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“Oh, they won't be too much for him,” said Dick. “ Curse the fish! I wish they'd bite. That thief, Murphy, has had all the sport ; but he's the best fisherman in the county, I'll own that.”
The two boats all this time had been driíting down the river, and on opening a new reach of the stream, a somewhat extraordinary scene of fishing presented itself. It was not like Murphy's fishing, the result of a fertile invention, but the consequence of the evil destiny which presided over all the proceedings of Handy Andy.
The fishing party in the boats beheld another fishing party on shore, with this difference in the nature of what they sought to catch, that, while they in the boats were looking for salmon, those on the shore were seeking for a post-chaise, and as about a third part of a vehicle so called was apparent above the water, Furlong exclaimed with extreme surprise,
* Well! if it ain't a post-chaise !"
“ Oh! that's nothing extraordinary,” said Dick ;-—" common enough here."
“ How do you mean ?”.
“ You don't believe it, I see,” said Dick; " but you did not believe the salmon fishing till you saw it."
“Oh, come now! How the deuce could you leap a ditch in a postchaise ?"
“I never said we leaped ditches; I only said we rode steeple-chases. The system is this : you go for a given point, taking high-road, by-road, plain, or lane, as the case may be, making the best of your way how you can. Now, our horses in this country are celebrated for being good swimmers, so it's a favourite plan to shirk a bridge sometimes by swimming a river."
“But no post-chaise will float,” said Furlong, regularly arguing against Dick's mendacious absurdity.
“ Oh! we're prepared for that here. The chaises are made light, have cork bottoms, and all the solid work is made hollow; the doors are made water-tight, and if the stream runs strong the passenger jumps out and swims."
“ But that's not fair,” said Furlong; “it alters the weight."
“Oh! it's allowed on both sides," said Dick, “ so it's all the same. It's as good for the goose as the gander.”
“I wather imagine it is much fitter for geese and ganders than human beings. I know I should wather be a goose on the occasion."
All this time they were nearing the party on shore, and as the postchaise became more developed, so did the personages on the bank of the river ; and amongst these Dick Dawson saw Handy Andy in the custudy of two men, and Squire O'Grady shaking his fist in his face and storming at him. How all this party came there, it is necessary to explain. When Handy Andy had deposited Furlong at Merryvale, he drove back to pick up the fallen postilion and his brother on the road ; but before he reached them he had to pass a public house-I say, had to pass--but he didn't. Andy stopped, as every honourable postilion is bound to do, to drink the health of the gentleman who gives him the last half-crown; and he was so intent on “ doing that same," as they say in Ireland, that Andy's driving became very equivocal afterwards. In short, he drove the post-chaise into the river; the horses got disentangled by kicking the traces, which were very willing to break into pieces; and Andy, by sticking to the neck of the horse he rode, got out of the water. The horses got home without the post-chaise, and the other post-chaise and pair got home without a postilion, so that Owny Doyle was roused from his bed by the neighing of the horses at the gate of the inn. Great was his surprise at the event, as, half clad and a candle in his hand, he saw two pair of horses, one chaise, and no driver, at his door. The next morning the plot thickened ; Squire O'Grady came to know if a gentleman had arrived at the town on his way to Neck-or-Nothing Hall. The answer was in the affirmative. Then“ where was he?" became a question, Then the report arrived of the post-chaise being upset in the river. Then came stories of postilions falling off, of postilions being changed, of Handy Andy being employed to take the gentleman to the place; and out of these materials the story became current that “an English gentleman was dhrownded in the river in a post-chaise.” O'Grady set off directly with a party to have the river dragged, and near the spot, encountering Handy Andy, he ordered him to be seized, and accused him of murdering his friend.
It was in this state of things that the boats approached the party on the land, and the moment Dick Dawson 'saw Handy Andy, he put out his oars, and pulled away as hard as he could. At the moment he did so, Andy caught sight of him, and pointing out Furlong and Dick to O'Grady, he shouted, “ There he is !-there he is !-I never murdhered him! There he is !-stop him !—Misther Dick, stop, for the love oʻGod !”
“ What is all this about ?” said Furlong in great amazement.
“Oh, he's a process-server,” said Dick ; " the people are going to drown him, maybe.”
“ To dwown him!” said Furlong in horror.
“If he has luck," said Dick, " they'll only give him a good ducking; but we had better have nothing to do with it. I would not like you to be engaged in one of these popular riots.”
“I shouldn't wellish it, myself," said Furlong.
“ Pull away, Dick !” said Murphy; " let them kill the blackguard, if they like."
“But will they kill him weally ?" inquired Furlong, somewhat horrified.
“ 'Faith, it's just as the whim takes them,” said Murphy ; “but as we wish to be popular on the hustings, we must let them kill as many as they please.”
Andy still shouted loud enough to be heard. “Misther Dick, they're goin' to murdher me!”
“ Poor wretch !” said Furlong, with a very uneasy shudder.
“Maybe you'd think it right for us to land and rescue him," said Murphy, affecting to put about the boat.
“Oh, by no means," said Furlong. “You're better acquainted with the customs of the countwy than I am."
