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Handy Andy, Volume One - A Tale of Irish Life, in Two Volumes
by Samuel Lover
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"Hadn't you better show it to them, sir?" said Dick, from the foot of the table.

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

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

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

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

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

"Give it to me again," said one.

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

"Colossal!" exclaimed a third.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Yes, sir, mine!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE SNOW

I

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

II

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

III

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

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



CHAPTER VIII

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

Now the reader must know something of the fair Mistress Flanagan who was left in very comfortable circumstances by a niggardly husband, who did her the favour to die suddenly one day, to the no small satisfaction of the pleasure-loving widow, who married him in an odd sort of a hurry, and got rid of him as quickly. Mr. Flanagan was engaged in supplying the export provision trade, which, every one knows, is considerable in Ireland; and his dealings in beef and butter were extensive. This brought him into contact with the farmers for many miles round, whom he met, not only every market-day at every market-town in the county, but at their own houses, where a knife and fork were always at the service of the rich buyer. One of these was a certain Mat Riley, who, on small means, managed to live, and rear a son and three bouncing, good-looking girls, who helped to make butter, feed calves, and superintend the education of pigs; and on these active and comely lasses Mr. Flanagan often cast an eye of admiration, with a view to making one of them his wife; for though he might have had his pick and choice of many fine girls in the towns he dealt in, he thought the simple, thrifty, and industrious habits of a plain farmer's daughter more likely to conduce to his happiness and profit—for in that principally lay the aforesaid happiness of Mr. Flanagan. Now, this intention of honouring one of the three Miss Rileys with promotion he never hinted at in the remotest degree, and even in his own mind the thought was mixed up with fat cattle and prices current; and it was not until a leisure moment one day, when he was paying Mat Riley for some of his farming produce, that he broached the subject thus:

"Mat." "Sir."

"I'm thinking o' marrying."

"Well, she'll have a snug house, whoever she is, Misther Flanagan."

"Them's fine girls o' yours."

Poor Mat opened his eyes with delight at the prospect of such a match for one of his daughters, and said they were "comely lumps o' girls, sure enough; but, what was betther, they wor good."

"That's what I'm thinking," says Flanagan. "There's two ten-poun' notes, and a five, and one is six, and one is seven; and three tenpinnies is two-and-sixpence; that's twenty-seven poun' two-and-sixpence: eight-pence-ha'penny is the lot; but I haven't copper in my company, Mat."

"Oh, no matther, Misther Flanagan. And is it one o' my colleens you've been throwing the eye at, sir?"

"Yes, Mat, it is. You're askin' too much for them firkins?"

"Oh, Misther Flanagan, consider it's prime butther. I'll back my girls for making up a bit o' butther agen any girls in Ireland; and my cows is good, and the pasture prime."

"'T is a farthing a poun' too high, Mat; and the market not lively."

"The butther is good, Mr. Flanagan; and not decenther girls in Ireland than the same girls, though I'm their father."

"I'm thinking I'll marry one o' them, Mat."

"Sure, an' it's proud I'll be, sir; and which o' them is it, maybe?"

"Faith, I don't know myself, Mat. Which do you think yourself?"

"Throth, myself doesn't know—they're all good. Nance is nice, and Biddy's biddable, and Kitty's cute."

"You're a snug man, Mat; you ought to be able to give a husband a trifle with them."

"Nothing worth your while, anyhow, Misther Flanagan. But sure one o' my girls without a rag to her back, or a tack to her feet, would be betther help to an honest industherin' man than one o' your showy lantherumswash divils out of a town, that would spend more than she'd bring with her."

"That's thrue, Mat. I'll marry one o' your girls, I think."

"You'll have my blessin', sir; and proud I'll be—and proud the girl ought to be—that I'll say. And suppose, now, you'd come over on Sunday, and take share of a plain man's dinner, and take your pick o' the girls—there's a fine bull goose that Nance towld me she'd have ready afther last mass; for Father Ulick said he'd come and dine with us."

"I can't, Mat; I must be in the canal boat on Sunday; but I'll go and breakfast with you to-morrow, on my way to Bill Mooney's, who has a fine lot of pigs to sell—remarkable fine pigs."

"Well, we'll expect you to breakfast, sir."

"Mat, there must be no nonsense about the wedding."

"As you plase, sir."

"Just marry her off, and take her home. Short reckonings make long friends."

"Thrue for you, sir."

"Nothing to give with the girl, you say?"

"My blessin' only, sir."

"Well, you must throw in that butther, Mat, and take the farthin' off."

"It's yours, sir," said Mat, delighted, loading Flanagan with "Good byes," and "God save yous," until they should meet next morning at breakfast.

Mat rode home in great glee at the prospect of providing so well for one of his girls, and told them a man would be there the next morning to make choice of one of them for his wife. The girls, very naturally, inquired who the man was; to which Mat, in the plenitude of patriarchal power, replied, "that was nothing to them;" and his daughters had sufficient experience of his temper to know there was no use in asking more questions after such an answer. He only added, she would be "well off that should get him." Now, their father being such a curmudgeon, it is no wonder the girls were willing to take the chance of a good-humoured husband instead of an iron-handed father; so they set to work to make themselves as smart as possible for the approaching trial of their charms, and a battle royal ensued between the sisters as to the right and title to certain pieces of dress which were hitherto considered a sort of common property amongst them, and of which the occasion of a fair, or a pattern,[4] or market-day was enough to establish the possession, by whichever of the girls went to the public place; but now, when a husband was to be won, privilege of all sorts was pleaded, in which discussion there was more noise than sound reason, and so many violent measures to secure the envied morceaux, that some destruction of finery took place where there was none to spare; and, at last, seniority was agreed upon to decide the question; so that when Nance had the first plunder of the chest which held all their clothes in common, and Biddy made the second grab, poor Kitty had little left but her ordinary rags to appear in. But as, in the famous judgment on Ida's Mount, it is hinted that Venus carried the day by her scarcity of drapery, so did Kitty conquer by want of clothes: not that Love sat in judgment; it was Plutus turned the scale. But, to leave metaphor and classic illustration, and go back to Mat Riley's cabin—the girls were washing, and starching, and ironing all night, and the morning saw them arrayed for conquest. Flanagan came, and breakfasted, and saw the three girls. A flashy silk handkerchief which Nancy wore put her hors de combat very soon; she was set down at once, in his mind, as extravagant. Biddy might have had a chance if she had made anything like a fair division with her youngest sister; but Kitty had been so plundered, that her shabbiness won an easy victory over the niggard's heart: he saw in her "the making of a thrifty wife;" besides which, she was possibly the best looking, and certainly the youngest of the three; and there is no knowing how far old Flanagan might have been influenced by those considerations.

[4] A half-holy, half-merry meeting, held at some certain place, on the day dedicated to the saint who is supposed to be the PATRON of the spot—hence the name "PATTERN."

He spoke very little to any of the girls; but, when he was leaving the house, he said to the father, as he was shaking hands with him, "Mat, I'll do it;" and, pointing to Kitty, he added, "That's the one I'll have."

Great was the rage of the elder sisters, for Flanagan was notoriously a wealthy man; and when he quitted the house, Kitty set up such a shout of laughter, that her father and sisters told her several times "not to make a fool of herself." Still she laughed, and throughout the day sometimes broke out into sudden roars; and while her sides shook with merriment, she would throw herself into a chair, or lean against the wall, to rest herself after the fatigue of her uproarious mirth. Now Kitty, while she laughed at the discomfiture of her greedy sisters, also laughed at the mistake into which Flanagan had fallen; for, as her father said of her, she was, "'cute," and she more than suspected the cause of Flanagan's choice, and enjoyed the anticipation of his disappointment, for she was fonder of dress than either Nancy or Biddy, and revelled in the notion of astonishing "the old niggard," as she called him; and this she did "many a time and oft." In vain did Flanagan try to keep her extravagance within bounds. She would either wheedle, reason, bully, or shame him into doing what she said "was right and proper for a snug man like him." His house was soon well furnished: she made him get her a jaunting car. She sometimes would go to parties, and no one was better dressed than the woman he chose for her rags. He got enraged now and then, but Kitty pacified him by soft words and daring inventions of her fertile fancy. Once, when he caught her in the fact of wearing a costly crimson silk gown, and stormed, she soothed him by telling him it was her old black one she had dyed; and this bouncer, to the great amusement of her female friends, he loved to repeat, as a proof of what a careful contriving creature he had in Kitty. She was naturally quick-witted. She managed him admirably, deceived him into being more comfortable than ever he had been before, and had the laudable ambition of endeavouring to improve both his and her own condition in every way. She set about educating herself, too, as far as her notions of education went; and, in a few years after her marriage, by judiciously using the means which her husband's wealth afforded her of advancing her position in society, no one could have recognised in the lively and well-dressed Mrs. Flanagan the gawky daughter of a middling farmer. She was very good-natured, too, towards her sisters, whose condition she took care to improve with her own; and a very fair match for the eldest was made through her means. The younger one was often staying in her house, dividing her time nearly between the town and her father's farm, and no party which Mrs. Flanagan gave or appeared at went off without giving Biddy a chance to "settle herself in the world." This was not done without a battle now and then with old Flanagan, whose stinginess would exhibit itself upon occasion; but at last all let and hindrance to the merry lady ceased, by the sudden death of her old husband, who left her the entire of his property, so that, for the first time, his will was her pleasure.

