Charles James Lever.

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CHARLES O'MALLEY


The Irish Dragoon


BY CHARLES LEVER.


WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY PHIZ.


IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. II.


[Illustration: EXORCISING A SPIRIT.]




CONTENTS.


CHAPTER

I. THE DOCTOR'S TALE
II. THE SKIRMISH
III. THE LINES OF CIUDAD RODRIGO
IV. THE DOCTOR
V. THE COA
VI. THE NIGHT MARCH
VII. THE JOURNEY
VIII. THE GHOST
IX. LISBON
X. A PLEASANT PREDICAMENT
XI. THE DINNER
XII. THE LETTER
XIII. THE VILLA
XIV. THE VISIT
XV. THE CONFESSION
XVI. MY CHARGER
XVII. MAURICE
XVIII. THE MASQUERADE
XIX. THE LINES
XX. THE RETREAT OF THE FRENCH
XXI. PATRICK'S DAY IN THE PENINSULA
XXII. FUENTES D'ONORO
XXIII. THE BATTLE OF FUENTES D'ONORO
XXIV. A RENCONTRE
XXV. ALMEIDA
XXVI. A NIGHT ON THE AZAVA
XXVII. MIKE'S MISTAKE
XXVIII. MONSOON IN TROUBLE
XXIX. THE CONFIDENCE
XXX. THE CANTONMENT
XXXI. MICKEY FREE'S ADVENTURE
XXXII. THE SAN PETRO
XXXIII. THE COUNT'S LETTER
XXXIV. THE TRENCHES
XXXV. THE STORMING OF CIUDAD RODRIGO
XXXVI. THE RAMPART
XXXVII. THE DESPATCH
XXXVIII. THE LEAVE
XXXIX. LONDON
XL. THE BELL AT BRISTOL
XLI. IRELAND
XLII. THE RETURN
XLIII. HOME
XLIV. AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE
XLV. A SURPRISE
XLVI. NEW VIEWS
XLVII. A RECOGNITION
XLVIII. A MISTAKE
XLIX. BRUSSELS
L. AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE
LI. THE DUCHESS OF RICHMOND'S BALL
LII. QUATRE BRAS
LIII. WATERLOO
LIV. BRUSSELS
LV. CONCLUSION
L'ENVOI




ILLUSTRATIONS BY PHIZ IN VOL. II

Etchings
EXORCISING A SPIRIT
THE TABLES TURNED 210
THE GENTLEMEN WHO NEVER SLEEP 405
THE WELCOME HOME 472

Illustrations in the Text
A FLYING SHOT 28
O'MALLEY FOLLOWING THE CUSTOM OF HIS COUNTRY 77
MR. FREE TURNED SPANIARD 96
CHARLEY TRYING A CHARGER 118
GOING OUT TO DINNER 152
DISADVANTAGE OF BREAKFASTING OVER A DUELLING-PARTY 157
MR. FREE PIPES WHILE HIS FRIENDS PIPE-CLAY 218
A HUNTING TURN-OUT IN THE PENINSULA 240
MIKE CAPTURING THE TRUMPETER 248
CAPTAIN MICKEY FREE RELATING HIS HEROIC DEEDS 310
BABY BLAKE 355
MICKEY ASTONISHES THE NATIVES 403
DEATH OF HAMMERSLEY 463




CHARLES O'MALLEY.


THE IRISH DRAGOON.


* * * * *


CHAPTER I.


THE DOCTOR'S TALE.[1]

"It is now some fifteen years since - if it wasn't for O'Shaughnessy's
wrinkles, I could not believe it five - we were quartered in Loughrea. There
were, besides our regiment, the Fiftieth and the Seventy-third, and a troop
or two of horse artillery, and the whole town was literally a barrack, and
as you may suppose, the pleasantest place imaginable. All the young ladies,
and indeed all those that had got their brevet some years before, came
flocking into the town, not knowing but the Devil might persuade a raw
ensign or so to marry some of them.

