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Title: Humours of Irish Life
Author: Various
Language: English
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[Illustration: Frank Webber wins the wager

  _Drawn by Geo. Morrow_]



  [Illustration: Fiat Lux]

           NEW YORK:



The first of the notable humorists of Irish life was William Maginn, one
of the most versatile, as well as brilliant of Irish men of letters.

He was born in Cork in 1793, and was a classical schoolmaster there in
early manhood, having secured the degree of LL.D. at Trinity College,
Dublin, when only 23 years of age. The success in "Blackwood's Magazine"
of some of his translations of English verse into the Classics induced
him, however, to give up teaching and to seek his fortunes as a magazine
writer and journalist in London, at a time when Lamb, De Quincey,
Lockhart and Wilson gave most of their writings to magazines.

Possessed of remarkable sparkle and finish as a writer, considering with
what little effort and with what rapidity he poured out his political
satires in prose and verse, and his rollicking magazine sketches, it was
no wonder that he leaped into popularity at a bound. He was the original
of the Captain Shandon of Pendennis and though Thackeray undoubtedly
attributed to him a political venality of which he was never guilty,
whilst describing him during what was undoubtedly the latter and least
reputable period in his career, it is evident that he considered Maginn
to be, as he undoubtedly was, a literary figure of conspicuous
accomplishment and mark in the contemporary world of letters.

Amongst his satiric writings, his panegyric of Colonel Pride may stand
comparison even with Swift's most notable philippics; whilst his Sir
Morgan O'Doherty was the undoubted ancestor of Maxwell's and Lever's
hard drinking, practical joking Irish military heroes, and frequently
appears as one of the speakers in Professor Wilson's "Noctes
Ambrosianae," of which the doctor was one of the mainstays.

Besides his convivial song of "St. Patrick," his "Gathering of the
Mahonys," and his "Cork is an Eden for you, Love, and me," written by
him as genuine "Irish Melodies," to serve as an antidote to what he
called the finicking Bacchanalianism of Moore, he contributed, as Mr. D.
J. O'Donoghue conclusively proves, several stories, including "Daniel
O'Rourke," printed in this volume, to Crofton Croker's "Fairy Legends
and Traditions of Ireland," first published anonymously in 1825--a set
of Folk Tales full of a literary charm which still makes them delightful
reading. For just as Moore took Irish airs, touched them up and
partnered them with lyrics to suit upper class British and Irish taste,
so Croker gathered his Folk Tales from the Munster peasantry with whom
he was familiar and, assisted by Maginn and others, gave them exactly
that form and finish needful to provide the reading public of his day
with an inviting volume of fairy lore.

Carleton and the brothers John and Michael Banim, besides Samuel Lover,
whose gifts are treated of elsewhere in this introduction, followed with
what Dr. Douglas Hyde rightly describes as Folk Lore of "an incidental
and highly manipulated type."

A more genuine Irish storyteller was Patrick Kennedy, twice represented
in this volume, whose "Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celt" and
"Fireside Stories of Ireland" were put down by him much as he heard
them as a boy in his native county of Wexford, where they had already
passed with little change in the telling from the Gaelic into the
peculiar Anglo-Irish local dialect which is markedly West Saxon in its

His lineal successor as a Wexford Folklorist is Mr. P. J. McCall, one of
whose stories, "Fionn MacCumhail and the Princess" we reproduce, and a
woman Folk tale teller, Miss B. Hunt, adds to our indebtedness to such
writers by her recently published and delightful _Folk Tales of Breffny_
from which "McCarthy of Connacht" has been taken for these pages.

We have also the advantage of using Dr. Hyde's "The Piper and the Puca,"
a foretaste, we believe, of the pleasure in store for our readers in the
volume of Folk Tales he is contributing to "Every Irishman's Library"
under the engaging title of "Irish Saints and Sinners."

In a survey of the Anglo-Irish humorous novel of recent times, the works
of Charles Lever form a convenient point of departure, for with all his
limitations he was the first to write about Irish life in such a way as
to appeal widely and effectively to an English audience. We have no
intention of dwelling upon him at any length--he belongs to an earlier
generation--but between him and his successors there are points both of
resemblance and of dissimilarity sufficient to make an interesting
comparison. The politics and social conditions of Lever's time are not
those of the present, but the spirit of Lever's Irishman, though with
modifications, is still alive to-day.

Lever had not the intensity of Carleton, or the fine humanity of
Kickham, but he was less uncompromising in his use of local colour, and
he was, as a rule, far more cheerful. He had not the tender grace or
simplicity of Gerald Griffin, and never wrote anything so moving or
beautiful as "The Collegians," which will form a special volume of this
Library, but he surpassed him in vitality, gusto, exuberance and
knowledge of the world.

Overrated in the early stages of his career, Lever paid the penalty of
his too facile triumphs in his lifetime, and his undoubted talents have
latterly been depreciated on political as well as artistic grounds. His
heroes were drawn, with few exceptions, from the landlord class or their
faithful retainers. The gallant Irish officers, whose Homeric exploits
he loved to celebrate, held commissions in the British army. Lever has
never been popular with Nationalist politicians, though, as a matter of
fact no one ever exhibited the extravagance and recklessness of the
landed gentry in more glaring colours. And he is anathema to the
hierophants of the Neo-Celtic Renascence on account of his jocularity.
There is nothing crepuscular about Lever; you might as well expect to
find a fairy in a railway station.

Again, Lever never was and never could be the novelist of literary men.
He was neither a scholar nor an artist; he wrote largely in instalments;
and in his earlier novels was wont to end a chapter in a manner that
rendered something like a miracle necessary to continue the existence of
the hero: "He fell lifeless to the ground, the same instant I was felled
to the earth by a blow from behind, and saw no more." In technique and
characterisation his later novels show a great advance, but if he lives,
it will be by the spirited loosely-knit romances of love and war
composed in the first ten years of his literary career. His heroes had
no scruples in proclaiming their physical advantages and athletic
prowess; Charles O'Malley, that typical Galway _miles gloriosus_,
introduces himself with ingenuous egotism in the following passage:

  "I rode boldly with fox-hounds; I was about the best shot within
  twenty miles of us; I could swim the Shannon at Holy Island; I drove
  four-in-hand better than the coachman himself; and from finding a hare
  to cooking a salmon, my equal could not be found from Killaloe to

The life led by the Playboys of the West (old style) as depicted in
Lever's pages was one incessant round of reckless hospitality, tempered
by duels and practical joking, but it had its justification in the
family annals of the fire-eating Blakes and Bodkins and the records of
the Connaught Circuit. The intrepidity of Lever's heroes was only
equalled by their indiscretion, their good luck in escaping from the
consequences of their folly, and their susceptibility. His womenfolk may
be roughly divided into three classes; sentimental heroines, who sighed,
and blushed and fainted on the slightest provocation; buxom Amazons,
like Baby Blake; and campaigners or adventuresses. But the gentle,
sentimental, angelic type predominates, and finds a perfect
representative in Lucy Dashwood.

When Charles O'Malley was recovering from an accident in the hunting
field, he fell asleep in an easy-chair in the drawing-room and was
awakened by the "thrilling chords of a harp":

  "I turned gently round in my chair and beheld Miss Dashwood. She was
  seated in a recess of an old-fashioned window; the pale yellow glow of
  a wintry sun at evening fell upon her beautiful hair, and tinged it
  with such a light as I have often since then seen in Rembrandt's
  pictures; her head leaned upon the harp, and, as she struck its chords
  at random, I saw that her mind was far away from all around her. As I
  looked, she suddenly started from her leaning attitude, and, parting
  back her curls from her brow, she preluded a few chords, and then
  sighed forth, rather than sang, that most beautiful of Moore's

    'She is far from the land where her young hero sleeps.'

  Never before had such pathos, such deep utterance of feeling, met my
  astonished sense; I listened breathlessly as the tears fell one by one
  down my cheek; my bosom heaved and fell; and when she ceased, I hid my
  head between my hands and sobbed aloud."

Lever's serious heroines, apart from the fact that they could ride, did
not differ in essentials from those of Dickens, and a sense of humour
was no part of their mental equipment. The hated rival, the dark-browed
Captain Hammersly, was distinguished by his "cold air and repelling
_hauteur_," and is a familiar figure in mid-Victorian romance. Lever's
sentiment, in short, is old-fashioned, and cannot be expected to appeal
to a Feminist age which has given us the public school girl and the
suffragist. There is no psychological interest in the relations of his
heroes and heroines; Charles's farewell to Lucy is on a par with the
love speeches in "The Lyons Mail." There is seldom any doubt as to the
ultimate reunion of his lovers; we are only concerned with the ingenuity
of the author in surmounting the obstacles of his own invention. He was
fertile in the devising of exciting incident; he was always able to eke
out the narrative with a good story or song--as a writer of convivial,
thrasonic or mock-sentimental verse he was quite in the first class--and
in his earlier novels his high spirits and sense of fun never failed.

In his easy-going methods he may have been influenced by the example of
Dickens--the Dickens of the "Pickwick Papers"--but there is no ground
for any charge of conscious imitation, and where he challenged direct
comparison--in the character of Mickey Free--he succeeded in drawing an
Irish Sam Weller who falls little short of his more famous Cockney
counterpart. For Lever was a genuine humorist, or perhaps we should say
a genuine comedian, since the element of theatricality was seldom
absent. The choicest exploits of that grotesque Admirable Crichton,
Frank Webber, were carried out by hoaxing, disguise, or trickery of some
sort. But the scene in which Frank wins his wager by impersonating Miss
Judy Macan and sings "The Widow Malone" is an admirable piece of
sustained fooling: admirable, too, in its way is the rescue of the
imaginary captive in the Dublin drain. As a delineator of the humours of
University life, Lever combined the atmosphere of "Verdant Green" with
the sumptuous upholstery of Ouida. Here, again, in his portraits of dons
and undergraduates Lever undoubtedly drew in part from life, but fell
into his characteristic vice of exaggeration in his embroidery. Frank
Webber's antics are amusing, but it is hard to swallow his amazing
literary gifts or the contrast between his effeminate appearance and his
dare-devil energy.

While "Lord Kilgobbin"--which ran as a serial in the "Cornhill Magazine"
from October, 1870, to March, 1872--was not wholly free from Lever's
besetting sin, it is interesting not only as the most thoughtful and
carefully written of his novels, but on account of its political
attitude. Here Lever proved himself no champion _à outrance_ of the
landlords, but was ready to admit that their joyous conviviality was too
often attended by gross mismanagement of their estates. The methods of
Peter Gill, the land steward, are shown to be all centred in craft and
subtlety--"outwitting this man, forestalling that, doing everything by
halves, so that no boon came unassociated with some contingency or other
by which he secured to himself unlimited power and uncontrolled
tyranny." The sympathy extended to the rebels of '98 is remarkable and
finds expression in the spirited lines:--

  "Is there anything more we can fight or can hate for?
     The 'drop' and the famine have made our ranks thin.
   In the name of endurance, then, what do we wait for?
     Will nobody give us the word to begin?"

These must have been almost the last lines Lever ever wrote, unless we
accept the bitter epitaph on himself:

  "For sixty odd years he lived in the thick of it,
   And now he is gone, not so much very sick of it,
   As because he believed he heard somebody say,
   'Harry Lorrequer's hearse is stopping the way.'"

The bitterness of the epitaph lies in the fact that it was largely true;
he had exhausted the vein of rollicking romance on which his fame and
popularity rested. For the rest the charge of misrepresenting Irish life
is met by so judicious a critic as the late Dr. Garnett with a direct

  "He has not actually misrepresented anything, and cannot be censured
  for confining himself to the society which he knew; nor was his talent
  adapted for the treatment of such life in its melancholy and poetic
  aspects, even if these had been more familiar to him."

Of the humorous Irish novelists who entered into competition with Lever
for the favour of the English-speaking public in his lifetime, two claim
special notice--Samuel Lover and Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. Lover has
always been bracketed with Lever, whom he resembled in many ways, but he
was overshadowed by his more brilliant and versatile contemporary. Yet
within his limited sphere he was a true humorist, and the careless,
whimsical, illogical aspects of Irish character have seldom been more
effectively illustrated than by the author of 'Handy Andy,' and 'The
Gridiron.' Paddy, as drawn by Lover, succeeds in spite of his
drawbacks, much as Brer Rabbit does in the tales of Uncle Remus. His
mental processes remind one of the story of the Hungarian baron who, on
paying a visit to a friend after a railway journey, complained of a bad
headache, the result of sitting with his back to the engine. When his
friend asked, "Why did not you change places with your _vis-à-vis_?" the
baron replied, "How could I? I had no _vis-à-vis_." Lover's heroes
"liked action, but they hated work": the philosophy of thriftlessness is
summed up to perfection in "Paddy's Pastoral":--

  "Here's a health to you, my darlin',
   Though I'm not worth a farthin';
   For when I'm drunk I think I'm rich,
   I've a featherbed in every ditch!"

For all his kindliness Lover laid too much stress on this happy-go-lucky
fecklessness to minister to Irish self-respect. His pictures of Irish
life were based on limited experience; in so far as they are true, they
recall and emphasise traits which many patriotic Irishmen wish to forget
or eliminate. An age which has witnessed the growth of Irish
Agricultural Co-operation is intolerant of a novelist who for the most
part represents his countrymen as diverting idiots, and therefore we
prefer to represent him in this volume by "The Little Weaver," one of
those mock heroic tales in which Irishmen have excelled from his day to
that of Edmund Downey. No better example could be given of his easy flow
of humour in genuine Hiberno-English or of his shrewd portraiture of
such simple types of Irish peasant character.

The case of Le Fanu is peculiar. His best-known novels had no specially
characteristic Irish flavour. But his sombre talent was lit by
intermittent flashes of the wildest hilarity, and it was in this mood
that the author of "Uncle Silas" and "Carmilla" wrote "The Quare
Gandher" and "Billy Malowney's Taste of Love and Glory," two of the most
brilliantly comic extravaganzas which were ever written by an Irishman,
and which no one but an Irishman could ever have written.

There is no Salic Law in letters, and since the deaths of Lever and Le
Fanu the sceptre of the realm of Irish fiction has passed to women. But
the years between 1870 and 1890 were not propitious for humorists, and
the admirable work of the late Miss Emily Lawless, who had already made
her mark in "Hurrish" before the latter date, does not fall within the
present survey. The same remark applies to Mrs. Hartley, but there is a
fine sense of humour in the delicate idylls of Miss Jane Barlow, twice
represented in this volume.

By far the most widely read Irish novelist between 1880 and 1900 was the
late Mrs. Hungerford, the author of "Molly Bawn" and a score of other
blameless romances which almost rivalled "The Rosary" in luscious
sentimentality. The scenes of her stories were generally laid in
Ireland, and the stories themselves were almost invariably concerned
with the courtship of lovely but impecunious maidens by eligible and
affluent youths. No one in Mrs. Hungerford's novels ever seemed to have
any work to do. The characters lived in a paradise of unemployment, and
this possibly accounts for Mrs. Hungerford's immense popularity in
America, where even the most indolent immigrants become infected with a
passion for hard work. In the quality of gush she was unsurpassed, but
her good nature and her frank delight in her characters made her
absurdity engaging. Sentiment was her ruling passion; she did no more
than scrape the surface of Irish social life; and she had no humour but
good humour. But she had not enough of literary quality to entitle her
work to rank beside that of the other women writers represented in this

The literary partnership of Miss Edith Somerville and Miss Violet
Martin--the most brilliantly successful example of creative
collaboration in our times--began with "An Irish Cousin" in 1889.
Published over the pseudonyms of "Geilles Herring" and "Martin Ross,"
this delightful story is remarkable not only for its promise, afterwards
richly fulfilled, but for its achievement. The writers proved themselves
the possessors of a strange faculty of detachment which enabled them to
view the humours of Irish life through the unfamiliar eyes of a stranger
without losing their own sympathy. They were at once of the life they
described and outside it. They showed a laudable freedom from political
partisanship; a minute familiarity with the manners and customs of all
strata of Irish Society; an unerring instinct for the "sovran word;" a
perfect mastery of the Anglo-Irish dialect; and an acute yet
well-controlled sense of the ludicrous. The heroine accurately describes
the concourse on the platform of a small country station as having "all
the appearance of a large social gathering or _conversazione_, the
carriages being filled, not by those who were starting, but by their
friends who had come to see them off." When she went to a county ball in
Cork she discovered to her dismay that all her partners were named
either Beamish or Barrett:--

  "Had it not been for Willy's elucidation of its mysteries, I should
  have thrown away my card in despair. 'No; not _him_. That's _Long_ Tom
  Beamish! It's _English_ Tommy you've to dance with next. They call him
  English Tommy because, when his Militia regiment was ordered to
  Aldershot, he said he was 'the first of his ancestors that was ever
  sent on foreign service.'... I carried for several days the bruises
  which I received during my waltz with English Tommy. It consisted
  chiefly of a series of short rushes, of so shattering a character that
  I at last ventured to suggest a less aggressive mode of progression.
  'Well,' said English Tommy confidentially, 'ye see, I'm trying to bump
  Katie,' pointing to a fat girl in blue. 'She's my cousin, and we're
  for ever fighting.'"

As a set-off to this picture of the hilarious informality of high life
in Cork twenty-five years ago, there is a wonderful study of a cottage
interior, occupied by a very old man, his daughter-in-law, three
children, two terriers, a cat, and a half-plucked goose. The
conversation between Willy Sarsfield--who foreshadows Flurry Knox in
"Some Experiences of an Irish R.M." by his mingled shrewdness and
_naiveté_--and Mrs. Sweeny is a perfect piece of realism.

  "Mrs. Sweeny was sitting on a kind of rough settle, between the other
  window and the door of an inner room. She was a stout, comfortable
  woman of about forty, with red hair and quick blue eyes, that roved
  round the cabin, and silenced with a glance the occasional whisperings
  that rose from the children. 'And how's the one that had the bad
  cough?' asked Willy, pursuing his conversation with her with his
  invariable ease and dexterity. 'Honor her name is, isn't it?'--'See,
  now, how well he remembers!' replied Mrs. Sweeny. 'Indeed, she's there
  back in the room, lyin' these three days. Faith, I think 'tis like the
  decline she have, Masther Willy.'--'Did you get the Doctor to her?'
  said Willy. 'I'll give you a ticket, if you haven't one.'--'Oh,
  indeed, Docthor Kelly's afther givin' her a bottle, but shure I
  wouldn't let her put it into her mouth at all. God-knows what'd be in
  it. Wasn't I afther throwin' a taste of it on the fire to thry what'd
  it do, and Phitz! says it, and up with it up the chimbley! Faith, I'd
  be in dread to give it to the child. Shure, if it done that in the
  fire, what'd it do in her inside?--'Well, you're a greater fool than I
  thought you were,' said Willy, politely.--'Maybe I am, faith,' replied
  Mrs. Sweeny, with a loud laugh of enjoyment. 'But, if she's for dyin',
  the crayture, she'll die aisier without thim thrash of medicines; and
  if she's for livin', 'tisn't thrusting to them she'll be. Shure, God
  is good, God is good----'--'Divil a betther!' interjected old Sweeny,
  unexpectedly. It was the first time he had spoken, and having
  delivered himself of this trenchant observation, he relapsed into
  silence and the smackings at his pipe."

But the tragic note is sounded in the close of "An Irish Cousin"--Miss
Martin and Miss Somerville have never lost sight of the abiding dualism
enshrined in Moore's verse "Erin, the tear and the smile in thine
eyes"--and it dominates their next novel, "Naboth's Vineyard," published
in 1891, a sombre romance of the Land League days. Three years later
they reached the summit of their achievement in "The Real Charlotte,"
which still remains their masterpiece, though easily eclipsed in
popularity by the irresistible drollery of "Some Experiences of an Irish
R.M." To begin with, it does not rely on the appeal to hunting people
which in their later work won the heart of the English sportsman. It is
a ruthlessly candid study of Irish provincial and suburban life; of the
squalors of middle-class households; of garrison hacks and "underbred,
finespoken," florid squireens. But secondly and chiefly it repels the
larger half of the novel-reading public by the fact that two women have
here dissected the heart of one of their sex in a mood of unrelenting
realism. While pointing out the pathos and humiliation of the thought
that a soul can be stunted by the trivialities of personal appearance,
they own to having set down Charlotte Mullen's many evil qualities
"without pity." They approach their task in the spirit of Balzac. The
book, as we shall see, is extraordinarily rich in both wit and humour,
but Charlotte, who cannot control her ruling passion of avarice even in
a death chamber, might have come straight out of the pages of the
_Comédie Humaine_. Masking her greed, her jealousy and her cruelty under
a cloak of loud affability and ponderous persiflage, she was a perfect
specimen of the _fausse bonne femme_. Only her cats could divine the
strange workings of her mind:

  "The movements of Charlotte's character, for it cannot be said to
  possess the power of development, were akin to those of some
  amphibious thing whose strong darting course under the water is only
  marked by a bubble or two, and it required almost an animal instinct
  to note them. Every bubble betrayed the creature below, as well as the
  limitations of its power of hiding itself, but people never thought of
  looking out for these indications in Charlotte, or even suspected that
  she had anything to conceal. There was an almost blatant simplicity
  about her, a humorous rough-and-readiness which, joined to her
  literary culture, proved business capacity, and her dreaded temper,
  seemed to leave no room for any further aspect, least of all of a
  romantic kind."

Yet romance of a sort was at the root of Charlotte's character. She had
been in love with Roddy Lambert, a showy, handsome, selfish squireen,
before he married for money. She had disguised her tenderness under a
bluff _camaraderie_ during his first wife's lifetime, and hastened Mrs.
Lambert's death by inflaming her suspicions of Roddy's fidelity. It was
only when Charlotte was again foiled by Lambert's second marriage to her
own niece that her love was turned to gall, and she plotted to compass
his ruin.

The authors deal faithfully with Francie FitzPatrick, Charlotte's niece,
but an element of compassion mingles with their portraiture. Charlotte
had robbed Francie of a legacy, and compounded with her conscience by
inviting the girl to stay with her at Lismoyle. Any change was a
god-send to poor Francie, who, being an orphan, lived in Dublin with
another aunt, a kindly but feckless creature whose eyes were not formed
to perceive dirt nor her nose to apprehend smells, and whose ideas of
economy was "to indulge in no extras of soap or scrubbing brushes, and
to feed her family on strong tea and indifferent bread and butter, in
order that Ida's and Mabel's hats might be no whit less ornate than
those of their neighbours." In this dingy household Francie had grown
up, lovely as a Dryad, brilliantly indifferent to the serious things of
life, with a deplorable Dublin accent, ingenuous, unaffected and
inexpressibly vulgar. She captivates men of all sorts: Roddy Lambert,
who lunched on hot beefsteak pie and sherry; Mr. Hawkins, an amorous
young soldier, who treated her with a bullying tenderness and jilted her
for an English heiress; and Christopher Dysart, a scholar, a gentleman,
and the heir to a baronetcy, who was ruined by self-criticism and
diffidence. Francie respected Christopher and rejected him; was thrown
over by Hawkins, whom she loved; and married Roddy Lambert, her motives
being "poverty, aimlessness, bitterness of soul and instinctive leniency
towards any man who liked her." Francie had already exasperated
Charlotte by refusing Christopher Dysart: by marrying Lambert she dealt
a death-blow to her hopes and drove her into the path of vengeance.

But the story is not only engrossing as a study of vulgarity that is
touched with pathos, of the vindictive jealousy of unsunned natures, of
the cowardice of the selfish and the futility of the intellectually
effete. It is a treasure-house of good sayings, happy comments,
ludicrous incidents. When Francie returned to Dublin we read how one of
her cousins, "Dottie, unfailing purveyor of diseases to the family, had
imported German measles from her school." When Charlotte, nursing her
wrath, went to inform the servant at Lambert's house of the return of
her master with his new wife, the servant inquired "with cold
resignation" whether it was the day after to-morrow:--

  "'It is, me poor woman, it is,' replied Charlotte, in the tone of
  facetious intimacy that she reserved for other people's servants.
  'You'll have to stir your stumps to get the house ready for
  them.'--'The house is cleaned down and ready for them as soon as they
  like to walk into it,' replied Eliza Hackett, with dignity, 'and if
  the new lady faults the drawing-room chimbley for not being swep, the
  master will know it's not me that's to blame for it, but the sweep
  that's gone dhrilling with the Mileetia.'"

Each of the members of the Dysart family is hit off in some memorable
phrase; Sir Benjamin, the old and irascible paralytic, "who had been
struck down on his son's coming of age by a paroxysm of apoplectic
jealousy "; the admirable and unselfish Pamela with her "pleasant
anxious voice"; Christopher, who believed that if only he could "read
the 'Field,' and had a more spontaneous habit of cursing," he would be
an ideal country gentleman; and Lady Dysart, who was "a clever woman, a
renowned solver of acrostics in her society paper, and a holder of
strong opinions as to the prophetic meaning of the Pyramids." With her
"a large yet refined bonhomie" took the place of tact, but being an
Englishwoman she was "constitutionally unable to discern perfectly the
subtle grades of Irish vulgarity." Sometimes the authors throw away the
_scenario_ for a whole novel in a single paragraph, as in this
compressed summary of the antecedents of Captain Cursiter:

  "Captain Cursiter was 'getting on' as captains go, and he was the less
  disposed to regard his junior's love affairs with an indulgent eye, in
  that he had himself served a long and difficult apprenticeship in such
  matters, and did not feel that he had profited much by his
  experiences. It had happened to him at an early age to enter
  ecstatically into the house of bondage, and in it he had remained with
  eyes gradually opening to its drawbacks until, a few years before, the
  death of the only apparent obstacle to his happiness had brought him
  face to face with its realisation. Strange to say, when this supreme
  moment arrived, Captain Cursiter was disposed for further delay; but
  it shows the contrariety of human nature, that when he found himself
  superseded by his own subaltern, an habitually inebriated viscount, he
  committed the imbecility of horsewhipping him; and finding it
  subsequently advisable to leave his regiment, he exchanged into the
  infantry with the settled conviction that all women were liars."

Nouns and verbs are the bones and sinews of style; it is in the use of
epithets and adjectives that the artist is shown; and Miss Martin and
Miss Somerville never make a mistake. An episode in the life of one of
Charlotte's pets--a cockatoo--is described as occurring when the bird
was "a sprightly creature of some twenty shrieking summers." We read of
cats who stared "with the expressionless but wholly alert scrutiny of
their race"; of the "difficult revelry" of Lady Dysart's garden party
when the men were in a hopeless minority and the more honourable women
sat on a long bench in "midge-bitten dulness." Such epithets are not
decorative, they heighten the effect of the picture. Where adjectives
are not really needed, Miss Martin and Miss Somerville can dispense with
them altogether and yet attain a deadly precision, as when they describe
an Irish beggar as "a bundle of rags with a cough in it," or note a
characteristic trait of Roddy Lambert by observing that "he was a man in
whom jealousy took the form of reviling the object of his affections, if
by so doing he could detach his rivals"--a modern instance of
"displiceas aliis, sic ego tutus ero." When Roddy Lambert went away
after his first wife's funeral we learn that he "honeymooned with his
grief in the approved fashion." These felicities abound on every page;
while the turn of phrase of the peasant speech is caught with a fidelity
which no other Irish writer has ever surpassed. When Judy Lee, a poor
old woman who had taken an unconscionable time in dying was called by
one of the gossips who had attended her wake "as nice a woman as ever
threw a tub of clothes on the hills," and complimented for having
"battled it out well," Norry the Boat replied sardonically:--

  "Faith, thin, an' if she did die itself she was in the want of it;
  sure, there isn't a winther since her daughther wint to America that
  she wasn't anointed a couple of times. I'm thinking the people th'
  other side o' death will be throuncin' her for keepin' them waitin' on
  her this way."

Humour is never more effective than when it emerges from a serious
situation. Tragedy jostles comedy in life, and the greatest dramatists
and romancers have made wonderful use of this abrupt alternation. There
are many painful and diverting scenes in "The Real Charlotte," but none
in which both elements are blended so effectively as the story of Julia
Duffy's last pilgrimage. Threatened with eviction from her farm by the
covetous intrigues of Charlotte, she leaves her sick bed to appeal to
her landlord, and when half dead with fatigue falls in with the insane
Sir Benjamin, to be driven away with grotesque insults. On her way home
she calls in at Charlotte's house, only to find Christopher Dysart
reading Rossetti's poems to Francie FitzPatrick, who has just timidly
observed, in reply to her instructor's remark that the hero is a
pilgrim, "I know a lovely song called 'The Pilgrim of Love'; of course,
it wasn't the same thing as what you were reading, but it was awfully
nice, too." This interlude is intensely ludicrous, but its cruel
incongruity only heightens the misery of what has gone before and what

"The Silver Fox," which appeared in 1897, need not detain us long,
though it is a little masterpiece in its way, vividly contrasting the
limitations of the sport-loving temperament with the ineradicable
superstitions of the Irish peasantry. Impartial as ever, the authors
have here achieved a felicity of phrase to which no other writers of
hunting novels have ever approached. Imagination's widest stretch cannot
picture Surtees or Mr. Nat Gould describing an answer being given "with
that level politeness of voice which is the distilled essence of a
perfected anger," or comparing a fashionable Amazon with the landscape
in such words as these:--

  "Behind her the empty window framed a gaunt mountain peak, a lake that
  frittered a myriad of sparkles from its wealth of restless silver, and
  the gray and faint purple of the naked wood beyond it. It seemed too
  great a background for her powdered cheek and her upward glances at
  her host."

But the atmosphere of "The Silver Fox" is sombre, and a sporting novel
which is at once serious and of a fine literary quality must necessarily
appeal to a limited audience. The problem is solved to perfection in
"Some Experiences of an Irish R.M.," a series of loosely-knit episodes
which, after running a serial course in the "Badminton Magazine," were
republished in book form towards the close of 1899. There is only one
chapter to cloud the otherwise unintermittent hilarity of the whole
recital. The authors have dispensed with comment, and rely chiefly on
dialogue, incident, and their intimate and precise knowledge of horses,
and horse-copers of both sexes. An interested devotion to the noble
animal is here shown to be the last infirmity of noble minds, for old
Mrs. Knox, with the culture of a _grande dame_ and the appearance of a
refined scarecrow, went cub-hunting in a bath chair. In such a company a
young sailor whose enthusiasm for the chase had been nourished by the
hirelings of Malta, and his eye for points probably formed on circus
posters, had little chance of making a good bargain at Drumcurran horse

  "'The fellow's asking forty-five pounds for her,' said Bernard Shute
  to Miss Sally; 'she's a nailer to gallop. I don't think it's too
  much.'--'Her grandsire was the Mountain Hare,' said the owner of the
  mare, hurrying up to continue her family history, 'and he was the
  grandest horse in the four baronies. He was forty-two years of age
  when he died, and they waked him the same as ye'd wake a Christian.
  They had whisky and porther--and bread--and a piper in it.'--'Thim
  Mountain Hare colts is no great things,' interrupted Mr. Shute's
  groom, contemptuously. 'I seen a colt once that was one of his stock,
  and if there was forty men and their wives, and they after him with
  sticks, he wouldn't lep a sod of turf.'--'Lep, is it!' ejaculated the
  owner in a voice shrill with outrage. 'You may lead that mare out
  through the counthry, and there isn't a fence in it that she wouldn't
  go up to it as indepindent as if she was going to her bed, and your
  honour's ladyship knows that dam well, Miss Knox.'--'You want too much
  money for her, McCarthy,' returned Miss Sally, with her air of
  preternatural wisdom. 'God pardon you, Miss Knox! Sure a lady like you
  knows well that forty-five pounds is no money for that mare.
  Forty-five pounds!' He laughed. 'It'd be as good for me to make her a
  present to the gentleman all out as take three farthings less for her!
  She's too grand entirely for a poor farmer like me, and if it wasn't
  for the long, weak family I have, I wouldn't part with her under twice
  the money.'--'Three fine lumps of daughters in America paying his rent
  for him,' commented Flurry in the background. 'That's the long, weak

The turn of phrase in Irish conversation has never been reproduced in
print with greater fidelity, and there is hardly a page in the book
without some characteristic Hibernianism such as "Whisky as pliable as
new milk," or the description of a horse who was a "nice, flippant
jumper," or a bandmaster who was "a thrifle fulsome after his luncheon,"
or a sweep who "raised tallywack and tandem all night round the house to
get at the chimbleys." The narrative reaches its climax in the chapter
which relates the exciting incidents of Lisheen races at second-hand.
Major Yeates and his egregious English visitor Mr. Leigh Kelway, an
earnest Radical publicist, having failed to reach the scene, are
sheltering from the rain in a wayside public-house where they are
regaled with an account of the races by Slipper, the dissipated but
engaging huntsman of the local pack of hounds. The close of the meeting
was a steeplechase in which "Bocock's owld mare," ridden by one
Driscoll, was matched against a horse ridden by another local sportsman
named Clancy, and Slipper, who favoured Driscoll, and had taken up his
position at a convenient spot on the course, thus describes his mode of
encouraging the mare:

  "'Skelp her, ye big brute!' says I. 'What good's in ye that ye aren't
  able to skelp her?'... Well, Mr. Flurry, and gintlemen,... I declare
  to ye when owld Bocock's mare heard thim roars she stretched out her
  neck like a gandher, and when she passed me out she give a couple of
  grunts and looked at me as ugly as a Christian. 'Hah!' says I, givin'
  her a couple o' dhraws o' th' ash plant across the butt o' the tail,
  the way I wouldn't blind her, 'I'll make ye grunt!' says I, 'I'll
  nourish ye!' I knew well she was very frightful of th' ash plant since
  the winter Tommeen Sullivan had her under a sidecar. But now, in place
  of havin' any obligations to me, ye'd be surprised if ye heard the
  blaspheemious expressions of that young boy that was riding her; and
  whether it was over-anxious he was, turning around the way I'd hear
  him cursin', or whether it was some slither or slide came to owld
  Bocock's mare, I dunno, but she was bet up against the last obstackle
  but two, and before you could say 'Shnipes,' she was standin' on her
  two ears beyant in th' other field. I declare to ye, on the vartue of
  me oath, she stood that way till she reconnoithered what side Driscoll
  would fall, an' she turned about then and rolled on him as cosy as if
  he was meadow grass!' Slipper stopped short; the people in the doorway
  groaned appreciatively; Mary Kate murmured 'The Lord save us'--'The
  blood was druv out through his nose and ears,' continued Slipper, with
  a voice that indicated the cream of the narration, 'and you'd hear his
  bones crackin' on the ground! You'd have pitied the poor boy.'--'Good
  heavens!' said Leigh Kelway, sitting up very straight in his chair.
  'Was he hurt, Slipper?' asked Flurry, casually. 'Hurt is it?' echoed
  Slipper, in high scorn, 'killed on the spot!' He paused to relish the
  effect of the _denouement_ on Leigh Kelway. 'Oh, divil so pleasant an
  afthernoon ever you seen; and, indeed, Mr. Flurry, it's what we were
  all sayin', it was a great pity your honour was not there for the
  likin' you had for Driscoll.'"

Leigh Kelway, it may be noted, is the lineal descendant of the pragmatic
English under-secretary in "Charles O'Malley," who, having observed that
he had never seen an Irish wake, was horrified by the prompt offer of
his Galway host, a notorious practical joker, to provide a corpse on the
spot. But this is only one of the instances of parallelism in which the
later writers though showing far greater restraint and fidelity to
type, have illustrated the continuance of temperamental qualities which
Lever and his forerunner Maxwell--the author of "Wild Sports of the
West"--portrayed in a more extravagant form. On the other hand it would
be impossible to imagine a greater contrast than that between Lever's
thrasonical narrator heroes and Major Yeates, R.M., whose fondness for
sport is allied to a thorough consciousness of his own infirmities as a
sportsman. There is no heroic figure in "Some Experiences of an Irish
R.M.," but the characters are all lifelike, and at least
half-a-dozen--"Flurry" Knox, his cousin Sally, and his old grandmother,
Mrs. Knox, of Aussolas, Slipper, Mrs. Cadogan, and the incomparable
Maria--form as integral a part of our circle of acquaintance as if we
had known them in real life. "The Real Charlotte" is a greater
achievement, but the R.M. is a surer passport to immortality.

The further instalment of "Experiences," published a few years later did
not escape the common lot of sequels. They were brilliantly written, but
one was more conscious of the excellence of the manner than in any of
their other works. The two volumes of short stories and sketches
published in 1903 and 1906 under the titles of "All on the Irish Shore"
and some "Irish Yesterdays" respectively show some new and engaging
aspects of the genius of the collaborators. There is a chapter called
"Children of the Captivity," in which the would-be English humorist's
conception of Irish humour is dealt with faithfully--as it deserves to
be. The essay is also remarkable for the passage in which they set down
once and for all the true canons for the treatment of dialect.
Pronunciation and spelling, as they point out, are, after all, of small
account in its presentment:--

  "The vitalising power is in the rhythm of the sentence, the turn of
  phrase, the knowledge of idiom, and of, beyond all, the attitude of
  mind.... The shortcoming is, of course, trivial to those who do not
  suffer because of it, but want of perception of word and phrase and
  turn of thought means more than mere artistic failure, it means want
  of knowledge of the wayward and shrewd and sensitive minds that are at
  the back of the dialect. The very wind that blows softly over brown
  acres of bog carries perfumes and sounds that England does not know;
  the women digging the potato-land are talking of things that England
  does not understand. The question that remains is whether England will
  ever understand."

The hunting sketches in these volumes include the wonderful "Patrick
Day's Hunt," which is a masterpiece in the high _bravura_ of the brogue.
Another is noticeable for a passage on the affection inspired by horses.
When Johnny Connolly heard that his mistress was driven to sell the
filly he had trained and nursed so carefully, he did not disguise his

  "'Well, indeed, that's too bad, miss,' said Johnny comprehendingly.
  'There was a mare I had one time, and I sold her before I went to
  America. God knows, afther she went from me, whenever I'd look at her
  winkers hanging on the wall I'd have to cry. I never seen a sight of
  her till three years afther that, afther I coming home. I was coming
  out o' the fair at Enniscar, an' I was talking to a man an' we coming
  down Dangan Hill, and what was in it but herself coming up in a cart!
  An' I didn't look at her, good nor bad, nor know her, but sorra bit
  but she knew me talking, an' she turned into me with the cart. 'Ho,
  ho, ho!' says she, and she stuck her nose into me like she'd be
  kissing me. Be dam, but I had to cry. An' the world wouldn't stir her
  out o' that till I'd lead her on meself. As for cow nor dog nor any
  other thing, there's nothing would rise your heart like a horse!'"

And if horses are irresistible, so are Centaurs. That is the moral to be
drawn from "Dan Russel the Fox," the latest work from the pen of Miss
Somerville and Miss Martin, in which the rival claims of culture and
foxhunting are subjected to a masterly analysis.

The joint authors of the "R.M." have paid forfeit for achieving
popularity by being expected to repeat their first resounding success.
Happily the pressure of popular demand has not impaired the artistic
excellence of their work, though we cannot help thinking that if they
had been left to themselves they might have given us at least one other
novel on the lines of "The Real Charlotte." Their later work, again, has
been subjected to the ordeal, we do not say of conscious imitation, but
of comparison with books which would probably have never been written or
would have been written on another plan, but for the success of the
"R.M." To regard this rivalry as serious would be, in the opinion of the
present writer, an abnegation of the critical faculty. But we have not
yet done with Irish women humorists. Miss Eleanor Alexander, the
daughter of the Poet Archbishop of Armagh and his poet wife has given us
in her "Lady Anne's Walk," a volume of a _genre_ as hard to define as it
has been easy to welcome, at times delicately allusive, now daringly
funny--an interblending of tender reminiscences and lively fancy,
reminding us perhaps most of old Irish music itself with its sweet,
strange and sudden changes of mood. Humorous contrasts of the kind will
be found in the chapter entitled "Old Tummus and the Battle of Scarva,"
printed in these pages.

Another woman contestant for humorous literary honours was the late Miss
Charlotte O'Conor Eccles, represented in this volume by the moving story
of "King William." Her "Rejuvenation of Miss Semaphore" and "A
Matrimonial Lottery" achieved popularity by their droll situations and
exuberant fun, but her "Aliens of the West" contained work of much
finer quality. She lets us behind the shutters of Irish country shop
life in a most convincing manner, and the characters drawn from her
Toomevara are as true to type as those of Miss Barlow. The
disillusionment of Molly Devine "The Voteen," with her commonplace, not
to say vulgar surroundings, on her return from the convent school with
its superior refinements, her refusal to marry so-called eligible, but
to her, repulsive suitors, encouraged by her mother and stepfather and
her final resolve to become a nun in order to escape further persecution
of the kind, is told with convincing poignancy. A variant of this theme
is treated with even more power and pathos in "Tom Connolly's Daughter,"
a story which we should like to see reprinted in separate form as it
sets one thinking furiously, and its general circulation might do much
to correct the love and marriage relations between young people in
provincial Ireland.

And yet a final name has to be added to the long roll of Irishwomen who
have won distinction as writers of fiction, beginning with Miss
Edgeworth whose Irish writings will receive separate treatment in a
volume in "Every Irishman's Library" at the hands of Mr. Malcolm Cotter
Seton. Championed by Canon Hannay himself, who furnishes a genial,
whimsical, provocative introduction to her "The Folk of Furry Farm,"
Miss Purdon there describes what, from the point of view of romance, is
a new part of Ireland, for West Leinster is a land more familiar to
fox-hunters than to poets. Miss Purdon has plenty of independence, but
it is not the frigid impartiality of the student who contemplates the
vagaries and sufferings of human nature like a connoisseur or collector.
She shows her detachment by giving us a faithful picture of Irish
peasant society without ever once breathing a syllable of politics, or
remotely alluding to the equipment and machinery of modern life. The
_dramatis personæ_ are all simple folk, most of them poor; the entire
action passes within a radius of a few miles from a country village; and
only on one occasion, and at second hand do we catch so much as a
glimpse of "the quality." Throughout, Miss Purdon relies on the turn of
the phrase to give the spirit of the dialect, and uses only a minimum of
phonetic spelling.

That is the true and artistic method. But Miss Purdon is much more than
a collector or coiner of picturesque and humorous phrases. She has a
keen eye for character, a genuine gift of description and a vein of pure
and unaffected sentiment; indeed, her whole volume is strangely
compounded of mirth and melancholy, though the dominant impression left
by its perusal is one of confidence in the essential kindliness of Irish
nature, and the goodness and gentleness of Irish women.

But so far, the only formidable competitor Miss Martin and Miss
Somerville have encountered is the genial writer who chooses to veil his
identity under the freakish pseudonym of "George A. Birmingham." Canon
Hannay--for there can be no longer any breach of literary etiquette in
alluding to him by his real name--had already made his mark as a serious
or semi-serious observer of the conflicting tendencies, social and
political, of the Ireland of to-day before he diverged into the paths of
fantastic and frivolous comedy. "The Seething Pot," "Hyacinth," and
"Benedict Kavanagh" are extremely suggestive and dispassionate studies
of various aspects of the Irish temperament, but it is enough for our
present purpose to note the consequences of a request addressed to
Canon Hannay by two young ladies somewhere about the year 1907 that he
would "write a story about treasure buried on an island." The fact is
recorded in the dedication of "Spanish Gold," his response to the
appeal, and the first of that series of jocund extravaganzas which have
earned for him the gratitude of all who regard amusement as the prime
object of fiction.

The contrast between his methods and those of the joint authors
discussed above is apparent at every turn. He maintains the impartiality
which marked his serious novels in his treatment of all classes of the
community, but it is the impartiality not of a detached and
self-effacing observer, but of a genial satirist. His knowledge of the
Ireland that he knows is intimate and precise, and is shown by a
multiplicity of illuminating details and an effective use of local
colour. But the co-operation of non-Irish characters is far more
essential to the development of his plots than in the case of the novels
of Miss Somerville and Miss Martin. The mainspring of their stories is
Irish right through. Canon Hannay depends on a situation which might
have occurred just as well in England or America, while employing the
conditions of Irish life to give it a characteristic twist or series of
twists. Even his most notable creation, the Reverend Joseph John Meldon,
is too restlessly energetic to be an altogether typical Irishman, to say
nothing of his unusual attitude in politics: "Nothing on earth would
induce me to mix myself up with any party." An Irishman of immense
mental activity, living in Ireland, and yet wholly unpolitical is
something of a freak. Again, while the tone of his books is admirably
clean and wholesome, and while his frankly avowed distaste for the
squalors of the problem novel will meet with general sympathy, there is
no denying that his treatment of the "love interest" is for the most
part perfunctory or even farcical. Again, in regard to style, he differs
widely from the authors of the "R.M." Their note is a vivid conciseness;
his the easy charm of a flowing pen, always unaffected, often
picturesque and even eloquent, never offending, but seldom practising
the art of omission.

But it is ungrateful to subject to necessarily damaging comparisons an
author to whom we owe the swift passage of so many pleasant hours. It
might be hard to find the exact counterpart of "J.J." in the flesh, but
he is none the less an unforgettable person, this athletic, exuberant,
unkempt curate, unscrupulous but not unprincipled, who lied fluently,
not for any mean purpose, but for the joy of mystification, or in order
to carry out his plans, or justify his arguments. His strange friendship
with Major Kent, a retired English officer, a natty martinet, presents
no difficulties on the principle of extremes meeting, and thus from the
start we are presented with the spectacle of the reluctant but helpless
Major, hypnotised by the persuasive tongue of the curate, and dragged at
his heels into all sorts of grotesque and humiliating adventures, and
all for the sake of a quiet life. For "J.J.'s" methods, based, according
to his own account, on careful observation and a proper use of the
scientific imagination, involve the assumption by his reluctant
confederate of a succession of entirely imaginary roles.

But if "J.J." was a trying ally, he was a still more perplexing
antagonist, one of his favourite methods of "scoring off" an opponent
being to represent him to be something other than he really was to third
persons. When the process brings the curate and the Major into abrupt
conflict with two disreputable adventurers, he defends resort to extreme
methods on grounds of high morality. Burglary, theft and abduction
become the simple duty of every well-disposed person when viewed as a
necessary means of preventing selfish, depraved and fundamentally
immoral people from acquiring wealth which the well-disposed might
otherwise secure.

"J.J.'s" crowning achievement is his conquest of Mr. Willoughby, the
Chief Secretary, by a masterly vindication of his conduct on the lines
of Pragmatism: "a statement isn't a lie if it proves itself in actual
practice to be useful--it's true." "J.J." only once meets his match--in
Father Mulcrone, the parish priest of Inishmore, who sums up the
philosophy of government in his criticism of Mr. Willoughby's successor:
"A fellow that starts off by thinking himself clever enough to know
what's true and what isn't will do no good for Ireland. A simple-hearted
innocent kind of man has a better chance."

Needless to say, the rival treasure-hunters, both of them rogues, are
bested at all points by the two padres, while poetic justice is
satisfied by the fact that the treasure falls into the adhesive hands of
the poor islanders, and "J.J.'s" general integrity is fully
re-established in the epilogue, where, transplanted to an English
colliery village, he devotes his energies to the conversion of
agnostics, blasphemers and wife-beaters.

The extravagance of the plot is redeemed by the realism of the details;
by acute sidelights on the tortuous workings of the native mind, with
its strange blending of shrewdness and innocence; by faithful
reproductions of the talk of those "qui amant omnia dubitantius loqui"
and habitually say "it might" instead of "yes." And there are
delightful digressions on the subject of relief works, hits at the
Irish-speaking movement, pungent classifications of the visitors to the
wild West of Ireland, and now, and again, in the rare moments when the
author chooses to be serious, passages marked by fine insight and
sympathy. Such is the picture of Thomas O'Flaherty Pat, the patriarch of
the treasure island:

  "An elderly man and five out of the nine children resident on the
  island stood on the end of the pier when Meldon and the Major landed.
  The man was clad in a very dirty white flannel jacket and a pair of
  yellowish flannel trousers, which hung in a tattered fringe round his
  naked feet and ankles. He had a long white beard and grey hair, long
  as a woman's, drawn straight back from his forehead. The hair and
  beard were both unkempt and matted. But the man held himself erect and
  looked straight at the strangers through great dark eyes. His hands,
  though battered and scarred with toil were long and shapely. His face
  had a look of dignity, of a certain calm and satisfied superiority.
  Men of this kind are to be met with here and there among the Connacht
  peasantry. They are in reality children of a vanishing race, of a lost
  civilisation, a bygone culture. They watch the encroachments of
  another race and new ideas with a sort of sorrowful contempt. It is as
  if understanding and despising what they see around them, they do not
  consider it worth while to try to explain themselves; as if,
  possessing a wisdom of their own, an æsthetic joy of which the modern
  world knows nothing, they are content to let both die with them rather
  than attempt to teach them to men of a wholly different outlook upon

The element of extravaganza is more strongly marked in the plot of "The
Search Party," which deals with the kidnapping of a number of innocent
people by an anti-militant anarchist who has set up a factory of
explosives in the neighbourhood of Ballymoy. "J.J." does not appear _in
propriâ personâ_, but most of his traits are to be found in Dr. O'Grady,
an intelligent but happy-go-lucky young doctor. The most attractive
person in the story, however, is Lord Manton, a genially cynical peer
with highly original views on local government and the advantages of
unpopularity. Thus, when he did not want Patsy Devlin, the drunken
smith, to be elected inspector of sheep-dipping, he strongly supported
his candidature for the following reasons:--

  "There's a lot of stupid talk nowadays about the landlords having lost
  all their power in the country. It's not a bit true. They have plenty
  of power, more than they ever had, if they only knew how to use it.
  All I have to do if I want a particular man not to be appointed to
  anything is to write a strong letter in his favour to the Board of
  Guardians or the County Council, or whatever body is doing the
  particular job that happens to be on hand at the time. The League
  comes down on my man at once, and he hasn't the ghost of a chance."

Excellent, too, is the digression on the comparative commonness of earls
in Ireland, where untitled people tend to disappear while earls survive,
though they are regarded much as ordinary people. Canon Hannay makes
great play as usual with the humours of Irish officialdom, and his
_obiter dicta_ on the mental outlook of police officers are shrewd as
well as entertaining. District-Inspector Goddard had undoubted social
gifts, but he was an inefficient officer, being handicapped by indolence
and a great sense of humour. There is something attractive, again, about
Miss Blow, the handsome, resolute, prosaic young Englishwoman whose
heroic efforts to trace her vanished lover are baffled at every turn.
Everybody in Ballymoy told her lies, with the result that they seemed to
her heartless and cruel when in reality they wished to spare her
feelings. Others of the _dramatis personæ_ verge on caricature, but the
story has many exhilarating moments.

Exhilarating, too, is "The Major's Niece," which is founded on an
extremely improbable _imbroglio_. So precise and business-like a man as
Major Kent was not likely to make a mistake of seven or eight years in
the age of a visitor especially when the visitor happened to be his own
sister's child. However, the initial improbability may be readily
condoned in view of the entertaining sequel. "J.J." reappears in his
best form, Marjorie is a most engaging tomboy, and the fun never flags
for an instant. But much as we love "J.J.," we reluctantly recognise in
"The Simpkins Plot" that you can have too much of a good thing, and that
a man who would be a nuisance as a neighbour in real life is in danger
of becoming a bore in a novel. At the same time the digressions and
irrelevancies are as good as ever. It is pleasant to be reminded of such
facts as that wedding cake is invariably eaten by the Irish post office
officials, or to listen to Doctor O'Donoghue on the nutrition of

  "You can rear a child, whether it has the whooping cough or not, on
  pretty near anything, so long as you give it enough of whatever it is
  you do give it."

Canon Hannay excels in the conduct of an absurd or paradoxical
proposition, but he needs a word of friendly caution against undue
reliance on the mechanism of the practical joke. Perhaps his English
cure has demoralized "J.J.," but we certainly prefer him as he was in
Inishgowlan, convinced by practical experience that he would rather do
any mortal thing than try to mind a baby and make butter at the same

Of Canon Hannay's later novels, two demand special attention and for
widely different reasons. In "The Red Hand of Ulster," reverting to
politics--politics, moreover, of the most explosive kind--he achieved
the well-nigh impossible in at once doing full justice to the dour
sincerity of the Orange North, and yet conciliating Nationalist
susceptibilities. In "The Inviolable Sanctuary," he has shown that a
first-rate public-school athlete, whose skill in pastime is confined to
ball games cuts a sorry figure alongside of a chit of a girl who can
handle a boat. This salutary if humiliating truth is enforced not from
any desire to further Feminist principles--Canon Hannay's attitude
towards women betrays no belief in the equality of the sexes--but
because he cannot be bothered with the sentimentality of conventional
love-making. It may be on this account that he more than once assigns a
leading role to an ingenuous young Amazon into whose ken the planet of
love will not swim for another four or five years.

During the last thirty years the alleged decadence of Irish humour has
been a frequent theme of pessimistic critics. Various causes have been
invoked to account for the phenomenon, which, when dispassionately
considered, amounted to this, that the rollicking novel of incident and
adventure had died with Lever. So, for the matter of that, had novels of
the "Frank Fairleigh" type, with their authors. The ascendancy of
Parnell and the régime of the Land League did not make for gaiety, yet
even these influences were powerless to eradicate the inherent
absurdities of Irish life, and the authors of the "R.M." entered on a
career which has been a triumphal disproval of this allegation as far
back as 1889. At their best they have interpreted normal Irishmen and
Irishwomen, gentle and simple, with unsurpassed fidelity and sympathy.
But to award them the supremacy in this _genre_ both as realists and as
writers does not detract from the success won in a different sphere by
Canon Hannay. His goal is less ambitious and aim is less unfaltering,
but as an improvisor of whimsical situations and an ironic commentator
on the actualities of Irish life he has invented a new form of literary
entertainment which has the double merit of being at once diverting and

But as we believe this volume will sufficiently show, though these three
novelists have so far transcended the achievements of contemporary
writers on Irish life, they are being followed at no long distance by
younger writers, for whom they have helped to find a public and in whose
more mature achievements they may have to acknowledge a serious literary
rivalry. We have dealt with the women writers to be found in this new
group. It remains for us to criticise the work of the men who belong to

Mr. John Stevenson, otherwise Pat Carty, whose Rhymes have been so
charmingly set to music by Sir Charles Stanford, and so delightfully
sung by Mr. Plunket-Greene, possesses a whimsical gift, both in prose
and verse, which gives fresh evidence of the awakening of an Ulster
school of humorists. His "Boy in the Country" is descriptive of a
child's companionship in the country with farmers and their wives and
servants, his falling under the spell of a beautiful lady whose romance
he assists like a true young cavalier, and his association with that
formidable open-air imp, Jim, a little dare-devil poacher and hard
swearer, who sailed his boats with strips cut from his shirt tails and
could give a canting minister as good as he got, instead of cowering
under his preachment. The manners and customs of the farming class in
the "Nine Glens of Antrim" could not be more simply and humorously told,
and when the author divagates into such sketches as "The Wise Woman and
the Wise Man," and breaks into occasional verse faithfully descriptive
of his natural surroundings, he is equally delightful.

Of course, he is not as old a craftsman as Mr. Shan Bullock, whose dry
drollery has given the readers of his novels and stories so much
pleasure, and whose serious purpose and close observation of Northern
Irish character are so well recognised by all serious students of Irish
life. He is represented in the volume by "The Wee Tea-Table," a
life-like sketch taken from his "Irish Pastorals."

Mr. Frank Mathew, whose first literary work was his biography of his
illustrious grand-uncle Father Mathew, has also written some admirable
stories of Irish life, which appeared in "The Idler," and have been
collected in a volume called "At the Rising of the Moon." "The Last
Race," by which he is represented in this volume, will give our readers
a good taste of his graphic quality.

Mr. Padric Colum will speak for himself on Irish fiction in his
introduction to an edition of Gerald Griffin's "Collegians," which is to
form part of this series of Irish volumes. His finely distinctive
literary style and intimate knowledge of Irish peasant life so clearly
exhibited in his poems, plays and stories, is shown in these pages by
that remarkable sketch of "Maelshaughlinn at the Fair," written with the
elemental abandon of Synge himself.

Finally, in absolute contrast with Mr. Colum's idealistic work, comes
the humorous realism of Lynn Doyle's pictures of the Ulster Peasantry.
But their efforts to over-reach one another, their love of poaching, and
their marriage operations, afford the author of "Ballygullion" a
congenial field for the display of his observation, his high spirits,
and his genuine sense of the ridiculous. His comedy of "The Ballygullion
Creamery Society" which fitly concludes this volume, is good, hearty,
wholesome fun, and we only trust, in Ireland's best interests, that its
official stamp, a wreath of shamrocks and orange lilies--is not merely
an unlikely if amiable suggestion, but is yet to have its counterpart in


The fiction of which this volume consists is in part fabulous in
character, in part descriptive of actual Irish life upon its lighter

The Heroic stories and Folk-tales are, on chronological grounds, printed
early in the book and are then followed by extracts from the writings of
the Irish novelists of the first half and third quarter of the 19th
Century--Maginn, Lever, Lover, and LeFanu.

Then come the writers who have made their mark in recent times, such as
Miss Jane Barlow, the authors of "Some Experiences of an Irish R.M.,"
and Canon Hannay, and lastly those of a new school amongst whom may be
named Mr. Padraic Colum, "Lynn Doyle," and Miss K. Purdon.

This may be said to be the general order of the contents of "Humours of
Irish Life." But where artistic propriety, suggesting contrasts of local
colour and changes of subject, has called for it, a strict chronological
sequence has been departed from; yet enough of it remains to enable the
critic to observe what we believe to be a change for the better, both in
the taste and technique of these Irish stories and sketches, as time has
gone by.

It remains for us to express our cordial obligations to the following
authors and publishers for the use of copyright material. To Messrs.
Macmillan and Miss B. Hunt for the story of "McCarthy of Connacht," from
"Folk Tales of Breffny"; to Canon Hannay and Messrs. Methuen for
chapters from "Spanish Gold" and "The Adventures of Dr. Whitty,"
entitled "J. J. Meldon and the Chief Secretary," and "The Interpreters";
to Mr. H. de Vere Stacpoole and Mr. Fisher Unwin for "The Meet of the
Beagles," from the novel of "Patsy"; to Miss O'Conor Eccles and Messrs.
Cassell for "King William," a story in the late Miss Charlotte O'Conor
Eccles's "Aliens of the West"; to Miss Eleanor Alexander and Mr. Edward
Arnold for "Old Tummus and the Battle of Scarva," from "Lady Anne's
Walk," and to the same publisher and to Mr. John Stevenson for a chapter
entitled "The Wise Woman" from "A Boy in the Country"; to Messrs. James
Duffy and Sons for Kickham's Story of "The Thrush and the Blackbird"; to
Mr. William Percy French for "The First Lord Liftenant"; to Mr. Frank
Mathew for "Their Last Race," from his volume "At the rising of the
Moon"; to Miss K. Purdon for a chapter entitled "The Game Leg," from her
novel "The Folk of Furry Farm," and to its publishers, Messrs. James
Nisbet and Co. Ltd.; to Dr. Douglas Hyde for his Folk-tale of "The Piper
and the Puca"; to Martin Ross and Miss E. [OE]. Somerville and Messrs.
Longmans, Green & Co., for the use of two chapters--"Trinket's Colt" and
"The Boat's Share"--from "Some Experiences of an Irish R.M." and
"Further Experiences of an Irish R.M." respectively; to Mr. Shan Bullock
for "The Wee Tea Table," from his "Irish Pastorals"; to Miss Jane Barlow
and Messrs. Hutchinson for "Quin's Rick," from "Doings and Dealings,"
and for "A Test of Truth," from "Irish Neighbours"; to Mr. Padraic Colum
for his sketch "Maelshaughlinn at the Fair," from his "A Year of Irish
Life," and to the publishers of the book, Messrs. Mills and Boon, Ltd.;
to its author, "Lynn Doyle," and its publishers, Maunsel & Co., for "The
Ballygullion Creamery," from "Ballygullion"; and to Mr. P. J. McCall and
the proprietors of "The Shamrock" for the story "Fionn MacCumhail and
the Princess."

Finally, acknowledgment is due to the courtesy of the Proprietors and
Editor of "The Quarterly Review" for leave to incorporate in the
Introduction an article which appeared in the issue of that periodical
for June, 1913.


  DANIEL O'ROURKE                                       _Dr. Maginn_   1

  ADVENTURES OF GILLA NA CHRECK AN GOUR            _Patrick Kennedy_   9

  THE LITTLE WEAVER OF DULEEK GATE                    _Samuel Lover_  18

  FIONN MACCUMHAIL AND THE PRINCESS              _Patrick J. McCall_  30

  THE KILDARE POOKA                                _Patrick Kennedy_  38

  THE PIPER AND THE PUCA                              _Douglas Hyde_  42

  MCCARTHY OF CONNACHT                                     _B. Hunt_  46

  THE MAD PUDDING OF BALLYBOULTEEN                _William Carleton_  58

  FRANK WEBBER'S WAGER                               _Charles Lever_  72

  SAM WHAM AND THE SAWMONT                     _Sir Samuel Ferguson_  82

  DARBY DOYLE'S VOYAGE TO QUEBEC                 _Thomas Ettingsall_  84

  BOB BURKE'S DUEL                                      _Dr. Maginn_  92

  BILLY MALONEY'S TASTE OF LOVE AND GLORY  _Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu_ 105

  A PLEASANT JOURNEY                                 _Charles Lever_ 123

  THE BATTLE OF AUGHRIM                           _William Carleton_ 131

  THE QUARE GANDER                         _Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu_ 139

  THE THRUSH AND THE BLACKBIRD                  _Charles J. Kickham_ 148

  THEIR LAST RACE                                     _Frank Mathew_ 154

  THE FIRST LORD LIFTINANT                    _William Percy French_ 159

  THE BOAT'S SHARE               _E. OE. Somerville and Martin Ross_ 167

  "KING WILLIAM"                          _Charlotte O'Conor Eccles_ 179

  QUIN'S RICK                                          _Jane Barlow_ 200

  MAELSHAUGHLINN AT THE FAIR                         _Padraic Colum_ 213

                                              _George A. Birmingham_ 220

  OLD TUMMUS AND THE BATTLE OF SCARVA            _Eleanor Alexander_ 235

  THE GAME LEG                                        _K. F. Purdon_ 244

  TRINKET'S COLT                 _E. OE. Somerville and Martin Ross_ 258

  THE WEE TEA TABLE                                   _Shan Bullock_ 276

  THE INTERPRETERS                            _George A. Birmingham_ 290

  A TEST OF TRUTH                                      _Jane Barlow_ 307

  THE WISE WOMAN                                    _John Stevenson_ 314

  THE MEET OF THE BEAGLES                     _H. de Vere Stacpoole_ 324



  ALEXANDER, ELEANOR                        235

  BARLOW, JANE                         200, 307

  BIRMINGHAM, GEORGE A.                220, 290

  BULLOCK, SHAN                             276

  CARLETON, WILLIAM                     58, 131

  COLUM, PADRAIC                            213

  DOYLE, LYNN                               336

  ECCLES, CHARLOTTE O'CONOR                 179

  ETTINGSALL, THOMAS                         84

  FERGUSON, SIR SAMUEL                       82

  FRENCH, WILLIAM PERCY                     159

  HUNT, B.                                   46

  HYDE, DOUGLAS                              42

  KENNEDY, PATRICK                        9, 38

  KICKHAM, CHARLES JOSEPH                   148

  LE FANU, JOSEPH SHERIDAN             105, 139

  LEVER, CHARLES                        72, 123

  LOVER, SAMUEL                              18

  MAGINN, DR.                             1, 92

  MATHEW, FRANK                             154

  MCCALL, PATRICK J.                         30

  PURDON, K. F.                             244


  STACPOOLE, H. DE VERE                     324

  STEVENSON, JOHN                           314


Daniel O'Rourke.

_From Crofton Croker's "Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of

BY DR. MAGINN (1793-1842).

People may have heard of the renowned adventures of Daniel O'Rourke, but
how few are there who know that the cause of all his perils, above and
below, was neither more nor less than his having slept under the walls
of the Phooka's tower. I knew the man well: he lived at the bottom of
Hungry Hill. He told me his story thus:--

"I am often axed to tell it, sir, so that this is not the first time.
The master's son, you see, had come from beyond foreign parts; and sure
enough there was a dinner given to all the people on the ground, gentle
and simple, high and low, rich and poor. Well, we had everything of the
best, and plenty of it; and we ate, and we drunk, and we danced. To make
a long story short, I got, as a body may say, the same thing as tipsy
almost. And so, as I was crossing the stepping-stones of the ford of
Ballyasheenogh, I missed my foot, and souse I fell into the water.
'Death alive!' thought I, 'I'll be drowned now!' However, I began
swimming, swimming, swimming away for dear life, till at last I got
ashore, somehow or other, but never the one of me can tell how, upon a
dissolute island.

"I wandered, and wandered about there, without knowing where I wandered,
until at last I got into a big bog. The moon was shining as bright as
day, or your lady's eyes, sir (with your pardon for mentioning her), and
I looked east and west, and north and south, and every way, and nothing
did I see but bog, bog, bog. I began to scratch me head, and sing the
Ullagone--when all of a sudden the moon grew black, and I looked up, and
saw something for all the world as if it was moving down between me and
it, and I could not tell what it was. Down it came with a pounce, and
looked at me full in the face; and what was it but an eagle? So he
looked at me in the face, and says he to me, 'Daniel O'Rourke,' says he,
'how do you do?' 'Very well, I thank you sir,' says I; 'I hope you're
well'; wondering out of my senses all the time how an eagle came to
speak like a Christian. 'What brings you here, Dan?' says he. 'Nothing
at all, sir,' says I: 'only I wish I was safe home again.' 'Is it out of
the island you want to go, Dan?' says he. ''Tis, sir,' says I. 'Dan,'
says he, 'though it is very improper for you to get drunk on Lady-day,
yet, as you are a decent, sober man, who 'tends Mass well, and never
flings stones at me or mine, nor cries out after us in the fields--my
life for yours,' says he, 'so get on my back and grip me well for fear
you'd fall off, and I'll fly you out of the bog.' 'I am afraid,' says I,
'your honour's making game of me; for who ever heard of riding horseback
on an eagle before?' ''Pon the honour of a gentleman,' says he, putting
his right foot on his breast, 'I am quite in earnest: and so now either
take my offer or starve in the bog--besides, I see that your weight is
sinking the stone.'

