Charles James Lever.

Charles O'Malley, the Irish dragon online

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joyed such, had not a slight incident occurred, which for a brief
season interrupted them. At the village where we stopped to break-
fast, three very venerable figures presented themselves for places
in the inside of the coach. They were habited in black coats,
breeches, and gaiters, wore hats of a very ecclesiastic breadth in
their brim, and had altogether the peculiar air and bearing which
distinguishes their calling, being no less than three Koman Catholic


prelates, on their way to Dublin to attend a convocation. While
Mickey and his friends, with the ready tact which every low Irish-
man possesses, immediately perceived who and what these worship-
ful individuals were, another traveller, who had just assumed his
place on the outside, participated but little in the feelings of reve-
rence so manifestly displayed, but gave a sneer of a very ominous
kind as the skirt of the last black coat disappeared within the
coach. This latter individual was a short, thick -set, bandy-legged
man, of about fifty, with an enormous nose, which, whatever its
habitual coloring, on the morning in question was of a brilliant
purple. He wore a blue coat, with bright buttons, upon which some
letters were inscribed, and around his neck was fastened a ribbon of
the same color, to which a medal was attached. This he displayed
with something of ostentation, whenever an opportunity occurred,
and seemed altogether a person who possessed a most satisfactory
impression of his own importance. In fact, had not this feeling
been participated in by others, Mr. Billy Crow would never have
been deputed by No. 13,476 to carry their warrant down to the west
country, and establish the nucleus of an Orange Lodge in the town
of Foxleigh : such being in brief the reason why he, a well-known
manufacturer of " leather continuations" in Dublin, had ventured
upon the perilous journey from which he was now returning. Billy
was going on his way to town rejoicing, for he had had most bril-
liant success. The brethren had feasted and feted him ; he had
made several splendid orations, with the usual number of prophe-
cies about the speedy downfall of Romanism ; the inevitable return
of Protestant ascendency; the pleasing prospect that, with in-
creased effort and improved organization, they should soon be able
to have everything their own way, and clear the Green Isle of
the horrible vermin St. Patrick forgot when banishing the others ;
and that if Daniel O'Connell (whom might the Lord confound!)
could only be hanged, and Sir Harcourt Lees be made Primate of
all Ireland, there were still some hopes of peace and prosperity to
the country.

Mr. Crow had no sooner assumed his place upon the coach than
he saw that he was in the camp of the enemy. Happily for all
parties, indeed, in Ireland, political differences have so completely
stamped the externals of each party, that he must be a man of
small penetration who cannot, in the first five minutes he is thrown
among strangers, calculate with considerable certainty whether it
will be more conducive to his happiness to sing "Croppies Lie
Down," or "The Battle of Ross." As for Billy Crow (long life to
him !), you might as well attempt to pass a turkey upon M. Audubon
for a giraffe, as endeavor to impose a papist upon him for a true


follower of King William. He could have given you more generic
distinctions to guide you in the decision than ever did Cuvier to
designate an antediluvian mammoth; so that no sooner had he
seated himself upon the coach, than he buttoned up his greatcoat,
stuck his hands firmly in his side-pockets, pursed up his lips, and
looked altogether like a man who, feeling himself out of his ele-
ment, resolves to " bide his time" in patience, until chance may
throw him among more congenial associates. Mickey Free, who
was himself no mean proficient in reading a character, at one glance
saw his man, and began hammering his brains to see if he could
not overreach him. The small portmanteau which contained
Billy's wardrobe bore the conspicuous announcement of his name ;
and as Mickey could read, this was one important step already

He accordingly took the first opportunity of seating himself be-
side him, and opened the conversation by some very polite observa-
tion upon the other's wearing apparel, which is always in the west
considered a piece of very courteous attention. By degrees the dia-
logue prospered, and Mickey began to make some very important
revelations about himself and his master, intimating that the
* state of the country" w T as such that a man of his way of thinking
had no peace or quiet in it. *

"That's him there, forninst ye," said Mickey, "and a better Pro-
testant never hated mass. Ye understand ?"

"What!" said Billy, unbuttoning the collar of his coat, to get a
fairer view at his companion ; u why, I thought you were "

Here he made some resemblance of the usual manner of blessing
one's self.

" Me ! devil a more nor yourself, Mr. Crow."

" Why, do you know me, too ?"

" Troth, more knows you than you think."

