Part 2 out of 6
blackness of that fluid--most appropriately made of the best galls--the
time so spent, and the "letting of words," if I may use the phrase, has
cooled our judgment and our passions together; and the first letter is
torn: 't is _too_ severe; we write a second; we blot and interline
till it is nearly illegible; we begin a third; till at last we are tired
out with our own angry feelings, and throw our scribbling by with a
"Pshaw! what's the use of it?" or, "It's not worth my notice;" or, still
better, arrive at the conclusion, that we preserve our own dignity best by
writing without temper, though we may be called upon to be severe.
Furlong at this time was on his road to Dublin in happy unconsciousness of
Augusta's rage against him, and planning what pretty little present he
should send her specially, for his head was naturally running on such
matters, as he had quantities of commissions to execute in the millinery
line for Mrs. O'Grady, who thought it high time to be getting up Augusta's
wedding-dresses, and Andy was to be despatched the following day to Dublin
to take charge of a cargo of bandboxes back from that city to Neck-or-
Nothing Hall. Furlong had received a thousand charges from the ladies, "to
be sure to lose no time" in doing his devoir in their behalf, and he
obeyed so strictly, and was so active in laying milliners and mercers
under contributions, that Andy was enabled to start the day after his
arrival, sorely against Andy's will, for he would gladly have remained
amidst the beauty and grandeur and wonders of Dublin, which struck him
dumb for the day he was amongst them, but gave him food for conversation
for many a day after. Furlong, after racking his invention about the
souvenir to his "dear Gussy," at length fixed on a fan, as the most
suitable gift; for Gussy had been quizzed at home about "blushing," and
all that sort of thing, and the puerile perceptions of the _attache_
saw something very smart in sending her wherewith "to hide her blushes."
Then the fan was the very pink of fans; it had quivers and arrows upon it,
and bunches of hearts looped up in azure festoons, and doves perched upon
them; though Augusta's little sister, who was too young to know what
hearts and doves were, when she saw them for the first time, said they
were pretty little birds picking at apples. The fan was packed up in a
nice case, and then on scented note paper did the dear dandy indite a bit
of namby-pamby badinage to his fair one, which he thought excessively
"DEAR DUCKY DARLING,--You know how naughty they are in quizzing you about
a little something, _I won't say what,_ you will guess, I dare say--
but I send you a little toy, _I won't say what,_ on which Cupid might
write this label after the doctor's fashion, 'To be used occasionally,
when the patient is much troubled with the symptoms.'
"Ever, ever, ever yours,
"P.S. Take care how you open it."
Such was the note that Handy Andy was given, with particular injunctions
to deliver it the first thing on his arrival at the Hall to Miss Augusta,
and to be sure to take most particular care of the little case; all which
Andy faithfully promised to do. But Andy's usual destiny prevailed, and an
unfortunate exchange of parcels quite upset all Furlong's sweet little
plan of his pretty present and his ingenious note: for as Andy was just
taking his departure, Furlong said he might as well leave something for
him at Reade's, the cutler, as he passed through College Green, and he
handed him a case of razors which wanted setting, which Andy popped into
his pocket, and as the fan case and that of the razors were much of a
size, and both folded up, Andy left the fan at the cutler's and took the
case of razors by way of present to Augusta. Fancy the rage of a young
lady with a very fine pair of _moustachios_ getting such a souvenir
from her lover, with a note, too, every word of which applied to a beard
and a razor, as patly as to a blush and a fan--and this, too, when her
jealousy was aroused and his fidelity more than doubtful in her
Great was the row in Neck-or-Nothing Hall; and when, after three days,
Furlong came down, the nature of his reception may be better imagined than
described. It was a difficult matter, through the storm which raged around
him, to explain all the circumstances satisfactorily, but, by dint of hard
work, the verses were at length disclaimed, the razors disavowed, and Andy
at last sent for to "clear matters up."
Andy was a hopeful subject for such a purpose, and by his blundering
answers nearly set them all by the ears again; the upshot of the affair
was, that Andy, used as he was to good scoldings, never had such a torrent
of abuse poured on him in his life, and the affair ended in Andy being
dismissed from Neck-or-Nothing Hall on the instant; so he relinquished his
greasy livery for his own rags again, and trudged homewards to his
"She'll be as mad as a hatter with me," said Andy; "bad luck to them for
razhirs, they cut me out o' my place: but I often heard cowld steel is
unlucky, and sure I know it now. Oh! but I'm always unfort'nate in having
cruked messages. Well, it can't be helped; and one good thing at all
events is, I'll have time enough now to go and spake to Father Blake;" and
with this sorry piece of satisfaction poor Andy contented himself.
The Father Blake, of whom Andy spoke, was more familiarly known by the
name of Father Phil, by which title Andy himself would have named him, had
he been telling how Father Phil cleared a fair, or equally "leathered"
both the belligerent parties in a faction-fight, or turned out the
contents (or malcontents) of a public-house at an improper hour; but when
he spoke of his Reverence respecting ghostly matters, the importance of
the subject begot higher consideration for the man, and the familiar
"Father Phil" was dropped for the more respectful title of Father Blake.
By either title, or in whatever capacity, the worthy Father had great
influence over his parish, and there was a free-and-easy way with him,
even in doing the most solemn duties, which agreed wonderfully with the
devil-may-care spirit of Paddy. Stiff and starched formality in any way is
repugnant to the very nature of Irishmen; and I believe one of the surest
ways of converting all Ireland from the Romish faith would be found, if we
could only manage to have her mass celebrated with the dry coldness of the
Reformation. This may seem ridiculous at first sight, and I grant it is a
grotesque way of viewing the subject, but yet there may be truth in it;
and to consider it for a moment seriously, look at the fact, that the
north of Ireland is the stronghold of Protestantism, and that the north is
the _least_ Irish portion of the island. There is a strong admixture
of Scotch there, and all who know the country will admit that there is
nearly as much difference between men from the north and south of Ireland
as from different countries. The Northerns retain much of the cold
formality and unbending hardness of the stranger-settlers from whom they
are descended, while the Southerns exhibit that warm-hearted, lively, and
poetical temperament for which the country is celebrated. The prevailing
national characteristics of Ireland are not to be found in the north,
where Protestantism flourishes; they are to be found in the south and
west, where it has never taken root. And though it has never seemed to
strike theologians, that in their very natures some people are more
adapted to receive one faith than another, yet I believe it to be true,
and perhaps not quite unworthy of consideration. There are forms, it is
true, and many in the Romish church, but they are not _cold_ forms,
but _attractive_ rather, to a sensitive people; besides, I believe
those very forms, when observed the least formally, are the most
influential on the Irish; and perhaps the splendours of a High Mass in the
gorgeous temple of the Holy City would appeal less to the affections of an
Irish peasant than the service he witnesses in some half-thatched ruin by
a lone hillside, familiarly hurried through by a priest who has sharpened
his appetite by a mountain ride of some fifteen miles, and is saying mass
(for the third time most likely) before breakfast, which consummation of
his morning's exercise he is anxious to arrive at.
It was just in such a chapel, and under such circumstances, that Father
Blake was celebrating the mass at which Andy was present, and after which
he hoped to obtain a word of advice from the worthy Father, who was much
more sought after on such occasions than his more sedate superior who
presided over the spiritual welfare of the parish--and whose solemn
celebration of the mass was by no means so agreeable as the lighter
service of Father Phil. The Rev. Dominick Dowling was austere and long-
winded; _his_ mass had an oppressive effect on his congregation, and
from the kneeling multitude might be seen eyes fearfully looking up from
under bent brows, and low breathings and subdued groans often rose above
the silence of his congregation, who felt like sinners, and whose
imaginations were filled with the thoughts of Heaven's anger; while the
good-humoured face of the light-hearted Father Phil produced a
corresponding brightness on the looks of his hearers, who turned up their
whole faces in trustfulness to the mercy of that Heaven whose propitiatory
offering their pastor was making for them in cheerful tones, which
associated well with thoughts of pardon and salvation.
Father Dominick poured forth his spiritual influence like a strong dark
stream that swept down the hearer--hopelessly struggling to keep his head
above the torrent, and dreading to be overwhelmed at the next word. Father
Phil's religion bubbled out like a mountain rill--bright, musical, and
refreshing. Father Dominick's people had decidedly need of cork jackets;
Father Phil's might drink and be refreshed.
But with all this intrinsic worth, he was, at the same time, a strange man
in exterior manners; for, with an abundance of real piety, he had an
abruptness of delivery and a strange way of mixing up an occasional remark
to his congregation in the midst of the celebration of the mass, which
might well startle a stranger; but this very want of formality made him
beloved by the people, and they would do ten times as much for Father Phil
as for Father Dominick.
On the Sunday in question, when Andy attended the chapel, Father Phil
intended delivering an address to his flock from the altar, urging them to
the necessity of bestirring themselves in the repairs of the chapel, which
was in a very dilapidated condition, and at one end let in the rain
through its worn-out thatch. A subscription was necessary; and to raise
this among a very impoverished people was no easy matter. The weather
happened to be unfavourable, which was most favourable to Father Phil's
purpose, for the rain dropped its arguments through the roof upon the
kneeling people below in the most convincing manner; and as they
endeavoured to get out of the wet, they pressed round the altar as much as
they could, for which they were reproved very smartly by his Reverence in
the very midst of the mass, and these interruptions occurred sometimes in
the most serious places, producing a ludicrous effect, of which the worthy
Father was quite unconscious in his great anxiety to make the people
repair the chapel.
A big woman was elbowing her way towards the rails of the altar, and
Father Phil, casting a sidelong glance at her, sent her to the right-
about, while he interrupted his appeal to Heaven to address her thus:--
_"Agnus Dei_--you'd better jump over the rails of the althar, I
think. Go along out o' that, there's plenty o' room in the chapel below
Then he would turn to the altar, and proceed with the service, till
turning again to the congregation he perceived some fresh offender.
_"Orate, fratres!_--will you mind what I say to you and go along out
of that? there's room below there. Thrue for you, Mrs. Finn--it's a shame
for him to be thramplin' on you. Go along, Darby Casy, down there, and
kneel in the rain; it's a pity you haven't a dacent woman's cloak undher
you indeed!--_Orate, fratres!_"
Then would the service proceed again, and while he prayed in silence at
the altar, the shuffling of feet edging out of the rain would disturb him,
and casting a backward glance, he would say--
"I hear you there--can't you be quiet and not be disturbin' the mass, you
Again he proceeded in silence, till the crying of a child interrupted him.
He looked round quickly.
"You'd better kill the child, I think, thramplin' on him, Lavery. Go out
o' that--your conduct is scandalous--_Dominus vobiscum!_" Again he
turned to pray, and after some time he made an interval in the service to
address his congregation on the subject of the repairs, and produced a
paper containing the names of subscribers to that pious work who had
already contributed, by way of example to those who had not.
