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Time has but touched, not sea'ed in gloom
Omnipotent in danger's day,
Of earlier worth has passed away:
WRITTtN BY HIMSliLF.
Enormous Reader 1 were you ever in Clare castle! 'Tis as vile a hole in the shape of a barrack—as odious a combination of stone, mortar, and rough-cast, as ever the King—God bless him 1—put u regiment of the line into. There is most delightful fishing out of the windows—charming shooting at the sparrows that build in the caves of the houses, and most elegant hunting. If you have a terrier, you may bag twenty brace of rats in a forenoon. If a person is fond of drawing, he has water scenery above the bridge, and water scenery below the bridge, with turf-boats and wild ducks, and two or three schooners with coals, and mud in abundance when the tide is out, and beautiful banks sloping to the water, with charming brown potato gardens and evergreen furze bushes. When tired of this combination of natural beauties, you may turn to the city of Clare, luxuriant in dung and pigs, and take a view of the Protestant schoolhouse without a roof, and the parish clergyman's handsome newly white-washed kennel—by the same token, his was the best pack of hounds I ever saw—and the priest's neat cottage at the back of the public-house, where the best pattern in the country was to be had. Then in the distance is not to be seen the neighbouring abbey of Quin, which presents splendid remains of Gothic architecture; but I can only say from what I have heard, as the hill of Dundrennan happens to intervene between our citadel and the abbey. Ennis, too, in the distance, I am told, would be a fine maritime town, if it had good houses and was nearer the sea, and had trade and some respectable people in it, and a good neighbourhood. Mr O'Connell thinks a canal from it to Clare would improve it—and J think the " tribute money" might be advantageously laid out in shares in the said canal. This is only a surmise of my own, judging of what I saw from my barrack-window in Clare castle—for, during the six blessed weeks I spent there, from five o'clock on Ash Wednesday evening, till six o'clock on Good Friday morning, my nose, which is none of the longest, never projected its own length beyond the barrack-gate. The reason of my not visiting the chief city of Clareshire was also sufficient to prevent me exploring the remains at Quin: and was simply this—Colonel Gauntlet had given positive orders to Captain Vernon, who commanded the company, not to permit Ensign O'Donoghue, on any pretence, to leave the castle.
I was a lad of about seventeen then, and had but a short time before got a commission in the Royal Irish, bv raising recruits—which was dune in rather an ingenious manner by my old nurse, Judy M'Leary. She got some thirty or forty of the Ballybeg hurlers, seven of whom were her own sons—lads that would have cropped an exciseman, or put a tithe-proctor "to keep" in a bog-hole, as soon as they would have peeled a potato, or sooner. Nurse Judy got the boys together—made them blind drunk—locked them up in the barn i—made them " drunk again," next morning—enlisted them all before my father, who was a justice of the peace—and a recruitingsergeant who was at the house, marched them all off (" drunk still") to the county town. They were all soldiers before they came to their senses, and I was recommended for an ensigncy. My heroes remained quiet for a day or two, having plenty of eating and drinking; but swearing, by all the saints in the Almanack, that the Ballybeg boys were, out and out, the tip-top of the country, and would "bate the Curnel, ay, and the Gineral, with the garrison to back him to boot, if Masther Con would only crook his finger and whistle." We were ordered to march to Limerick, which part of the country it did not appear that my recruits liked, for the following Sunday they were all back again playing hurley at Ballybeg.
But to return. I was, as I said before, an ensign in the Royal Irish, and strutting as proud as a peacock, about the streets of Limerick. To be sure, how I ogled the darlings as they tripped along, and how they used to titter when I gave them a sly look! I was asked to all sorts of parties, as the officers were—save the mark!—so genteel I We had dinner-parties, and tea-parties, and dancing parties, and parties up the river to Castle Connel, and pic-nics down the river to Carrick Gunnel, and dry drums; in short, the frolicking lads of the Eighteenth never lived in such clover. Three parsons, or rather, I should say, their wives, sundry doctors, the wine merchants, and a banker or two, were all quarreling about who could show us most attention, and force most claret and whisky punch down our throats. We flirted and jigged, and got drunk every night in the week at the house of one friend or another. I was seventeen times in love, ay, and out again, in the first fortnight: such eyes as one young lady had, and such legs had another; Susan had such lips, and Kate had such shoulders; Maria laughed so heartily—to show her teeth; and Johanna held her petticoats so tidily out of the mud—to show her ancle. I was fairly bothered with them all, and nearly ruined into the bargain by the amount of my wine bills at the mess. The constant love-making kept me in a fever, and a perpetual unquenchable thirst was the consequence. In vain did I toss off bumper after bumper of port and sherry in honour of the charms of each and all of them; in vain did I sit down with my tumbler of whisky punch (hot) at my elbow, when I invoked the muse and wrote sonnets on the sweet creatures. Every fresh charm called for a fresh bottle, and each new poetical thought cried out for more hot water, sugar, whisky, and lemon-juice! The more I made love, the more feverish I grew; and it was absolutely impossible to keep my pulsations and wine bills under any control. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, one young lady began to usurp the place of the many. I was determined to install her as prime and permanent mistress of my affections.
