'It's all over with our poor Judy!' said I, with a heavy sigh, making bold to speak to him one night when he was a little cheerful, and standing in the servant's hall all alone with me, as was often his custom—'Not at all (said he) I never was fonder of Judy than at this present speaking, and to prove it to you, (said he, and he took from my hand a halfpenny, change that I had just got along with my tobacco); and to prove it to you, Thady, says he, it's a toss up with me which I shall marry this minute her or Mr. Moneygawl of Mount Juliet's Town's daughter—so it is'—'Oh, boo! boo*! (says I, making light of it' to see what he would go on to next)*—your honour's joking, to be sure, there's no compare between our poor Judy and Miss Isabella, who has a great fortune, they say.'—'I'm not a man to mind a fortune, nor never was, (said Sir Condy proudly,) whatever her friends may say; and to make short of it, (says he) I'm come to a determination upon the spot;' with that he swore such a terrible oath, as made me cross myself*—'and by this book, (said he, snatching up my ballad book, mistaking it for my prayer-book, which lay in the window)—and by this book, (said he) and by all the books that ever were shut and opened—it's come to a toss up with me, and I'll stand or fall by the toss, and so, Thady, hand me over that pin* out of the ink-horn,' and he makes a cross on the smooth side of the halfpenny—Judy M'Quirk, (said he) her mark,*' God bless him! his hand was a little unsteadied by all the whiskey punch he had taken, but it was plain to see his heart was for poor Judy.—My heart was all as one as in my mouth, when I saw the halfpenny up in the air, but I said nothing at all, and when it came down, I was glad I had kept myself to myself, for to be sure now it was all over with poor Judy.—'Judy 's out a luck,' said I, striving to laugh- 'I'm out a luck,' said he, and I never saw a man look so cast down; he took up the halfpenny off the flag, and walked away quite sobered like by the shock.—Now though as easy a man you would think as any in the wide world, there was no such thing as making him unsay one of these sort of vows,* which he had learned to reverence when young, as I well remember teaching him to toss up for bog berries on my knee.—So I saw the affair was as good as settled between him and Miss Isabella, and I had no more to say but to wish her joy, which I did the week afterwards upon her return from Scotland with my poor master.
My new lady was young, as might be supposed of a lady that had been carried off by her own consent to Scotland, but I could only see her at the first through her veil, which, from bashfulness or fashion, she kept over her face—'And am I to walk through all this crowd of people, my dearest love ?' said she to Sir Condy, meaning us servants and tenants, who had gathered at the back gate—'My dear (said Sir Condy) there's nothing for it but to walk, or to let me carry you as far as the house, for you see the back road 's too narrow for a carriage, and the great piers have tumbled down across the front approach, so there's no driving the right way by reason of the ruins'—'Plato, thou reasonest well! saId she, or words to that effect, which I could no ways understand; and again, when her foot stumbled against a broken bit of a car wheel, she cried out—'Angels and mInisters of grace, defend us!'—Well, thought I, to be sure if she's no Jewish like the last, she is a mad woman for certain, which is as bad: it would have been as well for my poor master to have taken up with poor Judy, who is in her right mind any how.
She was dressed like a mad woman, moreover, more than like any one I ever saw afore or since, and I could not take my eyes off her, but still followed behind her, and her feathers on the top of her hat were broke going in at the low back door, and she pulled out her little bottle out of her pocket to smell to when she found herself in the kitchen, and said, 'I shall faint with the heat of this odious, odious place'—'My dear, it's only three steps across the kitchen, and there's a fine air if your veil was up,' said Sir Condy, and with that threw back her veil, so that I had then a full sight of her face; she had not at all the colour of one going to faint, but a fine complexion of her own, as I then took it to be, though her maid told me after it was all put on; but even complexion and all taken in, she was no way, in point of good looks, to compare to poor Judy; and with all she had a quality toss with her; but may be it was my over partiality to Judy, into whose place I may say she stept, that made me notice all this.—To do her justice, however, she was, when we came to know her better, very liberal in her house-keeping, nothing at all of the Skin-flint in her; she left every thing to the housekeeper, and her own maid, Mrs. Jane, who went with her to Scotland, gave her the best of characters for generosity; she seldom or ever wore a thing twice the same way, Mrs. Jane told us, and was always pulling her things to pieces, and giving them away, never being used in her father's house to think of expence in any thing—and she reckoned, to be sure, to go on the same way at Castle Rackrent; but when I came to enquire, I learned that her father was so mad with her for running off after his locking her up, and forbidding her to think any more of Sir Condy, that he would not give her a farthing; and it was lucky for her she had a few thousands of her own, which had been left to her by a good grandmother, and these were very convenient to begin with. My master and my lady set out in great stile; they had the finest coach and chariot, and horses and liveries, and cut the greatest dash in the county, returning their wedding visits ! —and it was Immediately reported that her father had undertaken to pay all my master's debts, and of course all his tradesmen gave him a new credit, and every thing went on smack smooth, and I could not but admire my lady's spirit, and was proud to see Castle Rackrent again in all its glory.—My lady had a fine tsste for building and furniture, and play-houses, and she turned every thing topsy-turvy, and made the barrack-room into a theatre, as she called it, and she went on as if she had a mint of money at her elbow; and to be sure I thought she knew best, especially as Sir Condy said nothing to it one way or the other. All he asked, God bless him! was to live in peace and quietness, and have his bottle, or his whiskey punch at night to himself.—Now this was little enough, to be sure, for any gentleman, but my lady couldn't abide the smell of the whiskey punch.—'My dear, (says he) you liked it well enough before we were married, and why not now ?' —'My dear, (said she) I never smelt it, or I assure you I should never have prevailed upon myself to marry you.'—'My dear, I am sorry you did not smell it, but we can't help that now, (returned my master, without putting himself in a passion, or going out of his way, but just fair and easy helped himself to another glass, and drank it off to her good health). All this the butler told me, who was going backwards and forwards unnoticed with the jug, and hot water, and sugar, and all he thought wanting. —Upon my master's swallowing the last glass of whiskey punch, my lady burst into tears, calling him an ungrateful, base, barbarous wretch! and went off into a fit of hysterics, as I think Mrs. Jane called it, and my poor master was greatly frighted, this being the first thing of the kind he had seen; and he fell straight on his knees before her, and, like a good-hearted cratur as he was, ordered the whiskey punch out of the room, and bid 'em throw open all the windows, and cursed himself, and then my lady came to herself again, and when she saw him kneeling there, bid him get up, and not forswear himself any more, for that she was sure he did not love her, nor never had: this we learnt from Mrs. Jane, who was the only person left present at all this—'My dear, (returns my master, thinking to be sure of Judy, as well he might) whoever told you so is an incendiary, and I'll have 'em turned out of the house this minute, if you'll only let me know which of them it was.'—'Told me what?' says my lady, starting upright in her chair.—'Nothing, nothing at all, (said my master, seeing he had overshot himself, and that my lady spoke at random) but what you said just now that I did not love you, Bella, who told you that ?'—'My own sense,' said she, and she put her handkerchief to her face, and leant back upon Mrs. Jane, and fell to sobbing as if her heart would break.—'Why now Bella, this is very strange of you, (said my poor master) if nobody has told you nothing, what is it you are taking on for at this rate, and exposing yourself and me for this way ?'—'Oh say no more, say no more, every word you say kills me, (cried my lady, and she ran on like one, as Mrs. Jane says, raving)—Oh Sir Condy, Sir Condy! I that had hoped to find in you "my father, brother, husband, friend".'—'Why now faith this is a little too much; do Bella, try to recollect yourself, my dear; am not I your husband, and of your own chusing, and is not that enough ?' —'Oh too much! too much!' cried my lady, wringing her hands.—'Why, my dear, come to your right senses for the love of heaven—see is not the whiskey punch, jug and bowl and all gone out of the room long ago? what is it in the wide world you have to complain of?'—But still my lady sobbed and sobbed, and called herself the most wretched of women; and among other out of the way provoking things, asked my master, was he fit company for her, and he drinking all night.—This nettling him, which it was hard to do, he replied, that as to drinking all night, he was then as sober as she was herself, and that it was no matter how much a man drank, provided it did no ways affect or stagger him— that as to being fit company for her, he thought himself of a family to be fit company for any lord or lady in the land, but that he never prevented her from seeing and keeping what company she pleased, and that he had done his best to make Castle Rackrent pleasing to her sInce her marriage, having always had the house full of vIsitors, and if her own relations were not amongst them, he said, that was their own fault and their pride's fault, of which he was sorry to find her ladyship had so unbecoming a share—So concluding, he took his candle and walked off to his room, and my lady was in her tantarums for three days after, and would have been so much longer, no doubt, but some of her friends, young ladies and cousins and second cousins, came to Castle Rackrent, by my poor master's express invitation, to see her, and she was in a hurry to get up, as Mrs. Jane called it, a play for them, and so got well, and was as finely dressed and as happy to look at as ever, and all the young ladies who used to be in her room dressing of her said in Mrs. Jane's hearing, that my lady was the happiest bride ever they had seen, and that to be sure a love match was the only thing for happiness, where the parties could any way afford it.
