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begor, we lost the whiskey! “Oh, ho, ho! what's this, boys ?” siz myself. “Biddy,” siz' I to the landlady, “come till you see what yer whiskey done to this glass,” siz I. An' she tuk up the pieces, and siz she, “ This is all wid the denth’ of the strinth' of the liquor, boys,” siz she. An' so she went to her closet, and brought out a fine shtrong thick owld glass, an' hirsilf fillt it for us to make up the loss ; and siz she, “Here, now," siz she, and held it up close at Ned Halloran's nose, “shmell to that now," siz she; an’if she did, that very minnet aff went the ould glass, and cut Ned's noze aʼmost in two! Yarrah! what can they put into the whiskey that 'll make it go aff that way, like sticks a breaking ?
“Did you hear that, Micky?” said one.
James Rooney was not the man to listen to this marvellous narra. tion without a reply.
“I'll wager a hat full of sixpences ould Mick is right. Mysilf has seen upwards of twinty glasses broke that same way, and the painted tables friz'shling up whin the sperret was spilt an them. Indeed I was toult this often enough! But sure, boys, that's nothin' to what Patsy Mungavan, an' mysilf, an' another boy seen with our own eyes at Scariff. We wor there together on a Sunday to get mass; and after that we went to Mat Tracy's, him that keeps the shop an' public house near the market; an' Mat had tin pwinchins o'ra'al Dublin whishkey within in his yard, which is an the shlope av the hill over the river; and he call’t me in to help him rowling in the princhins under cover. An' what d' ye think I seen him do, boys, when he thought I was clane gone? but I was only slipped behint the dure. Well, then, he puts his hand into his pocket, and pulls out a bottle, you see; and thin he tuk the corks out of the pwinchins, an' he dhropt two or three dhrops into them, taking them in turn."
RODY.-Micky! do you hear that?
Rooney (continuing).—Maybe so, indeed. But only think, boys! whin he came to the very last pwinchin, his hand began to shake, and the bottle shlipped, and ever so much, but meself does not know how much, went in, an' it began to froth like a mad bull. “Oh, murd'her!” siz Mat, “I'm ruined !” siz he. “What ʼll I do?” siz he. “Here, James Rooney, run to me for the bare life!” siz he, an' he screechin', “ you, an' all the boys at wanst!” siz he. And with that, before there was time to say another word, the pwinchin beginn'd to bile, an’ shtart, an' shake itsilf; an', the Lord save us! sarra one av it but ruz up four feet aff of the ground o' one lep, and kep’ lepping down the side of the yard, and Mat bawlin' at the top of his voice to the boys to come help him!“Come, will ye, boys, and saze howld of that infernal pwinchin, an' help me to keep it quite,” siz he, “or I'll be ruined !” siz he; “an' it's making for the river, an' it'll throw itself in, it's so hot and mad,” siz he. An' so we had all to do our best, av coorse, and by little an’ little each man got a hoult of the rim, an' it tuk FIVE strong able boys to steddy it, and hould it, an' it shtruggling for the wather all the time, until Mat tuk the head out and cooled it.
A tremendous yell of delight followed this glorious story. I now looked to Billy Carmody, full of hope that he would not yield the triumph of invention without another round. Nor was I disappointed. It came out gradually in this way.
“Well,” said Billy, digging away, and turning out the glories of Ireland, the lovely cups! -"Well, to be sure, whiskey 's a turr'ble thing; and it's mysilf prays for Father Matchew every night, that tuk the shmell av it out of my nose. I was wanst, an' I went t Ennis, with a car load a whate, a' Tom Ronnels bought the load; an' if he did, he call’t me into his room, an’ siz he, Bill,' siz he, 'you ’re fond of a dhrop of the good stuff,' siz he, “an' I have it here'll shute vou,” siz he. Well, meself was cowld wid standin' all day in the market, and so siz I, “Wid all my heart, Tom,' siz I ; an' I hadn't tashted a dhrop all day. So he wint strait over to his priss, and filt me out a rasonable glass. Now, Bill,' siz he, bolus that,' siz he, ‘for that 's THRUBBLE DISHTILL’! An' whisper,' siz be,
don't tashte another dhrop to-day,' siz he; ‘for if you do, them Peelers won't let you go out of the town,' siz he, but'll put you in the barrack-hole,' siz he. Well, sure enough, I dhrank it every dhrop, and, by the laws! it was illegant. He ped me my money, an' I walked out, and so towards home fair an' asy. I lived at that time about three miles aff; an' whin I got about a mile, I thought the road got narrarer and narrarer, and thin what was left of the road got up o' top av the walls, an' ris up over the threes, and pulled the threes upside down over me; and thin my two eyes turned clane back in my head, and wisha! not one o' me but fell an the flat o' me back, until some of the neighbors ruz me, an' carr'd me home wid thimsilves on a car !”
