The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer, Vol. 3
Charles James Lever (1806-1872)
Produced by Mary Munarin and David Widger
[NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, or pointers, at the end of the
file for those who may wish to sample the author's ideas before making an
entire meal of them. D.W.]
THE CONFESSIONS OF HARRY LORREQUER, Vol. 3
[By Charles James Lever (1806-1872)]
Volume 3. (Chapter XVIII-XXIII)
Detachment Duty--An Assize Town
The Assize Town
A Day in Dublin
A Night at Howth
DETACHMENT DUTY--AN ASSIZE TOWN.
As there appeared to be but little prospect of poor Fitzgerald ever
requiring any explanation from me as to the events of that morning, for
he feared to venture from his room, lest he might be recognised and
prosecuted for abduction, I thought it better to keep my own secret also;
and it was therefore with a feeling of any thing but regret, that I
received an order which, under other circumstances, would have rendered
me miserable--to march on detachment duty. To any one at all conversant
with the life we lead in the army, I need not say how unpleasant such a
change usually is. To surrender your capital mess, with all its
well-appointed equipments--your jovial brother officers--hourly
flirtations with the whole female population--never a deficient one in a
garrison town--not to speak of your matches at trotting, coursing, and
pigeon-shooting, and a hundred other delectable modes of getting over
the ground through life, till it please your ungrateful country and the
Horse Guards to make you a major-general--to surrender all these, I say,
for the noise, dust, and damp disagreeables of a country inn, with bacon
to eat, whiskey to drink, and the priest, or the constabulary chief, to
get drunk with--I speak of Ireland here--and your only affair, par
amours, being the occasional ogling of the apothecary's daughter
opposite, as often as she visits the shop, in the soi disant occupation
of measuring out garden seeds and senna. These are indeed, the
exchanges with a difference, for which there is no compensation; and,
for my own part, I never went upon such duty, that I did not exclaim
with the honest Irishman, when the mail went over him, "Oh, Lord! what
is this for?"--firmly believing that in the earthly purgatory of such
duties, I was reaping the heavy retribution attendant on past offences.
Besides, from being rather a crack man in my corps, I thought it somewhat
hard that my turn for such duty should come round about twice as often as
that of my brother officers; but so it is--I never knew a fellow a little
smarter than his neighbours, that was not pounced upon by his colonel for
a victim. Now, however, I looked at these matters in a very different
light. To leave head-quarters was to escape being questioned; while
there was scarcely any post to which I could be sent, where something
strange or adventurous might not turn up, and serve me to erase the
memory of the past, and turn the attention of my companions in any
quarter rather than towards myself.
My orders on the present occasion were to march to Clonmel; from whence I
was to proceed a short distance to the house of a magistrate, upon whose
information, transmitted to the Chief Secretary, the present assistance
of a military party had been obtained; and not without every appearance
of reason. The assizes of the town were about to be held, and many
capital offences stood for trial in the calendar; and as it was strongly
rumoured that, in the event of certain convictions being obtained, a
rescue would be attempted, a general attack upon the town seemed a too
natural consequence; and if so, the house of so obnoxious a person as him
I have alluded to, would be equally certain of being assailed. Such, at
least, is too frequently the history of such scenes, beginning with no
one definite object: sometimes a slight one--more ample views and wider
conceptions of mischief follow; and what has begun in a drunken riot--a
casual rencontre--may terminate in the slaughter of a family, or the
burning of a village. The finest peasantry--God bless them--are a vif
people, and quicker at taking a hint than most others, and have, withal,
a natural taste for fighting, that no acquired habits of other nations
can pretend to vie with.
As the worthy person to whose house I was now about to proceed was, and
if I am rightly informed is, rather a remarkable character in the local
history of Irish politics, I may as well say a few words concerning him.
Mr. Joseph Larkins, Esq.--(for so he signed himself)--had only been
lately elevated to the bench of magistrates. He was originally one of
that large but intelligent class called in Ireland "small farmers;"
remarkable chiefly for a considerable tact in driving hard bargains--a
great skill in wethers--a rather national dislike to pay all species of
imposts, whether partaking of the nature of tax, tithe, grand jury cess,
or any thing of that nature whatsoever. So very accountable--I had
almost said, (for I have been long quartered in Ireland,) so very
laudable a propensity, excited but little of surprise or astonishment
in his neighbours, the majority of whom entertained very similar views
--none, however, possessing any thing like the able and lawyer-like
ability of the worthy Larkins, for the successful evasion of these
inroads upon the liberty of the subject. Such, in fact, was his talent,
and so great his success in this respect, that he had established what,
if it did not actually amount to a statute of exemption in law, served
equally well in reality; and for several years he enjoyed a perfect
immunity on the subject of money-paying in general. His "little
houldin'," as he unostentatiously called some five hundred acres of bog,
mountain, and sheep-walk, lay in a remote part of the county, the roads
were nearly impassable for several miles in that direction, land was of
little value; the agent was a timid man, with a large family; of three
tithe-proctors who had penetrated into the forbidden territory, two
laboured under a dyspepsia for life, not being able to digest parchment
and sealing-wax, for they usually dined on their own writs; and the
third gave five pounds out of his pocket, to a large, fresh-looking man,
with brown whiskers and beard, that concealed him two nights in a
hay-loft, to escape the vengeance of the people, which act of
philanthropy should never be forgotten, if some ill-natured people were
not bold enough to say the kind individual in question was no other man
However this may be, true it is that this was the last attempt made to
bring within the responsibilities of the law so refractory a subject; and
so powerful is habit, that although he was to be met with at every market
and cattle-fair in the county, an arrest of his person was no more
contemplated than if he enjoyed the privilege of parliament to go at
large without danger.
When the country became disturbed, and nightly meetings of the peasantry
were constantly held, followed by outrages against life and property to
the most frightful extent, the usual resources of the law were employed
unavailingly. It was in vain to offer high rewards. Approvers could not
be found; and so perfectly organized were the secret associations, that
few beyond the very ringleaders knew any thing of consequence to
communicate. Special commissions were sent down from Dublin; additional
police force, detachments of military; long correspondences took place
between the magistracy and the government--but all in vain. The
disturbances continued; and at last to such a height had they risen, that
the country was put under martial law; and even this was ultimately found
perfectly insufficient to repel what now daily threatened to become an
open rebellion rather than mere agrarian disturbance. It was at this
precise moment, when all resources seemed to be fast exhausting
themselves, that certain information reached the Castle, of the most
important nature. The individual who obtained and transmitted it, had
perilled his life in so doing--but the result was a great one--no less
than the capital conviction and execution of seven of the most
influential amongst the disaffected peasantry. Confidence was at once
shaken in the secrecy of their associates; distrust and suspicion
followed. Many of the boldest sunk beneath the fear of betrayal, and
themselves, became evidence for the crown; and in five months, a county
shaken with midnight meetings, and blazing with insurrectionary fires,
became almost the most tranquil in its province. It may well be
believed, that he who rendered this important service on this trying
emergency, could not be passed over, and the name of J. Larkins soon
after appeared in the Gazette as one of his Majesty's justices of the
peace for the county; pretty much in the same spirit in which a country
gentleman converts the greatest poacher in his neighbourhood by making
him, his gamekeeper.
In person he was a large and powerfully built man, considerably above six
feet in height, and possessing great activity, combined with powers of
enduring fatigue almost incredible. With an eye like a hawk, and a heart
that never knew fear, he was the person, of all others, calculated to
strike terror into the minds of the country people. The reckless daring
with which he threw himself into danger--the almost impetuous quickness
with which he followed up a scent, whenever information reached him of an
important character--had their full effect upon a people who, long
accustomed to the slowness and the uncertainty of the law were almost
paralyzed at beholding detection and punishment follow on crime, as
certainly as the thunder-crash follows the lightning.
His great instrument for this purpose was the obtaining information from
sworn members of the secret societies, and whose names never appeared in
the course of a trial or a prosecution, until the measure of their
iniquity was completed, when they usually received a couple of hundred
pounds, blood-money, as it was called, with which they took themselves
away to America or Australia--their lives being only secured while they
remained, by the shelter afforded them in the magistrate's own house.
And so it happened that, constantly there numbered from ten to twelve of
these wretches, inmates of his family, each of whom had the burden of
participation in one murder at least, waiting for an opportunity to leave
the country, unnoticed and unwatched.
Such a frightful and unnatural state of things, can hardly be conceived;
and yet, shocking as it was, it was a relief to that which led to it. I
have dwelt, perhaps too long upon this painful subject; but let my reader
now accompany me a little farther, and the scene shall be changed. Does
he see that long, low, white house, with a tall, steep roof, perforated
with innumerable narrow windows. There are a few straggling beech trees,
upon a low, bleak-looking field before the house, which is called, par
excellence, the lawn; a pig or two, some geese, and a tethered goat are,
here and there musing over the state of Ireland, while some rosy
curly-headed noisy and bare-legged urchins are gamboling before the
door. This is the dwelling of the worshipful justice, to which myself
and my party were now approaching, with that degree of activity which
attends on most marches of twenty miles, under the oppressive closeness
of a day in autumn. Fatigued and tired as I was, yet I could not enter
the little enclosure before the house, without stopping for a moment to
admire the view before me. A large tract of rich country, undulating on
every side, and teeming with corn fields, in all the yellow gold of
ripeness; here and there, almost hid by small clumps of ash and alder,
were scattered some cottages, from which the blue smoke rose in a
curling column into the calm evening's sky. All was graceful, and
beautifully tranquil; and you might have selected the picture as
emblematic of that happiness and repose we so constantly associate with
our ideas of the country; and yet, before that sun had even set, which
now gilded the landscape, its glories would be replaced by the lurid
glare of nightly incendiarism, and--but here, fortunately for my reader,
and perhaps myself, I am interrupted in my meditations by a rich,
mellifluous accent saying, in the true Doric of the south--
"Mr. Loorequer! you're welcome to Curryglass, sir. You've had a hot day
for your march. Maybe you'd take a taste of sherry before dinner? Well
then, we'll not wait for Molowny, but order it up at once."
So saying, I was ushered into a long, low drawing-room, in which were
collected together about a dozen men, to whom I was specially and
severally presented, and among whom I was happy to find my boarding-house
acquaintance, Mr. Daly, who, with the others, had arrived that same day,
for the assizes, and who were all members of the legal profession, either
barristers, attorneys, or clerks of the peace.
The hungry aspect of the convives, no less than the speed with which
dinner made its appearance after my arrival, showed me that my coming was
only waited for to complete the party--the Mr. Molowny before alluded to,
being unanimously voted present. The meal itself had but slight
pretensions to elegance; there were neither vol au vents, nor croquettes;
neither were there poulets aux truffes, nor cotelletes a la soubise but
in their place stood a lordly fish of some five-and-twenty pounds weight,
a massive sirloin, with all the usual armament of fowls, ham, pigeon-pie,
beef-steak, &c. lying in rather a promiscuous order along either side of
the table. The party were evidently disposed to be satisfied, and I
acknowledge, I did not prove an exception to the learned individuals
about me, either in my relish for the good things, or my appetite to
enjoy them. Dulce est desipere in loco, says some one, by which I
suppose is meant, that a rather slang company is occasionally good fun.
