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:iK.i"r'- I (fit
NEW I3LOOMFII5L3D, IJ., TU12SDA.Y, MAY 31, 1881.
An Independent Family Newspaper,
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A Nice Little Plot.
THE Major on a sunshiny day In the
main street of Ballykillrowdy was
pleasant to behold. He was not strictly
a handsome man perhaps, but he had
the air of being a handsome man an air
of so much nonchalauce and good
humored triumph that it imposed upon
most people and sent them away with
the notion that the Major was an Adonis.
He had one of the grandest figures I
. remember to have seen. Strength eat
by his side with grace on his broad
shoulders, and the carriage of his head
was in itself a sort of wonder of high '
temper and vivacity.
Ballykillrowdy was mainly owned by
Miss Vivian Blake, a young lady of
charming exterior, who rode to hounds
under the escort of an ugly male second
cousin, whom the Major loathed. But
such part of Ballykillrowdy as was not
owned by the beautiful Miss Blake was
owned by her ugly male second cousin,
and the popular impression was that
Miss Blake and the cousin would make
a match of it. Against this popular
belief the Major chafed, as Socrates
might have riled up against a decrepit
syllogism. It may be said of the Major
that he had an air of prosperity, which
was greatly more deceptive than his air
-of physical beauty. Had his creditors
wet in conclave, they might possibly
have decided amongst them a problem
of some interest; how did the Major
live ? He owned neither lands nor mes
suages. Like his look of beauty and his
air of prosperity, his very title was mis
leading to the stranger. He had never
held a commission anywhere, in any
thing ; but a man with such a figure
ought to have been a Major if the rank
had been created especially that he
might ornament it, the thing had seem
ed most fitting and admirable, and, in
short, the title was a popular tribute,
unsought by him, conferred upon him
by nature, eo it seemed, and adopted
without one dissenting voice by the
public of Ballykillrowdy, and indorsed
.by the members of the Ulster in lordly
Novelists and other social moralists
have often been cynical, at small cost,
with respect to the affection entertained
by an un-acred gentleman for a well
acred lady. But, as Boccaccio and a
Mr. Tennyson will tell vou, a real
attachment is not altogetlier Impossible
under such conditions. The Major was
madly in love not with Miss Blake's
landed possessions, but with Miss Blake.
Time had made his first inroads on the
poor gentleman's close-clustering hair.
He was but two and thirty ; but some
men age early, and I have never heard
that a partial or even a complete bald
ness gives safety against the assaults of
the grand passion. The ugly second
cousin, his own poverty, the rapidly
increasing width of his central parting,
and Vivian's bounty and Vivian's kind
ness, combined together to fret the
Major's heart. Yet the Irish elasticity
of his temperament constantly pulled
him out of the depths of his desponden
cy, though it as constantly suffered him
him to fall again.
It was an honest passion. The poor
fellow was fairly hacked. All manner
of ambitious began to bestir themselves;
for there was more in him, or at least he
thought so, than the. helpless power to
dream of good luck over a bottle of the
lub Fomnard or a glaBs of hot Irish, as
the state of the funds might order. Per
baps the title conferred on him was not
without its Influence upon bis dreams.
" I'd hang me harp on a willow tree,
an' off to the wars again," said the
Major ; "but I haven't a harp, or the
funds to buy one; and there's no willow
tree haudy,and no wars convenient, the
Lord be good to me."
Whether Phil. Durgan, the ugly sec
oud cousin, had or had not in his own
person exhausted the family stock of
physical unhapplness, I cannot tell ; but
I know for a fact, that his sister was as
pretty as Vivian herself. If I knew of
anything prettier, I would compare her
to it, but I do not ; and in these declin
ing days I am not likely to find it.
Whose is the hand which shall, by the
aid of movable types, describe a pretty
girl ? If I say that each of these young
ladles was ravishing, nineteen, and Irish,
1 have done my best. Like Rosalind
and Celia, they learned, played, ate
together, and whereso'er they went, like
Juno's swans, still they went coupled
aud Inseparable. It followed that if
Phil. Durgan had known as much as
was known to his sister Julia, he would
have known more of Vivian's likings
than he knew. In that case the Ineffa
ble satisfaction which commonly illum
ined his foggy features might have
dimmed a little. Yet, why should I
triumph over ugly Phil ? Your story
teller is rarely contented unless he flogs
his rascals. Dickens, for example, gloat
ed over the buffets dealt by his popular
to his unpopular people. With what a
gusto he flogs Squeers ; how rejoicingly
he throws Wegg into the scavenger's
cart; with what pleasure he tells the
story of PeekBnlff's thrashing! It is in
my power to administer to Mr. Philip
Durgan such a horsewhipping as never
yet mortal man received ; but as I am
strong, I will be merciful. Phil, as the
late Lord Lytton said of somebody, was
uglier than he had a right to be. There
is a certain Irish type of face which
trenches perilously on the aspect of the
gorilla; and Phil, who was naturally
gifted in this direction, Improved his
chances by the disposition of his hair
and whiskers. He had all the graces of
a lady-killer, as an Imitative ape might
have them. He had a brogue a man
might have hung his hat on, and believ
ed that he spoke with the purest of all
possible English accents.
