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Men's Wives by William Makepeace Thackeray

Part 4 out of 4

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We received, then, the three lost sheep back into our innocent fold
again with the most joyous shouting and cheering. We made Berry
(who was, in truth, nothing loth) order up I don't know how much
more claret. We obliged the Frenchman to drink malgre lui, and in
the course of a short time we had poor Whey in such a state of
excitement, that he actually volunteered to sing a song, which he
said he had heard at some very gay supper-party at Cambridge, and
which begins:

"A pye sat on a pear-tree,
A pye sat on a pear-tree,
A pye sat on a pear-tree,
Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, heigh-ho!"

Fancy Mrs. Berry's face as she looked in, in the midst of that
Bacchanalian ditty, when she saw no less a person than the Reverend
Lemuel Whey carolling it!

"Is it you, my dear?" cries Berry, as brave now as any Petruchio.
"Come in, and sit down, and hear Whey's song."

"Lady Pash is asleep, Frank," said she.

"Well, darling! that's the very reason. Give Mrs. Berry a glass,
Jack, will you?"

"Would you wake your aunt, sir?" hissed out madame.

"NEVER MIND ME, LOVE! I'M AWAKE, AND LIKE IT!" cried the venerable
Lady Pash from the salon. "Sing away, gentlemen!"

At which we all set up an audacious cheer; and Mrs. Berry flounced
back to the drawing-room, but did not leave the door open, that her
aunt might hear our melodies.

Berry had by this time arrived at that confidential state to which a
third bottle always brings the well-regulated mind; and he made a
clean confession to Cutler and myself of his numerous matrimonial
annoyances. He was not allowed to dine out, he said, and but seldom
to ask his friends to meet him at home. He never dared smoke a
cigar for the life of him, not even in the stables. He spent the
mornings dawdling in eternal shops, the evenings at endless
tea-parties, or in reading poems or missionary tracts to his wife.
He was compelled to take physic whenever she thought he looked a
little pale, to change his shoes and stockings whenever he came in
from a walk. "Look here," said he, opening his chest, and shaking
his fist at Dobus; "look what Angelica and that infernal Dobus have
brought me to."

I thought it might be a flannel waistcoat into which madame had
forced him; but it was worse: I give you my word of honour it was a
PITCH-PLASTER!

We all roared at this, and the doctor as loud as anyone; but he
vowed that he had no hand in the pitch-plaster. It was a favourite
family remedy of the late apothecary Sir George Catacomb, and had
been put on by Mrs. Berry's own fair hands.

When Anatole came in with coffee, Berry was in such high courage,
that he told him to go to the deuce with it; and we never caught
sight of Lady Pash more, except when, muffled up to the nose, she
passed through the salle-a-manger to go to her carriage, in which
Dobus and the parson were likewise to be transported to Paris. "Be
a man, Frank," says she, "and hold your own"--for the good old lady
had taken her nephew's part in the matrimonial business--"and you,
Mr. Fitz-Boodle, come and see him often. You're a good fellow, take
old one-eyed Callipash's word for it. Shall I take you to Paris?"

Dear kind Angelica, she had told her aunt all I said!

"Don't go, George," says Berry, squeezing me by the hand. So I said
I was going to sleep at Versailles that night; but if she would give
a convoy to Jack Butts, it would be conferring a great obligation on
him; with which favour the old lady accordingly complied, saying to
him, with great coolness, "Get up and sit with John in the rumble,
Mr. What-d'ye-call-'im." The fact is, the good old soul despises an
artist as much as she does a tailor.

Jack tripped to his place very meekly; and "Remember Saturday,"
cried the Doctor; and "Don't forget Thursday!" exclaimed the
divine,--"a bachelor's party, you know." And so the cavalcade drove
thundering down the gloomy old Avenue de Paris.

The Frenchman, I forgot to say, had gone away exceedingly ill long
before; and the reminiscences of "Thursday" and "Saturday" evoked by
Dobus and Whey, were, to tell the truth, parts of our conspiracy;
for in the heat of Berry's courage, we had made him promise to dine
with us all round en garcon; with all except Captain Goff, who
"racklacted" that he was engaged every day for the next three weeks:
as indeed he is, to a thirty-sous ordinary which the gallant officer
frequents, when not invited elsewhere.

Cutler and I then were the last on the field; and though we were for
moving away, Berry, whose vigour had, if possible, been excited by
the bustle and colloquy in the night air, insisted upon dragging us
back again, and actually proposed a grill for supper!

We found in the salle-a-manger a strong smell of an extinguished
lamp, and Mrs. Berry was snuffing out the,candles on the sideboard.

"Hullo, my dear!" shouts Berry: "easy, if you please; we've not
done yet!"

"Not done yet, Mr. Berry!" groans the lady, in a hollow sepulchral
tone.

"No, Mrs. B., not done yet. We are going to have some supper, ain't
we, George?"

"I think it's quite time to go home," said Mr. Fitz-Boodle (who, to
say the truth, began to tremble himself).

"I think it is, sir; you are quite right, sir; you will pardon me,
gentlemen, I have a bad headache, and will retire."

"Good-night, my dear!" said that audacious Berry. "Anatole, tell
the cook to broil a fowl and bring some wine."

If the loving couple had been alone, or if Cutler had not been an
attache to the embassy, before whom she was afraid of making herself
ridiculous, I am confident that Mrs. Berry would have fainted away
on the spot; and that all Berry's courage would have tumbled down
lifeless by the side of her. So she only gave a martyrised look,
and left the room; and while we partook of the very unnecessary
repast, was good enough to sing some hymn-tunes to an exceedingly
slow movement in the next room, intimating that she was awake, and
that, though suffering, she found her consolations in religion.

These melodies did not in the least add to our friend's courage.
The devilled fowl had, somehow, no devil in it. The champagne in
the glasses looked exceedingly flat and blue. The fact is, that
Cutler and I were now both in a state of dire consternation, and
soon made a move for our hats, and lighting each a cigar in the
hall, made across the little green where the Cupids and nymphs were
listening to the dribbling fountain in the dark.

