
well qualified to describe and illustrate Blarney Castle and its


In Ireland, as in Scotland, among the lower orders, there is a prevalent
belief in the existence and supernatural powers of the gentry commonly
called "fairies." Many and strange are the stories told of this
mysterious and much dreaded race of beings. Loud and frequent have been
the exclamations of surprise, and even of anger, at the hard incredulity
which made me refuse, when I was young, to credit _all_ that was
narrated of the wonderful feats of Irish fairies--the most frolicksome
of the entire genus. The more my disbelief was manifested, the more
wonderful were the legends which were launched at me, to overthrow my
unlucky and matter-of-fact obstinacy.

I have forgotten many of the traditions which were thus made familiar to
me in my boyhood, but my memory retains sufficient to convince me to
what improbabilities Superstition clung--and the more wonderful the
story, the more implicit the belief. But in such cases the fanaticism
was harmless,--it was of the head rather than of the heart--of the
imagination rather than the reason. It would be fortunate if all
superstitions did as little mischief as _this_.

It is deeply to be lamented that the matter-of-factedness of the
Americans is not subdued or modified by any--even the slightest--belief
in the old-world superstitions of which I speak. Of fairy-lore they
cannot, and they do not, possess the slightest item. They read of it, as
if it were legendary, but nothing more. They feel it not--they know
it--they are, therefore, dreadfully actual. So much the worse for them!

Having imbibed a sovereign contempt for the wild and wonderful
traditions which had been duly accredited in the neighborhood, time out
of mind, I never was particularly chary in expressing such contempt at
every opportunity. When the mind of a boy soars above the ignorance
which besets his elders in an inferior station, who have had neither the
chance nor the desire of being enlightened, he is apt to pride himself,
as I did, on the "march of intellect" which has placed him superior to
their vulgar credulity.

Many years have passed since I happened to be a temporary visitor
beneath the hospitable roof of one of the better sort of farmers, in the
county of Cork, during the Midsummer holidays. As usual, I there
indulged in sarcasm against the credulity of the country. One evening,
in particular, I was not a little tenacious in laughing at the very
existence of "the fairy folk;" and, as sometimes happens, ridicule
accomplished more than argument could have effected. My hosts could
bear anything in the way of argument--at least of argument such as
mine--they could even suffer their favorite legends and theories about
the fairies to be abused; but to _laugh_ at them--that was an act of
unkindness which quite passed their comprehension, and grievously taxed
their patience.

My host was quite in despair, and almost in anger at my boyish jokes
upon his fairy-legends, when the village schoolmaster came in, an
uninvited but most welcome guest. A chair was soon provided for him in
the warmest corner--whiskey was immediately on the table, and the
schoolmaster, who was a pretty constant votary to Bacchus, lost no time
in making himself acquainted with its flavor.

I had often seen him before. He combined in his character a mixture of
shrewdness and simplicity; was a most excellent mathematician and a good
classical scholar--but of the world he knew next to nothing. From youth
to age had been spent within the limits of the parish over which, cane
in hand, he had presided for more than a quarter of a century,--at once
a teacher and an oracle! He was deeply imbued with a belief in the
superstitions of the district, but was more especially familiar with the
wild legends of that rocky glen (the defile near Kilworth, commonly
called Araglin, once famous for the extent of illicit distillation
carried on there), in which he had passed away his life, usefully, but
humbly employed.

To this eccentric character my host triumphantly appealed for proof
respecting the existence and vagaries of the fairies. He wasted no time
in argument, but, glancing triumphantly around, declared that he would
convert me by a particularly well-attested story. Draining his tumbler,
and incontinently mixing another, Mr. Patrick McCann plunged at once
into the heart of his narration, as follows:

"You know the high hill that overlooks the town of Fermoy? Handsome and
thriving place as it now is, I remember the time when there were only
two houses in that same town, and _one_ of them was then only in course
of building! Well, there lived on the other side of Corran Thierna (the
mountain in question, though _Corrig_ is the true name) one of the
Barrys, a gentleman who was both rich and good. I wish we had more of
the stamp among us now--'tis little of the Whiteboys or Ribbonmen would
trouble the country then. He had a fine fortune, kept up a fine house,
and lived at a dashing rate. It does not matter, here nor there, how
many servants he had; but I mention them, because one of them was a very
remarkable fellow. His equal was not to be had, far or near, for love
nor money.

"This servant was called Con O'Keefe. He was a crabbed little man, with
a face the very color and texture of old parchment, and he had lived in
the family time out of mind. He was such a small, dwarfish, deeny
creature, that no one ever thought of putting him to hard work. All
that they did was, now and again, from the want of a better messenger at
the moment, or to humor the old man, to send him to Rathcormac
post-office for letters. But he was too weak and feeble to walk so
far--though it was only a matter of three or four miles; so they got him
a little ass, and he rode upon it, quite as proud as a general at the
head of an army of conquerors. 'Twas as good as a play to see Con
mounted upon his donkey--you could scarcely make out which had the most
stupid look. But neither man nor beast can help his looks.

"At that time Rathcormac, though 'tis but a village now, was a borough,
and sent two members to the Irish Parliament. Was not the great Curran,
the orator and patriot, member for Rathcormac, when he was a young man?
Did not Colonel Tonson get made an Irish peer, out of this very borough,
which his son William is, to this very day, by the title of Baron
Riversdale of Rathcormac? Does not his shield bear an open hand between
two castles, and is not the motto, 'Manus hæc inimica tyrannis'--which
means that it was the enemy of tyrants? Did not the Ulster King of Arms
make the Tonsons a grant of these arms, in the time of Cromwell? But
here I have left poor little Con mounted on his donkey all this time.

"Con O'Keefe was not worth his keep, for any good he did; but, truth to
say, he had the name of being hand and glove with the fairies; and, at
that time, Corran Thierna swarmed with them. They changed their quarters
when the regiments from Fermoy barracks took to firing against targets
stuck up at the foot of the mountain. Not that a ball could ever hit a
fairy (except a silver one cast by a girl in her teens, who has never
wished for a lover, or a widow under forty who has not sighed for a
second husband--so there's little chance that it ever will be cast), but
they hate the noise of the firing and the smell of gunpowder, quite as
much as the Devil hates holy water.

"'Tis reckoned lucky in these parts to have a friend of the fairies in
the house with you, and that was partly the reason why Con O'Keefe was
kept at Barry's-fort. Many and many a one could swear to hearing him and
'the good folk' talk together at twilight on his return from Rathcormac
with the letter-bag. My own notion is, that if he _had_ anything to say
to them, he had more sense than to hold conversation with them on the
high road, for that might have led to a general discovery. Con was fond
of a drop, and, when he took it (which was in an algebraic way, that is,
'any _given_ quantity'), he had such famous spirits, and his tongue went
so glibly, that, in the absence of other company, he was sometimes
forced to talk to himself, as he trotted home.

"One night, as he was going along, rather the worse for liquor, he
thought he heard a confused sound of voices in the air, directly over
his head. He stopped, and, sure enough, it was the fairies, who were
chattering away, like a bevy of magpies; but he did not know this at the

"At first he thought it might be some of the neighbors wanting to play
him a trick. So, to show that he was not afraid (for the drink had made
him bold as a lion), when the voices above and around him kept calling
out 'High up! high up!' he put in his spoke, and shouted, as loud as any
of them, 'High up! high up with ye, my lads!' No sooner said than done.
He was whisked off his donkey in a twinkling, and was 'high up' in the
air, in the very middle of a crowd of 'good people'--for it happened to
be one of their festival nights, and the cry that poor little Con heard
was the summons for gathering them all together. There they were, mighty
small, moving about as quickly as motes in the sunshine. Although Con
had the reputation at Barry's-fort of being well acquainted with them
all, you may well believe that there was not a single face among the lot
that he knew.

"In less than no time, off they went, when their leader--a little morsel
of a fellow, not bigger than Hop-o'-my Thumb--bawled out, 'High for
France! high for France! high over!' Off they went, through the
air--quick as if they were on a steeplechase. Moss and moor--mountain
and valley--green field and brown bog--land and water were all left
behind, and they never once halted until they reached the coast of

"They immediately made for the house (there it is called the _château_)
of a great lord--one of the Seigneurs of the Court--and bolted through
the key-hole into his wine-cellar, without leave or license. How little
Con was squeezed through, I never could understand, but it is as sure as
fate that he went into the cellar along with them. They soon got astride
the casks, and commenced drinking the best wines, without waiting to be
invited. Con, you may be sure, was not behind any of them, as far as the
drinking went. The more he drank, the better relish he had for their
tipple. The 'good people,' somehow or other, did not appear at all
surprised at Con's being among them, but they _did_ wonder at his great
thirst, and pressed him to take enough--and Con was not the man who'd
wait to be asked twice. So they drank on till night slipped away, when
the sun--like a proper gentleman as he is--sent in one of his earliest
beams, as a sort of gentle hint that it was full time for them to
return. They had a parting-glass, and, in half an hour or so, had
crossed the wide sea, and dropped little Con ('pretty well, I thank
you,' by this time) on the precise spot he had left on the evening
before. He had been drinking out of a beautiful golden cup in the
cellar, and, by some mistake or other, it had slipped up the sleeve of
the large loose coat he wore, and so he brought it home with him. Not
that Con was not honest enough, but surely a man may be excused for
taking 'a cup too much' in a wine-cellar.

"Con was soon awakened by the warm sunbeams playing upon his face. At
first, he thought he had been dreaming, and he might have thought so to
his dying day, but that, when he got on his feet, the golden cup rolled
on the road before him, and was proof positive that all was a reality.

"He said his prayers directly, between him and harm. Then he put up the
cup and walked home, where, as his little donkey had returned on the
previous night without him, the family had given him up as lost or
drowned. Indeed, some of them had sagaciously suggested the probability
of his having gone off for good with the fairies.

"Now, does not my story convince you that there _must_ be such things as
fairies? It is not more than twenty years since I heard Con O'Keefe tell
the whole story from beginning to end; and he'd say or swear with any
man that the whole of it was as true as gospel. And, as sure as my name
is Patrick McCann, I _do_ believe that Con was in strange company that

I ventured to say to Mr. McCann that, being yet incredulous, I must have
better evidence than little Con's own declaration.

"To be sure you shall," said he. "Was not the golden cup taken up to
Barry's-fort, and to be seen--as seen it was--by the whole country?"

I answered that, "Certainly, if the cup is to be seen there, the case is
materially altered."

"I did not say that the cup _is_ at Barry's-fort," said McCann, "only
that it _was_. The end of the story, indeed, is nearly as strange as the
beginning.--When Con O'Keefe came back from his wonderful excursion, no
one believed a word of what he said; for though it was whispered that he
was great with the fairies, yet, when the matter came tangibly before
them, they did not credit it. But Con soon settled their doubts; he
brought forward the cup, and there was no gainsaying _that_ evidence.

"Mr. Barry took the cup into his own keeping, and, the name and
residence of the French lord being engraved upon it, determined (as in
honor bound) to send it home again. So he went off to Cove, without any
delay, taking Con with him; and, as there luckily was a vessel going off
to France that very day, he sent off little Con with the cup and his
very best compliments.

Now, the cup was a great favorite with the French lord (being a piece of
family plate, given to one of his ancestors by one of the old kings of
France, whose life he had saved in battle), and nothing could equal the
hubbub and confusion that arose when it was missing. His lordship called
for some wine at dinner, and great was his anger when the lackey handed
it to him in a glass, declaring that they could not find the golden
goblet. He threw glass, and wine, and all, at the servant's head--flew
into a terrible passion--and swore, by all that was good and bad, that
he would not take anything stronger than water until the cup was on the
table again; and that, if it was not forthcoming in a week, he'd turn
off every servant he had, without paying them their wages, or giving
them a character.

"The cup was well searched for, but all to no purpose, as you may
suppose. At last, the week came to an end--all the servants had their
clothes packed up, to be off in the morning. His lordship was getting
dreadfully tired of drinking cold water, and the whole house was, as one
may say, turned topsy-turvy, when, to the delight and admiration of all,
in came Con O'Keefe, from Ireland, with a letter from Mr. Barry and the
cup in his fist.

"I rather think they welcomed him. His lordship made it a point to get
'glorious' that night, and, as in duty bound, the entire household
followed his example, with all the pleasure in life. You may be certain
that Con played away finely at the wine--you know the fairies had made
him free of the cellar--so he knew the taste of the liquor, and relished
it too. There can be no doubt that there was a regular jollification in
the château that night.

"Con remained in France for a month, and was perfectly in clover, for,
from the lord to the lackey, every one liked him. When he returned, he
had a heavy purse of gold for himself, and many fine presents for his
master. Indeed, while the French lord lived, which was for fifteen good
years longer, a couple of hogsheads of excellent claret were annually
received at Barry's-fort, as a present from him, and there was no wine
in the country to equal it. As for Con O'Keefe, he never had the luck to
meet the fairies again, a misfortune he very sincerely lamented. And
that's the whole story."

I asked Mr. McCann, whether he really believed _all_ of it? That worthy
replied in these words:--

"Why, in truth, I must say, some parts of it require rather an elastic
mind to take in; but there's no doubt that Con _was_ sent over to
France, where, it is said, there was a great to-do about a golden cup. I
am positive that Mr. Barry used to receive a present of claret, every
year, from a French lord, for I've drank some of the best claret in
Ireland from Mr. Barry's cellar. If the tale _be_ true--and I have told
it as I have heard Con O'Keefe tell it, especially when overcome by
liquor, at which time, the truth is sure to come out--it is proof
positive, that there have been fairies in this neighborhood, and that
within the memory of man!"

Such a logical conclusion was incontrovertible, especially when enforced
by a facetious wink from the schoolmaster; so, I even left matters as
they were, and listened with all proper attention to other stories in
the same vein, and to the same effect. If the narrator did not credit
them, most of his auditors did, which amounts to much the same in the
end. Some other time, perhaps, I may be tempted to relate them.


There is a similarity, all over the world, between the popular legends
and traditions of different nations. They are reproduced, with slight
differences of circumstance and costume, to suit each new locality. For
example, the Maiden Tower at Constantinople, actually built by the
Emperor Manuel, centuries ago, for the purpose of a double
communication--with Scutari, on the Asian side, and with the point of
coast occupied by the Serai Bournou on the Asian. Whenever the hostile
visit of a Venetian fleet was anticipated, a strong iron chain used to
be drawn on both sides, across the entire breadth of the strait.
Respecting this are several legends, all of which have their prototypes
in the West.

The generally received account has appropriated it as the place in
which, for safety, a damsel was held in close retirement until the fatal
time named in a prediction should have passed away; but a serpent,
accidentally brought up in a basket of fruit, caused the maiden's death.
Here is a striking illustration of the similarity between the legends of
the East and those of the West. In the Third Calendar's Story, in the
Arabian Nights' Entertainments (which have charmed all of us in youth,
and rarely fail to delight us when we return to them in maturer years),
the whole interest turns on an incident of the same character. Both
stories appear deeply imbued with that fatality which forms the
distinguishing feature in Eastern belief and practice. Near Bristol,
also, are the remains of a tower, called Cook's Folly, erected to be the
dwelling-place of a youth of whom it had been predicted that (like the
heroine of the Turkish legend) his life would be in peril from a serpent
until the completion of his eighteenth year. The dangerous time had
nearly expired, when the youth died from the venomous bite of an adder,
which had been accidentally conveyed to his isolated abode in a bundle
of fagots.

In the south of Ireland, on the summit of a mountain called Corrig
Thierna (the Chieftain's Rock), is a heap of stones which, if there be
truth in tradition, was brought there to build a castle in which was to
dwell a son of Roche, Prince of Fermoy, of whom it had been predicted
that he would be drowned before his twentieth year. The child, when only
five years old, fell into a pool of water which had been collected, on
the top of the mountain, to make mortar for the erection of the tower,
in which it was intended he should be kept "out of harm's way," until
the perilous period had elapsed. The child was drowned. In each case,
the prophecy appears to have brought about its own fulfilment. There is
a moral in these old traditions, did we but know how to seize and apply

Washington Irving has localized several legends as American, but his Rip
Van Winkle has been traced to a German origin, and many of his other
legends appear to be old friends in a new attire. Who can say whence any
traditional stories are derived? Some years ago, a supplement to the
Thousand-and-One Nights, containing an Arabian tale called the Sage
Heycar, was published at Paris, and the translator noted the curious
fact that this Oriental story contained many incidents exactly similar
to passages in the life of Æsop: such as sixteen pages of details of a
visit made by Heycar to the court of Pharaoh, which are the same, word
for word, with the account of the like visit made by Æsop. So, too, the
challenge which Pharaoh sent to the King of Abyssinia, demanding him to
build a palace in the air, and the ingenious means to which Æsop had
recourse, are transferred to Heycar. Even the fables of Æsop, the
Phrygian, have been claimed for Lokman, the Arabian philosopher, and now
the very incidents of his life are taken from him by Heycar.

The Coventry legend of Lady Godiva is claimed by the Arabians. In Von
Hammer's new Arabian Nights is the story called Camaralzeman and the
Jeweller's Wife, founded on an incident precisely similar to that in
which the English heroine appears.

The truth is, it is impossible to ascertain what coincident mythology
connects the East and the West. We know not what relation Thor of
Scandinavia may have with Vishnu of Hindostan. The oldest English and
Irish stories appear to have corresponding legends among the Celts,
Danes, Scandinavians, and Normans, and, again, these have wandered
either to or from the East. Even such thoroughly English stories as Tom
Thumb, Jack the Giant Killer, and Whittington and his Cat, are claimed
as aboriginal in foreign countries. The Wise Men of Gotham, one of the
oldest English provincial legends, is given, nearly verbatim, in one of
the German popular stories, collected by the Brothers Grimm, and its
incidents may be found in the Pentamerone (in the story of Bardiello),
but has been translated from the Tamul tongue, which is a dialect of
Southern India, as the "Adventures of Gooroo Noodle and his Five

The Germans are very fond of legendary lore. Like the Irish, they have
their cellar-haunters, who invariably tap the best wine, and make
themselves merry with whatever the cellar and larder can supply. Like
the Irish, too, they have traditions of gigantic dwellers in the land,
in days gone by, and they re-people the Hartz with men of enormous
stature and strength, capable of daring and doing any thing, yet who
differ from the Genii, in the Arabian Tales, who are spoken of as
possessing supernatural powers, while the giants of Western tradition,
having nothing remarkable, except their size and strength, and so far
from being endowed with more than human powers, may be noticed, on the
contrary, as being slow-witted and rather dull of comprehension,--for,
like most very tall people of the present day, their upper story is
unfurnished. Such were Finn Mac Coul, and his great rival, Ossian,
neither of whom can be named as remarkably bright "boys." There are a
few instances of this which may be worth recording. For example:--


In the good old times, "when Malachi wore the collar of gold, which he
won from the proud invader," no Irish hero was more celebrated than Finn
Mac Coul. What cabin is there, from the Giant's Causeway to Cape Clear,
which is not full of his glory?

Finn Mac Coul was famous for his strength of mind and body, for his
wisdom and his might. The Saxons fled before him when he unfurled
Ireland's ancient banner--which bore the poetical name of The
Sunburst--and thousands arrayed themselves around it; mountain and vale,
plain and tarn, hall and bower, were full of the glory of his graceful
deeds of gentle courtesy. His mighty mind was suitably lodged, for he
was tall as one of the sons of Anak, and might have passed for own
brother to him of Gath.

Before relating any of his wonderful bodily achievements, it may be as
well to mention the mysterious manner in which his wisdom, like a
tangible revelation, fell upon him.

In the ancient days of Ireland's glory, the province of Munster was a
Kingdom, and was called Momonia. One of the Mac Carthy family had
sovereign sway. He was a good-natured, soft-hearted, fat-headed sort of
neutral character--one of that class, still too common in Ireland, known
by the apologetic _sobriquet_ of "nobody's enemy but his own." He kept
open house for all comers, and the effect of his undiscriminating
hospitality was, that, a monarch in name, he was next to a pauper in
reality, living, as the saying is, quite "from hand to mouth." This he
could have borne, for, like the eels, he was used to it, but the empty
state of his exchequer rendered him unable to pay for the military
services of his subjects, and the result was, that his dominions
gradually fell into a state of partition among his brother monarchs of
greater power, richer treasury, and smaller hospitality.

It happened that one of these, named Mac Murragh--an ancestor of him
whose daughter's frailty led to the subjugation of Ireland by Henry
II.--ruled over Leinster, while poor Mac Carthy was enjoying nominal
empire over the rich plains of Munster. Mac Murragh was ambitious. He
saw what an easy prey Momonia might be. He wished to feed his herds upon
that beautiful tract of land intersected by the river Suir, which even
yet is called "The Golden Vale," and he declared war to the knife
against King Mac Carthy.

It happened that Mac Carthy was fully aware of the value of the golden
vale--indeed, it was the very pride of his heart. He determined to
resist his foe, as best he could. But before taking up arms, on the
defensive, he resolved to have recourse to other than mortal aid.

It was some time before the avatar of Saint Patrick--that redoubted
patriarch whose mission it was to teach the benighted Irish the benefits
of religion and the blessings of whiskey. Therefore, under King Mac
Carthy, Druidism was the "established church." One of the most ancient
Arch-Druids in Munster resided in a cave near Mitchelstown, dug by his
own hands in one of the Galtee Mountains, and to him, in this emergency,
King Mac Carthy betook himself for advice and aid.

The Arch-Druid was noted, far and near, as an interpreter of dreams, a
diviner of auguries, an unraveller of mysteries, and a reader of
prophecies. Common rumor declared that he was master of
enchantments,--that the thunder rolled and the lightning flashed at his
command,--that he had communion with spirits from another world, and
could compel them to obey his bidding.

After the performance of many rites and ceremonies, some penance and
much prayer, the Arch-Druid asked the King of Munster whether he knew
that part of the West which we now call Mayo? Mac Carthy replied that he
ought to know it, for he had been brought up there. "Then," said the
Arch-Druid, "thither we must go. For in one of the rivers which run
through that district, by the foot of a lofty mountain, there is a
salmon, which, if caught, cooked, and eaten, will bestow long life and
health, wisdom and valor, success in arms and love, upon him who eats

The King thanked the Arch-Druid for his information, and gave him a
liberal largess, when he added that in the book of the future it was
written that this wonderful fish was predestined to be caught by his own
royal hands. This put him into excellent spirits, and he proposed to the
Arch-Druid that they should "make a night of it," which they did, upon
mead or metheglin--for, in those days, whiskey had not been invented.

The next day they set off on their fishing-tour. The way was long, the
roads bad, and travelling rather dangerous. But, seating themselves on
the Arch-Druid's cloak, its wizard-owner muttering a few cabalistic
words, forthwith they were wafted, men and cloak, through the air, on
the swift wings of the wind, to the precipitous ridge of hills
surrounding the lofty rock now called Croagh Patrick. The cloak and its
two passengers finally dropped down on the bank of the river of which
the Arch-Druid had spoken.

They followed the course of the stream through one of the most fertile
valleys that sunshine ever glanced upon, until they reached a dark
cavern where the struggling waters sink suddenly into the earth. No one
has yet been able to ascertain whither the stream finally goes--whether
it again rises to the earth--whether it runs through a subterranean
channel, or is sucked in to quench the Phlegethon of this world's
central fires. No one knows--nor would it much matter if he did.

Close by the mouth of this cavern is a dark, deep hollow, over which the
gloom of eternal night ever seems to rest, and into which the stream
falls before it sinks into the abyss, whirling in foaming eddies,
warring as in agony, and casting up a jet of spray into the air. Loudly
the waters roar as they fall on the rugged rock beneath--they are
whirled round and round, until, at regular intervals, they descend into
the yawning gulf beneath.

In this pool, among thousands of fishes, of all sorts and sizes, was the
Salmon of Knowledge, the possession of which was to make King Mac Carthy
amazingly wise, and irresistibly mighty. By this pool he sat, in company
with the Arch-Druid, day after day, for a whole month, until their
patience was nearly, and their provisions wholly, exhausted. They had
sport enough to satisfy Izaak Walton himself, for they were perpetually
catching fish. There was a little hut hard by, and in it the King and
the Arch-Druid alternately officiated as cook. Still, though he was
latterly on a fish diet, the King grew never the wiser. He got so tired
of that kind of food that historians have gone the length of asserting
that even a Hoboken turtle-feed would have had no charm for his palled
appetite. Amid the finest fish that Royalty ever feasted upon, he sighed
for the white and red of his own fine mutton from the green fields of

To add to his misfortune, though he wanted only one salmon, fish of all
sorts _would_ hook themselves on to his line. There was perpetual
trouble in taking them off the hook. They determined to judge of the
salmon, as Lavater did of men, by their looks. Therefore the fat and
plump fish obtained the dangerous distinction of being broiled or
boiled, while the puny ones were thrown back, with the other fish, into
the water.

Thus it happened that, one evening at dusk, a lank, lean, spent salmon
having been caught, they did not think it worth cooking, and the King
took it up to throw it back into the water. He did not cast it far
enough, and the poor fish remained on the bank. It was quietly wriggling
itself back into its native element, when it was espied by a little boy
who had a special taste for broiled fish. He seized it, took it home,
made a fire, and set about cooking it.

This youth was the famous Finn Mac Coul:--but he was not famous _then_.
He had fled from the South, from some enemies of his family, and, being
hungry, the salmon, poor and lean as it seemed, was better to him than

The fire being red, he put the salmon upon it. The poor fish, not quite
dead, writhed on the live coals, and the heat caused a great blister to
swell out upon its side. Finn Mac Coul noticed this, and, fearing that
the fish would be spoiled if the blister were to rise any more, pressed
his thumb upon it. The heat soon made him withdraw it. Naturally enough,
he put it into his mouth to draw out the pain. At that moment, he felt a
strange thrill throughout his whole frame. He was suddenly changed in
mind. The moment that thumb touched his lips he had increase of
knowledge. _That_ told him that he could do no better than devour the
salmon. That done, he was a changed Finn--a new and enlarged edition,
with additions; quite a tall paper copy.

That night, Finn Mac Coul quietly strayed down to the cavern, and found
the King and the Arch-Druid at high words. His majesty had dreamed, in
his afternoon nap, that the Salmon of Knowledge had been on his hook,
and that the Arch-Druid had coaxed it off, and privily cooked and eaten
it. Finn told him that the Arch-Druid knew that the salmon could be
caught only by a King's hand, but had intended, even before they left
Munster, to cook and eat it himself, and then to usurp the crown. The
Arch-Druid, who had a conscience, had not a word of explanation or
excuse. The King immediately ran him through the body, and engaged Finn
(who, by this time, had shot up to the height of twelve feet) to lead
his armies against the invading King of Leinster, and the result was
that, so far from conquering Munster, and appropriating the Golden Vale,
King Mac Murragh was obliged to pray for pardon, and to pay tribute to
King Mac Carthy, who thenceforward, with the aid of Finn Mac Coul's
strength of mind and body, was the most powerful of all the monarchs of


Contemporary with Finn Mac Coul, was the renowned giant, called Ossian.
There has been a question whether he were Scotch or Irish. But as Ossian
certainly came all the way from Scotland to compete with Finn Mac Coul,
it is not likely that they were countrymen.

That contest--it was of the description given by Ovid of what took place
between Ajax and Ulysses. Go to that wild and beautiful district near
Dublin, that patch of mountain scenery, so splendid and romantic, known
as the Breaks of Ballynascorney and learn, as I did, what tradition now
reports of the contest between Ossian and Finn Mac Coul.

A mountain road winds through these Breaks, like a huge snake. By the
road-side there stands a tremendous rock of granite--perfectly isolated.
Many such are to be seen scattered over the island, and the general
belief is, that each column-stone marks the spot where some noted
warrior had fallen in the old contests between the Irish and their
Danish invaders. A different legend belongs to _this_ rock.

The day had been beautiful--one of those brilliant days of softness and
balm so prevalent in Ireland. The noontide sun may have been a little
too sunny, but this could be remedied by reposing in the pleasant
shadow of some of the lofty cairns which abound in that place. The day
gently glided on, until, when a summer-shower made the heath glitter
with its diamond drops, we sought shelter in a rustic cabin by the

No one was within, but an old woman, remarkably talkative. She paid us a
world of attention--insinuated a world of compliments on the beaming
beauty of the fair lady who accompanied me--would "engage that one so
pretty was not without a sweetheart," and, with a smile at myself,
"would not be long without a husband"--hoped that she "would be happy as
the day was long, and live to see her great-grand-children at her
feet,"--was certain she was an Irishwoman, "for she had the fair face,
and the small hand, and the dark blue eye, and the long black lash, and
the bounding step," and prophesied more good fortune than (to one of the
party, at least) has yet been fulfilled.

This old woman was a good specimen of a shrewd Irish peasant. Her
compliments were insinuated, rather than expressed; and, _malgré_ the
brogue, I question when more delicate flattery--pleasant, after all, to
one's _amour propre_--could be more dexterously conveyed in the circles
which we call brilliant. This tact in the matter of compliment appears

Allusion having been made to the granite column in the neighborhood, our
hostess asked whether we should like "to know all about it." The answer
was in the affirmative, and then--happy to hear the tones of her own
voice, proud of giving information to persons above her own station, and
in pleased anticipation of a _douceur_--she told us a legend which, as
she was rather prolix, I shall take leave to give you in my own words.


Finn Mac Coul went hunting one day on the Curragh of Kildare. His sport
was indifferent, for he brought down only a leash of red deer, and a
couple of wolves. He came back to his house, on the hill of Allen, in
such bad spirits, that his wife asked him what was the matter, and said
that, no doubt, he would have better sport another time. Heaving a deep
sigh, he told her that it was not his bad sport that annoyed him, but
that news had that morning reached him that Ossian, the Scotch giant,
was coming over to challenge him to a trial of strength, and if he lost
the day--for he could not decline the contest--his credit, and the
credit of Ireland, would be gone forever.

At this news, Finn's wife became as low-spirited as himself. They sat by
the fire, like Witherington, "in doleful dumps," and their thoughts were
the reverse of happy.

Suddenly, the lady--for the life of me I cannot bring myself to
designate her as plain "Mrs. Mac Coul"--asked her disconsolate lord and
master at what time Ossian was expected to arrive? Finn told her that
the Scottish Hercules had intimated his intention of paying his visit at
noon on the following day. "Oh! then," said she, brightening up,
"there's no need to despair. Leave all to me, and I'll bring you through
it like a Trojan. A blot is no blot until 'tis entered." This remark,
showing at once her philosophy and her knowledge of backgammon, was very
consolatory to Finn Mac Coul, who, like men before and since, was rather
under what is called petticoat government. His mind was relieved when
his wife saw daylight.

After breakfast, the next day, Finn (by his wife's direction) went into
a huge child's-cradle, a feat which he had some difficulty in
accomplishing. There he lay, crumpled up uneasily, while she kept busy
in the kitchen, baking some cake or griddle-bread.

By-and-bye, up came Ossian, who knocked at the door, and civilly
inquired whether Finn Mac Coul lived there, and if he were at home?
"No," said his wife, "he's gone to the fair of Bartlemy; but I am his
wife, and, perhaps, I can answer for him."

"What!" said Ossian, "did not he hear that I, Ossian of Scotland, was
coming over for a trial of strength with him? I hope he does not mean to
skulk. Wherever he may be, I shall not return home until I _see_ him,
and until he _feel_ me."

When the wife found that Ossian was too far North to be put off by a
"not at home," she put the best face on it, welcomed him to Ireland,
hoped he had a pleasant passage, and that the tossing on the salt-water
did not disagree with him, invited him into the house, and said that
Finn would soon be back, and ready to indulge him in any way he pleased.

Ossian sat down by the fire, quite at his ease. He had a great conceit
of himself, and was, indeed, the strongest man in Europe at that time.
He noticed the large cakes that were baking in the oven, each of them
taking two stone weight of flour, and asked why she made them of such a
size. "They are for that little creature in the cradle, there," said
she, pointing over her shoulder to Finn. Then Ossian looked round, and
noticed the cradle, with Finn in it, and a night-cap on his head, and
tied under his chin, and he pretending to be fast asleep all the time.

Astonished at the immense bulk, Ossian called out, "Who's there? What
man is that in the cradle?" "Man!" said Finn's wife, with a pleasant
little laugh, "that's our youngest child. I am weaning him now, and I
sometimes think the fairies have overlooked him, he's so dwarfed and
small, and does not promise to be half the size of his father and his

Ossian never said a word to that; but he could not take his eyes off the
cradle, thinking, no doubt, if the undergrown baby was such a bouncer,
what must the father be.

By-and-bye, Finn's wife told Ossian that, as he had a long journey, and
Finn was staying out longer than she expected, he might as well take
some refreshment, without waiting for him. The cakes were nice and brown
by this time, and she asked him to break his fast with one of them. He
took it, and when he made a bite in it, he roared again with pain, for
his two best front teeth were broken. "Oh!" he cried out, "it is as hard
as iron,"--and so it might be, for she had put an iron griddle into it,
and baked it with it in. "Hard?" said she. "Why, that child there would
not taste it if it were a bit softer."

Then she recommended Ossian to wash the pain away with a sup of the
finest whiskey in the province; and she fetched a wooden _piggin_, that
would hold about a gallon to a gallon and a half, and filled it to the
brim. Ossian took a long pull at it; as much as a quart or so. Then
Finn's wife laughed downright at him for taking so little. "Why," said
she, "the child there in the cradle thinks nothing of emptying that
_piggin_ in one draught." So, for shame's sake, and because he did not
like to be thought a milk-sop, Ossian took a little more, and a little
more yet, until, before long, the liquor got the better of him.

Now, this was the very pass that the good wife wished to bring him to.
"While his father is out," said she, "and I wonder why he is not home
before now, may-be you'd like to see the child there throw a stone, or
try a fall with you, or do any of the diverting little tricks that
his father teaches him." Ossian consented, and she went over to the
cradle and gave Finn a shake. "Wake up, dear," said she, "and amuse the

So Finn stretched himself, and Ossian wondered at his black beard, and
his great bulk. "'Pon my word," said he, "you're a fine child for your
age." Then, turning to Finn's wife, he asked, "Has he cut any of his
teeth yet?" She bade him feel his gums. Then Ossian put two of his
fingers into Finn's mouth, and the moment they were there Finn bit them
to the bone. Ossian jumped round the room with pain. "Ah!" said Finn's
wife, "you should see his father's teeth; he thinks nothing of biting
off the head of a two-shilling nail, when he uses it for a tooth-pick."

By this time, Ossian was far from comfortable. But he thought he must
put the best face on it; so he said to Finn, "Come, my lad, let us see
how your father teaches you to wrestle."

Finn did not say a word, but grappled Ossian round the waist, and laid
him sprawling on the ground before he could say "Jack Robinson." Ossian
picked himself up, very sulkily, and rubbed the place that had come in
contact with the hard floor of the kitchen.

"Now," said Finn's wife, "may-be you'd like to see the child throw a
stone." And then Finn went in front of the house, where there was a heap
of great rocks, and he took up the very identical stone which now
stands in the Breaks of Ballynascorey, and flung it all the way from the
hill of Allen. To this day it bears the marks of Finn's five fingers and
thumb--for his hand was not like an ordinary hand--when he grasped it;
and to this day, also, that stone bears Finn's name.

Ossian was greatly surprised, as well he might be, at such a cast. He
asked, "Could your father throw such a stone much farther?"--"Is it my
father?" said Finn: "faith, he'd cast it all the way to America, or
Scotland, or the Western Injes, and think nothing of it!"

This was enough for Ossian. He would not venture on a trial of strength
with the father, when the son could beat him. So he pretended to
recollect some sudden business that called him back, posthaste, to
Scotland, thinking he never could get away half quick enough. And the
stone remains where Finn threw it, and, if you only go that way, any one
on or near the Sigham mountain will show you FINN MAC COUL'S





Irish Legends almost invariably remind me of the Field of Waterloo. When
our tourists rushed _en masse_, to behold the plain on which the
destinies of Europe had been decided, they exhibited the usual
relic-hunting and relic-buying mania. Bullets and helmet ornaments,
rusty pistols and broken swords, buttons and spurs, and such
things--actually found on the battle-field--were soon disposed of, while
of the tourists it might be said, as of the host of Dunsinane, "The cry
is still 'they come!'" So, the demand exceeding the legitimate supply,
the Belgian peasantry began to dispose of fictitious relics, and a very
profitable trade it was for a long time. To this day, they are carefully
manufactured, "to order," by more than one of the hardware makers of

In the same manner, Irish legends having become a marketable commodity
(Carleton and Crofton Croker, Banim and Griffin, Lover and Whitty,
having worked the vein deeply), people had recourse to invention instead
of tradition--like George Psalmanazar's History of Formosa, in which
fiction supplied the place of fact. Very amusing, no doubt; but not
quite fair. More ingenious than honest. Therefore, the Irish story I
shall relate, if it possesses none other, shall have the merit, at
least, of being "founded on facts."

Fermoy is one of the prettiest towns in Ireland. It is not very remote
from that very distinguished Southern metropolis--of pigs and
porter--known as "the beautiful city of Cork." Midway between city and
town lies Water-grass-hill, a pretty village, located on the highest
arable land in Ireland, and now immortal as having once been the
residence of the celebrated Father Prout. Some people prefer the
country-town to the crowded city: for, though its trade be small, its
society rather too fond of scandal, its church without a steeple, and
its politicians particularly intolerant, Fermoy is in the heart of a
fertile and picturesque tract, and there flows through it that noble
river, the Blackwater, honorably mentioned by Spenser, and honored in
later song as the scene where might be beheld

          "The trout and the salmon
          A-playing backgammon.
    All on the banks of sweet Castle Hyde."

The scenery around Fermoy is indeed most beautiful, and _above_ all
(in more meanings than one) towers Corrig Thierna--the Lord's rock,
commonly spoken of as Corran--which, to such of the inhabitants as have
not seen greater elevations, appears a mountain entitled to vie with
what they have heard of the Alps, Appenines, or Andes.

Although Fermoy now contains fully seven hundred houses (exclusive of
stables and pigsties), and a population of nearly seven thousand souls,
men, women, and children--to say nothing of horses, oxen, sheep, mules,
donkies, cats, dogs, and such other creatures as have no souls--it was
not always so extensive and populous.

In every town a high traditional authority is constantly referred to as
"within the memory of the oldest inhabitant," and it may be stated, on
this antique authority, that, not much more than half a century since,
Fermoy was a very small and obscure hamlet, consisting of no more than
one little pothouse and half a dozen other mud-cabins, luxuriantly
located, with some ingenuity, so as to enjoy, front and rear, a
_maximum_ of the morning and afternoon sunshine. These domiciles were
ranged in a row, and hence arose the figurative saying, "All on one
side, like the town of Fermoy." The energy, ability, and capital of one
man (the late John Anderson, who introduced mail-coaches into Ireland),
raised the village of Fermoy into a populous and thriving town, which,
in 1809, was a merry place--partly owing to the mirth whose chief
minister was Remmy Carroll, son of old Carroll, the piper.

As Remmy is the hero of my tale, it is only proper that I should
describe him. Irish parlance emphatically distinguished him as "a mighty
clever boy," which did not mean a compliment to his capacity or
acquirements, but was simply a figure of speech to declare that this
Hibernian Orpheus stood about "six feet two in his stocking-vamps."
Remmy Carroll's personal appearance was not quite as _distingué_ as that
of his great contemporary, Beau Brummell. His coat, originally of blue
frieze, had worn down, by age and service, to a sort of bright gray,
tessellated, like mosaic-work, with emendations of the original
substance carefully annexed thereto by Remmy's own industrious fingers.
The garment, like the wearer, had known many a fray, and Remmy was wont
to observe, jocularly, when he sat down to repair these breaches, that
then, like a man of landed property, he was occupied in "taking his

Care is not very likely to kill a man who can jest upon his own poverty.
Accordingly, Remmy Carroll was as light-hearted a fellow as could be met
with in town or country. He was a gentleman accustomed to live how and
where he could, and he was welcomed everywhere. It was mentioned, as an
undoubted fact, that where men of substance--rich farmers and thriving
shopkeepers--had been very coldly received by bright-eyed angels in
petticoats, looks and even words of encouragement had been extended to
Remmy Carroll. The fair sex are proverbially of a kind nature,
especially towards young men, who, like Carroll, have handsome features
and jocund speech, lofty stature and winning smiles, that symmetry of
limb which pleases the eye, and that subduing conversation which pleases
the ear. What was more, Remmy Carroll knew very well--none better!--that
he was a favorite with the rose-cheeked Venuses of Fermoy and its
vicinity. It may be mentioned also--as _sotto voce_ as type can express
it--that he was also perfectly aware that he was a very personable
fellow, what Coleridge has described as "a noticeable man." Was there
ever any one, no matter of what age or sex, possessing personal
advantages, who was not fully aware of the fact?

It would be tedious to expatiate very particularly upon the extent and
variety of Remmy Carroll's accomplishments. He followed the hereditary
profession of his family, and was distinguished, far and near, for his
really splendid execution on the Irish pipes--an instrument which can be
made to "discourse most excellent music," and must never be confounded
with the odious drone of the Scottish bag-pipes. Remmy's performance
could almost excite the very chairs, tables, and three-legged stools to
dance. One set of pipes is worth a dozen fiddles, for it can "take the
shine out of them all" in point of loudness. But then, these same pipes
can do more than make a noise. The warrior, boldest in the field, is
gentlest at the feet of his ladye-love; and so, the Irish pipes, which
can sound a strain almost as loud as a trumpet-call, can also breathe
forth a tide of gushing melody--sweet, soft, and low as the first
whisper of mutual love. You have never felt the eloquent expression of
Irish music, if you have not heard it from the Irish pipes.[3] It is
quite marvellous that, amid all the novelties of instrumentation (if I
may coin a word) which are thrust upon the patient public, season after
season--including the Jews'-harping of Eulenstein, the chin-chopping of
Michael Boiai, and the rock-harmonicon of the Derbyshire mechanics--no
one has thought of exhibiting the melodious performance of an Irish
really were a first-rate performer, he could not fail to please, to
delight, to astonish. But, again I say, do not confound the sweet
harmony of the Irish with the drony buzz of the Scotch pipes.

     [3] This praise of the Irish pipes is by no means exaggerated. The
     last performer of any note, in Fermoy, was an apothecary, named
     O'Donnell, who certainly could make them discourse "most eloquent
     music." He died about fifteen years ago. It was almost impossible
     to listen with dry eyes and unmoved heart to the exquisite manner
     in which he played the Irish melodies--the _real_ ones, I mean--not
     those which Tom Moore and Sir John Stevenson had "adopted" (and
     emasculated) for polite and fashionable piano-forte players and
     singers. There is now in New York a gentleman, named Charles
     Ferguson, whose performance on the Irish pipes may be said to
     equal--it could not surpass--that of O'Donnell.

Remmy Carroll's accomplishments were not limited to things musical. He
could out-walk, out-run, and out-leap any man in the barony of Condons
and Clongibbons; aye, or of any five other baronies in the county of
Cork, the Yorkshire of Ireland. He could back the most vicious horse
that ever dared to rear and kick against human supremacy. He had
accepted the challenge scornfully given to the whole world, by Big Brown
of Kilworth, to wrestle, and had given him four fair falls out of five,
a matter so much taken to heart by the said Big one, that he emigrated
to London, where, overcome with liquor and loyalty, he was tempted to
enlist in an infantry regiment, and was shot through the head at the
storming of Badajoz some short time after.

Remmy Carroll could do, and had done more than defeat Brown. He could
swim like a fish, was the only man ever known to dive under that
miniature Maëlstrom which eddies at the base of The Nailer's Rock
(nearly opposite Barnäan Well), and, before he was one-and-twenty, had
saved nine unfortunates from being drowned in the fatal Blackwater.[4]

     [4] There really was a person named Carroll residing in Fermoy at
     the date of this story. He was of gigantic stature and strength,
     with the mildest temper ever possessed by mortal man. He was
     noted for his excellence in swimming and his remarkable skill as a
     diver. Whenever any person had been drowned in the Blackwater,
     (which runs through Fermoy,) Carroll was sent for, and never
     quitted the river until he had found the body. There is one part
     considered particularly dangerous, opposite Barnäan Well, in which
     a large projection, called the Nailer's Rock, shelves out into the
     water, making an under-current of such peculiar strength and
     danger, that even expert swimmers avoid it, from a fear of being
     drawn within the vortex. Many lives have been lost in this fatal
     eddy, into which Carroll was accustomed to dive, most fearlessly,
     in search of the bodies. It was calculated that Carroll had
     actually saved twenty-two persons from being drowned, and had
     recovered over fifty corpses from the river. When he died, which
     event happened at the commencement of the bathing season, a general
     sorrow fell upon all classes in the town of Fermoy, and for several
     weeks no one ventured into the river. It was as if their guardian
     and safeguard had departed. In my youth, passed on the banks of the
     Blackwater, there was a belief that whenever one person was drowned
     in that river, two others were sure to follow, in the same season.

No man in the county could beat him at hurly, or foot-ball. He was a
crack hand at a faction-fight on a fair day--only, as a natural spirit
of generosity sometimes impelled him, with a reckless chivalry, to side
with the weaker party, he had, more than once, been found magnanimously
battling against his own friends.

Yet more.--Having had the advantage of three years' instruction at Tim
Daly's far-famed Academy, Remmy Carroll was master of what a farmer,
more alliterative than wise, called "the mystery of the three
R's:--Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmetic." He knew, by the simple taste,
when the Potheen was sufficiently "above proof." He had a ten-Irishman
power of love-making, and while the maidens (with blushes, smiles, and
softly-similated angers) would exclaim, "Ah, then, be done, Remmy!--for
a deluder as ye are!" there usually was such a sly intelligence beaming
from their bright eyes, as assured him that he was not unwelcome; and
then he felt it his duty to kiss them into perfect good-humor and
forgiveness.--But I am cataloguing his accomplishments at too much
length. Let it suffice to declare, that Remmy Carroll was confessedly
the Admirable Crichton of the district.

He was an independent citizen of the world--for he had no particular
settled habitation. He was a popular character--for every habitation was
open to him, from Tim Mulcahy's, who lived with his wife and pig, in a
windowless mud-cabin, at the foot of Corran, to Mr. Bartle Mahony's
two-story slated house, on a three hundred acre farm, at Carrigabrick,
on the banks of the Blackwater. At the latter abode of wealth, however,
Remmy Carroll had not lately called.

Mr. Bartholomew Mahony--familiarly called "Bartle"--was a man of
substance. Had he lived now, he might have sported a hunter for himself,
and set up a jaunting-car for his daughter. But the honest, well-to-do
farmer had at once too much pride and sagacity to sink into the
_Squireen_. He was satisfied with his station in life, and did not
aspire beyond it. He was passing rich in the world's eye. Many, even of
the worldlings, thought less of his wealth than of his daughter, Mary.
Of all who admired, none loved her half so well as poor Remmy Carroll,
who loved the more deeply, because very hopelessly, inasmuch as her
wealth and his own poverty shut him out from all reasonable prospect of
success. He admired--nay, that is by far too weak a word: he almost
adored her, scarcely daring to confess, even to his own heart, how
closely her image was blended with the very life of his being.

Mary Mahony was an Irish beauty; that most indescribable of all
breathing loveliness, with dark hair, fair skin, and violet eyes, a
combination to which the brilliant pencil of Maclise has often rendered
justice. She had a right to look high, in a matrimonial way, for she was
an heiress in her own right. She had £500 left her as a legacy by an old
maiden-aunt, near Mitchelstown, who had taken care of her from her
twelfth year, when she left the famous Academy of the renowned Tim Daly
(where she and Remmy used to write together at the same desk), until
some eight months previous to the date of this authentic narrative, when
the maiden-aunt died, bequeathing her property, as aforesaid, to Mary
Mahony, who then returned to her father.

With all her good fortune, including the actual of the legacy, and the
ideal of inheritance to her father's property--with beauty sufficient to
have turned the head of any other damsel of eighteen, Mary Mahony was
far from pride or conceit. She had the lithest form and the most
graceful figure in the world, but many maidens, with far less means,
wore much more showy and expensive apparel. Her dark hair was plainly
braided off her white brow, in bands, in the simplest and most graceful
manner; while, from beneath, gleamed orbs so beautiful, that one might
have said to her, in the words of John Ford, the dramatist,

                "Once a young lark
    Sat on thy hand, and gazing on thine eyes,
    Mounted and sung, thinking them moving skies."

The purple stuff gown (it was prior to the invention of merinos and
muslins-de-laine), which, in its close fit, exhibited the exquisite
beauty of her form, and set off, by contrast, the purity of her
complexion, was also a within-doors article of attire: when she went
out, she donned a long cloak of fine blue cloth, with the sides and hood
neatly lined with pink sarsnet. Young and handsome Irish girls, in her
rank of life, were not usually satisfied, at that time, with a dress so
quiet and so much the reverse of gay.

But Mary Mahony's beauty required nothing to set it off. I do not
exaggerate when I say that it was literally dazzling. I saw her twenty
years after the date of this narrative, and was even then struck with
admiration of her matured loveliness;--how rich, then, must it have been
in the bud!

Mary, as Remmy Carroll said _before_ he knew that he loved her--for
_then_, he never breathed her name to mortal ear,--was "the moral of a
darling creature, only t'would be hard to say whether she was most good
or handsome." Her hair, as I have said, was dark (light tresses are
comparatively rare in Ireland), and her eyes were of so deep a blue that
nine out of ten on whom they glanced mistook them for black. Then, too,
the long lashes veiling them, and the lovely cheek ("oh, call it fair,
not pale"), on which their silky length reposed,--and the lips so red
and pouting, and the bust whose gentle heavings were just visible behind
the modest kerchief which covered it,--and the brow white as snow (but
neither too high nor too prominent),--and the fingers tapering and
round, and the form lithe and graceful,--and the feet small and
well-shaped, and the nameless air which gave dignity and grace to every
motion of this country-girl! Oh, beautiful was Mary Mahony, beautiful as
the bright image of a poet's dream, the memory of which shadows he forth
in the verse which challenges immortality in the minds of men.

The _contour_ of her face was neither Roman, nor Grecian, nor
Gothic;--it was essentially Irish, and I defy you to find a finer. The
only drawback (for I must be candid) was that her nose had
somewhat--just the slightest--of an upward inclination. This, which
sometimes lent a sort of piquancy to what would otherwise have been
quite a Madonna-like face, only made her not too handsome; at least, so
thought her admirers. Lastly, she had a voice as sweet as ear ever loved
to listen to. No doubt, it had the distinguishing accents of her
country, but with her, as with Scott's Ellen, they were

    "Silvery sounds, so soft, so dear,
    The listener held his breath to hear."



It was in the summer of 1809, that, for the first time since both of
them were children and schoolmates, Remmy Carroll spoke to Mary Mahony.
Often had he seen her at the dance, which without his aid could not be,
but in which, alas, _he_ could not join--a dancing piper being almost as
anomalous as a hunting archbishop! Often had he admired the natural
grace of her movements. Often had he been struck by the bewitching
modesty of mien and motion which had the power of suddenly changing the
rakish, rollicking gallantry of her followers (for she was a reigning
toast) into a most respectful homage. Often had he noticed her at
chapel, whither she came to pray, while others flaunted and gazed as if
they had come only to see and to be seen. Often had he followed her very
footsteps, at a distance--for the very ground on which she trod was
hallowed to this humble lover--but never yet had he dared to hope.

The shortest way from Fermoy to Carrigabrick is by the banks of the
Blackwater, and this way, on Whitsunday, 1809, was taken by Mary Mahony
and a merry younger cousin of hers on their homeward route. There are
stiles to be crossed, and deep drains to be jumped over, and even a
pretty steep wall to be climbed.

Remmy Carroll, who knew that they would thus return home, had followed
the maidens afar off,--sighing to think, as they crossed the stiles,
with a world of gentle laughter, that he must not dare to think of
proffering them any assistance. With all his love--perhaps, indeed,
because of it--he had hitherto been careful to avoid the chance of even
a casual notice from the subject of his untold passion, _She_ was
wealthy, _he_ was poor; and, therefore, he shrunk from the object of his
unuttered passion. Her feelings towards him at this time were rather
kind than otherwise. She knew, what all the parish were unacquainted
with, that Remmy devoted the greater portion of his earnings, not only
to the support of a bed-ridden old aunt, who had neither kith nor
kin save himself in the wide world, but even to the procuring for her
what might be esteemed rather as luxuries than mere comforts. Whatever
might be the deficiencies in Remmy Carroll's wardrobe, his old aunt
never went without "the raking cup of tay" morning and evening. Was it
because she had noticed how carefully Remmy Carroll avoided her, that
the bright eyes of Mary Mahony rested upon him with some degree of
interest, and that she even liked to listen to and encourage her
father's praises of his conduct towards his aged relative, for whose
comfortable support he sacrificed dress--the natural vent for youthful
vanity in both sexes?

Mary and her merry cousin went on, through the fields, until they
reached the most difficult pass. This was a deep chasm separating two
meadows. A deep and rapid stream flowed through the abyss, whirlingly
pouring its strong current into the Blackwater. The maidens lightly and
laughingly tripped down the steps which were rudely cut on the side of
the chasm. It was but a quick, short jump across, Hark!--a sudden
shriek! He cleared the wall at a bound--he dashed across the meadow--in
one minute he was plunging down the abyss. He saw that Mary's cousin had
safely reached the other side, where she stood uselessly wringing her
hands, and screaming in an agony of despair, while Mary (precipitated
into the deep and swollen stream, her foot having slipped) was in the
act of being hurried into the eddies of the Blackwater. There was no
time for delay. He plunged into the stream, dived for the body, which
had just then sunk again, and, in less time than I have taken to tell
it, had placed his insensible but still lovely _treasure trove_ on the
bank which he just quitted. The other maiden no sooner saw that her
cousin had been rescued than--according to womanly custom in such cases,
I presume--_she_ immediately swooned away, leaving poor Remmy to take
care of Mary Mahony.

