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The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, January 18, 1903, Image 13

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Continued on Page Fourteen
I got used to it all in time— I suppose
one can got used to anything— I even be
came callous to the surprises of Mrs. Cad
ogan'n cooking. As the ,weather hard
ened and the woodcock came in, and one
by one I discovered and nailed up rat
holes, I began to find life endurable.
The one feature of my establishment to
which I could not become Inured was the
pervading sub-presence of some thing or
things which for my own convenience . I
summarized as Great-Uncle McCarthy.
There were nights on which I was cer
tain", that I heard the 'inebriate shuffle of
his foot overhead,* the touch of his'fum
bllng hand against the walls. There were
1 look back to that first week of house
keeping at Shreelane as to a' comedy ex
cessively badly staged and striped with
lurid mtlodrama. Dally. shrouded in
mackintosh. I set forth for the Petty Ses
sions courts of my j wide district; dally.
In the inevitable atmosphere of wet frieze
and perjury, I listened to Indictments of
old women who plucked geese alive, of
publicans whose hospitality to their
friends broke forth uncontrollably on
Sunday afternoons, of "parties" who. in
the language of the police sergeant, were
subtly detined as "not to' say dhrunk, but
in good iightin'thrlm."
my bedside with a black bottle in hl3
hand.
"There's no bath In the house, sir," was
his reply to my comnmnO; "but me a'nt
said, would ye like a taggeen?"
This alternative proved to be a glass
of raw whisky. 1 declined It. .
I>ead' it certainly was*. I could have
told that without looking at It; but why
should it, nl some considerable period
after its de^th, fall from the clouds at
my feet? But did it fall from the clouds?
I struck another match and stared up at
the impenetrable face of the house. There
It appeared to be, my duty to Inspect the
yard. I put the candle on the, table and
went forth Into the outer darkness. Not
a sound was to be hoard. The night was
very cold, ami so dark that I could
scarcely distinguish the roofs of the sta
bles against the sky; the house loomed
tall and oppressive above me; I was con
scious of how lonely it stood In the dumb
and barren country. Something whirled
out of the darkness above me and fell
with a flop on the ground, just at my
feet. I jumped backward, in point of
fact I made for the kitchen door. and.
with my hand on the latch, stood still ami
wafted. Nothing further happened: the
thing that lay there did not stir; I struck
a match. The moment of tension turned
to pathos as the light flickered on nothing;
more fateful than a dead crow, . .
box of matches In my hand, »nd armed
with a stick, 1 stood in the dark at the top
of the back stairs and listened; the snores
of Mrs. Cadogan and her nephew Peter
rose tranquilly from their respective lairs.
I descended to the kitchen and lit a can
dle: there was nothing unusual there, ex
cept a great portion of the Cadogan wear
ins: apparel, which was arranged at the
(ire and was being serenaded by two
crickets.
When Mr. Knox had gone I began to
picture myself "going across country roam
ing, while Phlllppa put the goose, down
the chimney; but when . T sat down to
write to her 1 did not feel equal to being
"Oh, is it the cock?" said ' Mr. , Flurry.
"B'leeve me. the best shoots ever I had
here the hounds were in it the day be
fore." . .':-.'
This was scarcely reassuring for a man
who hoped to shoot . woodcock, and I
hinted ns much. .
The autumn - evening, pray with raln v
was darkening in the tall windows, and
the wind wns beginning to. make bully
ing rushes among the shruhB in the area;
a shower of soot rattled down the chim
ney and fell on the hearthrug
, "More rain coming." said Mr. Knox.
rising composedly. "You'll have to put a
goose down these chimneys some day
noon; it's the only way in the world to
clean them. Well. I'm for the road.
You'll come out on the gray next week,
I hope; £he hounds'll be meeting here."
He threw his cigarette int« the fire and
extended a hand to me. "Good-by, Major,
you'll see plenty of m« and my hounds
before you're done. There's a power of
foxes in the plantations here."
on him— the horrors, y' know— there were
nights he never stopped walking through
the house. Good Lord! will I ever forget
the morning he said he saw the devil
coming up the avenue! • 'Look at the two
horns on him." j=ays lie. and he out with
Ms gun and shot him, and, begad. It waa
his own donkey!"
trading I dejectedly behind him and his
half-dozen companions.
"What 'luck7" I called out. drawing
rein as I met them. \
"None," said Mr. Flurry briefly. He did
not stop, neither did he remove his pipe
from his mouth: his eye at me was cold
and sour. The other members of the hunt
passed me with equal hauteur; I thought
they took their 111 luck very badly.
