Part 7 out of 10
"'Yes,' said I, in broken Portuguese, 'one ought to be very happy here,
"She blushed, and I continued:--
"'What can one want for more in this life? All the charms that rendered
Paradise what it was'--I took her hand here--'and made Adam blessed.'
"'Ah, General!' said she, with a sigh, 'you are such a flatterer.'
"'Who could flatter,' said I, with enthusiasm, 'when there are not words
enough to express what he feels?' This was true, for my Portuguese was fast
failing me, 'But if I ever was happy, it is now.'
"I took another pull at the port.
"'If I only thought,' said I, 'that my presence here was not thought
"'Fie, General,' said she, 'how could you say such a thing?'
"'If I only thought I was not hated,' said I, tremblingly.
"'Oh!' said she, again.
[Illustration: MAJOR MONSOON AND DONNA MARIA.]
"She pressed my hand, I kissed hers; she hurriedly snatched it from me, and
pointed towards a lime-tree near, beneath which, in the cool enjoyment of
his cigar, sat the spare and detested figure of Don Emanuel.
"'Yes,' thought I, 'there he is,--the only bar to my good fortune; were
it not for him, I should not be long before I became possessor of this
excellent old château, with a most indiscretionary power over the cellar.
Don Mauricius Monsoon would speedily assume his place among the grandees of
"I know not how long my revery lasted, nor, indeed, how the evening passed;
but I remember well the moon was up, and a sky, bright with a thousand
stars was shining, as I sat beside the fair Donna Maria, endeavoring, with
such Portuguese as it had pleased fate to bestow on me, to instruct her
touching my warlike services and deeds of arms. The fourth bottle of port
was ebbing beneath my eloquence, as responsively her heart beat, when I
heard a slight rustle in the branches near. I looked, and, Heavens, what a
sight did I behold! There was little Don Emanuel stretched upon the grass
with his mouth wide open, his face pale as death, his arms stretched out at
either side, and his legs stiffened straight out. I ran over and asked if
he were ill, but no answer came. I lifted up an arm, but it fell heavily
upon the ground as I let it go; the leg did likewise. I touched his nose;
it was cold.
"'Hollo,' thought I, 'is it so? This comes of mixing water with your
sherry. I saw where it would end.'
"Now, upon my life! I felt sorry for the little fellow; but somehow, one
gets so familiarized with this sort of thing in a campaign that one only
half feels in a case like this.
"'Yes,' said I, 'man is but grass; but I for one must make hay when the sun
shines. Now for the Donna Maria,'--for the poor thing was asleep in the
arbor all this while.
"'Donna,' said I, shaking her by the elbow,--'Donna, don't be shocked at
what I'm going to say.'
"'Ah, General,' said she, with a sigh, 'say no more; I must not listen to
"'You don't know that,' said I, with a knowing look,--'you don't know
"'Why, what can you mean?'
"'The little fellow is done for.' For the port was working strong now,
and destroyed all my fine sensibility. 'Yes, Donna,' said I, 'you are
free,'--here I threw myself upon my knees,--'free to make me the happiest
of commissaries and the jolliest grandee of Portugal that ever--'
"'But Don Emanuel?'
"'Run out, dry, empty,' inverting a finished decanter to typify my words as
"'He is not dead?' said she, with a scream.
"'Even so,' said I, with a hiccough! 'ordered for service in a better
world, where there are neither inspections nor arrears.'
"Before the words were well out, she sprang from the bench and rushed over
to the spot where the little don lay. What she said or did I know not, but
the next moment he sat bolt upright on the grass, and as he held his jaw
with one hand and supported himself on the other, vented such a torrent of
abuse and insult at me, that, for want of Portuguese enough to reply, I
rejoined in English, in which I swore pretty roundly for five minutes.
Meanwhile the donna had summoned the servants, who removed Don Emanuel to
the house, where on my return I found my luggage displayed before the door,
with a civil hint to deploy in orderly time and take ground elsewhere.
"In a few days, however, his anger cooled down, and I received a polite
note from Donna Maria, that the don at length began to understand the joke,
and begged that I would return to the château, and that he would expect me
at dinner the same day."
"With which, of course, you complied?"
"Which of course I did. Forgive your enemies, my dear boy,--it is only
Christian-like; and really, we lived very happily ever after. The donna was
a mighty clever woman, and a dear good soul besides."
It was late when the major concluded his story; so after wishing Ferguson a
good-night, we took our leave, and retired for the night to our quarters.
The tramp of horses' feet and the sound of voices beneath my window roused
me from a deep sleep. I sprang up and drew aside the curtain. What a
strange confusion beset me as I looked forth! Before me lay a broad and
tranquil river whose opposite shore, deeply wooded and studded with villas
and cottages, rose abruptly from the water's edge; vessels of war lay
tranquilly in the stream, their pennants trailing in the tide. The loud
boom of a morning gun rolled along the surface, awaking a hundred echoes as
it passed, and the lazy smoke rested for some minutes on the glassy water
as it blended with the thin air of the morning.
"Where am I?" was my first question to myself, as I continued to look from
side to side, unable to collect my scattered senses.
One word sufficed to recall me to myself, as I heard Power's voice, from
without, call out, "Charley! O'Malley, I say! Come down here!"
I hurriedly threw on my clothes and went to the door.
"Well, Charley, I've been put in harness rather sooner than I expected.
Here's old Douglas has been sitting up all night writing despatches; and
I must hasten on to headquarters without a moment's delay. There's work
before us, that's certain; but when, where, and how, of that I know
nothing. You may expect the route every moment; the French are still
advancing. Meanwhile I have a couple of commissions for you to execute.
First, here's a packet for Hammersley; you are sure to meet him with the
regiment in a day or two. I have some scruples about asking you this; but,
confound it! you're too sensible a fellow to care--" Here he hesitated;
and as I colored to the eyes, for some minutes he seemed uncertain how to
proceed. At length, recovering himself, he went on: "Now for the other.
This is a most loving epistle from a poor devil of a midshipman, written
last night by a tallow candle, in the cock-pit, containing vows of eternal
adoration and a lock of hair. I promised faithfully to deliver it myself;
for the 'Thunderer' sails for Gibraltar next tide, and he cannot go ashore
for an instant. However, as Sir Arthur's billet may be of more importance
than the reefer's, I must intrust its safe keeping to your hands. Now,
then, don't look so devilish sleepy, but seem to understand what I am
saying. This is the address: 'La Senhora Inez da Silviero, Rua Nuova,
opposite the barber's.' You'll not neglect it. So now, my dear boy, till
our next meeting, _adios!_"
"Stop! For Heaven's sake, not so fast, I pray! Where's the street?"
"The Rua Nuova. Remember Figaro, my boy. _Cinque perruche_."
"But what am I to do?"
"To do! What a question! Anything; everything. Be a good diplomate. Speak
of the torturing agony of the lover, for which I can vouch. The boy is only
fifteen. Swear that he is to return in a month, first lieutenant of the
'Thunder Bomb,' with intentions that even Madame Dalrymple would approve."
"What nonsense," said I, blushing to the eyes.
"And if that suffice not, I know of but one resource."
"Make love to her yourself. Ay, even so. Don't look so confoundedly
vinegar; the girl, I hear, is a devilish pretty one, the house pleasant,
and I sincerely wish I could exchange duties with you, leaving you to make
your bows to his Excellency the C. O. F., and myself free to make mine to
La Senhora. And now, push along, old red cap."
So saying, he made a significant cut of his whip at the Portuguese guide,
and in another moment was out of sight.
My first thought was one of regret at Power's departure. For some time past
we had been inseparable companions; and notwithstanding the reckless and
wild gayety of his conduct, I had ever found him ready to assist me in
every difficulty, and that with an address and dexterity a more calculating
adviser might not have possessed. I was now utterly alone; for though
Monsoon and the adjutant were still in Lisbon, as was also Sparks, I never
could make intimates of them.
I ate my breakfast with a heavy heart, my solitary position again
suggesting thoughts of home and kindred. Just at this moment my eyes fell
upon the packet destined for Hammersley; I took it up and weighed it in
my hand. "Alas!" thought I, "how much of my destiny may lie within that
envelope! How fatally may my after-life be influenced by it!" It felt heavy
as though there was something besides letters. True, too true; there was
a picture, Lucy's portrait! The cold drops of perspiration stood upon
my forehead as my fingers traced the outline of a miniature-case in the
parcel. I became deadly weak, and sank, half-fainting, upon a chair. And
such is the end of my first dream of happiness! How have I duped, how
have I deceived myself! For, alas, though Lucy had never responded to my
proffered vows of affection, yet had I ever nurtured in my heart a secret
hope that I was not altogether uncared for. Every look she had given me,
every word she had spoken, the tone of her voice, her step, her every
gesture, were before me, all confirming my delusion, and yet,--I could bear
no more, and burst into tears.
The loud call of a cavalry trumpet aroused me.
How long I had passed in this state of despondency I knew not; but it was
long past noon when I rallied myself. My charger was already awaiting me;
and a second blast of the trumpet told that the inspection in the Plaza was
about to commence.
As I continued to dress, I gradually rallied from my depressing thoughts;
and ere I belted my sabretasche, the current of my ideas had turned from
their train of sadness to one of hardihood and daring. Lucy Dashwood had
treated me like a wilful schoolboy. Mayhap, I may prove myself as gallant a
soldier as even him she has preferred before me.
A third sound of the trumpet cut short my reflections, and I sprang into
the saddle, and hastened towards the Plaza. As I dashed along the streets,
my horse, maddened with the impulse that stirred my own heart, curvetted
and plunged unceasingly. As I reached the Plaza, the crowd became dense,
and I was obliged to pull up. The sound of the music, the parade, the tramp
of the infantry, and the neighing of the horses, were, however, too much
for my mettlesome steed, and he became nearly unmanageable; he plunged
fearfully, and twice reared as though he would have fallen back. As I
scattered the foot passengers right and left with terror, my eye fell upon
one lovely girl, who, tearing herself from her companion, rushed wildly
towards an open doorway for shelter; suddenly, however, changing her
intention, she came forward a few paces, and then, as if overcome by fear,
stood stock-still, her hands clasped upon her bosom, her eyes upturned, her
features deadly pale, while her knees seemed bending beneath her. Never did
I behold a more beautiful object. Her dark hair had fallen loose upon her
shoulder, and she stood the very _idéal_ of the "Madonna Supplicating."
