Part 2 out of 3
alderman, from whose worshipful person I tore the robe of office on the
night of the fete. But what does he mean by 'my exposing him and his
family?' Why, zounds, his wife and children were not with him on the
pavement. Oh, I see it; it is the mansion-house school of eloquence; did
not Sir William Curtis apologise for not appearing at court, from having
lost an eye, which he designated as an awful 'domestic calamity.'"
It being now settled to my satisfaction, that Mr. Beamish and the great
uncloaked were "convertible terms," I set about making the 'amende' in
the most handsome manner possible. I wrote to the alderman a most
pacific epistle, regretting that my departure from Cork deprived me of
making reparation before, and expressing a most anxious hope that "he
caught no cold," and a fervent wish that "he would live many years to
grace and ornament the dignity of which his becoming costume was the
emblem." This I enclosed in a note to Curzon, telling him how the matter
occurred, and requesting that he would send it by his servant, together
with the scarlet vestment which he would find in my dressing-room.
Having folded and sealed this despatch, I turned to give Lord Callonby an
account of the business, and showed him Beamish's note, at which he was
greatly amused: and, indeed, it furnished food for mirth for the whole
party during the evening. The next morning I set out with Lord Callonby
on the long-threatened canvassing expedition--with the details of which I
need not burden my "Confessions." Suffice it to say, that when Lord
Kilkee was advocating Toryism in the west, I, his accredited ambassador,
was devoting to the infernal gods the prelacy, the peerage, and the
pension list--a mode of canvass well worthy of imitation in these
troublesome times; for, not to speak of the great prospect of success
from having friends on both sides of the question, the principal can
always divest himself of any unpleasant consequences as regards
inconsistency, by throing the blame on this friend, "who went too far,"
as the appropriate phrase is.
Nothing could be more successful than our mission. Lord Callonby was
delighted beyond bounds with the prospect, and so completely carried away
by high spirits, and so perfectly assured that much of it was owing to my
exertions, that on the second morning of our tour--for we proceeded
through the county for three days--he came laughing into my dressing-
room, with a newspaper in his hand.
"Here, Lorrequer," said he, "here's news for you. You certainly must
read this," and he handed me a copy of the "Clare Herald," with an
account of our meeting the evening before.
After glancing my eye rapidly over the routine usual in such cases--
Humph, ha--nearly two hundred people--most respectable farmers--room
appropriately decorated--"Callonby Arms"--"after the usual loyal toasts,
the chairman rose"--Well, no matter. Ah! here it is: "Mr. Lorrequer here
addressed the meeting with a flow of eloquence it has rarely, if ever,
been our privilege to hear equalled. He began by"--humph--
"Ah," said his lordship, impatiently, "you will never find it out--look
here--'Mr. Lorrequer, whom we have mentioned as having made the highly
exciting speech, to be found in our first page, is, we understand, the
son of Sir Guy Lorrequer, of Elton, in Shropshire--one of the wealthiest
baronets in England. If rumour speak truly, there is a very near
prospect of an alliance between this talented and promising young
gentleman, and the beautiful and accomplished daughter of a certain
noble earl, with whom he has been for some time domesticated."
"Eh, what think you? Son of Sir Guy Lorrequer. I always thought my old
friend a bachelor, but you see the 'Clare Herald' knows better. Not to
speak of the last piece of intelligence, it is very good, is it not?"
"Capital, indeed," said I, trying to laugh, and at the same time blushing
confoundedly, and looking as ridiculously as need be.
It now struck me forcibly that there was something extremely odd in his
lordship's mention of this paragraph, particularly when coupled with his
and Lady Callonby's manner to me for the last two months. They knew
enough of my family, evidently, to be aware of my station and prospects--
or rather my want of both--and yet, in the face of this, they not only
encouraged me to prolong a most delightful visit, but by a thousand daily
and dangerous opportunities, absolutely threw me in the way of one of the
loveliest of her sex, seemingly without fear on their parts. "'Eh bien,'"
thought I, with my old philosophy, "Time, that 'pregnant old gentleman,'
will disclose all, and so 'laisse, aller.'"
My reveries on my good and evil fortune were suddenly interrupted by a
letter which reached me that evening, having been forwarded from Callonby
by a special messenger. "What! Another epistle from Curzon," said I, as
my eye caught the address, and wondering not a little what pressing
emergency had called forth the words on the cover--"to be forwarded with
haste." I eagerly broke the seal and read the following:
"My Dear Harry,--I received yours on the 11th, and immediately despatched
your note and the raiment to Mr. Beamish. He was from home at the time,
but at eight o'clock I was sent for from the mess to see two gentlemen on
most pressing business. I hurried to my quarters, and there found the
aforesaid Mr. B. accompanied by a friend, whom he introduced as Dr. De
Courcy Finucane, of the North Cork Militia--as warlike looking a
gentleman, of his inches, some five feet three, as you would wish to see.
The moment I appeared, both rose, and commenced a narrative, for such I
judge it to be, but so energetically and so completely together, that I
could only bow politely, and at last request that one, or the other,
would inform me of the object of their visit. Here began the tug of war,
the Doctor saying, 'Arrah, now Giles'--Mr. Beamish interrupting by
'Whisht, I tell ye--now, can't you let me! Ye see, Mr. Curzoin'--for so
they both agreed to designate me. At last, completely worn out, I said,
'Perhaps you have not received my friend's note?' At this Mr. Beamish
reddened to the eyes, and with the greatest volubility poured forth a
flood of indignant eloquence, that I thought it necessary to check; but
in this I failed, for after informing me pretty clearly, that he knew
nothing of your story of the alderman, or his cloak, added, that he
firmly believed your pretended reparation was only a renewed insult, and
that--but in a word, he used such language, that I was compelled to take
him short; and the finale is, that I agreed you should meet him, though
still ignorant of what he calls the 'original offence.'--But heaven
knows, his conduct here last night demands a reprimand, and I hope you
may give it; and if you shoot him, we may worm out the secret from his
executors. Nothing could exceed the politeness of the parties on my
consenting to this arrangement. Dr. Finucane proposed Carrigaholt, as
the rendezvous, about 12 miles, I believe, from Kilrush, and Tuesday
evening at six as the time, which will be the very earliest moment we can
arrive there. So, pray be up to time, and believe me yours, C. Curzon,
It was late on Monday evening when this letter reached me, and there was
no time to be lost, as I was then about 40 Irish miles from the place
mentioned by Curzon; so after briefly acquainting Lord Callonby that I
was called off by duty, I hurried to my room to pack my clothes, and
again read over this extraordinary epistle.
I confess it did appear something droll, how completely Curzon seemed to
imbibe the passion for fighting from these "blood-thirsty Irishmen."
For by his own showing he was utterly ignorant of my ever having offended
this Mr. Beamish, of whom I recollected nothing whatever. Yet when the
gentleman waxes wrothy, rather than inconvenience him, or perhaps anxious
to get back to the mess, he coolly says, "Oh, my friend shall meet you,"
and then his pleasant jest, "find out the cause of quarrel from his
Truly, thought I, there is no equanimity like his who acts as your second
in a duel. The gentlemanlike urbanity with which he waits on the
opposite friend--the conciliating tone with which he proffers implacable
enmity--the killing kindness with which he refuses all accommodation--the
Talleyrand air of his short notes, dated from the "Travellers," or
"Brookes," with the words 3 o'clock or 5 o'clock on the cover, all
indicative of the friendly precipitancy of the negociation. Then, when
all is settled, the social style with which he asks you to take a
"cutlet" with him at the "Clarendon," not to go home--are only to be
equalled by the admirable tact on the ground--the studiously elegant
salute to the adverse party, half a la Napoleon, and half Beau Brummell--
the politely offered snuff-box--the coquetting raillery about 10 paces or
12--are certainly the beau ideal of the stoicism which preludes sending
your friend out of the world like a gentleman.
How very often is the face of external nature at variance with the
thoughts and actions--"the sayings and doings" we may be most intent upon
at the moment. How many a gay and brilliant bridal party has wended its
way to St. George's, Hanover-square, amid a downpour of rain, one would
suppose sufficient to quench the torch of Hymen, though it burned as
brightly as Capt. Drummond's oxygen light; and on the other hand, how
frequently are the bluest azure of heaven and the most balmy airs shed
upon the heart bursting with affliction, or the head bowed with grief;
and without any desire to impugn, as a much high authority has done, the
moral character of the moon, how many a scene of blood and rapine has its
mild radiance illumined. Such reflections as these came thronging to my
mind, as on the afternoon of Tuesday I neared the little village of our
The scene which in all its peaceful beauty lay before me, was truly a
bitter contrast to the occasion that led me thither. I stood upon a
little peninsula which separates the Shannon from the wide Atlantic. On
one side the placed river flowed on its course, between fields of waving
corn, or rich pasturage--the beautiful island of Scattery, with its
picturesque ruins reflected in the unrippled tide--the cheerful voices of
the reapers, and the merry laugh of the children were mingled with the
seaman's cry of the sailors, who were "heaving short" on their anchor,
to take the evening tide. The village, which consisted of merely a few
small cabins, was still from its situation a pleasing object in the
picture, and the blue smoke that rose in slender columns from the humble
dwellings, took from the scene its character of loneliness, and suggested
feelings of home and homely enjoyments, which human habitations, however,
lowly, never fail to do.
"At any other time," thought I, "and how I could have enjoyed all this,
but now--and, ha, I find it is already past five o'clock, and if I am
rightly informed I am still above a mile from 'Carrigaholt,' where we
were to meet."
I had dismissed my conveyance when nearing the village, to avoid
observation, and now took a foot-path over the hills. Before I had
proceeded half a mile, the scene changed completely. I found myself
traversing a small glen, grown over with a low oak scrub, and not
presenting, on any side, the slightest trace of habitation. I saw that
the ground had been selected by an adept. The glen, which grew narrow as
I advanced, suddenly disclosed to my view a glimpse of the Atlantic, upon
which the declining sun was pouring a flood of purple glory. I had
scarcely turned from the contemplation of this beautiful object, when a
long low whistle attracted my attention. I looked in the direction from
whence it proceeded, and discovered at some distance from me three
figures standing beside the ruin of an old Abbey, which I now for the
first time perceived.
If I had entertained any doubt as to who they were, it had been speedily
resolved, for I now saw one of the party waving his hat to me, whom, I
soon recognized to be Curzon; he came forward to meet me, and, in the few
hundred yards that intervened before our reaching the others, told me as
much as he knew of the opposite party; which, after all, was but little.
Mr. Beamish, my adversary, he described as a morose, fire-eating
southern, that evidently longed for an "affair" with a military man, then
considered a circumstance of some eclat in the south; his second, the
doctor, on the contrary, was by far "the best of the cut-throats," a most
amusing little personage, full of his own importance, and profuse in his
legends of his own doings in love and war, and evidently disposed to take
the pleasing side of every occurrence in life; they both agreed in but
one point--a firm and fixed resolve to give no explanation of the quarrel
with me. "So then," said I, as Curzon hurried over the preceding
account, "you absolutely know nothing whatever of the reason for which I
am about to give this man a meeting."
"No more than you," said Curzon, with imperturbable gravity; "but one
thing I am certain of--had I not at once promised him such, he would have
posted you in Limerick the next morning; and as you know our mess rule in
the 4_th, I thought it best--"
"Oh, certainly, quite right; but now are you quite certain I am the man
who offended him? For I solemnly assure you, I have not the most remote
recollection of having ever heard of him."
