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particular of the whole trial - The Project Gutenberg ebook of The Kellys and the O'Kellys


detailing to his Connaught friends every particular of the whole trial.

They would probably be able to hear everything; they could positively see

three of the judges, and if those two big policemen, with high hats, could

by any possibility be got to remove themselves, it was very probable that

they would be able to see Sheil's back, when he stood up.

John soon began to show off his forensic knowledge. He gave a near guess at

the names of the four counsel whose heads were visible, merely from the

different shades and shapes of their wigs. Then he particularised the

inferior angels of that busy Elysium.

'That's Ford that's Gartlan that's Peirce Mahony,' he exclaimed, as the

different attorneys for the traversers, furiously busy with their huge

bags, fidgetted about rapidly, or stood up in their seats, telegraphing

others in different parts of the Court.

'There's old Kemmis,' as they caught a glimpse of the Crown agent; 'he's

the boy that doctored the jury list. Fancy, a jury chosen out of all

Dublin, and not one Catholic! As if that could be fair!' And then he named

the different judges. 'Look at that big-headed, pig-faced fellow on the

right that's Pennefather! He's the blackest sheep of the lot and the head

of them! He's a thoroughbred Tory, and as fit to be a judge as I am to be a

general. That queer little fellow, with the long chin, he's Burton he's a

hundred if he's a day he was fifty when he was called, seventy when they

benched him, and I'm sure he's a judge thirty years! But he's the sharpest

chap of the whole twelve, and no end of a boy afther the girls. If you only

saw him walking in his robes I'm sure he's not three feet high! That next,

with the skinny neck, he's Crampton he's one of Father Mathews lads, an out

and out teetotaller, and he looks it; he's a desperate cross fellow,

sometimes! The other one, you can't see, he's Perrin. There, he's leaning

over you can just catch the side of his face he's Perrin. It's he'll acquit

the traversers av' anything does he's a fair fellow, is Perrin, and not a

red-hot thorough-going Tory like the rest of 'em.'

Here John was obliged to give over the instruction of his brother, being

enjoined so to do by one of the heavy-hatted policemen in his front, who

enforced his commands for silence, with a backward shove of his wooden

truncheon, which came with rather unnecessary violence against the pit of

John's stomach.

The fear of being turned out made him for the nonce refrain from that

vengeance of abuse which his education as a Dublin Jackeen well qualified

him to inflict. But he put down the man's face in his retentive memory, and

made up his mind to pay him of.

And now the business of the day commenced. After some official delays and

arrangements Sheil arose, and began his speech in defence of John

O'Connell. It would be out of place here to give either his words or his

arguments; besides, they have probably before this been read by all who

would care to read them. When he commenced, his voice appeared, to those

who were not accustomed to hear him, weak, piping, and most unfit for a

popular orator; but this effect was soon lost in the elegance of his

language and the energy of his manner; and, before he had been ten minutes

on his legs, the disagreeable tone was forgotten, though it was sounding in

the eager ears of every one in the Court.

His speech was certainly brilliant, effective, and eloquent; but it

satisfied none that heard him, though it pleased all. It was neither a

defence of the general conduct and politics of the party, such as O'Connell

himself attempted in his own case, nor did it contain a chain of legal

arguments to prove that John O'Connell, individually, had not been guilty

of conspiracy, such as others of the counsel employed subsequently in

favour of their own clients.

Sheil's speech was one of those numerous anomalies with which this singular

trial was crowded; and which, together, showed the great difficulty of

coming to a legal decision on a political question, in a criminal court. Of

this, the present day gave two specimens, which will not be forgotten; when

a Privy Councillor, a member of a former government, whilst defending his

client as a barrister, proposed in Court a new form of legislation for

Ireland, equally distant from that adopted by Government, and that sought

to be established by him whom he was defending; and when the traverser on

his trial rejected the defence of his counsel, and declared aloud in Court,

that he would not, by his silence, appear to agree in the suggestions then

made.

