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was nothing << to go out for" by any
of the players in this double match.
Bu^ occasionally something "comes
off" in even the most remote locaUty,
which creates some previous excite-
ment, and forms the subject of conver-
sation in all ranks. Sometimes a stee-
ple-chase," five-sovereigns stakes, with
fifty or a hundred added," forms a
speculation for the rich ; with a farm-
er's class-race for twenty pounds,
without any stakes, for horses bona
fde the property, etc

A great cricket-match once " came
off" not very far from the locality of
our story, when Major W — ^n lived at
Mount Campbell, between the ofBlcers
of the garrison at Boyle and a local
club. We bebnged to the ougor's



province of constabulary at the time,
and, as members, were privileged to
take part therein. The ihing was
rather new in that part of the world
at the time, but had been well adver-
tised in the newspapers for the rich,
and through the police for the poor;
and the consequence was — the weath-
er being very fine — that a concourse
of not lea^ Uian a thousand persons
were assembled to witness the game.
There can be little doubt that some of
the younger portion, at least, of our
dratncUis perswuce in this tale were
spectators upon the occasion. It was
within their county, and not an unrea-
sonable distance from the homes we
are now writing of.

January and February bad now
passed by in the calm monotony of
nothing to excite the inhabitants of
the Rathcashes. Valentine's Day, in-
deed, had created a slight stir amongst
some of the girls who had bachelors,
or thought they had; and many a
message was given to those going into
C. O. S., to " be sure and ask at the
post-office for a letter for me," " and
for me," "and for me." A few, very
few indeed, got valentines, and many,
very many, did not

It was now March, and even this
little anxiety of heart had subsided on
the part of the girls ; some from self-
satisfaction at what they got, and
others from disappointment at what
they did not.

During this time Tom Murdock had
seen Winny Cavana occasionally. It
would be quite impossible, with one
common lane to both houses, and those
houses not more than three hundred
yards apart, that any plan of Winny's,
less than total seclusion, could have
prevented Uieir sometimes "coming
across" one another ; and total seclu-
sion was a thing that Winny Cavana
would not subject herself to on ac-
count of any man "that ever stepped
in shoe-leather." " What had she to
him, or to be afraid of llim for?.
Let him mind his own business and
she'd mind hers. But for one half
hour she'd never shut herself up



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on his account Let him let her
alone."

Tom Murdock was not without a
certain degree of knowledge of the
female heart, nor of a certain amount
of tact to come round one, in the
least objectionahle way ; at all events,
80 as not to foster any difference
which might have taken place. lie did
not appear to seek her society, nor did
ho seek to avoid it When they met,
which was really always by accident, he
was civil, and sufficiently attentive to
show that he harbored no ill-will
against her, and respected her enough
to make it worth his while not to break
with her. He was now certain of a
walk home with her on Sundays from
mass. On these occasions her father
was generally with her, but this Tom
considered rather to be wished for
than otherwise, as he could not ven-
ture, even if alone, to renew the for-
bidden subject But he knew the
father had approved of his suit, and
his wish was now to establish a con-
stant civility and kindness of manner,
which would keep him at le^st on his
side, if it did not help by its quietness
to make Winny hei'self think better
of him.

What had passed between Winny
and Emon was not likely in a human
heart to keep up the constrained indif-
ference which that young man had
burdened himself with toward her.
He had, therefore, upon two or three
Sundays ventured again to go to the
chapel of Rathcash.

It is not very easy to account for, or
to explain how such minor matters fall
ot^tj or whether they are instinctively
arranged impromptu; but upon each
occasion of Emon having re-appeared
at Ratlicash chapel, Tom Murdock's
walk home with WiUny was spoiled ;
more particularly if it so happened
that her father did not go to prayers.

£mon-a-knock was never devoid of
a considerable portion of self-esteem
and respect Though but a daily ki-
borer, his conduct and character were
such as to have gained for him the
favorable opinion and the good word

VOL. II. 88



of every one who knew him ; and apart
from the innate goodness of his disposi-
tion, he would not lose the high posi-
tion he had attained in the hearts of
his neighbors for the consideration of
any of those equivocal pleasui*es gen-
erally enjoyed by young men of his
class. He felt that ho could look old
Ned Cavana or old Mick MuMock
straight in the face, rich as they were.
He felt quite Tom Murdock's equal in
everything, mentally and physically.
In riches alone he could not compare
with him, but these, he thanked God,
belonged to neither piind nor body.