"Such dinner parties, such routs and balls, never were heard of west of
Athlone. The gayeties were incessant; and if good feeding, plenty of
claret, short whist, country dances, and kissing could have done the thing,
there wouldn't have been a bachelor with a red coat for six miles around.

[Footnote 1: I cannot permit the reader to fall into the same blunder,
with regard to the worthy "Maurice," as my friend Charles O'Malley has
done. It is only fair to state that the doctor in the following tale was
hoaxing the "dragoon." A braver and a better fellow than Quill never
existed, equally beloved by his brother officers, as delighted in for his
convivial talents. His favorite amusement was to invent some story or
adventure in which, mixing up his own name with that of some friend or
companion, the veracity of the whole was never questioned. Of this nature
was the pedigree he devised in the last chapter of Vol. I. to impose upon
O'Malley, who believed implicitly all he told him.]

"You know the west, O'Mealey, so I needn't tell you what the Galway girls
are like: fine, hearty, free-and-easy, talking, laughing devils, but as
deep and 'cute as a Master in Chancery; ready for any fun or merriment, but
always keeping a sly look-out for a proposal or a tender acknowledgment,
which - what between the heat of a ball-room, whiskey negus, white satin
shoes, and a quarrel with your guardian - it's ten to one you fall into
before you're a week in the same town with them.

"As for the men, I don't admire them so much: pleasant and cheerful enough
when they're handicapping the coat off your back, and your new tilbury for
a spavined pony and a cotton umbrella, but regular devils if you come to
cross them the least in life; nothing but ten paces, three shots apiece, to
begin and end with something like Roger de Coverley, when every one has a
pull at his neighbor. I'm not saying they're not agreeable, well-informed,
and mild in their habits; but they lean overmuch to corduroys and coroners'
inquests for one's taste farther south. However, they're a fine people,
take them all in all; and if they were not interfered with, and their
national customs invaded with road-making, petty-sessions, grand-jury laws,
and a stray commission now and then, they are capable of great things, and
would astonish the world.

"But as I was saying, we were ordered to Loughrea after being fifteen
months in detachments about Birr, Tullamore, Kilbeggan, and all that
country; the change was indeed a delightful one, and we soon found
ourselves the centre of the most marked and determined civilities. I told
you they were wise people in the west; this was their calculation: the
line - ours was the Roscommon militia - are here to-day, there to-morrow;
they may be flirting in Tralee this week, and fighting on the Tagus the
next; not that there was any fighting there in those times, but then there
was always Nova Scotia and St. John's, and a hundred other places that a
Galway young lady knew nothing about, except that people never came back
from them. Now, what good, what use was there in falling in love with them?
Mere transitory and passing pleasure that was. But as for us: there we
were; if not in Kilkenny we were in Cork. Safe out and come again; no
getting away under pretence of foreign service; no excuse for not marrying
by any cruel pictures of the colonies, where they make spatch-cocks of the
officers' wives and scrape their infant families to death with a small
tooth-comb. In a word, my dear O'Mealey, we were at a high premium; and
even O'Shaughnessy, with his red head and the legs you see, had his
admirers. There now, don't be angry, Dan; the men, at least, were mighty
partial to you.

"Loughrea, if it was a pleasant, was a very expensive place. White gloves
and car hire, - there wasn't a chaise in the town, - short whist, too (God
forgive me if I wrong them, but I wonder were they honest), cost money; and
as our popularity rose, our purses fell; till at length, when the one was
at the flood, the other was something very like low water.

"Now, the Roscommon was a beautiful corps; no petty jealousies, no little
squabbling among the officers, no small spleen between the major's wife
and the paymaster's sister, - all was amiable, kind, brotherly, and
affectionate. To proceed, I need only mention one fine trait of them, - no
man ever refused to indorse a brother officer's bill. To think of asking
the amount or even the date would be taken personally; and thus we went on
mutually aiding and assisting each other, - the colonel drawing on me, I
on the major, the senior captain on the surgeon, and so on, a regular
cross-fire of 'promises to pay,' all stamped and regular.