" Oi, was never taken for Oirishman
but wonce in me loife," Phil had been
known to say, "an' that was be a Polish
Jew oi met in Hougary ; an' after we'd
been talkin' for'n hour or tew, 'Mr.
Durgan,' says he, 'ye'U be an Oirish
man.' 'An' what makes ye think
that ?' says Oi. ' Your speech,' says he.
An' OI lafted at the man."
It was before the days of the disestab
lishment and dlsendowment of the Irish
Church, and the Bishop of Ballykill
rowdy was a prosperous and a happy
prelate. The Bishopess was a fruitful
vine, and the quiver of the Bishop was
somewhat tightly packed. His lord
ship's youngest son, Jack, was a terror
to the hearts of his parents. His lord
ship was an Englishman, and Jack, to
his horror, had acquired a brogue which
rivalled Phil's. The lad was always in
mischief of one kind or another, and his
mother's anxious heart daily foreboded
th at he would be brought home upon a
shutter. Yet there was no harm in
young Jack, and he had as staunch
pluck as a bulldog's. Aud, be it known,
he knew and loved the Major.
And now,the dramatis personae being
introduced, let the tale go smoothly on.
The good Bishop was rarely without
guests; for if his own hospitable in
stincts slumbered for a day or two, his
sons or daughters brought their own
chums or companions to dwell within
his gates. Kate and Mary were raptur
ously in love with Viviau and Julia,
and were continually paying and .re
ceiving visits to and from them. Miss
Blake and Miss Durgan were beneath
the Bishop's roofs, and Mr. Phil Dur
gan.who wbb intimate with the Bishop's
second son, had no difficulty in securing
quarters there. The Major, knowing
his rival's chances, and recognizing the
hopelessness of bis own passion, was
torn by vain desires. He walked and
rode about Ballykill, encountering the
Bishop often, but avoiding the ladies so
persistently, and anybody who was a fool
might have thought that the meetings
with the Bishop were the special object
of his journeys. Master Jack, who was
acute and discerning, knew better.
Jack was also a great friend to Vivian,
and I am not sure but what she bad
suggested au idea to the boy which he
put into operation. (Subsequent events
at least make It look a little that way,
as when a woman wants to give a man
a chance she is sure to find hhn a way.
At any rate Jack meeting the Major
one day said :
" Gay, me boy, whoy don't ye come
up an have a sboy at her?"
The Major's name was Geoghaghan,
and "Gay" was the friendly contraction.
" Well, ye see," said the Major dubi
ously, "your 'other's not too found of
" O, don't mind her ledyshlp," said
Jack ; "ol'll pull ye through ut."
"I'm not liked. Jack," the Major
answered sadly ; "and it's not of any
use to go. I would be coldly treated."
" Well, look here, Major," cried Jack
with a look of triumph ; "if oi give ye a
welcome from the governor au' the ould
ledy, will ye come?"
" Faith," said the Major with a doubt
ful smile, " I will."
"ltoight!" shrieked the young geu tie
man, and threw a pair of skates into the
Major's dogcart. He was in after them
at a bound. " Drolve to the Black Root
Pool, Gay," he said.
The Major shook the reins and away
" What is it, all ?" asked the Major.
" Pull up at Murphy's shebeen," said
Jack, and returned no other answer.
But there was a world of hidden mean
ing in the wink with which this order
The shebeen arrived at, Jack leaped
dow, and swaggered in with a " Save all
"It's yew for breakun' the boys'
hearts, Mrs. Morphy," said Jack. " Me
own is sore with you."
The plump and pretty Mrs. Murphy
"Sixteen takes folne leps these times,"
says she in allusion to Jack's age.
Jack beckoned her on one side, and
spoke to her for a moment in a Berlous
"Shamus," said she with a twinkle
in her eye, "be fetching the clothes
line." ShainuB, like a well-trained husband,
" Ye won't tell," said Jack.
"Not a synuable, be thlm five eras
ses," said Mrs. Murphy.
