William Makepeace Thackeray
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FROM THE WORKS OF
WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY
EDITED BY WALTER JERROLD
I.--MY PEDIGREE AND FAMILY--UNDERGO THE INFLUENCE OF THE TENDER
II.--IN WHICH I SHOW MYSELF TO BE A MAN OF SPIRIT
III.--I MAKE A FALSE START IN THE GENTEEL WORLD
IV.--IN WHICH BARRY TAKES A NEAR VIEW OF MILITARY GLORY
V.--IN WHICH BARRY TRIES TO REMOVE AS FAR FROM MILITARY GLORY AS
VI.--THE CRIMP WAGGON--MILITARY EPISODES
VII.--BARRY LEADS A GARRISON LIFE, AND FINDS MANY FRIENDS THERE
VIII.--BARRY BIDS ADIEU TO THE MILITARY PROFESSION
IX.--I APPEAR IN A MANNER BECOMING MY NAME AND LINEAGE
X.--MORE RUNS OF LUCK
XI.--IN WHICH THE LUCK GOES AGAINST BARRY
XII.--CONTAINS THE TRAGICAL HISTORY OF THE PRINCESS OF X-----
XIII.--I CONTINUE MY CAREER AS A MAN OF FASHION
XIV.--I RETURN TO IRELAND, AND EXHIBIT MY SPLENDOUR AND GENEROSITY
IN THAT KINGDOM
XV.--I PAY COURT TO MY LADY LYNDON
XVI.--I PROVIDE NOBLY FOR MY FAMILY, AND ATTAIN THE HEIGHT OF MY
(SEEMING) GOOD FORTUNE
XVII.--I APPEAR AS AN ORNAMENT OF ENGLISH SOCIETY
XVIII.--IN WHICH MY GOOD FORTUNE BEGINS TO WAVER
A BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE
Barry Lyndon--far from the best known, but by some critics acclaimed
as the finest, of Thackeray's works--appeared originally as a serial
a few years before VANITY FAIR was written; yet it was not published
in book form, and then not by itself, until after the publication of
VANITY FAIR, PENDENNIS, ESMOND and THE NEWCOMES had placed its
author in the forefront of the literary men of the day. So many
years after the event we cannot help wondering why the story was not
earlier put in book form; for in its delineation of the character of
an adventurer it is as great as VANITY FAIR, while for the local
colour of history, if I may put it so, it is no undistinguished
precursor of ESMOND.
In the number of FRASER'S MAGAZINE for January 1844 appeared the
first instalment of 'THE LUCK OF BARRY LYNDON, ESQ., A ROMANCE OF
THE LAST CENTURY, by FitzBoodle,' and the story continued to appear
month by month--with the exception of October--up to the end of the
year, when the concluding portion was signed 'G. S. FitzBoodle.'
FITZBOODLE'S CONFESSIONS, it should be added, had appeared
occasionally in the magazine during the years immediately precedent,
so that the pseudonym was familiar to FRASER'S readers. The story
was written, according to its author's own words, 'with a great deal
of dulness, unwillingness and labour,' and was evidently done as the
instalments were required, for in August he wrote 'read for "B. L."
all the morning at the club,' and four days later of '"B. L." lying
like a nightmare on my mind.' The journey to the East--which was to
give us in literary results NOTES OF A JOURNEY FROM CORNHILL TO
GRAND CAIRO--was begun with BARRY LYNDON yet unfinished, for at
Malta the author noted on the first three days of November--'Wrote
Barry but slowly and with great difficulty.' 'Wrote Barry with no
more success than yesterday.' 'Finished Barry after great throes
late at night.' In the number of Fraser's for the following month,
as I have said, the conclusion appeared. A dozen years later, in
1856, the story formed the first part of the third volume of
Thackeray's MISCELLANIES, when it was called MEMOIRS OF BARRY
LYNDON, ESQ., WRITTEN BY HIMSELF. Since then, it has nearly always
been issued with other matter, as though it were not strong enough
to stand alone, or as though the importance of a work was mainly to
be gauged by the number of pages to be crowded into one cover. The
scheme of the present edition fortunately allows fitting honour to
be done to the memoirs of the great adventurer.
To come from the story as a whole to the personality of the
eponymous hero. Three widely-differing historical individuals are
suggested as having contributed to the composite portrait. Best
known of these was that very prince among adventurers, G. J.
Casanova de Seingalt, a man who in the latter half of the eighteenth
century played the part of adventurer--and generally that of the
successful adventurer--in most of the European capitals; who within
the first five-and-twenty years of his life had been 'abbe,
secretary to Cardinal Aquaviva, ensign, and violinist, at Rome,
Constantinople, Corfu, and his own birthplace (Venice), where he
cured a senator of apoplexy.' His autobiography, MEMOIRES ECRIT PAR
LUI MEME (in twelve volumes), has been described as 'unmatched as a
self-revelation of scoundrelism.' It has also been suggested, with I
think far less colour of probability, that the original of Barry was
the diplomatist and satiric poet Sir Charles Hanbury Williams, whom
Dr Johnson described as 'our lively and elegant though too
licentious lyrick bard.' The third original, and one who, there
cannot be the slightest doubt, contributed features to the great
portrait, is a certain Andrew Robinson Stoney, afterwards Stoney-
The original of the Countess Lyndon was Mary Eleanor Bowes, Dowager
Countess of Strathmore, and heiress of a very wealthy Durham family.
This lady had many suitors, but in 1777 Stoney, a bankrupt
lieutenant on half pay, who had fought a duel on her behalf, induced
her to marry him, and subsequently hyphenated her name with his own.
He became member of Parliament, and ran such extravagant courses as
does Barry Lyndon, treated his wife with similar barbarity, abducted
her when she had escaped from him, and then, after being divorced,
found his way to a debtors' prison. There are similarities here
which no seeker after originals can overlook. Mrs Ritchie says that
her father had a friend at Paris, 'a Mr Bowes, who may have first
told him this history of which the details are almost incredible, as
quoted from the papers of the time.' The name of Thackeray's friend
is a curious coincidence, unless, as may well have been the case, he
was a connection of the family into which the notorious adventurer
had married. It is not unlikely that Thackeray had seen the work
published in 1810--the year of Stoney-Bowes's death--in which the
whole unhappy romance was set forth. This was 'THE LIVES OF ANDREW
ROBINSON BOWES ESQ., and THE COUNTESS OF STRATHMORE. Written from
thirty-three years' Professional Attendance, from letters and other
well authenticated Documents by Jesse Foot, Surgeon.' In this book
we find several incidents similar to ones in the story. Bowes cut
down all the timber on his wife's estate, but 'the neighbours would
not buy it.' Such practical jokes as Barry Lyndon played upon his
son's tutor were played by Bowes on his chaplain. The story of
Stoney and his marriage will be found briefly given in the notice of
the Countess's life in the DICTIONARY OF NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY.
Whence that part of the romantic interlude dealing with the stay in
the Duchy of X----, dealt with in chapter x., etc., was inspired,
Thackeray's own note\books (as quoted by Mrs Ritchie) conclusively
show: 'January 4,1844. Read in a silly book called L'EMPIRE, a good
story about the first K. of Wurtemberg's wife; killed by her husband
for adultery. Frederic William, born in 1734 (?), m. in 1780 the
Princess Caroline of Brunswick Wolfenbuttel, who died the 27th
September 1788. For the rest of the story see L'EMPIRE, OU DIX ANS
SOUS NAPOLEON, PAR UN CHAMBELLAN: Paris, Allardin, 1836; vol. i.
220.' The 'Captain Freny' to whom Barry owed his adventures on his
journey to Dublin (chapter iii.) was a notorious highwayman, on
whose doings Thackeray had enlarged in the fifteenth chapter of his
IRISH SKETCH BOOK.
Despite the slowness with which it was written, and the seeming
neglect with which it was permitted to remain unreprinted, BARRY
LYNDON was to be hailed by competent critics as one of Thackeray's
finest performances, though the author himself seems to have had no
strong regard for the story. His daughter has recorded, 'My father
once said to me when I was a girl: "You needn't read BARRY LYNDON,
you won't like it." Indeed, it is scarcely a book to LIKE, but one
to admire and to wonder at for its consummate power and mastery.'
Another novelist, Anthony Trollope, has said of it: 'In imagination,
language, construction, and general literary capacity, Thackeray
never did anything more remarkable than BARRY LYNDON.' Mr Leslie
Stephen says: 'All later critics have recognised in this book one of
his most powerful performances. In directness and vigour he never
The Memoires of BARRY LYNDON, ESQ.
MY PEDIGREE AND FAMILY--UNDERGO THE INFLUENCE OF THE TENDER PASSION
Since the days of Adam, there has been hardly a mischief done in
this world but a woman has been at the bottom of it. Ever since ours
was a family (and that must be very NEAR Adam's time,--so old,
noble, and illustrious are the Barrys, as everybody knows) women
have played a mighty part with the destinies of our race.
I presume that there is no gentleman in Europe that has not heard of
the house of Barry of Barryogue, of the kingdom of Ireland, than
which a more famous name is not to be found in Gwillim or D'Hozier;
and though, as a man of the world, I have learned to despise
heartily the claims of some PRETENDERS to high birth who have no
more genealogy than the lacquey who cleans my boots, and though I
laugh to utter scorn the boasting of many of my countrymen, who are
all for descending from kings of Ireland, and talk of a domain no
bigger than would feed a pig as if it were a principality; yet truth
compels me to assert that my family was the noblest of the island,
and, perhaps, of the universal world; while their possessions, now
insignificant and torn from us by war, by treachery, by the loss of
time, by ancestral extravagance, by adhesion to the old faith and
monarch, were formerly prodigious, and embraced many counties, at a
time when Ireland was vastly more prosperous than now. I would
assume the Irish crown over my coat-of-arms, but that there are so
many silly pretenders to that distinction who bear it and render it
Who knows, but for the fault of a woman, I might have been wearing
it now? You start with incredulity. I say, why not? Had there been a
gallant chief to lead my countrymen, instead or puling knaves who
bent the knee to King Richard II., they might have been freemen; had
there been a resolute leader to meet the murderous ruffian Oliver
Cromwell, we should have shaken off the English for ever. But there
was no Barry in the field against the usurper; on the contrary, my
ancestor, Simon de Bary, came over with the first-named monarch, and
married the daughter of the then King of Munster, whose sons in
battle he pitilessly slew.
In Oliver's time it was too late for a chief of the name of Barry to
lift up his war-cry against that of the murderous brewer. We were
princes of the land no longer; our unhappy race had lost its
possessions a century previously, and by the most shameful treason.
This I know to be the fact, for my mother has often told me the
story, and besides had worked it in a worsted pedigree which hung up
in the yellow saloon at Barryville where we lived.
That very estate which the Lyndons now possess in Ireland was once
the property of my race. Rory Barry of Barryogue owned it in
Elizabeth's time, and half Munster beside. The Barry was always in
feud with the O'Mahonys in those times; and, as it happened, a
certain English colonel passed through the former's country with a
body of men-at-arms, on the very day when the O'Mahonys had made an
inroad upon our territories, and carried off a frightful plunder of
our flocks and herds.