After the funeral of the old man, the "disconsolate widow" was withdrawn from her own house by her brother and sister to the farm, which grew to be a much more comfortable place than when Kitty left; for to have remained in her own house after the loss of "her good man" would have been too hard on "the lone woman." So said her sister and her brother, though, to judge from the widow's eyes, she was not very heart-broken: she cried as much, no doubt, as young widows generally do after old husbands—and could Kitty be expected to do more?

She had not been many days in her widowhood, when Biddy asked her to drive into the town, where Biddy had to do a little shopping—that great business of ladies' lives.

"Oh, Biddy, dear, I must not go out so soon."

"'T will do you good, Kitty."

"I mustn't be seen, you know—'t wouldn't be right; and poor dear Flanagan not buried a week!"

"Sure, who'll see you? We'll go in the covered car, and draw the curtains close, and who'll be the wiser?"

"If I thought no one would see me!" said the widow.

"Ah, who'll see you?" exclaimed Biddy. "Come along—the drive will do you good."

The widow agreed; but when Biddy asked for a horse to put to the car, her brother refused, for the only horse not at work he was going to yoke in a cart that moment, to send a lamb to the town. Biddy vowed she would have a horse, and her brother swore the lamb should be served first, till Biddy made a compromise, and agreed to take the lamb under the seat of the car, and so please all parties.

Matters being thus accommodated, off the ladies set, the lamb tied neck and heels and crammed under the seat, and the curtains of the car ready to be drawn at a moment's notice, in case they should meet any one on the road; for "why should not the poor widow enjoy the fresh air as they drove along?" About half way to the town, however, the widow suddenly exclaimed—

"Biddy, draw the curtains!"

"What's the matter?" says Biddy.

"I see him coming after us round a turn o' the road!" and the widow looked so horrified, and plucked at the curtains so furiously, that Biddy, who was superstitious, thought nothing but Flanagan's ghost could have produced such an effect; and began to scream and utter holy ejaculations, until the sight of Tom Durfy riding after them showed her the cause of her sister's alarm.

"If that divil, Tom Durfy, sees me, he'll tell it all over the country, he's such a quiz; shove yourself well before the door there, Biddy, that he can't peep into the car. Oh, why did I come out this day!—I wish your tongue was cut out, Biddy, that asked me!"

In the meantime Tom Durfy closed on them fast, and began telegraphing Biddy, who, according to the widow's desire, had shoved herself well before the door.

"Pull up, Tim, pull up!" said the widow, from the inside of the car, to the driver, whom she thumped on the back at the same time to impress upon him her meaning; "turn about, and pretend to drive back. We'll let that fellow ride on," said she, quietly to Biddy.

Just as this manoeuvre was executed, up came Tom Durfy.

"How are you, Miss Riley?" said he, as he drew rein.

"Pretty well, thank you," said Biddy, putting her head and shoulders through the window, while the widow shrunk back into the corner of the car.

"How very sudden poor Mr. Flanagan's death was!—I was quite surprised."

"Yes, indeed," says Biddy. "I was just taking a little drive; good bye."

"I was very much shocked to hear of it," said Tom.

"'T was dreadful!" said Biddy.

"How is poor Mrs. Flanagan?" said Tom.

"As well as can be expected, poor thing! Good bye!" said Biddy, manifestly anxious to cut short the conference.

This anxiety was so obvious to Tom, who, for the sake of fun, loved cross-purposes dearly, that he determined to push his conversation further, just because he saw it was unwelcome.

"To be sure," continued he, "at his time of life——"

"Very true," said Biddy. "Good morning."

"And the season has been very unhealthy."

"Doctor Growling told me so yesterday," said Biddy; "I wonder you're not afraid of stopping in this east wind—colds are very prevalent. Good bye!"

Just now the Genius of Farce, who presides so particularly over all Irish affairs, put it into the lamb's head to bleat. The sound at first did not strike Tom Durfy as singular, they being near a high hedge, within which it was likely enough a lamb might bleat; but Biddy, shocked at the thought of being discovered in the fact of making her jaunting-cart a market-cart, reddened up to the eyes, while the widow squeezed herself closer into the corner.

Tom, seeing the increasing embarrassment of Biddy, and her desire to be off, still would talk to her, for the love of mischief.

"I beg your pardon," he continued, "just one moment more—I wanted to ask, was it not apoplexy, for I heard an odd report about the death?"

"Oh, yes," says Biddy; "apoplexy—good bye!"

"Did he speak at all?" asked Tom.

"Baa!" says the lamb.

Tom cocked his ears, Biddy grew redder, and the widow crammed her handkerchief into her mouth to endeavour to smother her laughter.

"I hope poor Mrs. Flanagan bears it well?" says Tom.

"Poor thing!" says Biddy, "she's inconsolable."

"Baa-a!" says the lamb.

Biddy spoke louder and faster, the widow kicked with laughing, and Tom then suspected whence the sound proceeded.

"She does nothing but cry all day!" says Biddy.

"Baa-a-a!" says the lamb.

The widow could stand it no longer, and a peal of laughter followed the lamb's bleat.

"What is all this?" said Tom, laying hold of the curtains with relentless hand, and, spite of Biddy's screams, rudely unveiling the sanctuary of sorrowing widowhood. Oh! what a sight for the rising—I beg their pardon, the sinking—generation of old gentlemen who take young wives did Tom behold! There was the widow lying back in the corner—she who was represented as inconsolable and crying all day—shaking with laughter, the tears, not of sorrow, but irrepressible mirth rolling down a cheek rosy enough for a bride.

Biddy, of course, joined the shout. Tom roared in an agony of delight. The very driver's risibility rebelled against the habits of respect, and strengthened the chorus; while the lamb, as if conscious of the authorship of the joke, put in a longer and louder "Baa—a-a-a!!!"

Tom, with all his devilment, had good taste enough to feel it was not a scene to linger on; so merely giving a merry nod to each of the ladies, he turned about his horse as fast as he could, and rode away in roars of laughter.

When, in due course of time, the widow again appeared in company, she and Tom Durfy could never meet without smiling at each other. What a pleasant influence lies in mutual smiles! We love the lips which welcome us without words. Such sympathetic influence it was that led the widow and Tom to get better and better acquainted, and like each other more and more, until she thought him the pleasantest fellow in the county, and he thought her the handsomest woman:—besides, she had a good fortune.

The widow, conscious of her charms and her money, did not let Tom, however, lead the quietest life in the world. She liked, with the usual propensity of her sex, occasionally to vex the man she loved, and assert her sway over so good-looking a fellow. He, in his turn, played off the widow very well; and one unfailing source of mirthful reconciliation on Tom's part, whenever the widow was angry, and that he wanted to bring her back to good humour, was to steal behind her chair, and coaxingly putting his head over her fair shoulder, to pat her gently on her peachy cheek, and cry "Baa!"



CHAPTER IX

Andy was in sad disgrace for some days with his mother; but, like all mothers, she soon forgave the blunders of her son—and indeed mothers are well off who have not more than blunders to forgive. Andy did all in his power to make himself useful at home, now that he was out of place and dependent on his mother, and got a day's work here and there where he could. Fortunately the season afforded him more employment than winter months would have done. But the farmers soon had all their crops made up, and when Andy could find no work to be paid for, he began to cut the "scrap o' meadow," as he called it, on a small field of his mother's. Indeed, it was but a "scrap;" for the place where it grew was one of those broken bits of ground so common in the vicinity of mountain ranges, where rocks, protruding through the soil, give the notion of a very fine crop of stones. Now, this locality gave to Andy the opportunity of exercising a bit of his characteristic ingenuity; for when the hay was ready for "cocking," he selected a good thumping rock as the foundation for his haystack, and the superstructure consequently cut a more respectable figure than one could have anticipated from the appearance of the little crop as it lay on the ground; and as no vestige of the rock was visible, the widow, when she came out to see the work completed, wondered and rejoiced at the size of the haystack, and said, "God bless you, Andy, but you're the natest hand for putting up a bit o' hay I ever seen; throth, I didn't think there was the half of it in it!" Little did the widow know that the cock of hay was as great a cheat as a bottle of champagne—more than half bottom. It was all very well for the widow to admire her hay; but at last she came to sell it, and such sales are generally effected in Ireland by the purchaser buying "in the lump," as it is called, that is, calculating the value of the hay from the appearance of the stack as it stands, and drawing it away upon his own cars. Now, as luck would have it, it was Andy's early acquaintance, Owny na Coppal, bought the hay; and in consideration of the lone woman, gave her as good a price as he could afford—for Owny was an honest, open-hearted fellow, though he was a horse-dealer; so he paid the widow the price of her hay on the spot, and said he would draw it away at his convenience.

In a few days Owny's cars and men were sent for this purpose; but when they came to take the haystack to pieces, the solidity of its centre rather astonished them—and instead of the cars going back loaded, two had their journey for nothing, and went home empty. Previously to his men leaving the widow's field, they spoke to her on the subject, and said, "'Pon my conscience, ma'am, the centre o' your haystack was mighty heavy."

"Oh, indeed, it's powerful hay!" said she.

"Maybe so," said they; "but there's not much nourishment in that part of it."

"Not finer hay in Ireland!" said she.

"What's of it, ma'am," said they. "Faix, we think Mr. Doyle will be talkin' to you about it." And they were quite right; for Owny became indignant at being overreached, as he thought, and lost no time in going to the widow to tell her so. When he arrived at her cabin, Andy happened to be in the house; and when the widow raised her voice through the storm of Owny's rage, in protestations that she knew nothing about it, but that "Andy, the darlin', put the cock up with his own hands," then did Owny's passion gather strength.

