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the 'stepping stone,' with more than feminine lungs, announced to the distant labourers in the barley field, by the well-known signal, that dinner was ready.
E'ye, then, Onagh,' said a voice from within the barn, 'an 'tis time, God knows, an this the fair day too ;' and the thresher thrust out a face over the cross door, which was studiously regulated to belie the tone of his reproach.
• Oh! you're always in a hurry, Andy,' replied Onagh, when there's a chance ov your meetin
Is't Anty Tracy you'd be afther sayin ? troth, an you're never more mistaken in your life, for 'pon my conscience I'd rather have the dawniest bit ov your little finger than her whole
Sure I know,' interrupted Onagh ; and, as she darted across the bawn with an averted look of very dubious import, the thresher smiled with self-complacency, and renewed his labour. That, to be sure, accorded but ill with his impatience for dinner, but Andy knew very well that an appearance of industry as the farmer returned from the fields would be the likeliest way to obtain his permission to visit the fair.
In a few minutes a simultaneous attack was made upon the drill of potatoes ; and, when they had wholly disappeared from before, what Mr. M‘Culloch would call, 'the useful consumers,' Andy relaxed his ponderous strength upon the settle ; apd, seeing the sunbeams, which the potatoe water reflected, dancing upon the pewter plates which lined the dresser, compared it, with much gallantry, to Onagh's face when she happened to be in a good humour. • More of your blarney, Andy,' said Ouagh, by no means displeased with the compliment; ' but don't think for all that I'll be afther axen Miss Mary to spe to the masther for leave for ye's all to go to Munnahore to-day.'
• Yea then,' said Paddy Toole, who sat upon a stool in the corner,
'tis yourself, Onagh, was the good warrent to put in a kind word for poor boys that's workin hard from week's end to week's end, an all for
nothin perbaps; for, though we're busy sowen, and fine seed barley 'tis as ever fell from my fist, God ony knows who is to
it.' God knows!' ejaculated ploughboys and ploughmen. Och, bother !' cried Andy, 'we'll reap it ourselves to be sure ; an Onagh don't forget that she followed me in the yeu last harvest. He added with a knowing smile, ‘One good turn desarves another.'
"Well, if I do,' said Onagh, yous won't be killen each other same as last fair-day?
* Nerer fear, Onagh,' said Andy, we'll be as sober as judges.' With this assurance Onagh seemed satisfied ; and, having smoothed down her apron, bustled into the parlour. In a few minutes she returned, with the assurance that Miss Mary would intercede for them. This was tantamount to a permission. Miss M‘Corcoran was an only child; the first fond pledge of a beloved mother, who had just lived long enough to
impress her daughter with the excellence of her example. In marrying M'Corcoran she had given offence to her friends; for, though her husband, by industry, had arisen to the station of a half sir, his circumstances in early life had disqualified him, it was supposed, for the hand of one whose connexions were of a class that disdained admixture with plebeian blood. This, how. ever, gave her but little concern. In the education of her daughter she found ample atonement for estrangement from her friends; and, in imparting knowledge to a pupil so docile and apt, there could not be any vagrant desire after other or more attractive amusements, inconsistent with the station which she had deliberately chosen. Of these circumstances Mary had all the advantage; she acquired a polished education without the vanity and frivolity that too often accompany it; and had her mind amplified without the admission of ideas that could render her discontented with her situation in life. Her father loved her for her many good qualities-- he loved her more that she resembled a mother of whose merits and virtues he was certainly not insensible.
Miss M Corooran was now in her nineteenth year. -The undisturbed tranquillity of her life-the calm in which she had constantly lived-might be supposed to give her face the mere likeness of rude health, devoid of that intelligence which can be acquired, it is supposed, only by intercourse with the world ; but nature had been so indulgent, and her education had been 80 well directed, that the want of a more enlarged experience had not deprived ber of those looks of thought which, in impressing the mind upon the countenance, give additional loveliness to whatever face it animales.
As she stepped into the kitchen there was in her movement all the ease of good breeding; she an. nounced her father's permission with a good-natured smile; and, ever eager to make others happy, distributed her purse amongst them as a 'fairing. Andy was prodigal of blessings, and Paddy Toole's dark brows relaxed somewhat of their repulsive severity as he bent his eyes upon her with an expression of respect and gratitude.