"Not but the system had its inconveniences; for sometimes an obstinate
tailor or bootmaker would make a row for his money, and then we'd be
obliged to get up a little quarrel between the drawer and the acceptor of
the bill; they couldn't speak for some days, and a mutual friend to both
would tell the creditor that the slightest imprudence on his part would
lead to bloodshed; 'and the Lord help him! if there was a duel, he'd be
proved the whole cause of it.' This and twenty other plans were employed;
and finally, the matter would be left to arbitration among our brother
officers, and I need not say, they behaved like trumps. But notwithstanding
all this, we were frequently hard pressed for cash; as the colonel said,
'It's a mighty expensive corps.' Our dress was costly; not that it had much
lace and gold on it, but that, what between falling on the road at night,
shindies at mess, and other devilment, a coat lasted no time. Wine, too,
was heavy on us; for though we often changed our wine merchant, and rarely
paid him, there was an awful consumption at the mess!

"Now, what I have mentioned may prepare you for the fact that before
we were eight weeks in garrison, Shaugh and myself, upon an accurate
calculation of our conjoint finances, discovered that except some vague
promises of discounting here and there through the town, and seven and
fourpence in specie, we were innocent of any pecuniary treasures. This was
embarrassing; we had both embarked in several small schemes of pleasurable
amusement, had a couple of hunters each, a tandem, and a running account - I
think it _galloped_ - at every shop in the town.

"Let me pause for a moment here, O'Mealey, while I moralize a little in a
strain I hope may benefit you. Have you ever considered - of course you have
not, you're too young and unreflecting - how beautifully every climate
and every soil possesses some one antidote or another to its own noxious
influences? The tropics have their succulent and juicy fruits, cooling and
refreshing; the northern latitudes have their beasts with fur and warm skin
to keep out the frost-bites; and so it is in Ireland. Nowhere on the face
of the habitable globe does a man contract such habits of small debt, and
nowhere, I'll be sworn, can he so easily get out of any scrape concerning
them. They have their tigers in the east, their antelopes in the south,
their white bears in Norway, their buffaloes in America; but we have an
animal in Ireland that beats them all hollow, - a country attorney!

"Now, let me introduce you to Mr. Matthew Donevan. Mat, as he was
familiarly called by his numerous acquaintances, was a short, florid, rosy
little gentleman of some four or five-and-forty, with a well-curled wig of
the fairest imaginable auburn, the gentle wave of the front locks, which
played in infantine loveliness upon his little bullet forehead, contrasting
strongly enough with a cunning leer of his eye, and a certain _nisi prius_
laugh that however it might please a client, rarely brought pleasurable
feelings to his opponent in a cause.

"Mat was a character in his way; deep, double, and tricky in everything
that concerned his profession, he affected the gay fellow, - liked a jolly
dinner at Brown's Hotel, would go twenty miles to see a steeple-chase and
a coursing match, bet with any one when the odds were strong in his favor,
with an easy indifference about money that made him seem, when winning,
rather the victim of good luck than anything else. As he kept a rather
pleasant bachelor's house, and liked the military much, we soon became
acquainted. Upon him, therefore, for reasons I can't explain, both our
hopes reposed; and Shaugh and myself at once agreed that if Mat could not
assist us in our distresses, the case was a bad one.

"A pretty little epistle was accordingly concocted, inviting the worthy
attorney to a small dinner at five o'clock the next day, intimating that we
were to be perfectly alone, and had a little business to discuss. True to
the hour, Mat was there; and as if instantly guessing that ours was no
regular party of pleasure, his look, dress, and manner were all in keeping
with the occasion, - quiet, subdued, and searching.

