Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

| the

pray for the souls of Fathers Solomon and Hugh
McEgan, and their worthy brother Philip Clune.
“I have nothing more to add to this narrative,

WINIFRED'S FORTUNE. except that the monastery of Kilconnell has been granted to one Callthorp and other English settlers, and that A STORY OF DUBLIN LIFE IN THE DAYS OF QUEEN ASTI. the cruel ordinance of Queen Elizabeth commanding “houses freight with friars” to be suppressed and made The oft-repeated aphorism, that truth is stranger the fit habitations for Englishmen,” is now being carried fiction, cannot be better illustrated than by the folosin: out to the letter. On some future occasion I will nar- story, which we happened to light on amongst the papira rate to you various particulars relating to some of our of an old staff officer, who died not far from Dablin : other convents in the province of Connaught."

few years ago, and who was descended from the here and heroine of the tale. Changing a few names oul, we shall proceed to relate the story just as it is told in

those papers, without altering a single incident. As Mooney's account of the monasteries of his order In a certain ancient street, not far from St. Patrick's was written towards the close of 1616 it may interest Cathedral, there dwelt in the commencement of Qu.t. the reader to know how it fared with Kilconneli at Anne's reign an old map, named Sam Grimes. It was a later period. The transfer alluded to in the text, no figure of speech to call Sam old, for at the time og was made in 1614, and the property belonging to the mon- story commences, he bad just attained his ninety-eiglith astery was then described as consisting of “ 3 acres, on year. And yet, to an indifferent observer, he did not which stood a convent, containining O'Donnellan's chapel, appear like one about to turn his century, for he was a chapter house, library, hall, storehouse, 4 chambers still halo and vigorous, and was endowed with that on28 small chambers, 4 granaries, 3 orchards, 60 ash- tinual and jovial flow of spirits, that tends, more than trees, a mill, a water-course, and 4 acres of arable land,” rude health, to make a man look youthful, even when all of which were granted by James I. to one Callthorp. be has progressed far beyond the stage generally allotiel The Franciscans nevertheless continued to reside in to us as the final one on life's journey. Keeping Sam's the neighbourhood of the convent for nearly a century age in memory, it will be seen what a number of si: afterwards, and were supported by the O'Kellys, many and stirring events he had witnessed since the day ha of whom bequeathed legacies to them, with injunctions first opened his eyes upon the world's stage-ereats to pray for their departed souls, The last of those which, from the happy temperament aforesaid, he hai pious donors was, we believe, John O'Kelly, ancestor of ever looked upon as things to be laughed at, and Count O'Kelly of France, who dying in 1714, left a fitted by, rather than as matters of fear and SOITÓW. legacy to the poor friars then dwelling near the ruins of The Parliamen: was victorious, and the King's head fe'? Kilconnell abbey, and ordered that his romains should upon the bloody scaffold. What did Sam care ? Cere be interred in the ancestral tomb. Many of the leading tainly, he was a trooper in one of Cromwell's regiments, Catbolic families of Leinster, transplanted to Connaught but beyond the actual fact of giving the malignants a by Cromwell,--the Trimblestones, Betaghs of Moynalty thrashing, for the mere fun or profit of the thing, be Co. Meath, and others, erected monuments for themselves was not a whit concerned. Cromwell died, and the which may still be seen within the ruins; and it would ap- " Merry Monarch” was brought home, to stultify high pear that the friars continued to say Mass there occasion- and low, rich and poor-his own royal self among the ally till some short time before the battle of Aughrim,

number, but still, Sam Grimes, although no longer : when they took refuge in a neighbouring bog, now called trooper, was as jovial as ever. James the Second, asi the Friar's Bog,” where they existed as best they could

William and Mary, came and passed away, but it was in miserable shielings. Dr. O'Donovan, * the most learn

still the same with Sam Grimes. And why? Simply ed of our topographers and antiquarians, states in the Or- because he was the host and owner of “The Joly dinance Survey of CoGalway,* that the bell of Kilconnell, Drummer,” a tavern of repown in the city, and one weighing one and a half cwt, and bearing an inscription, which was frequented and patronised by all kinds of was found in the same bog, sometimes previous to 1838;

cavaliers, bucks, dandies, spongers, rulers, gumblers and he also adds, that a person living in that neighbour- and so on to the end of the catalogue. hood had then in his possession a wooden image of St. Sam Grimes was rich, for besides being the host of Francis that formerly belonged to the monastery. 66 The Jolly Drummer,” he was also owner of extensive

wine cellars in the neighbourhood. For many years be * Letters in the R. I. A. (unpublished).