My glance was short as a lightning flash; for the same instant my horse
swerved, and dashed forward right at the place where she was standing. One
terrific cry rose from the crowd, who saw her danger. Beside her stood a
muleteer who had drawn up his mule and cart close beside the footway for
safety; she made one effort to reach it, but her outstretched arms alone
moved, and paralyzed by terror, she sank motionless upon the pavement.
There was but one course open to me now; so collecting myself for the
effort, I threw my horse upon his haunches, and then, dashing the spurs
into his flanks, breasted him at the mule cart. With one spring he rose,
and cleared it at a bound, while the very air rang with the acclamations
of the multitude, and a thousand bravos saluted me as I alighted upon the
"Well done, O'Malley!" sang out the little adjutant, as I flew past and
pulled up in the middle of the Plaza.
"Something devilish like Galway in that leap," said a very musical voice
beside me; and at the same instant a tall, soldier-like man, in an undress
dragoon frock, touched his cap, and said, "A 14th man, I perceive, sir. May
I introduce myself? Major O'Shaughnessy."
I bowed, and shook the major's proffered hand, while he continued,--
"Old Monsoon mentioned your name to us this morning. You came out together,
if I mistake not?"
"Yes; but somehow, I've missed the major since my landing."
"Oh, you'll see him presently; he'll be on parade. By-the-bye, he wishes
particularly to meet you. We dine to-day at the 'Quai de Soderi,' and if
you're not engaged--Yes, this is the person," said he, turning at the
moment towards a servant, who, with a card in his hand, seemed to search
for some one in the crowd.
The man approached, and handed it to me.
"What can this mean?" said I. "Don Emanuel de Blacas y Silviero, Rua
"Why, that's the great Portuguese contractor, the intendant of half the
army, the richest fellow in Lisbon. Have you known him long?"
"Never heard of him till now."
"By Jove, you're in luck! No man gives such dinners; he has such a cellar!
I'll wager a fifty it was his daughter you took in the flying leap a while
ago. I hear she is a beautiful creature."
"Yes," thought I, "that must be it; and yet, strange enough, I think the
name and address are familiar to me."
"Ten to one, you've heard Monsoon speak of him; he's most intimate there.
But here comes the major."
And as he spoke, the illustrious commissary came forward holding a vast
bundle of papers in one hand, and his snuff-box in the other, followed by a
long string of clerks, contractors, assistant-surgeons, paymasters, etc.,
all eagerly pressing forward to be heard.
"It's quite impossible; I can't do it to-day. Victualling and physicking
are very good things, but must be done in season. I have been up all
night at the accounts,--haven't I, O'Malley?" here he winked at me most
significantly; "and then I have the forage and stoppage fund to look
through ['we dine at six, sharp,' said he, _sotto voce_], which will leave
me without one minute unoccupied for the next twenty-four hours. Look to
your toggery this evening; I've something in my eye for you, O'Malley."
"Officers unattached to their several corps will fall into the middle of
the Plaza," said a deep voice among the crowd; and in obedience to the
order I rode forward and placed myself with a number of others, apparently
newly joined, in the open square. A short, gray-haired old colonel, with a
dark, eagle look, proceeded to inspect us, reading from a paper as he came
"Mr. Hepton, 6th Foot; commission bearing date 11th January; drilled,
proceed to Ovar, and join his regiment.
"Mr. Gronow, Fusilier Guards, remains with the depot.
"Captain Mortimer, 1st Dragoons, appointed aide-de-camp to the general
commanding the cavalry brigade.
"Mr. Sparks,--where is Mr. Sparks? Mr. Sparks absent from parade; make a
note of it.
"Mr. O'Malley, 14th Light Dragoons. Mr. O'Malley,--oh, I remember! I have
received a letter from Sir George Dashwood concerning you. You will hold
yourself in readiness to march. Your friends desire that before you may
obtain any staff appointment, you should have the opportunity of seeing
some service. Am I to understand such is your wish?"
"May I have the pleasure of your company at dinner to-day?"
"I regret that I have already accepted an invitation to dine with Major
"With Major Monsoon? Ah, indeed! Perhaps it might be as well I should
mention,--but no matter. I wish you good-morning."
So saying, the little colonel rode off, leaving me to suppose that my
dinner engagement had not raised me in his estimation, though why, I could
not exactly determine.
THE RUA NUOVA.
Our dinner was a long and uninteresting one, and as I found that the major
was likely to prefer his seat as chairman of the party to the seductions
of ladies' society, I took the first opportunity of escaping and left the
It was a rich moonlight night as I found myself in the street. My way,
which led along the banks of the Tagus, was almost as light as in daytime,
and crowded with walking parties, who sauntered carelessly along in the
enjoyment of the cool, refreshing night-air. On inquiring, I discovered
that the Rua Nuova was at the extremity of the city; but as the road led
along by the river I did not regret the distance, but walked on with
increasing pleasure at the charms of so heavenly a climate and country.
After three quarters of an hour's walk, the streets became by degrees less
and less crowded. A solitary party passed me now and then; the buzz of
distant voices succeeded to the gay laughter and merry tones of the passing
groups, and at length my own footsteps alone awoke the echoes along the
deserted pathway. I stopped every now and then to gaze upon the tranquil
river, whose eddies were circling in the pale silver of the moonlight. I
listened with attentive ear as the night breeze wafted to me the far-off
sounds of a guitar, and the deep tones of some lover's serenade; while
again the tender warbling of the nightingale came borne across the stream
on a wind rich with the odor of the orange-tree.
As thus I lingered on my way the time stole on, and it was near midnight
ere I had roused myself from the revery surrounding objects had thrown
about me. I stopped suddenly, and for some minutes I struggled with
myself to discover if I was really awake. As I walked along, lost in my
reflections, I had entered a little garden beside the river. Fragrant
plants and lovely flowers bloomed on every side; the orange, the camelia,
the cactus, and the rich laurel of Portugal were blending their green and
golden hues around me, while the very air was filled with delicious music.
"Was it a dream? Could such ecstasy be real?" I asked myself, as the rich
notes swelled upwards in their strength, and sank in soft cadence to tones
of melting harmony; now bursting forth in the full force of gladness,
the voices blended together in one stream of mellow music, and suddenly
ceasing, the soft but thrilling shake of a female voice rose upon the air,
and in its plaintive beauty stirred the very heart. The proud tramp of
martial music succeeded to the low wailing cry of agony; then came the
crash of battle, the clang of steel; the thunder of the fight rolled on in
all its majesty, increasing in its maddening excitement till it ended in
one loud shout of victory.
All was still; not a breath moved, not a leaf stirred, and again was I
relapsing into my dreamy scepticism, when again the notes swelled upwards
in concert. But now their accents were changed, and in low, subdued tones,
faintly and slowly uttered, the prayer of thanksgiving rose to Heaven and
spoke their gratefulness. I almost fell upon my knees, and already the
tears filled my eyes as I drank in the sounds. My heart was full to
bursting, and even now as I write it my pulse throbs as I remember the hymn
of the Abencerrages.
When I rallied from my trance of excited pleasure, my first thought was,
where was I, and how came I there? Before I could resolve my doubts upon
the question, my attention was turned in another direction, for close
beside me the branches moved forward, and a pair of arms were thrown around
my neck, while a delicious voice cried out in an accent of childish,
delight, "_Trovado!_" At the same instant a lovely head sank upon my
shoulder, covering it with tresses of long brown hair. The arms pressed me
still more closely, till I felt her very heart beating against my side.
"_Mio fradre_," said a soft, trembling voice, as her fingers played in my
hair and patted my temples.
What a situation mine! I well knew that some mistaken identity had been the
cause, but still I could not repress my inclination to return the embrace,
as I pressed my lips upon the fair forehead that leaned upon my bosom; at
the same moment she threw back her head, as if to look me more fully in the
face. One glance sufficed; blushing deeply over her cheeks and neck, she
sprang from my arms, and uttering a faint cry, staggered against a tree.
In an instant I saw it was the lovely girl I had met in the morning; and
without losing a second I poured out apologies for my intrusion with all
the eloquence I was master of, till she suddenly interrupted me by asking
if I spoke French. Scarcely had I recommenced my excuses in that language,
when a third party appeared upon the stage. This was a short, elderly man,
in a green uniform, with several decorations upon his breast, and a cocked
hat with a most flowing plume in his right hand.
"May I beg to know whom I have the honor of receiving?" inquired he, in
very excellent English, as he advanced with a look of very ceremonious and
I immediately explained that, presuming upon the card which his servant had
presented me, I had resolved on paying my respects when a mistake had led
me accidentally into his garden.
My apologies had not come to an end when he folded me in his arms and
overwhelmed me with thanks, at the same time saying a few words in
Portuguese to his daughter. She stooped down, and taking my hand gently
within her own, touched it with her lips.
This piece of touching courtesy,--which I afterwards found meant little or
nothing,--affected me deeply at the time, and I felt the blood rush to my
face and forehead, half in pride, half in a sense of shame. My confusion
was, however, of short duration; for taking my arm, the old gentleman led
me along a few paces, and turning round a small clump of olives, entered a
little summer-house. Here a considerable party were assembled, which for
their picturesque effect could scarcely have been better managed on the
Beneath the mild lustre of a large lamp of stained glass, half hid in the
overhanging boughs, was spread a table covered with vessels of gold and
silver plate of gorgeous richness; drinking cups and goblets of antique
pattern shone among cups of Sèvres china or Venetian glass; delicious
fruit, looking a thousand times more tempting for being contained in
baskets of silver foliage, peeped from amidst a profusion of fresh flowers,
whose odor was continually shed around by a slight _jet d'eau_ that played
among the leaves. Around upon the grass, seated upon cushions or reclining
on Genoa carpets, were several beautiful girls in most becoming costumes,
their dark locks and darker eyes speaking of "the soft South," while their
expressive gestures and animated looks betokened a race whose temperament
is glowing as their clime. There were several men also, the greater number
of whom appeared in uniform,--bronzed, soldier-like fellows, who had
the jaunty air and easy carriage of their calling,--among whom was one
Englishman, or at least so I guessed from his wearing the uniform of a
heavy dragoon regiment.
