T. C. Croker [but actually Mrs. Marianne Croker], Barney Mahoney (1832).

[Source: Google Books / Internet Archive - online; accessed 22.28.2011.]

Note: A centred running-head in caps, reading < The Adventures of > / < Barney Mahoney > is given on each page following p.1, with page-numbers set at the outer margin of each - left and right respectively on the left-hand and right-hand pages. The page-numbers are here given in arrow brackets - e.g,, {7} as indicating the beginning of each page so identified. There is no table of contents. (For Editorial notes and commentary, see infra.)





“I charge thee, fling away ambition; By that sin fell the angels: how can man, then, The image of his Maker, hope to win by’t?” - Shakspeare.





LADY, think not, tho’ thou do’st brightly move
In fashion’s round, that I will ought relate
Of high life, like unto Moore’s “Summer Fête,”
Which he to thee inscribes, all dames above.
Nor is my tale made up of “lumps of love;”
Nor ground chivalric do I dare debate
With skilful James. Nor yet as vainly prate
Of deeds historic, flinging down the glove,
That all may judge between me, and Sir Walter!
Nor emulous of Bulwer, nor of Hook,
Do I adventure with my little book.
Nor of that quiet humourist, John Galt, or
A dozen more. - For lo! my scene I pitch in
Ude’s empire; region unexplored - the kitchen.

 READER! if sound of hearty lung, or phthisical,
You smile, or cough, look gay, or grave, or rational;
Dwell City-wise - or think the world of fashion all,
And laugh at Cockney box on jaunty Chiswick mall;
Deem not my little book severe and quizzical,
Or that I rudely lay the sportive lash on all.
My novellette I hold to be quite national;
And, in its inward spirit, truly metaphysical.
From it my countrymen may draw a moral,
And see themselves, for they have small opacity;
Theirs is ambition - silver-tongued loquacity,
Empty profession; but, we shall not quarrel -
I do believe, with fault and folly teeming,
The Irish heart, when tried, will shine with bright redeeming.


The Publishers having informed me that a Second Edition of this little Volume is at press, I gladly embrace the opportunity of returning my acknowledgments for the favourable reception it has experienced, and the indulgence with which it has been received.

As my gratitude is sincere, so must my thanks be simple. I have no critics to quarrel with, and comjplain of, to the public. I have, in short, only to regret one or two whimsical misprints in the former Edition, and which, I hope, I have pointed out in time sufficient to allow of the correction of them in the present one.

T. C. C.

The Rosery, Barnes Common, Surrey,
        26th June, 1892.

