the 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 personal 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, smashing 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 windows: 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 declared duly elected.

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 Rawnacreeva, 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 recognized 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

After such feats, how could it be wondered a file of the guard, after having overheard the 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 “Kinnidy 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 repaired 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

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 improve."

A year passed over-I conducted myself creditably in all regimental matters, touching drill duty and drinking, when an order suddenly came for a detachment to march to Ballybunnion; 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 lieutenant) 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 boasted, after dinner, that "he was under fifty, and above five feet three;" but there were persons 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 in Craughane churchyard, with half a ton weight of Connemara marble over him, on which his virtues and his years are recorded.

Now, without stopping to ascertain minutely the age and height of the departed, I shall describe him as a thick square-shouldered undersized 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 Ballybunnion, our fife and drum playing to the best of their ability the captain's favourite quick step, "I'm over young to marry yet."

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 he announced himself as Mr. Christopher Clinch; and in a handsome speech, declared himself to be an ambassador from the stewards of the Ballybunnion coterie; which coterie being to be holden that evening, he was deputed to solicit the honour of our company on this occasion. Captain Rattigan returned our acknowledgments 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 acquaintance.

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 the grand mistake of his earlier days, and declared his determination of even yet endeavouring to amend his youthful error, and retrieve lost time.


The commander's advice was not lost upon 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—she ducked-seized my offered hand, and in a few 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 lutestring 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 handkerchief.

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 opportunities 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 formality 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, romantie -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 Lieutenant-colonel Cassidy had repeatedly sworn that Glorvina was written for herself;"-and she raised her fan

"The conscious blush to hide

[ocr errors]

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 inflammatory passage,

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.

"In peace love tunes the shepherd's reed." Next morning-the morning of that day which was to bless me with fortune and a wife, "And could she love?"-I whispered with a look of tender inquietude. "She could; she Captain Rattigan and I were sitting at an early had a heart, she feared, too warm for her hap-rive but Cornet Bircham, who was in command breakfast, when, who should unexpectedly arpiness: she was a creature of imagination all soul-all sympathy. She could wander with the man of her heart from

"Egypt's fires to Zembla'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!

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 him."

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 congo. Any news stirring?"

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; procrastination 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 deceive me? The room turned topsy-turvy-tale. the candles danced a reel-my brain grew giddy —it was true-absolutely true; Jemima O'Brien 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 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

"Nothing but a flying report that you had determined on sobriety and forsworn a drop beyond the third bottle:-but that shake in your claw gives a lie direct to the 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."

[ocr errors]

"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 actress."

I groaned audibly-it was Jemima to a T: | sanity. Fearing from his mental malady, that --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 Captain. 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!

You are

he may have misconducted himself to your amiable niece last night at the coterie, I beg on the part of my poor friend (who is tolerably collected 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, TERENCE RATTIGAN, Capt. S- M— Militia.

"To Mrs. Cogan, &c."

How very flattering this apology was to me I submit to the indulgent auditor. I was indubitably proven to have been an ass overnight, and I must pass as a lunatic in the We had barely time to speculate on morning.

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 bille at arm's-length, as if it exhibited a plaguespot, he favoured us with the contents, which were literally as follows:



"SIR, I have red your paltrey appollogey

your nephew's breech of promis. I beg to tell you, that a lady of the family of Clinch will not submit to be ensulted with impunnitey. My neece is packed and reddy; and if your friend does not apear acording to apointment, he will shortly here as will not plase him, from yours to command,

"HONOR COGAN, otherwise CLINCH. "Hawthorn Cotage, Friday morning."

Are you mad, or are you hoaxing?" "Serious, by St. Patrick," said Rat. "Why then it's no longer a joke. in a nice scrape. I beg to tell you that Jemmy O'Brien is as notorious as Captain Rock. She Twelve o'clock passed-and we waited the has laid several fools under contribution, and result of Mrs. Cogan's threats, when the waiter has just returned from Dublin, after taking an showed up a visitor, and Mr. Christopher action against a little drunken one-eyed Welsh Clinch, the prime cause of all our misfortunes, major, whom her aunt got, when intoxicated, presented himself. He persisted in standing. to sign some paper or promise of marriage. or more properly stooping-for the ceiling was The major, like a true gentleman, retrieved his not quite six feet from the floor-coughederror by suspending himself in his lodgings the hoped his interference might adjust the misday before the trial; and it is likely that Jem take, as he presumed it must be on the part and her aunt will be in jail for the law expenses." of Lieutenant Kennedy, and begged to inform Rat and I were overwhelmed, and looked him that Miss Jemima O'Brien was ready to for some minutes in silence at each other. At accompany the said Mr. Kennedy, as last night last I told Bircham the whole affair The arranged. Captain Rattigan took the liberty dragoon was convulsed with laughter "So," | to remark, that he, the captain, had been very said he, "at twelve o'clock the gentle Jemmy explicit with Mrs. Cogan, and requested to is to be spirited away. But come, there's no refer to his letter, in which Mr. Kennedy' time to lose sit down, Rat, get a pen in thy sentiments were fully conveyed, and, on his fist, and I'll dictate and thou inscribe." part, to decline the very flattering proposal of Miss Jemima O'Brien. Mr. Clinch stated that an immediate change of sentiment on the part of Mr. Kennedy was imperative, or that Mr. K. would be expected to favour him, Mr. C., with an interview in the Priest's Meadow.

