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How Kyrle Daly Was More Puzzled by a Piece of Paper, Than the Abolishers of the Small-Note Currency Themselves
In taking out of his pocket the piece of silver which he wanted to bestow on the cottage Omphale, he drew forth with it a little paper containing a copy of verses which he had taken from one of Anne Chutes music books. They were written in a boyish hand, and signed with the letters H. C.; and Kyrle was taxing his memory to recapitulate all the bachelors in the county who bore those initials. There was in the first place Hyland Creagh, commonly called Fireball Creagh, a great sweater and pinker - a notorious duellist, who had been concerned either on behalf of himself or his friends, in more than one hundred affairs of honour - a member of the Hell-fire Club, a society constituted on principles similar to that of the Mohocks which flourished in London about half a century before Kyrles time, and whose rules and orders the reader may peruse at full length in the manifesto of their Emperor Taw Waw Eben Zan Kaladar, as set forth in Mr. Addisons amusing journal. Of the provincial branch of this society abovementioned (it is a name that we are loth to repeat oftener than is necessary) Mr. Hyland Fireball Creagh had been a member in his early days, and was still fond of recounting their customs and adventures with greater minuteness than always accorded with the inclinations of his hearers. There were some qualities in the composition of this gentleman, which made it probable enough that he might write verses in a ladys music-book. He was as gallant as any unmarried Irishman of his day, and he had a fighting name, a reputation which was at that time in much higher request than it is in our own. He had conversation - (an essential talent in a man of gallantry,) he dressed well, though with a certain antiquated air - and he had a little poodle dog, which shut the door when you said Baithershin, and chucked a crust of bread from his nose into his mouth, at the word Fire! And Mr. Creagh, whenever his canine follower was called on to perform those feats, was careful to make the ladies observe, that Pincher never ventured to snap, at the word Make ready! or Present! while if you whispered Fire! in never so gentle a tone - pop! the bread vanished in an instant. But then there were some objections which were likely to neutralize these accomplishments of Fireball and his dog; and to render it unlikely after all, that he (that is, the former) had been the perpetrator of the verses. He had run through his property and reduced himself to the mean estate of a needy guest at other mens tables, and a drinker of other mens wine - or rather whiskey, for that was the fundamental ingredient of his customary beverage. This circumstance laid him under the necessity of overlooking a greater number of unhandsome speeches than was consistent with his early fame. And there was one other objection which rendered it still more improbable that Anne Chute would think any of his effusions worth preserving. He was just turned of sixty-five.
It could not, therefore, be Mr. Hyland Fireball Creagh. H.C.? Who was it? - Hepton Connolly?
Now, reader, judge for yourself what a wise conjecture was this of Mr. Kyrle Dalys. Mr. Hepton Connolly was a still more objectionable swain that the Irish diner-out above described; indeed he had no single qualification to recommend him as a social companion, except that of being able to contain a prodigious quantity of whiskey punch at a sitting, a virtue in which a six-gallon jar might have excelled him. Nor do I find that there was any part of Anne Chutes demeanour which could lead Kyrle Daly to suppose that this circumstance would take a powerful hold of her affections; although it secured him an envied place in those of her uncle, Mr. Barnaby Cregan of Roaring-Hall. - For the rest, Mr. Hepton Connolly was one individual of a species which is now happily extinct among Irish gentlemen. He just retained enough of a once flourishing patrimony to enable him to keep a hunter, a racer, and an insolent groom. He was the terror of all the petty- fogging lawyers, the three-and-nine-penny attorneys, bailiffs, and process-servers in the county. Against these last in particular, he had carried his indignation to such a length, as to maim one of them for life by a shot from his hall window. And he told fifty anecdotes which made it appear astonishing that he had escaped the gallows so long. But he relied strongly (and in those days not without reason) on the fact, that there could not be a Jury empannelled against him on which he might not number a majority of his own relations. It was not indeed that he calculated much on their personal regard or affection for himself, but the stain upon their own name was such, he knew, as they would not willingly incur. His reliance upon this nicety of honour in his friends was so complete, that he never suffered any uneasiness upon those occasions when it became necessary for him to plead to an indictment, however irresistible the evidence by which it was supported; and the only symptoms of anxiety which he ever manifested consisted in a frequent reference to his watch and a whisper to the under-turnkey, to know whether he had left directions at the gaol to keep his dinner hot. One amusing effect produced by Mr. Connollys repeated collision with judicial authorities was, that he acquired a gradual fondness for the law itself, and became knowing upon the rights of persons and the rights of things, in proportion to the practical liberties which he was in the habit of taking with the one and the other. While he made little account of breaking a mans head at a second word, he would prosecute to the rigour of the law a poor half naked mountaineer for stealing a basket of turf from his ricks, or cutting a fagot in one of his hedges. To do him justice, however, it should be mentioned that he never was known to pursue matters to extremity in the instance of punishment, and was always satisfied with displaying his own legal skill before the petty sessions. Nay, he had even been frequently known to add considerably to his own loss in those cases by making a gift to the culprit of many times the amount of the pilfered property. If Anne Chute could receive this single trait of good feeling as a counterpoise for much bad principle; if she could love to see her house filled with jockies, horse-riders, grooms, and drunken gentlemen; if she could cherish a fondness for dogs and unlicensed whiskey; if, in a word, she could be the happy wife of a mere sportsman, then it was possible that Mr. Hepton Conoolly might be the transcriber (author was out of the question) of the little effusion that had excited Kyrle Dalys curiosity.