had been a widower. His only sop, Abel, with whoz, long before, he had some disagreement, was living in England, and there carrying on a thriving business ada wine merchant. Of this the neighbours were not a var at the period of our story, so they thought that oiu Sam's possessions and the undoubted fortone he ha made would eventually fall to the lot of Winifre? Walton, the old man's grand-nicce, who was living with

him at the time. But old Sam, in his secret hcart, thought more kindly of the absent Abel, and determined at his death to leave “ The Jolly Drummer" and the winc-cellars to him, intending, of course, at the samo time, not to allow young Winifred to remain unportioned.

“ Come !" said Handsome Charlie, holding up hi pint of mulled claret, “ we will, for once, drink confu sion to Dame Fortune !"

“ Right !” exclaimed his companion. Confusion to the blind jade!” and cach imbibed a copious draught.

66 Here goes.

Winifred Walton was the pink of handsome girls. “Ah !" rejoined another, “ she has treated us shab

At the period to which we allude she was still in her teens; and in the populous city of Dublin there was no more handsome face than hers, no heart merrier or more guileless, no locks more golden bright and beautiful, no form more fair, no step more graceful, and no hand whiter and prettier than hers, as day by day she assisted old Sam in dealing out the wine goblets and ale tankards to his customers, for in those good old times girls of her degree and expectations were not above attending to their business industriously and contentedly. Winifred had received a good education, and this, in conjunction with a naturally refined mind, gave her a manner, winning indeed, but at the same time one which effectually shielded her from the unpleasant attentions of the coarser sort of customers that attended “ The Jolly Drummer.” But if the revellers of low degree, in consequence of what they thought her haughty and distant demeanour, looked upon her, some with envious aversion and some with indifference, she was not without a plentiful array of admirers among the higher bucks and exquisites that frequented the house.

Foremost of Winnifred's admirers was a gentleman dandy, whose name was Charles Parsons, or as he was called by his rather numerous acquaintances, “ Handsome Charlic,” from the clear and almost effeminate complexion of his well-cut face, and from the exquisite taste displayed by him in dressing a la mode at the time. It was a marvel to those who did not know him intimately how Handsome Charlie contrived to indulge his taste for dress to such a degree, seeing that he had long ago got rid of his ample fortune in the dissipations of town life. But to the initiated few all this was easily accounted for, for the worthy Charlie had means at his disposal by which he seldom failed to recruit his fortunes, even at their lowest ebb; and many successive broods of poor pigeons—in other words, young country gentlemenafter undergoing a process of plucking at his hands, had reason to deplore the hour they first entered some secret gambling houses in the Liberties, for, by means of certain nice implements, called cards and loaded dice, many a bright guinea was transferred from their pockets to those of Handsome Charlie and his associates. But the sun of fortune cannot always shine upon a gambler, no matter how experienced he may be. For a few months previous to the time of the following incidents, Handsome Charlie had met with a continued run of ill luck, and thus it was that, with his affairs involved still more desperately than ever, he and some of his companions entered the drinking-room of “The Jolly Drummer,” on a certain Saturday night, in order to drown care in a stoup of wine, and look out for some stray pigeon whom they might entice to his plucking in the gaming-house.

bily. Since the night that Charlie there emptied the pockets of the College buck, in Rains ford-strect, we have scarcely got a chance since !"

At the mention of the College buck, a tall young man, at the far corner of the room, turned round upon his seat, and cast his bold roving eye, with a half-defiant, half-inquiring gaze upon the speaker and his party. Noticing this, Handsome Charlie touched the foot of one of his companions under the table, and, by a slight gesture, directed his gaze upon the stranger in the corner.

“ Look!” said Charlie, in a voice half andible to the stranger ; “look, Tom Fenton, upon my life, there sits a second edition of the poor pigeon of Rainsfordstreet !”

After this the whole party turned and looked upon the stranger, who now returned their gaze with a somewhat indignant brow, and a rather vicious sparkle in his eye.

