How Kyrle Daly Rode Out to Woo, and How Lowry Looby Told Him Some Stories on the Way
The conquest of his affections might not have been so permanent as to disturb his quiet, had it not been quickly followed by that of his reason likewise. His subsequent acquaintance with the young lady produced a confirmation of his first impressions, from which he neither sought nor hoped to be delivered. The approbation of his parents fixed the closing rivet in the chain which bound him. Mrs. Daly loved Anne Chute for her filial tenderness and devotion, and Mr. Daly, with whom portionless virtue would have met but a tardy and calm acceptance, was struck motionless when he heard that she was to have the mansion and demesne of Castle Chute, which he knew had been held by her father's family at a pepper-corn rent. Insomuch that Kyrle might have said with Lubin in the French comedy, "I1 ne tiendra qu'à elle que nous ne soyons mariés ensemble."
Nothing however in the demeanour of the young lady led him to believe that their acquaintance would be likely to terminate in such a catastrophe. It was true she liked him, for Kyrle was a popular character amongst all his fair acquaintances. He had, in addition to his handsome appearance, that frank and cheerful manner, not unmingled with a certain degree of tenderness and delicacy, which is said to be most successful in opening the way to the female heart. Good nature spoke in his eyes, in his voice, and in "the laughter of his teeth,"—and he carried around him a certain air of ease and freedom, governed by that happy and instinctive discretion which those who affect the quality in vain attempt to exercise, and always overstep. But he could not avoid seeing that it was as a mere acquaintance he was esteemed by Miss Chute, an intimate, familiar, and, he sometimes flattered himself, a valued one, but still a mere acquaintance. She had even received some of his attentions with a coldness intentionally marked, but as an elegant coldness formed a part of her general manner, the lover, with a lover's willing blindness, would not receive those intimations as he at first thought they were intended.
When the affections are once deeply impressed with the image of beauty, every thing in nature that is beautiful to the eyes, musical to the ears, or pleasing to any of the senses, awakens a sympathetic interest within the heart, and strengthens the impression under which it languishes. The loveliness of the day, and of the scenes through which he passed, occasioned a deep access of passion in the breast of our fearful wooer. The sky was mottled over with those small bright clouds which sailors, who look on them as ominous of bad weather, term mackerel, large masses of vapour lay piled above the horizon, and the deep blue openings over-head, which were visible at intervals, appeared streaked with a thin and drifted mist which remained motionless, while the clouds underneath were driven fast across by a wind that was yet unfelt on earth.
The wooded point of land which formed the site of Castle-Chute projected considerably into the broad river at a distance of many miles from the road on which he now travelled, and formed a point of view on which the eye, after traversing the extent of water which lay between, reposed with much delight. Several small green islands, and rocks black with sea-weed, and noisy with the unceasing cry of sea-fowl, diversified the surface of the stream, while the shores were clothed in that graceful variety of shade and light and hue which is peculiar to the season. As Kyrle with the fidelity of a lover's eye fixed his gaze on the point of land above mentioned, and on the tall castle which overtopped the elms, and was reflected in the smooth and shining waters underneath, he saw a white sailed pleasure boat glide under its walls and stand out again into the bed of the river. A sudden flash shot from her bow, and after the lapse of a few seconds, the report of a gun struck upon his ear. At the same moment, the green flag which hung at the peak of the boat, was lowered in token of courtesy, and soon after hoisted again to its former position. Kyrle, who recognised the Nora Creina, felt a sudden hurry in his spirits at the sight of this telegraphic communion with the family of his beloved. The picture instantly rushed into his mind of the effects produced by this incident in the interior of Castle-Chute. Anne Chute looking up and starting from her work-table; her mother leaning on her gold headed cane and rising with difficulty from her easy chair to move towards the window; the cross old steward, Dan Dawley, casting a grum side-glance from his desk, through the hall window; the house-maid, Syl Carney, pausing, brush in hand, and standing like an evoked spirit in a cloud of dust, to gape in admiration of the little pageant; the lifting of the sash, and the waving of a white handkerchief in answer to the greeting from the water; but could it be visible at that distance? He put spurs to his horse and rode forward at a brisker rate.
