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Title: Personal Sketches of His Own Times, Vol. 3 (of 3)
Author: Barrington, Jonah
Language: English
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             Personal Sketches of His Own Times, Vol. III.


                           PERSONAL SKETCHES


                             HIS OWN TIMES,


                         SIR JONAH BARRINGTON,

                               AUTHOR OF

               “THE HISTORY OF THE IRISH UNION,” &c. &c.

                           IN THREE VOLUMES.

                               VOL. III.

                         NEW BURLINGTON STREET.







                                 TO THE

                              _&c._ _&c._

                                                      January 1st, 1832.


        To experience the approbation of the public in general must ever
be gratifying to the author of any literary work, however humble may be
its subject: such has been my fortunate lot as to the first two volumes
of these light sketches of incident and character.

But when my attempt also received the unqualified approbation of one of
the most able, learned, and discriminating official personages that
England has, or probably will have to boast of, my vanity was justly
converted into pride, and a value stamped upon my production which I
durst not previously have looked to.

Greatly indeed was my pleasure enhanced when your Lordship informed me
that my Sketches had “given me much repute here, were read with _general
avidity_, and considered as giving much insight into the original
character of the Irish.”

Yet a still stronger testimonial of your Lordship’s favour was reserved
to augment my pride and pleasure—your Lordship’s note to me, stating,
that my volumes “had afforded him much amusement, and had given very
general satisfaction; and that he was tempted to wish for a third volume
composed of similar materials.”

Your wish, my Lord, is obeyed. A third volume is composed, and if it
should have the good fortune to afford your Lordship an hour’s
amusement, my gratification will be consummated.

After more than threescore and ten winters have passed over the head of
man, any increase of mental faculty, or intellectual powers in a writer
can never be expected; at the very best he may be stationary. I can,
therefore, only offer you this volume, such as it is: receive it, then,
my Lord, as the last and only _souvenir_ I can now tender to mark the
sincerity, respect, and attachment, with which I am your Lordship’s
faithful servant,

                                                       JONAH BARRINGTON.



The Introduction prefixed to the first volume of these Sketches somewhat
developes the origin of the work, and the source of its materials.
Commenced to wear away the tedium of a protracted winter, it continued,
for nearly three months, the amusement of my leisure hours. During that
short space the entire of the two first volumes was collected and

I do not allude to this as any proof of literary expertness: on the
contrary, I offer it as some apology for the inaccuracies incidental
to so hasty a performance. In common with all biographical and
anecdotical compositions, mine cannot affect to be exempt from small
errors; but whatever they may be, I alone am responsible. Not one
anecdote—character—sentence—observation—line—or even thought, was
contributed or suggested to me by any living person; nor was a single
page of the MS. even seen by any friend save one (and that but very
partially), on whose suggestion it had been commenced, and on whose
recommendation I transmitted the two first volumes to my present
publisher, but with (I own) very great diffidence as to their
catastrophe. On that point, however, I was most agreeably
disappointed. The flattering excitement which originated the present
volume appears in the dedication.

In deference to the _goût_ of the present fashionable class of readers,
I deeply regret that these volumes are not the florid children of
fiction and of fancy. Unfortunately, they are only embellished recitals
of actual facts and incidents, extracted from authentic sources, and
forming an _Olla Podrida_ of variegated materials—some, perhaps, too
cheerful for the grave—others too _sombre_ for the cheerful, and, on the
whole, I fear, rather too _ordinaire_ for refinement, or insufficiently
_languid_ for modern sensibility—particularly of the softer sex, whose
favour, of all things, I should wish to cultivate.

I cannot deny also my presumption in having garnished these Sketches
here and there with my own crude or digressive observations; but my
_ensemble_ being altogether a whimsical composition, without sequence or
connexion, minor errors may merge in the general confusion, and the
originator of them be screened under the gabardine of his singularity.

The only merit which I actually claim is, that the principal sketches
somewhat illustrate the native Irish character at _different epochas_ in
different grades of society, and furnish some amusing points of
comparison between the more _remote_ and the _modern_ manners and habits
of that eccentric people;—and there my irregularities are perfectly
appropriate. But a far more dangerous ordeal lies glowing hot before
me;—I fear my fair readers will never pardon me for introducing so small
a proportion of true love into my anecdotes—an omission for which I am
bound, so far as in me lies, to give the very best apology I can. But
when I reflect on the exquisite tenderness of the female heart, and its
intrinsic propensity to imbibe that most delicious of the passions on
every proper opportunity, I almost despair of being able to conciliate
the lovely spinsters who may deign to peruse my lucubrations; and if the
ladies of an _age mûr_ do not take my part, I shall be a ruined author.
Trembling, therefore, I proceed to state some matters of fact, which, if
dispassionately considered and weighed, may prove that, from the rapid
movements of love in Ireland, there can be but very scant materials for
interesting episodes in that country.

Ireland has been ever celebrated by every author who characterised it,
as the most amatory of islands; and the disinterestedness of its lovers,
and their inveterate contempt of obstacles, and abhorrence of any
species of procrastination, has been a subject of general eulogium.

Love is the only object of liberty and equality as yet enjoyed by the
Irish people. Even among the better orders, _money_, not being in
general there the circulating medium of matrimony, is always despised
when it does not attend, and abused behind its back as inveterately as
if it was a sub-sheriff.

A love-stricken couple seldom lose their precious moments practising
idle sensibilities, and waiting for bank-notes that won’t come, or
parchments that have not one word of truth in them. Such illusory
proceedings were very sensibly dispensed with, and a justifiable
impatience generally, because quite natural, sent formality about its
business. The lovers themselves came to the real point; a simple
question and categorical reply settled the _concours_ at once; and
marriage and possession occupied not unfrequently the second or third
evening after a first acquaintance, whilst the first of a honey-moon,
and the commencement of a new family, dated sometimes from the first
evening of acquaintance. After that knot was tied, they always had an
indefinite time and unrestrained opportunities to cultivate their love,
or what remained of it, for the remainder of their existence.

This rapid, but rational consummation of love-matches in Ireland,
however, left no opportunity or field for amatory adventures, as in
countries where love, jealousy, and murder are often seen bubbling in
the same cauldron!

No doubt the Irish manner of courtship plunders love of its episodes,
romance of its refinements, and consequently my fair English readers of
those sentimentalities which so beautifully garnish the produce of
imagination-workers. Take it all for all, however, Irish love is found
to answer very well for domestic purposes, and, making allowances for
wear and tear, to be, I believe, to the full, as durable as in any other

In a plainer way, I now frankly confess that during the composition of
the three volumes, my _inventive_ genius, (if I have any,) like one of
the seven sleepers, lay dormant in my _occiput_, and so torpid, that not
one fanciful anecdote or brilliant hyperbole awakened during the whole
of that ordinary period; and I fear that there is not an incident in the
whole which has any just chance of melting down my fair sensitives into
that delicious trickle of pearly tears, so gratifying to the novel
writers, or even into one soft sigh of sympathetic feeling, so naturally
excited by exploits in aerial castles, or the embroidered scenery of
fancy and imagination.

Of the egotistical tone of these volumes I am also most gravely accused.
The best reply I can make, (and it seems rather a decisive one,) is,
that it would be a task somewhat difficult for the wisest author that
ever put pen to paper, to separate egotism from autobiography; indeed, I
believe it has never yet been practically attempted. Were I to leave
myself out of three volumes of my own _personal_ anecdotes, I rather
think I should be consigned to Miss Edgeworth for the destiny of
increasing her volume of Irish Blunderers. I fancy also that with most
ladies and gentlemen in these civilized parts of this terrestrial globe,
the _amour propre_ (_alias_ _egotism_) holds a very considerable rank
amongst their intellectual gallantries; and, as in _garçon_ Cupid’s
amours, it would be no easy matter for either sex to enforce profound
silence on the matter of their adoration; and I apprehend the singular
number will hardly be turned out of service in the English grammar to
gratify my commentators by making me write nonsense.

These observations are addressed to my good-humoured and playful
critics; but there is another class of a very different description. I
have been honoured by the animadversions of as many of these sharp-set
gentry as any uncelebrated author could possibly expect, or indeed any
reasonable writer could possibly wish for; and, though the comparison
may be considered as out of course, I shall nevertheless add it to the
rest of my _errata_, and compare my orchestra of cavillers to the
performers in a Dutch concert, where every musician plays his own tune,
and no two of their airs or instruments are in harmony.

Literary works may be fairly termed literary chopping-blocks; like the
human species, they never fail to have plenty of snarlers to cut up the
reputation of the author, and probably the very best parts of his
production. However, it is consolatory to perceive that many of those
ingenious gentry who have done me that honour may with convenience and
economy pluck their _own wings_ to make their pens of; and I am
satisfied that if the Roman gander who saved the Capitol were permitted
to return to earth, and visit the metropolis of England, he would feel
infinite gratification at finding that so many of his family have been
raised to the rank of critics, and are now flourishing amongst the human

By some of my most inveterate cavillers I have been accused of
personality. Never was an imputation worse founded. I feel incapable of
leaning on any fair or worthy person. But it is impossible for any
biographical writer to avoid topics of general allusion, which the
equivocal good-nature of _intimate friends_ seldom fails to find out an
appropriate application for. Should the proprietors of shallow egotism
or arrogant folly, however, (and such things _are_,) please to fit caps
on their own heads, and look at general allusion through a microscope, I
do not feel myself bound either to undeceive or confirm their
applications—the _qui capit ille facit_ is their own act, not my

In truth, the multiplicity of inaccuracies, fibs, bounces, and
impossibilities imputed to me are of so many families and ranks, that I
scarcely know how to arrange their table of precedence; but as all
manner of things connected with theology, from the days of Jupiter Ammon
to Pope Joan, and thence to our own episcopacy, take place of temporal
concerns, so I rather think I should adopt the same course of procedure;
and therefore, as the doctrine of spirits and ghosts is incontestably
connected with theological dogmas, so I conceive it most decorous to
begin with that very supernatural subject.

The article as to Lord Rossmore’s Bansheen, (in the first volume,) has
been the favourite subject of general animadversion, incredulity, and
inveterate impeachment of my orthodoxy, common sense, religion, and
morality. Yet, strange to say, I absolutely persist unequivocally as to
the matters therein recited, and shall do so to the day of my death,
after which event I shall be able to ascertain individually the matter
of fact to a downright certainty, though I fear I shall be enjoined to
absolute secrecy.

To give new food to my cavillers, I now reassert what has been already
read with expressed surprise at my heterodoxy—namely, that no man or
woman, old or young, _professing_ Christianity, and yet denying the
possible appearance of apparitions in the world, can be a genuine, or
indeed any Christian at all; nay, not even an unadulterated Deist, and
most certainly not a member of the Jewish persuasion, as this can be
_his_ only argument. Nor shall I omit in my following challenge every
member of the 104 sects that have, like suckers, sprouted out of and
weakened the established Church of England, (which, I think, might,
after reforming the clergy, have served people very well, without the
assistance of any hair-splitters, unless they were unconscionable
epicures in theology); to all such folks I here throw down my glove—and
by these presents, I invite any preacher, teacher, priest, bishop,
deacon, fat dignitary, or lank curate, who disclaims my said doctrine,
to reply to it if he can—otherwise I shall crow over him, reasonably
considering that “silence gives consent,” and set down my doctrines as
admitted fully and unanimously by the _nil dicits_ of all the Christian
clericals and pious labourers in the holy vineyards, and all the singers
at the Meeting Houses in the British Empire.

Consistently with my rank as a goblin _chaperone_, I should consider
myself guilty of great impoliteness did I not notice one or two of the
lectures I have received from lay disputants since the two first volumes
have been published, but which other occupations have heretofore
prevented me from duly noticing.

The most formidable, because the most rational, of my avowed
contraventionists, has attacked me on a point which I admit to be the
most assailable of my anecdotes, and to constitute the most plausible
ground he could pitch his scepticism on: I allude to his dogma as to my
Rossmore Bansheen, in which he asserts that all supernaturals are
now-a-days as much out of fashion and as scarce as miracles. I admit
that miracles, _eo nomine_, have diminished very considerably (without
any good reason that I know of) for some centuries past, and
consequently, that my assertion of modern supernaturals has, in the
opinion of many wise persons, lost the advantage of that scriptural
confirmation, which it certainly would have had eighteen hundred years
ago. But that is only begging the question without the candour of
admitting that if miracles _ever_ existed, the same Omnipotence which
created may _revive_ them, particularly as all these matters are decided
in a world that not a priest in Europe has any communication with.
Prejudices—whether natural or transplanted—have long roots: they shoot
deep and strong, and are most difficult to eradicate. Out of a hundred
pertinacious argumentators, I verily believe there is seldom even one of
the debaters, who at the conclusion admits a single _scintilla_ of
diminution in his original hypothesis. So prone is man to prejudice,
that I have known clerical rhetoricians argue, on points of their own
trade, very _nearly_ that black was white; and I really believe all the
Saints in the calendar could not make any impression on their
sentiments; therefore, yielding all argument deducible either from the
Witch of Endor, or the Weird Sisters, &c., I found my tenet upon proven
facts and causes, of which the (assailed) anecdote of Lord Rossmore is
only as a vanguard.

This plausible and ingenious antagonist, to whom I allude, is a
gentleman universally considered to be in his sound senses, and of high
respectability; and one who, I believe, both individually and
professionally, generally _looks_ before he _leaps_: this gentleman has
so billeted his scepticism on his brain, that it lives at free quarters,
and shuts its door against all reasoning; and I much fear his
incredulity will retain its post, till he becomes a goblin himself, and
learns the fallacy of his prejudices by actual demonstration.

Some other intolerant correspondents, of much personal consideration,
are fully entitled to my proper observation; and I regret that, a
preface being inappropriate to any controversy in detail, I am obliged
to postpone paying my _devoirs_ to them. But this above-named gentleman
having favoured me with a letter of many pages, expressing his
unqualified disbelief of Lord Rossmore’s Bansheen and all ghosts in
general, and his extreme _surprise_ that I could venture to support so
exploded a doctrine, I should act unhandsomely if I did not acknowledge
the receipt of it, and assure him that I shall take the earliest
opportunity I can of putting in my rejoinder.

I admit that the reasoning of this respectable intolerant (Mr. T—— of
Gray’s Inn) appeared so moral, rational, religious, pious, and
plausible, that even an idiot, or a soft country gentleman with a blank
mind, might, without any further imputation against his understanding,
be actually convinced by it. However, as I do not boast of these latter
qualities, I retain my own doctrine inflexibly,—and so does Mr. T——; and
lamentable it is to say, that there is not the most remote probability
of either of us yielding his hypothesis, or any human possibility of
finding any person in the whole world who could decide as an arbitrator.
Mr. T—— conceives that I cannot be a Christian if I believe in
supernaturals, and I am as steadily convinced that he cannot be a true
Christian if he does not. The majority of society, who seldom take the
trouble of looking deeper than the surface in matters of theology,
except when they are text-puzzled on Sundays, are mostly on his side;
profound philosophers, theoretical moralists, and all delicate ladies,
are on mine. However, there being no mathematical demonstration on
either, well authenticated supernaturals are the sole mode of deciding
the question in this part of the firmament. On this enigmatical subject
my good friends the clergy are rather awkwardly circumstanced. They may
be very excellent casuists, so far as their knowledge _extends_; yet,
being only simple mortals themselves, they can know no more about the
matter than the most ignorant of their parishioners. Though my Lords
Spiritual, the Bishops of England, are by far the most temporal, sleek,
and comfortable covey of prelates on the surface of this globe—whatever
they may do in their political capacities, it would be profane to
suppose they could have private audiences either in the upper or lower
department of the other world, _until_ their _post obitums_ fall in, and
give them the _entrée_. The fattest prelate of the land, therefore, can
know no more of supernaturals than the hungriest curate of his diocese;
the happy translation, however, must take place, (and nobody can tell
how soon,) and no doubt its approach must be hailed by these parties
with great pleasure, as the only tranquil catastrophe they can be
absolutely certain of during this ticklish epoch.

I have already mentioned that my reasoning on this subject in detail
appears in the first volume of this work; where, though I profess no
enthusiastic adoration of Dr. Johnson’s morality, I certainly am proud
to have the advantage of his coincidence on the subject of
supernaturals. I therefore refer my respectable antagonist, Mr. T——,
(whom, by-the-by, I never had the honour of speaking to or seeing,) to
that volume.

I have also received, amongst many other favours upon the same subject,
a letter under the signature of R. H., Brompton; but, though on thick
gilt paper, of a very different complexion, and in very different
language from that of my last-named correspondent. Mr. R. H. accuses me
of publishing _absolute falsehoods_, and putting _dangerous_ doctrines
into the heads of _silly people_, which he illustrates by the example of
his _own wife and daughter_, who, “naturally nervous,” ever since
reading my argument in favour of ghosts, &c., fall into “twitters” if
they hear any noise in the house after nightfall, which they cannot
instantly account for. His life is a torment to him! Even a kitten,
which was locked up accidentally in a cupboard, and began to rattle the
tea-things after the candles were put out, threw Mrs. H. into strong
hysterics, and nearly cost Miss H. her reason, besides the expense of
drugs and attendance. This Mr. H., of Brompton, describes himself “a
_rational_ gentleman,” (_credat Judæus Apelles!_) I suppose in
contradistinction to me; but, whether gentle or simple, he has in his
commentary on my anecdote been so far impartial, that he has shown no
greater respect for his own composition than he has for mine. To do him
justice, he has not attempted reasoning: therein he was perfectly right;
reason does not seem to be his forte, or in unison with either his
temper or intellect, and the _retort courteous_ with which he has
favoured me is vastly better adapted to both the manners and capacity of
that gentlemanly personage. To increase his troubles, I have referred
him to a decided ghost story ycleped the “Tapestry Chamber,” from the
celebrated pen of Sir Walter Scott, directing my letter “dead office,
Brompton.” That story was vouched by Miss Seward, the most learned and
religious of the _bas-bleus_. It has been swallowed by the public at
large with a greedy avidity, as a genuine undoubted apparition; nor has
a single reviewer, commentator, periodical, or other species of critic,
ever ventured to call it a _bounce_, or to express the slightest doubt
of its absolute authenticity. Whilst Sir Jonah Barrington’s “Bansheen of
Lord Rossmore,” vouched by three living persons, has experienced all
manner of ugly epithets, the “Tapestry Chamber,” so vouched, remains in
full blow, with scarcely an unbeliever. It is observable also that Sir
Walter’s apparition, coming a year after my “Bansheen,” and the public
strictures thereupon, proves and exemplifies his coincidence in my
belief; and (Miss Seward having been for some time a ghost herself) I
trust Sir Walter, not being defunct, will, on his return from his
travels, do me the justice of confirming my tenet by his own, and the
authority of Miss Seward. In the mean time, as for Mr. R. H. of
Brompton, whom I _strongly suspect_ to be an M.P. and a
saint—_requiescat in pace!_ unless I can trace the writing, and, if I
can, he may be assured the public shall have a garnished edition of it.

The Irish mower cutting his _own_ head off has also afforded a
multiplicity of amusing comments, both from my friends and the
periodicals; the former call it _ingenious_, the latter a _bounce_.
However, I refer my sceptics to the second edition of the former portion
of these Sketches, where that incident is repeated and enlarged upon.
That anecdote, not being in any degree _supernatural_, is susceptible of
testimony; and it is rather fortunate for me that the very same
respectable gentleman, Mr. T., who is so inflexible an anti-Bansheen,
was also an avowed disbeliever of my self-decapitation anecdote, until
his friend, Lord Mountnorris, _vouched_ to him decidedly the _truth_ of
Dennis’s cutting his own _head_ off, though his lordship would not give
him the same corroboration as to the _ear_ of his comrade: however, as
to that, _exceptio probat regulam_, and I am contented.

So numerous have been the comments I have read in print, and received in
MS., as to different articles of those Sketches, that a rejoinder to one
half of them would be more than food for a tolerable quarto, and of
course my notices must be very limited.

The letter which I received, marked _private_, by post from London,
under the signature Z. Y., though long in my possession, I had no clue
to answer, or any _à-propos_ opportunity of noticing; and I regret that
the limits of a Preface do not even now admit me to go much further than
to advert to the subject of it. That subject, could I here dilate on it,
would afford myself a very agreeable field for general as well as
individual comment; and indeed, not being devoid of a popular interest,
it deserves a distinct, and not limited consideration: such (I intend)
it shall receive hereafter on a different occasion. At present I only
wish the persons therein alluded to, and particularly the one who, Z. Y.
insinuates, “has felt _no pleasure_ at my observations,” to be assured
that I should consider myself much to blame, had I intended to draw any
_invidious comparisons_, or lean either by irony, ridicule, or satire,
on either of two persons so justly and highly estimated by the public,
for whom I feel the sentiments of private friendship, and whom I have
known before they could either know or forget themselves.

One observation, however, I may venture, and (though singular) I have
very generally found it a true one, namely, that the best writers are
the most thin-skinned, and become jealous of comment, _pari passu_ with
the march of their celebrity. Even when their literary reputation has
been popularly established beyond the power of “reviewing” injury, they
feel more ticklish at criticism than scribblers in the fifth degree of
comparison; and, as if they were afflicted with the disease called “noli
me tangere,” they consider even the approach of a quill as injurious to
their tranquillity. Such species of impression on either a party or a
partizan has no doubt procured me the honour of the letter I have
alluded to;—it is palpably the work of no ordinary penman. I regret that
I must persist in my opinion both as to the lady and gentleman, and
cannot relinquish my consistency as to the principle of distinction
between genius and talent, though with modification, and perhaps
according to _my_ more minute _view_ of these modern rarities.

I never found these gifts of intellect completely amalgamated in any one
modern writer either in prose or poetry. Heavens and earth—flights of
fancy, and matters of fact, _savans_ and rainbows, angels, and ladies of
quality, &c. &c. &c. afford very different touchstones whereby to assay
the extent of human intellect.

The personages that Z. Y. has alluded to may rest assured that not a
friend of theirs, either old or new, has a greater pride in their
compatriotship than the composer of this terrestrial bagatelle; the one
works in prose, and dresses in poetry, the other makes Irish petticoats
with foreign flounces to them. Both are good artists—yet I confess
myself so very worldly and unrefined a being that I should, under the
circumstances of Ireland, prefer one sound, unexaggerated, unagitating
true matter-of-_fact_ essay on the real condition of my countrymen. The
most lovely subjects of madrigal and sonnet, after a curt exhibition of
their charms, wax old and ugly, and in some time enjoy little more than
a florid epitaph. Time with his extinguisher soon puts out all flames of
an amatory description, and reduces both the poet and his muse—the first
(if he lives) to a state of dotage, the other to the enjoyment of some
“newer lover.” But the love of a country blooms for ever: it defies the
power of time and the lapse of ages; and I should like to see the
produce of some proud and emulative talent or genius, to decide which is
best adapted to descant upon that subject. Two attempts on that matter I
have seen; the one has lost reputation by danger—diving too deep; the
other gained none by being too superficial. Of all themes,
_absenteeism_, if handled strongly, would give great credit, if its
writer would take a fair, clear, and comprehensive view of that existing
cause of national misfortune.




                           THE THIRD VOLUME.

                       PERPLEXITIES OF A BARONET.

 The Author apologises for ending, instead of commencing, his
 former volumes, with an inquiry into his pedigree—How to improve
 a family name—The cognomen of Alderman Sir W. Stammer—Vowel
 _versus_ Consonant—The lady of “masculine understanding”—The
 Alderman’s conditions on altering his surname—Unsuspected
 presidency of _King James_ at the Dublin municipal
 meetings—Ulster king-at-arms—George the Fourth’s visit to
 Dublin—Various heraldic bearings                                      1

                         DANGERS OF REFLECTION.

 Personal description of Counsellor Conaghty—Singular contrast of
 physical roughness and mental suavity—A legal costume—The
 Counsellor’s marriage—The bride described—Her plan for inducing
 her husband to sacrifice to the Graces—The fatal mirror—The
 Counsellor views himself in a new light—His consternation and
 false persuasion—The devil unjustly accused—Conaghty’s illness
 and death                                                            22


 Remarks on Sir Charles Morgan’s account of the Former State of
 Medicine in Italy—The author’s studies in the Anatomical Theatre
 of Dublin University—Dr. Burdet—Former importance of farriers and
 colloughs—Jug Coyle, and her powers of soliloquy—Larry Butler,
 the family farrier, described—Luminous and veritable account of
 the ancient colloughs—The _faculty_ of the present day—Huynhymns
 and Yahoos—Hydrophobia in Ireland, and its method of cure            30

                         KILLING WITH KINDNESS.

 Illustration of the Irish horror of hydrophobia—Thomas Palmer, of
 Rushhall, Esquire, magistrate and land-agent, &c.—A substantial
 bill of fare—Dan Dempsey, of the Pike, is bitten by a mad
 dog—Application to the magistrate for legal permission to
 _relieve_ him of his sufferings—Mode of relief proposed—Swearing
 scholars—Permission obtained—Dan regularly smothered, by way both
 of _cure_ and _preventive_—Fate of Mr. Palmer himself—Allen
 Kelly, of Portarlington—“New Way to Pay Old Debts”                   42

                        SKINNING A BLACK CHILD.

 Lieutenant Palmer and his black servant—The Lieutenant’s sister
 marries Mr. George Washington, a “blood relation” of the American
 president—This lady presents her husband with a son and
 heir—Awkward circumstance connected with the birth of the
 infant—Curious and learned dissertation respecting “fancy-marks,”
 &c.—A _casus omissus_—Speculations and consultations—Doctor
 Bathron, surgeon and grocer—His suggestion respecting little
 Washington—Doctor Knaggs called in—Operation begun—Its ill
 success—“Black and all Black”—The operator’s dismay and
 despair—Final catastrophe of Master Washington                       51

                      THE FARRIER AND WHIPPER-IN.

 Tom White, the whipper-in of Blandsfort—An unlucky leap—Its
 consequences—Tom given over by the _Faculty_—Handed to the
 farrier—Larry Butler’s preparations—New way to _stand fast_—The
 actual cautery—Ingredients of a “charge”—Tom cured _intirely_        67

                        THE RIVAL PRACTITIONERS.

 Dr. Fletcher, Dr. Mulhall, and the Author’s father—Interesting
 particulars of a medical consultation—Family
 recollections—Counsellor, afterward Judge Fletcher—First meeting
 between him and the Author—Catching a Tartar—Sam Doxy of the
 Derrys—Breaks his neck in riding to a Turnpike-Board
 dinner—Pronounced dead by Mr. Knaggs, the apothecary—That eminent
 practitioner’s judgment disputed by Lieut. Jerry Palmer—The
 apothecary proceeds to show that the patient _must_, or at least
 _ought_ to be, dead—An incision, and its consequences—Lieut.
 Palmer’s successful mode of treatment—Recovery of the corpse         76

                         TRANSFUSION OF BLOOD.

 The Irish on the continent—Slow travelling of
 remittances—Inconveniences thereof—Sir John Burke, of
 Glinsk—Reasonable points of curiosity—Prompt
 satisfaction—_Messieurs les Créanciers_—Sir John’s health
 declines—Given over by the faculty generally—Dr. T——’s
 perseverance—Its success—A game at cross purposes—Custodiums in
 Ireland—New mode of liquidating a debt—Galway gore—Receipt for
 ennobling the _bourgeois_ of Paris—Sir John Burke’s marriage and
 visit to Rome—His return—Lady Burke—Glinsk Castle                    91

                           SWEARING NO VICE.

 English slang contrasted with Irish imprecation—The chase of St.
 Chrysostom, and his rescue—Meet garnish for a Hibernian
 anecdote—Futile attempts at imitation by English dramatists,
 &c.—Remarks of a puritan on the author and his book—A caution,
 and a shrewd way of observing it—Michael Heney, steward of the
 author’s father—His notions concerning swearing—Curious dialogue
 between him and the author—New mode of teaching children filial
 respect                                                             112

                         A BARRISTER BESIEGED.

 Dinner-party at the Rev. Mr. Thomas’s—The author among the
 guests, in company with John Philpot Curran—General punctuality
 of the latter at dinner-time—His mysterious
 non-appearance—Speculations and reports—Diver, from
 Newfoundland—His simultaneous absence—The house
 searched—Discovery of a ghost, and its metamorphosis into
 Curran—A curious blockade—Its relief, and accompanying
 circumstances—Comments of the author                                121

                       GEORGE ROBERT FITZGERALD.

 George Robert Fitzgerald and Mr. Richard Martin, M.P. for
 Galway—The “Prime Sergeant,” Lord Altamont’s wolf-dog—Shot by
 Fitzgerald—The circumstance resented by Mr. Martin—The latter
 insulted by his antagonist in the Dublin Theatre—Mission of Mr.
 Lyster to George Robert, and its disastrous consequences—A legal
 inquiry and strange decision—Meeting between the
 principals—Fitzgerald receives two shots without
 injury—Explanation of that enigma                                   133

                        RECRUITING AT CASTLEBAR.

 Further particulars respecting George Robert Fitzgerald—His band
 of myrmidons—Proposal made to the Author—He accedes to it, and
 commences the “recruiting service”—Hospitality at an Irish
 inn—Practical joking—The Author’s success in enlisting George
 Robert’s outlaws—Sergeant Hearn and Corporal O’Mealy—Fair day at
 Castlebar—A speech, succeeded by “beating orders”—Mutiny among
 the new levies—The utility of hanks of yarn—An inglorious
 retreat, and renunciation, by the Author, of the honours of a
 military life                                                       148

                            A NIGHT JOURNEY.

 Mr. Fitzgerald’s agent and attorney—Capriciousness of
 courage—Jack tar, his intrepidity—New lights—Sailors and
 saints—Description of Mr. T—— —His temerity in court and
 timorousness out of it—Regularly retained by Fitzgerald—Starts
 with him on a journey to Turlow—Travelling companions—The
 eloquent _snore_—Mr. T——’s apprehensions—A daylight
 discovery—Double escape of the solicitor—His return to Dublin—Mr.
 Brecknock, his successor—Fate of that individual—The “murderer
 murdered”                                                           165

                              MARTIAL LAW.

 Law in Ireland half a century ago—Its delay remedied, but not its
 uncertainty—Principal and Interest—Eustace Stowell and Richard
 Martin—Valuable _precedents_—A bloodless duel—High sheriffs and
 their _Subs_—Irish method of serving a writ—Cases of
 warranty—Messrs. Reddy Long and Charley White—The latter
 guarantees an unsound horse to the Author—Zeal of a _second_—Mr.
 Reddy Long’s valuable legacy to Sir Jonah Barrington                181

                        BULLETIN EXTRAORDINARY.

 The Author and Counsellor Moore laid by the heels at Rock
 House—Dismal apprehensions—A recipe and recovery—The _races_ of
 Castlebar—The Author forms a party to visit the spot—Members of
 the party described—Sergeant Butler and the doctor—Differences of
 _opinion_—The sergeant’s bulletin of the famous battle of
 Castlebar                                                           196

                       BREAKFASTS AT BALLINROBE.

 Election for County Mayo—Author and Counsellor Moore at
 Ballinrobe—Mr. Dan Martin’s “little paved parlour”—Preparations
 for a festive breakfast—A formidable incursion—Counsellor Moore
 laid prostrate—Advance of the foe—The two barristers take up an
 elevated position—Disappearance of the various eatables—General
 alarm—Dislodgment of the enemy—Mr. Dan Martin’s comments upon the
 “affair”—_Secrets_ worth Knowing—All’s Well that Ends Well          210

                     NEW MODE OF SERVING A PROCESS.

 The Author at Rock House—Galway election—_Searching_ for
 voters—Mr. Ned Bodkin—Interesting conversation between him and
 the Author—Process-serving at Connemara—Burke, the bailiff—His
 hard treatment—Irish method of discussing a chancery bill—Ned
 Bodkin’s “Lament”—False oaths, and their disastrous
 consequences—Country magistrates in Ireland                         223

                            DONNYBROOK FAIR.

 Donnybrook contrasted with St. Bartholomew’s—Characteristics of
 the company resorting to each fair—Site upon which the former is
 held—Description and materials of a Donnybrook tent—Various
 humours of the scene—The horse fair—Visit of the Author and
 Counsellor Byrne in 1790—Barter and exchange—The “gentle
 Coadjutor”—The “master cobbler”—A head in chancery—Disastrous
 mishap of Counsellor Byrne—Sympathy therewith of the Author and
 his steed—The cobbler and his companion—An extrication—Unexpected
 intruders—Counsellor Byrne and his doctor—A glance at the country
 fairs of Ireland—Sir Hercules Langreish and Mr. Dundas—Dysart
 fair—The fighting factions—Various receipts for picking a
 quarrel—Recent _civilization_ of the lower classes of Emeralders    230

                          THE WALKING GALLOWS.

 Brief reflections on the Irish Revolution of 1798—Mutual
 atrocities of the Royalists and Rebels—Irish humour buoyant to
 the last—O’Connor, the schoolmaster of County Kildare—“’Tis well
 it’s _no worse_”—The Barristers’ corps—Its commander, Lieutenant
 H—— —His zeal for loyalty, and its probable origin—Indemnities
 unjustly obtained for cruelty against the insurgents—Lieutenant
 H——’s mode of executing a rebel—His _sobriquet_, and its
 well-earned application                                             260

                       CONVERSION AND INVERSION.

 Rebel pranks—Caprice of the insurgents—Puns and piking—Archdeacon
 Elgy—His capture by the rebels—Captain Murphy’s harangue and
 argument—Proposal made to the Archdeacon—An “Orange parson”
 converted into a “green priest”—Father Cahill and Father Pat
 Elgy—Another exploit of Captain Murphy—Parson Owen of Wexford—His
 concealment in a grocer’s cockloft—Discovered by the _wattle
 boys_—Dragged to a window and hung therefrom, by his heels, over
 a number of pikes—His delirium, and escape through Captain
 Murphy’s humanity—Parson Owen’s superinduced squint, and
 consequent nuptials—His lady left a widow—Instance of the fatal
 effects of unpleasant and unexpected news                           272

                            REBEL PORTRAITS.

 Tendency of the imagination to _embody_ character—Its frequent
 errors—Exemplified in the personal traits of several of the rebel
 chiefs of Ireland—The Bretons of La Vendée—Intrepidity of their
 leaders—The battle of Ross—Gallantry of a boy twelve years
 old—Beauchamp Bagenal Harvey—Description of his person and
 character—His habit of joking—Dangerous puns—His bewilderment as
 rebel generalissimo—His capture, and behaviour at
 execution—Portrait, physical and mental, of Captain
 Keogh—Remarkable suicide of his brother, and his own
 execution—Mr. Grogan, of Johnstown Castle, described—His case,
 sentence, and execution—Unmerited fate of Sir Edward Crosby,
 Bart.                                                               288

                         REMINISCENCES OF WIT.

 Wit distinguished from ribaldry—Chief Baron Yelverton and Mr.
 Curran—Chief Justice Clonmell—Lord Norbury’s comprehensive
 powers—Sir Hercules Langreish, and his digressions in
 claret-drinking—Gervoise Parker Bushe, Chief Baron Burgh,
 &c.—Peculiar traits of Irish convivial society in the author’s
 day—Jeremiah Keller—Lord Clare’s funeral—A scanty fee—The Pope
 and Pretender—Counsellor Norcott’s talent of mimickry—Ballinlaw
 ferry—Cæsar Colclough, of Duffry Hall, and Julius Cæsar             303

                          COUNSELLOR LYSIGHT.

 Edward Lysight, Esq., barrister-at-law—His peculiar talents—A
 song of his contrasted with one of Moore’s on the same
 subject—_Ounagh_ and _Mary_—Pastoral poetry—“The Devil in the
 Lantern”—A love story—“We’re a’ _noddin_”—Sketch of Mr. Solomon
 Salmon and his daughter—Mr. Lysight’s nuptials with the
 latter—Sociality at Somers’ Town—A morning call—“All is not gold
 that glitters”—Death of the counsellor and his lady                 316

                        FATALITIES OF MARRIAGE.

 Speculations of the Author on free-agency and predestination—A
 novel theory—The matrimonial ladder—Advice to young lovers—A ball
 in Dublin—Unexpected arrival of Lord G—His doom expressed—Marries
 the Author’s niece—Remarks on his lordship’s character              329

                        A WEDDING IN OLDEN DAYS.

 Changes in the nuptial ceremony in Ireland—Description of the
 _ancient_ formula—Throwing the stocking—A lucky hit—Reverse of
 the picture—Modern marriages—Coming of age—Nuptials of the
 author’s eldest brother—Personal description of the bride and
 bridegroom—Various preparations—Dresses of the different members
 of the wedding-party—The coach of ceremony—The travelling
 chaise—A turnpike dispute—Convenient temporary metamorphosis of
 the author and two of his brothers—Circumstances preceding the
 marriage in question—A desperate lover—Disasters and blunders—A
 “scene”—Major Tennyson Edwards—Marries a sister of the author—His
 fortunate escape from a ludicrous catastrophe                       337

                      THE LAST OF THE GERALDINES.

 Principles of domestic government discussed—How to rule a
 husband—Elizabeth Fitzgerald, of Moret Castle—Brings her son to
 see his father hanged by the Cahills—Enjoins him to revenge the
 outrage—Peculiar methods of impressing the injunction on the
 boy’s memory—He grows to manhood—Mysterious disappearance of four
 of the Cahills—Mr. Jemmy Corcoran—Way of identifying a
 skeleton—Father Doran, and his _spiritual_ theory—Squire Stephen
 Fitzgerald the son, and Squire Stephen Fitzgerald the grandson,
 of Elizabeth—Education, marriage, and personal description of the
 latter—The several members of his family described—Tom, the
 heir-apparent—A short life and a merry one—Jack, his
 successor—Moret Castle in its modern state—Miss Dolly Fitzgerald,
 and her sister Fanny—their respective merits—Matrimonial
 speculations—Curious family discussion as to the attractions of
 _hung_ meat, &c.                                                    366


 The attorneys’ corps of yeomanry, and their strange
 appellation—Eccentric loyalty in Dublin—The Fogies—Sir John
 Ferns, and his anti-rebel resolve—Aide-de-Camp Potterton and the
 other members of Sir John’s chivalrous party—Tragi-comic
 incidents attending their martial progress—Admixture of
 discretion with bravery—Discovery of a suspicious lurker, and
 zealous anxiety for his immediate execution—Process of
 suspension—Attorney Walker’s accidental participation in the
 captive’s lot—Respective demeanor of the two sufferers—Appearance
 of the enemy in sight—The attorney relieved from his
 situation—Conclusion of the day’s adventures                        395

                       FLOGGING THE WINE-COOPERS.

 Account of the flagellation undergone by the two coopers—Their
 application to the author for redress—Tit for tat, or giving
 _back_ the compliment—Major Connor, and his disinclination for
 attorneys—His brother, Arthur Connor                                418

                         THE ENNISCORTHY BOAR.

 Incidents attending the first assault of Wexford by the rebels,
 in 1798—Excesses mutually committed by them and the
 royalists—Father Roche—Captain Hay, and his gallant rescue of two
 ladies—Mr. O’Connell in by-gone days—Painful but ludicrous scenes
 after the conflict at Wexford—Swinish indignity offered to a
 clergyman—A pig of rapid growth—Extraordinary destination of the
 animal—Its arrival and special exhibition in London—Remarks on
 London curiosities—Remarkable success of the Enniscorthy
 boar—Unhappy disclosure of the animal’s previous
 enormities—Reaction on the public mind—His Majesty’s comments on
 the affair—Death of the swinish offender, in anticipation of a
 projected rescue by the London Irish                                422


                           PERSONAL SKETCHES.

                       PERPLEXITIES OF A BARONET.

The Author apologises for ending, instead of commencing, his former
  volumes, with an inquiry into his pedigree—How to improve a family
  name—The cognomen of Alderman Sir W. Stammer—Vowel _versus_
  Consonant—The lady of “masculine understanding”—The Alderman’s
  conditions on altering his surname—Unsuspected presidency of _King
  James_ at the Dublin municipal meetings—Ulster king-at-arms—George the
  Fourth’s visit to Dublin—Various heraldic bearings.

The concluding the second volume of my Biographical Sketches with the
recital of a laborious search after my progenitors, doubtless savours
somewhat of our national perversions. But those who know the way in
which things are done in Ireland, will only call it a “doughan dourish,”
or “parting drop”—which was usually administered when a man was not very
sure which end of him was uppermost.

The English, in general, though not very exquisite philologists, and
denominated “Bulls” in every known part of the world, have yet a great
aversion to be considered “_blunderers_;” an _honour_ which their own
misprisions of speech fall short of, owing to the absence of point in
their humour (as they call it).

When an English dramatist wants a _good blunder_, he must send to
Ireland for it. A few _English_ blunders would damn the best play; and I
have known some pieces actually saved by a profusion of Irish ones. As
to my misplacing my pedigree, I can only say, that though an English
writer, speaking of his origin, would say he was born and bred at
London, &c. &c.—an Irishman always places his acquirements before his
birth, and says he was bred and born at Drogheda, &c. My mistake is not
quite so bad as this; and I shall endeavour to recompense my readers for
having made it, by transporting them to the city of Dublin, where, so
long as a thing has _fun in it_, we set all cold-blooded
critico-cynicals at defiance, and where we never have a lack of families
and of good pedigrees—at least for home consumption.

The sketch which I thus introduce has certainly nothing whatever in it
connected with myself. However, it is so far in point, that it proves
how very differently gentlemen may furbish up families;—one by
traversing foreign parts to discover the old cavaliers, arms, and
quarterings of his race;—another by garnishing a new coach with new
quarters, shields, and bearings, such as no family, ancient or modern,
had ever seen or heard of till they appeared emblazoning the pannels of
an alderman’s landau.

In the year of our Lord 1809, after his late Majesty King George the
Third had expended forty-nine years of his life in ruling the state, it
pleased his royal fancy to order a universal jubilee, and to elevate his
Lord Mayors into Imperial Baronets. At this propitious era, William
Stammer, Esquire, Alderman of Dublin, and likewise of Skinners’ Alley,
wine-merchant, do. consumer, dealer and chapman, freemason, orangeman,
and friendly brother, happened, by Divine Providence and the good-will
of the Common Council, to be seated on the civic throne as “the Right
Honourable the Lord Mayor of the King’s good city of Dublin.” He ruled
with convivial sway the ancient, loyal, joyous, moist, and vociferous
municipal corps of the said celebrated city, and its twenty-four
federated corporations:—consequently he was, in point of dignity, the
second _Lord Mayor_ in all _Christendom_, though unfortunately born a
few centuries too late to be one of its seven _champions_. However,
being thus enthroned at that happy festival time, he became greater than
any of these, and found himself, suddenly, as if by magic, (though it
was only by patent,) metamorphosed into _Sir_ William Stammer, Baronet
of the United Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

Sir William Stammer, Bart., being (as he himself often informed me, and
which I believe to be true,) an excellent, good-hearted kind of person,
and having by nature an even, smooth-trotting temper, with plenty of
peace and quietness in it, bore his rank with laudable moderation: but
as he was the first genuine corporator the Union had honoured by this
_imperial_ dignity, he felt a sort of loyal fervor, which urged him to
make some particular acknowledgment to his gracious Majesty for so
unprecedented a mark of distinction. But in what way a sober British
king should be complimented by an Irish wine-merchant was a matter which
required much ingenuity and profound consideration. At length, it was
suggested and strongly urged by several of his civic friends,
(especially those of the feminine gender,) that his Lordship had it
actually within his power to pay as loyal and handsome a compliment as
ever was paid to any king of England by an Irish gentleman with a twang
to his surname; _videlicet_, by sacrificing the old Irish pronunciation
thereof, ameliorating the sound, and changing it in such sort, that it
might be adapted to the court language, and uttered without any
difficulty or grimace by the prettiest mouths of the highest classes of
British society; it was, in fact, strenuously argued that, instead of
the old hacknied family name commonly pronounced Stam-mer, the word
_Steem-er_ (being better vowelled and Anglicised) would sound far more
genteel and modern, and ring more gratefully in the ear of royalty. It
was also urged, how Mrs. Clarke’s friend, the Rev. Dr. O’Meara,
unfortunately lost the honour of preaching before royalty by his
pertinacity in retaining the abominable _O_, and that had he dropped
that hideous prefixture, and been announced plainly as the Rev. Doctor
Meera, his doctrines might probably have atoned for his Milesianality,
and a stall in some cathedral, or at least a rural deanery, might have
rewarded his powers of declamation.

“Having begun so well, who knows what famous end you may arrive at, Sir
William?” said Sir Jemmy Riddle, the then high sheriff (a very good man
too), who was be-knighted on the same occasion. “When we all go to St.
James’s,” continued Sir Jemmy, “to thank our Sovereign and kiss his hand
in _his own metrolopus_, sure the name of our Lord Mayor, Sir W.
Steemer, will sound every taste as harmonious if not _harmoniouser_,
than that of the great Sir Claudius Hunter, or our own Claudius
Beresford, or any Claudius in Europe!—and sure, changing _am_ for _ee_,
to please his Majesty, is neither a sin nor a shame in any family, were
they as old as _Mathuslin_:—besides, old White, the schoolmaster, the
greatest scholar, by odds, that ever was in Dublin, told me that one
vowel was worth two consonants any day in the year; and that the
alteration would make a great difference in the sweetness of the odes he
was writing on your promotion.”

Sir William, however, being fond of the old proper name which had stuck
to him through thick and thin, in all weathers, and which he and his
blood relations had been so long accustomed to spell, did not at all
relish the proposed innovation. Besides, he considered that any thing
like the assumption of a new name might bring him too much on a level
with some _modern_ corporators, who not having any particular cognomen
of their own at the time of their nativity, or at least not being able
to discover it, but being well christened for fear of accidents, very
judiciously took only provisional denominations for their apprenticeship
indentures, and postponed the adoption of any immutable surname until
they had considered what might probably be most attractive to customers
in their several trades.

The grand measure was nevertheless so strongly pressed—the ladies so
coaxed the alderman to take the _pretty_ name, and they were so well
supported by Sir Charles Vernon, then master of the ceremonies, (and of
course the best judge in Ireland of what was good for Sir William at the
Castle of Dublin,) that his resolution gradually softened, wavered, and
gave way. He became convinced against his will, and at last, with a deep
sigh and a couple of imprecations, ungratefully yielded up his old,
broad, national _Stammer_, to adopt an Anglicised mincemeat version
thereof; and in a few nights, Sir William _Steemer’s_ landau was
announced as stopping the way at the breaking up of the Duchess of
Richmond’s drawing-room.

’Tis true, some very cogent and plausible reasons were suggested to Sir
William, pending the negotiation, by a lady of excellent judgment, and
what was termed in Dublin “masculine understanding.” This lady had great
weight with his lordship. “You know, my Lord Mayor,” said she,
sententiously, “you are now nine or ten pegs (at the lowest computation)
higher than you were as a common alderman, and a pronunciation that
might sound quite in unison with ‘sheriff’s peer,’ would be mere discord
in the politer mouths of your new equals.”

“Ah! what would Jekey Poole say to all this, if he were alive?”
_thought_ Sir William, but was silent.

“Consider, also,”—pursued the lady,—“consider that Stammer is a very
common kind of word; nay, it is a mere verb of Dutch extraction (as that
great man Doctor Johnson says), which signifies stuttering; and to
articulate which, there is a graceless double chopping of the under
jaw—as if a person was taking a bite out of something:—try now, try,

“Egad, it’s—it’s very true,” said Sir William: “I—I never remarked that

“But,” resumed the lady with the masculine understanding, “the word
Steemer, on the contrary, has a soft, bland, liquid sound, perfectly
adapted to genteel table-talk. To pronounce Steemer, you will perceive,
Sir William, there is a slight tendency to a lisp: the tip of the tongue
presses gently against the upper gums, and a nice extension of the lips
approaching toward a smile, gives an agreeable sensation, as well as a
polite complacency of countenance to the addresser.—Now, try!”

Sir William lisped and capitulated—on express condition; first, that the
old County Clare tone of Stammer, in its natural length and breadth,
should be preserved when the name was used by or to the Corporation of

“Granted,” said the lady with the masculine understanding.

“Secondly, amongst the aldermen of Skinners’ Alley.”


“Thirdly, in the Court of Conscience.”


“Fourthly, in my own counting-house.”

“Granted—according to the rank of the visitor.”

“Fifthly, as to all my _country_ acquaintance.”

“Granted, with the exception of such as hold any offices, or get into
good company.”

The articles were arranged, and the treaty took effect that very

Sir William no doubt acquired one distinction hereby, which he never
foresaw. Several other aldermen of Dublin city have been since converted
into baronets of the United Kingdom, but not one of them has been able
to alter a single syllable in his name, or to make it sound even a
semitone more _genteel_ than when it belonged to a commonplace alderman.
There was no lack of jesting, however, on those occasions. A city
punster, I think it was a gentleman called, by the Common Council,
Gobbio, waggishly said, “That the Corporation of Dublin must be a set of
incorrigible Tories, inasmuch as they never have a feast without
_King-James_[1] being placed at the head of their table.”


Footnote 1:

  Two Dublin aldermen lately made baronets; one by his Majesty on his
  landing in Ireland (Alderman King); and the other by the Marquess of
  Wellesley on _his_ debarkation (Alderman James), being the first
  public functionary he met. The Marquess would fain have _knighted_
  him; but being taken by surprise, he conferred the same honour which
  Aldermen Stammer and King had previously received.

  There are now four baronets amongst that hard-going corporation.


It is said that this joke was first cracked at the Castle of Dublin by a
gentleman of the long robe, and that Mr. Gobbio gave one of the footmen
(who attended and _took notes_) half a guinea for it. Though a
digression, I cannot avoid observing that I hear, from good authority,
there are yet some few wits surviving in Dublin; and it is whispered
that the butlers and footmen in genteel families (_vails_ having been
mostly abolished since the Union) pick up, by way of substitute, much
ready money by taking notes of the “_good things_” they hear said by the
lawyers at their masters’ dinner parties, and selling them to aldermen,
candidates for the sheriffry, and city humourists, wherewith to
embellish their conversation and occasionally their speeches. Puns are
said to sell the best, they being more handy to a corporator, who has no
great vocabulary of his own: puns are of easy comprehension; one word
brings on another, and answers for two meanings, like killing two birds
with one stone, and they seem much more natural to the memory of a
common councilman than wit or any thing classical—which Alderman Jekey
Poole used to swear was only the d—’d _garbage_ (gibberish) of

Had the Jubilee concern ended here, all would have been smooth and
square:—but as events in families seldom come alone, Providence had
decreed a still more severe trial for Sir William _Steemer_—because one
of a more important character, and requiring a more prompt as well as
expensive decision.

Soon after the luxurious celebration of the Jubilee throughout the three
united kingdoms (except among such of the Irish as happened to have
nothing in their houses to eat or drink, let their loyalty be ever so
greedy), I chanced to call at the Mansion House on official business;
and Sir William, always hospitable and good-natured, insisted on my
staying to taste (in a family way) some “_glorious turtle_” he had just
got over from the London Tavern, and a bottle of what he called “old
Lafitte with the red nightcap,” which, he said, he had been long
preserving wherewith to _suckle_ his Excellency the Duke of Richmond.

I accepted his invitation: we had most excellent cheer, and were busily
employed in praising the vintage of 1790, when a sealed packet, like a
government dispatch, was brought in by the baronet’s old porter. We all
thought it was something of consequence, when Sir William, impatiently
breaking the seal, out started a very beautiful painting on parchment or
vellum, gilded and garnished with ultramarine, carmine, lapis
caliminaris, and all the most costly colours.

“Heyday!” said Sir William, staring: “what the deuce have we here?
Hollo! Christopher—Kit—I say Kit—who—who—or where the devil did this
come from?”

“By my sowl, my lord,” replied Christopher, “I dunnough who that same
man was that fetched it; but he was neat an’ clean, and had good apparel
on his body, though it was not a livery like mine, my lord.”

“Did—did—he say nothing, Kit?” said Sir William, surprised.

“Oh yes, plenty my lord; he desired me on my peril to give the thing
safe and sound to your lordship’s own self. He swore, like any trooper,
that it was as good as a ten thousand pound bank of Ireland note in your
pocket any how. So I curdled up at that word, my lord; I towld him plain
and plump he need not talk about peril to me; that I was nothing else
but an honest sarvant; and if the said thing was worth _fifty_ pounds in
_ready money_ it would be as safe as a diamond stone with me, my lord.”

“And was that all, Christopher?” said Sir William.

“Oh no, my lord,” replied Kit, “the man grinned at me all as one as a
monkey; and said that, maybe, I’d be a master myself one of these days.
‘By my sowl, maybe so, Sir,’ says I, ‘many a worse man arrived at being
an attorney since I came into service;’ and at the word, my lord, the
said man held his hand quite natural, as if he’d fain get something into
it for his trouble; but the devil a cross I had in my fob, my lord, so I
turned my fob inside out to show I was no liar, and he bowed very
civilly and went out of the street-door, laughing that the whole street
could hear him; though I could swear by all the books in your lordship’s
office, that he had nothing to laugh at: and that’s all I had act or
part in it, my lord.”

Sir William now seemed a little puzzled, desired Christopher to be gone,
and throwing the painting on the table, said, “I didn’t want any arms or
crests. I had very good ones of my own, and I don’t understand this
matter at all. My family had plenty of arms and crests since King
William came over the water.”

“So have mine—a very nice lion rampant of their own, my lord,” said her
ladyship, as excellent a woman as could be: “I’m of the Rawins’s,”
continued she, “and they have put me into your arms, Sir William:—look!”

“Oh that is all as it should be, my dear,” said his lordship, who was a
very tender husband. But regarding it more closely, her ladyship’s
colour, as she looked over his shoulder, mantled a few shades higher
than its natural roseate hue, and she seemed obviously discontented.

“I tell you, Sir William,” said she, “it is a malicious insult; and if
you were out of the mayoralty, or my boy, Lovelace Steemer, had arrived
at full maturity, I have no doubt the person who sent this would be made
a proper example of. I hope you feel it, Sir William.”

“Feel!—feel what, my love?” said Sir William, calmly, he being not only
a courteous, but a most peaceful citizen. “Don’t be precipitate, my
darling!—let us see—let us see.”

“See!” said her ladyship, still more hurt, “ay, see with your own eyes!”
pointing to the _insult_: “the fellow that painted that (whoever he is)
has placed a pair of enormous horns just over your head, Sir William!—a
gross insult, Sir William—to me, Sir William—indeed to both of us.”

I was much amused, and could not help observing “that the horns were
certainly enormous horns, to be sure; but as the joke must be intended
against Sir William himself—not her ladyship—I hope—” said I.

“No, no, Sir Jonah,” said the lady interrupting me.

“I see now,” said Sir William, looking at the bottom, “this comes from

“Read on, Sir William,” said I, “read on.”

“Ay, Ulster king-at-arms: and who the deuce is _Ulster king-at-arms_?”

“I suppose,” said I, “some blood relation to the Escheator of Munster,

“And who—who the d—l is the _Escheator of Munster_?” said Sir William
(who had never vacated a seat in the Irish Parliament).

“He is of the same family as the Chiltern hundreds,” quoth I.

“Chiltern hundreds! Chiltern hundreds! By Jove, they must be an odd
family altogether,” said the Lord Mayor, still more puzzled, his lady
sitting quite silent, being now altogether out of her depth,—till a
small letter, to that moment overlooked, was taken up and read by the
Lord Mayor, and was found to be connected with a bill furnished, and
wanting nothing but a receipt in full to make it perfect. The
countenance of Sir William now became less placid. It proved to be a
very proper and fair intimation from his Majesty’s herald-at-arms, to
the effect that, as the baronetcy originated with the Jubilee, and was
granted in honour of King George the Third having ruled half a century,
an amplification of the new baronet’s heraldry by an additional horn,
motto, ribbon, &c., was only a just tribute to his Majesty’s longevity!
and, in truth, so properly and professionally was the case stated, that
Ulster’s clear opinion may be inferred that every family in the empire
might, in honour and loyalty, take a pair of horns, motto, and ribbon,
as well as Sir William, if they thought proper so to do, and on the same

How the matter was finally arranged, I know not; but the arms came out
well emblazoned and duly surmounted by a more moderate and comely pair
of horns; and Sir William, in regular season, retired from office with
due _éclat_, and in all points vastly bettered by his year of
government. Though he retired, like Cincinnatus—but not to the
plough—Sir William reassumed his less arduous duties of committing
rogues to Newgate—long corks to Chateau Margaux—light loaves to the four
Marshalsea Courts—and pronouncing thirteen-penny decrees in the Court of
Conscience:[2] every one of which occupations he performed correctly and
zealously, to the entire satisfaction of the nobility, clergy, gentry,
and public at large, in the metropolis of Ireland.


Footnote 2:

  Every lord mayor of Dublin becomes judge of a “Court of Conscience”
  for twelve months after the expiration of his mayoralty; each decree
  costing a shilling; many of the causes are of the most comical
  description; but never would there have arisen so great a judge as
  Sancho Panza of Barataria, from presiding in our Court of Conscience.

  I cannot omit stating, that Sir William, when lord mayor, gave the
  most numerous, brilliant, and complete masquerade ever seen in Dublin,
  or, I believe, any where else. There were fourteen or fifteen hundred
  persons, and I am sure not more than one hundred dominoes; every body
  went in character, and every person tried to keep up the character he
  adopted. Ireland, of all places in the world, is, perhaps, best
  adapted to a masquerade, as every Irishman is highly amused when he
  can get an opportunity of assuming, by way of freak, any new

  It was the custom for the mob, on those occasions, to stop every
  carriage, and demand of each person, “What’s your character?” I was
  dreadfully tired of them in the street on the night in question; but
  fairly put into good-humour by the _jeu d’esprit_ of a mob-man, who
  opened the carriage-door. After I had satisfied him as to character,
  he desired to know, where I was going? “Shut the door,” said I. “Ah,
  but where are you going?” I was vexed. “I’m going to the _Devil_,”
  said I. “Ough, then, _God_ send you safe!” replied the blackguard.


An incident appertaining to the same body, but with a termination by no
means similar, occurred a few years afterward, which, among other
matters, contributes to show what different sort of things the Irish at
different times rejoice in. In 1809, they rejoiced in full jubilee on
the memorable event of his Majesty King George the Third having entered
the fiftieth year of his reign, without ever paying one visit to, or
taking the least notice of, his loyal Corporation of Dublin: and after
he was dead (_de facto_, for the King never dies _de jure_), they
celebrated another jubilee on account of his Majesty George the Fourth
honouring them with a visit _the very earliest opportunity_. This was
the first time any king of England had come to Ireland, except to cut
the throats of its inhabitants; and his present Majesty having most
graciously crossed over to sow peace and tranquillity among them, if
possible, and to do them any and every kindness which they would _submit
to_, it was not wonderful each man in Ireland hailed the event as
forming a most auspicious commencement of his Majesty’s reign, not only
over his subjects at large, but, in particular, over that glorious,
pious, immortal, and uproarious body, the Corporation of Dublin city.
Events have proved how ungratefully his Majesty’s beneficent intentions
have been requited.

His Majesty having arrived at the hill of Howth, to the universal joy of
the Irish people, was received with unexampled cordiality, and in due
form, by the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor, on the very field of
battle where O’Brien Borun had formerly acquired undying fame by cutting
the Danes into slices (an operation which we have since repeated on them
at Copenhagen, though with different instruments). That Right Honourable
Lord Mayor was Sir Abraham Bradley King, then one of the best looking
aldermen in Europe. On this occasion he obtained, not military honour,
but, on the other hand, a more tranquil one than the said King O’Brien
Borun ever arrived at;—he was actually _imperialised_ as a baronet in
very superior style to his brother corporator _Steemer_, on the loyal
demi-century occasion.

I have since heard that an effort was made somewhat to transform the
armorial bearings of the Bradley King family, also, in commemoration of
this auspicious event; and that it was intended to give him, as an
addition to his crest, Sir John Skinner’s steam packet, out of which his
Majesty had landed just previous to bestowing the baronetcy on Sir
Abraham. Here the city punsters began again with their vulgar
insinuations; and, omitting the word _packet_, gave out that Alderman
King wanted to put Alderman _Steemer_ as a supporter to his arms,
instead of a griffin rampant or unicorn, as customary on these
occasions; but this vile play upon words Sir Abraham peremptorily and
properly checked with the same constitutional firmness and success
wherewith he had previously refused to “tell tales out of school” about
the Orangemen to the House of Commons.[3]


Footnote 3:

  This was the first instance I recollect of pertinacity conquering


On this occasion, Sir Abraham proudly and virtuously declared that all
the heralds in Europe should never _ravish_ him as they had done his
brother Steemer; and that if any alteration was to be made in his shield
by Ulster-at-arms, or any Ulster in Europe, he would permit nothing but
an emblematic crown to be introduced therein, in honour and
commemoration of his sovereign; and though our national poet, Mr. Thomas
Moore, and Sir Abraham, never coalesced upon any point whatsoever
(except the consumption of paper), yet on this conciliatory occasion,
Sir Abraham declared his willingness to forgive and forget the religion
and politics of the poet for eight and forty hours. This was as it
should be; and a crown, with a posy or nosegay in its neighbourhood
(instead of a cut and thrust) are accordingly embodied in the armorial
bearings of Sir Abraham, the cruel idea of a bloody hand being now
softened down and qualified by the bouquet which adorns it.

Again the indefatigable corporation wags, who could let nothing pass,
began their jocularities: the worthy Baronet’s name being _King_, and
the shield having a _crown_ in it, the Common Council began to hob-nob
him as, _Your Majesty_, or the _Crown Prince_, or such like. But Sir
Abraham had been an officer in the King’s service, and being a spirited
fellow to boot, he declared open and personal hostility against all low
and evil-minded corporate punsters. These _titles_ were therefore
relinquished; and the whole affair ended, to the real satisfaction of
every staunch Protestant patriot from Bray to Balbiggen, and as far
westward as the College of Maynooth, where I understand the rejoicings
terminated—for Sir Abraham found the road _too bad_ to travel any

Having endeavoured somewhat to divert the reader’s criticism on my
pedigree blunder, I have, in compliance with the wish of one of the
ablest, wisest, and steadiest public personages of Great Britain (whose
title heads this volume), reopened my old trunks, and made a further
attempt at amusing myself and other folks—and at depicting, by authentic
anecdotes, the various and extraordinary habits and propensities of the
Irish people, with their gradual changes of national character for the
last fifty or sixty years,—which (to my grief I say it) will be the
work, not of a _novelist_, but a _contemporary_. I fancy there are very
few of those who flourished so long ago, who could procure pen, ink, and
paper, either for love or money, where they sojourn at present; and of
those who still inhabit the same world with the stationers, some have
lost one half of their faculties, at least, and scarce any among the
remainder possess sufficient energy to retrace by description the events
that took place during a long and, perhaps, active career. I shall take
Time by the forelock; and, ere the candle goes out, draw as many
Sketches of my past day as I may have time to record, before I wish the
present generation a good morning—which adieu cannot now be long
distant:—_tant pis_!

                         DANGERS OF REFLECTION.

Personal description of Counsellor Conaghty—Singular contrast of
  physical roughness and mental suavity—A legal costume—The Counsellor’s
  marriage—The bride described—Her plan for inducing her husband to
  sacrifice to the Graces—The fatal mirror—The Counsellor views himself
  in a new light—His consternation and false persuasion—The devil
  unjustly accused—Conaghty’s illness and death.

The most extraordinary instance I recollect of a sudden affection of the
mind being fatal to the body was presented by an old acquaintance of
mine, Counsellor Conaghty, a gentleman of the Irish bar, who pined and
died in consequence of an unexpected view of his own person; but by no
means upon the same principle as Narcissus.

Mr. Conaghty was a barrister of about six feet two inches in length; his
breadth was about three feet across the shoulders; his hands splay, with
arms in full proportion to the rest of his members. He possessed,
indeed, a set of limbs that would not have disgraced a sucking elephant;
and his body appeared slit up two-thirds of its length, as if Nature had
originally intended (which is not very improbable) to have made twins of
him—but finding his _brains_ would not answer for _two_, relinquished
her design. His complexion, not a disagreeable fawn-colour, was spotted
by two good black eyes, well intrenched in his head, and guarded by a
thick _chevaux de frise_ of curly eyebrows. His mouth, which did not
certainly extend, like a john-dory’s, from ear to ear, was yet of
sufficient width to disclose between thirty and forty long, strong,
whitish tusks, the various heights and distances whereof gave a pleasing
variety to that feature. Though his _tall_ countenance was terminated by
a chin which might, upon a pinch, have had an interview with his
stomach, still there was quite enough of him between the chin and
waistband to admit space for a waistcoat, without the least difficulty.

Conaghty, in point of disposition, was a quiet, well-tempered, and, I
believe, totally irreproachable person. He was not unacquainted with the
superficies of law, nor was he without professional business. Nobody, in
fact, disliked him, and he disliked nobody. In national idiom, and
Emerald brogue, he unquestionably excelled (save one) all his
contemporaries. Dialogues sometimes occurred in Court between him and
Lord Avonmore, the Chief Baron, which were truly ludicrous.

The most unfortunate thing, however, about poor Conaghty, was his utter
contempt for what fastidious folks call _dress_.—As he scorned both
garters and suspenders, his stockings and small-clothes enjoyed the full
blessings of liberty. A well-twisted cravat, as if it feared to be
mistaken for a cord, kept a most respectful distance from his honest
throat—upon which the neighbouring beard flourished in full crops, to
fill up the interstice. His rusty black coat, well trimmed with peeping
button-moulds, left him, altogether, one of the most tremendous figures
I ever saw, of his own profession.

At length it pleased the Counsellor, or old Nick on his behalf, to look
out for a wife; and, as dreams go by contraries, so Conaghty’s perverse
vision of matrimonial happiness induced him to select a _sposa_ very
excellent internally, but in her exterior as much the reverse of himself
as any two of the same species could be.

Madam Conaghty was (and I dare say still is) a neat, pretty, dressy
little person: her head reached nearly up to her spouse’s hip; and if he
had stood wide, to let her pass, she might (without much stooping) have
walked under him as through a triumphal arch.

He was quite delighted with his captivating fairy, and she equally so
with her good-natured giant. Nothing could promise better for twenty or
thirty years of honey-moons, when an extraordinary and most unexpected
fatality demonstrated the uncertainty of all sublunary enjoyments, and
might teach ladies who have lost their beauty the dangers of a

The Counsellor had taken a small house, and desired his dear little Mary
to furnish it to her own dear little taste. This, as new-married ladies
usually do, she set about with the greatest zeal and assiduity. She had
a proper taste for things in general, and was besides extremely anxious
to make her giant somewhat smarter; and, as he had seldom in his life
had any intercourse with looking-glasses larger than necessary just to
reflect his chin whilst shaving, she determined to place a grand
_mirror_ in her little drawing-room, extensive enough to exhibit the
Counsellor to himself from head to foot—and which, by reflecting his
loose, shabby habiliments, and tremendous contour, might induce him to
trim himself up.

This plan was extremely promising in the eyes of little Mary; and she
had no doubt it would be entirely consonant with her husband’s own
desire of Mrs. Conaghty’s little drawing-room being the nicest in the
neighbourhood. She accordingly purchased, in Great George Street, at a
very large price, a looking-glass of sufficing dimensions, and it was a
far larger one than the Counsellor had ever before noticed.

When this fatal reflector was brought home, it was placed leaning
against the wall in the still unfurnished drawing-room,—and the lady,
having determined at once to surprise and reform her dear giant, did not
tell him of the circumstance. The ill-fated Counsellor, wandering about
his new house—as people often do toward the close of the evening—that
interregnum between sun, moon, and candlelight, when shadows are deep
and figures seem lengthened—suddenly entered the room where the glass
was deposited. Unconscious of the presence of the immense reflector, he
beheld, in the gloom, a monstrous and frightful Caliban—wild, loose, and
shaggy,—standing close and direct before him; and, as he raised his own
gigantic arms in a paroxysm of involuntary horror, the goblin exactly
followed his example, lifting its tremendous fists, as if with a fixed
determination to fell the Counsellor, and extinguish him for ever.

