as you are a stranger here, said one gentleman to me. This was Jack OConor, Toms 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 OConor.
Wherever the hounds go, Ill follow, said I.
Then come on to Poulnaroe, said Mr OConor. 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 Ps? Why the deuce didnt 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 OConor had asked me over to Castle Conor. And this he did in such a way that there was no possibility of refusing himor, I should rather say, of disobeying him. For his invitation came quite in the tone of a command.
Youll come to us of course when the day is overand let me see; were 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 theyre 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 dont 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 innkeepers 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 OConor, 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 dancingand very fond of young ladies too, and therefore glad enough to learn that Tom OConor had daughters as well as sons. On this account I was very particular in underscoring the word pumps.
And hurry, you young divil, Jack OConor said to Patsey.
I have told him to take the portmanteau over on a car, said I.
All right; then youll 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 OConor 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.
Well 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 gogood Irish miles, said the father. I dont know that I ever remember a fox from Poulnaroe taking that line before.
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