The Irish R.M.
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Written in concert by E. Somerville and Martin Ross in the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century, these stories have as their narrator Major Sinclair Yeates, a young man returning to Ireland after being educated in England. The Resident Magistrate (RM) is provided with a title, an office, a low salary accompanied by high social expectations, and every problem - small and large - of the local inhabitants. Yet the Major finds his appointment to the rather unattractive job of RM in the village of Shreelane "glittering with possibilities" because it provides him with the means to make a successful proposal to the lovely Philippa. The cast of characters includes Mrs. Cadogan, the irrepressibly grumpy housekeeper; Dr. Hickey, the lovelorn, ambitious, and utterly humorless Englishman; Flurry, the local horsetrader and unquenchable huntsman; and, of course, beautiful Philippa, a young woman whose capacity to laugh "unsuitably" shows her lack of even "the most rudimentary capacity for keeping her countenance." While horses and fox hunts provide most of Major Yeates' discomforts, domestic problems also assail him, like the chairs in his new house with their "aggressive knobs in unexpected places." As the straight-man narrator, observer, and regular butt of hundreds of hilarious trials and mishaps, Major Yeates never ceases to be surprised, is usually not amused, and can't stop himself from loving his neighbors.