“ Then we'll row back to dinner as fast as we can,” said Murphy. “Pull away, my hearties !” and, as he bent to his oars, he began bel. lowing the Canadian Boat-Song, to drown Andy's roars; and when he howled,
“Our voices keep tune" there never was a more practical burlesque upon the words ; but as he added
“Our oars keep time,” he semed to have such a pleasure in pulling, and looked so lively and florid, that Furlong, chilled by his inactivity on the water, and whose subsequent horror at the thought of seeing a real, regular Irish drowning of a process-server before his face, had produced a shivering fit, requested Murtough to let him have an oar, to restore circulation by exercise. Murtough complied ; but the novice had not pulled many strokes, before his awkward handling of the oar produced that pecuiiar effect called “ catching a crab,” and a smart blow upon his chest sent him heels over head under the thwarts of the boat.
“ Wha-wha-a-t's that ?" gasped Furlong, as he scrambled up again. “ You only caught a crab," said Murtough.
“ Good heaven !" said Furlong, “ you don't mean to say there are crabs as well as salmon in the river."
"Just as many crabs as salmon," said Murtough ; "pull away, my hearty.”
“ Row, brothers, row the stream runs fast
The rapids are near, and the daylight's past !"
The boats doubled round an angle in the river, and Andy was left in the hands of Squire O'Grady, still threatening vengeance ; but Andy, as long as the boats remained in sight, heard nothing but his own sweet voice, shouting at the top of its pitch, " They're going to murdher me ! - Misther Dick, Misther Dick, come back, for the love o' Gud !”
“ What are you roaring like a bull for ?" said the Squire. “Why wouldn't I roar, sir ? A bull would roar it he had as much
“A bull has more reason than ever you had, you calf," said the Squire.
*** Sure there he is, and can explain it all to you,” said Andy, pointing after the boats.
" Who is there ?" asked the Squire.
“Hold your tongue, you rascal; you're either drunk still, or telling lies. The gentleman I mean wouldn't go to Mister Egan's : he was coming to me."
“ That's the jintleman I dhruv – that's all I know. He was in the shay, and was nigh shootin' me ; and Micky Doolin stopped on the road, when his brother was nigh killed, and towld me to get up, for he wouldı't go no farther, when the jinileman objected
“What did the gentleman object to ?” “ He objected to Pether goin' into the shay.” " Who is Peter ?” “ Pether Doolin, to be sure." “ And what brought Peter Doolin there ?" “ He fell off the horse's—" “ Wasn't it Mick Doolin you said was driving, but a moment ago ?". “Ay, sir; but that was th'other shay.' “What other chaise, you vagabond ?"
“ Th’other shay, your honour, that I never seen at all, good or bad only Pether.” .“ What diabolical confusion you are making of the story, to be sure !
--there's no use in talking to you here, I see. Bring him after me,” said the Squire to some of his people standing by. “I must keep him
in custody till something more satisfactory is made out about the matter."
“Sure it's not makin' a presner of me you'd be ?” said Andy.
" You shall be kept in confinement, you scoundrel, till something is heard of this strange gentleman. I'm afraid he's drowned.”
“D_1 a dhrown'd. I dhruv him to Squire Egan's, I'll take my book oath.”
" That's downright nonsense, sir. He would as soon go into Squire Egan's house as go to Fiddler's Green.”
“Faith, then, there's worse places than Fiddler's Green,” said Andy, " as some people may find out one o' these days."
"I think, boys," said O'Grady to the surrounding countrymen, “we must drag the river.”
“ Dhrag the river, if you plase,” said Andy; " but, for the tendher mercy o' heaven, don't dhrag me to jail! By all the crosses in a yard o'check, I dhruv the jintleman to Squire Egan's !-and there he was in that boat I showed you five minutes agone."
“ Bring him after me,” said O'Grady. “The fellow is drunk still, or forgets all about it; I must examine him again. Take him over to the hall, and lock him up in the justice-room till I go home.”
“ Arrah, sure, your honour," said Andy, commencing an appeal.
"If you say another word, you scoundrel,” said the Squire, shaking his whip at him, “I'll commit you to jail this minute. Keep a sharp eye after him, Molloy," were the last words of the Squire to a stoutbuilt peasant who took Andy in charge as the Squire mounted his horse and rode away.
Andy was marched off to Neck-or-Nothing Hall; and, in compliance with the Squire's orders, locked up in the justice-room. This was an apartment where the Squire in his magisterial capacity dispensed what "he called justice, and what he possibly meant to be such ; but poor Justice, coming out of Squire O'Grady's hands, was something like the little woman in the song, who, having her petticoats cut short while she was asleep, exclaimed on her waking,
“As sure as I'm a little woman, this is none of I.” Only that Justice in the present instance doubted her identity, not from her nakedness, but from the peculiar dressing Squire O'Grady bestowed upon her. She was so muffled up in O'Gradyism, that her own mother, who by the same token was Themis, wouldn't know her. Indeed, if I remember, Justice is worse off than mortals respecting her parentage; for while there are many people who do not know who were their fathers, poets are uncertain who was Justice's mother: some say Aurora, some say T'hemis. Now, if I might indulge at this moment in a bit of reverie, it would not be unreasonable to suppose that it is the classic disposition of Ireland, which is known to be a very ancient country, that tends to make the operations of Justice assimilate with the uncertainty of her birth ; for her dispensations there are as distinct as if they were the offspring of two different influences. One man's justice is not another man's justice ;—which I suppose must arise from the difference of opinion as to who or what Justice is. Perhaps the rich