On foot, among the last of the strag
gling hounds, cracking a carman's whip
and swearing comprehensively at them
all. slouched my friend Slipper. Our
friendship had begun In court, the rela
tive positions of the dock and the Judg
ment seat forming no obstacle to Its
progress. He was, as usual, a little drunk,
and he hailed me as though I were a ship.
"Ahoy, Major Yeates!" he shouted,
bringing himself up with a lurch against
my cart; "it's hunting you should be. In
place of sending poor dlvila to Jail."
"But where are all the foxes?" said I.
"Begor, 1 don't know no more than your
honor. And Shreelane— that there used to
be as many foxes In it as there's crosses
In a yard of check! Well, well, I'll say
nothln' for It, only that it's quare!"
That frosty evening was followed by
three others like unto It. and a flight of
woodcock came in. I dispatched invita
tions to shoot and dine on* the following
nay to four of tho local sportsmen, among
whom was, of course, my landlord. I re
member that In my letter to the latter I
expressed a facetious hope that my bag
the gray horse's forelegs into a becoming
position and led him up to me.
I regarded him from under my umbrelU
t\ith a quite unreasonable disfavor. Me hail
the dreadful beauty of a horse in a toy
El'iop, as chubby, as wooden and :is COt»
¦dcntlottsl? dappled, but it was unreason
able to urge tils as an objection. YleVi'ng
to circum*ti»rce6. I threw my leg over the
brute, and after pacing gravely round the
quadrangle that formed the yard I de
cided that as he had neither fallen down
nor kicked me off It was worth paying £25
for him. If only to get in out of the rain.
Mr. Knox accompanied me Into tho
house' and bad a drink. He was a fair,
spare young man. who looked like a sta
ble boy among gentlemen and a gentle
man among stable boys. He belonged to
a clan that cropped up In every grade of
society in the county, from Sir Valentine
Knox of Knox Castle down to the auc
tioneer Knox, who bore the attractive
title of iArry the Liar. So far an I could
Judge. Florence McCarthy of that ilk oc
cupied a Fhifttng position about midway
in the tribe. I had met htm at a dinner
'at Sir Valentine's, I had heard of him
at an illicit auction, held by I*arry the
LJar. of brandy stolen from a wreck.
They were "Black Protestants" all of
them, in virtue of their descent from a
godly soldier of Cromwell, and all were
prepared at any moment of the day or
night to Fell a horse.
"You'll be Hpt (o find this place a bit
lonesome after the hotel." remarked Mr.,
Flurry, sympathetically, as he placed his
foot in lt& steaming boot on the hob,
"but it's a fine, sound house, anyway, and
lots of rooms in it. though) Indeed, to
tell you the truth. I never was through
the whole of, them since the time my
great-uncle. Dennis McCarthy, died here.
The dear knows I had enough of it that
time." He paused and lit a cigarette.
"Those top floors, now," he resumed, "I
wouldn't make too free with them.
There's some of them would jump under
you like a spring bed. Many'a the night
I vras in and out of those attics, following
my poor uncle when he had a bad turn
Cerrrtghtel by E. OE. BomerrlUe.
?¦ *TrV RESIDENT magistracy in Ireland
f \ Is cot an easy thing to come by
. I I nowadays; neither is It a very at-
V, I tractive Job; yet on the evening
X. when I first propounded the idea
to Ihe your.g lady who had recently con
sented to become Mrs. Sinclair Ycates It
eeerr.ed glittering with possibilities.
I was then climbing the steep accent of
the captains toward my majority. I had
attained to the dignity of mud major and
had ppcr.t a pood deal on postage stamps
and on railway fares to interview people
of inf.uenee before I found myself In the
hoto! at Skcbawn opening long envelopes
addressed to "Major Veates, R. M."
My mo&t Immediate concern was to
leave it at the earliest opportunity, but
In those nine weeks 1 had learned, among
other painful things, a little, a very littl<\
oi the methods of the partisan in the
¦west of Ireland. Finding a house had
been easy enough. I had had ray choice
of several, each with some hundreds of
acres of shooting, thoroughly poached,
end a considerable portion of the roof Ia>
luct. I had selected one — the one that
had the largest extent of roof in propor
tion to the shooting— and. had been as-
Fured by my landlord that In a fortnight
or so it would be fit for occupation.
