Justin McCarthy.

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where he found a landing-place, and then in he threw the
hat, which sunk like a stone.

The sun was just going down in the beautiful sky of
a calm summer's evening. Fcascor l was seen dimly twin-
kling in the cloudless heaven, a solitary star, and the
waves of the Atlantic flashed in a golden flood of light. So
Jack, perceiving it was late, set off home ; but when he got
there, not a word did he say to Biddy of where he had
spent his day.

The state of the poor souls cooped up in the lobster-pots
gave Jack a great deal of trouble, and how to release them
cost him a great deal of thought. He at first had a mind
to speak to the priest about the matter. But what could
the priest do, and what did Coo care for the priest? Be-
sides, Coo was a good sort of an old fellow, and did not
think he was doing any harm. Jack had a regard for him
too, and it also might not be much to his own credit if it
were known that he used io go dine witli Merrows. On
the whole he thought his best plan would be to ask Coo to
dinner, and to make him drunk, if he was able, and then

1 Feascor, the evening star.


to take the hat and go down and turn up the pots. It was
first of all necessary, however, to get Biddy out of the way ;
for Jack was prudent enough, as she was a woman, to wish
to keep the thing secret from her.

Accordingly, Jack grew mighty pious all of a sudden,
and said to Biddy that he thought it would be for the good
of both of their souls if she was to go and take her rounds
at Saint John's Well, near Ennis. Biddy thought so too,
and accordingly off she set one fine morning at day-dawn,
giving Jack a strict charge to have an eye to the place.
The coast being clear, away went Jack to the rock to give
the appointed signal to Coomara, which was throwing a
big stone into the water. Jack threw, and up sprang Coo !

" Good-morrow, Jack," said he; " what do you want with
me? "

" Just nothing at all to speak about, sir," returned Jack,
" only to come and take a bit of dinner with me, if I might
make so free as to ask you, and sure I 'in now after doing

" It 's quite agreeable, Jack, I assure you ; what 's your

" Any time that 's most convenient to you, sir — say one
o'clock, that you may go home, if you wish, with the day-

" I '11 be with you," said Coo, " never fear me."

Jack went home, and dresed a noble fish dinner, and got
out plenty of his best foreign spirits, enough for that mat-
ter to make twenty men drunk. Just to the minute came
Coo, with his cocked hat under his arm. Dinner was ready,
they sat down, and ate and drank away manfully. Jack,
thinking of the poor souls below in the pots, plied old Coo
well with brandy, and encouraged him to sing, hoping to
put him under the table, but poor Jack forgot that he had
not- the sea over his own head to keep it cool. The brandy
got into it and did his business for him, and Coo reeled off
home, leaving his entertainer as dumb as a haddock on a
Good Friday.

Jack never woke till the next morning, and then he was
in a sad way. " 'T is to no use for me thinking to make
that old Rapparee drunk," said Jack, " and how in this
world can I help the poor souls out of the lobster-pots?"
After ruminating nearly the whole day, a thought struck


him. " I have it," says he, slapping his knee ; " I '11 be
sworn that Coo never saw a drop of poteen, as old as he is,
and that 's the thing to settle him ! Oh ! then, is not it well
that Biddy will not be home these two days yet? I can have
another twist at him."

Jack asked Coo again, and Coo laughed at him for hav-
ing no better head, telling him he 'd never come up to his

" Well, but try me again," said Jack, " and I '11 be bail to
drink you drunk and sober, and drunk again."

" Anything in my power," said Coo, " to oblige you."

At this dinner Jack took care to have his own liquor well
watered, and to give the strongest brandy he had to Coo.
At last says he, " Pray, sir, did you ever drink any poteen?
— any real mountain dew? "

" No," said Coo; " what 's that, and where does it come
from? "

" Oh, that 's a secret," said Jack, " but it 's the right
stuff — never believe me again, if 't is not fifty times as good
as brandy or rum either. Biddy's brother just sent me a
present of a little drop, in exchange for some brandy, and
as you 're an old friend of the family, I kept it to treat you

" Well, let 's see what sort of thing it is," said Coomara.

The poteen was the right sort. It was first-rate, and had
the real smack upon it. Coo was delighted : he drank and
he sung Rum hum hoodie hoo over and over again ; and he
laughed and danced, till he fell on the floor fast asleep.
Then Jack, who had taken good care to keep himself sober,
snapt up the cocked hat — ran off to the rock — leaped in,
and soon arrived at Coo's habitation.