"Here it is," said Father Phil, "here it is, and no denying it--down in
black and white; but if they who give are down in black, how much blacker
are those who have not given at all!--but I hope they will be ashamed of
themselves when I howld up those to honour who have contributed to the
uphowlding of the house of God. And isn't it ashamed o' yourselves you
ought to be, to leave His house in such a condition--and doesn't it rain
a'most every Sunday, as if He wished to remind you of your duty? aren't
you wet to the skin a'most every Sunday? Oh, God is good to you! to put
you in mind of your duty, giving you such bitther cowlds that you are
coughing and sneezin' every Sunday to that degree that you can't hear the
blessed mass for a comfort and a benefit to you; and so you'll go on
sneezin' until you put a good thatch on the place, and prevent the
appearance of the evidence from Heaven against you every Sunday, which is
condemning you before your faces, and behind your backs too, for don't I
see this minit a strame o' wather that might turn a mill running down
Micky Mackavoy's back, between the collar of his coat and his shirt?"
Here a laugh ensued at the expense of Micky Mackavoy, who certainly
_was_ under a very heavy drip from the imperfect roof.
"And is it laughing you are, you haythens?" said Father Phil, reproving
the merriment which he himself had purposely created, _that he might
reprove it_. "Laughing is it you are--at your backslidings and
insensibility to the honour of God--laughing, because when you come here
to be _saved_ you are _lost_ intirely with the wet; and how, I
ask you, are my words of comfort to enter your hearts, when the rain is
pouring down your backs at the same time? Sure I have no chance of turning
your hearts while you are undher rain that might turn a mill--but once put
a good roof on the house, and I will inundate you with piety! Maybe it's
Father Dominick you would like to have coming among you, who would grind
your hearts to powdher with his heavy words." (Here a low murmur of
dissent ran through the throng.) "Ha! ha! so you wouldn't like it, I see.
Very well, very well--take care then, for if I find you insensible to my
moderate reproofs, you hard-hearted haythens--you malefacthors and cruel
persecuthors, that won't put your hands in your pockets, because your mild
and quiet poor fool of a pasthor has no tongue in his head!--I say your
mild, quiet, poor fool of a pasthor (for I know my own faults, partly, God
forgive me!), and I can't spake to you as you deserve, you hard-living
vagabones, that are as insensible to your duties as you are to the
weather. I wish it was sugar or salt you were made of, and then the rain
might melt you if I couldn't: but no--them naked rafthers grin in your
face to no purpose--you chate the house of God; but take care, maybe you
won't chate the divil so aisy"--(here there was a sensation). "Ha! ha!
that makes you open your ears, does it? More shame for you; you ought to
despise that dirty enemy of man, and depend on something betther--but I
see I must call you to a sense of your situation with the bottomless pit
undher you, and no roof over you. Oh dear! dear! dear!--I'm ashamed of
you--troth, if I had time and sthraw enough, I'd rather thatch the place
myself than lose my time talking to you; sure the place is more like a
stable than a chapel. Oh, think of that!--the house of God to be like a
stable!--for though our Redeemer, in his humility, was born in a stable,
that is no reason why you are to keep his house always like one.
"And now I will read you the list of subscribers, and it will make you
ashamed when you hear the names of several good and worthy Protestants in
the parish, and out of it, too, who have given more than the Catholics."
He then proceeded to read the following list, which he interlarded
copiously with observations of his own; making _vivâ voce_ marginal
notes as it were upon the subscribers, which were not unfrequently
answered by the persons so noticed, from the body of the chapel, and
laughter was often the consequence of these rejoinders, which Father Phil
never permitted to pass without a retort. Nor must all this be considered
in the least irreverent. A certain period is allowed between two
particular portions of the mass, when the priest may address his
congregation on any public matter: an approaching pattern, or fair, or the
like; in which, exhortations to propriety of conduct, or warnings against
faction fights, &c., are his themes. Then they only listen in reverence.
But when a subscription for such an object as that already mentioned is
under discussion, the flock consider themselves entitled to "put in a
word" in case of necessity.
This preliminary hint is given to the reader, that he may better enter
into the spirit of Father Phil's
FOR THE REPAIRS AND ENLARGEMENT OF BALLY-SLOUGHGUTPHERY CHAPEL
£ s. d. PHILIP BLAKE, P.P.
Micky Hicky 0 7 6 "He might as well have made ten
shillings: but half a loaf is betther
than no bread."
"Plase your reverence," says
Mick, from the body of the chapel,
"sure seven and six-pence is more
than the half of ten shillings."
"Oh! how witty you are. 'Faith,
if you knew your duty as well as
your arithmetic, it would be betther
for you, Micky."
Here the Father turned the laugh
£ s. d.
Bill Riley 0 3 4 "Of course he means to subscribe
£ s. d.
John Dwyer 0 15 0 "That's something like! I'll
be bound he's only keeping back
the odd five shillings for a brush
full o' paint for the althar; it's as
black as a crow, instead o' being as
white as a dove."
He then hurried over rapidly some
small subscribers as follows:--
Peter Heffernan 0 1 8
James Murphy 0 2 6
Mat Donovan 0 1 3
Luke Dannely 0 3 0
Jack Quigly 0 2 1
Pat Finnegan 0 2 2
Edward O'Connor, Esq. 2 0 0 "There's for you! Edward
O'Connor, Esq., _a Protestant in the
"Long life to him," cried a voice
in the chapel.
"Amen," said Father Phil; "I'm
not ashamed to be clerk to so good
Nicholas Fagan 0 2 6
Young Nicholas Fagan 0 5 0 "Young Nick is better than owld
Nick, you see."
The congregation honoured the
Father's demand on their risibility.
£ s. d.
Tim Doyle 0 7 6
Owny Doyl 1 0 0 "Well done, Owny na Coppal--you
deserve to prosper for you
make good use of your thrivings.
£ s. d.
Simon Leary 0 2 6
Bridget Murphy 0 10 0 "You ought to be ashamed o'
yourself, Simon: a lone widow
woman gives more than you."
Simon answered, "I have a large
family, sir, and she has no childhre."
"That's not her fault," said the
priest--"and maybe she'll mend o'
that yet." This excited much
merriment, for the widow was buxom,
and had recently buried an old
husband, and, by all accounts, was
cocking her cap at a handsome young
fellow in the parish.
£ s. d.
Judy Moylan 0 5 0 Very good, Judy; the women are
behaving like gentlemen; they'll
have their reward in the next world.
Pat Finnerty 0 3 4 "I'm not sure if it is 8s. 4d. or
3s. 4d., for the figure is blotted--
but I believe it is 8s. 4d."
"It was three and four pince
I gave your reverence," said Pat
from the crowd.
"Well, Pat, as I said eight and
four pence you must not let me go
back o' my word, so bring me five
shillings next week."
"Sure you wouldn't have me pay
for a blot, sir?"
"Yes, I would--that's the rule
of back-mannon, you know, Pat.
When I hit the blot, you pay
Here his reverence turned round,
as if looking for some one, and
called out, "Rafferty! Rafferty!
Rafferty! Where are you, Rafferty?"
An old grey-headed man appeared,
bearing a large plate, and Father
"There now, be active--I'm
sending him among you, good people,
and such as cannot give as
much as you would like to be read
before your neighbours, give what
little you can towards the repairs,
and I will continue to read out the
names by way of encouragement to
you, and the next name I see is
that of Squire Egan. Long life to
£ s. d.
Squire Egan 5 0 0 "Squire Egan--five pounds--
listen to that--five pounds--a
Protestant in the parish--five
pounds! 'Faith, the Protestants will
make you ashamed of yourselves, if
we don't take care.
£ s. d.
Mrs. Flanagan 2 0 0 "Not her own parish, either--a
£ s. d.
of Roundtown 1 0 0 "And here I must remark that
the people of Roundtown have not
been backward in coming forward
on this occasion. I have a long list
from Roundtown--I will read it
separate." He then proceeded at a
great pace, jumbling the town and
the pounds and the people in a most
extraordinary manner: "James
Milligan of Roundtown, one pound;
Darby Daly of Roundtown, one
pound; Sam Finnigan of Roundtown,
one pound; James Casey of
Roundpound, one town; Kit Dwyer
of Townpound, one round--pound
I mane; Pat Roundpound--Pounden,
I mane--Pat Pounden a pound
of Poundtown also--there's an
example for you!--but what are you
about, Rafferty? _I don't like the
sound of that plate of yours_;--
you are not a good gleaner--go up
first into the gallery there, where I
see so many good-looking bonnets--I
suppose they will give something to
keep their bonnets out of the rain,
for the wet will be into the gallery
next Sunday if they don't. I think
that is Kitty Crow I see, getting her
bit of silver ready; them ribbons of
yours cost a trifle, Kitty. Well,
good Christians, here is more of the
subscription for you.
£ s. d.
Matthew Lavery 0 2 6 "_He_ doesn't belong to
Roundtown--Roundtown will be renowned
in future ages for the support
of the Church. Mark my
words--Roundtown will prosper
from this day out--Roundtown
will be a rising place.
Mark Hennessy 0 2 6
Luke Clancy 0 2 6
John Doolin 0 2 6 "One would think they all agreed
only to give two and sixpence apiece.
And they comfortable men, too!
And look at their names--Matthew,
Mark, Luke, and John, the
names of the Blessed Evangelists,
and only ten shillings among them!
Oh, they are apostles not worthy of
the name--we'll call them the _Poor
Apostles_ from this out" (here a
low laugh ran through the chapel)--
"Do you hear that, Matthew, Mark,
Luke, and John? 'Faith! I can tell
you that name will stick to you.'"
(Here the laugh was louder.)
A voice, when the laugh subsided,
exclaimed, "I'll make it ten
shillin's, your reverence."
"Who's that?" said Father Phil.
"Hennessy, your reverence."
"Very well, Mark. I suppose
Matthew, Luke, and John will follow
"We will, your reverence."
"Ah! I thought you made a mistake;
we'll call you now the _Faithful
Apostles_--and I think the change
in the name is better than seven
and sixpence apiece to you.
"I see you in the gallery there,
Rafferty. What do you pass that
well-dressed woman for?--thry back
--ha!--see that--she had her money
ready if you only asked for it--don't
go by that other woman
there--oh, oh!--So you won't give
anything, ma'am. You ought to be
ashamed of yourself. There is a
woman with an elegant sthraw bonnet,
and she won't give a farthing.
Well now--afther that--remember--I
give it from the althar, that
_from this day out sthraw bonnets
pay fi'penny pieces._
£ s. d.
Thomas Durfy, Esq. 1 0 0 "It's not his parish and he's a
£ s. d.
Miss Fanny Dawson 1 0 0 "_A Protestant out of the parish_,
and a sweet young lady, God bless
her! Oh, 'faith, the Protestants is
£ s. d.
Dennis Fannin 0 7 6 "Very good, indeed, for a working
Jemmy Riley 0 5 0 "Not bad for a hedge-carpenther."
