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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



GIFT OF

FREDERIC THOMAS BLANCHARD

FOR THE
ENGLISH READING ROOM



[HARRINGTON



BY

CHARLES LEV E R



i virn ILL us TRA TIONS



LONDON
GEORGE ROUT LEDGE AND SONS



LONDON

KD BY \VOO;>FAI.L AND K:xn~R,
M::.I - O::D LANK, ST::AND, '.v.c.



College

Library



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER T.
THE FISHERMAN'S HOME ,



CHAPTER IL
A. WET MOUSING AT HOME . . . . , , . 1 1

CHAPTER III.
OUR NKXT NEIGHBOURS ........ 21

CHAPTER IV.
FRED COXYEKS .......



CHAPTER V.
DILL AS A DIPLOMATIST



CHAPTER VI.
TIIK DOCTOR'S DAUGHTER



:j.4G2G57



yi CONTENTS

CHAPTER VII.
TOM DILL'S FIRST PATIENT



CHAPTER VIII.
FINE ACQUAINTANCES ......... 70

CHAPTER IX.
A COUNTR? DOCTOR ......... 2



CHAPTER X.
BEING "BORED" , . 01



CHAPTER XI.
A NOTE TO BE ANSWERED ......

CHAPTER XII.
THE ANSWER 105



CIIAl'TEii XIII.
A FEW LEAVES FROM A BLUE-BOOK . . . . > . 1H

ClIAi-IEIl XIV.
BARRI>:GTON'S FOKD 127



CONTENTS. Vll



CHAPTER XV.

PA OK

AN EXPLORING EXPEDITION . . . . . , ,139



CHAPTER XVI.
iiiNO HOME . , . 152



CHAPTER XVII.
A SHOCK ... , . 1(50



CHAPTER XVIII.
COBIIAM . . . 172



CHAPTER XIX.
THE HOUR OF LUNCHEON



CHAPTER XX.
AN INTERIOR AT THE DOCTOR'S . . . . . , .100



CHAPTER XXI.
DARK TIDINGS .204



CHAPTER XXII.
LEAVING HOME . ....



Ylil CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XXIII.
Ta: COLONEL'S COUKSELS ....



CHAPTER XX I Y.

C. MEKS JIAKIS A MORSIKQ CALL ...... CCD



CHAPTER XXV.
DUBLIS REVISITED 212

CHAPTER XXYI.
A YEKT SAD Gooc-BtK



CHAPTER XXYII,

TUE COXVEXI ON THE MEUSE ..... i 260



CHAPTER XXVIII.
GEOROK'S DAUGHTER 288



CHAPTER XXIX.
TI:E R.VMBLK ........ 279



CHAPTER XXX.
...... 2S9



CONTENTS. IX



CHAPTER XXXI.
FIFIXK AND POI.I.V



CHAPTER XXXII.
AT th>Mn A:.ux 3



CHAPTER XXX III.
A JVM u.i, DrxxEH-PAK-v ........ 31 G

CIIAl'TEll XXXIV.
A MOVE IN ADVANCE ........ S'JO



CHAPTER XXXV.
A CABINET Ct-i'xar



C II APT Jill XXXVI.
Ax EXPRESS



CilAll'ER XXX VI I.



CHAPTER XXXVIII.



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER XXXIX.

PAGE

MAJOR M'CORMICK'S LETTER 371



CHAPTER XL.

LsTEKCHAKQED CoSFESSION3 384



CIIAPTKR XLI.
STAPYLTON'S VISIT AT "THE HUME" 01

CHAPTER XLII.
A DOCTOR AND HIS PATIENT . . . . , , ,403

CHAPTER XL1K.
CROSS PI-RPOSES .410

CHAPTER XLIV.
STORMS . . . . . . . . . -122

CHAPTER XLV.
Tut OLD LEAYEX -JSG

CHAPTER XLVI.
A HAPPY MEETING 4-15



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER XLYII.

PAOE

CoMPAKiONsnip , , 454



CHAPTER XLVIII.

D:.ip.GTIJKA .....



CHAPTER XLIX.

CoilRESPONDKNCE



CHAPTER L.
THE END



BARRINGTON.



CHAPTER I,

T n B FISHERMAN'S HOME.

If there should be, at this day wo live in, any one bold
enough to confess that lie fished the river Nore, in Ireland,
some forty years ago, he might assist me by calling to
mind a small inn, about two miles from the confluence
of that river with the Barrow, a spot in great favour with
those who followed the "gentle craft."

