Meet us on:
Entire Site
    Try our fun game

    Dueling book covers…may the best design win!

    Random Quote
    "Quit worrying about your health. It'll go away."

    Subscribe to Our Newsletter

    Follow us on Twitter

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

    Act II

    • Rate it:
    • Average Rating: 0.5 out of 5 based on 1 rating
    Launch Reading Mode Next Chapter
    Chapter 3
    Previous Chapter
    SCENE I.

    GERALD O'BLANEY'S Counting-house.

    O'BLANEY alone.

    O'Bla. Then I wonder that ould Matthew McBride is not here yet. But is not this Pat Coxe coming up yonder? Ay. Well, Pat, what success with Catty?

    Enter PAT COXE, panting.

    Take breath, man alive--What of Catty?

    Pat. Catty! Oh, murder! No time to be talking of Catty now! Sure the shupervizor's come to town.

    O'Bla. Blood!--and the malt that has not paid duty in the cellar! Run, for your life, to the back-yard, give a whistle to call all the boys that's ricking o' the turf, away with 'em to the cellar, out with every sack of malt that's in it, through the back-yard, throw all into the middle of the turf-stack, and in the wink of an eye build up the rick over all, snoog (snug).

    Pat. I'll engage we'll have it done in a crack. [Exit PAT.

    O'Bla. (calling after him) Pat! Pat Coxe! man!

    Re-enter PAT.

    O'Bla. Would there be any fear of any o' the boys informin?

    Pat. Sooner cut their ears off! [Exit PAT.

    Enter Old McBRIDE, at the opposite side.

    Old McB. (speaking in a slow, drawling brogue) Would Mr. Gerald O'Blaney, the counsellor, be within?

    O'Bla. (quick brogue) Oh, my best friend, Matthew McBride, is it you, dear? Then here's Gerald O'Blaney, always at your sarvice. But shake hands; for of all men in Ireland, you are the man I was aching to lay my eyes on. And in the fair did ye happen to meet Carver of Bob's Fort?

    Old McB. (speaking very slowly) Ay. did I--and he was a-talking to me, and I was a-talking to him--and he's a very good gentleman, Mr. Carver of Bob's Fort--so he is--and a gentleman that knows how things should be; and he has been giving of me, Mr. O'Blaney, a great account of you, and how you're thriving in the world--and so as that.

    O'Bla. Nobody should know that better than Mr. Carver of Bob's Fort--he knows all my affairs. He is an undeniable honest gentleman, for whom I profess the highest regard.

    Old McB. Why then he has a great opinion of you too, counsellor--for he has been advising of, and telling of me, O'Blaney, of your proposhal, sir--and very sinsible I am of the honour done by you to our family, sir--and condescension to the likes of us--though, to be sure, Honor McBride, though she is my daughter, is a match for any man.

    O'Bla. Is a match for a prince--a Prince Ragent even. So no more about condescension, my good Matthew, for love livels all distinctions.

    Old McB. That's very pretty of you to say so, sir; and I'll repeat it to Honor.

    O'Bla. Cupid is the great liveller, after all, and the only democrat Daity on earth I'd bow to--for I know you are no democrat, Mr. McBride, but quite and clane the contrary way.

    Old McB. Quite and clane and stiff, I thank my God; and I'm glad, in spite of the vowel before your name, Mr. O'Blaney, to hear you are of the same kidney.

    O'Bla. I'm happy to find myself agreeable to you, sir.

    Old McB. But, however agreeable to me, as I won't deny, it might be, sir, to see my girl made into a gentlewoman by marriage, I must observe to you--

    O'Bla. And I'll keep her a jaunting car to ride about the country; and in another year, as my fortune's rising, my wife should rise with it into a coach of her own.

    Old McB. Oh! if I'd live to see my child, my Honor, in a coach of her own! I'd be too happy--oh, I'd die contint!

    O'Bla. (aside) No fear!--(Aloud) And why should not she ride in her own coach, Mistress Counsellor O'Blaney, and look out of the windows down upon the Roonies, that have the insolence to look up to her?

    Old McB. Ah! you know that, then. That's all that's against us, sir, in this match.

    O'Bla. But if you are against Randal, no fear.

    Old McB. I am against him--that is, against his family, and all his seed, breed, and generation. But I would not break my daughter's heart if I could help it.

    O'Bla. Wheugh!--hearts don't break in these days, like china.

