BEFORE JOHN NOWLAN left his chamber, the next morning, he had come to a kind of
resolution to leave Mr. Long's house in the course of the day. It is unnecessary to add, that, after
the state of his own and Letty's heart had been revealed to him—after he felt that he loved her
dearer than existence, and that she devotedly loved him—such a resolve was taken amid
struggles that youth and strong passions naturally opposed to a sense of duty. Whether or no he
reflected this night, upon Mr. Frank's hints fur his union with his sister, is doubtitil; perhaps he
did, and that the horror in which, for the first time, he contemplated apostacy from his religion,
chiefly influenced his decision; or else the feasibility of the scheme, and the prospect of exquisite
happiness it held out, made him doubt his own strength to resist, and threw him upon a system of
avoidance rather than of encounter.
Ere he would walk down to the breakfast-parlour, an effort at disguising his feelings, more subtle
than he had yet practised, became indispensable. Letty had been trying the same thing; and they
accordingly met with less of very visible agitation than might have been expected. In the quiet
interchange of their greetings, in their general manner towards each other, and, after breakfast, at
their Latin lesson, Mr. Long thought he observed a full confirmation of the assertions of his
nephew. Some signs of smothered and aching consciousness could, however, have been noticed
by an eye less unsuspicious, or more skilled in love symptoms.
About two o'clock in the afternoon, John was summoning his powers to announce his intended
departure, when a post-chaise drove furiously up to the house, the door was pulled open by the
postilion, and Mr. Frank Adams, haggard and pale, and with his left arm in a sling, appeared
descending from it. Letty screamed; the servants ran out; Mr. Long and John Nowlan followed
them, and all met Mr. Frank on the steps.
"Good God, Frank, that crazy and abominable mail-coach has upset, and you have been thrown
out and got an arm broken!" cried Mr. Long.
"The mail-coach has been way-laid and robbed, Sir, about half an hour before day-break, this
morning; and my arm has been hurt in an attempt to protect my life," answered Mr. Frank,
There were renewed exclamations: Letty, John, and Mr. Long enquiring if the arm was much
hurt; broken or shattered, or what; and every voice calling out to send for a surgeon.
"Not much," Mr. Frank said, "only a flesh wound; and there was no necessity for a surgeon, and
he begged none would be sent for: the requisite dressings had already been applied."
With much difficulty his uncle and sister assented to this urgent request; and, when he was seated
in the parlour, renewed their enquiries about the whole matter.
Mr. Frank gave a full account.
"While passing," he said, "that part of the Dublin road which runs by your fir grove, uncle, the
coachman found that two or three lines of cars, carts, ploughs, and large stones tangled and
strewn together, obstructed his course. He called out to the guard, and lashed his horses against
the obstacle. I heard him call out; and, in the next moment, the discharge of a volley of fire-arms
over the hedges of the road. My companions, inside, were but two ladies; one young, the other
elderly. I prepared my pocket- pistols, and jumped out. The guard lay dead under my feet; the
coachman wounded, near him; one of the horses also down, and the others madly but vainly
struggling to clear the way. An outside passenger leaped down, by my side; I challenged him to
pursue the villains with me; he readily and bravely assented; and, arming himself with the poor
guard's blunderbuss, we clambered over the hedge together. After their volley the robbers had
disappeared, either to pounce on their prey from another point, or to save their lives. My
companion could see none of them for some time; at last I pointed out two men to him, who were
lurking in a far corner of the field; and while he ran in that direction, I pursued two more in a
different one. As I closed my party, they fired on me; a slug touched my arm—I fell. When I got
up, I could see no person; I returned to the road; my colleague had also come back thither, saying
that the fellows I pointed out to him escaped. On looking after the mail-bags, we ascertained they
were gone; and the strange gentleman has ridden up to my father's, to substantiate this story."
