The Macdermots of Ballycloran, by Anthony Trollope

Chapter 17.

Sport in the West.

Carrick-on-Shannon, the assize town of County Leitrim, though an assize town, is a very poor place. It consists of one long narrow, irregular street, lying along the Shannon, in which slated houses and thatched cabins delightfully relieve each other, and prevent the eye from being annoyed with sameness or monotony. The houses are mostly all shops, and even the cabins profess to afford “lodging and entherthainment;” so that it is to be presumed that the poverty of the place is attributable to circumstances and misfortune, and not to the idleness of the inhabitants. The prevailing feeling, however, arising in any human mind, on entering the place, would be that of compassion for the judges, barristers, attorneys, crown clerks, grand jury, long panel, witnesses, &c., who have to be crammed into this little place, and lodged and fed for five or six days, twice a year during the assizes.

There is, however, a tolerably good hotel in the place, and we at present beg to take our reader with us into the largest room therein, which was usually dignified by the name of the Ball Room. It was not, however, by any means dedicated solely to the worship of Terpsichore: all the public dinners eaten in Carrick were eaten here; all the public meetings held in Carrick were held here; all the public speeches were spoken here. Here committees harangued; Gallagher ventriloquised; itinerant actors acted; itinerant concert-givers held their concerts; itinerant Lancashire bell-ringers rang their bells. Here also were carried on the mysteries of the Carrick-on-Shannon masonic lodge, with all due zeal and secrecy.

On the present occasion the room was, or rather had been, devoted to the purpose of feeding; an ordinary had been held here previous to the races; and most of those who were in any way interested in the coming event were there. The cloth had been just taken away, decanters of whiskey and jugs of boiling water alternated each other down the table, and large basins of white sugar were scattered about unsparingly. The party were evidently about to enjoy themselves. There were about thirty of them there, some of them owners of horses, some of them riders, some of them backers; the rest were eaters, drinkers, and spectators.

The chair was filled by Major McDonnell, one of the stewards — a little man, who had probably never crossed a horse himself, and had nothing of the sportsman about him. He had, however, lately inherited an estate in the neighbourhood, and having some idea of standing for the county on the Tory interest at the next election, was desirous of obtaining popularity, and had consequently given forty pounds to be run for — had agreed to wear a red coat at the races, and call himself a steward — sit at the top of the table and carve for thirty hungry sportsmen today, with each of whom he had to drink wine — and get partners for all the ugly girls, if there be any in County Leitrim, on the morrow. This was certainly hard work; in reward for which he was probably destined to have his head broken at the next election, if he should have sufficient courage to show himself as a Tory candidate for the county.

There, however, he sat on this day, very unfit to take the chief part among the spirits by whom he was surrounded.

Opposite to him, at the other end of the room, sat our big and burly friend, McKeon, a very different character. Whenever six or eight were talking aloud together, his voice might always be heard the loudest. Whenever a shout of laughter arose — and that was incessantly — his shout was always the longest. It seemed that every bet that was offered was taken by him, and that every bet taken by any one else had been offered by him. He was always scribbling something in that well-worn book of his, and yet he never had his hand away from his tumbler — except when it was on the decanter. All the waiters came to him for orders, and he seemed perfectly competent to attend to them. If any man finished his punch and did not fill again, McKeon reminded him of his duty — and that not only by preaching, but by continual practice. In fact, he was just in his element, and enjoying himself.

There was an empty chair next Mr. McKeon, where his friend Mr. Gayner had been sitting — I won’t say during his dinner, for he had not swallowed a mouthful. He was now standing up against the fireplace, sucking a lemon. He had a large great coat on, buttoned up to the neck, and a huge choker round his throat. He was McKeon’s jockey, and was to ride Playful for the forty pounds on the morrow.