    Old McB. This is my answer, Mr. O'Blaney, sir: you have my lave, but you must have hers too.

    O'Bla. I would not fear to gain that in due time, if you would stand my friend in forbidding her the sight of Randal.

    Old McB. I will with pleasure, that--for tho' I won't force her to marry to plase me, I'll forbid her to marry to displase me; and when I've said it, whatever it is, I'll be obeyed. (Strikes his stick on the ground.)

    O'Bla. That is all I ax.

    Old McB. But now what settlement, counshillor, will you make on my girl?

    O'Bla. A. hundred a year--I wish to be liberal--Mr. Carver will see to that--he knows all my affairs, as I suppose he was telling you.

    Old McB. He was--I'm satisfied, and I'm at a word myself always. You heard me name my girl's portion, sir?

    O'Bla. I can't say--I didn't mind--'twas no object to me in life.

    Old McB. (in a very low, mysterious tone, and slow brogue) Then five hundred guineas is some object to most men.

    O'Bla. Certainly, sir; but not such an object as your daughter to me: since we are got upon business, however, best settle all that out of the way, as you say at once. Of the five hundred, I have two in my hands already, which you can make over to me with a stroke of a pen. (Rising quickly, and getting pen, ink, and books.)

    Old McB. (speaking very slowly) Stay a hit--no hurry--in life. In business--'tis always most haste, worse speed.

    O'Bla. Take your own time, my good Matthew--I'll be as slow as you plase--only love's quick.

    Old McB. Slow and sure--love and all--fast bind, fast find--three and two, what does that make?

    O'Bla. It used to make five before I was in love.

    Old McB. And will the same after you're married and dead. What am I thinking of? A score of bullocks I had in the fair--half a score sold in my pocket, and owing half--that's John Dolan, twelve pound tin--and Charley Duffy nine guineas and thirteen tin pinnies and a five-penny bit: stay, then, put that to the hundred guineas in the stocking at home.

    O'Bla. (aside) How he makes my mouth water: (Aloud) May be, Matthew, I could, that am used to it, save you the trouble of counting?

    Old McB. No trouble in life to me ever to count my money--only I'll trouble you, sir, if you please, to lock that door; bad to be chinking and spreading money with doors open, for walls has ears and eyes.

    O'Bla. True for you. (Rising, and going to lock the doors.)

    [Old McBRIDE with great difficulty, and very slowly, draws out of his pocket his bag of money--looking first at one door, and then at the other, and going to try whether they are locked, before he unties his bag.]

    Old McB. (spreads and counts his money and notes) See me now, I wrote on some scrap somewhere 59l. in notes--then hard cash, twinty pounds--rolled up silver and gould, which is scarce--but of a hundred pounds there's wanting fourteen pounds odd, I think, or something that way; for Phil and I had our breakfast out of a one pound note of Finlay's, and I put the change somewhere--besides a riband for Honor, which make a deficiency of fourteen pounds seven shillings and two pence--that's what's deficient--count it which way you will.

    O'Bla. (going to sweep the money off the table) Oh! never mind the deficiency--I'll take it for a hundred plump.

    Old McB. (stopping him) Plump me no plumps--I'll have it exact, or not at all--I'll not part it, so let me see it again.

    O'Bla. (aside with a deep sigh, almost a groan) Oh! when I had had it in my fist--almost: but 'tis as hard to get money out of this man as blood out of a turnip; and I'll be lost to-night without it.

    Old McB. 'Tis not exact--and I'm exact: I'll put it all up again--(he puts it deliberately into the bag again, thrusting the bag into his pocket)--I'll make it up at home my own way, and send it in to you by Phil in an hour's time; for I could not sleep sound with so much in my house--bad people about--safer with you in town. Mr. Carver says, you are as good as the Bank of Ireland--there's no going beyond that. (Buttoning up his pockets.) So you may unlock the doors and let me out now--I'll send Phil with all to you, and you'll give him a bit of a receipt or a token, that would do.

    O'Bla. I shall give a receipt by all means--all regular: short accounts make long friends. (Unlocks the door.)

    Old McB. True, sir, and I'll come in and see about the settlements in the morning, if Honor is agreeable.

    O'Bla. I shall make it my business to wait upon the young lady myself on the wings of love; and I trust I'll not find any remains of Randal Rooney in her head.