While he spoke, the stranger alluded to, accompanied by Magistrate Adams, and three of his
sons, arrived at the hall-door, all out of breath with terror and anxiety: and all unanimous in
urging Mr. Long and Mr. Frank to repair back with them to Mount Nelson, and there hold a
solemn magisterial investigation of the villainous affair. Mr. Long complied, whispering his
relative to include John Nowlan in the invitation, as he felt assured it would extend to dinner-
hour; and Mr. Adams cheerfully complied.—"Ay, to be sure;—the young priest, by——;
Mr. Nowlan, we will be happy of your company and assistance, by——; and your opinion of a
fresh run of pottheen, by——; and come, madam," to Letty, "you, too, you ungrateful
baggage, that unless a mail-coach is robbed, or the world turned upside down, or something o'
the kind, can't be got to come to see your own father and mother: kiss me, you hussey!—there,
by the——; that's a smack in arnest;—an' so, tumble out, every mother's son and daughter, an'
let us see clear into this rebelly business."
John Nowlan, further pressed by Mr. Long, Mr. Frank, and his three brothers, and really
interested in the investigation, did not hesitate (even with the giving up of his resolution to leave
Letty's dangerous company that very day) to join the whole party to Mount Nelson.
As the road thither was difficult for carriages, all, including Letty, rode on horseback: Magistrate
Adams keeping a-head, and talking very loud, the whole way, about the business in hand; or
occasionally straying from it to the lamentable state of the country, and the necessity for severer
measures than those patronized even by the Peelers; or to some other topic of quite an indifferent
nature, such as the state of his farm, or of the weather, or of the river for cross-fishing, or for net-
fishing; or of presentments for roads; or of his wife's cough; or of his hunter's spavin: every sixth
word he uttered being garnished with a variety of sonorous oaths, scarce fashionable in England
since the days of the Cavaliers.
And indeed, although, from Peery's account, his first ancestor must have been a very different
person in character and appearance, inasmuch as he has reported him an obscure individual of
Cromwell's army, and as consequently he stands before us a crop-eared, sallow-cheeked, and a
grim and godly-spoken man; yet, somehow, Magistrate Adams, making due allowance for a
difference of dress, was not altogether a bad living suggestion of what his ancestor's opposite, the
ancient Cavalier, might have been. His athletic frame; his rosy cheeks and nose, half coloured by
the healthy mountain breeze, half by a long course of hard drinking; his flowing greyish locks,
his merry old blue eye, his open and yet knowing expression of countenance; his loose, careless
air, and, as has been seen, above all, his skill and facility in cursing and swearing, strongly
reminded one of the second-rate old English country gentleman, poor, dissipated, hearty and
reckless, who, at the Restoration, took leave, chiefly in spite to all the ways of the Roundheads,
to break through many wholesome restraints of morals and good behaviour.
He talked loudly, as is mentioned, and in a harsh dictatorial style, acquired by making
magisterial decisions in his own house to crowds of clamorous litigants on a petty scale; by
answering poor men or women who trotted after him on foot, bareheaded, as he rode to hunt, orto the market or fair, urging petitions that were never heeded; or by bawling to labourers across
the hedges on his road, or to his own potatoe-diggers in the open field; or much of his loudness
might have arisen from trying to make his lady (who was very deaf) hear his domestic
communications. In a word, he was a good specimen of the kind of half-genteel and utterly
ignorant rustic magistrates, who, before some late arrangements, almost monopolized the
distribution of justice in the country parts of Ireland.
A few of his sons have already appeared in our pages, but not so conveniently as to prevail on us
to submit something like distinct sketches of them. The present opportunity seems better for this
purpose. The four who, including Frank, now rode by his side, happened to be his four eldest;
their names, (two of which the reader will remember,) Mr. Charles Augustus, Mr. Bob, and Mr.