"When the claret had been superseded by the whiskey, and the confidential
hours were approaching, by an adroit allusion to some heavy wager then
pending, we brought our finances upon the _tapis_. The thing was done
beautifully, - an easy _adagio_ movement, no violent transition; but hang me
if old Mat didn't catch the matter at once.

"'Oh, it's there ye are, Captain!' said he, with his peculiar grin.
'Two-and-sixpence in the pound, and no assets.'

"'The last is nearer the mark, my old boy,' said Shaugh, blurting out the
whole truth at once. The wily attorney finished his tumbler slowly, as
if giving himself time for reflection, and then, smacking his lips in a
preparatory manner, took a quick survey of the room with his piercing green
eye.

"'A very sweet mare of yours that little mouse-colored one is, with the dip
in the back; and she has a trifling curb - may be it's a spavin, indeed - in
the near hind-leg. You gave five-and-twenty for her, now, I'll be bound?'

"'Sixty guineas, as sure as my name's Dan,' said Shaugh, not at all pleased
at the value put upon his hackney; 'and as to spavin and curb, I'll wager
double the sum she has neither the slightest trace of one nor the other.'

"'I'll not take the bet,' said Mat, dryly. 'Money's scarce in these parts.'

"This hit silenced us both; and our friend continued, -

"'Then there's the bay horse, - a great strapping, leggy beast he is for a
tilbury; and the hunters, worth nothing here; they don't know this country.
Them's neat pistols; and the tilbury is not bad - '

"'Confound you!' said I, losing all patience; 'we didn't ask you here to
appraise our movables. We want to raise the wind without that.'

"'I see, I perceive,' said Mat, taking a pinch of snuff very leisurely as
he spoke, - 'I see. Well, that is difficult, very difficult just now. I've
mortgaged every acre of ground in the two counties near us, and a sixpence
more is not to be had that way. Are you lucky at the races?'

"'Never win a sixpence.'

"'What can you do at whist?'

"'Revoke, and get cursed by my partner; devil a more!'

"'That's mighty bad, for otherwise, we might arrange something for you.
Well, I only see one thing for it; you must marry. A wife with some money
will get you out of your present difficulties; and we'll manage that easily
enough.'

"'Come, Dan,' said I, for Shaugh was dropping asleep; 'cheer up, old
fellow. Donevan has found the way to pull us through our misfortunes. A
girl with forty thousand pounds, the best cock shooting in Ireland, an old
family, a capital cellar, all await ye, - rouse up, there!'

"'I'm convanient,' said Shaugh, with a look intended to be knowing, but
really very tipsy.

"'I didn't say much for her personal attractions, Captain,' said Mat; 'nor,
indeed, did I specify the exact sum; but Mrs. Rogers Dooley, of Clonakilty,
might be a princess - '

"'And so she shall be, Mat; the O'Shaughnessys were Kings of Ennis in the
time of Nero and I'm only waiting for a trifle of money to revive the
title. What's her name?'

"'Mrs. Rogers Dooley.'

"'Here's her health, and long life to her, -

'And may the Devil cut the toes
Of all her foes,
That we may know them by their limping.'

"This benevolent wish uttered, Dan fell flat upon the hearth-rug, and was
soon sound asleep. I must hasten on; so need only say that, before we
parted that night, Mat and myself had finished the half-gallon bottle of
Loughrea whiskey, and concluded a treaty for the hand and fortune of Mrs.
Rogers Dooley. He being guaranteed a very handsome percentage on the
property, and the lady being reserved for choice between Dan and myself,
which, however, I was determined should fall upon my more fortunate friend.

"The first object which presented itself to my aching senses the following
morning was a very spacious card of invitation from Mr. Jonas Malone,
requesting me to favor him with the seductions of my society the next
evening to a ball; at the bottom of which, in Mr. Donevan's hand, I read, -

"'Don't fail; you know who is to be there. I've not been idle since I saw
you. Would the captain take twenty-five for the mare?'

