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

The morning of nomination which dawned on Neck-or-Nothing Hall saw a motley group of O’Grady’s retainers assembling in the stable-yard, and the out-offices rang to laugh and joke over a rude but plentiful breakfast tea and coffee, there, had no place but meat, potatoes, milk, beer, and whisky were at the option of the body-guard, which was selected for the honour of escorting the wild chief and his friend, the candidate, into the town. Of this party was the yeomanry-band of which Tom Durfy spoke, though, to say the truth, considering Tom’s apprehensions on the subject, it was of slender force. One trumpet, one clarionet, a fife, a big drum, and a pair of cymbals, with a “real nigger” to play them, were all they could muster.

After clearing off everything in the shape of breakfast, the “musicianers” amused the retainers, from time to time, with a tune on the clarionet, fife, or trumpet, while they waited the appearance of the party from the house. Uproarious mirth and noisy joking rang round the dwelling, to which none contributed more largely than the trumpeter, who fancied himself an immensely clever fellow, and had a heap of cut-and-dry jokes at his command, and practical drolleries in which he indulged to the great entertainment of all, but of none more than Andy, who was in the thick of the row, and in a divided ecstasy between the “blaky-moor’s” turban and cymbals and the trumpeter’s jokes and music; the latter articles having a certain resemblance, by-the-bye, to the former in clumsiness and noise, and therefore suited to Andy’s taste. Whenever occasion offered, Andy got near the big drum, too, and gave it a thump, delighted with the result of his ambitious achievement.

Andy was not lost on the trumpeter: “Arrah, maybe you’d like to have a touch at these?” said the joker, holding up the cymbals.

“Is it hard to play them, sir?” inquired Andy.

“Hard!” said the trumpeter; “sure they’re not hard at all but as soft and smooth as satin inside just feel them rub your fingers inside.”

Andy obeyed; and his finger was chopped between the two brazen plates. Andy roared, the bystanders laughed, and the trumpeter triumphed in his wit. Sometimes he would come behind an unsuspecting boor, and give, close to his ear, a discordant bray from his trumpet, like the note of a jackass, which made him jump, and the crowd roar with merriment; or, perhaps, when the clarionet or the fife was engaged in giving the people a tune, he would drown either, or both of them, in a wild yell of his instrument. As they could not make reprisals upon him, he had his own way in playing whatever he liked for his audience; and in doing so indulged in all the airs of a great artist pulling out one crook from another blowing through them softly, and shaking the moisture from them in a tasty style arranging them with a fastidious nicety then, after the final adjustment of the mouth-piece, lipping the instrument with an affectation exquisitely grotesque; but before he began he always asked for another drink.

“It’s not for myself,” he would say, “but for the thrumpet, the crayther; the divil a note she can blow without a dhrop.”

Then, taking a mug of drink, he would present it to the bell of the trumpet, and afterwards transfer it to his own lips, always bowing to the instrument first, and saying, “Your health, ma’am!”

This was another piece of delight to the mob, and Andy thought him the funniest fellow he ever met, though he did chop his finger.

“Faix, sir, an’ it is dhry work, I’m sure, playing the thing.”

“Dhry!” said the trumpeter, “’pon my ruffles and tuckers and that’s a cambric oath it’s worse nor lime-burnin’, so it is it makes a man’s throat as parched as pays.”

“Who dar says pays?” cried the drummer.

“Howld your prate!” said the trumpeter, elegantly, and silenced all reply by playing a tune. As soon as it was ended, he turned to Andy and asked for a cork.

Andy gave it to him.

The man of jokes affected to put it into the trumpet.

“What’s that for, sir?” asked Andy.

“To bottle up the music,” said the trumpeter “sure all the music would run about the place if I didn’t do that.”

