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Monday Morning HAVING, out of friendship for the fanıily upon whose estate, praised be Heaven! I and mine have lived rentfree time out of mind, voluntarily undertaken to publish the Memoirs of the RACKRENT Family, I think it my duty to say a few words, in the first place, concerning myseli. My real name is Thady Quirk, though in the family I have always been known by no other than “honest Thady;" afterward, in the time of Sir Murtagh, deceased, I remember to hear them calling me “old Thady," and now I'm come to “poor Thady;" for I wear a long great-coat* winter and summer, which is
* The cloak, or mantle, as described by Thady, is of bigh antiquity Spencer, in his “ View of the State of Ireland." proves that it is not, as some have Imagined, peculiarly deived from the Scythians, but that “ most nations of the world anciently used the mantle ; for the Jews used it, as you may read of Elias's inantle, &c.; the Chaldeans also used 11, as you may read in Diodorus; the Egyptians likewise used it, as you may read in Herodotus, and may be gathered by the description of Berenice, in the Greek Commentary, upon Callimachus; the Greeks also used it anciently, as appeared by Venus's mantle, lined with stars, though afterward they changed the form thereof into their cloaks, called Pallai, as some of the Irish also use : and the ancient Latins and Romans used it, as you may read in Virgil, who was a very great antiquary, that Evander, when Æneas came to him his feast, did entertain and feast him sitting on the ground, and lying on manues: insomuch as he useth the very word inanuile for a manile,
Humi mantilia sternunt :' so that it seemeth the mantle was a general habit to most nations, and not proper to the Scythians only."
Spencer knew the convenience of the said mantie, as housing, bedding, and clothing
" Iren. Because the commodity doth not countervail the discommodity: for the inconveniences which thereby do arise are much more many; for it is a fit house for an outlaw, a meet bed for a rebel, and an apt cloak for a thief. First, the outlaw, being for his many crimes and villanies banished from the towns and houses of honest men, and wandering in waste places, far from danger of law, inaketh his mantle his house, and under it covereth himself from ihe wrath of Heaven, from the offence of the earth, and from the sig'i of men. When it raineth it is his penthouse; when it bloweth it is his
ent; when it freezeth it is his tabernacle. In summer he can wear it loose; in winter he can wrap it close; at all times he can use it: never heavy, never cumbersome. Likewise for a rebel it is as serviceable; for in this war that he maketh (if at least it deserves the name of war), when he still fieth from his foe, and lurketh in the thick woods (this should be black dogs) and straight passages waiting for advantages, it is his bed, yea, and almost his household stuff.”
very handy, as I never put my arms into the sleeves; they are as good as new, though come Holantide next I've had it these seven years; it holds on by a single button round my neck, cloak-fashion. To look at me you would hardly think “poor Thady" was the father of Attorney Quirk; he is a high gentleman, and never minds what poor Thady says, and having better than fifteen hundred a year, landed estate, looks down upon honest Thady; but I wash my hands of his doings, and as I have lived so will I die,-true and loyal to the family. The family of the Rackrents is, I am proud to say, one of the most ancient in the kingdom. Everybody knows this is not the old family name, which was 'O'Shaughlin, related to the kings of Ireland—but that was before my time. My grandfather was driver to the great Sir Patrick O'Shaughlin, and I heard him, when I was a boy, telling how the Castle Rackrent estate came to Sir Patrick; Sir Tallyhoo Rackrent was cousin-german to him, and had a fine estate of his own, only never a gate upon it, it being his maxim that a car was the best gate. Poor gentleman! he lost a fine hunter and his life, at last, by it, all in one day's hunt. But I ought to bless that day, for the estate came straight into the family, upon one condition, which Sir Patrick O'Shaughlin at the time took sadly to heart, they say, but thought better of it afterward, seeing how large a stake depended upon it, -that he should, by act of parliament, take and bear the surname and arms of Rackrent.