All was as still as a churchyard at midnight — not a Mer-
row old or young was there. In he went and turned up
the pots, but nothing did lie see, only he heard a sort of a
little whistle or chirp as he raised each of them. At this
he was surprised, till he recollected what the priests had
often said, that nobody living could see the soul, no more
than they could see the wind or air. Having now done all
that he could do for them he set the pots as (hey were be-
fore, and sent a Messing after the poor souls to speed them
on their journey wherever they were going. Jack now be-
gan to think of returning; he put the hat on, as was right,



the wrong way ; but when he got out he found the water so
high over his head that he had no hopes of ever getting up
into it, now that he had not old Coomara to give him a lift.
He walked about looking for a ladder, but not one could
he find, and not a rock was there in sight. At last he saw
a spot where the sea hung rather lower than anywhere
else, so he resolved to try there. Just as he came to it, a
big cod happened to put down his tail. Jack made a jump
and caught hold of it, and the cod, all in amazement, gave
a bounce and pulled Jack up. The minute the hat touched
the water away Jack was whisked, and up he shot like a
cork, dragging the poor cod, that he forgot to let go, up
with him, tail foremost. He got to the rock in no time,
and without a moment's delay hurried home, rejoicing in
the good deed he had done.

But, meanwhile, there was fine work at home; for our
friend Jack had hardly left the house on his soul-freeing
expedition, when back came Biddy from her soul-saving one
to the well. When she entered the house and saw the things
lying thrie-na-hclah * on the table before her, — " Here 's a
pretty job ! " said she ; " that blackguard of mine — what
ill-luck I had ever to marry him! He has picked up some
vagabond or other, while I was praying for the good of his
soul, and they 've been drinking all the poteen that my own
brother gave him, and all the spirits, to be sure, that he was
to have sold to his honor." Then hearing an outlandish
kind of a grunt, she looked down, and saw Coomara lying
under the table . " The blessed Virgin help me," shouted
she, " if he has not made a real beast of himself ! Well, well,
I 've often heard of a man making a beast of himself with
drink ! Oh hone, oh hone — Jack, honey, what will I do
with you, or what will I do without you? How can any
decent woman ever think of living with a beast? "

With such-like lamentations Biddy rushed out of the
house, and was going she knew not where, when she heard
the well-known voice of Jack singing a merry tune. Glad
enough was Biddy to find him safe and sound, and not
turned into a thing that was like neither fish nor flesh.
Jack was obliged to tell her all, and Biddy, though she had
half a mind to be angry with him for not telling her before,
owned that he had done a great service to the poor souls.

1 Thrie-na-helah, mixed up.


Back they both went most lovingly to the house, and Jack
wakened up Coomara; and perceiving the old fellow to be
rather dull, he bid him not be cast down, for 't was many
a good man's case ; said it all came of his not being used to
the poteen, and recommended him, by way of cure, to swal-
low a hair of the dog that bit him. Coo, however, seemed
to think he had had quite enough : he got up, quite out of
sorts, and without having the manners to say one word in
the way of civility, he sneaked off to cool himself by a jaunt
through the salt water.

Coomara never missed the souls. He and Jack con-
tinued the best of friends in the world, and no one, perhaps,
ever equaled Jack at freeing souls from purgatory ; for he
contrived fifty excuses for getting into the house below
the sea, unknown to the old fellow, and then turning up
the pots and letting out the souls. It vexed him, to be sure,
that he could never see them ; but as he knew the thing to
be impossible, he was obliged to be satisfied.

Their intercourse continued for several years. However,
one morning, on Jack's throwing in a stone as usual, he got
no answer. He flung another, and another, still there was
no reply. He went away, and returned the following morn-
ing, but it was to no purpose. As he was without the hat,
he could not go down to see what had become of old Coo,
but his belief was, that the old man, or the old fish, or
whatever he was, had either died, or had removed away
from that part of the country.


There are few people who have not heard of the Mac Car-
thies, one of the real old Irish families, with the true Mile-
sian blood running in their veins as thick as buttermilk.
Many were the clans of this family in the south; as the
Mac Carthy-more, and the Mac Carthy-reah, and the Mac
Carthy of Muskerrv; and all of them were noted for their
hospitality to si rangers, gentle and simple.