Thus far satisfied with himself, he
always stopped to have a few words
with Winny, when chance — which he
sometimes coaxed to be propitious-—
threw him in her way. Even from
Rathcash on Sundays he felt entitled
now, perhaps more than ever, to join'
her as far as his own way home lay
along with hers, and this although her
father was along with her. If Tom
Murdock had joined them, which was
only natural, living where he did, Emon
was more determined than ever to be
of the party, chatting to them all, Tom
included; thus showing that he was
neither afraid of them nor ashamed of
himself.

The first Sunday after the dog-fight
was the first that Emon had gone to
the chapel of Rathcash ^ for a pretty
long time. But, as a matter of course,
he must go there on that day to inquire
for poor Bully-dhu, and to ascertain if
Winny Cavana had recovered her
fright and fatigue. We have seen
that Winny had told her father suffi-
cient of the transaction of poor Bully's
mishap to make it almost a matter of
necessity that he should allude to it to
Emon, if it were merely to thank him
for ^' the trouble he had taken " in sav«
ing the dog. When Winny heard the
words her father had used, she thought
them cold — ^'Uhe trouble he had tak-
en!*' her heart suggested that he
might have said, and said truly, *^ the
risk he had run/'

But, Winny, there had really been
no risk; and recollect that you had



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ased the very same word "trouble**
to Emon yourself, when you knew no
more of his mind than your &tber
does now.

Tom had walked with them on this
occasion, and old Ned's civility to ^ that
whelp" — a name he had not forgotten
— ^helped to sour his temper more than
anything which had passed between
Winny Cavana and him. But all
these things he was obliged to bear,
and he bore them well, upon "the-
long-lane-that-has-no-tuming " system.

But now a cause of anticipated ex-
citement began to be spoken of in the
neighborhood; how, or why, or by
whom the matter had been set on foot,
was a thing not known, and of no con-
sequence at the time. Yet Tom Mur-
dock was at the bottom of it — and for
a purpose.

There existed not far from about the
centre of the locality of our story a
large flat common, where flocks of
geese picked the short grass in winter,
and over which the peewit curled with
a short circular flap, and a timid little
hoarse scream, in the month of May.
It consisted of about sixty acres of
hard, level, whitish sod, admirably
adapted for short races, athletic sports,
and manly exercises of every kind. It
formed a sort of amphitheatre, sur-
rounded by low green hills, affording
ample space and opportunity for hund-
reds, ay thousands, of spectators to wit-
ness any sport which might be in^iugu-
rated upon the level space below.

Upon one or two occasions, but not
latterly, hurling-matches had come off
upon Glanveigh Common. At one
time these hurling-matches were very
common in Ireland, and were consid-
ered a fair test of the prowess of the
young men of different parishes. Many
minor matches had come off from time
to time, but they were of a mixed na-
ture, got up for the most part upon the
spot, and had not been spoken of be-
forehand — they were mere impromptus
amongst the younger lads of the neigh-
borhood. The love of the game, how-
ever, liod not died out even amongst
those of riper years ; and there were



▼ery many men, young and old, whose
hurls were laid up upon lofls, and who
could still handle them in a manner
with which few parts of Ireland could
compare. Amongst those Tom Mur-
dock was pre-eminent. He had suc-
cessfully led the last great match, when
not more than twenty years of age, be-
tween the parishes of Rathcash and
Shanvilla, against a champion called
"Big M'Dermott," who led for the
latter parish. He was considered the
best man in the province to handle a
hurl, and his men were good ; but Tom
Murdock and the boys of Rathcash
had beaten them back three times from
the very jaws of the goal, and finally
conquered. But ShanviJa formally
announced that they would seek an
early opportunity to retrieve their char-
acter. The following Patrick's Day
would be three years since they had
lost it.

