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Title: Phil Purcel, The Pig-Driver; The Geography Of An Irish Oath; The Lianhan Shee - Traits And Stories Of The Irish Peasantry, The Works of - William Carleton, Volume Three
Author: Carleton, William
Language: English
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TRAITS AND STORIES OF THE IRISH PEASANTRY

BY WILLIAM CARLETON


PART IV.

[Illustration: Frontispiece]

[Illustration: Titlepage]



CONTENTS:

Phil Purcel, The Pig-Driver.

The Geography Of An Irish Oath.

The Lianhan Shee.



PHIL PURCEL, THE PIG-DRIVER.


Phil Purcel was a singular character, for he was never married; but
notwithstanding his singularity, no man ever possessed, for practical
purposes, a more plentiful stock of duplicity. All his acquaintances
knew that Phil was a knave of the first water, yet was he decidedly a
general favorite. Now as we hate mystery ourselves, we shall reveal the
secret of this remarkable popularity; though, after all, it can scarcely
be called so, for Phil was not the first cheat who has been popular
in his day. The cause of his success lay simply in this; that he never
laughed; and, none of our readers need be told, that the appearance of
a grave cheat in Ireland is an originality which almost runs up into
a miracle. This gravity induced every one to look upon him as a
phenomenon. The assumed simplicity of his manners was astonishing,
and the ignorance which he feigned, so apparently natural, that it was
scarcely possible for the most keen-sighted searcher into human motives
to detect him. The only way of understanding the man was to deal with
him: if, after that, you did not comprehend him thoroughly, the fault
was not Phil’s, but your own. Although not mirthful himself, he was the
cause of mirth in others; for, without ever smiling at his own gains, he
contrived to make others laugh at their losses. His disposition, setting
aside laughter, was strictly anomalous. The most incompatible, the most
unamalgamatible, and the most uncomeatable qualities that ever refused
to unite in the same individual, had no scruple at all to unite in Phil.
But we hate metaphysics, which we leave to the mechanical philosophers,
and proceed to state that Phil was a miser, which is the best
explanation we can give of his gravity.

Ireland, owing to the march of intellect, and the superiority of modern
refinement, has been for some years past, and is at present, well
supplied with an abundant variety of professional men, every one of whom
will undertake, for proper considerations, to teach us Irish all manner
of useful accomplishments. The drawing-master talks of his profession;
the dancing-master of his profession; the fiddler, tooth-drawer, and
corn-cutter (who by the way, reaps a richer harvest than we do), since
the devil has tempted the schoolmaster to go abroad, are all practising
in his absence, as professional men.

Now-Phil must be included among this class of grandiloquent gentlemen,
for he entered life as a Professor of Pig-driving; and it is but justice
towards him to assert, that no corn-cutter of them all ever elevated his
profession so high as Phil did that in which he practised. In fact, he
raised it to the most exalted pitch of improvement of which it was then
susceptible; or to use the cant of the day, he soon arrived at “the head
of his profession.”

In Phil’s time, however, pig-driving was not so general, nor had it
made such rapid advances as in modern times. It was, then, simply,
pig-driving, unaccompanied by the improvements of poverty, sickness, and
famine. Political economy had not then taught the people how to be poor
upon the most scientific principles; free trade had not shown the nation
the most approved plan of reducing itself to the lowest possible state
of distress; nor liberalism enabled the working classes to scoff at
religion, and wisely to stop at the very line that lies between outrage
and rebellion. Many errors and inconveniences, now happily exploded,
were then in existence. The people, it is true, were somewhat attached
to their landlords, but still they were burdened with the unnecessary
appendages of good coats and stout shoes; were tolerably industrious,
and had the mortification of being able to pay their rents, and feed
in comfort. They were not, as they are now, free from new coats and
old prejudices, nor improved by the intellectual march of politics and
poverty. When either a man or a nation starves, it is a luxury to starve
in an enlightened manner; and nothing is more consolatory to a person
acquainted with public rights and constitutional privileges, than to
understand those liberal principles upon which he fasts and goes naked.

From all we have said, the reader sees clearly that pig-driving did
not then proceed upon so extensive a scale as it does at present. The
people, in fact, killed many of them for their own use; and we know not
how it happened, but political ignorance and good bacon kept them in
more flesh and comfort than those theories which have since succeeded so
well in introducing the science of starvation as the basis of national
prosperity. Irishmen are frequently taxed with extravagance, in addition
to their other taxes; but we should be glad to know what people in
Europe reduce economy in the articles of food and clothing to such close
practice as they do.

Be this as it may, there was, in Ireland, an old breed of swine, which
is now nearly extinct, except in some remote parts of the country, where
they are still useful in the hunting season, particularly if dogs happen
to be scarce.* They were a tall, loose species, with legs of an unusual
length, with no flesh, short ears, as if they had been cropped for
sedition, and with long faces of a highly intellectual cast. They were
also of such activity that few greyhounds could clear a ditch or cross
a field with more agility or speed. Their backs formed a rainbow arch,
capable of being contracted or extended to an inconceivable degree; and
their usual rate of travelling in droves was at mail-coach speed, or
eight Irish miles an hour, preceded by an outrider to clear the way,
whilst their rear was brought up by another horseman, going at a
three-quarter gallop.

     * We assure John Bull, on the authority of Purcel
     himself, that this is a fact.

In the middle of summer, when all nature reposed under the united
influence of heat and dust, it was an interesting sight to witness a
drove of them sweeping past, like a whirlwind, in a cloud of their own
raising; their sharp and lengthy outlines dimly visible through the
shining haze, like a flock of antelopes crossing the deserts of the
East.

But alas! for those happy days! This breed is now a curiosity--few
specimens of it remaining except in the mountainous parts of the
country, whither these lovers of liberty, like the free natives of the
back settlements of America, have retired to avoid the encroachments of
civilization, and exhibit their Irish antipathy to the slavish comforts
of steamboat navigation, and the relaxing luxuries of English feeding.

Indeed, their patriotism, as evinced in an attachment to Ireland and
Irish habits, was scarcely more remarkable than their sagacity. There is
not an antiquary among the members of that learned and useful body, the
Irish Academy, who can boast such an intimate knowledge of the Irish
language in all its shades of meaning and idiomatic beauty, as did this
once flourishing class of animals. Nor were they confined to the Irish
tongue alone, many of them understood English too; and it was said
of those that belonged to a convent, the members of which, in their
intercourse with each other, spoke only in Latin, that they were
tolerable masters of that language, and refused to leave a potato field
or plot of cabbages, except when addressed in it. To the English tongue,
however, they had a deep-rooted antipathy; whether it proceeded from the
national feeling, or the fact of its not being sufficiently guttural,
I cannot say; but be this as it may, it must be admitted that they were
excellent Irish scholars, and paid a surprising degree of deference and
obedience to whatever was addressed to them in their own language. In
Munster, too, such of them as belonged to the hedge-schoolmasters were
good proficients in Latin; but it is on a critical knowledge of their
native tongue that I take my stand. On this point they were unrivalled
by the most learned pigs or antiquaries of their day; none of either
class possessing, at that period, such a knowledge of Irish manners, nor
so keen a sagacity in tracing out Irish roots.

Their education, it is true, was not neglected, and their instructors
had the satisfaction of seeing that it was not lost. Nothing could
present a finer display of true friendship founded upon a sense of
equality, mutual interest, and good-will, than the Irishman and his pig.
The Arabian and his horse are proverbial; but had our English neighbors
known as much of Ireland as they did of Arabia, they would have found as
signal instances of attachment subsisting between the former as between
the latter; and, perhaps, when the superior comforts of an Arabian hut
are contrasted with the squalid poverty of an Irish cabin, they would
have perceived a heroism and a disinterestedness evinced by the Irish
parties, that would have struck them with greater admiration.

The pigs, however, of the present day are a fat, gross, and degenerate
breed; and more like well-fed aldermen, than Irish pigs of the old
school. They are, in fact, a proud, lazy, carnal race, entirely of the
earth, earthy. John Bull assures us it is one comfort, however, that
we do not eat, but ship them out of the country; yet, after all, with,
great respect to John, it is not surprising that we should repine a
little on thinking of the good old times of sixty years since, when
every Irishman could kill his own pig, and eat it when he pleased. We
question much whether any measure that might make the eating of meat
compulsory upon us, would experience from Irishmen a very decided
opposition. But it is very condescending in John to eat our beef and
mutton; and as he happens to want both, it is particularly disinterested
in him to encourage us in the practice of self-denial. It is possible,
however, that we may ultimately refuse to banquet by proxy on our own
provisions; and that John may not be much longer troubled to eat for us
in that capacity.

The education of an Irish pig, at the time of which we write, was an
important consideration to an Irishman. He, and his family, and his
pig, like the Arabian and his horse, all slept in the same bed; the
pig generally, for the sake of convenience, next the “stock” (* at the
outside). At meals the pig usually was stationed at the _serahag_, or
potato-basket; where the only instances of bad temper he ever displayed
broke out in petty and unbecoming squabbles with the younger branches
of the family. Indeed, if he ever descended from his high station as a
member of the domestic circle, it was upon these occasions, when, with
a want of dignity, accounted for only by the grovelling motive of
self-interest, he embroiled himself in a series of miserable feuds and
contentions about scraping the pot, or carrying off from the jealous
urchins about him more than came to his share. In these heart-burnings
about the good things of this world, he was treated with uncommon
forbearance: in his owner he always had a friend, from whom, when he
grunted out his appeal to him, he was certain of receiving redress:
“Barney, behave, avick: lay down the potstick, an’ don’t be batin’ the
pig, the crathur.”

In fact, the pig was never mentioned but with this endearing epithet of
“crathur” annexed. “Barney, go an’ call home the pig, the crathur, to
his dinner, before it gets cowld an him.” “Barney, go an’ see if you can
see the pig, the crathur, his buckwhist will soon be ready.” “Barney,
run an’ dhrive the pig, the crathur, out of Larry Neil’s phatie-field:
an’, Barney, whisper, a bouchal bawn, don’t run _too_ hard, Barney, for
fraid you’d lose your breath. What if the crathur does get a taste o’
the new phaties--small blame to him for the same!”

In short, whatever might have been the habits of the family, such were
those of the pig. The latter was usually out early in the morning to
take exercise, and the unerring regularity with which he returned at
mealtime gave sufficient proof that procuring an appetite was a work of
supererogation on his part. If he came before the meal was prepared, his
station was at the door, which they usually shut to keep him out of
the way until it should be ready. In the meantime, so far as a forenoon
serenade and an indifferent voice could go, his powers of melody were
freely exercised on the outside. But he did not stop here: every stretch
of ingenuity was tried by which a possibility of gaining admittance
could be established. The hat and rags were repeatedly driven in from
the windows, which from practice and habit he was enabled to approach on
his hind legs; a cavity was also worn by the frequent grubbings of his
snout under the door, the lower part of which was broken away by the
sheer strength of his tusks, so that he was enabled, by thrusting
himself between the bottom of it and the ground, to make a most
unexpected appearance on the hearth, before his presence was at all
convenient or acceptable.

But, independently of these two modes of entrance, i. e., the door and
window, there was also a third, by which he sometimes scrupled not to
make a descent upon the family. This was by the chimney. There are
many of the Irish cabins built for economy’s sake against slopes in the
ground, so that the labor of erecting either a gable or side-wall is
saved by the perpendicular bank that remains after the site of the house
is scooped away. Of the facilities presented by this peculiar structure,
the pig never failed to avail himself. He immediately mounted the roof
(through which, however, he sometimes took an unexpected flight),
and traversing it with caution, reached the chimney, into which he
deliberately backed himself, and with no small share of courage, went
down precisely as the northern bears are said to descend the trunks of
trees during the winter, but with far different motives.

In this manner he cautiously retrograded downwards with a hardihood,
which set furze bushes, brooms, tongs, and all other available weapons
of the cabin at defiance. We are bound, however, to declare, that this
mode of entrance, which was only resorted to when every other failed,
was usually received by the cottager and his family with a degree of
mirth and good-humor that were not lost upon the sagacity of the pig.
In order to save him from being scorched, which he deserved for his
temerity, they usually received him in a creel, often in a quilt, and
sometimes in the tattered blanket, or large pot, out of which he looked
with a humorous conception of his own enterprise, that was highly
diverting. We must admit, however, that he was sometimes received with
the comforts of a hot poker, which Paddy pleasantly called, “givin’ him
a warm welcome.”

Another trait in the character of these animals, was the utter scorn
with which they treated all attempts to fatten them. In fact, the usual
consequences of good feeding were almost inverted in their case; and
although I might assert that they became leaner in proportion to what
they received, yet I must confine myself to truth, by stating
candidly that this was not the fact; that there was a certain state
of fleshlessness to which they arrived, but from which they neither
advanced nor receded by good feeding or bad. At this point, despite of
all human ingenuity, they remained stationary for life, received
the bounty afforded them with a greatness of appetite resembling
the fortitude of a brave man, which rises in energy according to the
magnitude of that which it has to encounter. The truth is, they were
scandalous hypocrites; for with the most prodigious capacity for food,
they were spare as philosophers, and fitted evidently more for the chase
than the sty; rather to run down a buck or a hare for the larder, than
to have a place in it themselves. If you starved them, they defied you
to diminish their flesh; and if you stuffed them like aldermen, they
took all they got, but disdained to carry a single ounce more than
if you gave them whey thickened with water. In short, they gloried in
maceration and liberty; were good Irish scholars, sometimes acquainted
with Latin; and their flesh, after the trouble of separating it from a
superfluity of tough skin, was excellent venison so far as it went.

Now Phil Purcel, whom we will introduce more intimately to the reader by
and by, was the son of a man who always kept a pig.

His father’s house had a small loft, to which the ascent was by a
step-ladder through a door in the inside gable. The first good thing
ever Phil was noticed for he said upon the following occasion. His
father happened to be called upon, one morning before breakfast, by his
landlord, who it seems occasionally visited his tenantry to encourage,
direct, stimulate, or reprove them, as the case might require. Phil was
a boy then, and sat on the hob in the corner, eyeing the landlord and
his father during their conversation. In the mean time the pig came in,
and deliberately began to ascend the ladder with an air of authority
that marked him as one in the exercise of an established right. The
landlord was astonished at seeing the animal enter the best room in the
house and could not help expressing his surprise to old Purcel:

“Why, Purcel, is your pig in the habit of treating himself to the
comforts of your best room?”

“The pig is it, the crathur? Why, your haner,” said Purcel, after a
little hesitation, “it sometimes goes up of a mornin’ to waken the
childhre, particularly when the buckwhist happens to be late. It doesn’t
like to be waitin’; and sure none of us likes to be kept from the male’s
mate, your haner, when we want it, no more than it, the crathur!”

“But I wonder your wife permits so filthy an animal to have access to
her rooms in this manner.”

“Filthy!” replied Mrs. Purcel, who felt herself called upon to defend
the character of the pig, as well as her own, “why, one would think,
sir, that any crathur that’s among Christyen childhre, like one o’
themselves, couldn’t be filthy. I could take it to my dyin’ day, that
there’s not a claner or dacenter pig in the kingdom, than the same pig.
It never misbehaves, the crathur, but goes out, as wise an’ riglar, jist
by a look, an’ that’s enough for it, any day--a single look, your haner,
the poor crathur!”

“I think,” observed Phil, from the hob, “that nobody has a betther right
to the run of the house, whedher up stairs or down stairs, _than him
that pays the rint_.”

“Well said, my lad!” observed the landlord, laughing at the quaint
ingenuity of Phil’s defence. “His payment of the rent is the best
defence possible, and no doubt should cover a multitude of his errors.”

“A multitude of his shins, you mane, sir,” said Phil, “for thruth he’s
all shin.”

In fact, Phil from his infancy had an uncommon attachment to these
animals, and by a mind naturally shrewd and observing, made himself
as intimately acquainted with their habits and instincts, and the best
modes of managing them, as ever the celebrated _Cahir na Cappul_* did
with those of the horse. Before he was fifteen, he could drive the most
vicious and obstinate pig as quietly before him as a lamb; yet no one
knew how, nor by what means he had gained the secret that enabled him to
do it. Whenever he attended a fair, his time was principally spent among
the pigs, where he stood handling, and examining, and pretending to buy
them, although he seldom had half-a-crown in his pocket. At length, by
hoarding up such small sums as he could possibly lay his hand on, he got
together the price of a “slip,” which he bought, reared, and educated in
a manner that did his ingenuity great credit. When this was brought
to its _ne plus ultra_ of fatness, he sold it, and purchased two more,
which he fed in the same way. On disposing of these, he made a fresh
purchase, and thus proceeded, until, in the course of a few years, he
was a well-known pig-jobber.

     * I subjoin from Townsend’s Survey of the county of
     Cork a short but authentic account of this most
     extraordinary character:--“James Sullivan was a native
     of the county of Cork, and an awkward ignorant rustic
     of the lowest class, generally known by the appellation
     of the _Whisperer_, and his profession was horse-
     breaking. The credulity of the vulgar bestowed that
     epithet upon him, from an opinion that he communicated
     his wishes to the animal by means of a whisper; and the
     singularity of his method gave some color to the
     superstitious belief. As far as the sphere of his
     control extended, the boast of _Veni, Vidi, Vici_, was
     more justly claimed by James Sullivan, than by Caesar,
     or even Bonaparte himself. How his art was acquired, or
     in what it consisted, is likely to remain for ever
     unknown, as he has lately left the world without
     divulging it. His son, who follows the same occupation,
     possesses but a small portion of the art, having either
     never learned its true secret, or being incapable of
     putting it in practice. The wonder of his skill
     consisted in the short time requisite to accomplish his
     design, which was performed in private, and without any
     apparent means of coercion. Every description of horse,
     or even mule, whether previously broke, or unhandled,
     whatever their peculiar vices or ill habits might have
     been, submitted, without show of resistance, to the
     magical influence of his art, and, in the short space
     of half an hour, became gentle and tractable. The
     effect, though instantaneously produced, was generally
     durable. Though more submissive to him than to others,
     yet they seemed to have acquired a docility, unknown
     before. When sent for to tame a vicious horse, he
     directed the stable in which he and the object of his
     experiment were placed, to be shut, with orders not to
     open the door until a signal given. After a _tete-a-
     tete_ between him and the horse for about half an hour,
     during which little or no bustle was heard, the signal
     was made; and upon opening the door, the horse was
     seen, lying down, and the man by his side, playing
     familiarly with him, like a child with a puppy dog.
     From that time he was found perfectly willing to submit
     to discipline, however repugnant to his nature before.
     Some saw his skill tried on a horse, which could never
     be brought to stand for a smith to shoe him. The day
     after Sullivan’s half hour lecture, I went, not without
     some incredulity, to the smith’s shop, with many other
     curious spectators, where we were eye-witnesses of the
     complete success of his art. This, too, had been a
     troop-horse; and it was supposed, not without reason,
     that after regimental discipline had failed, no other
     would be found availing. I observed that the animal
     seemed afraid, whenever Sullivan either spoke or looked
     at him. How that extraordinary ascendancy could have
     been obtained, it is difficult to conjecture, in common
     eases, this mysterious preparation was unnecessary. He
     seemed to possess an instinctive power of inspiring
     awe, the result, perhaps, of natural intrepidity, in
     which, I believe, a great part of his art consisted;
     though the circumstance of his tete-a-tete shows, that,
     upon particular occasions, something more must have
     been added to it. A faculty like this would, in other
     hands, have made a fortune, and great offers have been
     made to him for the exercise of his art abroad; but
     hunting, and attachment to his native soil, were his
     ruling passions. He lived at home, in the style most
     agreeable to his disposition, and nothing could induce
     him to quit Dunhalow and the fox-hounds.”

Phil’s journeys as a pig-driver to the leading seaport towns nearest
him, were always particularly profitable. In Ireland, swine are not kept
in sties, as they are among English feeders, but permitted, to go at
liberty through pasture fields, commons, and along roadsides, where they
make up as well as they can for the scanty pittance allowed them at home
during meal-times. We do not, however, impeach Phil’s honesty; but simply
content ourselves with saying, that when his journey was accomplished,
he mostly found the original number with which he had set out increased
by three or four, and sometimes by half a dozen. Pigs in general
resemble each other, and it surely was not Phil’s fault if a stray one,
feeding on the roadside or common, thought proper to join his drove and
see the world. Phil’s object, we presume, was only to take care that his
original number was not diminished, its increase being a matter in which
he felt little concern. He now determined to take a professional trip
to England, and that this might be the more productive, he resolved to
purchase a lot of the animals we have been describing. No time was lost
in this speculation. The pigs were bought up as cheaply as possible, and
Phil sat out, for the first time in his life, to try with what success
he could measure his skill against that of a Yorkshireman. On this
occasion, he brought with him a pet, which he had with considerable
pains trained up for purposes hereafter to be explained.

There was nothing remarkable in the passage, unless that every creature
on board was sea-sick, except the pigs; even to them, however, the
change was a disagreeable one; for to be pent up in the hold of a ship
was a deprivation of liberty, which, fresh as they were from their
native hills, they could not relish. They felt, therefore, as patriots,
a loss of freedom, but not a whit of appetite; for, in truth, of the
latter no possible vicissitude short of death could deprive them.

Phil, however, with an assumed air of simplicity absolutely stupid,
disposed of them to a Yorkshire dealer at about twice the value they
would have brought in Ireland, though as pigs went in England it was low
enough. He declared that they had been fed on tip-top feeding: which was
literally true, as he afterwards admitted that the tops of nettles and
potato stalks constituted the only nourishment they had got for three
weeks before.

The Yorkshireman looked with great contempt upon what he considered a
miserable essay to take him in.

“What a fule this Hirishmun mun bea;” said he, “to think to teake me
in! Had he said that them there Hirish swoine were badly feade, I’d
ha’ thought it fairish enough on un; but to seay that they was oll weal
feade on tip-top feeadin’! Nea, nea! I knaws weal enough that they
was noat feade on nothin’ at oll, which meakes them loak so poorish!
Howsomever, I shall fatten them. I’se warrant--I’se warrant I shall!”

When driven home to sties somewhat more comfortable than the cabins of
unfortunate Irishmen, they were well supplied with food which would have
been very often considered a luxury by poor Paddy himself, much less by
his pigs.

“Measter,” said the man who had seen them fed, “them there Hirish pigs
ha’ not feasted nout for a moonth yet: they feade like nout I seed o’ my
laife!!”

“Ay! ay!” replied the master, “I’se warrant they’ll soon fatten--I’se
warrant they shall, Hodge--they be praime feeders--I’se warrant they
shall; and then, Hodge, we’ve bit the soft Hirishmun.”

Hodge gave a knowing look at his master, and grinned at this
observation.

The next morning Hodge repaired to the sties to see how they were
thriving; when, to his great consternation, he found the feeding-troughs
clean as if they had been washed, and, not a single Irish pig to be seen
or heard about the premises; but to what retreat the animals could
have betaken themselves, was completely beyond his comprehension. He
scratched his head, and looked about him in much perplexity.

“Dang un!” he exclaimed, “I never seed nout like this.”

He would have proceeded in a strain of cogitation equally enlightened,
had not a noise of shouting, alarm, and confusion in the neighborhood,
excited his attention. He looked about him, and to his utter
astonishment saw that some extraordinary commotion prevailed, that the
country was up, and the hills alive with people, who ran, and shouted,
and wheeled at full flight in all possible directions. His first object
was to join the crowd, which he did as soon as possible, and found that
the pigs he had shut up the preceding night in sties whose enclosures
were at least four feet high, had cleared them like so many chamois, and
were now closely pursued by the neighbors, who rose _en masse_ to hunt
down and secure such dreadful depredators.

The waste and mischief they had committed in one night were absolutely
astonishing. Bean and turnip fields, and vegetable enclosures of all
descriptions, kitchen-gardens, corn-fields, and even flower-gardens,
were rooted up and destroyed with an appearance of system which would
have done credit to Terry Alt himself.

Their speed was the theme of every tongue. Hedges were taken in their
flight, and cleared in a style that occasioned the country people to
turn up their eyes, and scratch their heads in wonder. Dogs of all
degrees bit the dust, and were caught up dead in stupid amazement by
their owners, who began to doubt whether or not these extraordinary
animals were swine at all. The depredators in the meantime had adopted
the Horatian style of battle. Whenever there was an ungenerous advantage
taken in the pursuit, by slipping dogs across or before their path,
they shot off, at a tangent through the next crowd; many of whom they
prostrated in their flight; by this means they escaped the dogs until
the latter were somewhat exhausted, when, on finding one in advance of
the rest, they turned, and, with standing bristles and burning tusks,
fatally checked their pursuer in his full career. To wheel and fly until
another got in advance, was then the plan of fight; but, in fact the
conflict was conducted on the part of the Irish pigs with a fertility of
expediency that did credit to their country, and established for those
who displayed it, the possession of intellect far superior to that of
their opponents. The pigs now began to direct their course towards the
sties in which they had been so well fed the night before. This being
their last flight they radiated towards one common centre, with a
fierceness and celerity that occasioned the woman and children to take
shelter within doors. On arriving at the sties, the ease with which they
shot themselves over the four-feet walls was incredible. The farmer had
caught the alarm, and just came out in time to witness their return; he
stood with his hands driven down into the pockets of his red, capacious
waistcoat, and uttered not a word. When the last of them came bounding
into the sty, Hodge approached, quite breathless and exhausted:

“Oh, measter,” he exclaimed, “these be not Hirish pigs at oll, they be
Hirish devils; and yau mun ha’ bought ‘em fra a cunning mon!”

[Illustration: PAGE 911-- These be not Hirish pigs at oll]

“Hodge,” replied his master, “I’se be bit--I’se heard feather talk about
un. That breed’s true Hirish: but I’se try and sell ‘em to Squoire Jolly
to hunt wi’ as beagles, for he wants a pack. They do say all the swoine
that the deevils were put into ha’ been drawn; but for my peart, I’se
sure that some on un must ha’ escaped to Hireland.”

Phil during the commotion excited by his knavery in Yorkshire, was
traversing the country, in order to dispose of his remaining pig; and
the manner in which he effected his first sale of it was as follows:

A gentleman was one evening standing with some laborers by the wayside
when a tattered Irishman, equipped in a pair of white dusty brogues,
stockings without feet, old patched breeches, a bag slung across his
shoulder, his coarse shirt lying open about a neck tanned by the sun
into a reddish yellow, a hat nearly the color of the shoes, and a hay
rope tied for comfort about his waist; in one hand he also held a straw
rope, that depended from the hind leg of a pig which he drove before
him; in the other was a cudgel, by the assistance of which he contrived
to limp on after it, his two shoulder-blades rising and falling
alternately with a shrugging motion that indicated great fatigue.

When he came opposite where the gentleman stood he checked the pig,
which instinctively commenced feeding upon the grass by the edge of the
road.

“Och,” said he, wiping his brow with the cuff of his coat, “_mavrone
orth a muck_,* but I’m kilt wit you. Musha, Gad bless yer haner, an’
maybe ye’d buy a slip of a pig fwhrom me, that has my heart bruck, so
she has, if ever any body’s heart was bruck wit the likes of her; an’
sure so there was, no doubt, or I wouldn’t be as I am wid her. I’ll give
her a dead bargain, sir; for it’s only to get her aff av my hands I’m
wanting plase yer haner--_husth amuck--husth, a veehone!_** Be asy, an’
me in conwersation wid his haner here!”

     * My sorrow on you for a pig.

     ** Silence pig! Silence, you pig! Silence, you
     vagabond!

“You are an Irishman?” the gentleman inquired.

“I am, sir, from Connaught, yer haner, an’ ill sell the crathur dag
cheap, all out. Asy, you thief!”

“I don’t want the pig, my good fellow,” replied the Englishman,
without evincing curiosity enough to inquire how he came to have such a
commodity for sale.

“She’d be the darlint in no time wid you, sir; the run o’ your kitchen
‘ud make her up a beauty, your haner, along wit no trouble to the
sarvints about sweepin’ it, or any thing. You’d only have to lay down
the potato-basket on the flure, or the misthress, Gad bless her, could
do it, an’ not lave a crumblin’ behind her, besides sleepin, your haner,
in the carner beyant, if she’d take the throuble.”

The sluggish phlegm of the Englisman was stirred up a little by the
twisted, and somewhat incomprehensible nature of these instructions.

“How far do you intend to proceed tonight, Paddy?” said he.

“The sarra one o’ myself knows, plaze yer haner: sure we’ve an ould
sayin’ of our own in Ireland beyant--that he’s a wise man can I tell how
far he’ll go, sir, till he comes to his journey’s ind. I’ll give this
crathur to you at more nor her value, yer haner.”

“More!--why the man knows not what he’s saying,” observed the gentleman;
“less you mean, I suppose, Paddy?”

“More or less, sir: you’ll get her a bargain; an’ Gad bless you, sir!”

“But it is a commodity which I don’t want at present. I am very well
stocked with pigs, as it is. Try elsewhere.”

“She’d flog the counthry side, sir; an’ if the misthress herself, sir,
‘ud shake the wishp o’ sthraw fwor her in the kitchen, sir, near the
whoire. Yer haner could spake to her about it; an’ in no time put a
knife into her whin you plazed. In regard o’ the other thing, sir--she’s
like a Christyeen, yer haner, an’ no throuble, sir, if you’d be seein’
company or any thing.”

“It’s an extraordinary pig, this, of yours.”