Andy gave a vague sort of “ha, ha!” as if he were not quite sure whether the trumpeter was in jest or earnest, and thought at the moment that to play the trumpet and practical jokes must be the happiest life in the world. Filled with this idea, Andy was on the watch how he could possess himself of the trumpet, for could he get one blast on it, he would be happy: a chance at last opened to him; after some time, the lively owner of the treasure laid down his instrument to handle a handsome blackthorn which one of the retainers was displaying, and he made some flourishes with the weapon to show that music was not his only accomplishment. Andy seized the opportunity and the trumpet, and made off to one of the sheds where they had been regaling; and, shutting the door to secure himself from observation, he put the trumpet to his mouth and distended his cheeks near to bursting with the violence of his efforts to produce a sound; but all his puffing was unavailing for some minutes. At last a faint cracked squeak answered a more desperate blast than before, and Andy was delighted. “Everything must have a beginning,” thought Andy, “and maybe I’ll get a tune out of it yet.” He tried again, and increased in power; for a sort of strangled screech was the result. Andy was in ecstasy, and began to indulge visions of being one day a trumpeter; he strutted up and down the shed like the original he so envied, and repeated some of the drolleries he heard him utter. He also imitated his actions of giving a drink to the trumpet, and was more generous to the instrument than the owner, for he really poured about half a pint of beer down its throat: he then drank its health, and finished by “bottling up the music,” absolutely cramming a cork into the trumpet. Now Andy, having no idea the trumpeter made a sham of the action, made a vigorous plunge of a goodly cork into the throat of the instrument, and, in so doing, the cork went further than he intended: he tried to withdraw it, but his clumsy fingers, instead of extracting, only drove it in deeper he became alarmed and, seizing a fork, strove with its assistance to remedy the mischief he had done, but the more he poked, the worse; and, in his fright, he thought the safest thing he could do was to cram the cork out of sight altogether, and having soon done that, he returned to the yard, and laid down the trumpet unobserved.

Immediately after, the procession to the town started. O’Grady gave orders that the party should not be throwing away their powder and shot, as he called it, in untimely huzzas and premature music. “Wait till you come to the town, boys,” said he, “and then you may smash away as hard as you can; blow your heads off, and split the sky.”

The party of Merryvale was in motion for the place of action about the same time, and a merrier pack of rascals never was on the march. Murphy, in accordance with his preconceived notion of a “fine effect,” had literally “a cart full of fiddlers;” but the fiddlers hadn’t it all to themselves, for there was another cart full of pipers; and, by way of mockery to the grandeur of Scatterbrain’s band, he had four or five boys with gridirons, which they played upon with pokers, and half a dozen strapping fellows carrying large iron tea-trays, which they whopped after the manner of a Chinese gong.

It so happened that the two roads from Merryvale and Neck-or-Nothing Hall met at an acute angle, at the same end of the town, and it chanced that the rival candidates and their retinues arrived at this point about the same time.

“There they are!” said Murphy, who presided in the cart full of fiddlers like a leader in an orchestra, with a shillelah for his baton, which he flourished over his head as he shouted, “Now give it to them, your sowls! rasp and lilt away, boys! slate the gridirons, Mike! smaddher the tay-tray, Tom!”

The uproar of strange sounds that followed, shouting included, may be easier imagined than described; and O’Grady, answering the war-cry, sung out to his band “What are you at, you lazy rascals? don’t you hear them blackguards beginning? fire away, and be hanged to you!” His rascals shouted, bang went the drum, and clang went the cymbals, the clarionet squeaked, and the fife tootled, but the trumpet ah! the trumpet their great reliance where was the trumpet? O’Grady inquired in the precise words, with a diabolical addition of his own. “Where the d is the trumpet?” said he; he looked over the side of the carriage as he spoke, and saw the trumpeter spitting out a mouthful of beer which had run from the instrument as he lifted it to his mouth.

“Bad luck to you, what are you wasting your time there for?” thundered O’Grady in a rage; “why didn’t you spit out when you were young, and you’d be a clean old man? Blow and be d to you!”

