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to mind a fortune, nor never was,” said Sir Condy, proudly, “whatever her friends may say; and to make short of it,” says he, “ I'm come to a determination upon the spot;” with that he swore such a terrible oath, as made me cross myself; “ and by this book," said he, snatching up my ballad book, mistaking it for
my prayer book, which lay in the window ; “and by this book,” says he, “and by all the books that ever were shut and opened, it's come to a toss-up with me, and I'll stand or fall by the toss; and so, Thady, hand me over that pin* out of the ink-horn,” and he makes a cross on the smooth side of the halfpenny ; “Judy M'Quirk,” says he,“ her mark.”+ God bless him ! his hand was a little unsteadied by all the whiskey punch he had taken, but it was plain to see his heart was for poor Judy. My heart was all as one as in my mouth when I saw the halfpenny up in the air, but I said nothing at all; and when it came down, I was glad I had kept myself to myself, for to be sure now it was all over with poor Judy.
Pin, read pen. It formerly was vulgarly pronounced pin in Ireland.
+ Her mark. It was the custom Ireland for those who could not write to make a cross to stand for their signature, as was formerly the practice of our English monarchs. The Editor inserts the fac-simile of an Irish mark, which may hereafter be valuable to a judicious antiquary
Mark. In bonds or notes, signed in this manner, a witness is requisite, as the name is frequently written by him or her.
any in the
“ Judy's out a luck," said I, striving to laugh. “I'm out a luck,” said he ; and I never saw a man look so cast down: he took up the halfpenny off the flag, and walked away quite sober-like by the shock. Now, though as easy a man, you would think, wide world, there was no such thing as making him unsay one of these sort of vows,* which he had learned to reverence when young, as I well remember teaching him to toss up for bog-berries on my knee. So I saw the affair was as good as settled between him and miss Isabella, and I had no more to say but to wish her joy, which I did the week afterwards, upon her return from Scotland with my poor master.
My new lady was young, as might be supposed of a lady that had been carried off, by her own consent, to Scotland; but I could only see her at first through her veil, which, from bashfulness or fashion, she kept over her face. “And am I to walk through all this crowd of people, my dearest love?” said she to sir Condy, meaning us servants and tenants, who had
* Vows. It has been maliciously and unjustly hinted, that the lower classes of the people in Ireland pay but little regard to oaths; yet it is certain that some oaths or vows have great power over their minds. Sometimes they swear they will be revenged on some of their neighbours ; this is an oath that they are never known to break. But, what is infinitely more extraordinary and unaccountable, they sometimes make and keep a vow against whiskey; these vows are usually liniited to a short time. A woman who has a drunken husband is most fortunate if she can prevail upon him to go to the priest, and make a vow against whiskey for a year, or a month, or a week, or a day.
you see the
gathered at the back gate. “My dear,” said sir Condy, “there's nothing for it but to walk, or to let me carry you as far as the house, for back road is too narrow for a carriage, and the great piers have tumbled down across the front approach ; so there's no driving the right way, by reason of the ruins.” “ Plato, thou reasonest well!” said she, or words to that effect, which I could no ways understand; and again, when her foot stumbled against a broken bit of a car-wheel, she cried out, “Angels and ministers of grace defend us !” Well, thought I, to be sure if she's no Jewish, like the last, she is a mad woman for certain, which is as bad : it would have been as well for my poor master to have taken up with poor Judy, who is in her right mind, any how.
She was dressed like a mad woman, moreover, more than like any one I ever saw afore or since, and I could not take my eyes off her, but still followed behind her, and her feathers on the top of her hat were broke going in at the low back door, and she pulled out her little bottle out of her pocket to smell to when she found herself in the kitchen, and said, “I shall faint with the heat of this odious, odious place.” “My dear, it's only three steps across the kitchen, and there's a fine air if
was up,” said sir Condy, and with that threw back her veil, so that I had then a full sight of her face; she had not at all the colour of one going to faint, but a fine complexion of her own, as I then took it to be, though her maid told me after it was all put on; but even complexion and all taken in, she was no way, in point of good looks, to compare to poor Judy; and with all she had a quality toss with her; but may
be it was my over-partiality to Judy, into whose place I
may say she stept, that made me notice all this. To do her justice, however, she was, when we came to know her better, very liberal in her housekeeping, nothing at all of the skin-flint in her ; she left every thing to the housekeeper; and her own maid, Mrs. Jane, who went with her to Scotland, gave her the best of characters for generosity. She seldom or ever wore a thing twice the same way, Mrs. Jane told us, and was always pulling her things to pieces, and giving them away, never being used, in her father's house, to think of expence in any thing; and she reckoned, to be sure, to go on the same way at Castle Rackrent; but, when I came to inquire, I learned that her father was so mad with her for running off, after his locking her up, and forbidding her to think any more of sir Condy, that he would not give her a farthing; and it was lucky for her she had a few thousands of her own, which had been left to her by a good grandmother, and these were very convenient to begin with. My master and my lady set out in great style; they had the finest coach and chariot, and horses and liveries, and cut the greatest dash in the county, returning their wedding visits; and it was immediately reported, that her father had undertaken to
master's debts, and of course all his tradesmen gave him a new credit, and every thing went on smack smooth, and I could not but
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,”
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
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