As to affording it, God knows it was little they knew of the matter; my lady's few thousands could not last for ever, especially the way she went on with them, and letters from tradesfolk came every post thick and threefold, with bills as long as my arm of years and years standing; my son Jason had 'em all handed over to him, and the pressing letters were all unread by Sir Condy, who hated trouble and could never be brought to hear talk of business, but still put it off and put it off, saying—settle it any how, or bid 'em call again to-morrow, or speak to me about it some other time.—Now it was hard to find the right time to speak, for in the mornings he was a-bed and in the evenings over his bottle, where no gentleman chuses to be disturbed.—Things in a twelve- month or so came to such a pass, there was no making a shift to go on any longer, though we were all of us well enough used to live from hand to mouth at Castle Rackrent. One day, I remember, when there was a power of company, all sitting after dinner in the dusk, not to say dark, in the drawing-room, my lady having rung five times for candles and none to go up, the housekeeper sent up the footman, who went to my mistress and whispered behind her chair how it was.—'My lady, (says he) there are no candles in the house.'— 'Bless me, (says she) then take a horse, and gallop off as fast as you can to Carrick O'Fungus and get some.'—'And in the mean time tell them to step into the play-house, and try if there are not some bits left,' added Sir Condy, who happened to be within hearing. The man was sent up again to my lady, to let her know there was no horse to go but one that wanted a shoe.—'Go to Sir Condy, then, I know nothing at all about the horses, (said my lady) why do you plague me with these things?'—How it was settled I really forget, but to the best of my remembrance, the boy was sent down to my son Jason's to borrow candles for the night. Another time in the winter, and on a desperate cold day, there was no turf in for the parlour and above stairs, and scarce enough for the cook in the kitchen, the little gossoon* was sent off to the neighbours to see and beg or borrow some, but none could he bring back with him for love or money; so as needs must we were forced to trouble Sir Condy—'Well, and if there's no turf to be had in the town or country, why what signifies talking any more about it, can't ye go and cut down a tree?'—'Which tree, please your honour?' I made bold to say.—'Any tree at all that's good to burn, (said Sir Condy); send off smart, and get one down and the fires lighted before my lady gets up to breakfast, or the house will be too hot to hold us.'—He was always very considerate in all things about my lady, and she wanted for nothing whilst he had it to give.—Well, when things were tight with them about this time, my son Jason put in a word again about the lodge, and made a genteel offer to lay down the purchase money to relieve Sir Condy's distresses.—Now Sir Candy had it from the best authority, that there were two writs come down to the Sheriff against his person, and the Sheriff, as ill luck would have it, was no friend of his, and talked how he must do his duty, and how he would do it, if it was against the first man in the county, or even his own brother, let alone one who had voted against him at the last election, as Sir Condy had done.—So Sir Condy was fain to take the purchase money of the lodge from my son Jason to settle matters; and sure enough it was a good bargain for both parties, for my son bought the fee simple of a good house for him and his heirs for ever for little or nothing, and by selling of it for that same my master saved himself from a gaol. Every way it turned out fortunate for Sir Condy; for before the money was all gone there came a general election, and he being so well beloved in the county, and one of the oldest families, no one had a better right to stand candidate for the vacancy; and he was called upon by all his friends, and the whole county I may say, to declare himself against the old member, who had little thought of a contest. My master did not relish the thoughts of a troublesome canvas, and all the ill will he might bring upon himself by disturbing the peace of the county, besides the expence, which was no trifle; but all his friends called upon one another to subscribe, and formed themselves into a committee, and wrote all his circular letters for him, and engaged all his agents, and did all the business unknown to him, and he was well pleased that it should be so at last, and my lady herself was very sanguine about the election, and there was open house kept night and day at Castle Rackrent, and I thought I never saw my lady look so well in her life as she did at that time; there were grand dinners, and all the gentlemen drinking success to Sir Condy till they were carried off; and then dances and balls, and the ladies all finishing with a raking pot of tea glos. in the morning. Indeed it was well the cornpany made it their choice to sit up all nights, for there was not half beds enough for the sights of people that were in it, though there were shake downs in the drawing-room always made up before sun-rise, for those that liked it. For my part, when I saw the doings that were going on, and the loads of claret that went down the throats of them that had no right to be asking for it, and the sights of meat that went up to table and never came down, besides what was carried off to one or t'other below stairs, I couldn't but pity my poor master who was to pay for all, but I said nothing for fear of gaining myself ill will. The day of election will come some time or other, says I to myself, and all will be over—and so it did, and a glorious day it was as any I ever had the happiness to see; huzza! huzza! Sir Condy Rackrent for ever, was the first thing I hears in the morning, and the same and nothing else all day, and not a soul sober only just when polling, enough to give their votes as became 'em, and to stand the brow-beating of the lawyers who came tight enough upon us; and many of our freeholders were knocked off, having never a freehold that they could safely swear to, and Sir Candy was not willing to have any man perjure himself for his sake, as was done on the other side, God knows, but no matter for that.—Some of our friends were dumb-founded, by the lawyers asking them—had they ever been upon the ground where their freeholds lay ?—Now Sir Condy being tender of the consciences of them that had not been on the ground, and so could not swear to a freehold when cross-examined by them lawyers, sent out for a couple of cleaves-full of the sods of his farm of Gulteeshinnagh: and as soon as the sods came into town he set each man upon his sod, and so then ever after, you know, they could fairly swear they had been upon the ground*.—We gained the day by this piece of honesty. I thought I should have died in the streets for joy when I seed my poor master chaired, and he bare-headed and it raining as hard as it could pour; but all the crowds following him up and down, and he bowing and shaking hands with the whole town.—'Is that Sir Condy Rackrent in the chair?' says a stranger man in the crowd—'The same,' says I —who else should it be? God bless him !'—'And I take it then you belong to him,' says he.—'Not at all,' (says I) 'but I live under him, and have done so these two hundred years and upwards, me and mine.'—'It's lucky for you, then,' rejoins he, 'that he is where he is, for was he any where else but in the chair this mlnute he'd be in a worse place, for I was sent down on purpose to put him up*, and here's my order for so doing in my pocket.'—It was a writ that villain the wine merchant had marked against my poor master, for some hundreds of an old debt which it was a shame to be talking of at such a time as this.—'Put it in your pocket again, and think no more of it any ways for seven years to come, my honest friend, (says I), he's a member a Parliament now, praised be God, and such as you can't touch him; and if you'll take a fool's advice, I'd have ye keep out of the way this day, or you'll run a good chance of getting your deserts amongst my master's friends, unless you chuse to drink his health like every body else.'—'I've no objection to that in life,' said he; so we went into one of the public houses kept open for my master, and we had a great deal of talk about this thing and that, and 'how is it (says he) your master keeps on so well upon his legs; I heard say he was off Holantide twelve-month past.'—'Never was better or heartier in his life,' said I.—'It's not that I'm after speaking of, (said he) but there was a great report of his being ruined.'—'No matter, (says I) the Sheriffs two years running were his particular friends, and the Sub-sheriffs were both of them gentlemen, and were properly spoken to; and so the writs lay snug with them, and they, as I understand by my son Jason the custom in them cases is, returned the writs as they came to them to those that sent 'em, much good may it do them, with word in Latin that no such person as Sir Candy Rackrent, Bart. was to be found in those parts.'—'Oh, I understand all those ways better, no offence, than you,' says he, laughing, and at the same time filling his glass to my master's good health, which convinced me he was a warm friend in his heart after all, though appearances were a little suspicIous or so at first.—'To be sure, (says he, still cutting his joke) when a man's over head and shoulders in debt, he may live the faster for it and the better if he goes the right way about it—or else how is it so many live on so well, as we see every day, after they are ruined ?'—'How is it, (says I, being a little merry at the time) how is it but just as you see the ducks in the kitchen yard just after their heads are cut off by the cook, running round and round faster than when alive.'—At which conceit he fell a laughing, and remarked he had never had the happiness yet to see the chicken yard at Castle Rackrent.—'It won't be long so, I hope, (says I) you'll be kindly welcome there, as every body is made by my master; there is not a freer spoken gentleman or a better beloved, high or low, in all Ireland.'—And of what passed after this I'm not sensible, for we drank Sir Condy's good health and the downfall of his enemies till we could stand no longer ourselves—And little did I think at the time, or till long after, how I was harbouring my poor master's greatest of enemies myself. This fellow had the impudence, after coming to see the chicken-yard, to get me to introduce him to my son Jason—little more than the man that never was born did I guess at his meaning by this visit; he gets him a correct list fairly drawn out from my son Jason of all my master's debts, and goes straight round to the creditors and buys them all up, which he did easy enough, seeing the half of them never expected to see their money out of Sir Condy's hands. Then when this base-minded limb of the law, as I afterwards detected him in being, grew to be sole creditor over all, he takes him out a custodiam on all the denominations and sub-denominations, and every carton and half cartonglos. upon the estate—and not content with that, must have an execution against the master's goods and down to the furniture, though little worth, of Castle Rackrent itself.