The trumpeter filled his lungs for a great blast, and put the trumpet to his lips but in vain; Andy had bottled his music for him. O’Grady, seeing the inflated cheeks and protruding eyes of the musician, whose visage was crimson with exertion, and yet no sound produced, thought the fellow was practising one of his jokes upon him, and became excessively indignant; he thundered anathemas at him, but his voice was drowned in the din of the drum and cymbals, which were plied so vigorously, that the clarionet and fife shared the same fate as O’Grady’s voice. The trumpeter could judge of O’Grady’s rage from the fierceness of his actions only, and answered him in pantomimic expression, holding up his trumpet and pointing into the bell, with a grin of vexation on his phiz, meant to express something was wrong; but this was all mistaken by the fierce O’Grady, who only saw in the trumpeter’s grins the insolent intention of jibing him.

“Blow, you blackguard, blow!” shouted the Squire. Bang went the drum.

“Blow or I’ll break your neck!” Crash went the cymbals.

“Stop your banging there, you ruffians, and let me be heard!” roared the excited man; but as he was standing up on the seat of the carriage, and flung his arms about wildly as he spoke, the drummer thought his action was meant to stimulate him to further exertion, and he banged away louder than before.

“By the hokey, I’ll murder some o’ ye!” shouted the Squire, who, ordering the carriage to pull up, flung open the door and jumped out, made a rush at the drummer, seized his principal drumstick, and giving him a bang over the head with it, cursed him for a rascal for not stopping when he told him; this silenced all the instruments together, and O’Grady, seizing the trumpeter by the back of the neck, shook him violently, while he denounced with fierce imprecations his insolence in daring to practise a joke on him. The trumpeter protested his innocence, and O’Grady called him a lying rascal, finishing his abuse by clenching his fist in a menacing attitude, and telling him to play.

“I can’t, yer honour!”

“You lie, you scoundrel.”

“There’s something in the trumpet, sir.”

“Yes, there’s music in it; and if you don’t blow it out of it ”

“I can’t blow it out of it, sir.”

“Hold your prate, you ruffian; blow this minute.”

“Arrah, thry it yourself, sir,” said the frightened man, handing the instrument to the Squire.

“D n your impudence, you rascal; do you think I’d blow anything that was in your dirty mouth? Blow, I tell you, or it will be worse for you.”

“By the vartue o’ my oath, your honour ”

“Blow, I tell you!”

“By the seven blessed candles ”

“Blow, I tell you!”

“The trumpet is choked, sir.”

“There will be a trumpeter choked, soon,” said O’Grady, gripping him by the neck-handkerchief, with his knuckles ready to twist into his throat. “By this and that I’ll strangle you, if you don’t play this minute, you humbugger.”

“By the Blessed Virgin, I’m not humbiggin’ your honour,” stammered the trumpeter with the little breath O’Grady left him.

Scatterbrain, seeing O’Grady’s fury, and fearful of its consequences, had alighted from the carriage and came to the rescue, suggesting to the infuriated Squire that what the man said might be true. O’Grady said he knew better, that the blackguard was a notorious joker, and having indulged in a jest in the first instance, was now only lying to save himself from punishment; furthermore, swearing that if he did not play that minute he’d throw him into the ditch.

With great difficulty O’Grady was prevailed upon to give up the gripe of the trumpeter’s throat; and the poor breathless wretch, handing the instrument to the clarionet-player, appealed to him if it were possible to play on it. The clarionet-player said he could not tell, for he did not understand the trumpet.

“You see there!” cried O’Grady. “You see he’s humbugging, and the clarionet-player is an honest man.”

“An honest man!” exclaimed the trumpeter, turning fiercely on the clarionet-player. “He’s the biggest villain unhanged for sthrivin’ to get me murthered, and refusin’ the evidence for me!” The man’s eyes flashed fury as he spoke, and throwing his trumpet down, “Mooney! by jakers, you’re no man!” Clenching his fist as he spoke, he made a rush on the clarionet-player, and planted a hit on his mouth with such vigour, that he rolled in the dust; and when he rose, it was with such an upper lip that his clarionet-playing was evidently finished for the next week certainly.

Now the fifer was the clarionet-player’s brother; and he, turning on the trumpeter, roared

“Bad luck to you! you did not sthrek him fair!”

