The Reminiscences of an Irish Land Agent
by S.M. Hussey
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'Glass of grog, if I drink you now, you'll cut the legs from under me. And yet I want you, and I will not do without you. So I know what I will do. I'll go to bed and I'll drink you there, for I don't care a damn what you do to me then.'

The indifference of a drunken man to subsequent consequences was rather quaintly shown by that weird individual Dr. Tanner, when he went up to Sir Ellis Ashmead Bartlett in the lobby of the House of Commons, and abruptly observed:—

'You're a fool.'

Sir Ellis fixed him with his eyeglass, and, in disgusted tones, replied:—

'You're drunk.'

'I suppose so,' retorted the Irishman, 'but then I'll be sober to-morrow'—in the most plaintive tone, then in a crescendo of scorn—' whereas you'll always be a fool.'

Moreover as he slouched down the lobby, he was heard to say:—

'If I do get a headache, I've a head to have it in, not a frame on which to hang an eyeglass.'

That is a political amenity on which I will not dwell.

Very little money-lending is to be heard of in the south of Ireland, and in all my experience I only remember one case in Kerry. Tenants in Ireland, however, have great horror of breaking bulk, and many of them will do a bill for a neighbour when they have deposits in the bank for themselves. As it is a point of honour never to refuse a friend in this respect, you can easily imagine the amount of 'paper' which is fluttering.

Even when a farmer has a tidy sum of money on deposit with the bank at one per cent., if he wants to employ a sum for a short time, say for the purchase of cattle, he prefers to raise the money on a bill at six per cent.

That is to say, the bank is lending him his own money at five per cent.—a truly Hibernian trait, which it would be difficult to beat anywhere.

A bill for drink is not recoverable, but occasionally an insidious publican will take a man's I.O.U. and sue on that.

One applied to me to help him to get the money from a tenant.

'You must show me the account,' said I.

As I suspected, there was whisky in it, and I declined on the spot.

All drink in Ireland is on cash down terms only.

If they gave tick, they would never recover the money, and if every Irishman is a knowing scoundrel, the publican is a trifle more knowledgable than the customer, whose brains are besodden.

A man, who had been a servant of mine, started a public near Tralee, and thinking he would get customers from the other whisky stores, he gave tick. His popularity lasted just as long as the tick did, and a week later he was broke. I do not say so much about Tralee being able to support one hundred and sixty liquor shops, because there is a little shipping, but how Cahirciveen can enable fifty publicans to thrive is a melancholy mystery to me.

I was animadverting once, at Dingle, on the topic, when one of my labourers remarked:—

'It's the gentry does the drinking.'

'Now that's very curious,' said I, 'for as there are only two of us, and as I never touch spirits, the other must have such a thirst that he'd consume the bay if only it were made of whisky.'

In these democratic days, it is as well to resist any undue aspersion on the upper classes.

To pass any aspersion on the bibulous propensities of a tenant of mine named Flaherty would be impossible. When he was buying his farm, I told him the Government ought to take him on very easy terms, when they became his landlords.

'And for why?' he asked.

'Because,' I replied, 'the duty you pay on the whisky you drink is more than twenty times your annual rent.'

I had, however, one personal illustration of the drinking propensity in Scotland, which I think is worth preserving. It is some years now since I went to see a certain farmer who, his wife told me, on noticing my approach, was compelled to go upstairs to cool his head as it was after dinner. She said this much in the same casual tone, as I should mention that my wife had gone up early to dress for that meal.

Next, I heard heavy splashing of water, and then a crash which portended that the farmer had fallen over the washstand, making a fearful clatter.

In rushed the drab of a servant maid, perfectly indifferent to my presence, shrieking:—

'O missus, come up, come up, the maister is just miraculous among the chaney!'



I have been asked, since my friends became aware that I am perpetrating my reminiscences, whether I was going to write anything supplemental to Mr. MacCarthy's Priests and People, and Five Tears in Ireland.

My reply was:—

'Certainly not.'

To begin with, I have many friends among Roman Catholics, and plenty of cheery acquaintances among the priests. Secondly, the state of feud and hostility on which Mr. MacCarthy dilates is more likely to be found in Ulster and Leinster than in Kerry, where the Roman Catholics form more than nine-tenths of the population.

On one occasion, when a distinguished Englishman was staying at Killarney House, I told him that he should go to the north to see the strangest sight in the world—two races hating one another for the love of God.

It is not my business to estimate what would happen in Kerry if a few thousand rabid Orangemen were plumped down among the present inhabitants; but according to existing circumstances creeds are not torn to tatters nor religion disfigured by strife and slander.

All the same, I am bound to say that the Roman Catholic priests, when I was young, were much superior to those of to-day. They were drawn from a better class, because, having to be educated at Rome, or, at least, as far away as St. Omer, entailed some considerable outlay by their relatives. Moreover, they brought back from their continental seminaries broader ideas than can be acquired in purely Irish colleges. Their interest had been stimulated at the most impressionable age in much of which the farmers and labourers had no conception. Therefore the priest could address his flock with authority, and was invariably looked up to as well as obeyed.

The parish priest at Blarney erected a tower in commemoration of the battle of Waterloo, and a public house in the vicinity bears the name to this day.

What parish priest would raise a memorial to any English victory in the twentieth century?

The greatest curse to the Irish nation has been Maynooth, because it has fostered the ordination of peasants' sons. These are uneducated men who have never been out of Ireland, whose sympathies are wholly with the class from which they have sprung, and who are given no training calculated to afford them a broader view than that of the narrowest class prejudice.

As for the much discussed Irish university, I do not myself believe it will be founded.

Should even an English Government be blind enough to allow it, an Irish university could only become a hot-bed of treason, and practically all educated members of the Roman Catholic community would avoid sending their sons to such a seminary of sedition, where the influence would be insidiously directed to make the undergraduates even more hostile to England than they already are by inherited instincts and by all they have been told in their own homes.

On the very day this page is written, I have mentioned the question of an Irish university to two Protestants in the Carlton, both Members of Parliament, and both approved of the idea in a languid way. I have also mooted the topic this afternoon to two leading Roman Catholics, and both vehemently disapproved, alleging that it will work endless mischief.

As far back as 1872 Dr. Macaulay wrote:—

'The Irish university question has been put off from year to year, and at length presses for settlement.'

In the best interests of Ireland, may the same thing be written thirty years hence!

If the Roman Catholics of England send their sons to Oxford and Cambridge, why should not more Irish Roman Catholics send theirs to Trinity College, Dublin? Only a very few do, although the education is said to be quite as good as at either of the great English Universities. A far tighter hold is kept, however, on the Roman Catholic laity in Ireland than in England. It always surprises English people to learn that, in Ireland, Roman Catholics are not allowed to enter Protestant churches to attend either funerals or weddings. Nor do I think there is much probability of these restrictions being removed.

Of course, in the years of outrage and terror in Ireland, many of the priests from the altar denounced loyal members of the congregation, or incited their hearers to deeds of wickedness by their inflammatory sermons. These facts are among the blackest in the history of any creed, and I do not hesitate to class the work of some of the priests who disgraced their Church with the worst perpetrations of the Spanish Inquisition.

Fortunately all priests were not, and are not, after this style. I have known many good and worthy men among them, as well as capital fellows, fond of a joke. Moreover, the Roman Catholic Church did not always take the side of the Land League.

For example, the bishops and parish priests laboured assiduously to get Lord Granard his rents from his estates in Longford.


Because Maynooth held a great mortgage on the property.

In the famous De Freyne case, the parish priest energetically assisted the landlord in every way in his power, because the property was heavily mortgaged with Roman Catholic charges.

These are two facts that occur to me on the spur of the moment, and probably other people could supply similar instances.

As for the Episcopacy, it was the violence of Dr. Walsh, the Archbishop of Dublin, which prevented him from obtaining the coveted cardinal's hat. This was given to Dr. Logue, the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland, a witty, capable, clever man, who had such an inveterate habit of taking snuff that he did so even when conversing with Queen Victoria.

'It prevents me from sniffing out heresy,' he explained, with a twinkle, 'and so gives me an excuse for shutting my eyes to the different views of my neighbours.'

The Queen was much amused, but the remark conveyed a true view of Irish Catholicism.

The fact is, his bishop can do very little with a treasonable man when once he has been inducted a parish priest; and the curate who obtains irregular fees, of course, panders even more to the taste of his congregation. A bishop will haul up a tonsured subordinate mighty sharp for any breach of ecclesiastical duty, but when it comes to politics and instigation to crime, he finds it far more difficult to keep a tight hand.

As a broad rule it may be stated that the bishops are well selected, and are of a much higher type than the average priest.

Of the bishops of Killarney, Moriarty put down Fenianism with no light hand, preaching, as I have already shown, in the most manly and emphatic style—which could have been emulated with advantage in other Episcopacies in my country. MacCarthy was a bookworm from Maynooth, who played the deuce with the diocese, allowing all the priests to run wild, and by his laxity becoming criminally responsible for much of the terrible condition of Kerry. Higgins was the nominee of a friend of Moriarty, and he worked hard to suppress outrages, by which course he certainly did not add to his popularity among his flock. In his upright and courageous conduct he has been worthily emulated by his successor, Coffey, whose demise occurred only in the present year.

Kerry possesses one bishop, fifty-one parish priests and administrators, sixty-nine curates, and eleven priests occupied in tuition.

There are six religious houses for males, and seventeen convents, representing about five hundred inhabitants, as well as three hundred students, which, with the occupants of subsidiary sacerdotal establishments, is estimated to make up 1265 persons.

In 1871, when the population of Kerry was 196,586, there were 337 priests and nuns. In 1901, when the population had become reduced to 165,726, the priests and nuns had increased to 546.

And these statistics bring me to a salient point:—

The one reality above all others in Irish life is the grip of the Church.