Billy looked very much puzzled at all this. At last he said, —

" And ye tell me that your master there's the right sort ?"

"Thrue blue," said Mike, with a wink; "and so is his uncles."

" And where are they when they are at home ?"

" In Galway, no less ; but they're here now."

" Where ?"

" Here."

At these words he gave a knock of his heel to the coach, as if to
intimate their whereabouts.

" You don't mean in the coach, do ye ?"

" To be sure I do ; and, troth, you can't know much of the west,
av ye don't know the three Mr. Trenches, of Tallvbash. Them's


" You don't say so V s

" Faix, but I do."

" May I never drink the 12th of July if I didn't think they were

" Priests !" said Mickey, in a roar of laughter — '''priests 1"

" Just priests."

" Be-gorra, though, ye had better keep that to yourself, for they're
not the men to have that same said to them."

" Of course, I wouldn't offend them," said Mr. Crow ; " faith, it's
not me would cast reflections upon such real out-and-outers as they
are. And where are they going now ?"

" To Dublin straight ; there's to be a grand lodge next week ; but
sure Mr. Crow knows better than me."

Billy after this became silent. A moody reverie seemed to steal
over him, and he was evidently displeased with himself for his
want of tact in not discovering the three Mr. Trenches, of Tally-
bash, though he only caught sight of their backs.

Mickey Free interrupted not the frame of mind in which he saw
conviction was slowly working its way, but, by gently humming in
an under-tone the loyal melody of " Croppies Lie Down," fanned
the flame he had so dexterously kindled. At length they reached
the small town of Kinnegad. While the coach changed horses, Mr.
Crow lost not a moment in descending from the top, and, rushing
into the little inn, disappeared for a few moments. When he again
issued forth, he carried a smoking tumbler of whisky punch, which
he continued to stir with a spoon. As he approached the coach
door, he tapped gently with his knuckles, upon which the reverend
prelate of Maronia, or Mesopotamia, I forget which, inquired what
he wanted.

"I ask your pardon, gentlemen," said Billy, "but I thought I'd
make bold to ask you to take something warm this cold day."

" Many thanks, my good friend ; but we never do," said a bland
voice from within.

" I understand," said Billy, with a sly wink ; " but there are cir-
cumstances now and then — and one might for the honor of the
cause, you know. Just put it to your lips, wont you ?"

"Excuse me," said a very rosy-cheeked little prelate, "but
nothing stronger than water "

" Botheration," thought Billy, as he regarded the speaker's nose.
"But I thought," said he, aloud, "that you would not refuse this."

Here he made a peculiar manifestation in the air, which, what-
ever respect and reverence it might carry to the honest brethren of
13,476, seemed only to increase the wonder and astonishment of the


"What does he mean?" said one.

" Is he mad ?" said another.

" Tear and ages !" said Mr. Crow, getting quite impatient at the
slowness of his friend's perception, — "tear and ages, I'm one of

" One of us," said the three in chorus — " one of us?"

"Ay, to be sure" — here he took a long pull at the punch — "to
be sure I am; here's 'No surrender/ your souls! whoop" — a loud
yell accompanying the toast as he drank it.

" Do you mean to insult us ?" said Father P . " Guard, take

the fellow."

" Are we to be outraged in this manner ?" chorused the priests.

" ' July the 1st, in Oldbridge town,' " sang Billy, " and here it is,
1 The glorious, pious, and immortal memory of the great and
good ' "

"Guard! Where is the guard?"

" " And good King William, that saved us from Popery ' "

" Coachman ! — guard !" screamed Father .

" ' Brass money ' "

" Policeman ! policeman !" shouted the priests.

" ' Brass money and wooden shoes ;' devil may care who hears
me," said Billy, who, supposing that the three Mr. Trenches were
skulking the avowal of their principles, resolved to assert the pre-
eminence of the great cause single-handed and alone.

" ' Here's the Pope in the pillory, and the devil pelting him with
priests.' "

At these words a kick from behind apprised the loyal champion
that a very ragged auditory, who for some time past had not well
understood the gist of his eloquence, had at length comprehended
enough to be angry. Ce n'est que le premier pas qui codte, certainly in
an Irish row. " The merest urchin may light the train ; one hand-
ful of mud often ignites a shindy that ends in a most bloody battle."
And here, no sooner did the vis a tergo impel Billy forward, when a
severe rap of a closed fist in the eye drove him back, and in one in-
stant he became the centre to a periphery of kicks, cuffs, pullings, and
haulings, that left the poor Deputy-Grand not only orange, but blue.