Andy had hardly finished his toilet in the barn, when Ouagh came to inquire if he knew where the Gomulagh was. • Troth I do,' replied Andy, 'for sure Munnahore could'nt be held widout 'im. When was there a fair in it, and Owny pot there?
• Well, how unlucky,' said Onagh, 'an my young mistress wanten to send a letter somewhere. Nay be you'd take it, Andy ? 'tis for Masther Charles Atkins : you'll see 'im in Munnahore.'
Andy consented, and in about half an hour himself and Paddy Toole were within hearing of the confused noise which arose from the busy plain of Munnahore. Andy had do sooner caught a glimpse of the long poles which supported the various signs of the booths, than he gave an involuntary hurra! at the same time brandishing his crabthorn' over his head. Andy, a-vich,' said his more grave companion, 'remember the cause in which we are embarked. There will be a time, an that soon, for hurrain in earnest,
• Azy now,
when the poor Romans, nay be, may come by their
• To be sure there will,' replied Andy, 'the day is up wid the Orangemen, an bad luck to my own four bones, if I don't make some ov 'em, afore I go home, feel the weight ov this kippeent in my hand.'
Whist, you born fool,' said his companion, bis brows assuming a darker frown ; this is not the time --'tis too soon yet, the boys are'nt up; and we must try an swear in as many as we can to-night. I've the polreenf in my pocket.'
Oh, ye,' returned Andy, 'I'm a plain Shilmaleerg man, an am'no hand at swearin in people, tis'nt all as one as you, Paddy, who seems to have served a time to it.'
Why, yes, I've done a good deal in that way. Afore meeself and my brother Larry left Baltinglass, we had sworn in five thousand, an since we come to this part we've'nt been idle.'
This was said with a certain degree of satisfaction, and Andy readily assented to a fact of which he had, in some measure, a personal knowledge. The society of United Irishmen had then extended itself through the greater part of Ireland; and the two brothers, Paddy and Larry Toole, were emissaries sent to introduce its principles into this retired portion of the kingdom. In Andy they found a giddy, thoughtless instrument; and, though perfect strangers, they procured employment in the neighbourhood of Ballyellen, the residence of Mr. M.Corcoran, who was himself a Catholic, and, of course, not extravagantly attached to .church and state as by law established.'
As they entered the fair-green, their sticks were cautiously placed between their arms and their body; and, as they had no particular business to transact, they jostled through the crowd of rustic fashionables
* A small furze stick. Kippeen is here ironically applied to the shilelah.
A prayer book. ỹ The name of a barony in the county of Wexford.
which filled the space that intervened between the stalls of the different chapmen, who vociferously proclaimed the attractions of their different commodities. Some sold hardware, unrivalled in Sheffield, others gave bargains in muslins and handkerchiefs, while a third tempted all who approached with John Allen's gingerbread. On one side • Cheap Jack'would have proved irresistible, were it not for his opposite rival, Sporting Sally, from the County Down, who, on a small scale, spread out her allurements after the manner of Bish, Goodluck, and Co. of Cornhill.
Escaping from the dense atmosphere of this gay scene, our heroey found themselves in front of the tents, which, in a semicircle, enclosed three fourths of the area upon which the fair was held. The figure of a miniature plough, perched upon the top of a lofty pole, reminded them of the village publican, and, accordingly, they paid him a visit. In the booth they found Larry Toole, who, with his wife and child, were composedlý absorbing their ale; and as the greeting was cordial on both sides, the jug was replenished. They had not sat long, when Cormac-dall'sg fiddle was heard behind them; the sound put Andy into motion ; he started upon his feet, and, for some moments, displayed his activity on heel and toe,' to his own great satisfaction, and the infinite amusement of all present. God bless you, boy,' said Larry, 'you handle your feet finely. Pity you should want a partner, an so many girls in the fair.'
Never mind,' said Andy, here's one will do as well--the poor Gomulagh. And a strange figure sprung into the booth, and commenced throwing his legs about after a most original manner. His dress was homely, and by no means superfluous : it consisted of a grey frize coat, vest, and breeches; he wore nothing on either his head or feet, and seemed to care little whether the few garments he had retained their place or not. He appeared to be a young man possessed of great muscular strength, and of a face in
& Blind Cormac.