as you are a stranger here,” said one gentleman to me. This was Jack O’Conor, Tom’s eldest son, my bosom friend for many a year after. Poor Jack! I fear that the Encumbered Estates Court sent him altogether adrift upon the world.

“We may still have a run from Poulnaroe, if the gentleman chooses to come on,” said a voice coming from behind with a sharp trot. It was Tom O’Conor.

“Wherever the hounds go, I’ll follow,” said I.

“Then come on to Poulnaroe,” said Mr O’Conor. I trotted on quickly by his side, and before we reached the cover had managed to slip in something about Sir P— C—.

“What the deuce!” said he. “What! a friend of Sir P—’s? Why the deuce didn’t you tell me so? What are you doing down here? Where are you staying?” etc., etc., etc.

At Poulnaroe we found a fox, but before we did so Mr O’Conor had asked me over to Castle Conor. And this he did in such a way that there was no possibility of refusing him—or, I should rather say, of disobeying him. For his invitation came quite in the tone of a command.

“You’ll come to us of course when the day is over—and let me see; we’re near Ballyglass now, but the run will be right away in our direction. Just send word for them to send your things to Castle Conor.”

“But they’re all about, and unpacked,” said I.

“Never mind. Write a note and say what you want now, and go and get the rest to-morrow yourself. Here, Patsey!—Patsey! run into Ballyglass for this gentleman at once. Now don’t be long, for the chances are we shall find here.” And then, after giving some further hurried instructions, he left me to write a line in pencil to the innkeeper’s wife on the back of a ditch.

This I accordingly did. “Send my small portmanteau,” I said, “and all my black dress clothes, and shirts, and socks, and all that, and above all my dressing things, which are on the little table, and the satin neck-handkerchief, and whatever you do, mind you send my pumps”; and I underscored the latter word; for Jack O’Conor, when his father left me, went on pressing the invitation. “My sisters are going to get up a dance,” said he; “and if you are fond of that kind of thing perhaps we can amuse you.” Now in those days I was very fond of dancing—and very fond of young ladies too, and therefore glad enough to learn that Tom O’Conor had daughters as well as sons. On this account I was very particular in underscoring the word pumps.

“And hurry, you young divil,” Jack O’Conor said to Patsey.

“I have told him to take the portmanteau over on a car,” said I.

“All right; then you’ll find it there on our arrival.”

We had an excellent run, in which I may make bold to say that I did not acquit myself badly. I stuck very close to the hounds, as did the whole of the O’Conor brood; and when the fellow contrived to earth himself, as he did, I received those compliments on my horse, which is the most approved praise which one fox-hunter ever gives to another.

“We’ll buy that fellow off you before we let you go,” said Peter, the youngest son.

“I advise you to look sharp after your money if you sell him to my brother,” said Jack.

And then we trotted slowly off to Castle Conor, which, however, was by no means near to us. “We have ten miles to go—good Irish miles,” said the father. “I don’t know that I ever remember a fox from Poulnaroe taking that line before.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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