"That point," said Curzon, "there can be no doubt of, for he not only
designated you as Mr. Harry Lorrequer, but the gentleman that made all
Cork laugh so heartily, by his representation of Othello."
"Stop!" said I, "say not a word more; I'm his man."
By this time we had reached the ruins, and turning a corner came in full
contact with the enemy; they had been resting themselves on a tombstone
as we approached.
"Allow me," said Curzon, stepping a little in advance of me; "allow me to
introduce my friend Mr. Lorrequer, Dr. Finicane,--Dr. Finicane, Mr.
"Finucane, if quite agreeable to you; Finucane," said the little
gentleman, as he lifted his hat straight off his head, and replaced it
most accurately, by way of salute. "Mr. Lorrequer, it is with sincere
pleasure I make your acquaintance." Here Mr. Beamish bowed stiffly, in
return to my salutation, and at the instant a kind of vague sensation
crossed my mind, that those red whiskers, and that fiery face were not
seen for the first time; but the thumbscrews of the holy office would
have been powerless to refresh my memory as to when.
"Captain," said the doctor, "may I request the favour of your company
this way, one minute;" they both walked aside; the only words which
reached me as I moved off, to permit their conference, being an assurance
on the part of the doctor, "that it was a sweet spot he picked out, for,
by having them placed north and south, neither need have a patch of sky
behind him." Very few minutes sufficed for preliminaries, and they both
advanced, smirking and smiling, as if they had just arranged a new plan
for the amelioration of the poor, or the benefit of the manufacturing
classes, instead of making preparations for sending a gentleman out of
"Then if I understand you, captain," said the doctor, "you step the
distance, and I give the word."
"Exactly," said Curzon.
After a joking allusion to my friend's length of limb, at which we all
laughed heartily, we were placed, Curzon and the doctor standing and
breaking the line between us; the pistols were then put into our hands,
the doctor saying--"Now, gentlemen, I'll just retire six paces, and turn
round, which will be quite time enough to prepare, and at the word
'fire,' ye'll blaze away; mind now." With a knowing wink, the doctor
delivered this direction, and immediately moved off; the word "fire"
followed, and both pistols went off together. My hat was struck near the
top, and, as the smoke cleared away, I perceived that my ball had taken
effect upon my adversary; he was wounded a little below the knee and
appeared to steady himself with the greatest difficulty. "You friend is
hit," said Curzon, to the doctor, who now came forward with another
pistol. "You friend is hit."
"So I perceive," said he, placing his finger on the spot; "but it is no
harm in life; so we proceed, if you please."
"You don't mean to demand another shot?" said Curzon.
"Faith, do I," said the doctor coolly.
"Then," said Curzon, "I must tell you most unequivocally, I refuse, and
shall now withdraw my friend; and had it not been for a regulation
peculiar to our regiment, but never intended to include cases of this
nature, we had not been here now; for up to this hour my principal and
myself are in utter ignorance of any cause of offence ever having been
offered by him to Mr. Beamish."
"Giles, do you hear this?" said the doctor.
But Giles did not hear it, for the rapid loss of blood from his wound had
so weakened him, that he had fainted, and now lay peaceably on the grass.
Etiquette was now at an end, and we all ran forward to assist the wounded
man; for some minutes he lay apparently quite senseless, and when he at
last rallied and looked wildly about him, it appeared to be with
difficulty that he recalled any recollection of the place, and the people
around him; for a few seconds he fixed his eyes steadily upon the doctor,
and with a lip pale and bloodless, and a voice quivering from weakness,
"Fin! Didn't I tell ye, that pistol always threw high--oh!" and this he
said with a sigh that nearly overpowered him, "Oh, Fin, if you had only
given me the saw-handled one, that I AM USED TO; but it is no good
In my inmost heart I was grateful to the little doctor for his mistake,
for I plainly perceived what "the saw-handled one he was used to" might
have done for me, and could not help muttering to myself with good Sir
Andrew--"If I had known he was so cunning of fence, I'd have seen him
damned before that I fought with him."
Our first duty was now to remove the wounded man to the high road, about
which both he himself and his second seemed disposed to make some
difficulty; they spoke together for a few moments in a low tone of voice,
and then the doctor addressed us--"We feel, gentlemen, this is not a
time for any concealment; but the truth is, we have need of great
circumspection here, for I must inform you, we are both of us bound
over in heavy recognizances to keep the peace."
"Bound over to keep the peace!" said Curzon and myself together.
"Nothing less; and although there is nobody hereabout would tell, yet if
the affair got into the papers by any means, why there are some people in
Cork would like to press my friend there, for he is a very neat shot when
he has the saw-handle," and here the doctor winked.
We had little time permitted us, to think upon the oddity of meeting a
man in such circumstances, for we were now obliged to contribute our aid
in conveying him to the road, where some means might be procured for his
transfer to Kilrush, or some other town in the neighbourhood, for he was
by this time totally unable to walk.
After half an hour's toiling, we at last did reach the highway, by which
time I had ample opportunity, short as the space was, to see something of
the character of our two opponents. It appeared the doctor exercised the
most absolute control over his large friend, dictating and commanding in
a tone which the other never ventured to resist; for a moment or two Mr.
Beamish expressed a great desire to be conveyed by night to Kilrush,
where he might find means to cross the Shannon into Kerry; this, however,
the doctor opposed strenuously, from the risque of publicity; and finally
settled that we should all go in a body to his friend, Father Malachi
Brennan's house, only two miles off, where the sick man would have the
most tender care, and what the doctor considered equally indispensable,
we ourselves a most excellent supper, and a hearty welcome.
"You know Father Malachi, of course, Mr. Lorrequer?"
"I am ashamed to say I do not."
"Not know Malachi Brennan and live in Clare! Well, well, that is
strange; sure he is the priest of this country for twelve miles in every
direction of you, and a better man, and a pleasanter, there does not live
in the diocese; though I'm his cousin that says it."
After professing all the possible pleasure it would afford my friend and
myself to make the acquaintance of Father Malachi, we proceeded to place
Mr. Beamish in a car that was passing at the time, and started for the
residence of the good priest. The whole of the way thither I was
occupied but by one thought, a burning anxiety to know the cause of our
quarrel, and I longed for the moment when I might get the doctor apart
from his friend, to make the inquiry.
"There--look down to your left, where you see the lights shining so
brightly, that is Father Malachi's house; as sure as my name is
De Courcy Finucane, there's fun going on there this night."
"Why, there certainly does seem a great illumination in the valley
there," said I.
"May I never," said the doctor, "if it isn't a station--"
"A station!--pray may I ask--"
"You need not ask a word on the subject; for, if I am a true prophet,
you'll know what it means before morning."
A little more chatting together, brought us to a narrow road, flanked on
either side by high hedges of hawthorn, and, in a few minutes more, we
stood before the priest's residence, a long, white-washed, thatched
house, having great appearance of comfort and convenience. Arrived here,
the doctor seemed at once to take on him the arrangement of the whole
party; for, after raising the latch and entering the house, he returned
to us in a few minutes, and said,
"Wait a while now; we'll not go in to Father Malachi, 'till we've put
Giles to bed."
We, accordingly, lifted him from off the car, and assisted him into the
house, and following Finucane down a narrow passage, at last reached a
most comfortable little chamber, with a neat bed; here we placed him,
while the doctor gave some directions to a bare-headed, red-legged
hussey, without shoes or stockings, and himself proceeded to examine the
wound, which was a more serious one than it at first appeared.
After half an hour thus occupied, during which time, roars of merriment
and hearty peals of laughter burst upon us every time the door opened,
from a distant part of the house, where his reverence was entertaining
his friends, and which, as often as they were heard by the doctor seemed
to produce in him sensations not unlike those that afflicted the "wedding
guest" in the "Ancient Mariner," when he heard the "loud bassoon," and as
certainly imparted an equally longing desire to be a partaker in the
mirth. We arranged every thing satisfactorily for Mr. Beamish's comfort,
and with a large basin of vinegar and water, to keep his knee cool, and a
strong tumbler of hot punch, to keep his heart warm--homeopathic medicine
is not half so new as Dr. Hahnneman would make us believe--we left Mr.
Beamish to his own meditations, and doubtless regrets that he did not get
"the saw-handled one, he was used to," while we proceeded to make our
bows to Father Malachi Brennan.
But, as I have no intention to treat the good priest with ingratitude, I
shall not present him to my readers at the tail of a chapter.
THE PRIEST'S SUPPER--FATHER MALACHI AND THE COADJUTOR
--MAJOR JONES AND THE ABBE
At the conclusion of our last chapter we left our quondam antagonist,
Mr. Beamish, stretched at full length upon a bed practising homeopathy
by administering hot punch to her fever, while we followed our chaperon,
Doctor Finucane, into the presence of the Reverend Father Brennan.
The company into which we now, without any ceremony on our parts,
introduced ourselves, consisted of from five and twenty to thirty
persons, seated around a large oak table, plentifully provided with
materials for drinking, and cups, goblets, and glasses of every shape and
form. The moment we entered, the doctor stepped forward, and, touching
Father Malachi on the shoulder,--for so I rightly guessed him to be,--
presented himself to his relative, by whom he was welcomed with every
demonstration of joy. While their recognitions were exchanged, and while
the doctor explained the reasons of our visit, I was enabled, undisturbed
and unnoticed, to take a brief survey of the party.
Father Malachi Brennan, P.P. of Carrigaholt, was what I had often
pictured to myself as the beau ideal of his caste; his figure was short,
fleshy, and enormously muscular, and displayed proportions which wanted
but height to constitute a perfect Hercules; his legs so thick in the
calf, so taper in the ancle, looked like nothing I know, except perhaps,
the metal balustrades of Carlisle--bridge; his face was large and rosy,
and the general expression, a mixture of unbounded good humour and
inexhaustible drollery, to which the restless activity of his black and
arched eye--brows greatly contributed; and his mouth, were it not for a
character of sensuality and voluptuousness about the nether lip, had been
actually handsome; his head was bald, except a narrow circle close above
the ears, which was marked by a ring of curly dark hair, sadly
insufficient however, to conceal a development behind, that, if there be
truth in phrenology, bodes but little happiness to the disciples of Miss
Add to these external signs a voice rich, fluent, and racy, with the
mellow "doric" of his country, and you have some faint resemblance of one
"every inch a priest." The very antipodes to the 'bonhomie' of this
figure, confronted him as croupier at the foot of the table. This,
as I afterwards learned, was no less a person than Mister Donovan, the
coadjutor or "curate;" he was a tall, spare, ungainly looking man of
about five and thirty, with a pale, ascetic countenance, the only
readable expression of which vibrated between low suspicion and intense
vulgarity: over his low, projecting forehead hung down a mass of straight
red hair; indeed--for nature is not a politician--it almost approached an
orange hue. This was cut close to the head all around, and displayed in
their full proportions a pair of enormous ears, which stood out in
"relief," like turrets from a watch-tower, and with pretty much the same
object; his skin was of that peculiar colour and texture, to which, not
all "the water in great Neptune's ocean" could impart a look of
cleanliness, while his very voice, hard, harsh, and inflexible, was
unprepossessing and unpleasant. And yet, strange as it may seem, he,
too, was a correct type of his order; the only difference being, that
Father Malachi was an older coinage, with the impress of Donay or St.
Omers, whereas Mister Donovan was the shining metal, fresh stamped from
the mint of Maynooth.
While thus occupied in my surveillance of the scene before me, I was
roused by the priest saying--
"Ah, Fin, my darling, you needn't deny it; you're at the old game as sure
as my name is Malachi, and ye'll never be easy nor quiet till ye're sent
beyond the sea, or maybe have a record of your virtues on half a ton of
marble in the church--yard, yonder."