This spirit of turning the Court into a political debating arena extended

to all present. In spite of the vast efforts made by them all, only one of

the barristers employed has added much to his legal reputation by the

occasion. Imputations were made, such as I presume were never before

uttered by one lawyer against another in a court of law. An Attorney-

General sent a challenge from his very seat of office; and though that

challenge was read in Court, it was passed over by four judges with hardly

a reprimand. If any seditious speech was ever made by O'Connell, that which

he made in his defence was especially so, and he was, without check,

allowed to use his position as a traverser at the bar, as a rostrum from

which to fulminate more thoroughly and publicly than ever, those doctrines

for uttering which he was then being tried; and, to crown it all, even the

silent dignity of the bench was forgotten, and the lawyers pleading against

the Crown were unhappily alluded to by the Chief Justice as the 'gentlemen

on the other side.'

Martin and John patiently and enduringly remained standing the whole day,

till four o'clock; and then the latter had to effect his escape, in order

to keep an appointment which he had made to meet Lord Ballindine.

As they walked along the quays they both discussed the proceedings of the

day, and both expressed themselves positively certain of the result of the

trial, and of the complete triumph of O'Connell and his party. To these

pleasant certainties Martin added his conviction, that Repeal must soon

follow so decided a victory, and that the hopes of Ireland would be

realised before. the close of 1844. John was neither so sanguine nor so

enthusiastic; it was the battle, rather than the thing battled for, that

was dear to him; the strife, rather than the result. He felt that it would

be dull times in Dublin, when they should have no usurping Government to

abuse, no Saxon Parliament to upbraid, no English laws to ridicule, and no

Established Church to curse.

The only thing which could reconcile him to immediate Repeal, would be the

probability of having then to contend for the election of an Irish

Sovereign, and the possible dear delight which might follow, of Ireland

going to war with England, in a national and becoming manner.

Discussing these important measures, they reached the Dublin brother's

lodgings, and Martin turned in to wash his face and hands, and put on clean

boots, before he presented himself to his landlord and patron, the young

Lord Ballindine.

II

THE TWO HEIRESSES

Francis John Mountmorris O'Kelly, Lord Viscount Ballindine, was twenty-four

years of age when he came into possession of the Ballindine property, and

succeeded to an Irish peerage as the third viscount; and he is now twenty-

six, at this time of O'Connell's trial. The head of the family had for many

years back been styled 'The O'Kelly', and had enjoyed much more local

influence under that denomination than their descendants had possessed,

since they had obtained a more substantial though not a more respected

title. The O'Kellys had possessed large tracts of not very good land,

chiefly in County Roscommon, but partly in Mayo and Galway. Their property

had extended from Dunmore nearly to Roscommon, and again on the other side

to Castlerea and Ballyhaunis. But this had been in their palmy days, long,

long ago. When the government, in consideration of past services, in the

year 1800, converted 'the O'Kelly' into Viscount Ballindine, the family

property consisted of the greater portion of the land lying between the

villages of Dunmore and Ballindine. Their old residence, which the peer

still kept up, was called Kelly's Court, and is situated in that corner of

County Roscommnon which runs up between Mayo and Galway.

The first lord lived long enough to regret his change of title, and to

lament the increased expenditure with which he had thought it necessary to

accompany his more elevated rank. His son succeeded, and showed in his

character much more of the new-fangled viscount than of the ancient

O'Kelly. His whole long life was passed in hovering about the English

Court. From the time of his father's death, he never once put his foot in

Ireland. He had been appointed, at different times from his youth upwards,

Page, Gentleman in Waiting, Usher of the Black Rod, Deputy Groom of the

Stole, Chief Equerry to the Princess Royal, (which appointment only lasted

till the princess was five years old), Lord Gold Stick, Keeper of the Royal

Robes; till, at last, he had culminated for ten halcyon years in a Lord of

the Bedchamber. In the latter portion of his life he had grown too old for

this, and it was reported at Ballindine, Dunmore, and Kelly's Court with

how much truth I don't know that, since her Majesty's accession, he had

been joined with the spinster sister of a Scotch Marquis, and an antiquated

English Countess, in the custody of the laces belonging to the Queen

Dowager.