Bob Gayner, as he was usually called, was one of the best gentlemen riders in the country. He came from County Roscommon — the county, by the by, which can probably boast the best riders in Ireland — where he had a small property of his own, near Athlone; but the chief part of his time was spent in riding races and training for them. He had been at it all his life — and certainly, if there be any merit in the perfection of such an art, Bob was entitled to it, for he rode beautifully. It was not only that he could put his horse at a fence without fear, and sit him whilst he was going over it — any man with practice could do that; but Bob had a sympathy with the animal he was riding, which enabled him not only to know what he could do himself, but also what the horse could do. He knew exactly where a horse wanted assistance from his rider. And he had another knack too, not unfrequently made use of in steeple-chases — Bob seldom let his own horse baulk, but he very generally made those that others were riding do so. And then, at a finish, how admirable was Bob! In leap races the finish is seldom so near a thing as in flat races; but when it did come to be neck and neck at the post, there was no man in Ireland could give a horse a stretch and land him in a winner like Bob. He had also an exquisite genius for tumbling. Horses will occasionally fall, and when they do, riders must follow them; but no one fell so safely, recovered so actively, and was again so instantly in the saddle as our friend; and, consequently, wherever there was a steeple-chase to be run, where pluck, science, and practice were wanting, there Bob was in requisition, and there he usually was found. It was a great thing to secure his services; and knowing this, Tony McKeon had, in his own way, long since, made Gayner his fast friend; how, I cannot say, for Bob was much above being bought, and though, no doubt, he made money by his races, he would have thought little of shooting any one who was bold enough to offer to pay him for riding. When in his cap, jacket, boots, and breeches, he would, if he thought occasion required or his interests demanded it, wrangle like a devil. Though its back were turned to him, he could see a horse go on the wrong side of a post; and woe betide the man who came to the scales as a winner an ounce below the weight. Bob, from long practice, knew all these dodges, and he made the most of them. But when once his cap was off, and his coat was on, he was a quiet, easy, unassuming fellow — liked and petted by all he knew; for he never spoke little of others nor bragged of himself.

He was now talking to another member of the same confraternity, but of a very different character. He also had been sitting dinnerless — for both these gentlemen, in the pursuit of their amusement, were obliged to starve and sweat themselves down to a certain standard, about twenty pounds below their ordinary weight — and he was now also sucking a lemon. George Brown was the second son of Jonas Brown, of Brown Hall, the magistrate by whom Tim Reynolds and the others had been committed to Ballinamore, and, like his father, was most unpopular in his own country. He was arrogant, overbearing, conceited, and passionate — without any rank which could excuse pride, or any acquirement that could justify conceit. It is, however, as a gentleman jockey that we are at present to make his acquaintance, and in that capacity he was about as much inferior to the grooms by whom the horses were trained as Bob was superior to them. He had courage enough, however, and would ride at anything; and as his own relations and friends, for whom he rode, were tolerably wealthy, and he was therefore generally well mounted, he sometimes won; but he had killed more horses under him than any man in Ireland — and no wonder, for he had a coarse hand and a loose seat; and it was no uncommon thing to see George coming the first of the two over a fence headlong into the next field as if he had been flung there by a petard, leaving the unfortunate brute he had been riding panting behind him, with his breast cut open, or his knees destroyed by the fence, over which his rider had had neither skill nor patience to land him. He was now going to ride his own horse, Conqueror, and had talked himself, and had been talked, into the belief that it was impossible that anything could beat him.

These two were standing talking at the fireplace, and as they also had their little books in their hands, it is to be presumed that they were mixing business with amusement.

There were others there, sitting at the table, who were to ride tomorrow, but whose usual weight allowed them to do so, without the annoyance to which Gayner and Brown had to subject themselves. There was little Larry Kelly, from Roscommon, who could ride something under eight stone; Nicholas Blake, from the land of the Blakes, Burkes, and Bodkins; Pat Conner, with one eye, from Strokestown, who had brought his garron over under the speculation that if the weather should come wet, and the horses should fall at the heavy banks, she would be sure to crawl over — knowing, too, that as the priest was his second cousin, he could not refuse him the loan of a stable gratis.

There was Ussher there also, sitting next to George Brown, who was a friend of his — much more intent, however, on his own business than that which had brought the others here; and Greenough, the sub-inspector of police, from Ballinamore; and young Fitzpatrick, of Streamstown, who kept the subscription pack of harriers; and a couple of officers from Boyle, one of whom owned a horse, for which he was endeavouring to get a rider, but which none of those present seemed to fancy; and there was Peter Dillon, from beyond Castlebar, who had brought up a strong-looking, long-legged colt, which he had bred in County Mayo, with the hope that he might part with it advantageously in a handicap, to some of those Roscommon lads, who were said to have money in their pockets; and there were many others apparently happy, joyous fellows, who seemed not to have a care in the world; and last, but not least, there was Hyacinth Keegan, attorney at law, and gent.