"Oh! it's you, you vagabone, is it?" said he, shaking his whip at Andy, with whom he never had had the honour of a conversation since the memorable day when his horse was nearly killed. "So this is more o' your purty work! Bad cess to you! wasn't it enough for you to nigh-hand kill one o' my horses, without plottin' to chate the rest o' them?"

"Is it me chate them?" said Andy. "Throth, I wouldn't wrong a dumb baste for the world."

"Not he, indeed, Misther Doyle!" said the widow.

"Arrah, woman, don't be talkin' your balderdash to me," said Doyle; "sure you took my good money for your hay!"

"And sure I gave all I had to you—what more could I do?"

"Tare an' ounty, woman! who ever heerd of sich a thing as coverin' up a rock wid hay, and sellin' it as the rale thing?"

"'T was Andy done it, Mr. Doyle; hand, act, or part, I hadn't in it."

"Why, then, aren't you ashamed o' yourself?" said Owny Doyle, addressing Andy.

"Why would I be ashamed?" said Andy.

"For chatin'—that's the word, since you provoke me."

"What I done is not chatin'," said Andy. "I had a blessed example for it."

"Oh! do you hear this!" shouted Owny, nearly provoked to take the worth of his money out of Andy's ribs.

"Yes, I say a blessed example," said Andy. "Sure, didn't the blessed Saint Peter build his church upon a rock, and why shouldn't I build my cock o' hay on a rock?"

Owny, with all his rage, could not help laughing at the ridiculous conceit. "By this and that, Andy," said he, "you're always sayin' or doin' the quarest things in the counthry, bad cess to you!" So he laid his whip upon his little hack instead of Andy, and galloped off.

Andy went over the next day to the neighbouring town, where Owny Doyle kept a little inn and a couple of post-chaises (such as they were), and expressed much sorrow that Owny had been deceived by the appearance of the hay; "but I'll pay you the differ out o' my wages, Misther Doyle—in throth I will—that is, whenever I have any wages to get: for the Squire turned me off, you see, and I'm out of place at this present."

"Oh, never mind it," said Owny. "Sure, it was the widow woman got the money, and I don't begrudge it; and now that it's all past and gone, I forgive you. But tell me, Andy, what put such a quare thing into your head?"

"Why, you see," said Andy, "I didn't like the poor mother's pride should be let down in the eyes o' the neighbours; and so I made the weeshy bit o' hay look as dacent as I could—but, at the same time, I wouldn't chate any one for the world, Misther Doyle."

"Throth, I b'lieve you wouldn't, Andy; but, 'pon my sowl, the next time I go buy hay, I'll take care that Saint Pether hasn't any hand in it."

Owny turned on his heel, and was walking away with that air of satisfaction which men so commonly assume after fancying they have said a good thing, when Andy interrupted his retreat by an interjectional "Misther Doyle?"

"Well," said Owny, looking over his shoulder.

"I was thinkin', sir," said Andy.

"For the first time in your life, I b'lieve," said Owny: "and what was it you wor thinkin'?"

"I was thinkin' o' dhrivin' a chay, sir."

"And what's that to me?" said Owny.

"Sure I might dhrive one o' your chaises."

"And kill more o' my horses, Andy—eh? No, no, faix, I'm afeer'd o' you, Andy."



"Not a boy in Ireland knows dhrivin' betther nor me, any way," said Andy.

"Faix, it's any way and every way but the way you ought you'd dhrive, sure enough, I b'lieve: but, at all events, I don't want a post-boy, Andy—I have Micky Doolin, and his brother Pether, and them's enough for me.

"Maybe you'd be wantin' a helper in the stable, Misther Doyle?"

"No, Andy; but the first time I want to make hay to advantage, I'll send for you," said Owny, laughing, as he entered his house, and nodding at Andy, who returned a capacious grin to Owny's shrewd smile, like the exaggerated reflection of a concave mirror. But the grin soon subsided, for men seldom prolong the laugh that is raised at their own expense; and the corners of Andy's mouth turned down as his hand turned up to the back of his head, which he rubbed, as he sauntered down the street from Owny Doyle's.

It was some miles to Andy's home, and night over-took him on the way. As he trudged along in the middle of the road he was looking up at a waning moon and some few stars twinkling through the gloom, absorbed in many sublime thoughts as to their existence, and wondering what they were made of, when his cogitations were cut short by tumbling over something which lay in the middle of the highway; and on scrambling to his legs again, and seeking to investigate the cause of his fall, he was rather surprised to find a man lying in such a state of insensibility that all Andy's efforts could not rouse him. While he was standing over him, undecided as to what he should do, the sound of approaching wheels, and the rapid steps of galloping horses, attracted his attention; and it became evident that unless the chaise and pair which he now saw in advance were brought to pull up, the cares of the man in the middle of the road would be very soon over. Andy shouted lustily, but to his every "Halloo there!" the crack of the whip replied, and accelerated speed instead of a halt was the consequence; at last, in desperation, Andy planted himself in the middle of the road, and with out-spread arms before the horses, succeeded in arresting their progress, while he shouted "Stop!" at the top of his voice.

A pistol-shot from the chaise was the consequence of Andy's summons, for a certain Mr. Furlong, a foppish young gentleman, travelling from the castle of Dublin, never dreamed that a humane purpose could produce the cry of "Stop," on a horrid Irish road; and as he was reared in the ridiculous belief that every man ran a great risk of his life who ventured outside the city of Dublin, he travelled with a brace of loaded pistols beside him; and as he had been anticipating murder and robbery ever since nightfall, he did not await the demand for his "money or his life" to defend both, but fired away the instant he heard the word "Stop!" and fortunate it was for Andy that the traveller's hurry impaired his aim. Before he could discharge a second pistol, Andy had screened himself under the horses' heads; and recognising in the postilion his friend Micky Doolin, he shouted out, "Micky, jewel, don't let them be shootin' me!"

Now Micky's cares were quite enough engaged on his own account: for the first pistol-shot made the horses plunge violently, and the second time Furlong blazed away set the saddle-horse kicking at such a rate, that all Micky's horsemanship was required to preserve his seat; added to which, the dread of being shot came over him, and he crouched low on the grey's neck, holding fast by the mane, and shouting for mercy as well as Andy, who still kept roaring to Mick, "not to let them be shootin' him," while he held his hat above him, in the fashion of a shield, as if that would have proved any protection against a bullet. "Who are you at all?" said Mick.

"Andy Rooney, sure."

"And what do you want?"

"To save the man's life."

The last words only caught the ear of the frightened Furlong; and as the phrase "his life" seemed a personal threat to himself, he swore a trembling oath at the postilion that he would shoot him if he did not dwive on, for he abjured the use of that rough letter, R, which the Irish so much rejoice in. "Dwive on, you wascal, dwive on!" exclaimed Mr. Furlong.

"There's no fear o' you, sir," said Micky, "it's a friend o' my own."

Mr. Furlong was not quite satisfied that he was therefore the safer.

"And what is it at all, Andy?" continued Mick.

"I tell you there's a man lying dead in the road here, and sure you'll kill him, if you dhrive over him."

"How could I kill him any more than he is kilt," says Mick, "if he's dead already?"

"Well, no matther for that," says Andy. "'Light off your horse, will you, and help me to rise him?"

Mick dismounted, and assisted Andy in lifting the prostrate man from the centre of the road to the slope of turf which bordered its side. They judged he was not dead, however, from the warmth of the body; but that he should still sleep seemed astonishing, considering the quantity of shaking and kicking they gave him.

"I b'lieve it's drunk he is," said Mick.

"He gave a grunt that time," said Andy; "shake him again, and he'll spake."

To a fresh shaking the drunken man at last gave some tokens of returning consciousness, by making several winding blows at his benefactors, and uttering some half-intelligent maledictions.

"Bad luck to you, do you know where you are?" said Mick.

"Well!" was the drunken ejaculation.

"By this and that, it's my brother Pether," said Mick. "We wondhered what had kept him so late with the return shay, and this is the way it is. He tumbled off his horses, dhrunk: and where's the shay, I wondher? Oh, murdher! what will Misther Doyle say?"

"What's the weason you don't dwive on?" said Mr. Furlong, putting his head out of the chaise.

"It's one on the road here, your honour, almost killed."

"Was it wobbers?" asked Mr. Furlong.

"Maybe you'd take him into the shay wid you, sir?"

"What a wequest!—dwive on, sir!"

"Sure I can't lave my brother on the road, sir."

"Your bwother!—and you pwesume to put your bwother to wide with me? You'll put me in the debdest wage if you don't dwive on."

"'Faith, then, I won't dhrive on and lave my brother here on the road."

"You rascally wappawee!" exclaimed Furlong.

"See, Andy," said Micky Doolan; "will you get up and dhrive him, while I stay with Pether?"

"To be sure I will," said Andy; "where is he goin'?"

"To the Squire's," said Mick; "and when you lave him there, make haste back, and I'll dhrive Pether home."

Andy mounted into Mick's saddle; and although the traveller "pwotested" against it, and threatened "pwoceedings" and "magistrates," Mick was unmoved in his brotherly love. As a last remonstrance, Furlong exclaimed, "And pewhaps this fellow can't wide, and don't know the woad."

"Is it not know the road to the Squire's?—wow! wow!" said Andy. "It's I that'll rattle you there in no time, your honour."

"Well, wattle away then!" said the enraged traveller, as he threw himself back in the chaise, cursing all the postilions in Ireland.

