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E. E. SOMERVILLE AND VIOLET MARTIN ("MARTIN
MARTIN Ross is the pseudonym of Miss Violet Martin and Miss Somerville, who are both great-granddaughters of Chief Justice Charles Kendal Bushe. Miss Martin is daughter of the late James Martin of Ross, County Galway, while Miss Somerville is daughter of the late Colonel Somerville of Drishane, County Cork. Both writers know their Cork and their Galway thoroughly, and are on the happiest terms with the gentry and peasantry of their immediate surroundings.
They know their Dublin as thoroughly, as their remarkable novel, * The Real Charlotte,' goes to prove. These ladies have produced some very successful books: An Irish Cousin,' 'Naboth's Vineyard,' Through Connemara in a Governess Cart,' 'In the Vine Country, and last, but not least, “Some Experiences of an Irish Resident Magistrate,' a delightful book which has placed its authors among the first of the humorists. • The Real Charlotte' excels as a picture of the bourgeoisie and the little folk of the country. It is bitten in with acid, and if it falls short of mere pleasantness, there is in it a strength that tempts one to name the authors of The Real Charlotte' with some very great writers.
LISHEEN RACES, SECOND-HAND.
From "Some Experiences of an Irish Resident Magistrate.'
It may or may not be agreeable to have attained the age of thirty-eight, but, judging from old photographs, the privilege of being nineteen has also its drawbacks. I tured over page after page of an ancient book in which were enshrined portraits of the friends of my youth, singly, in David and Jonathan couples, and in groups in which I, as it seemed to my mature and possibly jaundiced perception, always contrived to look the most immeasurable young bounder of the lot.
Our faces were fat, and yet I cannot remember ever having been considered fat in my life; we indulged in low-necked shirts, in “ Jemima” ties with diagonal stripes; we wore coats that seemed three sizes too small, and trousers that were three sizes too big; we also wore small whiskers.
I stopped at last at one of the David and Jonathan memorial portraits. Yes, here was the object of my researches; this stout and earnestly romantic youth was Leigh Kelway, and that fatuous and chubby young person seated on the arm of his chair was myself. Leigh Kelway was a young man ardently believed in by a large circle of admirers, headed by himself and seconded by me, and for some time after I had left Magdalen for Sandhurst, I maintained a correspondence with him on large and abstract subjects. This phase of our friendship did not survive; I went soldiering to India, and Leigh Kelway took honors and moved suitably on into politics, as is the duty of an earnest young Radical with useful family connections and an independent income. Since then I had at intervals seen in the papers the name of the Honorable Basil Leigh Kelway mentioned as a speaker at elections, as a writer of thoughtful articles in the reviews, but we had never met, and nothing could have been less expected by me than the letter, written from Mrs. Raverty's Hotel, Skebawn, in which he told me he was making a tour in Ireland with Lord Waterbury, to whom he was private secretary. Lord Waterbury was at present having a few days' fishing near Killarney, and he himself, not being a fisherman, was collecting statistics for his chief on various points connected with the Liquor Question in Ireland. He had heard that I was in the neighborhood, and was kind enough to add that it would give him much pleasure to meet me again.
With a stir of the old enthusiasm I wrote begging him to be my guest for as long as it suited him, and the following afternoon he arrived at Shreelane. The stout young friend of my youth had changed considerably. His important nose and slightly prominent teeth remained, but his wavy hair had withdrawn intellectually from his temples; his eyes had acquired a statesmanlike absence of expression, and his neck had grown long and birdlike. his first visit to Ireland, as he lost no time in telling me, and he and his chief had already collected much valuable information on the subject to which they had dedicated the Easter recess.
He further informed me that he thought of popularizing the subject in a novel, and therefore intended to, as he put it, “master the brogue” before his return.
During the next few days I did my best for Leigh Kelway. I turned him loose on Father Scanlan; I showed him Mohona, our champion village, that boasts fifteen publichouses out of twenty buildings of sorts and a railway station; I took him to hear the prosecution of a publican
for selling drink on a Sunday, which gave him an oppor. tunity of studying perjury as a fine art, and of hearing a lady, on whom police suspicion justly rested, profoundly summed up by the sergeant as "a woman who had th' appairance of having knocked at a back door.”
The net result of these experiences has not yet been given to the world by Leigh Kelway. For my own part, I had at the end of three days arrived at the conclusion that his society, when combined with a note-book and a thirst for statistics, was not what I used to find it at Oxford. I therefore welcomed a suggestion from Mr. Flurry Knox that we should accompany him to some typical country races, got up by the farmers at a place called Lisheen, some twelve miles away. It was the worst road in the district, the races of the most grossly unorthodox character; in fact, it was the very place for Leigh Kelway to collect impressions of Irish life, and in any case it was a blessed opportunity of disposing of him for the day.