"This is my daughter's _fête_," said Don Emanuel, as he ushered me into the
assembly,--"her birthday; a sad day it might have been for us had it not
been for your courage and forethought." So saying, he commenced a recital
of my adventure to the bystanders, who overwhelmed me with civil speeches
and a shower of soft looks that completed the fascination of the fairy
scene. Meanwhile the fair Inez had made room for me beside her, and I found
myself at once the lion of the party, each vying with her neighbor
who should show me most attention, La Senhora herself directing her
conversation exclusively to me,--a circumstance which, considering the
awkwardness of our first meeting, I felt no small surprise at, and which
led me, somewhat maliciously I confess, to make a half allusion to it,
feeling some interest in ascertaining for whom the flattering reception was
"I thought you were Charles," said she, blushing, in answer to my question.
"And you are right," said I; "I am Charles."
"Nay, but I meant _my_ Charles."
There was something of touching softness in the tone of these few words
that made me half wish I were _her_ Charles. Whether my look evinced as
much or not, I cannot tell, but she speedily added,--
"He is my brother; he is a captain in the caçadores, and I expected him
here this evening. Some one saw a fi'gure pass the gate and conceal himself
in the trees, and I was sure it was he."
"What a disappointment!" said I.
"Yes; was it not?" said she, hurriedly; and then, as if remembering how
ungracious was the speech, she blushed more deeply and hung down her head.
Just at this moment, as I looked up, I caught the eye of the English
officer fixed steadfastly upon me. He was a tall, fine-looking fellow, of
about two or three and thirty, with marked and handsome features, which,
however, conveyed an expression of something sneering and sinister that
struck me the moment I saw him. His glass was fixed in his eye, and I
perceived that he regarded us both with a look of no common interest. My
attention did not, however, dwell long upon the circumstance, for Don
Emanuel, coming behind my shoulder, asked me if I would not take out his
daughter in the bolero they were just forming.
To my shame I was obliged to confess that I had not even seen the dance;
and while I continued to express my resolve to correct the errors of my
education, the Englishman came up and asked the senhora to be his partner.
This put the very keystone upon my annoyance, and I half turned angrily
away from the spot, when I heard her decline his invitation, and avow her
determination not to dance.
There was something which pleased me so much at this refusal, that I could
not help turning upon her a look of most grateful acknowledgment; but as I
did so, I once more encountered the gaze of the Englishman, whose knitted
brows and compressed lips were bent upon me in a manner there was no
mistaking. This was neither the fitting time nor place to seek any
explanation of the circumstance, so, wisely resolving to wait a better
occasion, I turned away and resumed my attentions towards my fair
"Then you don't care for the bolero?" said I, as she reseated herself upon
"Oh, I delight in it!" said she, enthusiastically.
"But you refused to dance?"
She hesitated, blushed, tried to mutter something, and was silent.
"I had determined to learn it," said I, half jestingly; "but if you will
not dance with me--"
"Yes; that I will,--indeed I will."
"But you declined my countryman. Is it because he is inexpert?"
The senhora hesitated, looked confused for some minutes; at length,
coloring slightly, she said: "I have already made one rude speech to you
this evening; I fear lest I should make a second. Tell me, is Captain
Trevyllian your friend?"
"If you mean that gentleman yonder, I never saw him before."
"Nor heard of him?"
"Nor that either. We are total strangers to each other."
"Well, then, I may confess it. I do not like him. My father prefers him
to any one else, invites him here daily, and, in fact, instals him as his
first favorite. But still, I cannot like him; and yet I have done my best
to do so."
"Indeed!" said I, pointedly. "What are his chief demerits? Is he not
agreeable? Is he not clever?"
"Oh, on the contrary, most agreeable, fascinating, I should say, in
conversation; has travelled, seen a great deal of the world, is very
accomplished, and has distinguished himself on several occasions. He wears,
as you see, a Portuguese order."
"And with all that--"
"And with all that, I cannot bear him. He is a duellist, a notorious
duellist. My brother, too, knows more of him, and avoids him. But let us
not speak further. I see his eyes are again fixed on us; and somehow, I
fear him, without well knowing wherefore."
A movement among the party, shawls and mantillas were sought for on all
sides; and the preparations for leave-taking appeared general. Before,
however, I had time to express my thanks for my hospitable reception, the
guests had assembled in a circle around the senhora, and toasting her with
a parting bumper, they commenced in concert a little Portuguese song of
farewell, each verse concluding with a good-night, which, as they separated
and held their way homewards, might now and then be heard rising upon the
breeze and wafting their last thoughts back to her. The concluding verse,
which struck me much, I have essayed to translate. It ran somehow thus:--
"The morning breezes chill
Now close our joyous scene,
And yet we linger still,
Where we've so happy been.
How blest were it to live
With hearts like ours so light,
And only part to give
One long and last good-night!
With many an invitation to renew my visit, most kindly preferred by Don
Emanuel and warmly seconded by his daughter, I, too, wished my good-night
and turned my steps homeward.
The first object which presented itself to my eye the next morning was the
midshipman's packet intrusted to my care by Power. I turned it over to read
the address more carefully, and what was my surprise to find that the name
was that of my fair friend Donna Inez.
"This certainly thickens the plot," thought I. "And so I have now fallen
upon the real Simon Pure, and the reefer has had the good fortune to
distance the dragoon. Well, thus far, I cannot say that I regret it. Now,
however, for the parade, and then for the villa."
"I say, O'Malley," cried out Monsoon, as I appeared on the Plaza, "I have
accepted an invitation for you to-day. We dine across the river. Be at my
quarters a little before six, and we'll go together."
I should rather have declined the invitation; but not well knowing why, and
having no ready excuse, acceded, and promised to be punctual.
"You were at Don Emanuel's last night. I heard of you!"
"Yes; I spent a most delightful evening."
"That's your ground, my boy. A million of moidores, and such a campagna in
Valencia. A better thing than the Dalrymple affair. Don't blush. I know it
all. But stay; here they come."
As he spoke, the general commanding, with a numerous staff, rode forward.
As they passed, I recognized a face which I had certainly seen before, and
in a moment remembered it was that of the dragoon of the evening before. He
passed quite close, and fixing his eyes steadfastly on me, evinced no sign
The parade lasted above two hours; and it was with a feeling of impatience
I mounted a fresh horse to canter out to the villa. When I arrived, the
servant informed me that Don Emanuel was in the city, but that the senhora
was in the garden, offering, at the same time, to escort me. Declining this
honor, I intrusted my horse to his keeping and took my way towards the
arbor where last I had seen her.
I had not walked many paces, when the sound of a guitar struck on my ear. I
listened. It was the senhora's voice. She was singing a Venetian canzonetta
in a low, soft, warbling tone, as one lost in a revery; as though the music
was a mere accompaniment to some pleasant thought. I peeped through the
dense leaves, and there she sat upon a low garden seat, an open book on the
rustic table before her, beside her, embroidery, which seemed only lately
abandoned. As I looked, she placed her guitar upon the ground and began to
play with a small spaniel that seemed to have waited with impatience for
some testimony of favor. A moment more, and she grew weary of this; then,
heaving a long but gentle sigh, leaned back upon her chair and seemed lost
in thought. I now had ample time to regard her, and certainly never beheld
anything more lovely. There was a character of classic beauty, and her
brow, though fair and ample, was still strongly marked upon the temples;
the eyes, being deep and squarely set, imparted a look of intensity to her
features which their own softness subdued; while the short upper lip,
which trembled with every passing thought, spoke of a nature tender and
impressionable, and yet impassioned. Her foot and ankle peeped from beneath
her dark robe, and certainly nothing could be more faultless; while her
hand, fair as marble, blue-veined and dimpled, played amidst the long
tresses of her hair, that, as if in the wantonness of beauty, fell
carelessly upon her shoulders.
It was some time before I could tear myself away from the fascination of so
much beauty, and it needed no common effort to leave the spot. As I made a
short _détour_ in the garden before approaching the arbor, she saw me as I
came forward, and kissing her hand gayly, made room for me beside her.
"I have been fortunate in finding you alone, Senhora," said I, as I seated
myself by her side, "for I am the bearer of a letter to you. How far it
may interest you, I know not, but to the writer's feelings I am bound to
"A letter to me? You jest, surely?"
"That I am in earnest, this will show," said I, producing the packet.
She took it from my hands, turned it about and about, examined the seal;
while, half doubtingly, she said:--
"The name is mine; but still--"
"You fear to open it; is it not so? But after all, you need not be
surprised if it's from Howard; that's his name, I think."
"Howard! from little Howard!" exclaimed she, enthusiastically; and tearing
open the letter, she pressed it to her lips, her eyes sparkling with
pleasure and her cheek glowing as she read. I watched her as she ran
rapidly over the lines; and I confess that, more than once, a pang of
discontent shot through my heart that the midshipman's letter could call up
such interest,--not that I was in love with her myself, but yet, I know
not how it was, I had fancied her affections unengaged; and without asking
myself wherefore, I wished as much.
"Poor dear boy!" said she, as she came to the end. How these few and simple
words sank into my heart, as I remembered how they had once been uttered to
myself, and in perhaps no very dissimilar circumstances.
"But where is the souvenir he speaks of?" said she.
"The souvenir. I'm not aware--"
"Oh, I hope you've not lost the lock of hair he sent me!" I was quite
dumfounded at this, and could not remember whether I had received it from
Power or not, so answered, at random,--
"Yes; I must have left it on my table."
"Promise me, then, to bring it to-morrow with you?"
"Certainly," said I, with something of pique in my manner. "If I find such
a means of making my visit an agreeable one, I shall certainly not omit
"You are quite right," said she, either not noticing or not caring for the
tone of my reply. "You will, indeed, be a welcome messenger. Do you know,
he was one of my lovers?"
"One of them, indeed! Then pray how many do you number at this moment?"
"What a question; as if I could possibly count them! Besides, there are
so many absent,--some on leave, some deserters, perhaps,--that I might be
reckoning among my troops, but who, possibly, form part of the forces of
the enemy. Do you know little Howard?"
"I cannot say that we are personally acquainted, but I am enabled through
the medium of a friend to say that his sentiments are not strange to
me. Besides, I have really pledged myself to support the prayer of his
"How very good of you! For which reason you've forgotten, if not lost, the
lock of hair."
