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own rude way—gratitude on your score, vengeance on his own.,
'Tally-ho, tally-ho!—hark, there—stole away!, shouted a wild cry from without, and at the same instant four countrymen came forward, carrying a door between them, on which was stretched the pale and mangled figure of Tipperary Joe. • A drink of water—spirits—tay—anything, for the love of the Virgin! I ,m famished, and I want to drink Captain Phil,s health. Ah, darling!, said he, as he turned his filmy eyes up towards me,'didn,t I do it beautifully; didn,t I pay him off for this ?, With these words he pointed to a blue welt that stretched across his face, from the mouth to the ear. 'He gave me that yesterday for saying long life and success to you!,
'Oh! this is too horrible,, said I, gasping for breath. 'My poor fellow! and I who had treated you so harshly!, I took his hand in mine, but it was cold and clammy; his features were sunken too—he had fainted.
'Come, Hinton,, said the Major, 'we can do no good here; let us move down to the inn at once, and see after this poor boy.,
* You are coming with us, Mr. Hinton ?, cried Dillon.
'Not now, not now,, said I, while my throat was swelling with repressed emotion. Without suffering me to say more, Mahon almost lifted me into the tax-cart, and putting his horse to the gallop, dashed towards the town, the cheers of the people following us as we went; for, to their wild sense of justice, Joe was a genuine martyr, and I shared in the glory of his self-devotion.
The whole way towards Loughrea, Mahon continued to talk; but not a word could I catch. My thoughts were fixed on the poor fellow who had suffered for my sake; and I would have given all I possessed in the world to have lost the race, and seen him safe and sound before me.
'There, there!, said the Major, as he shook me by the arm; 'don,t take it to heart this way. You know little of Ireland, that,s plain; that poor fellow will be prouder for the feeling you have shown towards him this night than many a king upon his throne. To have served a gentleman, to have put him under an obligation—that has a charm you can,t estimate the extent of. Beware, only beware of one thing—do not by any offer of money destroy the illusion; do what you like for him, but take care of that.,
We now reached the little inn; and Mahon—for I was incapable of all thought or exertion—got a room in readiness for Joe, and summoning the doctor of the place, provided everything for his care and accommodation.
'Now, Hinton,, said he, as he burst into my room,'all,s right. Joe is comfortable in bed; the fracture turns out not to be a bad one. So rouse yourself, for Dillon,s carriage with all its ladies is waiting these ten minutes.,
'No, no!, cried I; 'I can,t go to this dinner-party! I ,ll not quit ,
* Nonsense, man !, said he, interrupting me; 'you can only do harm here; the doctor says he must be left quite quiet, and alone. Besides, Dillon has behaved so well to-day—so stoutly for him, that you mustn,t forget it. There, now, where are your clothes? I ,ll pack them for you.,
I started up to obey him, but a giddiness came over me, and I sank into my chair, weak and sick.
'This will never do,, said Mahon; 'I had better tell them I ,ll drive you over myself. And now, just lie down for an hour or two, and keep quiet.,
This advice I felt was good; and thanking my kind friend with a squeeze of the hand, for I could not speak, I threw myself upon my bed, and strange enough, while such contending emotions disturbed my brain, fell asleep almost immediately.
THE DINNER-PARTY AT MOUNT BROWN
I Awoke refreshed after half-an-hour,s doze, and then every circumstance of the whole day was clear and palpable before me. I remembered each minute particular, and could bring to my mind all the details of the race itself, notwithstanding the excitement they had passed in, and the rapidity with which they succeeded one another.
My first thought was to visit poor Joe; and creeping stealthily to his room, I opened the door. The poor fellow was fast asleep. His features had already become coloured with fever, and a red hectic spot on either cheek told that the work of mischief had begun; yet still his sleep was tranquil, and a half smile curled his bloodless lips. On his bed his old hunting-cap was placed, a bow of white and green ribbons—the colours I wore—fastened gaudily in the front; upon this, doubtless, he had been gazing to the last moment of his waking. I now stole noiselessly back, and began a letter to O,Grady, whose anxiety as to the result would, I knew, be considerable.