"It was true enough, as he said, for I found the stone every minute
going from under me. 'I thank your honour,' says I, 'for the loan of
your civility; and I'll take your kind offer.' I therefore mounted upon
the back of the eagle, and held him tight enough by the throat, and up
he flew in the air like a lark. Little I knew the trick he was going to
serve me. Up--up--up, dear knows how far he flew. 'Why, then,' said I to
him--thinking he did not know the right road home--very civilly, because
why? I was in his power entirely: 'sir,' says I, 'please your honour's
glory, and with humble submission to your better judgment, if you'd fly
down a bit, you're now just over my cabin, and I could be put down
there, and many thanks to your worship.'

"'Arrah, Dan,' said he, 'do you think me a fool? Look down in the next
field, and don't you see two men and a gun? By my word it would be no
joke to be shot this way, to oblige a drunken blackguard that I picked
off a cowld stone in a bog.' Well, sir, up he kept, flying, flying, and
I asking him every minute to fly down, and all to no use. 'Where in the
world are you going, sir?' says I to him. 'Hold your tongue, Dan,' says
he: 'mind your own business, and don't be interfering with the business
of other people.'

"At last where should we come to, but to the moon itself. Now, you can't
see it from this, but there is, or there was in my time, a reaping-hook
sticking out of the side of the moon, this way' (drawing the figure thus
on the ground with the end of his stick).

"'Dan,' said the eagle, 'I'm tired with this long fly; I had no notion
'twas so far.' 'And, my lord, sir,' said I, 'who in the world axed you
to fly so far--was it I? did not I beg, and pray, and beseech you to
stop half-an-hour ago?' 'There's no use talking, Dan,' says he; 'I'm
tired bad enough, so you must get off, and sit down on the moon until I
rest myself.' 'Is it sit down on the moon?' said I; 'is it upon that
little round thing, then? why, sure, I'd fall off in a minute, and be
kilt and split, and smashed all to bits; you are a vile deceiver, so you
are.' 'Not at all, Dan,' said he; 'you can catch fast hold of the
reaping hook that's sticking out of the side of the moon, and 'twill
keep you up.' 'I won't, then,' said I. 'May be not,' said he, quite
quiet. 'But if you don't, my man, I shall just give you a shake, and one
slap of my wing, and send you down to the ground, where every bone in
your body will be smashed as small as a drop of dew on a cabbage-leaf in
the morning.' 'Why, then, I'm in a fine way,' said I to myself, 'ever to
have come along with the likes of you'; and so, giving him a hearty
curse in Irish, for fear he'd know what I said, I got off his back, with
a heavy heart, took hold of the reaping-hook, and sat down upon the
moon, and a mighty cold seat it was, I can tell you that.

"When he had me fairly landed, he turned about on me, and said, 'Good
morning to you, Daniel O'Rourke,' said he; 'I think I've nicked you
fairly now. You robbed me nest last year' ('twas true enough for him,
but how he found it out is hard to say), 'and in return you are freely
welcome to cool your heels dangling upon the moon like a cockthrow.'

"'Is that all, and is this the way you leave me, you brute, you?' says
I. 'You ugly, unnatural baste, and is this the way you serve me at
last?' 'Twas all to no manner of use; he spread out his great, big
wings, burst out laughing, and flew away like lightning. I bawled after
him to stop; but I might have called and bawled for ever, without his
minding me. Away he went, and I never saw him from that day to
this--sorrow fly away with him! You may be sure I was in a disconsolate
condition, and kept roaring out for the bare grief, when all at once a
door opened right in the middle of the moon, creaking on its hinges as
if it had not been opened for a month before--I suppose they never
thought of greasing 'em, and out there walks--who do you think, but the
man in the moon himself? I knew him by his bush.

"'Good morrow to you, Daniel O'Rourke,' says he; 'how do you do?' 'Very
well, thank your honour,' said I. 'I hope your honour's well.' 'What
brought you here, Dan?' said he. So I told him how it was.

"'Dan,' said the man in the moon, taking a pinch of snuff, when I was
done, 'you must not stay here.'

"'Indeed, sir,' says I, ''tis much against my will I'm here at all; but
how am I to go back?' 'That's your business,' said he; 'Dan, mine is to
tell you that you must not stay, so be off in less than no time.' 'I'm
doing no harm,' says I, 'only holding on hard by the reaping-hook, lest
I fall off.' 'That's what you must not do, Dan,' says he. 'Pray, sir,'
says I, 'may I ask how many you are in family, that you would not give a
poor traveller lodging; I'm sure 'tis not so often you're troubled with
strangers coming to see you, for 'tis a long way.' 'I'm by myself, Dan,'
says he; 'but you'd better let go the reaping hook.' 'And with your
leave,' says I, 'I'll not let go the grip, and the more you bids me, the
more I won't let go;--so I will.' 'You had better, Dan,' says he again.
'Why, then, my little fellow,' says I, taking the whole weight of him
with my eye from head to foot, 'there are two words to that bargain; and
I'll not budge, but you may if you like.' 'We'll see how that is to be,'
says he; and back he went, giving the door such a great bang after him
(for it was plain he was huffed) that I thought the moon and all would
fall down with it.

"Well, I was preparing myself to try strength with him, when back again
he comes, with the kitchen cleaver in his hand, and without saying a
word he gives two bangs to the handle of the reaping hook that was
keeping me up, and whap! it came in two. 'Good morning to you, Dan,'
says the spiteful little old blackguard, when he saw me cleanly falling
down with a bit of the handle in my hand; 'I thank you for your visit,
and fair weather after you, Daniel.' I had not time to make any answer
to him, for I was tumbling over and over, and rolling, and rolling, at
the rate of a fox-hunt. 'This is a pretty pickle,' says I, 'for a decent
man to be seen at this time of night: I am now sold fairly.' The word
was not out of my mouth when, whizz! what should fly by close to my ear
but a flock of wild geese; all the way from my own bog of
Ballyasheenogh, or else, how should they know me? The ould gander, who
was their general, turning about his head, cried out to me, 'Is that
you, Dan?' 'The same,' said I, not a bit daunted now at what he said,
for I was by this time used to all kinds of bedevilment, and, besides, I
knew him of ould. 'Good morrow to you,' says he, 'Daniel O'Rourke; how
are you in health this morning?' 'Very well, sir,' says I, 'I thank you
kindly,' drawing my breath, for I was mighty in want of some. 'I hope
your honour's the same.' 'I think 'tis falling you are, Daniel,' says
he. 'You may say that, sir,' says I. 'And where are you going all the
way so fast?' said the gander. So I told him how I had taken the drop,
and how I came on the island, and how I lost my way in the bog, and how
the thief of an eagle flew me up to the moon, and how the man in the
moon turned me out. 'Dan,' said he, 'I'll save you: put out your hand
and catch me by the leg, and I'll fly you home.'

"'Sweet is your hand in a pitcher of honey, my jewel,' says I, though
all the time I thought within myself that I don't much trust you; but
there was no help, so I caught the gander by the leg, and away I and the
other geese flew after him as fast as hops.

"We flew, and we flew, and we flew, until we came right over the wide
ocean. I knew it well, for I saw Cape Clear to my right hand, sticking
up out of the water. 'Ah! my lord,' said I to the goose, for I thought
it best to keep a civil tongue in my head, any way, 'fly to land if you
please.' 'It is impossible, you see, Dan,' said he, 'for a while,
because, you see, we are going to Arabia.' 'To Arabia!' said I; 'that's
surely some place in foreign parts, far away. Oh! Mr. Goose: why, then,
to be sure, I'm a man to be pitied among you.' 'Whist, whist, you fool,'
said he, 'hold your tongue; I tell you Arabia is a very decent sort of
place, as like West Carbery as one egg is like another, only there is a
little more sand there.'

"Just as we were talking, a ship hove in sight, scudding so beautiful
before the wind; 'Ah! then, sir,' said I, 'will you drop me on the ship
if you please?' 'We are not fair over her,' said he. 'We are,' said I.
'We are not,' said he; 'If I dropped you now you would go splash into
the sea.' 'I would not,' says I; 'I know better than that, for it is
just clean under us, so let me drop now, at once.' 'If you must, you
must,' said he; 'there, take your own way,' and he opened his claw, and,
'deed, he was right--sure enough, I came down plump into the very bottom
of the salt sea! Down to the very bottom I went, and I gave myself up
then for ever, when a whale walked up to me, scratching himself after
his night's sleep, and looked me full in the face, and never the word
did he say, but, lifting up his tail, he splashed me all over again with
the cold, salt water till there wasn't a dry stitch on my whole carcase;
and I heard somebody saying--'twas a voice I knew, too--'Get up, you
drunken brute, off o' that'; and with that I woke up, and there was Judy
with a tub full of water which she was splashing all over me--for, rest
her soul! though she was a good wife, she never could bear to see me in
drink, and had a bitter hand of her own. 'Get up,' said she again: 'and
of all places in the parish would no place sarve your turn to lie down
upon but under the ould walls of Carrigaphooka? an uneasy resting I am
sure you had of it.' And sure enough I had: for I was fairly bothered
out of my senses with eagles, and men of the moons, and flying ganders,
and whales driving me through bogs, and up to the moon, and down to the
bottom of the green ocean. If I was in drink ten times over, long would
it be before I'd lie down in the same spot again, I know that."

Adventures of Gilla na Chreck an Gour.


_From "Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts."_


(Told in the Wexford Peasant Dialect.)

Long ago a poor widow woman lived down by the iron forge near
Enniscorthy, and she was so poor, she had no clothes to put on her son;
so she used to fix him in the ash-hole, near the fire, and pile the warm
ashes about him; and, accordingly, as he grew up, she sunk the pit
deeper. At last, by hook or by crook, she got a goat-skin and fastened
it round his waist, and he felt quite grand, and took a walk down the
street. So, says she to him next morning, "Tom, you thief, you never
done any good yet, and you six-foot high, and past nineteen; take that
rope and bring me a _bresna_ from the wood." "Never say't twice,
mother," says Tom; "here goes."

When he had it gathered and tied, what should come up but a big
_joiant_, nine-foot high, and made a lick of a club at him. Well become
Tom, he jumped a-one side and picked up a ram-pike; and the first crack
he gave the big fellow he made him kiss the clod. "If you have e'er a
prayer," says Tom, "now's the time to say it, before I make _brishe_ of
you." "I have no prayers," says the giant, "but if you spare my life
I'll give you that club; and as long as you keep from sin you'll win
every battle you ever fight with it."

Tom made no bones about letting him off; and as soon as he got the club
in his hands he sat down on the bresna and gave it a tap with the
kippeen, and says, "Bresna, I had a great trouble gathering you, and run
the risk of my life for you; the least you can do is to carry me home."
And, sure enough, the wind of the word was all it wanted. It went off
through the wood, groaning and cracking till it came to the widow's

Well, when the sticks were all burned Tom was sent off again to pick
more; and this time he had to fight with a giant with two heads on him.
Tom had a little more trouble with him--that's all; and the prayers _he_
said was to give Tom a fife that nobody could help dancing to when he
was playing it. _Begonies_, he made the big faggot dance home, with
himself sitting on it. Well, if you were to count all the steps from
this to Dublin, dickens a bit you'd ever arrive there. The next giant
was a beautiful boy with three heads on him. He had neither prayers nor
catechism no more nor the others; and so he gave Tom a bottle of green
ointment that wouldn't let you be burned, nor scalded, nor wounded. "And
now," says he, "there's no more of us. You may come and gather sticks
here till little Lunacy Day in harvest without giant or fairy man to
disturb you."

Well, now, Tom was prouder nor ten paycocks, and used to take a walk
down the street in the heel of the evening; but some of the little boys
had no more manners nor if they were Dublin jackeens, and put out their
tongues at Tom's club and Tom's goat-skin. He didn't like that at all,
and it would be mean to give one of them a clout. At last, what should
come through the town but a kind of bellman, only it's a big bugle he
had, and a huntsman's cap on his head, and a kind of painted shirt. So
this--he wasn't a bellman, and I don't know what to call him--bugleman,
maybe--proclaimed that the King of Dublin's daughter was so melancholy
that she didn't give a laugh for seven years, and that her father would
grant her in marriage to whoever would make her laugh three times.
"That's the very thing for me to try," says Tom; and so, without burning
any more daylight, he kissed his mother, curled his club at the little
boys, and set off along the yalla highroad to the town of Dublin.

At last Tom came to one of the City gates and the guards laughed and
cursed at him instead of letting him through. Tom stood it all for a
little time, but at last one of them--out of fun, as he said--drove his
_bagnet_ half an inch or so into his side. Tom did nothing but take the
fellow by the scruff of his neck and the waistband of his corduroys and
fling him into the canal. Some ran to pull the fellow out, and others to
let manners into the vulgarian with their swords and daggers; but a tap
from his club sent them headlong into the moat or down on the stones,
and they were soon begging him to stay his hands.

So at last one of them was glad enough to show Tom the way to the Palace
yard; and there was the King and the Queen, and the princess in a
gallery, looking at all sorts of wrestling and sword-playing, and
_rinka-fadhas_ (long dances) and mumming, all to please the princess;
but not a smile came over her handsome face.

Well, they all stopped when they seen the young giant, with his boy's
face and long, black hair, and his short, curly beard--for his poor
mother couldn't afford to buy razhurs--and his great, strong arms and
bare legs, and no covering but the goat-skin that reached from his waist
to his knees. But an envious, wizened _basthard_ of a fellow, with a red
head, that wished to be married to the princess, and didn't like how she
opened her eyes at Tom, came forward, and asked his business very
snappishly. "My business," says Tom, says he, "is to make the beautiful
princess, God bless her, laugh three times." "Do you see all them merry
fellows and skilful swordsmen," says the other, "that could eat you up
without a grain of salt, and not a mother's soul of 'em ever got a laugh
from her these seven years?" So the fellows gathered round Tom, and the
bad man aggravated him till he told them he didn't care a pinch of snuff
for the whole bilin' of 'em; let 'em come on, six at a time, and try
what they could do. The King, that was too far off to hear what they
were saying, asked what did the stranger want. "He wants," says the
red-headed fellow, "to make hares of your best men." "Oh!" says the
King, "if that's the way, let one of 'em turn out and try his mettle."
So one stood forward, with sword and pot-lid, and made a cut at Tom. He
struck the fellow's elbow with the club, and up over their heads flew
the sword, and down went the owner of it on the gravel from a thump he
got on the helmet. Another took his place, and another and another, and
then half-a-dozen at once, and Tom sent swords, helmets, shields, and
bodies rolling over and over, and themselves bawling out that they were
kilt, and disabled, and damaged, and rubbing their poor elbows and hips,
and limping away. Tom contrived not to kill anyone; and the princess was
so amused that she let a great, sweet laugh out of her that was heard
all over the yard. "King of Dublin," says Tom, "I've the quarter of
your daughter." And the King didn't know whether he was glad or sorry,
and all the blood in the princess's heart run into her cheeks.

So there was no more fighting that day, and Tom was invited to dine with
the royal family. Next day Redhead told Tom of a wolf, the size of a
yearling heifer, that used to be _serenading_ (sauntering) about the
walls, and eating people and cattle; and said what a pleasure it would
give the King to have it killed. "With all my heart," says Tom. "Send a
jackeen to show me where he lives, and we'll see how he behaves to a

The princess was not well pleased, for Tom looked a different person
with fine clothes and a nice green _birredh_ over his long, curly hair;
and besides, he'd got one laugh out of her. However, the King gave his
consent, and in an hour and a half the horrible wolf was walking in the
palace yard, and Tom a step or two behind, with his club on his
shoulder, just as a shepherd would be walking after a pet lamb. The King
and Queen and princess were safe up in their gallery, but the officers
and people of the court that were _padrowling_ about the great bawn,
when they saw the big baste coming in gave themselves up, and began to
make for doors and gates; and the wolf licked his chops, as if he was
saying, "Wouldn't I enjoy a breakfast off a couple of yez!" The King
shouted out, "O Gilla na Chreck an Gour, take away that terrible wolf
and you must have all my daughter." But Tom didn't mind him a bit. He
pulled out his flute and began to play like vengeance; and dickens a man
or boy in the yard but began shovelling away heel and toe, and the wolf
himself was obliged to get on his hind legs and dance _Tatther Jack
Walsh_ along with the rest. A good deal of the people got inside and
shut the doors, the way the hairy fellow wouldn't pin them; but Tom kept
playing, and the outsiders kept shouting and dancing, and the wolf kept
dancing and roaring with the pain his legs were giving him; and all the
time he had his eyes on Redhead, who was shut out along with the rest.
Wherever Redhead went the wolf followed, and kept one eye on him and the
other on Tom, to see if he would give him leave to eat him. But Tom
shook his head, and never stopped the tune, and Redhead never stopped
dancing and bawling and the wolf dancing and roaring, one leg up and the
other down, and he ready to drop out of his standing from fair

When the princess seen that there was no fear of anyone being kilt, she
was so divarted by the stew that Redhead was in that she gave another
great laugh; and well become Tom, out he cried, "King of Dublin, I have
two quarters of your daughter." "Oh, quarters or alls," says the King,
"put away that divel of a wolf and we'll see about it." So Gilla put his
flute in his pocket, and, says he, to the baste that was sittin' on his
currabingo ready to faint, "Walk off to your mountains, my fine fellow,
and live like a respectable baste; and if ever I find you come within
seven miles of any town--." He said no more, but spit in his fist, and
gave a flourish of his club. It was all the poor divel wanted: he put
his tail between his legs and took to his pumps without looking at man
or mortial, and neither sun, moon, nor stars ever saw him in sight of
Dublin again.

At dinner everyone laughed except the foxy fellow; and, sure enough, he
was laying out how he'd settle poor Tom next day. "Well, to be sure!"
says he, "King of Dublin, you are in luck. There's the Danes moidhering
us to no end. D---- run to Lusk wid 'em and if anyone can save us from
'em it is this gentleman with the goat-skin. There is a flail hangin' on
the collar-beam in Hell, and neither Dane nor Devil can stand before
it." "So," says Tom to the King, "will you let me have the other half of
the princess if I bring you the flail?" "No, no," says the princess,
"I'd rather never be your wife than see you in that danger."

But Redhead whispered and nudged Tom about how shabby it would look to
reneague the adventure. So he asked him which way he was to go, and
Redhead directed him through a street where a great many bad women
lived, and a great many shibbeen houses were open, and away he set.

Well, he travelled and travelled till he came in sight of the walls of
Hell; and, bedad, before he knocked at the gates, he rubbed himself over
with the greenish ointment. When he knocked, a hundred little imps
popped their heads out through the bars, and axed him what he wanted. "I
want to speak to the big divel of all," says Tom; "open the gate."

It wasn't long till the gate was _thrune_ open, and the Ould Boy
received Tom with bows and scrapes, and axed his business. "My business
isn't much," says Tom. "I only came for the loan of that flail that I
see hanging on the collar-beam for the King of Dublin to give a
thrashing to the Danes." "Well," says the other, "the Danes is much
better customers to me; but, since you walked so far, I won't refuse.
Hand that flail," says he to a young imp; and he winked the far-off eye
at the same time. So, while some were barring the gates, the young
devil climbed up and took down the iron flail that had the handstaff and
booltheen both made out of red-hot iron. The little vagabond was
grinning to think how it would burn the hands off of Tom, but the
dickens a burn it made on him, no more nor if it was a good oak sapling.
"Thankee," says Tom; "now, would you open the gate for a body and I'll
give you no more trouble." "Oh, tramp!" says Ould Nick, "is that the
way? It is easier getting inside them gates than getting out again. Take
that tool from him, and give him a dose of the oil of stirrup." So one
fellow put out his claws to seize on the flail, but Tom gave him such a
welt of it on the side of his head that he broke off one of his horns,
and made him roar like a divil as he was. Well, they rushed at Tom, but
he gave them, little and big, such a thrashing as they didn't forget for
a while. At last says the ould thief of all, rubbing his elbows, "Let
the fool out; and woe to whoever lets him in again, great or small."

So out marched Tom and away with him without minding the shouting and
cursing they kept up at him from the tops of the walls. And when he got
home to the big bawn of the palace, there never was such running and
racing as to see himself and the flail. When he had his story told, he
laid down the flail on the stone steps, and bid no one for their lives
to touch it. If the King and Queen and princess made much of him before
they made ten times as much of him now; but Redhead, the mean
scruff-hound, stole over, and thought to catch hold of the flail to make
an end of him. His fingers hardly touched it, when he let a roar out of
him as if heaven and earth were coming together, and kept flinging his
arms about and dancing that it was pitiful to look at him. Tom run at
him as soon as he could rise, caught his hands in his own two, and
rubbed them this way and that, and the burning pain left them before you
could reckon one. Well, the poor fellow, between the pain that was only
just gone, and the comfort he was in, had the comicalest face that ever
you see; it was such a mixerumgatherum of laughing and crying. Everyone
burst out a-laughing--the princess could not stop no more than the
rest--and then says Gilla, or Tom, "Now, ma'am, if there were fifty
halves of you I hope you will give me them all." Well, the princess had
no mock modesty about her. She looked at her father, and, by my word,
she came over to Gilla, and put her two delicate hands into his two
rough ones, and I wish it was myself was in his shoes that day!

Tom would not bring the flail into the palace. You may be sure no other
body went near it; and when the early risers were passing next morning
they found two long clefts in the stone where it was, after burning
itself an opening downwards, nobody could tell how far.

But a messenger came in at noon and said that the Danes were so
frightened when they heard of the flail coming into Dublin that they got
into their ships and sailed away.

Well, I suppose before they were married Gilla got some man like Pat
Mara of Tomenine to larn him the "principles of politeness," fluxions,
gunnery, and fortifications, decimal fractions, practice, and the
rule-of-three direct, the way he'd be able to keep up a conversation
with the royal family. Whether he ever lost his time larning them
sciences, I'm not sure, but it's as sure as fate that his mother never
more saw any want till the end of her days.

The Little Weaver of Duleek Gate.

_From "Legends and Stories of Ireland."_

BY SAMUEL LOVER (1791-1868.)

There was a waiver lived, wanst upon a time, in Duleek here, hard by the
gate, and a very honest, industherous man he was. He had a wife, an' av
coorse, they had childre, and small blame to them, so that the poor
little waiver was obleeged to work his fingers to the bone a'most to get
them the bit and the sup, and the loom never standin' still.

Well, it was one mornin' that his wife called to him, "Come here," says
she, "jewel, and ate your brekquest, now that it's ready." But he never
minded her, but wint an workin'. "Arrah, lave off slavin' yourself, my
darlin', and ate your bit o' brekquest while it is hot."

"Lave me alone," says he, "I'm busy with a pattern here that is brakin'
my heart," says the waiver; "and antil I complate it and masther it
intirely I won't quit."

"You're as cross as two sticks this blessed morning, Thady," says the
poor wife; "and it's a heavy handful I have of you when you are cruked
in your temper; but, stay there if you like, and let your stirabout grow
cowld, and not a one o' me 'ill ax you agin;" and with that off she
wint, and the waiver, sure enough, was mighty crabbed, and the more the
wife spoke to him the worse he got, which, you know, is only nath'ral.
Well, he left the loom at last, and wint over to the stirabout and what
would you think, but whin he looked at it, it was as black as a
crow--for, you see, it was in the heighth o' summer, and the flies lit
upon it to that degree that the stirabout was fairly covered with them.

"Why, thin," says the waiver, "would no place sarve you but that? and is
it spyling my brekquest yiz are, you dirty bastes?" And with that, he
lifted his hand, and he made one great slam at the dish o' stirabout,
and killed no less than three score and tin flies at the one blow, for
he counted the carcases one by one, and laid them out an a clane plate
for to view them.

Well, he felt a powerful sperit risin' in him, when he seen the
slaughter he done, at one blow; and not a sthroke more work he'd do that
day, but out he wint and was fractious and impident to every one he met,
and was squarin' up into their faces and sayin', "Look at that fist!
that's the fist that killed three score and tin at one blow--Whoo!"

With that all the neighbours thought he was crack'd, and the poor wife
herself thought the same when he kem home in the evenin', afther
spendin' every rap he had in dhrink, and swaggerin' about the place, and
lookin' at his hand every minit.

"Indeed, an' your hand is very dirty, sure enough, Thady, jewel," says
the poor wife. "You had betther wash it, darlin'."

"How dar' you say dirty to the greatest hand in Ireland?" says he, going
to bate her.

"Well, it's nat dirty," says she.

"It is throwin away my time I have been all my life," says he, "livin'
with you at all, and stuck at a loom, nothin' but a poor waiver, when it
is Saint George or the Dhraggin I ought to be, which is two of the siven
champions of Christendom."

"Well, suppose they christened him twice as much," says the wife, "sure,
what's that to uz?"

"Don't put in your prate," says he, "you ignorant sthrap," says he.
"You're vulgar, woman--you're vulgar--mighty vulgar; but I'll have
nothin' more to say to any dirty, snakin' thrade again--sorra more
waivin' I'll do."

"Oh, Thady, dear, and what'll the children do then?"

"Let them go play marvels," says he.

"That would be but poor feedin' for them, Thady."

"They shan't want feedin'?" says he, "for it's a rich man I'll be soon,
and a great man, too."

"Usha, but I'm glad to hear it, darlin'--though I dunno how it's to be,
but I think you had betther go to bed, Thady."

"Don't talk to me of any bed, but the bed o' glory, woman," says he,
lookin' mortial grand. "I'll sleep with the brave yit," says he.

"Indeed, an' a brave sleep will do you a power o' good, my darlin," says

"And it's I that will be a knight!" says he.

"All night, if you plaze, Thady," says she.

"None o' your coaxin'," says he. "I'm detarmined on it, and I'll set off
immediately, and be a knight arriant."

"A what?" says she.

"A knight arriant, woman."

"What's that?" says she.

"A knight arriant is a rale gintleman," says he; "going round the world
for sport, with a soord by his side, takin' whatever he plazes for
himself; and that's a knight arriant," says he.

Well, sure enough he wint about among his neighbours the next day, and
he got an owld kittle from one, and a saucepan from another, and he
took them to the tailor, and he sewed him up a shuit o' tin clothes like
any knight arriant, and he borrowed a pot lid, and that he was very
particular about, bekase it was his shield, and he went to a friend o'
his, a painter and glazier, and made him paint an his shield in big

            AT A BLOW."

"When the people sees that," says the waiver to himself, "the sorra one
will dar for to come near me."

And with that he towld the wife to scour out the small iron pot for him,
"for," says he, "it will make an illegent helmet;" and when it was done,
he put it an his head, and his wife said, "Oh, murther, Thady, jewel; is
it puttin' a great, heavy, iron pot an your head you are, by way iv a

"Sartinly," says he, "for a knight arriant should always have a weight
on his brain."

"But, Thady, dear," says the wife, "there's a hole in it, and it can't
keep out the weather."

"It will be the cooler," says he, puttin' it an him; "besides, if I
don't like it, it is aisy to stop it with a wisp o' sthraw, or the like
o' that."

"The three legs of it look mighty quare, stickin' up," says she.

"Every helmet has a spike stickin' out o' the top of it," says the
waiver, "and if mine has three, it's only the grandher it is."

"Well," says the wife, getting bitter at last, "all I can say is, it
isn't the first sheep's head was dhress'd in it."

"Your sarvint, ma'am," says he; and off he set.

Well, he was in want of a horse, and so he wint to a field hard by,
where the miller's horse was grazin', that used to carry the ground corn
round the counthry. "This is the identical horse for me," says the
waiver; "he's used to carryin' flour and male, and what am I but the
flower o' shovelry in a coat o' mail; so that the horse won't be put out
iv his way in the laste."

So away galloped the waiver, and took the road to Dublin, for he thought
the best thing he could do was to go to the King o' Dublin (for Dublin
was a great place thin, and had a King iv its own). When he got to the
palace courtyard he let his horse graze about the place, for the grass
was growin' out betune the stones; everything was flourishin' thin in
Dublin, you see. Well, the King was lookin' out of his dhrawin'-room
windy, for divarshin, whin the waiver kem in; but the waiver pretended
not to see him, and he wint over to the stone sate, undher the
windy--for, you see, there was stone sates all round about the place,
for the accommodation o' the people--for the King was a dacent obleeging
man; well, as I said, the waiver wint over and lay down an one o' the
seats, just undher the King's windy, and purtended to go asleep; but he
took care to turn out the front of his shield that had the letthers an
it. Well, my dear, with that the King calls out to one of the lords of
his coort that was standin' behind him, howldin' up the skirt of his
coat, accordin' to rayson, and, says he: "Look here," says he, "what do
you think of a vagabone like that, comin' undher my very nose to sleep?
It is thrue I'm a good king," says he, "and I 'commodate the people by
havin' sates for them to sit down and enjoy the raycreation and
contimplation of seein' me here, lookin' out a' my dhrawin'-room windy,
for divarsion; but that is no rayson they are to make a hotel o' the
place, and come and sleep here. Who is it, at all?" says the King.

"Not a one o' me knows, plaze your majesty."

"I think he must be a furriner," says the King, "because his dhress is

"And doesn't know manners, more betoken," says the lord.

"I'll go down and circumspect him myself," says the King; "folly me,"
says he to the lord, wavin' his hand at the same time in the most
dignacious manner.

Down he wint accordingly, followed by the lord; and when he wint over to
where the waiver was lying, sure the first thing he seen was his shield
with the big letthers an it, and with that, says he to the lord, "This
is the very man I want."

"For what, plaze your majesty?" says the lord.

"To kill the vagabone dhraggin', to be sure," says the King.

"Sure, do you think he could kill him," says the lord, "when all the
stoutest knights in the land wasn't aiquil to it, but never kem back,
and was ate up alive by the cruel desaiver?"

"Sure, don't you see there," says the king, pointin' at the shield,
"that he killed three score and tin at one blow; and the man that done
that, I think, is a match for anything."

So, with that, he wint over to the waiver and shuck him by the shouldher
for to wake him, and the waiver rubbed his eyes as if just wakened, and
the King says to him, "God save you," said he.

"God save you kindly," says the waiver, purtendin' he was quite
unknownst who he was spakin' to.

"Do you know who I am," says the king, "that you make so free, good

"No, indeed," says the waiver, "you have the advantage o' me."

"To be sure, I have," says the king, moighty high; "sure, ain't I the
King o' Dublin?" says he.

The waiver dhropped down on his two knees forninst the King, and, says
he, "I beg your pardon for the liberty I tuk; plaze your holiness, I
hope you'll excuse it."

"No offince," says the King; "get up, good man. And what brings you
here?" says he.

"I'm in want of work, plaze your riverence," says the waiver.

"Well, suppose I give you work?" says the king.

"I'll be proud to sarve you, my lord," says the waiver.

"Very well," says the King. "You killed three score and tin at one blow,
I understan'," says the King.

"Yis," says the waiver; "that was the last thrifle o' work I done, and
I'm afraid my hand 'ill go out o' practice if I don't get some job to do
at wanst."

"You shall have a job immediately," says the King. "It is not three
score and tin or any fine thing like that; it is only a blaguard
dhraggin that is disturbin' the counthry and ruinatin' my tinanthry wid
aitin' their powlthry, and I'm lost for want of eggs," said the King.

"Och, thin, plaze your worship," says the waiver, "you look as yellow as
if you swallowed twelve yolks this minit."

"Well, I want this dhraggin to be killed," says the King. "It will be
no trouble in life to you; and I am sorry that it isn't betther worth
your while, for he isn't worth fearin' at all; only I must tell you that
he lives in the County Galway, in the middle of a bog, and he has an
advantage in that."

"Oh, I don't value it in the laste," says the waiver, "for the last
three score and tin I killed was in a soft place."

"When will you undhertake the job, thin?" says the King.

"Let me at him at wanst," says the waiver.

"That's what I like," says the King, "you're the very man for my money,"
says he.

"Talkin' of money," says the waiver, "by the same token, I'll want a
thrifle o' change from you for my thravellin' charges."

"As much as you plaze," says the King; and with the word he brought him
into his closet, where there was an owld stockin' in an oak chest,
bursting wid goolden guineas.

"Take as many as you plaze," says the King; and sure enough, my dear,
the little waiver stuffed his tin clothes as full as they could howld
with them.

"Now I'm ready for the road," says the waiver.

"Very well," says the King; "but you must have a fresh horse," says he.

"With all my heart," says the waiver, who thought he might as well
exchange the miller's owld garron for a betther.

And maybe it's wondherin' you are that the waiver would think of goin'
to fight the dhraggin afther what he heerd about him, when he was
purtendin' to be asleep, but he had no sich notion, all he intended
was--to fob the goold, and ride back again to Duleek with his gains and
a good horse. But, you see, cute as the waiver was, the King was cuter
still, for these high quality, you see, is great desaivers; and so the
horse the waiver was an was learned on purpose; and sure, the minit he
was mounted, away powdhered the horse, and the sorra toe he'd go but
right down to Galway. Well, for four days he was goin' evermore, until
at last the waiver seen a crowd o' people runnin' as if owld Nick was at
their heels, and they shoutin' a thousand murdhers, and cryin'--"The
dhraggin, the dhraggin!" and he couldn't stop the horse nor make him
turn back, but away he pelted right forninst the terrible baste that was
comin' up to him; and there was the most nefaarious smell o' sulphur,
savin' your presence, enough to knock you down; and, faith, the waiver
seen he had no time to lose; and so threwn himself off the horse and
made to a three that was growin' nigh-hand, and away he clambered up
into it as nimble as a cat; and not a minit had he to spare, for the
dhraggin kem up in a powerful rage, and he devoured the horse body and
bones, in less than no time; and then began to sniffle and scent about
for the waiver, and at last he clapt his eye on him, where he was, up in
the three, and, says he, "You might as well come down out o' that," says
he, "for I'll have you as sure as eggs is mate."

"Sorra fut I'll go down," says the waiver.

"Sorra care I care," says the dhraggin; "for you're as good as ready
money in my pocket this minit, for I'll lie undher this three," says he,
"and sooner or later you must fall to my share;" and sure enough he sot
down, and began to pick his teeth with his tail afther a heavy brekquest
he made that mornin' (for he ate a whole village, let alone the horse),
and he got dhrowsy at last, and fell asleep; but before he wint to sleep
he wound himself all round about the three, all as one as a lady windin'
ribbon round her finger, so that the waiver could not escape.

Well, as soon as the waiver knew he was dead asleep, by the snorin' of
him--and every snore he let out of him was like a clap o' thunder--that
minit the waiver began to creep down the three, as cautious as a fox;
and he was very nigh hand the bottom when a thievin' branch he was
dipindin' an bruck, and down he fell right a top o' the dhraggin; but,
if he did, good luck was an his side, for where should he fall but with
his two legs right acrass the dhraggin's neck, and my jew'l, he laid
howlt o' the baste's ears, and there he kept his grip, for the dhraggin
wakened and endayvoured for to bite him, but, you see, by rayson the
waiver was behind his ears he could not come at him, and, with that, he
endayvoured for to shake him off; but not a stir could he stir the
waiver; and though he shuk all the scales an his body, he could not turn
the scale agin the waiver.

"Och, this is too bad, intirely," says the dhraggin; "but if you won't
let go," says he, "by the powers o' wildfire, I'll give you a ride
that'll astonish your siven small senses, my boy"; and, with that, away
he flew like mad; and where do you think he did fly?--he flew sthraight
for Dublin. But the waiver, bein' an his neck, was a great disthress to
him, and he would rather have had him an inside passenger; but, anyway,
he flew till he kem slap up agin the palace o' the king; for, bein'
blind with the rage, he never seen it, and he knocked his brains
out--that is, the small trifle he had, and down he fell spacheless. An'
you see, good luck would have it, that the King o' Dublin was looking
out iv his dhrawin'-room windy, for divarshin, that day also, and whin
he seen the waiver ridin' an the fiery dhraggin (for he was blazin' like
a tar barrel) he called out to his coortyers to come and see the show.

"Here comes the knight arriant," says the King, "ridin' the dhraggin
that's all a-fire, and if he gets into the palace, yiz must be ready wid
the fire ingines," says he, "for to put him out."

But when they seen the dhraggin fall outside, they all run downstairs
and scampered into the palace yard for to circumspect the curiosity; and
by the time they got down, the waiver had got off o' the dhraggin's
neck; and runnin' up to the King, says he--

"Plaze, your holiness, I did not think myself worthy of killin' this
facetious baste, so I brought him to yourself for to do him the honour
of decripitation by your own royal five fingers. But I tamed him first,
before I allowed him the liberty for to dar' to appear in your royal
prisince, and you'll oblige me if you'll just make your mark with your
own hand upon the onruly baste's neck." And with that, the King, sure
enough, dhrew out his swoord and took the head aff the dirty brute, as
clane as a new pin.

Well, there was great rejoicin' in the coort that the dhraggin was
killed; and says the King to the little waiver, says he--

"You are a knight arriant as it is, and so it would be no use for to
knight you over agin; but I will make you a lord," says he "and as you
are the first man I ever heer'd tell of that rode a dhraggin, you shall
be called Lord Mount Dhraggin'," says he.

"And where's my estates, plaze your holiness?" says the waiver, who
always had a sharp look-out afther the main chance.

"Oh, I didn't forget that," says the King. "It is my royal pleasure to
provide well for you, and for that rayson I make you a present of all
the dhraggins in the world, and give you power over them from this out,"
says he.

"Is that all?" says the waiver.

"All!" says the king. "Why, you ongrateful little vagabone, was the like
ever given to any man before?"

"I believe not, indeed," says the waiver; "many thanks to your majesty."

"But that is not all I'll do for you," says the king, "I'll give you my
daughter, too, in marriage," says he.

Now, you see, that was nothin' more than what was promised the waiver in
his first promise; for, by all accounts, the King's daughter was the
greatest dhraggin ever was seen.

Fionn MacCumhail and the Princess.

_From "The Shamrock."_


(In Wexford Folk Speech.)

Wance upon a time, when things was a great'le betther in Ireland than
they are at present, when a rale king ruled over the counthry wid four
others undher him to look afther the craps an' other indhustries, there
lived a young chief called Fan MaCool.

Now, this was long afore we gev up bowin' and scrapin' to the sun an'
moon an' sich like raumash (nonsense); an' signs an it, there was a
powerful lot ov witches an' Druids, an' enchanted min an' wimen goin'
about, that med things quare enough betimes for iverywan.

Well, Fan, as I sed afore, was a young man when he kem to the command,
an' a purty likely lookin' boy, too--there was nothin' too hot or too
heavy for him; an' so ye needn't be a bit surprised if I tell ye he was
the mischief entirely wid the colleens. Nothin' delighted him more than
to disguise himself wid an ould coatamore (overcoat) threwn over his
showlder, a lump ov a kippeen (stick) in his fist and he mayanderin'
about unknownst, rings around the counthry, lookin' for fun an' foosther
(diversion) ov all kinds.

Well, one fine mornin', whin he was on the shaughraun, he was waumasin'
(strolling) about through Leinster, an' near the royal palace ov
Glendalough he seen a mighty throng ov grand lords and ladies, an', my
dear, they all dressed up to the nines, wid their jewels shinin' like
dewdrops ov a May mornin', and laughin' like the tinkle ov a deeshy
(small) mountain strame over the white rocks. So he cocked his beaver,
an' stole over to see what was the matther.

Lo an' behould ye, what were they at but houldin' a race-meetin' or
faysh (festival)--somethin' like what the quality calls ataleticks now!
There they were, jumpin', and runnin', and coorsin', an' all soorts ov
fun, enough to make the trouts--an' they're mighty fine leppers
enough--die wid envy in the river benaith them.

The fun wint on fast an' furious, an' Fan, consaled betune the trumauns
an' brushna (elder bushes and furze) could hardly keep himself quiet,
seein' the thricks they wor at. Peepin' out, he seen, jist forninst him
on the other bank, the prencess herself, betune the high-up ladies ov
the coort. She was a fine, bouncin' geersha (girl) with gold hair like
the furze an' cheeks like an apple blossom, an' she brakin' her heart
laughin' an' clappin' her hands an' turnin her head this a-way an' that
a-way, jokin' wid this wan an' that wan, an' commiseratin', moryah!
(forsooth) the poor gossoons that failed in their leps. Fan liked the
looks ov her well, an' whin the boys had run in undher a bame up to
their knees an' jumped up over another wan as high as their chins, the
great trial ov all kem on. Maybe you'd guess what that was? But I'm
afeerd you won't if I gev you a hundhred guesses! It was to lep the
strame, forty foot wide!

List'nin' to them whisperin' to wan another, Fan heerd them tellin' that
whichever ov them could manage it wud be med a great man intirely ov; he
wud get the Prencess Maynish in marriage, an' ov coorse, would be med
king ov Leinster when the ould king, Garry, her father, cocked his toes
an' looked up through the butts ov the daisies at the shky. Well, whin
Fan h'ard this, he was put to a nonplush to know what to do! With his
ould duds on him, he was ashamed ov his life to go out into the open, to
have the eyes ov the whole wurruld on him, an' his heart wint down to
his big toe as he watched the boys makin' their offers at the lep. But
no one of them was soople enough for the job, an' they kep on tumblin',
wan afther the other, into the strame; so that the poor prencess began
to look sorryful whin her favourite, a big hayro wid a colyeen (curls) a
yard long--an' more betoken he was a boy o' the Byrnes from Imayle--jist
tipped the bank forninst her wid his right fut, an' then twistin', like
a crow in the air scratchin' her head with her claw, he spraddled wide
open in the wather, and splashed about like a hake in a mudbank! Well,
me dear, Fan forgot himself, an' gev a screech like an aigle; an' wid
that, the ould king started, the ladies all screamed, an' Fan was
surrounded. In less than a minnit an' a half they dragged me bould Fan
be the collar ov his coat right straight around to the king himself.

"What ould geochagh (beggar) have we now?" sez the king, lookin' very
hard at Fan.

"I'm Fan MaCool!" sez the thief ov the wurruld, as cool as a frog.

"Well, Fan MaCool or not," sez the king, mockin' him, "ye'll have to
jump the sthrame yander for freckenin' the lives clane out ov me
ladies," sez he, "an' for disturbin' our spoort ginerally," sez he.

"An' what'll I get for that same?" sez Fan, lettin' on (pretending) he
was afeered.

"Me daughter, Maynish," sez the king, wid a laugh; for he thought, ye
see, Fan would be drowned.

"Me hand on the bargain," sez Fan; but the owld chap gev him a rap on
the knuckles wid his specktre (sceptre) an' towld him to hurry up, or
he'd get the ollaves (judges) to put him in the Black Dog pres'n or the
Marshals--I forgets which--it's so long gone by!

Well, Fan peeled off his coatamore, an' threw away his bottheen ov a
stick, an' the prencess seein' his big body an' his long arums an' legs
like an oak tree, couldn't help remarkin' to her comrade, the craythur--

"Bedad, Cauth (Kate)," sez she, "but this beggarman is a fine bit of a
bouchal (boy)," sez she; "it's in the arumy (army) he ought to be," sez
she, lookin' at him agen, an' admirin' him, like.

So, Fan, purtendin' to be fixin' his shoes be the bank, jist pulled two
lusmores (fox-gloves) an' put them anunder his heels; for thim wor the
fairies' own flowers that works all soort ov inchantment, an' he, ov
coorse, knew all about it; for he got the wrinkle from an ould lenaun
(fairy guardian) named Cleena, that nursed him when he was a little

Well, me dear, ye'd think it was on'y over a little creepie
(three-legged) stool he was leppin' whin he landed like a thrish jist at
the fut ov the prencess; an' his father's son he was, that put his two
arums around her, an' gev her a kiss--haith, ye'd hear the smack ov it
at the Castle o' Dublin. The ould king groaned like a corncrake, an'
pulled out his hair in hatfuls, an' at last he ordhered the bowld
beggarman off to be kilt; but, begorrah, when they tuck off weskit an'
seen the collar ov goold around Fan's neck the ould chap became
delighted, for he knew thin he had the commandher ov Airyun (Erin) for a

"Hello!" sez the king, "who have we now?" sez he, seein' the collar.
"Begonny's," sez he, "you're no boccagh (beggar) anyways!"

"I'm Fan MaCool," sez the other, as impident as a cocksparra'; "have you
anything to say agen me?" for his name wasn't up, at that time, like

"Ay lots to say agen you. How dar' you be comin' round this a-way,
dressed like a playacthor, takin' us in?" sez the king, lettin' on to be
vexed; "an' now," sez he, "to annoy you, you'll have to go an' jump back
agen afore you gets me daughter for puttin' on (deceiving) us in such a

"Your will is my pleasure," sez Fan; "but I must have a word or two with
the girl first," sez he, an' up he goes an' commences talkin' soft to
her, an' the king got as mad as a hatther at the way the two were
croosheenin' an' colloguin' (whispering and talking), an' not mindin'
him no more than if he was the man in the moon, when who comes up but
the Prence of Imayle, afther dryin' himself, to put his pike in the hay

"Well, avochal (my boy)," sez Fan, "are you dry yet?" an' the Prencess
laughed like a bell round a cat's neck.

"You think yourself a smart lad, I suppose," sez the other; "but there's
one thing you can't do wid all your prate!"

"What's that?" sez Fan. "Maybe not" sez he.

"You couldn't whistle and chaw oatenmale," sez the Prence ov Imayle, in
a pucker. "Are you any good at throwin' a stone?" sez he, then.

"The best!" sez Fan, an' all the coort gother round like to a
cock-fight. "Where'll we throw to?" sez he.

"In to'ards Dublin," sez the Prence ov Imayle; an' be all accounts he
was a great hand at cruistin (throwing).

"Here goes pink," sez he, an' he ups with a stone, as big as a castle,
an' sends it flyin' in the air like a cannon ball, and it never stopped
till it landed on top ov the Three Rock Mountain.

"I'm your masther!" sez Fan, pickin' up another clochaun (stone) an'
sendin' it a few perch beyant the first.

"That you're not," sez the Prence ov Imayle, an' he done his best, an'
managed to send another finger stone beyant Fan's throw; an' sure, the
three stones are to be seen, be all the world, to this very day.

"Well, me lad," says Fan, stoopin' for another as big as a hill, "I'm
sorry I have to bate you; but I can't help it," sez he, lookin' over at
the Prencess Maynish, an' she as mute as a mouse watchin' the two big
men, an' the ould king showin' fair play, as delighted as a child.
"Watch this," sez he, whirlin' his arm like a windmill, "and now put on
your spectacles," sez he; and away he sends the stone, buzzin' through
the air like a peggin'-top, over the other three clochauns, and then
across Dublin Bay, an' scrapin' the nose off ov Howth, it landed with a
swish in the say beyant it. That's the rock they calls Ireland's Eye

"Be the so an' so!" sez the king, "I don't know where that went to, at
all, at all! what direct did you send it?" sez he to Fan. "I had it in
view, till it went over the say," sez he.

"I'm bet!" sez the Prence ov Imayle. "I couldn't pass that, for I can't
see where you put it, even--good-bye to yous," sez he, turnin' on his
heel an' makin' off; "an' may yous two be as happy as I can wish you!"
An' back he went to the butt ov Lugnaquilla, an' took to fret, an I
understand shortly afther he died ov a broken heart; an' they put a
turtle-dove on his tombstone to signify that he died for love; but I
think he overstrained himself, throwin', though that's nayther here nor
there with me story!

"Are you goin' to lep back agen?" sez ould King Garry, wantin' to see
more sport; for he tuk as much delight in seein' the like as if he was a
lad ov twenty.

"To be shure I will!" sez Fan, ready enough, "but I'll have to take the
girl over with me this time!" sez he.

"Oh, no, Fan!" sez Maynish, afeered ov her life he might stumble an'
that he'd fall in with her; an' then she'd have to fall out with
him--"take me father with you," sez she; an' egonnys, the ould king
thought more about himself than any ov them, an' sed he'd take the will
for the deed, like the lawyers. So the weddin' went on; an' maybe that
wasn't the grand blow-out. But I can't stay to tell yous all the fun
they had for a fortnit; on'y, me dear, they all went into kinks ov
laughin', when the ould king, who tuk more than was good for him, stood
up to drink Fan's health, an' forgot himself.

"Here's to'ards your good health, Fan MaCool!" sez he, as grand as you
like--"an' a long life to you, an' a happy wife to you--an' a great many
ov them!" sez he, like he'd forgot somethin'.

Well, me dear, every one was splittin' their sides like the p'yates,
unless the prencess, an' she got as red in the face as if she was
churnin' in the winther an' the frost keepin' the crame from crackin';
but she got over it like the maisles.

But I suppose you can guess the remainder, an' as the evenin's gettin'
forrard I'll stop; so put down the kittle an' make tay, an' if Fan and
the Prencess Maynish didn't live happy together--that we may!

The Kildare Pooka.

_From "Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts."_


Mr. H---- H----, when he was alive, used to live a good deal in Dublin,
and he was once a great while out of the country on account of the
"ninety-eight" business. But the servants kept on in the big house at
Rath--all the same as if the family was at home. Well, they used to be
frightened out of their lives, after going to their beds, with the
banging of the kitchen door and the clattering of fire-irons and the
pots and plates and dishes. One evening they sat up ever so long keeping
one another in heart with stories about ghosts and that, when--what
would have it?--the little scullery boy that used to be sleeping over
the horses, and could not get room at the fire, crept into the hot
hearth, and when he got tired listening to the stories, sorra fear him,
but he fell dead asleep.

Well and good. After they were all gone, and the kitchen raked up, he
was woke with the noise of the kitchen door opening, and the tramping of
an ass in the kitchen floor. He peeped out, and what should he see but a
big ass, sure enough, sitting on his curabingo and yawning before the
fire. After a little he looked about him, and began scratching his ears
as if he was quite tired, an', says he, "I may as well begin first as
last." The poor boy's teeth began to chatter in his head, for, says he,
"Now he's going to ate me"; but the fellow with the long ears and tail
on him had something else to do. He stirred the fire, and then brought
in a pail of water from the pump, and filled a big pot that he put on
the fire before he went out. He then put in his hand--foot, I mean--into
the hot hearth, and pulled out the little boy. He let a roar out of him
with fright. But the pooka only looked at him, and thrust out his lower
lip to show how little he valued him, and then he pitched him into his
pew again.

Well, he then lay down before the fire till he heard the boil coming on
the water, and maybe there wasn't a plate, or a dish, or a spoon on the
dresser, that he didn't fetch and put into the pot, and wash and dry the
whole bilin' of 'em as well as e'er a kitchen maid from that to Dublin
town. He then put all of them up on their places on the shelves; and if
he didn't give a good sweepin' to the kitchen, leave it till again. Then
he comes and sits fornent the boy, let down one of his ears, and cocked
up the other, and gave a grin. The poor fellow strove to roar out, but
not a _dheeg_ (sound) ud come out of his throat. The last thing the
pooka done was to rake up the fire and walk out, giving such a slap o'
the door, that the boy thought the house couldn't help tumbling down.

Well, to be sure, if there wasn't a hullabuloo next morning when the
poor fellow told his story! They could talk of nothing else the whole
day. One said one thing, another said another, but a fat, lazy scullery
girl said the wittiest thing of all. "Musha," says she, "if the pooka
does be cleaning up everything that way when we are asleep, what should
we be slaving ourselves for doing his work?" "_Sha gu dheine_" (yes,
indeed), says another, "them's the wisest words you ever said, Kauth;
it's meeself won't contradict you."

So said, so done, not a bit of a plate or dish saw a drop of water that
evening, and not a besom was laid on the floor, and everyone went to bed
after sundown. Next morning everything was as fine as fine in the
kitchen, and the Lord Mayor might eat his dinner off the flags. It was
great ease to the lazy servants, you may depend, and everything went on
well till a foolhardy gag of a boy said he would stay up one night and
have a chat with the pooka. He was a little daunted when the door was
thrown open and the ass marched up to the fire.

"And then, sir," says he, at last, picking up courage, "if it isn't
taking a liberty, might I ax you who you are, and why you are so kind as
to do a half a day's work for the girls every night?" "No liberty at
all," says the pooka, says he: "I'll tell you and welcome. I was a
servant in the time of Squire H----'s father, and was the laziest rogue
that was ever clothed and fed, and done nothing for it. When my time
came for the other world, this is the punishment was laid on me to come
here and do all this labour every night, and then go out in the cold. It
isn't so bad in the fine weather; but if you only knew what it was to
stand with your head between your legs, facing the storm from midnight
to sunrise on a bleak winter night." "And could we do anything for your
comfort, my poor fellow?" says the boy. "Musha, I don't know," says the
pooka: "but I think a good quilted frieze coat would help me to keep the
life in me them long nights." "Why, then, in truth, we'd be the
ungratefullest of people if we didn't feel for you."

To make a long story short, the next night the boy was there again; and
if he didn't delight the poor pooka, holding a fine, warm coat before
him, it's no matther! Betune the pooka and the man, his legs was got
into the four arms of it, and it was buttoned down the breast and
belly, and he was so pleased he walked up to the glass to see how he
looked. "Well," says he, "it's a long lane that has no turning. I am
much obliged to you and your fellow servants. You have made me happy at
last. Good night to you."

So he was walking out, but the other cried, "Och! sure you're going too
soon. What about the washing and sweeping?" "Ah, you may tell the girls
that they must now get their turn. My punishment was to last till I was
thought worthy of a reward for the way I done my duty. You'll see me no
more." And no more they did, and right sorry they were for having been
in such a hurry to reward the ungrateful pooka.

The Piper and the Puca.

_From "An Sgeuluidhe Gaodhalach."_


In the old times there was a half-fool living in Dunmore, in the County
Galway, and though he was excessively fond of music, he was unable to
learn more than one tune, and that was the "Black Rogue." He used to get
a deal of money from the gentlemen, for they used to get sport out of
him. One night the Piper was coming home from a house where there had
been a dance, and he half-drunk. When he came up to a little bridge that
was by his mother's house, he squeezed the pipes on, and began playing
the "Black Rogue." The Puca came behind him, and flung him on his own
back. There were long horns on the Puca, and the Piper got a good grip
of them, and then he said:--

"Destruction on you, you nasty beast; let me home I have a tenpenny
piece in my pocket for my mother, and she wants snuff."

"Never mind your mother," said the puca, "but keep your hold. If you
fall you will break your neck and your pipes." Then the Puca said to
him, "Play up for me the 'Shan Van Vocht.'"

"I don't know it," said the Piper.

"Never mind whether you do or you don't," said the Puca. "Play up, and
I'll make you know."

The Piper put wind in his bag, and he played such music as made himself

"Upon my word, you're a fine music-master," says the Piper, then; "but
tell me where you're bringing me."

"There's a great feast in the house of the Banshee, on the top of Croagh
Patric to-night," says the Puca, "and I'm for bringing you there to play
music, and, take my word, you'll get the price of your trouble."

"By my word, you'll save me a journey, then," says the Piper, "for
Father William put a journey to Croagh Patric on me because I stole the
white gander from him last Martinmas."

The Puca rushed him across hills and bog and rough places, till he
brought him to the top of Croagh Patric.

Then the Puca struck three blows with his foot, and a great door opened,
and they passed in together into a fine room.

The Piper saw a golden table in the middle of the room, and hundreds of
old women sitting round about it.

The old woman rose up and said, "A hundred thousand welcomes to you, you
Puca of November. Who is this you have with you?"

"The best Piper in Ireland," says the Puca.

One of the old women struck a blow on the ground, and a door opened in
the side of the wall, and what should the Piper see coming out but the
white gander which he had stolen from Father William.

"By my conscience, then," says the Piper, "myself and my mother ate
every taste of that gander, only one wing, and I gave that to Red Mary,
and it's she told the priest I stole his gander."

The gander cleaned the table, and carried it away, and the Puca said,
"Play up music for these ladies."

The Piper played up, and the old women began dancing, and they danced
till they tired. Then the Puca said to pay the Piper, and every old
woman drew out a gold piece and gave it to him.

"By the tooth of Patric," says he, "I'm as rich as the son of a lord."

"Come with me," says the Puca, "and I'll bring you home."

They went out then, and just as he was going to ride on the Puca, the
gander came up to him and gave him a new set of pipes.

The Puca was not long until he brought him to Dunmore, and he threw the
Piper off at the little bridge, and then he told him to go home, and
says to him, "You have two things now that you never had before--you
have sense and music." The Piper went home, and he knocked at his
mother's door, saying, "Let me in, I'm as rich as a lord, and I'm the
best Piper in Ireland."

"You're drunk," says the mother.

"No, indeed," says the Piper, "I haven't drunk a drop."

The mother let him in, and he gave her the gold pieces, and, "Wait,
now," says he, "till you hear the music I play."

He buckled on the pipes, but instead of music there came a sound as if
all the geese and ganders in Ireland were screeching together. He
wakened all the neighbours, and they were all mocking him, until he put
on the old pipes, and then he played melodious music for them; and after
that he told them all he had gone through that night.

The next morning, when his mother went to look at the gold pieces, there
was nothing there but the leaves of a plant.

The Piper went to the priest and told him his story, but the priest
would not believe a word from him, until he put the pipes on him, and
then the screeching of the ganders and the geese began.

"Leave my sight, you thief," says the priest.

But nothing would do the Piper till he put the old pipes on him to show
the priest that his story was true.

He buckled on his old pipes, and played melodious music, and from that
day till the day of his death there was never a Piper in the County
Galway was as good as he was.

M'Carthy of Connacht.

_From "Folk Tales of Breffny."_


There was a fine young gentleman the name of M'Carthy. He had a most
beautiful countenance, and for strength and prowess there was none to
equal him in the baronies of Connacht. But he began to dwine away, and
no person knew what ailed him. He used no food at all and he became
greatly reduced, the way he was not able to rise from his bed and he
letting horrid groans and lamentations out of him. His father sent for
three skilled doctors to come and find out what sort of disease it might
be, and a big reward was promised for the cure.

Three noted doctors came on the one day and they searched every vein in
young M'Carthy's body, but they could put no name on the sickness nor
think of a remedy to relieve it. They came down from the room and
reported that the disease had them baffled entirely.

"Am I to be at the loss of a son who is the finest boy in all Ireland?"
says the father.

Now one of the doctors had a man with him who was a very soft-spoken
person, and he up and says:

"Maybe your honours would be giving me permission to visit the young
gentleman. I have a tongue on me is that sweet I do be drawing the
secrets of the world out of men and women and little children."

Well, they brought him up to the room and they left him alone with
M'Carthy. He sat down beside the bed and began for to flatter him. The
like of such conversation was never heard before.

At long last he says, "Let your Lordship's honour be telling--What is it
ails you at all?"

"You will never let on to a living soul?" asks M'Carthy.

"Is it that I'd be lodging an information against a noble person like
yourself?" says the man.

With that, the young gentleman began telling the secrets of his heart.

"It is no disease is on me," says he, "but a terrible misfortune."

"'Tis heart scalded I am that you have either a sorrow or a sickness,
and you grand to look on and better to listen to," says the other.

"It is in love I am," says M'Carthy.

"And how would that be a misfortune to a fine lad like yourself?" asks
the man.

"Let you never let on!" says M'Carthy. "The way of it is this: I am
lamenting for no lady who is walking the world, nor for one who is dead
that I could be following to the grave. I have a little statue which has
the most beautiful countenance on it that was ever seen, and it is
destroyed with grief I am that it will never be speaking to me at all."

With that he brought the image out from under his pillow, and the
loveliness of it made the man lep off the chair.

"I'd be stealing the wee statue from your honour if I stopped in this
place," says he. "But let you take valour into your heart, for that is
the likeness of a lady who is living in the world, and you will be
finding her surely."

With that he went down to the three doctors and the old man who were
waiting below. For all his promises to young M'Carthy, he told the lot
of them all he was after hearing. The doctors allowed that if the
gentleman's life was to be saved he must be got out of his bed and sent
away on his travels.

"For a time he will be hopeful of finding her," says the oldest doctor.
"Then the whole notion will pass off him, and he seeing strange lands
and great wonders to divert him."

The father was that anxious for the son's recovery that he agreed to
sell the place and give him a big handful of money for the journey.

"It is little I'll be needing for myself from this out, and I an old man
near ripe for the grave," says he.

So they all went up to the room and told young M'Carthy to rise from his
bed and eat a good dinner, for the grandest arrangements out were made
for his future and he'd surely meet the lady. When he seen that no
person was mocking him he got into the best of humour, and he came down
and feasted with them.

Not a long time afterwards he took the big handful of money and set out
on his travels, bringing the statue with him. He went over the provinces
of Ireland, then he took sea to England, and wandered it entirely, away
to France with him next, and from that to every art and part of the
world. He had the strangest adventures, and he seen more wonders than
could ever be told or remembered. At the latter end he came back to the
old country again, with no more nor a coin or two left of the whole
great fortune of money. The whole time he never seen a lady who was the
least like the wee statue; and the words of the old doctor were only a
deceit for he didn't quit thinking of her at all. M'Carthy was a
handsome young gentleman, and if it was small heed he had for any
person he met it was great notice was taken of him. Sure it was a queen,
no less, and five or six princesses were thinking long thoughts on

The hope was near dead in his heart, and the sickness of grief was on
him again when he came home to Ireland. Soon after he landed from the
ship he chanced to come on a gentleman's place, and it a fine, big house
he never had seen before. He went up and inquired of the servants if he
would get leave to rest there. He was given a most honourable reception,
and the master of the house was well pleased to be entertaining such an
agreeable guest. Now himself happened to be a Jew, and that is the why
he did not ask M'Carthy to eat at his table, but had his dinner set out
for him in a separate room. The servants remarked on the small share of
food he was using, it was scarcely what would keep the life in a young
child; but he asked them not to make any observation of the sort. At
first they obeyed him, yet when he used no meat at all on the third day,
didn't they speak with their master.

"What is the cause of it at all?" he says to M'Carthy. "Is the food in
this place not to your liking? Let you name any dish you have a craving
for, and the cook will prepare it."

"There was never better refreshment set before an emperor," says

"It is civility makes you that flattering," answers the Jew. "How would
you be satisfied with the meat which is set before you when you are not
able to use any portion of it at all?"

"I doubt I have a sickness on me will be the means of my death," says
M'Carthy. "I had best be moving on from this place, the way I'll not be
rewarding your kindness with the botheration of a corpse."

With that the master of the house began for to speak in praise of a
doctor who was in those parts.

"I see I must be telling you what is in it," says M'Carthy. "Doctors
have no relief for the sort of tribulation is destroying me."

He brought out the statue, and he went over the whole story from start
to finish. How he set off on his travels and was hopeful for a while;
and how despair got hold of him again.

"Let you be rejoicing now," says the Jew, "for it is near that lady you
are this day. She comes down to a stream which is convenient to this
place, and six waiting maids along with her, bringing a rod and line for
to fish. And it is always at the one hour she is in it."

Well, M'Carthy was lepping wild with delight to hear tell of the lady.

"Let you do all I'm saying," the Jew advises him. "I'll provide you with
the best of fishing tackle, and do you go down to the stream for to fish
in it, too. Whatever comes to your line let you give to the lady. But
say nothing which might scare her at all, and don't follow after her if
she turns to go home."

The next day M'Carthy went out for to fish; not a long time was he at
the stream before the lady came down and the six waiting maids along
with her. Sure enough she was the picture of the statue, and she had the
loveliest golden hair ever seen.

M'Carthy had the luck to catch a noble trout, and he took it off the
hook, rolled it in leaves, and brought it to the lady, according to the
advice of the Jew. She was pleased to accept the gift of it, but didn't
she turn home at once and the six waiting maids along with her. When
she went into her own house she took the fish to her father.

"There was a noble person at the stream this day," she says, "and he
made me a present of the trout."

Next morning M'Carthy went to fish again, and he seen the lady coming
and her six waiting maids walking behind her. He caught a splendid fine
trout and brought it over to her; with that she turned home at once.

"Father," says she, when she went in, "the gentleman is after giving me
a fish which is bigger and better nor the one I brought back yesterday.
If the like happens at the next time I go to the stream I will be
inviting the noble person to partake of refreshment in this place."

"Let you do as best pleases yourself," says her father.

Well, sure enough, M'Carthy got the biggest trout of all the third time.
The lady was in the height of humour, and she asked would he go up to
the house with her that day. She walked with M'Carthy beside her, and
the six waiting maids behind them. They conversed very pleasantly
together, and at last he found courage for to tell her of how he
travelled the world to seek no person less than herself.

"I'm fearing you'll need to set out on a second journey, the way you
will be coming in with some other one," says she. "I have an old father
who is after refusing two score of suitors who were asking me off him. I
do be thinking I'll not be joining the world at all, unless a king would
be persuading himself of the advancement there is in having a son-in-law
wearing a golden crown upon his head. The whole time it is great freedom
I have, and I walking where it pleases me with six waiting maids along
with me. The old man has a notion they'd inform him if I was up to any
diversion, but that is not the way of it at all."

"It is funning you are, surely," says M'Carthy. "If himself is that
uneasy about you how would it be possible you'd bring me to the house to
be speaking with him?"

"He is a kindly man and reasonable," says she, "and it is a good
reception you'll be getting. Only let you not be speaking of marriage
with me, for he cannot endure to hear tell of the like."

Well, the old man made M'Carthy welcome, and he had no suspicion the two
were in notion of each other. But didn't they arrange all unbeknownt to
him, and plan out an elopement.

M'Carthy went back to the Jew, and he told him all. "But," says he, "I
am after spending my whole great fortune of money travelling the
territory of the world. I must be finding a good situation the way I'll
make suitable provision for herself."

"Don't be in the least distress," says the Jew. "I did not befriend you
this far to be leaving you in a bad case at the latter end. I'll oblige
you with the loan of what money will start you in a fine place. You will
be making repayment at the end of three years when you have made your
profit on the business."

The young gentleman accepted the offer, and he fair wild with delight.
Moreover, the Jew gave himself and the lady grand assistance at the
elopement, the way they got safe out of it and escaped from her father,
who was raging in pursuit.

M'Carthy was rejoicing surely, and he married to a wife who was the
picture of the statue. Herself was in the best of humour, too, for it
was small delight she had in her own place, roaming the fields or
stopping within and six waiting maids along with her. A fine, handsome
husband was the right company for her like. They bought a lovely house
and farm of land with the money which was lent by the Jew; and they
fixed all the grandest ever was seen. After a while M'Carthy got a good
commission to be an officer, the way nothing more in the world was
needful to their happiness.

M'Carthy and his lady had a fine life of it, they lacking for no comfort
or splendour at all. The officer's commission he had brought himself
over to England from time to time, and the lady M'Carthy would mind all
until he was home. He saved up what money was superfluous, and all was
gathered to repay the loan to the Jew only for a few pounds.

Well, it happened that M'Carthy went to England, and there he fell in
with a droll sort of a man, who was the best company. They played cards
together and they drank a great power of wine. In the latter end a
dispute came about between them, for they both claimed to have the best

"I have a lady beyond in Ireland," says M'Carthy, "and she is an
ornament to the roads when she is passing alone. But no person gets
seeing her these times, and that is a big misfortune to the world."

"What's the cause?" asks the Englishman.

