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“ My dear sir,” said Murphy, “ we'll beat them hollow ; our canvass has been most prosperous; there's only one thing I'm afraid of —"
- What is that ?'' said Furlong.
“ As for bwibewy, neve' mind that,” said Furlong, with a very wise nod of his head and a sagacious wink. We'll spend money too. We're pwepared for that; plenty of money will be advanced, for the gov'nment is weally anxious that Mr. Scatte'bwain should come in.”
6 Oh, then, all's right !" said Murphy. “ But-whisper-Mr. Furlong—be cauticus how you mention money, for there are sharp fellows about here, and there's no knowing how the wind of the word might put the other party on their guard, and maybe, help to unseat our man upon a petition."
“Oh, let me alone,” said Furlong, “I know a twick too many for that: let them catch me betwaying a secwet! No, no-wather too sharp for that.”
“Oh! don't suppose, my dear sir,” said Murphy, “ that I doubt your caution for a moment. I see, sir, in the twinkling of an eye, a man's character-always did-always could, since I was the height o’that,” ~ and Murphy stooped down and extended his hand about two feet above the floor, while he looked up in the face of the man he was humbugging with the most unblushing impudence," since I was the height oʻthat, sir, I had a natural quickness for discerning character; and I see you're a young gentleman of superior acuteness and discretion ; but at the same time, don't be angry with me for just hinting to you that some of these Irish chaps are d-d rogues. I beg your pardon, Mrs. O'Grady, for saying d-n before a lady,”—and he made a low bow to Mrs. Egan, who was obliged to leave the room to hide her laughter.
“Now," said Furlong, “ suppose befo'e the opening of the poll we should pwopose, as it were, with a view to save time, that the bwibewy oath should not be administe'd on either side."
“That's an eligant idea,” said Murphy. “ By the wig o' the chief justice--and that's a big oath--you're a janius, Misther Furlong, and I admire you. Sir, you're worth your weight in gold to us !"
“Oh, you flatte' me!-weally,” said Furlong, with affected modesty, while he ran his fingers through his Macassar-oiled ringlets.
“ Well, now for a start to the river, and won't we have sport! You English-taught gentlemen have only one fault on the face of the earth, -you're too fond of business,-you make yourselves slaves to propriety,—there's no fun in you."
"I beg pawdon--there," said Furlong, “we like fun in good time.”
“ Ay; but there's where we beat you,” said Murphy, triumphantly ; “ the genuine home-bred Paddy makes time for fun sooner than anything else, we take our own way, and live the longer."
“Ah! you lose your time-though — excuse me ; you lose your time, indeed.”
“ Well, • divil may care,' as Punch said when he lost mass, there's more churches nor one,' says he,-and that's the way with us," said Murphy, “ Come, Dick, get the fishing-lines ready ; heigh for the
salmon fishery! You must know, Misther Furlong, we fish for salmon, with line here."
" I don't see how you could fish any other way," said the dandy, smiling at Murphy as if he had caught him in saying something absurd.
"Ah, you rogue," said Murphy, affecting to be hit ; " you're too sharp for us poor Irish fellows ; but you know the old saying, "An Irishman has leave to speak twice ;' and after all, it's no great mistake I've made ; for, when I say we fish for salınon with a line, I mean we don't use a rod, but a leaded line, the same as in sea-fishing."
" How vewy extwaordinawy! why, I should think that impossible.”
" And why should it be impossible ?" said Murphy, with the most unabashed impudence. “ Have not all nations habits and customs peculiar to themselves? Don't the Indians catch their fish by striking them under water with a long rough stick, and a little curwhibble of a bone at the end of it ?"
66 Speawing them, you mean," said Furlong.
“Ay, you know the right name, of course : but isn't that quite as odd, or more so, than our way here?”
“ 'That's vewy twue indeed ; but your sea line-fishing in a wiver, and for salmon, strikes me as vewy singular."
“ Well, sir, the older we grow the more we learn. You'll see what fine sport it is; but don't lose any more time ; let us be off to the river at once."
“ I'll make a slight change in my dress, if you please, — I'll be down immediately ;” and Furlong left the room.