In the last book which I have received from the library—Paddy-Risky by Mr. Andrew Merry—one of the stories is that of a poor widow beggaring herself in order to provide the parish chapel with a bell, and that is the kind of thing you hear of everywhere.

The Roman Catholic Church presides over every function in the life of each member of its community, and the priest charges heavily for administering the rites.

At a wedding he does not take a prescribed fee, but makes a bargain, usually with the family of the bride. I have known as much as twenty-five pounds paid to a priest at a small farmer's marriage; and the sum obtained is very often out of all proportion to the dowry of the bride, or even to the funds of the happy pair.

An example may be cited—the case of a labourer in my own employ, who received forty pounds as his wife's fortune, and had to pay eight to the parish priest.

It is the same thing with funerals, over which a ridiculous amount is still spent, although the wake is falling into disrepute under the ban of the Church, and women are now rarely hired to 'keen.' There is a craze to have a number of priests attending the service, and a good many of them do go, very well pleased, as to a picnic.

In parishes where the poverty is something appalling the members of the congregation not only contribute Peter's Pence, but you cannot go into the chapel without seeing some tiny candles lighted before the altar of Mary, which must literally represent the scriptural mites of the widow and orphan.

Before I relapse into a few stories, let me say something about the Protestant clergy.

They are nearly always recruited from the ranks of the smaller Irish gentry, and whilst, perhaps, richer in proportion than many of the curates and incumbents in England, there are no 'fat' livings, and all are distinctly poorer since the Disestablishment.

The average in Kerry, and over most of the south of Ireland, is a stipend of two hundred pounds a year, which involves reading services in two churches each Sunday, and therefore puts the clergyman to the expense of keeping a horse and trap.

About 1820 the district around Castleisland was divided into three parishes—Castleisland, Ballincushlane, and Killeentierna—the joint revenues of which were eighteen hundred a year. These were vested in the Lord Bandon of the time, who lived in the lovely cottage on the upper Lake of Killarney.

He allowed a curate fifty pounds a year to do the joint duties, and I hardly think the man was worth the money. He subsequently obtained a Government living and was in the habit of asking his congregation, as they went into church, whether they wanted a sermon or not. The general concensus of opinion was a polite negative—to the relief of all parties.

The method of electing a vicar in Ireland since the Disestablishment is both sensible and practical.

Three parish nominators, one lay diocesan nominator, two clerical diocesan nominators, and the bishop, between them, choose the new incumbent. By the constitution of this Court of Election, it is certain that no one will be appointed to whom the parish objects, whilst if the parish desires the nomination of an incompetent man, that is checked by the diocesan voters in conjunction with the bishop.

In fact it is an admirable system, far better than the patronage plan still rampant in England.

The Irish bishops are also chosen by nominators drawn from the clergy and laity of the diocese, provided a two-thirds majority be obtained for any one candidate. If not, the Irish bench of bishops jointly selects the new wearer of lawn sleeves.

This, again, works with perfect smoothness and never arouses the ill-feeling aroused by the selections nominally made by the Prime Minister. To-day the Foundations of Belief may not be an essay which causes confidence in the ability of the author to pick the best bishops, and all the much-vaunted religious convictions of Mr. Gladstone did not make his nominations to the Episcopacy particularly successful. It is now no secret that Lord Cairns used to choose bishops for Disraeli and that Lord Shaftesbury often was consulted by Prime Ministers who knew more about sport than clericalism.

So far as I can recollect, among all the Irish clergy I have met not one was an Englishman, though there are plenty of Irish in the English Established Church.

All the Disestablished Church of Ireland is exceedingly anti-ritualistic.

'I do not want Mock-Turtle, when I am so near real Turtle,' said Sir George Shiel, when asked to visit St. Alban's, Holborn, one of the Ritualistic temples—an observation which represents the feeling animating clergy and laity in Ireland, though they are none the better pleased that out of the funds of the Disestablishment, Maynooth should have received a capitalised sum equal to the previous annual grant from Government.

And now for just a few clerical tales.

A man was dying and the priest was with him.

'Ah, Father Philip,' said the poor fellow, 'I am sure the likes of you would never be deceiving a poor man and him on his deathbed. Tell me straight, is my soul all right?'

'It is, my son, and in a very short time you'll be in the company of the Blessed Saints.'

'In that case, Father, I'll tell the devil he may just kiss my toe and bad luck to him for all the trouble I have had to get out of his clutches,' and the priest noticed his last sigh was one of complete satisfaction—no doubt anticipatory.

Purgatory forms the foundation of many stories.

A certain very poor widow was paying the priest money for the soul of her son, who was killed in a faction fight.

'And it's more masses you must have Mrs. Murphy, for Paddy has only got his red hair out of purgatory.'

Later, when she was asked for further contributions:—

'It's his mouth which is out now, and he sends his mother on earth messages to have prayers said to get him to heaven.'

A third time did Widow Murphy give the priest what she could not in the least afford.

Yet again he reported progress.

'Now you must make a great effort, for his head and shoulders are out of purgatory.'

'Then it's devil another penny of mine will go for masses, for if my Pat has his head and shoulders out, I can safely reckon he'll soon wriggle himself away entirely, God bless the poor darling.'

Another purgatory tale, this time concerning Father Batt.

A fellow-priest came to see him, and over a friendly glass:—

'And what's the news?' asked Father Batt.

'None that I know on earth, but I do hear tell that the floor of purgatory has given way and all the inhabitants have fallen into hell.'

'Oh, the poor Protestants, that will be all crushed by the weight atop of them,' was Father Batt's rejoinder.

Few priests in Kerry have been better known or more beloved than he, almost the last of the old-fashioned school, and he was always warm friends with his Protestant colleague in Milltown, where he resided.

Father Batt invariably took a few tumblers of hot whisky punch after dinner, and having got ill was advised by the doctor to give it up and take to claret.

When the bishop met him some time later, he said:—

'Well, Father Batt, I am afraid you do not like claret so well as the whisky.'

'It's this way, my lord,' he replied. 'I don't object to the taste so much as I thought I should, but I find it very tedious.'

It is with some diffidence that I venture upon a convent story. To begin with, I am a Protestant, and secondly, in relation to one of these ladies' clubs under sacerdotal patronage I feel like Paul Pry, always apologetic when putting in an appearance.

Still, the tale is quite innocent and is absolutely true.

The convent is in Kerry and up to recently the order had been an enclosed one. But a papal edict arrived one day, bidding the nuns go out to teach, and to collect, as well as to relieve, the suffering in their own homes.

The Mother Superior was exceedingly wroth.

'What!' quoth she. 'Does the Holy Father want to be interfering with me after I have been within these walls for the last eight-and-twenty years? I am not going to begin tramping the roads at my time of life, not for the Holy Father himself, no, nor all the Cardinals too. A pretty state of things indeed. Why, he'll be telling me to ride a bicycle next!'

The county of Cork was at one time so notorious for cattle-stealing that a Roman Catholic bishop went down specially to admonish them.

When telling one parish priest to be firm with his congregation on the subject, the bishop observed:—

'Nothing is more clearly laid down in the Bible than that if a man has possession of another man's property he can never enter the kingdom of heaven.'

'The Saints preserve us,' exclaimed the priest; 'there'll be plenty of empty houses there.'

It is not uncommon for a priest to get a bit of truth by accident or by cunning from one of his flock.

The parish priest was congratulating a man who had married three wives upon getting a bit of money with each, and received this answer:—

'Well, your reverence, I did not do badly at all, but between the weddings and the funerals, your reverence took care it was not all clear profit.'

There is plenty of hard barter about the terms of these ceremonies, and on one occasion at Brosna, when the curate stood out for three pounds as his fee for performing the marriage service, the would-be bridegroom held out a thirty shilling note, saying:—

'Marry yourself to this, your reverence, and we'll be happy with your blessing.'

As the persuasive eloquence of another man could not abate the price which his priest demanded for a funeral, he blurted out:—

'Why, the blessed corpse in purgatory would shiver at the thought of costing so much to put away, and we but poor folk, with the pig that contrary we don't know whether the litter will survive.'

Here is a fish story connected with a member of my own family, Miss Clarissa Hussey, who was my aunt, and also a pious Roman Catholic. She used to hospitably entertain her confessor Father Tom, a priest with a keen appreciation of the good things of the table. Among his parishioners it was known that he indicated the value he put on the coming fare by the length of his preliminary grace.

On a certain Friday in Lent he dined with her, and on a huge dish being put down in front of his hostess, he expected a fine salmon, and shutting his eyes proceeded to pronounce a benediction the length of which greatly gratified my aunt. On the cover being removed, however, his face fell, and in severe tones he rebuked her:—

'Was it for bake, ma'am, that I offered up the full grace?'

Nor could he be appeased all through the meal.

That leads me to relate the funeral sermon delivered by a clergyman on a lady who had died suddenly at her morning meal:—

'You all, dear brethren, well know the loss we have sustained in our departed sister. She was ever alert and kindly, ever bountiful though without extravagance. To the last she preserved her characteristics. On the fatal morning of her removal from among us, she rose as usual and came to the family breakfast-table. With no premonition of what was to come she took her egg-spoon and cracked her egg, an egg laid by one of her own hens. In another moment failure of the heart transferred her to a higher sphere. She began that egg on earth, she finished it in heaven.'



An Englishman once asked me, if I could suggest any way by which all Ireland could be made loyal. I inquired if he thought the Irish constabulary a loyal body.

'Most decidedly,' said he, without hesitation.

'Then,' I replied, 'if you will pay every Irishman seventy pounds a year for doing nothing, but look after other people's affairs—a thing by nature congenial to him as it is—you'll have the most loyal race on earth.'