It was a very unpretending hostel, something wherein
cottage and farmhouse were blended, and only recog-
nizable as a place of entertainment by a tin trout sus-
pended over the doorway, with the modest inscription
underneath, "Fisherman's Home." Very seldom is it",
indeed, that hotel pledges are as honestly fulfilled as they
were in this simple announcement. The house was, in
all that quiet comfort and unostentatious excellence can
make, a veritable Home ! Standing in a fine old orchard
of pear and damson-trees, it was only approachable by a
path which led from the high road, about two miles off, or
by the river, which wound round the little grassy pro-
montory beneath the cottage. On the opposite side of
the stream arose cliffs of considerable height, their ter-
raced sides covered with larch and ash, around whost?
stems the holly, the laurel, and arbutus grew in a wild
and rich profusion. A high mountain, rugged with rock
and precipice, shut in the picture, and gave to the river
all the semblance of a narrow lake.



2 BAERINGTON.

The Home, as may be imagined, was only resorted toby
fishermen, and of these not many, for the chosen few who
knew the spot, with the churlishness of true anglers, were
strenuously careful to keep the secret to themselves. But
another and stronger cause contributed to this seclusion :
the landlord was a reduced gentleman, who, only anxious
to add a little to his narrow fortune, would not have
accepted a greater prosperity at the cost of more publicity,
and Avho probably only consented to his occupation on
finding how scrupulously his guests respected his position.

Indeed, it was only on leave-taking, and then far from
painfully, you were reminded of being in an inn. There
was no noise, no bustle ; books, magazines, flowers, lay
about ; cupboards lay open, with all their cordials free to
take. You might dine under the spreading sycamore
beside the well, and have your dessert for the plucking.
No obsequious waiter shook his napkin as you passed, no
ringleted barmaid crossed your musing steps, no jingling
of bells, or discordant cries, or high-voiced remonstrances
disturbed you. The hum of the summer bee, or the
flapping plash of a trout, were about the only sounds in
the stillness, and all was as peaceful and as calm and as
dreamy as the most world-weary could have wished it.

Of those who frequented the spot, some merely knew
that the host had seen better days. Others, however,
were aware that Peter Barrington had once been a man
of large fortune, and represented his county in the Irish
Parliament. Though not eminent as a politician, he was
one of the great convivial celebrities of a time that boasted
of Curran, and Avanmore, and Parsons, and a score of
others, any one of whom, in our day, would have made a
society famous. Barrington, too, was the almoner of the
monks of the screw, and " Peter's pence " was immortal-
ized in a song by]S r ed Lysaght, of which I once possessed,
but have lost, a copy.

One might imagine there could be no difficulty in
showing how in that wild period of riotous living and
costly rivalry, an Irish gentleman ran through all his
property and left himself penniless. It was, indeed, a
time of utter recklessness, many seeming possessed of
that devil-may-care spirit that drives a drowning crew to
break open the spirit-room and go down in an orgic.



THE FISHERMAN'S HOME. 8

Bat Barrington's fortune was so large, and his successes
on the turf so considerable, that it appeared incredible,
when his estates came to the hammer, and all his personal
property was sold off; so complete his ruin, that, as he
said himself, the " only shelter he had was an umbrella,
and even that he borrowed from Dan Driscoll, the sheriff's
officer."

Of course there were theories in plenty to account for
the disaster, and, as usual, so many knew, many a long
day ago, how hard pressed he had been for money, and
what ruinous interest he was obliged to pav, till at last
rumours filtered all down to one channel, and the world
agreed that it was all his son's doing, and that the scamp
George had ruined his father. This son, his only child,
had gone out to India in a cavalry regiment, and was
celebrated all over the East for a costly splendour that
rivalled the great Government officials. From every
retired or invalided officer who came back from Bengal
were heard stories of mad Barrington's extravagance :
his palace on the Hooghly, his racing stud, his elephants,
his army of retainers all narratives which, no matter in
what spirit retailed, seemed to delight old Peter, who, at
every fresh story of his son's spendthrift magnificence,
would be sure to toast his health, with a racy enthusiasm
whose sincerity was not to be doubted.

Little wonder need there be if in feeding such extrava-
gance a vast estate melted away, and acre followed acre,
till all that remained of a property that ranked next to
the Ormonds' was the little cottage over whose door the
tin trout dangled, and the few roods of land around it :
sorry remnant of a princely fortune !