In my guest's attire next morning I discerned an unbending from the role of cabinet minister towards that of sportsman; the outlines of the note-book might be traced in his breast pocket, but traversing it was the strap of a pair of field-glasses, and his light gray suit was smart enough for Goodwood.
Flurry was to drive us to the races at one o'clock, and we walked to Tory Cottage by the short cut over the hill, in the sunny beauty of an April morning. Up to the present the weather had kept me in a more or less apologetic condition; any one who has entertained a guest in the country knows the unjust weight of responsibility that rests on the shoulders of the host in the matter of climate, and Leigh Kelway, after two drenchings, had become sarcastically resigned to what I felt he regarded as my mismanagement.
Flurry took us into the house for a drink and a biscuit, to keep us going, as he said, till “ we lifted some luncheon out of the Castle Knox people at the races,” and it was while we were thus engaged that the first disaster of the day occurred. The dining-room door was open, so also was the window of the little staircase just outside it, and through the window traveled sounds that told of the close proximity of the stable-yard; the clattering of hoofs on
cobble stones, and voices uplifted in loud conversation. Suddenly from this region there arose a screech of the laughter peculiar to kitchen flirtation, followed by the clank of a bucket, the plunging of a horse, and then an uproar of wheels and galloping hoofs. An instant afterwards Flurry's chestnut cob, in a dogcart, dashed at full gallop into view, with the reins streaming behind him, and two men in hot pursuit. Almost before I had time to realize what had happened, Flurry jumped through the half-opened window of the dining-room like a clown at a pantomime, and joined in the chase, but the cob was resolved to make the most of his chance, and went away down the drive and out of sight at a pace that distanced every one save the kennel terrier, who sped in shrieking ecstasy beside him.
“Oh merciful hour!” exclaimed a female voice behind me. Leigh Kelway and I were by this time watching the progress of events from the gravel, in company with the remainder of Flurry's household. « The horse is desthroyed! Wasn't that the quare start he took! And all in the world I done was to slap a bucket of wather at Michael out the windy, and ’t was himself got it in place of Michael !"
“Ye'll never ate another bit, Bridgie Dunnigan,” replied the cook, with the exulting pessimism of her kind. ã The Master 'll have your life!”
Both speakers shouted at the top of their voices, probably because in spirit they still followed afar the flight of the cob.
Leigh Kelway looked serious as we walked on down the drive. I almost dared to hope that a note on the degrading oppression of Irish retainers was shaping itself. Before we reached the bend of the drive the rescue party was returning with the fugitive, all, with the exception of the kennel terrier, looking extremely gloomy. The cob had been confronted by a wooden gate, which he had unhesitatingly taken in his stride, landing on his head on the farther side with the gate and the cart on top of him, and had arisen with a lame foreleg, a cut on his nose, and several other minor wounds.
“ You'd think the brute had been fighting the cats, with all the scratches and scrapes he has on him!” said Flurry,
casting a vengeful eye at Michael, “and one shaft’s broken and so is the dashboard. I haven't another horse in the place; they ’re all out at grass, and so there's an end of the races!"
We all three stood blankly on the hall-door steps and watched the wreck of the trap being trundled up the avenue.
“I'm very sorry you 're done out of your sport,” said Flurry to Leigh Kelway, in tones of deplorable sincerity; “perhaps, as there's nothing else to do, you'd like to see the hounds?"
I felt for Flurry, but of the two I felt more for Leigh Kelway as he accepted this alleviation. He disliked dogs, and held the newest views on sanitation, and I knew what Flurry's kennels could smell like. I was lighting a precautionary cigarette, when we caught sight of an old man riding up the drive. Flurry stopped short.
“ Hold on a minute," he said; “here's an old chap that often brings me horses for the kennels; I must see what he wants."
The man dismounted and approached Mr. Knox, hat in hand, towing after him a gaunt and ancient black mare with a big knee.
“ Well, Barrett,” began Flurry, surveying the mare with his hands in his pockets, “I'm not giving the hounds meat this month, or only very little.”
“Ah, Master Flurry," answered Barrett, “it's you that's pleasant! Is it give the like o' this one for the dogs to ate! She's a vallyble strong young mare, no more than shixteen years of age, and ye’d sooner be lookin' at her goin' under a side-car than eatin' your dinner.”
“There isn't as much meat on her as 'd fatten a jackdaw,” said Flurry, clinking the silver in his pockets as he searched for a matchbox. “What are you asking for her?"
The old man drew cautiously up to him.
“ Master Flurry," he said solemnly, “I'll sell her to your honor for five pounds, and she 'll be worth ten after you give her a month's grass.”
Flurry lit his cigarette; then he said imperturbably, “I'll give you seven shillings for her.”
Old Barrett put on his hat in silence, and in silence