 Chapter I: The Mahoney’s

 “You have a large family, my good woman!”
 “Tis I that have that same thin, yer honor, be the blessin’ o’ Providence. Chilther’ comes as thick as poverty, most times, but, thank God! we’ve not known to say want, for ’tis seldom but we’ve a praty to put in their mouths; an’ shoore ’tisn’t the likes of us that could ixpect to be havin’ mate onst a week like our betters. Though, may be, if we got a habit of atin’ it, we’d think it hard to be widout it; so we would.”
 “How often do you get a joint of meat, pray?”
 “Is it a jint o’ mate, yer honor! The Lord be betune us an’ all harum, where ’ud we cum be a jint o’ mate? barrin’ it may be a pig’s head, or some small matter o’ that kind, at {2} Christmas or Easter. I niver seen a rale jint o’ mate sin’ the blessed day I was married to Murty Mahoney, so I haven’t - and that’s three an’ twenty years cum next Lady-day.”
 “Your children appear strong and healthy, nevertheless.”
 “Oh! thanks be where due, they are that; an’ why wouldn’t they? They’ve no stint of de prates anyhow; an’ onst a week, or on a saint’s day, mostly a herrin’ or a sup o’ milk wid them. Sorro’ wud I wish to see de day a child o’ mine ’ud grumble while he’d a bowl o’ Carrigaline beauties, or good red-nosed kidneys planted down upon de table, wid a relish now an’ then, or may be onst a week -”
 “The rain still continues as heavy as ever,” said the gentleman. “May I ask leave to remain under the shelter of your roof until the storm has passed off?”
 “Yer honor ’d be kindly welcome, shoore, if ’twas de grandest house in de county I had afore ye. Judy! rache me de prauskeen ’till I wipe a stool for his honor to sit down upon.”
 “Do not trouble yourself. It is quite clean, I dare say,” replied Mr. Stapleton, for such was the gentleman’s name.
 “Beggin’ yer honor’s pardin’, but I’ve hard {3} say, “quite clane” aint clane enuff for de Englishers, - an’ I’m thinking, be yer honor’s tongue, that ye doesn’t belong to this part of de counthree, anyhow.”
 “You are right,” said Mr. Stapleton; “I am an Englishman, and a stranger in Ireland, and I feel deeply interested by what I have seen of the country. Indeed, my admiration is excited by the numerous instances I meet, where apparently extreme poverty is supported with a degree of cheerfulness and patience, in vain to be sought for in my own more favoured land.”
 “Oh! where ’ud be de use of bein’ onpatient, yer honor? What ’ud we get be that? The Lord knows best what’s good for us all; an’ shoore, if we’ve His blessin’, ’tis all we want”
 “That’s true, perhaps; but now, tell me, - you have been married three-and-twenty years, you say. You have reared - how many children?”
 “Tirteen, yer honor. ’tisn’t often ye’ll find a smaller family, - that’s among the poore o’ the county. They tell me chilther’s scarcer in the county Limerick, but I dunnow. Murty thought it best to settle where his work was; an’ may be ’tis right he was.”
 “How does he gain his living, and support this large family?” {4}
 “He attinds de masons, - that’s de masther buildher’s,” said Mrs. Mahoney, willing to express in the most imposing terms the occupation of her husband.
 “What in England we call a bricklayer’s labourer, I suppose?”
 “I niver hard himself say he was that same,” returned the poor woman, a little wounded by what she considered to be so harsh an appellation. “He just mixes up de morthar an’ dem things for de workin’ men, an’ does any odd job that ’ud be for helpin ’em, an’ de likes o’ that, an’ -”
 “Carries a hod for his amusement, I suppose?” said Mr. Stapleton, smiling.
 “Is it a hod o’ morthar? In coorse he’ll do that same in de way o’ bis’ness, an’ de niver a worse man is he for it, anyway,” continued the still more offended dame.
 “Do not imagine I intended any offence to his, or your feelings, by carelessly mentioning an old subject of jocularity with us in England. A man’s usefulness ought to be the truest source of his pride; and neither yourself, nor your husband, I am sure, need blush to own the means of support that have enabled you to bring up this fine family of well-grown girls, and their still more sturdy brothers. “{5}
 “Yer honor’s words are like honey, shoorely,” replied Mrs. Mahoney, completely mollified by this saying speech. “De girls is well enuff - Katy! be done tazing the boniveen, an’ I’ll throuble ye! -an’ de b’ys, I hope,’ll be gettin’ an honest livin’ in time, yer honor. Barney! is that yer manners, ye vagabone of de world! keep de trackeens on you do, an’ a jintleman to the fore!”
 “Its tired on ’em and murthered wid ’em intirely I am,” retorted the youth in question. “Shoore its hard I medn’t aise me feet when I come in doors; yees’ll let Judy and Katy turn out their toes, an’ I’m blisthered intirely wid de brogues, so I am, all the way to Blarney that I’ve been in dem to plaze ye.”
 “Some of your sons are off your hands, I imagine, Mrs. Mahoney? I see but three of them here.”
 The poor woman applied her apron (or ‘prauskeen’, as she would have called it,) to her eyes, seemingly disturbed by the question; after a. little time she returned, - ” Ah! ’tis a hard trial partin’ wid them, so it is -oust they come -two girls an’ a b’y’s laid under de sod, an’ Phelim, that’s de eldest, he wint for a soldier; he never tuk to de larnin’; an’ de schoolmasther, {6} ould Justin Delaney, wid de one eye, advised we’d send him abroad, afore, may be, he’d get transported, - ’twas de only thing he sed for him, and maybe ’d make a jintleman of him all out. There’s Judy, an’ Katy, an’ Peggy, that’s all my girls left. Michael, an’ Terry, an’ Dan’s at school, gettin’ their larnin’, anyhow. If yer honor looks through the windy, - no, not the windy, the hat’s in to keep the wet out where Dan broke it last summer, de rapparee! but out thro’ de doore, yer honor’ll see Dinnis sitting under de bush for shelter, and ’twas digging a patch, he was, for de praties. And this is Patrick, yer honor; ah! ’tis he’s de jinteelest of ’em all, thryin’ to keep de pig out o’ yer honor’s hat, so he is; ’tis he’ll make his fortin some day, whoever’ll live to see it, for its himself had de nate way wid him, ever an’ always. But ’tis Barney, there, yer honor, brakes de ould heart in me, so he does, an’ has nothin’ o’ decency or manners about him, for all his schoolin’, an’ de pains his father tuk, an’ myself, moreover, to thry to make something out of him. We niver’ll make our money o’ Barney, I’m thinkin’, an’ all de harum I wish him’s a good sarvice in a genteel family, for Barney’s handy enough for that matter.”
 “The boy seems altogether not particularly {7} tractable, or I should have no objection to take him from you myself,” said Mr. Stapleton, “he certainly appears strong and active.”
 “Is it sthrong? - ah! thin he’s that anyway, let alone active; an’ only he’s got de top hand o’ me, his ould mother, there niver was a bitter b’y than Barney, that I’ll say for him, if he is mine, ’till he left his larnin’; an’ whether it’s the prates, yer honor, is too nourishin’ food for him, or de growin’ he was tuk with, but he flogs de world for strength, if he’d put it out.”
 “What say you, Barney? will you promise to be a diligent industrious boy if I take you into my service. Will you do as you are bid to the best of your ability, and thereby relieve your parents from the task of supporting you in idleness.”
 “Musha den, I’d go to de world’s ind to plaze yer honor, an’ git out o’ this, for its no pace o’ my life I have among dem.”
 “Barney! I’m ashamed, an’ that’s thruth, you should be spakin’ in that manner agen your own blood, and de father and mother that reared you; its time for ye to be seekin’ yer fortin, but I hope de jintieman’ll be marciful, an’ not judge ye be yer ingratitude to dem that’s {8} brought ye up, an’ fed, an’ clothed ye, ye graceless creature, that ye are!”
 “I dunno want to be clothed,” retorted Barney; “’tis the brogues an’ that, I’m sick on an out.”
 “But if you come with me, you must submit to wear shoes and stockings always; we have an objection to see bare feet in England.”
 “If it’s to England yer honor ’ud take me, I’d agree to wear me clothes, in doors an’ out; an’ do anything at all at all, to plaze yer honor, for I know I’d be a made man, onst I sot foot in England.”