Conaghty’s imagination was excited to its utmost pitch. Though the
spectre appeared larger than any d—l on authentic record, he had no
doubt it was a genuine demon sent express to destroy his happiness and
carry him to Belzebub. As his apprehensions augmented, his pores sent
out their icy perspiration: he tottered—the fiend too was in motion! his
hair bristled up, as it were like pikes to defend his head. At length
his blood recoiled, his eyes grew dim, his pulse ceased, his long limbs
quivered—failed; and down came poor Conaghty with a loud shriek and a
tremendous crash. His beloved bride, running up alarmed by the noise,
found the Counsellor as inanimate as the boards he lay on. A surgeon was
sent for, and phlebotomy was resorted to as for _apoplexy_, which the
seizure was pronounced to be. His head was shaved; and by the time he
revived a little, he had three extensive blisters and a cataplasm
preparing their stings for him.

It was two days before he recovered sufficiently to tell his Mary of the
horrid spectre that had assailed him—for he really thought he had been
felled to the ground by a blow from the goblin. Nothing, indeed, could
ever persuade him to the contrary, and he grew quite delirious.

His reason returned slowly and scantily; and when assured it was only a
_looking-glass_ that was the cause of his terror, the assurance did not
alter his belief. He pertinaciously maintained, that this was only a
kind story invented to tranquillise him. “Oh, my dearest Mary!” said
poor Conaghty, “I’m gone!—my day is come—I’m called away for ever. Oh!
had you seen the frightful figure that struck me down, you could not
have survived it one hour! Yet why should I fear the d—l? I’m not
wicked, Mary! No, I’m not _very_ wicked!”

A thorough Irish servant, an old fellow whom the Counsellor had brought
from Connaught, and who _of course_ was well acquainted with
supernatural appearances, and had not himself seen the fatal
mirror,—discovered, as he thought, the real cause of the goblin’s visit,
which he communicated to his mistress with great solemnity, as she
afterward related.

“Mistress,” said the faithful Dennis Brophy, “Mistress, it was all a
_mistake_. By all the books in the master’s study, I’d swear it was only
a mistake!—What harm did ever my master do nobody? and what would bring
a d—l overhauling a Counsellor that did no harm? What say could he have
to my master?”

“Don’t teaze me, Dennis,” said the unhappy Mary; “go along!—go!”

“I’ll tell you, mistress,” said he; “it was a d—l sure enough that was
in it!”

“Hush! nonsense!” said his mistress.

“By J—s! it _was_ the d—l, or one of his gossoons,” persisted Dennis;
“but he mistook the house, mistress, and that’s the truth of it!”

“What do you mean?” said _the mistress_.

“Why, I mane that you know Mr. —— lives on one side of us, and Mr. ——
lives at the other side, and they are both _attornies_, and the people
say they’ll both go to _him_: and so the d—l, or his gossoon, mistook
the door, and you see he went off again when he found it was my master
that was _in it_, and not an attorney, mistress.”

All efforts to convince Conaghty he was mistaken were vain. The illusion
could not be removed from his mind; he had received a shock which
affected his whole frame; a constipation of the intestines took place;
and in three weeks, the poor fellow manifested the effects of groundless
horror in a way which every one regretted.


Remarks on Sir Charles Morgan’s account of the Former State of Medicine
  in Italy—The author’s studies in the Anatomical Theatre of Dublin
  University—Dr. Burdet—Former importance of farriers and colloughs—Jug
  Coyle, and her powers of soliloquy—Larry Butler, the family farrier,
  described—Luminous and veritable account of the ancient colloughs—The
  _faculty_ of the present day—Hoynhymms and Yahoos—Hydrophobia in
  Ireland, and its method of cure.

Doctor Sir Charles Morgan has given us, at the conclusion of his
lady’s excellent work “Italy,” the state of “medicine” in that
country. Our old cookery books, in like manner, after exquisite
receipts for all kinds of dainties, to suit every appetite, generally
finished a luxurious volume with _remedies_ for the “bite of a mad
dog—for scald heads—ague—burns—St. Anthony’s fire—St. Vitus’s
dance—the tooth-ache,” &c. &c. Now, though the Doctor certainly did
not take the cooks by way of precedent, that is no reason why I should
not indulge my whim by citing both examples, and garnishing this
volume with “the state of medicine in Ireland” fifty years ago.

I do not, however, mean to depreciate the state of medicine in these
days of “new lights” and novelties, when old drugs and poisons are
_nicknamed_, and every recipe is a rebus to an old apothecary. Each son
of Galen now strikes out his own system; composes his own syllabus; and
_finishes_ his patients according to his own proper fancy. When a man
dies after a consultation (which is generally the case—the thing being
often decided by _experiment_)—there is no particular necessity for any
explanation to widows, legatees, or heirs-at-law; the death alone of any
testator being a sufficient apology to his nearest and dearest relatives
for the failure of a consultation—that is, if the patient left
sufficient property behind him.

My state of Irish medicine, therefore, relates to those “once on a time”
days, when sons lamented their fathers,[4] and wives could weep over
expiring husbands; when every root and branch of an ancient family
became as black as rooks for the death of a blood relation, though of
almost incalculable removal. In those times the medical old woman and
the surgeon-farrier—the bone-setter and the bleeder—were by no means
considered contemptible practitioners among the Christian
population—who, in common with the dumb beasts, experienced the
advantages of their miscellaneous practice.


Footnote 4:

  In these times it may not, perhaps, be fully credited when I tell—that
  four of my father’s sons carried his body _themselves_ to the grave:
  that his eldest son was in a state bordering on actual distraction at
  his death; and in the enthusiastic paroxysms of affection which we all
  felt for our beloved parent at that cruel separation, I do even now
  firmly believe there was not one of us who would not, on the impulse
  of the moment, have sprung into, and supplanted him in his grave, to
  have restored him to animation. But we were all a family of nature and
  of heart, and decided enemies to worldly objects.


An anatomical theatre being appended to the University of Dublin,
whenever I heard of a _fresh_ subject, or remarkable corpse, being
obtained for dissection, I frequently attended the lectures, and many
were the beauteous women and fine young fellows then carved into scraps
and joints _pro bono publico_.[5] I thereby obtained a smattering of
information respecting our corporeal clockwork; and having, for
amusement, skimmed over “Cullen’s First Lines,” “Every Man his Own
Doctor,” “Bishop Berkeley on Tar Water,” and “Sawny Cunningham on the
Virtues of Fasting Spittle,” I almost fancied myself qualified for a
diploma. A Welsh aunt of mine, also, having married Doctor Burdet, who
had been surgeon of the Wasp sloop of war, and remarkable for leaving
the best stumps of any naval practitioner, he explained to me the use of
his various instruments for tapping, trepanning, raising the
shoulder-blades, &c. &c.: but when I had been a short time at my
father’s in the country, I found that the farriers and old women
performed, either on man or beast, twenty cures for one achieved by the
doctors and apothecaries. I had great amusement in conversing with these
people, and perceived some reason in their arguments.


Footnote 5:

  I never saw a young woman brought into the dissecting-room but my
  blood ran cold, and I was immediately set a-moralising. The old song
  of “Death and the Lady” is a better lecture for the fair sex than all
  the sermons that ever were preached, including Mr. Fordyce’s. ’Tis a
  pity that song is not _melodised_ for the use of the fashionables
  during their campaigns in London.


As to the farriers, I reflected, that as man is only a mechanical
animal, and a horse one of the same description, there was no reason why
a drug that was good for a pampered gelding might not also be good for
the hard-goer mounted on him. In truth, I have seen instances where, in
point both of intellect and endurance, there was but very little
distinction between the animals—save that the beverage of the one was
_water_, and that of the other was _punch_—and, in point of _quantity_,
there was no great difference between them in this matter either.

At that time there was seldom more than one regular doctor in a circuit
of twenty miles, and a farrier never came to physic a gentleman’s horse
that some boxes of pills were not deducted from his balls, for the
general use of the ladies and gentlemen of the family; and usually
succeeded vastly better than those of the apothecary.

The class of old women called colloughs were then held in the highest
estimation, as understanding the cure (that is if God pleased) of all
disorders. Their _materia medica_ did not consist of gums, resins,
minerals, and hot iron,—as the farriers’ did; but of leaves of bushes,
bark of trees, _weeds_ from _churchyards_, and mushrooms from _fairy
grounds_; rue, garlic, rosemary, birds’-nests, foxglove, &c.: in
desperate cases they sometimes found it advisable to put a _charm_ into
the bolus or stoop, and then it was sure to be “firm and good.” I never
could find out what either of their charms were. They said they should
die themselves if they disclosed them to any body. No collough ever
could be a _doctor_ whilst she had one tooth remaining in her head, as
the remedy was always reduced to a pulp or paste by her own mumbling of
its materials, and the contact of an old grinder would destroy the
purity of the charms and simples, and leave the cure, they would say, no
better than a farrier’s.

Our old collough, Jug Coyle, as she sat in a corner of the hob, by the
great long turf fire in the kitchen, exactly in the position of the
Indian squaws, munching and mumbling for use an apron-full of her
morning’s gatherings in the fields, used to talk at intervals very
_sensibly_ of her art. “Ough! then, my dear sowl, (said she one
evening,) what would the poor Irishers have done in owld times but for
their colloughs? Such brutes as you!” continued she, (looking at Butler,
the farrier of the family, who was seated fast asleep on a bench at the
opposite end of the hearth,) “’tis you, and the likes of you, a curse on
you, root and branch! that starved the colloughs by giving your poisons
to both cows and quality. Sure its the farriers’ and pothecaries’ drugs
that kills all the people-ay, and the horses and cattle too,” and she
shook her claw-like fist at the unconscious farrier.

“Jug Coyle,” said I, “why are you so angry?”

Jug:—“Sure it’s not for myself, it’s for my calling,” said she: “a
thousand years before the round towers were built (and nobody can tell
_that_ time), the colloughs were greater nor any lady in the country. We
had plenty of charms in those days, Master Jonah, till the farriers
came, bad luck to the race! Ough! may the curse of Crummell light on
yees all, breed, seed, and generation, Larry Butler! not forgetting Ned
Morrisy of Clapook, the villanous cow-doctor, that takes the good from
the colloughs likewise, and all—”

Here Jug Coyle stopped short, as the farrier opened his eyes, and she
knew well that if Larry Butler had a sup in, he would as soon beat an
old woman as any body else. She therefore resumed munching her herbs,
but was totally silenced.

Larry Butler was one of the oldest and most indispensable _attachés_ of
our family. Though nobody remembered him a _boy_, he was as handy, as
fresh, and as _rational_, perhaps more so, than half a century before.
Short, broad, and bow-legged, bone and muscle kept his body together—for
flesh was absent. His face, once extremely handsome, still retained its
youthful colouring—though broken and divided: his sharp eye began to
exhibit the dimness of age: the long white hair had deserted his high
forehead, but fell, in no scanty locks, down each side of his animated
countenance. He is before my eye at this moment—too interesting, and, at
the same time, odd a figure ever to be forgotten.

I had a great respect for old Butler: he was very passionate, but
universally licensed: he could walk any distance, and always carried in
his hand a massive firing-iron. I have thus particularly described the
old man, as being one of the most curious characters of his class I ever
met in Ireland.

Larry soon showed signs of relapsing into slumber; but Jug, fearing it
was a _fox’s sleep_ (an old trick of his), did not recommence her
philippic on the farriers, but went on in her simple praise of the
collough practice. “Sure,” said she, “God never sent any disorder into a
country that he did not likewise send something to cure it with.”

“Why, certainly, Jug,” said I, “it would be rather bad treatment if we
had no cures in the country.”

“Ough! that saying is like your dear father,” said she, “and your
grandfather before you, and your great-grandfather who was before him
agin. Moreover,” pursued Jug, “God planted our cures in the fields
because there was no pothecaries.”

“Very true, Jug,” said I.

“Well, then, Master Jonah,” resumed she, “if God or the Virgin, and I’m
sure I can’t say which of them, planted the cures, sure they must have
made people who knew how to pick them up in the fields, or what good is
their growing there?”

“There’s no gainsaying that, Jug,” gravely observed I.

“Well, then, it was to the colloughs, sure enough, God gave the
knowledge of picking the cures up—because he knew well that they were
owld and helpless, and that it would be a charity to employ them. When
once they learned the herbs, they were welcome every where; and there
was not _one_ man died in his bed (the people say) in owld times for
_twenty_ now-a-days.”

“Of that there is no doubt, Jug,” said I, “though there may be other
reasons for it.”

“Ough! God bless you agin, avourneen! any how,” said Jug. “Well, then,
they say it was Crummell and his troopers, bad luck to their sowls, the
murdering villains! that brought the first farriers (and no better luck
to _them_!) to Ireland, and the colloughs were kilt with the hunger. The
craturs, as the owld people tell, eat grass like the beasts when the
cows were all kilt by the troopers and farriers—avourneen, avourneen!”

Modern practitioners will perceive, by these two specimens of our
ancient _doctors_, that the state of medicine in Ireland was totally
different from that in Italy. Surgery being likewise a branch of the
healing art, no doubt also differed in the two countries, in a similar
degree. I shall therefore give a few _instances_ of both medico-surgical
and surgico-medical practice fifty years ago in Ireland; and if my
talented friend, Lady Morgan, will be so good as to inquire, she will
find, that though she has left medicine so entirely to her lord, she may
get an admirable _doctor_ or two to introduce into her next Irish
_imaginations_—which I hope will be soon forthcoming—certainly not
sooner than agreeable and welcome.

I must here notice a revolution; namely, that of late, since farriers
have got a “step in the peerage,” and are made commissioned officers in
the army, they think it proper to refine their pharmacopeia so as to
render it more congenial to their new rank and station, and some horses
are now not only theoretically but practically placed on more than a
level with the persons who mount them.

The practice of horse medicine is indeed so completely revolutionised,
that gas, steam, and the chemistry of Sir Humphrey Davy, are resorted to
for the morbid affections of that animal in common with those of a
nobleman. The horse, now, regularly takes his hot bath like my lord and
lady, James’ powders, refined liquorice, musk, calomel, and laudanum,
with the most “elegant extracts” and delicate infusions. As if
_Gulliver_ were a prophet, he literally described, in the reign of Queen
Anne, both the _English horse_ and the _Irish peasant_ as they exist at
the present moment. If the lodging, clothing, cleaning, food, medicine,
and attendance of the modern Hoynhymm, be contrasted with the pig-sty,
rags, filth, neglect, and hunger of the Yahoo, it must convince any
honest neutral that Swift (that greatest of Irishmen) did not overcharge
his satire. The sum lavished upon the care of one Hoynhymm for _a single
day_, with little or nothing to do, is more (exclusive of the farrier)
than is now paid to five Irish Yahoos for _twelve hours’_ hard labour,
with to feed, clothe, lodge, and nourish _themselves_, and probably five
wives and twenty or thirty children, for the same period, into the

A few very curious cases may elucidate our ancient practice of cure—a
practice, I believe, never even heard of in any other part of Europe.
The bite of a mad dog was to the Irish peasantry of all things the most
puzzling and terrific; and I am sure I can scarcely guess what Doctor
Morgan will think of my veracity when I state the two modes by which
that horrible mania was neutralised or finally put an end to.

When the bite of a dog took place, every effort was made to kill the
beast, and if they succeeded, it was never inquired whether he actually
_was_, or (as the colloughs used to say) _pretended to be_ mad: his
liver was immediately taken out, dried by the fire till quite hard, then
reduced to powder, and given in frequent doses with a draught of holy or
blessed water, to the patient for seven days. If it happened that the
saliva did not penetrate the sufferer’s clothes, or if the dog was _not_
actually mad, it was then considered that the patient was _cured_ by
drinking the dog’s liver and holy water;—and if it so happened that the
bite set him barking, then the priest and farrier told them it was the
will of God that he should bark, and they were contented either to let
him die at his leisure, or send him to heaven a little sooner than was
absolutely necessary.

The herbs of the colloughs were sometimes successfully resorted to;
whether accidental or actual preventives or antidotes, it is not easy to
determine: but when I detail the ulterior remedy to cure the hydrophobia
in Ireland, or at least to render it _perfectly innoxious_, I am well
aware that I shall stand a good chance of being honoured by the
periodicals with the appellation of a “bouncer,” as on occasion of the
former volumes: but the ensuing case, as I can personally vouch for the
fact, I may surely give with tolerable confidence.

                         KILLING WITH KINDNESS.

Illustration of the Irish horror of hydrophobia—Thomas Palmer, of
  Rushhall, Esquire, magistrate and land-agent, &c.—A substantial bill
  of fare—Dan Dempsey, of the Pike, is bitten by a mad dog—Application
  to the magistrate for legal permission to _relieve_ him of his
  sufferings—Mode of relief proposed—Swearing scholars—Permission
  obtained—Dan regularly smothered, by way both of _cure_ and
  _preventive_—Fate of Mr. Palmer himself—Allen Kelly, of
  Portarlington—“New Way to Pay Old Debts.”

Such a dread had the Irish of the bite of a mad dog, that they did not
regard it as murder, but absolutely as a legal and meritorious act, to
smother any person who had arrived at an advanced stage of hydrophobia.
If he made a noise similar to barking, his hour of suffocation was
seldom protracted.

In this mode of administering the _remedy_, it was sometimes difficult
to procure proper instruments; for they conceived that _by law_ the
patient should be smothered between two _feather_-beds,—one being laid
cleverly over him, and a sufficient number of the neighbours lying on it
till he was “out of danger.”

The only instance I am able to state from my own knowledge occurred
about the year 1781. Thomas Palmer, of Rushhall, in Queen’s County, was
then my father’s land-agent, and at the same time a very active and
intelligent magistrate of that county. He was, _gratis_, an oracle,
lawyer, poet, horse—cow—dog and man doctor, farmer, architect, brewer,
surveyor, and magistrate of all work. He was friendly and good-natured,
and possessed one of those remarkable figures now so rarely to be seen
in society. I feel I am, as usual, digressing;—however, be the
digression what it may, I cannot deny myself the pleasure of depicting
my old friend, and endeavouring to render him as palpable to the vision
of my reader as he is at this moment to my own.

Palmer was one of that race of giants for which the rich and extensive
barony of Ossory, in Queen’s County (now the estate of the Duke of
Buckingham), was then and had long been celebrated. His height was
esteemed the _middle_ height in that county—namely, about six feet two
inches; he was bulky without being fat, and strong, though not very
muscular. He was, like many other giants, _split up_ too much, and his
long dangling limbs appeared still longer from their clothing, which was
invariably the same:—a pair of strong buck-skin breeches, never _very_
greasy, but never free from grease; half jack-boots; massive, long
silver spurs, either of his own or of somebody’s grandfather’s; a
scarlet waistcoat with long skirts; and a coat with “_all the cloth_ in
it.” These habiliments rendered him altogether a singular but not other
than respectable figure. His visage made amends for both his _outré_
boots and breeches; it was as well calculated as could be for a
kind-hearted, good-humoured, convivial old man. His queue wig, with a
curl at each side, had his grizzle hair combed smoothly over the front
of it; and he seldom troubled the powder-puff, but when he had got the
“skins whitened,” in order to “dine in good company.” He was the
_hardest-goer_ either at kettle or screw (except Squire Flood of
Roundwood) of the whole grand-jury, for whose use he made a new song
every summer assize: and it was from him I heard the very unanswerable
argument, “that if a man fills the bottom of his glass, there can be no
good reason why he should not also fill the top of it; and if he empties
the top of his glass, he certainly ought in common civility to pay the
bottom the same compliment:”—no man ever more invariably exemplified his
own theorem.

Thomas Palmer was hale and healthy;—his fifty-seventh year had handed
him over safe and sound to its next neighbour: his property was just
sufficient (and no more) to gallop side by side with his hospitality.
When at home, his boiler was seldom found bubbling without a corned
round withinside it; and a gander or cock turkey frequently danced at
the end of a string before the long turf fire. Ducks, hares, chickens,
or smoked ham, often adorned the sides of his table; whilst
apple-dumplings in the centre and potatoes at cross corners completed a
light snack for five or six seven-feet Ossoronians, who left no just
reason to the old cook and a couple of ruddy ploughmen, (who attended as
_butlers_,) to congratulate themselves upon the _dainty_ appetites of
their masters, or the balance of nourishment left to liquidate the
demand of their own stomachs. But, alas! those pleasurable specimens of
solid fare have passed away for ever! As age advances, Nature diminishes
her weights and measures in our _consumption_, and our early _pounds_
and Scotch _pints_ (_two bottles_) are at length reduced to the
miserable rations of _ounces_ and _glassfuls_.

At this magistrate’s _cottage_, which had as stout a roof to it as any
mansion in the county, I once dined, about the year 1781, when the state
of medicine in Ireland was exemplified in a way that neither Cullen,
Darwin, Perceval, James, or any other learned doctor ever contemplated,
and which I am convinced—had it been the practice in Italy—Doctor Morgan
would not have passed over in total silence.

We had scarcely finished such a meal as I have particularised, and “got
into the punch,” when a crowd of men, women, and children, came up to
the door in great confusion, but respectfully took off their hats and
bonnets, and asked humbly to speak to his worship.

Tom Palmer seemed to anticipate their business, and inquired at once “if
Dan Dempsey of the Pike (turnpike) was in the same way still?”

“Ough! please your worship,” cried out twenty voices together, “worse,
your worship, worse nor ever, death’s crawling upon him—he can’t _stop_,
and what’s the use in leaving the poor boy in his pains any longer, your
worship? We have got two good feather-beds at the Pike, and we want your
worship’s leave to smother Dan Dempsey, if your worship pleases.”

“Ough avourneen! he growls and barks like any mastiff dog, please your
worship,” cried a tremulous old woman, who seemed quite in terror.

“You lie, Nancy Bergin,” said her older husband, “Dan Dempsey does _not_
bark like a _mastiff_;—it’s for all the world like your worship’s white
lurcher, when she’s after the rabbits, so it is!”

“He snapped three times at myself this morning,” said another humane
lady, “and the neighbours said it were all as one, almost, as biting

“Hush! hush!” said the magistrate, waving his hand: “any of you who can
read and write, come in here.”

“Ough! there’s plenty of that sort, please your worship,” said Maurice
Dowling, the old schoolmaster. “Sure it’s not ignorance I’d be teaching
my scholards every day these forty years, except Sundays and holidays,
at the Pike. There’s plenty of swearing scholards here any how, your

“Come in any three of you, then, who can clearly swear Dan Dempsey barks
like a dog,—no matter whether like a mastiff or a lurcher—and attempts
to bite.”

The selection was accordingly made, and the affidavit sworn, to the
effect that “Dan Dempsey had been bit by a mad dog; that he went mad
himself, barked like any greyhound, and had no objection to bite
whatever Christian came near him. Squire Palmer then directed them to go
back to the Pike, and said they might smother Dan Dempsey if he barked
any more in the morning; but told them to wait till then.

“Ah, then, at what hour, please your worship?” said Nan Bergin,
accompanied by several other female voices, whose owners seemed rather

“Three hours after day-break,” said the magistrate: “but take care to
send to Mr. Calcut, the coroner, to come and hold his inquest after
Dan’s smothered. Take care of that, at your peril.”

“Never fear, please your worship,” said Ned Bergin.

They then gathered into a sort of consultation before the door, and
bowing with the same respect as when they came, all set off, to smother
Dan Dempsey of Rushhall Turnpike.

The magistrate’s instructions were accurately obeyed: Daniel barked, and
was duly smothered between two feather-beds, three hours after day-break
next morning, by the schoolmaster’s watch. Mr. Calcut came and held his
coroner’s inquest, who brought in their verdict that the said “Daniel
Dempsey died _in consequence of a mad dog_!”

The matter was not at that day considered the least extraordinary, and
was, in fact, never mentioned except in the course of common
conversation, and as the subject of a paragraph in the Leinster Journal.

It is a singular circumstance, that the termination of poor Palmer’s
life resulted from his consistency in strictly keeping his own aphorism
which I have before mentioned. He dined at my father’s Lodge at
Cullenagh; and having taken his _quantum sufficit_, (as people who dined
there generally did,) became obstinate, which is frequently the
consequence of being pot-valiant, and insisted on riding home, twelve or
thirteen miles, in a dark night. He said he had a couple of songs to
write for the high sheriff, which Mr. Boyce from Waterford had promised
to sing at the assizes;—and that he always wrote best with a full
stomach. It was thought that he fell asleep; and that his horse,
supposing he had as much right to drink freely as his master, had
quietly paid a visit to his accustomed watering-place, when, on the
animal’s stooping to drink, poor Palmer pitched over his head into the
pond, wherein he was found next morning quite dead—though scarcely
covered with water, and grasping the long branch of a tree as if he had
been instinctively endeavouring to save himself, but had not strength,
owing to the overpowering effect of the liquor. His horse had not
stirred from his side. His loss was, to my father’s affairs,

It is very singular that nearly a similar death occurred to an attorney,
who dined at my father’s about a month afterward—old Allen Kelly of
Portarlington, one of the most keen though cross-grained attorneys in
all Europe. He came to Cullenagh to insist upon a settlement for some
bills of costs he had dotted up against my father to the tune of fifty
pounds. It being generally, in those times, more convenient to country
gentlemen to pay by bond than by ready money—and always more agreeable
to the attorney, because he was pretty sure of doubling his costs before
the judgment was satisfied, Allen Kelly said, that, out of _friendship_,
he’d take a _bond and warrant of attorney_ for his fifty pounds; though
it was not taxed, which he declared would only _increase_ it
wonderfully. The bond and warrant, which he had ready filled up in his
pocket, were duly executed, and both parties were pleased—my father to
get rid of Allen Kelly, and Allen Kelly to get fifty pounds for the
worth of ten. Of course he stayed to dine, put the bond carefully into
his breeches pocket, drank plenty of port and hot punch, to keep him
warm on his journey, mounted his nag, reached Portarlington, where he
watered his nag (and _himself_ into the bargain). Hot punch, however, is
a bad balance-master, and so Allen fell over the nag’s head, and the
poor beast trotted home quite lonesome for want of his master. Next day
Allen was found well bloated with the Barrow water; indeed, swollen to
full double his usual circumference. In his pockets were found divers
documents which _had been_ bonds, notes, and other securities, and which
he had been collecting through the country: but unfortunately for his
administrators, the Barrow had taken pity on the debtors, and whilst
Allen was reposing himself in the bed of that beautiful river, her
naiads were employed in picking his pocket, and there was scarcely a
bill, bond, note, or any acknowledgment, where the fresh ink had not
yielded up its colouring; and neither the names, sums, dates, or other
written matters, of one out of ten, could be by any means decyphered. In
truth few of the debtors were very desirous, on this occasion, of
turning _decypherers_, and my father’s bond (among others) was from that
day never even suggested to him by any representative of Allen Kelly,
the famous attorney of Portarlington.

                        SKINNING A BLACK CHILD.

Lieutenant Palmer and his black servant—The Lieutenant’s sister marries
  Mr. George Washington, a “blood relation” of the American
  president—This lady presents her husband with a son and heir—Awkward
  circumstance connected with the birth of the infant—Curious and
  learned dissertation respecting “fancy-marks,” &c.—A _casus
  omissus_—Speculations and consultations—Doctor Bathron, surgeon and
  grocer—His suggestion respecting little Washington—Doctor Knaggs
  called in—Operation begun—Its ill success—“Black and all Black”—The
  operator’s dismay and despair—Final catastrophe of Master Washington.

Another, and a not unpleasant, because not fatal, incident may serve to
illustrate the “state of medicine and surgery,” between forty and fifty
years ago, in Ireland. It occurred near my brother’s house, at
Castlewood, and the same Lieutenant Palmer, of Dureen, was a very
interested party in it. The thing created great merriment among all the
gossiping, tattling old folks, male and female, throughout the district.

The lieutenant having been in America, had brought home a black lad as a
servant, who resided in the house of Dureen with the family. It is one
of the mysteries of nature, that infants sometimes come into this world
marked and spotted in divers fantastical ways and places, a circumstance
which the faculty, so far as they know any thing about it, consider as
the sympathetic effect either of external touch or ardent
imagination;—or, if neither of these are held to be the cause, then they
regard it as a sort of _lusus_ with which Dame Nature occasionally
surprises, and then (I suppose) laughs at the world, for marvelling at
her capriciousness,—a quality which she has, as satirists pretend,
plentifully bestowed on the fairest part of the creation. Be this as it
may, the incident I am about to mention is in its way unique; and
whether the occasion of it proceeded from sympathy, fancy, or touch, or
exhibited a regular _lusus Naturæ_, never has, and now never can be
unequivocally decided.

A sister of the lieutenant, successively a very good maiden, woman, and
wife, had been married to one Mr. George Washington, of the
neighbourhood, who, from his name, was supposed to be some distant blood
relation to the celebrated General Washington; and, as that
distinguished individual had no children, all the old women and other
wiseacres of Durrow, Ballyragget, Ballyspellen, and Ballynakill, made up
their minds that his Excellency, when dying, would leave a capital
legacy in America to his blood relation, Mr. George Washington, of
Dureen, in Ireland; who was accordingly advised—and, with the aid of the
Rev. Mr. Hoskinson, clergyman of Durrow (father to the present Vice
Provost of Dublin University), he took the advice—to write a dignified
letter to his Excellency, General George Washington of Virginia,
President, &c. &c. &c. stating himself to have the honour of
entertaining hopes that he should be enabled to show his Excellency, by
an undeniable pedigree (when he could procure it) that he had a portion
of the same blood as his Excellency’s running in his humble veins. The
letter went on to state, that he had espoused the sister of a British
officer, who had had the honour of being taken prisoner in America; and
that he, the writer, having reasonable expectation of shortly fathering
a young Mr. Washington, his Excellency’s permission was humbly requested
for the child to be named his god-son: till the receipt of which
permission, the christening should be kept open by his most faithful
servant and distant relation, &c.

This epistle was duly despatched to his Excellency, at Mount Vernon, in
Virginia, and Mrs George Washington, of Dureen, lost no time in
performing her husband’s promise. No joy ever exceeded that which seized
on Mr. Washington, when it was announced that his beloved wife had been
taken ill, and was in excessive torture. The entire household, master
included, were just seated at a comfortable and plentiful dinner; the
first slices off the round, or turkey, were cut and tasted; some
respectable old dames of the neighbourhood had just stepped in to
congratulate the family on what would occur, and hear all that was going
forward at this critical, cheerful, and happy moment of anticipation,
when Mrs. Gregory (the _lady’s doctor_), who was, in her own way, a very
shrewd, humorous kind of body, and to whom most people in that country
under thirty-five years of age had owed their existence, entered the
apartment to announce the happy arrival of as fine a healthy little boy
as could be, and that Mrs. Washington was as well, or indeed rather
better, than might be expected _under the circumstances_. A general
cheer by the whole company followed, and bumpers of hot punch were drunk
with enthusiasm to the success and future glory of the _young_ General

Mrs. Gregory at length beckoned old Mrs. Palmer to the window with a
mysterious air, and whispered something in her ear; on hearing which,
Mrs. Palmer immediately fell flat on the floor, as if dead. The old
dames hobbled off to her assistance, and Mrs. Gregory affected to feel
strongly herself about something,—ejaculating, loud enough to be
generally heard, and with that sort of emphasis people use when they
wish to persuade us they are praying in downright earnest, “God’s will
be done!”

“What about?” said the lieutenant, bristling up:—“I suppose my mother
has taken a glass too much: it is not the first time!—she’ll soon come
round again, never fear. Don’t be alarmed, my friends.”

“God’s will be done!” again exclaimed the oracular Mrs. Gregory.

“What’s the matter? What is all this about?” grumbled the men. “Lord
bless us! what can it be?” squalled the women.

“There cannot be a finer or stronger little boy in the ’varsal world,”
said Mrs. Gregory: “but, Lord help us!” continued she, unable longer to
contain her overcharged grief, “It’s—it’s not so—so _white_ as it should

“Not white?” exclaimed every one of the company simultaneously.

“No,—O Lord, no!” answered Mrs. Gregory, looking mournfully up to the
ceiling in search of heaven. Then casting her eyes wistfully around the
company, she added—“God’s will be done! but the dear little boy
is—is—quite _black_!”

“_Black! black!_” echoed from every quarter of the apartment.

“As black as your hat, if not _blacker_,” replied Mrs. Gregory.

“Oh! Oh—h!” groaned Mr. Washington.

“Oh! Oh—h!” responded Mrs. Gregory.

“Blood and ouns!” said the lieutenant.—“See how I am shaking,” said the
midwife, taking up a large glass of potsheen and drinking it off to
settle her nerves.

What passed afterward on that evening may be easily surmised: but the
next day Mrs. Gregory, the _sage femme_, came into Castle Burrow to
“prevent _mistakes_,” and tell the affair to the neighbours in her own
way; that is, partly in whispers, partly aloud, and partly by nods and
winks—such as old ladies frequently use when they wish to divulge more
than they like to speak openly.

Sufficient could be gathered, however, to demonstrate that young Master
Washington had not one white, or even _gray_ spot on his entire body,
and that some _frizzled_ hair was already beginning to show itself on
his little pate; but that no nurse could be found who would give him a
drop of nourishment, even were he famishing—all the women verily
believing that, as Mrs. Washington was herself an unexceptionable wife,
it must be a son of the d—l by a dream, and nothing else than an imp.
However, Mr. Hoskinson, the clergyman, soon contradicted this report by
assuring the Protestants that the day for that sort of miracle had been
for some centuries over, and that the infant was as fine, healthy,
natural, and sprightly a little negro as ever came from the coast of

Never was there such a buzz and hubbub in any neighbourhood as now took
place in and about the town of Castle Durrow. Every body began to
_compute periods_ and form conjectures; and though it was universally
known that red wine, &c. &c. cast on the mamma, often leaves marks upon
children, yet censorious and incredulous people persisted in asserting,
that such marks only came in spots or splashes, when the person of a
lady happened to be actually touched by the colouring matter: but that
no child could be black, and _all_ black, unless in a _natural_ way.
Among the lower orders, however, the thing was settled at once in the
most plausible and popular manner, and set down as downright witchcraft
and nothing else: and suspicion fell on old Betty Hogan of the Seven
Sisters, near Ballyspellen, who was _known_ to be a witch, and able to
raise the devil at Hallow Eve, to turn smocks, and tell fortunes; and
she was verily seen by more than one to go into the Cave of Dunmore with
a coal-black cur dog (without tail or ears) after her, the very night
and minute Mrs. Washington was delivered of the devil; and nobody ever
saw the cur dog before or since.

Mr. Washington and the lieutenant were, however, by no means at ease
upon the subject of this freak of Nature, and were well warranted in
their dissatisfaction; as at length all the old women agreed in
believing, that the black lad from America was nothing else but the
devil disguised, who had followed the lieutenant as a servant boy, to
gain over the family, and particularly Mrs. Washington, as Satan did
Eve;—and that he ought to be smothered by the priests, or at least
transported out of the country, before he did any more mischief—or there
would not be a white child in the whole barony the next season.

Lieutenant Palmer was of course high in blood for the honour of his
sister, and Mr. Washington cock-a-hoop for the character of his wife:
and so great was their ire, that it was really believed the black boy
would have been put down a draw-well, as the people threatened,—that
being the approved method of getting rid of a devil whenever he showed
his face in that part of the country: but as, possibly, Betty Hogan
might be a better judge of him than themselves, they suspended the
execution till they should bring the old witch and confront her and _the
devil_ together—when of course he would show his cloven foot, and they
might both be put into the well, if they did not take every _taste_ of
the black off _Master Washington_.

The father and uncle decided more calmly and properly to lay the whole
affair before a consultation of doctors, to know if it was not a regular
_imagination mark_—whether a child might not be marked by mere fancy,
without the marking material (such as grapes, currants, or the like,)
touching the mother; and lastly, why, as children in general are only
partially marked, this child was not _spotted_ like others, but as black
as ebony every inch of it.

All the doctors in the neighbourhood were called in to the consultation.
Old Butler, the farrier (heretofore mentioned), came with all expedition
to Dureen, and begged leave to give his opinion and offer his services,
wishing to see Master Washington before the doctors arrived, as he had a
secret for turning any skin ever so brown as white as milk!

On seeing Master Washington, however, he declared he was _too_ black
_entirely_ for his medicines, or any body else’s. “The devil so black a
crethur,” says he, “ever I saw, except Cornet French’s _Black and all
Black_, that beat the Pandreen mare for the King’s hundred at the races
of Gort:—the devil a white hair had _he_ from muzzle to tail, good, bad,
or indifferent. By my sowl! it’s a neat crust poor George Washington has
got to mumble any how! I never saw luck or grace come of the negers, bad
luck to them all!”

The day for the consultation being fixed, several apothecaries and
bone-setters attended at the house of Mr. George Bathron, of Dureen,
grocer, wine-merchant, surgeon, apothecary, druggist, and physician.

The first point stated and unanimously agreed on, was, “that the child
was black.” The reasons for that colour being universal on the young
gentleman were not quite so clear. At length Dr. Bathron, finding he had
the lead, and having been some years at school when a boy, and likewise
apprenticed to a grocer and apothecary at Ballyragget, where he learned
several technical words in the Latin tongue; finding, besides, that he
had an excellent opportunity to prove his learning to those less
educated,—declared with great gravity that he had read many authors upon
the subject of _marks_, and could take upon himself positively to assert
that the child was (according to all authority on such matters) a _casus
omissus_. The others, not being exactly sure either of the shape, size,
or colour, of a _casus omissus_, thought it better to _accede_ to what
they did not _comprehend_, and all subscribed to the opinion that the
child was a _casus omissus_. It was immediately circulated outside the
house, that all the doctors found the child to be a _casus omissus_; and
old Skelton, who had been a trooper in Germany, declared that a doctor
there told him that was the true surname of a devil incarnate. And the
prevailing notion then was, that the black lad, old Betty Hogan, the
witch, and Master Washington, should all be put down the draw-well
together, to save the other married women of the country from bearing
devils instead of children.

The _doctors_, however, having given their opinion, were extremely
ticklish in taking any step with a _casus omissus_; and not wishing to
pitch themselves against any infernal personification, left future
proceedings to the entire management of Dr. Bathron.

Doctor Bathron was a smart, squat, ruddy, jovial apothecary, and he was
also a professed poet, who had made some celebrated odes on the birthday
of Miss Flower, Lord Ashbrooke’s sister, when she visited Castle Durrow;
and on this occasion he required a fortnight to make up his mind as to
the best proceedings to bring the skin to its proper colour. Having, by
search of old book-stalls in Dublin (whither he went for the purpose),
found an ancient treatise, translated from the work of the high German
Doctor Cratorious (who flourished in the fourteenth century), on
_skinning_ certain parts of the body to change the colour or complexion,
or effectually to disguise criminals who had escaped from prison;—by
which means, likewise, disfiguring marks, freckles, moles, &c. might be
removed,—Doctor Bathron decided, that if this could be done partially,
why not on the entire body, by little and little, and not skinning one
spot till the last should be healed? He therefore stated to Mr.
Washington, and all the good family of Dureen, that he would take upon
himself to _whiten_ the child—as he was perfectly satisfied the black
skin was merely the outside, or scarf-skin, and that the real skin and
flesh underneath were the same as every body else’s.

The mode of operating was now the subject of difficulty. It was
suggested, and agreed on, to call in Mr. Knaggs, the doctor of Mount
Meleck, who, though he had injured his character as a practitioner of
judgment by attempting to cut off the head of Sam Doxy of the Derrys, as
hereinafter mentioned, had at the same time proved himself a skilful
operator, having gashed boldly into the nape of Mr. Doxy’s neck without
touching the spinal marrow, which a bungler needs must have done. He had
also acquired the reputation of science by writing a treatise on the Spa
of Ballyspellen, which the inn-keeper _there_ had employed him to
compose, in order to bring customers to his house to drink the waters as
“a specific for numerous disorders, when mixed in due proportion with
excellent wines, which might be had very reasonable at the sign of the
Fox and Piper, at Ballyspellen,” &c.

This man, in fine, together with Doctor Bathron, undertook to bring
Master Washington to a proper hue by detaching the exterior black _pelt_
which was so disagreeable to the family, and letting the natural white
skin, which they had no doubt was concealed under it, come to
light—thereby restoring the boy, as he ought to be, to his happy

“You’ll gain immortal honour,” said the grandmother: “I am sure they
will all be bound to pray for you!”

The state of practice in Ireland suggested but two ways of performing
this notable operation—one purely surgical, the other surgico-medical:
namely, either by gradually flaying with the knife, or by blisters.

It was at length settled to begin the operation the ensuing week,
previously preparing the heir-at-law by medicine to prevent
inflammation; the first attempt was to be on a small scale, and the
operation to be performed in Doctor Bathron’s own surgery;—and he being
still undecided whether the scalpel and forceps, or Spanish flies, would
be the most eligible mode of skinning Master Washington, determined to
try both ways at once, one on each arm, and to act in future according
as he saw the skin yield easiest.

Most people conceived that, as a blister always raises the skin, it
would be the readiest agent in loosening and carrying off the black one
that had created so much uneasiness in the present instance:—the
doctor’s doubts as to which, were, that the blister alone might not rise
regularly, but operate at one place better than at another—in which case
the child might be _piebald_, which would make him far worse than

The operation at length proceeded, and Lieutenant Palmer himself
recounted to me every part of the incident. A strong blister, two inches
by three, was placed on the child’s right arm, and being properly
covered, remained there without inflicting any torture for above an
hour. The left arm was reserved for the scalpel and forceps, and the
operator entertained no doubt whatever of complete success.

The mode he pursued was very _scientific_; he made two parallel slashes
as deep as he could in reason, about three inches down the upper part of
the arm, and a cross one, to introduce the forceps and strip the loose
black skin off, when he could snip it away at the bottom, and leave the
white or rather red flesh underneath, to generate a new skin, and show
the proper colouring for a godchild of General Washington.

All eyes were now rivetted to the spot. The women cried in an under key
to Master George, who roared. “Hush, hush, my dear,” said the Doctor,
“you don’t know what’s good for you, my little innocent!” whilst he
applied the forceps, to strip off the skin like a _surtout_. The skin
was tight, and would not come away cleverly with the first tug, as the
doctor had expected; nor did any thing _white_ appear, though a
sufficiency of red blood manifested itself.

The doctor was greatly surprised. “I see,” said he, “it is somewhat
deeper than we had conceived. We have not got deep enough.” Another gash
on each side; but the second gash had no better success. Doctor Bathron
seemed desperate; but conceiving that in so young a subject one short
cut—be it ever so deep—could do no harm, his hand shook, and he gave the
scalpel its full force, till he found it touch the bone. The experiment
was now complete; he opened the wound, and starting back, affected to be
struck with horror, threw down his knife, stamped and swore the child
was in fact either the devil or a _lusus Naturæ_, for that he could see
the very bone, and the child was actually coal-black _to_ the bone, and
the bone black also, and that he would not have taken a thousand guineas
to have given a single gash to a thing which was clearly
supernatural—actually dyed in grain. He appeared distracted; however,
the child’s arm was bound up, a good poultice put over it, the blister
hastily removed from the other arm, and the young gentleman, fortunately
for Doctor Bathron, recovered from the scarification, and lived with an
old dry-nurse for four or five years. He was then killed by a cow of his
_father’s_ horning him, and died with the full reputation of having been
a devil in reality, which was fully corroborated by a white sister of
his, and his mother, (as I heard,) departing about the very same time,
if not on the next day. It was said he took their souls away with him,
to make his peace with his master for staying so long.

Doctor George Bathron, who was the pleasantest united grocer and surgeon
in the county, at length found it the best policy to tell this story
himself, and by that means neutralise the ridicule of it. He often told
it to me, whilst in company with Mr. Palmer; and by hearing both
versions, I obtained full information about the circumstance, which I
relate as a very striking example of the mode in which we managed a
_lusus Naturæ_ when we _caught_ one in Ireland five and forty years ago.

                      THE FARRIER AND WHIPPER-IN.

Tom White, the whipper-in of Blandsfort—An unlucky leap—Its
  consequences—Tom given over by the _Faculty_—Handed to the
  farrier—Larry Butler’s preparations—New way to _stand fast_—The actual
  cautery—Ingredients of a “charge”—Tom cured _intirely_.

Tom White, a whipper-in at my father’s at Blandsfort, had his back
crushed by leaping his horse into a gravel pit, to pull off the scut of
a hare. The horse broke his neck, the hare was killed, and the
whipper-in, to all appearance, little better; and when we rode up, there
lay three carcases “all in a row.” However (as deaths generally confer
an advantage upon some survivor), two of the _corpses_ afforded good
cheer next day:—we ate the hare, the hounds ate the horse, and the worms
would certainly have made a meal of Tom White, had not old Butler, the
farrier, taken his cure in hand, after Doctor Ned Stapleton, of
Maryborough, the genuine bone-setter of that county, had given him up as
broken-backed and past all skill. As has been already seen, our practice
of pharmacy, medicine, and surgery in Ireland, fifty years ago, did not
correspond with modern usages; and though our old operations might have
had a trifle more of _torture_ in them—either from bluntness of knives
or the mode of _slashing_ a patient; yet, in the end, I conceive that
few more lives are saved by hacking, hewing, and thrusting,
_scientifically_, according to modern practice, than there were by the
old trooper-like fashion.

I was in Blandsfort House when Mr. Jemmy Butler, our hereditary farrier,
who had equal skill—according to the old school—in the treatment of
dogs, cows, and horses, as well as in rat-catching, began and concluded
his medico-surgical cure of Tom White: I can therefore recount with
tolerable fidelity the successful course adopted toward that courageous

Tom’s first state of insensibility soon gave way; and incontrovertible
proofs of his existence followed, in sundry deep groans, and now and
then a roaring asseveration that his back was broke. He entreated us to
send off for his _clergy_ without any delay, or the reverend father
would not find him in this world. However, Mr. Butler, who had no great
belief in any world either above or below the Queen’s County, declared,
“that if the clergy came, he’d leave Tom White to die, as he well knew
Tom was a thief; and if any clergy botheration was made about his sowl,
it would only tend to irritate and inflame his hurt.” But he undertook
to give him a better _greasing_ than all the priests in the barony, if
they should be seven years anointing him with the best salvation oil
ever invented.

Tom acquiesced; and, in fear of death, acknowledged “he was a great
thief, sure enough, but if he recovered, he would _take up_, and tell
all he had done, without a word of a lie, to Father Cahill of
Stradbally, who was always a friend to the poor sarvants.”

Mr. Butler now commenced his cure, at the performance of which, every
male in the house, high and low, was called on to be present. The
farrier first stripped Tom to his shirt, and then placed him flat on the
great kitchen table, with his face downward; and having (after being
impeded by much roaring and kicking) tied a limb fast to each leg of
it—(so as to make a St. Andrew’s cross of him) he drew a strong
table-cloth over the lower part of the sufferer’s body; and tying the
corners underneath the table, had the pleasure of seeing Tom White as
snug and fast as he could wish, to undergo any degree of torture without
being able to shift a quarter of an inch.

Mr. Butler then walked round in a sort of triumph, every now and then
giving the knots a pull, to tighten them, and saying, “Mighty
well,—mighty good! Now _stand fast_, Tom.”

Tom’s back being thus duly bared, the _doctor_ ran his immense thumb
from top to bottom along the spine, with no slight degree of pressure;
and whenever the whipper-in roared loudest, Mr. Butler marked the spot
he was touching with a lump of chalk. Having, in that way, ascertained
the tender parts, he pressed them with all his force, as if he were
kneading dough—just, as he said, to _settle the joints_ quite even. No
bull in the midst of five or six bull-dogs tearing him piecemeal could,
even in his greatest agonies, amuse the baiters better, or divert them
with more tremendous roars, than the whipper-in did during the greatest
part of this operation.

The operator, having concluded his _reconnoitring_, proceeded to real
action. He drew parallel lines with chalk down Tom’s back—one on each
side the back-bone; at particular points he made a cross stroke, and at
the _tender parts_ a _double_ one; so that Tom had a complete ladder
delineated on his back, as if the doctor intended that something should
mount by it from his waistband to his cravat.

The preliminaries being thus gone through, and Mr. Butler furnished with
a couple of red-hot irons, such as maimed horses are fired with, he
began, in a most deliberate and skilful manner, to fire Tom according to
the rules and practice of the _ars veterinaria_. The poor fellow’s
bellowing, while under the actual cautery, all the people said, they
verily believed was the loudest ever heard in that country since the
massacre of Mullymart.[6] This part of the operation, indeed, was by no
means superficially performed, as Mr. Butler _mended_ the lines and made
them all of a uniform depth and colour, much as the writing-master mends
the letters and strokes in a child’s copy-book: and as they were very
straight and regular, and too well _broiled_, to suffer any effusion of
red blood, Tom’s back did not look much the worse for the tattooing. In
truth, if my readers recollect the excellent mode of making a cut down
each side of a saddle of mutton, just to elicit the brown gravy, they
will have a good idea of the longitudinal cauteries in question. On
three or four of the tender places before mentioned Mr. Butler drew his
transverse cross bars, which quite took off the uniform appearance, and
gave a sort of _garnished_ look to the whole drawing, which seemed very
much to gratify the operator, who again walked round and round _the
body_ several times with a red-hot iron in his hand, surveying, and here
and there retouching the ragged or uneven parts. This _finishing_
rendered the whipper-in rather _hoarse_, and his first roars were now
changed to softer notes—somewhat as an opera singer occasionally breaks
into his falsetto.


Footnote 6:

  A massacre of the Irish at a place called Mullymart, in the county of
  Kildare, which is spoken of by Casaubon in his Britannia as a thing
  prophesied: the prophesy did actually take effect; and it is,
  altogether, one of the most remarkable traditionary tales of that


“Howld your bother,” said Mr. Butler, to whom Tom’s incessant shrieking
had become very disagreeable: “howld your _music_, I say, or I’ll put a
touch[7] on your nose as tight as yourself did on Brown Jack, when I was
firing the ring-bone out of him: you’re a greater beast yourself nor
ever Brown Jack was.”


Footnote 7:

  An instrument used in the practice of farriers. It is a piece of cord
  passed round the nose of a horse (being the most sensitive part of
  that animal); and being twisted tight by a short stick, it creates a
  torture so exquisite, that all other tortures go for nothing.
  Therefore, when a horse is to have his tail cut off, or his legs
  burned, &c., a touch is put upon his nose, the extreme pain whereof
  absorbs that of the operation, and, as they term it, makes the beast
  “_stay easy_.”


Mr. Butler having partly silenced the whipper-in through fear of the
_touch_, the second part of the process was undertaken—namely,
depositing what is termed by farriers the cold charge, on the back of
Tom White. However, on this occasion the regular _practice_ was somewhat
varied, and the _cold_ charge was nearly boiling hot when placed upon
the raw _ladder_ on the whipper-in’s back. I saw the _torture_ boiled in
a large iron ladle, and will mention the ingredients, just to show that
they were rather more exciting than our milk-and-water charges of the
present day:—viz. Burgundy pitch, black pitch, diaculum, yellow wax,
white wax, mustard, black resin, white resin, sal ammoniac, bruised
hemlock, camphor, Spanish flies, and oil of origanum, boiled up with
spirits of turpentine, onion juice, and a glass of whisky; it was kept
simmering till it became of a proper consistence for application, and
was then _laid on_ with a painter’s brush, in the same way they calk a
pleasure-boat. Four coats of this savoury substance did the farrier
successively apply, each one as the former began to cool. But, on the
first application, even the dread of the touch could not restrain Tom
White’s vociferation. After this had settled itself in the chinks, he
seemed to be quite stupid, and tired of roaring, and lay completely
passive, or rather insensible, while Mr. Butler _finished_ to his taste;
dotting it over with short lamb’s-wool as thick as it would stick, and
then another coat of the unction, with an addition of wool; so that,
when completed by several layers of charge and lamb’s-wool, Tom’s back
might very well have been mistaken for a saddle of Southdown before it
was skinned. A thin ash board was now neatly fitted to it down Tom’s
spine by the carpenter, and made fast with a few short nails driven into
the charge. I believe none of them touched the quick, as the charge
appeared above an inch and a half thick, and it was only at the blows of
the hammer that the patient seemed to feel extra sensibility. Tom was
now untied and helped to rise: his woolly carcase was bandaged all round
with long strips of a blanket, which being done, the operation was
declared to be completed, in less than three quarters of an hour.

The other servants now began to make merry with Tom White. One asked
him, how he liked purgatory?—another, if he’d “stop thieving,” after
that _judgment_ on him?—a third, what more could Father Cahill do for
him? _Doctor_ Butler said but little: he assumed great gravity, and
directed “that the whipper-in should sit up stiff for seven days and
nights, by which time the _juices would be dried on him_; after that he
might lay down, if he _could_.”

This indeed was a very useless permission, as the patient’s tortures
were now only in their infancy. So soon as the charge got cold and stiff
in the nitches and fancy figures upon his back, he nearly went mad; so
that for a few days they were obliged to strap him with girths to the
head of his bed to make him “stay easy;” and sometimes to gag him, that
his roars might not disturb the company in the dining parlour. Wallace
the piper said that Tom’s roarings put him quite _out_: and an elderly
gentleman who was on a visit with us, and who had not been long married
to a young wife, said his bride was so shocked and alarmed at the groans
and “pullaloes” of Tom White, that she could think of nothing else.

When the poor fellow’s pains had altogether subsided, and the swathing
was off, he cut one of the most curious figures ever seen: he looked as
if he had a stake driven through his body; and it was not till the end
of four months that Mr. Butler began to pour sweet oil down his neck,
between his back and the charge, which he continued to do daily for
about another month, till the charge gradually detached itself, and
broken-backed Tom was declared cured: in truth, I believe he never felt
any inconvenience from his fall afterward.

This mode of cauterising the people was then much practised by the old
farriers, often with success; and I never recollect any fatal effects
happening in consequence.

The farriers’ rowelling also was sometimes had recourse to, to prevent
swellings from coming to a head: and I only heard of two fatalities
arising herefrom; one, in the case of a half-mounted gentleman at Castle
Comber, who died of a locked jaw; and another, in that of a shopkeeper
at Borris, in Ossory, who expired from mortification occasioned by a tow
and turpentine rowell being used to carry off an inflammation.

                        THE RIVAL PRACTITIONERS.

Dr. Fletcher, Dr. Mulhall, and the author’s father—Interesting
  particulars of a medical consultation—Family recollections—Counsellor,
  afterward Judge Fletcher—First meeting between him and the
  author—Catching a Tartar—Sam Doxy of the Derrys—Breaks his neck in
  riding to a Turnpike-Board dinner—Pronounced dead by Mr. Knaggs, the
  apothecary—That eminent practitioner’s judgment disputed by Lieut.
  Jerry Palmer—The apothecary proceeds to show that the patient
  _must_, or at least _ought_ to be, dead—An incision, and its
  consequences—Lieut. Palmer’s successful mode of treatment—Recovery of
  the corpse.

In addition to my preceding illustrations of the former state of
medicine and surgery in Ireland, I cannot omit a couple of convincing
proofs of the _intuitive knowledge_ possessed by Irish practitioners in
my early days. They present scenes at which I was myself present, and
one of which was the most distressing I had witnessed, while the other
was more amusing at its conclusion than any operation I ever saw
performed by any, either of the farriers or colloughs of Ireland.

Doctor Knaggs, the hero of the second incident, was a tall, raw-boned,
rough, dirty apothecary; but he suited the neighbours, as they said he
had “the skill in him,” and was “mighty successful.” Sam Doxy, his
patient, was, on the contrary, a broad, strong, plethoric, half-mounted
gentleman. He had his lodge, as he called it, in the midst of a _derry_
(a bog), drank his gallon of hot punch to keep out the damp, and
devoured numerous cock turkeys, and cows that were past _child-bearing_,
to keep down the potsheen. Every neighbour that could get to him was
welcome, and _the road_ was seldom _in a fit state_ to permit their
going away again quickly.

The first of these anecdotes I still relate with some pain, though
forty-five years and more have of course blunted the feeling I
experienced on its occurrence; and as I shall soon be in the same
situation myself as the parties now are, I can, comparatively speaking,
look lightly on an event which, in youth, health, and high blood, was
quite chilling to my contemplation.

The father of the late Judge Fletcher of the Common Pleas was an
_actual_ physician at Mount Melec, about seven miles from my father’s.
He was a smart, intelligent, and very humorous, but remarkably
diminutive doctor. He attended my father in his last moments, in
conjunction with the family practitioner, Doctor Dennis Mulhall, whose
appearance exactly corresponded with that of Doctor Slop, save that his
paunch was doubly capacious, and his legs, in true symmetry with his
carcase, helped to _waddle_ him into a room. He was a matter-of-fact
doctor, and despised _anatomy_. His features had been so confused and
entangled together by that unbeautifying disorder, the smallpox, (which
I have so often alluded to,) that it almost required a chart to find
their respective stations.

These two learned gentlemen attended my poor father with the greatest
assiduity, and daily prescribed for him a certain portion of every drug
the Stradbally apothecary could supply: but these were not very
numerous; and as every thing loses its vigour by age, so the Stradbally
drugs, having been some years waiting for customers (like the landlord
of the Red Cow in “John Bull”), of course fell off in their efficacy,
till at length they each became, what the two doctors ultimately turned
my poor father into—a _caput mortuum_. Notwithstanding the drugs and the
doctors, indeed, my father held out nearly ten days; but finally, as a
matter of course, departed this world. I was deeply and sincerely
grieved. I loved him affectionately, and never after could reconcile
myself to either of his medical attendants. I had overheard their last
consultation, and from that time to this, am of opinion, that one doctor
is as good as, if not better than, five hundred. I shall never forget
the dialogue. After discussing the weather and prevalence of diseases in
the county, they began to _consult_.—“What do you say to the _pulveres
Jacobi_?” said Dr. Mulhall (the family physician).

“We are three days too late,” smirked Doctor Fletcher.

“What think you then of cataplasmus, or the _flies_?—Eh! Doctor, eh! the
flies?” said Mulhall.

“The flies won’t rise in time,” replied Doctor Fletcher:—“too late

“I fear so,” said Mulhall.

“’Tis a pity, Doctor Mulhall, you did not suggest blistering breast and
spine sooner: you know it was not my business, as I was only _called
in_:—I could not duly _suggest_.”

“Why,” replied Doctor Mulhall, “I thought of it certainly, but I was
unwilling to _alarm the family_ by so definitive an application, unless
in _extremis_.”

“We’re in _extremis_ now,” said Doctor Fletcher—“he! he!”

“Very true—very true,” rejoined Doctor Mulhall; “but Nature is too
strong for art; she takes her way in spite of us!”

“Unless, like a wife, she’s kept down at first,” said Fletcher—“he! he!

“Perhaps I was rather too discreet and delicate, doctor; but if the
colonel can still get down the _pulveres Jacobi_—” said Mulhall.

“He can’t!” said Fletcher.

“Then we can do no more for the patient,” replied Mulhall.

“Nothing _more_,” said Fletcher; “so you had better break your
‘_give-over_’ to the family as tenderly as possible. That’s your
business, you know: there is no use in my staying.” And so, as the sun
rose, Doctor Fletcher jumped into his little cabriolet, and I heard him
say in parting, “This is no jest, I fear, to his family.”

The next day I lost my father; and never did grief show itself more
strong, or general, than on that mournful occasion. There was not a dry
eye amongst his tenantry. My mother was distracted: for more than thirty
years that they had been united, a single difference of opinion was
never expressed between them. His sons loved him as a brother; and the
attachment was mutual. His person was prepossessing—his manners those of
a man of rank—his feelings such as became a man of honour. He had the
mien of a gentleman, and the heart of a philanthropist; but he was
careless of his concerns, and had too rustic an education. He left large
landed estates, with large incumbrances to overwhelm them; and thirteen
children survived to lament his departure.

After I was called to the bar, Counsellor Fletcher, the doctor’s son
(already mentioned in a former Vol.), was in the best of practice. On my
first circuit, I did not know him, and of course wished to make
acquaintance with my seniors. Lord Norbury went circuit as judge at the
same time I went first as barrister; he therefore can be no _juvenile_
at this time of day.

Fletcher was, as has already been mentioned, of very uncertain humour,
and when not pleased, extremely repulsive. The first day I was on
circuit he came into the bar-room, perhaps tired, or—what was far worse
to him—hungry, for nothing ruffled Fletcher so much as waiting for
dinner. Wishing to lose no time in making acquaintance with any
countryman and brother barrister, and supposing he was endowed with the
same degree of urbanity as other people, I addressed him in my own
civil, but perhaps over-vivacious manner. He looked gruff, and answered
my first question by some monosyllable. I renewed my address with one of
the standing interrogatories resorted to by a man who wishes to fall
into conversation.—Another monosyllable.

I was touched:—“You don’t know me, perhaps, Counsellor Fletcher?” said

“Not as yet, sir,” said Fletcher.

I was angry:—“Then I’ll refresh your memory,” said I. “Your father
_killed_ mine.”

The barristers present laughed aloud.

“I hope you don’t mean to revenge the circumstance on _me_, sir?” said
Fletcher, with a sardonic smile.

“That,” said I, “depends entirely on your making me an apology for your
father’s ignorance. I forgive _your own_.”

He seemed surprised at the person he had to deal with, but no increase
of ire was apparent. He looked, however, rather at a loss. The laugh was
now entirely against him, when Warden Flood (my predecessor in the
Admiralty), who was then father of the circuit bar, happened to come in,
and formally introduced me as a new member.

After that time Fletcher and I grew very intimate:—he had several good
qualities, and these induced me to put up with many of his humours. He
was a very clever man, possessing good legal information; had a clear
and independent mind, and never truckled to any one because he was
great. He often wrangled, but never quarrelled with me, and I believe I
was one of the few who maintained a sincere regard for him. He was
intimate with Judge Moore, who now sits in his place, and was the most
familiar friend I had at Temple. I have alluded to Judge Fletcher
incidentally, as a public character who could not be bribed to support
the Union, and was appointed a judge by the Duke of Bedford during his
short viceroyalty.

I have introduced Doctor Fletcher’s medical practice in my glance at the
Irish _faculty_, the more particularly, because I was present at another
consultation held with him, which was (as I hinted at the commencement
of this sketch) connected with as droll an incident as any could be,
little short of terminating fatally.

I rode with Mr. Flood, of Roundwood, to the meeting of a turnpike-board,
held at Mount Rath, a few miles from my father’s house. One of the
half-mounted gentlemen already described, Sam Doxy of the Derrys, being
on his way to the same meeting, just at the entrance of the town his
horse stumbled over a heap of earth, and, rolling over and over (like
the somerset of a rope-dancer), broke the neck of his rider. The body
was immediately—as usual when country gentlemen were slain in
fox-hunting, riding home drunk at nights, or the like—brought on a door,
and laid upon a bed spread on the floor at the next inn. Mr. Knaggs, the
universal prescriber, &c. for the town and vicinity, was sent for to
inspect _the corpse_, and Doctor Fletcher being also by chance in the
place, was called into the room to consult as to the _dead man_, and
vouch that the breath was out of the body of Mr. Samuel Doxy of the

The two practitioners found he had no pulse, not even a single _thump in
his arteries_ (as Doctor Knaggs emphatically expressed it). They
therefore both shook their heads. His hands being felt, were found to be
cold. They shook their heads again. The doctors now retired to the
window, and gravely consulted: first, as to the danger of stumbling
horses; and second, as to the probability of the deceased having been
sober. They then walked back, and both declared it was “all over” with
Mr. Doxy of the Derrys. His neck was broken—otherwise dislocated; his
marrow-bones (according to Dr. Knaggs) were disjointed; and his death
had of course been instantaneous. On this decisive opinion being
promulgated to the turnpike-board, Dr. Fletcher mounted his pony, and
left the town, to _cure_ some other patient.

The coroner, Mr. Calcut, was sent for to hold his inquest before Sam’s
body could be “forwarded” home to the Derrys; and Mr. Knaggs, the
apothecary, remained in the room, to see if any _fee_ might be stirring
when his relations should come to carry away the dead carcase; when, all
of a sudden, an exclamation of “by J—s!” burst forth from Mr. Jerry
Palmer (already mentioned) of Dureen, near Castle Durrow, an intimate
acquaintance of Sam Doxy: “I don’t think he’s dead at all:—my father
often made him twice _deader_ at Dureen, with Dan Brennan’s
double-proof, and he was as well and hearty again as any dunghill cock
early in the morning.”

“Not dead!” said Knaggs with surprise and anger. “Is not dead, you
say?—Lieutenant Jer Palmer, you don’t mean to disparage my skill, or
injure my business in the town, I hope? There is no more life left in
Sam Doxy than in the leg of that table.”

The lieutenant bristled up at the doctor’s contradiction. “I don’t care
a d—n, Pothecary Knaggs, either for your skill, your business, or
yourself; but I say Sam Doxy is _not_ dead, and I repeat that I have
seen him _twice as dead_ at Dureen, and likewise, by the same token, on
the day Squire Pool’s tenants of Ballyfair had a great dinner in Andrew
Harlem’s big room at Maryborough.”

“Pothecary Knaggs” was now much chagrined. “Did you ever hear the like,
gentlemen of the turnpike-board?” said he. “Is it because the lieutenant
was in the American wars that he thinks he knows a corpse as well as I

“No I don’t do that same,” said Palmer: “for they say here that you have
_made_ as many dead bodies yourself as would serve for a couple of
battles, and a few skirmishes into the bargain. But I say _Sam_ is not
dead, by J—s!”

“Well now, gentlemen,” said Knaggs, appealing to public candour from the
rough treatment of the lieutenant, “you shall soon see, gentlemen, with
all your eyes that I am no _ignoramus_, as the lieutenant seems to say.”
Then opening his case of instruments and strapping a large operation
knife on the palm of his fist, “now, gentlemen of the turnpike-board,”
pursued he, “I’ll convince you all that Sam Doxy is as dead as
Ballaghlanagh.[8] Its a burning shame for you, Lieutenant Jer Palmer, to
be after running down a well-known practitioner in this manner, in his
own town. Gentlemen, look here, now, I’ll show you that Sam is dead.
Living, indeed! Oh, that’s a fine story!”


Footnote 8:

  Ballaghlanagh was the name of an old Irish bard (by tradition), whose
  ghost used to come the night before to people who were to be killed
  fighting in battle on the morning: and as a ghost offers the most
  convincing proof that the mortal it represents is no longer living,
  the term _Ballaghlanagh_, came, figuratively, to signify a “dead man.”
  I learnt this explanation from the old colloughs, who all joined
  exactly in the same tradition.