"I'd have a grief on me to think another man might be looking on her and
I not standing by," says M'Carthy. "So she gives me that satisfaction on
her promised word: all the time I do be away she never quits the house,
and no man body is allowed within."

The Englishman let a great laugh out of him at the words.

"You are simple enough!" says he. "Don't you know rightly when you are
not in it, herself will be feasting and entertaining and going on with
every diversion?"

M'Carthy was raging at the impertinence of him, and he offered for to

"What would that be proving?" says the Englishman. "Let you make a
powerful big bet with myself that I will not be able for to bring you a
token from your lady and a full description of her appearance."

"I'll be winning the money off you, surely!" says M'Carthy.

"Not at all," says the Englishman. "I'm not in the least uneasy about
it, for I'm full sure it's the truth I'm after speaking of how she does
be playing herself in your absence."

"You'll find me in this place and you coming back." says M'Carthy. "Let
you be prepared with the money to have along with you."

The Englishman took ship to Ireland, and he came to the house of the
lady M'Carthy. Herself was in the kitchen making a cake, and she seen
the man walking up to the door. Away she run to the parlour, and in the
hurry she forgot the lovely pearl ring she took off her finger when she
began at the cooking. Well, he found the door standing open, and he seen
the ring on the kitchen table. It was easy knowing it was no common
article would be in the possession of any one but the mistress of the
house. What did the lad do, only slip in and put it in his pocket. With
that the waiting maid came and asked his business, the lady M'Carthy was
after sending her down.

"Oh, no business at all," says he. "But I am weary travelling and I
thought I might rest at this place."

He began for to flatter the girl and to offer her bribes, and in the
latter end he got her to speak. She told him all what the mistress of
the house was like; how she had a mole under her right arm, and one on
her left knee. Moreover she gave him a few long golden hairs she got out
of the lady's comb.

The Englishman went back to M'Carthy, brought him the tokens, and
demanded the payment of the bet. And that is the way the poor gentleman
spent the money he had saved up for the Jew.

M'Carthy sent word to his wife that he was coming home, and for her to
meet him on the ship. She put her grandest raiment upon her and started
away at once. She went out to the ship and got up on the deck where she
seen her husband standing. When she went over to him he never said a
word at all, but he swept her aside with his arm the way she fell into
the water. Then he went on shore full sure he had her drowned.

But there was another ship coming in, and a miller that was on her seen
the lady struggling in the sea. He was an aged man, yet he ventured in
after her and he saved the poor creature's life.

Well, the miller was a good sort of a man and he had great compassion
for herself when she told him her story. She had no knowledge of the
cause of her husband being vexed with her, and she thought it hard to
believe the evidence of her senses that he was after striving to make
away with her. The miller advised the lady M'Carthy to go on with the
ship, which was sailing to another port, for maybe if she went home
after the man he would be destroying her.

When the ship came into the harbour the news was going of a great

The miller heard all, and he brought word to the lady that M'Carthy was
in danger of death.

"There are three charges against him," says the miller. "Your father has
him impeached for stealing you away, and you not wishful to be with him:
that is the first crime."

"That is a false charge," says she, "for I helped for to plan the whole
elopement. My father is surely saying all in good faith, but it is a lie
the whole time."

"A Jew has him accused for a sum of money he borrowed, and it was due
for repayment: that is the second crime," says the miller.

"The money was all gathered up for to pay the debt," says the lady.
"Where can it be if M'Carthy will not produce it?"

"The law has him committed for the murder of yourself: and that is the
third crime," says the miller.

"And a false charge, too, seeing you saved me in that ill hour. I am
thinking I'd do well to be giving evidence in a court of law, for it's
maybe an inglorious death they'll be giving him," says she.

"Isn't that what he laid out for yourself?" asks the miller.

"It is surely, whatever madness came on him. But I have a good wish for
him the whole time."

"If that is the way of it we had best be setting out," says he.

The lady and the miller travelled overland, it being a shorter journey
nor the one they were after coming by sea. When they got to the court of
law wasn't the judge after condemning M'Carthy; and it was little the
poor gentleman cared for the sentence of death was passed on him.

"My life is bitter and poisoned on me," says he; "maybe the grave is the
best place."

With that the lady M'Carthy stood up in the court and gave out that she
had not been destroyed at all, for the miller saved her from the sea.

They began the whole trial over again, and herself told how she planned
the elopement, and her father had no case at all. She could not tell why
M'Carthy was wishful to destroy her, and he had kept all to himself at
the first trial. But by degrees all was brought to light: the villainy
of the Englishman and the deceit was practised on them by him and the
servant girl.

It was decreed that the money was to be restored by that villain, and
the Jew was to get his payment out of it.

The lady M'Carthy's father was in such rejoicement to see his daughter,
and she alive, that he forgave herself and the husband for the
elopement. Didn't the three of them go away home together and they the
happiest people who were ever heard tell of in the world.

The Mad Pudding of Ballyboulteen.


"Moll Roe Rafferty, the daughter of ould Jack Rafferty, was a fine,
young bouncin' girl, large an' lavish, wid a purty head of hair on
her--scarlet--that bein' one of the raisons why she was called Roe, or
red; her arms and cheeks were much the colour of her hair, an' her
saddle nose was the purtiest thing of its kind that ever was on a face.

"Well, anyhow, it was Moll Rafferty that was the dilsy. It happened that
there was a nate vagabone in the neighbourhood, just as much
overburdened wid beauty as herself, and he was named Gusty Gillespie.
Gusty was what they call a black-mouth Prosbytarian, and wouldn't keep
Christmas Day, except what they call 'ould style.' Gusty was rather
good-lookin', when seen in the dark, as well as Moll herself; anyhow,
they got attached to each other, and in the end everything was arranged
for their marriage.

"Now this was the first marriage that had happened for a long time in
the neighbourhood between a Prodestant and a Catholic, and faix, there
was of the bride's uncles, ould Harry Connolly, a fairyman, who could
cure all complaints wid a secret he had, and as he didn't wish to see
his niece married to sich a fellow, he fought bitterly against the
match. All Moll's friends, however, stood up for the marriage, barrin'
him, and, of coorse, the Sunday was appointed, as I said, that they were
to be dove-tailed together.

"Well, the day arrived, and Moll, as became her, went to Mass, and Gusty
to meeting, afther which they were to join one another in Jack
Rafferty's, where the priest, Father McSorley was to slip up afther Mass
to take his dinner wid them, and to keep Mister McShuttle, who was to
marry them, company. Nobody remained at home but ould Jack Rafferty an'
his wife, who stopped to dress for dinner, for, to tell the truth, it
was to be a great let-out entirely. Maybe if all was known, too, Father
McSorley was to give them a cast of his office over and above the
ministher, in regard that Moll's friends were not altogether satisfied
at the kind of marriage which McShuttle could give them. The sorrow may
care about that--splice here, splice there--all I can say is that when
Mrs. Rafferty was goin' to tie up a big bag pudden, in walks Harry
Connolly, the fairyman, in a rage, and shouts, 'Blood and
blunder-bushes, what are yez here for?'

"'Arrah, why, Harry? Why, avick?'

"'Why, the sun's in the suds, and the moon in the high Horricks; there's
a clip-stick comin' on, and there you're both as unconsarned as if it
was about to rain mether. Go out an' cross yourselves three times in the
name o' the four Mandromarvins, for, as the prophecy says:--'Fill the
pot, Eddy, supernaculum--a blazin' star's a rare spectaculum.' Go out,
both of you, an' look at the sun, I say, an' ye'll see the condition
he's in--off!'

"Begad, sure enough, Jack gave a bounce to the door, and his wife leaped
like a two-year-ould, till they were both got on a stile beside the
house to see what was wrong in the sky.

"'Arrah, what is it, Jack?' says she, 'can you see anything?'

"'No,' says he, 'sorra the full of my eye of anything I can spy, barrin'
the sun himself, that's not visible, in regard of the clouds. God guard
us! I doubt there's something to happen.'

"'If there wasn't, Jack, what'd put Harry, that knows so much, in that
state he's in?'

"'I doubt it's this marriage,' says Jack. 'Betune ourselves, it's not
over an' above religious of Moll to marry a black-mouth, an' only for--;
but, it can't be helped now, though you see it's not a taste o' the sun
is willing to show his face upon it.'

"'As to that,' says his wife, winkin' with both eyes, 'if Gusty's
satisfied with Moll, it's enough. I know who'll carry the whip hand,
anyhow; but in the manetime let us ax Harry within what ails the sun?'

"Well, they accordingly went in, and put this question to him, 'Harry,
what's wrong, ahagur? What is it now, for if anybody alive knows 'tis

"'Ah,' said Harry, screwin' his mouth wid a kind of a dry smile, 'The
sun has a hard twist o' the colic; but never mind that, I tell you,
you'll have a merrier weddin' than you think, that's all'; and havin'
said this, he put on his hat and left the house.

"Now, Harry's answer relieved them very much, and so, afther callin' to
him to be back for dinner, Jack sat down to take a shough o' the pipe,
and the wife lost no time in tying up the pudden, and puttin' it in the
pot to be boiled.

"In this way things went on well enough for a while, Jack smokin' away
an' the wife cookin' an' dressin' at the rate of a hunt. At last, Jack,
while sittin', I said, contently at the fire, thought he could persave
an odd dancin' kind of motion in the pot that puzzled him a good deal.

"'Katty,' says he, 'what in the dickens is in this pot on the fire?'

"'Nerra a thing but the big pudden. Why do you ax?' says she.

"'Why,' says he, 'if ever a pot tuk it into its head to dance a jig,
this did. Thunder and sparbles, look at it!'

"Begad, and it was thrue enough; there was the pot bobbin' up an' down,
and from side to side, jiggin' it away as merry as a grig; an' it was
quite aisy to see that it wasn't the pot itself, but what was inside it,
that brought about the hornpipe.

"'Be the hole o' my coat,' shouted Jack, 'there's somethin' alive in it,
or it would niver cut sich capers!'

"'Begorra, there is, Jack; something sthrange entirely has got into it.
Wirra, man alive, what's to be done?'

"Jist as she spoke the pot seemed to cut the buckle in prime style, and
afther a spring that'd shame a dancin' masther, off flew the lid, and
out bounced the pudden itself, hoppin' as nimble as a pea on a drum-head
about the floor. Jack blessed himself, and Katty crossed herself. Jack
shouted and Katty screamed. 'In the name of goodness, keep your
distance; no one here injured you!'

"The pudden, however, made a set at him, and Jack lepped first on a
chair, and then on the kitchen table, to avoid it. It then danced
towards Katty, who was repatin' her prayers at the top of her voice,
while the cunnin' thief of a pudden was hoppin' an' jiggin' it around
her as if it was amused at her distress.

"'If I could get a pitchfork,' says Jack, 'I'd dale wid it--by goxty,
I'd thry its mettle.'

"'No, no,' shouted Katty, thinkin' there was a fairy in it; 'let us
spake it fair. Who knows what harm it might do? Aisy, now,' says she to
the pudden; 'aisy, dear; don't harm honest people that never meant to
offend you. It wasn't us--no, in troth, it was ould Harry Connolly that
bewitched you; pursue him, if you wish, but spare a woman like me!'

"The pudden, bedad, seemed to take her at her word, and danced away from
her towards Jack, who, like the wife, believin' there was a fairy in it,
an' that spakin' it fair was the best plan, thought he would give it a
soft word as well as her.

"'Plase your honour,' said Jack, 'she only spakes the truth, an' upon my
voracity, we both feels much obliged to you for your quietness. Faith,
it's quite clear that if you weren't a gentleman pudden, all out, you'd
act otherwise. Ould Harry, the rogue, is your mark; he's jist down the
road there, and if you go fast you'll overtake him. Be my song, your
dancin'-masther did his duty, anyway. Thank your honour! God speed you,
and may you niver meet wid a parson or alderman in your thravels.'

"Jist as Jack spoke, the pudden appeared to take the hint, for it
quietly hopped out, and as the house was directly on the roadside,
turned down towards the bridge, the very way that ould Harry went. It
was very natural, of coorse, that Jack and Katty should go and see how
it intended to thravel, and as the day was Sunday, it was but natural
too, that a greater number of people than usual were passin' the road.
This was a fact; and when Jack and his wife were seen followin' the
pudden, the whole neighbourhood was soon up and after it.

"'Jack Rafferty, what is it? Katty, ahagur, will you tell us what it

"'Why,' replied Katty, 'it's my big pudden that's bewitched, an' it's
out hot pursuin'--here she stopped, not wishin' to mention her brother's
name--'someone or other that surely put pishrogues (a fairy spell) an

"This was enough; Jack, now seein' he had assistance, found his courage
comin' back to him; so says he to Katty, 'Go home,' says he, 'an' lose
no time in makin' another pudden as good, an' here's Paddy Scanlan's
wife Bridget says she'll let you boil it on her fire, as you'll want our
own to dress for dinner; and Paddy himself will lend me a pitchfork, for
pursuin' to the morsel of that same pudden will escape, till I let the
wind out of it, now that I've the neighbours to back an' support me,'
says Jack.

"This was agreed to, an' Katty went back to prepare a fresh pudden,
while Jack an' half the townland pursued the other wid spades, graips,
pitchforks, scythes, flails, and all possible description of
instruments. On the pudden went, however, at the rate of about six Irish
miles an hour, an' sich a chase was never seen. Catholics, Prodestants,
and Prosbytarians were all afther it, armed, as I said, an' bad end to
the thing but its own activity could save it. Here it made a hop, there
a prod was made at it, but off it went, and someone, as eager to get a
slice at it on the other side, got the prod instead of the pudden. Big
Frank Farrell, the miller, of Ballyboulteen, got a prod backwards that
brought a hullabulloo out of him that you might hear at the other end of
the parish. One got a slice of the scythe, another a whack of a flail, a
third a rap of the spade, that made him look nine ways at wanst.

"'Where is it goin'?' asked one. 'My life for you, it's on its way to
meeting. Three cheers for it, if it turns to Carntaul!' 'Prod the sowl
out of it if it's a Prodestan,' shouted the others; 'if it turns to the
left, slice it into pancakes. We'll have no Prodestan' puddens here.'

"Begad, by this time the people were on the point of begginnin' to have
a regular fight about it, when, very fortunately, it took a short turn
down a little by-lane that led towards the Methodist praychin'-house,
an' in an instant all parties were in an uproar against it as a
Methodist pudden. 'It's a Wesleyan,' shouted several voices; 'an' by
this an' by that, into a Methodist chapel it won't put a foot to-day, or
we'll lose a fall. Let the wind out of it. Come, boys, where's your

"The divil pursuin' to the one of them, however, ever could touch the
pudden, and jist when they thought they had it up against the gravel of
the Methodist chapel, begad, it gave them the slip, and hops over to the
left, clane into the river, and sails away before their eyes as light as
an egg-shell.

"Now, it so happened that a little below this place the demesne wall of
Colonel Bragshaw was built up to the very edge of the river on each side
of its banks; and so, findin' there was a stop put to their pursuit of
it, they went home again, every man, woman, and child of them, puzzled
to think what the pudden was at all, what it meant, or where it was
goin'. Had Jack Rafferty an' his wife been willin' to let out the
opinion they held about Harry Connolly bewitchin' it, there is no doubt
of it but poor Harry might be badly trated by the crowd, when their
blood was up. They had sense enough, howaniver, to keep that to
themselves, for Harry, bein' an ould bachelor, was a kind friend to the
Raffertys. So, of coorse, there was all kinds of talk about it--some
guessin' this, an' some guessin' that--one party sayin' the pudden was
of their side, and another denyin' it, an' insisting it belonged to
them, an' so on.

"In the meantime, Katty Rafferty for 'fraid the dinner might come short,
went home and made another pudden much about the same size as the one
that had escaped, an' bringing it over to their next neighbour, Paddy
Scanlan's, it was put into a pot, and placed on the fire to boil, hopin'
that it might be done in time, espishilly as they were to have the
ministher, who loved a warm slice of a good pudden as well as e'er a
gentleman in Europe.

"Anyhow, the day passed; Moll and Gusty were made man an' wife, an' no
two could be more lovin'. Their friends that had been asked to the
weddin' were saunterin' about in the pleasant little groups till
dinner-time, chattin' an' laughin'; but, above all things, sthrivin' to
account for the figaries of the pudden; for, to tell the truth, its
adventures had now gone through the whole parish.

"Well, at any rate, dinner-time was drawin' near, and Paddy Scanlan was
sittin' comfortably wid his wife at the fire, the pudden boilin' before
their eyes when in walks Harry Connolly in a flutter, shoutin' 'Blood
and blunder-bushes, what are yez here for?'

"'Arrah, why, Harry--why, avick?' said Mrs. Scanlan.

"'Why,' said Harry, 'the sun's in the suds, an' the moon in the high
Horricks! Here's a clipstick comin' on, an' there you sit as
unconsarned as if it was about to rain mether! Go out, both of you, an'
look at the sun, I say, an' ye'll see the condition he's in--off!'

"'Ay, but, Harry, what's that rowled up in the tail of your cothamore
(big coat)?'

"'Out wid yez,' says Harry, 'an' pray against the clipstick--the sky's

"Begad, it was hard to say whether Paddy or the wife got out first, they
were so much alarmed by Harry's wild, thin face and piercin' eyes; so
out they went to see what was wonderful in the sky, an' kep lookin' in
every direction, but not a thing was to be seen, barrin' the sun shinin'
down wid great good-humour, an' not a single cloud in the sky.

"Paddy an' the wife now came in laughin' to scould Harry, who, no doubt,
was a great wag in his way when he wished. 'Musha, bad scran to you,
Harry--' and they had time to say no more, howandiver, for, as they were
goin' into the door, they met him comin' out of it, wid a reek of smoke
out of his tail like a limekiln.

"'Harry,' shouted Bridget, 'my sowl to glory, but the tail of your
cothamore's afire--you'll be burned. Don't you see the smoke that's out
of it?'

"'Cross yourselves three times,' said Harry, without stoppin' or even
lookin' behind him, 'for as the prophecy says, Fill the pot, Eddy--'
They could hear no more, for Harry appeared to feel like a man that
carried something a great deal hotter than he wished, as anyone might
see by the liveliness of his motions, and the quare faces he was forced
to make as he went along.

"'What the dickens is he carryin' in the skirts of his big coat?' asked

"'My sowl to happiness, but maybe he has stolen the pudden,' said
Bridget, 'for it's known that many a sthrange thing he does.'

"They immediately examined the pot, but found that the pudden was there,
as safe as tuppence, an' this puzzled them the more to think what it was
he could be carryin' about with him in the manner he did. But little
they knew what he had done while they were sky-gazin'!

"Well, anyhow, the day passed, and the dinner was ready an' no doubt but
a fine gatherin' there was to partake of it. The Prosbytarian ministher
met the Methodist praycher--a divilish stretcher of an appetite he had,
in throth--on his way to Jack Rafferty's, an' as he knew he could take
the liberty, why, he insisted on his dining wid him; for, afther all, in
thim days the clergy of all descriptions lived upon the best footin'
among one another not all at one as now--but no matther. Well, they had
nearly finished their dinner, when Jack Rafferty himself axed Katty for
the pudden; but jist as he spoke, in it came, as big as a mess-pot.

"'Gentlemen,' said he, 'I hope none of you will refuse tastin' a bit of
Katty's pudden; I don't mane the dancin' one that took to its thravels
to-day, but a good, solid fellow that she med since.'

"'To be sure we won't,' replied the priest. 'So, Jack, put a thrifle on
them three plates at your right hand, and send them over here to the
clargy, an' maybe,' he said, laughin'--for he was a droll, good-humoured
man--'maybe, Jack, we won't set you a proper example.'

"'Wid a heart an' a half, your riverence an' gintlemen; in throth, it's
not a bad example ever any of you set us at the likes, or ever will set
us, I'll go bail. An' sure, I only wish it was betther fare I had for
you; but we're humble people, gintlemen, an' so you can't expect to meet
here what you would in higher places.'

"'Betther a male of herbs,' said the Methodist praycher, 'where pace
is--' He had time to go no further, however; for, much to his amazement,
the priest an' the ministher started up from the table, jist as he was
going to swallow the first mouthful of the pudden, and, before you could
say Jack Robinson, started away at a lively jig down the floor.

"At this moment a neighbour's son came runnin' in, and tould them that
the parson was comin' to see the new-married couple, an' wish them all
happiness; an' the words were scarcely out of his mouth when he made his
appearance. What to think he knew not, when he saw the ministher footin'
it away at the rate of a weddin'. He had very little time, however, to
think; for, before he could sit down, up starts the Methodist praycher,
an', clappin' his fists in his sides, chimes in in great style along wid

"'Jack Rafferty,' says he, and, by the way, Jack was his tenant, 'what
the dickens does all this mane?' says he; 'I'm amazed!'

"'Then not a particle o' me can tell you,' says Jack; 'but will your
reverence jist taste a morsel o' pudden, merely that the young couple
may boast that you ait at their weddin'; 'for sure, if you wouldn't, who

"'Well,' says he, to gratify them, I will; so, just a morsel. But, Jack,
this bates Banagher,' says he again, puttin' the spoonful of pudden into
his mouth; 'has there been drink here?'

"'Oh, the divil a spudh,' says Jack, 'for although there's plenty in
the house, faith, it appears the gentlemen wouldn't wait for it. Unless
they tuck it elsewhere, I can make nothin' o' this.'

"He had scarcely spoken when the parson, who was an active man, cut a
caper a yard high, an' before you could bless yourself, the three clargy
were hard at work dancin', as if for a wager. Begad, it would be
unpossible for me to tell you the state the whole meetin' was in when
they see this. Some were hoarse wid laughin'; some turned up their eyes
wid wondher; many thought them mad; and others thought they had turned
up their little fingers a thrifle too often.

"'Be Goxty, it's a burnin' shame,' said one, 'to see three black-mouth
clargy in sich a state at this early hour!'" 'Thunder an' ounze, what's
over them all?' says others; 'why, one would think they were bewitched.
Holy Moses, look at the caper the Methodist cuts! An' as for the
Recthor, who would think he could handle his feet at sich a rate! Be
this, an' be that, he cuts the buckle, an' does the threblin' step
aiquil to Paddy Horaghan, the dancin'-masther himself! An' see! Bad cess
to the morsel of the parson that's not too hard at "Pease upon a
Trancher," and it upon a Sunday, too! Whirroo, gintlemen, the fun's in
yez, afther all--whish! more power to yez!'

"The sorra's own fun they had, an' no wondher; but judge of what they
felt when all at once they saw ould Jack Rafferty himself bouncin' in
among them, an' footin' it away like the best of them. Bedad, no play
could come up to it, an' nothin' could be heard but laughin', shouts of
encouragement, an' clappin' of hands like mad. Now, the minute Jack
Rafferty left the chair, where he had been carvin' the pudden, ould
Harry Connolly come over and claps himself down in his place, in ordher
to send it round, of coorse; an' he was scarcely sated when who should
make his appearance but Barney Hartigan, the piper. Barney, by the way,
had been sent for early in the day, but, bein' from home when the
message for him came, he couldn't come any sooner.

"'Begorra' says Barney, 'you're airly at the work, gintlemen! But what
does this mane? But divel may care, yez shan't want the music, while
there's a blast in the pipes, anyhow!' So sayin' he gave them "Jig
Polthogue," and afther that, "Kiss my Lady" in his best style.

"In the manetime the fun went on thick and threefold, for it must be
remembered that Harry, the ould knave, was at the pudden; an' maybe, he
didn't sarve it about in double-quick time, too! The first he helped was
the bride, and before you could say chopstick she was at it hard and
fast, before the Methodist praycher, who gave a jolly spring before her
that threw them all into convulsions. Harry liked this, and made up his
mind soon to find partners for the rest; an', to make a long story
short, barrin' the piper an' himself, there wasn't a pair of heels in
the house but was busy at the dancin' as if their lives depended on it.

"'Barney,' says Harry, 'jist taste a morsel o' this pudden; divil the
sich a bully of a pudden ever you ett. Here, your sowl! thry a snig of
it--it's beautiful!'

"'To be sure I will,' says Barney. 'I'm not the boy to refuse a good
thing. But, Harry, be quick, for you know my hands is engaged, an' it
would be a thousand pities not to keep them in music, an' they so well
inclined. Thank you, Harry. Begad, that is a fine pudden. But, blood an'
turnips! what's this for?'

"The words was scarcely out of his mouth when he bounced up, pipes an'
all, and dashed into the middle of the party. 'Hurroo! your sowls, let
us make a night of it! The Ballyboulteen boys for ever! Go it, your
reverence!--turn your partner--heel and toe, ministher. Good! Well done,
again! Whish! Hurroo! Here's for Ballyboulteen, an' the sky over it!'

"Bad luck to sich a set ever was seen together in this world, or will
again, I suppose. The worst, however, wasn't come yet, for jist as they
were in the very heat' an' fury of the dance, what do you think comes
hoppin' in among them but another pudden, as nimble an' merry as the
first! That was enough; they had all heard of it--the ministhers among
the rest--an' most of them had seen the other pudden, an' knew that
there must be a fairy in it, sure enough. Well, as I said, in it comes,
to the thick o' them; but the very appearance of it was enough. Off the
three clergymen danced, and off the whole weddiners danced, afther them,
everyone makin' the best of their way home, but not a sowl of them able
to break out of the step, if they were to be hanged for it. Troth, it
wouldn't lave a laff in you to see the parson dancin' down the road on
his way home, and the ministher and Methodist praycher cuttin' the
buckle as they went along in the opposite direction. To make short work
of it, they all danced home at last wid scarce a puff of wind in them;
and the bride an' bridegroom danced away to bed."

Frank Webber's Wager.

_From "Charles O'Malley."_

BY CHARLES LEVER (1806-1872).

I was sitting at breakfast with Webber, when Power came in hastily.

"Ha, the very man!" said he. "I say, O'Malley, here's an invitation for
you from Sir George to dine on Friday. He desired me to say a thousand
civil things about his not having made you out, regrets that he was not
at home when you called yesterday, and all that."

"By the way," said Webber, "wasn't Sir George Dashwood down in the West
lately? Do you know what took him there?"

"Oh," said Power, "I can enlighten you. He got his wife west of the
Shannon--a vulgar woman. She is now dead, and the only vestige of his
unfortunate matrimonial connexion is a correspondence kept up with him
by a maiden sister of his late wife's. She insists upon claiming the
ties of kindred upon about twenty family eras during the year, when she
regularly writes a most loving and ill-spelled epistle, containing the
latest information from Mayo, with all particulars of the Macan family,
of which she is a worthy member. To her constant hints of the acceptable
nature of certain small remittances the poor General is never
inattentive; but to the pleasing prospects of a visit in the flesh from
Miss Judy Macan, the good man is dead."

"Then, he has never yet seen her?"

"Never, and he hopes to leave Ireland without that blessing?"

"I say, Power, and has your worthy General sent me a card for his ball?"

"Not through me, Master Frank. Sir George must really be excused in this
matter. He has a most attractive, lovely daughter, just at that budding,
unsuspecting age when the heart is most susceptible of impressions; and
where, let me ask, could she run such a risk as in the chance of a
casual meeting with the redoubted lady-killer, Master Frank Webber?"

"A very strong case, certainly," said Frank; "but still, had he confided
his critical position to my honour and secrecy, he might have depended
on me; now, having taken the other line, he must abide the consequences.
I'll make fierce love to Lucy."

"But how, may I ask, and when?"

"I'll begin at the ball, man."

"Why, I thought you said you were not going?"

"There you mistake seriously. I merely said that I had not been

"Then, of course," said I, "Webber, you can't think of going, in any
case, on my account."

"My very dear friend, I go entirely upon my own. I not only shall go,
but I intend to have most particular notice and attention paid me. I
shall be prime favourite with Sir George--kiss Lucy--"

"Come, come! this is too strong."

"What do you bet I don't? There, now, I'll give you a pony a-piece, I
do. Do you say done?"

"That you kiss Miss Dashwood, and are not kicked downstairs for your
pains; are those the terms of your wager?" inquired Power.

"With all my heart. That I kiss Miss Dashwood, and am not kicked
downstairs for my pains."

"Then I say, done!"

"And with you, too, O'Malley?"

"I thank you," said I, coldly; "I'm not disposed to make such a return
for Sir George Dashwood's hospitality as to make an insult to his family
the subject of a bet."

"Why, man, what are you dreaming of? Miss Dashwood will not refuse my
chaste salute. Come, Power, I will give you the other pony."

"Agreed," said he. "At the same time, understand me distinctly--that I
hold myself perfectly eligible to winning the wager by my own
interference; for, if you do kiss her, I'll perform the remainder of the

"So I understand the agreement," said Webber, and off he went.

I have often dressed for a storming party with less of trepidation than
I felt on the evening of Sir George Dashwood's ball. It was long since I
had seen Miss Dashwood; therefore, as to what precise position I might
occupy in her favour was a matter of great doubt in my mind, and great
import to my happiness.

Our quadrille over, I was about to conduct her to a seat, when Sir
George came hurriedly up, his face greatly flushed, and betraying every
semblance of high excitement.

"Read this," said he, presenting a very dirty-looking note.

Miss Dashwood unfolded the billet, and after a moment's silence, burst
out a-laughing, while she said, "Why, really, papa, I do not see why
this should put you out much, after all. Aunt may be somewhat of a
character, as her note evinces; but after a few days----',

"Nonsense, child; there's nothing in this world I have such a dread of
as this--and to come at such a time! O'Malley, my boy, read this note,
and you will not feel surprised if I appear in the humour you see me."

I read as follows:--

  "Dear brother,--When this reaches your hand I'll not be far off. I'm
  on my way up to town, to be under Dr. Dease for the ould complaint.
  Expect me to tea; and, with love to Lucy, believe me, yours in haste,

    "Judith Macan.

"Let the sheets be well aired in my room; and if you have a spare bed,
perhaps you could prevail upon Father Magrath to stop, too."

I scarcely could contain my laughter till I got to the end of this very
free-and-easy epistle, when at last I burst forth in a hearty fit, in
which I was joined by Miss Dashwood.

"I say, Lucy," said Sir George, "there's only one thing to be done. If
this horrid woman does arrive, let her be shown to her room, and for the
few days of her stay in town, we'll neither see nor be seen by anyone."

Without waiting for a reply he was turning away, when the servant
announced, in his loudest voice, "Miss Macan."

No sooner had the servant pronounced the magical name than all the
company present seemed to stand still. About two steps in advance of the
servant was a tall, elderly lady, dressed in an antique brocade silk,
with enormous flowers gaudily embroidered upon it. Her hair was powdered
and turned back, in the fashion of fifty years before. Her short, skinny
arms were bare, while on her hands she wore black silk mittens; a pair
of green spectacles scarcely dimmed the lustre of a most piercing pair
of eyes, to whose effect a very palpable touch of rouge on the cheeks
certainly added brilliancy. There she stood, holding before her a fan
about the size of a modern tea-tray, while at each repetition of her
name by the servant she curtseyed deeply.

Sir George, armed with the courage of despair, forced his way through
the crowd, and taking her hand affectionately, bid her welcome to
Dublin. The fair Judy, at this, threw her arms about his neck, and
saluted him with a hearty smack, that was heard all over the room.

"Where's Lucy, brother? Let me see my little darling," said the lady, in
a decided accent. "There she is, I'm sure; kiss me, my honey."

This office Miss Dashwood performed with an effort at courtesy really
admirable; while, taking her aunt's arm, she led her to a sofa.

Power made his way towards Miss Dashwood, and succeeded in obtaining a
formal introduction to Miss Macan.

"I hope you will do me the favour to dance next set with me, Miss

"Really, Captain, it's very polite of you, but you must excuse me. I was
never anything great in quadrilles: but if a reel or a jig----"

"Oh, dear aunt, don't think of it, I beg of you!"

"Or even Sir Roger de Coverley," resumed Miss Macan.

"I assure you, quite equally impossible."

"Then I'm certain you waltz," said Power.

"What do you take me for, young man? I hope I know better. I wish Father
Magrath heard you ask me that question; and for all your laced

"Dearest aunt, Captain Power didn't mean to offend you; I'm certain

"Well, why did he dare to--(sob, sob)--did he see anything light about
me, that he--(sob, sob, sob)--oh, dear! oh, dear! is it for this I came
up from my little peaceful place in the West?--(sob, sob, sob)--General,
George, dear; Lucy, my love, I'm taken bad. Oh, dear! oh, dear! is there
any whiskey negus?"

After a time she was comforted.

At supper later on in the evening, I was deep in thought when a dialogue
quite near me aroused me from my reverie.

"Don't, now! don't, I tell ye; it's little ye know Galway, or ye
wouldn't think to make up to me, squeezing my foot."

"You're an angel, a regular angel. I never saw a woman suit my fancy

"Oh, behave now. Father Magrath says----"

"Who's he?"

"The priest; no less."

"Oh! bother him."

"Bother Father Magrath, young man?"

"Well, then, Judy, don't be angry; I only means that a dragoon knows
rather more of these matters than a priest."

"Well, then, I'm not so sure of that. But, anyhow, I'd have you to
remember it ain't a Widow Malone you have beside you."

"Never heard of the lady," said Power.

"Sure, it's a song--poor creature--it's a song they made about her in
the North Cork when they were quartered down in our county."

"I wish you'd sing it."

"What will you give me, then, if I do?"

"Anything--everything--my heart--my life."

"I wouldn't give a trauneen for all of them. Give me that old green ring
on your finger, then."

"It's yours," said Power, placing it gracefully upon Miss Macan's
finger; "and now for your promise."

"Well, mind you get up a good chorus, for the song has one, and here it

"Miss Macan's song!" said Power, tapping the table with his knife.

"Miss Macan's song!" was re-echoed on all sides; and before the luckless
General could interfere, she had begun:--

  "Did ye hear of the Widow Malone,
  Who lived in the town of Athlone,
  Oh! she melted the hearts
  Of the swains in them parts,
  So lovely the widow Malone,
  So lovely the Widow Malone.

  "Of lovers she had a full score,
                        Or more;
  And fortunes they all had galore,
                        In store;
  From the Minister down
  To the Clerk of the Crown,
  All were courting the Widow Malone,
  All were courting the Widow Malone.

  "But so modest was Mrs. Malone,
                        'Twas known
  No one ever could see her alone,
  Let them ogle and sigh,
  They could ne'er catch her eye,
  So bashful the Widow Malone,
  So bashful the Widow Malone.

  "Till one Mr. O'Brien from Clare,--
                        How quare,
  It's little for blushing they care,
                        Down there,
  Put his arm round her waist,
  Gave ten kisses, at laste,--
  'Oh,' says he, 'you're my Molly Malone,'
                        My own;
  'Oh,' says he, 'you're my Molly Malone.'

  "And the widow they all thought so shy,
                        My eye!
  Ne'er thought of a simper or sigh;
                        For why?
  But 'Lucius,' says she,
  'Since you've now made so free,
  You may marry your Mary Malone,
  You may marry your Mary Malone.'

  "There's a moral contained in my song,
                        Not wrong;
  And, one comfort, it's not very long,
                        But strong;
  If for widows you die,
  Larn to kiss, not to sigh,
  For they're all like sweet Mistress Malone,
  Oh! they're very like Mistress Malone."

Never did song create such a sensation as Miss Macan's.

"I insist upon a copy of 'The Widow,' Miss Macan," said Power.

"To be sure; give me a call to-morrow--let me see--about two. Father
Magrath won't be at home," said she, with a coquettish look.

"Where pray, may I pay my respects?"

Power produced a card and pencil, while Miss Macan wrote a few lines,
saying, as she handed it--

"There, now, don't read it here before all the people; they'll think it
mighty indelicate in me to make an appointment."

Power pocketed the card, and the next minute Miss Macan's carriage was

When she had taken her departure, "Doubt it who will," said Power, "she
has invited me to call on her to-morrow--written her address on my
card--told me the hour she is certain of being alone. See here!" At
these words he pulled forth the card, and handed it to a friend.

Scarcely were the eyes of the latter thrown upon the writing, when he
said, "So, this isn't it, Power!"

"To be sure it is, man. Read it out. Proclaim aloud my victory."

Thus urged, his friend read:--

  "Dear P.,--Please pay to my credit--and soon, mark ye--the two ponies
  lost this evening. I have done myself the pleasure of enjoying your
  ball, kissed the lady, quizzed the papa and walked into the cunning
  Fred Power.--Yours,


"'The Widow Malone, Ohone!' is at your service."

Sam Wham and the Sawmont.


"Knieving trouts" (they call it tickling in England) is good sport. You
go to a stony shallow at night, a companion bearing a torch; then,
stripping to the thighs and shoulders, wade in, grope with your hands
under the stones, sods, and other harbourage, till you find your game,
then grip him in your "knieve" and toss him ashore.

I remember, when a boy, carrying the splits for a servant of the family,
called Sam Wham. Now, Sam was an able young fellow, well-boned and
willing, a hard headed cudgel player, and a marvellous tough wrestler,
for he had a backbone like a sea serpent--this gained him the name of
the Twister and Twiner. He had got into the river, and with his back to
me was stooping over a broad stone, when something bolted from under the
bank on which I stood, right through his legs. Sam fell with a great
splash on his face, but in falling jammed whatever it was against the
stone. "Let go, Twister!" shouted I; "'Tis an otter, he will nip a
finger off you." "Whist!" sputtered he, as he slid his hand under the
water. "May I never read a text again if he isna a sawmont wi' a
shoulther like a hog!" "Grip him by the gills, Twister," cried I. "Saul
will I!" cried the Twiner; but just then there was a heave, a roll, a
splash, a slap like a pistol-shot: down went Sam, and up went the
salmon, spun like a shilling at a pitch-and-toss, six feet into the air.
I leaped in just as he came to the water, but my foot caught between
two stones, and the more I pulled the firmer it stuck. The fish fell
into the spot shallower than that from which he had leaped. Sam saw the
chance, and tackled to again; while I, sitting down in the stream as
best I might, held up my torch, and cried, "Fair play!" as, shoulder to
shoulder, through, out, and about, up and down, roll and tumble, to it
they went, Sam and the salmon. The Twister was never so twined before.
Yet, through cross-buttocks and capsizes innumerable, he still held on;
now haled through a pool; now haling up a bank; now heels over head; now
head over heels; now, head over heels together, doubled up in a corner;
but at last stretched fairly on his back, and foaming for rage and
disappointment; while the victorious salmon, slapping the stones with
its tail, and whirling the spray from its shoulders at every roll, came
boring and snoring up the ford. I tugged and strained to no purpose; he
flashed by me with a snort, and slid into deep water. Sam now staggered
forward with battered bones and pilled elbows, blowing like a grampus,
and cursing like nothing but himself. He extricated me, and we limped
home. Neither rose for a week; for I had a dislocated ankle, and the
Twister was troubled with a broken rib. Poor Sam! He had his brains
discovered at last by a poker in a row, and was worm's meat within three
months; yet, ere he died, he had the satisfaction of feasting on his old
antagonist, who was man's meat next morning. They caught him in a net.
Sam knew him by the twist in his tail.

Darby Doyle's Voyage to Quebec.

_From "The Dublin Penny Journal," 1832._


I tuck the road one fine morning in May, from Inchegelagh, an' got up to
the Cove safe an' sound. There I saw many ships with big broad boords
fastened to ropes, every one ov them saying "The first vessel for
Quebec." Siz I to myself, those are about to run for a wager; this one
siz she'll be first, and that one siz she'll be first. I pitched on one
that was finely painted. When I wint on boord to ax the fare, who shou'd
come up out ov a hole but Ned Flinn, an ould townsman ov my own.

"Och, is it yoorself that's there, Ned?" siz I; "are ye goin' to

"Why, an' to be shure," sez he; "I'm _mate_ ov the ship."

"Meat! that's yer sort, Ned," siz I; "then we'll only want bread. Hadn't
I betther go and pay my way?"

"You're time enough," siz Ned; "I'll tell you when we're ready for
sea--leave the rest to me, Darby."

"Och, tip us your fist," siz I; "you were always the broath of a boy;
for the sake ov ould times, Ned, we must have a dhrop ov drink, and a
bite to ate."

Many's the squeeze Ned gave my fist, telling me to leave it all to him,
and how comfortable he'd make me on the voyage. Day afther day we spint
together, waitin' for the wind, till I found my pockets begin to grow
very light. At last, siz he to me, one day afther dinner:--

"Darby, the ship will be ready for sea on the morrow--you'd betther go
on boord an' pay your way."

"Is it jokin' you are, Ned?" siz I; "shure you tould me to leave it all
to you."

"Ah! Darby," siz he, "you're for takin' a rise out o' me. But I'll stick
to my promise; only, Darby, you must pay your way."

"O, Ned," says I, "is this the way you're goin' to threat me after all?
I'm a rooin'd man; all I cou'd scrape together I spint on you. If you
don't do something for me, I'm lost. Is there no place where you cou'd
hide me from the captin?"

"Not a place," siz Ned.

"An' where, Ned, is the place I saw you comin' up out ov?"

"O, Darby, that was the hould where the cargo's stow'd."

"An' is there no other place?" siz I.

"Oh, yes," siz he, "where we keep the wather casks."

"An' Ned," siz I, "does anyone live down there?"

"Not a mother's soul," siz he.

"An' Ned," siz I, "can't you cram me down there, and give me a lock ov
straw an' a bit?"

"Why, Darby," siz he (an' he look'd mighty pittyfull), "I must thry. But
mind, Darby, you'll have to hide all day in an empty barrel, and when it
comes to my watch, I'll bring you down some prog; but if you're
diskiver'd, it's all over with me, an' you'll be put on a dissilute
island to starve."

"O Ned," siz I, "leave it all to me."

When night cum on I got down into the dark cellar, among the barrels;
and poor Ned every night brought me down hard black cakes an' salt meat.
There I lay snug for a whole month. At last, one night, siz he to me:--

"Now, Darby, what's to be done? we're within three days' sail ov Quebec;
the ship will be overhauled, and all the passengers' names call'd over."

"An' is that all that frets you, my jewel," siz I; "just get me an empty
meal-bag, a bottle, an' a bare ham bone, and that's all I'll ax."

So Ned got them for me, anyhow.

"Well, Ned," siz I, "you know I'm a great shwimmer; your watch will be
early in the morning; I'll just slip down into the sea; do you cry out
'There's a man in the wather,' as loud as you can, and leave all the
rest to me."

Well, to be sure, down into the sea I dropt without as much as a splash.
Ned roared out with the hoarseness of a brayin' ass--

"A man in the sea, a man in the sea!"

Every man, woman, and child came running up out of the holes, and the
captain among the rest, who put a long red barrel, like a gun, to his
eye--I thought he was for shootin' me! Down I dived. When I got my head
over the wather agen, what shou'd I see but a boat rowin' to me. When it
came up close, I roared out--

"Did ye hear me at last?"

The boat now run 'pon the top ov me; I was gript by the scruff ov the
neck, and dragg'd into it.

"What hard look I had to follow yees, at all at all--which ov ye is the
masther?" says I.

"There he is," siz they, pointin' to a little yellow man in a corner of
the boat.

"You yallow-lookin' monkey, but it's a'most time for you to think ov
lettin' me into your ship--I'm here plowin' and plungin' this month
afther you; shure I didn't care a thrawneen was it not that you have my
best Sunday clothes in your ship, and my name in your books."

"An' pray, what is your name, my lad?" siz the captain.

"What's my name! What i'd you give to know?" siz I, "ye unmannerly
spalpeen, it might be what's your name, Darby Doyle, out ov your
mouth--ay, Darby Doyle, that was never afraid or ashamed to own it at
home or abroad!"

"An', Mr. Darby Doyle," siz he, "do you mean to persuade us that you
swam from Cork to this afther us?"

"This is more ov your ignorance," siz I--"ay, an' if you sted three days
longer and not take me up, I'd be in Quebec before ye, only my
purvisions were out, and the few rags of bank notes I had all melted
into paste in my pocket, for I hadn't time to get them changed. But
stay, wait till I get my foot on shore; there's ne'er a cottoner in Cork
iv you don't pay for leavin' me to the marcy ov the waves."

At last we came close to the ship. Everyone on board saw me at Cove but
didn't see me on the voyage; to be sure, everyone's mouth was wide open,
crying out, "Darby Doyle!"

"It's now you call me loud enough," siz I, "ye wouldn't shout that way
when ye saw me rowlin' like a tub in a mill-race the other day fornenst
your faces." When they heard me say that, some of them grew pale as a
sheet. Nothin' was tawked ov for the other three days but Darby Doyle's
great shwim from Cove to Quebec.

At last we got to Ammerykey. I was now in a quare way; the captain
wouldn't let me go till a friend of his would see me. By this time, my
jewel, not only his friends came, but swarms upon swarms, starin' at
poor Darby. At last I called Ned.

"Ned, avic," siz I, "what's the meanin' ov the boords acrass the stick
the people walk on, and the big white boord up there?"

"Why, come over and read," siz Ned. I saw in great big black letters:--

            TO BE SEEN HERE,

         A Man that beats out Nicholas the Diver!
           He has swum from Cork to Amerrykey!!
  Proved on oath by ten of the crew and twenty passengers.
                Admittance Half a Dollar.

"Ned," siz I, "does this mean your humble sarvint?"

"Not another," siz he.

So I makes no more ado, than with a hop, skip, and jump, gets over to
the captain, who was now talkin' to a yallow fellow that was afther
starin' me out ov countenance.

"Ye are doin' it well," said I. "How much money have ye gother for my

"Be quiet, Darby," siz the captain, and he looked very much frickened.
"I have plenty, an' I'll have more for ye iv ye do what I want ye to

"An' what is it, avic?" siz I.

"Why, Darby," siz he, "I'm afther houldin a wager last night with this
gintleman for all the worth ov my ship, that you'll shwim against any
shwimmer in the world; an', Darby, if ye don't do that, I'm a gone man."

"Augh, give us your fist," siz I; "did ye ever hear ov Paddies dishaving
any man in the European world yet--barrin' themselves?"

"Well, Darby," siz he, "I'll give you a hundred dollars; but, Darby, you
must be to your word, and you shall have another hundred."

So sayin', he brought me down to the cellar.

"Now, Darby," siz he, "here's the dollars for ye."

But it was only a bit of paper he was handin' me.

"Arrah, none ov yer tricks upon thravellers," siz I; "I had betther nor
that, and many more ov them, melted in the sea; give me what won't wash
out of my pocket."

"Well, Darby," siz he, "you must have the real thing."

So he reckoned me out a hundred dollars in goold. I never saw the like
since the stockin' fell out ov the chimly on my aunt and cut her forred.

"Now, Darby," siz he, "ye are a rich man, and ye are worthy of it all."

At last the day came that I was to stand the tug. I saw the captain
lookin' very often at me. At last--

"Darby," siz he, "are you any way cow'd? The fellow you have to shwim
agenst can shwim down watherfalls an' catharacts."

"Can he, avic?" siz I; "but can he shwim up agenst them?"

An' who shou'd come up while I was tawkin' to the captain but the chap I
was to shwim with, and heard all I sed. He was so tall that he could eat
bread an' butther over my head--with a face as yallow as a kite's foot.

"Tip us the mitten," siz I, "mabouchal," siz I; "Where are we going to
shwim to? What id ye think if we swum to Keep Cleer or the Keep ov Good

"I reckon neither," siz he.

Off we set through the crowds ov ladies an' gintlemen to the shwimmin'
place. And as I was goin' I was thript up by a big loomp ov iron struck
fast in the ground with a big ring to it.

"What d'ye call that?" siz I to the captain, who was at my elbow.

"Why, Darby," siz he, "that's half an anchor."

"Have ye any use for it?" siz I.

"Not in the least," siz he; "it's only to fasten boats to."

"Maybee you'd give it to a body," siz I.

"An' welkim, Darby," siz he; "it's yours."

"God bless your honour, sir," siz I, "it's my poor father that will pray
for you. When I left home the creather hadn't as much as an anvil but
what was sthreeled away by the agint--bad end to them. This will be jist
the thing that'll match him; he can tie the horse to the ring while he
forges on the other part. Now, will ye obleege me by gettin' a couple ov
chaps to lay it on my shoulder when I get into the wather, and I won't
have to be comin' back for it afther I shake hands with this fellow."

Oh, the chap turned from yallow to white when he heard me say this. An'
siz he to the gintleman that was walkin' by _his_ side--

"I reckon I'm not fit for the shwimmin' to-day--I don't feel _myself_."

"An', murdher an' Irish, if you're yer brother, can't you send him for
yerself, an' I'll wait here till he comes. An' when will ye be able for
the shwim, avic?" siz I, mighty complisant.

"I reckon in another week," siz he.

So we shook hands and parted. The poor fellow went home, took the fever,
then began to rave. "Shwim up catharacts!--shwim to the Keep ov Good
Hope!--shwim to St. Helena!--shwim to Keep Clear!--shwim with an anchor
on his back!--oh! oh! oh!"

I now thought it best to be on the move; so I gother up my winners; and
here I sit undher my own hickory threes, as independent as anny Yankee.

Bob Burke's Duel.

_From "Tales from Blackwood."_



"At night I had fallen asleep fierce in the determination of
exterminating Brady; but with the morrow, cool reflection came--made
probably cooler by the aspersion I had suffered. How could I fight him,
when he had never given me the slightest affront? To be sure, picking a
quarrel is not hard, thank God, in any part of Ireland; but unless I was
quick about it, he might get so deep into the good graces of Dosy, who
was as flammable as tinder, that even my shooting him might not be of
any practical advantage to myself. Then, besides, he might shoot me;
and, in fact, I was not by any means so determined in the affair at
seven o'clock in the morning as I was at twelve o'clock at night. I got
home, however, dressed, shaved, etc., and turned out. 'I think,' said I
to myself, 'the best thing I can do, is to go and consult Wooden-Leg
Waddy; and, as he is an early man, I shall catch him now.' The thought
was no sooner formed than executed; and in less than five minutes I was
walking with Wooden-Leg Waddy in his garden, at the back of his house,
by the banks of the Blackwater.

"Waddy had been in the Hundred-and-First, and had seen much service in
that distinguished corps.

"Waddy had served a good deal, and lost his leg somehow, for which he
had a pension besides his half-pay, and he lived in ease and affluence
among the Bucks of Mallow. He was a great hand at settling and arranging
duels, being what we generally call in Ireland a judgmatical sort of
man--a word which, I think, might be introduced with advantage into the
English vocabulary. When I called on him, he was smoking his meerschaum,
as he walked up and down his garden in an old undressed coat, and a fur
cap on his head. I bade him good morning; to which salutation he
answered by a nod, and a more prolonged whiff.

"'I want to speak to you, Wooden-Leg,' said I, 'on a matter which nearly
concerns me,' to which I received another nod, and another whiff in

"'The fact is,' said I, 'that there is an Ensign Brady of the 48th
Quartered here, with whom I have some reason to be angry, and I am
thinking of calling him out. I have come to ask your advice whether I
should do so or not. He has deeply injured me, by interfering between me
and the girl of my affection. What ought I to do in such a case?'

"'Fight him, by all means,' said Wooden-Leg Waddy.

"'But the difficulty is this--he has offered me no affront, direct or
indirect--we have no quarrel whatever--and he has not paid any addresses
to the lady. He and I have scarcely been in contact at all. I do not see
how I can manage it immediately with any propriety. What then can I do

"'Do not fight him, by any means,' said Wooden-Leg Waddy.

"'Still, these are the facts of the case. He, whether intentionally or
not, is coming between me and my mistress, which is doing me an injury
perfectly equal to the grossest insult. How should I act?'

"'Fight him by all means,' said Wooden-Leg Waddy.

"'But then, I fear if I were to call him out on a groundless quarrel, or
one which would appear to be such, that I should lose the good graces of
the lady, and be laughed at by my friends, or set down as a dangerous
and quarrelsome companion.'

"'Do not fight him, by any means,' said Wooden-Leg Waddy.

"'Yet, as he is a military man, he must know enough of the etiquette of
these affairs to feel perfectly confident that he has affronted me; and
the opinion of the military man, standing, as of course, he does, in the
rank and position of a gentleman, could not, I think, be overlooked
without disgrace.'

"'Fight him, by all means,' said Wooden-Leg Waddy.

"'But then, talking of gentlemen, I own he is an officer of the 48th,
but his father is a fish-tackle seller in John Street, Kilkenny, who
keeps a three-halfpenny shop, where you may buy everything from a cheese
to a cheese-toaster, from a felt hat to a pair of brogues, from a pound
of brown soap to a yard of huckaback towels. He got his commission by
his father's retiring from the Ormonde Interest, and acting as
whipper-in to the sham freeholders from Castlecomer; and I am, as you
know, of the best blood of the Burkes--straight from the De Burgos
themselves--and when I think of that I really do not like to meet this
Mr. Brady.'

"'Do not fight him, by all means,' said Wooden-Leg Waddy.

"'Why,' said I, 'Wooden-Leg, my friend, this is like playing battledore
and shuttlecock; what is knocked forward with one hand is knocked back
with the other. Come, tell me what I ought to do.'

"'Well,' said Wooden-Leg, taking the meerschaum out of his mouth, 'in
dubiis auspice, etc. Let us decide by tossing a halfpenny. If it comes
down 'head,' you fight--if 'harp' you do not. Nothing can be fairer.'

"I assented.

"'Which,' said he, 'is it to be--two out of three, as at Newmarket, or
the first toss to decide?'

"'Sudden death,' said I, 'and there will soon be an end of it.'

"Up went the halfpenny, and we looked with anxious eyes for its descent,
when, unluckily, it stuck in a gooseberry bush.

"'I don't like that,' said Wooden-Leg Waddy, 'for it's a token of bad
luck. But here goes again.'

"Again the copper soared to the sky, and down it came--Head.

"'I wish you joy, my friend' said Waddy; 'you are to fight. That was my
opinion all along; though I did not like to commit myself. I can lend
you a pair of the most beautiful duelling-pistols ever put into a man's
hand--Wogden's, I swear. The last time they were out, they shot Joe
Brown, of Mount Badger, as dead as Harry the Eight.'

"'Will you be my second?' said I.

"'Why, no,' replied Wooden-leg, 'I cannot; for I am bound over by a
rascally magistrate to keep the peace, because I nearly broke the head
of a blackguard bailiff, who came here to serve a writ on a friend of
mine, with one of my spare legs. But I can get you a second at once. My
nephew, Major Mug, has just come to me on a few days' visit, and, as he
is quite idle it will give him some amusement to be your second. Look up
at his bedroom--you see he is shaving himself.'

"In a short time the Major made his appearance, dressed with a most
military accuracy of costume. There was not a speck of dust on his
well-brushed blue surtout--not a vestige of hair, except the regulation
whiskers, on his closely-shaven countenance. His hat was brushed to the
most glossy perfection--his boots shone in the jetty glow of Day and
Martin. There was scarcely an ounce of flesh on his hard and
weather-beaten face, and as he stood rigidly upright, you would have
sworn that every sinew and muscle of his body was as stiff as whipcord.
He saluted us in military style, and was soon put in possession of the
case. Wooden-Leg Waddy insinuated that there were hardly, as yet,
grounds for a duel.

"'I differ,' said Major Mug, 'decidedly--the grounds are ample. I never
saw a clearer case in my life, and I have been principal or second in
seven-and-twenty. If I collect your story rightly, Mr. Burke, he gave
you an abrupt answer in the field, which was highly derogatory to the
lady in question, and impertinently rude to yourself?'

"'He certainly,' said I, 'gave me what we call a short answer; but I did
not notice it at the time, and he has since made friends with the young

"'It matters nothing,' observed Major Mug, 'what you may think, or she
may think. The business is now in my hands, and I must see you through
it. The first thing to be done is to write him a letter. Send out for
paper--let it be gilt-edged, Waddy,--that we may do the thing genteelly.
I'll dictate, Mr. Burke, if you please.'

"And so he did. As well as I can recollect, the note was as follows:--

  "'Spa-Walk, Mallow, June 3, 18--

    "'Eight o'clock in the morning.

  "'Sir,--A desire for harmony and peace, which has at all times
  actuated my conduct, prevented me, yesterday, from asking you the
  meaning of the short and contemptuous message which you commissioned
  me to deliver to a certain young lady of our acquaintance whose name I
  do not choose to drag into a correspondence. But, now that there is no
  danger of its disturbing anyone, I must say that in your desiring me
  to tell that young lady she might consider herself as d----d, when she
  asked you to tea after inadvertently riding over you in the hunting
  field, you were guilty of conduct highly unbecoming of an officer and
  a gentleman, and subversive of the discipline of the hunt. I have the
  honour to be, sir,

  "'Your most obedient humble servant,


  "'P.S.--This note will be delivered to you by my friend, Major Mug, of
  the 3rd West Indian; and you will, I trust, see the propriety of
  referring him to another gentleman without further delay.'

"'That, I think, is neat,' said the Major. 'Now, seal it with wax, Mr.
Burke, with wax--and let the seal be your arms. That's right. Now direct

"'Ensign Brady?'

"'No--no--the right thing would be, 'Mr. Brady, Ensign, 48th Foot,' but
custom allows 'Esquire,' that will do.--'Thady Brady, Esquire, Ensign,
48th Foot, Barracks, Mallow.' He shall have it in less than a quarter of
an hour.'

"The Major was as good as his word, and in about half-an-hour he brought
back the result of his mission. The Ensign, he told us, was extremely
reluctant to fight, and wanted to be off on the ground that he meant no
offence, did not even remember having used the expression, and offered
to ask the lady if she conceived for a moment he had any idea of saying
anything but what was complimentary to her.

"'In fact,' said the Major, 'he at first plumply refused to fight; but I
soon brought him to reason. 'Sir,' said I, 'you either consent to fight
or refuse to fight. In the first case, the thing is settled to hand, and
we are not called upon to inquire if there was an affront or not--in the
second case, your refusal to comply with a gentleman's request is, of
itself, an offence for which he has a right to call you out. Put it,
then, on the grounds, you must fight him, it is perfectly indifferent to
me what the grounds may be; and I have only to request the name of your
friend, as I too much respect the coat you wear to think that there can
be any other alternative.' This brought the chap to his senses, and he
referred me to Captain Codd, of his own regiment, at which I felt much
pleased, because Codd is an intimate friend of my own, he and I having
fought a duel three years ago in Falmouth, in which I lost the top of
this little finger, and he his left whisker. It was a near touch, he is
as honourable a man as ever paced a ground; and I am sure that he will
no more let his man off the field until business is done than I would

"I own," continued Burke, "I did not half relish this announcement of
the firm purpose to our seconds; but I was in for it, and could not get
back. I sometimes thought Dosy a dear purchase at such an expense; but
it was no use to grumble. Major Mug was sorry to say that there was a
review to take place immediately at which the Ensign must attend, and it
was impossible for him to meet me until the evening; 'but,' he added,
'at this time of the year it can be of no great consequence. There will
be plenty of light till nine, but I have fixed seven. In the meantime
you may as well divert yourself with a little pistol practice, but do it
on the sly, as, if they were shabby enough to have a trial it would not
tell well before the jury.'

"Promising to take a quiet chop with me at five, the Major retired,
leaving me not quite contented with the state of affairs. I sat down and
wrote a letter to my cousin, Phil Burdon, of Kanturk, telling him what I
was about and giving directions what was to be done in the case of any
fatal event. I communicated to him the whole story--deplored my unhappy
fate in being thus cut off in the flower of my youth--left him three
pairs of buckskin breeches--and repented my sins. This letter I
immediately packed off by a special messenger, and then began a
half-a-dozen others, of various styles of tenderness and sentimentality,
to be delivered after my melancholy decease. The day went off fast
enough, I assure you; and at five the Major, and Wooden-Leg Waddy,
arrived in high spirits.

"'Here, my boy,' said Waddy, handing me the pistols, 'here are the
flutes; and pretty music, I can tell you, they make.'

"'As for dinner,' said Major Mug, 'I do not much care; but, Mr. Burke,
I hope it is ready, as I am rather hungry. We must dine lightly,
however, and drink not much. If we come off with flying colours, we may
crack a bottle together by-and-by; in case you shoot Brady, I have
everything arranged for our keeping out of the way until the thing blows
over--if he shoots you, I'll see you buried. Of course, you would not
recommend anything so ungenteel as a prosecution? No. I'll take care it
shall appear in the papers, and announced that Robert Burke, Esq., met
his death with becoming fortitude, assuring the unhappy survivor that he
heartily forgave him, and wished him health and happiness.'

"'I must tell you,' said Wooden-Leg Waddy, 'it's all over Mallow and the
whole town will be on the ground to see it. Miss Dosy knows of it, and
she is quite delighted--she says she will certainly marry the survivor.
I spoke to the magistrate to keep out of the way, and he promised that,
though it deprived him of a great pleasure he would go and dine five
miles off--and know nothing about it. But here comes dinner, let us be

"I cannot say that I played on that day as brilliant a part with the
knife and fork as I usually do, and did not sympathise much in the
speculations of my guests, who pushed the bottle about with great
energy, recommending me, however, to refrain. At last the Major looked
at his watch, which he had kept lying on the table before him from the
beginning of dinner--started up--clapped me on the shoulder, and
declaring it only wanted six minutes and thirty-five seconds of the
time, hurried me off to the scene of action--a field close by the

"There certainly was a miscellaneous assemblage of the inhabitants of
Mallow, all anxious to see the duel. They had pitted us like game-cocks,
and bets were freely taken as to the chances of our killing one another,
and the particular spots. One betted on my being hit in the jaw, another
was so kind as to lay the odds on my knee. The tolerably general opinion
appeared to prevail that one or other of us was to be killed; and much
good-humoured joking took place among them while they were deciding
which. As I was double the thickness of my antagonist, I was clearly the
favourite for being shot, and I heard one fellow near me say, 'Three to
two on Burke, that he's shot first--I bet in tenpennies.'

"Brady and Codd soon appeared, and the preliminaries were arranged with
much punctilio between our seconds, who mutually and loudly extolled
each other's gentleman-like mood of doing business. Brady could scarcely
stand with fright, and I confess that I did not feel quite as Hector of
Troy, or the Seven Champions of Christendom are reported to have done on
similar occasions. At last the ground was measured--the pistols handed
to the principals--the handkerchief dropped--whiz! went the bullet
within an inch of my ear--and crack! went mine exactly on Ensign Brady's
waistcoat pocket. By an unaccountable accident, there was a five
shilling piece in that very pocket, and the ball glanced away, while
Brady doubled himself down, uttering a loud howl that might be heard
half-a-mile off. The crowd was so attentive as to give a huzza for my

"Codd ran up to his principal, who was writhing as if he had ten
thousand colics, and soon ascertained that no harm was done.

"'What do you propose,' said he to my second--'What do you propose to
do, Major?'

"'As there is neither blood drawn nor bone broken,' said the Major, 'I
think that shot goes for nothing.'

"'I agree with you,' said Captain Codd.

"'If your party will apologise,' said Major Mug, 'I'll take my man off
the ground.'

"'Certainly,' said Captain Codd, 'you are quite right, Major, in asking
the apology, but you know that it is my duty to refuse it.'

"'You are correct, Captain,' said the Major; 'I then formally require
that Ensign Brady apologise to Mr. Burke.'

"'I, as formally, refuse it,' said Captain Codd.

"'We must have another shot then,' said the Major.

"'Another shot, by all means,' said the Captain.

"'Captain Codd,' said the Major, 'you have shown yourself in this, as in
every transaction of your life, a perfect gentleman.'

"'He who would dare to say,' replied the Captain, 'that Major Mug is not
among the most gentleman-like men in the service, would speak what is

"Our seconds bowed, took a pinch of snuff together, and proceeded to
load the pistols. Neither Brady nor I were particularly pleased at these
complimentary speeches of the gentlemen, and, I am sure, had we been
left to ourselves, would have declined the second shot. As it was, it
appeared inevitable.

"Just, however, as the process of loading was completing, there appeared
on the ground my cousin Phil Purdon, rattling in on his black mare as
hard as he could lick--

"'I want to speak to the plaintiff in this action--I mean, to one of
the parties in this duel. I want to speak to you, Bob Burke.'

"'The thing is impossible, sir,' said Major Mug.

"'Perfectly impossible, sir,' said Codd.

"'Possible or impossible is nothing to the question,' shouted Purdon;
'Bob, I must speak to you.'

"'It is contrary to all regulation,' said the Major.

"'Quite contrary,' said the Captain.

"Phil, however, persisted, and approached me: 'Are you fighting about
Dosy Mac?' said he to me, in a whisper.

"'Yes,' I replied.

"'And she is to marry the survivor, I understand?'

"'So I am told,' said I.

"'Back out, Bob, then; back out, at the rate of a hunt. Old Mick
MacNamara is married.'

"'Married!' I exclaimed.

"'Poz,' said he. 'I drew the articles myself. He married his housemaid,
a girl of eighteen; and,' here he whispered.

"'What,' I cried, 'six months!'

"'Six months,' said he, 'an' no mistake.'

"'Ensign Brady,' said I, immediately coming forward, 'there has been a
strange misconception in this business. I here declare, in presence of
this honourable company, that you have acted throughout like a man of
honour, and a gentleman; and you leave the ground without a stain on
your character.'

"Brady hopped three feet off the ground with joy at the unexpected
deliverance. He forgot all etiquette, and came forward to shake me by
the hand.

"'My dear Burke,' said he, 'it must have been a mistake: let us swear
eternal friendship.'

"'For ever,' said I. 'I resign you Miss Theodosia.'

"'You are too generous,' he said, 'but I cannot abuse your generosity.'

"'It is unprecedented conduct,' growled Major Mug. 'I'll never be second
to a Pekin again.'

"'My principal leaves the ground with honour,' said Captain Codd,
looking melancholy, nevertheless.

"'Humph!' grunted Wooden-Leg Waddy, lighting his meerschaum.

"The crowd dispersed much displeased, and I fear my reputation for
valour did not rise among them. I went off with Purdon to finish a jug
at Carmichael's, and Brady swaggered off to Miss Dosy's. His renown for
valour won her heart. It cannot be denied that I sunk deeply in her
opinion. On that very evening Brady broke his love, and was accepted.
Mrs. Mac. opposed, but the red-coat prevailed.

"'He may rise to be a general,' said Dosy, 'and be a knight, and then I
will be Lady Brady.'

"'Or, if my father should be made an earl, angelic Theodosia, you would
be Lady Thady Brady,' said the Ensign.

"'Beautiful prospect!' cried Dosy, 'Lady Thady Brady! What a harmonious

"But why dally over the detail of my unfortunate loves? Dosy and the
Ensign were married before the accident which had befallen her uncle was
discovered; and if they were not happy, why, then, you and I may. They
have had eleven children, and, I understand, he now keeps a comfortable
eating-house close by Cumberland Basin, in Bristol. Such was my duel
with Ensign Brady of the 48th."