    Old McB. Not if I can help it, depend on that. (They shake hands.)

    O'Bla. Then, fare ye well, father-in-law--that's meat and drink to me: would not ye take a glass of wine then?

    Old McB. Not a drop--not a drop at all--with money about me: I must be in a hurry home.

    O'Bla. That's true--so best: recommind me kindly to Miss Honor, and say a great dale about my impatience--and I'll be expicting Phil, and won't shut up till he comes the night.

    Old McB. No, don't; for he'll be with you before night-fall. [Exit McBRIDE.

    O'Bla. (calling) Dan! open the door, there: Dan! Joe! open the door smart for Mr. McBride! (O'BLANEY rubbing his hands.) Now I think I may pronounce myself made for life--success to my parts!--and here's Pat too! Well, Pat Coxe, what news of the thing in hand?

    Enter PAT COXE.

    Pat. Out of hand clane! that job's nately done. The turf-rick, sir, 's built up cliver, with the malt snug in the middle of its stomach--so were the shupervishor a conjuror even, barring he'd dale with the ould one, he'd never suspict a sentence of it.

    O'Bla. Not he--he's no conjuror: many's the dozen tricks I played him afore now.

    Pat. But, counshillor, there's the big veshel in the little passage--I got a hint from a friend, that the shuper got information of the spirits in that from some villain.

    O'Bla. And do you think I don't know a trick for that, too?

    Pat. No doubt: still, counshillor, I'm in dread of my life that that great big veshel won't be implied in a hurry.

    O'Bla. Won't it? but you'll see it will, though; and what's more, them spirits will turn into water for the shupervisor.

    Pat. Water! how?

    O'Bla. Asy--the ould tan-pit that's at the back of the distillery.

    Pat. I know--what of it?

    O'Bla. A sacret pipe I've got fixed to the big veshel, and the pipe goes under the wall for me into the tan-pit, and a sucker I have in the big veshel, which I pull open by a string in a crack, and lets all off all clane into the tan-pit.

    Pat. That's capital!--but the water?

    O'Bla. From the pump, another pipe--and the girl's pumping asy, for she's to wash to-morrow, and knows nothing about it; and so the big veshel she fills with water, wondering what ails the water that it don't come--and I set one boy and another to help her--and the pump's bewitched, and that's all:--so that's settled.

    Pat. And cliverly. Oh! counshillor, we are a match for the shuper any day or night.

    O'Bla. For him and all his tribe, coursing officers and all. I'd desire no better sport than to hear the whole pack in full cry after me, and I doubling, and doubling, and safe at my form at last. With you, Pat, my precious, to drag the herring over the ground previous to the hunt, to distract the scent, and defy the nose of the dogs.

    Pat. Then I am proud to sarve you, counshillor.

    O'Bla. I know you are, and a very honest boy. And what did you do for me, with Catty Rooney?

    Pat. The best.--Oh! it's I blarny'd Catty to the skies, and then egged her on, and aggravated her against the McBrides, till I left her as mad as e'er a one in Bedlam--up to any thing! And full tilt she's off to Flaherty's, the publican, in her blue jock--where she'll not be long afore she kicks up a quarrel, I'll engage; for she's sarching the house for Honor McBride, who is not in it--and giving bad language, I warrant, to all the McBride faction, who is in it, drinking. Oh! trust Catty's tongue for breeding a riot! In half an hour, I'll warrant, you'll have as fine a fight in town as ever ye seen or hard.

    O'Bla. That's iligantly done, Pat. But I hope Randal Rooney is in it?

    Pat. In the thick of it he is, or will be. So I hope your honour did not forgit to spake to Mr. Carver about that little place for me?

    O'Bla. Forgit!--Do I forgit my own name, do you think? Sooner forgit that then my promises.

    Pat. Oh! I beg your honour's pardon--I would not doubt your word; and to make matters sure, and to make Catty cockahoop, I tould her, and swore to her, there was not a McBride in the town but two, and there's twinty, more or less.

    O'Bla. And when she sees them twinty, more or less, what will she think?--Why would you say that?--she might find you out in a lie next minute, Mr. Overdo. 'Tis dangerous for a young man to be telling more lies than is absolutely requisite. The lie superfluous brings many an honest man, and, what's more, many a cliver fellow, into a scrape--and that's your great fau't, Pat.

    Pat. Which, sir?