"I gave you ten, plaze, your reverence," shouted Jemmy, "and by the same
token, you may remember it was on the Nativity of the Blessed Vargin, sir,
I gave you the second five shillin's."
"So you did, Jemmy," cried Father Phil--"I put a little cross before it,
to remind me of it; but I was in a hurry to make a sick call when you gave
it to me, and forgot it after: and indeed myself doesn't know what I did
with that same five shillings."
Here a pallid woman, who was kneeling near the rails of the altar, uttered
an impassioned blessing, and exclaimed, "Oh, that was the very five
shillings, I'm sure, you gave to me that very day, to buy some little
comforts for my poor husband, who was dying in the fever!"--and the poor
woman burst into loud sobs as she spoke.
A deep thrill of emotion ran through the flock as this accidental proof of
their poor pastor's beneficence burst upon them; and as an affectionate
murmur began to rise above the silence which that emotion produced, the
burly Father Philip blushed like a girl at this publication of his
charity, and even at the foot of that altar where he stood, felt something
like shame in being discovered in the commission of that virtue so highly
commended by the Holy One to whose worship the altar was raised. He
uttered a hasty "Whisht--whisht!" and waved with his outstretched hands
his flock into silence.
In an instant one of those sudden changes common to an Irish assembly, and
scarcely credible to a stranger, took place. The multitude was hushed--the
grotesque of the subscription list had passed away and was forgotten, and
that same man and that same multitude stood in altered relations--
_they_ were again a reverent flock, and _he_ once more a solemn
pastor; the natural play of his nation's mirthful sarcasm was absorbed in
a moment in the sacredness of his office; and with a solemnity befitting
the highest occasion, he placed his hands together before his breast, and
raising his eyes to Heaven he poured forth his sweet voice, with a tone of
the deepest devotion, in that reverential call to prayer, "_Orate_,
The sound of a multitude gently kneeling down followed, like the soft
breaking of a quiet sea on a sandy beach; and when Father Philip turned to
the altar to pray, his pent-up feelings found vent in tears; and while he
prayed, he wept.
I believe such scenes as this are not of unfrequent occurrence in Ireland;
that country so long-suffering, so much maligned, and so little
Suppose the foregoing scene to have been only described antecedent to the
woman in the outbreak of her gratitude revealing the priest's charity,
from which he recoiled,--suppose the mirthfulness of the incidents arising
from reading the subscription-list--a mirthfulness bordering on the
ludicrous--to have been recorded, and nothing more, a stranger would be
inclined to believe, and pardonable in the belief, that the Irish and
their priesthood were rather prone to be irreverent; but observe, under
this exterior, the deep sources of feeling that lie hidden and wait but
the wand of divination to be revealed. In a thousand similar ways are the
actions and the motives of the Irish understood by those who are careless
of them; or worse, misrepresented by those whose interest, and too often
_business_, it is to malign them.
Father Phil could proceed no further with the reading of the subscription-
list, but finished the office of the mass with unusual solemnity. But if
the incident just recorded abridged his address, and the publication of
donors' names by way of stimulus to the less active, it produced a great
effect on those who had but smaller donations to drop into the plate; and
the grey-headed collector, who could have numbered the scanty coin before
the bereaved widow had revealed the pastor's charity, had to struggle his
way afterwards through the eagerly outstretched hands that showered their
hard-earned pence upon the plate, which was borne back to the altar heaped
with contributions, heaped as it had not been seen for many a day. The
studied excitement of their pride and their shame--and both are active
agents in the Irish nature--was less successful than the accidental appeal
to their affections.
Oh! rulers of Ireland, why have you not sooner learned to _lead_ that
people by love, whom all your severity has been unable to _drive_?
[Footnote: When this passage was written Ireland was disturbed (as she has
too often been) by special parliamentary provocation:--the vexatious
vigilance of legislative lynxes--the peevishness of paltry persecutors.]
When the mass was over, Andy waited at the door of the chapel to catch
"his riverence" coming out, and obtain his advice about what he overheard
from Larry Hogan; and Father Phil was accordingly accosted by Andy just as
he was going to get into his saddle to ride over to breakfast with one of
the neighbouring farmers, who was holding the priest's stirrup at the
moment. The extreme urgency of Andy's manner, as he pressed up to the
pastor's side, made the latter pause and inquire what he wanted. "I want
to get some advice from your riverence," said Andy.
"'Faith, then, the advice I give you is never to stop a hungry man when he
is going to refresh himself," said Father Phil, who had quite recovered
his usual cheerfulness, and threw his leg over his little grey hack as he
spoke. "How could you be so unreasonable as to expect me to stop here
listening to your case, and giving you advice indeed, when I have said
three masses [Footnote: The office of the mass must be performed fasting.]
this morning, and rode three miles; how could you be so unreasonable, I
"I ax your riverence's pardon," said Andy; "I wouldn't have taken the
liberty, only the thing is mighty particular intirely."
"Well, I tell you again, never ask a hungry man advice; for he is likely
to cut his advice on the patthern of his stomach, and it's empty advice
you'll get. Did you never hear that a 'hungry stomach has no ears'?"
The farmer who was to have the honour of the priest's company to breakfast
exhibited rather more impatience than the good-humoured Father Phil, and
reproved Andy for his conduct.
"But it's so particular," said Andy.
"I wondher you would dar' to stop his riverence, and he black fastin'. Go
'long wid you!"
"Come over to my house in the course of the week, and speak to me," said
Father Phil, riding away.
Andy still persevered, and taking advantage of the absence of the farmer,
who was mounting his own nag at the moment, said the matter of which he
wished to speak involved the interests of Squire Egan, or he would not
"make so bowld."
This altered the matter; and Father Phil desired Andy to follow him to the
farm-house of John Dwyer, where he would speak to him after he had
John Dwyer's house was a scene of activity that day, for not only was the
priest to breakfast there--always an affair of honour--but a grand dinner
was also preparing on a large scale; for a wedding-feast was to be held in
the house, in honour of Matty Dwyer's nuptials, which were to be
celebrated that day with a neighbouring young farmer, rather well to do in
the world. The match had been on and off for some time, for John Dwyer was
what is commonly called a "close-fisted fellow," and his would-be son-in-
law could not bring him to what he considered proper terms, and though
Matty liked young Casey, and he was fond of her, they both agreed not to
let old Jack Dwyer have the best of the bargain in portioning off his
daughter, who, having a spice of her father in her, was just as fond of
_number one_ as old Jack himself. And here it is worthy of remark,
that, though the Irish are so prone in general to early and improvident
marriages, no people are closer in their nuptial barter, when they are in
a condition to make marriage a profitable contract. Repeated meetings
between the elders of families take place, and acute arguments ensue,
properly to equalise the worldly goods to be given on both sides. Pots and
pans are balanced against pails and churns, cows against horses, a slip of
bog against a gravel-pit, or a patch of meadow against a bit of a quarry;
a little lime-kiln sometimes burns stronger than the flame of Cupid--the
doves of Venus herself are but crows in comparison with a good flock of
geese--and a love-sick sigh less touching than the healthy grunt of a good
pig; indeed, the last-named gentleman is a most useful agent in this
traffic, for when matters are nearly poised, the balance is often adjusted
by a grunter or two thrown into either scale. While matters are thus in a
state of debate, quarrels sometimes occur between the lovers the
gentleman's caution sometimes takes alarm, and more frequently the lady's
pride is aroused at the too obvious preference given to worldly gain over
heavenly beauty; Cupid shies at Mammon, and Hymen is upset and left in the
I remember hearing of an instance of this nature, when the lady gave her
_ci-devant_ lover an ingenious reproof, after they had been separated
some time, when a marriage-bargain was broken off, because the lover could
not obtain from the girl's father a certain brown filly as part of her
dowry. The damsel, after the lapse of some weeks, met her swain at a
neighbouring fair, and the flame of love still smouldering in his heart
was re-illumined by the sight of his charmer, who, on the contrary, had
become quite disgusted with _him_ for his too obvious preference of
profit to true affection. He addressed her softly in a tent, and asked her
to dance, but was most astonished at her returning him a look of vacant
wonder, which tacitly implied, _"Who are you?"_ as plain as looks
"Arrah, Mary," exclaimed the youth.
"Sir!!!"--answered Mary, with what heroines call "ineffable disdain."
"Why one would think you didn't know me!"
"If I ever had the honour of your acquaintance, sir," answered Mary, "I
forget you entirely."
"Forget me, Mary?--arrah be aisy--is it forget the man that was courtin'
and in love with you?"
"You're under a mistake, young man," said Mary, with a curl of her rosy
lip, which displayed the pearly teeth to whose beauty her woman's nature
rejoiced that the recreant lover was not yet insensible--"You're under a
mistake, young man," and her heightened colour made her eye flash more
brightly as she spoke--"you're quite under a mistake--no one was ever in
love with _me_;" and she laid signal emphasis on the word. "There was
a dirty mane blackguard, indeed, once _in love with my father's brown
filly,_ but I forget him intirely."
Mary tossed her head proudly as she spoke, and her filly-fancying admirer,
reeling under the reproof she inflicted, sneaked from the tent, while Mary
stood up and danced with a more open-hearted lover, whose earnest eye
could see more charms in one lovely woman than all the horses of Arabia.
But no such result as this was likely to take place in Matty Dwyer's case;
she and her lover agreed with one another on the settlement to be made,
and old Jack was not to be allowed an inch over what was considered an
even bargain. At length all matters were agreed upon, the wedding-day
fixed, and the guests invited; yet still both parties were not satisfied,
but young Casey thought he should be put into absolute possession of a
certain little farm and cottage, and have the lease looked over to see all
was right (for Jack Dwyer was considered rather slippery), while old Jack
thought it time enough to give him possession and the lease and his
However, matters had gone so far that, as the reader has seen, the
wedding-feast was prepared, the guests invited, and Father Phil on the
spot to help James and Matty (in the facetious parlance of Paddy) to "tie
with their tongues what they could not undo with their teeth."
When the priest had done breakfast, the arrival of Andy was announced to
him, and Andy was admitted to a private audience with Father Phil, the
particulars of which must not be disclosed; for in short, Andy made a
regular confession before the Father, and, we know, confessions must be
held sacred; but we may say that Andy confided the whole post-office
affair to the pastor--told him how Larry Hogan had contrived to worm that
affair out of him, and by his devilish artifice had, as Andy feared,
contrived to implicate Squire Egan in the transaction, and, by threatening
a disclosure, got the worthy Squire into his villanous power. Andy, under
the solemn queries of the priest, positively denied having said one word
to Hogan to criminate the Squire, and that Hogan could only infer the
Squire's guilt; upon which Father Phil, having perfectly satisfied
himself, told Andy to make his mind easy, for that he would secure the
Squire from any harm, and he moreover praised Andy for the fidelity he
displayed to the interests of his old master, and declared he was so
pleased with him, that he would desire Jack Dwyer to ask him to dinner.