" He seems game," whispered one of the party to Handsome Charlie. “I think I have seen him before, and, if it be as I imagine, I will venture my life upon a rough guess, that we had better let him alone.”

“ Be it so," said Handsome Charlie. “I know, by the cut of his shabby beaver, that his purse is not worth the throw of a die. So let him alone. Here is to the health of handsome Winnie Walton, who goes yonder to give her sleeping draught of beggarly beer to the scurvy fellow !"

The latter, who had been listening all the while attentively, heard and understood the remark of the gambling exquisite. He took the silvered tankard, which, by the way, instead of beer, contained a full measure of hot sack, and smiling kindly upon Winifred, as he received it from her small white hand, stood up and walked deliberately over to the table around which his satirists were sitting.

" To whom am I indebted for the cognomen of scurvy fellow ?!” said he, giving a general stare to the company. “To you, sir, I believe," continued he, at last, turning full and fiercely upon Handsome Charlie. “ To

me,

sir !" answered the latter, with a superciliouz glance at the stranger. “Yes: I think I

may

acknowledge myself as father to the phrase !"

Perhaps," said the other, with a sneer, also have the goodness to acknowledge the name of the worthy parent ?”

My name is Charles Parsons,” answered the esquisite, with another insolent look.

“Very well, Mr. Charles Parsons,” resumed the other quietly. am a College man. My name is Rupert Russell, and you will find my chambers at number twenty-four old College-square, in Trinity. Take this to aid your memory!” and with that he dashed the mea

[ocr errors]

you will

[ocr errors]

“I

sure full of hot sack right over the face and elaborate such a little scratch. Hold her elbow, good sir, for sae shirt-front of Handsoma Charlie.

shakes the limb so that I shall never be able to get this In an instant the latter wis on his feat, the sack handkerchief properig round it.” wip 1 as well as his fury would allow fro n his face and “I was frightened," said Winnie, now rezoreriaz eyes, an l his sword drawn, for we neel nt remind the herself—“far more frightene i than hurt, when I s48 reilethat erery peatleman in those duys wore a rapier such a brave young gentleman about being rau throaga un lor his coat tail. Charlie's companions had all imi. the body!” tate1 his example, one and all turning upon the stranger, A slight but sweet thrill shot through the heart of who, with his fice towards them, and his weapon ex- Rupert Russell as be heard this acknowledgement from tenl: 1 after the must scientific m) le in his right hanl, the beautiful young girl wh), su ldenly conscious of his now began to retreat to the corner of the roɔm, in orler look, n)w blushed as red as the blood that wissen to prevent himself from being surroundel. The moment tricsled slowly from her arm, old Sim in the meantile he hal guinel that desirable spot his assailants, heade 1 applying sine lint which wis brought by one of th: by the now furious Charlie Parsons, were upya him, and attendants. the clashing of steel, as the brave young Trinity min This was a nice situation for a warin-hearte laud bot. purriel the thrusts and linyes made at his chest and headed young man like Rupert Russell to be placed in. fac?, soon mi le itself heard in the outer room of “ The After raking up our memory of all the novels, ro nincs Jolly Drummer," where, at thit particular tim, old Sam and even philosophical treatises, we have read ni Grimss happened to be sitting in his huge armn-chair. such subjects, after looking for innumerable historial Up started old Sam with far more agility than might be incidents and parallels bearing upon the same, 13 expected from one of his age, and grasping a strong throwing our own experienc of the working of humu ashen staff, his constant companion, he strode into the hearts into the balance, we have come to the deliverie inner room, where the unequal combat was, of course, conclusion that there never was a young mau place i in pronising to go soon against the boll Trinity min, suci a position that did not fall in love. At all events, altiouzh, however, he still hell out stoutly, giving a few all we can say at present on the subject is, that before scratches to his assailants and receiving a few slight leaving the Jolly Drummer that nigat, Rupert Russel ones in return. But old Sain had been preceded by delivere l himself of a few affectionate, but rather wayoung Winifred, who, seeing a general rash about fused phrases to Winnie Walton, and then drank tiru being made upon the handsome stranger, darted between rousing tankards of mullel sack to her health. He then the combatants, in order to prevent further bloodshed, procee led, in an ecstatic state of heart and mind, along and was just in time to receive a sample of the reward the street, and meeting and joining a set of his coikja of almost all pacificators in such quarrels, namely, an co:npanions, got into a thundering affray with a party involuntary sword-cut in the arm from the weapon of of watchmen, which tu nultuous scene had the effect of Tom Fenton, the bosom friend of Handsome Charlie, rid ling him of some of bis exuberant spirits, and are and which cut was, of course, intended for the heart of which he was enabled to retire to bed and sleep sonadir, the youg Trinity man. At this juncture old Sam E srly next morning he was awakened from a rom ut Grimes came upon the scene, and flourishing his ashen