This young Englishman, whose name was Roger Lyndon, Linden, or
Lyndaine, having been most hospitably received by the Barry, and
finding him just on the point of carrying an inroad into the
O'Mahonys' land, offered the aid of himself and his lances, and
behaved himself so well, as it appeared, that the O'Mahonys were
entirely overcome, all the Barrys' property restored, and with it,
says the old chronicle, twice as much of the O'Mahonys' goods and
It was the setting in of the winter season, and the young soldier
was pressed by the Barry not to quit his house of Barryogue, and
remained there during several months, his men being quartered with
Barry's own gallowglasses, man by man in the cottages round about.
They conducted themselves, as is their wont, with the most
intolerable insolence towards the Irish; so much so, that fights and
murders continually ensued, and the people vowed to destroy them.
The Barry's son (from whom I descend) was as hostile to the English
as any other man on his domain; and, as they would not go when
bidden, he and his friends consulted together and determined on
destroying these English to a man.
But they had let a woman into their plot, and this was the Barry's
daughter. She was in love with the English Lyndon, and broke the
whole secret to him; and the dastardly English prevented the just
massacre of themselves by falling on the Irish, and destroying
Phaudrig Barry, my ancestor, and many hundreds of his men. The cross
at Barrycross near Carrignadihioul is the spot where the odious
butchery took place.
Lyndon married the daughter of Roderick Barry, and claimed the
estate which he left: and though the descendants of Phaudrig were
alive, as indeed they are in my person,[Footnote: As we have never
been able to find proofs of the marriage of my ancestor Phaudrig
with his wife, I make no doubt that Lyndon destroyed the contract,
and murdered the priest and witnesses of the marriage.--B. L.] on
appealing to the English courts, the estate was awarded to the
Englishman, as has ever been the case where English and Irish were
Thus, had it not been for the weakness of a woman, I should have
been born to the possession of those very estates which afterwards
came to me by merit, as you shall hear. But to proceed with my
My father was well known to the best circles in this kingdom, as in
that of Ireland, under the name of Roaring Harry Barry. He was bred
like many other young sons of genteel families to the profession of
the law, being articled to a celebrated attorney of Sackville Street
in the city of Dublin; and, from his great genius and aptitude for
learning, there is no doubt he would have made an eminent figure in
his profession, had not his social qualities, love of field-sports,
and extraordinary graces of manner, marked him out for a higher
sphere. While he was attorney's clerk he kept seven race-horses, and
hunted regularly both with the Kildare and Wicklow hunts; and rode
on his grey horse Endymion that famous match against Captain Punter,
which is still remembered by lovers of the sport, and of which I
caused a splendid picture to be made and hung over my dining-hall
mantelpiece at Castle Lyndon. A year afterwards he had the honour of
riding that very horse Endymion before his late Majesty King George
II. at New-market, and won the plate there and the attention of the
Although he was only the second son of our family, my dear father
came naturally into the estate (now miserably reduced to L400 a
year); for my grandfather's eldest son Cornelius Barry (called the
Chevalier Borgne, from a wound which he received in Germany)
remained constant to the old religion in which our family was
educated, and not only served abroad with credit, but against His
Most Sacred Majesty George II. in the unhappy Scotch disturbances in
'45. We shall hear more of the Chevalier hereafter.
For the conversion of my father I have to thank my dear mother, Miss
Bell Brady, daughter of Ulysses Brady of Castle Brady, county Kerry,
Esquire and J.P. She was the most beautiful woman of her day in
Dublin, and universally called the Dasher there. Seeing her at the
assembly, my father became passionately attached to her; but her
soul was above marrying a Papist or an attorney's clerk; and so, for
the love of her, the good old laws being then in force, my dear
father slipped into my uncle Cornelius's shoes and took the family
estate. Besides the force of my mother's bright eyes, several
persons, and of the genteelest society too, contributed to this
happy change; and I have often heard my mother laughingly tell the
story of my father's recantation, which was solemnly pronounced at
the tavern in the company of Sir Dick Ringwood, Lord Bagwig, Captain
Punter, and two or three other young sparks of the town. Roaring
Harry won 300 pieces that very night at faro, and laid the necessary
information the next morning against his brother; but his conversion
caused a coolness between him and my uncle Corney, who joined the
rebels in consequence.
This great difficulty being settled, my Lord Bagwig lent my father
his own yacht, then lying at the Pigeon House, and the handsome Bell
Brady was induced to run away with him to England, although her
parents were against the match, and her lovers (as I have heard her
tell many thousands of times) were among the most numerous and the
most wealthy in all the kingdom of Ireland. They were married at the
Savoy, and my grandfather dying very soon, Harry Barry, Esquire,
took possession of his paternal property and supported our
illustrious name with credit in London. He pinked the famous Count
Tiercelin behind Montague House, he was a member of 'White's,' and a
frequenter of all the chocolate-houses; and my mother, likewise,
made no small figure. At length, after his great day of triumph
before His Sacred Majesty at Newmarket, Harry's fortune was just on
the point of being made, for the gracious monarch promised to
provide for him. But alas! he was taken in charge by another
monarch, whose will have no delay or denial,--by Death, namely, who
seized upon my father at Chester races, leaving me a helpless
orphan. Peace be to his ashes! He was not faultless, and dissipated
all our princely family property; but he was as brave a fellow as
ever tossed a bumper or called a main, and he drove his coach-and-
six like a man of fashion.
I do not know whether His gracious Majesty was much affected by this
sudden demise of my father, though my mother says he shed some royal
tears on the occasion. But they helped us to nothing: and all that
was found in the house for the wife and creditors was a purse of
ninety guineas, which my dear mother naturally took, with the family
plate, and my father's wardrobe and her own; and putting them into
our great coach, drove off to Holyhead, whence she took shipping for
Ireland. My father's body accompanied us in the finest hearse and
plumes money could buy; for though the husband and wife had
quarrelled repeatedly in life, yet at my father's death his high-
spirited widow forgot all her differences, gave him the grandest
funeral that had been seen for many a day, and erected a monument
over his remains (for which I subsequently paid), which declared him
to be the wisest, purest, and most affectionate of men.
In performing these sad duties over her deceased lord, the widow
spent almost every guinea she had, and, indeed, would have spent a
great deal more, had she discharged one-third of the demands which
the ceremonies occasioned. But the people around our old house of
Barryogue, although they did not like my father for his change of
faith, yet stood by him at this moment, and were for exterminating
the mutes sent by Mr. Plumer of London with the lamented remains.
The monument and vault in the church were then, alas! all that
remained of my vast possessions; for my father had sold every stick
of the property to one Notley, an attorney, and we received but a
cold welcome in his house--a miserable old tumble-down place it was.
[Footnote: In another part of his memoir Mr. Barry will be found to
describe this mansion as one of the most splendid palaces in Europe;
but this is a practice not unusual with his nation; and with respect
to the Irish principality claimed by him, it is known that Mr.
Barry's grandfather was an attorney and maker of his own fortune.]
The splendour of the funeral did not fail to increase the widow
Barry's reputation as a woman of spirit and fashion; and when she
wrote to her brother Michael Brady, that worthy gentleman
immediately rode across the country to fling himself in her arms,
and to invite her in his wife's name to Castle Brady.
Mick and Barry had quarrelled, as all men will, and very high words
had passed between them during Barry's courtship of Miss Bell. When
he took her off, Brady swore he would never forgive Barry or Bell;
but coming to London in the year '46, he fell in once more with
Roaring Harry, and lived in his fine house in Clarges Street, and
lost a few pieces to him at play, and broke a watchman's head or two
in his company,--all of which reminiscences endeared Bell and her
son very much to the good-hearted gentleman, and he received us both
with open arms. Mrs. Barry did not, perhaps wisely, at first make
known to her friends what was her condition; but arriving in a huge
gilt coach with enormous armorial bearings, was taken by her sister-
in-law and the rest of the county for a person of considerable
property and distinction. For a time, then, and as was right and
proper, Mrs. Barry gave the law at Castle Brady. She ordered the
servants to and fro, and taught them, what indeed they much wanted,
a little London neatness; and 'English Redmond,' as I was called,
was treated like a little lord, and had a maid and a footman to
himself; and honest Mick paid their wages,--which was much more than
he was used to do for his own domestics,--doing all in his power to
make his sister decently comfortable under her afflictions. Mamma,
in return, determined that, when her affairs were arranged, she
would make her kind brother a handsome allowance for her son's
maintenance and her own; and promised to have her handsome furniture
brought over from Clarges Street to adorn the somewhat dilapidated
rooms of Castle Brady.
But it turned out that the rascally landlord seized upon every chair
and table that ought by rights to have belonged to the widow. The
estate to which I was heir was in the hands of rapacious creditors;
and the only means of subsistence remaining to the widow and child
was a rent-charge of L50 upon my Lord Bagwig's property, who had
many turf-dealings with the deceased. And so my dear mother's
liberal intentions towards her brother were of course never
It must be confessed, very much to the discredit of Mrs. Brady of
Castle Brady, that when her sister-in-law's poverty was thus made
manifest, she forgot all the respect which she had been accustomed
to pay her, instantly turned my maid and man-servant out of doors,
and told Mrs. Barry that she might follow them as soon as she chose.
Mrs. Mick was of a low family, and a sordid way of thinking; and
after about a couple of years (during which she had saved almost all
her little income) the widow complied with Madam Brady's desire. At
the same time, giving way to a just though prudently dissimulated
resentment, she made a vow that she would never enter the gates of
Castle Brady while the lady of the house remained alive within them.
She fitted up her new abode with much economy and considerable
taste, and never, for all her poverty, abated a jot of the dignity
which was her due and which all the neighbourhood awarded to her.
How, indeed, could they refuse respect to a lady who had lived in
London, frequented the most fashionable society there, and had been
presented (as she solemnly declared) at Court? These advantages gave
her a right which seems to be pretty unsparingly exercised in
Ireland by those natives who have it,--the right of looking down
with scorn upon all persons who have not had the opportunity of
quitting the mother-country and inhabiting England for a while.
Thus, whenever Madam Brady appeared abroad in a new dress, her
sister-in-law would say, 'Poor creature! how can it be expected that
she should know anything of the fashion?' And though pleased to be
called the handsome widow, as she was, Mrs. Barry was still better
pleased to be called the English widow.
Mrs. Brady, for her part, was not slow to reply: she used to say
that the defunct Barry was a bankrupt and a beggar; and as for the
fashionable society which he saw, he saw it from my Lord Bagwig's
side-table, whose flatterer and hanger-on he was known to be.
Regarding Mrs. Barry, the lady of Castle Brady would make
insinuations still more painful. However, why should we allude to
these charges, or rake up private scandal of a hundred years old? It
was in the reign of George II that the above-named personages lived
and quarrelled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they
are all equal now; and do not the Sunday papers and the courts of
law supply us every week with more novel and interesting slander?
At any rate, it must be allowed that Mrs. Barry, after her husband's
death and her retirement, lived in such a way as to defy slander.
For whereas Bell Brady had been the gayest girl in the whole county
of Wexford, with half the bachelors at her feet, and plenty of
smiles and encouragement for every one of them, Bell Barry adopted a
dignified reserve that almost amounted to pomposity, and was as
starch as any Quakeress. Many a man renewed his offers to the widow,
who had been smitten by the charms of the spinster; but Mrs. Barry
refused all offers of marriage, declaring that she lived now for her
son only, and for the memory of her departed saint.
'Saint forsooth!' said ill-natured Mrs. Brady.
'Harry Barry was as big a sinner as ever was known; and 'tis
notorious that he and Bell hated each other. If she won't marry now,
depend on it, the artful woman has a husband in her eye for all
that, and only waits until Lord Bagwig is a widower.'
