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thoroughfare, when I looked round for my
bag-holder; but he was not visible. I left my
kinsman hastily, ran up and down the street,
looked round the corners, peered into all the
public-houses; but neither bag nor boy was
there. I recollected my uncle's name and
address were written on it, and the urchin
might have mistaken his instructions and
carried the bag home. Off I ran, tumbled an
apple basket in Bolton Street, and spite of
threats and curses, held on my desperate course,
until I found myself, breathless, in my uncle's

He sternly reproached me for being dila-
tory. "What had detained me? Here had
been Counsellor Lcatherhead's servant waiting
this half-hour for his papers ; bring in the
bag." I gaped at him, and stuttered that I
supposed it had been already here; but it
would certainly arrive shortly. Question and
answer followed rapidly, and the fatal truth
came out the bag was lost! for the cad, ad-
vertised of the value of his charge, had retreated
the moment I turned my back ; and although,
on investigation he must have felt much dia-



appointed at the result of his industry, yet, to
do him justice, he !ost no time in transferring
the papers to the tobacconist and pocketing
the produce of the same.

For some moments Duncan's rage prevented
him from speaking. At last he found utter-
ance; "Heaven and earth!" he exclaimed;
"was there ever such a villain? He was
ruined : all the Kilgobbin title-deeds Lady
Splashboard's draft of separation papers of
satisfaction for sixteen mortgages of Sir Phelim
O'Boyl ! What was to be done?" I muttered
that I supposed I should be obliged to give Sir
Phelim satisfaction myself. "0! curse your
satisfaction," said my uncle; "these are your
Connaught notions, you desperate do-no-good.
What an infernal business to let any one from
that barbarous country into my house! Never
had but two clients in my life on the other side of
the Shannon. I divorced a wife for one : and he
died insolvent the very day the decree was pro-
nounced, and costs and money advanced went
along with him to the devil. The other quar-
relled with me for not taking a bad bill for my
demand, and giving a large balance over my
claim, in ready cash. I threatened law, and he
threatened flagellation. I took courage and
sent down a writ ; and the sheriff returned a
non est inventus, although he was hunting
with him for a fortnight. I ran him to exe-
cution and got nvlla bona on my return. As
a last resource I sent a man specially from
Dublin: they tossed him in a blanket, and
forced him to eat the original ; and he came
back, half dead, with a civil intimation that
if I ever crossed the bridge of Athlone, the
defendant would drive as many slugs through
my body as there were hoops on a wine-pipe! "

I could not help smiling at the simile: the
client was a wag; for my uncle in his personal
proportions bore a striking resemblance to a

" But, run every soul of you," he continued,
"and try to get some clue by which we may
trace the papers." Away clerk and apprentice
started; but their researches were unsuccessful;
many a delicate cut of cheese was already
encased in my Lady Splashboard's separation
bill ; and the Kilgobbin title-deeds had issued
in subdivisions from the snuff shop, and were
making a rapid circle of the metropolis.

My aunt's influence was not sufficient to
obtain my pardon, and mollify the attorney;
and I was despatched, per mail, to that refugium
peccatorum, as Duncan styled Connemara.

The gentle auditor may anticipate that on
my return no fatted calf was killed; nor was
there "joy in Aztlan," as the poet-laureate

has it. I re-entered Killnacoppal without beat
of drum and indeed my demeanour on this
occasion was so modest, that I had been in un-
disturbed possession of the front attic for two
whole days, before my worthy parents were
advertised that I had retired from the study of
the law, with no future intention to ' ' stick to
the woolsack."

To communicate the abrupt termination of
my forensic pursuits to my aunt Macan was
an affair of nice and delicate management.
When acquainted with the unhappy incident
which had drawn down the wrath of my uncle
Duncan, she particularly inquired "if there
had been any money in the lost bag," and re-
quested to see the last " Hue and Cry."

God knows whether I should have been en-
abled to weather the gale of family displeasure,
as my aunt had again resumed the mantle of
prophecy, when, luckily for me, the represen-
tation of the county of Galway became vacant
by the sudden decease of Sir Barnabas Bodkin;
the honest gentleman being smothered in a
hackney-coach returning comfortuble from a
corporation dinner at Morrison's.