—But this is a part of my story I'm not come to yet, and it's bad to be forestalling—ill news flies fast enough all the world over. To go back to the day of the election, which I never think of but with pleasure and tears of gratitude for those good times; after the election was quite and clean over, there comes shoals of people from all parts, claiming to have obliged my master with their votes, and putting him in mInd of promises which he could never remember himself to have made—one was to have a freehold for each of his four sons— another was to have a renewal of a lease—another an abatement—one came to be paid ten guineas for a pair of silver buckles sold my master on the hustings, which turned out to be no better than copper gilt—another had a long bill for oats, the half of which never went into the granary to my certain knowledge, and the other half were not fit for the cattle to touch; but the bargain was made the week before the ejection, and the coach and saddle horses were got into order for the day, besides a vote fairly got by them oats—so no more reasoning on that head—but then there was no end to them that were telling Sir Condy he had engaged to make their sons exclsemen, or high constables, or the like; and as for them that had bills to give in for liquor, and beds, and straw, and ribbons, and horses, and postchaises for the gentlemen freeholders that came from all parts and other counties to vote for my master, and were not, to be sure, to be at any charges, there was no standing against all these; and worse than all the gentlemen of my master's committee, who managed all for him, and talked how they'd bring him in without costing him a penny, and subscribed by hundreds very genteelly, forgot to pay their subscriptions, and had laid out in agents and lawyers, fees and secret service money, the Lord knows how much, and my master could never ask one of them for their subscription, you are sensible, nor for the price of a fine horse he had sold one of them, so it all was left at his door. He could never, God bless him again, I say, bring himself to ask a gentleman for money, despising such sort of conversation himself; but others, who were not gentlemen born, behaved very uncivil in pressing him at this very time, and all he could do to content 'em all was to take himself out of the way as fast as possible to Dublin, where my lady had taken a house as fitting for him, a Member of Parliament, to attend his duty in there all the winters.—I was very lonely when the whole family was gone, and all the things they had ordered to go and forgot sent after them by the stage. There was then a great silence in Castle Rackrent, and I went moping from room to room, hearing the doors clap for want of right locks, and the wind through the broken windows that the glazier never would come to mend, and the rain coming through the roof and best ceilings all over the house, for want of the slater whose bill was not paid; besides our having no slates or shingles for that part of the old building which was shingled, and burnt when the chimney took fire, and had been open to the weather ever since. I took myself to the servants' hall in the evening to smoke my pipe as usual, but missed the bit of talk we used to have there sadly, and ever after was content to stay in the kitchen and boil my little potatoes*, and put up my bed there; and every post day I looked in the newspaper, but no news of my master in the house.—He never spoke good or bad—but, as the butler wrote down word to my son Jason, was very ill used by the government about a place that was promised him and never given, after his supporting them against his conscience very honourably, and being greatly abused for it, which hurt him greatly, he having the name of a great patriot in the country before. The house and living in Dublin too was not to be had for nothing, and my son Jason said Sir Condy must soon be looking out for a new agent, for I've done my part and can do no more—if my lady had the bank of Ireland to spend, it would go all in one winter, and Sir Condy would never gainsay her, though he does not care the rind of a lemon for her all the while.
Now I could not bear to hear Jason giving out after this manner against the family, and twenty people standing by in the street. Ever since he had lived at the Lodge of his own he looked down, howsomever, upon poor old Thady, and was grown quite a great gentleman, and had none of his relations near him—no wonder he was no kinder to poor Sir Condy than to his own kith and kin*.—In the spring it was the villain that got the list of the debts from him brought down the custodiam, Sir Condy still attending his duty in Parliament; and I could scarcely believe my own old eyes, or the spectacles with which I read it, when I was shewn my son Jason's name joined in the custodiam; but he told me it was only for form's sake, and to make things easier, than if all the land was under the power of a total stranger.—Well, I did not know what to think—it was hard to be talking ill of my own, and I could not but grieve for my poor master's fine estate, all torn by these vultures of the law; so I said nothing, but just looked on to see how it would all end.
It was not till the month of June that he and my lady came down to the country.—My master was pleased to take me aside with him to the brewhouse that same evening, to complain to me of my son and other matters, in which he said he was confident I had neither art nor part: he said a great deal more to me, to whom he had been fond to talk ever since he was my white-headed boy before he came to the estate, and all that he said about poor Judy I can never forget, but scorn to repeat.—He did not say an unkind word of my lady, but wondered, as well he might, her relations would do nothing for him or her, and they in all this great distress.—He did not take any thing long to heart, let it be as it would, and had no more malice or thought of the like in him than the child that can't speak; this night it was all out of his head before he went to his bed.—He took his jug of whiskey punch—My lady was grown quite easy about the whiskey punch by this time, and so I did suppose all was going on right betwixt them, till I learnt the truth through Mrs. Jane, who talked over their affairs to the housekeeper, and I within hearing. The night my master came home, thinking of nothing at all, but just making merry, he drank his bumper toast 'to the deserts of that old curmudgeon my father-in-law, and all enemies at Mount Juliet's town.'—Now my lady was no longer in the mind she formerly was, and did no ways relish hearing her own friends abused in her presence, she said.—Then why don't they shew themselves your friends, (said my master,) and oblige me with the loan of the money I condescended, by your advice, my dear, to ask ?—It's now three posts since I sent off my letter, desiring in the postscript a speedy answer by the return of the post, and no account at all from them yet.'—'I expect they'll write to me next post,' says my lady, and that was all that passed then; but it was easy from this to guess there was a coolness betwixt them, and with good cause.
The next morning being post day, I sent off the gossoon early to the post-office to see was there any letter likely to set matters to rights, and he brought back one with the proper post-mark upon it, sure enough, and I had no time to examine, or make any conjecture more about it, for into the servants' hall pops Mrs. Jane with a blue bandbox in her hand, quite entirely mad.—'Dear Ma'am, and what's the matter?' says I.—'Matter enough, (says she) don't you see my band- box is wet through, and my best bonnet here spoiled, besides my lady's, and all by the rain coming in through that gallery window, that you might have got mended if you'd had any sense, Thady, all the time we were in town in the winter.'—'Sure I could not get the glazier, Ma'am,' says I.—'You might have stopped it up any how,' says she.—'So I did, Ma'am, to the best of my ability, one of the panes with the old pillow-case, and the other with a piece of the old stage green curtain—sure I was as careful as possible all the time you were away, and not a drop of rain came in at that window of all the windows in the house, all winter, Ma'am, when under my care; and now the family's come home, and it's summer time, I never thought no more about it to be sure—but dear, it's a pity to think of your bonnet, Ma'am—but here's what will please you, Ma'am, a letter from Mount Juliet's town for my lady.' With that she snatches it from me without a word more, and runs up the back stairs to my mistress; I follows with a slate to make up thc window—this window was in the long passage, or gallery, as my lady gave out orders to have it called, in the gallery leading to my master's bedchamber and her's, and when I went up with the slate, the door having no lock, and the bolt spoilt, was a-jar after Mrs. Jane, and as I was busy with the window, I heard all that was saying within.
'Well, what's in your letter, Bella, my dear? (says he) you're a long time spelling it over.'—'Won't you shave this morning, Sir Condy,' says she, and put the letter in her pocket.—'I shaved the day before yesterday, (says he) my dear, and that's not what I'm thinking of now—but any thing to oblige you, and to have peace and quietness, my dear'—and presently I had a glimpse of him at the cracked glass over the chimney-piece, standing up shaving himself to please my lady.—But she took no notice, but went on reading her book, and Mrs. Jane doing her hair behind.—'What is it you're reading there, my dear ?—phoo, I've cut myself with this razor; the man's a cheat that sold it me, but I have not paid him for it yet—What is it you're reading there? did you hear me asking you, my dear?' 'The sorrows of Werter,' replies my lady, as well as I could hear.—'I think more of the sorrows of Sir Condy, (says my master, joking like).—What news from Mount Juliet's town ?'—'No news, (says she) but the old story over again; my friends all reproaching me still for what I can't help now.'—'Is it for marrying me, (said my master, still shaving); what signifies, as you say, talking of that when it can't be helped now.'