And suppose she did, what then? Was not the widow of a Barry fit to
marry with any lord of England? and was it not always said that a
woman was to restore the fortunes of the Barry family? If my mother
fancied that SHE was to be that woman, I think it was a perfectly
justifiable notion on her part; for the Earl (my godfather) was
always most attentive to her: I never knew how deeply this notion of
advancing my interests in the world had taken possession of mamma's
mind, until his Lordship's marriage in the year '57 with Miss
Goldmore, the Indian nabob's rich daughter.
Meanwhile we continued to reside at Barryville, and, considering the
smallness of our income, kept up a wonderful state. Of the half-
dozen families that formed the congregation at Brady's Town, there
was not a single person whose appearance was so respectable as that
of the widow, who, though she always dressed in mourning, in memory
of her deceased husband, took care that her garments should be made
so as to set off her handsome person to the greatest advantage; and,
indeed, I think, spent six hours out of every day in the week in
cutting, trimming, and altering them to the fashion. She had the
largest of hoops and the handsomest of furbelows, and once a month
(under my Lord Bagwig's cover) would come a letter from London
containing the newest accounts of the fashions there. Her complexion
was so brilliant that she had no call to use rouge, as was the mode
in those days. No, she left red and white, she said (and hence the
reader may imagine how the two ladies hated each other) to Madam
Brady, whose yellow complexion no plaster could alter. In a word,
she was so accomplished a beauty, that all the women in the country
took pattern by her, and the young fellows from ten miles round
would ride over to Castle Brady church to have the sight of her.
But if (like every other woman that ever I saw or read of) she was
proud of her beauty, to do her justice she was still more proud of
her son, and has said a thousand times to me that I was the
handsomest young fellow in the world. This is a matter of taste. A
man of sixty may, however, say what he was at fourteen without much
vanity, and I must say I think there was some cause for my mother's
opinion. The good soul's pleasure was to dress me; and on Sundays
and holidays I turned out in a velvet coat with a silver-hilted
sword by my side and a gold garter at my knee, as fine as any lord
in the land. My mother worked me several most splendid waistcoats,
and I had plenty of lace for my ruffles, and a fresh riband to my
hair, and as we walked to church on Sundays, even envious Mrs. Brady
was found to allow that there was not a prettier pair in the
Of course, too, the lady of Castle Brady used to sneer, because on
these occasions a certain Tim, who used to be called my valet,
followed me and my mother to church, carrying a huge prayer-book and
a cane, and dressed in the livery of one of our own fine footmen
from Clarges Street, which, as Tim was a bandy-shanked little
fellow, did not exactly become him. But, though poor, we were
gentlefolks, and not to be sneered out of these becoming appendages
to our rank; and so would march up the aisle to our pew with as much
state and gravity as the Lord Lieutenant's lady and son might do.
When there, my mother would give the responses and amens in a loud
dignified voice that was delightful to hear, and, besides, had a
fine loud voice for singing, which art she had perfected in London
under a fashionable teacher; and she would exercise her talent in
such a way that you would hardly hear any other voice of the little
congregation which chose to join in the psalm. In fact, my mother
had great gifts in every way, and believed herself to be one of the
most beautiful, accomplished, and meritorious persons in the world.
Often and often has she talked to me and the neighbours regarding
her own humility and piety, pointing them out in such a way that I
would defy the most obstinate to disbelieve her.
When we left Castle Brady we came to occupy a house in Brady's town,
which mamma christened Barryville. I confess it was but a small
place, but, indeed, we made the most of it. I have mentioned the
family pedigree which hung up in the drawingroom, which mamma called
the yellow saloon, and my bedroom was called the pink bedroom, and
hers the orange tawny apartment (how well I remember them all!); and
at dinner-time Tim regularly rang a great bell, and we each had a
silver tankard to drink from, and mother boasted with justice that I
had as good a bottle of claret by my side as any squire of the land.
So indeed I had, but I was not, of course, allowed at my tender
years to drink any of the wine; which thus attained a considerable
age, even in the decanter.
Uncle Brady (in spite of the family quarrel) found out the above
fact one day by calling at Barryville at dinner-time, and unluckily
tasting the liquor. You should have seen how he sputtered and made
faces! But the honest gentleman was not particular about his wine,
or the company in which he drank it. He would get drunk, indeed,
with the parson or the priest indifferently; with the latter, much
to my mother's indignation, for, as a true blue Nassauite, she
heartily despised all those of the old faith, and would scarcely sit
down in the room with a benighted Papist. But the squire had no such
scruples; he was, indeed, one of the easiest, idlest, and best-
natured fellows that ever lived, and many an hour would he pass with
the lonely widow when he was tired of Madam Brady at home. He liked
me, he said, as much as one of his own sons, and at length, after
the widow had held out for a couple of years, she agreed to allow me
to return to the castle; though, for herself, she resolutely kept
the oath which she had made with regard to her sister-in-law.
The very first day I returned to Castle Brady my trials may be said,
in a manner, to have begun. My cousin, Master Mick, a huge monster
of nineteen (who hated me, and I promise you I returned the
compliment), insulted me at dinner about my mother's poverty, and
made all the girls of the family titter. So when we went to the
stables, whither Mick always went for his pipe of tobacco after
dinner, I told him a piece of my mind, and there was a fight for at
least ten minutes, during which I stood to him like a man, and
blacked his left eye, though I was myself only twelve years old at
the time. Of course he beat me, but a beating makes only a small
impression on a lad of that tender age, as I had proved many times
in battles with the ragged Brady's Town boys before, not one of
whom, at my time of life, was my match. My uncle was very much
pleased when he heard of my gallantry; my cousin Nora brought brown
paper and vinegar for my nose, and I went home that night with a
pint of claret under my girdle, not a little proud, let me tell you,
at having held my own against Mick so long.
And though he persisted in his bad treatment of me, and used to cane
me whenever I fell in his way, yet I was very happy now at Castle
Brady with the company there, and my cousins, or some of them, and
the kindness of my uncle, with whom I became a prodigious favourite.
He bought a colt for me, and taught me to ride. He took me out
coursing and fowling, and instructed me to shoot flying. And at
length I was released from Mick's persecution, for his brother,
Master Ulick, returning from Trinity College, and hating his elder
brother, as is mostly the way in families of fashion, took me under
his protection; and from that time, as Ulick was a deal bigger and
stronger than Mick, I, English Redmond, as I was called, was left
alone; except when the former thought fit to thrash me, which he did
whenever he thought proper.
Nor was my learning neglected in the ornamental parts, for I had an
uncommon natural genius for many things, and soon topped in
accomplishments most of the persons around me. I had a quick ear and
a fine voice, which my mother cultivated to the best of her power,
and she taught me to step a minuet gravely and gracefully, and thus
laid the foundation of my future success in life. The common dances
I learned (as, perhaps, I ought not to confess) in the servants'
hall, which, you may be sure, was never without a piper, and where I
was considered unrivalled both at a hornpipe and a jig.
In the matter of book-learning, I had always an uncommon taste for
reading plays and novels, as the best part of a gentleman's polite
education, and never let a pedlar pass the village, if I had a
penny, without having a ballad or two from him. As for your dull
grammar, and Greek and Latin and stuff, I have always hated them
from my youth upwards, and said, very unmistakably, I would have
none of them.
This I proved pretty clearly at the age of thirteen, when my aunt
Biddy Brady's legacy of L100 came in to mamma, who thought to employ
the sum on my education, and sent me to Doctor Tobias Tickler's
famous academy at Ballywhacket--Backwhacket, as my uncle used to
call it. But six weeks after I had been consigned to his reverence,
I suddenly made my appearance again at Castle Brady, having walked
forty miles from the odious place, and left the Doctor in a state
near upon apoplexy. The fact was, that at taw, prison-bars, or
boxing, I was at the head of the school, but could not be brought to
excel in the classics; and after having been flogged seven times,
without its doing me the least good in my Latin, I refused to submit
altogether (finding it useless) to an eighth application of the rod.
'Try some other way, sir,' said I, when he was for horsing me once
more; but he wouldn't; whereon, and to defend myself, I flung a
slate at him, and knocked down a Scotch usher with a leaden
inkstand. All the lads huzza'd at this, and some or the servants
wanted to stop me; but taking out a large clasp-knife that my cousin
Nora had given me, I swore I would plunge it into the waistcoat of
the first man who dared to balk me, and faith they let me pass on. I
slept that night twenty miles off Ballywhacket, at the house of a
cottier, who gave me potatoes and milk, and to whom I gave a hundred
guineas after, when I came to visit Ireland in my days of greatness.
I wish I had the money now. But what's the use of regret? I have had
many a harder bed than that I shall sleep on to-night, and many a
scantier meal than honest Phil Murphy gave me on the evening I ran
away from school. So six weeks' was all the schooling I ever got.
And I say this to let parents know the value of it; for though I
have met more learned book-worms in the world, especially a great
hulking, clumsy, blear-eyed old doctor, whom they called Johnson,
and who lived in a court off Fleet Street, in London, yet I pretty
soon silenced him in an argument (at 'Button's Coffeehouse'); and in
that, and in poetry, and what I call natural philosophy, or the
science of life, and in riding, music, leaping, the small-sword, the
knowledge of a horse, or a main of cocks, and the manners of an
accomplished gentleman and a man of fashion, I may say for myself
that Redmond Barry has seldom found his equal. 'Sir,' said I to Mr.
Johnson, on the occasion I allude to--he was accompanied by a Mr.
Buswell of Scotland, and I was presented to the club by a Mr.
Goldsmith, a countryman of my own--'Sir,' said I, in reply to the
schoolmaster's great thundering quotation in Greek, 'you fancy you
know a great deal more than me, because you quote your Aristotle and
your Pluto; but can you tell me which horse will win at Epsom Downs
next week?--Can you run six miles without breathing?--Can you shoot
the ace of spades ten times without missing? If so, talk about
Aristotle and Pluto to me.'
'D'ye knaw who ye're speaking to?' roared out the Scotch gentleman,
Mr. Boswell, at this.
'Hold your tongue, Mr. Boswell,' said the old schoolmaster. 'I had
no right to brag of my Greek to the gentleman, and he has answered
me very well.'
'Doctor,' says I, looking waggishly at him, 'do you know ever a
rhyme for ArisTOTLE?'
'Port, if you plaise,' says Mr. Goldsmith, laughing. And we had SIX
RHYMES FOR ARISTOTLE before we left the coffee-house that evening.
It became a regular joke afterwards when I told the story, and at
'White's' or the 'Cocoa-tree' you would hear the wags say, 'Waiter,
bring me one of Captain Barry's rhymes for Aristotle.' Once, when I
was in liquor at the latter place, young Dick Sheridan called me a
great Staggerite, a joke which I could never understand. But I am
wandering from my story, and must get back to home, and dear old
I have made acquaintance with the best in the land since, and my
manners are such, I have said, as to make me the equal of them all;
and, perhaps, you will wonder how a country boy, as I was, educated
amongst Irish squires, and their dependants of the stable and farm,
should arrive at possessing such elegant manners as I was
indisputably allowed to have. I had, the fact is, a very valuable
instructor in the person of an old gamekeeper, who had served the
French king at Fontenoy, and who taught me the dances and customs,
and a smattering of the language of that country, with the use of
the sword, both small and broad. Many and many a long mile I have
trudged by his side as a lad, he telling me wonderful stories of the
French king, and the Irish brigade, and Marshal Saxe, and the opera-
dancers; he knew my uncle, too, the Chevalier Borgne, and indeed had
a thousand accomplishments which he taught me in secret. I never
knew a man like him for making or throwing a fly, for physicking a
horse, or breaking, or choosing one; he taught me manly sports, from
birds'-nesting upwards, and I always shall consider Phil Purcell as
the very best tutor I could have had. His fault was drink, but for
that I have always had a blind eye; and he hated my cousin Mick like
poison; but I could excuse him that too.