Tom. Mr. Charles Augustus, the eldest, and presumptive heir, was a gentleman of about three-
and-thirty, half-educated, half-bred, but looking grandly-solemn and self-important; entrusted
with the superintendence of "the estate" (which, in reality, was a farm); and supposed to lead, as
he wished, his admiring parent. Mr. Tom, the second, and only one year younger, claims notice,
in his domestic capacity, as a fowler; in his public, as a chief of police; in his general private
character, as a boisterously good-humoured young gentleman, and, to use the country
phrase—as "the devil among the girls." Mr. Bob, the third, holding the same official
appointment his brother held, employed himself about the house, principally in supplying hares;
(so much, we believe, has already been mentioned;) but, though also celebrated for his gallantry,
he had a reputation for moroseness instead of good-humour. Between him and Tom, Mrs. Adams
had been napping or unfelicitous, and he was consequently many years younger. Next comes in
Mr. Frank, about whom we are beginning to know something. And, though obliged to anticipate
a regular introduction into the magistrate's house, we must really be allowed to continue some
notice of the great majority of this fine and amiable family, who are yet at home, awaiting our
The fifth son, Mr. Dick, or "the captain," had at sixteen years of age obtained a commission in a
militia regiment, now broken; during his service of a few years, had been quartered in three or
four principal towns, and altogether seen much of the world. His manners were therefore less
stiff than those of any of his brothers; and his fair flock of sisters (not to be forgotten, neither)
always selected him to accompany them to church. He sang prettily, in a low, lisping tone, some
pretty, sentimental songs; not any of the bawling, ear-splitting staves about hunting or other
field-sports, that delighted his father and the rest of his father's sons, and, always excepting Mrs.
Adams, used to frighten the gentle half of the family. Still he was a delicate amateur-sportsman
too; but the particular estimation in which he was held arose from his half-pay, and his perfect
ability, during a game of whist, while strangers were spending the evening at Mount Nelson, to
make up for any real or seeming bad play on the part of other members of his family, and so
contrive that very few pools were ever carried out of the house.
Sam, the sixth, was a mighty hunter; a kind of whipper-in to his father, who made a cowardly
attempt at keeping a small pack of mongrel hounds, by distributing them, individually or in pairs,
among the cabins of the surrounding peasantry, where, for certain reasons, they were boarded
and lodged gratis, with every appearance of welcome. After the birth of Mr. Tom, Mrs. Adams's
talent rallied; so that, on an average, there was only about ten months difference in age between
him and Frank, between Frank and Dick, between Dick and Sam, and, again, between Sam and
the seventh son, Master Kit. And this Master Kit must be reckoned as one of the most efficient of
the community. His tastes and responsibility were two-fold.
"It was his," as the old translators of Latin idioms used to say, to keep the table well-supplied
with fish, and—what else will the reader think, his father being a magistrate, and two of his
brothers chiefs of police?—with potheen. He was fisher and distiller to the establishment. While
his father and brothers, headed by the district gauger, often scoured the country, "still-hunting,"
there was an odoriferous pot at work, morning, noon, and night, under their very noses, on their
own ground, and guided and kept boiling by one of their own family. But this little lapse was
nothing; people should live, after all, as well as attend to their duties; and, in this view also, no
licence had ever been taken out by Mr. Tom, the fowler, for the incredible quantity of game he
killed; and while the magistrate levied many a fine on such of the peasantry as used unfair and
unlawful methods of taking fish in the river, Master Kit was well known not to fill his basket, nor
send home his salmon every day, by the simple agency of fly or bait.
We must hasten to complete our group of the sons of the family. After Kit there were two sweet
daughters (at a time); after them, a boy again, never yet sent to school, and under the tutelage of
Tony Ferret, grown into a dog-wormer and ear-and-tail-cropper, a horse-doctor, indeed a kind of
stable-boy, but, above all, a rabbit-purveyor. Another daughter followed him within a year;
another the next year; and then came the youngest son, who, poor fellow, was an idiot, almost
always confined to the kitchen, and sometimes obliged to join in its duties, or allowed to roam,
slavering and jabing, about the out-houses.