There he was, smiling and chatting, oily and amiable; getting a word in with any one he could; creeping into intimacy with those who were not sharp enough to see what he was after; jabbering of horses — of which he considered himself a complete judge — and of shooting, hunting, and racing, as if the sports of a gentleman had been his occupation from his youth upwards.

“Well, boys!” said McKeon; “I suppose we’re to have an auction. What’s it to be? the owld thing — half-a-crown each, I suppose?”

“An auction, Mr. McKeon!” said the chairman. “What’s an auction?”

“We’ll show you, Major. All you’ve to do is to give me half-a-crown.”

Now, as many may be as ignorant as Major McDonnell respecting an auction in sporting phraseology, I will, if I can, explain what it is.

It has but little reference or similitude to those auctions from which Sir Robert Peel has removed the duty.

Supposing there may be twenty members, each having half-a-crown; and six horses to run. Twenty bits of paper are placed in a hat, on six of which are written the names of the running horses — the others are blanks — and they are then drawn, as lots, out of the hat. The tickets bearing the horses’ names are sold by the auctioneer; the last bidder has to pay twice the sum he bids — one moiety to the man who drew the horse, the other is added to the fund composed of the twenty half-crowns. After the race, the happy man holding the ticket bearing the name of the winning horse receives the whole. There are, therefore, different winners in this transaction; the man drawing the name of the favourite horse of course wins what is bid for the ticket; any one drawing the name of any horse would probably win something, as his chance, if the beast have more than three legs, must be worth at least five shillings. Such, however, is an auction, and on the present occasion it was a very animated one.

The thirty half-crowns were now collected and handed over to McKeon; the names of the eight horses expected to start scrawled in pencil on the backs of fragments of race-bills; and those, together with the blanks, deposited in the hat, which was carried round by one of the party.

“Ah! now, Pat, come to me last,” said Gayner; “I’ve never any luck with the first haul; never mind, I’ll take it,” and he drew a lot, “and, by the Virgin, Tony, I’ve got my own mare!”

“Have you got Playful, Gayner?” said a dozen at once. This made their chance less, for Playful was second favourite.

Brown was next, and he got a blank; and the next, and the next.

“I’ve drawn Brickbat,” said Fitzpatrick, “a d —— d good horse; he won the hunters’ plate at Tuam last year.”

“Oh! I wish you joy,” said Gayner, “for he won’t start tomorrow, my boy: he’s at Tuam now.”

“Begad! he’ll start as soon as yourself, Bob,” said little Larry; “he came to Castleknock last night, and he’s at Frenchpark now: Murphy from Frenchpark is to ride him.”

These details brought Brickbat up in the market.

“They might have left him at Tuam then, and saved themselves money,” said Gayner. “Why, he hadn’t had a gallop last Tuesday week; I was in his stable myself. If Burke’s cattle had been as fat at Ballinasloe, he’d have got better prices.”

“I say, McKeon,” said Fitzpatrick, “what odds will you bet Bob doesn’t buy Brickbat himself?”

The hat went round, and others got blanks. Ussher got Miss Fidget, Larry Kelly’s mare, and was advised in a whisper by that cunning little gentleman — who meant to buy Conqueror by way of a hedge, and who therefore wanted to swell the stakes — to be sure and buy the mare himself, for she didn’t know how to fall; “and,” he added, “you know she’s no weight on her;” and when Ussher looked at Larry Kelly, who was to ride her himself, he couldn’t but think the latter part was true.

Then Nicholas Blake drew Kickie-wickie, the officer’s mare, whereupon the gallant Captain, who knew Blake was a sporting fellow, thought this was a good opportunity to sound that gentleman about getting him a rider, and began whispering to him all the qualities of the mare; how she could do everything a mare should do; how high she was bred and how well she was trained, and how she was like the poacher, and could “leap on anywhere;” for all which, and Kickie-wickie herself, with her owner into the bargain, Blake did not care a straw; — for he was confident of winning himself with the Galway horse, Thunderer.