The story was pretty good, and tolerably well applauded; yet methought the welkin did not ring quite so much as before, and Bill evidently thought so too. His wits, therefore, were still at work, and, with an ardent desire, to beat James all hollow, he after a little time proceeded,
“Well, them 's illegant pt’shaties! The cups is like sods o'turf risin' up out of the ground, an' aiqual to the goold! There's a big one! James, what does that one weigh? ”
“ Be dad, Billy, I think nigh hand a pound, at any rate.”
Billy.—'Bout a pound, is it? That's good weight, to be sure, for this side o' the counthry, to be in a pt’shatie. (A pause.) Well, well; but what is it, after all, to the one in a garden of my own, near Gort; an’ when I sowld the rest, I tuk that be itsilf, an' the man at the shckales asked me, “What was it at all that I had under my arm ; an' was it a spare head I had for my two shoulders, to put an when my own head might be broke in two?” So I tould him it was a pt'shatie. “T'under and turf!” siz he; “ hand it over here," siz he, “till I luk at it,” siz he. So he put it into the shckales, and weighed it, an' over sixty people lookin' an. An' what d'ye think it weighed ? Musha, be this crass, it weighed fourteen pounds an'a dhraw down in the shckale! “That's fourteen pound,” siz the man, siz he; and he shtuck a great big skiver entirely in through it, and shtuck it up on the shckales; and Lord Gort, and her Ladyship, and young Mr. Vereker, an' all the quality came to luk at it; and indeed it would surprise ye! (Great applause.)
Now, then, for James.
JAMES.-Oijeh! what's that? What a little thing that was over at my own place at Cooleshamarogue! I'll tell ye all about it.
There was an ould well in the garden, an' if there was, it never had iny wather in it in my time, or my father's before me. But if it nadn't, it got full of turf mould, an'ould dung, an' sawdusht, and such like things that gathered in it. An' if there did, in rowling some rubbidge into it, there was some pashnup seeds carried into it, and one of the seeds grewn in the hole, an’ we all let it alone to grow an as it liked. An' the mowld bein' very rich an' good, it deepened in the ground, and kep' there, growing bigger and bigger for five years. An' the branches spread out, an' got big intirely, all the same as the boughs av a three! An' we gathered a crop of seeds aff iv it every year, and soult them for a shilling an ounce to the neighbours. Well, one day the masther himsilf kem, and “What's this?” siz he. — “That's the big owld pashnup, yer honor,” siz 1.-“What pashnup?” siz he. — “ That's the pashnup, sir,” siz I, “ that's been down an' growing there five years last March, an' hasn't done growing yit,” siz I. — “Well, rise it up,” siz he. “I'll not have it growing here any longer,” siz he; “an' it's wather, an' not parshnups, I want in this well,” siz he; “ an' it 'll bursht the well,” siz he. So six or seven of us gathered around it, but dickins one bit av us could move it! An' so we called the neighbours, and got fifteen men, an' pult it up, holus bolus. An' we were three hours risin' it; an' the root av it measured twinty-one feet, and the body jist the size of the well round, - the Lord be praised! But, av coorse, it ’ud have grewn twenty-one more, only for the hard bottom it came agin.
I must leave the reader to determine the “palmam qui meruit,” only observing that, if vociferation is a good criterion, I think James, upon the whole, came off victor in the game of invention.
But now indeed a scene occurred, which all at once altered the face of things, broke the boasted line of my rifle corps, put the field into unexpected confusion, and in one moment caused the mêlée of every man, woman, child, and spade, and also as suddenly roused at least a dozen dogs of various degrees.
A rat had been ousted from its hole! The rat was a goodly rat, whiskered as a dragoon, fierce, combative, nimble, quite too sagacious and active for his too numerous and disorganised foes. He ran, he jumped, he dodged, and hid by turns, while his pursuers were tumbling over one another. Even the dogs were so completely bothered, they knew not what to do,-scarcely how to bark !
“ Hurr-r-r-r-S-5-8 !”—“Hulla, hulla, hull-1-1-s-s-s!"_“Hurr-sh!” -"Hould him, hould him, Nero !”-“ Saze him, Bell!”—“Now, Terry 'll have him!”—“Hurr, hurr, Captain ! Captain has him!” But poor Captain, instead of the rat, got a wipe over the ear with the edge of a spade.
“ Yarrah! Micky, turn him, can't ye?”
« Well, well, that was the greatest rot ever I seen! Ned, did you ever see such a bigger one? It was all as one as a cat !”
A girl (and a very pretty one, too) to a young fellow, tauntingly, -"Ah, Johnny, why didn't you catch him?”.
“Sure, how 'ud I, when he hid away from me in the furrow, as yerself does behind the turf stack, and me looking for you?”
“Ayeh! you 're welcome to your jokes. The furrer, indeed! It must be that the weeds dazzled ye.'
“ Whisper now, asthorough. It was your own self, maybe, was dazzling me all the time."