But while in the very act of reprobating the foul blow, he let fly under the ear of the trumpeter, who was quite unprepared for it, and he, too, measured his length on the road. On recovering his legs he rushed on the fifer for revenge, and a regular scuffle ensued among “the musicianers,” to the great delight of the crowd of retainers, who were so well primed with whisky that a fight was just the thing to their taste.

In vain O’Grady swore at them, and went amongst them, striving to restore order, but they would not be quiet till several black eyes and damaged noses bore evidence of a busy five minutes having passed. In the course of “the scrimmage,” Fate was unkind to the fifer, whose mouth-piece was considerably impaired; and “the boys” remarked, that the worst stick you could have in a crowd was a “whistling stick,” by which name they designated the fifer’s instrument.

At last, however, peace was restored, and the trumpeter again ordered to play by O’Grady.

He protested, again, it was impossible.

The fifer, in revenge, declared he was only humbugging the Squire.

Hereupon O’Grady, seizing the unfortunate trumpeter, gave him a more sublime kicking than ever fell to the lot of even piper or fiddler, whose pay is proverbially oftener in that article than the coin of the realm.

Having tired himself, and considerably rubbed down the toe of his boot with his gentlemanly exercise, O’Grady dragged the trumpeter to the ditch, and rolled him into it, there to cool the fever which burned in his seat of honour.

O’Grady then re-entered the carriage with Scatterbrain, and the party proceeded; but the clarionet-player could not blow a note; the fifer was not in good playing condition, and tootled with some difficulty; the drummer was obliged now and then to relax his efforts in making a noise that he might lift his right arm to his nose, which had got damaged in the fray, and the process of wiping his face with his cuff changed the white facings of his jacket to red. The negro cymbal-player was the only one whose damages were not to be ascertained, as a black eye would not tell on him, and his lips could not be more swollen than nature had made them. On the procession went, however; but the rival mob, the Eganites, profiting by the delay caused by the row, got ahead, and entered the town first, with their pipers and fiddlers, hurrahing their way in good humour down the street, and occupying the best places in the court-house before the arrival of the opposite party, whose band, instead of being a source of triumph, was only a thing of jeering merriment to the Eganites, who received them with mockery and laughter. All this by no means sweetened O’Grady’s temper, who looked thunder as he entered the court-house with his candidate, who was, though a good-humoured fellow, a little put out by the accidents of the morning; and Furlong looked more sheepish than ever, as he followed his leaders.

The business of the day was opened by the high-sheriff, and Major Dawson lost no time in rising to propose, that Edward Egan, Esquire, of Merryvale, was a fit and proper person to represent the county in parliament.

The proposition was received with cheers by “the boys” in the body of the court-house; the Major proceeded, full sail, in his speech his course aided by being on the popular current, and the “sweet voices” of the multitude blowing in his favour. On concluding (as “the boys” thought) his address, which was straightforward and to the point, a voice in the crowd proposed “Three cheers for the owld Major.” Three deafening peals followed the hint.

“And now,” said the Major, “I will read a few extracts here from some documents, in support of what I have had the honour of addressing to you.” And he pulled out a bundle of papers as he spoke, and laid them down before him.

The movement was not favoured by “the boys,” as it indicated a tedious reference to facts by no means to their taste, and the same voice that suggested the three cheers, now sung out

“Never mind, Major sure we’ll take your word for it!”

Cries of “Order!” and “Silence!” ensued; and were followed by murmurs, coughs, and sneezes, in the crowd, with a considerable shuffling of hobnailed shoes on the pavement.

“Order!” cried a voice in authority.

“Order anything you plaze, sir!” said the voice in the crowd.

“Whisky!” cried one.

“Porther!” cried another.

“Tabakky!” roared a third.

“I must insist on silence!” cried the sheriff, in a very husky voice. “Silence! or I’ll have the court-house cleared.”

“’Faith, if you cleared your own throat it would be better,” said the wag in the crowd.

A laugh followed. The sheriff felt the hit, and was silent.

