Pat. Tim McGudikren, sir, for his debt—and talks of the sub-sheriff, and can't wait.
O'Bla. I don't ax him to wait; but he must take in payment, since he's in such a hurry, this bill at thirty-one days, tell him.
Pat. I shall tell him so, plase your honour. [Exit PAT.
O'Bla. They have all rendezvous'd to drive me mad this day; but the only thing is to keep the head cool. What I'm dreading beyant all is, if that ould Matthew McBride, who is as restless as a ferret when he has lodged money with any one, should come this day to take out of my hands the two hundred pounds I've got of his—Oh, then I might shut up! But stay, I'll match him—and I'll match myself too: that daughter Honor of his is a mighty pretty girl to look at, and since I can't get her any other way, why not ax her in marriage? Her portion is to be—
Pat. The protested note, sir—with the charge of the protest to the back of it, from Mrs. Lorigan; and her compliments, and to know what will she do?
O'Bla. What will I do, fitter to ax. My kind compliments to Mrs. Lorigan, and I'll call upon her in the course of the day, to settle it all.
Pat. I understand, sir. [Exit PAT.
O'Bla. Honor McBride's portion will be five hundred pounds on the nail—that would be no bad hit, and she a good, clever, likely girl. I'll pop the question this day.
Pat. Corkeran the cooper's bill, as long as my arm.
O'Bla. Oh! don't be bothering me any more. Have you no sinse? Can't you get shut of Corkeran the cooper without me? Can't ye quarrel with the items? Tear the bill down the middle, if necessary, and sind him away with a flay (flea) in his ear, to make out a proper bill—which I can't see till to-morrow, mind. I never pay any man on fair-day.
Pat. (aside) Nor on any other day. (Aloud) Corkeran's my cousin, counsellor, and if convanient, I'd be glad you'd advance him a pound or two on account.
O'Bla. 'Tis not convanient was he twenty times your cousin, Pat. I can't be paying in bits, nor on account—all or none.
Pat. None, then, I may tell him, sir?
O'Bla. You may—you must; and don't come up for any of 'em any more. It's hard if I can't have a minute to talk to myself.
Pat. And it's hard if I can't have a minute to eat my breakfast, too, which I have not. [Exit PAT.
O'Bla. Where was I?—I was popping the question to Honor McBride. The only thing is, whether the girl herself wouldn't have an objection:—there's that Randal Rooney is a great bachelor of hers, and I doubt she'd be apt to prefar him before me, even when I'd purpose marriage. But the families of the Rooneys and McBrides is at vareance—then I must keep 'em so. I'll keep Catty Rooney's spirit up, niver to consent to that match. Oh! if them Rooneys and McBrides were by any chance to make it up, I'd be undone: but against that catastrophe I've a preventative. Pat Coxe! Pat Coxe! where are you, my young man?
Enter PAT, wiping his mouth.
Pat. Just swallowing my breakfast.
O'Bla. Mighty long swallowing you are. Here—don't be two minutes, till you're at Catty Rooney's, and let me see how cliverly you'll execute that confidential embassy I trusted you with. Touch Catty up about her ould ancient family, and all the Kings of Ireland she comes from. Blarney her cliverly, and work her to a foam against the McBrides.
Pat. Never fear, your honour. I'll tell her the story we agreed on, of Honor McBride meeting of Randal Rooney behind the chapel.
O'Bla. That will do—don't forget the ring; for I mane to put another on the girl's finger, if she's agreeable, and knows her own interest. But that last's a private article. Not a word of that to Catty, you understand.
Pat. Oh! I understand—and I'll engage I'll compass Catty, tho' she's a cunning shaver.
O'Bla. Cunning?—No; she's only hot tempered, and asy managed.
Pat. Whatever she is, I'll do my best to plase you. And I expict your honour, counsellor, won't forget the promise you made me, to ask Mr. Carver for that little place—that situation that would just shute me.
O'Bla. Never fear, never fear. Time enough to think of shuting you, when you've done my business. [Exit PAT. That will work like harm, and ould Matthew, the father, I'll speak to, myself, genteelly. He will be proud, I warrant, to match his daughter with a gentleman like me. But what if he should smell a rat, and want to be looking into my affairs? Oh! I must get it sartified properly to him before all things, that I'm as safe as the bank; and I know who shall do that for me—my worthy friend, that most consequential magistrate, Mr. Carver of Bob's Fort, who loves to be advising and managing of all men, women, and children, for their good. 'Tis he shall advise ould Matthew for my good. Now Carver thinks he lades the whole county, and ten mile round—but who is it lades him, I want to know? Why, Gerald O'Blaney.—And how? Why, by a spoonful of the universal panacea, flattery—in the vulgar tongue, flummery. (A knock at the door heard.) Who's rapping at the street?—Carver of Bob's Fort himself, in all his glory this fair-day. See then how he struts and swells. Did ever man, but a pacock, look so fond of himself with less rason? But I must be caught deep in accounts, and a balance of thousands to credit. (Sits down to his desk, to account books.) Seven thousand, three hundred, and two pence. (Starting and rising.) Do I see Mr. Carver of Bob's Fort?—Oh! the honour—
Mr. Carv. Don't stir, pray—I beg—I request—I insist. I am by no means ceremonious, sir.
O'Bla. (bustling and setting two chairs) No, but I'd wish to show respect proper to him I consider the first man in the county.
Mr. Carv. (aside) Man! gentleman, he might have said.
[Mr. CARVER sits down and rests himself consequentially.
O'Bla. Now, Mr. Carver of Bob's Fort, you've been over fartiguing yourself—
Mr. Carv. For the public good. I can't help it, really.
O'Bla. Oh! but, upon my word and honour, it's too much: there's rason in all things. A man of Mr. Carver's fortin to be slaving! If you were a man in business, like me, it would be another thing. I must slave at the desk to keep all round. See, Mr. Carver, see!—ever since the day you advised me to be as particular as yourself in keeping accounts to a farthing, I do, to a fraction, even like state accounts, see!
Mr. Carv. And I trust you find your advantage in it, sir. Pray, how does the distillery business go on?
O'Bla. Swimmingly! ever since that time, Mr. Carver, your interest at the castle helped me at the dead lift, and got that fine took off. 'Tis to your purtiction, encouragement, and advice entirely, I owe my present unexampled prosperity, which you prophesied; and Mr. Carver's prophecies seldom, I may say never, fail to be accomplished.
Mr. Carv. I own there is some truth in your observation. I confess I have seldom been mistaken or deceived in my judgment of man, woman, or child.
O'Bla. Who can say so much?
Mr. Carv. For what reason, I don't pretend to say; but the fact ostensibly is, that the few persons I direct with my advice are unquestionably apt to prosper in this world.
O'Bla. Mighty apt! for which rason I would wish to trouble you for your unprecedently good advice on another pint, if it, would not be too great a liberty.
Mr. Carv. No liberty at all, my good Gerald—I am always ready to advise—only to-day—certainly, the fair day of Ballynavogue, there are so many calls upon me, both in a public and private capacity, so much business of vital importance!
O'Bla. (aside) Vital importance!—that is his word on all occasions. (Aloud) May be then, (oh! where was my head?) may be you would not have breakfasted all this time? and we've the kittle down always in this house, (rising) Pat!—Jack!—Mick!—Jenny! put the kittle down.
Mr. Carv. Sit down, sit still, my worthy fellow. Breakfasted at Bob's Fort, as I always do.
O'Bla. But a bit of cake—a glass of wine, to refrish and replinish nature.
Mr. Carv. Too early—spoil my dinner. But what was I going to say?
O'Bla. (aside) Burn me, if I know; and I pray all the saints you may never recollect.
Mr. Carv. I recollect. How many times do you think I was stopped on horseback coming up the street of Ballynavogue?—Five times by weights and measures imperiously calling for reformation, sir. Thirteen times, upon my veracity, by booths, apple-stalls, nuisances, vagabonds, and drunken women. Pigs without end, sir—wanting ringing, and all squealing in my ears, while I was settling sixteen disputes about tolls and customs. Add to this, my regular battle every fair-day with the crane, which ought to be any where but where it is; and my perputual discoveries of fraudulent kegs, and stones in the butter! Now, sir, I only ask, can you wonder that I wipe my forehead? (wiping his forehead).
O'Bla. In troth, Mr. Carver, I cannot! But these are the pains and penalties of being such a man of consequence as you evidently are;—and I that am now going to add to your troubles too by consulting you about my little pint!
Mr. Carv. A point of law, I dare to say; for people somehow or other have got such a prodigious opinion of my law. (Takes snuff.)
O'Bla. (aside) No coming to the pint till he has finished his own panygeric.
Mr. Carv. And I own I cannot absolutely turn my back on people. Yet as to poor people, I always settle them by telling them, it is my principle that law is too expensive for the poor: I tell them, the poor have nothing to do with the laws.
O'Bla. Except the penal.
Mr. Carv. True, the civil is for us, men of property; and no man should think of going to law, without he's qualified. There should be licenses.
O'Bla. No doubt. Pinalties there are in plinty; still those who can afford should indulge. In Ireland it would as ill become a gentleman to be any way shy of a law-shute, as of a duel.
Mr. Carv. Yet law is expensive, sir, even to me.
O'Bla. But 'tis the best economy in the end; for when once you have cast or non-shuted your man in the courts, 'tis as good as winged him in the field. And suppose you don't get sixpence costs, and lose your cool hundred by it, still it's a great advantage; for you are let alone to enjoy your own in pace and quiet ever after, which you could not do in this county without it. But the love of the law has carried me away from my business: the pint I wanted to consult you about is not a pint of law; 'tis another matter.