That Englishman went away thoughtful, but I had shown him the solution of one Irish problem which may be stated thus:—

Why do one half of the sons of farmers in Ireland, who have been or are members of the Irish constabulary, represent a body of men unequalled for their respectability, loyalty, and courage, while a large proportion of the other, at least in the eighties, made up the bulk of the ignoble army of moonlighters, cattle maimers, and cowardly assassins crouching behind stone walls to shoot at an unsuspecting victim in the opening?

The answer is L s. d., not an agreeable one, but truth is not always composed of sweetstuff.

The constabulary are recruited from the sons of peasants and farmers. They are drilled, disciplined, well fed, well clothed, well paid, and show themselves well conducted. During all the bad times, there was not a single case of a disaffected man, though every sort of inducement must have been brought to bear on them. The prevailing characteristic of all ranks has been the high sense of duty, so that they composed the most mobile and the most effective corps in Europe.

As detectives, they have, however, proved quite ineffective, because the peasant has everywhere been too shrewd for them; 'yet the relative position of the police to the people, and the intimate connection with America, marked it out as a force peculiarly adapted to the prevention and detection of crime committed in Ireland, but often inspired from America.' So wrote one of the most experienced resident magistrates, Mr. Clifford Lloyd, afterwards Minister of the Interior in Egypt, and subsequently Lieutenant Governor of the Mauritius and Consul at Erzeroum, where he died at the age of forty-seven.

The constabulary are enlisted without any consideration of creed, but when Sir Duncan MacGregor was at the head of the force he arranged that of the five men in every police barrack, two should be Protestant, and three Roman Catholic, or vice-versa. This check has subsequently been swept away, by no means to the advantage of the service.

Very recently the Inspector General, and the Assistant Inspector General retired, and their places were filled by an Englishman and an Irishman, neither of whom had been in the force, which gave rise to great and well-founded dissatisfaction. One of the pair is a warm friend of my own, but that is no reason why I should approve of the appointment.

While the bulk of the officers are Irish gentlemen, educated in Ireland, Englishmen are also to be found among them. Officers enter by nomination after passing an examination designed to show that they are not 'crammed,' but the perversity of the examiners has always thwarted this excellent intention. That is like the admirable purpose of Cabinet Ministers, bent on reforming their different departments, but dexterously 'blocked' by the permanent officials.

Before the reduction commenced by Mr. Wyndham, the Constabulary numbered 10,679, and cost L1,390,917. In my opinion it will be found necessary in the future, not only to keep the force up to its full strength, but to materially increase its number so soon as the Government becomes the sole landlord in Ireland, especially now that they are going to have Volunteers in the country.

The existence of this force merely means that landlords will be shot at half price; so, for the sake of their own skins, the latter had better get clear of the country before the recruits have had much musketry instruction. The badness of the shooting saved many a landlord in the eighties, and if that is remedied, why they will be popped as easily as my grandson knocks over rabbits.

There is a story of an English tourist seeking for information about the distressful country, he being at Tallaght near Dublin.

He asked his carman whether there were many Fenians about.

'A terrible lot, your honour,' replied the fellow.

'I suppose a thousand?' the tourist suggested, somewhat apprehensively.

'That is so, and twenty thousand more,' answered the carman without hesitation.

'Are they armed?' was the next question.

'They are that, and finely into the bargain.'

'And are they prepared to come out?' the tourist being much perturbed, and thinking it would be his duty to write to the Times.

'Prepared to come out in the morning, your honour.'

'And why don't they do so?' with English common sense.

'Begorra, because maybe if they did, the constabulary would put them in jail.'

So the constabulary have some value after all, in spite of the sneers of Home Rule members in the House of Commons.

Half a dozen Kerry priests screeched with laughter when I told them that story in the train, having met them on a journey to Farranfore.

Here is another I also gave them on that occasion.

A couple of policemen were discussing the state of Ireland once upon a time.

Says Dan to Mick:—

'Sure we'll niver get peace and quiet in the blessed country until we fetch Oliver Cromwell up from hell to settle the unruly.'

Replies Mick to Dan:—

'Have done, you fool, isn't he a deal quieter where he is?'

Judge Keagh thought worse of his fellow countrymen than do other men with less than his great experience, and although a Roman Catholic, he had to be escorted by two constables wherever he went.

He was told that he ought to be guarded by four policemen, because the two might be attacked.

But he knew the man that said it wanted to make the protection more conspicuous, so he replied:—

'Sir, I have the most implicit confidence in the invincible cowardice of my fellow countrymen.'

That recalls an observation of my own.

On one occasion, a telegram was sent from the Chief Inspector of Constabulary in Kerry to the Scotland Yard authorities to say there was to be an attempt to murder me in London, and in consequence a gentleman from the department for providing traffic directors in metropolitan streets called at my house in Elvaston Place, to inquire what police protection I wanted.

'None,' said I, 'for if a man shoots me in London he'll be hung, and every Irish scoundrel is careful of his own neck. It's altogether another matter in Ireland, where Mr. Gladstone has carefully provided that he shall be tried by a jury, the majority of which are certain to be land leaguers.'

I brought out the same idea on a more important occasion.

Once, in Mr. Froude's house, Professor Max Mueller—who was a great admirer of Mr. Gladstone—remarked that after all I had not much reason to complain, because I had had plenty of police protection in Ireland.

'I should prefer equal laws,' said I.

'What inequality of law have you to find fault with?' he asked.

'Well,' I replied, 'if a land leaguer shoots me in Ireland, he will be tried by a jury of land leaguers. If I shoot one of them, I would require that I be tried by a jury of landlords, and if that be granted I'll clear the road for myself of all suspicious characters, and ask for no more police protection than you require at Oxford.'

He subsided at that, and Froude laughed at him so heartily, that he had not another word to say on the subject all day.

Did you ever hear the rhyme about moonlighting? It runs as follows:—

'The difference betwixt moonlight and moonshine The people at last understand, For moonlight's the law of the League And moonshine is the law of the land.'

That would have clinched my argument beyond all dispute, but the expressive poem was not written at that time.

Reverting to the topics of this chapter, it is needless to observe that there is a bond of connection between constabulary and dispensary doctors, for the latter are needed on many occasions to attend to the wounds of those just arrested.

The dispensary doctors do not form a satisfactory feature of Irish life, simply because the farmers elect individuals out of friendship.

A dispensary doctor had to be appointed at Farranfore, and I was most anxious to get the best man for the position. So I proposed that the candidates' papers should all be submitted to Sir Dominic Corragun, a Roman Catholic physician of high standing in Dublin.

I could not even get a seconder to my motion, which therefore fell stillborn, and I wrote to Lord Kenmare that if Gull or Jenner had been suggested, neither of them would have obtained three votes.

Virtually the appointment of the dispensary doctor is vested in the dispensary Committee, which is a local body, usually consisting of one or more guardians, and four or five specially elected ratepayers. In the same way are chosen all the local sanitary authorities, who are of course under the District Council.

You remember that Punch called the sanitary inspector the insanitary spectre, but the beneficent climate of Ireland fortunately averts all the evils his authority would not be able to arrest if it came to really checking filth.

I remember the occasion of the election of another dispensary doctor, when I was curtly told that only a moonlighter could hope to be appointed.

My reply was:—

'I suppose it is easier for him to poison people when he is drunk than to shoot landlords when in an inebriated condition.'

I do know that a dispensary doctor not thirty miles from Killarney was thrown out of his trap, because he drove the horse through his own front door, when he was under the intoxicated impression he was entering his stable yard.

He broke his leg, and as there was no one to set it, he told his nephew to get a pail of plaster of Paris, and he himself would tell him how to manage the operation.

First they had a glass of whisky to fortify them for the ordeal, and then another, and after that a third to drink good luck to the broken leg.

Finally, when they set about it, the nephew spilt the whole pail of plaster of Paris over the bed in which his uncle lay, and then fell in a drunken stupor into the mess. There they both stayed all night until they were hacked out with a chisel in the morning.

It is strange that the Irish, who are brimful of shrewd sense, use no more discretion about appointing schoolmasters than dispensary doctors.

The petty pedagogues, who are the Baboos of Ireland, are drawn from the small-farmer class. There is great competition among the incompetent to get lucrative posts in my native land: they probably appreciate the Hibernian eccentricity of giving important positions to the men whose claims in any other country would never obtain a moment's consideration.

There was a schoolmaster near Castleisland, who died of sparing the rod but not sparing the potation. His family were anxious his nephew should be appointed.

As he was an utter ne'er-do-weel, the parish priest justly considered him unfit for the situation, and brought from a neighbouring county a schoolmaster highly recommended by the National Convention.

They had a quiet way of expressing their feelings in Kerry in those days, and the moonlighters fired by night through the windows of every one who sent their children to the nominee of the parish priest.

The District Inspector thought he had better look into the matter himself, for it was stated they had always fired high with the sole purpose of intimidating the occupants of the various cabins.

However, when this inspecting authority found a bullet-hole in a window-sill only three feet from the ground, he observed:—

'Well, that shot was meant to kill.'

One farmer standing by remarked:—

'It was not right to fire into a house where there were a lot of little children.'

'Begorra,' cried another, in a tone of virtuous indignation, 'the careless fellows might have killed the poor pig!'

That was sworn before me.

Here is another incident, also sworn to in my presence.

I must explain that the first poor rate was in 1848, and half was made up by local subscription, while the rent was added by the presentment of the county, and not paid out of the rates. It was in those days a common practice for dispensary doctors to put down on the list imaginary subscriptions from friends, so as to draw more from the county.

A young fellow, whose name had thus been used, fired into a Protestant doctor's house, and threatened to murder everybody unless he was given some money.

He obtained half a crown, with which he bought a pint of whisky and a mutton pie; but just as he was putting his teeth into the crust of the latter, he paused in horror.

'I was near being lost for ever, body and soul,' says he, 'this being Friday, and me so close on tasting meat.'

