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" There they are,” said the innocent M'Garry, pointing to the bottles, boxes, and blister, he had made up and set aside, little dreaming that the blister had been exchanged for a law process : and Squire O'Grady's own messenger popped into his pocket the legal instrument, that it was as much as any seven men's lives were worth to bring within gun-shot of Neck-or-nothing Hall.
Home he went, and the sound of the old gate creaking on its hinges at the entrance to the avenue awoke the deep-mouthed dogs around the house, who rushed infuriate to the spot to devour the unholy intruder on the peace and privacy of the patrician O'Grady ; but they recognised the old grey hack and his rider, and quietly wagged their tails and trotted back, and licked their lips at the thoughts of the bailiff they had hoped to eat. The door of Neck-or-nothing Hall was carefully unbarred and unchained, and the nurse-tender was handed the parcel from the apothecary's, and re-ascended to the sick-room with slippered foot as quietly as she could ; for the renowned O'Grady was, according to her account, “ as cross as two sticks ;' and she protested, furthermore, “ that her heart was grey with him.”
Whenever O'Grady was in a bad humour, he had a strange fashion of catching at some word that either he himself, or those with whom he spoke, had uttered, and after often repeating it, or rather mumbling it over in his mouth as if he were chewing it, off he started into a canter of ridiculous rhymes to the aforesaid word, and sometimes one of these rhymes would suggest a new idea, or some strange association, which had the oddest effect possible ; and to increase the absurdity, the jingle was gone through with as much solemnity as if he were indulging in a deep and interesting reverie, so that it was difficult to listen without laughing, which might prove a serious matter, when O'Grady was in one of his tantarums, as his wife used to call them.
Mrs. O'Grady was near the bed of the sick man as the nurse-tender entered.
“ Here's the things for your honour now," said she in her most soothing tone.
“ I wish the d-1 had you and them !” said O'Grady.
“ Gusty, dear!” said his wife. (She might have said stormy instead of gusty.)
“Oh! they'll do you good, your honour," said the nurse-tender, curtsying, and uncorking bottles, and opening a pill-box.
O'Grady made a face at the pill-box, and repeated the word “ pills,” several times, with an expression of extreme disgust—" Pills-pillskills-wills—aye-make your wills-make them—take them–shake them. When taken to be well shaken-show me that bottle."
The nurse-tender handed a phial, which O'Grady shook violently.
“ Curse them all," said the squire. “A pretty thing to have a gentleman's body made a perfect sink, for these blackguard doctors and apothecaries to pour their dirty drugs into—faugh!-drugs-mugs--jugs;” -he shook the phial again and looked through it.
“ Isn't it nice and pink, darlin'?” said the nurse-tender.!
“ Pink!"-said O'Grady, eyeing her askance, as if he could have eaten her. “ Pink-you old besom-pink- "he uncorked the phial
and put it to his nose. “Pink-phew !" and he repeated a rhyme to pink which would not look well in print.
“ Now, sir, dear, there's a little blisther just to go on your chest—if you plaze
“ A what!"
The squire gave a deep growl, and his wife put in the usual appeal of “ Gusty, dear!”
“ Hold your tongue, will you ? how would you like it? I wish you had it on your
6. 'Deed-an-deed, dear, " said the nurse-tender. “ By the 'ternal war! if you say another word, I'll throw the jug at
“ And there's a nice dhrop o' gruel I have on the fire for you," said the nurse, pretending not to mind the rising anger of the squire, as she stirred the gruel with one hand, while with the other she marked herself with the sign of the cross, and said in a mumbling manner, “ God presarve us! he's the most cantankerous Christian I ever kem across !"
“ Show me that infernal thing !" said the squire. 6 What thing, dear?” “ You know well enough, you old hag !--that blackguard blister !"
“ Here it is, dear. Now, just open the brust o' your shirt, and let me put it an you.”
“ Give it into my hand here, and let me see it."
“Give it to me, I tell you !" said the squire, in a tone so fierce that the nurse paused in her unfolding of the packet, and handed it with fear and trembling to the already indignant O'Grady. But it is only imagination can figure the outrageous fury of the squire, when, on opening the envelope with his own hand, he beheld the law process before him. There, in the heart of his castle, with his bars, and bolts, and bull-dogs, and blunderbusses around him, he was served -absolutely served,-and he had no doubt the nurse-tender was bribed to betray him.
A roar and a jump up in bed, first startled his wife into terror, and put the nurse on the defensive.
“ You infernal old strap !" shouted he, as he clutched up a handful of bottles on the table near him and flung them at the nurse, who was near the fire at the time; and she whipped the pot of gruel from the grate, and converted it into a means of defence against the phial-pelting storm.
Mrs. O'Grady rolled herself up in the bed-curtains, while the nurse screeched "murther!” and at last, when O'Grady saw that bottles were of no avail, he scrambled out of bed, shouting, “ Where's my blunderbuss !” and the nurse-tender, while he endeavoured to get it down from the rack, where it was suspended over the mantel-piece, bolted out of the door, which she locked on the outside, and ran to the most remote corner of the house for shelter.
In the mean time, how fared it at Merryvale? Andy returned with his parcel for the squire, and his note from Murtough Murphy, which ran thus :
“ MY DEAR SQUIRE,—I send you the blister for O'Grady, as you insist on it; but I think you won't find it easy to serve him with it.