We all conceived that Doctor Knaggs only intended to _try_ to bleed him;
and with this impression flocked round the body. Doctor Knaggs turned
_the corpse_ on one side, took off the cravat, and the neck appeared to
have somewhat of a bluish look on one side. “Now, gentlemen,” said he,
“here’s the spot (pressing it with his finger): the spinal marrow is
injured, perhaps in more places than one, or two either; the bones are
dislocated, and the gristle between them is knocked out of its place.
The formation of a gentleman’s neck is just the same as that of a
horse’s tail; and as most of you have either yourselves docked and
nicked, or been present at the docking and nicking of the tail of a
hunter, you’ll understand precisely the structure of Sam Doxy’s
vertebre. Now, gentlemen, (all this time placing Sam’s head in a
convenient position to make an incision, or, had the coroner been
present, to _cut the head off_, for clearer demonstration,) see, now,
I’ll just make a slight longitudinal gash along the back joints of the
neck, and by withdrawing the skin and the covering of fat on either
side, I’ll show as clear as his nose the fatal fracture of the spinal

Every person in company now began instinctively to feel the nape of his
own neck for the spinal cord which the doctor was speaking of. “No man,”
resumed Doctor Knaggs, “ever recovered when this cord was fairly
cracked, and that’s the real secret of hanging, I assure you; and it has
been remarked that no culprit at Maryborough has ever given a kick after
he was duly strung and the shelf fell, for these three last years, since
I humanely taught the hangman the proper way. The _jerk_ is the thing,
gentlemen; and whether the spine is broken by its being pulled up from a
man’s shoulders by a cord, or thrust down into his shoulders by a fall
on the head, makes no sort of difference. Not dead!” resumed he, with a
sneer at the lieutenant: “Gentlemen, (every body came close) now, you
see, the gristle which we call cartilage lies between those two bones,
and the cord runs over and within also:—when cut through, then, the
head, gentlemen, having no support, bobs forward, and the dislocation
will appear quite plain. See, now,” and as he spoke he gave a pretty
smart gash from the nape of Sam’s neck downward toward his shoulders;
and proceeding to draw back the skin and fat on each side, to get a view
of the bones, to the surprise of the turnpike-board, the amazement of
Doctor Knaggs himself, and the triumph of Lieutenant Jer Palmer, a
stream of warm red blood instantly issued from the gash, and a motion
appeared in one eyelid of the corpse.

“By J—s!” shouted the lieutenant, “I told you the man was not dead—not a
taste of it. Oh! you diabolical pothecary, if you attempt to give
another slash, I’ll cut your own wezand; and if the poor follow dies
_now_, of this cutting, which I think he may, I’ll prosecute you for the
murder of Sam Doxy of the Derrys—a fair honest man, and a friend of my

Doctor Knaggs stood petrified and motionless.

“Gentlemen,” continued Jer Palmer, “lend me your cravats. (An immense
jug of hot punch was smoking on the hearth ready made for the proposed
dinner.) I know well enough what to do,” said the lieutenant: “my
father’s own neck was broken two years ago, coming home drunk one night
from Ballyspellen Spa, at the widow Maher’s house-warming: his horse
tumbled over at the Seven Sisters; but Dr. Jacob soon brought him to
again.—I recollect now all about it. Here, gentlemen, stir, give me your
_cravats_; you have no _handkerchiefs_ I suppose.”

They all obeyed the lieutenant, who immediately plunged the cravats into
the hot punch, and lapped one of them round the _dead man’s_ neck, then
another over that, and another still, and kept dropping the hot punch on
them, whereat the blood flowed freely. He then, putting his knees to the
dead man’s shoulder, gave his head two or three no very gentle lugs,
accompanying them in the manner of a view holloa, with “Ough! Hurra!
Hurra! By J—s he’s alive and kicking! Oh! you murdering thief of a
pothecary, get off, or I’ll cut your throat!”

The poor apothecary stood motionless at the window; for Palmer (whom, in
his paroxysm, he durst not go near) was between him and the door; but he
wished himself a hundred miles off. The lieutenant then put a spoonful
of the punch into Sam Doxy’s mouth, and down it went, to the surprise of
the turnpike-board. In a short time a glassful was patiently received
the same way. A groan and a heavy sigh now proved the fallibility of
Pothecary Knaggs; and the lieutenant’s superior treatment was extolled
by the whole board. The dead man at length opened one eye, then the
other; in about half an hour he could speak; and in the course of an
hour more the broken-necked Doxy was able to sit up. They then got some
mulled wine and spices for him, and he was quite recovered, with the
exception of a pain in his head and neck; but he could bear no motion,
so they fixed him in an upright position in an arm-chair, and Palmer
remained with him to perfect his miraculous cure. We dined in another

Mr. Flood and myself called on Doxy next day, and brought him and
Lieutenant Palmer home to Roundwood; and poor Dr. Knaggs’ wanting to cut
off the head of Mr. Sam Doxy of the Derrys became a standing jest, with
a hundred embellishments, till both have been forgotten. I know not if
Knaggs is living. Sam Doxy was at last choked by the drumstick of a
turkey sticking in his throat whilst he was picking it.

                         TRANSFUSION OF BLOOD.

The Irish on the continent—Slow travelling of remittances—Inconveniences
  thereof—Sir John Burke, of Glinsk—Reasonable points of
  curiosity—Prompt satisfaction—_Messieurs des Créanciers_—Sir John’s
  health declines—Given over by the faculty generally—Doctor T—’s
  perseverance—Its success—A game at cross purposes—Custodiums in
  Ireland—New mode of liquidating a debt—Galway gore—Receipt for
  ennobling the _bourgeois_ of Paris—Sir John Burke’s marriage and visit
  to Rome—His return—Lady Burke—Glinsk Castle.

It has been generally observed, that our fellow-subjects who sojourn
long on the continent often lose many of their national traits, and
imbibe those of other countries. The Irish, however, present an
exception to this rule. I have scarce ever met a thorough-paced Irishman
whose oddities totally deserted him; the humorous idiom of his language,
and the rich flavour of his dialect, are intrinsic, and adhere as
steadily to his tongue as _fancy_ does to his brain, and eccentricity to
his actions.

An Irishman is _toujours_ an Irishman, and wheresoever he “puts up”
seldom fails to find one inveterate enemy—“himself.” This observation is
not confined to the lower or middle classes of Hibernians, but
occasionally includes the superior orders. Like the swine, when the
demon got into them, Irishmen on the continent keep frisking,
pirouetting, galloping, and puffing away, till they lose their footing;
and there is scarcely a more entertaining spectacle than that afforded
by the schemes, devices, and humours of a true son of Erin, under these

I was greatly amused by an incident which took place at Paris some time
since;—it possesses as much of the Irish _flavour_ as any bagatelle
anecdote I recollect to have met with; and as the parties are above the
medium class, well known, all alive, and still on the same _pavé_ in
perfect harmony, the thing is rendered more entertaining.

An Irish baronet of very ancient family (an honour which he never
suffered any person to be ignorant of after twenty minutes’
conversation), proprietor of a large Galway territory, garnished with
the usual dilapidated chateau, brogueless tenantry, managing attorneys,
and mis-managing agents, having sufficiently squeezed his estate to get
(as he terms) the _juice_ out of it, determined to serve a few campaigns
about St. James’ Street, &c., and try if he could _retrench_ at the
several club-houses and “hells” to be met with amidst what is called
“high life” in our economical metropolis.

After having enacted with _éclat_ all the parts in the various scenes
usually performed on that great theatre, he at length found, that the
place was not much _cheaper_ than _sweet_ Glinsk, or any old
principality of his own dear country. He therefore resolved to change
the scene for a more diverting and cheerful one; and by way of a
_finish_, came over to Paris, where any species of ruin may be completed
with a taste, ease, and despatch unknown in our boorish country.

The baronet brought over three or four thousand pounds in his fob, just
(as he told me) to try, by way of comparison, how long that quantity of
_the dross_ would last in Paris[9]—on which point his curiosity was
promptly satisfied:—“Frascati” and the “Salon des Etrangers,” by a due
application of spotted bones, coloured pasteboard, and painted
whirligigs, under the superintendence of the Marquis de Livere, informed
him at the termination of a short novitiate, that nearly the last of his
“Empereurs” had been securely vested in the custody of the said Marquis
de Livere.


Footnote 9:

  Last year, the son of a very great man in England came over to Paris
  with a considerable sum in his pocket for the very same purpose. The
  first thing he did was gravely to ask his banker (an excellent and
  sensible man), “How long six thousand pounds would last him in Paris?”
  The reply was a true and correct one, “If you play, three days; if you
  don’t, six weeks.”


Though this seemed, _primâ facie_, rather _inconvenient_, yet the
baronet’s dashing establishment did not immediately suffer diminution,
until his valet’s repeated answer, _pas chez lui_, began to alarm the
crew of grooms, goddesses, led captains, &c.

Misfortune (and he began to fancy this was very like one) seldom delays
long to fill up the place of ready money when that quits a gentleman’s
service: and it now seemed disposed to attach itself to the baronet in
another way. Madam Pandora’s box appeared to fly open, and a host of
bodily ills beset Sir John, who, having but indifferent nerves, was
quite thrown on his back.

Such was the hapless situation of Sir John Burke, while exercising his
portion of the virtue of patience, in _waiting for remittances_—a period
of suspense particularly disagreeable to travellers abroad—every
post-day being pretty certain to carry off the _appetite_; which
circumstance, to be sure, may be sometimes considered _convenient_

Families from the interior of Hibernia are peculiarly subject to that
suspense; and where their Irish agent happens to be an old _confidential
solicitor_, or a _very dear friend_, or a near relation of the _family_,
the attack is frequently acute. An instance, indeed, occurred lately,
wherein the _miscarriage_ of an Irish letter actually caused the very
same accident to a new-married lady!

The baronet, however, bore up well; and being extremely good-humoured,
the surliest _créanciers_ in Paris could not find in their hearts for
some time to be angry with him; and so, most unreasonably left him to be
angry with himself, which is a thousand times more tormenting to a man,
because _sans_ intermission.

At length, some of his most _pressing_ friends, who a short time before
had considered it their highest honour to enjoy the _pratique_ of
Monsieur le Chevalier, began to show symptoms of losing temper;—as smoke
generally forebodes the generation of fire, something like a blaze
seemed likely to burst forth; and as the baronet most emphatically said
to me—“The d—d duns, like a flock of jack snipes, were eternally
thrusting their _long bills_ into me, as if I was a piece of _bog_!”

Complaisance and smooth words very rarely fail to conciliate a
Frenchman; and, after all, the baronet never experienced more civil or
kinder friends in Paris than some of these very _snipes_ who stuck their
long bills into him. But “remittances” from the county of Galway have
been, time immemorial, celebrated for the extreme slowness of their
movements; and though in general very _light_, they travel more
deliberately than a broad-wheel waggon. Hence, Sir John Burke’s
“corporal ills” were both perpetuated and heightened by his mental

Doctors were called in, in hopes that one or other of them might _by
chance_ hit upon a remedy; and Sir John submitted to their prescriptions
(to use his own words), like a lamb going to the slaughter.—“I knew very
well,” said he, “that one _banker_ could do me more good by a single
dose, than all the _doctors_ in Paris put together;—but as my friends
Messrs. * * * * * had declined to administer any more _metallic_
prescriptions, I really feared that my _catastrophe_ was not very

And, indeed, the doctors, neither jointly nor severally agreeing as to
the nature of his symptoms, nor to the necessary mode of treatment,
after several _consultations_ respecting the _weather_ and the _war_ (as
customary), gave Sir John’s case up as desperate: and having showed the
palms of their hands without any favourable result, shook their heads,
made each three low and lingering bows, and left the baronet to settle
affairs himself with Madam Pandora as well as he could.

One of these medical gentlemen, however,—a fair, square,
straightforward, skilful nosologist,—could not bring himself so easily
to give up the baronet: he returned; and by dint of medicamenta,
phlebotomy, blistering, leeching, cupping, smothering in vapour, &c. &c.
(the pains of the patient’s mind, meanwhile, being overcome by the pains
of his body) the doctor at last got him _thorough the thing_ (as they
say in Ireland). He was not, however, quite free from the danger of a
relapse; and an unlucky flask _extraordinary_ of “Epernay sec” (taken to
celebrate his recovery) set Sir John’s solids and fluids again
fermenting, knocked down his convalescence, which Dr. T—— had so
indefatigably re-established, and introduced a certain inflammatory
gentleman called fever.

The clergy were now summoned, and attended with an extra quantity of oil
and water to lighten and prepare the baronet’s soul for speedy
transportation; some souls, they said, and I believe truly, being much
easier put into dying order than others. The skill of Doctor T——,
however, once more preserved his patient for further adventures, and
both physician and baronet agreed that, as the priests had done his body
none, and his soul no _perceptible_ service, and as holy men were of
course above all lust of lucre, there was no necessity for cashing
_them_; so that the contemplated fees for masses should in strict
justice be transferred to prescriptions. A few more plenteous bleedings
were therefore substituted for extreme unction: with the aid of a sound
natural constitution, Sir John once more found himself on his legs; and
having but little flesh, and no fat, his shanks had not much difficulty
in carrying his body moderate distances.

At the last bleeding, the incident occurred to which the foregoing is
but matter of induction. The blood which the doctor had just extracted
from the baronet was about twenty ounces of genuine ruby Galway gore,
discharged unadulterated from the veins of a high-crested, aboriginal
Irishman. It lay proudly basking and coagulating before the sun in china
basins, at the chamber-window. Sir John seeming still rather weak, the
physician determined to bring all his skill into a focus, discover the
latent source of indisposition, and if possible at once root it out of
the baronet’s constitution, thereby gaining the double advantage of
increasing professional fame and the amount of his fees. Now, at
precisely the same point of time, the baronet was inventing an apology
for _not paying_ the doctor.

After musing some time, as every physician in the world does, whether he
is thinking of the patient or not, Doctor T—— said, “Pray, let me see
your tongue, Sir John.”

“My _tongue_!” exclaimed the baronet, “ah! you might be greatly
disappointed by _that_ organ; there’s no depending on _tongues_
now-a-days, doctor!”

“Yet the tongue is very symptomatic, I can assure you, Sir John,”
pursued the doctor gravely.

“Possibly, in _your_ part of the world,” replied the baronet. “But I do
assure you, we place very little reliance on tongues in my country.”

“You know best,” said the doctor coolly: “then, pray let me feel your
pulse, Sir John,” looking steadfastly on his stop-watch, counting the
seconds and the throbs of the Milesian artery. “Heyday! why, your pulse
is not only irregular, but _intermits_!”

“I wish my remittances did not,” remarked Sir John, mournfully, and
thinking he had got an excellent opportunity of apologising to the

The latter, however, had no idea of any roundabout _apologies_ (never
having been in Ireland), and resumed: “your remittances! ah, ah, Sir
John! But seriously, your pulse is all astray; pray, do you feel a pain
any where?”

“Why, doctor,” said Sir John, (sticking in like manner to _his_ point,)
“whenever I put my hand into my breeches-pocket, I feel a confounded
twitch, which gives me very considerable uneasiness, I assure you.”

“Hah!” said the doctor, conceiving he had now discovered some new
symptom about the femoral artery—“are you sure there’s nothing _in_ your
pocket that hurts you, Sir John?—Perhaps some—”

“O no, doctor,” said the baronet rather impatiently; “there’s _nothing
at all_ in my pocket, Doctor T——.”

“Then the twitch may be rather serious,” and the doctor looked
_knowing_, although he was still _at fault_ concerning the
_éclaircissement_. “It is a singular symptom. Do you feel your head at
all heavy, Sir John—a sensation of weight?”

“Not at all,” replied the other:—“my head is (except my _purse_) the
lightest thing I possess at present.”

The disciple of Galen still supposed Sir John was jesting as to his
purse, inasmuch as the plum-coloured vis-a-vis, with arms, crests, and
mantlings to match—with groom, geldings, and the baronet’s white
Arabian, still remained at the Hotel de Wagram, Rue de la Paix.

“Ha! ha! Sir John,” cried he, “I am glad to see you in such spirits.”

Nothing, however, either as to the malady or the fees being fully
explained, it at length flashed across the doctor’s comprehension that
the baronet might _possibly_ be in downright _earnest_ as to his
_remittances_. Such a thought must, under the circumstances, have a most
disheartening effect on the contour of any medical man in Europe. On the
first blush of this fatal suspicion the doctor’s features began to
droop—his eyebrows descended, and a sort of _in utrumque paratus_ look,
that many of my readers must have borne when expecting a money letter,
but not quite sure it may not be an _apology_, overspread his
countenance, while his nasal muscles puckering up (as in the tic
douloureux), seemed to quaver between a smile and a sardonic grin.

Sir John could scarcely contain himself at the doctor’s ludicrous
embarrassment. “By Jove,” said he, “I am serious!”

“Serious! as to what, Sir John?” stammered the physician, getting out of
conceit both with his patient and himself.

“The fact,” said Sir John, “is this: your long and indefatigable
attention merits all my confidence, and you shall have it.”

“Confidence!” exclaimed the doctor, bowing, “you do me honour; but—”

“Yes, doctor, I now tell you (_confidentially_) that certain papers and
matters called in Ireland _custodiums_,[10] have bothered both me and my
brother Joseph, notwithstanding all his exertions for me as agent,
receiver, remitter, attorney, banker, auditor, and arranger-general;
which said custodiums have given up all my lands, in spite of Joe, to
the king, as trustee for a set of horse-jockies, Jews, mortgagees,
gamblers, solicitors, and annuity-boys—who have been tearing me to
pieces for twenty years past without my having the slightest suspicion
of their misdemeanors; and now, doctor, they have finally, by divers law
fictions, got _his majesty_ to patronise them.”


Footnote 10:

  A _custodium_ is a law proceeding in Ireland, not practised much any
  where else, and is vastly worse than even an “extent in aid.” By one
  fiction the debtor is supposed to owe money to the king:—by another
  “fiction,” the king demands his money;—and the debtor, by a third
  “fiction,” is declared a rebel, because he does not pay the king.—A
  commission of rebellion then issues in the name of the king against
  the debtor; and by a fourth “fiction,” he is declared an outlaw, and
  all his estates are seized and sequestered to pay _his majesty_. A
  receiver of every shilling belonging to the debtor is then appointed
  by the king’s chief baron of the exchequer; every tenant on the
  estates is served with the “fictions,” as well as the landlord; and a
  _debt_ of _one hundred pounds_ has been frequently ornamented with a
  bill of costs to the amount of _three thousand_ in the name of his
  majesty, who does not know the least circumstance of the matter.

  There was scarcely a gentleman in the county of Galway, formerly, but
  was as great an _outlaw_ as Robin Hood; with this difference, that
  Robin Hood might be _hanged_, and his majesty could only _starve_ the


“But, sir! sir!” interrupted the doctor.

“I assure you, however,” continued Sir John, placidly, “that my brother
Joe (whose Christian name—between you and me, doctor—ought to have been
Ulick, after Ulick the Milesian, if my mother had done him common
justice at his christening) is a long-headed fellow, and will promptly
bring those infernal custodium impostors into proper order.”

“But, sir, sir!” repeated the doctor.

“One fellow,” pursued the baronet, “hearing that Joe intended to _call
him out_ for laying on his papers, has stopped all law proceedings
already, and made a proper apology. The very name of Burke of Glinsk,
doctor, is as sounding as _Waterloo_, in the county of Galway.”

“Pardon me, Sir John,” said Doctor T——, “but what can all this have to
do with—”

“Never mind,” again interrupted the baronet, catching hold of one of the
doctor’s coat-buttons,[11] “never mind; I give you my word, Joe is a
steady, good, clever fellow, and looks two ways at every thing before he
does it—I don’t allude to the cast in his eye: a horse with a wall-eye,
you know, doctor, is the very lad for hard work!—ha! ha! ha!”


Footnote 11:

  How admirably does Horace describe the grievance of a _bore_ catching
  hold of your button, and making the proprietor a prisoner till his
  speech is expended. Doctor T—— told me that the satire came into his
  head whilst Sir John had him in hold, and that in his hurry to
  emancipate himself, he made a large cut in a new surtout, and quite
  spoiled its beauty.


The doctor could stand this no longer, and said, “I know nothing about
wall-eyed horses, Sir John.”—Indeed, being now hopeless, he made the
second of the three bows he had determined to depart with; but he found
his button still in custody between Sir John’s fingers, and was
necessitated to suspend his exit, or leave it behind him.

“A plan has occurred to me, doctor,” said the baronet, thoughtfully,
“which may not only liquidate my just and honourable debt to you for
attendance and operations, but must, if you are as skilful as I think
you are, eventually realise you a pretty fortune.”

This in a moment changed the countenance of the doctor, as a smouldering
fire, when it gets a blast of the bellows, instantly blazes up and
begins to generate its hydrogen. “And pray, sir,” asked the impatient
physician, “what plan may this be? what new _bank_ are you thinking of?”

“’Tis no _bank_,” said Sir John; “its a much better thing than any bank,
for the more you _draw_, the richer you’ll be.”

The doctor’s eyelids opened wide; his eyebrows became elevated, and he
drew his ear close to the proposer, that he might not lose a single word
of so precious an _exposé_.

“You know,” said Sir John, “though you are a Sarnion (Guernsey-man) by
birth, you _must_ know, as _all the world_ knows, that the name of the
Burkes or O’Bourkes (Irlandois), and their castle of Glinsk, have been
established and celebrated in Ireland some dozen centuries.”

“I have heard the name, sir,” said the doctor, rather peevishly.

“Be assured ’tis the very first cognomen in Ireland,” said Sir John.

“Possibly,” said the doctor.

“Nay, _positively_,” rejoined the baronet: “far more ancient than the
O’Neils, O’Briens, O’Flahertys, who indeed are comparatively _moderns_.
We were native princes and kings several centuries before even the term
Anno _Domini_ was used.”

“I will not dispute it, sir.”

“Nay, I can prove it. I had six and twenty quarters on my shield without
a blot upon either—save by one marriage with a d—d _Bodkin_ out of the
twelve tribes of Galway, about a hundred and eighty years ago. We never
got over that!”

“For Heaven’s sake, sir,” said Doctor T——, “do come to the point.”

“Pardon me,” said Sir John, “I am on the point itself.”

“As how?” inquired the other.

“Come here,” said Sir John, “and I will soon satisfy you on that head:”
and as he spoke he led him to the window, where three china cups full of
the baronet’s gore lay in regular order. “See! that’s the genuine
crimson stuff for you, doctor! eighteen ounces at least of it; the
richest in Europe! and as to colour—what’s carmine to it?”

The doctor was bewildered; but so passive, he stood quite motionless.

“Now,” continued Sir John, “we are bringing the matter to the point. You
can _guarantee_ this gore to be genuine Glinsk blood: it gushed
beautifully after your lancet, doctor, eh! didn’t it?”

“What of that, sir?” said Doctor T——: “really, Sir John, I can stay no

“You have much ordinary professional practice,” said the baronet—“I mean
exclusive of your noble patients in Rue Rivoli, &c.—visits, for
instance, to the Boulevard St. Martin, St. Antoine, Place de Bastile, De
Bourse, &c., which you know are principally peopled by brokers with
aspiring families; rich _négocians_, with ambitious daughters, &c., who,
if they were to give five hundred thousand francs, can’t get into one
fashionable _soirée_ for want of a touch of gentility—not even within
smell of sweet little Berry’s[12] under nursery-maids. Now,” said Sir
John, pausing a moment, “we’re at the point.”


Footnote 12:

  Sir John is the greatest eulogist of the Duchess of Berry, and has got
  the Legion of Honour for having given up his bed, blankets, and all,
  to the Duke of Berry, somewhere on the road, when they were both
  running away from Napoleon Bonaparte.


“So much the better,” said the man of medicine.

“I understand that there is a member of the faculty in Paris, who
undertakes the _transfusion of blood_ with miraculous success, and has
not only demonstrated its practicability, but insists that it may by
improvement be rendered sufficiently operative to harmonise and
amalgamate the different qualities of different species of animals. I am
told he does not yet despair of seeing, by _transfusion of blood_,
horses becoming the best mousers, cats setting partridges, and the
vulgarest fellows upon earth metamorphosed into gentlemen.”

“Pshaw! pshaw!” exclaimed Doctor T——.

“Now, I perceive no reason,” resumed Sir John, “why any man should
perform such an operation better than yourself: and if you advertise in
the _Petit Avis_ that you have a quantity of genuine Glinsk O’Bourke
_gore_ always at command, to transfuse into persons who wish to acquire
the _gentilities_ and the feelings of noblesse, without pain or patent,
my blood, fresh from the veins, would bring you at least a _Nap_ a
spoonful: and in particular proportions, would so refine and purify the
vulgar puddle of the _bourgeois_, that they might soon be regarded (in
conjunction with their money) as high at least as the half-starved
_quatrième_ nobility, who hobble down to their sugar and water at
_soirées_ in the fauxbourg St. Germain, and go to bed in the dark to
save candle-light.”

The doctor felt hurt beyond all endurance: he blushed up to his very
whiskers, sealed his lips hermetically—by a sardonic smile only
disclosing one of his dog-teeth, and endeavoured to depart: but the
button was still fast between Sir John’s fingers, who begged of his
victim not to spare his veins, saying, “that he would with pleasure
stand as much phlebotomy as would make a fortune for any reasonable

This was decisive: the doctor could stand it no longer; so snatching up
the toilet scissors, he cut the button clean off his new surtout, and
vanished without waiting ceremoniously to make the third bow, as had
always previously been his custom.

However, the baronet, when Joe (who should have been Ulick) afterward
sent him over some of the _dross_, made full metallic compensation to
the doctor,—and within this last month I met them walking together in
great harmony.

This incident, which I had known and noted long before, was then
repeated by Sir John in the doctor’s presence; and it affords the very
strongest proof what a truly valuable liquid genuine Irish gore is
considered by the chiefs of County Galway.

There is not a baronet in the United Kingdom who (with the very essence
of good-humour) has afforded a greater opportunity for notes and
anecdotes than Sir John Burke of Glinsk Castle and tilt-yard;—and no
person ever will, or ever can, relate them so well as himself.

Sir John Burke is married to the sister of Mr. Ball, the present
proprietor of Oatlands, commonly called the _Golden Ball_. I witnessed
the courtship; negotiated with the brother; read over the skeleton of
the marriage settlement, and was present at the departure of the baronet
and his new lady for Rome, to kiss the pope’s toe. I also had the
pleasure of hailing them on their return, as _le Marquis_ and _la
Marquise de Bourke_ of the Holy Roman Empire. Sir John had the _promise_
of a _principality_ from the papal see when he should be prepared to pay
his holiness the regulation price for it. At all events, he came back
highly freighted with a papal bull, a nobleman’s patent, holy relics,
mock cameos, real lava, wax tapers, Roman paving-stones, &c. &c.; and
after having been overset into the Po, and making the fortune of his
courier, he returned in a few months to Paris, to ascertain what fortune
his wife had;—a circumstance which his anxiety to be married and kiss
the pope’s toe had not given him sufficient time to investigate before.
He found it very large, and calculated to bear a good deal of cutting
and hacking ere it should quit his service—with no great probability of
his ever coaxing it back again. Sir John’s good temper, however, settles
that matter with great facility by quoting Dean Swift’s admirable
eulogium upon poverty:—“Money’s the devil, and God keeps it from us,”
said the dean. If this be orthodox, there will be more gentlemen’s souls
saved in Ireland than in any other part of his Britannic Majesty’s

Previous to Sir John’s marriage, Miss Ball understood, or rather had
formed a conception, that Glinsk Castle was placed in one of the most
cultivated, beautiful, and romantic districts of romantic Ireland, in
which happy island she had never been, and I dare say never will be.
Burke, who seldom says any thing without laughing heartily at his own
remark, was questioned by her pretty closely as to the beauty of the
demesne, and the architecture of the castle. “Now, Sir John,” said she,
“have you much dressed grounds upon the demesne of Glinsk?”

“Dressed, my love!” repeated Sir John, “why, my whole estate has been
nearly _dressed up_ these seven years past.”

“That’s very uncommon,” said Miss Ball; “there must have been a great
expenditure on it.”

“Oh, very great,” replied the baronet, “very great.”

“The castle,” said her future ladyship, “is, I suppose, in good order?”

“It ought to be,” answered Sir John; “for (searching his pockets) I got
a bill from my brother Joe of, I think, two hundred pounds, only for
nails, iron cramps, and holdfasts—for a single winter.”

The queries of Miss Ball innocently proceeded, and, I think, the replies
were among the pleasantest and most adroit I ever heard. The lady seemed
quite delighted, and nearly expressed a wish to go down to the castle as
soon as possible. “As Sir John’s rents may not come in instantly,” said
she, “I have, I fancy, a few thousand pounds in the bank just now, and
that may take us down and new-furnish, at least, a wing of the castle!”

This took poor Sir John dreadfully aback. Glinsk was, he told me,
actually in a tumbling state. Not a gravel walk within twenty miles of
it: and as to timber, “How the devil,” said he, “could I support both my
trees and my establishment at the same time?—Now,” he pursued,
“Barrington, my good friend, do just tell her what I told you about my
aunt Margaret’s ghost, that looks out of the castle window on every
anniversary of her own death and birth-day, and on other periodical
occasions. She’ll be so frightened (for, thank God! she’s afraid of
ghosts), that she’ll no more think of going to Glinsk than to America.”

“Tell her yourself, Sir John,” said I:—“nobody understands a romance
better; and I’m sure, if this be not a _meritorious_, it is certainly an
_innocent_ one.”

In fine, he got his groom to tell her maid all about _the ghost_: the
maid told the mistress, with frightful exaggerations: Sir John, when
appealed to, spoke mysteriously of the matter; and the purchase of
Glinsk Castle could not have induced Miss Ball to put her foot in it
afterwards. She is a particularly mild and gentlewomanly lady, and, I
fancy, would scarcely have survived a visit to Glinsk, even if the ghost
of Madam Margaret had not prevented her making the experiment.

                           SWEARING NO VICE.

English slang contrasted with Irish imprecation—The chase of St.
  Chrysostom, and his rescue—Meet garnish for an Hibernian
  anecdote—Futile attempts at imitation by English dramatists,
  &c.—Remarks of a puritan on the author and his book—A caution, and a
  shrewd way of observing it—Michael Heney, steward of the author’s
  father—His notions concerning swearing—Curious dialogue between him
  and the author—New mode of teaching children filial respect.

Though I have more than ordinary cause to be gratified by the reception
the first two volumes of this work so unexpectedly met with, and am
extremely grateful for that reception, yet I am well aware that certain
starched moralists may conceive, and perhaps, _primâ facie_, with
reason, that there is too much “imprecation,” and what the fastidious of
Bond-street call _vulgarity_ introduced into the Irish colloquies. I
admit that a person who has never been in the interior of Ireland, or
accustomed to the Irish people and their peculiarities, might naturally
think so. I therefore feel it a duty to such critics, to give them at
least one or two reasons why they should not consider Irish oaths
immoral, or Irish colloquy vulgar.

The outrageous blasphemy and indecency, so copious in the _slang_ of
England, with neither wit, point, or national humour, to qualify it,
might indeed disgust even the seven hundred imps whom the devil sent
into this world to capture St. Chrysostom.[13] The curses and
imprecations of Ireland are of a nature totally different. They have no
great variety; they are neither premeditated, nor acquired through
habits of dissipation. They are idiomatic, a part and parcel of the
regular language of the country, and repeated in other countries as a
necessary appendage to the humour of an Irish story, though they would
be utterly unadapted to any other people. Walter Scott’s delightful
writings, with all the native simplicity and idiomatic dialect of the
ancient Celtic, would be totally spoiled, for instance, had he mingled
or introduced in them the oaths and idioms indispensable as a seasoning
to Irish colloquy; an observation sufficiently illustrated by the absurd
and stupid attempts to imitate Irish phraseology made by English
dramatic mimics and grimacers.


Footnote 13:

  There is a manuscript of great antiquity in the library of the
  Vatican, which gives a full and circumstantial account of the chase
  and running down of St. Chrysostom by a legion of devils, and of his
  recapture by an inconsiderable number of saints, who came from heaven
  to the rescue.


Here I am quite prepared for the most severe criticism. “Upon my word
(the lank-haired puritan will say), this is a most dangerous and sinful
writer; holding out that an anecdote, if it be Irish, would lose its
relish if there were neither oaths nor imprecations tacked to it. No man
can, in the opinion of that immoral writer, repeat an innocent Irish
story, unless he at the same time calls down the wrath of Heaven upon
himself; and, moreover, upon such of his auditors as take any pleasure
in hearing him.”

I know two very young ladies who told me that their mammas directed them
to skim over any _improper_ parts of the Sketches;—and that they read
every word, to _find out_ those improper parts. The book, they said, was
extremely diverting; and as to the oaths, they never swore themselves,
and never would, and therefore reading _that part_ could do them no

My own notions respecting this Irish habit of imprecation were
illustrated many years ago by an actual dialogue with a man of low rank
in that country; and as our conversation bore upon a subject of which
scarce a day passes without reminding me, I have retained its import as
if it had taken place yesterday: and though, after an interval of more
than forty-five years, it is not to be expected I should repeat the
exact _words_ uttered, yet I really think my memory serves as to the
precise _sentences_.

We had got accidentally upon the topic; and I expressed my opinion, as I
have already stated it here, that these objectionable phrases were
merely idiomatic and involuntary—betraying no radical or intentional
vice. His notion went further; he apologised for the practice not only
statistically, but said, with characteristic fervour, that the genuine
Irish people could not “do without it.” “Many,” said he, “would not mind
what was said to them, unless there was a curse tacked on to the
direction. For instance, old Ned Doran, of Cherry Hill, ordered all his
children, male and female, neither to curse nor swear, as they regarded
their father’s orders; and the consequence was, the people all said they
were going to turn _swadlers_, and not a maid or a labourer would do a
farthing’s worth of work—for want of being _forced_ to do it in the
‘owld way.’”

The man I talked with was a character not very general in England, but
frequently met with among the Irish commonalty, whose acuteness of
intellect, naturally exceeding that of English labourers, is rather
increased by the simplicity of their ideas. Self-taught, they turn any
thing they learn to all the purposes that their humble and depressed
state can give room for.

Fortune had denied him the means of emerging from obscurity; and Michael
Heney was for many years the faithful steward of my father, living with
him to the period of his death. His station in life had been previously
very low; his education was correspondent; but he had from Nature a
degree of mental strength which operated in possessing him with a
smattering of every thing likely or proper to be understood by persons
of his grade. He was altogether a singularity, and would not give up one
iota of his opinions. To address him as a casuist, was the greatest
favour you could confer on Mick Heney; and the originality of his ideas,
and promptitude of his replies, often amused me extremely.

But for the detail of our dialogue:—

“Is it not extraordinary, Michael,” said I one day (as a great number of
labourers were making up hay in one of the meadows, and Michael and
myself were seated on a heap of it), “that those poor fellows can
scarcely pronounce a sentence without some oath to confirm, or some
deity to garnish it with?”

“Master Jonah, (he never said ‘please your honour’ to any body but his
master,) sure its their _only_ way of talking _English_. They can speak
very good _Irish_ without either swearing or cursing, because it’s their
own tongue. Besides, all their forefathers used to be cursing the
English day and night for many a hundred years; so that they never used
the Sassanagh tongue without mixing curses along with it, and now it’s
grown a custom, and they say that the devil himself could not break them
of it—poor crethurs!”

“I should think the devil won’t try, Mick Heney.”

“It’s no joke, Master Jonah.”

“But,” said I, (desirous of drawing him out,) “they never fail to take
the name of J—s on every silly occasion. Sure there’s no reason in

“Yes, but there is, Master Jonah,” said Heney: “in the owld time, when
the English used to be cutting and hacking, starving and burning the
poor Irish, and taking all their lands, cattle and goods from them, the
crethurs were always praying to Jesus and his holy Mother to save them
from the Sassanaghs: and so, praying to Jesus grew so _pat_, that now
they can’t help it.”

“But then, Michael,” said I, “the commandments!”

“Poo-o! what have the crethurs to do with the commandments? Sure it’s
the Jews, and not the poor Catholics, that have to do with them: and
sure the parliament men make many a law twice as strong as any
commandments; and the very gentlemen that made those said laws don’t
observe their own enactments, except it suits their own purposes—though
every ’sizes some of the _crethurs_ are hanged for breaking one or two
of them.”

Heney was now waxing warm on the subject, and I followed him up as well
as I could. “Why, Mick, I wonder, nevertheless, that your clergy don’t
put a stop to the practice: perpetually calling on the name of our
Redeemer, without any substantial reason for so doing, is certainly

“And what better name could they call on, Master Jonah?” said Heney.
“Why should the clergy hinder them? It’s only putting them in mind of
the name they are to be saved by. Sure there’s no other name could do
them a pennyworth of good or grace. It’s well for the crethurs they have
that same name to use. As father Doran says, pronouncing the glorified
name puts them in mind every minute of the only friend any poor Irish
boy can depend upon; and there can be no sin in reminding one of the
place we must all go to, and the Holy Judge we’ll be all judged by at
the latter end. Sure it’s not Sergeant Towler,[14] or the likes of him,
you’d have the crethurs swearing by, Master Jonah. He makes them
remember _him_ plentifully when he comes to these parts.”


Footnote 14:

  Toler, now Lord Norbury, of whom the common people had a great dread.


“And even the schoolmasters don’t punish young children for the same
thing,” remarked I.

“Why should they?” rejoined Michael Heney. “Sure Mr. Beal, though he’s a
Protestant, does not forbid it.”

“How so?”

“Why, because he says if he did, it would encourage disobedience to
their parents, which is by all clergy forbidden as a great sin as well
as shame.”

“Disobedience!” said I, in wonder.

“Yes; the fathers and mothers of the _childer_ generally curse and swear
their own full share every day, at any rate: and if the master told the
childer it was a great sin, they would consider their fathers and
mothers wicked people, and so despise and fly in their faces!”

“But, surely you are ordered not to take God’s name in vain?”

“And sure,” said Heney, “its _not_ in vain when it makes people believe
the truth; and many would not believe a word a man said in this country
unless he swore to it, Master Jonah.”

“But cursing,” persisted I, “is ill-natured as well as wicked.”

“Sure there’s no harm in cursing a _brute beast_,” said Heney, “because
there’s no soul in _it_; and if one curses a _Christian_ for doing a bad
act, sure its only telling him what he’ll get a taste of on the day of

“Or, perhaps, _the day after_, Michael Heney,” said I, laughing.

“The devil a priest in the county can tell that,” said Heney; “but,
(looking at his watch,) you’re playing your _pranks_ on me, Master
Jonah! the bells should have been rung for the mowers’ dinner half an
hour ago, and be d—d to them! The devil sweep them altogether, the idle

“Fie to yourself, Mr. Heney!” cried I: but he waited for no further
argument, and I got out, I really think, the reasons which they all
believe justify the practice. The French law makes an abatement of
fifteen years out of twenty at the gallies, if a man kills another
without premeditation: and I think the same principle may apply to the
involuntary assemblage of oaths which, it should seem, have been
indigenous in Ireland for some centuries past.

                         A BARRISTER BESIEGED.

Dinner-party at the Rev. Mr. Thomas’s—The author among the guests, in
  company with John Philpot Curran—General punctuality of the latter at
  dinner-time—His mysterious non-appearance—Speculations and
  reports—Diver, from Newfoundland—His simultaneous absence—The house
  searched—Discovery of a ghost, and its metamorphosis into Curran—A
  curious blockade—Its relief, and accompanying circumstances—Comments
  of the author.

The late Mr. Curran was certainly one of the most distinguished of
Irishmen, not only in wit and eloquence, but in eccentricity: of this
quality in him, one or two traits have been presented to the reader in
the former part of this work; and the following incident will still
further illustrate it.

The Reverend Mr. Thomas, whose _sobriquet_ in his neighbourhood was
“Long Thomas,” he being nearly six feet and a half high, resided near
Carlow, and once invited Curran and myself to spend a day and sleep at
his house on our return from the assizes. We accepted the invitation
with pleasure, as he was an old college companion of mine—a joyous,
good-natured, hospitable, hard-going divine as any in his county.

The Reverend Jack Read, a three-bottle parson of Carlow, with several
other jolly neighbours, were invited to meet us, and to be treated with
the wit and pleasantry of the celebrated Counsellor Curran, who was
often extremely fond of shining in that class of society.

We all arrived in due time;—dinner was appointed for five _precisely_,
as Curran always stipulated (wherever he could make so free) for the
punctuality of the dinner-bell to a single minute. The very best cheer
was provided by our host: at the proper time, the dishes lay basking
before the fire, in readiness to receive the several provisions all
smoking for the counsellor, &c. The clock, which, to render the cook
more punctual, had been that very noon regulated by the sundial, did not
on its part vary one second. Its hammer and bell melodiously sounded
_five_, and announced the happy signal for the banquet. All the guests
assembled in the dining-room, which was, in honest Thomas’s house, that
apartment which the fine people of our day would call a drawing-room—the
latter being then by no means regarded as indispensable in the
dwelling-house of a moderate gentlemen. The family parlour, in fact,
answered its purpose mighty well.

Every guest of the reverend host having now decided on his chair, and
turned down his plate, in order to be as near as possible to Counsellor
Curran, proceeded to whet his knife against the edge of his neighbour’s,
to give it a due keenness for the most tempting side of the luscious
sirloin, which by anticipation frizzed upon its pewter dish. Veal,
mutton, turkey, ham, duck, and partridge, all “piping hot,” were ready
and willing to leap from their pots and spits into their respective
dishes, and to take a warm bath each in its proper gravy. The cork-screw
was busily employed: the wine-decanters ornamented the four corners of
the well-dressed table, and the punch, jugged, and bubbling hot upon the
hearth-stone, perfumed the whole room with its aromatic potsheen odour.

Every thing bespoke a most joyous and protracted banquet;—but,
meanwhile, where was the great object of the feast?—the wheedler of the
petty juries, and the admonisher of the grand ones? Where was the great
orator, in consequence of whose brilliant reputation such a company was
collected? The fifth hour had long passed, and impatience became visible
on every countenance. Each guest, who had a watch, gave his fob no
tranquillity, and never were timekeepers kept on harder duty. The first
half-hour surprised the company; the next quarter _astonished_, and the
last _alarmed_ it. The clock, by _six_ solemn notes, set the whole party
surmising, and the host appeared nearly in a state of stupefaction. Day
had departed, and twilight was rapidly following its example, yet no
tidings of the orator: never had the like been known with regard to
Curran—punctuality at dinner being a portion of his very nature. There
are not more days in a leap year than there were different conjectures
broached as to the cause of my friend’s non-appearance. The people about
the house were sent out on the several roads to reconnoitre. He had been
seen, certainly, in the garden at four o’clock, but never after;—yet
every now and then a message came in to announce, that “an old man had
seen _a counsellor_, as he verily believed, walking very quick on the
road to Carlow.” Another reported that “a woman who was driving home her
cow met one of the counsellors going leisurely toward Athy, and that he
seemed very _melancholy_; that she had seen him at the ’sizes that
blessed morning, and the people towld her it was the great law preacher
that was in it.” Another woman who was bringing home some turf from the
bog, declared before the Virgin and all the Saints that she saw “a
little man in black with a stick in his hand going toward the Barrow;”
and a collough sitting at her own cabin door feeding the _childer_,
positively saw a “black gentleman going down to the river, and soon
afterward heard a great splash of water at the said river; whereupon,
she went _hot-foot_ to her son, Ned Coyle, to send him thither to see if
the gentleman was in the water; but that Ned said, sure enuff nothing
natural would be after going at that time of the deep dusk to the place
where poor Armstrong’s corpse lay the night he was murthered; and he’d
see all the gentlemen in the county to the devil (God bless them!)
before he’d go to the said place till morning early.”

The faithful clock now announced _seven_, and the matter became too
serious to admit of any doubt as to poor Curran having met his
catastrophe. I was greatly shocked; our only conjectures now being, not
_whether_, but _how_, he had lost his life. As Curran was known every
day to strip naked and wash himself all over with a sponge and cold
water, I conjectured, as most rational, that he had, in lieu of his
usual ablution, gone to the Barrow to bathe before dinner, and thus
unfortunately perished. All agreed in my hypothesis, and hooks and a
draw-net were sent for immediately to Carlow, to scour the river for his
body. Nobody, whatever might have been their feelings, _said_ a word
about dinner. The beef, mutton, and veal, as if in grief, had either
turned into broth, or dropped piecemeal from the spit; the poultry fell
from their strings, and were seen broiling in the dripping-pan. The cook
had forgotten her calling, and gone off to make inquiries. The
stable-boy left his horses; indeed, all the domestics, with one accord,
dispersed with lanterns to search for Counsellor Curran in the Barrow.
The Irish cry was let loose, and the neighbourhood soon collected; and
the good-natured parson, our host, literally wept like an infant. I
never saw so much confusion at any _dinner-table_. Such of the guests as
were gifted by Nature with keen appetites, suffered all the tortures of
hunger, of which, nevertheless, they could not in humanity complain; but
a stomachic sympathy of woe was very perceptible in their lamentations
for the untimely fate of so great an orator.

It was at length suggested by our reverend host that his great
Newfoundland dog, who was equally sagacious, if not more so, with many
of the parishioners, and rivalled, in canine proportion, the magnitude
of his master, was not unlikely, by diving in the Barrow, to discover
where the body lay deposited—and thus direct the efforts of the nets and
hookers from Carlow. This idea met with universal approbation; and every
body took up his hat, to go down to the river. Mary, a young damsel, the
only domestic who remained in the house, was ordered to call Diver, the
dog;—but Diver was absent, and did not obey the summons. Every where
resounded, “Diver! Diver!” but in vain.

New and multifarious conjectures now crossed the minds of the different
persons assembled:—the mystery thickened: all the old speculations went
for nothing; it was clear that Curran and Diver had absconded together.

At length, a gentleman in company mentioned the circumstance of a friend
of his having been drowned while bathing, whose dog never left his
clothes, on the bank, till discovered nearly dead with hunger. The
conjecture founded hereon was, however, but momentary, since it soon
appeared that such _could not_ be the case with Curran. I knew that he
both feared and hated big dogs;[15] and besides, there was no
_acquaintance_ between him and the one in question. Diver had never seen
the counsellor before that day, and therefore could have no personal
fondness for him, not to say, that those animals have a sort of
instinctive knowledge as to who likes or dislikes them, and it was more
probable that Diver, if either, would be an enemy instead of a friend to
so great a stranger. But the creature’s absence, at any rate, was
unaccountable, and the more so, inasmuch as he never before had wandered
from his master’s residence.


Footnote 15:

  Curran had told me, with infinite humour, of an adventure between him
  and a mastiff when he was a boy. He had heard somebody say, that any
  person throwing the skirts of his coat over his head, stooping low,
  holding out his arms and creeping along backward, might frighten the
  fiercest dog and put him to flight. He accordingly made the attempt on
  a miller’s animal in the neighbourhood, who _would never let_ the boys
  _rob the orchard_; but found to his sorrow that he had a dog to deal
  with who did not care which end of a boy went foremost, so as he could
  get a good bite out of it. “I pursued the instructions,” said Curran;
  “and, as I had no eyes save those in front, fancied the mastiff was in
  full retreat: but I was confoundedly mistaken; for at the very moment
  I thought myself victorious, the enemy attacked my rear, and having
  got a reasonably good mouthful out of it, was fully prepared to take
  another before I was rescued. Egad, I thought for a time the beast had
  devoured my entire _centre of gravity_, and that I never should go on
  a steady perpendicular again.” “Upon my word, Curran,” said I, “the
  mastiff may have left you your _centre_, but he could not have left
  much _gravity_ behind him, among the bystanders.”

  I had never recollected this story until the affair of Diver at Parson
  Thomas’s, and I told it that night to the country gentlemen before
  Curran, and for a moment occasioned a hearty laugh against him; but he
  soon _floored_ me, in our social converse, which whiled away as
  convivial an evening as I ever experienced.


Mary, the maid, was now desired to search _all_ the rooms and offices
for Diver, while we sat pensive and starving in the parlour. We were
speedily alarmed by a loud shriek, immediately after which Mary rushed
tottering into the room, just able to articulate:—

“O, holy Virgin! holy Virgin! yes, gentlemen! the counsellor _is_ dead,
sure enough. And I’ll die too, gentlemen! I’ll never recover it!” and
she crossed herself twenty times over in the way the priest had taught

We all now flocked round, and asked her simultaneously how she _knew_
the counsellor was dead?

Crossing herself again, “I saw his _ghost_, please your reverence!”
cried poor Mary, “and a frightful ghost it was! just out of the river,
and not even _decent_ itself. I’m willing to take my affidavy that I saw
his ghost, quite _indecent_, straight forenent me.”

“Where? where?” cried every body, as if with one breath.

“In the double-bedded room next your reverence’s,” stammered the
terrified girl.

We waited for no more to satisfy us either that she was mad, or that
robbers were in the house: each person seized something by way of a
weapon: one took a poker, another a candlestick, a third a knife or
fire-shovel, and up stairs we rushed. Only one could go in,
conveniently, abreast; and I was among the first who entered. The
candles had been forgotten; but the moon was rising, and we certainly
saw what, in the opinion of some present, corroborated the statement of
Mary. Two or three instantly drew back in horror, and attempted to
retreat, but others pressed behind; and lights being at length produced,
an exhibition far more ludicrous than terrific presented itself. In a
far corner of the room stood, erect and formal, and _stark naked_ (as a
_ghost_ should be), John Philpot Curran, one of his majesty’s counsel,
learned in the law,—trembling as if in the ague, and scarce able to
utter a syllable, through the combination of cold and terror. Three or
four paces in his front lay Diver, from Newfoundland, stretching out his
immense shaggy carcase, his long paws extended their full length, and
his great head lying on them with his nose pointed toward _the ghost_,
as true as the needle to the pole. His hind legs were gathered up like
those of a wild beast ready to spring upon his prey. He took an angry
notice of the first of us that came near him, growled, and seemed
disposed to resent our intrusion;—but the moment his master appeared,
his temper changed, he jumped up, wagged his tail, licked the parson’s
hand, cast a scowling look at Curran, and then a wistful one at his
master,—as much as to say, “I have done my duty, now do you yours:” he
looked, indeed, as if he only waited for the word of command, to seize
the counsellor by the throttle.

A blanket was now considerately thrown over Curran by one of the
company, and he was _put to bed_ with half a dozen more blankets heaped
upon him: a tumbler of hot potsheen punch was administered, and a second
worked miracles: the natural heat began to circulate, and he was in a
little time enabled to rise and tell us a story which no hermit even
telling his last beads could avoid laughing at. Related by _any one_, it
would have been good; but as told by Curran, with his powers of
description and characteristic humour, was superexcellent;—and we had to
thank Diver, the water-dog, for the highest zest of the whole evening.

The fact was, that a little while previous to dinner-time, Curran, who
had omitted his customary ablution in the morning, went to our allotted
bed-chamber to perform that ceremony; and having stripped, had just
begun to apply the sponge, when Diver, strolling about his master’s
premises to see if all was right, placed by chance his paw against the
door, which not being fastened, it flew open, he entered
unceremoniously, and observing what he conceived to be an extraordinary
and suspicious figure, concluded it was somebody with no very honest
intention, and stopped to reconnoitre. Curran, unaccustomed to so
strange a valet, retreated, while Diver advanced, and very significantly
showed an intention to seize him by the naked throat; which operation,
if performed by Diver, whose tusks were a full inch in length, would no
doubt have admitted an inconvenient quantity of atmospheric air into his
œsophagus. He therefore crept as close into the corner as he could, and
had the equivocal satisfaction of seeing his adversary advance and turn
the meditated _assault_ into a complete _blockade_—stretching himself
out, and “maintaining his position” with scarcely the slightest motion,
till the counsellor was rescued, and the siege raised.

Curran had been in hopes that when Diver had satisfied his _curiosity_
he would retire; and with this impression, spoke kindly to him, but was
answered only by a growl. If Curran repeated his blandishments, Diver
showed his long white tusks;—if he moved his foot, the dog’s hind legs
were in motion. Once or twice Curran raised his hand: but Diver,
considering that as a sort of challenge, rose instantly, and with a low
growl looked significantly at Curran’s windpipe. Curran, therefore,
stood like a _model_, if not much like a marble divinity. In truth,
though somewhat less comely, his features were more expressive than
those of the Apollo Belvidere. Had the circumstance occurred at Athens
to Demosthenes, or in the days of Phidias, it is probable my friend
Curran, and Diver, would have been at this moment exhibited in virgin
marble at Florence or at the Vatican;—and I am quite sure the _subject_
would have been better and more amusing than that of “the dying

                       GEORGE ROBERT FITZGERALD.

George Robert Fitzgerald and Mr. Richard Martin, M. P. for Galway—The
  “Prime Sergeant,” Lord Altamont’s wolf-dog—Shot by Fitzgerald—The
  circumstance resented by Mr. Martin—The latter insulted by his
  antagonist in the Dublin Theatre—Mission of Mr. Lyster to George
  Robert, and its disastrous consequences—A legal inquiry and strange
  decision—Meeting between the principals—Fitzgerald receives two shots
  without injury—Explanation of that enigma.

A very illustrative anecdote of the habits of former times is afforded
by the celebrated rencontre between George Robert Fitzgerald of Turlow,
member for Mayo, and Mr. Richard Martin of Connemara, member for Galway
county, which occurred nearly half a century ago. Both were gentlemen of
great public notoriety: both men of family and of fortune. But of all
the _contrasts_ that ever existed in human nature, theirs was in the
superlative degree; for modern biography does not present a character
more eminently vindictive and sanguinary than the one, or an individual
more signalised by active humanity and benevolence than the other.

With the chief of Connemara I have now been nearly forty years in a
state of uninterrupted friendship:—failings he has—“let him who is
faultless throw the first stone!” The character I should give of him may
be summed up in a single sentence. “Urbanity toward women; benevolence
toward men; and humanity toward the brute creation.” I must observe,
however, that he is one of those good fellows who would rather do any
body’s business than his own; and durst look any thing in the face
rather than his own situation. As to his _charity_, I cannot say too
much; as to his _politics_, I cannot say too little.

His unfortunate antagonist, Mr. Fitzgerald, has long since met his
miserable fate. Mr. Martin still lives; and seems to defy, from the
strength of his constitution, both time and the destroyer. If _ever_ he
should become defunct, there is not a bullock, calf, goose, or hack, but
ought to _go into deep mourning_ for him.

The virulent animosity and unfinished conflicts between these celebrated
personages once formed a subject of very general conversation. When the
bullets of holster pistols flatten against the ribs of a gentleman,
there can be no great use in fighting any more with _him_: it is better
to break fresh ground with some more vulnerable amateur; and as “fire
eating” was at the period I allude to in full taste and fashion, no
person who felt a _penchant_ for chivalry need wait a single hour for a
thrust. Every gentleman then wore his sword or _couteau de chasse_,
which there could be no trouble in drawing.

I was quite unacquainted with the true state of the quarrel between
these parties, or the facts of their rencontres; and have begged my
friend Martin to give me a circumstantial detail, lest I might mistake
and be called a “bouncer:” he was so obliging as to comply; and I
conceive that his Ms. statement is so perspicuous and fair, almost
amounting to perfect impartiality—in that conversational style, too,
best calculated for narrative,—that I determine to give it in nearly the
same words; and when it is combined with a few facts which I learned
from another friend, I venture to think that a better outline of Mayo
and Galway lords, commoners, judges, country gentlemen, and _fire
eaters_, cannot be found. As, however, there is nothing in it chivalrous
in the _ladies’_ way—the whole being about _hate_ with not one particle
respecting _love_, I fear it will not be a favourite sketch with the
gentler part of the creation. To make them amends, I’ll search my old
trunks, and find if possible some pretty sketch that has _nothing but
love_ or _marriage_ in it, which they shall have as well dressed and
garnished as they can reasonably expect from so old a _cuisinier_; and
now, with their kind permission, we will proceed to County Mayo.

“George Robert Fitzgerald, having a deadly hate to all the Brown family,
but hating most Lord Altamont, rode up one morning from Turlow to
Westport House, and asked to see the big wolf-dog called the ‘Prime
Sergeant.’ When the animal appeared, he instantly shot it, and desired
the servants to tell their master that ‘until the noble peer became
charitable to the wandering poor whose broken meat was devoured by
hungry wolf-dogs, _he_ would not allow any such to be kept.’ He,
however, left a note to say that he _permitted_ Lady Anne, Lady
Elizabeth, and Lady Charlotte Brown, each to keep one _lap-dog_.

“Proud of this exploit, he rode into Lord Sligo’s town of Westport, and
proclaimed in the marketplace that he had just shot the _Prime Sergeant_
dead. The whole town was alarmed; an uproar arose: but after some debate
among the wisest or rather the _stoutest_ people in the town, whether
George Robert Fitzgerald ought not to be arrested if possible for this
deliberate murder of Counsellor Brown; he quieted all by saying, ‘I have
shot a much worthier _animal_, the big watch-dog.’[16]


Footnote 16:

  The Prime Sergeant of the Irish bar was then Lord Sligo’s brother—a
  huge, fat, dull fellow; but the great _lawyer_ of the family. Prime
  Sergeant Brown was considered as an oracle by the whole county of
  Mayo: yet there could scarcely be found man less calculated to _tell
  fortunes_. The watch-dog was named after him.


“I was at this time much attached to the family; and debating in my own
mind how best to conduct myself toward my friends, I determined not to
tell George Robert my opinion, as it would be in effect to declare that
Lord Altamont wanted courage to defend his own honour. I therefore
resolved on seeking some more plausible ground of quarrel, which soon
presented itself; for at the summer assizes of Mayo, holden at
Castlebar, Charles Lionel Fitzgerald prosecuted his elder brother George
Robert for false imprisonment and savage conduct toward their father,
upon whom George Robert had fastened a chain and dray!

“The affair came on before Lord Carleton, and I volunteered in the only
cause I ever pleaded.[17]


Footnote 17:

  Mr. Richard Martin had been called to the Irish bar, as the eldest
  sons of the most respectable families of Ireland then were, not, as
  might be supposed, to practise for others, but with a supposition that
  they would thereby be better enabled to defend their own _territories_
  from judgments, mortgagees, custodiums, &c. &c., and to “stave off”
  vulgar demands, which if too speedily conceded, might beget very
  serious inconveniences.


“An affidavit was produced, stating that the father was _not_ confined.
I observed, ‘that Robert Fitzgerald had long notice of this cause coming
on; and that the best answer would be the _attendance_ of the father
when he was called as one of the magistrates in the commission for the
county of Mayo.’

“Remesius Lennon, a battered old counsellor, on the other side, observed
that the father was one of the worst men living, and that it would be
unjust to censure any son for confining such a public nuisance.

“I opposed putting off the trial of George Robert, and concluded to this
effect:—‘Though believing that, in course of a long life, this wretched
father had committed many crimes, yet the greatest crime against society
and the greatest sin against Heaven that he ever perpetrated, was the
having _begotten the traverser_.’

“On this, George Robert said, smiling, ‘Martin, you look very
healthy—you take good care of your _constitution_; but I tell you, that
you have this day taken very bad care of your _life_.’

“The trial went on; and it was _proved_, among a great number of other
barbarities, that the father _was_ chained by his son George Robert to a
dray, and at times to a muzzled bear: a respectable jury found the
traverser guilty; and Lord Carleton sentenced him to three years’
imprisonment, and to pay a fine to the king of five hundred pounds.

“‘Kissing’ at this time went ‘by favour;’ and Mr. Conally, the
brother-in-law of George Robert, obtained from the late Duke of
Buckingham, then Lord Lieutenant, the pardon and release of Fitzgerald.

“Some months after, I happened to pass through Castlebar, and learned
that Mr. Fitzgerald was in the town. I had heard of his denunciations,
but my determination was, neither to _avoid_ nor _seek_ my antagonist.
Desirous of ascertaining what I had to expect, I requested a friend to
call on him, and, after conversation on some ordinary subject, to say
that _I_ had been in the town.

“This was done, and George Robert answered, ‘that he hoped, whenever we
met, it would not be as _enemies_.’

“My friend reported this: but, on the whole, I thought it as well not to
seek any occasion of meeting a person who, I apprehended, might, so soon
after our dispute, be induced to depart from his pacific resolution; I
therefore proceeded on my journey to Dublin.

“Mrs. Crawford, I found, had been engaged to play for a few nights at
Crow Street theatre, and I determined to see her _Belvidera_. I had not
long taken my seat in the front row of the stage-box, when I heard a
noisy, precipitate step, and an order given in a commanding tone for the
box to be opened. I turned, and saw Mr. Fitzgerald, who took his place
on the next row. His look indicated rage, and I therefore left my place
in front, and took my seat on the same row with him. He stared for a
moment or two directly into my face, then turned away and laughed, on
which I asked, ‘Have you any thing particular to say to _me_, Mr.

“He answered, with a stern look of defiance—‘Only to tell you that I
followed you from Castlebar, to proclaim you the _bully_ of the

“‘You have said enough, Mr. Fitzgerald; you no doubt expect to hear from
me, and it shall be early in the morning.’

“‘_I_ shall hear from _you_ to-morrow!’ he repeated, contemptuously,
making, as he spoke, a blow at me, and adding, ‘this will refresh your
memory.’ He then pulled back his body from behind the curtain of the
box, and instantly retreated toward the lobby.

“My feet got entangled in the curtain when I rushed out to follow my
antagonist, and I fell upon the floor. The present Lord Howden, then
Major Craddock, kindly lifted me up. When on my feet, I sprang into the
lobby, which was crowded almost to an overflow. I uttered all that rage
could dictate, accused Fitzgerald of cowardice, and told him he had
created the present _scene_ in order that we should be both bound over
to the peace.

“‘You have got a blow,’ replied he: ‘I desire to disgrace you, and when
you are punished to my liking _that_ way (and not before) you shall have
the _satisfaction_ of being shot, or run through the body.’

“Next day, I met the late Lord Donoughmore, and he most kindly said, if
I required it, he would deliver a message to Fitzgerald. I said, ‘No, I
could not think of embroiling any friend of mine with such a fellow;
that I would wear my sword, and trust to my opportunities of meeting

“I watched his house closely for several days, but he did not appear. At
this critical moment, a Mr. George Lyster called upon me, and said he
would take my message to Fitzgerald.

“I answered, ‘that of all things I most desired to meet him; that I
found I could not unkennel the fox; and that I would thank whomsoever
should succeed in putting us face to face.’ I was, however, cautious of
employing Lyster, knowing him to be Fitzgerald’s cousin, and supposing
it possible he might have been employed by Fitzgerald himself: this
induced me to try him and to say, ‘As you have _offered_ to go to this
gentleman, I will thank you to appoint the _earliest moment_ for a

“Mr. Lyster drew not back, but went to his cousin’s house, and was
ushered by one of the servants into the drawing-room. Mr. Fitzgerald
shortly entered, and as soon as Mr. Lyster hinted his business, our hero
desired the footman to send one of the valets: when the latter entered,
Fitzgerald said, ‘Francis, bring my cudgel with the green riband.’ When
Fitzgerald got this weapon, he addressed his relative thus—‘How dare you
bring a _message_ to me? Hold out your finger with the diamond-ring upon
it!’ Poor Lyster obeyed, ignorant of his design, and with one blow
Fitzgerald broke the finger, and the band of the ring, which fell on the
floor. ‘Now,’ proceeded he, ‘I order you to take up the ring, and
present it to me.’ As if thunderstruck, Lyster obeyed. When Fitzgerald
got possession of the ring, he put it into paper, and returned it to
Lyster, saying, ‘Young fellow, take care of the ring! put it up very
safe, and don’t swear I robbed you of a present from some fair one.’

“This dialogue (recounted to me by Lyster himself) was followed by
several blows, which cut and battered the young man severely. At last,
he rushed to the window, drove his head through a pane of glass, and
cried out for assistance. The police, hearing the cry, soon assembled;
and not finding any of the city magistrates, they having seized both
parties, conducted them into the presence of Mr. Justice Robinson.

“The judge first heard Lyster, and seeing him severely bruised, and
supposing his skull might be fractured, declared that the prisoner could
not be bailed.

“Fitzgerald now, on the other hand, asked to have his examination
entered against Lyster. He stated, ‘that Lyster was his relative, and
protected by him, and that I had _influenced_ the young man to deliver a
message from me.’ He said, ‘that Mr. Lyster _had_ delivered such a
_message_: that _he_ had answered mildly, that he would not fight Mr.
Martin;’ whereon, (says Fitzgerald,) this young gentleman said, ‘Then
you must fight _me_.’ My answer was, that I would not fight _any man_;
on which,’ continued George Robert, ‘he made several blows of the cudgel
I hold in my hand’ (his own) ‘at me. I happened to be more dexterous
than my assailant, and was fortunate enough to take the weapon out of
his hands, and in my own defence was obliged to strike in turn, or I
should have been murdered.’

“The old judge, believing every word of so plausible a statement, said,
‘I have heard enough; I commit Lyster for trial, and bind over Mr.
Fitzgerald to prosecute; and I do so, expressing my approbation of Mr.
Fitzgerald’s manly conduct, in refusing to fight Mr. Martin, and thus
appealing for redress to the laws of his country.’

“Shortly after this curious scene, I heard that Fitzgerald was at
Castlebar, and had it intimated to him that I should be there. I
travelled with Mr. H. Flood[18] in his carriage, and he kindly offered
to be my friend, which I declined—fearing to have exposed him to some


Footnote 18:

  This was the celebrated Henry Flood, the antagonist of
  Grattan—certainly the ablest statesman of his day. He had himself
  fought more than once; and had killed Mr. Eager, the father of Lord
  Clifden, of Gowran.


“I had sent my duelling pistols by a fellow who got drunk on the road,
and forgot his errand;—so that I remained some hours at Lord Lucan’s
house, expecting in vain their arrival, during which period I heard that
Mr. Fitzgerald was parading the town with a number of persons from
Turlow, his own estate, famous for its mobs trained to every kind of
outrage.[19] I heard, too, that he said, I waited for Lord Altamont’s
carriage, which, observed he significantly, _would not arrive_. Here I
have to remark that I had written a note to Lord Altamont, to say that I
would gladly compound for a slight wound in the expected affair, and
that I requested his carriage might be in waiting for me at Castlebar,
which is only eight miles from Westport. George Robert had heard this,
and said to the mob, ‘Mr. Martin expects Altamont’s carriage, but he may
wait long enough; for though the horse is a brave animal, I fancy
Altamont’s are like the owner, and will not stand the smell of powder.’


Footnote 19:

  These were the gentry by whom the author was some time subsequently so
  closely beleaguered at the yarn fair at Castlebar, as hereafter


“These taunts reached me; and procuring a case of the common holster
pistols my servant rode with, I determined to use them: but they were so
stiff in the trigger that I could hardly let them off. I fastened on my
sword, and putting my hand under Doctor Merlin’s arm, walked into the
town, and soon saw Fitzgerald, followed by his mob. He too wore his
sword, and I instantly told him to draw. He answered that he was lame,
the pavement bad, and that he could not keep his footing; that I had
Lord Lucan’s mob on my side; and that, in short, he would not fight me.

“I then said, ‘You will find me in the barrack-yard, where I shall

“‘I shall be in no hurry, after having struck you for your pertness,’
said he.

“On this I flung a switch into his face, walked to the barrack, and got
sentries posted, with orders to keep out all persons but Mr. Fitzgerald
and his friend, whilst we should be fighting. He and Mr. Fenton soon
appeared: he had a good case of pistols in his hand, while I had the
wretched tools I named.

“I stood against a projecting part of the barrack wall, and desired Mr.
Fitzgerald to come as close as he pleased. He said a cannon would not
carry _so far_. I answered, ‘I will soon cure that, for I will now march
up until I lay my pistol to your face.’ I accordingly advanced, until
our pistols touched. We both fired: he missed me, but I hit him full in
the breast, and he fell back, supporting himself by a projection of
rock, and exclaiming, ‘Honour, Martin, honour!’

“I said,—‘If you are not disabled, I will wait as long as you choose!’

“At this moment, he couched treacherously like a cat, presented, fired,
and hit me. I returned the fire, and hit him: he again recovered, came
up, begged my pardon, asked to shake hands, and said, ‘Altamont has
caused all this, and now would not send you his carriage;—let us both
kick him!’

“Flood met me at the gate, and I leaned on him. I was taken to Doctor
Lendser’s, to have the wound dressed, but on the way desired my servant
to go with my compliments and inquire how Mr. Fitzgerald felt. Mr. Flood
said, ‘On no account make any inquiry, or, if he lives, you will have a
second fight.’ I was foolish, as will appear, and sent.

