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active operations against the heart of Flora, and fancied I could lore her. We rode, and walked, and danced-ran one round over Breafy course—I was beaten by a neck ; and on the following Sunday, Flora annihilated the devotions of half the congregation, by appearing at church in a lancer-cap, obtained “per mail” from Dublin, and, even by her enemies, pronounced “ a little love."
In this state of affairs an event occurred that brought matters to a crisis. A day never passed in which notes were not interchanged between me and Flora ; and one fine morning, her maid was ushered in, and proved the bearer of a billet. As I fortunately preserved our correspondence, I can favour you, gentlemen, with faithful transcripts.
“ Dear Pat, “I hear you were drunk last night, and, in getting home found the street too narrow. What a humbug, to pass yourself upon people for a milk-sop! My aunt Packer will be married thirty years next Thursday ; and as she annually recalls the memory of that misfortune,
r she gives, on the evening of that disastrous day, her customary hop. Will you
drive me over? If you don't, I'll get across in the Parson's rumble, and you may go to
There was here a hiatus in the manuscript ; but a fancy sketch of “a gentleman in black,” with his tail under his arm, enabled me to guess my destination. To this affectionate appeal I thus responded :
“ DEAR Flo. “ As you permit me to make a choice between the place below' and your aunt's ball, I'll choose the latter. Set me down your man! I'll pick you up at eight, and no mistake.”
Punctual to the hour, I called on the appointed night. Flora was true as a clock, and deposited her person and effects safely in the dog-cart. My horses were fast steppers ; and in an hour and sixteen minutes, we reached my aunt Packer's. I am thus particular about time, for I backed myself against it, three to one-in kisses. Certainly I gave Flora sporting odds. She lost, as a gentlewoman should lose, came like a trump “to book," and met her engagements honourably.
As we approached “my Aunt Packer's” domicile, we found that more hibernico” the parish had risen “en masse,” to have a peep at the festive throng. With some difficulty I took my drag pretty safely through the crowd, removing only one toe in the transit--and having deposited Miss Flora in the hall, while she “regulated her curls, and repaired damages” generally, I fought my way to the assistance of I
my servant, who was making vain but desperate efforts to obtain standing room for the cattle in certain ruinous buildings denominated stables, which were crammed with a pleasing variety of quadrupeds ; but by bribing one car-driver, and bullying another, who had spilled me the night before into a wet ditch, I induced them to remove their prads to some place else, and thus make room for mine. This exploit having been achieved, I entered “the merrie hall,” to claim my
partner, who had intimated that she should await there my return, and honour me by making her grand entré on my arm.
She was ready for action when I reappeared ; and as we passed through the mob of “tinints' daughters,” who choaked the hall and staircase, nothing could be more complimentary than the remarks“ That's Miss Flora herself,” observed a redshank.* -“ Isn't she the girl, after all ?”
" And that's her sweetheart, I suppose, beside her.-Ogh! but they'll make a cliver couple," rejoined a second.
• Is the match all settled ?” inquired an elderly gentlewoman.
“ It's all as one, and just as sure as if the priest had on the vestment," was the reply. To me, of course, these remarks were particularly flattering ; but
; still to the matrimonial conclusion, I did not respond " Amen !"
On ascending to the state apartment we found the company formally collected; and in the doorway observed a little man, very corpulent, and blessed with an efflorescent nose that would have brought eternal disgrace upon a water-drinker. He was dressed in a green coat with brass buttons, a speckled vest, and inexpressibles that once had been nankeen. I particularly noticed the tie of his white neckcloth. The bow was voluminous, and the muslin that encircled his throat affixed so loosely, that it was apparent the wearer had determined that his powers of deglutition should receive no interruption. “That's Uncle Dick," observed my fair companion ;
no wonder that Aunty's so proud of her bargain.”
“How'r ye, Flo ?” said Mr. Packer.
“ Morrow! Dick," was the dutiful return.
“What a guess you made ! If you go on this way, you'll be tried for witchcraft at last,” said Miss Flora.