Whether from my taste for the "humanities" or not, I am unable to say,
but certainly in my then humour, I should not have exchanged my position
for one of much greater pretensions to elegance and ton. There was first
a general onslaught upon the viands, crashing of plates, jingling of
knives, mingling with requests for "more beef," "the hard side of the
salmon," or "another slice of ham." Then came a dropping fire of
drinking wine, which quickly increased, the decanters of sherry for about
ten minutes resting upon the table, about as long as Taglioni touches
this mortal earth in one of her flying ballets. Acquaintances were
quickly formed between the members of the bar and myself, and I found
that my momentary popularity was likely to terminate in my downfall; for,
as each introduction was followed by a bumper of strong sherry, I did not
expect to last till the end of the feast. The cloth at length
disappeared, and I was just thanking Providence for the respite from
hob-nobbing which I imagined was to follow, when a huge, square decanter
of whiskey appeared, flanked by an enormous jug of boiling water, and
renewed preparations for drinking upon a large scale seriously
commenced. It was just at this moment that I, for the first time,
perceived the rather remarkable figure who had waited upon us at dinner,
and who, while I chronicle so many things of little import, deserves a
slight mention. He was a little old man of about fifty-five or sixty
years, wearing upon his head a barrister's wig, and habited in clothes
which originally had been the costume of a very large and bulky person,
and which, consequently, added much to the drollery of his appearance.
He had been, for forty years, the servant of Judge Vandeleur, and had
entered his present service rather in the light of a preceptor than a
menial, invariably dictating to the worthy justice upon every occasion
of etiquette or propriety, by a reference to what "the judge himself"
did, which always sufficed to carry the day in Nicholas's favour,
opposition to so correct a standard, never being thought of by the
"That's Billy Crow's own whiskey, the 'small still,'" said Nicholas,
placing the decanter upon the table, "make much of it, for there isn't
such dew in the county."
With this commendation upon the liquor, Nicholas departed, and we
proceeded to fill our glasses.
I cannot venture--perhaps it is so much the better that I cannot--to give
any idea of the conversation which at once broke out, as if the barriers
that restrained it had at length given way. But law talk in all its
plenitude, followed; and for two hours I heard of nothing but writs,
detainers, declarations, traverses in prox, and alibis, with sundry hints
for qui tam processes, interspersed, occasionally, with sly jokes about
packing juries and confusing witnesses, among which figured the usual
number of good things attributed to the Chief Baron O'Grady and the other
sayers of smart sayings at the bar.
"Ah!" said Mr. Daly, drawing a deep sigh at the same instant--"the bar is
sadly fallen off since I was called in the year seventy-six. There was
not a leader in one of the circuits at that time that couldn't puzzle
any jury that ever sat in a box; and as for driving through an act of
parliament, it was, as Sancho Panza says, cakes and gingerbread to them.
And then, there is one especial talent lost for ever to the present
generation--just like stained glass and illuminated manuscripts, and slow
poisons and the like--that were all known years ago--I mean the beautiful
art of addressing the judge before the jury, and not letting them know
you were quizzing them, if ye liked to do that same. Poor Peter Purcell
for that--rest his ashes--he could cheat the devil himself, if he had
need--and maybe he has had before now, Peter is sixteen years dead last
"And what was Peter's peculiar tact in that respect, Mr. Daly?" said I.
"Oh, then I might try for hours to explain it to you in vain; but
I'll just give you an instance that'll show you better than all my
dissertations on the subject, and I was present myself when it happened,
more by token, it was the first time I ever met him on circuit;--"
"I suppose there is scarcely any one here now, except myself, that
remembers the great cause of Mills versus Mulcahy, a widow and others,
that was tried in Ennis, in the year '82. It's no matter if there is
not. Perhaps it may be more agreeable for me, for I can tell my story my
own version, and not be interrupted. Well, that was called the old
record, for they tried it seventeen times. I believe, on my conscience,
it killed old Jones, who was in the Common Pleas; he used to say, if he
put it for trial on the day of judgment, one of the parties would be sure
to lodge an appeal. Be that as it may, the Millses engaged Peter
special, and brought him down with a great retainer, in a chaise and
four, flags flying, and favors in the postillions' hats, and a fiddler on
the roof playing the 'hare in the corn.' The inn was illuminated the
same evening, and Peter made a speech from the windows upon the liberty
of the press and religious freedom all over the globe, and there wasn't a
man in the mob didn't cheer him, which was the more civil, because few of
them knew a word of English, and the others thought he was a play-actor.
But it all went off well, nevertheless, for Peter was a clever fellow;
and although he liked money well, he liked popularity more, and he never
went any where special that he hadn't a public meeting of some kind or
other, either to abolish rents, or suppress parsons, or some such popular
and beneficial scheme, which always made him a great favourite with the
people, and got him plenty of clients. But I am wandering from the
record. Purcell came down, as I said before, special for Mills; and when
he looked over his brief, and thought of the case, he determined to have
it tried by a gentlemen jury, for although he was a great man with the
mob, he liked the country gentlemen better in the jury box, for he was
always coming out with quotations from the classics, which, whether the
grand jury understood or not, they always applauded very much. Well,
when he came into court that morning, you may guess his surprise and
mortification to find that the same jury that had tried a common
ejectment case, were still in the box, and waiting, by the chief
justice's direction, to try Mills versus Mulcahy, the great case of the
"I hear they were a set of common clod-hopping wretches, with frize coats
and brogues, that no man could get round at all, for they were as cunning
as foxes, and could tell blarney from good sense, rather better than
people with better coats on them.
"Now, the moment that Mr. Purcell came into the court, after bowing
politely to the judge, he looked up to the box, and when he saw the dirty
faces of the dealers in pork and potatoes, and the unshaven chins of the
small farmers, his heart fell within him, and he knew in a minute how
little they'd care for the classics--if he quoted Caesar's Commentaries
itself for them--ignorant creatures as they were!
"Well, the cause was called, and up gets Peter, and he began to
'express', (as he always called it himself,) 'the great distress his
client and himself would labour under, if the patient and most
intelligent jury then on the panel should come to the consideration of so
very tedious a case as this promised to be, after their already most
fatiguing exertions;' he commented upon their absence from their wives
and families, their farms neglected, their crops hazarded, and in about
fifteen minutes he showed them they were, if not speedily released and
sent home, worse treated and harder used than many of the prisoners
condemned to three months imprisonment; and actually so far worked upon
the feelings of the chief himself, that he turned to the foreman of the
jury, and said, 'that although it was a great deviation from his habitual
practice, if at this pressing season their prospects were involved to the
extent the learned counsel had pictured, why then, that he would so far
bend his practice on this occasion, and they should be dismissed.' Now
Peter, I must confess, here showed the most culpable ignorance in not
knowing that a set of country fellows, put up in a jury box, would rather
let every glade of corn rot in the ground, than give up what they always
supposed so very respectable an appointment; for they invariably imagine
in these cases that they are something very like my lord the judge,
'barrin' the ermine;' besides, that on the present occasion, Peter's
argument in their favour decided them upon staying, for they now felt
like martyrs, and firmly believed that they were putting the chief
justice under an obligation to them for life.
"When, therefore, they heard the question of the court, it did not take a
moment's time for the whole body to rise en masses and bowing to the
judge, call out, 'We'll stay, my lord, and try every mother's son of them
for you; ay, if it lasted till Christmas.
"'I am sure, my lord,' said Peter, collecting himself for an effort, 'I
cannot sufficiently express my gratitude for the great sacrifice these
gifted and highly intelligent gentlemen are making in my client's behalf;
for being persons who have great interests in the country at stake, their
conduct on the present occasion is the more praiseworthy; and I am
certain they fully appreciate, as does your lordship, the difficulty of
the case before us, when documents will be submitted, requiring a certain
degree of acquaintance with such testimonials sufficiently to comprehend.
Many of the title deeds, as your lordship is aware, being obtained under
old abbey charters, are in the learned languages; and we all know how
home to our hearts and bosoms comes the beautiful line of the Greek poet
'vacuus viator cantabit ante latronem.'" The sound of the quotation
roused the chief justice, who had been in some measure inattentive to the
preceding part of the learned counsel's address, and he called out rather
sharply, 'Greek! Mr. Purcell--why I must have mistaken--will you repeat
"'With pleasure, my lord. I was just observing to your lordship and the
jury, with the eloquent poet Hergesius, 'vacuus viator cantabit ante
"'Greek, did you call it?'
"'Yes, my lord, of course I did.'
"'Why, Mr. Purcell, you are quoting Latin to me--and what do you mean by
talking of the learned Hergesius, and Greek all this time?--the line is
"'My lord, with much submission to your lordship, and every deference to
your great attainments and very superior talents, let me still assure you
that I am quoting Greek, and that your lordship is in error.'
"'Mr. Purcell, I have only to remark, that if you are desirous of making
a jest of the court, you had better be cautious, I say, sir;' and here
the judge waxed exceeding wroth. 'I say the line is Latin--Latin, sir,
Juvenal's Latin, sir--every schoolboy knows it.'
"'Of course, my lord,' said Peter, with great humility, 'I bow myself to
the decision of your lordship; the line is, therefore, Latin. Yet I may
be permitted to hint that were your lordship disposed to submit this
question, as you are shortly about to do another and a similar one, to
those clear-sighted and intelligent gentlemen there, I am satisfied, my
lord, it would be Greek to every man of them.'
"The look, the voice, and the peculiar emphasis with which Peter gave
these words, were perfectly successful. The acute judge anticipated the
wish of the counsel--the jury were dismissed, and Peter proceeded to his
case before those he knew better how to deal with, and with whom the
result was more certain to be as he wished it."
To this anecdote of the counsellor, succeeded many others, of which, as
the whiskey was potent and the hour late, my memory is not over
retentive: the party did not break up till near four o'clock; and even
then, our seance only concluded, because some one gravely remarked "that
as we should be all actively engaged on the morrow, early hours were
THE ASSIZE TOWN.
I had not been above a week in my new quarters, when my servant presented
me, among my letters one morning, with a packet, which with considerable
pains, I at length recognised to be directed to me. The entire envelope
was covered with writing in various hands, among which I detected
something which bore a faint resemblance to my name; but the address
which followed was perfectly unreadable, not only to me, as it appeared,
but also to the "experts" of the different post-offices, for it had been
followed by sundry directions to try various places beginning with T,
which seemed to be the letter commencing the "great unknown locality:"
thus I read "try Tralee," "try Tyrone," "try Tanderagee," &c. &c. I
wonder that they didn't add, "try Teheran," and I suppose they would at
last, rather than abandon the pursuit.
"But, Stubber," said I, as I conned over the various addresses on this
incomprehensible cover, "are you sure this is for me?"
"The postmaster, sir, desired me to ask you if you'd have it, for he has
offered it to every one down in these parts lately; the waterguard
officers will take it at 8d. Cir, if you won't, but I begged you might
have the refusal."
"Oh! very well; I am happy to find matters are managed so impartially in
the post-office here. Nothing like a public cant for making matters find
their true level. Tell the postmaster, then, I'll keep the letter, and
the rather, as it happens, by good luck, to be intended for me."
