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battle was over, he would not quit the ground until he became his owner, at a high price to the horse dealer. His next move was to insist on Edward O'Connor dining with him; and Edward, after many excuses to avoid the party he foresaw would be a drinking bout (of which he had a special horror, notwithstanding all his toleration), yielded to the entreaties of Murphy, and consented to be his guest, just as Tim, the waiter, ran up, steaming from every pore, to announce that the dinner was “ ready to be sarved.”
" Then sarve it, sir,” said Murphy, " and sarve it right.”
Off cantered Tim, steaming and snorting like a locomotive engine, and the party followed to the inn, where a long procession of dish bearers was ascending the stairs to the big room, as Murphy and his friends entered.
The dinner it is needless to describe. One dinner is the same as another in the most essential points, namely, to satisfy hunger and slake consequent thirst ; and whether beef and cabbage, and heavy wet, are to conquer the dragon of appetite, or your stomach is to sustain the more elaborate attack fired from the batterie de cuisine of a finished artiste, and moistened with champagne, the difference is only of degree in the fashion of the thing and the tickling of the palate :-hunger is as thoroughly satisfied with the one as the other; and head-aches as well manufactured out of the beautiful bright and taper glasses which bear the foam of France to the lip, as from the coarse flat-bottomed tumblers of an inn that reek with punch. At the dinner, there was the same tender solicitude on the part of the carvers as to “Where would you like it?”—and the same carelessness on the part of those whom they questioned, who declared they had no choice, “but, if there was a little bit near the shank,” &c.--or, " if there was a liver wing to spare." By the way, some carvers there are who push an aspirant's patience too far. I have seen some, who, after giving away both wings, and all the breast, two sidebones, and the short legs, meet the eager look of the fifth inan on their left with a smile, and ask him, with an effrontery worthy of the Old Bailey, “has he any choice ?” and, at the same time, toss a drum-stick on the destined plate, or boldly attempt to divert his melancholy with a merry-thought. All this, and more, was there at Murtough Murphy's dinner, long memorable in the country from a frolic that wound up the evening, which soon began to warm, after the cloth was removed, into the sort of thing commonly known by the name of a jollification. But before the dinner was over, poor M.Garry was nearly pickled : Jack Horan, having determined to make him drunk, arranged a system of attack on M'Garry's sobriety which bade defiance to his prudence to withstand. It was agreed that every one should ask the apothecary to take wine; and he, poor innocent man, when gentlemen whom he had never had the honour to meet at dinner before addressed him with a winning smile, and said, “ Mr. M‘Garrywill you do me the honour ?” could not do less than fill his glass every time; so that, to use Jack Horan's own phrase, the apothecary was “sewed up” before he had any suspicion of the fact; and, unused to the indications of approaching vinous excitement, he supposed it was the delightful society made him so hilarious, and he began to launch forth after dinner in a manner quite at variance with the reserve he usually maintained in the presence of his superiors, and talked largely. Now, M‘Garry's principal failing was to endeavour to make himself appear very learned in his profession; and every new discovery in chemistry, operation in surgery, or scientific experiment he heard of, he was prone to shove in, head and shoulders, in his soberest moments : but now that he was half-drunk, he launched forth on the subject of galvanism, having read of some recent wonderful effects produced on the body of a certain murderer who was hanged and given over to the College of Surgeons in Dublin. To impress the company still more with a sense of his learning, he addressed Growling on the subject, and the doctor played him off to advantage.
“Don't you consider it very wonderful, doctor ?" inquired M'Garry, speaking somewhat thickly.
“Very!” answered the doctor drily.
“ They say, sir, the man—that is, the subject, when under the influence of the battery—absolutely twiddled his left foot, and raised his right arm.”
“ And raised it to some purpose, too,” said the doctor, “ for he raised a contusion on the Surgeon-General's eye, having hit him over the same."
“ Dear me !-I did not hear that."
" It is true, however," said the doctor ; " and that gives you an idea of the power of the galvanic influence, for you know the Surgeon-General is a powerful man, and yet he could not hold him down."
" Wonderful!" hiccupped M'Garry.
" But that's nothing to 'what happened in London. They experimented there, the other day, with a battery of such power, that the man who was hanged absolutely jumped up, seized a scalpel from the table, and making a rush on the assembled Faculty of London, cleared the theatre in less than no time--dashed into the hall, stabbed the porter who attempted to stop him, made a chevy down the south side of Leicester-square; and as he reached the corner, a woman, who was carrying tracts published by the Society for the Suppression of Vice, shrieked at beholding a man in so startling a condition, and fạinted ;he, with a presence of mind perfectly admirable, whipped the cloak from her back, and threw it round him ; and scudding through the tortuous alleys which abound in that neighbourhood, he made his way to the house where the learned Society of the Noviomagians hold their convivial meetings, and telling the landlord he was invited there to dinner as a curiosity, he gained admittance, and, it is supposed, took his opportunity for escaping, for he has not since been heard of.”
“ Good heaven !" gasped M'Garry; “and do you believe that, doctor ?"
“ Most firmly, sir! My belief is that galvanism is, in fact, the original principle of vitality.”
“ Should we not rejoice, doctor,” cried M‘Garry, “ at this triumph of science ?"
" I don't think you should, Mister M‘Garry,” said the doctor, gravely, “ for it would utterly destroy your branch of the profession :-pharmacopolists, instead of compounding medicine, must compound with their creditors ; they are utterly ruined. Mercury is no longer in the ascendant ;-all doctors have to do now, is to carry a small battery about them, a sort of galvanic pocket pistol, I may say, and restore the vital principle by its application.”
