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ing gang stealthily drawing a net just matter was that the people who tried to below the house. They well knew that make him a confidential adviser were no one would then have the heart to all Roman Catholics, and went to him say them nay, and that all the salmon rather than to their own priest. So that ever swam would not have in- far was this feeling toward my father duced one of the family to leave the carried that he was often asked to sorrowful house at such a time.
make the wills of his humble friends, Such as our old home was, we were or even to take charge of their savings very happy in it, and never cared to with only verbal instructions how to leave it. So stay-at-home were we that dispose of the money when they were I remember an English public school- dead. I distinctly remember two parboy, who paid a visit to a neighbor's ticular cases in which he thus acted. house where I met him, wrote to his One was in the last illness of Andy sister saying, “There's a girl here who M'Gwire, the village tailor. Andy was says she has not been in a railway-car- what was called a "warm" man, and riage for two years. You can imagine besides his business and personal propwhat sort of girl she must be.” Such erty, he had saved upwards of £500. contentedness seemed to him quite in. This he handed over to my father in comprehensible, though when he came trust for his widow and family, quite to know more of our family life, I dare satisfied that, though no legal docusay he understood it better.
ments whatever were employed, the My father had served in the army, trust would be strictly observed and but when he married he took orders, the testator's wishes carefully carried and, with an interlude of a few years out. The other case was that of Patsy in an English rectory, spent the rest of Farnan, a small coal merchant, with his life in Ireland without the direct whom we dealt. One night Patsy charge of a parish, but acting as a thought his last hour had come, and he curate to an invalid friend, and doing sent to ask my father to visit him imregular Sunday duty in a neighboring mediately and make his will. My fachurch. When the Irish church was ther started at once, and as there was so iniquitously disestablished, my fa- nobody else available, he took me with ther found that under the disestablish: him to act as witness. We had a wild ment act he was legally entitled, by walk, for Patsy's house was on the thus having acted for many years, to a little estuary at the mouth of the river sum of seven hundred pounds as com- where the colliers used to unload, and pensation for disturbance, and he made was nearly surrounded by water at a point of pressing for the money, high tide. The will was made, and which he at once paid into the Susten- though Patsy lived a few days longer, tation Fund of the new Irish Church. he made no alteration in it.
Although, as I have said, my father The country people never, if they was an English clergyman, and had could help it, informed their priests only married and settled in Ireland, about their affairs or the money which he had by his perfectly honest and they possessed. The priests used to straightforward character acquired the press them most unmercifully for the complete confidence of everybody in good of their church. Nobody could be our neighborhood, and this was show christened, married, or receive the last by the manner in which his advice was consolations without paying an inordiconstantly asked and the trust that nate price, and it was from funds so was reposed in his judgment, integrity, raised that the many handsome Roman and kindness of heart. If any one Catholic churches have been built in thought of getting married, he was Ireland, at any rate in that part of the always consulted; if any one was in country which I used to know. The difficulties, it was to him that applica- people feared the priests, but certainly tion was made for intervention or as did not love them or show their trust in sistance. And the curious part of the them in any practical form.