Now, it was to Squire O'Grady's that Mr. Furlong wanted to go; but in the confusion of the moment the name of O'Grady never once was mentioned; and with the title of "Squire," Andy never associated another idea than that of his late master, Mr. Egan.

Mr. Furlong, it has been stated, was an official of Dublin Castle, and had been despatched on electioneering business to the country. He was related to a gentleman of the same name who held a lucrative post under government, and was well known as an active agent in all affairs requiring what in Ireland was called "Castle influence;" and this, his relative, was now despatched, for the first time, on a similar employment. By the way, while his name is before one, a little anecdote may be appropriately introduced, illustrative of the wild waggery prevailing in the streets of Dublin in those days.

Those days were the good old days of true virtue! When a bishop who had daughters to marry, would advance a deserving young curate to a good living, and, not content with that manifestation of his regard, would give him one of his own children for a wife! Those were the days when, the country being in danger, fathers were willing to sacrifice, not only their sons, but their daughters on the altar of patriotism! Do you doubt it?—unbelieving and selfish creatures of these degenerate times! Listen! A certain father waited upon the Irish Secretary, one fine morning, and in that peculiar strain which secretaries of state must be pretty well used to, descanted at some length on the devotion he had always shown to the government, and yet they had given him no proof of their confidence. The Secretary declared they had the highest sense of his merits, and that they had given him their entire confidence.

"But you have given me nothing else, my lord," was the answer.

"My dear sir, of late we have not had any proof of sufficient weight in our gift to convince you."

"Oh, I beg your pardon, my lord; there's a majority of the —— dragoons vacant."

"Very true, my dear sir; and if you had a child to devote to the service of your country, no one should have the majority sooner."

"Thank you, my lord," said the worthy man with a low bow; "then I have a child."

"Bless me, sir! I never heard you had a son."

"No, my lord, but I have a daughter."

"A daughter!" said my Lord Secretary, with a look of surprise; "but you forget, sir—this is a regiment—a dragoon regiment."

"Oh, she rides elegant," said her father.

"But, my dear sir—a woman?"

"Why shouldn't a woman do her duty, my lord, as well as a man, when the country is in danger? I'm ready to sacrifice my daughter," said the heroic man, with an air worthy of Virginius.

"My dear sir, this is really impossible; you know it's impossible."

"I know no such thing, my lord. But I'll tell you what I know: there's a bill coming on next week—and there are ten friends of mine who have not made up their minds yet."

"My dear sir," said the Lord Secretary, squeezing his hand with vehement friendship, "why place us in this dreadful difficulty? It would be impossible even to draw up the commission;—fancy, 'Major Maria,' or 'Major Margery'!"

"Oh, my lord," said my father quickly, "I have fancied all that long ago, and got a cure ready for it. My wife not having been blessed with boys, we thought it wise to make the girls ready for any chance that might turn up, and so we christened the eldest George, the second Jack, and the third Tom; which enables us to call them Georgina, Jacqueline, and Thomasine, in company, while the secret of their real names rests between ourselves and the parish register. Now, my lord, what do you say? I have George, Jack, and Tom—think of your bill!" The argument was conclusive, and the patriotic man got the majority of a cavalry corps, with perpetual leave of absence, for his daughter Jack, who would much rather have joined the regiment.

Such were the days in which our Furlong flourished; and in such days it will not be wondered at that a Secretary, when he had no place to give away, invented one. The old saying has it, that "Necessity is the mother of invention;" but an Irish Secretary can beat necessity hollow. For example—

A commission was issued, with a handsome salary to the commissioner, to make a measurement through all the streets of Dublin, ascertaining the exact distances from the Castle, from a furlong upwards: and for many a year did the commission work, inserting handsome stone slabs into walls of most ignorant houses, till then unconscious of their precise proximity or remoteness from the seat of government. Ever after that, if you saw some portly building, blushing in the pride of red brick, and perfumed with fresh paint, and saw the tablet recording the interesting fact thus—

FROM THE CASTLE, ONE FURLONG.

Fancy might suggest that the house rejoiced, as it were, in its honoured position, and did

—"look so fine, and smell so sweet,"

because it was under the nose of viceroyalty, while the suburbs revealed poor tatterdemalion tenements, dropping their slates like tears, and uttering their hollow sighs through empty casements, merely because they were "one mile two furlongs from the Castle." But the new stone tablet which told you so seemed to mock their misery, and looked like a fresh stab into their poor old sides; as if the rapier of a king had killed a beggar.

This very original measure of measurement was provocative of ridicule or indignation, as the impatient might happen to be infected; but while the affair was in full blow, Mr. Furlong, who was the commissioner, while walking in Sackville-street, one day, had a goodly sheet of paper pinned to his back by some—

—"sweet Roman hand,"

bearing, in large letters, the inversion of one of his own tablets,

ONE FURLONG FROM THE CASTLE.

and as he swaggered along in conscious dignity, he wondered at the shouts of laughter ringing behind him, and turned round occasionally to see the cause; but ever as he turned, faces were screwed up into seriousness, while the laughter rang again in his rear. Furlong was bewildered, and much as he was used to the mirthfulness of an Irish populace, he certainly did wonder what fiend of fun possessed them that day, until the hall porter of the secretary's office solved the enigma by respectfully asking would he not take the placard from his back before he presented himself. The Mister Furlong who is engaged in our story was the nephew of the man of measurement memory; and his mother, a vulgar woman, sent her son to England to be educated, that he might "pick up the ax'nt; 't was so jinteel, the Inglish ax'nt!" And, accordingly, the youth endeavoured all he could to become un-Irish in everything, and was taught to believe that all the virtue and wisdom in Ireland was vested in the Castle and hangers-on thereof, and that the mere people were worse than savages.

With such feelings it was that this English Irishman, employed to open negotiations between the government and Squire O'Grady, visited the wilds of Ireland; and the circumstances attendant on the stopping of the chaise afforded the peculiar genius of Handy Andy an opportunity of making a glorious confusion, by driving the political enemy of the sitting member into his house, where, by a curious coincidence, a strange gentleman was expected every day on a short visit. After Andy had driven some time, he turned round and spoke to Mr. Furlong, through the pane of glass with which the front window-frame of the chaise was not furnished.

"Faix, you wor nigh shootin' me, your honour," said Andy.

"I should not wepwoach myself, if I had," said Mr. Furlong, "when you quied stop on the woad: wobbers always qui stop, and I took you for a wobber."

"Faix, the robbers here, your honour, never axes you to stop at all, but they stop you without axin', or by your lave, or wid your lave. Sure, I was only afeerd you'd dhrive over the man in the road."

"What was that man in the woad doing?"

"Nothin' at all, 'faith, for he wasn't able; he was dhrunk, sir."

"The postilion said he was his bwother."

"Yis, your honour, and he's a postilion himself—only he lost his horses and the shay—he got dhrunk, and fell off."

"Those wascally postilions often get dwunk, I suppose?"

"Oh, common enough, sir, particular now about the 'lection time; for the gentlemin is dhrivin' over the country like mad, right and left, and gives the boys money to dhrink their health, till they are killed a'most with the falls they get."

"Then postilions often fall on the woads here?"

"Throth, the roads is covered with them sometimes, when the 'lections comes an."

"What howwid immowality! I hope you're not dwunk?"

"Faix, I wish I was!" said Andy. "It's a great while since I had a dhrop; but it won't be long so, when your honour gives me something to dhrink your health."

"Well, don't talk, but dwive on."

All Andy's further endeavours to get "his honour" into conversation were unavailing; so he whipped on in silence till his arrival at the gate-house of Merryvale demanded his call for entrance.

"What are you shouting there for?" said the traveller; "cawn't you wing?"

"Oh, they understand the shilloo as well, sir;" and in confirmation of Andy's assurance, the bars of the entrance gates were withdrawn, and the post-chaise rattled up the avenue to the house.

Andy alighted, and gave a thundering tantara-ra at the door. The servant who opened it was surprised at the sight of Andy, and could not repress a shout of wonder. Here Dick Dawson came into the hall, and seeing Andy at the door, gave a loud halloo, and clapped his hands in delight—for he had not seen him since the day of the chase.

"An' is it there you are again, you unlucky vagabone?" said Dick; "and what brings you here?"

"I come with a jintleman to the masther, Misther Dick."

"Oh, it's the visitor, I suppose," said Dick, as he himself went out, with that unceremonious readiness so characteristic of the wild fellow he was, to open the door of the chaise for his brother-in-law's guest.

"You're welcome," said Dick; "come, step in—the servants will look to your luggage. James, get in Mr. ——, I beg your pardon, but 'pon my soul, I forgot your name, though Moriarty told me."

"Mr. Furlong," gently uttered the youth.

"Get in the luggage, James. Come, sir, walk into the dinner-room: we haven't finished our wine yet." With these words Dick ushered in Furlong to the apartment where Squire Egan sat, who rose as they entered. "Mr. Furlong, Ned," said Dick.

"Happy to see you, Mr. Furlong," said the hearty Squire, who shook Furlong's hand in what Furlong considered a most savage manner. "You seem fatigued?"

"Vewy," was the languid reply of the traveller, as he threw himself into a chair.

"Ring the bell for more claret, Dick," said Squire Egan.

"I neveh dwink."

Dick and the Squire both looked at him with amazement, for in the friend of Moriarty they expected to find a hearty fellow.

"A cool bottle wouldn't do a child any harm," said the Squire. "Ring, Dick. And now, Mr. Furlong, tell us how you like the country."

"Not much, I pwotest."