Then some one else drew Thunderer; and Peter Dillon got Conqueror, greatly to his joy, for he reckoned that his expenses from Castlebar would thus be mostly paid, even if he couldn’t sell the long-legged colt. The Major drew Crom-a-boo, a Carrick horse, who had once been a decent hunter, and whose owner had entered it at the instigation of his fellow townsmen, and by the assurance that these sort of races were often won by your steady old horses; and Mr. Stark, the owner, since he had first made up his mind to pay the £5 stake, had gradually deceived himself into the idea that he should probably win; and having never before even owned a horse — for this was a late purchase, or rather the beast had been taken in lieu of a debt — had now, for the last three weeks, talked of nothing but sweats, gallops, physics, training, running, and leaping: and having secured the services of a groom for the day, who was capable of riding his horse, had entirely given himself up to the delights of horse-racing. Lucky was it for Mr. Stark that Crom-a-boo was sure to lose; for had he won, Stark would have been a ruined man; nothing would have kept him from the Curragh and a conviction that the turf was his proper vocation.

The Major was delighted at his prize; he had not drawn a blank, and that was sufficient for him.

Then, at last, Keegan got Pat Conner’s mare from Strokestown. She was called Diana, and his was the last paper drawn.

“Faith, Keegan, you’re in luck,” said McKeon, “for the mare can’t but run well. Pat’s been training her since May last. I was over there going to Castlereagh, and I saw Pat at her then.”

“‘Deed, then, Mr. McKeon,” said Conner, “maybe she’ll beat your own mare, much as you think of her.”

“Oh! I’m sure she will; there’s so much running about her. Was she at plough after last winter, Pat?”

“She had other work to do, then, for she had to carry me twice a week through the season; and that she did — and that’s not light work, I think.”

“Carry you, Pat!” said Gayner; “why, you don’t mean to say you hunt that old garron you call Diana? Faith, man, you’re too bold; your friends ought to look to you; what would the country do if you broke your neck?”

“It’s your own is in most danger, I’m thinking,” replied Pat; “faith, I wouldn’t take all the pick up tomorrow, to ride that devil you’re to ride over the course.”

“And I’ll take devilish good care you’re not asked,” said McKeon: “but now, boys, as I fear the Major’s hardly up to it, I’ll dispose of the prizes. Come, which shall I put up first? which was drawn first?”

“Your own mare, Tony; Gayner got Playful at the first start.”

“Well, gentlemen, here’s the mare Playful. I believe I’m to say all the good I can about her, and upon my word she doesn’t want spirit.” Here he whispered Gayner, whom he told to bid for themselves conjointly. “Come, gentlemen, what do you offer? people say she’s wicked, but she’ll not kick you if you don’t come in her reach. She can go if she likes, and she can, I suppose, if she likes, stand still; but upon my soul, I never saw her to do so in the field.”

“I’ll say thirty shillings, Tony,” said Bob.

“Five and thirty,” said young Brown.

“Two pounds,” said Bob.

“I’ll not go beyond that,” said Brown.

“Two pounds — who’ll give more than two pounds for Playful? Gentlemen, the horses are all favourites, and the pool will consequently be a large one. Who’ll give more than two pounds? Bob, you’ve got the mare; hand me two pound, and hand yourself two more.”

Then Brickbat and Miss Fidget were sold, both at good prices; for the horse had won the last race at Tuam, and that put him up in the market, in spite of Bob’s vile comparison between him and his owner’s bullocks; and the mare was a favourite among the Roscommon gentry, who knew little Larry could ride when he meant it.

Kickie-wickie was the next put up, but in spite of all that had been said about her by her gallant owner, she was in very little request, and was purchased cheap.

Thunderer fetched a good price; Galway horses always do; and it was easy to see that Nicholas Blake was in earnest, and Nick was a man that wouldn’t come from Loughrea to Carrick-on-Shannon, and lose a day with the Galway dogs for nothing; George Brown made the purchase, for if anything could beat Conqueror it was Thunderer.

Then came Conqueror, and bidding began in earnest. George offered two pound to frighten the field; but both Larry Kelly and McKeon wanted to hedge, and they raised the price against each other by half crowns, till at last little Larry Kelly got the winner, that was to be, for three pound ten, much to Gayner’s satisfaction, who felt no such confidence in George Brown’s invincibility, and was very glad to see the pool increased by those who did.

When Crom-a-boo was put up — his owner rashly offered five shillings — for which sum he was allowed to retain him. He could not, however, comprehend that, because he had bid five, he was to pay ten — however, he had to do it, and began to find that the pleasures of the turf were not entirely unalloyed.

The Strokestown garron did not create much emulation, but Peter Dillon, knowing that though Pat had only one eye, that one was a good one, and that he wouldn’t lose the race for want of hard work and patience, and having little Larry’s three pound ten in his pocket to back him, at length doubled Keegan’s offer of half-a-crown which he made to keep his own ticket, and Diana was knocked down to him at the same price that Crom-a-boo had fetched.