This nobleman, publicly useful as his life had no doubt been, had done

little for his own tenants, or his own property. On his father's death, he

had succeeded to about three thousand a-year, and he left about one; and he

would have spent or mortgaged this, had he not, on his marriage, put it

beyond his own power to do so. It was not only by thriftless extravagance

that he thus destroyed a property which, with care, and without extortion,

would have doubled its value in the thirty-five years during which it was

in his hands; but he had been afraid to come to Ireland, and had been duped

by his agent. When he came to the title, Simeon Lynch had been recommended

to him as a fit person to manage his property, and look after his

interests; and Simeon had managed it well in that manner most conducive to

the prosperity of the person he loved best in the world; and that was

himself. When large tracts of land fell out of lease, Sim had represented

that tenants could not be found that the land was not worth

cultivating that the country was in a state which prevented the possibility

of letting; and, ultimately put himself into possession, with a lease for

ever, at a rent varying from half a crown to five shillings an acre.

The courtier lord had one son, of whom he made a soldier, but who never

rose to a higher rank than that of Captain. About a dozen years before the

date of my story, the Honourable Captain O'Kelly, after numerous quarrels

with the Right Honourable Lord of the Bedchamber, had, at last, come to

some family settlement with him; and, having obtained the power of managing

the property himself, came over to live at his paternal residence of

Kelly's Court.

A very sorry kind of Court he found it neglected, dirty, and out of repair.

One of the first retainers whom he met was Jack Kelly, the family fool.

Jack was not such a fool as those who, of yore, were valued appendages to

noble English establishments. He resembled them in nothing but his

occasional wit. He was a dirty, barefooted, unshorn, ragged ruffian, who

ate potatoes in the kitchen of the Court, and had never done a day's work

in his life. Such as he was, however, he was presented to Captain O'Kelly,

as 'his honour the masther's fool.'

'So, you're my fool, Jack, are ye?' said the Captain.

'Faix, I war the lord's fool ance; but I'll no be anybody's fool but Sim

Lynch's, now. I and the lord are both Sim's fools now. Not but I'm the

first of the two, for I'd never be fool enough to give away all my land,

av' my father'd been wise enough to lave me any.'

Captain O'Kelly soon found out the manner in which the agent had managed

his father's affairs. Simeon Lynch was dismissed, and proceedings at common

law were taken against him, to break such of the leases as were thought, by

clever attorneys, to have the ghost of a flaw in them. Money was borrowed

from a Dublin house, for the purpose of carrying on the suit, paying off

debts, and making Kelly's Court habitable; and the estate was put into

their hands. Simeon Lynch built himself a large staring house at Dunmore,

defended his leases, set up for a country gentleman on his own account, and

sent his only son, Barry, to Eton merely because young O'Kelly was also

there, and he was determined to show, that he was as rich and ambitious as

the lord's family, whom he had done so much to ruin.

Kelly's Court was restored to such respectability as could ever belong to

so ugly a place. It was a large red stone mansion, standing in a demesne of

very poor ground, ungifted by nature with any beauty, and but little

assisted by cultivation or improvement. A belt of bald-looking firs ran

round the demesne inside the dilapidated wall; but this was hardly

sufficient to relieve the barren aspect of the locality. Fine trees there

were none, and the race of O'Kellys had never been great gardeners.

Captain O'Kelly was a man of more practical sense, or of better education,

than most of his family, and he did do a good deal to humanise the place.

He planted, tilled, manured, and improved; he imported rose-trees and

strawberry-plants, and civilised Kelly's Court a little. But his reign was

not long. He died about five years after he had begun his career as a

country gentleman, leaving a widow and two daughters in Ireland; a son at

school at Eton; and an expensive lawsuit, with numerous ramifications, all
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