Barry Lyndon HTML version

Chapter 3
A False Start In The Genteel World
I rode that night as far as Carlow, where I lay at the best inn; and being asked what was
my name by the landlord of the house, gave it as Mr. Redmond, according to my cousin's
instructions, and said I was of the Redmonds of Waterford county, and was on my road to
Trinity College, Dublin, to be educated there. Seeing my handsome appearance, silver-
hiked sword, and well-filled valise, my landlord made free to send up a jug of claret
without my asking; and charged, you may be sure, pretty handsomely for it in the bill. No
gentleman in those good old days went to bed without a good share of liquor to set him
sleeping, and on this my first day's entrance into the world, I made a point to act the fine
gentleman completely; and, I assure you, succeeded in my part to admiration. The
excitement of the events of the day, the quitting my home, the meeting with Captain
Quin, were enough to set my brains in a whirl, without the claret; which served to finish
me completely. I did not dream of the death of Quin, as some milksops, perhaps, would
have done; indeed, I have never had any of that foolish remorse consequent upon any of
my affairs of honour: always considering, from the first, that where a gentleman risks his
own life in manly combat, he is a fool to be ashamed because he wins. I slept at Carlow
as sound as man could sleep; drank a tankard of small beer and a toast to my breakfast;
and exchanged the first of my gold pieces to settle the bill, not forgetting to pay all the
servants liberally, and as a gentleman should. I began so the first day of my life, and so
have continued. No man has been at greater straits than I, and has borne more pinching
poverty and hardship; but nobody can say of me that, if I had a guinea, I was not free-
handed with it, and did not spend it as well as a lord could do.
I had no doubts of the future: thinking that a man of my person, parts, and courage, could
make his way anywhere. Besides, I had twenty gold guineas in my pocket; a sum which
(although I was mistaken) I calculated would last me for four months at least, during
which time something would be done towards the making of my fortune. So I rode on,
singing to myself, or chatting with the passers-by; and all the girls along the road said
God save me for a clever gentleman! As for Nora and Castle Brady, between to-day and
yesterday there seemed to be a gap as of half-a-score of years. I vowed I would never re-
enter the place but as a great man; and I kept my vow too, as you shall hear in due time.
There was much more liveliness and bustle on the king's highroad in those times, than in
these days of stage-coaches, which carry you from one end of the kingdom to another in a
few score hours. The gentry rode their own horses or drove in their own coaches, and
spent three days on a journey which now occupies ten hours; so that there was no lack of
company for a person travelling towards Dublin. I made part of the journey from Carlow
towards Naas with a well- armed gentleman from Kilkenny, dressed in green and a gold
cord, with a patch on his eye, and riding a powerful mare. He asked me the question of
the day, and whither I was bound, and whether my mother was not afraid on account of
the highwaymen to let one so young as myself to travel? But I said, pulling out one of
them from a holster, that I had a pair of good pistols that had already done execution, and