Jack, handing up a bottle of whiskey
and a clothes-line to the Major, re
ascended into the dog-cart, nodded in
friendly fashion to Shamus and his wife,
and requested his companion to drive
on. The mystified Major obeyed. In the
the course of a mile's drive they came
upon the Black Root Pool, aud Jack
began to screw on his skates.
" The ice is not safe here," said the
" Maybe I know that," Jack replied.
" Don't be fooling with me, Jack,"
said poor Geoghaghan, who was scarcely
ever known to be angry with anybody.
. I' The crookedest road is sometimes
the straightest," responded Jack senten
tlously. By this time his skates were
firmly bound. "She'll stand, won't
she?" said Jack, with a sideway nod at
" Like a stone," said the Major.
"Then," said Jack, taking off his
overcoat, and cumbrously descending
from the dog-cart, "follow me, an' fetch
the clothes-line with you."
The first faint idea of Jack's plot
dawned upon the Major's mind.
" You'll be catching cold," he said.
"Theovercoat'llbedry," Bald Jack;
"an' there's whiskey in the bottle, an,
it's only half a mile home."
"That's true, too," said the Major,
descending with alacrity.
Master Jack, having secured one end
of the clothes line about his chest, gave
the other into the Major's bands, and
went upon the ice. It cracked beneath
him, and before he had gone twenty
yards it give way with a crash and a
splash. The Major hauled, and Jack
came in splitting the thin Ice before
him, and puffing and blowing like a
grampus. He seized his rescuer's hand
and scrambled to the bank.
"In ye go!" he shouted. "Don't
keep me here to catch me death !"
" What?" cried the Major.
" Now, how do ye think ye could
save me loife from drowning without a
wet thread on ye?" inquired the young
ster. The Major grasped the situation, but
stood awhile regarding Jack ruefully.
"In ye go!" the young gentleman
"Begorra," said the Major, slowly
stripping off his coat and standing in
his shirt sleeves, "there's nothing else
And with that, once more taking up
the end of the rope, he jumped in, and
emerged breathless. Jack was already
in the dog-cart, and was struggling into
his overcoat. Luckily for the harmless
fulfillment of this truly Irish enterprise,
heavy outer garments were the fashion.
Each buttoned himself to the chin, and
each took a great gulpof whiskey. Then
the Major, with a sense of humor to
keep him warm, touched up the mare,
aud away they rattled.
"What's to become of the clothes
line?" aBked the Major.
"Shamus is to come down to the
pool and bring it home with him," said
Jack with his teeth chattering.
" Jack," said the Major affectionately,
" I've an English note for five pounds
on me somewhere, and it's yours, my
boy, for this day's work."
" Me teeth are like castanets," Jack
responded. " Drive on for the love of
Heaven! But I'm game to take the
paper, Major, an' I think I deserve it."
" I think you do," replied the Major.
Jack's description of the rescue was a
real work of art.
" No, no," cried the Major, blushing
to the roots of his hair. " Indeed 'twas
nothing. He'd have got out easily
" Indeed, then," said Jack, "I'd never
have got out at all without you. Be
cause," he added, solo voce, "without
you I'd never have got in."
" Mr. Geoghaghan," said the Bishop,
with tears of emotion on his cheeks,
"you must not stand a moment in your
wet clothes. Come with me."
The Major followed obediently. Vivian
and Julia had heard the tale in common
with the rest of the household. By some
Instinct peculiar to the sex they retired
together. ' Vivian flew to Julia's arms
and kissed her cheek.
" Indeed," said Julia, " he is a noble
" He is as brave as he is handsome,"
said the beautiful Vivian, and a sympa
thetic tear coursed towards one corner of
her charming mouth.
Ugly Phil. Durgan knew not of this
moving scene, and was too stupid to di
vine it. But there had never been any
love lost between himself and the ma
jor. " What roight Iiqb the blagyard here,"
queried Phil to himself, "pokin' his nose
where he's not wanted ? Whoy couldn't
he let the little puppy drown himself,
an' save the country the price of a rope ?
He'll have to have one some day. Ol'd
have let him drown," mused ugly Phil ;
and Indeed I am not indisposed to think
that Mr. Durgan construed himself
It so befell that there was nobody in
the palace whose clothes were likely to
fit the Major, with the exception of
Phil himself. The Bishop's request for
a complete rig-out for the rival was not
to be denied, but Phil granted it grudg
ingly. A little sliver kettle was hissing
above the spirit-lamp in the breakfast
room when the Major descended. I
fancy that his lordship bad caught
something of the manners of the coun
try, and had a use for that little kettle on
most days after dinner. The B 1 shop r ess,
with her own fair hands (plump and hos
pitable they were) made grog for the
rescuer of her child, and they pressed It
upon him lest he should take cold. It
was a signal honor, and the Major felt
A little flushed by his bath, and the
triumph of the situation, the Major
looked more like a handsome man than
ever. Mr. Durgan 's tweeds fitted him
as though they had been made for him.