Who was it? The question still remained without a solution. Ha! - Her cousin and his college friend, Mr. Hardress Cregan? The conjecture at first made the blood fly into his face, while his nerves were thrilled by a horrid sensation of mingled fear; grief, and anger. But a moments reflection was sufficient to restore quiet to his mind, and to smite down the spirit of jealousy at its first motion within his breast. Hardress Cregan was perfectly indifferent to the lady, he seldom spoke of her; and scarcely ever visited at Castle Chute. It could not be Hardress. He was a great deal too shy and timid to carry on a lengthened interchange of raillery with any young lady, and if it were more than raillery he knew the intensity of his friends character too well, to suppose that he would refrain from pursuing his fortunes. It could not be Hardress. He was perfectly aware of Kyrle Dalys secret; he had repeatedly expressed the warmest wishes for his success, and Hardress Cregan was no hypocrite. They had been friends, attached friends at College, and although their intercourse had been much interrupted since their return home, by difference of pursuits and of tastes or habits, still their early friendship remained unchanged, and they never met but with the warmth and the affection of brothers. It was true he had heard Hardress speak of her with much esteem, on his first introduction to College, and when he was yet a very young lad; but a little raillery was abundantly sufficient to strike him dumb for ever on the subject, and he had not taken many lounges among the beauties of Capel-street, and the Phoenix-park, when he appeared to have lost all recollection of his boyish attachment. Kyrle Daly had penetration enough to be aware that he could not with certainty calculate on a character at once so profound and so unsettled as that of his young friend, who had always, even in his mere boyhood, been unapproachable by his most intimate acquaintances; and whom he suspected to be capable of one day wielding a mightier influence in society than he seemed himself to hope or ambition. But Hardress was no hypocrite. That was a sufficient security, that if there were a rival in the case, he was not the man, and if Kyrle needed a more positive argument, it might be found in the fact of a new attachment, which had of late been intimated to him by his young friend himself.
The love which Kyrle entertained for this lady was so sincere, so rational, and regulated by so fine a principle of judgment, that the warmest, the wisest, and the best of men might condescend to take an interest in its success. Naturally gifted with the gentlest qualities of heart, and educated by a mother, who taught him the use of that mind by which they were to be directed, it would not be easy to discover a more estimable character among the circles in which he moved. He was the more fortunate, too, that his goodness was the result of natural feeling rather than of principle alone; for it is a strange and a pitiable peculiarity in our nature that if a man by mere strength of reason and perseverance have made himself master of all the social virtues, he shall not be as much loved in the world as another who has inherited them from nature; although in the latter instance they may be obscured by many hideous vices. It may appear presumptuous to hazard an opinion upon a subject of so much gravity, but perhaps the reader will not charge us with having caught the paradoxical air of the day, if we venture to intimate, that the true source of the preference may be referred to the common principle of self-preservation. A character that is naturally, and by necessity, generous, may be calculated upon with more certainty, than that which is formed by education only, as long as mens opinion shall be found more variable than their feelings. Otherwise why should we bestow more affection on that character which is really the less admirable of the two? But the reader may receive or reject this conjecture as he pleases; we proceed with our history.
For this, or for some better reason, it was, that Kyrle Daly, though highly popular among his inferiors and dependants, had only a second place in their affection, compared with his friend Hardress. A generosity utterly reckless and unreasoning is a quality that in all seasons has wrought most powerfully upon the inclinations of the Irish peasantry, who are, themselves, more distinguished for quick and kindly feeling than for a just perception of moral excellence. Because, therefore, the flow of generosity in Hardress Cregan was never checked or governed by motives of prudence or of justice, while good sense and reason regulated that of Kyrle Daly, the estimation in which they were held was proportionably unequal. The latter was spoken of amongst the people as a good master; but Hardress was their darling. His unbounded profusion made them entertain for him that natural tenderness which we are apt to feel towards any object that seems to require protection. His heart they observed, was in the right place. It would be well for him if he had some of Master Kyrles sense, poor fellow. Master Kyrle would buy and sell him at any fair in Munster.
It was only therefore amongst those who were thoroughly intimate with his character, that Kyrle Daly was fully understood and appreciated; and it is not saying a little in his praise, to remark that his warmest admirers, as well as his best lovers, were to be found within the circle of his own family.
It is impossible that such a mind as we have described, could give a tranquil entertainment to any serious passion. Few could suppose, from the general gaiety and cheerfulness of his demeanour, and the governed and rational turn of his discourse, that he held a heart so acutely susceptible of passion, and so obnoxious to disappointment. It is true that in the present instance he was in some degree guarded by his own doubts and fears against the latter contingency, but he had also cherished hope sufficient to insure him, in case of rejection, a grievous load of misery. He had weighed well the ladys worth before he fixed his affections upon her, and when he did so, every faculty of his mind, and feeling of his heart, subscribed to the conviction, that with her, and her alone, he could be earthly happy.
The sun had past the meridian before Kyrle Daly again beheld the small and wooded peninsula, which formed the site of Castle Chute. The languor of heart that always accompanies the passion in its hours of comparative inaction, that luxurious feeling of mingled pensiveness and joy, which fills up the breast, and constitutes in itself an elysium even to the doubting lover, were aided in their influence by the sunny calmness of the day, and the beauty of the landscape which every step unfolded to his view. The fever of suspense became more tormenting in proportion as he drew nearer to the solution of his doubts, and the last few miles of his journey seemed incomparably the most tedious. His horse, however, who was not in love, and had not broken fast since morning, began, at sight of a familiar baiting place, to show symptoms of inanition, to remedy which, his considerate master drew up, and alighted at the inn-door.