With the gentlest care he could employ, he exerted his best skill to
restore her, and, in a short time, had the inexpressible delight of
seeing her open her eyes. It was but for a moment; she glanced wildly
around, and again closed them. Soon the bloom returned to her cheek--and
now she felt, though she saw not, that she lay supported in the arms of
Remmy Carroll; for, as he leant over her, and her breathing came softly
and balmily upon his face, his lips involuntarily were pressed to hers,
and the maiden, through whose frame that stolen embrace thrilled, with a
new and bewildering sensation, might be forgiven, if, at that moment,
she intuitively knew who had thus brushed the dewy sweetness from her
lips; might be forgiven, if, from that epoch, there gushed into her
heart a feeling more kind, more deep, more pervading, than ordinary

By this time, the pretty cousin had thought proper to recover; nor has
it yet been accurately ascertained whether, indeed, she had or had not
beheld the oscular proceeding which I have mentioned. Now, however, she
hastened to pay the feminine attentions, more suitable to the situation
of a half-drowned young lady, than those which Remmy Carroll had
attempted to bestow. He had the satisfaction, however of carefully
taking Mary Mahony across the stream in his arms. Nay, before he
departed, she had softly whispered her gratitude; and in her tone and
manner, there was that which breathed hope to him, even against hope.
Though he quitted them, he loitered about while they remained in sight,
and just as Mary Mahony was vanishing through the stile which opened
into her father's lands, she turned round, saw her deliverer watching
her at a distance, and she kissed her hand to him as she withdrew.

From that hour the current of his life flowed on with a fresher
bound--the fountain of hope welled out its sparkling waters, for the
first time, from its depths. To the world--to no living soul, would he
have dared to avow his new-born feeling, that Mary Mahony might one day
be his own. Within his heart of hearts it lay, and with it was the
consciousness, that to win her he must merit her. _How_, he knew not;
but the resolve is much.

Three months glided on. Carroll continued to pursue his calling as a
music-maker, and not a wedding nor christening passed by, or,
indeed, could pass by, without the assistance of his "professional"
powers. But he now became what a young and gay Irishman seldom is--a
hoarder of his earnings. He laid aside much of the wild and reckless
mirth which had made him, despite his poverty, the king of good fellows.
Remmy was, in many respects, above the generality of his class; for he
had got a tolerably good education; he was quick at repartee, and not
without a certain manly grace of manner; his conversation was never
garnished with expletives; he had a good voice, and could sing with
considerable effect; he was an adept in fairy lore and romantic legends;
and he was accustomed to retail news from the newspapers to a wondering
auditory, so that the marvel was how he could be "such a janius
entirely." Hence his popularity with all classes. But now, as I have
said, he laid aside all mirth that might involve outlay. His manners
became sedate, almost grave,--nay, if we dared to apply such high words
to a man of such low degree as an Irish piper, it might be added, that a
certain degree of quiet dignity became blended with his speech and
actions. Like the wedding guest described by Coleridge, he seemed "a
sadder and a wiser man." Such a change could not pass unobserved, and
while one-half the circle of his acquaintance shook their heads, and
ominously whispered, "Sure the boy must be fairy-struck," the fairer
moiety suggested that the alteration must have been produced by
Love, though even their sagacity and observation failed to ascertain the
object of his passion.

Chapter III.


The aim and the result of Remmy Carroll's newly-acquired habits of
economy and self-denial became evident, at length, when his appearance,
one Sunday, in the Chapel of Fermoy--it was the Old Chapel, with mud
walls and a thatched roof, which stood in that part of Cork Hill whence
now diverges the narrow passage called Waterloo Lane--caused a most
uncommon sensation. It was Remmy's first appearance, on any stage, in
the character of a country-beau. His ancient coat was put into Schedule
A (like certain pocket-boroughs in the Reform Bill), and was replaced by
a garment from the tasty hands of Dandy Cash, at that time the Stultz of
Fermoy and its vicinity. This was a broad-skirted coat of blue
broadcloth, delicately embellished with the brilliancy of shining gilt
buttons, each not much larger than a half-dollar. A vest of bright
yellow kerseymere, with a double-row of plump mother-of-pearl studs; a
new pair of closely-fitting unmentionables, with a liberal allowance of
drab ribbons pensile at the knees; gray worsted stockings, of the
rig-and-furrow sort, displaying the muscular calf and the arched instep;
neat pumps, with soles not quite half an inch thick, and the uppers made
"elegant" by the joint appliances of lampblack and grease (considered to
_nourish_ the leather much better than "Warren's jet blacking, the pride
of mankind");--a well-fitting shirt of fine bandle-linen, bleached to an
exquisite whiteness, and universally looked upon as a _noli me tangere_
of provincial buckism, with a silk _grinder_ "round his nate neck," and
a tall Carlisle hat, encircled with an inch-wide ribbon--such were the
component parts of Remmy Carroll's new costume. True it is, that he left
a little too much to the taste of Dandy Cash, the dogmatic and
singularly conceited Snip; but still, Nature had done so much for him
that he appeared quite a new man, the handsomest of the whole
congregation, gentle or simple, and many a bright glance fell upon him
admiringly, from eyes which had looked scorn at his chrysalis condition;
and not a few fair bosoms fluttered at the thought, "what a fine,
handsome, likely boy is Remmy Carroll, now that he is dressed dacent."
He was not the first man whose qualifications have remained
unacknowledged until such an accident as fine apparel has brought them
into notice.

Mary Mahony was at Chapel on that Sunday when Remmy Carroll shone out,
like the sun emerging from behind a rack of heavy clouds. A casual
looker-on might have fancied that she was one of the very few who did
_not_ mind Remmy Carroll. Indeed, she rather hung down her head, as she
passed him,--but that might have been to hide the blushes which suffused
her face when she met his eye. Her father, a kind-hearted man, who had a
cordial salute for every friend, insisted that they should not hurry
away without speaking to the piper. Accordingly, they loitered until
nearly all the congregation had left the chapel, and, among the last,
Remmy Carroll was quietly stealing away. Bartle Mahony accosted him,
with a hearty grasp of the hand, and warmly thanked him for having saved
Mary's life, adding, "It is not until now I'd be waiting to thank you,
man-alive, but Mary never let me know the danger she'd been in, until
this blessed morn, when her cousin, Nancy Doyle, made me sensible of the
ins and outs of the accident. But I _do_ thank you, Remmy, and 'twill go
hard with me if I don't find a better way of showing it than by words,
which are only breath, as one may say."

Then Bartle Mahony slapped Remmy on the back, in a familiar manner, and
insisted that he should walk home with them and take share of their
dinner. "Don't hang down your head like a girl, but tuck Mary under your
arm, and off to Carrigabrick, where I follow in less than no time, with
the heartiest of welcomes. Don't dawdle there, man-alive, like a goose,
but walk off like a man."

So through the town of Fermoy did Mary Mahony walk with Remmy
Carroll--down Cork Hill and King-street, and across the Square, and
along Artillery-quay, and by Skelhorne's paper-mill, and Reid's
flour-mill, and then, on the Inches, by the Blackwater. History has not
recorded whether Mary did actually take Remmy's arm--but it is
conjectured that he was too shy to offer it, deeming _that_ too great a
liberty--but it is said that it was she who took the field-route to
Carrigabrick, and, though she blushed deeply the while, she did not make
any very violent objection to his taking her in his arms across that
chasm, the passage of which, on a former day, had so nearly proved fatal
to her. If I said that, while performing this pleasant duty, Remmy
Carroll did _not_ press her to his heart, I am pretty sure that no one
would believe me. Well, then, there _was_ this gentle pressure, but of
course Mary Mahony believed he could not help it.--Do you think he

They proceeded to Carrigabrick, but the short cut through the fields
proved the longest way round on this occasion. Bartle Mahony had reached
the house fully half an hour before they did, and yet he had gone by the
road, which, as every one knows, is nearly a mile round. They had
exchanged few words during their walk; it was not quite the lady's
place to make conversation, and Remmy's thoughts were all too deep for
utterance. In the earlier stage of love, passion is contemplative, and
silence often has an eloquence of its own.

Remmy Carroll had the good fortune to win the particular favor of Mr.
Bartle Mahony, who, as he was retiring to rest, kissed his fair child,
as usual, and emphatically declared that Remmy Carroll was "a real
decent fellow, and no humbug about him." He added, that as he had found
his way to their hearth, he must be a stranger no more. And it came to
pass, thenceforth, somehow or other, that Remmy paid a visit to
Carrigabrick twice or thrice a week. These visits were ostensibly to Mr.
Mahony, but it usually happened that Remmy had also a glimpse of Mary,
and sometimes a word or two with her. It came to pass that Bartle
Mahony, at length, fancied that a dull day in which he did not see his
friend Remmy. Finally, as by a great effort of ingenuity, and in order
to have a legitimate excuse for having his favorite frequently with him,
Bartle Mahony announced his sovereign will and pleasure that Mary should
learn music. Accordingly, when Remmy next came, he communicated this
intention to him in a very dignified manner, and appointed Remmy
forthwith to commence instructing her. But Remmy could play only upon
one instrument, and the pipes happen to be so unfeminine, that he
ventured to doubt whether the young lady would quite approve of the
proposition. Having hinted this difficulty to Bartle Mahony, that worthy
was impressed with its force, but, rather than relinquish his project,
declared that, all things considered, he thought it best that he himself
should be the musical tyro.

If the truth were known, it would have appeared that the poor man had no
desire to learn, and certainly no taste. But as Remmy Carroll, proud as
he was poor, had peremptorily refused the money offered as a substantial
mark of gratitude for having saved Mary Mahony's life, this was her
father's indirect and rather clumsy mode of rewarding him. Very
magnificent were the terms which he insisted on making with the piper:
he could have been taught flute, harp, violin, psaltery, sackbut, and
piano at less cost. Very little progress did the kind old man make, but
he laughed soonest and loudest at his own dulness and discords. However,
if the pupil did not make good use of his time, the teacher did. Before
the end of the first quarter, Mary Mahony had half confessed to her own
heart with what aptitude she had involuntarily taken lessons in the art
of love.

It would make a much longer story than I have the conscience to inflict
upon you, to tell how Mary Mahony came to fall in love with Remmy
Carroll--for fall in love she certainly did. Perhaps it was out of
gratitude. Perhaps it might have been his fine person and handsome
face. Perhaps, because she heard every girl of her acquaintance praise
him. Perhaps, because he was her father's favorite. Perhaps, because
they were so constantly thrown together, and he was the only young man
with whom she frequently associated. Perhaps she loved him, because she
could not help it. Why strive to find a reason for woman's love? It is
like a mighty river springing up one knows not where--augmented one
knows not how--ever sweeping onward, sometimes smoothly, sometimes in
awful rapids, and bearing on its deep and constant current, amid weeds
and flowers, rocks and sands, many a precious freight of hope and heart,
of life and love.

Fathers and husbands are so proverbially the very last to see the
progress which Love clandestinely makes under their roof, that it will
not be considered a special miracle, if Bartle Mahony noticed nothing of
the game which was in hand--hearts being trumps! Mary's merry cousin,
Nancy Doyle, quietly smiled at the flirtation, as "fine fun," but did
not seriously see why it should not end in a wedding, as Mary had
fortune enough for both.

Winter passed away, and Spring waved her flag of emerald over the
rejoicing world. Mary Mahony was walking in one of her father's meadows,
for Remmy Carroll was expected, and he was now--though she blushed with
a soft consciousness--the very pole-star of her constant thought. He
came up, and was welcomed with as sweet a smile as ever scattered
sunshine over the human heart. They walked side by side for a little
time, and then, when the continued silence became awkward, Remmy stated,
for the maiden's information, what she knew very well before, that it
was very fine weather.

"True for you, Remmy," answered she: "see how beautiful everything
looks. The sunbeams fall upon the meadow in a soft shower of light, and
make the very grass look glad."

"It _is_ beautiful," said Remmy, with a sigh, "but I have too heavy a
heart to look upon these things as you do."

"Surely," inquired Mary, "surely you've no real cause to say that? Have
you heard any bad news?"

"No cause!" and here the pent-up feelings of his heart found utterance:
"Is it no cause?--Oh, Mary dear--for you _are_ dear to me, and I may say
it now, for may be I may never be here to say it again--is it no cause
to have a heavy heart, when I have nobody in this wide world that I can
speak to about her that's the very life of my life, while I know that I
am nothing to her, but one that she sees to-day and will forget
to-morrow! Is it no cause, when I know that the little linnet that's now
singing on that bough, has as much chance of becoming an eagle, as I
have of being thought lovingly of by the one that I love? Haven't I
cause to be of a heavy heart, knowing that I would be regarded no more
than that little bird, if I were to try and fly beyond the state I'm in,
when I know that I am not many removes from a beggar, and have been for
months dreaming away as if I was your equal? You are kind and gentle,
and when I am far away, perhaps you may think that I would have tried to
deserve you if I could, and then think well of one who loves you better
than he loves himself. Oh, Mary Mahony! may God's blessing rest upon
you, and keep you from ever knowing what it is to love without hope."

Overcome by his emotion--aye, even to tears, which flowed down his
comely cheeks--poor Remmy suddenly stopped. Mary Mahony, surprised at
the unexpected but not quite unpleasing matter of his address, knew not,
for a brief space, what answer to make. But she was a woman--a young and
loving one--so she let her heart speak from its fulness.

"May-be," said she, with a blush, which made her look more beautiful
than ever,--"may-be, tis a foolish thing, Remmy, to love without
hoping;" and she looked at him with an expressive smile, which,
unfortunately, he was unable to distinguish through the tears which were
now chasing each other down his face, as round and nearly as large as

"It's of no use," he said, not perceiving the nature of her words; "it's
of no use trying to banish you from my mind. I've put a penance on
myself for daring to think of you, and it's all of no use. The more I
try not to think, the more I find my thoughts upon you. I try to forget
you, and as I walk in the fields, by day, you come into my mind, and
when I sleep at night you come into my dreams. Wherever I am, or
whatever I do, you are beside me, with a kind, sweet smile. Every
morning of my life, I make a promise to my heart that I will never again
come here to look upon that smile, far too sweet and too kind for such
as me, and yet my steps turn towards you before the day is done. But
it's all of no use. I must quit the place altogether. I will go for a
soldier, and if I am killed in battle, as I hope I may be, they will
find your name, Mary, written on my heart."

To a maid who loved as well as Mary Mahony did, there was a touching
pathos in the simple earnestness of this confession;--aye, and
eloquence, too, for surely truth is the living spirit of eloquence. How
long she might have been inclined to play the coquette I cannot resolve,
but the idea of her lover's leaving her put all _finesse_ to flight, and
she said, in a low tone, which yet found an echo, and made a memory in
his heart: "Remmy! dear Remmy, you must not leave me. If you go, my
heart goes with you, for I like you, poor as you are, better than the
richest lord in the land, with his own weight of gold and jewels on his

What more she might have said puzzles conjecture--for these welcome
words were scarcely spoken, when all further speech was arrested by an
ardent kiss from Remmy. Oh! the first, fond kiss of mutual love! what is
there of earth with so much of the soft and gentle balm of heaven?

There they stood, by the ruins of that old castle, the world all forgot.
There they whispered, each to each, that deep passion with which they
had so long been heart-full. The maiden had gentle sighs and pleasant
tears--but these last, Remmy gallantly kissed away. Very wrong, no
doubt, for her to have permitted him to do so, and, in truth, she
sometimes exhibited a shadow of resistance. There was, in sooth,

    "A world of whispers, mixed with low response,
    Sweet, short, and broken, as divided strains
    Of nightingales."

"And you won't think the worse of me, Remmy, for being so foolish as to
confess how I love you?"

"Is it me, life of my heart? not unless you say that it was foolish to
love _me_. Sure, they were the happiest words I ever heard."

"And you will love me always, even as now?"

"Ah, Mary, I see that you are joking now."

"And you won't go as a soldier?"

"Not I, darling; let those who have heavy hearts, and no hope, do that

Much more, was spoken, no doubt. Very tender confessions and
confidences, in truth, which I care not to repeat, for such are of the
bright holidays of youth and love, and scarcely bear to be reported as
closely as an oration in the Senate, or a lawyer's harangue at Nisi
Prius, in a case of Breach of Promise. Such tender confessions and
confidences resemble those eastern flowers which have a sweet perfume on
the soil to which they are native, but lose the fragrance if you remove
them to another clime.

At last, with many a lingering "one word more," many a gentle pressure
of the hands, and several very decided symptoms, belonging to the genus
"kiss," in the sweet botany of love, Mary and Remmy parted. Happy,
sweetly and sadly happy (for deep love is meditative, rather than
joyful), Mary Mahony returned home. She hastened to that apartment
peculiarly called her own, threw herself on the bed, and indulged in the
luxury of tears, for it is not Sorrow alone that seeks relief in
tears,--they fall for hope fulfilled as truly, though less often, as for
hope deferred. Weep on, gentle girl, weep in joy, while you can. Close
at hand is the hour in which, ere you have done more than taste it, the
sparkling draught of happiness may be snatched from your lips.



Alike delighted and surprised at thus finding Mary Mahony a sharer in
the emotions which so wildly filled his own heart, Remmy Carroll
returned to Fermoy, in that particular mood which is best denoted by the
topsy-turvy description--"he did not know whether he stood upon his head
or his heels." He rested until evening at a friend's, and was not
unwilling to have some hours of quiet thought before he again committed
himself to commerce with the busy world. About dusk, he started with his
friend for a farmer's, on the Rathcormac side of Corran Thierna, where
there was to be a wedding that night, at which Remmy and his pipes would
be almost as indispensable as the priest and the bridegroom.

As they were passing on the mountain's base, taking the soft path on the
turf, as more pleasant than the dusty highway, a little lower down,
Remmy suddenly stopped.

"There's music somewhere about here," said he, listening.

"May-be it's only a singing in your head," observed Pat Minahan. I've
known such things, 'specially if one had been taking a drop extra

"Hush!" said Remmy, "I hear it again as distinctly as ever I heard the
sound of my own pipes. There 'tis again: how it sinks and swells on the
evening breeze!"

Minahan paused and listened. "Sure enough, then, there is music in the
air. Oh, Remmy Carroll, 'tis you and the lucky boy, for this must be
fairy music, and 'tis said that whoever hears it first, as you did, is
surely born to good luck."

"Never mind the luck," said Remmy, with a laugh. "There's the fairy ring
above there, and I'll be bound that's the place it comes from. There's
fox-glove, you see, that makes night-caps for them; and there's
heath-bells that they have for drinking-cups; and there's sorrell that
they have for tables, when the mushrooms aren't in; and there's the
green grass within the ring, as smooth as your hand, and as soft as
velvet, for 'tis worn down by their little feet when they dance in the
clear light of the full moon. I am sure the music came from that

"May-be it does," replied Minahan, "and may-be it doesn't. If you
please, I'd rather move on, than stand here like a pillar of salt, for
'tis getting dark, and fairies aren't exactly the sort of people I'd
like to meet in a lonely place. 'Twas somewhere about here, if I
remember right, that Phil Connor, the piper, had a trial of skill with
the fairies, as to who'd play best, and they turned him into stone,
pipes and all. It happened, Remmy, before your father came to these
parts,--but, surely you heard of it before now?"

"Not I," said Remmy; "and if I did, I wouldn't heed it."

"Oh, then," said his companion, with an ominous shake of the head at
Remmy's incredulity, "it's all as true as that you're alive and kicking
at this blessed moment. I heard my mother tell it when I was a boy, and
she had the whole of it from her aunt's cousin's son, who learned the
ins and outs of the story from a faymale friend of his, who had it on
the very best authority. Phil Connor was a piper, and a mighty fine
player entirely. As he was coming home from a wedding at Rathcormac, one
fine moonshiny night, who should come right forenenst him, on this very
same mountain, but a whole bundle of the fairies, singing, and skipping,
and discoursing like any other Christians. So, they up and axed him, in
the civilest way they could, if he'd favor them with a planxty on his
pipes. Now, letting alone that Phil was as brave as a lion, and would
not mind facing even an angry woman, let alone a batch of
hop-o'-my-thumb fairies, he never had the heart to say no when he was
civilly axed to do anything.

"So Phil said he'd oblige them, with all the veins of his heart. With
that, he struck up that fine, ancient ould tune, 'The Fox-hunter's
Jig.' And, to be sure and sartain, Phil was the lad that could play:--no
offence to you, Remmy, who are to the fore. The moment the fairies heard
it, they all began to caper, and danced here and there, backward and
forward, to and fro, just like the motes you see dancing in the
sunbeams, between you and the light. At last, Phil stopped, all of a
sudden, and they gathered round him, the craturs, and asked him why he
did not go on? And he told them that 'twas dying with the drought he
was, and that he must have something to wet his whistle:--which same is
only fair, particularly as far as pipers is concerned.

"'To be sure,' said a knowledgeable ould fairy, that seemed king of them
all, 'it's but reasonable the boy is; get a cup to comfort him, the
dacent gossoon.' So they handed Phil one of the fairy's fingers full of
something that had a mighty pleasant smell, and they filled a hare-bell
cup of the same for the king. 'Take it, me man,' said the ould fairy,
'there isn't a headache in a hogshead of it. I warrant that a guager's
rod has never come near it. 'Twas made in Araglyn, out of mountain
barley,--none of your taxed Parliament stuff, but real Queen's 'lixir.'
Well, with that he drank to Phil, and Phil raised the little dawny
measure to his lips, and, though it was not the size of a thimble, he
drank at laste a pint of spirits from it, and when he took it away from
his lips, that I mightn't, if 'twasn't as full as 'twas at first.
Faith, it gave Phil the boldness of a lion, that it did, and made him so
that he'd do anything. And what was it the _omadhaun_ did, but challenge
the whole box and dice of the fairies to beat him at playing the pipes.
Some of them, which had tender hearts, advised him not to try. But the
more they tried to persuade him, the more he would not be persuaded. So,
as a wilful man must have his way, the fairies' piper came forward, and
took up the challenge. Phil and he played against each other until the
cock crew, when the lot all vanished into a cave, and whipped Phil away
with them. And, because they were downright mad, at last, that Phil
should play so much better than their own musicianer, they changed poor
Phil, out of spite, into a stone statute, which remains in the cave to
this very day. And that's what happened to Phil Connor and the fairies."

"You've made a pretty story of it," said Remmy; "it's only a pity it
isn't true."

"True!" responded Minahan, with tone and action of indignation. "What
have you to say again it? It's as true as Romilus and Ramus, or the
Irish Rogues and Rapparees, or the History of Reynard, the Fox, and
Reynardine, his son, or any other of the curious little books that
people do be reading--that is, them that _can_ read, for diversion's
sake, when they've got nothing else to do. I suppose you'll be saying
next, that fairies themselves ain't true? That I mightn't, Remmy, but
'twouldn't much surprise me in the laste, to hear you say, as Paddy
Sheehy, the schoolmaster, says, that the earth is round, like an orange,
and that people do be walking on the other side of it, with their heads
downwards, and their feet opposite to our feet!"

"And if I did say so?" inquired Remmy, who--thanks to his schooling from
the redoubtable Tim Daly--happened to know more of the Antipodes than
his companion.

"Faith, Remmy, if you did say so, I know one that would misbelieve you,
and that's my own self. For it stands to reason, all the world to a
Chany orange, that if people was walking on the other side of the world,
with their feet upwards and their heads down, they'd be sure to fall off
before one could say 'Jack Robinson.'"

To such admirable reasoning as this, Remmy Carroll saw it would be quite
useless to reply, so he allowed Minahan to rejoice in the advantage,
usually claimed by a female disputant, of having "the last word."

They proceeded to the farmer's, Minahan, as they went along,
volunteering a variety of particulars relative to the Petrified
Piper--indulging, indeed, in such minuteness of detail, that it might
have been taken for granted that he had, personally, seen and heard the
matters he described.

It is to be feared that Remmy Carroll was but a so-so listener. He had
no great faith in fairies, and his mind was just then preoccupied with
thoughts of his own darling Mary Mahony. At last, Minahan's conversation
ended, for they had reached the farmer's house, where Remmy and his
pipes received the very warmest of welcomes.

You need not fear that I have any intention of inflicting a description
of the marriage upon you. It is enough to say that the evening was one
of thorough enjoyment--Irish enjoyment, which is akin to a sort of
mirthful madness. Perhaps Remmy was the only person who did not
thoroughly enter into the _estro_ of the hour, for though successful
love may intoxicate the mind, it subdues even the highest spirits, and
embarrasses while it delights. There is the joy at the success--the
greater if it has been unexpected--but this is a joy more concentrated
than impulsive. Its seat is deep within the heart, and there it
luxuriates, but it does not breathe its secret to the world,--it keeps
its treasure all to itself, at first, a thing to be thought of and
exulted over privily. Love, when successful, has a compelling power
which subdues all other feelings. The causes which commonly move a man,
have little power when this master-passion fills the breast.

In compliance with the custom at all wedding-feasts in Ireland, the
company freely partook of the national nectar (by mortals called
whiskey-punch), which was as plenty as tea at an ancient maiden's
evening entertainment, where sally-lun and scandal are discussed
together, and a verdict is given, at one and the same time, upon
character and Souchong. Remmy, of course, imbibed a fair allowance of
that resistless and potent mixture, the boast of which is, that "there
is not a headache in a hogshead of it." Blame him not. The apostle of
Temperance had not then commenced his charitable crusade. How could
mortal man refuse the draught, brewed as it specially had been for him
by the blushing bride herself, who, taking a dainty sup out of the horn
which did duty for a tumbler, had the tempting gallantry to leave a kiss
behind--even as "rare Ben Jonson" recommends. What marvel, if, when so
many around him were rapidly passing the Rubicon of the cup, Remmy
should have taken his allowance like "a man and a brother"--no, like a
man and a piper,--particularly, when it is remembered that Love, as well
as Grief, is proverbially thirsty. Still, Remmy Carroll had not exceeded
the limits of sobriety. He had drank, but not to excess--for his failing
was not in that wise. And even if he had partaken too freely of the
charmed cup, it is doubtful whether, with strong passion and excited
feeling making a secret under-current in his mind on that evening, any
quantity of liquor could have sensibly affected him. There are occasions
when the emotions of the heart are so powerful as to render it almost
impossible for a man, even if he desired it, thus to steep his senses in

Remmy, therefore, was not "the worse for liquor"--although he certainly
had not refrained from it. Minahan, on the other hand, who was quite a
seasoned vessel, most buoyant in the ocean of free-drinking, and to whom
a skinful of strong liquor was quite a god-send, had speedily and easily
contrived to get into that pleasant state commonly called
"half-seas-over,"--that is, he was not actually tipsy, but merry and
agreeable; and as he insisted on returning to Fermoy, though he was
offered a bed in the barn, the trouble of escorting him devolved on

They left the house together, lovingly linked arm-in-arm, for Minahan
then had a tendency to zig-zag movements. The next day, Minahan was
found lying fast asleep, with a huge stone for his pillow, near the
footpath, at the base of Corran Thierna. It was noticed by one of those
who discovered him, that his feet were within the fairy-ring which Remmy
had observed on the preceding evening. But of Remmy himself there was no
trace. If the earth had swallowed him up, he could not have vanished
more completely. His pipes were found on the ground, near Minahan, and
this was all that remained of one who, so often and well, had waked
their soul of song.

The whole district became alarmed; for, independent of regret and
wonder, on account of Remmy's personal popularity, a serious thing in a
country district is the loss of its only Piper. At length, Father Tom
Barry, the parish priest of Fermoy, thought it only his duty to pay a
domiciliary visit to Minahan, to come at the real facts of the case, and
solve what was felt to be "a most mysterious mystery."

Minahan was found in bed. Grief for the sudden loss of his friend had
preyed so heavily upon his sensitive mind, that, ever since that fatal
night, he had been drowning sorrow--in whiskey. It was now the third day
since Remmy Carroll's disappearance; and when Father Tom entered the
house, he found Minahan sleeping off the combined effects of affliction
and _potheen_. He was awakened as soon as could be, and his first
exclamation was, "Oh, them fairies! them thieves of fairies!" It was
some time before he could comprehend the cause of Father Tom's visit,
but even when he did, his words still were, "Oh, them fairies! them
thieves of fairies! they beat Bannagher, and Bannagher beats the world!"

A growl from the priest, which, from lay lips, might have been mistaken
for an execration, awoke Minahan to his senses--not that he was ever
troubled with a superfluity of them. He testily declared his inability
to tell his story, except upon conditions. "My memory," said he, "is
just like an eel-skin, your Reverence. It don't stretch or become
properly limber until 'tis wetted." On this hint, Father Tom sent for a
supply of Tommy Walker;[5] and after summarily dispatching a noggin of
it, Minahan thus spoke:--

"'Twas Remmy and myself, your Reverence, that was meandering home
together, when, as bad luck would have it, nothing would do me, being
pretty-well-I-thank-you at that same time, but I must make a
commencement of discourse with Remmy about the fairy people: for, your
worship, I'd been telling him before, as we went to the wedding of Phil
Connor, who was transmographied into a stone statute. Well and good,
just as Remmy came right forenent the fairy-ring, says he, ''Faith, I
would not object myself to have a lilt with them!' No sooner had he said
the words, your honor, than up came the sweet music that we heard the
night before, and with that a thousand lights suddenly glanced up from
the fairy-ring, just as if 'twas an illumination for some great
victory. Then, the music playing all the while, myself and Remmy set our
good-looking ears to listen, and, quick as I'd swallow this glass of
whiskey--here's a good health to your Reverence!--a thousand dawny
creatures started up and began dancing jigs, as if there was quicksilver
in their heels. There they went, hither and thither, to and fro, far and
near, coursing about in all manner of ways, and making the earth tremble
beneath 'em, with the dint of their quickness. At last, your Reverence,
one of them came out of the ring, making a leg and a bow as genteel as
ould Lynch, the dancing-master, and said, 'Mister Carroll,' says he, 'if
you'd please to be agreeable, 'tis we'd like to foot it to your pipes
(and you should have seen the soothering wink the villain gave as he
said the words), 'for,' says he, ''tis ourselves have often heard tell
of your beautiful playing.' Then the weeny little mite of a fairy fixed
his little eyes upon Remmy, and, that I mightn't, if they did not shine
in his head like two coals of red fire, or a cat's eye under a blanket!

     [5] At that time, the two great whiskey-distillers in Cork were
     Thomas Walker and Thomas Wise,--respectively carrying on their
     business in the South and North suburbs of the city. Both are
     alluded to in Maginn's celebrated song, "Cork is the Aiden for you,
     love, and me." The verse runs thus:--

     "Take the road to Glanmire, the road to Blackrock, or The sweet
     Boreemannah, to charm your eyes; If you doubt what is _Wise_, take
     a dram of Tom Walker, And if you're a _Walker_, top off Tommy

"'I'm no player for the likes of ye,' says Remmy, modest-like. But
they'd take no excuse, and they all gathered around him, and what with
sootherin' words, and bright looks, and little pushes, they complately
put their _comehether_ upon him, and coaxed him to play for them, and
then, the cajoling creatures! they fixed a big stone for a sate, and he
struck up _Garryowen_, sharp and quick, like shot through a holly-bush.
Then they all set to at the dancing, like the blessed Saint Vitus and
his cousins, and surely it was a beautiful sight to look at. The dawny
creatures worn't much bigger than your middle finger, and all nately
dressed in green clothes; with silk stockings and pumps, and
three-cocked hats upon their heads, and powdered wigs, and silk sashes
across their breasts, and swords by their sides about the size of a
broken needle. 'Faith, 'twas beautiful they footed it away, and
remarkable they looked.

"Well, your honor, _he_ was playing away like mad, and they were all
capering about, male and faymale, young and old, just like the French
who eat so many frogs that they do ever and always be dancing, when one
of the faymale fairies come up to Remmy's elbow, and said, in a voice
that was sweeter than any music, 'May-be, Mister Carroll, you'd be dry?'
Then Remmy looked at her a moment, till the faymale fairy hung down her
head, quite modest. 'Well,' says Remmy, 'you _are_ a nice little
creature, and no words about it!' She looked up at him, and her cheeks
got as red as a field-poppy, with delight at Remmy's praising her;--for
faymales, your Reverence, is faymales all the world over, and a little
blarney goes a great way with them, and makes them go on as smoothly as
a hall-door upon well-oiled hinges. Then, she asked him again if he did
not feel dry, and Remmy said he'd been to a wedding, and wasn't dry in
particular, but he'd just like to drink a good husband to her, and soon,
and many of them. So, she laughed, and blushed again, and handed him a
little morsel of a glass full of something that, I'll be bound for it,
was stronger, any how, than holy water. She kissed the little glass as
he took it, and he drank away, and when he was handing her back the
glass, his eyes danced in his head again, there was so much fire in
them. So, thinking that some of the same cordial would be good for my
own complaint, I calls out to Remmy to leave a drop for me. But, whoop!
no sooner had I said the words, than, all of a sudden, the whole tote of
them vanished away, Remmy throwing me his pipes, by way of keepsake, as
he dashed down through the earth with the rest of them. I dare say he
did not want to be bothered with the pipes, knowing that in the place he
was going to be could use those that Phil Connor had taken down before.
And that's all that I know of it."

Here Minahan, overpowered with grief and the fatigue of speaking,
perpetrated a deep sigh and a deeper draught, which exhausted the
remnant of the whiskey.

"But, Minahan," said Father Barry, "you certainly don't mean to pass off
this wild story for fact."

"But I _do_, your Reverence," said Minahan, rather testily. "Sure none
but myself was to the fore, and it only stands to reason that as one
piper wasn't enough for the fairies, they seduced Remmy Carroll away,
bad cess to 'em for that same. And, indeed, your worship, I dreamed that
I saw him last night, made up into a stone statute, like poor Phil
Connor; and sure there's great truth in dreams, entirely."

Father Barry, of course, did not believe one word of this extraordinary
story, but his parishioners did, and therefore he eschewed the heresy of
publicly doubting it. He contented himself with shaking his head,
somewhat after the grave fashion of a Chinese Mandarin in a grocer's
window, whenever this subject was alluded to, and this Burleigh
indication, as well as his silence, obtained for him an immense
reputation for wisdom.

There was one of his congregation who shared, to the full, the good
priest's disbelief of Minahan's "tough yarn" about the fairies. This was
Mary Mahony, who was convinced, whatever had befallen Remmy,--and her
fears anticipated even the worst,--that he had not fallen into the hands
of the fairies. Indeed, she was bold enough to doubt whether there were
such beings as fairies. These doubts, however, she kept to herself. Poor
thing! silently but sadly did she miss her lover. She said not one word
to any one of what had passed between them on the memorable day of his
disappearance. But that her cheek grew pale, and that melancholy gently
brooded in the deep quiet of her eyes, and that her voice, always low,
was now sad and soft as the mournful murmur of the widowed cushat-dove,
even vigilant observation could notice little difference in her. Not a
day passed without her father lamenting Remmy's absence, and when he
spoke approvingly of our vanished hero, tears would slowly gather in her
eyes, and her heart would swell with a sorrow all the deeper for
suppression. It was great consolation for her to find, now that he was
gone, how all lips praised the good qualities of Remmy Carroll. It is
pleasant to feel that one's love is not unworthily bestowed.

Meantime, the deportation of Remmy, by the fairies, became duly
accredited in Fermoy and its vicinity. If he had solely and wholly
vanished, it might have been attributed to what Horatio calls "a truant
disposition;" but his pipes were left behind him, circumstantial
evidence of Minahan's narrative. Mightily was this corroborated, a few
months after, when Gerald Barry, the priest's nephew, being out one day,
coursing on Corran Thierna, discovered a sort of cave, the entrance to
which had been concealed by the huge rock which lay close to the magic
circle of the fairies! His terrier had run into it, after a refractory
rabbit, who would not wait to be caught, and, from the length of his
stay, it was conjectured that the cave must be of immense extent. True
it is, that no one harbored the audacious thought of examining it; for
what mortal _could_ be so reckless as to venture into the stronghold of
the "good people,"--but the very fact of there being such a cavity under
the rock, dignified with the brevet-rank of a cavern, satisfied the
Fermoy folks that Remmy Carroll was within it, changed into a PETRIFIED

Some weeks later, Gerald Barry's dog again ran into the cave, and
remained there until the young man, unwilling to lose a capital terrier,
dug him out with his own hands; for neither love nor money could tempt
any one else to do such a fool-hardy exploit. He declared that the
mysterious cave was no cave, but only an old rabbit-burrow! All the old
women, in and out of petticoats, unanimously announced that it was clear
("as mud in a wineglass," no doubt), that the cave _had_ been there,
but that the fairies had changed the whole aspect of the place, to
prevent the discovery of their petrified victims; for, argued they, if
they could make men into marble statues, they certainly must possess the
minor power of making a cave look as insignificant as a rabbit-burrrow.
Logic, such as this, was sufficient to settle the mooted point, and then
it became a moral and physical certainty, in the Fermoy world, that Phil
Connor and Remmy Carroll were petrified inmates of the mountain cavern!

When, some eighteen months after this, it was Gerald Barry's ill-fortune
to break his collar-bone by a fall from his horse, in a steeple-chase,
there arose a general conviction, in the minds of all the Fermoy
believers in fairy-lore, that _this_ was a punishment inflicted upon him
by "the good people," for his impertinent intrusion into their peculiar



Slowly, but surely, does the tide of Time carry year after year into the
eternity of the Past. As wave chases wave to the shore, on which it
breaks--sometimes in a gentle and diffusing ripple, sometimes into
feathery foam, if it strike against a rock--so does year chase year away
into the memory of what has been. It is the same with empires and
villages, with the crowded haunts of men, and the humble huts wherein
the poor do vegetate. For each and for all, Time sweeps on; carrying on
its tide, amid many things of little value, some with which are linked
sweet and tender associations. To look back, even for a single year, and
contrast what _has been_ with what _is_! How mournful the retrospect, in
the generality of cases! Hopes fondly cherished, alleviating the actual
pains of life by the promise of an ideal improvement; day-dreams
indulged in, until they become fixed upon the mind, as if they were
realities; resolutions made, which the heart found it impossible to
carry into practice; sunny friendships in full luxuriance, which a few
hasty words, too quickly taken up, were to throw into shade, at once and
forever; love itself, which promised so much in its glorious spring,
grown cold and careless. Talk of the changes of a year!--look back, and
recollect what even a single day has given birth to; but, think not that
there is always change, or that all changes are for the worst. Sometimes
the bright hopes will have the glad fulfilment; the day-dreams, after
passing through the ordeal of expectation, which, when deferred, maketh
the heart sick, will be happily realized; the friendship on which we
relied will have gone through the trial, and have stood the test; the
love will have proved itself all that the heart had ventured to
anticipate, and have thrown upon the realities of life, an enduring
charm, mingling strength and softness, including in its magic circle,
endurance as strong as adamant, and tenderness which subdues even while
it sustains. Aye, life has its lights and shadows; and, in the circling
course of time and circumstance, the shadow of to-day glides gently on,
until it be lost in the sunshine of the morrow.

Let us return to our story. Imagine, if you please, that six years have
passed by since the mysterious and unforgotten disappearance of Remmy
Carroll, our very humble hero. Many changes have taken place, locally
and generally. Fermoy, rapidly rising into opulence, as the greatest
military depôt in Ireland, still kept a memory of Remmy Carroll. Death
had laid his icy hand upon Mr. Bartle Mahony, whose fair daughter, Mary,
had succeeded to his well-stocked farm and his prudent accumulations,
which, joined with her own possessions, made her comparatively wealthy.
But, in her, and in such as her, who derive their nobility from God,
fortune could make no change--except by enlarging the sphere of her
active virtues. In a very humble and unostentatious way, Mary Mahony was
the Lady Bountiful of the place. The blessings of the poor were hers.
Wherever distress was to be relieved--and Heaven knows that the mournful
instances were not a few--there did the quiet bounty of Mary Mahony
flow, scattering blessings around by that gentle personal expression of
feeling and sympathy, which the highly imaginative and excitable Irish
prize far more than the most liberal dole which mere Wealth can
haughtily bestow. Oh, that those who give, could know, or would pause to
think, how much rests on the manner of giving! Any hand can dispense the
mere _largesse_, which is called "Charity," but the voice, the glance,
the touch of hearted kindness soothes the mental pangs of the afflicted.
In Ireland, where there are countless calls upon benevolence, casual
relief has been demanded as a sort of _right_; but a kind word, a gentle
tone, a sympathizing look, makes the gift of double value. And where was
there ever kindness and gentleness to equal those exercised by Mary
Mahony? She had had her own experiences in sorrow, and was, therefore,
well qualified to yield to others that touching sympathy which most
forcibly awakens gratitude. She had suffered, and, therefore, she

Her beauty remained undimmed, but its character was somewhat changed. If
there was less of the fire of earlier days, there was more of
intellectual expression, the growth at once of her mind's development
into maturity, and of the sorrows which had chastened her, as well as of
the circumstances which had thrown her thoughts into contemplation. At
her age--she was barely three-and-twenty--it appears absurd to talk of
her loveliness having had its peach-like bloom impaired. As Wordsworth

    "She seemed a thing that could not feel
    The touch of earthly years."

What the same true poet has said of that fair Lucy, who yet lives in his
exquisite lyric, might have been said, without any breach of truth, of
our own Mary Mahony:

    "Then Nature said, 'A lovelier flower
      On earth was never sown;
    This child I to myself will take;
    She shall be mine, and I will make
      A lady of my own.'"

At first, after her father's death, when it was known in what a
prosperous state she had been left (and rumor, as usual, greatly
exaggerated the fact), she had been pestered with the addresses of
various persons who would have been happy to obtain a fair bride with
her goodly heritage, but it was soon found that she was not
matrimonially inclined, so, by degrees, they left her "maiden meditation
fancy-free." Among her suitors were a few who really were not influenced
by interested motives, and sought to win her, out of their admiration
for herself. Gently, but decidedly, they were repulsed, and many of
them, who were much above her in wealth and station, were proud to be
reckoned among her warm friends at a later period. It seemed as if she
could not have made an enemy--as if she could not awaken unkind feelings
in any mind. Even scandal never once thought of inventing stories about
her,--goodness and innocence were around her, like a panoply.

Mary Mahony remained true to the cherished passion of her youth. It
flowed on, a silent and deep stream. None knew what she felt. None were
aware of the arrow in her heart, and her pain was the intenser for its
concealment. So wholly unsuspected was her secret, that when,
immediately after her father's death, she received Remmy Carroll's
bed-ridden relative as an inmate at her own residence; people only
admired the charity which had led her to succour the helpless. No one
appeared to think, for they did not know, that Remmy could ever have
awakened an interest in her heart.

The destinies of Europe had been adjusted. The Imperial Eagle of France
had been struck down at Waterloo, when Napoleon and Wellington had met
and battled. After peace bad been proclaimed, the Ministry of the day
proceeded to reduce the war establishment, by disbanding the second
battalions of many regiments. The result was that some thousands of
ex-soldiers wended home. Very many of them were from Ireland, and came
back mere wrecks of manhood--for the casualties of battle, and the
certainties of sharp hospital practice, are only too successful in
removing such superfluities as arms and legs.

In the spring of 1816, two or three persons might have been seen walking
down the main street of Fermoy. If there could have existed any doubt as
to what they _had_ been, their measured walk and martial bearing would
have promptly removed it. They, indeed, were disabled soldiers. The
youngest might have numbered some eight-and-twenty years, and, though he
was _minus_ his left arm, few men could be found whose personal
appearance was superior to his own.

They passed on, unnoticed, as any other strangers might have passed on,
and found "choicest welcome" in a hostelrie, "for the accommodation of
man and beast," at the lower end of the town. What creature-comforts
they there partook of I am unable to enumerate, for the bill of fare, if
such a document ever existed in that neat but humble inn, has not been
preserved. The sun had nearly gone down, however, before any of the
peripatetic trio manifested any inclination towards locomotion. At last,
he, to whom I have more particularly drawn attention, told his
companions that he had some business in the town--some inquiries to
make--and would rejoin them in an hour or two at the latest. He might as
well have spoken to the wind, for they had walked that day from Cork (a
trifle of some eighteen Irish miles), and were already fast asleep on
the benches. Their companion wrapped himself up in a large military
cloak, lined with fur--whilom, in Russia, it had covered the iron-bound
shoulders of a captain in Napoleon's Old Guard. This completely
concealed his figure, and drawing his hat over his face, so as to shade
his features, he sallied forth, like Don Quixote, in search of

When he reached the Sessions House, at the extremity of the town,
instead of pursuing the high road which leads to Lismore, he deviated to
the extreme left, crossed the meadow-bound by the papermill, and found
himself on the Inch, by that rapid branch of the Blackwater which has
been diverted from the main current for the use of the two
mills--illegally diverted, I think, for it renders the natural course of
the river a mere shallow, and prevents a navigation which might be
carried on with success and profit, from Fermoy, by Lismore, down to the
sea at Youghall.

Rapidly pressing forward, the Stranger soon came to the chasm which has
already been mentioned as that from which, some years since, Remmy
Carroll, the piper, had rescued Mary Mahony from drowning. He threw
himself, at listless length, on the sward by the gurgling stream, and
gazed, in silence, on the fair scene before him.

It was, indeed, a scene to delight the eye and charm the mind of any
beholder. Across the broad river were the rocks of Rathhely, clothed
here and there with larches and pines, those pleasant
evergreens--before him swept the deep and rapid waters--and, a little
lower down, like a stately sentinel over the fine country around, rose
the tall and precipitous rock, on which stood the ruins, proud in their
very decay, of the ancient castle of Carrigabrick,--one of the round,
lofty, lonely towers, whose origin and use have puzzled so many
antiquaries, from Ledwich and Vallancey, to Henry O'Brien and Thomas
Moore, George Petrie and Sir William Betham.

With an eager and yet a saddened spirit, the stranger gazed intently and
anxiously upon the scene, varied as it is picturesque, his mind drinking
in its quiet beauty--a scene upon which, in years long since departed,
my own boyhood loved to look. And now, in the softened effulgence of the
setting sun, and the silence of the hour, the place looked more like the
embodiment of a poet's dream, or a painter's glorious imagining, than
anything belonging to this every-day world of hard and cold reality.

The Stranger gazed upon the scene silently for a time, but his feelings
might thus be embod ed in words:--"It _is_ beautiful, and it is the
same; only, until I saw other places, praised for their beauty, I did
not know how beautiful were the dark river, and the quiet meadows, and
the ivy-covered rock, and the gray ruin. Change has heavily passed over
myself, but has lightly touched the fair Nature around me. Heaven knows
whether _she_ may not be changed also. I would rather be dead than hear
she was another's. The lips that my lips have kissed--the eyes that my
eyes have looked into--the hand that my hand has pressed--the form that
my arms have folded; that another should call them his--the very thought
of it almost maddens me. Or, she may be dead? I have not had the heart
to inquire. This suspense is the worst of all,--let me end it."

Thus he thought--perhaps the thoughts may have unconsciously shaped
themselves into words: but soliloquies may be thought as well as uttered
audibly. He rose from the damp sward, sprang across the chasm, proceeded
rapidly on, and in ten minutes was sitting on the stile, by which, in
other days, he had often parted from Mary Mahony--for, by this time, my
readers must have recognized Remmy Carroll in the Stranger.

How long he rested here, or with what anxious feelings he gazed upon the
house, just visible through the trees, I am not able to state,--but I
can easily imagine what a contention of hope and fear there must have
been in his heart. The apprehension of evil, however, was in the
ascendant, for, though two or three half-familiar faces passed him, he
could not summon courage to ask after Mary and her father. At last, he
determined to make full inquiries from the next person he saw.

The opportunity was speedily afforded. A female appeared, slowly
advancing up the path. Could it indeed be herself? She came nearer. One
glance, and he recognized her, the star of his spirit--bright, beaming,
and as beautiful as Memory and Fancy (the dove-winged ministers of Love)
had delighted to paint her, amid the darkness and perils of the Past.

He sprang forward to meet her. There was no recognition upon her part.
Nor was this very wonderful--though the lover of romance might expect,
as a matter of course, that, from pure sympathy, the maiden should have
instantly known who was before her. Years, which had passed so gently
over her, softening and mellowing her beauty, had bronzed his face, and
almost changed its very expression. The dark moustache and thick
whiskers, which he now wore, his altered appearance, his military
bearing,--all combined to make him very different from the rustic,
however comely, whom she had last seen six years before.

Seeing a stranger advance towards her, Mary paused. He accosted her,
with an inquiry whether Mr. Bartle Mahony was to be seen?

"He is dead," said she. "He has been dead nearly six years."

Carroll started back, for the unwelcome news chilled him, and the
well-remembered tones struck some of the most responsive chords of his

"I am grieved to hear of his death. I knew him once. He was kind to me
in former days, when kindness was of value, and I came to thank him now.
God's blessing on his soul! He was a good man." There was a slight
pause, and he resumed, "Perhaps you can tell me, young lady, whether his
daughter is alive, and where she may be seen? The trifles which I have
brought from foreign countries, to mark my recollection of his goodness
to me, perhaps she may accept?"

"You are speaking to her," said Mary.

"My little presents are in this parcel," said Remmy. "They are relics
from the field of battle. These silver-mounted pistols were given to me
by a French officer, whose life I saved,--this Cross of the Legion of
Honor was hastily plucked from the bosom of one of his dead comrades,
after a fierce charge at Waterloo. Take them:--I destined them for your
father from the moment they became mine."

He placed the parcel in her hand.--One question would bring hope or
despair. He feared to ask it. He drew closer, and, as composedly as he
could, whispered into her ear, "Are you married?"

The blood flushed up into Mary's face. She drew back, for his
questioning vexed her, and she wished to get rid of the inquisitive
stranger. She handed him back the parcel, and said, "I hope, sir, that
you do not mean to annoy or insult me? If you do, there are those within
call who can soon release me from your intrusion. I cannot retain the
presents which a mere stranger tells me were intended for my poor
father.--And, if I must answer your last question, I am _not_ married."

"Thank God!" was Carroll's earnest and involuntary exclamation.

People may talk as they please of the quick-sightedness of love. Mary
certainly had little of it, for she did _not_ recognize her lover, and,
turning round, prepared to return home. Carroll gently detained her, by
placing his hand upon her arm.

"I pray your pardon," said he, "but I may not have an opportunity of
again speaking to you, and I have a word to say about a person whom you
once knew, but have probably forgotten. There was a poor, worthless
young man, named Carroll, in this neighborhood a few years ago. He was a
weak creature, fool enough to love the very ground on which you trod,
and vain enough to think that you were not quite indifferent to him."

"I do not know," said Mary, with a flushed cheek, and flashing eyes,
"why you should continue to intrude your presence and your conversation
when you see that both are unpleasant to me. I do not know why you
should ask me questions which a sense of common decency would have
avoided. If I answer you now, it is that my silence may not appear to
sanction imputations upon one over whom, I fear, the grave has
closed--whom, be he alive or dead, it was no dishonor to have known and
have regarded. I did know this Carroll whom you name, but cannot imagine
how you, a stranger, can have learnt that I did. It was his misfortune
to have been poor, but he never was worthless, nor could have been."

"One word more," exclaimed Remmy, "but one more word. Remmy Carroll, so
long believed to have been dead, is alive and in health--after many
sufferings he returns home, poor as when he left it, rich in nothing but
an honest name. He comes back, a disabled soldier, and he dare not ask
whether, beautiful and wealthy as you are, you are the Mary Mahony of
other years, and love him still?"

Mary looked at him with intent anxiety. The color which emotion had sent
into her face paled, and then rushed back in a quickened life-tide,
mantling her very forehead. Even then she had not recognized her lover!

"If he be indeed returned," said she, in a voice so low that Remmy did
not know whether the words were addressed to him, or were the mere
impulse of her thought, involuntarily framed into utterance, "and if he
be the same in heart--the same frank and honest mind--the same true and
loving spirit--the same in his contempt of all that is bad, and his
reverence for whatever is good--his poverty is nothing, for _I_ have
wealth; and if his health be broken, I yet may soothe the pain I may not
cure. Tell me," said she, and the words came forth, this time, freely
spoken, as if she had determined to be satisfied and to act, "tell me,
you who seem to know him, though your description wrongs him, where has
Remmy Carroll been during all these long years? Why did he leave us? Why
did he not write to relieve the anxiety of those who cared for him?
Where is he now?"

What was the response? Softly and suddenly an arm wound itself around
that graceful form, warmly and lovingly fell a shower of kisses on the
coral beauty of those luxuriant lips.

Was she not angry--fiercely indignant? Did not her outraged feelings
manifest their anger? Was not her maidenly modesty in arms at the
liberty thus taken, and by a stranger? _This_ was the crowning
misconduct--did she not reprove it?

No! for, in tones which thrilled through her loving heart, Remmy Carroll
whispered "Mary!--my own, true, dear Mary!" In the struggle (for Mary
_did_ struggle at first) which immediately preceded these words, the
large cloak and the hat fell off, and then she recognized the forehead
and the eyes--then she knew him whom she had loved so well, and
mourned so long--then she threw her arms around his neck, in the very
abandonment of affection and delight--then she clung close and yet
closer to him, as if they never more must part--then, remembering how
she was yielding to the warm impulses of her nature, she hid her burning
face in his bosom, and then, when he embraced her again and again, she
could not find words to protest against the gentle deed.

Then, arm in arm, they walked into the house, and there Remmy's aged
relative, whose condition and sufferings had been so much improved and
alleviated by the kindness and bounty of Mary Mahony--simply because she
was Remmy's relative--was made happy by the presence of him over whom
she had shed so many bitter tears. Perhaps her happiness was augmented
by perceiving on what excellent terms the heiress and he were--perhaps
her eyes filled with pleasant tears, when Mary Mahony whispered into her
ear "Minny, he will stay with us now, forever, and will never leave us."
Perhaps, too, the whisper was not unheard by Remmy--and it would be a
difficult point to decide whether or not it were intended to reach _his_
ear, as well as Minny's. And then, all that both had to learn. There was
so much to be told on both sides. All that Carroll cared to know was
this--that he loved, and that his love was warmly returned. A thousand
times, that evening, and forever, did Mary exclaim against herself for
not having recognized him immediately, and a thousand times smilingly
aver, that, from his changed appearance and studied efforts at
concealment, the recognition was all but impossible. And then they sat
together, hand clasped in hand, eyes looking into eyes, until an hour
far into the night, talking of old times and present happiness, and
future hopes. And they spoke, too, of the good old man who had passed
away, in the fulness of years, into the far and better land. Old
memories were revived, brightened by new hopes. Oh, how happy they were!
it was the very luxury of love--the concentrated spirit of passion,
purified by suffering, and tried by absence--the repayment, in one brief
hour, for years of doubt, pain, and sorrow.

