William Carleton.

Redmond Count O'Hanlon, the Irish rapparee, an historical tale online

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II a A U




The Irish Rapparee.




Athor at " Valentine McClntchy," " Tale* and StorlM of the Irish

Tb Tithe Proctor," "Art Magulre," " Willy Bclllj," "Fardo-

rough*, the Mier." "The Black Prophet." "The BUck

Baronet," "Jane Sinclair," "The Etni-

of Ahadam," "The

KrU Eje," io.




D. * J. SADLIER ft CO,






IN the year of grace sixteen hundred and ninety-six, there
lived not far from the northern base of Slievegullion mountain
rery wealthy farmer named Callan, who was father to one
daughter named Rose, his eldest child, and three sons, none
of whom had grown beyond boyhood. This man held a farm
of two hundred and sixty acres of excellent land, at a very
light rent, and lived in rnde abundance and comfort. We
must admit, however, that if it were not for a certain compact
into which he. had entered with a man whose reputation a
that time had become known throughout Europe, it would be
impossible for us to say that he could have lived under any-
thing like a sense of security so far as his property, at least,
was concerned. Of this, however, more hereafter. This
firmer, by name Brian Callan, was laborious, simple-hearted,
ami honest ; an affectionate husband, a fond father, and an
obliging neighbor. His wife was a Duffy, and on the surface
of this earth there breathed not a woman gifted with more </
those virtues which adorn and shed their pure and holy lustre
upon domestic life. Honesty, charity, simplicity, piety, and
affection, all mingled and supported each other in her charac-
ter, and made her name a household world of praiie for many



a mile aronnd her happy dwelling. We will not fatigue oar
readers with an elaborate description of their dang\ter Rose.
There are plenty of such descriptions in the novJs, although
you could not probably find one of them suitable to her.
She was about the middle size, had rich dark auburn hair, rae
exquisitely shaped, had a sweet oval face, a beautiful mouth,
and soft, dark, mellow eyes ; and there, as to figure and
beauty, is all we will or can say concerning her person. In a
moral point of view, there was about her a charm of artless-
ness that was fascinating, to which, however, was added a fund
of good sense and spirit that excited respect from all who
knew her a proof, besides, that she possessed no ordinary
degree of firm principle and stability of character. She wan
at this period of our story only nineteen.

Not far from her father's house lived another family named
M'Mahon, belonging to the great stock of the M'Mahons of
Monaghan. They also were wealthy ; for, like the family of
the Callans, of whom we write, they had kept themselves
aloof from the disturbances of the preceding tunes, and each
consequently bore a character of inoffensive peacefulness and
industry. Art M'Mahon had three sons, two of whom were
already married and comfortably settled hi their own houses.
His youngest son, Con, who still lived with him, was unmar-
ried ; and, as it was then customary among his class, he was
the individual into whose hands his father's farm should de-
Kend at his death. Con M'Mahon then was, at the period
when our narrative commences, the betrothed, and, need we
ay, the accepted lover of Rose Callan, generally known, in
consequence of her extraordinary beauty, as the " Fair Rose
of Lisbuy" Lisbuy signifying the Yellow Fort, so called
from the fact of its being overgrown with "iroom ; and from
this Fort, or Forth, as it is termed by the people, the wool*
townland had its name.


It has x-en observed for centuries, and is, we belieTe, true
to the present day, that of all the clans 01 septa of the Irish
people, the M'Mahons, both men and women, stand unrivaled
for personal beauty. Nobody can say that they ever saw a
M'Mahon ill-shaped or ugly at least we ourselves never did,
although we have seen as many of them as most people living.
Con M'Mahon was no exception to this general rule ; for, in-
deed, it would be a difficult thing to see a finer-looking or
bamlsomer young fellow in his native barony.

Those two families were at this time very happy. The
arrangement for the marriage of the "Fair Rose of Lisbuy"
and young Con M'Mahou had been completed, and nothing
now remained but the ordinary preparations for that happy

The state of Ireland at this time, though not marked by
the dreadful convulsions which had wasted and distracted it
not long before, was still far from being peaceful or settled,
Property was very unsafe ; for although the turbulent ootragM
that had spread about desolation upon a more fearful scale,
bad somewhat diminished, still there were too many of thoae
violent and lawless spirits abroad to allow the peacable and
quiet, especially if they possessed wealth or property, to sleep
in their beds with anything like a sense of security.