On this distressing event being known, Mr.
Denis Darcey of Carrig-a-howley Castle declared
himself. He was strongly supported by Mr.
Richard Martin, the other member ; and his
address, from the pen of the latter gentleman,
was circulated without delay. In it he set
forth his family and pretensions: pledged him-
self to support Catholic emancipation and the
repeal of still fines ; humanely recommended
his opponent to provide himself with a coffin
previous to the opening of the poll ; professed
strong attachment to the House of Brunswick,
and the church by law established ; and pro-
mised to use his utmost exertions to purify the
penal code, by making accidents in duelling
amount to justifiable homicide: and abduction
of heiresses and dogs, felony without benefit of

A person of Denis Darcey's constitutional
principles was a man after my father's own
heart : the Killnacoppal interest was accordingly
given him, and I was despatched at the head
of sixscore freeholders, "good men and true,"
untrammelled with tight shoes or tender con-
sciences, to give our "most sweet voices," in
the ancient town of Galway.

But I was not intrusted with this important
command without receiving full instructions
for my conduct on the occasion. My father,
no doubt, would have led the Killnacoppal
legion to the hustings in person, had it not
happened that the sheriff was on the other side;
and, therefore, his public appearance within



th- bailiwick of that redoubted personage would
have been a dangerous experiment. " Frank,"
said my father, "don't overdo the thing: poll
your men twice! and more cannot be expected;
but mind the outwork, for it's there the tinints
will shine."

I obeyed him to the letter; and without per-
sonal vanity, I ascribe the happy return of my
esteemed friend Denis Darcey to the unwearied
exertions of the freeholders of Killnacoppal.
What between pelting the military, smash-
ing the booths, and scattering the tallies,
we managed to keep up such confusion, that
our adversaries could hardly bring forward
a man. If dispersed by a charge of cavalry
here, we were rallied in a few minutes in the
next street, cracking heads and crashing win-
dows: if routed by the riot act and a row of
bayonets, before the sheriff was well round
the corner we had a house pulled down to the
tune of " Hurrah for Killnacoppal ! " At last,
all human means being found unavailable by
our opponents to bring in a freeholder, the
booths were closed, and Mr. Denis Darcey de-
clared duly elected.

After such feats, how could it be wondered
at that I was

"courted and caressed,
High placed in halls a welcome guest; "

seated within seven of the chairman at the
election dinner, drank wine with the new
member, toasted by the old one, I mean Dick
Martin and embraced by Blakes, Brownes,
and Bodkins in endless variety? Nor did the
reward of "high desert" end here; for in the
next gazette I was appointed to a lieutenancy
in the South Mayo militia.

With very different feelings I now returned
to my paternal mansion 1, who had left the
little lawyer in Dorset Street in disgrace, and
been happy to effect a sort of felonious re-entry
of the premises at Killnacoppal I now came
home a conqueror; an hundred blackthorns
rattled above my head; an hundred voices yelled
"Kinnldy for ivir!" a keg of poteen was
broached before the door; a stack of turf was
blazing in the village; and all was triumph
and exultation. We had brought back, of
course, the usual assortment of broken bones,
left some half-score damaged skulls to be re-
paired at the expense of the county, and carried
-back one gentleman totally defunct, who had
been suffocated by tumbling dead drunk into
a bog-hole. My fame had travelled before
me, and my aunt Macan had taken to her bed
not from vanity, but "vexation of spirit."

My leave of absence expired, and I set out
to join my regiment. My mother consulted

the Army List, and discovered she had divers
relatives in my corps; for there was scarcely a
family from Loughrea to Belmullet with whom
she was not in some way connected. Some of
her relations in the South Mayo she mentioned
as being rather remote; but there was Captain
Rattigan: his father, Luke Rattigan of Rawna-
creeva, married Peter Fogarty's third daughter;
and Peter Fogarty and my aunt Macan were
cousins-german. No doubt the gallant captain
would know and acknowledge the relationship,
and take that lively interest in my welfare
which was natural; but, for fear of mistakes,
she wrote a letter of introduction with me,
having very fortunately danced fifteen years
before with the said Mr. Rattigan, at a fair
ball at Ballinasloe.

For the second time I left my father's house.
The head-quarters of the regiment were in
Naas, and there I arrived in safety; was recog-
nized by Captain Rattigan; presented by him
in due form to the colonel; introduced to the
corps; paid plate and band-fund fees; dined at
the mess; got drunk there as became a soldier
of promise, and was carried home to my inn by
a file of the guard, after having overheard the
fat major remark to my kinsman "Rat, that
boy of yours will be a credit to the regiment;
for as I'm a true Catholic, he has taken off
three bottles of Page's port, and no doubt he'll

A year passed over I conducted myself
creditably in all regimental matters, touching
drill duty and drinking, when an ordersuddenly
came for a detachment to march to Bally-
bunnion; in the neighbourhood of which town
the pleasant part of the population were amusing
themselves nightly in carding middlemen, and
feathering tithe proctors. Captain Rattigan's
company (in which I was an unworthy lieuten-
ant) was selected for this important service.