He fought manfully, but numbers carried the day; and when
the coach drove off, which it did at last without him, the last thing
visible to the outsides was the figure of Mr. Crow, whose hat, minus
the crown, had been driven over his head down upon his neck,
where it remained like a dress cravat, buffeting a mob of ragged
vagabonds, who had so completely metamorphosed the unfortunate
man with mud and bruises, that a committee of the grand lodge
might actually have been unable to identify him.


As for Mickey and his friends behind, their mirth knew no
bounds ; and, except the respectable insides, there was not an indi-
vidual about the coach who ceased to think of and laugh at the
incident till we arrived in Dublin, and drew up at the Hibernian,
in Dawson street.



NO sooner had I arrived in Dublin, than my first care was to
present myself to Dr. Mooney, by whom I was received in the
most cordial manner. In fact, in my utter ignorance of such
persons, I had imagined a college fellow to be a character necessa-
rily severe and unbending; and as the only two very great people
I had ever seen in my life were the Archbishop of Tuam, and the
Chief Baron, when on circuit, I pictured to myself that a University
fellow was in all probability a cross between the two, and feared
him accordingly.

The Doctor read over my uncle's letter attentively, invited me to
partake of his breakfast, and then entered upon something like an
account of the life before me, for which Sir Harry Boyle had, how-
ever, in some degree prepared me.

" Your uncle, I find, wishes you to live in college ; perhaps it is
better, too ; so that I must look out for chambers for you. Let me
see : it will be rather difficult just now to find them." Here he fell
for some moments into a musing fit, and merely muttered a few
broken sentences, as, " To be sure, if other chambers could be had —
but then— and, after all, perhaps, as he is young — besides, Frank
will certainly be expelled before long, and then he will have them
all to himself. I say, O'Malley, I believe I must quarter you for
the present with rather a wild companion ; but as your uncle says
you're a prudent fellow" — here he smiled very much, as if my uncle
had not said any such thing — " why, you must only take the better
care of yourself, until we can make some better arrangement. My
pupil, Frank Webber, is at this moment in want of a ' chum,' as the
phrase is, his last three having only been domesticated with him
for as many weeks; so that, until we find you a more quiet rest-
ing-place, you may take up your abode with him."

During breakfast, the Doctor proceeded to inform me that my
destined companion was a young man of excellent family and good
fortune, who, with very considerable talent and acquirements, pre-
ferred a life of rackety and careless dissipation to prospects of great


success in public life, which his connection and family might have
secured for him ; that he had been originally entered at Oxford,
which he was obliged to leave ; then tried Cambridge, from which
he escaped expulsion by being rusticated, that is, having incurred a
sentence of temporary banishment ; and, lastly, with what he him-
self believed to be a total reformation, to stumble on to a degree in
the " silent sister."

" This is his third year," said the doctor, " and he is only a fresh-
man, having lost every examination, with abilities enough to sweep
the University of its prizes. But come over now, and I'll present
you to him."

I followed him down stairs, across the court, to an angle of the
old square, where, up the first floor left, to use the college direction,
stood the name of Mr. Webber, a large No. 2 being conspicuously
painted in the middle of the door, and not over it, as is usually the
custom. As we reached the spot, the observations of my companion
were lost to me in the tremendous noise and uproar that resounded
from within. It seemed as if a number of people were fighting,
pretty much as a banditti in a melodrama do, with considerable
more of confusion than requisite ; a fiddle and a French horn also
lent their assistance to shouts and cries, which, to say the best, were
not exactly the aids to study I expected in such a place.

Three times was the bell pulled, with a vigor that threatened its
downfall, when, at last, as the jingle of it rose above all other
noises, suddenly all became hushed and still. A momentary pause
succeeded, and the door was opened by a very respectable-looking
servant, who, recognizing the Doctor, at once introduced us into the
apartment where Mr. Webber was sitting.

In a large and very handsomely-furnished room, where Brussels
carpeting and softly -cushioned sofas contrasted strangely with the
meagre and comfortless chambers of the Doctor, sat a young man at
a small breakfast-table beside the fire. He was attired in a silk
dressing-gown and black velvet slippers, and supported his forehead
upon a hand of most lady-like whiteness, whose fingers were abso-
lutely covered with rings of great beauty and price. His long silky
brown hair fell in rich profusion upon the back of his neck and
over his arm, and the whole air and attitude was one which a
painter might have copied. So intent was he upon + he volumes
before him, that he never raised his head at our approach, but con-
tinued to read aloud, totally unaware of our presence.