At last came the time to part; but with it came the certainty of a
speedy meeting. The next day, and day after day, until that arrived when
holiest rites made them man and wife, Remmy Carroll was to be found by
the side of his beloved Mary Mahony; and soon, when the news of his
return were noised about, crowds came to see him, and far and near was
spread the announcement that a wedding was on the _tapis_. General was
the surprise--general, too, the satisfaction, for the young people were
universal favorites, and time and circumstances had removed the
principal objections which even the worldly-minded might have raised to
the union of Mr. Bartle Mahony's daughter and heiress to one who, a few
years before, had occupied a position in society so much beneath her. It
was universally conceded that, in every sense, the match was extremely
suitable and proper; but Remmy and Mary did not require popular opinion
to sanctify their attachment. They were all in all to each other.

It is not to be supposed that Mary Mahony was allowed to continue
ignorant of the vicissitudes through which Remmy Carroll had passed. He
told his story, and

     "She gave him for his tale a world of sighs."

It may be expected that of this tale some notice be here given. But, in
very truth, those who look for a romantic elucidation of the mysterious
disappearance, and prolonged absence, and unexpected return of Remmy
Carroll, will be greatly disappointed. The main incidents were simple
enough, and here they are.

It may be remembered that Remmy had acted as escort to Minahan, on their
return from that wedding at which the Piper had made his last
professional appearance. He had found some difficulty in piloting his
companion along the high road from Rathcormac to Fermoy; and, indeed,
when they reached the mountain, Minahan, in a fit of drunken obstinacy,
_would_ throw himself upon the heathy sward, where, in a few minutes,
he was fast in the gentle bonds of sleep. Remmy Carroll, having
accompanied him so far, did not like to leave him, and sat down beside
him to watch for his awakening, with the purpose, also, of seeing that
he fell into no mischief. But, after a time, from the combined
influences of the fresh air, want of rest, and what he had partaken at
the wedding, Remmy found himself quite unable to keep his eyes open. He
was conscious that sleep was creeping over him, and so, taking off his
pipes, for fear that he might injure them by lying upon them, he
carefully placed them upon the grass, beside him, and resigned himself
to slumber.

On awaking, he found--to his excessive amazement--that he was lying "on
the sunny side of a baggage-cart," with his head reposing on the lap of
a soldier's wife. In reply to his inquiries, he was recommended to take
it coolly, and, at any rate, not to make any noise until they reached
Glanmire, about four miles from Cork, to which city he was informed that
he was bound. "When the cavalcade of baggage-carts and soldiers reached
Glanmire, he was summarily acquainted with the novel information that he
had been duly enlisted as a recruit, and his informant--a
fierce-looking, hook-nosed, loud-voiced martinet of a Sergeant--asked
him to put his hand into his pocket, and _that_ would satisfy him that
he had regularly and irrevocably become attached to the military
service of "his Most Gracious Majesty King George the Third."
Accordingly, Remmy did as he was desired, and in the pocket as aforesaid
found a bright shilling, which certainly had not been there on the
previous night--more particularly, as tenpenny pieces were the current
coin in Ireland at the period. To Remmy's possession of the solitary
shilling, among a little handful of tenpenny and fivepenny pieces (the
sum-total realized by his performance at the wedding), the modern
Sergeant Kite triumphantly appealed in proof that he had been regularly
enlisted. It is needless to observe that, of this transaction, Remmy
Carroll--albeit the person chiefly concerned--had not the slightest
recollection. He appealed to one of the officers, and was told that, if
the Sergeant said he was enlisted, there could be no doubt of the fact,
and that his Majesty was fortunate in having obtained such a promising
recruit, as the regiment was on the eve of embarkation. His
remonstrances, and denials, and appeals, were in vain. The significant
hint was added, that death was the punishment usually awarded for
desertion. So, making a virtue of necessity--the more so, as he
perceived that he was so strongly and suspiciously watched that flight
would have been useless--he had no alternative but to proceed to Cork
with the regiment, as cheerfully as he could, and, in despite of
himself, as it were, was duly attested, magistrates not being very
particular in those days. To all his assertions, that he had not the
slightest recollection of having been enlisted, the reply was that, if
he could procure a substitute, they did not require his company--but to
do this was impossible.

In a few days, the regiment embarked for the Peninsula, and his friend,
the Sergeant, told him on the voyage, as an excellent joke, in what
manner they had trepanned him--namely, that, as the regiment was passing
by the mountain, early in the morning, en route for embarkation, one of
the officers who rode above the highway (for the road is literally cut
out of and into the hill) had noticed Remmy and Minahan asleep, and had
remarked what an admirable soldier the former would make; Minahan, it
seems, was thought nothing of, being, like Othello, "declined into the
vale of years." The remark was taken as a hint, and Remmy was removed,
even as he was, fast asleep, to one of the baggage-carts, with the least
possible delay. The details of the transaction had been executed by the
Sergeant, who chuckled over this narrative, piquing himself not a little
on the dexterity of the trick.

Carroll was unable to write to Mary Mahony, on account of what had
befallen him, being afraid of his letter falling into other hands than
her own. He did write to Minahan, in the hope that, in that circuitous
way, Mary might obtain a knowledge of his misadventure. The letter, if
ever posted, never came to hand, and thus, for more than six weary
years, Mary Mahony in particular, with the inhabitants of Fermoy in
general, was profoundly ignorant of Remmy's fate.

It was fortunate that Remmy was of that easy temperament which takes the
world as it finds it, readily accommodates itself to circumstances, and
wisely acts on the sensible aphorism, "what can't be cured must be
endured." While he bitterly lamented his enforced absence from the girl
of his heart--just at the crisis, too, when he learned that he occupied
an enviable position in her affections--he knew that all the regrets in
the world would not bring him one furlong nearer to her. He determined
to make the best of his situation. In a short time he even came to like
it. Good conduct, good temper, and his ability to read and write, soon
recommended him to his superiors, and obtained his promotion to the rank
of Sergeant. In this capacity, he contrived to save a sum of money,
which, in former years, he would have considered quite a treasure, and
which, at any rate, was sufficiently large as to warrant its possessor
against the imputation of fortune-hunting, should he return to Ireland,
find Mary Mahony unmarried, and pay his addresses to her.

When the short peace of 1814 was made, the regiment in which Remmy
served returned to England, and Remmy made application for his
discharge, and would have purchased it if he could not procure it by
other means. But immediately came the renewal of war, by the return of
Napoleon from Elba, and Remmy's regiment was one of the first to return
to the Continent. In the battle of Waterloo, Remmy received a severe
wound in the left arm, which rendered amputation necessary, after
prolonged and painful sufferings. At length, he was able to return to
England, with a handsome gratuity for his wound, and a respectable
pension, which, with what he had already picked up "in the wars," really
made him quite a man of independent means. His plea of poverty had been
only a _ruse_ to try the strength of the maiden's affection. But, in her
eyes, of much greater value than his hoard or his pension was a
testimonial of courage and character given him by his Colonel, and
especially countersigned by the Duke of Wellington, who had personally
noticed his conduct during the six years he had been in the service.
Great pride, be sure, had Carroll in handing over this precious document
to Mary Mahony. Many tears did she shed over the vicissitudes which had
earned it--but tears _will_ flow from bright eyes, when there is a
handsome lover at hand to kiss them off.

The wedding followed, in due course. _Such_ a wedding! that of Camacho
was a fool to it. Mr. and Mrs. Carroll, it is true, violated the usage
of Irish society (of their rank of life) by quitting the farm, on a
honeymoon excursion, shortly after Father Barry had united them "for
better, for worse," as it was fully expected that, according to the
immemorial custom among the extensive class which embraces all ranks
from the wealthy farmer to the poor peasant, the bride and bridegroom
should have presided at the nuptial feast, opened the post-prandial
festivities by leading off the dance, and finally gone through the
loosening the bride's garters, and be followed by the ceremonial of her
"throwing the stocking." But, except during the performance of the
nuptial service, the company at Carrigabrick farm saw little, on that
day of days, of either Remmy Carroll or his fair and faithful
helpmate. Enough, however, for the gay bachelors to admire the beauty
(now bright with happiness) of the bride, while the Waterloo medal and
the Waterloo wound of our hero won him favor in the eyes and from the
lips of all the womankind who were "on their promotion." Despite the
speedy flight of "the happy couple," the rites of hospitality were duly
celebrated in their homestead, and, indeed, a general holiday was kept
in the neighborhood. The warmth of Irish hearts had its effervescence on
that occasion, and it wished an infinity of joy to Remmy Carroll and his

About this time, Minahan's character for veracity fell into disrepute,
it being pretty clear that Remmy Carroll was anything but a
petrifaction--at least Mary Mahony's testimony would go a great way to
disprove _that_ imputation. But there ever are people who will
manfully maintain the superiority of the ideal over the real, and a few
of these, vegetating at Fermoy, used to shake their heads when Remmy
Carroll walked by, and, having said, all along, that, beyond all doubt,
some supernatural agency had removed our hero, think themselves somewhat
aggrieved in the unromantic commonplace explanation of his enforced
absence. To the hour of his death, Minahan was ready to say or swear
that _he_ had told no more than the truth--or an equivalent for the
truth--and was wont to appeal, when in his cups (which was whenever he
had anything to put into them), to Carroll's good fortune in proof of
the advantageous influence of fairy favor. He had a few
semi-converts--who believed that Remmy Carroll was as much petrified as
Phil Connor. Indeed, without any very remarkable development of the
organ of marvellousness, I think so too.

It but remains to add that, in due season, Mr. and Mrs. Carroll returned
to their farm. Remmy never more played the pipes save for his own
amusement (as the Marquis of Carrabas' cat caught mice), and he and his
wife lived happily together, after their many trials. One of their
family is settled in the State of New York, and doing well.



    A mournful wail, all sad and low, like the murmur which the breeze
    On an Autumnal eve might make among the sere-leaved trees,--
    Then a rapt silence, soul subdued; a listening silence there,
    With earnest supplicating eyes, and hand-clasped hush of prayer.
    Talk not of grief, till thou hast seen the tears which warriors shed,
    Where the chief who led them on to fame lies almost of the Dead;
    Where the eagle eye is dim and dull, and the eagle spirit cold;
    Where fitfully and feebly throbs the heart which was so bold,--
    Thou might'st have fancied grief like this, if ever it were thine,
    To hear a minstrel sing the deeds of the valiant Geraldine.


    Where is that gallant name unknown? wherever Valour shone,
    Wherever mightiest chiefs were named, the Geraldine was one;
    Wherever Erin's banner waved, the Geraldine was there,
    Winning honour from his prince's praise, and favor from the fair,--
    But now his course is closing, for his final hour has come,
    And, like a peaceful peasant, 'tis his hap to die at home.
    The priest hath been to shrive him, and the leech hath been to tend,
    And the old man, with a Christian heart, prepared to meet his end:
    "It is God's will, the Abbot says, that, unlike to all my line,
    I should die, not on the battle-field," said the gallant Geraldine.


    Within his tent the warrior lay, by his side his children three;
    There was Thomas, with the haughty brow, the Lord of Offaley;
    There was gentle Ina, wedded to proud Desmond's gallant son;
    There was Richard, he the youngest born and best belovéd one.
    Lord Thomas near his father stood, fair Ina wept apace,
    Young Richard by the couch knelt down and hid his pale, sad face;
    He would not that the common eye should gaze upon his woe,
    Nor that how very much he mourned, his dying sire should know;--
    But the old man said, "My youngest born, the deepest grief is thine,"
    And then the pent-up tears rained fast on the face of Geraldine.


    "Lead out my steed--the Arab barb, which lately, in Almaine,
    I won in single combat, from a Moorish lord of Spain,--
    And bring my faulchion hither, with its waved Damascene blade,
    In temper true, and sharpness keen as ever armourer made.
    Thou seest, my son, this faulchion keen, that war-horse from the plain,
    Thou hearest thy father's voice, which none may ever hear again;
    Thou art destined for the altar, for the service of the Lord,
    But if thy spirit earthward tend, take thou the steed and sword.
    Ill doth it hap, when human thoughts jostle with thoughts divine,
    Steel armour, better than the stole, befits a Geraldine!"


    "My father, thou hast truly said:--this soaring spirit swells
    Beyond those dreary living tombs--yon dark monastic cells.
    The cold in heart and weak in hand may seek their pious gloom,
    And mourn, too late, the hapless vow which cast them such a doom:
    Give me the flashing faulchion and the fiery steed of war--
    The shout--the blow--the onset quick where serried thousands are.
    Thine eldest-born may claim and take thy lordships and thy land,
    I ask no more than that bold steed, this good sword in my hand,
    To win the fame that warriors win, and haply to entwine,
    In other lands, some honours new round the name of Geraldine."


    Flashed then into the Chieftain's eyes the light of other days,
    And the pressure of the old man's hand spoke more than words of praise:
    "So let it be, my youngest-born! thine be a warrior's life,
    And may God safely speed thee through thy coming deeds of strife.
    Take knighthood from thy father's sword, before his course be run,--
    Be valiant, fortunate, and true; acquit thee as my son!
    My harper here?--ere life depart, strike me some warlike strain;
    Some song of my own battle-field I would hear once more again:
    Unfurl the silken Sunburst[6] in the noontide's golden shine,
    In death, even as in pride of life, let it wave o'er Geraldine!"

     [6] "The Sunburst," says Moore, "was the fanciful name given by the
     ancient Irish to the royal banner."


    The banner fluttered in the breeze, the harper's strain went on,
    A song it was of mighty deeds by the dying Chieftain done.
    At first he listened calmly,--the strain grew bold and strong,--
    Like things of life within his heart did Memory's quick thoughts throng:
    Louder and stronger swelled the strain, like a river in its course;
    From his couch the Chieftain started,--"To horse!" he cried, "to horse!"
    And proudly, like a warrior, waved his sword above his head:
    One onward step--one gurgling gasp--and the Chief is of the Dead!
    The harper changed his strain to grief: the Coronach was thine,
    Who died, as thou hadst lived, a Man, oh mighty Geraldine!




The year 1822 was remarkable for being what in Ireland was called "A
Whiteboy Year." Rents were only paid by compulsion. Tithes were not paid
at all. Wages were low. The price of food was high. The middleman system
had been on the increase, year after year, until the land and people
were crushed under it. The priests from the altar, and O'Connell, from
the tribune and through the press, earnestly argued the masses _not_ to
rebel, no matter how great the aggravation, how intense the despair, and
the advice had great weight in most instances. Many causes combined to
render the peasantry ripe for revolt.--As, on one side, there were not
wanting men able and willing to act as leaders in any popular movement;
so, on the other, there was no lack of Government spies to fan the
flame, to cajole the peasantry into breaches of the law, and to betray
those whom they thus had duped.

The discontented and disaffected were principally concentrated in my
native county of Limerick. From time to time, the military force in that
county had been augmented, until, at the particular period in question
(1822), there were several regiments of infantry, and at least one of
cavalry, on harassing duty. What between still-hunting (for the
manufacture of mountain-dew was then in full operation) and man-hunting,
the military had full occupation day and night. Various pretexts were
used, also, to weary the military, by putting them upon a false scent,
every now and then, so that the service was particularly severe and
fatiguing. Added to the military array was the Constabulary force,
introduced by the late Sir Robert (then Mr.) Peel, while Secretary for
Ireland, the members of which, after his name, have obtained the
_sobriquet_ of "Peelers." An active and efficient body of men these
Peelers were, and are, although the force, from its original
establishment, has been unpopular in Ireland--probably owing to its very
activity and efficiency. Be this as it may, it is undeniable that while
the bulk of the Irish people, of all classes, cordially have fraternized
with the soldiery, they have ever manifested a strong dislike to the
police. This unfriendly feeling, too, has sometimes been fostered by
many who, from their station, might be expected to entertain gratitude,
and exercise courtesy, towards these protectors of their lives and

Whiteboyism continued to increase, notwithstanding the strong military
and police force poured into the district. Detachments of infantry were
quartered in almost every hamlet--the cavalry, called "here, there, and
everywhere," upon true and false alarms, were dreadfully overworked. At
last, as a necessary matter of protection, two or three Peelers were
quartered in almost every respectable country house in certain disturbed
baronies. The whole county was in a dreadful state of alarm, excitement,
and activity. The newspapers, of course, were filled with reports and
rumors of all kinds, and the Whiteboy doings in the South of Ireland had
even the honor of being spoken of, in no very complimentary terms, in
both Houses of Parliament.

These Whiteboy movements, although not confined to one part of the
county Limerick, were remarked as chiefly occurring on that side which
is bordered by the county Cork. In a little time, they might be said to
radiate from a particular district, spreading into what, from its
extent, has been called "The Yorkshire of Ireland." As they increased,
more troops were called in, to subdue insurrection and enforce order.
All this was in vain. A regular guerilla warfare began to prevail,
chiefly for the purpose of obtaining the arms of the military and

It became no uncommon event for a sentry, at a country station, to be
quietly picked out by the steady hand and sure aim of a Whiteboy--the
shot which gave his death being at once the sole announcement and fatal
evidence of the tragic deed. The service thus became so desperate that
there arose an evident reluctance, on the part of the military, to
continue on such alarming and perilous duty. Desertions became frequent.
On the other hand, the police doggedly did their duty. Of a much higher
grade than the ordinary rank and file of the army--for no man was
allowed to enter or remain in the force without an excellent character
and a certain degree of education--they had a high estimate of their
duty, and a stubborn determination to perform it. They knew, also, that
the peasantry hated them, and that even the thankless gentry, whom they
protected, did not bear any affectionate regard for them.

The Rifle Brigade was on duty, in the disturbed district, at the time
which I have mentioned. The officer in command was Major Eeles, an
English port-drinking officer of the old school, who had fixed his own
quarters at The Grove (near Ballingarry,) formerly the seat of Colonel
Odell, the member for the county, and remarkable as being the father of
about twenty sons, by one wife. The most fatiguing and unpleasant office
which the soldiers had to perform was that of night-patrolling. The laws
of that time were harsh--indeed, like all other Coercion Acts, they had
been expressly framed to put down the disturbances--and provided that
the mere fact of a man's being found out of his house, between sunrise
and sunset, should be punishable with seven years' transportation. This
severe enactment put a great check, of course, upon nocturnal predatory
gatherings, but many an innocent man suffered from the harshness of the
law. A strong feeling of hostility arose against the Rifle corps, for
their activity in apprehending the suspected. This was greatly augmented
by what, under any circumstances, might be considered an "untoward
event." One of the peasantry had been met on the high road after dark,
and challenged by the patrol. Not giving a satisfactory answer, his
instant apprehension was ordered by the officer in command. Attempting
to escape, he was in the act of jumping across a deep drain which
divided the high-road from the bog, when a sergeant drew a pistol from
his belt and shot him on the spot.

The unfortunate man was _not_ a Whiteboy. On the contrary, he had
steadily resisted the solicitations of many neighbours who were. He had
seen better days, and had received rather a good education. Knowing the
peril of joining the illegal combinations, and daring the danger of
being considered lukewarm in what was called "the cause of his country,"
he had kept himself aloof from proceedings, which he did not approve of,
but scorned to betray. His family had been subjected, for months past,
to the severe privations which poverty causes everywhere, but
particularly in Ireland. His wife had been extremely ill, and on her
sudden change for the worse, his affection had naturally got the worse
of his personal fear, and he had ventured out, after dusk, to solicit
the aid of the nearest dispensary doctor, when, challenged by the
military, he sought safety in flight, and had met with his untimely fate
as I have described.

Those who know anything of the peculiar customs of the South of Ireland,
must be aware that the peasantry have especial delight in doing honor to
the dead. To celebrate a "wake" is, with them, a social duty. They
usually take that mode of testifying, in a merry mood, their grief for
the departed. The unfortunate victim of military impetuosity was carried
to the nearest public-house on the way-side, and when it was related how
he had lost his life, "curses not loud, but deep," most unequivocally
indicated the popular feeling that he was a murdered man. Nor was this
feeling mitigated by the "justifiable homicide" verdict of the Coroner's

Entertaining such opinions, it was not likely that his relatives and
friends would solicit as a favor, at the hands of his slayers, "leave to
keep the wake." They did not ask it. Perhaps they had little fear that,
in the present instance, their ancient and time-honoured custom would be
interfered with. Accordingly, they _took_ leave, and a numerous
concourse of the people assembled, after dusk, on the day of the
inquest, in the cabin of the deceased.

To one who loved the picturesque, the scene would have been interesting,
for it contained all variety of countenance, costume, and manner. But it
possessed an intenser and far deeper interest for him who had studied
the human heart, its passionate throes, its indignant feelings, its wild
energies, its strong convulsions, its lacerated affections. There lay
the corpse, a crucifix at its head and twelve mould candles on a table
at its feet. By the bedside knelt the widow--actually, by an unnatural
excitement, rendered temporarily convalescent by the sharp fact that she
had lost the husband of her heart. By the corpse, on the opposite side,
sat their only child, a lad of few years, apparently unconscious of the
extent of the calamity which thus early had orphaned him. A professional
Keener (like the "hired wailing women" of Scripture) was ranged on
either side of the deceased, awaiting a full audience for the similated
grief, and now and then muttering fragments of their intended Lament.
Around the humble apartment--for the peasant's cabin consisted of only a
single room--were ranges of stools, three deep, and here and there were
deal tables, on which were placed tobacco-pipes, and "the materials" for
the refreshment and enjoyment which, by a strange contrast with the
awful occasion which called them together, were considered
indispensable. Such a thing as a _dry_ Wake would indeed have been an
anomaly, there and then.

The friends of the dead man dropped in stealthily, and at intervals--for
there was some uncertainty whether the military would permit such an
assemblage. Before long the room was crowded, all fear of being
interfered with gradually vanished, and the party, albeit assembled on a
melancholy occasion, soon glided into conversation, smoking, and drink.

There was no merriment, however, for the circumstances under which they
met forbade it--so early in the night. Their conversation was in a
hushed tone. The comparative stillness every now and then became
positive when they noticed the voiceless sorrow of the poor widow, as,
pale and emaciated by suffering of mind and body, she knelt by the dead,
holding his clay-cold hand, and, her eyes fixed upon his comely face,
now pallid with the hue of mortality, and placid in repose as that of a
sleeping infant. At intervals, there rose the melancholy and eloquent
wail of the Keeners' wild poetry, in the native language of the
auditors, deeply impassioned, and full of the breathing indignation
which stirs men's minds to such a pitch of excitement that they come
forth from the listening fitted for almost any deed of daring.

The Keen told how the dead man had won the hearts of all who knew
him--how he had excelled his companions in the sports of youth and the
athletic exercises of manhood--how, at pattern, fair, or dance, he
still maintained his superiority--how his was the open heart and liberal
hand--how he had won his first love, the pride of their native village,
and married her--how, when a shadow fell upon their fortunes, that loved
one lightened, by sharing, the burthen, the struggle, and the
grief--how, amid the desolation, her gentle smile ever made a soft
sunshine in their home--how, a victim without a crime, he had fallen in
the noon of life--how there remained his young boy to remember, and, it
might be, one day to avenge his murder--how every man who was present
would protect and sustain the widow and the orphan of him whom they had
loved so well--and how, come it soon or late, a day would arrive when
expiation must be made for the foul deed which had sent an innocent man
to an untimely grave.

As the chief Keener chanted this Lament, in the expressive and
figurative language of their native Ireland, the hearts of her auditory
throbbed with deep and varying emotions--sorrow swelled into the deeper
sense of injury--wild indignation flushed the cheek of manhood--and hand
was clasped in hand with a fierce pressure, in well-understood pledge of
sorrow for the dead, hatred for his slayers, and stern resolve of

About ten o'clock, the door slowly opened, and a tall man, apparelled in
the loose great-coat, or _coat-ca-more_, which forms the principal dress
of the peasantry in that district, stood for some minutes on the
threshold, an interested but unobserved spectator. When he was
perceived, many rose to offer him a seat, which he declined, and soon
all voices joined in a common cry of "Welcome, Captain! A thousand and a
hundred thousand welcomes!"

The stranger returned the salutation cordially and briefly, and advanced
gravely and slowly to where the dead man lay. He gazed upon the face for
some time, and then, laying his hand on that cold, pallid brow, said, in
a tone of deep, concentrated feeling,--"Farewell, John Sheehan! Yours
has been a hard fate, but better than remains for us--to be hunted down,
like wild beasts, and sent, after the mockery of a trial, from the homes
of our fathers, to a far-off land, where even the slavery they doom us
to is better than the troubled life we linger in, from which caprice or
cruelty may hurry us in a moment. Farewell, then; but, by the bright
Heaven above us, and the green fields around, I swear to know no rest
until bitter vengeance be taken for this most wanton and barbarous

His cheek flushed--his eyes flashed--his frame trembled with strong
emotion as he sternly made this vow, and, when he ceased to speak, a
deep "Amen" was murmured all around by the eager-eyed men, who hung upon
his slightest word with as trusting and entire a faith as ever did the
followers of the Veiled Prophet upon the mystic revelations which
promised them glory upon earth, and eternal happiness in heaven! The
widow, roused from the abstraction of grief by this solemn and striking
incident, looked the thanks which she then had not voice to utter. When
the Stranger laid his hand on the orphan's head, and said: "He shall be
my care, and as I deal by him may God deal by me!" her long-repressed
tears gushed forth, in a strong hysteric agony, which was not subdued
until her child was placed within her earnest embrace, and kissed again
and again--with the widowed mother's solacing thought, there yet
remained one for whom to live.

Turning from the corpse, the Stranger took his seat among the humble but
loving people in that lowly cabin. He was of large mould, with a bold,
quick glance, and an air of intelligence superior to his apparent
station. It was singular that his appearance among them, while it
ardently awakened their respectful attention, had chilled and checked
the company. After a pause, one of them ventured to hint that the first
allowance of liquor had been drank out, so that "there did not remain an
eggshellful to drink the health of the Captain." There was a murmur of
applause at the remark. Thus encouraged, another ventured to suggest
that a fresh supply be provided, at the general expense of the
company--the gallantry of the men excepting the fair sex from any share
in the payment. The necessary amount was speedily collected, and a
supply of whiskey (which had not condescended to acknowledge the
reigning dynasty by any contribution to the excise duties) was procured
from the next _shebeen_--an unlicensed dépôt for the sale of "mountain
dew,"--and placed upon the table.

The stranger, who had appeared quite unobservant of this proceeding, and
who--on the principle that "silence gives consent"--had even been
supposed rather to sanction than condemn it, suddenly interrupted the
hilarious arrangements thus commenced. He started up and exclaimed--"Is
it thus, and always thus, that I am to find you?--the slaves and victims
of your besotted senses. Is there anything to be done? I look for the
man to do it, and find him sunk in drunkenness. Is a secret to be
kept?--it is blabbed on the highway, to the ruin of a good cause, by the
man who suffers drink to steal away his reason. When I lie down to
sleep, I can dream of ruin only, for this subtle devil can tempt the
truest into a traitor. And now, with the hour of triumph at hand--the
rich hope of vengeance near fulfilment--there is not a man among you,
bound to me as you are, heart and hand, soul and body, who would not
surrender the victory and the vengeance, if he were only allowed to
drink on until he had reduced himself to a level with the senseless
brute. Give me that liquor."

His command was instantly obeyed, for he had rare ascendancy over the
minds of those who acknowledged him as their leader. Dashing the
vessel violently on the hard earthen floor, he broke it, and every drop
of its contents--the "fire-water" of the American aborigines--was
spilled. "There," he cried, "who serves with me, must obey me. When a
deed is to be done, I _will_ have obedience. When the deed is
done--drink, if you will, and when you will. But when service is to be
performed, you _shall_ be sober."

Not a syllable of dissent--not a murmur of discontent fell from the lips
of those who heard him. Not a gesture--not a look--indicated anger at
what he had done.

"Mark me, my lads," he added. "I have arranged all beyond the chance of
defeat. I have contrived to turn the main strength of the soldiers on a
wrong scent four miles on the other side of Charleville. I have laid my
plans so that we cannot be disappointed, except through some fault of
our own. Let us on to Churchtown Barracks. The sergeant, by whose rash
and ready hand our friend has died, remains there with a handful of his
comrades. He was sent thither to escape us. Fools! as if, for those who
have a wrong to avenge, any spot can be too remote. Let us seize him,
and give him the doom he gave the innocent. If they resist, we can fire
the barracks, and burn them in their nest. But they will never be so mad
as to offer resistance to such a force as ours, when we tell that we
want only that one man. If they do--their blood be upon their own
heads. Who joins me? Who will follow to the cry of 'On to Churchtown?'
Now is the long-desired hour of revenge. Will any lag behind?"

Every man present repeated the cry--"On to Churchtown!" Some of the
women also joined in it.

The Whiteboys and their leader left the cabin. An ancient crone, almost
a reputed witch, and certainly known to be by far the oldest woman in
the district, hobbled after them as far as the door, and threw her shoe
after them--"for luck!"

Many a "God speed them" was breathed after that company of avengers by
young and fair women. What Lord Bacon has called "the wild justice of
revenge," and what America recognizes in the unseen but omnipotent
incarnation of Judge Lynch, was necessarily the rule of action when
injured Right took arms against tyrannic Might. Is it surprising that
such should be the case? If wrongdoers cannot always be rewarded, "each
according unto his works," within and by the law, why should not their
impunity be broken down by the rational sense of justice which abides in
the minds of men?

Forth on their mission, therefore, did the Whiteboys speed. Hurrying
across the bog, they reached a farm which was almost isolated amid the
black waste from which it had been indifferently reclaimed. They drew
muskets, pistols, and pikes from the turf-rick in which they had
been concealed. Some of them brought old swords, and scythe-blades
attached to pike-handles (very formidable weapons in the hands of
strong, angry men), from hiding-places in the bog itself. Stealthily,
and across by paths unknown to and inaccessible to the military, that
wild gang, "with whom Revenge was virtue," pushed forward for the attack
on Churchtown Barracks.



Stealthily and in silence the Whiteboys proceeded to the scene of
intended operation. Not a word was spoken--not a sound heard, except the
noise of their footsteps whenever they got on the high road. As much as
possible they avoided the highway, the course which would the soonest
bring them to the appointed place. It would seem as if their leader had
bound them together, by some spell peculiarly their own, to yield
implicit and unquestioned obedience to his imperious will. It strongly
illustrated the aphorism--

    "Those who think must govern those who toil."

Whoever knows how lively and mercurial is the natural temperament of
the peasantry in the South of Ireland, must be aware of the difficulty
of restraining them from loud-voiced talking in the open air; but now
not one of that large and excited gathering spoke above his breath.
Their leader commanded them to be silent, and to them his will was law.

Who was that leader? The question involves some mystery which it may be
as well to unveil before proceeding with the action of this narrative.

Who, and whence was that leader? His birth would have secured him a
"respectable" station in society, if his wild passions, and the strong
pressure of Circumstance (that unspiritual god), had not so far

    "Profaned his spirit, sank his brow,"

that the ambition which, under better auspices, might have soared to the
highest aims, was now directed no farther than to establish an unstable
dominion over a few wild, uncultivated peasants, who, like fire and
water, might be excellent servants, but with any opportunity of
domination would probably prove tyrannic masters. He who would rule the
rude peasantry of Ireland, must make up his mind to be governed by them
in turn, whenever _his_ wishes and aims and actions fall short of
_theirs_. They will go with him while his desires and designs run
together with their own, but they will speedily leave him behind, or
force him with them, if they find him less eager than themselves. Even
under the regular discipline of the army the same may be observed. In
battle an Irish regiment cannot, or rather will not, understand any
order to retreat. They repudiate all strategy which even _appears_ to
withdraw them from

    "The triumph and the vanity,
    The rapture of the strife,"

and show, by the gallant impetuosity with which they plunge into the
attack, that their proper action is assault. If so under the harsh
restrictions of military discipline, what must it be when freed from
that coercion?

The leader of the Whiteboys in 1822--the veritable CAPTAIN ROCK, whom I
have introduced at the Wake of the slain John Sheehan--was no common
man. His birth had been respectable, his education good, his fortune had
been ample, his mind was affluent in varied and vigorous resources; he
had formerly won favor and fame from the world's opinion, and few men in
any country could compete with him in the personal advantages which
spring from manly beauty of form and feature, activity of body, and a
strength of frame which literally defied fatigue and over-exertion.

The father of John Cussen was "a gentleman of independent fortune," in
Irish parlance; that is, had succeeded to a pretty good estate, and
would have been in easy, if not affluent circumstances, could he have
realized any thing like the nominal amount of his rent-roll. But there
were two difficulties, at least. Irish estates have had a fatal facility
in becoming subjected to such things as mortgages, which relentlessly
absorb certain annual amounts in the shape of interest, and Irish
tenants have been apt to cherish the idea that they perform their duty
towards society in general, and themselves in particular, by paying as
little rent as possible. Still, though Mr. Cussen's property had
gradually come under the pressure of these two causes, it yielded an
income sufficient for his moderate wants. His children had died, one by
one, in the very bloom and promise of their youth, until, out of a
numerous family, only one son survived.

This youth, possessing a mind more active and aspirations more ambitious
than most of his class, disdained the ordinary routine of every-day
life. It was not difficult to persuade his father to permit him to go
into the world--the military and naval service, from its danger, being
the only profession which that doting parent positively forbade him to
think of. The lad, after wavering for some time, determined to become a
surgeon, and proceeded to pursue his studies in Dublin.

It would be tedious to narrate into what a circle of extravagance, while
thus engaged, the young man became gradually involved; it would be
painful to trace his downward lapse from folly to vice. Sufficient
to say that, by the time he received his diploma as a surgeon (having
passed his examinations with unexpected and even distinguished success),
he had contrived to involve himself so deeply that his paternal property
had to be additionally mortgaged to relieve him from heavy involvements.
His father, who might have repudiated the creditors' claims, admitted
them, without a murmur. Eager to snatch him from the haunts and the
society by which he had embarrassed his means and injured his health,
and looking on the military service as a good school of discipline, even
if it were not free from peril, his father overcame all personal
scruples, forgave the past, and looking hopefully at the future,
successfully employed his influence to obtain for him an appointment as
surgeon to one of the regiments which, just then, had been ordered to
Belgium, as the re-appearance of Napoleon, and his triumphant progress
from Elba to Paris--his eagle "flying from steeple to steeple until it
alighted on the tower of Notre Dame"--had awakened the fears and enmity
of Europe, bringing once more into action

                                    "All quality,
    Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war."

It was John Cussen's fortune to reach the scene of warfare in time to
witness the deadly struggle at Waterloo. But it was his hap, also, to do
more than witness it. He performed an act of heroism on the field,
which not only gained him high and merited praise, but had powerful
influence upon his future prospects.

Military discipline very properly provides that the surgeons of a
regiment shall not take part in any engagement on the field. The lives
of so many may depend upon the skill of even a single surgeon that it
would be inconvenient, to say the best of it, if, when his aid were
promptly required, during an encounter, it were found that he had
allowed his ardor to carry him into the actual peril of the strife.

Cussen was sufficiently near to witness the greater part of the contest
on the day of Waterloo. It was not without difficulty that his quick
Irish spirit could control the almost overwhelming desire to plunge into
the middle of the contest--which, on that day, had more single
encounters than any since Poictiers and Agincourt. As he stood outside a
tent which had been placed for the use of the medical staff, in the rear
of the British position, he observed an English officer, on an
unmanageable charger (bearing him along with an impetuous speed, which,
having received a severe wound in the bridle-arm, he could neither
control nor check), followed by a French cuirassier, who had nearly
overtaken him. Another moment and the uplifted sabre would have struck
the helpless man to the ground. Cussen rushed forward, literally tore
the Frenchman from his saddle, by main strength, and, wresting the
sword from his hand, gave him a death-wound. Quick as thought, turning
from the fallen foe and bounding forward with an agility which he had
acquired on his native hills, Cussen followed the swift horse, and
succeeded, by a strong and overmastering grasp, in checking its speed.
In its rider, he recognized his own Colonel, whose life he had thus
doubly saved, and received a grateful assurance that his service should
not be forgotten.

Having dressed the Colonel's wounds, Cussen resumed his position in the
rear.--But inaction was terrible to one whose spirit had been awakened
to the excitement before him--for "quiet to quick bosoms is a bane."
Nearer and nearer became his involuntary approach to that part of the
place in which the contest was hotly proceeding. At last, unable any
longer to resist the passionate impulse, he mounted on one of the many
war-steeds which were wildly galloping over the battle-field, caught the
eye of the officer whom he had rescued, rushed forward to join the
_mêlée_, and bravely fought side by side with him, when the "Up, Guards,
and at them!" of Wellington urged on the soldiers to that last terrific
charge which shook the imperial diadem from the brow of the first

A gallant deed, even though it violate the strict rules of military
discipline, is not considered a very heinous offence by any commander.
So, while his Colonel hailed John Cussen as preserver, the brief lapse
of duty as a surgeon was forgiven, in consideration of his chivalry as a



The war ended. Napoleon fell. St. Helena received the imperial exile. On
this lonely rock, far out in the Atlantic, the chained Prometheus
suffered a punishment worse than death--Sir Hudson Lowe being the
vulture which continually struck, to prey upon, his heart.

The conclusion of the war influenced the fortunes of others besides its
greatest victim. The battalion in which Cussen had served was reduced,
and, with many others, his occupation was gone. While yet uncertain what
course to pursue, he received an invitation from his late Colonel, very
urgently pressing him to visit the veteran at his country seat in
Hampshire; and thither he proceeded.

Cussen, it may here be stated, was what old crones (who are good judges
of such things, knowing "a hawk from a hernshaw") would simply and
expressively describe as "a very personable man." He was in the spring
of early manhood. He had the advantage, whatever _that_ might be, of
gentle blood; he had received a good education; he had distinguished
himself in the greatest battle of the age; above all, he had saved the
life of the gallant officer whose guest he was. What wonder, therefore,
if, before he had been quite a month at Walton Hall, the bright eyes of
Miss Walton beamed yet more brightly when they met his admiring glances.

The lady was young--not decidedly lovely, perhaps, but that most
charming of all charming creatures, a thoroughly English beauty. She
might not immediately dazzle, but she was sure always to delight. It was
impossible to see and not admire her. Besides, she had been largely
endowed with intellect by bounteous nature, and had also been well
educated, carefully rather than brilliantly. With an undeniable dash of
romance in her character, she was so pure in heart and thought, that the
very novelty of _such_ purity threw such a spell of enchantment upon the
fevered passion of John Cussen, that literally, for the first time in
his life, his soul was subdued into a tenderness which contrasted
strangely, but not unpleasantly, with the wild tumults--rather of sense
than soul--which, in former days, he had been wont to dignify with the
name of Love.

When he ascertained such to be the state of his own feelings, he became
very anxious to learn whether Alice Walton was affected in like manner.
Her impressions appeared to be very much as he desired, for, kissing
that fair cheek, which

    "Blushed at the praise of its own loveliness,"

and whispering hope to her anxious ear, he proceeded to explain to her
father all that he felt--to solicit his sanction for the love which, but
just confessed to each other, had suddenly been matured by that
confession into a passion at once deep and ardent.

Alice Walton was an only child. What other result, then, can be
anticipated than the usual one--the favorable reception of the avowal
made by Cussen? Affection raises few difficulties where the happiness of
the beloved is felt to be deeply involved. It is questionable whether,
on that evening, a happier group could have been found anywhere within
the limits of "merry England." The old soldier, pleased with the
opportunity of keeping his gallant preserver with him while also
securing the happiness of his daughter;--the young man exulting in his
conquest, proud of the personal and mental endowments of his lady-love,
and firmly resolving never to give her any cause to repent having
yielded to the trusting affection which her guileless nature had formed
for him;--the maiden herself, with the daydream of love making an almost
visible atmosphere of joy around her heart, softly yielded to glad and
genial anticipations of a happy future. Well is it that Woman's heart
can thus luxuriate in imagination, for, in many cases, the romance of
their love is far brighter than the reality ever proves to be.

Some arrangements which were to be made respecting his family property,
and a natural desire personally to communicate his favorable prospects
to his father, required that Cussen, now an accepted suitor, should
proceed to Ireland for a short time.

Imagine the parting. The endearing caresses--the gentle beseechings for
full and frequent letters--the soft promises as to faithful
remembrances--the whispers of that mutual affection upon which a few
brief months would put the seal--and the "Farewell," which, though dewed
with tears, had not very much of real sorrow in it, so sweetly did it
realize the expressive lines of the poet, of the parting, though sad,

    "Brought the hope that the morrow
    Would bring back the blest hour of meeting again!"

Cussen arrived in Ireland just in time to see his father die, and to
learn that old involvements, and the early extravagance in which himself
had rioted, had reduced their estate to a nominal income. The greater
part of its produce had been swallowed up by interest payable to the
mortgagees, who, from time to time, had advanced money on the property.
In this dilemma, Cussen did, from impulse, what, had he acted simply on
calculation only, would have been the very best thing for him. Without
loss of time, he frankly communicated with Colonel Walton on this
unpromising condition and aspect of his affairs and prospects--assured
him that, when he sued for his daughter's hand, he had not the least
idea that he was so near the condition of a ruined man--that his father,
when discharging the liabilities in which his early extravagance had
involved him, had never breathed a syllable of the price at which they
were to be swept away--that, almost beggared as he now was, he felt
himself, in a worldly point of view, anything but a match for Alice--and
that, while, with a breaking heart, he absolved her from the tender vows
which she had made, he still cherished a hope that even yet, pass a few
years, he might be able to achieve a position, by the exercise of his
talents, which, once again, would permit him, on a more equal footing
than at present, to solicit a renewal of their betrothal. The Colonel
was brief and decisive. He thanked Cussen for his frank and honourable
conduct, assuring him that Alice, as well as himself, fully appreciated
his motives; declared that for his daughter's sake, as well as his own,
he was unwilling to relinquish the intended alliance with his preserver
and friend; and liberally gave the kindest promises of such full and
immediate assistance as would speedily relieve the estate from its
encumbrances--should it indeed be thought expedient to retain it, the
reversion of the invaluable Walton Hall property inalienably belonging
to Alice.

Before, by the fulfilment of this promise, Cussen's brighter prospects
could be realized, "the tenth wave of human misery swept" over his
heart. There came a sad reverse. I am acquainted with all the details,
but they are too melancholy to be related here. Let it be sufficient to
say that Alice Walton and her father met with a sudden and tragic doom.
By an accident, the origin of which was suspected, but never
ascertained, their residence was consumed by fire--father and daughter
perishing in the flames. The estate passed, in due course of law, to the
next of kin, with whom Cussen had no acquaintance, and upon whom he had
no claim. In due course of law, also, the mortgages on Cussen's own
property were foreclosed. He was a ruined man.

The cup of misery overflowed. Very bitter did Cussen find the draught.
Hopes blighted--the golden promise of his young manhood wholly
destroyed--station utterly lost--Poverty with her feet upon his
hearthstone--all that made the value of life swept away at once. Amid
the maddening whirl of such contending emotions as this desolation
caused, no wonder if even his strong mind and large frame bowed beneath
the shock.

Months passed by, and bodily health was in a measure restored. But the
mind did not recover its elastic spring. Sunk in the torpor of despair,
John Cussen was a broken man. Then came the reaction, after a time, and
then he awoke to the sad reality of life. Better far had he continued
unconscious or despairing. He might have been miserable, but he would
have been unstained by guilt. Gradually, he found a Lethe for his sad
thoughts, by passing "the Rubicon of the cup." At first, while this was
being done in secret, the neighboring gentry made many efforts to
arrange his affairs, liberate him from his more pressing pecuniary
involvements, and give him the opportunity of realizing an adequate
income by the practice of his profession. Each proffered kindness was
rejected. He sat, another Timon, with his household gods shivered around

This could not long continue--for man cannot live without society. By
degrees Cussen returned to the haunts and the companionship of man. Had
he kept within the pale of his own class, perhaps all might still have
been well. But a change had passed over and darkened his mind. He
fancied that scorn sat upon the lip and glanced from the eye of every
one more wealthy than himself, and thus Pride guided the arrow which
Poverty barbed. He shunned the society of those to whom, in all save
wealth, he had been equal, at the very least, and he found a consolation
in the company of those who, remembering his birth (and in no place is
that memory so well retained as in Ireland), would have considered him
as their superior, even if, like them, he had to till the earth for a
bare subsistence. Thus, by a slow but certain process of deterioration,
John Cussen--once the pride of the order of fashion and wealth in his
native country--gradually became the associate of the ignorant and
excitable peasantry.

Mixing with these poor people,--then, as ever, dissatisfied with their
condition, and eagerly anxious for any change which seemed to promise
better days and brighter fortunes,--Cussen soon became thoroughly
identified with their feelings. Hating oppression, believing that the
peasantry were greatly wronged by absentee landlords, oppressive
middlemen, and an exacting "Church as by law established," he allowed
himself to be seduced into the secret and illegal association of the
Whiteboys. The homage which they paid to his birth and education, gave
him more satisfaction than, at first, he ventured to own, even to
himself. His pride was soothed by finding himself yet looked up to by
any class. The energy of his character returned (in part), and assuming
strong and unquestioned command over the disaffected peasantry, he
became one of their most powerful leaders. Quick in mental resources,
superior in physical strength, his influence over his followers was very
great. Entire obedience was yielded to his commands, and (as in the
present instance, when he undertook to lead the attack upon Churchtown
Barracks) his presence was deemed sufficient to insure the success of
any enterprise, however daring. In all this, however, it is scarcely
doubtful that John Cussen's actions were those of a man whose mind had
lost its balance. Sorrow and suffering had touched his brain, and
perhaps _this_ was the vent which prevented actual insanity.

There was "method in his madness," however, for when he entered upon
this wild and secret career, he took care that the movements which he
personally guided should be remote from that part of the country in
which he was best known. He strictly forbade any of his troops to
indulge in drink, whenever their co-operation was required, and on all
expeditions which he personally led (chiefly for the purpose of
obtaining fire-arms from the houses of country gentlemen) he suited his
attire to that of his companions, and so complete was the disguise, that
none could recognize John Cussen as the dreaded Captain Rock, who
scattered terror wherever he moved.

The remarkable fidelity which the Irish peasantry make it at once a
matter of duty and pride to pay to their leaders against the law, was
Cussen's chief protection. His secret was well kept. None of the gentry
of the county had the slightest suspicion that Cussen, in whom many of
them still professed to take an interest, was in any way mixed up--far
less as a leader--with the Whiteboy movements which caused them so much

Such was John Cussen, whom we left leading a goodly company of
Whiteboys to the attack on Churchtown Barracks, a military position of
much strength and some importance.



The Whiteboys, and their leader, reached Churchtown Barracks about
midnight. All was silent when they arrived, except the measured step of
the sentinel. Darkness covered all things as with a pall. But Cussen
knew every inch of the ground, and the darkness, instead of being an
impediment, was rather auxiliary to his purpose. He posted his men in a
favorable position, and, within ten minutes of their arrival, everything
was ready, and every one fully instructed as to his particular line of
action, and was prepared for the manner of the attack.

Churchtown Barracks, in the centre of a very disturbed district, had
formerly been the residence of a private gentleman. When life and
property had become insecure, afraid of the doom of Major Going, he had
fled the country. Major Going, who had been not only agent to the great
Courtenay estates (Lord Devon's), but also a magistrate, had made
himself unpopular in both capacities. He _would_ have the rent duly
paid at the appointed day, and he sometimes went out of his way, from
excess of zeal, to show his vigilance as a dispenser of justice, under
the law. After many warnings, which only made him more exacting and more
severe, he was assassinated. His successor, a gentleman named Hoskins,
followed the same track--dignified by the name of "the path of
duty,"--and shared the same doom. Not without warning, for, weeks before
that doom was inflicted, he had heard even his own laborers chaunt the
Whiteboy doggerel--

    "Hoskins and Going
      Are nearly one,--
    Hoskins is GOING,
      And Going is GONE!"

The noon-day assassination of two such active magistrates, and the
increase of predial insurrection in the counties of Cork and Limerick,
so imperatively called for the allocation of a large and permanent
military force at places in or near the disturbed localities, that the
Irish Government gladly occupied Churchtown House, at a high rent, as
temporary barracks. For some months previous to the night when Cussen
and his men appeared before it, several companies of infantry, and two
troops of cavalry, had been stationed at Churchtown, whence, on the
requisition of a magistrate, detachments might be detailed for duty, in
more or less force, as circumstances might appear to require.

With the strategy of a clever leader, Cussen had contrived to render the
place comparatively defenceless, by having notices sent to the officer
left in command, that there was to be a midnight assemblage of Whiteboys
on the other side of Charleville, and that an attack, to obtain arms,
was to be made on a gentleman's residence not far beyond. A strong
detachment of infantry and cavalry was sent off, to arrest the midnight
conclave, and to defend the house which was to be the object of attack.

The notice which thus put the authorities on the _qui vive_ came from a
schoolmaster, who was deeply involved in the conspiracy of the
Whiteboys, and was also in the pay of Government, as a spy. He had
repeatedly given information to the military. It had been remarked,
however,--but more as a matter of curiosity than suspicion,--that while
they rarely gained anything but fatigue from sallies made at his
instigation, they never had been successful, but that outrages were
pretty sure to be committed, at the same time, in a quarter opposite to
that which he had suggested. In truth, he was a Whiteboy to the
backbone, and a traitor to the authorities who employed him. But, like
most of the peasantry of Limerick county, he was so very plausible in
manmer, stolid in countenance, and impenetrable in well-acted simplicity
of speech and act, that his fidelity was not distrusted by the
magistracy or the military. The police did not think well of him.

The military force at Churchtown was large enough to be under the
command of a Field Officer. On this occasion Major White, to whom that
responsible post had been intrusted, deemed the information sufficiently
important to place most of his men on active duty. There remained in the
barrack a few dragoons, a score of infantry, and one subaltern officer.

Hastily as Churchtown House had been converted into a military station,
care had been taken to make it assume something of a garrison
appearance. A stone wall had been erected all around the building,
inclosing sufficient space as a barrack-yard, in which the soldiers
might attend drill, and go through their exercises. This wall was
somewhat more than breast high. As there was a strong gate at each side,
the place was considered quite able to resist any Whiteboy attack. But,
indeed, such an act of daring had never been anticipated. Who could
dream that those who dreaded the lion's paw would voluntarily rush into
his mouth?

Having arranged his men for the attack, Cussen did not long keep them
inactive. He gave the word, and a volley of slugs rattled against the
barrack windows. The alarm was as immediate as the attack was sudden.
The soldiers hastily snatched up their arms, hurried to the windows to
observe whence came the assault, and were "picked out" by the quick
sight and sure aim of the assailants, so that some were wounded in their
very sleeping-rooms. Moving before the lights in those apartments, the
soldiers were palpable objects to the armed men outside.

In a few minutes, the soldiers were arranged in the barrack-yard,
startled at the unexpected peril, and ready for defence. At that
instant, while awaiting the orders of their officer, a second volley was
fired upon them, and with fatal effect. The young subaltern on
duty--bewildered by the suddenness and manner of this attack--"lost his
head," as the saying is, and hurriedly gave the order to "Fire!"
Becoming rather accustomed to the darkness, the soldiers fancied that
they saw their assailants outside, partly concealed behind the _front_
wall. Each soldier aiming at what he imagined to be the head of an
enemy, a straggling peal of musketry followed. The soldiers shouted, and
were about re-loading, when, with fatal precision, a third shower of
slugs and ball, from the Whiteboys, did tremendous execution among them.
The beleaguered soldiers even then had not ascertained from what quarter
destruction was thus fiercely poured in upon them.

Notwithstanding, they bore themselves gallantly. Men who had faced
death, in its worst form, on the field of battle, a few years before,
were not likely to quail before such foes as they knew must now be
before them. The suspense was worse than the reality, for their
ignorance of the number and position of their assailants, caused doubts
more dreadful than would have been the actual knowledge of an
ascertained peril.

With as little delay as possible, but still only at a venture, the
soldiers fired a second time. Their fire was immediately returned. By
this time, six soldiers were killed, and ten lay severely wounded on the
ground. Their officer--a gallant youth who had been at school six months
before--was shocked and surprised at seeing his men thus dropping around
him, taken in a trap, as it were, and shot at like so many marks.
Feeling that it was madness to remain in their exposed situation, and
anxious to give his men a chance for their lives, he ordered them to
throw open the gates, and sally out to meet their enemies face to face,
and die--if die they must--in a contest of man to man and hand to hand.

Accordingly, the much-thinned military array, literally

    "Few, and faint, but fearless still,"

divided itself--but the alarm and surprise were great when they found it
impossible to open either of the gates. In fact, aware that these gates
had been absurdly constructed and hung to open _out of_, instead of
_into_, the barrack-yard, and anticipating the attempt to pass through
them, Cussen had made one of his few preliminary preparations to
consist of the heaping huge masses of rock against them, so as to
prevent their being opened to allow egress to the besieged soldiers.

This disappointment drove the military to desperation. When another
volley from without struck down two more of them, the remnant of the
party were quite bewildered, and would have fled back into cover, on the
_sauve qui peut_ principle, if their officer, as a last resource, had
not ordered them to scale the walls, and boldly meet rather than
fearfully retreat from the imminent peril.

As with one impulse, rushing forward, they rapidly crossed the front
wall. Here was a new cause for wonder. They found that they had hitherto
been wasting their fire. Cussen, to baffle his opponents, had placed his
men behind each _side_ wall, while, as a decoy, he had made them put
their hats on that in _front_. Thus, while the fire of the Whiteboys was
masked, that of the military was thrown away upon the range of hats in
front, which were easily mistaken for men behind the parapet. It was a
clever strategy.

