Read CHAPTER IX of Handy Andy‚ A Tale of Irish Life‚ Volume One, free online book, by Samuel Lover, on ReadCentral.com.

Andy was in sad disgrace for some days with his mother; but, like all mothers, she soon forgave the blunders of her son and indeed mothers are well off who have not more than blunders to forgive. Andy did all in his power to make himself useful at home, now that he was out of place and dependent on his mother, and got a day’s work here and there where he could. Fortunately the season afforded him more employment than winter months would have done. But the farmers soon had all their crops made up, and when Andy could find no work to be paid for, he began to cut the “scrap o’ meadow,” as he called it, on a small field of his mother’s. Indeed, it was but a “scrap;” for the place where it grew was one of those broken bits of ground so common in the vicinity of mountain ranges, where rocks, protruding through the soil, give the notion of a very fine crop of stones. Now, this locality gave to Andy the opportunity of exercising a bit of his characteristic ingenuity; for when the hay was ready for “cocking,” he selected a good thumping rock as the foundation for his haystack, and the superstructure consequently cut a more respectable figure than one could have anticipated from the appearance of the little crop as it lay on the ground; and as no vestige of the rock was visible, the widow, when she came out to see the work completed, wondered and rejoiced at the size of the haystack, and said, “God bless you, Andy, but you’re the natest hand for putting up a bit o’ hay I ever seen; throth, I didn’t think there was the half of it in it!” Little did the widow know that the cock of hay was as great a cheat as a bottle of champagne more than half bottom. It was all very well for the widow to admire her hay; but at last she came to sell it, and such sales are generally effected in Ireland by the purchaser buying “in the lump,” as it is called, that is, calculating the value of the hay from the appearance of the stack as it stands, and drawing it away upon his own cars. Now, as luck would have it, it was Andy’s early acquaintance, Owny na Coppal, bought the hay; and in consideration of the lone woman, gave her as good a price as he could afford for Owny was an honest, open-hearted fellow, though he was a horse-dealer; so he paid the widow the price of her hay on the spot, and said he would draw it away at his convenience.

In a few days Owny’s cars and men were sent for this purpose; but when they came to take the haystack to pieces, the solidity of its centre rather astonished them and instead of the cars going back loaded, two had their journey for nothing, and went home empty. Previously to his men leaving the widow’s field, they spoke to her on the subject, and said, “‘Pon my conscience, ma’am, the centre o’ your haystack was mighty heavy.”

“Oh, indeed, it’s powerful hay!” said she.

“Maybe so,” said they; “but there’s not much nourishment in that part of it.”

“Not finer hay in Ireland!” said she.

“What’s of it, ma’am,” said they. “Faix, we think Mr. Doyle will be talkin’ to you about it.” And they were quite right; for Owny became indignant at being overreached, as he thought, and lost no time in going to the widow to tell her so. When he arrived at her cabin, Andy happened to be in the house; and when the widow raised her voice through the storm of Owny’s rage, in protestations that she knew nothing about it, but that “Andy, the darlin’, put the cock up with his own hands,” then did Owny’s passion gather strength.

“Oh! it’s you, you vagabone, is it?” said he, shaking his whip at Andy, with whom he never had had the honour of a conversation since the memorable day when his horse was nearly killed. “So this is more o’ your purty work! Bad cess to you! wasn’t it enough for you to nigh-hand kill one o’ my horses, without plottin’ to chate the rest o’ them?”

“Is it me chate them?” said Andy. “Throth, I wouldn’t wrong a dumb baste for the world.”

“Not he, indeed, Misther Doyle!” said the widow.

“Arrah, woman, don’t be talkin’ your balderdash to me,” said Doyle; “sure you took my good money for your hay!”

“And sure I gave all I had to you what more could I do?”

“Tare an’ ounty, woman! who ever heerd of sich a thing as coverin’ up a rock wid hay, and sellin’ it as the rale thing?”

“’T was Andy done it, Mr. Doyle; hand, act, or part, I hadn’t in it.”

“Why, then, aren’t you ashamed o’ yourself?” said Owny Doyle, addressing Andy.

“Why would I be ashamed?” said Andy.

“For chatin’ that’s the word, since you provoke me.”

“What I done is not chatin’,” said Andy. “I had a blessed example for it.”

“Oh! do you hear this!” shouted Owny, nearly provoked to take the worth of his money out of Andy’s ribs.