"And now for the interior," said I, as I broke the seal and read:
"Paris, Rue Castiglione.
"My dear Mr. Lorrequer--As her ladyship and my son have in vain
essayed to get any thing from you in the shape of reply to their
letters, it has devolved upon me to try my fortune, which were I to
augur from the legibility of my writing, may not, I should fear,
prove more successful than the"--(what can the word be?) "the--the"
--why, it can't be damnable, surely?--no, it is amiable, I see
--"than the amiable epistle of my lady. I cannot, however, permit
myself to leave this without apprising you that we are about to
start for Baden, where we purpose remaining a month or two. Your
cousin Guy, who has been staying for some time with us, has been
obliged to set out for Geneva, but hopes to join in some weeks
hence. He is a great favourite with us all, but has not effaced the
memory of our older friend, yourself. Could you not find means to
come over and see us--if only a flying visit? Rotterdam is the
route, and a few days would bring you to our quarters. Hoping that
you may feel so disposed, I have enclosed herewith a letter to the
Horse Guards, which I trust may facilitate your obtaining leave of
absence. I know of no other mode of making your peace with the
ladies, who are too highly incensed at your desertion to send one
civil postscript to this letter; and Kilkee and myself are
absolutely exhausted in our defence of you. Believe me, yours
Had I received an official notification of my being appointed paymaster
to the forces, or chaplain to Chelsea hospital, I believe I should have
received the information with less surprise than I perused this letter
--that after the long interval which had elapsed, during which I had
considered myself totally forgotten by this family, I should now receive
a letter--and such a letter, too--quite in the vein of our former
intimacy and good feeling, inviting me to their house, and again
professing their willingness that I should be on the terms of our old
familiarity--was little short of wonderful to me. I read, too--with what
pleasure?--that slight mention of my cousin, whom I had so long regarded
as my successful rival, but who I began now to hope had not been
preferred to me. Perhaps it was not yet too late to think that all was
not hopeless. It appeared, too, that several letters had been written
which had never reached me; so, while I accused them of neglect and
forgetfulness, I was really more amenable to the charge myself; for, from
the moment I had heard of my cousin Guy's having been domesticated
amongst them, and the rumours of his marriage had reached me, I suffered
my absurd jealousy to blind my reason, and never wrote another line
after. I ought to have known how "bavarde" [boasting] Guy always was
--that he never met with the most commonplace attentions any where, that
he did not immediately write home about settlements and pin-money, and
portions for younger children, and all that sort of nonsense. Now I saw
it all plainly, and ten thousand times quicker than my hopes were
extinguished before were they again kindled, and I could not refrain
from regarding Lady Jane as a mirror of constancy, and myself the most
fortunate man in Europe. My old castle-building propensities came back
upon me in an instant, and I pictured myself, with Lady Jane as my
companion, wandering among the beautiful scenery of the Neckar, beneath
the lofty ruins of Heidelberg, or skimming the placid surface of the
Rhine, while, "mellowed by distance," came the rich chorus of a
student's melody, filling the air with its flood of song. How
delightful, I thought, to be reading the lyrics of Uhland, or Buerger,
with one so capable of appreciating them, with all the hallowed
associations of the "Vaterland" about us! Yes, said I aloud, repeating
the well-known line of a German "Lied"--
"Bakranzt mit Laub, den lieben vollen Becher."
"Upon my conscience," said Mr. Daly, who had for some time past been in
silent admiration of my stage-struck appearance--"upon my conscience, Mr.
Lorrequer, I had no conception you knew Irish."
The mighty talisman of the Counsellor's voice brought me back in a moment
to a consciousness of where I was then standing, and the still more
fortunate fact that I was only a subaltern in his majesty's __th--.
"Why, my dear Counsellor, that was German I was quoting, not Irish."
"With all my heart," said Mr. Daly, breaking the top off his third egg
--"with all my heart; I'd rather you'd talk it than me. Much conversation
in that tongue, I'm thinking, would be mighty apt to loosen one's teeth."
"Not at all, it is the most beautiful language in Europe, and the most
musical too. Why, even for your own peculiar taste in such matters,
where can you find any language so rich in Bacchanalian songs as German?"
"I'd rather hear the "Cruiskeen Lawn" or the "Jug of Punch" as my old
friend Pat. Samson could sing them, than a score of your high Dutch
"Shame upon ye, Mr. Daly; and for pathos, for true feeling, where is
there anything equal to Schiller's ballads?"
"I don't think I've ever heard any of his; but if you will talk of
ballads," said the Counsellor, "give me old Mosey M'Garry's: what's finer
than"--and here began, with a most nasal twang and dolorous emphasis, to
"'And I stepp'd up unto her,
An' I made a congee--
And I ax'd her, her pardon
For the making so free.'
"And then the next verse, she says--
"'Are you goin' to undo me,
In this desert alone?'--
"There's a shake there."
"For Heaven's sake," I cried, "stop; when I spoke of ballads, I never
meant such infernal stuff as that."
"I'll not give up my knowledge of ballads to any man breathing," said Mr.
Daly; "and, with God's blessing, I'll sing you one this evening, after
dinner, that will give you a cramp in the stomach."
An animated discussion upon lyrical poetry was here interrupted by a
summons from our host to set out for the town. My party were, by the
desire of the magistracy, to be in readiness near the court-house, in the
event of any serious disturbance, which there existed but too much reason
to fear from the highly excited state of feeling on the subject of the
approaching trials. The soldiers were, under the guidance of Mr.
Larkins, safely ensconced in a tan-yard; and I myself, having consigned
them for the present to a non-commissioned officer, was left at perfect
liberty to dispose of my time and person as it might please me.
While these arrangements were taking place, I had entirely lost sight of
Mr. Daly, under whose guidance and protection I trusted to obtain a place
within the bar to hear the trials; so that I was now perfectly alone, for
my host's numerous avocations entirely precluded any thought of my
putting myself under his care.
My first object was to reach the court-house, and there could be little
difficulty in finding it, for the throng of persons in the street were
all eagerly bending their way thither. I accordingly followed with the
stream, and soon found myself among an enormous multitude of frize-coated
and red-cloaked people, of both sexes, in a large open square, which
formed the market-place, one side of which was flanked by the
court-house--for as such I immediately recognized a massive-looking grey
stone building--in which the numerous windows, all open and filled with
people, exhaled a continued steam from the crowded atmosphere within.
To approach it was perfectly impossible: for the square was packed so
closely, that as the people approached, by the various streets, they
were obliged to stand in the avenues leading to it, and regard what was
going on from a distance. Of this large multitude I soon became one,
hoping that at length some fortunate opportunity might enable me to
obtain admission through some of my legal acquaintances.
That the fate of those who were then upon their trial for their lives
absorbed the entire feelings of those without, a momentary glance at the
hundreds of anxious and care-worn faces in the crowd, would completely
satisfy. Motionless and silent they stood: they felt no fatigue--no want
of food or refreshment--their interest was one and undivided--all their
hopes and fears were centered in the events then passing at a short
distance from them, but to which their ignorance imparted an additional
and more painful excitement--the only information of how matters were
going on being by an occasional word, sometimes a mere gesture from some
one stationed in the windows to a friend in the crowd.
When the contemplation of this singularly impressive scene was beginning
to weary from the irksomeness of my position, I thought of retiring: but
soon discovered how impossible was such a step. The crowd had blocked up
so completely all the avenues of approach, that even had I succeeded in
getting from the market-place, it would be only to remain firmly impacted
among the mob in the street.
It now also occurred to me, that although I had been assured by Larkins
no call could possibly be made upon my services or those of my party,
till after the trial, yet, were that to conclude at any moment, I should
be perfectly unable to regain the place where I had stationed them, and
the most serious consequences might ensue from the absence of their
officer, if the men were required to act.
From the time this thought took possession of me, I became excessively
uncomfortable. Every expression of the people that denoted the progress
of the trial, only alarmed me for the conclusion, which I supposed, might
not be distant, and I began, with all my ingenuity, to attempt my
retreat, which, after half an hour's severe struggle, I completely
abandoned, finding myself scarcely ten yards from where I started.
At length, the counsel for the crown, who had been speaking to evidence,
ceased; and an indistinct murmur was heard through the court-house, which
was soon repressed by the voice of the crier calling "silence." All now
seemed still and silent as the grave--yet, on listening attentively, for
some time, you could catch the low tones of a voice speaking, as it
appeared, with great deliberation and slowness. This was the judge
addressing the jury. In a short time this also ceased; and, for about
half an hour, the silence was perfectly unbroken, and both within and
without there reigned one intense and aching sense of anxiety that
absorbed every feeling, and imparted to every face an expression of
almost agonizing uncertainty. It was, indeed, a space well calculated to
excite such emotions. The jury had retired to deliberate upon their
verdict. At length a door was heard to open, and the footsteps of the
jury, as they resumed their places, sounded through the court, and were
heard by those without. How heavily upon many a stout heart those
footsteps fell! They had taken their seats--then came another pause
--after which the monotonous tones of the clerk of the court were heard,
addressing the jury for their verdict. As the foreman rises every ear is
bent--every eye strained--every heart-string vibrates: his lips move, but
he is not heard; he is desired by the judge to speak louder; the colour
mounts to his before bloodless face; he appears to labour for a few
seconds with a mighty effort, and, at last, pronounces the words,
"Guilty, my Lord--all guilty!"
I have heard the wild war-whoop of the red Indian, as, in his own pine
forest, he has unexpectedly come upon the track of his foe, and the
almost extinguished hope of vengeance has been kindled again in his cruel
heart--I have listened to the scarcely less savage hurra of a storming
party, as they have surmounted the crumbling ruins of a breach, and
devoted to fire and sword, with that one yell, all who await them--and
once in my life it has been my fortune to have heard the last yell of
defiance from a pirate crew, as they sunk beneath the raking fire of a
frigate, rather than surrender, and went down with a cheer of defiance
that rose even above the red artillery that destroyed but could not
subdue them;--but never, in any or all of these awful moments, did my
heart vibrate to such sounds as rent the air when the fatal "Guilty" was
heard by those within, and repeated to those without. It was not grief
--it was not despair--neither was it the cry of sharp and irrepressible
anguish, from a suddenly blighted hope--but it was the long pent-up and
carefully-concealed burst of feeling which called aloud for vengeance
--red and reeking revenge upon all who had been instrumental in the
sentence then delivered. It ceased, and I looked towards the
court-house, expecting that an immediate and desperate attack upon the
building and those whom it contained would at once take place. But
nothing of the kind ensued; the mob were already beginning to disperse,
and before I recovered perfectly from the excitement of these few and
terrible moments, the square was nearly empty, and I almost felt as if
the wild and frantic denunciation that still rang through my ears, had
been conjured up by a heated and fevered imagination.
When I again met our party at the dinner table, I could not help feeling
surprised on perceiving how little they sympathized in my feeling for the
events of the day; which, indeed, they only alluded to in a professional
point of view--criticising the speeches of the counsel on both sides, and
the character of the different witnesses who were examined.
"Well," said Mr. Daly, addressing our host, "you never could have had a
conviction to-day if it wasn't for Mike. He's the best evidence I ever
heard. I'd like to know very much how you ever got so clever a fellow
completely in your clutches?"