"I'm hanged if I don't have a cigar too!" says Berry, rushing after
us; and accordingly putting in his pocket a key about the size of a
shovel, which hung by the little handle of the outer grille, forth
he sallied, and joined us in our fumigation.

He stayed with us a couple of hours, and returned homewards in
perfect good spirits, having given me his word of honour he would
dine with us the next day. He put his immense key into the grille,
and unlocked it; but the gate would not open: IT WAS BOLTED WITHIN.

He began to make a furious jangling and ringing at the bell; and in
oaths, both French and English, called upon the recalcitrant
Anatole.

After much tolling of the bell, a light came cutting across the
crevices of the inner door; it was thrown open, and a figure
appeared with a lamp,--a tall slim figure of a woman, clothed in
white from head to foot.

It was Mrs. Berry, and when Cutler and I saw her, we both ran away
as fast as our legs could carry us.

Berry, at this, shrieked with a wild laughter. "Remember to-morrow,
old boys," shouted he,--"six o'clock;" and we were a quarter of a
mile off when the gate closed, and the little mansion of the Avenue
de Paris was once more quiet and dark.

The next afternoon, as we were playing at billiards, Cutler saw Mrs.
Berry drive by in her carriage; and as soon as rather a long rubber
was over, I thought I would go and look for our poor friend, and so
went down to the Pavilion. Every door was open, as the wont is in
France, and I walked in unannounced, and saw this:

He was playing a duet with her on the flute. She had been out but
for half-an-hour, after not speaking all the morning; and having
seen Cutler at the billiard-room window, and suspecting we might
take advantage of her absence, she had suddenly returned home again,
and had flung herself, weeping, into her Frank's arms, and said she
could not bear to leave him in anger. And so, after sitting for a
little while sobbing on his knee, she had forgotten and forgiven
every thing!

The dear angel! I met poor Frank in Bond Street only yesterday; but
he crossed over to the other side of the way. He had on goloshes,
and is grown very fat and pale. He has shaved off his moustaches,
and, instead, wears a respirator. He has taken his name off all his
clubs, and lives very grimly in Baker Street. Well, ladies, no
doubt you say he is right: and what are the odds, so long as YOU
are happy?

DENNIS HAGGARTY'S WIFE.

There was an odious Irishwoman who with her daughter used to
frequent the "Royal Hotel" at Leamington some years ago, and who
went by the name of Mrs. Major Gam. Gam had been a distinguished
officer in His Majesty's service, whom nothing but death and his own
amiable wife could overcome. The widow mourned her husband in the
most becoming bombazeen she could muster, and had at least half an
inch of lampblack round the immense visiting tickets which she left
at the houses of the nobility and gentry her friends.

Some of us, I am sorry to say, used to call her Mrs. Major Gammon;
for if the worthy widow had a propensity, it was to talk largely of
herself and family (of her own family, for she held her husband's
very cheap), and of the wonders of her paternal mansion,
Molloyville, county of Mayo. She was of the Molloys of that county;
and though I never heard of the family before, I have little doubt,
from what Mrs. Major Gam stated, that they were the most ancient and
illustrious family of that part of Ireland. I remember there came
down to see his aunt a young fellow with huge red whiskers and tight
nankeens, a green coat, and an awful breastpin, who, after two days'
stay at the Spa, proposed marriage to Miss S-----, or, in default, a
duel with her father; and who drove a flash curricle with a bay and
a grey, and who was presented with much pride by Mrs. Gam as
Castlereagh Molloy of Molloyville. We all agreed that he was the
most insufferable snob of the whole season, and were delighted when
a bailiff came down in search of him.

Well, this is all I know personally of the Molloyville family; but
at the house if you met the widow Gam, and talked on any subject in
life, you were sure to hear of it. If you asked her to have peas at
dinner, she would say, "Oh, sir, after the peas at Molloyville, I
really don't care for any others,--do I, dearest Jemima? We always
had a dish in the month of June, when my father gave his head
gardener a guinea (we had three at Molloyville), and sent him with
his compliments and a quart of peas to our neighbour, dear Lord
Marrowfat. What a sweet place Marrowfat Park is! isn't it, Jemima?"
If a carriage passed by the window, Mrs. Major Gammon would be sure
to tell you that there were three carriages at Molloyville, "the
barouche, the chawiot, and the covered cyar." In the same manner
she would favour you with the number and names of the footmen of the
establishment; and on a visit to Warwick Castle (for this bustling
woman made one in every party of pleasure that was formed from the
hotel), she gave us to understand that the great walk by the river
was altogether inferior to the principal avenue of Molloyville Park.
I should not have been able to tell so much about Mrs. Gam and her
daughter, but that, between ourselves, I was particularly sweet upon
a young lady at the time, whose papa lived at the "Royal," and was
under the care of Doctor Jephson.

The Jemima appealed to by Mrs. Gam in the above sentence was, of
course, her daughter, apostrophised by her mother, "Jemima, my
soul's darling?" or, "Jemima, my blessed child!" or, "Jemima, my own
love!" The sacrifices that Mrs. Gam had made for that daughter
were, she said, astonishing. The money she had spent in masters
upon her, the illnesses through which she had nursed her, the
ineffable love the mother bore her, were only known to Heaven, Mrs.
Gam said. They used to come into the room with their arms round
each other's waists: at dinner between the courses the mother would
sit with one hand locked in her daughter's; and if only two or three
young men were present at the time, would be pretty sure to kiss her
Jemima more than once during the time whilst the bohea was poured
out.

As for Miss Gam, if she was not handsome, candour forbids me to say
she was ugly. She was neither one nor t'other. She was a person
who wore ringlets and a band round her forehead; she knew four
songs, which became rather tedious at the end of a couple of months'
acquaintance; she had excessively bare shoulders; she inclined to
wear numbers of cheap ornaments, rings, brooches, ferronnieres,
smelling-bottles, and was always, we thought, very smartly dressed:
though old Mrs. Lynx hinted that her gowns and her mother's were
turned over and over again, and that her eyes were almost put out by
darning stockings.