When the soldiers dashed over the barrack-wall, they discovered the
trick. The Whiteboys then rushed round from their concealment. A
struggle ensued. Both parties were highly infuriated--one with triumph,
the other with rage. The contest, though destructive, was not of many
minutes' continuance. Desperate as was the bravery of the soldiers, the
overpowering force and courage of their opponents were resistless. The
soldiers had no alternative but to demand quarter. At that word, Cussen
instantly gave orders that the contest should cease. Scarcely any of his
party had even been wounded, while, on the other side, the young officer
was the only one unharmed. The sergeant who had shot Sheehan (as related
in the first chapter) was mortally wounded, and lay in the barrack-yard,
writhing in agony.

By this time, the barrack had been set fire to, and the flames raged
fiercely. Dismayed, defeated, and surrounded by their opponents, the
soldiers were grouped together on one side. Some twenty or thirty
Whiteboys had gathered around the dying sergeant, watching his agonies
with fiendish joy. "In with him! in with him to the fire! Burn him--burn
the murderer alive!" were exclamations which burst from their lips, and
made the doomed man shudder as he heard. Cussen stood a little aloof
from all; one might have almost taken him for an unconcerned looker-on,
as he carelessly stood with his arms folded, a close-fitting skull-cap
of dark fur upon his head, and a narrow slip of crape concealing the
upper part of his face. When the Whiteboys seized the sergeant, with the
avowed intent of casting him into the flames, the young officer
addressed Cussen, and earnestly entreated him to prevent so dreadful a
deed. "My men have fallen," he said, "but I do not know why they were
attacked. For the love of heaven, do not allow this wretched man to
suffer such a death, in cold blood. Besides, he has a mortal wound. If
they want his death, a few hours, at the farthest, will gratify them. Do
not let him perish thus."

Cussen answered: "My men came here for revenge upon that man, and I can
scarcely prevent their taking it to the fullest. He deserves his death.
Blood for blood! When he shot an innocent, unoffending man, as if he
were a dog, he drew this vengeance on himself. Still, it need not be
pushed to the extremity they call for. A life for a life is all that can
reasonably be required. But--what cries are those?"

Turning round, he saw that the flames had now reached the stables in
which the horses of the dragoons were. The poor animals were driven
almost to madness by fear, and their dreadful cries came shrilly and
fearfully upon the ear, filling with awe the breasts of those wild men,
who, while human agony appealed in vain, shuddered at this painful
manifestation of deep suffering by the brute creation. Help was out of
the question, as the flames spread too rapidly for assistance to be
rendered. The poor animals were literally burned alive, amid the loudly
expressed pity of the beholders.

From this tragedy they turned to the wounded sergeant. He had breathed
his last while this scene had engaged their attention. They would not
be cheated out of their revenge. With a yell of triumph, they cast his
corpse into the flames, amid a thousand execrations.

They thus had accomplished their work. Cussen turned to the young
officer and said: "You are free; but you must pledge me your word that
if you have any personal knowledge of me, or think that you have, you
will never take advantage of it." This pledge the officer firmly
declined giving. Cussen paused for a few seconds, and replied that it
did not matter: he would draw off his men. Giving the word, they marched
off in good order--were soon out of sight, and the smoking ruins and
diminished force remained as evidence of that night's tale of ruin.



The news that Churchtown Barracks had been burned down, and the greater
portion of its military defenders killed, spread, like wildfire, through
all parts of the kingdom. Magisterial and military inquiries did no more
than ascertain the facts, but the persons remained undiscovered. Many
were arrested on suspicion, but the actual perpetrators escaped. The
policy used was to collect them from distant points, so that domiciliary
visits from the patrols and the police in the neighbourhood where the
outrage had been committed found the peasantry within their own
habitations. Thus suspicion was diverted and detection almost
impossible--except by treachery.

Viewed through the magnifying glass of public rumor, the affair at
Churchtown appeared very great. In the dearth of more interesting
intelligence, it was such an event as the wonder-workers of the Press
delighted to snatch up as an especial theme for record and remark. The
London newspapers especially gloated over it. Day after day their
columns were filled with "important particulars of the massacre at
Churchtown, where the Irish rebels, in overpowering numbers, killed a
regiment of infantry and two troops of cavalry, burned the barracks to
the ground, and barbarously threw the soldiers' wives and children into
the flames, in which they were all consumed by the devouring element."
The affray was repeatedly mentioned in Parliament, where the changes
rung upon it produced quite a _variorum_ edition of horrors.

The Executive offered large rewards for such information as might lead
to the apprehension and conviction of the offenders. Though the required
knowledge was scattered among hundreds of the peasantry--hunger-stricken
men, who often wanted even salt to their potatoes--not one was found to
enrich himself by the "blood-money." Two descriptions of persons are
held in utter hatred and contempt in Ireland;--the man who, for lucre,
turns from the ancient faith of his fathers, and he who becomes a "stag"
(informer) to save his own neck, or gain the wages of treachery. Of the
two, the informer is considered more harshly than the apostate, who may
repent, and in the fulness of time return (even on his death-bed) to the
faith he has forsaken; but once that a man becomes a traitor to his
colleagues, he does what cannot be undone by any contrition, and may be
punished, but cannot be atoned for by Death. It is a strange condition
of society, lamented by O'Connell, Sheil, and others, that, in any
cases, while the Irish peasantry would pity, and even shield the
murderer, (finding or making excuses for his crime,) they will not,
they cannot pardon or excuse the informer.

Up to this time, Cussen had escaped suspicion of any participation in
the Whiteboy proceedings. Latterly, whether from distaste for the low
companionship into which he had fallen, or from a desire to elude
suspicion, he had made a point of frequenting society of a better order.
On one of these occasions, while he was spending the evening at the
house of Mr. F. Drew, Drewscourt, near Charleville,(in which, by the
way, the writer of these Sketches was born,) the affair of Churchtown
became a subject of conversation. Cussen took no part in the dialogue,
but when all had retired, except Mr. Drew--a very shrewd but eccentric
man--he spoke freely upon the subject, and having drank rather more than
was good for him, got thrown off his guard so much as, in the excitement
of the moment, to give a minute account of everything which had passed
on the memorable night in question. With fearful energy he narrated all
the details, and at the close, when he told how the mutilated body of
the sergeant had been cast into the flames,

    "Even in his glance, the gladiator spoke."

The impression which his statement and his manner made upon his listener
was (as Frank Drew told me afterwards) that Cussen must have been a
principal in the frightful scenes which he so vividly described, or
must have had his information direct from an eye-witness and
participant. As the communication had been unguardedly made, and was
protected by the seal of that confidence which exists between guest and
host, the suspicion never found words until after it was too late to
harm Cussen.

The Churchtown insurgents remained undetected. Emboldened by success,
Cussen determined to make a bold attempt to obtain arms. His followers
strongly urged him to obtain fire-arms by attacks on the houses of
country gentlemen who were known to have provided themselves with large
means of defence.

Castletown Conyers (about three miles from Drewscourt) was the country
mansion of a gentleman of large property, not far from the boundary of
Limerick county. Mr. Conyers, an old gentleman whose loyalty and fears
were on a par, was living, when the predial disturbances broke out, in a
remote part of the county, and, having incontinently taken fright, had
applied to the Government for protection, and had a corporal and six of
the Rifle Brigade quartered in his house as a defensive force. Thus
garrisoned, the place might be considered a stronghold;--for, in
addition to the military force, Mr. Conyers had procured two or three
cases of Birmingham fowling-pieces, a few kegs of powder, a large bag of
flints (this was before the general use of percussion caps), and a
hundred weight of sheet lead, to be cast into bullets.

This formidable supply of arms and ammunition had reached Castletown
under strong military escort from Limerick, and report spoke of it as
even more considerable than it really was. With these munitions of war,
and the soldiers and the servants of the house, Castletown was one of
the most formidable places the Whiteboys could have thought of
attacking. Yet, with that characteristic, but calculating boldness,
which gave him eminence with his followers,

    "For those who THINK must rule o'er those who TOIL,"

Cussen determined to invest this fortilage. The arms and ammunition were
what he wanted, for no one could harbor enmity against the owner of
Castletown, a harmless, neutral character, whose house was open to the
poor; while his wife, a matron of the olden school (she was half-sister
to Sir John Fitzgerald, now M. P. for Clare), was beloved throughout the
district, for her kindness and charity.

Cussen well knew that his party, numerous but badly armed, would have
but small chance of success in an ordinary attack upon Castletown, well
defended as it was. He determined to win by strategy what he could
scarcely gain by force. He usually preferred such exploits as could be
achieved rather by mental ingenuity than mere physical effect. To figure
as the contriver gratified him, and encouraged his followers' belief
that, no matter what the difficulty, his sagacity could bring it through
with success.

About a mile from Castletown, and yet more remote from other large
houses--for it was in a part of the country half-bog, half-mountain--was
Rossmore, the residence of Mr. John Shelton, owner of a considerable
property. Long confined to his chair by gout, which had deprived him of
the power of walking, he had not taken any part in the county
proceedings, as a magistrate. Nor, while other resident landlords were
soliciting assistance to protect their dwellings, had Mr. Shelton joined
in the entreaty. Isolated by habits and local situation, from the gentry
of the district, he believed that the Whiteboys would not obtrude on the
obscurity of one who felt that, as a good landlord, he did not deserve
ill at the hands of any one. Of his large family there were then
residing with him a son aged about eighteen, and two daughters some
years older. As Mr. Shelton was my own uncle, I can speak confidently as
to the details which I give.

About ten o'clock, on a fine evening in March, 1822, the peaceful
inhabitants of Rossmore House were disturbed by a Whiteboy visit. The
doors were speedily forced in, front and rear. The helpless
household offering no resistance, the intruders proceeded to make
themselves quite "at home." One division sat down in the servants' hall,
threw wood and turf on the fire, and commanded the trembling female
servants to cover the long table with provisions. Others ranged through
the adjacent apartments in search of arms. More loudly called out for
young Charles Shelton. The plan of Cussen was to take this lad to
Castletown a prisoner, and threaten to shoot him in sight of the
garrison there, unless all the arms and ammunition were given up. The
two families were on such friendly terms, besides being related, that
Cussen made sure of Mr. Conyers making any sacrifice rather than see his
neighbor's son killed. But, in very truth, (as I afterwards knew,)
whatever Mr. Conyers might have felt, the military force at Castletown
would rather have permitted the murder than part with the means of
defence--the catastrophe at Churchtown being in their minds.

Charles Shelton, who slept in an upper and remote apartment, did not
immediately hear the tumult below. His elder sister, Alicia, who had
high spirit and much self-possession, heard the clamour--readily
surmised the extreme danger of her brother--hastily arose, throwing a
shawl over her night dress--ran to her brother's room, the door of which
she locked, securing the key--and then went down boldly to face the
danger, if necessary.

While she stood near the door of the servants' hall, regarding what was
going on, but herself unseen, Cussen came in from the back-yard, having
kept aloof from the confusion until then. He was just in time. The
frightened servants, in compliance with loud demands for drink, had
placed the whiskey-jar upon the table. Knowing that success, and even
safety depended on such indulgence being abstained from, he broke the
jar with the fowling-piece he carried.

His men looked at each other, then at him, but his stern looks awed
them. One or two merely muttered a regret that "such prime stuff" should
be wasted.

Cussen then, as if anxious to avoid all chance of recognition, returned
to the back of the house. He wore a close-fitting skull-cap, with a slip
of crape in front, and could see whatever occurred. His followers were
more or less disguised, and all, except Cussen, had white shirts over
their garments--hence the name Whiteboy.

Perceiving the power of his leadership, Alicia Shelton determined not to
waste words or time in entreaties on the men, but to appeal at once to
Cussen. She managed to leave the house without being noticed--found
Cussen outside, leaning on his fowling-piece, in a thoughtful and
abstracted mood. To throw herself on her knees before him--to implore
him for the love of Heaven to save her brother's life--was the
impulsive action of a moment. He turned away, not even looking upon her,
and then--the present peril giving her new energy and courage--she
seized him by the coat-skirt and earnestly said, "You want to take my
brother to Castletown. There they will see him torn to pieces before
they will surrender their arms. You must know that it will be an idle
attempt. Then, in their disappointment, your men will kill him. Save
him--save my brother, if you have a human heart. I know that you will do
it, and I will bless you if you do."

She sank on the ground before him. He felt that she was speaking the
truth. Besides, he was moved by her entreaty. Raising her from the
ground, he said, in a kind and soothing manner, "Lady! I am afraid that
we must have your brother's company, but no harm shall reach him with my

Her convulsive grasp still held him. Striving to extricate himself, he
got into the moonlight, and then, for the first time, he had a view of
her features. She was very handsome; and now, with her dark hair
dishevelled, her eager glance, her graceful attitude, her earnest tone,
her light attire, she looked a Pythoness.

Cussen gazed long and anxiously on the still kneeling suppliant. Some
old memory may have passed through his mind in that brief space--a wave
in life's vast ocean. Perhaps some resemblance of form, feature, or
voice brought back a glimpse of bygone days of happiness and love. There
still was something tender in that troubled heart. He passed his hands
across his eyes, as if he would clear them from a mist, and then with a
gentle courtesy, as if they were in a ball-room, raised Miss Shelton
from the ground.

"Lady," said he, "whatever I can do to aid you, I will do. They have not
yet found your brother. If he be concealed, keep him so, and I will make
some pretext to draw off my men. They must have whatever arms are in the
house; but they shall be content with that."

Miss Shelton would have expressed her warm gratitude, but Cussen did not
wait to be thanked. He turned away then. While she yet lingered, with
clasped hands to heaven, he suddenly returned, politely raised his cap
from his head for a moment, took one of her hands in his, pressed his
lips to it, with the gallant air of a cavalier, and then withdrew.
Almost before Alicia Shelton had regained her own apartments, Cussen had
given his men the word to retire. He led them into the belief that the
military and police were approaching, and this made them hastily retreat
and disperse, taking with them all the arms in the house except a small
pair of pistols which Captain Shelton had picked up and brought away
with him from Waterloo. They are now in my own possession.

Before Miss Shelton had risen from her earnest thanksgiving for her
brother's safety, Captain Rock and his force had departed. She then
ventured into her father's room, from whence his bodily ailments did not
allow him to move, and was happy to learn that he had not heard the
tumult which had prevailed in the more distant part of the house. Thus
terminated a night of terror.



Much alarm was created, through the county of Limerick, by the attack
upon Mr. Shelton of Rossmore. The neighbouring gentry argued from it,
and not without cause, that if a gentleman whose advanced years and
bodily ailments had kept him aloof from the actual exercise of his
magisterial functions, were thus singled out, there was little hope for
escape for those who had made themselves marked men, by determined and
acknowledged resistance to and denunciation of the Whiteboys
Accordingly, zeal being now quickened by fear for personal safety, it
was resolved that neither trouble nor expense be spared to discover the
persons implicated in this last affair. Many circumstances tended to
establish a conviction that the leader of the Whiteboys must be some one
greatly superior to those whom he commanded. The brief conversation
which had been held with the officer at Churchtown, and Miss Shelton at
Rossmore, almost proved that one and the same person had commanded on
both occasions,--that he was a man of education and gentle bearing,--and
that it was necessary, above all, if the insurrectionary conspiracy was
to be put down, to strike at him, its life and soul.

Weeks passed by, and though many were suspected, and several taken into
custody by the police, no clue to the discovery of the veritable Captain
Rock was yet discovered. At last, one of the persons apprehended on
suspicion--faint-hearted as a weak woman, and far less faithful--let
fall some words which first excited suspicion against John Cussen. No
notice appeared to be taken of them at the time, but the prisoner, who
was kept in solitary confinement for some time, was gradually worked
upon by promises of large payment in the event of the conviction of the
actual leader of the Whiteboys. He vacillated between cupidity and fear
of his own personal safety. At last, he _stagged_--that is, he gave
some information, on the solemn promise that his having done so should
never transpire, that he should not be required to give any evidence in
public, and that he should immediately be conveyed out of the country
for safety.

At first, the magistrates hesitated to believe that John Cussen could be
concerned in the outrages which had spread alarm far and near, and
directed particular inquiries to be made respecting his habits, way of
living, haunts, occupation, and companions. They ascertained, from this
scrutiny and espial, the fact of his frequent absences from home at
night; they obtained proof of his having been seen, within the
prohibited hours, in remote places where outrages had been committed;
and the conviction came upon their minds that Cussen, and none other,
was the much-dreaded and long-concealed Captain Rock.

Orders were given to arrest him, and also to search his house. Among his
papers were found some documents which could scarcely have been in
possession of any but a leader of the disaffected. They were
insufficient of themselves, however, to fix him as such.

The police and the military, charged with the warrant to arrest Cussen,
received strict injunctions to avoid unnecessary violence. It was
anticipated, from his determined character and great personal strength,
that he would resist any attempt to make him a prisoner. Contrary to
expectation, he surrendered himself without struggle or hesitation. He
was found sitting tête-à-tête with old Frank Drew, at Drew's Court,--the
same to whom he had spoken so freely about the particulars of the attack
on Churchtown Barracks,--and when he heard the measured tread of the
military, as they came up the avenue, he paused in his conversation, and
exclaimed, "They have come for me."

In custody his deportment, equally devoid of effrontery and fear, was
apparently that of an innocent man, and impressed very many with the
idea that he was unjustly suspected. The magistrates, who knew better,
but were compelled to conceal the source of their information, even
incurred some blame, from public opinion, for having apprehended and
detained him.

The difficulty was--how to prove that John Cussen was identical with
Captain Rock. In accordance with his compact with the authorities, the
craven who had given the clue had been quietly shipped off to England.
The most liberal offers were secretly made, on the part of the
Government, to induce some of the other prisoners to turn king's
evidence, but without avail. They knew, one and all, what share Cussen's
had been in the Whiteboy movements; but they were fully aware, also,
that to appear in evidence against him would, in effect, be equivalent
to the signing of their own death-warrant. They continued faithful to
him--and from higher motives, perhaps, than that of personal fear. For
he was a man who possessed the power of winning hearts, and there were
many--very many of his followers, who had become so warmly attached to
him that they would have laid down their own lives to protect his from

It was believed that Miss Shelton, if she was so minded, could have
recognized his figure, his features, and the very tone of his voice. She
was strongly urged to do so, in order "to promote the ends of justice;"
but, grateful for the service which he had rendered to her brother, and
remembering his personal courtesy to herself, she invariably declined
doing so, and, to avoid all compulsion or persuasion in the matter, was
secretly preparing to pay a visit to her elder sister, who had married
an English gentleman, and resided at Bath. On her repeated refusal to
assist the Crown, it was determined that, by means of a stratagem, she
should be trepanned into identifying him.

Accordingly, Major Eeles, Captain Johnstone, and another officer of the
Rifle Brigade, made a morning-call at Rossmore, and, as if by accident,
asked Miss Shelton and her sister whether they would not like to see the
barrack at Ballingarry, which they had repeatedly promised to visit. A
party of six or seven was made up on the instant. The horses were
ordered out, and very soon the party reached the barrack, in which
Cussen was detained until his final removal to the county-prison of
Limerick. That such a person was there, was unknown to all the visitors.
Accompanied by some of the officers' wives, whom they knew, the ladies
from Rossmore entered the room occupied by Cussen, heavily ironed and
closely guarded. As they were passing through it, Cussen was purposely
provoked, by one of his guards, to speak loudly--angrily, indeed--to
some taunting remark. Alicia Shelton, recognizing the peculiar and
unforgotten tone, seized her sister's arm, with a sudden impulse, and
exclaimed--"It is the very man!" and would have fallen, but for support
immediately rendered.

Cussen started at her exclamation, looked at her, "more in sorrow than
in anger," rose from his chair, raised his hat, and courteously saluted
the party. Miss Shelton, who avoided a second glance at him, restrained
her feelings, and did not again open her lips; but what she had
involuntarily said, slight as it was, sealed his fate--and he knew it.
So did the officers who had planned the trick.

Government had directed that Cussen's trial should immediately take
place. This was before Alicia Shelton had been betrayed into a
recognition of the prisoner. She considered herself bound in honour not
to give evidence to the detriment of one who had conferred a signal
favour on herself. But, on the night of the attack, Cussen had also been
seen and heard by her younger sister, whose bed-room window overlooked
the back-yard, and who had witnessed the occurrence between them. Not
considering herself bound by any personal ties of gratitude, and
somewhat selfishly recollecting her own alarm rather than her brother's
secured safety, Susanna Shelton declared that, for her part, she had no
scruples in performing what she believed to be an act of justice to
society. In addition, two of Cussen's followers, to save their own necks
from the halter, promised, almost at the last moment, to turn king's
evidence--but as there was no certainty of their remaining in the same
mind, when put into the witness-box (or, rather, as it actually was,
upon the table in the Court), not much reliance was placed upon _them_.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Assizes being several months distant, it was resolved not to wait,
and a special Commission was sent down for the immediate trial of all
persons in custody under the Insurrection Act. At the same time, a
messenger from the Castle of Dublin arrived at Rossmore with a _subp[oe]na_
to enforce the attendance of Miss Shelton and her sister, as witnesses
on Cussen's trial, and they were taken away to Limerick, in a
post-chaise, escorted by a troop of dragoons. Apartments and all
suitable accommodation had been provided for them at Swinburne's--then
the principal hotel in "the fair city of the Violated Treaty."

The trial is not forgotten by those who were present. The court-house of
Limerick was crowded to the very roof. I am proud to say, as an
Irishman, that among that large audience, there was not even one female.
Irish propriety, by a conventional arrangement rather understood than
expressed, very properly prohibits the appearance of any of the fair sex
in a Court of Justice, except where necessarily present as a party, or
called upon as a witness. I write of what was the rule some thirty years
ago--matters may have changed since. On arraignment, Cussen pleaded "Not
Guilty." After a long, fatiguing, and nearly inaudible speech--from Mr.
Sergeant Goold--who had been eloquent, but, in his old age, had become
the greatest proser, for a small man, at the Irish Bar--the evidence was
gone into. The case had been skilfully got up, but, though no moral
doubt could exist as to the prisoner's participation, if not leadership,
in many Whiteboy offences, it may be doubted whether the proofs would
have sufficed for a conviction in ordinary times. The two informers, on
whose evidence much reliance had been placed, told their story volubly
enough, but when the usher's wand was handed to them, that they might
point at the prisoner in identification, each shook his head and
affected never before to have seen him.

Cussen's equanimity was undisturbed throughout the early part of the
trial. When Mr. Sergeant Goold, in stating the case, alluded to the
attack on Churchtown, the prisoner said that, in the copy of the
indictment with which he had been served, there was no charge against
him save for certain transactions alleged to have taken place at
Rossmore, and he desired to know whether it was purposed, or indeed
whether it was legal, to state a case or give evidence out of the
record? There was considerable sensation at this inquiry. The Judge
replied that Counsel ought to confine himself to the charge in the
indictment, and admitted that the prisoner had exercised no more than
his undoubted right in checking the introduction of irrelevant matter.
The Crown Counsel had only to bow and submit to the opinion and reproof
of the Judge. The prisoner appearing disposed to speak again, the Judge
asked whether he had any more to say? "Only this, my lord," said he,
"that if it be my _right_, as prisoner, to check the introduction of
irrelevant topics, having a tendency to prejudice me with the jury, it
surely was _your duty_, as Judge, to have done so--particularly as mine
is a case of life and death."

This was a well-merited reproof, given with a certain degree of dignity,
and (for the Judge was a man of enlarged mind) did no injury to Cussen.

When Miss Shelton appeared on the table, Cussen appeared startled, for
he had been given to understand that she had positively refused to
appear against him--indeed, it had been reported that she had even gone
to England to avoid it. Compelled to give her testimony, she detailed,
in the plain and forcible language of truth, under what circumstances
she had seen Cussen at Rossmore--what peril her brother had been
threatened with--what supplications she had made in his behalf--how
promptly the favour she had solicited had been granted--how kind the
prisoner's words and demeanour to herself had been. She took occasion to
add that her appearance as a witness was against her own desire. She was
then asked to turn round and say whether she then saw the person who had
acted as she had described. Not without great delay and
hesitation--urged, indeed, by an intimation of the personal consequences
of her contumacy--did she obey, but, at last, she did identify the
prisoner, saying, "That is the man who saved my brother's life, at my
entreaty, and stood between myself and outrage worse than death." Cussen
respectfully acknowledged her evident feeling in his favour by making
her a low bow as she went down.

Her sister, who was cast in a coarser mould of mind and body, exhibited
no scruples, but gave her evidence with an undisguised antipathy towards
the accused. The missing links, supplied by her testimony, made up a
strong chain of evidence which, every one felt, it would be difficult
for Cussen to beat down, in any manner. It was expected, almost as a
matter of course, that he would trust to proving, by an _alibi_, the
impossibility of his having been the person who was present on the
occasion referred to by the witness. Every one who saw him in the dock,
where his bearing was equally free from bravado and fear, anticipated
some very ingenious, if not successful defence. He very slightly
cross-examined the witnesses for the prosecution, and then only on
points which bore on his personal conduct. He declined availing himself
of the open assistance of counsel--though he had consulted eminent legal
authorities on various technical points, while in prison. But for the
place in which he stood, fenced in with iron spikes, and surrounded by
the police, one might have thought him merely interested, as a
spectator, in the circumstances evoked by the evidence, rather than one
whose life depended on the issue. Cool, deliberate, and self-possessed,
he entered on his defence.

It was of the briefest;--only a simple negation of the charge--a denial
that, even with all probability of its being true, there was legal
evidence of such a breach of the law as involved conviction and
punishment--a regret that his identity should have been mistaken by the
younger Miss Shelton, who, had he really been the person at Rossmore,
had never, even on her own showing, been so close to him as for her to
distinguish his features--an expression of gratitude to Alicia Shelton
for her evident disinclination to injure one who she believed had
treated her with kindness--a strong disclaimer of imputing wilful error
to _her_, though he considered her sister not free from censure for her
undisguised avidity in seizing upon every circumstance to convict him--a
reckless assertion that, come what might, he had outlived the desire of
existence, and was prepared for any fortune. Such was the substance of
his address, delivered in a manner equally free from bravado and dread.
He concluded by declaring that, already prejudged by public opinion (the
newspapers, from the first, having roundly proclaimed that he, and none
other, was or could be the true Captain Rock), and with the undue weight
given to slight and evidently prejudiced evidence, he felt that his
prospect of acquittal was small.

Mr. Sergeant Goold then arose to speak to the evidence for the Crown,
and was interrupted by Cussen, who asked the Judge whether, when no
evidence was called for the defence, the prisoner was not entitled, by
himself or counsel, to the last word to the jury? Mr. Sergeant Goold
answered that the Crown, in all cases, was entitled to the last speech,
and appealed to the Judge for confirmation of the assertion. Cussen
again addressed the Judge, and said that, in civil suits, the practice
was certainly not to allow the plaintiff the last speech when the
defendant did not call witnesses, for he had himself been a juryman, in
the other court, when such a circumstance had occurred. The Judge's
decision was that, if he pleased to insist upon it, the counsel for the
Crown might desire and exercise the right of speaking to the evidence,
even when, as in the present instance, the accused had called no
witnesses, nor even made a defence. But, his Lordship added, perhaps
under the circumstances, Mr. Sergeant Goold would not exercise the
right. Goold grumbled, and fidgeted, and muttered unintelligible
sentences about his duty, and finally, gathering up his papers, quitted
the Court in a huff, with the air of a person mightily offended.

The Judge then summed up the evidence, and charged the jury very
minutely--dwelling, more than was anticipated, on the remote probability
that the younger Miss Shelton might have been mistaken as to the
identity of the accused. But, said he, even if she were so situated that
recognition of his person were even impossible, there is the evidence of
her sister, given with a reluctance which was creditable to _her_
humanity, gratitude, and womanly feeling, which undoubtedly declared
that the prisoner in the dock, and none but he, was the leader in the
attack upon her father's house on the night named in the indictment.

The jury retired, and after a long deliberation, returned a verdict of
"Guilty." Perhaps, of all persons in the court, the prisoner was
apparently the least moved by this announcement. His cheek did not
blench, his lips quiver, nor his limbs tremble. He was called upon to
declare whether he had anything to say why the sentence of the law
should not be passed?

Cussen, drawing himself up to his full height, declared, in a sonorous
voice, which filled the Court, and in the same collected manner which
had characterized him during the whole trial, that nothing which he
could say was likely to mitigate the sharp sentence of the law. "I have
had a fair trial," said he, "as from the excited state of the country,
and the fears and feelings of the jury, I could reasonably expect. It is
evident, from the time they have spent in deliberating on their verdict,
that some of the jury, at least, had doubts in my favour. But," he
added, "I make no calculation upon that, for I am aware that you, my
lord, even while you comply with the formula of asking me whether I have
anything to say against my sentence, have no alternative but to
pronounce it. For my own part, I have faced death on the battle-field,
too often and too boldly, to dread it in any shape. And for the
ignominy, I hold with the French philosopher, whose writings your
lordship is familiar with, that it is the crime, and not the punishment,
which makes the shame. My lord, I stand, as it were, on the threshold of
another world. My path is already darkened by the fast-advancing
shadows of the grave. Hear me declare, then, that even if I were the
Captain Rock whom your jury declare me to be, my death, nor the death of
hundreds such as I am, cannot and will not put an end to disaffection
arising from laws oppressive in themselves, and rendered even more so by
being harshly and partially administered. The spirit of the people is
all but broken by long-continued and strong oppression. Between
middlemen and proctors they have been driven almost into despair.
Exactions, for rent and tithes, press increasingly upon them. Whatever
little property they may have possessed has gradually melted away. Their
cattle, under distraint for rent, crowd the pounds. Their miserable
cabins are destitute of fuel and food. They feel their wrongs, and have
united with the energy of despair to avenge them. Cease to oppress these
men, and the King will have no better subjects. So much for them. A
concluding word for myself. My lord, I have not called evidence, which I
might have done, to show that my general character is that of a man
indisposed towards bloodshed and cruelty. It may be too late to hear
them now--but for the sake of others I would stand before the world as
one who is not the blood-stained ruffian which the learned counsel for
the Crown has proclaimed me to be. I would tell _him_, were he here,
that whatever else I have done, I have never been publicly branded by
the Legislature as a liar. My lord, I have done."

This bold attack on Mr. Sergeant Goold, who, three years before, had
been publicly reprimanded by the House of Commons for having
prevaricated, when giving evidence before the Limerick Election
Committee, was received with applause.

The Judge intimated that he was ready to hear evidence as to Cussen's
character, on which several gentlemen of high standing in the county
came forward and bore testimony greatly in his favour. The sentence of
death was then pronounced, with the usual formalities.

But Cussen's hour was not at hand. A memorial to the Government, from
Alicia Shelton, strongly setting forth the humanity which the convict
had manifested towards herself, was immediately forwarded. With it went
a petition, signed by several who had been interested with Cussen's
conduct on the trial, and believed that to execute their leader was the
least likely way of conciliating the Whiteboys. In due course, the Judge
who had presided at the trial was called upon to state his opinion. It
was said that, viewing the case as it came out in the evidence, and
without touching on the suspicion or presumption that Cussen had been
guilty of other breaches of the law, the report of the Judge was
strongly in his favour. At all events, the Government complied with the
urgent solicitations in Cussen's behalf, and commuted the sentence of
death into transportation for life.

As Cussen had heard his death-doom without any apparent emotion, his
reception of the mitigation of punishment was wholly devoid of
exultation. He requested that the prison authorities would convey his
thanks to Alicia Shelton and the others who had interested themselves in
his favour.

It was said that an intimation was made to him, on the part of the
Executive, promising him a full pardon if he would give them a clue to
the Whiteboy organization, which they greatly desired to put down. It
was reported, also, that, in his reply, he declared himself incapable of
betraying any confidence which had been reposed in him,--that family
circumstances must prevent his desiring to remain in Ireland, on any
terms,--and he trusted there was a Future for every man who desired to
atone for the Past. This was the nearest approach he ever made to an
admission that he had been involved in the Whiteboy movements. The
"family circumstances" to which he alluded consisted of his having been
privately married to a Miss Fitzgibbon, with whom he lived so unhappily,
that even an enforced residence in New South Wales appeared a lesser
evil than to remain with her in Ireland.[7]

     [7] The friend who has given me this information respecting Mrs.
     Cussen, says that when she lived in Limerick, not long ago, her
     means appeared ample. Her father, who had been a rich
     cattle-dealer, grazier and farmer, near ----, had probably left her
     in easy circumstances. He was a Mr. Fitzgibbon, and very little
     indebted to education. He sent his daughter to a first-rate
     boarding-school, and permitted her, when grown to womanhood, to
     invite her former preceptor and a few more "genteels" to an evening
     party--the first ever given in his house. The young lady was
     somewhat affected, and, to show her education, used big words. Her
     father, who heard her say to the servant "Biddy, when the company
     depart, be sure and extinguish the candles," inquired what was the
     meaning of the word "extinguish." It means _to put out a thing_,
     said she. In the course of the evening the pigs got upon the lawn,
     which was overlooked by the drawing-room window, and made a
     terrible noise. Old Fitzgibbon, determined to be genteel among his
     daughter's fine guests, went to the head of the stairs, and loudly
     called out, "Biddy, go at once and extinguish the pigs from the
     front of the house!"

This, however, did not transpire until some time after he had quitted
the country.

He was transmitted to the convict-ship at Cove, on board of which the
narrator of this story, then a lad, had the curiosity to visit him. Of
course, no conversation arose as to the question of his guilt or
innocence. When Cussen learned that his youthful visitor was related to
Miss Shelton, he manifested some interest, inquired after her health,
begged she would accept his thanks for the favourable manner in which
she had given her evidence, and said that she had strongly reminded him
of a lady whom he had formerly known, and whose death had led to the
circumstances which had brought him to his present position.

The impression which remains on my mind, after the lapse of so many
years, is very much in favour both of Cussen's appearance and manners.
He was neatly dressed, and looked very unlike what might have been
anticipated--considering that he was the veritable Captain Rock. His
voice was low--"an excellent thing" in man as well as in woman. There
was no appearance of bravado in his manner. The two turnkeys from
Limerick jail, who were in charge of him, spoke very highly of his
gentle disposition and uniform civility. They declared, such was their
conviction of his truth, that if, at any time, he had desired to leave
them for a week, with a promise to return by a particular day and hour,
they were certain he would not break his parole.

On reaching Spike Island, he was attired in the convict costume,--and
the humiliating livery of crime appeared a great annoyance to him for a
day or two. After that, he showed no feeling upon the matter. The
"authorities" at Spike Island, who were much prejudiced against him, at
first, speedily came to treat him with as much kindness as their rough
nature and scanty opportunities permitted them to show.

Within three weeks of his conviction, John Cussen was _en route_ for
Botany Bay. During the voyage, a dangerous epidemic broke out among the
convicts and the crew. The surgeon of the ship was one of the first
victims. The commander, who had heard the report of the trial at
Limerick, recollected that one of the witnesses had stated how
gallantly Cussen had fought at Waterloo, when an army-surgeon, and asked
his prisoner whether he thought himself capable, in the existing
emergency, of taking medical charge of the ship. Cussen replied in the
affirmative, but positively declined doing anything so long as he wore
the convict-dress. His desire being complied with, he was released from
his irons, intrusted with the care of the sick, and succeeded in
mitigating their sufferings by the remedies he applied. The disease was
checked, so that the mortality was much less than was expected, and this
favourable result was mainly attributable to Cussen's skill. On arriving
in New South Wales, this was so favourably represented to the
authorities, that a ticket of leave was immediately given to him.
Proceeding up the country, he took a small sheepwalk, and was getting
on prosperously, when a party of bush-rangers attacked and devastated
his little place. He immediately devoted himself to a contest with this
predatory band--long the terror of the colony--and did not rest until he
had so completely routed them, that the leaders were apprehended and
executed, while the rest, one by one, came in and delivered themselves
up to justice.

The result was that, for this public service, Cussen received a pardon
(the only condition being that he must not return to Ireland), within
two years after his arrival in the Colony. He practiced for some time,
as a surgeon, at Sydney, and having realized about five thousand pounds,
proceeded to the United States. One of his first acts, after arriving in
New York, was to send to Ireland for the son of John Sheehan (the man
who had been shot on suspicion of Whiteboyism), now doubly orphaned by
his mother's death. He adopted him, in fulfilment of his promise at the
Wake, as related in the first chapter. His own wife and daughter, whom
he had liberally supplied with funds from New South Wales, declined
rejoining him there or in America, and were actually residing in
Limerick a few years ago. Cussen eventually settled in one of the
Western States, where his capital at once enabled him to purchase and
cultivate a large tract of land. He has been heard of, more than once,
by those who knew his identity, as a thriving and influential citizen,
under a slightly changed name.

The fact that Cussen had led the attack upon Churchtown Barracks was not
_positively_ ascertained for several years after his departure from
Ireland. In a death-bed confession, one of the party avowed it. To this
day, however, very many of the people in the County of Limerick, who
were well acquainted with Cussen, will not believe that he ever could
have participated in such a cold-blooded massacre. They appeal, in proof
of the gentleness of his nature, to the kind feelings which he exhibited
during the attack on Rossmore.

It is clear, at all events, that by the conviction of Cussen, the
Whiteboys lost a leader. The confederation was speedily broken up, for
want of its CAPTAIN ROCK. Nor, since that time, have the disaffected in
Ireland been able to obtain the assistance of any one so competent for
command as was JOHN CUSSEN. His successors, from time to time, have been
bold, ignorant men, at the highest not more than one degree above the
peasantry whom they contrived to band together as United Irishmen,
Ribbonmen, or Whiteboys. The peasantry were taught, too, that the
redress of grievances is not likely to be brought about by illegal
confederations--that agitation _within_ the law, may virtually place
them _above_ the law,--and that he who commits a crime gives an
advantage to the antagonist. This was the great principle which
O'Connell always endeavoured to enforce. We have seen the last of the
Whiteboys, and I have told the story of the undoubted CAPTAIN ROCK, the
will-o'-the-wisp of Irish agrarian disturbances.


In connection with the leadership of John Cussen, an incident occurred
which may be related here, as a sort of appendix to his own adventures.
It is only a trifle in its way, but illustrates the manner in which,
even after he had quitted the country, he was regarded by his former

About twelve months after the conviction and transportation of Captain
Rock, which eventually led to the breaking up of the Whiteboy
organization--though, here and there, a few branch Ribbon lodges
remained--I was on a visit to my uncle, the self-same owner of Rossmore,
mentioned in the previous story, and father of its heroine. Rossmore
House is situated within a short distance of Castletown Conyers, and, by
taking a short cut across the fields, this distance might be reduced to
a mile. Having spent the day at Castletown, I was returning to Rossmore
by the short cut, late in the evening--too late, indeed, as I had been
warned, from the chance of meeting some of the prowlers who haunted the
by-roads towards the small town. I had no fear, however, and though it
was after twelve o'clock, there was a beautiful full moon, which, as the
old song says, "did shine as bright as day." I had got on a narrow
by-road which ran between two bogs, and was speeding home with as little
delay as possible. All at once, I heard the dull heavy tramp of feet, in
a measured tread, and thought that it probably was the police-patrol
taking its rounds. As some of the police were quartered at my uncle's, I
entertained no apprehension on account of being found out of doors at an
untimely hour, as my person was known to these peace-preservers. I
walked on, therefore, at my ease, loitering a little to allow myself to
be overtaken, in order that I might have an escort home.

The party came up, and when I turned round to recognize and speak to
them, I was considerably alarmed to find that I was in the midst of a
large assemblage of rough-and-ready countrymen, wrapped up in large blue
_coateens_, every man of them with a huge bludgeon in his hand. Knowing
that the best plan was to put as bold a front on it as I could, I
accosted them with the usual "Good evening, boys." They did not
condescend to return the greeting, but gathered together in groups,
conversing in Irish, which I did not understand--the acquisition of that
ancient and sonorous language having been a neglected branch of my
education. From their vehement action, their constant references to
myself by gesture, and the repetition of my name, I perceived that they
knew who I was, and were speaking about me. Under such circumstances, I
thought, with Falstaff, that the better part of valour was discretion,
and I prepared to effect my escape from such unpleasant companionship,
by slipping off as quietly as I could.

The intention, however excellent, was not to be borne out in execution.
Before I had taken fifty steps, I felt two or three large, rough, hairy,
sinewy hands on the collar of my coat, and the cold muzzle of a pistol
under my left ear, with a threat, strengthened by a tremendous oath,
that, if I dared move one inch farther, the contents of the pistol
should be lodged in my brain. I did not move, having a strong idea that
the threat would be carried into execution,--not a remarkably pleasant
anticipation for any one, far less for a lad of fourteen.

After some delay, a man, who appeared to be a kind of leader, asked me
my name, and whether I was not a nephew of "the old fellow at Rossmore."
I said that I was. "Then," said he, "you are the cousin of that fine
young lady whose swearing was the means of our Captain being sent across
the sea?" I answered that he was quite correct, and that I certainly was
the lady's cousin. "Then," said he, "as we cannot lay hands on _her_,
for she cut away to England when the trial was over, for fear of our
just revenge, I think we must have _your_ blood instead." As I had a
very strong objection to suffering, vicariously, even for a woman and a
cousin, I remonstrated against the design, alleging, truly enough, that
it was hard I should answer for any one's sins but my own; that the
lady, as was well known, had given evidence against Captain Rock, under
compulsion; and that, after he was sentenced to death, she never rested
until she had obtained a remission of the sentence of death passed upon

What I said evidently made an impression on my audience--on such, at
least, as knew English. To the rest it was duly interpreted; after
which, still leaving me in charge of the hirsute giant with the great
pistol, the party retired a little way to hold consultation respecting
me. This I knew, because the rough gentleman, who held the pistol to my
ear, grew a little communicative, telling me that they had all been to
the fair of Bruree, where they had indulged pretty freely in strong
liquors, and that he thought it likely, as they had made up their mind
to take my life, that they were then only deliberating in what manner to
carry out their intention. "It is an easy death enough," said this Job's
comforter, "to be strangled by a handkerchief, squeezed round the throat
to a proper tightness; it is as good a way as any other to put a man
into a deep bog-hole like that on the side of the road there; but," he
added, "for doing the thing genteelly, and making sure of quick work and
little pain, I certainly would prefer a pistol like this, with a decent
charge of canister powder, and a brace of bullets or a couple of
slugs at the top to make all right."

The conference by the way-side lasted so long, that I grew heart-sick
with anxiety. I could see, by their unrestrained movements, that some of
the party were disposed to wreak upon my person their revenge against my
cousin, and that some were recommending a milder process. Presently, the
decision appeared to be made--whatever it might be. The same man who had
already spoken to me, came up again, and with him the rest of that
precious conclave. "My lad," said he, laying his hand upon my shoulder,
"Do you know what we have made up our minds to do?" I answered, that I
did not know. "Some of us," said he, "think that, as you have met us to
night, and may know some of us again, the best thing we could do would
be to put you out of the way at once. And some of us thinks that if we
took your word, (though you're only a bit of a boy,) not to mention that
you have seen us, we might do worse than let you go home, though that
home is the nest which _she_ came out of."

I fancied, from his manner, that I had not much cause to apprehend the
more deadly alternative; and, therefore, I answered, as boldly as I
could, that I was quite willing to give my word not to mention that I
had seen any of them, nor, at any time or place, attempt to recognize
them. "While you are deciding," I added, "recollect that this suspense
between life and death is not the most pleasant thing in the world.
And, for God's sake," said I, "rather put this hairy gentleman's brace
of bullets through my head at once, than leave me shivering another half
an hour in the cold." There was a laugh at what I said; those who did
not speak English eagerly required it to be translated for them, and
then the laugh grew louder, for _all_ enjoyed it. "Faith," said the
leader, "You're a bold lad to jest in that way, with the muzzle of a
pistol against your ear. Make your mind easy; we would not hurt a hair
of your head now. Go your way, and keep your promise. No matter when you
meet any of us, don't let on that you have ever seen us before. And if
you should ever fall in with bad company, in a by-way, on a night like
this, just whisper '_Barry More_' into the ear of any of the party, and
you may pass through them as safely as if you were walking in a
drawing-room." This said, I had to shake hands, one by one, with each of
the party; and they further insisted, with a pertinacity which would not
brook denial, that half-a-dozen of them should escort me within a
stone's throw of my uncle's house.

A few weeks after this rencontre, I saw a man at work in one of my
uncle's fields, who seemed not quite a stranger to me. I took care that
the recognition, if any, should come from him. Accordingly, though I
made the usual remark that it was a fine day, and asked some questions
as to the prospects of the crops, I did not seem as if I had ever seen
him before. However, he had less discretion, for he said, "That was a
narrow escape you had, down by the bog, that night, sir." I asked what
he meant? "Oh!" said he, "I do not mind talking to you about it now, for
we have your word not to tell on us, and I know very well--for we have
friends in every house, who tell us what passes--that not even to your
uncle did you say a word about what happened that night. We tried to
frighten you a bit, sir, but you stood up better than we expected. I had
made up my mind, from the first, that not a hair of your head should be
touched; but it was not quite so easy to get the rest of the boys to my
way of thinking. They had not the cause that I had for wishing you

I told him, what was the plain truth, that I had no recollection of any
particular cause why _he_, more than any of the rest, should have
protected me. "Ah, sir," said he, "people who do a kindness forget it,
if the true vein be in them, sooner than those they do the kindness to.
You may remember, sir, that about ten years ago, when you were a child,
the Master here was very angry with me for having neglected my work, by
which the Mistress's garden was quite spoilt, and turned me off, when I
had not the chance of getting work anywhere else, and owed a quarter's
rent for the little cabin and potatoe garden, and was entirely broke,
hand and foot,--aye, and almost heart, too. At that time, sir, you were
to the fore, with the kind word, which you ever had, to turn away the
Master's anger, and you got the Mistress to interfere; and when the
Master took me on to work again, it was yourself, sir, that ran down to
my little cabin and told me the good news, and sat down at the table,
with the children, without any pride, and eat the roasted potato and the
salt, and drank the butter-milk out of the same piggin with them. From
that hour, sir, if laying down the lives of me and mine would prevent
injury to one hair of your head, we would have done it. And that's the
reason why your life was safe the other night, and they all granted it
when I told them the ins and outs of the story."

I saw little more of my champion, for I left that part of the country
soon after, and have not been there since.


Some eighty years ago, there appeared, in that city of Ireland which is
called "the beautiful,"[8] a remarkable character, generally known as
Buck English. This name--to which he answered--had been given him, it
was said, on account of his fashionable appearance, manners and
pursuits, and because his accent clearly indicated that he came from
England. At all events, in the year 1770, Buck English was a principal
in the fashionable society of Cork--its observed of all observers, its
glass of fashion, if not its very mould of form.

     [8] "The beautiful city called Cork."--_Irish Song._

Buck English had abundance of money, that great test and framer of
respectability, and spent it freely. No man knew whence it came.
Inquiries had been cautiously ventured upon by inquisitive people, but
the only result arrived at was that rarely, if ever, did any remittance
reach him through a banker. He frequently performed actions which might
be called generous; but the real objects for benevolence, he used to
say, were those who struggled to maintain appearances--who bore the
arrow in their breast, and did not complain--who would rather die than
ask for help; for, as there is no energy like that of despair, there is
no pride like that of poverty. Gratitude sometimes _would_ speak out;
for parties whom his timely, unsought aid had rescued from ruin, meeting
him accidentally in public, could not be restrained from breathing
blessings on the benefactor whose name they knew not; and the occasional
occurrence of such things--which really were _not_ got up for
display--seemed to authorize the conjecture that Buck English was
bountiful in many other instances which were not known. This belief,
generally received, operated so much in his favour, that many who would
have probably disdained intimacy with one whose personal history was
unknown, and who, therefore, might be an adventurer, did not hesitate to
receive him at their houses--a concession which others, of more
unquestioned station and means, vainly endeavoured to obtain. When
stamped "sterling" by the select, no fear of his readily passing into
currency with all the rest.

Hence, the conclusion may be arrived at, that Buck English was what a
facetious friend calls a "populous character." He might have turned the
sharp corner of five-and-thirty, and did not look older, even at his
worst. Now, whatever five-and-thirty may be for a lady,--forcing on her,
I fear, the brevet-rank of "a certain age," with Byron's
interpretation,--it is the very prime of manhood. Thus, in this
respect, Buck English was as fortunate as others. There was a drawback,
it must be confessed--for who can be perfection? This was the
circumstance of his possessing features which, except under particular
excitement, might be pronounced very ordinary. One might have excused
the compressed lips, the sallow cheek, and the sharp face; but the
expression of the eyes was not always favourable. It appeared as if they
were almost always anxiously on the watch. At times, when strongly
excited, while the cheeks remained colourless, and no word breathed from
the lips, the passion which created a heart-quake in the man did not
allow its presence to be seen, except that it made the eyes
flash--conveying the impression that their possessor must be rather
dangerous under the influence of strong and deep emotions. It was not
often that such manifestations were allowed to become apparent, for Buck
English had powerful self-command.

Notwithstanding the absence of what is called "good looks," he had
succeeded in gaining the favourable opinion of Mary Penrose, a young
lady who had recently succeeded to a very considerable property in the
vicinity of Cork. Indeed, it was somewhat more than merely her
favourable opinion. I will even admit--on the understanding, of course,
that it remain an inviolable secret--that Buck English had made a strong
impression on the young lady's mind; so much so, that, at the especial
period at which this narrative introduces her, she was deliberating
whether she should frankly admit to him, or deny for a little time
longer, that he was master of the heart which fluttered--ah, how
anxiously--within the soft citadel of her bosom.

She had met him that evening at a _rout_ (so they called their
fashionable parties in those days), and he had ventured to insinuate,
rather more boldly than on any previous occasion, how much his happiness
depended upon her. On the point of making a very gentle confession,
(have you any idea how admirably blushes can convey what language dare
not breathe?) a movement towards the retired part of the saloon in which
they sat, apart from the dancers, startled the lady, while the
exclamation, "Mary Penrose!--where _can_ she be?" informed her that
inquiries were being made for her. So, withdrawing her hand from that of
her suitor, and making an effort to appear calm and unembarrassed, she
awaited the advent of the lady who had spoken. Presently came up her
_chaperon_, a woman of high birth and scanty means, who _condescended_
to reside with her. This personage--a mixture of black velvet and
bugles, pearl-powder and pretence--gravely regarding Buck English, whom
she did not like (because she thought it probable that he might succeed
with Miss Penrose, and thereby make her own occupation "gone," like
Othello's), said, with a low courtesy, "I am sure, sir, that, had you
known what a pleasure you have been depriving Miss Penrose of, you
would scarcely have detained her here. Mary, my dear, only think who has
arrived!--who but your cousin Frank! He has been in the rooms half an
hour, and has been anxiously looking for you everywhere."

Before a reply was made the cousin made his appearance, and was received
rather formally by Mary. However, Frank Penrose was an Irishman and a
lawyer, and therefore not very likely to be put down or taken aback by a
cold reception. He was introduced to Buck English, but the greeting
between the gentlemen was by no means cordial. Buck English saw a rival;
one, too, whom it was said Mary Penrose's father had been desirous to
have as a husband for his only child; while cousin Frank, to whom the
_chaperon_ had previously communicated the intimacy between the young
lady and the dashing stranger, saw at a glance that it would have been
quite as well, perhaps, if he had not left her so much in the way of
becoming heart-stricken.

"Shall I lead you down to supper?" he said. "You know, Mary, that you
and I have a hundred things to talk about."

"I am sorry, Frank," she answered, "that I cannot take the arm which you
offer me gallantly. I had promised my partner, before you came, to avail
myself of the advantage of his escort. Madame, I have no doubt, will be
happy under your protection, and you can unburthen your mind to her."

Thus it happened that Mary Penrose retained the arm of Buck English,
while Frank was handed over to the dowager.

"Confound the fellow!" said he, _sotto voce_, glancing at his rival. "On
what a very familiar footing he has established himself with Mary. Can
it be that she, who used to be so hard to please, is smitten with such a

"Very likely," said the _chaperon_. "It was not the countenance, but the
mind of Othello, that the bright Venetian was enamoured of. When the
manners are agreeable and the intellect quick, the accident of a homely
face speedily becomes of no importance. Perhaps it may even help to
throw a woman off her guard."

"It is a pity," continued Frank, "that I have delayed my return so long.
I thought that your letters had exaggerated, if not invented, the
danger. Assist me in deposing this gentleman, and my gratitude shall be
more than a name. I have always made so certain that Mary was to be my
wife, that this over-security had led me to neglect her. At all events,
I can tell you that this Mr. English shall not snatch such a prize from
me without a struggle. I confess I do not like him."

"Naturally enough. He is a rival, and apparently on the way to become a
successful one."

By this time they had reached the supper-table. Frank Penrose behaved
with distant politeness to Buck English, who, as usual, was the centre
of conversation. As the hour advanced, Mary said to her cousin,
"Can you tell me what o'clock it is, Frank? I have been so careless as
to let my watch run down."

Frank, with a smile, answered, "Two months ago I could have done so; but
one of the knights of the road met me in a lonely part of Kilworth
Mountain, when last I was going from Cork to Dublin, and relieved me of
all care of purse or watch."

There was a smile at the cool manner in which the young lawyer related
his loss, and then followed inquiry into the circumstances.

"A very commonplace highway robbery, I do assure you," said Frank. " All
I have to say is, that I was encountered, as I rode on a lonely part of
the road, by a gentleman who, taking me quite unprepared, put a pistol
to my heart, demanding my cash and other portable property. As I had a
foolish desire not to part with it quite so easily, I threw myself off
my horse, and closed with my antagonist. His pistol went off in the
struggle, without doing me any injury, and I drew my sword. My enemy,
who proved himself a better master of that weapon than I was, succeeded
in disarming me; forced me to surrender money, watch, and a few rings;
mounted on my horse, and rode off, but speedily returned, with the
polite assurance that as he never saw a gentleman in distress without
wishing to relieve him, he trusted I would accept a few pieces from
him, as he presumed I did not intend remaining on the bleak mountain all
night, and he knew, from experience, how disagreeable it was to be in a
strange inn without money. He handed me five guineas, kindly adding
that, if I wanted more, _his_ purse--alas! it had been _mine_--was
entirely at my service."

"Would you know the man again?"