"And that will be no blind nut, let me tell you," said Father Phil--"a
wedding dinner, you lucky dog--'lashings [Footnote: Overflowing abundance,
and plenty left after.] and lavings,' and no end of dancing afther!"
Andy was accordingly bidden to the bridal feast, to which the guests began
already to gather thick and fast. They strolled about the field before the
house, basked in groups in the sunshine, or lay in the shade under the
hedges, where hints of future marriages were given to many a pretty girl,
and to nudges and pinches were returned small screams suggestive of
additional assault--and inviting denials of "Indeed I won't," and that
crowning provocative to riotous conduct, "Behave yourself."
In the meantime, the barn was laid out with long planks, supported on
barrels or big stones, which planks, when covered with clean cloths, made
a goodly board, that soon began to be covered with ample wooden dishes of
corned beef, roasted geese, boiled chickens and bacon, and intermediate
stacks of cabbage and huge bowls of potatoes, all sending up their wreaths
of smoke to the rafters of the barn, soon to become hotter from the crowd
of guests, who, when the word was given, rushed to the onslaught with
right good will.
The dinner was later than the hour named, and the delay arose from the
absence of one who, of all others, ought to have been present, namely, the
bridegroom. But James Casey was missing, and Jack Dwyer had been closeted
from time to time with several long-headed greybeards, canvassing the
occurrence, and wondering at the default on the bridegroom's part. The
person who might have been supposed to bear this default the worst
supported it better than any one. Matty was all life and spirits, and
helped in making the feast ready, as if nothing wrong had happened; and
she backed Father Phil's argument to sit down to dinner at once;--"that if
James Casey was not there, that was no reason dinner should be spoiled,
he'd be there soon enough; besides, if he didn't arrive in time, it was
better he should have good meat cold, than everybody have hot meat
spoiled: the ducks would be done to cindhers, the beef boiled to rags, and
the chickens be all in jommethry."
So down they sat to dinner: its heat, its mirth, its clatter, and its good
cheer we will not attempt to describe; suffice it to say, the viands were
good, the guests hungry, and the drink unexceptionable; and Father Phil,
no bad judge of such matters, declared he never pronounced grace over a
better spread. But still, in the midst of the good cheer, neighbours (the
women particularly) would suggest to each other the "wondher" where the
bridegroom could be; and even within ear-shot of the bride elect, the
low-voiced whisper ran, of "Where in the world is James Casey?"
Still the bride kept up her smiles, and cheerfully returned the healths
that were drunk to her; but old Jack was not unmoved; a cloud hung on his
brow, which grew darker and darker as the hour advanced, and the
bridegroom yet tarried. The board was cleared of the eatables, and the
copious jugs of punch going their round; but the usual toast of the united
healths of the happy pair could not be given, for one of them was absent.
Father Phil hardly knew what to do; for even his overflowing cheerfulness
began to forsake him, and a certain air of embarrassment began to pervade
the whole assembly, till Jack Dwyer could bear it no longer, and, standing
up, he thus addressed the company:--
"Friends and neighbours, you see the disgrace that's put on me and my
A murmur of "No, no!" ran round the board.
"I say, yis."
"He'll come yet, sir," said a voice.
"No, he won't," said Jack, "I see he won't--I know he won't. He wanted to
have everything all his own way, and he thinks to disgrace me in doing
what he likes, but he shan't"; and he struck the table fiercely as he
spoke; for Jack, when once his blood was up, was a man of desperate
determination. "He's a greedy chap, the same James Casey, and he loves his
bargain betther than he loves you, Matty, so don't look glum about what
I'm saying: I say he's greedy: he's just the fellow that, if you gave him
the roof off your house, would ax you for the rails before your door; and
he goes back of his bargain now, bekase I would not let him have it all
his own way, and puts the disgrace on me, thinkin' I'll give in to him,
through that same; but I won't. And I tell you what it is, friends and
neighbours; here's the lease of the three-cornered field below there," and
he held up a parchment as he spoke, "and a snug cottage on it, and it's
all ready for the girl to walk into with the man that will have her; and
if there's a man among you here that's willing, let him say the word now,
and I'll give her to him!"
The girl could not resist an exclamation of surprise, which her father
hushed by a word and look so peremptory, that she saw remonstrance was in
vain, and a silence of some moments ensued; for it was rather startling,
this immediate offer of a girl who had been so strangely slighted, and the
men were not quite prepared to make advances, until they knew something
more of the why and wherefore of her sweetheart's desertion.
"Are yiz all dumb?" exclaimed Jack, in surprise. "Faix, it's not every day
a snug little field and cottage and a good-looking girl falls in a man's
way. I say again, I'll give her and the lase to the man that will say the
Still no one spoke, and Andy began to think they were using Jack Dwyer and
his daughter very ill, but what business had _he_ to think of
offering himself, "a poor devil like him"? But, the silence still
continuing, Andy took heart of grace; and as the profit and pleasure of a
snug match and a handsome wife flushed upon him, he got up and said,
"Would I do, sir?"
Every one was taken by surprise, even old Jack himself; and Matty could
not suppress a faint exclamation, which every one but Andy understood to
mean "she didn't like it at all," but which Andy interpreted quite the
other way, and he grinned his loutish admiration of Matty, who turned away
her head from him in sheer distaste, which action Andy took for mere
Jack was in a dilemma, for Andy was just the last man he would have chosen
as a husband for his daughter; but what could he do? he was taken at his
word, and even at the worst he was determined that some one should marry
the girl out of hand, and show Casey the "disgrace should not be put on
him"; but, anxious to have another chance, he stammered something about
the fairness of "letting the girl choose," and that "some one else might
wish to spake"; but the end of all was, that no one rose to rival Andy,
and Father Phil bore witness to the satisfaction he had that day in
finding so much uprightness and fidelity in "the boy"; that he had raised
his character much in his estimation by his conduct that day; and if he
was a little giddy betimes, there was nothing like a wife to steady him;
and if he was rather poor, sure Jack Dwyer could mend that.
"Then come up here," says Jack; and Andy left his place at the very end of
the board and marched up to the head, amidst clapping of hands and
thumping of the table, and laughing and shouting.
"Silence!" cried Father Phil, "this is no laughing matther, but a serious
engagement--and, John Dwyer, I tell you--and you Andy Rooney, that girl
must not be married against her own free-will; but if she has no
objection, well and good."
"My will is her pleasure, I know," said Jack, resolutely.
To the surprise of every one, Matty said, "Oh, I'll take the boy with all
Handy Andy threw his arms round her neck and gave her a most vigorous
salute which came smacking off, and thereupon arose a hilarious shout
which made the old rafters of the barn ring again.
"There's the lase for you," said Jack, handing the parchment to Andy, who
was now installed in the place of honour beside the bride elect at the
head of the table, and the punch circulated rapidly in filling to the
double toast of health, happiness, and prosperity to the "happy pair"; and
after some few more circuits of the enlivening liquor had been performed,
the women retired to the dwelling-house, whose sanded parlour was put in
immediate readiness for the celebration of the nuptial knot between Matty
and the adventurous Andy.
In half an hour the ceremony was performed, and the rites and blessings of
the Church dispensed between two people, who, an hour before, had never
looked on each other with thoughts of matrimony.
Under such circumstances it was wonderful with what lightness of spirit
Matty went through the honours consequent on a peasant bridal in Ireland:
these, it is needless to detail; our limits would not permit; but suffice
it to say, that a rattling country-dance was led off by Andy and Matty in
the barn, intermediate jigs were indulged in by the "picked dancers" of
the parish, while the country dancers were resting and making love (if
making love can be called rest) in the corners, and that the pipers and
punch-makers had quite enough to do until the night was far spent, and it
was considered time for the bride and bridegroom to be escorted by a
chosen party of friends to the little cottage which was to be their future
home. The pipers stood at the threshold of Jack Dwyer, and his daughter
departed from under the "roof-tree" to the tune of "Joy be with you"; and
then the lilters, heading the body-guard of the bride, plied drone and
chanter right merrily until she had entered her new home, thanked her old
friends (who did all the established civilities, and cracked all the usual
jokes attendant on the occasion); and Andy bolted the door of the snug
cottage of which he had so suddenly become master, and placed a seat for
the bride beside the fire, requesting _"Miss Dwyer"_ to sit down--for
Andy could not bring himself to call her "Matty" yet--and found himself in
an awkward position in being "lord and master" of a girl he considered so
far above him a few hours before; Matty sat quiet, and looked at the fire.
"It's very quare, isn't it?" says Andy with a grin, looking at her
tenderly, and twiddling his thumbs.
"What's quare?" inquired Matty, very drily.
"The estate," responded Andy.
"What estate?" asked Matty.
"Your estate and my estate," said Andy.
"Sure you don't call the three-cornered field my father gave us an estate,
you fool?" answered Matty.
"Oh no," said Andy. "I mane the blessed and holy estate of matrimony the
priest put us in possession of;" and Andy drew a stool near the heiress,
on the strength of the hit he thought he had made.
"Sit at the other side of the fire," said Matty, very coldly.
"Yes, miss," responded Andy, very respectfully; and in shoving his seat
backwards the legs of the stool caught in the earthen floor, and Andy
tumbled heels over head.
Matty laughed while Andy was picking himself up with increased confusion
at this mishap; for even amidst rustics there is nothing more humiliating
than a lover placing himself in a ridiculous position at the moment he is
doing his best to make himself agreeable.
"It is well your coat's not new," said Matty, with a contemptuous look at
Handy's weather-beaten vestment.
"I hope I'll soon have a betther," said Andy, a little piqued, with all
his reverence for the heiress, at this allusion to his poverty. "But sure
it wasn't the coat you married, but the man that's in it; and sure I'll
take off my clothes as soon as you please, Matty, my dear--Miss Dwyer, I
mane--I beg your pardon."
"You had better wait till you get better," answered Matty, very drily.
"You know the old saying, 'Don't throw out your dirty wather until you get
"Ah, darlin', don't be cruel to me!" said Andy, in a supplicating tone. "I
know I'm not desarvin' of you, but sure I did not make so bowld as to make
up to you until I seen that nobody else would have you."
"Nobody else have me!" exclaimed Matty, as her eyes flashed with anger.
"I beg your pardon, miss," said poor Andy, who in the extremity of his own
humility had committed such an offence against Matty's pride. "I only
"Say no more about it," said Matty, who recovered her equanimity. "Didn't
my father give you the lase of the field and house?"
"You had better let me keep it then; 'twill be safer with me than you."
"Sartainly," said Andy, who drew the lease from his pocket and handed it
to her, and--as he was near to her--he attempted a little familiarity,
which Matty repelled very unequivocally.
"Arrah! is it jokes you are crackin'?" said Andy, with a grin, advancing
to renew his fondling.
"I tell you what it is," said Matty, jumping up, "I'll crack your head if
you don't behave yourself!" and she seized the stool on which she had been
sitting, and brandished it in a very amazonian fashion.
"Oh, wirra! wirra!" said Andy, in amaze--"aren't you my wife?"