With Phil, and at the age of fifteen, I was a more accomplished man
than either of my cousins; and I think Nature had been also more
bountiful to me in the matter of person. Some of the Castle Brady
girls (as you shall hear presently) adored me. At fairs and races
many of the prettiest lasses present said they would like to have me
for their bachelor; and yet somehow, it must be confessed, I was not
In the first place, every one knew I was bitter poor; and I think,
perhaps, it was my good mother's fault that I was bitter proud too.
I had a habit of boasting in company of my birth, and the splendour
of my carriages, gardens, cellars, and domestics, and this before
people who were perfectly aware of my real circumstances. If it was
boys, and they ventured to sneer, I would beat them, or die for it;
and many's the time I've been brought home well-nigh killed by one
or more of them, on what, when my mother asked me, I would say was
'a family quarrel.' 'Support your name with your blood, Reddy my
boy,' would that saint say, with the tears in her eyes; and so would
she herself have done with her voice, ay, and her teeth and nails.
Thus, at fifteen, there was scarce a lad of twenty, for half-a-dozen
miles round, that I had not beat for one cause or other. There were
the vicar's two sons of Castle Brady--in course I could not
associate with such beggarly brats as them, and many a battle did we
have as to who should take the wall in Brady's Town; there was Pat
Lurgan, the blacksmith's son, who had the better of me four times
before we came to the crowning fight, when I overcame him; and I
could mention a score more of my deeds of prowess in that way, but
that fisticuff facts are dull subjects to talk of, and to discuss
before high-bred gentlemen and ladies.
However, there is another subject, ladies, on which I must
discourse, and THAT is never out of place. Day and night you like to
hear of it: young and old, you dream and think of it. Handsome and
ugly (and, faith, before fifty, I never saw such a thing as a plain
woman), it's the subject next to the hearts of all of you; and I
think you guess my riddle without more trouble. LOVE! sure the word
is formed on purpose out of the prettiest soft vowels and consonants
in the language, and he or she who does not care to read about it is
not worth a fig, to my thinking.
My uncle's family consisted of ten children; who, as is the custom
in such large families, were divided into two camps, or parties; the
one siding with their mamma, the other taking the part of my uncle
in all the numerous quarrels which arose between that gentleman and
his lady. Mrs. Brady's faction was headed by Mick, the eldest son,
who hated me so, and disliked his father for keeping him out of his
property: while Ulick, the second brother, was his father's own boy;
and, in revenge, Master Mick was desperately afraid of him. I need
not mention the girls' names; I had plague enough with them in
after-life, Heaven knows; and one of them was the cause of all my
early troubles: this was (though to be sure all her sisters denied
it) the belle of the family, Miss Honoria Brady by name.
She said she was only nineteen at the time; but I could read the
fly-leaf in the family Bible as well as another (it was one of the
three books which, with the backgammon-board, formed my uncle's
library), and know that she was born in the year '37, and christened
by Doctor Swift, Dean of St. Patrick's, Dublin: hence she was three-
and-twenty years old at the time she and I were so much together.
When I come to think about her now, I know she never could have been
handsome; for her figure was rather of the fattest, and her mouth of
the widest; she was freckled over like a partridge's egg, and her
hair was the colour of a certain vegetable which we eat with boiled
beef, to use the mildest term. Often and often would my dear mother
make these remarks concerning her; but I did not believe them then,
and somehow had gotten to think Honoria an angelical being, far
above all the other angels of her sex.
And as we know very well that a lady who is skilled in dancing or
singing never can perfect herself without a deal of study in
private, and that the song or the minuet which is performed with so
much graceful ease in the assembly-room has not been acquired
without vast labour and perseverance in private; so it is with the
dear creatures who are skilled in coquetting. Honoria, for instance,
was always practising, and she would take poor me to rehearse her
accomplishment upon; or the exciseman, when he came his rounds, or
the steward, or the poor curate, or the young apothecary's lad from
Brady's Town: whom I recollect beating once for that very reason. If
he is alive now I make him my apologies. Poor fellow! as if it was
HIS fault that he should be a victim to the wiles of one of the
greatest coquettes (considering her obscure life and rustic
breeding) in the world.
If the truth must be told--and every word of this narrative of my
life is of the most sacred veracity--my passion for Nora began in a
very vulgar and unromantic way. I did not save her life; on the
contrary, I once very nearly killed her, as you shall hear. I did
not behold her by moonlight playing on the guitar, or rescue her
from the hands of ruffians, as Alfonso does Lindamira in the novel;
but one day, after dinner at Brady's Town, in summer, going into the
garden to pull gooseberries for my dessert, and thinking only of
gooseberries, I pledge my honour, I came upon Miss Nora and one of
her sisters, with whom she was friends at the time, who were both
engaged in the very same amusement.
'What's the Latin for gooseberry, Redmond?' says she. She was always
'poking her fun,' as the Irish phrase it.
'I know the Latin for goose,' says I.
'And what's that?' cries Miss Mysie, as pert as a peacock.
'Bo to you!' says I (for I had never a want of wit); and so we fell
to work at the gooseberry-bush, laughing and talking as happy as
might be. In the course of our diversion Nora managed to scratch her
arm, and it bled, and she screamed, and it was mighty round and
white, and I tied it up, and I believe was permitted to kiss her
hand; and though it was as big and clumsy a hand as ever you saw,
yet I thought the favour the most ravishing one that was ever
conferred upon me, and went home in a rapture.
I was much too simple a fellow to disguise any sentiment I chanced
to feel in those days; and not one of the eight Castle Brady girls
but was soon aware of my passion, and joked and complimented Nora
about her bachelor.
The torments of jealousy the cruel coquette made me endure were
horrible. Sometimes she would treat me as a child, sometimes as a
man. She would always leave me if ever there came a stranger to the
'For after all, Redmond,' she would say, 'you are but fifteen, and
you haven't a guinea in the world.' At which I would swear that I
would become the greatest hero ever known out of Ireland, and vow
that before I was twenty I would have money enough to purchase an
estate six times as big as Castle Brady. All which vain promises, of
course, I did not keep; but I make no doubt they influenced me in my
very early life, and caused me to do those great actions for which I
have been celebrated, and which shall be narrated presently in
I must tell one of them, just that my dear young lady readers may
know what sort of a fellow Redmond Barry was, and what a courage and
undaunted passion he had. I question whether any of the jenny-
jessamines of the present day would do half as much in the face of
About this time, it must be premised, the United Kingdom was in a
state of great excitement from the threat generally credited of a
French invasion. The Pretender was said to be in high favour at
Versailles, a descent upon Ireland was especially looked to, and the
noblemen and people of condition in that and all other parts of the
kingdom showed their loyalty by raising regiments of horse and foot
to resist the invaders. Brady's Town sent a company to join the
Kilwangan regiment, of which Master Mick was the captain; and we had
a letter from Master Ulick at Trinity College, stating that the
University had also formed a regiment, in which he had the honour to
be a corporal. How I envied them both! especially that odious Mick
as I saw him in his laced scarlet coat, with a ribbon in his hat,
march off at the head of his men. He, the poor spiritless creature,
was a captain, and I nothing,--I who felt I had as much courage as
the Duke of Cumberland himself, and felt, too, that a red jacket
would mightily become me! My mother said I was too young to join the
new regiment; but the fact was, that it was she herself who was too
poor, for the cost of a new uniform would have swallowed up half her
year's income, and she would only have her boy appear in a way
suitable to his birth, riding the finest of racers, dressed in the
best of clothes, and keeping the genteelest of company.
Well, then, the whole country was alive with war's alarums, the
three kingdoms ringing with military music, and every man of merit
paying his devoirs at the court of Bellona, whilst poor I was
obliged to stay at home in my fustian jacket and sigh for fame in
secret. Mr. Mick came to and fro from the regiment, and brought
numerous of his comrades with him. Their costume and swaggering airs
filled me with grief, and Miss Nora's unvarying attentions to them
served to make me half wild. No one, however, thought of attributing
this sadness to the young lady's score, but rather to my
disappointment at not being allowed to join the military profession.
Once the officers of the Fencibles gave a grand ball at Kilwangan,
to which, as a matter of course, all the ladies of Castle Brady (and
a pretty ugly coachful they were) were invited. I knew to what
tortures the odious little flirt of a Nora would put me with her
eternal coquetries with the officers, and refused for a long time to
be one of the party to the ball. But she had a way of conquering me,
against which all resistance of mine was in vain. She vowed that
riding in a coach always made her ill. 'And how can I go to the
ball,' said she, 'unless you take me on Daisy behind you on the
pillion?' Daisy was a good blood-mare of my uncle's, and to such a
proposition I could not for my soul say no; so we rode in safety to
Kilwangan, and I felt myself as proud as any prince when she
promised to dance a country-dance with me.
When the dance was ended, the little ungrateful flirt informed me
that she had quite forgotten her engagement; she had actually danced
the set with an Englishman! I have endured torments in my life, but
none like that. She tried to make up for her neglect, but I would
not. Some of the prettiest girls there offered to console me, for I
was the best dancer in the room. I made one attempt, but was too
wretched to continue, and so remained alone all night in a state of
agony. I would have played, but I had no money; only the gold piece
that my mother bade me always keep in my purse as a gentleman
should. I did not care for drink, or know the dreadful comfort of it
in those days; but I thought of killing myself and Nora, and most
certainly of making away with Captain Quin!
At last, and at morning, the ball was over. The rest of our ladies
went off in the lumbering creaking old coach; Daisy was brought out,
and Miss Nora took her place behind me, which I let her do without a
word. But we were not half-a-mile out of town when she began to try
with her coaxing and blandishments to dissipate my ill-humour.
'Sure it's a bitter night, Redmond dear, and you'll catch cold
without a handkerchief to your neck.' To this sympathetic remark
from the pillion, the saddle made no reply.
'Did you and Miss Clancy have a pleasant evening, Redmond? You were
together, I saw, all night.' To this the saddle only replied by
grinding his teeth, and giving a lash to Daisy.
'O mercy! you'll make Daisy rear and throw me, you careless creature
you: and you know, Redmond, I'm so timid.' The pillion had by this
got her arm round the saddle's waist, and perhaps gave it the
gentlest squeeze in the world.
'I hate Miss Clancy, you know I do!' answers the saddle; 'and I only
danced with her because--because--the person with whom I intended to
dance chose to be engaged the whole night.'
'Sure there were my sisters,' said the pillion, now laughing
outright in the pride of her conscious superiority; 'and for me, my
dear, I had not been in the room five minutes before I was engaged
for every single set.'
'Were you obliged to dance five times with Captain Quin?' said I;
and oh! strange delicious charm of coquetry, I do believe Miss Nora
Brady at twenty-three years of age felt a pang of delight in
thinking that she had so much power over a guileless lad of fifteen.