The Major all this time had been adjusting his spectacles on his nose, unconscious, poor old gentleman, that Dick, according to promise, had abstracted the glasses from them that morning. He took up his documents to read, made sundry wry faces, turned the papers up to the light, now on this side, and now on that, but could make out nothing; while Dick gave a knowing wink at Murphy. The old gentleman took off his spectacles to wipe the glasses.

The voice in the crowd cried, “Thank you, Major.”

The Major pulled out his handkerchief, and his fingers met where he expected to find a lens: he looked very angry, cast a suspicious glance at Dick, who met it with the composure of an anchorite, and quietly asked what was the matter.

“I shall not trouble you, gentlemen, with the extracts,” said the Major.

“Hear, hear,” responded the genteel part of the auditory.

“I tould you we’d take your word, Major,” cried the voice in the crowd.

Egan’s seconder followed the Major, and the crowd shouted again. O’Grady now came forward to propose the Honourable Sackville Scatterbrain, as a fit and proper person to represent the county in parliament. He was received by his own set of vagabonds with uproarious cheers, and “O’Grady for ever!” made the walls ring. “Egan for ever!” and hurras, were returned from the Merryvalians. O’Grady thus commenced his address:

“In coming forward to support my honourable friend, the Honourable Sackville Scatterbrain, it is from the conviction the conviction ”

“Who got the conviction agen the potteen last sishin?” said the voice in the crowd.

Loud groans followed this allusion to the prosecution of a few little private stills, in which O’Grady had shown some unnecessary severity that made him unpopular. Cries of “Order!” and “Silence!” ensued.

“I say the conviction,” repeated O’Grady fiercely, looking towards the quarter whence the interruption took place, “and if there is any blackguard here who dares to interrupt me, I’ll order him to be taken out by the ears. I say, I propose my honourable friend, the Honourable Sackville Scatterbrain, from the conviction that there is a necessity in this county ”

“’Faith, there is plenty of necessity,” said the tormentor in the crowd.

“Take that man out,” said the sheriff.

“Don’t hurry yourself, sir,” returned the delinquent, amidst the laughter of “the boys,” in proportion to whose merriment rose O’Grady’s ill-humour.

“I say there is a necessity for a vigorous member to represent this county in parliament, and support the laws, the constitution, the crown, and the the interests of the county!”

“Who made the new road?” was a question that now arose from the crowd a laugh followed and some groans at this allusion to a bit of jobbing on the part of O’Grady, who got a grand jury presentment to make a road which served nobody’s interest but his own.

“The frequent interruptions I meet here from the lawless and disaffected show too plainly that we stand in need of men who will support the arm of the law in purging the country.”

“Who killed the ’pothecary?” said a fellow, in a voice so deep as seemed fit only to issue from the jaws of death.

The question, and the extraordinary voice in which it was uttered, produced one of those roars of laughter which sometimes shake public meetings in Ireland; and O’Grady grew furious.

“If I knew who that gentleman was, I’d pay him!” said he.

“You’d better pay them you know,” was the answer; and this allusion to O’Grady’s notorious character of a bad payer, was relished by the crowd, and again raised the laugh against him.

“Sir,” said O’Grady, addressing the sheriff, “I hold this ruffianism in contempt. I treat it, and the authors of it, those who no doubt have instructed them, with contempt.” He looked over to where Egan and his friends stood, as he spoke of the crowd having had instruction to interrupt him.

“If you mean, sir,” said Egan, “that I have given any such instructions, I deny, in the most unqualified terms, the truth of such an assertion.”

“Keep yourself cool, Ned,” said Dick Dawson, close to his ear.

“Never fear me,” said Egan; “but I won’t let him bully.”

The two former friends now exchanged rather fierce looks at each other.

“Then why am I interrupted?” asked O’Grady.

“It is no business of mine to answer that,” replied Egan; “but I repeat the unqualified denial of your assertion.”

The crowd ceased its noise when the two Squires were seen engaged in exchanging smart words, in the hopes of catching what they said.

“It is a disgraceful uproar,” said the sheriff.

“Then it is your business, Mister Sheriff,” returned Egan, “to suppress it not mine; they are quiet enough now.”

