« ПретходнаНастави »
and there he had the thing still against me. The company seeing matters not agreeable, dropped off till none were left but the sergeant, and the aunt, and Rose, and myself. The aunt gave me a hint to part, but I would not take it ; for I could not bear to go away worsted, and borne down as it were by the English faction, and Rose by to judge. The aunt was called out by one who wanted her to go to a funeral next day: the Englishman then let fall something about our Irish howl, and savages, which Rose herself said was uncivil, she being an Irish woman, which he, thinking only of making game on me, had forgot. I knocked him down, telling him that it was he that was the savage to affront a lady. As he got up he said that he'd have the law of me, if any
law was to be had in Ireland. « « The law !' said I, and you a soldier !'
• Do you mean to call me coward ?' said he. · This is what an English soldier must not bear.' With that he snatches at his arms that were beside him, asking me again, did I mean to call an Englishman coward ?
“Tell me first,' said I, did you mean to call us Irish savages ? '
“ That's no answer to my question,' says he, only an Irish answer.'
" It is not the worse for that, may be,' says I, very coolly, despising the man now, and just took up a knife, that was on the table, to cut off a button that was hanging at my knee. As I was opening of the knife he asks me, was I going to stab at him
with my Irish knife, and directly fixes a bayonet at me; on which I seizes a musket and bayonet one of his men had left, telling him I knew the use of it as well as he or any Englishman, and better; for that I should never have gone, as he did, to charge it against an unarmed man.
“ “You had your knife,' said he, drawing back.
“If I had, it was not thinking of you,” said I; throwing the knife away.
See! I'm armed like yourself now : fight me like a man and a soldier, if you dare,' says I. Fight me, if you dare,' says
he. “Rose calls to me to stop; but we were both out of ourselves at the minute. We thrust at each otherhe missed me I hit him. Rose ran in between us to get the musket from my hand : it was loaded, and went off in the struggle, and the ball lodged in her body. She fell ! and what happened next I cannot tell, for the sight left my eyes, and all sense forsook
When I came to myself the house was full of people, going to and fro, some whispering, some crying; and, till the words reached my ears, Is she quite dead ?' I could not understand where I was, or what had happened. I wished to forget again, but could not.
The whole truth came upon me, and yet I could not shed a tear! but just pushed my way through the crowd into the inner room, and up to the side of the bed. There she lay stretched, almost a corpse-quite still! Her sweet eyes closed, and no colour in her cheeks, that had been so rosy! I took hold of one of her hands, that hung down,
and she then opens
and knew me directly, and smiles upon me, and says, "It was no fault of yours: take notice, all of you, it was no fault of his if I die; but that I won't do for his sake, if I can help it!'—that was the word she spoke. I thinking, from her speaking so strong, that she was not badly hurt, knelt down to whisper her, that if my breath did smell of spirits, it was the parting glass I had tasted before making the vow I had done against drink for her sake; and that there was nothing I would not do for her, if it would please God to spare
her to me. She just pressed my hand, to show me she was sensible. The priest came in, and they forced our hands asunder, and carried me away out of the room. Presently there was a great cry, and I knew all was over.”
Here the old man's voice failed, and he turned his face from us. When he had somewhat recovered himself, to change the course of his thoughts, we asked whether he were prosecuted for his assault on the English sergeant, and what became of him?
“ Oh! to do him justice, as one should do to every one,” said the old man, handsome to me when I was brought to trial; and told the whole truth, only blamed himself more than I would have done, and said it was all his fault for laughing at me and my nation more than a man could bear, situated as I was. They acquitted me through his means. We shook hands, and he hoped all would go right with me, he said ; but nothing ever went right with me after. I took little note
- he behaved very ever after of worldly matters : all belonging to me went to rack and ruin. The hand of God was upon me: I could not help myself, nor settle mind or body to any thing. I heard them say sometimes I was a little touched in my head : however that might be I cannot say.
But at the last I found it was as good for me to give all that was left to my friends, who were better able to manage, and more eager for it than I ; and fancying a roving life would agree with me best, I quitted the place, taking nothing with me, but resolved to walk the world, and just trust to the charity of good christians, or die, as it should please God. How I have lived so long He only knows, and his will be done.”
IRISH WIT AND ELOQUENCE.
« Wild wit, invention ever new," appear in high perfection amongst even the youngest inhabitants of an Irish cottage. The word wit, amongst the lower classes of Ireland, means not only quickness of repartee, but cleverness in action; it implies invention and address, with no slight mixture of cunning; all which is expressed in their dialect by the single word 'cuteness (acuteness). Examples will give a better notion of this than can be conveyed by any definition.
An Irish boy (a 'cute lad) saw a train of his companions leading their cars, loaded with kishes* of turf, coming towards his father's cabin; his father had no turf, and the question was how some should be obtained. To beg he was ashamed; to dig he was unwilling-but his head went to work directly. He took up a turf which had fallen from one of the cars the preceding day, and stuck it on the top of a pole near the cabin. When the cars were passing, he appeared throwing turf at the mark.
“ Boys!" cried he, “ which of ye will hit?” Each leader of the car, as he passed, could not forbear to fling a turf at the mark; the turf fell at the foot of the pole, and when all the cars had passed, there was a heap left sufficient to reward the ingenuity of our little Spartan.
The same 'cuteness which appears in youth continues and improves in old age. When general Vwas quartered in a small town in Ireland, he and his lady were regularly besieged, whenever they got into their carriage, by an old beggar-woman, who kept her post at the door, assailing them daily with fresh importunities and fresh tales of distress. At last the lady's charity, and the general's patience, were nearly exhausted, but their petitioner's wit was still in its pristine vigour. One morning, at