"By a mere accident, and very simply," replied the justice. "It was upon
one of our most crowded fair days--half the county was in town, when the
information arrived that the Walshes were murdered the night before, at
the cross-roads above Telenamuck mills. The news reached me as I was
signing some tithe warrants, one of which was against Mickey. I sent for
him into the office, knowing that as he was in the secret of all the evil
doings, I might as well pretend to do him a service, and offer to stop
the warrant, out of kindness as it were. Well, one way or another, he
was kept waiting for several hours while I was engaged in writing, and
all the country people, as they passed the window, could look in and see
Mickey Sheehan standing before me, while I was employed busily writing
letters. It was just at this time, that a mounted policeman rode in with
the account of the murder; upon which I immediately issued a warrant to
arrest the two MacNeills and Owen Shirley upon suspicion. I thought I
saw Mike turn pale, as I said the names over to the serjeant of police,
and I at once determined to turn it to account; so I immediately began
talking to Mickey about his own affairs, breaking off, every now and
then, to give some directions about the men to be captured. The crowd
outside was increasing every instant, and you need not have looked at
their faces twice, to perceive that they had regarded Mickey as an
approver; and the same night that saw the MacNeills in custody, witnessed
the burning of Sheehan's house and haggart, and he only escaped by a
miracle over to Curryglass, where, once under my protection, with the
imputation upon his character of having turned King's evidence, I had
little trouble in persuading him that he might as well benefit by the
report as enjoy the name without the gain. He soon complied, and the
convictions of this day are partly the result."
When the applause which greeted this clever stroke of our host had
subsided, I enquired what results might, in all likelihood, follow the
proceedings of which I had that day been a witness?
"Nothing will be done immediately," replied the justice, "because we
have a large force of police and military about us; but let either, or
unhappily both, be withdrawn, and the cry you heard given in the
market-place to-day will be the death-wail for more than one of those
who are well and hearty at this moment."
The train of thought inevitably forced upon me by all I had been a
spectator of during the day, but little disposed me to be a partaker in
the mirth and conviviality which, as usual, formed the staple of the
assize dinners of Mr. Larkins; and I accordingly took an early
opportunity to quit the company and retire for the night.
A DAY IN DUBLIN.
On the third day of my residence at Curryglass, arrived my friend,
Mortimer, to replace me, bringing my leave from the colonel, and a most
handsome letter, in which he again glanced at the prospect before me in
the Callonby family, and hinted at my destination, which I had not
alluded to, adding, that if I made the pretence of study in Germany the
reason for my application at the Horse Guards, I should be almost certain
to obtain a six months' leave. With what spirits I ordered Stubber to
pack up my portmanteau, and secure our places in the Dublin mail for that
night, while I myself hurried to take leave of my kind entertainer and
his guests, as well as to recommend to their favor and attention my
excellent friend Mortimer, who, being a jovial fellow, not at all in
love, was a happy exchange for me, who, despite Daly's capital stories,
had spent the last two days in watching the high road for my successor's
Once more then, I bade adieu to Curryglass and its hospitable owner,
whose labours for "justice to Ireland" I shall long remember, and
depositing myself in the bowels of his majesty's mail, gave way to the
full current of my hopes and imaginings, which at last ended in a sound
and refreshing sleep, from which I only awoke as we drew up at the door
of the Hibernian, in Dawson-street.
Even at that early hour there was considerable bustle and activity of
preparation, which I was at some loss to account for, till informed by
the waiter that there were upwards of three hundred strangers in the
house, it being the day of his majesty's expected arrival on his visit to
Ireland, and a very considerable section of the county Galway being at
that moment, with their wives and families, installed, for the occasion,
in this, their favourite hotel.
Although I had been reading of this approaching event every day for the
last three months, I could not help feeling surprised at the intense
appearance of excitement it occasioned, and, in the few minutes'
conversation I held with the waiter, learned the total impossibility of
procuring a lodging anywhere, and that I could not have a bed, even were
I to offer five guineas for it. Having, therefore, no inclination for
sleep, even upon easier terms, I ordered my breakfast to be ready at ten,
and set out upon a stroll through the town. I could not help, in my
short ramble through the streets, perceiving how admirably adapted were
the worthy Dublinites for all the honors that awaited them; garlands of
flowers, transparencies, flags, and the other insignia of rejoicing, were
everywhere in preparation, and, at the end of Sackville-street, a
considerable erection, very much resembling an impromptu gallows, was
being built, for the purpose, as I afterwards learnt, of giving the
worshipful the lord mayor the opportunity of opening the city gates to
royalty; creating the obstacle where none existed; being a very ingenious
conceit, and considerably Irish into the bargain. I could not help
feeling some desire to witness how all should go off, to use the
theatrical phrase; but, in my anxiety to get on to the continent,
I at once abandoned every thought of delay. When I returned to the
coffee-room of my hotel, I found it crowded to excess; every little
table, originally destined for the accommodation of one, having at least
two, and sometimes three occupants. In my hurried glance round the
room, to decide where I should place myself, I was considerably struck
with the appearance of a stout elderly gentleman, with red whiskers, and
a high, bald forehead; he had, although the day was an oppressively hot
one, three waistcoats on, and by the brown York tan of his long topped
boots, evinced a very considerable contempt either for weather or
fashion; in the quick glance of his sharp grey eye, I read that he
listened half doubtingly to the narrative of his companion, whose back
was turned towards me, but who appeared, from the occasional words which
reached me, to be giving a rather marvellous and melodramatic version of
the expected pleasures of the capital. There was something in the tone
of the speaker's voice that I thought I recognised; I accordingly drew
near, and what was my surprise to discover my friend Tom O'Flaherty.
After our first salutation was over, Tom presented me to his friend, Mr.
Burke, of somewhere, who, he continued to inform me, in a stage whisper,
was a "regular dust," and never in Dublin in his life before.
"And so, you say, sir, that his majesty cannot enter without the
permission of the lord mayor?"
"And the aldermen, too," replied Tom. "It is an old feudal ceremony;
when his majesty comes up to the gate, he demands admission, and the lord
mayor refuses, because he would be thus surrendering his great
prerogative of head of the city; then the aldermen get about him, and
cajole him, and by degrees he's won over by the promise of being
knighted, and the king gains the day, and enters."
"Upon my conscience, a mighty ridiculous ceremony it is, after all," said
Mr. Burke, "and very like a bargain for sheep in Ballinasloe fair, when
the buyer and seller appear to be going to fight, till a mutual friend
settles the bargain between them."
At this moment, Mr. Burke suddenly sprung from his chair, which was
nearest the window, to look out; I accordingly followed his example, and
beheld a rather ludicrous procession, if such it could be called,
consisting of so few persons. The principal individual in the group was
a florid, fat, happy-looking gentleman of about fifty, with a profusion
of nearly white whiskers, which met at his chin, mounted upon a sleek
charger, whose half-ambling, half-prancing pace, had evidently been
acquired by long habit of going in procession; this august figure was
habited in a scarlet coat and cocked hat, having aiguillettes, and all
the other appanage of a general officer; he also wore tight buckskin
breeches, and high jack-boots, like those of the Blues and Horse Guards;
as he looked from side to side, with a self-satisfied contented air, he
appeared quite insensible of the cortege which followed and preceded him;
the latter, consisting of some score of half-ragged boys, yelling and
shouting with all their might, and the former, being a kind of instalment
in hand of the Dublin Militia Band, and who, in numbers and equipment,
closely resembled the "army which accompanies the first appearance of
Bombastes." The only difference, that these I speak of did not play "the
Rogue's March," which might have perhaps appeared personal.
As this goodly procession advanced, Mr. Burke's eyes became riveted upon
it; it was the first wonder he had yet beheld, and he devoured it. "May
I ask, sir," said he, at length, "who that is?"
"Who that is!" said Tom, surveying him leisurely as he spoke; "why,
surely, sir, you must be jesting, or you would not ask such a question;
I trust, indeed, every one knows who he is. Eh, Harry," said he, looking
at me for a confirmation of what he said, and to which, of course, I
assented by a look.
"Well, but, my dear Mr. O'Flaherty, you forget how ignorant I am of every
"Ah, true," said Tom, interrupting; "I forgot you never saw him before."
"And who is he, sir?"
"Why, that's the Duke of Wellington."
"Lord have mercy upon me, is it?" said Mr. Burke, as he upset the table,
and all its breakfast equipage, and rushed through the coffee-room like
one possessed. Before I could half recover from the fit of laughing this
event threw me into, I heard him as he ran full speed down Dawson-street,
waving his hat, and shouting out at the top of his lungs, "God bless your
grace--Long life to your grace--Hurra for the hero of Waterloo; the great
captain of the age," &c. &c.; which I grieve to say, for the ingratitude
of the individual lauded, seemed not to afford him half the pleasure, and
none of the amusement it did the mob, who reechoed the shouts and
cheering till he was hid within the precincts of the Mansion House.
"And, now," said Tom to me, "finish your breakfast as fast as possible;
for, when Burke comes back he will be boring me to dine with him, or some
such thing, as a kind of acknowledgment of his gratitude for showing him
the Duke. Do you know he has seen more wonders through my poor
instrumentality, within the last three days in Dublin than a six months'
trip to the continent would show most men. I have made him believe that
Burke Bethel is Lord Brougham, and I am about to bring him to a soiree at
Mi-Ladi's, who he supposes to be the Marchioness of Conyngham. Apropos
to the Bellissima, let me tell you of a "good hit" I was witness to a few
nights since; you know, perhaps, old Sir Charles Giesecke, eh?"
"I have seen him once, I think--the professor of mineralogy."
"Well, poor old Sir Charles, one of the most modest and retiring men in
existence, was standing the other night among the mob, in one of the
drawing-rooms, while a waltzing-party were figuring away, at which, with
that fondness for "la danse" that characterizes every German of any age,
he was looking with much interest, when my lady came tripping up, and the
following short dialogue ensued within my ear-shot:--"
"Ah, mon cher, Sir Charles, ravi de vous voir. But why are you not
"Ah, mi ladi, Je ne puis pas, c'est a dire, Ich kann es nicht; I am too
old; Ich bin--"
"Oh, you horrid man; I understand you perfectly. You hate ladies, that
is the real reason. You do--you know you do."
"Ah, my ladi, Gnaedige frau; glauben sie mir; I do loave de ladies; I do
adore de sex. Do you know, my ladi, when I was in Greenland I did keep
"Oh, shocking, horrid, vile Sir Charles, how could you tell me such a
story? I shall die of it."
"Ah, mine Gott, mi ladi; sie irren sich, vous, vous trompez. You are
quite in mistake; it was only to row my boat!"
"I leave you to guess how my lady's taste for the broad-side of the
story, and poor Sir Charles's vindication of himself, in regard to his
estimation of 'le beau sexe,' amused all who heard it; as for me, I had
to leave the room, half-choked with suppressed laughter. And, now, let
us bolt, for I see Burke coming, and, upon my soul I am tired of telling
him lies, and must rest on my oars for a few hours at least."