"What do you think of the people?"

"Oh, I don't know:—you'll pawdon me, but—a—in short there are so many wags."

"Oh, there are wags enough, I grant; not funnier d——ls in the world."

"But I mean wags—tatters, I mean."

"Oh, rags. Oh, yes—why, indeed, they've not much clothes to spare."

"And yet these wetches are fweeholders, I'm told."

"Ay, and stout voters too."

"Well, that's all we wequire. By-the-bye, how goes on the canvass, Squire?"

"Famously."

"Oh, wait till I explain to you our plan of opewations from head-qwaters. You'll see how famously we shall wally at the hustings. These Iwish have no idea of tactics: we'll intwoduce the English mode—take them by supwise. We must unseat him."

"Unseat who?" said the Squire.

"That—a—Egan, I think you call him."

The Squire opened his eyes; but Dick, with the ready devilment that was always about him, saw how the land lay in an instant, and making a signal to his brother-in-law, chimed in with an immediate assent to Furlong's assertion, and swore that Egan would be unseated to a certainty. "Come, sir," added Dick, "fill one bumper at least to a toast I propose. Here's 'Confusion to Egan, and success to O'Grady.'"

"Success to O'Gwady," faintly echoed Furlong, as he sipped his claret. "These Iwish are so wild—so uncultivated," continued he; "you'll see how I'll supwise them with some of my plans."

"Oh, they're poor ignorant brutes," said Dick, "that know nothing: a man of the world like you would buy and sell them."

"You see, they've no finesse: they have a certain degwee of weadiness, but no depth—no weal finesse."

"Not as much as would physic a snipe," said Dick, who swallowed a glass of claret to conceal a smile.

"What's that you say about snipes and physic?" said Furlong; "what queer things you Iwish do say."

"Oh, we've plenty o' queer fellows here," said Dick; "but you are not taking your claret."

"The twuth is, I am fatigued—vewy—and if you'd allow me, Mr. O'Gwady, I should like to go to my woom; we'll talk over business to-mowwow."

"Certainly," said the Squire, who was glad to get rid of him, for the scene was becoming too much for his gravity. So Dick Dawson lighted Furlong to his room, and after heaping civilities upon him, left him to sleep in the camp of his enemies, and then returned to the dining-room, to enjoy with the Squire the laugh they were so long obliged to repress, and to drink another bottle of claret on the strength of the joke.

"What shall we do with him, Dick?" said the Squire.

"Pump him as dry as a lime-kiln," said Dick, "and then send him off to O'Grady—all's fair in war."

"To be sure," said the Squire. "Unseat me, indeed! he was near it, sure enough, for I thought I'd have dropped off my chair with surprise when he said it."

"And the conceit and impudence of the fellow," said Dick. "The ignorant Iwish—nothing will serve him but abusing his own countrymen! 'The ignorant Irish!'—oh, is that all you learn in Oxford, my boy?—just wait, my buck—if I don't astonish your weak mind, it's no matter!"

"'Faith, he has brought his pigs to a pretty market here," said the Squire; "but how did he come here? how was the mistake made?"

"The way every mistake in the country is made," said Dick. "Handy Andy drove him here."

"More power to you, Andy," said the Squire. "Come, Dick, we'll drink Andy's health—this is a mistake on the right side."

And Andy's health was drunk, as well as several other healths. In short, the Squire and Dick the Devil were in high glee—the dining-room rang with laughter to a late hour; and the next morning a great many empty claret bottles were on the table—and a few on the floor.



CHAPTER X

Notwithstanding the deep potations of the Squire and Dick Dawson the night before, both were too much excited by the arrival of Furlong to permit their being laggards in the morning; they were up and in consultation at an early hour, for the purpose of carrying on prosperously the mystification so well begun on the Castle-agent.

"Now, first of all, Dick," said the Squire, "is it fair, do you think?"

"Fair!" said Dick, opening his eyes in astonishment. "Why who ever heard of any one questioning anything being fair in love, or war, or electioneering? To be sure, it's fair—and more particularly when the conceited coxcomb has been telling us how he'll astonish with his plans the poor ignorant Irish, whom he holds in such contempt. Now, let me alone, and I'll get all his plans out of him, turn him inside out like a glove, pump him as dry as a pond in the summer, squeeze him like a lemon—and let him see whether the poor ignorant Iwish, as he softly calls us, are not an overmatch for him at the finesse upon which he seems so much to pride himself."

"Egad! I believe you're right, Dick," said the Squire, whose qualms were quite overcome by the argument last advanced; for if one thing more than another provoked him, it was the impertinent self-conceit of presuming and shallow strangers, who fancied their hackneyed and cut-and-dry knowledge of the common-places of the world gave them a mental elevation above an intelligent people of primitive habits, whose simplicity of life is so often set down to stupidity, whose contentment under privation is frequently attributed to laziness, and whose poverty is constantly coupled with the epithet "ignorant." "A poor ignorant creature," indeed, is a common term of reproach, as if poverty and ignorance must be inseparable. If a list could be obtained of the rich ignorant people, it would be no flattering document to stick on the door of the temple of Mammon.

"Well, Ned," said Dick, "as you agree to do the Englishman, Murphy will be a grand help to us; it is the very thing he will have his heart in. Murtough will be worth his weight in gold to us; I will ride over to him and bring him back with me to spend the day here; and you, in the mean time, can put every one about the house on their guard not to spoil the fun by letting the cat out of the bag too soon; we'll shake her ourselves in good time, and maybe we won't have fun in the hunt!"

"You're right, Dick. Murphy is the very man for our money. Do you be off for him, and I will take care that all shall be right at home here."

In ten minutes more Dick was in his saddle, and riding hard for Murtough Murphy's. A good horse and a sharp pair of spurs were not long in placing him vis-a-vis with the merry attorney, whom he found in his stable-yard up to his eyes in business with some ragged country fellows, the majority of whom were loud in vociferating their praises of certain dogs; while Murtough drew from one of them, from time to time, a solemn assurance, given with many significant shakes of the head, and uplifting of hands and eyes, "that was the finest badger in the world!" Murtough turned his head on hearing the rattle of the horse's feet, as Dick the Devil dashed into the stable-yard, and with a view-halloo welcomed him.

"You're just in time, Dick. By the powers! we'll have the finest day's sport you've seen for some time."

"I think we shall," said Dick, "if you come with me."

"No; but you come with me," said Murtough. "The grandest badger-fight, sir."

"Pooh!" returned Dick; "I've better fun for you." He then told them of the accident that conveyed their political enemy into their toils; "and the beauty of it is," said Dick, "that he has not the remotest suspicion of the condition he's in, and fancies himself able to buy and sell all Ireland—horse-dealers and attorneys included."

"That's elegant!" said Murphy.

"He's come to enlighten us, Murtough," said Dick.

"And maybe, we won't return the compliment," said Murtough. "Just let me put on my boots. Hilloa, you Larry! saddle the grey. Don't you cut the pup's ears till I come home! and if Mr. Ferguson sends over for the draft of the lease, tell him it won't be ready till to-morrow. Molly! Molly! where are you, you old divil? Sew on that button for me—I forgot to tell you yesterday—make haste! I won't delay you a moment, Dick. Stop a minute, though. I say, Lanty Houligan—mind, on your peril, you old vagabone, don't let them fight that badger without me. Now, Dick, I'll be with you in the twinkling of a bedpost, and do the Englishman, and that smart! Bad luck to their conceit! they think we can do nothing regular in Ireland."

On his arrival at Merryvale and hearing how matters stood, Murtough Murphy was in a perfect agony of delight in anticipating the mystification of the kidnapped agent. Dick's intention had been to take him along with them on their canvass, and openly engage him in all their electioneering movements; but to this Murphy objected, as running too great a risk of discovery. He recommended rather to engage Furlong in amusements which would detain him from O'Grady and his party, and gain time for their side; and get out of him all the electioneering plot of the other party, indirectly; but to have as little real electioneering business as possible. "If you do, Dick," said Murphy, "take my word, we shall betray ourselves somehow or other—he could not be so soft as not to see it; but let us be content to amuse him with all sorts of absurd stories of Ireland—and the Irish—tell him magnificent lies—astonish him with grand materials for a note-book, and work him up to publish—that's the plan, sir!"

The three conspirators now joined the family party, which had just sat down to breakfast; Dick, in his own jolly way, hoped Furlong had slept well.

"Vewy," said Furlong, as he sipped his tea with an air of peculiar nonchalance which was meant to fascinate Fanny Dawson, who, when Furlong addressed to her his first silly common-place, with his peculiar non-pronunciation of the letter R, established a lisp directly, and it was as much as her sister, Mrs. Egan, could do to keep her countenance, as Fanny went on slaughtering the S's as fast as Furlong ruined R's.

"I'll twouble you for a little mo' queam," said he, holding forth his cup and saucer with an affected air.

"Perhapth you'd like thum more theugar," lisped Fanny, lifting the sugar-tongs with an exquisite curl of her little finger.

"I'm glad to hear you slept well," said Dick to Furlong.

"To be sure he slept well," said Murphy; "this is the sleepiest air in the world."

"The sleepiest air?" returned Furlong, somewhat surprised. "That's vewy odd."

"Not at all, sir," said Murphy; "well known fact. When I first came to this part of the country, I used to sleep for two days together sometimes. Whenever I wanted to rise early, I was always obliged to get up the night before."