    O'Bla. That, sir. I don't see you often now take a glass too much. But, Pat, I hear you often still are too apt to indulge in a lie too much.

    Pat. Lie! Is it I?--Whin upon my conscience, I niver to my knowledge tould a lie in my life, since I was born, excipt it would be just to skreen a man, which is charity, sure,--or to skreen myself, which is self-defence, sure--and that's lawful; or to oblige your honour, by particular desire, and that can't be helped, I suppose.

    O'Bla. I am not saying again all that--only (laying his hand on PAT'S shoulder as he is going out) against another time, all I'm warning you, young man, is, you're too apt to think there never can be lying enough. Now too much of a good thing is good for nothing. [Exit O'BLANEY.

    PAT, alone.

    Pat. There's what you may call the divil rebuking sin--and now we talk of the like, as I've heard my mudther say, that he had need of a long spoon that ates wid the divil--so I'll look to that in time. But whose voice is that I hear coming up stairs? I don't believe but it's Mr. Carver--only what should bring him back agin, I wonder now? Here he is, all out of breath, coming.

    Enter Mr. CARVER.

    Mr. Carv. Pray, young man, did you happen to see--(panting for breath) Bless me, I've ridden so fast back from Bob's Fort!

    Pat. My master, sir, Mr. O'Blaney, is it? Will I run?

    Mr. Carv. No, no--stand still till I have breath.--What I want is a copy of a letter I dropped some where or other--here I think it must have been, when I took out my handkerchief--a copy of a letter to his Excellency--of great consequence. (Mr. CARVER sits down and takes breath.)

    Pat. (searching about with officious haste) If it's above ground, I'll find it. What's this?--an old bill: that is not it. Would it be this, crumpled up?--"To His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland."

    Mr. Carv. (snatching) No farther, for your life!

    Pat. Well then I was lucky I found it, and proud.

    Mr. Carv. And well you may be, young man; for I can assure you, on this letter the fate of Ireland may depend. (Smoothing the letter on his knee.)

    Pat. I wouldn't doubt it--when it's a letter of your honour's--I know your honour's a great man at the castle. And plase your honour, I take this opportunity of tanking your honour for the encouragement I got about that little clerk's place--and here's a copy of my hand-writing I'd wish to show your honour, to see I'm capable--and a scholard.

    Mr. Carv. Hand-writing! Bless me, young man, I have no time to look at your hand-writing, sir. With the affairs of the nation on my shoulders--can you possibly think?--is the boy mad?--that I've time to revise every poor scholar's copy-book?

    Pat. I humbly beg your honour's pardon, but it was only becaase I'd wish to show I was not quite so unworthy to be under (whin you've time) your honour's protection, as promised.

    Mr. Carv. My protection?--you are not under my protection, sir:--promised clerk's place?--I do not conceive what you are aiming at, sir.

    Pat. The little clerk's place, plase your honour--that my master, Counshillor O'Blaney, tould me he spoke about to your honour, and was recommending me for to your honour.

    Mr. Carv. Never--never heard one syllable about it, till this moment.

    Pat. Oh! murder:--but I expict your honour's goodness will--

    Mr. Carv. To make your mind easy, I promised to appoint a young man to that place, a week ago, by Counsellor O'Blaney's special recommendation. So there must be some mistake.

    [Exit Mr. CARVER.]

    PAT, alone.

    Pat. Mistake? ay, mistake on purpose. So he never spoke! so he lied!--my master that was praching me! And oh, the dirty lie he tould me! Now I can't put up with that, when I was almost perjuring myself for him at the time. Oh, if I don't fit him for this! And he got the place given to another!--then I'll git him as well sarved, and out of this place too--seen-if-I-don't! He is cunning enough, but I'm cuter nor he--I have him in my power, so I have! and I'll give the shupervizor a scent of the malt in the turf-stack--and a hint of the spirits in the tan-pit--and it's I that will like to stand by innocent, and see how shrunk O'Blaney's double face will look forenent the shupervizor, when all's found out, and not a word left to say, but to pay--ruined hand and foot! Then that shall be, and before nightfall. Oh! one good turn desarves another--in revenge, prompt payment while you live!



    McBRIDE'S Cottage.

    MATTHEW McBRIDE and HONOR. (MATTHEW with a little table before him, at dinner.)

    Old McB. (pushing his plate from him) I'll take no more--I'm done. [He sighs.]

