« AnteriorContinuar »
most of the night, we were not much known people in country or town. affected by the threatenings of troubles They had not been presented at any of in the country.
the Castle drawing-rooms, which are Tony Joscelyn had been about three certainly not unduly exclusive, por years in the regiment at that time. were they to be met at little dinners He had been in the navy before he be- and parties in good Dublin society ; but came a soldier, and if her Majesty's they were generally seen at public or ships always turn out as good fellows as semi-public entertainments where invihe was, their system of breaking in tations were not required, or at dances youngsters must be very good indeed. given by the regiments in garrison, He was a smart man all round, a cap- where Cissy's bright eyes and good ital sportsman, and full of sound com- figure were quite a sufficient introducmon sense. But, whether it was the tion. And the girl was not dependent result of his naval training or not I on eyes and figure alone for attraction, can't say, he had an immense amount but she was always smartly dressed in of self-reliance, which became peril- a rather voyante style, and when she ously like obstinacy if any one tried to chose she could make herself very turn him from his object when he had amusing and agreeable. There once made up his mind. He had been sometimes a bitter twang in her tongue. giving us some anxiety from the per- however, which seemed to protest sistent way in which he had attached against her rather doubtful position in himself to a girl who was going about society, and some of the respectable Dublin at the time. The subalterns of old dowagers, who considered thenthe 200th had a very well-defined theo-selves social leaders, would have felt retical objection to matrimony, and their ears tingle if they had heard the though most of them sooner or later remarks which she occasioually made met their fate, and in the mean time about their manners, customs, and perwere quite ready to plunge into most sonal appearance. Old Mrs. Power did violent flirtations, they did not approve not seem to count for much, except as of one of their number being guilty of the necessary chaperon to Cissy. How a serious devotion, particularly a man such a hideous old woman could have so junior as Joscelyn. They had had such a pretty daughter was a conchaffed him and laughed at him, and stant source of wonder, and we had not had even induced the captain of his failed to point out to Tony that Cissy troop to give him serious advice, but to would of course become like ber in no purpose. If he had confined him- time. Providentially she had a blessed self to philandering with Cissy Power gift of silence, and her most remarkwhen they met in public, nobody would able trait was the unfailing appetite have thought anything of it, but he with which she disposed of things eatwas often seen going off in the after- able and drinkable whenever she had a noon to the lodgings in Mount Street chance of refreshment. where Cissy and her mother were liv
I have said that there was much exing, when he was wanted to play in a citement about the Feniaus at the cricket-match or take part in some time, and naturally. the rumors of their other regimental amusement. To doings, and the news of the various make matters worse, we could not military precautions, were a constant quite make out the Powers. They subject of conversation. Among the gave out that they came from County people whom we were in the habit of Shillelagh in the west, and were living meeting, there were not, of course, two in Dublin for a time, “just to give my opinions about the rebellious moveCissy a little society, poor thing !” as ment, and no one inveighed against it the old woman said in the richest of more heartily than Cissy, brogues ; but we never met any body took so keen an interest in the military who knew them at home, and they did gossip, and in the details of the various not seem to have any connection with lorders which were published. Tony
Joscelyn was not often away from at- one day in the orderly-room that “that
acting adjutant for a few of Merrion Square, and as the day was weeks ?) how many men we had in one fine and there was nothing else going place, and how many in another ? did on, I escaped from barracks when we send any men to patrol round Kil- afternoon drill was over, and strolled mainbam in addition to the infantry down to see the folks that were sure to guard ? and when would the different be gathered, and afterwards to have a officers have their turn of duty ? I look in at Sewell's, where there were never understood why she asked the some goodish horses on view. I had questions, and only supposed that she not been in the gardens more than two was making conversation to suit her or three minutes when I ran up against company, as I never was on very inti- Cissy Power and her mother. The mate terms with her, and we had few fair Cissy asked where Joscelyn was, subjects in cominon.
and I confess I felt a malicious pleasJoscelyn's naval life had left one ure in telling her that he had gone for trace upon his tastes. He was devoted a run in his yacht, as I hoped that this to boating, and kept a ten-ton yacht, showed a diminution in his devotion. in which he made constant trips along “He had three days' leave, and took the coast, leaving her in any one of the Jacky Thompson with him ; but I have small harbors that was handy when been obliged to telegraph to stop them his leave was up and he had to return at Malahide, where they will look in to barracks. Besides the one perma- this afternoon. They are wanted for nent hand who was always in the boat, picket to-morrow morning, as, with he very often took with him a corporal Devereux and Milton sick, we are very belonging to his troop called Morrogh, short of subalterns, and we have been who, he had discovered, knew as much ordered to find members for a courtabout handling a small craft as him- martial.” self, and to whom he wished to be “ Then I suppose he will have to kind, as he seemed a man of educa- leave his yacht at Malahide,” said tion, and of a better class than most of Cissy, “and her ready for sea too ! the men in the ranks. Morrogh was a How disappointed he will be! And bit of a favorite with the officers gener- tell me, now, will he be on picket for a ally, as he could bowl well, and was long time ?” useful in the cricket eleven, besides " He'll be on duty for twenty-four being a smart, intelligent soldier, who hours from to-morrow morning at any was a credit to the regiment both on rate, and he'll be orderly officer on the and off duty. Unlike most men in the following day after that, so he won't ranks who are special favorites with be able to go afloat again this week.” the officers, he seemed to be equally " Well, now, I am sorry for you poor popular with his comrades, among soldiers. How I wish these horrid whom he had great influence. The Fenians had never been heard of! only dissentient voice about his merits They make everybody so uncomfortawas that of the regimental sergeant-ble, and they want to rebel against the major, a shrewd and grim veteran, dear queen. Mamma, dear, stand up. who had fought through the Crimea Don't you hear them playing God and the Mutiny, and whose practical save the Queen'?” knowledge of soldiers had been gained While we were talking, the band had in many lands and in much hard work come to the end of the programme, in peace and war. He confided to me and people were beginniug to disperse.