But not one of that name, or of any other, exceeded
Justin Mac Carthy, of Ballinacarthy, at putting plenty to
eat and drink upon his table; and there was a right hearty


welcome for every one who should share it with him. Many
a wine-cellar would be ashamed of the name if that at Bal-
linacarthy was the proper pattern for one. Large as that
cellar was, it was crowded with bins of wine, and long rows
of pipes, and hogsheads and casks, that it would take more
time to count than any sober man could spare in such a
place, with plenty to drink about him, and a hearty wel-
come to do so.

There are many, no doubt, who will think that the but-
ler would have little to complain of in such a house; and
the whole country round would have agreed with them, if
a man could be found to remain as Mr. Mac Carthy's butler
for any length of time worth speaking of; yet not one who
had been in his service gave him a bad word.

" We have no fault," they would say, " to find with the
master, and if he could but get any one to fetch his wine
from the cellar, we might every one of us have grown gray
in the house, and lived quiet and contented enough in his
service until the end of our days."

" 'T is a queer thing that, surely," thought young Jack
Leary, a lad who had been brought up from a mere child
in the stables of Ballinacarthy to assist in taking care
of the horses, and had occasionally lent a hand in the but-
ler's pantry. " 'T is a mighty queer thing, surely, that
one man after another cannot content himself with the
best place in the house of a good master, but that every
one of them must quit, all through the means, as they say,
of the wine-cellar. If the master, long life to him, would
but make me his butler, I warrant never the word more
would be heard of grumbling at his bidding to go to the

Young Leary accordingly watched for what he con-
ceived to be a favorable opportunity of presenting himself
to the notice of his master.

A few mornings after, Mr. Mac Carthy went into his
stableyard rather earlier than usual, and called loudly for
the groom to saddle his horse, as he intended going out with
the hounds. But there was no groom to answer, and young
Jack Leary led Rainbow out of the stable.

« Where is William? " inquired Mr. Mac Carthy.

"Sir?" said Jack; and Mr. Mac Carthy repeated the


" Is it William, please your honor?" returned Jack;
" why, then, to tell the truth, he had just one drop too much
last night."

" Where did he get it? " said Mr. Mac Carthy ; " for since
Thomas went away the key of the wine-cellar has been in
my pocket, and I have been obliged to fetch what was
drunk myself."

" Sorry a know I know," said Leary, " unless the cook
might have given him the laste taste in life of whisky.
But," continued he, performing a low bow by seizing with
his right hand a lock of hair and pulling down his head by
it, whilst his left leg, which had been put forward, was
scraped back against the ground, " may I make so bold as
just to ask your honor one question? "

" Speak out, Jack," said Mr. Mac Carthy.

" Why, then, does your honor want a butler? "

" Can you recommend me one," returned his master,
with the smile of good-humor upon his countenance, " and
one who will not be afraid of going to my wine-cellar? '

" Is the wine-cellar all the matter?" said young Leary;
" devil a doubt I have of myself then for that."

" So you mean to offer me your services in the capacity
of butler? " said Mr. Mac Carthy, with some surprise.

" Exactly so," answered Leary, now for the first time
looking up from the ground.

" Well, I believe you to be a good lad, and have no ob-
jection to give you a trial."

" Long may your honor reign over us, and the Lord
spare you to us ! " ejaculated Leary, with another national
bow, as his master rode off ; and he continued for some time
to gaze after him with a vacant stare, which slowly and
gradually assumed a look of importance.

"Jack Leary," said he, at length, "Jack — is it Jack?"
in a tone of wonder; "faith, 'tis not Jack now, but Mr.
John, the butler " ; and with an air of becoming conse-
quence he strode out of the stablevard towards the kitchen.

