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a good deal of attractiveness as to their body, and a wonderful deal of vacuity as to their mind. Oh how gladly I would turn to the rich and piquant raciness of Madeline's converse and manner, from the trim and prim formality of her English friends. We had also occasionally staying at the Darragh, members of the Irish Bar; some of these were very brilliant persons, others deeply and extensively read in the volumes of literature, as well as in the book of human life; and all of them gentlemanly and highly educated men; and a few clergymen visited us during the summer, good and active men in their vocation, and estimable and accomplished in private life. We had many a wild mountain ramble with our visitors; boating to see the caves, and the mural cliffs, and puffing holes, and daily a cheval excursions, in which my uncle's house was always very efficient, so that people said of him, that “The General kept a good horse, knew a good horse, and rode a good horse, and all equally well.” Then if it rained, we had book's without measure in the library, which we called the “Generalty," in opposition to a little old black room up stairs full of ancient and odd volumes of older and odder literature, purchased and compiled by the Admiral, and from him named “The Admiralty.” These books were all stitched in canvas which had been prepared in some acid or akaline solution, making it white and smooth, and as if it had been washed in soap-suds; they were lettered in ink on the back, the work of some country schoolmaster. The books were a mass of heterogeneous knowledge and promiscuous nonsense; old almanacks, voyages, log-books, musty antique plays, song books, the great and little Warbler, novels without end, magazines without beginning, unspeakable trash, and all of a most ancient and fish-likesmell ;" yet strange to say, here were many good books by able writers, and stranger still, whole rows of sermons and divinity! The method of their arrangement by the old seaman himself, was in total contempt of size or subject, but in strictest alphabetical order. The fol. lowing may serve for a specimen :Doddridge's Expositor, Drunken Barnaby, Divine Breathings, Dryden's Plays, Death of Legal Hope, Devil
on Two Sticks, Delights of Piety, 100 Drinking Songs, Directions to Baltic Pilots, Dirty Bob, a Tale in 4 vols. Davenant on the Colossians, Durfey's (Tom) Pills to purge Melancholy, Dorimanta, or the Delicate Intriguer, a Sentimental Novel in 8 vols., Daredevil Voyage of the Frigate, Délirium Tremens, Treatise on, &c. &c. These incongruous companions all stood side by side on the book shelves of the “Admiralty," a dark old room about twenty feet square--this had been the Admiral's sanctum, though I fear the term is misapplied in regard of any association with my old relative's life or habits. The moths now had their own way here with the books and furniture, the General not choosing to make the smallest innovation on the oddity or antiquity of the apartment.
. At this time I frequently met the handsome Crookback, or “Le Beau Bossu," as Montfort called him. M'Clintock told me that his name was Jose Marellos, that he was a Portuguese or Spaniard by nation, a Jew by religion, and a working jeweller or lapidary by trade; and that he had visited our country on a report of pebbles being found beyond our warren on the beach, resembling agates, jasper and chalcedony for beauty! There was some truth, but exaggerated, in our sea strand's fame, for the pebbles found there did také a beautiful polish, and the colours in most of them were brighter and more varied than many of the best specimens of German agate.
As the autumn died off into winter, we were all to have gone up to Dublin, until the General countermanded the order, and said he would remain, at the same time pressing Montfort and Madeline to follow up our original plan, and occupy his house in Merrionsquare for the months preceding the coming Christmas. Privately, and for the present out of the hearing of Madeline, my uncle told us he had received a threatening letter with the usual symbolic addenda of skull, coffin, and thigh bones.
“Now,” said the noble old man, “I will not leave my house and servants to be assaulted by these cowardly assassins; they say they will visit my castle some of these dark nights, and pay me off the old score
which Montfort, the English villain, these McDivits. I cannot and will not escaped, when he ducked on his saddle think so evil of all the poor people as to in the Darragh pond.
suppose them to be actively implicated “Such is the strange language of against the life and property of their this epistolary missile, not very com- landlord ; many of them no doubt, plimentary to you, John," said my who have not the stout heart of our uncle. Montfort sternly smiled, look good Joyces, may be obliged to succumb ing most awfully grim.
