Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

men like

night, Tom, you're on your way home I suppose”—“ Jist on my way, your honour, afther a hard day's work, Sir"--"Well, Tom, you work for your bread and earn it honestly—and its always the sweetest bread that's most honestly earned”-“Why it is, Sir, shure enuff—still Sir, if we could arn a small taste more iv bread, wud not altogether so much work, your honour--twud be no dissarvice to poor hard-workin'

UZ, that has nothing to depind upon but the labour iv our hands and then the wife and childher, Sir,' “Why indeed if yoŲ could, Tom, I'm shure I'd have no objection in the world" _“Thank you, Sir," said he, touching his hat a second time—“ I'm very sartain you would not, bud did you meet a tall gentleman in black, at Miss Optin’s grave in the church yard, Sir?”—“Yes, Tom, who is he ?"-—"Why he jist ax'd me the same questin about yourself, Sir-an I tould'im that you war the gintleman who bought square Gheames's estate—an' that was lately come to live in the castle.”—“But who is he, Tom ? I take him to be a Roman Catholic Priest”-“ Indeed an' he is, Sir, shure enuff—that same thing—an a sore heart does it lave 'im that he is a priest" _“Why, I thought Roman Catholics generally feel an ambition to become members of the priesthood”—“ An why shuddent they, your honour, when we considher the great power they have, an the larning they get; shure there's not a priest in Irelan' this minnit bud undherstands the seven languages-an as Paddy Dimnick, that sarves mass every Sunday, tould me last week at a station in Corra-na-moddagh-there's Father Driscoll said he-him, Sir, the ould square, that was before your time christined Dry-Skull-can spake Hebrew as fast as English"Well, Tom, I wont dispute Father Driscoll's or Dryskull's, (or whatever else you choose to call him) capacity to speak Hebrew ; but setting his Hebrew knowledge aside, in plain English what do you know of the gentleman you were just speaking to ?" " Introth, Sir, exceptin' bits and scraps, myself never hard the story out and out—but some way or other, they say he's not right in his head ever since Miss Optin died, for that made strange changes in him.”

Why, is he looked upon as deranged?” I enquired : “ Dad that's more than I can say ether, Sir-bud ther's sartinly some talk about it, although others sez that it was larnin that crack'd him. 1 declare it, my own opinion is, that barrin his great larnin, there's not a hap'orth the matter with 'im, your honour”-“But you're after observing just now, Tom, that he regrets entering into the priesthood ?”—So Paddy Dimnick sez, Sir; and that it was agin his own consint he ever was made a priest of, bud he was always a mild, quiet crathur-an when his poor father was gettin' low-spirited an sick, bekase the son would'n't go to Maynewth-why, he went one day that the ould man was very ill entirely, and dhropping down on his knees at the bedside, towld him he was ready to do whatever he bid him. Then the ould fellow hugged him downright, an they both cried together like childer. They say he wrote Miss Optin a letther before he went- tan that she never thruv aftherwards--but kept wastin' and wastin' away tul she died- he was only eight days or so priested when he hard iv her death-he then came home to his father's, and lived wud him ever since ; but Paddy Dimnick tells me that he has been offered two or three curacies, but he wont take them; an intends to live an die wud his father, who can hardly live from him. He has'n't been much out Sir, since he came from Maynewth, bekase he was’nt able, they say, to lave his bed : bud I'll warrant, Sir, you may meet him any time he can go out at Miss Optin's grave. I'm tould Sir, he knows a power, at laste Paddy Dimnick sez so.”—“Who is this Paddy Dimnick," I enquired, “to whose authority you refer so often ?" “Why bliss my sowl, your honour, its un possible that you never hard of Paddy Dimnick, the great voteen, that every garroon in the parish knows. It's he that attends the priest at mass every Sunday, and that's undher so many blessed ordhers—from the scapular down to the coard of St. Francis—that leads the Rosary and the “ stations" in the chapel-that goes to Lough Derg wonst a year, and fasts every Friday and Wednesday, exceptin when Christmasday or Aisther Sunday falls upon them. Indeed Sir, if you wish to know all about young Father Butler go to Paddy Dimnick, your honour, he knows all an all about him, for his own brother's a priest.”

From what Garrett had said, and the interest which the young clergyman personally excited in me, I felt a strong desire to know his history more particularly, and the real cause of his affliction. I had indeed, upon the whole, from Garrett's outline, a pretty correct notion of the cause of his melancholy seclusion : but I wished to ascertain more accurately the character and sentiments of a young man, who, in personal appearance and intelligence, seemed so far above the generality of those who are called to discharge the duties of the priesthood. I was, therefore, determined to go to Paddy, and after hearing his account of young Butler, be guided by my own discretion, either in seeking his acquaintance or otherwise. --I observed, indeed, on our first encounter, that he avoided

but this I ascribed to the circumstance of my having witnessed emotions which he wished to be private, and to his youth and natural diffidence.