Not very far from Lisbuy lived a family named Johnston,
who were then claiming some property which had been for-
feited by the O'Hanlons, of Tandragee. a Catholic family, who
had fought under James's banner at the battle of the Boyne,
where several of them fell in that unsuccessful struggle. Thia
family was a branch of the celebrated Johnstons of the Fews
Protestants of great energy and spirit, and who had very
much distinguished themselves in suppressing the outrages
which, even then, disturbed that part of the country. A
jroong man belonging to the branch we have alluded to* and

who held a commission in the king's army, was at that timt
residing with a detachment of his regiment, which was then
lying in the barracks of Armagh. This young soldier, with
the exception of an occasional chase after the Rapparees, had
never been engaged in actual service. He was, however, of
looee and licentious principles, and spent a good deal of his
time in profligacy or debauchery of the worst description.
Whilst lying in Armagh with his party, he was in the habit
of riding frequently to his father's house, and at the same time
reconnoitering the country for his victims. Every army, in
every age and country, has produced men of this detestable
character; and, indeed, in any army, or hi any country, it
would be difficult to find a more unscrupulous villain thaa
young William Lucas. God had endowed him with certain
high gifts, which he prostituted to the basest and most profli-
gate purposes. Being handsome, accomplished, and wealthy,
though said to be deficient in courage, he concentrated all
these advantages to that which we have stated to be the great
and immoral object of his life reckless sensuality.

Upon one of his usual excursions to his father's house, it s**
happened that he caught a glance of Rose Callan, whom h-
immediately marked down as his victim. His visits home no*
became very frequent; but not satisfied with this, he occa
sionally procured leave of absence for a week or fortnight
under various pretenses. His usual amusement was shooting,
by which he was enabled to traverse the country, and enter
the farmers' or cotters' houses, for the purpose, as the unsus*
pecting people thought, of asking a drink, or obtaining some
other refreshment. Among others, he soon made a point to
pay a visit of this kind to the family of Brian Callan. It ia
not our intention to offend the taste of our readers by at-
tempting to detail the arts and ingenious devices with which
be attempted to destroy the character of the pure Rose of


Lisbuy. It is sufficient to say that they were al exercised in
vain. The girl was virtuous, and what was still more against
him, imbued with a deep sense of piety and religion. She saw
his object, and in spite of his easy and fascinating manners,
the not only despised, bnt abhorred and detested him. On the
last visit which, in his character of a sportsman, he ever paid
at her father's house, after having received a drink of milk, he
significantly handed her five pounds, as a reward, he said, fur
ncr hospitality. This she refused, adding :

" The poorest beggar, sir, that enters under our roof, would
receive the same kindness. Take back your money I"

" Not at all," said he ; " I could not think of it. Nothing
would give me more pleasure than making such presents to so
beautiful a girl as you are."

" 1 will receive no presents from you, sir," she replied, indig-
nantly ; "and now, that I am alone in my father's bouse, it in
dishonorable in you to offer them."

He then proceeded to approach her. " Keep your distance,
sir," said she ; " don't approach me 1"

He still continued, however, to draw near, when she flew to
a little cupboard that hung against the wall, and seizing an
Irish skean, she took God to witness, that if he laid a hur.d
upon her she would plunge it in his heart. As she uttered the
words, he saw there was that about her which could not for a
moment be misunderstood. Her fine person became strung, ai
it rere, into intense vigor her dark eyes gleamed with resolu-
tion, and the natural crimson of her cheek deepened with in-
dignation. Lucas paused, and felt that he never admired her
10 much.

"Why, my dear girl," said he, "this is a mere waste of
anger ; but indeed you look so beautiful in yonr indignation,
that it is almost a pity you should ever look otherwise. It if
ot every day that a gentleman of my wealth and rank hup


pens to foil in love with a girl in your station of life ; yet so


t is

" Begone, sir," she replied : " begone, and take your money
with you, and let this be your last visit to my father's house."