This was said by the brazen attorney, from his seat at a side-table, which was amply provided with a large dish of boiled potatoes, capacious jugs of milk, a quantity of cold meat and game. Murphy had his mouth half filled with potatoes as he spoke, and swallowed a large draught of milk as the stranger swallowed Murphy's lie.

"You don't eat potatoes, I perceive, sir," said Murphy.

"Not for bweakfast," said Furlong.

"Do you for thupper?" lisped Fanny.

"Never in England," he replied.

"Finest things in the world, sir, for the intellect," said Murphy. "I attribute the natural intelligence of the Irish entirely to their eating them."

"Oh, they are thometimes tho thleepy at the Cathtle," said Fanny.

"Weally!" said the exquisite, with the utmost simplicity.

"Fanny is very provoking, Mr. Furlong," said Mrs. Egan, who was obliged to say something with a smile, to avoid the laugh which continued silence would have forced upon her.

"Oh, no!" said the dandy, looking tenderly at Fanny; "only vewy agweable—fond of a little wepa'tee."

"They call me thatirical here," said Fanny, "only fanthy!" and she cast down her eyes with an exquisite affectation of innocence.

"By-the-bye, when does your post awive here—the mail I mean?" said Furlong.

"About nine in the morning," said the Squire.

"And when does it go out?"

"About one in the afternoon."

"And how far is the post town fwom your house?"

"About eight or nine miles."

"Then you can answer your letters by wetu'n of post?"

"Oh dear, no!" said the Squire; "the boy takes any letters that may be for the post the following morning, as he goes to the town to look for letters."

"But you lose a post by that," said Furlong.

"And what matter?" said the Squire.

The official's notions of regularity were somewhat startled by the Squire's answer; so he pushed him with a few more questions. In reply to one of the last, the Squire represented that the post-boy was saved going twice a day by the present arrangement.

"Ay, but you lose a post, my dear sir," said Furlong, who still clung with pertinacity to the fitness of saving a post. "Don't you see that you might weceive your letter at half-past ten; well, then you'll have a full hour to wite you' answer; that's quite enough time, I should think, for you wetu'ning an answer."

"But, my dear sir," said Murtough Murphy, "our grand object in Ireland is not to answer letters."

"Oh!—ah!—hum!—indeed!—well, that's odd; how vewy odd you Iwish are!"

"Sure, that's what makes us such pleasant fellows," said Murtough. "If we were like the rest of the world, there would be nothing remarkable about us; and who'd care for us?"

"Well, Mr. Muffy, you say such queer things—weally."

"Ay, and I do queer things sometimes—don't I, Squire?"

"There's no denying it, Murphy."

"Now, Mr. O'Gwady," said Furlong, "had we not better talk over our election business?"

"Oh, hang business to-day!" said Murphy: "let's have some fishing: I'll show you such salmon-fishing as you never saw in your life."

"What do you say, Mr. O'Gwady?" said Furlong.

"'Faith, I think we might as well amuse ourselves."

"But the election is weally of such consequence; I should think it would be a wema'kably close contest, and we have no time to lose; I should think—with submission——"

"My dear sir," said Murphy, "we'll beat them hollow: our canvass has been most prosperous; there's only one thing I'm afraid of."

"What's that?" said Furlong.

"That Egan has money; and I'm afraid he'll bribe high."

"As for bwibewy, neve' mind that," said Furlong, with a very wise nod of his head and a sagacious wink. "We'll spend money too. We're pwepawed for that: plenty of money will be advanced, for the gov'nment is weally anxious that Mr. Scatte'bwain should come in."

"Oh, then, all's right?" said Murphy. "But—whisper—Mr. Furlong—be cautious how you mention money, for there are sharp fellows about here, and there's no knowing how the wind of the word might put the other party on their guard, and, maybe, help to unseat our man upon a petition."

"Oh, let me alone," said Furlong. "I know a twick too many for that: let them catch me betwaying a secwet! No, no—wather too sharp for that!"

"Oh! don't suppose, my dear sir," said Murphy, "that I doubt your caution for a moment. I see, sir, in the twinkling of an eye, a man's character—always did—always could, since I was the height o' that;" and Murphy stooped down and extended his hand about two feet above the floor, while he looked up in the face of the man he was humbugging with the most unblushing impudence—"since I was the height o' that, sir, I had a natural quickness for discerning character; and I see you're a young gentleman of superior acuteness and discretion; but, at the same time, don't be angry with me for just hinting to you, that some of these Irish chaps are d——d rogues. I beg your pardon, Mrs. O'Grady, for saying d——n before a lady;" and he made a low bow to Mrs. Egan, who was obliged to leave the room to hide her laughter.

"Now," said Furlong, "suppose befo'e the opening of the poll, we should pwopose, as it were, with a view to save time, that the bwibery oath should not be administe'd on either side."

"That's an elegant idea!" said Murphy. "By the wig o' the chief justice—and that's a big oath—you're a janius, Misther Furlong, and I admire you. Sir, you're worth your weight in gold to us!"

"Oh, you flatte' me!—weally," said Furlong, with affected modesty, while he ran his fingers through his Macassar-oiled ringlets.

"Well, now for a start to the river, and won't we have sport! You English-taught gentlemen have only one fault on the face of the earth—you're too fond of business—you make yourselves slaves to propriety—there's no fun in you."

"I beg pawdon—there," said Furlong, "we like fun in good time."

"Ay; but there's where we beat you," said Murphy, triumphantly; "the genuine home-bred Paddy makes time for fun sooner than anything else—we take our own way, and live the longer."

"Ah! you lose your time—though—excuse me; you lose your time, indeed."

"Well, 'divil may care,' as Punch said when he lost mass, 'there's more churches nor one,' says he, and that's the way with us," said Murphy. "Come, Dick, get the fishing-lines ready; heigh for the salmon-fishery! You must know, Misther Furlong, we fish for salmon with line here."

"I don't see how you could fish any other way," said the dandy, smiling at Murphy, as if he had caught him in saying something absurd.

"Ah, you rogue," said Murphy, affecting to be hit; "you're too sharp for us poor Irish fellows; but you know the old saying, 'An Irishman has leave to speak twice;' but, after all, it's no great mistake I've made: for when I say we fish for salmon with a line, I mean we don't use a rod, but a leaded line, the same as in sea-fishing."

"How vewy extwao'dinary! Why, I should think that impossible."

"And why should it be impossible?" said Murphy, with the most unabashed impudence. "Have not all nations habits and customs peculiar to themselves? Don't the English catch their fish by striking them under water with a long rough stick, and a little cur-whibble of a bone at the end of it?"

"Speawing them, you mean," said Furlong.

"Ay, you know the right name, of course; but isn't that quite as odd, or more so than our way here?"

"That's vewy twue indeed; but your sea-line fishing in a wiver, and for salmon, strikes me as vewy singular."

"Well, sir, the older we grow the more we learn. You'll see what fine sport it is; but don't lose any more time: let us be off to the river at once."

"I'll make a slight change in my dwess, if you please—I'll be down immediately;" and Furlong left the room.

During his absence, the Squire, Dick, and Murphy, enjoyed a hearty laugh, and ran over the future proceedings of the day.

"But what do you mean by this salmon-fishing, Murphy?" said Dick; "you know there never was a salmon in the river."

"But there will be to-day," said Murphy; "and a magnificent gudgeon will see him caught. What a spoon that fellow is!—we've got the bribery out of him already."

"You did that well, Murphy," said the Squire.

"Be at him again when he comes down," said Dick.

"No, no," said Murphy, "let him alone; he is so conceited about his talent for business, that he will be talking of it without our pushing him: just give him rope enough, and he'd hang himself; we'll have the whole of their campaign out before the day is over."



CHAPTER XI

All men love to gain their ends; most men are contented with the shortest road to them, while others like by-paths. Some carry an innate love of triumph to a pitch of epicurism, and are not content unless the triumph be achieved in a certain way, making collateral passions accessories before or after the fact; and Murphy was one of the number. To him, a triumph without fun was beef without mustard, lamb without salad, turbot without lobster sauce. Now, to entangle Furlong in their meshes was not sufficient for him; to detain him from his friends, every moment betraying something of their electioneering movements, though sufficiently ludicrous in itself, was not enough for Murtough!—he would make his captive a source of ridicule as well as profit, and while plenty of real amusements might have served his end, to divert the stranger for the day, this mock fishing-party was planned to brighten with fresh beams the halo of the ridiculous which already encircled the magnanimous Furlong.

"I'm still in the dark," said Dick, "about the salmon. As I said before, there never was a salmon in the river."

"But, as I said before," replied Murphy, "there will be to-day; and you must help me in playing off the trick."

"But what is this trick? Confound you, you're as mysterious as a chancery suit."

"I wish I was likely to last half as long," said Murphy.

"The trick!" said Dick. "Bad luck to you, tell me the trick, and don't keep me waiting, like a poor relation."

"You have two boats on the river?" said Murphy.

"Yes."

"Well, you must get into one with our victim: and I can get into the other with the salmon."

"But where's the salmon, Murphy?"

"In the house, for I sent one over this morning, a present to Mrs. Egan. You must keep away about thirty yards or so, when we get afloat, that our dear friend may not perceive the trick—and in proper time I will hook my dead salmon on one of my lines, drop him over the off-side of the boat, pass him round to the gun-wale within view of our intelligent castle customer, make a great outcry, swear I have a noble bite, haul up my fish with an enormous splash, and, affecting to kill him in the boat, hold up my salmon in triumph."

"It's a capital notion, Murphy, if he doesn't smoke the trick."