How Kyrle Daly Discovers That All the Sorrow Under the Sun Does not Rest Upon His Shoulders Alone
He left Lowry Looby standing by the trough to see justice done to the dumb creature, while he strolled onwards in the sunshine, unwilling to disturb the current of his own thoughts by any conversation with the people of the Inn.
The owner of this place of Entertainment, also filled the dignified post of pound keeper to the neighbouring village, and his roofless Bastile was situated at no great distance farther on the road side. As Kyrle walked by the iron gate he was surprised to see it crowded by a number of Kerry ponies, such as may be discerned along the mountain sides from the Upper lake of Killarney. They were of various colours - bright bay, dun, and cream; but the shagginess of their coats, and the diminutiveness of their size, rendered them but a little more respectable in appearance than the same number of donkeys. Several of these half-starved creatures had their heads thrust out over the low pound wall, as if to solicit the interference of passengers, while others, resigned to their fate, stood in drooping postures in the centre of the enclosure, quite chop-fallen. Kyrle Dalys curiosity was sufficiently excited to induce him to turn once more upon his path, and make some enquiry at the Inn concerning the owner of the herd.
He found the landlord at the door, a small withered old man, with an air of mingled moroseness and good nature in his countenance; the former the effect of his office - the latter of his natural disposition. He was standing on a three foot stool, and occupied in taking down a sign-board, for the purpose of transmitting it to a scene of rural festivity which was going forward in the neighbourhood.
He suspended his labours, and was about to enter into an ample exposition of the history of the ponies, when his wife, a blooming middle-aged woman, in a tête and glossy green petticoat, came to the door, and looked out to know what made the hammering cease. The glance of her eye was enough for the innkeeper, who re-commenced his work with fresh diligence, while his watchful helpmate undertook to satisfy the curiosity of our traveller.
The ponies, she told him, were the property of a mountaineer, from Killarney, who was making a tower of the country, to try and sell them at the fairs and patterns. He had come to their neighbourhood last night, and turned his ponies out on the commons; but finding that it furnished only short commons for them, the poor things had made their way into the improvements of Castle Chute, and were apprehended by Mr. Dan Dawley in the act of trespass. That inexorable functionary had issued an order for their immediate committal to pound; and Myles Murphy, the owner, was now gone off to make interest with Miss Anne, the young mistress, for their release.
Hell be a lucky boy, she continued, if he overtakes her at home this way - for herself an a deal o quality are to be at the sands below, to see the races and doings there.
Races? repeated Kyrle. I never heard of races in this quarter.
Oyeh, what races? exclaimed her husband. A parcel of ould staggeens, sir, thats running for a saddle, thats all the races theyll have.
So itself, what hurt? retorted the wife - The whole European world will be there to look at em; an Ill be bound theyll drink as hearty as if Jerry Sneak an Sappho were on the coorse. An tis there you ought to be an hour ago in your tent, instead of crusheening here about Myles Murphy an his ponies.
Myles Murphy! Myles-na-coppuleen? - Myles of the ponies, is it? said Lowry Looby, who just then led Kyrle Dalys horse to the door. Is he in these parts now?
Do you know Myles, eroo? was the truly Irish reply.
Know Myles-na-coppuleen? Wisha, an tis I that do, an that well! O murther, an are them poor Myless ponies I see in the pound over? Poor boy! I declare it Im sorry for his trouble.
If you be as you say, the old innkeeper muttered with a distrustful smile, put a hand in your pocket an give me four and eightpence. an you may take the fourteen of em after him.
Why then, see! Im blest, if I had it, but I wouldnt break your word, this day. Or more than that, if it was in my power for poor Myles. There isnt a better son nor brother this moment, going the road, than what he is.
Its true for you by all accounts, said the pound-keeper, as he counted over Kyrle Dalys change, but people must do their duty for all.
Surely, surely, said Lowry, turning off.
Mrs. Normile, the hostess, here made her reappearance at the door, with a foaming pot of Fermoy ale in her hand, to which she directed Lowrys attention.
A then, whats that youre doing? he said with a look of rough remonstrance, while he fixed nevertheless a steady and wistful eye upon the draught.
Drink it off, I tell you.
Sorrow a drop.
You must, again.
I wont, I tell you.
Do you refuse my hansel,* an I going to the races? Be said by me, I tell you. The day is drouthy.
Lowry offered no farther objection, but made his own of the ale, observing as he returned the vessel, with closed and watery eyes, that it was murtheren sthrong. The colloquy above detailed was carried on with so much roughness of accent, and violence of gesture, that a person at a little distance might have supposed the parties were on the eve of coming to blows in an actual quarrel. But it was all politeness.
Kyrle Daly obtained from his attendant as they proceeded on their way, an account of the individual in whom he had expressed so deep an interest. Myles Murphy, or; as he was more generally called, Myles of the Ponies, was the occupier of a tract of land on one of the Killarney mountains, comprising about seven hundred acres. For this extensive holding, he paid a rent of fifteen pounds sterling in the year; and if there were a market for grey limestone in the neighbourhood, Myles would be one of the wealthiest men in Kerry. But, as the architectural taste of the vicinity ran chiefly in favour of mud, his property in mineral was left, as an heir-loom, upon his hands. Of the whole seven hundred acres, there was no more under tillage than sufficed to furnish potatoes for the consumption of his own family. The vast remainder was stocked with numerous herds of wild ponies, who found scanty pasturage between the fissures of the crags, and yet were multiplied to such a degree, that Myles could not estimate the amount of his own stud.