passively, and keep the bad secrets of “Now 1,” continued my uncle, others; but I am persuaded that if “ being an old soldier, will stand by there be a conspiracy among the my garrison-how could I ever desert peasantry, it is confined to the fes, my poor servants? and even my horses and unparticipated in by the many; require a protecting hand over them; and this is M°Clintock's opinion, who and since I have been forewarned, I has lived here for a long time, ani shall let these brigands see that I will assures me that these agrarian outbe forearmed also. "He then told us, rages are a novelty in the country. I that during the past week he had shall, however, not neglect my anontpunished three brothers of the name mous correspondent's hint, and will of McDivit, who had been convicted set my house in order, though God on the broadest evidence of houghing grant," added the good old man, some cows, and hamstringing a fine "that it may prove an useless precar colt belonging to a remarkably decent tion; and I shall also make one more family of the name of Joyce, whose strong effort to avert such an unplex. conduct had won the esteem of all in sant contingency to myself, and so our house. This Joyce was a small woful a catastrophe to the poor people, farmer, his two sons, fine young fel. by making a little speech to them lows, worked in our garden, his to-morrow while they are at dinner daughter was in the laundry; the in the gravel-pit of the Darragh whole family were an excellent speci- wood.” men of good Irish peasantry, and were In saying this, he alluded to a feast eminently honest, industrious, well of beef, potatoes, and beer, he had principled and faithful, and possessed promised to a whole army of labourers, a good share of that independence of including their wives and children, spirit, which perhaps is the offspring of who had been employed in building honest industry, but which when yoked up a bark stack of huge dimensions in with it, is an unfailing warrant of the great wood behind our house. success. Truth to say, Joyce, the The pile was to be completed by noon father, was a sturdy fellow enough, the next day, and then the banquet and would give in to nothing which he was to come off, the weather being could not recognise as upright, and fine and dry ; sub dio, in a large thus while he was most popular with hollow gravel pit, which afforded the better minded neighbours, whose seats, sunshine, shelter, and amplest testimony of him and his was, that room for all. Hither were collected “Mr. Joyce was a daycent genteel nearly eighty souls, and bodies too, man, and had a fine family, God bless if one might judge by the rapid de them," he was envied and disliked molition of the victuals. The people by the evil disposed members of the were in the highest spirits, evincing community, who were disturbing much joy and thankfulness, and that the people from their propriety, and peculiar tact and courtesy which the had avenged themselves on Joyce Irish peasant has as if by nature's for some fancied injury, by maiming patent above all other villageoises. his cattle at night. This outrage, Madeline moved among them smicoupled with the cruelty which was lingly and gracefully, chatting with exercised against the poor animals, the women, pressing the men to eat, excited the General's just and warmest and admiring and caressing the chilindignation, and he had punished dren. I acted as her squire on the the offenders by sentencing them to occasion. Many of our servants were as severe a penalty as the law per- there. Becky, I grieve to narrate, mitted him to do.
stood like the shade of injured Dido, “Depend on it," he said, “this ar sulky and apart, and looking decidediy row comes from the quiver of some of grand, or, to use her own vernacular,
“verra steff and doure.” She was, doubtless, thinking of her great connexions in the north, and sorry to see her mistress demean herself so “among them puir egnorant boddies, that was a yeating and drinking in the gravel pet.” Yet, beneath that skye-terrier skin beat an honest heart, “tender and true.” Her pendant, the corporal, had been dispatched that morning on a commission of my uncle's to Dublin. So we missed his awful presence; but Mr. Kildoon stood by the General, smiling blandly and patronizingly on the people : while John Montfort, Esq., sat on a green knoll, with his legs stretched out on the grass, an oak stem supporting his broad back, smoking a cigar and reading the Morning Chronicle. Finally, as “the desire of eat ing and drinking” became allayed by the gradual process of repletion, and as the last "satur conviva" ceased his mastications, and began to look about him, my uncle ascended a bank, and commenced a little oration, during which he was frequently, loudly and enthusiastically cheered. In my mind's eye I think I see him now; his blue frock coat buttoned tightly over his lithe frame; his dark trowsers, and white military gloves on his small hands, one of which held a long ashen handle headed by a light steel axe, which he generally carried in his wood-walks ; his hair still some what of the raven's dye, though "grizzled here and there, and curling silkenly and thinly around his white and classic temples ; as he raised his hat gracefully at the plaudits elicited by his simple oratory ; his kind benignant smile and flashing eye, and the tones of his rich aud musical voice, which still live in my memory, and ever will be dear to my heart as “ strains of music parted.”