"MADAM,-Having unfortunately, at the request 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

Captain Rattigan acknowledged the request of |
Mr. Clinch to be a very reasonable alternative,
and covenanted that Mr. Kennedy should
appear at the time and place mentioned; and
Mr. Clinch was then very ceremoniously con-
ducted down stairs by the polite commander.
Through motives of delicacy, I had at the
commencement of the interview retired to the
next apartment; and as the rooms were only
separated by a boarded partition, I overheard
through a convenient chink with desperate
alarm, Captain Rattigan giving every facility
to my being shot at in half-an-hour in the
Priest's Meadow. No wonder then Rat found
me pale as a spectre, when bursting into the
room he seized me by the hand, and told me
he had brought this unlucky business to a
happy termination. He, the captain, dreaded
that Jemima would have been looking for legal
redress; but, thank God, it would only end in
a duel.

I hinted at the chance of my being shot.
"Shot!" exclaimed my comforter, "why,
what the deuce does that signify? If indeed
you had been under the necessity of hanging
yourself, like the one-eyed major, it would
have been a hardship. No funeral honours
no decent wake-but smuggled into the earth
like a half-bale of contraband tobacco;-but,
in your case, certain of respectable treatment
-reversed arms-dead march-and Christian

1:-vow to God, quite a comfort to be shot under such flattering circumstances! Frank, you have all the luck of the Rattigans about you!"-and, opening the door, he hallooed "Myke-Mykle Boyle, bring down the pace makers to the parlour."

In a few seconds I heard the captain and his man busily at work, and by a number of villanous clicks, which jarred through my system like electricity, I found these worthies were arranging the commander's pace-makers for my use in the Priest's Meadow.

I felt very queer on finding myself opposite a truculent fellow of enormous height, with a pair of projecting whiskers upon which a man might hang his hat, and a pistol two feet long clutched in his bony grasp. Rattigan, as he adjusted my weapon, whispered- Frank, jewel, remember the hip-bone; or, as the fellow's a of a length, you may level a trifle higher;" and, stepping aside, his coadjutor pronounced in an audible voice-One!-two!! three!!!

Off went the pistols. I felt Mr. Clinch's bullet whistle past my ear, and saw Captain Rattigan next moment run up to my antagonist, and inquire "if he was much hurt.' Heaven's! how delightful! I had brought the engagement to a glorious issue by neatly removing Mr. Clinch's trigger-finger, and thereby spoiling his shooting for life.

With a few parting bows we retired from the Priest's Meadow, leaving Christopher Clinch a job for the vampire apothecary, and a fit subject for the assiduities of Mrs. Cogan and the gentle Jemima.

If Captain Rattigan had registered a rash vow against port wine, it is to be lamented; for never were three gentlemen of the sword more completely done up at an early hour of the evening than we.

Next day we were informed that Clinch was tolerably well, and that their attorney had been closeted with the ladies of Hawthorn Cottage. We held a council of war, and while debating on the expediency of my retiring on leave to Connemara, where I might set Jemmy and her lawyer at defiance, the post brought us intelligence that "a turn-out for the line was wanted;" and if I could muster the necessary number, I should be exchanged into a regular regiment. Off Rat and I started for Naas, and with little difficulty succeeded in making up the quota; and the first intimation the prototype of Glorvina received of our movements was being seduced to the window by the drums, as I marched past Hawthorn Cottage, with as choice a sample of "food for gunpowder" as ever left Ballybunnion. I saluted the once-intended Mrs. Kennedy with great respect; the fifers struck up "Fare you well, Killeavey;" and Captain Rattigan, who accompanied me the first day's march, ejaculated, as he looked askance at this second Ariadne, "May the devil smother you, Jemima O'Brien!" And now, my dear friends, having brought The customary bows were formally inter- my autobiography to that interesting period changed between the respective belligerents- when I left the militia for the line, I shall the ground correctly measured-pistols squib-pause in the narrative to direct your attention bed, loaded, and delivered to the principals. to the moral of the tale. It is quite evident

At the appointed hour I reached the ground, which was but a short distance from the inn. Rattigan and Bircham accompanied me, and Myke Boyle followed with the tools. Mr. Christopher Clinch and his friends were waiting for us; and a cadaverous-looking being was peeping through the hedge, whom I afterwards discovered to be the village apothecary, allured thither by the hope of an accident, as birds of prey are said to be collected by a chance of carrion.

« VorigeDoorgaan »