"Upon my honour, upon the sacred honour of a De Courcy--."
"Well, well, never mind it now; ye see ye're just keeping your friends
cooling themselves there in the corner--introduce me at once."
"Mr. Lorrequer, I'm sure--."
"My name is Curzon," said the adjutant, bowing.
"A mighty pretty name, though a little profane; well, Mr. Curse-on," for
so he pronounced it, "ye're as welcome as the flowers in May; and it's
mighty proud I am to see ye here.
"Mr. Lorrequer, allow me to shake your hand--I've heard of ye before."
There seemed nothing very strange in that; for go where I would through
this country, I seemed as generally known as ever was Brummell in Bond-
"Fin tells me," continued Father Malachi, "that ye'd rather not be known
down here, in regard of a reason," and here he winked. "Make yourselves
quite easy; the king's writ was never but once in these parts; and the
'original and true copy' went back to Limerick in the stomach of the
server; they made him eat it, Mr. Lorrequer; but it's as well to be
cautious, for there are a good number here. A little dinner, a little
quarterly dinner we have among us, Mr. Curseon, to be social together,
and raise a "thrifle" for the Irish college at Rome, where we have a
probationer or two, ourselves.
"As good as a station, and more drink," whispered Fin into my ear. "And
now," continued the priest, "ye must just permit me to re-christen ye
both, and the contribution will not be the less for what I'm going to do;
and I'm certain you'll not be worse for the change Mr. Curseon--though
'tis only for a few hours, ye'll have a dacent name."
As I could see no possible objection to this proposal, nor did Curzon
either, our only desire being to maintain the secrecy necessary for our
antagonist's safety, we at once assented; when Father Malachi took me by
the hand, but with such a total change in his whole air and deportment
that I was completely puzzled by it; he led me forward to the company
with a good deal of the ceremonious reverence I have often admired in Sir
Charles Vernon, when conducting some full--blown dowager through the
mazes of a castle minuet. The desire to laugh outright was almost
irresistible, as the Rev. Father stood at arm's length from me, still
holding my hand, and bowing to the company pretty much in the style of a
manager introducing a blushing debutante to an audience. A moment more,
and I must have inevitably given way to a burst of laughter, when what
was my horror to hear the priest present me to the company as their
"excellent, worthy, generous, and patriotic young landlord, Lord Kilkee.
Cheer every mother's son of ye; cheer I say;" and certainly precept was
never more strenuously backed by example, for he huzzaed till I thought
he would burst a blood--vessel; may I add, I almost wished it, such was
the insufferable annoyance, the chagrin, this announcement gave me; and
I waited with eager impatience for the din and clamour to subside, to
disclaim every syllable of the priest's announcement, and take the
consequences of my baptismal epithet, cost what it might. To this I was
impelled by many and important reasons. Situated as I was with respect
to the Callonby family, my assumption of their name at such a moment
might get abroad, and the consequences to me, be inevitable ruin; and
independent of my natural repugnance to such sailing under false colours,
I saw Curzon laughing almost to suffocation at my wretched predicament,
and (so strong within me was the dread of ridicule) I thought, "what a
pretty narrative he is concocting for the mess this minute." I rose
to reply; and whether Father Malachi, with his intuitive quickness,
guessed my purpose or not, I cannot say, but he certainly resolved to
out-maneuver me, and he succeeded: while with one hand he motioned to the
party to keep silence, with the other he took hold of Curzon, but with no
peculiar or very measured respect, and introduced him as Mr. MacNeesh,
the new Scotch steward and improver--a character at that time whose
popularity might compete with a tithe proctor or an exciseman. So
completely did this tactique turn the tables upon the poor adjutant, who
the moment before was exulting over me, that I utterly forgot my own
woes, and sat down convulsed with mirth at his situation--an emotion
certainly not lessened as I saw Curzon passed from one to the other at
table, "like a pauper to his parish," till he found an asylum at the very
foot, in juxta with the engaging Mister Donovan. A propinquity, if I
might judge from their countenances, uncoveted by either party.
While this was performing, Doctor Finucane was making his recognitions
with several of the company, to whom he had been long known during his
visits to the neighbourhood. I now resumed my place on the right of the
Father, abandoning for the present all intention of disclaiming my rank,
and the campaign was opened. The priest now exerted himself to the
utmost to recall conversation with the original channels, and if possible
to draw off attention from me, which he still feared, might, perhaps,
elicit some unlucky announcement on my part. Failing in his endeavours
to bring matters to their former footing, he turned the whole brunt of
his attentions to the worthy doctor, who sat on his left.
"How goes on the law," said he, "Fin? Any new proofs, as they call them,
What Fin replied, I could not hear, but the allusion to the "suit" was
explained by Father Malachi informing us that the only impediment between
his cousin and the title of Kinsale lay in the unfortunate fact, that his
grandmother, "rest her sowl," was not a man.
Doctor Finucane winced a little under the manner in which this was
spoken: but returned the fire by asking if the bishop was down lately in
that quarter? The evasive way in which "the Father" replied having
stimulated my curiosity as to the reason, little entreaty was necessary
to persuade the doctor to relate the following anecdote, which was not
relished the less by his superior, that it told somewhat heavily on Mr.
"It is about four years ago," said the doctor, "since the Bishop, Dr.
Plunkett, took it into his head that he'd make a general inspection, 'a
reconnoisance," as we'd call it, Mr. Lor--that is, my lord! Through the
whole diocese, and leave no part far nor near without poking his nose in
it and seeing how matters were doing. He heard very queer stories about
his reverence here, and so down he came one morning in the month of July,
riding upon an old grey hack, looking just for all the world like any
other elderly gentleman in very rusty black. When he got near the
village he picked up a little boy to show him the short cut across the
fields to the house here; and as his lordship was a 'sharp man and a
shrewd,' he kept his eye on every thing as he went along, remarking this,
and noting down that.
"'Are ye regular in yer duties, my son?' said he to the gossoon.
"'I never miss a Sunday,' said the gossoon; 'for it's always walking his
reverence's horse I am the whole time av prayers.'
"His lordship said no more for a little while, when he muttered between
his teeth, 'Ah, it's just slander--nothing but slander and lying
tongues.' This soliloquy was caused by his remarking that on every gate
he passed, or from every cabin, two or three urchins would come out half
naked, but all with the finest heads of red hair he ever saw in his life.
"'How is it, my son,' said he, at length; 'they tell very strange stories
about Father Malachi, and I see so many of these children with red hair.
Eh--now Father Malachi's a dark man.'
"'True for ye,' said the boy; 'true for ye, Father Malachi's dark; but
the coadjutor!--the coadjutor's as red as a fox.'"
When the laugh this story caused had a little subsided, Father Malachi
called out, "Mickey Oulahan! Mickey, I say, hand his lordship over 'the
groceries'"--thus he designated a square decanter, containing about two
quarts of whiskey, and a bowl heaped high with sugar--"a dacent boy is
Mickey, my lord, and I'm happy to be the means of making him known to
you." I bowed with condescension, while Mr. Oulahan's eyes sparkled like
diamonds at the recognition.
"He has only two years of the lease to run, and a 'long charge,'
(anglice, a large family,) continued the priest.
"I'll not forget him, you may depend upon it," said I.
"Do you hear that," said Father Malachi, casting a glance of triumph
round the table, while a general buzz of commendation on priest and
patron went round, with many such phrases as, "Och thin, it's his
riv'rance can do it," "na bocklish," "and why not," &c. &c. As for me,
I have already "confessed" to my crying sin, a fatal, irresistible
inclination to follow the humour of the moment wherever it led me; and
now I found myself as active a partizan in quizzing Mickey Oulahan, as
though I was not myself a party included in the jest. I was thus fairly
launched into my inveterate habit, and nothing could arrest my progress.
One by one the different individuals round the table were presented to
me, and made known their various wants, with an implicit confidence in my
power of relieving them, which I with equal readiness ministered to. I
lowered the rent of every man at table. I made a general jail delivery,
an act of grace, (I blush to say,) which seemed to be peculiarly
interesting to the present company. I abolished all arrears--made a new
line of road through an impassable bog, and over an inaccessible
mountain--and conducted water to a mill, which (I learned in the morning)
was always worked by wind. The decanter had scarcely completed its third
circuit of the board, when I bid fair to be most popular specimen of the
peerage that ever visited the "far west." In the midst of my career of
universal benevolence, I was interrupted by Father Malachi, whom I found
on his legs, pronouncing a glowing eulogium on his cousin's late
regiment, the famous North Cork.
"That was the corps!" said he. "Bid them do a thing, and they'd never
leave off; and so, when they got orders to retire from Wexford, it's
little they cared for the comforts of baggage, like many another
regiment, for they threw away every thing but their canteens, and never
stopped till they ran to Ross, fifteen miles farther than the enemy
followed them. And when they were all in bed the same night, fatigued
and tired with their exertions, as ye may suppose, a drummer's boy called
out in his sleep--'here they are--they're coming'--they all jumped up and
set off in their shirts, and got two miles out of town before they
discovered it was a false alarm."
Peal after peal of laughter followed the priest's encomium on the
doctor's regiment; and, indeed, he himself joined most heartily in the
mirth, as he might well afford to do, seeing that a braver or better
corps than the North Cork, Ireland did not possess.
"Well," said Fin, "it's easy to see ye never can forget what they did at
Father Malachi disclaimed all personal feeling on the subject; and I was
at last gratified by the following narrative, which I regret deeply I am
not enabled to give in the doctor's own verbiage; but writing as I do
from memory, (in most instances,) I can only convey the substance:
It was towards the latter end of the year '98--the year of the troubles--
that the North Cork was ordered, "for their sins" I believe, to march
from their snug quarters in Fermoy, and take up a position in the town of
Maynooth--a very considerable reverse of fortune to a set of gentlemen
extremely addicted to dining out, and living at large upon a very
pleasant neighbourhood. Fermoy abounded in gentry; Maynooth at that,
time had few, if any, excepting his Grace of Leinster, and he lived very
privately, and saw no company. Maynooth was stupid and dull--there were
neither belles nor balls; Fermoy (to use the doctor's well remembered
words) had "great feeding," and "very genteel young ladies, that carried
their handkerchiefs in bags, and danced with the officers."
They had not been many weeks in their new quarters, when they began to
pine over their altered fortunes, and it was with a sense of delight,
which a few months before would have been incomprehensible to them, they
discovered, that one of their officers had a brother, a young priest in
the college: he introduced him to some of his confreres, and the natural
result followed. A visiting acquaintance began between the regiment and
such of the members of the college as had liberty to leave the precincts:
who, as time ripened the acquaintance into intimacy, very naturally
preferred the cuisine of the North Cork to the meagre fare of "the
refectory." At last seldom a day went by, without one or two of their
reverences finding themselves guests at the mess. The North Corkians
were of a most hospitable turn, and the fathers were determined the
virtue should not rust for want of being exercised; they would just drop
in to say a word to "Captain O'Flaherty about leave to shoot in the
demesne," as Carton was styled; or, they had a "frank from the Duke for
the Colonel," or some other equally pressing reason; and they would
contrive to be caught in the middle of a very droll story just as the
"roast beef" was playing. Very little entreaty then sufficed--a short
apology for the "dereglements" of dress, and a few minutes more found
them seated at table without further ceremony on either side.