He thanked them all, as if they had conferred on him a favor, for the good work they had done on his bark rick ; then said how happy he was to see them as his guests, and hoped he often should have the same pleasure. He then gave them excellent advice ; and finally, in a simple and manly way, he told them of the letter he had received, and the threat contained in it against his life and property.
“Now," said he, "I do not believe
any man here to have been connectedwith sending me this letter ; but some of you may be acquainted with those who have, or may chance to meet them at fair, market, or work; and thus they may learn through you what my mind is on the matter. I solemnly appeal to heaven, if my most ardent wish has not been to live in peace among all my neighbours, and to spend amidst them the proceeds of my property, and to do them all the good in my power ; and this you, men, know right well has been my habit and practice, and will be my mode of proceeding still, if the people behave themselves. But if they are mad enough to fulfil the threats of this letter, and attack my house, I as solemnly declare that I will repel them by a force far beyond any they could bring against me; and though God knows how I should grieve to take their lives, yet, in this case, their blood must be upon their own heads."
On the termination of this address a few men looked down ; but the mass of the party loudly cheered my uncle; the male portion expressing their disapprobation at the letter, while the ladies unanimously and vehemently declaimed against “the villyans who would attempt to vex the master, or touch a hair of his head." I thought them very sincere, and strange to say, so did Montfort ; and long afterwards I had reason to be certain that but four individuals amidst that assemblage of eighty people were implicated or even cognizant of the impending attack upon our house. So much had my uncle's kindness won upon his own tenantry and labourers. He appeared very happy at their demonstration of good will, and talked as hopefully and as freshly going home that day as if he were only a boy of sixteen, instead of a man of sixty ; but I thought Madeline looked pale and very delicate.
In a day or two “the corporal" stalked in upon us; an iron import, a perfect “Talus,” just arrived from Dublin ; and more grim than ever : and shortly afterwards the General (having succeeded in the commission he had entrusted to the corporal) communicated to Montfort and me his plan of defence, in case his house
should be attacked, which really ap peared to us as admirable as could be contrived, and as likely to terminate in a speedy repulse of our invaders. The old house and household were wonderfully calm under the approaching danger. My uncle was a little depressed at times, but tranquil, confident, and inspiring confidence to all around. Mr. Montfort was as usual cool, phlegmatic, and imperturbable, and never altering his out-of-door habits, seldom home till it was dark, and going every evening, regardless of my uncle's advice and Madeline's intreaties; before his appearance at the teatable, round to thestables to visit his cavalry and smoke his cigar. My sister had too much of my uncle's nature in her to feel fear; but I could not but perceive how much her natural delicacy had increased ; and I was excited at the prospect of the coming struggle, and greatly flattered at the confidence which both the general and Montfort seemed to place in my courage and physical nerve. Corporal Mon, was à degree less fierce, but as faithful to his monosyllabics as ever : he spent now whole hours in polishing up old bayonets and obsoletē swords, and all kinds of armour, offensive or defensive, he could find, and oiling and cleaning every gun, pistol, fowlingpiece, or blunderbuss which the house contained; a process which seemed to impart such vivacious pleasure, that he was distinctly heard to explode over his labour in several loud and rusty cachinnations of mirth, as if Vulcan and all his cyclops train were tickling him in his workshop.