Billy Malowney's Taste of Love and Glory.

_From "The Purcell Papers."_


Let the reader fancy a soft summer evening, the fresh dews falling on
bush and flower. The sun has just gone down, and the thrilling vespers
of thrushes and blackbirds ring with a wild joy through the saddened
air; the west is piled with fantastic clouds, and clothed in tints of
crimson and amber, melting away into a wan green, and so eastward into
the deepest blue, through which soon the stars will begin to peep.

Let him fancy himself seated upon the low mossy wall of an ancient
churchyard, where hundreds of grey stones rise above the sward, under
the fantastic branches of two or three half-withered ash-trees,
spreading their arms in everlasting love and sorrow over the dead.

The narrow road upon which I and my companion await the tax-cart that is
to carry me and my basket, with its rich fruitage of speckled trout,
away, lies at his feet, and far below spreads an undulating plain,
rising westward into soft hills, and traversed (every here and there
visibly) by a winding stream which, even through the mists of evening,
catches and returns the funeral glories of the skies.

As the eye traces its wayward wanderings, it loses them for a moment in
the heaving verdure of white-thorns and ash, from among which floats
from some dozen rude chimneys, mostly unseen, the transparent blue film
of turf smoke. There we know, although we cannot see it, the steep old
bridge of Carrickdrum spans the river; and stretching away far to the
right the valley of Lisnamoe; its steeps and hollows, its straggling
hedges, its fair-green, its tall scattered trees, and old grey tower,
are disappearing fast among the discoloured tints and blaze of evening.

Those landmarks, as we sit listlessly expecting the arrival of our
modest conveyance, suggest to our companion--a bare-legged Celtic
brother of the gentle craft, somewhat at the wrong side of forty, with a
turf-coloured caubeen, patched frieze, a clear brown complexion,
dark-grey eyes and a right pleasant dash of roguery in his features--the
tale, which, if the reader pleases, he is welcome to hear along with me
just as it falls from the lips of our humble comrade.

His words I can give, but your own fancy must supply the advantages of
an intelligent, expressive countenance, and what is, perhaps, harder
still, the harmony of his glorious brogue, that, like the melodies of
our own dear country, will leave a burden of mirth or of sorrow with
nearly equal propriety, tickling the diaphragm as easily as it plays
with the heart-strings, and is in itself a national music that, I trust,
may never, never--scouted and despised though it be--never cease, like
the lost tones of our harp, to be heard in the fields of my country, in
welcome or endearment, in fun or in sorrow, stirring the hearts of
Irishmen and Irish women.

My friend of the caubeen and naked shanks, then, commenced, and
continued his relation, as nearly as possible, in the following words:--

Av coorse ye often heerd talk of Billy Malowney, that lived by the
bridge of Carrickadrum. "Leumarinka" was the name they put on him, he
was sich a beautiful dancer. An' faix, it's he was the rale sportin'
boy, every way--killin' the hares, and gaffin' the salmons, an' fightin'
the men, an' funnin' the women, and coortin' the girls; an', be the same
token, there was not a colleen inside iv his jurisdiction but was
breakin' her heart wid the fair love iv him.

Well, this was all pleasand enough, to be sure, while it lasted; but
inhuman beings is born to misfortune, an' Bill's divarshin was not to
last always. A young boy can't be continually coortin' and kissin' the
girls (an' more's the pity) without exposin' himself to the most eminent
parril; an' so signs an' what should happen Billy Malowney himself, but
to fall in love at last wid little Molly Donovan, in Coolamoe.

I never could ondherstand why in the world it was Bill fell in love wid
her, above all the girls in the country. She was not within four stone
weight iv being as fat as Peg Brallaghan; and as for redness in the
face, she could not hould a candle to Judy Flaherty. (Poor Judy! she was
my sweetheart, the darlin', an' coorted me constant, ever entil she
married a boy of the Butlers; an' it's twenty years now since she was
buried under the ould white-thorn in Garbally. But that's no matther!).

Well, at any rate, Molly Donovan tuck his fancy an' that's everything!
She had smooth brown hair--as smooth as silk--an' a pair iv soft coaxin'
eyes--an' the whitest little teeth you ever seen; an', bedad, she was
every taste as much in love wid himself as he was.

Well, now, he was raly stupid wid love: there was not a bit of fun left
in him. He was good for nothin' an airth bud sittin' under bushes,
smokin' tobacky, and sighin' till you'd wonder how in the world he got
wind for it all.

An', bedad, he was an illigant scholar, moreover an', so signs by, it's
many's the song he made about her; an' if you'd be walkin' in the
evening, a mile away from Carrickadrum, begorra you'd hear him singing
out like a bull, all across the country, in her praises.

Well, ye may be sure, ould Tim Donovan and the wife was not a bit too
well plased to see Bill Malowney coortin' their daughter Molly; for, do
ye mind, she was the only child they had, and her fortune was
thirty-five pounds, two cows, and five illigant pigs, three iron pots, a
skillet, an' a trifle iv poultry in hand; and no one knew how much
besides, whenever the Lord id be plased to call the ould people out of
the way into glory!

So, it was not likely ould Tim Donovan id be fallin' in love wid poor
Bill Malowney as aisy as the girls did; for, barrin' his beauty, an' his
gun, an' his dhudheen, an' his janious, the divil a taste of property iv
any sort or description he had in the wide world!

Well, as bad as that was, Billy would not give in that her father and
mother had the smallest taste iv a right to intherfare, good or bad.

"An' you're welcome to rafuse me," says he, "whin' I ax your lave," says
he; "an' I'll ax your lave," says he, "whenever I want to coort
yourselves," says he; "but it's your daughter I'm coortin' at the
present," says he, "an' that's all I'll say," says he; "for I'd a soon
take a doase of salts as be discoursin' ye," says he.

So it was a rale blazin' battle betune himself and the ould people; an',
begorra, there was no soart iv blaguardin' that did not pass betune
them; an' they put a solemn injection on Molly again seein' him or
meetin' him for the future.

But it was all iv no use. You might as well be pursuadin' the birds agin
flying, or sthrivin' to coax the stars out of the sky into your hat, as
be talking common sinse to them that's fairly bothered and burstin' wid
love. There's nothin' like it. The toothache and colic together id
compose you betther for an argyment than itself. It leaves you fit for
nothin' bud nansinse.

It's stronger than whisky, for one good drop iv it will make you drunk
for one year, and sick, begorra, for a dozen.

It's stronger than the say, for it'll carry you round the world an'
never let you sink, in sunshine or storm; an', begorra, it's stronger
than Death himself, for it is not afeard iv him, bedad, but dares him in
every shape.

Bud lovers has quarrels sometimes, and, begorra, when they do, you'd
a'most imagine they hated one another like man and wife. An' so, signs
an', Billy Malowney and Molly Donovan fell out one evening at ould Tom
Dundon's wake; an' whatever came betune them, she made no more about it
but just draws her cloak round her, and away wid herself and the
sarvant-girl home again, as if there was not a corpse, or a fiddle, or a
taste of divarsion in it.

Well, Billy Malowney follied her down the boreen, to try could he
deludher her back again; but, if she was bitther before, she gave it to
him in airnest when she got him alone to herself, and to that degree
that he wished her safe home, short and sulky enough, an' walked back
again, as mad as the devil himself, to the wake, to pay respect to poor
Tom Dundon.

Well, my dear, it was aisy seen there was something wrong wid Billy
Malowney, for he paid no attintion for the rest of the evening to any
soart of divarsion but the whisky alone; an' every glass he'd drink it's
what he'd be wishing the divil had the woman, an' the worst iv bad luck
to all soarts iv courting, until, at last, wid the goodness iv the
sperits, an' the badness iv his temper, an' the constant flusthration iv
cursin', he grew all as one as you might say almost, saving your
presince, bastely drunk!

Well, who should he fall in wid, in that childish condition, as he was
deploying along the road almost as straight as the letter S, an' cursin'
the girls, an' roarin' for more whisky, but the recruiting-sargent iv
the Welsh Confusileers.

So, cute enough, the sargent begins to convarse him, an' it was not long
until he had him sitting in Murphy's public-house, wid an elegant dandy
iv punch before him, an' the king's money safe an' snug in the lowest
wrinkle of his breeches pocket.

So away wid him, and the dhrums and fifes playing, an' a dozen more
unforthunate bliggards just listed along with him, an' he shakin' hands
wid the sargent, and swearin' agin the women every minute, until, be the
time he kem to himself, begorra, he was a good ten miles on the road to
Dublin, an' Molly and all behind him.

It id be no good tellin' you iv the letters he wrote to her from the
barracks there, nor how she was breaking her heart to go and see him
just wanst before he'd go; but the father and mother would not allow iv
it be no manes.

An' so in less time than you'd be thinkin' about it, the colonel had him
polished off into a rale elegant soger, wid his gun exercise, and his
bagnet exercise, and his small sword, and broad sword, and pistol and
dagger, an' all the rest, an' then away wid him on board a man-a-war to
furrin parts, to fight for King George agin Bonypart, that was great in
them times.

Well, it was very soon in everyone's mouth how Billy Malowney was batin'
all before him, astonishin' the ginerals, and frightenin' the inimy to
that degree, there was not a Frinchman dare say parley voo outside of
the rounds iv his camp.

You may be sure Molly was proud iv that same, though she never spoke a
word about it; until at last news kem home that Billy Malowney was
surrounded an' murdered be the Frinch army, under Napoleon Bonypart
himself. The news was brought by Jack Bryan Dhas, the pedlar, that said
he met the corporal iv the regiment on the quay iv Limerick, an' how he
brought him into a public-house and thrated him to a naggin, and got all
the news about poor Billy Malowney out iv him while they war dhrinkin'
it; an' a sorrowful story it was.

The way it happened, accordin' as the corporal tould him, was jist how
the Dook iv Wellington detarmined to fight a rale tarin' battle wid the
Frinch, and Bonypart at the same time was aiqually detarmined to fight
the divil's own scrimmidge wid the British foorces.

Well, as soon as the business was pretty near ready at both sides,
Bonypart and the general next undher himself gets up behind a bush, to
look at their inimies through spy-glasses, and thry would they know any
iv them at the distance.

"Bedad!" says the gineral, afther a divil iv a long spy, "I'd bet half a
pint," says he, "that's Billy Malowney himself," says he, "down there,"
says he.

"Och!" says Bonypart, "do you tell me so?" says he--"I'm fairly
heart-scalded with that same Billy Malowney," says he; "an' I think if I
wanst got shut iv him, I'd bate the rest of them aisy," says he.

"I'm thinking so myself," says the general, says he; "but he's a tough
bye," says he.

"Tough!" says Bonypart, "he's the divil," says he.

"Begorra, I'd be better plased," says the gineral, says he, "to take
himself than the Duke iv Willinton," says he, "an' Sir Edward Blakeney
into the bargain," says he.

"The Duke of Wellinton and Gineral Blakeney," says Bonypart, "is great
for planning, no doubt," says he; "but Billy Malowney's the boy for
action," says he--"an' action's everything, just now," says he.

So with that Bonypart pushes up his cocked hat, and begins scratching
his head, and thinking and considherin' for the bare life, and at last
says he to the gineral:

"Gineral Commandher iv all the Foorces," says he, "I've hot it," says
he: "ordher out the forlorn hope," says he, "an' give them as much
powdher, both glazed and blasting," says he, "an' as much bullets, do ye
mind, an' swan-dhrops an' chainshot," says he, "an' all soorts iv
waipons an' combustables as they can carry; an' let them surround Bill
Malowney," says he, "an' if they can get any soort iv an advantage,"
says he, "let them knock him to smithereens," says he, "an' then take
him presner," says he; "an' tell all the bandmen iv the Frinch army,"
says he, "to play up 'Garryowen,' to keep up their sperits," says he,
"all the time they're advancin'. And you may promise them anything you
like in my name," says he; "for, by my sowl, I don't think it's many iv
them 'ill come back to throuble us," says he, winkin' at him.

So away with the gineral, an' he ordhers out the forlorn hope, an' tells
the band to play, an' everything else, just as Bonypart desired him. An'
sure enough whin Billy Malowney heerd the music where he was standin'
taking a blast of the dhudheen to compose his mind for murdherin' the
Frinchmen as usual, being mighty partial to that tune intirely, he cocks
his ear a one side, an' down he stoops to listen to the music; but,
begorra, who should be in his rare all the time but a Frinch grannideer
behind a bush, and seeing him stooped in a convenient forum, bedad he
let flies at him straight, and fired him right forward between the legs
an' the small iv the back, glory be to God! with what they call (saving
your presence) a bum-shell.

Well, Bill Malowney let one roar out iv him, an' away he rolled over the
field iv battle like a slitther (as Bonypart and the Duke iv Wellington,
that was watching the manoeuvres from a distance, both consayved) into

An' sure enough the Frinch was overjoyed beyant all bounds, an' small
blame to them--an' the Duke of Wellington, I'm toult, was never all out
the same man sinst.

At any rate, the news kem home how Billy Malowney was murdhered by the
Frinch in furrin parts.

Well, all this time, you may be sure, there was no want iv boys comin'
to coort purty Molly Donovan; but one way ar another, she always kept
puttin' them off constant. An' though her father and mother was
nathurally anxious to get rid of her respickably, they did not like to
marry her off in spite iv her teeth.

An' this way, promising one while and puttin' it off another, she
conthrived to get on from one Shrove to another, until near seven years
was over and gone from the time when Billy Malowney listed for furrin

It was nigh hand a year from the time whin the news iv Leum-a-rinka
bein' killed by the Frinch came home, an' in place iv forgettin' him, as
the saisins wint over, it's what Molly was growin' paler and more
lonesome every day, antil the neighbours thought she was fallin' into a
decline; and this is the way it was with her whin the fair of Lisnamoe
kem round.

It was a beautiful evenin', just at the time iv the reapin' iv the oats,
and the sun was shinin' through the red clouds far away over the hills
iv Cahirmore.

Her father an' mother, an' the biys an' girls, was all away down in the
fair, and Molly sittin' all alone on the step of the stile, listenin' to
the foolish little birds whistlin' among the leaves--and the sound of
the mountain-river flowin' through the stones an' bushes--an' the crows
flyin' home high overhead to the woods iv Glinvarlogh--an' down in the
glen, far away, she could see the fair-green iv Lisnamoe in the mist,
an' sunshine among the grey rocks and threes--an' the cows an' horses,
an' the blue frieze, an' the red cloaks, an' the tents, an' the smoke,
an' the ould round tower--all as soft an' as sorrowful as a dhrame iv
ould times.

An' while she was looking this way, an' thinking iv Leum-a-rinka--poor
Bill iv the dance, that was sleepin' in his lonesome glory in the fields
of Spain--she began to sing the song he used to like so well in the ould

  "Shule, shule, shule a-roon;"

an' when she ended the verse, what do you think but she heard a manly
voice just at the other side iv the hedge, singing the last words over

Well she knew it; her heart fluttered up like a little bird that id be
wounded, and then dhropped still in her breast. It was himself. In a
minute he was through the hedge and standing before her.

"Leum!" says she.

"Mavourneen cuishla machree!" says he; and without another word they
were locked in one another's arms.

Well, it id only be nansinse for me thryin' to tell ye all the foolish
things they said, and how they looked in one another's faces, an'
laughed, an' cried, an' laughed again; and how, when they came to
themselves' and she was able at last to believe it was raly Billy
himself that was there, actially holdin' her hand, and lookin' in her
eyes the same way as ever, barrin' he was browner and boulder, an' did
not, maybe, look quite as merry in himself as he used to do in former
times--an' fondher for all, an' more lovin' than ever--how he tould her
all about the wars wid the Frinchmen--an' how he was wounded, and left
for dead in the field of battle, bein' shot through the breast, and how
he was discharged, an' got a pinsion iv a full shillin' a day--and how
he was come back to live the rest iv his days in the sweet glen iv
Lisnamoe, an' (if only she'd consint) to marry herself in spite iv them

Well, ye may aisily think they had plinty to talk about, afther seven
years without seeing one another; and so signs on, the time flew by as
swift an' as pleasant as a bird on the wing, an' the sun wint down, an'
the moon shone sweet, yet they didn't mind a ha'port about it, but kept
talkin an' whisperin', an' whisperin' an' talkin'; for it's wondherful
how often a tinder-hearted girl will bear to hear a purty boy tellin'
her the same story constant over an' over; ontil at last, sure enough,
they heerd the ould man himself comin' up the boreen, singin' the
"Colleen Rue"--a thing he never done barrin' whin he had a dhrop in; an'
the misthress walkin' in front iv him an' two illigant Kerry cows he
just bought in the fair, an' the sarvint biys dhriving them behind.

"Oh, blessed hour!" says Molly, "here's my father."

"I'll spake to him this minute," says Bill.

"Oh, not for the world," says she; "he's singin' the 'Colleen Rue,'"
says she, "and no one dar raison with him," says she.

"An' where'll I go?" says he, "for they're into the haggard an top iv
us," says he, "an' they'll see me iv I lep through the hedge," says he.

"Thry the pig-sty," says she, "mavourneen," says she, "in the name iv
God," says she.

"Well, darlint," says he, "for your sake," says he, "I'll condescend to
them animals," says he.

An' wid that he makes a dart to get in; bud, begorra, it was too
late--the pigs was all gone home, and the pig-sty was as full as the
Birr coach wid six inside.

"Och! blur-an'-agers," says he, "there is not room for a suckin'-pig,"
says he, "let alone a Christian," says he.

"Well, run into the house, Billy," says she, "this minute," says she,
"an' hide yourself antil they're quiet," says she, "an' thin you can
steal out," says she, "anknownst to them all," says she.

"I'll do your biddin'," says he, "Molly asthore," says he.

"Run in thin," says she, "an' I'll go an' meet them," says she.

So wid that away wid her, and in wint Billy, an' where did he hide
himself bud in a little closet that was off iv the room where the ould
man and woman slep'. So he closed the doore, and sot down in an ould
chair he found there convanient.

Well, he was not well in it when all the rest iv them comes into the
kitchen, an' ould Tim Donovan singin' the "Colleen Rue" for the bare
life, an' the rest i' them sthrivin' to humour him, an doin' exactly
everything he bid them, because they seen he was foolish be the manes of
the liquor.

Well, to be sure all this kep' them long enough, you may be sure, from
goin' to bed, so that Billy could get no manner iv an advantage to get
out iv the house, and so he sted sittin' in the dark closet in state,
cursin' the "Colleen Rue," and wondhering to the divil whin they'd get
the ould man into his bed. An', as if that was not delay enough, who
should come in to stop for the night but Father O'Flaherty, of
Cahirmore, that was buyin' a horse at the fair! An' av course, there was
a bed to be med down for his Raverance, an' some other attintions; an' a
long discoorse himself an' ould Mrs. Donovan had about the slaughter iv
Billy Malowney, an' how he was buried on the field of battle; an' his
Raverance hoped he got a dacent funeral, an' all the other convaniences
iv religion. An' so you may suppose it was pretty late in the night
before all iv them got to their beds.

Well, Tim Donovan could not settle to sleep at all at all, an' he kep'
discoorsin' the wife about the new cows he bought, an' the strippers he
sould, an' so on for better than an hour, ontil from one thing to
another he kem to talk about the pigs, an' the poulthry, and at last,
having nothing betther to discoorse about, he begun at his daughter
Molly, an' all the heartscald she was to him be raisin iv refusin' the
men. An' at last says he:

"I onderstand," says he, "very well how it is," says he. "It's how she
was in love," says he, "wid that bliggard, Billy Malowney," says he,
"bad luck to him!" says he; for by this time he was coming to his

"Ah!" says the wife, says she, "Tim darlint, don't be cursin' them
that's dead an' buried," says she.

"An' why would not I," says he, "if they desarve it?" says he.

"Whisht," says she, "an' listen to that," says she. "In the name of the
Blessed Vargin," says she, "what is it?" says she.

An' sure enough what was it bud Bill Malowney that was dhroppin' asleep
in the closet, an' snorin' like a church organ.

"Is it a pig," says he, "or is it a Christian?"

"Arra! listen to the tune iv it," says she; "sure a pig never done the
like iv that," says she.

"Whatever it is," says he, "it's in the room wid us," says he. "The Lord
be marciful to us!" says he.

"I tould you not to be cursin'," says she; "bad luck to you," says she,
"for an ommadhaun!" for she was a very religious woman in herself.

"Sure, he's buried in Spain," says he; "an' it is not for one little
innocent expression," says he, "he'd be comin' all that way to annoy the
house," says he.

Well, while they war talkin,' Bill turns in the way he was sleepin' into
an aisier imposture; and as soon as he stopped snorin' ould Tim
Donovan's courage riz agin, and says he.

"I'll go to the kitchen," says he, "an' light a rish," says he.

An' with that away wid him, an' the wife kep' workin' the beads all the
time, an' before they kem back Bill was snorin' as loud as ever.

"Oh! bloody wars--I mane the blessed saints above us!--that deadly
sound," says he; "it's going on as lively as ever," says he.

"I'm as wake as a rag," says his wife, says she, "wid the fair
anasiness," says she. "It's out iv the little closet it's comin'," says

"Say your prayers," says he, "an' hould your tongue," says he, "while I
discoorse it," says he. "An' who are ye," says he, "in the name iv all
the holy saints?" says he, givin' the door a dab iv a crusheen that
wakened Bill inside.

"I ax," says he, "who you are?" says he.

Well, Bill did not rightly remember where in the world he was, but he
pushed open the door, an' says he:

"Billy Malowney's my name," says he, "an' I'll thank ye to tell me a
betther," says he.

Well, whin Tim Donovan heard that, an' actially seen that it was Bill
himself that was in it, he had not strength enough to let a bawl out iv
him, but he dhropt the candle out iv his hand, an' down wid himself on
his back in the dark.

Well, the wife let a screech you'd hear at the mill iv Killraghlin,

"Oh," says she, "the spirit has him, body an' bones!" says she. "Oh,
holy St. Bridget--oh Mother iv Marcy--oh, Father O'Flaherty!" says she,
screechin' murdher from out iv her bed.

Well, Bill Malowney was not a minute rememberin' himself, an' so out wid
him quite an' aisy, an' through the kitchen; bud in place iv the door iv
the house, it's what he kem to the door iv Father O'Flaherty's little
room, where he was jist wakenin' wid the noise iv the screechin' an'
battherin'; an', bedad, Bill makes no more about it, but he jumps, wid
one boult, clever an' clane into his Raverance's bed.

"What do ye mane, you uncivilised bliggard?" says his Raverance. "Is
that a venerable way," says he, "to approach your clargy?" says he.

"Hould your tongue," says Bill, "an' I'll do ye no harum," says he.

"Who are you, ye schoundhrel iv the world?" says his Raverance.

"Whisht!" says he, "I'm Bill Malowney," says he.

"You lie!" says his Raverance--for he was frightened beyont all
bearin'--an' he makes bud one jump out iv the bed at the wrong side,
where there was only jist a little place in the wall for a press, an'
his Raverance could not as much as turn in it for the wealth iv
kingdoms. "You lie," says he; "but for fear it's the thruth you're
tellin'," says he, "here's at ye in the name iv all the blessed saints
together!" says he.

An' wid that, my dear, he blazes away at him wid a Latin prayer iv the
strongest description, an', as he said to himself afterwards, that was
iv a nature that id dhrive the divil himself up the chimley like a puff
iv tobacky smoke, wid his tail betune his legs.

"Arra, what are ye sthrivin' to say," says Bill, says he; "if ye don't
hould your tongue," says he, "wid your parly voo," says he, "it's what
I'll put my thumb on your windpipe," says he, "an' Billy Malowney never
wint back iv his word yet," says he.

"Thunder-an-owns," says his Raverance, says he--seein' the Latin took no
infect on him, at all at all, an' screechin' that you'd think he'd rise
the thatch up iv the house wid the fair fright--"an' thundher and
blazes, boys, will none of yes come here wid a candle, but lave your
clargy to be choked by a spirit in the dark?" says he.

Well, be this time the sarvint boys and the rest iv them wor up an' half
dressed, an' in they all run, one on top iv another, wid pitchforks and
spades, thinkin' it was only what his Raverance slep' a dhrame iv the
like, by means of the punch he was afther takin' just before he rowl'd
himself into the bed. But, begorra, whin they seen it was raly Billy
Malowney himself that was in it, it was only who'd be foremost out agin,
tumblin' backways, one over another, and his Raverance roarin' an'
cursin' them like mad for not waitin' for him.

Well, my dear, it was betther than half an hour before Billy Malowney
could explain to them all how it raly was himself, for begorra they were
all iv them persuadin' him that he was a spirit to that degree it's a
wondher he did not give in to it, if it was only to put a stop to the

Well, his Raverance tould the ould people then there was no use in
sthrivin' agin the will iv Providence an' the vagaries iv love united;
an' whin they kem to undherstand to a sartinty how Billy had a shillin'
a day for the rest iv his days, begorra they took rather a likin' to
him, and considhered at wanst how he must hav riz out of all his
nansinse entirely, or His gracious Majesty id never have condescinded to
show him his countenance every day of his life on a silver shillin'.

An' so, begorra, they never stopt till it was all settled--an' there was
not sich a weddin' as that in the counthry sinst. It's more than forty
years ago, an' though I was no more nor a gossoon meself, I remimber it
like yesterday. Molly never looked so purty before, an' Billy Malowney
was plisant beyont all hearin', to that degree that half the girls in it
was fairly tarin' mad--only they would not let on--they had not him to
themselves in place iv her. An' begorra, I'd be afeared to tell ye,
because you would not believe me, since that blessid man Father Mathew
put an ent to all soorts of sociality, the Lord reward him, how many
gallons iv pottieen whisky was dhrank upon that most solemn and tindher

Pat Hanlon, the piper, had a faver out iv it; an' Neddy Shawn Heigue,
mountin' his horse the wrong way, broke his collar-bone, by the manes iv
fallin' over his tail while he was feelin' for his head; an' Payther
Brian, the horse-docther, I am tould, was never quite right in the head
ever afther; an' ould Tim Donovan was singin' the "Colleen Rue" night
and day for a full week; an', begorra the weddin' was only the
foundation iv fun, and the beginning iv divarsion, for there was not a
year for ten years afther, an' more, but brought round a christenin' as
regular as the sasins revarted.

A Pleasant Journey.

_From the Confessions of Harry Lorrequer._


I, Harry Lorrequer, was awaiting the mail coach anxiously in the Inn at
Naas, when at last there was the sound of wheels, and the driver came
into the room, a spectacle of condensed moisture.

"Going on to-night, sir," said he, addressing me; "severe weather, and
no chance of its clearing--but, of course, you're inside."

"Why, there is very little doubt of that," said I. "Are you nearly full

"Only one, sir; but he seems a real queer chap; made fifty inquiries at
the office if he could not have the whole inside for himself, and when
he heard that one place had been taken--yours, I believe, sir,--he
seemed like a scalded bear."

"You don't know his name, then?"

"No, sir, he never gave a name at the office, and his only luggage is
two brown paper parcels, without any ticket, and he has them inside:
indeed, he never lets them from him, even for a second."

Here the guard's horn sounded.

As I passed from the inn-door to the coach, I congratulated myself that
I was about to be housed from the terrific storm of wind and rain that
raged without.

"Here's the step, sir," said the guard; "get in, sir, two minutes late

"I beg your pardon, sir," said I, as I half fell over the legs of my
unseen companion. "May I request leave to pass you?" While he made way
for me for this purpose, I perceived that he stooped down and said
something to the guard, who, from his answer, had evidently been
questioned as to who I was.

"And how did he get here if he took his place in Dublin?" asked the

"Came half an hour since, sir, in a chaise-and-four," said the guard, as
he banged the door behind him, and closed the interview.

"A severe night, sir," said I.

"Mighty severe," briefly and half-crustily replied the unknown, in a
strong Cork accent.

"And a bad road, too, sir," said I.

"That's the reason I always go armed," said the unknown, clinking at the
same moment something like the barrel of a pistol.

Wondering somewhat at his readiness to mistake my meaning, I felt
disposed to drop any further effort to draw him out, and was about to
address myself to sleep as comfortably as I could.

"I'll just trouble ye to lean off that little parcel there, sir," said
he, as he displaced from its position beneath my elbow one of the paper
packages the guard had already alluded to.

In complying with this rather gruff demand one of my pocket pistols,
which I carried in my breast-pocket, fell out upon his knee, upon which
he immediately started, and asked, hurriedly: "And are you armed, too?"

"Why yes," said I laughingly; "men of my trade seldom go without
something of this kind."

"I was just thinking that same," said the traveller with a half sigh to

I was just settling myself in my corner when I was startled by a very
melancholy groan.

"Are you ill, sir?" said I, in a voice of some anxiety.

"You may say that," replied he, "if you knew who you were talking to;
although, maybe, you've heard enough of me, though you never saw me till

"Without having that pleasure even yet," said I, "it would grieve me to
think you should be ill in the coach."

"Maybe it might. Did ye ever hear tell of Barney Doyle?" said he.

"Not to my recollection."

"Then I'm Barney," said he, "that's in all the newspapers in the
metropolis. I'm seventeen weeks in Jervis Street Hospital, and four in
the Lunatic, and the sorra bit better, after all. You must be a
stranger, I'm thinking, or you'd know me now."

"Why, I do confess I've only been a few hours in Ireland for the last
six months."

"Aye, that's the reason; I knew you would not be fond of travelling with
me if you knew who it was."

"Why, really, I did not anticipate the pleasure of meeting you."

"It's pleasure ye call it; then there's no accountin' for tastes, as Dr.
Colles said, when he saw me bite Cusack Rooney's thumb off."

"Bite a man's thumb off!"

"Aye," said he, with a kind of fiendish animation, "in one chop, I wish
you'd see how I scattered the consultation;--they didn't wait to ax for
a fee."

"A very pleasant vicinity," thought I. "And may I ask, sir," said I, in
a very mild and soothing tone of voice--"may I ask the reason for this
singular propensity of yours?"

"There it is now, my dear," said he, laying his hand upon my knee
familiarly, "that's just the very thing they can't make out. Colles says
it's all the cerebellum, ye see, that's inflamed and combusted, and some
of the others think it's the spine; and more the muscles; but my real
impression is, not a bit they know about it at all."

"And have they no name for the malady?" said I.

"Oh, sure enough they have a name for it."

"And may I ask----"

"Why, I think you'd better not, because, ye see, maybe I might be
troublesome to ye in the night, though I'll not, if I can help it; and
it might be uncomfortable to you to be here if I was to get one of the

"One of the fits! Why, it's not possible, sir," said I, "you would
travel in a public conveyance in the state you mention; your friends
surely would not permit it?"

"Why, if they knew, perhaps," slily responded the interesting
invalid--"if they knew, they might not exactly like it; but ye see, I
escaped only last night, and there'll be a fine hubbub in the morning
when they find I'm off; though I'm thinking Rooney's barking away by
this time."

"Rooney barking!--why, what does that mean?"

"They always bark for a day or two after they're bit, if the infection
comes first from the dog."

"You are surely not speaking of _hydrophobia_?" said I, my hair actually
bristling with horror and consternation.

"Ain't I?" replied he; "maybe you've guessed it, though."

"And you have the malady on you at present?" said I trembling for the

"This is the ninth day since I took to biting," said he, gravely.

"And with such a propensity, sir, do you think yourself warranted in
travelling in a public coach, exposing others----"

"You'd better not raise your voice that way. If I'm roused it'll be
worse for ye, that's all."

"Well, but, is it exactly prudent, in your present delicate state, to
undertake a journey?"

"Ah," said he, with a sigh, "I've been longing to see the fox-hounds
throw off near Kilkenny; these three weeks I've been thinking of nothing
else; but I'm not sure how my nerves will stand the cry; I might be

"Well," thought I, "I shall not select that morning for my début in the

"I hope, sir, there's no river or watercourse in this road; anything
else I can, I hope, control myself against; but water--running water
particularly--makes me troublesome."

Well knowing what he meant by the latter phrase, I felt the cold
perspiration settling on my forehead as I remembered that we must be
within about ten or twelve miles of a bridge, where we should have to
pass a very wide river. I strictly concealed this fact from him,
however. He now sank into a kind of moody silence, broken occasionally
by a low, muttering noise, as if speaking to himself.

How comfortable my present condition was I need scarcely remark, sitting
vis-à-vis to a lunatic, with a pair of pistols in his possession, who
had already avowed his consciousness of his tendency to do mischief,
and his inability to master it--all this in the dark, and in the narrow
limits of a mail-coach, where there was scarcely room for defence, and
no possibility of escape. If I could only reach the outside of the coach
I would be happy. What were rain and storm, thunder and lightning
compared with the chance that awaited me here?--wet through I should
inevitably be: but, then, I had not yet contracted the horror of
moisture my friend opposite laboured under. Ha! what is that?--is it
possible he can be asleep;--is it really a snore? Ah, there it is
again;--he must be asleep, surely;--now, then, is my time, or never. I
slowly let down the window of the coach, and, stretching forth my hand,
turned the handle cautiously and slowly; I next disengaged my legs, and
by a long, continuous effort of creeping, I withdrew myself from the
seat, reached the step, when I muttered something very like thanksgiving
to Providence for my rescue. With little difficulty I now climbed up
beside the guard, whose astonishment at my appearance was indeed

Well, on we rolled, and very soon, more dead than alive, I sat a mass of
wet clothes, like a morsel of black and spongy wet cotton at the bottom
of a schoolboy's ink-bottle, saturated with rain and the black dye of my
coat. My hat, too, had contributed its share of colouring matter, and
several long, black streaks coursed down my "wrinkled front," giving me
very much the air of an Indian warrior who had got the first priming of
his war paint. I certainly must have been a rueful object, were I only
to judge from the faces of the waiters as they gazed on me when the
coach drew up at Rice and Walsh's Hotel.

Cold, wet, and weary as I was, my curiosity to learn more of my late
agreeable companion was strong as ever within me. I could catch a
glimpse of his back, and hurried after the great unknown into the coffee
room. By the time I entered, he was spreading himself comfortably, _à
l'Anglais_, before the fire, and displayed to my wandering and stupefied
gaze the pleasant features of Dr. Finucane.

"Why, Doctor--Doctor Finucane," cried I, "is it possible? Were you,
then, really the inside in the mail last night?"

"Not a doubt of it, Mr. Lorrequer; and may I make bould to ask were you
the outside?"

"Then what, may I beg to know, did you mean by your story about Barney
Doyle, and the hydrophobia, and Cusack Rooney's thumb--eh?"

"Oh!" said Finucane, "this will be the death of me. And it was you that
I drove outside in all the rain last night? Oh, it will kill Father
Malachi outright with laughing when I tell him." And he burst out into a
fit of merriment that nearly induced me to break his head with a poker.

"Am I to understand, then, Mr. Finucane, that this practical joke of
yours was contrived for my benefit and for the purpose of holding me up
to the ridicule of your acquaintances?"

"Nothing of the kind," said Fin., drying his eyes, and endeavouring to
look sorry and sentimental. "If I had only the least suspicion in life
that it was you, I'd not have had the hydrophobia at all--and, to tell
you the truth, you were not the only one frightened--you alarmed me,

"I alarmed you! Why, how can that be?"

"Why, the real affair is this: I was bringing these two packages of
notes down to my cousin Callaghan's bank in Cork--fifteen thousand
pounds, and when you came into the coach at Naas, I thought it was all
up with me. The guard just whispered in my ear that he saw you look at
the priming of your pistols before getting in. Well, when you got
seated, the thought came into my mind that maybe, highwayman as you
were, you would not like dying an unnatural death, more particularly if
you were an Irishman; and so I trumped up that long story about the
hydrophobia, and the gentleman's thumb, and dear knows what besides;
and, while I was telling it, the cold perspiration was running down my
head and face, for every time you stirred I said to myself--Now he'll do
it. Two or three times, do you know, I was going to offer you ten
shillings in the pound, to spare my life; and once, God forgive me, I
thought it would not be a bad plan to shoot you by 'mistake,' do you

"Why, I'm very much obliged to you for your excessively kind intentions;
but, really, I feel you have done quite enough for me on the present
occasion. But, come now, doctor, I must get to bed, and, before I go,
promise me two things--to dine with us to-day at the mess, and not to
mention a syllable of what occurred last night: it tells, believe me,
very badly for both. So keep the secret; for if these fellows of ours
ever get hold of it I may sell out, and quit the army;--I'll never hear
the end of it!"

"Never fear, my boy; trust me. I'll dine with you, and you're as safe as
a church mouse for anything I'll tell them; so now, you'd better change
your clothes, for I'm thinking it rained last night."

The Battle of Aughrim.

_From "Anna Cosgrave," an unpublished Novel._


Many of our readers will be surprised at what we are about to relate.
Nay, what is more, we fear they will not yield us credence, but impute
it probably to our own invention; whereas we beg to assure them that it
is strictly and literally true. The period of the scene we are about to
describe may be placed in the year 1806. At the time neither party
feeling nor religious animosity had yet subsided after the ferment of
the '98 insurrection and the division between the Catholic and
Protestant population was very strong and bitter. The rebellion, which
commenced in its first principles among the northern Presbyterians and
other Protestant classes in a spirit of independence and a love of
liberty, soon, in consequence of the influence of some bigots, assumed
the character of a civil war between the two religions,--the most
internecine description of war that ever devastated a country or
drenched it in blood.

A usual amusement at the time was to reproduce the "Battle of Aughrim,"
in some spacious barn, with a winnowing-cloth for the curtain. This
play, bound up with "The Siege of Londonderry," was one of the
reading-books in the hedge schools of that day, and circulated largely
among the people of all religions: it had, indeed, a most extraordinary
influence among the lower classes. "The Battle of Aughrim," however,
because it was written in heroic verse, became so popular that it was
rehearsed at almost every Irish hearth, both Catholic and Protestant,
in the north. The spirit it evoked was irresistible. The whole country
became dramatic. To repeat it at the fireside in winter nights was
nothing: the Orangemen should act it, and show to the whole world how
the field of Aughrim was so gloriously won. The consequence was that
frequent rehearsals took place. The largest and most spacious barns and
kilns were fitted up, the night of representation was given out, and
crowds, even to suffocation, as they say, assembled to witness the
celebrated "Battle of Aughrim."

At first, it was true, the Orangemen had it all to themselves. This,
however, could not last. The Catholics felt that they were as capable of
patronising the drama as the victors of Aughrim. A strong historic
spirit awoke among them. They requested of the Orangemen to be allowed
the favour of representing the Catholic warriors of the disastrous
field, and, somewhat to their surprise, the request was immediately
granted. The Orangemen felt that there was something awkward and not
unlike political apostasy in acting the part of Catholics in the play,
under any circumstances, no matter how dramatic. It was consequently
agreed that the Orangemen should represent the officers of the great man
on whose name and title their system had been founded, and the Catholics
should represent their own generals and officers under the name of St.
Ruth, Sarsfield, and Colonel O'Neill. The first representation of this
well-known play took place in the town of Au----. During the few weeks
before the great night nothing was heard but incessant repetitions and
rehearsals of the play.

The fact of this enactment of the play by individuals so strongly
opposed to each other both in religion and politics excited not only an
unusual degree of curiosity, but some apprehension as to the result,
especially when such language as this was heard:--

"We licked them before," said the Orangemen, "an' by japers, we'll lick
them again. Jack Tait acts General Jingle, an' he's the boy will show
them what chance a Papist has against a Prodestan!"

"Well, they bate us at Aughrim," said the Catholics, "but with Tam
Whiskey at our head, we'll turn the tebles and lick them now."

Both parties on that night were armed with swords for the battle scene,
which represented the result of the engagement. Unfortunately, when the
scene came on, instead of the bloodless fiction of the drama they began
to slash each other in reality, and had it not been for the interference
of the audience there is no doubt that lives would have been lost. After
this, swords were interdicted and staves substituted. The consequence,
as might have been expected, was that heads were broken on both sides,
and a general fight between Protestant and Catholic portions of the
actors and the audience ensued.

In the meanwhile the dramatic mania had become an epidemic. Its
fascination carried overt opposition before it. A new system was
adopted. The Orange party was to be represented by staunch Catholics,
all probably Ribbonmen, and the Catholics by the rankest and most
violent Orangemen in the parish. This course was resorted to in order to
prevent the serious quarrels with which the play generally closed. Such
was the state which the dramatic affairs of the parish had reached when
the occasion, a summer evening, arrived that had been appointed by the
herculean manager, John Tait, for the exhibition of "The Battle of
Aughrim," in a large and roomy barn of a wealthy farmer named Jack
Stuart, in the townland of Rark.

His house stood on a little swelling eminence beside which an old road
ran, and into which the little green before the door sloped. The road,
being somewhat lower, passed close to his outhouses, which faced the
road, but in consequence of their positions a loft was necessary to
constitute the barn, so that it might be level with the haggard on the
elevation. The entrance to the barn was by a door in one of the gables,
whilst the stable and cow-house, or byre as it was called, were beneath
the loft, and had their door open to the road. This accurate description
will be found necessary in order to understand what followed.

In preparing the barn for the entertainment, the principal embarrassment
consisted in want of seats.

Necessity, however, is well-known to be the mother of invention; and in
this case that fact was established at the expense of honest Jack
Stuart. Five or six sacks of barley were stretched length-wise on that
side of the wall which faced the road. Now, barley, although the juice
of it makes many a head light, is admitted to be the heaviest of all
grain. On the opposite side, next the haggard, the seats consisted of
chairs and forms, some of them borrowed from the neighbours. The curtain
(i.e., the winnowing-cloth) was hung up at the south end, and
everything, so far as preparation went, was very well managed. Of
course, it was unnecessary to say that the entertainment was free to
such as could find room, for which there was many an angry struggle.

We have said that from an apprehension that the heroes on both sides
might forget the fiction and resort to reality by actual fighting, it
had generally been arranged that the Catholic party should be
represented by the Orangemen, and _vice versa_; and so it was in this
instance. The caste of the piece was as follows:--

  Baron de Ginckel (General of the English forces)      Tom Whiskey.
    (A perfect devil at the cudgels when sober, especially against an

  Marquis de Ruvigny      Denis Shevlin.
    (Ditto with Tom Whiskey as to fighting.)

  General Talmash      Barney Broghan.
    (A fighting Blacksmith.)

  General Mackay      Dandy Delaney.
    (At present on his keeping--but place of birth unknown.)

  Colonels Herbert and Earles      Tom M'Roarkin, of Springstown, and
                                     Paddy Rafferty, of Dernascrobe.
    (Both awfully bellicose, and never properly at peace unless when in
      a fight.)

The cast of the Catholic leaders was this:--

  Monsieur St. Ruth (General of the Irish Forces)      Jacky Vengeance.
    (An Orangeman who had lost a brother at the battle of Vinegar Hill,
      hence the nickname of Vengeance.)

  Sarsfield      Big Jack Tait.
    (Master of an Orange Lodge.)

    (We know not how far the belief in Sarsfield's immense size is true
      to fact; but be this as it may, we have it from the tradition that
      he was a man of prodigious stature, and Jack was six feet four in
      height, and strong in proportion.)

  General Dorrington       George Twin.
    (Of Mallybarry, another man of prowess in party fights, and an

  Colonel Talbot      Lick-Papish Nelson.

  Colonel Gordon O'Neill      Fighting Grimes.

  Sir Charles Godfrey (a young English gentleman of fortune, in love with
    Colonel Talbot's Daughter, and volunteer in the Irish army)
            Jemmy Lynch, the fighting tailor.
    (He fought for his customers, whether Orange or Green, according as
      they came in his way.)

  Jemima (Colonel Talbot's daughter)      Grasey (Grace) Stuart.
    (A bouncing virago, at least twelve stone weight.)

  Lucinda (wife of Colonel Herbert)      Dolly Stuart.
    (Her sister, much of the same proportions.)

  Ghost      Cooney Mullowney.
    (Of the Bohlies, a townland adjoining.)

On the chairs and forms, being the seats of honour, were placed the
Protestant portion of the audience, because they were the most wealthy
and consequently the most respectable, at least in the eyes of the
world--by which we mean the parish. On the barley-sacks were deposited
the "Papishes," because they were then the poor and the downtrodden
people, so that they and "the Prodestants" sat on opposite sides of the
barn. There were no political watch-words, no "three cheers" for either
this man or that, owing to the simple reason that no individual present
had ever seen a theatre in his life. The only exception was that of an
unfortunate flunkey, who had seen a play in Dublin, and shouted "up
with the rag," for which, as it was supposed that he meant to turn the
whole thing into ridicule, he was kicked out by the Ghost, who, by the
way, was one of the stoutest fellows among them, and would have been
allotted to a higher part were it not for the vileness of his memory.

At length the play commenced, and went on with remarkable success. The
two batches of heroes were in high feather--King William's party (to
wit, Tom Whiskey and his friends) standing accidentally on that side of
the barn which was occupied by the barley-sacks and the Papishes, and
the Catholic generals ranged with the Orange audience on the opposite
side. It was now the Ghost's cue to enter from behind the
winnowing-cloth, but before the apparition had time to appear, the
prompter's attention was struck by a sudden sinking of the party on the
sacks, which seemed rather unaccountable. Yet, as it did not appear to
have been felt by the parties themselves, who were too much wrapped up
in the play, it excited neither notice nor alarm. At length the Ghost
came out, dressed in a white sheet his face rendered quite spectral by
flour. Sir Charles Godfrey, alias Jemmy Lynch, the tailor, had just
concluded the following words, addressed to the Ghost himself, who in
life it appeared had been his father:--

                        "Oh, I'll sacrifice
    A thousand Romish sowls who, shocked with woe,
    Shall, bound in shackles, fill the shades below."
  Ghost.--"Be not so rash, wild youth----"

He had scarcely uttered the words when a noise like the "crack of doom"
was heard: one-half of the barn-floor had disappeared! The Ghost made a
step to approach Sir Charles, his son, when the last object we saw was
his heels--his legs dressed in blue woollen stockings and his sturdy
hinder parts cased in strong corduroys, in the act of disappearing in
the abyss beneath. Down he and the others went, and were lodged in the
cow-house below amid the warm manure.

The consternation, the alarm, the fright and terror among the safe and
Protestant side of the audience, could not be described. But the
disaster proved to be one of the most harmless for its nature that ever
occurred, for it was only destructive to property. Not a single injury
was sustained with the exception of that which befell the Ghost, who had
his arm dislocated at the elbow. The accident now resumed a religious
hue. The Catholics charged the others with the concoction of a
Protestant plot, by putting them together on what they called the rotten
side of the house. The wrangle became high and abusive, and was fast
hastening into polemical theology, when the _dramatis personæ_ offered
to settle it in a peaceable way, by fighting out the battle on the
green. It was the scene of terrible and strong confusion, so much so
that all we can glean from our recollection is the image of a desperate
personal conflict between the actors whose orange and green ribbons were
soon flung off as false emblems of the principles which they had adopted
only for the sake of ending the play in a peaceable manner.

The Quare Gander.

_From "The Purcell Papers."_


Terence Mooney was an honest boy and well-to-do--an' he rinted the
biggest farm on this side iv the Galties, an' bein' mighty cute an' a
sevare worker, it was small wonder he turned a good penny every harvest;
but, unluckily, he was blessed with an ilegant large family iv
daughters, an' iv coorse his heart was allamost bruck, strivin' to make
up fortunes for the whole of them--an' there wasn't a conthrivance iv
any sort of description for makin' money out iv the farm but he was up
to. Well, among the other ways he had iv gettin' up in the world, he
always kep' a power iv turkies, and all soarts iv poultry; an' he was
out iv all raison partial to geese--an' small blame to him for that
same--for twiste a year you can pluck them as bare as my hand--an' get a
fine price for the feathers, and plenty of rale sizeable eggs--an' when
they are too ould to lay any more, you can kill them, an' sell them to
the gintlemen for goslings, d'ye see,--let alone that a goose is the
most manly bird that is out. Well, it happened in the coorse iv time,
that one ould gandher tuck a wondherful likin' to Terence, an' sorra a
place he could go serenadin' about the farm, or lookin' afther the men,
but the gandher id be at his heels, an' rubbin' himself agin his legs,
and lookin' up in his face just like any other Christian id do; and the
likes iv it was never seen, Terence Mooney an' the gandher wor so great.
An' at last the bird was so engagin' that Terence would not allow it to
be plucked any more; an' kept it from that time out for love an'
affection; just all as one like one iv his children. But happiness in
perfection never lasts long; an' the neighbours begin'd to suspect the
nathur and intentions iv the gandher; an' some iv them said it was the
divil, and more iv them that it was a fairy. Well Terence could not but
hear something of what was sayin', and you may be sure he was not
altogether aisy in his mind about it, an' from one day to another he was
gettin' more ancomfortable in himself, until he detarmined to sind for
Jer Garvan, the fairy docthor in Garryowen, an' it's he was the ilegant
hand at the business, and sorra a sperit id say a crass word to him, no
more nor a priest; an' moreover, he was very great wid ould Terence
Mooney, this man's father that was. So without more about it, he was
sent for; an' sure enough, not long he was about it, for he kem back
that very evening along wid the boy that was sint for him; an' as soon
as he was there, an' tuk his supper, an' was done talkin' for a while,
he bigined, of coorse, to look into the gandher. Well, he turned it this
way an' that way, to the right and to the left, an' straight-ways, an'
upside down, an' when he was tired handlin' it, says he to Terence

"Terence," says he, "you must remove the bird into the next room," says
he, "an' put a petticoat," says he, "or any other convaynience round his
head," says he.

"An' why so?" says Terence.

"Becase," says Jer, says he.

"Becase what?" says Terence.

"Becase," says Jer, "if it isn't done--you'll never be aisy agin," says
he, "or pusilanimous in your mind," says he; "so ax no more questions,
but do my biddin," says he.

"Well," says Terence, "have your own way," says he.

An' wid that he tuk the ould gandher, and giv' it to one iv the

"An' take care," says he, "don't smother the crathur," says he.

Well, as soon as the bird was gone, says Jer Garvan, says he, "Do you
know what that ould gandher is, Terence Mooney?"

"Sorra a taste," says Terence.

"Well, then," says Jer, "the gandher is your own father," says he.

"It's jokin' you are," says Terence, turnin' mighty pale; "how can an
ould gandher be my father?" says he.

"I'm not funnin' you at all," says Jer, "it's thrue what I tell
you--it's your father's wandherin' sowl," says he, "that's naturally tuk
pissession iv the ould gandher's body," says he; "I know him many ways,
and I wondher," says he, "you do not know the cock iv his eye yourself,"
says he.

"Oh!" says Terence, "what will I ever do, at all, at all," says he;
"it's all over wid me, for I plucked him twelve times at the laste,"
says he.

"That can't be helped now," says Jer, "it was a sevare act, surely,"
says he, "but it's too late to lamint for it now," says he; "the only
way to prevint what's past," says he, "is to put a stop to it before it
happens," says he.

"Thrue for you," says Terence, "but how did you come to the knowledge iv
my father's sowl," says he, "bein' in the ould gandher?" says he.

"If I tould you," says Jer, "you would not understand me," says he,
"without book-larnin' an' gasthronomy," says he; "so ax me no
questions," says he, "an I'll tell you no lies; but b'lieve me in this
much," says he, "it's your father that's in it," says he, "an' if I
don't make him spake to-morrow mornin'," says he, "I'll give you lave to
call me a fool," says he.

"Say no more," says Terence, "that settles the business," says he; "an'
oh! is it not a quare thing," says he, "for a dacent, respictable man,"
says he, "to be walkin' about the counthry in the shape iv an ould
gandher," says he; "and, oh, murdher, murdher! is it not often I plucked
him," says he, "an' tundher and turf, might not I have ate him," says
he; and wid that he fell into a could parspiration, savin' your
prisince, an' was on the pint iv faintin' wid the bare notions iv it.

Well, whin he was come to himself agin, says Jerry, to him, quite an
aisy--"Terence," says he, "don't be aggravatin' yourself," says he, "for
I have a plan composed that'll make him spake out," says he, "an' tell
what it is in the world he's wantin'," says he; "an' mind an' don't be
comin' in wid your gosther an' to say agin anything I tell you," says
he, "but jist purtind, as soon as the bird is brought back," says he,
"how that we're goin' to sind him to-morrow mornin' to market," says he;
"an' if he don't spake to-night," says he, "or gother himself out iv the
place," says he, "put him into the hamper airly, and sind him in the
cart," says he, "straight to Tipperary, to be sould for aitin'," says
he, "along wid the two gossoons," says he; "an' my name isn't Jer
Garvan," says he, "if he doesn't spake out before he's half way," says
he; "an' mind," says he, "as soon as ever he says the first word," says
he, "that very minute bring him off to Father Crotty," says he, "an' if
his Raverance doesn't make him ratire," says he, "into the flames of
Purgathory," says he, "there's no vartue in my charms," says he.

Well, wid that the ould gandher was let into the room agin, an' they all
begined to talk iv sindin' him the nixt mornin' to be sould for roastin'
in Tipperary, jist as if it was a thing andoubtingly settled; but not a
notice the gandher tuk, no more nor if they wor spaking iv the Lord
Liftenant; an' Terence desired the boy to get ready the _kish_ for the
poulthry "an' to settle it out wid hay soft and shnug," says he, "for
it's the last jauntin' the poor ould gandher 'ill get in this world,"
says he.

Well, as the night was getting late, Terence was growin' mighty
sorrowful an' down-hearted in himself entirely wid the notions iv what
was going to happen. An' as soon as the wife an' the crathurs war fairly
in bed, he brought out some illigant potteen, an' himself and Jer Garvan
sot down to it, an' the more anasy Terence got, the more he dhrank, and
himself and Jer Garvan finished a quart betune them: it wasn't an
imparial though, an' more's the pity, for them wasn't anvinted antil
short since; but sorra a much matther it signifies any longer if a pint
could hould two quarts, let alone what it does, sinst Father Mathew
begin'd to give the pledge, an' wid the blessin' iv timperance to
deginerate Ireland. An' sure I have the medle myself; an' it's proud I
am iv that same, for abstamiousness is a fine thing, although it's
mighty dhry.

Well, whin Terence finished his pint, he thought he might as well stop,
"for enough is as good as a faste," says he, "an' I pity the vagabone,"
says he, "that is not able to conthroul his liquor," says he, "an' to
keep constantly inside iv a pint measure," says he, an' wid that he
wished Jer Garvan a good night, an' walked out iv the room. But he wint
out the wrong door, being a trifle hearty in himself, an' not rightly
knowin' whether he was standin' on his head or his heels, or both iv
them at the same time, an' in place iv gettin' into bed, where did he
thrun himself but into the poulthry hamper, that the boys had settled
out ready for the gandher in the mornin'; an', sure enough, he sunk down
snug an' complate through the hay to the bottom; an' wid the turnin' an'
roulin' about in the night, not a bit iv him but was covered up as snug
as a lumper in a pittaty furrow before mornin'.

So wid the first light, up gets the two boys that war to take the
sperit, as they consaved, to Tipperary; an' they cotched the ould
gandher, an' put him in the hamper and clapped a good whisp iv hay on
the top iv him, and tied it down sthrong wid a bit iv a coard, an med
the sign iv the crass over him, in dhread iv any harum, an' put the
hamper up on the car, wontherin' all the while what in the world was
makin' the ould burd so surprisin' heavy.

Well, they wint along on the road towards Tipperary, wishin' every
minute that some iv the neighbours bound the same way id happen to fall
in with them, for they didn't half like the notions iv havin' no company
but the bewitched gandher, an' small blame to them for that same. But,
although they wor shakin' in their skins in dhread iv the ould bird
beginin' to convarse them every minute, they did not let on to one
another, bud kep' singin' and whistlin', like mad to keep the dhread out
iv their hearts. Well, afther they wor on the road betther nor half an
hour, they kem to the bad bit close by Father Crotty's, an' there was
one rut three feet deep at the laste; an' the car got sich a wondherful
chuck goin' through it, that wakened Terence within the basket.

"Oh!" says he, "my bones is bruck wid yer thricks, what are ye doin' wid

"Did ye hear anything quare, Thady?" says the boy that was next to the
car, turnin' as white as the top iv a musharoon; "did ye hear anything
quare soundin' out iv the hamper?" says he.

"No, nor you," says Thady, turnin' as pale as himself, "it's the ould
gandher that's gruntin' wid the shakin' he's gettin'," says he.

"Where have ye put me into," says Terence, inside; "let me out," says
he, "or I'll be smothered this minute," says he.

"There's no use in purtending," says the boy; "the gandher's spakin',
glory be to God!" says he.

"Let me out, you murdherers," says Terence.

"In the name iv all the holy saints," says Thady, "hould yer tongue, you
unnatheral gandher," says he.

"Who's that, that dar call me nicknames," says Terence inside, roaring
wid the fair passion; "let me out, you blasphamious infiddles," says he,
"or by this crass, I'll stretch ye," says he.

"Who are ye?" says Thady.

"Who would I be but Terence Mooney," says he, "It's myself that's in it,
you unmerciful bliggards," says he; "let me out, or I'll get out in
spite iv yez," says he, "an' I'll wallop yez in arnest," says he.

"It's ould Terence, sure enough," says Thady; "isn't it cute the fairy
docthor found him out," says he.

"I'm on the p'int iv suffication," says Terence; "let me out, I tell
ye, an' wait till I get at ye," says he, "for sorra a bone in your body
but I'll powdher," says he; an' wid that he bigined kickin' and flingin'
in the hamper, and drivin' his legs agin the sides iv it, that it was a
wondher he did not knock it to pieces. Well, as the boys seen that, they
skelped the ould horse into a gallop as hard as he could peg towards the
priest's house, through the ruts, an' over the stones; an' you'd see the
hamper fairly flyin' three feet in the air with the joultin'; so it was
small wondher, by the time they got to his Raverance's door, the breath
was fairly knocked out iv poor Terence; so that he was lyin' speechless
in the bottom iv the hamper. Well, whin his Raverance kem down, they up
an' they tould him all that happened, an' how they put the gandher into
the hamper, an' how he begined to spake, an' how he confissed that he
was ould Terence Mooney; and they axed his honour to advise them how to
get rid iv the sperit for good an' all. So says his Raverance, says he:

"I'll take my booke," says he, "an' I'll read some rale sthrong holy
bits out iv it," says he, "an' do you get a rope and put it round the
hamper," says he, "an' let it swing over the runnin' wather at the
bridge," says he, "an' it's no matther if I don't make the sperit come
out iv it," says he.

Well, wid that, the priest got his horse, an' tuk his booke in undher
his arum, an' the boys follied his Raverance, ladin' the horse, and
Terence houldin' his whisht, for he seen it was no use spakin', an' he
was afeard if he med any noise they might thrait him to another gallop
an' finish him intirely. Well, as soon as they wur all come to the
bridge the boys tuk the rope they had with them, an' med it fast to the
top iv the hamper an' swung it fairly over the bridge; lettin' it hang
in the air about twelve feet out iv the wather; and his Raverance rode
down to the bank iv the river, close by, an' begined to read mighty loud
and bould intirely.

An' when he was goin' on about five minutes, all at onst the bottom iv
the hamper kem out, an' down wint Terence, falling splash dash into the
wather, an' the ould gandher a-top iv him; down they both wint to the
bottom wid a souse you'd hear half-a-mile off; an' before they had time
to rise agin, his Raverance, wid a fair astonishment, giv his horse one
dig iv the spurs, an' before he knew where he was, in he went, horse and
all, a-top iv them, an' down to the bottom. Up they all kem agin
together, gaspin' an puffin', an' off down the current with them like
shot, in undher the arch iv the bridge, till they kem to the shallow
wather. The ould gandher was the first out, an' the priest and Terence
kem next, pantin' an' blowin' an' more than half dhrounded: an' his
Raverance was so freckened wid the dhroundin' he got, and wid the sight
iv the sperit, as he consaved, that he wasn't the better iv it for a
month. An' as soon as Terence could spake, he said he'd have the life iv
the two gossoons; but Father Crotty would not give him his will; an' as
soon as he got quieter they all endeavoured to explain it, but Terence
consayved he went raly to bed the night before, an' his Raverance said
it was a mysthery, an' swore if he cotched anyone laughin' at the
accident, he'd lay the horsewhip across their shoulders; an' Terence
grew fonder an' fonder iv the gandher every day, until at last he died
in a wondherful ould age, lavin' the gandher afther him an' a large
family iv childer; an' to this day the farm is rinted by one iv Terence
Mooney's lineal legitimate postariors.

The Thrush and the Blackbird.


A stranger meeting Sally Cavanagh, as she tripped along the mountain
road, would consider her a contented and happy young matron, and might
be inclined to set her down as a proud one; for Sally Cavanagh held her
head rather high, and occasionally elevated it still higher with a toss
which had something decidedly haughty about it. She turned up a short
boreen for the purpose of calling upon the gruff blacksmith's wife, who
had been very useful to her for some time before. The smith's habits
were so irregular that his wife was often obliged to visit the pawn
office in the next town, and poor Sally Cavanagh availed herself of
Nancy Ryan's experience in pledging almost everything pledgeable she
possessed. The new cloak, of which even a rich farmer's wife might feel
proud, was the last thing left. It was a present from Connor, and was
only worn on rare occasions, and to part with it was a sore trial.

Loud screams and cries for help made Sally Cavanagh start. She stopped
for a moment, and then ran forward and rushed breathless into the
smith's house. The first sight that met her eyes was our friend Shawn
Gow choking his wife. A heavy three-legged stool came down with such
force upon the part of Shawn Gow's person which happened to be the most
elevated as he bent over the prostrate woman, that, uttering an
exclamation between a grunt and a growl, he bounded into the air, and,
striking his shins against a chair, tumbled head over heels into the
corner. When Shawn found that he was more frightened than hurt, and saw
Sally with the three-legged stool in her hand, a sense of the ludicrous
overcame him, and, turning his face to the wall, he relieved his
feelings by giving way to a fit of laughter. It was of the silent,
inward sort, however, and neither his wife nor Sally Cavanagh had any
notion of the pleasant mood he was in. The bright idea of pretending to
be "kilt" occurred to the overthrown son of Vulcan, and with a fearful
groan he stretched out his huge limbs and remained motionless on the
broad of his back.

Sally's sympathy for the ill-used woman prevented her from giving a
thought to her husband. Great was her astonishment then when Nancy flew
at her like a wild cat. "You kilt my husband," she screamed. Sally
retreated backwards, defending herself as best she could with the stool.
"For God's sake, Nancy, be quiet. Wouldn't he have destroyed you on'y
for me?" But Nancy followed up the attack like a fury. "There's nothing
the matter with him," Sally cried out, on finding herself literally
driven to the wall. "What harm could a little touch of a stool on the
back do the big brute?"

Nancy's feelings appeared to rush suddenly into another channel, for she
turned round quickly, and kneeling down by her husband, lifted up his
head. "_Och! Shawn, avourneen, machree_," she exclaimed, "won't you
spake to me?" Shawn condescended to open his eyes. "Sally," she
continued, "he's comin' to--glory be to God! Hurry over and hould up his
head while I'm runnin' for somethin' to rewive him. Or stay, bring me
the boulster."

The bolster was brought, and Nancy placed it under the patient's head;
then, snatching her shawl from the peg where it hung, she disappeared.
She was back again in five minutes, without the shawl, but with
half-a-pint of whiskey in a bottle.

"Take a taste av this, Shawn, an' 'twill warm your heart."

Shawn Gow sat up and took the bottle in his hand.

"Nancy," says he, "I believe, afther all, you're fond o' me."

"Wisha, Shawn, achora, what else'd I be but fond av you?"

"I thought, Nancy, you couldn't care for a divil that thrated you so

"Och, Shawn, Shawn, don't talk that way to me. Sure, I thought my heart
was broke when I see you sthretched there 'idout a stir in you."

"An' you left your shawl in pledge again to get this for me?"

"To be sure I did; an' a good right I had; an' sorry I'd be to see you
in want of a dhrop of nourishment."

"I was a baste, Nancy. But if I was, this is what made a baste av me."

And Shawn Gow fixed his eyes upon the bottle with a look in which hatred
and fascination were strangely blended. He turned quickly to his wife.

"Will you give in it was a blackbird?" he said.

"A blackbird," she repeated, irresolutely.

"Yes, a blackbird. Will you give in it was a blackbird?"

Shawn Gow was evidently relapsing into his savage mood.

"Well," said his wife, after some hesitation, "'twas a blackbird. Will
that plase you?"

"An' you'll never say 'twas a thrish agin?"

"Never. An' sure, on'y for the speckles on the breast, I'd never say
'twas a thrish; but sure, you ought to know betther than
me--an'--an'--'twas a blackbird," she exclaimed, with a desperate

Shawn Gow swung the bottle round his head and flung it with all his
strength against the hob. The whole fireplace was for a moment one blaze
of light.

"The Divil was in id," says the smith, smiling grimly; "an' there he's
off in a flash of fire. I'm done wid him, any way."

"Well, I wish you a happy Christmas, Nancy," said Sally.

"I wish you the same, Sally, an' a great many av 'em. I suppose you're
goin' to first Mass? Shawn and me'll wait for second."

Sally took her leave of this remarkable couple, and proceeded on her way
to the village. She met Tim Croak and his wife, Betty, who were also
going to Mass. After the usual interchange of greetings, Betty surveyed
Sally from head to foot with a look of delighted wonder.

"Look at her, Tim," she exclaimed, "an' isn't she as young an' as hearty
as ever? Bad cess to me but you're the same Sally that danced wid the
master at my weddin', next Thursday fortnight'll be eleven years."

"Begob, you're a great woman," says Tim.

Sally Cavanagh changed the subject by describing the scene she had
witnessed at the blacksmith's.

"But, Tim," said she, after finishing the story, "how did the dispute
about the blackbird come first? I heard something about it, but I forget

"I'll tell you that, then," said Tim. "Begob, ay," he exclaimed
abruptly, after thinking for a moment; "'twas this day seven years, for
all the world--the year o' the hard frost. Shawn Gow set a crib in his
haggard the evenin' afore, and when he went out in the mornin' he had a
hen blackbird. He put the _goulogue_[1] on her nick, and tuk her in his
hand; and wud' one _smulluck_ av his finger knocked the life out av her;
he walked in an' threw the blackbird on the table.

"'Oh, Shawn,' siz Nancy, 'you're afther ketchin' a fine thrish.' Nancy
tuk the bird in her hand an' began rubbin' the feathers on her breast.
'A fine thrish,' siz Nancy.

"''Tisn't a thrish, but a blackbird,' siz Shawn.

"'Wisha, in throth, Shawn,' siz Nancy, ''tis a thrish; do you want to
take the sight o' my eyes from me?'

"'I tell you 'tis a blackbird," siz he.

