Слике страница
[ocr errors]

says he,

admire my lady's spirit, and was proud to see Castle Rackrent again in all its glory. My lady had a fine taste for building, and furniture, and playhouses, 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,”

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 frightened, this being the first thing of the kind he had seen; and he fell straight on his

[ocr errors]

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 at all, 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


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 —

Why now, faith, this is a little too much ; do, Bella, try to recollect yourself, my dear; am not I


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

your husband, and of your own choosing; 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 outof-the-way provoking things, asked my master, was he fit for 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

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 mas

room, and


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 chooses to be disturbed. Things in a twelvemonth 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 drawingroom, my lady having rung five times for candles,

Go to

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 playhouse, 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. 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

Gossoon, a little boy—from the French word garçon. In most Irish families there used to be a barefooted 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 sunrise and sunset.

« ПретходнаНастави »