 “You can mention the circumstance to your husband, Mrs, Mahoney,” said Mr. Stapleton, “and I will call on you to-morrow, to discuss the matter farther. I am in want of a strong lad of Barney’s age, to carry messages and parcels; if he conducts himself well, and is willing to learn, I may probably take him into my house as servant to my son, but this depends entirely on his own conduct. I ought, perhaps, to tell you, I am a London merchant, and I will give you a reference, which I have no doubt will be satisfactory, to Messrs. Beamish and Crawford, in Cork. But I wish you fully to understand, {9} that should Barney fail in obedience and industry, I shall consider myself at liberty to return him on your hands, paying his expences home.”
 “Yer honor’s too good entirely, an’ I’m sure Mr. Mahoney’ll say the same, an’ no call in life for reference, but whatever yer honor plazes; and its me blessin’ he’ll get, if he’s a good b’y an’ does yer honor’s biddin’, an’ his father an’ me’ll talk to him be de blessin’ o’ Providence.”
 “The storm is over, I think, Mrs. Mahoney; good day to you: I’ll probably see you to-morrow, - good day.”
 “Yer honor’s sarvent! yes, the storum’s over I b’lieve, an’ a blessid storum it was for me an’ mine, God willin’. Where’s his honor’s cloak? Put down the jintleman’s gloves, there, Katy! will you never - Barney, where’s yer leg, ye villyan. Get out o’ that, Dinnis, I bid ye! Is it blockin’ up his honor’s way, ye are standing right forenent the doore?”
 The cabin in which the above scene took place, was one of those miserable looking mud hovels, so well described by some English traveller, as most resembling “pig styes of a larger growth.” Two rooms, with their bare {10}  earthen floor, formed the fundamental accommodations; and in vurtue of its numerous inhabitants, it possessed the rare luxury of an upper chamber, or loft, in the thatched roof, approachable by a ladder, to be placed or removed at pleasure; “a blessed invintion,” to use Mrs. Mahoney’s own words, “for securin’ pace an’ quietness,” on despatching to this atdc dormitory, six or eight of the most refractory of the younger branches of her family. The building had originally possessed a window; indeed, a second luxury of that nature had been projected, as was evident from the remaining frame work, which still marked its intended situation; but as Murty Mahoney obtained the cabin in a half finished state, and was unconscious of a positive necessity for any window at all, it is not surprizing that he suffered, rather than preserved the one completed, and plastered up the space meant for the other. Four panes of glass, a liberal allowance in Murty’s calculation, had once’ adorned the window; but as family accidents, and other contingencies, had one after the other demolished them, their vacancies had been filled up in the natural, that is, the Irish natural way, by an old hat, the frail remains of a superannuated {11} petticoat; or, in default of these, a wisp of straw; any of which auxiliaries were, in Murty’s eyes, a welcome substitute for the displaced glass. He declared them to be more effectual in “keeping out the could,” and was certainly conscious of an increase of happiness by the change. As the cabin possessed no chimney, the smoke was retained a tolerably close prisoner, and its usual results appeared in the dark visages and dingy habiliments of its inhabitants. The earthen floor of the general apartment owned no obedience to the levelling system. There still remained, however, two or three situations in which, by care and circumspection, a chair might stand with some degree of firmness on its four legs, if it happened to retain so many; but the previous examination necessary to secure this position, reduced the inmates to the less troublesome, therefore more agreeable practice of sitting on stools, so long as one remained untenanted. When the stools failed, there was the washing tub, which, turned bottom upwards, made an excellent seat for three or four urchins, who, at the same time, secured a musical instrument in its sides, which they ceased not to batter incessantly. A large iron pot, for the purpose of {12} boiling the potatoes in, or heating water for all and every household purpose. A wooden vessel, termed a piggin, for milk; half a pitcher, and three broken plates, formed the whole stock of domestic utensils. In one corner of the adjoining room was the shake-down of the founders of the family, and in its opposite the “vehicle” of Murty Mahoney, answering the double purposes of “a hod by day, a chicken-roost by night.” The pig, claiming rank superior even to that of “Misther Mahoney” himself, adopted, for the scene of his repose, whatever unoccupied space happened to suit his fancy for the time being; nor was any remonstrance offered, when caprice led him to require a share of the shake-down.
 It may be supposed that Mahoney had not long occupied his seat by the fire side, before he was informed of the visit of the English gentleman, together with his magnificent offers touching Barney, and the wonderful and unlooked-for luck of the latter in being their object; proving, as his mother declared, that after all “the b’y was born to grace” and she asserted, that she had expected all along something or other would happen, for that she had dreamed three times running, only last week, having
{19} seen him standing with a rope round his neck, and father O’Connor by his side, ready to make a clean job of him.
 “An’ that’s a drame, shoorely, for one sort o’ luck! ye fool ye,” said her husband; “what can you make out o’ such a drame as that, and I’ll throuble ye?’
 “Ah, shoore, an’ isn’t it be conthraries them things goes always; an’ issent it a sign hell be a grate man an’ a pride to his family, an’ be goin’ to England all de way. Dear knows, I little thought to see Barney taken a fancy to, an’ that’s God’s thruth.”
 “Ah! its to be hoped no harum’ll come to him, the gossoon!” returned the father, sighing. “Now, Barney, aboughil yees hear to me, an’ be a good b’y, darlint, and don’t give way to low company and bad coorses, but ever an’ always keep stiddy an’ handy; and who knows, but in time, you may come to be valley de sham to some great lord or other. An’ d’ye hear me a vick? Remimber de brothers and sisthers ye lave behind yees, an’ niver miss to do them a like good turn, if it comes in yeer way, dy’e see Barney; an’ honor yer mother an’ me; an’ mind what de priest sed last Sunday, to keep yer hands from pickin’ an’ stalln’; an’, above all, {14} keep clear o’ de English girls, Barney, or yees is as good as ruined, so you is.”
 “An’ Barney, my heart!” interposed the mother, “remimber de honor o’ de family, an’ don’t do nothin’ to disgrace us, and keep yer oun counsel ’avourneen, for there’s many’ll ax questions of yees only to jeer, an’ put their comehether upon you, darlint; an’ keep a civil tongue, an’ a cool answer for all questions; an’ doan’t be flourishin’ de shilela de way de b’ys does here, for de English doesn’t understand dem ways, an’ you’d may be get throuble thro’ it, so you would.”
 Long after Barney had sunk to repose, the paternal and maternal lecture continued to be addressed to the sleeping object of their anxiety. Barney had heard as much as he cared to listen to, and more than he considered needful. In youth, health, and vigour, he was entering upon a career, which, to his vision, bore only the aspect of unmixed success and prosperity. He had but one feeling approaching to anxiety on his mind; and this was, that Mr. Stapleton might forget his promised visit of the following day. On this subject, however, disappointment did not await him. That gentleman appeared, to repeat his offers of protection, and to receive the ready assent of the grateful parents. The {16} business was soon concluded. Mr. Stapleton announced his intended departure for England in three days; merely requiring that Barney should assume his most respectable suit for the journey, and promising to take upon himself the charge of clothing him when they should arrive in London. The reversion of his wardrobe conferred considerable delight upon the two half-naked younger brothers, to whom it was adjudged. And as Barney, notwithstanding his mother’s dreams, and his own open countenance, caused some affliction to his father in his unlimited consumption of the “prates,” - had acquired a trick of contradicting and thwarting his mother to the utmost verge of his power and her forbearance; and had, moreover, a habit of cuffing and kicking his sisters and younger brothers, and quarrelling with the elder ones; if the truth must be confessed, his departure was witnessed by the whole family with something very nearly approaching to feelings of joy. {16}