"'Indeed, then, it isn't, but a thrish,' siz she.

"Anyway, one word borrowed another, an' the end av it was, Shawn flailed
at her an' gev her the father av a batin'.

"The Christmas Day afther, Nancy opened the door an' looked out.

"'God be wud this day twelve months,' siz she, 'do you remimber the fine
thrish you caught in the crib?'

"''Twas a blackbird,' siz Shawn.

"'Och,' siz Nancy, beginnin' to laugh, 'that was a quare blackbird.'

"'Whisht, now, Nancy, 'twas a blackbird,' siz Shawn.

"'Och,' siz Nancy, beginnin' to laugh, 'that was the quare blackbird.'

"Wud that, one word borrowed another, an' Shawn stood up an' gev her the
father av a batin'.

"The third Christmas Day kem, an' they wor in the best o' good humour
afther the tay, an' Shawn, puttin' on his ridin'-coat to go to Mass.

"'Well, Shawn,' siz Nancy, I'm thinkin' av what an unhappy Christmas
mornin' we had this day twelve months, all on account of the thrish you
caught in the crib, bad cess to her.'

"''Twas a blackbird,' siz Shawn.

"'Wisha, good luck to you, an' don't be talkin' foolish,' siz Nancy;
'an' you're betther not get into a passion agin, on account av an ould
thrish. My heavy curse on the same thrish,' siz Nancy.

"'I tell you 'twas a blackbird,' siz Shawn.

"'An' I tell you 'twas a thrish,' siz Nancy.

"'Wud that, Shawn took a _bunnaun_ he had _saisonin'_ in the chimley,
and whaled at Nancy, an' gev her the father av a batin'. An' every
Christmas morning from that day to this 'twas the same story, for as
sure as the sun, Nancy'd draw down the thrish. But do you tell me,
Sally, she's afther givin' in it was a blackbird?"

"She is," replied Sally.

"Begob," said Tim Croak, after a minute's serious reflection, "it ought
to be put in the papers. I never h'ard afore av a wrong notion bein' got
out av a woman's head. But Shawn Gow is no joke to dale wud, and it took
him seven years to do id."


  [1] A forked stick

Their Last Race.

_From "At the Rising of the Moon."_



In the heart of the Connemara Highlands, Carrala Valley hides in a
triangle of mountains. Carrala Village lies in the corner of it towards
Loch Ina, and Aughavanna in the corner nearest Kylemore. Aughavanna is a
wreck now: if you were to look for it you would see only a cluster of
walls grown over by ferns and nettles; but in those remote times, before
the Great Famine, when no English was spoken in the Valley, there was no
place more renowned for wild fun and fighting; and when its men were to
be at a fair, every able-bodied man in the countryside took his
kippeen--his cudgel--from its place in the chimney, and went out to do
battle with a good heart.

Long Mat Murnane was the king of Aughavanna. There was no grander sight
than Mat smashing his way through a forest of kippeens, with his enemies
staggering back to the right and left of him; there was no sweeter sound
than his voice, clear as a bell, full of triumph and gladness, shouting,
"Hurroo! whoop! Aughavanna for ever!" Where his kippeen flickered in the
air his followers charged after, and the enemy rushed to meet him, for
it was an honour to take a broken head from him.

But Carrala Fair was the black day for him. That day Carrala swarmed
with men--fishers from the near coast, dwellers in lonely huts by the
black lakes, or in tiny, ragged villages under the shadow of the
mountains, or in cabins on the hill-sides--every little town for miles,
by river or sea-shore or mountain built, was emptied. The fame of the
Aughavanna men was their ruin, for they were known to fight so well that
every one was dying to fight them. The Joyces sided against them; Black
Michael Joyce had a farm in the third corner of the valley, just where
the road through the bog from Aughavanna (the road with the cross by it)
meets the high-road to Leenane, so his kin mustered in force. Now Black
Michael, "Meehul Dhu," was long Mat's rival; though smaller, he was near
as deadly in fight, and in dancing no man could touch him, for it was
said he could jump a yard into the air and kick himself behind with his
heels in doing it.

The business of the Fair had been hurried so as to leave the more time
for pleasure, and by five of the afternoon every man was mad for the
battle. Why, you could scarcely have moved in Callanan's Field out
beyond the churchyard at the end of the village, it was so packed with
men--more than five hundred were there, and you could not have heard
yourself speak, for they were jumping and dancing, tossing their
caubeens, and shouting themselves hoarse and deaf--"Hurroo for Carrala!"
"Whoop for Aughavanna!"

Around them a mob of women, old men and children, looked on
breathlessly. It was dull weather, and the mists had crept half way down
the dark mountain walls, as if to have a nearer look at the fight.

As the chapel clock struck five, Long Mat Murnane gave the signal. Down
the village he came, rejoicing in his strength, out between the two last
houses, past the churchyard and into Callanan's Field; he looked every
inch a king; his kippeen was ready, his frieze coat was off, with his
left hand he trailed it behind him holding it by the sleeve, while with
a great voice he shouted--in Irish--"Where's the Carrala man that dare
touch my coat? Where's the cowardly scoundrel that dare look crooked at

In a moment Black Michael Joyce was trailing his own coat behind him,
and rushed forward, with a mighty cry "Where's the face of a trembling
Aughavanna man?" In a moment their kippeens clashed; in another,
hundreds of kippeens crashed together, and the grandest fight ever
fought in Connemara raged over Callanan's Field. After the first roar of
defiance the men had to keep their breath for the hitting, so the shout
of triumph and the groan as one fell were the only sounds that broke the
music of the kippeens clashing and clicking on one another, or striking
home with a thud.

Never was Long Mat nobler; he rushed ravaging through the enemy,
shattering their ranks and their heads; no man could withstand him; Red
Callanan of Carrala went down before him; he knocked the five senses out
of Dan O'Shaughran, of Earrennamore, that herded many pigs by the sedgy
banks of the Owen Erriff; he hollowed the left eye out of Larry Mulcahy,
that lived on the Devil's Mother Mountain--never again did Larry set the
two eyes of him on his high mountain-cradle; he killed Black Michael
Joyce by a beautiful swooping blow on the side of the head--who would
have dreamt that Black Michael had so thin a skull.

For near an hour Mat triumphed, then suddenly he went down under foot.
At first he was missed only by those nearest him, and they took it for
granted that he was up again and fighting. But when the Aughavanna men
found themselves outnumbered and driven back to the village, a great
fear came on them, for they knew that all Ireland could not outnumber
them if Mat was to the fore. Then disaster and rout took them, and they
were forced backwards up the street, struggling desperately, till hardly
a man of them could stand.

And when the victors were shouting themselves dumb, and drinking
themselves blind, the beaten men looked for their leader. Long Mat was
prone, his forehead was smashed, his face had been trampled into the
mud--he had done with fighting. His death was untimely, yet he fell as
he would have chosen--in a friendly battle. For when a man falls under
the hand of an enemy (as of any one who differs from him in creed or
politics) revenge and black blood live after him; but he who takes his
death from the kindly hand of a friend leaves behind him no ill-will,
but only gentle regret for the mishap.


When the dead had been duly waked for two days and nights, the burying
day came. All the morning long Mat Murnane's coffin lay on four chairs
by his cabin, with a kneeling ring of dishevelled women keening round
it. Every soul in Aughavanna and their kith and kin had gathered to do
him honour. And when the Angelus bell rang across the valley from the
chapel, the mourners fell into ranks, the coffin was lifted on the rough
hearse, and the motley funeral--a line of carts with a mob of peasants
behind, a few riding, but most of them on foot--moved slowly towards
Carrala. The women were crying bitterly, keening like an Atlantic gale;
the men looked as sober as if they had never heard of a wake, and spoke
sadly of the dead man, and of what a pity it was that he could not see
his funeral.

The Joyces, too, had waited, as was the custom, for the Angelus bell,
and now Black Michael's funeral was moving slowly towards Carrala along
the other side of the bog. Before long either party could hear the
keening of the other, for you know the roads grow nearer as they
converge on Carrala. Before long either party began to fear that the
other would be there first.

There is no knowing how it happened, but the funerals began to go
quicker, keeping abreast; then still quicker, till the women had to
break into a trot to keep up; then still quicker, till the donkeys were
galloping, and till everyone raced at full speed, and the rival parties
broke into a wild shout of "Aughavanna abu!" "Meehul Dhu for ever!"

For the dead men were racing--feet foremost--to the grave; they were
rivals even in death. Never did the world see such a race, never was
there such whooping and shouting. Where the roads met in Callanan's
Field the horses were abreast; neck and neck they dashed across the
trampled fighting-place, while the coffins jogged and jolted as if the
two dead men were struggling to get out and lead the rush; neck to neck
they reached the churchyard, and the horses jammed in the gate. Behind
them the carts crashed into one another, and the mourners shouted as if
they were mad.

But the quick wit of the Aughavanna men triumphed, for they seized their
long coffin and dragged it in, and Long Mat Murnane won his last race.
The shout they gave then deafened the echo up in the mountains, so that
it has never been the same since. The victors wrung one another's hands;
they hugged one another.

"Himself would be proud," they cried, "if he hadn't been dead!"

The First Lord Liftinant.



"Essex," said Queen Elizabeth, as the two of them sat at breakwhist in
the back parlour of Buckingham Palace, "Essex, me haro, I've got a job
that I think would suit you. Do you know where Ireland is?"

"I'm no great fist at jografy," says his lordship, "but I know the place
you mane. Population, three millions; exports, emigrants."

"Well," says the Queen, "I've been reading the Dublin Evening Mail and
the Telegraft for some time back, and sorra one o' me can get at the
trooth o' how things is goin', for the leadin' articles is as
conthradictory as if they wor husband and wife."

"That's the way wid papers all the world over," says Essex; "Columbus
told me it was the same in Amerikay, when he was there, abusin' and
conthradictin' each other at every turn--it's the way they make their
livin'. Thrubble you for an egg-spoon."

"It's addled they have me betune them," says the Queen. "Not a know I
know what's goin' on. So now, what I want you to do is to run over to
Ireland, like a good fella, and bring me word how matters stand."

"Is it me?" says Essex, leppin' up off his chair. "It's not in airnest
ye are, ould lady. Sure it's the hoight of the London saison. Every
one's in town, and Shake's new fairy piece, 'The Midsummer's Night
Mare,' billed for next week."

"You'll go when ye're tould," says the Queen, fixin' him with her eye,
"if you know which side yer bread's buttered on. See here, now," says
she, seein' him chokin' wid vexation and a slice o' corned beef, "you
ought to be as pleased as Punch about it, for you'll be at the top o'
the walk over there as vice-regent representin' me."

"I ought to have a title or two," says Essex, pluckin' up a bit. "His
Gloriosity the Great Panjandhrum, or the like o' that."

"How would His Excellency the Lord Liftinant of Ireland sthrike you?"
says Elizabeth.

"First class," cries Essex. "Couldn't be betther; it doesn't mean much,
but it's allitherative, and will look well below the number on me hall

Well, boys, it didn't take him long to pack his clothes and start away
for the Island o' Saints. It took him a good while to get there, though,
through not knowin' the road; but by means of a pocket compass and a tip
to the steward, he was landed at last contagious to Dalkey Island. Going
up to an ould man who was sittin' on a rock, he took off his hat, and,
says he--

"That's great weather we're havin'?"

"Good enough for the times that's in it," says the ould man, cockin' one
eye at him.

"Any divarshun' goin on?" says Essex.

"You're a sthranger in these parts, I'm thinkin'," says the ould man,
"or you'd know this was a 'band night' in Dalkey."

"I wasn't aware of it," says Essex; "the fact is," says he, "I only
landed from England just this minute."

"Ay," says the ould man, bitterly, "it's little they know about us over
there. I'll hould you," says he, with a slight thrimble in his voice,
"that the Queen herself doesn't know there is to be fireworks in the
Sorrento Gardens this night." Well, when Essex heard that, he
disrembered entirely he was sent over to Ireland to put down rows and
ructions, and away wid him to see the fun and flirt wid all the pretty
girls he could find. And he found plenty of them--thick as bees they
wor, and each one as beautiful as the day and the morra. He wrote two
letters home next day--one to Queen Elizabeth and the other to Lord
Mountaigle, a playboy like himself. I'll read you the one to the Queen

    "Dame Sthreet, April 16th, 1599.

  "Fair Enchantress,--I wish I was back in London, baskin' in your sweet
  smiles and listenin' to your melodious voice once more. I got the
  consignment of men and the post-office order all right. I was out all
  the mornin' lookin' for the inimy, but sorra a taste of Hugh O'Neill
  or his men can I find. A policeman at the corner o' Nassau Street told
  me they wor hidin' in Wicklow. So I am makin' up a party to explore
  the Dargle on Easter Monda'. The girls here are as ugly as sin, and
  every minute o' the day I do be wishin' it was your good-lookin' self
  I was gazin' at instead o' these ignorant scarecrows.

  "Hopin' soon to be back in ould England, I remain, your lovin' subject


  "P.S.--I hear Hugh O'Neill was seen on the top o' the Donnybrook tram
  yesterday mornin'. If I have any luck the head'll be off him before
  you get this.


The other letter read this way:--

  "Dear Monty--This is a great place, all out. Come over here if you
  want fun. Divil such play-boys ever I seen, and the girls--oh! don't
  be talkin'--'pon me secret honour you'll see more loveliness at a tay
  and a supper ball in Rathmines than there is in the whole of England.
  Tell Ned Spenser to send me a love-song to sing to a young girl who
  seems to be taken wid my appearance. Her name's Mary, and she lives in
  Dunlary, so he oughtn't to find it hard. I hear Hugh O'Neill's a
  terror, and hits a powerful welt, especially when you're not lookin'.
  If he tries any of his games on wid me, I'll give him in charge. No
  brawlin' for your's truly


Well, me bould Essex stopped for odds of six months in Dublin,
purtendin' to be very busy subjugatin' the country, but all the time
only losin' his time and money widout doin' a hand's turn, and doin' his
best to avoid a ruction with "Fighting Hugh." If a messenger came to
tell him that O'Neill was camping out on the North Bull, Essex would up
stick and away for Sandycove, where, after draggin' the forty-foot hole,
he'd write off to Elizabeth, saying that, "owing to their suparior
knowledge of the country the dastard foe had once more eluded him."

The Queen got mighty tired of these letters, especially as they always
ended with a request to send stamps by return, and told Essex to finish
up his business and not be makin' a fool of himself.

"Oh, that's the talk, is it," says Essex; "very well, me ould sauce-box"
(that was the name he had for her ever since she gev him the clip on the
ear for turnin' his back on her), "very well me ould sauce-box," says
he, "I'll write off to O'Neill this very minute, and tell him to send in
his lowest terms for peace at ruling prices."

Well, the threaty was a bit of a one-sided one--the terms being--

  1. Hugh O'Neill to be King of Great Britain.

  2. Lord Essex to return to London and remain there as Viceroy of

  3. The O'Neill family to be supported by Government, with free passes
  to all theatres and places of entertainment.

  4. The London Markets to buy only from Irish dealers.

  5. All taxes to be sent in stamped envelopes, directed to H. O'Neill,
  and marked "private." Cheques crossed and made payable to H. O'Neill.
  Terms cash.

Well, if Essex had had the sense to read through this treaty he'd have
seen it was of too graspin' a nature to pass with any sort of a
respectable sovereign, but he was that mad he just stuck the document in
the pocket of his pot-metal overcoat, and away wid him hot foot for

"Is the Queen widin?" says he to the butler, when he opened the door o'
the palace. His clothes were that dirty and disorthered wid travellin'
all night, and his boots that muddy, that the butler was not for littin'
him in at the first go off, so says he, very grand; "Her Majesty is
above stairs and can't be seen till she's had her breakwhist."

"Tell her the Lord Liftinant of Ireland desires an interview," says

"Oh, beg pardon, me lord," says the butler, steppin' to one side, "I
didn't know 'twas yourself was in it; come inside, sir; the Queen's in
the dhrawin'-room."

Well, Essex leps up the stairs and into the dhrawin'-room wid him, muddy
boots and all; but not a sight of Elizabeth was to be seen.

"Where's your misses?" says he to one of the maids-of-honour that was
dustin' the chimbley-piece.

"She's not out of her bed yet," said the maid, with a toss of her head;
"but if you write your message on the slate beyant, I'll see"--but
before she had finished, Essex was up the second flight and knockin' at
the Queen's bedroom door.

"Is that the hot wather?" says the Queen.

"No, it's me,--Essex. Can you see me?"

"Faith, I can't," says the Queen. "Hould on till I draw the
bed-curtains. Come in now," says she, "and say your say, for I can't
have you stoppin' long--you young Lutharian."

"Bedad, yer Majesty," says Essex, droppin' on his knees before her (the
delutherer he was), "small blame to me if I am a Lutharian, for you have
a face on you that would charm a bird off a bush."

"Hould your tongue, you young reprobate," says the Queen, blushin' up to
her curl-papers wid delight, "and tell me what improvements you med in

"Faith, I taught manners to O'Neill," cries Essex.

"He had a bad masther then," says Elizabeth, lookin' at his dirty boots;
"couldn't you wipe yer feet before ye desthroyed me carpets, young man?"

"Oh, now," says Essex, "is it wastin' me time shufflin' about on a mat
you'd have me, when I might be gazin' on the loveliest faymale the world
ever saw."

"Well," says the Queen, "I'll forgive you this time, as you've been so
long away, but remimber in future that Kidderminster ain't oilcloth.
Tell me," says she, "is Westland Row Station finished yet?"

"There's a side wall or two wanted yet, I believe," says Essex.

"What about the Loop Line?" says she.

"Oh, they're gettin' on with that," says he, "only some people think the
girders a disfigurement to the city."

"Is there any talk about that esplanade from Sandycove to Dunlary?"

"There's talk about it, but that's all," says Essex; "'twould be an
odious fine improvement to house property, and I hope they'll see to it

"Sorra much you seem to have done, beyant spendin' me men and me money.
Let's have a look at that treaty I see stickin' out o' your pocket."

Well, when the Queen read the terms of Hugh O'Neill she just gev him one
look, an' jumpin' from off the bed, she put her head out of the window,
and called out to the policeman on duty--

"Is the Head below?"

"I'll tell him you want him, ma'am," says the policeman.

"Do," says the Queen. "Hello," says she, as a slip of paper dhropped out
o' the dispatches. "What's this? 'Lines to Mary.' Ho! ho! me gay fella,
that's what you've been up to, is it?"

                        "Mrs. Brady
                        Is a widow lady,
  And she has a charmin' daughter I adore;
                        I went to court her
                        Across the water,
      And her mother keeps a little candy-store.
                        She's such a darlin',
                        She's like a starlin',
    And in love with her I'm gettin' more and more,
                        Her name is Mary,
                        She's from Dunlary;
    And her mother keeps a little candy-store."

"That settles it," says the Queen. "It's the gaoler you'll serenade

When Essex heard that, he thrimbled so much that the button of his
cuirass shook off and rowled under the dhressin'-table.

"Arrest that man," says the Queen, when the Head-Constable came to the
door; "arrest that thrayter," says she, "and never let me set eyes on
him again."

And, indeed, she never did, and soon after that he met with his death
from the skelp of an axe he got when he was standin' on Tower Hill.

The Boat's Share.

_From "Further Experiences of an Irish R.M."_


The affair on the strand at Hare Island ripened, with complexity of
summonses and cross-summonses, into an imposing Petty Sessions case. Two
separate deputations presented themselves at Shreelane, equipped with
black eyes and other conventional injuries, one of them armed with a
creelful of live lobsters to underline the argument. To decline the
bribe was of no avail: the deputation decanted them upon the floor of
the hall and retired, and the lobsters spread themselves at large over
the house, and to this hour remain the nightmare of the nursery.

The next Petty Sessions day was wet; the tall windows of the Court House
were grey and streaming, and the reek of wet humanity ascended to the
ceiling. As I took my seat on the bench I perceived with an inward groan
that the services of the two most eloquent solicitors in Skebawn had
been engaged. This meant that Justice would not have run its course till
heaven knew that dim hour of the afternoon, and that that course would
be devious and difficult.

All the pews and galleries (any Irish court-house might, with the
addition of a harmonium, pass presentably as a dissenting chapel) were
full, and a line of flat-capped policemen stood like church-wardens near
the door. Under the galleries, behind what might have answered to
choir-stalls, the witnesses and their friends hid in darkness, which
could, however, but partially conceal two resplendent young ladies,
barmaids, who were to appear in a subsequent Sunday drinking case. I was
a little late, and when I arrived Flurry Knox, supported by a couple of
other magistrates, was in the chair, imperturbable of countenance as was
his wont, his fair and delusive youthfulness of aspect unimpaired by his
varied experiences during the war, his roving, subtle eye untamed by
four years of matrimony.

A woman was being examined, a square and ugly country-woman, with wispy
fair hair, a slow, dignified manner, and a slight and impressive
stammer. I recognised her as one of the bodyguard of the lobsters. Mr.
Mooney, solicitor for the Brickleys, widely known, and respected as
"Roaring Jack," was in possession of that much-enduring organ, the ear
of the Court.

"Now, Kate Keohane!" he thundered, "tell me what time it was when all
this was going on?"

"About duskish, sir. Con Brickley was slashing the f-fish at me mother
the same time. He never said a word but to take the shtick and fire me
dead with it on the sthrand. He gave me plenty of blood to dhrink, too,"
said the witness, with acid decorum. She paused to permit this agreeable
fact to sink in, and added, "his wife wanted to f-fashten on me the same
time, an' she havin' the steer of the boat to sthrike me."

These were not precisely the facts that Mr. Murphy, as solicitor for the
defence, wished to elicit.

"Would you kindly explain what you mean by the steer of the boat?" he
demanded, sparring for wind in as intimidating a manner as possible. The
witness stared at him.

"Sure, 'tis the shtick, like, that they pulls here and there to go in
their choice place."

"We may presume that the lady is referring to the tiller," said Mr.
Mooney, with a facetious eye at the Bench. "Maybe now, ma'am, you can
explain to us what sort of a boat is she?"

"She's that owld that if it wasn't for the weeds that's holding her
together she'd bursht up in the deep."

"And who owns this valuable property?" pursued Mr. Mooney.

"She's between Con Brickley and me brother, an the saine[1] is between
four, an' whatever crew does be in it should get their share, and the
boat has a man's share."

I made no attempt to comprehend this, relying with well-founded
confidence on Flurry Knox's grasp of such enigmas.

"Was Con Brickley fishing the same day?"

"He was not, sir. He was at Lisheen Fair; for as clever as he is, he
couldn't kill two birds under one slat!"

Kate Keohane's voice moved unhurried from sentence to sentence, and her
slow, pale eyes turned for an instant to the lair of the witnesses under
the gallery.

"And you're asking the Bench to believe that this decent man left his
business in Lisheen in order to slash fish at your mother?" said Mr.
Mooney, truculently.

"B'lieve me, sorra much business he laves afther him wherever he'll go!"
returned the witness. "Himself and his wife had business enough on the
sthrand when the fish was dividing, and it is then themselves put every
name on me."

"Ah, what harm are names!" said Mr. Mooney, dallying elegantly with a
massive watch-chain.

"Come, now, ma'am! will you swear you got any ill-usage from Con
Brickley or his wife?" He leaned over the front of his pew, and waited
for the answer with his massive red head on one side.

"I was givin' blood like a c-cow that ye'd shtab with a knife!" said
Kate Keohane, with unshaken dignity. "If it was yourself that was in it
ye'd feel the smart as well as me. My hand and word on it, ye would! The
marks is on me head still, like the prints of dog-bites!"

She lifted a lock of hair from her forehead, and exhibited a
sufficiently repellent injury. Flurry Knox leaned forward.

"Are you sure you haven't that since the time there was that business
between yourself and the post-mistress at Munig? I'm told you had the
name of the post-office on your forehead where she struck you with the
office stamp! Try, now, sergeant, can you read Munig on her forehead?"

The Court, not excepting its line of church-wardens, dissolved into
laughter; Kate Keohane preserved an offended silence.

"I suppose you want us to believe," resumed Mr. Mooney, sarcastically,
"that a fine, hearty woman like you wasn't defending yourself!" Then,
with a turkey-cock burst of fury, "On your oath, now! What did you
strike Honora Brickley with? Answer me that now! What had you in your

"I had nothing only the little rod I had after the ass," answered Miss
Keohane, with a child-like candour. "I done nothing to them; but as for
Con Brickley, he put his back to the cliff and he took the flannel wrop
that he had on him, and he threw it on the sthrand, and he said he would
have blood, murdher, or f-fish!"

She folded her shawl across her breast, a picture of virtue assailed,
yet unassailed.

"You may go down now," said "Roaring Jack," rather hastily, "I want to
have a few words with your brother."

Miss Keohane retired, without having moulted a feather of her dignity,
and her brother Jer came heavily up the steps and on to the platform,
his hot, wary, blue eyes gathering in the Bench and the attorneys in one
bold, comprehensive glance. He was a tall, dark man of about five and
forty, clean-shaved, save for two clerical inches of black whiskers, and
in feature of the type of a London clergyman who would probably preach
on Browning.

"Well, sir!" began Mr. Mooney, stimulatingly, "and are you the biggest
blackguard from here to America?"

"I am not," said Jer Keohane, tranquilly.

"We had you here before us not so very long ago about kicking a goat,
wasn't it? You got a little touch of a pound, I think?"

This delicate allusion to a fine that the Bench had thought fit to
impose did not distress the witness.

"I did, sir."

"And how's our friend the goat?" went on Mr. Mooney, with the furious
facetiousness reserved for hustling tough witnesses.

"Well, I suppose she's something west of the Skelligs by now," replied
Jer Keohane with great composure.

An appreciative grin ran round the Court. The fact that the goat had
died of the kick and been "given the cliff" being regarded as an
excellent jest.

Mr. Mooney consulted his notes:

"Well, now, about this fight," he said, pleasantly, "did you see your
sister catch Mrs. Brickley and pull her hair down to the ground and drag
her shawl off of her?"

"Well," said the witness, airily, "they had a bit of a scratch on
account o' the fish. Con Brickley had the shteer o' the boat in his
hand, and says he, 'is there any man here that'll take the shteer from
me?' The man was dhrunk, of course," added Jer charitably.

"Did you have any talk with his wife about the fish?"

"I couldn't tell the words that she said to me!" replied the witness,
with a reverential glance at the Bench, "and she over-right three crowds
o' men that was on the sthrand."

Mr. Mooney put his hands in his pockets and surveyed the witness.

"You're a very refined gentleman, upon my word! Were you ever in

"I was, part of three years."

"Oh, that accounts for it, I suppose!" said Mr. Mooney, accepting this
lucid statement without a stagger, and passing lightly on. "You're a
widower, I understand, with no objection to consoling yourself?"

No answer.

"Now, sir! Can you deny that you made proposals of marriage to Con
Brickley's daughter last Shraft?"

The plot thickened. Con Brickley's daughter was my kitchen maid.

Jer Keohane smiled tolerantly. "Ah! that was a thing o' nothing."

"Nothing!" said Mr. Mooney, with a roar of a tornado. "Do you call an
impudent proposal of marriage to a respectable man's daughter nothing!
That's English manners, I suppose!"

"I was goin' home one Sunday," said Jer Keohane, conversationally, to
the Bench, "and I met the gerr'l and her mother. I spoke to the gerr'l
in a friendly way, and asked her why wasn't she gettin' marrid, and she
commenced to peg stones at me and dhrew several blows of an umbrella on
me. I had only three bottles of porther taken. There now was the whole
of it."

Mrs. Brickley, from the gallery, groaned heavily and ironically.

I found it difficult to connect these coquetries with my impressions of
my late kitchenmaid, a furtive and touzled being, who, in conjunction
with a pail and scrubbing brush, had been wont to melt round corners and
into doorways at my approach.

"Are we trying a breach of promise?" interpolated Flurry; "if so, we
ought to have the plaintiff in."

"My purpose, sir," said Mr. Mooney, in a manner discouraging to levity,
"is to show that my clients have received annoyance and contempt from
this man and his sister such as no parents would submit to."

A hand came forth from under the gallery and plucked at Mr. Mooney's
coat. A red monkey face appeared out of the darkness, and there was a
hoarse whisper, whose purport I could not gather. Con Brickley, the
defendant, was giving instructions to his lawyer.

It was perhaps as a result of these that Jer Keohane's evidence closed
here. There was a brief interval enlivened by coughs, grinding of heavy
boots on the floor, and some mumbling and groaning under the gallery.

"There's great duck-shooting out on a lake on this island," commented
Flurry to me, in a whisper. "My grand-uncle went there one time with an
old duck-gun he had, that he fired with a fuse. He was three hours
stalking the ducks before he got the gun laid. He lit the fuse then, and
it set to work spluttering and hissing like a goods-engine till there
wasn't a duck within ten miles. The gun went off then."

This useful side-light on the matter in hand was interrupted by the
cumbrous ascent of the one-legged Con Brickley to the witness-table. He
sat down heavily, with his slouch hat on his sound knee, and his wooden
stump stuck out before him. His large monkey face was immovably serious;
his eye was small, light grey, and very quick.

McCaffery, the opposition attorney, a thin, restless youth, with ears
like the handles of an urn, took him in hand. To the pelting
cross-examination that beset him Con Brickley replied with sombre
deliberation, and with a manner of uninterested honesty, emphasising
what he said with slight, very effective gestures of his big, supple
hands. His voice was deep and pleasant; it betrayed no hint of so
trivial a thing as satisfaction when, in the teeth of Mr. McCaffery's
leading questions, he established the fact that the "little rod" with
which Miss Kate Keohane had beaten his wife was the handle of a

"I was counting the fish the same time," went on Con Brickley, in his
rolling basso profundissimo, "and she said, 'Let the divil clear me out
of the sthrand, for there's no one else will put me out!' says she."

"It was then she got the blow, I suppose!" said McCaffery, venomously;
"you had a stick yourself, I daresay?"

"Yes. I had a stick. I must have a stick," (deep and mellow pathos was
hinted at in the voice), "I am sorry to say. What could I do to her? A
man with a wooden leg on a sthrand could do nothing!"

Something like a laugh ran at the back of the court. Mr. McCaffery's
ears turned scarlet and became quite decorative. On or off a strand Con
Brickley was not a person to be scored off easily.

His clumsy, yet impressive, descent from the witness stand followed
almost immediately, and was not the least telling feature of his
evidence. Mr. Mooney surveyed his exit with the admiration of one artist
for another, and, rising, asked the Bench's permission to call Mrs.

Mrs. Brickley, as she mounted to the platform, in the dark and nun-like
severity of her long cloak, the stately blue cloth cloak that is the
privilege of the Munster peasant woman, was an example of the
rarely-blended qualities of picturesqueness and respectability. As she
took her seat in the chair, she flung the deep hood back on her
shoulders, and met the gaze of the court with her grey head erect; she
was a witness to be proud of.

"Now, Mrs. Brickley," said "Roaring Jack," urbanely, "will you describe
this interview between your daughter and Keohane."

"It was last Sunday in Shrove, your Worship, Mr. Flurry Knox, and
gentlemen," began Mrs. Brickley nimbly, "meself and me little gerr'l was
comin' from mass, and Mr. Jer Keohane came up to us and got on in a most
unmannerable way. He asked me daughter would she marry him. Me daughter
told him she would not, quite friendly like. I'll tell you no lie,
gentlemen, she was teasing him with the umbrella the same time; an' he
raised his shtick and dhrew a sthroke on her in the back, an' the little
gerr'l took up a small pebble of a stone and fired it at him. She put
the umbrella up to his mouth, but she called him no names. But as for
him, the names he put on her was to call her 'a nasty, long, slopeen of
a proud thing, and a slopeen of a proud tinker.'"

"Very lover-like expressions!" commented Mr. Mooney, doubtless
stimulated by the lady-like titters from the barmaids; "and had this
romantic gentleman made any previous proposals for your daughter?"

"Himself had two friends over from across the water one night to make
the match, a Sathurday it was, and they should land the lee side o' the
island, for the wind was a fright," replied Mrs. Brickley, launching her
tale with the power of easy narration that is bestowed with such amazing
liberality on her class. "The three o' them had dhrink taken, an' I went
to shlap out the door agin them. Me husband said then we should let them
in, if it was a Turk itself, with the rain that was in it. They were
talking in it then till near the dawning, and in the latther end all
that was between them was the boat's share."

"What do you mean by 'the boat's share'?" said I.

"'Tis the same as a man's share, me worshipful gintleman," returned Mrs.
Brickley, splendidly; "it goes with the boat always, afther the crew and
the saine has their share got."

I possibly looked as enlightened as I felt by this exposition.

"You mean that Jer wouldn't have her unless he got the boat's share with
her?" suggested Flurry.

"He said it over-right all that was in the house, and he reddening his
pipe at the fire," replied Mrs. Brickley, in full-sailed response to the
helm. "'D'ye think,' says I to him, 'that me daughter would leave a
lovely situation, with a kind and tendher masther, for a mean, hungry
blagyard like yerself,' says I, 'that's livin' always in this backwards
place!' says I."

This touching expression of preference for myself, as opposed to Mr.
Keohane, was received with expressionless respect by the Court. Flurry,
with an impassive countenance, kicked me heavily under cover of the
desk. I said that we had better get on to the assault on the strand.
Nothing could have been more to Mrs. Brickley's taste. We were minutely
instructed as to how Katie Keohane drew the shawleen forward on Mrs.
Brickley's head to stifle her; and how Norrie Keohane was fast in her
hair. Of how Mrs. Brickley had then given a stroke upwards between
herself and her face (whatever that might mean) and loosed Norrie from
her hair. Of how she then sat down and commenced to cry from the use
they had for her.

"'Twas all I done," she concluded, looking like a sacred picture, "I
gave her a stroke of a pollock on them."

"As for language," replied Mrs. Brickley, with clear eyes, a little
uplifted in the direction of the ceiling, "there was no name from heaven
or hell but she had it on me, and wishin' the divil might burn the two
heels off me, and the like of me wasn't in sivin parishes! And that was
the clane part of the discoorse, yer Worships!"

Mrs. Brickley here drew her cloak more closely about her, as though to
enshroud herself in her own refinement, and presented to the Bench a
silence as elaborate as a drop scene. It implied, amongst other things,
a generous confidence in the imaginative powers of her audience.

Whether or no this was misplaced, Mrs. Brickley was not invited further
to enlighten the Court. After her departure the case droned on in
inexhaustible rancour, and trackless complications as to the shares of
the fish. Its ethics and its arithmetic would have defied the allied
intellects of Solomon and Bishop Colenso. It was somewhere in that dead
afternoon, when it was too late for lunch and too early for tea, that
the Bench, wan with hunger, wound up the affair, by impartially binding
both parties in sheaves "to the Peace."


  [1] A large net.

"King William."

_From "Aliens of the West."_


Mrs. Macfarlane was a tall, thin, and eminently respectable woman of
fifty, possessed of many rigid virtues. She was a native of the north of
Ireland, and had come originally to Toomevara as maid to the Dowager
Lady Dunanway. On the death of her mistress, whom she served faithfully
for many years, Lord Dunanway offered to set her up in business, and at
the time our story opens she had been for two years proprietress of the
buffet, and made a decent living by it; for as Toomevara is situated on
the Great Southern and Western Railway, a fair amount of traffic passes
through it.

The stationmaster, familiarly known as "Jim" O'Brien, was Toomevara
born, and had once been a porter on that very line. He was an
intelligent, easy-going, yet quick-tempered man of pronounced Celtic
type, with a round, good-natured face, a humorous mouth, shrewd,
twinkling eyes, and immense volubility.

Between him and Mrs. Macfarlane the deadliest warfare raged. She was
cold and superior, and implacably in the right. She pointed out Jim's
deficiencies whenever she saw them, and she saw them very often. All day
long she sat in her refreshment room, spectacles on nose, her Bible open
before her, knitting, and rising only at the entrance of a customer. Jim
had an uneasy consciousness that nothing escaped her eye, and her
critical remarks had more than once been reported to him.

"The bitther ould pill!" he said to his wife. "Why, the very look ov her
'ud sour a crock o' crame. She's as cross as a bag ov weasels."

Jim was a Catholic and a Nationalist. He belonged to the "Laygue," and
spoke at public meetings as often as his duties allowed. He objected to
being referred to by Mrs. Macfarlane as a "Papish" and a "Rebel."

"Papish, indeed!" said he. "Ribbil, indeed! Tell the woman to keep a
civil tongue in her head, or 'twill be worse for her."

"How did the likes ov her iver get a husban'?" he would ask,
distractedly, after a sparring match. "Troth, an' 'tis no wondher the
poor man died."

Mrs. Macfarlane was full of fight and courage. Her proudest boast was of
being the granddaughter, daughter, sister, and widow of Orangemen.

She looked on herself in Toomevara as a child of Israel among the
Babylonians, and felt that it behoved her to uphold the standard of her
faith. To this end she sang the praises of the Battle of the Boyne with
a triumph that aggravated O'Brien to madness.

"God Almighty help the woman! Is it Irish at all she is--or what? To see
her makin' merry because a parcel o' rascally Dutchmen----! Sure,
doesn't she know 'twas Irish blood they spilt at the Boyne? An' to see
her takin' pride in it turns me sick, so it does. If she was English,
now, I could stand it, but she callin' herself an Irishwoman--faith, she
has the bad dhrop in her, so she has, to be glad at her counthry's

Jim's rage was the greater because Mrs. Macfarlane, whatever she said,
said little or nothing to him. She passed him by with lofty scorn and
indifference affecting not to see him; and while she did many things
that O'Brien found supremely annoying, they were things strictly within
her rights.

Matters had not arrived at this pass all at once. The feud dated from
Mrs. Macfarlane's having adopted a little black dog--a mongrel--on which
she lavished a wealth of affection, and which, as the most endearing
title she knew, she named "King William." This, of course, was nobody's
concern save Mrs. Macfarlane's own, and in a world of philosophers she
would have been allowed to amuse herself unheeded, but Jim O'Brien was
not a philosopher.

Unlike most Irishmen, he had a great love for flowers. His garden was
beautifully kept, and he was prouder of his roses than of anything on
earth save his eldest daughter, Kitty, who was nearly sixteen. Picture,
then, his rage and dismay when he one day found his beds scratched into
holes and his roses uprooted by "King William," who had developed a
mania for hiding away bones under Jim's flowers. O'Brien made loud and
angry complaints to the dog's owner, which she received with unconcern
and disbelief.

"Please, Mr. O'Brien," she said, with dignity, "don't try to put it on
the puir wee dog. Even if yu _du_ dislike his name, that's no reason for
saying he was in your garden. He knows betther, so he does, than to go
where he's not wanted."

After this it was open war between the stationmaster and the widow.

Under the windows of the refreshment room were two narrow flower-beds.
These Jim took care never to touch, affecting to consider them the
exclusive property of Mrs. Macfarlane. They were long left
uncultivated, an eyesore to the stationmaster; but one day Kelly, the
porter, came to him with an air of mystery, to say that "th ould
wan"--for by this term was Mrs. Macfarlane generally indicated--"was
settin' somethin' in the beds beyant."

Jim came out of his office and walked up and down the platform with an
air of elaborate unconsciousness. Sure enough, there was Mrs. Macfarlane
gardening. She had donned old gloves and a clean checked apron, and,
trowel in hand, was breaking up the caked earth, preparatory, it would
seem, to setting plants.

"What the dickens is she doin'?" asked Jim, when he got back.

"Not a wan ov me knows," said Kelly. "She's been grubbin' there since
nine o'clock."

From this time Mrs. Macfarlane was assiduous in the care of her two
flower-beds. Every day she might be seen weeding or watering, and though
Jim steadily averted his gaze, he was devoured by curiosity as to the
probable results. What on earth did she want to grow? The weeks passed.
Tiny green seedlings at last pushed their way through the soil, and in
due course the nature of the plants became evident. Jim was highly
excited, and rushed home to tell his wife.

"Be the hokey, Mary," he said, "'tis lilies she has there, an may I
never sin, but it's my belief they're orange lilies, an' if they are,
I'll root ev'ry wan ov thim out, if I die for it."

"Be quiet, now," said Mary. "How d'ye know they're lilies at all? For
the love o' God keep her tongue off ov ye, an' don't be puttin' yersel'
in her way."

"Whist, woman, d'ye think I'm a fool? 'Tis lilies th' are annyways, an'
time'll tell if they're orange or not, but faith, if th'are, I won't
shtand it.' I'll complain to the Boord."

"Sure the Boord'll be on her side, man. Don't yeh know the backin' she
has? They'll say 'Why shouldn't she have orange lilies if she likes?'"

"Ah, Mary, 'tis too sinsible y'are inthirely. Have ye no sperrit, woman
alive, to let her ride rough-shod over uz this way? 'Make a mouse o'
yerself an' the cat'll ate ye,' 's a thrue saying. Sure, Saint Pether
himself cuddn't shtand it, an' be the piper that played before Moses, I

"Ye misfortunit man, don't be dhrawin' down ructions on yer head.
Haven't yeh childer to think about? An' don't be throublin' yerself over
what she does. 'Tis plazin' her y'are whin she sees y're mad. Take no
notice, man, an' p'raps she'll shtop."

"The divil fly away wid her for a bitther ould sarpint. The vinom's in
her, sure enough. Why should I put up wid her, I'd like to know?"

"Ah, keep yer tongue between yer teeth, Jim. 'Tis too onprudent y'are.
Not a worrd ye dhrop but is brought back to her be some wan. Have sinse,
man. You'll go sayin' that to Joe Kelly, an' he'll have it over the town
in no time, an' some wan'll carry it to her."

"An' do ye think I care a thrawneen[1] for the likes ov her? Faith, not
a pin. If you got yer way, Mary, ye'd have me like the man that was
hanged for sayin' nothin'. Sure, I never did a hand's turn agin her, an'
'tis a low, mane thrick ov her to go settin' orange lilies over
foreninst me, an' she knowin' me opinions."

"Faith, I'll not say it wasn't, Jim, if they _are_ orange lilies; but
sure, ye don't know rightly yet what th'are, an' in God's name keep
quite till you do."

The days went by. The lilies grew taller and taller. They budded, they
bloomed, and, sure enough, Jim had been in the right--orange lilies they
proved to be.

"They'll mek a fine show for the twelfth of July, I'm thinkin'," said
Mrs. Macfarlane, complacently, as she walked by her beds, swinging a
dripping watering-pot.

At the time of the blossoming of the orange lilies, James O'Brien was
not at home, having had to go some twenty miles down the line on
official business. The obnoxious flowers took advantage of his absence
to make a gay show. When he returned, as luck would have it Mrs.
Macfarlane was away, and had shut up the refreshment room, but had not
locked it. No one locks doors in Toomevara unless their absence is to be
lengthy. She had left "King William" behind, and told Joe Kelly to take
care of the dog, in case he should be lonely, for she had been invited
to the wedding of an old fellow servant, the late butler at Lord
Dunanway's, who was to be married that day to the steward's daughter.

All this Joe Kelly told the stationmaster on his return, but he did not
say a word about the orange lilies, being afraid of an explosion, and,
as he said, "detarmined not to meddle or make, but just to let him find
it out himself."

For quite a time Jim was occupied over way-bills in his little office;
but at last his attention was distracted by the long continued howling
and yelping of a dog.

"Let the baste out, can't ye?" he at length said to Kelly. "I can't
stand listening to um anny longer."

"I was afeared 'twas run over he might be, agin' she came back," said
Kelly, "'an so I shut um up."

"Sure, there's no danger. There won't be a thrain in for the next two
hours, an' if he was run over itself, God knows he'd be no loss. 'Tisn't
meself 'ud grieve for um, th' ill-favoured cur."

"King William" was accordingly released.

When O'Brien had finished his task, he stood for a time at the office
door, his hands crossed behind him, supporting his coat tails, his eyes
fixed abstractedly on the sky. Presently he started for his usual walk
up and down the platform, when his eye was at once caught by the flare
of the stately rows of orange lilies.

"Be the Holy Poker!" he exclaimed. "But I was right. 'Tis orange th'
are, sure enough. What'll Mary say now? Faith, 'tis lies they do be
tellin' whin they say there's no riptiles in Ireland. That ould woman
bangs Banagher, an' Banagher bangs the divil."

He stopped in front of the obnoxious flowers.

"Isn't it the murthering pity there's nothing I can plant to spite her.
She has the pull over me entirely. Shamerogues makes no show at
all--ye'd pass them unbeknownst--while orange lilies yeh can see a mile
off. Now, who but herself 'ud be up to the likes o' this?"

At the moment he became aware of an extraordinary commotion among the
lilies, and, looking closer, perceived "King William" in their midst,
scratching as if for bare life, scattering mould, leaves, and bulbs to
the four winds, and with every stroke of his hind legs dealing
destruction to the carefully-tended flowers.

The sight filled Jim with sudden gladness.

"More power to the dog!" he cried, with irrepressible glee. "More power
to um! Sure, he has more sinse than his missus. 'King William,' indeed,
an' he rootin' up orange lilies! Ho, ho! Tare an' ouns! but 'tis the
biggest joke that iver I hard in me life. More power to ye! Good dog!"

Rubbing his hands in an ecstasy of delight, he watched "King William" at
his work of devastation, and, regretfully be it confessed, when the dog
paused, animated him to fresh efforts by thrilling cries of "Rats!"

"King William" sprang wildly hither and thither, running from end to end
of the beds, snapping the brittle lily stems, scattering the blossoms.

"Be gum, but it's great! Look at um now. Cruel wars to the Queen o'
Spain if iver I seen such shport! Go it, 'King William!' Smash thim, me
boy! Good dog! Out wid them!" roared Jim, tears of mirth streaming down
his cheeks. "Faith, 'tis mad she'll be. I'd give sixpence to see her
face. O Lord! O Lord! sure, it's the biggest joke that iver was."

At last "King William" tired of the game, but only when every lily lay
low, and Mrs. Macfarlane's carefully tended flower beds were a chaos of
broken stalks and trampled blossoms.

As O'Brien, in high good humour, having communicated the side-splitting
joke to Mary and Finnerty, was busy over his account books, Kelly came

"She's back," he whispered, "an she's neither to hold nor to bind. I was
watchin' out, an' sure, 'twas shtruck all of a hape she was whin she
seen thim lilies; an' now I'll take me oath she's goin' to come here,
for, begob, she looks as cross as nine highways."

"Letter come," chuckled O'Brien; "I'm ready forrer."

At this moment the office door was burst open with violence, and Mrs.
Macfarlane, in her best Sunday costume, bonnet, black gloves, and
umbrella included, her face very pale save the cheek bones, where two
bright pink spots burned, entered the room.

"Misther O'Brien," she said in a high, stilted voice that trembled with
rage, "will yu please to inform me the meanin' o' this dasthardly

"Arrah, what outrage are ye talkin' ov ma'am?" asked O'Brien,
innocently. "Sure, be the looks ov ye I think somethin' has upset ye
entirely. Faith, ye're lookin' as angry as if you were vexed, as the
sayin' is."

"Oh, to be sure. A great wonder, indeed, that I should be vexed.
'Crabbit was that cause had!'" interrupted Mrs Macfarlane with a sneer.
"You're not decavin' me, sir. I'm not takin in by yur pretinces, but if
there's law in the land, or justice, I'll have it of yu."

"Would ye mind, ma'am," said O'Brien, imperturbably, for his
superabounding delight made him feel quite calm and superior to the
angry woman--"would ye mind statin' in plain English what y're talkin'
about for not a wan ov me knows?"

"Oh, yu son of Judas! Oh, yu deceivin' wretch! As if it wasn't yu that
is afther desthroyin' my flower-beds!"

"Ah, thin, it is y'r ould flower-beds y're makin' all this row about?
Y'r dirty orange lilies'. Sure, 'tis clared out o' the place they ought
t've been long ago for weeds. 'Tis mesel' that's glad they're gone, an'
so I tell ye plump an' plain; bud as for me desthroyin' them, sorra
finger iver I laid on thim; I wouldn't demane mesel'."

"An' if yu please, Misther O'Brien," said Mrs. Macfarlane with
ferocious politeness, "will yu kindly mintion, if yu did not do the job,
who did?"

"Faith, that's where the joke comes in," said O'Brien, pleasantly.
"'Twas the very same baste that ruinated me roses, bad cess to him, y'r
precious pet, 'King William'!"

"Oh! is it lavin' it on the dog y'are, yu traitorous Jesuit! The puir
wee dog that never harmed yu? Sure, 'tis only a Papist would think of a
mane thrick like that to shift the blame."

The colour rose to O'Brien's face.

"Mrs. Macfarlane, ma'am," he said, with laboured civility, "wid yer
permission we'll lave me religion out o' this. Maybe, if ye say much
more, I might be losin' me timper wid ye."

"Much I mind what yu lose," cried Mrs. Macfarlane. "It's thransported
the likes o' yu should be for a set o' robbin', murderin', desthroyin',

"Have a care, ma'am, how yer spake to yer betthers. Robbin', deceivin',
murdherin', desthroyin', thraytors, indeed! I like that! What brought
over the lot ov yez, Williamites an' Cromwaylians an' English an'
Scotch, but to rob, an' desave, an' desthroy, an' murdher uz, an' stale
our land, an' bid uz go to hell or to Connaught, an' grow fat on what
was ours before iver yez came, an' thin jibe uz for bein' poor?
Thraytors! Thraytor yerself, for that's what the lot ov yez is. Who
wants yez here at all?"

Exasperated beyond endurance, Mrs. Macfarlane struck at the
stationmaster with her neat black umbrella, and had given him a nasty
cut across the brow, when Kelly interfered, as well as Finnerty and Mrs.
O'Brien, who rushed in, attracted by the noise. Between them O'Brien
was held back under a shower of blows, and the angry woman hustled
outside, whence she retreated to her own quarters, muttering threats all
the way.

"Oh, Jim, avourneen! 'tis bleedin' y'are," shrieked poor anxious Mary,
wildly. "Oh, wirra, why did ye dhraw her on ye? Sure, I tould ye how
'twould be. As sure as God made little apples she'll process ye, an' she
has the quality on her side."

"Letter," said Jim; "much good she'll get by it. Is it makin' a liar ov
me she'd be whin I tould her I didn't touch her ould lilies? Sure, I'll
process her back for assaultin' an' battherin me. Ye all saw her, an' me
not touchin' her, the calliagh!"[2]

"Begorra, 'tis thrue for him," said Kelly. "She flagellated him wid her
umbrelly, an' sorra blow missed bud the wan that didn't hit, and on'y I
was here, an' lit on her suddent, like a bee on a posy, she'd have had
his life, so she would."

Not for an instant did Mrs. Macfarlane forget her cause of offence, or
believe O'Brien's story that it was the dog that had destroyed her
orange lilies. After some consideration she hit on an ingenious device
that satisfied her as being at once supremely annoying to her enemy and
well within the law. Her lilies, emblems of the religious and political
faith that were in her, were gone; but she still had means to testify to
her beliefs, and protest against O'Brien and all that he represented to
her mind.

Next day, when the midday train had just steamed into the station, Jim
was startled by hearing a wild cheer--

"Hi, 'King William'! Hi, 'King William'! Come back, 'King William'!
'King William,' my darlin', 'King William'!"

The air rang with the shrill party cry, and when Jim rushed out he found
that Mrs. Macfarlane had allowed her dog to run down the platform just
as the passengers were alighting, and was now following him, under the
pretence of calling him back. There was nothing to be done. The dog's
name certainly was "King William," and Mrs. Macfarlane was at liberty to
recall him if he strayed.

Jim stood for a moment like one transfixed.

"Faith, I b'leeve 'tis the divil's grandmother she is," he exclaimed.

Mrs. Macfarlane passed him with a deliberately unseeing eye. Had he been
the gate-post, she could not have taken less notice of his presence, as,
having made her way to the extreme end of the platform, cheering her
"King William," she picked up her dog, and marched back in triumph.

Speedily did it become evident that Mrs. Macfarlane was pursuing a
regular plan of campaign, for at the arrival of every train that entered
the station that day, she went through the same performance of letting
loose the dog and then pursuing him down the platform, waving her arms
and yelling for "King William."

By the second challenge Jim had risen to the situation and formed his
counterplot. He saw and heard her in stony silence, apparently as
indifferent to her tactics as she to his presence, but he was only
biding his time. No sooner did passengers alight and enter the
refreshment room, than, having just given them time to be seated, he
rushed up, threw open the door of his enemy's headquarters, and, putting
in his cried, cried:--

"Take yer places, gintlemin immaydiately. The thrain's just off. Hurry
up, will yez? She's away!"

The hungry and discomfited passengers hurried out, pell mell, and Mrs.
Macfarlane was left speechless with indignation.

"I bet I've got the whip hand ov her this time," chuckled Jim, as he
gave the signal to start.

Mrs. Macfarlane's spirit, however, was not broken. From morning until
night, whether the day was wet or fine, she greeted the arrival of each
train with loud cries for "King William," and on each occasion Jim
retorted by bundling out all her customers before they could touch bite
or sup.

The feud continued.

Each day Mrs. Macfarlane, gaunter, fiercer, paler, and more resolute in
ignoring the stationmaster's presence, flaunted her principles up and
down the platform. Each day did Jim hurry the departure of the trains
and sweep off her customers. Never before had there been such
punctuality known at Toomevara, which is situated on an easy-going line,
where usually the guard, when indignant tourists point out that the
express is some twenty minutes' late, is accustomed to reply,

"Why, so she is. 'Tis thrue for ye."

One day, however, Mrs. Macfarlane did not appear. She had come out for
the first train, walking a trifle feebly, and uttering her war cry in a
somewhat quavering voice. When the next came, no Mrs. Macfarlane greeted

Jim himself was perplexed, and a little aggrieved. He had grown used to
the daily strife, and missed the excitement of retorting on his foe.

"Maybe 'tis tired of it she is," he speculated. "Time forrer. She knows
now she won't have things all her own way. She's too domineerin' by

"What's wrong with the ould wan, sir?" asked Joe Kelly, when he met
O'Brien. "She didn't shtir out whin she hard the thrain."

"Faith, I dunno," said Jim. "Hatchin' more disturbance, I'll bet. Faith,
she's like Conaty's goose, nivir well but whin she's doin' mischief.
Joe," he said, "maybe y'ought to look in an' see if anythin' is wrong
wid th' ould wan."

A moment more, and Jim heard him shouting, "Misther O'Brien, Misther
O'Brien!" He ran at the sound. There, a tumbled heap, lay Mrs.
Macfarlane, no longer a defiant virago, but a weak, sickly, elderly
woman, partly supported on Joe Kelly's knee, her face ghastly pale, her
arms hanging limp.

"Be me sowl, but I think she's dyin'," cried Kelly. "She just raised her
head whin she saw me, an' wint off in a faint."

"Lay her flat, Joe; lay her flat."

"Lave her to me," he said, "an' do you run an' tell the missus to come
here at wanst. Maybe she'll know what to do."

Mary came in to find her husband gazing in a bewildered fashion at his
prostrate enemy, and took command in a way that excited his admiration.

"Here," said she, "give uz a hand to move her on to the seat. Jim, run
home an' get Biddy to fill two or three jars wid boilin' wather, an'
bring thim along wid a blanket. She's as cowld as death. Joe, fly off
wid yeh for the docther."

"What docther will I go for, ma'am?"

"The first ye can git," said Mary, promptly beginning to chafe the
inanimate woman's hands and loosen her clothes.

When the doctor came he found Mrs. Macfarlane laid on an impromptu couch
composed of two of the cushioned benches placed side by side. She was
wrapped in blankets, had hot bottles to her feet and sides, and a
mustard plaster over her heart.

"Bravo! Mrs. O'Brien," he said, "I couldn't have done better myself. I
believe you have saved her life by being so quick--at least, saved it
for the moment, for I think she is in for a severe illness. She will
want careful nursing to pull her through."

"She looks rale bad," assented Mary.

"What are we to do with her?" said the doctor. "Is there no place where
they would take her in?"

Mary glanced at Jim, but he did not speak.

"Sure, there's a room in our house," she ventured, after an awkward

"The very thing," said the doctor, "if you don't mind the trouble, and
if Mr. O'Brien does not object."

Jim made no answer, but walked out.

"He doesn't, docther," cried Mary. "Sure, he has the rale good heart.
I'll run off now, an' get the bed ready."

As they passed Jim, who stood sulkily at the door, she contrived to
squeeze his hand. "God bless yeh, me own Jim. You'll be none the worse
forrit. 'Tis no time for bearin' malice, an' our Blessed Lady'll pray
for yeh this day."

Jim was silent.

"'Tis a cruel shame she should fall on uz," he said, when his wife had
disappeared; but he offered no further resistance.

Borne on an impromptu stretcher by Jim, Joe, Finnerty, and doctor, Mrs.
Macfarlane was carried to the stationmaster's house, undressed by Mary,
and put to bed in the spotlessly clean, whitewashed upper room.

The cold and shivering had now passed off, and she was burning. Nervous
fever, the doctor anticipated. She raved about her dog, about Jim, about
the passengers, her rent, and fifty other things that made it evident
her circumstances had preyed upon her mind.

Poor Mary was afraid of her at times; but there are no trained nurses at
Toomevara, and, guided by Doctor Doherty's directions, she tried to do
her best, and managed wonderfully well.

There could be no doubt Jim did not like having the invalid in the
house. But this did not prevent him from feeling very miserable. He
became desperately anxious that Mrs. Macfarlane should not die, and
astonished Mary by bringing home various jellies and meat extracts, that
he fancied might be good for the patient; but he did this with a shy and
hang-dog air by no means natural to him, and always made some ungracious
speech as to the trouble, to prevent Mary thinking he was sorry for the
part he had played. He replied with a downcast expression to all
enquiries from outsiders as to Mrs. Macfarlane's health, but he brought
her dog into the house and fed it well.

"Not for her sake, God knows," he explained; "but bekase the poor baste
was frettin' an' I cudn't see him there wid no wan to look to him."

He refused, however, to style the animal "King William," and called it
"Billy" instead, a name which it soon learned to answer.

One evening, when the whitewashed room was all aglow with crimson light
that flooded through the western window, Mrs. Macfarlane returned to
consciousness. Mary was sitting by the bedside, sewing, having sent out
the children in charge of Kitty to secure quiet in the house. For a long
time, unobserved by her nurse, the sick woman lay feebly trying to
understand. Suddenly she spoke--

"What is the matter?"

Mary jumped.

"To be sure," she said, laying down her needlework, "'tis very bad you
were intirely, ma'am; but, thanks be to God, you're betther now."

"Where am I?" asked Mrs. Macfarlane, after a considerable pause.

"In the station house, ma'am. Sure, don't ye know me? I'm Mary O'Brien."

"Mary O'Brien--O'Brien?"

"Yis, faith! Jim O'Brien's wife."

"An' this is Jim O'Brien's house?"

"Whose else id it be? But there now, don't talk anny more. Sure, we'll
tell, ye all about it whin y're betther. The docthor sez y're to be kep'

"But who brought me here?"

"Troth, 'twas carried in ye were, an' you near dyin'. Hush up now, will
ye? Take a dhrop o' this, an' thry to go to shleep."

When Jim came into his supper his wife said to him, "That craythure
upstairs is mad to get away. She thinks we begrudge her the bit she

Jim was silent. Then he said, "Sure, annythin' that's bad she'll b'leeve
ov uz."

"But ye've nivir been up to see her. Shlip into the room now, an' ax her
how she's goin' on. Let bygones be bygones, in the name of God."

"I won't," said Jim.

"Oh, yes, ye will. Sure, afther all, though ye didn't mane it, ye're the
cause ov it. Go to her now."

"I don't like."

"Ah, go. 'Tis yer place, an' you sinsibler than she is. Go an' tell her
to shtay till she's well. Faith, I think that undher all that way of
hers she's softher than she looks. I tell ye, Jim, I seen her cryin'
over the dog, bekase she thought 'twas th' only thing that loved her."

Half pushed by Mary, Jim made his way up the steep stair, and knocked at
the door of Mrs. Macfarlane's attic.

"Come in," said a feeble voice, and he stumbled into the room.

When Mrs. Macfarlane saw who it was, a flame lit in her hollow eyes.

"I'm sorry," she said, with grim politeness, "that yu find me here,
Misther O'Brien; but it isn't my fault. I wanted tu go a while ago, an'
your wife wouldn't let me."

"An' very right she was; you're not fit for it. Sure, don't be talkin'
ov goin' till ye're better, ma'am," said Jim, awkwardly. "Y're heartily
welcome for me. I come up to say--to say, I hope y'll be in no hurry to

"Yu're very good, but it's not to be expected I'd find myself easy under
this roof, where, I can assure yu, I'd never have come of my own free
will; an' I apologise to yu, Misther O'Brien, for givin' so much
trouble--not that I could help myself."

"Sure, 'tis I that should apologise," blurted out Jim; "an' rale sorry I
am--though, maybe, ye won't b'lieve me--that I ever dhruv the customers

For a long time Mrs. Macfarlane did not speak.

"I could forgive that easier than your rootin' up my lilies," she said,
in a strained voice.

"But that I never did. God knows an' sees me this night, an' He knows
that I never laid a finger on thim. I kem out, an' foun' the dog there
scrattin' at thim, an' if this was me last dyin' worrd, 'tis thrue."

"An' 'twas really the wee dog?"

"It was, though I done wrong in laughin' at him, an' cheerin' him on;
but, sure, ye wouldn't mind me whin I told ye he was at me roses, an' I
thought it sarved ye right, an' that ye called him 'King William' to
spite me."

"So I did," said Mrs. Macfarlane, and, she added, more gently, "I'm
sorry now."

"Are ye so?" said Jim, brightening. "Faith, I'm glad to hear ye say it.
We was both in the wrong, ye see, an' if you bear no malice, I don't."

"Yu have been very good to me, seein' how I misjudged you," said Mrs.

"Not a bit ov it; an' 'twas the wife anyhow, for, begorra, I was
hardened against ye, so I was."

"An' yu've spent yer money on me, an' I----"

"Sure, don't say a worrd about id. I owed it to you, so I did, but,
begorra, ye won't have to complain ov wantin' custom wanst yer well."

Mrs. Macfarlane smiled wanly.

"No chance o' that, I'm afraid. What with my illness an' all that went
before it, business is gone. Look at the place shut up this three weeks
an' more."

"Not it," said Jim. "Sure, sence y've been sick I put our little Kitty,
the shlip, in charge of the place, an' she's made a power o' money for
ye, an' she on'y risin' sixteen, an' havin' to help her mother an' all.
She's a clever girl, so she is, though I sez it, an' she ruz the prices
all round. She couldn't manage with the cakes, not knowin' how to bake
thim like yerself; but sure I bought her plenty ov biscuits at
Connolly's; and her mother cut her sandwidges, an' made tay, an' the
dhrinks was all there as you left them, an' Kitty kep' count ov all she

Mrs. Macfarlane looked at him for a moment queerly then she drew the
sheet over her face, and began to sob.

Jim, feeling wretchedly uncomfortable, crept downstairs.

"Go to the craythure, Mary," he said. "Sure, she's cryin'. We've made it
up--an' see here, let her want for nothin'."

Mary ran upstairs, took grim Mrs. Macfarlane in her arms, and actually
kissed her; and Mrs. Macfarlane's grimness melted away, and the two
women cried together for sympathy.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now, as the trains come into Toomevara station, Jim goes from carriage
to carriage making himself a perfect nuisance to passengers with
well-filled luncheon baskets. "Won't ye have a cup o' tay, me lady?
There's plinty ov time, an' sure, we've the finest tay here that you'll
get on the line. There's nothin' like it this side o' Dublin; A glass o'
whiskey, sir? 'Tis on'y the best John Jameson that's kep', or sherry
wine? Ye won't be shtoppin' agin annywheres that you'll like it as well.
Sure, if ye don't want to get out--though there's plinty o' time--I'll
give the ordher an' have it sent over to yez. Cakes, ma'am, for the
little ladies? 'Tis a long journey, an' maybe they'll be hungry--an
apples? Apples is mighty good for childher. She keeps fine apples if ye
like thim."

Mrs. Macfarlane has grown quite fat, is at peace with all mankind, takes
the deepest interest in the O'Brien family, and calls her dog "Billy."


  [1] A blade of grass.

  [2] Hag

Quin's Rick.

_From "Doings and Dealings."_


Clear skies and gentle breezes had so favoured Hugh Lennon's harvesting
that his threshing was all safely done by the first week in October, and
as the fine weather still continued, he took his wife, according to
promise, for a ten days' stay at the seaside. Mrs. Hugh was rather young
and rather pretty, and much more than rather short-tempered. The
neighbours often remarked that they would not be in Hugh Lennon's coat
for a great deal--at times specifying very considerable sums.

From her visit to Warrenpoint, however, she returned home in high good
humour, and ran gaily upstairs to remove her flowery hat, announcing
that she would do some fried eggs, Hugh's favourite dish, for their tea.
Hence, he was all the more disconcerted when, as he followed her along
the little passage, she suddenly wheeled round upon him, and confronted
him with a countenance full of wrath. She had merely been looking for a
moment out of the small end window, and why, in the name of fortune,
marvelled Hugh, should that have put her in one of her tantrums? But it
evidently had done so. "Saw you ever the like of that?" she demanded
furiously, pointing through the window.

"The like of what at all?" said Hugh.

"Look at it," said Mrs. Hugh, and drummed with the point of her umbrella
on a pane.

Hugh looked, and saw, conspicuous at a short distance beyond their
backyard, a portly rick of straw, which their neighbour, Peter Quin, had
nearly finished building. A youth was tumbling himself about on top of
it with much agility, and shouting "Pull!" at each floundering fall.
"Sure," said Hugh, "it's nothing, only young Jim Quin leppin' their

"I wisht he'd break every bone in his ugly body, then, while he's at
it," declared Mrs. Hugh.

"It's a quare wish to be wishin' agin the poor, decent lad," said her
husband, "and he lepping plenty of ricks for ourselves before now."

"And what call have they to be cocking up e'er a one there," said Mrs.
Hugh, "where there was never such a thing seen till this day?"

"Why wouldn't they?" said Hugh. "It's a handy place enough for a one, I
should say, there on the bit of a headland."

"How handy it is!" said his wife, "and it shutting out the gap in the
fence on me that was the only glimpse I had into our lane."

"Well, supposing it does, where's the odds?" said Hugh. "There's ne'er a
much in the lane for anybody to be glimpsing at."

"The greatest convenience in the world it was," declared Mrs. Hugh, "to
be able to see you crossing it of a morning, and you coming in from the
lower field, the way I could put the bit of bacon down ready for the

"Musha, good gracious, woman alive, if that's all's ailing you, where's
the need to be so exact?" said Hugh.

