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the fire. The lady mother was in a chemise and petticoat, with a large coloured cotton shawl, which did duty as dressing-gown; and she was alternately busy in combing her grizzled locks, and making breakfast.
Miss Juliana,—Juliana of my love—Juliana Spring, sat by the fire in a pensive attitude, dressed as she had turned out of her nest. Her hair still in papers, having just twitched off her night-cap; a red cotton bed-gown clothed her shoulders, a brown flannel petticoat was fastened with a running string round her beautiful waist, black worsted stockings enveloped those lovely legs which I had so often gazed on with admiration, as they, turkey-fashion, tripped across the room; and a pair of yellow slippers, down at heel, covered the greater part of her feet. On the fender stood the teakettle, and on the handle of the tea-kettle a diminutive shirt had been put to air; while its owner, an urchin of five years old, frequently popped in from an inner room, exhibiting his little natural beauties alfresco, to see if it was fit to put on.
I stared about me as if chaos was come again; but I could not have been more surprised than they were. The whole family were taken aback. The father stood opposite the mirror with his snub nose held between the finger and thumb of his left hand, and his right grasping the razor—his amazement was so great that he could not stir a muscle. Mrs Hennessy shifted her seat to the next chair, and the lovely Juliana Spring, throwing down the Sorrows of Werter, with which she had been improving her mind, raised her fingers to get rid of the hair papers. Each individual would have taken to flight; but, unfortunately, the enemy was upon them, and occupied the only means of egress, except the little room, which it seems was the younker's den ; so that, like many another body, when they could not run away, they boldly stood their ground.
I apologised for the untimely hour of my visit, and pleaded, as an excuse, that in half an hour, I should be on my way to Clare Castle. My friends say that I have an easy way of appearing comfortable wherever I go, and that it at once makes people satisfied. In less than a minute Mr Hennessy let his nose go; his wife wreathed her fat face into smiles; and Juliana Spring looked budding into summer, squeezed a tear out of her left eye, and blew her nose in silent anguish at my approaching departure.
Katty brought in a plate of eggs and a pile of buttered toast. Apologies innumerable were made for the state of affairs;—the sweeps had been in the house—the child had been sick—Mr Hennessy was turned out of his dressing-room by the masons—Mrs Hennessy herself had been "poorly"—and Juliana was suffering with a nervous headach. Such a combination of misfortunes surely had never fallen upon so small a family at the same time. 1 began to find my love evaporating rapidly. Still, Juliana was in grief, and between pity for her, and disgust at the colour of the tablecloth, I could not eat. Mr Hennessy soon rose, said he would be back in the " peeling of an onion," and requested me not to stir till he returned.
He certainly was not long, but he came accompanied, lugging into the room with him a tall, loose made-fellow in a pepper-and-salt coat, and brown corduroys. I had never seen this hero before, and marvelled who the deuce he might prove to be. "Sit down, Jerry," said Hennessy to his friend—" sit down and taste a dish of tea. Jerry, I am sorry that Juliana has a headach tllis morning." "Never mind, man," said Jerry; " 111 go bail she will be better by and by. Sure my darling niece isn't sorry at going to be married." Here were two discoveries—J erry was uncle to J uliana,and Juliana was going to be married—to whom, I wondered? "O, Jerry! she will be well enough by and by," said her father. "But I don't believe you know Ensign O'Donoghue—let me introduce," &c. Accordingly I bowed, but Jerry rose from his chair, and came forward with outstretched paw. "Good morrow-morning to you, sir, and 'deed and indeed it is mighty glad I am to see you, and wish you joy of so soon becoming my relation." "Your relation, sir? I am not aware"—"Not relation," returned Jerry, "not blood relation, but connexion by marriage."—" I am not going to be married," said 1. "You not going to be married?" "Not that I know of," 1 replied. "Ah, be aisy, young gentleman," said uncle Jerry; "sure I know all about it—ar'n't you going to marry my niece, Juliana, there?"
