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and dogs in Dublin by sale. And that was the last I saw of Sir John Montfort, till after some weary and eventful time had passed away; for he was bent on going on a long sea voyage to complete the restoration of his health, and to try and forget his sorrow; and accordingly, before two months had elapsed, he had sailed from Liverpool in a Baltimore packet for the United States. After his departure my uncle had a long illness, in which I nursed him day and night: his grief for Madeline had shaken him greatly, and Montfort's somewhat abrupt departure had tried him more than he was willing to allow. Even the loss of Becky's rough familiar face was felt by him; for the faithful creature, overwhelmed with sorrow at my sister's death, had gone to her grandfather's house, and her own people, in the North of Ireland. My uncle's plans, too, for bettering the condition of his people he considered to have signally failed, except in a few instances; and so these things threw his generous nature back upon itself, and into inaction, and hurt his health. His physician, however, said that the next winter's hunting would restore his constitution, and this gave us a happy hope. He had not now the same charm he once had round his hearth; the gentle, graceful Madeline was gone, "the cheer and comfort of his eye," the ornament of his table, and the light of his household; and her place was imperfectly supplied by a Mrs. Sandford, who had been Madeline's governess, and who being well stricken in years, and of regular and quiet habits, the General had made his housekeeper, and set over the menage.
My cousin Gilbert had now come to live with us, and his attention to the General knew no bounds; but it seemed to me to be overstrained; and the old man, so high bred and dignified, did not appear to relish all the fuss his affectionate nephew was ever making about his every movement. Yet Gilbert no doubt was sincerely attached to us all; and if it be true that love begets love, I should have warmly affected Kildoon; for his expressions of regard, oral and practical, by speech as well as by show, were to me as constant and as regular, though rather less refreshing than my daily meals.
I was now an undergraduate of Trinity College, and had obtained classical honors more than once, yet I was but imperfectly educated for one who was to inherit a good property and transmit an ancient name. The imaginative faculty was an impediment to my acquisition of solid knowledge of men or things. I was too busy with my own thoughts to concern myself with what others might be thinking of; I was utterly unsuspicious; I would have scorned to have thought evil of any one unless his evil were forced upon me; I loved books, solitary walks, and wild scenery I loved, too, observation of character, drawing, and musick. I disliked shooting, except for the long walks; and I eschewed fishing unless for the boating sake; but I dearly loved hunting, and when mounted on "the Highflier," I believe that no ditch, no wall, or double drain could check the happy ardour which animated me in a hard run after a caitiff fox. My horse and myself seemed actuated by the one feeling; and rider and quadruped to have but the one heart, and almost the one body between them on such occasions. The General was a splendid rider to the hounds, magnificently mounted his Yorkshire bay, which took everything coolly but successfully, and after a day's heavy run appeared as fresh and as little blown as if he had been cantering in Hyde Park. My cousin Kildoon was a forward but not a good horseman. On one occasion he and his hunter had rolled into a ditch, after an unsuccessful jump, and while he was there, I had gone clear over him on the Highflier, much to the amusement of "the Field;" but not to his satisfaction I fear, for I never can forget the look he gave me, as I leaped across him and his struggling horse. It might have been fright, or contortion of face from his awkward position, but it struck me for the moment that it was like the angry glare of hate. Gilbert was sole agent now of the Darragh estates, and he certainly looked to me to be more at his ease when mounted on a stool, and his ledger before him in his quiet little office behind the house, than when he had attained a similar elevation on an unstuffed saddle, a hot horse under him, the hounds in full cry before him, and at least twenty
loose stone walls to surmount before "the kill" took place.
A great change came over the spirit of our life now, by the arrival at the Darragh of a Mrs. Carndonald, who was a near relation of the General's. She came to stay a week, but sojourn ed a year. She resided generally at Cheltenham, but being summoned to Dublin by some law business, she had come on now to visit her "honoured kinsman," my uncle. She was a silken perfumed mass of good nature, vanity, egoism, and thorough worldliness, with the affectation of supersuperlative refinedness; so soft and sleek was she in skin, and voice, and hand, and habiliment, that she appeared more like an incarnation of chinchilli fur, or an animation of Genoa velvet, than one of Eve's bone-sinew-and-muscle daughters.