"_Your_ wife!" retorted Matty, with a very devil in her eye--
"_Your_ wife, indeed, you great _omadhaun_; why, then, had you
the brass to think I'd put up with _you_?"
"Arrah, then, why did you marry me?" said Andy, in a pitiful argumentative
"Why did I marry you?" retorted Matty--"Didn't I know betther than refuse
you, when my father said the word _when the divil was busy with him_?
Why did I marry you?--it's a pity I didn't refuse, and be murthered that
night, maybe, as soon as the people's backs was turned. Oh, it's little
you know of owld Jack Dwyer, or you wouldn't ask me that; but, though I'm
afraid of him, I'm not afraid of you--so stand off I tell you."
"Oh, Blessed Virgin!" cried Andy; "and what will be the end of it?"
There was a tapping at the door as he spoke.
"You'll soon see what will be the end of it," said Matty, as she walked
across the cabin and opened to the knock.
James Casey entered and clasped Matty in his arms; and half a dozen
athletic fellows and one old and debauched-looking man followed, and the
door was immediately closed after their entry.
Andy stood in amazement while Casey and Matty caressed each other; and the
old man said in a voice tremulous with intoxication, "A very pretty filly,
"I lost no time the minute I got your message, Matty," said Casey, "and
here's the Father ready to join us."
"Ay, ay," cackled the old reprobate--"hammer and tongs!--strike while the
iron's hot!--I'm the boy for a short job"; and he pulled a greasy book
from his pocket as he spoke.
This was a degraded clergyman, known in Ireland under the title of
"Couple-Beggar," who is ready to perform irregular marriages on such
urgent occasions as the present; and Matty had contrived to inform James
Casey of the desperate turn affairs had taken at home, and recommended him
to adopt the present plan, and so defeat the violent measure of her father
by one still more so.
A scene of uproar now ensued, for Andy did not take matters quietly, but
made a pretty considerable row, which was speedily quelled, however, by
Casey's bodyguard, who tied Andy neck and heels, and in that helpless
state he witnessed the marriage ceremony performed by the "couple-beggar,"
between Casey and the girl he had looked upon as his own five minutes
In vain did he raise his voice against the proceeding; the "couple-beggar"
smothered his objections in ribald jests.
"You can't take her from me, I tell you," cried Andy.
"No; but we can take you from her," said the "couple-beggar"; and, at the
words, Casey's friends dragged Andy from the cottage, bidding a rollicking
adieu to their triumphant companion, who bolted the door after them and
became possessor of the wife and property poor Andy thought he had
To guard against an immediate alarm being given, Andy was warned on pain
of death to be silent as his captors bore him along, and he took them to
be too much men of their word to doubt they would keep their promise. They
bore him through a lonely by-lane for some time, and on arriving at the
stump of an old tree, bound him securely to it, and left him to pass his
wedding-night in the tight embraces of hemp.
The news of Andy's wedding, so strange in itself, and being celebrated
before so many, spread over the country like wildfire, and made the talk
of half the barony for the next day, and the question, "_Arrah, did you
hear of the wondherful wedding?_" was asked in high-road and by-road,--
and scarcely a _boreen_ whose hedges had not borne witness to this
startling matrimonial intelligence. The story, like all other stories, of
course got twisted into various strange shapes, and fanciful exaggerations
became grafted on the original stem, sufficiently grotesque in itself; and
one of the versions set forth how old Jack Dwyer, the more to vex Casey,
had given his daughter the greatest fortune that ever had been heard of in
Now one of the open-eared people who had caught hold of the story by this
end happened to meet Andy's mother, and, with a congratulatory grin, began
with "The top o' the mornin' to you, Mrs. Rooney, and sure I wish you
"Och hone, and for why, dear?" answered Mrs. Rooney, "sure, it's nothin'
but trouble and care I have, poor and in want, like me."
"But sure you'll never be in want any more."
"Arrah, who towld you so, agra?"
"Sure the boy will take care of you now, won't he?"
"Andy!" replied his mother, in amazement. "Andy, indeed!--out o' place,
and without a bawbee to bless himself with!--stayin' out all night, the
"By this and that, I don't think you know a word about it," cried the
friend, whose turn it was for wonder now.
"Don't I, indeed?" said Mrs. Rooney, huffed at having her word doubted, as
she thought. "I tell you he never _was_ at home last night, and maybe
it's yourself was helping him, Micky Lavery, to keep his bad coorses--the
slingein' dirty blackguard that he is."
Micky Lavery set up a shout of laughter, which increased the ire of Mrs.
Rooney, who would have passed on in dignified silence but that Micky held
her fast, and when he recovered breath enough to speak, he proceeded to
tell her about Andy's marriage, but in such a disjointed way, that it was
some time before Mrs. Rooney could comprehend him--for his interjectional
laughter at the capital joke it was, that she should be the last to know
it, and that he should have the luck to tell it, sometimes broke the
thread of his story--and then his collateral observations so disfigured
the tale, that its incomprehensibility became very much increased, until
at last Mrs. Rooney was driven to push him by direct questions.
"For the tendher mercy, Micky Lavery, make me sinsible, and don't
disthract me--is the boy married?"
"Yis, I tell you."
"To Jack Dwyer's daughter?"
"And gev him a fort'n'?"
"Gev him half his property, I tell you, and he'll have all when the owld
"Oh, more power to you, Andy!" cried his mother in delight: "it's you that
_is_ the boy, and the best child that ever was! Half his property,
you tell me, _Misther_ Lavery?" added she, getting distant and polite
the moment she found herself mother to a rich man, and curtailing her
familiarity with a poor one like Lavery.
"Yes, _ma'am_," said Lavery, touching his hat, "and the whole of it
when the owld man dies."
"Then indeed I wish him a happy relase!" [Footnote: A "happy release" is
the Irish phrase for departing this life] said Mrs. Rooney, piously--"not
that I owe the man any spite--but sure he'd be no loss--and it's a good
wish to any one, sure, to wish them in heaven. Good mornin', Misther
Lavery," said Mrs. Rooney, with a patronising smile, and "going the road
with a dignified air."
Mick Lavery looked after her with mingled wonder and indignation. "Bad
luck to you, you owld sthrap!" he muttered between his teeth. "How
consaited you are, all of a sudden--by Jakers, I'm sorry I towld you--cock
you up, indeed--put a beggar on horseback to be sure--humph!--the devil
cut the tongue out o' me if ever I give any one good news again. I've a
mind to turn back and tell Tim Dooling his horse is in the pound."
Mrs. Rooney continued her dignified pace as long as she was in sight of
Lavery, but the moment an angle of the road screened her from his
observation, off she set, running as hard as she could, to embrace her
darling Andy, and realise with her own eyes and ears all the good news she
had heard. She puffed out by the way many set phrases about the goodness
of Providence, and arranged at the same time sundry fine speeches to make
to the bride; so that the old lady's piety and flattery ran a strange
couple together along with herself; while mixed up with her prayers and
her blarney, were certain speculations about Jack Dwyer--as to how long he
could _live_--and how much he might _leave_.
It was in this frame of mind she reached the hill which commanded a view
of the three-cornered field and the snug cottage, and down she rushed to
embrace her darling Andy and his gentle bride. Puffing and blowing like a
porpoise, bang she went into the cottage, and Matty being the first person
she met, she flung herself upon her, and covered her with embraces and
Matty, being taken by surprise, was some time before she could shake off
the old beldame's hateful caresses; but at last getting free and tucking
up her hair, which her imaginary mother-in-law had clawed about her ears,
she exclaimed in no very gentle tones--
"Arrah, good woman, who axed for _your_ company--who are you at
"Your mother-in-law, jewel!" cried the Widow Rooney, making another
open-armed rush at her beloved daughter-in-law; but Matty received the
widow's protruding mouth on her clenched fist instead of her lips,
and the old woman's nose coming in for a share of Matty's knuckles,
a ruby stream spurted forth, while all the colours of the rainbow danced
before Mrs. Rooney's eyes as she reeled backward on the floor.
"Take that, you owld faggot!" cried Matty, as she shook Mrs. Rooney's
tributary claret from the knuckles which had so scientifically tapped it,
and wiped her hand in her apron.
The old woman roared "millia' murthur" on the floor, and snuffled out a
deprecatory question "if that was the proper way to be received in her
"_Your_ son's house, indeed!" cried Matty. "Get out o' the place, you
stack o' rags."
"Oh, Andy! Andy!" cried the mother, gathering herself up.
"Oh--that's it, is it!" cried Matty; "so it's Andy you want?"
"To be sure: why wouldn't I want him, you hussy? My boy! my darlin'! my
"Well, go look for him!" cried Matty, giving her a shove towards the door.
"Well, now, do you think I'll be turned out of my son's house so quietly
as that, you unnatural baggage?" cried Mrs. Rooney, facing round,
fiercely. Upon which a bitter altercation ensued between the women; in the
course of which the widow soon learnt that Andy was not the possessor of
Matty's charms: whereupon the old woman, no longer having the fear of
damaging her daughter-in-law's beauty before her eyes, tackled to for a
fight in right earnest, in the course of which some reprisals were made by
the widow in revenge for her broken nose; but Matty's youth and activity,
joined to her Amazonian spirit, turned the tide in her favour, though, had
not the old lady been blown by her long run, the victory would not have
been so easy, for she was a tough customer, and _left_ Matty certain
marks of her favour that did not rub out in a hurry--while she took
_away_ (as a keepsake) a handful of Matty's hair, by which she had
long held on till a successful kick from the gentle bride finally ejected
Mrs. Rooney from the house.
Off she reeled, bleeding and roaring, and while on her approach she had
been blessing Heaven and inventing sweet speeches for Matty, on her
retreat she was cursing fate and heaping all sorts of hard names on the
Amazon she came to flatter. Alas, for the brevity of human exultation!
How fared it in the meantime with Andy? He, poor devil! had passed a cold
night, tied up to the old tree, and as the morning dawned, every object
appeared to him through the dim light in a distorted form; the gaping
hollow of the old trunk to which he was bound seemed like a huge mouth,
opening to swallow him, while the old knots looked like eyes, and the
gnarled branches like claws, staring at and ready to tear him in pieces.