"That you shall have to-morrow," said I, pressing my hand solemnly to my
"Well, then, don't forget it. But hush; here comes Captain Trevyllian. So
you say Lisbon really pleases you?" said she, in a tone of voice totally
changed, as the dragoon of the preceding evening approached.
"Mr. O'Malley, Captain Trevyllian."
We bowed stiffly and haughtily to each other, as two men salute who are
unavoidably obliged to bow, with every wish on either side to avoid
acquaintance. So, at least, I construed his bow; so I certainly intended my
It requires no common tact to give conversation the appearance of
unconstraint and ease when it is evident that each person opposite is
laboring under excited feelings; so that, notwithstanding the senhora's
efforts to engage our attention by the commonplaces of the day, we remained
almost silent, and after a few observations of no interest, took our
several leaves. Here again a new source of awkwardness arose; for as we
walked together towards the house, where our horses stood, neither party
seemed disposed to speak.
"You are probably returning to Lisbon?" said he, coldly.
I assented by a bow; upon which, drawing his bridle within his arm, he
bowed once more, and turned away in an opposite direction; while I, glad to
be relieved of an unsought-for companionship, returned alone to the town.
It was with no peculiar pleasure that I dressed for our dinner party. Major
O'Shaughnessy, our host, was one of that class of my countrymen I cared
least for,--a riotous, good-natured, noisy, loud-swearing, punch-drinking
western; full of stories of impossible fox hunts, and unimaginable duels,
which all were acted either by himself or some member of his family. The
company consisted of the adjutant, Monsoon, Ferguson, Trevyllian, and some
eight or ten officers with whom I was acquainted. As is usual on such
occasions, the wine circulated freely, and amidst the din and clamor of
excited conversation, the fumes of Burgundy, and the vapor of cigar smoke,
we most of us became speedily mystified. As for me, my evil destiny would
have it that I was placed exactly opposite Trevyllian, with whom upon more
than one occasion I happened to differ in opinion, and the question was in
itself some trivial and unimportant one; yet the tone which he assumed, and
of which, I too could not divest myself in reply, boded anything rather
than an amicable feeling between us. The noise and turmoil about prevented
the others remarking the circumstance; but I could perceive in his manner
what I deemed a studied determination to promote a quarrel, while I felt
within myself a most unchristian-like desire to indulge his fancy.
"Worse fellows at passing the bottle than Trevyllian and O'Malley there I
have rarely sojourned with," cried the major; "look if they haven't got
eight decanters between them, and here we are in a state of African
"How can you expect him to think of thirst when such perfumed billets
as that come showering upon him?" said the adjutant, alluding to a
rose-colored epistle a servant had placed within my hands.
"Eight miles of a stone-wall country in fifteen minutes,--devil a lie in
it!" said O'Shaughnessy, striking the table with, his clinched fist; "show
me the man would deny it."
"Why, my dear fellow--"
"Don't be dearing me. Is it 'no' you'll be saying me?"
"Listen, now; there's O'Reilly, there--"
"Where is he?"
"He's under the table."
"Well, it's the same thing. His mother had a fox--bad luck to you, don't
scald me with the jug--his mother had a fox-cover in Shinrohan."
When O'Shaughnessy had got thus far in his narrative, I had the opportunity
of opening my note, which merely contained the following words: "Come to
the ball at the Casino, and bring the Cadeau you promised."
I had scarcely read this over once, when a roar of laughter at something
said attracted my attention. I looked up, and perceived Trevyllian's eyes
bent upon me with the fierceness of a tiger; the veins in his forehead were
swollen and distorted, and the whole expression of his face betokened rage
and passion. Resolved no longer to submit to such evident determination to
insult, I was rising from my place at table, when, as if anticipating
my intention, he pushed back his chair and left the room. Fearful of
attracting attention by immediately following him, I affected to join in
the conversation around me, while my temples throbbed, and my hands tingled
with impatience to get away.
"Poor McManus," said O'Shaughnessy, "rest his soul! he'd have puzzled the
bench of bishops for hard words. Upon my conscience, I believe he spent his
mornings looking for them in the Old Testament. Sure ye might have heard
what happened to him at Banagher, when he commanded the Kilkennys,--ye
never heard the story? Well, then, ye shall. Push the sherry along first,
though,--old Monsoon there always keeps it lingering beside his left arm.
"Well, when Peter was lieutenant-colonel of the Kilkennys,--who, I may
remark, _en passant_, as the French say, were the neediest-looking devils
in the whole service,--he never let them alone from morning till night,
drilling and pipe-claying and polishing them up. 'Nothing will make
soldiers of you,' said Peter, 'but, by the rock of Cashel! I'll keep you
as clean as a new musket!' Now, poor Peter himself was not a very warlike
figure,--he measured five feet one in his tallest boots; but certainly if
Nature denied him length of stature, she compensated for it in another
way, by giving him a taste of the longest words in the language. An extra
syllable or so in a word was always a strong recommendation; and whenever
he could not find one to his mind, he'd take some quaint, outlandish one
that more than once led to very awkward results. Well, the regiment was one
day drawn up for parade in the town of Banagher, and as M'Manus came
down the lines he stopped opposite one of the men whose face, hands, and
accoutrements exhibited a most woeful contempt of his orders. The fellow
looked more like a turf-stack than a light-company man.
"'Stand out, sir!' cried M'Manus, in a boiling passion. 'Sergeant O'Toole,
inspect this individual.' Now, the sergeant was rather a favorite with Mac;
for he always pretended to understand his phraseology, and in consequence
was pronounced by the colonel a very superior man for his station in life.
'Sergeant,' said he, 'we shall make an exemplary illustration of our system
"'Yes, sir,' said the sergeant, sorely puzzled at the meaning of what he
"'Bear him to the Shannon, and lave him there.' This he said in a kind
of Coriolanus tone, with a toss of his head and a wave of his right
arm,--signs, whenever he made them, incontestibly showing that further
parley was out of the question, and that he had summed up and charged the
jury for good and all.
"'_Lave_ him in the river?' said O'Toole, his eyes starting from the
sockets, and his whole face working in strong anxiety; 'is it _lave_ him in
the river yer honor means?'
"'I have spoken,' said the little man, bending an ominous frown upon the
sergeant, which, whatever construction he may have put upon his words,
there was no mistaking.
"'Well, well, av it's God's will he's drowned, it will not be on my head,'
says O'Toole, as he marched the fellow away between two rank and file.
"The parade was nearly over, when Mac happened to see the sergeant coming
up all splashed with water and looking quite tired.
"'Have you obeyed my orders?' said he.
"'Yes, yer honor; and tough work we had of it, for he struggled hard.'
"'And where is he now?'
"'Oh, troth, he's there safe. Divil a fear he'll get out.'
"'Where?' said Mac.
"'In the river, yer honor.'
"'What have you done, you scoundrel?'
"'Didn't I do as you bid me?' says he; 'didn't I throw him in and _lave_
[leave] him there?'
"And faith so they did; and if he wasn't a good swimmer and got over to
Moystown, there's little doubt but he'd have been drowned, and all because
Peter McManus could not express himself like a Christian."
In the laughter which followed O'Shaughnessy's story I took the opportunity
of making my escape from the party, and succeeded in gaining the street
unobserved. Though the note I had just read was not signed, I had no doubt
from whom it came; so I hastened at once to my quarters, to make search for
the lock of Ned Howard's hair to which the senhora alluded. What was my
mortification, however, to discover that no such thing could be found
anywhere. I searched all my drawers; I tossed about my papers and letters;
I hunted every likely, every unlikely spot I could think of, but in
vain,--now cursing my carelessness for having lost it, now swearing most
solemnly to myself that I never could have received it. What was to be
done? It was already late; my only thought was how to replace it. If I only
knew the color, any other lock of hair would, doubtless, do just as well.
The chances were, as Howard was young and an Englishman, that his hair was
light; light-brown, probably, something like my own. Of course it was; why
didn't that thought occur to me before? How stupid I was. So saying, I
seized a pair of scissors, and cut a long lock beside my temple; this in a
calm moment I might have hesitated about. "Yes," thought I, "she'll
never discover the cheat; and besides, I do feel,--I know not exactly
why,--rather gratified to think that I shall have left this _souvenir_
behind me, even though it call up other recollections than of me." So
thinking, I wrapped my cloak about me and hastened towards the Casino.
I had scarcely gone a hundred yards from my quarters when a great tramp of
horses' feet attracted my attention. I stopped to listen, and soon heard
the jingle of dragoon accoutrements, as the noise came near. The night was
dark but perfectly still; and before I stood many minutes I heard the tones
of a voice which I well knew could belong to but one, and that Fred Power.
"Fred Power!" said I, shouting at the same time at the top of my
"Ah, Charley, is that you? Come along to the adjutant-general's quarters.
I'm charged with some important despatches, and can't stop till I've
delivered them. Come along, I've glorious news for you!" So saying, he
dashed spurs to his horse, and followed by two mounted dragoons, galloped
past. Power's few and hurried words had so excited my curiosity that I
turned at once to follow him, questioning myself, as I walked along,
to what he could possibly allude. He knew of my attachment to Lucy
Dashwood,--could he mean anything of her? But what could I expect there;
by what flattery could I picture to myself any chance of success in that
quarter; and yet, what other news could I care for or value than what bore
upon her fate upon whom my own depended? Thus ruminating, I reached the
door of the spacious building in which the adjutant-general had taken up
his abode, and soon found myself among a crowd of persons whom the rumor of
some important event had assembled there, though no one could tell what had
occurred. Before many minutes the door opened, and Power came out; bowing
hurriedly to a few, and whispering a word or two as he passed down the
steps, he seized me by the arm and led me across the street. "Charley,"
said he, "the curtain's rising; the piece is about to begin; a new
commander-in-chief is sent out,--Sir Arthur Wellesley, my boy, the finest
fellow in England is to lead us on, and we march to-morrow. There's news
for you!" A raw boy, unread, uninformed as I was, I knew but little of his
career whose name had even then shed such lustre upon our army; but the
buoyant tone of Power as he spoke, the kindling energy of his voice roused
me, and I felt every inch a soldier. As I grasped his hand in delightful
enthusiasm I lost all memory of my disappointment, and in the beating throb
that shook my head; I felt how deeply slept the ardor of military glory
that first led me from my home to see a battle-field.
