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der, until, breathless with his pirouetting, he sought the repose of a chair.
'Oh, you lucky dog!' gasped the merry old gentleman, with a chuckle which almost inflicted apoplexy upon him.
Lucky-for what, in the name of wonder?' inquired I, a little amazed by an imputation to which hitherto I had not been very obnoxious.
'Read! read!' exclaimed he in reply, thrusting the newspaper into my hand, and pointing to a paragraph. I obeyed him. 'Wanted, for a small family, a steady careful person to act as drynurse.'
'Pshaw ! that's not it. There, in the third column. Don't you see it there?'
Moderation in strong drink is a quality which will always mark the distinction between the man properly so called and the-'
'Confound me!' exclaimed mine uncle, interrupting me, but you're the stupidest man in Connaught. Don't you see what's just under that?'
"Oh, ay-"Lost, by an elderly gentleman" -"
Holy Saint Bridget! is it trying to vex me you are? Thereread that, and bless your stars that I was born before you.'
An account of my duel, as I am a gentleman! communicated by some fervent admirer to the Evening Post, and containing, moreover, a most flattering eulogium on the spirit exhibited on the occasion by me, Hugh, with a short account of my birth, life, and parentage, and I know not what besides; for I was knocked into such a bother by the first glance, that I stuck in the middle of the paragraph, and could get no farther for the life of me.
Elegant, isn't it!' ejaculated the old gentleman, after another explosion of delight. Egad! it's the luckiest thing befell Lisnisky in my day.'
'Would it suit you to expound ?' replied I; 'for deuce a bit of luck can I see in it.'
'Not see the luck!' exclaimed he. Why, you stupid dog, I bet life there's not one of them but is dying to see you this minute.' One of who?' I ventured again to inquire.
'Murder! how innocent you are!' said the senior; the Dublin girls, to be sure-rich and poor, gentle and simple-all mad to have a sight of you.'
Nonsense! What do they know about me?' said I, with something of a simper.
'What do they know about you! Is it after that!-after your fighting a duel for the sex, and getting into the papers-pooh! I believe you think I don't know them. Well, maybe I don't. Maybe I spent my thousand pounds and my three years among them for nothing. Dear, dear!-if it was to me that luck happened!-ah! it's I that would know how to make the most of it. Ten thousand at the very least I'd make by it, or twice that if I'd be content with a widow.'
Who wouldn't be a champion, if such be the rewards of chivalry! Ten thousand pounds, and the pick of Dublin! My good fortune, and the brilliant prospects which accompanied it, were forthwith announced to the family conclave at the dinner-table assembled; and mine uncle, like all old bachelors since the Flood, being an incontrovertible authority on all matters connected with the wooing and winning of ladies fair, I need hardly say the result was the decision that I should
pack up without delay, and take the canal-boat for Dublin, to catch the golden opportunity, and gather my laurels before they withered. My father's parting behest was to take for my minimum 'blood, beauty, and five thousand;' nothing less than which, he said, would clear Lisnisky. Uncle Hugh gave me his duelling pistols, and good store of advice beside. My mother threw her slippers after me for luck; and thus prepared for all possible contingencies, I set out on my expedition to seek adventures among the fair, and select among the expected candidates her who was on the average most worthy to bear away the palm.
Let it be supposed, for the sake of brevity, that I arrived safe at my journey's end, found out the boarding-house frequented by my Connaught friends, became one of its most highly.favoured inmates ere I was an hour under the roof, and was put in possession of one of the bed rooms kept for those whom the hostess especially delighted to honour, number something, second floor, front, when I proceeded to divest myself of the soils and abominations of travel, that I might without loss of time commence my campaign by deliv ering the few letters of introduction with which the good-will of the neighbours had provided me.