"'So far so good,' thought I, as entering O'Shaughnessy's quarters, I
discovered him endeavoring to spell out his card, which, however, had no
postscript. We soon agreed that Mat should have his price; so sending a
polite answer to the invitation, we despatched a still more civil note to
the attorney, and begged of him, as a weak mark of esteem, to accept the
mouse-colored mare as a present."

Here O'Shaughnessy sighed deeply, and even seemed affected by the souvenir.

"Come, Dan, we did it all for the best. Oh, O'Mealey, he was a cunning
fellow; but no matter. We went to the ball, and to be sure, it was a great
sight. Two hundred and fifty souls, where there was not good room for the
odd fifty; such laughing, such squeezing, such pressing of hands and waists
in the staircase, and then such a row and riot at the top, - four fiddles, a
key bugle, and a bagpipe, playing 'Haste to the wedding,' amidst the crash
of refreshment-trays, the tramp of feet, and the sounds of merriment on all
sides!

"It's only in Ireland, after all, people have fun. Old and young, merry and
morose, the gay and cross-grained, are crammed into a lively country-dance;
and ill-matched, ill-suited, go jigging away together to the blast of a bad
band, till their heads, half turned by the noise, the heat, the novelty,
and the hubbub, they all get as tipsy as if they were really deep in
liquor.

"Then there is that particularly free-and-easy tone in every one about.
Here go a couple capering daintily out of the ball-room to take a little
fresh air on the stairs, where every step has its own separate flirtation
party; there, a riotous old gentleman, with a boarding-school girl for
his partner, has plunged smack into a party at loo, upsetting cards and
counters, and drawing down curses innumerable. Here are a merry knot round
the refreshments, and well they may be; for the negus is strong punch,
and the biscuit is tipsy cake, - and all this with a running fire of good
stories, jokes, and witticisms on all sides, in the laughter for which even
the droll-looking servants join as heartily as the rest.

"We were not long in finding out Mrs. Rogers, who sat in the middle of a
very high sofa, with her feet just touching the floor. She was short,
fat, wore her hair in a crop, had a species of shining yellow skin, and a
turned-up nose, all of which were by no means prepossessing. Shaugh and
myself were too hard-up to be particular, and so we invited her to dance
alternately for two consecutive hours, plying her assiduously with negus
during the lulls in the music.

"Supper was at last announced, and enabled us to recruit for new efforts;
and so after an awful consumption of fowl, pigeon-pie, ham, and brandy
cherries, Mrs. Rogers brightened up considerably, and professed her
willingness to join the dancers. As for us, partly from exhaustion, partly
to stimulate our energies, and in some degree to drown reflection, we drank
deep, and when we reached the drawing-room, not only the agreeable guests
themselves, but even the furniture, the venerable chairs, and the stiff old
sofa seemed performing 'Sir Roger de Coverley.' How we conducted ourselves
till five in the morning, let our cramps confess; for we were both
bed-ridden for ten days after. However, at last Mrs. Rogers gave in, and
reclining gracefully upon a window-seat, pronounced it a most elegant
party, and asked me to look for her shawl. While I perambulated the
staircase with her bonnet on my head, and more wearing apparel than would
stock a magazine, Shaugh was roaring himself hoarse in the street, calling
Mrs. Rogers' coach.

"'Sure, Captain,' said the lady, with a tender leer, 'it's only a chair.'

"'And here it is,' said I, surveying a very portly-looking old sedan, newly
painted and varnished, that blocked up half the hall.

"'You'll catch cold, my angel,' said Shaugh, in a whisper, for he was
coming it very strong by this; 'get into the chair. Maurice, can't you find
those fellows?' said he to me, for the chairmen had gone down-stairs, and
were making very merry among the servants.

"'She's fast now,' said I, shutting the door to. 'Let us do the gallant
thing, and carry her home ourselves.' Shaugh thought this a great notion;
and in a minute we mounted the poles and sallied forth, amidst a great
chorus of laughing from all the footmen, maids, and teaboys that filled the
passage.