"But where is the necessity for so doing?" said I, "surely, where there
is so much of novelty as a large city presents to a visitor for the first
time, there is little occasion to draw upon imagination for your facts."
"Ah, my dear Harry, how little do you know of life; there is a kind of
man whose appetite for the marvellous is such, that he must be crammed
with miracles or he dies of inanition, and you might as well attempt to
feed a tiger upon pate de foie gras, as satisfy him by mere naked
unvarnished truth. I'll just give you an easy illustration; you saw his
delight this morning when the 'Duke' rode past; well I'll tell you the
converse of that proposition now. The night before last, having nothing
better to do, we went to the theatre; the piece was 'La Perouse,' which
they have been playing here for the last two months to crowded houses, to
exhibit some North American Indians whom some theatrical speculator
brought over 'expres', in all the horrors of fur, wampum, and yellow
ochre. Finding the 'spectacle' rather uninteresting I leaned back in my
box, and fell into a doze. Meanwhile, my inquiring friend, Mr. Burke,
who felt naturally anxious, as he always does, to get au fond at matters,
left his place to obtain information about the piece, the audience, and,
above all, the authenticity of the Indians, who certainly astonished him
"Now it so happened that about a fortnight previously some violent
passion to return home to their own country had seized these interesting
individuals, and they felt the most irresistible longing to abandon the
savage and unnatural condiments of roast beef and Guinness's porter, and
resume their ancient and more civilized habits of life. In fact, like
the old African lady, mentioned by the missionary at the Cape, they felt
they could die happy if they 'could only once more have a roast child for
supper,' and as such luxuries are dear in this country, stay another week
they would not, whatever the consequences might be; the manager reasoned,
begged, implored and threatened, by turns; all would not do, go they were
determined, and all that the unfortunate proprietor could accomplish was,
to make a purchase of their properties in fur, belts, bows, arrows, and
feathers, and get them away quietly, without the public being the wiser.
The piece was too profitable a one to abandon, so he looked about
anxiously, to supply the deficiency in his corps dramatique. For several
days nothing presented itself to his thoughts, and the public were
becoming more clamorous for the repetition of a drama which had greatly
delighted them. What was to be done? In a mood of doubt and uncertainty
the wretched manager was taking his accustomed walk upon the light-house
pier, while a number of unfortunate country fellows, bare legged and
lanky, with hay ropes fastening their old grey coats around them, were
standing beside a packet about to take their departure for England, for
the harvest. Their uncouth appearance, their wild looks, their violent
gestures, and, above all, their strange and guttural language, for they
were all speaking Irish, attracted the attention of the manager; the
effect, to his professional eye was good, the thought struck him at once.
Here were the very fellows he wanted. It was scarcely necessary to alter
any thing about them, they were ready made to his hand, and in many
respects better savages than their prototypes. Through the mediation of
some whiskey, the appropriate liquor in all treaties of this nature, a
bargain was readily struck, and in two hours more, 'these forty thieves'
were rehearsing upon the classic boards of our theatre, and once more, La
Perouse, in all the glory of red capital letters, shone forth in the
morning advertisements. The run of the piece continued unabated; the
Indians were the rage; nothing else was thought or spoken of in Dublin,
and already the benefit of Ashewaballagh Ho was announced, who, by the
by, was a little fellow from Martin's estate in Connemara, and one of the
drollest dogs I ever heard of. Well, it so happened that it was upon one
of their nights of performing that I found myself, with Mr. Burke, a
spectator of their proceedings; I had fallen into an easy slumber, while
a dreadful row in the box lobby roused me from my dream, and the loud cry
of 'turn him out,' 'pitch him over,' 'beat his brains out,' and other
humane proposals of the like nature, effectually restored me to
consciousness; I rushed out of the box into the lobby, and there, to my
astonishment, in the midst of a considerable crowd, beheld my friend, Mr.
Burke, belaboring the box-keeper with all his might with a cotton
umbrella of rather unpleasant proportions, accompanying each blow with an
exclamation of 'well, are they Connaughtmen, now, you rascal, eh? are
they all west of Athlone, tell me that, no? I wonder what's preventing
me beating the soul out of ye.' After obtaining a short cessation of
hostilities, and restoring poor Sharkey to his legs, much more dead than
alive from pure fright, I learned, at last, the teterrima causa belli.
Mr. Burke, it seems, had entered into conversation with Sharkey, the
box-keeper, as to all the particulars of the theatre, and the present
piece, but especially as to the real and authentic history of the
Indians, whose language he remarked, in many respects to resemble Irish.
Poor Sharkey, whose benefit-night was approaching, thought he might
secure a friend for life, by imparting to him an important state secret;
and when, therefore, pressed rather closely as to the 'savages'
whereabout' resolved to try a bold stroke, and trust his unknown
interrogator. 'And so you don't really know where they come from, nor
can't guess?' 'Maybe, Peru,' said Mr. Burke, innocently. 'Try again,
sir,' said Sharkey, with a knowing grin. 'Is it Behring's Straits?'
said Mr. Burke. 'What do you think of Galway, sir?' said Sharkey, with
a leer intended to cement a friendship for life; the words were no
sooner out of his lips, than Burke, who immediately took them as a piece
of direct insolence to himself and his country, felled him to the earth,
and was in the act of continuing the discipline when I arrived on the
field of battle."
A NIGHT AT HOWTH.
"And must you really leave us so soon," said Tom as we issued forth into
the street; "why I was just planning a whole week's adventure for you.
Town is so full of all kinds of idle people, I think I could manage to
make your time pass pleasantly enough."
"Of that," I replied, "I have little doubt; but for the reasons I have
just mentioned, it is absolutely necessary that I should not lose a
moment; and after arranging a few things here, I shall start to-morrow by
the earliest packet, and hasten up to London at once."
"By Jupiter," said Tom, "how lucky. I just remember something, which
comes admirably apropos. You are going to Paris--is it not so?"
"Yes, direct to Paris."
"Nothing could be better. There is a particularly nice person, a great
friend of mine, Mrs. Bingham, waiting for several days in hopes of a
chaperon to take care of herself and daughter--a lovely girl, only
nineteen, you wretch--to London, en route to the continent: the mamma
a delightful woman, and a widow, with a very satisfactory jointure--you
understand--but the daughter, a regular downright beauty, and a ward in
chancery, with how many thousand pounds I am afraid to trust myself to
say. You must know then they are the Binghams of--, upon my soul, I
forget where; but highly respectable."
"I regret I have not the pleasure of their acquaintance, and the more
because I shall not be able to make it now."
"As why?" said Tom gravely.
"Because, in the first place, I am so confoundedly pressed for time that
I could not possibly delay under any contingency that might arise; and
your fair friends are, doubtless, not so eagerly determined upon
travelling night and day till they reach Paris. Secondly, to speak
candidly, with my present hopes and fears weighing upon my mind, I should
not be the most agreeable travelling companion to two ladies with such
pretensions as you speak of; and thirdly,--"
"Confound your thirdly. I suppose we shall have sixteenthly, like a
Presbyterian minister's sermon, if I let you go on. Why, they'll not
delay you one hour. Mrs. Bingham, man, cares as little for the road as
yourself; and as for your petits soins, I suppose if you get the fair
ladies through the Custom-House, and see them safe in a London hotel,
it is all will be required at your hands."
"Notwithstanding all you say, I see the downright impossibility of my
taking such a charge at this moment, when my own affairs require all the
little attention I can bestow; and when, were I once involved with your
fair friends, it might be completely out of my power to prosecute my own
As I said this, we reached the door of a handsome looking house in
Kildare-street; upon which Tom left my arm, and informing me that he
desired to drop a card, knocked loudly.
"Is Mrs. Bingham at home," said he, as the servant opened the door.
"No sir, she's out in the carriage."
"Well, you see Harry, your ill luck befriends you; for I was resolved on
presenting you to my friends and leaving the rest to its merits."
"I can safely assure you that I should not have gone up stairs," said I.
"Little as I know of myself, there is one point of my character I have
never been deceived in, the fatal facility by which every new incident
or adventure can turn me from following up my best matured and longest
digested plans; and as I feel this weakness and cannot correct it; the
next best thing I can do is fly the causes."
"Upon my soul," said Tom, "you have become quite a philosopher since we
met. There is an old adage which says, 'no king is ever thoroughly
gracious if he has not passed a year or two in dethronement;' so I
believe your regular lady-killer--yourself for instance--becomes a very
quiet animal for being occasionally jilted. But now, as you have some
commissions to do, pray get done with them as fast as possible, and let
us meet at dinner. Where do you dine to-day?"
"Why, upon that point, I am at your service completely."
"Well, then, I have got a plan which I think will suit you. You said you
wished to go by Holyhead, for fear of delay; so, we'll drive down at six
o'clock to Skinner's and dine with him on board the packet at Howth.
Bring your luggage with you, and it will save you a vast deal of fuss and
trouble in the morning."
Nothing could be better management for me than this, so I accordingly
promised acquiescence; and having appointed a rendezvous for six o'clock,
bade O'Flaherty good by, inwardly rejoicing that my plans were so far
forwarded, and that I was not to be embarrassed with either Mrs. Bingham
or her daughter, for whose acquaintance or society I had no peculiar
My commissions, though not very numerous, occupied the few hours which
remained, and it was already a few minutes past six o'clock when I took
my stand under the piazza of the Post Office to wait for O'Flaherty. I
had not long to do so, for immediately after I had reached the spot, he
arrived in an open barouche and four posters, with three other young men,
to whom he severally introduced me, but whose names I have totally
forgotten; I only remember that two of the party were military men then
quartered in town.
When I had taken my seat, I could not help whispering to Tom, that
although his friend Skinner might be "bon" for a visitation or two at his
dinner, yet as we were now so strong a party, it might be as well to dine
at the hotel.
"Oh," said he, "I have arranged all that; I have sent him a special
messenger two hours since, and so make your mind easy--we shall not be
disappointed, nor be short-taken."
Our drive, although a long one, passed quickly over, and before we had
reached our destination, I had become tolerably intimate with all the
party, who were evidently picked men, selected by O'Flaherty for a
We drove along the pier to the wharf, where the steamer lay, and were
received at once by Tom's friend with all the warm welcome and
hospitality of a sailor, united with the address and polish of a very
finished gentleman. As we descended the companion-ladder to the cabin,
my mind became speedily divested of any fears I might have indulged in,
as to the want of preparation of our entertainer. The table was covered
with all the appanage of handsome plate and cut glass, while the
side-tables glittered with a magnificent dessert, and two large
wine-coolers presented an array of champagne necks shining with their
leaden cravats that would have tempted an anchorite.
I remember very little else of that evening than the coup d'oeil I have
mentioned; besides, were my memory more retentive, I might scruple to
trespass farther on my reader's patience, by the detail of those
pleasures, which, like love-letters, however agreeable to the parties
immediately concerned, are very unedifying to all others. I do remember,
certainly, that good stories and capital songs succeeded each other with
a rapidity only to be equalled by the popping of corks; and have also a
very vague and indistinct recollection of a dance round the table,
evidently to finish a chorus, but which, it appears, finished me too, for
I saw no more that night.