It is of little purport to my story, although it may afford
an instructive lesson to the reader, to depict the sudden
transition of nobody into somebody. Jack's former stable
companion, a poor superannuated hound named Bran, who
had been accustomed to receive many an affectionate pat on
the head, was spurned from him with a kick and an " Out


of the way, sirrah." Indeed, poor Jack's memory seemed
sadly affected by this sudden change of situation. What
established the point beyond all doubt was his almost
forgetting the pretty face of Peggy, the kitchen wench,
whose heart he had assailed but the preceding week by the
offer of purchasing a gold ring for the fourth finger of her
right hand, and a lusty imprint of good-will upon her

When Mr. Mac Carthy returned from hunting, he sent
for Jack Leary — so he still continued to call his new butler.
" Jack," said he, " I believe you are a trustworthy lad, and
here are the keys of my cellar. I have asked the gen-
tlemen with whom I hunted to-day to dine with me, and
I hope they may be satisfied at the way in which you will
wait on them at table ; but, above all, let there be no want
of wine after dinner."

Mr. John, having a tolerably quick eye for such things,
and being naturally a handy lad, spread his cloth accord-
ingly, laid his plates and knives and forks in the same man-
ner he had seen his predecessors in office perform these
mysteries, and really, for the first time, got through at-
tendance on dinner very well.

It must not be forgotten, however, that it was at the
house of an Irish country squire, who was entertaining a
company of booted and spurred fox-hunters, not very par-
ticular about what are considered matters of infinite im-
portance under other circumstances and in other societies.

For instance, few of Mr. Mac Carthy's guests (though
all excellent and worthy men in their way) cared much
whether the punch produced after soup was made of
Jamaica or Antigua rum ; some even would not have been
inclined to question the correctness of good old Irish
whisky; and, with the exception of their liberal host him-
self, every one in company preferred the port which Mr.
Mac Carthy put on his table to the less ardent flavor of
claret, a choice rather at variance with modern sentiment.

It was waxing near midnight when Mr. Mac Carthy
rung the bell three times. This was a signal for more wine;
and Jack proceeded to the cellar to procure a fresh sup-
ply, but it must be confessed not without some little hesi-

The luxury of ice was then unknoAvn in the south of Ire-


land ; but the superiority of cool wine bad been acknowl-
edged by all men of sound judgment and true taste.

The grandfather of Mr. Mac Carthy, who had built the
mansion of Ballinacarthy upon the site of an old castle
which had belonged to his ancestors, was fully aware of
this important fact; and in the construction of his magnifi-
cent wine-cellar had availed himself of a deep vault, ex-
cavated out of the solid rock in former times as a place of
retreat and security. The descent to this vault was by a
flight of steep stone stairs, and here and there in the wall
were narrow passages — I ought rather to call them
crevices; and also certain projections, which cast deep
shadows, and looked very frightful when any one went
down the cellar-stairs with a single light; indeed, two
lights did not much improve the matter, for though the
breadth of the shadow became less, the narrow crevices
remained as dark and darker than ever.

Summoning up all his resolution, down went the new
butler, bearing in his right hand a lantern and the key of
the cellar, and in his left a basket, which he considered
sufficiently capacious to contain an adequate stock for the
remainder of the evening: he arrived at the door with-
out any interruption whatever ; but when he put the key,
which was of an ancient and clumsy kind, for it was before
the days of Bramah's patent, — and turned it in the lock,
he thought he heard a strange kind of laughing within the
cellar, to which some empty bottles that stood upon the
floor outside vibrated so violently that they struck against
each other: in this he could not be mistaken, although he
may have been deceived in the laugh, for the bottles were
just at his feet, and he saw them in motion.

Leary paused for a moment, and looked about him with
becoming caution. He then boldly seized the handle of
the key, and turned it with all his strength in the lock, as
if he doubted his own power of doing so; and the door flew
open with a most tremendous crash, that if the house had
not been built upon the solid rock would have shook it
from the foundation.

To recount what the poor fellow saw would be impos-
sible, for lie seems not to have known very clearly himself:
but what he told the cook next morning was, that he heard
a roaring and bellowing like a mad bull, and that all the


pipes and hogsheads and casks in the cellar went rock-
ing backwards and forwards with so much force that he
thought every one would have been staved in, and that he
should have been drowned or smothered in wine.

When Leary recovered he made his way back as well as
he could to the dining-room, where he found his master
and the company very impatient for his return.

"What kept you?" said Mr. Mac Carthy in an angry
voice; " and where is the wine? I rung for it half an hour

" The wine is in the cellar, I hope, sir," said Jack, trem-
bling violently; " I hope 't is not all lost."