His own goodness, it was, continued Lowry, that got that for him. He was left, poor fellow, after his father dying of the sickness,* with a houseful o childer; fourteen sons and two daughters, besides himself, to provide for, an his old mother. He supported em all be the labour of his two hands, till Lord K- hear talks of him of a day, an gave him a lease o that farm, an behaved a good landlord to him since. Still an all, Myles do be poor, for he never knew how to keep a hoult o the money. He provided for all his brothers; had one priested, and another bound to a brogue-maker, and another settled as a school-master in the place, and more listed from him, an two went to say, an I dont know what he done with the rest, but theyre all very well off; and left poor Myles with an empty pocket in the latter end.
Lowry went on to inform our traveller that this said Myles was a giant in stature, measuring six feet four inches in his vamps - that he never yet met that man that could give him a stroke, and he having a stick in his hand - that he was a clean made boy as ever walked the ground, and such a master of his weapon that himself and Luke Kennedy, the Killarney boatman, used to be two hours oppozzit one another, without a single blow being received on either side. On one occasion, indeed, he was fortunate enough to get a vacancy at Kennedy of which he made so forcible a use, that the stick, which was in the hand of the latter, flew over Ross Castle into the lower lake, merely from a successful tip in the elbow.
But, Lowry added, theres a change come in poor Myles of late. It was his luck to meet Eily OConnor, the rope-makers daughter, of a day, an he selling his ponies, an tis a new story with him, since. Hes mad, sir, mad in love. He isnt good for anything. He says she gave him powders one day in an apple at Owens garden where they had a benefit, but I wouldnt give in to such a story as that, at all; - for Eily is as delicate and tender in herself as a lady.
They were interrupted at this juncture by a startling incident. A mounted countryman gallopped up to them, drest in a complete suit of frieze made from the undyed wool of black sheep, such as formed the texture of the phalang in the days of Gerald Barry. His face was pale and moist, and grimed with dust. A smooth yellow wig was pushed awry upon his temples, disclosing a mass of grey hair that was damp and matted with the effects of violent exercise. He looked alternately at both travellers with an expression of mingled wildness and grief in his countenance; and again clapping spurs to his horse, rode off and disappeared at a short turn in the road.
Im blest but that flogs Europe! exclaimed Lowry Looby, in a tone of utter surprize and concern - Theres something great happened, surely.
Who is he Lowry? I think I ought to know his face?
Mihil OConnor, sir, father to the girl we were just talking of. He looks to be in trouble. Easy! Heres little Foxy Dunat, the hair-cutter, trotten after him, an hell tell us.
The person whom he named, a small red haired man, rode up at the same moment, appearing to keep his seat on horseback with much difficulty. The animal he rode, though lean and bony, was of a great size, and presented a circumference much too extensive to be embraced by the short legs of the hair-cutter. His feet, for the greater security, were stuck fast between the stirrup leathers, while the empty irons remained dangling underneath. For the purpose of making assurance doubly sure, he had grasped fast with one hand the lofty pummel of the saddle, while the other was entwined in the long and undressed mane.
Pru-h! Pruh! Stop her, Lowry, eroo! Stop her, an heavens bless you. Im fairly flayd alive from her, thats what I am, - joulten, joulten for the bare life. Your sarvant, Mr. Daly, - Im not worth looken at. See my wig, he pulled one out of his pocket, and held it up to view. I was obleeged to to take it off an put it in my pocket, it was so tossed from the shaking I got. I never was a horseback before but once at Molly Macs funeral, an I neverll be a horseback again till Im going to my own. O murther! murther! I have a pain in the small o my back that would kill the Danes. Well, Mr. Daly, I hope the master liked his new wig? - I kep it a long time from him, surely. I neverll be the betther o this days riden. Did you see Mihil-na-thiadarucha* go by this way? Im kilt and spoiled, thats what I am.
I did see him, said Lowry, whats the matter with him?
Eily, his daughter, is gone from him, or spirited away.
Erra, you dont tell me so?
She is, I tell you, an hes like a wild man about it. Here hes back himself.
OConnor again appeared at the turn of the road and gallopped roughly back upon the group. He looked ferociously at Lowry, and pointing his stick into his face, while his frame trembled with rage, he roared out, Tell me, did you see her, this minute, or Ill thrust my stick down your throat! Tell me, do you know any thing of her, I advise you.
I dont! said Lowry with equal fierceness. - Then, as if ashamed of resenting a speech uttered by the poor old man, under so terrible an occasion of excitement, he changed his tone, and repeated, more gently, I dont, Mihil, an I dont know what cause I ever gave you to speak to me in that strain.
The old rope-maker dropped the bridle, his clasped hands fell on the pummel of the saddle, and drooped his head, while he seemed to gasp for utterance - Lowry, he said, heavens guide you, an tell me, do you know - or could you put me in a way of hearing any thing of her?
Of who, ayeh?
Eily, my daughter! Oh, Lowry, ara gal, my daughter! My poor girl!
What of her, Mihil?
What of her? - Gone! lost! Gone from her ould father, an no account of her ...
Yes, I tell you! He threw a ghastly look around - She is stolen, or she strayed. If she is stolen, may the Almighty forgive them that took her from me, an if she strayed of her own liking, may my curse ...
Howl! howl!* I tell you man, cried Lowry, in a loud voice, dont curse your daughter without knowing what you do. Dont I know her, do you think? And dont I know that she wouldnt be the girl you say for her apronful of goold?
Youre a good boy, Lowry; youre a good boy, said the old man wringing his hand, but shes gone. I had none but her, an they took her from me. Her mother is dead these three years, an all her brothers and sisters died young, an I reared her like a lady, an this is the way she left me now. But what hurt? Let her go.