But Barrington himself had a passion, which, inordi-
nately indulged, has brought many to their ruin. lie was
intensely fond of law. It was to him all that gambling-
is to other men. All that gamesters feel of hope and
fear, all the intense excitement they derive from tho
vacillating fortunes of play, Barrington enjoyed in ;i
law-suit. Every step of the proceeding had for him an
intense interest. The driest legal documents, musty
declarations, demurrers, pleadings, replies, affidavits, and
counter-affidavits were his choicest reading ; and never
did a young lady hurry to her room with the last new



4 BARRINGTON.

novel -with a stronger anticipation of delight than did
Barrington when carrying away to his little snuggery a
roll of parchments or rough drafts, whose very iterations
and jargon would have driven most men half crazy.
This same snuggery of his was a curiosity, too, the walls
being all decorated with portraits of legal celebrities, not
selected with reference to their merit or distinction, but
solely from their connection with some suit in which ho
bad been engaged; and thuq under the likeness of Chief
Baron O'Grady might be read, "Barrington versus Brnzier,
1802 ; a juror withdrawn : " Justice Moore's portrait was
inscribed, " Argument in Chambers, 1808 ; " and so on,
even to the portraits of leading counsel, all were marked
and dated only as they figured in the great campaign
the more than thirty years' war he carried on against
Fortune.

Let not my reader suppose for one moment that this
litigious taste grew out of a spirit of jarring discontent
or distrust. Nothing of the kind. Barrington was
merely a gambler ; and with whatever dissatisfaction the
declaration may be met, I arn prepared to show that
gambling, however faulty in itself, is not the vice of cold,
selfish, and sordid men, but of warm, rash, sometimes
over-generous temperaments. Be it well remembered,
that the professional play-man is, of all others, the one
who has least of a gamester in his heart ; his superiority
lying in the simple fact that his passions are never
engaged, his interest never stirred. Oh ! beware of
yourself in company with the polished antagonist, who
oiily smiles when he loses, whom nothing adverse ever
disturbs, but is calmly serene under the most pitiless
pelting of luck. To come back : Barriugton's passion
for law was an intense thirst for a certain species of
excitement ; a verdict was to him the odd trick. Let
him, howevei', but win the game, there never was a mau
so indifferent about the stakes.

For many a year back he had ceased to follow the great
events of the world. For the stupendous changes in
Europe he cared next to nothing. He scarcely knew who
reigned over this empire or that kingdom. Indifferent to
art, science, letters, and even society, his interest was
intense about all that went on in the law courts, and it



THE FISHERMAN'S HOME. 5

was an interest so catholic, that it took in evei'ything
and everybody, from the great judge upon the bench
to the small taxing-oftlcer who nibbled at the bill of
costs.

Fortunately for him, his sister, a maiden lady of some
cighten or twenty years his junior, had imbibed nothing
ot this passion, and, by her prudent opposition to it,
stemmed at least the force of that current which was
bearing him to ruin. Miss Dinah Barrington had been
the great belle of the Irish court I am ashamed to say
how long ago and though at the period my tale opens
there was not much to revive the impression, her high
nose, and full blue eyes, and a mass of wonderfully un-
changed brown hair, proclaimed her to be what she was
very proud to call herself a thorough Barrington, a
strong type of a frank nature, with a bold, resolute will,
and a very womanly heart beneath it.

When their reverses of fortune first befell them, Miss
Barrington wished to emigrate. She thought that in
Canada, or some other far-away land, their altered con-
dition might be borne less painfully, and that they could
more easily bend themselves to humble offices where none
but strangers were to look on them ; but Barrington
clung to his country with the tenacity of an old captain
to a wreck. He declared he could not bring himself to
the thought of leaving his bones in a strange land, but he
never confessed what he felt to be the strongest tie of all,
two unfinished lawsuits, the old record of Barrington v.
Brazier, and a Privy Council ca?e of Barrington and Lot
Rammadahn Mohr against the India Company. To have
left his country with these still undecided seemed to him
like the act of a commander taking ilight on the morning
of a general action an amount of cowardice he could
not contemplate. Not that he confided this opinion to
his sister, though he did so, in the very fullest manner,
to his old follower and servant, Darby Cassan. Darby
was the last remnant of a once princely retinue, and in
his master's choice of him to accompany his fallen for-
tunes, there was something strangely indicative of the
man. Had Darby been an old butler or a body-servant,
had he been a favourite groom, or, in some other capacity,
one whose daily duties had made his a familiar face, and



6 BARKINGTON.

whose functions could still be available in an humble
state, there would have seemed good reason for the
selection ; but Darby was none of these : he 'had never
served in hall or pantry ; he had never brushed the cob-
web from a bottle, or led a nag to the door. Of all
human professions his were about the last that could
address themselves to the cares of a little household ; for
Darby was reared, bred, and passed fifty odd years of his
life as an earth-stopper !