How many men have commemorated the waking sensations of their fellow-men,
after a night's debauch; yet at the same time, I am not aware of any one
having perfectly conveyed even a passing likeness to the mingled throng
of sensations which crowd one's brain on such an occasion. The doubt of
what has passed, by degrees yielding to the half-consciousness of the
truth, the feeling of shame, inseparable except to the habitually
hard-goer, for the events thus dimly pictured, the racking headache and
intense thirst, with the horror of the potation recently indulged in: the
recurring sense of the fun or drollery of a story or an incident which
provokes us again to laugh despite the jarring of our brain from the
shaking. All this and more most men have felt, and happy are they when
their waking thoughts are limited to such, at such times as these--the
matter becomes considerably worse, when the following morning calls for
some considerable exertion, for which even in your best and calmest
moments, you only find yourself equal.
It is truly unpleasant, on rubbing your eyes and opening your ears, to
discover that the great bell is ringing the half-hour before your
quarterly examination at college, while Locke, Lloyd, and Lucian are
dancing a reel through your brain, little short of madness; scarcely less
agreeable is it, to learn that your friend Captain Wildfire is at the
door in his cab, to accompany you to the Phoenix, to stand within twelve
paces of a cool gentleman who has been sitting with his arm in Eau de
Cologne for the last half-hour, that he may pick you out "artist-like."
There are, besides these, innumerable situations in which our
preparations of the night would appear, as none of the wisest; but I
prefer going at once to my own, which, although considerably inferior in
difficulty, was not without its own "desagremens."
When I awoke, therefore, on board the "Fire-fly," the morning after our
dinner-party, I was perfectly unable, by any mental process within my
reach, to discover where I was. On ship-board I felt I must be--the
narrow berth--the gilded and panelled cabin which met my eye, through my
half-open curtains, and that peculiar swelling motion inseparable from a
vessel in the water, all satisfied me of this fact. I looked about me,
but could see no one to give me the least idea of my position. Could it
be that we were on our way out to Corfu, and that I had been ill for some
But this cabin had little resemblance to a transport; perhaps it might be
a frigate--I knew not. Then again, were we sailing, or at anchor, for
the ship was nearly motionless; at this instant a tremendous noise like
thunder crashed through my head, and for a moment I expected we had
exploded, and would be all blown up; but an instant after I discovered it
must be the escape of the steam, and that I was on board a packet ship.
Here, then, was some clue to my situation, and one which would probably
have elicited all in due season; but just at this moment a voice on deck
saved me from any further calculations. Two persons were conversing
whose voices were not altogether unknown to me, but why I knew not.
"Then, Captain, I suppose you consider this as an excellent passage."
"Yes, of course I do," replied the captain, "it's only five hours since
we left Howth, and now you see we are nearly in; if we have this run of
the tide we shall reach the Head before twelve o'clock."
"Ha! ha!" said I to myself, "now I begin to learn something. So we have
crossed the channel while I was sleeping--not the least agreeable thing
for a man to hear who suffers martyrdom from sea sickness--but let me
"And that large mountain there--is that Snowdon?"
"No. You cannot see Snowdon; there is too much mist about it; that
mountain is Capel Carrig; and there that bold bluff to the eastward, that
is Penmen Mawr."
"Come, there is no time to be lost," thought I; so springing out of my
berth, accoutred as I was, in merely trowsers and slippers, with a red
handkerchief fastened night-cap fashion round my head, I took my way
through the cabin.
My first thought on getting upon my legs was how tremendously the vessel
pitched, which I had not remarked while in my berth, but now I could
scarce keep myself from falling at every step. I was just about to call
the steward, when I again heard the voices on deck.
"You have but few passengers this trip."
"I think only yourself and a Captain Lorrequer," replied the captain,
"who, by-the-by, is losing all this fine coast, which is certainly a
"He shall not do so much longer," thought I; "for as I find that there are
no other passengers, I'll make my toilet on deck, and enjoy the view
besides." With this determination I ascended slowly and cautiously the
companion ladder, and stepped out upon the deck; but scarcely had I done
so, when a roar of the loudest laughter made me turn my head towards the
poop, and there to my horror of horrors, I beheld Tom O'Flaherty seated
between two ladies, whose most vociferous mirth I soon perceived was
elicited at my expense.
All the party of the preceding night were also there, and as I turned
from their grinning faces to the land, I saw, to my shame and confusion,
that we were still lying beside the pier at Howth; while the band-boxes,
trunks, and imperials of new arrivals were incessantly pouring in, as
travelling carriages kept driving up to the place of embarkation. I
stood perfectly astounded and bewildered--shame for my ridiculous costume
would have made me fly at any other time--but there I remained to be
laughed at patiently, while that villain O'Flaherty leading me passively
forward, introduced me to his friends--"Mrs. Bingham, Mr. Lorrequer; Mr.
Lorrequer, Miss Bingham. Don't be prepossessed against him, ladies, for
when not in love, and properly dressed, he is a marvellously well-looking
young gentleman; and as--"
What the remainder of the sentence might be, I knew not, for I rushed
down into the cabin, and locking the door, never opened it till I could
perceive from the stern windows that we were really off on our way to
England, and recognized once more the laughing face of O'Flaherty, who,
as he waved his hat to his friends from the pier, reminded them that
"they were under the care and protection of his friend Lorrequer, who, he
trusted, would condescend to increase his wearing apparel under the
When I did at last venture upon deck, it was with a costume studiously
accurate, and as much of manner as I could possibly muster, to endeavour
at once to erase the unfortunate impression of my first appearance; this,
however, was not destined to be a perfectly successful manoeuvre, and I
was obliged after a few minutes to join the laugh, which I found could
not be repressed, at my expense. One good result certainly followed from
all this. I became almost immediately on intimate terms with Mrs.
Bingham and her daughter, and much of the awkwardness in my position as
their chaperon, which bon gre, mal gre I was destined to be, was at once
got over. Mrs. Bingham herself was of that "genre" of widow which comes
under the "fat, fair, and forty" category, with a never-ceasing flow of
high, almost boisterous, spirits--an excellent temper, good health
--and a well-stocked purse. Life to her was like a game of her favourite
"speculation." When, as she believed, the "company honest," and knew her
cards trumps, she was tolerably easy for the result. She liked
Kingstown--she liked short whist--she liked the military--she liked "the
junior bar," of which she knew a good number--she had a well furnished
house in Kildare-street--and a well cushioned pew in St. Anne's--she was
a favourite at the castle--and Dr. Labatt "knew her constitution." Why,
with all these advantages, she should ever have thought of leaving the
"happy valley" of her native city, it was somewhat hard to guess. Was it
that thoughts of matrimony, which the continent held out more prospect
for, had invaded the fair widow's heart? was it that the altered
condition to which politics had greatly reduced Dublin, had effected this
change of opinion? or was it like that indescribable longing for the
unknown something, which we read of in the pathetic history of the fair
lady celebrated, I believe, by Petrarch, but I quote from memory:
"Mrs. Gill is very ill,
Nothing can improve her,
But to see the Tuillerie,
And waddle through the Louvre."
None of these, I believe, however good and valid reasons in themselves,
were the moving powers upon the present occasion; the all-sufficient one
being that Mrs. Bingham had a daughter. Now Miss Bingham was Dublin too
--but Dublin of a later edition--and a finer, more hot-pressed copy than
her mamma. She had been educated at Mrs. Somebody's seminary in
Mountjoy-square--had been taught to dance by Montague--and had learned
French from a Swiss governess--with a number of similar advantages
--a very pretty figure--dark eyes--long eye-lashes and a dimple--and last,
but of course least, the deserved reputation of a large fortune. She had
made a most successful debut in the Dublin world, where she was much
admired and flattered, and which soon suggested to her quick mind, as it
has often done in similar cases to a young provincial debutante, not to
waste her "fraicheur" upon the minor theatres, but at once to appear upon
the "great boards;" so far evidencing a higher flight of imagination
and enterprise than is usually found among the clique of her early
associates, who may be characterized as that school of young ladies,
who like the "Corsair" and Dunleary, and say, "ah don't!"
She possessed much more common sense than her mamma, and promised under
proper advantages to become speedily quite sufficiently acquainted with
the world and its habitudes. In the meanwhile, I perceived that she ran
a very considerable risque of being carried off by some mustachoed Pole,
with a name like a sneeze, who might pretend to enjoy the entree into the
fashionable circles of the continent.
Very little study of my two fair friends enabled me to see thus much; and
very little "usage" sufficed to render me speedily intimate with both;
the easy bonhommie of the mamma, who had a very methodistical
appreciation of what the "connexion" call "creature comforts," amused me
much, and opened one ready path to her good graces by the opportunity
afforded of getting up a luncheon of veal cutlets and London porter, of
which I partook, not a little to the evident loss of the fair daughter's
While, therefore, I made the tour of the steward's cell in search of
Harvey's sauce, I brushed up my memory of the Corsair and Childe Harold,
and alternately discussed Stilton and Southey, Lover and lobsters, Haynes
Bayley and ham.
The day happened to be particularly calm and delightful, so that we never
left the deck; and the six hours which brought us from land to land,
quickly passed over in this manner; and ere we reached "the Head," I had
become the warm friend and legal adviser of the mother; and with the
daughter I was installed as chief confidant of all her griefs and
sorrows, both of which appointments cost me a solemn promise to take care
of them till their arrival in Paris, where they had many friends and
acquaintances awaiting them. Here, then, as usual, was the invincible
facility with which I gave myself up to any one who took the trouble to
influence me. One thing, nevertheless, I was determined on, to let no
circumstance defer my arrival at Paris a day later than was possible:
therefore, though my office as chaperon might diminish my comforts en
route, it should not interfere with the object before me. Had my mind
not been so completely engaged with my own immediate prospects, when hope
suddenly and unexpectedly revived, had become so tinged with fears and
doubts as to be almost torture, I must have been much amused with my
present position, as I found myself seated with my two fair friends,
rolling along through Wales in their comfortable travelling carriage
--giving all the orders at the different hotels--seeing after the
luggage--and acting en maitre in every respect.
The good widow enjoyed particularly the difficulty which my precise
position, with regard to her and her daughter, threw the different
innkeepers on the road into, sometimes supposing me to be her husband,
sometimes her son, and once her son-in-law; which very alarming
conjecture brought a crimson tinge to the fair daughter's cheek, an
expression, which, in my ignorance, I thought looked very like an
inclination to faint in my arms.
At length we reached London, and having been there safely installed at
"Mivart's," I sallied forth to present my letter to the Horse Guards,
and obtain our passport for the continent.
"Number nine, Poland-street, sir" said the waiter, as I inquired the
address of the French Consul. Having discovered that my interview with
the commander-in-chief was appointed for four o'clock, I determined to
lose no time, but make every possible arrangement for leaving London in
A cab quietly conveyed me to the door of the Consul, around which stood
several other vehicles, of every shape and fashion, while in the doorway
were to be seen numbers of people, thronging and pressing, like the Opera
pit on a full night. Into the midst of this assemblage I soon thrust
myself, and, borne upon the current, at length reached a small back
parlour, filled also with people; a door opening into another small room
in the front, showed a similar mob there, with the addition of a small
elderly man, in a bag wig and spectacles, very much begrimed with snuff,
and speaking in a very choleric tone to the various applicants for
passports, who, totally ignorant of French, insisted upon interlarding
their demands with an occasional stray phrase, making a kind of
tesselated pavement of tongues, which would have shamed Babel. Nearest
to the table at which the functionary sat, stood a mustachoed gentleman,
in a blue frock and white trowsers, a white hat jauntily set upon one
side of his head, and primrose gloves. He cast a momentary glance of a
very undervaluing import upon the crowd around him, and then, turning to
the Consul, said in a very soprano tone--
"Que voulez vous que je fasse," replied the old Frenchman, gruffly.