“Your obedient and obliged,
“ MURTOUGH MURPHY." “ To Edward Egan, Esq. Merryvale.”
The squire opened the cover, and when he saw a real instead of a figurative blister, grew crimson with rage. He could not speak for some minutes, his indignation was so excessive. “So !” said he, at last, “ Mr. Murtough Murphy—you think to cut your jokes with me, do you? By all that's sacred! I'll cut such a joke on you with the biggest horsewhip I can find, that you'll remember it. • Dear squire, I send you the blister.' Bad luck to your impidence! Wait till awhile agothat's all. By this and that, you'll get such a blistering from me that all the spermaceti in M'Garry's shop won't cure you."
SQUIRE EGAN was as good as his word. He picked out the most suitable horsewhip for chastising the fancied impertinence of Murtough Murphy; and as he switched it up and down with a powerful arm, to try its weight and pliancy, the whistling of the instrument through the air was music to his ears, and whispered of promised joy in the flagellation of the jocular attorney
" We'll see who can make the sorest blister," said the squire. “I'll back whalebone against Spanish flies any day. Will you bet, Dick ?”' said he to his brother-in-law, who was a wild helter-skelter sort of fellow, better known over the country as Dick the Devil than Dick Dawson.
" I'll back your bet, Ned.”.
“Maybe Murtough will. Ask him, before you thrash him; you'd better.”
“ As for him," said the squire, “ I'll be bound he'll back my bet after he gets a taste o'this ;” and the horsewhip whistled as he spoke.
“I think he had better take care of his back than his bet,” said Dick, as he followed the squire to the hall-door, where his horse was in waiting for him, under the care of the renowned Andy, who little dreamed of the extensive harvest of mischief which was ripening in futurity, all from his sowing.
“ Don't kill him quite, Ned,” said Dick, as the squire mounted to his saddle.
" Why, if I went to horsewhip a gentleman, of course I should only shake my whip at him; but an attorney is another affair. And, as I'm sure he'll have an action against me for assault, I think I may as well get the worth o' my money out of him, to say nothing of teaching him better manners for the future than to play off his jokes on his employers." With these words, off he rode in search of the devoted Murtough, who was not at home when the squire reached his house ; but as he was returning through the village, he espied him coming down the street in company with Tom Durfy and the widow, who were laughing heartily at some joke Murtough was telling them, which seemed to amuse him as much as his hearers.
“ I'll make him laugh at the wrong side of his mouth,” thought the squire, alighting and giving his horse to the care of one of the little ragged boys who were idling in the street. He approached Murphy with a very threatening aspect, and, confronting him and his party so as to produce a halt, he said, as distinctly as his rage would permit him to speak, “ You little insignificant blackguard, I'll teach you how you'll cut your jokes on me again ; I'll blister you, my buck!" and, laying hands on the astonished Murtough with the last word, he began a very smart horsewhipping of the attorney. The widow screamed, Tom Durfy swore, and Murtough roared, with some interjectional curses. At last he escaped from the squire's grip, leaving the lappel of his coat in his possession; and Tom Durfy interposed his person between them when he saw an intention on the part of the flagellator to repeat his dose of horsewhip.
“ Let me at him, sir ; or by ——"
“I say, a gentleman, Squire Egan,” cried Murtough fiercely, roused to gallantry by the presence of a lady, and smarting under a sense of injury and whalebone. “I'm a gentleman, sir, and demand the satisfaction of a gentleman. I put my honour into your hands, Mr. Durfy."
“ Between his finger and thumb, you mean, for there's not a handful of it,” said the squire.
“Well, sir," replied Tom Durfy, “ little or much, I'll take charge of it. That's right, my cock," said he to Murtough, who, notwithstanding his desire to assume a warlike air, could not resist the natural impulse of rubbing his back and shoulders, which tingled with pain, while he exclaimed,“ Satisfaction ! satisfaction!”
“ Very well,” said the squire : "you name yourself as Mr. Murphy's friend ?” added he to Durfy.
“ The same, sir," said Tom. “Who do you name as yours?”. “ I suppose you know one Dick the Divil.” “A very proper person, sir ;-no better : I'll go to him directly."
The widow clung to Tom's arm, and looking tenderly at him, cried, “ Oh, Tom, Tom, take care of your precious life !"
“ Bother !" said Tom. “Ah, Squire Egan, don't be so bloodthirsty!" . “ Fudge, woman !" said the squire. “ Ah, Mr. Murphy, I'm sure the squire's very sorry for beating you." “ Divil a bit,” said the squire. “ There, ma'am,” said Murphy; “ you see he'll make no apology."
“ Apology!” said Durfy ;-—“ apology for a horsewhipping, indeed ! - Nothing but handing a horsewhip (which I wouldn't ask any gentleman to do), or a shot, can settle the matter."
“ Oh, Tom! Tom! Tom !" said the widow.
“ Ba! ba! ba!" shouted Tom, making a crying face at her. “Arrah, woman, don't be makin' a fool o' yourself. Go in there to the 'pothecary's, and get something under your nose to revive you; and let us mind our business."
The widow, with her eyes turned up, and an exclamation to Heaven, was retiring to M'Garry's shop, wringing her hands, when she was nearly knocked down by M‘Garry himself, who rushed from his own door, at the same moment that an awful smash of his shop-window, and the demolition of his blue and red bottles, alarmed the ears of the bystanders, while their eyes were drawn from the late belligerent parties to a chase which took place down the street, of the apothecary,