Of course she replied that she did not care a fig for Captain Quin:
that he danced prettily, to be sure, and was a pleasant rattle of a
man; that he looked well in his regimentals too; and if he chose to
ask her to dance, how could she refuse him?
'But you refused me, Nora.'
'Oh! I can dance with you any day,' answered Miss Nora, with a toss
of her head; 'and to dance with your cousin at a ball, looks as if
you could find no other partner. Besides,' said Nora--and this was a
cruel, unkind cut, which showed what a power she had over me, and
how mercilessly she used it,--'besides, Redmond, Captain Quin's a
man and you are only a boy!'
'If ever I meet him again,' I roared out with an oath, 'you shall
see which is the best man of the two. I'll fight him with sword or
with pistol, captain as he is. A man indeed! I'll fight any man--
every man! Didn't I stand up to Mick Brady when I was eleven years
old?--Didn't I beat Tom Sullivan, the great hulking brute, who is
nineteen?--Didn't I do for the Scotch usher? O Nora, it's cruel of
you to sneer at me so!'
But Nora was in the sneering mood that night, and pursued her
sarcasms; she pointed out that Captain Quin was already known as a
valiant soldier, famous as a man of fashion in London, and that it
was mighty well of Redmond to talk and boast of beating ushers and
farmers' boys, but to fight an Englishman was a very different
Then she fell to talk of the invasion, and of military matters in
general; of King Frederick (who was called, in those days, the
Protestant hero), of Monsieur Thurot and his fleet, of Monsieur
Conflans and his squadron, of Minorca, how it was attacked, and
where it was; we both agreed it must be in America, and hoped the
French might be soundly beaten there.
I sighed after a while (for I was beginning to melt), and said how
much I longed to be a soldier; on which Nora recurred to her
infallible 'Ah! now, would you leave me, then? But, sure, you're not
big enough for anything more than a little drummer.' To which I
replied, by swearing that a soldier I would be, and a general too.
As we were chattering in this silly way, we came to a place that has
ever since gone by the name of Redmond's Leap Bridge. It was an old
high bridge, over a stream sufficiently deep and rocky, and as the
mare Daisy with her double load was crossing this bridge, Miss Nora,
giving a loose to her imagination, and still harping on the military
theme (I would lay a wager that she was thinking of Captain Quin)--
Miss Nora said, 'Suppose now, Redmond, you, who are such a hero, was
passing over the bridge, and the inimy on the other side?'
'I'd draw my sword, and cut my way through them.'
'What, with me on the pillion? Would you kill poor me?' (This young
lady was perpetually speaking of 'poor me!')
'Well, then, I'll tell you what I'd do. I'd jump Daisy into the
river, and swim you both across, where no enemy could follow us.'
'Jump twenty feet! you wouldn't dare to do any such thing on Daisy.
There's the Captain's horse, Black George, I've heard say that
She never finished the word, for, maddened by the continual
recurrence of that odious monosyllable, I shouted to her to 'hold
tight by my waist,' and, giving Daisy the spur, in a minute sprang
with Nora over the parapet into the deep water below. I don't know
why, now--whether it was I wanted to drown myself and Nora, or to
perform an act that even Captain Quin should crane at, or whether I
fancied that the enemy actually was in front of us, I can't tell
now; but over I went. The horse sank over his head, the girl
screamed as she sank and screamed as she rose, and I landed her,
half fainting, on the shore, where we were soon found by my uncle's
people, who returned on hearing the screams. I went home, and was
ill speedily of a fever, which kept me to my bed for six weeks; and
I quitted my couch prodigiously increased in stature, and, at the
same time, still more violently in love than I had been even before.
At the commencement of my illness, Miss Nora had been pretty
constant in her attendance at my bedside, forgetting, for the sake
of me, the quarrel between my mother and her family; which my good
mother was likewise pleased, in the most Christian manner, to
forget. And, let me tell you, it was no small mark of goodness in a
woman of her haughty disposition, who, as a rule, never forgave
anybody, for my sake to give up her hostility to Miss Brady, and to
receive her kindly. For, like a mad boy as I was, it was Nora I was
always raving about and asking for; I would only accept medicines
from her hand, and would look rudely and sulkily upon the good
mother, who loved me better than anything else in the world, and
gave up even her favourite habits, and proper and becoming
jealousies, to make me happy.
As I got well, I saw that Nora's visits became daily more rare: 'Why
don't she come?' I would say, peevishly, a dozen times in the day;
in reply to which query, Mrs. Barry would be obliged to make the
best excuses she could find,--such as that Nora had sprained her
ankle, or that they had quarrelled together, or some other answer to
soothe me. And many a time has the good soul left me to go and break
her heart in her own room alone, and come back with a smiling face,
so that I should know nothing of her mortification. Nor, indeed, did
I take much pains to ascertain it: nor should I, I fear, have been
very much touched even had I discovered it; for the commencement of
manhood, I think, is the period of our extremest selfishness. We get
such a desire then to take wing and leave the parent nest, that no
tears, entreaties, or feelings of affection will counter-balance
this overpowering longing after independence. She must have been
very sad, that poor mother of mine--Heaven be good to her!--at that
period of my life; and has often told me since what a pang of the
heart it was to her to see all her care and affection of years
forgotten by me in a minute, and for the sake of a little heartless
jilt, who was only playing with me while she could get no better
suitor. For the fact is, that during the last four weeks of my
illness, no other than Captain Quin was staying at Castle Brady, and
making love to Miss Nora in form. My mother did not dare to break
this news to me, and you may be sure that Nora herself kept it a
secret: it was only by chance that I discovered it.
Shall I tell you how? The minx had been to see me one day, as I sat
up in my bed, convalescent; she was in such high spirits, and so
gracious and kind to me, that my heart poured over with joy and
gladness, and I had even for my poor mother a kind word and a kiss
that morning. I felt myself so well that I ate up a whole chicken,
and promised my uncle, who had come to see me, to be ready against
partridge-shooting, to accompany him, as my custom was.
The next day but one was a Sunday, and I had a project for that day
which I determined to realise, in spite of all the doctor's and my
mother's injunctions: which were that I was on no account to leave
the house, for the fresh air would be the death of me.
Well, I lay wondrous quiet, composing a copy of verses, the first I
ever made in my life; and I give them here, spelt as I spelt them in
those days when I knew no better. And though they are not so
polished and elegant as 'Ardelia ease a Love-sick Swain,' and 'When
Sol bedecks the Daisied Mead,' and other lyrical effusions of mine
which obtained me so much reputation in after life, I still think
them pretty good for a humble lad of fifteen:--
THE ROSE OF FLORA.
Sent by a Young Gentleman of Quality to Miss Br-dy, of Castle Brady.
On Brady's tower there grows a flower,
It is the loveliest flower that blows,--
At Castle Brady there lives a lady
(And how I love her no one knows):
Her name is Nora, and the goddess Flora
Presents her with this blooming rose.
'O Lady Nora,' says the goddess Flora,
'I've many a rich and bright parterre;
In Brady's towers there's seven more flowers,
But you're the fairest lady there:
Not all the county, nor Ireland's bounty,
Can projuice a treasure that's half so fair!
What cheek is redder? sure roses fed her!
Her hair is maregolds, and her eye of blew
Beneath her eyelid is like the vi'let,
That darkly glistens with gentle jew?
The lily's nature is not surely whiter
Than Nora's neck is,--and her arrums too.
'Come, gentle Nora,' says the goddess Flora,
'My dearest creature, take my advice,
There is a poet, full well you know it,
Who spends his lifetime in heavy sighs,--
Young Redmond Barry, 'tis him you'll marry,
If rhyme and raisin you'd choose likewise.'
On Sunday, no sooner was my mother gone to church, than I summoned
Phil the valet, and insisted upon his producing my best suit, in
which I arrayed myself (although I found that I had shot up so in my
illness that the old dress was wofully too small for me), and, with
my notable copy of verses in my hand, ran down towards Castle Brady,
bent upon beholding my beauty. The air was so fresh and bright, and
the birds sang so loud amidst the green trees, that I felt more
elated than I had been for months before, and sprang down the avenue
(my uncle had cut down every stick of the trees, by the way) as
brisk as a young fawn. My heart began to thump as I mounted the
grass-grown steps of the terrace, and passed in by the rickety hall-
door. The master and mistress were at church, Mr. Screw the butler
told me (after giving a start back at seeing my altered appearance,
and gaunt lean figure), and so were six of the young ladies.
'Was Miss Nora one?' I asked.
'No, Miss Nora was not one,' said Mr. Screw, assuming a very
puzzled, and yet knowing look.
'Where was she?' To this question he answered, or rather made
believe to answer, with usual Irish ingenuity, and left me to settle
whether she was gone to Kilwangan on the pillion behind her brother,
or whether she and her sister had gone for a walk, or whether she
was ill in her room; and while I was settling this query, Mr. Screw
left me abruptly.
I rushed away to the back court, where the Castle Brady stables
stand, and there I found a dragoon whistling the 'Roast Beef of Old
England,' as he cleaned down a cavalry horse. 'Whose horse, fellow,
is that?' cried I.
'Feller, indeed!' replied the Englishman: 'the horse belongs to my
captain, and he's a better FELLER nor you any day.'
I did not stop to break his bones, as I would on another occasion,
for a horrible suspicion had come across me, and I made for the
garden as quickly as I could.
I knew somehow what I should see there. I saw Captain Quin and Nora
pacing the alley together. Her arm was under his, and the scoundrel
was fondling and squeezing the hand which lay closely nestling
against his odious waistcoat. Some distance beyond them was Captain
Fagan of the Kilwangan regiment, who was paying court to Nora's
I am not afraid of any man or ghost; but as I saw that sight my
knees fell a-trembling violently under me, and such a sickness came
over me, that I was fain to sink down on the grass by a tree against
which I leaned, and lost almost all consciousness for a minute or
two: then I gathered myself up, and, advancing towards the couple on
the walk, loosened the blade of the little silver-hilted hanger I
always wore in its scabbard; for I was resolved to pass it through
the bodies of the delinquents, and spit them like two pigeons. I
don't tell what feelings else besides those of rage were passing
through my mind; what bitter blank disappointment, what mad wild
despair, what a sensation as if the whole world was tumbling from
under me; I make no doubt that my reader hath been jilted by the
ladies many times, and so bid him recall his own sensations when the
shock first fell upon him.
'No, Norelia,' said the Captain (for it was the fashion of those
times for lovers to call themselves by the most romantic names out
of novels), 'except for you and four others, I vow before all the
gods, my heart has never felt the soft flame!'
'Ah! you men, you men, Eugenio!' said she (the beast's name was
John), 'your passion is not equal to ours. We are like--like some
plant I've read of--we bear but one flower and then we die!'
'Do you mean you never felt an inclination for another?' said
'Never, my Eugenio, but for thee! How can you ask a blushing nymph
such a question?'
'Darling Norelia!' said he, raising her hand to his lips.
I had a knot of cherry-coloured ribands, which she had given me out
of her breast, and which somehow I always wore upon me. I pulled
these out of my bosom, and flung them in Captain Quin's face, and
rushed out with my little sword drawn, shrieking, 'She's a liar--
she's a liar, Captain Quin! Draw, sir, and defend yourself, if you
are a man!' and with these words I leapt at the monster, and
collared him, while Nora made the air echo with her screams; at the
sound of which the other captain and Mysie hastened up.
