Meet us on:
Welcome to Read Print! Sign in with
or
to get started!
 
Entire Site
    Try our fun game

    Dueling book covers…may the best design win!

    Random Quote
    "Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names."
     

    Subscribe to Our Newsletter

    Follow us on Twitter

    Never miss a good book again! Follow Read Print on Twitter

    Act I

    • Rate it:
    • Average Rating: 0.5 out of 5 based on 1 rating
    Launch Reading Mode Next Chapter
    Chapter 2
    Previous Chapter
    SCENE I.

    A Cottage.--A Table--Breakfast.

    HONOR McBRIDE, alone.

    Honor. Phil!--(calls)--Phil, dear! come out.

    Phil.--(answers from within) Wait till I draw on my boots!

    Honor. Oh, I may give it up: he's full of his new boots--and singing, see!

    Enter PHIL McBRIDE, dressed in the height of the Irish buck-farmer fashion, singing,

    "Oh the boy of Ball'navogue! Oh the dasher! oh the rogue! He's the thing! and he's the pride Of town and country, Phil McBride-- All the talk of shoe and brogue! Oh the boy of Ball'navogue!"

    There's a song to the praise and glory of your--of your brother, Honor! And who made it, do you think, girl?

    Honor. Miss Caroline Flaherty, no doubt. But, dear Phil, I've a favour to ask of you.

    Phil. And welcome! What? But first, see! isn't there an elegant pair of boots, that fits a leg like wax?--There's what'll plase Car'line Flaherty, I'll engage. But what ails you, Honor?--you look as if your own heart was like to break. Are not you for the fair to-day?--and why not?

    Honor. Oh! rasons. (Aside) Now I can't speak.

    Phil. Speak on, for I'm dumb and all ear--speak up, dear--no fear of the father's coming out, for he's leaving his bird (i.e. beard) in the bason, and that's a work of time with him.--Tell all to your own Phil.

    Honor. Why then I won't go to the fair--because--better keep myself to myself, out of the way of meeting them that mightn't be too plasing to my father.

    Phil. And might be too plasing to somebody else--Honor McBride.

    Honor. Oh, Phil, dear! But only promise me, brother, dearest, if you would this day meet any of the Rooneys--

    Phil. That means Randal Rooney.

    Honor. No, it was his mother Catty was in my head.

    Phil. A bitterer scould never was!--nor a bigger lawyer in petticoats, which is an abomination.

    Honor. 'Tis not pritty, I grant; but her heart's good, if her temper would give it fair play. But will you promise me, Phil, whatever she says--you won't let her provoke you this day.

    Phil. How in the name of wonder will I hinder her to give me provocation? and when the spirit of the McBrides is up--

    Honor. But don't lift a hand.

    Phil. Against a woman?--no fear--not a finger against a woman.

    Honor. But I say not against any Rooney, man or woman. Oh, Phil! dear, don't let there be any fighting betwixt the McBride and Rooney factions.

    Phil. And how could I hinder if I would? The boys will be having a row, especially when they get the spirits--and all the better.

    Honor. To be drinking! Oh! Phil, the mischief that drinking does!

    Phil. Mischief! Quite and clane the contrary--when the shillelah's up, the pike's down. 'Tis when there'd be no fights at fairs, and all sober, then there's rason to dread mischief. No man, Honor, dare be letting the whiskey into his head, was there any mischief in his heart.

    Honor. Well, Phil, you've made it out now cliverly. So there's most danger of mischief when men's sober--is that it?

    Phil. Irishmen?--ay; for sobriety is not the nat'ral state of the craturs; and what's not nat'ral is hypocritical, and a hypocrite is, and was, and ever will be my contempt.

    Honor. And mine too. But--

    Phil. But here's my hand for you, Honor. They call me a beau and a buck, a slasher and dasher, and flourishing Phil. All that I am, may be; but there's one thing I am not, and will never be--and that's a bad brother to you. So you have my honour, and here's my oath to the back of it. By all the pride of man and all the consate of woman--where will you find a bigger oath?--happen what will, this day, I'll not lift my hand against Randal Rooney!

    Honor. Oh, thanks! warm from the heart. But here's my father--and where's breakfast?

    Phil. Oh! I must be at him for a horse: you, Honor, mind and back me.

    Enter Old McBRIDE.

    Old McB. Late I am this fair day all along with my beard, that was thicker than a hedgehog's. Breakfast, where?

    Honor. Here, father dear--all ready.

    Old McB. There's a jewel! always supple o' foot. Phil, call to them to bring out the horse bastes, while I swallow my breakfast--and a good one, too.

    Phil. Your horse is all ready standing, sir. But that's what I wanted to ax you, father--will you be kind enough, sir, to shell out for me the price of a daacent horse, fit to mount a man like me?

    Old McB. What ails the baste you have under you always?

    Phil. Fit only for the hounds:--not to follow, but to feed 'em.

    Old McB. Hounds! I don't want you, Phil, to be following the hounds at-all-at-all.