With that she heaved a great sigh, that I heard plain enough in the passage.—'And did not you use me basely, Sir Condy, (says she) not to tell me you were ruined before I married you ?'—'Tell you, my dear, (said he) did you ever ask me one word about it? and had not you friends enough of your own, that were telling you nothing else from morning to night, if you'd have listened to them slanders.'—'No slanders, nor are my friends slanderers; and I can't bear to hear them treated with disrespect as I do, (says my lady, and took out her pocket handkerchief)—they are the best of friends, and if I had taken their advice—But my father was wrong to lock me up, I own; that was the only unkind thing I can charge him with; for if he had not locked me up, I should never have had a serious thought of running away as I did.'—'Well, my dear, (said my master) don't cry and make yourself uneasy about it now, when it's all over, and you have the man of your own choice in spite of 'em all.'—'I was too young, I know, to make a choice at the time you ran away with me, I'm sure,' says my lady, and another sigh, which made my master, half shaved as he was, turn round upon her in surprise 'Why Bella, (says he) you can't deny what you know as swell as I do, that it was at your own particular desire, and that twice under your own hand and seal expressed, that I should carry you off as I did to Scotland, and marry you there.'— 'Well, say no more about it, Sir Condy, (said my lady, pettish like)—I was a child then, you know.'—'And as far as I know, you're little better now, my dear Bella, to be talking in this manner to your husband's face; but I won't take it ill of you, for I know it's something in that letter you put in your pocket just now, that has set you against me all on a sudden, and Imposed upon your understanding.'—'It is not so very easy as you think it, Sir Condy, to impose upon my understanding', (said my lady)—'My dear, (says he) I have, and with reason, the best opinion of your understanding of any man now breathing, and you know I have never set my own in competition with it; till now, my dear Bella, (says he, taking her hand from her book as kind as could be,) till now—when I have the great advantage of being quite cool, and you not; so don't believe one word your friends say against your own Sir Condy, and lend me the letter out of your pocket, till I see what it is they can have to say.'—Take it then, (says she,) and as you are quite cool, I hope it is a proper time to request you'll allow me to comply with the wishes of all my own friends, and return to live with my father and family, during the remainder of my wretched existence, at Mount Juliet's Town.'
At this my poor master fell back a few paces, like one that had been shot—'You 're not serious, Bella, (says he) and could you find it in your heart to leave me this way in the very middle of my distresses, all alone ?'—But recollecting himself after his first surprise, and a moment's time for reflection, he said, with a great deal of consideration for my lady— 'Well, Bella, my dear, I believe you are right; for what could you do at Castle Rackrent, and an execution against the goods coming down, and the furniture to be canted, and an auction in the house all next week—so you have my full consent to go, since that is your desire, only you must not think of my accompanying you, which I could not in honour do upon the terms I always have been since our marriage with your friends; besides I have business to transact at home— so in the mean time, if we are to have any breakfast this morning, let us go down and have it for the last time in peace and comfort, Bella.'
Then as I heard my master coming to the passage door, I finished fastening up my slate against the broken pane, and when he came out, I wiped down the window seat with my wig*, bade him a good morrow as kindly as I could, seeing he was in trouble, though he strove and thought to hide it from me.—'This window is all racked and tattered, (says I,) and it's what I'm striving to mend.' 'It is all racked and tattered plain enough, (says he) and never mind mending it, honest old Thady, says he, it will do well enough for you and I, and that's all the company we shall have left in the house byand-bye.'—'I'm sorry to see your honour so low this morning, (says I,) but you'll be better after taking your breakfast.'—'Step down to the servants' hall, (says he) and bring me up the pen and ink into the parlour, and get a sheet of paper from Mrs. Jane, for I have business that can't brook to be delayed, and come into the parlour with the pen and ink yourself, Thady, for I must have you to witness my signing a paper I have to execute in a hurry.'—Well, while I was getting of the pen and ink-horn, and the sheet of paper, I ransacked my brains to think what could be the papers my poor master could have to execute in such a hurry, he that never thought of such a thing as doing business afore breakfast in the whole course of his life for any man living—but this was for my lady, as I afterwards found, and the more genteel of him after all her treatment.
I was just witnessing the paper that he had scrawled over, and was shaking the ink out of my pen upon the carpet, when my lady came in to breakfast, and she started as if it had been a ghost, as well she might, when she saw Sir Condy writing at this unseasonable hour.—'That will do very well, Thady,' says he to me, and took the paper I had signed to, without knowing what upon the earth it might be, out of my hands, and walked, folding it up, to my lady—
'You are concerned in this, my lady Rackrent, (says he, putting it into her hands,) and I beg you'll keep this memorandum safe, and shew it to your friends the first thing you do when you get home, but put it in your pocket now, my dear, and let us eat our breakfast, in God's name.' —'What is all this?' said my lady, opening the paper in great curiosity—'It's only a bit of a memorandum of what I think becomes me to do whenever I am able, (says my master); you know my situation, tied hand and foot at the present time being, but that can't last always, and when I'm dead and gone, the land will be to the good, Thady, you know; and take notice it's my intention your lady should have a clear five hundred a year jointure off the estate, afore any of my debts are paid.'—'Oh, please your honour, says I, I can't expect to live to see that time, being now upwards of fourscore and ten years of age, and you a young man, and likely to continue so, by the help of God.'—I was vexed to see my lady so insensible too, for all she said was—'This is very genteel of you, Sir Condy—You need not wait any longer, Thady'—so I just picked up the pen and ink that had tumbled on the floor, and heard my master finish with saying—'You behaved very genteel to me, my dear, when you threw all the little you had in your own power, along with yourself, into my hands; and as I don't deny but what you may have had some things to complain of, (to be sure he was thinking then of Judy, or of the whiskey punch, one or t'other, or both); and as I don't deny but you may have had something to complain of, my dear, it is but fair you should have something in the form of compensation to look forward too agreeably in future; besides it's an act of justice to myself, that none of your friends, my dear, may ever have it to say against me I married for money, and not for love.'—'That is the last thing I should ever have thought of saying of you, Sir Condy,' said my lady, looking very gracious.—'Then, my dear, (said Sir Condy) we shall part as good friends as we met, so, all's right.'
I was greatly rejoiced to hear this, and went out of the parlour to report it all to the kitchen.—The next morning my lady and Mrs. Jane set out for Mount Juliet's town in the jaunting car; many wondered at my lady's chusing to go away, considering all things, upon the jaunting car, as if it was only a party of pleasure; but they did not know till I told them, that the coach was all broke in the journey down, and no other vehicle but the car to be had; besides, my lady's friends were to send their coach to meet her at the cross roads—so it was all done very proper.