A raven, perched above him on a lonely branch, croaked dismally, till Andy
fancied he could hear words of reproach in the sounds, while a little
tomtit chattered and twittered on a neighbouring bough, as if he enjoyed
and approved of all the severe things the raven uttered. The little tomtit
was the worst of the two, just as the solemn reproof of the wise can be
better borne than the impertinent remark of some chattering fool. To these
imaginary evils was added the reality of some enormous water-rats that
issued from an adjacent pool and began to eat Andy's hat and shoes, which
had fallen off in his struggle with his captors; and all Andy's warning
ejaculations could not make the vermin abstain from his shoes and his hat,
which, to judge from their eager eating, could not stay their stomachs
long, so that Andy, as he looked on at the rapid demolition, began to
dread that they might transfer their favours from his attire to himself,
until the tramp of approaching horses relieved his anxiety, and in a few
minutes two horsemen stood before him--they were Father Phil and Squire
Great was the surprise of the Father to see the fellow he had married the
night before, and whom he supposed to be in the enjoyment of his
honeymoon, tied up to a tree and looking more dead than alive; and his
indignation knew no bounds when he heard that a "couple-beggar" had dared
to celebrate the marriage ceremony, which fact came out in the course of
the explanation Andy made of the desperate misadventure which had befallen
him; but all other grievances gave way in the eyes of Father Phil to the
"A 'couple-beggar'!--the audacious vagabones!" he cried, while he and the
Squire were engaged in loosing Andy's bonds. "A 'couple-beggar' in my
parish! How fast they have tied him up, Squire!" he added, as he
endeavoured to undo a knot. "A 'couple-beggar,' indeed! I'll undo the
marriage!--have you a knife about you, Squire?--the blessed and holy tie
of matrimony!--it's a black knot, bad luck to it, and must be cut--take
your leg out o' that now--and wait till I lay my hands on them--a
"A desperate outrage this whole affair has been!" said the Squire.
"But a 'couple-beggar,' Squire."
"His house broken into--"
"But a 'couple-beggar'--"
"His wife taken from him--"
"But a 'couple-beggar'--"
"The laws violated--"
"But _my dues_, Squire--think o' that!--what would become o'
_them_, if 'couple-beggars' is allowed to show their audacious faces
in the parish. Oh, wait till next Sunday, that's all--I'll have them up
before the althar, and I'll make them beg God's pardon, and my pardon, and
the congregation's pardon, the audacious pair!" [Footnote: A man and woman
who had been united by a "couple-beggar" were called up one Sunday by the
priest in the face of the congregation, and summoned, as Father Phil
threatens above, to beg God's pardon, and the priest's pardon, and the
congregation's pardon; but the woman stoutly refused the last condition.
"I'll beg God's pardon and your Reverence's pardon," she said, "but I
won't beg the congregation's pardon." "You won't?" says the priest. "I
won't," says she. "Oh you conthrairy baggage," cried his Reverence: "take
her home out o' that," said he to her husband who HAD humbled himself--
"take her home, and leather her well--for she wants it; and if you don't
leather her, you'll be sorry--for if you don't make her afraid of you,
she'll master YOU, too--take her home and leather her."--FACT.]
"It's an assault on Andy," said the Squire.
"It's a robbery on me," said Father Phil.
"Could you identify the men?" said the Squire.
"Do you know the 'couple-beggar'?" said the priest.
"Did James Casey lay his hands on you?" said the Squire; "for he's a good
man to have a warrant against."
"Oh, Squire, Squire!" ejaculated Father Phil; "talking of laying hands on
_him_ is it you are?--didn't that blackguard 'couple-beggar' lay his
dirty hands on a woman that my bran new benediction was upon! Sure, they'd
do anything after that!" By this time Andy was free, and having received
the Squire's directions to follow him to Merryvale, Father Phil and the
worthy Squire were once more in their saddles and proceeded quietly to
the same place, the Squire silently considering the audacity of the
_coup-de-main_ which robbed Andy of his wife, and his reverence puffing
out his rosy cheeks and muttering sundry angry sentences, the only
intelligible words of which were "couple-beggar."
Doubtless the reader has anticipated that the presence of Father Phil in
the company of the Squire at this immediate time was on account of the
communication made by Andy about the post-office affair. Father Phil had
determined to give the Squire freedom from the strategetic coil in which
Larry Hogan had ensnared him, and lost no time in setting about it; and it
was on his intended visit to Merryvale that he met its hospitable owner,
and telling him there was a matter of some private importance he wished to
communicate, suggested a quiet ride together; and this it was which led to
their traversing the lonely little lane where they discovered Andy, whose
name was so principal in the revelations of that day.
To the Squire those revelations were of the dearest importance; for they
relieved his mind from a weight which had been oppressing it for some
time, and set his heart at rest. Egan, it must be remarked, was an odd
mixture of courage and cowardice: undaunted by personal danger, but
strangely timorous where moral courage was required. A remarkable shyness,
too, made him hesitate constantly in the utterance of a word which might
explain away any difficulty in which he chanced to find himself; and this
helped to keep his tongue tied in the matter where Larry Hogan had
continued to make himself a bugbear. He had a horror, too, of being
thought capable of doing a dishonourable thing, and the shame he felt at
having peeped into a letter was so stinging, that the idea of asking any
one's advice in the dilemma in which he was placed made him recoil from
the thought of such aid. Now, Father Phil had relieved him from the
difficulties his own weakness imposed; the subject had been forced upon
him; and once forced to speak he made a full acknowledgment of all that
had taken place; and when he found Andy had not borne witness against him,
and that Larry Hogan only _inferred_ his participation in the
transaction, he saw on Father Phil's showing that he was not really in
Larry Hogan's power; for though he admitted he had given Larry a trifle of
money from time to time when Larry asked for it, under the influence of
certain innuendoes, yet that was no proof against him; and Father Phil's
advice was to get Andy out of the way as soon as possible, and then to set
Larry quietly at defiance--that is to say, in Father Phil's own words,
"to keep never minding him."
Now Andy not being encumbered with a wife (as fate had so ordained it)
made the matter easier, and the Squire and the Father, as they rode
towards Merryvale together to dinner, agreed to pack off Andy without
delay, and thus place him beyond Hogan's power; and as Dick Dawson was
going to London with Murphy, to push the petition against Scatterbrain's
return, it was looked upon as a lucky chance, and Andy was at once named
to bear them company.
"But you must not let Hogan know that Andy is sent away under your
patronage, Squire," said the Father, "for that would be presumptive
evidence you had an interest in his absence; and Hogan is the very
blackguard would see it fast enough, for he is a knowing rascal."
"He's the deepest scoundrel I ever met," said the Squire.
"As knowing as a jailer," said Father Phil. "A jailer, did I say--by dad,
he bates any jailer I ever heard of--for that fellow is so 'cute, he
_could keep Newgate with a book and eye."_
"By-the-bye, there's one thing I forgot to tell you, respecting those
letters I threw into the fire; for remember, Father, I only peeped into
_one_ and destroyed the others; but one of the letters, I must tell
you, was directed to yourself."
"'Faith, then, I forgive you that, Squire," said Father Phil, "for I hate
letters; but if you have any scruple of conscience on the subject, write
me one yourself, and that will do as well."
The Squire could not help thinking the Father's mode of settling the
difficulty worthy of Handy Andy himself; but he did not tell the Father
They had now reached Merryvale, where the good-humoured priest was
heartily welcomed, and where Doctor Growling, Dick Dawson, and Murphy were
also guests at dinner. Great was the delight of the party at the history
they heard, when the cloth was drawn, of Andy's wedding, so much in
keeping with his former life and adventures, and Father Phil had another
opportunity of venting his rage against the "couple-beggar."
"That was but a slip-knot you tied, Father," said the doctor.
"Aye, aye! joke away, doctor."
"Do you think, Father Phil," said Murphy, "that _that_ marriage was
made in heaven, where we are told marriages _are_ made?"
"I don't suppose it was, Mr. Murphy; for if it had it would have held upon
"Very well answered, Father," said the Squire.
"I don't know what other people think about matches being made in heaven,"
said Growling, "but I have my suspicions they are sometimes made in
"Oh, fie, doctor!" said Mrs. Egan.
"The doctor, ma'am, is an old bachelor," said Father Phil, "or he wouldn't
"Thank you, Father Phil, for so polite a speech."
The doctor took his pencil from his pocket and began to write on a small
bit of paper, which the priest observing, asked him what he was about, "or
is it writing a prescription you are," said he, "for compounding better
marriages than I can?"
"Something very naughty, I dare say, the doctor is doing," said Fanny
"Judge for yourself, lady fair," said the doctor, handing Fanny the slip
Fanny looked at it for a moment and smiled, but declared it was very
"Then read it for the company, and condemn me out of your own pretty
mouth, Miss Dawson," said the doctor.
"It is too wicked."
"If it is ever so wicked," said Father Phil, "the wickedness will be
neutralised by being read by an angel."
"Well done, St. Omer's," cried Murphy.
"Really, Father," said Fanny, blushing, "you are desperately gallant
to-day, and just to shame you, and show how little of an angel I am, I
_will_ read the doctor's epigram:--
'Though matches are all made in heaven, they say,
Yet Hymen, who mischief oft hatches,
Sometimes deals with the house _t'other side of the way_,
And _there_ they make _Lucifer_ matches.'"
"Oh, doctor! I'm afraid you are a woman-hater," said Mrs. Egan. "Come
away, Fanny, I am sure they want to get rid of us."
"Yes," said Fanny, rising and joining her sister, who was leaving the
room, "and now, after abusing poor Hymen, gentlemen, we leave you to your
favourite worship of Bacchus."
The departure of the ladies changed the conversation, and after the
gentlemen had resumed their seats, the doctor asked Dick Dawson how
soon he intended going to London.
"I start immediately," said Dick. "Don't forget to give me that letter of
introduction to your friend in Dublin, whom I long to know."
"Who is he?" asked the Squire.
"One Tom Loftus--or, as his friends call him, 'Piping Tom,' from his vocal
powers; or, as some nickname him, '_Organ_ Loftus,' from his
imitation of that instrument, which is an excessively comical piece of
"Oh! I know him well," said Father Phil.
"How did you manage to become acquainted with him?" inquired the doctor,
"for I did not think he lay much in your way."
"It was _he_ became acquainted with me," said Father Phil, "and this
was the way of it--he was down on a visit betimes in the parish I was in
before this, and his behaviour was so wild that I was obliged to make an
allusion in the chapel to his indiscretions, and threaten to make his
conduct a subject of severe public censure if he did not mind his manners
a little better. Well, my dear, who should call on me on the Monday
morning after but Misther Tom, all smiles and graces, and protesting he
was sorry he fell under my displeasure, and hoping I would never have
cause to find fault with him again. Sure, I thought he was repenting of
his misdeeds, and I said I was glad to hear such good words from him. 'A'
then, Father,' says he, 'I hear you have got a great curiosity from
Dublin--a shower-bath, I hear?' So I said I had: and indeed, to be candid,
I was as proud as a peacock of the same bath, which tickled my fancy when
I was once in town, and so I bought it. 'Would you show it to me?' says
he. 'To be sure,' says I, and off I went, like a fool, and put the wather
on the top, and showed him how, when a string was pulled, down it came
--and he pretended not clearly to understand the thing, and at last
he said, 'Sure it's not into that sentry-box you get?' says he. 'Oh
yes,' said I, getting into it quite innocent; when, my dear, he slaps
the door and fastens it on me, and pulls the string and souses me with the
water, and I with my best suit of black on me. I roared and shouted inside
while Misther Tom Loftus was screechin' laughing outside, and dancing
round the room with delight. At last, when he could speak, he said, 'Now,
Father, we're even,' says he, 'for the abuse you gave me yesterday,' and
off he ran."
