’Clear out all of you at the back door, for the love of heaven, if you wouldn’t be the ruin of me,’ said the man of the house, setting a ladder to a corner of the shop. ‘Phil, hoist me up the keg to the loft,’ added he, running up the ladder; ’and one of yees step up street, and give Rose M’Givney notice, for she’s selling too.’
The keg was hoisted up; the ladder removed; the shop cleared of all the customers; the shutters shut; the door barred; the counter cleaned. ‘Lift your stones, sir, if you plase,’ said the wife, as she rubbed the counter, ’and say nothing of what you seen at all; but that you’re a stranger and a traveller seeking a lodging, if you’re questioned, or waiting to see Mr. Dennis. There’s no smell of whisky in it now, is there, sir?’
Lord Colambre could not flatter her so far as to say this—he could only hope no one would perceive it.
‘Oh, and if he would, the smell of whisky was nothing,’ as the wife affirmed, ‘for it was everywhere in nature, and no proof again’ any one, good or bad.’
‘Now St. Dennis may come when he will, or old Nick himself!’ So she tied up a blue handkerchief over her head, and had the toothache, ‘very bad.’
Lord Colambre turned to look for the man of the house.
‘He’s safe in bed,’ said the wife.
‘In bed! When?’
’Whilst you turned your head, while I was tying the handkerchief over my face. Within the room, look, he is snug.’
And there he was in bed certainly, and his clothes on the chest.
A knock, a loud knock at the door.
‘St. Dennis himself!—Stay, till I unbar the door,’ said the woman; and, making a great difficulty, she let him in, groaning, and saying—
’We was all done up for the night, plase your honour, and myself with the toothache, very bad—And the lodger, that’s going to take an egg only, before he’d go into his bed. My man’s in it, and asleep long ago.’
With a magisterial air, though with a look of blank disappointment, Mr. Dennis Garraghty walked on, looked into the room, saw the good man of the house asleep, heard him snore, and then, returning, asked Lord Colambre ‘who he was, and what brought him there?’
Our hero said he was from England, and a traveller; and now, bolder grown as a geologist, he talked of his specimens, and his hopes of finding a mine in the neighbouring mountains; then adopting, as well as he could, the servile tone and abject manner in which he found Mr. Dennis was to be addressed, ’he hoped he might get encouragement from the gentleman at the head of the estate.’
’To bore, is it?—Well, don’t bore me about it. I can’t give you any answer now, my good friend; I’m engaged.’
Out he strutted. ’Stick to him up the town, if you have a mind to get your answer,’ whispered the woman. Lord Colambre followed, for he wished to see the end of this scene.