These eyes Miss Gam had very large, though rather red and weak, and
used to roll them about at every eligible unmarried man in the
place. But though the widow subscribed to all the balls, though she
hired a fly to go to the meet of the hounds, though she was constant
at church, and Jemima sang louder than any person there except the
clerk, and though, probably, any person who made her a happy husband
would be invited down to enjoy the three footmen, gardeners, and
carriages at Molloyville, yet no English gentleman was found
sufficiently audacious to propose. Old Lynx used to say that the
pair had been at Tunbridge, Harrogate, Brighton, Ramsgate,
Cheltenham, for this eight years past; where they had met, it
seemed, with no better fortune. Indeed, the widow looked rather
high for her blessed child: and as she looked with the contempt
which no small number of Irish people feel upon all persons who get
their bread by labour or commerce; and as she was a person whose
energetic manners, costume, and brogue were not much to the taste of
quiet English country gentlemen, Jemima--sweet, spotless
flower--still remained on her hands, a thought withered, perhaps,
and seedy.

Now, at this time, the 120th Regiment was quartered at Weedon
Barracks, and with the corps was a certain Assistant-Surgeon
Haggarty, a large, lean, tough, raw-boned man, with big hands,
knock-knees, and carroty whiskers, and, withal, as honest a creature
as ever handled a lancet. Haggarty, as his name imports, was of the
very same nation as Mrs. Gam, and, what is more, the honest fellow
had some of the peculiarities which belonged to the widow, and
bragged about his family almost as much as she did. I do not know
of what particular part of Ireland they were kings; but monarchs
they must have been, as have been the ancestors of so many thousand
Hibernian families; but they had been men of no small consideration
in Dublin, "where my father," Haggarty said, "is as well known as
King William's statue, and where he 'rowls his carriage, too,' let
me tell ye."

Hence, Haggarty was called by the wags "Rowl the carriage," and
several of them made inquiries of Mrs. Gam regarding him: "Mrs.
Gam, when you used to go up from Molloyville to the Lord
Lieutenant's balls, and had your townhouse in Fitzwilliam Square,
used you to meet the famous Doctor Haggarty in society?"

"Is it Surgeon Haggarty of Gloucester Street ye mean? The black
Papist! D'ye suppose that the Molloys would sit down to table with
a creature of that sort?"

"Why, isn't he the most famous physician in Dublin, and doesn't he
rowl his carriage there?"

"The horrid wretch! He keeps a shop, I tell ye, and sends his sons
out with the medicine. He's got four of them off into the army,
Ulick and Phil, and Terence and Denny, and now it's Charles that
takes out the physic. But how should I know about these odious
creatures? Their mother was a Burke, of Burke's Town, county Cavan,
and brought Surgeon Haggarty two thousand pounds. She was a
Protestant; and I am surprised how she could have taken up with a
horrid odious Popish apothecary!"

From the extent of the widow's information, I am led to suppose that
the inhabitants of Dublin are not less anxious about their
neighbours than are the natives of English cities; and I think it is
very probable that Mrs. Gam's account of the young Haggartys who
carried out the medicine is perfectly correct, for a lad in the
120th made a caricature of Haggarty coming out of a chemist's shop
with an oilcloth basket under his arm, which set the worthy surgeon
in such a fury that there would have been a duel between him and the
ensign, could the fiery doctor have had his way.

Now, Dionysius Haggarty was of an exceedingly inflammable
temperament, and it chanced that of all the invalids, the visitors,
the young squires of Warwickshire, the young manufacturers from
Birmingham, the young officers from the barracks--it chanced,
unluckily for Miss Gam and himself, that he was the only individual
who was in the least smitten by her personal charms. He was very
tender and modest about his love, however, for it must be owned that
he respected Mrs. Gam hugely, and fully admitted, like a good simple
fellow as he was, the superiority of that lady's birth and breeding
to his own. How could he hope that he, a humble assistant-surgeon,
with a thousand pounds his Aunt Kitty left him for all his fortune--
how could he hope that one of the race of Molloyville would ever
condescend to marry him?

Inflamed, however, by love, and inspired by wine, one day at a
picnic at Kenilworth, Haggarty, whose love and raptures were the
talk of the whole regiment, was induced by his waggish comrades to
make a proposal in form.

"Are you aware, Mr. Haggarty, that you are speaking to a Molloy?"
was all the reply majestic Mrs. Gam made when, according to the
usual formula, the fluttering Jemima referred her suitor to "Mamma."
She left him with a look which was meant to crush the poor fellow to
earth; she gathered up her cloak and bonnet, and precipitately
called for her fly. She took care to tell every single soul in
Leamington that the son of the odious Papist apothecary had had the
audacity to propose for her daughter (indeed a proposal, coming from
whatever quarter it may, does no harm), and left Haggarty in a state
of extreme depression and despair.

His down-heartedness, indeed, surprised most of his acquaintances in
and out of the regiment, for the young lady was no beauty, and a
doubtful fortune, and Dennis was a man outwardly of an unromantic
turn, who seemed to have a great deal more liking for beefsteak and
whisky-punch than for women, however fascinating.

But there is no doubt this shy uncouth rough fellow had a warmer and
more faithful heart hid within him than many a dandy who is as
handsome as Apollo. I, for my part, never can understand why a man
falls in love, and heartily give him credit for so doing, never mind
with what or whom. THAT I take to be a point quite as much beyond
an individual's own control as the catching of the small-pox or the
colour of his hair. To the surprise of all, Assistant-Surgeon
Dionysius Haggarty was deeply and seriously in love; and I am told
that one day he very nearly killed the before-mentioned young ensign
with a carving-knife, for venturing to make a second caricature,
representing Lady Gammon and Jemima in a fantastical park,
surrounded by three gardeners, three carriages, three footmen, and
the covered cyar. He would have no joking concerning them. He
became moody and quarrelsome of habit. He was for some time much
more in the surgery and hospital than in the mess. He gave up the
eating, for the most part, of those vast quantities of beef and
pudding, for which his stomach used to afford such ample and swift
accommodation; and when the cloth was drawn, instead of taking
twelve tumblers, and singing Irish melodies, as he used to do, in a
horrible cracked yelling voice, he would retire to his own
apartment, or gloomily pace the barrack-yard, or madly whip and spur
a grey mare he had on the road to Leamington, where his Jemima
(although invisible for him) still dwelt.