" Dr. Mooney, sir," said the servant.

" Ton dapamey bominos, prosephe, cr'wne Agamemnon," repeated the
student, in an ecstasy, and not paying the slightest attention to the


" Dr. Mooney, sir," repeated the servant in a louder tone, while
the Doctor looked around on every side for an explanation of the
late uproar, with a face of the most puzzled astonishment.

" Be dakiown para thina dolekoskion enkos," said Mr. Webber,
finishing a cup of coffee at a draught.

" Well, Webber, hard at work, I see," said the Doctor.

" Ah, Doctor, I beg pardon ! Have you been long here ?" said
the most soft and insinuating voice, while the speaker passed his
taper fingers across his brow, as if to dissipate the traces of deep
thought and study.

While the Doctor presented me to my future companion, I could
perceive, in the restless and searching look he threw around, that
the fracas he had so lately heard was still an unexplained and vex-
ata questio in his mind.

"May I offer you a cup of coffee, Mr. O'Malley?" said the youth,
with an air of almost timid bashfulness. " The Doctor, I know,
breakfasts at a very early hour."

" I say, Webber," said the Doctor, who could no longer restrain
his curiosity, " what an awful row I heard here as I came up to the
door. I thought Bedlam was broke loose. What could it have

"Ah, you heard it too, sir," said Mr. Webber, smiling most

" Hear it? to be sure I did. O'Malley and I could not hear our-
selves talking with the uproar."

"Yes, indeed, it is very provoking; but, then, what's to be done?
One can't complain under the circumstances."

" Why, what do you mean ?" said Mooney, anxiously.

" Nothing, sir, — nothing. I'd much rather you'd not ask me ; for,
after all, I'll change my chambers."

" But why ? Explain this at once. I insist upon it."

" Can I depend upon the discretion of your young friend ?" said
Mr. Webber, gravely.

"Perfectly," said the Doctor, now wound up to the greatest
anxiety to learn a secret.

" And you'll promise not to mention the thing except among your
friends ?"

" I do," said the doctor.

"Well, then," said he, in a low and confident whisper, "it's the

"The Dean!" said Mooney, with a start. "The Dean! Why,
how can it be the Dean ?"

" Too true," said Mr. Webber, making a sign of drinking ; " too
true, Doctor. And then, the moment he is so, he begins smashing


the furniture. Never was anything heard like it. As for me, as I
am now become a reading man, I must go elsewhere."

Now, it so chanced that the worthy Dean, who, albeit a man of
the most abstemious habits, possessed a nose which, in color and
development, was a most unfortunate witness to call to character,
and as Mooney heard Webber narrate circumstantially the frightful
excesses of the great functionary, I saw that something like convic-
tion was stealing over him.

" You'll of course never speak of this except to your most intimate
-friends," said Webber.

" Of course not," said the Doctor, as he shook his hand warmly,
and prepared to leave the room. " O'Malley, I leave you here," said
he ; " Webber and you can talk over your arrangements."

Webber followed the Doctor to the door, whispered something in
his ear, to which the other replied, " Very well, I will write ; but if

your father sends the money, I must insist " The rest was lost

in protestations and professions of the most fervent kind, amid
which the door was shut, and Mr. Webber returned to the room.

Short as was the interspace from the door without to the room
within, it was still ample enough to effect a very thorough and
remarkable change in the whole external appearance of Mr. Frank
Webber; for scarcely had the oaken panel shut out the Doctor,
when he appeared no longer the shy, timid, and silvery -toned
gentleman of five minutes before, but dashing boldly forward, he
seized a key-bugle that lay hid beneath a sofa-cushion, and blew a
tremendous blast.