    Honor. But let alone the hounds. If you sell your bullocks well in the fair to-day, father dear, I think you'll be so kind to spare Phil the price of a horse.

    Old McB. Stand out o' my way, Honor, with that wheedling voice o' your own--I won't. Mind your own affairs--you're leaguing again me, and I'll engage Randal Rooney's at the bottom of all--and the cement that sticks you and Phil so close together. But mind, Madam Honor, if you give him the meeting at the fair the day--

    Honor. Dear father, I'm not going--I give up the fair o' purpose, for fear I'd see him.

    Old McB. (kissing her) Why then you're a piece of an angel!

    Honor. And you'll give my brother the horse?

    Old McB. I won't! when I've said I won't--I wont.

    [Buttons his coat, and exit.

    Phil. Now there's a sample of a father for ye!

    Old McB. (returning) And, Mistress Honor, may be you'd be staying at home to--Where's Randal Rooney to be, pray, while I'd be from home?

    Honor. Oh! father, would you suspect--

    Old McB. (catching her in his arms, and kissing her again and again) Then you're a true angel, every inch of you. But not a word more in favour of the horse--sure the money for the bullocks shall go to your portion, every farthing.

    Honor. There's the thing! (Holding her father) I don't wish that.

    Phil. (stopping her mouth) Say no more, Honor--I'm best pleased so.

    Old McB. (aside) I'll give him the horse, but he sha'n't know it. (Aloud) I won't. When I say I won't, did I ever?

    [Exit Old McBRIDE.

    Phil. Never since the world stud--to do you justice, you are as obstinate as a mule. Not all the bullocks he's carrying to the fair the day, nor all the bullocks in Ballynavogue joined to 'em, in one team, would draw that father o' mine one inch out of his way.

    Honor. (aside, with a deep sigh) Oh, then what will I do about Randal ever!

    Phil. As close a fisted father as ever had the grip of a guinea! If the guineas was all for you--wilcome, Honor! But that's not it. Pity of a lad o' spirit like me to be cramped by such a hunx of a father.

    Honor. Oh! don't be calling him names, Phil: stiff he is, more than close--and any way, Phil dear, he's the father still--and ould, consider.

    Phil. He is,--and I'm fond enough of him, too, would he only give me the price of a horse. But no matter--spite of him I'll have my swing the day, and it's I that will tear away with a good horse under me and a good whip over him in a capital style, up and down the street of Ballynavogue, for you, Miss Car'line Flaherty! I know who I'll go to, this minute--a man I'll engage will lend me the loan of his bay gelding; and that's Counshillor Gerald O'Blaney. [Going, HONOR stops him.

    Honor. Gerald O'Blaney! Oh, brother!--Mercy!--Don't! any thing rather than that--

    Phil. (impatiently) Why, then, Honor?

    Honor. (aside) If I'd tell him, there'd be mischief. (Aloud.) Only--I wouldn't wish you under a compliment to one I've no opinion of.

    Phil. Phoo! you've taken a prejudice. What is there again Counshillor O'Blaney?

    Honor. Counshillor! First place, why do you call him counshillor? he never was a raal counshillor sure--nor jantleman at all.

    Phil. Oh! counshillor by courtesy--he was an attorney once--just as we doctor the apotecary.

    Honor. But, Phil, was not there something of this man's being dismissed the courts for too sharp practice?

    Phil. But that was long ago, if it ever was. There's sacrets in all families to be forgotten--bad to be raking the past. I never knew you so sharp on a neighbour, Honor, before:--what ails ye?

    Honor. (sighing) I can't tell ye. [Still holding him.

    Phil. Let me go, then!--Nonsense!--the boys of Ballynavogue will be wondering, and Miss Car'line most.

    [Exit, singing,

    "Oh the boys of Ball'navogue."

    HONOR, alone.

    Honor. Oh, Phil! I could not tell it you; but did you but know how that Gerald O'Blaney insulted your shister with his vile proposhals, you'd no more ask the loan of his horse!--and I in dread, whenever I'd be left in the house alone, that that bad man would boult in upon me--and Randal to find him! and Randal's like gunpowder when his heart's touched!--and if Randal should come by himself, worse again! Honor, where would be your resolution to forbid him your presence? Then there's but one way to be right--I'll lave home entirely. Down, proud stomach! You must go to service, Honor McBride. There's Mrs. Carver, kind-hearted lady, is wanting a girl--she's English, and nice; may be I'd not be good enough; but I can but try, and do my best; any thing to plase the father.

    [Exit HONOR.

    SCENE II.

    O'BLANEY'S Counting-house.

    GERALD O'BLANEY alone at a desk covered with Papers.

    O'Bla. Of all the employments in life, this eternal balancing of accounts, see-saw, is the most sickening of all things, except it would be the taking the inventory of your stock, when you're reduced to invent the stock itself;--then that's the most lowering to a man of all things! But there's one comfort in this distillery business--come what will, a man has always proof spirits.

    Enter PAT COXE.

    Pat. The whole tribe of Connaught men come, craving to be ped for the oats, counsellor, due since last Serapht[1] fair.