The season at Leamington coming to a conclusion by the withdrawal of
the young fellows who frequented that watering-place, the widow Gam
retired to her usual quarters for the other months of the year.
Where these quarters were, I think we have no right to ask, for I
believe she had quarrelled with her brother at Molloyville, and
besides, was a great deal too proud to be a burden on anybody.

Not only did the widow quit Leamington, but very soon afterwards the
120th received its marching orders, and left Weedon and
Warwickshire. Haggarty's appetite was by this time partially
restored, but his love was not altered, and his humour was still
morose and gloomy. I am informed that at this period of his life he
wrote some poems relative to his unhappy passion; a wild set of
verses of several lengths, and in his handwriting, being discovered
upon a sheet of paper in which a pitch-plaster was wrapped up, which
Lieutenant and Adjutant Wheezer was compelled to put on for a cold.

Fancy then, three years afterwards, the surprise of all Haggarty's
acquaintances on reading in the public papers the following
announcement:

"Married, at Monkstown on the 12th instant, Dionysius Haggarty,
Esq., of H.M. 120th Foot, to Jemima Amelia Wilhelmina Molloy,
daughter of the late Major Lancelot Gam, R.M., and granddaughter of
the late, and niece of the present Burke Bodkin Blake Molloy, Esq.,
Molloyville, county Mayo."

"Has the course of true love at last begun to run smooth?" thought
I, as I laid down the paper; and the old times, and the old leering
bragging widow, and the high shoulders of her daughter, and the
jolly days with the 120th, and Doctor Jephson's one-horse chaise,
and the Warwickshire hunt, and--and Louisa S-----, but never mind
HER,--came back to my mind. Has that good-natured simple fellow at
last met with his reward? Well, if he has not to marry the
mother-in-law too, he may get on well enough.

Another year announced the retirement of Assistant-Surgeon Haggarty
from the 120th, where he was replaced by Assistant-Surgeon Angus
Rothsay Leech, a Scotchman, probably; with whom I have not the least
acquaintance, and who has nothing whatever to do with this little
history.

Still more years passed on, during which time I will not say that I
kept a constant watch upon the fortunes of Mr. Haggarty and his
lady; for, perhaps, if the truth were known, I never thought for a
moment about them; until one day, being at Kingstown, near Dublin,
dawdling on the beach, and staring at the Hill of Howth, as most
people at that watering-place do, I saw coming towards me a tall
gaunt man, with a pair of bushy red whiskers, of which I thought I
had seen the like in former years, and a face which could be no
other than Haggarty's. It was Haggarty, ten years older than when
we last met, and greatly more grim and thin. He had on one shoulder
a young gentleman in a dirty tartan costume, and a face exceedingly
like his own peeping from under a battered plume of black feathers,
while with his other hand he was dragging a light green go-cart, in
which reposed a female infant of some two years old. Both were
roaring with great power of lungs.

As soon as Dennis saw me, his face lost the dull puzzled expression
which had seemed to characterise it; he dropped the pole of the
go-cart from one hand, and his son from the other, and came jumping
forward to greet me with all his might, leaving his progeny roaring
in the road.

"Bless my sowl," says he, "sure it's Fitz-Boodle? Fitz, don't you
remember me? Dennis Haggarty of the 120th? Leamington, you know?
Molloy, my boy, hould your tongue, and stop your screeching, and
Jemima's too; d'ye hear? Well, it does good to sore eyes to see an
old face. How fat you're grown, Fitz; and were ye ever in Ireland
before? and a'n't ye delighted with it? Confess, now, isn't it
beautiful?"

This question regarding the merits of their country, which I have
remarked is put by most Irish persons, being answered in a
satisfactory manner, and the shouts of the infants appeased from an
apple-stall hard by, Dennis and I talked of old times; I
congratulated him on his marriage with the lovely girl whom we all
admired, and hoped he had a fortune with her, and so forth. His
appearance, however, did not bespeak a great fortune: he had an old
grey hat, short old trousers, an old waistcoat with regimental
buttons, and patched Blucher boots, such as are not usually sported
by persons in easy life.

"Ah!" says he, with a sigh, in reply to my queries, "times are
changed since them days, Fitz-Boodle. My wife's not what she was--
the beautiful creature you knew her. Molloy, my boy, run off in a
hurry to your mamma, and tell her an English gentleman is coming
home to dine; for you'll dine with me, Fitz, in course?" And I
agreed to partake of that meal; though Master Molloy altogether
declined to obey his papa's orders with respect to announcing the
stranger.

"Well, I must announce you myself," said Haggarty, with a smile.
"Come, it's just dinner-time, and my little cottage is not a hundred
yards off." Accordingly, we all marched in procession to Dennis's
little cottage, which was one of a row and a half of one-storied
houses, with little courtyards before them, and mostly with very
fine names on the doorposts of each. "Surgeon Haggarty" was
emblazoned on Dennis's gate, on a stained green copper-plate; and,
not content with this, on the door-post above the bell was an oval
with the inscription of "New Molloyville." The bell was broken, of
course; the court, or garden-path, was mouldy, weedy, seedy; there
were some dirty rocks, by way of ornament, round a faded glass-plat
in the centre, some clothes and rags hanging out of most part of the
windows of New Molloyville, the immediate entrance to which was by a
battered scraper, under a broken trellis-work, up which a withered
creeper declined any longer to climb.

"Small, but snug," says Haggarty: "I'll lead the way, Fitz; put
your hat on the flower-pot there, and turn to the left into the
drawing-room." A fog of onions and turf-smoke filled the whole of
the house, and gave signs that dinner was not far off. Far off?
You could hear it frizzling in the kitchen, where the maid was also
endeavouring to hush the crying of a third refractory child. But as
we entered, all three of Haggarty's darlings were in full roar.

"Is it you, Dennis?" cried a sharp raw voice, from a dark corner in
the drawing-room to which we were introduced, and in which a dirty
tablecloth was laid for dinner, some bottles of porter and a cold
mutton-bone being laid out on a rickety grand piano hard by. "Ye're
always late, Mr. Haggarty. Have you brought the whisky from
Nowlan's? I'll go bail ye've not, now."