The woman in the place where he bought the provisions proposed to keep the mutton pie for him until the following day.

He thanked her civilly, and went away, but had the misfortune to mistake the police barracks for the rival whisky store, and was promptly arrested for threatening with intent to do injury.

The next day he asked to be allowed to eat his pie, which is how the story came out.

The dispensaries are often worked with more attention to the pocket of those on the premises than is compatible with the principles of honesty, as recognised outside the legal and medical professions. At one dispensary in Kerry the Local Government Board was horrified at the consumption of quinine—an expensive medicine. Indeed, so much disappeared that, if it had not been for the chronic aversion of any low-born Irishman to outside applications of liquid, it might have been surmised that the patients were taking quinine baths. The matter was privately put into the hands of the police, who within a week arrested the secretary getting out of a back window with a big bottle of quinine, which he meant to sell.

That man, for the rest of his life, inveighed against the petty and mischievous interference with private industry tyrannically waged by public bodies.

I should like to claim for Kerry the honour of being the land where the following hoary chestnut originally was perpetrated, the exact locality being Castleisland.

A landlord, who had returned in a fit of absent-mindedness to his property after a sojourn in England, was condoling with a woman on the death of her husband, and asked:—

'What did he die of?'

'Wishna, then, did he not die a natural death, your honour, for there was no doctor attending him?'

A not dissimilar story is that which concerns a Scotch laird who had fallen very sick, so a specialist came from Edinburgh to assist the local murderer in diagnosing the symptoms.

The canny patient felt sure he would not be told what was the matter, so he bade his servant conceal himself behind the curtains in the room where the doctors talked it over, and to repeat to him what they said.

This is what the faithful retainer brought as tidings of comfort to the alarmed invalid:—

'Weel, sir, the two were very gloomy, one saying one thing and the other another; but after a while they cheered up and grew quite pleasant when they had decided that they would know all about it at the post-mortem.'

That recalls to my mind Sidney Smith's definition of a doctor as an individual who put drugs of which he knew very little into a body of which he knew considerably less.

There is a rare lot of truth in some witticisms.

For some illogical reason only known to my own brain—perhaps with the desire of keeping up the fashion for inconsecutive and rambling observations common to all books of reminiscences—the foregoing stories suggest to my mind the excuse made to me by a wary scoundrel for not paying his rent.

'I had an illegant little heifer as ever your honour cast an eye over, and who is a better judge than yourself, God bless you? But the Lord was pleased to take her to Himself, and it would be flat heresy for me not to say He is not as good a judge as your honour's self.'

There was an action brought against a veterinary surgeon for killing a man's horse.

Lord Morris knew something of medicine, as he did of most things, and asked if the dose given would not have killed the devil himself.

The vet. drew himself up pompously, and said:—

'I never had the honour of attending that gentleman.'

'That's a pity, doctor,' replied Morris, 'for he's alive still.'

The Government introduced into the House of Lords an additional bill for the complication and confiscation of landed property in Ireland.

Lord Morris said it reminded him of the bill a veterinary surgeon sent in to a friend of his, the last item of which ran:—

'To curing your grey mare till she died, 10s. 6d.'

Never was the Irish question more happily expressed than in his famous reply to a lady who asked him if he could account for disaffection in Ireland towards the English.

'What else can you expect, ma'am, when a quick-witted race is governed by an intensely stupid one?'

Lord Morris told many stories, but for a change, here is one told of him.

A Belfast tourist was riding past Spiddal, and asked a countryman who lived there.

'One Judge Morris, your honour; but he lives the best part of his time in Dublin.'

'Oh yes,' says the other, 'that's Lord Chief Justice Morris.'

'The very dead spit of him, your honour; and I was told he draws a thousand a year salary.'

'He has five thousand five hundred a year.'

'Ah, your honour, it's very hard to make me believe that.'

'Why don't you believe it?'

'Because when he's down here he passes my gate five days in the week, and I never saw the sign of liquor on him.'

Evidently the bigger salary the bigger profit to the whisky distiller was the rustic's theory.

I have forgotten how the story came to my ears, but I told it to Lord Morris, who much appreciated it.

Another Kerry story, not unlike one narrated earlier in this chapter, runs thiswise:—

Two men came to order a coffin for a mutual friend called Tim O'Shaughnessy.

Said the undertaker:—

'I am sorry to hear poor Tim is gone. He had a famous way with him of drinking whisky. What did he die of?'

Replied one of the men:—

'He is not dead yet at all; but the doctor says he will be before the morning; and sure he should know, for he knows what he gave him.'

Sometimes, however, the patient is quite as clever as the doctor.

A physician in Dublin had a telephone put in his bedroom, and when he was rung up about half-past one on a freezing wintry night, he told his wife to answer it.

She complied, and informed him:—

'It is Mr. Shamus O'Brien, and he wants you to come round at once.'

The physician knew this to be purely an imaginary case of illness, so not wishing to be disturbed, said to her:—

'Tell him the doctor is out, and will not be home till morning.'

Unfortunately he spoke so near the telephone that his remark was audible to the patient. So when the wife had duly delivered the message, the answer came back:—

'If the man in your bed is a doctor, send him here.'



It's the proudest boast of my life that I am an Irishman, and the compliment which I have most appreciated in my time was being called 'the poor man's friend,' for I love Paddy dearly though I see his faults. Yes, perhaps one of the reasons why I love him is because I do see the faults, for the errors of an Irishman are often almost as good as the virtues of an Englishman, and are far more diverting into the bargain. You must not judge Paddy by the same standard as you apply to John. To begin with, he has not had the advantages, and secondly, there's an ingrained whimsicality, for which I would not exchange all the solid imperfections of his neighbour across the Irish Channel.

You would not judge all Scotland by Glasgow, and so you should not fall into the error of judging all Ireland by Belfast. Kerry is the jewel of Ireland, and it is with Kerry that I have fortunately had most to do in my life.

Whilst I am alluding to the mistake of generalising, let me point out how erroneous it is ever, historically, to talk of Ireland as one country. When Henry II. annexed the whole land by a confiscation more open but not more criminal than that instigated by Mr. Gladstone, there were four perfectly separate kingdoms in the island. Now there are four provinces which are quite distinct, and an Ulster man, or a Munster man, or a Connaught man, knows far more, as a rule, of England, or even Scotland, than he does of the other three provinces of his native isle. For one Ulster man who has been in Munster, three hundred have been to Liverpool or Greenock, and until lately there was no railway between Connaught and Munster, so that you had to go nearly up to Dublin to get from one to the other.

There is much that is incomprehensible to the Englishman who comes among us taking notes, and not the least is that no one wants his cut-and-dried schemes of reforming what we do not wish to reform. As for conforming to his method and rule by vestry and county council autocracy in a methodical manner, it is utterly at variance with the national temperament. Very often, too, the stranger falls a victim to the Irishman's love of fun, and goes back hopelessly 'spoofed' and quite unaware what nonsense he is talking when he lays down the law on Ireland far from that perplexing land.

'Don't you want three acres and a cow?' asked an enthusiastic tourist from Birmingham, soon after Mr. Jesse Collins had provided the music-halls with the catch-phrase.

'As for the cow I would not be after saying it would not be a comfort, but what would the pig want with so much land?' was the peasant's reply.

And that suggests an opportunity to give as my opinion that the most practical measure England could take to benefit Ireland would be to drain the large bogs and so improve fuel. In some places the bogs are likely to be exhausted, but in others there is plenty of turf (turf, O Saxon, is not the grass on which you play cricket or croquet, but is the Hibernian for peat). Indeed, there is ample for all the needs of Ireland for a hundred years to come, but it should not be used in the shamefully wasteful way so often noticeable. It is no excuse that the heat it contains is not so great as in coal.

If coal were to run out in England, to what a premium would turf rise in Ireland!

Formerly turf could be picked up free, and even now it is very cheap, the chief expense to the consumer being the cost of transport from the bog to the turf rick behind the cabin.

The mineral rights of Ireland are most deceptive. There are plenty of indications of minerals, but they are of too poor a nature to warrant working.

Personally, I tried working coal-pits near Castleisland for three months, and silver lead was worked for six months near Tralee by a company which was more successful in working its own way with the bankruptcy court. I firmly believe the reputed mineral wealth of Ireland to be greatly exaggerated, and should never advise any one to invest money in a syndicate for its discovery. Smelting was largely perpetrated in olden times in Ireland, which entailed cutting down the oak forests, that then crossed the country, to obtain fuel, the ore being brought from England. But the introduction of the coke process in the north of England settled that industry, which was one of the earliest Irish ones doomed to extinction.

An Irish industry which as yet shows no sign of losing its commercial importance is the blessed institution of matrimony, a holy thing which in Ireland is particularly beneficial to the pockets of the priest, who pronounces the blessing, and to the distiller, who sells the whisky, in which the future of the happy pair is pledged.

The matrimonial arrangements of Irish farmers in Kerry may sound queer to an English reader, but are the outcome of an innate, though unwritten, law that the whole family have a vested interest in the affair.

For example, when the family is growing up, the farm is handed over to the eldest son, who gives the parents a small allowance during their lives, while the fortune that he gets with his wife goes, not to himself, but to provide for his younger brothers and sisters.

Hence, if the eldest son were to marry the Venus de Medici with ten pounds less dowry than he could get with the ugliest wall-eyed female in the neighbourhood, he would be considered as an enemy to all his family.

A tenant of a neighbour of mine actually got married to a woman without a penny, a thing unparalleled in my experience in Kerry, and his sister presently came to my wife for some assistance.

My wife asked her:—

'Why does not your brother support you?'

And she was answered:—

'How could he support any one after bringing an empty woman to the house?'

There was a tenant of mine, paying about twenty-five pounds a year rent, who died, and his son came to me to have his name inscribed in the rent account.