"That's just like him," said old Growling, chuckling; "he's a queer devil.
I remember on one occasion a poor dandy puppy, who was in the same office
with him--for Tom is in the Ordnance department, you must know--this
puppy, sir, wanted to go to the Ashbourne races and cut a figure in the
eyes of a rich grocer's daughter he was sweet upon."
"Being sweet upon a grocer's daughter," said Murphy, "is like bringing
coals to Newcastle."
"'Faith! it was coals to Newcastle with a vengeance, in the present case,
for the girl would have nothing to say to him, and Tom had great delight
whenever he could annoy this poor fool in his love-making plots. So, when
he came to Tom to ask for the loan of his horse, Tom said he should have
him _if he could make the smallest use of him_--'but I don't think
you can,' said Tom. 'Leave that to me,' said the youth. 'I don't think you
could make him go,' said Tom. 'I'll buy a new pair of spurs,' said the
puppy. 'Let them be handsome ones,' said Tom. 'I was looking at a very
handsome pair at Lamprey's, yesterday,' said the young gentleman. 'Then
you can buy them on your way to my stables,' said Tom; and sure enough,
sir, the youth laid out his money on a very costly pair of persuaders, and
then proceeded homewards with Tom. 'Now, with all your spurs,' said
Tom, 'I don't think you'll be able to make him go.' 'Is he so very
vicious, then?' inquired the youth, who began to think of his neck. 'On
the contrary,' said Tom, 'he's perfectly quiet, but won't go for
_you_, I'll bet a pound.' 'Done!' said the youth. 'Well, try him,'
said Tom, as he threw open the stable door. 'He's lazy, I see,' said the
youth; 'for he's lying down.' 'Faith, he is,' said Tom, 'and hasn't got up
these two days!' 'Get up, you brute!' said the innocent youth, giving a
smart cut of his whip on the horse's flank; but the horse did not budge.
'_Why, he's dead!_' says he. 'Yes,' says Tom, 'since Monday last. So
I don't think you can make him go, and you've lost your bet!'"
"That was hardly a fair joke," said the Squire.
"Tom never stops to think of that," returned the doctor; "he's the oddest
fellow I ever knew. The last time I was in Dublin, I called on Tom and
found him one bitter cold and stormy morning standing at an open window,
nearly quite undressed. On asking him what he was about, he said he was
_getting up a bass voice_; that Mrs. Somebody, who gave good dinners
and bad concerts, was disappointed of her bass singer, 'and I think,' said
Tom, 'I'll be hoarse enough in the evening to take double B flat. Systems
are the fashion now,' said he; 'there is the Logierian system and other
systems, and mine is the Cold-air-ian system, and the best in the world
for getting up a bass voice.'"
"That was very original certainly," said the Squire.
"But did you ever hear of his adventure with the Duke of Wellington?" said
"The Duke!" they all exclaimed.
"Yes--that is, when he was only Sir Arthur Wellesley. Well, I'll tell
"Stop," said the Squire, "a fresh story requires a fresh bottle. Let me
ring for some claret."
The servant who brought in the claret announced at the same time the
arrival of a fresh guest in the person of "Captain Moriarty," who was
welcomed by most of the party by the name of Randal. The Squire regretted
he was too late for dinner, inquiring at the same time if he would like to
have something to eat at the side-table; but Randal declined the offer,
assuring the Squire he had got some refreshment during the day while he
had been out shooting; but as the sport led, him near Merryvale, and "he
had a great thirst upon him," he did not know a better house in the
country wherein to have "that same" satisfied.
"Then you're just in time for some cool claret," said the Squire; "so sit
down beside the doctor, for he must have the first glass and broach the
bottle, before he broaches the story he's going to tell us--that's only
The doctor filled his glass, and tasted. "What a nice _'chateau,'
'Margaux'_ must be," said he, as he laid down his glass. "I should like
to be a tenant-at-will there, at a small rent."
"And no taxes," said Dick.
"Except my duty to the claret," replied the doctor.
'My favourite chateau,
Is that of Margaux.'
"By-the-bye, talking of _chateau_, there's the big brewer over at the
town, who is anxious to affect gentility, and he heard some one use the
word _chapeau_, and having found out it was the French for _hat_,
he determined to show off on the earliest possible occasion, and selected
a public meeting of some sort to display his accomplishment. Taking some
cause of objection to the proceedings, as an excuse for leaving the
meeting, he said, 'Gentlemen, the fact is I can't agree with you, so I may
as well take my _chateau_ under my arm at once, and walk.'"
[Illustration: Tom Organ Loftus and the Duke]
"Is not that an invention of your own, doctor?" said the Squire.
"I heard it for fact," said Growling.
"And 't is true," added Murphy, "for I was present when he said it. And at
an earlier part of the proceedings he suggested that the parish clerk
should read the resolutions, because he had a good '_laudable_
"A parish clerk ought to have," said the doctor--"eh, Father Phil?--
"Leave your Latin," said Dick, "and tell us that story you promised about
the Duke and Tom Loftus."
"Right, Misther Dick," said Father Phil.
"The story, doctor," said the Squire.
"Oh, don't make such bones about it," said Growling; "'tis but a trifle
after all; only it shows you what a queer and reckless rascal Tom is. I
told you he was called '_Organ_' Loftus by his friends, in
consequence of the imitation he makes of that instrument; and it certainly
is worth hearing and seeing, for your eyes have as much to do with the
affair as your ears. Tom plants himself on a high office-stool, before one
of those lofty desks with long rows of drawers down each side and a hole
between to put your legs under. Well, sir, Tom pulls out the top drawers,
like the stops of an organ, and the lower ones by way of pedals: and then
he begins thrashing the desk like the finger-board of an organ with his
hands, while his feet kick away at the lower drawers as if he were the
greatest pedal performer out of Germany, and he emits a rapid succession
of grunts and squeaks, producing a ludicrous reminiscence of the
instrument, which I defy any one to hear without laughing. Several sows
and an indefinite number of sucking pigs could not make a greater noise,
and Tom himself declares he studied the instrument in a pigsty, which he
maintains gave the first notion of an organ. Well, sir, the youths in the
office assist in 'doing the service,' as they call it, that is, making an
imitation of the chanting and so forth in St. Patrick's Cathedral."
"Oh, the haythens!" said Father Phil.
"One does Spray, and another Weyman, and another Sir John Stevenson, and
so on; and they go on responsing and singing 'Amen' till the Ordnance
Office rings again."
"Have they nothing better to do?" asked the Squire.
"Very little but reading the papers," said the doctor.
"Well--Tom--you must know, sir--was transferred some time ago, by the
interest of many influential friends, to the London department; and the
fame of his musical powers had gone before him from some of the English
clerks in Ireland who had been advanced to the higher posts in Dublin, and
kept up correspondence with their old friends in London; and it was not
long until Tom was requested to go through an anthem on the great office-
desk. Tom was only too glad to be asked, and he kept the whole office in a
roar for an hour with all the varieties of the instrument--from the
diapason to the flute-stop--and the devil a more business was done in the
office _that_ day, and Tom before long made the sober English fellows
as great idlers as the chaps in Dublin. Well--it was not long until a
sudden flush of business came upon the department, in consequence of the
urgent preparations making for supplies to Spain, at the time the Duke was
going there to take the command of the army, and organ-playing was set
aside for some days; but the fellows, after a week's abstinence, began to
yearn for it and Tom was requested to 'do the service.' Tom, nothing
loath, threw aside his official papers, set up a big ledger before him,
and commenced his legerdemain, as he called it, pulled out his stops, and
began to work away like a weaver, while every now and then he swore at the
bellows-blower for not giving him wind enough, whereupon the choristers
would kick the bellows-blower to accelerate his flatulency. Well, sir,
they were in the middle of the service, and all the blackguards making the
responses in due season, when, just as Tom was quivering under a
portentous grunt, which might have shamed the principal diapason of
Harlaem, and the subs were drawing out a resplendent 'A-a-a-men,' the door
opened, and in walked a smart-looking gentleman, with rather a large nose
and quick eye, which latter glanced round the office, where a sudden
endeavour was made by everybody to get back to his place. The smart
gentleman seemed rather surprised to see a little fat man blowing at a
desk instead of the fire, and long Tom kicking, grunting, and squealing
like mad. The bellows-blower was so taken by surprise he couldn't stir,
and Tom, having his back to them, did not see what had taken place, and
went on as if nothing had happened, till the smart gentleman went up to
him, and tapping on Tom's desk with a little riding-whip, he said, 'I'm
sorry to disturb you, sir, but I wish to know what you're about.' 'We're
doing the service, sir,' said Tom, no ways abashed at the sight of the
stranger, for he did not know it was Sir Arthur Wellesley was talking to
him. 'Not the _public_ service, sir,' said Sir Arthur. 'Yes, sir,'
said Tom, 'the service as by law established in the second year of the
reign of King Edward the Sixth,' and he favoured the future hero of
Waterloo with a touch of the organ. 'Who is the head of this office?'
inquired Sir Arthur. Tom, with a very gracious bow, replied, 'I am
principal organist, sir, and allow me to introduce you to the principal
bellows-blower'--and he pointed to the poor little man who let the
bellows fall from his hand as Sir Arthur fixed his eyes on him. Tom
did not perceive till now that all the clerks were taken with a sudden fit
of industry, and were writing away for the bare life; and he cast a look
of surprise round the office while Sir Arthur was looking at the bellows-
blower. One of the clerks made a wry face at Tom, which showed him all was
not right. 'Is this the way His Majesty's service generally goes on here?'
said Sir Arthur, sharply. No one answered; but Tom saw, by the long faces
of the clerks and the short question of the visitor, that he was
"'Some transports are waiting for ordnance stores, and I am referred to
this office,' said Sir Arthur; 'can any one give me a satisfactory
"The senior clerk present (for the head of the office was absent) came
forward and said, 'I believe, sir----'
"'You _believe_, but you don't _know_,' said Sir Arthur; 'so I
must wait for stores while you are playing tomfoolery here. I'll report
this.' Then producing a little tablet and a pencil, he turned to Tom and
said, 'Favour me with your name, sir?'
"'I give you my honour, sir,' said Tom.
"'I'd rather you'd give me the stores, sir,--I'll trouble you for your
"'Upon my honour, sir,' said Tom, again.
"'You seem to have a great deal of that article on your hands, sir,' said
Sir Arthur: 'you're an Irishman, I suppose?'
"'Yes, sir,' said Tom.
"'I thought so. Your name?'
"'Glad of it.'
"He put up his tablet after writing the name.
"'May I beg the favour to know, sir,' said Tom, 'to whom I have the honour
of addressing myself?' "'Sir Arthur Wellesley, sir.'
"'Oh! J---s!' cried Tom, 'I'm done!'