The morning I left Naas for Ballybunnion

will be a memorable day in the calendar of

my life. My cousin Rattigan frequently

j boasted, after dinner, that "he was under fifty,

! and above five feet three;" but there were per-

sons in the corps who alleged that he was above

the former and under the latter: but let that

pass he is now, honest man. quietly resting

i in Craughane churchyard, with half a ton

weight of Connemara marble over him, on

j which his virtues and his years are recorded.

Now, without stopping to ascertain minutely
the age and height of the departed, I shall de-
scribe him as a thick square-shouldered under-
sized man, having a short neck, and snub-nose
- the latter organ fully attesting that Page's
port was a sound and well-bodied liquor. The



captain, on his pied pony, rode gallantly on
at the head of ' ' his charge : " I modestly followed
on foot and late in the evening we marched
in full array down the main street of Ballybun-
nion, our fife and drum playing to the best of
their ability the captain's favourite quick step,
"I'm over young to marry ye.t."

My kinsman and I were peaceably settled
over our wine, when the waiter announced
that a gentleman had called upon us. He
was shown up in proper form; and having
managed by depressing his person, which was
fully six feet four inches, to enter the apartment
heannounced himself as Mr. Christopher Clinch;
and in a handsome speech, declared himself
to be an ambassador from the stewards of the
Bally bunnion coterie; which coterie being to
be holden that evening, he was deputed to solicit
the honour of our company on this occasion.
Captain llattigan returned our acknowledg-
ments duly; and he and the ambassador having
discussed a cooper of port within a marvellous
short period, separated with many squeezes of
the hand, and ardent hopes of a future ac-

There was a subject my kinsman invariably
dwelt upon whenever he had transgressed the
third bottle it was a bitter lamentation over
the numerous opportunities he had suffered to
escape of making himself comfortable for life,
by matrimony. As we dressed together, for
we were cantoned in a double-bedded room,
Rat was unusually eloquent on thegrandmistake
of his earlier days, and declared his determina-
tion of even yet endeavouring to amend his
youthful error, and retrieve lost time.

The commander' s advice was not lost upon
me. I took unusual pains in arraying myself
for conquest, and in good time found myself in
the ball-room, with thirty couples on the floor
all dancing "for the bare life," that admired
tune of "Blue bonnets over the border."

The attention evinced in his visit to the inn
by Mr. Christopher Clinch was not confined to
a formal invitation; for he assured us on our
arrival, that two ladies had been expressly kept
disengaged for us. Captain Rattigan declined
dancing, alleging that exercise flurried him,
and he could not abide a red face, it looked so
very like dissipation. I, whose countenance
was fortunately not so inflammable as my
kinsman's, was marshalled by Mr. Clinch to
the head of the room. "He was going," he
said, "to introduce me to Miss Jemima O'Brien
lady of first connections large fortune when
some persons at present in possession dropped
off fine woman much followed sprightly
off-handed fond of military men. Miss

O'Brien, Captain Kennedy." I bowed cte
ducked seized my offered hand, and in a tew
minutes we were going down the middle like
two-year-olds for "the Kirwans." Nor had
Captain Rattigan been neglected by the master
of the ceremonies : he was snugly seated in a
quiet corner at cribbage, a game the commander
delighted in, with an elderly gentlewoman,
whom my partner informed me was her aunt.

Miss O'Brien was what Rattigan called a
spanker. She was dressed in a blue silk lute-
string gown, with a plume of ostrich feathers,
flesh-coloured stockings, and red satin shoes.
She had the usual assortment of beads and
curls, with an ivory fan, and a well-scented

She was evidently a fine-tempered girl ; for,
observing my eye rest on an immense stain
upon her blue lutestring, she remarked with a
smile, "that her aunt's footman had spilled
some coffee on her dress, and to save him from
a scolding, she had assured the dear old lady
that the injury was trifling, and that it would
be quite unnecessary to detain her while she
should change her gown: it was quite clear she
never could wear it again : but her maid and the
milliner would be the gainers. Amiable creature!
the accident did not annoy her for a second.