"Phil"' said Vivian, "I always de
spised your tailor until now."
"Yes," said Phil innocently, "I've
changed me man. These wor made in
London. And be sprawled into an atti
tude which seemed likely to be fatal.
The Bishop begged the Major to stay.
His wife commanded to the same effect,
with imperious hospitality. The Major
had nothing to do but to accept the situ
ation. He spent the evening in the
same bouse with Vivian that was
worth something to him.
" Make the running," whispered
Jack, "it's all in your own band."
Now the Major, although an Irishman
was bashful. It was au Irishman who .
wrote, " She Stoops to Conquer," and
he drew the hero on an Irish pattern.
Had Vivian been a pretty chamber
maid, poor Geoghaghan had approached
ber with conquering airs forbodlng vic
tory ; but be was half abashed before a
lady, though never shamefaced enough
to be clumsy.
" It was a noble deed, Mr. Geoghag
han," eald Vivian, letting her splendid
eyes shine full upon bim for a moment.
" Faith it was not," he answered in a
tone of some distress.
" What a vara avis is a really mod
est man I" thought the young lady; and
when she thought it long enough she
said it aloud.
" Miss Blake," said the Major in a
half-whisper, "I cannot endure that
you should think of me above my de
serts, and especially when I have done
a thing of which I am more than half
ashamed. I can not endure that you
should think I have done anything
brave or praiseworthy." Vivian looked
at him inquiringly. I think she fancied
that the Major's dip had given him a
little touch of fever, and that be was
wandering. The Major's eyes met Vi
vian's and he knew his hour bad come.
A child's band can launch a ship, but a
woman's eye can do even more marvel
ous things. That look from Vivian
launched the Major; nothing could hold
him back. " There is wun beneath this
roof," he said " who is dearer to me
than me life. I was barred be cruel
Fate from ber presence; circumstances
over which I had no control shut me
out from her society. I am going
abroad" The Major had only formed
this resolve upon the Instant. " But I
am content to have looked upon her be
fore I go ; and believe me I shall carry
her Image to me grave; but me con
science and honor will not permit me
to go without explaining the subterfuge
by which I came here. The rescue was
a mere device "
And In broken accents he told the
story of Jack's rescue.
Vivian turned away her head whilst
the Major told his love sick tale ; but
when he reached bis confession she
turned away more pronouncedly, and
the Major saw that she trembled violent
ly. Was it with anger or disgust.
" Farewell, Miss Blake!" he murmur
ed. Farewell, Vivian! Forgive my
baseness if you can." There came no
answer but a strange gasping sob.
At least forget me if you cannot forgive
me," he urged, broken by ber silence.
I shall cross your path'no more. Fare
well." Still she gave him no answer, but the
sob was repeated. He reiterated his
farewell, and crossing the room looked
blindly over a portfolio of sketches, see
ing nothing. Suddenly there arose a
piercing shriek, and everybody in the
room rushed towards Vivian. She bad
cast herself almost full length upon a
couch, and was shaken by a wild hysteria.
Peal after peal of mad involuntary -laughter
broke from her lips.
" Leave the room, gentlemen I" said
the Bishop's wife.
The guilty Major took his way with
the rest. " Tears will relieve ber," were
the last words he heard. They fell from
the lips of bis hostess.
"Observe, John," said the Bishop,
" how your inconsiderate desire for dan
gerous adventure operates upon your
fellow beings. Mr. Geoghaghan res
cues you at the risk of his life, and the
excitement of the story has brought a
most terrible attack of hysteria upon
Miss Blake. Let this be a warning to
Jack shot a glance across at the Major
who replied by a rueful lifting of the
eyebrows. The glance meant "Did
you tell?" and the lifting of the eye
brows, "I told, bad luck to met" . To
the utter amazement of the Bishop, the
Major, Phil Durgan, and the Bishop's
eldest and second son, Jack had pre
cisely such an attack as that form which
Miss Blake was suffering.
" Unhappy boy," exclaimed the Bish
op, tugging wildly at the bell-rope; "the
excitement has been too much for
The Major stood like one dazed. vThe
world was hollow. There was no more
hope in It or Joy in it. But, for all that,
the fierce throes of unconquerable laugh
ter were upon him. He was an Irish,
man after all, and the situation had an