    [Footnote 1: Shrovetide.]

    O'Bla. Can't be ped to-day, let 'em crave never so.--Tell 'em Monday; and give 'em a glass of whiskey round, and that will send 'em off contint, in a jerry.

    Pat. I shall--I will--I see, sir. [Exit PAT COXE.

    O'Bla. Asy settled that!--but I hope many more duns for oats won't be calling on me this day, for cash is not to be had:--here's bills plenty--long bills, and short bills--but even the kites, which I can fly as well as any man, won't raise the wind for me now.

    Re-enter PAT.

    Pat. Tim McGudikren, sir, for his debt--and talks of the sub-sheriff, and can't wait.

    O'Bla. I don't ax him to wait; but he must take in payment, since he's in such a hurry, this bill at thirty-one days, tell him.

    Pat. I shall tell him so, plase your honour. [Exit PAT.

    O'Bla. They have all rendezvous'd to drive me mad this day; but the only thing is to keep the head cool. What I'm dreading beyant all is, if that ould Matthew McBride, who is as restless as a ferret when he has lodged money with any one, should come this day to take out of my hands the two hundred pounds I've got of his--Oh, then I might shut up! But stay, I'll match him--and I'll match myself too: that daughter Honor of his is a mighty pretty girl to look at, and since I can't get her any other way, why not ax her in marriage? Her portion is to be--

    Re-enter PAT.

    Pat. The protested note, sir--with the charge of the protest to the back of it, from Mrs. Lorigan; and her compliments, and to know what will she do?

    O'Bla. What will I do, fitter to ax. My kind compliments to Mrs. Lorigan, and I'll call upon her in the course of the day, to settle it all.

    Pat. I understand, sir. [Exit PAT.

    O'Bla. Honor McBride's portion will be five hundred pounds on the nail--that would be no bad hit, and she a good, clever, likely girl. I'll pop the question this day.

    Re-enter PAT.

    Pat. Corkeran the cooper's bill, as long as my arm.

    O'Bla. Oh! don't be bothering me any more. Have you no sinse? Can't you get shut of Corkeran the cooper without me? Can't ye quarrel with the items? Tear the bill down the middle, if necessary, and sind him away with a flay (flea) in his ear, to make out a proper bill--which I can't see till to-morrow, mind. I never pay any man on fair-day.

    Pat. (aside) Nor on any other day. (Aloud) Corkeran's my cousin, counsellor, and if convanient, I'd be glad you'd advance him a pound or two on account.

    O'Bla. 'Tis not convanient was he twenty times your cousin, Pat. I can't be paying in bits, nor on account--all or none.

    Pat. None, then, I may tell him, sir?

    O'Bla. You may--you must; and don't come up for any of 'em any more. It's hard if I can't have a minute to talk to myself.

    Pat. And it's hard if I can't have a minute to eat my breakfast, too, which I have not. [Exit PAT.

    O'Bla. Where was I?--I was popping the question to Honor McBride. The only thing is, whether the girl herself wouldn't have an objection:--there's that Randal Rooney is a great bachelor of hers, and I doubt she'd be apt to prefar him before me, even when I'd purpose marriage. But the families of the Rooneys and McBrides is at vareance--then I must keep 'em so. I'll keep Catty Rooney's spirit up, niver to consent to that match. Oh! if them Rooneys and McBrides were by any chance to make it up, I'd be undone: but against that catastrophe I've a preventative. Pat Coxe! Pat Coxe! where are you, my young man?

    Enter PAT, wiping his mouth.

    Pat. Just swallowing my breakfast.

    O'Bla. Mighty long swallowing you are. Here--don't be two minutes, till you're at Catty Rooney's, and let me see how cliverly you'll execute that confidential embassy I trusted you with. Touch Catty up about her ould ancient family, and all the Kings of Ireland she comes from. Blarney her cliverly, and work her to a foam against the McBrides.

    Pat. Never fear, your honour. I'll tell her the story we agreed on, of Honor McBride meeting of Randal Rooney behind the chapel.

    O'Bla. That will do--don't forget the ring; for I mane to put another on the girl's finger, if she's agreeable, and knows her own interest. But that last's a private article. Not a word of that to Catty, you understand.

    Pat. Oh! I understand--and I'll engage I'll compass Catty, tho' she's a cunning shaver.

    O'Bla. Cunning?--No; she's only hot tempered, and asy managed.

    Pat. Whatever she is, I'll do my best to plase you. And I expict your honour, counsellor, won't forget the promise you made me, to ask Mr. Carver for that little place--that situation that would just shute me.