Chapter II - The Merchant’s Family

On arriving in London, Mr. Stapleton proeeeded to his residence in Finsbury Square, with his protegée. There, his return home was greeted by a joyful welcome from the worthy partner of his fortune and afiection, his only daughter, and his younger son, Charles; the elder, William Stapleton, being absent on business relative to the firm of “Stapleton, Goodlad, and Co.,” in which firm he was a junior partner.
 Mrs. Stapleton, at the time I introduce her to my readers, was a comely, portly dame, of some fifty odd years; of cheerful countenance and gentle temper, for the world had gone well with her. She still retained the remains of that beauty which had been the first point of attraction to her husband. She possessed the pleasing consciousness of having performed her relative duties of daughter and wife in an exemplary and irreproachable manner. It had never occurred to her own temper to thwart any wish of {17} her parents; and, when young Stapleton proved his unexceptionable claims to her hand, and succeeded in gaining the first place in her heart, she experienced no shadow of anxiety on the subject of their FUture happiness. Her fortune she knew entitled her to expect as good a match as she had met with. She was sufficiently conscious of her personal attractions, to rest free from the dread of mere fortune-hunting lovers. A liberal income, a handsome establishment, with perfect freedom in the regulation of her household, to which, in course of time, were added two sons and a daughter, left her no time for ennui, no subject for discontent. One unvaried state of perfect health and placid happiness pervaded her whole family; and the only period she could recall to her mind as not being one of unmixed enjoyment, was that during which Fanny suffered under the infantine disease of measles. This had passed off happily; Fanny was now seventeen, the pride of both parents, the delight of her brothers. Her education had been pursued with as much intensity of purpose as came within the bounds of her indulgent mother to tolerate; and with all that mother’s beauty revived, she had the same placidity of temper, and, perhaps, no greater expanse of intellect than that {18} caused by the march of mind and manners, in the lapse of years, had produced in the process of education.
 To come out, be admired, to marry, were the three leading expectations of Fanny Stapleton; and she awaited the period at which they should severally be achieved, as a matter of course, and quite independent of any care or exertion on her part.
 Fanny had no acquaintance in fashionable life. Novel reading she had no taste for; and it had never occurred to her to listen to the schemes, or witness the manoeuvres, of the pitiable mother of many portionless girls in her industrious attempts to dispose of them at almost any price. She had never happened to hear that “everything depended on getting into the first circles;” nor had she any conception of the innumerable acts of meanness to which the unfortunate mother would lend herself in so indispensable a measure. She was never told that “all her attention ought to be devoted to the attitudes and graces cultivated by her dancing-master;” that “dancing and carriage were the primary considerations of every young woman who expected to ‘get off,’” Neither had she been taught the vital importance, as it is in the highest circles {19} pronounced to be, of the circumspection to be used respecting a first appearance, by which means the desirable result of an engagement during the first season might be secured. Nay, she did not even know, for she had seldom been out of the city, that, above all other things, she ought to dread a failure of marriage within three seasons; with the disgraceful alternative of hiding her misfortunes in retirement at the country, house, to allow her young sisters to come forward, and with only the forlorn hope of establishing herself in the heart of the village curate or apothecary.
 Fanny was ignorant that, by the supreme laws of fashion, a triennial eclipse must be performed on some pretext or other; and it would have startled her to hear that, in some solitary instances, where the novice did not entirely lose the appearance and bloom of youth, she retrograded from the ball-room to the school-room, there to undergo a second course of polishing and torment under the dominion of some vinegar-visaged French governess, and to await the more successful exertions of her second sister, whose marriage would prove the signal for her liberation, and another campaign would be entered upon under the title of the third Miss -- {20}
 The anxious mother, writhing beneath the dread of detection, and suspecting the sincerity of the congratulations poured in her ear on the unexampled success of haying cleared off two daughters within three seasons. In cases of this nature there are instances where ill-natured dowagers and tenacious danders terrify the trembling mama, by persisting to exclaim and wonder at the amazing likeness between the new Miss -- and her eldest sister. They will even sometimes be impertinent enough to profess a lapse of memory as to whether the eldest Miss settled in the country, or went out to India. To these troublesome querists, nothing more decisive can be urged than the oft repeated subterfuge, family likeness; and deeply, indeed, is that martyred mother to be pitied, who sees her assertions on this subject received with a credulous smile.
 But Fanny Stapleton, happy girl! was the only daughter of a man of character and wealth. I doubt if it would even have added to her happiness to know how enviable an object she appeared in the eyes of the interminable strings of Ladies Jane, Georgiana, and Julia, and Honourable misses, whose poverty had been perpetually held up to them as a spur in the attainment of the most taking accomplishment; and who as soon {21} would have dared to jump into a river as to smile on any man of less than a clear ten thousand per annum. The matron’s eye, they were conscious was never for a moment removed from them during the dance, or the supposed flirtation to follow. They could not plead ignorance in justification of carelessness; for if it so chanced that, dearth of men, or some untoward circumstance consigned them to an ineligible partner, the mother failed not, while accepting the scarf and fan of her daughter, to whisper, “Remember, no nonsense, he’s nothing but a younger son, and has not a penny.” Woe be to her who, after such a warning, presumed to maintain any other than a monosyllabic conversation with her unworthy companion; and direfully would the morning lecture peal in her weary ears after the commission of so heinous a sin.
 In utter carelessness and unconsciousness of the “ways and means” so deeply studied by her competitors, for getting a husband, Fanny Stapleton contemplated, that is, when she gave herself the trouble of thinking about the matter, that she would avoid anything like a serious engagement for the first few years of her entrance on the world; since it would be a pity, she said to herself, to settle down into a sober married {22} woman before she had enjoyed the gaieties of the said world, untrammelled by those necessary appendages, a husband and children; things to come of course, and in course of time, but which she ought not to be entrapped by too early. The ensuing Easter ball was to be the scene of her entree to city festivities, for no other reason than that it had been (as Mrs. Stapleton said) “that of her mother before her,” and the proposal met with no opposition from the worthy merchant; who, moreover, in addition to his consent, volunteered an opinion, that “If Fanny trod in her mother’s footsteps through life, no father need blush to own her.”
 Of William Stapleton it is unnecessary at present to say more, than that he was an almost ditto of his father; an upright English trader, neither ashamed of the means by which he made his money, nor affecting the disgusting airs of that most disgusting animal - a city fop.
 Attentive to business, of liberal mind and gentlemanly habits, he pursued the smooth path tracked out by his father; and, if he had a beau ideal, it was of an elegant country retreat, in some sporting county, to be attained at some very distant period, when the firm of Stapleton, Goodlad, and Co., should have arrived at the {23} unanimous conclusion, that “Sufficient for their hearts’ content was the wealth they had amassed.”
 Charles, the younger son, had less of plodding stability, and more of enterprise in his composition. His education was not entirely completed, nor had his inclination pointed so decidedly towards any particular pursuit, as to enable his friends, with any certainty of foundation, to judge of the profession most suitable to his versatile disposition.
 Charles Stapleton pronounced himself to be a decidedly “reading man;” and, true it is, he read with avidity all that came within his reach; but so little impression did his studies make upon his mind, that he was continually veering in his subject, and changing “from grave to gay, from lively to severe.” Professing to read for the purpose of forming his mind, and fixing the inject to be pursued through life, still it happened, that whoever Charles had last read, was his favourite author. If the work treated on military tactics, and the glories of war, Charles was a soldier! would be a soldier, and nothing but a soldier. Did he read of the perils and enterprize of a seafaring life, his thoughts were “fully bent” (to use his own expression) on the navy. There “could” be no life so glorious and admirable {24} as that of a sailor. During the prevalence of “marine fever,” as his father called itj Charles happened to pay a visit to a school-fellow, whose father was high, and deservedly so, in the church. Domesticated for some time in the worthy dean’s family, observing and admiring the respect and attention paid by all ranks to his dignified host, together with the well regulated and delightful family over which he presided; Charles returned to Finsbury Square, believing himself to be decidedly adapted for the church. For nearly a week the youth stalked about his mother’s drawing-room with an air of solemnity and pomposity, as surprising to his friends as it was unnatural to himself. His former heart-cheering laugh was changed for a benevolent smile; his movements were measured and slow; nor did he accept the reiterated challenges of the amazed Fanny, to resume their former playful diversions, which, truth to say, not seldom bordered on a species of romping, rather indecorous in a young lady of seventeen; and, as Charles now felt, quite unbecoming in one who intended immediately to “set about reading for the church.”
 It is, perhaps, not my business to insinuate that the recollection of Amelia Davison, the {25} dean’s third and lovely daughter, should have influenced the present decision of Charles; and it might be a stretch of the imagination to assert, that, in his “view of the church,” there appeared a distant vista, in which a snug rectory was seen, rising in “modest merit,” backed by woods of “ancient growth,” its sloping lawn graced by Amelia Stapleton, and some branches of “younger growth.” The vacation terminated, however, and Charles returned to keep his last term with the tutor under whose care he was, together with the sons of the dean. There it chanced, that either a new companion, or a fresh course of reading, brought him to the positive belief that the law was the only profession in which a man of any talent could make his way: a fact that admitted of no dispute, since he was informed by the fair Amelia’s brother, that she was on the point of marriage with Besom, the celebrated barrister.