"There's a few little odd things to be
done." he said easily; "a lick of paint
here and there and a slap of plaster — '-"
I am shortsighted; I am also of Irish
extraction, both facts that make for tol
eration—but even I thought he was un
derstating the case. So did the con
tractor.
These, and kindred difficulties extended
In an unbroken chain through the sum
mer months, until a certain wet and
windy day In October, nhm. with my
Vagpage, I drove over to establish myself
i\ Bhreelane. It was a tall; uciv bouw
'of three stories h!gh. its wall* fac?d with
«"eatlier-beatrn slates, its windows star
ing:, narrow and vacant. I stood on the*
fir-ps waiting for thf door to be opened,
•while the rain sluiced upon me from a
broken eaveshoot that had. among many
other things, escaped the notice of my
landlord.
The door opened and revealed the hall.
It rtruck me that I had. perhaps, overes
timated Its possibilities. Amonjt them I
liad certainly r.ot included a flagged floor.
sweating with damp, and a reek of cab
lsge from the adjacent kitchen stairs. A
large, elderly woman, with a red tiff and
s cap worn helmet- wise on her forehead.
ewept me a magnificent courtesy as I
crossed the threshold.
"Tour honor's welcome " F he began.
nr.d then every door in the hour** slammed
!?¦ obedience to the gust that drova
through it. With raraething that Founded
like "Mend ye for a back door!" Mr*.
Cacosiaii abandoned lier opening speech
and made for the kitchen stairs.
I km a martyr to co'ris in the neai. and
1 felt one coming on. I made a laager in
front of the dining-room fire «ith a t-*t
trred leather screen arid the dinner-tabe.
mid gradually, with cigarettes ar.d »tronx
tea. t.affied the smell of muM and cats anil
fervently trusted that the rain m!sht
evert a threatened visit from my land
lord. I was then but superficially ac
quainted frith Mr. Florence McCarthy
Knox end his habits.
At sbout 4:30. when the room had
v armed up. and my rold was yielding to
treatment. Mr.=. Odogan entered and in
formed me. that "Mr. Flurry" was In the
yard and would be thankful If I'd jro out
" io him. for he couldn't come In. I nud
rtird on a mackintosh, and went out into
the yard. "X.
My landlord was there on horseback,
and with him there was a man standing
et the head of a ptout gray animal. I
rerog-nized with despair that I was about
to be compelled to buy a horse.
"Good afternoon. Major," said Mr. Knox
In his slow, sing-sing brogue: "it's rather
soon to h*f paying: you a visit, but I
thought you might be In a hurry to see
Ui«* fcors* I was telling you of."
I thanked him and pupeepted that It was
rathfr wet for horse dealing*.
"Oh. lt*« nothing when you're, used to
it." replied Mr. Knox. tils glovelegs hand*
wrr«» red and wet. the rain ran down his
nose, and his covert ccat was soaked to a
fodtfen brown. I thought that I did not
want to become used to It. My relations
v.',th horses have been of a purely military
character. I have ensured the Sandhurst
i !d ;re-schoo!. I have galloped for an lm-
I>etjou? generaJ. I have been steward «it
regimental races, but none of these feats
have altered ray opinion that the horse, as
a means of locomotion, is obsolete. Never-
IhelenJ the man who accepts a resident
magistracy In the southwest of Ireland
voluntarily retires into the prehistoric
es«; to institute a etable became Inevi
table.
"You ought to throw a leg over him."
f-'ld Mr. Knox. "and you're welcome, to
take. h<m over a fence or two if you like.
H*« a nice, flippant Jumper."
Even to my ur.exacting eye the gray
borne did not neem to promise flippancy.
I explained that I wanted something to
drive and not to ride.
k "VWli, that's a fine raking horse in har-
F't-k." said Mr. Knox. looking at me with
' Me »erious gray eyes. "Bring him up
1 "re, Michael."
AlicLneJ abandoned bis efforts to kick
Certainly the view from the roof wa«
worth coming up to look at. I turned to
survey with an owner's eye my own
gray woods and straggling plantations cf
Urch. and espte'l a man coming out of
the western wood. He had something on
his back and he was walking very fast: a
rabbit poacher, no doubt. As he passed
out of sight Into the back avenue h*» wan
beginning to run. At the same Instant I
sa,w on the hill beyond my western bound
aries half a dozen horsemen scrambling
by zigzag ways down toward the wooil.