I asked him what will his father had made.

He replied that he had left him the farm and its stock.

'What's to become of your brother and sister?' says I.

'They are to get whatever I draw,' says he.

'That means whatever you get with your wife?'

'That is so.'

'Well, suppose you marry a girl worth only twenty pounds, what would happen then?'

'That would not do at all,' very gravely.

'Is there no limit put on the worth of your wife?'

'Oh,' says he, 'I was valued at one hundred and sixty pounds.'

I found out afterwards he had one hundred and seventy with his wife.

A tenant on the Callinafercy estate got married, and the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law did not agree. So the elder came to complain to the landlord of the girl's conduct, and after copiously describing various delinquencies with the assistance of many invocations of the saints, she wound up with:—

'And the worst of all, Mr. Marshall, is that she gives herself all the airs of a three hundred pound girl and she had but a hundred and fifty.'

Filial obedience in the matter of marriage is as uniform in these classes in Kerry as it is conspicuous by its absence in old English novels and comedies. The sons never kick at the unions, the daughters are never hauled weeping to the altar, while an elopement or a refusal to fulfil a matrimonial engagement would arouse the indignation of the whole country side.

Decidedly these marriages turn out better than the made-up marriages in France. I will go further, and seriously affirm my belief that the marriages in Kerry show a greater average of happiness than any which can be mentioned. To be sure there is the same dash after heiresses in Kerry that you see in Mayfair, and the young farmer who is really well-to-do is as much pursued as the heir to an earldom by matchmaking mothers in Belgravia. But the subsequent results are much more harmonious in Kerry, and though the landlord's advice is often asked to settle financial difficulties in carrying out the matrimonial bargains, less frequently is he called upon to settle differences between man and wife.

'Sure, he's well enough meaning, your honour, with what brains the Blessed Virgin could spare for him,' is the sort of remark a wife will make on behalf of her lazy husband.

Fidelity is the rule; so is reasonable give and take, though each, being human, likes to receive better than to give. And one thing which impresses a stranger is the rarity of illegitimate children out of the towns. This is, of course, partly due to the influence of the priests, but partly also to the innate purity of the Irish character, as well as by the standard of respectability:—

'Ah, he's a strong man,' you will hear said of So-and-So.

'How do you prove that?' says I.

'Why, has he not his farm, and his family with one son a priest, and one daughter in a convent, and he with a bull for his own cows?'

Could you want more to get him on the County Council if he has no conscience and a convivial taste in the matter of whisky?

There can be no doubt that the Irish take better care of their children than the parents of similar position in either England or Scotland. Cases of cruelty, which so constantly disfigure the police courts in both the latter countries, are very rarely heard in the sister isle.

It is true that in many cases they cannot do much for their offspring, but what little they are able to do is done with a good will and ungrudgingly.

I remember a Saharan explorer telling me that in the desert he came across some tribe, stark naked, utterly poor, but all on apparently affectionate terms. He was much impressed with the love shown by the children of all ages for their parents, and inquired what the latter did to inspire such enviable emotion.

'We give them a handful of dates, when there are any.'

It was apparently their sole form of sustenance.

The Irishman is very good to his wife, although the courting is a matter of business, as I have shown. Wife-beating and even more ignoble forms of marital cruelty are almost unknown.

This is surely a big national asset.

Furthermore, the Irish are a very moral people; and this in spite of the close proximity and confinement necessitated by the crowded condition of many cabins.

I was going to add that the light food may have something to say to this, but as the Irish are not remarkable for their small families, this would be an unwarrantable aspersion.

Of course in the big towns there are women of no importance, and Dublin has always borne rather a lively reputation in this respect, though that in no way affects the general high standard of morality.

The climate of the country, despite the moisture, is one conducive to good health, owing to the absence of any extreme vicissitudes.

It may be asked why, considering the overcrowding and insanitary conditions of living in the miserable cabins, there is not more disease, and my reply is that the peat which is burnt is so healthy as to act as a disinfectant.

Indigestion, like lunacy, is, however, largely on the increase.

Nearly any old woman—or old man for the matter of that—as well as a sad majority of younger people, will tell you:—

'I have a pain in the stomach,' with the accent on the second syllable of the locality.

This is due to excessive consumption of tea.

Nearly twenty times as much tea must be drunk now in Kerry as in the early sixties, and so far as I can recollect tea was unknown, not only in the cabins but among the farmers until after the famine.

Fairly good tea is obtained, for the Irish will never buy tea unless they are asked a high price, and for that price they usually, owing to competition, obtain an article not too perniciously adulterated.

What is highly injurious is the method of making the tea.

A lot is thrown into the pot on the fire in the cabin in the morning, and there it stands simmering all day long, that those who want it may help themselves.

This is in sharp contrast to the method employed by Dr. Barter, the famous hydropathic physician at Cork, one of the cleverest men I ever met and one of the very few who never permitted medicine under any circumstances, relying on water, packing, and Turkish baths, with strict attention to diet.

He used to make tea by putting half a teaspoonful into a wire strainer which he held over his cup, and pouring boiling water upon the leaves, the contents of his cup became a pale yellow, to which he added a little milk and instantly drank it off, the whole process lasting but a few seconds. I remember he equally disapproved of the Russian method of drinking tea in a glass with lemon, of the fashionable way of letting the water 'stand off the boil' upon the leaves in a teapot, and of the Hibernian stewing arrangement alluded to above.

Personally I regard all hydros as so many emporiums of disease, an opinion in which I am singular, but that does not convince me I am wrong.

A bailiff once went to St. Ann's Hydro to serve a writ, and he told me afterwards that he served it on his victim in a Turkish bath, remarking:—

'And your heart would have melted within your honour in pity for the poor creature not having a pocket to put the document in.'

Which observation recalls to my mind the story of a gentleman in a Turkish bath asking a friend to dinner, and saying:—

'Don't mind dressing; come just as you are.'

Another misunderstood answer was that of the absent-minded man who entered a hansom and began to read a paper.

'Where to?' at last cabby asked laconically.

'Drive to the usual place.'

'I'm afraid I have too much on the slate there, sir, unless you pay my footing.'

'Oh, go to hell,' retorted the other in a rage.

'It's outside the radius, sir, and it will be a steep pull for my old horse after we've dropped you.'

The light-heartedness of the Celt is another feature which strikes the least observant stranger.

An Irishman has been described as a man who confided his soul to the priest, and his body to the British Government, whilst he holds himself devoid of any vestige of responsibility for the care of either.

Here is another tale, illustrative of his contentment.

A philosopher, in search of happiness, was told by a wise man that if he got the shirt of a perfectly happy man and put it on, he would himself become happy.

The philosopher wandered over the world, but could find no man whose happiness had not some flaw, until he fell in with an Irishman; with whom he promptly began to bargain for his shirt, only to find he had not one to his back.

From philosophy to the deuce is not a big stride, according to the view of those folk who jibe at political economy and all the abstract of virtues and governments. So, on the tail of their fancy, I am reminded of another story about the devil—a very large number of Irish stories are connected with him, because in a very special sense he is the unauthorised patron saint of the sinners of the country, and he has had far too much to say to its government into the bargain.

An Englishman, in the witless way in which Saxons do address Irishmen, asked a labourer by the wayside:—

'If the devil came by, do you think he would take me or you?'

The labourer never hesitated, but replied:—

'He'd take me, your honour.'

'Why do you say that?'

'Oh, he would,' says he, 'because he's sure of your honour at any time.'

The Irishman is not so black as he may seem to the Saxon, who reads with disgust the horrors that mar the beauty of the Emerald Isle, and I should say that his finest trait is patience under adversity. No nation, for example, could have more calmly endured the terrible sufferings of the famine, more especially as the high-strung nerves of the Celt render him physically and mentally the very reverse of a stoic.

Again, in no other nation are the family ties closer.

The first thought of those who emigrate to America is to remit money to the old folk in the cabin at home. So soon as the emigrants have obtained a reasonable degree of comfort they will send home the passage money to pay for bringing out younger brothers or sisters to them.

Did you ever hear the story of the homesick Kerry undergraduate at Oxford, at his first construe with his tutor, translating contiguare omnes as 'all of them County Kerry men'?

It was a true home touch, though not exactly a classical reading of the passage.

In the same way, in my boyish days at Dingle, we all of us firmly believed that King John had asked in what part of Kerry Ireland was. That question was our local Magna Charta, though what the origin of the tradition was I have no idea.

But then things do differ according to the point of view, and ours of history was not stranger than many others of far more importance.

As an example of lack of comprehension I would cite the following incident.

An English gentleman was shooting grouse in Ireland. He got very few birds, and said to the keeper:—

'Why, these actually cost me a pound apiece.'

'Begorra, your honour, it's lucky there are not more of them,' was the unexpected answer.

This allusion to sport reminds me of the Frenchman's description of hunting in Ireland, which was to the effect that about thirty horsemen and sixty dogs chased a wretched little animal ten miles, which resulted in seven casualties, and when they caught the poor beast not one of them would eat him.

The French do not always appreciate our institutions. One of them landing at Queenstown in the middle of the day asked if there was anything he could amuse himself with between then and dinner-time.

'Certainly,' said the waiter; 'which would you like, wine or spirits?'

By way of amusing the reader, before going any further, I will give him a chance of reading a genuine, but unique testament in which I figured, and which is not a bit more queer than many which have been as formally proved.

'I Robert Shanahan in my last will and testament do make my wife Margaret Shanahan Manager or guardian over my farm and means provided she remains unmarried if she do not I bequeath to her 2 shillings and sixpence I leave the farm to my son Thomas Shanahan provided he conducts himself if not I leave the farm to my son Robert Shanahan I also wish that there should be a provision made for the rest of the family out of the farm according as the following Executors which I appoint may think fit Mr. Hussey Esq. Revd. Brusnan P.P. and James Casey of Gorneybee. Given under my heand this 7th day of February 1872.