“It’s no lie fwhor you, sir; she’s as clane an’ dacent a crathur, sir!
Och, if the same pig ‘ud come into the care o’ the misthress, Gad
bliss her! an’ I’m sure if she has as much gudness in her face as the
hanerable _dinnha ousahl_ (* gentleman)--the handsome gintleman she’s
married upon!--you’ll have her thrivin’ bravely, sir, shartly, plase
Gad, if you’ll take courage. Will I dhrive her up the aveny fwor you,
sir? A good gintlewoman I’m sure, is the same misthriss! Will I dhrive
her up fwor you, sir? _Shadh amuck--shadh dherin!_“*

     *Behave yourself pig--behave, I say!

“No, no; I have no further time to lose; you may go forward.”

“Thank your haner; is it whorid toarst the house abow, sir? I wouldn’t
be standin’ up, sir, wit you about a thrifle; an you’ll have her, sir,
fwhor any thing you plase beyant a pound, yer haner; an’ ‘tis throwin’
her away it is: but one can’t be hard wit a rale gintleman any way.”

“You only annoy me, man; besides I don’t want the pig; you lose time; I
don’t want to buy it, I repeat to you.”

“Gad bliss you, sir--Gad bliss you. Maybe if I’d make up to the
mishthress, yer haner! Thrath she wouldn’t turn the crathur from the
place, in regard that the tindherness ow the feelin’ would come ower
her--the rale gintlewoman, any way! ‘Tis dag chape you have her at what
I said, sir; an’ Gad bliss you!”

“Do you want to compel me to purchase it whether I will or no?”

“Thrath, it’s whor next to nothin’ I’m giv-in’ her to you, sir; but
sure you can make your own price at any thing beyant a pound. _Huerish
amuck--sladh anish!_--be asy, you crathur, sure you’re gettin’ into good
quarthers, any how--go into the hanerable English gintleman’s kitchen,
an’ God knows it’s a pleasure to dale wit ‘em. Och, the world’s differ
there is betuxt them, an’ our own dirty Irish buckeens, that ‘ud shkin
a bad skilleen, an’ pay their debts wit the remaindher. The gateman ‘ud
let me in, yer haner, an’ I’ll meet you at the big house, abow.”

“Upon my honor this is a good jest,” said the gentleman, absolutely
teased into a compliance; “you are forcing me to buy that which I don’t
want.”

“Sure you will, sir; you’ll want more nor that yit, please Gad, if you
be spared. Come, amuck--come, you crathur; faix you’re in luck so you
are--gettin’ so good a place wit his haner, here, that you won’t know
yourself shortly, plase God.”

He immediately commenced driving his pig towards the gentleman’s
residence with such an air of utter simplicity, as would have imposed
upon any man not guided by direct inspiration. Whilst he approached the
house, its proprietor arrived there by another path a few minutes before
him, and, addressing his lady, said:

“My dear, will you come and look at a purchase which an Irishman has
absolutely compelled me to make? You had better come and see himself,
too, for he is the greatest simpleton of an Irishman I have ever met
with.”

The lady’s curiosity was more easily excited than that of her husband.
She not only came out, but brought with her some ladies who had been on
a visit, in order to hear the Irishman’s brogue, and to amuse themselves
at his expense. Of the pig, too, it appeared she was determined to know
something.

“George, my love, is the pig also from Ireland?”

“I don’t know, my dear; but I should think so from its fleshless
appearance. I have never seen so spare an animal of that class in this
country.”

“Juliana,” said one of the ladies to her companion, “don’t go too near
him. Gracious! look at the bludgeon, or beam, or something he carries
in his hand, to fight’ and beat the people, I suppose: yet,” she added,
putting up her glass, “the man is actually not ill-looking; and, though
not so tall as the Irishman in Sheridan’s Rivals, he is well made.”

“His eyes are good,” said her companion--“a bright gray, and keen; and
were it not that his nose is rather short and turned up, he would be
handsome.”

“George, my love,” exclaimed the lady of the mansion, “he is like most
Irishmen of his class that I have seen; indeed, scarcely so intelligent,
for he does appear quite a simpleton, except, perhaps, a lurking kind of
expression, which is a sign of their humor, I suppose. Don’t you think
so, my love?”

“No, my dear; I think him a bad specimen of the Irishman. Whether it
is that he talks our language but imperfectly, or that he is a stupid
creature, I cannot say; but in selling the pig just now, he actually
told me that he would let me have it for more than it was worth.”

“Oh, that was so laughable! We will speak to him, though.”

The degree of estimation in which these civilized English held Phil was
so low, that this conversation took place within a few yards of him,
precisely as if he had been an animal of an inferior species, or one of
the aborigines of New Zealand.

“Pray what is your name?” inquired the matron.

“Phadhrumshagh Corfuffle, plase yer haner: my fadher carried the same
name upon him. We’re av the Corfuflies av Leatherum Laghy, my lady; but
my grandmudher was a Dornyeen, an’ my own mudher, plase yer haner, was
o’ the Shudhurthagans o’ Ballymadoghy, my ladyship, _Sladh anish, amuck
bradagh!_*--be asy, can’t you, an’ me in conwersation wit the beauty o’
the world that I’m spakin’ to.”

     * Be quiet now, you wicked pig.

“That’s the Negus language,” observed,one of the young ladies, who
affected to be a wit and a blue-stocking; “it’s Irish and English
mixed.”

“Thrath, an’ but that the handsome young lady’s so purty,” observed
Phil, “I’d be sayin’ myself that that’s a quare remark upon a poor
unlarned man; but, Gad bless her, she is so purty what can one say for
lookin’ an her!”

“The poor man, Adelaide, speaks as well as he can,” replied the lady,
rather reprovingly: “he is by no means so wild as one would have
expected.”

“Candidly speaking, much _tamer_ than I expected,” rejoined the wit.
Indeed, I meant the poor Irishman no offence.”

“Where did you get the pig, friend? and how came you to have it for sale
so far from home?”

“Fwhy it isn’t whor sale, my lady,” replied Phil, evading the former
question; “the masther here, Gad bless him an’ spare him to you,
ma’am!--thrath, an’ it’s his four quarthers that knew how to pick out
a wife, any how, whor beauty an’ all hanerable whormations o’
grandheur--so he did; an’ well he desarves you, my lady: faix, it’s a
fine houseful o’ thim you’ll have, plase Gad--an’ fwhy not? whin it’s
all in the coorse o’ Providence, bein’ both so handsome:--he gev me a
pound note whor her my ladyship, an’ his own plisure aftherwards; an’
I’m now waitin’ to be ped.”

“What kind of a country is Ireland, as I understand you are an
Irishman?”

“Thrath, my lady, it’s like fwhat maybe you never seen--a fool’s purse,
ten guineas goin’ out whor one that goes in.”

“Upon my word that’s wit,” observed the young blue-stocking.

“What’s your opinion of Irishwomen?” the lady continued; “are they
handsomer than the English ladies, think you?”

“Murdher, my lady,” says Phil, raising his caubeen, and scratching his
head in pretended perplexity, with his linger and thumb, “fwhat am I to
say to that, ma’am, and all of yez to the fwhore? But the sarra one av
me will give it agin the darlin’s beyant.”

“But which do you think the more handsome?”

“Thrath, I do, my lady; the Irish and English women would flog the
world, an’ sure it would be a burnin’ shame to go to sot them agin one
another fwhor beauty.”

“Whom do you mean by the ‘darlin’s beyant?’” inquired the blue-stocking,
attempting to pronounce the words.

“Faix, miss, who but the crathers ower the wather, that kills us
entirely, so they do.”

“I cannot comprehend him,” she added to the lady of the mansion.

“Arrah, maybe I’d make bould to take up the manners from you fwhor a
while, my lady, Plase yer haner?” said Phil, addressing the latter.

“I do not properly understand you,” she replied, “speak plainer.”

“Troth, that’s fwhat they do, yer haner; they never go about the bush
wit yez--the gintlemen, ma’am, of our country, fwhin they do be coortin’
yez; an’ I want to ax, ma’am, if you plase, fwhat you think of thim,
that is if ever any of them had the luck to come acrass you, my lady?”

“I have not been acquainted with many Irish gentlemen,” she replied,
“but I hear they are men of a remarkable character.”

“Faix, ‘tis you may say that,” replied Phil; “sowl, my lady, ‘tis well
for the masther here, plase yer haner, sir, that none o’ them met
wit the misthress before you was both marrid, or, wit riverence be it
spoken, ‘tis the sweet side o’ the tongue they’d be layin’ upon you,
ma’am, an’ the rough side to the masther himself, along wit a few
scrapes of a pen on a slip o’ paper, jist to appoint the time and place,
in regard of her ladyship’s purty complexion--an’ who can deny that,
any way? Faix, ma’am, they’ve a way wit them, my counthrymen, that the
ladies like well enough to thravel by. Asy, you deludher, an’ me in
conwersaytion wit the quality.”

“I am quite anxious to know how you came by the pig, Paddy,” said the
wit.

“Arrah, miss, sure ‘tisn’t pigs you’re thinkin’ on, an’ us discoorsin’
about the gintlemen from Ireland, that you’re all so fond ow here; faix,
miss, they’re the boys that fwoight for yees, an’ ‘ud rather be bringing
an Englishman to the sad fwhor your sakes, nor atin’ bread an’ butther.
Fwhy, now, miss, if you were beyant wit us, sarra ounce o’ gunpqwdher
we’d have in no time, for love or money.”

“Upon my word I should like to see Ireland!” exclaimed the
blue-stocking; “but why would the gunpowder get scarce, pray?”

“Faix, fightin’ about you, miss, an’ all of yez, sure; for myself sees
no differ at all in your hanerable fwhormations of beauty and grandheur,
an’ all high-flown admirations.”

“But tell us where you got the pig, Paddy?” persisted the wit, struck
naturally enough with the circumstance. “How do you come to have an
Irish pig so far from home?”

“Fwhy thin, miss, ‘twas to a brother o’ my own I was bringing it, that
was livin’ down the counthry here, an’ fwhin I came to fwhere he lived,
the sarra one o’ me knew the place, in regard o’ havin’ forgotten the
name of it entirely, an’ there was I wit the poor crathur an my hands,
till his haner here bought it from me--Gad bless you, sir!”

“As I live, there’s a fine Irish blunder,” observed the wit; “I shall
put in my commonplace-book--it will be so genuine. I declare I’m quite
delighted!”

“Well, Paddy,” said the gentleman, “here’s your money. There’s a pound
for you, and that’s much more than the miserable animal is worth.”

“Troth, sir, you have the crathur at what we call in Ireland a bargain.*
Maybe yer haner ‘ud spit upon the money fwhor luck, sir. It’s the way we
do, sir, beyant.”

     * Ironically--a take in.

“No, no, Paddy, take it as it is. Good heavens! what barbarous habits
these Irish have in all their modes of life, and how far they are
removed from anything like civilization!”

“Thank yer haner. Faix, sir, this’ll come so handy for the landlord at
kome, in regard o’ the rint for the bit o’ phatie ground, so it will, if
I can get home agin widout brakin’ it. Arrah, maybe yer haner ‘ud give
me the price o’ my bed, an’ a bit to ate, sir, an’ keep me from brakin’
in upon this, sir, Gad bless the money! I’m thinkin’ o’ the poor wife
an’ childher, sir--strivin’, so I am, to do fwhor the darlins.”

“Poor soul,” said the lady, “he is affectionate in the midst of his
wretchedness and ignorance.”

“Here--here,” replied the Englishman, anxious to get rid of him,
“there’s a shilling, which I give because you appear to be attached to
your family.”

“Och, och, fwhat can I say, sir, only that long may you reign ower your
family, an’ the hanerable ladies to the fwore, sir. Gad fwhorever bliss
you, sir, but you’re the kind, noble gintleman, an’ all belongin’ to
you, sir!”

Having received the shilling, he was in the act of departing, when,
after turning it deliberately in his hand, shrugging his shoulders
two or three times, and scratching his head, with a vacant face he
approached the lady.

“Musha, ma’am, an maybe ye’d have the tindherness in your heart, seein’
that the gudness is in yer hanerable face, any way, an’ it would save
the skillyeen that the masther gev’d for payin’ my passage, so it would,
jist to bid the steward, my ladyship, to ardher me a bit to ate in the
kitchen below. The hunger, ma’am, is hard upon me, my lady; an’ fwhat
I’m doin’, sure, is in regard o’ the wife at home, an’ the childher, the
crathurs, an’ me far fwhrom them, in a sthrange country, Gad help me!”

“What a singular being, George! and how beautifully is the economy of
domestic affection exemplified, notwithstanding his half-savage
state, in the little plans he devises for the benefit of his wife and
children!” exclaimed the good lady, quite unconscious that Phil was
a bachelor. “Juliana, my love, desire Timmins to give him his dinner.
Follow this young lady, good man, and she will order you refreshment.”

“Gad’s blessin’ upon your beauty an’ gudness, my lady; an’ a man might
thravel far afore he’d meet the likes o’ you for aither o’ them. Is it
the other handsome young lady I’m to folly, ma’am?”

“Yes,” replied the young wit, with an arch smile; “come after me.”

“Thrath, miss, an’ it’s an asy task to do that, any way; wit a heart an’
a half I go, acushla; an’ I seen the day, miss, that it’s not much of
mate an’ dhrink would thruble me, if I jist got lave to be lookin’ at
you, wit nothing but yourself to think an. But the wife an’ childher,
miss, makes great changes in us entirely.”

“Why you are quite gallant, Paddy.”

“Trath, I suppose I am now, miss; but you see, my honerable young lady,
that’s our fwhailin’ at home: the counthry’s poor, an’ we can’t help it,
whedor or not. We’re fwhorced to it, miss, whin we come ower here, by
you, an’ the likes o’ you, mavourneen!”

Phil then proceeded to the house, was sent to the kitchen by the young
lady, and furnished through the steward with an abundant supply of
cold meat, bread, and beer, of which he contrived to make a meal that
somewhat astonished the servants. Having satisfied his hunger, he
deliberately--but with the greatest simplicity of countenance--filled
the wallet which he carried slung across his back, with whatever he had
left, observing as he did it:--

“Fwhy, thin, ‘tis sthrange it is, that the same custom is wit us in
Ireland beyant that is here: fwhor whinever a thraveller is axed in, he
always brings fwhat he doesn’t ate along wit him. An sure enough it’s
the same here amongst yez,” added he, packing up the bread and beef as
he spoke, “but Gad bliss the custom, any how, fwhor it’s a good one!”

When he had secured the provender, and was ready to resume his journey,
he began to yawn, and to exhibit the most unequivocal symptoms of
fatigue.

“Arrah, sir,” said he to the steward, “you wouldn’t have e’er an ould
barn that I’d throw myself in fwhor the night? The sarra leg I have to
put undher me, now that I’ve got stiff with the sittin’ so lang; that,
an’ a wishp o’ sthraw, to sleep an, an’ Gad bliss you!”

“Paddy, I cannot say,” replied the steward; “but I shall ask my master,
and if he orders it, you shall have the comfort of a hard floor and
clean straw, Paddy--that you shall.”

“Many thanks to you, sir: it’s in your face, in thrath, the same gudness
an’ ginerosity.”

The gentleman, on hearing Phil’s request to be permitted a
sleeping-place in the barn, was rather surprised at his wretched notion
of comfort than at the request itself.

“Certainly, Timmins, let him sleep there,” he replied; “give him sacks
and straw enough. I dare say he will feel the privilege a luxury,
poor devil, after his fatigue. Give him his breakfast in the morning,
Timmins. Good heavens,” he added, “what a singular people! What an
amazing progress civilization must make before these Irish can be
brought at all near the commonest standard of humanity!”

At this moment Phil, who was determined to back the steward’s request,
approached them.

“Paddy,” said the gentleman, anticipating him, “I have ordered you sacks
and straw in the barn, and your breakfast in the morning before you set
out.”

“Thrath,” said Phil, “if there’s e’er a stray blissin’ goin’, depind an
it, sir, you’ll get it fwhor your hanerable ginerosity to the sthranger.
But about the ‘slip,’ sir--if the misthress herself ‘ud shake the whisp
o’ sthraw fwhor her in the far carner o’ the kitchen below, an’ see her
gettin’ her supper, the crathur, before she’d put her to bed, she’d be
thrivin’ like a salmon, sir, in less than no time; and to ardher the
sarwints, sir, if you plase, not to be defraudin’ the crathur of the big
phaties. Fwhor in regard it cannot spake fwhor itself, sir, it frets as
wise as a Christyeen, when it’s not honestly thrated.”

“Never fear, Paddy; we shall take good care of it.”

“Thank you, sir, but I aften heered, sir, that you dunno how to feed
pigs in this counthry in ardher to mix the fwhat an’ lane, lair (layer)
about.”

“And how do you manage that in Ireland, Paddy?”

“Fwhy, sir, I’ll tell you how the misthress Gad bless her, will manage
it fwhor you. Take the crathur, sir, an’ feed it to-morrow, till its as
full as a tick--that’s for the fwhat, sir; thin let her give it nothin’
at all the next day, but keep it black fwhastin’--that’s fwhor the lane
(leap). Let her stick to that, sir, keepin’ it atin’ one day an’ fastin’
an-odher, for six months, thin put a knife in it, an’ if you don’t have
the fwhat an’ lane, lair about, beautiful all out, fwhy nirer bl’eve
Phadrumshagh Corfuffle agin. Ay, indeed!”

The Englishman looked keenly at Phil, but could only read in his
countenance a thorough and implicit belief in his own recipe for mixing
the fat and lean. It is impossible to express his contempt for the sense
and intellect of Phil; nothing could surpass it but the contempt which
Phil entertained for him.

“Well,” said he to the servant, “I have often heard of the barbarous
habits of the Irish, but I must say that the incidents of this evening
have set my mind at rest upon the subject. Good heavens! when will ever
this besotted country rise in the scale of nations! Did ever a human
being hear of such a method of feeding swine! I should have thought it
incredible had I heard it from any but an Irishman!”

Phil then retired to the kitchen, where his assumed simplicity highly
amused the servants, who, after an hour or two’s fun with “Paddy,”
 conducted him in a kind of contemptuous procession to the barn, where
they left him to his repose.

The next morning he failed to appear at the hour of breakfast, but his
non-appearance was attributed to his fatigue, in consequence of which he
was supposed to have overslept himself. On going, however, to call him
from the barn, they discovered that he had decamped; and on looking
after the “slip,” it was found that both had taken French leave of the
Englishman. Phil and the pig had actually travelled fifteen miles that
morning, before the hour on which he was missed--Phil going at a dog’s
trot, and the pig following at such a respectful distance as might not
appear to identify them as fellow-travellers. In this manner Phil
sold the pig to upwards of two dozen intelligent English gentlemen and
farmers, and after winding up his bargains successfully, both arrived in
Liverpool, highly delighted by their commercial trip through England.

The passage from Liverpool to Dublin, in Phil’s time, was far different
to that which steam and British enterprise have since made it. A vessel
was ready to sail for the latter place on the very day of Phil’s arrival
in town; and, as he felt rather anxious to get out of England as soon
as he could, he came, after selling his pig in good earnest, to the
aforesaid vessel to ascertain if it were possible to get a deck passage.
The year had then advanced to the latter part of autumn; so that it
was the season when those inconceivable hordes of Irishmen who emigrate
periodically for the purpose of lightening John Bull’s labor, were
in the act of returning to that country in which they find little to
welcome them--but domestic affection and misery.

When Phil arrived at the vessel, he found the captain in a state of
peculiar difficulty. About twelve or fourteen gentlemen of rank and
property, together with a score or upwards of highly respectable
persons, but of less consideration, were in equal embarrassment. The
fact was, that as no other vessel left Liverpool that day, about five
hundred Irishmen, mostly reapers and mowers, had crowded upon deck, each
determined to keep his place at all hazards. The captain, whose vessel
was small, and none of the stoutest, flatly refused to put to sea with
such a number. He told them it was madness to think of it; he could not
risk the lives of the other passengers, nor even their own, by sailing
with five hundred on the deck of so small a vessel. If the one-half of
them would withdraw peaceably, he would carry the other half, which was
as much as he could possibly accomplish. They were very willing to grant
that what he said was true; but in the meantime, not a man of them
would move, and to clear out such a number of fellows, who loved nothing
better than fighting, armed, too, with sickles and scythes, was a task
beyond either his ability or inclination to execute. He remonstrated
with them, entreated, raged, swore, and threatened; but all to no
purpose. His threats and entreaties were received with equal good-humor.
Gibes and jokes were broken on him without number, and as his passion
increased, so did their mirth, until nothing could be seen but the
captain in vehement gesticulation, the Irishmen huzzaing him so
vociferously, that his damns and curses, uttered against them, could not
reach even his own ears.

“Gentlemen,” said he to his cabin passengers, “for the love of Heaven,
tax your invention to discover some means whereby to get one-half of
these men out of the vessel, otherwise it will be impossible that we can
sail to-day. I have already proffered to take one-half of them by lot,
but they will not hear of it; and how to manage I am sure I don’t know.”

The matter, however, was beyond their depth; the thing seemed utterly
impracticable, and the chances of their putting to sea were becoming
fainter and fainter.

“Bl--t their eyes!” he at length exclaimed, “the ragged, hungry devils!
If they heard me with decency I could bear their obstinacy bettor: but
no, they must turn me into ridicule, and break their jests, and turn
their cursed barbarous grins upon me in my own vessel. I say, boys,”
 he added, proceeding to address them once more--“I say, savages, I have
just three observations to make. The first is,”--

“Arrah, Captain, avourneen, hadn’t you betther get upon a stool,” said
a voice, “an’ put a text before it, thin divide it dacently into three
halves, an’ make a sarmon of it.”

“Captain, you wor intended for the church,” added another. “You’re the
moral (* model) of a Methodist preacher, if you wor dressed in black.”

“Let him alone,” said a third; “he’d be a jinteel man enough in a
wildherness, an’ ‘ud make an illigant dancin’-masther to the bears.”

“He’s as graceful as a shaved pig on its hind legs, dancin’ the
‘Baltithrum Jig.’”

The captain’s face was literally black with passion: he turned away with
a curse, which produced another huzza, and swore that he would rather
encounter the Bay of Biscay in a storm, than have anything to do with
such an unmanageable mob.

“Captain,” said a little, shrewd-looking Connaught man, “what ‘ud you be
willin’ to give anybody, ower an’ abow his free passage, that ‘ud tell
you how to get one half o’ them out?”

“I’ll give him a crown,” replied the captain, “together with grog and
rations to the eyes: I’ll be hanged if I don’t.”

“Then I’ll do it fwhor you, sir, if you keep your word wit me.”

“Done!” said the captain; “it’s a bargain, my good fellow, if you
accomplish it; and, what’s more, I’ll consider you a knowing one.”

“I’m a poor Cannaught man, your haner,” replied our friend Phil; “but
what’s to prevent me thryin’? Tell thim,” he continued, “that you must
go; purtind to be for takin’ thim all wit you, sir. Put Munster agin
Connaught, one-half on this side, an’ the odher an that, to keep the
crathur of a ship steady, your haner; an’ fwhin you have thim half
an’ half, wit a little room betuxt thim, ‘now,’ says yer haner, ‘boys,
you’re divided into two halves; if one side kicks the other out o’ the
ship, I’ll bring the conquirors.’”

The captain said not a word in reply to Phil, but immediately ranged the
Munster and Connaught men on each side of the deck--a matter which he
found little difficulty in accomplishing, for each party, hoping that he
intended to take themselves, readily declared their province, and stood
together. When they were properly separated, there still remained about
forty or fifty persons belonging to neither province; but, at Phil’s
suggestion, the captain paired them off to each division, man for man,
until they were drawn up into two bodies.

“Now” said he, “there you stand: let one-half of you drub the other out
of the vessel, and the conquerors shall get their passage.”

Instant was the struggle that ensued for the sake of securing a passage,
and from the anxiety to save a shilling, by getting out of Liverpool
on that day. The saving of the shilling is indeed a consideration with
Paddy which drives him to the various resources of begging, claiming
kindred with his resident countrymen in England, pretended illness,
coming to be passed from parish to parish, and all the turnings and
shiftings which his reluctance to part with money renders necessary.
Another night, therefore, and probably another day, in Liverpool, would
have been attended with expense. This argument prevailed with all: with
Munster as well as with Connaught, and they fought accordingly.

When the attack first commenced, each, party hoped to be able to expel
the other without blows. This plan was soon abandoned. In a few minutes
the sticks and fists were busy. Throttling, tugging, cuffing, and
knocking down--shouting, hallooing, huzzaing, and yelling, gave evident
proofs that the captain, in embracing Phil’s proposal, had unwittingly
applied the match to a mine, whose explosion was likely to be attended
with disastrous consequences. As the fight became warm, and the struggle
more desperate, the hooks and scythes were resorted to; blood began to
flow, and men to fall, disabled and apparently dying. The immense crowd
which had now assembled to witness the fight among the Irishmen, could
not stand tamely by, and see so many lives likely to be lost, without
calling in the civil authorities. A number of constables in a few
minutes attended; but these worthy officers of the civil authorities
experienced very uncivil treatment from the fists, cudgels, and sickles
of both parties. In fact, they were obliged to get from among the
rioters with all possible celerity, and to suggest to the magistrates
the necessity of calling ir the military.

In the meantime the battle rose into a furious and bitter struggle for
victory. The deck of the vessel was actually slippery with blood, and
many were lying in an almost lifeless state. Several were pitched into
the hold, and had their legs and arms broken by the fall; some were
tossed over the sides of the vessel, and only saved from drowning by
the activity of the sailors; and not a few of those who had been knocked
down in the beginning of the fray were trampled into insensibility.

The Munster men at length gave way; and their opponents, following up
their advantage, succeeded in driving them to a man out of the vessel,
just as the military arrived. Fortunately their interference was
unnecessary. The ruffianly captain’s object was accomplished; and as
no lives were lost, nor any injury more serious than broken bones and
flesh-wounds sustained, he got the vessel in readiness, and put to sea.

Who would not think that the Irish were a nation of misers, when
our readers are informed that all this bloodshed arose from their
unwillingness to lose a shilling by remaining in Liverpool another
night? Or who could believe that these very men, on reaching home, and
meeting their friends in a fair or market, or in a public-house after
mass on a Sunday, would sit down and spend, recklessly and foolishly,
that very money which in another country they part with as if it were
their very heart’s blood? Yet so it is! Unfortunately, Paddy is wiser
anywhere than at home, where wisdom, sobriety, and industry are best
calculated to promote his own interests.

This slight sketch of Phil Purcel we have presented to our readers as
a specimen of the low, cunning Connaught-man; and we have only to add,
that neither the pig-selling scene, nor the battle on the deck of the
vessel in Liverpool, is fictitious. On the contrary, we have purposely
kept the tone of our description of the latter circumstance beneath the
reality. Phil, however, is not drawn as a general portrait, but as
one of that knavish class of men called “jobbers,” a description
of swindlers certainly not more common in Ireland than in any other
country. We have known Connaughtmen as honest and honorable as it was
possible to be; yet there is a strong prejudice entertained against
them in every other province of Ireland, as is evident by the old adage,
“Never trust a Connaugtaman.”



THE GEOGRAPHY OF AN IRISH OATH.


No pen can do justice to the extravagance and frolic inseparable from
the character of of the Irish people; nor has any system of philosophy
been discovered that can with moral fitness be applied to them.
Phrenology fails to explain it; for, so far as the craniums of Irishmen
are concerned, according to the most capital surveys hitherto made and
reported on, it appears that, inasmuch as their moral and intellectual
organs predominate over the physical and sensual, the people ought,
therefore, to be ranked at the very tip-top of morality. We would warn
the phrenologists, however, not to be too sanguine in drawing inferences
from an examination of Paddy’s head. Heaven only knows the scenes in
which it is engaged, and the protuberances created by a long life of
hard fighting. Many an organ and development is brought out on it by the
cudgel, that never would have appeared had Nature been left to herself.

Drinking, fighting, and swearing, are the three great characteristics
of every people. Paddy’s love of fighting and of whiskey has been long
proverbial; and of his tact in swearing much has also been said. But
there is one department of oath-making in which he stands unrivalled and
unapproachable; I mean the alibi. There is where he shines, where his
oath, instead of being a mere matter of fact or opinion, rises up
into the dignity of epic narrative, containing within itself, all the
complexity of machinery, harmony of parts, and fertility of invention,
by which your true epic should be characterized.

The Englishman, whom we will call the historian in swearing, will depose
to the truth of this or that fact, but there the line is drawn; he
swears his oath so far as he knows, and stands still. “I’m sure, for my
part, I don’t know; I’ve said all I knows about it,” and beyond this his
besotted intellect goeth not.

The Scotchman, on the other hand, who is the metaphysician in swearing,
sometimes borders on equivocation. He decidedly goes farther than the
Englisman, not because he has less honesty, but more prudence. He will
assent to, or deny a proposition; for the Englishman’s “I don’t know,”
 and the Scotchman’s “I dinna ken,” are two very distinct assertions when
properly understood. The former stands out a monument of dulness, an
insuperable barrier against inquiry, ingenuity, and fancy; but the
latter frequently stretches itself so as to embrace hypothetically a
particular opinion.

But Paddy! Put him forward to prove an alibi for his fourteenth or
fifteenth cousin, and you will be gratified by the pomp, pride, and
circumstance of true swearing. Every oath with him is an epic--pure
poetry, abounding with humor, pathos, and the highest order of invention
and talent. He is not at ease, it is true, under facts; there is
something too commonplace in dealing with them, which his genius scorns.
But his flights--his flights are beautiful; and his episodes admirable
and happy. In fact, he is an improvisatore at oath-taking; with
this difference, that his extempore oaths possess all the ease and
correctness of labor and design.