" Well, well," said he, " I will take up the money, but you
will change your mind, I hope. Good bye, my beautiful girl ;
think of me as one who is anxious to be your friend, if you
would allow him, and who would place you hi a far diffei
ent - "

He had gone outside the door, where he stood while utter-
Ing the words ; ere he could proceed further, however, in the
rile proposal he was about to insinuate, she slapped the door
Indignantly iu his face, and having secured it inside, she sat
down and gave way to a burst of bitter tears.

" What a beautiful creature she is 1" he exclaimed to him-
self ; " I have seen nothing like her so for - and the truth
is, I must have her by hook or by crook."

This was the first occasion on which he had found Rose
Callan alone in her father's house, and the reader is now
cognizant of the success with which he attempted to corrupt
her principles.

It was one night in the month of November, about six
weeks after this event, hi the year above mentioned, that
Brian Callan was sitting at his comfortable hearth chatting
happily with his children, his laboring servants, and a few of
the neighboring peasantry, who had come, as the phrase is, to
nake then* keailye with him for an hour or two. Rose was at
her distaff, inside the jamb, spinning flax, an occupation which
at that tine was not common even in Ireland ; her mother
was grinding oats in a quern, or hand-mill, which was placed
on a quilt spread over the kitchen floor, to prevent the meal
from being wasted. Rose's dark auburn hair was bound by a
ribbon that went round her head, but did not prevent it <TODI


Sailing in i ich natural ringlets about her snowy white shoul-
ders. The chimney was well liked with fat smoke-dried bacoa
and hung beef, and the whole house had an air of great warmth,
comfort, and cleanliness. A blazing fire of turf was down,
which threw its rich and mellow light throughout the whole
kitchen. Rose, however, did not seem to take a very particu-
lar interest in their conversation, but seemed somewhat ab-
stracted, if not anxious, for it might be observed that she
paused as if to listen from time to time, and if a noise happen-
ed to be heard, especially near the door, she would start, and
her eyes would brighten for a moment. On finding that there
was nothing in it, however, she would resume her spinning,
and seem somewhat cast down or disappointed.

" Come," said her father to his eldest son, a fine manly boy
of thirteen, "come Owen, tell us a story." for Owen, like
many a boy of his age, was not only fond of stories, but a
famous story-teller himself ; in fact, quite a young Senachie.

" Come, Owen avillish, will you give us a story ?" they all
exclaimed ; " you're the beauty of the world at it."

"Bedad, I dunna what to tell," said Owen, exceedingly
proud at the time, in consequence of being selected to amusa
the company ; " I have none, sure."

" Oh, that indeed," exclaimed Shamus Oew (James, the son
of Hugh), and you can bate Tom Gressy (the shoemaker^
right and left."

" Well," said Owen, with the face of a lad who seemed de-
murely conscious of his own talents, " I'll try and do my best,
and you all know the best can do no more."

" True enough, abouchal," said Shamus, " but at any rate
make a beginning for you know what's well begun is half-

"Well hem," commenced Owen, clearing his throat,
"There wai a widow woman once, and she tad three sous ;


they were all very poor, but it was their own fault. The el<i
est was idle and undutiful, and wouldn't do anything toward
their support ; the second was as idle and undutiful as he was,
and as lazy as Harry Harvey, that could never be got to take
his shut off to let it be washed ; the only one that ever did
anything for the family was the third and youngest of them
all, and if it hadn't been for him and his mother, they'd all
starve. At last one morniu' the eldest says to his mother,
' Mother, bake me a bannock, and roast me a collop, till I go
and pitch (seek) my fortune.' So his mother baked him a
bannock and roasted him a collop, that he might go and pitch
bis fortune. Well, when the bannock was baked, and he
ready to start, his mother, takin' it up, says to him, ' Now,
whether will you have the half of this with my blessin', or the
whole of it with my curse ?' ' Indeed, mother,' says he, 4 the
whole of it is little enough, I think, for it's a short way the
half of it would take me ; as for the curse, I'll take the whoto
of the bannock and it together.' Well, his mother gave hint
the whole of the bannock sure enough ; but she stood on the
thrashil of the door, and cursed him till he got out o' sight
Well, he went on far farther than I can tell, till he came
to a "

Here the latch of the kitchen door was raised, and the
next minute young Con M'Mahon made his appearance, ac-
companied by his father and his two brothers ; and ah, my
dear reader, maybe the eyes of the Rose of Lisbuy did nrt
flash and glisten, and her pure but loving heart palpitate with
ecstasy when she saw her lover and heard his voice. Her
cheeks glowed with a blush of joy and happiness which she
could not repress, and the distaff became unmanageable in her

