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Lavengro by George Henry Borrow

And marched away to Templemore


'Hanam

mon Dioul! am I not after telling you that I have no money at all!'

'But you have as good as money, to me, at least; and I'll take it in exchange.'

'What's that, Shorsha dear?'

'Irish!'

'Irish?'

'Yes, you speak Irish; I heard you talking it the other day to the cripple. You shall teach me Irish.'

'And is it a language-master you'd be making of me?'

'To be sure!--what better can you do?--it would help you to pass your time at school. You can't learn Greek, so you must teach Irish!'

Before Christmas, Murtagh was playing at cards with his brother Denis, and I could speak a considerable quantity of broken Irish.

CHAPTER ELEVEN

TEMPLEMORE--DEVIL'S MOUNTAIN--NO COMPANION--FORCE OF CIRCUMSTANCE--WAY OF THE WORLD--RUINED CASTLE--GRIM & DESOLATE--DONJON--MY OWN HOUSE

When Christmas was over, and the new year commenced, we broke up our quarters, and marched away to Templemore. This was a large military station, situated in a wild and thinly inhabited country. Extensive bogs were in the neighbourhood, connected with the huge bog of Allen, the Palus Maeotis of Ireland.

Here and there was seen a ruined castle looming through the mists of winter; whilst, at the distance of seven miles, rose a singular mountain, exhibiting in its brow a chasm, or vacuum, just, for all the world, as if a piece had been bitten out; a feat which, according to the tradition of the country, had actually been performed by his Satanic majesty, who, after flying for some leagues with the morsel in his mouth, becoming weary, dropped it in the vicinity of Cashel, where it may now be seen in the shape of a bold bluff hill, crowned with the ruins of a stately edifice, probably built by some ancient Irish king.

We had been here only a few days, when my brother, who, as I have before observed, had become one of his Majesty's officers, was sent on detachment to a village at about ten miles' distance. He was not sixteen, and, though three years older than myself, scarcely my equal in stature, for I had become tall and large-limbed for my age; but there was a spirit in him which would not have disgraced a general; and, nothing daunted at the considerable responsibility which he was about to incur, he marched sturdily out of the barrack-yard at the head of his party, consisting of twenty light-infantry men, and a tall grenadier sergeant, selected expressly by my father, for the soldier-like qualities which he possessed, to accompany his son on this his first expedition. So out of the barrack-yard, with something of an air, marched my dear brother, his single drum and fife playing the inspiring old melody,

Marlbrouk is gone to the wars, He'll never return no more!


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