After this gallant sally, which I thought beat rat-hunting all hollow, I followed the rat's example, and stole away, wondering whether I should be able to remember all these inVENTIONS. I am indeed doubtful whether I have done them justice; but, gentle reader, if you are amused, I am rewarded.
THE STEALING OF THE TREASURE.
“ Sahib, Sahib! kazanah loot gijah !-- Sir, sir! the treasure is. stolen !” screamed a breathless Bengalee, as he rushed towards my tent, or rather the stable, in which, from want of a better shelter, I had pitched my camp, to protect my head from the rays of a nearly vertical sun.
The Bengal Herald, which I was conning over by the light of a lamp well fed with cocoa-nut oil, dropped from my hand as I heard the astounding cry, and before this bearer of ill tidings made his appearance I had donned my foraging-cap, snatched up my sword, and sallied forth, telling my bearer to follow with my gun and pistols.
The house of a native banker, situated in the very centre of a town on the opposite side of the river, had been attacked by a band of dacoits, or robbers, a few nights before, and money and jewellery to a considerable amount plundered. My first impressions, therefore, on hearing the frightened Bengalee, were, that the little guard over the Government funds under my charge had been surprised and overpowered; for I had still further weakened it by detaching more than half of the few men allowed me, to escort from the nearest collectorship some extra treasure required for the use of the department to which I belonged.
I could obtain no further intelligence from this individual. He was too alarmed or too excited to tell the little he did know. I hurried past him to the office where the Government treasure was kept, -a mere step from my dwelling.
An Indian night is seldom very dark, and I could plainly see, as I approached, the bullock-cart I had despatched the day before standing at the door, with the jemadar and one of his men squatting beside it.
“Well, Bussunt Sing," I exclaimed, “have you brought the trea
“ Yes, sir,” replied the jemadar, as he endeavoured to stand upright, but reeling in the attempt, “ all is well.”
" Then what have you done with it?" said I, looking into the cart, and seeing only the empty box with the lid wrenched off.
“ It is there,” rejoined the old fellow, pointing to the cart.
I got into the vehicle, and groped around me. There was nothing besides the lidless box.
“And where are your men?” I exclaimed.
“ There,” said the jemadar, motioning with his hand towards the solitary burkandaze beside him.
“ Tell me, villain, where is the treasure?” I shook the old man in a paroxysm of rage.
Again and again he mumbled, “ It is there,” as I reiterated the question till nearly exhausted with my own vehemence. It struck me that the old creature (he was nearly seventy) might have been attacked by dacoits, and so frightened by the carrying off of the money as to have become childish. His being without jacket or trowsers, bareheaded, with only a waist-cloth, upon him, confirmed me in the idea. I determined to try what effect a milder tone would have.
“ Where was it you met with the dacoits, Bussunt Sing?” I asked, in as gentle a manner as my patience would allow.
“ The dacoits stole the banker's treasure at B " was the only answer I could obtain. I turned to the burkandaze, who had hitherto sat quietly on his haunches.
“Get up, and tell me,” said I, giving him a pull to expedite his rising; but he hung back, and, as I thought, menaced me with his sword, which he held naked in his right hand. “Give me your sword,” I added. He only looked wilder, and brandished it. I seized his arm, and after a short struggle, got possession of the weapon.
From this man I could learn nothing. To no purpose I shook, and even kicked him; he could not, or would not speak. What was to be done? I was alone, without any other European at the place except a sergeant, whose quarters were at the other end of the lines. The station was new to me, for I had just arrived. I possessed no local knowledge. I neither knew the adjacent country, nor the characters of the natives. To add to my difficulties, several hours must elapse before the day would dawn.
That the treasure was gone was too evident; and I knew full well the Government would call on me to refund the money, unless I could devise some means for its recovery. The payment of the sum would detain me a year or two longer in a country which I was most anxious to quit, besides attaching a stigma to my name, and perhaps involving the loss of my staff-appointment.
Such were the thoughts that crowded on me. I felt that something must be done, and that immediately. I sent for the European sergeant, and to the nearest police station for assistance.
A police jemadar and some peons soon made their appearance, to whose custody I made over the two burkandazes, desiring them to interrogate the prisoners respecting the lost treasure, while I sat myself down to pen an account of its strange disappearance to the magistrate of the district, whom I entreated to exert every effort in his power to recover the money.
Whilst writing my report, the sergeant walked into the office with a gun on his shoulder, which he said his wife insisted upon his bringing, as a defence against the dacoits. To my inquiries as to what it would be advisable to do to recover the Government money, I could obtain no counsel whatever. No suggestions, though I needed them greatly, could I extract from his commonplace intellect.
He was convinced, he said, that treasure ought never to be sent for without a guard of regular sepoys to escort it; and this he descanted on to the natives in Hindostannee, as well as to me in English, though I told him repeatedly I had only acted as my predeces