The MMahons were at the fair of Garryowen yesterday, said Lowry musing. I wonder could it be them at all. I tell you, there are bad boys among them. There was one of em hanged for spiriting away a girl o the Hayess before.
If I thought it was one o them, OConnor exclaimed, stretching his arm to its full length, and shaking his clenched hand with great passion, and if I knew the one that robbed me, Id find him out, if he was as cunning as a rabbit, an Id tear him between my two hands if he was as strong as a horse. They think to play their game on me because my hair is grey. But I can match the villains yet. If steel, or fire, or pikes, or powder, can match em, Ill do it. Let go my horses bridle, an dont be holding me here when I should be flying like the wind behind em.
Here he caught the eye of Kyrle Daly, as the latter asked him whether he had not laid informations before a Magistrate?
Instead of answering, the old man who now recognised Daly for the first-time, took off his hat with a smile in which grief and anger were mingled with native courtesy, and said, Mr. Daly, astoir,* I ask your pardon for not knowing you; I meant no offence to you, or to your fathers son. I couldnt do it. How are you, sir? How is the masther an the mistress? The Lord direct em, an spare em their children! - Here the old mans eyes grew watery, and the words were broken in his throat, Lay informations? he continued, taking up Kyrle Dalys question. No - no, sir. My back* isnt so poor in the country that I need to do so mean a thing as that.
And what other course would you take to obtain justice?
Ill tell you the justice Id want, said OConnor, griping his stick hard, and knitting his brows together, while the very beard bristled upon his chin for anger. To plant him overright me in the heart o Garryowen fair, or where else hed like, an give him a stick, and let me pick justice out of his four bones! Here he indulged himself with one rapid flourish of the blackthorn stick above his head, which considerably endangered that of the young gentleman to whom he addressed himself.
At the same moment a neighbour of OConnors gallopped up to them and exclaimed - Well, Mihil, agra, any tidings of her yet?
Sorrow tale or tiding.
An is it here youre stoppen talken, an them villains spiriting your daughter away through the country. Wisha, but youre a droll man, this day.
Not Hamlet, in that exquisitely natural burst of passion over the tomb of the fair Ophelia - where he becomes incensed against the affectionate Laertes for the bravery of his grief, and treats it as an infringement on his own prerogative of sorrow - not Hamlet, the Dane, in that moment of towering passion, could throw more loftiness of rebuke into his glance, than did Mihil OConnor, as he gazed upon the daring clansman who had thus presumed to call his fatherly affections to account. More temperate, however, than the Danish Prince, he did not let his anger loose, but compressed his teeth, and puffed it forth between them. Touching his hat to Kyrle, and bidding Lowry stand his friend, he put spurs to his horse, and rode forwards, followed by his friend, while Lowry laid his hand on the hair-cutters arm, and asked him for an account of the particulars.
Sonuher* to me if I know the half of it, said the foe of unshaven chins, speaking in a shrill, professional accent; but I was standing in my little place, above, shaving a boy o the Downess against the benefit at Batt Coonertys, an being delayed a good while (for the Downess have all very strong hair, - Id as lieve be shaving a horse as one of em,) I was sthrappen my razhor (for the twentieth turn,) an looken out into the fair, when who should I see going by only Eily OConnor, an she dressed in a blue mantle, with the hood over her head, an her hair curling down about her neck like strings of goold. (Oh, the beauty o that girl!) Well, Its a late walk youre taking, EiIy, says I. She made me no answer, only passed on, an I thought no more about it till this morning, when her father walked in to me. I thought, at first, tis to be shaved he was coming, for, dear knows, he wanted it, when all at once he opened upon me in regard of his daughter. Poor girl, Im sure sorrow call had I to her goen or stayen more than I had to curl the Princess Royals front - a job thatll never trouble me, Im thinking.
Wisha, but its a droll business, ejaculated Lowry, letting go the stirrup-leather, which he had held fast during the foregoing narrative. Ride on after him, Dunat, or you wont catch him before night. Oh, Vo! Vo! Eily a stoir! O, wirra, Eily! this is the black day to your ould father.
An the black an blue day to me, Im sure, squeaked out the hair-cutter, trotting forwards and groaning aloud at every motion, as he was now thrown on the pummel, now on the hind-bow of the saddle; those grievances telling the more severely as he was a lean little man, and but scantily furnished by nature with that material which is best able to resist concussion.
The misfortune of the poor rope-maker indisposed Lowry (who had once been a respectful and distant admirer of the lovely Eily,) from proceeding with the conversation, and his young master had ample leisure for the indulgence of his own luxurious reveries until they reached the entrance to the fair demesne of Castle Chute.
*It is considered not lucky to refuse a hansel.
*Michael of the Ropes. This practice of naming individuals from their professions (in which the great proportion of sirnames are said to have originated,) is quite general among the Irish peasantry. So far is the humour sometimes carried, that a poor widow in our own village has been nicknamed Vauria n thau Llanuv, i.e. Mary of the two children.
*A good wife.