It was not without pride, I confess, that I narrated the events of the day; yet when I came to that part of my letter in which Joe was to be mentioned, I could not avoid a sense of shame in acknowledging the cruel contrast between my conduct and his gratitude. I did not attempt to theorise upon what he had done, for I felt that O,Grady,s better knowledge of his countrymen would teach him to sound the depths of a motive, the surface of which I could but skim. I told him frankly that the more I saw of Ireland the less I found I knew about it; so much of sterling good seemed blended with unsettled notions and unfixed opinions; such warmth of heart, such frank cordiality, with such traits of suspicion and distrust, that I could make nothing of them. Either, thought I, these people are born to present the anomaly of all that is most opposite and contradictory in human nature, or else the fairest gifts that ever graced manhood have been perverted and abused by mismanagement and misguidance.
I had just finished my letter when Bob Mahon drove up, his honest face radiant with smiles and good-humour.
'Well, Hinton,, cried he, 'the whole thing is properly settled. The money is paid over; and if you are writing to O,Grady, you may mention that he can draw on the Limerick bank, at sight if he pleases. There,s time enough, however, for all this; so get up beside me. We,ve only half an hour to do our five miles, and dress for dinner.,
I took my place beside the Major; and as we flew fast through the air, the cool breeze and his enlivening conversation rallied and refreshed me. Such was our pace that we had ten minutes to spare, as we entered a dark avenue of tall beech-trees, and a few seconds after arrived at the door of a large old-fashioned-looking manor-house, on the steps of which stood Hugh Dillon himself, in all the plenitude of a white waistcoat and black-silk tights. While he hurried me to a dressing-room, he overwhelmed me with felicitations on the result of the day.
'You,ll think it strange, Mr. Hinton,, said he, 'that I should congratulate you, knowing that Mr. Burke is a kind of relation of mine; but I have heard so much of your kindness to my niece Louisa, that I cannot but rejoice in your success.,
'I should rather,, said I,'for many reasons, had it been more legitimately obtained; and, indeed, were I not acting for another, I doubt how far I should feel justified in considering myself a winner.,
'My dear sir,, interrupted Dillon, 'the laws of racing are imperative in the matter; besides, had you waived your right, all who backed you must have lost their money.,
'For that matter,, said I, laughing, 'the number of my supporters was tolerably limited.,
'No matter for that; and even if you had not a single bet upon you, Ulick,s conduct, in the beginning, deserved little favour at your hands.,
'I confess,, said I, 'that there you have touched on the saving clause to my feeling of shame. Had Mr. Burke conducted himself in a different spirit towards my friend and myself, I should feel sorely puzzled this minute.,
• Quite right, quite right,, said Dillon; 'and now try if you can,t make as much haste with your toilette as you did over the clover-field.,
Within a quarter of an hour I made my appearance in the drawing-room, now crowded with company, the faces of many among whom I remembered having seen in the morning. Mr. Dillon was a widower, but his daughters— three fine, tall, handsome-looking girls—did the honours. While I was making my bows to them, Miss Bellew came forward, and with an eye bright with pleasure held out her hand towards me.
'I told you, Mr. Hinton, we should meet in the west. Have I been as good a prophetess in saying that you would like it?,
'If it afforded me but this one minute,, said I, in a halfwhisper.
'Dinner!, said the servant, and at the same moment that scene of pleasant confusion ensued that preludes the formal descent of a party to the dining-room.
The host had gracefully tucked a large lady under his arm, beside whose towering proportions he looked pretty much like what architects call'a lean-to,, superadded to a great building. He turned his eye towards me to go and do likewise, with a significant glance at a heaving mass of bugles and ostrich feathers that sat panting on a sofa. I parried the stroke, however, by drawing Miss Bellew,s arm within mine, while I resigned the post of honour to my little friend the Major.
The dinner passed off like all other dinners. There was the same routine of eating and drinking, and pretty much