“Yes, I say a blessed example,” said Andy. “Sure, didn’t the blessed Saint Peter build his church upon a rock, and why shouldn’t I build my cock o’ hay on a rock?”

Owny, with all his rage, could not help laughing at the ridiculous conceit. “By this and that, Andy,” said he, “you’re always sayin’ or doin’ the quarest things in the counthry, bad cess to you!” So he laid his whip upon his little hack instead of Andy, and galloped off.

Andy went over the next day to the neighbouring town, where Owny Doyle kept a little inn and a couple of post-chaises (such as they were), and expressed much sorrow that Owny had been deceived by the appearance of the hay; “but I’ll pay you the differ out o’ my wages, Misther Doyle in throth I will that is, whenever I have any wages to get: for the Squire turned me off, you see, and I’m out of place at this present.”

“Oh, never mind it,” said Owny. “Sure, it was the widow woman got the money, and I don’t begrudge it; and now that it’s all past and gone, I forgive you. But tell me, Andy, what put such a quare thing into your head?”

“Why, you see,” said Andy, “I didn’t like the poor mother’s pride should be let down in the eyes o’ the neighbours; and so I made the weeshy bit o’ hay look as dacent as I could but, at the same time, I wouldn’t chate any one for the world, Misther Doyle.”

“Throth, I b’lieve you wouldn’t, Andy; but, ’pon my sowl, the next time I go buy hay, I’ll take care that Saint Pether hasn’t any hand in it.”

Owny turned on his heel, and was walking away with that air of satisfaction which men so commonly assume after fancying they have said a good thing, when Andy interrupted his retreat by an interjectional “Misther Doyle?”

“Well,” said Owny, looking over his shoulder.

“I was thinkin’, sir,” said Andy.

“For the first time in your life, I b’lieve,” said Owny: “and what was it you wor thinkin’?”

“I was thinkin’ o’ dhrivin’ a chay, sir.”

“And what’s that to me?” said Owny.

“Sure I might dhrive one o’ your chaises.”

“And kill more o’ my horses, Andy eh? No, no, faix, I’m afeer’d o’ you, Andy.”

“Not a boy in Ireland knows dhrivin’ betther nor me, any way,” said Andy.

“Faix, it’s any way and every way but the way you ought you’d dhrive, sure enough, I b’lieve: but, at all events, I don’t want a post-boy, Andy I have Micky Doolin, and his brother Pether, and them’s enough for me.

“Maybe you’d be wantin’ a helper in the stable, Misther Doyle?”

“No, Andy; but the first time I want to make hay to advantage, I’ll send for you,” said Owny, laughing, as he entered his house, and nodding at Andy, who returned a capacious grin to Owny’s shrewd smile, like the exaggerated reflection of a concave mirror. But the grin soon subsided, for men seldom prolong the laugh that is raised at their own expense; and the corners of Andy’s mouth turned down as his hand turned up to the back of his head, which he rubbed, as he sauntered down the street from Owny Doyle’s.

It was some miles to Andy’s home, and night over-took him on the way. As he trudged along in the middle of the road he was looking up at a waning moon and some few stars twinkling through the gloom, absorbed in many sublime thoughts as to their existence, and wondering what they were made of, when his cogitations were cut short by tumbling over something which lay in the middle of the highway; and on scrambling to his legs again, and seeking to investigate the cause of his fall, he was rather surprised to find a man lying in such a state of insensibility that all Andy’s efforts could not rouse him. While he was standing over him, undecided as to what he should do, the sound of approaching wheels, and the rapid steps of galloping horses, attracted his attention; and it became evident that unless the chaise and pair which he now saw in advance were brought to pull up, the cares of the man in the middle of the road would be very soon over. Andy shouted lustily, but to his every “Halloo there!” the crack of the whip replied, and accelerated speed instead of a halt was the consequence; at last, in desperation, Andy planted himself in the middle of the road, and with out-spread arms before the horses, succeeded in arresting their progress, while he shouted “Stop!” at the top of his voice.

A pistol-shot from the chaise was the consequence of Andy’s summons, for a certain Mr. Furlong, a foppish young gentleman, travelling from the castle of Dublin, never dreamed that a humane purpose could produce the cry of “Stop,” on a horrid Irish road; and as he was reared in the ridiculous belief that every man ran a great risk of his life who ventured outside the city of Dublin, he travelled with a brace of loaded pistols beside him; and as he had been anticipating murder and robbery ever since nightfall, he did not await the demand for his “money or his life” to defend both, but fired away the instant he heard the word “Stop!” and fortunate it was for Andy that the traveller’s hurry impaired his aim. Before he could discharge a second pistol, Andy had screened himself under the horses’ heads; and recognising in the postilion his friend Micky Doolin, he shouted out, “Micky, jewel, don’t let them be shootin’ me!”