Although I sprang up like a weed in my illness, and was now nearly
attained to my full growth of six feet, yet I was but a lath by the
side of the enormous English captain, who had calves and shoulders
such as no chairman at Bath ever boasted. He turned very red, and
then exceedingly pale at my attack upon him, and slipped back and
clutched at his sword--when Nora, in an agony of terror, flung
herself round him, screaming, 'Eugenio! Captain Quin, for Heaven's
sake spare the child--he is but an infant.'
'And ought to be whipped for his impudence,' said the Captain; 'but
never fear, Miss Brady, I shall not touch him; your FAVOURITE is
safe from me.' So saying, he stooped down and picked up the bunch of
ribands which had fallen at Nora's feet, and handing it to her, said
in a sarcastic tone, 'When ladies make presents to gentlemen, it is
time for OTHER gentlemen to retire.'
'Good heavens, Quin!' cried the girl; 'he is but a boy.'
'I am a man,' roared I, 'and will prove it.'
'And don't signify any more than my parrot or lap-dog. Mayn't I give
a bit of riband to my own cousin?'
'You are perfectly welcome, miss,' continued the Captain, 'as many
yards as you like.'
'Monster!' exclaimed the dear girl; 'your father was a tailor, and
you are always thinking of the shop. But I'll have my revenge, I
will! Reddy, will you see me insulted?'
'Indeed, Miss Nora,' says I, 'I intend to have his blood as sure as
my name's Redmond.'
'I'll send for the usher to cane you, little boy,' said the Captain,
regaining his self-possession; 'but as for you, miss, I have the
honour to wish you a good-day.'
He took off his hat with much ceremony, made a low CONGE, and was
just walking off, when Mick, my cousin, came up, whose ear had
likewise been caught by the scream.
'Hoity-toity! Jack Quin, what's the matter here?' says Mick; 'Nora
in tears, Redmond's ghost here with his sword drawn, and you making
'I'll tell you what it is, Mr. Brady,' said the Englishman: 'I have
had enough of Miss Nora, here, and your Irish ways. I ain't used to
'Well, well! what is it?' said Mick good-humouredly (for he owed
Quin a great deal of money as it turned out); 'we'll make you used
to our ways, or adopt English ones.'
'It's not the English way for ladies to have two lovers' (the
'Henglish way,' as the captain called it), 'and so, Mr. Brady, I'll
thank you to pay me the sum you owe me, and I'll resign all claims
to this young lady. If she has a fancy for schoolboys, let her take
'Pooh, pooh! Quin, you are joking,' said Mick.
'I never was more in earnest,' replied the other.
'By Heaven, then, look to yourself!' shouted Mick. 'Infamous
seducer! infernal deceiver!--you come and wind your toils round this
suffering angel here--you win her heart and leave her--and fancy her
brother won't defend her? Draw this minute, you slave! and let me
cut the wicked heart out of your body!'
'This is regular assassination,' said Quin, starting back; 'there's
two on 'em on me at once. Fagan, you won't let 'em murder me?'
'Faith!' said Captain Fagan, who seemed mightily amused, 'you may
settle your own quarrel, Captain Quin;' and coming over to me,
whispered, 'At him again, you little fellow.'
'As long as Mr. Quin withdraws his claim,' said I, 'I, of course, do
'I do, sir--I do,' said Mr. Quin, more and more flustered.
'Then defend yourself like a man, curse you!' cried Mick again.
'Mysie, lead this poor victim away--Redmond and Fagan will see fair
play between us.'
'Well now--I don't--give me time--I'm puzzled--I--I don't know which
way to look.'
'Like the donkey betwixt the two bundles of hay,' said Mr. Fagan
drily, 'and there's pretty pickings on either side.'
I SHOW MYSELF TO BE A MAN OF SPIRIT
During this dispute, my cousin Nora did the only thing that a lady,
under such circumstances, could do, and fainted in due form. I was
in hot altercation with Mick at the time, or I should have, of
course, flown to her assistance, but Captain Fagan (a dry sort of
fellow this Fagan was) prevented me, saying, 'I advise you to leave
the young lady to herself, Master Redmond, and be sure she will come
to.' And so indeed, after a while, she did, which has shown me since
that Fagan knew the world pretty well, for many's the lady I've seen
in after times recover in a similar manner. Quin did not offer to
help her, you may be sure, for, in the midst of the diversion,
caused by her screaming, the faithless bully stole away.
'Which of us is Captain Quin to engage?' said I to Mick; for it was
my first affair, and I was as proud of it as of a suit of laced
velvet. 'Is it you or I, Cousin Mick, that is to have the honour of
chastising this insolent Englishman?' And I held out my hand as I
spoke, for my heart melted towards my cousin under the triumph of
But he rejected the proffered offer of friendship. 'You--you!' said
he, in a towering passion; 'hang you for a meddling brat: your hand
is in everybody's pie. What business had you to come brawling and
quarrelling here, with a gentleman who has fifteen hundred a year?'
'Oh,' gasped Nora, from the stone bench, 'I shall die: I know I
shall. I shall never leave this spot.'
'The Captain's not gone yet,' whispered Fagan; on which Nora, giving
him an indignant look, jumped up and walked towards the house.
'Meanwhile,' Mick continued, 'what business have you, you meddling
rascal, to interfere with a daughter of this house?'
'Rascal yourself!' roared I: 'call me another such name, Mick Brady,
and I'll drive my hanger into your weasand. Recollect, I stood to
you when I was eleven years old. I'm your match now, and, by Jove,
provoke me, and I'll beat you like--like your younger brother always
did.' That was a home-cut, and I saw Mick turn blue with fury.
'This is a pretty way to recommend yourself to the family,' said
Fagan, in a soothing tone.
'The girl's old enough to be his mother,' growled Mick.
'Old or not,' I replied: 'you listen to this, Mick Brady' (and I
swore a tremendous oath, that need not be put down here): 'the man
that marries Nora Brady must first kill me--do you mind that?'
'Pooh, sir,' said Mick, turning away, 'kill you--flog you, you mean!
I'll send for Nick the huntsman to do it;' and so he went off.
Captain Fagan now came up, and taking me kindly by the hand, said I
was a gallant lad, and he liked my spirit. 'But what Brady says is
true,' continued he; 'it's a hard thing to give a lad counsel who is
in such a far-gone state as you; but, believe me, I know the world,
and if you will but follow my advice, you won't regret having taken
it. Nora Brady has not a penny; you are not a whit richer. You are
but fifteen, and she's four-and-twenty. In ten years, when you're
old enough to marry, she will be an old woman; and, my poor boy,
don't you see--though it's a hard matter to see--that she's a flirt,
and does not care a pin for you or Quin either?'
But who in love (or in any other point, for the matter of that)
listens to advice? I never did, and I told Captain Fagan fairly,
that Nora might love me or not as she liked, but that Quin should
fight me before he married her--that I swore.
'Faith,' says Fagan, 'I think you are a lad that's likely to keep
your word;' and, looking hard at me for a second or two, he walked
away likewise, humming a tune: and I saw he looked back at me as he
went through the old gate out of the garden. When he was gone, and I
was quite alone, I flung myself down on the bench where Nora had
made believe to faint, and had left her handkerchief; and, taking it
up, hid my face in it, and burst into such a passion of tears as I
would then have had nobody see for the world. The crumpled riband
which I had flung at Quin lay in the walk, and I sat there for
hours, as wretched as any man in Ireland, I believe, for the time
being. But it's a changeable world! When we consider how great our
sorrows SEEM, and how small they ARE; how we think we shall die of
grief, and how quickly we forget, I think we ought to be ashamed of
ourselves and our fickle-heartedness. For, after all, what business
has time to bring us consolation? I have not, perhaps, in the course
of my multifarious adventures and experience, hit upon the right
woman; and have forgotten, after a little, every single creature I
adored; but I think, if I could but have lighted on the right one, I
would have loved her for EVER.
I must have sat for some hours bemoaning myself on the garden bench,
for it was morning when I came to Castle Brady, and the dinner-bell
clanged as usual at three o'clock, which wakened me up from my
reverie. Presently I gathered up the handkerchief, and once more
took the riband. As I passed through the offices, I saw the
Captain's saddle was still hanging up at the stable-door, and saw
his odious red-coated brute of a servant swaggering with the
scullion-girls and kitchen-people. 'The Englishman's still there,
Master Redmond,' said one of the maids to me (a sentimental black-
eyed girl, who waited on the young ladies). 'He's there in the
parlour, with the sweetest fillet of vale; go in, and don't let him
browbeat you, Master Redmond.'
And in I went, and took my place at the bottom of the big table, as
usual, and my friend the butler speedily brought me a cover.
'Hallo, Reddy my boy!' said my uncle, 'up and well?--that's right.'
'He'd better be home with his mother,' growled my aunt.
'Don't mind her,' says Uncle Brady; 'it's the cold goose she ate at
breakfast didn't agree with her. Take a glass of spirits, Mrs.
Brady, to Redmond's health.' It was evident he did not know of what
had happened; but Mick, who was at dinner too, and Ulick, and almost
all the girls, looked exceedingly black, and the Captain foolish;
and Miss Nora, who was again by his side, ready to cry. Captain
Fagan sat smiling; and I looked on as cold as a stone. I thought the
dinner would choke me: but I was determined to put a good face on
it, and when the cloth was drawn, filled my glass with the rest; and
we drank the King and the Church, as gentlemen should. My uncle was
in high good-humour, and especially always joking with Nora and the
Captain. It was, 'Nora, divide that merry-thought with the Captain!
see who'll be married first.' 'Jack Quin, my dear boy, never mind a
clean glass for the claret, we're short of crystal at Castle Brady;
take Nora's and the wine will taste none the worse;' and so on. He
was in the highest glee,--I did not know why. Had there been a
reconciliation between the faithless girl and her lover since they
had come into the house?
I learned the truth very soon. At the third toast, it was always the
custom for the ladies to withdraw; but my uncle stopped them this
time, in spite of the remonstrances of Nora, who said, 'Oh, pa! do
let us go!' and said, 'No, Mrs. Brady and ladies, if you plaise;
this is a sort of toast that is drunk a great dale too seldom in my
family, and you'll plaise to receive it with all the honours. Here's
CAPTAIN AND MRS. JOHN QUIN, and long life to them. Kiss her, Jack,
you rogue: for 'faith you've got a treasure!'
'He has already '----I screeched out, springing up.
'Hold your tongue, you fool--hold your tongue!' said big Ulick, who
sat by me; but I wouldn't hear.
'He has already,' I screamed, 'been slapped in the face this
morning, Captain John Quin; he's already been called coward, Captain
John Quin; and this is the way I'll drink his health. Here's your
health, Captain John Quin!' And I flung a glass of claret into his
face. I don't know how he looked after it, for the next moment I
myself was under the table, tripped up by Ulick, who hit me a
violent cuff on the head as I went down; and I had hardly leisure to
hear the general screaming and skurrying that was taking place above
me, being so fully occupied with kicks, and thumps, and curses, with
which Ulick was belabouring me. 'You fool!' roared he--' you great
blundering marplot--you silly beggarly brat' (a thump at each),
'hold your tongue!' These blows from Ulick, of course, I did not
care for, for he had always been my friend, and had been in the
habit of thrashing me all my life.