"Je suis j'ai--that is, donnez moi passport."
"Where do you go?" replied the Consul.
"Comment diable, speak Inglis, an I understan' you as besser. Your
"Lorraine Snaggs, gentilhomme."
"What age have you?--how old?"
"C'est ca," said the old consul, flinging the passport across the table,
with the air of a man who thoroughly comprehended the applicant's
pretension to the designation of gentilhomme Anglais.
"Will you be seated ma'mselle?" said the polite old Frenchman, who had
hitherto been more like a bear than a human being--"Ou allez vous donc;
where to, ma chere?"
"To Paris, sir."
"No, sir; by Boulogne"--
"C'est bon; quel age avez vous. What old, ma belle?"
"Nineteen, sir, in June."
"And are you alone, quite, eh?"
"No, sir, my little girl."
"Ah! your leetel girl--c'est fort bien--je m'appercois; and your name?"
"Fanny Linwood, sir."
"C'est fini, ma chere, Mademoiselle Fanni Linwood," said the old man, as
he wrote down the name.
"Oh, sir, I beg your pardon, but you have put me down Mademoiselle, and
--and--you see, sir, I have my little girl."
"A c'est egal, mam'selle, they don't mind these things in France--au
plaisir de vous voir. Adieu."
"They don't mind these things in France," said I to myself, repeating the
old consul's phrase, which I could not help feeling as a whole chapter on
My business was soon settled, for I spoke nothing but English--very
little knowledge of the world teaching me that when we have any favour,
however slight, to ask, it is always good policy to make the amende by
gratifying the amour propre of the granter--if, happily, there be an
opportunity for so doing.
When I returned to Mivart's, I found a written answer to my letter of the
morning, stating that his lordship of the Horse Guards was leaving town
that afternoon, but would not delay my departure for the continent, to
visit which a four month's leave was granted me, with a recommendation to
study at Weimar.
The next day brought us to Dover, in time to stroll about the cliffs
during the evening, when I again talked sentiment with the daughter till
very late. The Madame herself was too tired to come out, so that we had
our walk quite alone. It is strange enough how quickly this travelling
together has shaken us into intimacy. Isabella says she feels as if I
were her brother; and I begin to think myself she is not exactly like a
sister. She has a marvellously pretty foot and ancle.
The climbing of cliffs is a very dangerous pastime. How true the French
adage--"C'est plus facile de glisser sur la gazon que sur la glace." But
still nothing can come of it; for if Lady Jane be not false, I must
consider myself an engaged man.
"Well, but I hope," said I, rousing myself from a reverie of some
minutes, and inadvertently pressing the arm which leaned upon me--"your
mamma will not be alarmed at our long absence?"
"Oh! not in the least; for she knows I'm with you."
And here I felt a return of the pressure--perhaps also inadvertently
given, but which, whether or not, effectually set all my reasonings and
calculations astray; and we returned to the hotel, silent on both sides.
The appearance of la chere mamma beside the hissing tea-urn brought us
both back to ourselves; and, after an hour's chatting, we wished good
night, to start on the morrow for the continent.
It was upon a lovely evening in autumn, as the Dover steam-boat rounded
the wooden pier at Calais, amid a fleet of small boats filled with eager
and anxious faces, soliciting, in every species of bad English and
"patois" [vulgar] French, the attention and patronage of the passengers.
"Hotel de Bain, mi lor'."
"Hotel d'Angleterre," said another, in a voice of the most imposing
superiority. "C'est superbe--pretty well."
"Hotel du Nord, votre Excellence--remise de poste and 'delays' (quere
relays) at all hours."
"Commissionaire, mi ladi," sung out a small shrill treble from the midst
of a crowded cock-boat, nearly swamped beneath our paddle-wheel.
What a scene of bustle, confusion, and excitement does the deck of a
steamer present upon such an occasion. Every one is running hither or
thither. "Sauve qui peut" is now the watch-word; and friendships, that
promised a life-long endurance only half an hour ago, find here a speedy
dissolution. The lady who slept all night upon deck, enveloped in the
folds of your Astracan cloak, scarcely deigns an acknowledgment of you,
as she adjusts her ringlets before the looking-glass over the stove in
the cabin. The polite gentleman, that would have flown for a reticule or
a smelling-bottle upon the high seas, won't leave his luggage in the
harbour; and the gallantry and devotion that stood the test of half a
gale of wind and a wet jacket, is not proof when the safety of a
carpet-bag or the security of a "Mackintosh" is concerned.
And thus here, as elsewhere, is prosperity the touchstone of good
feeling. All the various disguises which have been assumed, per viaggio,
are here immediately abandoned, and, stripped of the travelling costume
of urbanity and courtesy, which they put on for the voyage, they stand
forth in all the unblushing front of selfishness and self-interest.
Some tender scenes yet find their place amid the debris of this chaotic
state. Here may be seen a careful mother adjusting innumerable shawls
and handkerchiefs round the throat of a sea-green young lady with a
cough; her maid is at the same instant taking a tender farewell of the
steward in the after-cabin.
Here is a very red-faced and hot individual, with punch-coloured breeches
and gaiters, disputing "one brandy too much" in his bill, and vowing that
the company shall hear of it when he returns to England. There, a tall,
elderly woman, with a Scotch-grey eye, and a sharp cheek-bone, is
depositing within her muff various seizable articles, that, until now,
had been lying quietly in her trunk. Yonder, that raw-looking young
gentleman, with the crumpled frock-coat, and loose cravat, and sea-sick
visage, is asking every one "if they think he may land without a
passport." You scarcely recognise him for the cigar-smoking dandy of
yesterday, that talked as if he had lived half his life on the continent.
While there, a rather pretty girl is looking intently at some object in
the blue water, beside the rudder post. You are surprised you cannot
make it out; but then, she has the advantage of you, for the tall,
well-looking man, with the knowing whiskers, is evidently whispering
something in her ear.
"Steward, this is not my trunk--mine was a leather--"
"All the 'leathers' are gone in the first boat, sir."
"Most scandalous way of doing business."
"Trouble you for two-and-sixpence, sir."
"There's Matilda coughing again," says a thin, shrewish woman, with a
kind of triumphant scowl at her better half; "but you would have her wear
that thin shawl!"
"Whatever may be the fault of the shawl, I fancy no one will reproach her
ancles for thinness," murmurs a young Guard's man, as he peeps up the
Amid all the Babel of tongues, and uproar of voices, the thorough bass of
the escape steam keeps up its infernal thunders, till the very brain
reels, and, sick as you have been of the voyage, you half wish yourself
once more at sea, if only to have a moment of peace and tranquillity.
Numbers now throng the deck who have never made their appearance before.
Pale, jaundiced, and crumpled, they have all the sea-sick look and
haggard cheek of the real martyr--all except one, a stout, swarthy,
brown-visaged man, of about forty, with a frame of iron, and a voice like
the fourth string of a violincello. You wonder why he should have taken
to his bed: learn, then, that he is his Majesty's courier from the
foreign office, going with despatches to Constantinople, and that as he
is not destined to lie down in a bed for the next fourteen days, he is
glad even of the narrow resemblance to one, he finds in the berth of a
steam-boat. At length you are on shore, and marched off in a long
string, like a gang of convicts to the Bureau de l'octroi, and here is
begun an examination of the luggage, which promises, from its minuteness,
to last for the three months you destined to spend in Switzerland. At
the end of an hour you discover that the soi disant commissionaire will
transact all this affair for a few francs; and, after a tiresome wait in
a filthy room, jostled, elbowed, and trampled upon, by boors with sabots,
you adjourn to your inn, and begin to feel that you are not in England.
Our little party had but few of the miseries here recounted to contend
with. My "savoir faire," with all modesty be it spoken, has been long
schooled in the art and practice of travelling; and while our less
experienced fellow-travellers were deep in the novel mysteries of cotton
stockings and petticoats, most ostentatiously displayed upon every table
of the Bureau, we were comfortably seated in the handsome saloon of the
Hotel du Nord, looking out upon a pretty grass plot, surrounded with
orange trees, and displaying in the middle a jet d'eau about the size of
a walking stick.
"Now, Mr. Lorrequer," said Mrs. Bingham, as she seated herself by the
open window, "never forget how totally dependent we are upon your kind
offices. Isabella has discovered already that the French of Mountjoy
square, however intelligible in that neighbourhood, and even as far as
Mount-street, is Coptic and Sanscrit here; and as for myself, I intend to
affect deaf and dumbness till I reach Paris, where I hear every one can
speak English a little."
"Now, then, to begin my functions," said I, as I rung for the waiter, and
ran over in my mind rapidly how many invaluable hints for my new position
my present trip might afford me, "always provided" (as the lawyers say,)
that Lady Jane Callonby might feel herself tempted to become my
travelling companion, in which case--But, confound it, how I am
castle-building again. Meanwhile, Mrs. Bingham is looking as hungry and
famished as though she would eat the waiter. Ha! this is the "carte."
"Allons faire petit souper."
"Perdreaux rouges aux truffes--mark that, aux truffes."
"Gelee au maraschin."
"And the wine, sir," said the waiter, with a look of approval at my
selection, "Champagne--no other wine, sir?"
"No," said I, "Champagne only. Frappe de glace, of course," I added, and
the waiter departed with a bow that would have graced St. James's.
As long as our immaterial and better part shall be doomed to keep company
with its fleshy tabernacle, with all its attendant miseries of gout and
indigestion, how much of our enjoyment in this world is dependent upon
the mere accessory circumstances by which the business of life is carried
on and maintained, and to despise which is neither good policy nor sound
philosophy. In this conclusion a somewhat long experience of the life of
a traveller has fully established me. And no where does it press more
forcibly upon the mind than when first arrived in a continental inn,
after leaving the best hotels of England still fresh in your memory. I
do not for a moment dispute the very great superiority in comfort of the
latter, by which I would be understood to mean all those resemblances to
one's own home which an English hotel so eminently possesses, and every
other one so markedly wants; but I mean that in contrivances to elevate
the spirit, cheer the jaded and tired wayfarer by objects which, however
they may appeal to the mere senses, seem, at least, but little sensual,
give me a foreign inn; let me have a large spacious saloon, with its
lofty walls and its airy, large-paned windows, (I shall not object if the
cornices and mouldings be gilded, because such is usually the case,)--let
the sun and heat of a summer's day come tempered through the deep
lattices of a well-fitting "jalousie," bearing upon them the rich incense
of a fragrant orange tree in blossom--and the sparkling drops of a
neighbouring fountain, the gentle plash of which is faintly audible amid
the hum of the drone-bee--let such be the "agremens" without--while
within, let the more substantial joys of the table await, in such guise
as only a French cuisine can present them--give me these, I say, and I
shall never sigh for the far-famed and long-deplored comforts of a box in
a coffee-room, like a pew in a parish church, though certainly not so
well cushioned, and fully as dull, with a hot waiter and a cold
beefsteak--the only thing higher than your game being your bill, and the
only thing less drinkable than your port being the porter.