Tom Murdock thought this a good
opportunity to forward a portion of his
plans. A committee was formed of the
best men in Rathcash parish to send
a challenge to the men of Shanvilla to
hurl another match on Glanveigh Com-
mon upon Patrick's Day. Tom Mur-
dock himself was not on the committee ;
he had too much tact for that. " Big
M'Dermott " had emigrated, leaving a
younger brother behind him — ^a good
man, no doubt; but as the Shanvilla
boys had been latterly bragging of
£mon-a-knock as their best man, Tom
had no doubt that the challenge would
be accepted, and tliat young Lcnnon»
as a matter of course, would be chosen
as their champion. Had he doubted
this last circumstance, he might not
have cared to originate the match at
all. He had not forgotten the poker-
and-tongs jig about four months before.
His humiliation on that occasion had
sunk deeper into his heart than any
person who witnessed it was aware of;
and although never afterward advert-
ed to, had still to be avenged. If, then,
at the head of his hundred men, he
could beat back young Lsnnon with an
equal number twice out of thrica before
the assembled parishes, it would in



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515



some degree wash out the humiliation
of his defeat in the dance.

Upon the acceptance of this chal-
lenge not oulj the# character of the
ShanviUa boys depended, but their
pride and confidence in Emon-arknock
as their best man.

At once, upon the posting of the
challenge, with the names of the com-
mittee, upon the chapel-gate of Rath-
cash, a counter-committee was formed
for ShanviUa, and, taking a leaf from
their opponents' book, their best man's
name was lefl out. But he at the same
time accepted the leadership of the
partj, which' was unanimouslj placed

upon him.

Thus far matters had tended to the
private exultation of Tom Murdock,
who was determmed to make Patrick's
Day a day of disgrace to his rival, for
since the scene he had witnessed with
the dog and the handkerchief he could
no longer doubt the fact.

The whole population of the parishes
were sure to be assembled, and Winny
Cavana, of course, amongst the rest
What a triumph to degrade him in her
eyes oefore his friends and hers ! Sure-
ly he would put forth all his energies
to attain so glorious a result. He
would show before the assembled mul-
titude that, physically at least, ^^ that
whelp " was no match for Tom Mu]>
dock — his defeat ^t the poker-and-
tongs jig was a mere mischance.

The preliminaries were now finally
settled for this, the greatest hurling-
match which for many years had come
off, or was likely to come off, in the
province. Rathcash had been victori-
ous on the last great occasion of the
kmd, just three years before, when
Tom Murdock had led the parish, as
a mere stripling, against *^ Big M'Der-
mott" and his men. The additional
three years had now given more man-
liness to Tom's heart, in one sense at
least, and a greater development to the
muscle and sinew of his frame than
he could boast of on that occasion. He
was an inch, or an inch and a half, over
Emon a-knock in height, upwards of a
stone-weight heavier, and nearly two



years his senior in age. His men were
on an average as good men, and as
well accustomed to the use of the hurl,
as those of ShanviUa — ^theb: hurls
were as well seasoned and as sound,
and their pluck was proverbially high.
What wonder, then, if Tom Murd^
anticipated a certain, if not an easy,
victory ?

As hurling, however, has gone very
much out of fashion since those days,
and is now seldom seen — ^never, in-
deed, in the glorious strength of two
populous parishes pitted against each
other — it may be* well for those who
have never, seen or perhaps heard of
it, to close this chapter with a short
description of it.

A krge flat field or common, the
larger the beUer, is selected for the
performance. Two large blocks of
stone are ph&ced about fifteen or twenty
feet apart toward either end of the
field. One pair of these stones forms
the goal of one party, and the other
pair that of their opponents. They
are about four hundred yards distant
from each other, and are generally
whitewashed, that they may the more
easily catch the attention of the play-
ers. A ball, somewhat larger than a
cricket-ball, but pretty much of the
same nature, is produced by each party,
which will 1>B more fully explained by-
and-bye. The hurlers assemble, ranged
in two opposing parties in the centre be-
tween the goals. The hurls are admir-
ably calculated for the kind of work they
are intended to perform — viz., to puck
the baU toward the respective goals.
But they would be very formidable
weapons should a fight arise between
the contending parties. This, ere now,
we regret to say, has not unfrequently
been the case — ^leading sometimes to
bloodshed, and on , a few occasions to
manslaughter, if not to murder. The
hurl is invariably made of a piece of
well-seasoned ash. It is between
three and four feet long, having a flat
surface of aboirt four inches broad and
an inch thick, turned at the lower end.
Many and close searches in those days
have been made through the woods.