"There goes the news!" said Frederick, pointing as he spoke to a rocket
that shot up into the sky, and as it broke into ten thousand stars,
illuminated the broad stream where the ships of war lay darkly resting. In
another moment the whole air shone with similar fires, while the deep roll
of the drum sounded along the silent streets, and the city so lately sunk
in sleep became, as if by magic, thronged with crowds of people; the
sharp clang of the cavalry trumpet blended with the gay carol of the
light-infantry bugle, and the heavy tramp of the march was heard in the
distance. All was excitement, all bustle; but in the joyous tone of every
voice was spoken the longing anxiety to meet the enemy. The gay, reckless
tone of an Irish song would occasionally reach us, as some Connaught Ranger
or some 78th man passed, his knapsack on his back; or the low monotonous
pibroch of the Highlander, swelling into a war-cry, as some kilted corps
drew up their ranks together. We turned to regain our quarters, when at
the corner of a street we came suddenly upon a merry party seated around a
table before a little inn; a large street lamp, unhung for the occasion,
had been placed in the midst of them, and showed us the figures of several
soldiers in undress; at the end, and raised a little above his compeers,
sat one whom, by the unfair proportion he assumed of the conversation, not
less than by the musical intonation of his voice, I soon recognized as my
man, Mickey Free.
"I'll be hanged if that's not your fellow there, Charley," said Power, as
he came to a dead stop a few yards off. "What an impertinent varlet he is;
only to think of him there, presiding among a set of fellows that have
fought all the battles in the Peninsular war. At this moment I'll be hanged
if he is not going to sing."
Here a tremendous thumping upon the table announced the fact, and after a
few preliminary observations from Mike, illustrative of his respect to the
service in which he had so often distinguished himself, he began, to
the air of the "Young May Moon," a ditty of which I only recollect the
"The pickets are fast retreating, boys,
The last tattoo is beating, boys,
So let every man
Finish his can,
And drink to our next merry meeting, boys.
The colonel so gayly prancing, boys,
Has a wonderful trick of advancing, boys,
When he sings out so large,
'Fix bayonets and charge!'
He sets all the Frenchmen a-dancing, boys.
Let Mounseer look ever so big, my boys,
Who cares for fighting a fig, my boys?
When we play 'Garryowen,'
He'd rather go home;
For somehow, he's no taste for a jig, my boys."
This admirable lyric seemed to have perfect success, if one were only to
judge from the thundering of voices, hands, and drinking vessels which
followed; while a venerable, gray-haired sergeant rose to propose Mr.
Free's health, and speedy promotion to him.
We stood for several minutes in admiration of the party, when the loud roll
of the drums beating to arms awakened us to the thought that our moments
"Good-night, Charley!" said Power, as he shook my hand warmly, "good-night!
It will be your last night under a curtain for some months to come; make
the most of it. Adieu!"
So saying, we parted; he to his quarters, and I to all the confusion of my
baggage, which lay in most admired disorder about my room.
The preparations for the march occupied me till near morning; and, indeed,
had I been disposed to sleep, the din and clamor of the world without would
have totally prevented it. Before daybreak the advanced guard was already
in motion, and some squadrons of heavy cavalry had begun their march.
I looked around my now dismantled room as one does usually for the last
time ere leaving, and bethought me if I had not forgotten anything.
Apparently all was remembered; but stay,--what is this? To be sure, how
forgetful I had become! It was the packet I destined for Donna Inez, and
which, in the confusion of the night before, I had omitted to bring to the
I immediately despatched Mike to the commissary with my luggage and orders
to ascertain when we were expected to march. He soon returned with the
intelligence that our corps was not to move before noon, so that I had yet
some hours to spare and make my adieux to the senhora.
I cannot exactly explain the reason, but I certainly did bestow a more than
common attention upon my toilet that morning. The senhora was nothing to
me. It is true she had, as she lately most candidly informed me, a score of
admirers, among whom I was not even reckoned; she was evidently a coquette
whose greatest pleasure was to sport and amuse herself with the passions
she excited in others. And even if she were not,--if her heart were to be
won to-morrow,--what claim, what right, had I to seek it? My affections
were already pledged; promised, it is true, to one who gave nothing in
return, and who, perhaps, even loved another. Ah, there was the rub; that
one confounded suspicion, lurking in the rear, chilled my courage and
wounded my spirit.
If there be anything more disheartening to an Irishman, in his little
_affaires de coeur_, than another, it is the sense of rivalry. The
obstinacy of fathers, the ill-will of mothers, the coldness, the
indifference of the lovely object herself,--obstacles though they be,--he
has tact, spirit, and perseverance to overcome them. But when a more
successful candidate for the fair presents himself; when the eye that
remains downcast at _his_ suit, lights up with animation at _another's_
coming; when the features whose cold and chilling apathy to him have
blended in one smile of welcome to another,--it is all up with him; he sees
the game lost, and throws his cards upon the table. And yet, why is this?
Why is it that he whose birthright it would seem to be sanguine when others
despond, to be confident when all else are hopeless,--should find his
courage fail him here? The reason is simply--But, in good sooth, I am
ashamed to confess it!
Having jogged on so far with my reader, in all the sober seriousness which
the matter-of-fact material of these memoirs demands, I fear lest a seeming
paradox may cause me to lose my good name for veracity; and that while
merely maintaining a national trait of my country, I may appear to be
asserting some unheard-of and absurd proposition,--so far have mere vulgar
prejudices gone to sap our character as a people.
The reason, then, is this,--for I have gone too far to retreat,--the
Irishman is essentially bashful. Well, laugh if you wish, for I conclude
that, by this time, you have given way to a most immoderate excess of
risibility; but still, when you have perfectly recovered your composure, I
beg to repeat,--the Irishman is essentially a bashful man!
Do not for a moment fancy that I would by this imply that in any new or
unexpected situation, that from any unforeseen conjuncture of events, the
Irishman would feel confused or abashed, more than any other,--far from it.
The cold and habitual reserve of the Englishman, the studied caution of the
North Tweeder himself, would exhibit far stronger evidences of awkwardness
in such circumstances as these. But on the other hand, when measuring his
capacity, his means of success, his probabilities of being preferred, with
those of the natives of any other country, I back the Irishman against the
world for distrust of his own powers, for an under-estimate of his real
merits,--in one word, for his bashfulness. But let us return to Donna Inez.
As I rode up to the villa, I found the family assembled at breakfast.
Several officers were also present, among whom I was not sorry to recognize
my friend Monsoon.
"Ah, Charley!" cried he, as I seated myself beside him, "what a pity all
our fun is so soon to have an end! Here's this confounded Soult won't be
quiet and peaceable; but he must march upon Oporto, and Heaven knows where
besides, just as we were really beginning to enjoy life! I had got such a
contract for blankets! And now they've ordered me to join Beresford's corps
in the mountains; and you," here he dropped his voice,--"and you were
getting on so devilish well in this quarter; upon my life, I think
you'd have carried the day. Old Don Emanuel--you know he's a friend of
mine--likes you very much. And then, there's Sparks--"
"Ay, Major, what of him? I have not seen him for some days."
"Why, they've been frightening the poor devil out of his life,
O'Shaughnessy and a set of them. They tried him by court-martial yesterday,
and sentenced him to mount guard with a wooden sword and a shooting jacket,
which he did. Old Colbourne, it seems, saw him; and faith, there would be
the devil to pay if the route had not come! Some of them would certainly
have got a long leave to see their friends."
"Why is not the senhora here, Major? I don't see her at table."
"A cold, a sore throat, a wet-feet affair of last night, I believe. Pass
that cold pie down here. Sherry, if you please. You didn't see Power
"No: we parted late last night; I have not been to bed."
"Very bad preparation for a march; take some burned brandy in your coffee."
"Then you don't think the senhora will appear?"
"Very unlikely. But stay, you know her room,--the small drawing-room that
looks out upon the flower-garden; she usually passes the morning there.
Leap the little wooden paling round the corner, and the chances are ten to
one you find her."
I saw from the occupied air of Don Antonio that there was little fear of
interruption on his part; so taking an early moment to escape unobserved, I
rose and left the room. When I sprang over the oak fence, I found myself in
a delicious little garden, where roses, grown to a height never seen in our
colder climate, formed a deep bower of rich blossom.
The major was right. The senhora was in the room, and in one moment I was
"Nothing but my fears of not bidding you farewell could palliate my thus
intruding, Donna Inez; but as we are ordered away--"
"When? Not so soon, surely?"
"Even so; to-day, this very hour. But you see that even in the hurry of
departure, I have not forgotten my trust; this is the packet I promised
So saying, I placed the paper with the lock of hair within her hand, and
bending downwards, pressed my lips upon her taper fingers. She hurriedly
snatched her hand away, and tearing open the enclosure, took out the lock.
She looked steadily for a moment at it, then at me, and again at it, and at
length, bursting into a fit of laughing, threw herself upon a chair in a
very ecstasy of mirth.
"Why, you don't mean to impose this auburn ringlet upon me for one of poor
Howard's jetty curls? What downright folly to think of it! And then, with
how little taste the deception was practised,--upon your very temples, too!
One comfort is, you are utterly spoiled by it."
Here she again relapsed into a fit of laughter, leaving me perfectly
puzzled what to think of her, as she resumed:--
"Well, tell me now, am I to reckon this as a pledge of your own allegiance,
or am I still to believe it to be Edward Howard's? Speak, and truly."
"Of my own, most certainly," said I, "if it will be accepted."
"Why, after such treachery, perhaps it ought not; but still, as you have
already done yourself such injury, and look so very silly, withal--"
"That you are even resolved to give me cause to look more so," added I.
"Exactly," said she, "for here, now, I reinstate you among my true and
faithful admirers. Kneel down, Sir Knight--in token of which you will wear
A sudden start which the donna gave at these words brought me to my feet.
She was pale as death and trembling.
"What means this?" said I. "What has happened?"
She pointed with her finger towards the garden; but though her lips moved,
no voice came forth. I sprang through the open window; I rushed into the
copse, the only one which might afford concealment for a figure, but no one
was there. After a few minutes' vain endeavor to discover any trace of an
intruder, I returned to the chamber. The donna was there still, but how
changed; her gayety and animation were gone, her pale cheek and trembling
lip bespoke fear and suffering, and her cold hand lay heavily beside her.