He is not, however, _altogether_ averse to facts: but, like your true
poet, he veils, changes, and modifies them with such skill, that they
possess all the merit and graces of fiction. If he happen to make an
assertion incompatible with the plan of the piece, his genius acquires
fresh energy, enables him to widen the design, and to create new
machinery, with such happiness of adaptation, that what appeared out
of proportion of character is made, in his hands, to contribute to the
general strength and beauty of the oath.

‘Tis true, there is nothing perfect under the sun; but if there were,
it would certainly be Paddy at an _alibi_. Some flaws, no doubt, occur;
some slight inaccuracies may be noticed by a critical eye; an occasional
anachronism stands out, and a mistake or so in geography; but let it
be recollected that Paddy’s alibi is but a human production; let us not
judge him by harsher rules than those which we apply to Homer, Virgil,
or Shakspeare.

“Aliquando bonus dormitat Homerus,” is allowed on all hands. Virgil made
Dido and AEneas contemporary, though they were not so; and Shakspeare,
by the creative power of his genius, changed an inland town into a
seaport. Come, come, have bowels. Let epic swearing be treated with the
same courtesy shown to epic poetry, that is, if both are the production
of a rare genius. I maintain, that when Paddy commits a blemish he
is too harshly admonished for it. When he soars out of sight here, as
occasionally happens, does he not frequently alight somewhere about
Sydney Bay, much against his own inclination? And if he puts forth
a hasty production, is he not compelled, for the space of seven or
fourteen years, to revise his oath? But, indeed, few words of fiction
are properly encouraged in Ireland.

It would be unpardonable in us, however, to overlook the beneficial
effects of Paddy’s peculiar genius in swearing alibis. Some persons, who
display their own egregious ignorance of morality, may be disposed to
think that it tends to lessen the obligation of an oath, by inducing
a habit among the people of swearing to what is not true. We look upon
such persons as very dangerous to Ireland and to the repeal of the
Union; and we request them not to push their principles too far in the
disturbed parts of the country. Could society hold together a single
day, if nothing but truth were spoken, would not law and lawyers soon
become obsolete, if nothing but truth were sworn what would become of
parliament if truth alone were uttered there? Its annual proceedings
might be dispatched in a month. Fiction is the basis of society, the
bond of commercial prosperity, the channel of communication between
nation and nation, and not unfrequently the interpreter between a man
and his own conscience.

For these, and many other reasons which we could adduce, we say with
Paddy, “Long life to fiction!” When associated with swearing, it shines
in its brightest colors. What, for instance, is calculated to produce
the best and purest of the moral virtues so beautifully, as the swearing
an alibi? Here are fortitude and a love of freedom resisting oppression;
for it is well known that all law is oppression in Ireland.

There is compassion for the peculiar state of the poor boy, who,
perhaps, only burned a family in their beds; benevolence to prompt the
generous effort in his behalf; disinterestedness to run the risk of
becoming an involuntary absentee; fortitude in encountering a host
of brazen-faced lawyers; patience under the unsparing gripe of a
cross-examiner; perseverance in conducting the oath to its close against
a host of difficulties; and friendship, which bottoms and crowns them
all.

Paddy’s merits, however, touching the alibi, rest not here. Fiction on
these occasions only teaches him how to perform a duty. It may be,
that he is under the obligation of a previous oath not to give evidence
against certain of his friends and associates. Now, could anything in
the whole circle of religion or ethics be conceived that renders the
epic style of swearing so incumbent upon Paddy? There is a kind of moral
fitness in all things; for where the necessity of invention exists, it
is consolatory to reflect that the ability to invent is bestowed along
with it.

Next to the alibi comes Paddy’s powers in sustaining a
cross-examination. Many person thinks that this is his forte; but we
cannot yield to such an opinion, nor compromise his originality
of conception in the scope and plan of an alibi. It is marked by a
minuteness of touch, and a peculiarity of expression which give it every
appearance of real life. The circumstances are so well imagined,
the groups so naturally disposed, the coloring so finished, and the
background in such fine perspective, that the whole picture presents you
with such keeping and _vraisemblance_, as could be accomplished only by
the genius of a master.

In point of interest, however, we must admit that his ability in a
cross-examination ranks next to his skill in planning an alibi. There
is, in the former, a versatility of talent that keeps him always ready;
a happiness of retort, generally disastrous to the wit of the most
established cross-examiner; an apparent simplicity, which is quite as
impenetrable as the lawyer’s assurance; a _vis comica_, which puts the
court in tears; and an originality of sorrow, that often convulses it
with laughter. His resources, when he is pressed, are inexhaustible; and
the address, with which he contrives to gain time, that he may suit his
reply to the object of his evidence, is beyond all praise. And yet his
appearance when he mounts the table is anything but prepossessing; a
sheepish look, and a loose-jointed frame of body, wrapped in a frieze
great-coat, do not promise much. Nay, there is often a rueful blank
expression in his visage, which might lead a stranger to anticipate
nothing but blunders and dulness. This, however, is hypocrisy of the
first water. Just observe the tact with which he places his caubeen upon
the table, his kippeen across it, and the experienced air with which he
pulls up the waistbands of his breeches, absolutely girding his loins
for battle. ‘Tis true his blue eye has at present nothing remarkable in
it, except a drop or to of the native; but that is not remarkable.

[Illustration: PAGE 919-- A rueful blank expression in his visage]

When the direct examination has been concluded, nothing can be finer
than the simplicity with which he turns round to the lawyer who is to
cross-examine him. Yet, as if conscious that firmness and caution are
his main guards, he again pulls up his waistbands with a more vigorous
hitch, looks shyly into the very eyes of his opponent, and awaits the
first blow.

The question at length comes; and Paddy, after having raised the collar
of his big coat on his shoulder, and twisted up the shoulder along
with it, directly puts the query back to the lawyer, without altering a
syllable of it, for the purpose of ascertaining more accurately whether
that is the precise question that has been put to him; for Paddy is
conscientious. Then is the science displayed on both sides. The one,
a veteran, trained in all the technicalities of legal puzzles,
irony, blarney, sarcasm, impudence, stock jokes, quirks, rigmarolery,
brow-beating, ridicule, and subtlety; the other a poor peasant, relying
only upon the justice of a good cause and the gifts of nature; without
either experience, or learning, and with nothing but his native modesty
to meet the forensic effrontery of his antagonist.

Our readers will perceive that the odds are a thousand to one against
Paddy; yet, when he replies to a hackneyed genius at cross-examination,
how does it happen that he uniformly elicits those roars of laughter
which rise in the court, and convulse it from the judge to the crier? In
this laugh, which is usually at the expense of the cross-examiner, Paddy
himself always joins, so that the counsel has the double satisfaction of
being made not only the jest of the judge and his brother lawyers, but
of the ragged witness whom he attempted to make ridiculous.

It is not impossible that this merry mode of dispensing justice may
somewhat encourage Paddy in that independence of mind which relishes
not the idea of being altogether bound by oaths that are too often
administered with a jocular spirit. To most of the Irish in general an
oath is a solemn, to some, an awful thing. Of this wholesome reverence
for its sanction, two or three testimonies given in a court of justice
usually cured them. The indifferent, business-like manner in which the
oaths are put, the sing-song tone of voice, the rapid utterance of the
words, give to this solemn act an appearance of excellent burlesque,
which ultimately renders the whole proceedings remarkable for the
absence of truth and reality; but, at the same time, gives them
unquestionable merit as a dramatic representation, abounding with
fiction, well related and ably acted.

Thumb-kissing is another feature in Paddy’s adroitness too important to
be passed over in silence. Here his tact shines out again! It would
be impossible for him, in many cases, to meet the perplexities of a
cross-examination so cleverly as he does, if he did not believe that he
had, by kissing his thumb instead of the book, actually taken no oath,
and consequently given to himself a wider range of action. We must
admit, however, that this very circumstance involves him in difficulties
which are sometimes peculiarly embarrassing. Taking everything into
consideration, the prospect of freedom for his sixth cousin, the
consciousness of having kissed his thumb, or the consoling reflection
that he swore only on a Law Bible, it must be granted that the
opportunities presented by a cross-examination are well calculated to
display his wit, humor, and fertility of invention. He is accordingly
great in it; but still we maintain that his execution of an alibi is
his ablest performance, comprising, as it does, both the conception and
construction of the work.

Both the oaths and imprecations of the Irish display, like those who use
them, indications of great cruelty and great humor. Many of the
former exhibit that ingenuity which comes out when Paddy is on his
cross-examination in a court of justice. Every people, it is true,
have resorted to the habit of mutilating or changing in their oaths
the letters which form the Creator’s name; but we question if any have
surpassed the Irish in the cleverness with which they accomplish it.
Mock oaths are habitual to Irishmen in ordinary conversation; but the
use of any or all of them is not considered to constitute an oath: on
the contrary, they are in the mouths of many who would not, except upon
a very solemn occasion indeed, swear by the name of the Deity in its
proper form.

The ingenuity of their mock oaths is sufficient to occasion much
perplexity to any one disposed to consider it in connection with the
character and moral feelings of the people. Whether to note it as a
reluctance on their part to incur the guilt of an oath, or as a proof of
habitual tact in evading it by artifice, is manifestly a difficulty hard
to be overcome. We are decidedly inclined to the former; for although
there is much laxity of principle among Irishmen, naturally to
be expected from men whose moral state has been neglected by the
legislature, and deteriorated by political and religious asperity,
acting upon quick passions and badly regulated minds--yet we know
that they possess, after all, a strong, but vague undirected sense of
devotional feeling and reverence, which are associated with great crimes
and awfully dark shades of character. This explains one chief cause of
the sympathy which is felt in Ireland for criminals from whom the law
exacts the fatal penalty of death; and it also accounts, independently
of the existence of any illegal association, for the terrible
retribution inflicted upon those who come forward to prosecute them.
It is not in Ireland with criminals as in other countries, where the
character of a murderer or incendiary is notoriously bad, as resulting
from a life of gradual profligacy and villany. Far from it. In Ireland
you will find those crimes perpetrated by men who are good fathers, good
husbands, good sons, and good neighbors--by men who would share
their last morsel or their last shilling with a fellow-creature in
distress--who would generously lose their lives for a man who had
obliged them, provided he had not incurred their enmity--and who would
protect a defenseless stranger as far as lay in their power. There are
some mock oaths among Irishmen which must have had their origin amongst
those whose habits of thought were much more elevated than could be
supposed to characterize the lower orders. “By the powers of death” is
never now used as we have written it; but the ludicrous travestie of it,
“by the powdhors o’ delf,” is quite common. Of this and other mock oaths
it may be right to observe, that those who swear by them are in general
ignorant of their proper origin. There are some, however, of this
description whose original form is well known. One of these Paddy
displays considerable ingenuity in using. “By the cross” can scarcely be
classed under the mock oaths, but the manner in which it is pressed into
asseverations is amusing. When Paddy is affirming a truth he swears
“by the crass” simply, and this with him is an oath of considerable
obligation. He generally, in order to render it more impressive,
accompanies it with suitable action, that is, he places the forefinger
of each hand across, that he may assail you through two senses instead
of one. On the contrary, when he intends to hoax you by asserting what
is not true, he ingeniously multiplies the oath, and swears “by the five
crashes,” that is by his own five fingers, placing at the same time his
four fingers and his thumbs across each other in a most impressive and
vehement manner. Don’t believe him then--the knave is lying as fast as
possible, and with no remorse. “By the crass o’ Christ” is an oath of
much solemnity, and seldom used in a falsehood. Paddy also often places
two bits of straws across, and sometimes two sticks, upon which he
swears with an appearance of great heat and sincerity--_sed caveto!_

Irishmen generally consider iron as a sacred metal. In the interior of
the country, the thieves (but few in number) are frequently averse to
stealing it. Why it possesses this hold upon their affections it is
difficult to say, but it is certain that they rank it among their sacred
things, consider that to find it is lucky, and nail it over their doors
when found in the convenient shape of a horse-shoe. It is also used as
a medium of asserting truth. We believe, however, that the sanction it
imposes is not very strong. “By this blessed iron!”--“by this blessed
an’ holy iron!” are oaths of an inferior grade; but if the circumstance
on which they are founded be a matter of indifference, they seldom
depart from truth in using them.

We have said that Paddy, when engaged in a fight, is never at a loss for
a weapon, and we may also affirm that he is never at a loss for an
oath. When relating a narrative, or some other circumstance of his own
invention, if contradicted, he will corroborate it, in order to sustain
his credit or produce the proper impression, by an abrupt oath upon the
first object he can seize. “Arrah, nonsense! by this pipe in my hand,
it’s as thrue as”--and then, before he completes the illustration, he
goes on with a fine specimen of equivocation--“By the stool I’m sittin’
an, it is; an’ what more would, you have from me barrin’ I take my book
oath of it?” Thus does he, under the mask of an insinuation, induce you
to believe that he has actually sworn it, whereas the oath is always
left undefined and incomplete.

Sometimes he is exceedingly comprehensive in his adjurations, and swears
upon a magnificent scale; as, for instance,--“By the contints of all
the books that ever wor opened an’ shut, it’s as thrue as the sun to
the dial.” This certainly leaves “the five crasses” immeasurably behind.
However, be cautious, and not too confident in taking so sweeping and
learned an oath upon trust, notwithstanding its imposing effect. We
grant, indeed, that an oath which comprehends within its scope all the
learned libraries of Europe, including even the Alexandrian of old, is
not only an erudite one, but establishes in a high degree the taste of
the swearer, and displays on his part an uncommon grasp of intellect.
Still we recommend you, whenever you hear an alleged fact substantiated
by it, to set your ear as sharply as possible; for, after all, it
is more than probable that every book by which he has sworn might be
contained in a nutshell. The secret may be briefly explained:--Paddy is
in the habit of substituting the word never for ever. “By all the books
that never wor opened or shut,” the reader perceives, is only a nourish
of trumpets--a mere delusion of the enemy.

In fact, Paddy has oaths rising gradually from the lying ludicrous to
the superstitious solemn, each of which finely illustrates the nature of
the subject to which it is applied. When he swears “By the contints o’
Moll Kelly’s Primer,” or “By the piper that played afore Moses,” you
are, perhaps, as strongly inclined to believe him as when he draws upon
a more serious oath; that is, you almost regret the thing is not the
gospel that Paddy asserts it to be. In the former sense, the humorous
narrative which calls forth the laughable burlesque of “By the piper o’
Moses,” is usually the richest lie in the whole range of fiction.

Paddy is, in his ejaculatory, as well as in all his other mock oaths, a
kind, of smuggler in morality, imposing as often as he can upon his own
conscience, and upon those who exercise spiritual authority over him.
Perhaps more of his oaths are blood-stained than would be found among
the inhabitants of all Christendom put together.

Paddy’s oaths in his amours are generally rich specimens of humorous
knavery and cunning. It occasionally happens--but for the honor of
our virtuous countrywomen, we say but rarely--that by the honey of his
flattering and delusive tongue, he succeeds in placing some unsuspecting
girl’s reputation in rather a hazardous predicament. When the priest
comes to investigate the affair, and to cause him to make compensation
to the innocent creature who suffered by his blandishments, it is almost
uniformly ascertained that, in order to satisfy her scruples as to
the honesty of his promises, he had sworn marriage to her on a book
of ballads!!! In other cases blank books have been used for the same
purpose.

If, however, you wish to pin Paddy up in a corner, get him a Relic, a
Catholic prayer-book, or a Douay Bible to swear upon. Here is where the
fox--notwithstanding all his turnings and windings upon heretic Bibles,
books, or ballads, or mock oaths--is caught at last. The strongest
principle in him is superstition. It may be found as the prime mover in
his best and worst actions. An atrocious man, who is superstitious, will
perform many good and charitable actions, with a hope that their merit
in the sight of God may cancel the guilt of his crimes. On the other
hand, a good man, who is superstitiously the slave of his religious
opinions, will lend himself to those illegal combinations, whose object
is, by keeping ready a system of organized opposition to an heretical
government, to fulfil, if a political crisis should render it
practicable, the absurd prophecies of Pastorini and Columbkil. Although
the prophecies of the former would appear to be out of date to a
rational reader, yet Paddy, who can see farther into prophecy than any
rational reader, honestly believes that Pastorini has left for those who
are superstitiously given, sufficient range of expectation in several
parts of his work.

We might enumerate many other oaths in frequent use among the peasantry;
but as our object is not to detail them at full length, we trust that
those already specified may be considered sufficient to enable our
readers to get a fuller insight into their character, and their moral
influence upon the people.

The next thing which occurs to us in connection with the present
subject, is cursing; and here again Paddy holds the first place. His
imprecations are often full, bitter, and intense. Indeed, there is more
poetry and epigrammatic point in them than in those of any other country
in the world.

We find it a difficult thing to enumerate the Irish curses, so as to do
justice to a subject so varied and so liable to be shifted and improved
by the fertile genius of those who send them abroad. Indeed, to reduce
them into order and method would be a task of considerable difficulty.
Every occasion, and every fit of passion, frequently produce a new
curse, perhaps equal in bitterness to any that has gone before it.

Many of the Irish imprecations are difficult to be understood, having
their origin in some historical event, or in poetical metaphors that
require a considerable process of reasoning to explain them. Of this
twofold class is that general one, “The curse of Cromwell on you!” which
means, may you suffer all that a tyrant like Cromwell would inflict! and
“The curse o’the crows upon you!” which is probably an allusion to
the Danish invasion--a raven being the symbol of Denmark; or it may be
tantamount to “May you rot on the hills, that the crows may feed upon
your carcass!” Perhaps it may thus be understood to imprecate death upon
you or some member of your house--alluding to the superstition of rooks
hovering over the habitations of the sick, when the malady with which
they are afflicted is known to be fatal. Indeed, the latter must
certainly be the meaning of it, as is evident from the proverb of “Die,
an’ give the crow a puddin’.”

“Hell’s cure to you!--the devil’s luck to you!--high hanging to
you!--hard feeling to you!--a short coorse to you!” are all pretty
intense, and generally used under provocation and passion. In these
cases the curses just mentioned are directed immediately to the
offensive object, and there certainly is no want of the _malus animus_
to give them energy. It would be easy to multiply the imprecations
belonging to this class among the peasantry, but the task is rather
unpleasant. There are a few, however, which, in consequence of their
ingenuity, we cannot pass over: they are, in sooth, studies for the
swearer. “May you never die till you see your own funeral!” is a very
beautiful specimen of the periphrasis: it simply means, may you be
hanged; for he who is hanged is humorously said to be favored with a
view of that sombre spectacle, by which they mean the crowd that attends
an execution. To the same purpose is, “May you die wid a caper in your
heel!”--“May you die in your pumps!”--“May your last dance be a hornpipe
on the air!” These are all emblematic of hanging, and are uttered
sometimes in jest, and occasionally in earnest. “May the grass grow
before your door!” is highly imaginative and poetical. Nothing, indeed,
can present the mind with a stronger or more picturesque emblem of
desolation and ruin. Its malignity is terrible.

There are also mock imprecations as well as mock oaths. Of this
character are, “The devil go with you an’ sixpence, an’ thin you’ll
want neither money nor company!” This humorous and considerate curse
is generally confined to the female sex. When Paddy happens to be in a
romping mood, and teases his sweetheart too much, she usually utters it
with a countenance combating with smiles and frowns, while she stands in
the act of pinning up her dishevelled hair; her cheeks, particularly the
one next Paddy, deepened into a becoming blush.

“Bad scran to you!” is another form seldom used in anger: it is the same
as “Hard feeding to you!” “Bad win’ to you!” is “Ill health to you!”
 it is nearly the same as “Consumin’ (consumption) to you!” Two other
imprecations come under this head, which we will class together, because
they are counterparts of each other, with this difference, that one of
them is the most subtilely and intensely withering in its purport that
can well be conceived. The one is that common curse, “Bad ‘cess to you!”
 that is, bad success to you: we may identify it with “Hard fortune to
you!” The other is a keen one, indeed--“Sweet bad luck to you!” Now,
whether we consider the epithet sweet as bitterly ironical, or deem it
as a wish that prosperity may harden the heart to the accomplishment of
future damnation, as in the case of Dives, we must in either sense grant
that it is an oath of powerful hatred and venom. Occasionally the curse
of “Bad luck to you!” produces an admirable retort, which is pretty
common. When one man applies it to another, he is answered with “Good
luck to you, thin; but may neither of thim ever happen.”

“Six eggs to you, an’ half-a-dozen o’ them rotten!”--like “The devil go
with you an’ sixpence!” is another of those pleasantries which mostly
occur in the good-humored badinage between the sexes. It implies
disappointment.

There is a species of imprecation prevalent among Irishmen which we may
term neutral. It is ended by the word bit, and merely results from a
habit of swearing where there is no malignity of purpose. An Irishman,
when corroborating an assertion, however true or false, will often
say, “Bad luck to the bit but it is;”--“Divil fire the bit but it’s
thruth!”--“Damn the bit but it is!” and so on. In this form the mind is
not moved, nor the passions excited: it is therefore probably the most
insipid of all their imprecations.

Some of the most dreadful maledictions are to be heard among the
confirmed mendicants of Ireland. The wit, the gall, and the poetry
of these are uncommon. “May you melt off the earth like snow off the
ditch!” is one of a high order and intense malignity; but it is not
exclusively confined to mendicants, although they form that class among
which it is most prevalent. Nearly related to this is, “May you melt
like butther before a summer sun!” These are, indeed, essentially
poetical; they present the mind with appropriate imagery, and exhibit a
comparison perfectly just and striking. The former we think unrivalled.

Some of the Irish imprecations would appear to have come down to us from
the Ordeals. Of this class, probably, are the following: “May this be
poison to me!”--“May I be roasted on red hot iron!” Others of them,
from their boldness of metaphor, seem to be of Oriental descent. One
expression, indeed, is strikingly so. When a deep offence is offered
to an Irishman, under such peculiar circumstances that he cannot
immediately retaliate, he usually replies to his enemy--“You’ll sup
sorrow for this!”--“You’ll curse the day it happened!”--“I’ll make you
rub your heels together!” All those figurative denunciations are used
for the purpose of intimating the pain and agony he will compel his
enemy to suffer.

We cannot omit a form of imprecation for good, which is also habitual
among the peasantry of Ireland. It is certainly harmless, and argues
benevolence of heart. We mean such expressions as the following:
“Salvation to me!--May I never do harm!--May I never do an ill
turn!--May I never sin!” These are generally used by men who are
blameless and peaceable in their lives--simple and well-disposed in
their intercourse with the world.

At the head of those Irish imprecations which are dreaded by the people,
the Excommunication, of course, holds the first and most formidable
place. In the eyes of men of sense it is as absurd as it is illiberal:
but to the ignorant and superstitious, who look upon it as anything but
a _brutum fulmen_, it is terrible indeed.

Next in order are the curses of priests in their private capacity,
pilgrims, mendicants, and idiots. Of those also Paddy entertains a
wholesome dread; a circumstance which the pilgrim and mendicant turn
with great judgment to their own account. Many a legend and anecdote do
such chroniclers relate, when the family, with whom they rest for
the night, are all seated around the winter hearth. These are often
illustrative of the baneful effects of the poor man’s curse. Of course
they produce a proper impression; and, accordingly, Paddy avoids
offending such persons in any way that might bring him under their
displeasure.

A certain class of cursers much dreaded in Ireland are those of
the widow and the orphan. There is, however, something touching and
beautiful in this fear of injuring the sorrowful and unprotected. It
is, we are happy to say, a becoming and prominent feature in Paddy’s
character; for, to do him justice in his virtues as well as in his
vices, we repeat that he cannot be surpassed in his humanity to the
lonely widow and her helpless orphans. He will collect a number of his
friends, and proceed with them in a body to plant her bit of potato
ground, to reap her oats, to draw home her turf, or secure her hay. Nay,
he will beguile her of her sorrows with a natural sympathy and delicacy
that do him honor; his heart is open to her complaints, and his hand
ever extended to assist her.

There is a strange opinion to be found in Ireland upon the subject of
curses. The peasantry think that a curse, no matter how uttered, will
fall on something; but that it depends upon the person against whom it
is directed, whether or not it will descend on him. A curse, we have
heard them say, will rest for seven years in the air, ready to alight
upon the head of the person who provoked the malediction. It hovers
over him, like a kite over its prey, watching the moment when he may
be abandoned by his guardian angel: if this occurs, it shoots with the
rapidity of a meteor on his head, and clings to him in the shape of
illness, temptation, or some other calamity.

They think, however, that the blessing of one person may cancel the
curse of another; but this opinion does not affect the theory we have
just mentioned. When a man experiences an unpleasant accident, they will
say, “He has had some poor body’s curse;” and, on the contrary, when he
narrowly escapes it, they say, “He has had some poor body’s blessing.”

There is no country in which the phrases of good-will and affection are
so strong as in Ireland. The Irish language actually flows with the milk
and honey of love and friendship. Sweet and palatable is it to the other
sex, and sweetly can Paddy, with his deluding ways, administer it to
them from the top of his mellifluous tongue, as a dove feeds her young,
or as a kind mother her babe, shaping with her own pretty mouth every
morse of the delicate viands before it goes into that of the infant. In
this manner does Paddy, seated behind a ditch, of a bright Sunday, when
he ought to be at Mass, feed up some innocent girl, not with “false
music,” but with sweet words; for nothing more musical or melting than
his brogue ever dissolved a female heart. Indeed, it is of the danger
to be apprehended from the melody of his voice, that the admirable and
appropriate proverb speaks; for when he addresses his sweetheart, under
circumstances that justify suspicion, it is generally said--“Paddy’s
feedin’ her up wid false music.”

What language has a phrase equal in beauty and tenderness to _cushla
machree_--_pulse of my heart?_ Can it be paralleled in the whole
range of all that are, ever were, or ever will be spoken, for music,
sweetness, and a knowledge of anatomy? If Paddy is unrivalled at
swearing, he fairly throws the world behind him at the blarney. In
professing friendship, and making love, give him but a taste of the
native, and he is a walking honey-comb, that every woman who sees him
wishes to have a lick at; and Heaven knows, that frequently, at all
times, and in all places, does he get himself licked on their account.

Another expression of peculiar force is _vick machree_--or, son of my
heart. This is not only elegant, but affectionate, beyond almost any
other phrase except the foregoing. It is, in a sense, somewhat different
from that in which the philosophical poet has used it, a beautiful
comment upon the sentiment of “the child’s the father of the man,”
 uttered by the great, we might almost say, the glorious, Wordsworth.

We have seen many a youth, on more occasions than one, standing in
profound affliction over the dead body of his aged father, exclaiming,
“_Ahir, vick machree--vick machree--wuil thu marra wo’um? Wuil thu marra
wo’um?_ Father, son of my heart, son of my heart, art thou dead
from me--art thou dead from me?” An expression, we think, under
any circumstances, not to be surpassed in the intensity of domestic
affection which it expresses; but under those alluded to, we consider
it altogether elevated in exquisite and poetic beauty above the most
powerful symbols of Oriental imagery.

A third phrase peculiar to love and affection, is “_Manim asthee
hu--or_, My soul’s within you.” Every person acquainted with languages
knows how much an idiom suffers by a literal translation. How beautiful,
then, how tender and powerful, must those short expressions be, uttered,
too, with a fervor of manner peculiar to a deeply feeling people, when,
even after a literal translation, they carry so much of their tenderness
and energy into a language whose genius is cold when compared to the
glowing beauty of the Irish.

_Mauourneen dheelish_, too, is only a short phrase, but, coming warm and
mellowed from Paddy’s lips into the ear of his _colleen dhas_, it is
a perfect spell--a sweet murmur, to which the _lenis susurrus_ of the
Hybla bees is, with all their honey, jarring discord. How tame is
“My sweet darling,” its literal translation, compared to its soft and
lulling intonations. There is a dissolving, entrancing, beguiling,
deluding, flattering, insinuating, coaxing, winning, inveigling,
roguish, palavering, come-overing, comedhering, consenting, blarneying,
killing, willing, charm in it, worth all the philters that ever the
gross knavery of a withered alchemist imposed upon the credulity of
those who inhabit the other nations of the earth--for we don’t read that
these shrivelled philter-mongers ever prospered in Ireland.

No, no--let Paddy alone. If he hates intensely and effectually, he loves
intensely, comprehensively, and gallantly. To love with power is a proof
of a large soul, and to hate well is, according to the great moralist,
a thing in itself to be loved. Ireland is, therefore, through all its
sects, parties, and religions, an amicable nation. Their affections are,
indeed, so vivid, that they scruple not sometimes to kill each other
with kindness: but we hope that the march of love and friendship will
not only keep pace with, but outstrip, the march of intellect.

*****

Peter Cornell was for many years of his life a pattern and proverb
for industry and sobriety. He first began the world as keeper of a
shebeen-house at the cross-roads, about four miles from the town of
Ballypoteen. He was decidedly an honest man to his neighbors, but a
knave to excisemen, whom he hated by a kind of instinct that he had,
which prompted him, in order to satisfy his conscience, to render
them every practicable injury within the compass of his ingenuity.
Shebeen-house keepers and excisemen have been, time out of mind,
destructive of each other; the exciseman pouncing like a beast or bird
of prey upon the shebeen man and his illicit spirits; the shebeen man
staving in the exciseman, like a barrel of doublings, by a knock
from behind a hedge, which sometimes sent him to that world which is
emphatically the world of spirits. For this, it some happened that the
shebeen man was hanged; but as his death only multiplied that of the
excisemen in a geometrical ratio, the sharp-scented fraternity resolved,
if possible, not to risk their lives, either by exposing themselves to
the necessity of travelling by night, or prosecuting by day. In this
they acted wisely and prudently: fewer of the unfortunate peasantry
were shot in their rencounters with the yeomanry or military on such
occasions, and the retaliations became by degrees less frequent, until,
at length, the murder of a gauger became a rare occurrence in the
country.