Among the favourite guests from the college, two were peculiarly held in
estimation--"the Professor of the Humanities, Father Luke Mooney; and the
Abbe D'Array, "the Lecturer on Moral Philosophy, and Belles Lettres;" and
certain it is, pleasanter fellows, or more gifted with the "convivial
bump, there never existed. He of the Humanities was a droll dog--a
member of the Curran club, the "monks of the screw," told an excellent
story, and sang the "Cruiskeen Lawn" better than did any before or since
him;--the moral philosopher, though of a different genre, was also a most
agreeable companion, an Irishman transplanted in his youth to St. Omers,
and who had grafted upon his native humour a considerable share of French
smartness and repartee--such were the two, who ruled supreme in all the
festive arrangements of this jovial regiment, and were at last as regular
at table, as the adjutant and the paymaster, and so might they have
continued, had not prosperity, that in its blighting influence upon the
heart, spares neither priests nor laymen, and is equally severe upon mice
(see Aesop's fable) and moral philosophers, actually deprived them, for
the "nonce" of reason, and tempted them to their ruin. You naturally
ask, what did they do? Did they venture upon allusions to the retreat
upon Ross? Nothing of the kind. Did they, in that vanity which wine
inspires, refer by word, act, or inuendo, to the well-known order of
their Colonel when reviewing his regiment in "the Phoenix," to "advance
two steps backwards, and dress by the gutter." Far be it from them:
though indeed either of these had been esteemed light in the balance
compared with their real crime. "Then, what was their failing--come,
tell it, and burn ye?" They actually, "horresco referens," quizzed the
Major coram the whole mess!--Now, Major John Jones had only lately
exchanged into the North Cork from the "Darry Ragement," as he called it.
He was a red--hot orangeman, a deputy--grand something, and vice-chairman
of the "'Prentice Boys" beside. He broke his leg when a school--boy, by
a fall incurred in tying an orange handkerchief around King William's
August neck in College-green, on one 12th of July, and three several
times had closed the gates of Derry with his own loyal hands, on the
famed anniversary; in a word, he was one, that if his church had enjoined
penance as an expiation for sin, would have looked upon a trip to
Jerusalem on his bare knees, as a very light punishment for the crime on
his conscience, that he sat at table with two buck priests from Maynooth,
and carved for them, like the rest of the company!
Poor Major Jones, however, had no such solace, and the canker-worm eat
daily deeper and deeper into his pining heart. During the three or four
weeks of their intimacy with his regiment, his martyrdom was awful. His
figure wasted, and his colour became a deeper tinge of orange, and all
around averred that there would soon be a "move up" in the corps, for the
major had evidently "got his notice to quit" this world, and its pomps
and vanities. He felt "that he was dying," to use Haines Bayley's
beautiful and apposite words, and meditated an exchange, but that, from
circumstances, was out of the question. At last, subdued by grief, and
probably his spirit having chafed itself smooth by such constant
attrition, he became, to all seeming, calmer; but it was only the calm of
a broken and weary heart. Such was Major Jones at the time, when,
"suadente diabolo," it seemed meet to Fathers Mooney and D'Array to make
him the butt of their raillery. At first, he could not believe it; the
thing was incredible--impossible; but when he looked around the table,
when he heard the roars of laughter, long, loud, and vociferous; when he
heard his name bandied from one to the other across the table, with some
vile jest tacked to it "like a tin kettle to a dog's tail," he awoke to
the full measure of his misery--the cup was full. Fate had done her
worst, and he might have exclaimed with Lear, "spit, fire-spout, rain,"
there was nothing in store for him of further misfortune.
A drum-head court-martial--a hint "to sell out"--ay, a sentence of
"dismissed the service," had been mortal calamities, and, like a man, he
would have borne them; but that he, Major John Jones, D.G.S. C.P.B., &c.
&c, who had drank the "pious, glorious, and immortal," sitting astride of
"the great gun of Athlone," should come to this! Alas, and alas! He
retired that night to his chamber a "sadder if not a wiser man;" he
dreamed that the "statue" had given place to the unshapely figure of Leo
X., and that "Lundy now stood where Walker stood before." He humped from
his bed in a moment of enthusiasm, he vowed his revenge, and he kept his
That day the major was "acting field officer." The various patroles,
sentries, picquets, and out-posts, were all under his especial control;
and it was remarked that he took peculiar pains in selecting the men for
night duty, which, in the prevailing quietness and peace of that time,
seemed scarcely warrantable.
Evening drew near, and Major Jones, summoned by the "oft-heard beat,"
wended his way to the mess. The officers were dropping in, and true as
"the needle to the pole," came Father Mooney and the Abbe. They were
welcomed with the usual warmth, and strange to say, by none more than the
major himself, whose hilarity knew no bounds.
How the evening passed, I shall not stop to relate: suffice it to say,
that a more brilliant feast of wit and jollification, not even the North
Cork ever enjoyed. Father Luke's drollest stories, his very quaintest
humour shone forth, and the Abbe sang a new "Chanson a Boire," that
Beranger might hav envied.
"What are you about, my dear Father D'Array?" said the Colonel; "you are
surely not rising yet; here's a fresh cooper of port just come in; sit
down, I entreat."
"I say it with grief, my dear colonel, we must away; the half-hour has
just chimed, and we must be within 'the gates' before twelve. The truth
is, the superior has been making himself very troublesome about our
'carnal amusements' as he calls our innocent mirth, and we must therefore
be upon our guard."
"Well, if it must be so, we shall not risk losing your society
altogether, for an hour or so now; so, one bumper to our next meeting--
to-morrow, mind, and now, M. D'Abbe, au revoir."
The worthy fathers finished their glasses, and taking a most affectionate
leave of their kind entertainers, sallied forth under the guidance of
Major Jones, who insisted upon accompanying them part of the way, as,
"from information he had received, the sentries were doubled in some
places, and the usual precautions against surprise all taken." Much as
this polite attention surprised the objects of it, his brother officers
wondered still more, and no sooner did they perceive the major and his
companions issue forth, than they set out in a body to watch where this
most novel and unexpected complaisance would terminate.
When the priests reached the door of the barrack-yard, they again turned
to utter their thanks to the major, and entreat him once more, "not to
come a step farther. There now, major, we know the path well, so just
give us the pass, and don't stay out in the night air."
"Ah oui, Monsieur Jones," said the Abbe, "retournez, je vous prie. We
are, I must say, chez nous. Ces braves gens, les North Cork know us by
The major smiled, while he still pressed his services to see them past
the picquets, but they were resolved and would not be denied.
"With the word for the night, we want nothing more," said Father Luke.
"Well, then," said the major, in the gravest tone, and he was naturally
grave, "you shall have your way, but remember to call out loud, for the
first sentry is a little deaf, and a very passionate, ill--tempered
fellow to boot."
"Never fear," said Father Mooney, laughing; "I'll go bail he'll hear me."
"Well--the word for the night is--'Bloody end to the Pope,'--don't
forget, now, 'Bloody end to the Pope,'" and with these words he banged
the door between him and the unfortunate priests; and, as bolt was
fastened after bolt, they heard him laughing to himself like a fiend over
"And big bad luck to ye, Major Jones, for the same, every day ye see a
paving stone," was the faint sub-audible ejaculation of Father Luke, when
he was recovered enough to speak.
"Sacristi! Que nous sommes attrappes," said the Abbe, scarcely able to
avoid laughing at the situation in which they were placed.
"Well, there's the quarter chiming now; we've no time to lose--Major
Jones! Major, darling! Don't now, ah, don't! sure ye know we'll be
ruined entirely--there now, just change it, like a dacent fellow--the
devil's luck to him, he's gone. Well, we can't stay here in the rain all
night, and be expelled in the morning afterwards--so come along."
They jogged on for a few minutes in silence, till they came to that part
of the "Duke's" demesne wall, where the first sentry was stationed. By
this time the officers, headed by the major, had quietly slipped out of
the gate, and were following their steps at a convenient distance.
The fathers had stopped to consult together, what they should do in this
trying emergency--when their whisper being overheard, the sentinel called
out gruffly, in the genuine dialect of his country, "who goes that?"
"Father Luke Mooney, and the Abbe D'Array," said the former, in his most
bland and insinuating tone of voice, a quality he most eminently
"Stand and give the countersign."
"We are coming from the mess, and going home to the college," said Father
Mooney, evading the question, and gradually advancing as he spoke.
"Stand, or I'll shot ye," said the North Corkian.
Father Luke halted, while a muttered "Blessed Virgin" announced his state
of fear and trepidation.
"D'Array, I say, what are we to do."
"The countersign," said the sentry, whose figure they could perceive in
the dim distance of about thirty yards.
"Sure ye'll let us pass, my good lad, and ye'll have a friend in Father
Luke the longest day ye live, and ye might have a worse in time of need;
Whether he did understand or not, he certainly did not heed, for his only
reply was the short click of his gun-lock, that bespeaks a preparation to
"There's no help now," said Father Luke; "I see he's a haythen; and bad
luck to the major, I say again;" and this in the fulness of his heart he
"That's not the countersign," said the inexorable sentry, striking the
butt end of the musket on the ground with a crash that smote terror into
the hearts of the priests.
Mumble--mumble--"to the Pope," said Father Luke, pronouncing the last
words distinctly, after the approved practice of a Dublin watchman, on
being awoke from his dreams of row and riot by the last toll of the Post-
office, and not knowing whether it has struck "twelve" or "three," sings
out the word "o'clock," in a long sonorous drawl, that wakes every
sleeping citizen, and yet tells nothing how "time speeds on his flight."
"Louder," said the sentry, in a voice of impatience.
_____ "to the Pope."
"I don't hear the first part."
"Oh then," said the priest, with a sigh that might have melted the heart
of anything but a sentry, "Bloody end to the Pope; and may the saints in
heaven forgive me for saying it."
"Again," called out the soldier; "and no muttering."
"Bloody end to the Pope," cried Father Luke in bitter desperation.
"Bloody end to the Pope," echoed the Abbe.
"Pass bloody end to the Pope, and good night," said the sentry, resuming
his rounds, while a loud and uproarious peal of laughter behind, told the
unlucky priests they were overheard by others, and that the story would
be over the whole town in the morning.
Whether it was that the penance for their heresy took long in
accomplishing, or that they never could summon courage sufficient to face
their persecutor, certain it is, the North Cork saw them no more, nor
were they ever observed to pass the precincts of the college, while that
regiment occupied Maynooth.
Major Jones himself, and his confederates, could not have more heartily
relished this story, than did the party to whom the doctor heartily
related it. Much, if not all the amusement it afforded, however,
resulted from his inimitable mode of telling, and the power of mimicry,
with which he conveyed the dialogue with the sentry: and this, alas, must
be lost to my readers, at least to that portion of them not fortunate
enough to possess Doctor Finucane's acquaintance.
"Fin! Fin! your long story has nearly famished me," said the padre, as
the laugh subsided; "and there you sit now with the jug at your elbow
this half-hour; I never thought you would forget our old friend Martin
"Here's to her health," said Fin; "and your reverence will get us the
"Agreed," said Father Malachi, finishing a bumper, and after giving a few
preparatory hems, he sang the following "singularly wild and beautiful
poem," as some one calls Christabel:--
"Here's a health to Martin Hanegan's aunt,
And I'll tell ye the reason why!
She eats bekase she is hungry,
And drinks bekase she is dry.
"And if ever a man,
Stopped the course of a can,
Martin Hanegan's aunt would cry--
'Arrah, fill up your glass,
And let the jug pass;
How d'ye know but what your neighbour's dhry?"
"Come, my lord and gentlemen, da capo, if ye please--Fill up your glass,"
and the chanson was chorussed with a strength and vigour that would
have astonished the Philharmonic.