    Honor. Then you made but a poor dinner, father, after being at the fair, and up early, and all!--Take this bit from my hands, father dear.

    Old McB. (turning away sullenly) I'll take nothing from you, Honor, but what I got already enough--and too much of--and that's ungratitude.

    Honor. Ungratitude, father! then you don't see my heart.

    Old McB. I lave that to whoever has it, Honor: 'tis enough for me, I see what you do--and that's what I go by.

    Honor. Oh, me! and what did I do to displase you, father? (He is obstinately silent; after waiting in vain for an answer, she continues) I that was thinking to make all happy, (aside) but myself, (aloud) by settling to keep out of the way of--all that could vex you--and to go to sarvice, to Mrs. Carver's. I thought that would plase you, father.

    Old McB. Is it to lave me, Honor? Is it that you thought would plase me, Honor?--To lave your father alone in his ould age, after all the slaving he got and was willing to undergo, whilst ever he had strength, early and late, to make a little portion for you, Honor,--you, that I reckoned upon for the prop and pride of my ould age--and you expect you'd plase me by laving me.

    Honor. Hear me just if, pray then, father.

    Old McB. (shaking her off as she tries to caress him) Go, then; go where you will, and demane yourself going into sarvice, rather than stay with me--go.

    Honor. No, I'll not go. I'll stay then with you, father dear,--say that will plase you.

    Old McB. (going on without listening to her) And all for the love of this Randal Rooney! Ay, you may well put your two hands before your face; if you'd any touch of natural affection at all, that young man would have been the last of all others you'd ever have thought of loving or liking any way.

    Honor. Oh! if I could help it!

    Old McB. There it is. This is the way the poor fathers is always to be trated. They to give all, daughter and all, and get nothing at all, not their choice even of the man, the villain that's to rob 'em of all--without thanks even; and of all the plinty of bachelors there are in the parish for the girl that has money, that daughter will go and pick and choose out the very man the father mislikes beyond all others, and then it's "Oh! if I could help it!"--Asy talking!

    Honor. But, dear father, wasn't it more than talk, what I did?--Oh, won't you listen to me?

    Old McB I'll not hear ye; for if you'd a grain o spirit in your mane composition, Honor, you would take your father's part, and not be putting yourself under Catty's feet--the bad-tongued woman, that hates you, Honor, like poison.

    Honor. If she does hate me, it's all through love of her own--

    Old McB. Son--ay--that she thinks too good for you--for you, Honor; you, the Lily of Lismore--that might command the pride of the country. Oh! Honor dear, don't be lessening yourself; but be a proud girl, as you ought, and my own Honor.

    Honor. Oh, when you speak so kind!

    Old McB. And I beg your pardon, if I said a cross word; for I know you'll never think of him more, and no need to lave home at all for his sake. It would be a shame in the country, and what would Mrs. Carver herself think?

    Honor. She thinks well of it, then.

    Old McB. Then whatever she thinks, she sha'n't have my child from me! tho' she's a very good lady, and a very kind lady, too. But see now, Honor--have done with love, for it's all foolishness; and when you come to be as ould as I am, you'll think so too. The shadows goes all one way, till the middle of the day, and when that is past, then all the t'other way; and so it is with love, in life--stay till the sun is going down with you.

    Honor. Then it would be too late to be thinking of love.

    Old McB. And too airly now, and there's no good time, for it's all folly. I'll ax you, will love set the potatoes?--will love make the rent?--or will love give you a jaunting car?--as to my knowledge, another of your bachelors would.

    Honor. Oh, don't name him, father.

    Old McB. Why not--when it's his name that would make a lady of you, and there'd be a rise in life, and an honour to your family?

    Honor. Recollect it was he that would have dishonoured my family, in me, if he could.

    Old McB. But he repints now; and what can a man do but repint, and offer to make honourable restitution, and thinking of marrying, as now, Honor dear;--is not that a condescension of he, who's a sort of a jantleman?

    Honor. A sort, indeed--a bad sort.

    Old McB. Why, not jantleman born, to be sure.

    Honor. Nor bred.

    Old McB. Well, there's many that way, neither born nor bred, but that does very well in the world; and think what it would be to live in the big shingled house, in Ballynavogue, with him!

    Honor. I'd rather live here with you, father.

    Old McB. Then I thank you kindly, daughter, for that, but so would not I for you,--and then the jaunting-car, or a coach, in time, if he could! He has made the proposhal for you in form this day.

