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" I say, Mother Gladle, a cuishla*, are ye goin' to see our young offichere take the shine out of the omedhaunt of a Scotch Quarthermaster ?" demanded a young private of the Limerick.
“ Is it meself that would miss the fun, ma vouchal | ? sure, and aint I goin' to back the darlint, a lanna ma chrees? Don't I know his flesh and blood cousin, Squire Murphy of Castle Murphy ? nice place it will be when its built! And hav’n't I got an old thirteen and three fi'penny bits in the pocket of me, that I manė to sport upon the coorse this blissed day?"
“ It's well to be you, Misthress Gladle, entirely ; sure the fip’nies will be enough for the bets, and wid the thirteen you and I can have an ilegant snack before we go, a hinnee l !”
“ Who ax'd you for your company, you rauberagh **! I'm goin' wid dacent people, and not wid the likes of you, tall fellow as ye are, and handsome as you consate yourself.”
These and such like“ discoorses” I could not avoid hearing as I passed the speakers. As the hour approached, the barracks were left to the undisturbed possession of the sentries, all who could keep holiday making their way to the works.
In order that the necessary preliminaries might be arranged in good time, I was early on the ground, which I found nearly covered by the men, women, and childer of the garrison, with here and there a knot of civilians, who had heard of the match, and “wouldn't lose the fun on no account.” Wallis soon joined me, and I could not but smile at observing the extraordinary contrast of his present excited appearance with his usual meek sonsy deportment.
“Noo, then, Maister Hell, my freend, the first thing for me to do is to show you the ground I have fixed on, and then we'll clear the course, and prepare for the run. Serjeant Anderson, stick a bandyroll down here; that's the starting-post; and come awa' wi' me, and I'll show you the winning-post.”
Saying this, he elbowed his way through the crowd for about a hundred and fifty yards along the principal rampart of the work, and again a banderoll was fixed.
“ It has chapped twa mair than half-an-hour, so we'll lose no time:" then elevating his voice and his person, he bawled out in Gaelic for the Highlanders to move away from the space between the two flags. Oddly enough, his directions were completely intelligible to his Hibernian hearers, and the dense mass began to stir. It struck me that no possible harm could occur to the parapets by their occupation for so brief a space, and I bade the by-standers jump up and take their seats upon them. It would be in vain should I attempt to describe the scrambling and crushing which followed this order: the derangement of the draperies of the females who were handed or hauled up, did not occasion so much uproarious mirth as accompanied the awkward escalade of my kilted friends; those who were not so fortunate as to obtain seats in this enviable situation, contented themselves with forming a double and sometimes treble line upon the edge of the opposite slope.
* Term of fondness.
# My boy. ** Rake.
Scarcely had this arrangement been completed when a loud shout from the Limerick lads announced the arrival of their hero. Young Mr. O'Fogerty, in a racing jacket of sky-blue with yellow sleeves, and a pink jockey-cap, mounted on his fiery steed, and surrounded by a large body of his brother officers, now advanced to where Wallis and myself, attended by an equal number of the 92nd, stood.
“ Here I am, Sir, for the honour of Ireland !" gallantly exclaimed the equestrian. “I hope you're not going to disgrace the Bar'ny boy by naming any blackguard, broken-winded hack to match him. Is yours well bred ?"
“He's well fed, and that's eneuch for me, or, at least, he will be by and by,” replied Wallis, with a knowing wink, and glancing at the condition of his rival's steed, on whom the month's training had produced the effect of anything but an increase of flesh.
“Well, Sir,” said O'Fogerty, burning with impatience to prove himself a Chifney," where's the winning post ?”
“You wee bit flag; you can judge of an animal's speed as well in a hundred and fifty yards as in a three-mile course ; and the terms, ye ken, are a' of my ain proposing : but, ech, Sirs ! there's ane thing I was clean forgetting. Maister Hell will be at the winning post, ye must name some gentleman to gi' the signal for starting. Will Major Spread have the goodness to do it ?”
“Why, my good Sir, as we have in this country the highest legal authority for stating that no man can be in two places at one time, unless he is a bird, I will start you with pleasure.”
A loud huzza from the sons of Shannon's side followed the Major's acquiescence.
“ Noo, then, I'll bring up my beast” —saying which a square wooden machine, carefully covered with tarpauling, was wheeled to the spot by four men of the Wallis faction.
“Death alive! Do you mean to say your horse is in that case ?” “I didna say horse, I said beast; and if my beastie does na win, why you'll put the gowd in your poke, and crow over me, and welcome.”