“Mr. Fitzmaurice, ye'r welcome-glad to see ye in Ballymaccragh. Fine night—but could drive over the bog. Maybe ye'd step down to the wee back parlour, and have a glass of naagus, or a drop of the other,-naked, or in company."
“A glass of naagus, or a drop of the other-naked or in company,” responded Dick’s affectionate niece, mimicking her respected relation like an echo ; “ do you think Captain Fitzmaurice drove thirteen miles to drink hot scalteeine? One would suppose you kept a potheine house.”
“But I wanted to introduce him to the naabors."
“ The naabors !" returned the young lady, mimicking Uncle Dick to the life. 6 And a blessed lot the neighbours are! Kelly, and Brophy, and Kinsella,—a parcel of savages, who only know when whisky's over-proof, and a bullock fit for market. But, Dick, why don't
you take heart when you are in Athlone, and treat yourself to a new pair of fye-for-shames ? And look at his cravat !” so saying, she caught the ample bow, and whisked it round, until it met the spot
* Redshank-a term applied in the kingdom of Connaught to young ladies who dispense with shoes and stockings.
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where the hangman would have placed it. “ Now, be off, Dick ; keep yourself and naabors out of my sight for the evening, and I'll settle sixpence a-day on you for life !"
I think our introduction to 6 my aunt” was about as affectionate and reverential ; and I began to comprehend the meaning of the word “clipper.” No matter ; she was the finest animal in the collection; and what was it to me, if she denounced the scarlet turban of the lady hostess, and traced its importation to the same ship that, thirteen years before, had wafted Uncle Dick's unmentionables from China ? We laughed at the company and ourselves, flirted, danced three sets before supper, two ditto after it,-passed every thing, next morning, on the road—and I popped her down at her papa's, at half-past seven —she to dream of marriage, and I of God knows what.
It was two o'clock before I toddled into the mess-room. Others had been nearly as late as I ; for the little srub-nosed major and Captain O‘Boyle were just concluding their breakfast, when I joined them, and ordered mine.
“Cursed nuisance country routs,” growled the short commander;
" horse kicked by a vicious mule— kettle not boiled after supperrheumatism left hip-and lost three rubbers at whist, and five pound ten at lammy.”
“Egad ! for my part, major, I was delighted with Mother Packer, and my Uncle Dick.”
Many true words said in jest ; I'll bet five pound he's your uncle in a month—and no mistake.”
“My uncle ?” I returned, with a stare.
“Ay-double the bet, too ;-d-d quick promotion yours—Captain, first week in the month-Benedict, two gazettes afterwards."
“Upon my soul, I do not comprehend you. Pray, my dear major, what are you driving at ?"
Driving at ?-aye, last night's drive settled all. When do ye come to the scratch ? All friends here ;--no use in humbug."
Why, what the devil do you mean?” “Mean-get your neck into the halter-slow march up the aisleshe looks down, and you delighted— Parson reads “ love, honour, and obey”- clerk cries “amen,”- kiss your bride-chariot and four-white favours-boys shout-door shuts, and away ye go! That's the time
“A graphic picture, major. But who are to be the dramatis
“Who ? yourself to be sure; aided and abetted by Flo Maginnis.”
“I marry! My dear major, when have I been pronounced insane ?" “Insane-no-no-parson says it's an honourable estate-bound to take his word. But I wish to God
you would get your worthy uncle to put a few slates upon the stable-horse running at the nose, this morning, as if he had the glanders-Air, excellent thing-but, den me, half the roof off, too much. I'll just toddle down to the postoffice-coach by this time in”—and Major Belcher took himself off.
Of course, when he was gone, I requested Captain O'Boyle to tell
me what he had been hinting at ; and I had the agreeable satisfaction to learn that my immediate union with Miss Maginnis was pronounced certain. Aunt Packer, on being assured by him, the captain, that I was not a confirmed drunkard, as she had heard formerly, observed that “Flora had got out of bed with her right foot foremost, the morning that she met me;" insinuating thereby, that Flora had been in luck ; and, after our departure, Mr. Packer, in a neat and complimentary speech, had proposed our health and happiness, with an offer, on his part, to bet five pounds that he would be a grand-uncle within the twelve month. “ But here's the serjeant, with the letters. Any news, Jones ?”