Mr. Carv. (looking at his watch) I must be at Bob's Fort, to seal my despatches for the castle. And there's another thing I say of myself.
O'Bla. (aside) Remorseless agotist!
Mr. Carv. I don't know how the people all have got such an idea of my connexions at the castle, and my influence with his Excellency, that I am worried with eternal applications: they expect I can make them all gaugers or attorney-generals, I believe. How do they know I write to the castle?
O'Bla. Oh! the post-office tells asy by the big sales (seals) to your despatches—(aside)—which, I'll engage, is all the castle ever, rades of them, though Carver has his Excellency always in his mouth, God help him!
Mr. Carv. Well, you wanted to consult me, Gerald?
O'Bla. And you'll give me your advice, which will be conclusive, law, and every thing to me. You know the McBrides—would they be safe?
Mr. Carv. Very safe, substantial people.
O'Bla. Then here's the thing, Mr. Carver: as you recommend them, and as they are friends of yours—I will confess to you that, though it might not in pint of interest be a very prudent match, I am thinking that Honor McBride is such a prudent girl, and Mrs. Carver has taken her by the hand, so I'd wish to follow Mrs. Carver's example for life, in taking Honor by the hand for better for worse.
Mr. Carv. In my humble opinion you cannot do better; and I can tell you a secret—Honor will have no contemptible fortune in that rank of life.
O'Bla. Oh, fortune's always contemptible in marriage.
Mr. Carv. Fortune! sir?
O'Bla. (aside) Overshot. (Aloud) In comparison with the patronage and protection or countenance she'd have from you and your family, sir.
Mr. Carv. That you may depend upon, my good Gerald, as far as we can go; but you know we are nothing.
O'Bla. Oh, I know you're every thing—every thing on earth—particularly with ould McBride; and you know how to speak so well and iloquent, and I'm so tongue-tied and bashful on such an occasion.
Mr. Carv. Well, well, I'll speak for you.
O'Bla. A thousand thanks down to the ground.
Mr. Carv. (patting him on the back as he rises) My poor Gerald.
O'Bla. Then I am poor Gerald in point of wit, I know; but you are too good a friend to be calling me poor to ould McBride—you can say what I can't say.
Mr. Carv. Certainly, certainly; and you may depend on me. I shall speak my decided opinion; and I fancy McBride has sense enough to be ruled by me.
O'Bla. I am sure he has—only there's a Randal Rooney, a wild young man, in the case. I'd be sorry the girl was thrown I away upon Randal.
Mr. Carv. She has too much sense: the father will settle that, and I'll settle the father. [Mr. CARVER going.
O'Bla. (following, aside) And who has settled you?
Mr. Carv. Don't stir—don't stir—men of business must be nailed to a spot—and I'm not ceremonious. [Exit Mr. CARVER.
O'Bla. Pinned him by all that's cliver! [Exit O'BLANEY.
Mrs. CARVER'S Dressing-room.
Mrs. CARVER sitting at work.—BLOOMSBURY standing.
Bloom. Certainly, ma'am, what I always said was, that for the commonalty, there's no getting out of an Irish cabin a girl fit to be about a lady such as you, Mrs. Carver, in the shape of a waiting-maid or waiting-maid's assistant, on account they smell so of smoke, which is very distressing; but this Honor McBride seems a bettermost sort of girl, ma'am; if you can make up your mind to her vice.
Mrs. Carv. Vice?
Bloom. That is, vicious pronounciations in regard to their Irish brogues.
Mrs. Carv. Is that all?—I am quite accustomed to the accent.
Bloom. Then, ma'am, I declare now, I've been forced to stuff my hears with cotton wool hever since I comed to Ireland. But this here Honor McBride has a mighty pretty vice, if you don't take exceptions to a little nationality; nor she if not so smoke-dried: she's really a nice, tidy-looking like girl considering. I've taken tea with the family often, and they live quite snug for Hirish. I'll assure you, ma'am, quite bettermost people for Hibernians, as you always said, ma'am.
Mrs. Carv. I have a regard for old Matthew, though he is something of a miser, I fear.
Bloom. So, ma'am, shall I call the girl up, that we may see and talk to her? I think, ma'am, you'll find she will do; and I reckon to keep her under my own eye and advice from morning till night: for when I seed the girl so willing to larn, I quite took a fancy to her, I own—as it were.
Mrs. Carv. Well, Bloomsbury, let me see this Honor McBride.
Bloom. (calling) One of you there! please call up Honor McBride.
Mrs. Carv. She has been waiting a great while, I fear; I don't like to keep people waiting.
Bloom. (watching for HONOR as she speaks) Dear heart, ma'am, in this here country, people does love waiting for waiting's sake, that's sure—they got nothing else to do. Here, Honor—walk in, Honor,—rub your shoes always.
Enter HONOR, timidly.
Mrs. Carv. (in an encouraging voice) Come in, my good girl.
Bloom. Oh! child, the door: the peoples never shut a door in, Ireland! Did not I warn you?—says I, "Come when you're called—do as you're bid—shut the door after you, and you'll never be chid." Now what did I tell you, child?
Honor. To shut the door after me when I'd come into a room.
Bloom. When I'd come—now that's not dic'snary English.
Mrs. Carv. Good Bloomsbury, let that pass for the present—come a little nearer to me, my good girl.
Honor. Yes, ma'am.
Bloom. Take care of that china pyramint with your cloak—walk on to Mrs. Carver—no need to be afraid—I'll stand your friend.
Mrs. Carv. I should have thought, Honor McBride, you were in too comfortable a way at home, to think of going into service.
Honor. (sighs) No better father, nor brother, nor (than) I have, ma'am, I thank your ladyship; but some things come across.
Mrs. Carv. (aside) Oh! it is a blushing case, I see: I must talk to her alone, by-and-by. (Aloud) I don't mean, my good girl, to pry into your family affairs.
Honor. Oh! ma'am, you're too good. (Aside) The kind-hearted Lady, how I love her already! (She wipes the tears from her eyes.)
Bloom. Take care of the bow-pot at your elbow, child; for if you break the necks of them moss roses—
Honor. I ax their pardon.
Mrs. Carv. Better take the flower-pot out of her way, Bloomsbury.
Bloom. (moving the flower-pot) There, now: but, Honor, keep your eyes on my lady, never turn your head, and keep your hands always afore you, as I show you. Ma'am, she'll larn manners in time—Lon'on was not built in a day. It i'n't to be expected of she!
Mrs. Carv. It is not to be expected indeed that she should learn every thing at once; so one thing at a time, good Bloomsbury, and one person at a time. Leave Honor to me for the present.
Bloom. Certainly, ma'am; I beg pardon—I was only saying—
Mrs. Carv. Since it is, it seems, necessary, my good girl, that you should leave home, I am glad that you are not too proud to go into service.
Honor. Oh! into your service, ma'am,—I'd be too proud if you'd be kind enough to accept me.
Mrs. Carv. Then as to wages, what do you expect?
Honor. Any thing at all you please, ma'am.
Bloom. (pressing down her shoulder) And where's your curtsy? We shall bring these Irish knees into training by and by, I hopes.
Honor. I'm awk'ard and strange, ma'am—I never was from home afore.
Mrs. Carv. Poor girl—we shall agree very well, I hope.
Honor. Oh yes, any thing at all, ma'am; I'm not greedy—nor needy, thanks above! but it's what I'd wish to be under your protection if it was plasing, and I'll do my very best, madam. (Curtsies.)
Mrs. Carv. Nobody can expect more, and I hope and trust you'll find mine an easy place—Bloomsbury, you will tell her, what will be required of her. (Mrs. Carver looks at her watch.) At twelve o'clock I shall be returned from my walk, and then, Honor, you will come into my cabinet here; I want to say a few words to you. [Exeunt omnes.
The High Road—A Cottage in view—Turf-stack, Hay-rick, &c.
Catty Rooney alone, walking backwards and forwards.
Catty. 'Tis but a stone's throw to Ballynavogue. But I don't like to be going into the fair on foot, when I been always used to go in upon my pillion behind my husband when living, and my son Randal, after his death. Wait, who comes here?—'Tis Gerald O'Blaney's, the distiller's, young man, Pat Coxe: now we'll larn all—and whether O'Blaney can lend me the loan of a horse or no. A good morrow to you, kindly, Mr. Pat Coxe.
Enter PAT COXE.
Pat. And you the same, Mrs. Rooney, tinfold. Mr. O'Blaney has his sarvices to you, ma'am: no, not his sarvices, but his compliments, that was the word—his kind compliments, that was the very word.
Catty. The counshillor's always very kind to me, and genteel.
Pat. And was up till past two in the morning, last night, madam, he bid me say, looking over them papers you left with him for your shuit, ma'am, with the McBrides, about the bit of Ballynascraw bog; and if you call upon the counshillor in the course of the morning, he'll find, or make, a minute, for a consultation, he says. But mane time, to take no step to compromise, or make it up, for your life, ma'am.
Catty. No fear, I'll not give up at law, or any way, to a McBride, while I've a drop of blood in my veins—and it's good thick Irish blood runs in these veins.
Pat. No doubt, ma'am—from the kings of Ireland, as all the world knows, Mrs. Rooney.
Catty. And the McBrides have no blood at-all-at-all.
Pat. Not a drop, ma'am—so they can't stand before you.