Peter, before his marriage, had wrought as laboring servant to a man
who kept two or three private stills in those caverns among the remote
mountains, to which the gauger never thought of penetrating, because he
supposed that no human enterprise would have ever dreamt of advancing
farther into them than appeared to him to be practicable. In this he
was frequently mistaken: for though the still-house was in many cases
inaccessible to horses, yet by the contrivance of slipes--a kind of
sledge--a dozen men could draw a couple of sacks of barley with less
trouble, and at a quicker pace, than if horses only had been employed.
By this, and many other similar contrivances, the peasantry were often
able to carry on the work of private distillation in places so distant,
that few persons could suspect them as likely to be chosen for such
purposes. The uncommon personal strength, the daring spirit, and great
adroitness of Peter Connell, rendered him a very valuable acquisition
to his master in the course of his illicit occupations. Peter was,
in addition to his other qualities, sober and ready-witted, so that
whenever the gauger made his appearance, his expedients to baffle him
were often inimitable. Those expedients did not, however, always arise
from the exigency of the moment; they were often deliberately, and with
much exertion of ingenuity, planned by the proprietors and friends
of such establishments, perhaps for weeks before the gauger’s visit
occurred. But, on the other hand, as the gauger’s object was to
take them, if possible, by surprise, it frequently happened that his
appearance was as unexpected as it was unwelcome. It was then that the
prompt ingenuity of the people was fully seen, felt, and understood
by the baffled exciseman, who too often had just grounds for bitterly
cursing their talent at outwitting him.

Peter served his master as a kind of superintendent in such places,
until he gained the full knowledge of distilling, according to the
processes used by the most popular adepts in the art. Having acquired
this, he set up as a professor, and had excellent business. In the
meantime, he had put together by degrees a small purse of money, to
the amount of about twenty guineas--no inconsiderable sum for a
young Irishman who intends to begin the world on his own account. He
accordingly married, and, as the influence of a wife is usually not to
be controlled during the honey-moon, Mrs. Connell prevailed on Peter
to relinquish his trade of distiller, and to embrace some other mode of
life that might not render their living so much asunder necessary. Peter
suffered himself to be prevailed upon, and promised to have nothing more
to do with private distillation, as a distiller. One of the greatest
curses attending this lawless business, is the idle and irregular habit
of life which it gradually induces. Peter could not now relish the
labor of an agriculturist, to which he had been bred, and yet he was
too prudent to sit down and draw his own and his wife’s support from so
exhaustible a source as twenty guineas. Two or three days passed, during
which “he cudgelled his brains,” to use his own expression, in plans for
future subsistence; two or three consultations were held with Ellish,
in which their heads were laid together, and, as it was still the
honey-moon, the subject-matter of the consultation, of course, was
completely forgotten. Before the expiration of a second month, however,
they were able to think of many other things, in addition to the
fondlings and endearments of a new-married couple. Peter was every day
becoming more his own man, and Ellish by degrees more her own woman.
“The purple light of love,” which had changed Peter’s red head into
a rich auburn, and his swivel eye into a knowing wink, exceedingly
irresistible in his bachelorship, as he made her believe, to the country
girls, had passed away, taking the aforesaid auburn along with it and
leaving nothing but the genuine carrot behind. Peter, too, on opening
his eyes one morning about the beginning of the third month, perceived
that his wife was, after all, nothing more than a thumping red-cheeked
wench, with good eyes, a mouth rather large, and a nose very much
resembling, in its curve, the seat of a saddle, allowing the top to
correspond with the pummel.

“Pether,” said she, “it’s like a dhrame to me that you’re neglectin’
your business, alanna.”

“Is it you, beauty? but, maybe, you’d first point out to me what
business, barrin’ buttherin’ up yourself, I have to mind, you phanix
bright?”

“Quit yourself, Pether! it’s time for you to give up your ould ways; you
caught one bird wid them, an’ that’s enough. What do you intind to do!
It’s full time for you to be lookin’ about you.”

“Lookin’ about me! What do you mane Ellish?”

“The dickens a bit o’ me thought of it,” replied the wife, laughing
at the unintentional allusion to the circumspect character of Peter’s
eyes,--“upon my faix, I didn’t--ha, ha, ha!”

“Why, thin, but you’re full o’your fun, sure enough, if that’s what
you’re at. Maybe, avourneen, if I had looked right afore me, as I ought
to do, it’s Katty Murray an’ her snug farm I’d have, instead of”--

Peter hesitated. The rapid feelings of a woman, and an Irishwoman, quick
and tender, had come forth and subdued him. She had not voluntarily
alluded to his eyes; but on seeing Peter offended, she immediately
expressed that sorrow and submission which are most powerful when
accompanied by innocence, and when meekly assumed, to pacify rather than
to convince. A tear started to her eye, and with a voice melted into
unaffected tenderness, she addressed him, but he scarcely gave her time
to speak.

“No, avourneen, no, I won’t say what I was goin’ to mintion. I won’t
indeed, Ellish, dear; an’ forgive me for woundin’ your feelin’s _alanna
dhas_. (* My pretty child.) Hell resave her an’ her farm! I dunna what
put her into my head at all; but I thought you wor jokin’ me about my
eyes: an’ sure if you war, acushla, that’s no rason that I’d not allow
you to do that an’ more wid your own Pether. Give me a slewsther, (* a
kiss of fondness) agrah--a sweet one, now!”

He then laid his mouth to hers, and immediately a sound, nearly
resembling a pistol-shot, was heard through every part of the house. It
was, in fact, a kiss upon a scale of such magnitude, that the Emperor
of Morocco might not blush to be charged with it. A reconciliation took
place, and in due time it was determined that Peter, as he understood
poteen, should open a shebeen house. The moment this resolution was
made, the wife kept coaxing him, until he took a small house at the
cross-roads before alluded to, where, in the course of a short time,
he was established, if not in his own line, yet in a mode of life
approximating to it as nearly as the inclination of Ellish would permit.
The cabin which they occupied had a kitchen in the middle, and a room at
each end of it, in one of which was their own humble chaff bed, with its
blue quilted drugget cover; in the other stood a couple of small tables,
some stools, a short form, and one chair, being a present from his
father-in-law. These constituted Peter’s whole establishment, so far +as
it defied the gauger. To this we must add! a five-gallon keg of spirits
hid in the garden, and a roll of smuggled tobacco. From the former he
bottled, over night, as much as was usually drank the following day;
and from the tobacco, which was also kept under ground, he cut, with the
same caution, as much as to-morrow’s exigencies might require. This he
kept in his coat-pocket, a place where the gauger would never think
of searching for it, divided into halfpenny and pennyworths, ounces or
half-ounces, according as it might be required; and as he had it without
duty, the liberal spirit in which he dealt it out to his neighbors soon
brought him a large increase of custom.

Peter’s wife was an excellent manager, and he himself a pleasant,
good-humored man, full of whim and inoffensive mirth. His powers of
amusement were of a high order, considering his station in life and his
want of education. These qualities contributed, in a great degree, to
bring both the young and old to his house during the long winter nights,
in order to hear the fine racy humor with which he related his frequent
adventures and battles with excisemen. In the summer evenings, he
usually engaged a piper or a fiddler, and had a dance, a contrivance by
which he not only rendered himself popular, but increased his business.

In this mode of life, the greatest source of anxiety to Peter and Ellish
was the difficulty of not offending their friends by refusing to give
them credit. Many plans, were, with great skill and forethought, devised
to obviate this evil; but all failed. A short board was first procured,
on which they got written with chalk--

“No credit giv’n--barrin’ a thrifle to Pether’s friends.”

Before a week passed, after this intimation, the number of “Pether’s
friends” increased so rapidly, that neither he nor Ellish knew the half
of them. Every scamp in the parish was hand and glove with him: the
drinking tribe, particularly, became desperately attached to him and
Ellish. Peter was naturally kind-hearted, and found that his firmest
resolutions too often gave way before the open flattery with which he
was assailed. He then changed his hand, and left Ellish to bear the
brunt of their blarney. Whenever any person or persons were seen
approaching the house, Peter, if he had reason to suspect an attack upon
his indulgence, prepared himself for a retreat. He kept his eye to
the window, and if they turned from the direct line of the road, he
immediately slipped into bed, and lay close in order to escape them. In
the meantime they enter.

“God save all here. Ellish, agra machree, how are you?”

“God save you kindly! Faix, I’m mid-dim’, I thank you, Condy: how is
yourself, an’ all at home?”

“Devil a heartier, barrin’ my father, that’s touched wid a loss of
appetite afther his meals--ha, ha, ha!”

“Musha, the dickens be an you, Condy, but you’re your father’s son, any
way; the best company in Europe is the same man. Throth, whether you’re
jokin’ or not, I’d be sarry to hear of anything to his disadvantage,
dacent man. Boys, won’t you go down to the other room?”

“Go way wid yez, boys, till I spake to Ellish here about the affairs
o’ the nation. Why, Ellish, you stand the cut all to pieces. By the
contints o’ the book, you do; Pether doesn’t stand it half so well. How
is he, the thief?”

“Throth, he’s not well, to-day, in regard of a smotherin’ about the
heart he tuck this mornin’ afther his breakfast. He jist laid himself
on the bed a while, to see if it would go off of him--God be praised for
all his marcies!”

“Thin, upon my _sole_vation, I’m sarry to hear it, and so will all at
home, for there’s not in the parish we’re sittin’ in a couple that our
family has a greater regard an’ friendship for, than him and yourself.
Faix, my modher, no longer ago than Friday night last, argued down
Bartle Meegan’s throath, that you and Biddy Martin wor the two portliest
weemen that comes into the chapel. God forgive myself, I was near
quarrelin’ wid Bartle on the head of it, bekase I tuck my modher’s part,
as I had a good right to do.”

“Thrath, I’m thankful to you both, Condy, for your kindness.”

“Oh, the sarra taste o’ kindness was in it at all, Ellish, ‘twas only
the truth; an’ as long as I live, I’ll stand up for that.”

“Arrah, how is your aunt down at Carntall?”

“Indeed, thin, but middlin’, not gettin’ her health: she’ll soon give
the crow a puddin’, any way; thin, Ellish, you thief, I’m in for the
yallow boys. Do you know thim that came in wid me?”

“Why, thin, I can’t say I do. Who are they, Condy?”

“Why one o’ them’s a bachelor to my sisther Norah, a very dacent boy,
indeed--him wid the frieze jock upon him, an’ the buckskin breeches.
The other three’s from Teernabraighera beyant. They’re related to my
brother-in-law, Mick Dillon, by his first wife’s brother-in-law’s uncle.
They’re come to this neighborhood till the ‘Sizes, bad luck to them,
goes over; for you see, they’re in a little throuble.”

“The Lord grant them safe out of it, poor boys!”

“I brought them up here to treat them, poor fellows; an’, Ellish,
avourneen, you must credit me for whatsomever we may have. The thruth
is, you see, that when we left home, none of us had any notion of
drinkin’ or I’d a put somethin’ in my pocket, so that I’m taken at an
average.--Bud-an’-age! how is little Dan? Sowl, Ellish, that goorsoon,
when he grows up, will be a credit to you. I don’t think there’s a finer
child in Europe of his age, so there isn’t.”

“Indeed, he’s a good child, Condy. But Condy, avick, about givin’
credit:--by thim five crasses, if I could give score to any boy in the
parish, it ‘ud be to yourself. It was only last night that I made a
promise against doin’ such a thing for man or mortual. We’re a’most
broken an’ harrish’d out o’ house an’ home by it; an’ what’s more,
Condy, we intend to give up the business. The landlord’s at us every day
for his rint, an’ we owe for the two last kegs we got, but hasn’t a
rap to meet aither o’ thim; an’ enough due to us if we could get
it together: an’ whisper, Condy, atween ourselves, that’s what ails
Pettier, although he doesn’t wish to let an to any one about it.”

“Well, but you know I’m safe, Ellish?”

“I know you are, avourneen, as the bank itself; an’ should have what you
want wid a heart an’ a half, only for the promise I made an my two knees
last night, aginst givin’ credit to man or woman. Why the dickens didn’t
you come yistherday?”

“Didn’t I tell you, woman alive, that it was by accident, an’ that I
wished to sarve the house, that we came at all. Come, come, Ellish;
don’t disgrace me afore my sisther’s bachelor an’ the sthrange boys
that’s to the fore. By this staff in my hand, I wouldn’t for the best
cow in our byre be put to the blush afore thim; an’ besides, there’s a
_cleeveen_ (* a kind of indirect relationship) atween your family an’
ours.”

“Condy, avourneen, say no more: if you were fed from the same breast wid
me, I couldn’t, nor wouldn’t break my promise. I wouldn’t have the sin
of it an me for the wealth o’ the three kingdoms.”

“Beclad, you’re a quare woman; an’ only that my regard for you is great
entirely, we would be two, Ellish; but I know you’re dacent still.”

He then left her and joined his friends in the little room that was
appropriated for drinking, where, with a great deal of mirth, he related
the failure of the plan they had formed for outwitting Peter and Ellish.

“Boys,” said he, “she’s too many for us! St. Pettier himself wouldn’t
make a hand of her. Faix, she’s a cute one. I palavered her at the
rate of a hunt, an’ she ped me back in my own coin, with dacent
intherest--but no whiskey!--Now to take a rise out o’ Pettier. Jist sit
where ye are, till I come back.”

He left them enjoying the intended “spree,” and went back to Ellish.

“Well, I’m sure, Ellish, if any one had tuck their book oath that you’d
refuse my father’s son such a thrifle, I wouldn’t believe them. It’s not
wid Pettier’s knowledge you do it, I’ll be bound. But bad as you thrated
us, sure we must see how the poor fellow is, at an rate.”

As he spoke, and before Ellish had time to prevent him, he pressed into
the room where Peter lay.

“Why, tare alive, Pether, is it in bed you are at this hour of the day?”

“Eh? Who’s that--who’s that? oh!”

“Why thin, the sarra lie undher you, is that the way wid you?”

“Oh!--oh! Eh? Is that Condy?”

“All that’s to the fore of him. What’s asthray wid you man alive?”

“Throth, Condy, I don’t know, rightly. I went out, wantin’ my coat,
about a week ago, an’ got cowld in the small o’ the back; I’ve a pain in
it ever since. Be sittin’.”

“Is your heart safe? You have no smotherin’ or anything upon it?”

“Why thin, thank goodness, no; it’s all about my back an’ my inches.”

“Divil a thing it is but a complaint they call an _alloverness_ ails
you, you shkaimer o’ the world wide. ‘Tis the oil o’ the hazel, or a
rubbin’ down wid an oak towel you want. Get up, I say, or, by this an’
by that, I’ll flail you widin an inch o’ your life.”

“Is it beside yourself you are, Condy?”

“No, no, faix; I’ve found you out: Ellish is afther tellin’ me that it
was a smotherin’ on the heart; but it’s a pain in the small o’ the back
wid yourself. Oh, you born desaver! Get up, I say agin, afore I take the
stick to you!”

“Why, thin, all sorts o’ fortune to you, Condy--ha, ha, ha!--but you’re
the sarra’s pet, for there’s no escapin’ you. What was that I hard
atween you an’ Ellish?” said Peter, getting up.

“The sarra matther to you. If you behave yourself, we may let you into
the wrong side o’ the sacret afore you die. Go an’ get us a pint of what
you know,” replied Condy, as he and Peter entered the kitchen.

“Ellish,” said Peter, “I suppose we must give it to thim. Give it--give
it, avourneen. Now, Condy, whin ‘ill you pay me for this?”

“Never fret yourself about that; you’ll be ped. Honor bright, as the
black said whin he stole the boots.”

“Now Pettier,” said the wife, “sure it’s no use axin’ me to give it,
afther the promise I made last night. Give it yourself; for me, I’ll
have no hand in such things good or bad. I hope we’ll soon get out of it
altogether, for myselfs sick an’ sore of it, dear knows!”

Pettier accordingly furnished them with the liquor, and got a promise
that Condy would certainly pay him at mass on the following Sunday,
which was only three days distant. The fun of the boys was exuberant
at Condy’s success: they drank, and laughed, and sang, until pint after
pint followed in rapid succession.

Every additional inroad upon the keg brought a fresh groan from Ellish;
and even Peter himself began to look blank as their potations deepened.
When the night was far advanced they departed, after having first
overwhelmed Ellish with professions of the warmest friendship, promising
that in future she exclusively should reap whatever benefit was to be
derived from their patronage.

In the meantime, Condy forgot to perform his promise. The next Sunday
passed, but Peter was not paid, nor was his clever debtor seen at mass,
or in the vicinity of the shebeen-house, for many a month afterwards--an
instance of ingratitude which mortified his creditor extremely. The
latter, who felt that it was a take in, resolved to cut short all hopes
of obtaining credit from them in future. In about a week after the
foregoing hoax, he got up a board, presenting a more vigorous refusal
of score than the former. His friends, who were more in number than he
could have possibly imagined, on this occasion, were altogether wiped
out of the exception. The notice ran to the following effect:--

“Notice to the Public, _and to Pether Connell’s friends in
particular_.--Divil resave the morsel of credit will be got or given in
this house, while there is stick or stone of it together, barrin’ them
that axes it has the ready money.

     “Pettier X his mark Connell,
     “Ellish X her mark Connell.”

This regulation, considering everything, was a very proper one. It
occasioned much mirth among Peter’s customers; but Peter cared little
about that, provided he made the money.

The progress of his prosperity, dating it from so small a beginning, was
decidedly slow. He owed it principally to the careful habits of Ellish,
and his own sobriety. He was prudent enough to avoid placing any sign in
his window, by which his house could be known as a shebeen; for he was
not ignorant that there is no class of men more learned in this species
of hieroglyphics than excisemen. At all events, he was prepared for
them, had they come to examine his premises. Nothing that could bring
him within the law was ever kept visible. The cask that contained the
poteen was seldom a week in the same place of concealment, which was
mostly, as we have said, under ground. The tobacco was weighed and
subdivided into small quantities, which, in addition to what he carried
in his pocket, were distributed in various crevices and crannies of
the house; sometimes under the thatch; sometimes under a dish on the
dresser, but generally in a damp place.

When they had been about two or three years thus employed, Peter, at the
solicitation of the wife, took a small farm.

“You’re stout an’ able,” said she; “an’ as I can manage the house widout
you, wouldn’t it be a good plan to take a bit o’ ground--nine or
ten acres, suppose--an’ thry your hand at it? Sure you wor wanst the
greatest man in the parish about a farm. Surely that ‘ud be dacenter nor
to be slungein’ about, invintin’ truth and lies for other people, whin
they’re at their work, to make thim laugh, an you doin’ nothin’ but
standin’ over thim, wid your hands down to the bottom o’ your pockets?
Do, Pether, thry it, avick, an’ you’ll see it ‘ill prosper wid us, plase
God?’

“Faix I’m ladin’ an asier life, Ellish.”

“But are you ladin’ a dacenter or a more becominer life?”

“Why, I think, widout doubt, that it’s more becominer to walk about like
a gintleman, nor to be workin’ like a slave.”

“Gintleman! Musha, is it to the fair you’re bringin’ yourself? Why, you
great big bosthoon, isn’t it both a sin an’ a shame to see you sailin’
about among the neighbors, like a sthray turkey, widout a hand’s turn to
do? But, any way, take my advice, avillish,--will you, aroon?--an’ faix
you’ll see how rich we’ll get, wid a blessin’?”

“Ellish, you’re a deludher!”

“Well, an’ what suppose? To be sure I am. Usen’t you be followin’ me
like a calf afther the finger?--ha, ha, ha!--Will you do my biddin’,
Pether darlin’?”

Peter gave her a shrewd, significant wink, in contradiction to what he
considered the degrading comparison she had just made.

“Ellish, you’re beside the mark, you beauty; always put the saddle on
the right horse, woman alive! Didn’t you often an’ I often swear to me,
upon two green ribbons, acrass one another, that you liked a red head
best, an’ that the redder it was you liked it the betther?”

“An’ it was thruth, too; an’ sure, by the same a token, whore could
I get one half so red as your own? Faix, I knew what I was about! I
wouldn’t give you yet for e’er a young man in the parish, if I was a
widow to-morrow. Will you take the land?”

“So thin, afther all, if the head hadn’t been an me, I wouldn’t be a
favorite wid you?--ha, ha, ha!”

“Get out wid you, and spake sinse. Throth, if you don’t say aither ay or
no, I’ll give myself no more bother about it, There we are now wid some
guineas together, an’--Faix, Pettier, you’re vexin’ me!”

“Do you want an answer?”

“Why, if it’s plasin’ to your honor, I’d have no objection.”

“Well, will you have my new big coat made agin Shraft?” (* Shrovetide)

“Ay, will I, in case you do what I say; but if you don’t the sarra
stitch of it ‘ll go to your back this twelvemonth, maybe, if you vex me.
Now!”

“Well, I’ll tell you what: my mind’s made up--I will take the land; an’
I’ll show the neighbors what Pether Connell can do yit.”

“Augh! augh! mavoumeen, that you wor! Throth I’ll fry a bit o’ the bacon
for our dinner to-day, on the head o’ that, although I didn’t intind to
touch it till Sunday. Ay, faix, an’ a pair o’ stockins, too, along wid
the coat; an’ somethin’ else, that you didn’t hear of yit.”

Ellish, in fact, was a perfect mistress of the science of wheedling;
but as it appears instinctive in the sex, this is not to be wondered at.
Peter himself was easy, or rather indolent, till properly excited by
the influence of adequate motives; but no sooner were the energies that
slumbered in him called into activity, than he displayed a firmness of
purpose, and a perseverance in action, that amply repaid his exertions.

The first thing he did, after taking, his little farm, was to prepare
for its proper cultivation, and to stock it. His funds were not,
however, sufficient for this at the time. A horse was to be bought, but
the last guinea they could spare had been already expended, and this
purchase was, therefore, out of the question. The usages of the small
farmers, however, enabled him to remedy this inconvenience. Peter made
a bargain with a neighbor, in which he undertook to repay him by an
exchange of labor, for the use of his plough and horses in getting
down his crop. He engaged to give him, for a stated period in the slack
season, so many days’ mowing as would cover the expenses of ploughing
and harrowing his land. There was, however, a considerable portion
of his holding potato-ground; this Peter himself dug with his spade,
breaking it as he went along into fine mould. He then planted the
seed--got a hatchet, and selecting the best thorn-bush he could find,
cut it down, tied a rope to the trunk, seized the rope, and in this
manner harrowed his potato-ground. Thus did he proceed, struggling to
overcome difficulties by skill, and substituting for the more efficient
modes of husbandry, such rude artificial resources as his want of
capital compelled him to adopt.

In the meantime, Ellish, seeing Peter acquitting himself in his
undertaking with such credit, determined not to be outdone in her
own department. She accordingly conceived the design of extending her
business, and widening the sphere of her exertions. This intention,
however, she kept secret from Peter, until by putting penny to penny,
and shilling to shilling, she was able to purchase a load of crockery.
Here was a new source of profit opened exclusively by her own address.
Peter was astonished when he saw the car unloaded, and the crockery
piled in proud array by Ellish’s own hands.

“I knew,” said she, “I’d take a start out o’ you. Faix, Pether, you’ll
see how I’ll do, never fear, wid the help o’ Heaven! I’ll be off to the
market in the mornin’, plase God, where I’ll sell rings around me * o’
them crocks and pitchers. An’ now, Pether, the sarra one o’ me would do
this, good or bad, only bekase your managin’ the farm so cleverly. Tady
Gormley’s goin’ to bring home his meal from the mill, and has promised
to lave these in the market for me, an’ never fear but I’ll get some o’
the neighbors to bring them home, so that there’s car-hire saved. Faix,
Pether, there’s nothin’ like givin’ the people sweet words, any way;
sure they come chape.”

     * This is a kind of hyperbole for selling a grout
     quantity.

“Faith, an’ I’ll back you for the sweet words agin any woman in the
three kingdoms, Ellish, you darlin’. But don’t you know the proverb,
‘sweet words butther no parsnips.’”

“In throth, the same proverb’s a lyin’ one, and ever was; but it’s not
parsnips I’ll butther wid ‘em, you gommoch.”

“Sowl, you butthered me wid ‘em long enough, you deludher--devil a lie
in it; but thin, as you say, sure enough, I was no parsnip--not so soft
as that either, you phanix.”

“No? Thin I seldom seen your beautiful head without thinkin’ of a
carrot, an’ it’s well known they’re related--ha, ha, ha!--Behave,
Pether--behave, I say--Pether, Pether--ha, ha, ha!--let me alone! Katty
Hacket, take him away from me--ha, ha, ha!”

“Will ever you, you shaver wid the tongue that you are? Will ever you, I
say? Will ever you make delusion to my head again--eh?”

“Oh, never, never--but let me go, an’ me go full o’ tickles! Oh, Pether,
avourneen, don’t, you’ll hurt me, an’ the way I’m in--quit, avillish!”

“Bedad, if you don’t let my head alone, I’ll--will ever you?”

“Never, never. There now--ha, ha, ha!--oh, but I’m as wake as wather wid
what I laughed. Well now, Pether, didn’t I manage bravely--didn’t I?”

“Wait till we see the profits first, Ellish--crockery’s very tindher
goods.”

“Ay!--just wait, an’I’ll engage I’ll turn the penny. The family’s risin’
wid us.”--

“Very thrue,” replied Peter, giving a sly wink at the wife--“no doubt of
it.”

“--Kisin’ wid us--I tell you to have sinse, Pether; an’ it’s our duty to
have something for the crathurs when they grow up.”

“Well, that’s a thruth--sure I’m not sayin’ against it.”

“I know that; but what I say is, if we hould an, we may make money.
Everything, for so far, has thruv wid us, God be praised for it. There’s
another thing in my mind, that I’ll be tellin’ you some o’ these days.”

“I believe, Ellish, you dhrame about makin’ money.”

“Well, an’ I might do worse; when I’m dhramin’ about it, I’m doin’ no
sin to any one. But, listen, you must keep the house to-morrow while I’m
at the market. Won’t you, Pether?”

“An’ who’s to open the dhrain in the bottom below?”

“That can be done the day afther. Won’t you, abouchal?”

“Ellish, you’re a deludher, I tell you. Sweet words;--sowl, you’d
smooth a furze bush wid sweet words. How-an-ever, I will keep the house
to-morrow, till we see the great things you’ll do wid your crockery.”

Ellish’s success was, to say the least of it, quite equal to, her
expectations. She was certainly an excellent wife, full of acuteness,
industry, and enterprise. Had Peter been married to a woman of a
disposition resembling his own, it is probable that he would have sunk
into indolence, filth, and poverty, these miseries might have soured
their tempers, and driven them into all the low excesses and crimes
attendant upon pauperism. Ellish, however, had sufficient spirit to act
upon Peter’s natural indolence, so as to excite it to the proper pitch.
Her mode of operation was judiciously suited to his temper. Playfulness
and kindness were the instruments by which she managed him. She knew
that violence, or the assumption of authority, would cause a man who,
like him, was stern when provoked, to react, and meet her with an
assertion of his rights and authority not to be trifled with. This she
consequently avoided, not entirely from any train of reasoning on the
subject; but from that intuitive penetration which taught her to know
that the plan she had resorted to was best calculated to make him
subservient to her own purposes, without causing him to feel that he was
governed.

Indeed, every day brought out her natural cleverness more clearly. Her
intercourse with the world afforded her that facility of understanding
the tempers and dispositions of others, which can never be acquired
when it has not been bestowed as a natural gift. In her hands it was
a valuable one. By degrees her house improved in its appearance, both
inside and outside. From crockery she proceeded to herrings, then to
salt, in each of which she dealt with surprising success. There was,
too, such an air of bustle, activity, and good-humor about her that
people loved to deal with her. Her appearance was striking, if not
grotesque. She was tall and strong, walked rapidly, and when engaged
in fair or market disposing of her coarse merchandise, was dressed in a
short red petticoat, blue stockings, strong brogues, wore a blue cloak,
with the hood turned up, over her head, on the top of which was a man’s
hat, fastened by a, ribbon under her chin. As she thus stirred about,
with a kind word and a joke for every one, her healthy cheek in full
bloom, and her blue-gray eye beaming with an expression of fun and
good-nature, it would be difficult to conceive a character more
adapted for intercourse with, a laughter-loving people. In fact, she
soon became a favorite, and this not the less that she was as ready to
meet her rivals in business with a blow as with a joke. Peter witnessed
her success with unfeigned pleasure; and although every feasible
speculation was proposed by her, yet he never felt that he was a mere
nonentity when compared to his wife. ‘Tis true, he was perfectly capable
of executing her agricultural plans when she proposed them, but his own
capacity for making a lucky hit was very limited. Of the two, she was
certainly the better farmer; and scarcely an improvement took place in
his little holding which might not be traced to Ellish.