“I had not been many moments in bed when my hero entered the room with a
careful, timid step. He said, ‘Doctor, how do you find Mr. Martin?’ I
was quite surprised, but said, ‘I am very well, and hope you are not
badly hurt.’

“He then addressed me, and observed, ‘Doctor Merlin insulted me, and I
consider him a bully, and instrument of yours, and as such I will make
_you_ accountable.’

“I answered, ‘If I account with you, on a mutual understanding that
Doctor Merlin is beneath your notice, I shall have to fight him also for
such an imputation:—so put your renewed quarrel on some other ground. If
you say you did not ask my pardon, I will fight you again; or if you say
you are fond of such an _amusement_, I will fight ‘until my eyelids can
no longer wag.’

“‘Shall you be at Sligo?’ was Mr. Fitzgerald’s _reply_.

“I said, ‘It was not my present purpose; but if he _wished_ it, I would
be there, and that immediately.’

“He named the day, to which I assented. It was _reported_, but I cannot
vouch for the fact, that a party was sent to intercept and murder me.
Shortly after I reached Sligo, my opponent sent Sir M. Crafton to say,
that ‘Mr. Fitzgerald did not require any further renewal of the
quarrel;’ and thus the affair ended. My surprise at Fitzgerald’s being
alive and well, after having received two shots from _horse-pistols_
full upon him, was soon cleared up; he had _plated his body_ so as to
make it completely bullet proof. On receiving my fire, he fell from the
force of the balls striking him direct, and touching his concealed
armour.—My wound was in the body.

“The elegant and gentlemanly appearance of this man, as contrasted with
the savage treachery of his actions, was extremely curious and without
any parallel of which I am aware.”

                        RECRUITING AT CASTLEBAR.

Further particulars respecting George Robert Fitzgerald—His band of
  myrmidons—Proposal made to the author—He accedes to it, and commences
  the “recruiting service”—Hospitality at an Irish inn—Practical
  joking—The author’s success in enlisting George Robert’s
  outlaws—Serjeant Hearn and Corporal O’Mealy—Fair day at Castlebar—A
  speech, succeeded by “beating orders”—Mutiny among the new levies—The
  utility of hanks of yarn—An inglorious retreat, and renunciation, by
  the author, of the honours of a military life.

There were few men who flourished in my early days that excited more
general or stronger interest than Mr. George Robert Fitzgerald, of
Turlow, the principal object of the preceding sketch. He was born to an
ample fortune, educated in the best society, had read much, travelled,
and been distinguished at foreign courts: he was closely allied to one
of the most popular and also to one of the most eminent personages of
his own country; being brother-in-law to Mr. Thomas Conolly of
Castletown, and nephew to the splendid, learned, and ambitious Earl of
Bristol, Bishop of Derry:—yet, so powerfully did some demon seize upon
his mind, and—let us hope—disorder his intellect, that though its
starting was thus brilliant, his life presented one continuous series of
outrage, and his death was a death of ignominy.

I have neither space nor inclination to become his general
biographer;—in truth, he has never, to my knowledge, had any true
one.[20] Both his friends and enemies are now all nearly _hors de
combat_. I know but two contemporaries capable of drawing his portrait;
and in the words of one of these I have recited an anecdote not unworthy
of being recorded.—I always conceive that a writer characterising the
nearly exhausted generation of which he has been a contemporary,
resembles a general who dates dispatches from the field of battle,
wherein he details the actions and merits of his friends or enemies,
while the subjects of the bulletin lie gasping or quite dead before
him—and he himself only awaiting the fatal bullet which, even while he
writes, may send him to his comrades. This is my own case!


Footnote 20:

  I have read, in biographical books, George Robert Fitzgerald described
  as a great, coarse, violent Irishman, of ferocious appearance and
  savage manners. His person and manners were totally the reverse of
  this: a more polished and elegant gentleman was not to be met with.
  His person was very slight and juvenile, his countenance extremely
  mild and insinuating; and, knowing that he had a _turn_ for single
  combat, I always fancied him too _genteel_ to kill any man except with
  the _small_-sword.


The singular life, and miserable death of Mr. Fitzgerald form an
historic episode which the plan and character of this work will neither
admit of my detailing nor altogether passing over. The consideration of
his career and catastrophe arouses in the memory acts and incidents long
since erased from ordinary recollection, and thus, like a mirror,
reflects the manners of the age wherein he lived.

While George Robert Fitzgerald was undergoing a part of his sentence in
Newgate, Dublin,[21] his brother, Charles Lionel, got possession of the
house and demesne of Turlow, near Castlebar, County Mayo—one of the most
lawless places then in Ireland. George Robert, as hinted in the former
sketch, had armed and organised a band of desperadoes, who knew no will
but his, and had no desire but his pleasure. All men were in awe of
them, and the regular army alone was then held sufficient to curb their
outrages. When their leader was convicted and imprisoned their spirit
was somewhat depressed; but idleness and vice were by habit so deeply
engrafted in their minds, that peaceable or honest means of livelihood
were scouted by them. They were at length proclaimed outlaws; the
military chased them; and ultimately, a sort of treaty took place,
which, like our modern diplomatic negotiations, exhibited only one party
endeavouring to outwit the other. The desperadoes agreed to give up all
their wild courses on a promise of pardon; a great proportion declared
they would “take on” for a musket; and as the army had no objection to
receive robbers and murderers to fight for their king, country, and
religion, their offer was accepted.


Footnote 21:

  Having been tried and convicted of a most _unparalleled_ series of
  assaults upon, and imprisonment of, his own father, he was sentenced
  to three years’ imprisonment; but, as we have before stated, was
  pardoned (in six months), to the disgrace of the government.


About this time my military propensities were not totally extinguished,
but susceptible of being rekindled by proper stimuli—and Dean Coote,
brother to Sir Eyre Coote, then Commander-in-chief in India, sent to my
father, and made him what my family considered a magnificent
offer—namely, that one of his sons should forthwith receive a captain’s
commission in the East India Company’s service, on recruiting a hundred
men for that service, and for each of which recruits, if the number were
completed, twenty guineas should be paid on their being handed over to
the depôt in Dublin.

In acknowledgment of this flattering offer my father immediately
nominated me. I now almost fancied myself a nabob, or something better,
helping to plunder and dethrone a few of the native princes—then quite
plentiful, and considered fair game by the Honourable Company’s
servants, civil and military. I with joy accepted the proposition—fully
expecting, in four or five years, to return loaded with lacks of rupeés,
and carats of diamonds, and enabled to realise all my visions of
ulterior happiness. The Dean also sent me the “beating order” and
instructions, with a letter of introduction, and a strong recommendation
to Mr. Lionel Fitzgerald, then residing at Turlow, requesting he would
aid me in enlisting his brother’s outlaws for the Company’s service, of
whom above eighty had promised to accept the king’s money on terms of
pardon. All now went on prosperously; the tenants of Cullenagh brought
in every shilling they could rap or run, to set the young captain
a-spinning; and in a week I was on my road, through frost and snow, to
the county of Mayo: my father’s old huntsman, Matthew Querns, was
selected to attend me as being most _sensible_, at least among the
domestics of the family.

Matthew was attired in his best field clothing—namely, a green plush
coat, scarlet-laced waistcoat of old times, buckskin breeches, and a
black leather hunting cap. He carried my portmanteau, with my volunteer
broad-sword buckled to it, behind him, and his own hunting horn was
strapped by a belt about his middle:—this he sounded at every inn door,
as he said, to make us _respectable_.

I was mounted on a large _white_ horse called Friday, after Robinson
Crusoe’s _black_ boy. A case of huge holster pistols jogged before me,
and my cavalry coat-case behind, containing my toilet, flints, a bullet
mould, my flute, my beating order, with—to amuse leisure hours—a
song-book, and the Sentimental Journey (then in high vogue, being
totally new both in style and subject). Thus caparisoned and equipped,
the late Matthew Querns and the present Sir Jonah Barrington, set out,
fifty years ago, for the purpose of enlisting robbers and outlaws in
Mayo, to plunder gentoos in the Carnatic, and establish the Christian
religion on the plains of Hindostan.

At that period of my life, cold or fatigue was nothing when I had an
object in view; and at the end of the third day’s trotting we arrived,
through deep snow, bog roads, and after some tumbles (miserably tired),
at a little cabin at Hallymount, near the plains of Kilcommon, where
many a bloody battle had been fought in former times;—and as the ground
was too rocky to dig graves, thousands of human skeletons had been
covered up with stones—of which there is no scarcity in any,
particularly that part of Ireland. Our reception was curious; and as
affording an excellent idea of the species of inns and innkeepers then
prevalent in Ireland, I shall sketch one of the oddest imaginable places
of “entertainment for man and horse,”—which notification was written in
large letters over the door,—and the house certainly did not belie it.

The landlord was a fat, red-nosed, pot-bellied, jovial fellow, the very
emblem of goodnature and hospitality; he greeted me cordially before he
knew any thing about me, and said I should have the best his house
afforded, together with a hearty welcome (the welcome of an innkeeper,
indeed, is generally very sincere). He also told Matthew that he never
suffered his bin of oats in the stable to be closed, always leaving it
to gentlemen’s beasts to eat at their own discretion—as he’d engage they
would stop of themselves when they had got enough; and the more they eat
at one meal, the less they would eat the next—so he should be no loser.

The inn consisted of cabins on the ground-floor only, and a very good
hard dry floor it certainly was. The furniture was in character: but my
bed (if I were to judge from its bulk and softness) had the best
feathers of five hundred geese at least in it: the curtains had
obviously once been the property of some greater personage than an
innkeeper, as the marks of embroidery remained (on crimson silk), which
had been carefully picked out—I suppose to sell the silver. My host
begged I would not trouble myself as to dinner, as he knew what was good
for me after so bad a journey. He protested that, so far as poultry,
game, and lobsters went, no man in Mayo could beat him; and that he had
a vessel of Powldoody oysters, which was sent him by Squire Francis
Macnamara, of Doolan, for old acquaintance sake.

I promptly asked for a bottle of his best wine; but he told me he never
sold a _single_ bottle to a gentleman, and hoped I would have no
objection to two. Of course I acquiesced, though intending to dine alone
and only to drink the half of one. I was therefore surprised to see
shortly a spruce young maid-servant lay out the table for six persons,
with every thing in good order:—and on dinner coming in, my landlord
introduced his old wife, two smart pretty daughters, and his son, by no
means a “promising boy.” He uncorked both bottles at once, and no
persons ever fared more sumptuously. The wine, he said, was the finest
old claret, of the “real smuggling” by Sir Neil O’Donnel’s own cutter
called Paddy Whack, from the Isle of Man;—and Sir Neil (a baronet of
Newport) never sent a bad hogshead to any of his _customers_: his
honour’s brandy, likewise, was not a jot worse than his claret, and
always tasted best of a cold morning.

We had got deep into our second bottle, of which the ladies took a glass
each, while the young gentleman drank a bumper of brandy, when my host,
who knew every body and every thing local, gave me the life, adventures,
and character, of almost each person of note in that county, including
numerous anecdotes of George Robert, which originated in, and were
confined to the neighbourhood. He laughed so heartily at his own
stories, that it was impossible not to join him. Tea and hot cakes
followed; a roast goose, brandy punch, and old ale, made the supper, and
I retired to bed hearty and careless.

Next morning I was roused rather early by a very unexpected guest,
namely, a hen, which having got into my room, layed a couple of eggs at
once on my coat, which lay beside me; and then, as hens accustom
themselves to do, (and it is no bad practice,) she gave as loud and
protracted a notice of her _accouchement_ as her voice could furnish.

I immediately rose, brought out my two eggs to our breakfast-table, and
was expressing my surprise at the circumstance, when Miss Betty Jennings
winked, and whispered me that it was a standing joke of her
father’s.—The breakfast was nearly as good as the dinner had been the
previous day; and on procuring my bill, I found I was charged eighteen
pence for dinner, eighteen pence for claret, tenpence for my horses,
sixpence for my breakfast, and nothing for the rest, though Matthew
Querns had got dead drunk, my horses were nearly bursting, and I was
little better myself. My host told me, when a guest who would drink with
him had a bottle of claret, he always indulged in one himself; and that
if I had drunk two, he should have thought it mighty uncivil if he had
not done the same. I left his house with an impression that he was the
most extraordinary innkeeper I had ever met with, and really bade adieu
to himself and his daughters with regret.[22]


Footnote 22:

  Both Mr. Jenning’s daughters were pretty and pleasant girls. I
  observed Miss Betty mending silk stockings, which was rather odd at
  the plains of Kilcommon. I told her I fancied she was kind-hearted,
  and had an uncommon degree of sense for her years, and she firmly
  believed me. I made her a present of the “Sentimental Journey,” which
  I had in my coat-case. I construed the French for her (except two
  words): and on my return she told me it had taught her what
  _sentiment_ was; that she found she had a great deal of sentiment
  herself, but did not know the name of it before; and that she would
  always keep the book in kind remembrance of the donor.


Arriving in the course of the day at Turlow, I found that the whole
family were at Castle Magarret; but Mr. Fitzgerald had got a letter
about me, and all was ready for my reception. I found I was left to the
care of one Hughy Hearn, who had been a serjeant of the band, but had
changed sides and come over to Mr. Lionel at Turlow, after losing one of
his arms in some skirmish for George Robert. I did not know who Hughy
was at the time, or I should have kept aloof from him.

“Mr. Hearn,” said I, next day, “have you a gun in the house? I should
like to go out.”

“I have, captain,” said he.

“Have you powder and shot?” said I.

“No powder,” said Hughy. “I fired all I had left of it last night at a
man whom I saw skulking about the road after nightfall.”

“Did you hit him?” asked I, rather alarmed.

“I can’t say,” replied Hughy: “there was only one bullet _in it_, and
it’s not so easy to shoot a man with a single bullet when the night is
very dark—and I’m hard set to aim with one arm, though I dare say I all
as one as _scratcht_ him, for he cried out, ‘Oh! bad luck to you,
Hughy!’ and ran down the cross lane before I could get the other double
to slap after him.”

I immediately set about recruiting the outlaws with the utmost activity
and success. I appointed Hughy Hearn, who had but one arm, my
drill-serjeant, and a monstrous athletic ruffian of the name of O’Mealy,
my corporal, major, and inspector of recruits. I found no difficulty
whatsoever in prevailing on them to take my money, clap up my cockade,
get drunk, beat the towns-people, and swear “true allegiance to King
George, Sir Eyre Coote, and myself.” This was the oath I administered to
them, as they all seemed zealous to come with me; but I took care not to
tell them _where_.

The kindness and hospitality I meanwhile received at Turlow, from Mr.
and Mrs. Fitzgerald, was extremely gratifying: nobody could be more
interesting than the latter. There I met two remarkable persons of that
country—George Lyster, whose finger was broken by George Robert
Fitzgerald, as previously mentioned, and a little, decrepid sharp-witted
dog, called George Elliston, who afterward challenged me, and threatened
Counsellor Saurin, because we did not succeed in a bad cause of his in
the King’s Bench, wherein we had taken his briefs without fees, as a
matter of kindness to a pretended sufferer.

In less than a fortnight I had enlisted between fifty and sixty able,
good-looking outlaws; and as my money was running low, I determined to
march off my first batch of fifty men, three serjeants, and three
corporals, for Dublin, and having placed them in depôt there, to return
and make up my number with a replenished purse.

To give my march the greater éclat, I chose a market-day of Castlebar
whereon to parade and address my company. There happened to be also a
fair of linen yarn, and the street was crowded with cars laden with
hanks of yarn of different sizes and colours. Having drawn up my men, I
ordered each one to get a bumper of whisky; after which, taking off
their hats, they gave three cheers for King George, Sir Eyre Coote, and
Captain Barrington. I then made them a speech from the top of a car. I
told them we were going to a place where the halfpennys were made of
gold; where plunder was permitted by the Honourable Company, and the
officers taught their men how to avail themselves of this permission;
where robbery and murder were not hanging matters, as in Ireland; where
women were married at nine years’ old, and every soldier had as many
wives as he could keep from starving, with a right to rob the rich, in
order to support a barrack full of them.

In short, I expatiated on all the pleasures and comforts I purposed for
them; and received in return three more cheers—though neither so long or
loud as I could have wished; and I perceived a good deal of whispering
among my soldiers which I could not account for, save by the pain they
might feel in taking leave of their fellow-robbers, as was natural
enough. I was, however, soon undeceived, when, on ordering them to
march, one said aloud, as if he spoke for the rest, “March _is it_?
march, then, _for fat_?”

Observing their reluctance to quit Castlebar, I felt my young, slight,
and giddy self swell with all the pride and importance of a martinet; I
almost fancied myself a giant, and my big recruits mere pigmies. “Here,
serjeant,” said I arrogantly to Hughy Hearn, “draw up those _mutineers_:
fall in—fall in!” but nobody fell in, and Serjeant Hearn himself fell
_back_. “Serjeant,” pursued I, “this moment arrest Corporal O’Mealy,
he’s the ringleader.”

“He won’t _let_ me, captain,” replied Serjeant Hearn.

“’Tis your captain’s command!” exclaimed I.

“He says your honour’s no captain at all,” said Hughy Hearn; “only a
slip of a _crimp_, nothing else but a gaoler’s son, that wants to sell
the boys like _negers_, all as one as Hart and the green linnets in
Dublin city.”

My choler could no longer be restrained:—I drew my broadsword, and vowed
I would divide the head of the first man that refused to march. “I’ll
teach these mutineers to obey his majesty’s commission and officer,”
said I.

Corporal O’Mealy and two others then took off their hats, and coming up
to me, said with great good-humour and civility, “Well, captain dear,
you’ll forgive and forget a joke from your own boys, so you will. Sure
’twas nothin else but a parting joke for the fair, your honour! Arrah!
put up that sliver of yours: sure it looks nasty in the fair, to be
drawing your falchion on your own recruits, captain.”

I had no suspicion; and the hanger was scarce secure in its scabbard,
when some of my soldiers came behind me, and others in front, and I was
completely surrounded. “I’ll show you all that I am a captain, and a
true captain,” continued I. “Here, serjeant! bring me my beating

“_Beating_—Ough! is _that_ what you’d be at?” said Corporal O’Mealy, who
now assumed the command. “Ough! if it’s ‘beating’ you want, by my sowl
you’ll be easily satisfied without Hughy Hearn’s orders.”

I could stand it no longer: I could not run away if I wished; a crowd
was collecting around me, and so I sprang at the smallest of the
recruits, whom I thought I could master, and seized him by the throat;
but a smart crack given with a hank of linen yarn by some hand behind
soon made me quit my prey; another crack from another quarter quickly
followed. I turned round to see my executioners, when I was suddenly
wheeled back by the application of a third hank. This _cracking_, like a
_feu de joie_, increased every moment, and was accompanied with
vociferous laughs. In short, they pounded me almost to a jelly with
hanks of linen yarn, which lay ready to their hands on all the cars
around us. At length, stooping down between two cars, I had the pleasure
of seeing the whole of my recruits, drawn up by O’Mealy—for it appeared
he was their _real captain_—march regularly by me, every fellow in turn
saluting any part of me he thought proper with a hank of yarn;—and with
a shout I still remember of “A George! a George! long life to our
colonel!” they quitted the fair—as I learned, to take forcible
possession of a house and farm from which one of them had been
ejected—which feat I afterward heard they regularly performed that very
night, with the addition of _roasting_ the new proprietor in his own

Though I had no bones broken, some of my flesh took pretty much the
colour and consistence of what cooks call aspic jelly. I was placed on a
low garron, and returned to Turlow at night, sick, sore, and sorry.
There I pretended I was only _fatigued_, and had taken cold; and after
experiencing the kind hospitality of Mrs. Fitzgerald—then a most
interesting young lady—on the fourth day, at an early hour of a frosty
morning, old Matthew Querns and I mounted our horses, without my having
obtained any thing more for my trouble, and money spent in the
recruiting service, than a sound beating. A return carriage of Lord
Altamont’s having overtaken me on the road, I entered it, and was set
down at the little inn at Hallymount, where I remained some days with
Mr. Jennings and family, recovering from my bruises, and sighing over
the wreck of my fondly anticipated glories as a renowned colonel at the
head of my regiment, plundering a pagoda and picking precious stones out
of an idol. But, alas! having lost all the remaining cash out of my
pocket during the scuffle at Castlebar, instead of a _lac_ of _rupees_,
I found myself labouring under a complete _lack_ of _guineas_, and was
compelled to borrow sufficient from Candy, the innkeeper at Ballynasloe,
to carry me home by easy stages. Thus did my military ardour receive its
definitive cooling: no ice-house ever chilled champaign more
effectually. I, however, got quite enough of hospitality at Turlow, and
quite enough of thrashing at Castlebar, to engraft the whole
circumstances on my memory.

This journey gave me an opportunity of inspecting all the scenes of Mr.
George Robert Fitzgerald’s exploits. The cave in which he confined his
father, showed to me by Hughy Hearn, was concealed by bushes, and
wrought under one of the old Danish moats, peculiar, I believe, to
Ireland. Yet, in the perpetration of that act of brutality, almost of
parricide, he kept up the singular inconsistency of his character. Over
the entrance to the subterraneous prison of his parent a specimen of
classic elegance is exhibited by this inscription graven on a stone:

                    Intus ager dulces—vivoque
                    Sedilia Saxo—Nympharumque domus.

                            A NIGHT JOURNEY.

Mr. Fitzgerald’s agent and attorney—Capriciousness of courage—Jack tar,
  his intrepidity—New lights—Sailors and saints—Description of Mr.
  T—— —His temerity in court and timorousness out of it—Regularly
  retained by Fitzgerald—Starts with him on a journey to
  Turlow—Travelling companions—The eloquent _snore_—Mr. T——’s
  apprehensions—A daylight discovery—Double escape of the solicitor—His
  return to Dublin—Mr. Brecknock, his successor—Fate of that
  individual—The “murderer murdered.”

Mr. T——, a solicitor of repute in Dublin, had been selected by George
Robert Fitzgerald to transact all his law and other business, as his
attorney and agent.

The choice was extremely judicious:—Fitzgerald had made a secret vow,
that while he existed, he never would encourage such a nest of
_tricksters_ and _extortioners_ as attorneys, by paying _any_ bill of
cost, right or wrong, long or short; and to carry this pious vow into
full execution, so far as regarded _one_ attorney, he could not have
made a better selection than that above stated.

There are few qualities of the human mind more capricious than courage;
and I have known many instances in my passage through life, wherein men
have been as courageous as a lion on one occasion, and as timorous as a
little girl on others. I knew an English general who had never failed to
signalise himself by intrepidity and contempt for death or fracture when
engaged with the enemy, and was yet the most fearful being in the world
lest he should be overset in a mail-coach. I have known men ready to
fight any thing by daylight, run like hares in the night-time from the
very same object. The capriciousness of courage is, indeed, so
unaccountable, that it has ever been to me a source of amusing
reflection. Not being myself of a very timorous disposition, and though
I cannot say I ever experienced great fear of actual death in any proper
reasonable way by the hands of a Christian—nay, even should it be a
doctor—I always felt the greatest dread of getting a bite from the teeth
of a mastiff, and never passed the heels of a horse without experiencing
strong symptoms of cowardice. I always felt much stouter by daylight too
than in the night-time.

I have ever observed that the courage of _sailors_ is, of all other
species, the most perfect. I scarce ever met a common sailor that had
_any_ sense of danger; the two most tremendous elements, fire and water,
they totally disregard, and defy hurricanes and cannon, as if they were
no more than _Zephyrs_ or _Catherine-wheels_. They have not the same
chance of getting away with soldiers from their combats:—a sailor cannot
rest one second from fighting till the battle is ended; and a few years’
experience of burning, sinking, bombarding, blasting, and blowing up,—of
thunder, lightning, and shipwreck,—ossifies the _nerves_, or rather
changes them into _muscles_, and renders habit second nature. The
sailor, therefore, acquires a constitutional contempt for danger in all
its ramifications, while the soldiers’ battles are _comparatively_
quiet, regular transactions, and their generals take themselves
carefully out of the fray if they imagine they are getting the worst of

I have always, in fact, conceived that the noblest fighting ever
invented was a sea battle, and the most intrepid animal in the creation,
a British sailor. How far the new lights, in changing their natural
_rum_ into _hot water_, their _grog_ into _bohea tea_, and their _naval
dialect_ into _methodistical canting_, may increase their courage (which
was already ample), is for the projectors to determine. Our naval
victories over the whole world proved that no change of liquids was
necessary: when any thing cannot be _improved_, alteration is injurious;
and I cannot help thinking that one sailor sending his compliments by a
cabin-boy to a brother tar, requesting the “honour of his company to
take a dish of _tea_ with him after _prayers_,” is perfectly ridiculous.
God send it may not be worse than ridiculous!—You may man your fleet
with _saints_: but remember, it was the old _sinners_ that gained your

But to recover from one of my usual digressions: I must now advert,
though in a very different point of view, to the bravery of _attorneys_,
and exemplify the species of capriciousness I allude to in the person of
Mr. T——. There was not another solicitor or practitioner in the four
courts of Dublin, who showed more fortitude or downright bravery on all
_law_ proceedings. He never was known to flinch at any thing of the
kind; would contest a _nisi prius_ from morning till night without sense
of danger; and even after a defeat, would sit down at his desk to draw
out his bill of costs, with as much _sang froid_ as a French general, in
Napoleon’s time, would write despatches upon a drum-head in the midst of

Yet, with all this fortitude, he presented a singular example of the
anomaly I have alluded to. Nature had given him a set of nerves as
strong as chain cables, when used in mooring his clients’ concerns; and
it seemed as if he had another and totally different set (of the nature
of packthread) for his own purposes. His first set would have answered a
sailor, his last a _young lady_; in plain English, he would sooner lose
a good bill of costs, than run a risk of provoking any irritable country
gentleman to _action_. In such cases he was the most mild, bland, and
humble antagonist that a debtor could look for. Such (and, I repeat,
most judiciously chosen) was the attorney of George Robert Fitzgerald.
In person he was under the middle proportion;—and generally buttoned up
in a black single-breasted coat, with what was then called a flaxen
Beresford bob-wig, and every thing to match. I remember him well, and a
neat, smug, sharp, _half-century_ man he was.

This gentleman had been newly engaged by Mr. Fitzgerald to prepare
numerous leases for his desperadoes; to serve ejectments on half his
reputable tenantry; to do various other acts according to law, with a
high hand in the county of Galway; and to go down with him to Turlow, to
see that all was duly executed. The several preparations for these
things were of a very expensive description, and therefore the attorney
would fain have had a little _advance_ toward stamps, office-fees, &c.:
but on remotely hinting this, Mr. Fitzgerald replied (with one of those
mild, engaging modes of muzzling people in which he was so great a
proficient), “Surely, Mr. T——, you don’t doubt my honour and
punctuality,”—which kind expression he accompanied by such a look as
that wherewith the serpent is said to fascinate its prey.

This expressive glance brought down Mr. T—— to the exclamation—“O Lord,
Mr. Fitzgerald, doubt your honour! O not at all, sir. I only, Mr.
Fitzgerald, only—”

Here George Robert, with a bland smile, and graceful motion of the hand,
told him, “that he need say _no more_,” and desired him to make out his
bill of costs in full, to have it ready receipted, and so soon as they
arrived among Mr. Fitzgerald’s tenantry at Turlow, Mr. T—— might be
assured he’d pay him off entirely _without taxing_.

Mr. T—— was quite charmed, expressed his satisfaction, and declared his
readiness to accompany his client to Turlow, after a few days’
preparation in engrossing leases, having one thousand five hundred
ejectments filled up, and other preliminaries. “And be so good,” said
Mr. Fitzgerald, “to include in your bill, this time, all the expenses of
your former journey to Turlow (where I fear you were badly
accommodated), as well as what may be due upon every other account. I
intend to settle all at once.”

Mr. T—— was still more delighted:—all matters were prepared, the bills
of costs reckoned, with a full acquittance and discharge for the whole
(except the date) at the conclusion, to prevent delay or cavil; all the
leases, ejectments, &c. were duly packed in a trunk, and the day fixed
for setting out for Turlow; when Mr. Fitzgerald sent for the attorney,
and told him, that if his going down was previously known, there were
several of the tenants and others, under the adverse influence of his
father and brother, who would probably abscond; and that therefore,
since spies were watching him perpetually, to give notice in the county
of his every movement, it was expedient that he should set out two or
three hours before day-break, so as to have the start of them. That his
own travelling carriage should be ready near the gate of the Phœnix
Park, to take up Mr. T——, who might bring his trunk of papers with him
thither in a hack carriage, so that there may be no suspicion.

All this was both reasonable and proper, and accordingly done. Mr.
Fitzgerald’s carriage was on the spot named, near the wall of the Phœnix
Park. The attorney was punctual; the night pitch-dark; and the trunk of
papers put into the boot; the windows were all drawn up; Mr. T—— stepped
into the carriage with as great satisfaction as ever he had felt in his
whole lifetime, and away they drove cheerily, at a good round pace, for
the county of Galway.

Mr. T—— had no idea that any body else was coming with them—Mr.
Fitzgerald not having at all mentioned such a thing. He found, however,
a third gentleman in a travelling cloak sitting between himself and his
client, who was dozing in the far corner. This stranger, too, he found
not over-courteous; for though the carriage was not very roomy, and the
gentleman was bulky, he showed no disposition whatever to accommodate
the attorney, who begged him, with great suavity and politeness, to
“move a little.” To this he received no reply, but a snoring both from
the strange traveller and Mr. Fitzgerald. Mr. T—— now felt himself much
crowded and pressed, and again earnestly requested “the gentleman” to
allow him, if possible, a little more room: but he still only received a
snore in return. He now concluded that his companion was a low, vulgar
fellow. His nerves became rather lax: he got alarmed, without well
knowing why; he began to twitter—the twitter turned into a shake; and,
as is generally the case, the shake ended with a cold sweat, and Mr. T——
found himself in a state of mind and body far more disagreeable than he
had ever before experienced. The closeness and pressure had elicited a
hot perspiration on the one side; while his fears produced a cold
perspiration on the other: so that (quite unlike the ague he had not
long recovered from) he had hot and cold fits at the same moment. All
his apprehensions were now awakened: his memory opened her stores; and
he began to recollect dreadful anecdotes of Mr. Fitzgerald, which he
never before had credited, or indeed had any occasion to remember. The
ruffians of Turlow passed as the ghosts in Macbeth before his
imagination. Mr. Fitzgerald he supposed was in a fox’s sleep, and his
_bravo_ in another,—who, instead of receding at all, on the contrary
squeezed the attorney closer and closer. His respiration now grew
impeded, and every fresh idea exaggerated his horror; his surmises were
of the most frightful description; his _untaxed costs_, he anticipated,
would prove his certain death, and that a cruel one! neither of his
companions would answer him a single question, the one replying only by
a rude snore, and the other by a still ruder.

“Now,” thought Mr. T——, “my fate is consummated. I have often heard how
Mr. Fitzgerald cut a Jew’s throat in Italy, and slaughtered numerous
creditors while on the grand tour of Europe. God help me! unfortunate
solicitor that I am! my last day, or rather night, is come!”

He thought to let down the window, and admit a little fresh air, but it
was quite fast. The whole situation was insupportable; and at length he
addressed Mr. Fitzgerald, most pathetically, thus: “Mr. Fitzgerald, I’ll
_date the receipt_ the moment you choose; and whenever it’s your
_convenience_, I have no doubt you’ll pay it most honourably; no doubt,
no doubt, Mr. Fitzgerald! but not necessary at all till perfectly
_convenient_—or _never_, if more agreeable to you, and _this other

Fitzgerald could now contain himself no longer, but said, quite in
good-humour, “Oh, very well, Mr. T——, very well: quite time enough; make
yourself easy on that head.”

The carriage now arrived at Maynooth, where the horses were instantly
changed, and they proceeded rapidly on their journey—Mr. Fitzgerald
declaring he would not alight till he reached Turlow, for fear of

The attorney now took courage, and very truly surmising that the other
gentleman was a _foreigner_, ventured to beg of Mr. Fitzgerald to ask
“his friend” to sit _over_ a little, as he was quite _crushed_.

Mr. Fitzgerald replied, “That the party in question did not speak
English;—but when they arrived at Killcock, the matter should be better

The attorney was now compelled, for some time longer, to suffer the
_hot-press_, inflicted with as little compunction as if he were only a
sheet of paper; but on arriving at the inn at Killcock, dawn just
appeared; and Mr. Fitzgerald, letting down a window, desired his
servant, who was riding with a pair of large horse-pistols before him,
to rouse the people at the inn, and get some cold provisions and a
bottle of wine brought to the carriage: “And, Thomas,” said he, “get
five or six pounds of raw meat, if you can—no matter of what kind—for
this _foreign gentleman_.”

The attorney was now petrified:—a little twilight glanced into the
carriage, and nearly turned him into stone. The stranger was wrapped up
in a blue travelling cloak with a scarlet cape, and had a great white
cloth tied round his head and under his chin;—but when Mr. Solicitor saw
the _face_ of his companion, he uttered a piteous cry, and involuntarily
ejaculated, “Murder! murder!” On hearing this cry, the servant rode back
to the carriage-window and pointed to his pistols. Mr. T—— now offered
his soul up to God, the stranger grumbled, and Mr. Fitzgerald, leaning
across, put his hand to the attorney’s mouth, and said, he should direct
his servant to give him _reason_ for that cry, if he attempted to alarm
the people in the house. Thomas went into the inn, and immediately
returned with a bottle of wine and some bread, but reported that there
was no raw meat to be had—on hearing which, Mr. Fitzgerald ordered him
to seek some at another house. The attorney now exclaimed again, “God
protect me!”—Streaming with perspiration, his eye every now and then
glancing toward his mysterious companion, and then starting aside with
horror, he at length shook as if he were relapsing into his old ague;
and the stranger, finding so much unusual motion beside him, turned his
countenance upon the attorney. Their cheeks came in contact, and the
reader must imagine—because it is impossible adequately to describe—the
scene that followed. The stranger’s profile was of uncommon prominence;
his mouth stretched from ear to ear; he had enormous grinders, with a
small twinkling eye; and his visage was all bewhiskered and mustachoed,
more even than Count Platoff’s of the Cossacks.

Mr. T——’s optic nerves were paralysed, as he gazed instinctively at his
horrid companion; in whom, when he recovered his sense of vision
sufficiently to scrutinise him, he could trace no similitude to any
being on earth save a _bear_!

And the attorney was quite correct in this comparison; it was actually a
Russian bear, which Mr. Fitzgerald had _educated_ from a cub, and which
generally accompanied his master on his travels. He now gave bruin a rap
upon the nose with a stick which he carried, and desired him to hold up
his head. The brute obeyed: Fitzgerald then ordered him to _kiss_ his
_neighbour_; and the beast did as he was told, but accompanied his
salute with such a tremendous roar, as roused the attorney (then almost
swooning) to a full sense of his danger. Self-preservation is the first
law of Nature, and at once gives courage, and suggests devices. On this
occasion, every other kind of law—civil, criminal, or equitable—was set
aside by the attorney. All his ideas, if any he had, were centred in one
word—“escape;” and as a weasel, it is said, will attack a man if driven
to desperation, so did the attorney spurn the menaces of Mr. Fitzgerald,
who endeavoured to hold and detain him. The struggle was violent, but
brief; bruin roared loud, but interfered not. Horror strengthened the
solicitor; dashing against the carriage-door, he burst it open; and
tumbling out, reeled into the public-house,—then rushing through a back
door, and up a narrow lane that led to the village of Summer-hill (Mr.
Roly’s demesne), about two miles distant, he stumbled over hillocks,
tore through hedges and ditches, and never stopped till he came
breathless to the little alehouse, completely covered with mud, and his
clothes in rags. He there told so incoherent a story, that the people
all took him for a man either bitten by a mad-dog or broken loose from
his keepers; and considered it their duty to _tie_ him, to prevent his
_biting_ or other mischief. In that manner they led him to Squire
Roly’s, at the great house, where the hapless attorney was pinioned and
confined in a stable for some hours till the squire got up. They put
plenty of milk, bread, butter, and cheese into the _manger_, from the
cock-loft above, to prevent accidents as they said.

Thus situated, Mr. T—— had leisure to come somewhat to his recollection,
so as to be able to tell the story rather rationally to Mr. Roly, when
he came to examine him—being held fast by four men while under
interrogation; the result of which nearly killed old Roly with laughter.
The attorney was now released, invited into the house to clean himself,
and supplied with a surtout coat and hat; and after offering as many
thanksgivings as could be expected from a solicitor of those days, for
his providential escape, he had a comfortable breakfast provided; and at
his earnest desire, Mr. Roly sent one of his carriages, and two armed
servants, with him to his own house in Dublin, where he safely arrived
in due season.

This adventure was circulated throughout Dublin with rapidity (as every
thing comical then was), but with many variations and additions; and I
remember it a standing story in every company that relished a joke.

It was some months before Mr. T—— wholly recovered from his terror; and
several clients, who lost their causes, attributed their failures to the
bear having turned the brain and injured the legal capacity and
intellect of their lawyer. However, as a proof of the old adage, that
“whatever is, is right,” this very adventure in all probability saved
Mr. T—— from being hanged and quartered (as will immediately appear). So
terrific did the very idea of George Robert Fitzgerald appear to him
afterward, that he never ventured to ask him for the amount of his bill
of costs, and _gave_ him (in a negative way) all the leases, ejectments,
and papers—together with his wardrobe, and a trifle of cash contained in
his trunk which was left in the carriage.

Mr. Fitzgerald, having long had a design to put one Mr. M‘Donnell, of
his county, _hors du combat_, for some old grudge, determined to seek an
opportunity of doing it under the colour of M‘Donnell’s illegal
resistance to a law process, which process Mr. T—— had (innocently)
executed; in which case the attorney would, of course, as sportsmen say,
“be in at the death.”

After the affair of the bear, no attorney or other legal man would
entrust himself at Turlow;—it was, therefore, some time before Mr.
Fitzgerald could carry the above purpose into execution;—when, at
length, he found an old lawyer, who, with the aid of Mr. T——’s said
ejectments, leases, &c. struck out a legal pretence for _shooting_ Mr.
M‘Donnell, which would probably have been fathered upon poor Mr. T—— if
the bear had not stood his friend and packed him off to Summerhill
instead of Turlow. As it was, this man (whose name was Brecknock), who
acted for Fitzgerald as agent, adviser, attorney, &c. was hanged for his
pains, as an accessory before the fact, in giving Mr. Fitzgerald a
_legal_ opinion; and Mr. Fitzgerald himself was hanged for the murder,
solely on the evidence of his own groom, Scotch Andrew, the man who
really _committed_ it, by firing the fatal blunderbuss.

There can be no doubt he deserved the death he met; but there is also no
doubt he was not legally convicted; and old Judge Robinson, then
accounted the best lawyer on the bench, sarcastically remarked, that
“the murderer was murdered.”

This incident had escaped both my notes and memory, when it was fully
revived by the affair between my good old friend, Richard Martin of
Connemara, and Mr. Fitzgerald, described in a preceding sketch, and
originating in the latter yoking his own father in a dray by the side of
that very bear.

                              MARTIAL LAW.

Law in Ireland half a century ago—Its delay remedied, but not its
  uncertainty—Principal and Interest—Eustace Stowell and Richard
  Martin—Valuable _precedents_—A bloodless duel—High sheriffs and their
  _Subs_—Irish method of serving a writ—Cases of warranty—Messrs. Reddy
  Long and Charley White—The latter guarantees an unsound horse to the
  author—Zeal of a _second_—Mr. Reddy Long’s valuable legacy to Sir
  Jonah Barrington.

The administration of the law among gentlemen in Ireland fifty years
back, is curiously illustrated by the following little narrative, the
circumstances whereof have been communicated to me from such a quarter
as not to admit of their being doubted.

Our laws, in their most regular course (as every body knows, who has had
the honour and happiness of being much involved in them), are neither so
fleet as a race-horse, nor so cheap as water-cresses. They indisputably
require eloquent advocates and keen attorneys;—who expound, complicate,
unriddle, or confuse, the respective statutes, points, precedents, and
practice, of that simple science, which too frequently, like a
burning-glass, consumes both sides of what it shines upon.

Some prudent and sensible gentlemen, therefore, principally in the
country parts of Ireland (who probably had bit upon the bridle), began
to conceive that justice ought to be neither so dear nor so tardy; and
when they reflected that what were called their “barking irons” brought
all ordinary disputes to a speedy termination—why, thought they, should
not these be equally applicable to matters of law, property, and so
forth, as to matters of honour? At all events, such an application would
be incalculably _cheaper_, than any taxed bill of costs, even of the
most conscientious solicitor.

This idea became very popular in some counties, and, indeed, it had
sundry old precedents in its favour,—the writ of right and trial by
battle having been originally the law of the land, and traditionally
considered as far the most honourable way of terminating a suit. They
considered, therefore, that what was lawful one day, could not be justly
deemed unlawful another, and that by shortening the process of
distributing justice, they should assist in extending it. The old jokers
said, and said truly, that many a cause had been decided to a _dead_
certainty in a few minutes, by simply touching a trigger, upon which
attorneys, barristers, judges, jurors, witnesses, and sometimes all the
peers of the realm, spiritual and temporal, had been working and
fumbling for a series of years without bringing it even to an
_un_satisfactory issue.

My old and worthy friend, “Squire Martin,” afforded a most excellent
illustration of this practice; and as all the parties were “gentlemen to
the backbone,” the anecdote may be deemed a _respectable_ one. I have
often heard the case quoted in different companies, as a beneficial mode
of ensuring a compromise. But the report of my friend makes it any thing
but a _compromise_ on his part. The retrograding was no doubt on the
part of _the enemy_, and equally unequivocal as Moreau’s through the
Black Forest, or that of the ten thousand Greeks, though neither so
brave nor so bloody as either of them.

I name place, parties, cause, proceedings, and final judgment—just as I
received these particulars from the defendant himself; and I consider
the case as forming a very _valuable precedent_ for corresponding ones.

Eustace Stowell, Esq. challenger.

Richard Martin, Esq. acceptor.

Operator for the challenger, D. Blake, Esq.

Operator for the acceptor, Right Honourable St. George Daly, late judge
of the King’s Bench, Ireland.

_Case as reported by Defendant._

Eustace Stowell lent me a sum of money on interest, which interest I had
not paid _very_ regularly. Mistaking my means, I promised to pay him at
a certain time, but failed. He then called on me, and said I had broken
my word. I answered, “Yes, I have, but I could not help it. I am very
sorry, but in a few days will satisfy the demand.” Accordingly, my
worthy friend the late Earl of Mountjoy accepted my bills at three and
six months for the whole amount.

Having arranged the business thus, I enclosed the bills to Mr. Eustace
Stowell, who immediately returned them, saying, that as I had broken my
word, he would accept of no payment but hard money.

I replied that I had no hard money, nor was there much of it afloat in
my part of the country; upon which Mr. Eustace Stowell immediately sent
his friend to me, requiring me either to give him cash or _personal
satisfaction_; and in the latter event, to appoint time and place. My
answer was, that I did not want to shoot him unless he _insisted_ upon
it; but that as to _cash_, though Solomon was a wise man, and Sampson a
strong one, neither of them could pay ready money if they had it not. So
I prepared to engage him: my friend the Right Honourable St. George
Daly, since judge of the King’s Bench, assisted in arranging
preliminaries to our mutual satisfaction, and pretty early next morning
we met to _fight out_ the debt in that part of the Phœnix Park called
the Fifteen Acres.

Every thing proceeded regularly, as usual. Our pistols were loaded, and
the distance measured, eight yards from muzzle to muzzle. I stepped on
my ground, he on his. I was just presenting my pistol at his body, when,
having, I suppose, a presentiment that he should go somewhere out of
this world if I let fly at him, he instantly dropped his weapon, crying
out, “Mr. Martin! Mr. Martin! a pretty sort of _payment_ this! You’d
shoot me for my interest money, would you?”

“If it’s your _pleasure_, Mr. Eustace Stowell,” said I, “I certainly
will; but it was not my desire to come here, or to shoot you. You
insisted on it yourself: so go on, if you please, now we are here.”

“What security will you give me, Mr. Martin,” said he, “for my interest

“What I have offered you already,” said I.

“And what’s that?” demanded Mr. Stowell.

“I offered you Lord Mountjoy’s bills at three and six months,” said I.
Before I had time to finish the last words Mr. Stowell cried out,
“Nothing can be better or more reasonable, Mr. Martin; I accept the
offer with pleasure. No better payment can be. It is singular you did
not make this offer _before_.”

“I think,” said I, “you had better take your ground again, Mr. Eustace
Stowell, for I tell you I _did_ make this offer before, and may be you
don’t like so plump a contradiction. If not, I’m at your service. Here
is a letter under your own hand, returning the bills and declining to
receive them. See, read that!” continued I, handing it him.

“Bless me!” said he, “there must be some great misunderstanding in this
business. All’s right and honourable. I hope the whole will be
forgotten, Mr. Martin.”

“Certainly, Mr. Stowell,” replied I: “but I trust you’ll not be so hard
to please about your interest money in future, when it’s not convenient
to a gentleman to pay it.”

He laughed, and we all four stepped into the same carriage, returned the
best friends possible, and I never heard any thing irritating about his
interest money afterward.

                  *       *       *       *       *

This case, however, was only a simple one on the _money counts_—a mere
matter of _assumpsit_, in which all the gross and ungentlemanly legal
expressions used in law declarations on _assumpsits_ were totally
avoided—such as “intending thereby to deceive and defraud:”—language
which, though _legal_, a Galway gentleman would as soon eat his horse as
put up with from his equal—though he would bear it from a shopkeeper
with sovereign indifference. When such a one, therefore, was sued in
_assumpsit_ for a horse or so by a gentleman, the attorney never let his
client read the law declaration—the result of which would be injurious
to two of the parties at least, as one of the litigants would probably
lose his life, and the attorney the litigation. The foregoing cause was
conducted with as much politeness and decorum as could possibly be
expected between four high well-bred persons, who, not having “the fear
of God before their eyes,” but, as law indictments very properly set
forth, “being moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil,” had
congregated for the avowed purpose of committing or aiding in one or
more wilful and deliberate murders.

I must here observe that, in addition to the other advantages this mode
of proceeding between gentlemen had over that of courts of justice, a
certain principle of equity was understood to be connected with it.
After a gentleman was regularly called out, and had duly fought the
challenger respecting any sum of money, whether the trial ended in death
or not, after a single shot the demand was extinguished and annulled for
ever: no man can be sued twice for the same debt. Thus, the challenger
in a money case stood in rather an unpleasant situation—as, exclusive of
the chance of getting a _crack_, the money was for ever gone, whether
his adversary lived or died—unless, indeed, the acceptor, being a
“gentleman _every inch of him_,” might feel disposed to waive his

But this short, cheap, and decisive mode of terminating causes was not
confined to simple money counts; it extended to all actions at law and
proceedings in equity. The grand old procrastinators of Irish
courts—_demurrers_ and _injunctions_—were thus dissolved or obviated by
a _trigger_, in a shorter time than the judges took to put on their wigs
and robes. Actions also of trover, assault, trespass, detenu, replevin,
covenant, &c. &c. were occasionally referred to this laudable branch of
jurisprudence with great success, seldom failing of being finally
decided by seven o’clock in the morning.

The system was also resorted to by betters at cock-fights, horse-races,
or hurlings; as well as on account of breaches of marriage-contracts
with sisters, nieces, or cousins; or of distraining cattle, beating
other gentlemen’s servants, &c. &c.: but none were more subject to the
_trigger process_ than high sheriffs when their year was over, if they
had permitted their _subs_ to _lay on_ (as they called it) such things
as executions, _fieri facias_, or _scire facias_, _haberes_, &c.; or to
molest the person, property, or blood relations, of any _real_ and
spirited gentleman in his own bailiwick, or _out of it_.

The high sheriff being thus, by the laws of custom, honour, and the
country gentlemen of Ireland, subject to be either shot or horsewhipped,
or forced to commit a breach of public duty, very fortunately discovered
an antidote to this poison in the person of his sub-sheriff—an officer
generally selected from the breed of country attorneys. Now, it was an
invariable engagement of the _sub_ that he should keep, guarantee, and
preserve his _high_ from all manner of injury and annoyances. But as it
was by common accord decided, that a sub-sheriff could not possibly be
considered a _gentleman_, none such would do him the honour of fighting
him. Yet, being necessitated to adopt some mode of keeping the _high_
out of the fangs of fire-eaters, and himself from a fracture by the
_butt-end_ of a loaded whip, or the welts of a cutting one, or of having
his “seat of honour” treated as if it were a foot-ball, the _sub_ struck
out a plan of preventing any catastrophe of the kind—which plan, by aid
of a little smart affidavit, generally succeeded extremely well in the
superior courts.

When the sub-sheriff received a writ or process calculated to annoy any
gentleman (_every inch of him_, or _to the backbone_), he generally sent
his bailiff at night to inform the gentleman that he had such a writ or
process, hoping the squire would have no objection to send him the
little fees on it with a small _douceur_, and he would pledge his word
and honour that the squire should hear no more about the matter for that
year. If the gentleman had not by him the amount of the fees (as was
generally the case), he faithfully _promised_ them, which being
considered a debt of _honour_, was always, like a gambling debt,
entitled to be earliest paid. Upon this, the sub, as soon as he was
forced to make a return to such writs, did make a very sweeping
one—namely, that the defendant had neither “body nor goods.” This was,
if required, confirmed by the little smart affidavit; and if still
doubted by the court, the _sub_ never wanted plenty of _respectable_
corroborating bailiffs to kiss _their thumbs_, and rescue the _high_ out
of any trifling dilemma that “his honour might get into through the
Dublin people, bad luck to them all! root and branch, dead or alive,” as
the country _bums_ usually expressed themselves.

Of the general application of this decisive mode of adjudicating cases
of warranty and guarantee, I can give a tolerably clear example in my
own proper person. When very young, I was spending a day at a cottage
belonging to Mr. Reddy Long, of Moat, near Ballyragget, a fire-eater,
when one Mr. Charley White sold me a horse for ten guineas, which he
warranted sound, and which seemed well worth the money. Next day, when
the seller had departed, the beast appeared to my host (not to me) to
limp somewhat, and the dealing had thereby the appearance of jockeyship
and false warranty—which occurring in the house of a fire-eater,
rendered the _injury_ an _insult_, and was accounted totally
unpardonable. I knew, that if the beast were really lame, I could oblige
the seller to return the money; and accordingly told my host that if it
turned out unsound, I’d get John Humphreys, the attorney, to write to
Charley White to _refund_.

“An _attorney_ write to a _gentleman_!” said Reddy Long, starting and
staring at me with a frown. “Are you out of your wits, my neat lad? Why,
if you sent an attorney in an affair of horse-flesh, you’d be damned in
all society—you’d be out of our list, by—”

“Certainly,” said I, “it’s rather a small matter to go to law about,”
(mistaking his meaning).

“Law! Law!” exclaimed Reddy, “Why, thunder and oones! _jockeying_ one is
a personal insult all the world over, when it’s a _gentleman_ that
resorts to it, and in the house of another gentleman. No, no; you must
make him give up the _shiners_, and _no questions asked_, or I’ll have
him out ready for you to shoot at in the meadows of Ahaboe by seven in
the morning. See here!” said he, opening his ornamented mahogany
pistol-case, “see, the boys are as bright as silver; and I’m sure if the
poor things could speak, they’d thank you for getting them their
liberty: they have not been out of their own house these three months.”

“Why, Reddy Long,” said I, “I vow to God I do not want to _fight_;
there’s no reason for my quarrelling about it. Charley White will return
my money when I ask him for it.”

“That won’t do,” said Reddy: “if the horse limps, the insult is
complete; we must have no bad precedents in this county. One gentleman
warranting a _limper_ to another in _private_ is a gross affront, and a
hole in his skin will be indispensable. At fairs, hunts, and
horse-races, indeed, its ‘catch as catch can;’ there’s no great
dishonour as to beasts in the open air. That’s the rule all the world
over. Law, indeed! no, no, my boy, ten guineas or death—no sort of
alternative! Tom Nolan,” continued he, looking out of the window,
“saddle the pony;—I’ll be with Charley White of Ballybrophy before he
gets home, as sure as Ben Burton!”

“I tell you, Mr. Long,” said I, rather displeased, “I tell you I don’t
want to fight, and I won’t fight. I feel no insult yet at least, and I
desire you not to deliver any such message from me.”

“You do!” said Reddy Long, “you do!” strutting up and looking me
fiercely in the face. “Then, if you won’t fight _him_, you’ll fight
_me_, I suppose?”

“Why so?” said I.

“What’s that to you?” said he; but in a moment he softened and added,
taking me by the hand, “My good lad, I know you are a mere boy, and not
up to _the ways_ yet; but your father would be angry if I did not make
you do yourself justice; so come, get ready, my buck, to canter off to
Denny Cuff’s, where we’ll be more handy for to-morrow.”

I persisted in desiring him not to deliver any hostile message; but in
vain. “If,” said he, as he mounted his pony, “you won’t fight, I must
fight him myself, as the thing occurred in my house. I’ll engage that,
if you did not call out Charley, all the bullock-feeders from Ossory,
and that double-tongued dog from Ballybrophy at the head of them, would
_post_ you at the races at Roscrea.”

Before I could expostulate further Mr. Reddy Long galloped off with a
_view holloa_, to deliver a challenge for me against my will[23] to Mr.
Charley White, who had given me no provocation. I felt very uneasy;
however, off I rode to Cuffsborough, where I made my complaint to old
Denny Cuff, whose daughter was married to Reddy Long, and whose son
afterward married my sister.


Footnote 23:

  I had made an unbending rule, for which I was dreadfully teased in the
  country, never to fight or quarrel about horse-flesh.


Old Cuff laughed heartily at me, and said, “You know Charley White?”

“To be sure I do,” said I; “a civil and inoffensive man as any in

“That’s the very reason Reddy will deliver a challenge to him,” said

“’Tis an odd reason enough,” answered I.

“But a right good one too,” rejoined old Cuff.—“Reddy knew that Charley
would rather give _fifty_ yellow boys than stand _half_ a shot, let
alone a _couple_. I’ll answer for it Reddy knows what he is about:” and
so it proved.

My self-elected second returned that evening with Charley White’s groom,
to take back the horse; and he brought me my ten guineas. On my thanking
him, and holding out my hand to receive them, after a moment’s
hesitation, he said, “You don’t want them for a day or two, do you?”

Taken completely by surprise, I answered involuntarily, “No.”

“Well, then,” said my friend Reddy, “I am going to the races of Roscrea,
and I won’t give you _the ten_ till I come back. It’s all one to you,
you know?” added he, begging the question.

It was _not_ all one to me: however, I was too proud or rather silly to
gainsay him, and he put the pieces into his purse with a number of
similar companions, and went to the races of Roscrea, where he was soon
disburdened of them all, and contracted sundry obligations into the
bargain. I was necessitated to go home, and never saw him after. He died
very soon, and bequeathed me an excellent chestnut hunter, called Spred,
with Otter, a water-dog of singular talents. I was well pleased when I
heard of this; but, on inquiry, found they were _lapsed legacies_, as
the horse had died of the glanders a year before, and the dog had run
mad, and was hanged long ere the departure of his master. I suppose,
when death was torturing poor Reddy, (for he died of the gout in his
head,) he forgot that the horse had been then skinned more than a

                        BULLETIN EXTRAORDINARY.

The author and Counsellor Moore laid by the heels at Rock House—Dismal
  apprehensions—A recipe and recovery—The _races_ of Castlebar—The
  author forms a party to visit the spot—Members of the party
  described—Serjeant Butler and the doctor—Differences of _opinion_—The
  serjeant’s bulletin of the famous battle of Castlebar.

After fifteen days of one of the hottest election contests I had ever
witnessed, I accompanied my friend, Counsellor Moore, to his aunt’s,
(Mrs. Burke of Rock House, Castlebar,) where plenty, hospitality, and
the kindest attentions would have soon made amends for our past
misfortunes.—But ill luck would not remit so suddenly:—we had both got a
Mayo _chill_ on us, from the effects whereof, not even abundance of good
claret and hot punch could protect us.

We had retired to rest after a most joyous festivity, when Moore (who
had not been two hours in bed) was roused by the excruciating tortures
of an inflammation of the stomach; and in less than half an hour after I
heard his first groan, I found my own breath rapidly forsaking me; pins
and needles seemed to be darting across my chest in all directions, and
it was quite clear that another _inflammation_ had taken a fancy to _my
lungs_ without giving the slightest notice. I could scarcely articulate,
though my pains were not so very great as those of my poor friend: but I
lost half the power of respiring, and had not even the consolation of
being able to moan so loud as he. This was truly mortifying; but I
contrived to thump strongly against the wainscot, which being hollow,
proved an excellent _conductor_. The family took for granted that the
house was on fire, or that some thief or ghost had appeared; and, roused
up by different conjectures, its members of each sex, age, and rank,
quickly rushed into our room screeching, and jostling each other, as
they followed the old man-servant, who, with a hatchet in his hand, came
on most valiantly. None waited for the ceremony of the toilet; but
approached just as they had quitted their couches—not even a “blanket”
being “in the alarm of fear caught up.”

The first follower of the old footman was a fat cook of Mrs. Burke’s,
Honor O’Maily, who, on learning the cause of the uproar, immediately
commenced clearing herself from any suspicion of _poisoning_; and
cursing herself, without any reservation as to saints and devils, if the
victuals, as she dressed them, were not sweet, good, and right
wholesome: her pepper and salt, she vowed, had been in the house a
fortnight before, and both the fritters and pancakes were fried in _her
own drippings_!

Honor’s exculpatory harangue being with some difficulty silenced, a
hundred antidotes were immediately suggested: Mrs. Burke, an excellent
woman, soon found a receipt at the end of her cookery book for curing
all manner of poisons (for they actually deemed us poisoned), either in
man or beast; and the administration of this recipe was approved by one
Mr. Dennis Shee, another family domestic, who said “he had been
_pysoned_ himself with some love-powders by a young woman who wanted to
marry him, and was cured by the very same stuff the mistress was going
to make up for the counsellors; but that any how he would run off for
the doctor, who to be sure knew best about the matter.”

It was now fully agreed, that some of Denis Brown’s voters had got the
poison from a witch at Braefield,[24] out of spite, and all the servants
cried out that there was no luck or grace for any real gentleman in that
quarter from the time George Robert was hanged.


Footnote 24:

  In old times, Braefield near Turlow had been noted for witches,
  several of whom had been burned or drowned for poisoning cattle,
  giving love-powders to people’s _childer_ ere they came to years of
  maturity, and bestowing the shaking ague on every body who was not
  kind to them. When I was at Turlow, they showed me near Braefield five
  high granite stones stuck up in the midst of a green field, which they
  called “the Witches of Braefield.” They said there was a witch under
  every one of these, buried a hundred feet deep “at any rate.”


Poor Mrs. Burke was miserable on every account, since the story of “two
counsellors being poisoned at Rock House” would be such a stain on the

Being raised up in my bed against pillows, I began to think my complaint
rather _spasmodic_ than _inflammatory_, as I breathed better apace, and
felt myself almost amused by the strange scenes going on around. Mrs.
Burke had now prepared her antidote. Oil, salt, soapsuds, honey,
vinegar, and whisky, were the principal ingredients. Of these, well
shaken up in a quart bottle, she poured part down her nephew’s throat
(he not being able to drink it out of a bowl), much as farriers drench a
horse; and as soon as the first gulp was down, she asked poor Moore if
he felt any easier. He answered her question only by pushing back the
antidote, another drop of which he absolutely refused to touch. She made
a second effort to _drench_ him, lest it might be _too late_; but ere
any thing more could be done, the doctor, or rather apothecary and
man-midwife, arrived, when bleeding, blistering, &c. &c. were had
recourse to, and on the third day I was totally recovered; my poor
friend got better but slowly, and after two dangerous relapses.

The incidents which had taken place in Castlebar during the French
invasion, three years before, were too entertaining not to be pried into
(now I was upon the spot) with all my zeal and perseverance. The most
curious of battles, which was fought there, had always excited my
curiosity; I was anxious to discover what really caused so whimsical a
defeat. But so extremely did the several narratives I heard vary—from
the official bulletin to the tale of the private soldier, that I found
no possible means of deciding on the truth but by hearing every story,
and _striking an average_ respecting their veracity, which plan,
together with the estimate of _probabilities_, might, perhaps, bring me
pretty near the true state of the affair. There had certainly been a
battle and flight more humorous in their nature and result than any that
had ever before been fought or accomplished by a British army; neither
powder, ball, nor bayonet had fair claim to the victory; but to a single
true _blunder_ was attributable that curious defeat of our pampered
army—horse, foot, and artillery,—in half an hour, by a handful of
half-starved Frenchmen. So promptly (as I heard) was it effected, that
the occurrence was immediately named—and I suppose it still retains the
appellation—“The _races_ of Castlebar.” I cannot vouch for any single
piece of information I acquired; but I can repeat some of the best of
it; and my readers may strike the average as I do, and form their own
conclusions on the subject. At all events, the relation may amuse them;
and, as far as the detail of such an event can possibly do, afford a
glance at French and Irish, civil and military, high and low,
aristocracy and plebeians:—undoubtedly proving that, after a battle is
over, it suggests the simile of a lady after her baby is born—what was a
cause of great uneasiness soon becomes a source of great amusement.

To attain this, my laudable object, the first thing I had to do was, as
far as practicable, to fancy myself a general; and in that capacity, to
ascertain the errors by which the battle was lost, and the conduct of
the enemy after their victory. _Experientia docet_; and by these means I
might obviate the same disaster on any future occasion. In pursuance of
this fanciful hypothesis, my primary step was, of course, to reconnoitre
the position occupied by our troops and those of the enemy on that
engagement; and in order to do this with effect, I took with me a _very
clever_ man, a serjeant of the Kilkenny militia, who had been trampled
over by Chapman’s heavy horse in their hurry to get off, and left with
half his bones broken, to recover as well as he could. He afterward
returned to Castlebar, where he married, and continued to reside. An old
surgeon was likewise of our party, who had been with the army, and had
(as he informed me) made a most deliberate retreat when he saw the rout
begin. He described the whole affair to me, being, now and then,
interrupted and “_put in_,” as the corporal called it, when he was
running out of the course, or drawing the long-bow. Three or four
country fellows (who, it proved, had been rebels), wondering what
brought us three together, joined the group; and, on the whole, I was
extremely amused.

The position shown me, as originally held by the defeated, seemed, to my
poor _civil_ understanding, one of the most difficult in the world to be
routed out of. Our army was drawn up on a declivity of steep, rugged
ground, with a narrow lake at its foot, at the right whereof was a sort
of sludge-bog, too thick to swim in, and too thin to walk upon—snipes
alone, as they said, having any fixed residence in, or lawful claim to
it. On the other side of the lake, in front of our position, was a hill
covered with underwood, and having a winding road down its side. In our
rear was the town of Castlebar, and divers stone walls terminated and
covered our left. None of my informants could agree either as to the
number of our troops or cannon; they all differed even to the extent of
thousands of men, and from four to twenty pieces of cannon. Every one of
the parties, too, gave his own account in his own way. One of the rebels
swore, that “though he had nothing but ‘this same little switch’ (a
thick cudgel) in his fist, he knocked four or five troopers off their
beasts, as they were galloping over himself, till the French gentlemen
came up and _skivered_ them; and when they were once down, the ‘devil a
much life’ was long left in them.”

“Were you frightened, Mr. O’Donnell?” said I (he told me that was his

“By my sowl!” replied O’Donnell, who seemed a decent sort of farmer, “if
you had been in it that same day, your honour would have had no great
objections to be out of it agin.”

“Now,” said I, “pray, Serjeant Butler, how came the Kilkenny to run away
that day so soon and with so little reason?”

“Becaize we were _ordered_ to run away,” answered the serjeant.

“How can you say that, serjeant?” said the doctor. “I was myself
standing bolt upright at the left of the Kilkenny when they ran without
any order.”

“O yes, indeed! to be sure, doctor!” said Serjeant Butler; “but were you
where I was when Captain Millar the _aidycam_ ordered us off in no

“He did not,” replied the doctor.

“Why, then, since you make me curse, by J—s he _did_; becaize the
officers afterward all said, that when he ordered us off, he forgot half
what he had to say to us.”

“And pray, what was the other half, serjeant?” inquired I.

“Ah, then, I’ll tell you that, counsellor,” replied Butler. “That same
_aidycam_ was a fat, bloated gentleman, and they said he was rather
thick-winded like a beast, when his mind was not easy: so he comes up
(my lord was looking at the fight, and did not mind him), and he kept
puffing and blowing away while he was ordering us, till he came to the
words, ‘you’ll get off,’ or ‘you’ll advance backwards,’ or some words of
the same kind, I can’t exactly say what;—but it seems, when he desired
us to make off, he forgot to say ‘thirty yards,’ as the officers told us
at Tuam was the general’s word of command:—and as he desired us to _make
off_, but didn’t order us when to _stop_, by my sowl some of us never
stopped or stayed for thirty good _miles_, and long miles too, only to
get a drink of water or halt a noggin of whisky, if there was any in the
alehouse. And sorry enough we were, and sore likewise!—Then there was
that Chapman and his heavy horse; troth I believe every horse in the
place cantered over us as if we were sods of turf. Bad luck to their
sowls! many a poor Kilkenny lad couldn’t get out of their way while
_they_ were making off, and so they tumbled over the Kilkenny
themselves, and all were tumbling and rolling together, and the French
were coming on to stick us; and we were trampled and flattened in the
dust, so that you’d hardly know a corpse from a sheet of brown paper,
only for the red coat upon it.”

The doctor now attempted to tell the story in _his_ way, when the
Kilkenny serjeant, being at length a little provoked at the other’s
numerous interruptions and contradictions, exclaimed, “Arrah! doctor, be
_asy_; it’s I can tell the counsellor, for it’s I that was _in it_, and
almost _kilt_ too; and that’s more than you were, barring with the

The doctor gave him a look of sovereign contempt, and me a significant
wink, as much as to say, “the fellow is mad, and drunk into the

However, the serjeant conquered all opposition, and proceeded to give me
the full narrative, in his own dialect. “Counsellor,” said he, “do you
know that Chapman—so I think they called him—is as tall as any

“Very well,” said I.

“Well,” said the serjeant, “on the spot near the bog, where the devil
could not get at us without drying it first and foremost—there we were
drawn up at first, all so neat and tight on the ridge there, one would
think us like iron rails, every lad of us. Very well; being firm and
fast as aforesaid on the ridge, with the shaking bog by the side of _the
Chapman’s_—bad cess to them, man and beast!—Oh! it was not most
agreeable when the French let fly at us without giving us the least
notice in life; and by my sowl, they hit some of the boys of our
regiment, and that same set them a roaring and calling for a drink of
water and the doctor! but the devil a doctor was _in it_; (can you deny
that same?) and his honour, Lord Ormond, our colonel, grew red in the
face with anger, or something or other, when he heard the boys bawling
for _water_, and good reason they had, for by my sowl they were _kilt_
sure enuff. So we leathered at the French across the water, and the
French leathered at us likewise. Devil such a _cracking_ ever you heard,
counsellor, as on that day; and by the same token it would make a dog
laugh to see how Captain Shortall with his cannons let fly at the French
out of the bushes; and by my sowl, _they_ were not idle either! So, we
were all fighting mighty well, as I heard General Lake say in the rear
of us; and as I looked round and took off my cap to hurra, I heard the
devils roar at my elbow, and saw my poor comrade, Ned Dougherty,
staggering back for all the world just as if he was drunk, and the devil
a nose on his face any more than on the back of my hand, counsellor, the
present minute: and on a second glance at poor Ned, I saw one of his
eyes not a whit better off than his nose;—so I called as loud as I could
for a doctor, but the devil a one showed.”

