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other objections which might be raised come ye at all, at all." Some of the to the supposition that she had a se- beggars were more privileged than othcret of so much value to the world. I ers, and were allowed to come and sit can only say that no doubt was ever down on one of the chairs in the front mentioned at the time, and that all my hall while they ate the food that was family believed that she did what she given to them. Among these was a professed to do.

blind harper who played the Irish meloThe beggars of the country-side were dies. He was the last of the harpers in a very important part of its people, and our country, and I doubt much whether they used to go the round of all the in the whole of Ireland one like him houses, visiting each at regular inter- would be found to-day. I cannot leave vals, and making sure of receiving the beggars without repeating a story charity in one form or another. When which has long ago found its way into they made their visits they would come print, and records what was said to my and stand outside the house until they grandfather, the hero of many amusing received notice. They knew each of tales, by a well-known mendicant in the family familiarly by name, and our county town. My grandfather had took the liveliest interest in all our do- been pursued by the man and had paid ings. They were never allowed to go to no attention to his supplications. The the back of the house and have deal- beggar, after the manner of his kind, ings with the servants, but always re- called down every blessing on his posceived their dole at the front door from sible benefactor, saying, “May the one of ourselves. It would be consid- blessing of the Lord and the saints and ered odd nowadays to hand out a plate of the blessed Virgin follow ye for ever of victuals from the luncheon-table to and ever"—then, when there was no rea ragged creature on the doorstep, but sponse, “and nivir overtake ye." this was done, besides giving some The winter of 1866 was very dis. trifle of money. The plate, knife, and turbed all over Ireland. The Fenian fork were always carefully handed in conspiracy was at its height, and there again after the food consumed. were risings in arms in several places. Some of the beggars were very eccen- Two of these risings took place in the tric characters, and one in particular, neighborhood of villages within ten Miss Daly, would in England have miles of our home (though these came probably been put into an asylum. She to nothing), and it was well known that used to go about dressed in scraps of many of the population in our district faded finery, and was always a very were very disaffected. We heard that grotesque figure. Weak in intellect she the government was taking every precertainly was, but she had more wits caution to have the soldiers and police than she generally received credit for ready to act with vigor in case of any possessing, and could sometimes say a serious attempt at revolution. The bar sharp thing. One of my uncles was racks in the nearest town (where the chaffing her one day when she was greater part of a cavalry regiment was more than usually eccentric in her quartered) were prepared for defence dress. She liked being taken notice of, and the Constabulary quarters in our but on this occasion she became pro- village were loop-coled. All the gentlevoked. She made no reply for a while, folk were, of course, on the side of law but at last, looking at him up and down, and order and most of them at any rate she broke out with, "Why don't ye take were ready to defend their homes if your hands out of your pockets when necessity arose. The horrors of the ye spake to a lady?” Another beggar- "Whiteboy” days had not been forwoman had exceeded her privileges in gotten and the story of "Wild-goose demanding alms, and my sister told her Lodge” still was told by survivors of a to be off, on which she turned round with past generation. It was felt that if the a friendly remonstrance, "Ah! Helen people, instigated by criminal agitators dear, thim masculine manners don't be- and inflamed by mad passion,

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broke out in strength successfully, and could not be securely closed withthese horrors might probably be re- out great delay. The windows were enacted on a large scale and that there permanently blocked with mattresses, might be much bloodshed and misery. leaving only a small space at the 'top In the “Whiteboy" days my grand- through which to fire. Behind the matfather had been a very active magis- tresses were piled heavy pieces of furtrate and by his personal energy had niture, and stands were arranged at been instrumental in bringing many each window for the use of defenders, criminals to justice. It was quite a fa- who would be able to command the miliar story to us when we were chil- front of the house through the open dren how our grandfather always went spaces above mentioned. If any atout armed, frequently taking our father tackers tried to rush into the verandah, with him as an additional protection, they would be exposed to fire from a and how when he drove to the market bow-window at the end of the house, town on business, he never returned in and also their legs would be in danger the afternoon by the same road that he from shots from the basement. The retook in the morning. His life had often mainder of the house was carefully prebeen threatened; but either the precau- pared every night. Mattresses were tions which he took baffled his would- placed against all the windows and the be assassins, or his personal popularity hall door, besides being locked and with most people

sufficient to bolted, was also made secure against swamp the ill-feeling in the minds of a being burst open by the large drawingfew and to prevent it from showing it- room ottoman being raised against it. self in deeds. However that may have A beam of wood was nightly placed in been, there was nothing astonishing to position, one end against the ottoman any of our family when the country be- and the other against an inner wall, so came again disturbed. We only felt that no ordinary force would be that the bad old days of which we hai quired to effect an entrance by the door heard threatened to come again, and at any rate. Every provision was made that we must make up our minds to against fire. Buckets of water were meet them.