In the course of a couple of years she bought him a horse, and Peter was
enabled, to join with a neighbor, who had another. Each had a plough
and tackle, so that here was a little team made up, the half of which
belonged to Peter. By this means they ploughed week about, until their
crops were got down. Peter finding his farm doing well, began to feel a
kind of rivalship with his wife--that is to say, she first suggested
the principle, and afterwards contrived to make him imagine that it was
originally his own.

“The sarra one o’ you, Pettier,” she exclaimed to him one day, “but’s
batin’ me out an’ out. Why, you’re the very dickins at the farmin’, so
you are. Faix, I suppose, if you go an this way much longer, that
you’ll be thinkin’ of another farm, in regard that we have some guineas
together. Pettier, did you ever think of it, abouchal?”

“To be sure, I did, you beauty; an’ amn’t I in fifty notions to take
Harry Neal’s land, that jist lies alongside of our own.”

“Faix, an’ you’re right, maybe; but if it’s strivin’ again me you are,
you may give it over: I tell you, I’ll have more money made afore this
time twelvemonth than you will.”

“Arrah, is it jokin’ you are? More money? Would you advise me to take
Harry’s land? Tell me that first, you phanix, an’ thin I’m your man!”

“Faix, take your own coorse, avourneen. If you get a lase of it at a
fair rint, I’ll buy another horse, any how. Isn’t that doin’ the thing
dacent’?”

“More power to you, Ellish! I’ll hold you a crown, I pay you the price
o’ the horse afore this time twelvemonth.”

“Done! The sarra be off me but done!--an’ here’s Barny Dillon an’ Katty
Hacket to bear witness.”

“Sure enough we will,” said Barny, the servant.

“I’ll back the misthress any money,” replied the maid.

“Two to one on the masther,” said the man. “Whoo! our side o’ the house
for ever! Come, Pether, hould up your head, there’s money bid for you!”

“Ellish, I’ll fight for you ankle deep,” said Katty--“depind your life
an me.”

“In the name o’ goodness, thin, it’s a bargain,” said Ellish; “an’ at
the end o’ the year, if we’re spared, we’ll see what we’ll see. We’ll
have among ourselves a little sup o’ tay, plase goodness, an’ we’ll be
comfortable. Now, Barny, go an’ draw home thim phaties from the pits
while the day’s fine; and Katty, a colleen, bring in some wather, till
we get the pig killed and scalded--it’ll hardly have time to be good
bacon for the big markets at Christmas. I don’t wish,” she continued,
“to keep it back from them that we have a thrifle o’ money. One always
does betther when it’s known that they’re not strugglin’. There’s Nelly
Cummins, an’ her customers is lavin’ her, an’ dalin’ wid me, bekase
she’s goin’ down in business. Ay an’, Pether, ahagur, it’s the way o’
the world.”

“Well but, Ellish, don’t you be givin’ Nelly Cummins the harsh word, or
lanin’ too heavily upon her, the crathur, merely in regard that she is
goin’ down. Do you hear, acolleen?”

“Indeed I don’t do it, Pether; but you know she has a tongue like a
razor at times, and whin it gets loose she’d provoke St. Pether himself.
Thin she’s takin’ to the dhrink, too, the poor misfortunate vagabone!”

“Well, well, that’s no affair o’ yours, or mine aither--only don’t be
risin’ ructions and norrations wid her. You _threwn_ a jug at her the
last day you war out, an’ hot the poor ould Potticary as he was passin’.
You see I hard that, though you kept it close from me!--ha, ha, ha!”

“Ha, ha, ha!--why you’d split if you had seen the crathur whin he fell
into Pether White’s brogue-creels, wid his heels up. But what right
had she to be sthrivin’ to bring away my customers afore my face? Ailey
Dogherty was buying a crock wid me, and Nelly shouts over to her from
where she sot like a queen on her stool, ‘Ailey,’ says she, ‘here’s a
betther one for three fardens less, an’ another farden ‘ill get you a
pennorth o’ salt.’ An’, indeed, Ailey walks over, manely enough, an’
tuck her at her word. Why, flesh an’ blood couldn’t bear it.”

“Indeed, an’ you’re raal flesh and blood, Ellish, if that’s thrue.”

“Well, but consarnin’ what I mintioned awhile agone--hut! the poor mad
crathur, let us have no more discoorse about her--I say, that no one
ever thrives so well as when the world sees that they are gettin’ an,
an’ prosperin’; but if there’s not an appearance, how will any one know
whether we are prosperin’ or not, barrin’ they see some sign of it about
us; I mane, in a quiet rasonable way, widout show or extravagance. In
the name o’ goodness, thin, let us get the house brushed up, an’ the
outhouses dashed. A bushel or two of lime ‘ill make this as white as
an egg widin, an’ a very small expinse will get it plastered, and
whitewashed widowt. Wouldn’t you like it, avourneen? Eh, Pether?”

“To be sure I’d like it. It’ll give a respectful look to the house and
place.”

“Ay, an’ it’ll bring customers, that’s the main thing. People always
like to come to a snug, comfortable place. An’, plase God, I’m thinkin’
of another plan that I’ll soon mintion.”

“An’ what may that be, you skamer? Why, Ellish, you’ve ever and always
some skam’e or other in that head o’ yours. For my part, I don’t know
how you get at them.”

“Well, no matter, acushla, do you only back me; just show me how I ought
to go on wid them, for nobody can outdo you at such things, an’ I’ll
engage we’ll thrive yit, always wid a blessin’ an us.”

“Why, to tell God’s thruth, I’d bate the devil himself at plannin’ out,
an’ bringin’ a thing to a conclusion--eh, you deludher?”

“The sarra doubt of it; but takin’ the other farm was the brightest
thought I seen wid you yit. Will you do it, avillish?”

“To be sure. Don’t I say it? An’ it’ll be up wid the lark wid me. Hut,
woman, you don’t see the half o’ what’s in me, yet.”

“I’ll buy you a hat and a pair o’ stockins at Christmas.”

“Will you, Ellish? Then, by the book, I’ll work like a horse.”

“I didn’t intind to tell you, but I had it laid out for you.”

“Faith, you’re a beauty, Ellish. What’ll we call this young chap that’s
comin’, acushla?”

“Now, Pether, none o’ your capers. It’s time enough when the thing
happens to be thinkin’ o’ that, Glory be to God!”

“Well, you may talk as you plase, but I’ll call him Pether.”

“An’ how do you know but he’ll be a girl, you omadhawn?”

“Murdher alive, ay, sure enough! Faith, I didn’t think o’ that!”

“Well, go up now an’ spake to Misther Eccles about the land; maybe
somebody else ‘ud slip in afore us, an’ that wouldn’t be pleasant.
Here’s your brave big coat, put it an; faix, it makes a man of
you--gives you a bodagh* look entirely; but that’s little to what you’ll
be yet, wid a blessin’--a Half-Sir, any way.”

     * This word is used in Ireland sometimes in a good and
     sometimes in a bad sense. For instance, the peasantry
     will often say in allusion to some individual who may
     happen to be talked of, “Hut! he’s a dirty bodagh;” but
     again, you may hear them use it in a sense directly the
     reverse of this; for instance, “He’s a very dacent
     man, and looks the bodagh entirely.” As to the “Half
     sir,” he stands about half-way between the bodagh and
     the gentleman, Bodagh--signifying churl--was applied
     originally as a term of reproach to the English
     settlers.

In fact, Ellish’s industry had already gained a character for both
herself and her husband. He got credit for the assiduity and activity to
which she trained him: and both were respected for their cleverness in
advancing themselves from so poor a beginning to the humble state of
independence they had then reached. The farm which Ellish was so anxious
to secure was the property of the gentleman from whom they held the
other. Being a man of sense and penetration, he fortunately saw--what,
indeed, was generally well known--that Peter and Ellish were rising in
the world, and that their elevation was the consequence of their own
unceasing efforts to become independent, so that industry is in every
possible point of view its own reward. So long as the farm was open to
competition the offers for it multiplied prodigiously, and rose in equal
proportion. Persons not worth twenty shillings in the world offered
double the rent which the utmost stretch of ingenuity, even with
suitable capital, could pay. New-married couples, with nothing but the
strong imaginative hopes peculiar to their country, proposed for it in
a most liberal spirit. Men who had been ejected out of their late farms
for non-payment of rent, were ready to cultivate this at a rent much
above that which, on better land, they were unable to pay. Others, who
had been ejected from farm after farm--each of which they undertook as a
mere speculation, to furnish them with present subsistence, but without
any ultimate expectation of being able to meet their engagements--came
forward with the most laudable efforts. This gentleman, however, was
none of those landlords who are so besotted and ignorant of their own
interests, as to let their lands simply to the highest bidders, without
taking into consideration their capital, moral character, and habits
of industry. He resided at home, knew his tenants personally, took an
interest in their successes and difficulties, and instructed them in the
best modes of improving their farms.

Peter’s first interview with him was not quite satisfactory on
either side. The honest man was like a ship without her rudder, when
transacting business in the absence of his wife. The fact was, that on
seeing the high proposals which were sent in, he became alarmed lest, as
he flattered himself, that the credit of the transaction should be all
his own, the farm might go into the hands of another, and his character
for cleverness suffer with Ellish. The landlord was somewhat astounded
at the rent which a man who bore so high a name for prudence offered
him. He knew it was considerably beyond what the land was worth, and he
did not wish that any tenant coming upon his estate should have no other
prospect than that of gradually receding into insolvency.

“I cannot give you any answer now,” said he to Peter; “but if you will
call in a day or two I shall let you know my final determination.”

Peter, on coming home, rendered an account of his interview with the
landlord to his wife, who no sooner heard of the extravagant proposal he
made, than she raised her hands and eyes, exclaiming--

“Why, thin, Pether, alanna, was it beside yourself you wor, to go for to
offer a rint that no one could honestly pay! Why, man alive, it ‘ud
lave us widout house or home in do time, all out! Sure Pettier, acushla,
where ‘ud be the use of us or any one takin’ land, barrin’ they could
make somethin’ by it? Faix, if the gintleman had sinse, he wouldn’t give
the same farm to anybody at sich a rint; an’ for good rasons too--bekase
they could never pay it, an’ himself ‘ud be the sufferer in the long
run.”

“Dang me, but you’re the long-headedest woman alive this day, Ellish.
Why, I never wanst wint into the rason o’ the thing, at all. But you
don’t know the offers he got.”

“Don’t I? Why do you think he’d let the Mullins, or the Conlans, or the
O’Donog-hoes, or the Duffys, upon his land, widout a shillin’ in one o’
their pockets to stock it, or to begin workin’ it properly wid. Hand me
my cloak from the pin there, an’ get your hat. Katty, avourneen, have an
eye to the house till we come back; an’ if Dick Murphy comes here to get
tobaccy on score, tell him I can’t afford it, till he pays up what he
got. Come, Pether, in the name o’ goodness--come, abouchal.”

Ellish, during their short journey to the landlord’s, commenced, in her
own way, a lecture upon agricultural economy, which, though plain and
unvarnished, contained excellent and practical sense. She also pointed
out to him when to speak and when to be silent; told him what rent to
offer, and in what manner he should offer it; but she did all this so
dexterously and sweetly, that honest Peter thought the new and corrected
views which she furnished him with, were altogether the result of his
own penetration. The landlord was at home when they arrived, and ordered
them into the parlor, where he soon made his appearance.

“Well, Connell,” said he, smiling, “are you come to make me a higher
offer?”

“Why thin no, plase your honor,” replied Peter, looking for confidence
to Ellish: “instead o’ that, sir, Ellish here--”

“Never heed me, alanna; tell his honor what you’ve to say, out o’ the
face. Go an acushla.”

“Why, your honor, to tell the blessed thruth, the dickens a bit o’
myself but had a sup in my head when I was wid your honor to-day
before.”

Ellish was thunderstruck at this most unexpected apology from Peter; but
the fact was, that the instructions which she had given him on their
way had completely evaporated from his brain, and he felt himself thrown
altogether upon his own powers of invention. Here, however, he was at
home; for it was well known among all his acquaintances, that, however
he might be deficient in the management of a family when compared to his
wife, he was capable, notwithstanding, of exerting a certain imaginative
faculty in a very high degree. Ellish felt that to contradict him on the
spot must lessen both him and herself in the opinion of the landlord, a
circumstance that would have given her much pain.

“I’m sorry to hear that, Connell,” said Mr. Eccles; “you bear the
character of being strictly sober in your habits. You must have been
early at the bottle, too, which makes your apology rather unhappy. Of
all tipplers, he who drinks early is the worst and most incurable.”

“Thrue for you, sir, but this only happens me wanst a year, your honor.”

“Once a year! But, by the by, you had no appearance of being tipsy,
Peter.”

“Tipsy! Bud-a’-age, your honor, I was never seen tipsy in all my life,”
 said Peter,--“That’s a horse of another color, sir, plase your honor.”

The reader must at once perceive that Peter here was only recovering
himself from the effects of the injurious impression which his first
admission was calculated to produce against him in the mind of his
landlord. “Tipsy! No, no, sir; but the rason of it, sir, was this: it
bein’ my birthday, sir, I merely tuck a sup in the mornin’, in honor o’
the day. It’s altogether a lucky day to me, sir!”

“Why, to be sure, every man’s birthday may, probably, be called
such--the gift of existence being, I fear, too much undervalued.”

“Bedad, your honor, I don’t mane that, at all.”

“Then what do you mean, Peter?”

“Why, sir, you see, it’s not that I was _entirely_ born on this day, but
partly, sir; I was marrid to Ellish here into the bargain,--one o’
the best wives, sir--however, I’ll say no more, as she’s to the fore
herself. But, death alive, sir, sure when we put both conclusions
together--myself bein’ sich a worthy man, and Ellish such a tip-top
wife, who could blame me for smellin’ the bottle?--for divil a much more
I did--about two glasses, sir--an’ so it got up into my head a little
when I was wid your honor to-day before.”

“But what is the amount of all this, Peter?”

“Why, sir, you see only I was as I said, Sir--not tipsy, your honor, any
way, but seein’ things double or so; an’ that was, I suppose, what made
me offer for the farm double what I intinded. Every body knows, sir,
that the ‘crathur’ gives the big heart to us, any how, your honor.”

“But you know, Peter, we entered into no terms about it. I, therefore,
have neither power nor inclination to hold you to the offer you made.”

“Faith, sir, you’re not the gintleman to do a shabby turn, nor ever was,
nor one o’ your family. There’s not in all Europe”--

Ellish, who was a point blank dealer, could endure Peter’s mode of
transacting business no longer. She knew that if he once got into the
true spirit of applying the oil of flattery to the landlord, he would
have rubbed him into a perfect froth ere he quitted him. She, therefore,
took up the thread of the discourse, and finished the compliment with
much more delicacy than honest Peter could have displayed.

“Thrue for you, Pether,” she added; “there is not a kinder family to
the poor, nor betther landlords in the country they live in. Pether an’
myself, your honor, on layin’ both our ‘heads together, found that he
offered more rint for the land nor any! tenant could honestly pay. So,
sir, where’s the use of keepin’ back God’s truth--Pether, sir”--

Peter here trembled from an apprehension that the wife, in accomplishing
some object of her own in reference to the land, was about to undeceive
the landlord, touching the lie which he had so barefacedly palmed upon
that worthy gentleman for truth. In fact, his anxiety overcame his
prudence, and he resolved to anticipate her.

“I’d advise you, sir,” said he, with a smile of significant good-humor,
“to be a little suspicious of her, for, to tell the truth, she draws
the”--here he illustrated the simile with his staff--“the long bow of an
odd time; faith she does. I’d kiss the book on the head of what I tould
you, sir, plase your honor. For the sacret of it is, that I tuck the
moistare afore she left her bed.”

“Why, Peter, alanna,” said Ellish, soothingly, “what’s comin’ over you,
at all, an’ me; goin’ to explain to his honor the outs and ins I of our
opinion about the land? Faix, man, we’re not thinkin’ about you, good or
bad.”

“I believe the drop has scarcely left your head yet, Peter,” said the
landlord.

“Bud-an’-age, your honor, sure we must have our joke, any how--doesn’t
she deserve it for takin’ the word out o’ my mouth?”

“Whisht, avillish; you’re too cute for us all, Pether. There’s no use,
sir, as I was sayin’, for any one to deny that when they take a farm
they do it to make by it, or at the laste to live comfortably an it.
That’s the thruth, your honor, an’ it’s no use to keep it back from you,
sir.”

“I perfectly agree with you,” said the landlord. “It is with these
motives that a tenant should wish to occupy land; and it is the duty of
every landlord who has his own interest truly at heart, to see that
his land be not let at such a rent as will preclude the possibility of
comfort or independence on the part of his tenantry. He who lets his
land above its value, merely because people are foolish enough to offer
more for it than it is worth, is as great an enemy to himself as he is
to the tenant.”

“It’s God’s thruth, sir, an’ it’s nothin’ else but a comfort to hear
sich words comin’ from the lips of a gintleman that’s a landlord
himself.”

“Ay, an’ a good one, too,” said Peter; “an’ kind father for his honor to
be what he is. Divil resave the family in all Europe”--

“Thrue for you, avourneen, an’ even’ one knows that. We wor talkin’ it
over, sir, betuxt ourselves, Pether an’ me, an’ he says very cutely,
that, upon second thoughts, he offered more nor we could honestly pay
out o’ the land: so”--

“Faith, it’s a thrue as gospel, your honor. Says I, ‘Ellish, you
beauty’”--

“I thought,” observed Mr. Eccles, “that she sometimes drew the long bow,
Peter.”

“Oh, murdher alive, sir, it was only in regard of her crassin’ in an’
whippin’ the word out o’ my mouth, that I wanted to take a rise out
of her. Oh, bedad, sir, no; the crathur’s thruth to the backbone, an’
farther if I’d say it.”

“So, your honor, considherin’ everything, we’re willin’ to offer thirty
shillin’s an acre for the farm. That rint, sir, we’ll be able to pay,
wid the help o’ God, for sure we can do nothin’ widout his assistance,
glory be to his name! You’ll get many that’ll offer you more, your
honor; but if it ‘ud be plasin’ to you to considher what manes they have
to pay it, I think, sir, you’d see, out o’ your own sinse, that it’s not
likely people who is gone to the bad, an’ has nothin’ could stand it out
long.”

“I wish to heaven,” replied Mr. Eccles, “that every tenant in Ireland
possessed your prudence and good sense. Will you permit me to ask, Mrs.
Connell, what capital you and your husband can command provided I should
let you have it.”

“Wid every pleasure in life, sir, for it’s but a fair question to put.
An’ sure, it is to God we owe it, whatever it is, plase your honor. But,
sir, if we get the land, we’re able to stock it, an’ to crop it well an’
dacently; an’ if your honor would allow us for sartin improvements, sir,
we’d run it into snug fields, by plantin’ good hedges, an’ gettin’ up
shelther for the outlyin’ cattle in the hard seasons, plase your honor,
and you know the farm is very naked and bare of shelter at present.”

“Sowl, will we, sir, an’ far more nor that if we get it. I’ll
undhertake, sir, to level”--

“No, Pether, we’ll promise no more nor we’ll do; but anything that his
honor will be plased to point out to us, if we get fair support, an’
that it remains on the farm afther us, we’ll be willin’ to do it.”

“Willin’!” exclaimed Peter!--“faith, whether we’re willin’ or not, if
his honor but says the word”----

“Mrs. Connell,” said their landlord, “say no more. The farm is yours,
and you may, consider yourselves as my tenants.”

“Many thanks to you, sir, for the priference. I hope, sir, you’ll not
rue what you did in givin’ it to us before them that offered a higher
rint. You’ll find, sir, wid the help o’ the Almighty, that we’ll pay you
your rint rigular an’ punctual.”

“Why, thin, long life, an’ glory, an’ benedication to your honor! Faith,
it’s only kind father for you, sir, to be what you are. The divil resave
the family in all Europe”--

“Peter, that will do,” replied the landlord, “it would be rather
hazardous for our family to compete with all Europe. Go home, Peter,
and be guided by your wife, who has more sense in her little finger than
ever your family had either in Europe or out of it, although I mean you
no offense by going beyond Europe.”

“By all the books that never wor opened an’ shut,” replied Peter,
with the intuitive quickness of perception peculiar to Irishmen, “an
innocenter boy than Andy Connell never was sent acrass the water. I
proved as clear an alibi for him as the sun in the firmanent; an’ yit,
bad luck to the big-wig O’Grady, he should be puttin’ in his leek an me
afore the jury, jist whin I had the poor boy cleared out dacently, an’
wid all honor. An’ bedad, now, that we’re spakin about it, I’ll tell
your honor the whole conclusions of it. You see, sir, the Agint was shot
one night; an’ above all nights in the year, your honor, a thief of a
toothache that I had kep me”--

“Pether, come away, abouchal: his honor kaows as much about it as you
do, Come, aroon; you know we must help to scald an’ scrape the pig afore
night, an’ it’s late now.”

“Bodad, sir, she’s a sweet one, this.”

“Be guided by her, Peter, if you’re wise, she’s a wife you ought to be
proud of.”

“Thrue for you, sir; divil resave the word o’ lie in that, any how.
Come, Ellish; come, you deludher, I’m wid you.”

“God bless your honor, sir, an’ we’re ob’laged to you for you kindness
an’ patience wid the likes o’ us.”

“I say ditto, your honor. Long life an’ glory to you every day your
honor rises!”

Peter, on his way home, entered into a defence of his apology for
offering so high a rent to the landlord; but although it possessed both
ingenuity and originality, it was, we must confess, grossly defective in
those principles usually inculcated by our best Ethic writers.

“Couldn’t you have tould him what we agreed upon goin’ up,” observed
Ellish; “but instead o’ that, to begin an’ tell the gintlemen so many
lies about your bein’ dhrunk, an’ this bein’ your birth-day, an’ the
day we wor marrid, an’,----Musha, sich quare stories to come into your
head?”

“Why,” said Peter, “what harm’s in all that, whin he didn’t _find me
out?_”

“But why the sarra did you go to say that I was in the custom o’ tellin’
lies?”

“Faix, bekase I thought you wor goin’ to let out all, an’ I thought
it best to have the first word o’ you. What else?--but sure I brought
myself off bravely.”

“Well, well, a hudh; don’t be invintin’ sich things another time, or
you’ll bring yourself into a scrape, some way or other.”

“Faix, an’ you needn’t spake, Ellish; you can let out a nate bounce
yourself, whin it’s to sarve you. Come now, don’t run away wid the
story!”

“Well, if I do, it’s in the way o’ my business; whin I’m batin’ them
down in the price o’ what I’m buyin’, or gettin’ thim to bid up for any
thing I’m sellin’: besides, it’s to advance ourselves in the world that
I do it, abouchal.”

“Go an, go an; faix, you’re like the new moon, sharp at both corners:
but what matther, you beauty, we’ve secured the farm, at any rate, an’,
by this an’ by that, I’ll show you tip-top farmin’ an it.”

A struggle now commenced between the husband and wife, as to which of
them should, in their respective departments, advance themselves with
greater rapidity in life. This friendly contest was kept up principally
by the address of Ellish, who, as she knew those points in her husband’s
character most easily wrought upon, felt little difficulty in shaping
him to her own purposes. Her great object was to acquire wealth; and it
mostly happens, that when this is the ruling principle in life, there is
usually to be found, in association with it, all those qualities which
are best adapted to secure it. Peter, on finding that every succeeding
day brought something to their gains, began to imbibe a portion of
that spirit which wholly absorbed Ellish. He became worldly; but it
was rather the worldliness of habit than of principle. In the case
of Ellish, it proceeded from both; her mind was apt, vigorous, and
conceptive; her body active, her manners bland and insinuating, and her
penetration almost intuitive. About the time of their entering upon the
second farm, four children had been, the fruit of their marriage--two
sons and two daughters. These were now new sources of anxiety to their
mother, and fresh impulses to her industry. Her ignorance, and that of
her husband, of any kind of education, she had often, in the course
of their business, bitter cause to regret. She now resolved that their
children should be well instructed; and no time was lost in sending them
to school, the moment she thought them capable of imbibing the simplest
elements of instruction.

“It’s hard to say,” she observed to her husband, “how soon they may be
useful to us. Who knows, Pether, but we may have a full shop yit,
an’ they may be able to make up bits of accounts for us, poor things?
Throth, I’d be happy if I wanst seen it.”

“Faix, Ellish,” replied Peter, “if we can get an as we’re doin’, it is
hard to say. For my own part, if I had got the larnin’ in time, I might
be a bright boy to-day, no doubt of it--could spake up to the best
o’ thim. I never wint to school but wanst, an’ I remimber I threw the
masther into a kiln-pot, an’ broke the poor craythur’s arm; an’ from
that day to this, I never could be brought a single day to school.”

Peter and Ellish now began to be pointed out as a couple worthy of
imitation by those who knew that perseverance and industry never fail of
securing their own reward. Others, however,--that is to say, the lazy,
the profligate, and the ignorant,--had a ready solution of the secret of
their success.

“Oh, my dear, she’s a lucky woman, an’ anything she puts her hand to
prospers. Sure sho was born wid a _lucky caul_* an her head; an’, be
sure, ahagur, the world will flow in upon thim. There’s many a neighbor
about thim works their fingers to the stumps, an’ yit you see they can’t
get an: for Ellish, if she’d throw the sweepins of her hearth to the
wind, it ‘ud come back to her in money. She was born to it, an’ nothin’
can keep her from her luck!”**

     * The caul is a, thin membrane, about the consistence
     of very fine silk, which sometimes covers the head on a
     new-born infant like a cap. It is always the omen of
     great good fortune to the infant and parents; and in
     Ireland, when any one has unexpectedly fallen into the
     receipt of property, or any other temporal good, it is
     customary to say, “such a person was born with a ‘lucky
     caul’ on his head.”

     Why these are considered lucky, it would be a very
     difficult matter to ascertain. Several instances of
     good fortune, happening to such as were born with them,
     might, by their coincidences, form a basis for the
     superstition; just as the fact of three men during one
     severe winter having been found drowned, each with two
     shirts on, generated an opinion which has now become
     fixed and general in that parish, that it is unlucky to
     wear two shirts at once. We are not certain whether the
     caul is in general the perquisite of the midwife--
     sometimes we believe it is; at all events, her
     integrity occasionally yields to the desire of
     possessing it. In many cases she conceals its
     existence, in order that she may secretly dispose of it
     to good advantage, which she frequently does; for it is
     considered to be the herald of good fortune to those
     who can get it into their possession. Now, let not our
     English neighbors smile at us for those things until
     they wash their own hands clear of such practices. At
     this day a caul will bring a good price in the most
     civilized city in the world--to wit, the good city of
     London--the British metropolis. Nay to such lengths has
     the mania for cauls been carried there, that they have
     been actually advertised for in the Times newspaper.

     * This doctrine of fatalism is very prevalent among the
     lower orders in Ireland.

Such are many of the senseless theories that militate against exertion
and industry in Ireland, and occasion many to shrink back from the
laudible race of honest enterprise, into filth, penury, and crime. It
is this idle and envious crew, who, with a natural aversion to domestic
industry, become adepts in politics, and active in those illegal
combinations and outrages which retard the prosperity of the country,
and bring disgrace upon the great body of its peaceable inhabitants.

In the meantime Ellish was rapidly advancing in life, while such persons
were absurdly speculating upon the cause of her success. Her business
was not only increased, but extended. From crockery, herrings, and salt,
she advanced gradually to deal in other branches adapted to her station,
and the wants of the people. She bought stockings, and retailed them
every market-day. By and by a few pieces of soap might be seen in her
windows; starch, blue, potash, and candles, were equally profitable.
Pipes were seen stuck across each other, flanked by tape, cakes,
children’s books, thimbles, and bread. In fact, she was equally clever
and expert in whatever she undertook. The consciousness of this, and the
reputation of being “a hard honest woman,” encouraged her to get a cask
or two of beer, and a few rolls of tobacco. Peter, when she proposed
the two last, consented only to sell them still as smuggled, goods--sub
silentio. With her usual prudence, however, she declined this.

“We have gone on that way purty far,” she replied, “an’ never got a
touch, (* never suffered by the exciseman) thanks to the kindness o’ the
neighbors that never informed an us: but now, Pether, that we’re able we
had betther do everything above boord. You know the ould say, ‘long runs
the fox, but he’s catched at last:’ so let us give up in time, an’ get
out a little bit o’ license.”

“I don’t like that at all,” replied Peter: “I cain’t warm my heart to
the license. I’ll back you in anything but that. The gauger won’t come
next or near us: he has thried it often, an’ never made anything of it.
Dang me, but I’d like to have a bit o’ fun with the gauger to see if my
hand’s still ready for practice.”

“Oh, thin, Pether, how can you talk that way, asthore? Now if what
I’m sayin’ was left to yourself wouldn’t you be apt to plan it as
I’m doin’?--wouldn’t you, acushla? Throth, I know you’re to cute an’
sinsible not to do it.”

“Why thin, do you know what, Ellish--although I didn’t spake it out,
upon my faix I was thinkin’ of it. Divil a word o’ lie in it.”

“Oh, you thief o’ the world, an’ never to tell it to me. Faix, Pether,
you’re a cunnin’ shaver, an’ as deep as a draw well.”

“Let me alone. Why I tell you if I study an’ lay myself down to it, I
can conthrive anything. When I was young, many a time my poor father,
God be good to him! said that if there was any possibility of gettin’ me
to take to larnin’, I’d be risin’ out o’ the ashes every mornin’ like a
phanix.”

“But won’t you hould to your plan about the license?”

“Hould! To be sure I will. What was I but takin’ a rise out o’ you. I
intinded it this good while, you phanix--faix, I did.”