With such exotic notions, figures vous, my dear reader, whether or not I
felt happy as I found myself seated between my two fair friends doing the
honours of a little supper, and assisting the exhilaration of our
champagne by such efforts of wit as, under favourable circumstances like
these, are ever successful--and which, being like the foaming liquid
which washes them down, to be swallowed without waiting, are ever
esteemed good, from the excitement that results, and never seriously
canvassed for any more sterling merit. Nothing ever makes a man so
agreeable as the belief that he is so: and certainly my fair companions
appeared to have the most excellent idea of my powers in that respect;
and I fancy, that I made more bon mots, hit off more epigrams, and
invented more choice incidents on that happy evening, than, if now
remembered, would suffice to pay my tailor's bill, when collated for
Bentley's Miscellany, and illustrated by Cruikshank--alas! that, like the
good liquor that seasoned them, both are gone by, and I am left but to
chronicle their memory of the fun, in dulness, and counterfeit the
effervescence of the grape juice, by soda water. One thing, however, is
certain--we formed a most agreeable party; and if a feeling of gloom ever
momentarily shot through my mind, it was, that evenings like these came
so rarely in this work-a-day world--that each such should be looked on,
as our last.
If I had not already shown myself up to my reader as a garcon volage of
the first water, perhaps I should now hesitate about confessing that I
half regretted the short space during which it should be my privilege to
act as the guide and mentor of my two friends. The impetuous haste which
I before felt necessary to exercise in reaching Paris immediately, was
not tempered by prudent thoughts about travelling at night, and
reflections about sun-stroke by day; and even moments most devoted to the
object of my heart's aspirations were fettered by the very philosophic
idea, that it could never detract from the pleasure of the happiness that
awaited me, if I travelled on the primrose path to its attainment. I
argued thus: if Lady Jane be true--if--if, in a word, I am destined to
have any success in the Callonby family, then will a day or two more not
risk it. My present friends I shall, of course, take leave of at Paris,
where their own acquaintances await them; and, on the other hand, should
I be doomed once more to disappointment, I am equally certain I should
feel no disposition to form a new attachment. Thus did I reason, and
thus I believed; and though I was a kind of consultation opinion among my
friends in "suits of love," I was really then unaware that at no time is
a man so prone to fall in love as immediately after his being jilted. If
common sense will teach us not to dance a bolero upon a sprained ancle,
so might it also convey the equally important lesson, not to expose our
more vital and inflammatory organ to the fire the day after its being
Reflections like these did not occur to me at this moment; besides that I
was "going the pace" with a forty-horse power of agreeability that left
me little time for thought--least of all, if serious. So stood matters.
I had just filled our tall slender glasses with the creaming and
"petillan" source of wit and inspiration, when the loud crack, crack,
crack of a postillion's whip, accompanied by the shaking trot of a heavy
team, and the roll of wheels, announced a new arrival. "Here they come,"
said I, "only look at them--four horses and one postillion, all
apparently straggling and straying after their own fancy, but yet going
surprisingly straight notwithstanding. See how they come through that
narrow archway--it might puzzle the best four-in-hand in England to do it
What a handsome young man, if he had not those odious moustaches. Why,
Mr. Lorrequer, he knows you: see, he is bowing to you."
"Me! Oh! no. Why, surely, it must be--the devil--it is Kilkee, Lady
Jane's brother. I know his temper well. One five minutes' observation
of my present intimacy with my fair friends, and adieu to all hopes for
me of calling Lord Callonby my father-in-law. There is not therefore, a
moment to lose."
As these thoughts revolved through my mind, the confusion I felt had
covered my face with scarlet; and, with a species of blundering apology
for abruptly leaving them for a moment, I ran down stairs only in time
sufficient to anticipate Kilkee's questions as to the number of my
apartments, to which he was desirous of proceeding at once. Our first
greetings over, Kilkee questioned me as to my route--adding, that his now
was necessarily an undecided one, for if his family happened not to be at
Paris, he should be obliged to seek after them among the German
watering-places. "In any case, Mr. Lorrequer," said he, "we shall hunt
them in couples. I must insist upon your coming along with me."
"Oh! that," said I, "you must not think of. Your carriage is a coupe,
and I cannot think of crowding you."
"Why, you don't seriously want to affront me, I hope, for I flatter
myself that a more perfect carriage for two people cannot be built.
Hobson made it on a plan of my own, and I am excessively proud of it,
I assure you. Come, that matter is decided--now for supper. Are there
many English here just now?--By-the-by, those new 'natives' I think I saw
you standing with on the balcony--who are they?"
"Oh! the ladies--oh! Yes, people I came over with--"
"One was pretty, I fancied. Have you supped? Just order something, will
you--meanwhile, I shall write a few lines before the post leaves."
--Saying which, he dashed up stairs after the waiter, and left me to my
"This begins to be pleasant," thought I, as the door closed, leaving me
alone in the "salon." In circumstances of such moment, I had never felt
so nonplussed as now, how to decline Kilkee's invitation, without
discovering my intimacy with the Binghams--and yet I could not, by any
possibility, desert them thus abruptly. Such was the dilemma. "I see
but one thing for it," said I, gloomily, as I strode through the
coffee-room, with my head sunk and my hands behind my back--"I see but
one thing left--I must be taken ill to-night, and not be able to leave
my bed in the morning--a fever--a contagious fever--blue and red spots
all over me --and be raving wildly before breakfast time; and if ever
any discovery takes place of my intimacy above stairs, I must only
establish it as a premonitory symptom of insanity, which seized me in
the packet. And now for a doctor that will understand my case, and
listen to reason, as they would call it in Ireland." With this idea
uppermost, I walked out into the court-yard to look for a commissionaire
to guide me in my search. Around on every side of me stood the various
carriages and voitures of the hotel and its inmates, to the full as
distinctive and peculiar in character as their owners. "Ah! there is
Kilkee's," said I, as my eye lighted upon the well-balanced and elegant
little carriage which he had been only with justice encomiumizing. "It
is certainly perfect, and yet I'd give a handful of louis-d'ors it was
like that venerable cabriolet yonder, with the one wheel and no shafts.
But, alas! these springs give little hope of a break down, and that
confounded axle will outlive the patentee. But still, can nothing be
done?--eh? Come, the thought is a good one--I say, garcon, who greases
the wheels of the carriage here?"
"C'est moi, monsieur," said a great oaf, in wooden shoes and a blouse.
"Well, then, do you understand these?" said I, touching the patent
axle-boxes with my cane.
He shook his head.
"Then who does, here?"
"Ah! Michael understands them perfectly."
"Then bring him here," said I.
In a few minutes, a little shrewd old fellow, with a smith's apron, made
his appearance, and introduced himself as M. Michael. I had not much
difficulty in making him master of my plan, which was, to detach one of
the wheels as if for the purpose of oiling the axle, and afterwards
render it incapable of being replaced--at least for twenty-four hours.
"This is my idea," said I; "nevertheless, do not be influenced by me.
All I ask is, disable the carriage from proceeding to-morrow, and here
are three louis-d'ors at your service."
"Soyez bien tranquille, monsieur, mi lor' shall spend to-morrow in
Calais, if I know any thing of my art"--saying which he set out in search
of his tools, while I returned to the salon with my mind relieved, and
fully prepared to press the urgency of my reaching Paris without any
"Well, Mr. Lorrequer," said Kilkee, as I entered, "here is supper
waiting, and I am as hungry as a wolf."
"Oh! I beg pardon--I've been getting every thing in readiness for our
start to-morrow morning, for I have not told you how anxious I am to get
to Paris before the 8th--some family business, which requires my looking
after, compelling me to do so."
"As to that, let your mind be at rest, for I shall travel to-morrow night
if you prefer it. Now for the Volnay. Why you are not drinking your
wine. What do you say to our paying our respects to the fair ladies
above stairs? I am sure the petits soins you have practised coming over
would permit the liberty."
"Oh! hang it, no. There's neither of them pretty, and I should rather
avoid the risk of making a regular acquaintance with them" said I.
"As you like, then--only, as you'll not take any wine, let us have a
stroll through the town."
After a short stroll through the town, in which Kilkee talked the entire
time, but of what I know not, my thoughts being upon my own immediate
concerns, we returned to the hotel. As we entered the porte-couchere, my
friend Michael passed me, and as he took off his hat in salutation, gave
me one rapid glance of his knowing eye that completely satisfied me that
Hobson's pride in my friend's carriage had by that time received quite
sufficient provocation to throw him into an apoplexy.
"By-the-by," said I, "let us see your carriage. I am curious to look at
it"--(and so I was.)
"Well, then come along, this way; they have placed it under some of these
sheds, which they think coach-houses."
I followed my friend through the court till we arrived near the fatal
spot; but before reaching, he had caught a glimpse of the mischief, and
shouted out a most awful imprecation upon the author of the deed which
met his eye. The fore-wheel of the coupe had been taken from the axle,
and in the difficulty of so doing, from the excellence of the
workmanship, two of the spokes were broken--the patent box was a mass of
rent metal, and the end of the axle turned downwards like a hoe.
I cannot convey any idea of poor Kilkee's distraction; and, in reality,
my own was little short of it; for the wretch had so far out-stripped my
orders, that I became horrified at the cruel destruction before me. We
both, therefore, stormed in the most imposing English and French, first
separately and then together. We offered a reward for the apprehension
of the culprit, whom no one appeared to know, although, as it happened,
every one in a large household was aware of the transaction but the
proprietor himself. We abused all--innkeeper, waiters, ostlers, and
chambermaids, collectively and individually--condemned Calais as a den of
iniquity, and branded all Frenchmen as rogues and vagabonds. This seemed
to alleviate considerably my friend's grief, and excite my thirst
--fortunately, perhaps for us; for if our eloquence had held out much
longer, I am afraid our auditory might have lost their patience; and,
indeed, I am quite certain if our French had not been in nearly as
disjointed a condition as the spokes of the caleche, such must have been
"Well, Mr. Lorrequer, I suppose, then, we are not destined to be
fellow-travellers--for if you must go to-morrow--"
"Alas! It is imperative," said I.
"Then in any case, let us arrange where we shall meet, for I hope to be
in Paris the day after you."
"I'll stop at Meurice."
"Meurice, be it," said he, "so now good night, till we meet in Paris."
EBOOK EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:
A c'est egal, mam'selle, they don't mind these things in France
Accustomed to the slowness and the uncertainty of the law
Delectable modes of getting over the ground through life
Disputing "one brandy too much" in his bill
Enjoy the name without the gain
Listen to reason, as they would call it in Ireland
Nothing ever makes a man so agreeable as the belief that he is
Rather better than people with better coats on them
Sixteenthly, like a Presbyterian minister's sermon
The "fat, fair, and forty" category
Whiskey, the appropriate liquor in all treaties of this nature
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