"Sir Arthur could not help laughing at the extraordinary change in Tom's
countenance; and Tom, taking advantage of this relaxation in his iron
manner, said in a most penitent tone, 'Oh, Sir Arthur Wellesley, only
forgive me this time, and 'pon my _sowl_ says he--with the richest
brogue--'I'll play a _Te Deum_ for the first licking you give the
French.' Sir Arthur smiled and left the office."
"Did he report as he threatened?" asked the Squire.
"'Faith, he did."
"And Tom?" inquired Dick.
"Was sent back to Ireland, sir."
"That was hard, after the Duke smiled at him," said Murphy.
"Well, he did not let him suffer in pocket; he was transferred at as a
good a salary to a less important department, but you know the Duke has
been celebrated all his life for never overlooking a breach of duty."
"And who can blame him?" said Moriarty.
"One great advantage of the practice has been," said the Squire, "that no
man has been better served. I remember hearing a striking instance of
what, perhaps, might be called severe justice, which he exercised on a
young and distinguished officer of artillery in Spain; and though one
cannot help pitying the case of the gallant young fellow who was the
sacrifice, yet the question of strict duty, _to the very word_, was
set at rest for ever under the Duke's command, and it saved much
_after_-trouble by making every officer satisfied, however fiery his
courage or tender his sense of being suspected of the white feather, that
implicit obedience was the course he _must_ pursue. The case was
this:--the army was going into action----" "What action was it?" inquired
Father Phil, with that remarkable alacrity which men of peace evince in
hearing the fullest particulars about war, perhaps because it is forbidden
to their cloth; one of the many instances of things acquiring a fictitious
value by being interdicted--just as Father Phil himself might have been a
Protestant only for the penal laws.
"I don't know what action it was," said the Squire, "nor the officer's
name--for I don't set up for a military chronicler; but it was, as I have
been telling you, going into action that the Duke posted an officer, with
his six guns, at a certain point, telling him to remain there until he had
orders from _him_. Away went the rest of the army, and the officer
was left doing nothing at all, which he didn't like; for he was one of
those high-blooded gentlemen who are never so happy as when they are
making other people miserable, and he was longing for the head of a French
column to be hammering away at. In half an hour or so he heard the distant
sound of action, and it approached nearer and nearer, until he heard it
close behind him; and he wondered rather that he was not invited to take a
share in it, when, pat to his thought, up came an _aide-de-camp_ at full
speed, telling him that General Somebody ordered him to bring up his guns.
The officer asked did not the order come from Lord Wellington? The
_aide-de-camp_ said no, but from the General, whoever he was. The officer
explained that he was placed there by Lord Wellington, under command not
to move, unless by _an order from himself_. The _aide-de-camp_ stated
that the General's entire brigade was being driven in and must be
annihilated without the aid of the guns, and asked, 'would he let a whole
brigade be slaughtered?' in a tone which wounded the young soldier's pride,
savouring, as he thought it did, of an imputation on his courage.
He immediately ordered his guns to move and joined battle with the General;
but while he was away, an _aide-de-camp_ from Lord Wellington rode up to
where the guns _had been posted,_ and, of course, no gun was to be had for
the service which Lord Wellington required. Well, the French were repulsed,
as it happened; but the want of those six guns seriously marred a
preconcerted movement of the Duke's, and the officer in command of them was
immediately brought to a court-martial, and would have lost his commission
but for the universal interest made in his favour by the general officers
in consideration of his former meritorious conduct and distinguished
gallantry, and under the peculiar circumstances of the case. They did not
break him, but he was suspended, and Lord Wellington sent him home to
England. Almost every general officer in the army endeavoured to get his
sentence revoked, lamenting the fate of a gallant fellow being sent away
for a slight error in judgment while the army was in hot action but
Lord Wellington was inexorable saying he must make an example to secure
himself in the perfect obedience of officers to their orders; and it had
"Well, that's what I call hard!" said Dick.
"My dear Dick," said the Squire, "war is altogether a hard thing, and a
man has no business to be a General who isn't as hard as his own round
"And what became of the _dear_ young man?" said Father Phil, who
seemed much touched by the readiness with which the _dear_ young man
set off to mow down the French.
"I can tell you," said Moriarty, "for I served with him afterwards in the
Peninsula. He was let back after a year or so, and became so thorough a
disciplinarian, that he swore, when once he was at his post 'They might
kill _his father_ before his face and he wouldn't budge until he had
"A most Christian resolution," said the doctor.
"Well, I can tell you," said Moriarty, "of a Frenchman, who made a greater
breach of discipline, and it was treated more leniently. I heard the story
from the man's own lips, and if I could only give you his voice and
gesture and manner it would amuse you. What fellows those Frenchmen are,
to be sure, for telling a story! they make a shrug or a wink have twenty
different meanings, and their claws are most eloquent--one might say they
talk on their fingers--and their broken English, I think, helps them."
"Then give the story, Randal, in his manner," said Dick. "I have heard you
imitate a Frenchman capitally."
"Well, here goes," said Moriarty "but let me wet my whistle with a glass
of claret before I begin--a French story should have French wine." Randal
tossed off one glass, and filled a second by way of reserve, and then
began the French officer's story.
"You see, sare, it vos ven in _Espagne_ de bivouac vos vairy ard
indeet 'pon us, vor we coot naut get into de town at all, nevair, becos
you dam Ingelish keep all de town to yoursefs--vor we fall back at dat
time becos we get not support--no _corps de reserve_, you perceive--
so ve mek _retrograde_ movement--not _retreat_--no, no--but
_retrograde_ movement. Vell--von night I was wit my picket guart, and
it was raining like de devil, and de vind vos vinding up de valley, so
cold as noting at all, and de dark vos vot you could not see--no--not your
nose bevore your face. Vell, I hear de tramp of horse, and I look into de
dark--for ve vere vairy moche on the _qui vive_, because ve expec de
Ingelish to attaque de next day--but I see noting; but de tramp of horse
come closer and closer, and at last I ask, 'Who is dere?' and de tramp of
de horse stop. I run forward, and den I see Ingelish offisair of
cavallerie. I address him, and tell him he is in our lines, but I do not
vant to mek him prisonair--for you must know dat he _vos_ prisonair,
if I like, ven he vos vithin our line. He is very polite--he says,
'_Bien obligé--bon enfant_;' and we tek off our hat to each
ozer. 'I aff lost my roat,' he say; and I say, 'Yais'--bote I vill
put him into his roat, and so I ask for a moment pardon, and go back
to my _caporal_, and tell him to be on de _qui vive_ till I come back.
De Ingelish offisair and me talk very plaisant vile we go togezer down de
leetel roat, and ven we come to de turn, I say, '_Bon soir_, Monsieur le
Capitaine--dat is your vay.' He den tank me, vera moche like gentilman,
and vish he coot mek me some return for my générosité, as he please to say
--and I say, '_Bah!_ Ingelish gentilman vood do de same to French offisair
who lose his vay.' 'Den come here,' he say, '_bon enfant_, can you leave
your post for 'aff an hour?' 'Leave my post?' I say. 'Yais,' said he, 'I
know your army has not moche provision lately, and maybe you are ongrie?'
'_Ma foi_, yais,' said I; 'I aff naut slips to my eyes, nor meat to my
stomach, for more dan fife days.' 'Veil, _bon enfant_,' he say, 'come vis
me, and I vill gif you good supper, goot vine, and goot velcome.' 'Coot I
leave my post?' I say. He say, '_Bah! Caporal_ take care till you come
back.' By gar, I coot naut resist--_he_ vos so _vairy_ moche gentilman and
_I_ vos so ongrie--I go vis him--not fife hunder yarts--_ah! bon Dieu_
--how nice! In de corner of a leetel ruin chapel dere is nice bit
of fire, and hang on a string before it de half of a kid--_oh ciel!_
de smell of de _ros-bif_ was so nice--I rub my hands to de fire--I
sniff de _cuisine_--I see in anozer corner a couple bottles of wine--
_sacré_! it vos all watair in my mouts! Ve sit down to suppair--I nevair
did ate so moche in my life. Ve did finish de bones, and vosh down
all mid ver good wine--_excellent!_ Ve drink de toast--_à la gloire_--
and we talk of de campaign. Ve drink _à la Patrie_, and den _I_ tink of
_la belle France_ and _ma douce amie_--and _he_ fissel, 'Got safe de king.'
Ve den drink _à l'amitié_, and shek hands over dat fire in good frainship
--dem two hands that might cross de swords in de morning. Yais, sair,
dat was fine--'t was _galliard_--'t was _la vrai chivalrie_--two sojair
ennemi to share de same kid, drink de same wine, and talk like two
friends. Vell, I got den so sleepy, dat my eyes go blink, blink, and my
goot friend says to me, 'Sleep, old fellow; I know you aff got hard fare
of late, and you are tired; sleep, all is quiet for to-night, and I will
call you before dawn.' Sair, I vos _so_ tired, I forgot my duty, and fall
down fast asleep. Veil, sair, in de night de pickets of de two armie get
so close, and mix up, dat some shot gets fired, and in one moment all in
confusion. I am shake by de shoulder--I wake like from dream--I heard
sharp _fusillade_--my friend cry, 'Fly to your post, it is attack!' We
exchange one shek of de hand, and I run off to my post. _Oh, ciel!_--it is
driven in--I see dem fly. _Oh, mon désespoir à ce moment-là!_ I am ruin--
_déshonoré_--I rush to de front--I rally _mes braves_--ve stand!--ve
advance!!--ve regain de post!!!--I am safe!!!! De _fusillade_ cease--it is
only an affair of outposts. I tink I am safe--I tink I am very fine fellow
--but Monsieur _l'Aide-Major_ send for me and speak, 'Vere vos you last
night, sair?' 'I mount guard by de mill.' 'Are you sure?' '_Oui,
monsieur._' 'Vere vos you when your post vos attack?' I saw it vos no use
to deny any longair, so I confess to him everyting. 'Sair,' said he, 'you
rally your men very good, _or you should be shot!_ Young man, remember,'
said he--I will never forget his vorts--'young man, _vine is goot--slip is
goot--goat is goot--but honners is betters!'"_
"A capital story, Randal," cried Dick; "but how much of it did you
"'Pon my life, it is as near the original as possible."
"Besides, that is not a fair way of using a story," said the doctor. "You
should take a story as you get it, and not play the dissector upon it,
mangling its poor body to discover the bit of embellishment; and as long
as a _raconteur_ maintains _vraisemblance_, I contend you are
bound to receive the whole as true."
"A most author-like creed, doctor," said Dick; "you are a story-teller
yourself, and enter upon the defence of your craft with great spirit."
"And justice, too," said the Squire; "the doctor is quite right."
"Don't suppose I can't see the little touches of the artist," said the
doctor; "but so long as they are in keeping with the picture, I enjoy
them; for instance, my friend Randal's touch of the Englishman
'_fissling Got safe de King'_ is very happy--quite in character."
"Well, good or bad, the story in substance is true," said Randal, "and