Talking of priests reminds me of the marked, “No great compliment to me!" Protestant clergyman of the next parish There was a very strong, and perhaps to ours. He was one of the most sim- unnecessarily ultra, vein of religious ple-minded of men, and though we thought and expression among some of could not help admiring his character, our county people, and I remember his sayings and doings were a source of one gentleman who exposed himself to constant amusement. A friend of ours, a somewhat flippant reply from a belonging to an old Roman Catholic young lady who had told him that she family, had on her marriage with a was going to an afternoon party at the Protestant changed her form of faith Earl of —'s. He asked her with a to that of her husband. When Mr. reproving tone, "Do you think the Lord Bateson heard of this he exclaimed, will be there?” "Yes," she promptly "Here have I been laboring for years responded; "we expect to see him be unsuccessfully to make one convert by tween five and six"-meaning, of the sword of the Spirit, and Captain course, her noble host. On another och Jones has gained one without difficulty casion his method of religious expres. by the arm of the flesh.” Again, Mr. sion gave him the advantage in repBateson wished to sell his cow, and artee. Some man, who had been asked his herd how much he thought prishing his acquaintance upon him, the cow was worth. The herd told hiin said to him on parting, "I hope, Mr. she was worth about £15, and received we may meet again." His feelorders to take her to the fair. The an- ings, as expressed in his reply, were imal was sold, and the herd came back not altogether reciprocal—"Yes, surely, to his master with £20, in great glee at in heaven!" having made such a good bargain and The servants at the old house vere expecting to be much praised for his very different from the servants of the cleverness. He was much astonished present day. I will not insist that they when his master said, “How could you were better, but they were certainly be so dishonest as to sell the cow for more intimately a part of our daily life £20, when you yourself told me she was than their successors, and they said only worth £15?" and at once ordered and did things which would now be re him to send £5 back to the purchaser. garded with astonishment. I wish I There was another Protestant clergy- could remember many circumstances
of a much less lovable type, which caused amusement at the time though I have no doubt he was a very but are now forgotten. Of the outdoor good and estimable man in his way, retainers, Danny Murphy, the odd-man who lived about ten miles from us. He about the place, lives most clearly in was a particularly strict and bigoted my memory. Such a handsome, fine Low-Churchman and looked upon most looking man he was and, full of intelkinds of innocent amusement with the ligence, he could turn his hand to any. sour eyes of an old-fashioned Calvin- thing. Danny never was to be taken ist, using the most unmeasured lan- aback, and always had a ready answer. guage to express his disapprobation. One day, in talking to my father, be On one occasion, the particulars of said somebody had made a faur pas. which I do not remember, he thought My father, a little astonished at lear it right to pour out his bitterness on ing him make use of such an expres. one of my brothers, calling him among sion, said, "Why, Danny, what do yon other names, "a son of Belial.” My mean by that?" "Hmm; troth, your brother, as a boy, did not like to retal- honor, if ye don't know that, ye don't iate in words, but complained after- know much," was the evasive repiy. wards to my father about what had My aunt used good-naturedly to buy been said to him and the names which honey in the hive from some of the cothe had been called. My father was tars on commission for a friend in Dub smoking at the time, and taking his lin, and Danny Murphy generally made cigar out of his mouth, merely re- the bargain for her. On one occasion
the honey turned out unsatisfactory then replaced it on the table. All was when it arrived in Dublin, and was done in silence, and was like a scene in sent back, much to my aunt's annoy- a magic lantern. I was so astonished ance. She went off to Danny and re- and taken aback by the audacity of the proached him with his share in the proceeding that I ran up-stairs without transaction, saying, among other unmasking the culprit. words, “How could you be such a fool, Some of our female servants Danny, as to buy honey like that?" great characters. Old Sarah the cook-Danny, nowise disconcerted, retaliated, and she was one of the best cooks I "Hmm; no fear, ma'am, 'tis yourself ever knew-was devoted to reading in that's the fool to go taking the trouble her leisure moments, but her reading to buy honey for other people.”