Now Micky’s cares were quite enough engaged on his own account: for the first pistol-shot made the horses plunge violently, and the second time Furlong blazed away set the saddle-horse kicking at such a rate, that all Micky’s horsemanship was required to preserve his seat; added to which, the dread of being shot came over him, and he crouched low on the grey’s neck, holding fast by the mane, and shouting for mercy as well as Andy, who still kept roaring to Mick, “not to let them be shootin’ him,” while he held his hat above him, in the fashion of a shield, as if that would have proved any protection against a bullet. “Who are you at all?” said Mick.

“Andy Rooney, sure.”

“And what do you want?”

“To save the man’s life.”

The last words only caught the ear of the frightened Furlong; and as the phrase “his life” seemed a personal threat to himself, he swore a trembling oath at the postilion that he would shoot him if he did not dwive on, for he abjured the use of that rough letter, R, which the Irish so much rejoice in. “Dwive on, you wascal, dwive on!” exclaimed Mr. Furlong.

“There’s no fear o’ you, sir,” said Micky, “it’s a friend o’ my own.”

Mr. Furlong was not quite satisfied that he was therefore the safer.

“And what is it at all, Andy?” continued Mick.

“I tell you there’s a man lying dead in the road here, and sure you’ll kill him, if you dhrive over him.”

“How could I kill him any more than he is kilt,” says Mick, “if he’s dead already?”

“Well, no matther for that,” says Andy. “’Light off your horse, will you, and help me to rise him?”

Mick dismounted, and assisted Andy in lifting the prostrate man from the centre of the road to the slope of turf which bordered its side. They judged he was not dead, however, from the warmth of the body; but that he should still sleep seemed astonishing, considering the quantity of shaking and kicking they gave him.

“I b’lieve it’s drunk he is,” said Mick.

“He gave a grunt that time,” said Andy; “shake him again, and he’ll spake.”

To a fresh shaking the drunken man at last gave some tokens of returning consciousness, by making several winding blows at his benefactors, and uttering some half-intelligent malédictions.

“Bad luck to you, do you know where you are?” said Mick.

“Well!” was the drunken ejaculation.

“By this and that, it’s my brother Pether,” said Mick. “We wondhered what had kept him so late with the return shay, and this is the way it is. He tumbled off his horses, dhrunk: and where’s the shay, I wondher? Oh, murdher! what will Misther Doyle say?”

“What’s the weason you don’t dwive on?” said Mr. Furlong, putting his head out of the chaise.

“It’s one on the road here, your honour, almost killed.”

“Was it wobbers?” asked Mr. Furlong.

“Maybe you’d take him into the shay wid you, sir?”

“What a wequest! dwive on, sir!”

“Sure I can’t lave my brother on the road, sir.”

“Your bwother! and you pwesume to put your bwother to wide with me? You’ll put me in the debdest wage if you don’t dwive on.”

“’Faith, then, I won’t dhrive on and lave my brother here on the road.”

“You rascally wappawee!” exclaimed Furlong.

“See, Andy,” said Micky Doolan; “will you get up and dhrive him, while I stay with Pether?”

“To be sure I will,” said Andy; “where is he goin’?”

“To the Squire’s,” said Mick; “and when you lave him there, make haste back, and I’ll dhrive Pether home.”

Andy mounted into Mick’s saddle; and although the traveller “pwotested” against it, and threatened “pwoceedings” and “magistrates,” Mick was unmoved in his brotherly love. As a last remonstrance, Furlong exclaimed, “And pewhaps this fellow can’t wide, and don’t know the woad.”

“Is it not know the road to the Squire’s? wow! wow!” said Andy. “It’s I that’ll rattle you there in no time, your honour.”

“Well, wattle away then!” said the enraged traveller, as he threw himself back in the chaise, cursing all the postilions in Ireland.

Now, it was to Squire O’Grady’s that Mr. Furlong wanted to go; but in the confusion of the moment the name of O’Grady never once was mentioned; and with the title of “Squire,” Andy never associated another idea than that of his late master, Mr. Egan.

