"I CAN'T stop in the house - I won't stop in it for
all the money that is buried in the old castle of Carrigrohan. if ever there
was such a thing in the world ! - to be abused to my face night and day, and
nobody to the fore doing it ! and then, if I'm angry, to be laughed at with a
great roaring ho, ho, ho ! I won't stay in the house after, to-night, if there
was not another place in the country to put my head under." This angry
soliloquy was pronounced in the hall of the old manor-house of Carrigrohan by
John Sheehan. John was a new servant; he had been only three days in the
house, which had the character of being haunted, and in that short space of
time he had been abused and laughed at, by a voice which sounded as if a man
spoke with his head in a cask; nor could he discover who was the speaker, or
from whence the voice came. "I'll not stop here," said John;
"and that ends the matter."
"Ho, ho, ho ! be quiet, John Sheehan, or else worse
will happen to you."
John instantly ran to the hall window, as the words were
evidently spoken by a person immediately outside, but no one was visible. He
had scarcely placed his face at the pane of glass, when he heard another loud
"Ho, ho, ho !" as if behind him in the hall; as quick as lightning
he turned his head, but no living thing was to be seen.
"Ho, ho, ho, John !" shouted a voice that
appeared to come from the lawn before the house; do you think you'll see
Teigue? - oh, never ! as long as you live ! so leave alone looking after him,
and mind your business; there's plenty of company to dinner from Cork to be
here to-day, and 'tis time you had the cloth laid."
"Lord bless us ! there's more of it ! - I'll never
stay another day here," repeated John.
"Hold your tongue, and stay where you are quietly,
and play no tricks on Mr. Pratt, as you did on Mr. Jervois about the
John Sheehan was confounded by this address from his
invisible persecutor, but nevertheless he mustered courage enough to say
-" Who are you? - come here, and let me see you, if you are a man;"
but he received in reply only a laugh of unearthly derision, which was
followed by a " Good-by - I'll watch you at dinner, John!"
"Lord between us and harm ! this beats all ! - I'll
watch you at dinner ! - maybe you will; - 'tis the broad daylight, so 'tis no
ghost; but this is a terrible place, and this is the last day I'll stay in it.
How does he know about the spoons? - if he tells it, I'm a ruined man ! -
there was no living soul could tell it to him but Tim Barrett, and he's far
enough off in the wilds of Botany Bay now, so how could he know it - I can't
tell for the world ! But what's that I see there at the corner of the wall ! -
'tis not a man! - oh, what a fool I am ! 't is only the old stump of a tree! -
But this is a shocking place - I'll never stop in it, for I'll leave the house
tomorrow; the very look of it is enough to frighten any one."
The mansion had~ certainly an air of desolation; it was
situated in a lawn, which had nothing to break its uniform level, save a few
tufts of narcissuses and a couple of old trees coeval with the building. The
house stood at a short distance from the road, it was upwards of a century
old, and Time was doing his work upon it; its walls were weather-stained in
all colours, its roof showed various white patches, it had no look of comfort;
all was dim and dingy without, and within there was an air of gloom; of
departed and departing greatness, which harmonised well with the exterior. It
required all the exuberance of youth and of gaiety to remove the impression,
almost amounting to awe, with which you trod the huge square hall, paced along
the gallery which surrounded the hall, or explored the long rambling passages
The ball-room, as the large drawing-room was called, and
several other apartments, were in a state of decay: the walls were stained
with damp; and I remember well the sensation of awe which I felt creeping over
me when, boy as I was, and full of boyish life, and wild and ardent spirits, I
descended to the vaults; all without and within me became chilled beneath
their dampness and gloom - their extent, too, terrified me; nor could the
merriment of my two schoolfellows, whose father; a respectable clergyman,
rented the dwelling for a time, dispel the feelings of a romantic imagination
until I once again ascended to the upper regions.