She had been a beauty some thirty years ago, and if dress, care, and cosmetics could have preserved her flowers from fading, no one could had found fault with her as a skilful gardiner. Not content with bodily comeliness, she aimed also at the beauty of the mind, and affected literature, of which she absolutely knew nothing; her whole stock in trade consisting of a few trite expres sions, such as, "The sweet Bard of Avon," "The Spenserian Stanza," "The Magician of the North," with half a dozen hacknied quotations, such as "the feast of reason and the flow of soul;" and the "Cups that cheer but not inebriate," &c., and others equally profound and rare. Her mind, indeed, had nothing intellectual in it, her only talent being the art of talking incessantly without expressing any idea. Her dress was the perfection of richness and taste, for she had an ample jointure, which she generously spent on herself, on the principle of charity beginning at home; nay, she enlarged the proverb, by making it end at home also, for no one ever knew her to bestow on others that which she could possibly or profitably expend upon herself; and when "herself" was to be no more, her fortune reverted to her son, who was a smug Somerset parson, who kept his flock, not on the "Grampian hills," but amidst the grassy slopes and blushing orchards of the sleepy diocese of W ; and
soon discovered she was not on the happiest terms. She appeared to us to be in excellent health, and in what poor Montfort could have called "prime condition;" yet was she a professed valetudinarian, always labouring under some invisible bronchitis, or oppressed with an apocrypal influenza: yet sailing down each day to dinner in a sort of semi-nude Musidora condition, and as lightly clad as the youngest nymph in the country.
She was accompanied by her daugh ter Isabella, who was still young and very fair and unlike her mother in mind having more sense; and equally unlike her in manner-having more reserve. She had been fashionably educated; or, in other words, she was an accomplished woman, and played, sung, and rode well.
I do not pretend to say what ambitious dreams might have crossed the meridian of Mrs. Cardonald's brain respecting the General, whom she always called her "honoured kinsman ;" but whatever they might have been, they were soon and effeetually dissipated by my uncle's sus tained coldness of manner, which although always courteous and even kind, did not however hold forth the fragment of a saliest angle for vanity to hang a hope on. Still, the lady was charmed with "The Darragh ;" and after passing a whole month under our roof, she declared that the Atlantic breezes, "tempered by sweet mountain air," had so braced and renewed her system, and banished her "extreme delicacy," that if the General would permit her, she would become his tenant for the summer and autumn months, at Woodmancote, which was the name of the handsome cottage he had built in the wood behind our house. To this unexpected proffer the General could only give a gratified assent, expressing himself in conventional parlance as "most happy," &c.; and the next day Mrs. Cardonald and he were busy in ordering down furniture from Dublin; the lady gladly assenting to remain as our guest, till such time as we could say, in the Corporal's language, "All's right" at Woodmancote.
It was now spring, and as yet we had not had any continuance of fine or genial weather; a whole week's win bed kept our ladies within doors.
and we had ample room and verge enough to become very intimate with our fair guests; for, as we see in animal nature, how a storm on a hillside or meadow will collect all the sheep closely together, and drive them under the lee of some rock or wall for shelter; so a rainy week in a remote country-house draws the occupants of said mansion closely together, and, in the dearth of out of door occupation, compels them to lean much one on the other, like the huddled sheep in the aforesaid pastoral simile, for supplies and resources of mutual entertainment. And thus it is, that I believe that Eros and his followers Hymen are especially busy on such occasions, when young people are there, so that I think a noble poet, when he enumerates the causes which induce love, and "remove antipathies ;" as
"Accident, blind contact, or the strong
Necessity of loving,"
might have added in a prosaic notethe subject being too homely for verse "a week's rain in an old lonely house."
Gilbert, as I said, was staying with us, and seemed greatly to admire both ladies. A curious circumstance took place during this dispensation of rain which illustrated a point in the character of my cousin, and of Mrs. Cardonald, the elder of our gentle guests.