“You are not serious, doctor," said M‘Garry, becoming very serious, with that wise look so peculiar to drunken men.
“ Never more serious in my life, sir."
“ Leave off your confounded scientifics, there,” shouted Murphy from the head of the table, “ and let us have a song."
“I can't sing, indeed, Mister Murphy,” said M‘Garry, who became more intoxicated every moment; for he continued to drink, having once overstepped the boundary which custom had prescribed to him.
" I didn't ask you, man,” said Murphy ; “but my darling fellow, Ned here, will gladden our hearts and ears with a stave."
“ Bravo !" was shouted round the table, trembling under the “ thunders of applause,” with which heavy hands made it ring again :-and “Ned of the Hill!”—“Ned of the Hill !" was vociferated with many a hearty cheer about the board that might indeed be called “ festive.”
" Well,” said O'Connor, “ since you call upon me in the name of Ned of the Hill, I'll give you a song under that very title. Here's Ned of the Hill's own shout;" and in a rich, manly voice, he sang, with the fire of a bard, these lines :
The Shout of Ned of the Hill.*
The hill! the hill! with its sparkling rill,
And its dawning air so light and pure,
On the drowsy valley and the moor.
Here, with the eagle my state I keep;
And his last as he sets o'er the deep;
Here from the tyrant I am free:
And his garden boasts the costly rose;
Where the matchless wild flower freely blows !
I look down from my mountain throne;
And what is his I can make my own!
And the lord keep his high degree ;
The hill!—the hill for me!
* The Songs in this work will be published by Duff and Hodgson, 65, Oxford-street.
O'Connor's song was greeted with what the music publishers are pleased to designate, on their title-pages, " distinguished applause;" and his “health and song" were filled to and drunk with enthusiasm.
- Whose lines are these ?” asked the doctor. “ I don't know,” said O'Connor.
“ That's as much as to say they are your own,” said Growling. “Ned, don't be too modest; it is the worst fault a man can have who wants to get on in this world."
“ The call is with you, Ned," shouted Murphy from the head of the table ; “knock some one down for a song."
“ Mr. Reddy, I hope, will favour us,” said Edward, with a courteous inclination of his head towards the gentleman he named, who returned a very low bow, with many protestations that he would “do his best,” &c.: “but after Mr. OʻConnor, really;"—and this was said with a certain self-complacent smile, indicative of his being on very good terms with himself. Now, James Reddy wrote rhymes, bless the mark ! and was tolerably well convinced that, except Tom Moore, (if he did except even him,) there was not a man in the British dominions his equal at a lyric :-he sang, too, with a kill-me-quite air, as if no lady could resist his strains; and to “ give effect,” as he called it, he began every stanza as loud as he could, and finished it in a gentle murmurtailed it off very taper indeed ; in short, it seemed as if a shout had been suddenly smitten with consumption, and died in a whisper. And this, his style, never varied, whatever the nature or expression of the song might be, or the sense to be expressed; but as he very often sang his own, there was seldom any to consider. This rubbish he had set to music by the country music master, who believed himself to be a better composer than Sir John Stevenson, to whom the prejudices of the world gave the palm ; and he eagerly caught at the opportunity which the verses and vanity of Reddy afforded him, of stringing his crotchets and quavers on the same hank with the abortive fruits of Reddy's muse, and the wretched productions hung worthily together.
Reddy, with the proper quantity of “ hems and haws," and rubbing down his upper lip and chin with his forefinger and thumb, cleared his throat, tossed his nose into the air, and said, he was going to give them “ a little classic thing."
“ Just look at the puppy!" snarled out old Growling to his neighbour, “ he's going to measure us out some yards of his own fustian, I'm sure,—he looks so pleased.”
Reddy gave bis last“ a-hem !” and sang what he called
The Lament of Ariadne.
The graceful Greek with gem-bright hair
Her garments rent, and rent the air. “ What a tearing rage she was in !" said old Growling in an under tone.
With sobs and sighs
And tearful eyes,
“Oh, thunder and lightning !" growled the doctor, who pulled a letter out of his pocket, and began to scribble on the blank portions of it, with the stump of a blunt pencil, which he very audibly sucked, to enable it to make a mark.
For ah, her lover false, was gone!
The fickle brave,
And fickle wave, “ And pickled cabbage," said the doctor-
Combined to cheat the fickle fair.
Oh, fickle! fickle! fickle!
“ Beautiful !" said the doctor, with an approving nod at Reddy, who continued his song, while the doctor continued to write.
The sea-nymphs round the sea-girt shore
Mock'd the maiden's sighs,
(After the manner of “ Tell me where is Fancy bred.") “ Very original!" said the doctor.
With willow wand
Upon the strand
Desert the fair."
Reddy smiled and bowed, and thunders of applause followed ;-the doctor shouted—“Splendid !" several times, and continued to write and take snuff voraciously, by which those who knew him could comprehend he was bent on mischief.
" What a beautiful thing that is !" said one. “ Whose is it?" said another. “ A little thing of my own,” answered Reddy with a smile. “I thought so," said Murphy: “by Jove, James, you are a genius!”
“Nonsense!" smiled the poet; “just a little classic trifle- I think them little classic allusions is pleasing in general— Tommy Moore is very happy in his classic allusions, you may remark; not that I, of course, mean to institute a comparison between so humble an individual as myself, and Tommy Moore, who has so well been called 'the poet of all circles, and the idol of his own ;' and if you will permit me, in a kindred spirit, I hope I may say the kindred spirit of song, -in that kindred spirit I propose his health-the health of Tommy Moore !"