John had pretty well recovered himself as the dinner-hour
approached, and the several guests arrived. They were all seated at table, and
had begun to enjoy the excellent repast, when a voice was heard from the lawn
"Ho, ho, ho, Mr. Pratt, won't you give poor Teigue
some dinner ? ho, ho, a fine company you have there, and plenty of every thing
that's good; sure you won't forget poor Teigue?"
John dropped the glass he had in his hand.
"Who is that?" said Mr. Pratt's brother, an
officer of the artillery.
"That is Teigue," said Mr. Pratt, laughing,
whom you must often have heard me mention."
"And pray, Mr. Pratt," enquired another
gentleman, " who is Teigue.?"
"That," he replied, "is more than I can
tell. No one has ever been able to catch even a glimpse of him. I have been on
the watch for a whole evening with three of my sons, yet, although his voice
sometimes sounded almost in my ear, I could not see him. I fancied, indeed,
that I saw a man in a white frieze jacket pass into the door from the garden
to the lawn, but it could be only fancy, for I found the door locked, while
the fellow, whoever he is, was laughing at our trouble. He visits us
occasionally, and sometimes a long interval passes between his visits, as in
the present case; it is now nearly two years since we heard that hollow voice
outside the window. He has never done any injury that we know of; and once
when he broke a plate, he brought one back exactly like it."
"It is very extraordinary," said several of the
"But," remarked a gentleman to young Mr. Pratt,
"your father said he broke a plate; how did he get it without your seeing
"When he asks for some dinner, we put it outside the
window and go away; whilst we watch he will not take it, but no sooner have we
withdrawn than it is gone."
"How does he know that you are watching?"
"That's more than I can tell, but he either knows or
suspects. One day my brothers Robert and James with myself were in our back
parlour, which has a window into the garden, when he came outside and said,
'Ho, ho, ho ! master James, and Robert, and Henry, give poor Teigue a glass of
whiskey.' James went out of the room, filled a glass with whiskey, vinegar,
and salt, and brought it to him. ' Here, Teigue,' said he, come for it now.'
'Well, put it down, then, on the step outside the window.' This was done, and
we stood looking at it. 'There, now, go away,' he shouted. We retired, but
still watched it. ' Ho, ho ! you are watching Teigue; go out of the room, now,
or I won't take it.' We went outside the door and returned, the glass was
gone, and a moment after we heard him roaring and cursing frightfully. He took
away the glass, but the next day the glass was on the stone step under the
window, and there were crumbs of bread in the inside, as if he had put it in
his pocket,; from that time he was not heard till to-day."
"Oh," said the colonel, " I'll get a sight
of him; you are not used to these things; an old soldier has the best chance;
and as I shall finish my dinner with this wing, I'll be ready for him when he
speaks next. Mr. Bell, will you take a glass of wine with me?"
"Ho, ho ! Mr. Bell," shouted Teigue. " Ho,
ho! Mr. Bell, you were a quaker long ago. Ho, ho ! Mr. Bell, you're a pretty
boy; - a pretty quaker you were; and now you're no quaker, nor any thing else
: - ho, ho ! Mr. Bell. And there's Mr. Parkes: to be sure, Mr. Parkes looks
mighty fine to-day, with his powdered head, and his grand silk stockings, and
his bran new rakish-red waistcoat. - And there's Mr. Cole, - did you ever see
such a fellow? a pretty company you've brought together, Mr. Pratt: kiln-dried
quakers, butter-buying buckeens from Mallow-lane, and a drinking exciseman
from the Coal-quay, to meet the great thundering artillery-general that is
come out of the Indies, and is the biggest dust of them all."
"You scoundrel !" exclaimed the colonel:
"I'll make you show yourself;" and snatching up his sword from a
corner of the room, he sprang out of the window upon the lawn. In a moment a
shout of laughter, so hollow, so unlike any human sound, made him stop, as
well as Mr. Bell, who with a huge oak stick was close at the colonel's heels;
others of the party followed on the lawn, and the remainder rose and went to
"Come on, colonel," said Mr. Bell; "let us
catch this impudent rascal."