The amorous practices of two of these young gentlemen have been broadly asserted; but a similar
assertion may be made with respect to all the rest, except the poor simpleton. Nor was their
patriarchal father, notwithstanding abundant proofs of his devotion to his liege lady, altogether
free from suspicions that did no honour to his years or place. In short, between them all, and Aby
Nowlan while he lived, scarce a virtuous girl or woman could be found in the neighbourhood;
and some circumstances of common attention to the same object, on the part of different
members of the same family, were calculated to create a peculiar feeling of disgust towards a
system of such general immorality.
And now, although this family sketch begins to grow as disproportioned to our limits as was the
grand family-picture of the Primroses to the dimensions of their humble house, still are we
obliged, in common gallantry, to add the ladies of Mount Nelson. Mrs. Adams, then, a little,
round, fat woman with a pure white and red face, having been the youngest sister of Mr. Long,
could really boast some considerable aristocratic blood; and accordingly she held her mouth as
prim, and her head as high, and sat as straight in her chair, and folded her arms as gracefully, as
if she was an old gallery oil-picture. Her deafness added much to the vacant composure and
dignity of her little dumpling face; and as she glanced from one to another, while all were talking
unheard, about her, an expression of inquiry, which well became them, mixed with the staring
hauteur of her round grey eyes.
The first pledge of connubial love she had presented to her husband was a daughter; so that Miss
Adams, older than Mr. Charles Augustus, who was thirty-three, (we have no more delicate way
of insinuating the lady's age,) might be considered to have arrived at years of discretion. And yet
she did all in her power to shake such a belief. With a perfect—alas! too perfect knowledge of
the entry of her birth on the inside of the cover of the family Bible; and with a really aching
heart, the result of that knowledge, she would be a maiden of twenty, gay, brisk,
and happy. When a male stranger came to the house, she used to trill the lightest lays as she
tripped out of the parlour door, or down or up-stairs; and as she sat among her sweet "sister-
band," near the window, there was a girlish simplicity in her words, tones, and actions, towards
them, at which, when they got out of her company, they never failed to indulge in some
She had been educated at a boarding-school, and all her sisters had been educated by her, except
that favoured sister whom Mr. Long adopted as his own child, and who, with a brother-teeming
interval between, of nearly Letty's present age, was the sister that came next to Miss Adams.
Miss Jemima, called Jem by her brothers, and Miss Emily Matilda, her twin-sister, appeared
next: the one was well-looking, and a wit; the other, a beauty, soft and gentle as the dove, and
prettily affecting to be in love with Henry Kirke White, or Lord Byron. Fifth and sixth were a
graceful little hoyden of fourteen, Miss Patty, as fully formed as a town Miss of twenty; and Miss
Bec, somewhat afflicted, like her younger brother, with idiotism; and two growing girls still; and
an infant at nurse, and Mrs. Adams preparing for (including accidents) her twenty-first
accouchement. All the matured young ladies were clever. To say nothing of their literary
acquirements, which, all things considered, might, however, be called respectable, they made
every linen, or muslin, or silk article worn in the family; knitted every stocking; manufactured
every bonnet, of every kind, together with straw hats and cloth caps for their father and brothers;
mittens, neck and wrist comforters; jean, or Russia duck, or blay-linen trousers;—nay, very
little for tailoring even went out of the house; for Miss Adams had a genius for cutting out vests,
and shooting, or hunting, or fishing-jackets, and frock-coats, and dress-coats themselves; and
Miss Jemima made shoes and boots for her mother and all her sisters, as well or better than they
could be bought in the shop. And thus, take them all together, never was a more talented,
industrious, and self-supporting large family. While the young gentlemen, each in his own way,
kept the table and the board reeking, with very slight assistance from the butcher or spirit dealer,
the young ladies, each in her own way too, kept off the milliner, the mantua-maker, the ladies'
shoemaker, the tailor, and many more artizans; in the mean fime, that by their fowl-feeding, and
their admirable and diversified manufacture of bread, cakes, garden wines, cider and mead, they
also contributed their share to the grand process of eating and drinking on the lowest possible
At last arrived at the magistrate's house—(we say at last, for, if the road had not been very had,
and the ride of some miles very tedious, we should not have imposed, by the way, this long
account on the reader).—Miss Letty, her uncle, and her brother Frank, were welcomed by all the
"young masthers," whose daily occupations allowed them to be at home, and devoured with
kisses by every lady of the family. John, too, received from the former a clumsy standoffish
greeting; but from the latter, purely in deference to his fine face and figure, a somewhat more
smiling one. Little time was, however, allowed for ceremony of any description; the dining
parlour, a large room, as, considering its daily service, it ought to be, soon became cleared, at the
good-humoured roar of the magistrate's voice, of the ladies; and he, Mr. Long, Mr. Frank, Mr.