"My dear, I've brought an old friend of yours and mine to take
pot-luck with us to-day," said Dennis.

"When is he to come?" said the lady. At which speech I was rather
surprised, for I stood before her.

"Here he is, Jemima my love," answered Dennis, looking at me. "Mr.
Fitz-Boodle: don't you remember him in Warwickshire, darling?"

"Mr. Fitz-Boodle! I am very glad to see him," said the lady, rising
and curtseying with much cordiality.

Mrs. Haggarty was blind.

Mrs. Haggarty was not only blind, but it was evident that smallpox
had been the cause of her loss of vision. Her eyes were bound with
a bandage, her features were entirely swollen, scarred and distorted
by the horrible effects of the malady. She had been knitting in a
corner when we entered, and was wrapped in a very dirty bedgown.
Her voice to me was quite different to that in which she addressed
her husband. She spoke to Haggarty in broad Irish: she addressed
me in that most odious of all languages--Irish-English, endeavouring
to the utmost to disguise her brogue, and to speak with the true
dawdling distingue English air.

"Are you long in I-a-land?" said the poor creature in this accent.
"You must faind it a sad ba'ba'ous place, Mr Fitz-Boodle, I'm shu-
ah! It was vary kaind of you to come upon us en famille, and accept
a dinner sans ceremonie. Mr. Haggarty, I hope you'll put the waine
into aice, Mr. Fitz-Boodle must be melted with this hot weathah."

For some time she conducted the conversation in this polite strain,
and I was obliged to say, in reply to a query of hers, that I did
not find her the least altered, though I should never have
recognised her but for this rencontre. She told Haggarty with a
significant air to get the wine from the cellah, and whispered to me
that he was his own butlah; and the poor fellow, taking the hint,
scudded away into the town for a pound of beefsteak and a couple of
bottles of wine from the tavern.

"Will the childhren get their potatoes and butther here?" said a
barefoot girl, with long black hair flowing over her face, which she
thrust in at the door.

"Let them sup in the nursery, Elizabeth, and send--ah! Edwards to
me."

"Is it cook you mane, ma'am?" said the girl.

"Send her at once!" shrieked the unfortunate woman; and the noise of
frying presently ceasing, a hot woman made her appearance, wiping
her brows with her apron, and asking, with an accent decidedly
Hibernian, what the misthress wanted.

"Lead me up to my dressing-room, Edwards: I really am not fit to be
seen in this dishabille by Mr. Fitz-Boodle."

"Fait' I can't!" says Edwards; "sure the masther's at the butcher's,
and can't look to the kitchen-fire!"

"Nonsense, I must go!" cried Mrs. Haggarty; and Edwards, putting on
a resigned air, and giving her arm and face a further rub with her
apron, held out her arm to Mrs. Dennis, and the pair went upstairs.

She left me to indulge my reflections for half-an-hour, at the end
of which period she came downstairs dressed in an old yellow satin,
with the poor shoulders exposed just as much as ever. She had
mounted a tawdry cap, which Haggarty himself must have selected for
her. She had all sorts of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings in
gold, in garnets, in mother-of-pearl, in ormolu. She brought in a
furious savour of musk, which drove the odours of onions and
turf-smoke before it; and she waved across her wretched angular mean
scarred features an old cambric handkerchief with a yellow
lace-border.

"And so you would have known me anywhere, Mr. Fitz-Boodle?" said
she, with a grin that was meant to be most fascinating. "I was sure
you would; for though my dreadful illness deprived me of my sight,
it is a mercy that it did not change my features or complexion at
all!"

This mortification had been spared the unhappy woman; but I don't
know whether, with all her vanity, her infernal pride, folly, and
selfishness, it was charitable to leave her in her error.

Yet why correct her? There is a quality in certain people which is
above all advice, exposure, or correction. Only let a man or woman
have DULNESS sufficient, and they need bow to no extant authority.
A dullard recognises no betters; a dullard can't see that he is in
the wrong; a dullard has no scruples of conscience, no doubts of
pleasing, or succeeding, or doing right; no qualms for other
people's feelings, no respect but for the fool himself. How can you
make a fool perceive he is a fool? Such a personage can no more see
his own folly than he can see his own ears. And the great quality
of Dulness is to be unalterably contented with itself. What myriads
of souls are there of this admirable sort,--selfish, stingy,
ignorant, passionate, brutal; bad sons, mothers, fathers, never
known to do kind actions!

To pause, however, in this disquisition, which was carrying us far
off Kingstown, New Molloyville, Ireland--nay, into the wide world
wherever Dulness inhabits--let it be stated that Mrs. Haggarty, from
my brief acquaintance with her and her mother, was of the order of
persons just mentioned. There was an air of conscious merit about
her, very hard to swallow along with the infamous dinner poor Dennis
managed, after much delay, to get on the table. She did not fail to
invite me to Molloyville, where she said her cousin would be charmed
to see me; and she told me almost as many anecdotes about that place
as her mother used to impart in former days. I observed, moreover,
that Dennis cut her the favourite pieces of the beefsteak, that she
ate thereof with great gusto, and that she drank with similar
eagerness of the various strong liquors at table. "We Irish ladies
are all fond of a leetle glass of punch," she said, with a playful
air, and Dennis mixed her a powerful tumbler of such violent grog as
I myself could swallow only with some difficulty. She talked of her
suffering a great deal, of her sacrifices, of the luxuries to which
she had been accustomed before marriage,--in a word, of a hundred of
those themes on which some ladies are in the custom of enlarging
when they wish to plague some husbands.

But honest Dennis, far from being angry at this perpetual,
wearisome, impudent recurrence to her own superiority, rather
encouraged the conversation than otherwise. It pleased him to hear
his wife discourse about her merits and family splendours. He was
so thoroughly beaten down and henpecked, that he, as it were,
gloried in his servitude, and fancied that his wife's magnificence
reflected credit on himself. He looked towards me, who was half
sick of the woman and her egotism, as if expecting me to exhibit the
deepest sympathy, and flung me glances across the table as much as
to say, "What a gifted creature my Jemima is, and what a fine fellow
I am to be in possession of her!" When the children came down she
scolded them, of course, and dismissed them abruptly (for which
circumstance, perhaps, the writer of these pages was not in his
heart very sorry), and, after having sat a preposterously long time,
left us, asking whether we would have coffee there or in her
boudoir.