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and in cartmakei*'8 shops, for pieces of
ash with the necessary turn, grown by
nature in the wood; bat failing this for-
tanate chance, the object was pretty
well effected by a process of steaming,
and the application of cramps, until the
desired shape was attained. But these
were never considered as good as those
grown deeignedhji by nature^br the put'
fk>$e.

The contending parties being drawn
up, as we have said, in the centre of
the ground, the respective leaders step
forward and shake hands, like two pu-
gilists, to show that there is no malice.
Although this act of the leaders is sup-
posed to guarantee the good feeling of
the men as well, yet the example is
generally followed by such of the op-
posing players as are near each other.

''A toss** then takes place, as to
which side shall "sky" their ball.
These balls are closely inspected by
the leaders of the opposite parties, and
pronounced upon beforo the game be-
gins. Thero is no choice of goals, as
the parties generally set them up at
the end of the field next the parish
they belong to. Whichever side wins
*^ the toss " then <' skies " their ball, the
leader throwing it from his hand to
the full height of his power, and ^ the
game is on." But afler this no hand,
under any circumstances, is permitted
to touch the ball ; an apparently un-
necessary rule, for it would be a mad
act to attempt it, as in all probability
the hand would be smashed to pieces.
The game then is, to puck the ball
through the opponents' goaL Two goal-
roasters aro stationed at either goal,
belonging one to each party, and they
must be men of well-known experience
as such. Their principal business is
to see that the ball is put fairly between
the stones ; but they are not prohibited
from using their hurls in the final strug-
gle at the spot, the one to assist, the
other to obstruct, as the state of their
party may roquiro.

Sometimes a game is nearly won,
when a fortunate young fellow on the
losing side sUpa the ball from the crowd
to the open, where one €i his party



curls it into the air with the flat of his
hurl, and the whole assembly — for
there is always one — hears the puck
it gets, sending it Ralf-way toward the
other goal. The rush to it then is tre-
mendous by both sides, and another
crowded clashing of hurls takes place.
When the ball is fairly put through
t|)e goal of one party by the other, the
game is won, and the shouts of the
victors and their friends are deafening.



CHAPTEB XXn.

A HURLING match in those days
was no light matter, particularly when
it was on so extensive a scale as that
which we are about to describe — be-
tween two Lirge parishes. They were
supposed, and intended to be, anucable
tests of the prowess and activity of the
young men at a healthy game of rec-
reation, as the cricket-matches of the
present day are that of the athletic *
aristocracy of the land. In aU these
great matches, numbers of men, wo-
men, and children used to collect to
look on, and cheer as the success of
the game swayed one way or the
other ; and as most of the players were
unmarried men, it is not to be won-
dered at if there were many young wo-
men amongst the crowd, with their
hearte swaymg accx)rdingly.

It had been decided by the commit-
tees upon the occasion of this great
match, that a sort of distinguishing
dress — ^they would not, of course, call
it uniform — should be worn by the
men. To hurl in coats of any kind
had never in this or any other parish
match been thought of. The commit-
tee left the choice of the distinguish-
ing colors to the respective leaders,
recommendmg, however, that the same
manner should be adopted of exhibit-
ing it. It was agreed that sleeves of
different colors should be worn over
the shirt sleeves, with a broad piece of
ribbon tied at the throat to match.

Tom Murdock had chosen green
for his party, and not only that, bat



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517



with a detennination to make himself
popular, and to throw his rival as far
as possible into the background, had
purchased a sufficient quantity of
calico and ribbon to supply his men
gratis with sleeves and neck-ties.

Poor Emon-a-knock could not af-
ford this liberality, and he felt the ob-
ject with which it had been puffed and
paraded on the other side for a whole
week previous. He was not afmid,
however, that his men would think the
less of him on that account. They
knew he was only a laboring man, de-
pending upon his day's wages ; and
many of those who would wield the
hurl by his side upon the 17 th of
March were well-tcJ^o sons of com-
fortable farmers. Many, no doubt,
were laboring boys like himself, and
many servant-boys to the farming
dass.

A deputation of Shanvillas had
waited on Emon-a-knock to ascertain
his choice of a color for their sleeves
and ribbon.

He thought for a few moments, and
then taking a red pocket-handkerchief
from his box he said, '^ Boys, this is
the only color I can think of. It is
as good as any."

" I don't like it, Emon," said M'Der-
mott, the next best man in the parish.

"Why so, Phiir said another.