" God save all here 1 " welcome and social words- -and
"God save you kindly 1" soon passed between them. In a


moment the company about the fire rose np in order that new
arrangements for places and accommodation might be made
The semicircle about the hearth was extended ; other seat*
were drawn in ; they once more sat down ; each, of course,
comfortable ; but there was one place unanimously allowed
and reserved for the lover and that was his usual one on
the hob immediately behind Rose's chair. There was nothing
in this to offend Rose's delicacy. Every thing with respect
to their forthcoming marriage was known throughout the
parish, and his father and brothers accompanied him for the
purpose of settling the day for their wedding. After some
chat between the seniors present, and a low, tender dialogue
between Con and Rose, old M'Mahon at last left his seat, and
going behind the jamb returned with a jar of spirits, because,
be it known to our readers, that no negotiations of this kind
erer takes place without whisky, which, by the way, is uni-
formly provided by the bridegroom and his relatives. On this
occasion we need not say that it added very much to the
harmony and hilarity of those who were assembled, especially
upon an occasion in itself naturally festive. The conversation
was enlivened by mirth and laughter, and every one, especially
the youngsters, looked forward to the day of the wedding
with a sense of exuberant delight, which they could not re-
strain. At length the whisky began to circulate, and the
wnversation, after bearing on many different topics, began to
to turn toward the occasion on which they were assembled :
this was simply to appoint the day on which the young couple
should be married and made happy. Some one suggested,
from a motive of comic malice, that the marriage should take
place on a Sunday ; but this was received with a clamor of
UidignatiOL that soon put an end to such a disagreeable and
nunational project Every one krew, they said, that they
would hare Sunday, whether they *ere married or not, and


that such an arrangement would deprive them of the benefit
of a holiday during the week ; besides, did not all the world
know that Sunday marriages were never lucky. No, no, they
would not stand that: and the arrangement took place ac-
cordingly. There is, indeed, such a prejudice against mar-
riages on the Sabbath, and some unfounded superstition exists
against them, and on this account very few marriages ever do
take place upon that day And indeed we may remark here,
that the prejudice we speak of prevails as much in high life as
it does among the humbler classes. Be this as it may, the
healths of the young pair were drank with all the warmth and
enthusiasm peculiar to our national character. Other healths
also went round ; hands were grasped in cordiality and friend-
ship, and the evening closed with a short encomium : first, on
the excellent qualities and many virtues of Rose Callaii by her
affectionate and admiring father.

" She is," said he, whilst the tears stood in his eyes, " she
is but where's the use of me sayin* what she is ? Doesn't
every one know it ? There she sits ; the girl that never gave
one of us a sore heart, nor ever wanst disturbed even our
temper. It is not the fortune that you'll get along wid her.
Con M'Mahon, for I think nothing of that, and I'm sure you
don't either."

" No, Brian, not the value of a grain of chaff," replied her
generous young lover.

" No, I knew you didn't," continued her father ; " but you
wi" have a fortune and what's worth a thousand fortunes be-
sides, and that is the blessin' of God, and a pure and lovin'
heart tliat will make you contented aud happy, even if you
had only the black wather and the dry potatoes between you,
In the meantime, you won't be broight to that, I trust.
You're both goin' together with comfortable manes, and tht
free const nt of your parents and friends on both sid>*, and


BAJ God grant yon both as I'm sore he will happiness and
heahh and comfort daring roar lives 1"

Old M'Mahon rose and grasped his hand, whilst he said

" Every word, Brian, that has come from your lips is true,
and we all know it to be so and indeed he should be able tn
make a far look-oat that could find a husband worthy of her.
If any one is, I think my son Con comes near it bat, indeed,
even he isn't."

"What's that you say?" replied her father, rising up sud-
denly, " am I to understand yon as lay in' down to us, that
your son Con there isn't worthy of her 1"

" Troth he's not," rejoined his father, and I don't know the
boy that is."

" Honoman dioual, man, don't attempt to say such a thing
at my fireside. He is her fill of a husband and fit to be a
husband for a better girl than ever stood in her shoes that
Is, if such a girl could be had."