Becky Elliott was a shade or two more condescending to those about her, and edified the servants hail less frequently with her family greatness, and the oft repeated account of “her grandfeyther, and what a beautiful man he was, and the muckle farm and beg house which Squire Montgomery of Convoy gave him," &c.,
&c., &c., “because he was the honestest tenant on the whole estate," &c., &c. Recitals, which by their frequent repetition, were familiar to our ears as household words, and fresh as yesterday, although the facts they recounted were rather of an ancient date, having occurred in the middle of the last century. The hysterical damsel, who Daphne-like had fled before the pursuit, and “amorous clutch” of the woodenlegged ghost, had decamped on the first intimation of an expected attack from assailants of flesh and blood, and had now “bettered herself" by becoming “head-waiter" to the “Kinnegad hotel,” where she saw no spirits save those she called up herself behind the bar, to cheer the throats and hearts of drouthy customers ; while her admirer, the old Admiral, by no means inconsolable at her departure, continued to occupy the black chair, and to keep up his orgies : whistling and screaming through each live-long stormy night that shook the ancient casements, or plying his wooden-limb in ghostly recreation along the floor of the great parlour, as many a loose door kept flapping all night before the draughts of air which wandered up and down the curious old corridors of the house. My cousin Gilbert had been summoned to attend a trial in Dublin, but was expected home daily. M'Clintock we constantly saw; he urged my uncle much to procure a guard of soldiers for his house, which the General would not hear of. And thus things were, when the “battle of the Darragh" took place, which in all its main events as about to be chronicled here, is “an o'ertrue tale," and “freshly remembered," and oft and fully narrated by the legendloving peasantry of the country for many a long year after this drama of death, and night, and fear, with all its mournful accompaniments and results had ceased and passed away.
THE DARRAGH AND ITS BATTLE.
The boat sails smooth on the summer tide ;
The ship rides strong on the tranquil river, But the storm has come, with its breath of pride,
And both are wrecked for ever : Alas! that one brief day should bring
So stern a doom, so dark a fate, And Time should waft us on his wing Changes so desolate,
Erin's Fault and Sorrow.
It was about three o'clock p.m., on the fifteenth day of December, that, as we were all sitting and reading in the little Dowager drawing-room, at the Darragh, we descried a countryman wrapped in a large frieze coat, crossing the lawn with a quick step. On arriving at the hall door, he asked for the General, who ordered him into his study, whither he immediately followed, taking with him Montfort and myself. We found the man standing just inside the room, and when the door was shut and locked, the countryman threw aside his muffling, and shewed beneath the green rifle dress of a policeman, or “peeler," as their sobriquet was among the peasantry, from the states man who had introduced the force into Ireland. This man was Darcy, the sergeant of the constabulary at Ballynatrasna, and so remarkable a person that I could not pass him by without devoting a few parenthetical words to him.
He was about thirty years of age, and five feet six high; he had fair features, and though a good deal freckled, was remarkably handsomehis lip, nostril, eye being all chiselled by the hand of nature into a most aristocratic fineness, so that had he been born in Grosvenor Square, and written Most Noble before his name, his face would have been painted by Lawrence, or carved from showy marble by Canova, as the beau ideal, and very expression of that thing called blood. As it was, his patent of nobility was only from Nature, who acts in these cases absolutely and irrespective of all cases of fashionable conventionalism; and thus Darcy came from her hands, as a poor man once said of him, “ a rael ready-made gentleman ;" and his mind and con
duct suited his appearance well-he was faithful, intelligent and daringClaverhouse, without his cruelty : and Nelson, without his personal plainness; he resembled both. His voice was low and soft as a woman's; his manner grave, orderly, calm and most respectful; his movements quiet, but there was in the lip a rapid daring curl, and in the eye a suppressed flash of light when business was to be done and action lay before him; he was a spare man, but powerfully strong, all sinew and muscles, whipcord and wire; he had once, when a mere stripling, fought a prize fight; and when living in Lancashire had taken a regular course of lessons in wrestling and cudgel-playing from a professor at Chowbent; he was greatly feared by the peasantry,yet admired at the same time, and in fact rather a popular man from his appearance and his never exercising any cruelty ; and his name was so up for courage and success, that at one time in the county of Kilkenny, he went by himself, armed with a brace of pistols and a short bludgeon, into the midst of a secret lodge of White Shirts, where were four or five men, and looking at them with that eye that never quailed, and accosting them with that accustomed salutation of “well boys," which they said used to drive the blood to their hearts, he succeeded in collaring and capturing the two leaders and securing their papers and signs.
On another occasion, when Branigan the murderer had escaped from Clonmel jail, Darcy was the sleuth-hound selected to bring him back. He accordingly tracked him to Dublin, to England, got on his trail in London, where he took him asleep and drunk in an obscure cellar in the Seven