How the Reader, Contrary to the Declared Intention of the Historian, Obtains a Description of Castle Chute
An old portress, talking Irish, with a huge bunch of keys at her girdle, a rusty gate lock, piers, lofty, and surmounted by a pair of broken marble vases, while their shafts, far from exhibiting that appearance of solidity so much admired in the relics of Grecian architecture, were adorned in all their fissures by tufts of long grass; an avenue with rows of elms forming a vista to the river; a sudden turn revealing a broad and sunny lawn: hay cocks, mowers at work - a winding gravel walk lost in a grove - the house appearing above the trees - the narrow paned windows glittering amongst the boughs - the old ivyd castle, contrasted in so singular a manner with the more modern addition to the building - the daws cawing about the chimnies - the stately herons settling on the castellated turrets, or winging their majestic way through the peaceful kingdom of the winds - the screaming of a peacock in the recesses of the wood - a green hill appearing sunny-bright against a clouded horizon - the heavy Norman arch-way - the shattered sculpture - the close and fragrant shrubbery - the noisy farm-yard and out-offices (built, as was then the fashion, quite near the dwelling house) - the bowering monthly rose, embracing the simple pediment over the hall door - the ponderous knocker - the lofty gable - the pieces of broken sculpture and tender foliage, that presented to the mind the images of youth and age, of ruined grandeur and of rising beauty, blended and wreathed together under the most pleasing form.
Such were the principal features of the scenery through which Kyrle Daly passed into the dwelling of his beloved. The necessities of our narrative forbid us to dwell at a more ample length on the mere description of a landscape.
To his surprise, and in some degree to his disappointment, he found the castle more crowded with company than he had expected. He was admitted by a richly ornamented Gothic arch-way, while Lowry remained walking his horse under the shade of the trees. A handsome, though rather ill-used curricle, which appeared to have been lately driven, was drawn up on the gravel plat; and a servant in tarnished livery was employed in cooling two horses on the slope which shelved downward to the river side. - The foam that flecked their shining necks and covered the curbs and branches, showed that they had been ridden a considerable distance, and by no sparing masters.
Oh, murther, Masther Kyrle, is this you? exclaimed Falvey, the servant boy, as he looked into the narrow hall and recognized the young collegian. Ma grine chree hu! Its an opening to the heart to see you!
Thank you, Pat. Are the ladies at home?
They are, sir. O murther, murther! are you come at last, sir? - he repeated with an air of smiling wonder; then suddenly changing his manner, and nodding with great freedom and cunning, Oh, the ladies? - they are at home, sir - both of em.
And well. I give praise - both of em well. Where is the horse, sir?
Lowry is walking him near the shrubbery.
An is Lowry come too? Oh, murther, murther! He ran to the door and looked out, nodded and raised his hand in courtesy, and then hastened back to Kyrle - Gi me the hat, sir, an Ill hang it up - poof, its full o dust - Come in here, Masther Kyrle, an Ill give you a touch before you go up stairs - theres a power o quollity in the drawen room - an ... here he again cast down his head with a knowing smile - theres reasons for doins - the ladies must be plaised, surely. An how is Mr. Daly an herself an all of em, sir? Oh, murther, murther!
They are all well, Pat, thank you.
The Lord keep em so! - Theres a sighth above stairs in the new house. Mr. Cregan of Roaring Hall - (ah, thats a rale sporting jettleman) - an Mr. Creagh an Pincher, an Docthor Lake, an the officer, westwards; then with another familiar wink - theres the drollest cratur in life in the servants hall abroad, the officers sarvent-boy, a Londoner, afeerd o the world that hell have his throat cut be the Whiteboys before he quits the country. Poor cratur! he makes me laugh, the way he talks of Ireland, as if he was a marked man among us - the little sprissawneen, that nobody ever would trouble their heads about - Coming! - a bell rung - Thats for the luncheon - I must smarten myself, or Miss Anne will kill me. Theyre all going off, after they take something, to the races near the point below, where theyre to have the greatest divarsion ever you hear - An so the master is well, eastwards? Why, then Im glad to hear it - thats a good jettleman as ever sat down to his own table - the bell rang again - O murther! theres the bell again - Ill be kilt entirely! - There now, Masther Kyrle, youre purty well, I think - Theyre all up stairs in the drawen room in the new house. I neednt tell you the way. Syl Carney will open the doore for you, an Ill wait aisya minute, for it wouldnt look seemly for me to be taking in the thray an things close behind you
While this communicative retainer slipped away, napkin in hand, to the pantry, Kyrle Daly ascended a corkscrew flight of narrow stone steps, at the head of which he was met by the blooming handmaiden above named. Here he had as many Masther Kyrles and pretty smiles, and officious, though kindly meant, attentions to undergo, as in the narrow hall. These he repaid in the usual manner, by complimenting Syl on her good looks - wondering she had not got married - and reminding her that Shrovetide would be shortly coming round again; - in return for which the pretty Syl repeatedly told him that he was a funny gentleman and a great play-boy.
They passed through an old banquetting room which had once formed the scene of a council of the Munster chieftains, in the days of Elizabeth; and descending a flight of a few wooden steps, stood in the centre of a lobby of much more modern architecture. Here Kyrle Daly felt his heart beat a little wildly as he heard voices and laughter in the adjoining room. Modestly conscious, however, of his graceful person, and aware of the importance of displaying it to some advantage in the eyes of his mistress, he adjusted his ruffles, and with something like the feeling of a young debutant, conscious of merit, yet afraid of censure, made his entrance on the little domestic scene.