    O'Bla. Never fear, never fear. Time enough to think of shuting you, when you've done my business. [Exit PAT. That will work like harm, and ould Matthew, the father, I'll speak to, myself, genteelly. He will be proud, I warrant, to match his daughter with a gentleman like me. But what if he should smell a rat, and want to be looking into my affairs? Oh! I must get it sartified properly to him before all things, that I'm as safe as the bank; and I know who shall do that for me--my worthy friend, that most consequential magistrate, Mr. Carver of Bob's Fort, who loves to be advising and managing of all men, women, and children, for their good. 'Tis he shall advise ould Matthew for my good. Now Carver thinks he lades the whole county, and ten mile round--but who is it lades him, I want to know? Why, Gerald O'Blaney.--And how? Why, by a spoonful of the universal panacea, flattery--in the vulgar tongue, flummery. (A knock at the door heard.) Who's rapping at the street?--Carver of Bob's Fort himself, in all his glory this fair-day. See then how he struts and swells. Did ever man, but a pacock, look so fond of himself with less rason? But I must be caught deep in accounts, and a balance of thousands to credit. (Sits down to his desk, to account books.) Seven thousand, three hundred, and two pence. (Starting and rising.) Do I see Mr. Carver of Bob's Fort?--Oh! the honour--

    Mr. Carv. Don't stir, pray--I beg--I request--I insist. I am by no means ceremonious, sir.

    O'Bla. (bustling and setting two chairs) No, but I'd wish to show respect proper to him I consider the first man in the county.

    Mr. Carv. (aside) Man! gentleman, he might have said.

    [Mr. CARVER sits down and rests himself consequentially.

    O'Bla. Now, Mr. Carver of Bob's Fort, you've been over fartiguing yourself--

    Mr. Carv. For the public good. I can't help it, really.

    O'Bla. Oh! but, upon my word and honour, it's too much: there's rason in all things. A man of Mr. Carver's fortin to be slaving! If you were a man in business, like me, it would be another thing. I must slave at the desk to keep all round. See, Mr. Carver, see!--ever since the day you advised me to be as particular as yourself in keeping accounts to a farthing, I do, to a fraction, even like state accounts, see!

    Mr. Carv. And I trust you find your advantage in it, sir. Pray, how does the distillery business go on?

    O'Bla. Swimmingly! ever since that time, Mr. Carver, your interest at the castle helped me at the dead lift, and got that fine took off. 'Tis to your purtiction, encouragement, and advice entirely, I owe my present unexampled prosperity, which you prophesied; and Mr. Carver's prophecies seldom, I may say never, fail to be accomplished.

    Mr. Carv. I own there is some truth in your observation. I confess I have seldom been mistaken or deceived in my judgment of man, woman, or child.

    O'Bla. Who can say so much?

    Mr. Carv. For what reason, I don't pretend to say; but the fact ostensibly is, that the few persons I direct with my advice are unquestionably apt to prosper in this world.

    O'Bla. Mighty apt! for which rason I would wish to trouble you for your unprecedently good advice on another pint, if it, would not be too great a liberty.

    Mr. Carv. No liberty at all, my good Gerald--I am always ready to advise--only to-day--certainly, the fair day of Ballynavogue, there are so many calls upon me, both in a public and private capacity, so much business of vital importance!

    O'Bla. (aside) Vital importance!--that is his word on all occasions. (Aloud) May be then, (oh! where was my head?) may be you would not have breakfasted all this time? and we've the kittle down always in this house, (rising) Pat!--Jack!--Mick!--Jenny! put the kittle down.

    Mr. Carv. Sit down, sit still, my worthy fellow. Breakfasted at Bob's Fort, as I always do.

    O'Bla. But a bit of cake--a glass of wine, to refrish and replinish nature.

    Mr. Carv. Too early--spoil my dinner. But what was I going to say?

    O'Bla. (aside) Burn me, if I know; and I pray all the saints you may never recollect.

    Mr. Carv. I recollect. How many times do you think I was stopped on horseback coming up the street of Ballynavogue?--Five times by weights and measures imperiously calling for reformation, sir. Thirteen times, upon my veracity, by booths, apple-stalls, nuisances, vagabonds, and drunken women. Pigs without end, sir--wanting ringing, and all squealing in my ears, while I was settling sixteen disputes about tolls and customs. Add to this, my regular battle every fair-day with the crane, which ought to be any where but where it is; and my perputual discoveries of fraudulent kegs, and stones in the butter! Now, sir, I only ask, can you wonder that I wipe my forehead? (wiping his forehead).

    O'Bla. In troth, Mr. Carver, I cannot! But these are the pains and penalties of being such a man of consequence as you evidently are;--and I that am now going to add to your troubles too by consulting you about my little pint!

    Mr. Carv. A point of law, I dare to say; for people somehow or other have got such a prodigious opinion of my law. (Takes snuff.)

    O'Bla. (aside) No coming to the pint till he has finished his own panygeric.

    Mr. Carv. And I own I cannot absolutely turn my back on people. Yet as to poor people, I always settle them by telling them, it is my principle that law is too expensive for the poor: I tell them, the poor have nothing to do with the laws.

    O'Bla. Except the penal.

    Mr. Carv. True, the civil is for us, men of property; and no man should think of going to law, without he's qualified. There should be licenses.

    O'Bla. No doubt. Pinalties there are in plinty; still those who can afford should indulge. In Ireland it would as ill become a gentleman to be any way shy of a law-shute, as of a duel.