Charles Augustus, Mr. Bob, and Mr. Tom, joined by "the young captain," and Mr. Sam, and
attended by the stranger, who had been an outside-passenger on the mail-coach when it was
robbed, proceeded in the important investigation that brought them all together.
But Mr. Frank's statement, already heard from his own lips, was all the information that, for the
present, it seemed likely could be supplied. The strange gentleman, who gave his name as
Lawson, a native of the sister country, almost unknown in Ireland, and merely travelling through
it on private business, confirmed every thing the young gentleman had told his uncle, and there
stopped. Neither could say he had the slightest knowledge of the ruffians; and Mr. Frank added,
that from his confused notice of the two he had singly pursued, he was inclined to suppose they
might have come from some remote county; inasmuch as their dress, in colour and cut, was
different from that usually worn by the peasantry of the adjoining counties of Clare, and
To the statement previously known to the reader, Mr. Frank and Mr. Lawson deposed, then; and
when their depositions had been carefully prepared by Mr. Long, and duly signed by them,
enquiry seemed so far at an end. But, at the instance of his uncle and father, Mr. Bob, in his
capacity of chief of police, went off to summon his Peelers, and institute a search through all the
cabins for miles round, and confer with other magistrates of the county, and of Nenagh town, as
to the best methods of tracing the robbers and murderers. Mr. Lawson, pleading an urgent
necessity for leaving Ireland as soon as possible, resisted Mr. Adams's boisterous invitations to
"stay and take his dinner," and leaving his English address, departed to commence a rapid
journey; and, after all this, the magistrate growing solely alive to the approach of dinner-hour,
rang the bell often and violently, gave many hungry roars from the parlour-door to the kitchen;
and wondered "what the divil was keeping the young ministher-man, Bil Sirr, that said he'd come
over to-day to his feed, as it were, when all his palavar an' snaking about the house was only
afther little Emily's airs an' graces, so that the son-of-a-gun ought to be at Mount Nelson long
But while he spoke, the young clergyman rode up to the door, accompanied by an elderly person
who also looked clerical.
"Stop—who's that with him?—parson Splint? no;——to my sowl if I know who it is; but no
matther; any of Billy's friends are welcome to us, by——."
Mr. Sirr, a well-favoured and interesting young man, entered the parlour, introducing the Rev.
Mr. Stokes, an English clergyman, sent from a Bible Society in London to investigate the
progress of their benevolent efforts among the peasantry of Ireland. The missionary, exercising to
its utmost the self-pleased and urbane smile that never quite deserted his handsome old features,
bowed round from his hips, in a way that said, "Yes, here I am, the agent of a body of good men,
associated to do your poor benighted country a service above praise; here I stand among you,
humble and simple as a child, just as if I was no such important and graced individual: here I am,
looking unconscious, as you see, of my superiority as an Englishman, an admired preacher, a
philanthropist, and a perfected Christian."
Magistrate Adams plunged on him, seized his delicate and tremulous old hand, and shook it so
heartily as to put the whole arm in motion, and then swore by——that he was proud to see Mr.