"He'll smoke the salmon sooner. Never mind, if I don't hoax him: I'll bet you what you like he's done."

"I hear him coming down-stairs," said the Squire.

"Then send off the salmon in a basket by one of the boys, Dick," said Murphy; "and you, Squire, may go about your canvass, and leave us in care of the enemy."

All was done as Murphy proposed, and, in something less than an hour, Furlong and Dick in one boat, and Murphy and his attendant gossoon in another, were afloat on the river, to initiate the Dublin citizen into the mysteries of this new mode of salmon-fishing.

The sport at first was slack, and no wonder; and Furlong began to grow tired, when Murphy hooked on his salmon, and gently brought it round under the water within range of his victim's observation.

"This is wather dull work," said Furlong.

"Wait awhile, my dear sir; they are never lively in biting so early as this—they're not set about feeding in earnest yet. Hilloa! by the Hokey I have him!" shouted Murphy. Furlong looked on with great anxiety, as Murphy made a well-feigned struggle with a heavy fish.

"By this and that, he's a whopper!" cried Murphy in ecstasy. "He's kicking like a two-year old. I have him, though, as fast as the rock o' Dunamase. Come up, you thief!" cried he, with an exulting shout, as he pulled up the salmon with all the splash he could produce; and suddenly whipping the fish over the side into the boat, he began flapping it about as if it were plunging in the death-struggle. As soon as he had affected to kill it, he held it up in triumph before the castle conjuror, who was quite taken in by the feint, and protested his surprise loudly.

"Oh! that's nothing to what we'll do yet. If the day should become a little more overcast, we'd have splendid sport, sir."

"Well, I could not have believed, if I hadn't seen it," said Furlong.

"Oh! you'll see more than that, my boy, before we've done with them."

"But I haven't got even a bite yet!"

"Nor I either," said Dick; "you're not worse off than I am."

"But how extwao'dinawy it is that I have not seen a fish wise since I have been on the wiver."

"That's because they see us watching them," said Dick. "The d——l such cunning brutes I ever met with as the fish in this river: now, if you were at a distance from the bank, you'd see them jumping as lively as grasshoppers. Whisht! I think I had a nibble."

"You don't seem to have good sport there," shouted Murphy.

"Vewy poo' indeed," said Furlong, dolefully.

"Play your line a little," said Murphy; "keep the bait lively—you're not up to the way of fascinating them yet."

"Why, no; it's wather noo to me."

"'Faith!" said Murphy to himself, "it's new to all of us. It's a bran new invention in the fishing line. Billy," said he to the gossoon, who was in the boat with him, "we must catch a salmon again to divart that strange gentleman—hook him on, my buck."

"Yes, sir," said Billy, with delighted eagerness, for the boy entered into the fun of the thing heart and soul, and as he hooked on the salmon for a second haul, he interlarded his labours with such ejaculations as, "Oh, Misther Murphy, sir, but you're the funny jintleman. Oh, Misther Murphy, sir, how soft the stranger is, sir. The salmon's ready for ketchin' now, sir. Will you ketch him yet, sir?"

"Coax him round, Billy," said Murphy.

The young imp executed the manoeuvre with adroitness; and Murphy was preparing for another haul, as Furlong's weariness began to manifest itself.

"Do you intend wemaining here all day? Do you know, I think I've no chance of any spo't."

"Oh, wait till you hook one fish, at all events," said Murphy; "just have it to say you killed a salmon in the new style. The day is promising better. I'm sure we'll have sport yet. Hilloa! I've another!" and Murphy began hauling in the salmon. "Billy, you rascal, get ready; watch him—that's it—mind him now!" Billy put out his gaff to seize the prize, and, making a grand swoop, affected to miss the fish. "Gaff him, you thief, gaff him!" shouted Murphy, "gaff him, or he'll be off."

"Oh, he's so lively, sir!" roared Billy; "he's a rogue, sir—he won't let me put the gaff undher him, sir—ow, he slipped away agin."

"Make haste, Billy, or I can't hold him."

"Oh, the thief!" said Billy; "one would think he was cotcht before, he's so up to it. Ha!—hurroo!—I have him now, sir." Billy made all the splash he could in the water as Murphy lifted the fish to the surface and swung him into the boat. Again there was the flopping and the riot, and Billy screeching, "Kill him, sir!—kill him, sir!—or he'll be off out o' my hands!" In proper time the fish was killed and shown up in triumph, and the imposture completed.

And now Furlong began to experience that peculiar longing for catching a fish, which always possesses men who see fish taken by others; and the desire to have a salmon of his own killing induced him to remain on the river. In the long intervals of idleness which occurred between the occasional hooking up of the salmon, which Murphy did every now and then, Furlong would be talking about business to Dick Dawson, so that they had not been very long on the water until Dick became enlightened on some more very important points connected with the election. Murphy now pushed his boat on towards the shore.

"You're not going yet?" said the anxious fisherman;—"do wait till I catch a fish!"

"Certainly," said Murphy: "I'm only going to put Billy ashore, and send home what we've already caught. Mrs. O'Grady is passionately fond of salmon."

Billy was landed, and a large basket in which the salmon had been brought down to the boat, was landed also—empty; and Murphy, lifting the basket as if it contained a considerable weight, placed it on Billy's head, and the sly young rascal bent beneath it, as if all the fish Murphy had pretended to take were really in it; and he went on his homeward way, with a tottering step, as if the load were too much for him.

"That boy," said Furlong, "will never be able to cawwy all those fish to the house."

"Oh, they won't be too much for him," said Dick. "Curse the fish! I wish they'd bite. That thief, Murphy, has had all the sport; but he's the best fisherman in the county, I'll own that."

The two boats all this time had been drifting down the river, and on opening a new reach of the stream, a somewhat extraordinary scene of fishing presented itself. It was not like Murphy's fishing, the result of a fertile invention, but the consequence of the evil destiny which presided over all the proceedings of Handy Andy. The fishing-party in the boats beheld another fishing-party on shore, with this difference in the nature of what they sought to catch, that while they in the boats were looking for salmon, those on shore were seeking for a post-chaise; and as about a third part of a vehicle so called was apparent above the water, Furlong exclaimed with extreme surprise—

"Well, if it ain't a post-chaise!"

"Oh! that's nothing extraordinary," said Dick; "common enough here."

"How do you mean?"

"We've a custom here of running steeple-chases in post-chaises."

"Oh, thank you," said Furlong. "Come, that's too good."

"You don't believe it, I see," said Dick. "But you did not believe the salmon-fishing till you saw it."

"Oh, come now! How the deuce could you leap a ditch in a post-chaise?"

"I never said we leaped ditches; I only said we rode steeple-chases. The system is this:—You go for a given point, taking high road, by-road, plain, or lane, as the case may be, making the best of your way how you can. Now our horses in this country are celebrated for being good swimmers, so it's a favourite plan to shirk a bridge sometimes by swimming a river."

"But no post-chaise will float," said Furlong, regularly arguing against Dick's mendacious absurdity.

"Oh! we are prepared for that here. The chaises are made light, have cork bottoms, and all the solid work is made hollow; the doors are made water tight, and, if the stream runs strong, the passenger jumps out and swims."

"But that's not fair," said Furlong; "it alters the weight."

"Oh! it's allowed on both sides," said Dick, "so it's all the same. It's as good for the goose as the gander."

"I wather imagine it is much fitter for geese and ganders than human beings. I know I should wather be a goose on the occasion."

All this time they were nearing the party on shore, and as the post-chaise became more developed, so did the personages on the bank of the river: and amongst these Dick Dawson saw Handy Andy in the custody of two men, and Squire O'Grady shaking his fist in his face and storming at him. How all this party came there, it is necessary to explain. When Handy Andy had deposited Furlong at Merryvale, he drove back to pick up the fallen postilion and his brother on the road; but before he reached them, he had to pass a public-house—I say had to pass—but he didn't. Andy stopped, as every honourable postilion is bound to do, to drink the health of the gentleman who gives him the last half-crown: and he was so intent on "doing that same," as they say in Ireland, that Andy's driving became very equivocal afterwards. In short, he drove the post-chaise into the river; the horses got disentangled by kicking the traces (which were very willing to break) into pieces; and Andy, by sticking to the neck of the horse he rode, got out of the water. The horses got home without the post-chaise, and the other post-chaise and pair got home without a postilion, so that Owny Doyle was roused from his bed by the neighing of the horses at the gate of the inn. Great was his surprise at the event, as, half clad, and a candle in his hand, he saw two pair of horses, one chaise, and no driver, at his door. The next morning the plot thickened. Squire O'Grady came to know if a gentleman had arrived at the town on his way to Neck-or-Nothing Hall. The answer was in the affirmative. Then "Where was he?" became a question. Then the report arrived of the post-chaise being upset in the river. Then came stories of postilions falling off, of postilions being changed, of Handy Andy being employed to take the gentleman to the place; and out of these materials the story became current, that "an English gentleman was dhrownded in the river in a post-chaise." O'Grady set off directly with a party to have the river dragged, and near the spot encountering Handy Andy, he ordered him to be seized, and accused him of murdering his friend.

It was in this state of things that the boats approached the party on land, and the moment Dick Dawson saw Handy Andy, he put out his oars and pulled away as hard as he could. At the moment he did so, Andy caught sight of him, and pointing out Furlong and Dick to O'Grady, he shouted, "There he is!—there he is!—I never murdhered him? There he is!—stop him! Misther Dick, stop, for the love of God!"

"What's all this about?" said Furlong, in great amazement.