The doctor could stand the imputation no longer, and immediately gave
the retort not courteous to the serjeant.

“Why, then, do you hear that?” said the serjeant, quite coolly. “Arrah!
now, how can you say you were _in it_? When Ned Dougherty was _kilt_,
you know you were sitting _behind_ the cannon; and the devil a bit of
you would have been seen while the powder was going, if the nose was off
the _general_, let alone Ned Dougherty.”

I feared much that my whole inquiries would be frustrated by the
increase of this dispute, when one of the country fellows who was by,
said, “You’re right enuff, serjeant. It was myself and two boys more,
after yees all ran away, that pulled the doctor from under a cart; but
we let him go, becaize he towld us he had ten _childer_ and a wife, who
would crack her heart if she thought he was slaughtered;—and that’s the
truth, and nothing else—though the devil a wife or child ever ye had,

I now winked at the doctor not to mind the fellows, and requested the
serjeant to go on with _the battle_.

“And welcome, counsellor,” said he: “stay, where did I leave off? O! ay,
at Ned Dougherty’s nose:—very well, poor Ned wasn’t kilt _dead_; only
lost his nose and eye, and is very comfortable now, as he says, in
Kilmainham. Very well, as I was saying, we went on slashing away like
devils across the water, when, by my sowl, I heard some cracks up at the
left of us, and the balls began to whiz all across us, lengthways. ‘What
the deuce is this job?’ says I. ‘D—mme if I know,’ said the
serjeant-major;—when Captain Millar, the general’s _aidycam_, comes up
full pelt, and orders us to _get off_ as aforesaid. When we heard that
same order, we thought we were fairly beat; and so, losing no time, set
off as hard as we could to get into Castlebar town again ere the French
could take it before us. And then, Chapman’s people, bad chance to them,
cried out, ‘Get on! get on!’ and galloped away as if the devil was under
their tails, and no more minded _the Kilkenny_ than if we were Norway
rats, trampling us up and down, and some of them tumbling over our
carcases. You’d think it was a race-course: my ribs were all knocked in,
and my collar-bone broken; and—and—that’s all I know, counsellor.”

“Is that _all_, serjeant?” asked I.

“O no, counsellor,” replied he. “I have more to tell, now I think of it.
Every boy in our regiment declared, if it had been Hutchinson that
commanded us, the devil a one would run away if he stayed till this
time, or go to the French either; but all the lads used to say
afterward, ‘Why should we fight under Lake, (whom we neither knew nor
cared to know,) when we had our own brave country general to the fore,
that we’d stick by till death?’ and I forgot to tell you, counsellor—a
hundred or so of our boys who could not run fast, thought it better to
stay quiet and easy with the French than be murdered without the least
reason imaginable; and so they stayed and were treated very handsome:
only owld Corney hanged a good many of the poor boys at Ballynamuck; and
the devil a bit better is Ireland made by hanging any body—and that’s
the truth, and nothing else! Faith, if they hanged a quarter of us all,
another quarter would be wanting it against the next assizes. So, what
use is hanging the boys? Little good will it ever do the remainder!”

                       BREAKFASTS AT BALLINROBE.

Election for County Mayo—Author and Counsellor Moore at Ballinrobe—Mr.
  Dan Martin’s “little paved parlour”—Preparations for a festive
  breakfast—A formidable incursion—Counsellor Moore laid
  prostrate—Advance of the foe—The two barristers take up an elevated
  position—Disappearance of the various eatables—General
  alarm—Dislodgment of the enemy—Mr. Dan Martin’s comments upon the
  “affair”—_Secrets_ worth Knowing—All’s Well that Ends Well.

The following is almost too trifling an anecdote to be recorded; but, as
it characterises place, time, and people, and is besides of a novel
description, I cannot deny myself the pleasure of relating it. The
period at which it occurred was that of the Mayo election alluded to in
the last sketch.

After some days of hard labour, bad food, worse wine, and no
tranquillity, Mr. Martin (I think that was his name), the owner of an
alehouse in our interest, told us with great glee, he had got in a few
loaves of good white bread and a paper of tea from Castlebar, fit for
the chancellor—together with fresh eggs and new milk; and that if we
would vouchsafe to put up with his own “little paved parlour,” we should
have a roaring fire, capital buttered toast, and, in short, every thing
to our satisfaction, one meal _any how_; it was God’s curse and a
thousand pities he had nothing better for the “dear counsellors;” but
there was to be a fine slip of a pig killed in the town that night by a
friend of his own, and we might have a beautiful griskin next morning
broiled to our liking.

My friend Moore and I were delighted at the announcement of a
comfortable breakfast (for some time a stranger to us), and immediately
went into the little paved parlour, where every thing was soon in full
array according to Mr. Daniel Martin’s promises. The turf fire glowed
fit to roast an ox; abundance of hot buttered toast was quickly placed
before it; plenty of new-laid eggs appeared—some boiled, some poached; a
large saucepan with hot water was bubbling on the ashes; our tea was
made (as the tea-pot leaked) in a potsheen-jug; and every thing appeared
in the most proper state to _feast_ two lately _half-fed_ Dublin
barristers (as they called us). My mouth watered, Moore licked his lips,
and we never sat down to the sensual enjoyment of the palate with more
_goût_ or satisfaction than in Mr. Martin’s “little paved parlour.”

It seemed as if nothing short of an earthquake (perhaps not even that)
could have disappointed us. But I do not recollect any incident during a
long life so completely verifying the old aphorism of “Many a slip
between the cup and the lip.” During our happy state of anticipation,
rather a loud rap was heard:—I was just in the act of cracking the shell
of an egg, with my back to the door, and cried out, “Come in! come in!”
Nobody entered; but another and still louder rap succeeded. My friend,
not being at that instant so busily occupied as I, stepped to the door,
with the purpose of telling whoever it might be to “call again” in half
an hour. I meanwhile proceeded with my egg; when I heard Moore, who was
not in the habit of using imprecations, cry out piteously, “Oh! blood
and oons!” and his exclamation was accompanied by a crash that alarmed
me. On turning rapidly round, to aid him in any possible emergency, I
saw my companion extended on the floor, his heels kicked up in the air,
and eight or ten young _pigs_ making the best of their way over the
counsellor’s prostrate body with great vivacity. Their _mother_, with
divers deep and savage grunts, snorting, and catching the air through
her enormous proboscis, took her way round the other side of the room,
and effectually cut us off both from the door and our weapons on the
breakfast-table. This manœuvre certainly would have daunted much greater
heroes than either of us pretended to be; and I doubt if there is a
field-marshal in the service either of his Britannic or Most Christian
Majesty who would have felt himself quite at ease under similar

We had no retreat: the foe had anticipated us, and appeared both able
and willing to slaughter us for the sake of her progeny. “Mount, Moore,”
said I. He limped, for his leg was hurt, to a high old-fashioned chest
of drawers, which fortunately stood in a corner. Upon these drawers each
of us got, and thence watched ulterior operations, but by no means
considering ourselves _out of danger_ from so _frightful_ an enemy.

That the reader who has not been accustomed to associate with swine at
Ballinrobe may form a just idea of our situation, he shall be made
accurately acquainted with the species of lady visitor we had to deal
with. The eight or ten _childer_ were what we call “piggin riggins,” too
old for a dainty and too young for bacon—the “_hobble-de-hoys_” of
swinehood. Their mother literally “towered above her sex,” and was the
lankiest and most bristly sow I ever beheld. Her high arched back,
taller than a donkey’s, springing from the abutments of her loins and
shoulders, resembled a coarse rustic bridge; her dangling teats swept
the ground; long loose flabby ears nearly concealed a pair of small
fiery blood-shot sunken eyes, and their ends just covered one half of a
mouth which, dividing her head as it were into an upper and under story,
clearly showed that she had the means of taking what bite she pleased
out of any thing. Her tusks, indeed, like a boar’s, peeped under her
broad and undulating nostrils, which were decorated with an iron ring
and hook, that appeared to afford the double power of defending the
wearer against assaults and hooking in an enemy.

Of such a description was the family that paid us this unwelcome visit,
demonstrating thereby the uncertainty of all sublunary expectations. The
fact was, that the lady, with ten of her _childer_, had been wallowing
in the quagmire by the side of our parlour-window, which we had opened
to give a part of the captive smoke an opportunity of escaping—but which
at the same time let out the savoury perfume of our repast; this
entering piggy’s sensitive nostrils, she was roused to action, and,
grunting to her family as a trumpeter sounds “to horse,” they made their
way to the well-known door of the little paved parlour, which finding
closed (a very unusual circumstance), madam’s temper was somewhat
ruffled, and the catastrophe ensued. Ceremony from a sow, under such
circumstances, could not be reasonably looked for, and any delay in
disposing of our luxuries was still less to be expected. In her haste to
accomplish that achievement, she had on gaining admittance run between
the legs of Counsellor Thomas Moore, and, as on an inclined plane, she
first raised, then deposited him upon the pavement; and leaving him to
the discretion of her _piggin riggins_, changed her own course to our
breakfast-table, which having duly overset, the whole was at her
mercy—of which, however, she showed none;—the toast, the bread, the
eggs—in short, _every thing_, disappearing in marvellous quick time.

The two counsellors, from their elevated position, beheld the
destruction of all these comforts, and congratulated themselves on the
good luck of being personally out of danger: but here also we “reckoned
without our host:” we entertained no doubt of madam sow’s peaceable
departure, and did not wish to expose ourselves to the ridicule of being
discovered perched upon a chest of drawers. One of the _piggins_,
however, not content with the prey he had already got, in roaming about
for more, and unaccustomed to boiling water, happened to overset the
large saucepan which was steaming upon the hob, and which descended full
on his unseasoned hide. Hereupon, feeling his tender bristles getting
loose, and at the first scratch coming away with a due quantity of
scarf-skin to keep them together, he set up the most dreadful cries I
ever heard, even from the most obstinate of his race when the butcher
was taking the preliminary steps towards manufacturing corned pork—that
comrade of pease-pudding, and glory of the British navy!

The _mamma_ of course attributed the cries of her darling to some
torture inflicted by the _Christians_ upon the drawers; to the foot of
which she therefore trotted, and with deep and loud grunts looked up at
us, opening her wide jaws, and seeming to say, “I wish I had you both
down here, and my dear little _piggin riggins_ should soon be revenged
for your cruelty!” I thought that, once or twice, she appeared disposed
to try if she could balance her body on her hind-legs and rear up
against the chest of drawers; in which case, even if her jaws did not
clearly take hold of us, the strong iron hook in her nose would be sure
to catch and hawl down one or other by the leg—as, if once hooked, it
would only be a trial of strength between the sow’s snout and the tendon
Achilles of either counsellor. We could not kick at her for fear of the
same hook; so we kept dancing and stamping, to try if that would deter
her. But she was too much bent on mischief to care for our defensive
operations; and we were ultimately obliged to resort to that step
generally taken by people when they find themselves failing in point of
fortitude, and manfully cried out—“Murder! murder!” But as no one came,
Moore said they were so used to _that_ cry in Ballinrobe (and
particularly in the “little paved parlour”), that the people never
minded it; so we changed our tone, and roared “Fire! fire!”

In a second the entire population of the house was in the room, when an
_éclaircissement_ took place. Still, however, the _lady_ would not beat
a retreat:—sticks, flails, handles of rakes, and pitchforks, belaboured
her in vain; she minded them no more than straws. At length, they seized
hold of her _tail_:—this action seemed to make her imagine that it was
desired to _detain_ her _in_ the room; upon which, that spirit of
contradiction inherent in more animals than one, determined her to _go
out_. She accordingly rushed off, followed by the whole brood, and we
saw no more of her or her hopeful family.

After they were gone, it took Mr. Martin above five minutes to lavish on
the sow and _piggin riggins_ every imprecation his vocabulary could
furnish; and he concluded thus:—“Ough! May the curse of Crummell light
on yee, for a greedy owld sow as you are! yee need not have taken such
trouble to cater for your _childer_. If they had just peeped up the
chimney, they’d have seen their _father_ as well dried and smoked as any
boar that ever was _kilt_ in Ballinrobe these two years, any how; and by
my sowl I expect to have six of the _childer_ along with him by next
Michaelmas, at latest.”

All being now arranged, we begged Mr. Martin to replenish our board as
quickly as possible. Daniel, however, looked grave and chop-fallen, and
in two monosyllables apprised us of the extent of our misfortunes. “I
can’t,” said he.

“Why?” we both asked in a breath.

“Oh, holy poker!” exclaimed Mr. Dan Martin, “what shall I do to feed
yee, counsellors dear! By my sowl, Sir Neil will _skiver_ me! Devil a
bit or sup more I have in this same house. Arrah! Mary! Mary!”

“What’s that, avourneen?” said Mary, entering.

“What have you in the house, Mary?” demanded the landlord.

“Ough! the devil a taste was left from the Newport voters, barring what
we kept for the counsellors.”

“And have you literally _nothing_, Mr. Martin?” demanded we.

“All as one,” was the reply. “Sir Neil’s men got the last of the meat;
and a minute or two ago, who should come in—devil’s cure to him! but
Denis Brown Sallough’s body-sarvant, and pretended, the villain, that he
was Sir Neil’s man; and he bought all the rest of the bread and tay for
ready money. If I had thought, counsellors, of the incivility my sow put
on yees—bad luck to her sowl, egg and bird!—I’d have seen Denis Brown
Sallough’s body-sarvant _carded_ like a tithe proctor[25] before I’d
have sold him as much as would fill a hollow tooth—and by my sowl he has
plenty of _them_, counsellors dear!”


Footnote 25:

  _Carding_ the tithe proctors (who certainly were the genuine tyrants
  of Ireland) was occasionally resorted to by the White Boys, and was
  performed in the following manner.

  The tithe proctor was generally waked out of his first sleep by his
  door being smashed in; and the _boys_ in white shirts desired him
  “never to fear,” as they only intended to _card_ him this bout for
  taking a quarter instead of a tenth from every poor man in the parish.
  They then turned him on his face upon the bed; and taking a lively ram
  cat out of a bag which they brought with them, they set the cat
  between the proctor’s shoulders. The beast, being nearly as much
  terrified as the proctor, would endeavour to get off; but being held
  fast by the tail, he intrenched every claw deep in the proctor’s back,
  in order to keep up a firm resistance to the White Boys. The more the
  tail was pulled _back_, the more the ram cat tried to go _forward_; at
  length, when he had, as he conceived, made his possession quite
  secure, main force convinced him to the contrary, and that if he kept
  his hold he must lose his tail. So, he was dragged backward to the
  proctor’s loins, grappling at every pull, and bringing away here and
  there strips of the proctor’s skin, to prove the pertinacity of his

  When the ram cat had got down to the loins he was once more placed at
  the shoulders, and again _carded_ the proctor (_toties quoties_)
  according to his sentence.


“Have you no eggs, Mr. Martin?”

“Why, plase your honour, it’s not two hours since the high sheriff’s
cook (as he called himself) came and took every cock and hen I had in
the world (he paid like a gentleman, to be sure), for he has a great
dinner to-day, and being disappointed of poultry, he _kilt_ every
mother’s babe of mine, gentlemen.”

“You have milk?”

“I’d have plenty of that stuff, counsellors, only (oh my poor cow, and
the three heifers!) Sir Neil’s voters are generally so _dry_, and by my
sowl, I believe not far from _hungry_ either, that they, five or six
times a day if they can, get a drink out of the poor animals. They have
been milked, indeed, till their teats are raw, gentlemen, and that’s the
truth, and nothing else but the _true truth_.” Recollecting himself,
however, he added—“But, counsellors, dear, if your honours can put up
with _our own_ little breakfast, you’ll be more welcome nor the flowers
of May, and there will be plenty of that, gentlemen, such as it is, and
I’ll tell you _what_ it is. First and foremost, there’s no better than
the apple pratees, and they are ready hot and smothering for ourselves
and that d——’d sow and her _childer_, and be cursed to them! but the
devil a one they will get this day, for affronting yees, gentlemen!—And
next to the pratees, there’s the potsheen. I _still’d_ it myself a year
ago, and hid it under ground when the elections came on; but I get a
bottle or two out always. And then, gentlemen, I can broil for you (but
that’s a secret, plase your honours,) a few beautiful rashers out of the
two flitches I have hid on a little shelf up the chimney for fear of the
two-guinea freeholders;—it’s more like clear horn nor bacon, counsellors
dear,” pursued he, hauling down a side of it as he spoke, and cutting
out several large rashers.

“I suppose,” said I, “this is some of your good sow’s family;—if so, I
shall have great pleasure in paying her off in her own style?”

“Why, then, counsellor,” said Mr. Martin, laughing and rubbing his
hands—“you are the very devil at finding out things!—ha! ha!—By my sowl,
it is a _sister_ of the said sow’s, sure enuff—bad luck to the whole
breed for eating the buttered toast this blessed morning!”

The result was, that we got rashers, potatoes, and potsheen, for our
breakfast; at the end of which Mr. Martin brought in a jug of capital
home-brewed ale;—and the possession of this, also, he said was a secret,
or the gauger would play the deuce with him. We fared, in a word, very
well; I much doubt, to speak truth, if it were not a more appropriate
meal for a desperate bad day and much hard work than a lady’s teapot
would afford; and, in pursuance of this notion, I had a rasher, potatoe,
and draught of good ale, every day afterward during my stay at that
abominable election.

English people would hardly credit the circumstances attending an
electioneering contest in Ireland, so late as twenty-three years ago.
Little attention was then paid by the country gentlemen to their several
assize towns; and there was not a single respectable inn at Ballinrobe.
Somebody indeed had built the shell of an hotel; but it had not been
plastered either within or without, or honoured by any species of
furniture: it had not indeed even banisters to the stairs.

Perhaps the time of year and desperate state of the weather (uncheckered
by one ray of sunshine) tended to disgust me with the place: but I
certainly never in my lifetime was so annoyed as at the election of
Ballinrobe, though every thing that could possibly be done for our
comfort _was_ done by Sir John Brown—than whom I never met any gentleman
more friendly or liberal.

                     NEW MODE OF SERVING A PROCESS.

The author at Rock House—Galway election—_Searching_ for voters—Mr.
  Ned Bodkin—Interesting conversation between him and the
  author—Process-serving at Connemara—Burke, the bailiff—His hard
  treatment—Irish method of discussing a chancery bill—Ned Bodkin’s
  “Lament”—False oaths, and their disastrous consequences—Country
  magistrates in Ireland.

The election for County Galway was proceeding whilst I was refreshing
myself at Rock House, Castlebar, after various adventures at
Ballinrobe—as already mentioned. I met at Rock House an old fellow who
told me his name was Ned Bodkin, a Connemara boy; and that he had come
with two or three other lads only to _search_ for voters to take to
Galway for Squire Martin’s poll. Bodkin came to Mrs. Burke’s house to
consult Counsellor Moore, and I determined to have a full conversation
with him as to the peninsula of Connemara and its statistics. He sent
off eight or nine freeholders (such as they were) in eight-and-forty
hours; they were soon polled for the squire, and came back as happy as

I asked Mr. Bodkin where he lived.

“Ah! then where should it be but at Connemara?” said he.

“And what’s your trade or calling, when you’re at home, Mr. Bodkin?”
inquired I.

“Why, plase your honour, no poor man could live upon one calling
now-a-days as we did in owld times, or no calling at all, as when the
squire was _in it_. Now I butchers a trifle, your honour! and burns the
kelp when I’m entirely idle. Then I take a touch now and then at the
still, and smuggle a few in Sir Neil’s cutter when the coast is clear.”

“Any thing else, Mr. Bodkin?”

“Ough yes, your honour; ’tis me that tans the brogue leather for the
colonel’s yeomen: (God bless them!) besides, I’m bailiff-bum of the town
lands, and make out our election registries; and when I’ve nothing else
to do, I keep the squire’s accounts: and by my sowl that same is no asy
matter, plase your honour, till one’s used to it! but, God bless him, up
and down, wherever he goes, here or hereafter! he’s nothing else but a
good master to us all.”

“Mr. Ned Bodkin,” continued I, “every body says the king’s writ does not
_run_ in Connemara?”

“Ough! then whoever towld your honour that is a big liar. By my sowl,
when the King George’s writ (crossing himself) comes within smell of the
big house, the boys soon make him run as if the seven red devils was
under his tail, saving your presence. It’s King George’s writ that _does
run_ at Connemara, plase your worship, all as one as a black greyhound.
O the devil a stop he stays till he gets into the court-house of Galway

Mr. Bodkin talked allegorically, so I continued in the same vein:—“And
pray if you catch the king’s writ, what do you do then?”

“Plase your honour, that story is asy towld. _Do_, is it? I’ll tell your
honour that. Why, if the _prossy-sarver_ is _cotched_ in the territories
of Ballynahinch, by my sowl if the squire’s not _in it_, he’ll either
eat his parchments every taste, or go down into the owld coal-pit sure
enuff, whichever is most _agreeable_ to the said prossy-sarver.”

“And I suppose he generally prefers eating his parchments?” said I.

“Your honour’s right enuff,” replied Mr. Bodkin. “The _varment_
generally gulps it down mighty glib; and, by the same token, he is
seldom or ever obstrepulous enuff to go down into the said coal-pit.”

“_Dry_ food, Mr. Bodkin,” said I.

“Ough! by no manner of manes, your honour. We always give the
prossy-sarver, poor crethur! plenty to moisten his said food with and
wash it down well, any how; and he goes back to the ’sizes as merry as a
water-dog, and swears (God forgive him!) that he was _kilt_ at Connemara
by people unknown; becaize if he didn’t do that, he knows well enuff
he’d soon be kilt dead by people he did know, and that’s the truth,
plase your honour, and nothing else.”

“Does it often happen, Mr. Bodkin?” said I.

“Ough! plase your honour, only that our own bailiffs and yeomen soldiers
keep the sheriffs’ officers out of Connemara, we’d have a rookery of
them afore every ’sizes and sessions, when the master’s amongst the
Sassanachs in London city. We made one lad, when the master was in said
foreign parts, eat every taste of what he towld us was a chancellor’s
bill, that he brought from Dublin town to sarve in our quarter. We laid
in ambush, your honour, and cotched him on the bridge; but we did not
throw him over that, though we made believe that we would. ‘We have you,
you villain!’ said I. ‘Spare my life!’ says he. ‘What for?’ said I. ‘Oh!
give me marcy!’ says the sarver. ‘The devil a taste,’ said I. ‘I’ve
nothing but a chancellor’s bill,’ said he. ‘Out with it,’ says I. So he
ups, and outs with his parchment, plase your honour:—by my sowl, then,
there was plenty of that same!

“‘And pray, what name do you go by when you are at home?’ said I. ‘Oh
then, don’t you know Burke the _bum_?’ said he. ‘Are you satisfied to
_eat_ it, Mr. Burke?’ said I. ‘If I was as hungry as twenty hawks, I
could not eat it all in less than a fortnight any how,’ said the sarver,
‘it’s so long and crisp.’ ‘Never fear,’ said I.

“‘Why shu’dn’t I fear?’ said he.

“‘What’s that to you?’ said I. ‘Open your mouth, and take a bite, if you
plase.’ ‘Spare my life!’ said he. ‘Take a bite, if you plase, Mr.
Burke,’ again said I.

“So he took a bite, plase your honour; but I saw fairly it was too dry
and tough for common eating, so I and the rest of _the boys_ brought the
bum to my little cabin, and we soaked _the chancellor_ in potsheen in my
little keg, and I towld him he should stay his own time till he eat it
all as soon as it was _tinder_, and at three meals a day, with every
other little nourishment we could give the crethur. So he stayed very
agreeable till he had finished the chancellor’s bill every taste, and
was drunk with it every day twice, at any rate; and then I towld him he
might go back to Galway town and welcome. But he said he’d got kinder
treatment and better liquor nor ever the villain of a sub-sheriff gave
any poor fellow, and if I’d let him, he’d fain stay another day or two
to bid us good bye. ‘So, Mary,’ said I to the woman my wife, ‘’commodate
the poor officer a day or two more to bid us good bye.’—‘He’s kindly
welcome,’ says she. So Burke stayed till the ’sizes was over, and then
swore he lay for dead on the road-side, and did not know what became of
the chancellor’s bill, or where it was deposited at said time. I had
towld him, your honour, I’d make good his oath for him; and,
accordingly, we made him so drunk, that he lay all as one as a dead man
in the ditch till we brought him home, and then he said he could kiss
the holy ’pistle and gospel safe in the court-house, that he lay for
dead in a ditch by reason of the treatment he got at Connemara; and Mr.
Burke turned out a good fellow; and the devil a prossy-sarver ever came
into Connemara for a year after, but he sent a gossoon aforehand to tell
us where we’d cotch the sarver afore sarvice. Oh! God rest your sowl,
Bum Burke, and deliver it safe! it’s us that were sorry enuff when we
heard the horse kilt you dead—oh bad cess to him! the likes of ye didn’t
come since to our quarter.”

This mode of making process-servers _eat_ the process was not at all
confined to Connemara. I have myself known it practised often at the
colliery of Doonan, the estate of my friend Hartpole, when his father
Squire Robert was alive. It was quite the custom; and if a person in
those times took his residence in the purlieus of that colliery, serving
him with any legal process was entirely out of the question; for if a
bailiff attempted it, he was sure to have either a meal of sheepskin or
a dive in a coal-pit, for his trouble.

This species of outrage was, however, productive of greater evil than
merely making the process-server eat his bill. Those whose business it
was to serve processes in time against the assizes, being afraid to
fulfil their missions, took a short cut, and swore they _had_ actually
served them, though they had never been on the spot;—whereby many a
judgment was obtained surreptitiously, and executed on default upon
parties who had never heard one word of the business:—and thus whole
families were ruined by the perjury of one process-server.

The magistrates were all country gentlemen, very few of whom had the
least idea of law proceedings further than when they happened to be
directed against themselves; and the common fellows, when sworn on the
holy Evangelists, conceived they could outwit the magistrates by kissing
their own thumb, which held the book, instead of the cover of it; or by
swearing, “By the vartue of my oath it’s through (true), your worship!”
(putting a finger through a button-hole.)

So numerous were the curious acts and anecdotes of the Irish magistrates
of those days, that were I to recite many of them, the matter-of-fact
English (who have no idea of Irish freaks of this nature) would, I have
no doubt, set me down as a complete romancer.

I conceived it would much facilitate the gratification of my desire to
learn the customs of the Irish magisterial justices by becoming one
myself. I therefore took out my _didimus_ at once for _every_ county in
Ireland; and being thus a magistrate for thirty-two counties, I of
course, wherever I went, learned all their doings; and I believe no body
of men ever united more _authority_ and less _law_ than did the Irish
justices of thirty years since.

                            DONNYBROOK FAIR.

Donnybrook contrasted with St. Bartholomew’s—Characteristics of the
  company resorting to each fair—Site upon which the former is
  held—Description and materials of a Donnybrook tent—Various humours of
  the scene—The horse fair—Visit of the author and Counsellor Byrne in
  1790—Barter and exchange—The “gentle Coadjutor”—The “master cobbler”—A
  head in chancery—Disastrous mishap of Counsellor Byrne—Sympathy
  therewith of the author and his steed—The cobbler and his companion—An
  extrication—Unexpected intruders—Counsellor Byrne and his doctor—A
  glance at the country fairs of Ireland—Sir Hercules Langreish and Mr.
  Dundas—Dysart fair—The fighting factions—Various receipts for picking
  a quarrel—Recent _civilization_ of the lower classes of Emeralders.

The fair of Donnybrook, near Dublin, has been long identified with the
name and character of the lower classes of Irish people; and so far as
the population of its metropolis may fairly stand for that of a whole
country, the identification is just. This remark applies, it is true, to
several years back; as that entire revolution in the natural Irish
character, which has taken place within my time, must have extended to
all their sports and places of amusement; and Donnybrook fair, of
course, has had its full share in the metamorphosis.

The _old_ Donnybrook fair, however, is on record; and so long as the
name exists, will be duly appreciated. Mr. Lysight’s popular song of
“The Sprig of Shillelah and Shamrock so Green,”[26] gives a most lively
sketch of that celebrated meeting—some of the varieties and
peculiarities of which may be amusing, and will certainly give a
tolerable idea of the Dublin commonalty in the eighteenth century.


Footnote 26:

  Two lines of Mr. Lysight’s song describe, quaintly, yet veritably, the
  practical _point_ of the scenes which occurred at that place of
  licensed eccentricities. He speaks of the real Irish Paddy, who

       “Steps into a tent, just to spend half-a-crown,
        Slips out, meets a _friend_, and for _joy_ knocks him down!
             With his sprig of shillelah and shamrock so green.”

  It is a literal fact that the blow is as instantly forgiven, and the
  twain set a-drinking together in great harmony, as if nothing had

  A priest constantly attended in former times at an alehouse near
  Kilmainham, to marry any couples who may have agreed upon that
  ceremony when they were _drunk_, and made up their minds for its
  immediate celebration so soon as they should be sober: and after the
  ceremony he sent them back to the fair for one more drink; and the
  lady then went home an _honest_ woman, and as happy as possible. Many
  hundred similar matches used, in old times, to be effected during this
  carnival. Mr. Lysight also describes the happy consequences of such
  weddings with infinite humour. He says of the ulterior increase of
  each family

                            “and nine months after that
        A fine boy cries out, ‘How do ye do, Father Pat?
            With your sprig of shillelah and shamrock so green.’”

  This system may somewhat account for the “alarming population of
  Ireland,” as statesmen now call it.


All Ireland is acquainted with the sort of sports and recreations which
characterise Donnybrook. But the English, in general, are as ignorant of
an Irish fair as they are of every other matter respecting the “sister
kingdom,” and that is saying a great deal. John Bull, being the most
egotistical animal of the creation, measures every man’s coat according
to his own cloth, and fancying an Irish mob to be like a London rabble,
thinks that Donnybrook fair is composed of all the vice, robbery,
swindling, and spectacle—together with still rougher manners of its
own—of his dear St. Bartholomew.

Never was John more mistaken. I do not know any one trait of character
conspicuous alike in himself and brother Pat, save that which is their
common disgrace and incentive to all other vices, _drinking_; and even
in drunkenness the English far surpass Pat—though perhaps their
superiority in this respect may be attributable merely to their being
better able to purchase the poison; and if they have _not_ the means
ready, they are far more expert at picking of pockets, burglary, or
murder, to procure them—as Mr. _John Ketch_ (operative at his majesty’s
gaol of Newgate in London) can bear ample testimony.

There is no doubt but all mobs are tumultuous, violent, and more or less
savage (no matter what they meet about): it is the nature of democratic
congregations so to be. Those of England are thoroughly wicked, and,
when roused, most ferocious; but they show little genuine courage, and a
few soldiers by a shot or two generally send thousands of fellows
scampering, to adjourn _sine die_. Formerly, I never saw an Irish mob
that could not easily be rendered tractable and complacent by persons
who, as they conceived, intended them fairly and meant to act kindly by
them. So much waggery and fun ever mingled with their most riotous
adventures, that they were not unfrequently dispersed by a good-humoured
joke, when it would probably have required a regiment and the reading of
a dozen riot acts to do it by compulsion.

A long, erroneous system of ruling that people seems to have gradually,
and at length definitively, changed the nature of the Irish character in
every class and branch of the natives, and turned into political
agitation what I remember only a taste for simple hubbub. The Irish have
an indigenous _goût_ for fighting, (of which they never can be
divested,) quite incomprehensible to a sober English farmer, whose food
and _handiwork_ are as regular as his clock. At Donnybrook, the scene
had formerly no reservation as to the full exhibition of genuine
Hibernian character; and a description of one of the _tents_ of that
celebrated sporting fair will answer nearly for all of them, and
likewise give a tolerable idea of most other fairs in the Emerald island
at the same period. Having twice[27] run a narrow risk of losing my life
at Donnybrook, (the last time at its fair in 1790,) I am entitled to
remember its localities at least as well as any gentleman who never was
in danger of ending his days there.


Footnote 27:

  For the first of these occurrences see (Vol. ii.) my adventure with
  Counsellor Daly and Balloon Crosby.


The site of the fair is a green flat of no great extent, about a mile
from Dublin city, and on the banks of a very shallow stream that runs
dribbling under a high bridge:—fancy irregular houses on one side, and a
highroad through the middle, and you will have a pretty good idea of
that plain of festivity.

Many and of various proportions were the tents which, in time past,
composed the encampment upon the plains of Donnybrook; and if
persevering turbulence on the part of the Emeralders should ever put it
into the heads of the members of his majesty’s government to hire a few
bands of _Cossacks_ to keep them in order, (and I really believe they
are the only folks upon earth who could frighten my countrymen,) the
model of a Donnybrook tent will be of great service to the Don-Russian
auxiliaries—the materials being so handy and the erection so _facile_. I
shall therefore describe one accurately, that the Emperor Nicholas and
his brother Michael, who has seen something of Ireland already, may,
upon any such treaty being signed, perceive how extremely well his
Imperial Majesty’s Tartars will be accommodated.

_Receipt for a Donnybrook Tent._

Take eight or ten long wattles, or any indefinite number, according to
the length you wish your tent to be (whether two yards, or half a mile,
makes no difference as regards the architecture or construction).
Wattles need not be provided by purchase and sale, but may be readily
procured any dark night by cutting down a sufficient number of young
trees in the demesne or plantation of any gentleman in the
neighbourhood—a prescriptive _privilege_ or rather _practice_, time
immemorial, throughout all Ireland.

Having procured the said wattles _one way or other_, it is only
necessary to stick them down in the sod in two rows, turning round the
tops like a woodbine arbour in a lady’s flower-garden, tying the two
ends together with neat ropes of hay, which any gentleman’s farm-yard
can (during the night time, as aforesaid) readily supply,—then fastening
long wattles in like manner lengthways at top from one end to the other
to keep all tight together; and thus the “wooden walls” of Donnybrook
are ready for roofing in; and as the building materials cost nothing but
_danger_, the _expense_ is very trivial.

A tent fifty feet long may be easily built in about five minutes, unless
the builders should adopt the old mode of _peeling_ the wattles; and
when once a wattle is stripped to its _buff_, he must be a wise landlord
indeed who could swear to the identity of the timber—a species of
evidence nevertheless that the Irish wood-rangers are extremely expert
at.[28] This precaution will not however be necessary for the Don
Cossacks, who being educated as highway robbers by the Emperor of all
the Russias, and acting in that capacity in every country, cannot of
course be called to account for a due exercise of their vocation.


Footnote 28:

  I recollect a man at the assizes of Maryborough swearing to the leg of
  his own goose, which was stolen—having found it in some _giblet broth_
  at the robber’s cabin. The witness was obviously right; the web
  between the goose’s toes being, he said, _snipped and cut_ in a way he
  could perfectly identify.


The covering of the tents is now only requisite; this is usually done
according to fancy; and being unacquainted with the taste of the Russian
gentlemen on that head, I shall only mention the general mode of
_clothing_ the wattles used in my time—a mode that, from its
singularity, had a far more imposing appearance than any encampment ever
pitched by his majesty’s regular forces, horse, foot, or artillery.
Every cabin, alehouse, and other habitation wherein quilts or bedclothes
were used, or could be procured by _civility_ or _otherwise_ (except
_money_, which was not current for such purposes), was ransacked for
_apparel_ wherewith to cover the wattles. The favourite covering was
_quilts_, as long as such were forthcoming; and when not, old winnowing
sheets, sacks ripped open, rugs, blankets, &c. &c.—Every thing, in fact,
was expended in the _bed_ line (few neighbours using that accommodation
during the fair)—and recourse often had to women’s apparel, as old
petticoats, praskeens, &c. &c.

The covering being spread over the wattles as tightly and snugly as the
materials would admit, all was secured by hay ropes and pegs. When
completed, a very tall wattle with a dirty birch-broom, the hairy end of
an old sweeping brush, a cast-off lantern of some watchman, rags of all
colours made into streamers, and fixed at the top by way of sign, formed
the invitation to _drinking_;—and when _eating_ was likewise to be had,
a rusty tin saucepan, or piece of a broken iron pot, was hung dangling
in front, to crown the entrance and announce good cheer.

The most amusing part of the coverings were the quilts, which were
generally of patchwork, comprising scraps of all the hues in the
rainbow—cut into every shape and size, patched on each other, and
quilted together.

As to furniture, down the centre doors, old or new, (whichever were most
handy to be _lifted_,) were stretched from one end to the other, resting
on hillocks of clay dug from underneath, and so forming a capital table
with an agreeable variety both as to breadth and elevation. Similar
constructions for benches were placed along the sides, but not so steady
as the table; so that when the liquor got the mastery of one convivial
fellow, he would fall off, and the whole row generally following his
example, perhaps ten or even twenty gallant _shamrocks_ were seen on
their backs, kicking up their heels, some able to get up again, some
lying quiet and easy, singing, roaring, laughing, or cursing; while
others, still on their legs, were drinking and dancing, and setting the
whole tent in motion, till all began to long for the open air, and a
little wrestling, leaping, cudgelling, or fighting upon the green grass.
The tent was then cleaned out and prepared for a new company of the
shillelah boys.

The best tents, that supplied “neat victuals,” had a pot boiling outside
on a turf fire, with good fat lumps of salt beef and cabbage, called
“spooleens,” always ready simmering for such customers as should like a
_sliver_. The potatoes were plentiful, and salt Dublin-bay herrings also
in abundance. There was, besides, a cold round or rump of beef at double
price for the _quality_ who came to see the _curiosities_.

Except toys and trinkets for children, merchandise of any sort they
seemed to have a contempt for; but these were bought up with great
avidity; and in the evening, when the parents had given the _childer_ a
glass each of the _cratur_ (as they called whisky), “to keep the cowld
out of their little stomachs,” every trumpet or drum, fiddle, whistle,
or pop-gun, which the fond mothers had bestowed, was set sounding (all
together) over the green, and chimed in with a dozen fiddlers and as
many pipers jigging away for the dance,—an amalgamation of sounds among
the most extraordinary that ever _tickled_ the ear of a musician. Every
body, drunk or sober, took a share in the _long_ dance, and I have seen
a row of a hundred couple labouring at their jig steps till they fell
off actually breathless, and rather _wetter_ than if they had been river
deities of the Donnybrook.

This however must be remarked as constituting a grand distinction
between the beloved St. Bartholomew of the cockneys and the Emeralders’
glory;—that at the former, robbers, cheats, gamblers, and villains of
every description collect, and are most active in their respective
occupations; whilst at the latter, no gambling of any sort existed;—nor
were thieves, pickpockets or swindlers often there: for a good
reason—because there was no money worth stealing, and _plenty_ of
_emptiness_ in the pockets of the amateurs. However, love reigned in all
its glory, and Cupid expended every arrow his mother could make for him:
but with this difference, that love is in general represented as
discharging his shafts into people’s hearts, whereas, at Donnybrook, he
always aimed at their _heads_; and before it became quite dusk he never
failed to be very successful in his archery. It was after sunset,
indeed, that sweethearts made up their matches; and a priest (Father
Kearny of Liffy Street, a good _clergy_) told me that more marriages
were celebrated in Dublin the week _after_ Donnybrook fair, than in any
two months during the rest of the year: the month of June being warm and
_snug_ (as he termed it), smiled on every thing that was good, and
helped the _liquor_ in making arrangements; and with great animation he
added, that it was a gratifying sight to see his young parishioners who
had made up their matches at Donnybrook coming there in a couple of
years again, to buy whistles for their children.

The _horse_ part of the fair was not destitute of amusement—as there was
a large ditch with a drain, and a piece of a wall, which the sellers
were always called upon to “leather their horses over” before any body
would bid for them; and the tumbles which those venturous jockies
constantly received, with the indifference wherewith they mounted and
began again, were truly entertaining.

The common Irish are the most heroic horsemen I ever saw:—it was always
one of their attributes. They ride on the horse’s bare back with
rapidity and resolution; and coming from fairs, I have often seen a
couple or sometimes three fellows riding one bare-backed horse as hard
as he could go, and safely—not one of whom, if they were on their own
legs, could stand perpendicular half a minute.

It is a mistake to suppose that Donnybrook was a remarkable place for
_fighting_, or that much _blood_ was ever drawn there. On the contrary,
it was a place of good-humour. Men, to be sure, were knocked down now
and then, but there was no malice in it. A head was often cut, but
quickly tied up again. The women first parted the combatants and then
became mediators; and every fray which commenced with a knock-down,
generally ended by shaking hands, and the parties getting dead drunk

That brutal species of combat, _boxing_, was never practised at our
fairs; and that savage nest and hot-bed of ruffians called the “Ring,”
so shamefully tolerated in England, was unknown among the
Emeralders.[29] With the shillelah, indeed, they had great skill; but it
was only like sword exercise, and did not appear savage. Nobody was
disfigured thereby, or rendered fit for a doctor. I never saw a bone
broken or any dangerous contusion from what they called “_whacks_” of
the shillelah (which was never too heavy): it was like fencing: a cut on
the skull they thought no more of than we should of the prick of a
needle: of course, such accidents frequently occurred, and (I believe
very well for them) let out a little of their blood, but did not for a
single moment interrupt the song, the dance, the frolicking and


Footnote 29:

  I remember one man of tremendous strength from Carlow County (Corcoran
  by name): he fancied he could knock down any man or beast on earth
  with his fist, and by downright muscular vigour, bear down the guards
  of all science or resistance. He went over to England to fight any
  “man, woman, or child,” in the whole nation; and when I was at temple,
  made sad examples of some of the scientific fancy. He could knock down
  the ablest horse with one blow of his fist. I never saw near so strong
  a person.


I have said, that the danger I underwent at Donnybrook sank deep into my
memory. The main cause of it was not connected with my rencounter with
Counsellor Daly, recited in the second volume of the present work, but
with one which was to the full as hazardous, though it involved none of
those points of honour or “fire-eating” which forced me to the other

In the year 1790, Counsellor John Byrne, (afterward one of his majesty’s
counsel-at-law,) a very worthy man, and intimate friend of mine, called
on me to ride with him and aid him in the purchase of a horse at the
fair of Donnybrook. I agreed, and away we rode, little anticipating the
sad discomfiture we should experience. We found the fair rich in all its
glories of drinking, fighting, kissing, making friends, knocking down,
women dragging their husbands out of frays, and wounded men joining as
merrily in the dance as if the clout tied round their heads were a
Turkish turban. Whatever happened _in_ the fair, neither revenge nor
animosity went _out_ of it with any of the parties; to be sure, on the
road to town, there were always seen plenty of pulling, hauling, and
dragging about, in which the ladies were to the full as busily employed
as the gentlemen; but for which the latter offered, next day, one
general excuse to their wives, who would be mending their torn coats and
washing their stockings and cravats.

“Sure, Moll, it wasn’t _myself_ that was _in it_ when I knocked Tom
Sweeny down in the tent; it was the _drink_, and nothing else.”

“True for you, Pat, my jewel!” would the wife cry, (scrubbing away as
hard as she could,) “true for you, my darling: by my sowl, the whisky
and _water_ was all _spirits_. Myself would as soon strike my owld
mother, God forgive me for the word! as have struck Mary Casey, only for
that last noggin that put the devil into me just when I was aggravated
at your _head_, Pat, my jewel. So I hit Mary Casey a wipe; and by my
sowl it’s I that am sorry for that same, becaize Mary had neither act
nor part in cutting your head, Pat; but I was aggravated, and did not
think of the _differ_.”

This dialogue, with variations, I have heard a hundred times; and it
will serve as a true specimen of the species of quarrels at Donnybrook
in former times, and their general conclusion;—and such were the scenes
that the visitors of the fair were making full preparation for, when
Counsellor John Byrne, myself, and a servant lad of mine (not a very
good horseman), entered it in the year 1790. The boy was mounted on a
fiery horse, which Byrne wanted to exchange; and as I never liked _any
thing_ that was too tame, the horse I rode always had spirit enough,
particularly for a gentleman who was not very remarkable for _sticking
over-fast_ to those animals.

Into the fair we went, and riding up and down, got here a curse, and
there a blessing; sometimes a fellow who knew one of us, starting out of
a tent to offer us a glass of the “cratur.” When we had satisfied our
reasonable curiosity, and laughed plentifully at the grotesque scenes
interspersed through every part, we went to the horse-fair on the green
outside. There the jockies were in abundance; and certainly no fair ever
exhibited a stranger _mélange_ of the halt and blind, the sound and
rotten, rough and smooth—all galloping, leaping, kicking, or
tumbling—some in clusters, some singly; now and then a lash of the long
whip, and now and then a crack of the loaded butt of it! At length, a
horse was produced (which we conceived fit for any counsellor) by Mr.
Irvin the jockey, and engaged, upon his _honour_, to be as sound as a
_roach_, and as steady as any beast between Donnybrook and _Loughrea_,
where he had been the favourite gelding of Father Lynch, the parish
priest, who called him “Coadjutor”—(he had broken the holy father’s
neck, by the bye, about a year before). “Do just try him, Counsellor
Byrne,” said Mr. Irvin; “just mount him a bit, and if ever you get off
him again till you grease my fist, I’ll forgive you the luck-penny.
He’ll want neither whip nor spur; he’ll know your humour, counsellor,
before you’re five minutes on his body, and act accordingly.”

“You’re sure he’s _gentle_?” said Byrne.

“Gentle, is it? I’ll give you leave to skin both himself and me if you
won’t soon like him as well as if he was (begging your pardon) your own
cousin-german. If he wasn’t the thing from muzzle to tail that would
suit you, I’d hang him before I’d give him to a counsellor—the like of
yees at any rate.”

A provisional bargain and exchange was soon struck, and Byrne mounted
for trial on the favourite gelding of the late Father Lynch of Loughrea,
called Coadjutor;—and in truth he appeared fully to answer all Mr.
Irvin’s eulogiums: we rode through the fair, much amused—I trotting
carelessly close by the side of Byrne, and our servant on the fiery mare
behind us; when, on a sudden, a drunken shoemaker, or _master cobbler_,
as he called himself, whom my family had employed in heeling, soling,
&c. seeing me pass by, rushed out of his tent with a bottle of whisky in
one hand and a glass in the other, and roared, “Ough! by J—s, Barnton,
you go no further till you take a drop with me, like your father’s son,
that I’ve been these many a long year tapping and foxing for: here, my
darling, open your gob!”

Byrne being nearest, the cobbler stepped under the neck of my friend’s
horse, and his sconce getting entangled in the loose reins, the horse
(not understanding that species of interruption) began to caper—which at
the same time rather shaking Counsellor Byrne in his seat, and further
entangling the shoemaker’s head, I leant across to get Byrne’s rein
fair; but being unable to do so, from the fury of the son of Crispin,
who was hitting Bucephalus on the skull as hard as he could with the
bottle, to make him _stand easy_ and to get his own head clear, my leg
got entangled in the reins; and Byrne’s _gentle_ gelding making one or
two simultaneous leaps forward and kicks behind, I had the horror of
seeing my poor friend fly far over his horse’s head, alight rather
heavily upon his own, and having done so, lie quite flat and still,
seeming to take no further notice either of the fair, the horses,
myself, or any earthly matter whatsoever.

My steed now began to follow so bright a precedent;—the cobbler,
meanwhile, still cracking away with his bottle at both beasts. My seat
of course became less firm; and at length I yielded to imperative
circumstances, and being detached from my saddle (and also, fortunately,
from the stirrups), I came easily down—but not clear of either horse;
for I reluctantly fell just between the two, one of my legs being fast
in Byrne’s bridle and the other in my own. Both animals were prepared to
set off with the utmost expedition; but I believe without the least idea
as to whither they were going. The cobbler fought hard to get his head
loose; but in vain; so with me he must come, go wherever I might. The
two geldings now wheeled us off, plunging, kicking, and giving me to
understand (so far as I could understand any thing) that I had little
further to do than commend my soul to Heaven, which, to tell truth, I
had neither leisure nor presence of mind to attempt. It was lucky that
the horses’ heads were pulled together by the bridles; by holding which,
I defeated the attempt of “Coadjutor” to kick me to pieces—a compliment
that, with might and main, he strove to pay me; and while dragged on my
back through a short space of the fair of Donnybrook in company with the
shoemaker (who was obliged to run obliquely or be strangled by the
bridles), I had the additional pleasure of feeling the wind of
“Coadjutor’s” heels every second dashing about my head, and also of
looking up at the bellies of both steeds; for I could see nothing else,
except the cobbler, who roared in a voice that brought every man, woman
and child out of the tents. Some men, at the risk of their own lives,
closed on “the mad horses,” and with their knives cut the bridles of
both, and then away went the two geldings, quite disencumbered, as hard
as their legs could carry them,—upsetting tables, forms, pots of hot
water, and in fact every thing that came in their way—till they reached
the spot where Mr. Irvin stood, and sundry members of their own species
were disporting under their master. When they were caught, and the
_death_ of the two counsellors announced by the Dublin horse-jockies,
who were jealous of Mr. Irvin, news was instantly sent to town that
Galway Irvin, a horse-jockey, had sold a vicious animal to Counsellor
Byrne, which had killed both him and Counsellor Barrington on the green
of Donnybrook.

The mare my servant rode, though she did not know what all this row was
about, thought proper to emulate so good an example. But being fonder of
_galloping_ than _rearing_, she fairly ran away; and the lad being
unable to hold her in, they upset every thing in their course, till
having come in contact with the cord of a tent, and being entangled
therein, down went horse and rider plump against the wattles, which
(together with the quilts) yielding to their pressure, Byrne’s mare and
my groom instantly made an unexpected portion of the company inside.

My readers must picture to themselves a runaway horse and his rider
tumbling head foremost into a tent among from ten to twenty Irishmen,
who had got _the drink in them_. Many were the bruises and slight
scarifications of the company before they could get clear of what they
thought nothing but the devil or a whirlwind could possibly have sent
thus, without the least notice, to destroy them. In fact Byrne had, a
few months after, a considerable sum to advance to satisfy all parties
for broken ware, &c.: but the poor fellows would charge nothing for
broken heads or damaged carcases.

The shoemaker, who had certainly stood a narrow risk of being choked,
was the first to tell every body his sad adventure; and to the end of my
days, I never shall forget the figure he cut. His waistcoat was quite
torn off his back while on the ground; he lost both shoes; and the lower
part of his shirt acting as _locum tenens_ for the back of his
small-clothes, which had likewise been rent aside, nothing (with the
conjunction of his horrified countenance) ever presented a more
ludicrous appearance. He continued to roar “Murder! murder!” much in the
yelping tone of a poor dog run over by a carriage, or of a little cur,
when, having got a shrewd bite from a big one, he is galloping off with
his tail between his legs, to claim the protection of his mistress. On
being disengaged, the son of Crispin limped off to the next tent, where
(every body flocking round him) he held up the bottle, of which he
loudly swore he had never quitted his gripe,—“Not,” he said, “for the
lucre of a glass bottle—the bottle be d—’d! but for the sake of the
_cratur_ that was in it, though that was all spilt.”

As for myself, I really know not how I escaped so well: my hat stuck
fast, which saved my head; I held as tightly as I could by both reins;
and in the short distance we were dragged, received very few hard bumps
upon the ground, which, fortunately for all parties, was grassy, and had
neither stones nor gravel. My coat was torn, my hands a little cut by
the reins, and my ankle by the stirrup, as my foot got disentangled
therefrom;—but I received no injury of any consequence.

The most melancholy part of the story relates to my friend Byrne, who
(though by far the simplest process) was the only material sufferer. So
soon as I could set myself to rights in the next tent, and had taken a
large tumbler of hot punch—as they said, to _drive the fright_ out of
me—I hastened to my companion, who, when last I saw him, lay motionless
on the ground. I was told he had been brought into a tent, and there
laid out upon a table as if dead; and had he not exhibited signs of life
pretty soon, the folks would have proceeded to _wake_ and _stretch_ him,
and when he was _decent_, to cover him with a quilt, and carry him home
_next morning_ on a door to his family.

On my arrival, I found him greatly confused, and quite helpless: there
was, however, no bone broken, or any wound or bruise that I could see.
He merely complained of a pain in his neck and shoulders, and I
considered that the general shock he had received was his only injury.
While he lay nearly insensible, but had shown signs of life, the women
forced burnt whisky down his throat out of a bottle, which certainly
revived him. He was then bled by a farrier, and we got him home in a
carriage, though in considerable pain. The surgeon employed (I don’t
name him) said nothing was injured; but in less than a week, to the
horrible torture of poor Byrne, and the discomfiture of the _doctor_, it
turned out that his right shoulder had been dislocated, and the use of
his arm entirely destroyed. After the lapse of such an interval, of
course extreme inflammation took place, and for many months he could
scarcely move.

I fancy _horse jockeying_ and the _fair of Donnybrook_ never
subsequently escaped Byrne’s memory. In fact, the circumstance proved
nearly fatal to him several years after. His shoulder having remained so
long unset, the muscles became rigid, and he never had the power of
raising his right arm upon a level again. This deprivation, as mentioned
in Vol. ii., he felt acutely on his duel with the Earl of Kilkenny, who
hit him before he could bring up his arm to any position.

I have thus given a true sketch of Donnybrook fair forty years ago. I,
however, remember it twenty years earlier—as I used to be taken thither
when a child by the maid-servants, under pretence of diverting “little
master;” and they and their sweethearts always crammed me with cakes to
a surfeit, that I might not tell my grandmother what I saw of them.

The _country_ fairs of Ireland, though of the same genus, were of a
different species; and there were great varieties among that
species—according to the habits, customs, and manners of the several
provinces, counties, or parishes, wherein they were held. The southern,
eastern, and western fairs had considerable similitude to each other;
but the northern, if I may apply exaggerated epithets, could boast more
_rogues_, while at the former the preponderance was of _madmen_. The
_southerns_ certainly loved fighting vastly better, and after they had
done were vastly less vindictive than the northern descendants of the


Footnote 30:

  I do not think that the southern and western Irish have, or ever will
  have, any ardent brotherly affection for their northern
  fellow-countrymen (exclusive of differences in religion). The former
  descended direct from the aboriginals of the land; the latter are
  deduced from Scotch colonists, and those not of the very best
  occupations or character either.

  An anecdote told of Sir Hercules Langreish and Mr. Dundas is
  illustrative of this observation, and was one of our standing jokes,
  when Ireland existed as a nation.

  Mr. Dundas, himself a keen sarcastic man, who loved his bottle nearly
  as well as Sir Hercules, invited the baronet to a grand dinner in
  London, where the wine circulated freely, and wit kept pace with it.
  Mr. Dundas, wishing to procure a laugh at Sir Hercules, said:—

  “Why, Sir Hercules, is it true that we Scotch formerly _transported_
  all our criminals and felons to Ireland?”

  “I dare say,” replied Sir Hercules; “but did you ever hear, Mr.
  Dundas, of any of your countrymen _returning_ to _Scotland_ from


At country fairs, the feasting and drinking were still more
boisterous—what they call _obstropulous_ in Ireland; but being generally
held in towns, there was less character exhibited, and consequently less
food for observation to spectators. The fighting, too, was of a
different nature, and far more serious than at Donnybrook. I will cite a
fair that I seldom missed attending for several years, solely in order
to see the fight which was sure to conclude it. It was called the fair
of Dysart, held in a beautiful country in the valley below the green
Timahoe hills, and close to one of the most interesting and beautiful of
Irish ruins, the rock of Donnamase, where, in ancient times, sword-duels
were fought, as I have heretofore mentioned. Cromwell battered it, and
slaughtered the warders of the O’Moores, who held their hereditary
fortress while they had an arm to defend it.

To this fair resorted sundry factions—as they were termed; a _faction_
consisting of one of two parishes, baronies, or town-lands, that were
very good friends in small parties or individually, but had a
prescriptive deadly hatred to each other at all great meetings, fairs,
returns from alehouses, &c. At races or hurlings, where gentlemen
presided, no symptoms of animosity were apparent.

But a tacit compact was always understood to exist that the _factions_
should fight at the fair of Dysart once a year; and accordingly, none of
them ever failed to attend the field of battle with their wives, and
generally a reasonable number of infant children, whose cries and
shrieks during their _daddies’_ conflict formed a substitute for martial
music—mingled, indeed, with the incessant rattle of the ladies’ tongues,
as they fought and struggled, like the Sabine women, to separate
combatants, who would come on purpose to fight again.

The fair went on quietly enough at first as to buying, selling, and
_trucking_ of cows, pigs, frieze and other merchandise: but when trade
grew slack, the whisky got in vigour, and the time came when the same
little “whacking, plase your honour, that our fathers before us always
did at Dysart,” could no longer be deferred. There being however no
personal or ostensible cause of dispute, one or two _boys_ were always
sent out to _pick_ a quarrel and give just reason for the respective
_factions_ to come to the rescue.

Their weapon was almost exclusively an oaken cudgel:—neither iron,
steel, nor indeed any deadlier substance, so far as I ever saw, was in
use among them; and “boxing matches,” as before observed, were
considered altogether too gross and vulgar for the direct descendants of
Irish _princes_, as in fact many of them were. The friends and
neighbours of the pugnacious factions, always in bodies, joined more or
less warmly in the fray. In truth, it would be totally impossible to
keep an Irish peasant, man or woman (if _the drop_ was in), from joining
in any battle going merrily on. Before the fray had ended, therefore,
the entire assemblage was engaged in some degree; and it was commonly a
drawn battle, seldom concluding till all parties and each sex, fairly
out of breath, were unable to fight any more. Two hours or thereabouts
was considered as a decent period for a beating match, and some priest
generally put an end to it when the _factions_ were themselves tired.

These battles commenced in the most extraordinary manner; the different
modes of picking a quarrel being truly comical. One fellow generally
took off his long frieze coat, and flourishing his shillelah, which he
trailed along the ground, vociferated, “Horns! horns! ram’s horns! who
dares say any thing’s crookeder than ram’s horns?”

“By J—s, I know _fat_ will be twice crookeder nor any ram’s horns before
the fair’s over,” another sturdy fellow would reply, leaping, as he
spoke, out of a tent, armed with his “walloper” (as they called their
cudgel), and spitting in his fist—“By J—s, I’ll make your own skull
crookeder nor any ram’s horn in the barony.” The _blow_ of course
followed the _word_;—the querist was laid sprawling on the ground;—out
rushed the _factious_ from every tent, and to work they fell—knocking
down right and left, tumbling head over heels, then breaking into small
parties, and fighting through and round the tents. If one fellow lost
his “walloper,” and was pressed by numbers, he sometimes tugged at a
wattle till he detached it from a tent, and sweeping it all around him,
prostrated men, women, and children:—one, tumbling, tripped up another;
and I have seen them lying in hillocks, yet scarcely any body in the
least injured. Sometimes one faction had clearly the best of it; then
they ran away in their turn, for there was no determined stand made by
any party—so that their alternate advancing, retreating, running away,
and rallying, were productive of huge diversion. Whoever got his head
cut (and that was generally the case with more than half of them), ran
into some tent, where the women tied up the hurt, gave the _sufferer_ a
glass of whisky, and kept him fair and easy till news arrived that the
priest was come—when the combatants soon grew more quiet. The priest
then told them how sinful they were. They thanked his reverence, and
said “they’d stop, _becaize_ he desired them; but it wasn’t _becaize_
they wouldn’t like to make _sartain_ who’d have the best of it.”

The hair being detached from about the cuts on the head, the cuts
themselves dressed, rags applied to battered shins, &c., the whisky went
round merrily again, and the several _factions_ seldom departed till
they were totally _unable_ to fight any more. Some were escorted home by
the priests upon garrons (their wives behind them); some on straw in
cars; and some, too drunk to be moved, remained in the neighbourhood. No
animosity was cherished; and until next fair they would do each other
any kind office. I witnessed many of these _actions_, and never heard
that any man was “dangerously wounded.” But if they fought on the road
home, in very small parties, serious mischief was not unfrequently the

The _quere_ as to ram’s horns was only one of many curious schemes
whereby to get up a quarrel. I have seen a fellow going about the fair
dragging his coat, which was always considered a challenge, like
throwing down a glove or gauntlet in olden times—and in fact was a
relict of that practice. Another favourite mode was, exclaiming “black’s
the white of my eye!—who dares say _black_ is _not_ the _white_ of my

These scenes certainly took place at a time when Ireland was reputed,
and with truth, to be in a very rough state. It has since undergone
plenty of civilization. Sunday schools, improved magistracy, and a
regular police, have recently been introduced; and the present state of
Ireland proves the great advances it has made in consequence. Of late
years, therefore, though the factions still fight, as usual, it is with
more civilised weapons. Instead of shillelahs and “wallopers,” swords,
pistols, and guns are the genteel implements resorted to: and (to match
the agriculturists) scythes, hatchets, bill-hooks, and pitchforks are
used in their little encounters: and surely the increased refinement of
the country is not to be relinquished on account of the loss of a few

I fear some of my readers may call the latter observations _ironical_;
but the best way for them to avoid that supposition is, to reflect what
_savage_ Ireland was at the time I allude to, and what _civilised_
Ireland is at the moment I am writing;—in the year 1780, when the
peasantry fighting at the fair of Dysart was in a savage state, the
government were so stingy of their army that they would only spare the
Irish five or six thousand soldiers, and no militia, to teach them to
behave themselves: but after an interval of forty years, they are now so
kind as to allow us five-and-thirty thousand troops to teach the new
rudiments of civilization—the old six thousand having had nothing to do
amongst these semi-barbarous islanders. Nay, the government finding that
Ballinrobe (where, as I have stated, a sow and her ten _piggin riggins_
came to breakfast with two counsellors) was making slow progress to this
desirable state of refinement, was so considerate as to send certainly
the best-bred regiment in the king’s service to give lessons of urbanity
to the people for three hundred and sixty-five days without

This boon to so backward a population as County Mayo presented, must
ever be remembered with gratitude by the _undressed_ gentlemen of that
county, though I have not seen any authentic _exposé_ of those
beneficial effects which no doubt resulted.

                          THE WALKING GALLOWS.

Brief reflections on the Irish Revolution of 1798—Mutual atrocities of
  the Royalists and Rebels—Irish humour buoyant to the last—O’Connor,
  the schoolmaster of County Kildare—“’Tis well it’s _no worse_”—The
  Barristers’ corps—Its commander—Lieutenant H—— —His zeal for loyalty,
  and its probable origin—Indemnities unjustly obtained for cruelty
  against the insurgents—Lieutenant H——’s mode of executing a rebel—His
  _sobriquet_, and its well-earned application.

Never was there an era in the history of any country which, in so short
a space of time, gave birth to such numerous and varied circumstances as
did the memorable year 1798 in Ireland: nor was there ever yet an event
so important as the Irish insurrection, but has afforded a veracious—or,
at least, a tolerably impartial narrative. But the party rancour and
virulent hatred of the religious sects in the south, the centre and west
of Ireland (where the rebellion principally raged), operated to prevent
any fair record of those scenes of bloodshed and atrocity which, on
_both sides_, outraged every principle of morality and justice, and
every feeling of consanguinity, honour, or humanity. The very worst
qualities were fostered to full maturity, and the better ones turned
adrift like discarded servants. Blood, fire, and famine were the only
umpires resorted to by the contending parties.

Those barbarities were nearly, if not altogether, unexampled either in
ancient or modern Europe: but it is now thirty years since their
termination; the surviving contemporaries are old enough to have their
blood cooled and their prejudices moderated;—and they should have grown
sufficiently dispassionate to speak of those scenes (if at all) with
honesty and candour.

I was myself in the midst of the tumult: a zealous loyalist; an officer
in the corps of barristers; an active partizan; in a word, a _strong_
adherent of government—but not a _blind_ one. I could not shut my eyes;
I could not close my ears; I would not pervert my reason; and the full
use of those faculties at that time, enables me now to state as an
historic fact—which some will deny, and many may discredit—that the
barbarities of that period (though not precisely) were pretty nearly
balanced between the conflicting parties.[31] Mercy was alike banished
by both; and the instruments employed of death and torture, though
dissimilar, were alike destructive: the bullet, sabre, bayonet, lash,
and halter, being met by the pike, the scythe, the blunderbuss, the
hatchet, and the firebrand.


Footnote 31:

  Never did there appear a more extravagant and therefore mischievous
  historian than Sir Richard Musgrave proved himself in his “History of
  Irish Rebellions, and principally that of Ninety-eight,”—almost every
  chapter whereof is distinguished by misconception and fanaticism. Lord
  Cornwallis disclaimed the baronet’s dedication—who, on sinking into
  the grave, left a legacy to his country—having fomented prejudices
  against her in Great Britain which another century may not extinguish.


Yet while human blood was pouring out in streams, and human beings
consuming in fire, or writhing either upon rebel pikes or royal
bayonets—will it be believed?—men had grown so familiarised to scenes of
horror, that the eccentric humour of the Irish people was insusceptible
of decrease. In the midst of tortures, either suffered or inflicted, it
frequently broke out into the most ludicrous actions and expressions,
proving to me that an Irishman’s humour is so drilled into his nature,
as to be inexhaustible even to the moment of his death (if that is not
unusually too deliberate).[32]


Footnote 32:

  O’Connor, a fat, comely, cheerful-looking schoolmaster of County
  Kildare, was the first rebel executed for high treason. His trial gave
  rise to one of the most curious dialogues (between him and Judge
  Finucane) that ever took place in a court of justice. It ended,
  however, by the judge (who was a humane man) passing the usual
  sentence on him—“That he should be hanged by the neck, but not till he
  was dead: that while still alive his bowels should be taken out, his
  body quartered,” &c. &c. The culprit bore all this with firm though
  mild complacency; and on conclusion of the sentence bowed low, blessed
  the judge for his _impartiality_, and turning about, said, “God’s will
  be done! ’tis well _it’s no worse_!” I was surprised. I pitied the
  poor fellow, who had committed no atrocity, and asked him what he
  meant. “Why, Counsellor,” said he, “I was afraid his lordship would
  order me to be _flogged_!” Every rebel preferred death to the
  cat-o’-nine-tails! O’Connor’s head remained some years on the top of
  Naas gaol.


It is not in the nature, or within the comprehension, of the sober
English people to form any judgment of what a true-born Irishman is
capable of saying or doing in his deepest extremities: and I am sure
they will give me little credit for veracity when I mention some
instances which, I own, in any other country might be reasonably
considered incredible. In no other place existing could the cruel and
ludicrous be so mingled, as they were in the transactions of the
sanguinary period in question; nor do I think there can be a better
way to inform and amuse the reader, than by giving alternate anecdotes
of the _royalists_ and the _rebels_, leaving it to his own judgment to
draw conclusions.—This one observation, however, it is necessary, in
justice, to premise;—that the royalists were, generally speaking, of a
higher class than the rebels—and had received the advantages of
education, while the rebels were in a state of total ignorance and
beggary. The wanton barbarities, therefore, of the more enlightened
classes have less ground of palliation than those of a demi-savage
peasantry, urged by fanaticism, and blinded by ignorance. This
observation was strongly impressed on my mind throughout the whole of
that contest; and it would be acting unfairly toward the officer who
so judiciously commanded the military corps I was then attached to,
not to say, that, though an unqualified Protestant—an hereditary
Huguenot, filled with that spirit of sectionary zeal which drove his
eloquent ancestor from his native country; yet, during the whole of
the rebellion, Captain Saurin never suffered the corps he led to
indulge any religious distinctions;—scarcely, indeed, could his own
sect be discovered by any particular of his acts, orders, or conduct;
nor did that corps ever participate in, or even countenance, the
violent proceedings so liberally practised by other military


Footnote 33:

  I knew at least but of one exception to this remark respecting the
  lawyers’ corps. Very early in the rebellion an officer took down a
  detachment of that corps to Rathcool, about seven miles from Dublin,
  without the knowledge of the commandant. They were not aware of his
  object, which turned out to be, to set fire to part of the town. He
  captured one gentleman, Lieutenant Byrne, who was hanged;—and returned
  to Dublin, in my mind _not_ triumphant.