vision, in which Winnie Walton figured as a fairy queci, staff with a hand that had not lost its old dexterity at by the voice of his college chum, Bob O'Mahony, w Lev the broadsword, in an instant succeeded in striking up was engaged in an animated conversation in the outer the rapiers of the assailants.

room with Tom Feuton, Handsome Charlie's friend. Bu “Recover swords !” shouted old Sam, who to the day was a tall, somewhat gaunt, but handsome student with of his death never lost the military phraseology he had a head of curling raven bair, and a pair of black eyes learnt in his youth. “Right and left flanks, fall back in which were ever sparkling with fua and devilment. quarter troops; and centre retire in close order!"

"I understand it all,” he said, after Tom Fenton bal This antique command was obeyed sooner than it laid the facts of the case before him. “It is useless tu otherwise would, chiefly in consequence of the accident think of an apology from Rupert Russell, so the all'air that had befallen old Sam's grand-niece. Handsome must be settled between himself and your handsvule Charlie and his companions dropped their sword points

friend in the usual way.

But what of the young giri's and scowled sullenly upon the young Trinity man, who, wounded arm, of which I have heard from my friend?! supporting the drooping form of Winnie Walton with Is that to be thrown into the shade altogether? A: ! one arm, extended the other with his naked sword for my part, I say that it would be a sin and a shame tu towards the group, and glared upon them in return, with let it pass; for you know such a nice and delicate point a look of mingled scorn and defiance.

of quarrel may not turn up again for a twelvemonth. And now Charlie and his compeers had taken their de- In my opinion, then, the best, most friendly, and most pasture, and Rupert sat upon a chair, still supporting the delightful way of settling the whole affair is this, young girl, while Sam Grimes essayed, with a practised namely, to have Rupert Russell fight your friend for the hand, to stop the blood and bandage the wounded arm. cup of sack, and you to fight me at the same time and

• Keep your shoulder steady, Winnie,” said old Sam, place on account of the wounded arm you gave to the affectionately. “There ! it's only a flesh-wound. I trust fair maid at the Jolly Drummer. Does this arrangement a courageous girl like you for not being frightened at suit ?"

6. For my

Admirably,” answered Tom Fenton, who, whatever else he might be, was a man of courage. part, I am quite content;" and after settling the remaining preliminaries he took his departure.

We shall not go into the details of the double duel which was fought early next morning at Bully's Acre. All we can say upon the matter is, that Handsome Charlie appeared at the Jolly Drummer about a week afterwards, with a lame step and one of his arms in a sling, and that when Tom Fenton made his appearance his sword hand and his face showed many a deep mark of the amicable settlement he had entered into with the victorious Bob O'Mahony.

It is now full time to give some account of Rupert Russell, whose visits at the Jolly Drummer, after the above occurrences, became day by day more frequent and regular, and for this pnrpose we must go back to those stormy days when old Sam's general, Oliver Cromwell, led his iron legions with fire and sword throughout the length and breadth of the land. At this period there lived in the ancient town of Tredagh, or Drogheda, an old gentleman who, as a merchant, was one of the richest men in the town, besides being owner of a fine estate in a certain district near the shore of the Boyne. This old man had an only son, at that time a cavalry officer, fighting under the banners of the Kilkenny Confederation. After the investment of Drogheda by the army of Cromwell, and before the actual siege commenced, the old merchant contrived to escap?, but so hurried was his flight that he was force 1 to leave his papers and most of his ready money behin him. In the general sack that followed, the home in which he had livedd did not of course escape. It was plundered, in fact, from threshold to garret, and remained for many a year afterwards a frightful souvenir of the destruction committed during that terrible siege. Soon after his escape the old gentlem in died, and when his son returned from the wars, he found the estate that should by right descend to him, in the possession of a distant cousin who had somehow or other gained favour with the government. After the Restoration the poor cavalry officer entered into a suit at law to obtain possession of his patrimony, but although he went so far as to prove his identity, and his right in all justice to the estate, the title-leeds had been lost in the sack of Drogheda, and the want of them turned the tables against him, after almost begyaring himself with the expenses of the suit. At length he died, leaving bebind him also an only son. This son, following the example of his father, tried every means in his power to obtain possession of the estate, and in a lawsuit which he had entered into during King William's reign, again succeeded in briaging aittirs up to a point at wnich the production of the title-deeds would have mule him sucCos ful. The loss of this suit broke his heurt, and he diel, leaving to mourn his loss a wife and drughter, both of whom soon followed him to the grave, and a son by whom the losses of his progenitors were not a whit forg tten. This son was Rupert Russell, who was now living in old Trinity on a somewhat scanty income.