The mirth and fun now grew "fast and furious;" and Father Malachi, rising
with the occasion, flung his reckless drollery and fun on every side,
sparing none, from his cousin to the coadjutor. It was not that peculiar
period in the evening's enjoyment, when an expert and practical chairman
gives up all interference or management, and leaves every thing to take
its course; this then was the happy moment selected by Father Malachi to
propose the little "contrhibution." He brought a plate from a side
table, and placing it before him, addressed the company in a very brief
but sensible speech, detailing the object of the institution he was
advocating, and concluding with the following words:--"and now ye'll just
give whatever ye like, according to your means in life, and what ye can
The admonition, like the "morale" of an income tax, having the immediate
effect of pitting each man against his neighbour, and suggesting to their
already excited spirits all the ardour of gambling, without, however,
a prospect of gain. The plate was first handed to me in honour of my
"rank," and having deposited upon it a handful of small silver, the
priest ran his finger through the coin, and called out:--
"Five pounds! at least; not a farthing less, as I am a sinner. Look,
then,--see now; they tell ye, the gentlemen don't care for the like of
ye! but see for yourselves. May I trouble y'r lordship to pass the plate
to Mr. Mahony--he's impatient, I see."
Mr. Mahony, about whom I perceived very little of the impatience alluded
to, was a grim-looking old Christian, in a rabbit-skin waistcoat, with
long flaps, who fumbled in the recesses of his breeches pocket for five
minutes, and then drew forth three shillings, which he laid upon the
plate, with what I fancied very much resembled a sigh.
"Six and sixpence, is it? or five shillings?--all the same, Mr. Mahony,
and I'll not forget the thrifle you were speaking about this morning any
way;" and here he leaned over as interceding with me for him, but in
reality to whisper into my ear, "the greatest miser from this to
"Who's that put down the half guinea in goold?" (And this time he spoke
truth.) "Who's that, I say?"
"Tim Kennedy, your reverence," said Tim, stroking his hair down with one
hand, and looking proud and modest at the same moment.
"Tim, ye're a credit to us any day, and I always said so. It's a gauger
he'd like to be, my lord," said he, turning to me, in a kind of stage
whisper. I nodded and muttered something, when he thanked me most
profoundly as if his suit had prospered.
"Mickey Oulahan--the lord's looking at ye, Mickey." This was said
piannisime across the table, and had the effect of increasing Mr.
Oulahan's donation from five shillings to seven--the last two being
pitched in very much in the style o a gambler making his final coup, and
crying "va banque." "The Oulahans were always dacent people--dacent
people, my lord."
"Be gorra, the Oulahans was niver dacenter nor the Molowneys, any how,"
said a tall athletic young fellow, as he threw down three crown pieces,
with an energy that made every coin leap from the plate.
"They'll do now," said Father Brennan; "I'll leave them to themselves;"
and truly the eagerness to get the plate and put down the subscription,
fully equalled the rapacious anxiety I have witnessed in an old maid at
loo, to get possession of a thirty-shilling pool, be the same more or
less, which lingered on its way to her, in the hands of many a fair
"Mr. M'Neesh"--Curzon had hitherto escaped all notice--"Mr. M'Neesh, to
your good health," cried Father Brennan. "It's many a secret they'll be
getting out o'ye down there about the Scotch husbandry."
Whatever poor Curzon knew of "drills," certainly did not extend to them
when occupied by turnips. This allusion of the priest's being caught up
by the party at the foot of the table, they commenced a series of
inquiries into different Scotch plans of tillage--his brief and
unsatisfactory answers to which, they felt sure, were given in order to
evade imparting information. By degrees, as they continued to press him
with questions, his replies grew more short, and a general feeling of
dislike on both sides was not very long in following.
The father saw this, and determining with his usual tact to repress it,
called on the adjutant for a song. Now, whether he had but one in the
world, or whether he took this mode of retaliating for the annoyances he
had suffered, I know not; but true it is, he finished his tumbler at a
draught, and with a voice of no very peculiar sweetness, though
abundantly loud, began "The Boyne Water."
He had just reached the word "battle," in the second line upon which he
was bestowing what he meant to be a shake, when, as if the word suggested
it, it seemed the signal for a general engagement. Decanters, glasses,
jugs, candlesticks,--aye, and the money-dish, flew right and left--all
originally intended, it is ture, for the head of the luckless adjutant,
but as they now and then missed their aim, and came in contact with the
"wrong man," invariably provoked retaliation, and in a very few minutes
the battle became general.
What may have been the doctor's political sentiments on this occasion, I
cannot even guess; but he seemed bent upon performing the part of a
"convivial Lord Stanley," and maintaining a dignified neutrality. With
this apparent object, he mounted upon the table, to raise himself, I
suppose, above the din and commotion of party clamour, and brandishing a
jug of scalding water, bestowed it with perfect impartiality on the
combatants on either side. This Whig plan of conciliation, however well
intended, seemed not to prosper with either party; and many were the
missiles directed at the ill-starred doctor. Meanwhile Father Malachi,
whether following the pacific instinct of his order, in seeking an asylum
in troublesome times, or equally moved by old habit to gather coin in low
places, (much of the money having fallen,) was industriously endeavouring
to insert himself beneath the table; in this, with one vigorous push, he
at last succeeded, but in so doing lifted it from its legs, and thus
destroying poor "Fin's" gravity, precipitated him, jug and all, into the
thickest part of the fray, where he met with that kind reception such a
benefactor ever receives at the hands of a grateful public. I meanwhile
hurried to rescue poor Curzon, who, having fallen to the ground, was
getting a cast of his features taken in pewter, for such seemed the
operation a stout farmer was performing on the adjutant's face with a
quart. With considerable difficulty, notwithstanding my supposed
"lordship," I succeeded in freeing him from his present position; and he
concluding, probably, that enough had been done for one "sitting," most
willingly permitted me to lead him from the room. I was soon joined by
the doctor, who assisted me in getting my poor friend to bed; which being
done, he most eagerly entreated me to join the company. This, however,
I firmly but mildly declined, very much to his surprise; for as he
remarked--"They'll all be like lambs now, for they don't believe there's
a whole bone in his body."
Expressing my deep sense of the Christian-like forbearance of the party,
I pleaded fatigue, and bidding him good night, adjourned to my bed-room;
and here, although the arrangements fell somewhat short of the luxurious
ones appertaining to my late apartment at Callonby, they were most
grateful at the moment; and having "addressed myself to slumber," fell
fast asleep, and only awoke late on the following morning to wonder where
I was: from any doubts as to which I was speedily relieved by the
entrance of the priest's bare-footed "colleen," to deposit on my table a
bottle of soda water, and announce breakfast, with his reverence's
Having made a hasty toilet, I proceeded to the parlour, which, however
late events might have impressed upon my memory, I could scarcely
recognise. Instead of the long oak table and the wassail bowl, there
stood near the fire a small round table, covered with a snow--white
cloth, upon which shone in unrivalled brightness a very handsome tea
equipage--the hissing kettle on one hob was vis a vis'd by a gridiron
with three newly taken trout, frying under the reverential care of Father
Malachi himself--a heap of eggs ranged like shot in an ordnance yard,
stood in the middled of the table, while a formidable pile of buttered
toast browned before the grate--the morning papers were airing upon the
hearth--every thing bespoke that attention to comfort and enjoyment one
likes to discover in the house where chance may have domesticated him for
a day or two.
"Good morning, Mr. Lorrequer. I trust you have rested well," said Father
Malachi as I entered.
"Never better; but where are our friends?"
"I have been visiting and comforting them in their affliction, and I may
with truth assert it is not often my fortune to have three as sickly
looking guests. That was a most unlucky affair last night, and I must
"Don't say a word, I entreat; I saw how it all occurred, and am quite
sure if it had not been for poor Curzon's ill-timed melody--"
"You are quite right," said the father interrupting me. "Your friend's
taste for music--bad luck to it--was the 'teterrima causa belli.'"
"And the subscription," said I; "how did it succeed?"
"Oh, the money went in the commotion; and although I have got some seven
pounds odd shillings of it, the war was a most expensive one to me. I
caught old Mahony very busy under the table during the fray; but let us
say no more about it now--draw over your chair. Tea or coffee? there's
the rum if you like it 'chasse.'"
I immediately obeyed the injunction, and commenced a vigorous assault
upon the trout, caught, as he informed me, "within twenty perches of the
"Your poor friend's nose is scarcely regimental," said he, "this morning;
and as for Fin, he was never remarkable for beauty, so, though they might
cut and hack, they could scarcely disfigure him, as Juvenal says--isn't
"'Vacuus viator cantabit ante Latronem;'
"or in the vernacular:
"'The empty traveller may whistle
Before the robber and his pistil' (pistol)."
"There's the Chili vinegar--another morsel of the trout?"
"I thank you; what excellent coffee, Father Malachi!"
"A secret I learned at St. Omer's some thirty years since. Any letters,
Bridget?"--to a damsel that entered with a pacquet in her hand.
"A gossoon from Kilrush, y'r reverence, with a bit of a note for the
"For me!--ah, true enough. Harry Lorrequer, Esq. Kilrush--try
Carrigaholt." So ran the superscription--the first part being in a
lady's handwriting; the latter very like the "rustic paling" of the
worthy Mrs. Healy's style. The seal was a large one, bearing a coronet
at top, and the motto in old Norman--French, told me it came from
With what a trembling hand and beating heart I broke it open, and yet
feared to read it--so much of my destiny might be in that simple page.
For once in my life my sanguine spirit failed me; my mind could take in
but one casualty, that Lady Jane had divulged to her family the nature of
my attentions, and that in the letter before me lay a cold mandate of
dismissal from her presence for ever.
At last I summoned courage to read it; but having scrupled to present to
my readers the Reverend Father Brennan at the tail of a chapter, let me
not be less punctilious in the introduction of her ladyship's billet.
THE LADY'S LETTER--PETER AND HIS ACQUAINTANCES--TOO LATE.
Her ladyship's letter ran thus--
"Callonby, Tuesday morning.
"My dear Mr. Lorrequer,--My lord has deputed me to convey to you our
adieus, and at the same time to express our very great regret that we
should not have seen you before out departure from Ireland. A sudden
call of the House, and some unexpected ministerial changes, require Lord
Callonby's immediate presence in town; and probably before this reaches
you we shall be on the road. Lord Kilkee, who left us yesterday, was
much distressed at not having seen you--he desired me to say you shall
hear from him from Leamington. Although writing amid all the haste
and bustle of departure, I must not forget the principal part of my
commission, nor lady-like defer it to a postscript: my lord entreats that
you will, if possible, pass a month or two with us in London this season;
make any use of his name you think fit at the Horse-Guards, where he has
some influence. Knowing as I do, with what kindness you ever accede to
the wishes of your friends, I need not say how much gratification this
will afford us all; but, sans response, we expect you. Believe me to
remain, yours very sincerely,
"P.S.--We are all quite well, except Lady Jane, who has a slight cold,
and has been feverish for the last day or two."
Words cannot convey any idea of the torrent of contending emotions under
which I perused this letter. The suddenness of the departure, without an
opportunity of even a moment's leave-taking, completely unmanned me.