My poor master was in great trouble after my lady left us.—The execution came down, and every thing at Castle Rackrent was seized by the gripers, and my son Jason, to his shame be it spoken, amongst them—I wondered, for the life of me, how he could harden himself to do it, but then he had been studying the law, and had made himself attorney Quirk; so he brought down at once a heap of accounts upon my master's head—To Cash lent, and to ditto, and to ditto, and to ditto, and oats, and bilk paid at the milliner's and linen-draper's, and many dresses for the fancy balls in Dublin for my lady, and all the bills to the workmen and tradesmen for the scenery of the theatre, and the chandler's and grocer's bills, and taylor's, besides butcher's and baker's, and worse than all, the old one of that base wine-merchant's, that wanted to arrest my poor master for the amount on the election day, for which amount Sir Condy afterwards passed his note of hand, bearing lawful interest from the date thereof; and the interest and compound interest was now mounted to a terrible deal on many other notes and bonds for money borrowed, and there was besides hush-money to the sub-sheriffs, and sheets upon sheets of old and new attornies' bills, with heavy balances, as per former account furnished, brought forward with interest thereon; then there was a powerful deal due to the Crown for sixteen years arrear of quit-rent of the town lands of Carrickshaughlin, with drivers' fees, and a compliment to the receiver every year for letting the quit-rent run on, to oblige Sir Condy and Sir Kit afore him.—Then there was bills for spirits, and ribbons at the election time, and the gentlemen of the Committee's accounts unsettled, and their subscriptions never gathered; and there was cows to be paid for, with the smith and farrier's bills to be set against the rent of the demesne, with calf and hay-money: then there was all the servants' wages, since I don't know when, coming due to them, and sums advanced for them by my son Jason for clothes, and boots, and whips, and odd monies for sundries expended by them in journies to town and elsewhere, and pocket-money for the master continually, and messengers and postage before his being a parliament man- I can't myself tell you what besides; but this I know, that when the evening came on the which Sir Condy had appointed to settle all with my son Jason; and when he comes into the parlour, and sees the sight of bills and load of papers all gathered on the great dining table for him, he puts his hands before both his eyes, and cries out—'Merciful Jasus! what is it I see before me!'—Then I sets an arm chair at the table for him, and with a deal of difficulty he sits him down, and my son Jason hands him over the pen and ink to sign to this man's bill and t'other man's bill, all which he did without making the least objections; indeed, to give him his due, I never seen a man more fair, and honest, and easy in all his dealings, from first to last, as Sir Condy, or more willing to pay every man his own as far as he was able, which is as much as any one can do.—'Well, (says he, joking like with Jason) I wish we could settle it all with a stroke of my grey-goose-quill.—What signifies making me wade through all this ocean of papers here; can't you now, who understand drawing out an account, Debtor and Creditor, just sit down here at the corner of the table, and get it done out for me, that I may have a clear view of the balance, which is all I need be talking about, you know ?'—'Very true, Sir Condy, nobody understands business better than yourself,' says Jason.—'So I've a right to do, being born and bred to the bar, (says Sir Condy)—Thady, do step out and see are they bringing in the tings for the punch, for we've just done all we have to do this evening.'—I goes out accordingly, and when I came back, Jason was pointing to the balance, which was a terrible sight to my poor master.— 'Pooh! pooh! pooh! (says he) here's so many noughts they dazzle my eyes, so they do, and put me in mind of all I suffered, larning of my numeration table, when I was a boy, at the day-school along with you, Jason—Units, tens, hundreds, tens of hundreds.—Is the punch ready, Thady?' says he, seeing rne—'Immediately, the boy has the jug in his hand; it's coming up stairs, please your honour, as fast as possible,' says I, for I saw his honour was tired out of his life, but Jason, very short and cruel, cuts me off with—'Don't be talking of punch yet a while, it's no time for punch yet a bit— Units, tens, hundreds, goes he on, counting over the master's shoulder—units, tens, hundreds, thousands'—'A-a-agh! hold your hand, (cries my master,) where in this wide world am I to find hundreds, or units itself, let alone thousands?' —The balance has been running on too long, (says Jason, sticking to him as I could not have done at the time if you'd have given both the Indies and Cork to boot); the balance has been running on too long, and I'm distressed myself on your account, Sir Condy, for money, and the thing must be settled now on the spot, and the balance cleared off,' says Jason. 'I'll thank you, if you'll only shew me how,' says Sir Condy.—'There's but one way, (says Jason) and that's ready enough; when there's no cash, what can a gentleman do but go to the land?'—'How can you go to the land, and it under custodiam to yourself already, (says Sir Condy) and another custodiam hanging over it? and no one at all can touch it, you know, but the custodees.'—'Sure can't you sell, though at a loss?—sure you can sell, and I've a purchaser ready for you,' says Jason.—'Have ye so? (said Sir Condy) that's a great point gained; but there's a thing now beyond all, that perhaps you don't know yet, barring Thady has let you into the secret.'—'Sarrah bit of a sacret, or any thing at all of the kind has he learned from me these fifteen weeks come St. John's eve, (says I) for we have scarce been upon speaking terms of late—but what is it your honour means of a secret ?'—'Why the secret of the little keepsake I gave my lady Rackrent the morning she left us, that she might not go back empty-handed to her friends.'—'My lady Rackrent, I'm sure, has baubles and keepsakes enough, as those bills on the table will shew, (says Jason); but whatever it is, (says he, taking up his pen) we must add it to the balance, for to be sure it can't be paid for.'—'No, nor can't till after my decease, (said Sir Condy) that's one good thing.'—Then coloring up a good deal, he tells Jason of the memorandum of the five hundred a year jointure he had settled upon my lady; at which Jason was indeed mad, and said a great deal in very high words, that it was using a gentleman who had the management of his affairs, and was moreover his principal creditor, extremely ill, to do such a thing without consulting him, and against his knowledge and consent. To all which Sir Condy had nothing to reply, but that, upon his conscience, it was in a hurry, and without a moment's thought on his part, and he was very sorry for it, but if it was to do over again he would do the same; and he appealed to me, and I was ready to give my evidence, if that would do, to the truth of all he said.
So Jason with much ado was brought to agree to a compromise.—The purchaser that I have ready (says he) will be much displeased to be sure at the incumbrance on the land, but I must see and manage him—here's a deed ready drawn up—we have nothing to do but to put in the consideration money and our names to it.—And how much am I going to sell?—the lands of O'Shaughlin's-town, and the lands of Gruneaghoolaghan, and the lands of Crookaghnawaturgh, (says he, just reading to himself)—and—'Oh, murder, Jason!—sure you won t put this in'—the castle, stable, and appurtenances of Castle Rackrent—Oh, murder! (says I, clapping my hands) this is too bad, Jason.'—'Why so? (said Jason) when it's all, and a great deal more to the back of it, lawfully mine was I to push for it.' 'Look at him (says I, pointing to Sir Condy, who was just leaning back in his arm chair, with his arms falling beside him like one stupified) is it you, Jason, that can stand in his presence and recollect all he has been to us, and all we have been to him, and yet use him so at the last ?'—'Who will he find to use him better, I ask you? (said Jason)—If he can get a better purchaser, I'm content; I only offer to purchase to make things easy and oblige him—though I don't see what compliment I am under, if you come to that; I have never had, asked, or charged more than sixpence in the pound receiver's fees, and where would he have got an agent for a penny less?' 'Oh Jason! Jason! how will you stand to this in the face of the county, and all who know you, (says I); and what will people tink and say, when they see you living here in Castle Rackrent, and the lawful owner turned out of the seat of his ancestors, without a cabin to put his head into, or so much as a potatoe to eat ?'—Jason, whilst I was saying this and a great deal more, made me signs, and winks, and frowns; but I took no heed, for I was grieved and sick at heart for my poor master, and couldn't but speak. 'Here's the punch! (says Jason, for the door opened)—here's the punch !'—Hearing that, my master starts up in his chair and recollects himself, and Jason uncorks the whiskey—'Set down the jug here,' says he, making room for it beside the papers opposite to Sir Condy, but still not stirring the deed that was to make over all. Well, I was in great hopes he had some touch of mercy about him, when I saw him making the punch, and my master took a glass; but Jason put it back as he was going to fill again, saying, 'No, Sir Condy, it shan't be said of me, I got your signature to this deed when you were half-seas over; you know, your name and hand-writing in that condition would not, if brought before the courts, benefit me a straw, wherefore let us settle all before we go deeper in the punch-bowl.'—'Settle all as you will, (said Sir Condy, clapping his hands to his ears) but let me hear no more, I'm bothered to death this night.'—'You've only to sign,' said Jason, putting the pen to him.—'Take all and be content,' said my master—So he signed—and the man who brought in the punch witnessed it, for I was not able, but crying like a child; and besides, Jason said, which I was glad of, that I was no fit witness, being so old and doating. It was so bad with me, I could not taste a drop of the punch itself, though my master himself, God bless him! in the midst of his trouble, poured out a glass for me and brought it up to my lips.—'Not a drop, I thank your honour's honour as much as if I took it though,' and I just set down the glass as it was and went out; and when I got to the street door, the neighbour's childer who were playing at marbles there, seeing me in great trouble, left their play, and gathered about me to know what ailed me; and I told them all, for it was a great relief to me to speak to these poor childer, that seemed to have some natural feeling left in them: and when they were made sensible that Sir Condy was going to leave Castle Rackrent for good and all, they set up a whillalu that could be heard to the farthest end of the street; and one fine boy he was, that my master had given an apple to that morning, cried the loudest, but they all were the same sorry, for Sir Condy was greatly beloved amongst the childer* for letting them go a nutting in the demesne without saying a word to them, though my lady objected to them.—The people in the town who were the most of them standing at their doors, hearing the childer cry, would know the reason of it; and when the report was made known, the people one and all gathered in great anger against my son Jason, and terror at the notion of his coming to be laadlord over them, and they cried, No Jason! No Jason!—Sir Condy! Sir Condy! Sir Condy Rackrent for ever! and the mob grew so great and so loud I was frighted, and made my way back to the house to warn my son to make his escape, or hide himseff for fear of the consequences.—Jason would not believe me, till they came all round the house and to the windows with great shouts—then he grew quite pale, and asked Sir Condy what had he best do ?—'I'll tell you what you'd best do, (said Sir Condy, who was laughing to see his fright) finish your glass first, then let's go to the window and shew ourselves, and I'll tell 'em, or you sha1l if you please, that I'm going to the Lodge for change of air for my health, and by my own desire, for the rest of my days.'—'Do so,' said Jason, who never meant it should have been so, but could not refuse him the Lodge at this unseasonable time. Accordingly Sir Condy threw up the sash and explained matters, and thanked all his friends, and bid 'em look in at the punch bowl, and observe that Jason and he had been sitting over it very good friends; so the mob was content, and he sent 'em out some whiskey to drink his health, and that was the last time his honour's health was ever drank at Castle Rackrent.