The company all rose and received him with that pompous display of affability and attention which our fathers mistook for politeness, but which their wiser descendants have discovered to be the exact contrary, and have discarded from the drawing room, as unbefitting the ease and sincerity of social life. Mrs. Chute was unable to rise, but her greeting was at once cordial and dignified. Anne gave him her hand with the air of an affectionate relative; Mr. Hyland Creagh placed his heels together - adjusted his ample shirt frills, and bowed until the queue of his powdered wig culminated to the zenith - while Pincher wagged his tail, looked up at his master as if to enquire the nature of his movements, and finally coiled himself up on the carpet and slept; Mr. Barnaby Cregan griped his hand until the hones cracked - expressing, in very concise language, a wish that his soul might be doomed to everlasting misery in the next world if he were not rejoiced to meet him; Doctor Leake tendered him a finger, which Kyrle grasped hard, and (in revenge perhaps for the punishment inflicted on him by Cregan) shook with so lively an expression of regard, that the worthy physician was tempted to repent his condescension. To the young officer, an Englishman, Kyrle was introduced by the formal course of - Captain Gibson, Mr. Daly ... Mr. Daly, Captain Gibson - on which they bowed as coldly and stiffly as the figures in a clockmakers window in Holborn, and all resumed their places.
After the usual enquiries into the condition of both families had been made and answered, Kyrle Daly indulged himself in a brief perusal of the personal appearance of the individuals in whose society he was placed. The information which he derived from the few glances that happened to fall wide of Miss Chute, shall here be laid before the reader.
Mrs. Chute, the venerable lady of the mansion, was seated in a richly carved arm-chair, near an ebony work-table, on which were placed a pair of silver spectacles and the last racing calendar. A gold-headed cane rested against her chair, and a small spaniel, in the attitude which heralds term couchant, lay at her side, burlesqueing the lion of Brittania in the popular emblem. In her more youthful days, indeed, Mrs. Chute might have assumed her part in the latter, without exciting any ludicrous association; and even in this decay and mouldering of her womanly attractions, there was a grace, a dignity, a softened fire, and even a beauty to he traced, which awakened the spectators respect and sometimes warmed it into admiration. Old age, while it took nothing away from her dignity, had imparted to her manner that air of feminine dependance, in which she was said to have been somewhat too deficient in her youth, and replaced in tenderness and interest the beauty which it had removed.
Her daughter, who bore a very perceptible resemblance to the old lady in the cast of her features, as well as in their expression, looked at this moment exceedingly beautiful. A dark blue riding dress displayed her figure to such advantage, that if a young sculptor could have taken it as a model for a study of Minerva, and could likewise afford a lobster and a hurtle of sherry to a critic in the Fine Arts, there is little doubt that he would make his fortune. Her hair, which was shining black, cut short and curled so gracefully, that it might vie with the finest head in Mr. Hopes book of costumes, crept out from beneath her small round hat and shaded a countenance that glowed at this moment with a sweet and fascinating cheerfulness. The common herd of mankind frequently exhibit personal anomalies of so curious a description as to remind one of Quevedos fanciful vision of the general resurrection, where one man in his hurry claps his neighbours head upon his own shoulders, and the upper portion of a turtle-fed Alderman is borne along by the trembling shanks of a starveling Magazine poet. But nothing of this incongruity was observable in the charming person of the heiress of Castle Chute. Her countenance was exquisitely adapted both in form and character to the rest of her frame; and she might be justly admired as a piece of workmanship not entrusted by Nature (as in a pin-manufactory) to the hands of nine journeymen, but wrought out and polished by that great Adept herself as a sample of womankind for the inspection of customers.
It was indeed remarked by those who enjoyed only a visiting acquaintance with Anne Chute, that her general manner was somewhat cold and distant, and that there was in the wintry lustre of her large black eyes, and the noble carriage of her fine person, a loftiness which repelled in the spectators breast that enthusiasm which her beauty was calculated to awaken, and induced him to stop short at the feeling of simple admiration. Hardress Cregan, who, with all his shyness, had the reputation of a fine critic on these subjects, had been heard to say of her on his return from College, that she was perfect. Her form and face were absolutely faultless, and a connoisseur might with a better taste pretend to discover a fault in the proportions of the Temple of Theseus. But there, he added, I must terminate the eulogy; for I could no sooner think of loving such a piece of frost-work than of flinging my arms in ecstasy around one of the Doric pillars of the old edifice itself.
But Hardress Cregan had been only once, and for a few minutes, in the ladys company, when he pronounced this judgment. Neither was he an impartial observer, for the embarrassment which he experienced in consequence of her unconscious dignity, made him throw more asperity into his criticism than the occasion actually required. Those who enjoyed a longer and a nearer intimacy with Miss Chute, found an additional fascination in that very coldness which kept ordinary acquaintances at a distance, and which for them was so cheerfully and so winningly removed. In proportion to the awe which it inspired on a first introduction, was the delight occasioned by its subsequent dissipation, and it gave to her whole character that effect of surprize, which is dangerous or available to the influence of the fair possessor, according as the changes which it reveals are attractive or otherwise. The feelings which accompanied a growing intimacy with this lovely girl resembled those of one who endeavours, by a feeble light, to discover the graces of a landscape which he knows to be beautiful, but which he is unable to appreciate, until the morning light streams in upon the picture, and brings it forth in all its exquisite reality before his eyes.
The remainder of the company are not so interesting as to claim an equal portion of the readers notice. Mr. Barnaby Cregan, a stout top-booted elderly gentleman, with a nose that told tales of many a rousing night, was seated close to Mrs. Chute, and deeply engaged in a discussion upon cocks and cockrels, sparring, setting, impounding, the long law, the short law, and every other law that had any connection with his reigning passion. The rosy and red-coated Captain Gibson, who was a person of talent and industry in his profession, was listening with much interest to Doctor Lucas Leake, who possessed some little antiquarian skill in Irish remains, and who was at this moment unfolding the difference which existed between the tactics of King Lugh-Lamh-Fada, and those issued from his late most gracious Majestys War-Office; between one of King Malachys hobbilers and a life-guardsman; between an English halberd and a stone-headed gai-bulg, and between his own commission of lieutenant and the Fear Comhlan Caoguid of the Fion Eirin.
