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said, never had so poor a country every one of his College contemporaries who afterwards rose to distinction had entered

so fine a capital. The Government spent its spare revenue in erecting magnificent public buildings much too big for their business. The gentry, from the Duke of Leinster down, mortgaged their estates to build fine town mansions. Their sons, disdaining the Oxford and Cambridge to which they now resort, went in a body to Trinity College, where they led very merry lives. Being the sons of noblemen and gentlemen, they were above the law. If an actor offended them, they wrecked his theatre; if a tradesman dunned them, they wrecked his shop. The authorities never ventured to oppose them; and the first check which was given to these sort of proceedings was by a chemist in College Street. They were wrecking his shop when he, instead of running away as other tradesmen did, appeared at the window with a pair of pistols and prooeeded to shoot; whereupon the students, who never anticipated this sort of reception, for a change themselves ran away. This chemist was named John Giffard, the grandfather of Lord Halsbury, and the man whom Grattan, with better rhetoric than sense, denounced as a coward.

The life which these young noblemen led at Trinity and afterwards in Dublin was joyous enough, but it did not conduce to their prosperity or longevity. Sir Jonah Barrington has noted that almost

the University as a sizar—that is, as one so poor as to have to earn his education by acting as a servitor to the other students. And yet it cannot be doubted that there was great ability among these young noblemen and gentlemen, when we remember that the great Duke of Wellington, though not educated at Trinity, led in his youth while in Dublin the same life as they did, and might, had not fortune removed him to another sphere, have been, and in fact nearly was, ruined by that life.

Gaming was the vice which nearly ruined the youthful Wellesley; but drinking was the vice which destroyed most of the young men. Of course drinking was also the commonest vice in the England of that time too; but among the better classes in England little but port and olaret was consumed, while among the same classes in Ireland whisky entered largely into their potations-an intoxicant then almost unknown out of Scotland and Ireland. In Dublin many societies were founded for the express purpose of drinking. The most celebrated of these was "The Monks of the Screw," of which Curran was prior, and to which many of the most distinguished men of the age belonged. A statuette of St Patrick graced the sideboard, and the members were robed in monk's gowns, and in a song written by Curran were

contained the directions of the saint to the monks. One verse of this will be sufficient: some of them are unprintable.

“My children, be chaste till you're tempted

While sober, be wise and discreetAnd humble your bodies with fasting Whene'er you've got nothing to eat."

Such being the principles of this club, Curran had the assurance, years after it had ceased to exist, to refer to it in a speech to Lord Avonmore, Lord Chief Baron, who was one of its original mem. bers, in this way: "Yes, my lord, we can remember those nights with no other regret than that they can return no more. For

'We spent them not in toys, or lust, or wine,

But search of deep philosophy, Wit, eloquence, and poesyArts which I loved; for they, my friend, were thine.'"


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Evidently in Curran's opinion "The Monks of the Screw was not a club of what were then called "hard geers." What hard - going really was one can learn from a little tale told by Sir Jonah Barrington. When Sir Jonah went home from College one winter, he found that hunting had been stopped by snew and frost. His elder brother, however, and fellow-sportsmen were determined not to waste the time on that account. They took possession of an empty outhouse, installed there a cook and a piper. Then they had a heifer killed and hung up in it,

and a cask of claret and some gallons of whisky brought in and a great fire lighted. All the doors and windows were then closed; Sir Jonah and the sportsmen sat down on the straw-covered floor; the cook cut off great steaks from the cow and flung them on the gridiron; the claret cask was broached and hot water was boiled for the whisky; and the piper began to pipe. When the steaks were ready for consumption they were thrown on plates and each man began to eat and drink, and continued doing so until he tumbled back in the straw and he resumed eating and drinking, went asleep. When he awoke, and continued doing so till he again tumbled back in the straw and went asleep. This continued till the frost was over, when most of the cow and all the claret and whisky had disappeared.

There were three classes of gentry in the country: halfmounted gentlemen, gentlemen every inch of them, and gentleThe men to the backbone. first class consisted of the smaller squireens and larger freehold farmers; the second of the larger squireens and smaller squires; the third of the great landowners. The halfmounted gentlemen might do a little in the way of trade, but the other two classes and all their descendants held trade in abhorrence. The only callings their younger sons would think of were the Army, the Church, and the Bar; and of these the Bar was the favourite, as it was

the chief road to places of the profitable kind.

discussion after he had returned to Dublin.

Many, indeed most, of the illustrious members of the Bench and Bar of Ireland in that day sprang from the lower middle-class. Curran's father was a poor seneschal of a manor in County Cork, and Curran would never have received a liberal education but for the bounty of a stranger. Plunkett was the son of a Presbyterian minister who died prematurely, leaving a large family practically unprovided for. Barry

No doubt another circumstance which contributed to the popularity of the Bar as a profession for younger sons was that no severe study was needed to attain success in it: a sound knowledge of the law was not half as useful as a straight aim with the pistol, and all the sons of the gentlemen every inch of them and the gentlemen to the backbone had that by nature. I have often wondered what the late Lord Collins, Master of the Rolls in England and after- Yelverton-afterwards Lord wards & Lord of Appeal, Avonmore-began life as a thought of the story told school teacher. But whatever of his ancestor, Mr Justice his origin, once a man became Henn. a counsellor he ranked with the gentleman every inch of him, and the gentleman to the backbone. The attorney was in quite a different category. He never was regarded as more, at the most, than a half-mounted gentleman, and very seldom as even that. Apparently this view of him was net mistak

The story is that once when Mr Justice Henn was going circuit, a point of law arose in a case before him. Counsel on the one side alleged that the law on the point was so and so, and the counsel on the other side alleged it was the very reverse; and then they both asked for his decision.