"Oh! here, of course," said Dennis, with rather a troubled air, and
in about ten minutes the lovely creature was led back to us again by
"Edwards," and the coffee made its appearance. After coffee her
husband begged her to let Mr. Fitz-Boodle hear her voice: "He longs
for some of his old favourites."

"No! DO you?" said she; and was led in triumph to the jingling old
piano, and with a screechy wiry voice, sang those very abominable
old ditties which I had heard her sing at Leamington ten years back.

Haggarty, as she sang, flung himself back in the chair delighted.
Husbands always are, and with the same song, one that they have
heard when they were nineteen years old probably; most Englishmen's
tunes have that date, and it is rather affecting, I think, to hear
an old gentleman of sixty or seventy quavering the old ditty that
was fresh when HE was fresh and in his prime. If he has a musical
wife, depend on it he thinks her old songs of 1788 are better than
any he has heard since: in fact he has heard NONE since. When the
old couple are in high good-humour the old gentleman will take the
old lady round the waist, and say, "My dear, do sing me one of your
own songs," and she sits down and sings with her old voice, and, as
she sings, the roses of her youth bloom again for a moment.
Ranelagh resuscitates, and she is dancing a minuet in powder and a
train.

This is another digression. It was occasioned by looking at poor
Dennis's face while his wife was screeching (and, believe me, the
former was the more pleasant occupation). Bottom tickled by the
fairies could not have been in greater ecstasies. He thought the
music was divine; and had further reason for exulting in it, which
was, that his wife was always in a good humour after singing, and
never would sing but in that happy frame of mind. Dennis had hinted
so much in our little colloquy during the ten minutes of his lady's
absence in the "boudoir;" so, at the conclusion of each piece, we
shouted "Bravo!" and clapped our hands like mad.

Such was my insight into the life of Surgeon Dionysius Haggarty and
his wife; and I must have come upon him at a favourable moment too,
for poor Dennis has spoken, subsequently, of our delightful evening
at Kingstown, and evidently thinks to this day that his friend was
fascinated by the entertainment there. His inward economy was as
follows: he had his half-pay, a thousand pounds, about a hundred a
year that his father left, and his wife had sixty pounds a year from
the mother; which the mother, of course, never paid. He had no
practice, for he was absorbed in attention to his Jemima and the
children, whom he used to wash, to dress, to carry out, to walk, or
to ride, as we have seen, and who could not have a servant, as their
dear blind mother could never be left alone. Mrs. Haggarty, a great
invalid, used to lie in bed till one, and have breakfast and hot
luncheon there. A fifth part of his income was spent in having her
wheeled about in a chair, by which it was his duty to walk daily for
an allotted number of hours. Dinner would ensue, and the amateur
clergy, who abound in Ireland, and of whom Mrs. Haggarty was a great
admirer, lauded her everywhere as a model of resignation and virtue,
and praised beyond measure the admirable piety with which she bore
her sufferings.

Well, every man to his taste. It did not certainly appear to me
that SHE was the martyr of the family.

"The circumstances of my marriage with Jemima," Dennis said to me,
in some after conversations we had on this interesting subject,
"were the most romantic and touching you can conceive. You saw what
an impression the dear girl had made upon me when we were at Weedon;
for from the first day I set eyes on her, and heard her sing her
delightful song of 'Dark-eyed Maiden of Araby,' I felt, and said to
Turniquet of ours, that very night, that SHE was the dark-eyed maid
of Araby for ME--not that she was, you know, for she was born in
Shropshire. But I felt that I had seen the woman who was to make me
happy or miserable for life. You know how I proposed for her at
Kenilworth, and how I was rejected, and how I almost shot myself in
consequence--no, you don't know that, for I said nothing about it to
anyone, but I can tell you it was a very near thing; and a very
lucky thing for me I didn't do it: for,--would you believe it?--the
dear girl was in love with me all the time."

"Was she really?" said I, who recollected that Miss Gam's love of
those days showed itself in a very singular manner; but the fact is,
when women are most in love they most disguise it.

"Over head and ears in love with poor Dennis," resumed that worthy
fellow, "who'd ever have thought it? But I have it from the best
authority, from her own mother, with whom I'm not over and above
good friends now; but of this fact she assured me, and I'll tell you
when and how.

"We were quartered at Cork three years after we were at Weedon, and
it was our last year at home; and a great mercy that my dear girl
spoke in time, or where should we have been now? Well, one day,
marching home from parade, I saw a lady seated at an open window, by
another who seemed an invalid, and the lady at the window, who was
dressed in the profoundest mourning, cried out, with a scream,
'Gracious, heavens! it's Mr. Haggarty of the 120th.'

"'Sure I know that voice,' says I to Whiskerton.

"'It's a great mercy you don't know it a deal too well,' says he:
'it's Lady Gammon. She's on some husband-hunting scheme, depend on
it, for that daughter of hers. She was at Bath last year on the
same errand, and at Cheltenham the year before, where, Heaven bless
you! she's as well known as the "Hen and Chickens."'

"'I'll thank you not to speak disrespectfully of Miss Jemima Gam,'
said I to Whiskerton; 'she's of one of the first families in
Ireland, and whoever says a word against a woman I once proposed
for, insults me,--do you understand?'

"'Well, marry her, if you like,' says Whiskerton, quite peevish:
'marry her, and be hanged!'

"Marry her! the very idea of it set my brain a-whirling, and made me
a thousand times more mad than I am by nature.