"Exact, is it?" said Mrs. Hugh. "Maybe you'd like to have the whole of
it melted away into grease with being set on the fire half an hour too
soon. Or else you to be standing about open-mouthed under me feet, like
a starving terrier, waiting till it's fit to eat. That's how it'll be,
anyway, like it or lump it. And I used to be watching for old Matty
Flanaghan going by with the post-bag, and the Keoghs coming back from
early Mass--'twas as good as an extra clock for telling the time. But
now, with that big lump of a thing stuck there, I might as well be shut
up inside of any old prison. Them Quins done it a-purpose to annoy me,
so they did. Sorra another raison had they, for what else 'ud make them
take and build it behind our backs? But put up with it is what I won't
do. Stepping over to them I'll be this night, and letting them know how
little I think of themselves and their mean tricks. And if I see old
Peter, I'll tell him you'll have the law of him unless he gets it
cleared away out of that to-morrow. Bedad will I; and yourself 'ud say
the same, if you had as much spirit in you as a moulting chicken."

"Have sense, Julia," Hugh remonstrated, wedging in a protest with
difficulty. "Stop where you are, now, quiet and peaceable. It's only
making a show of yourself you'd be, running out that way raging about
nothing What foolish talk have you about the man moving his rick, that
he's just after building? You might as well be bidding him move
Knockrinkin over yonder; and he more betoken with his haggart bursting
full this minyit. What annoyance is there in the matter, Julia woman?
Sure in any case it won't be any great while standing there, you may
depend, and they bedding cattle with it, let alone very belike sending
in cartloads of it every week to the market. Just content yourself and
be aisy."

But, as he had more than half expected, Hugh spoke to no purpose. His
wife would not be said by him, and his expostulations, in fact, merely
hastened her impetuous departure on her visit to the Quins. She returned
even more exasperated than she had set out, and from her report of the
interview Hugh gathered that she had stormed with much violence, giving
everybody "the height of abuse." He was fain to console himself with the
rather mortifying reflection that "the Quins knew well enough she did be
apt to take up with quare nonsensical fantigues, that nobody minded."

A hope that the morrow might find her more reasonable proved entirely
vain, as many additional grievances, resented with increasing
bitterness, had been evolved during the night. When Hugh went out to his
work, he left her asserting, and believing, that the noise of the wind
whistling round the rick hadn't let her get a wink of sleep, and when he
came in again he found her on the point of setting off to the police
barracks that she might charge the Quins with having "littered her yard
all over with wisps of straw blown off their hijjis old rick, till the
unfortunate hens couldn't see the ground under their feet." This
outrage, it appeared, had been aggravated by Micky Quinn, who remarked
tauntingly, that "she had a right to feel herself obligated to them for
doing her a fine piece of thatching"; and an interchange of similar
rejoinders had taken place. On the present occasion Hugh was indeed able
forcibly to stop her wild expedition by locking both the house doors.
But as he knew that these strong measures could not be more than a
temporary expedient, and as arguments were very bootless, he was at a
loss to determine what he should do next. She had begun to drop such
menacing hints about lighted matches and rags soaked in paraffin, that
he felt loth to leave her at large within reach of those dangerous
materials. Already it had come to his knowledge that rumours were afloat
in the village about how Mrs. Lennon was threatening to burn down the
Quin's rick. The truth was that she had said as much to several calling
neighbours in the course of that day.

Hugh's perplexity was therefore not a little relieved when, early on the
following morning, his wife's eldest married sister, Mrs. Mackay, from
beyond Kilcraig, looked in on her way to market. Mrs. Mackay, an
energetic person with a strong will regulated by abundant common sense,
was one among the few people of whom her flighty sister Julia stood in
awe. In this emergency her own observations, together with her
brother-in-law's statements, soon showed her how matters stood, and she
promptly decided what steps to take. "Our best plan," she said to Hugh
apart, "is for Julia to come along home with me. She'll be out of the
way there of aught to stir up her mind, and she can stop till she gets
pacified again. 'Twill be no great while before she's glad enough to
come back here, rick or no rick, you may depend; for we're all
through-other up at our place the now, with one of the childer sick, and
ne'er a girl kept. I'll give her plenty to do helping me, and it's much
if she won't be very soon wishing she was at home in her own comfortable
house. She doesn't know when she's well off, bedad," Mrs. Mackay added,
glancing half enviously round the tidy little kitchen.

Hugh fell in with her views at once. The Mackays lived a couple of miles
at the other side of Kilcraig, so that Julia would be safely out of
harm's way, and he could trust her sister to keep her from doing
anything disastrously foolish. So he cheerfully saw his wife depart, and
though her last words were a vehement asseveration that she would
"never set foot next or nigh the place again, as long as there did be
two straws slanting together in Quin's dirty old rick," he confidently
expected to see her there once more without much delay.

Up at the Mackay's struggling farmstead on the side of Knockrinkin, Mrs.
Hugh found things dull enough. Internally the house was incommodious and
crowded to uncomfortable excess, and its surroundings externally were
desolate and lonesome. Mrs. Hugh remarked discontentedly that if the
inside and outside of it were mixed together, they'd be better off,
anyway, for room to turn round in, and quiet to hear themselves speak;
but the operation appeared impracticable. Nor were the domestic tasks
with which Mrs. Mackay provided her by any means to her taste, and her
discontent continued. One evening, shortly after her arrival, she grew
so tired of hearing the children squabble and squawl, that as soon as
supper was over she slipped out at the back door into the soft-aired
twilight. She proposed to wile away some time by searching the furzy,
many-bouldered field for mushrooms and blackberries, but neither could
she find, and in her quest she wandered a long way down the swarded
slope, until she came to a low boundary wall. There she stopped, and
stood looking across the valley towards a wooden patch beyond the
village, which contained her own dwelling, as well as that of the
hateful Quins. Her wrath against them burned more fiercely than ever at
the reflection that they were clearly to blame for her present tedious
exile. The thought of going home, she said to herself, she couldn't
abide, by reason of their old rick.

Through the dusk, the darker mass of those trees loomed indistinctly
like a stain on the dimness, and Mrs. Hugh fancied that she could make
out just the site of the Quin's rick--the best of bad luck to it. Why
didn't some decent tramp take and sling a spark of a lighted match into
it, and he passing by with his pipe? As she strained her eyes towards
it, she suddenly saw on the very spot the glimmer of a golden-red light,
glancing out among the shadowy trees. For a moment she was startled and
half scared, but then she remembered that it would be nothing more than
the harvest moon rising up big through the mist. Hadn't she seen it the
night before looking the size of ten? This explanation, at least, half
disappointed her, and she said to herself with dissatisfaction, watching
the gleam waver and brighten, that it looked as red as fire, and she
wished to goodness it was the same as it looked. "There'd be nothing
aisier than setting the whole concern in a blaze standing so convanient
to the road," she thought, while she gazed and gazed with tantalised
vindictiveness over the low, tumble-down wall.

       *       *       *       *       *

More than two hours later Mrs. Hugh Lennon came hurrying in at the
Mackay's back-door. By this time it was dark night outside, and she
found only Mrs. Mackay in the kitchen, for himself and the children had
gone to bed.

"Where in the world have you been all the evening?" Mrs. Mackay
inquired, with some indignation. "Leaving me with nobody to give me a
hand with the childer or anything, and keeping me now waiting up till
every hour of the night."

"Quin's rick's burnt down," burst out Mrs. Hugh, who evidently had not
heard a word of her sister's remonstrance. She looked excited and
exultant; her hair was roughened by the wind, and her skirts were
bedraggled with a heavy dew brushed off tussocks and furze bushes. Mrs.
Mackay eyed her with a start of vague suspicion.

"And who did you get that news from," she said, "supposing it's true?"

"Amn't I after seeing it with me own eyes?" triumphed Mrs. Hugh.
"Watching it blazing this long while down below there by Connolly's
fence. First of all I thought it was only the old moon rising, that
would do us no good; but sure not at all, glory be! Burnt down to the
ground it is, every grain of it; and serve them very right."

"What took you trapesing off down there, might I ask?" inquired Mrs.
Mackay, her scrutiny of her sister growing more mistrustful.

"Is it what took me?" said Mrs. Hugh. "I dunno rightly. Och, let me see;
about getting some mushrooms I was, I believe, and blackberries."

"A likely time of night it was to be looking for such things," said Mrs.
Mackay, "and a dale of them you got."

"There isn't a one in it; all of them's as red as coals of fire yet, or
else as green as grass--sure, what matter?" said Mrs. Hugh. "Anyway, I
was took up with watching the baste of an old rick flaring itself into
flitters; and a rale good job."

"A job it is that you're very apt to have raison to repent of," Mrs.
Mackay said severely, "if so be you had act or part in it."

"Is it me?" Mrs. Hugh said, and laughed derisively. "Raving you are, if
that's your notion. A great chance I'd have to be meddling or making
with it, and I stuck up here out of reach of everything. I only wisht
I'd been at our own place to get a better sight."

"How can I tell what chances you have or haven't, and you after running
wild through the country for better than a couple of hours?" Mrs. Mackay
said. "Plenty of time had you for the matter, to be skyting there and
back twice over, if you was up to any sort of mischief; let alone going
about talking and threatening, and carrying on, till everybody in the
parish is safe to be of the opinion yourself was contriving it with
whoever done it, supposing you didn't do it all out. And it's the quare
trouble you might very aisy get yourself into for that same, let me tell
you. There was a man at Joe's place that got three years for being
concerned in setting a light to a bit of an old shed, no size to speak
of; so, if the next thing we see of you is walking off between a pair of
police constables, yourself you'll have to thank for it. I only hope
poor Hugh won't be blaming me for letting you out of me sight this

"Och, good luck to yourself and your pólis!" Mrs. Hugh said, defiantly.
"It's little I care who lit the old rick, and its little I care what any
people's troubling theirselves to think about it. I'd liefer be after
doing it than not--so there's for you. But what I won't do is stop here
listening to your fool's romancing. So good-night to you kindly."

With that Mrs. Hugh flounced clattering up the little steep stairs, and
hurled herself like a compressed earthquake-wave into her bedroom. Mrs.
Mackay, following her, stumped along more slowly. "Goodness forgive me
for saying so," she reflected, "but Julia's a terrific woman to have any
doings or dealings with. She's not to hold or bind when she takes the
notion, and the dear knows what she's been up to now; something
outrageous most likely. The Lord Chief Justice himself couldn't control
her. Beyond me she is entirely."

Nevertheless, her warnings were not without effect, and at their next
interview, she found her sister in a meeker mood.

It was when Mrs. Mackay was in the cowhouse milking, before breakfast,
that Julia appeared to her, hurrying in with a demeanour full of dismay.
"Och, Bridgie, what will I do?" she said.

"What's happint you now?" Bridgie replied, with a studied want of

"I'm just after looking out of me window," Julia said, "and there's two
of the pólis out of the barracks below standing at the roadgate, having
great discoursing with Dan Molloy, and about coming into this place they
are. Ne'er a bit of me knows what's bringing them so outlandish early;
but I'll take me oath, Bridgie darlint, I'd nought to do, good or bad,
with burning the rick. It might ha' went on fire of itself. Hand nor
part I hadn't in it. So you might be telling them that to your certain
knowledge I was up here the whole time, and sending them about their
business--there's a good woman."

On further reflection Mrs. Mackay had already concluded that Julia
probably was not guilty of incendiarism; still, she considered her
sister's alarmed state a favourable opportunity for a lesson on the
expediency of behaving herself. Therefore she was careful to give no
reassuring response.

"'Deed, now, I dunno what to say to it all," she declared, "and I
couldn't take it on me conscience to go swear in a court of justice
that I knew where you might be yesterday late. More betoken there was
the bad talk you had out of you about the Quins before you come here,
that they'll be bringing up agin you now, you may depend. An ugly
appearance it has, sure enough, the two of them coming over at this
hour. As headstrong you are as a cross-tempered jennet; but if you'll
take my advice you'll keep yourself out of their sight the best way you
can, till I see what they want with you, and then if it's a warrant
they've got, I might try persuade them to go look for you somewheres
else. That's the best I can do, and, of course, I can't say whether they
will or no, but maybe--"

For a wonder Mrs. Hugh did take this advice, and most promptly, rushing
with a suppressed wail out of the cowhouse and into a shed close by,
where she crouched behind a heap of hay, the first hiding-place that
presented itself to her in her panic. She had spent a great part of the
past night in meditation on her sister's alarming statements; and now
the ominous arrival of the police put a finishing touch to her fright.
How was she to escape from them, or to exculpate herself? Bridgie
evidently either could or would do little or nothing. At this dreadful
crisis in her affairs her thoughts turned longingly towards her own
house down below, where there was Hugh, poor man, who would certainly
have, somehow, prevented her from being dragged off to Athmoran gaol,
even if he did believe her to have burnt the rick. Through the dusty
shed window she saw two dark, flat-capped, short-caped figures
sauntering up to the front door, whereupon with a sudden desperate
impulse, she stole out, and fled down the cart-track along which they
had just come. Getting a good start of them, she said to herself, she
might be at home again with Hugh before they could overtake her--and one
of them, she added, as fat as a prize pig.

As Mrs. Hugh ran most of the road's two long miles, she was considerably
out of breath when she came round a turn which brought into view an
expected and an unexpected object. The one was Hugh walking out of his
own gate, the other Quin's rick, still rearing its glistening yellow
ridge into the sunshine.

"Well, now, Julia woman, and is it yourself?" Hugh said, as she darted
across the road to him. "What's took you to be tearing along at that
rate, and without so much as a shawl over your head?"

"Thinking I was to meet you before this--kilt I am, running all the
way," she said, panting. "And I do declare there's the big rick in it

Hugh's face fell. "Whethen now, if it's with the same old blathers
you're come back," he said, in a disgusted tone, "there was no need for
you to be in any such great hurry."

"Ne'er a word was I going to say agin it at all," said his wife, "and I
making sure the constables would be after me every minyit for burning it

"What the mischief put that notion in your head?" said Hugh.

"I seen the blaze of a great fire down here last night," she said, "and
I thought it would be Quin's rick, and they knowing I had some talk
about it."

"Sure 'twas just the big heap of dead branches and old trunks," said
Hugh, "that's lying at the end of the cow-lane ever since the big wind.
It took and went on fire yesterday evening; raison good, there was a
cartful of Wexford tinkers went by in the afternoon, and stopped to
boil their kettle close under it. A fine flare-up it made, and it as dry
as tinder; but I'd scarce ha' thought you'd see it that far. Lucky it is
the old sticks was fit for nothing much, unless some poor bodies may be
at a loss for firewood this next winter. Come along in, Julia, and wet
yourself a cup of tay. You'd a right to be tired trotting about that
way. And as for the pólis, bedad, they'd have their own work cut out for
them, if they was to be taking up everybody they heard talking foolish."

Not long after Mrs. Hugh had finished her cup, Mrs. Mackay arrived,
alighting flurriedly from a borrowed seat on a neighbour's car.

"So it's home you ran, Julia," she said, sternly. "Well, now, I wonder
you had that much sense itself. Looking for you high and low we were,
after the pólis had gone, that only come to get the number of our
chickens--counting the feathers on them next, I suppose they'll be--and
all romancing it was about anything happening the rick. But frightened I
was out of me wits, till little Joey said he seen you quitting out at
the gate. So then I come along to see what foolish thing you might be
about doing next."

"She's likely to be doing nothing foolisher than giving you a cup of
tay, Bridgie," Hugh interposed, soothingly. "And mightn't you be frying
us a few eggs in the pan, Julia? Old Nan Byrne's just after bringing in
two or three fresh ones she got back of the Quins' rick, where our hins
do be laying."

"'Twill be a handy place for finding them in," Mrs. Hugh said, blandly.
And both her experienced hearers accepted the remark as a sign that
these hostilities were over.

Maelshaughlinn at the Fair.

_From "My Irish Year."_


It was about horses, women, and music, and, in the mouth of
Maelshaughlinn, the narrative had the exuberance of the fair and the
colour of a unique exploit. I found Maelshaughlinn alone in the house in
the grey dawn succeeding his adventure. "This morning," he said, "I'm
the lonesome poor fellow without father or mother, a girl's promise, nor
my own little horse." He closed the door against a reproachful sunrise,
and, sitting on a little three-legged stool, he told me the story.

Penitentially he began it, but he expanded with the swelling narrative.
"This time last week," said Maelshaughlinn, "I had no thought of parting
with my own little horse. The English wanted beasts for a war, and the
farmers about here were coining money out of horseflesh. It seemed that
the buyers were under a pledge not to refuse anything in the shape of a
horse, and so the farmers made horses out of the sweepings of the
knackers' yards, and took horses out of ha'penny lucky-bags and sold
them to the English. Yesterday morning I took out my own little beast
and faced for Arvach Fair. I met the dealer on the road. He was an
Englishman, and above all nations on the face of the earth, the English
are the easiest to deal with in regard of horses. I tendered him the
price--it was an honest price, but none of our own people would have
taken the offer in any reasonable way. An Irishman would have cursed
into his hat, so that he might shake the curses out over my head. The
Englishman took on to consider it, and my heart went threshing my ribs.
Then he gave me my price, paid me in hard weighty, golden sovereigns and
went away, taking the little horse with him.

"I sat down on the side of a ditch to take a breath. Now you'll say that
I ought to have gone back to the work, and I'll say that I agree with
you. But no man can be wise at all times. Anyway, I was sitting on a
ditch, with a lark singing over every foot of ground, and nothing before
me but the glory of the day. A girl came along the road, and, on my
soul, I never saw a girl walking so finely. 'She'll be a head above
every girl in the fair,' said I, 'and may God keep the brightness on her
head.' 'God save you, Maelshaughlinn,' said the girl. 'God save you, my
jewel,' said I. I stood up to look after her, for a fine woman, walking
finely, is above all the sights that man ever saw. Then a few lads
passed, whistling and swinging their sticks. 'God give you a good day,'
said the lads. 'God give you luck boys,' said I. And there was I,
swinging my stick after the lads, and heading for the fair.

"'Never go into a fair where you've no business.' That's an oul' saying
and a wise saying, but never forget that neither man nor immortal can be
wise at all times. Satan fell from heaven, Adam was cast out of
Paradise, and even your Uncle broke his pledge.

"When I came into the fair there was a fiddler playing behind a tinker's
cart. I had a shilling to spend in the town, and so I went into Flynn's
and asked for a cordial. A few most respectable men came in then, and I
asked them to take a treat from me. Well, one drank, and another drank,
and then Rose Heffernan came into the shop with her brother. Young
Heffernan sent the glasses round, and then I asked Rose to take a glass
of wine, and I put down a sovereign on the counter. The fiddler was
coming down the street, and I sent a young lad out to him with silver. I
stood for a while talking with Rose, and I heard the word go round the
shop concerning myself. It was soon settled that I had got a legacy. The
people there never heard of any legacies except American legacies, and
so they put my fortune down to an uncle who had died, they thought, in
the States. Now, I didn't want Rose to think that my money was a common
legacy out of the States, so by half-words I gave them to understand
that I had got my fortune out of Mexico. Mind you, I wasn't far out when
I spoke of Mexico, for I had a grand-uncle who went out there, and his
picture is in the house this present minute.

"Well, after the talk of a Mexican legacy went round, I couldn't take
any treats from the people, and I asked everyone to drink again. I think
the crowds of the world stood before Flynn's counter. A big Connachtman
held up a Mexican dollar, and I took it out of his hand and gave it to
Rose Heffernan. I paid him for it, too, and it comes into my mind now,
that I paid him for it twice.

"There's not, on the track of the sun, a place to come near Arvach on
the day of a fair. A man came along leading a black horse, and the size
of the horse and the eyes of the horse would terrify you. There was a
drift of sheep going by, and the fleece of each was worth gold. There
were tinkers with their carts of shining tins, as ugly and quarrelsome
fellows as ever beat each other to death in a ditch, and there were the
powerful men, with the tight mouths, and the eyes that could judge a
beast, and the dark, handsome women from the mountains. To crown all, a
piper came into the town by the other end, and his music was enough to
put the blood like a mill-race through your heart. The music of the
piper, I think, would have made the beasts walk out of the fair on their
hind legs, if the music of the fiddler didn't charm them to be still.
Grace Kennedy and Sheela Molloy were on the road, and Rose Heffernan was
talking to them. Grace Kennedy has the best wit and the best discourse
of any woman within the four seas, and she said to the other girls as I
came up, 'Faith, girls, the good of the Mission will be gone from us
since Maelshaughlinn came into the fair, for the young women must be
talking about his coming home from the sermon.' Sheela Molloy has the
softest hair and the softest eyes of anything you ever saw. She's a
growing girl, with the spice of the devil in her. 'It's not the best
manners,' said I, 'to treat girls to a glass across the counter, but
come into a shop,' said I, 'and let me pay for your fancy.' Well, I
persuaded them to come into a shop, and I got the girls to make Sheela
ask for a net for her hair. They don't sell these nets less than by the
dozen, so I bought a dozen nets for Sheela's hair. I bought ear-rings
and brooches, dream-books and fortune books, buckles, and combs, and I
thought I had spent no more money than I'd thank you for picking up off
the floor. A tinker woman came in and offered to tell the girls their
fortunes, and I had to cross her hand with silver.

"I came out on the street after that, and took a few turns through the
fair. The noise and the crowd were getting on my mind, and I couldn't
think, with any satisfaction, so I went into Mrs. Molloy's, and sat for
a while in the snug. I had peace and quiet there, and I began to plan
out what I would do with my money. I had a notion of going into Clooney
on Tuesday, and buying a few sheep to put on my little fields, and of
taking a good craftsman home from the fair, a man who could put the fine
thatch on my little house. I made up my mind to have the doors and
windows shining with paint, to plant a few trees before the door, and to
have a growing calf going before the house. In a while, I thought, I
could have another little horse to be my comfort and consolation. I
wasn't drinking anything heavier than ginger ale, so I thought the whole
thing out quietly. After a while I got up, bid good-bye to Mrs. Molloy,
and stood at the door to watch the fair.

"There was a man just before me with a pea and thimble, and I never saw
a trick-of-the-loop with less sense of the game. He was winning money
right and left, but that was because the young fellows were before him
like motherless calves. Just to expose the man I put down a few pence on
the board. In a short time I had fleeced my showman. He took up his
board and went away, leaving me shillings the winner.

"I stood on the edge of the pavement wondering what I could do that
would be the beating of the things I had done already. By this time the
fiddler and the piper were drawing nigh to each other, and there was a
musician to the right of me and a musician to the left of me. I sent
silver to each, and told them to cease playing as I had something to
say. I got up on a cart and shook my hat to get silence. I said, 'I'm
going to bid the musicians play in the market square, and the man who
gets the best worth out of his instrument will get a prize from me.'
The words were no sooner out of my mouth than men, women and children
made for the market square like two-year-olds let loose.

"You'd like the looks of the fiddler, but the piper was a black-avis'd
fellow that kept a troop of tinkers about him. It was the piper who
said, 'Master, what's the prize to be?' Before I had time to think, the
fiddler was up and talking. 'He's of the oul' ancient race,' said the
fiddler, 'and he'll give the prizes that the Irish nobility gave to the
musicians--a calf, the finest calf in the fair, a white calf, with skin
as soft as the fine mist on the ground, a calf that gentle that the
smoothest field under him would look as rough as a bog.' And the fiddler
was that lifted out of himself that he nearly lept over a cart. Somebody
pushed in a young calf, and then I sat down on a stone, for there was no
use in saying anything or trying to hear anything after that. The
fiddler played first, and I was nearly taken out of my trouble when I
heard him, for he was a real man of art, and he played as if he were
playing before a king, with the light of heaven on his face. The piper
was spending his silver on the tinkers, and they were all deep in drink
when he began to play. At the first sound of the pipes an old
tinker-woman fell into a trance. It was powerful, but the men had to tie
him up with a straw rope, else the horses would have kicked the slates
off the market-house roof. Nobody was quiet after that. There were a
thousand men before me offering to sell me ten thousand calves, each
calf whiter than the one before. There was one party round the fiddler
and another party round the piper. I think it was the fiddler that won;
anyway, he had the strongest backing, for they hoisted the calf on to a
cart, and they put the fiddler beside it, and the two of them would
have got out of the crowd, only the tinkers cut the traces of the yoke.
I was saved by a few hardy men, who carried me through the market-house
and into Flynn's by a back way, and there I paid for the calf.

"When I came out of Flynn's the people were going home quiet enough. I
got a lift on Fardorrougha's yoke, and everybody, I think, wanted me to
come to Clooney on Tuesday next. I think I'd have got out of Arvach with
safety, only a dead-drunk tinker wakened up and knew me, and he gave a
yell that brought the piper hot-foot after me. First of all, the piper
cursed me. He had a bad tongue, and he put on me the blackest, bitterest
curses you ever heard in your life. Then he lifted up the pipes, and he
gave a blast that went through me like a spear of ice.

"The man that sold me the calf gave me a luck-penny back, and that's all
the money I brought out of Arvach fair.

"Never go into the fair where you have no business."

The Rev. J. J. Meldon and the Chief Secretary.

_From "Spanish Gold."_


The Chief Secretary lay back in Higginbotham's hammock-chair. There was
a frown on his face. His sense of personal dignity was outraged by the
story he had just heard. He had not been very long Chief Secretary of
Ireland, and, though not without a sense of humour, he took himself and
his office very seriously. He came to Ireland intending to do justice
and show mercy. He looked forward to a career of real usefulness. He was
prepared to be opposed, maligned, misunderstood, declared capable of
every kind of iniquity. He did not expect to be treated as a fool. He
did not expect that an official in the pay of one of the Government
Boards would assume as a matter of course that he was a fool and believe
any story about him, however intrinsically absurd. He failed to imagine
any motive for the telling of such a story. There must, he assumed, have
been a motive, but what it was he could not even guess.

Meldon entered the hut without knocking at the door.

"Mr. Willoughby, I believe," he said, cheerily. "You must allow me to
introduce myself since Higginbotham isn't here to do it for me. My name
is Meldon, the Rev. J. J. Meldon, B.A., of T.C.D."

The Chief Secretary intended to rise with dignity and walk out of the
hut. He failed because no one can rise otherwise than awkwardly out of
the depths of a hammock-chair.

"Don't stir," said Meldon, watching his struggles. "Please don't stir. I
shouldn't dream of taking your chair. I'll sit on the corner of the
table. I'll be quite comfortable, I assure you. How do you like
Inishgowlan, now you are here? It's a nice little island, isn't it?"

Mr. Willoughby succeeded in getting out of his chair. He walked across
the hut, turned his back on Meldon, and stared out of the window.

"I came up here to have a chat with you," said Meldon. "Perhaps you
wouldn't mind turning round; I always find it more convenient to talk to
a man who isn't looking the other way. I don't make a point of it, of
course. If you've got into the habit of keeping your back turned to
people, I don't want you to alter it on my account."

Mr. Willoughby turned round. He seemed to be on the point of making an
angry remark. Meldon faced him with a bland smile. The look of
irritation faded in Mr. Willoughby's face. He appeared puzzled.

"It's about Higginbotham's bed," said Meldon, "that I want to speak.
It's an excellent bed, I believe, though I never slept in it myself.

"If there's anything the matter with the bed," said Mr. Willoughby
severely, "Mr. Higginbotham should himself represent the facts to the
proper authorities."

"You quite misunderstand me. And, in any case, Higginbotham can't move
in the matter because he doesn't, at present, know that there's anything
wrong about the bed. By the time he finds out, it will be too late to
do anything. I simply want to give you a word of advice. Don't sleep in
Higginbotham's bed to-night."

"I haven't the slightest intention of sleeping in it."

"That's all right. I'm glad you haven't. The fact is"--Meldon's voice
sank almost to a whisper--"there happens to be a quantity of broken
glass in that bed. I need scarcely tell a man with your experience of
life that broken glass in a bed isn't a thing which suits everybody.
It's all right, of course, if you're used to it, but I don't suppose you

Mr. Willoughby turned, this time towards the door. There was something
in the ingenuous friendliness of Meldon's face which tempted him to
smile. He caught sight of Higginbotham standing white and miserable on
the threshold. He made a snatch at the dignity which had nearly escaped
him and frowned severely.

"I think, Mr. Higginbotham," he said, "that I should like to take a
stroll round the island."

"Come along," said Meldon. "I'll show the sights. You don't mind
climbing walls, I hope. You'll find the place most interesting. Do you
care about babies? There's a nice little beggar called Michael Pat. Any
one with a taste for babies would take to him at once. And there's a
little girl called Mary Kate, a great friend of Higginbotham's. She's
the granddaughter of old Thomas O'Flaherty Pat. By the way, how are you
going to manage about Thomas O'Flaherty's bit of land? There's been a
lot of trouble over that?"

Mr. Willoughby sat down again in the hammock-chair and stared at Meldon.

"Of course, it's your affair, not mine," said Meldon. "Still, if I can
be of any help to you, you've only got to say so. I know old O'Flaherty
pretty well, and I may say without boasting that I have as much
influence with him as any man on the island."

"If I want your assistance I shall ask for it," said Mr. Willoughby,

"That's right," said Meldon. "I'll do anything I can. The great
difficulty, of course, is the language. You don't talk Irish yourself, I
suppose. Higginbotham tells me he's learning. It's a very difficult
language, highly inflected. I'm not very good at it myself. I can't
carry on a regular business conversation in it. By the way, what is your
opinion of the Gaelic League?"

A silence followed. Mr. Willoughby gave no opinion of the Gaelic League.
Meldon sat down again on the corner of the table and began to swing his
legs. Higginbotham still stood in the doorway. Mr. Willoughby, with a
bewildered look on his face, lay back in the hammock-chair.

"I see," said Meldon, "that you've sent your yacht away. That was what
made me think you were going to sleep in Higginbotham's bed. I suppose
she'll be back before night."

"Really----" began Mr. Willoughby.

Meldon replied at once to the tone in which the word was spoken.

"I don't want to be asking questions. If there's any secret about the
matter you're quite right to keep it to yourself. I quite understand
that you Cabinet Ministers can't always say out everything that's in
your mind. I only mentioned the steamer because the conversation seemed
to be languishing. You wouldn't talk about Thomas O'Flaherty Pat's
field, and you wouldn't talk about the Gaelic League, though I thought
that would be sure to interest you. Now you won't talk about the
steamer. However, it's quite easy to get on some other subject. Do you
think the weather will hold up? The glass has been dropping the last two

Mr. Willoughby struggled out of the hammock-chair again. He drew himself
up to his full height and squared his shoulders. His face assumed an
expression of rigid determination. He addressed Higginbotham:

"Will you be so good as to go up to the old man you spoke of----"

"Thomas O'Flaherty Pat," said Meldon. "That's the man he means, you
know, Higginbotham."

"And tell him----" went on Mr. Willoughby.

"If you're to tell him anything," said Meldon, "don't forget to take
someone with you who understands Irish."

"And tell him," repeated Mr. Willoughby, "that I shall expect him here
in about an hour to meet Father Mulcrone."

"I see," said Meldon. "So that's where the yacht's gone. You've sent for
the priest to talk sense to the old boy. Well, I dare say you're right,
though I think we could have managed with the help of Mary Kate. She
knows both languages well, and she'd do anything for me, though she is
rather down on Higginbotham. It's a pity you didn't consult me before
sending the steamer off all the way to Inishmore. However, it can't be
helped now."

Higginbotham departed on his errand and shut the door of the hut after
him. The Chief Secretary turned to Meldon.

"You've chosen to force your company on me this afternoon in a most
unwarrantable manner."

"I'll go at once if you like," said Meldon. "I only came up here for
your own good, to warn you about the state of Higginbotham's bed. You
ought to be more grateful to me than you are. It isn't every man who'd
have taken the trouble to come all this way to save a total stranger
from getting his legs cut with broken glass. However, if you hunt me
away, of course, I'll go. Only, I think, you'll be sorry afterwards if I
do. I may say without vanity that I'm far and away the most amusing
person on this island at present."

"As you are here," said Mr. Willoughby, "I take the opportunity of
asking you what you mean by telling that outrageous story to Mr.
Higginbotham. I'm not accustomed to having my name used in that way,
and, to speak plainly, I regard it as insolence."

"You are probably referring to the geological survey of this island."

"Yes. To your assertion that I employed a man called Kent to survey this
island. That is precisely what I refer to."

"Then you ought to have said so plainly at first, and not have left me
to guess at what you were talking about. Many men couldn't have guessed,
and then we should have been rambling at cross purposes for the next
hour or so without getting any further. Always try and say plainly what
you mean, Mr. Willoughby. I know it's difficult, but I think you'll find
it pays in the end. Now that I know what's in your mind, I'll be very
glad to thrash it out with you. You know Higginbotham, of course?"



"I met him this afternoon for the first time."

"Then you can't be said really to know Higginbotham. That's a pity,
because without a close and intimate knowledge of Higginbotham, you're
not in a position to understand that geological survey story. Take my
advice and drop the whole subject until you know Higginbotham better.
After spending a few days on the island in constant intercourse with
Higginbotham you'll be able to understand the whole thing. Then you'll
appreciate it. In the meanwhile, I'm sure you won't mind my adding,
since we are on the subject,--and it was you who introduced it--that you
ought not to go leaping to conclusions without a proper knowledge of the
facts. I said the same thing this morning to Major Kent, when he
insisted that you had come here to search for buried treasure."

Mr. Willoughby pulled himself together with an effort. He felt a sense
of bewilderment and hopeless confusion. The sensation was familiar. He
had experienced it before in the House of Commons when the Irish members
of both parties asked questions on the same subject. He knew that his
only chance was to ignore side-issues, however fascinating, and get back
at once to the original point.

"I'm willing," he said, "to listen to any explanation you have to offer;
but I do not see how Mr. Higginbotham's character alters, or can alter,
the fact that you told him what I can only describe as an outrageous

"The worst thing about you Englishmen is that you have such blunt minds.
You don't appreciate the lights and shades, the finer nuances, what I
may perhaps describe as the chiaroscuro of things. It's just the same
with my friend Major Kent. By the way, I ought to apologise for him. He
ought to have come ashore and called upon you this afternoon. It isn't a
want of loyalty which prevented him. He's a strong Unionist and on
principle he respects His Majesty's Ministers, whatever party they
belong to. The fact is, he was a bit nervous about this geological
survey business. He didn't know exactly how you'd take it. I told him
that you were a reasonable man, and that you'd see the thing in a proper
light, but he wouldn't come."

"Will you kindly tell me what is the proper light in which to view this
extraordinary performance of yours?"

"Certainly. It will be a little difficult, of course, when you don't
know Higginbotham, but I'll try."

"Leave Mr. Higginbotham out," said the Chief Secretary, irritably. "Tell
me simply this: Were you justified in making a statement which you knew
to be a baseless invention? How do you explain the fact that you told a
deliberate--that you didn't tell the truth?"

"I've always heard of you as an educated man. I may assume that you know
all about pragmatism."

"I don't."

"Well, you ought to. It's a most interesting system of philosophy quite
worth your while to study. I'm sure you'd like it if you understand it.
In fact, I expect you're a pragmatist already without knowing it. Most
of us practical men are."

"I'm waiting for an explanation of the story you told Mr. Higginbotham."

"Quite right. I'm coming to that in a minute. Don't be impatient. If
you'd been familiar with the pragmatist philosophy it would have saved
time. As you're not--though as Chief Secretary for Ireland I think you
ought to be--I'll have to explain. Pragmatism may be described as the
secularising of the Ritschlian system of theological thought. You
understand the Ritschlian theory of value judgments, of course?"

"No, I don't." Mr. Willoughby began to feel very helpless. It seemed
easier to let the tide of this strange lecture sweep over him than to
make any effort to assert himself.

"Do you mind if I smoke?" he said. "I think I could listen to your
explanation better if I smoked."

He took from his pocket a silver cigar-case.

"Smoke away," said Meldon. "I don't mind in the least. In fact, I'll
take a cigar from you and smoke, too. I can't afford cigars myself, but
I enjoy them when they're good. I suppose a Chief Secretary is pretty
well bound to keep decent cigars on account of his position."

Mr. Willoughby handed over the case. Meldon selected a cigar and lit it.
Then he went on--

"The central position of the pragmatist philosophy and the Ritschlian
theology is that truth and usefulness are identical."


"What that means is this. A thing is true if it turns out in actual
practice to be useful, and false if it turns out in actual practice to
be useless. I daresay that sounds startling to you at first, but if you
think it over quietly for a while you'll get to see that there's a good
deal in it."

Meldon puffed at his cigar without speaking. He wished to give Mr.
Willoughby an opportunity for meditation. Then he went on--

"The usual illustration--the one you'll find in all the text-books--is
the old puzzle of the monkey on the tree. A man sees a monkey clinging
to the far side of a trunk of a tree--I never could make out how he did
see it, but that doesn't matter for the purposes of the illustration. He
(the man) determines to go round the tree and get a better look at the
monkey. But the monkey creeps round the tree so as always to keep the
trunk between him and the man. The question is, whether, when he has
gone round the tree, the man has or has not gone round the monkey. The
older philosophers simply gave that problem up. They couldn't solve it,
but the pragmatist--"

"Either you or I," said Mr. Willoughby, feebly, "must be going mad."

"Your cigar has gone out," said Meldon. "Don't light it again. There's
nothing tastes worse than a relighted cigar. Take a fresh one. There are
still two in the case and I shall be able to manage along with one

"Would you mind leaving out the monkey on the tree and getting back to
the geological survey story?"

"Not a bit. If it bores you to hear an explanation of the pragmatist
theory of truth, I won't go on with it. It was only for your sake I went
into it. You can just take it from me that the test of truth is
usefulness. That's the general theory. Now apply it to this particular
case. The story I told Higginbotham turned out to be extremely
useful--quite as useful as I had any reason to expect. In fact, I don't
see that we could very well have got on without it. I can't explain to
you just how it was useful. If I did, I should be giving away Major
Kent, Sir Charles Buckley, Euseby Langton, and perhaps old Thomas
O'Flaherty Pat; but you may take it that the utility of the story has
been demonstrated."

Mr. Willoughby made an effort to rally. He reminded himself that he was
Cabinet Minister and a great man, that he had withstood the fieriest
eloquence of Members for Munster constituencies, and survived the most
searching catechisms of the men from Antrim and Down. He called to mind
the fact that he had resolutely said "No" to at least twenty-five per
cent. of the people who came to him in Dublin Castle seeking to have
jobs perpetrated. He tried to realise the impossibility of a mere
country curate talking him down. He hardened his heart with the
recollection that he was in the right and the curate utterly in the
wrong. He sat up as well as he could in the hammock-chair and said

"Am I to understand that you regard any lie as justifiable if it serves
its purpose?"

"Certainly not," said Meldon; "you are missing the whole point. I was
afraid you would when you prevented me from explaining the theory of
truth to you. I never justify lies under any circumstances whatever. The
thing I'm trying to help you grasp is this: A statement isn't a lie if
it proves itself in actual practice to be useful--it's true. There, now,
you've let that second cigar go out. You'd better light that one again.
I hate to see a man wasting cigar after cigar, especially when they're
good ones."

Mr. Willoughby fumbled with the matches and made more than one attempt
to relight the cigar.

"The reason," Meldon went on, "why I think you're almost certain to be a
pragmatist is that you're a politician. You're constantly having to make
speeches, of course; and in every speech you must, more or less, say
something about Ireland. When you are Chief Secretary the other fellow,
the man in opposition who wants to be Chief Secretary but isn't, gets up
and says you are telling a pack of lies. That's not the way he expresses
himself, but it's exactly what he means. When his turn comes round to be
Chief Secretary, and you are in opposition, you very naturally say that
he's telling lies. Now, that's a very crude way of talking. You are,
both of you, as patriotic and loyal men, doing your best to say what is
really useful. If the things you say turn out in the end to be useful,
why, then, if you happen to be a pragmatist, they aren't lies."

Mr. Willoughby stuck doggedly to his point. Just so his countrymen,
though beaten by all the rules of war, have from time to time clung to
positions which they ought to have evacuated.

"A lie," he said, "is a lie. I don't see that you've made your case at

"I know I haven't, but that's because you insist on stopping me. If
you'll allow me to go back to the man who went round the tree with the
monkey on it----"

"Don't do that, I can't bear it."

"Very well. I won't. I suppose we may consider the matter closed now,
and go on to talk of something else."

"No. It's not closed," said Mr. Willoughby, with a fine show of spirited
indignation. "I still want to know why you told Mr. Higginbotham that I
sent Major Kent to make a geological survey of this island. It's all
very well to talk as you've been doing, but a man is bound to tell the
truth and not to deceive innocent people."

"Look here, Mr. Willoughby," said Meldon, "I've sat and listened to you
calling me a liar half-a-dozen times, and I havn't turned a hair. I'm
not a man with remarkable self-control, and I appreciate your point of
view. You are irritated because you think you are not being treated with
proper respect. You assert what you are pleased to call your dignity, by
trying to prove that I am a liar. I've stood it from you so far, but I'm
not bound to stand it any longer, and I won't. It doesn't suit you one
bit to take up that high and mighty moral tone, and I may tell you it
doesn't impress me. I'm not the British Public, and that bluff honesty
pose isn't one I admire. All these platitudes about lies being lies
simply run off my skin. I know that your own game of politics couldn't
be played for a single hour without what you choose to describe as
deceiving innocent people. Mind you, I'm not blaming you in the least. I
quite give in that you can't always be blabbing out the exact literal
truth about everything. Things couldn't go on if you did. All I say is,
that, being in the line of life you are, you ought not to set yourself
up as a model of every kind of integrity and come out here to an island,
which, so far as I know, nobody ever invited you to visit, and talk
ideal morality to me in the way you've been doing. Hullo! here's
Higginbotham back again. I wonder if he has brought Thomas O'Flaherty
Pat with him. You'll be interested in seeing that old man, even if you
can't speak to him."

Higginbotham started as he entered the hut. He did not expect to find
Meldon there. He was surprised to see Mr. Willoughby crumpled up,
crushed, cowed in the depths of the hammock-chair, while Meldon,
cheerful and triumphant, sat on the edge of the table swinging his legs
and smoking a cigar.

"You'd better get that oil stove of yours lit, Higginbotham," said
Meldon. "The Chief Secretary is dying for a cup of tea. You'd like some
tea, wouldn't you, Mr Willoughby?"

"I would. I feel as if I wanted some tea. You won't say that I'm posing
for the British Public if I drink tea, will you?"

It was Meldon who lit the stove, and busied himself with the cups and
saucers. Higginbotham was too much astonished to assist.

"There's no water in your kettle," said Meldon. "I'd better run across
to the well and get some. Or I'll go to Michael Pat's mother and get
some hot. That will save time. When I'm there I'll collar a loaf of
soda-bread and some butter if I can. I happen to know that she has some
fresh butter because I helped her to make it."

Mr. Willoughby rallied a little when the door closed behind Meldon.

"Your friend," he said to Higginbotham, "seems to me to be a most
remarkable man."

"He is. In college we always believed that if only he'd give his mind to
it and taken some interest in his work, he could have done anything."

"I haven't the slightest doubt of it. He has given me a talking to this
afternoon such as I haven't had since I left school--not since I left
the nursery. Did you ever read a book on pragmatism?"


"You don't happen to know the name of the best book on the subject?"

"No, but I'm sure that Meldon--"

"Don't," said Mr. Willoughby. "I'd rather not start him on the subject
again. Have you any cigars? I want one badly. I got no good of the two I
half smoked while he was here."

"I'm afraid not. But your own cigar-case has one in it. It's on the

"I can't smoke that one. To put it plainly, I daren't. Your friend
Meldon said he might want it. I'd be afraid to face him if it was gone."

"But it's your own cigar! Why should Meldon----"

"It's not my cigar. Nothing in the world is mine any more, not even my
mind, or my morality, or my self-respect is my own. Mr. Meldon has taken
them from me, and torn them in pieces before my eyes. He has left me a
nervous wreck of a man I once was. Did you say he was a parson?"

"Yes. He's curate of Ballymoy."

"Thank God, I don't live in that parish! I should be hypnotised into
going to church every time he preached, and then----. Hush! Can he be
coming back already? I believe he is. No other man would whistle as loud
as that. If he begins to illtreat me again, Mr Higginbotham, I hope
you'll try and drag him off. I can't stand much more."

Old Tummus and the Battle of Scarva.

_From "Lady Anne's Walk."_


I found old Tummus scuffling Lady Anne's walk; that is to say, he was
busy looking pensively at the weeds as he leaned on his hoe. He never
suddenly pretends to be at work when he is not at work, but always
retains the same calm dignity of carriage. He too frankly despises his
employers to admit that either his occasional lapses into action, or his
more frequent attitude of storing his reserve force are any concern of

Gathering that he was graciously inclined for conversation by a not
unfriendly glance which he cast in my direction after he had spat on the
ground, I settled myself to listen.

"Do ye know what I'm goin' te tell ye?"

With this he generally prefaces his remarks. It is, however, merely
rhetorical. He does not expect an answer; unless one were at least a
minor prophet it would be impossible to give one, except in the
negative. "Do ye know what I'm goin' te tell ye?" he repeated, gently,
raising a weed with his hoe into what looked like a sitting position,
where he held it as if he were supporting it in bed to receive its last
communion. "There's not a hair's differ betwixt onny two weemen." I was
speechless, and he continued: "There is thon boy o' mine, and though I
say it that shouldn't, he's a fine boy, so he is, and no ways blate, and
as brave a boy as you'd wish for te see. From the time he was six year
old he was that old-fashioned he wouldn't go to church without his boots
was right jergers (creakers) that ye'd hear all over the church when he
cum in a wee bit late: and he cud say off all the responses as bowld as
brass. Did I no' learn him his releegion mesel, and bid him foller after
him that has gone before?"

A solemn pause seemed only appropriate here, though I had my doubts.

"But whiles he tuk te colloque-in' with the wee fellers round the corner
there in Irish street. That's so. But I soon quet him o' that. Says I te
him: 'Do ye know what I'm goin' te tell ye? Me heart's broke with ye, so
it is. I'll have no colloque-in' from onny boy o' mine, so I won't.
Ye'll have no traffickin', no, nor passin' o' the time o' day with them
that's not yer own sort, and that differs from the Reverend Crampsey;
him and me and Johnston of Ballykilbeg, and the Great Example. What's
that ye say? Who is the Great Example? Now! Now! Who wud it be, but him
on the white horse?'"

This is not, as might be supposed, from the vision of the Apocalypse,
but is easily recognised by those who are in the know, as an allusion to
William of Orange, of "Glorious, pious, and immortal memory," who is
always represented on a white horse.

"But," I argued, "he did traffic with those who disagreed with him; it
is even said, you know, that when he came to England he subsidised the

Tummus appeared not to have heard this remark.

"As I was sayin', thon boy o' mine, he has a mind to get hisself
marriet. So says I te him, 'There's not a hair's differ between onny
two o' them.' Ye see, it's this way. He has the two o' them courted down
to the askin', and he's afeard that if he asks the wan he'll think long
for the other, or maybe he'll think he'd sooner have had the other."

"He is not behaving well. He can't, of course, marry them both, and yet
he has raised hopes which _must_ in one case be disappointed; he might
break the poor girl's heart."

"Break her heart! Hoot. Blethers. Heart is it?"

"But," I interjected again, merely, of course, to make conversation, for
I have many times and oft heard his opinion on the subject, and it is
not favourable, "Don't you believe in love?"

Tummus had been twice married. His first wife was called Peggy-Anne, and
only lived a year after her marriage. I try to persuade myself and him
that this was the romance of his life, but it is up-hill work. The
present Mrs. Thomas, who has been his wife for five-and-twenty-years, he
always speaks of as "Thon widdy wumman." She was the relict of one John
M'Adam, whose simple annal in this world seems to be, that he was the
first husband of Tummus's second wife; for the other world, his
successor considers that, owing to his theological views, he is
certainly--well--not in heaven.

"Do I no believe in love? Why, wumman, dear, have I no seen it mesel?
Sure, and I had an uncle o' me own, me own mother's brother, that was
tuk that way, and what did he do? but went and got the whole o' Paul's
wickedest Epistle off, so he did, and offered for te tell it till her,
all at the wan sitting. Boys, oh! but he was the quare poet! And she got
marriet on a boy out o' Ballinahone on him, and do ye know what I'm
goin' te tell ye? he tuk to the hills and never did a hand's turn

"Surely, Thomas, you have been in love yourself, too, now, with
Peggy-Anne, and your present wife? When you asked them to marry you, you
had to pretend it anyhow. What did you say to them?"

"Is it me? Well it was this way; me and Peggy-Anne, we went the pair of
us to Scarva on the twelfth. Did ever ye hear tell of the battle o'
Scarva? I mind it well. I had a wheen o' cloves in me pocket, and
Peggy-Anne she had a wee screw o' pepperment sweeties. Says I te her:

"'Peggy-Anne, wud ye conceit a clove?'

"And says she te me:

"'Tak a sweetie, Tummus!'

"And I went in the mornin' and giv in the names till the Reverend
Crampsey; so I did."

After all, there are many worse ways of concluding the business, and few
that would be more full of symbol. There is the mutual help; the
inevitable "give and take" of married life; the strength and pungency of
the manly clove; the melting sweetness of the maidenly peppermint; two
souls united in the savour of both scents combined rising to heaven on
the summer air.

I could not recall in the tale or history, or the varied reminiscences
of married friends on this interesting topic, any manner of "proposal"
more delicate and less ostentatious. Tummus graciously accepted my
congratulations on his elegant good taste, but when I inquired about the
preliminaries of his second alliance, he only shook his head and
muttered, "Them widdies! Them widdies!"

In this there is almost a suggestion that, like Captain Cuttle, he was
taken at a disadvantage, but one can scarcely credit it. It seems
impossible that he would not have extricated himself with the inspired
dexterity of a Sherlock Holmes, or the happy resource of a Stanley
Weyman hero, from whatever dilemma.

"As I was sayin'," he resumed, "Did ever ye hear tell o' the battle o'

Of course I had heard of it. Who has not heard of the Oberammergau of
the North? There, in a gentleman's prettily wooded park, on a large open
meadow sloping down to a clear running brook, is yearly enacted a
veritable Passion Play of the Battle of the Boyne.

"I suppose you have often seen it, Thomas."

"I have that; many and many's a time. But there was wan battle that bate
all--do ye know what I'm goin' te tell ye? I would give a hundred pounds
te see thon agin--so I wud. Boys, oh! it was gran'. There was me own
aunt's nephew was King William, and him on the top of the beautifullest
white horse ever ye seen, with the mane o' him tied with wee loops o'
braid, or'nge and bleue. Himself had an or'nge scarfe on him and bleue
feathers te his hat, just like one o' them for'n Princes, and his
Field-marshal and Ginerals just the same, only not so gran'. And King
James, they had a fine young horse for him that Dan Cooke bought off the
Reverend Captain Jack in Moy Fair. But he set his ears back, and let a
squeal out o' him, and got on with quare maneuvers whenever Andy Wilson
came near him, and Andy--that was King James--he says:

"'I am no used with horse exercise, and I misdoubt thon baste.'

"'But,' says Dan Cooke, 'up with ye sonny, and no more about it.'

"Well, with that Andy turned about, and, says he, 'I'll ride no blooded
horse out of Moy. I'd sooner travel. I'll ride none, without I have me
own mare that drawed me and hersel' and the childer out of
Poyntzpass--so I won't.'

"With that the Field-marshals and the Ginerals and the Aiden-scampses
away with them, and they found Andy's mare takin' her piece by the
roadside, and not agreeable to comin' forbye. Howsumever she was coaxed
along with an Aiden-scamp sootherin' her and complimentin' her: 'There's
a daughter, and a wee jooel,' and a Field-marshal holdin' a bite o'
grass in the front o' her, and a Gineral persuadin' her in the rare; and
they got King James ontil her, and the two armies was drawed up on the
banks o' the wee burn that stood for the Boyne Watter. Then they began,
quite friendly and agreeable-ike, temptin' other.

"'Come on, ye thirsty tyrant ye,' says William.

"'Come on, ye low, mane usurper,' says James.

"'Come on ye heedious enemy to ceevil and releegious liberty, ye,' says

"'Come on, ye glorious, pious, and immortal humbug, ye,' says James.

"'Come on ye Glad-stone ye, and Parnell, and Judas, and Koran--and
Dathan--and Abiram,' says William.

"'Come on ye onnatural parasite ye, and Crumwell, and Shadrach--and
Mesech--and Abednego,' says James.

"'Come on ye auld Puseyite, and no more about it,' says William. With
that he joined to go forrard, and James he should have come forrard
fornenst him, but Andy's mare, she just planted the fore-feet o' her
and stud there the same as she was growed in the ground. With that there
was two of the Aiden-scampses come on, and of all the pullin' and
haulin'! But de'il a toe would she budge, and all the boys began
larfin', so they did, and William says, says he:

"'Come on till I pull the neck out o' ye.... Come on, me brave boy....
Fetch her a clip on the lug. Hit her a skelp behint. Jab her with yer
knee, man alive. Och, come on, ye Bap, ye.'

"Well, the skin o' a pig couldn't stand that, and Andy, he was middlin'
smart at a repartee, so 'Bap yersel',' says he, and with that he let a
growl out o' him ye might have heared te Portadown. Ye never heared the
like, nor what's more, Andy Wilson's mare, she never heared the like,
and she just made the wan lep and landed in the strame fornenst William;
then James he tuk a howlt o' William, and 'Bap yersel', says he; and
with that he coped him off his gran' white horse, and he drooked him in
the watter.

"Then there was the fine play, and the best divarsion ever ye seen. Some
they were for William, and some they were for James, and every wan he up
with his fut or his fist, or onny other weepon that come convenient, and
the boys they were all bloodin' other, and murder and all sorts."

"I thought you were all friends at Scarva?"

"And so we were--just friends fightin' through other."

"Was any one hurt?"

"Was anyone hurted? Sure, they were just trailin' theirselves off the
ground. Ye wud have died larfin'. There's Jimmy Hanlon was never his own
man since, and I had me nose broke on me--I find it yet--and some says
there was a wee girl from Tanderagee got herself killed."

"What became of William?"

"He was clean drowned."

"And King James?"

"He's in hell with Johnny M'Adam."

I tried to explain that I had not meant the King himself, but the actor
in whom nature had been stronger than dramatic instinct, but Tummus
either could not or would not dissociate the two. He really was not
attending to me: I had perceived for some time that his thoughts were
wandering far from our conversation. Suddenly a spasm convulsed his
features. With one hand he raised his hoe in the air like a tomahawk,
disregarding the weed of his afternoon's toil, which was left limp and
helpless on the gravel; with the other he grasped his side. I feared the
old man was going to have a fit, but it was only uncontrollable laughter
at some joke as yet hidden from me.

"Well, do ye know what I'm goin' te tell ye? I wud just allow William
was a middlin' polished boy, so he was. He subsidised the Pope o' Rome,
did he? Man, oh! Do ye tell me that? That bates all, and him goin' to
take just twiste what he let on."

Old Tummus unquestionably was absolutely sober at the beginning of our
interview, and had remained "dry" during it, but he now became gradually
intoxicated with what had appeared to him to be his hero's splendid
cunning. The thought of a genius which could overreach someone else in a
bargain rose to his brain like champagne. He swayed on his feet; he ran
his words into each other; he assumed a gaiety of manner and expression
quite unusual to him.

I watched him lurch down the walk, and then pause on the bridge. He
supported himself by the wooden railing, which creaked as he swayed to
and fro, and addressed the stream and the trees--

"Do ye know what I'm goin' to tell ye? I wud just allow he was a
middlin' polished boy--so he was."

The Game Leg.

_From "The Furry Farm."_


Heffernan's house at the Furry Farm stood very backwards from the
roadside, hiding itself, you'd really think, from anyone that might be
happening by. As if it need do that! Why, there was no more snug,
well-looked-after place in the whole of Ardenoo than Heffernan's always
was, with full and plenty in it for man and beast, though it wasn't to
say too tasty-looking.

And it was terrible lonesome. There wasn't a neighbour within the bawl
of an ass of it. Heffernan, of course, had always been used to it, so
that he didn't so much mind; still, he missed Art, after he going off
with little Rosy Rafferty. That was nigh hand as bad upon him as losing
the girl herself. He had got to depend on Art for every hand's turn, a
thing that left him worse, when he was without him. And he was very
slow-going. As long as Julia was there, she did all, and Heffernan might
stand to one side and look at her. And so he missed her now, more than
ever; and still he had no wish to see her back, though even to milk the
cows came awkward to him.

He was contending with the work one evening, and the calves in
particular were leaving him distracted; above all, a small little white
one that he designed for Rosy, when he'd have her Woman of the House at
the Furry Farm. That calf, I needn't say, was not the pick of the bunch,
but as Mickey thought to himself, a girl wouldn't know any better than
choose a calf by the colour, and there would be no good wasting
anything of value on her. At all events, it would be "child's pig and
Daddy's bacon" most likely with that calf. But sure, what matter! Rosy
was never to have any call to it, or anything else at the Furry Farm.

Those calves were a very sweet lot, so that Mickey might have been
feeling all the pleasure in life, just watching them, with their soft,
little muzzles down in the warm, sweet milk, snorting with the pure
enjoyment. But Mickey was only grousing to get done, and vexed at the
way the big calves were shoving the little ones away, and still he
couldn't hinder them. Art used to regulate them very simple by means of
a little ash quick he kept, to slap the forward calves across the face
when they'd get too impudent. But as often as Mickey had seen him do
that, he couldn't do the same. The ash quick was so close to him that if
it had been any nearer it would have bitten him. Stuck up in a corner of
the bit of ruin that had once been Castle Heffernan it was. But it might
as well have been in America for all the good it was to Mickey.

"I wish to God I was rid of the whole of yous, this minute!" says he to
himself, and he with his face all red and steamy, and the milk
slobbering out of the pail down upon the ground, the way the calves were
butting him about the legs.

That very minute, he heard a sound behind him. He turned about, and, my
dear! the heart jumped into his mouth, as he saw a great, immense red
face, just peeping over the wall that shut in his yard from the boreen.
That wall was no more than four feet high. Wouldn't anyone think it
strange to see such a face, only that far from the ground! and it with a
bushy, black beard around it, and big rolling eyes, and a wide, old hat
cocked back upon it? You'd have to think it was something "not right";
an Appearance or Witchery work of some kind.

But, let alone that, isn't there something very terrifying and frightful
in finding yourself being watched, when you think you're alone; and of
all things, by a man? The worst of a wild beast wouldn't put the same
bad fear in your heart.

"Good evening, Mr. Heffernan," says the newcomer, with a grin upon him,
free and pleasant; "that's a fine lot of calves you have there!"

Heffernan was so put about that he made no answer, and the man went on
to say, "Is it that you don't know me? Sure, you couldn't forget poor
old Hopping Hughie as simple as that!"

And he gave himself a shove, so that he raised his shoulders above the
wall. A brave, big pair they were, too, but they were only just held up
on crutches. Hughie could balance himself upon them, and get about, as
handy as you please. But he was dead of his two legs.

"Oh, Hughie...!" says Heffernan, pretty stiff; "well, and what do you
want here?"

"Och, nothing in life...."

"Take it, then, and let you be off about your business!" says Mickey, as
quick as a flash, for once; and he that was proud when he had it said!

Hughie had a most notorious tongue himself, but he knew when to keep it
quiet, and he thought it as good to appear very mild and down in himself
now, so he said, "My business! sure, what word is that to say to a poor
old fellah on chrutches! Not like you, Mr. Heffernan, that'll be off to
the fair of Balloch to-morrow morning, bright and early, with them grand
fine calves of yours. The price they'll go! There isn't the peel of them
in Ardenoo!"

"Do you tell me that?" says Heffernan, that a child could cheat.

"That's what they do be telling me," says Hughie. He could build a nest
in your ear, he was that cunning. He thought he saw a chance of getting
to the fair himself, and a night's lodging as well, if he managed right.

"I wish to goodness I could get them there, so," says Mickey, "and
hasn't one to drive them for me!"

"Would I do?" says Hughie.

Heffernan looked at him up and down.

"Sure you'd not be able!"

"Whoo! me not able? Maybe I'm like the singed cat, better than I look!
I'm slow, but fair and easy goes far in a day! Never you fear but I'll
get your calves to Balloch the same way the boy ate the cake, very

The simplest thing would have been for Heffernan to take and drive the
calves himself. But he never had the fashion of doing such things.
Anyway, it wouldn't answer for the people to see a man with a good means
of his own, like Mickey, turning drover that way.

So he thought again, while Hughie watched him, and then says he, "You'll
have to be off out of this before the stars have left the sky!"

"And why wouldn't I?" says Hughie; "only give me a bit of supper and a
shakedown for the night, the way I'll be fresh for the road to-morrow."

Hughie was looking to be put sitting down in the kitchen alongside
Heffernan himself, and to have the settle-bed foreninst the fire to
sleep in. But he had to content himself with the straw in the barn and a
plateful carried out to him. Queer and slow-going Heffernan might be,
but he wasn't thinking of having the likes of Hopping Hughie in his
chimney-corner, where he had often thought to see little Rosy Rafferty
and she smiling at him.

Hughie took it all very contented. Gay and happy he was after his
supper, and soon fell asleep on the straw, with his ragged pockets that
empty that the divil could dance a hornpipe in them and not strike a
copper there; while Mickey above in bed in his own house, with his fine
farm and all his stock about him, calves and cows and pigs, not to speak
of the money in the old stocking under the thatch ... Mickey couldn't
sleep, only worrying, thinking was he right to go to sell the calves at
all; and to be letting Hughie drive them!

"I had little to do," he thought, "to be letting him in about the place
at all, and couldn't tell what divilment he might be up to, as soon as
he gets me asleep! Hughie's terrible wicked, and as strong as a ditch! I
done well to speak him civil, anyway. But I'll not let them calves stir
one peg out of this with him! I'd sooner risk keeping them longer...."

There's the way he was going on, tossing and tumbling and tormenting
himself, as if bed wasn't a place to rest yourself in and not be raking
up annoyances.

So it wasn't till near morning that Mickey dozed off, and never wakened
till it was more than time to be off to the fair.

Up he jumped and out to stop Hughie. But the yard was silent and empty.
Hughie and the calves were gone.

Mickey was more uneasy than ever.

"A nice bosthoon I must be," he thought, "to go trust my good-looking
calves to a k'nat like Hughie! And he to go off without any breakfast,

Heffernan was a good warrant to feed man or beast. But he mightn't have
minded about Hughie, that had plenty of little ways of providing for
himself. His pockets would be like sideboards, the way he would have
them stuck out with meat and eggs, and so on, that he would be given
along the road. Hughie was better fed than plenty that bestowed food
upon him.

Balloch, where the fair is held, is the wildest and most lonesome place
in Ardenoo, with a steep, rough bit of road leading up to it, very
awkward to drive along. Up this comes Heffernan, on his sidecar, driving
his best, and in a great hurry to know where he would come on Hughie. He
had it laid out in his own mind that sight nor light of his calves he
never would get in this world again. So it was a great surprise to him
to find them there before him, safe and sound. His heart lightened at
that as if a mill-stone was lifted off it.

And the fine appearance there was upon them. Not a better spot in the
fair-green than where Hughie had them, opposite a drink-tent where the
people would be thronging most! And it was a choice spot for Hughie too.
Happy and contented he was, his back against a tree, leaning his weight
on one crutch and the other convenient to his hand.

"So there's where you are," says Hughie, a bit scornful. Sure it was a
foolish remark to pass and the man there before him, as plain as the
nose on your face. But Hughie was puzzled too by the look of relief he
saw on Mickey's face. He understood nothing of what Heffernan was
passing through. It's an old saying and a true one, "Them that has the
world has care!" but them that hasn't it, what do they know about it?

While Hughie was turning this over in his mind, Mickey was throwing an
eye upon the calves, and then, seeing they were all right, he was
bandying off with himself, when Hughie said, "Terrible dry work it is,
driving stock along them dusty roads since the early morning," and he
rubbed the back of his hand across his mouth with a grin.

At that, Mickey put his hand into his pocket and felt round about, and
then pulled it out empty.

"I'll see you later, Hughie," says he, "I'll not forget you, never fear!
Just let you wait here till I have the poor mare attended to that drew
me here...."

So he went off to do this, and then into the drink-tent with him, the
way he could be getting a sup himself. But no sign of he to give
anything to Hughie. And there now is where Mickey made a big mistake.

He met up with a couple or three that he was acquainted with in the
tent, and they began to talk of this thing and that thing, so that it
was a gay little while before Mickey came out again.

When he did: "What sort is the drink in there, Mr. Heffernan?" says

Now what Mickey had taken at that time was no more than would warm the
cockles of his heart. So he looked quite pleasant and said, "Go in
yourself, Hughie, and here's what will enable you to judge it!"

And he held out a shilling to Hughie.

"A bird never yet flew upon the one wing, Mr. Heffernan!" said Hughie,
that was looking to get another shilling, and that would be only his due
for driving the calves.

Mickey said nothing one way or the other, only went off, and left Hughie
standing there, holding out his hand in front of him with the shilling
in it, lonesome.

He that was vexed! He got redder in the face than ever, and gave out a
few curses, till he remembered there wasn't one to hear him. So he
stopped and went into the tent and I needn't say he got the best value
he could there.

But all the time he was thinking how badly Heffernan was after treating
him, putting him off without enough to see him through the fair even,
let alone with a trifle in his pockets to help him on his rounds. He
began planning how he could pay out Mickey.

He got himself back to the same spot, near the calves, to see what would
happen. After a time, he saw Heffernan coming back, and little Barney
Maguire with him. A very decent boy Barney was, quiet and agreeable;
never too anxious for work, but very knowledgable about how things
should be done, from a wake to a sheep-shearing. Heffernan always liked
to have Barney with him at a fair.

The two of them stood near the calves, careless-like, as if they took no
interest in them at all.

A dealer came up.

"How much for them calves? Not that I'm in need of the like," says he.

"Nobody wants you to take them, so," says Barney, "but the price is
three pounds ... or was it guineas you're after saying, Mr. Heffernan?"

Heffernan said nothing, and the dealer spoke up very fierce; "Three
pounds! Put thirty shillings on them, and I'll be talking to ye!"

Mickey again only looked at his adviser, and says Barney, "Thirty
shillings! 'Tis you that's bidding wide, this day! May the Lord forgive
you! Is it wanting a present you are of the finest calves in Ardenoo?"

Heffernan swelled out with delight at that; as if Barney's word could
make his calves either better or worse.

"Wasn't it fifty-seven and sixpence you're after telling me you were
offered only yesterday, Mr. Heffernan," says Barney, "just for the small
ones of the lot?"