I had been taught that a great deal depended on the first impression I should make; and, in order that my appearance might be in concord with the pugnacity on which my claims were to be founded, I deter. mined my first impression should be a striking one; and so it was. 'Maybe you won't be a posy!' was the delighted exclamation of our family valet, as he packed up the garments in which I was to conquer ; and, all things considered, I rather think I was a posy. My coat was a nice cool grass green, set off with gold buttons; my waistcoat was azure, prettily relieved by a scarlet scarf, and further ornamented by a handsome silver watch guard. Having donned this pleasing attire, I was about setting off on my errand, when chancing to cast my eye to the houses at the other side of the street, which, though a genteel enough sort of locality, was rather more narrow than is usual in Dublin, I thought I detected in the apartment of the opposite domicile corresponding with my own, the graceful movements of a female figure. 'Be always reconnoitring,' was one of Uncle Hugh's favourite maxims, and I prepared to put it in practice, straining my eye to catch another glance. 'Decency, Hugh!' was my first impulse on the occasion; but, alas for poor human nature! curiosity soon got the better of it. Pshaw! it's only the housemaid,' remonstrated impulse No. one. 'My head to a halfpenny that it isn't,' responded No. two. • When did a spider-brusher move with such a step as that?'-'Take care, or you'll see something you won't like,' hinted Decency. I wonder what that same might be,' suggested Curiosity. And so they went on, pro and con, like Gregg and Maguire, until I, as umpire, gave it in favour of Curiosity, who, according to my judgment, had decidedly the best of the argument. And so I gazed long and ardently, and ever and anon the fairy vision flitted by, now advancing into light, now receding into darkness, and once or twice, by approaching the window, partially displaying a beauty which, even in dishabille, made my heart jump within me. At length my eyes, growing more accustomed to the obscurity, were able to keep her longer in view, to scan her loveliness better. She couldn't be more than eighteen ; marble wasn't fairer than her forehead and neck, nor sunset richer than her cheek. Even at that distance, the merry play of a bright blue eye was perceptible;
and her hair, when she released it, flowed in ringlets of the richest auburn. She was of the middle height, or less; a proportion which, though not loved in Connaught, ever found favour in my eyes. The Fairy Queen would have withered with envy, had she seen her hands. And in a word, under the united influence of so many charms, Hugh Kelly of Lisnisky was ready to die of love or some similar disorder, -and small blame to him. 'Come,' thought I to myself, this isn't a bad beginning. If she has the needful in other respects, my mar. ket is made. I need hardly despair while such a pleasant proximity exists between us. And please the pipers, if we continue to abide so near one another, there shall be no good time lost-none, at least, that assurance can improve.'
Full of these intents on the lady's behalf, I continued to look on, lowering after every glance the standard of thousands, in consideration of which I was authorized to create a Mrs. Kelly, junior. I was will. ing to confess at once that even less than five, with so much beauty, would be quite unobjectionable. As she emerged from her dishabille I became still more humble in my desires, until at last, in the full spirit of disinterestedness, like poor Lear's recreant daughter, I was drawn to ask myself, 'What need one?' especially when, after displaying her taste by the selection of a most appropriate gown and bonnet from the heap of millinery which she had drawn from its repository, she again appeared armed cap-à-pie in loveliness, a beauty from top to toe. I was caught-fairly caught. My money calculations vanished like snow on the river, and I felt only anxious on the question how I was to make known to the lady herself the magnitude of the sacrifice I was making in her favour. A most unaccountable incident removed the difficulty. It was no deception-none whatever. May I never taste matrimony, but she kissed her hand with the most winning grace, and bowed apparently towards the window in which I had stationed myself. I started back with surprise, it never having occurred to me that she had observed me, or that in such a short space of time I could have advanced so far in her good graces.
"By the powers!' thought I, if my natural gifts don't fail me now, the acquaintance shall be on a very pretty footing for a first interview.' I advanced to the window again; there was the lady still bowing and courtseying, as if her heart was set on the matter. I was never outdone in politeness yet, particularly among the fair sex; so, not to lose my character altogether in this instance, I threw up the window to make my good manners more visible, and laying one hand on my heart, kissed away with the other, in the delighted consciousness that I was born to be a hero among the women, and that by the ladies of Dublin-may their discrimination be rewarded!-true merit would ever be appreciated and regarded. But my vis-à-vis-oh! horror of horrors! she stood a moment motionless, as it were, and dumbfoundered, and then springing angrily forward, caught the tassel of the window-blind, and with a jerk that was devilish near making a job for the glazier, drew a screen of grey lawn between us.
What could it mean? Had I been too forward? Was it coquetry on her part? Had I gone further than her advances would warrant ? Scarcely. In fine, I was puzzled and perplexed, frightened and chopfallen. I was prepared to meet women a little unintelligible; but to be set so completely at fault never entered into my calculations. However, nothing could be done at present; so, hoping that we might
soon understand one another better, I put my introductions into my pocket, breathed a sigh over my mismanagement of such a promising affair, and descending, made my way into the street.