"How can I decide it," he exclaimed angrily, "when you both are contradicting each other?" Then turning to the registrar, who was always the bosom friend of the Judge, he said, "I wish to God, Billy Harris, I knew what the law on this point really is." "My lord," replied Billy earnestly, "if I possessed that knowledge, I protest to God I would tell your lordship with a great deal of pleasure." "If you can't tell me, Billy," said the Judge, "all I can do is save the point"—that is, reserve it for


He seems to have been a oross between an unscrupulous moneylender and an unscrupulous pettifogger. When Lord Norbury was asked for a shilling to help to bury a poor attorney, though he parted hardly with his money, he handed the applicant a guinea, and said, "Here, bury twenty-one of them." And when one committed suicide in Dublin and several of his clients shortly afterwards did the same, the general belief in the city was that the clients had determined to follow him in the hope of being able to recover from him

some of their property. In was considered fit to associate 'Castle Rackrent,' Miss Edge- or even fight both with gentleworth has given a vivid account men every inch of them and of the way in which the family gentlemen to the backbone. attorney too often acquired the family estate,

The acid test of whether a man belonged to the class of gentlemen every inch of them, or gentlemen to the backbone, was whether other gentlemen of those classes would fight with him. If they would not, the man, whatever his fortune or position, was an outcast. Sometimes people were driven almost mad by the refusal of their fellows to fight. Leonard M'Nally, the now forgotten author of a song not likely soon to be forgotten, "Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill," was a barrister in fair practice. For reasons, better in fact than they themselves knew, his fellow-barristers refused to fight with him. He was in absolute despair, and spent his spare time insulting his confrères, in the hope that some one or other would call him out and so restore him to his proper social position. At last Sir Jonah Barrington took pity on him. They met in Phoenix Park. At that time what are now called braces were called in Ireland gallows, as indeed they are still. Sir Jenah, who fired straight, struck M'Nally, but the bullet was stopped by the buckle of his braces. "By J-s," oried Sir Jonah's second, "this is the first time I have ever known a rogue saved by the gallows." If the gallows saved his life, the bullet saved his position. Henceforth he

And barristers in good praotice had at that time to do a good deal of fighting. Soarcely one of them had less than half a dozen duels to his credit. Not merely did they fight one another-a demurrer which showed up an opponent's lack of legal knowledge usually led to a duel-but they frequently had to fight their opponents' olients. The Earl of Kilkenny was much given to litigation, and very unfortunate in it. He came to the conclusion that the cause of his bad luck was the counsel employed by his various opponents. There were no less than ten of these; but he and his sons resolved to challenge them all. He was nearly as unfortunate in his duels as in his litigation; and, what between this and the intervention of the Courts, he was stopped in his wild career after three or four of the counsel had been shot at.

Gentlemen every inch of them and gentlemen to the backbone, not to mention halfmounted gentlemen, never paid for anything for which they could avoid payment. They fought it out instead. Of course they would not fight with mere tradesmen; but when tradesmen took out writs against them, if they were served, the gentlemen usually took it out of the High Sheriff, who was a gentleman, and whom they held responsible for the service of the writ. Among them

selves a duel always cancelled a debt; and sometimes, when one pressed another for payment, he was given as a warning an example of the debtor's skill in shooting.

George Robert Fitzgerald, the most famous or infamous of the Connaught fire-eaters, once when intending to give a oreditor such a warning, received one himself. He had bought a horse from a friend and forgot to pay for it. The friend rode over to Fitzgerald's house one morning to remind him of the debt. Fitzgerald invited the friend into his garden, in the middle of which stood a big tree with a round hole bored through its trunk. As the two men walked round the garden Fitzgerald suddenly stopped, and, taking a pistol from his pocket, fired at the hole in the tree's trunk. The bullet passed through the hole. "Not a bad shot," observed Fitzgerald. "I don't see much in it," replied the friend; and the next time they came to the place whence Fitzgerald fired, he took a pistol from his pocket and fired at the hole. His bullet passed through it. Fitzgerald made no remark; but looking about the path as they walked round the garden, he espied a broad-headed nail. He picked

it up and stuck it in the bark of the tree. The next time the two men came round Fitzgerald pulled out his pistol again and shot at the nail. He struck it on the head and buried it in the trunk of the tree. "That's better," he said,

"Not much," said his friend, and, taking a pin from the lapel of his coat, he stuck it in the bark. The next time they came round he took out his pistol and fired at the pin. He struck it on the head and buried it in the trunk. "Come in," said Fitzgerald, "and I'll pay you for that damned horse.'

The career of this remarkable man has often been told, but usually by writers who know more about his adventures in London and Paris than about his proceedings in Ireland; yet the latter are most illustrative of life in Ireland, and especially in the western province in Grattan's day. It was a usual saying then that the King's writ did not run in Connaught. Well, if it did not, the man who tried to serve it usually did. If he was overtaken, the recognised treatment he received was foroing him to eat the writ. It was a report that a certain process-server had been treated thus which led Lord Norbury to express a hope that that writ was not returnable in his Court.

George Robert Fitzgerald came of good stock, His father was a scion of the Leinster family, and his mother was the sister of the Earl of Bristol, Lord Lieutenant for a time of Ireland, and that peer's younger and eccentric brother, the Bishop of Derry. He was heir to a considerable estate in County Mayo, and was educated, as became his birth and position, at Eton. Shortly

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