"Well, I hardly know why. It is
too much the color of blood. I'd
rather have white."

** Don't be superstitious, Phil a^woeh-
aip said Emon ; " white is a cowardly
color all over the world, and red is
the best contrast we can have to their
color."

"So be it," said Phil.

" So be it," re-echoed the rest of the
deputation ; ^ sure, Emon has a right
to the choice. Lend us the handker-
chief, that we may match it as neai: as
possible.'*

"And welcome, boys; here it is;
but take good care of it for me, as it is
the only one I have notcf."
. The deputation did not know, but
the readers do, that he had given the
fidk>w to it— off the same piece — ^to



Winny Cavana with the dog. Hence
his emphasis upon the last word.

No time was lost by the deputa-
tion when they lefl Emon. They had
scarcely got out of hearing, when PhD
M'Dermott said, " Boys, you all know
that Tom Murdock has bestowed his
men with a pair of sleeves, and half a
yard of ribbon each. Now if he w«^
as well liked as he lets on, he needn't
have done that ; and in my opinion he
done it by way of casting a slur upon
our mane's , poverty. Tom Murdock
can afford a hundred yards of green
calico and ^^j yards of tuppenny rib-
bon very well; — ^at least he ought to
be able to do so. Now I vote that
amongst the best of us we bestow our
man with a pair of silk sleeves, and a
silk cap and ribbon, for the battle.
There's my tenpenny-bit toward it."

" An' f second that vote, boys ;
there's mine," said another.

" Aisy, boys, an* listen to me," broke
in a young Solon, who formed one of
the deputation. " There's none of us
that wouldn't give a tenpenny bit, if it
was the last he had, to do wliat you
say, Phil; but the whole thing —
sleeves, ribbon, and capi — won'c cost
more than a couple of crowns; an'
many's the one of the Shanvilla boys
would like to have part in it I vote
all them that can afford it may give a
fippenny-bit apiece, an' say nothing
about it to the boys that can't afford it.
If we do, there isn't a man of them
but what id want to put in his penny ;
and I know Emon would not like thaU
It wouldn't sound well, an' might be
laughed at by that rich chap, Murdock^
Here's my fippenny, Phil."

There was much good sense in this.
It met not only the approbation of the
whole deputation, but the pockets of
some, and was unanimously adopted.
The necessary amount of money was
made up before an hour's time ; and a
smart fellow — ^the very Solon who had
spoken, and who was as smart of limb
as he was of mind — was despatched
forthwith to C. O. S. for three yards
of silk and two yards of ribbbon, to
match as nearly as possible Emon-»-



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knock's handkerchief, which was se-
cured in the crown of his cap.

The very next afternoon — ^for Shan-
villa did not sleep on its resolve —
there was no ' lion in the street for
them; — the same deputation walked up
to Emon's house at dinner-hour, when
they knew he would he at home. He
had just finished, and was on his way
out, to continue a joh of planting ^ a
few gets" of earfy potatoes on the hill
behind the house, when he met them
near the door.

M'Dermott carried a paper parcel
in his hand.

« Well, ttbys," said Emon, « what's
the matter now ? I thought we settled
everything yesterday morning."

"You did, Emon a-wochal; but we
had a trifie to do after we left you. I
hope you done nothing about your own
sleeves as yet."

** No, Phil, I did not ; but never
fear, I'll be up to time. But I don't
wish to change the color, if that's what
brought you " •

" The sorra change Emon ; it is
almost too late for that now. But
some of the boys heerd that Tom
Murdock is givin' his men, every man
of 'em, sleeves an' ribbon for this
match. We don't expect the likea
from you, Emon ; and we don't mind
thai fellow's puffery and pride. We
think it better that the Shanvilla boys
should present their leader with one
pair of sleeves than that he should
give a hundred pairs to them. We
have them here, Emon a-wochal; an'
there isn't a boy in the parish of Shan-
villa, or a man, woman, or child, that
won't cheer to see you win in them."

" An' maybe some one in the parish
of Rathcash," whispered Solon to Phil.

Here Phil M'Dermott untied his
parcel and exhibited the sleeves, fin-
ished off in the best style by his sis-
ter Peggy. What would fit Phil
would fit Emon ; and she was at no
loss upon that point

"Here they are, made and all,
Emon. Peggy made them on my fit ;
and we wish you luck to win in them.



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