"'The big house, with the bow-window and the pillars, Captain,' said a
fellow, as we issued upon our journey. "'I know it,' said I. 'Turn to the
left after you pass the square.'

"'Isn't she heavy?' said Shaugh, as he meandered across the narrow streets
with a sidelong motion that must have suggested to our fair inside
passenger some notions of a sea voyage. In truth, I must confess our
progress was rather a devious one, - now zig-zagging from side to side, now
getting into a sharp trot, and then suddenly pulling up at a dead stop, or
running the machine chuck against a wall, to enable us to stand still and
gain breath.

"'Which way now?' cried he, as we swung round the angle of a street and
entered the large market-place; 'I'm getting terribly tired.'

"'Never give in, Dan. Think of Clonakilty and the old lady herself.' Here
I gave the chair a hoist that evidently astonished our fair friend, for a
very imploring cry issued forth immediately after.

"'To the right, quick-step, forward, charge!' cried I; and we set off at a
brisk trot down a steep narrow lane.

"'Here it is now, - the light in the window. Cheer up.'

"As I said this we came short up to a fine, portly-looking doorway, with
great stone pillars and cornice.

"'Make yourself at home, Maurice,' said he; 'bring her in.' So saying,
we pushed forward - for the door was open - and passed boldly into a great
flagged hall, silent and cold, and dark as the night itself.

"'Are you sure we're right?' said he.

"'All right,' said I; 'go ahead.'

"And so we did, till we came in sight of a small candle that burned dimly
at a distance from us.

"'Make for the light,' said I; but just as I said so Shaugh slipped and
fell flat on the flagway. The noise of his fall sent up a hundred echoes
in the silent building, and terrified us both dreadfully. After a minute's
pause, by one consent we turned and made for the door, falling almost at
every step, and frightened out of our senses, we came tumbling together
into the porch, and out in the street, and never drew breath till we
reached the barracks. Meanwhile let me return to Mrs. Rogers. The dear
old lady, who had passed an awful time since she left the ball, had just
rallied out of a fainting fit when we took to our heels; so after screaming
and crying her best, she at last managed to open the top of the chair, and
by dint of great exertions succeeded in forcing the door, and at length
freed herself from bondage. She was leisurely groping her way round it
in the dark, when her lamentations, being heard without, woke up the old
sexton of the chapel, - for it was there we placed her, - who, entering
cautiously with a light, no sooner caught a glimpse of the great black
sedan and the figure beside it than he also took to his heels, and ran like
a madman to the priest's house.

"'Come, your reverence, come, for the love of marcy! Sure didn't I see him
myself! Oh, wirra, wirra!'

"'What is it, ye ould fool?' said M'Kenny.

"'It's Father Con Doran, your reverence, that was buried last week, and
there he is up now, coffin and all, saying a midnight Mass as lively as
ever.'

"Poor Mrs. Rogers, God help her! It was a trying sight for her when the
priest and the two coadjutors and three little boys and the sexton all came
in to lay her spirit; and the shock she received that night, they say, she
never got over.

"Need I say, my dear O'Mealey, that our acquaintance with Mrs. Rogers was
closed? The dear woman had a hard struggle for it afterwards. Her character
was assailed by all the elderly ladies in Loughrea for going off in our
company, and her blue satin, piped with scarlet, utterly ruined by a deluge
of holy water bestowed on her by the pious sexton. It was in vain that she
originated twenty different reports to mystify the world; and even ten
pounds spent in Masses for the eternal repose of Father Con Doran only
increased the laughter this unfortunate affair gave rise to. As for us, we
exchanged into the line, and foreign service took us out of the road of
duns, debts, and devilment, and we soon reformed, and eschewed such low
company."


The day was breaking ere we separated; and amidst the rich and fragrant
vapors that exhaled from the earth, the faint traces of sunlight dimly



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