We need scarcely say that, when the smallest member even of a delicate machine is put out of order, the whole construction is usually rendered unable to perform its stated evolutions. It was so with Handsome Charlie's hand, and we must remark, by the way, that a finer or more delicately constructed implement did not exist in the city of Dublin than that same member. One of the muscles that moved it had been almost cut in two in the encounter with Rupert Russell in Bully's Acre, and its master being thereby revdered unable to handle either card or dice-box with his wonted dexterity, was reluced during the month that followed to the lowest state in his financial affairs. He still, however, frequently visited the Jolly Drummer, but, of course, never either spoke, or gave cause of insult, to his late antagonist, except a stero look of hatred when occasionally their eyes met.

“ Charlie,” said Tom Fenton to him one evening as they met together in the shabby garret that now served for their lodging, “I have been thinking seriously of your affairs lately, and have come to the conclusion that there is only one method by which to free yourself of your embarrassments. What do

you think it is?") sure I don't know," answered Handsome Charlie, “except it is to cure my hand as speedily as possible, and take to box and dice once more.'

“You must guess again,” sail Tom. “ Your method is far too uncertain in your present need. Old Solomon's bill will be down on you, before six weeks are passed, and when that ti ne comes, you are sure to be disgraced and in prison. There is another plan.”

“ Out with it then," returned Handsome Charlie, somewhat testily, 6 for I am in no humour for guessing at the present moment, I assure you."

6. What would you think of marriage ?” remarkel Tom. Marriage !” exclaimed Charlie.

" With whom,

"I am

66

pray?"

You must,

"Let us see," said Tom, reflectively. “Of marrying in your own station there is now no chance. therefore, descend a little, and try to make up in fortune what is wanting ia birth and breeding. What do you say to Winnie Walton ?”

“ Between us both,” said Churlie, “I have been thinking of her for some time past. But I cannot reconcile myself to bring disgrace upon an old family like mine by marrying one so far beneath me, be she ever so beautiful. Besides, I can see no way of bringing it about. Old Sim is too shrewd not to be aware that I have ruined myself long ago.”

“ Well, if it can be brought about, I advise you to proceed in the matter at once,” resumed the sage Tom Fenton. “If you were once married, and had the money in your hands, it would be easy to get rid of both wife and uncle-in-law. Away with us then, say I, to the Jolly Drummer at once, where you can pay your court in the best matrimonial fashion to the handsome Winnie, while I sound your praises in the ears of old Sam,” and off went both worthies without further delay.

As they were sitting over a preliminary cup of wine at the far end of the room, a nanber of students entered and took their seats in the opposite corner. Among them was Rupert Russell, who, after gazing somewhat cavalierly on Tom and Handsome Charlie, sat down amidst his companions, and called for a supply of sack.

“ You can now judge for yourselves,” said Rupert, gaily, while they were waiting for the wine—“you, I say, that have not been here before, can see with your own eyes if she is not the handsomest girl in Dublin !”

“ 'Pon my honour," said Bob Mahony, “ I ihat have soon hier will go farther, and say that she is the prettiest girl inn reland !"

** They are both in love,” remarked another student. “ Which do you think is most likely to win the affections of this lovely IIebe?"

“Oh!” sail Bob, looking under his swarthy brows a mock look of despair; “ I resign my claims in favour of Rupert. You know she perilled her life for him, and in such a crise no one has a chance when he is in the field. But here she comes!"