A very ingenious German writer has attempted to show
that the sympathies of the humble classes with pursuits
far above their own has always its origin in something of
their daily life and habits, just as the sacristan of a
cathedral comes to be occasionally a tolerable art critic
from his continual reference to Rubens and Vandyck.
It is possible that Darby may have illustrated the theory,
and that his avocations as earth-stopper may have sug-
gested what he assuredly possessed, a perfect passion for
law. If a suit was a great game to Barrington, to Darby
it was a hunt ! and though his personal experiences never
soared beyond Quarter Sessions, he gloried in all he saw
there of violence and altercation, of vituperative language
and impassioned abuse. Had he been a rich man, free to
enjoy his leisure, he would have passed all his days
listening to these hot discussions. They were to him a
sort of intellectual bull-fight, which never could be too
bloody or too cruel. Have I said enough, therefore, to
show the secret link which bound the master to the man ?
I hope so ; and that my reader is proud of a confidence
with which Miss Barrington herself was never entrusted.
She believed that Darby had been taken into favour from
some marvellous ability he was supposed to possess,
applicable to their new venture as innkeepers. Phreno-
logy would perhaps have pronounced Darby a heaven-
born host, for his organ of acquisitiveness was grandly
developed. Amidst that great household, where the
thriftless habits of the master had descended to the
servants, and rendered all reckless and wasteful alike,
Darby had thriven and grown almost rich. Was it that
the Irish climate used its influence over him, for in his
practice to " put by something for a rainy day," his sav-
ings had many promptings ? As the reputation of having



THE FISHERMAN S HOME. 7

money soon attached to him, he was often applied to in
the hunting-field, or at the kennel, for small loans, by the
young bloods who frequented the Hall, and being always
repaid three or four fold, he grew to have a very high
conception of what banking must be when done on a
large scale. Besides all this, he quickly learned that no
character attracts more sympathy, especially amongst the
class of young squires and sporting men, than a certain
quaint simplicity, so flattering in its contrast to their own
consummate acuteness. Now, he was simple to their
hearts' content, lie usually spoke of himself as " Poor
Darby, God help him!" and, in casting up those wonder-
ful accounts, which he kept by notches on a tally-stick,
nothing was more amusing than to witness his bewilder-
ment and confusion, the inconceivable blunders he would
make, even to his own disadvantage, all sure to end at
last in the heart-spoken confession, that it was "clean
beyand him," and " he'd leave it all to your honour; pay
just what ye plaze, and long life to ye ! "

Is it that women have some shrewd perception of char-
acter denied to men ? Certainly Darby never imposed on
Miss Barrington. She read him like a book, and he felt
it. The consequence was a very cordial dislike, which
strengthened with every year of their acquaintance.

Though Miss Barrington ever believed that the notion of
keeping an inn originated with her brother, it was Darby
first conceived the project, and, indeed, by his own skill and
crafty intelligence was it carried on ; and while the words
"Peter Barrington," figured in very small letters, it is
true, over the door to comply with a legal necessity, to
most of the visitors he was a mere myth. Now, if Peter
Barrington was very happy to be represented by deputy
or, better still, not represented at all -Miss Dinah
regarded the matter in a very different light. Her theory
was, that, in accepting the humble station to which reverse
of fortune brought them, the world ought to see all the
heroism and courage of the sacrifice. She insisted on
being a foreground figure, just to show them, as she said,
" that I take nothing upon me. I am the hostess of a
little wayside inn no more!" IIo\v little did she know
of her own heart, and how far was she from even sus-
pecting that it was the ci-ilevunt belie making one last



8 BARRING TON.

throw for the admiration and homage which once were
offered her freely.

Such were the three chief personages who dwelt under
that secluded roof, half overgrown with honeysuckle and
dog-roses- specimens of that wider world without, where
jealousies, and distrusts, and petty rivalries are warring :
for as in one tiny globule of water are represented the
elements which make oceans and seas, so is it in the
moral world ; and " the family " is only humanity, as the
artists say, " reduced."

For years back Miss Barrington had been plotting to
depose Darby. With an ingenuity quite feminine, she
managed to connect him with every chagrin that crossed
and every annoyance that befell them. If the pig ploughed
up the new peas in the garden, it was Darby had left the
gate open ; it was his hand overwound the clock ; and a
very significant hint showed that when the thunder soured
the beer, Mr. Darby knew more of the matter than he was
likely to tell. Against such charges as these, iterated and
reiterated to satiety, Barrington would reply by a smile,
or a good-natured excuse, or a mere gesture to suggest
patience, till his sister, fairly worn out, resolved on another
line of action. " As she could not banish the rats," to use
her own words, " she would scuttle the ship."