"No. His face was partly covered with crape."

Supper ended, Miss Penrose and the rest of the ladies retired, escorted
to their carriages by the gentlemen, who then returned (it was the evil
fashion of the time) to drink their healths in a brimming bumper. One
glass led to another, with the usual result--the libations were not to
the Goddess of Concord. By accident, the name of Mary Penrose was
mentioned, with a congratulatory allusion to the good terms on which
Buck English evidently was with her. Frank Penrose started from his
chair, and angrily declared that his cousin's name should not be bandied
about at a public table, and in conjunction, too, with that of a person
of whom no one knew anything, and who, he could assert, was not
acceptable to her family. He was about speaking further, when he was
pulled down by his friends, who strenuously urged him to keep silent.

Buck English remained so quiet under the intentionally offensive
allusion to himself, that some of the company began to think him
deficient in courage. The Irish way of answering an insult, in
those days, was to throw a glass full of wine in the offender's face,
and follow that up by flinging the decanter at his head. After a pause,
Frank Penrose, whom nobody could restrain, repeated the insult in other
and harsher words. This broke up the party. As they were leaving the
table, Buck English leant across, and said, very quietly, "Mr. Penrose,
for the lady's sake, I would not mix up her name with a midnight brawl
in a tavern, but you are aware that your words must be withdrawn or
atoned for?"

"Take them as you please," said Penrose. "I stand by them."

"Then," answered the other, "I name Captain Cooper as my friend. Whom
shall he meet on your part, and where?"

Pausing for a minute, during which he considered his course of action,
Penrose said that in two days he expected a friend whose services he
could command on such a business, and hoped the delay would not be
inconvenient. His antagonist intimated his assent by a distant bow, and
thus, in far less time than I have been writing about it, was appointed
a meeting for life or death. The outward show of civility was maintained
during the short time that they remained in the room, though feelings of
deadliest enmity rankled beneath that smooth surface.

As they were retiring, Penrose and English again were together, and the
latter took advantage of this contiguity to ask at what time his friend
should call upon Mr. Penrose's second?

"At ten on Thursday morning, at Daly's club-house."

"Very well, and for whom shall he inquire?"

"Let him ask for Mr. D'Arcy Mahon, the barrister."

At that name, English shrunk or swerved as from a blow.

"D'Arcy Mahon!" he repeated.

"Yes," said Penrose. "Have you any objection to the gentleman?"


On that they separated.

       *       *       *       *       *

That evening, on returning home, Mary Penrose applied herself, in the
solitude of her chamber--the young heart's confessional--to serious
thought upon that beleaguered and endangered Sebastopol, the state of
her affections. It was evident that her cousin was piqued at the idea of
her having a preference for English, and that his arrival was likely to
bring the affair to an issue. Mary paused for some time in doubt as to
the course she should pursue. She had a regard for her cousin Frank; but
she confessed to herself, with conscious blush and sigh, that she had
other and more cherished feelings for English. It is proverbial how a
woman's deliberations, in an affair of the heart, invariably end; and
so, having made up her mind in favour of Buck English, by far the most
delightful companion--although not quite the handsomest--fate had thrown
in her way, she retired to rest.

As she was unloosing the golden beauty of her luxuriant tresses,
glancing now and then at a flower given to her by _him_, and carefully
put into a watervase on her dressing-room table, Mary Penrose heard a
faint tap at the window. Withdrawing the curtain, she saw, in the pale
moonlight, the face of him who, even then, was occupying her thoughts.
He held up a note in his hand, which he placed upon the window-sill, and
disappeared as suddenly as he had come before her.

Opening the casement, she took the _billet_, and eagerly read it. In the
strongest and most beseeching words, it urged her to speak with the
writer for a few minutes;--hinted that this would be the last time they
would ever meet;--and plainly declared that it related to an affair of
life-and-death emergency. The urgency of this appeal, as well as her
natural desire to see one in whom, now more than ever, she felt a deep
interest, prevailed, and Mary Penrose, throwing a large shawl over her
hastily-adjusted attire, quitted her chamber, silently proceeded down
stairs, and opened the hall-door, at which she found English waiting.
Light of body and active of limb, he had found little difficulty in
ascending to Mary's window, by means of the thick ivy which luxuriantly
covered the front of the house, and his descent had been yet more easily

When alone with Mary in one of the apartments in which she had
frequently received him as a visitor, Buck English appeared overwhelmed
by emotion. Quickly recovering himself, he addressed her in this
manner:--"I have to thank your kindness, Miss Penrose, for thus giving
me the opportunity of taking leave of you. I am a dishonoured man, or
shall be, and most publicly, too, if to-morrow sees me near this place.
After you had retired this evening, your cousin Frank fixed a personal
quarrel upon me, which I endeavoured to avoid by acting and speaking
with the greatest forbearance. I named the friend who would act for me
in a matter so unpleasant, and your cousin asked for a slight delay
until the arrival of the gentleman who would perform the like offices
for him. The person whom he named is D'Arcy Mahon,--one of the few men
in this country, under existing circumstances, who must not see me,
because I have the very strongest motives for avoiding him. Our meeting
was fixed for Thursday, but I have just heard of Mr. Mahon's arrival,
not an hour ago, which is two days earlier than Frank expected him."

"I need not assure you," said Mary, "how very much grieved I am that
there should be any difference between two persons whom I esteem so
much--between yourself and Frank. But I know that Mr. Mahon is a most
honourable man, and more likely to pacify than irritate any parties who
are placed in his hands with hostile feelings to each other."

"There lives not the man," replied English, somewhat haughtily, "who can
say that I have at any time shrunk from giving or seeking the
satisfaction which, in our strangely-constituted state of society,
gentlemen must sometimes require or grant. But it is impossible that I
can meet D'Arcy Mahon--whose high character I appreciate and esteem--on
any terms, or under any circumstances, without his instantly and fatally
recognizing me as one whom he has met before, under a darker and
different aspect of affairs."

"You astonish and alarm me!" said Mary. "Will you not remove the veil
from this mystery?"

"Yes," said he, after some deliberation. "It is a sad confidence, but
_you_ are entitled to it. You have heard of a person who is generally
known as Captain Spranger?"

Mary said that she certainly had heard of the terror of travellers, the
head of a band of highwaymen, who had infested the South of Ireland for
the previous two years.

"The same. That man, outlawed as he is, with a price upon his head, I
have reason to know is the younger son of one of the first commoners in
England. Evil example and youthful impatience of control alienated
him from his friends early in life, and sent him abroad upon the world,
in different countries and among many grades of society, but not always
in companionship with those by whom he could profit, in mind, body, or
estate. At the close of many wanderings he found himself in Ireland, and
accidentally became the companion or guest of a party of smugglers, who
were banded together in the county of Waterford, and who, by their
audacity and success, had challenged the notice of the Executive.
Unfortunately, at the very period when the Englishman's love of wild
adventure had thrown him into the society of these smugglers--as it had
often led him to spend a night in a gipsy encampment--at that very time
treachery had betrayed the band, who were surrounded by a strong
military force before they knew they were in danger. To fight their way
through this armed array, was what the smugglers determined on at the
moment. Unwilling to remain and be captured, the chance-visitor of the
night joined in the sortie, and made a dash for freedom. Some effected
their escape without hurt, a few were wounded, some were captured. The
Englishman was among the prisoners. The Assizes were at hand, and as it
was thought fit to make an example, as it is called, the trial of the
smugglers was hurried on. The evidence against the Englishman was
conclusive. He was found in armed array against the military, and in
company with notorious law-breakers. What could he do? Pride made him
conceal his name, he was indicted under that of Spranger (which he had
never borne), was tried and convicted. When brought up to receive
sentence in the assize court of Clonmel (where, for some reason, the
trial took place), he thought he saw the opportunity for a bold effort.
Light, active and strong, he vaulted out of the dock. The crowd
instantly opened to conceal him, for there is a strong sympathy for
persons accused of such breaches against the revenue law as he was
believed to have committed. Even while he was crouching down in the
midst of the crowd, a great-coat, such as the peasantry wear, was thrown
around him by one; another bestowed upon him a cap made of fox-skin; and
a third whispered him to keep quiet, as, if he did not betray himself,
his disguise was sufficient to defy suspicion and detection.[9]

     [9] Such an escape as this was actually made from the dock, during
     the Clonmel assizes, by the bold and notorious Buck English, who
     afterwards found his way into the first society in Cork city and
     county. Indeed, the actual life of this man was parallel in many of
     its leading points to that of "Paul Clifford," the hero of Bulwer's
     brilliant fiction. The term "Buck" was usually bestowed on any
     fashionable bravo, in Ireland, who wore dashing attire, and
     indulged in all sorts of extravagances of expenditure and excess.
     There was "Buck Sheehy" of Dublin, as well as our own, "Buck
     English" of Cork. Indeed, there were sufficient of the _genus_ in
     Dublin to form the majority of the "Hell-fire Club," who once set
     fire to their club-room, and remained in it until the flames
     actually burned the hair from their heads and the clothes from
     their bodies. This was done to decide the punishments of a future
     state! Most of the "Bucks" were men of family, education, and
     wealth. Several peers were members of the community. At one time
     (the author of "Ireland sixty years ago," relates) there were three
     noblemen, brothers, so notorious for their outrages, that they
     acquired singular names, as indicative of their characters. The
     first was the terror of every one who met him in public places--the
     second was seldom out of prison--the third was lame, yet no whit
     disabled from his Buckish achievements. They were universally known
     by the names of "Hell-gate," "Newgate," and "Cripplegate." There
     were two brothers, one of whom had shot his friend, and the other
     stabbed his coachman. They were distinguished as "Kill-Kelly" and
     "Kill-coachy." This reminds one of the Irish traveller, who said he
     had been to _Kill-many_ and was going to _Kill-more_.

"Incredible as it may appear--but I perceive that you have already heard
something of this affair--Spranger remained in the court-house during
the whole day, while a strict out-of-doors' search was made for him, and
finally walked into the street, unchallenged, with the rest of the
crowd, when the trials ended. He was literally alone, unfriended,
penniless, in a strange country. The men who had supplied him, on the
impulse of the moment, with the means of baffling detection, kept their
eyes upon, and speedily came in his way, giving him the further aid of
shelter and food. What need I more say than that those men, who lived
against the law, succeeded in enrolling their guest among them.
Recklessness and utter want, in the first instance, and the fear of
being given up to the Government in the other, were his motives. Coupled
with this, too, was a strong sense of injury at having been convicted,
without crime, upon appearances. Not then, but many times afterwards,
did he feel convinced that the Executive had brought him to trial only
upon obvious and palpable facts. But, long before he came to take this
view of the question, he had become leader of the band--now avowedly
associated for plunder, smuggling having been broken up, and the name
and the daring of Captain Spranger are sufficiently notorious throughout
the country now.

"When he had completely identified himself with them, so as to obtain
their unquestioning obedience, Spranger availed himself of the privilege
of sometimes leaving them for a short time--continuing, however, to
regulate their movements, and participate in their gains--one of them
always remaining with him to act as his servant, but actually as an
unsuspected channel of communication with the band. Thus this captain of
men beyond the pale of the law, has resided, at different times, in the
principal cities in the South of Ireland. His last resting-place was
here in Cork, where, under a name rather given to him by common consent
than assumed by him, and with ample pecuniary means at his command, he
contrived to be received into the best society. But he had tired, long
since, of the ruffianly association which he headed. One hope
remained--that of offering his sword to one of the foreign States with
whom he had formerly performed military service, and thus resuming the
condition to which he was born. But, while taking measures to do this,
he met, and became deeply enamoured of the loveliest and most engaging
of her sex, and delayed his departure--his exile--from a reluctance to
quit the heaven of her smiles. Perhaps he even presumed to hope--to
trust--that, under better circumstances, he might even have ventured to
hope that his suit would not have failed."

Here he paused, to mark how Mary had borne this relation. Her face was
covered with her hands--but he could hear that she was sobbing. He

"You know, Mary, I perceive, that he who relates this story is the same
Spranger whose name has made many a cheek pale, many a bold heart
tremble. D'Arcy Mahon was one of the counsel employed against me at
Clonmel, and he knows every feature of mine so well that he could not
fail to recognize me. He would identify me, also, as Captain Spranger.
If I remain, he meets me to-morrow. Shame, disgrace, perhaps even death
would follow. 'Tis true that circumstances have made me what I am, but
there is a Future, in action, for all who are willing to atone for past
misconduct. I go forth to try and regain the position I have forfeited.
Not in this country, nor yet in my own, can I hope to do this. But there
other lands where Reputation and Fortune may be won, and in one of them
I shall make the effort. To have known _you_--to find this wasted heart
capable, even yet, of appreciating the beauty and purity of your mind,
will console me in my long and distant exile. Farewell!"

He bent on his knee to take and kiss that delicate hand. Did it really
linger in his? He looked upon that face of beauty. Did those violet eyes
smile upon him through the dew which diamonded their long, dark fringes?
He heard a low, earnest whisper. Did it tell him to retrieve the past,
nor doubt, while doing so, of the due reward a loving heart will bestow?
Did it softly say that he, and none but he, should hold that hand in
marriage? Did it entreat him to write often--always hopingly? A long,
long kiss on those ripe lips, on that damasked cheek, on that fair brow,
and Buck English was away, as suddenly as he had come.

       *       *       *       *       *

How improbable! How unfeminine! How utterly at variance with all the
conventionalities of society! No doubt. But it is _true_.

As for Mary's avowed love for such a person as--even on his own
showing--English was, why seek to put it to the test of every-day

    "Why did she love him! Curious fool, be still;
    Is human love the growth of human will?"

       *       *       *       *       *

The morning after the interview between Mary and her lover, considerable
anxiety was caused in the minds of his acquaintance by the fact of his
disappearance, and the report that he had met with some fatal accident.
His horse had returned home riderless, and a hat and glove, known to
have been worn by him, were found on the banks of the Lee, about two
miles from Cork, a place where he was fond of riding at all hours. It
was believed that he had been drowned. The authorities took possession
of and examined his effects, which were never claimed. There was not one
line of writing among them, giving the slightest clue to his station in
life, family, or identity. In a short time, he passed out of the memory
of most of those who had known him.

It was noticed that Mary Penrose appeared very much unconcerned at the
loss of one for whom she was believed to have felt some partiality. She
was abused, of course, by her own sex, (and the more so, as she was very
handsome,) for being "a heartless coquette." A few months later, when
she had attained her legal majority, and with it full possession of her
property, she unequivocally astonished her cousin Frank, by declining
his proffered hand. Ere the year was ended, her estates were in the
market, and their purchase-money invested in foreign securities. This
done, Mary bade a long farewell to the land of her nativity and the
friends of her youth. Nor did any definite account of her subsequent
life ever reach Ireland.

In the fulness of time, there came rumours (which were credited) that
somebody very like Buck English had obtained rank and reputation in the
German service, and that, eventually retiring to a distant province of
the Empire, he had turned his sword into a ploughshare, and cultivated,
with much success, a large estate which he had purchased there. It was
added that a lady, whose personal description tallied with Mary
Penrose's appearance, was the wife of this person; that they lived very
happily with their numerous children around them; that their retainers
and dependents almost adored them for their constant and considerate
kindness; and that, though they ever condemned crime, they united in
questioning whether he who committed it might not have been led into it
by Circumstance rather than Desire.



For many years, an individual, calling himself "The Bard O'Kelly,"
wandered through the South of Ireland, subsisting on the exacted
hospitality and the enforced contributions of such as happened to be so
weak as to dread being put by him into a couplet of satirical doggerel,
and thus held up to public scorn as wanting in liberality. An Irishman,
be it known, will not submit to an imputation upon his generosity;
rather than have _that_ questioned, he will give away his last sixpence,
though the gift leave him without food. O'Kelly was shrewd enough to
know this, and like the ale which Boniface so much praises in Farquhar's
comedy, he "fed purely upon it"--in fact, it was meat, drink, clothing
and lodging to him.

Until he published his "poems," no one knew on what very slight grounds
his Bardship rested. His book--a thin, ill-printed octavo, called "The
Hippocrene,"--appeared, with a dedication, by permission, to "the most
noble and warlike Marquis of Anglesea," and underneath the inscription
is the quatrain,

    "_O dulce decus_! thou art mine,
      What can I more or less say?
    _Presidium_! pillar of the NINE,
      Illustrious chief ANGLESEA!!"

In order, also, that the world might know what manner of man his
bardling was, he had put his portrait as a frontispiece, and, with that
characteristic modesty which indicated that _he_ certainly had kissed
the Blarney Stone, had engraved beneath it,--

    "Sweet bard! sweet lake! congenial shall your fame
    The rays of genius and of beauty claim;
    Nor vainly claim: for who can read and view,
    And not confess O'KELLY'S pencil true?"

The lake here alluded to, is that of Killarney. In the year 1791,
O'Kelly wrote what he called "a Poem" on the romantic scenery of
Killarney. It was written, but not published--recited by the bard, as
the Iliad and Odyssey are said to have been by "the blind old man of
Scio's rocky isle,"--handed about in manuscript among friends, like much
of the verse of the present day, when (because every third man is an
author) hard-hearted booksellers refuse to purchase valueless
copyrights, or even to publish them, save at the sole expense and risk
of the writers.

So, in 1791, was written, not published, the Bard's "Killarney,"--a
poem which (as _he_ was wont to speak of it) "has all the depth of the
lake it immortalizes, with the clearness, freshness, and sparkling flow
of its waters!" It may be thought a little egotistical for O'Kelly thus
to praise his own writings--but, surely, a man is the best judge of his
own merit, and best acquainted with his own talents. I put it to every
man of sense--that is, to every person who completely coincides with my
opinion,--whether, if a man does not think and speak well of himself, it
can possibly be expected that any one else will? No; O'Kelly's
self-praise was only a flourish to remind people what a genius they had
among them--a Laputan flap to make the Irish world quite aware of the
fact of his immeasurable merit.

There was a rumour--but I hate scandal--that the Bard (being a poet, and
lame to boot, like the Grecian) had an ambition to be the new Tyrtæus of
the Irish Rebels, in 1798. He has been seen to smile, rather
assentingly, at "the soft impeachment," although, no doubt, while the
insurgents were liable to punishment, he had very _capital_ reasons for
denying it. While the Civil War was raging, he went to the north-east of
Ireland, and, his enemies say, with rebellious designs. But his own

     ("And truths divine came mended from _his_ lips,")
was, that the sole object of his tour was to compose a poem on the
sublimities of the Giant's Causeway. Such a composition was written--for
I have read it. But the greatest and best of men--from Socrates down to
O'Kelly--have been subjected to suspicion and persecution, and it
happened that when the Bard showed himslf in the north, he was taken up
by the King's forces, and summarily committed to prison on suspicion
that his visit was occasioned by a desire to discover a snug
landing-place, on the Antrim coast, for the French--who, at that time,
were about invading Ireland.

Bad news travels very quickly. It soon was noised about Kerry, that the
Bard had been taken up. As a story, like a snow-ball, increases as it
travels, it was even added that the Bard had been--_hanged_!

On this, a wretch named Michael M'Carthy--a Macroom man was this
Bathyllus to the Hibernian Maro--constituted himself heir-at-law and
residuary legatee to the Bard's poetical effects, and, not having the
fear of Apollo's vengeance before his eyes, had the barefaced audacity
to publish eight hundred and forty lines of "Killarney," mixed up with
certain versicles of his own, under the imposing name of "Lacus

The Bard O'Kelly heard of this audacious appropriation at the very hour
when his trial was coming on, and it took such effect upon his spirits
that, to use his own figurative language, he "did not know at the time,
whether he was standing on his head or his heels."

Brought for trial before a military tribunal, quick in decision and
sharp in execution, there was so much presumptive evidence against him,
that he was convicted without much delay, (his judges were in a hurry to
dine,) and sentenced to be hanged early the next day.

The emergency of the case restrung his shattered energies. Recovering
the use of his tongue, he made a heart-rending appeal to the Court
Martial; narrated the vile plagiarism which had been committed on his
beautiful and beloved Killarney; recited a hundred lines of that
sonorous composition, and concluded a very energetic harangue, by
requesting "leave of absence," for a few weeks, in order that he might
proceed to Kerry, there to punish M'Carthy, for his dire offence against
all the recognized rules of authorship. He even tendered his own bail
for his reappearance to be hanged, as soon as, by performing an act of
signal justice towards the plagiarist, he had vindicated that fame
which, he said, was of more value to him than life.

The manner and matter of this extraordinary address--such as never,
before nor since, was spoken in a Court of Justice--were so
extraordinary that the execution of the sentence was postponed. When
the Civil War was over, the Bard was liberated. "It was a great triumph
for my eloquence," was his usual self-complacent expression, in after
life, when speaking of this hair-breadth escape. To this day, however,
there are some who hint that the Court considered him _non compos
mentis_--too much of a fool to be a traitor and conspirator--and were
merciful accordingly.

When O'Kelly returned home, he did not annihilate M'Carthy in the
body--he did so in spirit: he lampooned him. Finally, the plagiarist
made a public apology; and an armistice was effected by the aid of
copious libations of the "mountain-dew," the favourite Hippocrene of

The Bard's trip to the Giant's Causeway gave him a wonderful inclination
for travelling. As itinerary rhyme-spinner, he continued to keep body
and soul together ever since, in a manner which nothing but the
brilliant invention of a verse-making Milesian could have dreamed of.
Under the face of the sun no people so keenly appreciate, and so
undeniably dread, satire as the Irish do. Few, it may be added, have
greater powers in that line--and this without being imbued with less
good-nature or more malice than other people. They particularly shrink
from any imputation on their open-handed and open-hearted hospitality.
The Bard O'Kelly knew that this sensitive feeling was the blot which he
was to hit. And on the results of this knowledge, he contrived to
live well--to obtain raiment, money, lodging, food, and drink, during
the vicissitudes of about forty years.

He committed himself to a pilgrimage from place to place, through
Ireland, always fixing his headquarters at the residence of some country
gentleman. Here he would abide for a week--a fortnight--or even a month,
if he liked his quarters, and thought his intrusion would be tolerated
so long. During his stay, his two horses, his son (for, being Irish, he
had got married very soon), and himself, always lived "in clover." His
valedictory acknowledgment, by which he considered that he repaid the
hospitality extended to him, was a laudatory couplet! If there were, or
if there seemed to be, the slightest want of cordiality in his reception
or entertainment, he would immediately depart, giving the delinquent to
immortal infamy in a stinging couplet. When he had written a few score
of these rhymes he used to get them printed (ballad-wise) on octavo
slips of whity-brown paper, and each new page was added to its
predecessor, by being pasted into a sort of scrap-book. This collection
he called his "Poetic Tour," and he had only a single copy of it; and to
this, which he promised to have printed in a regular book, at some
future period, every one who entertained him was expected to subscribe
from a crown to a guinea--_subscriptions payable in advance_. To this
rule he had permitted only one exception. This was early in the present
century, when the Chevalier Ruspini, (a tooth and corn extractor,) who
travelled in Ireland as "Dentist to the Prince of Wales," subscribed, in
the name of his Royal master, for fifty copies of the work; and, on the
strength of this, managed to dine, on three several occasions, with
O'Kelly--being the only instance on record of his Bardship having ever
played the host.

I knew O'Kelly personally, when I was a lad, having met him, for the
first time, at Drewscourt, in the county of Limerick, whither he came,
purposely, to remain one day _en passant_, but did us the honour of
staying for a fortnight. He made his first appearance at dinner-time,
and his knife and fork were wielded as effectively as if he had not used
them during the preceding month. Until I saw O'Kelly feed, I had never
realized the description of Major Dalgetty's laying in "provend" not
only to make good the dinner he should have eaten yesterday, but to
provide for the wants of to-day and to-morrow. In the course of the
evening he exhibited other manifestations of industry and genius. He
complained of labouring under a cold, which he undertook to cure by a
peculiar process. This was no less than by imbibing about a dozen
tumblers of hot and strong whiskey-punch, without moving from his seat.
This, he assured us, was "a famous remedy for all distempers; good,"
added he, "for a cure, and magnificent as a preventive." He
condescended to inform us that, well or sick, this quantity was his
regular allowance after dinner--when he could get it.

He was loquacious in his cups. The subject of the Royal visit to
Ireland, in 1821, having been broached, O'Kelly produced a printed
account of his own interview with the monarch. This, he told us, had
appeared in a newspaper called the Roscommon Gazette, and it was not
difficult to guess at whose instance it had gained publicity. The
account which he read for us was rather an improved edition, he said, as
his friend, the Roscommon editor, had ruthlessly cut out some of the
adjectives and superlatives. What he read was to this effect,
accompanied with his own running commentary of explanation and remark:--


"You see, gentlemen, that I put myself first. Genius (he pronounced it
_janius_) before greatness any day!

     "When his Most Gracious Majesty King George the Fourth--whom God
     and Saint Patrick preserve!--paid his loving subjects a visit in
     August, 1821, the most eminent men of Ireland resorted to the
     metropolis to do him honour. Among them, was our distinguished and
     illustrious countryman, the Bard O'Kelly. Without _his_ presence,
     where would have been the crowning rose of the wreath of Erin's
     glory? And it is very creditable to His Majesty's taste, that his
     very first inquiry, on entering the Vice-regal lodge, in Ph[oe]nix
     Park, was after that honour to our country, our renowned Bard, to
     whose beautiful productions he had subscribed, for fifty copies,
     many years ago.

"Yes, gentlemen, he knew all about me. As he had inquired for _me_, I
thought I could not do less, in course of common civility, than indulge
_him_ with the pleasure of a visit. But you shall hear:--

     "When the Bard reached Dublin, and heard of His Majesty's most kind
     and friendly inquiries, he sent a most polite autograph note,
     written with his own hand, to Sir Benjamin Bloomfield, announcing
     his own arrival, wishing His Majesty joy on _his_, and requesting
     Sir Benjamin to appoint a day, mutually convenient to the many
     important engagements of the Poet and the Monarch, when an
     interview between these distinguished personages should take place.
     With that true politeness and chivalrous courtesy which adorn and
     distinguish the Bard, he notified that, the King being a stranger,
     the Bard was willing to waive ceremony, and wait upon him, to
     present a copy of his highly poetical poems, for fifty copies of
     which the Chevalier Ruspini had subscribed, on behalf of His
     Majesty, when Prince of Wales.

"Indeed, they were to have been dedicated to him, but, as yet, I have
not had but the one copy, which I have made up from the slips which have
been separately printed, from time to time. Kind gentlemen, reading
always makes me drouthy;--may-be, one of ye will mix a tumbler for
me?--not too strong of the water;--christen the spirit, but don't drown
it. Ah, that will do! What a flavor it has!

     "An answer was immediately sent by three servants in royal livery,
     requesting, if perfectly agreeable to O'Kelly, that he would do His
     Majesty the favour of a friendly visit, the next day at four

"So I sent word to say that I'd be with him punctual. The next day I
dressed myself very neat, put on my other shirt, gave my coat a brushing
(a thing I don't often do, as it takes the nap off the cloth),
brightened the brass buttons with a bit of chamois leather, went over
the seams with a little vinegar and ink, polished my boots, so that
you'd see your likeness in them like a looking-glass, had myself
elegantly shaved, and to the King I went. But you shall hear:

     "To this proposition the Bard politely assented, and went to the
     Castle of Dublin, at the appointed hour, the next day. There he
     sent his card to the King, with his compliments; and Sir Benjamin
     Bloomfield immediately came down the Grand Staircase, and, with a
     most gracious message from His Majesty, handed him a fifty-pound
     bank-note, as the royal subscription to his admirable poems.

"I won't deny that the sight and touch of the money were mighty
pleasant; but I said nothing. It was a larger sum than ever I had at any
one time before, for _my_ riches have always been of the head, rather
than of the purse. I put the bank-note into my waistcoat-pocket,
fastened it safely there with a pin I took out of my cuff, and
then--mind, not until _then_--I told Sir Benjamin----But I'll read it:

     "O'Kelly (with that noble disregard for lucre which always
     distinguished our eminently patriotic, poetic, high-minded, much
     accomplished, and generous-hearted countryman) immediately told Sir
     Benjamin, that he would rather relinquish the money than abandon
     the anticipated pleasure of a personal interview with his

"Mind--I had the fifty pounds snug in my pocket all the while. You may
be certain that I wouldn't have spoken that way _before_ fingering the

     "On this most disinterested and loyal determination having been
     mentioned to His Majesty, he was so delighted with it, that he
     desired the Bard to be ushered instantly into the Grand Hall of
     Audience. This was done, and there the Most Noble the Marquis of
     Congynham had the honour of introducing His Majesty to the Poet.

"Wasn't it a grand sight! There was the King on his throne, and all the
great officers of State standing around him. In one hand the King held a
sceptre of pure gold, and the other was stretched out to receive my
book. On his head he wore a crown of gold, studded all over with jewels,
and weighing half a hundred weight, at the very least. On his breast, in
the place where a diamond star is usually represented in the portraits,
His Majesty wore a bunch of shamrock, the size of a cauliflower. Now
you'll hear what occurred:--

     "Compliments being exchanged, the King descended from his throne,
     and had the pleasure of introducing the Marchioness of Conyngham,
     and all the other Ladies of the Bedchamber, to the Bard. His
     Majesty, then--returning to his throne, and insisting that the Bard
     should occupy an arm-chair by his right side--said, "Mr.
     O'Kelly"----"O'KELLY, without the _Mister_, if you please," said
     the Bard, "Your Majesty would not say Mr. Shakspeare or Mr.
     Milton." "True enough," said the King, "I sit corrected: I beg your
     pardon, O'Kelly. I should have known better. Well, then, O'Kelly, I
     am quite sure that I shall be delighted with your beautiful poems,
     when I've time to read them." To this the Bard replied, "Your
     Majesty never spoke a truer word. I believe they'd delight and
     instruct any one." At this intelligent, and most correct
     observation, his Majesty was pleased to smile. He then added, "I'm
     sorry to see, by your iron leg, that you are lame." O'Kelly, with
     that ready wit for which he is as remarkable as he is for his
     modesty, instantly replied, "If I halt in my leg, I don't in my
     verses, for

         "If God one member has oppressed,
         He's made more perfect all the rest."

     It is impossible for words to describe the thunders of applause by
     which this beautiful extempore impromptu was followed.

"I knew, well enough, that something smart would be expected from a man
like me; so I went prepared with several impromptus, to be introduced
when the occasion would allow.

     "His Majesty then said, "It is really remarkable that you, and my
     friend Walter Scott, should both be lame." The Bard replied, "And
     Lord Byron also." His Majesty then observed, "It is a wonderful
     coincidence--the three great poets of the three kingdoms." At the
     request of the Marquis of Conyngham, the Bard then made the
     following extemporaneous epigram on the spot, off hand, on this
     interesting subject:

    'Three poets for three sister kingdoms born,

"That's England, Ireland, and Scotland:--

    'One for the rose, another for the thorn,

"You know that the rose and thistle are the national emblems of England
and Scotland:

    'One for the shamrock,

"That's poor old Ireland,--

      'which shall ne'er decay,
    While rose and thorn must yearly die away.'

     "His Majesty was quite electrified at the ready wit displayed in
     this beautiful impromptu, and took leave of the Bard in the most
     affectionate and gracious manner. It is whispered among the
     fashionable circles, that O'Kelly has declined the offer of a
     Baronetcy, made to him by command of the Sovereign."

"Indeed," said the Bard, in conclusion, "the King and me were mutually
pleased with each other. I'd have had myself made a Baronet, like Scott,
but I have not the dirty acres to keep up the dignity. 'Tis my private
notion, if the King had seen me first, I'd have had ten times the money
he sent me. Well, he's every inch a King, and here's his health."

       *       *       *       *       *

You may judge, from what he printed and what he spoke, whether the
modesty of the Bard was not equal to his genius. It is a fact, I
understand, that he actually made his way to an audience with George
the Fourth; he must have rather astonished his Majesty. In his later
years the Bard fluctuated between Cork and Limerick (in the last-named
city of "beautiful lasses," he had a daughter very well married),[10]
and, wherever he might be, was open to algebraic donations of strong
drink--that is, "any _given_ quantity."

     [10] The saying in Ireland, when the locality of good-looking
     people is to be indicated, is--"Cork lads and Limerick lasses." In
     Lancashire, there is something like this in the familiar manner in
     which the natives speak of "Wigan _chaps_, Bolton _fellows_,
     Manchester _men_, and Liverpool _gentlemen_."

Such a fungus as the Bard O'Kelly could only have been produced in and
tolerated by a very peculiar state of society. Out of Ireland he would
have starved--unless he followed a different vocation. He was partly
laughed at, partly feared. Satire was his weapon. His manners, attire,
and conversation, would scarcely be endured now in the servants' hall;
yet, even as lately as twenty years ago, he forced his way into the
company of respectable people--aye, and got not only hospitality from
them, but _douceurs_ of wearing apparel and money. One comfort is, such
a person would have little chance in Ireland now.

The Bard O'Kelly died about fifteen years ago, having lived in clover
for more than forty years, by the fears of those whom he made his
tributaries. Until he published, in 1831, the world took it for granted,
that even as _he_ said, he had some poetic talent. The list of
subscribers to his volume had between seven and eight hundred names,
including ladies, peers of the realm, and members of Parliament. The
"Bard's" want of ability was companioned by want of principle--for two,
at least, of the poems which he published as his own, were written by
others. One, commencing, "My life is like the summer rose," is the
composition of R. H. Wilde, a distinguished American man of letters; and
another, beginning "On beds of snow the moonbeams slept," has been
_conveyed_ from the early poems of a writer named--Thomas Moore. There
is cool intrepidity in pilfering from a poet so universally known as
Moore. When Scott visited Ireland, he was waited on by O'Kelly with the
same "extempore impromptu" he had inflicted on George IV., years before,
and (Lockhart relates) compelled the Ariosto of the North to pay the
usual tribute--by subscribing to his poems.

There are scores of Irishmen now in New York, who were personally
acquainted with O'Kelly, and can testify to the accuracy--I might even
say the moderation, of my description of him.


Those who have perused that polyglot of wisdom and wit, learning and
fun, wild eccentricity and plain sense, 'yclept "THE PROUT PAPERS,"
which originally appeared in _Fraser's Magazine_, during the editorship
of Dr. Maginn, may feel some curiosity respecting the individual whose
name has thus been preserved (not unlike the fly in amber) through all
literary time. They would naturally think, after admiring the rare
facility of versification, the playfulness, the fancy, the wit, the
impetuous frolic, the deep erudition which distinguishes the said
"Papers," that Father Prout must have been a wonderful man, gifted in an
extraordinary manner.

What is there in the language more spirited than the Prout translations
from Béranger? As was said of Goethe's Faust, translated by Anster, the
fact was _transfused_ into our vernacular. What wondrous flexibility is
given to the old Latin tongue, by the versions of Moore into that
language! What charming mastery of learning, as exhibited in the
translations of "The Groves of Blarney" into a variety of tongues! What
grave humour in treating that original song as if it were only a
translation! Two wits--who not only belonged to Cork, but had seen a
great many _drawings_ of it in their time--were the perpetrators of this
literary mystification. Frank Mahony and Frank Murphy--a priest and a
lawyer. On their own hook, to use a common phrase, they have done
nothing worth particular mention; but some plants, we know, produce
flowers, while others yield fruit.

For a long time, in England, the full credit of the Fraserian articles
was given to Father Prout. Then set in a spring-tide of disbelief, and
the very existence of such a man was doubted. Erroneous doubt! for I
have seen him--spoken to him--dined with him. The Father Prout, however,
of real life was very different from him of the Prout Papers. He was
parish-priest of Watergrass-hill, midway between the city of Cork and
the town of Fermoy--a locality known as the highest arable land in
Ireland. Prout was one of the old priests who, when it was penal for a
Catholic clergyman to exist in Ireland, picked up the elements of his
education how he could, completed it at a foreign university, and came
back to Ireland, a priest, to administer the consolations of religion to
the peasantry of his native land. Sometimes, the Catholic priest
evidenced to the last, in conduct and manners, that his youth had been
passed in countries in which social civilization had extended further
than in Ireland. Sometimes, the learning and the polish which had been
acquired abroad were forgotten at home--as the sword loses its
brightness from disuse--and, living much among the peasantry, the priest
lost a part of the finer courtesy of the gentleman, and assumed the
roughness of the bulk of his parishioners. Wherever there was a resident
Protestant landowner, the Priest of the olden time instinctively formed
friendly relations with him--for, at that time, the priestly order was
not invariably supplied from the peasantry, and tolerance was more
declared and practiced by members of all persuasions, in Ireland, at
that time than it is now. Prout was literally a "round, fat, oily man of
God." He had a hand small as a woman's, and was very proud of it. He had
an unconquerable spirit of good-humour, and it was utterly impossible
for any one to be in his company for ten minutes without feeling and
basking in the sunshine of his buoyant and genial good-nature. Of
learning he had very little. I do not know what his share might have
been half a century before, when he was fresh from Douay or the
Sorbonne, but few traces were left in his latter years. In the society
of his equals or his superiors, Prout could keep up the shuttlecock of
conversation as well as any one, and in the fashion of the place and
class, but he was equally at home amid the festivities of a country
wedding, or the genialities of the hospitable entertainment which
followed the holding of a country Station at a rich farmer's domicile.

What the world has received as "The Reliques of Father Prout," owes
nothing to the little _padrone_. He had a strong sense of the humourous,
and, when the fancy seized him, was not very particular how or where he
indulged it.

Prout, residing only nine miles from Cork, frequently visited that city,
where he had a great many acquaintances, at all times glad to see him.
In one Protestant family with which he was intimate, there were several
very handsome daughters, full of life and high spirits, who especially
delighted in drawing out the rotund priest. He had repeatedly urged them
to "drop in" upon him, some day; and when the spirit of fun was strong,
early on a Sunday morning in June, they ordered out the carriage, and
directed their Jehu to drive them to Watergrass-hill.

Now, though that terminus was only nine (Irish[11]) miles distant, the
greater part of the way--certainly all from Glanmire--was terribly
up-hill. The result was that, instead of reaching Father Prout's about
ten o'clock, as they had anticipated, they did not draw up at his door
until an hour and a half later, and were there informed that "his
Reverence had be off to last mass." They determined to follow
him, partly from curiosity to see in what manner divine worship was
performed in a Catholic chapel.

     [11] Irish miles are longer than English, in the proportion of 11
     to 14. A traveller complained to the chaise-driver of the
     narrowness of the way. "Oh, then," said the man, "why need you be
     angry with the roads? Sure, we make up in the length for the scanty
     measure we get in the width."

The chapel in which Father Prout officiated was by no means a building
of pretension. At that time the roof was out of repair, and, in wet
weather, acted as a gigantic shower-bath. The floor, then, consisted of
beaten earth, which was somewhat of a puddle whenever the rains
descended and the winds blew. The Cork ladies soon found the chapel,
entered it, and (accustomed to the rich churches of their own
persuasion) gazed in wonder on the humble, unadorned place of worship in
which they stood. It may literally be said "in which they stood," for
there were no pews, no chairs, not even a solitary stool.

Presently the chapel began to fill, and "the pressure from without"
gradually drove the ladies nearer and yet nearer to the altar. At length
Father Prout entered in his clerical attire, and commenced the service.
In Catholic churches the priest officiates, during the early part of the
service, with his face to the altar, and his back to the congregation.
Thus, it happened that Prout never saw his Cork friends until the time
when he turned round to the congregation. Then he beheld them,
handsomely and fashionably attired, standing up (for the floor was too
puddled to allow them to soil their vesture by kneeling, as every one
else did), the gazed-at by all beholders, looking and feeling the
reverse of comfortable.

Father Prout immediately looked at his clerk, Pat Murphy,--an original
in his way,--caught his eye and his attention, and gently inclining
towards him, whispered, "send for three chairs for the ladies." Pat, who
was a little deaf, imperfectly caught his master's words, and turned
round to the congregation and roared out, "Boys! his Reverence says,
'Three cheers for the ladies.'" The congregation, obedient and gallant,
gave three tremendous shouts, to the surprise of the ladies and the
horror of the priest. There was a good deal of merriment when the
mistake was explained, but to his dying day Father Prout was reminded,
whenever he visited Cork, of the "Three cheers for the ladies."

Pat Murphy, his clerk, was quite a character. He affected big words, and
was mortally offended whenever any one called him _clerk_ or _sexton_.
"I pity the weakness of your intellectual organization," he would
contemptuously exclaim. "If you had only brains enough to distinguish B
from a bull's foot, you would appreciate my peculiar and appropriate
official designation. The words 'clerk' and 'sexton' are appellations
which distinctify the menial avocations of persons employed in heretical
places of worship. My situation is that of Sacristan and my responsible
duty is to act as custodian of the sacred utensils and vestments of
the chapel."

Murphy had an exaggerated idea of the abilities of his principal, and
stoutly maintained that if the Pope knew what was good for the Church,
he would long since have elevated Father Prout to the episcopal dignity.
His chief regret, when dying, was, that he did not survive to see _this_

Sometimes Pat Murphy would condescend to enter into a _vivâ voce_
controversy with one of the "heretics," (as he invariably designated the
Protestants,) on the comparative merits of the rival churches. His
invariable wind-up, delivered gravely and authoritatively, as a
clincher, to which he would permit no reply, was as follows:--"I
commiserate your condition, which is the result of your miserable
ignorance. Unfortunate individual! out of the New Testament itself I can
prove that your religion is but a thing of yesterday. With you
Protestants the Apostle Paul had not the most distant acquaintance,
whereas he corresponded with us of the Holy Roman Church. You doubt it?
Know you not that, from Corinth, he wrote an Epistle to the _Romans_,
and if the Protestants were in existence then, and known to him, why did
he not as well send an Epistle unto _them_?"

Father Prout was short and rotund. His Sacristan was tall and thin.
Immemorial usage permits the clerical cast-off garments to descend, like
heirlooms, to the parish clerk. Pat Murphy, in the threadbare
garments which erst had clothed the rotundity of Father Prout, was a
ludicrous looking object. The doctrine of compensation used to be
carried out, on such occasions, with more truth than beauty. The waist
of the priest's coat would find itself under Murphy's arms, the
wristbands would barely cover his elbows, and the pantaloons, sharing
the fate of the other garments, would end at his knees, leaving a wide
interval of calf visible to public gaze. On the other hand, by way of
equivalent, the garments would voluminously wrap around him, in folds,
as if they were intended to envelope not one Pat Murphy, but three such
examples of the mathematical definition, "length without breadth." On
one occasion I had the double satisfaction of seeing Father Prout, like
Solomon, in all his glory, with Pat Murphy in full costume. It happened
in this wise:

There was pretty good shooting about Watergrass-hill, and the officers
of an infantry regiment, who were quartered at Fermoy, at the period to
which I refer, had made Prout's acquaintance, while peppering away at
the birds, and had partaken of a capital impromptu luncheon which he got
up on the moment. Prout, it may be added, was in the habit of receiving
presents of game, fish and poultry from his friends in Cork, (the
mail-coaches and other public conveyances passing his door several times
every day,) and as long as Dan Meagher, of Patrick-street, was in the
wine-trade, be sure that his friend, Father Prout, did not want good
samples of the generous juice of the grape. Of course, he also had a
supply of real _potheen_. Cellar and larder thus provided for, Prout was
fond of playing the host.

A great intimacy speedily sprung up between Prout and his military
friends, and he partook of numerous dinners at their mess in Fermoy
Barracks. At last, determined to return the compliment, he invited them
all to dine with him at Watergrass-hill. One of my own cousins, who
happened to be one of the guests, took me with him--on the Roman plan, I
presume, which permitted an invited guest to bring _his shade_. I was a
youngster at the time, but remember the affair as if it were of

If there was any anticipation of a spoiled dinner, it was vain. Prout,
who was on intimate terms with all his neighbours for half a dozen miles
round, had been wise enough to invoke the aid of the Protestant rector
of Watergrass-hill, who not only lent him plate, china, and all other
table necessaries, but--what was of more importance--also spared him the
excellent cook who, it was said, could compose a dinner, in full
variety, out of any one article of food. Each of the officers was
attended at table by his own servant, and Pat Murphy, in full dress,
officiated as servitor, at the particular disposal of Father Prout

The dinner was excellent,--well-cooked, well-served, and worthy of
praise for the abundance, variety, and excellence of the viands. There
was everything to be pleased with--nothing to smile at.

I beg to withdraw the last four words. There was Pat Murphy, in an
ex-suit of Prout's, looking such a figure of fun, that, on recalling the
scene now, I wonder how, one and all, we did not burst into a shout of
laughter when he first was presented to view. He looked taller, and
scraggier, and leaner than usual--his clothes appearing greater misfits
than ever! Prout, who kept his countenance remarkably well, evidently
saw and enjoyed the ludicrous appearance of his man. On the other hand,
the man, taking on himself the duties of Major Domo, ordered the other
attendants about in all directions, muttering curses between his teeth
whenever they did not do exactly as he commanded. But everything went
off gaily, and Prout's rubicund face became redder and more radiant
under the influence of this success.

In the course of the entertainment, Father Prout, addressing his
attendant, said, "Pat, a glass of porter, if you please." The liquor was
poured, and, as it frothed in the glass, Prout raised it to his lips
with the words, "Thank you, Pat." Waiting until he had completed the
draught, Pat, in a tone of earnest remonstrance, said, "Ah, then, your
Reverence, why should _you_ thank me for what's your own? It would be
decent for these genteels who are dining here, to thank me for the good
drink, but you've no right to do anything of the sort, seeing that the
liquor is your own. It is my supplication that you will not do so again;
there is an incongruity in it which I disrelish." We had some difficulty
in not laughing, but contrived to keep serious faces during this

The liberality of the little Padre had provided us with three courses,
and just as Pat Murphy was in the act of relieving a noble roasted
haunch of mutton, before his master, by a dish of snipe, he happened to
look out of the window and see one of his own familiar associates
passing along the street. Hastily flinging down the dish, he threw up
the window, and, kneeling down, with his long arms resting on the sill,
loudly hailed his friend, "Where are ye going, Tom?" The answer was that
a dance was expected in the neighbourhood, and at which, of course, Pat
would be "to the fore." Now, the said Pat, very much like Ichabod Crane
in figure, had a sort of sneaking desire, like him, to be wherever
pretty women were to be seen. "No," said Pat, "I do not anticipate to be
relieved in any thing like proper time from attendance here this
evening. His Reverence, who has been ating and drinking, with remarkable
avidity, on the military officers down in Fermoy, is hospitable to-day,
and entertains the whole squad of them at dinner. To see them _ate_,
you'd think they had just got out of a hard Lent. 'Tisn't often, I dare
say, that they get such a feast. There's the mutton sent by Chetwood of
Glanmire; and the poultry by Cooper Penrose of Wood-hill; and the
lashings of game by Devonshire of Kilshanneck; and the fruit by Lord
Riversdale of Lisnegar--that is, by his steward, for 'tis little his
Lordship sees of the place that gives him a good six thousand a
year;--and the barrel of porter from Tommy Walker of Fermoy; and the
wine from red-faced Dan Meagher of Cork; and everything of the best.
Depend on it, the officers won't stir until they have made fools of all
the provender. By-and-bye, that the poor mightn't have a chance of the
leavings, they will be calling for grilled bones, and devilled legs and
gizzards. No, Tom, my mind misgives me that I can't go to the dance this
evening. Here's the officers, bad 'cess to them, that are sedentary
fixtures until midnight."

This oration delivered,--and every one had been silent while Pat Murphy
was thus unburthening his mind,--he arose from his knees, closed the
window, and resumed his place behind Father Prout, with "a countenance
more of sorrow than of anger," calm and unconcerned as if nothing had
occurred out of the ordinary routine. At that moment, Prout threw
himself back on his chair, and laughed until the tears rolled down his
cheeks, and thus encouraged, the company followed his example, and
laughed also. When the mirth had subsided, it was almost renewed by the
solemn countenance of Pat Murphy, grave rather than severe--a sort of
domestic Marius sitting, in sad contemplation, amid the ruins of

Father Prout had rather a rough set of parishioners to deal with. He
could be, and was, very much of the gentleman, but it pleased him to
appear plain and unpolished to those among whom his lot was cast. At
times, when nothing else would do, he would address them, in an
exhortation, very much in the spirit of Swift's "if you like the
conditions, down with the dust!" At such times, Rabelais, "in his easy
chair," would have smiled, and Swift himself would have hailed Prout as
a congenial spirit.

I have a memorandum of one of these sermons. The object was to collect
some arrears of "dues" from certain non-paying parishioners,
(constituting rather a large portion of his congregation,) and I have
been told that the discourse was much to this effect:


Somewhere in the Scriptures it is written, that whoever gives to the
poor lends to the Lord. There are three reasons why I don't tell you
exactly where this may be found. In the first place, poor creatures that
you are, few of you happen to have the authorized Douay edition, printed
and published by Richard Coyne of Dublin, and certified as correct by
Archbishop Troy, and the other heads of the Church in Ireland--few
among you, I say, have _that_, though I know that there is not a house
in the parish without a loose song-book, or the History of the Irish
Rogues. In the second place, if ye had it, 'tis few of ye could read it,
ignorant haythens that ye are. And in the third place, if every man-jack
of ye did possess it, and could read it, (for the Church still admits
the possibility of miracles,) it would not much matter at this present
moment, because it happens that I don't quite remember in what part of
it the text is to be found;--for the wickedness of my flock has affected
my memory, and driven many things clean out of my head, which it took me
a deal of trouble to put into it when I was studying in foreign parts,
years ago. But it don't matter. The fault is not mine, but yours, ye
unnatural crew, and may-be ye won't find it out, to your cost, before ye
have been five minutes quit of this life. Amen.

"He who gives to the poor."--Ye are not skilled in logic, nor indeed in
anything that I know except playing hurley in the fields, scheming at
cards in public-houses for half gallons of porter, and defrauding your
clergy of their lawful dues. What is worse, there's no use in trying to
drive logic into your heads, for indeed that would be the fulfilment of
another text that speaks of throwing pearls before pigs. But if ye _did_
know logic--which ye don't--ye would perceive at once that the passage I
have just quoted naturally divides itself into two branches. The first
involves the _giving_; that is, rationally and syllogistically
considered, what ye ought to do. And the second involves the _poor_;
that is, the receivers of the gifts, or the persons for whom ye ought to
do it.

First, then, as to the giving. Now it stands to reason that, as the
Scripture says in some other place, the blind can't lead the blind,
because maybe they'd fall into the bog-holes, poor things, and get
drowned. And so, though there really is wonderful kindness to each other
among them, it is not to be expected that the poor can give to the poor.
No, the givers must be people who have something to give, which the poor
have not. Some of ye will try and get off on this head, and say that
'tis gladly enough ye'd give, but that really ye can't afford it. Can't
ye? If you make up your minds, any one of you, to give up only a single
glass of spirits, every day of your lives, see what it will come to in
the course of a year, and devote _that_ to the Church--that is to the
Clergy--and it will be more than some of the well-to-do farmers, whom I
have in my eye at this blessed moment, have had the heart to give me
during the last twelve months. Why, as little as a penny a day comes to
more than thirty shillings in the year, and even that insignificant
trifle I have not had from some of you that have the means and ought to
know better. I don't want to mention names, but, Tom Murphy of the Glen,
I am afraid I shall be compelled to name you before the whole
congregation, some day before long, if you don't pay up your lawful
dues. I won't say more now on that subject, for, as St. Augustine says,
"A nod's as good as a wink to a blind horse."

Now, the moral of the first part being clearly shown, that all who _can_
give _ought_ to give, the next branch is _to whom_ should it be given?
The blessed text essentially states and declares "to the poor." Then
follows the inquiry, who's "the _poor_." The whole matter depends on

I dare say, ignorant as ye are, some of you will think that it's the
beggars, and the cripples, and the blind travellers who contrive to get
through the length and breadth of the country, guided by Providence and
a little dog tied to their fingers by a bit of string. No, I don't want
to say one mortal word against that sort of cattle, or injure them in
their honest calling. God help them. It's their trade, their estate,
their occupation, their business to beg--just as much as 'tis Pat
Mulcahy's business to tailor, or Jerry Smith's to make carts, or Tom
Shine's to shoe horses, or Din Cotter's to make potheen, and my business
to preach sermons, and save your souls, ye heathens. But these ain't
"the poor" meant in the text. They're used to begging, and they like to
beg, and they thrive on begging, and I, for one, wouldn't be the man to
disturb them in the practice of their profession, and long may it be a
provision to them and to their heirs for ever. Amen.

May-be, ye mean-spirited creatures, some among you will say that it's
yourselves is "the poor." Indeed, then, it isn't. Poor enough and
niggardly ye are, but you ain't the poor contemplated by holy Moses in
the text. Sure 'tis your nature to toil and to slave--sure 'tis what
ye're used to. Therefore, if any one were to give anything to _you_, he
would not be lending to the Lord in the slightest degree, but throwing
away his money as completely as if he lent it upon the security of the
land that's covered by the lakes of Killarney. Don't flatter yourselves,
any of you, for a moment, that you are "the poor." I can tell you that
you're nothing of the sort.

Now, then, we have found out who should be the givers. There's no
mistake about _that_--reason and logic unite in declaring that every one
of you, man, woman and child--should give, and strain a point to do it
liberally. Next, we have ascertained that it's "the poor" who should
receive what you give. Thirdly, we have determined who are _not_ "the
poor." Lastly, we must discover who _are_.

Let each of you put on his considering cap and think.--Well, I have
paused that you might do so. Din Cotter is a knowledgeable man compared
with the bulk of you. I wonder whether he has discovered who _are_ "the
poor." He shakes his head--but there is not much in _that_. Well, then,
you give it up. You leave it to me to enlighten you all. Learn, then,
to your shame, that it's the Clergy who are "the poor."

