Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

ever

toppled right into the yawning abyss had not an old sailor caught him by his broad skirts; after that escape our friend confined himself to the saloon. "Here we go, and here we go!" those monstrous words are " ringing in my ear;" the burden of the song of " Here we go❞—the name by which we recognise a keen card player and nail-nibbling cockney, who, from the moment the gale began, swings from side to side with the rolling and pitching of the vessel, sometimes catching hold of the next person to him, no matter who, exclaiming-"Here we go!" and invariably dragging him on, full gallop, from bulkhead to bulwark, post to pillar-even a pair of broken skins and a black eye did not steady him; but once he had a narrow escape, even at the card table, which even the raging of the tempest could not clear, till the bench or sofa on which Here-we-go and three others were seated broke loose, with a tremendous lurch, and away they went-Here-we-go singing out, as he dragged the card-cloth, counters, money, and tricks, along with him--the partners rushed to relieve their friends in need, and met the anxious bench returning full surge with its cargo and passengers: down they went, sofa, chairs, and the card table, gamesters, cards, counters, and cash, and, like a living billow, dashed backwards and forwards upon the smooth oilcloth, till half the waiters and several passengers picked them asunder. Poor Here-we-go was a severe sufferer in that rolling match-next day he was stiff as a crutch, and covered with sticking plaster.

In the midst of all this turmoil I find the old set, the knot of odd fellows rallying round that inveterate land-louper, the gentleman in search of an estatetheir mirth is less boisterous than it was a few evenings

ago, they hold their glasses with both hands, and lean upon their elbows with looks of intense anxiety; they seem to tread the green fields and wild hills with the gentleman in search of an estate, as he reads in his hum-drum way and sotto voce tone another adventure.

CHAPTER IV.

Adventures of a gentleman in search of an estate-Tipperary property-Absentee tenant-White-boys-Attack on the houseFly-boat-Passengers-Rough diamond.

"THE next estate I visited was situated in the wilds of the far-famed county Tipperary. I had been invited to look at it by its absentee landlord, who was anxious to dispose of it for the ostensible purpose of concentrating his possessions in another part of the kingdom, where, he said, "the bulk of his property lay. You will find Altadugh a most desirable thing, in the midst of the fine sporting county, Tipperary."

6

"Where the finest peasantry' knock down landlords, parsons, and agents, en passant," I observed.

66

O, my good sir, that's all passé-threadbare subject-old song-newspaper malevolence," retorted the absentee, very briskly; outrages, accidents, and offences occur everywhere, at home and abroad; then, sir, look at the size of Tipperary, and its contiguity to Cork and Limerick !"

66

In short, the absentee said so much in favour of the county he wished to cut for ever, that my curiosity was excited, and, even without the faint prospect of finding a home in the wilds, I resolved to visit Tipperary.

I had slept at the small town of about ten miles from Altadugh; started after breakfast, and arrived in good time to reconnoitre the premises. I liked the appearance of Altadugh "passing well;" at first sight, the place seemed much larger than it really was; clumps of trees and plantations springing up round the verdant lawn and rising ground upon which the house stood, an old-fashioned, high-gabled, longroofed building, enlivened with a singular variety of narrow windows; a grotesque and massive Gothic door-case seemed out of keeping in this modern structure, for doubtless it had been taken from some venerable walls, where it had defied the tooth of time, till the hammer of the builder of Altadugh House, heedless of the "fitness of things," battered it into its present situation, and doomed its key-stone to bear a noble pair of stag's or elk's horns, instead of the banners, shields, and spolia of its former lords, who may have been the redoubtable knights of the Red Branch. A neat garden and flower-knot, enclosed by a beech and thorn hedge, might be too near the house to please every one; but there was an air of quietness and still life about the place that pleased me much. A large Newfoundland dog basked on the broad flags before the hall door, and a peacock displayed his noble fau to the sun. The grating wheels of my car soon roused the former; he lifted up his nose from his fore-paws, and, without deigning to stand up, challenged the intruders upon the premises; but his loud bark was soon changed to a doleful whine, when a shrill workman's bell began to toll, the peacock to squall, and labourers from the farm and yard at the back of the house ran home to their dinners. Then came Mr. Truemore, a hale, good-natured-looking gentleman, turned fifty,

dressed in shooting-jacket and cords. He had been stewarding his men. When he understood the object of my visit, he politely volunteered to shew me the lands and boundaries himself. "I hold but a small part of the land in my own hands," said he, as we entered a large tillage-field.

"I thought," said I, " you rented the whole of it." "And so I do," replied Truemore; "but latterly I have sublet the greater part of it. There," said he, pointing to a cluster of cabins, "are some of my tenants' houses."

"And how do they pay their rents?" said I.

"Punctually in labour," said he; "they perform all my farm-work, and the produce pays Mr.'s rents, and sometimes not even that."

"You think the rent too high, I suppose?" said I. Certainly," he replied; "much too high now-adays; but the lease was taken out by my father during the war, when land and the produce were enormously high. After the war, prices came down at once; we felt a sad change; we were tied up and bound by our lease to pay a heavy rent. My father was a man of education and a gentleman; we had to keep up appearances and live like gentlemen, keep servants and horses, and pay for everything; but we had to sell our produce in the same market as our neighbours, who were all small farmers, and could afford to undersell us, because they lived like labourers, and refusing to pay their high rents, got abatements from their landlords, while our rents were raised to the last farthing. During my father's life, we expended a great deal of money on this place; we planted those trees, and built extensive offices, enclosed yards, and built sundry small additions to the dwelling-house;

D

66

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »