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The Serenading Lover

Irish Humour Home

In the very zenith of Curran's professional career, he was consulted in
a case of extremely novel character, which arose out of the following

Not many doors from Eden Quay, in Upper Sackville-street, lived a young
lady of very fascinating manners, and whose beauty had attracted
considerable attention wherever she made her appearance. Amongst the
many gentlemen whose hearts she had touched, and whose heads she had
deranged, was one young Englishman, a graduate of Trinity College, and
about as fair a specimen of the reverse of beauty as ever took the chair
at a dinner of the Ugly Fellows' Club. Strange to say, he above all
others was the person on whom she looked with any favor. Men of rank and
fortune had sought her hand--lords and commoners had sought the honor of
an introduction; but no!--none for her but the ugly man! In vain did the
ladies of her acquaintance quiz her about her taste--in vain did her
family remonstrate upon the folly of her conduct, in refusing men of
station for such an individual--no go! none for her but the ugly man!
Her dear papa only seemed to take the affair in a quiet way; not that he
was indifferent about the matter, but he loved her too much to throw
any obstacle in the way of her happiness. Not so, however, with her
brother--a splendid young fellow, whose mortification was intense,
especially as the whole affair was the theme of ridicule among his
fellow-students in Old Trinity. He, though sharing in all the love and
tenderness of the father, could not understand his quiet resignation.
What is it to be thought of that one who was the butt of the
University--one on whom nature had played her fantastic tricks, should
be the person who held the key to his lovely sister's heart? No! the
father might resign himself to his quiet philosophy, but he, at least,
would have none of it. It should never be said within the college walls
that he looked tamely on while a farce of this kind was being played
out, especially as some of his most intimate fellow-students, and a
beloved one in particular, took more than a common interest in the

On a summer morning, in the middle of July, he was coming out of his
hall-door, when the postman handed him two letters, one of which was
directed to his sister. Suspecting the party from whom it came, and that
a knowledge of its contents might lead to some discovery useful to him
in frustrating the writer's designs, he opened it, and found that his
suspicion was correct, and that himself was the object of complaint for
his manner towards him in college; and further, that, as he was about to
leave for England on the following day, and would not return for some
weeks, he would do himself the honor of serenading her at twelve o'clock
that night. After reading the letter, his first thought was to look to
the condition of his horsewhip; but, after a little quiet reflection, he
resolved upon another plan of action.

Breakfast over, he proceeded to the kitchen, summoned all the servants
to his presence, to whom he related the whole story from beginning to
end, and proposed that they should drench him with water when he made
his appearance under the window. But there happened to be among them a
corpulent lady called Betty Devine, who entered a plea of objection to
that mode of proceeding on the ground of waste of water; that in
Edinburgh, where she had served for seven years, they wouldn't think
of such waste; and that, if the young master would only leave the matter
in her hands, she would drown the musician in a chorus, the like of
which was not to be heard outside the boundaries of bonnie Scotland. To
this proposition on the part of Betty the young gentleman gave a hearty
assent; adding, at the same time, a hope that her want of practice since
she left Edinburgh would be no obstacle to her success. To which Miss
Devine replied, by asking him to name the window out of which she was to
present her compliments to the English minstrel. As to that, Betty,
said he, I leave you to select your own ground; but take care that you
don't miss fire--an observation which took the stable-boy, Bill Mack,
by the greatest surprise, as, from Betty's powers of administration in
his regard, a faded dark-brown coat the master gave him had been
restored to its original color.

For once in her life-time Betty found herself mistress of her situation,
and having made her arrangements, despatched Bill Mack with an
invitation to some of her sable friends of the Quay to witness the
forthcoming concert at twelve o'clock that night.

Scarcely had the hour arrived, however, when the serenader made his
appearance, dressed in the pink of fashion; and, placing himself under
his lady's window, proceeded to play the guitar in the best style. The
performance hadn't well commenced, when, throwing

his eye
To her lattice high,

he beheld a female figure at the two-pair window, which she opened
gently. Then commenced his best efforts in the art divine. No doubt it
was the lady of his love that was there, about to reward him with

Nature's choice gifts from above,

----not the wax artificials of these days, but the real gems, which he
hoped to preserve on his passage to England!

That he saw a female figure was but too true: it was Miss Betty Devine,
who had been arranging that portion of her toilet which might endanger
the free exercise of her right arm. This done, Miss Devine stood
forward, and, grasping a certain utensil of more than ordinary
proportions, with one bound, not only returned its lining on the
night, as Tom Moore says, but also on the head of the devoted
serenader, who was so stunned by Betty's favor, that it was some time
before he realized the nature of the gift. His nasal organ having
settled all doubt in that respect, he made his way from the crowd,
vowing law and vengeance. What is the matter? asked a popular
commoner, on his way from the parliament house, to one of the boys of
the Quay; It's a consart, yer honor, given by Betty de Scotch girl; de
creature's fond o' harmony; and for my part, de tung is stickin' to de
roof of my mout from de fair dint of de corus! I didn't taste a drop
since mornin'. Ay boys, aint ye all dry? This appeal having met with a
favorable response, the gentlemen of the Quay retired to drink his
honor's health, and to wash down de music!

Meanwhile, the next morning the serenading gentleman went in all haste
to his brother-in-law, one of the leading merchants of the city, to whom
he communicated the occurrence of the previous night. He had scarcely
finished, when the merchant took him off to his attorney who, without
further delay, went with them to the residence of Curran, to have his
opinion on the case. When they had finished, Curran at once gave his
opinion. Gentlemen, said he, in this country, when we go to see a
friend or acquaintance, all we ever expect is--pot luck!

* * * * *

Carew O'Dwyer was the first who had the honor of proposing that Curran's
remains should be brought over from England and laid in Glasnevin.

* * * * *

Charles Phillips' first introduction to Curran took place at the Priory,
a country villa about four miles from Dublin. Curran would have no one
to introduce him, but went and took him by the hand.

* * * * *

Lundy Foot, the tobacconist, was on the table, under examination, and,
hesitating to answer--Lundy, Lundy, said Curran, that's a poser--a
devil of a pinch.

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