There was one red coat among them: it
came first at the gap In the fence that
Tim Connor had gone out to mend. an<i
with the others was lost to sight In th<»
covert, from which. In another Instant,
came clearly through the frosty air a
I read this through twice before Its drift
became apparent, and I realized that I
was accused of Improving my shooting
and my finances by ths simple expedient
of selling my foxes. That Is to say, I waa
In a worse position than If I had stolen a
horse or murdered Mrs. Cadogan. or got
drunk three times a- week In Skebawn.
For a few moments I fell Into wild'
laughter, and then, aware that It wa.i
rather a bad business to let a lie of thin
kind get a start. I sat down to demolish
the. preposterous charge In a letter to
Flurry Knox. Somehow, as I selected my
sentences, it was borne tn upon me that.
if the letter spoke the truth, circumstan
tial evidence was rather against me. Mere
lofty repudiation would be unavailing, and
by my Infernal facetiousness about the
woodcock I had effectively filled in the
case against myself. At all events, the
first thing to do was to have it out with
Tim Connor. I rang the bell.
"Peter, Is Tim Connor about the place?"
"He Is not, sir. I heard him say he waa
going west the hill to mend the bounds
fence." Peter's face was covered with
soot, his eyes were red and he coughed
ostentatiously. "The sweep's after break
ing one of his brushes within ver bed
room chimney sir." he went on; "he's
above on the roof now, and he'd be thank
ful to you to go up to him."
I followed him upstairs, cl.'mbed the
rickety ladder, and squeezed through th«
dirty trapdoor to the roof, and was con
fronted by the hideous face cf the sweep,
black against the frosty blue sky. He had
encamped with all his paraphernalia on
the flat top of the roof, and was goo>l
enough to rise and put his pipe in his
pocket on my arrival.
"Good morning. Major. That's a grand
view you have up here." said the sweep.
He was evidently too well bred to ta!K
shop. "I thraveled every roof In this
counthry. and there isn't one where you*«J
get as handsome a prospect."
Theoretically he was right, hut I hn<l
not come up to the roof to discuss prenery.
ani demanded brutally why h» hail ?ent
for'me. The explanation Involved a re
cital of the special genius required to
sweep the Shreelane chimneys: of the fact
that the sweep had In Infancy been sent
up and down every one of them by Great-
Uncle McCarthy; of the three assloads of
soot that by his peculiar skill he had tola
morning taken from the kitchen chim
ney; of Its present purity, the draught bo.
Ing such that It would "dhraw up a young
rat with rt." Finally— realizing that I
could endure no more— he explained th,at
my bedroom chimney had got what h»
called "a wynd" tn It. and he proposed to
climb down a little way in the stark to
try "would he get to comr at the brush. "
The sweep was very small, the chimney
very- large. I stipulated that hr- ghouM
have a rope round his waist, and despit*
the illegality. I let him go. He went down
like a monkey, digging his toes and finger?
Into the niches made for the purpose In
the old chimney: Peter held the rope. I
lit a cisrarette and waited.
"Well, for heaven's sak»\ W him get at
tn# chimneys and let me co to sleep." I
answered, goaded to desperation, "anrl
you may tell him from me that if I hear
his voice again I'll ehoot him!"
Subsequent events may be briefly sum
marized. At 7:30 I was awakened anew
by a thunderous sound In the chimney,
and a brick crashed Into the fireplace,
followed at a short Interval by two dead
Jackdaws and their nests. At 3 I was in
formed by Peter that there was no hot
water, and that he wished the devil
would roast the name sweep. At 9:Z0.
when I came down to breakfast, there
was no fire anywhere, and my coffee.
Trade in the coach house, tasted of soot.
I put on an overcoat and opened my let
ters. About fourth or fifth in the unin
teresting heap came one in an egresiously
disguised hand.
"Sir," it began, "this Is to Inform you
your unsportsmanlike conduct has been
discovered. You have been suspected this
good while of shooting the Shreelan**
foxes: It Is known now you do worse.
F'artles have seen your gamekeeper going
regular to meet the Saturday early train
at Salters Hill station, with your gray
horse under a cart and your labels on the
boxes, and we know aa well as your agent
In Cork what it la you have in thos«
boxes. Be warned in time. Tour "Well
wisher."