Mr. Furlong, it has been stated, was an official of Dublin Castle, and had been despatched on electioneering business to the country. He was related to a gentleman of the same name who held a lucrative post under government, and was well known as an active agent in all affairs requiring what in Ireland was called “Castle influence;” and this, his relative, was now despatched, for the first time, on a similar employment. By the way, while his name is before one, a little anecdote may be appropriately introduced, illustrative of the wild waggery prevailing in the streets of Dublin in those days.

Those days were the good old days of true virtue! When a bishop who had daughters to marry, would advance a deserving young curate to a good living, and, not content with that manifestation of his regard, would give him one of his own children for a wife! Those were the days when, the country being in danger, fathers were willing to sacrifice, not only their sons, but their daughters on the altar of patriotism! Do you doubt it? unbelieving and selfish creatures of these degenerate times! Listen! A certain father waited upon the Irish Secretary, one fine morning, and in that peculiar strain which secretaries of state must be pretty well used to, descanted at some length on the devotion he had always shown to the government, and yet they had given him no proof of their confidence. The Secretary declared they had the highest sense of his merits, and that they had given him their entire confidence.

“But you have given me nothing else, my lord,” was the answer.

“My dear sir, of late we have not had any proof of sufficient weight in our gift to convince you.”

“Oh, I beg your pardon, my lord; there’s a majority of the dragoons vacant.”

“Very true, my dear sir; and if you had a child to devote to the service of your country, no one should have the majority sooner.”

“Thank you, my lord,” said the worthy man with a low bow; “then I have a child.”

“Bless me, sir! I never heard you had a son.”

“No, my lord, but I have a daughter.”

“A daughter!” said my Lord Secretary, with a look of surprise; “but you forget, sir this is a regiment a dragoon regiment.”

“Oh, she rides elegant,” said her father.

“But, my dear sir a woman?”

“Why shouldn’t a woman do her duty, my lord, as well as a man, when the country is in danger? I’m ready to sacrifice my daughter,” said the heroic man, with an air worthy of Virginius.

“My dear sir, this is really impossible; you know it’s impossible.”

“I know no such thing, my lord. But I’ll tell you what I know: there’s a bill coming on next week and there are ten friends of mine who have not made up their minds yet.”

“My dear sir,” said the Lord Secretary, squeezing his hand with vehement friendship, “why place us in this dreadful difficulty? It would be impossible even to draw up the commission; fancy, ’Major Maria,’ or ’Major Margery’!”

“Oh, my lord,” said my father quickly, “I have fancied all that long ago, and got a cure ready for it. My wife not having been blessed with boys, we thought it wise to make the girls ready for any chance that might turn up, and so we christened the eldest George, the second Jack, and the third Tom; which enables us to call them Georgina, Jacqueline, and Thomasine, in company, while the secret of their real names rests between ourselves and the parish register. Now, my lord, what do you say? I have George, Jack, and Tom think of your bill!” The argument was conclusive, and the patriotic man got the majority of a cavalry corps, with perpetual leave of absence, for his daughter Jack, who would much rather have joined the regiment.

Such were the days in which our Furlong flourished; and in such days it will not be wondered at that a Secretary, when he had no place to give away, invented one. The old saying has it, that “Necessity is the mother of invention;” but an Irish Secretary can beat necessity hollow. For example

A commission was issued, with a handsome salary to the commissioner, to make a measurement through all the streets of Dublin, ascertaining the exact distances from the Castle, from a furlong upwards: and for many a year did the commission work, inserting handsome stone slabs into walls of most ignorant houses, till then unconscious of their precise proximity or remoteness from the seat of government. Ever after that, if you saw some portly building, blushing in the pride of red brick, and perfumed with fresh paint, and saw the tablet recording the interesting fact thus

FROM THE CASTLE,
 ONE FURLONG.  

Fancy might suggest that the house rejoiced, as it were, in its honoured position, and did

“look so fine, and smell so sweet,”

because it was under the nose of viceroyalty, while the suburbs revealed poor tatterdemalion tenements, dropping their slates like tears, and uttering their hollow sighs through empty casements, merely because they were “one mile two furlongs from the Castle.” But the new stone tablet which told you so seemed to mock their misery, and looked like a fresh stab into their poor old sides; as if the rapier of a king had killed a beggar.