"You may be sure I walked up the hill to the parade-ground that
afternoon, and with a beating heart too. I came to the widow's
house. It was called 'New Molloyville,' as this is. Wherever she
takes a house for six months she calls it 'New Molloyville;' and has
had one in Mallow, in Bandon, in Sligo, in Castlebar, in Fermoy, in
Drogheda, and the deuce knows where besides: but the blinds were
down, and though I thought I saw somebody behind 'em, no notice was
taken of poor Denny Haggarty, and I paced up and down all mess-time
in hopes of catching a glimpse of Jemima, but in vain. The next day
I was on the ground again; I was just as much in love as ever,
that's the fact. I'd never been in that way before, look you; and
when once caught, I knew it was for life.

"There's no use in telling you how long I beat about the bush, but
when I DID get admittance to the house (it was through the means of
young Castlereagh Molloy, whom you may remember at Leamington, and
who was at Cork for the regatta, and used to dine at our mess, and
had taken a mighty fancy to me)--when I DID get into the house, I
say, I rushed in medias res at once; I couldn't keep myself quiet,
my heart was too full.

"Oh, Fitz! I shall never forget the day,--the moment I was
inthrojuiced into the dthrawing-room " (as he began to be agitated,
Dennis's brogue broke out with greater richness than ever; but
though a stranger may catch, and repeat from memory, a few words, it
is next to impossible for him to KEEP UP A CONVERSATION in Irish, so
that we had best give up all attempts to imitate Dennis). "When I
saw old mother Gam," said he, "my feelings overcame me all at once.
I rowled down on the ground, sir, as if I'd been hit by a
musket-ball. 'Dearest madam,' says I, 'I'll die if you don't give
me Jemima.'

"'Heavens, Mr. Haggarty!' says she, 'how you seize me with surprise!
Castlereagh, my dear nephew, had you not better leave us?' and away
he went, lighting a cigar, and leaving me still on the floor.

"'Rise, Mr. Haggarty,' continued the widow. 'I will not attempt to
deny that this constancy towards my daughter is extremely affecting,
however sudden your present appeal may be. I will not attempt to
deny that, perhaps, Jemima may have a similar feeling; but, as I
said, I never could give my daughter to a Catholic.'

"'I'm as good a Protestant as yourself, ma'am,' says I; 'my mother
was an heiress, and we were all brought up her way.'

"'That makes the matter very different,' says she, turning up the
whites of her eyes. 'How could I ever have reconciled it to my
conscience to see my blessed child married to a Papist? How could I
ever have taken him to Molloyville? Well, this obstacle being
removed, _I_ must put myself no longer in the way between two young
people. _I_ must sacrifice myself; as I always have when my darling
girl was in question. YOU shall see her, the poor dear lovely
gentle sufferer, and learn your fate from her own lips.'

"'The sufferer, ma'am,' says I; 'has Miss Gam been ill?'

"'What! haven't you heard?' cried the widow. 'Haven't you heard of
the dreadful illness which so nearly carried her from me? For nine
weeks, Mr. Haggarty, I watched her day and night, without taking a
wink of sleep,--for nine weeks she lay trembling between death and
life; and I paid the doctor eighty-three guineas. She is restored
now; but she is the wreck of the beautiful creature she was.
Suffering, and, perhaps, ANOTHER DISAPPOINTMENT--but we won't
mention that NOW--have so pulled her down. But I will leave you,
and prepare my sweet girl for this strange, this entirely unexpected
visit.'

"I won't tell you what took place between me and Jemima, to whom I
was introduced as she sat in the darkened room, poor sufferer! nor
describe to you with what a thrill of joy I seized (after groping
about for it) her poor emaciated hand. She did not withdraw it; I
came out of that room an engaged man, sir; and NOW I was enabled to
show her that I had always loved her sincerely, for there was my
will, made three years back, in her favour: that night she refused
me, as I told ye. I would have shot myself, but they'd have brought
me in non compos; and my brother Mick would have contested the will,
and so I determined to live, in order that she might benefit by my
dying. I had but a thousand pounds then: since that my father has
left me two more. I willed every shilling to her, as you may fancy,
and settled it upon her when we married, as we did soon after. It
was not for some time that I was allowed to see the poor girl's
face, or, indeed, was aware of the horrid loss she had sustained.
Fancy my agony, my dear fellow, when I saw that beautiful wreck!"

There was something not a little affecting to think, in the conduct
of this brave fellow, that he never once, as he told his story,
seemed to allude to the possibility of his declining to marry a
woman who was not the same as the woman he loved; but that he was
quite as faithful to her now, as he had been when captivated by the
poor tawdry charms of the silly Miss of Leamington. It was hard
that such a noble heart as this should be flung away upon yonder
foul mass of greedy vanity. Was it hard, or not, that he should
remain deceived in his obstinate humility, and continue to admire
the selfish silly being whom he had chosen to worship?

"I should have been appointed surgeon of the regiment," continued
Dennis, "soon after, when it was ordered abroad to Jamaica, where it
now is. But my wife would not hear of going, and said she would
break her heart if she left her mother. So I retired on half-pay,
and took this cottage; and in case any practice should fall in my
way--why, there is my name on the brass plate, and I'm ready for
anything that comes. But the only case that ever DID come was one
day when I was driving my wife in the chaise; and another, one
night, of a beggar with a broken head. My wife makes me a present
of a baby every year, and we've no debts; and between you and me and
the post, as long as my mother-in-law is out of the house, I'm as
happy as I need be."

"What! you and the old lady don't get on well?" said I.

"I can't say we do; it's not in nature, you know," said Dennis, with
a faint grin. "She comes into the house, and turns it topsy-turvy.
When she's here I'm obliged to sleep in the scullery. She's never
paid her daughter's income since the first year, though she brags
about her sacrifices as if she had ruined herself for Jemima; and
besides, when she's here, there's a whole clan of the Molloys,
horse, foot, and dragoons, that are quartered upon us, and eat me
out of house and home."

"And is Molloyville such a fine place as the widow described it?"
asked I, laughing, and not a little curious.

"Oh, a mighty fine place entirely!" said Dennis. "There's the oak
park of two hundred acres, the finest land ye ever saw, only they've
cut all the wood down. The garden in the old Molloys' time, they
say, was the finest ever seen in the West of Ireland; but they've
taken all the glass to mend the house windows: and small blame to
them either. There's a clear rent-roll of thirty-five hundred a
year, only it's in the hand of receivers; besides other debts, for
which there is no land security."