What would I not have given to be able to see her once more, even for an
instant--to say "a good bye"--to watch the feeling with which she parted
from me, and augur from it either favourably to my heart's dearest hope,
or darkest despair. As I continued to read on, the kindly tone of the
remainder reassured me, and when I came to the invitation to London,
which plainly argued a wish on their part to perpetuate the intimacy,
I was obliged to read it again and again, before I could convince myself
of its reality. There it was, however, most distinctly and legibly
impressed in her ladyship's fairest calligraphy; and certainly great as
was its consequence to me at the time, it by no means formed the
principal part of the communication. The two lines of postscript
contained more, far more food for hopes and fears than did all the
rest of the epistle.
Lady Jane was ill then, slightly however--a mere cold; true, but she was
feverish. I could not help asking myself what share had I causing that
flushed cheek and anxious eye, and pictured to myself, perhaps with more
vividness than reality, a thousand little traits of manner, all proofs
strong as holy writ to my sanguine mind, that my affection was returned,
and that I loved not in vain. Again and again I read over the entire
letter; never truly did a nisi prius lawyer con over a new act of
parliament with more searching ingenuity, to detect its hidden meaning,
than did I to unravel through its plain phraseology the secret intention
of the writer towards me.
There is an old and not less true adage, that what we wish we readily
believe; and so with me--I found myself an easy convert to my own hopes
and desires, and actually ended by persuading myself--no very hard task
--that my Lord Callonby had not only witnessed but approved of my
attachment to his beautiful daughter, and for reasons probably known to
him, but concealed from me, opined that I was a suitable "parti," and
gave all due encouragement to my suit. The hint about using his
lordship's influence at the Horse guards I resolved to benefit by; not,
however, in obtaining leave of absence, which I hoped to accomplish more
easily, but with his good sanction in pushing my promotion, when I
claimed him as my right honorable father-in-law--a point, on the
propriety of which, I had now fully satisfied myself. What visions of
rising greatness burst upon my mind, as I thought on the prospect that
opened before me; but here let me do myself the justice to record, that
amid all my pleasure and exultation, my proudest thought, was in the
anticipation of possessing one in every way so much my superior--the very
consciousness of which imparted a thrill of fear to my heart, that such
good fortune was too much even to hope for.
How long I might have luxuriated in such Chateaux en Espagne, heaven
knows; thick and thronging fancies came abundantly to my mind, and it
was with something of the feeling of the porter in the Arabian Nights,
as he surveyed the fragments of his broken ware, hurled down in a moment
of glorious dreaminess, that I turned to look at the squat and
unaristocratic figure of Father Malachi, as he sat reading his newspaper
before the fire. How came I in such company; methinks the Dean of
Windsor, or the Bishop of Durham had been a much more seemly associate
for one destined as I was for the flood-tide of the world's favour.
My eye at this instant rested upon the date of the letter, which was that
of the preceding morning, and immediately a thought struck me that, as
the day was a louring and gloomy one, perhaps they might have deferred
their journey, and I at once determined to hasten to Callonby, and, if
possible, see them before their departure.
"Father Brennan," said I, at length, "I have just received a letter which
compels me to reach Kilrush as soon as possible. Is there any public
conveyance in the village?"
"You don't talk of leaving us, surely," said the priest, "and a haunch of
mutton for dinner, and Fin says he'll be down, and your friend, too, and
we'll have poor Beamish in on a sofa."
"I am sorry to say my business will not adit of delay, but, if possible,
I shall return to thank you for all you kindness, in a day or two--
"Oh, then," said Father Brennan, "if it must be so, why you can have
'Pether,' my own pad, and a better you never laid leg over; only give him
his own time, and let him keep the 'canter,' and he'll never draw up from
morning till night; and now I'll just go and have him in readiness for
After professing my warm acknowledgments to the good father for his
kindness, I hastened to take a hurried farewell of Curzon before going.
I found him sitting up in bed taking his breakfast; a large strip of
black plaster, extending from the corner of one eye across the nose, and
terminating near the mouth, denoted the locale of a goodly wound, while
the blue, purple and yellow patches into which his face was partitioned
out, left you in doubt whether he now resembled the knave of clubs or a
new map of the Ordnance survey; one hand was wrapped up in a bandage, and
altogether a more rueful and woe-begone looking figure I have rarely
looked upon; and most certainly I am of opinion that the "glorious, pious
and immortal memory" would have brought pleasanter recollections to
Daniel O'Connell himself, than it would on that morning to the adjutant
of his majesty's 4_th.
"Ah, Harry," said he, as I entered, "what Pandemonium is this we've got
into? did you ever witness such a business as last night's?"
"Why truly," said I, "I know of no one to blame but yourself; surely you
must have known what a fracas your infernal song would bring on."
"I don't know now whether I knew it or not; but certainly at the moment
I should have preferred anything to the confounded cross-examination I
was under, and was glad to end it by any coup d'etat. One wretch was
persecuting me about green crops, and another about the feeding of
bullocks; about either of which I knew as much as a bear does of a
"Well, truly, you caused a diversion at some expense to your countenance,
for I never beheld anything--"
"Stop there," said he, "you surely have not seen the doctor--he beats me
hollow--they have scarcely left so much hair on his head as would do for
an Indian's scalp lock; and, of a verity, his aspect is awful this
morning; he has just been here, and by-the-bye has told me all about your
affair with Beamish. It appears that somewhere you met him at dinner,
and gave a very flourishing account of a relative of his who you informed
him was not only selected for some very dashing service, but actually the
personal friend of Picton; and, after the family having blazed the matter
all over Cork, and given a great entertainment in honor of their kinsman,
it turns out that, on the glorious 19th, he ran away to Brussels faster
than even the French to Charleroi; for which act, however, there was no
aspersion ever cast upon his courage, that quality being defended at the
expense of his honesty; in a word, he was the paymaster of the company,
and had what Theodore Hook calls an 'affection of his chest,' that
required change of air. Looking only to the running away part of the
matter, I unluckily expressed some regret that he did not belong to the
North Cork, and I remarked the doctor did not seem to relish the
allusion, and as I only now remember, it was his regiment, I suppose
I'm in for more mischief."
I had no time to enjoy Curzon's dilemma, and had barely informed him of
my intended departure, when a voice from without the room proclaimed that
"Pether" was ready, and having commissioned the adjutant to say the
"proper" to Mr. Beamish and the doctor, hurried away, and after a hearty
shake of the hand from Father Brennan, and a faithful promise to return
soon, I mounted and set off.
Peter's pace was of all others the one least likely to disturb the
lucubrations of a castle-builder like myself; without any admonition from
whip or spur he maintained a steady and constant canter, which, I am free
to confess, was more agreeable to sit, than it was graceful to behold;
for his head being much lower than his tail, he every moment appeared in
the attitude of a diver about to plunge into the water, and more than
once I had misgivings that I would consult my safety better if I sat with
my face to the tail; however, what will not habit accomplish? before I
had gone a mile or two, I was so lost in my own reveries and reflections,
that I knew nothing of my mode of progression, and had only thoughts and
feelings for the destiny that awaited me; sometimes I would fancy myself
seated in the House of Commons, (on the ministerial benches, of course,)
while some leading oppositionist was pronouncing a glowing panegyric upon
the eloquent and statesmanlike speech of the gallant colonel--myself;
then I thought I was making arrangements for setting out for my new
appointment, and Sancho Panza never coveted the government of an island
more than I did, though only a West Indian one; and, lastly, I saw myself
the chosen diplomate on a difficult mission, and was actually engaged in
the easy and agreeable occupation of outmaneuvering Talleyrand and Pozzo
di Borgo, when Peter suddenly drew up at the door of a small cabin, and
convinced me that I was still a mortal man, and a lieutenant in his
Majesty's 4_th. Before I had time afforded me even to guess at the
reason of this sudden halt, an old man emerged from the cabin, which I
saw now was a road-side ale-house, and presented Peter with a bucket of
meal and water, a species of "viaticum" that he evidently was accustomed
to, at this place, whether bestrode by a priest or an ambassador. Before
me lay a long straggling street of cabins, irregularly thrown, as if
riddled over the ground; this I was informed was Kilkee; while my good
steed, therefore, was enjoying his potation, I dismounted, to stretch my
legs and look about me, and scarcely had I done so when I found half the
population of the village assembled round Peter, whose claims to
notoriety, I now learned, depended neither upon his owner's fame, nor
even my temporary possession of him. Peter, in fact, had been a racer,
once--when, the wandering Jew might perhaps have told, had he ever
visited Clare--for not the oldest inhabitant knew the date of his
triumphs on the turf; though they were undisputed traditions, and never
did any man appear bold enough to call them in question: whether it was
from his patriarchal character, or that he was the only race-horse ever
known in his county I cannot say, but, of a truth, the Grand Lama could
scarcely be a greater object of reverence in Thibet, than was Peter in
"Musha, Peter, but it's well y'r looking," cried one.
"Ah, thin, maybe ye an't fat on the ribs," cried another.
"An' cockin' his tail like a coult," said a third.
I am very certain, if I might venture to judge from the faces about,
that, had the favourite for the St. Leger, passed through Kilkee at that
moment, comparisons very little to his favor had been drawn from the
assemblage around me. With some difficulty I was permitted to reach my
much admired steed, and with a cheer, which was sustained and caught up
by every denizen of the village as I passed through, I rode on my way,
not a little amused at my equivocal popularity.
Being desirous to lose no time, I diverged from the straight road which
leads to Kilrush, and took a cross bridle-path to Callonby; this, I
afterwards discovered was a detour of a mile or two, and it was already
sun-set when I reached the entrance to the park. I entered the avenue,
and now my impatience became extreme, for although Peter continued to
move at the same uniform pace, I could not persuade myself that he was
not foundering at every step, and was quite sure we were scarcely
advancing; at last I reached the wooden bridge, and ascended the steep
slope, the spot where I had first met her, on whom my every thought now
rested. I turned the angle of the clump of beech trees from whence the
first view of the house is caught--I perceived to my inexpressible
delight that gleams of light shone from many of the windows, and could
trace their passing from one to the other. I now drew rein, and with a
heart relieved from a load of anxiety, pulled up my good steed, and began
to think of the position in which a few brief seconds would place me.
I reached the small flower-garden, sacred by a thousand endearing
recollections. Oh! of how very little account are the many words of
passing kindness, and moments of light-hearted pleasure, when spoken or
felt, compared to the memory of them when hallowed by time or distance.
"The place, the hour, the sunshine and the shade," all reminded me of the
happy past, and all brought vividly before me every portion of that dream
of happiness in which I was so utterly--so completely steeped--every
thought of the hopelessness of my passion was lost in the intensity of
it, and I did not, in the ardour of my loving, stop to think of its
It was strange enough that the extreme impatience, the hurried anxiety, I
had felt and suffered from, while riding up the avenue, had now fled
entirely, and in its place I felt nothing but a diffident distrust of
myself, and a vague sense of awkwardness about intruding thus
unexpectedly upon the family, while engaged in all the cares and
preparations for a speedy departure. The hall-door lay as usual wide
open, the hall itself was strewn and littered with trunks, imperials,
and packing-cases, and the hundred et ceteras of travelling baggage.
I hesitated a moment whether I should not ring, but at last resolved to
enter unannounced, and, presuming upon my intimacy, see what effect my
sudden appearance would have on Lady Jane, whose feelings towards me
would be thus most unequivocally tested. I passed along the wide
corridor, entered the music-room--it was still--I walked then to the door
of the drawing-room--I paused--I drew a full breath--my hand trembled
slightly as I turned the lock--I entered--the room was empty, but the
blazing fire upon the hearth, the large arm-chairs drawn around, the
scattered books upon the small tables, all told that it had been
inhabited a very short time before. Ah! thought I, looking at my watch,
they are at dinner, and I began at once to devise a hundred different
plans to account for my late absence and present visit. I knew that a
few minutes would probably bring them into the drawing-room, and I felt
flurried and heated as the time drew near. At last I heard voices
without--I started from the examination of a pencil drawing but partly
finished, but the artist of which I could not be deceived in--I listened
--the sounds drew near--I could not distinguish who were the speakers--
the door-lock turned, and I rose to make my well-conned, but half-
forgotten speech; and oh, confounded disappointment, Mrs. Herbert, the
house-keeper, entered. She started, not expecting to see me, and
"Oh! Mr. Lorrequer! then you've missed them."