Accordingly on the morning of the following Monday--for this occurred on Saturday-I mounted my little poney, and set out to pay the redoubtable Paddy Dimnick an early visit. His house, which was about two miles from mine, was situated partly on a moor, and partly on that description of land which skirts a mountain. -Paddy Dimnick, though a parish clerk, held that situation from devotion, and not from any mercenary motive ; for he was one of the wealthiest farmers in the parish. His house, though thatched, was two stories high, well lofted, and in every respect a most comfortable farmer's residence. The passages about the yard were paved and laid down in a manner that would have done credit to the taste of the most exact and scrupulous Englishman. A square graşsplot stood in the front of the house, well shrubbed and flowered, and the gravel-walk that led up to the neat hall-door, was, after the

me ;

manner of his betters, twined into a serpentine form and trimmed with box. Behind the house rose a little wooded amphitheatre ; and the rustling of its trees in the sunny breeze of summer, made a music, which was the sweeter when contrasted with the stillness of the purple-flowered heath that stretched around it. But there were also, in several parts of his arable land, little clumps and plantations of fir, sycamore, and mountain ash, which, with the greenness of the meadows in front, refreshed by the clear waters of a river, from whose banks the bending osier dipped into the stream, formed a comfortable residence and a happy scenery.

When I arrived at Paddy's, my appearance evidently created no little confusion, and certainly much more speculation than any there was prepared to dispose of in a satisfactory manner. I went first to the hall-door, and on rapping, it was opened by a clean-looking girl, who, the moment she saw me, shot down a long passage that led to the kitchen to inform her mistress,

• that there was a gran' lookin' gintleman at the green door—but he was no priest she knew by his trowsers. Mistress go out to 'im, may be he wants Paddy."

Now, the reader must know, in order to understand the plain appellation of “ Paddy,” in the last sentence, that in certain districts of Ireland, a usage prevails of rather a ludicrous peculiarity.-It often happens that a wealthy husband marries a wife whose family is poor-or that a young woman, or widow, with property in her own right, marries a man not worth a shilling;—in that case the original distinctions are kept op, not only by the parties themselves, but by their neighbours. I once knew a man named Gillespie, whose wife brought him property, though he himself was pennyless ; accordingly on their way to church on Sunday, the usual phrase was,

Mistress Gillespie and Tom.” The case in question was precisely similar. There go Mistress Dimnick and Paddy, might be heard as they passed to chapel or to market, but never Mr. and Mrs. Dimnick. “ Mistress, mistress fly” said the maid, “ its some gintleman that wants' Paddy'' “ Go’long, you gowk, and bring him into the parlour,” said the mistresss, “and do you wash your hands, Kate avourneen ?”-addressing another, “and finish this butther for me, and be shure to have it pinroed as you had the last-save iz who can this be, as he's not a priest ?"-so saying she took a towel, dried her hands, and tightening her apron, advanced up the passage, which, being in a line with the hall door, enabled me to see and hear all that happened. When she came up, she dropped me with self-taught politeness, a low and respectful curtsey, saying at the same time,

66 Won't

you

have the kindness to take a chair and sit down Sir ?" I thanked her, and after sitting, enquired if I could see her husband for a short time, as I wished to have a quarter of an hour's conversation with him, if he were sufficiently at leisure.” Indeed an to be shure, Sir he'll be at lasure to spake wud ye, as long as ye plase for its Paddy himself that's fond of shanahin' and tracin' back ould times, that is, when he's not with the men, or at the prayers Sir.”—Is he within

there go

[ocr errors]