 It was a fortunate accident in favour of Barney Mahoney, that he made his appearance (and an uncouth one it was) in Mr. Stapleton’s family during the prevalence of the “clerical impression” of Mr. Charles, whose natural waggery having, for the time being, retreated beneath the imaginary weight of the cassock, did not allow {26} him to indulge in the witticisms he would, most probably, under other circumstances, have favoured himself and others with, at the expense of poor Barney.
 All wonder and astonishment at the (to him) inconceivable splendour and magnificence of all he saw, Barney Mahoney was consigned to the care and hospitality of the servants, until the morrow should give Mr. Stapleton leisure to establish him in the warehouses belonging to the firm, and situated in the most intricate haunts of London’s intricate city.
 The powers of speech had quite departed from Barney. Respiration itself had nearly failed him; when, under the protection of James, the footman, he was ushered into the spacious, cheerful, and well furnished servants’ hall. A boarded floor was the first object that attracted his notice; and his awe increased as he perceived that, excepting at the sides of the apartment, it was covered by a handsome carpet. An ample grate, occupying a space equal to that of his father’s turf rick when made up for winter consumption, and filled with a blazing coal fire, next attracted his eye. From the numerous assemblage of ladies and gentlemen (as he could not but consider them) collected around the fire, some stitching, some {27} reading, others idly reposing, he modestly turned his observations towards the interminable shelves, upon which were ranged plates, dishes, and other implements, in such incredible profusion, that Barney rubbed his eyes to convince himself all was real. The first faulty restored to him was that of mastication; and without knowing exactly how, or by whose means his exertions had been developed, he found himself seated at a side table, discussing the merits of a huge plate of cold beef, which, ever and anon, he was urged to liquidate by “doing justice,” as it was expressed, to the porter. Whether there was a systematic intention of penetrating to his ideas by opening his mouth, and the farther, and somewhat sinister attack upon his head, in the application of Meux’s “heavy wet,” it is not for me to declare. I think it, however, quite possible, that in this age of refinement and mental march, “the native” was looked upon by the menials of Finsbury Square, as a fine study offered to their especial examination and amusement.
 In proportion as Barney’s jaws began to relax in their operations, he found his curiosity awaked respecting the finely dressed company in which he saw himself placed. Gold lace, and even epaulettes, he had seen in Cork; he there {28} fore was at no loss in assigning rank to James and the portly coachman. But who the fine ladies could be, who so condescendingly allowed the approaches and conversation of the men in livery, puzzled Barney completely. One of them, to be sure, “might” be a servant: she was large, coarse, and red-faced, and wore an apron. Our novice felt he could look upon her without awe. Not so boldly, however, did he venture to direct his eyes towards a younger and prettier damsel, who occupied a place at the table, on which was placed her work-basket, with some fashionable fallal or other she was preparing. On the head of this lady - no, I beg pardon, not on her head, but at some considerable distance above it, perched upon a large square comb, was a fly-away cap, of gossamer-like materials, decorated with a profusion of cherry-coloured gauze; beneath this, and falling on each side of the face, reaching nearly to the shoulders, were two immense bunches of ringlets, of Ross’s or Truefit’s most superb polish. The eyes were not so entirely concealed by these appendages, but that she stole from time to time a glance at Barney; who, at length, had the mortification of hearing her, in an audible whisper, address the redfaced female as follows: {29}
 “My stars, cook! where can master ’ave picked up such a hobject as that? - and what, in the name of all that’s savage, can ’e mean to do with him?”
 “Object! indeed,” thought Barney, and his admiration vanished at once. “Her masther, too! Oh, then, she’s nothin’ but a sarvint afther all. So who’s afraid, says Kelleher? whin he tuk de bull be de horns.”
 It must be confessed that Barney’s inherent pride of birth (for he boasted descent from a “rale Callaghan”) was not fully justified by his present grotesque appearance. Mr. Stapleton had requested he might be attired in his most respectable suit for the journey; and it was too late either to remonstrate, or remedy the oversight, when Barney, at the latest moment, attended to accompany him to the quay, equipped in a coat and trowsers, that had done duty as his best for three years and upwards, during which time their wearer had ceased not, weekly and monthly “to shoot,” as his mother expressed it; that is, to protrude farther, and still farther, his scantily covered limbs from beneath the garb, which had, even originally, no elasticity to boast, and now seemed actually to shrink from the task so unjustly assigned to it. The material {29} of this “ shell” (for dress it hardly could be called) was the thickest and most stubborn of thieit not “broad,” but thick and coarse cloth, commonly worn in the south of Ireland, - frize its name, pepper and salt its colour, - and so immoveable its texture, that, had its size been as much too bountiful as it was now the reverse, still no fold, no crease, could be expected on its unmoveable surface. A considerable interregnum between the conclusion of the said trowsers and the stout brogues, in which Barney literally was confined, was covered by a pair of strong blue stockings, of his sister Katy’s own knitting; and a hairy cap covered his head. The youth began to resume some degree of confidence in himself, as he reflected on the heroism of submitting to be clothed from head to foot, (inclusive,) and the claims it gave him on any society - the present not excepted.
 “Shoore, an’ ain’t I a Callaghan; an’ a born jintleman, if we had our rights; an’ I’ll remimber de counsil me modher give me, commin’ away, an’ put me best fut foremost, not forgettin’ to discoorse them neat and genteel, if they axes too many questions,” was Barney’s inward determination.
 Accordingly, with feelings one may imagine to be indulged by the hedgehog on an expected {31} attack, the youth prepared his wits to the encounter, for he saw the curiosity of the multitude was quite equal to his own.
 “Its iligant beef I will say!” exclaimed he, pushing the plate away from him, “I niver tasted betther in Cork itself, so I didn’t; an’ the porther, too, - faix, but I dunnow if it don’t bate Crawford an’ Beamish their selves.”
 “I’m glad you like your supper, my lad, returned James. You have had a long land journey, to say nothing of the passage over. How did the sea agree with you?”
 “Is it the say? Oh! mighty well intirely. It cleared me stummick, so it did, an’ guv’ me an appetite shoorely!”
 “The horrid wretch!” whispered the lady of the ringlets.
 “ Had you many fellow-sufferers; that is, many passengers on board?”
 “Aych, we had, ma’am, pigs, poor mortials. I niver seen a pig sick afore; an’ be de powers bud they rache all one jist like a christian, so dey do, the dumb cratures! An’ we’d ladies an’ jintlemen too a-board; an’ behaved mighty gintale one on um did to me, in regard of givin’ me a sup o’ something an’ that. An’ Misthress O’Connor, a dhress-maker be thrade, that {32} was commin over to see de fashions, all de way, an’ bein’ a friend o’ me modher’s, was to take care o’ me trou the sickness, if I’d get it; an’ wud, no doubt, oney she was tuk first, an tumbled head undher into de berth as they call it, an’ niver was righted all the passage; an’ its smodthered she mayd a’ bin, so she med, for de no part of her at all at all was left out (that’s o’ de berth) but her sittin’ quarthers, an’ bein’ large made - Oh murder! if ’twas n’t Misthress O ’Connor was to be pitied, shoorely no mortial ever was.”
 “Are you come to reside in England, young man?” asked the cook.
 “Yeh! is it live you mane, ma’am? I am that same then, barrin’ it ud disagree wid me healt’. I’m cum on a visit to Mr. Stapleton; ’twas a likin’ he tuk to me, an’ axed as a fever o’ my friends to spare me away. So I left me prospects in Cork just to obleedge him, an’ come on likin’ to see ud it shuit me.”
 “Has master a place in view for you, or does he intend you to be his own valet? ” inquired James, in a rather sarcastic tone.
 “Nat at prisint, I b’lieve; its about himself I’m to be, an’ take letthers an’ parcils an’ them things he udn’t thrust to anyone, or any little thing to obleedge him.” {33}
 “Ah! I see - a kind of friendly companion; but I do not perceive that you brought any luggage. Does Mr. Stapleton mean to introduce you to his friends in that suit you have on? it seems a little the worse for wear.”
 “ Is it this? Oh! this is just an ould cast off shute, I tougt ud do me to travel in, an’ save a betther; an’ packed up all me best clothes, an’ me shirts, an’ me neck hankechers, an’ me track-stockin’s an’ dem things, in a grate big chest, an’ hired a man to bring ’em down to de quay, while I’d go round be de back streets, cause I udn’t be seen in me ould does; an’ be de blissed white-toothed Bridget, whin I cum’d to the quay an’ was busy wid one thing or oder, de big koulaune, if he didn’t slip de box off his shoulthers, purtendin’ ’twas overweighted he was wid it, and let all me bewtiful cloes down to de bottom of de salt say ocean, all among de fishes, that niver’ll be able to open de chest, so they won’t; an’ no sarvice to them if they cud, seein’ fishes doant wear breeches an’ that.”
 “I really must retire,” observed the lady. in the fly cap, who, being Mrs. Stapleton’s own maid, considered the tone of conversation not sufficiently refined for her double-refined ears.
 “Really,” interrupted a more homely attired {34} damsel occupying the office of kitchen-maid, “I think the young man is very amusing; and only tb think of the pigs, poor things!”
 “He appears to me perfectly uncultivated and gross in his manners,” retorted her more delicate fellow-servant ” I am sure I shall consider myself under the distressing necessity of representing to Mrs. Stapleton the impropriety of my associating with such an ignorant unpolished savage as this, if, indeed, Mr. Stapleton can contemplate the possibility of domesticating him amongst people of respectability.”
 Having delivered herself of as many long words as she could cleverly summon to her aid on this occasion, she gathered up her work, and, with an offended air, took her departure.
 “Come, my lad,” said James, “I dare say you will have no objection to the comforts of an English bed, after all your fatigues: so I’ll shew you the way to one as soon as you like.”
 Young Mahoney accompanied the friendly footman, under the pleasing consciousness of having tolerably well parried the attacks of the Englishers; and attained sufficient command of himself to conceal whatever degree of astonishment he might in reality feel at the accommodations of his sleeping chamber. {35}
 “This room is small,” observed James, willing to probe his “subject” still farther, “but I do not like to trouble master to-night for orders about you; to-morrow he will, most likely, give his own directions respecting your establishment in his household. Tou will find your bed soft and warm, I believe, and if anything should be deficient we will endeavour to rectify it in future.”
 Many of these words were totally out of the comprehension of Barney. He, however, had tact enough to discover an attempted or pretended apology where none he saw could be due; and as he enscreened himself within the luxurious bedding, he said to himself, “Now was this b’y puttin’ his comehether upon me, I wondther! I was a match for him anyway, in regard o’ me chist o’ cloes. Faix! bud I wish de mother o’ me had heard me lay it into him that time.”