    Honor. And what answer from you, father?

    Old McB. Don't be looking so pale,--I tould him he had my consint, if he could get yours. And, oh! before you speak, Honor dear, think what it would be up and down in Ballynavogue, and every other place in the county, assizes days and all, to be Mistress Gerald O'Blaney!

    Honor. I couldn't but think very ill of it, father; thinking ill, as I do, of him. Father dear, say no more, don't be breaking my heart--I'll never have that man; but I'll stay happy with you.

    Old McB. Why, then, I'll be contint with that same; and who wouldn't?--If it's what you'd rather stay, and can stay contint, Honor dear, I'm only too happy. (Embracing her--then pausing.) But for Randal--

    Honor. In what can you fau't him, only his being a Rooney?

    Old McB. That's all--but that's enough. I'd sooner see you in your coffin--sooner be at your wake to-night, than your wedding with a Rooney! 'Twould kill me. Come, promise me--I'd trust your word--and 'twould make me asy for life, and I'd die asy, if you'd promise never to have him.

    Honor. Never till you would consent--that's all I can promise.

    Old McB. Well, that same is a great ase to my heart.

    Honor. And to give a little ase to mine, father, perhaps you could promise--

    Old McB. What?--I'll promise nothing at all--I'll promise nothing at all--I'll promise nothing I couldn't perform.

    Honor. But this you could perform asy, dear father: just hear your own Honor.

    Old McB. (aside) That voice would wheedle the bird off the bush--and when she'd prefar me to the jaunting-car, can I but listen to her? (Aloud) Well, what?--if it's any thing at all in rason.

    Honor. It is in rason entirely. It's only, that if Catty Rooney's--

    Old McB. (stopping his ears) Don't name her.

    Honor. But she might be brought to rason, father; and if she should be brought to give up that claim to the bit o' bog of yours, and when all differs betwix' the families be made up, then you would consent.

    Old McB. When Catty Rooney's brought to rason! Oh! go shoe the goslings, dear,--ay, you'll get my consint then. There's my hand: I promise you, I'll never be called on to perform that, Honor, jewel.

    Honor. (kissing his hand) Then that's all I'd ask--nor will I say one word more, but thank you, father.

    Old McB. (putting on his coat) She's a good cratur--sorrow better! sister or daughter. Oh! I won't forget that she prefarred me to the jaunting-car. Phil shall carry him a civil refusal. I'll send off the money, the three hundred, by your brother, this minute--that will be some comfort to poor O'Blaney.

    [Exit McBRIDE.

    Honor. Is not he a kind father, then, after all?--That promise he gave me about Catty, even such as it is, has ased my heart wonderfully. Oh! it will all come right, and they'll all be rasonable in time, even Catty Rooney, I've great hope; and little hope's enough, even for love to live upon. But, hark! there's my brother Phil coming. (A noise heard in the back-house.) 'Tis only the cow in the bier. (A knock heard at the door.) No, 'tis a Christian; no cow ever knocked so soft. Stay till I open--Who's in it?

    Randal. (from within) Your own Randal--open quick.

    Honor. Oh! Randal, is it you? I can't open the door.

    [She holds the door--he pushes it half open.

    Randal. Honor, that I love more than life, let me in, till I speak one word to you, before you're set against me for ever.

    Honor. No danger of that--but I can't let you in, Randal.

    Randal. Great danger! Honor, and you must. See you I will, if I die for it!

    [He advances, and she retires behind the door, holding it against him.

    Honor. Then I won't see you this month again, if you do. My hand's weak, but my heart's strong, Randal.

    Randal. Then my heart's as weak as a child's this minute. Never fear--don't hold against me, Honor; I'll stand where I am, since you don't trust me, nor love me--and best so, may be: I only wanted to say three words to you.

    Honor. I can't hear you now, Randal.

    Randal. Then you'll never hear me more. Good bye to you, Honor.

    [He pulls the door to, angrily.

    Honor. And it's a wonder as it was you didn't meet my father as you came, or my brother.

    Randal. (pushing the door a little open again) Your brother!--Oh, Honor! that's what's breaking my heart--(he sighs)--that's what I wanted to say to you; and listen to me. No fear of your father, he's gone down the road: I saw him as I come the short cut, but he didn't see me.