"I thought--perhaps it was merely fancy--but I thought I saw Trevyllian
beside the window."
"Impossible!" said I. "I have searched every walk and alley. It was nothing
but imagination,--believe me, no more. There, be assured; think no more of
While I endeavored thus to reassure her, I was very far from feeling
perfectly at ease myself; the whole bearing and conduct of this man
had inspired me with a growing dislike of him, and I felt already
half-convinced that he had established himself as a spy upon my actions.
"Then you really believe I was mistaken?" said the donna, as she placed her
hand within mine.
"Of course I do; but speak no more of it. You must not forget how few my
moments are here. Already I have heard the tramp of horses without. Ah!
there they are. In a moment more I shall be missed; so, once more, fairest
Inez--Nay, I beg pardon if I have dared to call you thus; but think, if it
be the first it may also be the last time I shall ever speak it."
Her head gently drooped, as I said these words, till it sank upon my
shoulder, her long and heavy hair falling upon my neck and across my bosom.
I felt her heart almost beat against my side; I muttered some words, I know
not what; I felt them like a prayer; I pressed her cold forehead to my
lips, rushed from the room, cleared the fence at a spring, and was far
upon the road to Lisbon ere I could sufficiently collect my senses to know
whither I was going. Of little else was I conscious; my mind was full to
bursting; and in the confusion of my excited brain, fiction and reality
were so inextricably mingled as to defy every endeavor at discrimination.
But little time had I for reflection. As I reached the city, the brigade to
which I was attached was already under arms, and Mike impatiently waiting
my arrival with the horses.
What a strange spectacle did the road to Oliveira present upon the morning
of the 7th of May! A hurried or incautious observer might, at first sight,
have pronounced the long line of troops which wended their way through
the valley as the remains of a broken and routed army, had not the ardent
expression and bright eye that beamed on every side assured him that men
who looked thus could not be beaten ones. Horse, foot, baggage, artillery,
dismounted dragoons, even the pale and scarcely recovered inhabitants of
the hospital, might have been seen hurrying on; for the order, "Forward!"
had been given at Lisbon, and those whose wounds did not permit their
joining, were more pitied for their loss than its cause. More than one
officer was seen at the head of his troop with an arm in a sling, or a
bandaged forehead; while among the men similar evidences of devotion
were not unfrequent. As for me, long years and many reverses have not
obliterated, scarcely blunted, the impression that sight made on me. The
splendid spectacle of a review had often excited and delighted me, but
here there was the glorious reality of war,--the bronzed faces, the worn
uniforms, the well-tattered flags, the roll of the heavy guns mingling with
the wild pibroch of the Highlander, or scarcely less wild recklessness of
the Irish quick-step; while the long line of cavalry, their helmets and
accoutrements shining in the morning sun, brought back one's boyish dreams
of joust and tournament, and made the heart beat high with chivalrous
"Yes," said I, half aloud, "this is indeed a realization of what I longed
and thirsted for," the clang of the music and the tramp of the cavalry
responding to my throbbing pulses as we moved along.
"Close up, there; trot!" cried out a deep and manly voice; and immediately
a general officer rode by, followed by an aide-de-camp.
"There goes Cotton," said Power. "You may feel easy in your mind now,
Charley; there's some work before us."
"You have not heard our destination?" said I.
"Nothing is known for certain yet. The report goes, that Soult is advancing
upon Oporto; and the chances are, Sir Arthur intends to hasten on to its
relief. Our fellows are at Ovar, with General Murray."
"I say, Charley, old Monsoon is in a devil of a flurry. He expected to have
been peaceably settled down in Lisbon for the next six months, and he has
received orders to set out for Beresford's headquarters immediately; and
from what I hear, they have no idle time."
"Well, Sparks, how goes it, man? Better fun this than the cook's galley,
"Why, do you know, these hurried movements put me out confoundedly. I found
Lisbon very interesting,--the little I could see of it last night."
"Ah, my dear fellow, think of the lovely Andalusian lasses with their brown
transparent skins and liquid eyes. Why, you'd have been over head and ears
in love in twenty-four hours more, had we stayed."
"Are they really so pretty?"
"Pretty! downright lovely, man. Why, they have a way of looking at you,
over their fans,--just one glance, short and fleeting, but so melting,
by Jove--Then their walk,--if it be not profane to call that springing,
elastic gesture by such a name,--why, it's regular witchcraft. Sparks, my
man, I tremble for you. Do you know, by-the-bye, that same pace of theirs
is a devilish hard thing to learn. I never could come it; and yet, somehow,
I was formerly rather a crack fellow at a ballet. Old Alberto used to
select me for a _pas de zéphyr_ among a host; but there's a kind of a hop
and a slide and a spring,--in fact you must have been wearing petticoats
for eighteen years, and have an Andalusian instep and an india-rubber sole
to your foot, or it's no use trying it. How I used to make them laugh at
the old San Josef convent, formerly, by my efforts in the cause!"
"Why, how did it ever occur to you to practise it?"
"Many a man's legs have saved his head, Charley, and I put it to mine to do
a similar office for me."
"True; but I never heard of a man that performed a _pas seul_ before the
"Not exactly; but still you're not very wide of the mark. If you'll only
wait till we reach Pontalegue, I'll tell you the story; not that it's worth
the delay, but talking at this brisk pace I don't admire."
"You leave a detachment here, Captain Power," said an aide-de-camp, riding
hastily up; "and General Cotton requests you will send a subaltern and
two sergeants forward towards Berar to reconnoitre the pass. Franchesca's
cavalry are reported in that quarter." So speaking, he dashed spurs to his
horse, and was out of sight in an instant.
Power, at the same moment, wheeled to the rear, from which he returned in
an instant, accompanied by three well-mounted light dragoons. "Sparks,"
said he, "now for an occasion of distinguishing yourself. You heard the
order, lose no time; and as your horse is an able one, and fresh, lose not
a second, but forward."
No sooner was Sparks despatched on what it was evident he felt to be
anything but a pleasant duty, than I turned towards Power, and said, with
some tinge of disappointment in the tone, "Well, if you really felt there
was anything worth doing there, I flattered myself that--"
"Speak out man. That I should have sent you, eh? Is it not so?"
"Yes, you've hit it."
"Well, Charley, my peace is easily made on this head. Why, I selected
Sparks simply to spare you one of the most unpleasant duties that can be
imposed upon a man; a duty which, let him discharge it to the uttermost,
will never be acknowledged, and the slightest failure in which will be
remembered for many a day against him, besides the pleasant and very
probable prospect of being selected as a bull's eye for a French rifle, or
carried off a prisoner; eh, Charley? There's no glory in that, devil a ray
of it! Come, come, old fellow, Fred Power's not the man to keep his friend
out of the _mêlée_, if only anything can be made by being in it. Poor
Sparks, I'd swear, is as little satisfied with the arrangement as yourself,
if one knew but all."
"I say, Power," said a tall, dashing-looking man of about five-and-forty,
with a Portuguese order on his breast,--"I say, Power, dine with us at the
"With pleasure, if I may bring my young friend here."
"Of course; pray introduce us."
"Major Hixley, Mr. O'Malley,--a 14th man, Hixley."
"Delighted to make your acquaintance, Mr. O'Malley. Knew a famous fellow in
Ireland of your name, a certain Godfrey O'Malley, member for some county or
"My uncle," said I, blushing deeply, with a pleasurable feeling at even
this slight praise of my oldest friend.
"Your uncle! give me your hand. By Jove, his nephew has a right to good
treatment at my hands; he saved my life in the year '98. And how is old
"Quite well, when I left him some months ago; a little gout, now and then."
"To be sure he has, no man deserves it better; but it's a gentlemanlike
gout that merely jogs his memory in the morning of the good wine he has
drank over night. By-the-bye, what became of a friend of his, a devilish
eccentric fellow who held a command in the Austrian service?"
"Oh, Considine, the count?"
"As eccentric as ever; I left him on a visit with my uncle. And Boyle,--did
you know Sir Harry Boyle?"
"To be sure I did; shall I ever forget him, and his capital blunders, that
kept me laughing the whole time I spent in Ireland? I was in the house when
he concluded a panegyric upon a friend, by calling him, 'the father to the
poor, and uncle to Lord Donoughmore'"
"He was the only man who could render by a bull what it was impossible to
convey more correctly," said Power.
"You've heard of his duel with Dick Toler?"
"Never; let's hear it."
"It was a bull from beginning to end. Boyle took it into his head that Dick
was a person with whom he had a serious row in Cork. Dick, on the other
hand, mistook Boyle for old Caples, whom he had been pursuing with
horse-whipping intentions for some months. They met in Kildare Street Club,
and very little colloquy satisfied them that they were right in their
conjectures, each party being so eagerly ready to meet the views of the
other. It never was a difficult matter to find a friend in Dublin; and to
do them justice, Irish seconds, generally speaking, are perfectly free from
any imputation upon the score of mere delay. No men have less impertinent
curiosity as to the cause of the quarrel; wisely supposing that the
principals know their own affairs best, they cautiously abstain from
indulging any prying spirit, but proceed to discharge their functions as
best they may. Accordingly, Sir Harry and Dick were 'set up,' as the phrase
is, at twelve paces, and to use Boyle's own words, for I have heard him
relate the story,--
"We blazed away, sir, for three rounds. I put two in his hat and one in his
neckcloth; his shots went all through the skirt of my coat.
"'We'll spend the day here,' says Considine, 'at this rate. Couldn't you
put them closer?'
"'And give us a little more time in the word,' says I.
"'Exactly,' said Dick.
"Well, they moved us forward two paces, and set to loading the pistols
"By this time we were so near that we had full opportunity to scan each
other's faces. Well, sir, I stared at him, and he at me.
"'What!' said I.
"'Eh!' said he.
"'How's this?' said I.
"'You're not Billy Caples?' said he.