    Mr. Carv. Yet law is expensive, sir, even to me.

    O'Bla. But 'tis the best economy in the end; for when once you have cast or non-shuted your man in the courts, 'tis as good as winged him in the field. And suppose you don't get sixpence costs, and lose your cool hundred by it, still it's a great advantage; for you are let alone to enjoy your own in pace and quiet ever after, which you could not do in this county without it. But the love of the law has carried me away from my business: the pint I wanted to consult you about is not a pint of law; 'tis another matter.

    Mr. Carv. (looking at his watch) I must be at Bob's Fort, to seal my despatches for the castle. And there's another thing I say of myself.

    O'Bla. (aside) Remorseless agotist!

    Mr. Carv. I don't know how the people all have got such an idea of my connexions at the castle, and my influence with his Excellency, that I am worried with eternal applications: they expect I can make them all gaugers or attorney-generals, I believe. How do they know I write to the castle?

    O'Bla. Oh! the post-office tells asy by the big sales (seals) to your despatches--(aside)--which, I'll engage, is all the castle ever, rades of them, though Carver has his Excellency always in his mouth, God help him!

    Mr. Carv. Well, you wanted to consult me, Gerald?

    O'Bla. And you'll give me your advice, which will be conclusive, law, and every thing to me. You know the McBrides--would they be safe?

    Mr. Carv. Very safe, substantial people.

    O'Bla. Then here's the thing, Mr. Carver: as you recommend them, and as they are friends of yours--I will confess to you that, though it might not in pint of interest be a very prudent match, I am thinking that Honor McBride is such a prudent girl, and Mrs. Carver has taken her by the hand, so I'd wish to follow Mrs. Carver's example for life, in taking Honor by the hand for better for worse.

    Mr. Carv. In my humble opinion you cannot do better; and I can tell you a secret--Honor will have no contemptible fortune in that rank of life.

    O'Bla. Oh, fortune's always contemptible in marriage.

    Mr. Carv. Fortune! sir?

    O'Bla. (aside) Overshot. (Aloud) In comparison with the patronage and protection or countenance she'd have from you and your family, sir.

    Mr. Carv. That you may depend upon, my good Gerald, as far as we can go; but you know we are nothing.

    O'Bla. Oh, I know you're every thing--every thing on earth--particularly with ould McBride; and you know how to speak so well and iloquent, and I'm so tongue-tied and bashful on such an occasion.

    Mr. Carv. Well, well, I'll speak for you.

    O'Bla. A thousand thanks down to the ground.

    Mr. Carv. (patting him on the back as he rises) My poor Gerald.

    O'Bla. Then I am poor Gerald in point of wit, I know; but you are too good a friend to be calling me poor to ould McBride--you can say what I can't say.

    Mr. Carv. Certainly, certainly; and you may depend on me. I shall speak my decided opinion; and I fancy McBride has sense enough to be ruled by me.

    O'Bla. I am sure he has--only there's a Randal Rooney, a wild young man, in the case. I'd be sorry the girl was thrown I away upon Randal.

    Mr. Carv. She has too much sense: the father will settle that, and I'll settle the father. [Mr. CARVER going.

    O'Bla. (following, aside) And who has settled you?

    Mr. Carv. Don't stir--don't stir--men of business must be nailed to a spot--and I'm not ceremonious. [Exit Mr. CARVER.

    O'Bla. Pinned him by all that's cliver! [Exit O'BLANEY.

    SCENE III.

    Mrs. CARVER'S Dressing-room.

    Mrs. CARVER sitting at work.--BLOOMSBURY standing.

    Bloom. Certainly, ma'am, what I always said was, that for the commonalty, there's no getting out of an Irish cabin a girl fit to be about a lady such as you, Mrs. Carver, in the shape of a waiting-maid or waiting-maid's assistant, on account they smell so of smoke, which is very distressing; but this Honor McBride seems a bettermost sort of girl, ma'am; if you can make up your mind to her vice.

    Mrs. Carv. Vice?

    Bloom. That is, vicious pronounciations in regard to their Irish brogues.

    Mrs. Carv. Is that all?--I am quite accustomed to the accent.

    Bloom. Then, ma'am, I declare now, I've been forced to stuff my hears with cotton wool hever since I comed to Ireland. But this here Honor McBride has a mighty pretty vice, if you don't take exceptions to a little nationality; nor she if not so smoke-dried: she's really a nice, tidy-looking like girl considering. I've taken tea with the family often, and they live quite snug for Hirish. I'll assure you, ma'am, quite bettermost people for Hibernians, as you always said, ma'am.

    Mrs. Carv. I have a regard for old Matthew, though he is something of a miser, I fear.

    Bloom. So, ma'am, shall I call the girl up, that we may see and talk to her? I think, ma'am, you'll find she will do; and I reckon to keep her under my own eye and advice from morning till night: for when I seed the girl so willing to larn, I quite took a fancy to her, I own--as it were.

    Mrs. Carv. Well, Bloomsbury, let me see this Honor McBride.

    Bloom. (calling) One of you there! please call up Honor McBride.