Catty. They ought not, any way!—What are they? Cromwellians at the best. Mac Brides! Scotch!—not Irish native, at-all-at-all. People of yesterday, graziers—which tho' they've made the money, can't buy the blood. My anshestors sat on a throne, when the McBrides had only their hunkers to sit upon; and if I walk now when they ride, they can't look down upon me—for every body knows who I am—and what they are.
[Footnote 1: Their hunkers, i.e. their hams.]
Pat. To be sure, ma'am, they do—the whole country talks of nothing else, but the shame when you'd be walking and they riding.
Catty. Then could the counshillor lend me the horse?
Pat. With all the pleasure in life, ma'am, only every horse he has in the world is out o' messages, and drawing turf and one thing or another to-day—and he is very sorry, ma'am.
Catty. So am I, then—I'm unlucky the day. But I won't be saying so, for fear of spreading ill luck on my faction. Pray now what kind of a fair is it?—Would there be any good signs of a fight, Mr. Pat Coxe?
Pat. None in life as yet, ma'am—only just buying and selling. The horse-bastes, and horned-cattle, and pigs squeaking, has it all to themselves. But it's early times yet—it won't be long so.
Catty. No McBrides, no Ballynavogue boys gathering yet?
Pat. None to signify of the McBrides, ma'am, at all.
Catty. Then it's plain them McBrides dare not be showing their faces, or even their backs, in Ballynavogue. But sure all our Ballynascraw boys, the Roonies, are in it as usual, I hope?
Pat. Oh, ma'am, there is plinty of Roonies. I marked Big Briny of Cloon, and Ulick of Eliogarty, and little Charley of Killaspugbrone.
Catty. All good men—no better. Praise be where due.
[Footnote 1: men who fight well.]
Pat. And scarce a McBride I noticed. But the father and son—ould Matthew, and flourishing Phil, was in it, with a new pair of boots and the silver-hilted whip.
Catty. The spalpeen! turned into a buckeen, that would be a squireen,—but can't.
Pat. No, for the father pinches him.
Catty. That's well—and that ould Matthew is as obstinate a neger as ever famished his stomach. What's he doing in Ballynavogue the day?
Pat. Standing he is there, in the fair-green with his score of fat bullocks, that he has got to sell.
Catty. Fat bullocks! Them, I reckon, will go towards Honor McBride's portion, and a great fortin she'll be for a poor man—but I covet none of it for me or mine.
Pat. I'm sure of that, ma'am,—you would not demane yourself to the likes.
Catty. Mark me, Pat Coxe, now—with all them fat bullocks at her back, and with all them fresh roses in her cheeks—and I don't say but she's a likely girl, if she wa'n't a McBride; but with all that, and if she was the best spinner in the three counties—and I don't say but she's good, if she wa'n't a McBride;—but was she the best of the best, and the fairest of the fairest, and had she to boot the two stockings full of gould, Honor McBride shall never be brought home, a daughter-in-law to me! My pride's up.
Pat. (aside) And I'm instructed to keep it up.—(Aloud) True for ye, ma'am, and I wish that all had as much proper pride, as ought to be having it.
Catty. There's maning in your eye, Pat—give it tongue.
Pat. If you did not hear it, I suppose there's no truth in it.
Pat. That your son Randal, Mrs. Rooney, is not of your way of thinking about Honor McBride, may be's.
Catty. Tut! No matter what way of thinking he is—a young slip of a boy like him does not know what he'll think to-morrow. He's a good son to me; and in regard to a wife, one girl will do him as well as another, if he has any sinse—and I'll find him a girl that will plase him, I'll engage.
Pat. May be so, ma'am—no fear: only boys do like to be plasing themselves, by times—and I noticed something.
Catty. What did you notice?—till me, Pat, dear, quick.
Pat. No—'tis bad to be meddling and remarking to get myself ill-will; so I'll keep myself to myself: for Randal's ready enough with his hand as you with the tongue—no offence, Mrs. Rooney, ma'am.
Catty. Niver fear—only till me the truth, Pat, dear.
Pat. Why, then, to the best of my opinion, I seen Honor McBride just now giving Randal Rooney the meeting behind the chapel; and I seen him putting a ring on her finger.
Catty. (clasping her hands) Oh, murder!—Oh! the unnat'ral monsters that love makes of these young men; and the traitor, to use me so, when he promised he'd never make a stolen match unknown'st to me.
Pat. Oh, ma'am, I don't say—I wouldn't swear—it's a match yet.
Catty. Then I'll run down and stop it—and catch 'em.
Pat. You haven't your jock on, ma'am—(she turns towards the house)—and it's no use—for you won't catch 'em: I seen them after, turning the back way into Nick Flaherty's.
Catty. Nick Flaherty's, the publican's? oh, the sinners! And this is the saint that Honor McBride would be passing herself upon us for? And all the edication she got at Mrs. Carver's Sunday school! Oh, this comes of being better than one's neighbours! A fine thing to tell Mrs. Carver, the English lady, that's so nice, and so partial to Miss Honor McBride! Oh, I'll expose her!
Pat. Oh! sure, Mrs. Rooney, you promised you'd not tell, (Standing so as to stop CATTY.)
Catty. Is it who told me? No—I won't mintion a sintence of your name. But let me by—I won't be put off now I've got the scent. I'll hunt 'em out, and drag her to shame, if they're above ground, or my name's not Catty Rooney! Mick! Mick! little Mick! (calling at the cottage door) bring my blue jock up the road after me to Ballynavogue. Don't let me count three till you're after me, or I'll bleed ye! (Exit CATTY, shaking her closed hand, and repeating) I'll expose Honor McBride—I'll expose Honor! I will, by the blessing!
Pat. (alone) Now, if Randal Rooney would hear, he'd make a jelly of me, and how I'd trimble; or the brother, if he comed across me, and knewed. But they'll niver know. Oh, Catty won't say a sintence of my name, was she carded! No, Catty's a scould, but has a conscience. Then I like conscience in them I have to dale with sartainly. [Exit.
Mrs. CARVER'S Dressing-room, HONOR McBRIDE and MISS BLOOMSBURY discovered.
Honor. How will I know, Miss Bloomsbury, when it will be twelve o'clock?
Bloom. You'll hear the clock strike: but I suspect you'se don't understand the clock yet—well, you'll hear the workmen's bell.
Honor. I know, ma'am, oh, I know, true—only I was flurried, so I forgot.
Bloom. Flurried! but never be flurried. Now mind and keep your head upon your shoulders, while I tell you all your duty—you'll just ready this here room, your lady's dressing-room; not a partical of dust let me never find, petticlarly behind the vindor shuts.
Honor. Vindor shuts!—where, ma'am?
Bloom. The shuts of the vindors—did you never hear of a vindor, child?
Honor. Never, ma'am.
Bloom. (pointing to a window) Don't tell me! why, your head is a wool-gathering! Now, mind me, pray—see here, always you put that there,—and this here, and that upon that,—and this upon this, and this under that,—and that under this—you can remember that much, child, I supposes?
Honor. I'll do my endeavour, ma'am, to remember all.
Bloom. But mind, now, my good girl, you takes petticlar care of this here pyramint of japanned china—and very petticlar care of that there great joss—and the very most petticularest care of this here right reverend Mandolin. (Pointing to, and touching a Mandarin, so as to make it shake. HONOR starts back.)
Bloom. It i'n't alive. Silly child, to start at a Mandolin shaking his head and beard at you. But, oh! mercy, if there i'n't enough to make him shake his head. Stand there!—stand here!—now don't you see?
Honor. Which, ma'am?
Bloom. "Which, ma'am!" you're no witch, indeed, if you don't see a cobweb as long as my arm. Run, run, child, for the pope's head.
Honor. Pope's head, ma'am?
Bloom. Ay, the pope's head, which you'll find under the stairs. Well, a'n't you gone? what do you stand there like a stuck pig, for?—Never see a pope's head?—never 'ear of a pope's head?
Honor. I've heard of one, ma'am—with the priest; but we are protestants.
Bloom. Protestants! what's that to do? I do protest, I believe that little head of yours is someway got wrong on your shoulders to-day. [The clock strikes—HONOR, who is close to it, starts.
Bloom. Start again!—why, you're all starts and fits. Never start, child! so ignoramus like! 'tis only the clock in your ear,—twelve o'clock, hark!—The bell will ring now in a hurry. Then you goes in there to my lady—stay, you'll never be able, I dare for to say, for to open the door without me; for I opine you are not much usen'd to brass locks in Hirish cabins—can't be expected. See here, then! You turns the lock in your hand this'n ways—the lock, mind now; not the key nor the bolt for your life, child, else you'd bolt your lady in, and there'd be my lady in Lob's pound, and there'd be a pretty kettle, of fish!—So you keep, if you can, all I said to you in your head, if possible—and you goes in there—and I goes out here.
Honor. (curtsying) Thank ye, ma'am. Then all this time I'm sensible I've been behaving and looking little better than like a fool, or an innocent.—But I hope I won't be so bad when the lady shall speak to me. (The bell rings.) Oh, the bell summons me in here.—(Speaks with her hand on the lock of the door) The lock's asy enough—I hope I'll take courage—(sighs)—Asier to spake before one nor two, any way—and asier tin times to the mistress than the maid. [Exit HONOR.
GERALD O'BLANEY'S Counting-house.
O'Bla. Then I wonder that ould Matthew McBride is not here yet. But is not this Pat Coxe coming up yonder? Ay. Well, Pat, what success with Catty?
Enter PAT COXE, panting.