A pretty denouement this! My love oozed away like Bob Acres's valour—so Iltaswered, "I rather think not, sir." "Not marry Juliana?" ejaculated the father. "Not marry my daughter?" yelled the mother. "Not marry my niece?" shouted the uncle; "but by Saint Peter you shall—didn't you propose for her last night?" "I won't marry her, that's flat; and I did not propose for her last night"I roared. My blood was now up, and I had no notion of being taken by storm. "You shall marry her, and that before you quit this room, or the d—1 is not in Kilballyowen I" said Jerry, getting up, and locking the door. "If you don't, I'll have the law of you,' said Mr Hennessy. "If you don't, you are no gentleman," said Mrs Hennessy. "If I do, call me fool," said I. "And I am unanimous," said a third person, from the inner door. "The deuce you are," said I to this new addition to our family-circle; a smoothfaced, hypocritical-looking scoundrel, in black coat and black breeches, and grey pearl stockings—as he issued from the smaller apartmentHow he got there, I never knew. "Don't swear, young gentleman," said he. "I'll swear from this to Clare castle, if I like," said I, "and no thanks to any one. Moreover by this and by that, and by every thing else, I am not in the humour, and I'll marry no one— good, bad, or indifferent—this blessed day." Even this did not satisfy them. "Then you will marry her after Lent?" said the fellow in the pearl stockings. "Neither then nor now, upon my oath!" I answered. "You won't?" said old Hennessy. "You won't?" echoed the wife. "You won't?" dittoed Uncle Jerry. "That I won't, ladies and gentlemen," I rejoined;" I am in a hurry for Clare castle; so good morning to you, and I wish you all the compliments of the season." "Go aisy with your hitching," said Jerry, " you will not be off in that way".—and he disappeared into the small room.
The father sat down at a table, and began to write busily —the pearl-stocking'd gentleman twirled his thumbs, and stood between me and the door—Juliana sat snivelling and blowing her nose by the fire—I sprang to the door, but it was not only double-locked, but bolted. I contemplated a leap from the window, but the high iron railing of the area was crowned with spikes. I was debating about being impaled or not, when Jerry returned with a brace of pistols as long as my arm. Mr Hennessy jumped from his writing-table, nourishing a piece of paper, and Mr Pearl Stockings pulled a book out of his coat-pocket. "You have dishonoured me and my pedigree," said Jerry—" If you don't marry Juliana, I will blow you to atoms.'' "Stop, Jerry," said the attorney ;" may-be the gentleman will sign this scrap of a document." I felt like the fat man in the play, who would not give a reason upon compulsion—I flatly refused. "I'd rather not dirty my hands with you," said the uncle; "so just step in here to the closet. Father Twoney will couple you fair and aisy—or just sign the bit of paper —if you don't I'll pop you to Jericho." "Ah! do, now Mr O'Donoghue," implored the mother. I turned to the priest: " Sir, it seems that you then are a clergyman. Do you, I ask, think it consistent with your profession thus to sanction an act of violence?" "BattieratAin," interrupted Jerry. "Don't be putting your come-hether on Father Twoney—he knows what he is about; and if he don't, I do. So you had better get buckled without any more blarney."
The ruffian then deliberately threw up the pan of one of the pistols, and shook the powder together, in order that I might be convinced he was not jesting; then, slowly cocking it, laid it on the table, within his reach, and did the same with the other. "Give me one of those pistols, you scoundrel!" I exclaimed, "and I will fight you here—the priest will see fair play." "Who would be the fool then, I wonder?" said this bully. "I am not such an omadhahaun as you suppose. If I was to shoot you where you stand, who would be the wiser—you spalpeen?"