    Mrs. Carv. She has been waiting a great while, I fear; I don't like to keep people waiting.

    Bloom. (watching for HONOR as she speaks) Dear heart, ma'am, in this here country, people does love waiting for waiting's sake, that's sure--they got nothing else to do. Here, Honor--walk in, Honor,--rub your shoes always.

    Enter HONOR, timidly.

    Mrs. Carv. (in an encouraging voice) Come in, my good girl.

    Bloom. Oh! child, the door: the peoples never shut a door in, Ireland! Did not I warn you?--says I, "Come when you're called--do as you're bid--shut the door after you, and you'll never be chid." Now what did I tell you, child?

    Honor. To shut the door after me when I'd come into a room.

    Bloom. When I'd come--now that's not dic'snary English.

    Mrs. Carv. Good Bloomsbury, let that pass for the present--come a little nearer to me, my good girl.

    Honor. Yes, ma'am.

    Bloom. Take care of that china pyramint with your cloak--walk on to Mrs. Carver--no need to be afraid--I'll stand your friend.

    Mrs. Carv. I should have thought, Honor McBride, you were in too comfortable a way at home, to think of going into service.

    Honor. (sighs) No better father, nor brother, nor (than) I have, ma'am, I thank your ladyship; but some things come across.

    Mrs. Carv. (aside) Oh! it is a blushing case, I see: I must talk to her alone, by-and-by. (Aloud) I don't mean, my good girl, to pry into your family affairs.

    Honor. Oh! ma'am, you're too good. (Aside) The kind-hearted Lady, how I love her already! (She wipes the tears from her eyes.)

    Bloom. Take care of the bow-pot at your elbow, child; for if you break the necks of them moss roses--

    Honor. I ax their pardon.

    Mrs. Carv. Better take the flower-pot out of her way, Bloomsbury.

    Bloom. (moving the flower-pot) There, now: but, Honor, keep your eyes on my lady, never turn your head, and keep your hands always afore you, as I show you. Ma'am, she'll larn manners in time--Lon'on was not built in a day. It i'n't to be expected of she!

    Mrs. Carv. It is not to be expected indeed that she should learn every thing at once; so one thing at a time, good Bloomsbury, and one person at a time. Leave Honor to me for the present.

    Bloom. Certainly, ma'am; I beg pardon--I was only saying--

    Mrs. Carv. Since it is, it seems, necessary, my good girl, that you should leave home, I am glad that you are not too proud to go into service.

    Honor. Oh! into your service, ma'am,--I'd be too proud if you'd be kind enough to accept me.

    Mrs. Carv. Then as to wages, what do you expect?

    Honor. Any thing at all you please, ma'am.

    Bloom. (pressing down her shoulder) And where's your curtsy? We shall bring these Irish knees into training by and by, I hopes.

    Honor. I'm awk'ard and strange, ma'am--I never was from home afore.

    Mrs. Carv. Poor girl--we shall agree very well, I hope.

    Honor. Oh yes, any thing at all, ma'am; I'm not greedy--nor needy, thanks above! but it's what I'd wish to be under your protection if it was plasing, and I'll do my very best, madam. (Curtsies.)

    Mrs. Carv. Nobody can expect more, and I hope and trust you'll find mine an easy place--Bloomsbury, you will tell her, what will be required of her. (Mrs. Carver looks at her watch.) At twelve o'clock I shall be returned from my walk, and then, Honor, you will come into my cabinet here; I want to say a few words to you. [Exeunt omnes.

    SCENE IV.

    The High Road--A Cottage in view--Turf-stack, Hay-rick, &c.

    Catty Rooney alone, walking backwards and forwards.

    Catty. 'Tis but a stone's throw to Ballynavogue. But I don't like to be going into the fair on foot, when I been always used to go in upon my pillion behind my husband when living, and my son Randal, after his death. Wait, who comes here?--'Tis Gerald O'Blaney's, the distiller's, young man, Pat Coxe: now we'll larn all--and whether O'Blaney can lend me the loan of a horse or no. A good morrow to you, kindly, Mr. Pat Coxe.

    Enter PAT COXE.

    Pat. And you the same, Mrs. Rooney, tinfold. Mr. O'Blaney has his sarvices to you, ma'am: no, not his sarvices, but his compliments, that was the word--his kind compliments, that was the very word.

    Catty. The counshillor's always very kind to me, and genteel.

    Pat. And was up till past two in the morning, last night, madam, he bid me say, looking over them papers you left with him for your shuit, ma'am, with the McBrides, about the bit of Ballynascraw bog; and if you call upon the counshillor in the course of the morning, he'll find, or make, a minute, for a consultation, he says. But mane time, to take no step to compromise, or make it up, for your life, ma'am.

    Catty. No fear, I'll not give up at law, or any way, to a McBride, while I've a drop of blood in my veins--and it's good thick Irish blood runs in these veins.

    Pat. No doubt, ma'am--from the kings of Ireland, as all the world knows, Mrs. Rooney.

    Catty. And the McBrides have no blood at-all-at-all.