Take breath, man alive—What of Catty?
Pat. Catty! Oh, murder! No time to be talking of Catty now! Sure the shupervizor's come to town.
O'Bla. Blood!—and the malt that has not paid duty in the cellar! Run, for your life, to the back-yard, give a whistle to call all the boys that's ricking o' the turf, away with 'em to the cellar, out with every sack of malt that's in it, through the back-yard, throw all into the middle of the turf-stack, and in the wink of an eye build up the rick over all, snoog (snug).
Pat. I'll engage we'll have it done in a crack. [Exit PAT.
O'Bla. (calling after him) Pat! Pat Coxe! man!
O'Bla. Would there be any fear of any o' the boys informin?
Pat. Sooner cut their ears off! [Exit PAT.
Enter Old McBRIDE, at the opposite side.
Old McB. (speaking in a slow, drawling brogue) Would Mr. Gerald O'Blaney, the counsellor, be within?
O'Bla. (quick brogue) Oh, my best friend, Matthew McBride, is it you, dear? Then here's Gerald O'Blaney, always at your sarvice. But shake hands; for of all men in Ireland, you are the man I was aching to lay my eyes on. And in the fair did ye happen to meet Carver of Bob's Fort?
Old McB. (speaking very slowly) Ay. did I—and he was a-talking to me, and I was a-talking to him—and he's a very good gentleman, Mr. Carver of Bob's Fort—so he is—and a gentleman that knows how things should be; and he has been giving of me, Mr. O'Blaney, a great account of you, and how you're thriving in the world—and so as that.
O'Bla. Nobody should know that better than Mr. Carver of Bob's Fort—he knows all my affairs. He is an undeniable honest gentleman, for whom I profess the highest regard.
Old McB. Why then he has a great opinion of you too, counsellor—for he has been advising of, and telling of me, O'Blaney, of your proposhal, sir—and very sinsible I am of the honour done by you to our family, sir—and condescension to the likes of us—though, to be sure, Honor McBride, though she is my daughter, is a match for any man.
O'Bla. Is a match for a prince—a Prince Ragent even. So no more about condescension, my good Matthew, for love livels all distinctions.
Old McB. That's very pretty of you to say so, sir; and I'll repeat it to Honor.
O'Bla. Cupid is the great liveller, after all, and the only democrat Daity on earth I'd bow to—for I know you are no democrat, Mr. McBride, but quite and clane the contrary way.
Old McB. Quite and clane and stiff, I thank my God; and I'm glad, in spite of the vowel before your name, Mr. O'Blaney, to hear you are of the same kidney.
O'Bla. I'm happy to find myself agreeable to you, sir.
Old McB. But, however agreeable to me, as I won't deny, it might be, sir, to see my girl made into a gentlewoman by marriage, I must observe to you—
O'Bla. And I'll keep her a jaunting car to ride about the country; and in another year, as my fortune's rising, my wife should rise with it into a coach of her own.
Old McB. Oh! if I'd live to see my child, my Honor, in a coach of her own! I'd be too happy—oh, I'd die contint!
O'Bla. (aside) No fear!—(Aloud) And why should not she ride in her own coach, Mistress Counsellor O'Blaney, and look out of the windows down upon the Roonies, that have the insolence to look up to her?
Old McB. Ah! you know that, then. That's all that's against us, sir, in this match.
O'Bla. But if you are against Randal, no fear.
Old McB. I am against him—that is, against his family, and all his seed, breed, and generation. But I would not break my daughter's heart if I could help it.
O'Bla. Wheugh!—hearts don't break in these days, like china.
Old McB. This is my answer, Mr. O'Blaney, sir: you have my lave, but you must have hers too.
O'Bla. I would not fear to gain that in due time, if you would stand my friend in forbidding her the sight of Randal.
Old McB. I will with pleasure, that—for tho' I won't force her to marry to plase me, I'll forbid her to marry to displase me; and when I've said it, whatever it is, I'll be obeyed. (Strikes his stick on the ground.)
O'Bla. That is all I ax.
Old McB. But now what settlement, counshillor, will you make on my girl?
O'Bla. A. hundred a year—I wish to be liberal—Mr. Carver will see to that—he knows all my affairs, as I suppose he was telling you.
Old McB. He was—I'm satisfied, and I'm at a word myself always. You heard me name my girl's portion, sir?
O'Bla. I can't say—I didn't mind—'twas no object to me in life.
Old McB. (in a very low, mysterious tone, and slow brogue) Then five hundred guineas is some object to most men.
O'Bla. Certainly, sir; but not such an object as your daughter to me: since we are got upon business, however, best settle all that out of the way, as you say at once. Of the five hundred, I have two in my hands already, which you can make over to me with a stroke of a pen. (Rising quickly, and getting pen, ink, and books.)
Old McB. (speaking very slowly) Stay a hit—no hurry—in life. In business—'tis always most haste, worse speed.
O'Bla. Take your own time, my good Matthew—I'll be as slow as you plase—only love's quick.
Old McB. Slow and sure—love and all—fast bind, fast find—three and two, what does that make?
O'Bla. It used to make five before I was in love.
Old McB. And will the same after you're married and dead. What am I thinking of? A score of bullocks I had in the fair—half a score sold in my pocket, and owing half—that's John Dolan, twelve pound tin—and Charley Duffy nine guineas and thirteen tin pinnies and a five-penny bit: stay, then, put that to the hundred guineas in the stocking at home.
O'Bla. (aside) How he makes my mouth water: (Aloud) May be, Matthew, I could, that am used to it, save you the trouble of counting?
Old McB. No trouble in life to me ever to count my money—only I'll trouble you, sir, if you please, to lock that door; bad to be chinking and spreading money with doors open, for walls has ears and eyes.
O'Bla. True for you. (Rising, and going to lock the doors.)
[Old McBRIDE with great difficulty, and very slowly, draws out of his pocket his bag of money—looking first at one door, and then at the other, and going to try whether they are locked, before he unties his bag.]
Old McB. (spreads and counts his money and notes) See me now, I wrote on some scrap somewhere 59l. in notes—then hard cash, twinty pounds—rolled up silver and gould, which is scarce—but of a hundred pounds there's wanting fourteen pounds odd, I think, or something that way; for Phil and I had our breakfast out of a one pound note of Finlay's, and I put the change somewhere—besides a riband for Honor, which make a deficiency of fourteen pounds seven shillings and two pence—that's what's deficient—count it which way you will.
O'Bla. (going to sweep the money off the table) Oh! never mind the deficiency—I'll take it for a hundred plump.
Old McB. (stopping him) Plump me no plumps—I'll have it exact, or not at all—I'll not part it, so let me see it again.
O'Bla. (aside with a deep sigh, almost a groan) Oh! when I had had it in my fist—almost: but 'tis as hard to get money out of this man as blood out of a turnip; and I'll be lost to-night without it.
Old McB. 'Tis not exact—and I'm exact: I'll put it all up again—(he puts it deliberately into the bag again, thrusting the bag into his pocket)—I'll make it up at home my own way, and send it in to you by Phil in an hour's time; for I could not sleep sound with so much in my house—bad people about—safer with you in town. Mr. Carver says, you are as good as the Bank of Ireland—there's no going beyond that. (Buttoning up his pockets.) So you may unlock the doors and let me out now—I'll send Phil with all to you, and you'll give him a bit of a receipt or a token, that would do.
O'Bla. I shall give a receipt by all means—all regular: short accounts make long friends. (Unlocks the door.)
Old McB. True, sir, and I'll come in and see about the settlements in the morning, if Honor is agreeable.
O'Bla. I shall make it my business to wait upon the young lady myself on the wings of love; and I trust I'll not find any remains of Randal Rooney in her head.
Old McB. Not if I can help it, depend on that. (They shake hands.)
O'Bla. Then, fare ye well, father-in-law—that's meat and drink to me: would not ye take a glass of wine then?
Old McB. Not a drop—not a drop at all—with money about me: I must be in a hurry home.
O'Bla. That's true—so best: recommind me kindly to Miss Honor, and say a great dale about my impatience—and I'll be expicting Phil, and won't shut up till he comes the night.
Old McB. No, don't; for he'll be with you before night-fall. [Exit McBRIDE.
O'Bla. (calling) Dan! open the door, there: Dan! Joe! open the door smart for Mr. McBride! (O'BLANEY rubbing his hands.) Now I think I may pronounce myself made for life—success to my parts!—and here's Pat too! Well, Pat Coxe, what news of the thing in hand?
Enter PAT COXE.
Pat. Out of hand clane! that job's nately done. The turf-rick, sir, 's built up cliver, with the malt snug in the middle of its stomach—so were the shupervishor a conjuror even, barring he'd dale with the ould one, he'd never suspict a sentence of it.
O'Bla. Not he—he's no conjuror: many's the dozen tricks I played him afore now.
Pat. But, counshillor, there's the big veshel in the little passage—I got a hint from a friend, that the shuper got information of the spirits in that from some villain.
O'Bla. And do you think I don't know a trick for that, too?
Pat. No doubt: still, counshillor, I'm in dread of my life that that great big veshel won't be implied in a hurry.
O'Bla. Won't it? but you'll see it will, though; and what's more, them spirits will turn into water for the shupervisor.
Pat. Water! how?
O'Bla. Asy—the ould tan-pit that's at the back of the distillery.
Pat. I know—what of it?
O'Bla. A sacret pipe I've got fixed to the big veshel, and the pipe goes under the wall for me into the tan-pit, and a sucker I have in the big veshel, which I pull open by a string in a crack, and lets all off all clane into the tan-pit.