Stokes; and by the——that it was such men the country wanted; and——to his soul but if
something wasn't done to teach the poor Irish the Bible, they would all go to ruin, like a drove of
pigs to the slaughter-house, so they would.
The old gentleman, divided by his sense of politeness, and his horror of the roaring blasphemy of
such an eulogist and advocate, looked much distressed, and turned to his young brother, Mr. Sirr,
who, in a low tone, seemed smilingly to crave his Christian allowance for the unconscious
profanations of his father-in-law elect; and then the young gentleman addressed Mr. Adams
aloud, explaining that he was rather late in his visit to-day, in consequence of having been
honoured, just as he was about to ride to Mount Nelson, with a call from Mr. Stokes, who
brought him a note of introduction from a friend in Limerick; that in his own house he should
have felt but too proud to discharge the duties of hospitality towards a gentleman of Mr. Stokes's
pretensions, but, reckoning on his good understanding with the magistrate, he thought he would
bring his new friend to dinner at Mount Nelson, rather than break his own previous appointment
with its amiable family; and, Mr. Sirr added, there was yet another stranger for whom he
solicited Mr. Adam's indulgence; "a young man (so he guardedly defined him) "who had
travelled much with Mr. Stokes through Ireland, accompanied him to his, Mr. Sirr's house, and
only stayed behind to—to—(Mr. Sirr hesitated)—to attend, on the way, to some of the
business of his calling."
"Yes," Mr. Stokes said, after a renewal of boisterous expressions of delight from the magistrate;
"yes, a very excellent young person whom it had been the Merciful Will to turn from his errors
and superstitions as a popish priest, into the path; and from whose knowledge of the Irish
language the society derived much hopes, in his preaching among the poor Irish people."
John started. Frank was near to him, and whispered—" One of the gentlemen we spoke of
Mr. Stokes continued. "Seeing rather a crowd of your unhappy peasantry in the next village, as
we passed along, I requested Mr. Horrogan to ride gently towards them, and in their native
tongue impart whatever aids and comforts of the word the occasion and his own spirit might
inspire; and I would myself have stayed to witness the tumbling down of their hopes upon them,
but that my excellent young friend, Mr. Sirr, exhorted me to remember the approach of the
dining-hour of the worthy people of this house; so, we came hither without my zealous brother;
but no doubt he will, after his good work, soon follow to his meal."
"Or come time enough, though we don't wait for him," Mr. Adams said, pulling the bell
violently. And presently, the servant entered to lay the table. The gentlemen remained during the
operation, there being no drawing-room in the house; as how could there, indeed, if it were twice
as large, seeing the great demand for bed-chambers, as well on the part of the numerous members
of the family, as of chance guests, to whom, however unwillingly, a bed should now and then be
afforded; so that the usual arrangement in case of visitors, was, that Mrs. Adams and the young
ladies should stay in different flocks, in their sleeping apartments, until dinner was served, and
then enter the parlour to join the gentlemen.
Assisted by one or two of the sons, the clumsy maid-servant, her face and arms flaming with the
effects of her previous duties at the roaring kitchen turf-fire, proceeded to arrange a huge length
of table, capable of dining, with not much squeezing, about thirty people. After a little
contrivance, this was effected; the chief difficulty being to prop the last folding leaf, at the head,
where Mrs. Adams was to sit, with a detached leg, that, since the last great dinner day, had been
lying in a corner of the parlour. But with some ingenuity, and a promise loudly expressed on the
part of the wench, to "put the misthess on her guard, when she'd sit to it," the leg held up
seemingly well its proper leaf; and not many minutes more elapsed when the cloth was laid, and,
one by one, the dinner dishes put upon the table. At the head, John saw every variety of fish that
the season, and Mr. Kit, could produce; at the foot, and along the sides, bacon and chickens, roast
fowls, a roast goose, a stuffed hare, boiled rabbits, a pigeon pie, and other specimens of the
united industry of Masters Bob, Tom, Dick, and, indeed, of the occasional amateur foraging of
all the male members of the family; together with, in the tamer dishes, equal proofs of the
contributing housewifery of all the grown ladies. Four decanters were placed at the four corners;
two containing cold potheen punch; its basis praised by the magistrate, with a sly
wink, as the best run Kit had lately got off; the other two holding red and white
wines; also eulogized by him as the finest white and red currant, Jinney (meaning Miss Adams),
Emily, and their all-directing mother, had ever manufactured.