    Pat. Not a drop, ma'am--so they can't stand before you.

    Catty. They ought not, any way!--What are they? Cromwellians at the best. Mac Brides! Scotch!--not Irish native, at-all-at-all. People of yesterday, graziers--which tho' they've made the money, can't buy the blood. My anshestors sat on a throne, when the McBrides had only their hunkers[1] to sit upon; and if I walk now when they ride, they can't look down upon me--for every body knows who I am--and what they are.

    [Footnote 1: Their hunkers, i.e. their hams.]

    Pat. To be sure, ma'am, they do--the whole country talks of nothing else, but the shame when you'd be walking and they riding.

    Catty. Then could the counshillor lend me the horse?

    Pat. With all the pleasure in life, ma'am, only every horse he has in the world is out o' messages, and drawing turf and one thing or another to-day--and he is very sorry, ma'am.

    Catty. So am I, then--I'm unlucky the day. But I won't be saying so, for fear of spreading ill luck on my faction. Pray now what kind of a fair is it?--Would there be any good signs of a fight, Mr. Pat Coxe?

    Pat. None in life as yet, ma'am--only just buying and selling. The horse-bastes, and horned-cattle, and pigs squeaking, has it all to themselves. But it's early times yet--it won't be long so.

    Catty. No McBrides, no Ballynavogue boys gathering yet?

    Pat. None to signify of the McBrides, ma'am, at all.

    Catty. Then it's plain them McBrides dare not be showing their faces, or even their backs, in Ballynavogue. But sure all our Ballynascraw boys, the Roonies, are in it as usual, I hope?

    Pat. Oh, ma'am, there is plinty of Roonies. I marked Big Briny of Cloon, and Ulick of Eliogarty, and little Charley of Killaspugbrone.

    Catty. All good men[1]--no better. Praise be where due.

    [Footnote 1: men who fight well.]

    Pat. And scarce a McBride I noticed. But the father and son--ould Matthew, and flourishing Phil, was in it, with a new pair of boots and the silver-hilted whip.

    Catty. The spalpeen! turned into a buckeen, that would be a squireen,--but can't.

    Pat. No, for the father pinches him.

    Catty. That's well--and that ould Matthew is as obstinate a neger as ever famished his stomach. What's he doing in Ballynavogue the day?

    Pat. Standing he is there, in the fair-green with his score of fat bullocks, that he has got to sell.

    Catty. Fat bullocks! Them, I reckon, will go towards Honor McBride's portion, and a great fortin she'll be for a poor man--but I covet none of it for me or mine.

    Pat. I'm sure of that, ma'am,--you would not demane yourself to the likes.

    Catty. Mark me, Pat Coxe, now--with all them fat bullocks at her back, and with all them fresh roses in her cheeks--and I don't say but she's a likely girl, if she wa'n't a McBride; but with all that, and if she was the best spinner in the three counties--and I don't say but she's good, if she wa'n't a McBride;--but was she the best of the best, and the fairest of the fairest, and had she to boot the two stockings full of gould, Honor McBride shall never be brought home, a daughter-in-law to me! My pride's up.

    Pat. (aside) And I'm instructed to keep it up.--(Aloud) True for ye, ma'am, and I wish that all had as much proper pride, as ought to be having it.

    Catty. There's maning in your eye, Pat--give it tongue.

    Pat. If you did not hear it, I suppose there's no truth in it.

    Catty. What?--which?

    Pat. That your son Randal, Mrs. Rooney, is not of your way of thinking about Honor McBride, may be's.

    Catty. Tut! No matter what way of thinking he is--a young slip of a boy like him does not know what he'll think to-morrow. He's a good son to me; and in regard to a wife, one girl will do him as well as another, if he has any sinse--and I'll find him a girl that will plase him, I'll engage.

    Pat. May be so, ma'am--no fear: only boys do like to be plasing themselves, by times--and I noticed something.

    Catty. What did you notice?--till me, Pat, dear, quick.

    Pat. No--'tis bad to be meddling and remarking to get myself ill-will; so I'll keep myself to myself: for Randal's ready enough with his hand as you with the tongue--no offence, Mrs. Rooney, ma'am.

    Catty. Niver fear--only till me the truth, Pat, dear.

    Pat. Why, then, to the best of my opinion, I seen Honor McBride just now giving Randal Rooney the meeting behind the chapel; and I seen him putting a ring on her finger.

    Catty. (clasping her hands) Oh, murder!--Oh! the unnat'ral monsters that love makes of these young men; and the traitor, to use me so, when he promised he'd never make a stolen match unknown'st to me.

    Pat. Oh, ma'am, I don't say--I wouldn't swear--it's a match yet.

    Catty. Then I'll run down and stop it--and catch 'em.

    Pat. You haven't your jock on, ma'am--(she turns towards the house)--and it's no use--for you won't catch 'em: I seen them after, turning the back way into Nick Flaherty's.