The first dance had concluded, when the
long gentleman whispered softly over my
shoulder, how I liked "the heiress?" The
heiress! I felt a faint hope rising in my
breast which made my cheek colour like a
peony. Rattigan's remorse for neglected op-
portunities rushed to my mind. Had my lucky
hour come? And had I actually an heiress by
the hand for nine-and-twenty couples? We
were again at the head of the room, and away
we went she cutting and I capering, until we
danced to the very bottom, " The wind that
shakes the barley!"

I had placed Miss O'Brien with great form-
ality on a bench, when Rattigan took me aside:
" Frank, you're a fortunate fellow, or it's
your own fault- found out all from the old one
lovely creature great catch who knows?
strike while the iron is hot," &c. &c. &c.

Fortune indeed appeared to smile upon me. By
some propitious accident all the men had been
provided with partners, and I had the heiress
to myself. " She was, she confessed, romantic
she had quite a literary turn; spoke of Lady
Morgan's Wild Irish Girl; she loved it doted
upon it ; and why should she not? for Lieute-
nant-colonel Cassidy had repeatedly sworn that
Glorvina was written for herself;" and she
raised her fan

" The conscious blush to hide."



Walter Scott succeeded I had read in the |
Galway Advertiser a quotation from that poet,
which the newspaper had put in the mouth of
a travelling priest, and alleged to have been
spoken by him in a charity sermon, which I
now fortunately recollected and repeated. Miss
O'Brien responded directly with that inflam-
matory passage,

" In peace love tunes the shepherd's reed."

"And could she love?" I whispered with a
look of tender inquietude. "She could; she
had a heart, she feared, too warm for her hap-
piness: she was a creature of imagination
all soul all sympathy. She could wander
with the man of her heart from

"Egypt's fires to Zerabla's frost."

There was no standing this. I mustered all
my resolution poured out an unintelligible
rhapsody eternal love life gratefully devoted
permission to fall at her feet hand heart
fortune !

She sighed deeply kept her fan to her face
for some moments and, in a voice of peculiar
softness, murmured something about "short
acquaintance," with a gentle supplication to
be allowed time for ten minutes to consult her
heart. Rat again rushed to my mind; pro-
crastination had ruined him ; I was obdurate
pressed raved ranted till she sighed, in
a timid whisper, that she was mine for ever!

Heavens! was I awake? did my ears de-
ceive me? The room turned topsy-turvy
the candles danced a reel my brain grew giddy
it was true absolutely true; Jemima Brlen
had consented to become Mrs. Kennedy!

Up came Captain Rattigan, as my partner
left me for an instant to speak to her aunt.
Rat was thunderstruck cursed his fate, and
complimented mine. " But, zounds! Frank,
you must stick to her. Would she run away

with you? These d lawyers will be tying

up the property, so that you cannot touch a
guinea but the half-year's rent may be inquir-
ing about settlements, and ripping up the
cursed mortgages of Killnacoppal. At her,
man they are all on the move. I'll manage
the old one: mighty lucky, by-the-by, at crib-
bage. Try and get the heiress to be off to-
morrow, if possible early hour. Oh! murder
how I lost my time!"

All was done as the commander directed.
Rat kept the aunt in play while I pressed
the heiress hard and so desperately did I j
portray my misery, that, to save my life, she
humanely consented to elope with me at twelve
o'clock next day.

Rattigan was enraptured. What a chance

for a poor lieutenant as he shrewdly observed,
from the very unpretending appearance of Mrs.
Cogan's mansion, that "my aunt's" purse must
be a long one. We settled ourselves joyfully
at the inn fire ordered two bottles of mulled
port arranged all for the elopement clubbed
purses sum total not burdensome and went
to bed drunk and happy.

Next morning the morning of that day
which was to bless me with fortune and a wife,
Captain Rattigan and I were sitting at an early
breakfast, when, who should unexpectedly ar-
rive but Cornet Bircham, who was in command
of a small party of dragoons in Ballybunnion,
and an old acquaintance of my kinsman.
" How lucky!" whispered Rat; " he has been
quartered here for three months, and we shall
hear the particulars of the O'Briens from

While he spoke the trooper entered. "Ah!
Ratty, old boy, how wags the world? Just
heard you had been sent here to exterminate
carders cursed scoundrels! obliged me to
leave a delightful party at Lord Tara's ; but,
Rat, we'll make them smoke for it."

"Mr. Bircham, my cousin Kennedy. Come,
cornet, off with the scimitar and attack the
cougo. Any news stirring?"