The figure of Lowry Looby, moving forward at a sling trot on the road before him, was the first object that directed his attention from the last mentioned incident, and turned his thoughts into a merrier channel. The Mercury of the cabins, with a hazel stick for his herpe, and a pair of well- paved brogues for his talaria, jogged forward at a rate which obliged his master to trot at the summit of his speed in order to overtake him. He carried the skirts of his great frieze 'riding-coat' under his arm, and moved—or, more properly, sprang forward, throwing out his loose-jointed legs forcibly and with such a careless freedom, that it seemed as if when once he lifted his foot from the ground he could not tell where it would descend again. His hat hung so far back on his head that the disk of the crown was fully visible to his followers, while his head was so much in the rear of his shoulders, and moved from side to side with such a jaunty air, that it seemed at times as if the owner had a mind to leave it behind him altogether. In his right hand, fairly balanced in the centre, he held the hazel stick before alluded to, while he half hummed, half sung aloud a verse of a popular ballad:—
"Bryan O'Lynn had no small-clothes to wear,
He cut up a sheepskin to make him a pair,
With the skinny side out and the woolly side in,
'Tis pleasant and cool,' says Bryan O'Lynn."
"Lowry!" shouted Kyrle Daly.
"Going? I think you are going, and at a pretty brisk rate too;—you travel merrily, Lowry."
"Middlen, sir, middlen; as the world goes. I sing for company, ever and always, when I go a long road by myself, an' I find it a dale pleasanter and lighter on me. Equal to the lark, that the louder he sings the higher he mounts, its the way with me an' I travellen, the lighter my heart, the faster the road slips from under me.
"I am a bold bachelor, airy and free,
Both cities and counties are equal to me
Among the fair females of every degree
I care not how long I do tarry."
"Lowry, what do you think of the day?"
"What do I think of it, sir? I'm thinken 'twill rain, an' I'm sorry for it, an' the masters hay out yet. There's signs o' wind an' rain. The forty days ar'nt out yet, and there was a sighth o' rain the last Saint Sweeten." And he again resumed his melody, suffering it to sink and swell in a manner alternately distinct and inarticulate, with a slight mixture of that species of enunciation which Italians term the voice of the head:—
"I never will marry while youth's at my side,
For my heart it is light and the world is wide,
I'll ne'er be a slave to a haughty old bride,
To curb me and keep me uneasy."
"And why should last Saint Sweeten have any thing to do with this day?"
"Oyeh, then, sure enough, sir. But they tell an ould fable about Saint Sweeten when he was first buried—"
"Why, was he buried more than once, Lowry?"
"Ayeh, hear to this! Well, well,—'tis maken a hand o' me your honour is fairly, kind father for you. He was, then, buried more than once, if you go to that of it. He was a great Saint living, an' had a long berrin when he died, and when they had the grave dug an' were for putten him into it, the sky opened an' it kep poweren, poweren rain for the bare life, an' stopt so for forty days an' nights—"
"And they couldn't bury him?"
"An' they couldn't bury him, till the forty days were over—"
"He had a long wake, Lowry."
"Believe it, sir. But ever since that, they remark whatever way Saint Sweeten's day is, its the same way for forty days after. You don't b'lieve that sir, now?"
"Indeed, I am rather doubtful."
"See that why! Why then I seen a schoolmaster westwards that had as much Latin and English as if he swallowed a dictionary, an' he'd outface the world that it was as true as you're going the road this minute. But the quollity doesn't give in to them things at all. Heaven be with ould times! There is nothing at all there, as it used to be, Master Kyrle. There isn't the same weather there, nor the same peace, nor comfort, nor as much money, nor as strong whiskey, nor as good piatees, nor the gentlemen isn't so pleasant in themselves, nor the poor people so quiet, nor the boys so divarten', nor the girls so coaxen', nor nothen' at all is there as it used to be formerly. Hardly, I think, the sun shines as bright in the day, an' nothen' shows itself now by night, neither spirits nor good people. In them days, a man couldn't go a lonesome road at night without meeten' things that would make the hair of his head stiffen equal to bristles. Now you might ride from this to Dingle without seeing anything uglier than yourself on the way. But what help for it?"
"Once in fair England my Blackbird did flourish,
He was the chief flower that in it did spring;
Prime ladies of honour his person did nourish,
Because that he was the true son of a king.
But this false fortune,
Which still is uncertain,
Has caused this long parting between him an me,
His name I'll advance,
In Spain an' in France,
An' seek out my Blackbird wherever he be."
"An' you wouldn't b'lieve, now, Masther Kyrle, that any thing does be showen' itself at night at all? Or used to be of ould?"
"It must be a very long while since, Lowry."
"Why then, see this, sir. The whole country will tell you, that after Mr. Chute died, the ould man of all, Mr. Tom's father, you heerd of him?"