Cissy and her mother went home, ducted man that of course he got the while I went on to look at the horses, leave. and then dropped into the club.
Since the great coup of the arrest of Molesworth and I walked home to-Wilkins, things seemed to be settling gether along the quays. It was grow-down a little. Nothing had been beard ing dusk, and the streets were full of of any more country men in arms, and the usual sordid grimy figures that we began to hope that the Fenian haunt the banks of the evil-smelling movement was dying out, and that exstream. The only respectable-looking tra duties might soon be relaxed. We passers-by were the occasional soldiers were to be rudely awakened from auy who had come out after evening sta- such dream. Just before the relief of bles, and were making their way to Joscelyn's picket was going to move their various resorts. Poor fellows ! off, an orderly clattered into barracks some of them would not be so clean with an official letter for the colonel. and smart when they returned to bar. There was the devil to pay everyracks from the equivocal amusements where. The head-centre Wilkins had offered by Dublin. We had just passed escaped from Kilmainham, and had left the Four Courts, when, standing in a so little trace of his evasion that it was by-street, two tigures caught our notice. evident he had bold and active friends One was one of our own men, and the both inside and outside the prison. other was a female with a long cloak on Dignified officials were hauled over the which covered her from head to foot. coals for carelessness and inefficiency, They walked off rapidly together, and dismissals were numerous, and redived out of sight in the neighboring doubled attention was given to military slums.
precautions in the town. As far as the “I'll take my oath that's Corporal 200th were concerned, we might almost Morrogh !” said Molesworth, “and as well have been on active service. A his friend is a smarter looking woman feeling began to gain ground also, than soldiers usually pal with. She which added to the general uneasiness walks just like somebody we know. I that there was a leaven of disloyalty have it ! She's just like Cissy Power, among the soldiers, and that we could though of course she wouldu't be not thoroughly depend on all the men traipsing down here at this time of who wore the queen's uniform. day.”
But how bad Wilkins escaped ? and Joscelyn and Thompson turned up in how had he managed to avoid recogtime for mess, both very grumpy at nition and arrest in leaving Ireland, having been brought back, and having where every seaport and steamer was the prospect of a dull day's picket duty carefully watched, and every passenger before them, instead of enjoying the had to be identified and to give an breezes in the Channel. Joscelyn was account of himself ? At last the belief rather put out, too, because Paddy spread that he had made his way to Cregan, his boatman, had been inclined the coast, and had slipped off in a small to be cheeky, and he vowed he would craft to some vessel which was lying discharge him as soon as he could take waiting in the Channel ready to take the Mermaid round to Kingstown him over to France. If he had done again.
this he must have had a goodish knockI saw the pickets parade and march ing about, as there had been half a gale off the following morning, and when I of wind, and the weather had been went to the orderly-room, I found that dirty enough to make most of the boats Corporal Morrogh had sent in an appli- on the coast remain safe at their moorcation for a pass for twenty-four hours ings. from that evening on account of the All short leaves were stopped, as illness of a sister. I had never before every officer was required for someheard that he had any relations in thing or other; but Joscelyn managed Dublin ; but he was such a well-con-Ito get away for a day to arrange about laying up the Mermaid at Malahide till expected, there were reports of requieter times. When he returned he newed disturbances in the south and was full of the iniquities of Paddy Cre- west. Agitators were heard of, stirgan, who had bolted, leaving the yacht ring up the people and enrolling them in a terrible state, very dirty, with all in military organizations. Several soiher gear in the greatest disorder. As disant generals were known to have Joscelyn said to me, “If I had not arrived from America, and to be taking known that she was lying snug, I an active part in rebellious preparawould have believed that she had had tions. The commander-in-chief at that a rough cruise after Jacky Thompson time was a man wbo had gained rank and I left her, when you telegraphed and honors in the operations of the for us the day before Wilkins es- Mutiny campaign, and the methods caped.”
which had proved successful in the Far The summer wore on, and every- East would, he considered, be equally body who had any place in the country effective in Ireland. to go to left Dublin. We heard no We had just finished dinner one more about Fenians for the time, but night when an order was brought in there were forebodings that when the directing us to furnish a squadron to long winter nights began, and deeds of be ready to start for service on the folvillainy would be protected by dark- lowing morning. The only details that pess, we should have a renewal of were told to us juniors were, that we troubles. Cissy Power and her mother were to be at the railway station at left their lodgings “ to go to their little daybreak, where we should find a train cottage in the west,” as the old woman waiting for us, and that we should be told us.