Ah! you perceive it now, do you? The light comes in through your thick
heads, does it? Yes, it's I and my brethren is "the poor." We get our
bread--coarse enough and dry enough it usually is--by filling you with
spiritual food, and, judging by the congregation now before me, its ugly
mouths you have to receive it. We toil not, neither do we spin, but if
Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed better than we are, instead
of being clothed in vermin and fine linen, 'tis many a time he'd be
wearing a thread-bare black coat, white on the seams, and out at the
elbows. It's the opinion of the most learned scholars and Doctors in
Divinity, as laid down before the Council of Trent, that the translation
is not sufficiently exact in regard of this text. And they recommend
that for the words "the poor," we should substitute "the clergy." Thus
corrected, then, the text would read "he who gives to the Clergy, lends
to the Lord," which, no doubt, is the proper and undiluted Scripture.

The words of the text are thus settled, and you have heard my
explanation of it all. Now for the application. Last Thursday was a week
since the fair of Bartlemy, and I went down there to buy a horse, for
this is a large parish, and mortification and fretting has puffed me up
so, that, God help me, 'tis little able I am to walk about to answer
all the sick calls, to say nothing of stations, weddings, and
christenings. Well, I bought the horse, and it cost me more than I
expected, so that there I stood without a copper in my pocket after I
had paid the dealer. It rained cats and dogs, and as I am so poor that I
can't afford to buy a great coat, I got wet to the skin, in less than no
time. There you were, scores of you, in the public houses, with the
windows up, that all the world might see you eating and drinking as if
it was for a wager. And there was not one of you who had the grace to
ask, "Father Prout, have you got a mouth in your face?" And there I
might have stood in the rain until this blessed hour (that is, supposing
it had continued raining until now), if I had not been picked up by Mr.
'Mun Roche, of Kildinan, an honest gentleman, and a hospitable man I
must say, though he is a Protestant.[12] He took me home with him, and
there, to your eternal disgrace, you villains, I got as full as a tick,
and 'Mun had to send me home in his own carriage--which is an
everlasting shame to all of you, who belong to the true Church.

     [12] Created Lord Fermoy in 1855.

Now, I ask which has carried out the text? You who did not give me even
a poor tumbler of punch, when I was like a drowned rat at Bartlemy, or
'Mun Roche, who took me home, and filled me with the best of eating and
drinking, and sent me to my own house, after that, in his own elegant
carriage? Who best fulfilled the Scripture? Who lent to the Lord, by
giving to his poor Clergy? Remember, a time will come when I must give a
true account of you:--what can I say then? Won't I have to hang down my
head in shame, on your account? 'Pon my conscience, it would not much
surprise me, unless you greatly mend your ways, if 'Mun Roche and you
won't have to change places on that occasion: _he_ to sit alongside of
me, as a friend who had treated the poor Clergy well in this world, and
_you_ in a certain place, which I won't particularly mention now, except
to hint that 'tis little frost or cold you'll have in it, but quite the
contrary. However, 'tis never too late to mend, and I hope that by this
day week, it's quite another story I'll have to tell of you all.--Amen.


Five-and-twenty years ago, when I left Ireland, the original or
aboriginal race of country dancing-masters was nearly extinct. By this
time, I presume, it has almost died out. Here and there a few may be

     "Rari nantes in gurgite vasto,"

but the light-heeled, light-hearted, jovial, genial fellows who were
actual Masters of the Revels in the district to which they respectively
belonged, are nowhere.

There used to be as much pride (and property) in a village
dancing-master as in a village schoolmaster, in my young days, and I
have heard of "many accidents by flood and field," caused by attempts to
remove a dancing-master or a pedagogue, of high reputation, from one
district to another. In such cases, the very abduction being the
strongest possible compliment to his renown, the person who was "enticed
away by force," always made a point of offering no resistance, and would
passively and proudly await the result. Indeed, care was always taken
that such removal should be actual preferment, as, to ameliorate his
condition, the residence provided for him in the new village, township,
or barony, was always better than that from which he was removed.

As a general rule, the abduction, of schoolmasters was a favorite
practice in Kerry--where every man and boy is supposed to speak
Latin[13]--while stolen dancing-masters did not abound in the
neighbouring counties of Cork and Limerick. The natural inference is
that the County Kerry-men preferred the culture of the head, while the
others rather cared for the education of the heels.

     [13] There are full grounds for this assertion. Classical learning
     has flourished in Kerry (under a hedge) from time immemorial. I
     recollect an illustrative anecdote. Two poor scholars who were
     travelling through Kerry, came to a farm-house, when faint with
     hunger, and foot-sore with walking; they went in, and modestly
     wanted "a drink of water," which was given them. On leaving the
     house, where they had expected something better than this scant
     hospitality, one of them exclaimed, "Ah, Pat, that's not the way
     that a farmer's wife would trate a poor scholar in our part of the
     world. 'Tis the good bowl of milk she'd give him, and not the
     piggin of cold water. She's a _malus mulier_." The other responded,
     "Say _mala_--it must be so to agree with the feminine _mulier_.
     Don't you know that _malus mulier_ is bad Latin?" "Hold your
     tongue," was the answer: "whatever it is, it is only too good for a
     niggard like _her_."

To have a first-rate hedge-schoolmaster was a credit to any parish. To
have engrossed the services of an eminent _maître de danse_ was almost a
matter of considerable pride and boasting, but to possess _both_ of
these treasures was indeed a triumph.

There was more pride, perhaps, in having a schoolmaster of great
repute--more pleasure in owning a dancer of high renown. The book-man
was never known to dance, and the village Vestris was rarely able to
write his name. Thus they never clashed. One ruled by day, and the other
had unquestioned sovereignty in the hours between dusk and dawn.

Such a being as a youthful dancing-master I never saw--never heard of.
They were invariably middle-aged men, at the youngest; but professors of
"the poetry of motion," who were about seventy, appeared the greatest
favourites. It was dreaded, perhaps, that the attraction of youth and
good dancing combined would be too much for the village beauties to
resist. On the same system, in all probability, it was a _sine quâ non_
that the dancing-master should be married.

The Irish peasantry used to have a sort of passion for dancing. Hence
the necessity for a teacher. On stated evenings during the winter, no
matter what obstacles wet weather or dirty roads might present, a large
company of pupils, from the age of ten to forty years, would assemble,
in some roomy barn, possessing a smooth and hard floor of
closely-pounded clay, to receive instructions in the saltatory art.
Sometimes, when the teacher was ambitious, he would flourishingly open
the proceedings with what was called "a bit of a noration,"--the oratory
principally consisting of sesquipedalian words and mythological
allusions, being composed by the schoolmaster--utterly unintelligible,
but sounding largely, and delivered in an _ore rotundo_ manner and with
"a laudable voice," as if the dancing-master really understood the words
he uttered. Not taking particular pains to follow "copy," and frequently
putting in words of his own when those written down for him had slipped
out of his memory, these orations were amusingly absurd. They invariably
commenced with an allusion to Miriam dancing before Moses, after the
passage of the Red Sea, (on which occasion, no doubt, was first heard
"the piper who played before Moses," familiarly named in Irish
colloquy,) and, passing down, through Homer and the classics, always
ended with a warm eulogy on the antiquity of the dance.

In those days, the favourite exhibitions were the jig, the reel, the
hornpipe, and the country-dance. The last-named was considered
dreadfully genteel--too aristocratic, in fact, for the multitude--and
was learned and practiced (as courting and kissing often are) on the
sly! The reel was countenanced--and no more. It was rather Scotch than
Irish. Every one was expected to be able to go that laborious piece of
amusement called "The Sailor's Hornpipe,"--faint vestiges of which are
extant, to this hour, in nautical scenes,--as represented on the stage.
Words cannot describe the evolutions of this remarkable dance, when
exhibited with all the scientific varieties of which it was
capable. The shuffles, cross-shuffles, jumps, hops, leaps, cuttings,
slides, and so on, which were introduced, I am unable to describe. The
manner in which "heel-and-toe" was employed and varied, some abler
historian may record.

That the hours passed away on swift pinions at these dancing academies,
may well be imagined. There was any quantity of flirtation at all times,
and about half the marriages in the country owed their origin to these
_réunions_. It is creditable to the proverbial good conduct of my
countrywomen, that loss of character rarely, if ever, resulted from
these free-and-easy meetings.

The real glory of the evening, however, was when the dancing-master,
after a world of solicitation, would "take the flure," in order to give
his admiring pupils a touch of his quality. On such an occasion, the
door of the house would be lifted off its hinges, and placed in the
centre of the floor. Abandoning the little _kit_ (a small-sized violin)
which was his companion at all other exhibitions, he would allow a blind
piper to "discourse most excellent music," and, on the door, would
commence that wondrous display of agility, known, in my time, as "cover
the buckle;"--a name probably derived from the circumstance that the
dancing-master, while teaching, always wore large buckles in his shoes,
and by the rapidity of motion with which he would make his "many
twinkling feet" perpetually cross, would seem to "cover" the appendages
in question. The great effort was to exhibit all varieties of steps and
dances, without once quitting the prostrate door on which the exhibitor
took his stand. The jumps, the "cuttings" in the air, the bends, the
dives, the wrigglings, the hops--these were all critically regarded by
his audience, and sometimes rewarded with such exclamations as "That's
the way,"--"now for a double cut,"--"cover-the-buckle, ye divel,"--"Oh,
then, 'tis he that handles his feet nately." At the conclusion, when he
literally had danced himself almost off his legs, he would bow to the
company, and--if he were very much a favourite, or had eclipsed all
former displays--one of the prettiest girls in the room would go round,
plate in hand, and make a collection for him. How the ten-penny and
five-penny bits would tumble in, on those occasions--particularly if the
fair collector could be induced to announce, with a blush and a smile,
that she would take an extra donation on the usual terms, which meant
that, for five shillings into the plate, any gallant swain might brush
the dew from her own coral lips, on that occasion only and by particular
desire. Can you doubt, for a moment, that the likely "boy" who had been
sitting by her side all the evening, making babies on her eyes (as the
saying is), and with his arm round her waist, just to steady her in her
seat, would jump up and fling his crown-piece into the treasury--though
the pecuniary sacrifice would probably involve his being obliged to
dispense, for a few weeks more, with "the new Carline hat" on which his
dandyism had set its mind, for his Sunday adorning!

It was difficult for "an outsider" to become a spectator of the peculiar
modes of teaching adopted and practiced by these masters. At a small
extra rate, they would undertake to give instructions in that
"deportment," of which the late Mr. Turvey-drop was such an illustrious
exemplar. I never witnessed anything of this sort, but have conversed on
the subject with some who did. From what I could learn, the whole course
of tuition in this particular branch must have been ludicrous in the
extreme. Besides lessons in standing, walking, sitting, and even leaning
with grace and ease, more recondite points were considered. Such were
"how to slide out of a room backwards" (on the chance, no doubt, of some
of the rustics having to appear at Court, before Royalty)--"how to
accept a tumbler of punch from a gentleman," touching the liquid with
her lips, so as to leave a kiss within the cup, as Ben Jonson
advises,--"how to refuse a kiss," and yet not destroy the hope of its
being accepted, a little later in the evening,--and, above all, "how to
take a kiss," in the most genteel and approved manner of politeness!
These instructions, super-added to a lesson that was called
"the Grecian bend" (which was nothing less than a coquettish way of
leaning forward, with the eyes cast down, while listening to soft
nonsense from a favoured swain), were peculiar and private. The only way
in which the male sex could obtain a glimpse at such Eleusinian
mysteries was by taking a recumbent position on the roof of the house,
carefully removing a small portion of the thatch, and using eyes and
ears in that situation to the best advantage. If detected by the irate
maidens, the spy would run a fair chance of a scratched face and
well-boxed ears.

As might be expected, the country dancing-master sometimes had stupid
and refractory pupils. There was a common method of giving them
instruction, which, for its practical simplicity, may be worth relating.
When the pupil would persist in _not_ recollecting which foot was to be
used, at particular periods, the dancing-master would take a rope made
of twisted hay, called a _suggaun_, and fasten it around one of the
delinquent's ankles. He would then take a similar bracelet of twisted
willow, denominated a _gad_, and put this on the other. Then, instead of
directing the pupil to the particular use or motion of the right leg or
the left, he would exclaim, "Rise upon _suggaun_," or "Sink upon _gad_,"
and in this manner convey his instructions beyond a possibility of
mistake by even the most stupid!

Of course, where there was large company of young people, full of life
and spirit, under pupilage to a not young instructor, a variety of
practical jokes would be perpetrated, at his expense, every now and
then. They were almost invariably of a good-natured kind. One, which
might be considered as to "be repeated every night until farther
notice," generally came off towards the end of the evening. A joyous,
light-hearted damsel would suddenly start up, while the music was
playing, and, placing herself before the dancing-master, with that
particular description of curtsy called "a bob," silently challenge him
to dance with her. Now, under all circumstances, except actual inability
to move, the gentleman so challenged has nothing to do but pick up the
gauntlet, and "take the flure." Then, challenger and challenged would
commence an Irish jig--a dance so violent that, writing in the dog-days
as I do, the very recollection of it makes me feel as if the barometer
was some two hundred in the shade. When the damsel had pretty well tired
herself, one of her fair friends would take her place, and so on until a
round dozen or so had had their turn. All this time, the doomed victim
of a man had to continue dancing--and the point of honour was to do so,
without giving in, as long as strength and wind lasted. The company
would gather round, forming a ring for the performers, and the word
would be, "On with the dance" (as it was, at Brussels, on the eve of
Waterloo), until, at last, some male spectator would pityingly dash
into the circle, take the tired man's place, and permit the breathless
and exhausted victim to totter to a seat, gasping out a protest, as he
did, that he could have held out for half an hour longer, and wondered
why any gentleman should interfere with another gentleman's _divarshun_.

In the preceding story of "The Petrified Piper," mention is made of a
dancing-master commonly known as "Ould Lynch." He was an original, in
many respects, and, like many of his profession, was in a constant
flutter of faded finery and actual poverty. He was so much a character
that my father took rather a fancy to him, and had him often at the
house, as a teacher of dancing, in the well populated town of Fermoy. He
had small chance of earning what would keep life and soul together. But
he was a quiet, unassuming man, better educated than most of his class,
and full of anecdote. One social virtue he eminently possessed:--he was
one of the best backgammon players I ever saw, and (I speak it
modestly,) was very fond of me as a pupil.

Lynch was a County Limerick man, on the confines of "the Kingdom of
Kerry," and informed me that, in the parish where he was brought up, the
natives had a passion for backgammon, and were wont, on high-days and
holidays, to hold tournaments (on their favourite game) with the
inhabitants of the next parish, in Kerry. Unfortunately, one day
when a great trial of skill was appointed to come off, it turned out
that no backgammon box was forthcoming. Both parties had contrived to
forget it. To send for the necessary implements would have been a waste
of time, when the combatants had "their souls in arms," and were "eager
for the fray." In this dilemma, a lad who had a decided genius for
expedients suggested a plan by which, without delay, their mutual wishes
could be realized. Under his advice, one of the meadows was fixed upon
as the scene of action. The turf was removed at intervals, so as to make
the place present the semblance of a backgammon board, and substitutes
for men were readily found in the flat stones and slates with which the
ground abounded. The great difficulty was--the dice! They could
extemporize board and men, but how to raise the bits of ivory? The lad
was not to be baffled. He proposed that two men, one selected from each
party, should sit on the ditch opposite each other, with "the board in
the centre, with their respective backs turned _from_ the combatants,
and, in turn, should call out the numbers, as if they had been actually
thrown by dice! This brilliant idea was acted upon. A halfpenny was
thrown up to decide who should have first play, and the men on the ditch
alternately called out, at will, any of the throws which might have
been actually cast had the dice themselves been "to the fore."

Such primitive practice, I venture to say, had never before been applied
to the noble _science_ of backgammon. I use the word advisedly, because,
with skill and judgment, what is called bad luck does not very
materially affect the game. The art is to conquer, despite bad throwing.

Lynch succeeded a worthy named Hearne--a _nom de guerre_, his enemies
averred, for the less euphonious one of Herring. Whatever his name, the
man was quite a character. He fancied himself a poet, and was
particularly fond of taking his favourite pupils aside to communicate to
them in a confidential manner, _sotto voce_, the latest productions of
his muse,--it being expected that, a little later in the evening, the
favoured individuals should delicately draw him out and solicit him to a
public recital of his verses. After a good deal of pressing on their
part, and a show of resistance on his, (which every one understood,) the
little dancing-master would mount on a table, deliver a flourishing
preface in prose, and then go through the recitation, in a manner which
set description at defiance. At the conclusion of this feat, which was
duly encored, Hearne was wont to distribute copies of his composition
printed on whity-brown paper, and the tribute of a five-penny bit was
expected in acknowledgment of the same--simply, as he said, "to pay for
the printing." He had such a peculiar system of orthography--spelling
the words by the sound--that I venture, with all due diffidence, to put
forward his claim to take precedence of the interesting and worthy
founders of the newspaper-nondescript, _The Fonetic Nuz_, at which the
Londoners laughed heartily a dozen years ago. By some accident, I have
preserved a copy of one of Hearne's poetical compositions, in which his
own mode of spelling is carefully preserved, and I subjoin it as a
curiosity,--a specimen of what emanated, some thirty years ago, from one
who belonged to the peculiar class (of which Grant Thorburn is the head)
worthy of being called The Illiterate Literati!

     "_A few lions addressed in prease of Mr. Jon Anderson, Esquire, by
     his humble servant, and votary of the Muses, Wm. Ahearne, profesor
     of dancing._

    "Who lives in this Eaden wich lyes to the easte
      Of Fermoy ould bridge and its pallasades;
    He is the best man on the Blackwater's breast,
      As thousans from povirty he has razed.

    "There's no grand Pear in all Urop this day,
      With him can compare most certinly,
    In bilding a town of buty and sweay
      As Fermoy and its gay sweet liberty.

    "Now, weagh well the case betwin him and those
      Who travel the globe and fair Itly,
    After skroozhing their tinnants hard when at home,
      And spinding their store most foulishly."

The most original idea in these "few lions," is the geographical
information that Italy is _not_ a part of the globe. In the pen-ultimate
line, the poet may have hinted a little sly satire at the "at home" in
high life, where the crushing of hundreds into a space where tens can
scarcely sit in comfort is esteemed a great feat.

A wealthy attorney, named Henley, who had been kind to Hearne, was the
object of an eulogistic "pome." It ran somewhat thus:

    There is a barrister of great fame
      In Fermoy, I do declare,
    Who administers strict justas
      Without bribery or dessate.
    May God prolong your days,
      Your Court to reglate,
    And force sly roges and villines
      To pay their dews and rates.


In the immortal "Maxims of O'Doherty," written by the late Dr. Maginn,
mention is made of a dinner at the late Lord Doneraile's, in the South
of Ireland, in which a reproof was administered to his Lordship's
meanness in the article of--tippling. He says, "My friend, Charley
Crofts, was also of the party. The claret went lazily round the table,
and his Lordship's toad-eaters hinted that they preferred punch, and
called for hot water. My Lord gave in, after a humbug show of
resistance, and whiskey-punch was in a few minutes the order of the
night. Charley, however, to the annoyance of the host, kept swilling
away at the claret, on which Lord Doneraile lost all patience, and said
to him, 'Charley, you are missing quite a treat; this punch is so
excellent.' 'Thank ye, my Lord,' said Charley, 'I am a plain man, who
does not want trates; I am no epicure, so I stick to the claret.'"

This free-and-easy gentleman, of whom I have some personal recollection,
belonged to a class of which, I suspect, he was the very latest
specimen. Charley Crofts, who had acquired no book-learning, because he
was born to a large landed property, was of a respectable family in the
west of the county Cork, and, even in his decline, was highly honoured
by the multitude, as coming from "the good ould stock." Brought up, but
not educated, by his mother, Charley entered the world with very
flattering prospects. He had a good property, good looks, good temper,
and (what he most prized) good horses. Cursed with an easy disposition,
he had never learned how to utter the monosyllable "No," but had
unfortunately learned how to sign his name--his friends kindly giving
him very frequent opportunities of practicing that autograph, by
obtaining it, across narrow slips of stamped paper, ('yclept "bills" and
"promissory notes") underneath the words "_Accepted, payable at the Bank
of James Delacour, Mallow_." In the long run, these autographs ruined
him--as, bit-by-bit, all his property went to meet the sums to which
they pledged him, and Charley Crofts found himself, at the age of
thirty, without home or money. He had preserved one thing, however--his
personal character. He had committed a great many of the frailties of
his sex and youth, but the shadow of a disreputable or doubtful action
never rested on his name. He could proudly say, like Francis the First,
after the battle of Pavia, "All lost, except honour."

The result was that, in his poverty, he was as highly thought of as in
his affluence, and was ever a welcome guest in the first houses of his
native county.

Like the rest of his class, (I mean the estated Irish gentlemen of the
last century,) Charley Crofts had learned to drink deeply. He used to
narrate, with great glee, an incident connected with his entrance into
vivacious habits. His mother, having occasion to leave their country
residence, in order to transact some business in Cork, left her hopeful
son in full possession of the house and full command of the servants,
for the fortnight she intended being absent. Charley, who was then in
his sixteenth year, determined that he would hold no powerless sceptre
of vice-royalty, and invited sundry acquaintances to visit him, which
they did. As a hogshead of fine claret was always on tap, there was no
difficulty in obtaining an adequate supply of drink. One day, however, a
guest happened to express a desire to vary the post-prandial proceedings
by the introduction of a few bottles of port. Now, it happened that Mrs.
Crofts possessed (and was known to possess) some remarkably fine port
wine, which she carefully kept locked up, reserving it for "State days
and holidays." Charley had been left the key of the cellar, and,
considering that his hospitality was especially appealed to, by the hint
about the port, went down and had a supply brought up. That afternoon's
performance went rather hard against the port. Indeed, so much of it was
drank that Charley Crofts was puzzled how to account for it, without
making full confession. A few days after his mother's return, she asked
him to accompany her to the cellar, to provide a suitable location for a
supply of sherry which she expected from Cork. The first thing which
attracted her notice was the remarkable diminution in the stock of her
valued and nearly unique port wine. Catching her eye, Charley
anticipated her inquiry, by remarking that, in her absence, a remarkable
thunder-storm had penetrated to the cellar and broken a quantity of the
bottled wine. Taking up two or three of the bottles, and fully aware
that it would be useless to repine or get angry over the mischief done,
she drew her hopeful son's attention to them, and only said, "A dreadful
storm, indeed! It has actually drawn the corks out of the necks of the
bottles, instead of bursting them in the usual way!"

For the last five-and-thirty years of his life, Charley Crofts may be
said to have literally _lived all around_. He had a number of tried
friends, who were glad to have him as their guest and boon companion,
for a month at a time. He could tell a good story, knew the private
history of every family in the county, was undoubted authority on
horseflesh and every subject connected with the sports of the field, and
could take any quantity of wine without its apparently affecting him.
Nature had endowed him with great muscular power, immense physical
strength, a temper which nothing could cloud, and a mode of expression
so terse as sometimes to be almost epigrammatic. He was exactly
qualified for the shifting sort of life upon which he had fallen.

When I met him, the brighter portion of his career had passed. He was
but the wreck of what he once had been, I was assured by every one; but
one may judge, from the ruin, what the structure had been in its pride.
Numerous anecdotes were afloat as to his sayings and doings, but it is
difficult to realize their effect in our days, unless you could imagine
the person on whom they were affiliated. Though I fear that I shall fail
in the attempt, I shall endeavour to record two or three.

As a four-bottle man, who could drink every one else under the table,
Charley Crofts was not so much of a favourite with wives as with their
husbands. They knew, by experience, that with Charley Crofts in the van,
a wet evening might be looked for--in the dining-room.

Mr. Wrixon, of Ballygiblin, near Mallow, (father of Sir W.
Wrixon-Becher, who married Miss O'Neill, the eminent actress,) had only
a small hereditary property when he succeeded to vast estates, on
condition that he superadded the name of "Becher" to his own patronymic.
As plain Mr. Wrixon, with a small property, he had lived unnoticed, but
his circle of friends immensely increased when he became Mr.
Wrixon-Becher, and a man of "Ten Thousand a Year." Soon after, he
married an English lady, with some fortune, much pride, a fair share of
beauty, and a decided abhorrence of the drinking habits of her husband's
friends. She had heard of, and had been cautioned against, the vivacious
enormities of Charley Crofts, and had actually declared to her husband
(in private, of course) that whenever Mr. Crofts took a seat at her
table, she would immediately relinquish hers.

One day, when Wrixon had been out with the Duhallow hounds, and the run
had been quick and long, the only man who was in with him "at the
death," was Charley Crofts, and under the circumstances--the rain
beginning to fall heavily, Crofts' place of sojourn being at least ten
miles distant, and Ballygiblin at hand,--Wrixon felt that he _must_
invite Charley home, or rest under the imputation of behaving in an
unsportsmanlike and inhospitable manner.

So, he told Charley that half a dozen other good fellows were to take
"pot-luck" with him that day, and that he must insist on Charley's
joining them. Without any pressing or denial, the invitation was

Now, Charley Crofts knew, just as well as if he had been present when
the affair was discussed, how and why it was that, of all the houses in
the barony of Duhallow, the mansion of Ballygiblin was the only one to
which he had not a general invitation. Wrixon, the moment he reached
home, turning over his companion to the friendly custody of a mutual
acquaintance, who was to form one of the party that day, hastened to
"his lady's chamber," where he found his wife dressed for dinner, and
(as her glass told her) looking remarkably well. A few well-expressed
and well-timed compliments on her appearance, a congratulation or two on
her exquisite taste in dress, a half-hint and half-promise as to the
killing effect of a set of pearl in contrast with her ebon looks, and
more "blarney" of the same sort, made the lady so very gracious that the
husband ventured to communicate under what circumstances he had been
compelled to invite Charley Crofts to her table. The lady took them, as
they sometimes do in French courts of justice, as "extenuating
circumstances," and consented to receive the dreaded Charley. This done,
she found her way into the drawing-room, where the guests waited upon
her--the most subdued and quiet of them being Charley Crofts. At first,
with his grave air and grave attire, she thought that he might have been
a clergyman.

As the only stranger in the party, Charley had to escort Mrs. Wrixon to
the dining-room, to sit next her, to perform the duties of carving for
her, to supply her with a little of the small change of conversation.
Nobody could behave more decorously, more unlike the lady's fearful
anticipations of the dreaded guest. Now and then, when addressed by his
friends, a quaint remark or a satiric witticism would make her smile,
and convince her that the dangerously seductive companionable character
of her guest had not been undeservedly obtained. On the whole, she had
every reason to think him very much of a gentleman, and graciously
smiled on him when she quitted the table.

"You have conquered her, by Jove," exclaimed Wrixon. "Not yet," said
Charley, "but in a fair way for it." The wine went round. The
conversation branched off into its usual channels, and settled, at last,
upon a meet of the hounds which was to take place on Mr. Wrixon's
property, at which all the company present would attend.

In the middle of the discussion, one of the footmen duly announced that
his lady was waiting for them, with tea and coffee, in the drawing-room.
Heretofore, in that house, such an announcement had always been a mere
matter of form. Not so now. Charley Crofts started up and proceeded to
obey the summons. "Nonsense!" they all exclaimed. "Don't turn milksop.
No one ever goes to tea or coffee in this house." "Say what you may,"
said Charley, "the lady shall not have to complain of my want of

In the drawing-room, sooth to say, no gentleman had been expected, and
Mrs. Wrixon was taking a solitary cup of tea. She was an admirable
musician, and was playing "Gramachree" (that saddest of all Irish airs)
just as Charley reached the door. Now, music was among the things which
he thoroughly understood and appreciated, and the moment that he heard
her exquisite execution on the harp he paused, spell-bound, listening
with rapt attention and delight, while the pathos of the air drew tears
from eyes all unaccustomed to the melting mood. When she had concluded,
she turned round, saw the effect which she had produced, and (need I say
it) was flattered at that proof of her skill.

Quickly recovering himself, Charley Crofts informed her that he had the
pleasure of accepting the invitation she had sent into the dining-room.
Tea was accordingly provided, and the conversation naturally fell upon
music. Charley happened to be a first rate flutist, and having mentioned
in what a delightful manner the flute and harp went together, either to
accompany the voice or without, Mrs. Wrixon sent for her husband's
flute, and allowed him to show her how correctly he had spoken.
Presently, she even sang to the double accompaniment, and her husband
and his friends, curious to know how Crofts was getting on, having now
adjourned from their wine, found him thus engaged.

Meanwhile, in intervals of from three to five minutes, Charley Crofts
had gulphed down successive, and almost countless, cups of tea. Again
and again had the tea-pot been replenished--and emptied. At last, quite
tired out, Mrs. Wrixon said, half in sport, half in earnest, "I am sure,
Mr. Crofts, that I never gave you credit for being such a determined
tea-drinker. As my hand is rather tired, may I beg that you will help

"Madam," said Charley, with imposing gravity, "I am a plain man. I do
not prefer tea to other liquids. You were so good as to send for us to
tea. I always obey a lady's summons when I can, and came hither. I am
accustomed, for years past, to take a certain quantity of fluid after
dinner. I care not what that fluid may be, so that I have my _quantum_.
Ale, punch, wine, or, as now, even this tea. I can help myself to the
other liquids, but tea has no flavor unless it be poured out by a lady's
fair hand!"

Mrs. Wrixon, perceiving that she was fairly caught, exclaimed, "Well,
Mr. Crofts, I think that I must leave you to take what you please in the
dining-room, but whenever you want a little music you can have it here,
and I only hope my husband will treat you so well that you will
frequently give me the pleasure of seeing you under this roof."

This was the manner in which Charley Crofts conquered Madam Wrixon, the
proud, high-bred lady. Good friends they continued unto her dying day,
and Charley would rather hear her play the harp, as she only could play
it, (he fancied,) than assist at the broaching of the finest pipe of
claret that ever was smuggled over from Bordeaux.

Mr. Wrixon, albeit a man of unbounded generosity, had one _leetle_
drawback. He would give sumptuous entertainments; he paid the chief
expenses of the Duhallow Hunt; he indulged his wife in all luxuries of
attire and adornment; he had a passion for beautiful horses and costly
equipages; he was liberal in his charities; he acted as banker for many
of his poorer friends who were of the lackland genus; he seemed to fling
money away, though, indeed, he was by no means a spendthrift; but the
one little "blot" in his tables (I mean, in his character) was a
feverish anxiety to economize on such mere trifles as _cream and

So it was, however. His friends were at once amused and rendered
uncomfortable by it. It interfered with the perfection of their tea and
coffee, and always prevented their taking a desired quantity of
bread-and-butter. To allude to this matter, to show the slightest
consciousness of Mr. Wrixon's peculiar idiosyncrasy, in this respect,
was what his friends never ventured upon. They were not the less anxious
to have it removed.

They determined that Charley Crofts should be the amputator. The next
day, at a very early breakfast, preparatory to their taking the field
with the fox-hounds, a lively party assembled at Mr. Wrixon's table, in
unexceptionable red coats, enviable buckskins, irreproachable top-boots,
and the ordinary skull-caps covered with black velvet, which, from time
immemorial, formed the costume of the members of the Duhallow Hunt;
"the most sportingest set of gentlemen," I once heard a peasant say
"that mortial eyes did ever look upon."

The breakfast included all that should constitute the matutinal meal of
a party of keen sportsmen about to cross the country at break-neck
speed--all, except cream and butter, of which, as usual, there was a
_minimum_ supply, very much short of what might be expected from a dairy
of over twenty milch cows. Charley Crofts, as this was his first visit,
might be supposed to be in ignorance of his host's feelings upon that
point. At all events, he acted as if he were.

The cream and butter were placed close by Mr. Wrixon--the supply for a
party of nine or ten consisting of a very small ewer-full of the former,
and two or three _pats_ of the latter, each about the size of a
penny-piece. As if it were a matter of course, Charley, having put the
needful quantities of tea into his cup, filled it up with the entire
contents of the cream-ewer, and, at the same time, put all the butter
upon his plate. Mr. Wrixon, startled by such invasion of his favourites,
feebly desired one of the servants to bring "a _little_ more cream and a
_little_ more butter."

By the time the fresh supply was on the table, Charley Crofts had
emptied his cup and eaten his toast. He lost no time in appropriating
the prized articles, as before, chatting away with his usual
_nonchalance_, as if he had done nothing uncommon. Mr. Wrixon, sitting
like one astonied, watched the disappearance of the second supply, and
ordered a third replenishment, which went the way of the preceding.
Rising in his chair, he addressed the butler and exclaimed, "John,
desire that _all_ the cream and butter in the dairy be brought up, I
think we shall have need of the whole of it." Turning to Crofts, he
emphatically said, "I have heard of eating bread-and-butter, but
Charley, _you eat butter and bread_." By this time the laugh which arose
gave him the pleasant information that he was _sold_. From that hour he
was as liberal with his cream and butter, as he previously had been with
every other article in his mansion. He never was able to ascertain
whether Charley Crofts had been put up to the trick, or had simply hit
the nail by accident.

Charley Crofts did not confine his visits to the gentry in his native
county of Cork. In the decline of his fortunes--indeed, as long as he
was able to do anything--he always was possessor of a gem or two in the
way of horseflesh. For many years, his income was almost wholly derived
from the sale of horses, out of which he obtained a large profit, and it
was known that any animal which he sold or vouched for might be depended
on. In the way of business, having disposed of a fine hunter to one of
the family, who was sportingly inclined, he had to pass a few days at
the house of Mr. Lyons, of Croom, in the county of Limerick. This old
man had acquired a vast fortune by following the business of a grazier,
and had invested large sums in the purchase of landed estates. His sons,
determined to cut a figure in the county, indulged in all manner of
excess and extravagance. At the time of Charley Crofts' visit, they
issued cards for a splendid _déjeuner à la fourchette_, to which the
leading people of the district were invited. As Charley Crofts was on
intimate terms with everybody who had pretensions to notice, the Lyons
family, in solemn conclave assembled, determined that it would be a
sagacious and politic move to get him to officiate as a something
between Major Domo and Master of the Ceremonies at the intended
festival. Desiring no better fun, he cheerfully consented.

The attendance on the gala day was what the newspapers would describe as
"full and fashionable." Many went from curiosity, to see in what manner
the _parvenu_ would attempt "to ape his betters"--_i.e._, themselves.
Several attended, because they owed money to old Lyons (who did a little
in _bills_ after abandoning _beef_), and did not like to affront him by
not accepting his invitation. A good many went, because they had heard
that "all the world and his wife" would be present, and a jovial day
might be anticipated.

Thanks to Charley Crofts' _surveillance_, the entertainment, well got
up, went off admirably.

Among the more aristocratic guests was the Lady Isabella Fitzgibbon,
sister to that Earl of Clare who was the schoolfellow and friend most
tenderly and lastingly loved by Byron. At that time she was a fine young
woman. She is now a stern old maid--like the odd half of a pair of
scissors, of no use to herself or any body else. Lady Isabella affected
to look down, with some degree of superciliousness, upon the
millionaire's hospitality. Having probably laid in a good supply of
mutton chops or beef steaks before she went out, she pointedly neglected
the delicacies of the season, which were abundantly supplied, and merely
trifled with a lobster-salad. Old Lyons, who had a great respect for
good feeding, and particularly for substantials, turned round to her, as
she sat by his side, the image of aristocratical
don't-care-a-pin-for-all-the-world-ativeness, and kindly said, "Ah,
then, my lady, why don't you take some of the good beef and mutton, the
capons and the turkeys, and don't be after filling your stomach with
that cowld cabbage!"

The high-born _dama_ nearly fainted at what she considered the vulgar
good-nature of her host. Soon after, when she had recovered from the
shock, she said that she thought she would have a little bread and
butter. Immediately opposite her, and within reach of Old Lyons, was a
crystal bowl in which floated sundry little _pats_ of that delicious
butter for which the county Limerick is famed. Lyons made several vain
efforts to spear one of these with a fork, at last, finding that it was
impossible to make the capture in that manner, he raised up his
coat-sleeve, tucked up the wrist-band of his shirt, and plunging his
hand into the bowl, with the exclamation, 'Ha, you little jumping
Jennies, I am determined to have you now," secured two pieces of the
butter, which he triumphantly deposited on his noble guest's plate, with
the words, "There, my lady, when I took the matter _in hand_, I knew I
must succeed."

Charley Crofts departed this life some twenty years ago. The close of
his career was passed in Cove, where he lived upon an annuity provided
by the liberality of some of his former friends. His health had failed
him, suddenly, a few years before, and he who had been wont "to set the
table in a roar," for nearly forty years, subsided into a querulous
valetudinarian. He published his Autobiography, shortly before his
death, and it deserves mention as one of the dullest of its class, as
far as I recollect, (it is a long time since I yawned over it,) the
subject matter chiefly consisted of fierce personalities directed
against sundry relatives who, he said, had cheated him out of his

To the very last, Charley Crofts could give graphic narratives of his
former career and companions, but the moment he attempted to _write_
them down, their spirit wholly evaporated.



The history of Ireland's independence, from the rise of the Volunteers
until the treacherous sacrifice of nationality by the passing of the Act
of Union--an interval of twenty years, yet crowded with events and
eminent characters--can best be read in the lives of the illustrious men
who asserted, vindicated, and carried that independence. Looking back at
the brief but brilliant period in which they shone, truly did Curran
speak of them, to Lord Avonmore, as men "over whose ashes the most
precious tears of Ireland have been shed."

Among this noble and gallant array of public virtue and genius HENRY
GRATTAN stands conspicuous and pre-eminent. To condense a memoir of him
into the space which I have here reserved would be a vain attempt. Let
me sketch him in his youth. The child, Wordsworth said, is father of the
man, and this was particularly true as regards Grattan.

Henry Grattan, stated by most of his biographers to have been born in
1750 (the year in which Curran entered into earthly existence), was four
years older, his baptismal register in Dublin bearing date the 3d of
July, 1746. His father, a man of character and ability, was Recorder of
Dublin for many years, and one of the metropolitan parliamentary
representatives from 1761 to his death in 1766. The well-known patriot,
Dr. Lucas, was senatorial colleague and opponent of the elder Grattan,
who, although nominally a Whig, was actually a Tory,--was the law
officer of the Corporation, which Lucas undauntedly opposed,--and on all
essential, political, and legislative points, sided with the Government
of the day.

The Grattan family were of considerable and respectable standing in
Ireland, and Henry Grattan's grandfather and grand-uncles had enjoyed
familiar intimacy with Dean Swift and Dr. Sheridan. Henry Grattan's
mother was a daughter of Thomas Marlay, Chief Justice of Ireland, who
almost as a matter of course in those days, was to be found on the side
of the Government, but administered justice fairly, and on some few
occasions showed a love for and pride in his native Ireland. Grattan's
mother was a clear-headed, well-informed woman. On both sides,
therefore, he had a claim to hereditary talent.

At ordinary day-schools, in Dublin, Henry Grattan received his
education. John Fitzgibbon, afterwards the unscrupulous tool of the
Government and the scourge of Ireland (as Lord Chancellor Clare), was
his class-mate at one of these seminaries. Grattan rapidly acquired the
necessary amount of Greek and Latin, and in 1763, being then 17 years
old, entered Trinity College. Here, among his friends and competitors,
were Foster (afterwards Speaker of the House of Commons), Robert Day,
who subsequently adorned the Bench. In the University there was
particular rivalry between Fitzgibbon and Grattan; the first was well
grounded in classics and science, but almost wholly ignorant of modern
literature. Both obtained the highest prizes in the University,--Grattan
getting premium, certificate, or medal at every examination.

Before he had completed his twentieth year, Grattan had declared his
political opinions. They were patriotic--they were Irish--they were
opposed to the principles and practice of his father, and strongly
identical with those of Dr. Lucas, his father's constant and bitter
opponent. Lucas was a remarkable man. He it was who, immediately after
the accession of George III., introduced a bill for limiting the
duration of the Irish Parliament to seven years--the custom being, at
the time, that a new Parliament should be chosen when a new monarch
ascended the throne, and last during his lifetime. It took seven years'
perseverance to effect this change--upon which the English Cabinet
thrice put a veto. A fourth and final effort succeeded, the limitation
being eight years. It was Lucas who, following in the steps of Swift,
boldly attacked bad men and bad measures in the newspapers, and thus
asserted the Liberty of the Press--that which Curran so earnestly
desired to be preserved when, addressing his countrymen, he said, "Guard
it, I beseech you, for when it sinks, there sink with it, in one common
grave, the liberty of the subject and the security of the Crown." It was
Lucas who strenuously denied the right of a British Parliament to govern
Ireland, who asserted his country's right to legislative independence,
who insisted on her claim for self-government. For this, the law was
strained against him,--for this, Dublin grand juries ordered his
writings to be publicly burned by the hands of the common hangman--for
this, a venal House of Commons voted that he wrote sedition and was an
enemy of his country--for this, the Speaker was ordered to issue a
warrant for his arrest and imprisonment in gaol--for this, the Lord
Lieutenant was solicited to denounce him by Proclamation--for this, the
Corporation of Dublin disfranchised him--for this, he had to fly his
country and secure life and comparative liberty by eleven years of
enforced exile. On his return, in 1760, that very city of Dublin from
which he had fled for his life elected him for one of its
representatives, Grattan's father being his colleague. As such, the
elder Grattan, who was a courtier, opposed the Septennial Bill.

Henry Grattan, a patriot from his childhood, ardently adopted Dr. Lucas'
views in favour of Ireland's independence. The result was that, in
1765-6, Henry Grattan was at variance with his father. The death of the
elder Grattan took place in 1766, and it was then discovered how much he
resented his son's assertion of liberal politics. He could not deprive
him of a small landed estate, secured to him by marriage settlement, but
bequeathed from him the paternal residence of the family for nearly a
century. Thus Henry Grattan had to enter the world, not rich in worldly
wealth, and with his soul saddened by the marked and public posthumous
condemnation by his father. No wonder that, as he declared in one of his
letters at the time, he was "melancholy and contemplative, but not
studious." No wonder that, solitary in the old home, he should sadly
say, "I employ myself writing, reading, courting the muse, and taking
leave of that place where I am a _guest_, not an _owner_, and of which I
shall now cease to be a _spectator_." His household Gods were shattered
on his hearth, and he sat, cold and lonely, among their ruins. Yet, even
then, he dreamed that fortune, smiling upon him, would enable his old
age to resign his breath where he first received it. Never was that
dream fulfilled. Not even did he die

    "'Midst the trees which a nation had given, and which bowed,
    As if each brought a new civic crown for his head;"

but his spirit departed, fifty-four years later, in the metropolis of
the haughty land which had crushed the independence and broken the
nationality of

    "His own loved island of sorrow."

At the age of twenty-one, Henry Grattan went to London to study the law.
At that period, as at present, it is indispensable for every one who
desires to be admitted to the Irish bar, that he shall have "studied"
for two years at one of the Inns of Court in London. Perhaps this, as
much as anything else, shows how completely the English habit has been,
and is, to treat Ireland as a mere _province_. Candidates for admission
to the Scottish bar are not required to pursue this _nominal_ course of
study in another country. Nominal it is, for the requirement does not
involve the acquisition, in the most infinitesimal degree, of any
knowledge of the principles or practice of the law. All that is
necessary is that the future barrister shall have eaten twenty-four
dinners in the Hall of his London Inn of Court (three at each term)
during two years, and a certificate of this knife-and-fork
practice--which is facetiously called "keeping his Terms"--is received
by the Benchers of the Queen's Inn in Dublin, as proof that the
candidate has duly qualified himself by study! There is no examination
as to his knowledge of law--two years in London, and a somewhat lesser
amount of legal feeding in Dublin, being the sole qualification for the
Irish Bar!

In Michaelmas Term, 1767, being two months past his majority, Henry
Grattan entered his name, as student, on the books of the Middle Temple
in London. Although he intended to live by the practice of the law, he
devoted little attention to its study. Black-letter, precedents, and
technicalities he cared little for. The broad principles of
jurisprudence attracted his attention; but he mastered them, not as an
advocate, but as a future law-maker. In fact, nature had intended him
for a politician and statesman, and his mind, from the first, followed
the bias which "the mighty mother" gave. As late as August, 1771, when
he had been four years in the Temple, he wrote thus to a friend: "I am
now becoming a lawyer, fond of cases, frivolous, and illiberal; instead
of Pope's and Milton's numbers, I repeat in solitude Coke's
instructions, the nature of fee-tail, and the various constructions of
perplexing statutes. This duty has been taken up too late; not time
enough to make me a lawyer, but sufficiently early to make me a dunce."
In the same letter he said, "Your life, like mine, is devoted to
professions which we both detest; the vulgar honours of the law are as
terrible to me as the restless uniformity of the military is to you."

During the four years of his English residence, varied by occasional
visits to Ireland, Mr. Grattan's heart certainly never warmed to the
profession which he had chosen. The confession which I have just quoted
was made only a few months before he was called to the Irish bar in
Hilary Term, 1772. Yet he was a hard reader, a close student, an early
riser, and a moderate liver. To afford the means of enlarging his
library, he avoided expensive amusements and practiced a very close
economy. In November, 1768, these saving habits became matter of
necessity rather than of choice, when his mother died so suddenly that
she had not time to make, as she had purposed, a formal disposition of
her reversion to a landed property which she had meant to leave her son.
It passed, therefore, to another branch of the family, leaving Grattan
such limited resources that it now was necessary for him to follow a

How, then, did Grattan employ his time in England? We have his own
regretful confession, that it was not, for the first four years, in the
study of the law. Shortly after his first visit to London, he lost one
of his sisters; and deep sorrow for her death, and a distaste for
society, drove him from the bustle of the metropolis to the retirement
of the country. He withdrew to Sunning Hill, near Windsor Forest, amid
whose mighty oaks he loved to wander, meditating upon the political
questions of the day, and making speeches as if he already were in
parliament. Mrs. Sawyer, his landlady, a simple-minded woman, knew not
what to make of the odd-looking, strange-mannered young man, and
hesitated between the doubt whether he was insane or merely eccentric.
When one of his friends came to see him, she complained that her lodger
used to walk up and down in her garden throughout the summer nights,
speaking to himself, and addressing an imaginary "Mr. Speaker," with the
earnestness of an inspired orator. She was afraid that his derangement
might take a dangerous character, and, in her apprehension, offered to
forgive the rent which was due, if his friends would only remove her
eccentric lodger.

Seventy years after this (in 1838) Judge Day, who lived to almost a
patriarchal age, and had been intimate with Grattan in London, wrote a
letter, in which, describing him at college, "where he soon
distinguished himself by a brilliant elocution, a tenacious memory, and
abundance of classical acquirements," he proceeds to state that Grattan
"always took great delight in frequenting the galleries, first of the
Irish, and then of the English House of Commons, and the bars of the
Lords." His biographer records that this amateur Parliamentary
attendance had greater attractions for him than the pleasures of the
metropolis, and that he devoted his evenings in listening, his nights in
recollecting, and his days in copying the great orators of the time.
Judge Day also has remembered that Grattan would spend whole moonlight
nights in rambling and losing himself in the thickest plantations of
Windsor Forest, and "would sometimes pause and address a tree in
soliloquy, thus preparing himself early for that assembly which he was
destined in later life to adorn."

Such was Grattan's self-training. So did he prepare himself for that
career of brilliant utility and patriotism which has made his name

Events of great moment took place in England during Grattan's sojourn
there. The contest between John Wilkes and the Government was then in
full course, leading to important results, and encouraging, if it did
not create, the publication of the fearless and able letters of Junius.
At that time, great men were in the British Senate, and Grattan had the
good fortune to hear their eloquence, to watch the deeds in which they
participated. The elder Pitt, who had then withdrawn from the Commons,
and exercised great power in the Upper House, as Earl of Chatham, still
took part in public business. There, too, was Lord North--shrewd, obese,
good-tempered, and familiar. There was Charles James Fox, just
commencing public life, alternately coquetting with politics and the
faro-table--his great rival, Pitt, had not then arisen, nor his eminent
friend Sheridan, but Edmund Burke had already made his mark, Barrè was
in full force, as well as Grenville, and the great lawyers Loughborough
and Thurlow had already appeared above the horizon, while Lords Camden
and Mansfield were in the maturity of fame. Then, also, flourished
Charles Townshend, who would have deserved the name of a great
statesman but for his mistake in trying to obtain revenue for England
by taxation of America. There was the remarkable man called
"Singlespeech" Hamilton, from one brilliant oration which was declared
by Walpole to have eclipsed the most successful efforts even of the
elder Pitt. In the Irish Parliament, too, which he always visited when
in Dublin during the Session, were men of great eminence and ability,
with some of whom--Flood, Hutchinson, and Hussey Burgh--not long after,
Grattan was himself to come into intellectual gladiatorship. In both
countries, therefore, he became familiar with politics and politicians.
What marvel if he deviated from the technicalities of the law into the
wider field of law-making and statesmanship?

How closely he observed the eminent persons who thus came before his
notice, may be judged from the character of Lord Chatham, which was
introduced in a note to "Barataria,"(a satirical _brochure_ by Sir
Hercules Langrishe), as if from a new edition of Robertson's History of
America. Many persons, at the time, who looked for it in Robertson, were
disappointed at not finding it there. _Apropos_ of Langrishe; it may be
added that he it was who said--that the best History of Ireland was to
be found "in the continuation of _Rapin_," and excused the swampy state
of the Ph[oe]nix Park demesne by supposing that the Government neglected
it, being so much occupied _in draining the rest of the kingdom_.

Greatly admiring the nervous eloquence of Lord Chatham, it is evident
that Grattan's own style was influenced, if not formed by it. He could
not have had a better model. Grattan, out of pure admiration of the man,
reported several of his speeches for his own subsequent use. Writing
about him many years later, he said, "He was a man of great
genius--great flight of mind. His imagination was astonishing. He was
very great, and very odd.[14] He never came with a prepared harangue; his
style was not regular oratory, like Cicero or Demosthenes, but it was
very fine, and very elevated, and above the ordinary subjects of
discourse. He appeared more like a pure character advising, than mixing
in the debate. It was something superior to that--_it was teaching the
lords, and lecturing the King_. He appeared the next greatest thing to
the King, though infinitely superior. What Cicero says in his 'CLARIS
ORATORIBUS' exactly applies: '_Formæ dignitas, corporis motus plenus et
artis el venustatis, vocis et suavitas et magnitudo._' 'Great subjects,
great empires, great characters, effulgent ideas, and classical
illustrations formed the material of his speeches.'"[15]

     [14] This refers more particularly to the year 1770.

     [15] Grattan used to say that nothing ever was finer, in delivery
     and effect, than Chatham's appeal, on the American question, to the
     bishops, the judges, and the peers:--"You talk of driving the
     Americans: _I might as well talk of driving them before me with
     this crutch_."

Until he permanently and finally took up his residence in Dublin,
Grattan was greatly prejudiced in favour of England. In August, 1771, he
wrote to a friend that he would return to Ireland that Christmas, "to
live or die with you," and added, "It is painful to renounce England,
and my departure is to me the loss of youth. I submit to it on the same
principle, and am resigned." At that time he was twenty-five years old.

In his letters to his friends at this time, he commented on Irish
politics so forcibly as to show that he was a close observer. Alluding
to the means used by the Viceroy (Lord Townshend) to corrupt the
legislature, he said, "So total an overthrow has Freedom received, that
its voice is heard only in the accents of despair." This sentence very
probably suggested the concluding part of Moore's beautiful lyric, "The
harp that once through Tara's halls,"

    "Thus Freedom now so seldom wakes,
      The only throb she gives,
    Is when some heart indignant breaks,
      To show that still she lives."

Early in 1772, Grattan was called to the Irish bar--not from any
predilection for the profession, but from the necessity of eking out his
limited means by the exercise of his talents. It is recorded that having
gone the circuit, and failed to gain a verdict in an important case
where he was specially retained, he actually returned to his client half
the amount of his fee--fifty guineas. A man who could act thus, was
clearly not fitted for the profession, nor destined to arrive at wealth
by its means.

At that time the rising talent of Ireland was decidedly liberal, and in
favor of progress. Grattan was thrown into familiar intimacy with this
society, and his own opinions were influenced, if not determined, by the
Catholic spirit of their avowed principles. Lord Charlemont, Hussey
Burgh, Robert Day, (afterwards the Judge,) Dennis Daly, and Barry
Yelverton--men whose names are familiar to all who have read the history
of Ireland's later years of nationality--were his familiar friends.

Grattan wished for the lettered ease of literary retirement, but his
narrow means did not permit him to live without labour. He said, "What
can a mind do without the exercise of business, or the relaxation of
pleasure?" He took to politics as a relief from the demon of _ennui_. He
attended the debates in Parliament. He said "they were insipid; every
one was speaking; nobody was eloquent." He had become a lawyer, as he
sadly confessed, "without knowledge or ambition in his profession." He
would fain have gone into retirement, but complained that, in his too
hospitable country, "wherever you fly, wherever you secrete yourself,
the sociable disposition of the Irish will follow you, and in every
barren spot of that kingdom you must submit to a state of
dissipation or hostility." He said that his passion was retreat, for
"there is certainly repose, and may be a defence, in insignificance."

He was destined for better things. He had married Henrietta Fitzgerald,
who claimed descent from the Desmond family, (actually from that branch
of which that Countess of Desmond, who died at the age of 162, was the
foundress,) but had, as her own dowry, the far greater wealth of youth,
beauty, virtue, talent, and devoted affection. The union was eminently
happy. Mrs. Grattan became the mother of thirteen children, and it is
known that on many occasions, but especially in the troublous times of
1798 and 1800, (the rebellion and the betrayal of Ireland by her
parliament,) Grattan frequently consulted and acted on the advice of his
wife, which invariably was to do what was right, regardless of personal
consequences. After his marriage, he went to reside in the county
Wicklow, where, almost from early youth, he had been enamoured of the
beautiful scenery, and even then spoke of Tinnahinch, which he
subsequently purchased, as a place which might be "the recreation of an
active life, or the retreat of an obscure one, or the romantic residence
of philosophical friendship." "Here," said his son, "he mused in when
melancholy, he rejoiced in when gay; here he often trod, meditating on
his country's wrongs--her long, dreary night of oppression; and here he
first beheld the bright transient light of her redemption and her
glory." Here, too, in the moments of grief he wept over her divisions
and her downfall. The place continues a family possession, and,
identified as it is with the name of Grattan, should never be allowed to
pass into the possession of any others.