placed handy, and full instructions The great want of the would-be were given how they were to be emrebels in the country was firearms and ployed. There was a supply of food these they were ready to seize wher- and drinking-water also provided, ever they were known to be. A warn- though, of course, we knew that no ating was therefore sent by government tack was likely to last more than a few to all householders who were known to hours. Our garrison consisted of my have guns in their houses, that they father, an uncle, three brothers and must either hand them over to the con- their tutor, the butler, and three or four stabulary for safe custody or be ready of the men about the place whom themselves to protect them by force if could thoroughly trust. These last, necessary. My father, as an old sol- however, only remained in the house dier, had no doubt whatever as to his during the early part of each night. line of conduct. We had many fire- Everybody was told off to the particuarms of all descriptions in the house lar place which he had to defend. and he said that he would be answer Everybody had his arms and ammuniable for them. The house was forth- tion allotted to him and everybody was with put into as good a state of defence to lie down at night with his clothes as was practicable and every arrange- and boots at hand, so that at the shortment was made to stand an attack and est notice he could be ready and in his to give a warm reception to any rebel place. My sister and I had our share visitors. The use of the library, which in the scheme of defence, though we opened on to a verandah nearly on a naturally were not to take part in the level with the ground, was given up al- actual fighting if it ever came to that. together, as it was very much exposed There was ample employment provided

LIVING AGE. VOL. XIV. 726

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for us, however, and I think we were from our house would tell the world quite sufficiently prepared to take our that we were threatened with attack. parts.

How often I have wakened at night, My father was very particular that having dreamed that I heard the alarmall his arrangements should be strictly bell, and remained for long anxiously carried out, and he inspected every de- wondering whether the noise ringing in tail nightly to see that all was in order. my ears was real or imaginary! EveryOnce or twice he gave a false alarm in body knows that the Fenian conspiracy the middle of the night, and was very came to nothing; but our fears were angry with my brothers, who carelessly by no means groundless and, though had not placed their shoes and clothes our preparations were never put to the quite ready to put on. I often wonder test, it was unquestionably right and now at the matter-of-course way in prudent that they should have been which we took all these arrangements. made. We knew afterwards that our None of us were, I think, nervous, county was described in the conspirthough we had to clamber over ob- ators' roll of their strength as "weak structions when we went to bed, and but willing." A very little want of prewe never knew that we might not be caution on the part of the government, awakened by the noise of firearms. and the loyal people might have given We believed at the time, and I am to the Fenians the strength that was pretty sure that it was really the case, wanting to them. that my father would have received se- No Irish house would be complete cret warning of an attack from some of without its share of the supernatural, the country-people, who had a great re- and I am bound to say that I believed gard for him, before anything was at- at the time of their occurrence, and I tempted against the house. If such a still believe, that many unaccountable warning had come, we might have been and well-authenticated circumstances able to send for assistance, but my have come within my personal knowfather was resolved to be ready for any edge, however they may now be esemergency. Some of our garrison used plained by persons who do not allow to patrol near the house and towards that “there are more things in heaven the village every evening after night- and earth,” etc. The ghost or revenant fall. They always had a password be- which belonged to our house I have fore they were allowed to enter. There never seen though I have often heard was great excitement one night when it. A certain gentleman, known fathe patrol came home in a great hurry, miliarly as “Red Cap," used to drive up saying that the rebellion had certainly to the hall door and from thence to the broken out, for a squadron of the —th stables, which were at some little dishad just passed the gate. We all tance, and sometimes he has been seen thought that my father would have at to drive a pair of grey horses round the once prepared for the worst, but when stable-yard. There can be no doubt he heard that the squadron was on its that I, as well as all my family, have way from the barracks to a village often heard most distinctly a carriage some miles beyond our house in the op- drive past the house, with the regular posite direction, he said we might all go beat of the horses' feet and the grindto bed; if the soldiers had been going ing of wheels, when there was no posthe other way, there might have been sible known origin for the peculiar some cause for alarm, but, as it was, and well-marked sounds. So accuswe need not be anxious.

tomed were we to the occurrence that There was an alarm signal pre-con- we paid no attention to it, and I recerted between

house and our member that frequently, when we had friends in the village to give mutual company in the evening, a stranger warning in case of danger. A bell would ask who was the late arrival and tolled in the village would inform us would be told, “Oh, it's nothing. It's of an outbreak there, and a gun-shot only Red Cap," very much to his or her

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astonishment when the explanation supposed, by unusual conduct, to prewas given. The story ran that, in sage misfortune. Neither I nor most, olden days, a member of a county fam at any rate, of the other inmates of — ily had been shot at our gate and that House at the time I speak of knew of his unquiet spirit still often revisited this belief, so the sequel of the circumthe scene of his death. But “Red stances which I shall relate struck us Cap's" visits had no particular meaning with peculiar force and vividness. A and did not portend either disaster or lady staying in the house had a young good fortune. It was very different child with her which had been ailing with occurrences at a country house, the for some days. One evening she came property of one of our oldest friends. down-stairs in very low spirits after There, before the death of one of the nursing her child all day and said, family, a pack of hounds was said to "I'm sure I must give up all hope, for be always seen hunting in the woods the peacock has come round to my side near the house. I had often heard that of the house, and all to-day it has been when the old squire, a contemporary sitting on the window-sill." Of course of my grandfather, died, many people all the rest of the party pooh-poohe:I saw the hounds in full cry; but I know the notion, and tried to cheer her a litthat, on one Sunday in my own recol. tle. No one was