was confined to one book-the peerage All our house-servants and all the of all others. Often when the peerage people about the place were, I think, had been sought in the drawing-room perfectly honest in all important mat- for reference, it found in the ters. None of them would have kitchen, Sarah studiously perusing it. thought of taking anything of value; My aunt used to keep house, and once and though the house was always open when she was away from home she and nothing would have been easier wrote some directions to Sarah. These than to enter it, we knew that there directions were never carried out, and was no chance of any pilfering.' Even Sarah was found fault with accordat night, in my early days, the ball door ingly. She admitted receiving the let. was never locked, and often when we ter, and when she was asked whether had tea on the lawn silver spoons and she could not read it she said, “Yes, other articles were left out all night. sure, I can read writing well enough, But in one matter we did not, as they but I can't read the thing Mrs. Jones say in the country, "put it past any. does." It was very true that my aunt's body" to fall away from propriety. No caligraphy was not always very legible. Irishman could resist the temptations While I am in the kitchen let me tell of of whiskey, and some one of the family our scullerymaid, who always was always present when the spirits known as Bunty, “dark and dirty like were not under lock and key. It was a winter's day." She had a deep-seated one of my duties to go down to the cel- conviction that everything not Irish lar whenever it was necessary to re- was little worth consideration. By plenish the decanters for dining-room chance we were honored by the present use, and I remember once seeing the of a hamper of game from very victory of the ruling passion over hon- exalted personage, and Bunty sigesty in rather a droll manner. Under nalized herself at the unpacking of the my superintendence the butler had royal pheasants by saying, “Sure, we've filled a jug from the cask of whiskey, often thrown away plenty as good." and had put it down on a table near Then Mary, our nurse when I was a screen in the passage while he went quite young, used to do the most amusto fetch a decanter, or on some other ing and simple-minded deeds. Her errand. The only light was a candle, greatest feat was performed when we which, while I stood quietly in the were moving from a living which ry darkness, threw the shadow of screen, father had held in England for sowie table, and jug on a blank wall before years before settling in Ireland. We me. Suddenly I saw the shadow of a were all very loath to leave the old rechead rise from behind the shadow of tory, and there was much sorrow the screen, and, by the slouched cau- parting from the familiar spots. In been and the straggling beard, recog- those days railway officials were much nized that it
Micky the herd. more particular than they Then a shadow of an arm came, which about the quantity of luggage allowed seized the shadow of the jug, lifted it to passengers, and on this particular behind the screen for a minute, and occasion our luggage gave my father
more trouble than usual and caused no father in particular. Poor old man! 110 little expense. There was one box, of doubt he was only in reality a tool in which Mary had had the packing, that the hands of others, astuter and more was of inordinate weight, but she criminal than himself. vowed it was only full of the children's We always kept a great many poulclothes. When we arrived finally at try, but even their numbers were at our destination it was discovered that certain times of the year insufficient to Mary had packed up some old stones supply all the fresh eggs required for from the rectory garden to preserve as a large household. The children of the mementoes. The culminating point of family used therefore to visit all the the whole joke was that, having been cottages and cabins in the neighborrather laughed at for her misplaced hood in order to buy new-laid eggs, sentiment, Mary got up in the night, finding perhaps one at one place, two at collected the stones, which by this time another, and three at a third, and carhad acquired a considerable value, aun ried home their various small purthrew them into the river.
chases in a hand-basket. Unlike co: There was certainly, I think, no lack tars in England, every Irish peasant of faithfulness and good feeling among keeps some hens, which run freely in our own old servants generally, but I and out of the cabins, and live more as cannot forbear telling of a very re members of the family than anything markable case of extreme loyalty pud else. Perhaps on account of the extra attachment in an old retainer of a gen- warmth of their sleeping accommodatleman in our county. He had been the tion (they generally roosted on the rafvalet, guardian, and factotum of a ters) these cottage hens often were layvery eccentric master for many years, ing when the inhabitants of a regular watching his health, taking care of his poultry-yard had more or less struck substance, and acting more as a confi- work for the winter. We therefore dential and trusted friend than in his often collected a good many eggs in an nominal capacity. When the master afternoon's walk. We used to keep a died in extreme old age, Barney told running account at each cottage for the the heir that the "ould man" had a eggs we took, and it was always ex matter of £7000 in a box under his traordinary to us how very accurately bed. He was quite aware that nobody the peasant women kept their accounts. but himself knew of the existence of None of them could read or write, all this money, and if he liked he miglit their little transactions were noted in easily have appropriated the whole their memories alone, and not even amount. There a reverse to every tally-sticks were used. The price of shield, however, and it must be ac- eggs was constantly varying with the knowledged that gratitude for benefits season; sometimes they were 6d. was not always to be expected, and dozen, sometimes 9d., sometimes 1s. or kindly sentiments were not always to even more, and though, as I said, be found. On my father's little estate bought eggs at many different tim 23, all laborers received their wages regu- singly or in twos and threes, when paglarly whether sick or well, and pro- ment was to be made there never was vision was always made for the com- the smallest mistake in reckoning up fort and security of those who were what was the total sum due. past work. During the Fenian times, Our fish used to be brought to the of which I shall speak later, it was house by fishwomen from a small vildiscovered that old Tiernay, who had lage on the coast about two miles dislived on the property all his life, and tant. Old “Mary the fish" the now had a cottage and pension, while principal one, then there were Biddy his family all had well-paid employ- and young Mary. Picturesque figures ment, was one of the most virulent these women were, generally dressed in agents of sedition, not only against the what was known as a bedgown over a government in general but against my short dark-blue stuff skirt, with bare.
