“Pretty well, thank you: they’d be a deal more comfortable though, if you’d pay for them.”
“Did you hear, Miss O’Kelly, what Jerry Blake did yesterday?” said Nicholas Dillon aloud, across the table.
“Indeed, I did not,” said Guss—“but I hope, for the sake of the Blakes in general, he didn’t do anything much amiss?”
“I’ll tell you then,” continued Nicholas. “A portion of his ould hunting-dress—I’ll not specify what, you know—but a portion, which he’d been wearing since the last election, were too shabby to show: well, he couldn’t catch a hedge tailor far or near, only poor lame Andy Oulahan, who was burying his wife, rest her sowl, the very moment Jerry got a howld of him. Well, Jerry was wild that the tailors were so scarce, so he laid his hands on Andy, dragged him away from the corpse and all the illigant enthertainment of the funeral, and never let him out of sight till he’d put on the last button.”
“Oh, Mr Blake!” said Guss, “you did not take the man away from his dead wife?”
“Indeed I did not, Miss O’Kelly: Andy’d no such good chance; his wife’s to the fore this day, worse luck for him. It was only his mother he was burying.”
“But you didn’t take him away from his mother’s funeral?”
“Oh, I did it according to law, you know. I got Bingham to give me a warrant first, before I let the policeman lay a hand on him.”
“Now, General, you’ve really made no breakfast at all,” said the hospitable hostess: “do let Guss give you a hot cup of coffee.”
“Not a drop more, Mrs O’Kelly. I’ve done more than well; but, if you’ll allow me, I’ll just take a crust of bread in my pocket.”
“And what would you do that for?—you’ll be coming back to lunch, you know.”
“Is it lunch, Mrs O’Kelly, pray don’t think of troubling yourself to have lunch on the table. Maybe we’ll be a deal nearer Creamstown than Kelly’s Court at lunch time. But it’s quite time we were off. As for Bingham Blake, from the look of him, he’s going to stay here with your daughter Augusta all the morning.”
“I believe then he’d much sooner be with the dogs, General, than losing his time with her.”
“Are you going to move at all, Ballindine,” said the impatient old sportsman. “Do you know what time it is?—it’ll be twelve o’clock before you have the dogs in the cover.”
“Very good time, too, General: men must eat, you know, and the fox won’t stir till we move him. But come, gentlemen, you seem to be dropping your knives and forks. Suppose we get into our saddles?”
And again the red-coats sallied out. Bingham gave Guss a tender squeeze, which she all but returned, as she bade him take care and not go and kill himself. Peter Dillon stayed to have a few last words with Sophy, and to impress upon her his sister Nora’s message, that she and her sister were to be sure to come over on Friday to Ballyhaunis, and spend the night there.