During his absence, the Squire, Dick, and Murphy, enjoyed a hearty laugh, and ran over the future proceedings of the day.
" But what do you mean by this salmon-fishing, Murphy ?" said Dick; " you know there never was a salmon in the river."
" But there will be to-day," said Murphy; "and a magnificent Gudgeon shall see him caught. What a spoon that fellow is ! we've got the bribery out of him already."
“ You did that well, Murphy," said the Squire.
“ No, no,” said Murphy, “ let him alone; he is so conceited about his talent for business, that he will be talking of it without our pushing him: just give him rope enough, and he'll hang himself; we'll have the whole plan of their campaign out before the day's over."
All men love to gain their ends ; most men are contented with the shortest road to them, while others like by-paths. Some carry an innate love of triumph to a pitch of epicurism, and are not content une less the triumph be achieved in a certain way, making collateral passions accessories before or after the fact; and Murphy was of the number. To him, a triumph without fun was beef without mustard, lamb without salad, turbot without lobster sauce. Now, to entangle Furlong in their meshes was not sufficient for him ; to detain him from his friends, every moment betraying something of their electioneering movements, though sufficiently ludicrous in itself, was not enough for Murtough ;-he would make his captive a source of ridicule as well as profit, and while plenty of real amusements might have served his end, to divert the stranger for the day, this mock fishing party was planned to brighten with fresh beams the halo of the ridiculous which already encircled the magnanimous Furlong.
“ I'm still in the dark,” said Dick, “ about the salmon. As I said before, there never was a salmon in the river.”
“But, as I said before,” replied Murphy, “there will be to-day; and you must help me in playing off the trick."
“But what is this trick ? Confound you, you're as mysterious asi chancery suit.”
“ I wish I was likely to last half as long," said Murphy.
“ The trick !” said Dick. “Bad luck to you, tell me the trick, and don't keep me waiting, like a poor relation."
“You have two boats on the river,” said Murphy. 66 Yes."
“Well, you must get into one with our victim : and I will get into the other with the salmon.”
“But where's the salmon, Murphy."
“In the house, for I sent one over this morning, a present to Mrs. Egan. You must keep away about thirty yards or so, when we get afloat, that our dear friend may not perceive the trick,—and in proper time I will hook my dead salmon on one of my lines, drop him over the off side of the boat, pass him round to the gunwale within view of our intelligent castle customer, make a great outcry, swear I have a noble bite, haul up my fish with an enormous splash, and after affecting to kill him in the boat, hold up my salmon in triumph.".
“It's a capital notion, Murphy, if he doesn't smoke the trick."
“ He'll smoke the salmon sooner. Never mind, if I don't hoax him : I'll bet you what you like he's done.”
“ I hear him coming down stairs," said the squire.
" Then send off the salmon in a basket by one of the boys, Dick,” said Murphy; "and you, Squire, may go about your canvass, and leave us in care of the enemy."
All was done as Murphy proposed, and in something less than an hour, Furlong and Dick in one boat, and Murphy and his attendant gossoon in another, were afloat on the river, to initiate the Dublin citizen into the mysteries of this new mode of salmon fishing.
The sport at first was slack, and no wonder ; and Furlong began to grow tired, when Murphy hooked on his salmon, and gently brought it round under the water within range of his victim's observation.
“ This is wather dull work,” said Furlong.
“ W'ait awhile, my dear sir; they are never lively in biting so early as this -- they're not set about feeding in earnest yet. Hilloa! by the Hokey I have him!” shouted Murphy. Furlong looked on with great anxiety as Murphy made a well-feigned struggle with a heavy fish.
“ By this and that he's a whopper!" cried Murphy in ecstasy. “He's kicking like a two-year-old. I have him, though, as fast as the rock o' Dunamase. Come up, you thief !” cried he, with an exulting shout, as he pulled up the salmon with all the splash he could produce; and suddenly whipping the fish over the side into the boat, he began flopping it about as if it were plunging in the death struggle. As soon as he had affected to kill it, he held it up in triumph before the castle conjuror, who was quite taken in by the feint, and protested his surprise loudly.