Pat. That's capital!—but the water?
O'Bla. From the pump, another pipe—and the girl's pumping asy, for she's to wash to-morrow, and knows nothing about it; and so the big veshel she fills with water, wondering what ails the water that it don't come—and I set one boy and another to help her—and the pump's bewitched, and that's all:—so that's settled.
Pat. And cliverly. Oh! counshillor, we are a match for the shuper any day or night.
O'Bla. For him and all his tribe, coursing officers and all. I'd desire no better sport than to hear the whole pack in full cry after me, and I doubling, and doubling, and safe at my form at last. With you, Pat, my precious, to drag the herring over the ground previous to the hunt, to distract the scent, and defy the nose of the dogs.
Pat. Then I am proud to sarve you, counshillor.
O'Bla. I know you are, and a very honest boy. And what did you do for me, with Catty Rooney?
Pat. The best.—Oh! it's I blarny'd Catty to the skies, and then egged her on, and aggravated her against the McBrides, till I left her as mad as e'er a one in Bedlam—up to any thing! And full tilt she's off to Flaherty's, the publican, in her blue jock—where she'll not be long afore she kicks up a quarrel, I'll engage; for she's sarching the house for Honor McBride, who is not in it—and giving bad language, I warrant, to all the McBride faction, who is in it, drinking. Oh! trust Catty's tongue for breeding a riot! In half an hour, I'll warrant, you'll have as fine a fight in town as ever ye seen or hard.
O'Bla. That's iligantly done, Pat. But I hope Randal Rooney is in it?
Pat. In the thick of it he is, or will be. So I hope your honour did not forgit to spake to Mr. Carver about that little place for me?
O'Bla. Forgit!—Do I forgit my own name, do you think? Sooner forgit that then my promises.
Pat. Oh! I beg your honour's pardon—I would not doubt your word; and to make matters sure, and to make Catty cockahoop, I tould her, and swore to her, there was not a McBride in the town but two, and there's twinty, more or less.
O'Bla. And when she sees them twinty, more or less, what will she think?—Why would you say that?—she might find you out in a lie next minute, Mr. Overdo. 'Tis dangerous for a young man to be telling more lies than is absolutely requisite. The lie superfluous brings many an honest man, and, what's more, many a cliver fellow, into a scrape—and that's your great fau't, Pat.
Pat. Which, sir?
O'Bla. That, sir. I don't see you often now take a glass too much. But, Pat, I hear you often still are too apt to indulge in a lie too much.
Pat. Lie! Is it I?—Whin upon my conscience, I niver to my knowledge tould a lie in my life, since I was born, excipt it would be just to skreen a man, which is charity, sure,—or to skreen myself, which is self-defence, sure—and that's lawful; or to oblige your honour, by particular desire, and that can't be helped, I suppose.
O'Bla. I am not saying again all that—only (laying his hand on PAT'S shoulder as he is going out) against another time, all I'm warning you, young man, is, you're too apt to think there never can be lying enough. Now too much of a good thing is good for nothing. [Exit O'BLANEY.
Pat. There's what you may call the divil rebuking sin—and now we talk of the like, as I've heard my mudther say, that he had need of a long spoon that ates wid the divil—so I'll look to that in time. But whose voice is that I hear coming up stairs? I don't believe but it's Mr. Carver—only what should bring him back agin, I wonder now? Here he is, all out of breath, coming.
Enter Mr. CARVER.
Mr. Carv. Pray, young man, did you happen to see—(panting for breath) Bless me, I've ridden so fast back from Bob's Fort!
Pat. My master, sir, Mr. O'Blaney, is it? Will I run?
Mr. Carv. No, no—stand still till I have breath.—What I want is a copy of a letter I dropped some where or other—here I think it must have been, when I took out my handkerchief—a copy of a letter to his Excellency—of great consequence. (Mr. CARVER sits down and takes breath.)
Pat. (searching about with officious haste) If it's above ground, I'll find it. What's this?—an old bill: that is not it. Would it be this, crumpled up?—"To His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland."
Mr. Carv. (snatching) No farther, for your life!
Pat. Well then I was lucky I found it, and proud.
Mr. Carv. And well you may be, young man; for I can assure you, on this letter the fate of Ireland may depend. (Smoothing the letter on his knee.)
Pat. I wouldn't doubt it—when it's a letter of your honour's—I know your honour's a great man at the castle. And plase your honour, I take this opportunity of tanking your honour for the encouragement I got about that little clerk's place—and here's a copy of my hand-writing I'd wish to show your honour, to see I'm capable—and a scholard.
Mr. Carv. Hand-writing! Bless me, young man, I have no time to look at your hand-writing, sir. With the affairs of the nation on my shoulders—can you possibly think?—is the boy mad?—that I've time to revise every poor scholar's copy-book?
Pat. I humbly beg your honour's pardon, but it was only becaase I'd wish to show I was not quite so unworthy to be under (whin you've time) your honour's protection, as promised.
Mr. Carv. My protection?—you are not under my protection, sir:—promised clerk's place?—I do not conceive what you are aiming at, sir.
Pat. The little clerk's place, plase your honour—that my master, Counshillor O'Blaney, tould me he spoke about to your honour, and was recommending me for to your honour.
Mr. Carv. Never—never heard one syllable about it, till this moment.
Pat. Oh! murder:—but I expict your honour's goodness will—
Mr. Carv. To make your mind easy, I promised to appoint a young man to that place, a week ago, by Counsellor O'Blaney's special recommendation. So there must be some mistake.
[Exit Mr. CARVER.]
Pat. Mistake? ay, mistake on purpose. So he never spoke! so he lied!—my master that was praching me! And oh, the dirty lie he tould me! Now I can't put up with that, when I was almost perjuring myself for him at the time. Oh, if I don't fit him for this! And he got the place given to another!—then I'll git him as well sarved, and out of this place too—seen-if-I-don't! He is cunning enough, but I'm cuter nor he—I have him in my power, so I have! and I'll give the shupervizor a scent of the malt in the turf-stack—and a hint of the spirits in the tan-pit—and it's I that will like to stand by innocent, and see how shrunk O'Blaney's double face will look forenent the shupervizor, when all's found out, and not a word left to say, but to pay—ruined hand and foot! Then that shall be, and before nightfall. Oh! one good turn desarves another—in revenge, prompt payment while you live!
MATTHEW McBRIDE and HONOR. (MATTHEW with a little table before him, at dinner.)
Old McB. (pushing his plate from him) I'll take no more—I'm done. [He sighs.]
Honor. Then you made but a poor dinner, father, after being at the fair, and up early, and all!—Take this bit from my hands, father dear.
Old McB. (turning away sullenly) I'll take nothing from you, Honor, but what I got already enough—and too much of—and that's ungratitude.
Honor. Ungratitude, father! then you don't see my heart.
Old McB. I lave that to whoever has it, Honor: 'tis enough for me, I see what you do—and that's what I go by.
Honor. Oh, me! and what did I do to displase you, father? (He is obstinately silent; after waiting in vain for an answer, she continues) I that was thinking to make all happy, (aside) but myself, (aloud) by settling to keep out of the way of—all that could vex you—and to go to sarvice, to Mrs. Carver's. I thought that would plase you, father.
Old McB. Is it to lave me, Honor? Is it that you thought would plase me, Honor?—To lave your father alone in his ould age, after all the slaving he got and was willing to undergo, whilst ever he had strength, early and late, to make a little portion for you, Honor,—you, that I reckoned upon for the prop and pride of my ould age—and you expect you'd plase me by laving me.
Honor. Hear me just if, pray then, father.
Old McB. (shaking her off as she tries to caress him) Go, then; go where you will, and demane yourself going into sarvice, rather than stay with me—go.
Honor. No, I'll not go. I'll stay then with you, father dear,—say that will plase you.
Old McB. (going on without listening to her) And all for the love of this Randal Rooney! Ay, you may well put your two hands before your face; if you'd any touch of natural affection at all, that young man would have been the last of all others you'd ever have thought of loving or liking any way.
Honor. Oh! if I could help it!
Old McB. There it is. This is the way the poor fathers is always to be trated. They to give all, daughter and all, and get nothing at all, not their choice even of the man, the villain that's to rob 'em of all—without thanks even; and of all the plinty of bachelors there are in the parish for the girl that has money, that daughter will go and pick and choose out the very man the father mislikes beyond all others, and then it's "Oh! if I could help it!"—Asy talking!
Honor. But, dear father, wasn't it more than talk, what I did?—Oh, won't you listen to me?
Old McB I'll not hear ye; for if you'd a grain o spirit in your mane composition, Honor, you would take your father's part, and not be putting yourself under Catty's feet—the bad-tongued woman, that hates you, Honor, like poison.
Honor. If she does hate me, it's all through love of her own—
Old McB. Son—ay—that she thinks too good for you—for you, Honor; you, the Lily of Lismore—that might command the pride of the country. Oh! Honor dear, don't be lessening yourself; but be a proud girl, as you ought, and my own Honor.
Honor. Oh, when you speak so kind!
Old McB. And I beg your pardon, if I said a cross word; for I know you'll never think of him more, and no need to lave home at all for his sake. It would be a shame in the country, and what would Mrs. Carver herself think?
Honor. She thinks well of it, then.