In this manner did Ellish dupe her own husband into increasing wealth.
Their business soon became so extensive, that a larger house was
absolutely necessary. To leave that, beneath whose roof she succeeded
so well in all her speculations, was a point--be it of prudence or of
prejudice--which Ellish could not overcome. Her maxim was, whereever you
find yourself doing well, stay there. She contrived, however, to remedy
this. To the old house additional apartments were, from time to time,
added, into which their business soon extended. When these again became
too small, others were also built; so that in the course of about twenty
years, their premises were so extensive, that the original shebeen-house
constituted a very small portion of Peter’s residence. Peter, during
Ellish’s progress within doors, had not been idle without. For every new
room added to the house, he was able to hook in a fresh farm in addition
to those he had already occupied. Unexpected success had fixed his heart
so strongly upon the accumulation of money, and the pride of rising
in the world, as it was possible for a man, to whom they were only
adventitious feelings, to experience. The points of view in which he
and his wife were contemplated by the little public about them were
peculiar, but clearly distinct. The wife was generally esteemed for
her talents and incessant application to business; but she was not so
cordially liked as Peter. He, on the other hand, though less esteemed,
was more beloved by all their acquaintances than Ellish. This might
probably originate from the more obvious congeniality which existed
between Peter’s natural disposition, and the national character; for
with the latter, Ellish, except good humor, had little in common.

The usual remarks upon both were--“she would buy an’ sell him”--“‘twas
she that made a man of him; but for all that, Pether’s worth a ship-load
of her, if she’d give him his own way.” That is, if she would permit him
to drink with the neighbors, to be idle and extravagant.

Every year, now that their capital was extending, added more perceptibly
to their independence. Ellish’s experience in the humbler kinds of
business, trained her for a higher line; just as boys at school rise
from one form to another. She made no plunges, nor permitted Peter, who
was often, inclined to jump at conclusions, to make any. Her elevation
was gradual and cautious; for her plans were always so seasonable and
simple that every new description of business, and every new success,
seemed to arise naturally from that which went before it.

Having once taken out a license, their house soon became a decent
country spirit establishment; from soap, and candles, and tobacco, she
rose into the full sweep of groceries; and from dealing in Connemara
stockings and tape, she proceeded in due time to sell woollen and linen
drapery. Her crockery was now metamorphosed into delf, pottery, and
hardware; her gingerbread into stout loaves, for as Peter himself grew
wheat largely, she seized the opportunity presented by the death of the
only good baker in the neighborhood, of opening an extensive bakery.

It may be asked, how two illiterate persons, like Peter and Ellish,
could conduct business in which so much calculation was necessary,
without suffering severely by their liability to make mistakes. To this
we reply--first, that we should have liked to see any person attempting
to pass a bad note or a light guinea upon Ellish after nine or ten
years’ experience; we should like to have seen a smug clerk taking his
pen from behind his ear, and after making his calculation, on inquiring
from Ellish if she had reckoned up the amount, compelled to ascertain
the error which she pointed out to him. The most remarkable point in
her whole character, was the rapid accuracy she displayed in mental
calculation, and her uncommon sagacity in detecting bad money.

There is, however, a still more satisfactory explanation of this
circumstance to be given. She had not neglected the education of her
children. The eldest was now an intelligent boy, and a smart accountant,
who, thanks to his master, had been taught to keep their books by Double
Entry. The second was little inferior to him as a clerk, though as a
general dealer he was far his superior. The eldest had been principally
behind the counter; whilst the younger, in accompanying his mother in
all her transactions and bargain-making, had in a great measure imbibed
her address and tact.

It is certainly a pleasing, and, we think, an interesting thing, to
contemplate the enterprise of an humble, but active, shrewd woman,
enabling her to rise, step by step, from the lowest state of poverty to
a small sense of independence; from this, by calling-fresh powers into
action, taking wider views, and following them up by increased efforts,
until her shebeen becomes a small country public-house; until her roll
of tobacco, and her few pounds of soap and starch, are lost in the
well-filled drawers of a grocery shop; and her gray Connemara stockings
transformed by the golden wand of industry into a country cloth
warehouse. To see Peter--from the time when he first harrowed part of
his farm with a thorn-bush, and ploughed it by joining his horse to that
of a neighbor--adding farm to farm, horse to horse, and cart to cart,
until we find him a wealthy and extensive agriculturist.

The progress of Peter and Ellish was in another point of view a good
study for him who wishes to look into human nature, whilst adapting
itself to the circumstances through which it passes. When this couple
began life, their friends and acquaintancess were as poor as themselves;
as they advanced from one gradation to another, and rose up from a lower
to a higher state, their former friends, who remained in their original
poverty, found themselves left behind in cordiality and intimacy, as
well as in circumstances; whilst the subjects of our sketch continued
to make new friendships of a more respectable stamp, to fill up, as it
were, the places held in their good will by their humble, but neglected,
intimates. Let not our readers, however, condemn them for this.

It was the act of society, and not of Peter and Ellish. On their parts,
it was involuntary; their circumstances raised them, and they were
compelled, of course, to rise with their circumstances. They were
passing through the journey of life, as it were, and those with whom
they set out, not having been able to keep up with them, soon lost their
companionship, which was given to those with whom they travelled for
the time being. Society is always ready to reward the enterprising and
industrious by its just honors, whether they are sought or not; it is so
disposed, that every man falls or rises into his proper place in it,
and that by the wisdom and harmony of its structure. The rake, who
dissipates by profligacy and extravagance that which might have secured
him an honorable place in life, is eventually brought to the work-house;
whilst the active citizen, who realizes an honest independence, is
viewed with honor and esteem.

Peter and Ellish were now people of consequence in the parish; the
former had ceased to do anything more than superintend the cultivation
of his farms; the latter still took an active part in her own business,
or rather in the various departments of business Which she carried on.
Peter might be seen the first man abroad in the morning proceeding to
some of his farms mounted upon a good horse, comfortably dressed in
top boots, stout corduroy breeches, buff cashmere waistcoat, and
blue broad-cloth coat, to which in winter was added a strong frieze
greatcoat, with a drab velvet collar, and a glazed hat. Ellish was also
respectably dressed, but still considerably under her circumstances.
Her mode of travelling to fairs or markets was either upon a common car,
covered with a feather-bed and quilt, or behind Peter upon a pillion.
This last method flattered Peter’s vanity very much; no man could ride
on these occasions with a statelier air. He kept himself as erect and
stiff as a poker, and brandished the thong of his loaded whip with the
pride of a gentleman farmer.

‘Tis true, he did not always hear the sarcastic remarks which were
passed upon him by those who witnessed his good-natured vanity:

“There he goes,” some laboring man on the wayside would exclaim, “a
purse-proud _bodagh_ upon our hands. Why, thin, does he forget that we
remimber when he kept the shebeen-house, an’ sould his smuggled to-baccy
in gits (* the smallest possible quantities) out of his pocket, for
fraid o’ the gauger! Sowl, he’d show a blue nose, any way, only for the
wife--‘Twas she made a man of him.”

“Faith, an’ I for one, won’t hear Pether Connell run down,” his
companion would reply; “he’s a good-hearted, honest man, an’ obligin’
enough; an’ for that matter so is the wife, a hard honest woman, that
made what they have, an’ brought herself an’ her husband from nothin’ to
somethin’.”

“Thrue for you, Tim; in throth, they do desarve credit. Still, you see,
here’s you an’ me, an’ we’ve both been slavin’ ourselves as much as they
have, an’ yet you see how we are! However, _its their luck_, and there’s
no use in begrudgin’ it to them.”

When their children were full-grown, the mother did not, as might have
been supposed, prevent them from making a respectable appearance.
With excellent judgment, she tempered their dress, circumstances, and
prospects so well together, that the family presented an admirable
display of economy, and a decent sense of independence. From the moment
they were able to furnish solid proofs of their ability to give a
comfortable dinner occasionally, the priest of the parish began to
notice them; and this new intimacy, warmed by the honor conferred on
one side, and by the good dinners on the other, ripened into a strong
friendship. For many a long year, neither Peter nor Ellish, God forgive
them, ever troubled themselves about going to their duty. They soon
became, however, persons of too much importance to be damned without
an effort made for their salvation. The worthy gentleman accordingly
addressed them on the subject, and as the matter was one of perfect
indifference to both, they had not the slightest hesitation to go to
confession--in compliment to the priest. We do not blame the priest for
this; God forbid that we should quarrel with a man for loving a good
dinner. If we ourselves were a priest, it is very probable,--nay, from
the zest with which we approach a good dinner, it is quite certain--that
we would have cultivated honest Peter’s acquaintance, and drawn him
out to the practice of that most social of virtues--hospitality. The
salvation of such a man’s soul was worth looking after; and, indeed,
we find a much warmer interest felt, in all churches, for those who are
able to give good dinners, than for those poor miserable sinners who can
scarcely get even a bad one.

But besides this, there was another reason for the Rev. Mr. Mulcahy’s
anxiety to cultivate a friendship with Peter and his wife--which
reason consisted in a very laudable determination to bring about a match
between his own niece, Miss Granua Mulcahy, and Peter’s eldest son, Dan.
This speculation he had not yet broached to the family, except by broken
hints, and jocular allusions to the very flattering proposals that had
been made by many substantial young men for Miss Granua.

In the mean time the wealth of the Connells had accumulated to
thousands; their business in the linen and woollen drapery line was
incredible. There was scarcely a gentleman within many miles of them,
who did not find it his interest to give them his custom. In the
hardware, flour, and baking concerns they were equally fortunate. The
report of their wealth had gone far and near, exaggerated, however,
as everything of the kind is certain to be; but still there were ample
grounds for estimating it at a very high amount.

Their stores were large, and well filled with many a valuable bale;
their cellars well stocked with every description of spirits; and their
shop, though not large in proportion to their transactions, was well
filled, neat, and tastefully fitted up. There was no show, however--no
empty glare to catch the eye; on the contrary, the whole concern was
marked by an air of solid, warm comfort, that was much more indicative
of wealth and independence than tawdry embellishment would have been.

“Avourneen,” said Ellish, “the way to deck out your shop is to keep
the best of goods. Wanst the people knows that they’ll get betther
money-worth here than they’ll get anywhere else, they’ll come here,
whether the shop looks well or ill. Not savin’ but every shop ought to
be clane an’ dacent, for there’s rason in all things.”

This, indeed, was another secret of their success. Every article in
their shop was of the best description, having been selected by Ellish’s
own eye and hand in the metropolis, or imported directly from the place
of its manufacture. Her periodical visits to Dublin gave her great
satisfaction; for it appears that those with whom she dealt, having
had sufficient discrimination to appreciate her talents and integrity,
treated her with marked respect.

Peter’s farm-yard bore much greater evidence of his wealth than did
Ellish’s shop. It was certainly surprising to reflect, that by the
capacity of two illiterate persons, who began the world with nothing,
all the best and latest improvements in farming were either adopted or
anticipated. The farmyard was upon a great scale; for Peter cultivated
no less than four hundred acres of land--to such lengths had his
enterprise carried him. Threshing machines, large barns, corn kilns,
large stacks, extensive stables, and immense cow-houses, together with
the incessant din of active employment perpetually going on--all gave
a very high opinion of their great prosperity, and certainly reflected
honor upon those whose exertions had created such a scene about them.
One would naturally suppose, when the family of the Connells had arrived
to such unexpected riches, and found it necessary to conduct a system
whose machinery was so complicated and extensive that Ellish would have
fallen back to the simple details of business, from a deficiency of
that comprehensive intelligence which is requisite to conduct the higher
order of mercantile transactions; especially as her sons were admirably
qualified by practice, example, and education, to ease her of a task
which would appear one of too much difficulty for an unlettered farmer’s
wife. Such a supposition would be injurious to this excellent woman. So
far from this being the case, she was still the moving spirit, the
chief conductor of the establishment. Whenever any difficulty arose
that required an effort of ingenuity and sagacity, she was able in the
homeliest words to disentangle it so happily, that those who heard her
wondered that it should at all have appeared to them as a difficulty.
She was everywhere. In Peter’s farm-yard her advice was as excellent
and as useful as in her own shop. On his farms she was the better
agriculturist, and she frequently set him right in his plans and
speculations for the ensuing year.

She herself was not ignorant of her skill. Many a time has she surveyed
the scene about her with an eye in which something like conscious pride
might be seen to kindle. On those occasions she usually shook her head,
and exclaimed, either in soliloquy, or by way of dialogue, to some
person near her:--

“Well, avourneen, all’s very right, an’ goin’ an bravely; but I only
hope that when I’m gone I won’t be missed!”

“Missed,” Peter would reply, if he happened to hear her; “oh, upon my
credit”--he was a man of too much consequence to swear “by this and
by that” now--“upon my credit, Ellish, if you die soon, you’ll see the
genteel wife I’ll have in your place.”

“Whisht, avourneen! Although you’re but jokin’, I don’t like to hear it,
avillish! No, indeed; we wor too long together, Pether, and lived too
happily wid one another, for you to have the heart to think of sich a
thing!”

“No, in troth, Ellish, I would be long sarry to do it. It’s displasin’
to you, achree, an’ I won’t say it. God spare you to us! It was you put
the bone in us, an’ that’s what all the country says, big an’ little,
young and ould; an’ God He knows it’s truth, and nothin’ else.”

“Indeed, no, thin, Pether, it’s not altogether thruth, you desarve your
full share of it. You backed me well, acushla, in everything, an’ if you
had been a dhrinkin’, idle, rollikin’ vagabone, what ‘ud signify all,
that me or the likes o’ me could do.”

“Faith, an’ it was you made me what I am, Ellish; you tuck the soft
side o’ me, you beauty; an’ it’s well you did, for by this--hem, upon
my reputation, if you had gone to cross purposes with me you’d find
yourself in the wrong box. An’, you phanix of beauty, you managed the
childhre, the crathurs, the same way--an’ a good way it is, in throth.”

“Pether, wor you ever thinkin’ o’ Father Muloahy’s sweetness to us of
late?”

“No, thin, the sorra one o’ me thought of it. Why, Ellish?”

“Didn’t you obsarve that for the last three or four months he’s full of
attintions to us? Every Sunday he brings you up, an’ me, if I’d go, to
the althar,--an’ keeps you there by way of showin’ you respect. Pether,
it’s not you, but your money he respects; an’ I think there ought to be
no respect o’ persons in the chapel, any how. You’re not a bit nearer
God by bein’ near the althar; for how do we know but the poorest crathur
there is nearer to heaven than we are!”

“Faith, sure enough, Ellish; but what deep skame are you penethratin’
now, you desaver?”

“I’d lay my life, you’ll have a proposial o’ marriage from Father
Mulcahy, atween our Dan an’ Miss Granua. For many a day he’s hintin’ to
us, from time to time, about the great offers she had; now what’s the
rason, if she had these great offers, that he didn’t take them?”

“Bedad, Ellish, you’re the greatest headpiece in all Europe. Murdher
alive, woman, what a fine counsellor you’d make. An’ suppose he did
offer, Ellish, what ‘ud you be sayin’ to him?”

“Why, that ‘ud depind entirely upon what he’s able to give her--they say
he has money. It ‘ud depind, too, upon whether Dan has any likin’ for
her or not.”

“He’s often wid her, I know; an’ I needn’t tell you, Ellish, that afore
we wor spliced together, I was often wid somebody that I won’t mintion.
At all evints, he has made Dan put the big O afore the Connell, so that
he has him now full namesake to the Counsellor; an’, faith, that itself’
‘ud get him a wife.”

“Well, the best way is to say nothin’, an’ to hear nothin’, till his
Reverence spates out, an’ thin we’ll see what can be done.”

Ellish’s sagacity had not misled her. In a few months afterwards Father
Mulcahy was asked by young Dan Connell to dine; and as he and holiest
Ellish were sitting together, in the course of the evening, the priest
broached the topic as follows:--

“Mrs. Connell, I think this whiskey is better than my four-year old,
that I bought at the auction the other day, although Dan says mine’s
better. Between ourselves, that Dan is a clever, talented young fellow;
and if he happens upon a steady, sensible wife, there is no doubt but he
will die a respectable man. But, by the by, Mrs. Connell, you’ve never
tried my whiskey; and upon my credit, you must soon, for I know your
opinion would decide the question.”

“Is it worth while to decide it, your Reverence? I suppose the thruth
is, sir, that both is good enough for anyone; an’ I think that’s as much
as we want.”

Thus far she went, but never alluded to Dan, judiciously throwing the
onus of introducing that subject upon the priest.

“Dan says mine’s better,” observed Father Mulcahy; “and I would
certainly give a great deal for his opinion upon that or any other
subject, except theology.”

“You ought,” replied Ellish, “to be a bether judge of whiskey nor either
Dan nor me; an’ I’ll tell you why--you dhrink it in more places, and can
make comparishment one wid another; but Dan an’ me is confined mostly to
our own, an’ of that same we take very little, an’ the less the betther
for people in business, or indeed for anybody.”

“Very true, Mrs. Connell! But for all that, I won’t give up Dan’s
judgment in anything within his own line of business, still excepting
theology, for which, he hasn’t the learning.”

“He’s a good son, without _tay_ology--as good as ever broke the world’s
bread,” said Peter, “glory be to God! Although, for that matther, he
ought to be as well acquainted wid _tay_ology as your Reverence, in
regard that he _sells_ more of it nor you do.”

“A good son, they say, Mrs. Connell, will make a good husband. I wonder
you don’t think of settling him in life. It’s full time.”

“Father, avourneen, we must lave that wid himself. I needn’t be tellin’
you, that it ‘ud be hard to find a girl able to bring what the girl that
‘ud expect Dan ought to bring.”

This was a staggerer to the priest, who recruited his ingenuity by
drinking Peter’s health, and Ellish’s.

“Have you nobody in your eye for him, Mrs. Connell?”

“Faith, I’ll engage she has,” replied Peter, with a ludicrous
grin--“I’ll venture for to say she has that.”

“Very right, Mrs. Connell; it’s all fair. Might one ask who she is; for,
to tell you the truth, Dan is a favorite of mine, and must make it a
point to see him well settled.”

“Why, your Reverence,” replied Peter again, “jist the one you
mintioned.”

“Who? I? Why I mentioned nobody.”

“An’ that’s the very one she has in her eye for him, plase your
Reverence--ha, ha, ha! What’s the world widout a joke, Docthor? beggin’
your pardon for makin’ so free wid you.”

“Peter, you’re still a wag,” replied the priest; “but, seriously, Mrs.
Connell, have you selected any female, of respectable connections, as a
likely person to be a wife for Dan?”

“Indeed no, your Reverence, I have not. Where could I pitch upon a
girl--barrin’ a Protestant, an’ that ‘ud never do--who has a fortune to
meet what Dan’s to get?”

The priest moved his chair a little, and drank their healths a second
time.

“But you know, Mrs. Connell, that Dan needn’t care so much about
fortune, if he got a girl of respectable connections. He has an
independence himself.”

“Thrue for you, father; but what right would any girl have to expect to
be supported by the hard arnin’ of me an’ my husband, widout bringin’
somethin’ forrid herself? You know, sir, that the fortune always goes
wid the wife; but am I to fortune off my son to a girl that has nothin’?
If my son, plase your Reverence, hadn’t a coat to his back, or a guinea
in his pocket--as, God be praised, he has both--but, supposin’ he
hadn’t, what right would he have to expect a girl wid a handsome fortune
to marry him? There’s Paddy Neil your sarvint-boy; now, if Paddy, who’s
an honest man’s son, axed your niece, wouldn’t you be apt to lose your
timper?”

“I beg your pardon, Mrs. Connell, I think your fire’s rather hot--allow
me to drawback a little. Mrs. Connell, your health again!--Mr. Connell,
your fireside!”

“Thank you, Docthor; but faith I think you ought hardly to dhrink the
same fireside, becase it appears to be rather hot for your Reverence, at
the present time--ha, ha, ha! Jokin’ still, Docthor, we must be. Well,
what harm! I wish we may never do worse!”

“And what fortune would you expect with a girl of genteel connexion--a
girl that’s accomplished, well say in music, plain work, and Irish,
vernacularly?--hem! What fortune would you be expecting with such a
girl?”

“Why, Docthor, ahagur, the only music I’d wish for my son’s wife is a
good timper; an’ that’s what their music-masthers can’t tache thim.
The plain work, although I don’t know what you mane by it, sounds well
enough; an’ as to Irish, whick-whacku-larly, if you mane our own ould
tongue, he may get thousands that can spake it whackinly, an’ nothin’
else.”

“You’re a wealthy woman, certainly, Mrs. Connell, and what’s more, I’m
not at all surprised at it. Your health, once more, and long life to
you! Suppose, however, that Dan got a fitting wife, what would you
expect as a proper portion? I have a reason for asking.”

“Dan, plase your Reverence, will get four thousand to begin the world
wid; an’, as he’s to expect none but a Catholic, I suppose if he gets
the fourth part of that, it’s as much as he ought to look for.”

“A thousand pounds!--hut tut! The woman’s beside herself. Why look about
you and try where you can find a Catholic girl with a thousand pounds
fortune, except in a gentleman’s family, where Dan could never think of
going.”

“That’s thrue, any how, your Reverence,” observed Peter.--“A thousand
pounds! Ellish! you needn’t look for it. Where is it to be had out of a
gintleman’s family, as his Reverence says thrue enough.”

“An’ now, Docthor,” said Ellish, “what ‘ud you think a girl ought to
bring a young man like Dan, that’s to have four thousand pounds?”

“I don’t think any Catholic girl of his own rank in the county, could
get more than a couple of hundred.”

“That’s one shillin’ to every pound he has,” replied Ellish, almost
instantaneously. “But, Father, you may as well spake out at wanst,” she
continued, for she was too quick and direct in all her dealings to be
annoyed by circumlocution; “you’re desairous of a match between Dan an’
Miss Granua?”

“Exactly,” said the priest; “and what is more, I believe they are fond
of each other. I know Dan is attached to her, for he told me so.
But, now that we have mentioned her, I say that there is not a more
accomplished girl of her persuasion in the parish we sit in. She can
play on the bagpipes better than any other piper in the province, for
I taught her myself; and I tell you that in a respectable man’s wife
a knowledge of music is a desirable thing. It’s hard to tell, Mrs.
Connell, how they may rise in the World, and get into fashionable
company, so that accomplishments, you persave, are good, she can make a
shirt and wash it, and she can write Irish. As for dancing, I only wish
you’d see her at a hornpipe. All these things put together, along with
her genteel connections, and the prospect of what I may be able to lave
her--I say your son may do worse.”

“It’s not what you’d lave her, sir, but what you’d give her in the first
place, that I’d like to hear. Spake up, your Reverence, an’ let us know
how far you will go.”

“I’m afeard, sir,” said Peter, “if it goes to a clane bargain atween
yez, that Ellish will make you bid up for Dan. Be sharp; sir, or you’ll
have no chance; faix, you won’t.”

“But, Mrs. Connell;” replied the priest, “before I spake up, consider
her accomplishments. I’ll undertake to say, that the best bred girl in
Dublin cannot perform music in such style, or on such an instrument as
the one she uses. Let us contemplate Dan and her after marriage, in an
elegant house, and full business, the dinner over, and they gone up to
the drawing-room. Think how agreeable and graceful it would be for Mrs.
Daniel O’Connell to repair to the sofa, among a few respectable friends,
and, taking up her bagpipes, set her elbow a-going, until the drone
gives two or three broken groans, and the chanter a squeak or two, like
a child in the cholic, or a cat that you had trampled on by accident.
Then comes the real ould Irish music, that warms the heart. Dan
looks upon her graceful position, until the tears of love, taste, and
admiration are coming down his cheeks. By and by, the toe of him moves:
here another foot is going; and, in no time, there is a hearty dance,
with a light heart and a good conscience. You or I, perhaps, drop in to
see them, and, of course, we partake of the enjoyment.”

“Divil a pleasanter,” said Peter: “I tell you, I’d like it well; an’,
for my own part, if the deludher here has no objection, I’m not goin’ to
spoil sport.”

Ellish looked hard at the priest; her keen blue eye glittered with
a sparkling light, that gave decided proofs of her sagacity being
intensely excited.

“All that you’ve said,” she replied, “is very fine; but in regard o’
the bag-pipes, an’ Miss Granua Mulcahy’s squeezin’ the music out o’
thim--why, if it plased God to bring my son to the staff an’ bag--a
common beggar--indeed, in that case, Miss Granua’s bagpipes might sarve
both o’ thim, an’ help, maybe, to get them a night’s lodgin’ or so;
but until that time comes, if you respect your niece, you’ll burn her
bagpipes, dhrone, chanther, an’ all. If you are for a match, which I
doubt, spake out, as I said, and say what fortune you’ll pay down on
the nail wid her, otherwise we’re losin’ our time, an’ that’s a loss one
can’t make up.”

The priest, who thought he could have bantered Ellish into an alliance,
without pledging himself to pay any specific fortune, found that it
was necessary for him to treat the matter seriously, if he expected to
succeed. He was certainly anxious for the match; and as he really
wished to see his niece--who, in truth, was an excellent girl, and
handsome--well settled, he resolved to make a stretch and secure Dan if
possible.

“Mrs. Connell,” said he, “I will be brief with you. The most I can give
her is three hundred pounds, and even that by struggling and borrowing:
I will undertake to pay it as you say--on the nail! for I am really
anxious that my niece should be connected with so worthy and industrious
a family. What do you say?”

“I’m willin’ enough,” replied Peter. It’s not asy to get that and a
Catholic girl.”

“There’s some thruth in what you say, aroon, sure enough,” observed
Ellish; “an’ if his Reverence puts another hundhre to it, why, in
the name of goodness, let them go together. If you don’t choose that,
Docthor, never breathe the subject to me agin. Dan’s not an ould man
yit, an’ has time enough to get wives in plenty.”

“Come,” replied the priest, “there’s my hand, it’s a bargain; although
I must say there’s no removing you from your point. I will give four
hundred, hook or crook; but I’ll have sad scrambling to get it together.
Still I’ll make it good.”

“Down on the nail?” inquired Ellish.

“Ay! ay! Down on the nail,” replied the priest.

“Well, in the name o’ Goodness, a bargain be it,” said Peter; “but, upon
my credit, Ellish, I won’t have the bag-pipes burnt, anyhow. Faith, I
must hear an odd tune, now an’ thin, when I call to see the childhre.”

“Pether, acushla, have sinse. Would you wish to see your daughter-in-law
playin’ upon the bag-pipes, when she ought to be mindin’ her business,
or attendin’ her childhre? No, your Reverence, the pipes must be laid
aside. I’ll have no pipery connection for a son of mine.”

The priest consented to this, although Peter conceded it with great
reluctance. Further preliminaries were agreed upon, and the evening
passed pleasantly, until it became necessary for Mr. Mulcahy to bid them
good-night.

When they were gone, Peter and Ellish talked over the matter between
themselves in the following dialogue:

“The fortune’s a small one,” said Ellish to her husband; “an’ I suppose
you wondher that I consinted to take so little.”

“Sure enough, I wondhered at it,” replied Peter, “but, for my own
part, I’d give my son to her widout a penny o’ fortune, in ordher to
be connected wid the priest; an’ besides, she’s a fine, handsome, good
girl--ay, an’ his fill of a wife, if she had but the shift to her back.”

“Four hundhre wid a priest’s niece, Pether, is before double the money
wid any other. Don’t you know, that when they set up for themselves,
he can bring the custom of the whole parish to them? It’s unknown the
number o’ ways he can sarve them in. Sure, at stations an’ weddins,
wakes, marriages, and funerals, they’ll all be proud to let the priest
know that they purchased whatever they wanted from his niece an’ her
husband. Betther!--faix, four hundhre from him is worth three times as
much from another.”

“Glory to you, Ellish!--bright an’ cute for ever! Why, I’d back you for
a woman’ that could buy an’ sell Europe, aginst the world. Now, isn’t it
odd that I never think of these long-headed skames?”

“Ay do you, often enough, Pether; but you keep them to yourself,
abouchal.”

“Faith, I’m close, no doubt of it; an’--but there’s no use in sayin’ any
more about it--you said whatsomever came into my own head consarnin’ it.
Faith, you did, you phanix.”

In a short time the marriage took place.

Dan, under the advice of his mother, purchased a piece of ground most
advantageously located, as the site of a mill, whereon an excellent
one was built; and as a good mill had been long a desideratum in the
country, his success was far beyond his expectations. Every speculation,
in fact, which Ellish touched, prospered. Fortune seemed to take
delight, either in accomplishing or anticipating her wishes. At least,
such was the general opinion, although nothing could possibly be more
erroneous than to attribute her success to mere chance. The secret of
all might be ascribed to her good sense, and her exact knowledge of the
precise moment when to take the tide of fortune at its flow. Her son,
in addition to the mill, opened an extensive mercantile establishment in
the next town, where he had ample cause to bless the instructions of
his mother, and her foresight in calculating upon the advantage of being
married to the priest’s niece.

Soon after his marriage, the person who had for many years kept the
head inn of the next town died, and the establishment was advertised
for sale. Ellish was immediately in action. Here was an opportunity of
establishing the second son in a situation which had enabled the late
proprietor of it to die nearly the richest man in the parish. A few
days, therefore, before that specified for the sale, she took her
featherbed car, and had an interview with the executors of the late
proprietor. Her character was known, her judgment and integrity duly
estimated, and, perhaps, what was the weightiest argument in her favor,
her purse was forthcoming to complete the offer she had made. After some
private conversation between the executors, her proposal was accepted,
and before she returned home, the head inn, together with its fixtures
and furniture, was her property.