Then the fun grew fast and furious, and calls for hot water and spirits were loud and incessant.

“By the holy poker, boys, I’m thirsty after that,” said McKeon; “you should stand me a bottle of champagne among ye, no less — just to take the dryness out of my throat, before I begin drinking.”

“Champagne, indeed, Tony; wouldn’t a bucket of brandy and water serve you?”

“Indeed, Fitz, if you’re to pay for it yourself, a mouthful of brandy and water wouldn’t be a bad thing — for I want something more than ordinary afther that work. Ah! Conner, it was the bidding afther that mare of your’s that broke my heart entirely — why, man, you see, every one wanted her.”

“Niver mind, Mr. McKeon, niver mind!” said Pat, with his one eye fixed on his punch. “She’s a nice, good, easy creature, anyway. I don’t have to be sending a boy down through the rack to be cleaning her, as they say you do with the one you’re going to start tomorrow — pray God she don’t kill any of us, that’s all.”

“Pray God she don’t, Pat, and especially you. Well, Fitz, where’s this brandy and water you’re talking about?”

“To hear Tony talking,” said little Larry, “one would think he didn’t drink this week; when he got a sup at every bid that was made, and finished a tumbler as every horse was knocked down; why that was eight tumblers of punch!”

“Water, Larry, all water to clear my throat — ask the waiter else.”

“It’s little of that cure you take, I’m thinking — waiter, bring some tobacco here.”

And now the party began smoking as well as drinking; and an atmosphere was formed, which soon drove the Major out of the room — not, however, before McKeon implored him to stay just for one handicap, as he wanted to challenge the bay gelding he drove under his gig; and as the Major was waiting for his hat, Tony threw a shilling on the table.

“Come, Major, cover that, just for luck; I must have a shy at that gig horse; I want him for Mrs. McKeon’s car. Come, I’ll tell you every beast I’ve got, and you may choose from them all, from the mare that’s to win tomorrow, down to the flock of turkeys that’s in the yard at Drumsna.”

But the Major was inexorable; he thought the £40 and the red coat which he had had to buy for tomorrow’s use, together with the hard work he had to do, was enough for popularity; and may be he had heard of Tony’s celebrity in a knock, and he did not wish to sacrifice his own nag, for a chance selection out of those in McKeon’s yard, nor yet for a flock of turkeys.

However, though the Major wouldn’t join in a handicap, others would — and McKeon wasn’t baulked of his amusement. Men soon had their hands in their pockets, waiting the awards of the arbiter, which were speedily pronounced; and various and detailed were the descriptions given of the brutes which were intended to change hands; but not in general such as made those who got them satisfied with their bargains, when they afterwards became acquainted with their real merits.

Peter Dillon threw away sundry shillings in endeavouring to part with the Mayo colt, but either he had been there before with the same kind of cattle, or he priced him too high; he couldn’t get his money for him, either from little Larry Kelly, or his elder brother who was there.

Tony, before the evening was over, gave the Boyle officers two or three most desperate bargains. First, he got the celebrated mare Kickie-wickie for a pair of broken down gig horses, to run tandem: engaged to go quiet and not kick in harness. They couldn’t be warranted sound: but then, as Tony said, what horse could? and he was so particular — he would never say a horse was sound, unless he knew it; in fact, he never warranted a horse sound; which was true enough, for Tony knew no one would take his warrant; and then when the Captain was in the first fit of grief for Kickie-wickie, some good-natured friend having told him that the two gig horses weren’t worth a feed of oats, Tony gave her back again for a good hack hunter, and a sum of money to boot, about the real value of the mare. Again, late in the evening — when the punch had made further inroads upon the poor warrior’s brain — he gave him back his own hunter for the two gig horses and a further sum of money: from all which it will be seen by those who understand the art, that the officer from Boyle could not have made a great deal, and that Tony McKeon could not be much out of pocket.

This fun continued till about two, when half the party were too drunk to care about winning and losing — and the other half, mostly consisting of the married men, too wary to attempt business with those as knowing as themselves. Gayner and Brown had gone home to bed, as they had to be up and walk ten miles before breakfast, with their great coats on; after which, as Gayner had told Mrs. McKeon, he would trouble her for the loan of two feather beds, and three or four buckets of turf; as he thought that after laying between them for an hour or so before a roaring fire, and then being rubbed down with flannels by Tony and his two men, there was little doubt but he’d be able to ride 11 stone 4; and he was to be up at that weight on the next day.