Now it was that the world was to see what was in Sir Patrick. On coming into the estate he gave the finest entertainment ever was heard of in the country; not a man could stand after supper but Sir Patrick himself, who could sit out the best man in Ireland, let alone the three kingdoms itself. He had his house, from one year's end to another, as full of company as ever it could hold, and fuller; for rather than be left out of the parties at Castle Rackrent, many gentlemen, and those men of the first consequence and landed estates in the country,-such as the O'Neils of Ballynagro:ty, and the Moneygawls of Mount Juliet's Town, and O'Shannons of New Town Tullyhog, -made it their choice, often and often, when there was no moon to be had for love nor money, in long winter nights, to sleep in the chicken-house, which Sir Patrick haŭ fitted up for the purpose of accommodating his friends and the public in general, who honoured him with their company unexpectedly at Castle Rackrent; and this went on I can't tell you how longthe whole country rang with his praises-Long life to him! I'm sure I love to look upon his picture, now opposite to me; though I never saw him, he must have been a portly gentleman-his neck something short, and remarkable for the largest pimple on his nose, which, by his particular desire, is still extant in his picture, said to be a striking likeness, though taken when young. He is said also to be the inventor of raspberry whiskey ; which is very likely, as nobody has ever appeared to dispute it with him, and as there still exists a broken punch-bowl at Castle Rackrent, in the garret, with an inscription to that effect-a great curiosity, A few days before his death he was very merry; it being his honour's birth-day, he called my grandfather in, God bless him! to drink the company's health, and filled a bumper himself, but could not carry it to his head, on account of the great shake in his hand; on this he cast his joke, saying, “What would my poor father say to me if he was to pop out of the grave and see me now? I remember when I was a little boy, the first bumper of claret he gave me after dinner, how he praised me for carrying it so steady to my mouth. Here's my thanks to him-a bumper toast.” Then he fell to singing the favourite song he learned from his father
for the last time, poor gentleman; he sung it that night as loud and as hearty as ever, with a chorus:
“He that goes to bed, and goes to bed sober,
Falls as the leaves do, falls as the leaves do, and dies in October;
Sir Patrick died that night: just as the company rose to drink his health with three cheers, he fell down in a sort of fit, and was carried off: they sat it out, and were surprised, on inquiry in the morning, to find that it was all over with poor Sir Patrick. Never did any gentleman live and die more beloved in the country by rich and poor. His funeral was such a one as was never known before or since in the county! All the gentle
men in the three counties were at it; far and near how they flocked! my great-grandfather said, that to see all the women even in their red cloaks, you would have taken them for the army drawn out. Then such a fine whillaluh! you might have heard it to the farthest end of the county, and happy the man who could get but a sight of the hearse! But who'd have thought it ? just as all was going on right, through his own town they were passing, when the body was seized for debt: a rescue was apprehended from the mob, but the heir, who attended the funeral, was against that, for fear of consequences, seeing that those villains who came to serve acted under the disguise of the law : so, to be sure, the law must take its course, and little gain had the creditors for their pains. First and foremost, they had the curses of the country; and Sir Murtagh Rackrent, the new heir, in the next place, on account of this affront to the body, refused to pay a shilling of the debts, in which he was countenanced by all the best gentlemen of property, and others of his acquaintance: Sir Murtagh alleging in all companies, that he all along meant to pay his father's debts of honour, but the moment the law was taken of him there was an end of honour to be sure. It was whispered (but none but the enemies of the family believed it), that this was all a sham seizure to get quit of the debts, which he had bound himself to pay in honour.
It's a long time ago, there's no saying how it was, but this for certain, the new mian did not take at all after the old gentleman; the cellars were never filled after his death, and no open house, or any thing as it used to be; the tenants even were sent away without their whiskey. I was ashamed myself, and knew not what to say for the honour of the family; but I made the best of a bad case, and laid it all at my lady's door, for I did not like her anyhow, nor anybody else; she was of the family of the Skinflints, and a widow; it was a strange match for Sir Murtagh; the people in the country thought he demeaned himself greatly, but I said nothing : I knew how it was; Sir Murtagh was a great lawyer, and looked to the great Skinflint estate ; there, however, he overshot himself; for though one of the co-heiresses, he was never the better for her, for she outlived him many's the long day—he could not see that to be sure when he married her. I must say for her, she made him the best of wives, being a very notable stirring woman, and