The second son, who was called after his father, received the
intelligence with delight. One of his sisters was, at his mother’s
suggestion, appointed to conduct the housekeeping department, and
keep the bar, a duty for which she was pretty well qualified by her
experience at home.

“I will paint it in great style,” said Peter the Younger. “It must be a
head Inn no longer; I’ll call it a Hotel, for that’s the whole fashion.”

“It wants little, avourneen,” said his mother; “it was well kept--some
paintin’ an other improvements it does want, but don’t be extravagant.
Have it clane an’ dacent, but, above all things, comfortable, an’
the attindance good. That’s what’ll carry you, an--not a flourish o’
paintin’ outside, an’ dirt, an’ confusion, an’ bad attindance widin.
Considher, Pether darlin’, that the man who owned it last, feathered
his nest well in it, but never called it a Hotill. Let it appear on the
outside jist as your old customers used to see it; but improve it widin
as much as you can, widout bein’ lavish an it, or takin’ up the place
wid nonsense.”

“At all evints, I’ll have a picture of the Liberator over the door, an’
O’Connell’ written under it. It’s both our names, and besides it will be
‘killin’ two birds with one stone.’”

“No, avourneen. Let me advise you, if you wish to prosper in life, to
keep yourself out of party-work. It only stands betune you an’ your
business; an’ it’s surely wiser for you to mind your own affairs than
the affairs of the nation. There’s rason in everything. No man in trade
has a right, widout committin’ a sin, to neglect his family for politics
or parties. There’s Jack Cummins that was doin’ well in his groceries
till he began to make speeches, an’ get up public meetins, an’ write
petitions, an’ now he has nothin’ to throuble him but politics, for his
business is gone. Every one has liberty to think as they plase. We can’t
expect Protestants to think as we do, nor Protestants can’t suppose that
we ought to think as they’d wish; an’ for that same rason, we should
make allowance on both sides, an’ not be like many we know, that have
their minds up, expectin’ they don’t know, what, instead of workin’ for
themselves and their families as they ought to do. Pether, won’t you
give that up, avillish?”

“I believe you’re right, mother. I didn’t see it before in the light
you’ve placed it in.”

“Then, Pether darlin’, lose no time in gettin’ into your place--you an’
Alley; an’ faix, if you don’t both manage it cleverly, I’ll never spake
to yez.”

Here was a second son settled, and nothing remained but to dispose
of their two daughters in marriage to the best and most advantageous
offers. This, in consequences of their large fortunes, was not a matter
of much difficulty. The eldest, Alley, who assisted her brother to
conduct the Inn, became the wife of an extensive grazier, who lived in
an adjoining county. The younger, Mary, was joined to Father Mulcahy’s
nephew, not altogether to the satisfaction of the mother, who feared
that two establishments of the same kind, in the same parish, supported
by the same patronage, must thrive at the expense of each other. As it
was something of a love-match, however, she ultimately consented.

“Avourneen,” said she, “the parish is big enough, an’ has customers
enough to support two o’ them; an’ I’ll engage his Reverence will do
what he can for them both.”

In the meantime, neither she nor her husband was dependent upon their
children. Peter still kept the agricultural department in operation;
and although the shop and warehouse were transferred to Mr. Mulcahy, in
right of his wife, yet it was under the condition of paying a yearly sum
to Mrs. Connell and her husband, ostensibly as a provision, but really
as a spur to their exertions. A provision they could not want, for their
wealth still amounted to thousands, independently of the large annual
profits arising out of their farms.

For some time after the marriage of her youngest daughter, Mrs. Connell
took a very active part in her son-in-law’s affairs. He possessed
neither experience, nor any knowledge of business whatsoever, though he
was not deficient in education, nor in capacity to acquire both.
This pleased Mrs. Connell very much, who set herself to the task of
instructing him in the principles of commercial life, and in the best
methods of transacting business.

“The first rules,” said she to him, “for you to obsarve is these: tell
truth; be sober; be punctual; rise early; persavere; avoid extravagance;
keep your word; an watch your health. Next: don’t be proud; give no
offince; talk sweetly; be ready to oblage, when you can do it widout
inconvanience, but don’t put yourself or your business out o’ your ways
to sarve anybody.

“Thirdly: keep an appearance of substance an’ comfort about your place,
but don’t go beyant your manes in doin’ it; when you make a bargain,
think what a corrocther them you dale wid bears, an’ whether or not you
found them honest before, if you ever had business wid them.

“When you buy a thing, appear to know your own mind, an’ don’t be
hummin’ an’ hawin’, an’ higglin’, an’ longin’ as if your teeth wor
watherin’ afther it; but be manly, downright, an’ quick; they’ll then
see that you know your business, an’ they won’t be keepin’ off an’ an,
but will close wid you at wanst.

“Never drink at bargain makin’; an’ never pay money in a public-house if
you can help it; if you must do it, go into an inn, or a house that you
know to be dacent.

“Never stay out late in a fair or market; don’t make a poor mouth; on
the other hand, don’t boast of your wealth; keep no low company; don’t
be rubbin’ yourself against your betthers, but keep wid your aquils.
File your loose papers an’ accounts, an’ keep your books up to the day.
Never put off anything that can be done, when it ought to be done. Go
early to bed; but be the last up at night, and the first in the mornin’,
and there’s no fear o’ you.”

Having now settled all her children in comfort and independence, with
each a prospect of rising still higher in the world, Mrs. Connell felt
that the principal duties devolving upon her had been discharged. It was
but reasonable, she thought, that, after the toil of a busy life, her
husband and herself should relax a little, and enjoy with lighter minds
the ease for which they had labored so long and unremittingly.

“Do you know what I’m thinkin’ of, Pether?” said she, one summer evening
in their farm-yard.

“Know, is it?” replied Peter--“some long-headed plan that none of us ‘ud
ever think of, but that will stare us in the face the moment you mintion
it. What is it, you ould sprig o’ beauty?”

“Why, to get a snug jauntin’-car, for you an’ me. I’d like to see you
comfortable in your old days, Peter. You’re gettin’ stiff, ahagur, an’
will be good for nothin’ by an’ by.”

“Stiff! Arrah, by this an’ by--my reputation, I’m younger nor e’er a one
o’ my sons yet, you----eh?” said Peter, pausing--

“Faith, then I dunna that. Upon my credit, I think, on second thoughts,
that a car ‘ud be a mighty comfortable thing for me. Faith, I do, an’
for you, too, Ellish.”

“The common car,” she continued, “is slow and throublesome, an’ joults
the life out o’ me.”

“By my reputation, you’re not the same woman since you began to use it,
that you wor before at all. Why, it’ll shorten your life. The pillion’s
dacent enough; but the jauntin’-car!--faix, it’s what ‘ud make a fresh
woman o’ you--divil a lie in it.”

“You’re not puttin’ in a word for yourself now, Pether?”

“To be sure I am, an’ for both of us. I’d surely be proud to see
yourself an’ myself sittin’ in our glory upon our own jauntin’-car. Sure
we can afford it, an’ ought to have it, too. Bud-an’-ager! what’s the
rason I didn’t, think of it long ago?”

“Maybe you did, acushla; but you forgot, it. Wasn’t that the way wid
you, Pether? Tell the thruth.”

“Why, thin, bad luck to the lie in it, since you must know. About this
time twelve months--no, faix, I’m wrong, it was afore Dan’s marriage--I
had thoughts o’ spakin’ ta you about it, but somehow it left my head.
Upon my word, I’m in airnest, Ellish.”

“Well, avick, make your mind asy; I’ll have one from Dublin in less nor
a fortnight. I can thin go about of an odd time, an’ see how Dan an’
Pether’s comin’ an. It’ll be a pleasure to me to advise an’ direct them,
sure, as far an’ as well as I can. I only hope? God will enable thim to
do as much for their childher, as he enabled us to do for them, glory be
to his name!”

Peter’s eye rested upon her as she spoke--a slight shade passed over
his face, but it was the symptom of deep feeling and affection, whose
current had run smooth and unbroken during the whole life they had spent
together.

“Ellish,” said he, in a tone of voice that strongly expressed what
he felt, “you wor one o’ the best wives that ever the Almighty gev to
mortual man. You wor, avourneen---you wor, you wor!”

“I intind, too, to begin an’ make my sowl, a little,” she continued; “we
had so much to do, Pether, aroon, that, indeed, we hadn’t time to think
of it all along; but now, that everything else is settled, we ought to
think about that, an’ make the most of our time--while we can.”

“Upon my conscience, I’ve strong notions myself o’ the same thing,”
 replied Peter. “An’ I’ll back you in that, as well as in every thing
else. Never fear, if we pull together, but we’ll bring up the lost time.
Faith, we will! Sowl, if you set about it, let me see them that ‘ud
prevint you goin’ to heaven!”

“Did Paddy Donovan get the bay filly’s foot aised, Pether?”

“He’s gone down wid her to the forge: the poor crathur was very lame
to-day.”

“That’s right; an’ let Andy Murtagh bring down the sacks from Drumdough
early to-morrow. That what ought to go to the market on Thursday, an’
the other stacks ought to be thrashed out of hand.”

“Well, well; so it will be all done. Tare alive! if myself knows how
you’re able to keep an eye on everything. Come in, an’ let us have our
tay.”

For a few months after this, Ellish was perfectly in her element. The
jaunting-car was procured; and her spirits seemed to be quite elevated.
She paid regular visits to both her sons, looked closely into their
manner of conducting business, examined their premises, and subjected
every fixture and improvement made or introduced without her sanction,
to the most rigorous scrutiny. In fact, what, between Peter’s farm, her
daughter’s shop, and the establishments of her sons, she never found
herself more completely encumbered with business. She had intended “to
make her soul,” but her time was so fully absorbed by the affairs of
those in whom she felt so strong an interest, that she really forgot the
spiritual resolution in the warmth of her secular pursuits.

One evening, about this time, a horse belonging to Peter happened to
fall into a ditch, from which he was extricated with much difficulty
by the laborers. Ellish, who thought it necessary to attend, had been
standing for some time directing them how to proceed; her dress was
rather thin, and the hour, which was about twilight, chilly, for it was
the middle of autumn. Upon returning home she found herself cold, and
inclined to shiver. At first she thought but little of these symptoms;
for having never had a single day’s sickness, she was scarcely competent
to know that they were frequently the forerunners of very dangerous and
fatal maladies. She complained, however, of slight illness, and went
to bed without taking anything calculated to check what she felt. Her
sufferings during the night were dreadful: high fever had set in with a
fury that threatened to sweep the powers of life like a wreck before
it. The next morning the family, on looking into her state more closely,
found it necessary to send instantly for a physician.

On arriving, he pronounced her to be in a dangerous pleurisy, from
which, in consequence of her plethoric habit, he expressed but faint
hopes of her recovery. This was melancholy intelligence to her sons and
daughters: but to Peter, whose faithful wife she had been for thirty
years, it was a dreadful communication indeed.

“No hopes, Docthor!” he exclaimed, with a bewildered air: “did you say
no hopes, sir?--Oh! no, you didn’t--you couldn’t say that there’s no
hopes!”

“The hopes of her recovery, Mr. Connell, are but slender,--if any.”

“Docthor, I’m a rich man, thanks be to God an’ to----” he hesitated,
cast back a rapid and troubled look towards the bed whereon she lay,
then proceeded--“no matther, I’m a rich man: but if you can spare her to
me, I’ll divide what I’m worth in the world wid you: I will, sir; an’ if
that won’t do, I’ll give up my last shillin’ to save her, an’ thin I’d
beg my bit an’ sup through the counthry, only let me have her wid me.”

“As far as my skill goes,” said the doctor, “I shall, of course, exert
it to save her; but there are some diseases which we are almost always
able to pronounce fatal at first sight. This, I fear, is one of them.
Still I do not bid you despair--there is, I trust, a shadow of hope.”

“The blessin’ o’ the Almighty be upon you, sir, for that word! The best
blessing of the heavenly Father rest upon you an’ yours for it!”

“I shall return in the course of the day,” continued the physician; “and
as you feel the dread of her loss so powerfully, I will bring two other
medical gentlemen of skill with me.”

“Heavens reward you for that, sir! The heavens above reward you an’ them
for it! Payment!--och, that signifies but little: but you and them ‘ll
be well paid. Oh, Docthor, achora, thry an’ save her!--Och, thry an’
save her!”

“Keep her easy,” replied the doctor, “and let my directions be
faithfully followed. In the meantime, Mr. Connell, be a man and display
proper fortitude under a dispensation which is common to all men in your
state.”

To talk of resignation to Peter was an abuse of words. The poor man
had no more perception of the consolation arising from a knowledge of
religion than a child. His heart sank within him, for the prop on which
his affections had rested was suddenly struck down from under them.

Poor Ellish was in a dreadful state. Her malady seized her in the very
midst of her worldly-mindedness; and the current of her usual thoughts,
when stopped by the aberrations of intellect peculiar to her illness,
bubbled up, during the temporary returns of reason, with a stronger
relish of the world. It was utterly impossible for a woman like her,
whose habits of thought and the tendency of whose affections had been
all directed towards the acquisition of wealth, to wrench them for ever
and at once from the objects on which they were fixed. This, at any
time, would have been to her a difficult victory to achieve; but now,
when stunned by the stroke of disease, and confused by the pangs of
severe suffering, tortured by a feverish pulse and a burning brain, to
expect that she could experience the calm hopes of religion, or feel the
soothing power of Christian sorrow, was utter folly. ‘Tis true, her life
had been a harmless one: her example, as an industrious and enterprising
member of society, was worthy of imitation. She was an excellent mother,
a good neighbor, and an admirable wife; but the duties arising out of
these different relations of life, were all made subservient to, and
mixed up with, her great principle of advancing herself in the world,
whilst that which is to come never engaged one moment’s serious
consideration.

When Father Mulcahy came to administer the rites of the church to
Ellish, he found her in a state of incoherency. Occasional gleams of
reason broke out through the cloud that obscured her intellect, but they
carried with them the marks of a mind knit indissolubly to wealth and
aggrandizement. The same tenor of thought, and the same broken fragments
of ambitious speculation, floated in rapid confusion through the
tempests of delirium which swept with awful darkness over her spirit.

“Mrs. Connell,” said he, “can you collect yourself? Strive to compose
your mind, so far as to be able to receive the aids of religion.”

“Oh, oh!--my blood’s boilin’! Is that--is that Father Mulcahy?”

“It is, dear: strive now to keep your mind calm, till you prepare
yourself for judgment.”

“Keep up his head, Paddy--keep up his head, or he’ll be smothered undher
the wather an’ the sludge. Here, Mike, take this rope: pull, man,--pull,
or the horse will be lost! Oh, my head!--I’m boilin’--I’m burnin’!”

“Mrs. Connell, let me entreat you to remember that you are on the
point of death, and should raise your heart to God, for the pardon and
remission of your sins.”

“Oh! Father dear, I neglected that, but I intinded--I intinded--Where’s
Pether!--bring, bring--Pether to me!”

“Turn your thoughts to God, now, my dear. Are you clear enough in your
mind for confession?”

“I am, Father! I am, avourneen. Come, come here, Pether! Pether, I’m
goin’ to lave you, asthore machree! I could part wid them all but--but
you.”

“Mrs. Connell, for Heaven’s sake.”--.

“Is this--is this--Father Mulcahy? Oh! I’m ill--ill!”--

“It is, dear; it is. Compose yourself and confess your sins.”

“Where’s Mary? She’ll neglect--neglect to lay in a stock o’ linen,
although I--I--Oh, Father, avourneen! won’t you pity me! I’m sick--oh,
I’m very sick!”

“You are, dear--you are, God help you, very sick, but you’ll be better
soon. Could you confess, dear?--do you think you could?”

“Oh, this pain--this pain!--it’s killin’ me!--Pether--Pether, _a
suillish, machree_, (* The light of my heart) have, have you des--have
you desarted me.”

The priest, conjecturing that if Peter made his appearance she might
feel soothed, and perhaps sufficiently composed to confess, called him
in from the next room.

“Here’s Peter,” said the priest, presenting him to her view--“Here’s
Peter, dear.”

“Oh! what a load is on me! this pain--this pain is killin’ me--won’t you
bring me, Pether? Oh, what will I do? Who’s there?”

The mental pangs of poor Peter were, perhaps, equal in intensity to
those which she suffered physically.

“Ellish,” said he, in smothered sobs--“Ellish, acushla machree, sure I’m
wid you here; here I’m sittin’ on the bed wid you, achora machree.”

“Catch my hand, thin. Ah, Pether! won’t you pity your Ellish?--Won’t you
pity me--won’t you pity me? Oh! this pain--this pain--is killin’ me!”

“It is, it is, my heart’s delight--it’s killin’ us both. Oh, Ellish,
Ellish! I wish I was dead sooner nor see you in this agony. I ever loved
you!--I ever an’ always loved you, avourneen dheelish; but now I would
give my heart’s best blood, if it’ud save you. Here’s Father Mulcahy
come.”

“About the mon--about the money--Pether--what do you intind----Oh! my
blood--my blood’s a-fire!--Mother o’Heaven!--Oh! this pain is--is takin’
me from all--faix!--Rise me up!”

“Here, my darlin’--treasure o’ my heart here--I’m puttin’ your head
upon my breast--upon my breast, Ellish, ahagur. Marciful Virgin--Father
dear,” said Peter, bursting into bitter tears--“her head’s like fire! O!
Ellish, Ellish, Ellish!--but my heart’s brakin’ to feel this! Have
marcy on her, sweet God--have marcy on her! Bear witness, Father of
heaven--bear witness, an’ hear the vow of a brakin’ heart. I here
solemnly promise before God, to make, if I’m spared life an’ health to
do it, a Station on my bare feet to Lough Derg, if it plases you, sweet
Father o’ pity, to spare her to me this day! Oh! but the hand o’ God,
Father dear, is terrible!--feel her brow!--Oh! but it’s terrible!”

“It is terrible,” said the priest; “and terribly is it laid upon her,
poor woman! Peter, do not let this scene be lost. Remember it.”

“Oh, Father dear, can I ever forget it?--can I ever forget seein’ my
darlin’ in sich agony?”

“Pether,” said the sick woman, “will you get the car ready for
to-mor--to-morrow--till I look at that piece o’ land that Dan bought,
before he--he closes the bargain?”

“Father, jewel!” said Pether, “can’t you get the world banished out of
her heart? Oh, I’d give all I’m worth to see that heart fixed upon God!
I could bear to part wid her, for she must die some time; but to go
wid this world’s thoughts an’ timptations ragin’ strong in her
heart--mockin’ God, an’ hope, an’ religion, an’ everything:--oh!--that
I can’t bear! Sweet Jasus, change her heart!--Queen o’ Heaven, have pity
on her, an’ save her!”

The husband wept with great sorrow as he uttered these words.

“Neither reasoning nor admonition can avail her,” replied the priest;
“she is so incoherent that no train of thought is continued for a single
minute in her mind. I will, however, address her again. Mrs. Connell,
will you make a straggle to pay attention to me for a few minutes? Are
you not afraid to meet God? You are about to die!--prepare yourself for
judgment.”

“Oh, Father dear! I can’t--I can’t--I am af--afraid--Hooh!--hooh!--God!
You must do some thin’for--for me! I never done anything for myself.”

“Glory be to God! that she has that much sinse, any way,” exclaimed her
husband. “Father, ahagur, I trust my vow was heard.”

“Well, my dear--listen to me,” continued the priest--“can you not make
the best confession possible? Could you calm yourself for it?”

“Pether, avick machree--Pether,”--

“Ellish, avourneen, I’m here!--my darlin’, I am your vick machree, an’
ever was. Oh, Father! my heart’s brakin’! I can’t bear to part wid her.
Father of heaven, pity us this day of throuble?”

“Be near me, Pether; stay wid me--I’m very lonely. Is this you keepin’
my head up?”

“It is, it is! I’ll never lave you till--till”--

“Is the carman come from Dublin wid--wid the broadcloth?”

“Father of heaven! she’s gone back again!” exclaimed the husband.

“Father, jewel! have you no prayers that you’d read for her? You wor
ordained for these things, an’ comin’ from you, they’ll have more
stringth. Can you do nothin’ to save my darlin’?”

“My prayers will not be wanting,” said the priest: “but I am watching
for an interval of sufficient calmness to hear her confession; and I
very much fear that she will pass in darkness. At all events, I will
anoint her by and by. In the meantime, we must persevere a little
longer; she may become easier, for it often happens that reason gets
clear immediately before death.”

Peter sobbed aloud, and wiped away the tears that streamed from
his cheeks. At this moment her daughter and son-in-law stole in, to
ascertain how she was, and whether the rites of the church had in any
degree soothed or composed her.

“Come in, Denis,” said the priest to his nephew, “you may both come in.
Mrs. Mulcahy, speak to your mother: let us try every remedy that might
possibly bring her to a sense of her awful state.”

“Is she raving still?” inquired the daughter, whose eyes were red with
weeping.

The priest shook his head; “Ah, she is--she is! and I fear she will
scarcely recover her reason before the judgment of heaven opens upon
her!”

“Oh thin may the Mother of Glory forbid that!” exclaimed her
daughter--“anything at all but that! Can you do nothin’ for her, uncle?”

“I’m doing all I can for her, Mary,” replied the priest; “I’m watching a
calm moment to get her confession, if possible.”

The sick woman had fallen into a momentary silence, during which, she
caught the bed-clothes like a child, and felt them, and seemed to handle
their texture, but with such an air of vacancy as clearly manifested
that no corresponding association existed in her mind.

The action was immediately understood by all present. Her daughter again
burst into tears; and Peter, now almost choked with grief, pressing the
sick woman to his heart, kissed her burning lips.

“Father, jewel,” said the daughter, “there it is, and I feard it--the
sign, uncle--the sign!--don’t you see her gropin’ the clothes? Oh,
mother, darlin’, darlin’!--are we going to lose you for ever?”

“Oh! Ellish, Ellish--won’t you spake one word to me afore you go? Won’t
you take one farewell of me--of me, aroon asthore, before you depart
from us for ever!” exclaimed her husband.

“Feeling the bed-clothes,” said the priest, “is not always a, sign of
death; I have known many to recover after it.

“Husht,” said Peter--“husht!--Mary--Mary! Come hear--hould your tongues!
Oh, it’s past--it’s past!--it’s all past, an’ gone--all hope’s over!
Heavenly fither!”

The daughter, after listening for a moment, in a paroxysm of wild grief,
clasped her mother’s recumbent body in her arms, and kissed hen lips
with a vehemence almost frantic. “You won’t go, my darlin’--is it from
your own Mary that you’d go? Mary, that you loved best of all your
childhre!--Mary that you always said, an’ every body said, was your own
image! Oh, you won’t go without one word, to say you know her!”

“For Heaven’s sake,” said Father Mulcahy, “what do you mean?--are you
mad?”

“Oh! uncle dear! don’t you hear?--don’t you hear?--listen an’ sure you
will--all hope’s gone now--gone--gone! The dead rattle!--listen!--the
dead rattle’s in her throat!”--

The priest bent his ear a moment, and distinctly heard the gurgling
noise produced by the phlegm, which is termed with wild poetical
accuracy, by the peasantry--the “dead rattle,” or “death rattle,”
 because it is the immediate and certain forerunner of death.

“True,” said the priest--“too true; the last shadow of hope is gone. We
must now make as much of the time as possible. Leave the room for a few
minutes till I anoint her, I will then call you in.”

They accordingly withdrew, but in about fifteen or twenty minutes he
once more summoned them to the bed of the dying woman.

“Come in,” said he, “I have anointed her--come in, and kneel down till
we offer up a Rosary to the Blessed Virgin, under the hope that she may
intercede with God for her, and cause her to pass out of life happily.
She was calling for you, Peter, in your absence; you had better stay
with her.”

“I will,” said Peter, in a broken voice; “I’ll stay nowhere else.”

“An’I’ll kneel at the bed-side,” said the daughter. “She was the kind
mother to me, and to us all; but to me in particular. ‘Twas with me she
took her choice to live, when they war all striving for her. Oh,” said
she, taking her mother’s hand between hers, and kneeling-down to kiss
it, “a Vahr dheelish! (* sweet mother) did we ever think to see you
departing from us this way! snapped away without a minute’s warning! If
it was a long-sickness, that you’d be calm and sinsible in, but to be
hurried away into eternity, and your mind dark! Oh, Vhar dheelish, my
heart is broke to see you this way!”

“Be calm,” said the priest; “be quiet till I open the Rosary.”

He then offered up the usual prayers which precede its repetition,
and after having concluded them, commenced what is properly called the
Rosary itself, which consists of fifteen Decades, each Decade containing
the Hail Mary repeated ten times, and the Lord’s Prayer once. In this
manner the Decade goes round from one to another, until, as we have said
above, it is repeated fifteen times; or, in all, the Ave Maria’s one
hundred and sixty-five times, without variation. From the indistinct
utterance, elevated voice, and rapid manner in which it is pronounced,
it certainly has a wild effect, and is more strongly impressed with
the character of a mystic rite, or incantation, than with any other
religious ceremony with which we could compare it.

“When the priest had repeated the first part, he paused for the
response: neither the husband nor daughter, however, could find
utterance.

“Denis,” said he, to his nephew, “do you take up the next.”

His nephew complied; and with much difficulty Peter and his daughter
were able to join in it, repeating here and there a word or two, as well
as their grief and sobbings would permit them.

The heart must indeed have been an unfeeling one, to which a scene like
this would not have been deeply touching and impressive. The poor dying
woman reclined with her head upon her husband’s bosom; the daughter
knelt at the bed-side, with her mother’s hand pressed against her lips,
she herself convulsed with sorrow--the priest was in the attitude of
earnest supplication, having the stole about his neck, his face and arms
raised towards heaven--the son-in-law was bent over a chair, with his
face buried in his hands. Nothing could exceed the deep, the powerful
expression of entreaty, which marked every tone and motion of the
parties, especially those of the husband and daughter. They poured an
energy into the few words which they found voice to utter, and displayed
such a concentration of the faculties of the soul in their wild
unregulated attitudes, and streaming, upturned eyes, as would seem to
imply that their own salvation depended upon that of the beloved object
before them. Their words, too, were accompanied by such expressive
tokens of their attachment to her, that the character of prayer was
heightened by the force of the affection which they bore her. When
Peter, for instance, could command himself to utter a word, he pressed
his dying wife to his bosom, and raised his eyes to heaven in a manner
that would have melted any human heart; and the daughter, on joining
occasionally in the response, pressed her mother’s hand to her heart,
and kissed it with her lips, conscious that the awful state of her
parent had rendered more necessary the performance of the two tenderest
duties connected with a child’s obedience--prayer and affection.

When the son-in-law had finished his Decade, a pause followed, for there
was none now to proceed but her husband, or her daughter.

“Mary, dear,” said the priest, “be a woman; don’t let your love for
your mother prevent you from performing a higher duty. Go on with the
prayer--you see she is passing fast.”

“I’ll try, uncle,” she replied--“I’ll try; but--but--it’s hard, hard,
upon me.”

She commenced, and by an uncommon effort so far subdued her grief, as
to render her words intelligible. Her eyes, streaming with tears, were
fixed with a mixture of wildness, sorrow, and devotedness, upon the
countenance of her mother, until she had completed her Decade.

Another pause ensued. It was now necessary, according to the order
and form of the Prayer, that Peter should commence and offer up his
supplications for the happy passage from life to eternity of her who
had been his inward idol during a long period. Peter knew nothing about
sentiment, or the philosophy of sorrow; but he loved his wife with the
undivided power of a heart in which nature had implanted her strongest
affections. He knew, too, that his wife had loved him with a strength of
heart equal to his own. He loved her, and she deserved his love.

The pause, when the prayer had gone round to him, was long; those who
were present at length turned their eyes towards him, and the priest,
now deeply affected, cleared his voice, and simply said, “Peter,” to
remind him that it was his duty to proceed with the Rosary.

Peter, however, instead of uttering the prayer, burst out into a tide
of irrepressible sorrow.--“Oh!” said he, enfolding her in his arms, and
pressing his lips to hers: “Ellish, ahagur machree! sure when I think of
all the goodness, an’ kindness, an’ tendherness that you showed me--whin
I think of your smiles upon me, whin you wanted me to do the right, an’
the innocent plans you made out, to benefit me an’ mine!--Oh! where
was your harsh word, avillish?--where was your could brow, or your
bad tongue? Nothin’ but goodness--nothin’ but kindness, an’ love, an’
wisdom, ever flowed from these lips! An’ now, darlin’, pulse o’ my
broken heart! these same lips can’t spake to me--these eyes don’t know
me--these hands don’t feel me--nor your ears doesn’t hear me!”

“Is--is--it you?” replied his wife feebly--“is it--you?--come--come near
me--my heart--my heart says it misses you--come near me!”

Peter again pressed her in an embrace, and, in doing so, unconsciously
received the parting breath of a wife whose prudence and affection had
saved him from poverty, and, probably, from folly or crime.

The priest, on turning round to rebuke Peter for not proceeding with the
prayer, was the first who discovered that she had died; for the grief of
her husband was too violent to permit him to notice anything with much
accuracy.

“Peter,” said he, “I beg your pardon; let me take the trouble of
supporting her for a few minutes, after which I must talk to you
seriously--very seriously.”

