Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

feed a goose, upon the whole of Killmoran." I now looked upon the bottoms and vast extent of bog.

"It's a grand place for snipe-shooting and duckshooting, in winter," said Dillon.

"But it might be drained and improved,” said I.


Ay, if there was fall enough for the water," said Dillon; "but it would take a power of money to open a canal through that bog all the way down to the river; and, after all, may be it would be of no service to the bottoms here; they would be good for nothing if they were dry in summer, and the grazing cattle is all we depend on for the rent."


Why don't you plant a few trees,” said I, looking round in vain for a sheltering bush.

"Much encouragement we have to plant trees," said Dillon; "threatened with ejectments every day, why should we improve the appearance of the land, to have the rent raised higher and higher every day?"

"But if you had a lease, I suppose you would improve the place?" said L.

"Lease, indeed!" said Dillon-"lease!-how are you? When I had a lease, I didn't keep it." "Why not keep it?" said I.

"Because I was a fool," said he, shattering his stick upon a fragment of rock that lay before us; "but it's useless to talk about it now."

I begged to know how he lost his lease, and he replied, with a little hesitation

"I wouldn't like to say anything that might prevent your honour from having any dealings with the man that wants to sell this place, for it's myself would be proud to see our landlord walking simply through his tenants, like yourself; but there's no hiding it-our landlord is no gentleman; a few years

ago there was a great election in this county, and a contest; you heard talk of it, of course. Well, sir, before the election, down came the landlord himself, and it was the first and last time that ever he darkened my door. "Phil Dillon," said he, "you must regisyour vote."


"And welcome, sir," says I; "who'll get it before my landlord?" Well, sir, I agreed to meet him next day, at the Court-house, and so did M'Dermot and Phil Connor, for we were the only men that had leases on the lands: we went into the Court-house, and there we sat check-by-jowl with the barrister and the magistrates upon the bench; and when the master saw us, he tapped an attorney on the head, and sent him over to where we were sitting, near the dock. 'Hand over your leases,' said the attorney; and, like three big fools, as we were, we handed them to him; we waited long enough to be called on to register, but not a word did we hear about it; and that evening we just had time to say a word to the landlord as he was stepping into the mail; we asked him to return our leases.

"Dillon,' says he, 'there's an informality and illegality about those instruments, that must be looked into and rectified.' You see, though he set up for a gentleman, he wasn't above taking a drop too much; and seeing there was no help for it, and that he didn't know what he was talking about instruments and balderdash, we helped him into the coach-and that was the last sight I got of him; for after that he went off to France, and left everything in the hands of Corney Meehan; and the next rent day we asked Corney to return our leases, and the kennat up and tells us, our leases weren't worth a rush; then says I, Jerry Mal

lowney's life is not worth a rush ;' 'nor Judy MacQuades,' says my brother; nor my own,' says Phil Connor; and we rehearsed the lives in our leases." "Well, be quiet,' says Corney, in a soothing voice, and I'll do my endeavour to get your leases back again, if they are not lost;' so we paid the rent, and the next rent day it was the same story, and then we went to father O'Brien, and told him our story.

66 6

Why did not you come to me at first?' says he, very sharp; 'no, you promised, you volunteered, to vote against your country and conscience; so go be hanged, and I hope you'll never get what you're looking for, and you'll be examples in the country.'

"The last attempt we made was to hire an attorney: we clubbed better than ten pounds, and went to consult a very good head-picce in the town, Attorney Skrewle. He asked us if our leases were registered in Dublin; and when we said not, he began to whistle; so he put the money in his pocket- And I'll not lose sight of you, my good fellows,' said he, as he banged the door in our faces; and from that to this, everything has been going to the bad in Killmoran; we have no heart to make up even a gap in a stone wall; when we were served with ejectments we sub-letted and divided our farms as you see, because the agents find it harder to turn out whole villages than they did formerly with the sodgers at their backs."

We now entered Phil Dillon's bawn-a large farmhouse, in the last stage of dilapidation-a large dunghill before the door, and a pool of stagnant water.


Why don't you remove that abomination, and let off the stagnant water ?" said I-" it's enough to breed fever and pestilence in your family."

"You know little about farming in these parts," said Dillon, "or you would not say that, sir."

I had seen quite enough of this wretched place; and having taken an air of the fire, and hot potatoes with my friendly guide, I wished him a better landlord, and resumed my seat upon the car, which the jarvey had had the prudence to keep upon the main road till I returned, not liking, as he said, to hazard passing up through the boreen, which was the father of all the bad old boreens in the country; and thus ended my first hunt after an Irish estate."


Whist parties-Smokers-Italian Counts and stokers-Mexicans— Virginian-Cockney-German professor- Here-we-go-Quaker's mishap.

THE French, Germans, and Italians, soon make up whist parties, the shattered chessmen are ranged in battle array by others, and the tables re-echo with the racket of backgammon; meantime, the motion of the engines is barely perceptible, the lamps swing lightly, and our royal vessel walks down the star-lit channel like a phantom-ship.

Supper, sir. Cold beef, broiled bones, a night-cap, and then turn in at half-past ten, amidst the perfume of extinguished lamps and candles. Breakfast at half-past eight; sea not quite so smooth; wind a-beam; the passengers say they have got their sea legs on, and keep marching up and down the decks as if for a wager, the majority puffing cigars. I can smoke a cigarrito or meerschaum against any don or Dutchman ashore, but deliver me from the vapid odour of halfsmoked cigars at sea-bilge water and burnt cabbage are preferable to it.

The great business of the day seems to be eating and drinking, and the quick succession of meals

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »