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The arrangements were soon made, the men placed on their ground, and Dick saw by the intent look with which O'Grady marked him, that he meant mischief; they were handed their pistols—the seconds retired
-the word was given, and as O'Grady raised his pistol, Dick saw he was completely covered, and suddenly exclaimed, throwing up his arm, “ I beg your pardon for a moment."
O'Grady involuntarily lowered his weapon, and seeing Dick standing perfectly erect, and nothing following his sudden request for this suspension of hostilities, asked, in a very angry tone, why he had interrupted him. “ Because I saw you had me covered," said Dick, “ and you'd have hit me if you had fired that time: now fire away as soon as you like !" added he, at the same moment rapidly bringing up his own pistol to the level. : O'Grady was taken by surprise, and fancying Dick was going to blaze at him, fired hastily and missed his adversary.
Dick made him a low bow, and fired in the air.
O'Grady wanted another shot, saying Dawson had tricked him, but Scatterbrain felt the propriety of Edward O'Connor's objection to further fighting, after Dawson receiving O'Grady's fire ; so the gentlemen were removed from the ground, and the affair terminated
O'Grady, having fully intended to pink Dick, was excessively savage at being overreached, and went off to the election with a temper by no means sweetened by the morning's adventure, while Dick roared with laughing, exclaining at intervals to Edward O'Connor, as he was putting up the pistols, “ Did not I do him neatly?”
Off they cantered gaily to the high road, exchanging 'merry and cheering salutations with the electors, who were thronging towards the town in great numbers and all variety of manner, group, and costume, Some on foot, some on horseback, and some on cars; the gayest attire of holiday costume, contrasting with the every-day rags of wretched. ness; the fresh cheek of health and beauty making gaunt misery look more appalling, and the elastic step of vigorous youth outstripping the tardy pace of feeble age. Pedestrians were hurrying on in detachments of five or six-the equestrians in companies less numerous ; sometimes the cavalier who could boast a saddle carrying a woman on a pillion behind him. But saddle or pillion were not an indispensable accompaniment to this equestrian duo, for many a “bare back”. garran carried his couple, his only harness being a halter made of a hay-rope, which in time of need sometimes proves a substitute for rack and manger; for it is not uncommon in Ireland to see the garran nibbling the end of his bridle when opportunity offers. The cars were in great variety: some bore small kishes, * in which a woman and some children might be seen others had a shake down of clean straw to serve for cushions; while the better sort spread a feather-bed for greater comfort, covered by a patchwork quilt, the work of the “good woman" herself, whose own quilted petticoat vied in brightness with the calico roses on which she was sitting. The most luxurious indulged still further in some arched branches of hazel, which, bent above the car in the fashion
* A large basket of coarse wicker-work, used mostly for carrying turf, Anglicè peat.
of a booth, bore another coverlid, by way of awning, and served for protection against the weather ; but few there were who could indulge in such a luxury as this of the “chaise marine,” which is the name the contrivance bears, but why, Heaven only knows.
The street of the town had its centre occupied at the broadest place with a long row of cars, covered in a similar manner to the chaise marine, a door or a shutter laid across underneath the awning, after the fashion of a counter, on which various articles were displayed for sale ; for the occasion of the election was as good as a fair to the small dealers, and the public were therefore favoured with the usual opportunity of purchasing uneatable gingerbread, knives that would not cut, spectacles to increase blindness, and other articles of equal usefulness,
While the dealers here displayed their ware, and were vociferous in declaring its excellence, noisy groups passed up and down on either side of these ambulatory shops, discussing the merits of the candidates, predicting the result of the election, or giving an occasional cheer for their respective parties, with a twirl of a stick or the throwing up of a hat; while from the houses on both sides of the street the scraping of fiddles, and the lilting of pipes increased the mingled din.
But the crowd was thickest and the uproar greatest in front of the inn where Scatterbrain's committee sat, and before the house of Murphy, who gave up all his establishment to the service of the election, and whose stable-yard made a capital place of mustering for the tallies of Egan's electors to assemble ere they marched to the poll. At last the hour for opening the poll struck, the inn poured forth the Scatterbrains, and Murphy's stable-yard the Eganites, the two bodies of electors uttering thundering shouts of defiance, as, with rival banners flying, they joined in one common stream, rushing to give their yotes, ----for as for their voices, they were giving them most liberally and strenuously already. The dense crowd soon surrounded the hustings in front of the court-house, and the throes and heavings of this living mass resembled a turbulent sea lashed by a tempest:--but what sea is more unruly than an excited crowd?--what tempest fiercer than the breath of political excitement ?
Conspicuous amongst those on the hustings were both the candidates and their aiders and abettors on either side ; O'Grady and Furlong, Dick Dawson and Tom Durfy for work, and Growling to laugh at them all. Edward O'Connor was addressing the populace in a spirit-stirring appeal to their pride and affections, stimulating them to support their tried and trusty friend, and not yield the honour of their county either to fear or favours of a stranger, nor copy the bad example which some (who ought to blush) had set them, of betraying old friends and abandoning old principles. Edward's address was cheered by those who heard it:—but being heard is not essential to the applause attendant on political addresses, for those who do not hear cheer quite as much as those who do. The old adage hath it, “Show me your company, and I'll tell you who you are ;"-and, in the spirit of the adage, one might say, “Let me see the speech-maker, and I'll tell you what he says." So, when Edward O'Connor spoke, the boys welcomed him with the shout of “ Ned of the Hill for ever,”-and knowing to what tune his mouth would be opened, they cheered accordingly when he concluded.-O'Grady, on evincing a desire to address them, was not so successful ; – the moment he showed himself, taunts were flung at him; but spite of this, attempting to frown down their dissatisfaction, he began to speak ; but he had not uttered six words when his voice was drowned in the discordant yells of a trumpet. It is scarcely necessary to tell the reader that the performer was the identical trumpeter of the preceding day, whom O'Grady had kicked so unmercifully, who, in indignation at his wrongs, had gone over to the enemy; and having, after a night's hard work, disengaged the cork which Andy had crammed into his trumpet, appeared in the crowd ready to do battle in the popular cause.--" Wait,” he cried, “ till that savage of a baste of a squire dares for to go for to spake !-won't I smother him!” Then he would put his instrument of vengeance to his lips, and produce a yell that made his auditors put their hands to their ears. Thus armed, he waited near the platform for O'Grady's speech, and put his threat effectually into execution. O'Grady saw whence the annoyance proceeded, and shook his fist at the delinquent, with protestations that the police should drag him from the crowd, if he dared to continue-but every threat was blighted in the bud by a withering blast of the trumpet, which was regularly followed by a peal of laughter from the crowd. O'Grady stamped and swore with rage, and calling Furlong, sent him to inform the sheriff how riotous the crowd were, and requested him to have the trumpeter seized.
Furlong hurried off on his mission, and after a long search for the potential functionary, saw him in a distant corner engaged in what appeared to be an urgent discussion between him and Murtough Murphy, who was talking in the most jocular manner to the sheriff, who seemed any thing but amused with his argumentative merriment. The fact was, Murphy, while pushing the interests of Egan with an energy unsurpassed, did it all with the utmost mirthfulness, and gave his opponents a laugh in exchange for the point gained against them, and while he defeated, amused them. Furlong, after shoving and elbowing his way through the crowd, suffering from heat and exertion, came fussing up to the sheriff, wiping his face with a scented cambric pocket handkerchief. The sheriff and Murphy were standing close beside one of the polling desks, and on Furlong's lisping out “ Miste' Shewiff," Murphy, recognising the voice and manner, turned suddenly round, and with the most provoking cordiality addressed him thus, with a smile and a nod:
“Ah! Mister Furlong, how d'ye do? delighted to see you-here we are at it, sir, hammer and tongs--of course you are come to vote for Egan."
Furlong, who intended to annihilate Murphy with an indignant repetition of the provoking question put to him, threw as much of defiance as he could into his namby pamby manner, and exclaimed
“ I vote for Egan ?”
“ Thank you, sir," said Murphy. “Record the vote," added he to the clerk.
There was loud laughter on one side, and anger as loud on the other, at the way in which Murphy had entrapped Furlong, and cheated him