Accordingly, Miss Juliana Hennessy was gazetted to the post, vice a score dismissed. Juliana had beautiful legs, beautiful bust, beautiful shoulders; figure plump, smooth, and showy; face nothing to boast of, for her nose was a snub, and she was a trifle marked with the small-pox; but her teeth were generally clean, and her eye languishing; so, on the whole, Juliana Hennessy was not to be sneezed at Half a dozen of our youngsters were already flirting with her: one boasted that he had a lock of her hair, but honour forbade him to show it; another swore that he had kissed her in her father's scullery, that she was nothing loath, and only said, " Ah now, Mr Casey, can't you stop? what a flirt you are!"—but nobody believed him; and Peter Dawson, the adjutant, who was a wag, affirmed, that he heard her mother say, as she crossed the streets, " Juliana, mind your petticoats—spring, Juliana, spring, and show your 'agility'—the officers are looking." After this, poor Juliana Hennessy never wad known but as Juliana Spring.
Juliana Spring had a susceptible mind, and was partial to delicate attentions; so the first thing I did, to show that my respect for her was particular, was to call out Mister Casey about the scullery story; and, after exchanging three shots, (for I was new to the business then, and my pistols none of the best,) 1 touched him up in the left knee, and spoilt his capering in rather an oft-hand style, considering I was but a novice. I now basked in my J uliana's smiles, and was as happy and pleasant as a pig in a potato-garden. I begged Casey's pardon for having hurt him, and he pitched Juliana to Old Nick, for which, by the way, 1 was near having him out again.
I was now becoming quite a sentimental milk-sop; I got drunk not more than twice a week, 1 ducked but two watchmen, and broke the head of but one chairman, during the period of my loving Juliana Spring. Wherever her toe left a mark in the gutter, my heel was sure to leave its print by the side of it. Her petticoats never had the sign of a spatter on them; they were always held well out of the mud, and the snow-white cotton stockings, tight as a drum-head, were duly displayed.
Juliana returned my love, and plenty of billing and cooing we had of it. Mrs Hennetsy was as charming a lady of her yean as one might see any where; she used to make room for me next Juliana make us stand back to back, to see how much the taller I was of the two,—Juliana used to put on my sash and gorget, and I was obliged to adjust them right; then she was obliged to replace them, with her little fingers fiddling about me. After that the old lady would say, "Juliana, my love, how do the turkeys walk through the grass?" "Is it through the long grass, ma'am?" "Yes, Juliana, my love; show ushowtheturkeyswalkthroughthelong grass." Then Juliana would rise from her seat, bend forward, tuck up her clothes nearly to her knees, and stride along the room on tip-toe. "Ah, now do it again, Juliana," said the mother. So Juliana did itagain—and again —and again—till I knew the shape of Juliana's supporters so well, that I can conscientiously declare they were uncommonly pretty.
Juliana and I became thicker, and thicker—till at length I had almost made up my mind to marry her. I was very near fairly popping the question at a large ball at the Custom House, when fortunately, Colonel Gauntlet clapped histhumb upon me, and said "Stop!" and Dawson stept up to say that I must march next morning, at ten o'clock, for that famous citadel, Clare castle. I was very near calling out both Dawson and the colonel; but Juliana requested me not, for her sake. Prudence came in time. Gauntlet would have brought me to a court-martial, and I should have gone back to Ballybeg after my recruits.
Leaving the Heunessyswithout wishing them good-bye, would have been unkind and unhandsome; so at nine next morning I left the New Barracks, having told the sergeant of the party who was to accompany me, to call at Arthur's Quay on his way. I scampered along George Street, and in a few minutes arrived at the Hennessy's. How my heart beat when I lifted the knocker! I fancied that, instead of the usual sharp rat-tat-too, it had a sombre, hollow sound; and when Katty Lynch, the hand-maiden of my beloved, came to the door, and hesitated about admitting me, I darted by her, and entering the dining-room on my right hand. Here the whole family were assembled; but certainly not expecting company—not one of the "genteel officers," at least.
The father of the family, who was an attorney, was arranging his outward man. His drab cloth ink-spotted inexpressibles were unbuttoned at the knee, and but just met a pair of whity-brown worsted stockings, that wrinkled up his thick legs. Coat and waistcoat he had none, and at the open breast of a dirty shirt appeared a still dirtier flannel-waistcoat. He was rasping a thickstubble on'his chin, as he stood opposite a handsome pier-glass between the windows. The razor was wiped upon the breakfast-cloth which ever and anon he scraped clean with the back of the razor, and dabbed the shave into