    Catty. Nick Flaherty's, the publican's? oh, the sinners! And this is the saint that Honor McBride would be passing herself upon us for? And all the edication she got at Mrs. Carver's Sunday school! Oh, this comes of being better than one's neighbours! A fine thing to tell Mrs. Carver, the English lady, that's so nice, and so partial to Miss Honor McBride! Oh, I'll expose her!

    Pat. Oh! sure, Mrs. Rooney, you promised you'd not tell, (Standing so as to stop CATTY.)

    Catty. Is it who told me? No--I won't mintion a sintence of your name. But let me by--I won't be put off now I've got the scent. I'll hunt 'em out, and drag her to shame, if they're above ground, or my name's not Catty Rooney! Mick! Mick! little Mick! (calling at the cottage door) bring my blue jock up the road after me to Ballynavogue. Don't let me count three till you're after me, or I'll bleed ye! (Exit CATTY, shaking her closed hand, and repeating) I'll expose Honor McBride--I'll expose Honor! I will, by the blessing!

    Pat. (alone) Now, if Randal Rooney would hear, he'd make a jelly of me, and how I'd trimble; or the brother, if he comed across me, and knewed. But they'll niver know. Oh, Catty won't say a sintence of my name, was she carded! No, Catty's a scould, but has a conscience. Then I like conscience in them I have to dale with sartainly. [Exit.

    SCENE V.

    Mrs. CARVER'S Dressing-room, HONOR McBRIDE and MISS BLOOMSBURY discovered.

    Honor. How will I know, Miss Bloomsbury, when it will be twelve o'clock?

    Bloom. You'll hear the clock strike: but I suspect you'se don't understand the clock yet--well, you'll hear the workmen's bell.

    Honor. I know, ma'am, oh, I know, true--only I was flurried, so I forgot.

    Bloom. Flurried! but never be flurried. Now mind and keep your head upon your shoulders, while I tell you all your duty--you'll just ready this here room, your lady's dressing-room; not a partical of dust let me never find, petticlarly behind the vindor shuts.

    Honor. Vindor shuts!--where, ma'am?

    Bloom. The shuts of the vindors--did you never hear of a vindor, child?

    Honor. Never, ma'am.

    Bloom. (pointing to a window) Don't tell me! why, your head is a wool-gathering! Now, mind me, pray--see here, always you put that there,--and this here, and that upon that,--and this upon this, and this under that,--and that under this--you can remember that much, child, I supposes?

    Honor. I'll do my endeavour, ma'am, to remember all.

    Bloom. But mind, now, my good girl, you takes petticlar care of this here pyramint of japanned china--and very petticlar care of that there great joss--and the very most petticularest care of this here right reverend Mandolin. (Pointing to, and touching a Mandarin, so as to make it shake. HONOR starts back.)

    Bloom. It i'n't alive. Silly child, to start at a Mandolin shaking his head and beard at you. But, oh! mercy, if there i'n't enough to make him shake his head. Stand there!--stand here!--now don't you see?

    Honor. Which, ma'am?

    Bloom. "Which, ma'am!" you're no witch, indeed, if you don't see a cobweb as long as my arm. Run, run, child, for the pope's head.

    Honor. Pope's head, ma'am?

    Bloom. Ay, the pope's head, which you'll find under the stairs. Well, a'n't you gone? what do you stand there like a stuck pig, for?--Never see a pope's head?--never 'ear of a pope's head?

    Honor. I've heard of one, ma'am--with the priest; but we are protestants.

    Bloom. Protestants! what's that to do? I do protest, I believe that little head of yours is someway got wrong on your shoulders to-day. [The clock strikes--HONOR, who is close to it, starts.

    Bloom. Start again!--why, you're all starts and fits. Never start, child! so ignoramus like! 'tis only the clock in your ear,--twelve o'clock, hark!--The bell will ring now in a hurry. Then you goes in there to my lady--stay, you'll never be able, I dare for to say, for to open the door without me; for I opine you are not much usen'd to brass locks in Hirish cabins--can't be expected. See here, then! You turns the lock in your hand this'n ways--the lock, mind now; not the key nor the bolt for your life, child, else you'd bolt your lady in, and there'd be my lady in Lob's pound, and there'd be a pretty kettle, of fish!--So you keep, if you can, all I said to you in your head, if possible--and you goes in there--and I goes out here.

    [Exit BLOOMSBURY.

    Honor. (curtsying) Thank ye, ma'am. Then all this time I'm sensible I've been behaving and looking little better than like a fool, or an innocent.--But I hope I won't be so bad when the lady shall speak to me. (The bell rings.) Oh, the bell summons me in here.--(Speaks with her hand on the lock of the door) The lock's asy enough--I hope I'll take courage--(sighs)--Asier to spake before one nor two, any way--and asier tin times to the mistress than the maid.

    [Exit HONOR.
    Next Chapter
    Chapter 2
    Previous Chapter
    If you're writing a Maria Edgeworth essay and need some advice, post your Maria Edgeworth essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

    Top 5 Authors

    Top 5 Books

    Book Status
    Finished
    Want to read
    Abandoned

    Are you sure you want to leave this group?