"Ho, ho! Mr. Bell, here I am - here's Teigue - why
don't you catch him? - Ho, ho! colonel Pratt, what a pretty soldier you are to
draw your sword upon poor Teigue, that never did any body harm."
"Let us see your face, you scoundrel," said the
"Ho, ho, ho ! - look at me - look at me: do you see
the wind, colonel Pratt? - you'll see Teigue as soon; so go in and finish your
"If you're upon the earth I'll find you, you villain
!" said the colonel, whilst the same unearthly shout of derision seemed
to come from behind an angle of the building. "He's round that
corner," said Mr. Bell - " run, run."
They followed the sound, which was continued at intervals
along the garden wall, but could discover no human being; at last both stopped
to draw breath, and in an instant, almost at their ears, sounded the shout.
"Ho, ho, ho ! colonel Pratt, do you see Teigue now ?
- do you hear him ? - Ho, ho, ho ! you're a fine colonel to follow the
"Not that way, Mr. Bell - not that way; come
here," said the colonel.
"Ho, ho, ho ! what a fool you are; do you think
Teigue is going to show himself to you in the field, there? But, colonel,
follow me if you can : - you a soldier ! - ho, ho, ho !" The colonel was
enraged - he followed the voice over hedge and ditch, alternately laughed at
and taunted by the unseen object of his pursuit - (Mr. Bell, who was heavy,
was soon thrown out), until at length, after being led a weary chase, he found
him self at the top of the cliff over that part of the river Lee which, from
its great depth, and the blackness of its water, has received the name of
Here, on the edge of the cliff, stood the colonel out of
breath, and mopping his forehead with his handkerchief; while the voice, which
seemed close at his feet, exclaimed -" Now, colonel Pratt - now, if you
're a soldier, here's a leap for you; - now look at Teigue - why don't you
look at him? - Ho, ho, ho! Come along: you're warm, I'm sure, colonel Pratt,
so come in and cool yourself; Teigue is going to have a swim !" The voice
seemed as descending amongst the trailing ivy and brushwood which clothes this
picturesque cliff nearly from top to bottom, yet it was impossible that any
human being could have found footing. "Now, colonel, have you courage to
take the leap? - Ho, ho, ho ! what a pretty soldier you are. Good-by - I'll
see you again in ten minutes above, at the house - look at your watch colonel:
- there's a dive for you;" and a heavy plunge into the water was heard.
The colonel stood still, but no sound followed, and he walked slowly back to
the house, not quite half a mile from the Crag."
"Well, did you see Teigue?" said his brother,
whilst his nephews, scarcely able to smother their laughter, stood by."
Give me some wine," said the colonel. " I never was led such a dance
in my life: the fellow carried me all round and round, till he brought me to
the edge of the cliff', and then down he went into Hell-hole, telling me he'd
be here in ten minutes; 'tis more than that now, but he's not come."
"Ho, ho, ho! colonel, is'nt he here? - Teigue never
told a lie in his life: but, Mr. Pratt, give me a drink and my dinner, and
then good night to you all, for I'm tired; and that's the colonel's
doing." A plate of food was ordered: it was placed by John, with fear and
trembling, on the lawn under the window. Every one kept on the watch, and the
plate remained undisturbed for some time.
"Ah! Mr. Pratt, will you starve poor Teigue? Make
every one go away from the windows, and master Henry out of the tree,
and master Richard off the garden wall."
The eyes of the company were turned to the tree and the
garden wall; the two boys' attention was occupied in getting down: the
visitors were looking at them; and "Ho, ho, ho! - good luck to you, Mr.
Pratt! - 'tis a good dinner, and there's the plate, ladies and gentlemen -
good bye to you, colonel - good-bye, Mr. Bell ! - good-bye to you all " -
brought their attention back, when they saw the empty plate lying on the
grass; and Teigue's voice was heard no more for that evening. Many visits were
afterwards paid by Teigue; but never was he seen, nor was any discovery ever
made of his person or character.