"'Devil a bit!' said I, 'nor I don't think you are Archy Devine;' and
faith, sir, so it appeared, we were fighting away all the morning for
nothing; for, somehow, it turned out _it was neither of us!_"
What amused me most in this anecdote was the hearing it at such a time and
place. That poor Sir Harry's eccentricities should turn up for discussion
on a march in Portugal was singular enough; but after all, life is full of
such incongruous accidents. I remember once supping with King Calzoo on the
Blue Mountains, in Jamaica. By way of entertaining his guests, some English
officers, he ordered one of his suite to sing. We were of course pleased at
the opportunity of hearing an Indian war-chant, with a skull and thigh-bone
accompaniment; but what was our astonishment to hear the Indian,--a
ferocious-looking dog, with an awful scalp-lock, and two streaks of red
paint across his chest,--clear his voice well for a few seconds, and
then begin, without discomposing a muscle of his gravity, "The Laird of
Cockpen!" I need not say that the "Great Raccoon" was a Dumfries man who
had quitted Scotland forty years before, and with characteristic prosperity
had attained his present rank in a foreign service.
"Halt! halt!" cried a deep-toned, manly voice in the leading column, and
the word was repeated from mouth to mouth to the rear.
We dismounted, and picketing our horses beneath the broad-leaved foliage
of the cork-trees, stretched ourselves out at full length upon the grass,
while our messmen prepared the dinner. Our party at first consisted of
Hixley, Power, the adjutant, and myself; but our number was soon increased
by three officers of the 6th Foot, about to join their regiment.
"Barring the ladies, God bless them!" said Power, "there are no such
picnics as campaigning presents. The charms of scenery are greatly enhanced
by their coming unexpectedly on you. Your chance good fortune in the prog
has an interest that no ham-and-cold-chicken affair, prepared by your
servants beforehand, and got ready with a degree of fuss and worry that
converts the whole party into an assembly of cooks, can ever afford; and
lastly, the excitement that this same life of ours is never without, gives
"There you've hit it," cried Hixley; "it's that same feeling of uncertainty
that those who meet now may ever do so again, full as it is of sorrowful
reflection, that still teaches us, as we become inured to war, to economize
our pleasures, and be happy when we may. Your health, O'Malley, and your
uncle Godfrey's too."
"A little more of the pastry."
"What a capital guinea fowl this is!"
"That's some of old Monsoon's particular port."
"Pass it round here. Really this is pleasant."
"My blessing on the man who left that vista yonder! See what a glorious
valley stretches out there, undulating in its richness; and look at those
dark trees, where just one streak of soft sunlight is kissing their tops,
giving them one chaste good-night--"
"Well done, Power!"
"Confound you, you've pulled me short, and I was about becoming downright
pastoral. Apropos of kissing, I understand Sir Arthur won't allow the
convents to be occupied by troops."
"And apropos of convents," said I, "let's hear your story; you promised it
a while ago."
"My dear Charley, it's far too early in the evening for a story. I should
rather indulge my poetic fancies here, under the shade of melancholy
boughs; and besides, I am not half screwed up yet."
"Come, Adjutant, let's have a song."
"I'll sing you a Portuguese serenade when the next bottle comes in. What
capital port! Have you much of it?"
"Only three dozen. We got it late last night; forged an order from the
commanding officer and sent it up to old Monsoon,--'for hospital use.' He
gave it with a tear in his eye, saying, as the sergeant marched away,
'Only think of such wine for fellows that may be in the next world before
morning! It's a downright sin!'"
"I say, Power, there's something going on there."
At this instant the trumpet sounded "boot and saddle," and like one man the
whole mass rose up, when the scene, late so tranquil, became one of excited
bustle and confusion. An aide-de-camp galloped past towards the river,
followed by two orderly sergeants; and the next moment Sparks rode up, his
whole equipment giving evidence of a hurried ride, while his cheek was
deadly pale and haggard.
Power presented to him a goblet of sherry, which, having emptied at a
draught, he drew a long breath, and said, "They are coming,--coming in
"Who are coming?" said Power. "Take time, man, and collect yourself."
"The French! I saw them a devilish deal closer than I liked. They wounded
one of the orderlies and took the other prisoner."
"Forward!" said a hoarse voice in the front. "March! trot!" And before we
could obtain any further information from Sparks, whose faculties seemed to
have received a terrific shock, we were once more in the saddle, and moving
at a brisk pace onward.
Sparks had barely time to tell us that a large body of French cavalry
occupied the pass of Berar, when he was sent for by General Cotton to
finish his report.
"How frightened the fellow is!" said Hixley.
"I don't think the worse of poor Sparks for all that," said Power. "He saw
those fellows for the first time, and no bird's-eye view of them either."
"Then we are in for a skirmish, at least," said I.
"It would appear not, from that," said Hixley, pointing to the head of the
column, which, leaving the high road upon the left, entered the forest by a
deep cleft that opened upon a valley traversed by a broad river.
"That looks very like taking up a position, though," said Power.
"Look,--look down yonder!" cried Hixley, pointing to a dip in the plain
beside the river. "Is there not a cavalry picket there?"
"Right, by Jove! I say, Fitzroy," said Power to an aide-de-camp as he
passed, "what's going on?"
"Soult has carried Oporto," cried he, "and Franchesca's cavalry have
"And who are these fellows in the valley?"
"Our own people coming up."
In less than half an hour's brisk trotting we reached the stream, the banks
of which were occupied by two cavalry regiments advancing to the main army;
and what was my delight to find that one of them was our own corps, the
14th Light Dragoons!
"Hurra!" cried Power, waving his cap as he came up. "How are you,
Sedgewick? Baker, my hearty, how goes it? How is Hampton and the colonel?"
In an instant we were surrounded by our brother officers, who all shook me
cordially by the hand, and welcomed me to the regiment with most gratifying
"One of us," said Power, with a knowing look, as he introduced me; and the
freemasonry of these few words secured me a hearty greeting.
"Halt! halt! Dismount!" sounded again from front to rear; and in a few
minutes we were once more stretched upon the grass, beneath the deep
and mellow moonlight, while the bright stream ran placidly beside us,
reflecting on its calm surface the varied groups as they lounged or sat
around the blazing fires of the bivouac.
When I contrasted the gay and lively tone of the conversation which ran on
around our bivouac fire, with the dry monotony and prosaic tediousness of
my first military dinner at Cork, I felt how much the spirit and adventure
of a soldier's life can impart of chivalrous enthusiasm to even the dullest
and least susceptible. I saw even many who under common circumstances,
would have possessed no interest nor excited any curiosity, but now,
connected as they were with the great events occurring around them,
absolutely became heroes; and it was with a strange, wild throbbing of
excitement I listened to the details of movements and marches, whose
objects I knew not, but in which the magical words, Corunna, Vimeira,
were mixed up, and gave to the circumstances an interest of the highest
character. How proud, too, I felt to be the companion-in-arms of such
fellows! Here they sat, the tried and proved soldiers of a hundred fights,
treating me as their brother and their equal. Who need wonder if I felt
a sense of excited pleasure? Had I needed such a stimulant, that night
beneath the cork-trees had been enough to arouse a passion for the army in
my heart, and an irrepressible determination to seek for a soldier's glory.
"Fourteenth!" called out a voice from the wood behind; and in a moment
after, the aide-de-camp appeared with a mounted orderly.
"Colonel Merivale?" said he, touching his cap to the stalwart, soldier-like
figure before him.
The colonel bowed.
"Sir Stapleton Cotton desires me to request that at an early hour to-morrow
you will occupy the pass, and cover the march of the troops. It is his
wish that all the reinforcements should arrive at Oporto by noon. I need
scarcely add that we expect to be engaged with the enemy."
These few words were spoken hurriedly, and again saluting our party, he
turned his horse's head and continued his way towards the rear.
"There's news for you, Charley," said Power, slapping me on the shoulder.
"Lucy Dashwood or Westminster Abbey!"
"The regiment was never in finer condition, that's certain," said the
colonel, "and most eager for a brush with the enemy."
"How your old friend, the count, would have liked this work!" said Hixley.
"Gallant fellow he was."
"Come," cried Power, "here's a fresh bowl coming. Let's drink the ladies,
wherever they be; we most of us have some soft spot on that score."
"Yes," said the adjutant, singing,--
"Here's to the maiden of blushing fifteen;
Here's to the damsel that's merry;
Here's to the flaunting extravagant quean--"
"And," sang Power, interrupting,--
"Here's to the 'Widow of Derry.'"
"Come, come, Fred, no more quizzing on that score. It's the only thing ever
gives me a distaste to the service,--the souvenir of that adventure. When
I reflect what I might have been, and think what I am; when I contrast a
Brussels carpet with wet grass, silk hangings with a canvas tent, Sneyd's
claret with ration brandy, and Sir Arthur for a Commander-in-Chief _vice_
Boggs, a widow--"
"Stop there!" cried Hixley. "Without disparaging the fair widow, there's
nothing beats campaigning, after all. Eh, Fred?"
"And to prove it," said the colonel, "Power will sing us a song."
Power took his pencil from his pocket, and placing the back of a letter
across his shako, commenced inditing his lyric, saying, as he did so, "I'm
your man in five minutes. Just fill my glass in the mean time."
"That fellow beats Dibdin hollow," whispered the adjutant. "I'll be hanged
if he'll not knock you off a song like lightning."
"I understand," said Hixley, "they have some intention at the Horse Guards
of having all the general orders set to popular tunes, and sung at every
mess in the service. You've heard that, I suppose, Sparks?"
"I confess I had not before."
"It will certainly come very hard upon the subalterns," continued Hixley,
with much gravity. "They'll have to brush up their _sol mi fas_. All the
solos are to be their part."
"What rhymes with slaughter?" said Power.
"Brandy-and-water," said the adjutant.
"Now, then," said Power, "are you all ready?"
"You must chorus, mind; and mark me, take care you give the hip-hip-hurra
well, as that's the whole force of the chant. Take the time from me. Now
for it. Air, 'Garryowen,' with spirit, but not too quick.
"Now that we've pledged each eye of blue,
And every maiden fair and true,
And our green island home,--to you
The ocean's wave adorning,
Let's give one Hip-hip-hip-hnrra!
And, drink e'en to the coming day,
When, squadron square,
We'll all be there,
To meet the French in the morning.
"May his bright laurels never fade,
Who leads our fighting fifth brigade,
Those lads so true in heart and blade,
And famed for danger scorning.
So join me in one Hip-hurra!
And drink e'en to the coming day,
When, squadron square,
We'll all be there,
To meet the French in the morning.
"And when with years and honors crowned,
You sit some homeward hearth around,
And hear no more the stirring sound
That spoke the trumpet's warning,
You'll fill and drink, one Hip-hurra!