The appearance of this black and somewhat mysterious-looking object attracted the most lively attention.
"It's no horse but a sheog* he has there,” remarked one of the Hibernian spectators.
“You're not far out, my man,” observed Wallis. “My heavy hatbred upon you ; is my countryman to have dalings with the likes o' them? Sure he's not such a kiolawnt to venture.”
“Hould your whist, Ned Collopy, and don't be spiling sport wid your shuperstitions,” rather angrily remarked a corporal of the Limerick to his alarmed comrade.
“Noo then, Maister Hell, to your post; just gi' us a shake of the bandyroll when you're there, and then the Major will say the ane, twa, three, and awa’!"
“Do you ride the animal ?” I asked, as I was about to leave. “Me ride? the Lord keep me from crossing siccan a steed.”
A few minutes brought me to the appointed spot; there I found Serjeant Anderson, flag in hand, with something at his feet, covered up
+ Mad Fool.
• Fairy Sept.-VOL. LI. NO. CCI.
in like manner to what I presumed contained the Quarter-master's Bucephalus. Through the long and somewhat narrow lane of human beings I could clearly see what was going on at the starting-post. The moment Wallis removed the tarpauling, shouts, roars of laughter, and deep groans burst from those near enough to discern the contents. “It's a powney just,” observed one close to me.
Faix, I'm after thinking it's a monkey, or may be a bear.” “ Bathershin! how would the likes of them bate a horse ? Ye'll find it's a buck-hound or some feet divil that will run with the speed o' light.”
“Be aisy now, can't you be quiet, sure there's the Major by the side of young O'Fogerty ; they'll be off in a jiffy."
Wallis, too, was to be seen holding the door of the wooden pen, ready to pull it open at the signal. It was given. Forth rushed a Pig, who, no way terrified at the shouts which attended his appearance, hastened with incredible speed towards the goal; not so the Barony boy, who, at sight of his strange competitor, reared in the air, threatening to unhorse the astonished and discomfited jockey. On came the hog, grunting and sniffing the savoury wash that awaited bim, and which his friend and ally, Serjeant Anderson, had by this time uncovered. Piggy had made good two-thirds of the distance before the spurs of O’Fogerty, rowel deep, had urged the frightened courser onward; his rider, hoping yet to overtake his porcine foe, leant forward in true jockey style, using bridle, whip, and spur, with all the dexterity be could master.
But vain his efforts! The snout of hungry Toby had been for some seconds immersed in the wash, when the career of the rider was checked by his horse stumbling against the trough, and pitching him over the head of the Barony boy and the curly tail of his rival into the arms of that portion of the assembled multitude who were, luckily, behind the winning post, and who placed him in safety upon the legs he had adorned with a new pair of jockey-boots for this occasion.
Wallis was declared the winner, and the stakes paid on the spot. The wily Scot had taken the opportunity of training his sapient pig at hours when he knew the officers of both regiments were at mess; and, after making him run for his dainty fare for more than three weeks, had only to keep the animal without food on the previous day to insure a super-porcine speed.
Congratulations poured in on the victor from all sides; his Irish friends acknowledged it was “a sporting bet," whilst his countrymen evinced their joy by carrying the pig round the barracks in triumph, preceded by the pipers of the regiment, who appropriately played “Peggy o’ Knoch Winnoch,” not a few singing Hogg's words to that scarce old air, instead of having to chant "Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled," as they might have done had the Caledonian party been obliged to pay the ten guineas staked on these pork-chops.
BENSON E. HILL.