The very next day, being too proud, as he said to me, to stay an hour longer in a house that did not belong to him, he sets off to the Lodge, and I along with him not many hours after. And there was great bemoaning through all O'Shaughlin's town, which I stayed to witness, and gave my poor master a full account of when I got to the Lodge.—He was very low and in his bed when I got there, and complained of a great pain about his heart, but I guessed it was only trouble, and all the business, let alone vexation, he had gone through of late; and knowing the nature of him from a boy, I took my pipe, and while smoking it by the chimney, began telling him how he was beloved and regretted in the county, and it did him a deal of good to hear it.—'Your honour has a great many friends yet that you don't know of, rich and poor, in the county (says I); for as I was coming along on the road I met two gentlemen in their own carriages, who asked after you, knowing me, and wanted to know where you was, and all about you, and even how old I was—think of that.'—Then he wakened out of his doze, and began questioning me who the gentlemen were. And the next morning it came into my head to go, unknown to any body, with my master's compliments round to many of the gentlemen's houses where he and my lady used to visit, and people that I knew were his great friends, and would go to Cork to serve him any day in the year, and I made bold to try to borrow a trifle of cash from them.—They all treated me very civil for the most part, and asked a great many questions very kind about my lady and Sir Condy and all the family, and were greatly surprised to learn from me Castle Rackrent was sold, and my master at the Lodge for his health; and they all pitied him greatly, and he had their good wishes if that would do, but money was a thing they unfortunately had not any of them at this time to spare. I had my journey for my pains, and I, not used to walking, nor supple as formerly, was greatly tired, but had the satisfaction of telling my master when I got to the Lodge all the civil things said by high and low.
'Thady, (says he) all you've been telling me brings a strange thought into my head; I've a notion I shall not be long for this world any how, and I've a great fancy to see my own funeral afore I die.' I was greatly shocked at the first speaking to hear him speak so light about his funeral, and he to all appearance in good health, but recollecting myself, answered—'To be sure it would be a fine sight as one could see, I dared to say, and one I should be proud to witness, and I did not doubt his honour's would be as great a funeral as ever Sir Patrick O'Shaughlin's was, and such a one as that had never been known in the county afore or since.' But I never thought he was in earnest about seeing his own funeral himself, till the next day he returns to it again.—'Thady, (says he) as far as the wake* goes, sure I might without any great trouble have the satisfaction of seeing a bit of my own funeral.' —'Well, since your honour's honour's so bent upon it, (says I, not willing to cross him, and he in trouble) we must see what we can do.'—So he fell into a sort of a sham disorder, which was easy done, as he kept his bed and no one to see him; and I got my shister, who was an old woman very handy about the sick, and very skilful, to come up to the Lodge to nurse him; and we gave out, she knowing no better, that he was just at his latter end, and it answered beyond any thing; and there was a great throng of people, men, women and childer, and there being only two rooms at the Lodge, except what was locked up full of Jason's furniture and things, the house was soon as full and fuller than it could hold, and the heat, and smoke, and noise wonderful great; and standing amongst them that were near the bed, but not thinking at all of the dead, I was started by the sound of my master's voice from under the great coats that had been thrown all at top, and I went close up, no one noticing.—Thady, (says he) I've had enough of this, I'm smothering, and 'I can't hear a word of all they're saying of the deceased.'—'God bless you, and lie still quiet (says I) a bit longer, for my shister 's afraid of ghosts, and would die on the spot with the fright, was she to see you come to life all on a sudden this way without the least preparation.'—So he lays him still, though well nigh stifled, and I made all haste to tell the secret of the joke, whispering to one and t'other, and there was a great surprise, but not so great as we had laid out it would.—'And aren't we to have the pipes and tobacco, after coming so far to-night?' says some; but they were all well enough pleased when his honour got up to drink with them, and sent for more spirits from a shebean-house*, where they very civilly let him have it upon credit—so the night passed off very merrily, but to my mind Sir Condy was rather upon the sad order in the midst of it all, not finding there had been such a great talk about himself after his death as he had always expected to hear.
The next morning when the house was cleared of them, and none but my shister and myself left in the kitchen with Sir Condy, one opens the door and walks in, and who should it be but Judy M'Quirk herself.—I forgot to notice that she had been married long since, whilst young Captain Moneygawl lived at the Lodge, to the Captain's huntsman, who after a while listed and left her, and was killed in the wars. Poor Judy fell off greatly in her good looks after her being married a year or two, and being smoke-dried in the cabin and neglecting herself like, it was hard for Sir Condy himself to know her again till she spoke; but when she says, 'It's Judy M'Quirk, please your honour, don't you remember her?' —'Oh, Judy, is it you? (says his honour)—yes, sure I remember you very well—but you're greatly altered, Judy.'—'Sure it's time for me, (says she) and I think your honour since I seen you last, but that's a great while ago, is altered too.'—'And with reason, Judy, (says Sir Condy, fetching a sort of sigh)—but how's this, Judy, (he goes on) I take it a little amiss of you that you were not at my wake last night?' 'Ah, don't be being jealous of that, (says she) I didn't hear a sentence of your honour's wake till it was all over, or it would have gone hard with me but I would have been at it sure—but I was forced to go ten miles up the country three days ago to a wedding of a relation of my own's, and didn't get home till after the wake was over; but (says she) it won't be so, I hope, the next time*, please your honour.'—'That we shall see, Judy, (says his honour) and may be sooner than you think for, for I've been very unwell this while past, and don't reckon any way I'm long for this world.' At this Judy takes up the corner of her apron, and puts it first to one eye and then to t'other, being to all appearance in great trouble; and my shister put in her word, and bid his honour have a good heart, for she was sure it was only the gout that Sir Patrick used to have flying about him, and that he ought to drink a glass or a bottle extraordinary to keep it out of his stomach, and he promised to take her advice, and sent out for more spirits immediately; and Judy made a sign to me, and I went over to the door to her, and she said—'I wonder to see Sir Condy so low!—Has he heard the news?' 'What news?' says I.—'Didn't ye hear it, then? (says she) my lady Rackrent that was is kiltglos. and lying for dead, and I don't doubt but it's all over with her by this time.'—'Mercy on us all, (says I) how was it ?'—'The jaunting car it was that that ran away with her, (says Judy).—I was coming home that same time from Biddy M'Guggin's marriage, and a great crowd of people too upon the road coming from the fair of Crookaghnawatur, and I sees a jaunting car standing in the middle of the road, and with the two wheels off and all tattered.—What's this? says I.'—'Didn't ye hear of it? (says they that were looking on) it's my lady Rackrent's car that was running away from her husband, and the horse took fright at a carrion that lay across the road, and so ran away with the jaunting car, and my lady Rackrent and her maid screaming, and the horse ran with them against a car that was coming from the fair, with the boy asleep on it, and the lady's petticoat hanging out of the jaunting car caught, and she was dragged I can't tell you how far upon the road, and it all broken up with the stones just going to be pounded, and one of the road makers with his sledge hammer in his hand stops the horse at the last; but my lady Rackrent was all kilt* and smashed, and they lifted her into a cabin hard by, and the maid was found after, where she had been thrown, in the gripe of the ditch, her cap and bonnet all full of bog water—and they say my lady can't live any way. Thady, pray now is it true what I'm told for sartain, that Sir Condy has made over all to your son Jason ?'—'All,' says I—'All entirely,' says she again.—'All entirely,' says I.—'Then (says she) that's a great shame, but don't be telling Jason what I say.'—'And what is it you say? (cries Sir Condy, leaning over betwixt us, which made Judy start greatly)—I know the time when Judy M'Quirk would never have stayed so long talking at the door, and I in the house.' 'Oh, (says Judy) for shame, Sir Condy, times are altered since then, and it's my lady Rackrent you ought to be thinking of.'—'And why should I be thinking of her, that's not thinking of me now?' says Sir Condy.—'No matter for that, (says Judy, very properly) it's time you should he thinking of her if ever you mean to do it at all, for don't you know she's lying for death ?'—'My lady Rackrent! (says Sir Condy in a surprise) why it's but two days since we parted, as you very well know, Thady, in her full health and spirits, and she and her maid along with her going to Mount Juliet's town on her jaunting car.'—'She'll never ride no more on her jaunting car, (said Judy) for it has been the death of her sure enough.'—'And is she dead then?' says his honour.—'As good as dead, I hear, (says Judy) but there's Thady here has just learnt the whole truth of the story as I had it, and it is fitter he or any body else should be telling it you than I, Sir Condy— I must be going home to the childer.'—But he stops her, but rather from civility in him, as I could see very plainly, than any thing else, for Judy was, as his honour remarked, at her first coming in, greatly changed, and little likely, as far as I could see—though she did not seem to be clear of it herself—little likely to be my lady Rackrent now, should there be a second toss-up to be made.—But I told him the whole story out of the face, just as Judy had told it to me, and he sent off a messenger with his compliments to Mount Juliet's town that evening to learn the truth of the report, and Judy bid the boy that was going call in at Tim M'Enerney's shop in O'Shaughlin's town and buy her a new shawl.—'Do so, says Sir Condy) and tell Tim to take no money from you, for I must pay him for the shawl myself.'