"I recollect to have heard of a fat man, that——"
"Fat!" exclaimed Lowry, in a voice of surprise; "you may say fat. There isn't that doore on hinges that he'd pass in, walken with a fair front, widout he turned sideways or skamed in, one way or other. You an' I, an' another along wid us, might be made out o' the one half of him, aisy. His body coat, when he died, med a whole shoot for Dan Dawley the steward, besides a jacket for his little boy; an' Dan was no fishing-rod that time, I tell you. But any way, fat or lain, he was buried, an' the world will tell you, that he was seen rising a forthnight after be Dan Dawley, in the shape of a drove o' young pigs."
"A whole drove?"
"A whole drove. An' tisn't lain, lanky caishes of store pigs either, only fat, fit for bacon. He was passen' the forge, near the ould gate, an' the moon shinen' as bright as silver, when he seen him comen' again' him on the road. Sure he isn't the same man ever since."
"Dan Dawley is not easily caught by appearances. What a sharp eye he must have had, Lowry, to recognise his master under such a disguise!"
"Oyeh, he knew well what was there. Tisn't the first time with Dan Dawley seeing things o' the kind. Didn't you ever hear, what happened Dan, in regard of his first wife, sir?"
"Well, aisy, an' I'll tell you. Dan was married to a girl o' the Hayeses, a very inthricate little creatur, that led him a mighty unaisy life from the day they married, out. Well, it was Dan's luck she got a stitch an' died one mornen', an' if she did, Dan made a pilliloo an' a lavo over her, as if he lost all belongen' to him. They buried her, for all, an' Dan was sitten' in his own doore, and he twisten' a gad to hang a little taste o' bacon he had, an' he singen' the Roving Journeyman for himself, when, tundher alive! who should walk in the doore to him, only his dead wife, an' she living as well as ever! Take it from me he didn't stay long where he was. 'E' is that you, Cauth?' says he, 'The very one,' says she, 'how does the world use you, Dan?' Wisha, middlen,' says Dan again. 'I didn't think we'd see you any more, Cauth,' says he. 'Nor you wouldn't either' says she, 'only for yourself.' 'Do you tell me so?' says Dan Dawley, 'how was that?' 'There are two dogs,' says she, 'that are sleeping on the road I was going in the other world, an' the noise you made cryen' over me wakened 'em, an' they riz again' me, an' wouldn't let me pass.' 'See that why!' says Dan, grinning, 'war'nt they the conthrairy pair?' Well, after another twelvemonth, Cauth died the second time: but I'll be your bail, it was long from Dan Dawley to cry over her this turn as he did at first. 'T was all his trouble to see would he keep the women at the wake from keening over the dead corpse, or doing any thing in life that would waken the dogs. Signs on, she passed 'em, for he got neither tale nor tiden's of her, from that day to this. 'Poor Cauth!' says Dan, 'why should I cry, to have them dogs tearen' her may be!"
"Dan Dawley was a lucky man," said Kyrle. "Nether Orpheus, nor Theseus had so much to say for themselves as he had."
"I never hear talks o' them gentlemen, sir. Wor they o' these parts?"
"Not exactly. One of them was from the county of Attica, and the other from the county Thrace."
"I never hear of 'em. I partly guessed they wor strangers," Lowry continued with much simplicity; "but any way Dan Dawley was a match for the best of 'em, an' a luckier man than I told you yet, moreover, that's in the first beginnen' of his days."
At this moment, a number of smart young fellows, dressed out in new felt hats, clean shoes and stockings with ribbands flying at the knees, passed them on the road. They touched their hats respectfully to Mr. Daly, while they recognised his attendant by a nod, a smile, and a familiar "Is that the way, Lowry?"
"The very way, then, lads," said Lowry, casting a longing look after them, "Going to Garryowen they are now, divarten, for the night," he added in a half envious tone, after which he threw the skirt of his coat from the left to the right arm, looked down at his feet, struck the ground with the end of his stick, and trotted on, singing
"I'm noted for dancen a jig in good order,
A min'et I'd march, an I'd foot a good reel,
In a country dance still I'd be the leading partner,
I ne'er faultered yet from a crack on the heel.
My heart is with ye, boys, this night. But I was tellen you, Master Kyrle, about Dan Dawley's luck! Listen hether."
He dried his face, which was glistening with moisture and flushed with exercise, in his frieze coat, and commenced his story.