  He got several severe lectures, but none so strong as one from the
  late Sir John Parnell, then chancellor of the exchequer, whose heir,
  the present Sir Henry Parnell, was among those unwittingly taken down.


This line of conduct was most exemplary; and from a thorough knowledge
of the constitutional attributes of the man, I am convinced that neither
his philanthropy, toleration, humility, or other good qualities have
been much increased by his _schooling_, for the last twenty years, in
the Irish Four Courts.

Among the extraordinary characters that turned up in the fatal
“ninety-eight,” there were few more extraordinary than Lieutenant H——,
then denominated the “walking gallows;”—and such he certainly was,
literally and practically.[34]


Footnote 34:

  This circumstance is mentioned in my “Historic Anecdotes of the
  Union,” among several others, which were written before the present
  work was in contemplation. But the incident now before the reader is
  so remarkable that I have gone into it more particularly. Many will
  peruse this book who will never see the other, into which have been
  interwoven, in fact, _numerous_ sketches of those days that I now
  regret I did not retain for the present work, to which they would have
  been quite appropriate.


Lieutenant H—— was an officer of the line, on half pay. His brother was
one of the solicitors to the Crown—a quiet, tremulous, _vino deditus_
sort of man, and a leading Orangeman;—his widow, who afterward married
and survived a learned doctor, was a clever, positive, good-looking
Englishwoman, and, I think, fixed the doctor’s avowed _creed_: as to his
genuine _faith_, that was of little consequence.

Lieutenant H—— was about six feet two inches high;—strong, and broad in
proportion. His strength was great, but of the dead kind, unaccompanied
by activity. He could lift a ton, but could not leap a rivulet; he
looked mild, and his address was civil—neither assuming nor at all
ferocious. I knew him well, and from his countenance should never have
suspected him of cruelty; but so cold-blooded and so eccentric an
executioner of the human race I believe never yet existed, save among
the American Indians.[35]


Footnote 35:

  His mode of execution being perfectly novel, and at the same time
  _ingenious_, Curran said, “The lieutenant should have got a patent for
  cheap strangulation.”


His inducement to the strange barbarity he practised I can scarcely
conceive; unless it proceeded from that natural taint of cruelty which
so often distinguishes man above all other animals when his power
becomes uncontrolled. The propensity was probably strengthened in him
from the indemnities of martial law, and by those visions of promotion
whereby violent partizans are perpetually urged, and so frequently


Footnote 36:

  “We love the treason, but hate the traitor,” is an aphorism which
  those who assume prominent parts in any public convulsion are sure to
  find verified. Many instances took place in Ireland; and in France
  exemplifications occurred to a very considerable extent. A blind
  _zealot_ is of all men most likely to become a _renegade_ if he feel
  it more convenient: prejudice and interest unite to form _furious_
  partizans, who are never guided by _principle_—for principle is
  founded on judgment.


At the period alluded to, law being suspended, and the courts of justice
closed, the “question” by torture was revived and largely practised. The
commercial exchange of Dublin formed a place of execution; even
_suspected_ rebels were every day immolated as if _convicted_ on the
clearest evidence; and Lieutenant H——’s _pastime_ of hanging _on his own
back_ persons whose physiognomies he thought characteristic of rebellion
was, (I am ashamed to say) the subject of jocularity instead of
punishment. What in other times he would himself have died for, as a
murderer, was laughed at as the manifestation of loyalty: never yet was
martial law so abused, or its enormities so hushed up[37] as in Ireland.
Being a military officer, the lieutenant conceived he had a right to do
just what he thought proper, and to make the most of his time while
martial law was flourishing.


Footnote 37:

  The open indemnification of Mr. Judkin Fitzgerald, of Tipperary, for
  his cruelties in that county, was one of the worst acts of a vicious
  government. The prime serjeant, Mr. St. George Daly, though then the
  first law officer, (a _Union_ one, too, as subsequently appeared,)
  voted against that most flagitious act of Parliament, which nothing
  but the raging madness of those times could have carried through any
  assembly. The dread of its recurrence did much to effect the Union.


Once, when high in blood, he happened to meet a _suspicious-looking_
peasant from County Kildare, who could not satisfactorily account for
himself according to the lieutenant’s notion of evidence; and having
nobody at hand to vouch for him, the lieutenant of course immediately
took for granted that he _must_ be a rebel strolling about, and
imagining the death of his Most Gracious Majesty.[38] He therefore, no
other _court of justice_ being at hand, considered that he had a right
to try the man by his _own opinion_; accordingly, after a brief
interrogation, he condemned him to die, and without further ceremony
proceeded to put his own sentence into immediate execution.


Footnote 38:

  The lieutenant’s brother being a Crown solicitor, had now and then got
  the lieutenant to copy the high treason indictments: and he, seeing
  there that _imagining_ the death of a _king_ was punished capitally,
  very naturally conceived that _wishing_ it was twice as bad as
  _supposing_ it: having therefore no doubt that _all_ rebels wished it,
  he consequently decided in the tribunal of his own mind to hang every
  man who hypothetically and traitorously wished his majesty’s
  dissolution, which wish he also conceived was very easily ascertained
  by the wisher’s countenance.

  A cabinet-maker at Charing Cross some years ago put on his board
  “patent coffin-maker to his majesty:” it was considered that though
  this was not an _ill-intentioned_, yet it was a very improper mode of
  _imagining_ the king’s death, and the board was taken down
  accordingly. Lieutenant H—— would surely have hanged him in Ireland.


However, to do the lieutenant justice, his _mode_ was not near so
tedious or painful as that practised by the grand signior, who sometimes
causes the ceremony to be divided into three acts, giving the culprit a
drink of spring water to _refresh_ him between the two first; nor was it
so severe as the burning old women formerly for witchcraft. In fact, the
“walking gallows” was both on a new and simple plan; and after some
kicking and plunging during the operation, never failed to be completely
effectual. The lieutenant being, as before mentioned, of lofty stature,
with broad and strong shoulders, saw no reason why they might not answer
his majesty’s service upon a pinch as well as two posts and a cross-bar
(the more legitimate instrument upon such occasions): and he also
considered that, when a rope was not at hand, there was no good reason
why his own silk cravat (being softer than an ordinary halter, and of
course less calculated to _hurt_ a man) should not be a more merciful
choke-band than that employed by any _Jack Ketch_ in the three kingdoms.

In pursuance of these benevolent intentions, the lieutenant, as a
preliminary step, first knocked down the suspected rebel from County
Kildare, which the weight of mettle in his fist rendered no difficult
achievement. His garters then did duty as handcuffs: and with the aid of
a brawny aide-de-camp (one such always attended him), he pinioned his
victim hand and foot, and then most considerately advised him to pray
for King George, observing that any prayers for his _own_ d—d _popish
soul_ would be only time lost, as his fate in every world (should there
be even a thousand) was decided to all eternity for having imagined the
death of so good a monarch.

During this exhortation, the lieutenant twisted up his long cravat so as
to make a firm, handsome rope, and then expertly sliding it over the
rebel’s neck, secured it there by a double knot, drew the cravat over
his own shoulders, and the aide-de-camp holding up the rebel’s heels,
till he felt him _pretty easy_, the lieutenant with a powerful chuck
drew up the poor devil’s head as high as his own (cheek by jowl), and
began to trot about with his burden like a jolting cart-horse,—the rebel
choking and gulping meanwhile, until he had no further solicitude about
sublunary affairs—when the lieutenant, giving him a parting chuck, just
to make sure that his neck was broken, threw down his load—the personal
assets about which the aide-de-camp made a _present_ of to _himself_.

Now all this proceeding was very pains-taking and ingenious: and yet the
ungrateful government (as Secretary Cook assured me) would have been
better pleased had the execution taken place on timber and with hemp,
according to old formalities.

To be serious:—this story is scarcely credible—yet it is a notorious
fact; and the lieutenant, a few nights afterward, acquired the
_sobriquet_ which forms a head to this sketch, and with which he was
invested by the upper gallery of Crow Street Theatre—nor did he ever get
rid of it to his dying-day.

The above _trotting_ execution (which was humorously related to me by an
eye-witness) took place in the barrack-yard at Kerry House, Stephen’s
Green. The _hangee_ was, I believe, (_as it happened_) in reality a

Providence, however, which is said to do “every thing for the best,”
(though some persons who are half starving, and others who think
themselves very unfortunate, will not allow it so much credit,)
determined that Lieutenant H——’s loyalty and merits should meet their
full reward in another sphere—where, being quite out of the reach of all
his enemies, he might enjoy his destiny without envy or interruption. It
therefore, very soon after the rebellion had terminated, took the
lieutenant into its own especial keeping; and despatched a raging fever
to bring him off to the other world, which commission the said fever
duly executed after twenty-one days’ combustion;—and no doubt his ghost
is treated according to its deserts; but nobody having since returned
from those regions to inform us what has actually become of the
lieutenant, it is still a _dead_ secret, and I fancy very few persons in
Ireland have any wish for the opportunity of satisfying their curiosity.
People however give a shrewd guess, that it is _possible_ he may be
employed somewhere else in the very same way wherein he entertained
himself in Ireland; and that after being duly furnished with a tail,
horns, and cloven foot, no spirit could do infernal business better than
the lieutenant.

                       CONVERSION AND INVERSION.

Rebel pranks—Caprice of the insurgents—Puns and piking—Archdeacon
  Elgy—His capture by the rebels—Captain Murphy’s harangue and
  argument—Proposal made to the Archdeacon—An “Orange parson” converted
  into a “green priest”—Father Cahill and Father Pat Elgy—Another
  exploit of Captain Murphy—Parson Owen of Wexford—His concealment in a
  grocer’s cockloft—Discovered by the _wattle boys_—Dragged to a window
  and hung therefrom, by his heels, over a number of pikes—His delirium,
  and escape through Captain Murphy’s humanity—Parson Owen’s
  superinduced squint, and consequent nuptials—His lady left a
  widow—Instance of the fatal effects of unpleasant and unexpected news.

We have, in the foregoing sketch, seen something of the unwarrantable
acts whereof loyal zeal was capable. Let us now take a glance, in
fairness and impartiality, at the conduct of the insurgents,—which
varied exceedingly in different instances. Sometimes, almost as the
humour of the moment guided them, they would treat such as fell in their
power with lenity and moderation: at others, no degree of cruelty was
spared toward those unfortunate individuals.

They had at their mercy, during the whole period, a man of high rank,
their avowed, zealous, and active enemy, a Protestant and Orangeman.
Yet, while numerous persons of inferior classes were piked and
butchered, the Earl of Kingston was unmolested, and left at liberty on
their evacuation of Wexford. It were to be wished that General Lake had
shown similar generosity to Mr. Cornelius Grogan, whose hasty and
unmerited execution by martial law savoured of deliberate murder as
strongly as the death of most who were slaughtered by the rebels.

On many occasions during that dreadful struggle, jests were so strangely
mixed up with murder, that it was not easy to guess which way a scene
would terminate—whether in tragedy or comedy; so much depended on the
sobriety or intoxication of the insurgents.

One or two anecdotes (out of hundreds worth recording) will serve to
show in some degree the spirit of the times; and we will preface them by
observing, that the district (the barony of Forth, in County Wexford,)
most active in rebellion, most zealous and most sanguinary, was the
identical point whereon Strongbow, the first British soldier who set
foot in Ireland, had, six hundred and twenty seven years before, begun
his colonization. Most of the Wexford rebels, indeed, were lineal
descendants of the original Britons who came over there from South Wales
and Bristol, and repeopled that district after their countrymen had
nearly exterminated the aboriginal natives.

The rebels had obliged Major Maxwell, with the king’s troops, far too
precipitately to evacuate Wexford; and that officer, by the rapidity of
his movements, gave neither time nor notice to the loyalists to retreat
with him. It was therefore considered, that Archdeacon Elgy, a dignitary
of the Protestant church, was the most likely subject for the rebels to
begin their slaughter with; and the general opinion ran that he would
have at least a dozen pikes through his body before dinner-time on the
day the insurgents entered.

Of this way of thinking was the divine himself: nor did the numerous
corresponding surmises prove erroneous. Sentence of death was promptly
passed upon the archdeacon, who was held to aggravate his offences by

A certain shrewd fellow, yclept a _captain_ among the rebels, however,
saw things in a different point of view; and, though without any
particularly kind feelings toward the archdeacon, he, by use of a very
luminous argument, changed the determination of his comrades.

“What’s the good,” said he, “of _piking_ the old man? Sure, if he’ll
give in, and worship the Virgin in our chapel, won’t it be a better job?
They say he’s a very good Orange parson, and why shouldn’t he make a
good _green priest_, if he’ll take on with Father Cahill? Devil the much
harm ever he did us!—so, if yees agree to that same, I’ll tell him, fair
and easy, to _take on_ with the Virgin to-morrow in the big chapel, or
he’ll find himself more _holy_ than _godly_ before the sun sets.”

The concluding joke, however trite, put them all in good humour; and the
orator proceeded: “Come a couple of dozen of ye, boys, with wattles on
your shoulders; give me the colours and cross, and we’ll go to Parson

In fact they went to the archdeacon, and Mr. Murphy, the spokesman, told
him very quietly and civilly that he came to “offer his reverence life
and liberty, and a good parish too, if he would only _do the thing_
cleverly in the way Father Cahill would show him.”

The reverend doctor, not comprehending the nature of the condition, and
conceiving that they probably only required him to stand neuter,
replied, in a quivering voice, “that he would never forget the
obligations: he was well content with the cure he had, but not the less
indebted to them for their kind offer to give him a better.”

“Ough!” said Captain Murphy, “your reverence happens to be all in the

The archdeacon of course fell into his nervous fit again, and stood
quaking as if both Saint Vitus’ dance and the _tic douloureux_ had
assailed him at once with their utmost rancour.

“I am only come,” resumed Murphy, “just to give your reverence two
little _choices_.”

“Oh, Lord! Captain Murphy, what are they?” cried the clerical gentleman.

“Either to take your turn to-morrow in the big _chapel_, with our
clergy, and be one of them yourself, or to receive two-and-twenty pikes
straight _through_ your reverence’s carcase, as you will otherwise do,
before the sun sets this blessed day—and by my sowl it’s not far from
that time now! (Here the doctor groaned most heavily.) One of the
things,” pursued the rebel, “is quite easy for your reverence to do, and
the other is quite easy for _us_ to do; and so there will be no great
trouble in it either way. Come on, lads, and just show your _switches_
to his reverence.”

Above twenty long pikes were instantly flourished in the air with an
hurra that nearly shook every nerve of the archdeacon out of its natural

“Ah, gentlemen!” said he, “spare a poor old man, who never harmed any of
you. For the love of God, spare me!”

“Arrah! be easy, parson,” said Captain Murphy: “sure there’s but _one_
God between us all, and that’s plenty, if there were as many more of us.
So what are we differing and bothering about? whether you say your
prayers in the _church_ or in the _chapel_, in _Latin_ or in _English_;
whether you reckon them on your beads, or read them on your book,—sure
it’s all one to Him, and no great _differ_, I should think, to any
sensible gentleman,—especially when he cannot help himself! Boys, handle
your switches; though, by my sowl, I’d be sorry to _skiver_ your

The archdeacon, though an excellent orthodox parson, now began to see
his way, and was too wise to have any thing to do with Captain Murphy’s
_switches_ if it were avoidable. He recollected that the great bishops
and archbishops who were roasted alive in Queen Mary’s time, for the
very same reason, got but little credit from posterity for their
martyrdom; and how could he expect _any_ for being _piked_, which was
not half so dilatory a death as roasting? Then, again, he considered
that twenty pikes in a man’s body would not be near as nourishing as one
barnacle or lobster (on which he had for many years loved to feed). He
deemed it better to make a merit of necessity; and accordingly, putting
on a civil face, agreed to all their proposals. He then took a drink of
holy water (which Captain Murphy always carried in a bottle about with
him); made several crosses upon his forehead with a feather dipped in
some “blessed oil” (tinged with green); and after every pike-man had
shaken him by the fist, and called him Father Pat Elgy, it was finally
settled he should next day be rechristened in “the big chapel” by all
the Fathers, taught to celebrate mass as well as the best of them, and
get a _protection_ for having _taken on_ as a true Catholic.

The gentlemen with their _switches_ now retired, uplifting shouts of
exultation at having _converted_ the archdeacon, while that dignitary
tottered back to his family, who had given him up for lost, were
bewailing his cruel martyrdom, and triumphed at his return, though at
the expense of his orthodoxy. A cold roast leg of mutton was then
produced;—and heartily discussing that _creature comfort_, his reverence
could not avoid congratulating himself when he observed the mark of the
_spit_, and reflected that there would have been two-and-twenty much
wider perforations drilled through his own body had not Captain Murphy
made a _papist_ of him.

Next morning, _Father Elgy_ was duly christened _Patrick_; renounced
Martin Luther, in the great chapel of Wexford, as an egregious impostor;
and being appointed a _coadjutor_, celebrated mass with considerable
dexterity and proper gesticulation. He subsequently set about getting
the double manual by heart, that he might be ready to _chaunt_, as soon
as Father Cahill should teach him the several tunes.

The archdeacon, though he had no great reason to be ashamed of his
second christening, (particularly as he had always prayed against
_sudden death_ while he was a Protestant,) could yet never bear, in
after times, to hear the circumstance alluded to, since it could not be
mentioned but a laugh was unavoidable. I often saw Murphy afterward: he
had been generally humane, saved many lives, and was not prosecuted. He
himself told me the foregoing story, with that exquisite simplicity
which belongs almost exclusively to his rank of Irishmen.

Another Protestant clergyman did not fare quite so well as the
archdeacon, being never able to look any man _straight_ in the face
afterward. Parson Owen, brother to Miss Owen of Dublin (heretofore
mentioned in the anecdotes of Doctor Achmet Borumborad), had a small
living in the neighbourhood of Wexford; and as he looked for church
preferment, was, of course, a violent, indeed an outrageous royalist.
Now, as almost every man among his parishioners held a different creed,
both in religion and politics, he was not over-popular in _quiet_ days;
and when the bustle began, thinking it high time to secure his precious
person, he retired for better security into the town of Wexford. He had
not, however, consulted an _oracle_;—that being the first place attacked
by the rebels: and Major Maxwell, as has been stated, having with his
garrison retreated without beat of drum, the parson found himself
necessitated to resort to a cockloft in a grocer’s house in the
Bull-ring at Wexford; where, provisions not being quite handy, and an
empty stomach good for contemplation, he had ample opportunity to
reflect on the species of death he would, most likely meet. The
_promotion_ of _Father Pat Elgy_ had not come to his knowledge.

Previous to this event, the parson had fallen in love with the only
daughter of Mr. Brown, a rich trader, who had formerly kept a tan-yard
in Enniscorthy; or rather his reverence _fell in love_ with a great
number of _government debentures_, bearing interest at five per cent per
annum, which the young lady informed him would be all her own if she
“behaved herself.” He had, therefore, three cogent reasons for seeking
to prolong his life:—first, the natural love of it; secondly, the
debentures; and _lastly_, the damsel.

However, his security was by no means permanent. Early one morning,
wishing to get a mouthful of fresh air, his reverence ventured to peep
out of his garret-window into the street, and was instantly recognised
by one of the _wattle-boys_, as the pike-men were then called.

“Hah! hah! your reverence is there, sure enough,” said the man of the
wattle. “Ough! by my sowl if you budge out of that peep-hole till I come
back again, we’ll make a big bonfire of ye and your Orange family
altogether. Plaze, now, don’t let me _lose sight_ of your reverence
while I run for my commander: it’s he’ll know what to do with the likes
of ye.”

The rebel immediately ran off, but soon returned with the same “Captain
Murphy,” and a whole company of pike-men, just to “skiver the parson.”
Owen was a dapper, saucy, pert-looking, little fellow: he had good sharp
eyes, an excellent use of his tongue, and was considered keen: and
though a high churchman, he was thought at times to be rather more free
and easy in his little sensualities than most bishops could reasonably
have approved of. On this latter account, indeed, it was said that Mr.
Brown, before-mentioned, did not relish him for a son-in-law. Ladies,
however, are sometimes more charitable in this respect; Miss Brown
conceived that whatever his _piety_ might amount to, his _love_, at
least, was orthodox; and in this belief, she privately counselled her
swain to affect more holiness before her papa:—to be lavish, for
instance, in abuse of the powers of darkness; to speak slower, and in a
more solemn tone; to get longer skirts made to his coats and waistcoats,
let his hair grow lank, and say grace with becoming gravity and
deliberation,—not as if he were impatient to rush at the eatables before
they were properly blessed. “Eating,” added the didactic lady, “may
become a vice if too luxuriously gratified; whereas hunger must be a
virtue, or the popes would not so strongly recommend fasting.”

At this stage of the treaty, and of the castle-building on the
foundation of a tan-yard, his reverence was unfortunately seized in the
cockloft by Captain Murphy; and though the captain was a neighbour of
his, and a decent sort of cattle-dealer, yet Parson Owen gave himself up
for lost to an absolute certainty. His love was, therefore, quite
quenched in horror: his throat swelled up as if he had a quinsy, and he
anticipated nothing short of that which he had prayed against (like
Doctor Elgy) every Sunday since he obtained holy orders—namely, a sudden
death. He thought repentance was, as the French say, _meilleur tard que
jamais_, and accordingly _began_ to repent and implore as hard as
possible,—though without the most remote idea that his supplications
would have time to reach heaven before he himself was turned loose on
the road thither.

Captain Murphy, who, as we have seen, was, although coarse, a
_good-tempered_ fellow, on entering the room with half-a-dozen
wattle-boys, otherwise _executioners_, very civilly told Parson Owen,
“He would be obliged to him just to prepare himself for the other world:
whether the other world was a _better_ place or a _worse_, he would not
attempt to divine;—all he could _assure_ his reverence was, that he
should not be very long going there.—The boys below,” continued Captain
Murphy, “having a good many more to send along with you to-day, your
reverence will be so good as to come down to the first floor as soon as
convenient, that you may drop more agreeably from thence out of the
window on the pikes!”

Without much ceremony, the poor parson was handed down one flight of
stairs, when Captain Murphy opening a window as wide as he could, begged
Owen would be _kind enough_ to take off his coat and waistcoat, and
throw them to the boys below; the remainder of his dress they might take
from the corpse, after his reverence had _stiffened_!

The parson was nearly petrified; but there was no appeal. The captain’s
attendants civilly helped him to remove his upper garments, for which he
had the pleasure of seeing an amusing scramble under the window,
accompanied by a hundred jokes upon the little parson’s surtout, which
not being large enough for any middle-sized rebel, the smallest fellow
among them appropriated it, and strutted about therein, amidst the
horse-laughter of his companions.

Captain Murphy now ordered his wattlers to draw up close under the
window, in order to welcome his reverence on the points of their weapons
as he went out head-foremost. The order was promptly obeyed, with loud
huzzas. The parson’s legs were tied firmly together with a towel which
the captain found in the room; but his arms were left loose, to flourish
about (as they said) like a _windmill_, and make the _sight_ the more

“Now, boys,” said the captain, “I’ll out with his reverence; and when I
let him go, do you all _catch him_!”

The parson was in good earnest thrust out of the window, and hung with
his head downward and his arms at liberty, (a very disagreeable
position,) to the great amusement of the gentlemen of the wattle, as was
proved by a due mixture of grins and shouts. If any of my readers have
seen a pack of hungry spaniels sitting on their haunches round a
sportsman’s table, looking up to their master, and licking their jaws
with impatience for the morsel he holds in his fingers to throw among
them, they may imagine the enviable situation of Parson Owen, dangling
out of the grocer’s window at the Bull-ring in Wexford;—Serjeant Murphy
meanwhile holding his legs, and now and then giving him a little shake,
as if he intended to let him drop—asking his reverence if he were
_ready_ to _step down_ to the croppies.

The condemned Lutheran was, of course, all this time gazing with
straining eyeballs upon the forest of pikes underneath. His blood (as if
to witness the curiosity) rushed down to his head; and he naturally fell
into a state of delirium. All he could recollect or relate afterward
was, that “as his eyes met the pikes just under him, and heard the
rebels call on the captain to ‘_let go!_’ the influx of blood to his
brain operated as, he should imagine, apoplexy might;”—and the captain
perceiving his prisoner to be senseless, and actually intending, if
possible, to save him, cried out to the men below that “by J—s the
parson was ‘stone dead’ of the _fright_, and was quite _kilt_!”

“Hurrah!” cried the wattle-boys.

“Hurrah!” repeated Captain Murphy: “The devil any use in dirtying your
pikes with a dead parson! Better not _spoil his clothes_, boys! his
shirt alone is worth a crown, if it’s worth a farthing.”

Some of the wattlers bespoke one garment—some another:—and these were
thrown out of the window by Murphy, who left the poor parson in his
“birth-day suit,” with five times as much blood in his head as it was
anatomically entitled to. The attendants in the room all thought he was
absolutely dead, and scampered down to assist in the _scramble_. But
Murphy, as he departed, whispered to the owner of the house, “The parson
has life enough in him, yet! you don’t think I intended to kill my
neighbour, if I could help it, do you? But if ever he _shows_ again, or
any of ye tell a single word of this matter, by J—s every living sowl
shall be burnt into black cinders!”

The _defunct_ was then covered with a quilt, carried up to a back
cockloft, and attended there by the two old women who, in fact, alone
occupied the house. He remained safe and sound till the town was retaken
by General Lake, who immediately hanged several disaffected gentlemen,
cut off their heads by martial law, and therewith ornamented the
entrance of the court-house, as heretofore described. Parson Owen was
now fully liberated, with the only difference of having got a lank body,
confused brains, a celestial squint, and an illegitimate sort of St.
Vitus’s dance, commonly called a _muscular contortion_, which, by
occasional twitches and jerks, imparted both to his features and limbs
considerable _variety_.

However, by the extraordinary caprice of Dame Fortune, what the parson
considered the most dreadful incident of his life turned out, in one
respect, the most fortunate one. Mr. Brown, the father of his charmer,
was moved to pity by his sufferings and escape, and still further
conciliated by the _twist_ in his optic nerves, which gave the good
clergyman the appearance, whenever he played the orator in his
reading-desk or pulpit, of looking steadfastly and devoutly up to
heaven. Hence he acquired the reputation of being marvellously increased
in godliness; and Miss Brown, with her debentures, was at length
committed to his “holy keeping.” I believe, however, the worthy man did
not long survive to enjoy his wished-for prosperity. St. Vitus grew too
familiar; and poor Owen became, successively, puny, sickly, and
imbecile: the idea of the pikes never quitted his sensorium; and after a
brief union, he left his spouse a dashing young widow, to look out for
another helpmate, which I understand she was not long in providing.

Sudden fright and horror, or even agitating news, have often the most
extraordinary effect on the human frame, exciting a variety of
disorders, and sometimes even death. I have myself seen numerous
examples of the overwhelming influence of _surprise_. Not long since, a
near relative of mine, a clergyman of ample fortune—a pattern of
benevolence and hospitality—healthy, comely, happy, and adored by his
parishioners—had been driven into some trifling lawsuit. He had
conceived a strange opinion, that a clergyman would be _disgraced_ by
any cause he contested being given _against_ him. With this notion, he
attached an _ideal_ importance to success; and the thing altogether
rendered him anxious and uneasy. The day of decision at the assizes of
Carlow came on: he drove in his gig to the court-house door, quite
certain of the _justice_ of his cause, and confident, therefore, of its
issue;—when the attorney who acted for his opponent, coming out of
court, abruptly told him that the decision was adverse to him. The
extreme suddenness of this unexpected news, like an electric shock,
paralysed his frame, extinguished all his faculties—and, in a word, he
instantaneously fell _dead_! The event was even if possible more
lamentable, as the intelligence was communicated in sport. The cause had
been actually decided in my relation’s favour.

                            REBEL PORTRAITS.

Tendency of the imagination to _embody_ character—Its frequent
  errors—Exemplified in the personal traits of several of the rebel
  chiefs of Ireland—The Bretons of La Vendée—Intrepidity of their
  leaders—The battle of Ross—Gallantry of a boy twelve years
  old—Beauchamp Bagenal Harvey—Description of his person and
  character—His habit of joking—Dangerous puns—His bewilderment as rebel
  generalissimo—His capture and behaviour at execution—Portrait,
  physical and mental, of Captain Keogh—Remarkable suicide of his
  brother, and his own execution—Mr. Grogan, of Johnstown Castle,
  described—His case, sentence, and execution—Unmerited fate of Sir
  Edward Crosby, Bart.

When we read or hear of public and distinguished characters, whether
good or bad, we are naturally disposed to draw in our mind a figure or
face for each, correspondent to the actions which rendered the
individual conspicuous. We are inclined, for instance, to paint in our
imagination a rebel chieftain as an athletic powerful personage, with a
commanding presence;—an authoritative voice to controul; and impetuous
bravery to lead on a tumultuous army of undisciplined insurgents. Were
this always the case, insurrections would, perhaps, stand a better
chance of being successful.[39]


Footnote 39:

  Such _was_ the case with the Bretons in La Vendée. An officer of rank
  in the French army at that period, commanding a regiment of chasseur
  republicans, told me very lately, that above 15,000 regular troops
  (his regiment among the rest) were surprised at noon-day, defeated and
  dispersed, and their artillery and baggage taken, by a _smaller_
  number of totally undisciplined Vendeans, with few fire-arms, but led
  on by officers selected for powerful strength and fiery enthusiasm.
  Their contempt for life, and impetuosity in close combat, were
  irresistible; the latter, indeed, was always a characteristic with
  them, and the gallantry of their chiefs was quite unparalleled.


In the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the chief leaders had scarcely any of
these attributes. _Numerically_, the rebels were sufficient, and more
than sufficient, to effect all their objects; but they had no idea of
discipline, and little of subordination. Their intrepidity was great,
and their perseverance in the midst of fire and slaughter truly
astonishing. Yet on every occasion it was obviously the _cause_ and not
the _leaders_ that spurred them into action: when Irishmen _are_ well
officered they never yield.[40]


Footnote 40:

  The battle of Ross, in June, 1798, lasted ten hours. The rebel
  _officers_ did nothing, the _men_ every thing. While the
  commander-in-chief, Counsellor Bagenal Harvey, was standing on a hill
  nearly a mile distant, a boy twelve years old (Lett of Wexford town)
  called on the insurgents to follow him. He put himself at the head of
  ten thousand men—approached the town, and stormed it. The town took
  fire; the rebels got liquor; and they were killed in sleep and
  drunkenness. Nothing could have saved our troops had the rebels been
  well officered: General Johnston, who commanded the royalists,
  deserved great praise for his judgment on that critical occasion.


A spirit of uncompromising fortitude or enthusiastic gallantry generally
spreads over the countenance some characteristic trait. Undisciplined
followers are fascinated by ferocious bravery: they rush blindly any
where, after an intrepid leader. But a languid eye, unbraced features,
and unsteady movements, palpably betray the absence of that intellectual
energy, and contempt of personal danger, which are indispensable
qualities for a rebel chief.

To reflect on the great number of respectable and unfortunate gentlemen
who lost their lives by the hands of the common executioner in
consequence of that insurrection, is particularly sad;—indeed, as
melancholy as any thing connected with the long misrule and consequent
wretched state of brave and sensitive Ireland—which is _now_, at the
termination of seven hundred years, in a state of more alarming and
powerful disquietude than at any period since its first connexion with

I had been, as stated in a former volume, in long habits of friendship
and intercourse with most of the leading chiefs of that rebellion. Their
features and manners rise, as it were in a vision, before my face:
indeed, after thirty long years of factious struggle and agitation, when
nothing remains of Ireland’s pride and independence but the memory,
every circumstance occasioning and attending that period, and the
subsequent _revolution_ of 1800, remains in freshest colours in the
recollection of a man who _once_ prided himself on being born an

I made allusion, in a previous part of this work, to a dinner of which I
partook in April, 1798, at Bargay Castle, County Wexford, the seat of
Beauchamp Bagenal Harvey,—who, I may as well repeat here, was a month
afterward general-in-chief over an army of more than thirty thousand men
(mostly of his own county), brave and enthusiastic; and, in two months
more, died by the hands of the hangman. He had been my school and
class-fellow, and from nine years of age we held uninterrupted
intercourse: he was a most singular example of mixed and opposite
qualities; and of all human beings, I should least have predicted for
him such a course, or such a catastrophe.

Harvey was son of one of the six clerks of chancery, who having amassed
a very considerable fortune, purchased the estate and castle of Bargay.

Beauchamp Bagenal, his eldest son, was called to the Irish bar, and
succeeded to his father’s estates. It was said that he was nearly
related by blood to that most extraordinary of all the country gentlemen
of Ireland, Beauchamp Bagenal, of Dunlickry, whose splendour and
eccentricities were the admiration of the continent while he was making
the grand tour (then reserved as part of the education of the very
highest circles). This relationship was the subject of much merriment
after a duel which Harvey’s reputed kinsman provoked my friend to fight
with him, in order to have the satisfaction of ascertaining, “whether or
no the lad had metal.”[41]


Footnote 41:

  Mr. Bagenal provoked Harvey to challenge him. They met. Harvey fired,
  and missed. “D—n you, you young rascal,” cried Bagenal, “do you know
  that you had like to kill your _god-father_? Go back to Dunlickry, you
  dog, and have a good breakfast got ready for us. I only wanted to see
  if you were _stout_.”


Harvey’s person was extremely unimposing. He was about five feet four
inches in height; and that ancient enemy of all beauty, the small-pox,
had shown him no mercy, every feature being sadly crimped thereby. His
sharp peaked chin never approached toward a contact with his cravat, but
left a thin scraggy throat to give an impoverished hungry cast to the
whole contour, by no means adapted to the mien and port of a “commander
of the forces.” His scanty hair generally hung in straight flakes, and
did not even pretend to be an ornament to his visage; his eye was quick
but unmeaning; his figure thin and ill put together; his limbs short,
slight, and wabbling; his address cheerful, but tremulous. On the whole,
a more unprepossessing or unmartial-like person was never moulded by
capricious nature.

Yet Harvey was a very good-tempered friendly man, and a hearty
companion. In common life he was extremely well conducted, and in the
society of the bar often amusing, and never out of humour.

He was the greatest punster of his profession, and piqued himself on
that qualification, in which he often succeeded admirably.[42] He had,
in short, that sort of partial popularity with his bar contemporaries as
rendered them always glad to have him in their society; but it was
seldom any one inquired what had become of him when he was out of it. He
had an ample store of individual courage; feared not single combat, and
fought several duels intrepidly, though I do not think he ever
_provoked_ one. He shot Sir Harding Giffard, late Chief Justice of
Ceylon, and obtained a very droll name through that achievement, which
never forsook him during his lifetime.


Footnote 42:

  I cannot omit introducing here one of his puns, because he ran a great
  risk of being _shot_ for making it. A gentleman of the bar, married to
  a lady who had lost all her front teeth, and squinted so curiously
  that she appeared nearly blind, happened to be speaking of another
  lady who had run away from her husband. “Well,” said Harvey, “you have
  some _comfort_ as to _your_ wife.”

  “What do you mean, sir?” said the barrister.

  “I mean that if once you should lose Mrs. ——, you will never be able
  to _i_-_dent_-ify her.”

  If Mr. —— had cared a farthing for his wife, it would have been
  impossible to reconcile this joke to him.

  The above was an inferior pun, but it was to the _point_, and created
  great merriment.


Harvey was a person of the best fortune in his quarter of the county; of
a Protestant family; and, being charitable and benevolent to his
tenantry, was much beloved by them. Nobody in fact could dislike him:
though he was flippant, he did not want sense; and presented an
excellent example of those contradictory qualities so often discoverable
in the same individual. He was considered by the heads of the United
Irishmen to be well adapted—as a man of fortune and local influence in
the most disaffected portion of their strongest county—to forward their
objects: and he suffered his vanity so far to overcome his judgment, as,
without the slightest experience, to assume the command of a great
army—for which purpose there were few men in Ireland so utterly unfit.

In his martial office, his head became totally bewildered; the sphere of
action was too great—the object struggled for, too comprehensive. Nor
did even his _personal_ courage follow him to the field. His bravery, as
against a single man, was neutralised in a tumult; and a mind naturally
intrepid became bewildered, puzzled, and impotent. Amidst the roar of
cannon, and the hurly-burly of the tumultuous and sanguinary battle of
Ross, his presence of mind wholly forsook him, and he lost the day by
want of tact and absence of spirit. His men fought hand to hand in the
streets of Ross with the regular troops, of whom they slew a
considerable number, including the Earl of Mountjoy; nor did they at
last retire until they had not a single officer left to continue the
engagement or lead them on to a renewed attack—which in all probability
would have been effectual. Never did human beings show more decided
bravery than the Irish peasantry in that bloody engagement. Thrice the
town was theirs, and was finally lost by their inebriety and want of
proper officers. Had Harvey captured New Ross, all Munster would have
risen in his cause; and then indeed no royalist could have anticipated
without dread the consequences. Officers and arms would have made the
whole country inevitably theirs. When Wexford was retaken, Harvey
concealed himself on an island, but was discovered, brought to that
town, and without much ceremony hanged next day upon the bridge, toward
the erection of which he had largely subscribed.

I could not but feel extreme regret at the sad fate which befell my old
friend and school-fellow, who did not meet his destiny quite so firmly
as his original manly bearing had inclined people to expect:—poor
fellow! he idly strove by entreaty to avert, or at least retard it; and
its infliction was aggravated by every species of indignity. In every
thing except his politics, Harvey’s character was unimpeachable.

I never knew two persons much more dissimilar than were the
commander-in-chief of the insurgents and the rebel governor of Wexford,
Captain Keogh. The latter was a retired captain of the British service,
who had fought in America, and, like many others, had there received a
lesson on _civil liberty_ which never escaped his memory. He was married
to an aunt of Lady Barrington; and, for many years, when I went the
circuit, I lived at his house, and had conceived the greatest friendship
for him. He was a very clever man. His housekeeping was characterised by
neatness, regularity, and cheerfulness. Every thing was good of its
kind; and in that plentiful country, even luxuries were abundant. Calm,
determined, moderate, and gentlemanly, Captain Keogh combined good sense
with firmness and spirit. But, most unfortunately, ill-treatment
sustained from Lord Chancellor Clare perverted half his good qualities,
and metamorphosed him into a partizan, which was far from being his
natural tendency.

He had a fine soldier-like person, above the middle size; his
countenance was excellent; his features regular and engaging; his hair,
rather scanty, receded from his forehead; his eyes were penetrating and
expressive; and his complexion exhibited that partial ruddiness which we
so frequently see in fine men approaching threescore. He was appointed
rebel governor of Wexford, but among those savages soon lost his
popularity; and had the insurgents continued much longer masters of the
place, he would surely have been assassinated. He did what he durst on
the side of humanity, and had supposed that his orders would be obeyed:
but he was deceived; blood, and blood in torrents, was the object of
_both_ parties during that horrid summer. On the surrender of the town,
Keogh was immediately convicted under martial law. He pleaded for
himself; and I learn that on that occasion every body was affected. He
knew his situation to be irretrievable, and his life forfeit; and he
conducted himself at his execution with the utmost firmness, as became a
gentleman and a soldier. He was hanged and beheaded on the bridge of
which he also was a proprietor; and his head, as mentioned in a former
volume (Vol. i.), was exhibited on a spike over the court-house door.

A singular circumstance occurred in Keogh’s house while the rebels were
in possession of Wexford. His brother, a retired major in the British
army, had also served in America, and lived with the captain in Wexford,
but was a most enthusiastic royalist. Upon the rebels taking the place,
he endeavoured to dissuade his brother from accepting the office of
governor, but failing in the attempt, he retired to his own room and
immediately blew his brains out!

The next of my friends and connexions who suffered by the hands of the
executioner, was Mr. Cornelius Grogan of Johnstown Castle, a gentleman
of large fortune, and great local interest and connexion. He had been
twice high-sheriff and representative in Parliament for the county. He
resided three miles from Wexford at his castle, where he had a deer-park
of one thousand acres of good ground, besides a fine demesne. He lived
as a quiet, though hospitable country gentleman. At this unfortunate
period he had passed his seventieth year, and was such a martyr to the
gout that his hands were wrapped up in flannel; and half carried, half
hobbling upon crutches, he proceeded to the place of execution.

Mr. Grogan was in person short and dark-complexioned. His countenance,
however, was not disagreeable, and he had in every respect the address
and manners of a man of rank. His two brothers commanded yeomanry corps.
One of them was killed at the head of his corps (the Castletown cavalry)
at the battle of Arklaw; the other was wounded at the head of _his_
troop (the Healtford cavalry) during Major Maxwell’s retreat from

The form of a trial was thought necessary by General Lake for a
gentleman of so much importance in his county. His case was afterward
brought before Parliament, and argued for three successive days and
nearly nights. His _crime_ consisted in having been surrounded by a
rebel army, which placed him under the surveillance of numerous
ruffians. They forced him one day into the town on horseback;—a rebel of
the appropriate name of Savage always attending him with a blunderbuss,
and orders to shoot him if he refused their commands. They one day
nominated him a _commissary_, knowing that his numerous tenantry would
be more willing in consequence to supply them. He used no weapon of any
sort;—indeed, was too feeble even to _hold_ one. A lady of the name of
Seagriff gave evidence that her family were in want of food, and that
she got Mr. Grogan to give her an _order_ for some bread, which order
was obeyed by the insurgents. She procured some loaves, and supplied her
children; and for that bread (which saved a family from starvation) Mr.
Grogan was, on the lady’s evidence, sentenced to die as a felon—and
actually hanged, when already almost lifeless from pain, imprisonment,
age, and brutal treatment! The court-martial which tried him was not
sworn, and only mustered seven in number. _His_ witness was shot while
on the way to give evidence of his innocence; and while General Lake was
making merry with his staff, one of the first gentlemen in the county
(in every point his superior) was done to death almost before his

From my intimate knowledge of Mr. Grogan for several years, I can
venture to assert most unequivocally (and it is but justice to his
memory) that, though a person of independent mind and conduct as well as
fortune, and an opposition member of parliament, he was no more a
_rebel_ than his brothers, who signalised themselves in battle as
_loyalists_; and the survivor of whom was _rewarded_ by a posthumous
bill of attainder against the unfortunate gentleman in question, by
virtue of which estates of many thousands per annum were confiscated to
the king. (The survivor’s admitted _loyal_ brother had been killed in
battle only a few days before the other was executed.) This attainder
was one of the most flagitious acts ever promoted by any government:—but
after ten thousand pounds costs to crown officers, &c. had been
extracted from the property, the estates were restored. I spent the
summer of 1799 at Johnstown Castle, where I derived much private
information as to the most interesting events of that unfortunate era.

It is, of course, most painful to me to recollect those persons whose
lives were taken—some fairly—some, as I think, unfairly—at a time when
military law had no restraint, and enormities were daily committed
through it not much inferior to those practised by the rebels.

Sir Edward Crosby, a baronet with whom I was intimately acquainted, and
who also lived tranquilly, as a country gentleman, upon a moderate
fortune, near Carlow, was another person who always struck me to have
been _murdered_ by martial law. There was not even a rational _pretence_
for _his_ execution. His trial, with all its attending documents, has
been published, and his innocence, in fact, made manifest. The president
of the martial court was one Major Dennis, who some time after quitted
the service—I shall not mention why. The sentence on Sir Edward was
confirmed by Sir Charles Asgill, I must suppose through gross
misrepresentation, as Sir Charles had himself known enough about
_hanging_ (though personally innocent) in America, to have rendered him
more merciful, or at least more cautious in executing the first baronet
of Ireland.

The entire innocence of Sir Edward Crosby has since, as I just now
mentioned, been acknowledged by all parties. His manners were mild and
well-bred: he was tall and genteel in appearance; and upward of fifty
years of age. He had a wife who loved him; and was every way a happy man
till he was borne to execution without the slightest cause. He was the
elder brother of my old college friend, Balloon Crosby, whom I have
heretofore mentioned in relating my _rencontre_ with Mr. Daly. (See Vol.
ii.) He did not die with the courage of Keogh, but hoped for mercy to
the last minute, relying on the interference of his old friend Judge
Downes, who, however, proved but a broken reed.

                         REMINISCENCES OF WIT.

Wit distinguished from ribaldry—Chief Baron Yelverton and Mr.
  Curran—Chief Justice Clonmell—Lord Norbury’s comprehensive powers—Sir
  Hercules Langreish, and his digressions in claret-drinking—Gervoise
  Parker Bushe, Chief Baron Burgh, &c.—Peculiar traits of Irish
  convivial society in the author’s day—Jeremiah Keller—Lord Clare’s
  funeral—A scanty fee—The Pope and Pretender—Counsellor Norcott’s
  talent of mimickry—Ballinlaw ferry—Cæsar Colclough, of Duffry Hall,
  and Julius Cæsar.

There is no intellectual faculty so difficult to define, or of which
there are so many degrees and gradations, as _wit_. Humour may be termed
a sort of _table d’hôte_, whereat wit and ribaldry sometimes mingle.
Certain eminent countrymen of mine possessed these various
conversational qualities in great perfection, and often called them into
action at the same sitting. Among them, Mr. Curran and Chief Baron
Yelverton were most conspicuous; but the flow of their _bonhomie_ was
subject to many contingencies. It is worthy notice, that all the Irish
judges of those days who could conjure up a single joke, affected _wit_.
Lord Clonmell, chief justice, was but clumsy at repartee, though an
efficient humourist. He seldom rose above _anecdotes_, but these he
_acted_ whilst he told them. He had the peculiar advantage of knowing
mankind well, and suiting his speech to the ears of his company. Lord
Norbury had witticisms, puns, _jeux-d’esprit_—in short, jokes of all
kinds, constantly at hand. His impromptus were sometimes excellent, but
occasionally failed;—he made, however, more _hits_ than any one of his
contemporaries. Nobody, it is true, minded much what he said:—if it was
good, they laughed heartily; if bad, it was only a _Norbury_;—and so, by
an indefatigable practice of _squibbing_, it is not wonderful that,
during a life of eighty years, he should have uttered many _good
things_—though, oddly enough, few of them are preserved.

Lord Norbury sang extremely well.—On my first circuit as counsel, in
1787, he went as judge, and I have often heard him warble “Black-eyed
Susan” and “Admiral Benbow,” as well as parts in divers glees and
catches, most agreeably.—Requiescat in pace!

Sir Hercules Langreish, a commissioner of revenue, and one of the most
popular _courtiers_ of our society, had an abundance of slow,
kind-hearted, though methodistically pronounced, repartee. (A living
friend of mine in high rank has much more wit than Sir Hercules; but
there is less philanthropy about it). I have heretofore mentioned his
_retort courteous_ to Mr. Dundas, and will now give another specimen:—He
was surprised one evening at his house in Stephen’s Green, by Sir John
Parnell, Duigenan, and myself, who went to him on an immaterial matter
of revenue business. We found him in his study alone, poring over the
national accounts, with two claret bottles empty before him and a third
bottle on the wane; it was about eight o’clock in the evening, and the
butler, according to general orders when gentlemen came in, brought a
bottle of claret to each of us. “Why,” said Parnell, “Sir Heck, you have
emptied _two bottles_ already.” “True,” said Sir Hercules. “And had you
nobody to help you?” “_O yes_, I had that bottle of _port_ there, and I
assure you he afforded me very great assistance!”

Gervoise Parker Bushe could boast of wit enough for a member of
parliament, and more than enough for a commissioner of the revenue. An
eminent relative of his, now living, possesses the finest specimen I
know at present of the smooth, classical species.

I never knew two distinguished individuals approach each other so nearly
in many respects as the late Chief Baron Hussy Burgh and the personage
who now presides over the first law court of Ireland. In some points, it
is true, they differed:—the former was proud, the latter affable. The
eloquence of the former was more highly polished, more classical and
effective; that of the latter, more simple, more familiar, yet decided.
When very young, I was fascinated by the eloquence of the
_silver-tongued_ orator (as he was then called), and sought every
possible opportunity of hearing him both at the bar and in the House of
Commons. His was the purest declamation I have ever listened to; and
when he made an instrument of his wit, it was pointed and acute. He was
a miscellaneous poet, and wrote epigrams (several upon Lord Aldborough),
which were extremely severe, but at the same time extremely humorous.

It would be almost impossible to enumerate the wits and humourists of
Ireland in my early days. Wit was then regularly _cultivated_ as an
accomplishment, and was, in a greater or less degree, to be found in
every society. Those whom nature had not blessed with that faculty (if a
blessing it is) still did their very best—as a foreigner sports his
broken English.

The convivial circles of the higher orders of Irish society, in fact,
down to the year 1800, in point of wit, pleasantry, good temper, and
friendly feeling, were pre-eminent; while the plentiful luxuries of the
table, and rich furniture of the wine-cellar, were never surpassed, if
equalled, among the gentry of any country. But every thing is now
changed; that class of society is no more; neither men nor manners are
the same; and even the looking back at those times affords a man who
participated in their pleasures higher gratification than do the actual
enjoyments of the passing era.

People may say this change is in myself: perhaps so: yet I think that if
it were possible for an old man still to preserve unimpaired all the
sensations of youth, he would, were he a gentleman, be of my way of
thinking. As for those of my contemporaries who survive, and who lived
in the same circles with myself, I have no doubt they are unanimously of
my opinion. I had very lately an opportunity of seeing this powerfully
exemplified by a noble lord at my house. Good fortune had attended him
throughout life; always respected and beloved, he had at length become
wealthy. When we talked over the days we had spent in our own country,
his eyes filled, and he confessed to me his bitter repentance as to _the

The members of the Irish bar were then collectively the best
home-educated persons in Ireland, the elder sons of respectable families
being almost uniformly called to that profession. Among them,
nevertheless, were some of humbler origin. Jeremiah Keller was such;—but
his talent sufficed to elevate him. He had the rare faculty of dressing
up the _severest_ satire in the garb of pleasantry—a faculty, by the
bye, which makes no friends, and often deepens and fixes animosity.

Keller was a good man, generally liked, and popular with a considerable
portion of his profession. But though not rich, he occasionally
exercised an independence of mind and manners which gave great distaste
to the pride and arrogance of some of the leading authorities. Lord
Clare could not endure him, and never missed an opportunity of showing
or affecting to show his contempt for Jerry.

Lord Clare having died _of the Union_ and the _Duke of Bedford_, it was
proposed by his led captains and partizans, that the bar, in a body,
should attend his funeral procession. But as his Lordship had made so
many inveterate foes at the bar, by taking pains to prove himself
_their_ foe, it was thought necessary to _canvass_ the profession
individually, and ascertain who among them would _object_ to attend.
Very few did;—not that they cherished any personal respect for Lord
Clare, but wished to compliment the remains of the first Irish
chancellor. As Keller was known to be obstinate as well as virulent, it
was held desirable to conciliate him if possible—though they anticipated
the certainty of a direct refusal.

The deputation accordingly called on him: “You know, my dear fellow,”
said Arthur Chichester M‘Courtney, who had been deputed as spokesman
(beating about the bush), “that Lord Clare is to be buried to-morrow?”

“’Tis generally the last thing done with dead chancellors,” said Keller

“He’ll be buried in St. Peter’s,” said the spokesman.

“Then he’s going to a friend of the family,” said Keller. “His father
was a papist.”[43]


Footnote 43:

  Old Counsellor Fitzgibbon, Lord Clare’s father, was born a Roman
  Catholic, and educated for a priest. His good sense, however, opened
  his eyes to his own intellectual abilities; and he determined to get,
  if possible, to the bar—that sure source of promotion for reasoning
  talent. But when or where (if ever) he renounced the Romish church, I
  am ignorant. He acquired great and just eminence as a barrister, and
  made a large fortune. Lord Clare was born his second son. Mrs.
  Jeffries (his sister) I knew well, and I cannot pass her by here
  without saying, that whatever faults she had, her female correctness
  was unquestioned; and throughout my life I have never met a
  kinder-hearted being than Mrs. Jeffries, or a fairer though a decided
  enemy. Old Mr. Fitzgibbon loved to make money, and in his day it was
  not the habit for lawyers to spend it. They used to tell a story of
  him respecting a certain client who brought his own brief and fee,
  that he might personally apologise for the smallness of the latter.
  Fitzgibbon, on receiving the fee, looked rather discontented. “I
  assure you, Counsellor,” said the client (mournfully), “I am ashamed
  of its smallness; but in fact it is all I have in the world.” “Oh!
  then,” said Fitzgibbon, “you can do no more:—as it’s ‘all you have in
  the world,’—why—hem!—I must—_take it!_”


This created a laugh disconcerting to the deputation;—however, for fear
of worse, the grand question was then put. “My dear Keller,” said the
spokesman, “the bar mean to go in procession; have you any objection to
attend Lord Clare’s funeral?”

“None at all,” said Keller, “none at all! I shall certainly attend his
_funeral_ with the _greatest pleasure imaginable_!”

Examples of Keller’s dry species of wit in fact daily occurred; it was
always pungent, and generally well-timed. In the year 1798 flourished
Sir Judkin Fitzgerald, Bart., a barrister whose loyal cruelties in the
county of Tipperary were made the subject of a _post facto_ indemnity
bill by Lord Castlereagh, to save him from punishment. Among other
pastimes, he caused cats-o’-nine-tails to be soaked in _brine_, that the
peasantry and every body else at whom he durst have a fling might be
better cut, and remember it the longer. Bragging to Keller of his
numerous ultra-loyal achievements, this man said, “You must own, Keller,
at least, that I preserved the county of Tipperary.”

“Ay, and you _pickled_ it into the bargain!” said Keller: “you promise
to make so good a body confectioner, that I dare say the lord-lieutenant
will hire you;” and in fact Sir Judkin was soon afterward put in office
at the castle.

The unfortunate Counsellor Norcott, heretofore mentioned in these
sketches, was a fat, full-faced, portly-looking person. He had a
smirking countenance, and a swaggering air; was an excellent _bon
vivant_, a remarkably good mimic, and affected to be witty.

Speaking of the Catholics in the hall of the Four Courts, Keller seemed
to insinuate that Norcott was favourable to their emancipation.

“What!” said Norcott, with a great show of pomposity—“what! Pray,
Keller, do you see any thing that smacks of the _Pope_ about me?”

“I don’t know,” replied Keller; “but at all events there is a great deal
of the _Pretender_, and I always understood them to travel in company.”

This was a kind of caustic wit which was not much cultivated in the
higher convivial societies of that day, the members whereof used a more
cordial species. But such sallies were always _repeated_ with great glee
when they did not affect the person who repeated them.

Norcott’s mimickry was complete. This is a disagreeable and dangerous,
because generally an _offensive_ faculty. The foibles, absurdities, or
personal defects of mankind are thus caricatured, and the nearer
perfection the mimickry, the more annoying to the mimicked. Done in a
man’s presence, it amounts to a personal insult; in his absence, it is
dramatic backbiting,—a bad quality in every point of view to cultivate,
and such a weapon of ill-nature as every body should assist in blunting.

In a company where the late Lord Chief Baron Avonmore was a guest,
Norcott was called on to show his imitative powers. He did so with great
effect, taking off particularly well the peculiarities of the judges;
and when he had finished, Lord Avonmore said, with point, but
good-humour, “Upon my word, Norcott, as you so ably exposed the
absurdities of _eleven_ of the judges, I think you did not act fairly by
us in not giving also the _twelfth_ of them” (his lordship’s
self).—Norcott did not utter a word more during the evening.

It is very singular, that a man with such a surplus of wit as Curran,
never could write a good epigram—nor, with such an emporium of language,
compose a pamphlet or essay that would pay for the printing; while a
very eminent living friend of mine, high in the world—though not
Curran’s equal in either qualities—has written some of the most
agreeable and classic _jeux d’esprits_, of the most witty and humorous
papers, and most effective pamphlets, that have issued from the pen of
any member of his profession during my time. I had collected as many as
I could of this gentleman’s productions and sayings (several printed and
a few in manuscript); but, unfortunately, the whole was lost in a trunk
of mine, (with a great number of my books and private papers and
memoranda,) in 1812. I can scarce attempt to recollect any of them, save
one or two, which may give some idea, but nothing more, of the agreeable
playfulness of this gentleman’s fancy. They have been long recorded by
the Irish bar; and some of the English bar, who are not at present
celebrated for their own impromptus or witticisms, and are too _wise_
and _steady_ to _understand_ those of Ireland (unless in print and after
due consideration), may be amused by reading and unriddling an Irish
epigram, sent into the world by an English bookseller.[44]


Footnote 44:

  An English gentleman once said to me very seriously, that he always
  preferred a London edition of an Irish book, as he thought, somehow or
  other, it helped to _take out the brogue_.


A placard having been posted in the courts of law in Dublin by a
bookseller for the sale of _Bibles_, the gentleman I allude to wrote
instantly under it with his pencil—

                How clear is the case,
                He’s mistaken the place,
                His books of devotion to sell:
                  He should learn, once for all,
                  That he’ll never get call
                For the sale of his _Bibles_ in _hell_.

Had the above _jeu d’esprit_ been the impromptu of a beaten client, he
would have got great credit for it; and in truth, I think, after a year
or two of litigation in a court of justice, most clients would freely
subscribe their names to the concluding epithet.

Another _jeu d’esprit_ I remember, and so no doubt do all the bar of my
standing who have any recollection left,—of whom, however, there is, I
fancy, no great number.

There is a very broad and boisterous ferry between the counties of
Wicklow and Wexford, called Ballinlaw, which the Leinster bar, on
circuit, were obliged to cross in a bad boat. At times the wind was
extremely violent between the hills, the waters high, and the passage
dangerous;—yet the _briefs_ were at the other side; and many a nervous
barrister, who on a simple journey would have rode a high-trotting horse
fifty miles round-about rather than cross Ballinlaw when the waves were
in an angry humour, yet, being sure that there was a golden mine, and a
phalanx of attorneys brandishing their white briefs on the opposite
shore—commending himself to Divine Providence, and flinging his
saddle-bags into the boat—has stepped in after them; and if he had any
prayers or curses by heart, now and then pronounced a fragment of such
in rotation as were most familiar to him, on launching into an element
which he never drank and had a rooted aversion to be upset in.

The curious colloquy of a boatman, on one of those boisterous passages,
with Counsellor Cæsar Colclough, once amused such of the passengers as
had not the fear of death before their eyes.

Cæsar Colclough of Duffry Hall, a very eccentric, quiet character, not
overwise, (he was afterward Chief Justice of Newfoundland,) was in the
boat during a storm. Getting nervous, he could not restrain his piety,
and began to lisp out, “O Lord!—O Lord!” breathing an ardent prayer that
he might once more see his own house, Duffry Hall, in safety, and taste
a sweet barn-door fowl or duck, of which he had fine breeds.

“Arrah! Counsellor,” said the boatman, “don’t be going on praying _that
side_, if you plase; sure it’s the _other lad_ you ought to be praying

“What _lad_ do you mean?” said Colclough with alarm.

“What lad! why, Counsellor, the old people always say, that the _devil_
takes care of his _own_; and if you don’t vex him by praying the _other
way_, I really think, Counsellor, we have a pretty _safe_ cargo aboard
at this present passage.”

The friend I alluded to, whose wit and pencil were always ready,
immediately placed Cæsar in a much more classical point of view. Though
he made him a downright idolater, yet he put him on a level with a
mighty hero, or emperor—writing upon the back of a letter thus:

             While meaner souls the tempest kept in awe,
             Intrepid Colclough, crossing Ballinlaw,
             Cried to the sailors (shivering in their rags)
             You carry _Cæsar_ and his _saddle-bags_!

Little did Julius Cæsar foresee before the birth of Christ that the
first man at the Irish bar would, near two thousand years afterward,
call to mind his exploits in Gaul on the waves of Ballinlaw, in the
roaring of a hurricane. Should I meet him hereafter, I shall certainly
tell him the anecdote.

                          COUNSELLOR LYSIGHT.

Edward Lysight, Esq., barrister-at-law—His peculiar talents—A song of
  his contrasted with one of Moore’s on the same subject—_Ounagh_ and
  _Mary_—Pastoral poetry—“The Devil in the Lantern”—A love story—“We’re
  a’ _noddin_”—Sketch of Mr. Solomon Salmon and his daughter—Mr.
  Lysight’s nuptials with the latter—Sociality at Somers’ Town—A morning
  call—All is not gold that glitters—Death of the counsellor and his

Among the eccentric characters formerly abounding at the Irish bar, was
one whose species of talent is nearly extinct, but whose singularities
are still recollected by such of his professional contemporaries as have
had the good fortune to survive him.

Edward Lysight, a gentleman by birth, was left, as to fortune, little
else than his brains and his pedigree. The latter, however, was of no
sort of use to him, and he seldom employed the former to any lucrative
purpose. He considered law as his _trade_, and conviviality (to the
cultivation whereof no man could apply more sedulously) as his
_profession_. Full of point and repartee, every humourist and _bon
vivant_ was his patron. He had a full proportion of animal courage; and
even the fire-eaters of Tipperary never courted his animosity. Songs,
epigrams, and lampoons, which from other pens would have terminated in
mortal combat, being considered inherent in _his_ nature, were
universally tolerated.

Some of Lysight’s sonnets had great merit, and many of his national
stanzas were singularly characteristic. His “Sprig of shillelah and
shamrock so green” is admirably and truly descriptive of the low Irish
character, and never was that class so well depicted in so few words:
but, to my taste, his sketch of a May morning is not to be exceeded in
that cheerful colouring and natural simplicity which constitute the very
essence and spirit of genuine pastoral. The beginning of the copy of
verses called “Ounagh” offers an illustration of this; and it is much to
be lamented that, with strange inconsistency, the man did not write
another line of it adapted for publication. The first verse is, however,
in my mind, worthy of being recorded, and I give it as a sample either
of my bad or good taste. All I am _sure_ of is, that _I_ admire it.

   ’Twas on a fine May morning,
     When violets were springing O,
   Dew-drops the fields adorning,
     The birds melodious singing O:
         The green trees
         Each soft breeze
   Was gently waving up and down:
         The primrose
         That sweet blows
   Adorned Nature’s verdant gown:
         The purling rill
         Stole down the hill,
   And softly murmur’d thro’ the grove,
   This was the time Ounagh stole out, to meet her barefoot love.[45]


Footnote 45:

  Pastoral poetry, whether classic, amatory, or merely rural, owes its
  chief beauty to _simplicity_. Far-fetched points and fantastic
  versification destroy its generic attribute; and their use reminds one
  of the fashion of _harmonising_ the popular melodies of a country, in
  order that young ladies may screech them with more complicated

  Thus, I prefer, upon the whole, my deceased friend Lysight’s words
  written to an old tune, to those of my celebrated living friend, Mr.
  Thomas Moore; and think the _Ounagh_ of the one likely to be quite as
  attractive a girl as the _Mary_ of the other, notwithstanding all the
  finery wherewith the mention of the latter is invested. But our
  readers shall judge for themselves. We have given the commencement of
  Mr. Lysight’s version: here followeth that of Mr. Moore’s.

                The day had sunk in dim showers,
                But midnight now with “lustre meek”
                Illumin’d all the pale flowers,
                Like hope that lights the mourner’s cheek.
                      I said (while
                      The moon’s smile
                Play’d o’er a stream in dimpling bliss)
                      The moon looks
                      On many brooks—
                The brook can see no moon but this.
                And thus I thought our fortunes run,
                For many a lover looks on thee,
                While, Oh! I feel there is but one—
                One Mary in the world for me!—

  Had not my talented friend garnished the above ditty with a note,
  admitting that he had pilfered his _Irish_ Melody from an
  _Englishman’s_ brains (Sir William Jones’s), I should have passed over
  so extravagant an attempt to _manufacture simplicity_. I therefore
  hope my friend will in future either confide in his own supreme
  talents, or not be so candid as to spoil his song by his sincerity.
  “It is the devil (said Skirmish) to desert; but it’s a d—d deal worse
  to _own_ it!”

  I think Dean Swift’s sample of Love Songs (though written near a
  century ago) has formed an admirable model for a number of modern
  sonnets; it should be much esteemed, since it is copied by so many of
  our minstrels.

                         LOVE SONG BY DEAN SWIFT.

                  Fluttering, spread thy purple pinions,
                  Gentle Cupid, o’er my heart:
                  I a slave in thy dominions—
                  _Nature must give way to art_, &c. &c.


Lysight was, perhaps, not a poet in the strict acceptation of the
term;—but he wrote a great number of miscellaneous verses—some of them,
in general estimation, excellent; some delicate, some gross. I scarce
ever saw two of these productions of the same metre, and very few were
of the same character. Several of the best poetical trifles in M‘Nally’s
“Sherwood Forest” were penned by Lysight.

Having no fixed politics, or in truth _decided_ principles respecting
any thing, he was one day a patriot, the next a courtier, and wrote
squibs both _for_ government and _against_ it. The stanzas relatively

        Green were the fields that our forefathers dwelt on, &c.

        Where the loud cannons rattle, to battle we’ll go, &c.


            Some few years ago, though now she says no, &c.

were three of the best of his _patriotic_ effusions; they were certainly
very exciting, and he sang them with great effect. He ended his literary
career by a periodical paper in 1800, written principally against me,
and called “The Lantern,” for which and similar squibs, he received four
hundred pounds from Lord Castlereagh. I sincerely wished him joy of the
acquisition, and told him “if he found me a good chopping-block, he was
heartily welcome to hack away as long as he could get any thing by his
butchery.” He shook me heartily by the hand, swore I was a “d—d good
fellow,” and the next day took me at my word by lampooning me very
sufficingly in a copy of verses entitled “The Devil in the Lantern!” But
I loved abuse, when it was incurred for opposing the Union; and we never
had a moment’s coolness upon that or any other subject. Indeed, I really
regarded him.

He attempted to practise at the English bar; but after a short time,
told me he found he had not law enough for the King’s Bench, was not
dull enough for the Court of Chancery, and that before he could make way
at the Old Bailey he must shoot Garrow, which would be extremely
disagreeable to him. He therefore recurred to the periodicals; and
though an indifferent prose writer, wielded his goose-quill with no
small success. He showed me a _tariff_ of his pieces in verse: it was a
most pleasant document, and I greatly regret I did not keep a copy of
it: he burned it, he told me, to light his candle with. So indifferent
was he of the main chance throughout life, that he never adhered long to
any pursuit after he found it was really likely to be productive.

In the year 1785, when I was at Temple, he called on me one morning at
the Grecian Coffee-house, where I then lodged, and said, with much
seeming importance—

“Barrington, put on your hat, and come along with me this moment. I want
to show you a lady who has fallen in love with me.”

“In love with _you_, Ned?” said I.

“Ay, to insanity!” replied he.

“It must indeed be to _insanity_.”

“Oh!” resumed he, gaily, “she is, I assure you, only considering what
death she shall inflict on herself if I do not marry her. Now, you know,
I am as poor as a rat, though a _gentleman_, and her father is as rich
as Crœsus, though a _blackguard_: so we shall be well matched. The blood
and the fat duly mixed, as Hogarth says, makes a right sort of pudding.
So the thing is settled, and I’ll have the twelve tribes of Israel at my
beck in the course of Monday morning.”

I thought he was distracted, and raving; but, however, immediately set
out with him upon this singular expedition; and on our way to the
Strand, where _the papa_ resided, he disclosed to me all the
circumstances of his amour.

“Barrington,” said he, “the lady herself is not, to be sure, the most
_palatable_ morsel one might see in a circle of females; yet she is
obviously of the _human_ species; has the usual features in her face
(such as they are), four fingers and a thumb on each hand, and two
distinct feet with a proper number (I suppose) of toes upon each,—and
what more need I expect, seeing she has plenty of the _shiners_?”