"Oh, he's a process-server," said Dick; "the people are going to drown him, maybe."

"To dwown him?" said Furlong, in horror.

"If he has luck," said Dick, "they'll only give him a good ducking; but we had better have nothing to do with it. I would not like you to be engaged in one of these popular riots."

"I shouldn't wellish it myself," said Furlong.

"Pull away, Dick," said Murphy; "let them kill the blackguard, if they like."

"But will they kill him weally?" inquired Furlong, somewhat horrified.

"'Faith, it's just as the whim takes them," said Murphy; "but as we wish to be popular on the hustings, we must let them kill as many as they please."

Andy still shouted loud enough to be heard. "Misther Dick, they're goin' to murdher me."

"Poo' w'etch!" said Furlong, with a very uneasy shudder.

"Maybe you'd think it right for us to land, and rescue him," said Murphy, affecting to put about the boat.

"Oh, by no means," said Furlong. "You're bettaw acquainted with the customs of the countwy than I am."

"Then we'll row back to dinner as fast as we can," said Murphy. "Pull away, my hearties!" and, as he bent to his oars, he began bellowing the Canadian Boat-Song, to drown Andy's roar, and when he howled—

"Our voices keep tune,"

there never was a more practical burlesque upon the words; but as he added—

"Our oars keep time,"

he seemed to have such a pleasure in pulling, and looked so lively and florid, that Furlong, chilled by his inactivity on the water, requested Murtough to let him have an oar, to restore circulation by exercise. Murtough complied; but the novice had not pulled many strokes, before his awkwardness produced that peculiar effect called "catching a crab," and a smart blow upon his chest sent him heels over head under the thwarts of the boat.

"Wha-wha-a-t's that?" gasped Furlong, as he scrambled up again.

"You only caught a crab," said Murtough.

"Good Heaven!" said Furlong, "you don't mean to say there are crabs as well as salmon in the wiver."

"Just as many crabs as salmon," said Murtough; "pull away, my hearty.

"Row, brothers, row—the stream runs fast, The rapids are near, and the daylight's past!"



CHAPTER XII

The boats doubled round an angle in the river, and Andy was left in the hands of Squire O'Grady still threatening vengeance; but Andy, as long as the boats remained in sight, heard nothing but his own sweet voice shouting at the top of its pitch, "They're going to murdher me!—Misther Dick, Misther Dick, come back for the love o' God!"

"What are you roaring like a bull for?" said the Squire.

"Why wouldn't I roar, sir? A bull would roar if he had as much rayson."

"A bull has more reason than ever you had, you calf," said the Squire.

"Sure there he is, and can explain it all to you," said Andy, pointing after the boats.

"Who is there?" asked the Squire.

"Misther Dick, and the jintleman that I dhruv there."

"Drove where?"

"To the Squire's."

"What Squire?"

"Squire Egan's, to be sure."

"Hold your tongue, you rascal; you're either drunk still, or telling lies. The gentleman I mean wouldn't go to Mister Egan's; he was coming to me."

"That's the jintleman I dhruv—that's all I know. He was in the shay, and was nigh shootin' me; and Micky Doolin stopped on the road, when his brother was nigh killed, and towld me to get up, for he wouldn't go no farther, when the jintleman objected——"

"What did the gentleman object to?"

"He objected to Pether goin' into the shay."

"Who is Peter?"

"Pether Doolin, to be sure."

"And what brought Peter Doolin there?"

"He fell off the horses——"

"Wasn't it Mick Doolin you said was driving but a moment ago?"

"Ay, sir, but that was th' other shay."

"What other chaise, you vagabond?"

"Th' other shay, your honour, that I never see at all, good or bad—only Pether."

"What diabolical confusion you are making of the story, to be sure! There's no use in talking to you here, I see. Bring him after me," said the Squire, to some of his people standing by. "I must keep him in custody till something more satisfactory is made out about the matter."

"Sure it's not makin' a presner of me you'd be?" said Andy.

"You shall be kept in confinement, you scoundrel, till something is heard of this strange gentleman. I'm afraid he's drowned."

"D——l a dhrowned. I dhruv him to Squire Egan's, I'll take my book oath."

"That's downright nonsense, sir. He would as soon go into Squire Egan's house as go to Fiddler's Green."[5]

[5] Fiddler's Green is supposed to be situated on this (the cooler) side of the regions below.

"'Faith, then, there's worse places than Fiddler's Green," said Andy, "as some people may find out one o' these days."

"I think, boys," said O'Grady, to the surrounding countrymen, "we must drag the river."

"Dhrag the river if you plase," said Andy; "but, for the tendher mercy o' Heaven, don't dhrag me to jail! By all the crosses in a yard o' check, I dhruv the jintleman to Squire Egan's!—and there he was in that boat I showed you five minutes agone."

"Bring him after me," said O'Grady. "The fellow is drunk still, or forgets all about it; I must examine him again. Take him over to the hall, and lock him up till I go home."

"Arrah sure, your honour," said Andy, commencing an appeal.

"If you say another word, you scoundrel," said the Squire, shaking his whip at him, "I'll commit you to jail this minute. Keep a sharp eye after him, Molloy," were the last words of the Squire to a stout-built peasant, who took Andy in charge as the Squire mounted his horse and rode away.

Andy was marched off to Neck-or-Nothing Hall; and, in compliance with the Squire's orders, locked up in the justice-room. This was an apartment where the Squire, in his magisterial capacity, dispensed what he called justice, and what he possible meant to be such; but poor Justice coming out of Squire O'Grady's hands was something like the little woman in the song, who, having her petticoats cut short while she was asleep, exclaimed on her waking—

"As sure as I'm a little woman, this is none of I:"

only that Justice, in the present instance, did not doubt her identity from her nakedness, but from the peculiar dressing Squire O'Grady bestowed upon her—she was so muffled up in O'Gradyism that her own mother (who, by the same token, was Themis) wouldn't know her. Indeed, if I remember, Justice is worse off than mortals respecting her parentage; for while there are many people who do not know who were their fathers, poets are uncertain who was Justice's mother:—some say Aurora, some say Themis. Now, if I might indulge at this moment in a bit of reverie, it would not be unreasonable to suppose that it is the classic disposition of Ireland, which is known to be a very ancient country, that tends to make the operations of Justice assimilate with the uncertainty of her birth; for her dispensations there are as distinct as if they were the offspring of two different influences. One man's justice is not another man's justice; which, I suppose, must arise from the difference of opinion as to who and what Justice is. Perhaps the rich people, who incline to power, may venerate Justice more as the child of Jupiter and Themis; while the unruly ones worship her as the daughter of Titan and Aurora; for undoubtedly the offspring of Aurora must be most welcome to "Peep-o'-day boys."

Well—not to indulge further in reverie—Andy, I say, was locked up in the justice-room; and as I have been making all these observations about Justice, a few words will not be thrown away about the room which she was supposed to inhabit. Then I must say Squire O'Grady did not use her well. The room was a cold, comfortless apartment, with a plastered wall and an earthen floor, save at one end, where a raised platform of boards sustained a desk and one high office-chair. No other seat was in the room, nor was there any lateral window, the room being lighted from the top, so that Justice could be in no way interested with the country outside—she could only contemplate her native heaven through the sky-light. Behind the desk were placed a rude shelf, where some "modern instances," and old ones too, were lying-covered with dust—and a gun-rack, where some carbines with fixed bayonets were paraded in show of authority; so that, to an imaginative mind, the aspect of the books and the fire-arms gave the notion of Justice on the shelf, and Law on the rack.

But, Andy thought not of these things; he had not the imagination which sometimes gives a prisoner a passing pleasure in catching a whimsical conceit from his situation, and, in the midst of his anxiety, anticipating the satisfaction he shall have in saying a good thing, even at the expense of his own suffering. Andy only knew that he was locked up in the justice-room for something he never did. He had only sense enough to feel that he was wronged, without the spirit to wish himself righted; and he sauntered up and down the cold, miserable room, anxiously waiting the arrival of "his honour, Squire O'Grady," to know what his fate might be, and wondering if they would hang him for upsetting a post-chaise in which a gentleman had been riding, rather than brooding future means of redress for his false imprisonment.

There was no window to look out of; he had not the comfort of seeing a passing fellow-creature—for the sight of one's kind is a comfort. He could not even behold the green earth and the freshness of nature, which, though all unconsciously, has still a soothing influence on the uncultivated mind; he had nothing but the walls to look at, and they were blank, save here and there that a burnt stick in the hand of one of the young O'Gradies emulated the art of a Sandwich Islander, and sketched faces as grotesque as any Pagan could desire for his idol; or figures after the old well-established school-boy manner, which in the present day is called Persian painting, "warranted to be taught in three lessons." Now, this bespeaks degeneracy in the arts; for, in the time we write of, boys and girls acquired the art without any lessons at all, and abundant proofs of this intuitive talent existed on the aforesaid walls. Napoleon and Wellington were fighting a duel, while Nelson stood by to see fair play, he having nothing better to do, as the battle of Trafalgar, represented in the distance, could, of course, go on without him. The anachronism of jumbling Buonaparte, Wellington, and Nelson together, was a trifle amongst the O'Gradies, as they were nearly as great proficients in history, ancient and modern, as in the fine arts. Amidst these efforts of genius appeared many an old rhyme, scratched with rusty nails by rustier policemen, while lounging in the justice-room during the proceedings of the great O'Grady, and all these were gone over again and again by Andy, till they were worn out, all but one—a rough representation of a man hanging.

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