" What do you mean, fool ? " exclaimed Mr. Mac Carthy
in a still more angry tone : " why did you not fetch some
with you? "

Jack looked wildly about him, and only uttered a deep

" Gentlemen," said Mr. Mac Carthy to his guests, " this
is too much. When I next see you to dinner I hope it will
be in another house, for it is impossible I can remain longer
in this, where a man has no command over his own wine-
cellar, and cannot get a butler to do his duty. I have long
thought of moving from Ballinacarthy ; and I am now de-
termined, with the blessing of God, to leave it to-morrow.
But wine you shall have were I to go myself to the cellar
for it." So saying, he rose from table, took the key and
lantern from his half-stupefied servant, who regarded him
with a look of vacancy, and descended the narrow stairs,
already described, which led to his cellar.

When he arrived at the door, which he found open, he
thought he heard a noise, as if of rats or mice scrambling
over the casks, and on advancing perceived a little figure,
about six inches in height, seated astride upon a pipe of
the oldest port in the place, and bearing a spigot upon his
shoulder. Raising the lantern, Mr. Mac Carthy contem-
plated the little fellow with wonder: he wore a red night-
cap on his head; before him was a short leather apron,
which now, from his attitude, fell rather on one side; and
he had stockings of a light blue color, so long as nearly
to cover the entire of his leg; with shoes, having huge silver
buckles in them, and with high heels (perhaps out of
vanity to make him appear taller). His face was like a


withered winter apple; and bis nose, which was of a bright
crimson color, about the tip wore a delicate purple bloom,
like that of a plum ; yet his eyes twinkled

" like those mites

Of candied dew in moony nights — "

and his mouth twitched up at one side with an arch grin.

" Ha, scoundrel ! " exclaimed Mr. Mac Carthy, " have I
found you at last? disturber of my cellar — what are you
doing there? "

" Sure, and master," returned the little fellow, looking
up at him with one eye, and with the other throwing a sly
glance towards the spigot on his shoulder, " ain't we going
to move to-morrow? and sure you would not leave your own
little Cluricaune 1 Naggeneen behind you? "

" Oh ! " thought Mr. Mac Carthy, " if you are to follow
me, Mister Naggeneen, I don't see much use in quitting
Ballmaearthy." So filling with wine the basket which
young Leary in his fright had left behind him, and locking
the cellar door, he rejoined his guests.

For some years after Mr. Mac Carthy had always to fetch
the wine for his table himself, as the little Cluricaune
Naggeneen seemed to feel a persoual respect towards him.
Notwithstanding the labor of these journeys, the worthy
lord of Ballinacarthy lived in his paternal mansion to a
good round age, and was famous to the last for the excel-
lence of his wine and the conviviality of his compam- ; but
:il the time of his death that same conviviality had nearly
emptied his wine-cellar; and as it was never so well filled
again, nor so often visited, the revels of Master Naggeneen
became less celebrated, and are now only spoken of
amongst the legendary lore of the country. It is even said
that the poor little fellow took the declension of the cellar
so to heart that he became negligent and careless of him-
self, and that he had been sometimes seen going about with
hardly a skreed (rag) to cover him.

1 Cluricaune. See the article on ' Fairy and Folk Tales.'



" I can't stop in the bouse — I won't stop in it for all the
money that is buried in the old castle of Carrigrohan. If
ever there was such a thing in the world! — to be abused
to my face night and day, and nobody to the fore doing it !
and then, if I 'in angry, to be laughed at with a great roar-
ing ho, ho, ho ! I won't stay in the house after to-night, if
there was not another place in the country to put my head

This angry soliloquy was pronounced in the hall of
the old manor-house of Carrigrohan by John Sheehan.
John was a new servant; he had been only three days in
the house, which had the character of being haunted, and
in that short space of time he had been abused and laughed
at by a voice which sounded as if a man spoke with his
head in a cask ; nor could he discover who was the speaker,
or from whence the voice came. " I '11 not stop here," said
John; " and that ends the matter."

" Ho, ho, ho ! be quiet, John Sheehan, or else worse will
happen to you."

John instantly ran to the hall window, as the words were
evidently spoken by a person immediately outside, but no
one was visible. He had scarcely placed his face at the
pane of glass when he heard another loud " Ho, ho, ho ! " as
if behind him in the hall; as quick as lightning he turned

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