“Oh! that's nothing to what we'll do yet. If the day should become a little more overcast, we'd have a splendid sport, sir.”
“Well, I could not have believed it, if I hadn't seen it,” said Furlong.
“Oh! you'll see more than that, my boy, before we've done with them."
“ But I haven't got even a bite yet."
"But how extwaordinawy it is that I have not seen a fish wise since I have been on the wiver.”
" That's because they see us watching them," said Dick. " The d- such cunning brutes I ever met with as the fish in this river: now, if you were at a distance from the bank you'd see them jumping as lively as grasshoppers. Whisht! I think I had a nibble."
“ You don't seem to have good sport there,” shouted Murphy. “ Vewy poo' indeed," said Furlong, dolefully
“ Play your line a little," said Murphy; “ keep the bait livelyyou're not up to the way of fascinating them yet.”
" Why no; it's rather noo to me.”
“ Faiih !” said Murphy to himself, “it's new to all of us. It's a bran new invention in the fishing line. Billy," said he to the gossoon, who was in the boat with him, “ we must catch a salmon again to divart that strange gentleman ; hook him on, my buck.”
“ Yis, sir," said Billy with delighted eagerness ; for the boy entered into the fun of the thing heart and soul, and as he hooked on the salmon for a second haul, he interlarded his labours with such ejaculations as,
“ Oh, Misther Murphy, sir, but you're the funny jintleman. Oh, Misther Murphy, sir, how soft the stranger is, sir. The salmon's ready for ketchin' now, sir. Will you ketch him yet, sir ?”
“ Coax him round, Billy," said Murphy.
The young imp executed the manœuvre with adroitness; and Murphy was preparing for another haul, as Furlong's weariness began to manifest itself.
“Do you intend wemaining here all day ?-do you know, I think I've no chance of any spo't.”
“Oh, wait till you hook one fish, at all events," said Murphy; "just have it to say you killed a salmon in the new style. The day is promising better. I'm sure we'll have sport yet. Hilloa ! I've another !" and Murphy began hauling in the salmon. “ Billy, you rascal, get ready: watch him—that's it-mind him now!” Billy put out his gaff to seize the prize, and, making a grand swoop, affected to miss the fish.
“Gaff him, you thief, gaff him !" shouted Murphy; “ gaff him, or he'll be off.”
“Oh, he's so lively, sir !" roared Billy ; " he's a rogue, sir- he won't let me put the gaff undher him, sir-ow, he slipp'd away agin."
“Make haste, Billy, or I can't hold him.”
“Oh, the thief !” said Billy; "one would think he was cotcht before, he's so up to it. Ha !-hurroo !—I have him now, șir !"
Billy made all the splash he could in the water as Murphy lifted the fish to the surface and swung him into the boat. Again there was the flopping and the riot, and Billy screeching, “ Kill him, sir !—kill him, sir ! or he'll be off out o' my hands !” In proper time the fish was killed, and shown up in triumph, and the imposture completed.
And now Furlong began to experience that peculiar longing for catching a fish, which always possesses men who see fish taken by others; and the desire to have a salmon of his own killing induced him to remain on the river. In the long intervals of idleness which occurred between the occasional hooking up of the salmon, which Murphy did every now and then, Furlong would be talking about business to Dick Dawson, so that they had not been very long on the water until Dick became enlightened on some more very important points connected with the election, Murphy now pushed his boat towards the shore.
"You're not going yet?” said the anxious fisherman ;—" do wait till I catch a fish."
“ Certainly," said Murphy; “ I'm only going to put Billy ashore and send home what we've already caught. Mrs. O'Grady is passionately fond of salmon."
Billy was landed, and a large basket in which the salmon had been brought down to the boat was landed also-empty; and Murphy, lifting the basket as if it contained a considerable weight, placed it on Billy's head, and the sly young rascal bent beneath it, as if all the fish Murphy had pretended to take were really in it; and he went on his homeward way, with a tottering step, as if the load were too much for him.
“ That boy," said Furlong, “will never be able to cawwy all those fish to the house."