“True,” said I: “as for beauty, those English girls, who _are_ handsome,
are too frolicksome: she’ll stick the closer to you, because she has

“And what _advantage_ will that be?” muttered Lysight, with a
half-suppressed imprecation. “Her father pretends,” continued he, “to be
a _Christian_, and affects to keep a shop in the Strand, under the name
of ‘_Salmon_, watchmaker:’ but in reality he is a d—d Jew, and only
pretends to be a Christian that he may transact affairs for certain
Israelites of the city, who give him the devil’s own rate of
commission!—I hope to be a _partner_ ere long!”

“Suppose he receives _stolen goods_, Ned?” said I. “You’d cut but a
queer figure at the _tail of a cart_ with a cat-o’-nine-tails flourished
over you.”

“Father of Israel!” exclaimed Lysight, already half a Jew, “you mistake
the matter totally. No, no! the maid-servant, whom I bribed with the
price of my last squib in the Chronicle, told me every thing about
Solomon Salmon—his dealings, his daughter, and his great iron chest with
eleven locks to it: but as to _goods_, he never has fifty pounds’ worth
of trinkets or watches in his shop—only a few in the window, to _look_
like trade. He deals in the lending and borrowing way only—all _cash_
transactions, depend on it.”

“For Heaven’s sake, Ned,” said I, “how did you introduce yourself into
the family of a Hebrew?”

“I met the girl three months ago,” he replied, “at a dancing-school at
Somers’ Town, set up by an old Irish acquaintance, Terry M‘Namara, with
whom I dine sometimes: he told me she was a rich Jewess; so when I heard
of her papa, I determined to know something more about his daughter, and
stole frequently to Somers’ Town, where Mr. Solomon Salmon has a pretty
cit cottage. There I hid behind a dead wall just in front, and when
_she_ came to the window, I nodded, and she ran away, as if offended. I
knew this was a good sign with a woman. She soon returned to the window.
I nodded again. Away went she a second time; but I heard a loud laugh,
and considered that a capital sign: and in fact, she came a third time.
Then I was sure, and nodded _twice_, whereupon she returned the
salutation. Having carried on the _nodding_ system sufficiently, I now
ventured to speak to her on my fingers—an art which I had seen her
dexterously practise at the dancing-school. ‘My love!’ fingered I; at
which she turned her back, but soon turned her face again. ‘My love!’ I
repeated, still on my fingers. Off she scampered, but soon came back in
company with the maid-servant (whom I therefore bribed next day). I now
ventured to suggest an interview the following evening. The Jewess
flushed at this proposal; but on my repetition of it, held up _seven_ of
her fingers.

“Of course I was punctual at the time appointed, was admitted, and we
swore eternal fidelity on the _Old_ Testament. The maid betrayed us as
soon as I ran short of hush-money, but repented afterward, when I gave
her a fresh supply, and told me that her master, Mr. Solomon Salmon, had
locked his daughter up. She had then attempted to throw herself out of a
two-pair window for my sake; but the old Jew having caught her in the
very act, she peremptorily told him she was determined to fall into a
decay or consumption of the lungs, if he did not consent to her marrying
the Christian counsellor.

“This he was in the sequel forced to agree to, or sacrifice his own
virgin daughter, (like the king in the Bible,) besides whom he luckily
has no other child to inherit his fortune, and the mother is at least
twenty years past childbearing.

“At length all was settled, and we are to be actually married as
Christians on Monday next. Little Egar of Hare Court has drawn up the
marriage articles, and I am to have ten thousand now—that is, the
interest of it during the Jew’s life, payable quarterly: then twenty
more, and _all the rest_ on the mother’s death: and in the mean time,
half his commission on money dealings (to commence after a few months’
instruction), together with the house in Somers’ Town, where I shall
reside and transact business.”

All this Lysight told me with great glee and admirable humour.

“Egad, it’s no bad hit, Ned,” said I; “many a high-headed grand-juror on
the Munster circuit would marry Solomon Salmon himself upon the same

“You’ll dine with me,” said Lysight, “on Wednesday, at Somers’ Town, at
five o’clock? I’ll give you a good turkey, and such a bottle of old
black-strap as neither the Grecian nor the Oxford ever had in their
cellars for any money.”

“I’ll surely attend a new scene, Ned,” answered I.

I was accordingly most punctual. All appeared to be just as he had
described. It was a small house, well furnished. Miss’s visage, to be
sure, though not _frightful_, was less _ornamental_ than any article on
the premises. The maid-servant was really a fine girl; the cook no bad
_artiste_; the dinner good, and the wine capital. Two other Templars
were of the party, and every thing went on well. About eight at night
the old Jew came in. He appeared a civil, smug, dapper, clean,
intelligent little fellow, with a bob-wig. He made us all welcome, and
soon retired to rest, leaving us to a parting bottle.

The affair proceeded prosperously; and I often dined with my friend in
the same cheerful manner. Ned, in fact, became absolutely domestic. By
degrees he got into _the trade_; accepted all the bills at the Jew’s
request, to save _him_ trouble, as old Salmon kept his own books; and a
large fortune was accumulating every day, as was apparent by the great
quantities of miscellaneous property which was sent in and as quickly
disappeared; when one morning, Ned was surprised at three ugly-looking
fellows entering his house rather unceremoniously and without stating
their business. Ned immediately seized the poker, when his arm was
arrested gently by a fourth visitor, who said:

“Easy, easy, Counsellor Lysight, we mean you no harm or rudeness; we
only do our duty. We are the _commissioners’_ messengers, that’s all.
Gentlemen,” said the _attorney_, as he proved to be, to the three
ruffians, “do your duty without the slightest inconvenience to the

They then proceeded to seal up all the doors, leaving Ned, wife, & Co. a
bed-room only, to console themselves in. Mr. Solomon Salmon, in truth,
turned out both a Christian and a bankrupt, and had several thousands to
pay out of the sale of about twoscore of silver watches and a few
trinkets—which constituted the entire of the splendid property he had so
liberally settled on Mr. Edward Lysight as a portion with his lady

Ned now found himself completely taken in,—reduced, as he told me, to
ten shillings and sixpence in gold, and four shillings in silver, but
acceptor of bills of exchange for Salmon & Co. for more than he could
pay should he live a hundred years longer than the course of nature
would permit him. As he had signed no partnership deed, and had no
funds, they could not make him a bankrupt; and as the bills had not
arrived at mercantile maturity, he had some days of grace during which
to consider himself at liberty:—so he thought absence and fresh air
better than hunger and imprisonment, and therefore _retreat_ the wisest
course to be taken. He was right; for in some time, the creditors having
ascertained that they could get nothing of a cat but its skin, (even
could they catch it,) suffered him to remain unmolested on his own
promise—and a very safe one—that _if ever he was able_, he would pay

He afterward went over to Dublin to the Irish bar, where he made nearly
as many friends as acquaintances, but not much money; and at length
died,—his widow soon following his example, and leaving two daughters,
who, I believe, as teachers of music in Dublin, were much patronised and

Several years subsequently, being surprised that the creditors had let
Lysight off so easily, I inquired particulars from a solicitor who had
been concerned in the affairs of Salmon & Co., and he informed me that
all the parties, except one, had ceased to proceed on the commission;
and that he found the true reason why the alleged creditors had agreed
to let Lysight alone was, that they had been all engaged in a piece of
complicated machinery to deceive the unwary, and dreaded lest matters
should come out, in the course of a strict examination, which might
place them in a more dangerous situation than either the bankrupt or his
son-in-law. In fact, the creditors were a knot; the bankrupt an
instrument; and Lysight a tool.

_Felix qui facit aliena periculum comtum._

                        FATALITIES OF MARRIAGE.

Speculations of the author on free-agency and predestination—A novel
  theory—The matrimonial ladder—Advice to young lovers—A ball in
  Dublin—Unexpected arrival of Lord G— —His doom expressed—Marries the
  author’s niece—Remarks on his lordship’s character.

In a previous part of this volume, I promised my fair readers that I
would endeavour to select some little anecdotes of tender interest, more
particularly calculated for their perusal; and I now proceed to redeem
that promise, so far as I can.

_Fatality_ in _marriages_ has been ever a favourite theme with young
ladies who have promptly determined to resign their liberty to a
stranger, rather than preserve it with a parent. I am myself no
unqualified fatalist; but have struck out a notion of my own on that
subject, which is, I believe, different from all others;—and when I
venture to broach it in conversation, I am generally assured by the most
didactic of the company, that (so far as it is comprehensible) it
excludes both sense and morality. Nevertheless it is, like my faith in
supernaturals, a grounded and honest opinion: and in all matters
connected with such shadowy things as spirits, fates, chances, &c. a man
is surely warranted in forming his own theories—a species of
construction, at any rate, equally harmless and rational with that
castle-building in the air so prevalent among his wiser acquaintances.

It is not my intention here to plunge deep into my tenets. I only mean
indeed to touch on them so far as they bear upon matrimony: and may the
glance induce fair damsels, when first nourishing a tender passion, to
consider in time what may be _fated_ as the consequences of their

The matrimonial _ladder_ (if I may be allowed such a simile) has
generally eight steps: viz. 1. Attentions; 2. Flirtation; 3. Courtship;
4. Breaking the ice; 5. Popping the question; 6. The negotiation; 7. The
ceremony; 8. The _repentance_.

The grand basis of my doctrine is, that free-agency and predestination
are neither (as commonly held) inconsistent nor incompatible; but, on
the contrary, intimately connected, and generally copartners in
producing human events. Every important occurrence in the life of man or
woman (and matrimony is no _bagatelle_) partakes of the nature of both.
Great events may ever be traced to trivial causes, or to voluntary
actions; and that which is _voluntary_ cannot, it should seem, be
_predestined_: but when these acts of free-will are once performed, they
lead irresistibly to ulterior things. Our free-agency then becomes
expended; our spontaneous actions cannot be retraced; and then, and not
before, the march of _fate_ commences.

The medical doctrine of remote and proximate causes of disease in the
human body is not altogether inappropriate to my dogma—since disorders
which are _predestined_ to send ladies and gentlemen on their travels to
the other world, entirely _against_ their inclinations, may frequently
be traced to acts which were as entirely within their own option.

I have already professed my intention of going but superficially into
this subject just now; and though I could find it in my heart
considerably to prolong the inquiry, I will only give one or two marked
illustrations of my doctrine, merely to set casuists conjecturing. There
are comparatively few important acts of a person’s life which may not be
avoided. For example:—if any man chooses voluntarily to take a voyage to
Nova Scotia, he gives _predestination_ a fair opportunity of drowning
him at sea, if it think proper; but if he determines never to go into a
ship, he may be perfectly certain of his safety in _that_ way. Again:—if
a general chooses to go into a battle, it is his free-agency which
enables predestination to despatch him there; but if, on the other hand,
he keeps clear out of it (as some generals do), he may set fatality at
defiance on that point, and perhaps return with as much glory as many of
his comrades had acquired by leaving their brains upon the field.
Cromwell told his soldiers the night before the battle of Worcester, (to
encourage them,) that, “Every _bullet_ carried its own _billet_.”—“Why
then, by my sowl,” said an Irish recruit, “that’s the very rason I’ll
_desert_ before morning!” Marriage, likewise, is an act of free-agency;
but, as I said before, being once contracted, predestination comes into
play, often despatching one or other of the parties, either by grief,
murder, or suicide, who might have been safe and sound from all those
_fatalities_, had he or she never _voluntarily_ purchased or worn a
plain gold ring.

Of the eight steps attached to the ladder of matrimony already
specified, _seven_ (all lovers will be pleased to remark) imply
“free-agency;” but the latter of these being mounted, progress to the
eighth is too frequently _inevitable_. I therefore recommend to all
candidates for the ascent, thorough deliberation, and a brief pause at
each successive step:—for, according to my way of thinking, the knot
tied at the seventh interval should be considered, in every respect,
perfectly indissoluble.

The principle of these few examples might extend to most of the events
that chequer our passage through life; and a little unprejudiced
reflection seems alone requisite to demonstrate that “free-agency” may
readily keep fate under her thumb on most important occasions.

I cannot avoid particularising, as to matrimony, an incident that came
within my knowledge, and related to individuals of rank who are still
living. The facts are well remembered, though they occurred nearly
twenty years ago. Exclusive of the intrinsic interest of the
transaction, it may have some weight with my fair readers.

About the year 1809, a ball, on an extensive scale, was given by Lady
Barrington in Dublin. Almost every person of _ton_ did her the honour of
participating in the festivity, and I think the Duke of Wellington was

In the evening, I received a note from Sir Charles Ormsby, mentioning
that Lord G——, son of my old friend the Earl of L——, had just arrived.
He was represented as a fine young man; and it was added that (though
quite tired) he might be prevailed on to attend Lady Barrington’s ball,
were I to write him a note of invitation. Of course I did so with the
greatest pleasure. The Earl of L—— and I had been many years intimate:
the late Right Honourable Isaac Corry was his close friend; and before
his lordship grew _too rich_, he was my next door neighbour in Harcourt
Street. We were, indeed, all three, boon companions.

Lord G—— arrived at the ball, and a very good-looking fellow he
certainly was—of about nineteen; his address corresponded with his mien,
and I was quite taken with him, independently of his being my friend’s
son. Two very young relatives of mine—one my niece, Arabella E——, the
other my daughter (now the Viscomtesse de F——,) did the juvenile honours
of the party.

Sir Charles Ormsby, (who might have been termed a sort of _half-mounted_
wit,) said to me, rather late, “Did you ever know such a foolish boy as
G——? Before he had been half an hour in the room, he protested that ere
three months were over, either one or other of your girls would be Lady
G——; that it was a _doomed_ thing;—though he could not exactly say
_which_ would be the bride—as he had not seen either from the time they
were all children together.”

The ball ended about day-break, and I was obliged immediately to set off
for circuit. I had been engaged as counsel on the trial of Mr. Alcock
for the murder of Mr. John Colclough (as mentioned Volume i.).

I finished my month’s circuit at Wexford, where to my surprise I found
Lord G——. I asked him his business there. He said he had been summoned
as a witness on the above-mentioned trial, which I thought a very
strange circumstance, as he could have known nothing whatsoever of the
transaction. However, we travelled together to Dublin in my carriage;
and on the way he spoke much of _destiny_, and of a cottage in County
Wicklow, with every thing “rural.” I did not then comprehend the young
man’s drift; but on my return, I found that his _free-agency_ had been
put in practice; and, in fact, very shortly after, Lord G—— was my
nephew. _Fatality_ now commenced her dominion; and a most charming gift
from fatality had the young nobleman received in a partner juvenile,
like himself, his equal in birth, and possessed of every accomplishment.

I had not at first been made acquainted with the cause of Lord G——’s
visit to Ireland; but at length understood, with some surprise, that the
Earl of L—— had placed his eldest son as an ensign in a marching
regiment ordered to the continent. Thus, at the age of nineteen, he
found himself in a situation unfavourable, as I think, to the fair and
proper development of his mind and talents—uncongenial with the
befitting pursuits for a nobleman’s heir—and still less adapted to
gratify the cravings of an ardent intelligent spirit, whose very
enthusiasm was calculated, under such circumstances, to produce
recklessness and evil.

The residue of this _novel_ (for such, in all its details, it may fairly
be denominated—and one of a most interesting and affecting cast) would
afford ample material for observation: but it is too long, too grave,
and perhaps too delicate, for investigation here.—Suffice it to add,
that I saw Lord and Lady G——, with their numerous and lovely family,
last summer on the continent—altered less than I should have imagined,
from the interval that had elapsed. In speaking of his lordship, I am
reminded of the motto, “Every one has his fault:”—but he has likewise
great merits, and talent which would have been higher had his education
been more judicious. My friendship for him has been strong and
invariable; and I think that fate has not yet closed the book on his
future renown and advancement.

                        A WEDDING IN OLDEN DAYS.

Changes in the nuptial ceremony in Ireland—Description of the
  _ancient_ formula—Throwing the stocking—A lucky hit—Reverse of
  the picture—Modern marriages—Coming of age—Nuptials of the
  author’s eldest brother—Personal description of the bride and
  bridegroom—Various preparations—Dresses of the different members
  of the wedding-party—The coach of ceremony—The travelling
  chaise—A turnpike dispute—Convenient temporary metamorphosis of
  the author and two of his brothers—Circumstances preceding the
  marriage in question—A desperate lover—Disasters and blunders—A
  “scene”—Major Tennyson Edwards—Marries a sister of the
  author—His fortunate escape from a ludicrous catastrophe.

There are few changes in the manners and customs of society in Ireland
more observable than those relating to marriage. The day has been,
within my recollection, when that ceremony was conducted altogether
differently from the present mode. Formerly, no damsel was _ashamed_, as
it were, of being married. The celebration was joyous, public, and
enlivened by every species of merriment and good cheer. The bride and
bridegroom, bridesmaids, and bridesmen (all dressed and decorated in gay
and gallant costumes), vied in every effort to promote the pleasure they
were themselves participating. When the ceremony was completed, by
passing round a final and mystical word, “Amazement!”—every body kissed
the bride. The company then all saluted each other: cordial
congratulations went round, the music struck up, and plenty of plum cake
and wine seemed to anticipate a _christening_. The bride for a moment
whimpered and coloured; the mamma wept with gratification; the
bridesmaids flushed with sympathy, and a scene was produced almost too
brilliant for modern apathy even to gaze at. The substantial banquet
soon succeeded; hospitality was all alive; the bottle circulated; the
ball commenced; the bride led off, to take leave of her celibacy; men’s
souls were softened; maidens’ hearts melted; Cupid slily stole in, and I
scarce ever saw a joyous public wedding whereat he had not nearly
expended his quiver before three o’clock in the morning. Every thing
cheerful and innocent combined to show the right side of human nature,
and to increase and perfect human happiness; a jovial hot supper gave
respite to the dancers and time to escort Madam Bride to her
nuptial-chamber—whither, so long as company were permitted to do so, we
will attend her. The bed-curtains were adorned with festoons of ribbon.
The chamber was well lighted; and the bridesmaids having administered to
the bride her prescriptive refreshment of white-wine posset, proceeded
to remove her left stocking and put it into her trembling hand: they
then whispered anew the mystical word before mentioned; and having bound
a handkerchief over her eyes, to ensure her impartiality, all the lovely
spinsters surrounded the nuptial couch, each anxiously expecting that
the next moment would anticipate her promotion to the same happy
predicament within three hundred and sixty-five days at the very
farthest. The bride then tossed the prophetic hosiery at random among
her palpitating friends, and whichever damsel was so fortunate as to
receive the blow was declared the next maiden in the room who would
become devoted to the joys of Hymen; and every one in company—both
ladies and gentlemen—afterward saluted the cheek of the lucky girl. The
ball then recommenced; the _future_ bride led off; night waned;—and
Phœbus generally peeped again ere the company could be brought to
separate. Good-humoured tricks were also on those happy occasions
practised by arch girls upon the bridegroom. In short, the pleasantry of
our old marriages in Ireland could not be exceeded. They were always
performed in the house of the lady’s parents or of some relative. It
would fill a volume were I to enumerate the various joyful and happy
incidents I have witnessed at Irish weddings.[46]


Footnote 46:

  How miserably has modern refinement reversed those scenes of happiness
  and hilarity—when the gentry of my native land were married in warm,
  cheerful chambers, and in the midst of animated beings, beloving and
  beloved! No gloom was there: every thing seemed to smile; and all
  thoughts of death or memoranda of mortality were discarded.

  Now, those joyous scenes are shifted by sanctity and _civilisation_.
  Now, the female soul almost shudders—and it well may—on reaching the
  site of the connubial ceremony. The long, chilling aisle, ornamented
  only by sculptured tablets and tales of death and futurity, is
  terminated by the sombre chancel—whence the unpupilled eye and vacant
  stare of cold marble busts glare down on those of youth and animation,
  seeming to say, “Vain, hapless couple! see me—behold your fate!—the
  time is running now, and will not stop its course a single moment till
  you are _my_ companions!” Under such auspices, the lovers’ vows are
  frozen ere they can be registered by the recording angel.

  The cheerless ceremony concluded, the bridegroom solemnly hands the
  silent bride into her travelling chariot; hurries her to some country
  inn, with her pretty maid—perhaps destined to be a future rival; they
  remain there a few days, till yawning becomes too frequent, and the
  lady then returns to town a listless matron—to receive, on her couch
  of _ennui_, a string of formal congratulations, and predictions of
  connubial comfort, few of which are doomed to be so _prophetic_ as the
  _bridal stocking_ of her grandmother.


At one of the old class of weddings took place the most interesting
incident of my early life, as I stated in a former volume. The spectacle
and events of that union never can be erased from my memory, and its
details furnish a good outline wherefrom those of other marriages of
that period, in the same sphere of society, may be filled up.

In those days, so soon as an elder son came of age, the father and he
united to raise money to pay off all family incumbrances. The money
certainly was raised, but the incumbrances were so lazy, that in general
they remained _in statu quo_. The estates were soon clipped at both
ends; the father nibbling at one, the son pilfering at the other, and
the attorney at both. The rent-roll became short; and it was decided
that the son must marry to “sow his wild oats,” and make another
settlement on younger children. Money, however, was not always the main
object of Irish marriages:—first, because it was not always to be had;
and next, because if it was to be had, it would so soon change masters,
that it would be all the same after a year or two. Good family, good
cheer, and beauty, when they could find it, were the chief
considerations of a country gentleman, whose blood relatives, root and
branch (as is still the case on the continent), generally attended the
act of alliance, with all the splendour their tailors, milliners, and
mantua-makers could or would supply.

My eldest brother (the bridegroom on the occasion alluded to) was an
officer of that once magnificent regiment the black horse, and fell most
vehemently in love with the sister of a brother-officer, afterward
Colonel E—— of Old Court, County Wicklow. I have described some beauties
in my former volumes; but the charms of Alicia E—— were very different
from the dazzling loveliness of Myrtle Yates, or the opening bloom of
Maria Hartpool. She was inferior to either in symmetry; but in interest
had an infinite superiority over both. Alicia was just eighteen: she had
no regular feature: her mouth was disproportionately large; her lips
were coral; her eyes destitute of fire—but they were captivating
tell-tales; her figure was rather below the middle height, but without
an angle; and the round, graceful delicacy of her limbs could not be
surpassed. It was, however, the unrivalled clearness of her pellucid
skin that gave a splendour and indescribable charm to the contour of
Alicia’s animated face. I may be considered as exaggerating when I
declare that her countenance appeared nearly transparent, and her hands
were more clear than may well be imagined. Her address was still more
engaging than her person.

Such was the individual to whom my nut-brown and unadorned D—— W——[47]
was selected as bridesmaid. My brother was gentlemanly, handsome, and
gallant, but wild; with little judgment and a very moderate education.


Footnote 47:

  See Vol. i.


It being determined that the wedding should be upon a public and
splendid scale, both families prepared to act fully up to that
resolution. The proper trades-people were set to work; ribbon favours
were woven on a new plan; in fact, all Dublin heard of the preparations
from the busy milliners, &c.; and on the happy day, a crowd of
neighbours collected about my father’s house in Clare Street, to see the
cavalcade, which was to proceed to Old Court House, near the Dargle,
where the ceremony was to be performed.

The dress of those days on such occasions was generally splendid; but
our garments “out-Heroded Herod.” The bridegroom, cased in white cloth
with silver tissue, belaced and bespangled, glittered like an eastern
caliph. My mother, a woman of high blood and breeding, and just pride,
was clad in what was called a _manteau_ of silvered satin: when standing
direct before the lights, she shone out as the reflector of a lamp; and
as she moved majestically about the room, and curtseyed _à la Madame
Pompadour_, the rustling of her embroidered habit sounded like music
appropriate to the flow of compliments that enveloped her. My father,
one of the handsomest men of his day, was much more plainly dressed than
any of us.

The gilded coach of ceremony (which I noticed in an early sketch) was
put in requisition; and its four blacks, Bully, Blackbird, the colt, and
Stopford (fourteen years of age), were all as sleek and smooth as if cut
out of ebony. Tom White and Keeran Karry (postilions), with big Nicholas
(the footman), sported appropriate costumes; and the whole was led by
Mr. Mahony, the butler, mounted on Brown Jack, my father’s hunter.

The cavalcade started off at a hand-gallop for Bray, accompanied by the
benediction of old Sarah the cook, and Judy Berger the hereditary
house-keeper, who stood praying meanwhile, and crossing their foreheads,
at the door. An old travelling chaise of no very prepossessing
appearance (which had been rescued from the cocks and hens in the
country out-house), with a pair of hacks, was driven by Matthew Querns
the huntsman, and contained the residue of the party—namely, my two
other brethren and self.

The more particular description of our attire may strike certain
_moderns_ as somewhat ridiculous; but that attire was in the _goût_ of
the day, and covered as good proportions as those of the new gentry who
may deride it. The men wore no stays; the ladies covered their
shoulders; and the first were to the full as brave, and the latter at
least as modest, as their successors. _Our_ wedding suits were literally
thus composed. The blue satin vests and inexpressibles were well laced
and spangled wherever there was any room for ornament. The coats were of
white cloth with blue capes. Four large paste curls, white as snow with
true rice powder, and scented strong with real bergamot, adorned our
heads. My third brother, Wheeler Barrington, had a coat of scarlet
cloth, because he was _intended_ for the army.

In truth, greater luminaries never attended a marriage festivity. Our
equipage, however, by no means corresponded with our personal splendour
and attractions; and I thought the contrast would be too ridiculous to
any observing spectator who might know the family. I therefore desired
Matthew to take a short turn from the great rock road to avoid notice as
much as possible; which caution being given, we crowded into the
tattered vehicle, and trotted away as swiftly as one blind and one lame
horse could draw such magnificoes. There were (and are) on the circular
road by which I had desired Matthew Querns to drive us, some of those
nuisances called turnpikes. When we had passed the second gate, the
gatekeeper, who had been placed there recently, of course demanded his
toll. “Pay him, French,” said I to my brother. “Faith,” said French, “I
changed my clothes, and I happen to have no money in my pocket.” “No
matter,” answered I, “Wheeler, give the fellow a shilling.” “I have not
a rap,” said Wheeler.—“I lost every halfpenny I had yesterday at the
royal cockpit in Essex Street.”

By a sort of instinct I put my hand into my own pocket; but instinct is
not money, and _reality_ quickly informed me that I was exactly in the
same situation. However, “no matter,” again said I; so I desired old
Matthew Querns to pay the turnpike. “Is it me pay the pike?” said
Matthew—“me? the devil a cross of wages I got from the master this many
a day; and if I did, do you think, Master Jonah, the liquor would not be
after having it out of me by this time?” and he then attempted to drive
on _without_ paying, as he used to do at Cullenaghmore. The man however
grappled the blind horse, and gave us a full quantum of abuse, in which
his wife, who issued forth at the sound, vociferously joined. Matthew
began to whack him and the horses alternately with his thong whip; my
brother French struggled to get out, and beat the pike-man; but the door
would not open readily, and I told him that if he beat the turnpike man
properly, he’d probably bleed _a few_ himself; and that a single drop of
blood on his fine clothes would effectually exclude him from society.
This reasoning succeeded; but the blind horse not perceiving what was
the matter, supposed something worse had happened, and began to plunge
and break the harness. “You d—d gilt vagabonds,” said the turnpike man,
“such fellows should be put into the stocks or ducked at the broad stone
beyond Kilmainham. Oh! I know you well enough! (looking into the
carriage window:) what are yees but stage-players that have run away
from Smock Alley, and want to impose upon the country-folk!—But I’ll
neither let yees back or forward, by ——, till you pay me a _hog_ for the
pike, and two and eightpence-halfpenny for every wallop of the whip that
the ould green mummer there gave me, when I only wanted my honest dues.”

I saw fighting was in vain; but courtesy can do any thing with an
Irishman. “My honest friend,” said I, (to soften him,) “you’re right; we
are poor stage-players sure enough: we have got a loan of the clothes
from Mr. Ryder—may Heaven bless him! and we’re hired out to play a farce
for a great wedding that’s to be performed at Bray to-night. When we
come back with our money we’ll pay you true and fair, and drink with you
till you’re stiff, if you think proper.”

On this civil address the pike-man looked very kind: “Why, then, by my
sowl it’s true enough,” said he, “ye can’t be very rich till ye get your
entrance money; but sure I won’t be out of pocket for all that. Well,
faith and troth, ye look like decent stage-players; and I’ll tell you
what, I like good music, so I do. Give me a new song or two, and d—mme
but I’ll let you off, you poor craturs, till you come back agin. Come,
give us a chaunt, and I’ll help you to mend the harness too!”

“Thank you, sir,” said I humbly. “I can’t sing,” said my brother French,
“unless I’m drunk!” “Nor I, drunk or sober,” said Wheeler. “You _must_
sing for the _pike_,” said I to French; and at length he set up his
pipes to a favourite song, often heard among the half-mounted gentlemen
in the country when they were drinking; and as I shall never forget any
incident of that (to me) eventful day, and the ditty is quite
characteristic both of the nation generally and the half-mounted
gentlemen in particular, (with whom it was a sort of charter song,) I
shall give it.

               D—n money—it’s nothing but trash:
               We’re happy though ever so poor!
               When we have it we cut a great dash,
               When it’s gone, we ne’er think of it more.
               Then let us be wealthy or not,
               Our spirits are always the same;
               We’re free from every dull thought,
               And the “Boys of old Ireland’s” our name!

I never saw a poor fellow so pleased as the pike-man; the words hit his
fancy: he shook us all round, most heartily, by the hand; and running
into his lodge, brought out a pewter pot of frothing beer, which he had
just got for himself, and insisted on each of us taking a drink. We of
course complied. He gave Matthew a drink too, and desired him not to be
so handy with his whip to other pike-men, or they’d _justice_ him at
Kilmainham. He then helped up our traces; and Matthew meanwhile, who,
having had the last draught, had left the pot no further means of
exercising its hospitality—enlivened by the liquor and encouraged by the
good-nature of the pike-man, and his pardon for the _walloping_—thought
the least he could do in gratitude was to give the honest man a sample
of his own music, vocal and instrumental: so taking his hunting horn
from under his coat (he never went a yard without it) and sounding his
best “Death of Reynard,” he sang a stave which was then the charter song
of _his_ rank, and which he roared away with all the graces of a view

                          Ho! ro! the sup of good drink!
          And it’s ho! ro! the heart wou’dn’t think!
          Oh! had I a shilling lapp’d up in a clout,
          ’Tis a sup of good drink that should wheedle it out.
                                And it’s ho! ro! &c. &c.

The man of the pike was delighted. “Why, then, by my sowl, you ould
mummer,” said he, “it’s a pity the likes of you should _want_ a _hog_.
Arrah! here (handing him a shilling), maybe your whistle would run dry
on the road, and you’ll pay me when you come back, won’t you? Now all’s
settled, off wid yees! Success!—success!” And away we went, as fast as
the halt and blind could convey us.

We arrived safe and in high glee, just as the prayer-book was getting
ready for the ceremony. I apologised for our apparent delay by telling
the whole story in my own manner. D— W— seemed wonderfully amused. I
caught her eye: it was not like Desdemona’s; but she told me afterward,
that my _odd_ mode of relating that adventure first made her remark me
as a singularity. She was so witty on it herself, that she was the cause
of wit in me. She was indefatigable at sallies—I not idle at repartee;
and we both amused ourselves and entertained the company.

I sat next to D— W— at dinner; danced with her at the ball; pledged her
at supper; and before two o’clock in the morning my heart had entirely
deserted its master.

I will here state, by way of episode, that great difficulties and
delays, both of law and equity, had postponed the matrimonial connexion
of my brother, Major Barrington (he bore that rank in the old
volunteers), for a considerable time. There was not money enough
_afloat_ to settle family incumbrances, and keep the younger children
from starving. A temporary suspension was of course put to the
courtship. My brother in consequence grew nearly outrageous, and swore
to me that he had not slept a wink for three nights, considering what
species of _death_ he should put himself to. Strong, and young, (though
tolerably susceptible myself,) my heart was at that time my own, and I
could not help laughing at the extravagance of his passion. I tried to
ridicule him out of it. “Heavens!” said I, “Jack, how can you be at a
loss on _that_ score? You know I am pretty sure that, by your intended
suicide, I shall get a step nearer Cullenaghmore. Therefore, I will
remind you that there are a hundred very _genteel_ ways by which you may
despatch yourself without either delay or expense.”

He looked at me quite wildly. In fact he was distractedly in love.
Alicia was eternally on his lips, and I really believe, if his head had
been cut off like the man’s in Alonzo de Cordova, it would have
continued pronouncing “Alicia,” till every drop of blood was clean out
of it. Reasoning with a mad lover is in vain, so I still pursued
ridicule. “See,” said I, “that marble chimney-piece at the end of the
room; suppose, now, you run head-foremost against it,—in all human
probability you’ll knock your brains out in a novel and not at all a
vulgar way.”

I spoke in jest, but found my hearer jested not. Before I could utter
another word, he bent his head forward, and with might and main rushed
plump at the chimney-piece, which he came against with a crash that I
had no doubt must have finished him completely. He fell back and lay
without a struggle; the blood gushed, and I stood petrified. The moment
I was able I darted out of the room, and calling for aid, his servant
Neil came. I told him that his master was dead.

“Dead!” said Neil, “By —— he is, and _double dead_ too! Ah! then, who
_kilt_ the major?”

He took him up in his arms, and laid him on a sofa. My brother, however,
soon gave Neil the “retort courteous.” He opened his eyes, groaned, and
appeared any thing but _dying_. My fright ceased; he had been only
stunned, and his head cut, but his brains were safe in their case. He
had luckily come in contact with the _flat_ part of the marble: had he
hit the _moulding_, he would have ended his love and misfortunes
together, and given me, as I had said, a step toward Cullenaghmore. The
cut on his head was not material, and in a few days he was tolerably
well again. This story, however, was not to be divulged; it was
determined that it should remain with us a great secret. Neil, his
servant, we swore on a bible not to say a word about it to any body; but
the honest man must have practised some mental reservation, as he
_happened_ just only to _hint_ it to his sweetheart, Mary Donnellan, my
mother’s maid, and she in a tender moment told the postilion Keeran, for
whom she had a regard. Keeran never kept a secret in all his life; so he
told the dairy-maid, Molly Coyle, whom he preferred to Mary Donnellan.
And the dairy-maid told my father, who frequented the dairy, and
delighted to see Molly Coyle a-churning. The thing at length became
quite public; and my brother, to avoid raillery, set off to his regiment
at Philipstown, whither I accompanied him. He still raved about taking
the first favourable _opportunity_ of putting himself to death, if the
courtship were much longer suspended; and spoke of gallantly throwing
himself off his charger at full gallop, previously fastening his foot in
the stirrup. The being dragged head downwards over a few heaps of paving
stones would certainly have answered his deadly purpose well enough; but
I dissuaded him without much difficulty from that species of
self-murder, by assuring him that every body, in such a case, would
attribute his death to _bad horsemanship_, which would remain, on the
records of the regiment, an eternal disgrace to his professional
character. Many other projects he thought of; but I must here make one
remark, which perhaps may be a good one in general—namely, that every
one of those projects _happened_ to originate _after dinner_—a period
when Irishmen’s chivalric fancies are at their most enthusiastic and
visionary height.

At length, a happy letter reached the major, signifying that all parties
had agreed, and that his Alicia, heart and hand, was to be given up to
him for life, as his own private and exclusive property—“to have and to
hold, for better for worse,” &c. &c. This announcement rendered him
almost as wild as his despair had done previously. When he received the
letter, he leaped down a flight of stairs at one spring, and in five
minutes ordered his charger to be saddled for himself; his hunter, “Mad
Tom,” for me; and his chestnut, “Rainbow,” for Neil. In ten minutes we
were all mounted and in full gallop toward Dublin, which he had
determined to reach that night after one short stoppage at Kildare,
where we arrived (without slackening rein) in as short a time as if we
had rode a race. The horses were fed well, and drenched with hot ale and
brandy; but as none of them were in love, I perceived that they would
willingly have deferred the residue of the journey till the ensuing
morning. Indeed, my brother’s steed conceiving that _charges_ of such
rapidity and length were not at all military, unless in _running away_,
determined practically to convince his master that such was his notion.
We passed over the famous race-ground of the Curragh in good style; but,
as my brother had not given his horse time to lie down gently and rest
himself in the ordinary way, the animal had no choice but to perform the
feat of lying down whilst in full gallop—which he did very expertly just
at the Curragh stand-house. The only mischief occurring herefrom was,
that the drowsy charger stripped the skin, like rags, completely off
both his knees, scalped the top of his head, got a hurt in the back
sinews, and (no doubt without intending it) broke both my brother’s
collarbones. When we came up (who were a few hundred yards behind him),
both man and beast were lying very quietly, as if asleep;—my brother
about five or six yards before the horse, who had cleverly thrown his
rider far beyond the chance of being tumbled over by himself. The result
was, as usual on similar occasions, that the horse was led limping and
looking foolish to the first stable, and committed to all the farriers
and grooms in the neighbourhood. My brother was carried flat on a door
to the nearest ale-house; and doctors being sent for, _three_ (with bags
of instruments) arrived from different places before night, and, after a
good deal of searching and fumbling about his person, one of them
discovered that both collar-bones were smashed, as aforesaid, and that
if either of the broken bones or splinters thereof turned _inward_ by
his stirring, it might run through the lobes of his lungs, and very
suddenly end all hopes of ever completing his journey: his nose had
likewise taken a different turn from that it had presented when he set
out:—and the palms of his hands fully proved that they could do without
any skin, and with a very moderate quantity of flesh.

However, the bones were well arranged, a pillow strapped under each arm,
and another at his shoulder-blades. All necessary comforts were
procured, as well as furniture from Mr. Hamilton, whose house was near.
I did not hear a word that night about Alicia; but in due time the major
began to recover once more, and resumed his love, which had _pro
tempore_ been literally knocked out of him. It was announced by the
doctor that it would be a long time before he could use his hands or
arms, and that removal or exercise might produce a new fracture, and
send a splinter or bone through any part of his interior that might be
most handy.

Though I thought the blood he had lost, and the tortures the doctor put
him to, had rendered his mind a good deal tamer than it was at
Maryborough, he still talked much of Alicia, and proposed that I should
write to her, on his part, an account of his misfortunes; and the doctor
in attendance allowing him the slight exertion of signing his name and
address in his own handwriting, I undertook to execute my task to the
utmost of my skill, and certainly performed it with great success. I
commenced with due warmth, and stated that the “accident he had met with
only retarded the happiness he should have in making her his wife, which
he had so long burned for, but which circumstances till then had
prevented,” &c. &c. (The words I recollect pretty well, because they
afterward afforded me infinite amusement.) The letter was sealed with
the family arms and crest.

“Now, Jonah,” said my brother, “before I marry I have a matter of some
importance to arrange, lest it should come to the ears of my Alicia,
which would be my ruin; and I must get you to see it settled for me at
Philipstown, so as to prevent any thing exploding.” He went on to give
me the particulars of a certain _liaison_ he had formed with a young
woman there, an exciseman’s daughter, which he was now, as may be
supposed, desirous of breaking; and (though protesting that interference
in such matters was not at all to my taste) I consented to write, at his
dictation, a sort of compromise to the party, which he having signed,
both epistles were directed at the same time, and committed to the
post-office of Kilcullen bridge.

The amorous and fractured invalid was now rapidly advancing to a state
of convalescence. His nose had been renovated with but an inconsiderable
partiality for the left cheek; his collar-bones had approximated to a
state of adhesion; and he began impatiently to count the days and nights
that would metamorphose his Alicia from a spinster to a matron.

The extravagance of his flaming love amused me extremely: his aerial
castles were built, altered, and demolished with all the skill and
rapidity of modern architecture; while years of exquisite and unalloyed
felicity arose before his fancy, of which they took an immovable grasp.

We were busily engaged one morning in planning and arranging his
intended establishment, on returning to the sports and freaks of a
country gentleman (with the addition of a terrestrial angel to do the
honours), when, on a sudden, we heard rather a rough noise at the
entrance of the little chamber wherein the invalid was still reclining
upon a feather-bed, with a pillow under each arm to keep the bones in
due position. Our old fat landlady, who was extremely partial to the
cornet,[48] burst in with her back toward us, endeavouring to prevent
the entrance of a stranger, who, however, without the least ceremony,
giving her a hearty curse, dashed into the centre of the room in a state
of bloated rage scarcely conceivable—which was more extraordinary as the
individual appeared to be no other than Captain Tennyson Edwards, of the
30th regiment, third brother of the beloved Alicia. Of course we both
rose to welcome him most heartily: this however he gave us no
opportunity of doing; but laying down a small mahogany case, which he
carried in his hand, and putting his arms akimbo, he loudly exclaimed
without any exordium, “Why, then, Cornet Jack Barrington, are you not
the greatest scoundrel that ever disgraced civilised society?”


Footnote 48:

  My brother’s _actual_ rank in _the army_.


This quere of course was not answered in the affirmative by either of
us; and a scene of astonishment on the one side and increasing passion
on the other, baffled all common-place description: I must therefore
refer it to the imagination of my readers. The retort courteous was over
and over reiterated on both sides without the slightest attempt at any

At length the captain opened his mahogany case, and exhibited therein a
pair of what he called his “barking irons,” bright and glittering as if
both able and willing to commit most expertly any murder or murders they
might be employed in.

“You scoundrel!” vociferated the captain to the cornet, “only that your
bones were smashed by your horse, I would not leave a whole one this day
in your body. But I suppose your brother here will have no objection to
exchange shots _for_ you, and not keep me waiting till you are well
enough to be _stiffened_! Have you any objection (turning to me) ‘to
take a _crack_?’”

“A very considerable objection,” answered I; “first, because I never
fight without knowing _why_; and secondly, because my brother is not in
the habit of fighting by proxy.”

“Not know why?” roared the captain. “There! read that! Oh! I wish you
were hale and whole, cornet, that I might have the pleasure of a _crack_
with _you_!”

I lost no time in reading the letter; and at once perceived that my
unlucky relative had, in the flurry of his love, misdirected each of the
two epistles just now spoken of, and consequently informed “the divine
Alicia” that he could hold no further intercourse with her, &c.

A fit of convulsive laughter involuntarily seized me, which nothing
could restrain; and the captain meanwhile, nearly bursting with rage,
reinvited me to be shot at. My brother stood all the time like a ghost,
in more pain, and almost in as great a passion as our visitor. He was
unable to articulate; and the pillows fixed under each arm rendered him
one of the most grotesque figures that a painter could fancy.

When I recovered the power of speaking (which was not speedily), I
desired Tennyson to follow me to another room: he took up his
pistol-case, and expecting I was about to indulge him with a _crack_ or
two, seemed somewhat easier in mind and temper. I at once explained to
him the curious mistake, and without the least hesitation the captain
burst into a much stronger paroxysm of laughter than I had just escaped
from. Never did any officer in the king’s service enjoy a victory more
than Captain Edwards did this strange blunder. It was quite to his
taste, and on our proposing to make the invalid as happy as exhaustion
and fractures would admit of, a new scene, equally unexpected, but of
more serious consequences, turned up.

A ruddy, active and handsome country girl came to the door, and sprang
with rapidity from a pillion on which she had been riding behind a
good-looking rustic lad. Our landlady greeted her new customer with her
usual urbanity. “You’re welcome to these parts, miss,” said Mrs. Mahony:
“you stop to-night—to be sure you do:—what do you choose, miss?—Clean
out the settle-bed parlour:—the chickens and rashers, miss, are capital,
so they are.—Gassoon, do run and howld the lady’s beast; go, avourneen,
carry him in and wipe him well—do you hear? and throw a wisp of hay
before the poor brute. You rode hard, miss, so you did!”

“Oh! where’s the cornet?” cried the impatient maiden, totally
disregarding Mrs. Mahony: for it was Jenny —— herself, who had come
speedily from Philipstown to forestall the happy moments which my
bewildered brother had, in his letter to his Alicia, so delightfully
anticipated. Nothing could restrain her impatience; she burst into the
little parlour full on the astounded invalid, who was still standing
bolt upright, like a statue, in the very position wherein we had left
him. His loving Jenny, however, unconscious that his collarbones had
been disunited, rushed into his arms with furious affection. “Oh! my
dearest Jack!” cried she, “we _never_ part _no_ more! no, never—never!”
and tight, indeed, was the embrace wherewith the happy Jenny now
encircled the astonished cornet; but, alas! down came one of the
pillows! the arm, of course, closed; and one half of the left
collar-bone being as ignorant as its owner of the cause of so
obstreperous an embrace, and, wishing as it were to see what matter was
going forward in the world, instantly divorced itself from the other
half, and thrusting its ivory end through the flesh, skin, and
integuments (which had obstructed its egress), quickly appeared peeping
through the lover’s shirt.

The unfortunate inamorato could stand these accumulated shocks no
longer, and sank upon the feather-bed in a state of equal astonishment
and exhaustion, groaning pitiously.

Here I must again apply to the imagination of my reader for a true
picture of the succeeding scene. Fielding alone could render a detail
palatable; the surgeons were once more sent for to reset the collar: an
energetic kiss, which his Jenny had imprinted on the cornet’s nose,
again somewhat disturbed its new position, and conferred a pain so
acute, as to excite exclamations, by no means gentle in their nature,
from the unresisting sufferer.

Suffice it to say, Jenny was with much difficulty at length forced away
from her Jack, if not in a dead _faint_, at least in something extremely
_like_ one. An _éclaircissement_ took place so soon as she came round;
and the _compromise_, before hinted at, was ultimately effected.

Edwards asked a hundred pardons of my poor brother, who, worn out, and
in extreme pain, declared he would as soon die as live. In fine, it was
nearly a month more ere the cornet could travel to Dublin, and another
before he was well enough to throw himself at the feet of his dulcinea:
which ceremony was in due season succeeded by the wedding[49] I have
already given my account of, and which left me much more unaccountably
smitten than my more fiery brother.


Footnote 49:

  Irish marriages ran, some few years ago, an awkward risk of being
  nullified _en masse_, by the decision of two English judges. In 1826,
  I met, at Boulogne-sur-Mer, a young Hibernian nobleman, the eldest son
  of an Irish peer, who had arrived there in great haste from Paris, and
  expressed considerable though somewhat ludicrous trepidation on
  account of a rumour that had reached him of his being
  _illegitimatised_. In fact, the same dread seized upon almost all the
  Irish of any family there.

  “I have no time to lose,” said Lord ——, “for the packet is just
  setting off, and I must go and inquire into these matters. By Heaven,”
  added he, “I won’t leave one of the judges alive, if they take my
  property and title! I am fit for _nothing else_, you _know_ I am not;
  and I may as well be hanged as beggared!”

  Scarce had his lordship, from whom I could obtain no explanation,
  departed, when another scion of Irish nobility, the Honourable John
  Leeson, son to the late Earl of Miltown, joined me on the pier.
  “Barrington, have you seen to-day’s papers?” asked he.

  “No,” I answered.

  “Where was your father married?”

  “In my grandfather’s house,” replied I, with some surprise.

  “Then, by Jove,” exclaimed Leeson, “you are an _illegitimate_, and so
  am I!—My father was married at home, at eight o’clock in the evening,
  and that’s _fatal_. A general outcry has taken place among all the
  Irish at the reading-room.”

  He then proceeded to inform me of the real cause of the
  consternation—and it was no trivial one. Two very able and honest
  English judges (Bayley and Park), on trying a woman for _bigamy_, had
  decided that, according to the English law, a marriage in a private
  house, without special licence or in canonical hours, was _void_; and,
  of course, the woman was acquitted, having been united to her first
  husband in Ireland without those requisites. Had that decision stood,
  it would certainly have rendered ninety-nine out of a hundred of the
  Irish Protestants, men, women, and children—nobility, clergy, and
  gentry—absolutely illegitimate; it was a very droll mistake of the
  learned judges, but was on the merciful side of the question before
  them; was soon amended, and no mischief whatsoever resulted from
  it:—though it was said that a great number of husbands and wives were
  extremely _disappointed_ at the judges altering their decision. I
  seldom saw any couple married in church in Ireland; and in former
  times the ceremony was generally performed between dinner and supper,
  when people are supposed to be vastly more in love with each other
  than in the middle of the day.


Captain Tennyson Edwards subsequently ran away with the kind-hearted
Jenny, and in three or four years after, married one of the prettiest of
my six sisters. He was one of the drollest fellows in the world on some
occasions, and had once nearly ended his days similarly (though more
vulgarly) to the traditional catastrophe of the Duke of Clarence in the
Tower. He persuaded a very comely dairy-maid, at Old Court, that if she
would not abscond with him, he should end his life in despair; and she
would, in the eye of Heaven, be guilty of his _murder_: and to convince
her of his fixed determination to commit suicide for love of her, he put
his head into a very high churn of butter-milk, which was standing in
the dairy—when, the floor being slippery, his feet gave way, and he
pounced down, head-foremost and feet upward, clean into the churn; and
had not the gardener been at hand on the instant, he would have expired
by the most novel mode of extermination on record.

                      THE LAST OF THE GERALDINES.

Principles of domestic government discussed—How to rule a
  husband—Elizabeth Fitzgerald, of Moret Castle—Brings her son to see
  his father hanged by the Cahills—Enjoins him to revenge the
  outrage—Peculiar methods of impressing the injunction on the boy’s
  memory—He grows to manhood—Mysterious disappearance of four of the
  Cahills—Mr. Jemmy Corcoran—Way of identifying a skeleton—Father Doran,
  and his _spiritual_ theory—Squire Stephen Fitzgerald the son, and
  Squire Stephen Fitzgerald the grandson, of Elizabeth—Education,
  marriage, and personal description of the latter—The several members
  of his family described—Tom, the heir-apparent—A short life and a
  merry one—Jack, his successor—Moret Castle in its modern state—Miss
  Dolly Fitzgerald, and her sister Fanny—their respective
  merits—Matrimonial speculations—Curious family discussion as to the
  attractions of _hung_ meat, &c.

In the early part of my life, the system of domestic government and
family organization was totally different from that at present in vogue.
The patriarchal authority was then frequently exercised with a rigour
which, in days of degenerate relaxation, has been converted into a
fruitful subject for even dramatic ridicule. In Ireland, the “rule of
the patriarchs” has become nearly extinguished. New lights have shone
upon the rising generation; the “rights of women” have become a statute
law of society; and the old, wholesome word _obedience_ (by which all
wives and children were formerly influenced) has been reversed, by
prefacing it with the monosyllable _dis_.

“Every body is acquainted,” said an intimate friend of mine to his wife,
in my presence, “with the ruinous state of obstinacy and contradiction
raging in modern times among the subordinate members of families
throughout the United Kingdom; as if the word _united_ were applied to
the empire only to satirise the _dis_united habits, manners, politics,
religion, and morality of its population. There are,” continued he,
“certain functions that must be exercised every day (two or three times
a day _if possible_) by persons of all descriptions, who do not wish to
leave this world within a week at the very latest; but, unless on the
absolute necessity of mastication for purposes of self-support, I am not
aware of any other subject respecting which unanimity of opinion is even
affected among the individuals of any family throughout the country.”

The wife nodded assent, but spake not:—first, because she hated all
controversy; and second, because though, on the subject of domestic
supremacy, she was always sure of getting the worst of the argument, she
contented herself with having, beyond doubt, the best of the


Footnote 50:

  Mrs. Mary Morton, of Ballyroan, a very worthy domestic woman, told me,
  many years since, that she had but one way of ruling her husband,
  which, as it is rather a novel way, and may be of some use to my fair
  readers, I will mention in her own words.

  “You know,” said Mrs. Morton, “that Tom is most horribly _nice_ in his
  eating, and _fancies_ that both abundant and good food is _essential_
  to his health. Now, when he has been out of temper with me, he is sure
  of having a very _bad_ dinner; if he grumbles, I tell him that
  whenever he puts me into a _twitter_ by his _tantrums_, I always
  _forget_ to give the cook proper directions. This is sure,” added she,
  “of keeping him in good humour for a week at least!”


My friend’s observations were, I think, just. In my time the change has
been excessive; and to enable my readers to form a better judgment of
the matter, I will lay before them a few authentic anecdotes of rather
antique dates.

In volume one I mentioned the illustrious exploits of my great-aunt,
Elizabeth Fitzgerald, of Moret Castle, and the heroic firmness wherewith
she bore the afflicting view of my great-uncle Stephen, her husband,
“dancing upon nothing” (as the Irish phrase it) at the castle-gate,
immediately under the battlements; and though it is _possible_ there may
exist some modern ladies who might have sufficient self-possession to
look on a similar object without evincing those signs of inconsolability
natural to be expected on such an occasion, yet, I will venture to say,
few are to be found who, like my aunt Elizabeth, would risk their lives
and property rather than accept of a _second_ husband. Nor do I believe
that, since the patriarchal government has been revolutionised by the
unnatural rebellion of wives and children, there has existed one
lady—young, old, or middle-aged, in the three kingdoms, who could be
persuaded to imitate the virtuous gentoos, and voluntarily undergo
conflagration with her departed lord and master.

My great-uncle had a son born unto him by his magnanimous spouse, who
was very young, and in the castle at the time his father was _corded_
(_Hibernice_). Elizabeth led him to the castle top, and showing him his
dangling parent, cried, “See there! you were born a Geraldine; the blood
of that noble race is in you, my boy! See—see the sufferings of your own
father! Never did a _true_ Geraldine forgive an enemy! I perceive your
little face gets flushed:—you tremble; ay, ay, ’tis for _revenge_! Shall
a Cahill live?”

“No, mother, no! when I’m able, I’ll kill them _all_! I’ll kill all the
Cahills myself!” cried the lad, worked on by the fury of his respectable

“That’s my dear boy!” said Elizabeth, kissing him fervently. “Shall
_one_ live?”

“No, mother, not one,” replied the youngster.

“Man, woman, or child?” pursued the heroine.

“Neither man, woman, nor child,” echoed her precocious son.

“You are a Geraldine,” repeated Elizabeth. “Call the priest,” added she,
turning to a warder.

“He made a little too free, my lady mistress,” said the warder, “and is
not very fitting for duty, saving your presence;—but he’ll soon sleep it

“Bring him up, nevertheless,” cried Elizabeth:—“I command you to bring
up his reverence.”

The priest was accordingly _produced_ by Keeran Karry. “Father,” said
the lady, “where’s your manual?”

“Where should it be,” _answered_ the priest (rather sobered), “but where
it always is, lady?” pulling, as he spake, a book out of a pocket in the
waistband of his breeches, where (diminished and under the name of a
_fob_) more modern clergymen carry their watches.[51]


Footnote 51:

  The priests then, to render mass _handy_, invariably kept their manual
  in their breeches with a piece of strong green ribbon (having beads at
  the end of it) to lug it out by, resembling the chain of a modern
  buckish parson’s timepiece. They also gave another very extraordinary
  reason for keeping their manual in their smallclothes—namely, that no
  _devil_ would presume to come near them when he was sure he should
  have the _mass_ to encounter before he could get at their carcases.


“Now, your reverence,” said Elizabeth, “we’ll _swear_ the young squire
to revenge my poor Stephen, his father, on the Cahills, root and branch,
so soon as he comes to manhood. Swear him!—swear him _thrice_!”
exclaimed she.

The boy was duly sworn, and the manual reposited in the priest’s

“Now, take the boy down and duck him, head over heels, in the
horse-pond!” cried his mother.[52]


Footnote 52:

  When it was sought to make a child remember any thing long and
  circumstantially, it was the custom in Ireland either to _whip_ him
  three or four times, _duck_ him in cold water, or put him into a bag,
  with his face only out, and hang it up against a wall for a whole day.
  Such an extraordinary and undeserved punishment made an impression on
  the fresh tablet of the youngster’s mind never to be erased.


Young Fitzgerald roared lustily, but was nevertheless well soused, to
make him remember his oath the better. This oath he repeated upon the
same spot, while his mother lived, on every anniversary of his father’s
murder; and it was said by the old tenants, that “young Stephen” (though
flourishing in more civilised times) religiously kept the vow as far as
he could; and that, so soon as he came into possession of Moret, four of
the ablest of the Cahills (by way of a beginning) were _missed_ from the
neighbourhood of Timahoe in one night—nobody ever discovering what had
become of them; indeed, the fewest words were considered far the safest.

The skeletons of four lusty fellows, however, were afterwards found in
clearing out a pit in the Donane colliery, and many persons said they
had belonged to the four Cahills from Timahoe; but, as the colliers very
sapiently observed, there being no particular marks whereby to
distinguish the bones of a Cahill from those of any other “boy,” no one
could properly identify them.

A bystander, who had been inspecting the relics, protested, on hearing
this remark made, that _he_ could swear to _one_ of the skulls at least
(which appeared to have been fractured and trepanned); and he gave a
very good reason for this assertion—namely, that it was himself who had
“cracked the skull of Ned Cahill, at the fair of Dysart, with a
_walloper_, and he knew the said skull ever after. It was between jest
and earnest,” continued Jemmy Corcoran, “that I broke his head—all about
a game-cock, and be d—d to it! and by the same token, I stood by
in great grief at Maryborough, while Doctor Stapleton was
twisting a round piece out of Ned Cahill’s skull, and laying a
_two-and-eight-penny-halfpenny_[53] (beaten quite thin on the smith’s
forge) over the hole, to cover his brains _any way_. The devil a
brain in his sconce but I could see plainly; and the said
_two-and-eight-penny-halfpenny_ stayed fast under his _wig_ for many a
year, till Ned pulled it off (bad luck to it!) to pay for drink with
myself at Timahoe! They said he was ever after a little cracked when in
his liquor: and I’m right sorry for having act or part in that same
fracture, for Ned was a good boy, so he was, and nobody
would strike him a stroke on the head at any rate after the
_two-and-eight-penny-halfpenny_ was _pledged_ off his skull.”


Footnote 53:

  An Irish silver _half-crown_ piece; the difference of English and
  Irish currency.


Though Mr. Jemmy Corcoran was so confident as to the skull he had
fractured, his testimony was not sufficient legally to identify a
Cahill, and the four sets of bones being quietly buried at Clapook,
plenty of masses, &c. were said for an entire year by Father Cahill, of
Stradbally, to get their souls clean out of purgatory; that is, if they
were in it, which there was not a _clergy_ in the place would _take on_
to say he was “sartain sure of.”[54]


Footnote 54:

  I recollect (at an interval of more than fifty years) Father Doran, of
  Culmaghbeg, an excellent man, full of humour, and well-informed,
  putting the _soul_ in the most comprehensible state of personification
  possible: he said, the _women_ could not understand what the soul was
  by the old explanations.

  “I tell you all, my flock,” said Father Doran, “there’s not a man,
  woman, or child among you that has not his soul this present minute
  shut up in his body, waiting for the last judgment, according to his
  faith and actions. I tell you fairly, that if flesh could be seen
  through, like a glass window, you might see every one’s soul at the
  inside of his body peeping out through the ribs, like the prisoners at
  the jail of Maryborough through their iron bars: and the moment the
  breath is out of a man or woman, the soul escapes and makes off to be
  dealt with as it deserves, and that’s the truth;—so say your beads and
  remember your clergy!”


This Stephen Fitzgerald,—who had killed the Cahills, sure enough, as
became the true son and heir of the aforesaid Stephen, who was
hanged,—lived, as report went, plentifully and regularly at Moret. No
better gentleman existed, the old people said, in the quiet way, after
once he had put the four Cahills into the coal-pit, as he promised his
worthy mother Elizabeth, “the likes of whom Moret never saw before nor
since, nor ever will while time is time, and longer too!”

Stephen had one son only, who is the principal subject of my present
observations; and as he and his family (two lovely boys and two splendid
girls) were not exactly the same sort of people commonly seen
now-a-days, it may not be uninteresting to give my readers a picture of

Stephen, the son of Elizabeth, had been persuaded by Mr. John Lodge, an
attorney of Bull Alley, in the city of Dublin, (who married a
maid-servant of my grandfather’s at Cullenagh,) that the two-mile
race-course of the Great Heath in Queen’s County, which King George
pretended was his property because it had been formerly taken from a
papist Geraldine, now reverted to my great-uncle’s family, in
consequence of their being Protestants; and Mr. Lodge added, that if
Squire Stephen would make his son a counsellor, no doubt he would more
aptly trace pedigrees, rights, titles, and attainders, and, in fine, get
possession of several miles of the Great Heath, or of the race-course at
any rate.

The advice was adopted, and Stephen the son was sent to the Temple in
London, to study law; and while there, was poisoned at a cook’s shop by
the cook’s daughter because he would not marry her. This poisoning
(though it was not fatal) he always said, _stopped his growth_ like

The father died in his bed; and my uncle, Stephen the counsellor, became
a double relative from marrying Catherine Byrne, daughter of Sir John
Byrne, Bart., of Timahoe Castle, and sister to my grandmother,
heretofore mentioned. After he had studied Bracton, Fleta, Littleton,
the Year Books, the three Cokes, and in short the _marrow_ of the
English law, he used to say that he got on very well with the _first_
book, not so well with the _second_, worse with the _third_; and at
length found that the more he read, the more he was puzzled, knowing
less when he left off than when he began—as all the law books
contradicted each other like the lawyers themselves: thus, after two
years’ hard work, he gave up all further attempts to expound, what he
swore _fore God_ was utterly inexplicable. He also relinquished his
father’s squabble with King George as to the race-course on the Great
Heath; and, concentrating his search after knowledge upon one learned
book, the “Justice of Quorum’s pocket companion,” commenced
_magistrate_. He was likewise a horse-racer, country gourmand, tippler,
and farmer. His wife, my aunt, was as ordinary a gentlewoman “as may be
seen of a summer’s day;” but then, she was worthy in proportion.

As to my uncle’s figure, nothing resembling it having ever been seen, at
least by me, I cannot pretend to give any idea of it, save by an
especial description. He was short, (which he said was the effect of the
poison,) and as broad as long—appearing to grow the wrong way. He
observed, touching this subject, that where there are _materials_ for
growth, if any thing does not advance in height, it spreads out like a
_fir-tree_,[55] when the top shoot is broken off and it fills wide at
the bottom. He was not actually fat, nor particularly bony: I think his
bulk consisted of solid, substantial flesh. His face was neither
extravagantly ugly, nor disproportioned to his body; but a double, or
rather treble chin descended in layers very nearly to the pit of his
stomach, whence his paunch abruptly stretched out, as if placed by
Nature as a shelf for the chin to rest upon. His limbs each gained in
thickness what it wanted in length; so that it would seem impossible for
him to be _thrown down_, or if he were, he would roll about like a ball.
His hands (as if Nature exhibited the contrast for amusement’s sake)
were thin, white, and lady-like; so much so, indeed, that did he fall,
they could not help him up again. “Each particular hair” was almost of
the thickness of a goose-quill; his locks were _queued_ behind, and
combed about once or twice a _month_. His nostrils were always crammed
with snuff, (now and then discharged, as from a mortar, by sneezing,)
and his _chins_ were so well dusted and caked with that material, that
the whole visage at times appeared as if it were a magazine thereof.


Footnote 55:

  This idea was a standing joke with him for some time, till old Kit
  Julian, the retired exciseman, (heretofore mentioned,) made a hit at
  my uncle, which put his comparison to an end. “By my troth, then,
  Counsellor,” said Kit, “if you _are_ like a fir, it is not a ‘_spruce_
  fir’ any how.” This sarcasm cut my uncle in the _raw_; and it was said
  that he had an additional shaving day, and clean cravat every week


My uncle’s dress exactly matched his style of person: he always wore a
_snuff_-coloured coat and breeches, with a scarlet waistcoat that had
been once bound with lace (the strings whereof remained, like ruins in a
landscape); blue worsted stockings, and immense silver shoe and
knee-buckles. His hat was very large, with a blunt cock in front. It had
also once been fully laced; but, no _button_ had been seen on it since
the year succeeding his nuptials.

The fruits of my uncle’s marriage were, as I have said, two boys and two
girls. The eldest of these Geraldines, Tom, took to what ignorant
doctors call _poison_—but country gentlemen, _potation_. My uncle
declared, he knew from his own experience that a “little learning was a
dangerous thing;” and therefore thought it better that Tom should have
_none at all_! Tom therefore studied nothing but “Carolan’s receipt for
drinking!” The art of writing his own name came pretty readily; but his
penmanship went no further. At twenty-six he quarrelled with a vicious
horse, which was easily offended. The animal, on his master’s striking
him with a whip, returned the blow with his hoof (a horse’s _fist_); and
on Tom being taken to his chamber and examined, it was found that he had
left the greater part of his brains in the stable.

Jack, his brother, was now heir-apparent. His figure was nearly as
grotesque, but only half the size of his father’s; his eyes were of the
most _cautious_ description, one closely watching his nose, the other
glancing quite _outward_, to see that no enemy approached. He loved
liquor as well as Tom, but could not get down so much of it.
Nevertheless, after a pretty long life, he was _concluded_ by rather
extravagant and too frequent doses of port and potsheen.

I have already given some account of the castle of Moret as it formerly
appeared. When I last saw it, some dozen of years back, it presented
nothing remarkable save its ivy covering. The dwelling-house, which as
it stood in my uncle’s time would have been worth detailing (had not
every country gentleman’s mansion been of a similar genus), had declined
into an ordinary residence. In Squire Stephen’s day, it was low, long,
dilapidated, dirty, old, and ugly—and had defied paint, plaster and
whitewash for at least the better half of a century. The barn, court,
dunghill, pigeon-house, horse-pond, piggery, and slaughter-house,
formed, as usual, the chief prospects from the parlour-windows; and on
hot days the effluvia was so exquisite (they accounted it very
_wholesome_) that one might clearly distinguish each several perfume.

My uncle never could contrive to stick on horseback, and therefore
considered riding as a dangerous exercise for _any_ gentleman. He used
to say (it was indeed one of his standing jokes) that jockeys and vulgar
persons, being themselves _beasts_, might stick by virtue of mutual
attraction upon their own species; but that ladies and gentlemen were,
as a matter of course, always subject to tumble off. He bred and kept,
notwithstanding, four or five race-horses, which he got regularly
trained; and at every running upon the heath or curragh, he entered such
of them as were qualified by weight, &c.: yet, singularly enough, though
the animals were well bred and well trained, not one, during the whole
of the five-and-twenty years that he kept them, ever won a plate, prize,
or race of any description: for all that, he would never sell either for
_any_ price; and when they got too old to run any more, they were turned
out to end their days unmolested in a marsh and the straw-yard. It was
said by those competent to judge that some of these animals were
excellent; but that Squire Fitzgerald’s old groom used to give _trials_,
and to physic the horses; and that (through his people) they were
_bought off_ when there was a probability of their winning. However, my
uncle, so that none of them were _distanced_, was just as well pleased,
exhibiting not the least uneasiness at their failure. Indeed, he never
attended any of the races personally, or betted a shilling upon the
event of one—circumstances which remind me of a certain judge, who was
always sufficiently _gratified_ by a simple _conviction_ and by passing
_sentence_ on a culprit, eventually saving more lives by pardon than any
two of his colleagues.

I was very young when taken to my uncle’s, for a stay of some months, by
my grandmother; but at an age when strong impressions are sometimes made
upon the memory. I was a great favourite, and indulged in every thing,
even by my uncle; and very frequently, afterward, while my aunt lived at
Moret in her widowhood, I visited there, every visit reminding me of
former times, and recalling persons and things that might otherwise have
been lost to my juvenile recollection. This latter was the period when,
having nobody of my own age in the house to chatter to, I took delight
in hearing the old people about Moret tell their long traditionary
stories, which, as I observed in my first sketch (Vol. i.) descended
from generation to generation with hereditary exactness; and, to the
present day, I retain a fondness for hearing old occurrences detailed.