1 was doc-tired that night, and I slept
the deep, insatiable sleep that I had
earned. It was somewhere about 3 a. m.
tbat I waa gradually awakened by a con
tinuous knocking, interspersed with muf
fled calls. Great-Uncle McCarthy had
never before given tongue, /find I freed
ore tar from the blankets to listen. Then
I remembered that Peter had told me the
swfep had promised to arrive that morn
ing, and to arrive early. Blind with sleep
and fury. I went to the passage window,
and thence desired the sweep to go to th«
devil. It availed me little. For the re
mainder of the (night I could hear him
puclng around tHe house, trying the win
dows, banging nt the doors and calling
upon Peter Cadogan. At 6 o'clock I had
fallen Into a troubled doze, when Mrs.
Cadogan knocked at my door and Im
parted the information that the sweep
hnd arrived. *
My shoot the next day was scarcely a
success. I shot the woods In company
with my gamekeeper, Tim Connor, a gen
tleman whose duties mainly consisted tn
limiting the poaching privileges to hia
personal friends, and whatever my offense
might have been. Mr. Knox could hav«
wished me no bitterer punishment than
hearing the unavailing shouts of "Mark
cock!" and seeing my birds winging their
way from the co%*erta far out of shot. Tim
Connor and I got ten couple between us;
It might have been thirty it my neighbors
had not boycotted me for what I could
only ' suppose waa the slackness of their
hounds.
of cock would be more successful th*a
his of foxes had been.
The answers to my invitations -were not
what I expected. All, without so much
as a conventional regret, declined my In
vitation; Mr. Knox added that he hoped
my bag of cock would b« to my Uklnx.
and that I need not be "afraid" that th«
hounds would trouble my coverts any
more. Here was war! I gazed la stupe
faction at the crooked scrawl In which
my landlord had declared It. It waa
wholly and entirely inexplicable, and in
stead of going to sleep comfortably over
the flre and my newspaper, as a gentle
man should. I spent the evening in irritat
ed pondering* over the bewildering and
exasperating change of front on the part
of my friendly squireens.
humorous about It. I dilated ponderously
on my cold, my hard work; and my -lone
liness, and eventually went to bed at 10
o'clock full of cold shivers and hot whisky
and water.
After a couple of hours of feverish doz
ing I began to /understand what had
driven Great-Uncle McCarthy to peram
bulate the house by night. I should have
*aid my couch was stuffed with old boots.
I have seldom spent"" a . more wretched
right. The rain drummed with soft fln
grers on my window panes; the house was
ful'. of noises. I teemed to see Great
tfnc!e McCarthys ranging the .passages
with Flurry- AX his heels; several times I
thought I heard him. Whispering seemed
borne on the wind through my keyhole,
boards creaked in the room overhead, and
once I could have sworn that a hand
passed, groping _ over the panels of~my
door.
'The murnlng broke stormily, and I woke
to find Mrs. CaCogan's understudy, a
grimy nephew of about 18, standing by
dark times before the dawn when sounds
went to and fro, the moving of weights,
the creaking of doors, a far-away rapping
in which was a workmanlike suggestion
of the undertaker, a rumble of wheels on
the avenue.
In the process of time I brought Great-
Uncle McCarthy down to a fine point. On
Friday nights he made coffins and drove
hearses: during the rest of the week he
rarely did more than patter and shuffle
in the attics over my head. ••
One night, about the middle of Decem
ber, I awoke, suddenly aware that some
noise had fallen like a heavy stone into
my dreams.- As I felt for the matches it
came again, the long, grudging groan and
the uncompromising bang of the cross
door at the head- of the kitchen stairs. I
told myself that it was a draught that
had done it, but it was a perfectly still
night. Even as I listened the sound of
wheels on the avenue shook the stillness.
In a few minutes I was stealthily groping
my way down my own staircase, ,with a
was no hint of solution In the dark win*
flows, but I determined to go up and
search the rooms that cave upon the
yard. f
How cold it was! I can feel now the
frozen, musty air of those attics, with
their rat-^aten floors and wall papers
furred with damp. I went softly from
one to another, feeling like a burglar in
my own house, and found nothing in elu
cidation of the mystery. The windows
were hermetically shut and sealed with
cobwebs. There was no furniture except
in the end room, where a wardrobe with
out doors stood in the corner, empty sw»
for the solemn presence of a monstrous
tall hat I went back to bed cursing thoss
powers of darkness that had got me out
of it.
My landlord had not failed of his prom
ise to visit rny coverts with hl3 hound*.
I met them all one red frosty evening.
Flurry at their head. In his shabby pink
coat ' and dingy breeches, the hounds
THE SUxNDAY CALL.
GREAT UNCLE
M'CARTHY

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