When I got up from under the table all the ladies were gone; and I
had the satisfaction of seeing the Captain's nose was bleeding, as
mine was--HIS was cut across the bridge, and his beauty spoiled for
ever. Ulick shook himself, sat down quietly, filled a bumper, and
pushed the bottle to me. 'There, you young donkey,' said he, 'sup
that; and let's hear no more of your braying.'
'In Heaven's name, what does all the row mean?' says my uncle. 'Is
the boy in the fever again?'
'It's all your fault,' said Mick sulkily: 'yours and those who
brought him here.'
'Hold your noise, Mick!' says Ulick, turning on him; 'speak civil of
my father and me, and don't let me be called upon to teach you
'It IS your fault,' repeated Mick. 'What business has the vagabond
here? If I had my will, I'd have him flogged and turned out.'
'And so he should be,' said Captain Quin.
'You'd best not try it, Quin,' said Ulick, who was always my
champion; and turning to his father, 'The fact is, sir, that the
young monkey has fallen in love with Nora, and finding her and the
Captain mighty sweet in the garden to-day, he was for murdering Jack
'Gad, he's beginning young,' said my uncle, quite good-humouredly.
''Faith, Fagan, that boy's a Brady, every inch of him.'
'And I'll tell you what, Mr. B.,' cried Quin, bristling up: 'I've
been insulted grossly in this 'OUSE. I ain't at all satisfied with
these here ways of going on. I'm an Englishman I am, and a man of
property; and I--I'--'If you're insulted, and not satisfied,
remember there's two of us, Quin,' said Ulick gruffly. On which the
Captain fell to washing his nose in water, and answered never a
'Mr. Quin,' said I, in the most dignified tone I could assume, 'may
also have satisfaction any time he pleases, by calling on Redmond
Barry, Esquire, of Barryville.' At which speech my uncle burst out
a-laughing (as he did at everything); and in this laugh, Captain
Fagan, much to my mortification, joined. I turned rather smartly
upon him, however, and bade him to understand that as for my cousin
Ulick, who had been my best friend through life, I could put up with
rough treatment from him; yet, though I was a boy, even that sort of
treatment I would bear from him no longer; and any other person who
ventured on the like would find me a man, to their cost. 'Mr. Quin,'
I added, 'knows that fact very well; and if HE'S a man, he'll know
where to find me.'
My uncle now observed that it was getting late, and that my mother
would be anxious about me. 'One of you had better go home with him,'
said he, turning to his sons, 'or the lad may be playing more
pranks.' But Ulick said, with a nod to his brother, 'Both of us ride
home with Quin here.'
'I'm not afraid of Freny's people,' said the Captain, with a faint
attempt at a laugh; 'my man is armed, and so am I.'
'You know the use of arms very well, Quin,' said Ulick; 'and no one
can doubt your courage; but Mick and I will see you home for all
'Why, you'll not be home till morning, boys. Kilwangan's a good ten
mile from here.'
'We'll sleep at Quin's quarters,' replied Ulick: 'WE'RE GOING TO
STOP A WEEK THERE.'
'Thank you,' says Quin, very faint; 'it's very kind of you.'
'You'll be lonely, you know, without us.'
'Oh yes, very lonely!' says Quin.
'And in ANOTHER WEEK, my boy,' says Ulick (and here he whispered
something in the Captain's ear, in which I thought I caught the
words 'marriage,' 'parson,' and felt all my fury returning again).
'As you please,' whined out the Captain; and the horses were
quickly brought round, and the three gentlemen rode away.
Fagan stopped, and, at my uncle's injunction, walked across the old
treeless park with me. He said that after the quarrel at dinner, he
thought I would scarcely want to see the ladies that night, in which
opinion I concurred entirely; and so we went off without an adieu.
'A pretty day's work of it you have made, Master Redmond,' said he.
'What! you a friend to the Bradys, and knowing your uncle to be
distressed for money, try and break off a match which will bring
fifteen hundred a year into the family? Quin has promised to pay off
the four thousand pounds which is bothering your uncle so. He takes
a girl without a penny--a girl with no more beauty than yonder
bullock. Well, well, don't look furious; let's say she IS handsome--
there's no accounting for tastes,--a girl that has been flinging
herself at the head of every man in these parts these ten years
past, and MISSING them all. And you, as poor as herself, a boy of
fifteen--well, sixteen, if you insist--and a boy who ought to be
attached to your uncle as to your father'--
'And so I am,' said I.
'And this is the return you make him for his kindness! Didn't he
harbour you in his house when you were an orphan, and hasn't he
given you rent-free your fine mansion of Barryville yonder? And now,
when his affairs can be put into order, and a chance offers for his
old age to be made comfortable, who flings himself in the way of him
and competence?--You, of all others; the man in the world most
obliged to him. It's wicked, ungrateful, unnatural. From a lad of
such spirit as you are, I expect a truer courage.'
'I am not afraid of any man alive,' exclaimed I (for this latter
part of the Captain's argument had rather staggered me, and I
wished, of course, to turn it--as one always should when the enemy's
too strong); 'and it's _I_ am the injured man, Captain Fagan. No man
was ever, since the world began, treated so. Look here--look at this
riband. I've worn it in my heart for six months. I've had it there
all the time of the fever. Didn't Nora take it out of her own bosom
and give it me? Didn't she kiss me when she gave it me, and call me
her darling Redmond?'
'She was PRACTISING,' replied Mr. Fagan, with a sneer. 'I know
women, sir. Give them time, and let nobody else come to the house,
and they'll fall in love with a chimney-sweep. There was a young
lady in Fermoy'--
'A young lady in flames,' roared I (but I used a still hotter word).
'Mark this; come what will of it, I swear I'll fight the man who
pretends to the hand of Nora Brady. I'll follow him, if it's into
the church, and meet him there. I'll have his blood, or he shall
have mine; and this riband shall be found dyed in it. Yes, and if I
kill him, I'll pin it on his breast, and then she may go and take
back her token.' This I said because I was very much excited at the
time, and because I had not read novels and romantic plays for
'Well,' says Fagan after a pause, 'if it must be, it must. For a
young fellow, you are the most blood-thirsty I ever saw. Quin's a
determined fellow, too.'
'Will you take my message to him?' said I, quite eagerly.
'Hush!' said Fagan: 'your mother may be on the look-out. Here we
are, close to Barryville.'
'Mind! not a word to my mother,' I said; and went into the house
swelling with pride and exultation to think that I should have a
chance against the Englishman I hated so.
Tim, my servant, had come up from Barryville on my mother's return
from church; for the good lady was rather alarmed at my absence, and
anxious for my return. But he had seen me go in to dinner, at the
invitation of the sentimental lady's-maid; and when he had had his
own share of the good things in the kitchen, which was always better
furnished than ours at home, had walked back again to inform his
mistress where I was, and, no doubt, to tell her, in his own
fashion, of all the events that had happened at Castle Brady. In
spite of my precautions to secrecy, then, I half suspected that my
mother knew all, from the manner in which she embraced me on my
arrival, and received our guest, Captain Fagan. The poor soul looked
a little anxious and flushed, and every now and then gazed very hard
in the Captain's face; but she said not a word about the quarrel,
for she had a noble spirit, and would as lief have seen anyone of
her kindred hanged as shirking from the field of honour. What has
become of those gallant feelings nowadays? Sixty years ago a man was
a MAN, in old Ireland, and the sword that was worn by his side was
at the service of any gentleman's gizzard, upon the slightest
difference. But the good old times and usages are fast fading away.
One scarcely every hears of a fair meeting now, and the use of those
cowardly pistols, in place of the honourable and manly weapon of
gentlemen, has introduced a deal of knavery into the practice of
duelling, that cannot be sufficiently deplored.
When I arrived at home I felt that I was a man in earnest, and
welcoming Captain Fagan to Barryville, and introducing him to my
mother, in a majestic and dignified way, said the Captain must be
thirsty after his walk, and called upon Tim to bring up a bottle of
the yellow-sealed Bordeaux, and cakes and glasses, immediately.
Tim looked at the mistress in great wonderment: and the fact is,
that six hours previous I would as soon have thought of burning the
house down as calling for a bottle of claret on my own account; but
I felt I was a man now, and had a right to command; and my mother
felt this too, for she turned to the fellow and said, sharply,
'Don't you hear, you rascal, what YOUR MASTER says! Go, get the
wine, and the cakes and glasses, directly.' Then (for you may be
sure she did not give Tim the keys of our little cellar) she went
and got the liquor herself; and Tim brought it in, on the silver
tray, in due form. My dear mother poured out the wine, and drank the
Captain welcome; but I observed her hand shook very much as she
performed this courteous duty, and the bottle went clink, clink,
against the glass. When she had tasted her glass, she said she had a
headache, and would go to bed; and so I asked her blessing, as
becomes a dutiful son--(the modern BLOODS have given up the
respectful ceremonies which distinguished a gentleman in my time)--
and she left me and Captain Fagan to talk over our important
'Indeed,' said the Captain,' I see now no other way out of the
scrape than a meeting. The fact is, there was a talk of it at Castle
Brady, after your attack upon Quin this afternoon, and he vowed that
he would cut you in pieces: but the tears and supplications of Miss
Honoria induced him, though very unwillingly, to relent. Now,
however, matters have gone too far. No officer, bearing His
Majesty's commission, can receive a glass of wine on his nose--this
claret of yours is very good, by the way, and by your leave we'll
ring for another bottle--without resenting the affront. Fight you
must; and Quin is a huge strong fellow.'
'He'll give the better mark,' said I. 'I am not afraid of him.'
'In faith,' said the Captain,' I believe you are not; for a lad, I
never saw more game in my life.'
'Look at that sword, sir,' says I, pointing to an elegant silver-
mounted one, in a white shagreen case, that hung on the mantelpiece,
under the picture of my father, Harry Barry. 'It was with that
sword, sir, that my father pinked Mohawk O'Driscol, in Dublin, in
the year 1740; with that sword, sir, he met Sir Huddlestone
Fuddlestone, the Hampshire baronet, and ran him through the neck.
They met on horseback, with sword and pistol, on Hounslow Heath, as
I dare say you have heard tell of, and those are the pistols' (they
hung on each side of the picture) 'which the gallant Barry used. He
was quite in the wrong, having insulted Lady Fuddlestone, when in
liquor, at the Brentford assembly. But, like a gentleman, he scorned
to apologise, and Sir Huddlestone received a ball through his hat,
before they engaged with the sword. I am Harry Barry's son, sir, and
will act as becomes my name and my quality.'
'Give me a kiss, my dear boy,' said Fagan, with tears in his eyes.
'You're after my own soul. As long as Jack Fagan lives you shall
never want a friend or a second.'
Poor fellow! he was shot six months afterwards, carrying orders to
my Lord George Sackville, at Minden, and I lost thereby a kind
friend. But we don't know what is in store for us, and that night
was a merry one at least. We had a second bottle, and a third too (I
could hear the poor mother going downstairs for each, but she never
came into the parlour with them, and sent them in by the butler, Mr.
Tim): and we parted at length, he engaging to arrange matters with
Mr. Quin's second that night, and to bring me news in the morning as
to the place where the meeting should take place. I have often
thought since, how different my fate might have been, had I not
fallen in love with Nora at that early age; and had I not flung the
wine in Quin's face, and so brought on the duel. I might have
settled down in Ireland but for that (for Miss Quinlan was an
heiress, within twenty miles of us, and Peter Burke, of Kilwangan,
left his daughter Judy L700 a year, and I might have had either of
them, had I waited a few years). But it was in my fate to be a
wanderer, and that battle with Quin sent me on my travels at a very
early age: as you shall hear anon.