We hoped that Joscelyn's in- away from Dublin for an indefinite fatuation might now be checked, and time. What a scrimmage we had that that he would forget the girl. If we night getting meu and horses told off, could tide him over the winter he and collecting our
necessary kits ! would be tolerably safe, as we were Both Joscelyn and I were among the due to be moved to England in the officers ordered to be in readiness, and next spring.
we were objects of envy to those that I began to share the regimental ser- were to be left behind, who would all geant-major's opinion about Corporal have been delighted to exchange the Morrogh. Somehow, with all his ap- dull routine of garrison duty for the parent smartness and plausibility, there off-chance of a real fight where we was a deal of misconduct in his bar- were going. rack-room. The men in it seemed to The next morning we had a pretty be better off for money than most of miserable start. It rained as it only their comrades in the regiment, and does rain in Ireland. Cloaked and instead of going out into the town like dripping, we found ourselves in the others, only on the weekly pay day, station, and proceeded to entrain the they were apparently able to have a horses. The officers' chargers were: lark at any time. I frequently heard, provided with horse-boxes, but the too, of Morrogh standing treat at the troopers' were put into cattle-trucks, canteen in a way that few men in his and very unhappy the poor brutes position were ever able to practise. looked, jammed tightly together, with He applied to be employed in the little shelter from the cold, wintry orderly-room ; but independently of the blast. At last we were ready to start,
1 ; laxity with which we could not help and as the train steamed out of the crediting him, we had distinct orders grimy station we found that the colonel from headquarters that no men of Irish was with us. He told us that we, with birth were to have any access to regi- some infantry and police, were going
column in mental papers and correspondence, so to form a small flying he remained at his ordinary duty. County Shillelagh, and that he was to
Winter set in early, and, as had been 'be in command. There were to be
other similar columus formed in differ- pendent on them, as we had been ent districts, which were to traverse provident enough to bring one of our the country in unlooked-for movements own mess-waiters and some hampers and crush the faintest semblance of with us, and we promised ourselves a rising that might occur. Our train pleasant evening with our new friends. dragged its slow length along for weary We had been round the billets of the hours, and late in the afternoon we men, had seen that the arms were arrived at the little country town which everywhere duly secured, and that, was to be the assembling-place of the besides the patrols and guards under column. The one long, straggling arms, every squad had a special fatigue street was more alive than it had ever sentry to keep an eye upon horses and been in the memory of man. Strong equipments ; and we were all gathered guards were posted at the hotel, where in the one public room of the inn, gosthe headquarters was established, and siping and waiting till the orders for in the market-place, which had been the next day should be issued. One of told off as an alarm-post in case of the slatternly maids came into the necessity. Knots of infantry soldiers room with a letter held in her very with belts and side-arms on were hang- black fiugers. "Is one of you jintleing about, evidently ready to fall in meu here Misther Joscelyn? A gosat a moment's notice. Constabulary soon has brought a bit of a note for men, looking marvellously clean and him. 'Tis a lady, he says, that's waitsmart even in the mud and gloom of an ing on a cyar at the street's corner.” Irish November day, seemed quite at “ Jos, you sly dog, have you made a home in their surroundings, and had conquest already?” I said, and Joscethe air of knowing precisely what they lyn took the note with some wonderwere about, only doubtful whether meut in his face. As he opened it, they were going to play second fiddle however, he made no reply, but in a civil war, or whether they should snatched up his cloak and forage-cap look upon the soldiers as being there to and darted from the room. He had support them in the execution of their not been gone many minutes when he ordinary duty. As soon as we got our returned, and, with rather a shamemen and horses told off into billets, faced air, told me that of all people in there was a general fraternization be- the world Cissy Power and her mother tween us and the infantry and constab- were staying at a small shebeen in the ulary officers, while our colouel, with town. “ They are so alarmed about the infantry major and the constabu- the Fenians that they have left their lary inspector, retired to hold a council house in the country, and hearing that of war, and to compare orders, in- there were to be soldiers in this place, formation, and plans.
they have come here in the mean time, Of course there was a collection of and have to put up with very poor acall the inhabitants of the place to see commodation, as we have occupied the the “dthragoons" arrive, and if they whole of the only decent inn." were disaffected to the government, I was anything but pleased at this they were at any rate most cordial in news, both as a friend and as a brother their reception of us. Everywhere our subaltern ; as a friend, because I could men found willing hands to help them not help fearing that Joscelyn would in fetching forage, water, and the be fatally entangled with the girl ; and thousand and one little requirements as a brother subaltern, because I foreof horse and man in a strange place. saw that he would be asking me to take The innkeeper, with his fat wife and his duty whenever he could manage it, two of the most slatternly maids I ever so that he might spend his time with his saw, worked as they had never worked inamorata. The acting brigade-major before, and produced all the resources now came into the roon, however, and of the town for our refreshment. gave us in detail the orders for the Fortunately we were not entirely de- next day. The infantry were to re