Ma'am at present?" I asked—“Hem-why, then, Sir, he's not jist within now'—" Perhaps he's in the fields,” said I—" If you will have the goodness to send a servant with me, I will go there sooner than trouble him to come home, or leave his men.” Sir,” said she,“ he's not far from home-indeed I may say he is at home-bud at this honr, Sir, he would see or spake to nobody"“ I am sorry” I replied, “ that I came at so unseasonable a time, (it was a little after seven in the morning, I will just take a ride along this road that leads through these wild mountains, Mrs. Dimnick, and on my return, he may probably be at leisure"_“ Or what if you'd take a walk in the garden, Sir, in half an hour he will be ready to see you, or in less, for this is but Thursday and no fast day.” I here perceived a book in the parlour window which proved to be the far-famed Pastorini's History of the Church, and taking it up, I determined to amuse myself with it in the garden, until I could see him. It was a beautiful breezy morning in the delightful month of June, and the graceful rocking of the trees the rustling of the leaves and branches, and the dancing of the chequered shade upon the gravelled walks and flower-beds about me, contributed more than the book to my enjoyment—the garden was really such as surprised me to find in so remote a place for it was remarkably well kept, and contained a considerable variety both of fruits and flowers. I had not been long in it, however, when I heard something which resembled a human voice murmuring, in a peculiar cadence, certain inarticulate expressions that bore a very strong analogy to language. But what puzzled me most was the attempt to ascertain the precise direction from whence they came, and what they were or could mean. The mountain breeze on that elevated situation, although the sun shone brightly and warmly at the moment, blew, as I said, among the trees with some force, and as it rose and fell, the sounds I heard, in consequence of the noise of the trees, were more or less distinct-at last I could hear the words, “gkeeor-run" pronounced at certain intervals, and this induced me to conclude that they were the burden of whatever was then repeated. I now rose and traversed the garden, and by this means I perceived that the sound came from a particular quarter, adjoining Paddy's house, the gable of which formed part of the garden wall. I stood here for a few minutes, and placing my open hand in the form of a scoop behind my ear, set myself to catch the sounds more distinctly. All however, was vain, I looked around and around to no purpose : I saw not a quarter from which they could possibly proceed without my immediately ascertaining their

At length however, an encreased loudness in the tones of the voice led me to look up, and judge of my surprise, when I spied a round, rosy, fat, unmeaning face, and two large bullet eyes, fixed upon me from a tree which grew within a few feet of the gable window of the house : and what made the whole thing ridiculous, was the rocking to and fro of the tree, and consequently of Paddy, for it was himself-whilst he repeated his prayers in a tone loud and musical. I could not help giving an involuntary smile, amount

cause,

should be gone

ing almost to a laugh, at such an original and singular appearance ; but I instantly turned away, fearful of giving offence, and glad also of an opportunity to conceal what he might probably set down as an improper levity on my part; but which in reality was not. The next glance I gave at him, however, I felt that there was mirth at least in my eye, and it was by no means lessened by the contrast of the grave imperturbable face, the eyes of which were solemnly fixed upon me out of the branches as before. I then retreated to the summer-house which was in the other end of the garden, where I certainly enjoyed the grotesque appearance and situation of Paddy without danger of giving offence-there he was, about thirty five feet from the ground, in a seat made in the branches of the tree which had started out as they grew, aud formed a natural arbour, large enough, with the assistance of two or three sticks laid across the forks, and covered with green sods, to contain three men, I now perceived that I must wait until the

prayers through, and accordingly amused myself with Pastorini and with Paddy until the termination of his morning devotions. When these were concluded, he stepped very dexterously into the gable window of the second story, which was just on a level with the bower, and not more than a foot and a half from it, in this manner descending into the parlour. I now thought proper to go in, and when I entered, Paddy was emptying a little water out of a bottle on the palm of his left hand, in which he dipped the point of his right thumb, and formed the sign of the cross upon his breast and forehead, repeating certain words that were originally Latin, but which Paddy had stripped of that useful character of language-intelligibility. He paid not the least attention to me while this was going forward, although he glanced his eye occasionally towards me, as if he could have spared my presence; yet that seemed to him on the whole, to be a matter of indifference. When he had finished that ceremony,

he

gave the wife a single look with which she seemed to be perfectly well acquainted, for she instantly disappeared and left him and myself together.

“Mr. Dimnick," said I, after bidding him good morrow,“I hope you will excuse me for this untimely visit; but as I am generally an early stirrer, I thought it the best way to drop in as I took my morning ride, and the most likely hour to find you within. I hope my coming has not interfered with the performance of your devotions." “In discoorsin' me, Sir," said Paddy,“ dont misther me. I'm a vile worm, a crawlin raptile on the yearth; a wicket, sinful, villainous wretch; and for that matther so is yourself, an all God's Christhen crathurs, if one goes to that. How an' ever, I'm afther repatin' an act of humility this mornin'—an' more nor that,—bud I'm not a man that's apt to boast iv what I do that wayGod forbid I shud-bud, at any rate, I hope there's many a bright angel in heaven through my manes, worm

-bud I wont boast, I say, only take care, Sir, an' dont misther me if you have any regard for my sowl; call me plain Paddy-or indeed you would do me a sarvice if you called me Paidrick.” “Why, do you think my calling

I am

« PoprzedniaDalej »