    Honor. What of my brother?--say, and go.

    Randal. Ay, go--for ever, you'll bid me, when I've said.

    Honor. What! oh, speak, or I'll drop.--(She no longer holds the door, but leans against a table.--RANDAL advances, and looks in.)

    Randal. Don't be frightened, then, dearest--it's nothing in life but a fight at a fair. He's but little hurted.

    Honor. Hurted!--and by who? by you, is it?--Then all's over.--(RANDAL comes quite in--HONOR, putting her hand before her eyes.)--You may come or go, for I'll never love you more.

    Randal. I expicted as much!--But she'll faint!

    Honor. I won't faint: leave me, Mr. Randal.

    Randal. Take this water from me, (holding a cup) it's all I ask.

    Honor. No need. (She sits down) But what's this?--(Seeing his hand bound up.)

    Randal. A cut only.

    Honor. Bleeding--stop it. (Turning from him coldly.)

    Randal. Then by this blood--no, not by this worthless blood of mine--but by that dearest blood that fled from your cheeks, and this minute is coming back, Honor, I swear--(kneeling to her.)

    Honor. Say what you will, or swear, I don't hear or heed you. And my father will come and find you there--and I don't care.

    Randal. I know you don't--and I don't care myself what happens me. But as to Phil, it's only a cut in the head he got, that signifies nothing--if he was not your brother.

    Honor. Once lifted your hand against him--all's over.

    Randal. Honor, I did not lift my hand against him; but I was in the quarrel with his faction.

    Honor. And this your promise to me not to be in any quarrel! No, if my father consented to-morrow, I'd nivir have you now. (Rises, and is going--he holds her.)

    Randal. Then you're wrong, Honor: you've heard all against me--now hear what's for me.

    Honor. I'll hear no more--let me go.

    Randal. Go, then; (he lets her go, and turns away himself) and I'm going before Mr. Carver, who will hear me, and the truth will appear--and tho' not from you, Honor, I'll have justice.

    [Exit RANDAL.

    Honor. Justice! Oh, worse and worse! to make all public; and if once we go to law, there's an end of love--for ever.

    [Exit HONOR.


    O'BLANEY'S House.


    Catty. And didn't ye hear it, counshillor? the uproar in the town and the riot?--oh! you'd think the world was throwing out at windows. See my jock, all tattered! Didn't ye hear!

    O'Bla. How could I hear, backwards, as you see, from the street, and given up to my business?

    Catty. Business! oh! here is a fine business--the McBrides have driven all before them, and chased the Roonies out of Ballynavogue. (In a tone of deep despair.) Oh! Catty Rooney! that ever you'd live to see this day!

    O'Bla. Then take this glass (offering a glass of whiskey) to comfort your heart, my good Mrs. Rooney.

    Catty. No, thank you, counshillor, it's past that even! ogh! ogh!--oh! wirrastrew!--oh! wirrastrew, ogh!--(After wringing her hands, and yielding to a burst of sorrow and wailing, she stands up firmly.) Now I've ased my heart, I'll do. I've spirit enough left in me yet, you'll see; and I'll tell you what I came to you for, counshillor.

    O'Bla. Tell me first, is Randal Rooney in it, and is he hurt?

    Catty. He was in it: he's not hurt, more shame for him! But, howsomever, he bet one boy handsomely; that's my only comfort. Our faction's all going full drive to swear examinations, and get justice.

    O'Bla. Very proper--very proper: swear examinations--that's the course, and only satisfaction in these cases to get justice.

    Catty. Justice!--revenge sure! Oh! revenge is sweet, and I'll have it. Counshillor dear, I never went before Mr. Carver--you know him, sir--what sort is he?

    O'Bla. A mighty good sort of gentleman--only mighty tiresome.

    Catty. Ay, that's what I hard--that he is mighty fond of talking to people for their good. Now that's what I dread, for I can't stand being talked to for my good.

    O'Bla. 'Tis little use, I confess. We Irish is wonderful soon tired of goodness, if there's no spice of fun along with it; and poor Carver's soft, and between you and I, he's a little bothered, but, Mrs. Rooney, you won't repate?

    Catty. Repate!--I! I'm neither watch nor repater--I scorn both; and between you and I, since you say so, counshillor, that's my chiefest objection to Carver, whom I wouldn't know from Adam, except by reputation. But it's the report of the country, that he has common informers in his pay and favour; now that's mane, and I don't like it.