Mr. Hyland Creagh, who, as before mentioned, notwithstanding the perfect maturity of his years, still continued to affect the man of gallantry, was standing near Miss Chute, and looking with a half-puzzled, half-smiling air over a drawing which she had placed in his hands. Now and then, as he held the picture to the light, he looked askance, and with a forbidding expression, at Kyrle, who was carelessly sauntering towards the fair object of his attentions, and yet endeavouring to give his approximation rather the appearance of accident than of design. Mr. Creaghs experience in society had long since made him aware that youth was a quality which contributed materially to success with the ladies, and the consequence of this discovery was a hearty detestation - (a term more qualified would not express the feeling) - of every gentleman who was younger than himself. Puppies! he would exclaim, they assume the air and port of men when they should be confined to bibs and frills, and bestride a blood-horse when their highest corvet should be made in the hall, on their grandfathers walking-cane. But he had the mortification to find that his sentiments on this head were adopted by no unmarried ladies except those whose wisdom and experience were equal to his own; and about their opinions, unhappily, Mr. Creagh was as indifferent as the young coxcombs whom he censured.
I profess my ignorance, he said, after contemplating the picture for several minutes. The drawing is admirable - the colouring has a depth and softness of tone, that I have seen rarely produced by water colours, and the whole design bears the stamp of reality upon it; but I profess my ignorance of the place which you say it is intended to represent.
Indeed! said Anne, affecting a disappointed tone, and pleased to put the old gentlemans gallantry to the torture. Then I must have made a sad failure, for the scene ought to be quite familiar to you.
I am the worst person in the world at tracing a resemblance, said Mr. Creagh, looking puzzled. Perhaps, it is meant for Ballylin Point?
Oh, Mr. Creagh, can you find any resemblance? What a wretched bungler you must think me! You did well to say meant for - that expression indicates so exactly the degree of relation between my sketches and the originals.
Pon my honour, Miss Chute - pon my honour, as a gentleman.
Mr. Daly! - Kyrle flew to her side. - Perhaps you could restore me to my self-esteem. Do you know that Mr. Creagh has mistaken this for a sketch of Ballylin Point! Try if you can restore my credit, for it is sinking very fast, even in my own estimation.
Ballylin point! exclaimed Kyrle, taking the drawing into his hands - I do not see the least resemblance. Mr. Creaghs eyes flashed fire, at this unceremonious declaration, but he checked his resentment, and congratulated Miss Chute on this proof, that the fault lay in his want of observation, not in her want of skill.
And do you recognize the scene? continued Miss Chute, who was well aware of the old serventes foible, and loved to toy with it for her amusement. Let me hear if I have been indeed so very unsuccessful.
Her lover delayed answering, not because he shared the difficulty of Mr. Creagh, but that he was wrapt in admiration of the drawing. It was an interesting landscape, and finished with more taste and fineness of touch than are usually to be traced in the efforts of accomplished young ladies. The foreground of the picture exhibited a grassy slope, which formed a kind of peninsula in a magnificent sheet of water, running a little to the left, and terminating at what artists term the middle distance in a gracefully wooded point. The remains of an old castle appeared among the trees, the gloom and majesty of which were exhibited in a striking degree, by a brilliant effect of sunshine on the water and on the green slope above mentioned. Two small islands, affording an anchorage to some open boats, broke the expanse of water on the right; while the small bay, formed by the point before described, on the left, was graced by the figures of fishermen in the act of casting their nets. The waters were bounded in the distance, by a range of blue hills, some of which projected into rocky or wooded headlands; while the whole was softened by that deep and rich blue tint, which is peculiar to the moist atmosphere of the climate; and by imparting at once distinctness and softness to the landscape, is far better adapted to scenes of rural solitude, than even the lonely splendour of a Tuscan sun.
Ballylin! echoed Mr. Cregan, who had walked over to look at the drawing. Tis as like Ballylin, as Roaring Hall is to Dublin Castle Tis Castle Chute, and right well touched off, too, by Jingo. To this observation he added, in language which the altered customs of society prevent our copying verbatim, that he wished the spiritual foe of the human race might lay hold of him, if it were not an admirable resemblance.
Mr. Creagh had his own reasons for not taking offence at any resentment that was urged by his good friend and frequent host, Mr. Cregan, but he did not forget the difference of opinion that was hazarded by his young acquaintance. To the fair artists raillery, he replied with a bow and an air of old fashioned politeness, that frequently as he had had the honour of visiting at Castle Chute, he was yet unfamiliar with the scenery, for his thoughts in approaching it were exclusively occupied by one object.
And even though they were at liberty, added Kyrle, it is more than probable Mr. Creagh has never seen Castle Chute at this point of view, so that it could hardly be expected to remain on his recollection. Then moving closer to Anne, and speaking in a lower tone of voice, he said - This is the very scene of which I told you Hardress Cregan was so enthusiastic an admirer. You have drawn it since?
Miss Chute answered in the affirmative, and turning quickly away, replaced the sketch in her portfolio. Then, turning to Creagh, she told him that he would be very shortly qualified to give an opinion as to the fidelity of her design, for they would pass the spot in question, on their way to the little race course. There was some farther conversation, not worth detailing, on the subject of Hardress Cregans salute - and some conjectures were hazarded concerning the female in the blue cloak, none of which, however, threw any certain light upon that mystery.