"Your cousin-in-law, Castlereagh Molloy, won't come into a large
fortune?"

"Oh, he'll do very well," said Dennis. "As long as he can get
credit, he's not the fellow to stint himself. Faith, I was fool
enough to put my name to a bit of paper for him, and as they could
not catch him in Mayo, they laid hold of me at Kingstown here. And
there was a pretty to do. Didn't Mrs. Gam say I was ruining her
family, that's all? I paid it by instalments (for all my money is
settled on Jemima); and Castlereagh, who's an honourable fellow,
offered me any satisfaction in life. Anyhow, he couldn't do more
than THAT."

"Of course not: and now you're friends?"

"Yes, and he and his aunt have had a tiff, too; and he abuses her
properly, I warrant ye. He says that she carried about Jemima from
place to place, and flung her at the head of every unmarried man in
England a'most--my poor Jemima, and she all the while dying in love
with me! As soon as she got over the small-pox--she took it at
Fermoy--God bless her, I wish I'd been by to be her nurse-tender--as
soon as she was rid of it, the old lady said to Castlereagh,
'Castlereagh, go to the bar'cks, and find out in the Army List where
the 120th is.' Off she came to Cork hot foot. It appears that
while she was ill, Jemima's love for me showed itself in such a
violent way that her mother was overcome, and promised that, should
the dear child recover, she would try and bring us together.
Castlereagh says she would have gone after us to Jamaica."

"I have no doubt she would," said I.

"Could you have a stronger proof of love than that?" cried Dennis.
"My dear girl's illness and frightful blindness have, of course,
injured her health and her temper. She cannot in her position look
to the children, you know, and so they come under my charge for the
most part; and her temper is unequal, certainly. But you see what a
sensitive, refined, elegant creature she is, and may fancy that
she's often put out by a rough fellow like me."

Here Dennis left me, saying it was time to go and walk out the
children; and I think his story has matter of some wholesome
reflection in it for bachelors who are about to change their
condition, or may console some who are mourning their celibacy.
Marry, gentlemen, if you like; leave your comfortable dinner at the
club for cold-mutton and curl-papers at your home; give up your
books or pleasures, and take to yourselves wives and children; but
think well on what you do first, as I have no doubt you will after
this advice and example. Advice is always useful in matters of
love; men always take it; they always follow other people's
opinions, not their own: they always profit by example. When they
see a pretty woman, and feel the delicious madness of love coming
over them, they always stop to calculate her temper, her money,
their own money, or suitableness for the married life. . . . Ha,
ha, ha! Let us fool in this way no more. I have been in love
forty-three times with all ranks and conditions of women, and would
have married every time if they would have let me. How many wives
had King Solomon, the wisest of men? And is not that story a
warning to us that Love is master of the wisest? It is only fools
who defy him.

I must come, however, to the last, and perhaps the saddest, part of
poor Denny Haggarty's history. I met him once more, and in such a
condition as made me determine to write this history.

In the month of June last I happened to be at Richmond, a delightful
little place of retreat; and there, sunning himself upon the
terrace, was my old friend of the 120th: he looked older, thinner,
poorer, and more wretched than I had ever seen him. "What! you have
given up Kingstown?" said I, shaking him by the hand.

"Yes," says he.

"And is my lady and your family here at Richmond?"

"No," says he, with a sad shake of the head; and the poor fellow's
hollow eyes filled with tears.

"Good heavens, Denny! what's the matter?" said I. He was squeezing
my hand like a vice as I spoke.

"They've LEFT me!" he burst out with a dreadful shout of passionate
grief--a horrible scream which seemed to be wrenched out of his
heart. "Left me!" said he, sinking down on a seat, and clenching
his great fists, and shaking his lean arms wildly. "I'm a wise man
now, Mr. Fitz-Boodle. Jemima has gone away from me, and yet you
know how I loved her, and how happy we were! I've got nobody now;
but I'll die soon, that's one comfort: and to think it's she
that'll kill me after all!"

The story, which he told with a wild and furious lamentation such as
is not known among men of our cooler country, and such as I don't
like now to recall, was a very simple one. The mother-in-law had
taken possession of the house, and had driven him from it. His
property at his marriage was settled on his wife. She had never
loved him, and told him this secret at last, and drove him out of
doors with her selfish scorn and ill-temper. The boy had died; the
girls were better, he said, brought up among the Molloys than they
could be with him; and so he was quite alone in the world, and was
living, or rather dying, on forty pounds a year.

His troubles are very likely over by this time. The two fools who
caused his misery will never read this history of him; THEY never
read godless stories in magazines: and I wish, honest reader, that
you and I went to church as much as they do. These people are not
wicked BECAUSE of their religious observances, but IN SPITE of them.
They are too dull to understand humility, too blind to see a tender
and simple heart under a rough ungainly bosom. They are sure that
all their conduct towards my poor friend here has been perfectly
righteous, and that they have given proofs of the most Christian
virtue. Haggarty's wife is considered by her friends as a martyr to
a savage husband, and her mother is the angel that has come to
rescue her. All they did was to cheat him and desert him. And safe
in that wonderful self-complacency with which the fools of this
earth are endowed, they have not a single pang of conscience for
their villany towards him, consider their heartlessness as a proof
and consequence of their spotless piety and virtue.

Footnotes:

{1} The words of this song are copyright, nor will the copyright be
sold for less than twopence-halfpenny.

{2} A French proverbe furnished the author with the notion of the
rivalry between the Barber and the Tailor.

{3} As it is very probable that many fair readers may not approve
of the extremely forcible language in which the combat is depicted,
I beg them to skip it and pass on to the next chapter, and to
remember that it has been modelled on the style of the very best
writers of the sporting papers.

{4} Every person who has lived abroad can, of course, point out a
score of honourable exceptions to the case above hinted at, and
knows many such unions in which it is the Frenchman who honours the
English lady by marrying her. But it must be remembered that
marrying in France means commonly fortune-hunting: and as for the
respect in which marriage is held in France, let all the French
novels in M. Rolandi's library be perused by those who wish to come
to a decision upon the question.

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