" Come forth, ye demons of the lower world," said he, drawing a
cloth from a large table, and discovering the figures of three young
men, coiled up beneath. " Come forth, and fear not, most timorous
freshmen that ye are," said he, unlocking a pantry, and liberating
two others. " Gentlemen, let me introduce to your acquaintance
Mr. O'Malley. My chum, gentlemen. Mr. O'Malley, this is'Henry
Nesbitt, who has been in college since the days of old Perpendic-
ular, and numbers more cautions than any man who ever had his
name on the books. Here is my particular friend, Cecil Cavendish,
the only man who could ever devil kidneys. Captain Power, Mr.
O'Malley — a dashing dragoon, as you see ; aide-de-camp to his Ex-
cellency the Lord Lieutenant, and love-maker general to Merrion
Square West. These," said he, pointing to the late denizens of the
pantry, " are jibs, whose names are neither known to the proctor nor
the police-office ; but, with due regard to their education and morals,
we don't despair."

"By no means," said Power; "but come, let us resume our
game." At these words he took a folio atlas of maps from a small

DUBLIN.- 101

table, and displayed beneath a pack of cards, dealt as<> i£ for wMst.
The two gentlemen to whom I was introduced by name returned to
their places ; the unknown two put on their boxing-gloves, and all
resumed the hilarity which Dr. Mooney's advent had so suddenly

" Where's Moore ?" said Webber, as he once more seated himself
at his breakfast.

" Making a spatch-cock, sir," said the servant.

At the same instant, a little, dapper, jovial-looking personage
appeared with the dish in question.

" Mr. O'Malley, Mr. Moore, the gentleman who, by repeated re-
monstrances to the board, has succeeded in getting eatable food for
the inhabitants of this penitentiary, and has the honored reputation
of reforming the commons of college."

"Anything to Godfrey O'Malley, may I ask, sir?" said Moore.

" His nephew," I replied.

" Which of you winged the gentleman the other day for not pass-
ing the decanter, or something of that sort ?"

" If you mean the affair with Mr. Bodkin, it was I."

" Glorious, that ; begad, I thought you were one of us. I say,
Power, it was he pinked Bodkin."

"Ah, indeed," said Power, not turning his head from his game ;
" a pretty shot, I heard — two by honors — and hit him fairly — the
odd trick. Hammersley mentioned the thing to me."

" Oh ! is he in town ?" said I.

" No ; he sailed for Portsmouth yesterday. He is to join the 11th
— game — I say, Webber, you've lost the rubber."

" Double or quit, and a dinner at Dunleary," said Webber.
"We must show O'Malley — confound the Mister — something of
the place."


The whist was resumed ; the boxers, now refreshed by a leg of
the spatch-cock, returned to their gloves, Mr. Moore took up his
violin, Mr. Webber his French horn, and I was left the only unem-
ployed man in the company.

" I say, Power, you'd better bring the drag over here for us ; we
can all go down together."

" I must inform you," said Cavendish, "that, thanks to your phil-
anthropic efforts of last night, the passage from Grafton street to
Stephen's Green is impracticable." A tremendous roar of laughter
followed this announcement ; and, though at the time the cause was
unknown to me, I may as well mention it here, as I subsequently
learned it from my companions.

Among the many peculiar tastes which distinguished Mr. Fran-


cis We^ber-j vvas an extraordinary fancy for street-begging ; he had
over and over won large sums upon his success in that difficult
walk ; and so perfect were his disguises, both of dress, voice, and
manner, that he actually at one time succeeded in obtaining charity
from his very opponent in the wager. He wrote ballads with the
greatest facility, and sang them with infinite pathos and humor;
and the old woman at the corner of College Green was certain of
an audience when the severity of the night would leave all other
minstrelsy deserted. As these feats of jonglerie usually terminated
in a row, it was a most amusing part of the transaction to see the
singer's part taken by the mob against the college men, who, grow-
ing impatient to carry him off to supper somewhere, would invari-
ably be obliged to have a fight for the booty.

Now, it chanced that, a few evenings before, Mr. Webber was re-
turning, with a pocket well lined with copper, from a musical re-
union he had held at the corner of York street, when the idea struck
him to stop at the end of Grafton street, where a huge stone grating
at that time exhibited — perhaps it exhibits still — the descent to one
of the great main sewers of the city.

The light was shining brightly from a pastrycook's shop, and
showed the large bars of stone beneath which the muddy water was
rushing rapidly down, and plashing in the torrent that ran boister-
ously several feet beneath.

To stop in the street of any crowded city is, under any circum-
stances, an invitation for others to do likewise, which is rarely un-
accepted ; but when, in addition to this, you stand fixedly in one

Online LibraryCharles James LeverCharles O'Malley, the Irish dragon → online text (page 10 of 80)