"Och! I dare say! don't you?" says the dealer; "the woman that owns you
it was that made you that bid, to save your word!"

Poor Mickey! and he hadn't a woman at all! The dealer of course being
strange couldn't know that, nor why Hughie gave a laugh out of him.

But that didn't matter. Mickey took no notice. A man that's a bit
"thick" escapes many a prod that another would feel sharp. So in all
things you can see how them that are afflicted are looked after in some
little way we don't know.

The dealer looked at the calves again.

"Troth, I'm thinking it's the wrong ones yous have here! Yous must have
forgotten them fine three-pound calves at home!"

And Mickey began looking very anxiously at them, as he thought maybe he
had made some mistake.

"Them calves," says the dealer, slowly, "isn't like a pretty girl, that
everyone will be looking to get! And, besides, they're no size! A
terrible small calf they are!"

"Small!" said Barney, "It's too big they are! And if they're little
itself, what harm! Isn't a mouse the prettiest animal you might ask to

"Ay, it is," says the dealer, "but it'll take a power of mice to stock a
farm!" and off with him in a real passion--by the way of.

But Barney knew better than to mind. The dealer came back, and at long
last the calves were sold and paid for. Then the lucky-penny had to be
given. Hard-set Barney was to get Heffernan to do that. In the end
Mickey was so bothered over it that he dropped a shilling just where
Hughie was standing leaning his weight on the one crutch as usual.

As quick as a flash, he had the other up, and made a kind of a lurch
forward, as if to look for the money. But he managed to get the second
crutch down upon the shilling, to hide it; and then he looked round
about the ground as innocent as a child, as if he was striving his best
to find the money for Mickey.

"Where should it be, at all, at all?" says Mickey; "bewitched it should
be, to say it's gone like that!"

And Heffernan, standing there with his mouth open, looked as if he had
lost all belonging to him. Then he began searching about a good piece
off from where the shilling fell.

"It's not there you'll get it!" said Barney, "sure you ought always look
for a thing where you lost it!"

He went over to Hughie.

"None of your tricks, now! It's you has Mr. Heffernan's money, and let
you give it up to him!"

"Is it me have it? Sure if I had, what would I do, only hand it over to
the man that owns it!" says Hughie.

On the word, he let himself down upon the ground, and slithered over on
top of the shilling.

But, quick and all as he was, Barney was quicker.

"Sure, you have it there, you vagabone, you! Give it up, and get off out
of this with yourself!"

And he caught Hughie a clip on the side of the head that sent him
sprawling on the broad of his back. And there, right enough, under him,
was the shilling.

So Barney picked it up, and for fear of any other mistake, he handed it
to the dealer.

"It's an ugly turn whatever, to be knocking a poor cripple about
that-a-way!" said the dealer, dropping the lucky-penny into his pocket.

"Ach, how poor he is, and let him be crippled, itself!" says Barney;
"it's easy seeing you're strange to Ardenoo, or you'd not be
compassionating Hughie so tender!"

No more was said then, only in the tent with them again to wet the
bargain. Hughie gathered himself up. He was in the divil's own temper.
Small blame to him, too! Let alone the disappointment about the
shilling, and the knock Barney gave him, the people all had a laugh at
him. And he liked that as little as the next one. You'd think he'd curse
down the stars out of the skies this time, the way he went on.

And it wasn't Barney's clout he cared about, half as much as Mickey's
meanness. It was that had him so mad. He felt he must pay Heffernan out.

He considered a bit; then he gave his leg a slap.

"I have it now!" he said to himself.

He beckoned two young boys up to him, that were striving to sell a load
of cabbage plants they had there upon the donkey's back, and getting bad
call for them.

"It's a poor trade yous are doing to-day," said Hughie; "and I was
thinking in meself yous should be very dry. You wouldn't care to earn
the price of a pint?"

"How could we?" says the boys.

"I'll tell you! Do you see that car?" and Hughie pointed to where
Heffernan had left his yoke drawn up, and the old mare cropping a bit as
well as she could, being tied by the head; "well, anyone that will pull
the linch-pin out of the wheel, on the far side of the car, needn't be
without tuppence to wet his whistle...." and Hughie gave a rattle to a
few coppers he had left in his pocket.

"Yous'll have to be smart about it, too," said he, "or maybe whoever
owns that car will have gone off upon it, afore yous have time to do the
primest bit of fun that ever was seen upon this fair green!"

"Whose is the car?"

"Och, if I know!" says Hughie; "but what matter for that? One man is as
good as another at the bottom of a ditch! ay, and better. It will be the
height of divarshin to see the roll-off they'll get below there at the
foot of the hill...."

"Maybe they'd get hurted!" said the boys.

"Hurted, how-are-ye!" says Hughie; "how could anyone get hurted so
simple as that? I'd be the last in the world to speak of such a thing in
that case! But if yous are afraid of doing it...."

"Afraid! that's queer talk to be having!" says one of them, very stiff,
for like all boys, he thought nothing so bad as to have "afraid" said to
him; "no, but we're ready to do as much as the next one!"

"I wouldn't doubt yiz!" said Hughie; "h-away with the two of you, now!
Only mind! don't let on a word of this to any sons of man...."

Off they went, and Hughie turned his back on them and the car, and
stared at whatever was going on the other end of the fair. He hadn't
long to wait, before Heffernan and Barney and the dealer came out of the
drink-tent. Hughie took a look at them out of the corner of his eye.

"Ah!" he said to himself, "all 'purty-well-I-thank-ye!' after what they
drank inside! But, wait a bit, Mickey Heffernan...."

The three men went over to where Heffernan's car was waiting. The boys
were gone. The other two men helped Mickey to get his yoke ready. Then
he got up, and they shook hands a good many times. Heffernan chucked at
the reins and started off.

Hughie was watching, and when he saw how steadily the old mare picked
her way down the steep boreen, he began to be afraid he hadn't hit on
such a very fine plan at all. And if Mickey had only had the wit to
leave it all to the poor dumb beast, she might have brought him home
safe enough.

But nothing would to him, only give a shout and a flourish of the whip,
half-way down the hill. The mare started and gave a jump. She was big
and awk'ard, much like Mickey himself. Still it was no fault of her
that, when she got to the turn, the wheel came off, and rolled away to
one side. Down came the car, Mickey fell off, and there he lay, till
some people that saw what was going on ran down the hill after him, and
got the mare on to her feet, and not a scratch on her.

But poor Mickey! It was easy to see with half an eye that he was badly

"Someone will have to drive him home, whatever," said Barney, coming up
the hill to look for more help, after doing his best to get Mickey to
stand up; and sure, how was he to do that, upon a broken leg? "A poor
thing it is, too, to see how a thing of the kind could occur so simple!
and a decent man like Heffernan to be nigh hand killed...."

"'Deed, and he is a decent man!" said Hughie; "and why wouldn't he? I'd
be a decent man meself if I had the Furry Farm and it stocked...."

"He's in a poor way now, in any case," said Barney. "I doubt will he
ever get over this rightly! That's apt to be a leg to him all his life!"

"Well, and so, itself!" said Hughie; "haven't I two of them lame legs?
and who thinks to pity Hughie?"

"It's another matter altogether, with a man like Mr. Heffernan," said
Barney; "what does the like of you miss, by not being able to get about,
compared with a man that might spend his time walking a-through his
cattle, and looking at his crops growing, every day in the week?"

"To be sure, he could be doing all that!" said Hughie, "but when a thing
of this kind happens out so awkward, it's the will of God, and the will
of man can't abate that!"

Trinket's Colt.

_From "Some Experiences of an Irish R.M."_


It was petty sessions day in Skebawn, a cold, grey day in February. A
case of trespass had dragged its burden of cross-summonses and
cross-swearing far into the afternoon, and when I left the bench my head
was singing from the bellowings of the attorneys, and the smell of their
clients was heavy upon my palate.

The streets still testified to the fact that it was market day, and I
evaded with difficulty the sinuous course of carts full of soddenly
screwed people, and steered an equally devious one for myself among the
groups anchored round the doors of the public-houses. Skebawn possesses,
among its legion of public-houses, one establishment which timorously,
and almost imperceptibly, proffers tea to the thirsty. I turned in
there, as was my custom on court days, and found the little dingy den,
known as the Ladies' Coffee Room, in the occupancy of my friend Mr.
Florence McCarthy Knox, who was drinking strong tea and eating buns with
serious simplicity. It was a first and quite unexpected glimpse of that
domesticity that has now become a marked feature in his character.

"You're the very man I wanted to see," I said, as I sat down beside him
at the oilcloth covered table; "a man I know in England who is not much
of a judge of character has asked me to buy him a four-year-old down
here, and as I should rather be stuck by a friend than a dealer, I wish
you'd take over the job."

Flurry poured himself out another cup of tea, and dropped three lumps of
sugar into it in silence.

Finally he said, "There isn't a four-year-old in this country that I'd
be seen dead with at a pig fair."

This was discouraging, from the premier authority on horseflesh in the

"But it isn't six weeks since you told me you had the finest filly in
your stables that was ever foaled in the County Cork," I protested;
"what's wrong with her?"

"Oh, is it that filly?" said Mr. Knox, with a lenient smile; "she's gone
these three weeks from me. I swapped her and £6 for a three-year-old
Ironmonger colt, and after that I swapped the colt and £19 for that
Bandon horse I rode last week at your place, and after that again I sold
the Bandon horse for £75 to old Welply, and I had to give him back a
couple of sovereigns luck-money. You see, I did pretty well with the
filly after all."

"Yes, yes--oh, rather," I assented, as one dizzily accepts the
propositions of a bimetallist; "and you don't know of anything

The room in which we were seated was closed from the shop by a door with
a muslin-curtained window in it; several of the panes were broken, and
at this juncture two voices, that had for some time carried on a
discussion, forced themselves upon our attention.

"Begging your pardon for contradicting you, ma'am," said the voice of
Mrs. McDonald, proprietress of the tea-shop, and a leading light in
Skebawn Dissenting circles, shrilly tremulous with indignation, "if the
servants I recommend you won't stop with you, it's no fault of mine. If
respectable young girls are set picking grass out of your gravel, in
place of their proper work, certainly they will give warning!"

The voice that replied struck me as being a notable one, well-bred and

"When I take a bare-footed slut out of a cabin, I don't expect her to
dictate to me what her duties are!"

Flurry jerked up his chin in a noiseless laugh. "It's my grandmother!"
he whispered. "I bet you Mrs. McDonald don't get much change out of

"If I set her to clean the pig-sty I expect her to obey me," continued
the voice in accents that would have made me clean forty pig-stys had
she desired me to do so.

"Very well, ma'am," retorted Mrs. McDonald, "if that's the way you treat
your servants, you needn't come here again looking for them. I consider
your conduct is neither that of a lady nor a Christian!"

"Don't you, indeed?" replied Flurry's grandmother. "Well, your opinion
doesn't greatly distress me, for, to tell you the truth, I don't think
you're much of a judge."

"Didn't I tell you she'd score?" murmured Flurry, who was by this time
applying his eye to the hole in the muslin curtain. "She's off," he went
on, returning to his tea. "She's a great character! She's eighty-three,
if she's a day, and she's as sound on her legs as a three-year-old! Did
you see that old shandrydan of hers in the street a while ago, and a
fellow on the box with a red beard on him like Robinson Crusoe? That old
mare that was on the near side, Trinket her name is--is mighty near
clean bred. I can tell you her foals are worth a bit of money."

I had heard of old Mrs. Knox of Aussolas; indeed, I had seldom dined out
in the neighbourhood without hearing some new story of her and her
remarkable ménage, but it had not yet been my privilege to meet her.

"Well, now," went on Flurry, in his low voice, "I'll tell you a thing
that's just come into my head. My grandmother promised me a foal of
Trinket's the day I was one-and-twenty, and that's five years ago, and
deuce a one I've got from her yet. You never were at Aussolas? No, you
were not. Well, I tell you the place there is like a circus with horses.
She has a couple of score of them running wild in the woods, like deer."

"Oh, come," I said, "I'm a bit of a liar myself----"

"Well, she has a dozen of them, anyhow, rattling good colts, too, some
of them, but they might as well be donkeys for all the good they are to
me or any one. It's not once in three years she sells one, and there she
has them walking after her for bits of sugar, like a lot of dirty
lapdogs," ended Flurry with disgust.

"Well, what's your plan? Do you want me to make her a bid for one of the

"I was thinking," replied Flurry, with great deliberation, "that my
birthday's this week, and maybe I could work a four-year-old colt of
Trinket's she has out of her in honour of the occasion."

"And sell your grandmother's birthday present to me?"

"Just that, I suppose," answered Flurry, with a slow wink.

A few days afterwards a letter from Mr. Knox informed me that he had
"squared the old lady, and it would be all right about the colt!" He
further told me that Mrs. Knox had been good enough to offer me, with
him, a day's snipe shooting on the celebrated Aussolas bogs, and he
proposed to drive me there the following Monday, if convenient, to
shoot the Aussolas snipe bog when they got the chance. Eight o'clock on
the following Monday morning saw Flurry, myself, and a groom packed into
a dog-cart, with portmanteaus, gun-cases, and two rampant red setters.

It was a long drive, twelve miles at least, and a very cold one. We
passed through long tracts of pasture country, filled for Flurry, with
memories of runs, which were recorded for me, fence by fence, in every
one of which the biggest dog-fox in the country had gone to ground, with
not two feet--measured accurately on the handle of the whip--between him
and the leading hound; through bogs that imperceptibly melted into
lakes, and finally down and down into a valley, where the fir-trees of
Aussolas clustered darkly round a glittering lake, and all but hid the
grey roofs and pointed gables of Aussolas Castle.

"There's a nice stretch of a demesne for you," remarked Flurry, pointing
downwards with the whip, "and one little old woman holding it all in the
heel of her fist. Well able to hold it she is, too, and always was, and
she'll live twenty years yet, if it's only to spite the whole lot of us,
and when all's said and done, goodness knows how she'll leave it!"

"It strikes me you were lucky to keep her up to her promise about the
colt," said I.

Flurry administered a composing kick to the ceaseless strivings of the
red setters under the seat.

"I used to be rather a pet with her," he said, after a pause; "but mind
you, I haven't got him yet, and if she gets any notion I want to sell
him I'll never get him, so say nothing about the business to her."

The tall gates of Aussolas shrieked on their hinges as they admitted
us, and shut with a clang behind us, in the faces of an old mare and a
couple of young horses, who, foiled in their break for the excitements
of the outer world, turned and galloped defiantly on either side of us.
Flurry's admirable cob hammered on, regardless of all things save his

"He's the only one I have that I'd trust myself here with," said his
master, flicking him approvingly with the whip; "there are plenty of
people afraid to come here at all, and when my grandmother goes out
driving, she has a boy on the box with a basket full of stones to peg at
them. Talk of the dickens, here she is herself!"

A short, upright old woman was approaching, preceded by a white woolly
dog with sore eyes and a bark like a tin trumpet; we both got out of the
trap and advanced to meet the Lady of the Manor.

I may summarise her attire by saying that she looked as if she had
robbed a scarecrow; her face was small and incongruously refined, the
skinny hand that she extended to me had the grubby tan that bespoke the
professional gardener, and was decorated with a magnificent diamond
ring. On her head was a massive purple velvet bonnet.

"I am very glad to meet you, Major Yeates," she said, with an
old-fashioned precision of utterance; "your grandfather was a dancing
partner of mine in old days at the Castle, when he was a handsome young
aide-de-camp there, and I was--you may judge for yourself what I was."

She ended with a startling little hoot of laughter, and I was aware that
she quite realised the world's opinion of her, and was indifferent to

Our way to the bogs took us across Mrs. Knox's home farm, and through a
large field in which several young horses were grazing.

"There, now, that's my fellow," said Flurry, pointing to a fine-looking
colt, "the chestnut with the white diamond on his forehead. He'll run
into three figures before he's done, but we'll not tell that to the ould

The famous Aussolas bogs were as full of snipe as usual, and a good deal
fuller of water than any bogs I had ever shot before. I was on my day,
and Flurry was not, and as he is ordinarily an infinitely better snipe
shot than I, I felt at peace with the world and all men as we walked
back, wet through, at five o'clock.

The sunset had waned and a big white moon was making the eastern tower
of Aussolas look like a thing in a fairy tale or a play when we arrived
at the hall door. An individual, whom I recognised as the Robinson
Crusoe coachman, admitted us to a hall, the like of which one does not
often see. The walls were panelled with dark oak up to the gallery that
ran round three sides of it, the balusters of the wide staircase were
heavily carved, and blackened portraits of Flurry's ancestors on the
spindle side, stared sourly down on their descendant as he tramped
upstairs with the bog mould on his hobnailed boots.

We had just changed into dry clothes when Robinson Crusoe shoved his red
beard round the corner of the door, with the information that the
mistress said we were to stay for dinner. My heart sank. It was then
barely half-past five. I said something about having no evening clothes,
and having to get home early.

"Sure, the dinner'll be in another half-hour," said Robinson Crusoe,
joining hospitably in the conversation; "and as for evening clothes--God
bless ye!"

The door closed behind him.

"Never mind," said Flurry, "I dare say you'll be glad enough to eat
another dinner by the time you get home," he laughed. "Poor Slipper!" he
added, inconsequently, and only laughed again when I asked for an

Old Mrs. Knox received us in the library, where she was seated by a
roaring turf fire, which lit the room a good deal more effectively than
the pair of candles that stood beside her in tall silver candlesticks.
Ceaseless and implacable growls from under her chair indicated the
presence of the woolly dog. She talked with confounding culture of the
books that rose all round her to the ceiling; her evening dress was
accomplished by means of an additional white shawl, rather dirtier than
its congeners; as I took her in to dinner she quoted Virgil to me, and
in the same breath screeched an objurgation at a being whose matted head
rose suddenly into view from behind an ancient Chinese screen, as I have
seen the head of a Zulu woman peer over a bush.

Dinner was as incongruous as everything else. Detestable soup in a
splendid old silver tureen that was nearly as dark in hue as Robinson
Crusoe's thumb; a perfect salmon, perfectly cooked, on a chipped kitchen
dish; such cut glass as is not easy to find nowadays; sherry that, as
Flurry subsequently remarked, would burn the shell off an egg; and a
bottle of port, draped in immemorial cobwebs, wan with age, and probably
priceless. Throughout the vicissitudes of the meal Mrs. Knox's
conversation flowed on undismayed, directed sometimes at me--she had
installed me in the position of friend of her youth, and talked to me as
if I were my own grandfather--sometimes at Crusoe, with whom she had
several heated arguments, and sometimes she would make a statement of
remarkable frankness on the subject of her horse-farming affairs to
Flurry, who, very much on his best behaviour, agreed with all she said,
and risked no original remark. As I listened to them both, I remembered
with infinite amusement how he had told me once that "a pet name she had
for him was 'Tony Lumpkin,' and no one but herself knew what she meant
by it." It seemed strange that she made no allusion to Trinket's colt or
to Flurry's birthday, but, mindful of my instructions, I held my peace.

As, at about half-past eight, we drove away in the moonlight, Flurry
congratulated me solemnly on my success with his grandmother. He was
good enough to tell me that she would marry me to-morrow if I asked her,
and he wished I would, even if it was only to see what a nice grandson
he'd be for me. A sympathetic giggle behind me told me that Michael, on
the back seat, had heard and relished the jest.

We had left the gates of Aussolas about half-a-mile behind, when, at the
corner of a by-road, Flurry pulled up. A short, squat figure arose from
the black shadow of a furze bush and came out into the moonlight,
swinging its arms like a cabman, and cursing audibly.

"Oh, murdher, oh, murdher, Misther Flurry! What kept ye at all? 'Twould
perish the crows to be waiting here the way I am these two hours--"

"Ah, shut your mouth, Slipper!" said Flurry, who, to my surprise, had
turned back the rug and was taking off his driving coat, "I couldn't
help it. Come on, Yeates, we've got to get out here."

"What for?" I asked, in not unnatural bewilderment.

"It's all right. I'll tell you as we go along," replied my companion,
who was already turning to follow Slipper up the by-road. "Take the trap
on, Michael, and wait at the River's Cross." He waited for me to come up
with him, and then put his hand on my arm. "You see, Major, this is the
way it is. My grandmother's given me that colt right enough, but if I
waited for her to send him over to me I'd never see a hair of his tail.
So I just thought that as we were over here we might as well take him
back with us, and maybe you'll give us a help with him; he'll not be
altogether too handy for a first go off."

I was staggered. An infant in arms could scarcely have failed to discern
the fishiness of the transaction, and I begged Mr. Knox not to put
himself to this trouble on my account, as I had no doubt I could find a
horse for my friend elsewhere. Mr. Knox assured me that it was no
trouble at all, quite the contrary, and that, since his grandmother had
given him the colt, he saw no reason why he should not take him when he
wanted him; also, that if I didn't want him he'd be glad enough to keep
him himself; and, finally, that I wasn't the chap to go back on a
friend, but I was welcome to drive back to Shreelane with Michael this
minute, if I liked.

Of course, I yielded in the end. I told Flurry I should lose my job over
the business, and he said I could then marry his grandmother, and the
discussion was abruptly closed by the necessity of following Slipper
over a locked five-barred gate.

Our pioneer took us over about half-a-mile of country, knocking down
stone gaps where practicable, and scrambling over tall banks in the
deceptive moonlight. We found ourselves at length in a field with a
shed in one corner of it; in a dim group of farm buildings; a little way
off a light was shining.

"Wait here," said Flurry to me in a whisper; "the less noise the better.
It's an open shed, and we'll just slip in and coax him out."

Slipper unwound from his waist a halter, and my colleagues glided like
spectres into the shadow of the shed, leaving me to meditate on my
duties as Resident Magistrate, and on the questions that would be asked
in the House by our local member when Slipper had given away the
adventure in his cups.

In less than a minute three shadows emerged from the shed, where two had
gone in. They had got the colt.

"He came out as quiet as a calf when he winded the sugar," said Flurry;
"it was well for me I filled my pockets from grandmamma's sugar basin."

He and Slipper had a rope from each side of the colt's head; they took
him quickly across a field towards a gate. The colt stepped daintily
between them over the moonlit grass; he snorted occasionally, but
appeared on the whole amenable.

The trouble began later, and was due, as trouble often is, to the
beguilements of a short cut. Against the maturer judgment of Slipper,
Flurry insisted on following a route that he assured us he knew as well
as his own pocket, and the consequence was, that in about five minutes I
found myself standing on top of a bank hanging on to a rope, on the
other end of which the colt dangled and danced, while Flurry, with the
other rope, lay prone in the ditch, and Slipper administered to the
bewildered colt's hindquarters such chastisement as could be ventured

I have no space to narrate in detail the atrocious difficulties and
disasters of the short cut. How the colt set to work to buck, and went
away across a field, dragging the faithful Slipper, literally
_ventre-à-terre_, after him, while I picked myself in ignominy out of a
briar patch, and Flurry cursed himself black in the face. How we were
attacked by ferocious cur dogs and I lost my eyeglass; and how, as we
neared the river's Cross, Flurry espied the police patrol on the road,
and we all hid behind a rick of turf, while I realised in fulness what
an exceptional ass I was, to have been beguiled into an enterprise that
involved hiding with Slipper from the Royal Irish Constabulary.

Let it suffice to say that Trinket's infernal offspring was finally
handed over on the highroad to Michael and Slipper, and Flurry drove me
home in a state of mental and physical overthrow.

I saw nothing of my friend Mr. Knox for the next couple of days, by the
end of which time I had worked up a high polish on my misgivings, and
had determined to tell him that under no circumstances would I have
anything to say to his grandmother's birthday present. It was like my
usual luck that, instead of writing a note to this effect, I thought it
would be good for my liver to walk across the hills to Tory Cottage and
tell Flurry so in person.

It was a bright, blustery morning, after a muggy day. The feeling of
spring was in the air, the daffodils were already in bud, and crocuses
showed purple in the grass on either side of the avenue. It was only a
couple of miles to Tory Cottage, by the way across the hills; I walked
fast, and it was barely twelve o'clock when I saw its pink walls and
clumps of evergreens below me. As I looked down at it, the chiming of
Flurry's hounds in the kennels came to me on the wind; I stood still to
listen, and could almost have sworn that I was hearing the clash of
Magdalen bells, hard at work on May morning.

The path that I was following led downwards through a larch plantation
to Flurry's back gate. Hot wafts from some hideous cauldron at the other
side of a wall apprised me of the vicinity of the kennels and their
_cuisine_, and the fir-trees round were hung with gruesome and unknown
joints. I thanked heaven that I was not a master of hounds, and passed
on as quickly as might be to the hall door.

I rang two or three times without response; then the door opened a
couple of inches, and was instantly slammed in my face. I heard the
hurried paddling of bare feet on oilcloth, and a voice, "Hurry, Bridgie,
hurry! There's quality at the door!"

Bridgie, holding a dirty cap on with one hand, presently arrived and
informed me that she believed that Mr. Knox was out about the place. She
seemed perturbed, and she cast scared glances down the drive while
speaking to me.

I knew enough of Flurry's habits to shape a tolerably direct course for
his whereabouts. He was, as I had expected, in the training paddock, a
field behind the stable-yard, in which he had put up practice jumps for
his horses. It was a good-sized field with clumps of furze in it, and
Flurry was standing near one of these with his hands in his pockets,
singularly unoccupied. I supposed that he was prospecting for a place to
put up another jump. He did not see me coming, and turned with a start
as I spoke to him. There was a queer expression of mingled guilt and
what I can only describe as divilment in his grey eyes as he greeted me.
In my dealings with Flurry Knox, I have since formed the habit of
sitting tight, in a general way, when I see that expression.

"Well, who's coming next, I wonder!" he said, as he shook hands with me;
"it's not ten minutes since I had two of your d----d peelers here
searching the whole place for my grandmother's colt!"

"What!" I exclaimed, feeling cold all down my back; "do you mean the
police have got hold of it?"

"They haven't got hold of the colt, anyway," said Flurry, looking
sideways at me from under the peak of his cap, with the glint of the sun
in his eye. "I got word in time before they came."

"What do you mean?" I demanded; "where is he? For Heaven's sake don't
tell me you've sent the brute over to my place!"

"It's a good job for you I didn't," replied Flurry, "as the police are
on their way to Shreelane this minute to consult you about it. You!" He
gave utterance to one of his short, diabolical fits of laughter. "He's
where they'll not find him, anyhow. Ho! ho! It's the funniest hand I
ever played!"

"Oh, yes, it's devilish funny, I've no doubt," I retorted, beginning to
lose my temper, as is the manner of many people when they are
frightened; "but, I give you fair warning that if Mrs. Knox asks me any
questions about it, I shall tell her the whole story."

"All right," responded Flurry; "and when you do, don't forget to tell
her how you flogged the colt out on to the road over her own bound's

"Very well," I said, hotly, "I may as well go home and send in my
papers. They'll break me over this--"

"Ah, hold on, Major," said Flurry, soothingly, "it'll be all right. No
one knows anything. It's only on spec' the old lady sent the Bobbies
here. If you'll keep quiet it'll all blow over."

"I don't care," I said, struggling hopelessly in the toils; "if I meet
your grandmother, and she asks me about it, I shall tell her all I

"Please God you'll not meet her! After all, it's not once in a blue moon
that she----" began Flurry. Even as he said the words his face changed.
"Holy fly!" he ejaculated, "isn't that her dog coming into the field?
Look at her bonnet over the wall! Hide, hide, for your life!" He caught
me by the shoulder and shoved me down among the furze bushes before I
realised what had happened.

"Get in there! I'll talk to her."

I may as well confess that at the mere sight of Mrs. Knox's purple
bonnet my heart had turned to water. In that moment I knew what it would
be like to tell her how I, having eaten her salmon, and capped her
quotations, and drunk her best port, had gone forth and helped to steal
her horse. I abandoned my dignity, my sense of honour; I took the furze
prickles to my breast and wallowed in them.

Mrs. Knox had advanced with vengeful speed; already she was in high
altercation with Flurry at no great distance from where I lay; varying
sounds of battle reached me, and I gathered that Flurry was not--to put
it mildly--shrinking from that economy of truth that the situation

"Is it that curby, long-backed brute? You promised him to me long ago,
but I wouldn't be bothered with him."

The old lady uttered a laugh of shrill derision. "Is it likely I'd
promise you my best colt? And still more, is it likely that you'd refuse
him if I did?"

"Very well, ma'am," Flurry's voice was admirably indignant. "Then I
suppose I'm a liar and a thief."

"I'd be more obliged to you for the information if I hadn't known it
before," responded his grandmother with lightning speed; "if you swore
to me on a stack of Bibles you knew nothing about my colt I wouldn't
believe you! I shall go straight to Major Yeates and ask his advice. I
believe him to be a gentleman, in spite of the company he keeps!"

I writhed deeper into the furze bushes, and thereby discovered a sandy
rabbit run, along which I crawled, with my cap well over my eyes, and
the furze needles stabbing me through my stockings. The ground shelved a
little, promising profounder concealment, but the bushes were very
thick, and I had hold of the bare stem of one to help my progress. It
lifted out of the ground in my hand, revealing a freshly-cut stump.
Something snorted, not a yard away; I glared through the opening, and
was confronted by the long, horrified face of Mrs. Knox's colt,
mysteriously on a level with my own.

Even without the white diamond on his forehead I should have divined the
truth; but how in the name of wonder had Flurry persuaded him to couch
like a woodcock in the heart of a furze brake? For a minute I lay as
still as death for fear of frightening him, while the voices of Flurry
and his grandmother raged on alarmingly close to me. The colt snorted,
and blew long breaths through his wide nostrils, but he did not move. I
crawled an inch or two nearer, and after a few seconds of cautious
peering I grasped the position. They had buried him!

A small sandpit among the furze had been utilised as a grave; they had
filled him in up to his withers with sand, and a few furze bushes,
artistically disposed round the pit had done the rest. As the depth of
Flurry's guile was revealed, laughter came upon me like a flood; I
gurgled and shook apoplectically, and the colt gazed at me with serious
surprise, until a sudden outburst of barking close to my elbow
administered a fresh shock to my tottering nerves.

Mrs. Knox's woolly dog had tracked me into the furze, and was now baying
the colt and me with mingled terror and indignation. I addressed him in
a whisper, with perfidious endearments, advancing a crafty hand towards
him the while, made a snatch for the back of his neck, missed it badly,
and got him by the ragged fleece of his hind-quarters as he tried to
flee. If I had flayed him alive he could hardly have uttered a more
deafening series of yells, but, like a fool, instead of letting him go,
I dragged him towards me, and tried to stifle the noise by holding his
muzzle. The tussle lasted engrossingly for a few seconds, and then the
climax of the nightmare arrived.

Mrs. Knox's voice, close behind me, said, "Let go my dog this instant,
sir! Who are you----"

Her voice faded away, and I knew that she also had seen the colt's head.

I positively felt sorry for her. At her age there was no knowing what
effect the shock might have on her. I scrambled to my feet and
confronted her.

"Major Yeates!" she said. There was a deathly pause. "Will you kindly
tell me," said Mrs. Knox, slowly, "am I in Bedlam, or are you? And what
is that?"

She pointed to the colt, and the unfortunate animal, recognising the
voice of his mistress, uttered a hoarse and lamentable whinny. Mrs. Knox
felt around her for support, found only furze prickles, gazed
speechlessly at me, and then, to her eternal honour, fell into wild
cackles of laughter.

So, I may say, did Flurry and I. I embarked on my explanation and broke
down. Flurry followed suit and broke down, too. Overwhelming laughter
held us all three, disintegrating our very souls. Mrs. Knox pulled
herself together first.

"I acquit you, Major Yeates, I acquit you, though appearances are
against you. It's clear enough to me you've fallen among thieves." She
stopped and glowered at Flurry. Her purple bonnet was over one eye.
"I'll thank you, sir," she said, "to dig out that horse before I leave
this place. And when you've dug him out you may keep him. I'll be no
receiver of stolen goods!"

She broke off and shook her fist at him. "Upon my conscience, Tony, I'd
give a guinea to have thought of it myself!"

The Wee Tea Table.

_From "Irish Pastorals."_


Somewhere near the hill-hedge, with their arms bare, skirts tucked up,
and faces peering from the depths of big sunbonnets, Anne Daly and Judy
Brady were gathering the hay into long, narrow rows; one raking this
side of a row, the other that, and both sweetening toil with laughter
and talk. Sometimes Anne leaned on her rake and chattered for a while;
now Judy said a word or two and ended with a titter; again, both bobbed
heads and broke into merriment. I came nearer to them, got ready my
rake, and began on a fresh row.

The talk was of a woman, of her and her absurdities.

"I've come to help you to laugh, Anne," said I. "What friend is this of
yours and Judy's that you're stripping of her character?"

"The lassie," said Anne, "we were talkin' about is a marrit woman--one
Hannah Breen be name--an' she lives in a big house on the side of a hill
over there towards the mountain. The husband's a farmer--an easy-goin',
bull-voiced, good-hearted lump of a man, wi' a good word for ould Satan
himself, an' a laugh always ready for iverything. But the wife, Hannah,
isn't that kind. Aw, 'deed she isn't. 'Tisn't much good-speakin' or
laughin' Hannah'll be doin'; 'tisn't herself'd get many cars to follow
her funeral in these parts. Aw, no. 'Tisn't milkin' the cows, an' makin'
the butter, an' washin' John's shirts, an' darnin' his socks, an'
mendin' her own tatters, an' huntin' the chickens from the porridge-pot,
Hannah was made for. Aw, no. It's a lady Hannah must be, a real live
lady. It's step out o' bed at eight o'clock in the mornin', Hannah must
do, an' slither down to her tay an' have it all in grandeur in the
parlour; it's sittin' half the day she must be, readin' about the doin's
o' the quality, an' the goin's on o' the world, an' squintin' at
fashion-pictures, an' fillin' her mind wi' the height o' nonsense an'
foolery; it's rise from the table in a tantrum she must do because John
smacks his lips, an' ates his cabbage wi' his knife; it's worry the poor
man out o' his mind she'd be after because he lies and snores on the
kitchen table, an' smokes up to bed, an' won't shave more'n once a week,
an' says he'd rather be hanged at once nor be choked up in a white shirt
an' collar o' Sundays. An' for herself--aw, now, it'd take me from this
till sunset to tell ye about all her fooleries. If you'd only see her,
Mr. John, stalkin' in through the chapel gates, wi' her skirts tucked up
high enough to show the frillin' on her white petticoat, an' low enough
to hide the big tear in it; an' black kid gloves on her fists; an' a
bonnet on her wi'out a string to it; an' light shoes on her; an' a big
hole in the heel o' her stockin'; and her nose in the air; an' her
sniffin' at us all just as if we were the tenants at the butter-show an'
herself My Lady come to prance before us all an' make herself agreeable
for five minutes or so.... Aw, Lord, Lord," laughed Anne, "if ye could
only see her, Mr. John."

"An' to see her steppin' down Bunn Street," Anne went on, as we turned
at the hedge, and set our faces once more towards the river, "as if the
town belonged to her--a ribbon flutterin' here, an' a buckle shinin'
there, an' a feather danglin' another place--steppin' along wi' her
butter-basket on her arm, an' big John draggin' at her heels, an' that
look on her face you'd expect to see on the face o' the Queen o' France
walkin' on a gold carpet, in goold slippers, to a goold throne! An' to
see the airs of her when someone'd spake; an' to see the murderin' look
on her when someone'd hint at a drop o'whiskey for the good of her
health; an' to hear the beautiful talk of her to the butter-buyers--that
soft an' po-lite; an' to see her sittin' in the ould ramshackle of a
cart goin' home, as straight in the back an' as stiff as a ramrod, an'
her face set like a plaster image, an' her niver lettin' her eye fall on
John sittin' beside her, an' him as drunk an' merry as a houseful o'
fiddlers! Aw, sure," cried Anne, flinging up a hand, "aw, sure, it's
past the power o' mortial tongue to tell about her."

"Yours, Anne, makes a good attempt at the telling, for all that," said

"Ach, I'm only bleatherin'," said Anne. "If ye only knew her--only did."

"Well, tell me all about her," said I, "before your tongue gets tired."

"Ah, sure, an' I will," replied she; "sure, an' I'll try me hand at it."

"One day, then, sometime last summer, Hannah--beggin' her ladyship's
pardon," said Anne, a sudden note of scorn rasping in her voice, "but I
meant Mrs. Breen--decks herself out, ties on her bonnet, pulls on her
kid gloves, an' steps out through the hall door. Down she goes, over the
ruts an' the stones, along the lane, turns down the main road; after a
while comes to the house o' Mrs. Flaherty--herself that told
me--crosses the street, an' knocks po-lite on the door.

"'Aw, is Mrs. Flaherty at home, this fine day?' axes Hannah when the
door opens, an' wee Nancy put her tattered head between it an' the post.
'Is Mrs. Flaherty at home?' says she.

"'She is so,' answers Nancy; 'but she'd be out at the well,' says the
wee crature.

"'I see,' says Hannah, 'I see. Then, if you please, when she comes
back,' says she, 'would you be kindly handin' her that, wi' Mrs. Breen's
compliments'--an' out of her pocket Hannah pulls a letter, gives it to
Nancy, says good evenin' to the wee mortial, gathers up her skirt, an'
steps off in her grandeur through the hens an' ducks back to the road.
Well, on she goes another piece, an' comes to the house of Mary Dolan;
an' there, too, faith, she does the genteel an' leaves another letter
an' turns her feet for the house of Mrs. Hogan; an' at Sally's she
smiles, an' bobs her head, an' pulls another letter from her pocket, an'
leaves it at the door; then twists on her heel, turns back home an'
begins dustin' the parlours, an' arrangin' her trumpery an' readin'
bleather from the fashion papers.

"Very well, childer. Home Jane comes from the well, an' there's Nancy
wi' the letter in her fist. 'What the divil's this?' says Jane, an'
tears it open; an' there, lo an' behold ye, is a bit of a card--Jane
swears 'twas a piece of a bandbox, but I'd be disbelievin' her--an' on
it an invite to come an' have tay with me bould Hannah, on the next
Wednesday evenin' at five o'clock p.m.--whativer in glory p.m. may be
after meanin'; when Mary Dolan opens hers, there's the same invite; an'
when Sally Hogan opens hers, out drops the same bit of a card on the
floor; an' Sally laughs, an' Mary laughs, an' Jane laughs, an' the three
o' them, what wi' the quareness o' the business, an' the curiosity of
them to see Hannah at her capers, put their heads together, an' laughs
again, an' settles it that sorrow take them, but go they'll go. An' go
they did. Aw, yis ... Aw, Lord, Lord," laughed Anne, turning up her
eyes. "Lord, Lord!"

"Aw, childer, dear," giggled Judy, with a heaving of her narrow
shoulders. "Aw, go they did!"

"Good girl, Anne," said I, and slapped my leg "my roarin' girl! Aw, an'
go they did, Judy--go they did."

"Well, hearts alive," Anne went on, "Wednesday evenin' comes at last;
an' sharp at five o'clock up me brave Jane Flaherty steps along the
lane, crosses the yard, an' mindin' her manners, knocks twice on
Hannah's back door--then turns, an' wi' the dog yelpin' at her, an' the
gander hissin' like a wet stick on a fire, waits like a beggarwoman on
the step. But divil a one comes to the door; aw, not a one. An' sorrow a
soul budged inside; aw, not a soul. So round turns Jane, lifts her fist
again, hits the door three thundering bangs, an' looks another while at
the gander. Not a budge in the door, not a move inside; so Jane, not to
be done out of her tay, lifts the latch,--an', sure as the sun was
shinin', but the bolt was shot inside. 'Well, dang me,' says Jane, an'
hits the door a kick, 'but this is a fine way to treat company,' says
she, an' rattles the latch, an' shakes it. At last, in the divil of a
temper, spits on the step, whips up her skirts, an' cursin' Hannah high
up an' low down, starts for home.

"She got as far as the bend in the lane, an' there meets Mary Dolan.

"'What's up?' axes Mary. 'What's floostered ye, Jane Flaherty? Aren't ye
goin' to have your tay, me dear?' says Mary.

"'Aw, may the first sup she swallows choke the breath in her,' shouts
Jane, an' goes on to tell her story; an' before she'd said ten words, up
comes Sally Hogan.

"'Am I too late?' says Sally, 'or am I too early?' says she, 'or what in
glory ails the two o' ye?'

"'Ails?' shouts Jane. 'Ye may well say that, Sally Hogan. Ye may turn on
your heel,' says she, an' begins her story again; an' before she was
half through it Sally laughs out, and takes Jane by the arm, an' starts
back to the house.

"'Come away,' says she; 'come away an' have your tay, Jane; sure, ye
don't know Hannah yet.'

"So back the three goes--but not through the yard. Aw, no. 'Twas through
the wee green gate, an' down the walk, an' slap up to the hall door
Sally takes them; an' sure enough the first dab on the knocker brings a
fut on the flags inside, an' there's Kitty, the servant girl, in her
boots an' her stockin's, an' her Sunday dress an' a white apron on her,
standin' before them.

"'Aw, an' is that you, Kitty Malone,' says Sally. 'An' how's yourself,
Kitty, me dear? An' wid Mrs. Breen be inside?' says she.

"'She is so, Mrs. Hogan,' answers Kitty, an' bobs a kind of curtsy. 'Wid
ye all be steppin' in, please?'

"'Aw, the Lord's sake,' gasps Sally on the door step, at all this
grandeur; 'the Lord's sake,' says she, an' steps into the hall; an' in
steps Mary Dolan, an' in steps Jane Flaherty, an' away the three o' them
goes at Kitty's heels up to the parlour.... 'Aw, heavenly hour,' cried
Anne, and turned up her eyes.

"Well, dears," Anne went on, "in the three walks, bonnets an' all, an'
sits them down along the wall on three chairs, an' watches Kitty close
the door; then looks at each other in a puzzled kind o' way, an', after
that, without openin' a lip, casts their eyes about the room. 'Twas the
funniest kind of a place, Jane allowed, that iver she dropped eyes on.
There was a sheep-skin, lyin' woolly side up, in front o' the fireplace,
an' a calf-skin near the windy, an' a dog's skin over be the table, an'
the floor was painted brown about three fut all round the walls. There
was pieces of windy-curtain over the backs o' the chairs; there was a
big fern growin' in an ould drain-pipe in the corner; there was an ould
straw hat o' John's stuffed full o' flowers an' it hangin' on the wall,
an' here an' there, all round it an' beside it were picters cut from the
papers an' then tacked on the plaster. Ye could hardly see the
mantelshelf, Jane allowed, for all the trumpery was piled on it,
dinglum-danglums of glass an' chaney, an' shells from the say, an' a
sampler stuck in a frame, an' in the middle of all a picter of Hannah
herself got up in all her finery. An' there was books, an' papers, an'
fal-lals, an' the sorrow knows what, lyin' about; an' standin' against
the wall, facin' the windy, was a wee table, wi' a cloth on it about the
size of an apron, an' it wi' a fringe on it, no less, an' it spread
skew-wise an' lookin' for all the world like a white ace o' diamonds;
an' on the cloth was a tray wi' cups an' saucers, an' sugar an' milk,
an' as much bread an' butter, cut as thin as glass, as you'd give a sick
child for its supper.... 'Aw, heavenly hour,' cried Anne, 'heavenly

"Aw, childer, dear," cried Judy.

"Aw, woman alive," said I. "Aw, Judy, dear."

"Well, childer, the three looks at all, an' looks at each other, an'
shifts on their chairs, an' looks at each other again, an' says Mary
Dolan at last:--

"'We're in clover, me dears,' says she, 'judgin' be the spread
beyont'--and she nods at the wee table.

"'Ah that'il do for a start,' says Sally Hogan; 'but where in glory are
we all to put our legs under that wee table? Sure it'l be an ojus

"'It will so,' says Jane Flaherty, 'it will so. But isn't it powerful
quare o' Hannah to keep us sittin' here so long in our bonnets an'
shawls, an' us dreepin' wi' the heat?'

"'It's the quarest hole I iver was put in,' says Mary Dolan, 'an' if
this is grandeur, give me the ould kitchen at home wi' me feet on the
hearth an' me tay on a chair.... Phew,' says Mary, an' squints round at
the windy, 'phew, but it's flamin' hot! Aw,' says she, an' makes a dart
from her chair, 'dang me, but I'll burst if I don't get a mouthful o'
fresh air.' An' just as she had her hand on the sash to lift it, the
door opens an' in steps me darlin' Hannah.

"'Good evenin', ladies all," says Hannah, marchin' in wi' some kind of a
calico affair, made like a shroud wi' frills on it, hangin' on her,
'Good evenin', ladies,' says she, an' wi' her elbow cocked up in the air
as if she was strivin' to scrape it against the ceilin', goes from one
to another an' shakes hands. 'It's a very pleasant afternoon' (them was
the words), says she, makin' for a chair beside the wee table; 'an' I'm
very pleased to see ye all,' says she.

"'Aw, an' the same here,' says Mary Dolan, in her free way, 'the same
here; an' ojus nice ye look in that sack of a calico dress, so ye do,'
says Mary, wi' a wink at Jane Flaherty. 'But it's meself'd feel obliged
to ye if so be ye'd open the windy an' give us a mouthful o' fresh air,'
says Mary.

"An' Hannah sits down in her shroud wi' the frills on it, an' smiles,
an' says she, 'I'm rather delicate' (them were the words) 'this
afternoon, Mrs. Dolan, an' afeered o' catchin' cold; an', forby that,'
says she, 'the dust is so injurious for the parlour.'

"'Aw, just so,' answers Mary, 'just so. Sure, I wouldn't for worlds have
ye spoil your parlour for the likes of us. But I'll ax your leave, Mrs.
Breen, seein' ye don't ax me yourself, to give me own health a chance,'
says she, 'be throwin' this big shawl off me shoulders.'

"'But it's afternoon tay, Mrs. Dolan,' answers Hannah, in her cool way;
'an' it's not fashionable at afternoon tay for ladies to remove--'

"'Then afternoon tay be danged,' says Mary, an' throws the shawl off her
across the back of her chair; 'an' it's meself'll not swelter for all
the fashions in the world,' says she, an' pushes her bonnet back an'
lets it hang be the strings down her back. 'Aw, that's great,' says she,
wi' a big sigh; an' at that off goes Jane's shawl an' bonnet, an' off
goes Sally's; an' there the three o' them sits, wi' Hannah lookin' at
them disgusted as an ass at a field of thistles over a gate.... Aw,
glory be," cried Anne.

"Aw, me bould Anne," cried Judy; "me brave girl."

"Well, dears, Hannah sits her down, puts her elbow on a corner o' the
ace o' diamonds, rests her cheek on her hand, an' goes on talking about
this and that. She hoped Mrs. Flaherty, an' Mrs. Dolan, an' Mrs. Hogan
were well an' prosperous; she hoped the crops were turnin' out well;
she hoped all the childer were in the best o' good health. Aw, like the
Queen o' Connaught Hannah talked, an' smiled, an' aired herself an' her
beautiful English, but sorrow a move did she make to shift her elbow off
the wee table-cloth, an' divil a sign or smell o' tay was there to be
seen. Aw, not a one. Ten minutes went, an' twenty, an' half an hour; an'
at that, up Mary Dolan stretched her arms, gives a powerful big yawn,
an', says she, 'Och, dear Lord,' says she, 'dear Lord, but the throat's
dry in me! Och, och,' says she--an' with the hint up gets Hannah in her
frilled shroud, crosses the calf-skin, opens the door, an' calls for
Kitty. 'Yis, Mrs. Breen,' answers Kitty from the Kitchen. 'Serve tay,'
calls Hannah; then closes the door an' steps back to her chair by the
wee table.

"In about ten minutes, here comes me darlint Kitty, boots an' stockin's
an' all; carries the taypot on a plate over to the table, an' plants it
down slap in the middle o' the ace o' diamonds. Up jumps Hannah wi' a

"'What are you doin' Kitty?' says she, with a snap of her jaw, an' lifts
the taypot, an' glares at the black ring it had made on her brand new
cloth. 'D'ye see what you've done?' says she, pointin' her finger,
'stand back and mend your manners, ye ignorant little baggage, ye!'--

"'Yis, ma'am,' answers Kitty, an' stands back; then turns her head, when
she gets to the calf-skin, an' winks at the three sittin' by the wall;
an' out Mary Dolan bursts into a splutter of a laugh.

"'Aw, Lord,' says Mary, an' holds her ribs; 'aw, dear Lord,' says she.
But Hannah, standin' pourin' tay into the wee cups, just kept her face
as straight as if Mary was a dummy, an' in a minute she turns round to

"'Hand the cups to the ladies,' says she, an' sits her down.

"Well, childer dear, Kitty steps from the calf-skin, lifts two cups an'
saucers from the tray, carries them across the floor, an' offers one to
Jane Flaherty, wi' this hand, an' t'other to Sally Hogan wi' that hand.
An' Sally looks at the cup, an' then at Kitty; an' Jane looks at Kitty,
an' then at the cup, an' says Sally:

"'Is it take it from ye you'd have me do, Kitty Malone?' says she.

"'It is so,' answers Kitty wi' a grin.

"'An' where in glory wid ye have me put it, Kitty Malone?' asks Sally
an' looks here an' there. 'Sure--sure, there's no table next or near
me,' says she.

"'It's afternoon tay, Mrs. Hogan,' says Hannah across the floor; 'an' at
afternoon tay, tables aren't fashionable,' says she, an' grins to

"'Well, thank God, Hannah Breen,' says Mary Dolan, 'that afternoon tay,
as ye call it, has only come my way once in me life. Take the cup in
your fist, Sally Hogan,' says Mary, 'an' if ye break it, bad luck go
with it, an' if ye don't, you've been a lady for once in your life; an'
when you're done, stick it there on the floor. I'm obliged to ye, Kitty
Malone,' says Mary again, an' takes a cup; 'an' if so be I choke meself
wi' the full o' this thimble wi' a handle on it,' says Mary, an' squints
at the cup, 'you'll do me the favour to tell Pat I died a fool. An' if
such things go well wi' afternoon tay, Kitty, agra, I'd trouble ye for a
look at a spoon.' "... Aw, me bould Mary," cried Anne and laughed in her
glee. "Ye were the girl for Hannah, so ye were."

"Aw, 'deed ay," cried Judy, and tittered most boisterously. "Aw, me
brave Hannah."

"Then begins the fun, me dears. First of all, Sally Hogan, in trying to
lift a bit o' bread an' butter from a plate that Kitty held before her,
must spill her tay over her lap an' start screechin' that she was kilt.
Then Mary Dolan must finish her cup at a gulp, an' forgettin' it was in
Hannah's parlour she was at afternoon tay, an' not at home in the
kitchen, must give the dregs a swirl an' sling them over her shoulder
against the wall. Then Sally Hogan again, in tryin' to keep back a laugh
at the tay leaves on the wall, an' the glare of Hannah across at them,
must get a crumb in her throat an' bring the whole room to thump her on
the back.

"Then Jane Flaherty gets a second cup wi' no sugar in it, an' makes a
face like a monkey's, an' gives a big splutter, an' sets Kitty Malone
off into a fit o' laughin'; an' Kitty sets Jane off, an' Jane sets Mary
off, an' Mary sets Sally off; an' there sits Hannah in her calico
shroud, beside the ace of diamonds, wi' a face on her like a child
cuttin' its teeth, an' her arm out, an' her shoutin' for Kitty to take
herself out o' the room. An' in the middle o' the whole hubbub the door
opens, an' in tramps big John in his dirty boots, wi' his shirt-sleeves
turned up, an' hay ropes round his legs, an' his hat on the back o' his
head, an' his pipe in his mouth--in steps John, an' stands lookin' at
them all.

"'Ho, ho,' roars John, an' marches across the calf-skin. 'What have we
here? A tay party,' says he, 'as I'm a livin' sinner--an' me not to know
a thing about it! Well, better late nor niver,' says he, then turns an'
looks at Hannah. 'Aw, how d'ye do, Mrs. Breen? says he, wi' a laugh. 'I
hope I see ye well in your regimentals. An' how the blazes are the rest
o' ye, me girls?' says he to the three along the wall. 'I'm glad to see
ye all so hearty an' merry, so I am. But what in glory are ye all doin'
over there, away from the table? Why don't ye sit an' have your tay like
Christians?' says he. 'Come over, girls--come over this mortial minute,'
says John,'an' I'll have a cup wi' ye meself, so I will.'

"Then Hannah rises in her calico shroud.

"'John,' says she, 'it's afternoon tay it'll be, an tables--'

"'Aw, sit ye down, Hannah,' shouts John, 'sit ye down, woman, an' be
like another for once in a way.'

"'John,' says Hannah, again, an' looks knives an' forks at him, 'where's
your manners the day?'

"'Aw, manners be danged,' roars John, an' throws his hat into the
corner; 'give us a cup o' tay an' quit your nonsense. Come on, girls,'
says he to the women, 'come over, an' have a cup in comfort wi' me here
at the table.'

"'John!' says Hannah again, 'ye can't sit at this table; it's--it's too
small,' says she.

"'Then pull it out from the wall,' roars John, 'pull it out and let us
get round it. Come on,' says he, an' grips an end o' the table, 'give it
a lift across the floor!'

"'No, no, John,' shouts Hannah, an' grips t'other end to keep it from
goin'; 'ye mustn't, John!'

"'Out wi' it,' roars John again.

"'No, no,' shouts Hannah, 'ye can't--aw, ye can't--aw, ye mustn'--no,
no, John!'

"'Aw, to glory wi' you an' it,' shouts John. 'Here let me at it

"An' the next minute Hannah was screechin' in her shroud; an' there was
a clatter o' crockery, like as if a bull had gone slap at a dresser; an'
John was standin' like as if he was shot, in the middle of the floor;
an' lyin' at his feet was the wee table, an' the ace of diamonds, an'
the whole o' Hannah's cups an' saucers, an' the taypot, an' all, in a
thousand pieces.... Aw, heart alive ... heart alive!..."

Anne leant upon her rake and bowed her head in laughter. Two minutes
grace she had; then said I:

"What had happened, Anne?"

She looked at me. "Happened? Sure, the table was only an ould
dressin'-table, an' had only three legs, an' was propped wi' the lame
side against the wall; an' when John put it down in the middle of the
floor--Aw, now," cried Anne, "that's enough, that's enough.... Aw, me
sides--me sides."

"Aw, me sides--me sides," cried Judy, shaking below her big sun-bonnet.

"Aw, women alive," cried I, sinking back on the hay. "Haw, haw!"

The Interpreters.

_From "The Adventures of Dr. Whitty."_


At the end of January, after three weeks of violently stormy weather,
the American barque, "Kentucky," went ashore at Carrigwee, the headland
which guards the northern end of Ballintra. She struck first on some
rocks a mile from the shore, drifted over them and among them, and was
washed up, frightfully shattered, on the mainland. The captain and the
crew were saved, and made their way into the town of Ballintra. They
were dispatched thence to Liverpool, all of them, except one sailor, a
forecastle hand, whose right leg had been broken by a falling spar. This
man was brought into Ballintra in a cart by Michael Geraghty, and taken
to the workhouse hospital. He arrived in a state of complete collapse,
and Dr. Whitty was sent for at once.

The sailor turned out to be a man of great strength and vigour. He
recovered from the effects of the long exposure rapidly, had his leg
set, and was made as comfortable as the combined efforts of the whole
workhouse hospital staff could make him. Then it was noticed that he did
not speak a word to anyone, and was apparently unable to understand a
word that was said to him. The master of the workhouse, after a
consultation with the matron and the nurse, came to the conclusion that
he must be a foreigner. Dr. Whitty was sent for again and the fact
reported to him.

"I was thinking," said the master, "that you might be able to speak to
him, doctor, so as he'd be able to understand what you said."

"Well, I can't," said the doctor. "I'm not a professional interpreter,
but I don't see that it much matters whether you're able to talk to him
or not. Give him his food. He'll understand the meaning of a cup of tea
when it's offered him, whatever language he's accustomed to speak.
That's all you need care about. As a matter of fact, he'll be just as
well off without having you and the nurse and the matron sitting on the
end of his bed and gossiping with him all day long."

"What's troubling me," said the master, "is that I've no way of finding
out what religion he is."

"I don't see," said the doctor, "that his religion matters in the least
to us. He's not going to die."

"I know that. But I have to enter his religion in the book. It's the
rule that the religion of every inmate of the house or the hospital must
be entered, and I'll get into trouble after if I don't do it."

"Well," said the doctor, "there's no use asking me about it. I can't
talk to him any better than you can, and there isn't any way of telling
by the feel of a man's leg whether he's a Catholic or a Protestant."

"That may be," said the master, who disliked this sort of flippant
materialism, "but if I was to enter him down as a Catholic, and it
turned out after that he was a Protestant, there'd be a row I'd never
hear the end of; and if I was to have him down as a Protestant, and him
being a Catholic all the time, there'd be a worse row."

Dr. Whitty was a good-natured man, and was always ready to help anyone
who was in a difficulty. He felt for the master of the workhouse. He
also had a natural taste for solving difficult problems, and the
question of the sailor's religion attracted him.

"Tell me this, now," he said. "Had he any kind of a Prayer Book or a
religious emblem of any sort on him when you were taking the clothes off

"Not one. I looked myself, and the nurse went through his pockets after.
Barring a lump of ship's tobacco and an old knife, there wasn't a thing
on him."

"That's not much use to us," said the doctor. "I never heard of a
religion yet that forbid the use of tobacco or objected to people
carrying penknifes. If you'd found a bottle of whiskey on him, now, it
might have helped us. We'd have known then that he wasn't a Mohammedan."

"What'll I do at all?"

"I'll tell you what it is," said the doctor. "I'll go round the town and
I'll collect all the people in it that can speak any language besides
English. I'll bring them up here and let them try him one by one. It'll
be a queer thing if we can't find somebody that will be able to make him
understand a simple question."

Dr. Whitty called first at the Imperial Hotel, and had an interview with
Lizzie Glynn.

"Lizzie," he said, "you've had a good education at one of the most
expensive convents in Ireland. Isn't that a fact?"

"It is," she said. "And I took a prize one time for playing the piano."

"It's not piano-playing that I expect from you now," said the doctor,
"but languages. You speak French, of course?"

"I learned it," said Lizzie, "but I wouldn't say I could talk it very

"Never mind how slow you go," said the doctor, "so long as you get it
out in the end. Are you good at German?"

"I didn't learn German."


"There was one of the sisters that knew Italian," said Lizzie, "but it
wasn't taught regular."

"Russian? Spanish? Dutch?"

Lizzie shook her head.

"That's a pity. Never mind. I'll put you down for French, anyway. I'll
take you up with me to the workhouse hospital at six o'clock this
evening. I want you to speak French to a man that's there, one of the
sailors out of the ship that was wrecked."

"I mightn't be fit," said Lizzie, doubtfully.

"Oh, yes, you will. Just look up the French for religion before you
start, and get off the names of the principal kinds of religion in that
language. All you have to do is to ask the man, 'What is your religion?'
and then understand whatever it is he says to you by the way of an

Dr. Whitty next called on Mr. Jackson and explained the situation to
him. The rector, rather unwillingly, offered French, and seemed relieved
when he was told that that language was already provided for.

"I thought," said the doctor, "that you'd be sure to know Greek."

"I do," said the Rector, "but not modern Greek."

"Is there much difference?"

"I don't know. I fancy there is."

"Well, look here, come up and try the poor fellow with ancient Greek. I
expect he'll understand it if you talk slowly. All we want to get out
of him is whether he's a Protestant or a Catholic."

"If he's a Greek at all," said the rector, "he'll probably not be either
the one or the other."

"He's got to be one or the other while he's here. He can choose
whichever happens to be the nearest thing to his own religion, whatever
that is. Does Mrs. Jackson know Italian or Spanish?"

"No. I rather think she learned German at school, but I expect----"

"Capital. I'll put her down for German."

"I'm sure she's forgotten it now."

"Never mind. She can brush it up. There's not much wanted and she has
till six o'clock this evening. I shall count on you both. Good-bye."

"By the way, doctor," said Mr. Jackson on the doorstep, "now I come to
think of it, I don't believe there's a word in ancient Greek for

"There must be. It's one of the most important and useful words in any
language. How could the ancient Greeks possibly have got on without it?"

"There _isn't_. I'm perfectly sure there isn't."

"That's awkward. But never mind, you'll be able to get round it with
some kind of paraphrase. After all, we can't leave the poor fellow
without the consolations of religion in some form. Good-bye."

"And--and--Catholic in ancient Greek will mean something quite
different, not in the least what it means now."

The doctor was gone. Mr. Jackson went back to his study and spent two
hours wrestling with the contents of a lexicon. He arrived at the
workhouse in the evening with a number of cryptic notes, the words
lavishly accented, written down on small slips of paper.

Father Henaghan was the next person whom Dr. Whitty visited. At first he
absolutely declined to help.

"The only language I could make any shift at speaking," he said "is
Latin. And that would be no use to you. There isn't one sailor out of
every thousand, outside of the officers of the Royal Navy, that would
know six words of Latin."

"They tell me," said the doctor, "that there's no great difference
between Latin and Spanish or Italian. Anyone that knows the one will
make a pretty good push at understanding the others."

"Whoever told you that told you a lie," said the priest; "and, anyway,
I'm not going near that man until I'm sure he's a Catholic."

"Don't be hard-hearted, Father. Think of the poor fellow lying there and
not being able to tell any of us what religion he belongs to."

"I'll tell you why I won't go," said the priest. "There was one time
when I was a curate in Dublin, I used to be attending one of the
hospitals. People would be brought in suffering from accidents and
dying, and you wouldn't know what they were, Catholic and Protestant. I
got into the way of anointing them all while they were unconcious,
feeling it could do them no harm, even if they were Protestants. Well,
one day I anointed a poor fellow that they told me was dying. What did
he do but recover. It turned out then that he was a Protestant, and,
what's more, an Orangeman, and when he heard what was done he gave me
all sorts of abuse. He said his mother wouldn't rest easy in her grave
when she heard of it, and more talk of the same kind."

"This is quite a different sort of case," said the doctor. "This man's
not dying or the least likely to die."

"I'll not go near him," said the priest.

"I'm sorry to hear you say that, Father. The Rev. Mr. Jackson is coming
up, and he's prepared to ask the man what religion he is in ancient
Greek--ancient Greek, mind you, no less. It wouldn't be a nice thing to
have it said about the town that the Protestant minister could talk
ancient Greek and that you weren't fit to say a few words in Latin.
Come, now, Father Henaghan, for the credit of the Church say you'll do

This last argument weighed greatly with the priest. Dr. Whitty saw his
advantage and pressed the matter home.

"I'll put you down," he said, "for Spanish and Italian."

"You may put me down if you like, but I tell you he won't know a word I
speak to him."

"Try him," said the doctor.

"I'll not be making a public fool of myself to please you," said the
priest. "If I do it at all I'll have no one with me in the room at the
time, mind that now."

"Not a soul. You shall have him all to yourself. To tell you the truth,
I expect everybody will feel the same as you do about that. The Rev. Mr.
Jackson didn't seem very keen on showing off his ancient Greek."

Colonel Beresford, when Dr. Whitty called on him, confessed to a slight,
a very slight, acquaintance with the Russian language.

"I took it up," he said, "a long time ago when I was stationed in
Edinburgh. There was a Russian scare on at the time and everybody
thought there was going to be a war. I happened to hear that there were
a couple of Russian medical students in the University, and I thought if
I picked up a little of the language I might fall in for a staff
appointment. I've nearly forgotten it all now, and I didn't make any
special study of religious terms at the time, but I'll do the best I can
for you. You've got all the other languages you say."

"I think so. I have"--the doctor took a list from his pocket--"French,
Miss Lizzie Glynn. She was educated at a first-rate convent, and speaks
French fluently. Greek (ancient and modern), the Rev. Mr. Jackson.
German and allied tongues, Mrs. Jackson. Italian, Spanish and
Portuguese, Father Henaghan. That, with your Russian, makes a tolerably
complete list."

"I'd no idea," said the colonel, "that we were such a polyglot in
Ballintra. By the way, you haven't got Norwegian."

"No," said the doctor, "I haven't and when you come to think of it, a
sailor is more likely to be that, or a Swede, than any thing else. Can
you speak it?"

"Not a word."

"Do you happen to have a dictionary, Norwegian or Swedish, in the


"That's a pity. I'd have tried to work it up a little myself if you

"All I have," said the Colonel, "is a volume of Ibsen's plays."

"Give me that," said the Doctor, "and I'll do my best."

"It's only a translation."

"Never mind. I'll pick up something out of it that may be useful. I have
two hours before me. Do you mind lending it to me?"

Dr. Whitty went home with a copy of a translation of "Rosmersholm,"
"Ghosts," and "An Enemy of Society."

At six o'clock the whole party of linguists assembled in the private
sitting-room of the master of the workhouse. Dr. Whitty gave them a
short address of an encouraging kind, pointing out that, in performing
an act of charity they were making the best possible use of the
education they had received. He then politely asked Mrs. Jackson if she
would like to visit the foreigner first. She did not seem anxious to
push herself forward. Her German, she confessed, was weak; and she hoped
that if she was reserved until the last he might possibly recognise one
of the other languages before her turn came. Everybody else, it turned
out, felt very much as Mrs. Jackson did. In the end Dr. Whitty decided
the order of precedence by drawing lots. The colonel, accepting loyally
the decision of destiny, went first and returned with the news that the
sailor showed no signs of being able to understand Russian. Lizzie Glynn
went next, and was no more fortunate with her French.

"I'm not sure," she said, "did I speak it right. But, right or wrong, he
didn't know a word I said to him."

Mr. Jackson arranged his notes carefully and was conducted by the doctor
to the ward. He, too, returned without having made himself intelligible.

"I knew I should be no use," he said. "I expect modern Greek is quite
different from the language I know."

Father Henaghan's Latin was a complete failure. He seemed irritated and
reported very unfavourably of the intelligence of the patient.

"It's my belief," he said, "that the man's mind's gone. He must have got
a crack on the head somehow, as well as breaking his leg, and had the
sense knocked out of him. He looks to me like a man who'd understand
well enough when you talked to him if he had his right mind."

This view of the sailor's condition made Mrs. Jackson nervous. She said
she had no experience of lunatics, and disliked being brought into
contact with them. She wanted to back out of her promise to ask the
necessary question in German. In the end she consented to go, but only
if her husband was allowed to accompany her. She was back again in five
minutes, and said definitely that the man knew no German whatever.