My uncle and I were sitting writing in the large library, when we heard the voice of Mr. Kildoon pitched in rather a pompous key, holding forth to some one in the corridor, and as the door was wide open we were sensible of the following dialogue :--
Mrs. Cardonald.-"Most interesting indeed, Mr. Kildoon; quite literary, as one may say, and so delightfully
Gilbert.-"Yes, Mrs. Cardonald, the name is good. It is pure Celtican old time-honoured name; and I assure you of a far more remote origin than my maternal name of Nugent, which is only Norman, and of comparatively recent origin. Kil
doon, or, as I find it in Vallancey and O'Halloran, and other great authorities Kildonnagh --Killi-nadoon-or Kil-na-doon, for the word is spelt all three several ways--signifies the Church of the Fort,' expressive either of the high locality my family occupied, or the martial and clerical professions they filled in the ecclesiastical or military establishment of the day; or, as we say in modern language, the church and the army.' The Kildoons are the elder branch of the O'Dondeys, and the O'Mac Philbens, whose vast property lay in the two baronies of* Calrigiamuighemurisk, in Amalgaid, and Con-macni Quiltola; and so I assure you, Mrs. Cardonald, I am not a little proud of my old Irish blood."
It is impossible to express the droll look which beamed over my uncle's face on hearing this harangue; the next moment he advanced to shut the door, saying, "Walter, we must listen no more, lest Gilbert should commence to slander the Nugents; and we should verify the proverb_by hearing no good of ourselves." But the descendant of the O'Dondeys,— or the O'Donkeys as poor Montfort would infallibly have styled them, had he been here--had retired, having soon shot his bolt," as saith another proverb.
"I know not whether to be more amused or amazed," said the General, "with Gilbert. I knew he was proud, but I did not give him credit for all this folly; and how could he venture to pour such a farrago of audacious nonsense into the ear of that poor lady. Yet, positively, both she and her daughter seem to admire Gilbert greatly. Strange that one so shrewd on matters of business as he is, should be so silly on this matter of mere romance; and that one who is so intelligent on the common things of life, should have uttered such a compound of ignorance and conceit as his speech conveyed, I cannot comprehend, unless he has some purpose in view. I should have brought him up less for a clerk, and more for a gentleman, and educated him more
'The curious reader may find all these names given in "John Speed's Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain," published 1596. Speed was originally a tailor, which may partly account for his stitching together such appalling polysyllables as the above. He is mentioned among “ Fuller's Worthies" in Cheshire.
liberally. There is nothing like the College and the classics, after all, for giving a man nice tastes, and enlarging the mind," continued the old man, half soliloquizing; "I remember now that he has been rummaging among my old Irish histories for the last month, from which he has picked up this wild family lore, which, I dare say, is as great a myth as the Golden Fleece; and has gotten off by rote these baronies with the unpronouncable names, which are enough to choke a Russian schoolmaster, or dislocate the jaw of a Chinese. I am glad, however, that he is so well satisfied with his own name, and has thus confirmed my judgment in refusing to give him mine."
As my uncle spoke, I called to mind what Montfort had often said, that my cousin had two ruling passions, and both in an intense degree-and these were Avarice and Vanity, lurking in all their violence beneath that sleek demeanour; as we may suppose the fiercest workings of the volcano to be pent up beneath the very spot where the mountain shows smoothest and looks most verdant. And thus I saw how possible it was, in this strange anomaly of our common nature, for strong qualities of reason to lodge in the one mind together with passions so contemptible as Vanity, and so irrational as Avarice.