" Troth an' he isn't," persisted his father ; " divfl a boy in the
barony of Orior is worthy of her. Don't look angry, Brian.
I know what I'm sayin', and I know the value of my son, aa
well as you do of your daughter or may be betther, for I
don't think you know the full value of your daughter yet ; but
if you don't, I do, and I say there's not a man in the barony
of Orior worthy of her, nor in the five baronies next it
and that is more, I believe."

" Con M'Mahon, I'd contradict you, if it was the last word
in my death rattle. I say, your sou sitting there before us
is and I say, if you hadn't the whisky in your head you
wouldn't deny it, and, indeed, between you and me, it's not a
very fatherly thing for you to do I know the value of my
daughter well."

44 1 deny that, too," replied old M'Mahon ; " I deny it ; I
my you don't know half her value "


"Why corpan dioual, man alive, who has a bttf
right to know it so well barrin', indeed, her mother well
then n

" Ay, there is another that knows it better than either
of you."

" Well, may be so," returned Callan, partly in a tone of
lirony, and partly in one of amazement at the mystery in-
volved in M'Mahon's extraordinary line of argument ; " but
who might that other person be ?"

" Why, then, I'll tell you ; that young Cornet Lucas but
nothing, thank goodness, to the Lucases of Castleshane "

Rose's father paused, looked about him, then at his daugb
ter, whose whole neck and countenance became instantly over-
spread with a deep and burning blush. His eye rested on her
for a moment. Why did she blush ? here was a mystery
perhaps disgrace. His veins became tremulous with agitation,
and his features the color of death. He hemmed two or
three times in order to recover his breath and his voice, foi
both for a space had left him.

" Con M 'Mahon," said he, " what is the meaning of this ?
My child's name is as pure as her own heart, as the snow from
Heaven ; beware of castin' a stain upon it, for I am, as you
know, something like yourself when I'm vexed a dangerous
man ; and what I might overlook in my own case, I neither
could nor will in her's. Spake out ; or, if you don't, I'll
make you, before ever you put your head from under this roof.
My child is my life, and dearer to me than it is."

" It's a terrible disclosure I have to make," replied M'Ma-
hon, solemnly ; " and as I know it may be the means rf great
distress to some one, I don't care if I take another glass of
whisky before I spake out."

"The whisky is your own," replied Callan, ''and a? yon
tare been givin' it round all the night, help yourself."


These words he ottered with a voice that was hoarse and
deeply agitated.

" Well," said the other, rather coolly, 611ing a glass for him-
K-lf at the same time, " here's all our healths, and that we may
get well out of it only, in the manetime, I wish that a per*
son I was spaking to a few days ago was here now, that he
might bear witness to the charge I'm goin' to make against
against against who ? why, honoman dioual, man, against
your daughter 1"

A silence like that of death followed these words for more
than a minute. The whole company seemed to be thundei-
struck. Rose's mother got up and was about to approach
M'Mahon, with all the indignation of a mother in her eyes,
when the kitchen door opened, and a lame man, in the garb
of a beggar, entered the kitchen. The moment M'Mahon
saw him he started up, exclaiming

"God is good and just ; and the very man I wished to set
at this moment is here. Patchy Baccach, although I'm not
undher my own roof, still 111 bid you welcome. Here, man,"
he added, filling him a glass of spirits, " try this, and tell m*
first what you think of it. Afther that we want to have your
opinion upon a certain subject that we wor just talk in' about,
and if I don't mistake, you can throw some light upon it."

Patchy, who was called Baccach, in consequent of hia
lameness, took the glass, and was about to drink it, when
Brian Gallan interrupted him.

" Patchy," said he, " Con M'Mahon has bid you welcome
inder my roof ; but before you drink that glass I wish to say
that I and more bid you welcome as heartily as he did ; get *
eat for Patchy there, and let him sit down."

" Many thanks to you both, gentlemen," said Patchy, taking
the seat which one of the youngsters had reached him. " Many
thanks to you both, and health and happiness to all of in I


What I think of it, Con M'Mahon ? Oh then, death alire,
what could any one think of it that tastes it, barrin' that on

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Online LibraryWilliam CarletonRedmond Count O'Hanlon, the Irish rapparee, an historical tale → online text (page 1 of 12)