I had just reached the flags, when a smart carriage, with a pair of light chestnuts, drew up opposite the door. I stood a moment to admire them, and surely it was my evil genius that placed such a temp. tation in my way; for while I was thus unconsciously occupied, a sharp angry voice called to the coachman to drive on. I looked up with some surprise to see who spoke; for the vehicle was untenanted but a minute before, and I had not perceived any one enter it since. Oh! such a glance of recognition I received!-it was herself; the object of my mal-à-propos civilities. I could have sunk into the ground, if such a thing as a hole was in the tough pavement; but to run away was out of the question. I was struck motionless. Never did I think that so much of anger could be concentrated in a woman's eye. That it augured very little for the furtherance of our acquaintance was certain, and equally so that coquetry had nothing to do with her displeasure. Yet how were her movements to be accounted for otherwise? A thought struck me, a stirring thought, from which I could have shrunk into the corner. It might be that the little beauty, in the solitude of her chamber, and the vanity of her heart, had been practising the graces which she intended to exhibit for the benefit and behoof of those to whom her next visit was to be paid. My blood ran cold at the idea. If such were the case-and what else could be the case?—if that was the true explanation of her smiles and other complaisances, then never did living man make a more ludicrous début in the profession of lady-killing than mine; and the worst of it was, I couldn't but regard my signal failure as neither more nor less than a just judgment for peeping into such a 'forfended place' as a lady's bed-chamber. So in the bitterness of my heart 1 vowed a vow, and breathed a prayer. The vow was, that were I to live to the age of Methuselah, I would never again be tempted to make love unless on fair and legitimate grounds; the prayer, that if ever the story was told to the world, I might have the telling of it myself.
I delivered my letters, paid my visits, and received sundry invitations to certain small dinner and tea parties, on the morrow and following days. After which I was sauntering down Westmoreland Street, with the intent of calling at some tailor's, and making such additions to my rustic attire as would render my person more fitting to appear at metropolitan festivities, when I thought I recognized in a gentleman walking a few paces before me my old friend Tom Beecher, of the -th, with whom I had been on a most agreeable footing while he lay in garrison at Athlone. A second glance convinced me I was right, and hurrying forward to arrest his notice, I was in another moment in a fair way of furnishing the College of Surgeons with a small case of dislocation of the shoulder, from the frank and friendly cordiality with which I was received.
'My dear fellow!' exclaimed I, 'I never could have foreseen this pleasure. I thought the -th were in Gibraltar, or Malta, or some such out-of-the-way place, by this time.'
'Ah! peace be with the old -th, barring when it's war time!' was the doleful reply. They have no longer a lien on me. I am nowa civilian, Hugh-civil as yourself-a tame, domesticated citizen. Didn't you hear what happened to me?'
'No,' said I, rather startled by his manner. 'No court martial, I hope?'
Oh! damn all court-martials!' ejaculated the ci-devant militaire ; 'no; but a court-matrimonial-married, Hugh, married. One comfort is, she's the handsomest woman in Dublin, and brought me both money and interest. But the old son of a sea-cook, her father, insisted that if I didn't consent to forswear the army, and live clean and like a gentleman, I should take her without his consent; and that was a thing not to be thought of. So wish me joy, if you think I deserve it.'
'I do wish you joy with all my heart,' exclaimed I, grasping his hand. And who is the lady?'
'Since you must know,' he answered, she is, as Byron says,
"The only daughter
Of an old man who lives upon the water"
a stiff old sea-captain. I met her at a ball in the Rotunda, and admired her so much, that somehow or other it pleased her to take a liking to me, and we passed a good deal of our time together. In the mean time the old father was ordered to sea, and what to do with the lady puzzled him. He proposed to send her back to school; but, between ourselves, I believe she gave him a hint that if he did, she wouldn't be likely to make a very long abode there. So the old dog made a virtue of necessity, and let us get married; first premising, however, as I told you, that he had determined his daughter's husband should belong to neither of those vagabond professions, the Army or Navy, if he was to have any voice in the election. Then, as he had interest enough to procure me a snug appointment in the Castle, I sold out to please all parties, and am now no longer dangerous to man, woman, or child, but plain Tom Beecher, at your service. But à-propos, by Jove! I was near forgetting. So you've taken up the trade of manslaughter. hey?'
'Pooh! now, Beecher, don't quiz!' I replied, with a smile. 'I assure you I have been bored to death about that unfortunate duel, and must certainly run and hide myself somewhere until it's forgotten, if people go on after this manner.' But, although I deprecated all mention of it, my heart danced with delight at finding my prowess so public, encouraged as I was by the story of his good-fortune, which Beecher had just recounted, and which I had resolved that mine should rival.
'If you are not engaged to-day, Hugh,' continued he, after enjoying his laugh, 'you must come and dine with me. Emily never in her life saw a man who fought a duel, and you never saw Emily; so it will be a mutual treat when I introduce Mrs. Tom Beecher to the hero of Lisnisky.'
I assented of course; and after walking about for an hour or so, and recounting all the country news, my host intimated that it was time to turn our faces dinnerward, and accordingly, under his guidance, after making some apologies for my dress, &c. I proceeded towards his home. After passing a few streets, I perceived that I was going very much in the direction whence I had set out in the morning, and as we advanced I became still more positive. At last we reached the head of the street which was my temporary abode, and the scene of my most mortifying humiliation. A vague and indefinable sensation of