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prince, and lived away to the honour of his country abroad, which I was proud to hear of, what were we the better for that at home? The agent was one of your middle
men, * who grind the face of the poor, and can never bear a man with a hat upon his head : he ferretted the tenants out of their lives; not a week without a call for money, drafts 'upon drafts from sir Kit; but I laid it all to the fault of the agent; for, says I, what can sir Kit do with so much cash, and he a single man? but still it went. Rents must be all paid up to the day, and afore; no allowance for
-There was a class of men termed middle men in Ireland, who took large farms on long leases from gentlemen of landed property, and set the land again in small portions to the poor, as under-tenants, at exorbitant rents. The head land. lord, as he was called, seldom saw his under-tenants ; but if he could not get the miādle man to pay him his rent punctually, he went to his land, and drove the land for his rent, that is to say, he sent his steward or bailiff, or driver, to the land to seize the cattle, hay, corn, flax, oats, or potatoes, belonging to the undertenants, and proceeded to sell these for his rents : it sometimes happened that these unfortunate tenants paid their rent twice over, unce to the middle man, and once to the head landlord.
The characteristics of a middle man were, servility to his su. periors, and tyranny towards his inferiors : the poor detested this race of beings. In speaking to them, however, they always used the most abject language, and the most humble tone and pussture,
-“ Please your honour ; und please your honour's humuur," they knew must be repeated as a charm at the beginning wind and of every equivocating, exculpatory,
supplicatory senuwu* * * they were much more alert in doffing their caps to this new
* Middle men.
carpenter once termed these middle men journeyman Ertumete
men, than to those of what they call good old families,
improving tenants, no consideration for those who had built upon their farms: no sooner was a lease out, but the land was advertised to the highest bidder, all the old tenants turned out, when they spent their substance in the hope and trust of a renewal from the landlord. All was now set at the highest penny to a parcel of poor wretches, who meant to run away, and did so, after taking two crops out of the ground. Then fining down the year's rent came into fashion; any thing for the ready penny; and with all this, and presents to the agent and the driver, there was no such thing as standing it. I said nothing, for I had a regard for the family; but I walked about thinking if his honour sir Kit knew all this, it would go hard with him, but he'd see us righted ; not that I had
thing for my own share to complain of, for the agent was always very civil to me, when he came down into the country, and took a great deal of notice of my son Jason. Jason Quirk, though he be my son, I must say, was a good scholar from his birth, and a very 'cute lad: I thought to make him a priest, but he did better for himself: seeing how he was as good a clerk as any
in the county, the agent gave him his rent accounts to copy, which he did first of all for the pleasure of obliging the gentleman, and would take nothing at all for his trouble, but was always proud to serve the family. By-and-bye a good farm bounding us to the east fell into his honour's hands, and my son put in a proposal for it: why shouldn't he, as well as another? The proposals all went over to the master
at the Bath, who knowing no more of the land than the child unborn, only having once been out a grousing on it before he went to England ; and the value of lands, as the agent informed him, falling every year in Ireland, his honour wrote over in all haste a bit of a letter, saying he left it all to the agent, and that he must set it as well as he could to the best bidder, to be sure, and send him orer 2001. by return of post: with this the agent gave me a hint, and I spoke a good word for my son, and gave out in the country that nobody need bid against us. So his proposal was just the thing, and he a good tenant; and he got a promise of an abatement in the rent, after the first year, for advancing the hali rear's rent at signing the lease, which was wanting to onplete the agent's 2001., by the remain of the pret, with all which my master write hark he was weil satisfied. About this time we learnest Borim the agent as a great secret, how the money roat nat, ani the reason of the thick coming of the master' z: he was a litle too fond of play, and Bath, they ar, was no place for a young man of nie inne, sier there were so many of his 61 anntanea 1 hunting him up and down, day and nigt tio mat nothing to lose. At last, at Christmas, "ne za wrote over to stop the drafts, fre 1e, cui >> more money on bond or more prima tenants, or any how, nor had he mr normasi himself, and desired at the same mes teriine agency for the future, wishing s: Xit 14 let happiness, and the complimente i the ease.se
saw the letter before ever it was sealed, when my son copied it. When the answer came, there was a new turn in affairs, and the agent was turned out; and my son Jason, who had corresponded privately with his honour occasionally on business, was forthwith desired by his honour to take the accounts into his own hands, and look them over till further orders. It was a very spirited letter to be sure: sir Kit sent his service, and the compliments of the season, in return to the agent, and he would fight him with pleasure to-morrow, or any day, for sending him such a letter, if he was born a gentleman, which he was sorry (for both their sakes) to find (too late) he was not. Then, in a private postscript, he condescended to tell us, that all would be speedily settled to his satisfaction, and we should turn over a new leaf, for he was going to be married in a fortnight to the grandest heiress in England, and had only immediate occasion at present for 2001., as he would not choose to touch his lady's fortune for travelling expences home to Castle Rackrent, where he intended to be, wind and weather permitting, early in the next month; and desired fires, and the house to be painted, and the new building to go on as fast as possible, for the reception of him and his lady before that time ; with several words besides in the letter, which we could not make out, because, God bless him ! he wrote in such a flurry. My heart warmed to my new lady when I read this; I was almost afraid it was too good news to be true; but the girls fell to scouring, and it was well they did, for we soon saw his mar
riage in the paper to a lady with I don't know how many tens of thousand pounds to her fortune : then I watched the post-office for his landing; and the news came to my son of his and the bride being in Dublin, and on the way home to Castle Rackrent. We had bonfires all over the country, expecting him down the next day, and we had his coming of age still to celebrate, which he had not time to do properly before he left the country; therefore a great ball was expected, and great doings upon his coming, as it were, fresh to take possession of his ancestors' estate. I never shall forget the day he came home: we had waited and waited all day long till eleven o'clock at night, and I was thinking of sending the boy to lock the gates, and giving them up for that night, when there came the carriages thundering up to the great hall door. I got the first sight of the bride ; for when the carriage door opened, just as she had her foot on the steps, I held the flam full in her face to light her, at which she shut her eyes, but I had a full view of the rest of her, and greatly shrkei I was, for by that light she was little better than a blackamoor, and seemed cripples, but that was on sitting so long in the chariot.
“ You're kind's come to Castle Rackrent, my kdy;" 25 I see lecting who she was);“ did yrruz braun bezie bonfires ?” His honour spoke ne ET 2 ure IT – much as handed her up the strehe ichzl I DE no more like himself than nakaz u 2.; I took him for the skeleton of hit wo: I sure what to say next to one atsier, ir