    O'Bla. Nor I, Mrs. Rooney. I had experience of informers in the distillery line once. The worst varmin that is ever encouraged in any house or country. The very mintion of them makes me creep all over still.

    Catty. Then 'tis Carver, they say, that has the oil of Rhodium for them; for they follow and fawn on him, like rats on the rat catcher--of all sorts and sizes, he has 'em. They say, he sets them over and after one another; and has lations of them that he lets out on the craturs' cabins, to larn how many grains of salt every man takes with his little prates, and bring information if a straw would be stirring.

    O'Bla. Ay, and if it would, then, it's Carver that would quake like the aspin leaf--I know that. It's no malice at all in him; only just he's a mighty great poltroon.

    Catty. Is that all? Then I'd pity and laugh at him, and I go to him preferably to any other magistrate.

    O'Bla. You may, Mrs. Rooney--for it's in terror of his life he lives, continually draming day and night, and croaking of carders and thrashers, and oak boys, and white boys, and peep-o'-day boys, and united boys, and riband-men, and men and boys of all sorts that have, and that have not, been up and down the country since the rebellion.

    Catty. The poor cratur! But in case he'd prove refractory, and would not take my examinations, can't I persecute my shute again the McBrides for the bit of the bog of Ballynascraw, counshillor?--Can't I harash 'em at law?

    O'Bla. You can, ma'am, harash them properly. I've looked over your papers, and I'm happy to tell you, you may go on at law as soon and as long as you plase.

    Catty. (speaking very rapidly) Bless you for that word, counshillor; and by the first light to-morrow, I'll drive all the grazing cattle, every four-footed baast off the land, and pound 'em in Ballynavogue; and if they replevy, why I'll distrain again, if it be forty times, I will go. I'll go on distraining, and I'll advertise, and I'll cant, and I'll sell the distress at the end of the eight days. And if they dare for to go for to put a plough in that bit of reclaimed bog, I'll come down upon 'em with an injunction, and I would not value the expinse of bringing down a record a pin's pint; and if that went again me, I'd remove it to the courts above and wilcome; and after that, I'd go into equity, and if the chancillor would not be my friend, I'd take it over to the House of Lords in London, so I would as soon as look at 'em; for I'd wear my feet to the knees for justice--so I would.

    O'Bla. That you would! You're an iligant lawyer, Mrs. Rooney; but have you the sinews of war?

    Catty. Is it money, dear?--I have, and while ever I've one shilling to throw down to ould Matthew McBride's guinea, I'll go on; and every guinea he parts will twinge his vitals: so I'll keep on while ever I've a fiv'-penny bit to rub on another--for my spirit is up.

    O'Bla. Ay, ay, so you say. Catty, my dear, your back's asy up, but it's asy down again.

    Catty. Not when I've been trod on as now, counshillor: it's then I'd turn and fly at a body, gentle or simple, like mad.

    O'Bla. Well done, Catty (patting her on the back). There's my own pet mad cat--and there's a legal venom in her claws, that every scratch they'll give shall fester so no plaister in law can heal it.

    Catty. Oh, counshillor, now, if you wouldn't be flattering a wake woman.

    O'Bla. Wake woman!--not a bit of woman's wakeness in ye. Oh, my cat-o'-cats! let any man throw her from him, which way he will, she's on her legs and at him again, tooth and claw.

    Catty. With nine lives, renewable for ever.

    [Exit CATTY.

    O'Bla. (alone) There's a demon in woman's form set to work for me! Oh, this works well--and no fear that the Roonies and McBrides should ever come to an understanding to cut me out. Young Mr. Randal Rooney, my humble compliments to you, and I hope you'll become the willow which you'll soon have to wear for Miss Honor McBride's pretty sake. But I wonder the brother a'n't come up yet with the rist of her fortune. (Calls behind the scenes.) Mick! Jack! Jenny! Where's Pat?--Then why don't you know? run down a piece of the road towards Ballynascraw, see would you see any body coming, and bring me word would you see Phil McBride--you know, flourishing Phil.--Now I'm prepared every way for the shupervishor, only I wish to have something genteel in my fist for him, and a show of cash flying about--nothing like it, to dazzle the eyes.

    [Exit O'BLANEY.
    Next Chapter
    Chapter 3
    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
    Want to read

    Are you sure you want to leave this group?