Chapter III - The Ball Dress

 “Mr. Stapleton, what boy was that you brought home with you last night?” said his lady at breakfast the following morning.
 “Ah! by the way, poor Barney! I had almost forgetten him,” was the reply. “James, send the youth up to me, I must see what can be done in the way of fitting him out I took him from the large family of a very poor labourer I met with in my travels,” he continued, after the man had left the room, “intending to employ him as an errand-boy in the warehouses; and really the lad shews a degree of shrewdness and quickness that inclines me to think he may be made a valuable house servant of in course of time.” Here the door opened, and the raw material, from whence the benevolent merchant had these expectations, appeared at its opening.
 “Come in, Barney; come in, my lad; shut the door and come hither, I want to speak to you.” {37}
 The door was closed upon the disappointed James, who, in hopes of being present at the conference, had translated into “bring up” the “send up” expressed by his master.
 “In the first place, Barney, we must have you equipped in a little better trim. The tailor shall come and measure you, and Mrs. Stapleton will give him directions for supplying you with such articles of dress as will be proper for you.”
 “I’m no ways pittickler meesel, yer honor; whatever de lady an’ yer honor plases, I shall make no difficulty in life; oney, if I might make so bould, yer honor,” - here the boy paused,
 “What is it, Barney, you wish to say? speak out.”
 “Its about de box o’ cloes, yer honor. May be yer honor meddent seen it an’ de man, - that’s me father I mane, carrin’ it down to de quay.”
 “Not I, indeed, Barney. Moreover I understood that the whole, or at any rate the best part, of your wardrobe was that at present on your back.”
 “Plase yer honor’s worship, its just to disrimimber yer mind o’ that same I was beein’ so bould as to ask yer honor. Its in regard of de gentlefolks below undther ground that may be {38} ud be takin’ me for a poor b’y, an’ me havin’ only de won shute to me back.”
 “I should not wonder but they might,” half ejaculated Charles, whose natural disposition to mirth waged terrible war with his imaginary holiness during a scene, he would three months sooner or later, have pronounced “famous.”
 “I hope you experienced no rudeness from any of the servants, last evening, in consequence of your appearance, Barney! I should be seriously displeased with anyone in my house who could insult their less fortimate fellow-creature.”
 “ Oh! thin dey meant no harum, so dey didn’t; an’ twas oney judgin’ I was -”
 “Come, tell me now. I insist upon knowing if any of the upstarts attempted to cut their jokes (as they think them) upon you.”
 “Ah, thin, yer honor, dear! don’t be unasy for Barney. Barney’s no gommul: tis he’s de b’y that’ll dale wid ’em, oney let him alone. ’Tis their rigs they was runnin’ upon him, jest be way of a spree; an’ why wouldn’t they: may be they’d be sarved de same in ould Ireland, wonst they sot fut in her; an’ de niver a worse friends they may be to Barney for that same. An’ its in regard of a small bit of invention that riz up in {39} me trote, an I out wid it somehow, manin’ no harum, yer honor, so I didn’t.”
 “So you invented a box of clothes, eh! and how did your imagination dispose of them, pray?”
 “In the say it was he dhropped ’em; why ’twas de clanest way all out, yer honor.”
 “Barney, Barney! I fear this betokens something very like deceitfulness in you. Take notice, boy, this method of misleading others is not the road to my favor; and be careful that I see no signs of deceit or lying about you, if you value my protection and your own character.”
 A great deal of very good advice was here showered upon young Mahoney by his excellent and well-meaning master; the result of which, truth obliges us to confess, proved a secret determination on the part of the former to pursue so circumspect a line of conduct, as should screen his errors and sins, of whatever nature he might be prompted to mdulge in, from the severe and virtuous eye of Mr. Stapleton.  “Shoore its hard one meddent rap out a bit of a lie now an’ thin, in case o’ need, an’ can get absolution for it too wonst a week, or more, if needs be,” reflected Barney. And thus reflect but too many of his misled compatriots. They will rigidly fast at the {40} will and pleasure of their priests, or to release them from the penalty of some committed sin. On especial days, and at stated seasons, no temptation would induce them to admit food, for a certain period, (and one frequently of painful duration,) within their lips. Yet will they again and again, and without hesitation, or any attempt at concealment, commit offences to be obviated in. The same manner, consoling themselves with the observation, “Shoore, its Sunday I’ll go up, or Monday, may be; some day next week, anyway, to the priest, an’ make a clear and clane breast of it.”
 The mental reservations of Barney were completely in this tone. He perceived his master would be strictly observant of his conduct; he believed him sincere in all he had said to him respecting his opinion of truth, honesty, sobriety, and so forth; “As why shouldn’t he, seein’ he was a protestant, an’ deprived o’ the blessin’ an’ comfort of absolution. If its the care o’ me own sowl I had,” thought he, “’twould be the nat’ralest thing in life to keep meself out o’ jeopardy an’ all manner of harum, an’ devils doin’s; bud hav’nt I de priest to de fore, which is a blessin’ not allowed to heretics.” {41}
 The conscience of our young Irishman was of a most conveniently elastic nature. He had a superabundant share of that low cunning so frequently found in his rank of life, with a remarkably open countenance, and a simplicity of manner quite beyond the conception of a man so unsuspicious as was Mr’ Stapleton. He had emigrated under the firm intention of “making his way,” - honestly if he could, but at all events ” of making it. “Projects floated through his brain, little thought of by those who dived not below the surface of his thoughts, tending to some wonderful fortune, or luck, as he would have called it, which transplantation from his native soil was to effect.
 In the very humble situation first assigned him, he set forth with diligence, steadiness, and a determination to oblige, quite sufficient to win the favor of the firm. Although his literary acquirements were slight, not indeed to the extent of enablmg him to read the names of the streets, yet, by dint of extreme attention and his innate spirit of inquiry, he soon became acquainted with, and could find his way through, every labyrinth of the city. This natural inquisitiveness was so intense, that he never performed any commission or message without, by some {43} means or other penetrating the inmost depths of it; not by direct inquiry, but by a peculiarly round-about and apparently vacant manner, completely imposing on, and generally successful with, strangers. Although this same inquisitiveness is a quality not often approved of in servants, yet I would venture to hint it has its merits; for instance, wherever Barney had once been, the circumstance, with all its contingencies, never escaped his recollection. None of that provoking forgetfulness of deeds done three months before, and to be repeated, was to be feared from Barney. Besides, as he generally fathomed the matter on which his first errand had led him, it induced an address and intelligence in the execution of consequent ones, frequently astonishing to his employers.
 Far be it from me to assert, that a prying servant is an agreeable appendage: neither have I great toleration for the provoking and opposite sin of stupidity. A long course of observation has, however, brought me to the conviction, that they are invariably either too sharp, or too blunt. Now one may baffle over acuteness -,it is often vexatious; but stupidity is perpetually so, and affords no hope of cure.