John Nowlan, though not yet possessing an eye very quick to note the different indications of
character and habit to be met with in this world, could not avoid contrasting the present display
of hospitality with that which, in the days of his glory, used to grace the dinner-tables of his poor,
silly uncle, Aby Nowlan. Here were plenty and rarity; a rarity that a city gourmand would prize
above eulogy or money, and that even a country one might pick and choose from every
day;—yet here was not a joint of butcher's meat; not a dish for which, literally, a shilling had
ever gone out; and he clearly saw that, thanks to the united services of the prudent aristocratic
family, Magistrate Adams might, including even liquor galore, entertain thirty heads, per day, at
less expense than his miserable uncle had ever contrived should cover the eating and drinking of
one of the magistrate's sons. For, to say nothing of Aby's wines, obtained at the highest credit
prices, his very whiskey was taxed "parliament;" he had never possessed even as much usefiul
roguery as, to the injury of his majesty's revenue, would have constructed an illicit "pot" among
the fastnesses of his own mountain farms.
The dinner being arranged, and chairs placed, Mrs. Adams abruptly threw open the parlour-door,
followed by all her daughters, young and old, except the poor simpleton; the rather startling
briskness of her entrance being partly the effect of a vague notion that a rapid flounce into a
room was very aristocratic, partly the effect of her deafness, which, for years, had rendered her
insensible to any such noise as the flinging open a door might occasion. Then there ensued the
introduction of her and her blooming band to Mr. Stokes; and then she gave her hand very
gracefully to the important stranger, to lead her to her place at the head of the table, and all were
trying to arrange themselves in their seats, when the sudden entrance of two strangers more
caused for a time some delay and disturbance. One was Mr. Horrogan, whom, the moment he
appeared at the parlour-door, Mr. Stokes left his chair by Mrs. Adams to announce to the
company, and of whom John got but a slight glance, on account of the standing and bustling
crowd between them, and yet he thought he should know the gentleman: the other was a lean and
favourite greyhound, just broke loose, no one could tell how, from the kennel, who, bounding
between all the feet and skirts on his way, darted under the table, plunged towards its head, came
thump against the loose leg, and, with a hideous crash of dishes, plates, knives and forks and
glass, heard even by Mrs. Adams, who responded in a piercing scream, brought down upon the
hostess's lap, and worse, upon her long-cherished and only silk gown, all the various kinds of fish
and fish sauce she was about to distribute; the mustard, the vinegar, the catsup, the decanter of
potheen, and the decanter of red-currant.
To the scene of uproar that followed; to the screams of the young ladies, heard in the kitchen, and
with a "murther, murther, entirely, what's the matther?" sent back to them; to the roaring and
blaspheming of the magistrate and his sons; to their efforts to catch the accursed intruder, and
drag him out, and kick and beat him all the way; to his yelping and cries for quarter, when at last
so caught, dragged out, kicked, and beaten: to all this, and more than this, language is inadequate.
Let it suffice, that after the fish had been picked up and carried off; the broken dishes and plates,
glasses, tumblers, and decanters, with them; after "as good a shift as the case allowed," (the
magistrate's expression) had been made to supply other plates, dishes, &c; and many apologies
and laments put up over the want of "fish at the head," Mrs. Adams reseated herself, very tender
and cautious of the readjusted leg; the whole party followed her example, and dinner in reality