Grattan's wife, highly gifted by nature, and with her mind cultivated
and enlarged by education, urgently pressed him to embark in political
life. She knew, even better than himself, what his mental resources
were, how patriotic were his impulses, how great his integrity, how
undaunted his courage. She interested his friends in his behalf, and, at
last, on the death of Mr. Caulfield (Lord Charlemont's brother), Grattan
was returned to Parliament for the borough of Charlemont, and on the
11th of December, 1775, in his thirtieth year, Henry Grattan took his
seat as member for Charlemont. On the fourth day after he made a
speech--a spontaneous, unstudied, and eloquent reply--and it was at once
seen and admitted that his proper place was in Parliament. From that day
the life of Grattan can be read in the history of Ireland.

What he did may be briefly summed up. He established the Independence of
Ireland, by procuring the repeal of the statute by which it had been
declared that Ireland was inseparably annexed to the Crown of Great
Britain, and bound by British acts of Parliament, if named in them--that
the Irish House of Lords had no jurisdiction in matters of appeal--and
that the _dernier resort_, in all cases of law and equity, was to the
peers of Great Britain.

For his great services in thus establishing Ireland's rights, the
Parliament voted him £50,000. He considered that this was a retainer for
the future as well as a mark of gratitude for the past, and henceforth
devoted the remainder of his life--a period of nearly forty years--to
the service of his country.

Grattan's last act, as an Irish legislator, was to oppose the Union,
which destroyed the nationality _he_ had made--his last act, as a public
man, was to hurry to London, in his seventy-fifth year, under the
infliction of a mortal disease, to present the petition in favour of the
Irish Catholics, and support it, at the risk of life, in Parliament.

Grattan's great achievements were all accomplished in early life, while
the "_purpurea juventus_" was in its bloom, while the heart was in its
spring. Great men, of all shades of political and party passion have
been eager and eloquent in his praise. Byron, speaking of Ireland,
ranked him first among those

    "Who, for years, were the chiefs in the eloquent war,
    And redeemed, if they have not retarded, her fall."

Moore, who knew him well, said,

    "What an union of all the affections and powers,
      By which life is exalted, embellished, refined,
    Was embraced in that spirit--whose centre was ours,
      While its mighty circumference circled mankind."

Faithfully too, as well as poetically, did he describe his speeches as

    "An eloquence rich, wherever its wave
      Wandered free and triumphant, with thoughts that shone through,
    As clear as the brook's 'stone of lustre,' and gave,
      With the flash of the gem, its solidity too."

Lord Brougham said that it was "not possible to name any one, the purity
of whose reputation has been stained by so few faults, and the lustre of
whose renown is dimmed by so few imperfections." After describing the
characteristics of his eloquence, he added, "It may be truly said that
Dante himself never conjured up a striking image in fewer words than Mr.
Grattan employed to describe his relation towards Irish independence,
when, alluding to its rise in 1782, and its fall, twenty years later, he
said, 'I sat by its cradle--I followed its hearse.'"

Sydney Smith, in an article in the _Edinburgh Review_, shortly after
Grattan's death, thus bore testimony to his worth:--"Great men hallow a
whole people, and lift up all who live in their time. What Irishman does
not feel proud that he has lived in the days of Grattan? who has not
turned to him for comfort, from the false friends and open enemies of
Ireland? who did not remember him in the days of its burnings, wastings
and murders? No government ever dismayed him--the world could not bribe
him--he thought only of Ireland: lived for no other object: dedicated to
her his beautiful fancy, his elegant wit, his manly courage, and all the
splendour of his astonishing eloquence. He was so born, so gifted, that
poetry, forensic skill, elegant literature, and all the highest
attainments of human genius, were within his reach; but he thought the
noblest occupation of a man was to make other men happy and free; and in
that straight line he kept for fifty years, without one side-look, one
yielding thought, one motive in his heart which he might not have laid
open to the view of God or man."

The man to whom tributes such as these were voluntarily paid, must have
been a mortal of no ordinary character and merit.


Daniel O'Connell, at one period called "the member for all Ireland," was
born, not at, but near Derrynane Abbey, in Kerry, on the 6th of August,
1775, and died at Genoa on the 15th of May, 1847. He had nearly
completed his seventy-second year. For nearly forty years of that
extended period he had been a public man--perhaps the most public man in
Ireland. For at least a quarter of a century his reputation was not
merely Irish--nor British--nor European--but unquestionably

Fallen as we are upon the evil days of Mediocrity, it may not be useless
to dwell upon the conduct and the character, the aims and the actions,
of one who, think of him as we may, candour must admit to be one of the
great men of the age,--one of the very few great men of Ireland's later

"Some men are born to greatness--some achieve greatness--and some have
greatness thrust upon them." Daniel O'Connell stands in a predicament
between the two latter postulates. He certainly was the artificer of his
own fame and power, but, as certainly, much of it arose out of the force
of circumstances. When he launched his bark upon the ocean of politics,
he may have anticipated something--much of success and eminence, but he
never could have dreamed of wielding such complete and magnificent power
as was long at his command. Strong determination, great ability, natural
facility of expression, the art of using strong words without committing
himself, and a most elastic temperament, ("prepared for either fortune,"
as Eugene Aram said of himself)--all these formed an extraordinary
combination, and yet all these, even in their unity, might have been of
little worth, but for the admitted fact that circumstances happily
occurred which allowed these qualities a fair scope for development.
Many poets, I dare swear, have lived and died unknown--either not
writing at all, or writing but to destroy what they had written. Noble
orators have lived and died, "mute and inglorious," because the
opportunity for display had never been given. In truth, we may say, with
Philip Van Artevelde,

    "The world knows nothing of its greatest men."

It is the curse of Authorship that until the grave fully closes upon his
ashes, the fame of the writer is scarcely or slightly acknowledged. When
the turf presses upon his remains, we yield tardy justice to his merits,
and translate him, as a star, into the "heaven of heavens" of renown.
But the Orator, on the other hand, has _his_ claims admitted from the
commencement--he may make his fame by one bold effort--he may win
admiration at one bound, and each successive trial, while it matures his
powers, increases his reputation. He lives in the midst of his fame--it
surrounds him, like a halo: he is the observed of all observers,--he has
constant motive for exertion--he breathes the very atmosphere of
popularity, and has perpetual excitement to keep up his exertions. Of
this there scarcely ever was a more palpable example than O'Connell.
Originally gifted with all the attributes of a popular if not a great
orator, he advanced, by repeated efforts, to the foremost rank, because
the public voice cheered him--the public opinion fostered him. Had he,
for three or four years, spoken to dull or cold audiences, the world
would probably have lost him as an orator. He might, indeed, have been a
great forensic speaker, but of that eloquence which placed seven
millions of Irish Catholics in a situation where, without being branded
as rebels, they might openly demand "justice for Ireland," the chance
is, the world have known nothing. What man, before this man, had ever
succeeded in awakening at once the sympathy of the old and of the new
world? Few men so well out-argued the sophistry of tyranny. Far above
the crowd must he be, who, at one and the same time, affrighted the
Russian autocrat by his bold invectives, and was appealed to as the
common enemy of misrule, by the unhappy victims of the
"Citizen-King"--who not only asserted the rights of his fellow slaves in
Ireland, but hesitated not, at all times and in all places, to express

                  "Utter detestation
    Of every tyranny in every nation!"

O'Connell was often denounced as a "Dictator." What made him one? The
exclusive laws which kept him humiliated in his native land. The wrongs
of Ireland made him what he was, and Misrule carefully maintained the
laws which made those wrongs. Had Ireland been justly governed, there
would not have been occasion for such "agitation" as Mr. O'Connell kept
up. If the "agitator" was indeed the monster which he was represented to
be, Misrule is the Frankenstein which made him so. The wrongs of Ireland
and the tyranny of evil government goaded him into action, and gave him
power. Misrule sowed the wind, and reaped the whirlwind.

It has been strongly asserted, and as strongly denied, that a long line
of ancestry gave O'Connell an hereditary right to take part in the
public affairs of his native land, as if he, and all of us, did not
inherit that right as an heir-loom derived from the first principles of
nature. The tradition of his house was that the O'Connell family were
entitled to rank among the most ancient in Ireland, antiquarians having
avowed that his surname was derived from Conal Gabhra, a prince of the
royal line of Milesius--that they originally possessed immense estates
in the county of Limerick, and removed to the barony of Iveragh, in the
western extremity of Kerry, where they enjoyed the almost regal office
of Toparchs;--that, in the time of Elizabeth, their then chief, Richard
O'Connell, made submission of his lands to the British crown;--that the
rebellion of 1641 removed the sept O'Connell to the County Clare, by
forfeiture (a certain Maurice O'Connell it was who forfeited his
property in the Civil Wars of 1641, and received the estates in Clare as
a partial indemnity; his uncle, Daniel O'Connell of Aghgore, in Iveragh,
took no share in the Civil War, and thus preserved his estate);--that
the Clare branch of the family supported James II., and, on the triumphs
of the Orange party, had to seek in foreign lands the distinctions from
which the Penal Laws excluded it in its own.

One of these, a certain Daniel O'Connell, who subsequently was created
Count of "the Holy Roman Empire," disqualified, by his religion, from
holding military or civil rank in his own country, entered the French
service in 1757--when he was only fourteen years of age. He served in
the seven years' war--at the capture of Port Mahon, in 1779, and was
severely wounded at the grand sortie on Gibraltar in 1782--remained
faithful to Louis XVI., until fidelity was of no further use--emigrated
to England--was there appointed, in 1793, Colonel of the 6th Irish
Brigade--retained that command until the corps was disbanded--returned
to France, at the Restoration, in 1814--was there and then restored to
his rank of General and Colonel-Commandant of the regiment of Salm, and
named Grand Cross of the Order of St. Louis--refused to take rank under
Louis Philippe--and died in 1834, aged ninety-one, a military patriarch,
full of years and honours, holding the rank of General in the French,
and being oldest Colonel in the English service. Count O'Connell was
grand-uncle to "the Liberator."

It may not be generally known that the military tactics of Europe at the
present day have emanated from Count O'Connell. The French Government
resolved, in 1787, that the art of war should be thoroughly revised, and
a military board, consisting of four general officers and one colonel,
was formed for that purpose. Count O'Connell, who then commanded the
Royal Suedois (or Swedish) regiment, was justly accounted one of the
most scientific officers in the service, and was named as the junior
member of that board. The other members soon discovered how correct and
original were the views of their colleague, and unanimously confided to
him the _redaction_ of the whole military code of France. So well did he
execute this important commission, that his tactics were followed in the
early campaigns of revolutionized France, by Napoleon--and finally
adopted by Prussia, Austria, Russia and England.

To Morgan O'Connell, father of "the Liberator," descended none of the
property originally held by the family. His elder brother, Maurice,
succeeded to a large portion, (that which eventually was bequeathed to
Daniel,) and it had the peculiarity of being free from all chiefry,
imposts, or Crown charge--an unusual thing, and occurring only in the
instance of very remote tenure. This portion was held under what was
called Shelburne leases--renewable for ever, and first granted _before_
the enactment of the Penal laws, and therefore not "discoverable;" that
is, not liable to be claimed from a Catholic holder by any Protestant
who chose to claim them.

Daniel O'Connell's father became a petty farmer and a small shop-keeper
at Cahirciveen. At that time he was simply known as "Morgan
Connell,"--there being some to this day who wholly deny the right of the
family to the prefix of "O." The Irish proverb says:

      By Mac and O,
      You'll always know
    True Irishmen, they say;
      For if they lack
      The O or Mac,
    No Irishmen are they.

The same doubters have contended that the independence realized by
Morgan O'Connell was gained, not by farming nor by shop-keeping, but by
extensive smuggling. But it was gained in some manner, and with it was
purchased a small estate at Carhen, within a mile of Cahirciveen, where
his years of industry had been passed, and not far from Derrynane. It
was at Carhen that Daniel O'Connell was born, on the 6th August,
1775--the very day (he used to say) on which were commenced hostilities
between Great Britain and her American colonies.

Daniel O'Connell's grandfather was the third son of twenty-two children.
He died in 1770, leaving as his successor his second son, Maurice (John,
the eldest, having predeceased him). This gentleman was never married,
and it was on his death, in 1825, that the "Agitator" succeeded him as
owner of the Derrynane estate. Morgan O'Connell (father to the
"Liberator") died in 1809, and left two other sons, who are also
handsomely provided for--John, as owner of Grena, and James of Lakeview,
both places near Killarney.

I trust that I have not travelled out of my way to give this sketch of
the descent of the family connexions of O'Connell. It shows that, at any
rate, _he_ is not the _novus homo_--the mere upstart, without the
advantages of birth and fortune, which he was often represented to be.
At the same time, no O'Connell need be ashamed of what honest industry
accomplished--that much of the landed property which O'Connell's father
inherited, held by John O'Connell of Grena, was purchased from the
profits of his business as a farmer and general shop-keeper.

From the first, Maurice O'Connell, of Derrynane, attached himself to his
nephew Daniel, whom he educated. The earliest instructions in any branch
of learning which the future "Liberator" received, were communicated to
him by a poor hedge-schoolmaster, of a class ever abounding in Kerry,
where every man is said to speak Latin. David Mahony happened to call at
Carhen when little Daniel was only four years old, took him in his lap,
and taught him the alphabet in an hour and a half. Some years later, he
was regularly taught by Mr. Harrington--one of the first priests who set
up a school after the repeal of the laws which made it penal for a Roman
Catholic clergyman even to live in Ireland. At the age of fourteen he
went abroad with his brother Maurice to obtain a good education.

Seventy years ago, the policy, or rather the impolicy of English
domination actually prohibited the education of the Catholics within
Great Britain and Ireland. They were, therefore, either compelled to put
up with very limited education, or forced to go abroad for
instruction,--rather a curious mode of predisposing their minds in
favour of the English laws. Mr. O'Connell was originally intended for
the priesthood, and was educated at the Catholic seminary of Louvain,
next at St. Omer, and, finally, at the English college of Douay, in
France. But, at that time, there were fully as many lay as clerical
pupils at that college.

At St. Omer, Daniel O'Connell rose to the first place in all the
classes, and the President of the College wrote to his uncle, in
Ireland--"I have but one sentence to write about him, and that is, that
I never was so mistaken in all my life as I shall be, unless he be
destined to make a remarkable figure in society."

The two brothers commenced their homeward journey on the 21st of
December, 1793--the very day on which Louis XVI. was guillotined at
Paris. During their journey from Douay to Calais, they were obliged to
wear the revolutionary cockade, for safety. But, as good Catholics, they
were bound to abhor the atrocities perpetrated, at that time, by the
Jacobins, in the sacred name of liberty, and when they stood on the deck
of the English packet-boat, indignantly tore the tri-colour from their
hats, and flung them, with all contempt, into the water. Some French
fishermen, who saw the act, rescued the cockades, and flung imprecations
against the "aristocrats" who had rejected them. At the same time, when
an enthusiastic Irish republican, who had "assisted" at the execution of
Louis, exhibited a handkerchief stained with his blood, the young
students turned away and shunned him, in disgust and abhorrence. Not
then, nor at any period of his career, was O'Connell an anti-monarchist.
It is said that, during the trial of Thomas Hardy, at London, (October,
1794,) for high treason, he was so much shocked at the unfair means used
by the Crown lawyers to convict the accused--means foiled by eloquent
Erskine and an honest jury--that he resolved to place himself as a
champion of Right against Might, and identify himself with the cause of
the people. While he was on the Continent, that relaxation of the Penal
laws took place which allowed the Catholic to become a barrister. It is
probable that _this_ was the immediate cause of his becoming a lawyer. A
young man of his sanguine temperament was likely to prefer the bar, with
its temporal advantages,--its scope for ambition,--its excitement,--its
fame, to the more secluded life of an ecclesiastic. Accordingly, I find
that he entered as a law-student at Lincoln's Inn, in January, 1794--eat
the requisite number of term-dinners there, for two years--pursued the
same qualifying course of "study" at King's Inn, Dublin, and was called
to the Irish bar, in Easter term, 1798, in the 23d year of his age.

The Rebellion was in full fling at the time, and (in order, no doubt, to
show his "loyalty" as a Catholic) he joined what was called "the
lawyers' corps," associated to assist the Government in putting down

The period of his admission was singularly favourable. Catholics had
just been admitted to the Irish bar--to the minor honours of the
profession; although it was hoped, and not extravagantly, that, in time,
all its privileges would be thrown open to them. It was impossible to
say what was Mr. O'Connell's ambition at the time; however high, he
could not have had a dream of the elevation which he subsequently
reached. He must have felt, however, that he had a wide field for the
exercise of his abilities. His ostensible ambition, for many years, was
to become a good lawyer. During what is called "the long vacation," and
at other periods when he could spare time, he resided a good deal with
his uncle in Kerry, where he pursued the athletic sports in which,
almost to the close of his career, he delighted to participate. On one
occasion, while out upon a hunting expedition, he put up at a peasant's
cabin, sat for some hours in his wet clothes, and contracted a typhus
fever. In his delirium he often repeated the lines from Home's tragedy
of Douglas:

    "Unknown I die--no tongue shall speak of me.
    Some noble spirits, judging by themselves,
    May yet conjecture what I might have proved,
    And think life only wanting to my fame."

His son has preserved a letter, written in December, 1795, when he was
in his twenty-first year, in which he communicates his views to his
uncle Maurice, of Derrynane. A passage or two may be worth quoting, to
show with what earnestness he devoted himself to the career upon which
he was then preparing to enter. He says, "I have now two objects to
pursue--the one, the attainment of knowledge; the other, the acquisition
of all those qualities which constitute the polite gentleman. I am
convinced that the former, besides the immediate pleasure which it
yields, _is calculated to raise me to honour, rank, and fortune_ [how
prophetic were the young man's aspirations!]; and I know that the latter
serves as a general passport or first recommendation; and, as for the
motives of ambition which you suggest, I assure you that no man can
possess more of it than I do. I have, indeed, a glowing, and--if I may
use the expression--an enthusiastic ambition, _which converts every toil
into a pleasure, and every study into an amusement_."

He adds, in the same honourable spirit, "Though nature may have given me
subordinate talents, I never will be satisfied with a subordinate
situation in my profession. No man is able, I am aware, to supply the
total deficiency of abilities, but every body is capable of improving
and enlarging a stock, however small, and, in its beginning,
contemptible. It is this reflection that affords me most consolation. If
I do not rise at the bar, I will not have to meet the reproaches of my
own conscience. * * * Indeed, as for my knowledge in the
professional line, that cannot be discovered for some years to come; but
I have time in the interim to prepare myself to appear with greater
_éclat_ on the grand theatre of the world."

As a barrister, he naturally took the Munster circuit, and here his
family connexion operated very much in his favour. In the counties of
Clare, Limerick, Kerry and Cork, he had relatives in abundance, and
being, I believe, the first Catholic who had gone that circuit, he
naturally engrossed a considerable portion of the business which the
Catholics had previously, _ex necessitate_, distributed among the
barristers of a contrary persuasion. He succeeded, moreover, in
establishing the reputation of being a shrewd, clever, hard-working
lawyer, and briefs flowed in so abundantly, that he may be cited as one
instance, amid the ten thousand difficulties of the bar, of great
success being immediately acquired. There was nothing precarious in this
success: he was evidently a shrewd, clever, long-headed lawyer, and
while the Catholics gave him briefs, because of his family and religion,
the Protestants, not less wise, were not backward in engaging his
assistance--not that they much loved the man, but that his assistance
was worth having, as that of a man with a clear head, a well-filled
mind, strong natural eloquence, and, from the very first, a mastery over
the art of cross-examining witnesses.

O'Connell's friends scarcely anticipated, from what his youth had been,
the success which met him on his first step into active manhood. He held
his first brief at the Kerry Assizes, in Tralee. Between a country
gentleman named Brusker Segerson and the O'Connells there long had been
a family feud. Brusker accused one of the O'Connell tenants at Iveragh,
of sundry crimes and misdemeanors, which judge and jury had "well and
truly to try and determine." Young O'Connell had his maiden brief in
this case. Brusker, knowing the young lawyer's inexperience, anticipated
a triumph over him, and invited a party of friends to witness the "fatal
facility" with which the accused would be worsted. But it happened not
only that the accused was the acquitted, but there was a general
opinion, from the facts on the trial, that Brusker Segerson's conduct
had been oppressive, if not illegal. Brusker turned round to his friends
and soundly swore that "Morgan O'Connell's _fool_ was a great lawyer,
and would be a great man." Henceforth he always employed O'Connell--but
with the distinct and truly Irish understanding that the hereditary and
personal feud between them should in no wise be diminished!

One of O'Connell's earliest displays of acuteness was at Tralee, in the
year 1799, shortly after he had been called to the bar. In an intricate
case, where he was junior counsel (having got the brief more as a family
compliment than from any other cause), the question in dispute was as
to the validity of a will, which had been made almost in _articulo
mortis_. The instrument was drawn up with proper form: the witnesses
were examined, and gave ample confirmation that the deed had been
legally executed. One of them was an old servant, possessed of a strong
passion for loquacity. It fell to O'Connell to cross-examine him, and
the young barrister allowed him to speak on, in the hope that he might
say too much. Nor was this hope disappointed. The witness had already
sworn that he saw the deceased sign the will. "Yes," continued he, with
all the garrulousness of old age, "I saw him sign it, and surely _there
was life in him at the time_." The expression, frequently repeated, led
O'Connell to conjecture that it had a peculiar meaning. Fixing his eye
upon the old man he said,--"You have taken a solemn oath before God and
man to speak the truth and the _whole_ truth: the eye of God is upon
you; the eyes of your neighbours are fixed upon you also. Answer me, by
the virtue of that sacred and solemn oath which has passed your lips,
_was the testator alive when he signed the will_?" The witness was
struck with the solemn manner in which he was addressed, his colour
changed--his lips quivered--his limbs trembled, and he faltered out the
reply--"_there was life in him_." The question was repeated in a yet
more impressive manner, and the result was that O'Connell half
compelled, half cajoled him to admit that, after life was extinct, a
pen had been put into the testator's hand,--that one of the party guided
it to sign his name, while, as a salvo, for the consciences of all
concerned, a living fly was put into the dead man's mouth, to qualify
the witnesses to bear testimony that "there was life in him" when he
signed that will. This fact, thus extorted from the witness, preserved a
large property in a respectable and worthy family, and was one of the
first occurrences in O'Connell's legal career worth mentioning. Miss
Edgeworth, in her "Patronage," has an incident not much different from
this; perhaps suggested by it. The plaintiffs in this case were two
sisters named Langton, both of whom still enjoy the property
miraculously preserved to them by the ingenuity of O'Connell; they were
connexions of my own (Sarah Langton, the youngest, was married to my
cousin, Frank Drew, of Drewscourt), and I have often heard them relate
the manner in which he had contrived to elicit the truth.

It is no common skill which can protect innocence from shame, or rescue
guilt from punishment. Nothing less than an intimate knowledge of the
feelings of the jury, and the habits and characteristics of the
witnesses, can enable an advocate to throw himself into the confidence
of a jury composed of the most incongruous elements, and to confuse,
baffle, or detect the witnesses. There is no power so strong as that of
good cross-examination; and I never knew any man possess that power in
a more eminent degree than O'Connell. The difficulty is to avoid asking
too many questions. Sometimes a single query will weaken evidence, while
a word more may make the witness confirm it. Some witnesses require to
be pressed, before they bring out the truth--others, if too much
pressed, will turn at bay, and fatally corroborate every thing to which
they already have sworn. It is no common skill which, intuitively as it
were, enables the advocate to perceive when he may go to the end of his
tether,--when he _must_ restrain. The fault of a young barrister is that
_he asks too many questions_. It is a curious fact, that, from the first
moment he was called to the bar, O'Connell distinguished himself by his
cross-examinations. If he was eminent in a criminal trial, he was no
less so in civil cases. Here he brought all his legal learning to bear
upon the case, and here, too, he had the additional aid of that
eloquence which usually drew a jury with him.

John O'Connell gives an anecdote which illustrates his father's success
in the defence of his prisoners. It had fallen to his lot, at the
Assizes in Cork, to be retained for a man on a trial for an aggravated
case of highway robbery. By an able cross-examination, O'Connell was
enabled to procure the man's acquittal. The following year, at the
Assizes for the same town, he found himself again retained for the same
individual, then on trial for a burglary, committed with great
violence, very little short of a deliberate attempt to murder. On this
occasion, the result of Mr. O'Connell's efforts rose a disagreement of
the jury; and, therefore, no verdict. The Government witnesses having
been entirely discredited during the cross-examination, the case was
pursued no farther, and the prisoner was discharged. Again, the
succeeding year, he was found in the criminal dock; this time on a
charge of piracy! He had run away with a collier brig, and having found
means for disposing of a portion of her cargo, and afterwards of
supplying himself with some arms, he had actually commenced cruising on
his own account, levying contributions from such vessels as he chanced
to fall in with. Having "caught a tartar," whilst engaged in this
profitable occupation, he was brought into Cove, and thence sent up to
Cork to stand his trial for "piracy on the high seas." Again Mr.
O'Connell saved him, by demurring to the jurisdiction of the Court--the
offence having been committed within the jurisdiction of the Admiralty,
and, therefore, cognizable only before an Admiralty Court. When the
fellow saw his successful counsel facing the dock, he stretched over to
speak to him, and, raising his eyes and hands most piously and fervently
to heaven, he cried out--"Oh, Mr. O'Connell, may the Lord spare you--_to

Here let me give my opinion, that the disqualification of his
religious tenets, which kept him in a stuff gown while his juniors in
standing, and inferiors in talent, were strutting about with all
professional honour, was _not_ much detriment to O'Connell's
advancement. Here was a man, confessedly at the head of his profession,
yet excluded from its honours by unjust and intolerant laws--it became,
therefore, a practice to consider him a martyr for the sake of his
religion, and he got many and many a brief because such was the feeling.
His disqualification as a Catholic gained him business as a Barrister.

The Union failed to make Ireland happy--because the chains of the
Catholics were still allowed to gall them, instead, as Mr. Pitt
contemplated, of being removed with the least possible delay. George
III. threw himself between Ireland and justice. Relief was expected from
Mr. Fox, and might, perhaps, have been granted, but the death of that
statesman, almost immediately succeeded by an Anti-Catholic Ministry,
sounded the knell to the hopes of the people of Ireland. It was at this
time that Mr. O'Connell came forward as a politician; he had personal
reasons for doing so, because, now being in the enjoyment of a very
excellent practice at the bar, he found numerous vexations arising from
the privileges enjoyed by men less talented, less qualified than
himself, but who enjoyed the advantages which religious and political
"ascendency" gave them.

The Catholics at last threw themselves into an attitude of defence.
O'Connell's first decided step[16] was the taking part in the proceedings
of a meeting of Catholics, held in Dublin in May, 1809. Then, for the
first time for over a hundred years, Catholics literally "spoke out."
Their daring appeared to draw strength for their despair. What was
called "the Catholic Committee" was formed, and this, strongly against
O'Connell's advice, violated the law by assuming a _representative_
character. Lord Killeen (eldest son of the Earl of Fingal, a Catholic
peer), and some others of the leaders, were prosecuted by the
Government. They were defended by O'Connell, and Ireland then witnessed
the almost unprecedented circumstance of Catholic agitators being
acquitted by a Protestant jury in Dublin.

     [16] O'Connell's first public speech was against the Union. It was
     made on January 13, 1800, at a Catholic meeting in Dublin, in
     unequivocal condemnation of that measure. The resolutions that day
     adopted were drawn up by O'Connell, and assumed an antagonistic

The Catholic Committee, however, became alarmed, and broke up. Then was
formed the Catholic Board, at which it was a matter of dispute whether
Emancipation might not be purchased by allowing the Crown to pay the
Catholic clergy, and giving the head of the Church of England a veto on
the appointment of Catholic bishops in Ireland. Feeble and vacillating,
the greater portion of the Catholic nobility held aloof from the
struggle, in which O'Connell took the popular side. Later in the day,

The late Duke of Richmond (Viceroy of Ireland) put down the Catholic
Board by means of his Attorney-General Saurin. The members of that
Board, as some small acknowledgment for the services of their colleague,
voted Mr. O'Connell a piece of plate, of the value of 1000_l._ The Board
being put down, the Catholic cause would have fallen but for the
intrepidity of O'Connell, who assumed the leadership at once, and
published a letter, continued annually for a long time, in which he
stated the wrongs of Ireland, with her claims for relief, and suggested
the mode of action. This annual message had the motto, from Childe

            "Hereditary bondsmen, know ye not,
    Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow."

Mr. Saurin is said to have seriously contemplated prosecuting O'Connell
for sedition because of this motto from "Childe Harold."

The Catholic Board was suppressed, it is true, but there remained a
thousand modes of action by which the spirit of patriotism might be kept
alive in Ireland. Aggregate and other public meetings were instantly
held, and at one of these Mr. O'Connell, in 1815, designated the
Corporation of Dublin as a "beggarly corporation." A member of that
"beggarly" and bankrupt body took upon himself to play the bravo in its
defence. This man was a Mr. D'Esterre, and is understood to have had a
promise of patronage from the Corporation (in the shape of a good
berth), if he humbled the pride of O'Connell. It is more charitable than
reasonable to hope that the Corporation were not so ruffianly as to hold
out this hope to D'Esterre, because he was notoriously the best shot in
Dublin; and yet, such "honourable" assassination is exactly what such a
body would reward, if they did not suggest it.

D'Esterre paraded the streets of Dublin with a horse-whip in his hand,
and vowed vengeance against O'Connell. He did not meet him; but he
afterwards challenged him. O'Connell refused to apologize--met the
challenger, and mortally wounded him. D'Esterre, as I have said, was a
crack shot, and O'Connell was not; but it sometimes happens that the
practiced duellist suffers the penalty which he has inflicted upon

D'Esterre had been an officer of marines, and it has been stated, and
always believed, that he constituted himself the Champion of the
Corporation, not only in the hope, but with a direct promise of
obtaining a lucrative appointment, provided that he "silenced"
O'Connell. The odds were five to one in his favour--for he was cool and
determined, and could snuff a candle with a pistol shot at twelve paces.
His skill, his coolness, availed not. At the first shot he fell, and his
death speedily followed.

Soon after, Sir Robert Peel (the then Irish Secretary) fastened a
quarrel upon Mr. O'Connell, who again placed himself in the hands of his
friends. A hostile meeting was appointed--the authorities in Dublin
interfered--the parties were bound over to keep the peace--they agreed
to meet on the Continent, but the duel was ultimately prevented by the
arrest of Mr. O'Connell, in London, on his way to Calais. He was held to
bail before the Chief Justice of the King's Bench, not to fight Mr.
Peel; and since that time declined any further meetings of the sort.[17]
It would have been well if, when he determined to avoid duels, O'Connell
had also resolved to abstain from language offensive to men of honour
and men of feeling. His chief fault, during his last thirty years, was
the application of epithets towards his political opponents, which
appear to have been culled rather in the market of Billingsgate, than in
the flowery garden of Academe!

     [17] It was the late Dr. England, Catholic Bishop of Charleston, S.
     C., who then resided near Cork, who pointed out to O'Connell the
     conjoint sin and folly of duelling, and induced him to promise that
     he would never again appeal to arms. It was reported, at the time,
     that O'Connell had lingered in London, when Peel expected him at
     Calais, awaiting news of his wife's health (he had left her ill in
     Dublin), and that another public character had declined a challenge
     on the plea of his daughter's illness. The late Chief Justice Burke
     thus commemorated the double event:

     "Two heroes of Erin, abhorrent of slaughter, Improved on the Hebrew
     command; One honored his wife, and the other his daughter, That
     'their days might be long on the land.'"

For several years after the duel with D'Esterre, O'Connell was almost
alone in the struggle for Emancipation. His practice steadily increased,
and his legal knowledge, ability and tact, united with wondrous art in
the examination of witnesses, and great influence with juries (by the
union of a species of rhetoric consisting of common sense, humour, and
rough eloquence, cemented together by a good share of "Blarney"), soon
made him a very successful barrister. Whenever a Catholic victim was to
be defended or rescued, whether an Orange oppressor was to be assailed
and punished, O'Connell was in the van. The Catholics readily took him
as their champion, and he won their gratitude by his services, and
gained their personal attachment by a good humour which nothing could
daunt, and a plain, straightforward, affectionate manner of eloquence
which went directly home to their hearts. To this hour it is a moot
point whether the Irish had greater admiration for his talents,
gratitude for his services, confidence in his fidelity, or attachment
for his person.

He continued increasing in influence for many years. From 1815, until he
relinquished most of his practice in 1831, the annual income from his
professional pursuits cannot have averaged less than from £6000 to
£8000--an immense sum for a lawyer to make in Ireland. No man could make
such an income, except one who was at once an excellent Nisi Prius
pleader, as well as a good Crown lawyer. He united the highest
qualifications of both. He could wield at will immense power over a
jury, and argue with a success rarely equalled, so as to reach the
understanding of a judge. Hence, he had the most extraordinary
versatility. You would see him at one o'clock joking a jury out of a
verdict in the Nisi Prius court, or familiarly laying down cases for the
information of the judge; and, the next hour, you might behold him in
the Crown court, defending an unhappy man accused of murder, and
exercising a caution and prudence in his unparalleled cross-examination
of witnesses which would alike surprise and please. No man could more
readily get the truth from a witness, or make him say only just as much
as suits the particular point he had in view.

In 1821, when George the Fourth visited Ireland, Mr. O'Connell made "his
first appearance, by particular desire," in the part of a courtier. He
presented a laurel crown to the monarch on his departure, and eulogized
him to the seventh heaven as "a real friend of old Ireland," anxious to
see her

            "Great, glorious, and free,
    First flower of the earth, and first gem of the sea."

He did more than this. He sacrificed his feelings, as a Catholic, in
order to conciliate the Ascendency party. Intent on conciliation, he
even dined with the Dublin Corporation, and drank their charter toast of
intolerance,[18] "The pious, glorious and immortal memory." Concession
was vain. The leopard would not change his spots; and, throwing away the
scabbard, O'Connell drew the sword, and threw himself, body and soul,
into the stormy battle of Agitation.

     [18] This celebrated toast, the drinking or refusal of which, for
     many years, was the great test of (political) Protestantism in
     Ireland, was drank on the knee, and ran thus: "The glorious, pious,
     and immortal memory of the great and good King William, Prince of
     Orange, who saved us from Pope and Popery, brass money and wooden
     shoes. He that don't drink this toast, may the north wind blow him
     to the south, and a west wind blow him to the east; may he have a
     dark night, a lee shore, a rank storm, and a leaky vessel to carry
     him over the ferry to hell; may the devil jump down his throat with
     a red-hot harrow, that every pin may tear out his inside; may he be
     rammed, jammed, and damned into the great gun of Athlone, and fired
     off into the kitchen of hell, where the Pope is roasted on a spit,
     and basted with the fat of Charles James Fox, while the Devil
     stands by pelting him with Cardinals!"

In 1823, O'Connell, finding how little was to be anticipated from George
IV. (who, as king, forgot the promises he made when Prince of Wales),
organized a great plan for uniting his Catholic countrymen into an array
against the laws which excluded them from the enjoyment of their civil
and rights. He had great difficulty in arousing the languid energies of the
Irish people, so hopeless had they been for a long time. At last, the
Catholic Association assumed a "local habitation and a name." The
subscription to the somewhat aristocratical Catholic Board had been five
pounds a year--one fifth of that amount was the payment to the
Association; and, at last, the Catholic Rent was instituted on the basis
of admitting contributions of a shilling a-year. Every subscriber to
this small amount thereby became a member of the Association, and crowds
eagerly joined it, on these terms, from all parts of Ireland. Here were
agitation and combination. Here was money, the very sinews of war. Here
was a fund, large in amount, annually augmenting, applicable to a
variety of purposes connected with the assertion of the Catholic claims
and the defence of Catholics, who thought themselves individually
wronged or injured by their Orange masters. Here, with O'Connell at
their head, was a band of leaders, most of them in the practice of the
law, who had station, influence, audacity, courage, integrity, and the
art of moving the multitude by voice or pen. The Government speedily
feared, and felt, it to be an _imperium in imperio_.

Armed with a vast numerical combination, strong in the possession of
large funds, headed by able and fearless men, the Association assumed
the duty of standing between the people and the mal-administration
of the law. Every local act of tyranny, intolerance and oppression was
exposed, if it were not visited with exemplary punishment. The
complaints of the people were heard, through the influence of the
leaders, within the very walls of the Imperial Parliament. A brilliant
arena was opened for Catholic talent, for the Association held its
discussions like a regular legislative assembly, and its debates were
spread abroad, all over the kingdom, on the wings of the press. Of the
whole system O'Connell was the motive power--the head--the heart. His
influence was immense.

Such an array could not be beheld by any government with indifference.
It was determined to put down the Association by act of Parliament. In
1825, O'Connell formed one of a deputation to England, to make
arrangements for an adjustment of the Catholic claims--committed the
error of consenting to take Emancipation clogged with "the wings" (that
is, to State payment for the Catholic clergy, and confiscation of the
40s. elective franchise), but finally admitted his mistake, and his
error of judgment was forgiven by his countrymen. The Association was
suppressed. O'Connell, whose policy was to baffle rather than to
contest, and whose boast ever was that he agitated "within the law,"
allowed the Catholic Association to dissolve itself, but continued the
agitation by "aggregate meetings" in nearly every county of Ireland, and
by the establishment of a new Catholic Association, formed ostensibly
for purposes of charity alone. The Government could do nothing against

In 1826, when a general election took place, O'Connell brought into
unexpected operation the forces which he commanded. He started popular
candidates in several Irish counties, and defeated the former members,
who had always voted against the Catholics. The lesson was a striking
one, but the Executive in Downing-street heeded it not, and declared
unmitigated and perpetual enmity against the Catholics. On the other
hand, the Association pledged itself to oppose every candidate connected
with the government. In 1828, a vacancy occurred, by Mr. Vesey
Fitzgerald (who himself had always voted for Catholic Emancipation)
having accepted a seat in the Duke of Wellington's Cabinet, and then
O'Connell ventured the bold experiment of contesting the representation
of Clare. He was returned after a most severe contest--forced
Wellington, by that election to concede Emancipation--claimed his seat
under that concession--was refused by Manners Sutton, the Speaker--was
re-elected for Clare[19]--since sat for Waterford, Kerry, Dublin,
Kilkenny, and Cork--made the best speech upon the Reform Bill--supported
the Melbourne ministry when the contest between them and Peel came
on--invariably maintained the most liberal principles, and supported the
most liberal measures--diminished, if he did not conquer, the dislike
which England and Scotland felt towards him as a Catholic and Irish
agitator--and had a parliamentary influence greater than any man ever
before possessed, being able to count on the votes of _forty_ members,
who formed what is called the joints of his "tail."

     [19] Mr. Grattan says, at an expense of £20,000--an amount which
     seems incredible, as there was only a brief shadow of opposition.

Had O'Connell's labors as an agitator ceased when they achieved
Emancipation, no reputation could have stood higher. But, from 1829, he
attempted to make "Repeal" his party-cry. In April, 1834, he moved for
the Repeal of the Union. Thirty-eight members voted _with_, and five
hundred and twenty-three _against_ him. Only _one_ English member
supported him--Mr. James Kennedy, who sat for the small borough of

The influence of O'Connell continued great, with the Government, as well
as in Ireland, while the Whigs were in office. But the Melbourne
ministry broke up in the autumn of 1841, and "Othello's occupation" was
gone when they went over to the opposition benches. In 1843, it is true,
he made renewed, important and remarkable attempts to excite Ireland--to
agitate (within the law) against the government of which Sir Robert Peel
was the head, but he was prosecuted, and the Monster Trials, lasting
twenty-five days, and ending in his conviction and imprisonment, first
taught his countrymen that he was not infallible nor invulnerable. His
conviction was subsequently annulled by the House of Lords, on appeal,
but the iron had entered into his soul, and when he resumed his seat in
Parliament he evidently was breaking. Then followed the revolt against
his supremacy by the vigorous and more decided "Young Ireland" party,
and, with failing health and defeated aims, he went to the
Continent--his desire being to visit that imperial and Papal Rome of
which he had long been the energetic and obedient servant. He died
before he accomplished his pilgrimage; but his heart rests in the
Eternal City.

Here it can scarcely be out of place to glance at O'Connell's success as
a Parliamentary orator.

In the British Parliament, where oratorical success is usually very
difficult, Irishmen have generally shown themselves not merely good, but
even eloquent speakers. Edmund Burke may challenge mention alongside of
the great Chatham--and will have a more permanent place of honour,
because his speeches, admirable even as compositions, now belong to the
standard classics of the Anglo-Saxon race. Sir Philip Francis (the
reputed author of "The Letters of Junius") was not inferior, in power
and effect, to the younger Pitt. Richard Brinsley Sheridan and George
Canning nobly maintained the national credit, as transcendently eloquent
men. Lord Wellesley and Henry Grattan occupy a first position as great
orators. In later days, assuredly Daniel O'Connell and Richard Lalor
Sheil have not been surpassed by any of their rivals. Whenever Irish
parliamentary eloquence is spoken of, William Conyngham Plunket cannot
be overlooked. He was, perhaps, the very best speaker in the British
Parliament at any time. He had few of the ordinary characteristics of
Irish eloquence. Wit he possessed in a high degree, but was chary in its
use. Pathos he rarely ventured upon--though there are some incidental
touches at once tearful and tender. He relied on clear arrangement of
facts, logical closeness of reasoning, strong earnestness, remarkable
sagacity, and the exercise of tact and common sense which a spirit at
once strong and ardent had disciplined and exercised. His manner, also,
grave and almost austere, added weight to his words of power. He
succeeded Grattan in the leadership of the Catholic party in Parliament,
and his speech (in 1821) converted nine votes from hostility to justice.
It was on this occasion, alluding to the great departed who had joined
in the discussions relative to Ireland's claims for civil and religious
liberty, that he said--"Walking before the sacred images of the
illustrious dead, as in a public and solemn procession, shall we not
dismiss all party feelings, all angry passions, all unworthy prejudices?
I will not talk of past disputes; I will not mingle in this act of
national justice anything that can awaken personal animosity."

It was not, however, in the English legislature, but during the last
twenty years of the Irish Parliament, that Irish eloquence was in its
zenith. On one hand were Fitzgibbon and Scott (afterwards Lords Clare
and Clonmel), Connolly, Cavendish, and Arthur Wolfe. On the other side
was such an array of talent, patriotism, and eloquence as, in the same
period of time, has never been surpassed--never equalled. There were
Hussey Burgh and James Fitzgerald, Flood and Grattan, Curran and Barry
Yelverton, Plunket and Saurin, Parnell and Denis Daly, Brownlow and
Saxton Perry, Foster and Ponsonby, Goold and Peter Burrowes,
silvery-tongued Bushe and honest Robert Holmes. Most of these were
lawyers, and made an exception to the general rule that the eloquence of
the Bar and of the Senate are so different in character as to seem
almost incompatible in practice. In Ireland, during her last days of
nationality, the great cause for which they were contending, appeared to
have animated the members of the bar with a spirit which disdained all
narrow limits of conventionality, and elevated them above the ordinary
routine of common life. We read, in Holy Writ, how one of the seraphim
touched Isaiah's lips with fire, and, with little effort of the
imagination, we may well believe that Patriotism, in like manner,
touched the lips of Irishmen, during that hard struggle for the very
existence of their nation, at once hallowing and purifying the words
which fell from them. But such eloquence was only a flash amid darkness,
too brilliant to stay, and force and fraud were evil spirits superior,
at that time, to Truth, Virtue, and Eloquence. The day may come when
Ireland shall once again be a nation,--may the Past then and forever be
a lesson and a warning.

It is singular that, in the Irish Parliament, nearly all the great
speakers have been lawyers. With few exceptions, men of law have not
succeeded in the English Parliament. Lords Mansfield, Lyndhurst and
Brougham, with Romilly and Follett, are the chief exceptions. Camden,
Thurlow, Eldon, Gifford, Cottenham, Truro, St. Leonards, Erskine,
Scarlett, Stowell, Tenterden, Best, and a great many more did not
maintain, in Parliament, the reputation they had won at the bar. Three
Irishmen, however, albeit members of the legal profession, have taken
the lead in the British Senate, even in our own time. These were
Plunket, O'Connell, and Sheil.

Of Plunket and Sheil there may be another occasion and opportunity of
speaking. It is of O'Connell that I would record a few impressions now.
It must be remembered that when he entered Parliament, in 1829, he had
entered into his fifty-fifth year. Plunket was at least ten years
younger when he too entered the British House of Commons. Sheil was
little more than thirty-six when he took his seat. It was feared by his
friends and hoped by his enemies that, like Erskine and other great
advocates, O'Connell would fail in Parliament. True it was that Grattan
was fifty-nine before he first spoke in the English House of
Commons--but Grattan was one in ten thousand. Besides, he was all his
life a parliamentary speaker, which is very different from being a
lawyer in full practice also--the essentials for success at the bar and
in the Senate being far apart. Grattan himself, speaking of his great
rival, Flood, who had greatly distinguished himself in the Irish, and as
greatly failed, in the English Parliament, said "he forgot that he was a
tree of the forest, too old and too great to be transplanted at fifty."

O'Connell's opponents confidently anticipated his failure. He is too
much of a mob-orator, was the cry of one set. He will never please so
refined an assembly as the British House of Commons; he is too much of a
lawyer, said another section of ill-wishers, and we know how perpetually
lawyers fail in the House. His accent is dead against him, lisped a few
others, and will be laughed at as vulgar. One of his most violent
antagonists was Lord Eldon, before whom he had appeared, in an appeal
case before the Lords, when he visited London in 1825 (on the memorable
occasion of "the Wings"); but this Chancellor, inimical as he was,
turned round to Lord Wynford (then Sir W. D. Best), when the speech was
ended, and said, "What a knowledge of law!--how condensed, yet how clear
his argument!--how extremely gentlemanly, and even courtierly is his
manner. Let him only be in the House once, and he will carry every thing
before him." Many even of O'Connell's own friends doubted whether he
could accommodate himself to the manners, fashion, habits, and
restrictions of that very artificial assemblage, presumed to contain
"the collective wisdom of the nation," but the slightest doubt on the
subject does not appear to have cast its shadow into his own mind. To
him, as to Lady Macbeth, there was no such word as--fail! Like Nelson,
he did not know what fear was.

His putting up for Clare Election, in 1828, was one of the boldest
measures ever ventured on--short of raising the banner of revolt against
the government. It compelled Wellington and Peel to concede Catholic
Emancipation--a concession ungracious and ungrateful, since it was
clogged with a clause, the result of personal spite, prohibiting
O'Connell, because he had been elected in 1828, from taking the oaths
contained in the Relief Bill of 1829. That prohibition sent him back to
Clare for re-election, and he entered Parliament with his mind not
unnaturally angry at the injustice for which _he_ had been singled out
as a victim.

He took his seat, and, almost immediately, it was perceived that he was
not to be trifled with. Nature had been bountiful to him. In
stature tall, and so strongly built that it was only by seeing, when a
man of ordinary height was by his side, how much he over-topped him.
Physical vigour and mental strength were well combined in him. Then, his
voice--a miraculous organ, full of power, but not deficient, either, in
mellow sweetness. His glance told little--but his lips were singularly
expressive, as much so as the eyes are to ordinary mortals. Add to this,
a full consciousness of power--a conviction that he had been the main
agent for opening Parliament to his hitherto prohibited
co-religionists--that Ireland looked to him, and not without cause, for
a great deal more--that he virtually represented, not the men of Clare
only, but was "Member for all Ireland,"--that he was a tactician,
trained by thirty years of public life,--that he had also the practiced
skill in handling all the available points of an argument which his
professional career had given him,--and that he then looked upon
Emancipation only as an instalment. Put all these together, and it will
be seen, at once, that the man in whom they were embodied could scarcely
fail to make himself felt, dreaded, and much observed.

In the first twelvemonth--that is, from his re-election in 1829, until
the meeting of the new Parliament in November 1830--O'Connell
disappointed a great many by playing what may be called a waiting game.
It was expected that he would be perpetually speaking, upon all
occasions, and, in that case, attempts would have been made to laugh, or
cough, or clamor him down. He voted regularly, and always on the right
side. In 1831, when the Grey ministry were in power, O'Connell, now
strengthened by a strong and compact body of Irish members pledged to
work with and under him (their return was the result of the General
Election), took the station in the Legislature which he maintained for
nearly fifteen years. During the prolonged struggle for Parliamentary
Reform, one of the most impressive speeches in advocacy of the measure
was O'Connell's. On all great occasions his voice was heard and his vote
given. It cannot be asserted that he invariably spoke and voted as now,
when we read the events of those days as history, it may dispassionately
be thought he should have done; but he was undoubtedly an indefatigable,
earnest, eloquent member of Parliament, through whose pertinacity and
tact many concessions were made to Ireland which were calculated to
serve her. The geniality of his nature was as unchecked in the Senate as
it had been at the Bar, or in the Catholic Association. He was eminently
a good-tempered man, and this availed him much in the House of Commons,
where, if it so please him, a man can readily make himself and others
uncomfortable by the exhibition of even a small portion of ill-temper.
Sometimes he laughed at his opponents, but so good-naturedly that they
also enjoyed the jest. Such was his cut at John Walter, proprietor of
the _Times_, who had remained on the ministerial benches after his Tory
friends had quitted them. He removed, speedily enough, when O'Connell
pointed to him as--

     "The last rose of summer, left blooming alone."

So, when Lord Stanley (now Earl of Derby) separating from the Whigs,
started a party of his own, which was lamentably small, O'Connell quoted
against him a couplet from a familiar poet--

    "Thus down thy side, romantic Ashbourne, glides
    The Derby dilly, carrying six insides."

And so, pre-eminent over all was his parody on Dryden's celebrated
comparison. Three Colonels (Perceval, Verner, and Sibthorpe) represented
Sligo, Armagh, and Lincoln. The two first were smooth-faced and
whiskerless as a maiden. Sibthorpe is "bearded like a bard." O'Connell,
alluding to them in the House, thus hit them off, amid a general roar,
in which the victimized trio could not refrain from joining--

    "Three Colonels in three distant counties born,
    Sligo, Armagh, and Lincoln did adorn.
    The first in matchless impudence surpassed,
    The next in bigotry--in both the last.
    The force of nature could no further go,
    To beard the third she shaved the other two."

Like other politicians, O'Connell did not escape without occasional
personal passages at arms. In one of these, with Mr. Doherty, then Irish
Solicitor-General, in May, 1830, O'Connell may be said to have come off
second-best. He had attacked Doherty for his conduct as Crown lawyer in
what was called the Doneraile conspiracy. The whole of the Tory party
sided with Doherty, who made a forcible defence, attacking his assailant
in turn, and the Whigs did not very warmly support O'Connell, who had
then only been a few months in Parliament. This _rencontre_, which took
place while "The Duke" was Premier, raised Doherty to the Chief
Justiceship of the Common Pleas in Ireland--and led to Peel's offering
him a seat in the Cabinet in 1834, and a Peerage in 1840. O'Connell used
to say, and with truth, that _he_ had placed Doherty on the Bench.

On another occasion O'Connell was far more successful. This was the
celebrated Breach of Privilege case.

Victoria ascended the throne in June, 1837. Shortly after there was a
General Election, and a great many of the members returned were
petitioned against. The Tories had raised a large fund to defray the
cost of these proceedings, and it was called "The Spottiswoode
Subscription," as Spottiswoode, the Queen's printer (a patent
life-office of much emolument), acted as its treasurer. Angry debates
arose in the House of Commons on this subject, and personalities were
so much and so tumultuously bandied to and fro, that Mr. Abercrombie,
the Speaker, threatened to resign if they were repeated,--as if,
grasping Scotchman as he was, he _could_ ever have brought himself to
resign the £6,000 a-year attached to the office!

The controverted elections were duly referred to the usual Election
Committees, ballotted for out of the members then in the House. These
committees were duly sworn, as juries are, to do justice between man and
man. But it was unhappily notorious that when the majority were Whigs,
they almost invariably decided against Tory members, and _vice versâ_.
As ill luck would have it, the majority of the decisions went to unseat
Liberal members. As parties were nearly balanced in Parliament, at that
time--indeed the Whigs remained in office merely because there was a new
and inexperienced sovereign who would have been puzzled how to act on a
change of ministry--the Liberals complained of the decisions of the
Election Committees.

On February 23, 1838, Lord Maidstone, who had been elected for
Northamptonshire, and was the eldest son of the intolerant Earl of
Winchelsea, who fought a duel on the Catholic Relief Bill, with
Wellington, in 1829, drew the attention of the House of Commons to a
Breach of Privilege. He complained that, two days before, at a public
dinner given at the Crown and Anchor Tavern, Mr. O'Connell had declared
that in the Election Committees "Corruption of the worst description
existed, and above all there was the perjury of the Tory politicians."
Also, that he "was ready to be a martyr to justice and truth; but not to
false swearing, and therefore, he repeated, that there was foul perjury
in the Tory Committees of the House of Commons."

What followed I saw, and can never forget. O'Connell, who had been
reading (or appearing to read) a newspaper while Lord Maidstone was
accusing him, keenly arose, sternly looked around the House, folded his
arms, and, in his deepest tones and most impressive manner, said, "Sir,
I did say every word of that--every word of that; and I do repeat that I
believe it to be perfectly true. Is there a man who will put his hand on
his heart and say that it is not true? Such a man would be laughed to

Maidstone then gave notice of a motion condemnatory of O'Connell, and
the discussion was adjourned until the following Monday. Maidstone moved
that O'Connell's speech was an imputation on the whole House, and that
he be censured for it as a breach of privilege. O'Connell replied in a
speech of great power, in the midst of which he was self-designated "The
pensioned servant of Ireland," and plainly declared that whenever an
Election Committee was appointed, it was known that the decision would
be exactly according to the political majority of its members; and
repeating that he had spoken only the truth, and would stand by his
words. The Agitator then retired.