"'Tisn't in Castle Chute the family lived always, sir, only in ould Mr. Chute's time, he built it, an' left the fort above, an' I'll tell you for what raison. The ould man of all that had the fort before him, used to be showing himself there at night, himself an' his wife, an' his two daughters, an' a son, an' there were the strangest noises ever you hear; going on above stairs. The master had six or seven sarvints, one after another; stopping up to watch him, but there isn't one of 'em but was killed by the spirit. Well, he was forced to quit at last on the 'count of it, an' it is then he built Castle Chute, the new part of it, where Miss Anne an' the old lady lives now. Well an' good, if he did, he was standen one mornen oppozzit his own gate on the road side, out, an' the sun shining, an' the birds singing for themselves in the bushes, when who should he see only Dan Dawley, an' he a little gaffer the same time serenaden' down the road for the bare life. 'Where to now, lad?' says Mr. Chute, (he was a mighty pleasant man) 'Looking for a master; then' says Dan Dawley. 'Why then, never go past this gate for him,' says Mr. Chute, 'if you'll do what I bid you,' says he. 'What's that, sir?' says the boy. So he up an' told him the whole story about the fort, an' how something, used to be showen itself there, constant, in the dead hour o' the night; 'an' have you the courage,' says he 'to sit up a night an' watch it?' 'What would I get by it?' says Dan, looking him up in the face. 'I'll give you twenty guineas in the mornen, an' a table, an' a chair; an' a pint o' whiskey, an' a fire, an' a candle, an' your dinner before you go,' says Mr. Chute. 'Never say it again,' says the gorsoon, "tis high wages for one night's work, an' I never yet done,' says he, 'any thing that would make me in dread o' the living or the dead; or afraid to trust myself into the hands o' the Almighty.' 'Very well, away with you,' says the gentleman, 'an' I'll have your life if you tell me a word of a lie in the mornen',' says he. 'I will not, sir;' says the boy, 'for what?' Well, he went there, an' he drew the table a-near the fire for himself, an' got his candle, an' began readen his book. 'Tis the lonesomest place you ever see. Well! that was well an' good, 'till he heerd the greatest racket that ever was, going on above stairs, as if all the slates on the roof were fallen. 'I'm in dread,' says Dan, 'that these people will do me some bad hurt,' says he. An' hardly he said the word, when the doore opened, and in they all walked, the ould gentleman with a great big wig on him, an' the wife, an' the two daughters, an' the son. Well, they all put elbows upon themselves, an' stood looken at him out in the middle o' the floore. He said nothen, an' they said nothen, an' at last, when they were tired o' looken, they went out an' walked the whole house, an' went up stairs again. The gentleman came in the mornen early. 'Good morrow, good boy,' says he, 'Good morrow, sir;' says the boy, 'I had a dale o' fine company here last night,' says he, 'ladies an' gentlemen.' 'Its a lie you're tellen me,' says Mr. Chute. "Tis not a word of a lie, sir;' says Dan, 'there was an ould gentleman with a big wig, an' an ould lady, an' two young ones, and a young gentleman,' says he.'True for you,' says Mr. Chute, putten a hand in his pocket, an reachen him twinty guineas. 'Will you stay there another night?' says he. 'I will, sir;' says Dan. Well, he went walken' about the fields for himself, an' when night come——"
"You may pass over the adventures of the second night, Lowry," said Kyrle, "for I suspect that nothing was effected until the third."
"Why then, you just guessed it, sir. Well, the third night he said to himself 'Escape how I can,' says he, 'I'll speak to that ould man with the wig, that does be putten' an elbow on himself an looken at me! Well, the ould man an' all of 'em came an' stood oppozzit him with elbows on 'em as before. Dan got frightened, seeing 'em stop so long in the one place, and the ould man looken' so wicked—(he was after killing six or seven, in the same Fort,) an' he went down on his two knees, an' he put his hands together, and, says he——"
A familiar incident of Irish pastoral life, occasioned an interruption in this part of the legend. Two blooming country girls, their hair confined with a simple black ribband, their cotton gowns pinned up in front, so as to disclose the greater portion of the blue stuff petticoat underneath, and their countenances bright with health and laughter, ran out from a cottage door and intercepted the progress of the travellers. The prettier of the two skipped across the road, holding between her fingers a worsted thread, while the other retained between her hands the large ball from which it had been unwound. Kyrle paused, too well acquainted with the country customs to break through the slender impediment.
"Pay your footing, now, Master Kyrle Daly, before you go farther," said one.
"Don't overlook the wheel, sir," added the girl who remained next the door.
Kyrle searched his pocket for a shilling, while Lowry, with a half smiling, half censuring, face, murmured— "Why then, heaven send ye sense as it is it ye want this mornen."