I never slept sounder in my life, though I woke a little earlier
than usual; and you may be sure my first thought was of the event of
the day, for which I was fully prepared. I had ink and pen in my
room--had I not been writing those verses to Nora but the day
previous, like a poor fond fool as I was? And now I sat down and
wrote a couple of letters more: they might be the last, thought I,
that I ever should write in my life. The first was to my mother:--
'Honoured Madam'--I wrote--'This will not be given you unless I fall
by the hand of Captain Quin, whom I meet this day in the field of
honour, with sword and pistol. If I die, it is as a good Christian
and a gentleman,--how should I be otherwise when educated by such a
mother as you? I forgive all my enemies--I beg your blessing as a
dutiful son. I desire that my mare Nora, which my uncle gave me, and
which I called after the most faithless of her sex, may be returned
to Castle Brady, and beg you will give my silver-hiked hanger to
Phil Purcell, the gamekeeper. Present my duty to my uncle and Ulick,
and all the girls of MY party there. And I remain your dutiful son,
To Nora I wrote:--
'This letter will be found in my bosom along with the token you gave
me. It will be dyed in my blood (unless I have Captain Quin's, whom
I hate, but forgive), and will be a pretty ornament for you on your
marriage-day. Wear it, and think of the poor boy to whom you gave
it, and who died (as he was always ready to do) for your sake.
These letters being written, and sealed with my father's great
silver seal of the Barry arms, I went down to breakfast; where my
mother was waiting for me, you may be sure. We did not say a single
word about what was taking place: on the contrary, we talked of
anything but that; about who was at church the day before, and about
my wanting new clothes now I was grown so tall. She said I must have
a suit against winter, if--if--she could afford it. She winced
rather at the 'if,' Heaven bless her! I knew what was in her mind.
And then she fell to telling me about the black pig that must be
killed, and that she had found the speckled hen's nest that morning,
whose eggs I liked so, and other such trifling talk. Some of these
eggs were for breakfast, and I ate them with a good appetite; but in
helping myself to salt I spilled it, on which she started up with a
scream. 'THANK GOD,' said she, 'IT'S FALLEN TOWARDS ME.' And then,
her heart being too full, she left the room. Ah! they have their
faults, those mothers; but are there any other women like them?
When she was gone I went to take down the sword with which my father
had vanquished the Hampshire baronet, and, would you believe it?--
the brave woman had tied A NEW RIBAND to the hilt: for indeed she
had the courage of a lioness and a Brady united. And then I took
down the pistols, which were always kept bright and well oiled, and
put some fresh flints I had into the locks, and got balls and powder
ready against the Captain should come. There was claret and a cold
fowl put ready for him on the sideboard, and a case-bottle of old
brandy too, with a couple of little glasses on the silver tray with
the Barry arms emblazoned. In after life, and in the midst of my
fortune and splendour, I paid thirty-five guineas, and almost as
much more interest, to the London goldsmith who supplied my father
with that very tray. A scoundrel pawnbroker would only give me
sixteen for it afterwards; so little can we trust the honour of
At eleven o'clock Captain Fagan arrived, on horseback, with a
mounted dragoon after him. He paid his compliments to the collation
which my mother's care had provided for him, and then said, 'Look
ye, Redmond my boy; this is a silly business. The girl will marry
Quin, mark my words; and as sure as she does you'll forget her. You
are but a boy. Quin is willing to consider you as such. Dublin's a
fine place, and if you have a mind to take a ride thither and see
the town for a month, here are twenty guineas at your service. Make
Quin an apology, and be off.'
'A man of honour, Mr. Fagan,' says I, 'dies, but never apologises.
I'll see the Captain hanged before I apologise.'
'Then there's nothing for it but a meeting.'
'My mare is saddled and ready,' says I; 'where's the meeting, and
who's the Captain's second?'
'Your cousins go out with him,' answered Mr. Fagan.
'I'll ring for my groom to bring my mare round,' I said, 'as soon as
you have rested yourself.' Tim was accordingly despatched for Nora,
and I rode away, but I didn't take leave of Mrs. Barry. The curtains
of her bedroom windows were down, and they didn't move as we mounted
and trotted off... BUT TWO HOURS AFTERWARDS, you should have seen
her as she came tottering downstairs, and heard the scream which she
gave as she hugged her boy to her heart, quite unharmed and without
a wound in his body.
What had taken place I may as well tell here. When we got to the
ground, Ulick, Mick, and the Captain were already there: Quin,
flaming in red regimentals, as big a monster as ever led a grenadier
company. The party were laughing together at some joke of one or the
other: and I must say I thought this laughter very unbecoming in my
cousins, who were met, perhaps, to see the death of one of their
'I hope to spoil this sport,' says I to Captain Fagan, in a great
rage, 'and trust to see this sword of mine in yonder big bully's
'Oh! it's with pistols we fight,' replied Mr. Fagan. 'You are no
match for Quin with the sword.'
'I'll match any man with the sword,' said I.
'But swords are to-day impossible; Captain Quin is--is lame. He
knocked his knee against the swinging park-gate last night, as he
was riding home, and can scarce move it now.'
'Not against Castle Brady gate,' says I: 'that has been off the
hinges these ten years.' On which Fagan said it must have been some
other gate, and repeated what he had said to Mr. Quin and my
cousins, when, on alighting from our horses, we joined and saluted
'Oh yes! dead lame,' said Ulick, coming to shake me by the hand,
while Captain Quin took off his hat and turned extremely red. 'And
very lucky for you, Redmond my boy,' continued Ulick; 'you were a
dead man else; for he is a devil of a fellow--isn't he, Fagan?'
'A regular Turk,' answered Fagan; adding, 'I never yet knew the man
who stood to Captain Quin.'
'Hang the business!' said Ulick; 'I hate it. I'm ashamed of it. Say
you're sorry, Redmond: you can easily say that.'
'If the young FELLER will go to DUBLING, as proposed'--here
interposed Mr. Quin.
'I am NOT sorry--I'll NOT apologise--and I'll as soon go to DUBLING
as to--!' said I, with a stamp of my foot.
'There's nothing else for it,' said Ulick with a laugh to Fagan.
'Take your ground, Fagan,--twelve paces, I suppose?'
'Ten, sir,' said Mr. Quin, in a big voice; 'and make them short
ones, do you hear, Captain Fagan?'
'Don't bully, Mr. Quin,' said Ulick surlily; 'here are the pistols.'
And he added, with some emotion, to me, 'God bless you, my boy; and
when I count three, fire.'
Mr. Fagan put my pistol into my hand,--that is, not one of mine
(which were to serve, if need were, for the next round), but one of
Ulick's. 'They are all right,' said he. 'Never fear: and, Redmond,
fire at his neck--hit him there under the gorget. See how the fool
shows himself open.' Mick, who had never spoken a word, Ulick, and
the Captain retired to one side, and Ulick gave the signal. It was
slowly given, and I had leisure to cover my man well. I saw him
changing colour and trembling as the numbers were given. At 'three,'
both our pistols went off. I heard something whizz by me, and my
antagonist, giving a most horrible groan, staggered backwards and
'He's down--he's down!' cried the seconds, running towards him.
Ulick lifted him up--Mick took his head.
'He's hit here, in the neck,' said Mick; and laying open his coat,
blood was seen gurgling from under his gorget, at the very spot at
which I aimed.
'How is it with you?' said Ulick. 'Is he really hit?' said he,
looking hard at him. The unfortunate man did not answer, but when
the support of Ulick's arm was withdrawn from his back, groaned once
more, and fell backwards.
'The young fellow has begun well,' said Mick, with a scowl. 'You had
better ride off, young sir, before the police are up. They had wind
of the business before we left Kilwangan.'
'Is he quite dead?' said I.
'Quite dead,' answered Mick.
'Then the world's rid of A COWARD,' said Captain Fagan, giving the
huge prostrate body a scornful kick with his foot. 'It's all over
with him, Reddy,--he doesn't stir.'
'WE are not cowards, Fagan,' said Ulick roughly, 'whatever he was!
Let's get the boy off as quick as we may. Your man shall go for a
cart, and take away the body of this unhappy gentleman. This has
been a sad day's work for our family, Redmond Barry: you have robbed
us of 1500(pounds) a year.'
'It was Nora did it,' said I; 'not I.' And I took the riband she
gave me out of my waistcoat, and the letter, and flung them down on
the body of Captain Quin. 'There!' says I--'take her those ribands.
She'll know what they mean: and that's all that's left to her of two
lovers she had and ruined.'
I did not feel any horror or fear, young as I was, in seeing my
enemy prostrate before me; for I knew that I had met and conquered
him honourably in the field, as became a man of my name and blood.
'And now, in Heaven's name, get the youngster out of the way,' said
Ulick said he would ride with me, and off accordingly we galloped,
never drawing bridle till we came to my mother's door. When there,
Ulick told Tim to feed my mare, as I would have far to ride that
day; and I was in the poor mother's arms in a minute.
I need not tell how great were her pride and exultation when she
heard from Ulick's lips the account of my behaviour at the duel. He
urged, however, that I should go into hiding for a short time; and
it was agreed between them that I should drop my name of Barry, and,
taking that of Redmond, go to Dublin, and there wait until matters
were blown over. This arrangement was not come to without some
discussion; for why should I not be as safe at Barryville, she said,
as my cousin and Ulick at Castle Brady?--bailiffs and duns never got
near THEM; why should constables be enabled to come upon me? But
Ulick persisted in the necessity of my instant departure; in which
argument, as I was anxious to see the world, I must confess, I sided
with him; and my mother was brought to see that in our small house
at Barryville, in the midst of the village, and with the guard but
of a couple of servants, escape would be impossible. So the kind
soul was forced to yield to my cousin's entreaties, who promised
her, however, that the affair would soon be arranged, and that I
should be restored to her. Ah! how little did he know what fortune
was in store for me!
My dear mother had some forebodings, I think, that our separation
was to be a long one; for she told me that all night long she had
been consulting the cards regarding my fate in the duel: and that
all the signs betokened a separation; then, taking out a stocking
from her escritoire, the kind soul put twenty guineas in a purse for
me (she had herself but twenty-five), and made up a little valise,
to be placed at the back of my mare, in which were my clothes,
linen, and a silver dressing-case of my father's. She bade me, too,
to keep the sword and the pistols I had known to use so like a man.
She hurried my departure now (though her heart, I know, was full),
and almost in half-an-hour after my arrival at home I was once more
on the road again, with the wide world as it were before me. I need
not tell how Tim and the cook cried at my departure: and, mayhap, I
had a tear or two myself in my eyes; but no lad of sixteen is VERY
sad who has liberty for the first time, and twenty guineas in his
pocket: and I rode away, thinking, I confess, not so much of the
kind mother left alone, and of the home behind me, as of to-morrow,
and all the wonders it would bring.
A FALSE START IN THE GENTEEL WORLD
I rode that night as far as Carlow, where I lay at the best inn; and
being asked what was my name by the landlord of the house, gave it
as Mr. Redmond, according to my cousin's instructions, and said I
was of the Redmonds of Waterford county, and was on my road to
Trinity College, Dublin, to be educated there. Seeing my handsome
appearance, silver-hiked sword, and well-filled valise, my landlord
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