 As it was intended Miss Stapleton’s introduction {43} to the world should be followed by a series of visiting and company, Mrs. Stapleton suggested that James ought, on that consideration, to have some underling to assist in the drudgery of his work; and, as Mr. Stapleton was decidedly of opinion that his protogée had the germs of good service within him, he proposed to supply his place in the counting-house; and Barney was accordingly installed into the honourable office of cleaning nearly all the shoes of the family, the worst of the knives, the muddiest of the clothes, besides the important avocation of turning his eyes upwards from the area, some twenty times a day, to inform divers applicants that matches, &c. were not wanted. Then he went all the errands of all the servants, and with such unexampled skill, that it mattered not whether some forgotten order to the grocer or poulterer, or some end of ribbon to be “exactly” matched in colour, not “quite” so stiff, and the “least in the world” broader, for Mrs. Ruffle, the lady’s maid; all were executed in equal perfection. In course of time, the morning fustian suit was relieved by a drab jacket and trowsers, to be assumed at two o’clock, in which he had the honour of opening the door to all comers, when James was out with the carriage. {44}
 His first essay in the “valeting line,” to use James’s own expression, was not particularly successful, to be sure. He had been deputed over-night by this “upper man,” to take Mr. Charles’s clothes up at nine o’clock, and to call him.
 Barney entered the room at the time specified; and, whilst his young master was enjoying a profound morning slumber, (never having been witness of the insinuating method in which his predecessor performed the operation,) he plunged his head between the bed-curtains, seized the sleeper by the shoulder, and roared in his ear, “Get up, Sir!”
 “What in the world can be the matter!” cried Charles, starting up in bed. “What brings you here, Barney? What can have happened?”
 “Nine o’clock. Sir, it is.”
 “Why, you dirty Irish vagabond! is that all? send James to me instantly. What can he mean by sending such a Goth to terrify one in this manner?”
 “You’re to go up stairs to Misther Charles, if you plase, James. Faix, I dunnow what I dun, but its de devil’s own passion he’s in wi’ me intirely. Oh, murther! ullagone! what’ll I do at all to pacify him? Go up at wonst, Misther {45} James, dear ah, an’ do. Och hone! och hone!” repeated Barney, as he rocked backward and forward on a little stool, overpowered with grief and terror.
 “I suppose you will send a terrier dog to rouse me some morning, James!” cried the angry youth, on the culprit’s entrance. “But listen to me. If ever you let the shock head of that Irish scarecrow pierce my bed curtains again, I shall complain to my father of your idleness. You impose on his good nature; and because he allows you help in the pantry, you think proper to turn over all your business on Barney’s shoulders. Have a care, Sir! it will not do with me.”
 The next advances of our hero were made with more circumspection, and with fuller instructions; and it soon came to pass that Barney could dress hair, clean plate, and wait at table, as well as (Mrs. Stapleton said better than) James.
 The Easter ball, the intended scene of Miss Stapleton’s debfit, was expected to be an unusually splendid one. For this reason, and on such an occasion it was, after profound deliberation, decided that, although Mrs. Thompson, of Aldersgate Street, was an excellent dress-maker, {46} had worked for the family many years, and, moreover, fitted Fanny to admiration, still that it would be expedient to apply to the “west end ” for the finery at present in request Nothing short of Jermyn Street is, by city belles, considered fashionable. Fanny, of course, would be admired; inquiries would undoubtedly be made on the subject; and madame “anything,” of Jermyn Street, would sound far better than “plain Mrs. Thompson, of the city.”
 An expedition to the “west end” followed this determination; and the necessary orders were given on the important subject in question, accompanied by express directions from Mrs. Stapleton, that the dress should be sent home the day previous to that of the ball, “In case,” as the prudent matron observed, “it might require any alteration.”
 So impertinent a suggestion, and from “city people, too!” was not to be brooked by the impudent French modiste. With many bows, and the most servile smiles, she assured her new customer, that the orders of Mesdames should be punctually obeyed, although it would necessarily involve the disappointment of the Duchess of Longbill, and the Ladies Lackpenny, whose dresses must be laid aside to oblige Mrs. Sta pleton. {47} The straight forward and fair dealing merchant’s lady was startled, and somewhat shocked at this assertion; which, devoutly believing, she even went so far as to offer to employ some other person, rather than reduce Madame to so painful, and even improper an alternative. The milliner, upon this, declared she would “accommodate the matter.” ”Yes! yes! she could arrange. It was only to sit up a night, or two nights! a mere trifle! nothing in consideration of obliging so good a lady, and her so amiable daughter.”
 They therefore departed, quite satisfied and confident, since they were excluded from the benefit of Madame’s exclamation to her women, as she entered her work-room. “Eh, men dieu! quelles bêtes, ces autres Anglaises; tell me de time, indeed, I shall send dress home! ma foi, dem shall send for it; I not send de oder side Bedfore Square for ni bal, ni noting.”
 Accordingly, the day on which it was to arrive, passed over in vain expectation, and annoyance to both mother and daughter. It then occurred to Mrs. Stapleton, that the dress must have been left at some wrong house, “for Madame had promised so faithfully. “(An expression, by the {48} bye, often employed in the service of its very reverse.) And it was resolved to send Barney to Jermyn Street, to learn the fate of, or carry off the prize in question. Barney “would” be sure to find the place, although (as bis mistress informed him) it was four or five miles distant; and moreover, he assured her, “he’d be there an’ back in less than no time.“ - That being the usual period assigned in his country to the gossoon, when sent on an expedition where extraordinary speed is required. Furnished with a huge wicker basket, lined with oil skin, which had, not many years before, held in safe custody the three best bonnets of Mrs. Stapleton, and was subsequently appropriated to the reception of one turban of immense expanse, Barney sallied forth; and, as nearly as may be calculated, an hour after that time. Miss Stapleton seated herself at one of the drawing room windows overlooking the square, and the street whence she knew her Mercury would emerge. During her sojourn there, she had leisure to translate into plain English, the real meaning of “less than no time.” She decided it to be an extremely “long time;” and at last came to the conclusion, that it could mean nothing less than “for ever.”It was, perhaps, a little unreasonable to think {49} Barney could navigate his basket through five miles of crowded streets with the speed of light. The fact was, he was performing his journey by short and easy stages. The wind was high and gusty; and the load, when elevated on his shoulders, was so wide, and so light, as to catch the full benefit of the gale at every comer, wheeling poor Barney about to right or left, as the case might be, greatly to his own discomfort, and the no less impatience of pedestrians, who bufietted him, without mercy, from side to side, angrily demanding, if he meant to occupy the whole street? Why he did not travel by waggon? with such like witticisms.