As I descended the stair-case, I saw Gilbert faisant ses adieux at the hall-door to the two ladies. He was going into Galway for a week or two, to visit a friend of his, a Captain O'Skerret, of Castle O'Skerret. I always make it a point to give the full name, for reasons prudential and pacific, inasmuch as I had heard that the said Captain had called a gentleman out, and "took him over the hip," for presuming to abbreviate him in his territorial titles. Yet was the Castle a mere stone bawn, or square tower, built of unhewn masonry, standing in a flat field, or lawn, par excellence, on which thistles sprouted luxuriantly, and donkies browzed luxuriously, and
geese wandered pompously, cackling melodiously. Around the lawn was a wilderness of stone, whole acres of arocky superficies, with scanty patches of earth and herbage peeping out at long intervals-a veritable Arabia Petræa translocated to the wilds
of Galway. A dilapidated gatehouse stood at the top of the field, which looked as if it had sustained a heavy Chancery suit; yet decidedly of a hospitable character, inasmuch as the winds and weather had free ingress by door and window, and no man dwelt there to forbid the intrusion. This, with an unsuccessful attempt at an orchard on the right, and an unwalled garden, with a broken hedge, on the left, formed the frontispiece of the Castle. Behind was a long row of substantial thatched offices; for the Captain, though he had never read Virgil, was a keen admirer of practical Bucolics, and Georgics also, and had some good farms about three miles from his residence. These buildings stood in a wild, littered farm-yard, which had been unswept for years, and unpaved for centuries. Here were armies of turkeys, battalions of ducks, and cohorts of countless cocks and hens; the yard was flanked by a gigantic turf-rick, so high that the Titans might have piled it to scale the heavens; and so large, that the Cyclops might have used it to feed their fires. Opposite to this Olympus of turf smoked an immense flat manure heap; while in the centre slumbered an old green horsepond, where wriggled comely eels in the verdant mud," and where whole fleets of ducklings were launched each prolific month by their adventurous parents. And concerning which pond, the owner was reported to have saidwhen exhorted by a meddling neighbour to fill it up because of its unwholesomeness-that "he could not spare it, because it was convaynient for the fowl."
These particulars, all taken together, composed the demesne of Dowell O'Skerrett, Esq., of Castle O'Skerrett, late Lieutenant in his Majesty's 62nd Regiment, or the gallant
Springers," and Captain par courtesie among friends, retainers, and admirers, with a continuation of the title, no man forbidding, in secula seculorum.
With this Tanist, Gilbert had some way fraternised. The principles of mutual affinity being undiscovered, or at least not yellowing to the surface of observation; and thither now he was about to depart in a new fine gig, and in nasty foul weather; so,
THE good weather seemed to have only waited until my cousin's departure to revisit us again, for next morning the rain had entirely ceased, although the air and ground were as yet all loaded with mist and moisture. We had breakfasted in a little oak room looking out on the back of the house, which was called the "Chess Parlour," and were passing through the hall, when I heard the sound of laughter mingled with the hoarse scrape of a violin; and on reaching the hall-door, I found some of the servants collected before the windows, and gazing on a strange figure, who was dancing on the wet gravel in a most solemn and absurd fashion, while he "humoured" his own steps on a miserable old brokenbridged violin, on whose strings he kept scraping with a violence and an agility of elbow which had much more of miracle than music in it. The figure was middle-sized; lean as a ferret; palefaced; sheep-headed; with a glare from his small, green gooseberry eyes which bespoke a mixture of idiotcy and cunning. On his head he had two old hats surmounting each other, something in the style of the picture of Lord Peter's head-dress in "The Tale of a Tub." On his lank limbs were faded and thin drab trousers, a world too wide for the shrunk shanks they covered, and which flapped to every wind: these terminated in a pair of
An fairrge na H'Erin, or, The Sea of Ireland.
cotton stockings, once white, but now yellow with use, and age, and ignorance of the laundry. A pair of old dancing pumps, tied with bows of white tape, and which had never known the polishing influence of Day and Martin, completed the furniture of his feet; while his huge boots, out of which he had just stepped, and which evidently had been made for a man twice his size, stood erect and together near where he was capering, as if gravely wondering at their owner's activity, and illustrating, as in a picture, Sloth in inert contemplation of Energy. His coat was long-skirted and ragged, and hung as loosely on him as a suit of cast clothes on a broker's peg. His name was Peter Sleveen, fiddler, dancing-master, story-teller, sheepdoctor, and gossip-general to the whole country round about; and not Beau Brummel, in his palmiest days, was ever more popular, or a greater object of admiration, than was Peter to the simple peasantry among whom he moved. No fair, no station, no wedding or christening, no dance, no death, no wake, no burial was deemed complete without the presence of Peter and his fiddle to cheer or to comfort as the case might be. He had picked up some shreds and patches of learning, which he had stitched together till they were absolute nonsense; and these he carried as glibly on his tongue, and as ready