“Yes, but they’ll make a wow again,” said Furlong, “when Miste’ O’Gwady begins.”

“You seem to know all about it,” said Dick; “maybe you have instructed them.”

“No, sir, I didn’t instwuct them,” said Furlong, very angry at being twitted by Dick.

Dick laughed in his face, and said, “Maybe that’s some of your electioneering tactics eh?”

Furlong got very angry, while Dick and Murphy shouted with laughter at him “No, sir,” said Furlong, “I don’t welish the pwactice of such di’ty twicks.”

“Do you apply the word ‘dirty’ to me, sir?” said Dick the Devil, ruffling up like a game-cock. “I’ll tell you what, sir, if you make use of the word ‘dirty’ again, I’d think very little of kicking you ay, or eight like you I’ll kick eight Furlongs one mile.”

“Who’s talking of kicking?” asked O’Grady.

“I am,” said Dick, “do you want any?”

“Gentlemen! gentlemen!” cried the sheriff, “order! pray order! do proceed with the business of the day.”

“I’ll talk to you after about this!” said O’Grady, in a threatening tone.

“Very well,” said Dick; “we’ve time enough, the day’s young yet.”

O’Grady then proceeded to find fault with Egan, censuring his politics, and endeavouring to justify his defection from the same cause. He concluded thus: “Sir, I shall pursue my course of duty; I have chalked out my own line of conduct, sir, and I am convinced no other line is the right line. Our opponents are wrong, sir totally wrong all wrong; and, as I have said, I have chalked out my own line, sir, and I propose the Honourable Sackville Scatterbrain as a fit and proper person to sit in parliament for the representation of this county.”

The O’Gradyites shouted as their chief concluded; and the Merryvalians returned some groans, and a cry of “Go home, turncoat!”

Egan now presented himself, and was received with deafening and long-continued cheers, for he was really beloved by the people at large; his frank and easy nature, the amiable character he bore in all his social relations, the merciful and conciliatory tendency of his decisions and conduct as a magistrate, won him the solid respect as well as affection of the country.

He had been for some days in low spirits in consequence of Larry Hogan’s visit and mysterious communication with him; but this, its cause, was unknown to all but himself, and therefore more difficult to support; for none but those whom sad experience has taught can tell the agony of enduring in secret and in silence the pang that gnaws a proud heart, which, Spartan like, will let the tooth destroy, without complaint or murmur.

His depression, however, was apparent, and Dick told Murphy he feared Ned would not be up to the mark at the election; but Murphy, with a better knowledge of human nature, and the excitement of such a cause, said, “Never fear him ambition is a long spur, my boy, and will stir the blood of a thicker-skinned fellow than your brother-in-law. When he comes to stand up and assert his claims before the world, he’ll be all right!”

Murphy was a true prophet, for Egan presented himself with confidence, brightness, and good-humour on his open countenance.

“The first thing I have to ask of you, boys,” said Egan, addressing the assembled throng, “is a fair hearing for the other candidate.”

“Hear, hear,” followed from the gentlemen in the gallery.

“And, as he’s a stranger amongst us, let him have the privilege of first addressing you.”

With these words he bowed courteously to Scatterbrain, who thanked him very much like a gentleman, and accepting his offer, advanced to address the electors. O’Grady waved his hand in signal to his body-guard, and Scatterbrain had three cheers from the ragamuffins.

He was no great things of a speaker, but he was a good-humoured fellow, and this won on the Paddies; and although coming before them under the disadvantage of being proposed by O’Grady, they heard him with good temper: to this, however, Egan’s good word considerably contributed.

He went very much over the ground his proposer had taken, so that, bating the bad temper, the pith of his speech was much the same, quite as much deprecating the political views of his opponent, and harping on O’Grady’s worn-out catch-word of “Having chalked out a line for himself,” &c. &c. &c.

Egan now stood forward, and was greeted with fresh cheers. He began in a very Irish fashion; for, being an unaffected, frank, and free-hearted fellow himself, he knew how to touch the feelings of those who possess such qualities. He waited till the last echo of the uproarious greeting died away, and the first simple words he uttered were

“Here I am, boys!”