—At this my shister throws me over a look, and I says nothing, but turned the tobacco in my mouth, whilst Judy began making a many words about it, and saying how she could not be beholden for shawls to any gentleman. I left her there to consult with my shister, did she think. there vas any thing in it, and my shister thought I was blind ot be asking her the question, and I thought my shister must see more into it than I did, and recollecting all past times and every thing, I changed my mind, and came over to her way of thinking, and we settled it that Judy was very like to be my lady Rackrent after all, if a vacancy hould have happened. The next day, before his honour was up, somebody comes with a double knock at the door, and I was greatly surprised to see it was my son Jason.—'Jason, is it you? (says I) what brings you to the Lodge? (says I) is it my Lady Rackrent? we know that already since yesterday.' 'May be so, (says he) but I must see Sir Condy about it.'—'You can't see him yet, (says I) sure he is not awake.' 'What then, (says he) can't he be wakened? and I standIng at the door.'—'I'll not be disturbing his honour for you, Jason (says I); many's the hour you've waited in your time, and been proud to do it, till his honour was at leisure to speak to you.—His honour,' says I, raising my voice—at which his honour wakens of his own accord, and calls to me from the room to know who it was I was speaking to. Jason made no more ceremony, but follows me into the room.—'How are you, Sir Condy, (says he) I'm happy to see you looking so well; I came up to know how you did to-day, and to see did you want for any thing at the Lodge.'—'Nothing at all, Mr. Jason, I thank you, (says he, for his honour had his own share of pride, and did not chuse, after all that had passed, to be beholden, I suppose, to my son)—but pray take a chair and be seated, Mr. Jason.'—Jason sat him down upon the chest, for chair there was none, and after he had sat there some time, and a silence on all sides—'What news is there stirring in the country, Mr. Jason M'Quirk?' says Sir Condy, very easy, yet high like.— 'None that's news to you, Sir Condy, I hear (says Jason) I am sorry to hear of my lady Rackrent's accident.'-'I am much obliged to you, and so is her ladyship, I'm sure,' answers Sir Condy, still stiff; and there was another sort of a silence, which seemed to lie the heaviest on my son Jason.
'Sir Condy, (says he at last, seeing Sir Condy disposing himself to go to sleep again) Sir Condy, I dare say you recollect mentioning to me the little memorandum you gave to lady Rackrent about the £500 a year jointure.'—'Very true, (said Sir Condy) it is all in my recollection.' —'But if my lady Rackrent dies there's an end of all jointure,' says Jason. 'Of course,' says Sir Condy.—'But it's not a matter of certainty that my lady Rackrent won't recover,' says Jason—"Very true, Sir,' says my rnaster.—'It's a fair speculation then, for you to consider what the chance of the jointure on those lands when out of custodiam will be to you.'—'Just five hundred a year, I take it, without any speculation at all,' said Sir Condy.—'That's supposing the life dropt and the custodiam off, you know, begging your pardon, Sir Condy, who understand business, that is a wrong calculation.'—'Very likely so, (said Sir Condy) but Mr. Jason, if you have any thing to say to me this morning about it, I'd be obliged to you to say it, for I had an indifferent night's rest last night, and wouldn't be sorry to sleep a little this morning.'—'I have only three words to say, and those more of consequence to you, Sir Condy, than me. You are a little cool, I observe, but I hope you will not be offended at what I have brought here in my pocket,'—and he pulls out two long rolls, and showers down golden guineas upon the bed. 'What's this? (said Sir Condy) it's long since'— but his pride stops him—'All these are your lawful property this minute, Sir Condy, if you please,' said Jason.—'Not for nothing, I'm sure, (said Sir Condy, and laughs a little)—nothing for nothing, or I'm under a mistake with you, Jason.'—'Oh, Sir Condy, we'll not be indulging ourselves in any unpleasant retrospects, (says Jason) it's my present intention to behave, as I'm sure you will, like a gentleman in this affair.—Here's two hundred guineas, and a third I mean to add, if you should think proper to make over to me all your right and title to those lands that you know of.'—'I'll consider of it,' said my master; and a great deal more, that I was tired listening to, was said by Jason, and all that, and the sight of the ready cash upon the bed worked with his honour; and the short and the long of it was, Sir Condy gathered up the golden guineas and tied up in a handkerchief, and signed some paper Jason brought with him as usual, and there was an end of the business; Jason took himself away, and my master turned himself round and fell asleep again.
I soon found what had put Jason in such a hurry to conclude this business. The little gossoon we had sent off the day before with my master's compliments to Mount Juliet's town, and to know how my lady did after her accident, was stopped early this morning, coming back with his answer through O'Shaughlin's town, at Castle Rackrent by my son Jason, and questioned of all he knew of my lady from the servants at Mount Juliet's town; and the gossoon told him my lady Rackrent was not expected to live over night, so Jason thought it high time to be moving to the Lodge, to make his bargain with my master about the jointure afore it should be too late, and afore the little gossoon should reach us with the news. My master was greatly vexed, that is, I may say, as much as ever I seen him, when he found how he had been taken in; but it was some comfort to have the ready cash for immediate consumption in the house any way. And when Judy came up that evening, and brought the childer to see his honour, he unties the handkerchief, and God bless him! whether it was little or much he had, 'twas all the same with him, he gives 'em all round guineas a-piece.— 'Hold up your head, (says my shister to Judy, as Sir Condy was busy filling out a glass of punch for her eldest boy)— Hold up your head, Judy, for who knows but we may live to see you yet at the head of the Castle Rackrent estste.'—'May be so, (says she) but not the way you are thinking of'—I did not rightly understand which way Judy was looking—when she makes this speech, till a while after.—'Why Thady, you were telling me yesterday that Sir Condy had sold all entirely to Jason, and where then does all them guineas in the handkerchief come from?' 'They are the purchase money of my lady's jointure,' says I.—Judy looks a little bit puzzled at this.—'A penny for your thoughts, Judy, (says my shister)—hark, sure Sir Condy is drinking her health.'—He was at the table in the room,* drinking with the exciseman and the gauger,who came up to see his honour, and we were standing over the fire in the kitchen.—'I don't much care is he drinking my health or not (says Judy), and it is not Sir Condy I'm thinking of, with all your jokes, whatever he is of me.' 'Sure you wouldn't refuse to be my lady Rackrent, Judy, if you had the offer?' says I.—'But if I could do better?' says she. 'How better?' says I and my shister both at once.—'How better! (says she) why what signifies it to be my lady Rackrent and no Castle? sure what good is the car and no horse to draw it ?'—'And where will ye get the horse, Judy?' says I.—'Never you mind that, (says she)—may be it is your own son Jason might find that.'—'Jason! (says I) don't be trusting to him, Judy. Sir Condy, as I have good reason to know, spoke well of you, when Jason spoke very indifferently of you, Judy.' —'No matter (says Judy), it's often men speak the contrary just to what they think of us.'—'And you the same way of them, no doubt, (answers I).—Nay don't be denying it, Judy, for I think the better of ye for it, and shouldn't be proud to call ye the daughter of a shister's son of mine, if I was to hear ye talk ungrateful, and any way disrespectful of his honour.'—'What disrespect, (says she) to say I'd rather, if it was my luck, be the wife of another man?' 'You'll have no luck, mind my words, Judy,' says I; and all I remembered about my poor master's goodness in tossing up for her afore he married at all came across me, and I had a choaking in my throat that hindered me to say more.—'Better luck, any how, Thady, (says she) than to be like some folk, following the fortunes of them that have none left.' 'Oh King of Glory! (says I) hear the pride and ungratitude of her, and he giving his last guineas but a minute ago to her childer, and she with the fine shawlon her he made her a present of but yesterday!'—'Oh troth, Judy, you're wrong now,' says my shister, looking at the shawl.—'And was not he wrong yesterday then, (says she) to be telling me I was greatly altered, to affront me ?'—'ButJudy, (says I) what is it brings you here then at all in the mind you are in—is it to make Jason think the better of you ?'—'I'll tell you no more of my secrets, Thady, (says she) nor would have told you this much, had I taken you for such an unnatural fader as I find you are, not to wish your own son prefarred to another.'—'Oh troth, you are wrong, now, Thady,' says my shister.—Well, I was never so put to it in my life between these womens, and my son and my master, and all I felt and thought just now, I could not upon my conscience tell which was the wrong from the right.—So I said not a word more, but was only glad his honour had not the luck to hear all Judy had been saying of him, for I reckoned it would have gone nigh to break his heart, not that I was of opinion he cared for her as much as she and my shister fancied, but the ungratitude of the whole from Judy might not plase him, and he could never stand the notion of not being well spoken of or beloved like behind his back. Fortunately for all parties concerned, he was so much elevated at this time, there was no danger of his understanding any thing, even if it had reached his ears. There was a great horn at the Lodge, ever since my master and Captain Moneygawl was in together, that used to belong originally to the celebrated Sir Patrick, his ancestor, and his honour was fond often of telling the story that he larned from me when a child, how Sir Patrick drank the full of this horn without stopping, and this was what no other man afore or since could without drawing breath.—Now Sir Condy challenged the gauger, who seemed to think little of the horn, to swallow the contents, and it filled to the brim, with punch; and the gauger said it was what he could not do for nothing, but he'd hold Sir Condy a hundred guineas he'd do it.—'Done, (says my master) I'll lay you a hundred golden guineas to a tester* you don't.'-'Done,' says the gauger, and done and done's enough between two gentlemen. The gauger was cast, and my master won the bet, and thought he'd won a hundred guineas, but by the wording it was adjudged to be only a tester that was his due, by the exciseman. It was all one to him, he was as well pleased, and I was glad to see him in such spirits again.