I have a few tales to tell of Kerry landlords, a race who would have furnished Lever with a worthy theme, men as humorous as they are brave, as diverting as they can stand, loyal to the Crown despite much disparagement, and proud to be Irishmen, though so unappreciated by the paid agitators and their weak tools.

However, as I wish to be on good terms with all my neighbours in this world, and with the ghosts of the departed ones when I meet them in the next, I am not going to give many names or rub up susceptibilities.

Of Kerry landlords, Lord Kenmare naturally suggests himself to be first mentioned. He has been somewhat unjustly attacked more than once about the condition of Killarney as though the town was his private property. As a matter of fact, he is utterly powerless there, as it was all leased away for five hundred years by his grandfather. About the town the following may be worth telling:—

A very neat plan was drawn up for improving it, which included a gateway between every double block of houses to lead down to the stables and garden, but as it was not thought necessary to put a subletting clause into the lease, the actual consequence was that all these passages were converted into filthy lanes. Outside the town Lord Kenmare has built some nice cottages, but within its confines he could effect nothing.

To show you how short-lived is Irish gratitude, ponder over this:—

When Mr. Daniel O'Connell, son of the great Dan, stood for West Kerry as a Unionist, he was warned by the police officer that he could not be answerable for his life if he came into Cahirciveen, for he had only twenty constables to protect him; and his wife—a most charming woman—when driving through the town was surrounded by an insulting mob, members of which actually spat in her face.

That reminds me of a similar experience which befell the wife of Mr. Cavanagh, the man without arms and legs, who, until denounced by the Land League, was exceptionally popular.

Mrs. Cavanagh was walking along the road in Carlow carrying broth and wine to a poor sick woman, when she found herself the target for a number of stones and had to run for her life amid a shower of missiles.

Despite his exceptional infirmities Mr. Cavanagh could do almost anything. He used to ride most pluckily to hounds, strapped on to his saddle. On one occasion the saddle turned under him, and the horse trotted back to the stable-yard, with his master hanging under him, his hair sweeping the ground, bleeding profusely; he merely cursed the groom with emphatic volubility, had himself more safely readjusted, and then rode out once more.

He always wore pink when hunting. One day a pretty child of ten years old was out with her groom, who followed the scent so ardently, that he forgot all about his charge, who was left behind, and finding herself lost in a wood, began to cry.

Suddenly there swooped out on a very big horse, the armless and legless figure of Cavanagh in his flaming coat, and seeing her predicament, he seized her rein somehow—she never seems quite clear how—saying:—

'Don't be frightened, little girl, for I know who you are, and will take care of you.'

He was as good as his word, but the high-strung, sensitive child, so soon as she was in her mother's embrace, went from one fit of hysterics to another, crying:—

'Oh, mummy, I've seen the devil, I've seen the devil.'

In after years they became great friends, and he often dined with her after she married and settled in London.

Reverting to Lord Kenmare, the following story, which in another version recently won a railway story competition in some newspaper, really pertains to his son Lord Castlerosse.

On a line in Kerry there is a sharp curve overhanging the sea. An old woman in a great state of nervous agitation was bundled at the last moment into a first-class compartment.

Lord Castlerosse, the only passenger in the compartment, by way of relieving her obvious agitation, tried to calm her by telling her she could change at the next station.

'Is it me that can be aisy,' she replied, 'when it's my Pat is driving the engine, and him having a dhrop taken, and saying he'll take us a shpin round the Head?'

After all, to my mind, for sheer humour of a quiet sort, nothing beats the observation of the late Sir John Godfrey, who never got up before one in the day, and invariably breakfasted when his family were having lunch. Being asked one day to account for this rather inconvenient habit, he replied:—

'The fact is, I sleep very slow.'

I commend this to every sluggard who wants an excuse to resume his slumbers when awakened too soon.

There was a gentleman who had rather a red nose, and some one remarked that it was an expensive piece of painting, to which some one else significantly added, that it was not a water-colour.

'No,' said Sir John, 'it was done in distemper.'

One night a landlord in Kerry, who shall be nameless, though he has passed over to the great majority, went to bed without having much knowledge how he got there.

Two of his sons crept to the neighbouring town, unscrewed the sign outside the inn, and put it at the end of their parent's bed.

When he awoke, he looked at the sign for some time in a bewildered way. Then he observed aloud:—

'I thought I went to sleep in my own bed, but I'm d——d if I have not woke in the middle of the street.'

A certain roystering gentleman named Jack Ray got drunk and fell asleep in the woods of Kilcoleman. Some of the Godfrey boys, seeing him prostrate and with foam on his lips, ran to summon their father, saying to him:—

'There's a man dead in the wood.'

Sir William hastened to the spot, and having put on his glasses to get a view of the corpse, observed:—

'Come away, my boys, this man dies once a week.'

Another Kerry landlord, who was also a baronet, dealt with the National Bank, the local manager of which was an arrant snob, who loved a title, and bored everybody with his pretended intimacy with the impecunious baronet. But at last even his patience was exhausted, and he sent the squire a pretty stiff letter about the arrears due.

The other received the letter at breakfast, and showed it to his son just come down from a University, who whistled and ejaculated:—

'O tempora! O mores!'

His father instantly retorted:—

'You get me the temporary, and I'll promptly see we have more ease.'

In the bad times, an old woman came into the office at Tralee to pay her rent. Mr. Francis Denny was in a real bad humour with somebody else who had defaulted, and he was raging along in a manner qualified to display his intimate acquaintance with the florid embellishments of the language. The old woman listened with evident admiration for some time. At last she ejaculated:—

'Ah, the nate little man.'

And with that slipped out, without settling her account.

Mr. Francis Denny has the misfortune to be rather lame, and one day another old woman, who liked him, observed:—

'If he had two sound legs under him, there'd be no holding him in Tralee, but he'd be up at the Castle setting the Lord Lieutenant right in his many errors, not to mention going over to London to give the Queen herself a bit of his mind.'

In the bad times, one lady was left in her Kerry residence with her baby boy and a pack of maidservants, her husband having been called over to England.

She had sixty pounds of gold in her bedroom, and one night a housemaid rushed in to say a party of moonlighters were in the house.

The lady threw a sovereign and some silver on to the dressing-table, and hid the rest under her mattress.

In came the masked scoundrels asking for gold, and when she pointed to the money that was visible, one replied that it was not enough.

'Very well,' she said, 'give me your name and I'll write you a cheque.'

On that they left precipitately, to her intense relief.

All moonlighters calculated upon the terrorism their appearance would cause, and if this was apparently conspicuous by its absence they were nonplussed, because they never felt over secure in their own hearts at the best of times, and grew frightened directly others were not frightened by them.

In all moonlighting affrays no one scoundrel ever became personally conspicuous as a leader, and all the wisest leaders, such as Stephens, Tynan, and Parnell, shrouded their movements in mystery. Fenianism in Ireland since Emmett has never had one capable leader possessing the physical courage to show himself in the forefront on all occasions.

On the other hand, it is a singular fact that nearly every general of note in the army of the United Kingdom, since the time of Marlborough, has come from Ireland. The Duke of Wellington was born in County Meath, Lord Gough in Tipperary, Lord Wolseley in County Carlow, Lord Roberts in Waterford, Sir George White in Antrim, General French in Roscommon, and Lord Kitchener in Kerry.

The attempts of the English Government to manufacture an English general in the South African war were a miserable fiasco. They only produced one, Sir Charles Tucker, and he did his best to atone for the accident of his English birth by marrying a Kerry lady.

I had the pleasure of meeting Sir Redvers Buller in Killarney, and after he had been there a couple of days he proceeded to describe Kerry to me, who had been managing one fifth of it for several years. His agricultural reforms would have been as drastic as they were ludicrous had any one attempted to carry them out, but when expatiating on them to me, he was not even aware that there was any difference between an English and an Irish acre. When I heard that he was taking charge of the whole army in South Africa, I mentioned that as he had been unable to command three hundred constabulary in Kerry, I was sceptical of his ability to manage the British army. He was without exception the most self-sufficient soldier I ever met, and his subsequent career has not made me change my view.

Here is a soldier story which is mighty illustrative of Irish traits.

A peasant's son in Limerick enlisted in the militia for a month's training, for which he received a bounty of three pounds. With part of this money he bought a pig and gave it to his father to feed up. When the pig was fattened, the father sold it and declined to give him the price. So the son was seen by the police to take his father by the throat, saying:—

'Bad luck to you, old reprobate, do you want to deprive me of my pig that I risked my life for in the British Army?'

Everywhere I like to slip into this book instances of the injuries suffered by Irish landlords, so here is another case a propos des bottes, if you will forgive it.

The Knight of Kerry let nine acres of land to a tenant for a rent of forty-five pounds. Having expended a large sum of money in roadmaking and fences, at the tenant's request, he also borrowed thirty-five pounds to build a small house for which he has to pay thirty-five shillings per annum. The commissioners cut down the rent so heavily, that it has resulted in the landlord having to pay five shillings a year for the pleasure of looking at the man in occupation of his land.

Reverting to my reminiscences—or rather to what are for myself less interesting portions, for I am a land agent by profession and an anecdotist only by habit—I remember that an Englishman subsequently a Pasha commanded the coastguard at Dingle in 1856, and then had an encounter with a local Justice of the Peace in which he came off second best.

Captain —— occupied the Grove demesne. The J.P., who had been a Scotch militia officer, had been in the habit of shooting crows over the demesne, and continued to enjoy the sport, to which the Captain strongly objected. After an angry correspondence the J.P. sent a challenge, which the other did not seem to stomach, for he sent an apology by a subordinate with full permission to continue the immolation of the birds. If a cruiser had to capitulate to this bold blockade runner, the Captain himself had to endure a similar humiliation at the hands of an indignant Kerry man, though he was very popular in Dingle.