"No staring," whispered Rupert, as his companions one and all bent their gaze upon Winnie Walton, who now entered with a large vessel of wine and some drinking tankar.is.

e, come! She is a lady every inch of her, an lit is unfair to cause her a blush, esp?. cially as she l'oks so lovily to-night!" Do

у 1 hear that !” whispered Tom Feuton to his comrade in the corner. “ Mark me, Charlie, you will have to look to it sharply, clse you lose your best and list chance, for yonder crack-brained Trinity man is mad in love with the girl!"

“ I will look to it" answered Handsome Charlie, in a loiv, but vehement whisper, and if it were only to thwart him in bis passion-yes, him I hate as I hate the demon of darkness — I will look to it, and win her, although he thinks bi'nself so safe and pleasa:t in the

Cime! My last crown is gone, and we cannot afford to have it known at the Jolly Draminer, that Charlie Pars mis is at last penniless!" With that the two friends stood up and left the house, Handsome Charlie revolving in his mind the best manner of gaining the good will of old Sam Grimes in order that he might make kno:vn to the latter his intentions regar:)ing Winnie Walton. Before he reached home, however, Charlie had come to the self-consoling conclusion that old Sam would be only too glad to have a gentlema!? of bis birth and powerful family comicctions as a nephew-in-law, and it was finally resolved that night, between himself and his wo!'ily a lviser Tom Fenton, that once the ceremony was over that bound him for ever to Winnie Walion, the moment he got her fortune into his hands, he would get rid of her in some way or other, and set off for London, in which El Dora lo the two villainous associates hoped to live a jolly life on the proceeds of their scheme.

A circunstance happened soon after that seemed to aid gloriously their nefarious plan. At this time the only theatre in Dublin was in Smock-alley, and here the lively citizins thronged, night after night,

and made the roof resound with their applause of the merry company that then occupied the stage. Among the other play-going people was Sam Grimes's next door neighbour, Donat Connor, whose three blooming daughters usually accompanied him on each merry visit to Smock-alley. About a week subsequent to the night whose incidents we have related above, these three jovial girls not only persuaded their father to take them to the theatre, but also coaxed old Sam Grimes to allow Winnie to accompany them; and away they all went, as happy a party-if happiness can be measured by amount of laughter-as could well be seen in the whole city. The play was at length over, and the audience were in the act of leuring the theatre, when they found the narrow street ot, side half-blocked up by a rude timber stage, on which a merry-andrew, painted and bedizened in the most grotesque and extraordiary fashion, was playing off his capers and bantering the dense crowd aronad with an infinite amount of wit and volubility. In this individual, as he now made the most ludicrous grimaces at some over-dressed exquisite in the crowd, and again gave forth the name, the life and actions, and many of the secret affairs of some swaggering buck beneath him, or made witty jokes on the rotundity of some fat citizen, few would recognize Bob O'Ma. hony, senior wrangler in old Trinity, and bosom friend of Rupert Russell. Bob O'Mahony it was, nevertheless ; but of his identity not a single soul either in Trinity College or in the whole city was aware, not even excepting Rupert himself, who happened that evening to be away at a dinner party, beyond the suburbs. Were he known, however, it would occasion but little wonder amongst the crowd, for the students of those days were in the habit of playing off some of the wildest tricks and anties imaginable.

The crowd around the stage had now become so dense that not a soul could make his or her way down the narrow street, and several dandies who were ac. companying ladies home from the play, were forced to stand with their fair charges opposite the porch of the theatre without being able to advance a step. One of the exquisites who had been bantered rather pointedly on his failings by the merryandrew, by dint of elbowing and pushing, at length succeeded in advancing through the crowd opposite the ricketty stage.

“Come!” he exclaimed, “ are we to remain here till morning, while that imp of sleight-o'-hand abuses us as if we were all begging impostors like himselt: Down with him ! Down with the ruffian mountebank, stage and all, and clear the street if you are

[ocr errors]

men !”

“ Yes !” exclaimed Bob O'Mahony, with a hideous grimace at the speaker, at which the crowd laughed uproariously. "Yes! Vade; begone! Clear the street till Bully Jackson dances the hornpipe that his grandfather, the old posture-master of Marrowbone-lane, taught him. Clear the street, I say!" and

« FöregåendeFortsätt »