 The basket bearer struggled and plodded on; but ever and anon, as he found it expedient for a few moments’ rest, to put up, or rather, “put down,” at the ancient village of St. Giles, - the well known Bars of Holborn, - on ascending the eminence of Snow Hill, - and again in traversing Cornhill, &c. &c., he could not resist the impulse which caused him to open and peep into his basket. “To see was all right,” as he would have said, had he been detected in the act. He had safely reached the corner of Fore Street; but, before he turned into Finsbury Square, he resolved to indulge his eyes with one more {50} glimpse at its contents. A more imprudent position he could not have fixed on for his purpose. The wind eddying round the comer of the immense square, seemed to rush, as if for shelter, into Barney’s basket; but, alas! the intentions of Boreas were proved to be even more culpable, for no sooner was the lid raised, than diving beneath the gauzy, balloon-like petticoat, and assisted in his progress by sundry ropes, or rouleaus of satin terminating the same, he inflated, and, the next instant, on his airy pinions, carried off, the important object of Barney’s mission.
 Away it sailed, far above the heads of the wondering crowd; and having fairly entered the square, seemed to enjoy the increased latitude thereby allowed to various capricious curvets and capers, which, on the opera stage, would have elicited thunders of applause. Now it would pirouette before an attic window; and again descending, dip its flounces for refreshment into the mud that deeply covered the pavement; and, eluding the grasp of some dozens of pursuers, would rise again into mid-air, and resume the twirlings, bobbings, and plungings, so highly amusing to an uncultivated and delighted audience, whose interest and attention were so completely {51} in the “performance,” as to have neither sympathy for the piteous ubbabboo sent forth by Barney, or the dismayed aspect of poor Fanny, whose long watching was at length rewarded by witnessing this heart-breaking sight.
 Let those who have trembled with mixed sensations of joy, fear, and timidity, at their approaching entrance into the world of gaiety, - whose every thought for many weeks has regarded, not only the general appearance to be made, but every minutiae relating to the grand event, - whose dread of not being equipped in time, or of a fit of gout visiting mamma, - let those, for those only truly can, commiserate Fanny Stapleton.
 In mute despair, - for her rapid eye took in, not only Barney, but the precise colour (that is, the original colour) of her dress, together with certain bunches of jonquils, chosen by herself, and tastefully sprinkled here and there at the will of the tasteful Madame Lamode, - she approached the table at which her mother was seated; and, the powers of speech failing, dragged her to the window, and pointed to the horrid vision.
 A scream, loud and long, from the doting parent, was chimed in with by a tremendous wailing, proceeding from the lips of Barney, {52} who had now entered the hall. From his discordant tones, and violent gestures, it would, by any spectator, have been imagined, that in Master Mahoney’s person misfortune had taken up her residence. In proportion as his own imprudence, and consequent danger, flashed upon him, so, increased his efforts to express his grief, and, at the same time, to establish his innocence.
 “Let the boy come up immediately,” said his mistress. “Let us hear what he possibly ‘can’ say, in justification of his abominable carelessness.”
 Within the room, however, the culprit dared not advance; but dropping down on both knees at the entrance, he lifted up his hands, and with every mark of truth and sincerity, began to exculpate himself to the best of his ability.
 It never required more than three quarters of a minute to enable Barney to summon up as ingenious a lie as ever was coined in or out of Munster. While, therefore, apparently occupied in the reiterations of his ullagones, and ubbaboos, he was, in reality, waiting for the opening charge, preparing his defence, and gaining the Vantage ground by learning what portion of his delinquency had positively come to light. {53}
 “Get up off your knees, Sirrah! and instead of blubbering there, tell me the reason of this accident How came you to ‘think’ of opening the basket, when I so particularly ordered you not to do so?” cried the angry Mrs. Stapleton. “You saw him open, it, did you not, my dear?” she continued, turning to her daughter.
 “I saw nothing,” returned Fanny, “but my dress flying through the air; and the lad standing under it, with his mouth as wide open as if he expected, in one of its descents, it would take refuge there.”
 “There’s hopes o’ life yet,” reflected Barney, on hearing the extent of the exposure. “Ah! thin, misthress dear, ma’am,” he exclaimed, “an’ doant be afther layin’ de blame on a poor b’y that’s as innicent as de child unborn, so he is; an’ had nayther hand, act, nor part in this misfortin; so he had’n’t!” Observing an incredulous reception of so bold an assurance, he continued -
 “Iss indeed, ma’am, its God’s thruth I’m tillin’ yees on me two bended knees, an’ may I niver peel another praty but its I’m de b’y to be pitied, so I am; an’ thumped, an’ whacked, I’ been in de streets, so I have. Och hone! Och! milliah murthers,” cried he, placing his {54} hand across his back, and writhing, as if still suffering from the effects of direful ill usage.
 “Poor fellow!” interposed Fanny. “Do not be angry with him, mamma: perhaps he could not help what has happened, after all!”
 “Ah! the blessin’ o’ St. Pathrick, an’ all his saints, on you. Miss Fanny, for that same, anyway. Shoore, its you that has de sweet, asy, forgivin’ temper, an’ de heart of an angel, anyway; an’ its trou’ fire an’ water I’d go, so it is, be day an’ be night, on me bended knees, to sarve yees; an’ now to think how I was takin’ de gratest care in life, so I was, of the bewtiful gownd, an’, afther all, this misfortin to happen it an’ me! bud ’tis de cunstable, an’ not poor Barney, shoore, desarves de blame, de big, blustherin’, spalpeen as he is! wid his umbrelli cloak, an’ his white gloves upon him, an’ meets me in Fore Street over, (for I’d cum as far as that same, all safe an’ stiddy,) an’ me cummin’ along, thinkin’ o’ nothin’ at all at all, barrin’ oney how glad I was to git home an’ all right, an’ how iligint Miss Fanny ’ud look in her fine new gownd; an’ its up to me he comes, an’ pulls me be de basket, an’ ses he, ‘Hollow me lad,’ he ses, ‘where do you cum from? an’ what’s this yees ha’ got in yer big bird cage,’ he ses. ‘I cum {55} from forrin parts,’ ses I, thinkin’ to settle him; ‘an’ its what I got in me basket’, I ses, ‘is what I brote wid me,’ ses I, ‘becase its de thing I was sent for; ’ just so ‘to him’.”
 “‘Cum! cum!’ ses he, ‘sharp answers don’t pass in de city. Is it long since you left de Compter?’ ses he, ‘mebbe I may show you de way back there, if yees doant let me see what’s in that basket’
 “‘Counter yerself!’ ses I, ‘I niver sarved in a shop yet, ain’ its what I hope I niver wud be brote to it, anyway.’ So wi’ that he calls up two more o’ de same ill-looking faction; an’ what cud Barney do among so many, miss? an’ they pulls up de lid o’ de basket wid a jerk like, an’ me sthrivin’ to keep it down, an de wind cum an’ tuk de bewtiful gownd, shoore, quite an’ clane out o’ de basket, an’ de niver a know more does Barney know about it, oney seein’ it flyin’ away up trow de air, like Paddy Mooney’s goose it was, or Daniel O’Rourke. An’ its eviry colour I am, I’ll ingage, savin’ yer presence, undther me cloes, in regard o’ de batin’ I got from de three o’ them, de thieves o’ de world!”
 Here ended Barney’s defence: it imposed on his good-natured hearers; and the chief consequence {56} arising from the affair was, that Miss Stapleton’s debût was postponed, and eventually took place in a more select assemblage than that usually to be found at a Mansion-house ball, in our good city of London.

[End chap.; cont.]

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