"Missed them!" said I; "how--when--where?"
"Did you not get a note from my lord?"
"No; when was it written?"
"Oh, dear me, that is so very unfortunate. Why, sir, my lord sent off a
servant this morning to Kilrush, in Lord Kilkee's tilbury, to request you
would meet them all in Ennis this evening, where they had intended to
stop for to-night; and they waited here till near four o'clock to-day,
but when the servant came back with the intelligence that you were from
home, and not expected to return soon, they were obliged to set out, and
are not going to make any delay now, till they reach London. The last
direction, however, my lord gave, was to forward her ladyship's letter to
you as soon as possible."
What I thought, said, or felt, might be a good subject of confession to
Father Malachi, for I fear it may be recorded among my sins, as I doubt
not that the agony I suffered vented itself in no measured form of speech
or conduct; but I have nothing to confess here on the subject, being so
totally overwhelmed as not to know what I did or said. My first gleam of
reason elicited itself by asking,
"Is there, then, no chance of their stopping in Ennis to-night?" As I
put the question my mind reverted to Peter and his eternal canter.
"Oh, dear, no, sir; the horses are ordered to take them, since Tuesday;
and they only thought of staying in Ennis, if you came time enough to
meet them--and they will be so sorry."
"Do you think so, Mrs. Herbert? do you, indeed, think so?" said I, in a
most insinuating tone.
"I am perfectly sure of it, sir."
"Oh, Mrs. Herbert, you are too kind to think so; but perhaps--that is--
may be, Mrs. Herbert, she said something--"
"Lady Callonby, I mean; did her ladyship leave any message for me about
her plants? or did she remember--"
Mrs. Herbert kept looking at me all the time, with her great wide grey
eyes, while I kept stammering and blushing like a school-boy.
"No, sir; her ladyship said nothing, sir; but Lady Jane--"
"Yes; well, what of Lady Jane, my dear Mrs. Herbert?"
"Oh, sir! but you look pale; would not you like to have a little wine and
"No, thank you, nothing whatever; I am just a little fatigued--but you
"Yes, sir; I was saying that Lady Jane was mighty particular about a
small plant; she ordered it to be left in her dressing-room, though
Collins told her to have some of the handsome ones of the green-house,
she would have nothing but this; and if you were only to hear half the
directions she gave about keeping it watered, and taking off dead leaves,
you'd think her heart was set on it."
Mrs. Herbert would have had no cause to prescribe for my paleness had she
only looked at me this time; fortunately, however, she was engaged,
housekeeper-like, in bustling among books, papers, &c. which she had come
in for the purpose of arranging and packing up. She being left behind to
bring up the rear, and the heavy baggage.
Very few moments' consideration were sufficient to show me that pursuit
was hopeless; whatever might have been Peter's performance in the reign
of "Queen Anne," he had now become like the goose so pathetically
described by my friend Lover, rather "stiff in his limbs," and the odds
were fearfully against his overtaking four horses, starting fresh every
ten miles, not to mention their being some hours in advance already.
Having declined all Mrs. Herbert's many kind offers, anent food and rest,
I took a last lingering look at the beautiful pictures, which still held
its place in the room lately mine, and hurried from a place so full of
recollections; and, notwithstanding the many reasons I had for self-
gratulation, every object around and about, filled me with sorrow and
regret for hours that had passed--never, never to return.
It was very late when I reached my old quarters at Kilrush; Mrs. Healy
fortunately was in bed asleep--fortunately I say, for had she selected
that occasion to vent her indignation for my long absence, I greatly fear
that, in my then temper I should have exhibited but little of that Job-
like endurance for which I was once esteemed; I entered my little mean-
looking parlour, with its three chairs and lame table, and, as I flung
myself upon the wretched substitute for a sofa, and thought upon the
varied events which a few weeks had brought about; it required the aid of
her ladyship's letter, which I opened before me, to assure me I was not
The entire of that night I could not sleep; my destiny seemed upon its
balance; and, whether the scale inclined to this side or that, good or
evil fortune seemed to betide me. How many were my plans and
resolutions, and how often abandoned; again to be pondered over, and once
more given up. The grey dawn of the morning was already breaking, and
found me still doubting and uncertain. At last the die was thrown; I
determined at once to apply for leave to my commanding officer, (which he
could, if he pleased, give me, without any application to the Horse
Guards,) set out for Elton, tell Sir Guy my whole adventure, and
endeavour, by a more moving love story than ever graced even the Minerva
Press, to induce him to make some settlement on me, and use his influence
with Lord Callonby in my behalf; this done, set out for London, and then
--and then--what then?--then for the Morning Post--"Cadeau de noces"--
"happy couple"--"Lord Callonby's seat in Hampshire," &c. &c.
"You wished to be called at five, sir," said Stubber.
"Yes; is it five o'clock?"
"No, sir; but I heard you call out something about 'four horses,' and I
thought you might be hurried, so I came a little earlier."
"Quite right, Stubber; let me have my breakfast as soon as possible, and
see that chestnut horse I brought here last night, fed."
"And now for it," said I, after writing a hurried note to Curzon,
requesting him to take command of my party at Kilrush, till he heard from
me, and sending my kindest remembrance to my three friends; I despatched
the epistle by my servant on Peter, while I hastened to accure a place in
the mail for Ennis, on the box seat of which let my kind reader suppose
me seated, as wrapping my box-coat around me, I lit my cigar and turned
my eyes towards Limerick.
CONGRATULATIONS--SICK LEAVE--HOW TO PASS THE BOARD.
I had scarcely seated myself to breakfast at Swinburn's hotel in
Limerick, when the waiter presented me with a letter. As my first glance
at the address showed it to be in Colonel Carden's handwriting, I felt
not a little alarmed for the consequences of the rash step I had taken in
leaving my detachment; and, while quickly thronging fancies of arrest and
courtmartial flitted before me, I summoned resolution at last to break
the seal, and read as follows:--
"My dear Lorrequer," ("dear Lorrequer!" dear me, thought I; cool
certainly, from one I have ever regarded as an open enemy)--"My dear
Lorrequer, I have just accidentally heard of your arrival here, and
hasten to inform you, that, as it may not be impossible your reasons
for so abruptly leaving your detachment are known to me, I shall not
visit your breach of discipline very heavily. My old and worthy
friend, Lord Callonby, who passed through here yesterday, has so
warmly interested himself in your behalf, that I feel disposed to do
all in my power to serve you; independently of my desire to do so on
your own account. Come over here, then, as soon as possible, and
let us talk over your plans together.
"Believe me, most truly yours,
"Barracks, 10 o'clock."
However mysterious and difficult to unravel, have been some of the
circumstances narrated in these "Confessions," I do not scruple to avow
that the preceding letter was to me by far the most inexplicable piece of
fortune I had hitherto met with. That Lord Callonby should have
converted one whom I believed an implacable foe, into a most obliging
friend, was intelligible enough, seeing that his lordship had through
life been the patron of the colonel; but why he had so done, and what
communications he could possibly have made with regard to me, that
Colonel Carden should speak of "my plans" and proffer assistance in them
was a perfect riddle; and the only solution, one so ridiculously
flattering that I dared not think of it. I read and re-read the note;
misplaced the stops; canvassed every expression; did all to detect a
meaning different from the obvious one, fearful of a self-deception where
so much was at stake. Yet there it stood forth, a plain straightforward
proffer of services, for some object evidently known to the writer; and
my only conclusion, from all, was this, that "my Lord Callonby was the
gem of his order, and had a most remarkable talent for selecting a son-
I fell into a deep reverie upon my past life, and the prospects which I
now felt were opening before me. Nothing seemed extravagant to hopes so
well founded--to expectations so brilliant--and, in my mind's eye, I
beheld myself at one moment leading my young and beautiful bride through
the crowded salons of Devonshire House; and, at the next, I was
contemplating the excellence and perfection of my stud arrangements at
Melton, for I resolved not to give up hunting. While in this pleasurable
exercise of my fancy, I was removing from before me some of the breakfast
equipage, or, as I then believed it, breaking the trees into better
groups upon my lawn, I was once more brought to the world and its dull
reality, by the following passage which my eye fell upon in the newspaper
before me--"We understand that the 4_th are daily expecting the route for
Cork, from whence they are to sail, early in the ensuing month for
Halifax, to relieve the 99th." While it did not take a moment's
consideration to show me that though the regiment there mentioned was the
one I belonged to, I could have no possible interest in the announcement;
it never coming into my calculation that I should submit to such
expatriation; yet it gave me a salutary warning that there was no time
to be lost in making my application for leave, which, once obtained,
I should have ample time to manage an exchange into another corps.
The wonderful revolution a few days had effected in all my tastes and
desires, did not escape me at this moment. But a week or two before and
I should have regarded an order for foreign service as anything rather
than unpleasant--now the thought was insupportable. Then there would
have been some charm to me in the very novelty of the locale, and the
indulgence of that vagrant spirit I have ever possessed; for, like
Justice Woodcock, "I certainly should have been a vagabond if Providence
had not made me a justice of the peace"--now, I could not even
contemplate the thing as possible; and would have actually refused the
command of a regiment, if the condition of its acceptance were to sail
for the colonies.
Besides, I tried--and how ingenious is self-deception--I tried to find
arguments in support of my determination totally different from the
reasons which governed me. I affected to fear climate, and to dread the
effect of the tropics upon my health. It may do very well, thought I,
for men totally destitute of better prospects; with neither talent,
influence or powerful connexion, to roast their cheeks at Sierra Leone,
or suck a sugar-cane at St. Lucia. But that you, Harry Lorrequer, should
waste your sweetness upon planters' daughters--that have only to be
known, to have the world at your feet! The thing is absurd, and not to
be thought of! Yes, said I half aloud--we read in the army list, that
Major A. is appointed to the 50th, and Capt. B. to the 12th; but how much
more near the truth would it be, to say--"That His Majesty, in
consideration of the distinguished services of the one, has been
graciously pleased to appoint him to--a case of blue and collapsed
cholera, in India; and also, for the bravery and gallant conduct of the
other, in his late affair with the 'How-dow-dallah Indians,' has promoted
him to the--yellow fever now devastating and desolating Jamaica." How
far my zeal for the service might have carried me on this point, I know
not; for I was speedily aroused from my musings by the loud tramp of feet
upon the stairs, and the sound of many well-known voices of my brother
officers, who were coming to visit me.
"So, Harry, my boy," said the fat major as he entered; "is it true we are
not to have the pleasure of your company to Jamaica this time?"
"He prefers a pale face, it seems, to a black one; and certainly, with
thirty thousand in the same scale, the taste is excusable."