The gauger, bad luck to him! was the man that next proposed to my master to try himself could he take at a draught the contents of the great horn.—'Sir Patrick's horn! (said his honour) hand it to me—I'll hold you your own bet over again I'll swallow it.'—'Done, (says the gauger) I'll lay ye any thing at all you do no such thing.' -'A hundred guineas to sixpence I do, (says he) bring me the handkerchief.'—I was loth, knowing he meant the handkerchief with the gold in it, to bring it out in such company, and his honour not very well able to reckon it. 'Bring me the handkerchief then, Thady,' says he, and stamps with his foot; so with that I pulls it out of my great coat pocket, where I had put it for safety.—Oh, how it grieved me to see the guineas counting upon the table, and they the last my master had. Says Sir Condy to me—'Your hand is steadier than mine to-night, Old Thady, and that's a wonder; fill you the horn for me.'—And so wishing his honour success, I did—but I filled it, little thinking of what would befall him.— He swallows it down, and drops like one shot.—We lifts him up, and he was speechless and quite black in the face. We put him to bed, and in a short time he wakened raving with a fever on his brain. He was shocking either to see or hear.—'Judy! Judy! have ye no touch of feeling? won't you stay to help us nurse him?' says I to her, and she putting on her shawl to go out of the house.—'I'm frighted to see him, (says she) and wouldn't, nor couldn't stay in it—and what use ?—he can't last till the morning.'With that she ran off.—There was none but my shister and myself left near him of all the many friends he had. The fever came and went, and came and went, and lasted five days, and the sixth he was sensible for a few minutes, and said to me, knowing me very well—'I'm in burning pain all within side of me, Thady,'—I could not speak, but my shister asked him, would he have this thing or t'other to do him good ?—'No, (says he) nothing will do me good no more'—and he gave a terrible screech with the torture he was in—then again a minute's ease—'brought to this by drink (says he)—where are all the friends ?—where's Judy ?—Gone, hey?—Aye, Sir Condy has been a fool all his days'—said he, and there was the last word he spoke, and died.
He had but a very poor funeral, after all. If you want to know any more, I'm not very well able to tell you; but my lady Rackrent did not die as was expected of her, but was only disfigured in the face ever after by the fall and bruises she got; and she and Jason, immediately after my poor master's death, set about going to law about that jointure; the memorandum not being on stamped paper, some say it is worth nothing, others again it may do; others say, Jason won't have the lands at any rate—many wishes it so—for my part, I'm tired wishing for any thing in this world, after all I've seen in it—but I'll say nothing; it would be a folly to be getting myself ill will in my old age. Jason did not marry, nor think of marrying Judy, as I prophesied, and I am not sorry for it—who is ?—As for all I have here set down from memory and hearsay of the family, there's nothing but truth in it from beginning to end, that you may depend upon, for where's the use of telling lies about the things which every body knows as well as I do?
The Editor could have readily made the catastrophe of Sir Condy's history more dramatic and more pathetic, if he thought it allowable to varnish the plain round tale of faithful Thady. He lays it before the English reader as a specimen of manners and characters, which are perhaps unknown in England. Indeed the domestic habits of no nation in Europe were less known to the English than those of their sister country, till within these few years.
Mr. Young's picture of Ireland, in his tour through that country, was the first faithful portrait of its inhabitants. All the features in the foregoing sketch were taken from the life, and they are characteristic of that mixture of quickness, simplicity, cunning, carelessness, dissipation, disinterestedness, shrewdness and blunder, which in different forms, and with various success, has been brought upon the stage or delineated in novels.
It is a problem of difficult solution to determine, whether an Union will hasten or retard the amelioration of this country. The few gentlemen of education who now reside in this country will resort to England: they are few, but they are in nothing inferior to men of the same rank in Great Britain. The best that can happen will be the introduction of British manufacturers in their places.
Did the Warwickshire militia, who were chiefly artisans, teach the Irish to drink beer, or did they learn from the Irish to drink whiskey?
In bonds or notes, signed in this manner, a witness is requisite, so the name is frequently written by him or her.
* Vows—It has been maliciously and unjustly hinted, that the lower classes of the people in Ireland pay but little regard to oaths; yet it is certain that some oaths or vows have great power over their minds.—Sometimes they swear they will be revenged on some of their neighbours; this is an oath they never are known to break.—But what is infinitely more extraordinary and unaccountable, they sometimes make a vow against whiskey; these vows are usually limited to a short time.—A woman who has a drunken husband is most fortunate if she can prevail upon him to go to the priest, and make a vow against whiskey for a year, or a month, or a week, or a day.
* Gossoon—a little boy—from Ihe French word Garçon.—In most Irish families there used to be a bare-footed Gossoon, who was slave to the cook and the butler, and who in fact, without wages, did all the hard work of the house.—Gossoons were always employed as messengers.—The Editor has known a gossoon to go on foot, without shoes or stockings, fifty-one English miles between sun-rise and sun-set.
* This was actually done at an election in Ireland.
* To put him up—to put him in gaol.
* My little potatoes—Thady does out mean by this expression that his potatoes were less thou other people's, or less than the usual size—little is here used only as an Italian diminutive, expressive of fondness.
* Kith and kin—family or relations—Kin from kind—Kith from—we know not what.
* Wigs were formerly used instead of brooms in Ireland, for sweeping or dusting tables, stairs, &c. The Editor doubted the fact, till he saw a labourer of the old school sweep down a flight of stairs with his wig; he afterwards put it on his head again with the utmost composure, and said, 'Oh please your honour, it's never a bit the worse.'
It must be acknowledged that these men are not in any danger of catching cold by taking off their wigs occasionally, hecause they usually have
fine crops of hair growing under their wigs.—The wigs are often yellow, and the hair which appears from beneath them black; the wigs are usually
too small, and are raised up by the hair beneath, or by the ears of the wearers.
* This is the invariable pronunciation of the lower Irish.
* A wake in England is a meeting avowedly for merriment—in Ireland, it is a nocturnal meeting avowedly for the purpose of watching and bewailing the dead; but in reality for gossipping and debauchery.
* Shebean-house, a hedge alehouse.—Shebean properly means weak small-beer, taplash.
* At the coronation of one of our monarchs, the king complained of the confusion which happened in the procession—The great officer who presided told his majesty, 'That it should not be so next time,'
* Kilt and smashed—Our author is not here guilty of an anticlimax.—Tbe mere English reader, from a similarity of sound between the words kilt and killed, might be induced to suppose that their meanings are similar, yet they are not by any means in Ireland synonymous terms. Thus you may hear a man exclaim—'I'm kilt and murdered!'—but be frequently means only that he has received a black eye, or a slight contusion.—I'm kilt all over—means that he is in a worse state than being simply kilt—Thus—I'm kilt with the cold—is nothing to—I'm kilt all over with the rheumatism.glos.
* The room—the Principal room in the house.
* Tester—Sixpence—from the French word tête, a head. A piece of silver stamped with a head, which in old French was called, 'un testion,' and which was about the value of an old English sixpence—Tester is used in Shakspeare.