Simple as these words were, they produced “one cheer more.”

“Here I am, boys the same I ever was.”

Loud huzzas and “Long life to you!” answered the last pithy words, which were sore ones to O’Grady, who, as a renegade, felt the hit.

“Fellow-countrymen, I come forward to represent you, and, however I may be unequal to that task, at least I will never misrepresent you.”

Another cheer followed.

“My past life is evidence enough on that point; God forbid I were of the mongrel breed of Irishmen who speak ill of their own country. I never did it, boys, and I never will! Some think they get on by it, and so they do, indeed; they get on as sweeps and shoe-blacks get on they drive a dirty trade and find employment; but are they respected?”

Shouts of “No! no!”

“You’re right! No! they are not respected even by their very employers. Your political sweep and shoe-black is no more respected than he who cleans our chimneys or cleans our shoes. The honourable gentleman who has addressed you last confesses he is a stranger amongst you; and is he, a stranger, to be your representative? You may be civil to a stranger it is a pleasing duty, but he is not the man to whom you would give your confidence. You might share a hearty glass with a stranger, but you would not enter into a joint lease of a farm without knowing a little more of him; and if you would not trust a single farm with a stranger, will you give a whole county into his hands? When a stranger comes to these parts, I’m sure he’ll get a civil answer from every man I see here, he will get a civil ‘yes’ or a civil ‘no’ to his questions; and if he seeks his way, you will show him his road. As to the honourable gentleman who has done you the favour to come and ask you civilly, will you give him the county, you as civilly may answer ‘No,’ and show him his road home again. (’So we will.’) As for the gentleman who proposed him, he has chosen to make certain strictures upon my views, and opinions, and conduct. As for views there was a certain heathen god the Romans worshipped, called Janus; he was a fellow with two heads and by-the-bye, boys, he would have been just the fellow to live amongst us; for when one of his heads was broken he would have had the other for use. Well, this Janus was called ‘double-face,’ and could see before and behind him. Now, I’m no double-face, boys; and as for seeing before and behind me, I can look back on the past and forward to the future, and both the roads are straight ones. (Cheers.) I wish every one could say as much. As for my opinions, all I shall say is, I never changed mine; Mr. O’Grady can’t say as much.”

“Sure there’s a weathercock in the family,” said the voice in the crowd.

A loud laugh followed this sally, for the old dowager’s eccentricity was not quite a secret. O’Grady looked as if he could have eaten the whole crowd at a mouthful.

“Much has been said,” continued Egan, “about gentlemen chalking out lines for themselves; now, the plain English of this determined chalking of their own line is rubbing out every other man’s line. (Bravo.) Some of these chalking gentlemen have lines chalked up against them, and might find it difficult to pay the score if they were called to account. To such, rubbing out other men’s lines, and their own too, may be convenient; but I don’t like the practice. Boys, I have no more to say than this, We know and can trust each other!”

Egan’s address was received with acclamation, and when silence was restored, the sheriff demanded a show of hands; and a very fine show of hands there was, and every hand had a stick in it.

The show of hands was declared to be in favour of Egan, whereupon a poll was demanded on the part of Scatterbrain, after which every one began to move from the court-house.

O’Grady, in very ill-humour, was endeavouring to shove past a herculean fellow, rather ragged and very saucy, who did not seem inclined to give place to the savage elbowing of the Squire.

“What brings such a ragged rascal as you here?” said O’Grady, brutally; “you’re not an elector.”

“Yis, I am!” replied the fellow, sturdily.

“Why, you can’t have a lease, you beggar.”

“No, but maybe I have an article."

“What is your article?”

“What is it?” retorted the fellow, with a fierce look at O’Grady. “’Faith, it’s a fine brass blunderbuss; and I’d like to see the man would dispute the title.”

O’Grady had met his master, and could not reply; the crowd shouted for the ragamuffin, and all parties separated, to gird up their loins for the next day’s poll.