legs and feet. On their heads they she was considered to be dead and uo wore white caps with red cotton hand- one would give her anything or do any. kerchiefs folded over them, and tied thing for her. She would certainly under their chins. They used to visit soon have died from neglect and weakall the houses in the district, and hawk ness if my father had not fortunately their fish through the villages, and, like heard of the matter; and it was only at Luckie Mucklebackit, “scauld and ban his strong remonstrances that she was wi' ilka wife that will scauld and ban nursed back again to life and health. wi' her till it's sauld.” Sometimes the There was a similar instance in the illfish was carried in a donkey-cart, but ness of a stalwart laborer called Barry. more often in a creel slung over the He also had received the viaticum, an shoulder. These fishwomen all loved his wife would do nothing more for the national potheen not wisely but too him, only watching by his bedside till well and not unfrequently showed its he should pass away. My sister took effects. My uncle met "Biddy the fish" him some jelly, found him looking betone day very far gone in liquor and ter, and insisted on feeding him with staggering along the road. “Oh, the jelly herself in spite of the tears Biddy,” he said, “are ye drunk again?" and remonstrances of his wife and “Blind, Masther Archie,” was the re. daughters. My sister told me that the ply; and then, in a tone of deep thank- wistful look in the poor man's face was fulness, “Glory be to God!"
inexpressibly touching. Barry recovOf course we knew all the women, ered, and many years later was one of who were employed about the farm or the men who carried my father to his were married to the various depen- grave. dents, and indeed most of the villagers One often hears of the sad deaths and cottars within a considerable dis- that occur from cancer, and many tance of the house, and we used to do time I have wondered whether the what we could to help them in their world has not lost a cure or even a mittroubles, and sympathize in their hap- igation of this fearful malady. There piness. There was one rather trying was an old Mrs. Corrigan in our vilordeal which we had to go through lage who was the last possessor of a sewhen we paid a visit of congratulation cret method for its treatment. I reafter a happy event had occurred in a member two instances at least in which family. “Sure, ye'll drink baby's she effected a perfect cure, and these health, miss,” and a glass was offered were vouched for by the Protestant containing whiskey poured over some clergyman of our parish. The cases brown sugar. In courtesy, we always had been diagnosed by a qualified medbraced ourselves to put our lips to this ical man, who could offer no chance of not very tempting caudle-cup, but we cure except by an operation. Mrs. Corwould gladly have avoided doing so, if rigan took them in hand, and the possible.
clergyman said that her treatment was Kind-hearted as I think all the people the application of certain herbal infunaturally were, they were capable of sions, which resulted in the whole disbeing what most persons would call eased part coming away as if it had cold blooded to their nearest and dear- been drawn up by the roots. The paest under certain circumstances. The tients never subsequently suffered in daughter of one of our laborers had any way. It was often proposed that long been ill, and it was supposed that some scientific man should try to get she was at the point of death. The Mrs. Corrigan to disclose her secret, if priest was sent for and she received she really had one to tell, but the opthe last sacrament. Soon afterwards portunity was lost, and she died, takthe crisis of her disorder passed and ing her knowledge to the grave with she only required care, nursing, and her. I am quite aware that she may food to ensure her recovery. But, as not have had real cases of cancer to the viaticum had been administered, deal with and there are numberless