Old McB. Then whatever she thinks, she sha'n't have my child from me! tho' she's a very good lady, and a very kind lady, too. But see now, Honor—have done with love, for it's all foolishness; and when you come to be as ould as I am, you'll think so too. The shadows goes all one way, till the middle of the day, and when that is past, then all the t'other way; and so it is with love, in life—stay till the sun is going down with you.
Honor. Then it would be too late to be thinking of love.
Old McB. And too airly now, and there's no good time, for it's all folly. I'll ax you, will love set the potatoes?—will love make the rent?—or will love give you a jaunting car?—as to my knowledge, another of your bachelors would.
Honor. Oh, don't name him, father.
Old McB. Why not—when it's his name that would make a lady of you, and there'd be a rise in life, and an honour to your family?
Honor. Recollect it was he that would have dishonoured my family, in me, if he could.
Old McB. But he repints now; and what can a man do but repint, and offer to make honourable restitution, and thinking of marrying, as now, Honor dear;—is not that a condescension of he, who's a sort of a jantleman?
Honor. A sort, indeed—a bad sort.
Old McB. Why, not jantleman born, to be sure.
Honor. Nor bred.
Old McB. Well, there's many that way, neither born nor bred, but that does very well in the world; and think what it would be to live in the big shingled house, in Ballynavogue, with him!
Honor. I'd rather live here with you, father.
Old McB. Then I thank you kindly, daughter, for that, but so would not I for you,—and then the jaunting-car, or a coach, in time, if he could! He has made the proposhal for you in form this day.
Honor. And what answer from you, father?
Old McB. Don't be looking so pale,—I tould him he had my consint, if he could get yours. And, oh! before you speak, Honor dear, think what it would be up and down in Ballynavogue, and every other place in the county, assizes days and all, to be Mistress Gerald O'Blaney!
Honor. I couldn't but think very ill of it, father; thinking ill, as I do, of him. Father dear, say no more, don't be breaking my heart—I'll never have that man; but I'll stay happy with you.
Old McB. Why, then, I'll be contint with that same; and who wouldn't?—If it's what you'd rather stay, and can stay contint, Honor dear, I'm only too happy. (Embracing her—then pausing.) But for Randal—
Honor. In what can you fau't him, only his being a Rooney?
Old McB. That's all—but that's enough. I'd sooner see you in your coffin—sooner be at your wake to-night, than your wedding with a Rooney! 'Twould kill me. Come, promise me—I'd trust your word—and 'twould make me asy for life, and I'd die asy, if you'd promise never to have him.
Honor. Never till you would consent—that's all I can promise.
Old McB. Well, that same is a great ase to my heart.
Honor. And to give a little ase to mine, father, perhaps you could promise—
Old McB. What?—I'll promise nothing at all—I'll promise nothing at all—I'll promise nothing I couldn't perform.
Honor. But this you could perform asy, dear father: just hear your own Honor.
Old McB. (aside) That voice would wheedle the bird off the bush—and when she'd prefar me to the jaunting-car, can I but listen to her? (Aloud) Well, what?—if it's any thing at all in rason.
Honor. It is in rason entirely. It's only, that if Catty Rooney's—
Old McB. (stopping his ears) Don't name her.
Honor. But she might be brought to rason, father; and if she should be brought to give up that claim to the bit o' bog of yours, and when all differs betwix' the families be made up, then you would consent.
Old McB. When Catty Rooney's brought to rason! Oh! go shoe the goslings, dear,—ay, you'll get my consint then. There's my hand: I promise you, I'll never be called on to perform that, Honor, jewel.
Honor. (kissing his hand) Then that's all I'd ask—nor will I say one word more, but thank you, father.
Old McB. (putting on his coat) She's a good cratur—sorrow better! sister or daughter. Oh! I won't forget that she prefarred me to the jaunting-car. Phil shall carry him a civil refusal. I'll send off the money, the three hundred, by your brother, this minute—that will be some comfort to poor O'Blaney.
Honor. Is not he a kind father, then, after all?—That promise he gave me about Catty, even such as it is, has ased my heart wonderfully. Oh! it will all come right, and they'll all be rasonable in time, even Catty Rooney, I've great hope; and little hope's enough, even for love to live upon. But, hark! there's my brother Phil coming. (A noise heard in the back-house.) 'Tis only the cow in the bier. (A knock heard at the door.) No, 'tis a Christian; no cow ever knocked so soft. Stay till I open—Who's in it?
Randal. (from within) Your own Randal—open quick.
Honor. Oh! Randal, is it you? I can't open the door.
[She holds the door—he pushes it half open.
Randal. Honor, that I love more than life, let me in, till I speak one word to you, before you're set against me for ever.
Honor. No danger of that—but I can't let you in, Randal.
Randal. Great danger! Honor, and you must. See you I will, if I die for it!
[He advances, and she retires behind the door, holding it against him.
Honor. Then I won't see you this month again, if you do. My hand's weak, but my heart's strong, Randal.
Randal. Then my heart's as weak as a child's this minute. Never fear—don't hold against me, Honor; I'll stand where I am, since you don't trust me, nor love me—and best so, may be: I only wanted to say three words to you.
Honor. I can't hear you now, Randal.
Randal. Then you'll never hear me more. Good bye to you, Honor.
[He pulls the door to, angrily.
Honor. And it's a wonder as it was you didn't meet my father as you came, or my brother.
Randal. (pushing the door a little open again) Your brother!—Oh, Honor! that's what's breaking my heart—(he sighs)—that's what I wanted to say to you; and listen to me. No fear of your father, he's gone down the road: I saw him as I come the short cut, but he didn't see me.
Honor. What of my brother?—say, and go.
Randal. Ay, go—for ever, you'll bid me, when I've said.
Honor. What! oh, speak, or I'll drop.—(She no longer holds the door, but leans against a table.—RANDAL advances, and looks in.)
Randal. Don't be frightened, then, dearest—it's nothing in life but a fight at a fair. He's but little hurted.
Honor. Hurted!—and by who? by you, is it?—Then all's over.—(RANDAL comes quite in—HONOR, putting her hand before her eyes.)—You may come or go, for I'll never love you more.
Randal. I expicted as much!—But she'll faint!
Honor. I won't faint: leave me, Mr. Randal.
Randal. Take this water from me, (holding a cup) it's all I ask.
Honor. No need. (She sits down) But what's this?—(Seeing his hand bound up.)
Randal. A cut only.
Honor. Bleeding—stop it. (Turning from him coldly.)
Randal. Then by this blood—no, not by this worthless blood of mine—but by that dearest blood that fled from your cheeks, and this minute is coming back, Honor, I swear—(kneeling to her.)
Honor. Say what you will, or swear, I don't hear or heed you. And my father will come and find you there—and I don't care.
Randal. I know you don't—and I don't care myself what happens me. But as to Phil, it's only a cut in the head he got, that signifies nothing—if he was not your brother.
Honor. Once lifted your hand against him—all's over.
Randal. Honor, I did not lift my hand against him; but I was in the quarrel with his faction.
Honor. And this your promise to me not to be in any quarrel! No, if my father consented to-morrow, I'd nivir have you now. (Rises, and is going—he holds her.)
Randal. Then you're wrong, Honor: you've heard all against me—now hear what's for me.
Honor. I'll hear no more—let me go.
Randal. Go, then; (he lets her go, and turns away himself) and I'm going before Mr. Carver, who will hear me, and the truth will appear—and tho' not from you, Honor, I'll have justice.
Honor. Justice! Oh, worse and worse! to make all public; and if once we go to law, there's an end of love—for ever.
O'BLANEY and CATTY ROONEY.
Catty. And didn't ye hear it, counshillor? the uproar in the town and the riot?—oh! you'd think the world was throwing out at windows. See my jock, all tattered! Didn't ye hear!
O'Bla. How could I hear, backwards, as you see, from the street, and given up to my business?
Catty. Business! oh! here is a fine business—the McBrides have driven all before them, and chased the Roonies out of Ballynavogue. (In a tone of deep despair.) Oh! Catty Rooney! that ever you'd live to see this day!
O'Bla. Then take this glass (offering a glass of whiskey) to comfort your heart, my good Mrs. Rooney.
Catty. No, thank you, counshillor, it's past that even! ogh! ogh!—oh! wirrastrew!—oh! wirrastrew, ogh!—(After wringing her hands, and yielding to a burst of sorrow and wailing, she stands up firmly.) Now I've ased my heart, I'll do. I've spirit enough left in me yet, you'll see; and I'll tell you what I came to you for, counshillor.
O'Bla. Tell me first, is Randal Rooney in it, and is he hurt?
Catty. He was in it: he's not hurt, more shame for him! But, howsomever, he bet one boy handsomely; that's my only comfort. Our faction's all going full drive to swear examinations, and get justice.
O'Bla. Very proper—very proper: swear examinations—that's the course, and only satisfaction in these cases to get justice.
Catty. Justice!—revenge sure! Oh! revenge is sweet, and I'll have it. Counshillor dear, I never went before Mr. Carver—you know him, sir—what sort is he?
O'Bla. A mighty good sort of gentleman—only mighty tiresome.
Catty. Ay, that's what I hard—that he is mighty fond of talking to people for their good. Now that's what I dread, for I can't stand being talked to for my good.
O'Bla. 'Tis little use, I confess. We Irish is wonderful soon tired of goodness, if there's no spice of fun along with it; and poor Carver's soft, and between you and I, he's a little bothered, but, Mrs. Rooney, you won't repate?
Catty. Repate!—I! I'm neither watch nor repater—I scorn both; and between you and I, since you say so, counshillor, that's my chiefest objection to Carver, whom I wouldn't know from Adam, except by reputation. But it's the report of the country, that he has common informers in his pay and favour; now that's mane, and I don't like it.