My eldest female cousin, Miss Dolly Fitzgerald, was at least twelve
years older than I when I was first taken to Moret by my grandmother;
the second, Miss Fanny, ten. Never, sure, did two sisters present such a
contrast. Dolly was as like her father as rather more height and an
uncommonly fair skin would permit; her tongue was too large for the
mouth, and consequently thickened her pronunciation; her hair was
yellow; her feet were like brackets, and her hands resembled milk-white
shoulders of mutton. Her features were good; but her nostrils and upper
lip displayed considerable love of the favourite _comforter_ of her
father. She was very good-natured, but ignorance personified.

Her sister was as thin as the handle of a sweeping-brush, and had dark
eyes twinkling like stars on a vapoury evening; with yellow skin, black
hair, a mouth literally stretching across the face, (like a foss to
protect her chin,) very red lips, and much more vivacity than
comprehension. There were few sound teeth in the whole family, and none
that a dentist would think worth the expense of dressing.

For these two amiable young ladies it was the principal object of my
aunt to procure husbands, if possible, in the neighbourhood. But the
squires were shy of matching into the family of so great an oddity as my
uncle. They preferred getting wives among people who went on the
jog-trot of the world like themselves.

On this point my uncle and aunt entirely differed; and during the
discussions as to their differences, time ran on, nothing was done for
the ladies, and Miss Dolly was in her six-and-twentieth year before she
was fully emancipated from the discipline of the nursery and suffered to
dine at papa’s table. When that important period arrived, it was
considered as a great epocha at Moret Castle; all the neighbours were
invited, and Dolly’s majority was formally announced. She was then given
to understand she might thereafter dine at the great table, speak to any
gentleman she pleased, and, in short, have full liberty to act entirely
as she thought proper, _provided_ she always _previously_ consulted her
father’s will, and obeyed it without “questions asked.” She was likewise
enjoined to take especial care not to forget her pastry.[56]


Footnote 56:

  The Irish ladies in the country at that period were always taught the
  art of pie and dumpling making, as a necessary accomplishment; and a
  husband who liked a good table always preferred a _housekeeper_ to a
  _gadder_. _Tempora mutantur!_


On these free and happy terms, Dolly was to have the chariot for a day,
and to set the world on fire. The old carriage was accordingly cleared
for action from the dust accumulated upon it; the horses’ tails were
trimmed; and the young lady was to go to the church of Portarlington the
ensuing Sunday—“Where,” said my uncle to his spouse, “fore gad, Kate,
our Dolly will catch some young fellow after the service is over, either
in the aisle or the churchyard. She’ll have some proposals; but, fore
gad, it’s not _every body_ I’d give her to.”

“Don’t be too sure, Stephen,” rejoined my aunt. “You keep your daughters
as if they were haunches of venison. It’s not every body who has a taste
for meat that has been hung a fortnight in the larder to give it a
flavor. The men, I tell you, like _fresh and fresh_, Stephen; and be
assured you have kept Dolly too long to suit every man’s palate. I have
always been telling you so, but you are perpetually saying you’ll be the
_head_ of your _own family_; so now you’ll see the end of it!”

“Why, Kate, you were a good while in the larder yourself at Timahoe
before you got a husband,” replied my uncle.

“I may thank the smallpox for that, Stephen,” retorted my aunt: “only
for that enemy I should never have been mistress of Moret Castle,
Counsellor Stephen being governor of it!”

“Well, you’ll see that I’m right,” said my uncle. “I tell you, men who
look out for wives like a seasoned, obedient woman at the head of their
families, and not your tittering, giddy young creatures, that have not
had time to settle their brains or mature their understandings. No girl
should be away from the eye of her natural guardian till she arrives at
the full extent of her twenty-sixth year, like Dolly. You’ll see now
she’ll do some _mischief_ at the church or churchyard of Portarlington!”

“Stephen,” said my aunt, (who, by the bye, had her nose nearly stopped
by the smallpox, which made her somewhat snuffle, and gave a peculiar
_emphasis_ to her vowels,) “’tis too late! Dolly knows nothing of the
world. It would take a full year at the church and balls at
Portarlington, the races of the Great Heath and green of Maryborough,
the hurlings at the fort of Dunrally, and a month or two on a visit to
our nephew, Jack Barrington, at Blandsfort, before she would learn
enough to be able to converse with mankind on any subject—except darning
your stockings, or turning off a kitchen-maid.“

My uncle started as much as his form would admit; cocked his eyebrows,
and stared with all his might. “Fore gad, Kate, I believe you are out of
your wits! Did you say Jack Barrington’s of Blandsfort? Jack
Barrington’s! Why, you know very well, Kate, as every body knows, that
there’s nothing going on at that house but hunting and feasting; dancing
all night, and rattling about all day, like mad people; and coshering
with raking pots of tea, hot cakes, syllabubs, pipers, and the devil
knows what! No, no. If Dolly were to get one month among her cousins at
Blandsfort, I should never see a day’s comfort after; topsy-turvy would
go Moret! I’d never be master of my own house half an hour after Dolly
had received a course of instruction at Jack Barrington’s. I don’t wish
her to know too much of the world. No, no. ’Fore Gad, Kate, Dolly never
puts her foot, while she is a spinster, into Jack Barrington’s house at

Folks generally become mulish as their years advance, and my uncle
enjoyed that quality in its greatest perfection.—The Misses Dolly and
Fanny Fitzgerald were commanded, under the pain of displeasure, by their
patri-archal father, Stephen, to abjure and give up all thoughts of the
festivities of Blandsfort.

“’Fore Gad, Kate!” said my uncle to their more conceding mother—“’Fore
Gad, Kate, you had better send the girls a visiting to the _antipodes_
than be turning them upside down at Blandsfort. No rational man would
have any thing to do with them afterwards.—There it is, only pull-haul
and tear, and the devil take the hindmost!—eh?”

“And for Heaven’s sake, Stephen,” replied my aunt, (who was no
cosmographer,) “what _family_ are these _antipodes_ whom you would send
our daughters to visit in preference to their nearest relations?—I never
heard of them: they must be upstarts, Stephen. I thought I knew every
family in the county.”

“’Fore Gad, Kate!” rejoined my uncle, laughing heartily, “your father,
old Sir John, ought to be tied to the cart’s tail for so neglecting your
education. Why, Kate, the antipodes are at this moment standing on their
heads immediately under you—upside down, just as you see a fly on the
ceiling, without the danger of falling down from it.”

“And for Heaven’s sake, Stephen,” said my puzzled aunt, “how do the
ladies keep down their petticoats in that position?”

“Ask Sir Isaac Newton that,” said my uncle (who was not prepared for
that interrogation). “But let me hear no more of the topsy-turvy of
their cousins at Blandsfort. I’ll send my daughters to church at
Portarlington, Kate, where they cannot fail of being seen and much

“And that may not be much in their favour at present, Stephen,” replied
my aunt, who was not blind to her progeny—“at least, until they are a
little better rigged out than in their present nursery dresses,

“Rig away, rig away, Kate!” said my uncle, “rig away; you may make them
as tawdry as jackdaws, so as you don’t turn their heads at Jack

In fine, they were made sufficiently glaring, and, accompanied by aunt
in the resuscitated post-chaise, made their first _début_ at the church
of Portarlington. Of course they attracted universal notice: the ladies
congratulated my aunt on her _showy_ girls; the parson on their _coming
of age_; and the innkeeper declared they were the most genteelest of all
the new subscribers to his ball and supper at the market-house.

The ladies returned to Moret highly delighted with their cordial
reception in the church-yard, and Mrs. Gregory, the head mantua-maker of
the county, was immediately set to work to fit out the ladies in the
newest taste of Dublin fashions, preparatory to the next ball.

Now, Portarlington had been a very small village in the Queen’s County
until the French Protestant emigrants, on the revocation of the Edict of
Nantes, made a settlement there, (it was said, from the enormous
quantity of fine frogs generated in that neighbourhood,) and there they
commenced schoolmasters and mistresses, with a good reputation, which
they ceased not to keep up, until in time it became an established
seminary. Here the numerous schools and academies were always ready to
pour out their hobbardehoys and misses in their teens to the dances and
assemblies; but very few mature gentlemen assisted at these coteries,
and it was the customary prayer of all the young ladies going to those
balls—“If I cannot get a _man_ for a partner, O Heaven, in thy mercy,
send me a big boy!”

Suffice it to say, that my cousins, at the first ball, outglared all the
females in the room put together; my aunt’s old rings and hereditary
paraphernalia had been brought fully into requisition. But,
unfortunately, Providence sent them that night neither a grown man
partner nor a big boy in the shape of a man partner, and, after having
sat as full-blown wall-flowers the whole night, they returned to Moret
highly discouraged, that their rose-colour satin and family Dresdens,
which cut all the other girls out of feather, had no better result than
the going home again, my philosophical aunt telling them all the way
home—“that balls were no places to catch husbands at, there was so much
variety; and I assure you, Dolly,” said my aunt, “men, now-a-days, look
more at a girl’s purse than her flounces, and you’ll have nothing very
showy in that way whilst your father and mother are alive, Dolly.”

My poor cousin Dolly’s feet also, after three balls more (dead failures)
got so crimped and cramped by tight shoes, to restrain her fat brackets
within reasonable boundaries, that corns, bunnions, callosities, &c.,
showed a plentiful harvest the ensuing summer, and, conspiring with her
winter chilblains, and tortures to match, put my poor cousin’s jigging
out of the question for the remainder of her existence.

My cousin Fanny, whose feet were only bone and gristle, made numerous
exhibitions, both in the minuet and rigadoon, and for the same purpose;
but no wooers for the Miss Fitzgeralds of Moret Castle made their
advances; not a sigh was exploded for either of the demoiselles, though
the church, the balls, the races at the great heath, and hurlings at the
fort of Dunnally, were all assiduously attended for the laudable purpose
aforesaid; all in vain; and after a two years’ vigorous chase, the game
was entirely given over, and my cousins slunk back into cover, where, in
all human probability, they would have remained during their lives, had
not Heaven sent down a putrid fever to bring my uncle Stephen up to it,
as all the old ladies asserted (to please the widow), although old
Julian, the exciseman, ungratefully remarked, that “there must have been
a great number of vacancies in heaven, when they called up the
counsellor there.” However, before her weeds got rusty, my aunt, shaking
a loose leg, after having been forty years handcuffed and linked to
Counsellor Stephen, set out with the entire family for the great city of
Dublin, where, no doubt, the merits, if not the beauty of my cousins,
with a more proximate reversion, would be duly appreciated.

However, neither their merit nor beauty, nor the reversion, could
exorcise the spirit of celibacy, which still pursued them from Moret.
Jack, their brother, married a mantua-maker; and my poor uncle not being
a Mahomedan, and, of course, not having any houri in the clouds to
solace his leisure hours, and finding himself lonesome without his old
Kate, Providence again showed its kindness towards him, and sent down a
pulmonary consumption to Dublin, to carry my aunt up to her well-beloved
Stephen. My unfortunate cousins were now left orphans, of only forty and
forty-one years of age, to buffet with the cares of the world, and
accept the brevet rank of old maidens, which they certainly did, with as
much good-humour and as little chagrin as are generally exhibited on
those occasions. Their incomes were ample for all their purposes, and
they got on to the end of their career very comfortably. Dolly chose
three lap-dogs and a parrot for her favourites, and Fanny adopted a
squirrel and four Tom-cats to chase away her ennui. But those animals
having a natural antipathy to each other, got into an eternal state of
altercation and hostility, the parrot eternally screeching, to make
peace between them. So a maid-servant, who understood the humour of
poodles, cats, &c. &c., was hired to superintend and keep them in peace
and proper order.

This maid of natural history got great ascendancy; and, as she was what
is termed in Ireland a swaddler, (in England a canter or psalm-singer,)
she soon convinced my cousins that there was no certain road to
salvation, save through the preachers and love-feasts of those
societies. Of course a plate was laid ready for some lank pulpiteer at
dinner, every day, and my cousins became thorough-paced swaddlers
(singing excepted). But, as years would still roll on, and they could
not be always swaddling, and saving their souls, some extra comfort was,
as customary, found necessary for their languid hours. The maid of
natural history therefore suggested that, as solid food and weak
Bourdeaux were not of the best efficacy for feeble appetites, which her
mistresses were beginning to show symptoms of, a glass of cordial, now
and then, in the morning, might restore the tone of their stomachs. Of
consequence, a couple of liqueur bottles were prepared, and always
properly replenished; the ladies found their liquid appetites daily
increase: the preacher got the whole bottle of wine to himself; Lundy
Foot’s most pungent was well crammed into my cousins’ nostrils, as an
interlude, till snuffling was effected; and the matter went on as
cheerily as possible between the dogs and cats, the preacher, snuff, and
the cordial comforts, till an ill-natured dropsy, with tappings to
match, sent my cousin Dolly to my uncle Stephen; and some other disorder
having transmitted cousin Fanny the same journey to her mother, I
anticipated very great satisfaction in opening the last will and
testament of the survivor; whereupon, all things being regularly
prepared, with an audible voice I read the first legacy, bequeathing
“her body to the dust, and her soul to God,” in most pious and pathetic
expressions, and of considerable longitude. The second legacy ran:
“Item—to my dear cousin, Jonah Barrington, I bequeathe my mother’s
wedding-ring and my father’s gold sleeve-buttons, as family keepsakes;
also all my father’s books and papers of every description, except
bonds, or any securities for money, or contracts;” and so far looked
favourable, till, casting my eye over the third legacy, to the wonder of
the company, I stopped short, and handing it cautiously to the swaddling
preacher (who was present), begged he would be so kind as to read it
himself. This office he coyly accepted, and performed it in a drawling
whine, and with heavy sighs, that made every body laugh, except myself.
In fine, cousin Fanny, after her “soul to God, and her body to the
dust,” (the latter of which legacies she could not possibly avoid,) as
to all her worldly substance, &c., bequeathed it “to such _charitable_
purposes as her maid Mary might think proper, by and with the spiritual
advice and assistance of that holy man, Mr. Clarke.” This pious
philosopher never changed a muscle at his good fortune. The will,
indeed, could be no surprise either to him or Mrs. Mary. With the aid of
the orator’s brother, who was an attorney, (and got snacks,) they had
prepared it according to their own satisfaction; and cousin Fanny
executed it one evening, after her cordial and prayers had their full
operation; and, in a few days more, her disorder put a conclusive
termination to any possibility of revoking it.

This affair had its sequel exactly as any rational person might have
anticipated. The preacher and Mrs. Mary, after a decent mourning, united
their spiritual and temporal concerns, and became flesh of the flesh and
bone of the bone; in which happy state of husband and wife (which happy
state they had been in many months before the _ceremony_ was thought
necessary) they remained nearly two years, when His Reverence, happening
to light on a younger and handsomer swaddler, and legatee, after beating
Mrs. Mary almost to a jelly, embarked with his new proselyte for
America, where, changing his name, curling his hair, colouring his
eyebrows, &c. &c., he turned quaker, and is at this moment, I have
learned, in good repute at meeting, and solvency as a trader, in the
city of Philadelphia.

The entire of my uncle Stephen’s library and manuscripts, with the
exception of the year books, Newcastle on the Manége, seven farriery and
several cookery books, I gave to my friend, old Lundyfoot, to envelope
his powder in; and most of my books being well impregnated, or rather
populously inhabited by divers minute and nearly impalpable maggots,
probably added some poignancy to the sneezing qualities of his
celebrated preparation.

I recollect a whimsical expression used by Davy Lander, an Irish
counsellor, whom I brought with me to hear the will read.

“By my soul, Barrington,” said Lander, “she was right enough in
bequeathing her soul to God, out of hand, or the devil would certainly
have taken it as _heir-at-law_! But I hope he has the reversion.”

That branch of the Geraldines is now entirely extinct, having ended with
my cousin Fanny, the swaddler; and nothing now remains but the old
castle, its celebrated ivy tree, St. Bridget’s stone, and my legends, to
preserve even the recollection of Moret.


The attorney’s corps of yeomanry, and their strange
  appellation—Eccentric loyalty in Dublin—The Fogies—Sir John Ferns, and
  his anti-rebel resolve—Aide-de-Camp Potterton and the other members of
  Sir John’s chivalrous party—Tragi-comic incidents attending their
  martial progress—Admixture of discretion with bravery—Discovery of a
  suspicious lurker, and zealous anxiety for his immediate
  execution—Process of suspension—Attorney Walker’s accidental
  participation in the captive’s lot—Respective demeanor of the two
  sufferers—Appearance of the enemy in sight—The attorney relieved from
  his situation—Conclusion of the day’s adventures.

A hanging match of a very curious nature occurred a few days after the
breaking out of the same rebellion in Dublin, and its relation will form
an excellent companion to that of Lieutenant H——’s mode of execution

The attorneys’ corps of yeomanry, horse and foot, were at that period
little less than 800 or 900 strong; and I really believe it might, in an
enemy’s country, (or even in a remote district of its own,) have passed
for as fine a “pulk of Cossacks” as ever came from the banks of the Don
or the Danube.

In Ireland, every thing has its _alias_ denomination;—in the regular
army, certain regiments are honoured by the titles of the “King’s
_own_,” the “Queen’s _own_,” or the “Prince’s _own_,” & c. Many of the
Irish yeomanry corps, in 1798, were indulged with similar distinctions;
not indeed by the King himself, but by his majesty’s sovereign mob of
Dublin. For example, the attorneys’ regiment was christened,
collectively, the “_Devil’s_ own;” the infantry part of it, the _Rifle_
Brigade; and the cavalry, the _Chargers_; the Custom-house corps,
Cæsar’s (_seizer’s_) army, &c. &c. &c. The pre-eminent titles thus given
to the attorneys, (who are gentlemen by _Act of Parliament_,) were
devised by one Mr. Murry, a cheese and oilman in Great George Street,
whose premises (as he deposed) were stormed one night by a patrol of
that legal corps, and divers articles of the first quality-food and
luxury, cheeses, hams, tongues, anchovies, Burton ale, and bottled
porter, &c. were abstracted against his will therefrom, and feloniously
conveyed into, and concealed in, the bodies, bowels, and intestines, of
divers ravenous and thirsty attorneys, solicitors, and scriveners; and
thereby conveyed beyond the reach or jurisdiction of any search
warrants, replevins, or other legal process. A more curious deposition
did not appear during the whole of those troublesome times, than that
sworn by Mr. Murry, cheese and oilman, and annexed to a petition to
parliament for _compensation_. However, the parliament, not considering
Mr. Murry to be an extra-loyalist (but which the attorneys certainly
were, and _ultra_ into the bargain), refused to replenish his warehouse.
In consequence whereof, Mr. Murry decided upon his own revenge by
nicknaming the _enemy_, wherein he succeeded admirably.

Here I cannot avoid a little digression, by observing, that so strong
and enthusiastic was the genuine loyalty which seized upon the nobility,
gentry, and clergy of Dublin at that period, that even the young
gentlemen of Merrion Square, who had so far advanced toward their grand
climacteric as to exceed threescore, formed a strong band of volunteers,
who proved their entire devotion to king and country, by first parading
every fine evening, then drinking tea and playing whist, and afterwards
patrolling all Merrion Square—east, west, north, and south; and if there
had been any more sides, no doubt they would have patrolled them also.
They then, in a most loyal manner, supped alternately at each other’s
houses. They were commanded by Lord Viscount Allen, who was surnamed the
“_Bog of Allen_,” from his size and substance, and contrasted with the
Lieutenant-Colonel, Mr. Westenra, (father of the present Lord Rossmore,)
who, having no flesh of his own, was denominated “the Commissary.” This
company, as a body, were self-intitled the _Garde du Corps_, alluding to
their commander Lord Allen; and as they could have (by the course of
nature) but a short period either to fight or run away, and life, like
every other commodity, when it runs rather short, becomes the more
valuable, so they very wisely took most especial care of the remnants of
their own, as _civilians_: and, of a wet or damp night, I have with
great pleasure seen a score, at least, of our venerable _Garde
Grenadier_ gallantly patrolling Merrion Square, and marching in a long
file of sedan-chairs, with their muskets sticking out of the windows
ready to deploy and fire upon any rebel enemy to church or state, who
should dare to oppose their progress and manœuvres.

The humorists of that day, however, would not consent to any _Gallic_
denomination for these loyal yeomen, whom they rather chose to
distinguish by a real Irish title; viz. the _Fogies_,[57]—a term
meaning, in Hibernian dialect, “a bottle that has no liquor in it.” This
excellent corps, in due time, however, died off without the aid of any
enemy, and, I fear, not one of them remains to celebrate the loyalty of
the defunct. I therefore have taken upon myself that task, (so far as my
book can accomplish it,) for which I shall, doubtless, receive the
heartfelt thanks of their sons and grandchildren.


Footnote 57:

  Few gentlemen in Ireland made more “_Fogies_” than the good and witty
  Sir Hercules Langrish, one of that corps, and who was said to have
  been the godfather of his company.

  Sir Hec’s idea of “_Fogies_” may be collected from an anecdote Sir
  John Parnell, chancellor of the exchequer, used to tell of him with
  infinite pleasantry.

  Sir John, one evening immediately after dinner, went to Sir Hercules
  on some official business: he found him in the midst of revenue
  papers, with two empty bottles and a glass standing immediately before
  him. “What the deuce, Sir Hec!” said Sir John, “why, have you finished
  these two already?”—“To be sure I have,” said Sir Hec; “they were only
  claret.”—“And was nobody helping you?” said Sir John. “Oh, yes, yes!”
  said Sir Hercules; “see there, a bottle of port came to my assistance;
  there’s his _fogy_.”


I shall now proceed to the misfortunes of an attorney, neither deserved
nor expected by that loyal yeoman: the anecdote, however, should remain
as a caution and warning to all hangmen by profession, and other loyal
executioners, down to the latest posterity.

The regiment of attorneys, &c. (or, as the malicious Mr. Murry called
them, the “Devil’s own”) was at that time extremely well commanded; the
cavalry (or “chargers”) by a very excellent old fox-hunting solicitor,
Arthur Dunn; the infantry, (or rifle companies,) by Mr. Kit Abbot, a
very good, jovial, popular practitioner.

Both commanders were loyal to the back-bone; they formed unbending
buttresses of church and state, and had taken the proper obligation, “to
bury themselves under the ruins of the Weavers’ Hall and Skinners’
Alley, sooner than yield one inch of the _Dodder River_ or the _Poddle
Gutters_ to any _Croppy_ or democratic papist.”

After the rebellion broke out, some of these true and loyal attorneys,
feeling that martial law had totally superseded their own,—and that,
having nothing to do in the _money_-market, their visits to the
_flesh_-market were proportionably curtailed; credit having likewise got
totally out of fashion, (as usual during rebellions,)—they bethought
themselves of accomplishing some military achievement which might raise
their renown, and perhaps at the same time “raise the wind;” and, as
good luck would have it, an opportunity soon turned up, not only of
their signalising their loyalty, but also (as they imagined without much
hazard) of a _couple of days’ feasting_ at free quarters.

This adventure eventually had the fortunate result of procuring a
bulletin in several of the Dublin newspapers, though it did not
seriously give the gallant yeomen half the credit which their
intrepidity and sufferings had merited.

Sir John Ferns,[58] who had been sheriff, and the most celebrated
wine-merchant of Dublin, was at that period justly admired for his
singing—his luxurious feasts—insatiable thirst—and hard-going
hospitality: his amarynth nose, with cheeks of Bardolph, twinkling black
eyes with a tinge of blood in the white of them, rendered any further
sign for his wine-vaults totally unnecessary.


Footnote 58:

  Sir J. Ferns had one quality to an astonishing extent, which I can
  well vouch for, having often heard and seen its extraordinary effects.

  His singing voice, I believe, never yet was equalled for its depth and
  volume of sound. It exceeded all my conceptions, and at times nearly
  burst the tympanum of the ear, without the slightest discord!

  Yet his falsetto, or feigned voice, stole in upon the bass without any
  tones of that abrupt transition which is frequently perceptible
  amongst the best of songsters: his changes, though as it were from
  thunder to a flute, had not one disagreeable tone with them.

  This extreme depth of voice was only in perfection when he was in one
  of his singing humours; and the effect of it (often shivering empty
  glass) was of course diminished in a large, and altogether inoperative
  in a very spacious room; but, in a moderately low and not very large
  chamber, its effect was miraculous.


This Sir John (like the Earl of Northumberland in Cheviot Chase) had
made some vow, or cursed some curse, that he would take his sport three
summer days, hanging or hunting rebels, and burning their haunts and
houses about the town of Rathfarnan, where he had a villa. All this he
was then empowered and enabled to do, by virtue of martial law, without
pain or penalty, or lying under any compliment to judges or juries, as
in more formal or legal epochas. He accordingly set about recruiting
well-disposed and brave associates to join him in the expedition, and
most fortunately hit upon Attorney James Potterton, Esq., in every point
calculated for his aide-de-camp. The troop was quickly completed, and
twenty able and vehement warriors, with Captain Sir John Ferns at their
head, and Mr. James Potterton, (who was appointed sergeant,) set out to
hang, hunt, and burn all before them where they found disloyalty lurking
about Rathfarnan.

The troop was composed of five attorneys; three of Mr. John Claudius
Beresford’s most expert yeomen, called _manglers_, from his
riding-house; two grocers from the guild of merchants; an exciseman, and
a master tailor; a famous slop-seller from Poolbeg-street; a buck parson
from the county of Kildare; one of Sir John’s own bottlers, and his
principal corker; also a couple of sheriff’s officers. Previously to
setting out, the captain filled their stomachs gullet-high with ham,
cold round, and cherry bounce; and being so duly filled, Sir John then
told them the order of battle.

“I sent to the landlord of the yellow house of Rathfarnan, many months
ago,” said Sir John, “a hogshead of my capital _chateau margot_, for
which he has never paid me; and as that landlord now, in all
probability, deserves to be hanged, we can at least put up with him at
nights; drink my _chateau;_ do military execution in the days, which
will report well to Lord Castlereagh; and at all events, the riding and
good cheer can do us no harm.” This was universally approved of; and,
led by this gallant and celebrated vintner, the troop set off to acquire
food and fame about the environs of the capital.

Sergeant Potterton, who was a very good-humoured and good-natured
attorney, with a portion of slang dryness and a sly drawl, diverting
enough, afterwards recited to me the whole of their adventure, which
campaign was cut a good deal shorter than the warriors premeditated.

“No man,” said Attorney Potterton, “could be better calculated to lead
us to any burning excursion than Sir John. You know, Counsellor, that
every feature in his face is the picture of a conflagration; and the
people swear that when he bathes, the sea _fizzes_, as if he was a hot

“But,” continued Sergeant Potterton, “Counsellor Curran’s story of Sir
John’s nose setting a cartridge on fire, when he was for biting off the
end of it, has not one word of truth in it.”

This troop had advanced on their intended route just to the spot where,
a few nights before, the Earl of Roden had received a bullet in his
nightcap, and had slain some rebels, when Sergeant Potterton espied a
rebel skulking in what is called in Ireland a brake or knock of furze.
Of course the sergeant immediately shouted out, in the proper military
style—“Halloa, boys!—halloa!—hush!—hush!—silence!—halloa! Oh! by ——,
there’s a nest of rapparee rebels in that knock. Come on, lads, and
we’ll slice every mother’s babe of them to their entire satisfaction.
Now, draw, boys!—draw!—cock!—charge!” said the grocers. “Charge away!”
echoed the attorneys; and without further ceremony they did charge the
knock of furze with most distinguished bravery: but, alas! their loyal
intentions were disappointed; the knock of furze was found uninhabited;
the rebels had stolen off, on their hands and feet, across a ditch
adjoining it; and whilst the royal scouters were busily employed
cutting, hacking, and twisting every furze and tuft, in expectation that
a rebel was behind it, of a sudden a certain noise and smoke, which they
had no occasion for, came plump from an adjoining ditch.
“Halloa!—halloa!—I’m hit, by ——!” said one. “I’m grazed, by the ——!”
said another. “I heard the slugs whiz like hailstones by my head!” swore
a third. “O, blood and ——z!” roared out Sergeant Potterton the attorney,
“I’ve got an _indenture_ in my forehead.”—“This is nothing else but a
fair ambush,” said Malony the bailiff, scratching his cheek, through
which a couple of slugs had made an illegal entry to visit his grinders.
“Church and state be d——d!” said the buck parson, _inadvertently_, on
seeing a dash of blood on his waistcoat. “Oh, murder! murder!” cried the
slop-merchant. “Oh, Mary Ann, Mary Ann! why did I not stay fair and easy
at Poolbeg-street, as you wanted me, and I would not be massacred in
this manner?”

Many of the combatants actually fancied themselves mortally wounded, at
least, and all flocked round Captain Sir John Ferns for orders in this
emergency. “Halloa!” roared the captain; “Halloa, boys,
wheel—wheel—eel—l—boys! I say, wheel—l—l!” But being too brave to
specify whether to the right, or left, or front, or rear, every wheeler
wheeled according to his own taste and judgment; some to right and
others to left, by twos, threes, fours, and single files, as was most
convenient; of course the poor horses, being equally uncertain as the
riders, absolutely charged each other in one _mélange_—heads and
tails—helter skelter—higgledy piggledy—rumps and foreheads all toulting
and twisting, to the great edification of the gentlemen rebels, who
stood well hid behind the ditch, charging for another volley.

Sir John standing bravely in the centre to rally his men, his nose like
the focus of a burning-glass collecting its rays, was himself a little
astounded at seeing the number who appeared wounded and bleeding after
so short an encounter. For this surprise the captain no doubt had very
good cause: his charger had, in truth, got a bullet through his
nostrils, and not being accustomed to twitches of that kind, he began to
toss up his head, very naturally, in all directions, dispersing his
blood on the surrounding warriors; whilst, there being no particular
tint by which the blood of a Christian or an attorney and that of a
horse are distinguished on a field of battle, every gallant who got a
splash of the gelding’s _aqua vitæ_ from his nose and nostrils, fancied
it was his own precious gore which was gushing out of some hole bored
into himself, in defence of the church and state; to both of which
articles he gave a smothered curse for bringing him into so perilous and
sanguinary an adventure.

However, they wisely considered that the greatest bravery may be carried
too far, and become indiscretion. By a sort of instinctive coincidence
of military judgment, therefore, without waiting for a council of war,
word of command, or such ill-timed formalities, the whole troop
immediately proved in what a contemptible point of view they held such
dangers; and to show that they could turn a battle into a matter of
amusement, commonly called a horse-race—such as was practised by the
carbineers at the battle of Castlebar (_ante_), Captain Ferns, Sergeant
Potterton, and the entire troop, started from the post, or rather the
knock of furze, at the same moment, every jockey trying whose beast
could reach a quarter of a mile off with the greatest expedition. This
was performed in a time incredibly short. The winner, however, never was
decided; as, when a halt took place, every jockey swore that he was the
last—being directly contrary to all horse-races which do not succeed a

When the race was over, a council of war ensued, and they unanimously
agreed, that as no rebel had actually appeared, they must of course be
defeated, and that driving rebels out of the furze was, in matter of
fact, a victory.

After three cheers, therefore, for the Protestant ascendancy, they
determined to follow up their success, and scour the neighbourhood of
all lurking traitors.

With this object (like hounds that had lost their game), they made a
cast to get upon the scent again; so at a full hand-gallop they set out,
and were fortunate enough to succeed in the enterprise. In charging
through a corn-field, the slop-seller’s horse, being rather
near-sighted, came head foremost over some bulky matter hid amongst the
corn.—“Ambush!—ambush!” cried Sir John:—“Ambush! ambush!” echoed his
merry men all. Sergeant Potterton, however, being more fool-hardy than
his comrades, spurred on to aid the poor slop-trader: in getting across
the deep furrows, his gelding took the same summersets as his less
mettlesome companion, and seated Sergeant Potterton exactly on the
carcass of the slop-man, who, for fear of worse, had laid himself very
quietly at full length in the furrow; and the sergeant, in rising to
regain his saddle, perceived that the slop-man’s charger had stumbled
over something which was snoring as loud as a couple of French-horns
close beside him. The sergeant promptly perceived that he had gotten a
real prize: it was, with good reason, supposed to be a drunken rebel,
who lay dozing and snorting in the furrow, but, certainly, not dreaming
of the uncomfortable journey he was in a few minutes to travel into a
world that, before he fell asleep, he had not the least idea of

“Hollo! hollo! hollo! Captain, and brave boys,” cried Attorney
Potterton: “I’ve got a lad sure enough; and though he has no arms about
him, there can be no doubt but they lie hid in the corn: so his guilt is
proved; and I never saw a fellow a more proper example to make in the
neighbourhood!” In this idea all coincided. But what was to be done to
legalize his death and burial, was a query. A drum-head court-martial
was very properly mentioned by the captain; but on considering that they
had no drum to try him on, they were at a considerable puzzle, till Mr.
Malony declared “that he had seen a couple of gentlemen hanged in Dublin
on Bloody-bridge a few days before, without any trial, and that by
martial law no trial was then necessary for hanging of any body.” This
suggestion was unanimously agreed to, and the rebel was ordered to be
immediately executed on an old leafless tree, (which was at the corner
of the field, just at their possession,) called in Ireland a rampike.

It was, however, thought but a proper courtesy to learn from the
malefactor himself _whom_ they were to hang. He protested an innocence,
that no loyal man in those times could give any credit to; he declared
that he was Dan Delany, a well-known brogue-maker at Glan Malour; that
he was going to Dublin for leather; but the whisky was too many for him,
and he lay down to sleep it off when their hands waked him. “Nonsense!”
said the whole troop, “he’ll make a most beneficial example!”

Nothing now was wanting but a rope, a couple of which the bailiff had
fortunately put into his coat-case for a magistrate near Rathfarnan, as
there were no ropes there the strength of which could be depended upon,
if rebels happened to be fat and weighty, or hanged in couples.

This was most fortunate; and all parties lent a hand at preparing the
cravat for Mr. Dan Delany, brogue-maker. Mr. Walker happened to be the
most active in setting the throttler, so as to ensure no failure. All
was arranged; the rebel was slung cleverly over the rampike; but Mr.
Walker, perceiving that the noose did not run glib enough, rode up to
settle it about the neck so as to put Mr. Delany out of pain, when, most
unfortunately, his own fist slipped inadvertently into the noose, and,
whilst endeavouring to extricate himself, his charger got a smart kick
with the rowels, which, like all other horses, considering as an order
to proceed, he very expertly slipped from under Attorney Walker, who was
fast, and left him dangling in company with his friend the brogue-maker,
one by the head, and the other by the fist; and as the rope was of the
best manufacture, it kept both fast and clear from the ground, swinging
away with some grace and the utmost security.

The beast being thus freed from all constraint, thought the best thing
he could do was to gallop home to his own stable (if he could find the
way to it), and so set out with the utmost expedition, kicking up
behind, and making divers vulgar noises, as if he was ridiculing his
master’s misfortune.

He was, however, stopped on the road, and sent home to Dublin, with an
intimation that Captain Ferns and all the troop were cut off near
Rathfarnan; and this melancholy intelligence was published, with further
particulars, in a second edition of the Dublin Evening Post, two hours
after the arrival of Mr. Walker’s charger in the metropolis.

Misfortunes never come alone. The residue of the troop in high spirits
had cantered on a little. The kind offices of Mr. Walker to Mr. Delany
being quite voluntary, _they_ had not noticed his humanity; and, on his
roaring out to the very extent of his lungs, and the troop turning
round, as the devil would have it, another tree intercepted the view of
Mr. Walker, so that they perceived a very different object.—“Captain,
Captain,” cried out four or five of the troop, all at once, “Look there!
look there!” and there did actually appear several hundred men, attended
by a crowd of women and children, approaching them by the road on which
the rebel had been apprehended. There was no time to be lost; and a
second heat of the horse-race immediately took place, but without
waiting to be started, as on the former occasion; and this course being
rather longer than the last, led them totally out of sight of Messrs.
Walker and Delany.

The attorney and rebel had in the mean time enjoyed an abundance of that
swing-swang exercise which so many professors of law, physic, and
divinity practised pending the Irish insurrection; nor was there the
slightest danger of their pastime being speedily interrupted, as Captain
Ferns’ troop, being flanked by above three hundred rebels, considered
that the odds were too tremendous to hold out any hopes of a victory: of
course a retrograde movement was considered imperative, and they were
necessitated, as often happens after boasted victories, to leave Messrs.
Walker and Delany twirling about in the string, like a pair of fowls
under a bottle-jack.

But notwithstanding they were both in close and almost inseparable
contact, they seemed to enjoy their respective situations with a very
different demeanour.

The unpleasant sensations of Mr. Delany had for a considerable time
subsided into a general tranquillity, nor did his manner in the
slightest degree indicate any impatience or displeasure at being so long
detained in company with the inveterate solicitor; nor indeed did he
articulate one sentence of complaint against the boisterous conduct of
his outrageous comrade.

The attorney, on the contrary, not being blessed with so even a temper
as Mr. Delany, showed every symptom of inordinate impatience to get out
of his company, and exhibited divers samples of plunging, kicking, and
muscular convulsion, more novel and entertaining than even those of the
most celebrated rope-dancers; he also incessantly vociferated as loud,
if not louder than he had ever done upon any former occasion, though not
in any particular dialect or language, but as a person generally does
when undergoing a cruel surgical operation.

The attorney’s eyes not having any thing to do with the hanging matter,
he clearly saw the same crowd approaching which had caused the
retrograde movement of his comrades; and, as it approached, he gave
himself entirely up for lost, being placed in the very same convenient
position for piking as Absalom (King David’s natural son) when General
Joab ran him through the body without the slightest resistance; and
though the attorney’s toes were not two feet from the ground, he made as
much fuss, floundering and bellowing, as if they had been twenty.

The man of law at length became totally exhausted and tranquil, as
children generally are when they have no strength to squall any longer.
He had, however, in this state of captivity, the consolation of
beholding (at every up glance) the bloated, raven-gray visage of the
king’s enemy, and his disloyal eyes bursting from their sockets, and
full glaring with inanimate revenge on the loyalist who had darkened
them. A thrilling horror seized upon the nerves and muscles of the
attorney: his sins and clients were now (like the visions in Macbeth, or
King Saul and the Witch of Endor) beginning to pass in shadowy review
before his imagination. The last glance he could distinctly take, as he
looked upward to Heaven for aid, (there being none at Rathfarnan,) gave
a dismal glimpse of his once red-and-white engrossing member, now, like
the chameleon, assuming the deep purple hue of the rebel jaw it was in
contact with, the fingers spread out, cramped, and extended as a fan
before the rebel visage; and numbness, the avant-courier of
mortification, having superseded torture, he gave himself totally up to
Heaven. If he had a hundred prayers, he would have repeated every one of
them; but, alas! theology was not his forte, and he was gradually
sinking into that merciful insensibility invented by farriers, when they
twist an instrument upon a horse’s nostrils, that the torture of his
nose may render him insensible to the pains his tail is enduring.

In the mean time the royal troop, which had most prudentially retreated
to avoid an overwhelming force, particularly on their flank, as the
enemy approached, yielded ground, though gradually. The enemy being all
foot, the troop kept only a quarter of a mile from them, and merely
retreated a hundred yards at a time, being sure of superior speed to
that of the rebels,—when, to the surprise of Captain Ferns, the enemy
made a sudden wheel, and took possession of a churchyard upon a small
eminence, as if intending to pour down on the cavalry, if they could
entice them within distance; but, to the astonishment of the royal
troopers, instead of the Irish war-whoop, which they expected, the enemy
set up singing and crying in a most plaintive and inoffensive manner.
The buck parson, with Malony the bailiff, being ordered to reconnoitre,
immediately galloped back, announcing that the enemy had a coffin, and
were performing a funeral; but, both swearing that it was a new ambush,
and the whole troop coinciding in the same opinion, a further retreat
was decided on, which might be now performed without the slightest
confusion. It was also determined to carry off their dead, for such it
was taken for granted the attorney must have been, by the excess of his
agitation, dancing and plunging till they lost sight of him, and also
through the contagion and poisonous collision of a struggling rebel, to
whom he had been so long cemented.

In order, therefore, to bring off the solicitor, dead or alive, they
rallied, formed, and charged, sword in hand, towards the rampike, where
they had left Attorney W—— and Mr. Delany in so novel a situation, and
where they expected no loving reception.

In the mean time, it turned out that the kicking, plunging, and
rope-dancing of the attorney had their advantages; as, at length, the
obdurate rope, by the repeated pulls and twists, slipped over the knot
of the rampike which had arrested its progress, ran freely, and down
came the rebel and royalist together, with an appropriate crash, on the
green sod under their gibbet, which seemed beneficently placed there by
nature on purpose to receive them.

The attorney’s innocent feet, however, still remained tightly moored to
the gullet of the guilty rebel, and might have remained there till they
grew or rotted together, had not the opportune arrival of his gallant
comrades saved them from mortification.

To effect the separation of Attorney W—— and Mr. Delany was no easy
achievement: the latter had gone to his forefathers, but the rope was
strong and tight, both able and willing to have hung half a dozen more
of them, if employed to do so. Many loyal pen-knives were set instantly
at work; but the rope defied them all; the knot was too solid. At length
Sergeant Potterton’s broad-sword, having assumed the occupation of a
saw, effected the operation without any accident, save sawing across one
of the attorney’s veins. The free egress of his loyal gore soon brought
its proprietor to his sense of existence; though three of the fingers
had got so clever a stretching, that the muscles positively refused to
bend any more for them, and they ever after retained the same fan-like
expansion as when knotted to Mr. Delany. The index and thumb still
retained their engrossing powers, to the entire satisfaction of the club
of Skinners’ Alley, of which he was an active alderman.

The maimed attorney was now thrown across a horse and carried to a
jingle,[59] and sent home with all the honours of war to his wife and
children, to make what use they pleased of.


Footnote 59:

  A jingle is a species of jaunting-car used in the environs of Dublin
  by gentry that have no other mode of travelling.


Captain Ferns’ royal troop now held another council of war, to determine
on ulterior operations; and, though the rebel army in the church-yard
might have been only a funeral, it was unanimously agreed that an
important check had been given to the rebels of Rathfarnan; yet that
prudence was as necessary an ingredient in the art of war as
intrepidity; and that it might be risking the advantage of what had been
done, if they made any attempt on the yellow house, or the captain’s
_Bourdeaux_, as they might be overpowered by a host of pot-valiant
rebels, and thereby his Majesty be deprived of their future services.

They therefore finally decided to retire upon Dublin at a
sling-trot—publish a bulletin of the battle in Captain Giffard’s Dublin
Journal—wait upon Lords Camden and Castlereagh, and Mr. Cooke, with a
detail of the expedition and casualties,—and, finally, celebrate the
action by a dinner, when the usual beverage, with the anthem of “God
save the King,” might unite in doing national honour both to the liquor
and to his Majesty, the latter being always considered quite lonesome by
the corporators of Dublin, unless garnished by the former accompaniment.

This was all carried into effect. Lieutenant H——, the walking gallows,
(_ante_) was especially invited; and the second metropolis of the
British empire had thus the honour of achieving the first victory over
the rebellious subjects of his Majesty in the celebrated insurrection of

                       FLOGGING THE WINE-COOPERS.

Account of the flagellation undergone by the two coopers—Their
  application to the author for redress—Tit for tat, or giving _back_
  the compliment—Major Connor, and his disinclination for attorneys—His
  brother, Arthur Connor.

An anecdote, amongst many of the same genus, which I witnessed myself,
about the same period, is particularly illustrative of the state of
things in the Irish metropolis at the celebrated epocha of 1798.

Two wine-coopers of a Mr. Thomas White, an eminent wine-merchant, in
Clare Street, had been bottling wine at my house in Merrion Square. I
had known them long to be honest, quiet, and industrious persons: going
to their dinner, they returned, to my surprise, with their coats and
waistcoats hanging loose on their arms, and their shirts quite bloody
behind. They told their pitiful story with peculiar simplicity:—that as
they were passing quietly by Major Connor’s barrack, at Shelburn House,
Stephen’s Green, a fellow who owed one of them a grudge for beating him
and his brother at Donnybrook, had told Major Connor that “he heard we
were black rebels, and knew well where many a pike was hid in vaults and
cellars in the city, if we chose to discover of them; on which the
Major, please your honour, Counsellor, without stop or stay, or the
least ceremony in life, ordered the soldiers to strip us to our buffs,
and then tied us to the butt-end of a great cannon, and—what did he do
then, Counsellor dear, to two honest poor coopers, but he ordered the
soldiers to give us fifty cracks a-piece with the devil’s
cat-o’-nine-tails, as he called it; though, by my sowl, I believe there
were twenty tails to it—which the Major said he always kept saftening in
brine, to wallop such villains as we were, Counsellor dear! Well, every
whack went thorough my carcase, sure enough; and I gave tongue, because
I couldn’t help it: so, when he had his will of us, he ordered us to put
on our shirts, and swore us to come back in eight days more for the
remaining fifty cracks, unless we brought fifty pikes in the place of
them. Ah, the devil a pike ever we had, Counsellor dear, and what’ll we
do, Counsellor, what’ll we do?”

“Take this to the Major,” said I, writing to him a note of no very
gentle expostulation. “Give this, with my compliments; and if he does
not redress you, I’ll find means of making him.”

The poor fellows were most thankful; and I immediately received a note
from the Major, with many thanks for undeceiving him, and stating, that
if the wine-coopers would catch the fellow that belied them, he’d oblige
the chap with a cool hundred, from a new double cat, which he would
order for the purpose.

The Major strictly kept his word. The wine-coopers soon found their
accuser, and brought him to Major Connor, with my compliments; who sent
him home in half-an-hour with as raw a back as any brave soldier in his
Majesty’s service.

Learning also from the coopers that their enemy was an attorney’s clerk,
(a profession the Major had a most inveterate and very just aversion
to,) he desired them to bring him any disloyal attorneys they could
find, and he’d teach them more justice in one hour at Shelburn Barracks,
than they’d practise for seven years in the Four Courts.

The accuser, who got so good a practical lecture from Major Connor, was
a clerk to Mr. H. Hudson, an eminent attorney, of Dublin.

The Major’s brother, Arthur, was under a state prosecution, and
incarcerated as an unsuccessful patriot—but one to whom even Lord Clare
could not deny the attributes of consistency, firmness, and fidelity.
His politics were decidedly sincere. Banished from his own country, he
received high promotion in the French army; and, if he had not been
discontinued from the staff of his relative, Marshal Grouchy, the battle
of Waterloo (from documents I have seen) _must_ have had a different
termination. This, however, is an almost inexcusable digression.

                         THE ENNISCORTHY BOAR.

Incidents attending the first assault of Wexford by the rebels, in
  1798—Excesses mutually committed by them and the royalists—Father
  Roche—Captain Hay, and his gallant rescue of two ladies—Mr. O’Connell
  in by-gone days—Painful but ludicrous scenes after the conflict at
  Wexford—Swinish indignity offered to a clergyman—A pig of rapid
  growth—Extraordinary destination of the animal—Its arrival and special
  exhibition in London—Remarks on London curiosities—Remarkable success
  of the Enniscorthy boar—Unhappy disclosure of the animal’s previous
  enormities—Reaction on the public mind—His Majesty’s comments on the
  affair—Death of the swinish offender, in anticipation of a projected
  rescue by the London Irish.

A most ludicrous incident chanced to spring out of the most murderous
conflict (for the numbers engaged) that had occurred during the
merciless insurrection of 1798 in Ireland.

The murdered victims had not been effectually interred, the blood was
scarcely dry upon the hill, and the embers of the burned streets not yet
entirely extinguished in Enniscorthy, when, in company with a friend who
had miraculously escaped the slaughter, and Mr. John Grogan, of
Johnston, who was then seeking for evidence amongst the conquered
rebels, to prove the injustice of his brother’s execution, I explored
and noted the principal occurrences of that most sanguinary engagement.
I give them, in connexion with the preposterous incident which they gave
rise to, to show in one view the _mélange_ of fanaticism, ferocity, and
whimsical credulity, which characterised the lower Irish at that
disastrous epocha, as well as the absurd credulity and spirit of true
intolerance which signalised their London brethren, in the matter of the
silly incident which I shall mention.

The town of Enniscorthy, in the county of Wexford, in Ireland, (one of
the first strong possessions that the English, under Strongbow,
established themselves in,) is situate most beautifully on the river
Slaney, at the base of Vinegar Hill; places which the conflicts and
massacres of every nature, and by both parties, have marked out for
posterity as the appropriate sites of legendary tales, and traditional
records of heroism and of murder.

The town is not fortified; and the hill, like half a globe, rising from
the plain, overlooks the town and country, and has no neighbouring
eminence to command it.

The first assault on this town by the rebels, and its defence by a
gallant, but not numerous garrison, formed one of the most desperate,
heroic, and obstinate actions of an infatuated people. It was stormed by
the rebels, and defended with unflinching gallantry; but captured after
a long and most bloody action, during which no quarter was given or
accepted on either side. Those who submitted to be prisoners only
preserved their lives a day, to experience some more cold-blooded and
torturing extinction.

The orange and green flags were that day alternately successful. But the
numbers, impetuosity, and perseverance of the rebels, becoming too
powerful to be resisted, the troops were overthrown, the rout became
general, and the royalists endeavoured to save themselves in all
directions: but most of those who had the good fortune to escape the
pike or blunderbuss were flung into burning masses, or thrown from the
windows of houses, where they had tried to gain protection or conceal

The insurgents were that day constantly led to the charge, or, when
checked, promptly rallied by a priest, who had figured in the French
revolution in Paris—a Father Roche. His height and muscular powers were
immense, his dress squalid and bloody, his countenance ruffianly and
terrific; he had no sense either of personal danger, or of Christian
mercy. That day courage appeared contagious, and even his aged followers
seemed to have imbibed all the ferocity and blind desperation of their
gigantic and fearless pastor.

The streets through which the relics of the royal troops must traverse
to escape the carnage were fired on both sides by the order of Father
Roche, and the unfortunate fugitives had no chance but to pass through
volumes of flame and smoke, or yield themselves up to the ferocious
pike-men, who chased them even into the very body of the conflagration.

My accompanying friend had most unwittingly got into the town, when in
possession of the army, and could not get out of it on the sudden
assault of the rebels. He had no arms. Many of them knew him, however,
to be a person of liberal principles, civil and religious; but he with
difficulty clambered to a seat high up in the dilapidated castle; where,
unless as regarded the chance of a random shot, he was in a place of
tolerable safety. There he could see much; but did not descend till the
next morning; and would certainly have been shot at the windmill on
Vinegar Hill had not the Catholic priests of his own parish vouched for
his toleration and charity; and above all, that he had, early that year,
given a large sum towards building a chapel and endowing a school for
the cottagers’ children.

His description of the storm was extremely exciting; and the more so, as
it was attended by an occurrence of a very interesting nature.

It was asserted by some of the loyal yeomen who were engaged, that the
rebels were commanded, as to their _tactics_, by Captain Hay, of the ——
dragoons, who had been some time amongst them as a prisoner; a report
countenanced by the disaffection of his family. This gave rise to
charges against Captain Hay of desertion to the rebels, and
high-treason. He was submitted to a court-martial; but an act of the
most gallant and chivalrous description saved him from every thing but
suspicion of the criminality imputed.

Mrs. Ogle and Miss Moore, two of the most respectable ladies of Wexford,
happened to be in Enniscorthy, when it was assaulted, without any
protector, and subject to all the dangers and horrors incidental to such
captures. They had no expectation of escape, when Captain Hay, in the
face of every species of danger, with a strength beyond his natural
powers, and a courage which has not been exceeded, placing them on a
horse before him, rushed into the midst of a burning street, and,
through flames and shots, and every possible horror, bore them through
the fire in safety; and, although he sadly scorched himself, proceeded
in conveying and delivering them safe to their desponding relations. Mr.
Ogle was member for the county. The act was too gallant to leave any
thing more than the suspicion of guilt, and the accused was acquitted on
all the charges.

Very shortly afterwards his eldest brother was executed at Wexford, his
father died, while another brother, also deeply implicated, was not
prosecuted, and figured many years afterwards as secretary to the
Catholic Committee; but he was neither deep enough nor mute enough for
Mr. Daniel O’Connell, who, at that day, was, by-the-by, a large, ruddy
young man, with a broad and savoury dialect, an imperturbable
countenance, intrepid address, _et præterea nihil_. He was then more
fastidious as to his approbation of secretaries than he afterwards
turned out to be.[60]


Footnote 60:

  Mr. O’Connell was called to the bar, Easter, 1798, on or about the
  same day that Father Roche was hanged. He did not finger politics in
  any way for several years afterwards, but he studied law very well,
  and bottled it _in usum_—_jus habentis_ may be added or not.


Amongst the persons who lost their lives on that occasion was the Rev.
Mr. Haydn, a very old and highly respected clergyman of the Established
Church: he was much more lamented than the thirty priests who were
hanged at the same period. He was piked or shot by the rebels in the
street, and lay dead and naked upon the Castle Hill, till duly consumed
by half-starving dogs, or swine of the neighbourhood, that marched
without invitation into the town, to dine upon any of the combatants who
were not interred too deep to be easily rooted up again.

After the rebellion had entirely ended, it was remarked in the
neighbourhood, that what the peasants call a “slip of a pig,” who had
been busy with his neighbours carousing in Enniscorthy, as aforesaid,
had, from that period, increased in stature and corresponding bulk to an
enormous degree, and far outstripped all his cotemporaries, not only in
size, but (so far as the term could be applicable to a pig) in genuine
beauty. At length his growth became almost miraculous; and his exact
symmetry kept pace with his elevation.

This young pig was suffered to roam at large, and was universally
admired as the most comely of his species. He at length rose to the
elevation of nearly a heifer, and was considered too great a curiosity
to remain in Ireland, where curiosities, animate and inanimate, human
and beastly, are too common to be of any peculiar value, or even excite
attention. It was therefore determined to send him over as a present to
our Sovereign—as an olive-branch, so to speak, for the subdued and
repentant rebels of Enniscorthy, and a specimen which, being placed in
the Tower, might do great honour to the whole race of domestic swine,
being the first tame gentleman of his family that ever had been in any
royal menagerie.

This Enniscorthy miracle was accordingly shipped for Bristol, under the
care of a priest, two rebels, and a showman, and in due season arrived
in the metropolis of England. Regular notice of his arrival was given to
the king’s proper officers at the Tower, who were to prepare chambers
for his reception, though it was maliciously whispered that the “olive
branch,” as the priest called the pig, was intended only second-hand for
his Majesty; that is to say, after the party and showman should have
pursed every loose shilling the folks of London might be tempted to pay
for a sight of so amiable an animal. The pig took admirably; the showman
(a Caledonian by birth) was economical in the expenditure, and discreet
in his explanations. The pig became the most popular show at the east
end; Exeter Change even felt it. However, fate ultimately restored the
baboons and tigers to their old and appropriate rank in society.

This proceeding, this compliment of the _olive branch_, was neither more
nor less than is generally used in the case of our most celebrated
generals, admirals, and statesmen, (and occasionally our most gracious
Sovereigns,) who, being duly disembowelled, spiced, swaddled, and
screwed up in a box, with a white satin lining to it, (well stuffed, to
make it easy,) are exhibited to their compatriots of all ranks, who can
spare sixpence to see an oak trunk, covered with black, and plenty of
lacquered tin nailed on the top of it. But here the pig was seen alive
and merry, which every body (except testamentary successors) conceives
has much the advantage over any thing that is inanimate.

I had myself, when at Temple, the honour of paying sixpence to see the
fork which belonged to the knife with which Margaret Nicholson attempted
to penetrate the person of his Majesty, King George the Third, at St.
James’s; and the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, through their
actuaries, receive payment for showing the stone heads of patriots,
poets, and ministers, whom they have secured in their tabernacle; Sir
Cloudesley Shovel, who was drowned as an admiral; Major André, who was
hanged as a spy; and Mr. Grattan, who should have been buried in

There can be little doubt that the greatest men of the present day, for
a British shilling, before much more of the present century is finished,
will be exhibited in like manner.

The thing has become too public and common. In early days, great men,
dying, required to be buried in the holiest sanctuary going. Sometimes
the great bust was transferred to Westminster Abbey; but, of late, the
monuments are becoming so numerous, the company so mixed, and the
exhibition so like a show-box, that the modern multiplication of Orders
has made many Knights very shy of wearing them. Thus the Abbey has lost
a great proportion of its rank and celebrity; and I have been told of a
gentleman of distinction, who, having died of a consumption, and being
asked where he wished to be buried, replied, “any where but Westminster

To resume, however, the course of my narrative—the celebrity of the
“olive branch” every day increased, and the number of his visitors so
rapidly augmented, that the priest and showman considered that the day
when he should be committed to the Tower would be to them no trifling
misfortune. Even the ladies conceived there was something musical in his
grunt, and some tried to touch it off upon their pianos. So gentle, so
sleek and silvery were his well-scrubbed bristles, that every body
patted his fat sides. Standing on his bare feet, his beautifully arched
back, rising like a rainbow, overtopped half his visitors; and he became
so great and general a favourite, that, though he came from Ireland,
nobody even thought of inquiring whether he was a papist or protestant

One day, however, the most unforeseen and grievous misfortune that ever
happened to so fine an animal, at once put an end to all his glories,
and to the abundant pickings of his chaplain.

It happened, unfortunately, that a Wexford yeoman, who had been at the
taking and retaking of Enniscorthy, (a theme he never failed to
expatiate on,) and had been acquainted with the pig from his infancy, as
well as the lady sow who bore him, having himself sold her to the last
proprietors, came at the time of a very crowded assembly into the room;
and, as Irishmen never omit any opportunity of talking, (especially in a
crowd, and, if at all convenient, _more_ especially about themselves,)
the yeoman began to brag of his acquaintance with the hog, the storming
of the town, the fight, and slaughter; and, unfortunately, in order to
amuse the company, by suggesting the cause of his enormous bulk and
stature, mentioned, as a national curiosity, that the people in Ireland
were so headstrong as to attribute his growth to his having eaten the
Rev. Mr. Haydn, a Protestant clergyman of Enniscorthy, after the battle;
but he declared to the gentlemen and ladies that could not be the fact,
as he was assured by an eye-witness, a sergeant of pike-men amongst the
rebels, that there were several dogs helping him, and some ducks out of
the Castle court. Besides, the parson having been a slight old
gentleman, there was scarcely as much flesh on his reverend bones as
would have given one meal to a hungry bull-dog. This information, and
the manner of telling it, caused an instantaneous silence, and set every
English man and woman staring and shuddering around him, not one of whom
did the pig attempt to put his snout on. The idea of a _Papist_ pig
eating a _Protestant_ parson was of a nature quite insupportable; both
church and state were affected: their praises were now turned to
execration; the women put their handkerchiefs to their noses to keep off
the odour; every body stood aloof both from the pig and the showman, as
if they were afraid of being devoured. The men cursed the Papist brute,
and the rebellious nation that sent him there; every one of them who had
a stick or an umbrella gave a punch or a crack of it to the “olive
branch;” and in a few minutes the room was cleared of visitors, to the
astonishment of the yeoman, who lost no time in making his own exit. The
keepers, now perceiving that their game was gone, determined to deliver
him up, as _Master Haydn_, to the lieutenant of the Tower, to be placed
at the will and pleasure of his Majesty.

The chaplain, showman, and two amateur rebels, now prepared to return to
Wexford. Though somewhat disappointed at the short cut of their
exhibition, they had no reason to find fault with the lining their
pockets had got. The officers of the Tower, however, had heard the
catastrophe and character of the “olive branch,” and communicated to the
lieutenant their doubts if he were a fit subject to mix with the noble
wild beasts in a royal menagerie. Several consultations took place upon
the subject; the lord chamberlain was requested to take his Majesty’s
commands upon the subject in council: the king, who had been signing
some death-warrants and pardons for the Recorder of London, was
thunderstruck and shocked at the audacity of an Irish pig eating a
Protestant clergyman; and though no better Christian ever existed than
George the Third, his hatred to pork from that moment was invincible,
and became almost a Jewish aversion.

“The Tower! the Tower!” said his Majesty, with horror and indignation.
“The Tower for an Irish hog that ate a pious Christian!—No, no—no, no,
my lords.—Mr. Recorder, Mr. Recorder—here, see, see—I command you on
your allegiance—shoot the pig, shoot him—shoot, Mr. Recorder—you can’t
hang.—Eh! you would if you could, Mr. Recorder, no doubt. But, no,
no—let me never hear more of the monster. A sergeant’s guard—shoot
him—tell Sir Richard Ford to send his keepers to Ireland
to-night—to-night if he can find them—go, go—let me never hear more of
him—go—go—go—go—shoot him, shoot him!”

The Recorder withdrew with the usual obeisances, and notice was given
that at six next morning a sergeant’s guard should attend to shoot the
“olive branch,” and bury his corpse in the Tower ditch, with a bulky
barrel of hot lime to annihilate it. This was actually executed,
notwithstanding the following droll circumstance that Sir Richard Ford
himself informed us of.

Sir Richard was far better acquainted with the humour and management of
the Irish in London, than any London magistrate that ever succeeded him:
he knew nearly all of the principal ones by name, and individually, and
represented them to us as the most tractable of beings, if duly come
round and managed, and the most intractable and obstinate, if directly

The Irish had been quite delighted with the honour intended for their
compatriot, the Enniscorthy boar, and were equally affected and
irritated at the sentence which was so unexpectedly and so unjustly
passed on him; and, after an immediate consultation, they determined
that the pig should be rescued at all risks, and without the least
consideration how they were to save his life afterwards. Their procedure
was all settled, and the rescue determined on, when one of Sir Richard’s
spies brought him information of an intended rising at St. Giles’s to
rescue the pig, which the frightened spy said must be followed by the
Irish firing London, plundering the Bank, and massacring all the
Protestant population—thirty thousand choice Irish being ready for any

Sir Richard was highly diverted at the horrors of the spy, but judged it
wise to prevent any such foolish attempt at riot, by anticipating his
Majesty’s orders; wherefore, early in the evening, a dozen policemen,
one by one, got into the hog’s residence, with a skilful butcher, who
stuck him in the spinal marrow, and the “olive branch,” scarcely brought
life to the ground with him. The rescue was then out of the question,
and in a very short time Doctor Haydn’s Gourmand was not only defunct,
but actually laid ten feet under ground, with as much quick-lime covered
up over his beautiful body as soon left hardly a bone to discover the
place of his interment.

Sir Richard told this anecdote, as to the execution, &c. with great
humour. The Irish used to tell Sir Richard that a pig was dishonoured by
any death but to make bacon of; that God had sent the breed to Ireland
for that purpose only; and that, when killed for that purpose, they
considered his death a natural one!

                                THE END.



                          Transcriber’s note:

Page xxii, ‘H. R.’ changed to ‘R. H.,’ “as for Mr. R. H. of Brompton”

Page xxix, em-dash changed to long dash, “Dr. T——’s perseverance”

Page 4, ‘gende’ changed to ‘gender,’ “of the feminine gender,”

Page 8, ‘its—its’ changed to ‘it’s—it’s,’ “Egad, it’s—it’s very true”

Page 8, double quote struck after ‘Dublin,’ “the Corporation of Dublin.”

Page 35, ‘its’ changed to ‘it’s,’ “Sure it’s not for myself”

Page 35, ‘its’ changed to ‘it’s,’ “it’s for my calling”

Page 46, ‘its’ changed to ‘it’s,’ “it’s for all the world”

Page 47, ‘its’ changed to ‘it’s,’ “Sure it’s not ignorance”

Page 55, ‘Its—its’ changed to ‘It’s—it’s,’ “It’s—it’s not so—so”

Page 59, ‘its’ changed to ‘it’s,’ “By my sowl! it’s a”

Page 72, double quote struck before ‘Burgundy,’ “day:—viz. Burgundy

Page 79, ‘two’ changed to ‘too,’ “We are three days too late”

Page 94, ‘diagreeable’ changed to ‘disagreeable,’ “particularly
disagreeable to travellers”

Page 102, double quote inserted after ‘Galway,’ “in the county of

Page 105, ‘gaurantee’ changed to ‘guarantee,’ “You can guarantee this”

Page 116, ‘its’ changed to ‘it’s,’ “because it’s their own tongue”

Page 116, ‘its’ changed to ‘it’s,’ “and now it’s grown a custom”

Page 117, ‘Its’ changed to ‘It’s,’ “It’s no joke”

Page 117, ‘its’ changed to ‘it’s,’ “Sure it’s the Jews”

Page 118, ‘Its’ changed to ‘It’s,’ “It’s only putting them in”

Page 118, ‘Its’ changed to ‘It’s,’ “It’s well for the crethurs they”

Page 118, ‘its’ changed to ‘it’s,’ “Sure it’s not Sergeant Towler”

Page 131, ‘eing’ changed to ‘being,’ “which not being fastened”

Page 131, ‘fig re’ changed to ‘figure,’ “and suspicious figure”

Page 134, full stop inserted after ‘Mr.,’ “unfortunate antagonist, Mr.

Page 137, ‘elde t’ changed to ‘eldest,’ “the eldest sons”

Pages 142-143, single quotes changed for clarity from “He stated, ‘that
Lyster was his relative, and protected by him, and that I had influenced
the young man to deliver a message from me. He said, ‘that Mr. Lyster
had delivered such a message: that he had answered mildly, that he would
not fight Mr. Martin; whereon, (says Fitzgerald,) this young gentleman
said, ‘Then you must fight me.’ My answer was, that I would not fight
any man; on which, continued George Robert, he made several blows of the
cudgel I hold in my hand (his own) at me. I happened to be more
dexterous than my assailant, and was fortunate enough to take the weapon
out of his hands, and in my own defence was obliged to strike in turn,
or I should have been murdered.’” to “He stated, ‘that Lyster was his
relative, and protected by him, and that I had influenced the young man
to deliver a message from me.’ He said, ‘that Mr. Lyster had delivered
such a message: that he had answered mildly, that he would not fight Mr.
Martin;’ whereon, (says Fitzgerald,) this young gentleman said, ‘Then
you must fight me.’ My answer was, that I would not fight any man; on
which,’ continued George Robert, ‘he made several blows of the cudgel I
hold in my hand’ (his own) ‘at me. I happened to be more dexterous than
my assailant, and was fortunate enough to take the weapon out of his
hands, and in my own defence was obliged to strike in turn, or I should
have been murdered.’”

Page 158, ‘its’ changed to ‘it’s,’ “and it’s not so easy to shoot”

Page 159, ‘eclat’ changed to ‘éclat,’ “To give my march the greater

Page 161, ‘its’ changed to ‘it’s,’ “Ough! if it’s ‘beating’”

Page 173, ‘its’ changed to ‘it’s,’ “whenever it’s your convenience”

Page 186, ‘its’ changed to ‘it’s,’ “future, when it’s not convenient”

Page 187, ‘wave’ changed to ‘waive,’ “disposed to waive his

Page 191, ‘its’ changed to ‘it’s,’ “it’s rather a small matter”

Page 191, comma inserted after ‘about,’ “to go to law about,” (mistaking
his meaning).”

Page 191, ‘its’ changed to ‘it’s,’ “when it’s a gentleman that resorts”

Page 271, full stop inserted after ‘lieutenant,’ “better than the

Pages 277, 280, 281, 425, 432, all instances of ‘Pikeman’ and ‘Pikemen’
have been regularised to ‘Pike-man’ and ‘Pike-men’

Page 309, double quote inserted before ‘I,’ ““I am ashamed of its”

Page 323, hyphen inserted after ‘o’,’ “cat-o’-nine-tails”

Page 347, ‘its’ changed to ‘it’s,’ “by my sowl it’s true enough”

Page 348, ‘its’ changed to ‘it’s,’ “D—n money—it’s nothing but trash:”

Page 351, double quote inserted after ‘expense,’ “without either delay
or expense.””

Page 373, hyphen inserted after ‘eight,’ “after the

Page 384, double quote inserted before ‘’tis,’ ““’tis too late!”

Page 413, ‘cameleon’ changed to ‘chameleon,’ “like the chameleon,

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