Keegan had become very drunk and talkative, had offered to sing two or three songs, to make two or three speeches, and had ultimately fallen backwards, on his chair being drawn away, from which position he was unable to get up, and little Larry’s brother was now amiably engaged painting his face with lampblack. Mrs. Keegan the while was sitting in her cold, dark, little back parlour, meditating the awful punishment to be visited on the delinquent when he did return home.

Vain woman, there she sat till four, while Hyacinth lay happy beneath the table; nor did he return home, till brought on the waiter’s back, at eight the next morning.

Pat was winking with his one eye, and nodding on his chair, with his pipe still stuck in his mouth. Little Larry was laughing till he cried at his brother’s performance. Peter Dillon and young Fitzpatrick, each with a whiskey bottle in his hand, were guarding the door, at which Stark, the unfortunate owner of Crom-a-boo, was vainly endeavouring to make his exit, which he was assured he should not be allowed to do till he had sung a song standing on the sideboard. And the younger son of Mars, conquered by tobacco and whiskey, was leaning his unfortunate head on the table, and deluging Keegan’s feet with the shower which he was unable to restrain.

Ussher was detailing in half drunken glee to his friend Fred Brown, George’s brother, his plan for carrying off poor Feemy; and Brown, always as he said, ready to help a friend in necessity, was offering him the loan of his gig to take her as far as Longford, at which place he could arrive in time to catch the mail, if he could manage to take Feemy away from Ballycloran immediately after sunset. “And I’ll send a boy to bring the gig back from Longford,” added Fred, “so you’ll have no trouble at all; and I’ll tell you what it is, you’re taking the prettiest girl out of County Leitrim with you — so here’s her health.”

Tony, Nicholas Blake, and Greenough were the only three left who were still able to drink steadily, and they kept at it till about four, when they all agreed, that if they meant to do any good at all tomorrow, they’d better be getting to bed; they consequently took one tumbler more, because it was to be the last, and made towards the door, out of which Stark had at length escaped, after having a bottle of whiskey poured over his head. As they passed the Captain, who was snoring against the wall, McKeon slightly touched his foot with his toe, and said to Blake, “Well; if I was as soft as that fellow, I’d have my head boiled in a pudding-bag. By gad, the Colonel oughtn’t to let him out without his nurse.”

“You oughtn’t to talk then, Tony, for you didn’t make a bad thing of him to-night.”

“Oh, d —— n his money,” said McKeon; “I’d much sooner be without such a fellow. I’d sooner by half have a bargain with a man that knew how to take care of himself, than a greenhorn, who’d let you rob him of his eyes without seeing you.”

By this time they’d got to the front door, at which was now standing Tony’s buggy and servant; Greenough was going to walk to his lodgings, and Blake had come to the door to see his friend off; when they heard a loud shrieking down the street, and they saw the unfortunate Stark running towards the hotel, still followed by Fitzpatrick and Dillon, each with an empty bottle in his hand.

When he had escaped from the inn, his persecutors had followed him, still swearing that he should sing. Stark had run towards his home, but before he got there his pursuers headed him in the street and turned him back, and now as he rushed along, half blinded by the spirits in his eyes, they followed him, whooping and yelling like two insane devils, and were just catching him near the door of the hotel, when poor Stark, striking his foot against the curb stone, fell violently on his face, and Dillon, who was just behind him, stumbled and fell upon him.

“Halloo, Fitzpatrick, is that you?” said Tony, “what in G——d’s name are you doing with that poor devil? I believe you and Dillon have killed him.”

By this time Dillon had got up; and McKeon and Blake together helped the other man to his feet; his wrath was by this time thoroughly kindled, and he was swearing all manner of vengeance against Fitzpatrick — the other man’s name he did not know. They, contented with their sport, carried the decanters, wonderful to relate, unbroken in triumph into the hotel — and McKeon, bidding the boy to bring the gig after him, helped Stark, whose face was dreadfully bleeding, to his home, trying to console him, and assuring him that the mischief was all owing to Dillon, and that Fitzpatrick, who was a neighbour and friend of Tony’s, had had little or nothing to do with it; and having left him at his hall-door, he drove quietly home to his own house, and went soberly to bed.

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 18:43