O'Bla. Nor I, Mrs. Rooney. I had experience of informers in the distillery line once. The worst varmin that is ever encouraged in any house or country. The very mintion of them makes me creep all over still.
Catty. Then 'tis Carver, they say, that has the oil of Rhodium for them; for they follow and fawn on him, like rats on the rat catcher—of all sorts and sizes, he has 'em. They say, he sets them over and after one another; and has lations of them that he lets out on the craturs' cabins, to larn how many grains of salt every man takes with his little prates, and bring information if a straw would be stirring.
O'Bla. Ay, and if it would, then, it's Carver that would quake like the aspin leaf—I know that. It's no malice at all in him; only just he's a mighty great poltroon.
Catty. Is that all? Then I'd pity and laugh at him, and I go to him preferably to any other magistrate.
O'Bla. You may, Mrs. Rooney—for it's in terror of his life he lives, continually draming day and night, and croaking of carders and thrashers, and oak boys, and white boys, and peep-o'-day boys, and united boys, and riband-men, and men and boys of all sorts that have, and that have not, been up and down the country since the rebellion.
Catty. The poor cratur! But in case he'd prove refractory, and would not take my examinations, can't I persecute my shute again the McBrides for the bit of the bog of Ballynascraw, counshillor?—Can't I harash 'em at law?
O'Bla. You can, ma'am, harash them properly. I've looked over your papers, and I'm happy to tell you, you may go on at law as soon and as long as you plase.
Catty. (speaking very rapidly) Bless you for that word, counshillor; and by the first light to-morrow, I'll drive all the grazing cattle, every four-footed baast off the land, and pound 'em in Ballynavogue; and if they replevy, why I'll distrain again, if it be forty times, I will go. I'll go on distraining, and I'll advertise, and I'll cant, and I'll sell the distress at the end of the eight days. And if they dare for to go for to put a plough in that bit of reclaimed bog, I'll come down upon 'em with an injunction, and I would not value the expinse of bringing down a record a pin's pint; and if that went again me, I'd remove it to the courts above and wilcome; and after that, I'd go into equity, and if the chancillor would not be my friend, I'd take it over to the House of Lords in London, so I would as soon as look at 'em; for I'd wear my feet to the knees for justice—so I would.
O'Bla. That you would! You're an iligant lawyer, Mrs. Rooney; but have you the sinews of war?
Catty. Is it money, dear?—I have, and while ever I've one shilling to throw down to ould Matthew McBride's guinea, I'll go on; and every guinea he parts will twinge his vitals: so I'll keep on while ever I've a fiv'-penny bit to rub on another—for my spirit is up.
O'Bla. Ay, ay, so you say. Catty, my dear, your back's asy up, but it's asy down again.
Catty. Not when I've been trod on as now, counshillor: it's then I'd turn and fly at a body, gentle or simple, like mad.
O'Bla. Well done, Catty (patting her on the back). There's my own pet mad cat—and there's a legal venom in her claws, that every scratch they'll give shall fester so no plaister in law can heal it.
Catty. Oh, counshillor, now, if you wouldn't be flattering a wake woman.
O'Bla. Wake woman!—not a bit of woman's wakeness in ye. Oh, my cat-o'-cats! let any man throw her from him, which way he will, she's on her legs and at him again, tooth and claw.
Catty. With nine lives, renewable for ever.
O'Bla. (alone) There's a demon in woman's form set to work for me! Oh, this works well—and no fear that the Roonies and McBrides should ever come to an understanding to cut me out. Young Mr. Randal Rooney, my humble compliments to you, and I hope you'll become the willow which you'll soon have to wear for Miss Honor McBride's pretty sake. But I wonder the brother a'n't come up yet with the rist of her fortune. (Calls behind the scenes.) Mick! Jack! Jenny! Where's Pat?—Then why don't you know? run down a piece of the road towards Ballynascraw, see would you see any body coming, and bring me word would you see Phil McBride—you know, flourishing Phil.—Now I'm prepared every way for the shupervishor, only I wish to have something genteel in my fist for him, and a show of cash flying about—nothing like it, to dazzle the eyes.
An Apartment in Mr. CARVER'S House. Mr. CARVER seated: a table, pens, ink, paper, and law-books. A cleric, pen in hand.—On the right-hand side of Mr. CARVER stands Mrs. CATTY ROONEY.—RANDAL ROONEY beside her, leaning against a pillar, his arms folded.—Behind Mrs. ROONEY, three men—one remarkably tall, one remarkably little.—On the left-hand of Mr. CARVER stand Old MATTHEW McBRIDE, leaning on his stick; beside him, PHILIP McBRIDE, with his silver-hilted whip in his hand.—A Constable at some distance behind Mr. CARVER'S chair.—Mr. CARVER looking over and placing his books, and seeming to speak to his clerk.
Catty. (aside to her son) See I'll take it asy, and be very shivel and sweet wid him, till I'll see which side he'll lane, and how it will go with us Roonies—(Mr. CARVER rising, leans forward with both his hands on the table, as if going to speak, looks round, and clears his throat loudly.)—Will I spake now, plase your honour?
Old McB. Dacency, when you see his honour preparing his throat.
[Mr. CARVER clears his throat again.
Catty. (curtsying between each sentence) Then I ixpect his honour will do me justice. I got a great character of his honour. I'd sooner come before your honour than any jantleman in all Ireland. I'm sure your honour will stand my frind.
Mr. Carv. Misguided people of Ballynavogue and Ballynascraw—
[At the instant Mr. CARVER pronounces the word "Ballynavogue," CATTY curtsies, and all the ROONIES, behind her, bow, and answer—
Here, plase your honour.
[And when Mr. CARVER says "Ballynascraw," all the McBRIDES bow, and reply—
Here, plase your honour.
Mr. Carv. (speaking with pomposity, but embarrassment, and clearing his throat frequently) When I consider and look round me, gentlemen, and when I look round me and consider, how long a period of time I have had the honour to bear his majesty's commission of the peace for this county—
Catty. (curtsying) Your honour's a good warrant, no doubt.
Mr. Carv. Hem!—hem!—also being a residentiary gentleman at Bob's Fort—hem!—hem!—hem!—(Coughs, and blows his nose.)
Catty. (aside to her son) Choking the cratur is with the words he can't get out. (Aloud) Will I spake now, plase your honour?
Clerk. Silence! silence!
Mr. Carv. And when I consider all the ineffectual attempts I have made by eloquence and otherwise, to moralize and civilize you gentlemen, and to eradicate all your heterogeneous or rebellious passions—
Catty. Not a rebel, good or bad, among us, plase your honour.
Mr. Carv. I say, my good people of Ballynavogue and Ballynascraw, I stand here really in unspeakable concern and astonishment, to notice at this fair-time in my barony, these symptoms of a riot, gentlemen, and features of a tumult.
Catty. True, your honour, see—scarce a symptom of a fature lift in the face here of little Charley of Killaspugbrone, with the b'ating he got from them McBrides, who bred the riot, entirely under Flourishing Phil, plase your honour.
Mr. Carv. (turning to PHIL McBRIDE.) Mr. Philip McBride, son of old Matthew, quite a substantial man,—I am really concerned, Philip, to see you, whom I looked upon as a sort of, I had almost said, gentleman—
Catty. Gentleman! what sort? Is it because of the new topped boots, or by virtue of the silver-topped whip, and the bit of a red rag tied about the throat?—Then a gentleman's asy made, now-a-days.
Young McB. It seems 'tis not so asy any way, now-a-days, to make a gentlewoman, Mrs. Rooney.
Catty. (springing forward angrily) And is it me you mane, young man?
Randal. Oh! mother, dear, don't be aggravating.
Mr. Carv. Clerk, why don't you maintain silence?
Catty. (pressing before her son) Stand back, then, Randal Rooney—don't you hear silence?—don't be brawling before his honour. Go back wid yourself to your pillar, or post, and fould your arms, and stand like a fool that's in love, as you are.—I beg your honour's pardon, but he's my son, and I can't help it.—But about our examinations, plase your honour, we're all come to swear—here's myself, and little Charley of Killaspugbrone, and big Briny of Cloon, and Ulick of Eliogarty—all ready to swear.
Mr. Carv. But have these gentlemen no tongues of their own, madam?
Catty. No, plase your honour, little Charley has no English tongue; he has none but the native Irish.
Mr. Carv. Clerk, make out their examinations, with a translation; and interpret for Killaspugbrone.
Catty. Plase your honour, I being the lady, expicted I'd get lave to swear first.
Mr. Carv. And what would you swear, madam, if you got leave, pray?—be careful, now.
Catty. I'll tell you how it was out o' the face, plase your honour. The whole Rooney faction—
Mr. Carv. Faction!—No such word in my presence, madam.
Catty. Oh, but I'm ready to swear to it, plase your honour, in or out of the presence:—the whole Rooney faction—every Rooney, big or little, that was in it, was bet, and banished the town and fair of Ballynavogue, for no rason in life, by them McBrides there, them scum o' the earth.
Mr. Carv. Gently, gently, my good lady; no such thing in my presence, as scum o' the earth.
Catty. Well, Scotchmen, if your honour prefars. But before a Scotchman, myself would prefar the poorest spalpeen—barring it be Phil, the buckeen—I ax pardon (curtsying), if a buckeen's the more honourable.