“Nothing," responded the serjeant, “but a draft of a captain, two subalterns, and sixty rank and file, for first battalion-off immediately -transports waiting at Cork."
This unexpected intelligence changed the current of our conversation. O’Boyle went out to ascertain what names were first upon the roaster—and I retired to my barrack-room, to inquire whether I was really on the eve of matrimony, or not.
I had been for above an hour in a state of dreamy confusion, when a light tap was heard at the door. I announced myself at homeand in came Sibby Callaghan.
“ Ah! pretty one-is it you ? Come here-give me a couple of kisses first, and then tell me how your mistress is.”
“Be quiet, captain. Oh! murder-if Miss Flora only knew it. Feaks—joking apart, it's a shame and scandal, and you going to be married in a week or two."
“ Married ! Sibby.—Who the devil put that folly in your head ?”
“Oh, I know it all. Isn't Mr. Dominick, the master's brother, and Tom, and Peter Blake, and their sister Emily, and Julia Dwyerthey call her Julia, but her right name's Judy—ay, faith, and a dozen more blood relations—arn't they all written for? But I must run down to Miss Ryan's, the milliner ; and maybe you'll have an answer
: for this note ready for me, at my return." And off went Sibby Callaghan.
In desperate trepidation I broke the fair one's billet, and an auburn ringlet, silky and glistening, fell from its envelope upon the table.
“ DEAREST PAT,
“Curse upon parting kisses," I muttered.
gave some encouragement, to say that, like a dead heat, the match was off. Would you wish to see the letter, before I send it ?”
“ Come up for coffee. We'll have a quiet chat-and, like a dear good boy, go to roost early.
unced insert ate-hou worth
“Oh !-it's all over," I muttered. “Was ever man run into matrimony so ridiculously? What's to be done ? Knock again,-come in.”-And in slided Captain O’Boyle.
“What the devil's wrong with you ?" was his opening address. “Have ye seen a ghost-or received a call from the sub-sheriff ? or”.
“Worse-worse," I responded, with a sigh. “I'll be married, whether I will or not. Nothing can save me.'
“Oh--I expected it," returned the captain. “Then, of course, you'll leave the regiment, and poor Phipps has no chance of getting you to take his turn for the Peninsula ?”
“No chance !" I exclaimed; “I'm ready in half an hour. Aye, that's an opening for escape. But stop ; I must answer a note. There's cherry-brandy in the cupboard, -take a glass, O’Boyle, and hand me another, merely to keep you in countenance. -listen!
So here goes
66 DEAREST Flo, "6"I shall ever treasure the dear ringlet you have given me, and, no matter where I am, shall look upon it as love's talisman.””
"Stop !” exclaimed Captain O’Boyle, “what the devil's a talis
Oh-hang it ! no matter. It's I don't know what myself—but a word, very commonly introduced into tender correspondence.
"As to that beast Brophy, as you properly term him, I feel some delicacy in offering an opinion. Were I he, I should at once accept your proposition, and declare off by mutual consent.'
"If possible, I shall be with you for coffee, and attend to your advice religiously.
666 Dear Flo,
I had scarcely sealed my billet when love's messenger announced herself. The presence of Captain O’Boyle precluded any converse between me and the spider-brusher; and after receiving her despatch, Sibby Callaghan disappeared.
It was at once decided that I should levant that very evening, leaving the detachment to the care of the subalterns, whom it was arranged I should join in Cork. Captain O'Boyle discharged my accounts in town ; my servant packed my traps; and I had stepped down to take a little air in the barrack-yard, when once more Sibby Callaghan presented herself. She placed a billet in my
hand; I squeezed hers in return-whispered I would send an answer when evening parade was over--and broke the seal.
“ MY DEAREST PAT, Have I misunderstood you ? Then is my peace of mind gone
for ever! Oh no- I won't believe it. You would not win a virgin heart, and throw it idly from you! Rest assured, idol of my soul ! that there is no bliss in life comparable to wedded happiness.
Yours, and yours only, 66 FLORA.'"
I wrote an immediate reply :-