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Paddy Finn   By: (1814-1880)

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Paddy Finn, by W H G Kingston.

This is one of Kingston's longest adventure stories, but possibly also one of his best. The eponymous hero is tracked through his time at sea as a midshipman. Exciting events follow on each other's heels, fast and furious. Very well written, showing the extraordinary depth of knowledge that the author possessed. You will definitely enjoy reading it, if you enjoy this genre at all. You may care to listen to it instead, in which case it makes an excellent audiobook.




"The top of the morning to you, Terence," cried the major, looking down upon me from the window of his bedroom.

I was standing in front of the castle of Ballinahone the seat of the O'Finnahans, my ancestors on the banks of the beautiful Shannon, enjoying the fresh air of the early morning.

"Send Larry up, will you, with a jug of warm water for shaving; and, while I think of it, tell Biddy to brew me a cup of hot coffee. It will be some time before breakfast is ready, and my hand isn't as steady as it once was till I've put something into my inside."

The old house had not been provided with bells for summoning the attendants; a loud shout, a clap of the hands, or the clatter of fire irons, answering the purpose.

"Shure, Larry was sent to meet the postboy, uncle, and I'll be after taking you up the warm water; but Biddy maybe will not have come in from milking the cows, so if Dan Bourke is awake, and will give me the key of the cellar, mightn't I be bringing you up a glass of whisky?" I asked, knowing the taste of most of the guests at the castle.

"Arrah, boy, don't be tempting me!" cried the major in a half angry tone; "that morning nip is the bane of too many of us. Go and do as I bid you."

I was about entering the house to perform the duty I had undertaken, when I caught sight of my foster brother, Larry Harrigan, galloping up the avenue, mounted on the bare back of a shaggy little pony, its mane and tail streaming in the breeze.

"Hurrah! hurrah! yer honour; I've got it," he cried, as he waved a letter above his carroty and hatless pate. "I wouldn't have been after getting it at all, at all, for the spalpeen of a postboy wanted tinpence before he would give it me, but sorra a copper had I in my pocket, and I should have had to come away without it, if Mr McCarthy, the bailiff, hadn't been riding by, and paid the money for me."

I took the letter; and telling Larry, after he had turned the pony into the yard, to bring up the warm water and the cup of hot coffee, I hurried, with the official looking document in my hand, up to my uncle's room. He met me at the door, dressed in his trousers and shirt, his shirt sleeves tucked up in order to perform his ablutions, exhibiting his brawny arms, scarred with many a wound, his grizzled hair uncombed, his tall figure looking even more gaunt than usual without the military coat in which I was accustomed to see him. He eagerly took the letter.

"Come in, my boy, and sit down on the foot of the bed while I see what my friend Macnamara writes in answer to my request," he said, as he broke the seal, and with a deliberation which didn't suit my eagerness, opened a large sheet of foolscap paper, which he held up to the light that he might read it more easily.

While he was thus engaged, Larry brought up the warm water and the cup of steaming coffee, and, with a look at the major's back which betokened anything but respect, because it was not a glass of whisky, placed the jug and cup on the table. Larry was, I must own, as odd looking an individual as ever played the part of valet. His shock head of hair was unacquainted with comb or brush; his grey coat reached to his calves; his breeches were open at the knees; his green waistcoat, too short to reach the latter garment, was buttoned awry; huge brogues encased his feet, and a red handkerchief, big enough to serve as the royal of a frigate, was tied loosely round his neck... Continue reading book >>

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