"But, Lorrequer," said a third, "we heard that you had canvassed the
county on the Callonby interest. Why, man, where do you mean to pull
"As for me," lisped a large-eyed, white-haired ensign of three months'
standing, "I think it devilish hard, old Carden didn't send ME down
there, too, for I hear there are two girls in the family. Eh,
Having with all that peculiar bashfulness such occasions are sure to
elicit, disclaimed the happiness my friends so clearly ascribed to me,
I yet pretty plainly let it be understood that the more brilliant they
supposed my present prospects to be, the more near were they to estimate
them justly. One thing certainly gratified me throughout. All seemed
rejoiced at my good fortune, and even the old Scotch paymaster made no
more caustic remark than that he "wad na wonder if the chiel's black
whiskers wad get him made governor of Stirling Castle before he'd dee."
Should any of my most patient listeners to these my humble confessions,
wonder either here, or elsewhere, upon what very slight foundations I
built these my "Chateaux en Espagne," I have only one answer--"that from
my boyhood I have had a taste for florid architecture, and would rather
put up with any inconvenience of ground, than not build at all."
As it was growing late I hurriedly bade adieu to my friends, and hastened
to Colonel Carden's quarters, where I found him waiting for me, in
company with my old friend, Fitzgerald, our regimental surgeon. Our
first greetings over, the colonel drew me aside into a window, and said
that, from certain expressions Lord Callonby had made use of--certain
hints he had dropped--he was perfectly aware of the delicate position in
which I stood with respect to his lordship's family. "In fact, my dear
Lorrequer," he continued, "without wishing in the least to obtrude myself
upon your confidence, I must yet be permitted to say, you are the
luckiest fellow in Europe, and I most sincerely congratulate you on the
prospect before you."
"But, my dear Colonel, I assure you--"
"Well, well, there--not a word more; don't blush now. I know there is
always a kind of secrecy thought necessary on these occasions, for the
sake of other parties; so let us pass to your plans. From what I have
collected, you have not yet proposed formally. But, of course you desire
a leave. You'll not quit the army, I trust; no necessity for that; such
influence as yours can always appoint you to an unattached commission."
"Once more let me protest, sir, that though for certain reasons most
desirous to obtain a leave of absence, I have not the most remote--"
"That's right, quite right; I am sincerely gratified to hear you say so,
and so will be Lord Callonby; for he likes the service."
And thus was my last effort at a disclaimer cut short by the loquacious
little colonel, who regarded my unfinished sentence as a concurrence with
his own opinion.
"Allah il Allah," thought I, "it is my Lord Callonby's own plot; and his
friend Colonel Cardon aids and abets him."
"Now, Lorrequer," resumed the colonel, "let us proceed. You have, of
course, heard that we are ordered abroad; mere newspaper report for the
present; nevertheless, it is extremely difficult--almost impossible,
without a sick certificate, to obtain a leave sufficiently long for your
And here he smirked, and I blushed, selon les regles..
"A sick certificate," said I in some surprise.
"The only thing for you," said Fitzgerald, taking a long pinch of snuff;
"and I grieve to say you have a most villainous look of good health about
"I must acknowledge I have seldom felt better."
"So much the worse--so much the worse," said Fitzgerald despondingly.
"Is there no family complaint; no respectable heir-loom of infirmity, you
can lay claim to from your kindred?"
"None, that I know of, unless a very active performance on the several
occasions of breakfast, dinner, and supper, with a tendency towards port,
and an inclination to sleep ten in every twenty-four hours, be a sign of
sickness; these symptoms I have known many of the family suffer for
years, without the slightest alleviation, though, strange as it may
appear, they occasionally had medical advice."
Fitz. took no notice of my sneer at the faculty, but proceeded to strike
my chest several times, with his finger tips. "Try a short cough now,"
said he. "Ah, that will never do!"
"Do you ever flush. Before dinner I mean?"
"Occasionally, when I meet with a luncheon."
"I'm fairly puzzled," said poor Fitz. throwing himself into a chair;
"gout is a very good thing; but, then, you see you are only a sub., and
it is clearly against the articles of war, to have it before being a
field officer at least. Apoplexy is the best I can do for you; and, to
say the truth, any one who witnesses your performance at mess, may put
faith in the likelihood of it.
"Do you think you could get up a fit for the medical board," said Fitz.,
"Why, if absolutely indispensible," said I, "and with good instruction--
something this way. Eh, is it not?"
"Nothing of the kind: you are quite wrong."
"Is there not always a little laughing and crying," said I.
"Oh, no, no; take the cue from the paymaster any evening after mess, and
you'll make no mistake--very florid about the cheeks; rather a lazy look
in one eye, the other closed up entirely; snore a little from time to
time, and don't be too much disposed to talk."
"And you think I may pass muster in this way."
"Indeed you may, if old Camie, the inspector, happen to be (what he is
not often) in a good humour. But I confess I'd rather you were really
ill, for we've passed a great number of counterfeits latterly, and we may
be all pulled up ere long."
"Not the less grateful for your kindness," said I; "but still, I'd rather
matters stood as they do."
Having, at length, obtained a very formidable statement of my 'case' from
the Doctor, and a strong letter from the Colonel, deploring the temporary
loss of so promising a young officer, I committed myself and my
portmanteau to the inside of his Majesty's mail, and started for Dublin
with as light a heart and high spirits, as were consistent with so much
delicacy of health, and the directions of my Doctor.
THE ROAD--TRAVELLING ACQUAINTANCES--A PACKET ADVENTURE.
I shall not stop now to narrate the particulars of my visit to the
worthies of the medical board; the rather, as some of my "confessions
to come" have reference to Dublin, and many of those that dwell therein.
I shall therefore content myself here with stating, that without any
difficulty I obtained a six months' leave, and having received much
advice and more sympathy from many members of that body, took a
respectful leave of them, and adjourned to Bilton's where I had ordered
dinner, and (as I was advised to live low) a bottle of Sneyd's claret.
My hours in Dublin were numbered; at eight o'clock on the evening of my
arrival I hastened to the Pidgeon House pier, to take my berth in the
packet for Liverpool; and here, gentle reader, let me implore you if you
have bowels of compassion, to commiserate the condition of a sorry mortal
like myself. In the days of which I now speak, steam packets were not--
men knew not then, of the pleasure of going to a comfortable bed in
Kingstown harbour, and waking on the morning after in the Clarence dock
at Liverpool, with only the addition of a little sharper appetite for
breakfast, before they set out on an excursion of forty miles per hour
through the air.
In the time I have now to commemorate, the intercourse between the two
countries was maintained by two sailing vessels of small tonnage, and
still scantier accommodation. Of the one now in question I well
recollect the name--she was called the "Alert," and certainly a more
unfortunate misnomer could scarcely be conceived. Well, there was no
choice; so I took my place upon the crowded deck of the little craft, and
in a drizzling shower of chilly rain, and amid more noise, confusion, and
bustle, than would prelude the launch of a line-of-battle ship, we
"sidled," goose-fashion, from the shore, and began our voyage towards
It is not my intention, in the present stage of "my Confessions," to
delay on the road towards an event which influenced so powerfully, and so
permanently, my after life; yet I cannot refrain from chronicling a
slight incident which occurred on board the packet, and which, I have no
doubt, may be remembered by some of those who throw their eyes on these
One of my fellow-passengers was a gentleman holding a high official
appointment in the viceregal court, either comptroller of the household,
master of the horse, or something else equally magnificent; however,
whatever the nature of the situation, one thing is certain--one possessed
of more courtly manners, and more polished address, cannot be conceived,
to which he added all the attractions of a very handsome person and a
most prepossessing countenance. The only thing the most scrupulous
critic could possibly detect as faulty in his whole air and bearing, was
a certain ultra refinement and fastidiousness, which in a man of
acknowledged family and connections was somewhat unaccountable, and
certainly unnecessary. The fastidiousness I speak of, extended to
everything round and about him; he never eat of the wrong dish, nor spoke
to the wrong man in his life, and that very consciousness gave him a kind
of horror of chance acquaintances, which made him shrink within himself
from persons in every respect his equals. Those who knew Sir Stewart
Moore, will know I do not exaggerate in either my praise or censure, and
to those who have not had that pleasure, I have only to say, theirs was
the loss, and they must take my word for the facts.
The very antithesis to the person just mentioned, was another passenger
then on board. She, for even in sex they were different--she was a
short, squat, red-faced, vulgar-looking woman, of about fifty, possessed
of a most garrulous tendency, and talking indiscriminately with every one
about her, careless what reception her addresses met with, and quite
indifferent to the many rebuffs she momentarily encountered. To me by
what impulse driven Heaven knows this amorphous piece of womanhood seemed
determined to attach herself. Whether in the smoky and almost
impenetrable recesses of the cabin, or braving the cold and penetrating
rain upon deck, it mattered not, she was ever at my side, and not only
martyring me by the insufferable annoyance of her vulgar loquacity, but
actually, from the appearance of acquaintanceship such constant
association gave rise to, frightening any one else from conversing with
me, and rendering me, ere many hours, a perfect Paria among the
passengers. By not one were we--for, alas, we had become Siamese--so
thoroughly dreaded as by the refined baronet I have mentioned; he
appeared to shrink from our very approach, and avoided us as though we
had the plagues of Egypt about us. I saw this--I felt it deeply, and as
deeply and resolutely I vowed to be revenged, and the time was not long
distant in affording me the opportunity.
The interesting Mrs. Mulrooney, for such was my fair companion called,
was on the present occasion making her debut on what she was pleased to
call the "says;" she was proceeding to the Liverpool market as proprietor
and supercargo over some legion of swine that occupied the hold of the
vessel, and whose mellifluous tones were occasionally heard in all
parts of the ship. Having informed me on these, together with some
circumstances of her birth and parentage, she proceeded to narrate some
of the cautions given by her friends as to her safety when making such a
long voyage, and also to detail some of the antiseptics to that dread
scourge, sea-sickness, in the fear and terror of which she had come on
board, and seemed every hour to be increasing in alarm about.
"Do you think then sir, that pork is no good agin the sickness? Mickey,
that's my husband, sir, says it's the only thing in life for it, av it's
"Not the least use, I assure you."
"Nor sperits and wather?"
"Worse and worse, ma'am."
"Oh, thin, maybe oaten mail tay would do? it's a beautiful thing for the
stomick, any how."
"Rank poison on the present occasion, believe me."
"Oh, then, blessed Mary, what am I to do--what is to become of me?"
"Go down at once to your berth, ma'am; lie still and without speaking
till we come in sight of land; or," and here a bright thought seized me,
"if you really feel very ill, call for that man there, with the fur
collar on his coat; he can give you the only thing I ever knew of any
efficacy; he's the steward, ma'am, Stewart Moore; but you must be on your
guard too as you are a stranger, for he's a conceited fellow, and has
saved a trifle, and sets up for a half gentleman; so don't be surprised
at his manner; though, after all, you may find him very different; some
people, I've heard, think him extremely civil."
"And he has a cure, ye say?"
"The only one I ever heard of; it is a little cordial of which you take,
I don't know how much, every ten or fifteen minutes."
"And the naygur doesn't let the saycret out, bad manners to him?"
"No, ma'am; he has refused every offer on the subject.'
"May I be so bowld as to ax his name again?"
"Stewart Moore, ma'am. Moore is the name, but people always call him
Stewart Moore; just say that in a loud clear voice, and you'll soon have
With the most profuse protestations of gratitude and promises of pork "a
discretion," if I ever sojourned at Ballinasloe, my fair friend proceeded
to follow my advice, and descended to the cabin.
Some hours after, I also betook myself to my rest, from which, however,
towards midnight I was awoke by the heavy working and pitching of the
little vessel, as she laboured in a rough sea. As I looked forth from my
narrow crib, a more woe-begone picture can scarcely be imagined than that
before me. Here and there through the gloomy cabin lay the victims of
the fell malady, in every stage of suffering, and in every attitude of