" Nothing but a flying report that you
had determined on sobriety and foi-sworn a
drop beyond the third bottle; but that
shake in your claw gives a lie direct to the
tale. And you were dancing, Rat, last night.
How did the carnival or coterie go off? Any
wigs lost or gowns tattered ? Any catastrophe ? "

"Why, no pleasant thing enough some
fine women there."

"Were there, faith? Why, Rat, you're a
discoverer ; for such a crew as figured at the
last one, mortal eye never looked upon."

" I only particularly noticed one by Jove,
a fine woman! a Miss O'Brien."

" Miss Jemmy O'Brien, as the men call her.
Why, Rat, what iniquity of yours has delivered
you into the hands of the most detestable harpy
that ever infested country quarters?"

"Detestable harpy!" Rat and I looked
cursedly foolish. " Bircham hem! are you
sure you know the lady?"

"Know the lady! to be sure I do. Why,
she did me out of an ivory fan one unlucky
wet day that the devil tempted me to enter
Mrs. Cogan's den. Phoo! I'll give you what
the beadle calls 'marks and tokens.' Let me
see. Yes I have it blue dress, cursedly
splashed with beer she says coffee; soiled
feathers, and tricked out like a travelling ac-



I groaned audibly it was Jemima to a T :
. Captain Rattigan looked queer.

" My dear Bircham hem ! you know among
military men hem! honourable confidence
may be reposed hem! My young friend here
danced with her represented as an heiress to
him "

" By a cursed hag who cheats at cribbage,
and carries off negus by the quart. "

"True bill, by !" ejaculated the Cap-
tain. " Complained eternally of thirst and
the heat of the room, and did me regularly out
of thirty shillings."

" Ha! ha! ha! Rat, Rat, and wert thou so
soft, my old one?"

"But, Birchy," said the Captain, "the
devil of it is, my young friend little too much
wine thought himself in honourable hands,
and promised her "

"A new silk gown ah, my young friend,
little didst thou know the Jezebel. But it
was a promise obtained under false pretences
she told you a cock-and-bull story about
Lady Morgan sported Scott dealt out Tom
Moore by the yard all false pretences. See
her damned before I would buy her a yard of
riband. What a pirate the woman is ! "

Rat jumped off his chair, drew his breath in,
and gulped out "A gown! Zounds, man, he
promised to marry her!"

Up jumped Bircham. "To marry her!
Are you mad, or are you hoaxing?"

"Serious, by St. Patrick," said Rat.

"Why then it's no longer a joke. You are
in a nice scrape. I beg to tell you that Jemmy
O'Brien is as notorious as Captain Rock. She
has laid several fools under contribution, and
has just returned from Dublin, after taking an
action against a little drunken one-eyed Welsh
major, whom her aunt got, when intoxicated,
to sign some paper or promise of marriage.
The major, like a true gentleman, retrieved his
error by suspending himself in his lodgings the
day before the trial ; and it is likely that Jem
and herauntwill be in jail for the law expenses."

Rat and I were overwhelmed, and looked
for some minutes in silence at each other. At
last I told Bircham the whole affair The
dragoon was convulsed with laughter "So,"
said he, "at twelve o'clock the gentle Jemmy
is to be spirited away. But come, there's no
time to lose sit down, Rat, get a pen in thy
fist, and I'll dictate and thou inscribe."

"MADAM, Having unfortunately, at the re-
quest of his afflicted family, undertaken the
case of Lieutenant Kennedy of the South Mayo
regiment, I beg to apprise you that the unhappy
gentleman is subject to occasional fits of in-

sanity. Fearing from his mental malady, that
he may have misconducted" himself to your ami-
able niece last night at the coterie, I beg on the
part of my poor friend (who is tolerably col-
lected this morning), to say that he is heartily
sorry for what has occurred, and requests the
lady will consider anything he might have said
only as the wanderings of a confirmed lunatic!
"I am, Madam, &c., your obedient Servant,
"To Mrs. Cogan, &c."

How very flattering this apology was to me
I submit to the indulgent auditor. I was in-
dubitably proven to have been an ass over-
night, and I must pass as a lunatic in the
morning. We had barely time to speculate on
the success of Bircham's curious epistle, when
my aunt Cogan's answer arrived with due
promptitude. The cornet separated the wet
wafer with a " Faugh!" and holding the billet
at arm's-length, as if it exhibited a plague-
spot, he favoured us with the contents, which
were literally as follows:

Online LibraryUnknownThe library of choice literature : poetry and prose selected from the most admired authors (Volume 4) → online text (page 15 of 75)