emphatic in lection, several people who were well scorning the idea that the peacock known saw and heard a pack of hounds could give a bad omen than a young hunting through the woods. The owne: man of the highest promise, and ex. of the property, a colonel in the army, tremely popular with all of us, as he was one of them, and was, in the first was in every society. Nothing that instance, very much annoyed that any- could be said brought any confidence body should have had hounds out on or comfort to the mother, however, his grounds on such a day. He thought and to our great sorrow her forebodthat some of the county hounds had ings were justified, for the poor child possibly got away from their kennels died during the following night. Even and were hunting on their own ac- then none of us thought any count and sent to inquire if this was about the peacock, or, if we the case; but no, the hounds had re. bered its conduct at all, we only looked mained quiet all that day. Then he upon it as a strange coincidence. The sent to rather a wild young gentleman mother with her dead child left the who kept a pack of harriers and might house and about two days afterwards have forgotten propriety so far as to the young man whom I mentioned have them out on a Sunday. But he above told us at breakfast, “If I was also could show that he and his har- inclined to be superstitious, I should riers had been at home. The curious be afraid that something was going to thing was that a telegram was shortly happen to me next, for the peacock afterwards received, saying that the now insists upon haunting my side of colonel's brother and heir had died of the house, and has been sitting on my cholera in India. The facts of the window-sill." As he was in the best hunting-hounds having been seen by of spirits, and apparently in the highso many people and the death which est health, we all joined with him in immediately followed caused a great laughing at the implied warning by the deal of remark at the time and have bird. He left us on either that or the never yet received any commonplace following day, and the next we heard explanation.

of him was that he had suddenly taken At the same house, when I myself ill, and had died in London. The was staying there on a visit, occurred shock of death of one to whom some incidents which made very were all so much attached was terrideep impression on me, and indeed on ble, and I do not think that any one all the other guests. I dare say many who was of the small party at readers may know that peacocks are House at that time ever cared after

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wards to talk of peacocks and their some of the trifling events of my ways.

youth in a dear home, and have been Another house in our old county be. led into the too common weakness of longs to Lord and it is said that chronicling small beer; but, however before the death of the head of the they may appear to others, these family foxes are always seen sitting trifling events are to me part of on the doorstep of the house. Only happy time which has leftone of the Lords

has died in my Deposited upon the silent shore time, and it is well known that two of memory, images and precious thoughts foxes were seen during all the day That shall not die and cannot be destroyed. previous to the good old man's death playing about on the lawns, and in the early morning of the day itself they were seen sitting on the doorsteps. As

From The Sunday Magazine. the house is in the heart of the best

AMONG THE FINCHES. hunting country in Ireland, where We have had a visit to-day from that foxes are most carefully preserved, dear simple friend of ours, the bullperhaps it is too much to say that the finch. We are now in the closing days sight of a fox or foxes has there, at of March, and it is the first time I have any time, any unusual significance. seen him in the garden since the middle

To pass to what was a case of very of January. He was looking all about curiously justified foreboding. There as if he were quite a stranger, and was a piano-tuner who used to come presently Mrs. B. hopped from behind from Dublin periodically to tune our

the ivy stump, with an expression on piano and do the same service in the her face that was quite profound in its various country houses. He had an

wise artlessness. I'll be bound, though, unconquerable dread of being drowned they were looking for a corner in which and could never be induced to enter a to make their home; for, alas; their boat or trust himself on water under simplicity, as in other folks, is often any conditions. And yet he met his but a veil for the deepest cunning. No death by drowning in a very strange bird conceals its "sheltered cot” with manner. He was in an omnibus in more care. Last year two pairs built Dublin which by some accident was within forty yards of the study window, capsized while crossing a bridge over

and next to a path which I went up the canal, and, falling

the and down every day, but I only discorlow parapet, was precipitated into ered one nest, although I looked for the lock. The water was only a foot the other again and again. or two deep and there was no reason

By the bye, where do some of the staywhy the passengers should not all have at-home birds get to in the winter time? been extricated at the cost of a few And how do others of them live? We broken bones and bruises. If the re. are surrounded by woods, and I consult had not been so ghastly, the pe- stantly use a path through one of them, culiarly Irish train of the canal-lock- besides travelling every day along the keeper's reasoning would be in the roads, and yet I have not heard or seen highest degree droll. He felt he ought a bullfinch half-a-dozen times, even to do something when he saw the acci- during the last mild winter. All who dent and, thinking that the simplest keep birds know that a few hours' deway of getting the omnibus out would privation of food is fatal to their pets. be to float it, forthwith turned on all but the wild birds subsist through the the water into the lock. Several—I hardest winter, and fatten on their forget how many—of the inside pas- fare, whatever it is. The old fable of sengers were drowned, and amongst the bear flourishing on his paw-licking them the unfortunate piano-tuner.

must be true in their case. Think of I fear it may be said that I have the large, soft-billed birds, no snails, overrated the interest attaching to no worms, no berries for them; think

over

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