This very original measure of measurement was provocative of ridicule or indignation, as the impatient might happen to be infected; but while the affair was in full blow, Mr. Furlong, who was the commissioner, while walking in Sackville-street, one day, had a goodly sheet of paper pinned to his back by some

“sweet Roman hand,”

bearing, in large letters, the inversion of one of his own tablets,

   ONE FURLONG   
FROM THE CASTLE.

and as he swaggered along in conscious dignity, he wondered at the shouts of laughter ringing behind him, and turned round occasionally to see the cause; but ever as he turned, faces were screwed up into seriousness, while the laughter rang again in his rear. Furlong was bewildered, and much as he was used to the mirthfulness of an Irish populace, he certainly did/i> wonder what fiend of fun possessed them that day, until the hall porter of the secretary’s office solved the enigma by respectfully asking would he not take the placard from his back before he presented himself. The Mister Furlong who is engaged in our story was the nephew of the man of measurement memory; and his mother, a vulgar woman, sent her son to England to be educated, that he might “pick up the ax’nt; ’t was so jinteel, the Inglish ax’nt!” And, accordingly, the youth endeavoured all he could to become un/i>-Irish in everything, and was taught to believe that all the virtue and wisdom in Ireland was vested in the Castle and hangers-on thereof, and that the mere people were worse than savages.

With such feelings it was that this English Irishman, employed to open negotiations between the government and Squire O’Grady, visited the wilds of Ireland; and the circumstances attendant on the stopping of the chaise afforded the peculiar genius of Handy Andy an opportunity of making a glorious confusion, by driving the political enemy of the sitting member into his house, where, by a curious coincidence, a strange gentleman was expected every day on a short visit. After Andy had driven some time, he turned round and spoke to Mr. Furlong, through the pane of glass with which the front window-frame of the chaise was not furnished.

&“Faix, you wor nigh shootin’ me, your honour,” said Andy.

“I should not wepwoach myself, if I had,” said Mr. Furlong, “when you quied stop on the woad: wobbers always i>qui stop, and I took you for a wobber.”

“Faix, the robbers here, your honour, never axes you to stop at all, but they stop you without axin’, or by your lave, or wid your lave. Sure, I was only afeerd you’d dhrive over the man in the road.”

“What was that man in the woad doing?”

“Nothin’ at all, ’faith, for he wasn’t able; he was dhrunk, sir.”

“The postilion said he was his bwother.”

“Yis, your honour, and he’s a postilion himself only he lost his horses and the shay he got dhrunk, and fell off.”

“Those wascally postilions often get dwunk, I suppose?”

“Oh, common enough, sir, particular now about the ’lection time; for the gentlemin is dhrivin’ over the country like mad, right and left, and gives the boys money to dhrink their health, till they are killed a’most with the falls they get.”

“Then postilions often fall on the woads here?”

“Throth, the roads is covered with them sometimes, when the ’lections comes an.”

“What howwid immowality! I hope you’re not dwunk?”

“Faix, I wish I was!” said Andy. “It’s a great while since I had a dhrop; but it won’t be long so, when your honour gives me something to dhrink your health.”

“Well, don’t talk, but dwive on.”

All Andy’s further endeavours to get “his honour” into conversation were unavailing; so he whipped on in silence till his arrival at the gate-house of Merryvale demanded his call for entrance.

“What are you shouting there for?” said the traveller; “cawn’t you wing?”

“Oh, they understand the shilloo as well, sir;” and in confirmation of Andy’s assurance, the bars of the entrance gates were withdrawn, and the post-chaise rattled up the avenue to the house.

Andy alighted, and gave a thundering tantara-ra at the door. The servant who opened it was surprised at the sight of Andy, and could not repress a shout of wonder. Here Dick Dawson came into the hall, and seeing Andy at the door, gave a loud halloo, and clapped his hands in delight for he had not seen him since the day of the chase.

“An’ is it there you are again, you unlucky vagabone?” said Dick; “and what brings you here?”

“I come with a jintleman to the masther, Misther Dick.”

“Oh, it’s the visitor, I suppose,” said Dick, as he himself went out, with that unceremonious readiness so characteristic of the wild fellow he was, to open the door of the chaise for his brother-in-law’s guest.

“You’re welcome,” said Dick; “come, step in the servants will look to your luggage. James, get in Mr. , I beg your pardon, but ’pon my soul, I forgot your name, though Moriarty told me.”

“Mr. Furlong,” gently uttered the youth.