"Now," said the colonel, "it's your turn, doctor. Go at him with your

"The fact is," said the doctor, "that, owing to the three plays you lent
me being merely translations, I've only been able to get a hold of one
Norwegian word. However, as it happens, it is an extremely useful word
in this particular case. The Norwegian for a clergyman," he said,
triumphantly, "is 'Pastor.' What's more, I've got a hold of the name of
one of their clergy. If this man is a Norwegian, and has been in the
habit of going to the theatre, I expect he'll know all about Pastor

"It's clever of you to have fished that out of the book I lent you,"
said the colonel. "But I don't quite see how it will help you to find
out whether our friend with the broken leg is a Protestant or a Roman

"It will help if it's worked properly, if it's worked the way I mean to
work it, that is to say, if the man is a Norwegian, and I don't see what
else he can be."

"He might be a Turk," said Father Henaghan.

"No he couldn't. I tried him with half a glass of whiskey this morn, and
he simply lapped it up. If he had been a Turk the smell of it would have
turned him sick. We may fairly assume that he is, as I say, a Norwegian,
and if he is I'll get at him. I shall want you, Father Henaghan, and
you, Mr. Jackson, to come with me."

"I've been twice already," said Mr. Jackson. "Do you really think it
necessary for me----"

"I shan't ask you to speak another word of ancient Greek," said the
doctor. "You needn't do anything except stand where I put you and look

He took the priest and the rector, seizing each by the arm, and swept
them with him along the corridor to the ward in which the injured sailor
lay. He set them one on each side of the bed, and stood at the foot of
it himself. The sailor stared first at the priest and next at the
rector. Then he looked the doctor straight in the face and his left
eyelid twitched slightly. Dr. Whitty felt almost certain that he winked;
but there was clearly no reason why he should wink with any malicious
intent, so he put the motion down to some nervous affection.

"Pastor," said the doctor, in a loud, clear tone, pointing to Father

The sailor looked vacantly at the priest.

"Pastor," said the doctor again, indicating Mr. Jackson, with his

The sailor turned his face and looked at Mr. Jackson, but there was no
sign of intelligence on his face.

"Take your choice," said the doctor; "you can have either one or the
other. We don't want to influence you in the slightest, but you've got
to profess a religion of some sort while you're here, and these
clergymen represent the only two kinds we have. One or other of them you
must choose, otherwise the unfortunate master of this workhouse will get
into trouble for not registering you. Hang it all! I don't believe the
fool knows a single word I'm saying to him."

Again, the man's eyelid, this time his right, eyelid, twitched.

"Don't do that," said the doctor; "it distracts your attention from what
I'm saying. Listen to me now. Pastor Manders!" He pointed to the priest.
"Pastor Manders!" He indicated the rector.

Neither Father Henaghan nor Mr. Jackson had ever read "Ghosts," which
was fortunate. If they had they might have resented the name which the
doctor imposed on them. Apparently, the sailor did not know the play
either. "Manders" seemed to mean no more to him than "Pastor" did.

"There's no use our standing here all evening," said Father Henaghan.
"You told me to look pleasant, and I have--I haven't looked so pleasant
for a long time--but I don't see that any good is likely to come of it."

"Come on," said the doctor. "I've done my best, and I can do no more.
I'm inclined to think now that the man must be either a Laplander or an
Esquimaux. He'd have understood me if he'd been a Dane, a Swede, a
Norwegian, or even a Finn."

"I told you, as soon as ever I set eyes on him," said the priest, "that
he was out of his mind. My own belief is, doctor, that if you give him
some sort of a soothing draught, and get him back into his right senses,
he'll turn out to be an Irishman. It's what he looks like."

Michael Geraghty, who had carted the injured sailor from the shipwreck,
called on Dr. Whitty next day at breakfast-time.

"I hear," he said, "that you had half the town up yesterday trying could
they get a word out of that fellow that's in the hospital with the
broken leg."

"I had. We spoke to him in every language in Europe, and I'm bothered if
I know what country he belongs to at all. There wasn't one of us he'd

"Did you think of trying him with the Irish?"

"I did not. Where would be the good? If he could speak Irish he'd be
sure to be able to speak English."

"Would you have any objection to my saying a few words to him, doctor?"

"Not the least in the world. If you've nothing particular to do, go up
there and tell the master I sent you."

An hour later Michael Geraghty re-appeared at the doctor's door. He was
grinning broadly and seemed pleased with himself.

"Well, Michael, did you make him speak?"

"I didn't like to say a word to you, doctor, till I made sure for fear
of what I might be bringing some kind of trouble on the wrong man; but
as soon as ever I seen that fellow put into my cart beyond at Carrigwee,
I said to myself: 'You're mighty like poor Affy Hynes that's gone, only
a bit older. I took another look at him as we were coming along the
road, and, says I, 'If Affy Hynes is alive this minute you're him.
You'll recollect, doctor, that the poor fellow couldn't speak at the
time, by reason of the cold that was on him and the broken leg and all
the hardships he'd been through. Well, looking at him off and on, till I
got to the workhouse I came to be pretty near certain that it was either
Affy Hynes or a twin brother of his; and Mrs. Hynes, the mother, that's
dead this ten years, never had but the one son."

"And who was Affy Hynes?"

"It was before your time, of course, and before Father Henaghan was
parish priest; but the colonel would know who I mean." Michael sank his
voice to an impressive whisper. "Affy Hynes was the boy that the police
was out after in the bad times, wanting to have him hanged on account of
the way that the bailiff was shot. But he made off, and none of us ever
knew where he went to, though they did say that it might be to an uncle
of his that was in America."

"Did he murder the bailiff?"

"He did not; nor I don't believe he knew who did, though he might."

"Then what did he run away for?"

"For fear they'd hang him," said Michael Geraghty. "Amn't I just after
telling you?"

"Go on," said the doctor.

"Well, when Affy came to himself after all the hardship he had it wasn't
long before he found out the place he was in. 'It's Ballintra,' says he
to himself, 'or it's mighty like it.' There did be a great dread on him
then that the police would be out after him again, and have him took;
and, says he, into himself like, so as no one would hear him, 'I'll let
on I can't understand a word they say to me, so as they won't know my
voice, anyway.' And so he did; but he went very near laughing one time
when you had the priest and the minister, one on each side of him, and
'Pastor,' says you----"

"Never mind that part," said the doctor.

"If it's displeasing to you to hear about it, I'll not say another word.
Only, I'd be thankful if you'd tell me why you called the both of them
Manders. It's what Affy was saying to me this minute: 'Michael,' says
he, 'is Manders the name that's on the priest that's in the parish
presently?' 'It is not,' says I, 'but Henaghan.' 'That's queer,' said
he. 'Is it Manders they call the minister?' 'It is not,' I says; 'it's
Jackson. There never was one in the place of the name of Manders, priest
or minister.' 'That's queer,' says he 'for the doctor called both the
two of them Manders.'"

"So he understood every word we said to him all the time?" said the

"Not the whole of it, nor near the whole," said Michael Geraghty. "He's
been about the world a deal, being a sailor and he said he could make
out what Miss Glynn was saying pretty well, and knew the minister's lady
was talking Dutch, though he couldn't tell what she was saying, for it
wasn't just the same Dutch as he'd been accustomed to hearing. The
colonel made a middling good offer at the Russian. Affy was a year one
time in them parts, and he knows; but he said he'd be damned if he could
make any kind of a guess at what either the priest or the minister was
at, and he told me to be sure and ask you what they were talking because
he'd like to know."

"I'll go up and see him myself," said the doctor.

"If you speak the Irish to him he'll answer you," said Michael.

"I will, if he likes," said the doctor. "But why won't he speak

"There's a sort of dread on him," said Michael Geraghty. "I think he'd
be more willing to trust you if you'd speak to him in the Irish, it
being all one to you. He bid me say to you, and it's a good job I didn't
forget it, that if so be he's dying, you might tell Father Henaghan he's
a Catholic, the way he'd attend on him; but if he's to live, he'd as
soon no one but yourself and me knew he was in the place."

Dr. Whitty went up to the workhouse, turned the nurse out of the ward,
and sat down beside Affy Hynes.

"Tell me this now," he said, "why didn't you let me know who you were? I
wouldn't have told on you."

"I was sorry after that I didn't," said Affy, "when I seen all the
trouble that I put you to. It was too much altogether fetching the
ladies and gentlemen up here to be speaking to the like of me. It's what
never happened to me before, and I'm sorry you were bothered."

"Why didn't you tell me then?"

"Sure, I did my best. Did you not see me winking at you once, when you
had the priest and the minister in with me, as much as to say: 'Doctor,
if I thought I could trust you I'd tell you the truth this minute.' I
made full sure you'd understand what it was I was meaning the second
time, even if you didn't at the first go-off."

"That's not what I gathered from your wink at all," said the doctor. "I
thought you'd got some kind of a nervous affection of the eye."

"It's a queer thing, now," said Affy, "that the two of them reverend
gentlemen should have the same name, and that Manders."

"We'll drop that subject," said the Doctor.

"We will, of course, if it's pleasing to you. But it is queer all the
same, and I'd be glad if I knew the reason of it, for it must be mighty
confusing for the people of this place, both Catholic and Protestant.
Tell me now, doctor, is there any fear that I might be took by the

"Not a bit. That affair of yours, whatever it was, is blown over long

"Are you certain of that?"

"I am."

"Then as soon as I'm fit I'll take a bit of a stroll out and look at the
old place. I'd like to see it again. Many's the time I've said to
myself, me being, may be, in some far-away country at the time, 'I'd
like to see Ballintra again, and the house where my mother lived, and
the bohireen that the asses does be going along into the bog when the
turf's brought home.' Is it there yet?"

"I expect it is," said the doctor.

"God is good," said Affy. "It's little ever I expected to set eyes on

A Test of Truth.

_From "Irish Neighbours."_


Jim Hanlon, the cobbler, was said by his neighbours to have had his own
share of trouble, and they often added, "And himself a very dacint man,
goodness may pity him!" His misfortunes began when poor Mary Anne, his
wife, died, leaving him forlorn with one rather sickly little girl, and
they seemed to culminate when one frosty morning a few years later he
broke his leg with a fall on his way to visit Minnie in hospital. The
neighbours, who were so much impressed by her father's good qualities
and bad luck, did not hold an equally favourable opinion about this
Minnie, inclining to consider her a "cross-tempered, spoilt little
shrimp of a thing." But Jim himself thought that the width of the world
contained nothing like her, which was more or less true. So when she
fell ill of a low fever, and the doctor said that the skilled nursing in
a Dublin hospital would be by far her best chance, it was only after a
sore struggle that Jim could make up his mind to let her go. And then
his visit to her at the first moment possible had brought about the
unwary walking and slip on a slide, which resulted so disastrously.

It was indeed a most deplorable accident. If it had happened somewhere
near Minnie's hospital, he said to himself, it might have been less
unlucky, but, alas, the whole city spread between them and the
institution whither he was brought. The sense of his helplessness
almost drove him frantic, as he lay in the long ward fretting over the
thought that he was tied by the leg, unable to come next or nigh her,
whatever might befall, or even to get a word of news about her. But on
this latter point his forebodings were not fulfilled, his neighbours
proved themselves to be friends in need. At the tidings of his mishap
they made their way in to see him from unhandy little Ballyhoy,
undeterred by what was often to them no very trivial expense and
inconvenience. Nor were they slow to discover that they could do him no
greater service than find out for him "what way herself was at all over
at the other place." Everybody helped him readily in this matter, more
especially three or four good-natured Ballyhoy matrons. On days when
they came into town to do their bits of marketing they would augment
their toils by long trudges on foot, or costly drives on tramcars, that
they might convey to Jim Hanlon the report for which he pined. They
considered neither their heavy baskets, nor the circumstance that they
were folk to whom time was time, and a penny a penny indeed.

Yet, sad to say, great as was Jim's relief and his gratitude, their very
zeal did in some degree diminish the value of their kindness. For their
evident desire to please and pacify him awakened in his mind doubts
about the means which they might adopt; and it must be admitted that his
mistrust was not altogether ungrounded. The tales which they carried to
him from "the other place" were not seldom intrinsically improbable, and
sounded all the more so to him because of his intimate acquaintance with
their subject. When Mrs. Jack Doyle averred that Minnie was devouring
all before her, and that the nurse said a strong man would scarce eat
as much as she did, Jim remembered Minnie's tomtit-like meals at home,
and found the statement hard to accept. It was still worse when they
gave him effusively affectionate messages, purporting to come from
Minnie, who had always been anything in the world but demonstrative and
sentimental. His heart sank as Mrs. Doran assured him that Minnie had
sent her love to her own darling treasure of a precious old daddy, for
he knew full well that no such greeting had ever emanated from Minnie,
and how could he tell, Jim reflected, but that they might be as apt to
deceive him about one thing as another? Perhaps there was little or no
truth in what they told him about the child being so much better, and
able to sit up, and so forth. Like enough one couldn't believe a word
they said. On this terribly baffling question he pondered continually
with a troubled mind.

Saturday mornings were always the most likely to bring him visitors, and
on a certain Saturday he rejoiced to hear that somebody was asking for
him. He was all the more pleased because the lateness of the hour had
made him despair of seeing any friends, and because this portly,
good-humoured Mrs. Connolly was just the person he had been wishing to
come. She explained that she would have paid him a visit sooner, had not
all her children been laid up with colds, and then, as he had hoped, she
went on to say that she was going over to see after little Minnie. "And
the Sister here's promised me," said Mrs. Connolly, "she'll let me in to
bring you word on me way back, even if I'm a trifle beyond the right
visitin' time itself."

Thereupon Jim produced a sixpence from under his pillow, where he had
kept it ready all the long morning. "If it wouldn't be throublin' you
too much, ma'am," he said, "I was wonderin' is there e'er a place you
would be passin' by where you could get some sort of a little doll wid
this for Minnie."

"Is it a doll?" said Mrs. Connolly. "Why to be sure I will, and welcome.
I know a shop in O'Connell Street where they've grand sixpenny dolls,
dressed real delightful. I'll get her a one of them as aisy as
anythin'." Mrs. Connolly knew that the price of the dolls she had in her
eye was actually sixpence-halfpenny, but she at once resolved to pay the
halfpenny herself and not let on.

"And you might maybe be gettin' her an orange wid this," Jim said,
handing her a penny.

"Well, now, it's the lucky child poor Minnie is," Mrs. Connolly
declared, "to have such a good daddy. Finely set up she will be wid a
doll and an orange. I'll bring her the best in Dublin, Jim, no fear."

"She might fancy the orange, anyway," Jim said, half to himself, with a
queer remorseful sort of look.

Mrs. Connolly having gone, he began to expect her back again with an
unreasonable promptitude which lengthened the afternoon prodigiously. He
had suffered innumerable apprehensions, and fidgetted himself into a
fever of anxiety before she could possibly have returned. At last,
however, when her broad, cheerful countenance did reappear to him,
looming through the misty March dusk, he felt that he would almost have
chosen a further delay. For he had staked so much upon this venture that
the crisis of learning, whether it had failed or succeeded could not but
be rather terrible.

There was nothing apparently alarming in Mrs. Connolly's report. She
had found Minnie doing finely. Her nurse said she would be out of bed
next week, and was very apt to get her health better than before she
took bad. The orange had pleased her highly, and she had bid Mrs.
Connolly tell her daddy that he might be sending her another one next
Saturday if he liked. All this was good as far as it went, but about the
doll, Mrs. Connolly kept silence, and it struck Jim that she shrank away
from anything which seemed leading towards a reference to the subject.
Jim, who at first had half dreaded and half longed every moment to hear
her speak of it, began to think that she might go away without
mentioning it, which would not do at all. In the end he had to introduce
it himself.

"And how about the bit of a doll, ma'am?" he inquired as unconcernedly
as he could. "Was you able to get her e'er a one?"

Unmistakably Mrs. Connolly was much disconcerted by the question. Her
face fell, and she hesitated for a while before she replied, with
evident reluctance--

"Sure, now, man alive, you never can tell what quare notions childer'll
take up wid when they're sick, and more especially when they do be about
gettin' well agin, the way Minnie is now. Quiet enough the crathurs do
be as long as they're rale bad. But, tellin' you the truth, Jim, not a
bit of her would look at the doll. Some fantigue she had agin it,
whatever ailed her, an' it a great beauty, wid a pink sash on it and all
manner. Slingin' it into the middle of the floor she was, only the nurse
caught a hould of it, an' biddin' me to take it away out of that. So
says I to her, 'What at all should I do wid the lovely doll, after your
poor daddy sendin' it to yourself?' And, says she to me, 'Give the ugly
big lump of a thing to the ould divil,' says she, 'an' let him give it
to the little young black-leggy divils to play wid if they like.' I
declare to you, Jim, thim was the very words of her, sittin' up in her
bed, not lookin' the size of anythin'. 'Deed, now, she's the comical
child. But sure who'd be mindin' her? And the nurse says she'll keep the
doll till to-morrow, an' if Minnie doesn't fancy it then, she'll give it
to the little girl in the next cot that does be frettin' after her
mother, so it won't go to loss. An' besides--"

She stopped short in surprise, for Jim, who had been laughing silently
to himself, now broke out in tones of positive rapture--

"'The little young black-leggy divils'--that's Minnie herself, and no
mistake this time, glory be to God! Sorra the fantigue it was, but just
the nathur of her, for the thoughts of a doll she never could abide all
the days of her life. She'd as lief be playin' wid a snake or a toad. So
if you'd let on to me that she liked it, ma'am, well I'd know 'twas only
romancin' to me you were. But the truth you tould me, right enough, and
thank you kindly. The little villin'll be runnin' about before I am,
plaze goodness. Och, bedad, I can see her slingin' it neck an' crop out
of the bed."

As Jim fell to laughing again, Mrs. Connolly looked at him puzzled, and
with some disapproval, though she would not express the latter sentiment
to him in his invalided condition. But she soon afterwards took leave,
and on her homeward way she said to herself, "Musha, good gracious,
mightn't one suppose Jim Hanlon 'ud have more since than to go sind the
poor imp of a child a prisint only for the sake of annoyin' her? 'Twas
the quare, foolish way to be spendin' a sixpence, in my opinion. But
sure, 'twas be way of a joke, an' the poor man hasn't much chance of
e'er a one lyin' there. It's wonderful the store men set by nonsense.
Sometimes you'd think they were all born fools, they do be that aisy
amused. You'll hear thim guffawin' like a jackass bewitched over silly
ould blathers that an infant child 'ud have more wit than to be

Certainly, Jim was so well satisfied with his joke, if joke it were,
that when he grew drowsy towards evening, his last thoughts made him
chuckle contentedly. "The little black-leggy divils," he said to
himself. "Glory be to God! she's finely." And he fell asleep with a glad
and grateful heart.

The Wise Woman.

_From "A Boy in the Country."_


That she knew far more than all the doctors put together was commonly
considered, in the territory of her operations, as truth beyond
question. Sometimes a man body, with a pain for which he could not
account, fearing the inquisition and expense of the qualified
practitioner, would make believe to doubt the potency of her medicines,
the reality of her cures. But even the discernment of a boy was
sufficient to detect the insincerity of his contemptuous talk about
"auld wife's doctorin'," and to find lurking behind his brave words the
strong desire to consult the wise woman. With much show of impatience,
and pretence of anger, at the over-persuasion of his womankind, he would
give a seemingly reluctant consent to see Mrs. Moloney, "if she should
happen to look in." He knew as well as that he lived that her coming
would be by invitation.

Such a one, receiving in the field the message that "Mrs. Moloney's in,"
would probably say, "Hoots, nonsense," and add that he had his work to
look after. But, very soon, he would find that he needed a spade or a
hook, a pot of paint, or a bit of rope, from home, and he must needs go
home for it himself. He believed in a man's doing a thing for himself if
he wanted it well done; as like as not a messenger would spend half a
day in looking for what he wanted, and bring the wrong thing in the end.
At home he would make a fine show of searching out-houses and lofts,
passing and repassing, with some noise, the kitchen windows, finally
looking in to see if the thing is in the kitchen; and there, of course,
quite accidentally, he would see Mrs. Moloney and would not be rude
enough to leave without passing the time o' day. Then the womankind took
hold of the case, drew out the man's story of distress, took notes of
the remedy, and saw to it that the medicine was taken according to

"The innards o' man is tough, and need to be dealt with accordin'," said
Mrs. Moloney, and for man she prescribed a dose which gave him some pain
and, usually, cured him. It may be that Nature, provoked by the irritant
remedy, got rid of it, and the ailment at once; or it may be that the
man body, after the racket in "his innards," found his ailment, by
comparison, easy to live with, and imagined himself cured. In either
case, the result was counted as cure to the credit of Mrs. Moloney.

By profession a seller of needles, pins, buttons, and such small wares,
she owed her livelihood, in reality, to payment for her medical skill.
Not that she took money for her prescription or advice--"Thanks be to
God," she said, "I never took wan penny for curin' man, woman, or
child"; but then, no one ever asked her advice without buying something,
and if her charges were just a little more than shop prices, she was
entitled to something extra for bringing the shop to the customer. Then
she got her meals from grateful and believing patients, and her basket
had an uncommercial end, covered with a fair, white cloth, into which
the good wife, with some show of doing good by stealth, introduced the
useful wreck of a boiled fowl, or a ham-bone with broth possibilities.

She did not meddle with diseases of children, except in cases of
measles, for which she prescribed whisky and sulphur, and a diet of
sweet milk warm from the cow. Decline, she considered to be due to "a
sappin' o' the constitution," and she shared the old-time belief in the
noxious effect of night air on consumptives, and would have them warm in
curtained four-posters, in rooms into which little light and no fresh
air could enter. Beyond a recommendation of port wine, she had no
message for healing for these poor sufferers. Her strength lay in the
treatment of adults' ailments which do not necessarily kill. Her list of
diseases was a short one. For the numerous forms of hepatic trouble
known to the professional, she had one comprehensive title--

  Liver Complent,

and for it one remedy, varied only in magnitude of dose. She recognised
also as a common ailment--

  Stomach Complent,

differentiating under this heading, Andygestion, Waterbrash, and
Shuperfluity o' phlegm on the stomach. She knew, too--

  Bowel Complent,
 Gineral Wakeness,
  Harry Siplars.[1]

The foundation of her great reputation was, indeed, largely built on her
celebrated cure of this last, in the case of Peggy Mulligan. She shall
tell of it herself:--

"She come to me, an' she ses, 'Mary,' ses she, 'can ye cure me, for I'm
heart-sick o' them doctors at the dispinsary, an' they're not doin' me
wan pick o' good.' Ses I to her, ses I, 'What did they give ye?' ses I.
'O the dear knows,' ses she. 'I haven't tuk anythin' they said, for I
didn't believe they would do me no good.' An' I had pity on the cratur,
for her face was the size o' a muckle pot, an' lek nothin' under the
sun. Ses I to her, ses I, 'I can cure you, my good woman, but ye'll hev
to do what you're tould,' ses I, 'an' I'll make no saycret about it,'
ses I--'it's cow-dung and flour mixed, an' ye'll put it on your face,
an' lave it there for a fortnight,' ses I, 'an' when ye'll wash it off,
ye'll have no Harry Siplars.' An' nether she had."

She had a fine professional manner, and she knew how to set at ease the
anxious patient. The concerned man body, wishful to appear unconcerned,
she took at his own valuation; appearing more interested in a bit of
chat or gossip of the country than in particulars of pains and aches.
And while she talked with him of crops and kine, and the good and
ill-doings of men's sons, the wife would urge John to tell Mrs. Moloney
about that bit of pain of his and how he could not sleep for it o'
nights. Then the wise woman would mention something which the good wife
"might" get for the good man--it would cure him in no time, but--turning
to the man,--"'deed, an' there's not much the matter with ye. It's
yerself that's gettin' younger lookin' every year--shows the good care
the mistress takes o' ye." And the gratified creature would retire,
proud to think that he had acted so well the part of the unconcerned,
and filled with respect for Mrs. Moloney as a woman of "great sinse and

Of new-fangled diseases she had a perfect horror, speaking of them more
in anger than in sorrow, as of things which never should have been
introduced. Even the New Ralgy she declined to entertain, dismissing the
mention of it, contemptuously, in the formula, "New Ralgy or Ould Ralgy,
I'll have nothing to do with it." To it, however, as Tic Doloro,[2] she
gave a qualified recognition, allowing its right to existence, but
condemning it as outlandish, and a gentry's ailment, which the gentry
should keep to themselves. And while she did not refuse to treat it
(with "Lodelum" in "sperrits," hot milk, and a black stocking tied round
the jaws), the patient was made to feel a certain degree of culpability
in touching a thing with which she should not have meddled, and that
Mrs. Moloney had reason for feeling displeased.

Very different was her attitude to one suffering from Gineral Wakeness.
This was her pet diagnosis, and one much craved by overworked and ailing
farmers' wives, for it meant for them justification of rest, and
indulgence in food and drink which they would have been afraid or
ashamed to ask or take, unfortified by an authoritative command. No man
ever suffered from Gineral Wakeness--it was a woman's trouble, and never
failed to draw from Mrs. Moloney a flood of understanding sympathy,
which was to the despairing one like cool water on the hot and thirsty
ground, making hope and health revive ere yet medicament had been
prescribed. Seated before the patient, she would sway slowly back and
forward, gently patting the while the afflicted's hand, and listening,
with rapt attention, to the longest and dreariest tale of woe.

The Patient.--O, but it's the weary woman I am, waitin' and hopin' that
you would come roun'. 'Deed, and if it hadn't been for the hope o'
seein' ye I would have give up altogether.

Mrs. M.--Puir dear; tell me all aboot it.

The Patient.--It's a cough and a wakeness and a drappin'-down feelin',
as if my legs were goin' from under me; and I could no more lift that
girdle o' bread there than I could fly--not if ye were to pay me a
thousand pound.

Mrs. M.--I know, dear; if it were writ out I cudn't see it plainer.

The Patient.--And when I get up in the mornin', I declare to ye, I have
to sit on the edge o' the bed for five minutes before puttin' fut to
groun', and if I didn't take a sup of cold water I couldn't put on my

Mrs. M.--That's it, dear; that's just the way it goes.

The Patient.--And as for breakfast, I declare to ye, ye couldn't see
what I ate.

Mrs. M.--That's a sure sign, a sure sign.

The Patient.--And all through the day it's just the same thing. I'm just
in a state of collops the whole time. Niver a moment's aise the day
through, especially in the afternoon. It's just hingin' on I am; that's
what it raly is.

After an hour of alternating symptomatic description and sympathetic
response, interrupted only by the making and drinking of tea, the wise
woman is prepared to utter, and the patient to hear, the words of

"Now, dearie, listen to me, that's a good woman. It's Gineral Wakeness
that ails ye. I knew it the minute I set fut inside the dure. Ses I to
myself, ses I, 'There's Gineral Wakeness writ on the mistress's face;
it's prented on her face like a book,' ses I, 'before ever she says a
word to me.' Now listen, dearie, and do what I tell ye. Ye'll get a
bottle o' sherry wine, and ye'll take a bate-up egg in milk every day,
with a sup o' sherry in it, at eleven o'clock. And ye'll fill that pot
there with dandelion leaves and roots, and a handful o' mint on the top
o' it, and ye'll put as much water on it as'll cover it, and ye'll let
it sit at the side o' the fire all day until all the vartue is out o'
it. And ye'll take a tablespoonful o' it three times a day, immajintly
before your meals. And every day, whin it comes to three o'clock, ye'll
go to your bed and lie down for an hour, and when ye get up ye'll take a
cup o' tay. Do that now, an' ye'll not know yerself whin I come back."

As Mrs. Moloney's list of legitimate and proper country diseases was a
short one, so was her pharmacop[oe]ia a small book. Besides such common
remedies as Epsom salts, senna, ginger, and powdered rhubarb, it took
account of--

  Lodelum            which is Laudanum,
  Hickery pickery      "      Hiera picra,
  Gum Go Whackem       "      Gum guaiacum,
  Assy Fettidy         "      Asafoetida,

as chemist's stuff fit for her practice, and of various herbs
(pronounced yarbs), alterative or curative, such as dandelion, camomile,
peppermint, and apple-balm. As she said herself, she made no "saycret"
of many of her remedies, but she was wise enough to carry and dispense
certain agents; for, to the benefit of the wise woman, these free gifts
constituted a claim for the liberal purchase of small wares, and the use
of one of these gave a certain cachet to an ailment which, with a
prescription of hot milk and pepper, or of ginger tea, would have been
sufficiently commonplace. These secret remedies were kept in little
bottles, each of which had its own sewed compartment in a large linen
pocket hanging at the mistress's waist, between the gown and the
uppermost petticoat. A certain solemnity attached to their
production--three, four, or five being invariably drawn and set out on
the table, even when, as in most cases, the contents of one only was
needed. Mrs. Moloney would contemplate the range, attentively and
silently, for a few minutes; lifting one after another, wrinkling her
brows the while, and, finally, selecting and uncorking one, while she
requested "a clane bottle and a good cork." The selected drug was
generally a crystal; the bottle, by request, was half-filled with hot
water, in which, through vigorous shaking, the crystal rapidly
disappeared. Handing the bottle to the patient, the instruction would be
given to take a tablespoonful immediately after eating. Silly young
folks, who had no need of the good woman's services, were known to say
that Mrs. Moloney knew perfectly well what she was going to use, that
the consideration was simulated, and that the oft-used crystal was
common washing-soda and nothing else. But these flighty children took
care not to say such things in the hearing of their mothers, who had
been treated for Gineral Wakeness.

Doubtless the prescriptions of Mrs. Moloney lacked precision on the
quantitative side. A cure of rheumatism was threepence-worth of "Hickery
Pickery in a naggin o' the best sperrits." To be well shaken and taken
by the teaspoonful, alternative mornings, on a fasting stomach.
"Sixpence worth o' Gum Go Wackem," also made up in the "best sperrits,"
was a remedy supposed to acquire special potency from a prodigious
amount of shaking. "Show me how ye'll shake it," the medicine-woman
would say, and when the patient made a great show of half-a-minute's
shaking, she--it was oftenest she--would be surprised to hear that
_that_ was no shaking, and an exhibition of what was good and sufficient
shaking would be made by Mrs. Moloney. In the case of her sovran remedy
for sore eyes, to be used very sparingly--a pennorth o' Red
Perspitherate,[3] in a tablespoonful of fresh butter--the quantity for
an application was always indicated in special and dramatic fashion. She
asked, "And how much will ye be puttin' in your eye, now?--jist show
me." The patient, desiring to avoid a mean or niggardly use of the
remedy, would probably indicate on the finger a lump as large as an eye
of liberal measurements could be supposed to accommodate. Then the good
woman would lean back and sigh. A pin would be withdrawn from some part
of her clothing, and held between the thumb and finger so that only the
head appeared.

"Do ye see that pin-head?"

The afflicted nods in acquiescence.

"Do ye see that pin-head? Now take a good look at it."

Again the sore-eyed indicates accurate observation.

"Well, not a pick more nor that, if ye want to keep your eyesight."

Other quantitative directions were given in "fulls"--"the full o' yer
fist," "the full o' an egg-cup," even "the full o' yer mooth." Or, by
sizes of objects, as, "the size o' a pay," "the size o' a marble." Or by
coin areas, "what'll lie on a sixpence," or on a shilling, or on a
penny. Or by money values, as in the Hickery Pickery prescription.
Fists, peas, marbles vary considerably in size, and in the case of
money-values a change of chemist might mean a considerable variation in
quantity; but, with the possible exception of "Lodelum," prescribed in
drops, the quantities of the good woman's remedies bore variation to a
considerable extent without serious difference in result. That "the best
sperrits" were so frequently the medium for "exhibition" of her remedies
may account for the great popularity with adults which these remedies
enjoyed. These were the days when hospitality was not hospitality
without "sperrits" free from medicinal addition, and, late in the
afternoon, Mrs. Moloney was accustomed to accept graciously "the full o'
an egg-cup," qualified by the addition of sugar and hot water. Once,
while sipping her punch, she asked that a little should be given to me
as a treat, and when the pungent spirit, in the unaccustomed throat,
produced a cough, she promptly diagnosed "a wake chist."


  [1] Erysipelas.

  [2] Tic douloureux.

  [3] Red Precipitate--red oxide of mercury.

The Meet of the Beagles.

_From "Patsy."_


Directly Patsy had left the news that the "quality" were coming to the
meet and returned to the house the crowd in front of the Castle Knock
Inn thickened.

Word of the impending event went from cabin to cabin, and Mr. Mahony,
the chimney sweep, put his head out of his door.

"What's the news, Rafferty?" cried Mr. Mahony.

"Mimber of Parlymint and all the quality comin' to the meet!" cried a
ragged-looking ruffian who was running by.

"Sure, it'll be a big day for Shan Finucane," said Mrs. Mahony, who was
standing behind her husband in the doorway with a baby in her arms.

Mr. Mahony said nothing for a while, but watched the crowd in front of
the inn.

"Look at him," said Mr. Mahony, breaking out at last--"look at him in
his ould green coat! Look at him with the ould whip undher his arm, and
the boots on his feet not paid for, and him struttin' about as if he was
the Marqus of Waterford! Holy Mary! did yiz ever see such an objick! Mr.

"Halloo!" replied Mr. Mullins, the cobbler across the way, who, with his
window open owing to the mildness of the weather, was whaling away at a
shoe-sole, the only busy man in the village.

"Did y' hear the news?"

"What news?"

"Shan's going to get a new coat."

"Faith, thin, I hope he'll pay first for his ould shoes."

"How much does he owe you?"

"Siven and six--bad cess to him!"

"He'll pay you to-night, if he doesn't drink the money first, for
there's a Mimber of Parlymint goin' to the meet, and he'll most like put
a suverin in the poor box."

Mr. Mullins made no reply, but went on whaling away at his shoe, and Bob
Mahony, having stepped into his cottage for a light for his pipe, came
back and took up his post again at the door.

The crowd round the inn was growing bigger and bigger. Sneer as he
might, Mr. Mahony could not but perceive that Shan was having the centre
of the stage, a worshipping audience, and free drinks.

Suddenly he turned to his offspring, who were crowding behind him, and
singling out Billy, the eldest:

"Put the dunkey to," said Mr. Mahony.

"Sure, daddy," cried the boy in astonishment, "it's only the tarriers."

"Put the dunkey to!" thundered his father, "or it's the end of me belt
I'll be brightenin' your intellects with."

"There's two big bags of sut in the cart and the brushes," said Billy,
as he made off to do as he was bidden.

"Lave them in," said Mr. Mahony; "it's only the tarriers."

In a few minutes the donkey, whose harness was primitive and composed
mainly of rope, was put to, and the vehicle was at the door.

"Bob!" cried his wife as he took his seat.

"What is it?" asked Mr Mahony, taking the reins.

"Won't you be afther givin' your face the lick of a tow'l?"

"It's only the tarriers," replied Mr. Mahony; "sure, I'm clane enough
for them. Come up wid you, Norah."

Norah, the small donkey, whose ears had been cocking this way and that,
picked up her feet, and the vehicle, which was not much bigger than a
costermonger's barrow, started.

At this moment, also, Shan and the dogs and the crowd were getting into
motion, making down the road for Glen Druid gates.

"Hulloo! hulloo! hulloo!" cried Mr. Mahony, as he rattled up behind in
the cart, "where are yiz off to?"

"The meet of the baygles," replied twenty voices; whilst Shan, who had
heard his enemy's voice, stalked on, surrounded by his dogs, his old,
battered hunting horn in one hand, and his whip under his arm.

"And where are they going to meet?" asked Mr. Mahony.

"Glen Druid gate," replied the camp followers. "There's a Mimber of
Parlymint comin', and all the quality from the Big House."

"Faith," said Mr. Mahony, "I thought there was somethin' up, for, by the
look of Shan, as he passed me house this mornin', I thought he'd
swallowed the Lord Liftinant, Crown jew'ls and all. Hulloo! hulloo!
hulloo! make way for me carridge! Who are you crowdin'? Don't you know
the Earl of Leinsther when y' see him? Out of the way, or I'll call me
futman to disparse yiz."

Shan heard it all, but marched on. He could have killed Bob Mahony, who
was turning his triumph into a farce, out he contented himself with
letting fly with his whip amongst the dogs, and blowing a note on his

"What's that nize?" enquired Mr. Mahony, with a wink at the delighted
crowd tramping beside the donkey cart.

"Shan's blowin' his harn," yelled the rabble.

"Faith, I thought it was Widdy Finnegan's rooster he was carryin in the
tail pockit of his coat," said the humourist.

The crowd roared at this conceit, which was much more pungent and
pointed as delivered in words by Mr. Mahony; but Shan, to all
appearances, was deaf.

The road opposite the park gates was broad and shadowed by huge elm
trees, which gave the spot in summer the darkness and coolness of a
cave. Here Shan halted, the crowd halted, and the donkey-cart drew up.

Mr. Mahony tapped the dottle out of his pipe carefully on the rail of
his cart, filled the pipe, replaced the dottle on the top of the
tobacco, and drew a whiff.

The clock of Glen Druid House struck ten, and the notes came floating
over park and trees; not that anyone heard them, for the yelping of the
dogs and the noise of the crowd filled the quiet country road with the
hubbub of a fair.

"What's that you were axing me?" cried Mr. Mahony to a supposed
interrogator in the crowd. "Is the Prince o' Wales comin'? No, he ain't.
I had a tellygrum from him this mornin' sendin' his excuzes. Will some
gintleman poke that rat-terrier out that's got under the wheels of me
carridge--out, you baste!" He leaned over and hit a rabbit-beagle that
had strayed under the donkey-cart a tip with his stick. The dog, though
not hurt, for Bob Mahony was much too good a sportsman to hurt an
animal, gave a yelp.

Shan turned at the sound, and his rage exploded.

"Who are yiz hittin'? cried Shan.

"I'm larnin' your dogs manners," replied Bob.

The huntsman surveyed the sweep, the cart, the soot bags, and the

"I beg your pardin'," said he, touchin his hat, "I didn't see you at
first for the sut."

Mr. Mahony took his short pipe from his mouth, put it back upside down,
shoved his old hat further back on his head, rested his elbows on his
knees, and contemplated Shan.

"But it's glad I am," went on Shan, "you've come to the meet and brought
a mimber of the family with you."

Fate was against Bob Mahony, for at that moment Norah, scenting another
of her species in a field near by, curled her lip, stiffened her legs,
projected her head, rolled her eyes, and "let a bray out of her" that
almost drowned the howls of laughter from the exulting mob.

But Shan Finucane did not stir a muscle of his face, and Bob Mahony's
fixed sneer did not flicker or waver.

"Don't mention it, mum," said Shan, taking off his old cap when the last
awful, rasping, despairing note of the bray had died down into silence.

Another howl from the onlookers, which left Mr. Mahony unmoved.

"They get on well together," said he, addressing an imaginary
acquaintance in the crowd.

"Whist and hould your nize, and let's hear what else they have to say to
wan another."

Suddenly, and before Shan Finucane could open his lips, a boy who had
been looking over the rails into the park, yelled:

"Here's the Mimber of Parlyment--here they come--Hurroo!"

"Now, then," said the huntsman, dropping repartee and seizing the
sweep's donkey by the bridle, "sweep yourselves off, and don't be
disgracin' the hunt wid your sut bags and your dirty faces--away wid

"The hunt!" yelled Mahony, with a burst of terrible laughter. "Listen to
him and his ould rat-tarriers callin' thim a hunt! Lave go of the

"Away wid yiz!"

"Lave go of the dunkey, or I'll batter the head of you in wid me stick!
Lave go of the dunkey!"

Suddenly seizing the long flue brush beside him, and disengaging it from
the bundle of sticks with which it was bound, he let fly with the
bristle end of it at Shan, and Shan, catching his heel on a stone, went
over flat on his back in the road.

In a second he was up, whip in hand; in a second Mr. Mahony was down, a
bag half-filled with soot--a terrible weapon of assault--in his fist.

"Harns! harns!" yelled Mahony, mad with the spirit of battle, and
unconsciously chanting the fighting cry of long-forgotten ancestors.
"Who says cruckeder than a ram's harn!"

"Go it, Shan!" yelled the onlookers. "Give it him, Bob--sut him in the
face--Butt-end the whip, y'idgit--Hurroo! Hurroo! Holy Mary! he nearly
landed him then--Mind the dogs--"

Armed with the soot-bag swung like a club, and the old hunting-whip
butt-ended, the two combatants formed the centre of a circle of yelling

"Look!" said Miss Lestrange, as the party from the house came in view of
the road. "Look at the crowd and the two men!"

"They're fighting!" cried the general. "I believe the ruffians dared to
have the impudence to start fighting!"

At this moment came the noise of wheels from behind, and the "tub,"
which had obtained permission to go to the meet, drew up, with Patsy
driving the children.

"Let the children remain here," said the General. "You stay with them,
Violet. Come along, Boxall, till we see what these ruffians mean."

So filled was his mind with the objects in view that he quite forgot
Dicky Fanshawe.

"You have put on the short skirt," said Dicky, who at that moment would
scarcely have turned his head twice or given a second thought had the
battle of Austerlitz been in full blast beyond the park palings.

"And my thick boots," said Violet, pushing forward a delightful little
boot to speak for itself.

The children were so engaged watching the proceedings on the road that
they had no eyes or ears for their elders.

"Have you ever been beagling before?" asked Dicky.

"Never; but I've been paper-chasing."

"You can get through a hedge?"


"That'll do," said Dicky.

"Mr. Fanshawe," cried Lord Gawdor from the "tub," "look at the chaps in
the road--aren't they going for each other!"

"I see," said Mr. Fanshawe, whose back was to the road--"Violet--"


"No one's looking--"

"That doesn't matter--No--not here--Dicky, if you don't behave, I'll get
into the tub--Gracious! what's that?"

"He's down!" cried Patsy, who had been standing up to see better.

"Who?" asked Mr. Fanshawe.

"The Mimber of Parlyment--Misther Boxall--Bob Mahony's grassed him--"

"They're all fighting!" cried Violet. "Come, Mr. Fanshawe--Patsy--" She
started for the gates at a run.

When the General had arrived on the scene, Shan had just got in and
landed his antagonist a drum-sounding blow on the ribs with the butt of
his whip.

"Seize the other chap, Boxall!" cried General Grampound, making for

He was just half a second too late; the soot bag, swung like a club,
missed Shan, and, catching Mr. Boxall fair and square on the side of the
face, sent him spinning like a tee-totum across the road, and head over
heels into the ditch.

That was all.

A dead silence took the yelling crowd.

"He's kilt!" came a voice.

"He isn't; sure, his legs is wavin'."

"Who is he?"

"He's the Mimber of Parlyment! Run for your life, and don't lave off
runnin' till you're out of the country."

"Hold your tongue!" cried General Grampound. "Boxall--hullo! Boxall! are
you hurt?"

"I'm all right," replied Mr. Boxall, who, from being legs upwards, was
now on hands and knees in the ditch. "I've lost something--dash it!"

"What have you lost?"


"Come out and I'll get some of these chaps to look."

Mr. Boxall came out of the ditch with his handkerchief held to the left
side of his forehead.

"Why, your watch and chain are on you!" cried the General.

"So they are," said Mr. Boxall, pulling the watch out with his left
hand, and putting it back. "I'm off to the house--I want to wash."

"Sure, you're not hurt?"

"Not in the least, only my forehead scratched."

"What's up?" cried Dicky Fanshawe, who had just arrived.

"Nothing," replied his uncle. "Fellow hit him by mistake--no bones
broken. Will you take the governess cart back to the house, Boxall?"

"No, thanks--I'll walk."

"His legs is all right," murmured the sympathetic crowd, as the injured
one departed still with his handkerchief to his face, "and his arums.
Sure, it's the mercy and all his neck wasn't bruck."

"Did yiz see the skelp Bob landed him?"

"Musha! Sure, I thought it would have sent his head flying into Athy,
like a gulf ball."

Patsy, who had pulled the governess cart up, rose to his feet; his sharp
eye had caught sight of something lying on the road.

"Hould the reins a moment, Mr. Robert," said he, putting them into Lord
Gawdor's hands. He hopped out of the cart, picked up the object in the
road, whatever it was, put it in his trousers' pocket, and then stood
holding the pony's head; whilst the Meet, from which Bob Mahony had
departed as swiftly as his donkey could trot, turned its attention to
the business of the day, and Shan, collecting his dogs, declared his
intention of drawing the Furzes.

"Was that a marble you picked up, Patsy?" asked Lord Gawdor, as the
red-headed one, hearing Shan's declaration, climbed into the "tub" again
and took the reins.

Patsy grinned.

       *       *       *       *       *

Meanwhile Mr. Fanshawe had been writing three important letters in the
library. When he had finished and carefully sealed them, he placed them
one on top of the other, and looked at his watch.

The three letters he had just written would make everything all right at
the other end. This was the hot end of the poker, and it had to be

Patsy was the person who would help him to grasp it. Patsy he felt to be
a tower of strength and 'cuteness, if such a simile is permissible. And,
rising from the writing-table and putting the letters in his pocket, he
went to find Patsy. He had not far to go, for as he came into the big
hall Patsy was crossing it with a tray in hand.

"Patsy," said Mr. Fanshawe, "when does the post go out?"

"If you stick your letters in the letter box by the hall door, sir,"
said Patsy, "it will be cleared in half-an-hour. Jim Murphy takes the
letter-bag to Castle Knock."

"Right!" said Mr. Fanshawe. "And, see here, Patsy!"

"Yes, sir?"

"I'm in a bit of a fix, Patsy, and you may be able to help."

"And what's the fix, sir?" asked Patsy.

"You know the young lady you gave the note to this morning--by the way,
how did you give it?"

"I tried to shove it undher her door, sir."


"It wouldn't go, so I give a knock. 'Who's there?' says she. 'No one,'
says I; 'it's only hot wather I'm bringin' you,' for, you see, sir, the
ould missis, her ladyship, was in the next room, and she's not as deaf
as she looks, and it's afraid I was, every minnit, her door'd open, and
she and her ear-trumpet come out in the passidge. 'I have hot wather,'
says she. 'Niver mind,' says I, 'this is betther. Open the door, for the
love of God, for I can't get it under the door, unless I rowl it up and
shove it through the keyhole.' Wid that she opens the door a crack and
shoves her head out. 'Who's it from?' she says. 'I don't know,' says I;
'it's just a letther I found on the stairs I thought might belong to
you.' 'Thanks,' says she, 'it does,' and wid that she shut the door, and
I left her."

"Well, see here, Patsy!"

"Yes, sir?"

"I'm going to marry Miss Lestrange."

"Faith, and I guessed that," said Patsy; "and it's I that'd be joyful to
dance at your weddin', sir."

"There won't be any dancing in the business," said Mr. Fanshawe, grimly.
"You know Mr. Boxall, Patsy?"

"The Mimber of Parlymint?"

"Yes. Well, he wants to marry Miss Lestrange; and the worst of it is,
Patsy, that my uncle, General Grampound, wants him to marry her, too."

"Yes, sir," said Patsy. "And, Mr. Fanshawe?"


"I forgot to tell you, sir, you needn't be afear'd of Mr. Boxall for the
next few days."

"How's that?"

"When Bob Mahony hit him the skelp on the head wid the sut bag, his eye
popped out of his head on the road."

"His what?--Oh, I remember--"

"Finders is keepers, sir," said Patsy, with a grin.

"Why, good heavens--you don't mean to say--"

"I've got his eye in my pocket, sir," said Patsy, in a hoarse whisper.
"He's sint a telygram for another wan but till it comes he's tethered to
his bed like a horse to a--"

"That's enough--that's enough," said Mr. Fanshawe. "Here's half a crown
for you, Patsy, for--carrying my cartridges."

The Ballygullion Creamery Society, Limited.

_From "Ballygullion."_


'Twas the man from the Department of Agriculture comin' down to give a
lecture on poultry an' dairy-farmin', that set the ball a-rollin'.

The whole farmers av the counthry gathered in to hear him, an' for days
afther it was over, there was no talk at all barrin' about hens an'
crame, an' iverybody had a schame av their own to propose.

Ould Miss Armitage ap at the Hall was on for encouragin'
poultry-farmin'; an' give a prize for the best layin' hen in
Ballygullion, that riz more scunners in the counthry than the twelfth av
July itself. There was a powerful stir about it, an' near iverybody

Deaf Pether of the Bog's wife was an easy winner if her hen hadn't died,
an' nothin' would satisfy her but it was poisoned; though divil a all
killed it but the gorges of Indian male the ould woman kept puttin'
intil it.

Ivery time the hen laid she give it an extra dose of male, "to encourage
the crather," as she said; an' wan day it laid a double-yolked wan, she
put a charge intil it that stretched it out stiff in half-an-hour.

Afther that there was no doubt but Larry Thomas's wife would win the
prize; for, before the end av the month Miss Armitage had allowed for
the test, her hen was above a dozen ahead av iverybody else's.

Howiver, when it came to the countin' there was a duck-egg or two here
an' there among the lot that nayther Mrs. Thomas nor the hen could well
account for, so the both of thim was disqualified.

An' whin it came to the bit, an' Mrs. Archy Doran won the prize, she
counted up an' made out that between corn an' male, she had paid away
double the value of it, so she wasn't very well plazed; an' thim that
had spent near as much on feedin'-stuff, an' had got no prize, was worse
plazed still.

The only one that came out av it well was Miss Armitage herself; for she
kept all the eggs, an' made above twice the prize-money out av thim. But
there was nobody else as well plazed about that as she was.

So all round the hen business was a failure; an' it looked as if there
was nothin' goin' to come of the lecture at all.

However, iverybody thought it would be a terrible pity if Ballygullion
should be behind the other places; an' at last there was a move made to
start a cramery, an' a committee was got up to set things goin'.

At first the most av us thought they got the crame in the ould-fashioned
way, just be skimmin'; but presently it begin to be talked that it was
all done be machinery. Some av us was very dubious about that; for
sorrow a bit could we see how it was to be done Thomas McGorrian
maintained it would be done wi' blades like the knives av a
turnip-cutter, that it would just shave the top off the milk, an' sweep
it intil a pan; but then he couldn't well explain how they'd avoid
shavin' the top off the milk-dish, too.

Big Billy Lenahan swore it was done with a worm like a still; but,
although we all knowed Billy was well up on potheen, there was few had
iver seen him havin' much to do wi' milk; so nobody listened to him.

At last the Committee detarmined they'd have a dimonsthration; and they
trysted the Department man to bring down his machine an' show how it was
done; for all iv thim was agin spendin' money on a machine till they
were satisfied it would do its work.

The dimonsthration was to be held in Long Tammas McGorrian's barn, an'
on the night set above forty av us was there. We all sat round in a
half-ring, on chairs an' stools, an' any other conthrivance we could
get, for all the world like the Christy Minstrels that comes to the
Market House av a Christmas.

The dimonsthrator had rigged up a belt to Tammas's threshin'-machine,
an' run it from that to the separator, as he called it.

The separator itself was a terrible disappointin' conthrivance at the
first look, an' no size av a thing at all for the money they said it
cost. But whin the dimonsthrator begin to tell us what it would do, an'
how by just pourin' the milk intil a metal ball an' bizzin' it round, ye
could make the crame come out av one hole, an' the milk out av another,
we began to think more av it.

Nobody liked to spake out wi' the man there, but there was a power av

"It's a mighty quare conthrivance," sez wan.

"Did ye iver see the like av it?" sez another.

"Boy-a-boys," sez James Dougherty, "the works av man is wonderful. If my
ould grandmother could see this, it would break her heart. 'Twas herself
was the handy dairy-woman, too; but what'd she be till a machine?"

But most av thim wouldn't say one thing or another till they seen it
workin'; an', 'deed, we were all wishin' he'd begin. We had to thole,
though; for the dimonsthrator was a bumptious wee man, an' very fond av
the sound av his own voice, an' kept talkin' away wi' big, long words
that nobody knowed the manin' av but himself, till we were near deaved.

So we were powerful glad whin he sez to Mrs. McGorrian: "Now, Madam, if
you'll be good enough to bring in the milk, I will proceed to give an
actual demonstration."

But Mrs. McGorrian is a quiet wee woman, an' wi' all the crowd there,
an' him callin' her Madam, she was too backward to get up out av the
corner she was in; an' she nudges Tammas to go, tellin' him where to get
the milk.

So Tammas goes out, an' presently he staggers in wi' a big crock in his
arms, an' sets it down.

"Now," sez the demonsthrator, "if you'll just get the horses goin', an'
pour the milk into that receptacle, I'll start the separator working."

Tammas in wi' the milk, an' the wee son whips up the horses outside, an'
away goes the separator bizzin' like a hive av bees.

"In a few seconds, gentlemen and ladies," sez the dimonsthrator, "you
will see the milk come out here, an' the cream here. Kindly pay
attention, please."

But he needn't have spoke; for iverybody was leanin' forrard, holdin'
their breath, an' there wasn't a sound to be heard but the hummin' of
the separator.

Presently there comes a sort av a thick trickle out av the milk-hole,
but divil a dhrap av crame.

The dimonsthrator gathered up his brow a bit at that, an' spakes out av
the barn windy to Tammas's wee boy to dhrive faster. The separator hums
harder than iver, but still no crame. Wan begin to look at the other,
an' some av the wimmen at the back starts gigglin'.

The dimonsthrator begin to get very red an' flusthered-lookin'. "Are ye
sure this milk is fresh an' hasn't been skimmed?" he sez to Tammas, very

"What do you say, Mary?" sez Tammas, lookin' over at the wife. "Sartin,
sir," sez Mrs. Tammas. "It's just fresh from the cows this very

"Most extraordinary," sez the dimonsthrator, rubbin' his hair till it
was all on end. "I've niver had such an experience before."

"It's the way Tammas feeds his cows," sez Big Billy Lenahan from the
back; "sure, iverybody knows he gives them nothin' but shavin's."

There was a snigger av a laugh at this; for Tammas was well known to be
no great feeder av cattle.

But Tammas wasn't to be tuk down so aisy.

"Niver mind, Billy," sez he; "av you were put on shavin's for a week or
two, ye'd maybe see your boots again before you died."

There was another laugh at this, an' that started a bit av jokin' all
round--a good dale av it at the dimonsthrator; till he was near beside
himself. For, divil a dhrop av crame had put in an appearance yet.

All at wanst he stoops down close to the milk.

"Bring me a candle here," sez he, very sharp.

Tammas reaches over a sconce off the wall. The dimonsthrator bends over
the can, then dips the point av his finger in it, an' puts it in his

"What's this?" sez he, lookin' very mad at Tammas. "This isn't milk at

"Not milk," sez Tammas. "It must be milk. I got it where you tould me,

The wife gets up an' pushes forward. First she takes a look at the can
av the separator, an' thin wan at the crock.

"Ye ould fool," she sez to Tammas; "ye've brought the whitewash I mixed
for the dairy walls!"

I'll say this for the dimonsthrator, he was a game wee fellow; for the
divil a wan laughed louder than he did, an' that's sayin' something; but
sorrow a smile Tammas cracked, but stood gapin' at the wife wi' his
mouth open; an' from the look she gave him back, there was some av us
thought she was, maybe, more av a tarther than she looked.

Though troth 'twas no wondher she was angry, for the joke wint round the
whole counthry, an' Tammas gets nothin' but "Whitewash McGorrian" iver

Howaniver, they got the machine washed out, an' the rale milk intil it,
an' there was no doubt it worked well. The wee dimonsthrator was as
plazed as Punch, an' ivery body wint away well satisfied, an' set on
havin' a cramery as soon as it could be got started.

First av all they wint round an' got the names av all thim that was
goin' to join in; an' the explainin' of the schame took a dale av a
time. The co-operatin' bothered them intirely.

The widow Doherty she wasn't goin' to join an' put in four cows' milk,
she said, whin she'd only get as much out av it as Mrs. Donnelly, across
the field, that had only two. Thin, whin they explained to the widow
that she'd get twice as much, ould mother Donnelly was clane mad; for
she'd thought she was goin' to get the betther av the widow.

Thin there was tarrible bother over barrin' out wee Mrs. Morley, because
she had only a goat. Some was for lettin' her in; but the gineral
opinion was that it would be makin' too little av the Society.

Howiver, all was goin' brave an' paceable till ould Michael Murray, the
ould dunderhead, puts in his oar.

Michael was a divil of a man for pace-makin', an' riz more rows than all
the county, for all that; for whin two dacent men had a word or two av a
fair-day, maybe whin the drink was in them, an' had forgot all about it,
the next day ould Michael would come round to make it up, an' wi' him
mindin' them av what had passed, the row would begin worse than iver.

So, whin all was set well agoin', an' the committee met to call a
gineral meetin' av the Society, ould Michael he gets up an' says what a
pity it would be if the Society would be broke up wi' politics or
religion; an' he proposed that they should show there was no ill-feelin'
on either side by holdin' this giniral meetin' in the Orange Hall, an'
the nixt in the United Irish League rooms. He named the Orange Hall
first, he said, because he was a Nationalist himself, an' a Home Ruler,
an' always would be.

There was one or two Orangemen beginnin' to look mighty fiery at the
tail-end av Michael's speech, an' there's no tellin' what would a'
happened if the chairman hadn't whipped in an' said that Michael's was a
very good idea, an' he thought they couldn't do betther than folly it

So, right enough, the first gineral meetin' was held in the Ballygullion
Orange Hall.

Iverything was very quiet an' agreeable, except that some av the red-hot
Nationalists kept talkin' quare skellys at a flag in the corner wi'
King William on it, stickin' a man in a green coat wi' his sword.

But, as fortune would have it, little Billy av the Bog, the sthrongest
wee Orangeman in Ulsther, comes in at half-time as dhrunk as a fiddler,
sits down on a form an' falls fast asleep. An' there he snored for the
most av half an hour, till near the end av the meetin', whin the
chairman was makin' a speech, there was a bit av applause, an' ap starts
Billy all dazed. First he looked up an' seen King William on the flag.
Thin hearin' the chairman's voice, he gives a stamp wi' his fut on the
flure, an' a "hear, hear," wi' a mortial bad hiccup between the "hears."
The wee man thought he was at a lodge-meetin'.

All av a sudden he sees ould Michael Murray, an', beside him, Tammas

Wi' that he lepps to his feet like a shot, dhrunk as he was, an' hits
the table a terrible lick wi' his fist.

"Stap, brethren," sez he, glarin' round the room.

"Stap! There's Papishes present."

Ye niver seen a meetin' quicker broke up than that wan. Half the men was
on their feet in a minit, an' the other half pullin' thim down be the
coat-tails. Iverybody was talkin' at the wan time, some av thim swearin'
they'd been insulted, an' others thryin' to make pace.

Thin the wimmin begin to scrame an' hould back men from fightin' that
had no notion av it at the start, an' only begin to think av it whin
they were sure they wouldn't be let.

Altogether there was the makin's of as fine a fight as iver ye seen in
your life.

However, there was a lot of dacent elderly men on both sides, and wi'
arguin' an' perswadin', and houldin' back wan, an' pushin' out the
other, the hall was redd without blows, an', bit by bit, they all went
home quiet enough.

But the Cramery Society was clane split. It wasn't wee Billy so much;
for whin people begin to think about it the next mornin', there was more
laughed at him than was angry; but the party feelin' was up as bitther
as could be.

The Nationalists was mad at themselves for givin' in to go to a meetin'
in the Orange Hall, for fear it might be taken that they were weakenin'
about Home Rule; an' the Orange party were just as afeard at the papers
makin' out that they were weakenin' about the Union. Besides, the ould
King William in the corner av the Hall had done no good.

I'm no party man, myself; but whin I see William Robinson, that has been
me neighbour this twinty years, goin' down the road on the Twelfth av
July wi' a couple av Orange sashes on, me heart doesn't warm to him as
it does av another day. The plain truth is, we were bate at the Boyne
right enough; but some av us had more than a notion we didn't get fair
play at the fightin'; an' between that and hearin' about the batin' iver
since, the look of ould Billy on his white horse isn't very soothin'.

Anyway, the two parties couldn't be got to join again. The red-hot wans
av both av thim had meetin's, wee Billy leadin' wan side, and Tammas
McGorrian the other, an' the nixt thing was that there was to be two

The moderate men seen that both parties were makin' fools av themselves,
for the place wasn't big enough for two; but moderate men are scarce in
our parts, an' they could do nothin' to soothe matthers down. Whin the
party work is on, it's little either side thinks av the good av
thimselves or the counthry either.

It's "niver mind a dig yourself if ye get a slap at the other fellow."

So notices was sent out for a meetin' to wind up the Society, an' there
was a powerful musther av both sides, for fear either of them might get
an advantage over the other wan.

To keep clear av trouble it was to be held in the Market house.

The night av the meetin' come; an' when I got into the room who should I
see on the platform but Major Donaldson an' Father Connolly. An' thin I
begin to wondher what was on.

For the Major was too aisy-goin' and kindly to mix himself up wi'
party-work, an' Father Connolly was well known to be terrible down on
it, too.

So a sort av a mutther begin to run through the meetin' that there was
goin' to be an attempt to patch up the split.

Some was glad and not afraid to say it; but the most looked sour an'
said nothin'; an' wee Billy and Tammas McGorrian kept movin' in an' out
among their friends an' swearin' them to stand firm.

When the room was well filled, an' iverybody settled down, the Major
gets on his feet.

"Ladies an' gentlemen," sez he--the Major was always polite if it was
only a travellin' tinker he was spakin' to--"Ladies an' gentlemen, you
know why we've met here to-night--to wind up the Ballygullion Cramery
Society. I wish windin' up meant that it would go on all the better;
but, unfortunately, windin' up a Society isn't like windin' up a clock."

"Now, I'm not going to detain you; but before we proceed, I'd like you
to listen to Father Connolly here for a minute or two. I may tell you
he's goin' to express my opinion as well as his own. I needn't ask you
to give him an' attentive hearin'; ye all know, as well as I do, that
what he says is worth listenin' to." An' down the Major sits.

Thin Father Connolly comes forward an' looks roun' a minit or so before
spakin'. Most av his own people that catched his eye looked down mighty
quick, for they all had an idea he wouldn't think much av what had been
goin' on.

But wee Billy braces himself up an' looks very fierce, as much as to say
"there'll no praste ordher me about," and Tammas looks down at his feet
wi' his teeth set, much as if he meant the same.

"Men an' wimmin av Ballygullion," sez Father Connolly--he was aye a
plain-spoken wee man--"we're met here to end up the United Cramery
Society, and after that we're goin' to start two societies, I hear.

"The sinsible men av Ballygullion sees that it would be altogether
absurd an' ridiculous for Catholics an' Protestants, Home Rulers an'
Unionists, to work together in anything at all. As they say, the two
parties is altogether opposed in everything that's important.

"The wan keep St. Patrick's Day for a holiday, and the other the Twelfth
av July; the colours of the one is green, an' the colours of the other
orange; the wan wants to send their Mimbers av Parliament to College
Green, and the other to Westminster; an' there are a lot more
differences just as important as these.

"It's thrue," goes on the Father, "that some ignorant persons says that,
after all, the two parties live in the same counthry, undher the same
sky, wi' the same sun shinin' on them an' the same rain wettin' thim;
an' that what's good for that counthry is good for both parties, an'
what's bad for it is bad for both; that they live side by side as
neighbours, an' buy and sell among wan another, an' that nobody has iver
seen that there was twinty-one shillin's in a Catholic pound, an'
nineteen in a Protestant pound, or the other way about; an' that,
although they go about it in different ways, they worship the same God,
the God that made both av thim; but I needn't tell ye that these are
only a few silly bodies, an' don't riprisint the opinion av the

A good many people in the hall was lookin' foolish enough be this time,
an' iverybody was waitin' to hear the Father tell them to make it up,
an' most av them willin' enough to do it. The major was leanin' back,
looking well satisfied.

"Now," sez Father Connolly, "after what I've said, I needn't tell ye
that I'm av the opinion av the sinsible men, and I think that by all
manes we should have a Catholic cramery and a Protestant wan."

The Major sits up wi' a start, an' wan looks at the other all over the

"The only thing that bothers me," sez the Father, goin' on an' takin' no
notice, "is the difficulty av doin' it. It's aisy enough to sort out the
Catholic farmers from the Protestant; but what about the cattle?" sez

"If a man rears up a calf till it becomes a cow, there's no doubt that
cow must be Nationalist or Orange. She couldn't help it, livin' in this
country. Now, what are you going to do when a Nationalist buys an Orange
cow? Tammas McGorrian bought a cow from wee Billy there last month that
Billy bred an' reared himself. Do ye mane to tell me that's a
Nationalist cow? I tell ye what it is, boys," sez the Father, wi' his
eyes twinklin', "wan can av that cow's milk in a Nationalist cramery
would turn the butther as yellow as the shutters av the Orange Hall."

By this time there was a smudge av a laugh on iverybody's face, an' even
Tammas an' wee Billy couldn't help crackin' a smile.

"Now," sez Father Connolly, "afther all, it's aisy enough in the case of
Tammas's cow. There's no denyin' she's an Orange cow, an' either Tammas
may go to the Orange cramery or give the cow back to Billy."

Tammas sits up a bit at that.

"But, thin, there's a lot of mighty curious cases. There's my own wee
Kerry. Iverybody knows I bred her myself; but, thin, there's no denyin'
that her father--if that's the right way to spake av a bull--belonged to
Major Donaldson here, an' was called 'Prince of Orange.' Now, be the
law, a child follows its father in these matters, an' I'm bound be it to
send the wee Kerry's milk to the Orange cramery, although I'll maintain
she's as good a Nationalist as ever stepped; didn't she thramp down
ivery Orange lily in Billy Black's garden only last Monday?

"So, boys, whin you think the matter out, ye'll see it's no aisy matther
this separatin' av Orange an' Green in the cramery. For, if ye do it
right--and I'm for no half-measures--ye'll have to get the pedigree av
ivery bull, cow, and calf in the counthry, an' then ye'll be little
further on, for there's a lot av bastes come in every year from Americay
that's little better than haythin'.

"But, if ye take my advice, those av ye that isn't sure av your cows'll
just go on quietly together in the manetime, an' let thim that has got a
rale thrue-blue baste av either persuasion just keep her milk to
themselves, and skim it in the ould-fashioned way wi' a spoon."

There was a good dale av sniggerin' whin the Father was spakin'; but ye
should have heard the roar of a laugh there was whin he sat down. An'
just as it was dyin' away, the Major rises, wipin' his eyes--

"Boys," sez he, "if it's the will av the prisint company that the
Ballygullion Cramery Society go on, will ye rise an' give three cheers
for Father Pether Connolly?"

Ivery man, woman, an' child--Protestant and Catholic--was on their feet
in a minit; an' if the Ballygullion Market-house roof didn't rise that
night, it's safe till etarnity.

From that night on there was niver another word av windin' up or
splittin' either. An' if ever ye come across a print av butther wi' a
wreath of shamrocks an' orange-lilies on it, ye'll know it come from the
Ballygullion Cramery Society, Limited.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Humours of Irish Life" ***

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