"And you manners, Mr. Looby. Single your freedom, an' double your distance, I beg o' you. Sure your purse, if you have one, is safe in your pocket. Long life an' a good wife to you, Master Kyrle, an' I wisht I had a better hould than this o' you. I wisht you were in looze, an' that I had the finding of you this mornen'."
So saying, while she smiled merrily on Kyrle, and darting a scornful glance at Lowry Looby, she returned to her woollen wheel, singing as she twirled it round:—
"I want no lectures from a learned master,
He may bestow em on his silly train—
I'd sooner walk through my blooming garden,
An' hear the whistle of my jolly swain."
To which Lowry, who received the lines, as they were probably intended, in a satirical sense, replied, as he trotted forwards, in the same strain:
"Those dressy an' smooth-faced young maidens,
Who now looks at present so gay,
Has borrowed some words o' good English,
An' knows not one half what they say.
No female is fit to be married,
Nor fancied by no man at all,
But those who can sport a drab mantle,
An' likewise a cassimere shawl."
"Hoop-whishk! Why then, she's a clean made little girl for all, isn't she, Master Kyrle? But I was tellen' you—where's this I was? Iss, just. Dan Dawley going on his knees an' talking to the sperrit. Well! he raised his two hands this way, an' 'The Almighty be betune you an' me this night,' says he. 'Ah! that's my good boy,' says the ould man, 'I was waiting these three nights to have you speak first, an' if you hadn't that time, I'd have your life equal to all the others,' says he. 'But come with me now, an' I'll make a gentleman o' you, for you're the best boy that ever I see, says he. Well, the boy got a trembling, an' he couldn't folly him. 'Don't be one bit afeerd o' me,' says the ould gentleman, 'for I wont do you a ha'p'orth o' hurt.' Well, he carried Dan after him through the house, an' he shewed him three crocks o' gould buried behind a doore, an' 'D'ye hear to me now, says he, 'tell my son to give one o' these crocks to my daughter, an' another to you, an' to keep the third himself; an' then I won't show myself this way any more,' says he—'for its the gould that does be always troubling us in the ground. An' tell him if he lives,' says he, 'to give you my daughter in marriage, an' this Fort along with her.' 'Allilu! me tell him!' cries Dan Dawley. 'I'm sure I wouldn't take him such a message for the world.' 'Do, ayeh,' says the ould man, 'an' shew him this ring for a token, 'an' tell him I'll be shewing myself be day and be night to him, until he'll give her to you.' So he vanished in the greatest tundther ever you hear. That was well an' good—well, the next mornen Mr. Chute come, an' if he did, 'Good morrow, good boy,' says he; 'Good morrow, sir,' says Dan.'Have you any news for me after the night?' says he, 'I have, very good news,' says Dan, 'I have three crocks o' gould for you, I got from the ould gentleman,' says he, an' he up an' tould him all about it, an' showed him the gould. 'Its a lie you're tellen' me, ' says Mr. Chute, 'an' I'll have your life,' says he—'you went rooten' an' found these yourself.' So Dan put a hand in his pocket an' pulled out the ring and gave it into his hand. It was the ring, sir, his father wore the day he was buried. 'I give it in to you,' says Mr. Chute, 'you did see them surely. What else did he say to you?' Well, Dan begin looken' down an' up, an' this way, an' that way, an' didn't know what to say. 'Tell me at once, says Mr. Chute, 'an' fear nothing.' Very well. He did. 'Sir' says he, 'the ould gentleman told me, an' sure 'tis a thing I don't expect—but he said I should get Miss Anna, your sister, in marriage.' Well, Mr. Chute stood looken' at Dan as if he had three heads on him. 'Give you my sister, you keowt of a geocogh!' says he, 'You flog Europe for bouldness—Get out o' my sighth,' says he, 'this minute, or I'll give you a kick that 'll raise you from poverty to the highest pitch of affluence.' 'An' wont I get the crock o' gould, sir?' says Dan. 'Away out o' that with you,' says the gentleman, "tis to rob me you want, I believe, you notorious delinquent.' Well, Dan was forced to cut, but in a while after, the ould man sent for him, an' made him a compliment o' something handsome, an' put him over his business, as he is to-day with the present people, and an honest creatur as could be. There's more people says that it was all a fable, an' that Dan Dawley dremt of it, but this was his own story.—An' sure I might as well be draming, too," he added, casting a side glance at Kyrle, "for its little attention you are paying to me or my story."
In this assertion, Lowry was perfectly correct, for his young master's thoughts at that moment were occupied by a far more interesting subject.