“Get in the luggage, James. Come, sir, walk into the dinner-room: we haven’t finished our wine yet.” With these words Dick ushered in Furlong to the apartment where Squire Egan sat, who rose as they entered. “Mr. Furlong, Ned,” said Dick.

“Happy to see you, Mr. Furlong,” said the hearty Squire, who shook Furlong’s hand in what Furlong considered a most savage manner. “You seem fatigued?”

“Vewy,” was the languid reply of the traveller, as he threw himself into a chair.

“Ring the bell for more claret, Dick,” said Squire Egan.

“I neveh dwink.”

Dick and the Squire both looked at him with amazement, for in the friend of Moriarty they expected to find a hearty fellow.

“A cool bottle wouldn’t do a child any harm,” said the Squire. “Ring, Dick. And now, Mr. Furlong, tell us how you like the country.”

“Not much, I pwotest.”

“What do you think of the people?”

“Oh, I don’t know: you’ll pawdon me, but a in short there are so many wags.”

“Oh, there are wags enough, I grant; not funnier d ls in the world.”

“But I mean wags tatters, I mean.”

“Oh, rags. Oh, yes why, indeed, they’ve not much clothes to spare.”

“And yet these wetches are fweeholders, I’m told.”

“Ay, and stout voters too.”

“Well, that’s all we wequire. By-the-bye, how goes on the canvass, Squire?”

“Famously.”

“Oh, wait till I explain to you our plan of opewations from head-qwaters. You’ll see how famously we shall wally at the hustings. These Iwish have no idea of tactics: we’ll intwoduce the English mode take them by supwise. We must unseat him.”

“Unseat who?” said the Squire.

“That a Egan, I think you call him.”

The Squire opened his eyes; but Dick, with the ready devilment that was always about him, saw how the land lay in an instant, and making a signal to his brother-in-law, chimed in with an immediate assent to Furlong’s assertion, and swore that Egan would be unseated to a certainty. “Come, sir,” added Dick, “fill one bumper at least to a toast I propose. Here’s ‘Confusion to Egan, and success to O’Grady.’”

“Success to O’Gwady,” faintly echoed Furlong, as he sipped his claret. “These Iwish are so wild so uncultivated,” continued he; “you’ll see how I’ll supwise them with some of my plans.”

“Oh, they’re poor ignorant brutes,” said Dick, “that know nothing: a man of the world like you would buy and sell them.”

“You see, they’ve no finesse: they have a certain degwee of weadiness, but no depth no weal finesse.”

“Not as much as would physic a snipe,” said Dick, who swallowed a glass of claret to conceal a smile.

“What’s that you say about snipes and physic?” said Furlong; “what queer things you Iwish do say.”

“Oh, we’ve plenty o’ queer fellows here,” said Dick; “but you are not taking your claret.”

“The twuth is, I am fatigued vewy and if you’d allow me, Mr. O’Gwady, I should like to go to my woom; we’ll talk over business to-mowwow.”

“Certainly,” said the Squire, who was glad to get rid of him, for the scene was becoming too much for his gravity. So Dick Dawson lighted Furlong to his room, and after heaping civilities upon him, left him to sleep in the camp of his enemies, and then returned to the dining-room, to enjoy with the Squire the laugh they were so long obliged to repress, and to drink another bottle of claret on the strength of the joke.

“What shall we do with him, Dick?” said the Squire.

“Pump him as dry as a lime-kiln,” said Dick, “and then send him off to O’Grady all’s fair in war.”

“To be sure,” said the Squire. “Unseat me, indeed! he was near it, sure enough, for I thought I’d have dropped off my chair with surprise when he said it.”

“And the conceit and impudence of the fellow,” said Dick. “The ignorant Iwish nothing will serve him but abusing his own countrymen! ’The ignorant Irish!’ oh, is that all you learn in Oxford, my boy? just wait, my buck if I don’t astonish your weak mind, it’s no matter!”

“’Faith, he has brought his pigs to a pretty market here,” said the Squire; “but how did he come here? how was the mistake made?”

“The way every mistake in the country is made,” said Dick. “Handy Andy drove him here.”

“More power to you, Andy,” said the Squire. “Come, Dick, we’ll drink Andy’s health this is a mistake on the right side.”

And Andy’s health was drunk, as well as several other healths. In short, the Squire and Dick the Devil were in high glee the dining-room rang with laughter to a late hour; and the next morning a great many empty claret bottles were on the table and a few on the floor.