I seized the poker—Juliana rose and came towards me with extended arms. "Ah! now Mr O'Donoghue! dearest O'Donoghue! —dearest Con, do prevent bloodshed—for my sake, prevent bloodshed —you know that I dote on you beyond any thing. Can't you be led by my relations, who only want your own good—ah! now, do!" "Ah! do now," said the mother. "Listen to me, now," cried I, "listen to me all of you for fear of a mistake:—you may murder me—my life is in your power—and father Twoney may give you absolution, if he likes; but, mark me now, Juliana Hennessy—I would not marry you if your eyes were diamonds, and your heels gold, and you were dressed in Roche's five-pound notes. If the priest was administering extreme unction to your father, and your mother kicking the bucket beside him—and your uncle Jerry with a razor at my throat—I would pitch myself head-foremost into the hottest part of purgatory before I would say—Juliana Hennessy, you are my wife. Are you satisfied? Now, have you had an answer, Juliana Spring?"
I do not imagine that they thought me so determined. The father seemed to hesitate; Juliana blubbered aloud; the priest half closed -his eyes, and twirled his thumbs as if nothing unusual was go« ing on; and Jerry, whose face became livid with rage, levelled the pistol at my head. I believe he would have murdered me on the spot, but for Mrs Hennessy, who was calculating in her wrath. She clapped her hands with a wild howl, and shook them furiously in my face—"Oh dear! oh dear! oh dear! That I should live to hear my daughter called Juliana Spring!—I that gave her the best of learning—that had her taught singing by Mr O'Sullivan, straight from Italy, and bought her a bran new forte-piano from Dublin— oh! to hear her called Juliana Spring !—Didn't I walk her up street and down street, and take lodgings opposite the Main Guard! And then, when we came here, wasn't she called the Pride of the Quay? Wouldn't Mr Casey have married her, only you shot him in the knee? Wasn't that something? And you here late and early, getting the best of every thing, and philandering with her every where—and now you won't marry her! I am ruined entirely with you—oh dear! oh dear!"
A loud ring at the bell, and a rap at the hall-door, astonished the group. Before Katty could be told not to admit any one, I heard sergeant O'Gorman asking for me—he was no relation toO'Gorman Mahon, but a lad of the same kidney—a thorough-going Irishman .—and loved a row better than his prayers. I shouted to the sergeant, " O'Gorman, they are going to murder me." "Then by St Patrick, your honour, we'll be in at the death," responded the ser. geant. "Katty, shut to the door," roared Jerry.
Katty was one of O'Gorman's sweethearts, so was not so nimble as she might have been; however, before the order could be obeyed, the sergeant had thrust his halbert between the door and the post, which effectually prevented it closing. I heard his whistle, and in a second the whole of his party had forced their way into the hall.
"Break open the door, my lads," I hallooed—" never mind consequences;" and immediately a charming sledge-hammer din was heard, as my men applied the but-ends of their fire-locks to the wood. The attorney ran to the inner room, so did the priest,—and Jerry, dropping the pistols, followed them. Crash went the panels of the door, and in bounced my light-bobs. Mrs Hennessey cried "fire" and "robbery;" Juliana Spring tried to faint; and I ran to the inner room just in time to catch Jerry by the heel, as he was jumping from the window. Mr Hennessey and the priest, in their hurry to escape, had impeded each other, so that uncle Jerry, who was last, had not time to fly before I clutched him. I dragged back the scoundrel, who was loudly bawling for mercy.
"Is there a pump in the neighbourhood, my lads?" I asked. "Yes, sir, in the back yard," answered O'Gorman. "Then don't duck him".—"No, your honour!" they all said. I walked out of the house; but, strange to say, my orders were not obeyed; for uncle Jerry was ducked within an inch of his life.
At the corner of the street 1 waited for my party, who soon joined me. A few minutes afterwards I met Casey. "Casey," said I, "I am more than ever sorry for your misfortune; and Juliana Spring is at your service." "She may go to old Nick, for all that I care," said Casey. "With all my heart, too," said I. "Small difference of opinion to bother our friendships, then!" rejoined the good-humoured boy; and to drown the memory of all connected with the calf-lme, by which we both had been stultified, we took a hearty stirrup-cup together, and off I set for Clare Castle.
Timb rolls his ceaseless course. The race of yore,
Sih Walter Scott.