And pledge the memory of the day,
When, squadron square,
They all were there,
To meet the French in the morning."
"Gloriously done, Fred!" cried Hixley. "If I ever get my deserts in this
world, I'll make you Laureate to the Forces, with a hogshead of your own
native whiskey for every victory of the army."
"A devilish good chant," said Merivale, "but the air surpasses anything I
ever heard,--thoroughly Irish, I take it."
"Irish! upon my conscience, I believe you!" shouted O'Shaughnessy, with an
energy of voice and manner that created a hearty laugh on all sides. "It's
few people ever mistook it for a Venetian melody. Hand over the punch,--the
sherry, I mean. When I was in the Clare militia, we always went in to
dinner to 'Tatter Jack Walsh,' a sweet air, and had 'Garryowen' for a
quick-step. Ould M'Manus, when he got the regiment, wanted to change: he
said, they were damned vulgar tunes, and wanted to have 'Rule Britannia,'
or the 'Hundredth Psalm;' but we would not stand it; there would have been
a mutiny in the corps."
"The same fellow, wasn't he, that you told the story of, the other evening,
in Lisbon?" said I.
"The same. Well, what a character he was! As pompous and conceited a little
fellow as ever you met with; and then, he was so bullied by his wife, he
always came down to revenge it on the regiment. She was a fine, showy,
vulgar woman, with a most cherishing affection for all the good things in
this life, except her husband, whom she certainly held in due contempt. 'Ye
little crayture,' she'd say to him with a sneer, 'it ill becomes you
to drink and sing, and be making a man of yourself. If you were like
O'Shaughnessy there, six foot three in his stockings--'Well, well, it looks
like boasting; but no matter. Here's her health, anyway."
"I knew you were tender in that quarter," said Power, "I heard it when
quartered in Limerick."
"May be you heard, too, how I paid off Mac, when ho came down on a visit to
"Never: let's hear it now."
"Ay, O'Shaughnessy, now's your time; the fire's a good one, the night fine,
and liquor plenty."
"I'm _convanient_," said O'Shaughnessy, as depositing his enormous legs on
each side of the burning fagots, and placing a bottle between his knees he
began his story:--
"It was a cold rainy night in January, in the year '98, I took my place in
the Limerick mail, to go down for a few days to the west country. As the
waiter of the Hibernian came to the door with a lantern, I just caught a
glimpse of the other insides; none of whom were known to me, except Colonel
M'Manus, that I met once in a boarding-house in Molcsworth Street. I did
not, at the time, think him a very agreeable companion; but when morning
broke, and we began to pay our respects to each other in the coach, I
leaned over, and said, 'I hope you're well, Colonel M'Manus,' just by way
of civility like. He didn't hear me at first; so that I said it again, a
"I wish you saw the look he gave me; he drew himself up to the height of
his cotton umbrella, put his chin inside his cravat, pursed up his dry,
shrivelled lips, and with a voice he meant to be awful, replied:--
"'You appear to have the advantage of me.'
"'Upon my conscience, you're right,' said I, looking down at myself, and
then over at him, at which the other travellers burst out a laughing,--'I
think there's few will dispute that point.' When the laugh was over, I
resumed,--for I was determined not to let him off so easily. 'Sure I met
you at Mrs. Cayle's,' said I; 'and, by the same token, it was a Friday, I
remember it well,--may be you didn't pitch into the salt cod? I hope it
didn't disagree with you?'
"'I beg to repeat, sir, that you are under a mistake,' said he.
"'May be so, indeed,' said I. 'May be you're not Colonel M'Manus at all;
may be you wasn't in a passion for losing seven-and-sixpence at loo with
Mrs. Moriarty; may be you didn't break the lamp in the hall with your
umbrella, pretending you touched it with your head, and wasn't within three
foot of it; may be Counsellor Brady wasn't going to put you in the box of
the Foundling Hospital, if you wouldn't behave quietly in the streets--'
"Well, with this the others laughed so heartily, that I could not go on;
and the next stage the bold colonel got outside with the guard and never
came in till we reached Limerick. I'll never forget his face, as he got
down at Swinburne's Hotel. 'Good-by, Colonel,' said I; but he wouldn't take
the least notice of my politeness, but with a frown of utter defiance, he
turned on his heel and walked away.
"'I haven't done with you yet,' says I; and, faith, I kept my word.
"I hadn't gone ten yards down the street, when I met my old friend Darby
"'Shaugh, my boy,' says he,--he called me that way for shortness,--'dine
with me to-day at Mosey's; a green goose and gooseberries; six to a
"'Who have you?' says I.
"'Tom Keane and the Wallers, a counsellor or two, and one M'Manus, from
"'The same,' said he.
"'I'm there, Darby!' said I; 'but mind, you never saw me before.'
"'What?' said he.
"'You never set eyes on me before; mind that.'
"'I understand,' said Darby, with a wink; and we parted.
"I certainly was never very particular about dressing for dinner, but on
this day I spent a considerable time at my toilet; and when I looked in my
glass at its completion, was well satisfied that I had done myself justice.
A waistcoat of brown rabbit-skin with flaps, a red worsted comforter
round my neck, an old gray shooting-jacket with a brown patch on the arm,
corduroys, and leather gaiters, with a tremendous oak cudgel in my hand,
made me a most presentable figure for a dinner party.
"'Will I do, Darby?' says I, as he came into my room before dinner.
"'If it's for robbing the mail you are,' says he, 'nothing could be better.
Your father wouldn't know you!'
"'Would I be the better of a wig?'
"'Leave your hair alone,' said he. 'It's painting the lily to alter it.'
"'Well, God's will be done,' says I, 'so come now.'
"Well, just as the clock struck six I saw the colonel coming out of his
room, in a suit of most accurate sable, stockings, and pumps. Down-stairs
he went, and I heard the waiter announce him.
"'Now's my time,' thought I, as I followed slowly after.
"When I reached the door I heard several voices within, among which I
recognized some ladies. Darby had not told me about them. 'But no matter,'
said I; 'it's all as well;' so I gave a gentle tap at the door with my
"'Come in,' said Darby.
"I opened the door slowly, and putting in only my head and shoulders took a
cautious look round the room.
"'I beg pardon, gentlemen,' said I, 'but I was only looking for one Colonel
M'Manus, and as he is not here--'
"'Pray walk in, sir,' said O'Grady, with a polite bow. 'Colonel M'Manus
is here. There's no intrusion whatever. I say, Colonel,' said he turning
round, 'a gentleman here desires to--'
"'Never mind it now,' said I, as I stepped cautiously into the room, 'he's
going to dinner; another time will do just as well.'
"'Pray come in!'
"'I could not think of intruding--'
"'I must protest,' said M'Manus, coloring up, 'that I cannot understand
this gentleman's visit.'
"'It is a little affair I have to settle with him,' said I, with a fierce
look that I saw produced its effect.
"'Then perhaps you would do me the very great favor to join him at dinner,'
said O'Grady. 'Any friend of Colonel M'Manus--'
"'You are really too good,' said I; 'but as an utter stranger--'
"'Never think of that for a moment. My friend's friend, as the adage says.'
"'Upon my conscience, a good saying,' said I, 'but you see there's another
difficulty. I've ordered a chop and potatoes up in No. 5.'
"'Let that be no obstacle,' said O'Grady. 'The waiter shall put it in my
bill; if you will only do me the pleasure.'
"'You're a trump,' said I. 'What's your name?'
"'O'Grady, at your service.'
"'Any relation of the counsellor?' said I. 'They're all one family, the
O'Gradys. I'm Mr. O'Shaughnessy, from Ennis; won't you introduce me to the
"While the ceremony of presentation was going on I caught one glance at
M'Manus, and had hard work not to roar out laughing. Such an expression of
surprise, amazement, indignation, rage, and misery never was mixed up in
one face before. Speak he could not; and I saw that, except for myself, he
had neither eyes, ears, nor senses for anything around him. Just at this
moment dinner was announced, and in we went. I never was in such spirits in
my life; the trick upon M'Manus had succeeded perfectly; he believed in his
heart that I had never met O'Grady in my life before, and that upon the
faith of our friendship, I had received my invitation. As for me, I spared
him but little. I kept up a running fire of droll stories, had the ladies
in fits of laughing, made everlasting allusions to the colonel; and, in
a word, ere the soup had disappeared, except himself, the company was
entirely with me.
"'O'Grady,' said I, 'forgive the freedom, but I feel as if we were old
"'As Colonel M'Manus's friend,' said he, 'you can take no liberty here to
which you are not perfectly welcome.'
"'Just what I expected,' said I. 'Mac and I,'--I wish you saw his face when
I called him Mac,--'Mac and I were schoolfellows five-and-thirty years ago;
though he forgets me, I don't forget him,--to be sure it would be hard for
me. I'm just thinking of the day Bishop Oulahan came over to visit the
college. Mac was coming in at the door of the refectory as the bishop was
going out. "Take off your caubeen, you young scoundrel, and kneel down for
his reverence to bless you," said one of the masters, giving his hat a blow
at the same moment that sent it flying to the other end of the room, and
with it, about twenty ripe pears that Mac had just stolen in the orchard,
and had in his hat. I wish you only saw the bishop; and Mac himself, he was
a picture. Well, well, you forget it all now, but I remember it as if it
was only yesterday. Any champagne, Mr. O'Grady? I'm mighty dry.'
"'Of course,' said Darby. 'Waiter, some champagne here.'
[Illustration: THE SALUTATION.]
"'Ah, it's himself was the boy for every kind of fun and devilment, quiet
and demure as he looks over there. Mac, your health. It's not every day of
the week we get champagne.'
"He laid down his knife and fork as I said this; his face and temples grew
deep purple; his eyes started as if they would spring from his head; and he
put both his hands to his forehead, as if trying to assure himself that it
was not some horrid dream.
"'A little slice more of the turkey,' said I, 'and then, O'Grady, I'll try
your hock. It's a wine I'm mighty fond of, and so is Mac there. Oh, it's
seldom, to tell you the truth, it troubles us. There, fill up the glass;
that's it. Here now, Darby,--that's your name, I think,--you'll not think
I'm taking a liberty in giving a toast? Here then, I'll give M'Manus's
health, with all the honors; though it's early yet, to be sure, but we'll
do it again, by-and-by, when the whiskey comes. Here's M'Manus's good