A great many members spoke,--the Whigs making a lukewarm defence for
O'Connell, instead of admitting and lamenting the truth of his remarks.
The Tories clamoured for a heavy censure. In a House of 517 members, out
of 658, a majority of _nine_ were for the censure. Next Daniel
Callaghan, member for Cork city, Edmund Burke Roche, member for Cork
county, W. D. Gillon for Falkirk, and J. P. Somers for Sligo, severally
and seriously declared that, each and all, they adopted Mr. O'Connell's
words and sentiments! It was then carried by 298 to 85 (Lord John
Russell voting in the majority) that the words were "a false and
scandalous imputation on the House."

Next, on the motion that O'Connell be reprimanded in his place, an
exciting debate ensued. Mr. Callaghan repeated his endorsement of
O'Connell's imputation, and his words were taken down by the Clerk of
the House, on the motion of Mr. Hume, who called on the Speaker to
notice his contumacy. But the Speaker was mute. Next day, Mr. Roche also
repeated his full adherence to O'Connell's charge. The vote of censure
was carried by a majority of twenty-nine.

O'Connell duly attended in his place, was gravely reprimanded by the
Speaker (his own particular friend!), and said, when the farce was
over, "Galileo remarked 'the world does move, after all.' And so,
despite the censure of this House, I repeat all I said before. The
system I condemn reminds one of the Judge in Rabelais who decided cases
by throwing three dice for the plaintiff and two for the defendant. I
had rather take the dice-box and say 'seven's the main,' than take my
chance on an Election Committee of this House. I express no regret for
what I have said. I have retracted nothing. I will retract nothing. I
have told the truth."

So saying, having bearded the House by strongly repeating his
accusation, he sat down. It was considered that he had gained a victory,
and the conclusion of all was a total change and reform in the system of
Parliamentary election committees.

But it was in Ireland--whether in the Catholic Association, at an
Aggregate Meeting, at a public dinner, or in a court of law--that
O'Connell was to be seen "in all his glory." In Ireland his influence
was extraordinary--not only for its vast extent, but for its
continuance. No other public man, no matter what the country or the age,
has maintained his popularity, as O'Connell did, for nearly forty years.
I think that this may be partly attributed to the belief, long and
widely entertained by his followers, almost unbroken to the last,
encouraged by himself, and generally borne out by circumstances, that he
was above the law, that the law could not reach _him_, that he "could
drive a coach and six through any Act of Parliament."

In February, 1831, he was indicted and tried (with Tom Steele and
Barrett, of _The Pilot_ newspaper) for holding political meetings which
the Viceroy's proclamation had forbidden. They pleaded guilty, but as
the law under which they were tried was allowed to expire before they
were brought up for judgment, his prophecy, that the law could not reach
him, was fulfilled. In 1843 he was less fortunate. Three months in
prison!--_that_ destroyed the _prestige_.

This man was eminently endowed by nature with the bodily and mental
qualifications for a Tribune of the People. In stature he was lofty, in
figure large. His bold, good-natured face was an advantage--as were his
manly appearance and bearing. His voice was deep, musical, sonorous and
manageable. Its transitions from the higher to the lower notes was
wondrously effective. No man had a clearer or more distinct
pronunciation--at times, it even went to the extent of almost
syllabizing long words. How lingeringly, as if he loved to utter the
words, would he speak of "Cawtholic E-man-cee-pa-tion!" He rather
affected a full Irish accent, on which was slightly grafted something of
the Foigardism which, in his youth, had attached itself to him when he
studied in France. No one who noticed his capacious chest could wonder
that O'Connell was able to speak longer than most men without pausing
to take breath. When making a speech, his mouth was very expressive; and
this has been noticed as the characteristic of that feature, in Irish
faces. In his eyes (of a cold, clear blue) there was little speculation,
but the true Irish expression of feeling, passion and intellect played
about his lips. Looking at him, as he spoke, a close observer might
almost note the sentiment about to come from those lips, before the
words had utterance--just as we see the lightning-flash before we hear
the thunder-peal.

His eloquence was eminently characteristic. Irishmen, in general, have
"the gift of the gab,"--that is, the power of expressing their
sentiments in public with ease to themselves and to their hearers. It
gives them little trouble to make a speech; and this faculty and this
facility arise, very probably, from the political circumstances of their
country as much as from anything else. In England there is no necessity
why a man should have decided political opinions. In Ireland no man dare
be neutral. Persons may disagree, and do; but they unite in despising
and condemning the unhappy wight who does not belong to any party. An
Irishman, in Ireland, _must_ be a partisan. Being so, there is no
earthly reason why, attending any public meeting, he should not be
induced to take part in the proceedings, and make a speech. Oratory is a
very catching thing,--listening begets the desire to be listened to, in
turn; and, once that a man has heard his own voice in public, depend on
it, he will be anxious to hear it again.

Self-possession, which is "half the battle" in public life, is an
essential in public speaking. However, it is not _the_ essential. There
must be a copious flow of words--a happy and rapid selection of
language--an earnestness of manner--a knowledge of human character--and,
above all, a considerable degree of information, with a certain portion
of the "imagination all compact," which breathes fervour and poetry into
the spoken speech. Great is the orator's power. He can touch the human
heart--he can move the secret springs of action--he can sway the popular
will as he pleases--he can comfort the afflicted, infuse hope into the
oppressed, alarm the oppressor, and make ill-directed Power and Might
tremble on their lofty thrones.

Ireland has been particularly profuse in her contribution of eminent
orators. Burke, Canning, Plunket, Grattan, Sheil, Wellesley and Curran,
stand pre-eminent on the roll; but I doubt whether O'Connell, when the
length of his reign is considered, as well as the great extent of his
influence, derived chiefly from his power as a speaker, was not greater
than any of these great orators. He had less wit than Canning--less
imagination than Curran--less philosophy than Burke--less rhetoric than
Sheil--less pure eloquence than Plunket--less classical expression
than Wellesley--less pathos than Grattan; but he had more power than any
of them. There was wonderful force in his language. And when addressing
an Irish audience, there was such an alternation of style--now rising to
the loftiest, and now subsiding to the most familiar--that he carried
all hearts with him, and those who listened seemed as if under the spell
of an enchanter, so completely did he move them as he pleased. Judging
by their _effect_, O'Connell's speeches must be considered as among the
best, if not the very best, of the time and country.

O'Connell's versatility as a speaker was wonderful. He was "all things
to all men." In a Court of Law he would often joke a jury into his view
of the case, and when this did not succeed, would convince them by
subtle argument, bold declamation, and a natural eloquence. At a
political meeting, where he had to address a multitude, they would
alternately smile or get enraged, as he jested with or excited their
feelings. In Parliament, which he did not enter until he was fifty-four
years old, he generally was more calm, more careful, more sudued, more
solicitous in his choice of words, and more vigilant in restraining the
manner of delivering them.

The great secret of his power, as a speaker, was his earnestness. He
ever had a great object in view, and he always applied himself, with a
strong and earnest mind, to achieve that object. Whenever he pleased,
he could rise to the greatest height of eloquence; but he preferred,
when speaking to the people, to use language which each of them could
understand. He varied his speeches, too, with badinage and jokes, which,
though merely humourous, made his audience smile, and keep them in good
temper with each other, with themselves, and with him. The Irish, who
thronged to listen to him, went to be amused as well as to be harangued.
Nor did he disappoint them. I may illustrate what I mean by giving an
example of one of his familiar illustrations.

In 1827, during the time of what was called "The New Reformation," in
Ireland, O'Connell made a speech at the South Chapel, in Cork. It
contained the following passage, after a very elaborate denial of the
assumed conversions which the "New Reformation" gentry had boasted
of:--"They remind me, gentlemen, of a Frenchman who waited on Lord
Kenmare, and offered to drain the lakes of Killarney, which would
restore a great quantity of arable land. Lord Kenmare happened to think
that he had land enough, and civilly declined having his property
deprived of the beautiful lakes, its proudest ornament. The Frenchman,
however, being one of those who

    'Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame,'

persisted in his fancy, and accordingly rose at break of day to drain
the lake. And, boys, how do you think he was doing it? Why, he was
baling it out with his hat! (Great laughter.) Now, there are seven
millions of Catholics in Ireland--the New Reformation folk do not boast
of more than six or seven conversions, or perversions, in the week--so
that, allowing (which is impossible, where there are bright eyes and
warm hearts such as flash and throb around me, in this large assembly)
that the Catholics of Ireland will not increase in the meantime, there
must, at this rate, be a million of weeks elapse before all of them are
drained out by conversion. (Cheers.) Boys, these Reformation gentry
remind me mightily of the Frenchman baling out the Lake of Killarney
with his hat!"

It was with pleasant, homely jokes like this--yet each having a tendency
to work out the argument--that O'Connell was wont to amuse the Irish. In
point of wit, I doubt whether O'Connell's little Frenchman be not as
original a character as Sydney Smith's far-famed Mrs. Partington.

O'Connell's friends lamented, and with ample cause, at his aptness to
abuse the license of public speech. He was very fond of bestowing
nicknames on his opponents, and of applying offensive epithets to
them.[20] As early as July, 1808, at a meeting of the famous Catholic
Board, he had commenced that sort of speaking--which lowers him who
adopts it rather than those against whom it is levelled. He then said
"the present administration are the personal enemies of the Catholic
cause; yet if the Catholics continue loyal, firm, and undivided, they
have little to fear from the barren petulence of the ex-advocate,
Percival, or the frothy declamations of the poetaster, Canning--they
might with equal contempt despise the upstart pride of the Jenkinsons,
and with more than contempt the pompous inanity of that Lord
Castlereagh, who might well be permitted to hate the country that gave
him birth, to her own annihilation." In the same vulgar spirit he spoke
of Cobbett as "a comical miscreant," and declared that the Duke of
Wellington was "a stunted corporal," and maintained that Disraeli, whose
Jewish descent is well known, must be a lineal descendant of the
impenitent thief who was crucified, when the great sacrifice of
Salvation was consummated at Calvary.

     [20] O'Connell had high judicial authority for the use of bad
     language. Sir Archibald Macdonald (who was Chief Baron of the
     English Court of Exchequer, from 1793 to 1813) once told Mr.
     Fletcher Norton, afterwards Speaker of the House of Commons, that
     he was a "lazy, indolent, evasive, shuffling, plausible, artful,
     mean, confident, cowardly, poor, pitiful, sneaking, and abject

Once only, as far as my memory serves, O'Connell gave a nickname, with
point and wit in the application. He was denouncing the present Earl of
Derby, who was then a member of the House of Commons, and filled the
office of Chief Secretary of Ireland. In some way Stanley had taken
official notice of the "sayings and doings" of O'Connell, whereupon the
Agitator declared that, from that time, he must be called "Shave-beggar
Stanley." Amid roars of laughter (for this was at a public meeting in
Dublin), O'Connell proceeded to justify the _nom de guerre_. It was the
custom, he said, that barbers' apprentices should learn their business
by shaving beggars, who, as the job was done for nothing, could scarcely
complain if a blunt razor gave them pain, or an unskilful hand cut the
skin, as well as the beard. So, he added, with British statesmen. They
were first sent over to Ireland, to get their hand in, and when that was
accomplished they were considered to have sufficient dexterity to be
placed in office in England. He argued, by analogy, that the political,
like the actual "shave-beggar," gave a good deal of pain, and inflicted
many cuts, which the Irish, like the pauper shavelings, were compelled
to submit to, without complaint. From that day until the day he left
Ireland, Lord Stanley was always spoken of, by the Irish Liberals, with
the prefix of "shave-beggar" to his surname!

Two things, through life, O'Connell strenuously affirmed and inculcated.
First, that the man who committed outrage supplied the enemy with a
weapon to be used against the country. Second, that Ireland would never
be prosperous until the Union was repealed.

He did not join the United Irishmen in 1798,--not because he, like them,
had not an aspiration for the political independence of his country,
but because he disapproved of _their_ mode of striving for it, by force.
From first to last he was opposed to violence. The "Young Ireland"
schism, at Conciliation Hall, which so much annoyed him, during the last
eighteen months of his career, was caused by his resistance to the
doctrine of "physical force."

As to the Union--it is only just to say, that O'Connell's first public
effort was against that measure. His maiden speech, delivered on January
13th, 1800, at a Catholic meeting, in Dublin, unequivocally condemned
the Union. The Resolutions adopted by the meeting, drawn up by
O'Connell, declared the proposed incorporate Union to be, "in fact, an
extinction of the liberty of Ireland, which would be reduced to the
abject condition of a province, surrendered to the mercy of the Minister
and Legislature of another country, to be bound by their absolute will,
and taxed at their pleasure by laws, in the making of which Ireland
would have no efficient participation whatever!" During the struggle for
Emancipation, as well as from that era until his death, O'Connell always
declared that he would not be satisfied with less than "the Repeal." He
never cushioned, never concealed that such was his object. I mention
this, because it has been said that, "having got Emancipation, he ought
not to have gone for Repeal." As a matter of _policy_, perhaps, Ireland
would now be better off if the Repeal agitation had not taken place;
but it is indisputable that from 1800 to 1846, O'Connell declared that
he would not be satisfied with less than "the Repeal."

Here it may be well to notice the _questio vexata_ of the famous
"O'Connell Rent." The amount has not been exactly ascertained, but it is
believed to have varied from 10,000_l._ to 20,000._l_ a year. It
commenced after Emancipation was granted, and was continued until 1846,
when, from the pressing wants of the Irish, it was announced that Mr.
O'Connell wished it to be discontinued until they could better afford to
pay it. Here it may be best to give Mr. O'Connell's own apology, in a
letter to Lord Shrewsbury, in 1842. He said, "I will not consent that my
claim to 'the Rent' should be misunderstood. That claim may be rejected,
but it is understood in Ireland. My claim is this:--For more than twenty
years before Emancipation, the burthen of the cause was thrown upon me.
I had to arrange the meetings--to prepare the resolutions--to furnish
replies to the correspondence--to examine the case of each person
complaining of practical grievances--to rouse the torpid--to animate the
lukewarm--to control the violent and inflammatory--to avoid the shoals
and breakers of the law--to guard against multiplied treachery--and at
all times to oppose, at every peril, the powerful and multitudinous
enemies of the cause. To descend to particulars: At a period when my
minutes counted by the guinea--when my emoluments were limited only
by the extent of my physical and waking powers--when my meals were
shortened to the narrowest space, and my sleep restricted to the
earliest hours before dawn; at that period, and for more than twenty
years, there was no day that I did not devote from one to two hours
(often more) to the working out of the Catholic cause; and _that_
without receiving, or allowing the offer of any remuneration, even for
the personal expenditure incurred in the agitation of the cause itself.
For years I bore the entire expenses of a Catholic agitation, without
receiving the contributions of others to a greater amount than
seventy-four pounds in the whole. Who shall repay me for the years of my
buoyant youth and cheerful manhood? Who shall repay me for the lost
opportunities of acquiring professional celebrity; or for the wealth
which such distinction would ensure?"

There is considerable force in this. But O'Connell's character, out of
Ireland, would have stood higher, had he not received "the Rent." It was
often alleged, by his adherents, as a set-off, that Grattan had also
been remunerated by his countrymen. But the cases were not parallel. In
1782, Grattan, almost single-handed, had achieved the Independence of
Ireland, by obtaining the recognition of the principle that "the Crown
of England is an Imperial Crown, but that Ireland is a distinct Kingdom,
with a Parliament of her own, the sole Legislature thereof." He had
accomplished a bloodless Revolution. He had thrown himself into
political life, abandoning the profession on which rested nearly his
whole worldly dependence. A grant of £100,000 was proposed to him in the
Irish Parliament, "to purchase an estate, and build a suitable mansion,
as the reward of gratitude by the Irish nation, for his eminent services
to his country." It was intended as a mark of national gratitude to a
nation's Liberator. So unanimous was the feeling that, on the part of
the Viceroy, a member of the Government offered "as part of the intended
grant to Mr. Grattan, the Viceregal Palace in the Ph[oe]nix Park
[Dublin], to be settled on Mr. Grattan and his heirs for ever, as a
suitable residence for so meritorious a person." Grattan's own impulse
was to refuse the grant. His services had been rendered without
expectation or desire of reward. But his private fortune was so
inadequate to his public position that he must retire from politics or
become a placeman under the Crown. The grant would give him an
independent position. He consented to accept half of the proffered
amount (£50,000), and determined under no circumstances to take office.
He was, ever after, the retained servant of the nation. Yet, high as he
stood, he did not escape contumely. Even Henry Flood, his rival,
publicly said, in a Parliamentary controversy, "I am not a mendicant
patriot, who was bought by my country for a sum of money, and then sold
my country to the Minister for prompt payment."

O'Connell's "Rent" was estimated as yielding from £10,000 to £20,000 a
year--thrice the amount, probably, that he could have realized at the
bar, had he not devoted his time to politics. It was duly paid for
nearly twenty years. Thus O'Connell received, in this annuity from his
party, about five times as much as the Irish Parliament had given to
Grattan. Besides, since 1825, when Derrynane became his by the death of
his uncle, O'Connell's landed property was not less than £4,000 a year.
The most potent objection to "the Rent" was that, collected year after
year, it rendered its recipient liable to the imputation of keeping up
Agitation in order to collect the Rent.

When O'Connell's uncle died, in 1825, at a very advanced age, (he was
several years past ninety,) the news reached O'Connell when he was on
circuit, at Limerick. He hastened to Kerry, to attend the funeral, and
did not again appear in court until the trials were proceeding in Cork.
I had taken my seat, as a reporter, on the very day he made his
appearance, attired in full mourning. Setting immediately under him, I
heard one of the counsel congratulate him on his accession to his
uncle's large estate. "I had to wait for it a long time," said
O'Connell. "If this had happened twenty years ago, what would I now have
been? A hard-living, sporting, country gentleman, content with my lot.
As it is, I have had to struggle. I have succeeded; and look how bright
are now the prospects of Ireland! I thank God that I had to struggle,
since it has placed them as they are now."

To sum up the character of O'Connell's _political_, essentially
different from his _forensic_, eloquence, I need not say more than that
he put strong words into fitting places. No man had a greater or more
felicitous command of language; no man cared less how his words were
marshalled. Many of his speeches are models of the truest eloquence, and
perhaps he was the first Irishman, of modern days, who made a decided
hit in the Commons, as a sound and eloquent speaker, entering that House
at the mature age of fifty. Powers such as his commanded
attention;--but, in general, he spoke better in Ireland, among his own
people, than in England. Yet who can forget his magnificent oration in
favour of the Reform Bill? Who can forget the later, and briefer, but
not less stirring speech, which he delivered, as a member of the
Anti-Corn-law League, on his first visit to London, after the reversal
of the Monster-Meetings' sentence of imprisonment.

In sarcasm O'Connell was unequalled. I shall give an instance of quiet
sarcasm which I think inimitable. In his domestic relations O'Connell
was peculiarly happy. His marriage with his cousin Mary, was one of pure
affection on both sides, and their love continued to the last, as warm
as it had commenced in their youthful days.[21] John O'Connell, in 1846,
writing of his mother, who was not long dead, said, with as much beauty
as truth, "We can say no more than that doubting, she confirmed
him--desponding, she cheered him on--drooping, she sustained him--her
pure spirit may have often trembled, indeed, as she beheld him exposed
to a thousand assaults, and affronting a thousand dangers; but she
quailed not, she called him not back. She rejoiced not more in his
victories over them, than she would have heartily and devotedly shared
with and soothed him in the sufferings, in the ruin, that might have
come upon him had he failed and been overthrown." On the other hand, the
Marquis of Anglesey, in 1831, as Viceroy of Ireland, had O'Connell
prosecuted for an imputed breach of the law. The Marquis had seduced the
first wife of the late Lord Cowley, and married her after he was
divorced from his wife, and Lady Cowley (then Mrs. Henry Wellesley) from
her husband. O'Connell, commenting, at a public meeting in Dublin, on
Lord Anglesey's conduct to him said, "This prosecution has cost my wife
what none of _my_ transactions ever cost her--a tear for me. Does Lord
Anglesey know the value of a _virtuous_ woman's tear?"

     [21] In 1802, O'Connell married his cousin, the daughter of Dr.
     O'Connell, of Tralee. By this lady he had four sons and three
     daughters. Two of the sons are now [1855] in Parliament. Maurice,
     the eldest, was a barrister, but never distinguished himself either
     as a lawyer or a politician. Morgan was for some time in the
     Austrian service, and distinguished himself as a gallant officer.
     His "affair of honour" with Lord Alvanley showed cool determination
     and honourable feeling. Mr. John O'Connell, who tried to take his
     father's place in Conciliation Hall, as Repeal Leader, has
     displayed little of the talent and tact which distinguished the
     Liberator. The youngest son, Daniel, is a very commonplace person.
     It is usually said, that the children of a great man rarely arrive
     at eminence, and the limited talents of O'Connell's sons keep up
     the proverb in full force, as far as he and they are concerned:

     'Few men achieve the praise of their great sires, But most their
     sires disgrace.'

O'Connell's attempts at authorship were not very successful. His letters
to the "Hereditary bondsmen" were diffuse and declamatory. They were
full of repetitions, putting the points of a case in a variety of
phases, but they were by no means equal to the force, power, and nervous
eloquence of his speeches. He was eminently an extemporaneous speaker,
and, like Fox, appeared to more advantage as an orator than a writer.
Yet many of his letters contain true eloquence. He hit hard, and could
be terse when he pleased. Who can forget the alliterative satire of the
three words "base, bloody, and brutal," as applied to the Whigs?

His only substantive and independent work was Vol. I. of "A Memoir on
Ireland, Native and Saxon," published early in 1843. This book was
dedicated to the Queen, in order, as the Preface stated, "that the
Sovereign of these realms should understand the real nature of Irish
history; should be aware of how much the Irish have suffered from
English misrule; should comprehend the secret springs of Irish
discontent; should be acquainted with the eminent virtues which the
Irish have exhibited in every phasis of their singular fate; and, above
all, should be intimately acquainted with the confiscations, the
plunder, the robbery, the domestic treachery, the violation of all
public faith, and of the servility of treaties, the ordinary wholesale
slaughters, the planned murders, the concerted massacres, which have
been inflicted upon the Irish people by the English Government." This
one sentence will sufficiently indicate the character of the work.
O'Connell further stated, in his preface, that "there cannot happen a
more heavy misfortune to Ireland than the prosperity and power of Great
Britain." He endeavoured to justify this assertion, by adding that
"justice to Ireland" had never been granted except when Great Britain
was in difficulties. The work brought the "proofs and illustrations" of
British misrule in Ireland down to the Restoration. A second volume was
to have carried them down to the present period, but it never was
published. Nor has Literature nor History sustained any
loss,--unless it was much superior to the first volume. The seven
opening chapters, rapidly sketching the history of English dominion in
Ireland from 1172 to 1840, are not devoid of a certain degree of
eloquence, but is anti-English to a degree. The historical "proofs and
illustrations," are simply statements from partisan writers, with
connecting comments by O'Connell.

It was as a lawyer that O'Connell achieved his first distinctions. His
success at the bar was assurance to his countrymen of his general
ability. But, of late years, Mr. O'Connell was so exclusively before the
public as a legislator, that he was forgotten as a barrister. Yet, in
the opinion of many, (among whom are those who have known him long and
well,) it was in the latter character that the peculiar idiosyncrasy of
the man was fully developed--that his very rare and peculiar talents
were fully displayed.

Many men have obtained eminence at the Irish bar, but it has been for
some one peculiar merit. Thus, Harry Deane Grady was remarkable for the
knowing manner in which he conducted a cross-examination. By that he
alternately wheedled and frightened a witness into admissions which were
as opposite to his evidence in chief as light is from darkness. Thus,
Chief Justice Bushe, while at the bar, was distinguished for that
classic eloquence by which admiring juries were seduced, and admiring
judges were delighted. Pity that his elevation to the bench should have
extinguished this noble oratory. Thus, Curran was renowned for "that
sarcastic levity of tongue" which solicited a contest with those
elevated in rank above himself. Thus, Shiel was remarkable for
introducing a style of speaking--full of antithetical
brilliancies--which reminds us of the flashing speeches of the most
distinguished advocates of France. Thus, Serjeant (now Judge) Perrin was
almost unrivalled in threading through the intricacies of an excise
case. Thus, George Bennett won fame by his clear and plausible method of
stating a case. Thus, Devonshire Jackson (now a Judge) was excellent in
taking exceptions to the form of an indictment. Thus, the late Recorder
Waggett (of Cork) put that seeming of right into a case, by which
trusting jurymen are so often deceived. But there was only one man at
the Irish bar who, more or less, united the excellencies of all whom I
have named. He was as good at cross-examination as Harry Grady--he could
rise with the occasion, and be eloquent as Bushe--he could sport the
biting sarcasm of Curran--he even ventured on the antitheses of Shiel
(though he seldom meddled with such sharp-edged weapons)--he was a match
for Perrin in the excise courts--he could state a case plainly and
plausibly as Bennett--he was as good a lawyer as Jackson, and could
appeal to "the reports" with as much success--and, like Waggett (against
whom, in the Munster Courts, he was often pitted), he could show his
case to be one of the utmost _seeming_ right, his client, like the late
Queen, of virtuous memory, to be clear as "unsunned snow." The man who
combined all these apparently dissimilar qualifications--the man whom
universal consent named as the best general lawyer in Ireland--the man
to whom Orange clients invariably ran with their briefs (a confidence
equally honourable to clients and lawyer), was O'Connell.

By far the best account of O'Connell, in his different phases as a
lawyer, is that in the "Sketches of the Irish Bar." Its essence is
contained in the little sentence--"Every requisite for a barrister of
all work is combined in him; some in perfection, all in sufficiency."

An anonymous writer in an English paper has given this reminiscence of
O'Connell: "I recollect at the spring assizes of I think it was '27,
walking into the county court-house of Limerick. O'Connell was retained
in a record then being heard, and with him on the same side was his son
Maurice, who was bred to his father's profession, though he has since
ceased to follow it. It was a cold day, and both wore huge cloth cloaks:
the Agitator's right arm was thrown very affectionately round his son's
neck, who, seemingly used to these public exhibitions of paternal
fondness, took it very composedly. There was a rough-and-ready looking
peasant at the moment under examination: in lieu of the ordinary box
used in most English courts, he was seated in a chair in the centre of
the table between the fires of the counsel on either side; his shaggy
hair and unshorn beard, his shirt collar open, the knees of his small
clothes in the same free and easy state, and one stocking fallen so as
to leave a portion of his embrowned and hirsute leg bare; he had the
chair partially turned round, so as to present a three-quarter front to
O'Connell, who was _raking_ him with a cross-examination, which elicited
laughter from every person in the court, including the witness himself,
who, with his native freedom, impudence, and humour, was almost a match
for the Agitator. The Agitator's face was beaming with fun, and he
seemed very well disposed to show off, as if conscious that his auditors
expected something from him. The country fellow, too, appeared to think
there were laurels to be earned in the encounter, for he played away
with all his might, and though he failed repeatedly in his attempts to
be witty, he was always sure to be impudent. He waxed gradually more
familiar, until at length he called the learned counsel nothing but
'Dan;' it was, 'Yes, Dan,' or 'No, Dan,' or 'Arrah, you're not going to
come over me so easily, Dan.' Dan, to do him justice, enjoyed the joke,
and humoured the witness in such a manner as at length to throw the
fellow off his guard, and lead him into a maze of contradictions
notwithstanding his shrewdness. O'Connell showed the utmost
adroitness, and a thorough knowledge of the Irish peasant character,
which is perhaps in no place so well acquired as in a provincial court.
I cannot this moment recollect any single repartee which is worth
repeating, but it was the manner, the brogue, the laughing eye, the
general and humourous tone of the whole examination, and perhaps the
very spectacle of O'Connell himself trying legally to entrap and upset
the veracity of one of his own "fine peasantry," which gave that
peculiar interest and pleasantry to the scene. Nothing could surpass the
seeming enjoyment which the country people took in the examination; and
as the Agitator would throw off now and again one of his broad flashes
of humour in the "keen encounter of their wits," and the witness would
fire back some jocular effort at equivocation, you'd hear buzzed around,
'Bravo, Dan,' 'Dan's the boy,' or some such phrase of approbation, which
it was out of the question to suppress. Blackburn,[22] then, I think, the
Attorney-General, was on the bench, having taken the circuit for some
judge who was unwell; and though a dark and stern man, he was compelled
to give way to the general fit of pleasantry in which the whole court

     [22] Afterwards Chief-Justice of the Queen's Bench, whence, in
     1852, he was raised to the Chancellorship of Ireland, which he
     retained during the nine months of the Derby Administration.

O'Connell's business, on circuit as well as in the Dublin, was very
great. On circuit, it was so overpowering that, except on very important
cases, he could not read his briefs, when employed to defend prisoners.
The attorney for the defence used to condense the leading facts, and set
them down on a single sheet of foolscap; and O'Connell would peruse and
master this abstract during the speech of the counsel for the
prosecution, relying on his own skill in cross-examination of witnesses,
and his own power with the jury. Like Belial, he "could make the worse
appear the better reason," as many an acquitted culprit had cause to
know and thank him for.

Let me close this sketch with a glance of O'Connell, as I have often
seen him, in an Irish Court of Law. _There_ he was to be met "in all his
glory." As I write, the shadows of long years roll away, and every thing
appears as vivid and life-like as it was at that time.

To have seen O'Connell in the Law Courts of Dublin, was to have seen him
not exactly as himself. Before the judges, and in the capital of the
kingdom, a certain _etiquette_ is preserved, very decorous and proper,
no doubt, but very chilling also. It is on circuit that you best can see
the Irish bar, as they really are, and it is on circuit, also, that an
observer may advantageously study the character of the Irish people.
Leave the chilling atmosphere of the Four Courts, give the reins to
imagination, and sit, with me, in the Crown Courts of Cork, as I have
sat in bygone years. To give something like reality to my sketch, I
shall write as if I still were in the year 1827, when O'Connell and the
rest whom I have to name were alive and flourishing.

What a difference between this court and that of a circuit court in
England! Look around you:--there stands not a single female in the Irish
court. To attend there, with the chance of having it ever hinted that
delicacy requires their absence, would ill suit the modest precision of
the fair dames of Ireland. Nor do I think that the course of justice
suffers from the absence of the fair sex. What business have ladies in a
court of justice? Do they want information as to the trials?--they can
see them reported in "those best possible instructors," the newspapers.
Do they want to see the manner in which justice is administered?--if
they _will_ be so curious, and if that curiosity must be gratified, let
them come once and no more. As it is, the English courts have female
stagers, who attend day after day, and listen to arguments which they
cannot comprehend. I suspect that their chief design is to show off;
they come to see, but they also come "to be seen." The only preventive
would be to enforce their attendance; when, if they be true women, the
spirit of opposition will make them remain at home!

Whatever be the cause, there is a non-attendance of females at the Irish
courts of law. The galleries are filled with rough-coated and
rough-faced folks; some, who have not visited the city since the last
assizes--some, who have relatives to be tried--some, out on bail, and
honourably come to take their own trial--all, even to the mere
looker-on, deeply interested in the proceedings; for the Irish, from the
highest to the lowest degree, are fond of the _forms_ of justice. Of the
_reality_ they have hitherto got but little; but they like to see that
little administered with the due formalities of the law.

The judge enters the court, and takes his seat on the bench. You ask,
with astonishment, "When will the barristers come?" Why, _there_, do you
not see his lordship rise, and make an obeisance to the gentlemen who
sit in the box above us? These are the barristers. You may seem as
unbelieving as you choose, but such is the case. The fact is, and I
should have mentioned it before, when Irish barristers go on the
circuit[23] they do not burthen themselves with wigs or gowns--forensic
paraphernalia, to which their legal brethren on the English side of the
Channel attach such infinite importance, that you might fancy they
thought all wit and wisdom[24] to be attached to _them_. You can scarcely
imagine a more unformal or unceremonious court than that to which I have
introduced you. The attorneys sit round the table, mingled with the
"gentlemen of the press," the barristers are in the boxes immediately
over the attornies, and the audience sit or stand where and how they

     [23] I write of 1827. I know not what may be the practice now.

     [24] "The wisdom's in the wig."--_Old Song._

There is a pause--for a great murder trial is to come on--O'Connell has
just been engaged for the defence--is occupied in the other court, and
the judge must wait until he can make his appearance. During this pause
you see a familiarity between the bench and the bar which seems strange
to your English eyes. Yet, after all, what is it? Will the laws be a
whit less honestly administered or advocated because the judge and one
of the lawyers (Chief Baron O'Grady and Recorder Waggett) are laughing
together? Depend on it, that, if the opportunity comes, the judge will
fling out one of his bitter sarcasms against the barrister, and I know
little of the barrister if he does not retort--if he can!

A bustle in the court. Does O'Connell come? No; but a message from him,
with the intimation that the trial may go on, and he will "drop in" in
half an hour. The clerk of the peace reads the indictment--the murderer
pleads "Not Guilty," stands in the dock with compressed lips, and
bursting veins, and withering frown, and scowling eyes--a fit subject
for the savage pencil of Spagnaletto.

While the indictment is reading, a very dandified "middle-aged young
gentleman," attired in a blue coat, with enormous brass buttons, a
crimson silk neckcloth, and a most glaring pair of buckskins, jumps on
the table, makes way across it with a "hop, step and jump," and locates
himself in a box directly under the judge. You inquire, who is that
neophyte?--the answer is, Carew Standish O'Grady, the registrar[25] of
the circuit, barrister-at-law, and nephew to the judge. You turn up your
eyes in wonder--the prothonotary of an English court would scarcely
sport such a fox-hunter's garb.

     [25] It may be noticed that, in New York, the Registrar is called
     the _Register_--the name of the _book_ being applied to the man who
     has the _office_ of keeping it.

The trial commences. Serjeant Goold states the case--advantageously for
the prisoner, for the learned Serjeant has so defective an utterance
that he is scarcely audible even to the reporters below him. But his
serjeantcy gives him that precedence at the bar, on account of which the
chief conduct of Crown prosecutions devolves to him. Meanwhile the Chief
Baron turns to the High Sheriff, and cracks jokes; his hopeful nephew,
less ambitious, produces a bag and some salt, and merely--cracks nuts.

The opening is over--the chief witness (probably an approver or King's
evidence) is brought on the table--he is sworn, and attempts to baffle
justice by kissing his thumb instead of the book. There is a dead
silence in the court; for it is felt that the moment is awful with the
fate of a fellow-creature.

He has just been successful _for_ an Orangeman _against_ a
Catholic; but what does that matter? The people do justice to his merit;
so _he_ succeeds, what care they against whom?

Another pause--a buzz in the court--"quite a sensation," as a dandy
might exquisitely exclaim--the prisoner's eyes brightens up with the
gleam of hope--he sees O'Connell, at last, seated among the barristers.
What! is that O'Connell? that stalwart, smiling, honest-looking man? The
same. Never did a public man assume less pretension to personal
appearance. Yet, if you look closely, you may observe that he does
anything but neglect the graces. His clothes are remarkably well made,
the tie of his cravat is elaborate, his handsome eye-glass is so
disposed that it can be seen as well as used, and his "Brutus" (for
'twould be heinous to utter the word "wig") gives an air of juvenility
which his hilarious manners fully confirm.

Until this moment of his entering the court, he knows nothing of the
case--he has not yet received a brief. Mr. Daltera (you will remember
that the scene is in Cork--the time 1827), the lame attorney, hands him
a bulky brief, (which he puts, unread, into the bag,) and an abstract of
the case, written on one sheet of paper. His blue eyes calmly glance
over this case--he takes in, at that glance, all its bearings, and he
quietly listens to the evidence of the accomplice. The
cross-examination commences. Every eye is watchful--every ear on the
_qui vive_--every man in court stretches forward to see the battle
between "the Counsellor" and "the witness." You may see the prisoner
with an eager glance of expectation--the witness with an evident sense
of the coming crisis. The battle commences with anything but
seriousness; O'Connell surprises the witness by his good humour, and
instantly sets him at ease. He coaxes out of him a full confession of
his own unworthiness,--he tempts him, by a series of facetious
questions, into an admission of his "whole course of life,"--in a word,
he draws from his lips an autobiography, in which the direst crimes are
mingled with an occasional relief of feeling or of fun. The witness
seems to exult in the "bad eminence" on which his admissions exalt him.
He joins in the laugh at the quaintness of his language,--he scarcely
shrinks from the universal shudders at the enormity of his crimes. By
degrees he is led to the subject of the evidence he has just given, as
an accomplice,--the coil is wound round him imperceptibly; fact after
fact is weakened, until, finally, such doubt is thrown upon _all_ that
he has said,--from the evident exaggeration of _part_,--that a less
ingenious advocate than O'Connell might rescue the prisoner from
conviction on _such_ evidence. The main witness having "broken down,"
(as much from the natural doubt and disgust excited in the minds of an
Irish jury, by the circumstance of a _particeps criminis_ being evidence
against one who may have been more sinned against than sinning,--who may
have been seduced into the paths of error by the very man who now bears
testimony against him,) the result of the trial is not very difficult to
be foreseen. If there is any doubt, the matter is soon made clear by a
few _alibi_ witnesses--practiced rogues with the most innocent aspects,
who swear anything or everything to "get a friend out of trouble." The
chances are ten to one that O'Connell brings off the prisoner. If he is
not acquitted, he may, at least, be only found guilty on the minor plea
of "manslaughter."

But the chances are that he will be acquitted, for few juries ever
resisted the influence of O'Connell's persuasive eloquence.

Such is the scene exhibited by one glance backward:--such,
five-and-twenty years ago, was constantly occurring in the Irish courts
of law when O'Connell practiced at the bar.

Even at the risk of being accounted tedious, I cannot conclude this
sketch without mentioning another anecdote, which, even better than a
lengthened disquisition, may show that I do not overrate the
extraordinary ingenuity and quickness for which I give O'Connell such
ample credit. One of the most remarkable personages in Cork, for a
series of years, was a sharp-witted little fellow named John Boyle,[26]
who published a periodical called _The Freeholder_. As Boyle did not see
that any peculiar dignity hedged the corrupt Corporation of Cork, his
_Freeholder_ was remarkable for severe and satirical remarks upon its
members, collectively and personally. Owing to the very great
precautions as to the mode of publication, it was next to impossible for
the Corporation to proceed against him for libel;--if they could have
done so, his punishment was certain, for in those days there were none
but "Corporation juries," and the fact that Boyle was hostile to the
municipal _clique_, was quite enough for these worthy administrators of
justice. It happened, on the occasion of a crowded benefit at the
theatre, that Boyle and one of the Sheriffs were coming out of the pit
at the same moment. A sudden crush drove the scribe against the Sheriff,
and the concussion was so great that the latter had two of his ribs
broken. There could be no doubt that the whole was accidental; but it
was too lucky not to be taken advantage of. Mr. Boyle was prosecuted for
assault. O'Connell was retained for the defence. The trial came on
before a Corporation jury. The evidence was extremely slight; but it was
an understood thing that on _any_ evidence, or _no_ evidence, the jury
would convict Boyle. Mr. O'Connell (who was personally inimical to the
Corporation) scarcely cross-examined a witness and called none in

     [26] Boyle died at Limerick, in 1833, of cholera.

He proceeded to reply. After some hyperbolical compliments on the
"well-known impartiality, independence, and justice of a Cork jury," he
proceeded to address them thus:--"I had no notion that the case is what
it is; therefore I call no witnesses. As I have received a brief, and
its accompaniment--a fee--I must address you. I am not in the vein for
making a speech, so, gentlemen, I shall tell you a story. Some years ago
I went, specially, to Clonmel assizes, and accidentally witnessed a
trial which I never shall forget. A wretched man, a native of the county
of Tipperary, was charged with the murder of his neighbour. It seemed
that an ancient feud existed between them. They had met at a fair and
exchanged blows: again, that evening, they met at a low pot-house, and
the bodily interference of friends alone prevented a fight between them.
The prisoner was heard to vow vengeance against his rival. The wretched
victim left the house, followed soon after by the prisoner, and was
found next day on the roadside--murdered, and his face so barbarously
beaten in by a stone, that he could only be identified by his dress. The
facts were strong against the prisoner--in fact it was the strongest
case of circumstantial evidence I ever met with. As a matter of
form--for of his guilt there could be no doubt--the prisoner was called
on for his defence. He called, to the surprise of every one,--_the
murdered man_. And the murdered man came forward. It seemed that
another man had been murdered,--that the identification by dress was
vague, for all the peasantry of Tipperary wear the same description of
clothes,--that the presumed victim had got a hint that he would be
arrested under the Whiteboy Act,--had fled,--and only returned, with a
noble and Irish feeling of justice, when he found that his ancient foe
was in jeopardy on his account. The case was clear: the prisoner was
innocent. The judge told the jury that it was unnecessary to charge
them. But they requested permission to retire. They returned in about
two hours, when the foreman, with a long face, handed in the verdict
'Guilty.' Every one was astonished. 'Good God!' said the judge, 'of what
is he guilty? Not of murder, surely?'--'No, my lord,' said the foreman;
'but, _if he did not murder that man, sure he stole my gray mare three
years ago_!'"[27]

     [27] Mr. Love has "conveyed" this incident into his romance of
     "Rory O'More."

The Cork jurors laughed heartily at this anecdote, but, ere their mirth
had time to cool, O'Connell continued, with marked emphasis, "So,
gentlemen of the jury, _though Mr. Boyle did not wilfully assault the
Sheriff, he has libelled the Corporation,--find him guilty, by all
means_!" The application was so severe, that the jury, shamed into
justice, instantly acquitted Mr. Boyle.

It is time to hurry this sketch to a conclusion.

Some words about the man. In person, Mr. O'Connell was well made,
muscular, and tall. He looked the man to be the leader of a people. He
was fond of field sports, and while at Derrynane Abbey, for four months
in the year, lived like a country gentleman, surrounded by his numerous
relatives, and exercising the wonted hospitality of Ireland. His
features were strongly marked--the mouth being much more expressive than
the eyes. His voice was deep, sonorous, and somewhat touched with the
true Kerry _patois_.

He was seen to much advantage in the bosom of his family, to whom he was
greatly attached, a feeling which was reciprocated with veneration as
well as love. His conversation was delightful, embracing a vast range of
subjects. He was a great reader--and, even in the most busy and exciting
periods of his political life, found (or made) time to peruse the
periodicals and novels of the day.

He was well acquainted with modern poetry, and was fond of repeating
long passages from Byron, Moore, Scott, Crabbe, Tennyson, and others. He
was a good classical scholar, though I have heard him say that he
doubted whether, after the age of twenty-one, he had ever opened a Latin
or Greek book from choice. French he spoke and wrote extremely well.
Many of his classical hits, in Court, were good--but few are remembered.
I shall give one as a sample. In a political trial he charged Saurin,
the Attorney-General, with some official unfairness, and Burke, his
colleague, chivalrously assumed the responsibility. "If there is blame
in it," said Burke, "I alone must bear it.

    'Me, me, adsum qui feci, in me convertite ferrum.'"

"Finish the sentence, Mr. Solicitor," said O'Connell; "add

    'Mea _fraus_ omnis.'"

When at home, he lived in the good old Irish style. He kept a
well-spread table, and was idolized by the peasantry. His residence,
Derrynane Abbey, is built on a bold situation, next the Atlantic, and
commands a view of the Skelligs. The "Abbey," as it is called, is a
comparatively modern edifice, which has received various additions from
successive residents. It is irregularly built; so much so, indeed, as to
be any thing but a model of architecture. It is convenient, and, in the
wilds of Kerry, that should suffice; for who expects a Grecian dome in
such a place? The real Derrynane Abbey (or rather its ruins) stands on a
little island in the Atlantic.

There is little statute-law about Derrynane, and nearly all the disputes
in the neighbourhood were allowed to rest until O'Connell could decide
on them. He used to sit, like a patriarch, upon a huge rock, in view and
hearing of the tumultuous throbbing of the Atlantic, and there give
judgment, against which no one presumed to appeal. Already that rugged
seat is called "O'Connell's Chair."

On the 15th day of May, 1847, having nearly completed his seventy-second
year, Daniel O'Connell departed this life. He had quitted the land of
his birth to seek for renewal of health beneath more clement skies,--so,
before him, had Sir Walter Scott. But the great novelist was happier
than the illustrious orator; and died, at least, in his own country, and
in his own house. From the first, it seems that O'Connell entertained no
hope of completing his pilgrimage. He feared, and I think he felt, that
he was not destined to reach Rome, the Eternal City.

The account of his last days, as given, at the time, by _Galignani's
Messenger_ (the English journal published in Paris), is full of deep
interest. It is from the pen of Dr. Duff, the English physician who
attended him at Genoa. This gentleman first saw him on the 10th
May--just five days before he died. On the first visit, he found that
the patient had chronic bronchitis, of some years' standing. The next
day it was found that congestion of the brain had commenced. On the
12th, the illness increased; for the patient, like Byron, had almost an
insuperable objection to take medicine. Then, for the first time, the
mind began to waver. On the 13th he became worse, slept heavily during
the night, breathed with difficulty, fancied himself among his friends
in London, and spoke as if among them. On the 14th the words fell,
half-formed, from his lips. Thus he lingered until the next night,
unable to move or speak, but conscious of the presence of those around
him. At half-past nine on that night he died. Had he taken nourishment
and medicine, he might have lived a few days longer. But not all of him
is dead--his memory remains, and will long be kept green in the hearts
of his countrymen.

Had O'Connell lived until the 6th of August, he would have completed his
seventy-second year. He enjoyed excellent health through the greater
part of his life, and had every chance of living to extended old age.
His family are proverbially long-lived; his uncle Maurice, from whom he
inherited Derrynane Abbey, was 97 when he died; and O'Connell repeatedly
said that he intended to live quite as long, _if he could_, nor was it
unlikely that he also might approach the patriarchal age of one hundred

His last words to his physician conveyed a request that, as he was sure
he would present the appearance of death before he actually breathed his
last, they would not suffer the grave to be closed too promptly over his
remains. His strong hope was to die in Rome, his last moments soothed
and sanctified by the blessing of Pope Pius IX. He repeatedly expressed
a desire that his heart should rest (as it does) in one of the Churches
of the Eternal City. This wish was suggested, it has been said, by the
recollection that Robert Bruce had desired his heart to be conveyed to
the Holy Land and deposited in the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem. He died
without pain, gently as an infant sinks into repose, calmed by the
consolations of religion; and, it seemed to his attendants, not only
content to quit mortality, but even anxious to be released. His body was
embalmed, and is deposited in the Cemetery of Glasnevin near Dublin.

As to the ability, the mental resources, the vast power of O'Connell,
there can be no dispute. Unquestionably he was the greatest Irishman of
his time. In estimating the conduct and character of public men, two
things, it appears to me, should be considered: the value of their
labours and their motive. O'Connell, on starting into life, found that
his religion debarred him from many privileges and advantages enjoyed by
persons of another creed, and he applied himself, earnestly, to remove
these disabilities. He succeeded, and in the long and persevering
struggle which he headed, acquired vast influence, and a popularity
which helped, with the aid of his own legal knowledge and skill, to
place him in the foremost rank of his profession. At the age of
fifty-four--in spite of the saying that an oak of the forest rarely
bears transplanting--he entered the British Parliament, where he soon
took a prominent position. Thenceforth his constant aim was to coax or
frighten the Government into the concessions which were included in the
demand for "Justice for Ireland." The threat of Repeal was used for
this purpose.

The question whether he really desired to carry Repeal is difficult to
be answered. That Ireland should have laws made for herself, by her own
legislature, may or may not have been a desire with O'Connell. But that,
when agitating for the Repeal of the parchment union between Ireland and
Great Britain, he had the remotest intention or wish to effect the
_separation_ of the two countries, no thoughtful observer can imagine.
Separation, in O'Connell's eyes, meant a Republic, and O'Connell was
essentially a Monarchist. He had an antipathy, also, to the exercise of
physical force to procure the restitution of a people's rights. In all
probability, had he lived during the struggle of the American colonies,
O'Connell would have sided with those who condemned the Americans as
"rebels to their King." Truth to say, he was rather an ultra-loyalist.
This appeared, in 1821, when, kneeling on the shore, at Dunleary, he
presented a crown of laurel to George IV.,--in 1832, when he glorified
William IV. as the "patriot King"--in 1837, when he appealed (at the
elections) in favor of Victoria as "a Virgin-Queen," forgetful that this
distinctive epithet, belonging to all unmarried girls of eighteen, would
be forfeited, of course, _when she became a wife_!

It may be conceded, however, that though O'Connell would have shrunk
from seeing Ireland actually separated from England, he was sincere in
his exertions to obtain Emancipation, and, subsequently, to wrest other
rights and privileges from successive administrations. "Ireland for the
Irish" was his favourite cry; but it meant little when uttered by a man
who feverishly feared all _real_ agitation, tending to assert and secure
the actual independence of the country. With him, "Repeal," if it meant
anything, meant continuance under the rule of the British Sovereign.
"Repeal" was a capital party cry, but he dreaded it when it was taken up
by men not less patriotic, though a little less "loyal" than himself,
who thought that boldness, courage, union, and talent could raise
Ireland from a provincial obscurity into a national independence.

Great good was undoubtedly performed by O'Connell. His course was often
eccentric, capricious, inexplicable. His abilities were great. He made
much of opportunities. He wielded all but sovereign power over his
countrymen for years. He naturally became impatient of contradiction,
and very impracticable. But, with all his faults, O'Connell was
essentially a great man.







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The Noctes were commenced in 1822, and closed in 1835. Even in England,
the lapse of years has obscured many circumstances which were well known
thirty years ago.

DR. SHELTON MACKENZIE, already favorably known as editor of Sheil's
"Sketches of the Irish Bar," has undertaken the editorship of THE NOCTES
AMBROSIANÆ, for which a familiar acquaintance, during the last
twenty-five years, with the persons, events, and places therein noticed
may be assumed to qualify him. He has been on terms of intimacy with
most of the eminent political and literary characters treated of in the
"NOCTES," and his annotation of the text will include personal
recollections of them.

Besides this, Dr. Mackenzie has written for this edition a "History of
the Rise and Progress of Blackwood's Magazine," with original memoirs of
the principal accredited authors of the "NOCTES," viz:--Professor
Wilson, The Ettrick Shepherd, J. G. Lockhart, and Dr. Maginn.

He will also give the celebrated "Chaldee Manuscript," published in
1817, instantly suppressed, and so scarce that the only copy which the
editor has ever seen is that from which he makes the present reprint.
There will also be given the three articles, entitled "CHRISTOPHER IN
THE TENT," (in August and September, 1819), never before printed, in any
shape, in this country. The interlocutors in "THE TENT," include the
greater number of those afterwards introduced in the "NOCTES."

The "Metricum Symphosium Ambrosianum,"--an addendum to No. III. of "THE
NOCTES," (and which notices every living author of note, in the year
1822), will be incorporated in this edition. This has never before been
reprinted here.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Nearly Ready, in Two Volumes._


       *       *       *       *       *

For more than a quarter of a century, the most remarkable magazine
writer of his time, was the late William Maginn, LL.D., well-known as
the Sir Morgan Odoherty of _Blackwood's Magazine_, and as the principal
contributor, for many years, to _Fraser's_ and other periodicals. The
combined learning, wit, eloquence, eccentricity, and humor of Maginn,
had obtained for him, long before his death, (in 1843), the title of THE
MODERN RABELAIS. His magazine articles possess extraordinary merit. He
had the art of putting a vast quantity of animal spirits upon paper, but
his graver articles--which contain sound and serious principles of
criticism--are earnest and well-reasoned.

The collection now in hand will contain his Facetiæ (in a variety of
languages), Translations, Travesties, and Original Poetry, also his
prose Tales, which are eminently beautiful, the best of his critical
articles, (including his celebrated Shakspeare Papers), and his Homeric
Ballads. The periodicals in which he wrote have been ransacked, from
"Blackwood" to "Punch," and the result will be a series of great

DR. SHELTON MACKENZIE, who has undertaken the editorship of these
writings of his distinguished countryman, will spare neither labor nor
attention in the work. The first volume will contain an original Memoir
of Dr. Maginn, written by Dr Mackenzie and a characteristic Portrait,
with fac-simile.

_Published by_ J. S. REDFIELD,

110 & 112 _Nassau-street, New York_









       *       *       *       *       *

_Nearly ready, in Two Volumes_,






Edited, with Notes, Illustrations, &c.


The Life of Curran is identified with the latest years of Ireland's
nationality. He was known, tried, and trusted as a true Patriot. During
the Reign of Terror, in 1798, got up by the Government of that day in
order to betray the Irish Parliament into a parchment Union with Great
Britain--sinking the country from a Kingdom to a Province--Curran
manifested an independence and fearlessness, as advocate for the
accused, during the State Trials, which endeared him to the people from
whose ranks he sprung. To use the words of Thomas Davis (who resembled
him in many things) he was "a companion unrivalled in sympathy and wit;
an orator, whose thoughts went forth like ministers of nature, with
robes of light and swords in their hands; a patriot, who battled best
when the flag was trampled down; and a genuine earnest man, breathing of
his climate, his country, and his time."

He was the centre of the flashing wits, the renowned orators, the
brilliant advocates, and the true patriots of Ireland's last days of
independence. The Biography by his Son, rich as it is in personal
details, is capable of great improvement by the addition of numerous
facts, anecdotes, and traits of character, relating to Curran and his
contemporaries, which have transpired since its publication in 1819. Dr.
Shelton Mackenzie, who has long been preparing for this task, undertakes
to enrich the present edition by collecting and introducing these
desirable illustrations. The work, thus completed, will in truth be a
record not only of Curran and his eminent associates, but of the
stirring and troublous times in which they lived. It will thus combine
Biography and History, with Anecdote, unusually copious and "racy of the

Transcriber's Notes:

 Variations in spelling, punctuation and hyphenation have been retained
 except in obvious cases of typographical error:

     "...making a cave look as insignificant as a
      rabbit-(burrrow -->) burrow."

     "...but his feelings might thus be (embod ed -->) embodied in

     "...he was so very plausible in (manmer -->) manner,..."

     "...when the Bard showed (himslf -->) himself in the north,..."

     "...Marquis of (Congynham -->) Conyngham..."

     "...more careful, more (sudued -->) subdued..."

 Bold printed text has been formatted as =text=.

The oe ligature is represented with [oe] in this text.

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