There is nothing pusillanimous about the Irishman, except when in cold blood he was expected to attack an agent, or landlord, or policeman, armed to the teeth. In such cases, he remembered that his parents, by the blessing of the Holy Virgin, had endowed him with two legs, and only one skin, which latter must therefore be saved by the discretionary employment of the former.

In other cases he is very brave, especially in verbal encounters. Fighting is in his blood. That is what makes the Irish soldier the best in the world, and that was why he used to revel in the faction fights. As a paternal Government now prevents the breaking of heads, at all events on a wholesale scale, the pugnacious instincts of the nation have to be gratified by litigation, and certainly there never was such a litigious race in history as the contemporary Ireland.

I know of a case on the Callinafercy estate, where a widow spent fifty pounds 'in getting the law of' a neighbour whose donkey had browsed on her side of a hedge. She took the case to the assizes, and when the judge heard Mr. Leeson Marshall was her landlord, he said:—

'Let him decide it. He's a barrister himself, and can judge far better than I could on such a subject.'

To this there are literally hundreds of parallels every year. Readers of La Terre will remember how much of the funds went into the hands of the lawyer who thrived on the animosities of the family, and that sort of thing is constantly reduplicated in Kerry.

'I'd sell my last cow to appeal on a point of law,' I once heard a Killorgin farmer say; and that is typical of all the lower classes in the South and West.

As for the solicitors, I am not going to say a word about them, good or bad: there are men no doubt worthy of either epithet in a profession that preys on the troubles of other folk. But I will tell one very brief story on the topic.

Outside the Four Courts, a poor woman stopped Daniel O'Connell, saying:—

'If you please, your honour, will you direct me to an honest attorney?'

The Liberator pushed back his wig and scratched his head.

'Well now, you beat me entirely, ma'am,' was his answer.

He had more experience than me, being one.

Talking of the Four Courts reminds me of Chief Baron Guillamore, who had as much wit as will provoke 'laughter in court,' and a trifle over that infinitesimal quantity as well.

A new Act of Parliament had been passed to prevent people from stealing timber. A stupid juryman asked if he could prosecute a man under that act for stealing turnips.

'Certainly not, unless they are very sticky,' retorted the judge.

His brother was a magistrate, and committed a barrister in petty sessions for contempt of court. An action was brought against him, but the Chief Baron raised so many legal exceptions, that it had finally to be abandoned through the fraternal law-moulding. This action was pending in the civil court, when a lawyer was very impertinent to the Chief Baron in the criminal. Instead of committing him, the Chief Baron said very quietly:—

'If you do not keep quiet, I shall send to the next Court for my brother.'

Another judge had applied for shares in a company of which a friend of his was secretary. Meeting him in Sackville Street, he stopped him to inquire what would be the paid-up capital of the concern.

The other forgot whom he was addressing, and blurted out the truth by replying:—

'Well, I really cannot tell you just yet, but the cheques are coming in fast.'

The judge withdrew his application by the next post, and confidently expected to see his friend in the dock. I believe in less than six months he was not disappointed.

The poorer class in Ireland do not appear to be business-like in the ordinary sense, however much they may develop commercial instincts after emigrating. It is to promote the latent capacity obviously within their power that creameries and other assisted promotions have been started in various parts of the country, sometimes with great success. Sir Horace Plunkett and others have dealt with all this in the most serious spirit. I prefer to allude to it, and add one anecdote.

A lady asked a respectable old woman how her son was getting on as manager of the creamery, and the reply came after the following fashion:—

'Whisna the poor man and all the trouble he has, and him never able to make the butter and the books scoromund,' which, being translated, is 'correspond.'

Another example I can cite of the difficulty in getting people to put their intelligence to practical use in the south is to this effect:—

There was a certain widdy woman in a neighbouring parish who was making great lamentation over her 'pitaties' to the priest, and in consequence he lent her a machine for the purpose of spraying them. She professed the profoundest gratitude as well as interest in the implement, but the task speedily became too big an effort, for she subsequently informed me that she had sprayed 'half the field to plase his Rivirence, but left the rest to God.'

And that is the kind of negative piety which is distinctly a characteristic Irish trait.



Any Irishman who has reached the shady side of threescore years and ten must remember many Lord-Lieutenants—the pompously visible symbols of much vacillating misdirection.

To analyse them would be the work of an historian, to criticise would be superfluous. They have been so many Malvolios, all alike anxious to win the favour of that capricious Lady Olivia Erin, and not one of them has succeeded, though several have merited better fortune than they met with on Irish soil.

The first Lord-Lieutenant I personally met was Lord Carlisle.

He was a gentleman, but not otherwise remarkable. He had come into the Government on the resignation of the Peelites, and his popularity in Ireland was greater than any other holder of the post in the century, possibly owing to his negative qualities, and also to a charm of manner more effusive than usual among Englishmen.

He had a habit of dropping his state, and going about Dublin, if not like Haroun Alraschid, at least with the independence of men in less august positions.

On one occasion, needing some local information, he went to see the Lord Mayor of Dublin, but finding him out, was given the address of an alderman who could tell him what he wanted to know.

The alderman was not in either, but his wife was, and begged him to stop to lunch, which was just being served.

Lord Carlisle told her he hardly ever ate lunch, and was not in the least hungry.

But under pressure he sat down to the meal, and got on very well with it, whereat the lady remarked:—

'You see, your Excellency, eating is like scratching: when you once begin it is hard to stop.'

His predecessor, Lord Clarendon, had been in office when Lord John Russell, the Prime Minister, urged on the House of Commons a bill for the abolition of the Lord-Lieutenancy. The great point that he made was that the Chief Secretary might become a mayor of the viceregal palace, a thing that has now long been the case, for the Lord-Lieutenant has to be a plutocrat of high descent, and the Chief Secretary is the virtual administrator of Ireland—a thing unknown, however, until the advent of Mr. Foster. The second reading was carried by a majority of over a hundred and fifty, but it was then dropped.

The story went that the Duke of Wellington had suggested to Prince Albert the possible diminution of respect for the Crown in Ireland without a visible representative, and the Teutonic mind could not endure such a notion.

Lord Clarendon upheld the dignity of his position, though he was liked by neither party in Ireland. He is the only Lord-Lieutenant who ever administered sharp discipline to the Orangemen—who regard their loyalty as permitting them a good deal of licence—for he removed the name of their leader, Lord Roden, from the Commission of the Peace because he encouraged a turbulent procession at Dolly's Brae. With his pompous manner he made a very Brummagem monarch, quite indifferent to his unpopularity. As a matter of fact, some allege that all Lord-Lieutenants are hated by the disloyal section of the populace, and if they go through the farce of currying popularity, they can only do so by largely patronising about a dozen shopkeepers, who eventually curse because yet more has not been spent. But this is altogether too limited to be true.

Lord Kimberley followed Lord Carlisle. In those days he was Lord Wodehouse, and the Fenians used to issue mock proclamations, in ridicule of his, signed 'Woodlouse.' He was an experienced parliamentarian—a man who held office for many years, and worked conscientiously, according to his lights.

In Ireland he always appeared to be a naturalist, perplexed at not understanding the species among which his lot was for the time cast.

His mother was subsequently married to Mr. Crosbie Moore, and she ran away with Colonel Fitz-Gibbon, afterwards Lord Clare.

Mr. Crosbie Moore had not much sense of humour, as the following tale will show.

He was presiding at Ballyporeen Petty Sessions, when a village tailor was summoned for having his pig wandering on the road.

The fellow pleaded that it was due to great curiosity on the part of the pig, who saw some constabulary passing by, and rushed out to see what they were like.

He made this explanation in such humorous fashion that most of the magistrates were for letting him off; but Mr. Crosbie Moore said it was scandalous that they had directed the police to summon people on that very ground, and they wanted to acquit the culprit because he had made a joke.

The rest of the Bench had to acquiesce, and the tailor was fined one shilling.

He paid his shilling, and said:—

'I have no blame to you at all, gentlemen, except to Mr. Crosbie Moore; and, indeed, if he reflected, he should have known that no live man could keep a woman or a pig in the house when she wanted to be off.'

A subscription raised for him outside the Court realised twenty-three shillings.

Tradition goes that when Lord Kimberley, Lord Carlingford, and Lord Granville were all in Mr. Gladstone's Cabinet, Mr. Chamberlain—then at the Board of Trade—in a moment of vexation called them 'Gladstone's grannies,' and if the phrase is not his, it most certainly was apt and truthful.

Lord Kimberley was known as 'Pussy' among a gang of disrespectful subordinates. He really did as little to earn respect as he did to forfeit it; in fact he was a pre-eminently respectable mediocrity of the kind that, towards the close of the mid-Victorian period, clung like barnacles to office, and he was a Whig during the period that Whiggism was growing obsolete.

The Duke of Abercorn certainly had no tendencies towards the lavish extravagance by which a modern Lord-Lieutenant has to pay his footing. A short time before he was chosen he had claimed the Dukedom of Chatelherault in France, and was known in consequence among the malcontents as the 'French Frog.' His wife was the daughter of one Duke of Bedford, and when another came to stay at the viceregal, it was for a time called the 'Dukeries.' The A.D.C.'s, who were particularly good-looking, were at once known as the 'Duckeries.'

The Duke of Marlborough settled down well to his work. He was frankly the friend of the landlords, and did his best for them. But he brought no English politicians in his train; he never thought he could settle every Irish question after he had smoked a pipe over it; and he was never inaccessible.

He came on a visit to Muckross when Sir Ivor Guest had the shooting, and I dined there to meet him. He visited Killarney on several occasions, and on each of them I had long talks with him. I always thought him a painstaking, well-meaning man.

