expensive appendage the affectionate jade is—perhaps
you might feel a little more Christian sympathy for
me than you do. If you had the expense of my
yacht—my large stud at Melton Mowbry and
Doncaster, and the yearly deficits in my betting book,
besides the never ending train of jockies, grooms,
feeders, trainers, et hoc genus omne
meet, it is probable, old boy, you would not feel
so boundless an interest, as you say you do, in the
peace and welfare of another man’s tenantry,
and all this at that other man’s expense.
You’re confoundedly unreasonable, Hickman.
Why feel, or pretend to feel, more for these fellows,
their barelegged wives, and ragged brats, than you
do for a nobleman of rank, to whom you are deeply
indebted. I mean you no offence, Hickman; you
are in other respects an honest fellow enough, and
if possessed of only a little less heart, as the times
go, and more skill in raising money from these people,
you would be invaluable to such a distressed devil
as I am. As it is, I regret to say, that you
are more a friend to my tenantry than to myself, which
is a poor qualification for an agent. In fact,
we, the Irish aristocracy living here, or absentees
as you call us, instead of being assailed by abuse,
want of patriotism, neglect of duties, and all that
kind of stuff, have an especial claim upon the compassion
of their countrymen. If you knew what we, with
limited means and encumbered properties, must suffer
in attempting to compete with the aristocracy of this
country, who are enormously rich, you would say that
we deserve immortal credit for holding out and keeping
up appearances as we do—not that I think
we always come off scott-free from their ridicule,
especially when they see the shifts to which we are
put, in order to stretch onward at their own pace.
However, we must drink when we are thirsty, as well
as they, and if the water happen to be low in the
cistern, which, indeed, is mostly the case with us,
we must, as the rook in the fable did with the pebbles,
throw in rack-renting, drivings, executions, mortgages,
loans, &c, in order to bring it within our reach—for
there is ingenuity in everything, as the proverb says,
except in roasting of eggs.
“Come, then, Hickman, set to work at once.
My yacht has been damaged by a foolish wager I made
to run her through a creek of reefs at low water,
so that the mere repairs will cost me a cool two hundred
at least. Besides this, I have pledged myself
to buy my charming little Signora a pair of Blenheim
spaniels that she has fallen in love with, for which
I shall have to fork out a hundred and fifty down.
I say, then, again, my dear Hickman, money, money;
money by any means, but by all means
money; rem, sed quocunque modo rem.