The older I get, the older I grow, the more I feel, hourly and daily, that I cannot choose but join in my querulous pipe with the chirping voice of that playful poet, who, in his “ antic disposition," sang these tristful triplets :
“I have had playmates- I have had companions,
In my days of childhood, in my joyful school-days;
Drinking late, sitting late, with my bosom cronies;
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces !” Many are gone, and many are not gone, who might go, an' they would, with all my heart. I miss many that are gone; but I miss none who are gone so much as the ancient goodly Watchmen of this ancient goodly City. There are a thousand parts and parcels that formerly formed part and parcel of the life of London, which have gone, and "made no sign" that they were going. I miss none of them so much as those veteran weatherers of all weathers- -whether it was Winter, the Winter of the City-how wretched ! Spring, the Spring of the Strand and Fleetstreet, and those unpastoral parts adjacent-huw flowerless, bowerless, budless, and blossomless! Summer, the Summer of St. Dunstan's -not half so long, not half so warm, not half so welcome, as the intrusive nose of that old enemy of man, taken, in flagrante delicto, by the tongs of that good saint-Summer, only known by the annual coming round of that incontinent luxury of your parish authorities, yellow green peas; and that stall-spread delicacy of your pennied apprentices, gooseberry-fool; with that damp indulgence, the parish water-cart, pauper-pumped and pauper-drawn, sent spirting and squirting about the cleanly streets, to put down and drown the few poor lively particles of powdered dirt that dared to kick up something like a dust in dry weather, and, by a sort of unholy-water sprinkling and unreligious exorcism, lay them! Autumn, the Autumn of the damp dwellers around St. Clement the Dane, who, shrinking from the first threatenings of the winter blasts, run shivering to the wharfs
the water-side with a cold, chittering cry of “Coals, coals! an' you love us, goodman Pegg (or Sant, as it may happen), keep sending us continually more coals !". LI say again, I miss those weather-beaten followers of " mine ancient” Time-the Watchmen of old London! They are gone! Comfort be with them, poor, workhoused wretches, “ wheresoe'er they are—wherever they abide!"
“ Blessings go with them wheresoe'er they go !" May a warmer woollen nightcap take place of those Welsh wigs wherewithal they comforted their wise old ears in winter weather-wise ears, for they distinguished wisely, and could tell whether the whoreson noonof-night brawler who invoked them were wise or simple-country-born or civic-bred-gentleman Templar, too powerfully refreshed-maudlin merchant-plain shopkeeper- learned or unlearned clerk—thorough town-taught vagabond-Delilah or honest woman, drunk or sober, going upon her lawful or unlawful business. And wise enough was he, the good old Watchman, to distinguish whether a watch were lost or to be losta nice point: for if it were gone, and fobbed off so, wherefore should he follow it, and expose himself to a like danger ?-an' it were not gone, but predestinated to go, he who was to part with it anon had but patiently to " wait a wee," and, “ all things agreeing,” he, the most watchful of Watchmen, would, in his turn, attend on him and ease him of his commodity. Meantime, if the gold-watched citizen were too drunk to go, he could hold on by the post till he came up to him in the due course and circuit of his round, when he would take friendly charge of him; perhaps see him to his door, if not far distant; and haply take care of his true Tompion, by right of place, as one holding office under the administration of that old watcher and warder, Time. And if he, the Bacchi plenus, wot not, when he sobered, what had gone with his gold watch, it was well : if he remembered who had taken so much care of it, it was not well-he took it ill, he that took it, but he gave it up for “a consideration.” Nice discernments these, which no ears but such practised ears as theirs could easily distinguish: they relied upon them -took counsel of them-stirred and interfered-stood still, or laid perdue, till the brawl blew over, the cry of “Watch !" had cried itself to sleep, and the dangerous coast was clear—did these cautious justicers. “My dainty Ariels, I miss ye much!" Where are ye gone, ye
“ old familiar faces ?” “What accident has rapt ye from me ?” Í had, in my benevolence, almost wished that
“Never House, misnamed of Industry," had received ye; but it is too late : there ye are, all laid upon the shelf, your lanterns out, and your own lives' “ brief candles” flickering and quivering in the socket. Ye “old men eloquent,” do ye never start up now in your still watchful sleep at the counting of the Poor-house clock, or at the crowing of the cock at the dairyman's across the way, and call the hour, and call it wrong, as ye were wont to do in your best days, or, rather, nights, when suddenly awakened? Have they—the hard Economists--taken away from ye that childish and yet watchmanly toy, the rattle, with which ye
“Oft in the stilly night,
When slumber's chain had bound us," kept yourselves from sleeping by playing with it, and turning it round and round, solacing your serious, silent hours with it? Do ye never spring it in your beds, and “fright the workhouse from its propriety?" Do ye never make charges, in your dreams, against the rude disorderlies before his worship the Ward-constable ? And are they entered ? And do they stand in damning white and black upon imaginary chargesheets? And do ye go in your dreams, as ye were wont to go in sober reality, drunk with the now sobered delinquents before my Lord Muggins the mayor, and swear to some new charge-invented “ for the nonce”—that of the next morning being anything but that of overnight? And do the sapient Solons listen to your charge, and turn deaf ears to the innocent fools, your victims, as they were wont to do? Do ye never, in your imagination, collar some lusty rascal roisterer, and, waking, find that ye have clutched the poor old crone, your pauper