Lord Cowper was an honest nonentity who left the country in disgust because he was not backed up by the Government. Several modern figureheads would be very much surprised at any Government expecting them to do more than 'understudy Royalty.' But Cowper thought himself a diplomatist; was fond of authoritatively laying down the law on continental affairs, as though he had the refusal of the Foreign Office in his pocket; and felt he ought to have as much support as Palmerston obtained from the various Cabinets he burdened with European embroglios.

However, Lord Spencer, on being reappointed for a second term, took up the thankless task at an especially black moment. He was as brave as a lion; and if his red beard gained him the nickname of 'Rufus,' the Red Viceroy was as fearless as though his life were absolutely secure, instead of depending wholly on the vigilance of those surrounding him.

We all admired Lord Spencer for his firmness; but this was soon discovered to be due to the fact that he absolutely followed the sage advice of Sir Edward Sullivan, the Lord Chancellor, and after the death of the latter, Lord Spencer's weakness was quite as remarkable as his previous firmness.

He was seen on one occasion with his hands pressing his back.

Said one man:—

'I fear his Excellency has lumbago.'

'Not at all,' replied his friend; 'he is feeling for his backbone.'

The state of Westmeath was really the worst feature of the period of his rule, yet Lord Spenser was in the country all the while, and allowed matters to degenerate with his eyes open.

He rode hard to hounds, in spite of countless threats, and might have had a less uncomfortable time had the head of the Constabulary been as thoroughly capable as his subordinates.

Lord Carnarvon very nearly ruined the Government by his communications with Mr. Parnell. He meant well, and struck out a patriotic line of his own, which failed because it was made in absolute ignorance of the Irish character. But he never intended to involve his colleagues, although numbers of people chose to regard him as a Tory Home Ruler. His previous action in resigning the Secretaryship of the Colonies in Lord Derby's third administration, owing to a difference of opinion on parliamentary reform, and his subsequent resignation because he disapproved of Lord Beaconsfield's Eastern action in 1878, showed him to be a man of marked and fearless opinions. Lord Salisbury ought to have known that he was thrusting a brand into the fire when he sent him to be the official bellows-blower of the Hibernian pot.

Lord Aberdeen will always be remembered as the husband of his wife. Lady Aberdeen was a more ardent Home Ruler than even her brother, Lord Tweedmouth. On one occasion Lord Morris was next her at dinner, and she said she supposed the majority of people in Ireland were in favour of Home Rule.

'Indeed, then, with the exception of yourself and the waiters, there's not one in the room,' was his answer.

'Of course, not in the Castle,' she replied with dignity; 'but in your profession, and when you are on circuit, surely you must meet a good many?'

'Occasionally—in the dock,' he drily retorted, after which she discreetly dropped the subject.

Lord Aberdeen was most exemplary during his brief tenure of office, and certainly it was not in his time that the folk christened the royal box at the theatre the 'loose box,' in allusion to the rather dubious English guests of the vivacious viceroy.

Lord Londonderry and Lord Zetland may be both briefly bracketed together as having done their duty admirably in times less out of joint than those of their predecessors. Lord Londonderry always drank Irish whisky himself, and recommended it to his guests as a capital beverage—a thing which the licensed victuallers did not mind mentioning to Paddy and Mick when they were having a drop, despite their vaunted contempt of all at 'the Castle.'

No other Lord-Lieutenant ever had such a mournful experience as Lord Houghton. Son of Monckton Milnes, the 'cool of the evening,' he needed his father's temperament to enable him to endure the boycott which Irish society inflicted on him as the representative of the Home Rule disruption policy. With no class did he go down, and on a crowded market-day in Tralee not a hat was raised to him.

One of his A.D.C.'s was subsequently on the veldt, and when asked if it was not lonely, he replied:—

'Not more than Dublin Castle, when Houghton was the king.'

On one occasion some people were officially commanded to dine. Not a carriage was to be seen as they drove up to the Viceregal Lodge, so the gentleman told his coachman to drive round the Phoenix Park, as they must be too early. There was still no sign of any gathering as they again approached the official residence, and when they entered they found they were the only guests, and the infuriated Lord Houghton, as well as all his household had been kept waiting twenty minutes by this hapless pair.

Another story, which was much enjoyed in Ireland as showing the pomposity of his Excellency, may be recalled. Whether true it is now difficult to say, but there is no doubt that the tale was started among the very house-party who were at Carton at the time.

The beautiful chatelaine, the lovely Duchess of Leinster, was walking through the fields one Sunday afternoon with Lord Houghton.

They came to a gate, which he opened, but to her astonishment proceeded to walk through it first himself.

The indignant Duchess haughtily remarked:—

'The Prince of Wales would not think of passing through a gate before me.'

'That may be; but I represent the Queen,' replied Lord Houghton, with unruffled imperturbability.

Lord Cadogan and Lord Dudley come so absolutely into contemporary history that on them nothing can here be said, except that their munificence has rendered it impossible for any peer of moderate private means to hold the office.

In sober truth, however, the administration of Government really rests with the Chief Secretary in recent times, although it was not so before the advent of Mr. Foster. Men like Lord Naas, Sir Robert Peel the younger, and Mr. Chichester Fortescue—afterwards Lord Carlingford—were mere official cyphers, but after Mr. Gladstone's 1880 ministry this has never been the case.

Of Sir Robert Peel it was wittily said that when Chief Secretary he went through the country on an outside car, which made him take a one-sided view of the Irish question.

Lord Morris said to an inquiring Scottish M.P.:—

'Did you ever know a Scottish Secretary who was not Scottish, or an Irish Secretary who was Irish?'

'No,' said the Scotsman.

'Well, go home and moralise over that as a possible solution of some Irish difficulties, for may be, if an Irishman was sent over, by accident, to be Chief Secretary, the official would not fall into the mistake of trying to reconcile the irerconcilable.'

And to my mind Lord Morris had the last word in every sense.

Mr. W.E. Forster was far too honest to be the tool of Mr. Gladstone's Hibernian dishonesty. He was perfectly fearless, but, beneath his rugged exterior, deeply sensitive. He winced under 'buckshot,' and many other epithets; but abuse and danger alike never prevented him from doing what he had to do to the best of his ability. His earliest acquaintance with Ireland had been in the famine, when he was one of the deputation of succour organised by the Society of Friends, and everybody who has read Mr. Morley's Life of Cobden will remember the appreciation of their efforts by the great free-trader.

Mr. Forster did not think the Irish administration should be all 'a scuffle and a scramble,' and he inaugurated a reversal of the old balance between Lord-Lieutenants and Chief Secretaries which has never been subsequently changed. Indeed, it is often only the latter who has a seat in the Cabinet. He was the victim of many misapprehensions—the bulk of them wilful—but one which worried him was a widespread conviction that he was a slow man. His delivery was slow, his manner deliberate, and he did not lightly give an opinion. Yet emphatically he was not a slow man, and as an instance may be stated the fact that he elaborated his scheme of decentralising the powers of the Irish Government in a single evening in December 1881. I know he was harassed, nay, martyrised, beyond endurance, through the evasive volubility of Mr. Gladstone, which, both by mouth and letter, formed a heavier burden than all the Irish attacks; but he was a just and conscientious man, and I never heard of a case where appeal was made to him on which he did not act as reasonably as was compatible with loyalty to such a Prime Minister.

His courage in walking unarmed and without police escort in Tulla and Athenry was as great as ever was displayed by a knight-errant of old. The Nationalist papers, no longer able to taunt him with cowardice, took to declaring him to be a person notorious for ferocious brutality.

Sir Wemyss Reid said that in the House of Commons his fellow-members had literally seen his hair whiten during those two years of patriotic martyrdom in Ireland, and I always feel that the inner life of this reticent, commanding statesman would have made a wonderful human document. His capacity, if not his forbearance, has been inherited by his adopted son, Mr. Arnold Forster, the present Secretary for War, who acted as his private secretary in the latter years of his life.

When I read Lord Rosebery's speech advocating a Cabinet of business men, I instinctively thought of the late Mr. W.E. Forster, and it is his heir who is the first illustration of the Liberal Peer's theory. Since Cromwell cleared out the House of Commons, no one has done so much as Mr. Arnold Forster, for he upset the seats of the mighty in the War Office three months after he kissed hands. I wonder how he would have dealt with Parnellism and crime.

Mr. Forster's predecessor, Mr. James Lowther, was an uncommonly capable man, and gifted with a fund of humour which prevented him from taking the Irish too seriously. In 1879 I heard the Irish members in the House of Commons vituperating him after a manner that subsequently became unpleasantly familiar, but was then regarded as a gross breach of the conventions of debate. 'Jim' lay back on the Treasury bench with his hat over his eyes, and to all appearance sound asleep. Never once did he show sign of hearing their verbal tornado; but eventually he sprang to his feet, and with infectious gaiety literally chaffed them to madness. I have often thought that the long-limbed Tory member for Hertford, who was then private secretary to his uncle, Lord Salisbury, must have taken note of the methods of Mr. Lowther in dealing with the Irish party, for it was absolutely on the same lines that he subsequently developed that superb flow of sarcasm which made him, Mr. A.J. Balfour, the popular idol ten years later.

It has been a practice for many years to appoint a man Chief Secretary for Ireland in order to see if he is fit for anything else. This plan turned out well in the case of Mr. A.J. Balfour, for he knew Ireland better than any other Chief Secretary, and when he came to know it properly he was removed.

His brother did as much harm in Ireland as Mr. Arthur Balfour did good. Indeed, in the whole nineteenth century no other incompetent Chief Secretary misunderstood Ireland with such complete complacency, and if it had not been for the supervision which 'A.J.' undoubtedly gave, Mr. Gerald Balfour would have a still worse record.

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