To explain her project, I must go back in my story, and
state that her nephew, George Barrington, had sent over
to England, some fifteen years before, a little girl, whom
he called his daughter. She was consigned to the care
of his banker in London, with directions that he should
communicate with Mr. Peter Barrington, announce the
child's safe arrival, and consult with him as to her future
destination. Now, when the event took place, Barrington
was in the very crisis of his disasters. Overwhelmed with
debts, pursued by creditors, regularly hunted down, he was
driven clay by clay to sign away most valuable securities
for mere passing considerations, and obliged to accept
any conditions for daily support. He answered the
banker's letter, briefly stating his gi'eat embarrassment,
and begging him to give the child his protection for a few
weeks or so, till some arrangement of his ailuirs might
enable him to offer her a home.

This time, however, glided over, and the hoped-for amend-



THE FISHERMAN'S HOME. 9

ment never came far from it. Writs were out against him,
and he was driven to seek a refuge in the Isle of Man, at
that time the special sanctuary of insolvent sinners. Mr.
Leonard Gower wrote again, and proposed that, if no
objection would be made to the plan, the child should be
sent to a certain convent near Namur, in the Netherlands,
where his own daughter was then placed for her educa-
tion. Aunt Dinah would have rejected ay, or would have
resented, such a proposal as an insult, had the world but
gone on better with them. That her grand-niece should be
brought up a Catholic was an outrage on the whole Barring-
ton blood. But calamity had brought her low very low
indeed. The child, too, was a heathen a Hindoo or a
Buddhist perhaps for the mother was a native woman,
reputed, indeed, to be a princess. But who could know
this ? Who could vouch that George was ever married
at all, or if such a ceremony were possible ? All these
were " attenuating circumstances," and as such she
accepted them ; and the measure of her submission was
filled up when she received a portrait of the little girl,
painted by a native artist. It represented a dark-skinned,
heavy-browed child, with wide, full eyes, thick lips, and
an expression at once florid and sullen not any of the
traits one likes to associate with infancy and it was with
a half shudder Aunt Dinah closed the miniature, and
declared that " the sight of the little savage actually
frightened her."

Not so poor Barrington. He professed to see a great
resemblance to his son. It was George all over. To be
sure, his eyes were deep blue, and his hair a rich brown ;
but there was something in the nose, or perhaps it was
in the mouth no, it was the chin ay, it was the chin
was George's. It was the Barrington chin, and no mis-
take about it.

At all events, no opposition was made to the banker's
project, and the little girl was sent off to the convent of the
Holy Cross, on the banks of the Meusc. She was in-
scribed on the roll as the Princess Doomliah, anil bore the
nama till her father's death, when Mr. Gower suggested
that she should be called by her family name. The letter
with the proposal, by some accident, was not acknow-
ledged, and the writer, taking silence to mean consent,



10 BAttRINGTON.

desired the superior to address her henceforth as Miss
Barrington ; the firs/: startling intimation of the change
being a strangely, quaintly-written note, addressed to her
grand-aunt, and signed " Josephine Barrington." It -was
a cold, formal letter so very formal, indeed, as to read
like the copy of a document asking for leave to enter
upon a novitiate of two years' duration, at the expiration
of which she would be nineteen years of age, and in a
position to decide upon taking the veil for life. The
permission, very urgently pressed for by Mr. Gower in
another letter, was accorded, and now we have arrived at
that period in which but three months only remained of
the two years whose closure was to decide her fate for
ever.

Barrington had long yearned to see her. It was with
deep and bitter self-reproach he thought over the cold
neglect they had shown her. She was all that remained of
poor George, his boy for so he called him, and so he
thought of him long after the bronzed cheek and the
prematurely whitened hair had tempered his manhood.
To be sure all the world said, and he knew himself, how
it was chiefly through the " boy's " extravagance he came
to ruin. But it was over now. The event that sobers
down reproach to sorrow had come. He was dead ! All
that arose to memory of him were the traits that sug-
gested hopes of his childhood, or gave triumph in his
riper years; and oh, is it not better thus? for what hearts
would be left us if we were to carry in them the petty
rancours and jealousies which once filled them, but which,
one day, we buried in the cold clay of the churchyard.

Aunt Dinah, moved by reasons long canvassed over in
her own mind, at last began to think of recalling her
grand-nicec. It was so very bold a project that, at first,
she could scarcely entertain it. The Popery was very
dreadful ! Her imagination conjured up the cottage con-
verted into a little Baal, with false gods and graven
images, and holy-water fonts at every turn ; but the
doubtful legitimacy was worse again. She had a theory
that it was by lapses of this kind the " blue blood " of old



Online LibraryCharles James Lever[Charles Lever's novels (Volume 17) → online text (page 1 of 41)