Mr. Carv. Irrelevant in toto, madam; for buckeens and spalpeens are manners or species of men unknown to or not cognizable by the eye of the law; against them, therefore, you cannot swear: but if you have any thing against Philip McBride—
Catty. Oh, I have plinty, and will swear, plase your honour, that he put me in bodily fear, and tore my jock, my blue jock, to tatters. Oh, by the vartue of this book (snatching up a book), and all the books that ever were shut or opened, I'll swear to the damage of five pounds, be the same more or less.
Mr. Carv. My good lady, more or less will never do.
Catty. Forty shillings, any way, I'll swear to; and that's a felony, your honour, I hope?
Mr. Carv. Take time, and consult your conscience conscientiously, my good lady, while I swear these other men—
[She examines the coat, holding it up to view—Mr. CARVER beckons to the Rooney party.
Mr. Carv. Beaten men! come forward.
Big Briny. Not beaten, plase your honour, only bet.
Ulick of Eliogarty. Only black eyes, plase your honour.
Mr. Carv. You, Mr. Charley or Charles Rooney, of Killaspugbrone; you have read these examinations, and are you scrupulously ready to swear?
Catty. He is, and will, plase your honour; only he's the boy that has got no English tongue.
Mr. Carv. I wish you had none, madam, ha! ha! ha! (The two McBRIDES laugh—the ROONIES look grave.) You, Ulick Rooney, of Eliogarty, are these your examinations?
Catty. He can't write, nor rade writing from his cradle, plase your honour; but can make his mark equal to another, sir. It has been read to him any way, sir, plase your honour.
Mr. Carv. And you, sir, who style yourself big Briny of Cloon—you think yourself a great man, I suppose?
Catty. It's what many does that has got less rason, plase your honour.
Mr. Carv. Understand, my honest friend, that there is a vast difference between looking big and being great.
Big Briny. I see—I know, your honour.
Mr. Carv. Now, gentlemen, all of you, before I hand you the book to swear these examinations, there is one thing of which I must warn and apprize you—that I am most remarkably clear-sighted; consequently there can be no thumb kissing with me, gentlemen.
Big Briny. We'll not ax it, plase your honour.
Catty. No Rooney, living or dead, was ever guilty or taxed with the like! (Aside to her son) Oh, they'll swear iligant! We'll flog the world, and have it all our own way! Oh, I knew we'd get justice—or I'd know why.
Clerk. Here's the book, sir, to swear complainants.
[Mr. CARVER comes forward.
Mr. Carv. Wait—wait; I must hear both sides.
Catty. Both sides! Oh, plase your honour—only bother you.
Mr. Carv. Madam, it is my duty to have ears for all men.—Mr. Philip, now for your defence.
Catty. He has none in nature, plase your honour.
Mr. Carv. Madam, you have had my ear long enough—be silent, at your peril.
[She groans piteously.
Mr. Carv. Sir, your defence, without any preamble or pre-ambulation.
Phil. I've no defence to make, plase your honour, but that I'm innocent.
Mr. Carv. (shaking his head) The worst defence in law, my good friend, unless you've witnesses.
Phil. All present that time in the fair was too busy fighting for themselves to witness for me that I was not; except I'd call upon one that would clear me entirely, which is that there young man on the opposite side.
Catty. Oh, the impudent fellow! Is it my son?
Old McB. Is it Randal Rooney? Why, Phil, are you turned innocent?
Phil. I am not, father, at all. But with your lave, I call on Randal Rooney, for he is an undeniable honourable man—I refer all to his evidence.
Randal. Thank you, Phil. I'll witness the truth, on whatever side.
Catty rushes in between them, exclaiming, in a tremendous tone,
If you do, Catty Rooney's curse be upon—
Randal stops her mouth, and struggles to hold his mother back.
Oh, mother, you couldn't curse!—
[All the ROONIES get about her and exclaim,
Oh, Catty, your son you couldn't curse!
Mr. Carv. Silence, and let me be heard. Leave this lady to me; I know how to manage these feminine vixens. Mrs. Catherine Rooney, listen to me—you are a reasonable woman.
Catty. I am not, nor don't pretend to it, plase your honour.
Mr. Carv. But you can hear reason, madam, I presume, from the voice of authority.
Catty. No, plase your honour—I'm deaf, stone deaf.
Mr. Carv. No trifling with me, madam; give me leave to advise you a little for your good.
Catty. Plase your honour, it's of no use—from a child up I never could stand to be advised for my good. See, I'd get hot and hotter, plase your honour, till I'd bounce! I'd fly! I'd burst! and myself does not know what mischief I mightn't do.
Mr. Carv. Constable! take charge of this cursing and cursed woman, who has not respect for man or magistrate. Away with her out of my presence!—I commit her for a contempt.
Randal (eagerly) Oh! plase your honour, I beg your honour's pardon for her—my mother—entirely. When she is in her rason, she has the greatest respect for the whole bench, and your honour above all. Oh! your honour, be plasing this once! Excuse her, and I'll go bail for her she won't say another word till she'd get the nod from your honour.
Mr. Carv. On that condition, and on that condition only, I am willing to pass over the past. Fall back, constable.
Catty. (aside) Why then, Gerald O'Blaney mislet me. This Carver is a fauterer of the Scotch. Bad luck to every bone in his body! (As CATTY says this her son draws her back, and tries to pacify her.)
Mr. Carv. Is she muttering, constable?
Randal. Not a word, plase your honour, only just telling herself to be quiet. Oh, mother, dearest, I'll kneel to plase you.
Catty. Kneel! oh, to an ould woman like me—no standing that! So here, on my hunkers I am, for your sake, Randal, and not a word, good or bad! Can woman do more? (She sits with her fingers on her lips.)
Mr. Carv. Now for your defence, Philip: be short, for mercy's sake! (pulling out his watch.)
Phil. Not to be detaining your honour too long—I was in Ballynavogue this forenoon, and was just—that is, Miss Car'line Flaherty was just—
Mr. Carv. Miss Caroline Flaherty! What in nature can she have to do with the business?
Phil. Only axing me, sir, she was, to play the flageolets, which was the rason I was sitting at Flaherty's.
Mr. Carv. Address yourself to the court, young man.
Phil. Sitting at Flaherty's—in the parlour, with the door open, and all the McBrides which was in it was in the outer room taking a toombler o' punch I trated 'em to—but not drinking—not a man out o' the way—when in comes that gentlewoman. (Pointing to Mrs. ROONEY.—RANDAL groans.) Never fear, Randal, I'll tell it as soft as I can.
Old McB. Soft, why? Mighty soft cratur ever since he was born, plase your honour, though he's my son.
Mr. Carv. (putting his fingers on his lips) Friend Matthew, no reflections in a court of justice ever. Go on, Philip.
Phil. So some one having tould Mrs. Rooney lies, as I'm confident, sir—for she come in quite mad, and abused my sister Honor; accusing her, before all, of being sitting and giving her company to Randal Rooney at Flaherty's, drinking, and something about a ring, and a meeting behind the chapel, which I couldn't understand;—but it fired me, and I stepped—but I recollected I'd promised Honor not to let her provoke me to lift a hand good or bad—so I stepped across very civil, and I said to her, says I, Ma'am, it's all lies—some one has been belying Honor McBride to you, Mrs. Rooney.
[CATTY sighs and groans, striking the back of one hand reiteratedly into the palm of the other—rises—beats the devil's tattoo as she stands—then claps her hands again.
Mr. Carv. That woman has certainly more ways of making a noise, without speaking, than any woman upon earth. Proceed, Philip.
Phil. Depind on it, it's all lies, Mrs. Rooney, says I, ma'am. No, but you lie, flourishing Phil, says she. With that every McBride to a man, rises from the table, catching up chairs and stools and toomblers and jugs to revenge Honor and me. Not for your life, boys, don't let-drive ne'er a one of yees, says I—she's a woman, and a widow woman, and only a scould from her birth: so they held their hands; but she giving tongue bitter, 'twas hard for flesh and blood to stand it. Now, for the love of heaven and me, sit down all, and be quite as lambs, and finish your poonch like gentlemen, sir, says I: so saying, I tuk Mrs. Rooney up in my arms tenderly, as I would a bould child—she screeching and screeching like mad:—whereupon her jock caught on the chair, pocket-hole or something, and give one rent from head to fut—and that was the tattering of the jock. So we got her to the door, and there she spying her son by ill-luck in the street, directly stretches out her' arms, and kicking my shins, plase your honour, till I could not hold her, "Murder! Randal Rooney," cries she, "and will you see your own mother murdered?"
Randal. Them were the very words, I acknowledge, she used, which put me past my rason, no doubt.
Phil. Then Randal Rooney, being past his rason, turns to all them Roonies that were in no condition.
Mr. Carv. That were, what we in English would call drunk, I presume?
Randal. Something very near it, plase your honour.
Phil. Sitting on the bench outside the door they were, when Randal came up. "Up, Roonies, and at 'em!" cried he; and up, to be sure, they flew, shillelahs and all, like lightning, daling blows on all of us McBrides: but I never lifted a hand; and Randal, I'll do him justice, avoided to lift a hand against me.
Randal. And while I live I'll never forget that hour, nor this hour, Phil, and all your generous construction.
Catty. (aside) Why then it almost softens me; but I won't be made a fool on.
Mr. Carv. (who has been re-considering the examinations) It appears to me that you, Mr. Philip McBride, did, as the law allows, only lay hands softly upon complainant, Catherine Rooney; and the Rooneys, as it appears, struck, and did strike, the first blow.