The firm, authoritative tone in which the priest spoke, together with
Peter’s consciousness that he had acted wrongly by neglecting to join in
the Rosary, induced him to retire from the bed with a rebuked air. The
priest immediately laid back the head’ of Mrs. Connell on the pillow,
and composed the features of her lifeless face with his own hands. Until
this moment none of them, except himself, knew that she was dead.

“Now,” continued he, “all her cares, and hopes, and speculations,
touching this world, are over--so is her pain; her blood will soon
be cold enough, and her head will ache no more. She is dead. Grief is
therefore natural; but let it be the grief of a man, Peter. Indeed,
it is less painful to look upon her now, than when she suffered such
excessive agony. Mrs. Mulcahy, hear me! Oh, it’s in vain! Well, well, it
is but natural; for it was an unexpected and a painful death!”

The cries of her husband and daughter soon gave intimation to her
servants that her pangs were over. From the servants it immediately went
to the neighbors, and thus did the circle widen until it reached the
furthest ends of the parish. In a short time, also, the mournful sounds
of the church-bell, in slow and measured strokes, gave additional notice
that a Christian soul had passed into eternity.

It is in such scenes as these that the Roman Catholic clergy knit
themselves so strongly into the affections of the people. All men are
naturally disposed to feel the offices of kindness and friendship more
deeply, when tendered at the bed of death or of sickness, than under
any other circumstances. Both the sick-bed and the house of death are
necessarily the sphere of a priest’s duty, and to render them that
justice which we will ever render, when and wheresoever it may be due,
we freely grant that many shining, nay, noble instances of Christian
virtue are displayed by them on such occasions.

When the violence of grief produced by Ellish’s death had subsided, the
priest, after giving them suitable exhortations to bear the affliction
which had just befallen them with patience, told Peter, that as God,
through the great industry and persevering exertions of her who had then
departed to another world, had blessed him abundantly with wealth and
substance, it was, considering the little time which had been allowed
her to repent in a satisfactory manner for her transgressions, his
bounden and solemn duty to set aside a suitable portion of that wealth
for the delivery of her soul from purgatory, where, he trusted, in the
mercy of God, it was permitted to remain.

“Indeed, your Reverence,” replied Peter, “it wasn’t necessary to mintion
it, considherin’ the way she was cut off from among us, widout even time
to confess.”

“But blessed be God,” said the daughter, “she received the ointment at
any rate, and that of itself would get her to purgatory.”

“And I can answer for her,” said Peter, “that she intended, as soon
as she’d get everything properly settled for the childhre, to make her
sowl.”

“Ah! good intentions,” said the priest, “won’t do. I, however, have
forewarned you of your duty, and must now leave the guilt or the merit
of relieving her departed spirit, upon you and the other members of her
family, who are all bound to leave nothing undone that may bring her
from pain and fire, to peace and happiness.”

“Och! och! asthore, asthore! you’re lyin’ there--an’, oh, Ellish,
avourneen, could you think that I--I--would spare money--trash--to bring
you to glory wid the angels o’ heaven! No, no, Father dear. It’s good,
an’ kind, an’ thoughtful of you to put it into my head; but I didn’t
intind to neglect or forget it. Oh, how will I live wantin’ her,
Father? When I rise in the mornin’, avillish, where ‘ud be your smile
and your voice? We won’t hear your step, nor see you as we used to do,
movin’ pleasantly about the place. No--you’re gone, avoumeen--gone--an’
we’ll see you and hear you no more!”

His grief was once more about to burst forth, but the priest led him out
of the room, kindly chid him for the weakness of his immoderate sorrow,
and after making arrangements about the celebration of mass for the
dead, pressed his hand, and bade the family farewell.

The death of Ellish excited considerable surprise, and much conversation
in the neighborhood. Every point of her character was discussed freely,
and the comparisons instituted between her and Peter were anything but
flattering to the intellect of her husband.

“An’ so Ellish is whipped off, Larry,” said a neighbor to one of Peter’s
laboring men, “Faix, an’ the best feather in their wing is gone.”

“Ay, sure enough, Risthard, you may say that. It was her cleverness made
them what they are. She was the best manager in the three kingdoms.”

“Ah, she was the woman could make a bargain. I only hope she hasn’t
brought the luck o’ the family away wid her!”

“Why, man alive, she made the sons and daughters as clever as
herself--put them up to everything. Indeed, it’s quare to think of how
that one woman brought them ris them to what they are!”

“They shouldn’t forget themselves as they’re doin’, thin; for betune
you an’ me, they’re as proud as Turks, an’ God he sees it ill becomes
them--sits very badly on them, itself, when everything knows that their
father an’ mother begun the world wid a bottle of private whiskey an’
half a pound of smuggled tobaccy.”

“Poor Pether will break his heart, any way. Oh, man, but she was the
good wife. I’m livin’ wid them going an seven year, an’ never hard a
cross word from the one to the other. It’s she that had the sweet tongue
all out, an’ did manage him; but, afther all, he was worth the full o’
the Royal George of her. Many a time, when some poor craythur ‘ud come
to ax whiskey on score to put over* some o’ their friends, or for a
weddin’, or a christenin’, maybe, an’ when the wife ‘ud refuse it,
Pether ‘ud send what whiskey they wanted afther them, widout lettin’ her
know anything about it. An’, indeed, he never lost anything by that; for
if they wor to sell their cow, he should be ped, in regard of the kindly
way he gave it to them.”

     * To put over--the corpse of a friend, to be drunk at
     the wake and funeral.

“Well, we’ll see how they’ll manage now that she’s gone; but Pether an’
the youngest daughter, Mary, is to be pitied.”

“The sarra much; barrin’ that they’ll miss her at first from about the
place. You see she has left them above the world, an’ full of it.
Wealth and substance enough may they thank her for; and that’s very good
comfort for sorrow, Risthard.”

“Faith, sure enough, Larry. There’s no lie in that, any way!”

“Awouh! Lie! I have you about it.”

Such was the view which had been taken of their respective characters
through life. Yet, notwithstanding that the hearts of their
acquaintances never warmed to her--to use a significant expression
current among the peasantry--as they did to Peter, still she was
respected almost involuntarily for the indefatigable perseverance with
which she pushed forward her own interests through life. Her funeral was
accordingly a large one; and the conversation which took place at it,
turning, as it necessarily did, upon her extraordinary talents and
industry, was highly to the credit of her memory and virtues. Indeed,
the attendance of many respectable persons of all creeds and opinions,
gave ample proof that the qualities she possessed had secured for her
general respect and admiration.

Poor Peter, who was an object of great compassion, felt himself
completely crushed by the death of his faithful partner. The reader
knows that he had hitherto been a sober, and, owing to Ellish’s prudent
control, an industrious man. To thought or reflection he was not,
however, accustomed; he had, besides, never received any education; if
his morals were correct, it was because a life of active employment had
kept him engaged in pursuits which repressed immorality, and separated
him from those whose society and influence might have been prejudicial
to him. He had scarcely known calamity, and when it occurred he was
prepared for it neither by experience nor a correct view of moral duty.
On the morning of his wife’s funeral, such was his utter prostration
both of mind and body, that even his own sons, in order to resist the
singular state of collapse into which he had sunk, urged him to take
some spirits. He was completely passive in their hands, and complied.
This had the desired effect, and he found himself able to attend the
funeral. When the friends of Ellish assembled, after the interment, as
is usual, to drink and talk together, Peter, who could scarcely join
in the conversation, swallowed glass after glass of punch with great
rapidity. In the mean time, the talk became louder and more animated;
the punch, of course, began to work, and as they sat long, it was
curious to observe the singular blending of mirth and sorrow, singing
and weeping, laughter and tears, which characterized this remarkable
scene. Peter, after about two hours’ hard drinking, was not an exception
to the influence of this trait of national manners. His heart having
been deeply agitated, was the more easily brought under the effects of
contending emotions. He was naturally mirthful, and when intoxication
had stimulated the current of his wonted humor, the influence of this
and his recent sorrow produced such an anomalous commixture of fun and
grief as could seldom, out of Ireland, be found checkering the mind of
one individual.

It was in the midst of this extraordinary din that his voice was heard
commanding silence in its loudest and best-humored key:

“Hould yer tongues,” said he; “bad win to yees, don’t you hear me
wantin’ to sing! Whist wid yees. Hem--och--‘Eise up’--Why, thin, Phil
Callaghan, you might thrate me wid more dacency, if you had gumption in
you; I’m sure no one has a betther right to sing first in this company
nor myself; an’ what’s more, I will sing first. Hould your tongues!
Hem!”

He accordingly commenced a popular song, the air of which, though
simple, was touchingly mournful.

     “Och, rise up, Willy Reilly, an’ come wid me,
     I’m goin’ for to go wid you, and lave this counteree;
     I’m goin’ to lave my father, his castles and freelands--
     An’ away what Willy Reilly, an’ his own Colleen Bawn.

     “Och, they wint o’er hills an’ mountains, and valleys that was
          fair,
     An’ fled before her father as you may shortly hear;
     Her father followed afther wid a well-chosen armed band,
     Och, an’ taken was poor Reilly, an’ his own Colleen Bawn.”

The simple pathos of the tune, the affection implied by the words, and
probably the misfortune of Willy Reilly, all overcame him, He finished
the second verse with difficulty, and on attempting to commence a third
he burst into tears.

“Colleen bawn! (fair, or fair-haired girl)--Colleen bawn!” he exclaimed;
“she’s lyin’ low that was my colleen bawn! Oh, will ye hould your
tongues, an’ let me think of what has happened me? She’s gone: Mary,
avourneen, isn’t she gone from us? I’m alone, an’ I’ll be always lonely.
Who have I now to comfort me? I know I have good childhre, neighbors;
but none o’ them, all of them, if they wor ten times as many, isn’t
aqual to her that’s in the grave. Her hands won’t be about me--there was
tindherness in their very touch. An’, of a Sunday mornin’, how she’d tie
an my handkerchy, for I never could rightly tie it an myself, the knot
was ever an’ always too many for me; but, och, och, she’d tie it an so
snug an’ purty wid her own hands, that I didn’t look the same man! The
same song was her favorite, Here’s your healths; an’ sure it’s the first
time ever we wor together that she wasn’t wid us: but now, avillish,
your voice is gone--you’re silent and lonely in the grave; an’ why
shouldn’t I be sarry for the wife o’ my heart that never angered me?
Why shouldn’t I? Ay, Mary, asthore, machree, good right you have to cry
afther her; she was the kind mother to you; her heart was fixed in you;
there’s her fatures on your face; her very eyes, an’ fair hair, too, an’
I’ll love you, achora, ten times more nor ever, for her sake. Another
favorite song of hers, God rest her, was ‘Brian O’Lynn.’ Troth an’ I’ll
sing it, so I will, for if she was livin’ she’d like it.

     ‘Och, Brian O’Lynn, he had milk an’ male,
     A two-lugged porringer wanfcin’ a tail.’

Oh, my head’s through other! The sarra one o’ me I bleeve, but’s out o’
the words, or, as they say, there’s a hole in the ballad. Send round
the punch will ye? By the hole o’ my coat, Parra Gastha, I’ll whale you
wid-in an inch of your life, if you don’t Shrink. Send round the
punch, Dan; an’ give us a song, Parra Gastha. Arrah, Paddy, do you
remimber--ha, ha, ha--upon my credit, I’ll never forget it, the fun we
had catchin’ Father Soolaghan’s horse, the day he gave his shirt to the
sick man in the ditch. The Lord rest his sowl in glory--ha, ha, ha--I’ll
never forget it. Paddy, the song, you thief?”

“No, but tell them about that, Misther Connell.”

“Throth, an’ I will; but don’t be Mitherin me. Faith, this is The height
o’ good punch. You see--ha, ha, ha! You see, it was one hard summer
afore I was married to Ellish--mavourneen, that you wor, asthore! Och,
och, are we parted at last? Upon my sowl, my heart’s breakin’--breakin’,
(weeps) an’ no wondher! But as I was sayin’--all your healths! faith,
it is tip-top punch that--the poor man fell sick of a faver, an’ sure
enough, when it was known what ailed him, the neighbors built a little
shed on the roadside for him, in regard that every one was afeard to let
him into their place. Howsomever--ha, ha, ha--Father Soolaghan was one
day ridin’ past upon his horse, an’ seein’ the crathur lyin’ undher the
shed, on a whisp o’ straw, he pulls bridle, an’ puts the spake on the
poor sthranger. So, begad, it came out, that the neighbors were very
kind to him, an’ used to hand over whatsomever they thought best for him
from the back o’ the ditch, as well as they could.

“‘My poor fellow,’ said the priest, ‘you’re badly off for linen.’

“‘Thrue for you, sir,’ said the sick man, ‘I never longed for anything
so much in my life, as I do for a clane shirt an’ a glass o’ whiskey.’

“‘The devil a glass o’ whiskey I have about me, but you shall have
the clane shirt, you poor compassionate crathur,’ said the priest,
stretchin’ his neck up an’ down to make sure there was no one comin’ on
the road--ha, ha, ha!

“Well an’ good--‘I have three shirts,’ says his Reverence, ‘but I have
only one o’ them an me, an’ that you shall have.’

“So the priest peels himself on the spot, an’ lays his black coat and
waistcoat afore him acrass the saddle, thin takin’ off his shirt, he
threw it acrass the ditch to the sick man. Whether it was the white
shirt, or the black coat danglin’ about the horse’s neck, the divil a
one o’ myself can say, but any way, the baste tuck fright, an’ made off
wid Father Soolaghan, in the state I’m tellin’ yez, upon his back--ha,
ha, ha!

“Parra Gastha, here, an’ I war goin’ up at the time to do a little in
the distillin’ way for Tom Duggan of Aidinasamlagh, an’ seen what was
goin’ an. So off we set, an we splittin’ our sides laughin’--ha, ha,
ha--at the figure the priest cut. However, we could do no good, an’
he never could pull up the horse, till he came full flight to his own
house, opposite the pound there below, and the whole town in convulsions
when they seen him. We gother up his clothes, an’ brought them home to
him, an’ a good piece o’ fun-we had wid him, for he loved the joke as
well as any man. Well, he was the good an’ charitable man, the same
Father Soolaghan; but so simple that he got himself into fifty scrapes,
God rest him! Och, och, she’s lyin’ low that often laughed at that, an’
I’m here--ay, I have no one, no one that ‘ud show me sich a warm heart
as she would. (Weeps.) However, God’s will be done. I’ll sing yez a song
she liked:--

     ‘Och, Brian O’Lynn, he had milk an’ male,
     A two-lugged porringer wantin’ a tail.’

Musha, I’m out agin--ha, ha, ha! Why, I b’lieve there’s pishthrogues
an me, or I’d remember it. Bud-an-age, dhrink of all ye. Lie in to the
liquor, I say; don’t spare it. Here, Mike, send us up another gallon,
Faith, we’ll make a night of it.

     ‘Och, three maidens a milkin’ did go
     An’ three maidens a milkin’ did go;
     An’ the winds they blew high
     An’ the winds they blew low,
     An’ they dashed their milkin’ pails to an’ fro.’

All your healths, childhre! Neighbors, all your healths! don’t spare
what’s before ye. It’s long since I tuck a jorum myself an--come, I say,
plase God, we’ll often meet ins’ way, so we will. Faith, I’ll take a sup
from this forrid, with a blessin’. Dhrink, I say, dhrink!”

By the time he had arrived at this patch, he was able to engross no
great portion either of the conversation or attention. Almost every one
present had his songs, his sorrows, his laughter, or his anecdotes, as
well as himself. Every voice was loud; and every tongue busy. Intricate
and entangled was the talk, which, on the present occasion, presented
a union of all the extremes which the lights and shadows of the Irish
character alone could exhibit under such a calamity as that which
brought the friends of the deceased together.

Peter literally fulfilled his promise of taking a jorum in future. He
was now his own master; and as he felt the loss of his wife deeply,
he unhappily had recourse to the bottle, to bury the recollection of a
woman, whose death left a chasm in his heart, which he thought nothing
but the whiskey could fill up.

His transition from a life of perfect sobriety to one of habitual, nay,
of daily intoxication, was immediate. He could not bear to be sober;
and his extraordinary bursts of affliction, even in his cups, were often
calculated to draw tears from the eyes of those who witnessed them. He
usually went out in the morning with a flask of whiskey in his pocket,
and sat down to weep behind a ditch--where, however, after having
emptied his flask, he might be heard at a great distance, singing the
songs which Ellish in her life-time was accustomed to love. In fact, he
was generally pitied; his simplicity of character, and his benevolence
of heart, which was now exercised without fear of responsibility, made
him more a favorite than he ever had been. His former habits of industry
were thrown aside; as he said himself, he hadn’t heart to work; his
farms were neglected, and but for his son-in-law, would have gone to
ruin. Peter himself was sensible of this.

“Take them,” said he, “into your own hands, Denis; for me, I’m not able
to do anything more at them; she that kep me up is gone, an’ I’m broken
down. Take them--take them into your own hands. Give me my bed, bit, an’
sup, an’ that’s all I Want.”

Six months produced an incredible change in his appearance.
Intemperance, whilst it shattered his strong frame, kept him in frequent
exuberance of spirits; but the secret grief preyed on him within.
Artificial excitement kills, but it never cures; and Peter, in the midst
of his mirth and jollity, was wasting away into a shadow. His children,
seeing him go down the hill of life so rapidly, consulted among each
other on the best means of winning him back to sobriety. This was a
difficult task, for his powers of bearing liquor were prodigious. He has
often been known to drink so many as twenty-five, and sometimes thirty
tumblers of punch, without being taken off his legs, or rendered
incapable of walking about. His friends, on considering who was most
likely to recall him to a more becoming life, resolved to apply to his
landlord--the gentleman whom we have already introduced to our readers.
He entered warmly into their plan, and it was settled, that Peter should
be sent for, and induced, if possible, to take an oath against liquor.
Early the following-day a liveried servant came down to inform him that
his master wished to speak with him. “To be sure,” said Peter; “divil
resave the man in all Europe I’d do more for than the same gintleman, if
it was only on account of the regard he had for her that’s gone. Come,
I’ll go wid you in a minute.”

He accordingly returned with the flask in his hand, saying, “I never
thravel widout a pocket-pistol, John. The times, you see, is not overly
safe, an’ the best way is to be prepared!--ha, ha, ha! Och, och! It
houlds three half-pints.”

“I think,” observed the servant, “you had better not taste that till
after your return.”

“Come away, man,” said Peter; “we’ll talk upon it as we go along: I
couldn’t do readily widout it. You hard that I lost Ellish?”

“Yes,” replied the servant, “and I was very sorry to hear it.”

“Did you attind the berrin?”

“No, but my master did,” replied the man; “for, indeed, his respect for
your wife was very great, Mr. Connell.”

This was before ten o’clock in the forenoon, and about one in the
afternoon a stout countryman was seen approaching the gentleman’s house,
with another man bent round his neck, where he hung precisely as a calf
hangs round the shoulders of a butcher, when he is carrying it to his
stall.

“Good Heavens!” said the owner of the mansion to his lady, “what has
happened to John Smith, my dear? Is he dead?”

“Dead!” said his lady, going in much alarm to the drawing-room window:
“I protest I fear so, Frank. He is evidently dead! For God’s sake go
down and see what has befallen him.”

Her husband went hastily to the hall-door, where he met Peter with his
burden.

“In the name of Heaven, what has happened, Connell?--what is the matter
with John? Is he living or dead?”

“First, plase your honor, as I have him on my shouldhers, will you tell
me where his bed is?” replied Peter. “I may as well lave him snug, as my
hand’s in, poor fellow. The devil’s bad head he has, your honor. Faith,
it’s a burnin’ shame, so it is, an’ nothin’ else--to be able to bear so
little!”

The lady, children, and servants, were now all assembled about the dead
footman, who hung, in the mean time, very quietly round Peter’s neck.

“Gracious Heaven! Connell, is the man dead?” she inquired.

“Faith, thin, he is, ma’am,--for a while, any how; but, upon my credit,
it’s a burnin’ shame, so it is,”--

“The man is drunk, my dear,” said her husband--“he’s only drunk.”

“--a burnin’ shame, so it is--to be able to bear no more nor about six
glasses, an’ the whiskey good, too. Will you ordher one o’ thim to show
me his bed, ma’am, if you plase,” continued Peter, “while he’s an me?
It’ll save throuble.”

“Connell is right,” observed his landlord. “Gallagher, show him John’s
bed-room.”

Peter accordingly followed another servant, who pointed out his bed, and
assisted to place the vanquished footman in a somewhat easier position
than that in which Peter had carried him.

“Connell,” said his landlord, when he returned, “how did this happen?”

“Faith, thin, it’s a burnin’ shame,” said Connell, “to be able only to
bear”--

“But how did it happen? for he has been hitherto a perfectly sober man.”

“Faix, plase your honor, asy enough,” replied Peter; “he began to
lecthur me about! dhrinkin’ so, says I, ‘Come an’ sit down behind the
hedge here, an’ we’ll talk it over between us;’ so we went in, the two
of us, a-back o’ the ditch--an’ he began to advise me agin dhrink, an’
I began to tell him about her that’s gone, sir. Well, well! och, och!
no matther!--So, sir, one story an’ one pull from the bottle, brought
on another, for divil a glass we had at all, sir. Faix, he’s a
tindher-hearted boy, anyhow; for as myself I begun to let the tears
down, whin the bottle was near out, divil resave the morsel of him but
cried afther poor Ellish, as if she had been his mother. Faix, he did!
An’ it won’t be the last sup we’ll have together, plase goodness! But
the best of it was, sir, that the dhrunker he got, he abused me the more
for dhrinkin’. Oh, thin, but he’s the pious boy whin he gets a sup
in his head! Faix, it’s a pity ever he’d be sober, he talks so much
scripthur an’ devotion in his liquor!”

“Connell,” said the landlord, “I am exceedingly sorry to hear that you
have taken so openly and inveterately to drink as you have done,
ever since the death of your admirable wife. This, in fact, was what
occasioned me to send for you. Come into the parlor. Don’t go, my dear;
perhaps your influence may also be necessary. Gallagher, look to Smith,
and see that every attention is paid him, until he recovers the effects
of his intoxication.”

He then entered the parlor, where the following dialogue took place
between him and Peter:--

“Connell, I am really grieved to hear that you have become latterly so
incorrigible a drinker; I sent for you to-day, with the hope of being
able to induce you to give it up.”

“Faix, your honor, it’s jist what I’d expect from your father’s
son--kindness, an’ dacency, an’ devotion, wor always among yez. Divil
resave the family in all Europe I’d do so much for as the same family:”

The gentleman and lady looked at each other, and smiled. They knew that
Peter’s blarney was no omen of their success in the laudable design they
contemplated.

“I thank you, Peter, for your good opinion; but in the meantime allow me
to ask, what can you propose to yourself by drinking so incessantly as
you do?”

“What do I propose to myself by dhrinkin’, is it? Why thin to banish
grief, your honor. Surely you’ll allow that no man has reason to
complain who’s able to banish the thief for two shillins a-day. I reckon
the whiskey at first cost, so that it doesn’t come to more nor that at
the very outside.”

“That is taking a commercial view of affliction, Connell; but you must
promise me to give up drinking.”

“Why thin upon my credit, your honor astonishes me. Is it to give up
banishin’ grief? I have a regard for you, sir, for many a dalin we had
together; but for all that, faix, I’d be miserable for no man, barrin’
for her that’s gone. If I’d be so to oblage any one, I’d do it for your
family; for divil the family in all Europe “--

“Easy, Connell--I am not to be palmed off in that manner; I really have
a respect for the character which you bore, and wish you to recover it
once more. Consider that you are disgracing yourself and your children
by drinking so excessively from day to day--indeed, I am told, almost
from hour to hour.”

“Augh! don’t believe the half o’ what you hear, sir. Faith, somebody
has been dhraw-in’ your honor out! Why I’m never dhrunk, sir; faith, I’m
not.”

“You will destroy your health, Connell, as well as your character;
besides, you are not to be told that it is a sin, a crime against. God,
and an evil example to society.”

“Show me the man, plase your honor, that ever seen me incapable. That’s
the proof o’ the thing.”

“But why do you drink at all? It is not-necessary.”

“An’ do you never taste a dhrop yourself, sir, plase your honor? I’ll be
bound you do, sir, raise your little finger of an odd time, as well as
another. Eh, Ma’am? That’s comin’ close to his honor! An’ faix, small
blame to him, an’ a weeshy sup o’ the wine to the misthress herself, to
correct the tindherness of her dilicate appetite.”

“Peter, this bantering must not pass: I think I have a claim upon your
respect and deference. I have uniformly been your friend and the friend
of your children and family, but more especially of your late excellent
and exemplary wife.”

“Before God an’ man I acknowledge that, sir--I do--I do. But, sir;
to spake sarious--it’s thruth, Ma’am, downright--to spake sarious, my
heart’s broke, an’ every day it’s brakin’ more an’ more. She’s gone,
sir, that used to manage me; an’ now I can’t turn myself to anything,
barrin’ the dhrink--God help me!”

“I honor you, Connell, for the attachment which you bear towards the
memory of your wife, but I utterly condemn the manner in which you
display it. To become a drunkard is to disgrace her memory. You know it
was a character she detested.”

“I know it all, sir, an’ that you have thruth an rason on your side;
but, sir, you never lost a wife that you loved; an’ long may you be so,
I pray the heavenly Father this day! Maybe if you did, sir, plase your
honor, that, wid your heart sinkin’ like a stone widin you, you’d thry
whether or not something couldn’t rise it. Sir, only for the dhrink I’d
be dead.”

“There I totally differ from you, Connell. The drink only prolongs
your grief, by adding to it the depression of spirits which it always
produces. Had you not become a drinker, you would long before this have
been once more a cheerful, active, and industrious man. Your
sorrow would have worn away gradually, and nothing but an agreeable
melancholy--an affectionate remembrance of your excellent wife--would
have remained. Look at other men.”

“But where’s the man, sir, had sich a wife to grieve for as she was?
Don’t be hard on me, sir. I’m not a dhrunkard. It’s thrue I dhrink
a great dale; but thin I can bear a great dale, so that I’m never
incapable.”

“Connell,” said the lady, “you will break down your constitution, and
bring yourself to an earlier death than you would otherwise meet.”

“I care very little, indeed, how soon I was dead, not makin’ you, Ma’am,
an ill answer.”

“Oh fie, Connell, for you, a sensible man and a Christian, to talk in
such a manner!”

“Throth, thin, I don’t, Ma’am. She’s gone, an’ I’d be glad to folly her
as soon as I could. Yes, asthore, you’re departed from me! an’ now
I’m gone asthray--out o’ the right an’ out o’ the good! Oh, Ma’am,” he
proceeded, whilst the tears rolled fast down his cheeks, “if you knew
her--her last words, too--Oh, she was--she was--but where’s the use o’
sayin’ what she was?--I beg your pardon, Ma’am,--your honor, sir, ‘ill
forgive my want o’ manners, sure I know it’s bad breedin’, but I can’t
help it.”

“Well, promise,” said his landlord, “to give up drink. Indeed, I wish
you would take an oath against it: you are a conscientious man, and
I know would keep it, otherwise I should not propose it, for I
discountenance such oaths generally. Will you promise me this, Connell?”

“I’ll promise to think of it, your honor,--aginst takin’ a sartin
quantity, at any rate.”

“If you refuse it, I’ll think you are unmindful of the good feeling
which we have ever shown your family.”

“What?--do you think, sir, I’m ungrateful to you? That’s a sore cut,
sir, to make a villain o’ me. Where’s the book?--I’ll swear this minute.
Have you a Bible, Ma’am?--I’ll show you that I’m not mane, any way.”

“No, Connell, you shall not do it rashly; you must be cool and composed:
but go home, and turn it in your mind,” she replied; “and remember, that
it is the request of me and my husband, for your own good.”

“Neither must you swear before me,” said his landlord, “but before Mr.
Mulcahy, who, as it is an oath connected with your moral conduct, is the
best person to be present. It must be voluntary, however. Now, good-bye,
Connell, and think of what we said; but take care never to carry home
any of my servants in the same plight in which you put John Smith
to-day.”

“Faix thin, sir, he had no business, wid your honor’s livery upon his
back, to begin lecthurin’ me again dhrinkin’, as he did. We may all do
very well, sir, till the timptation crasses us--but that’s what thries
us. It thried him, but he didn’t stand it--faix he didn’t!--ha, ha, ha!
Good-mornin’, sir--God bless you, Ma’am! Divil resave the family in all
Europe”--

“Good-morning, Connell--good-morning! --Pray remember what we said.”

Peter, however, could not relinquish the whiskey. His sons, daughters,
friends, and neighbors, all assailed him, but with no success. He either
bantered them in his usual way, or reverted to his loss, and sank
into sorrow. This last was the condition in which they found him most
intractable; for a man is never considered to be in a state that admits
of reasoning or argument, when he is known to be pressed by strong
gushes of personal feeling. A plan at length struck Father Mulcahy,
which lie resolved to put into immediate execution.

“Peter,” said he, “if you don’t abandon drink, I shall stop the masses
which I’m offering up for the repose of your wife’s soul, and I will
also return you the money I received for saying them.”

This was, perhaps, the only point on which Peter was accessible. He
felt staggered at such an unexpected intimation, and was for some time
silent.

“You will then feel,” added the priest, “that your drunkenness is
prolonging the sufferings of your wife, and that she is as much
concerned in your being sober as you are yourself.”

“I will give in,” replied Peter; “I didn’t see the thing in that light.
No--I will give it up; but if I swear against it, you must allow me a
rasonable share every day, an’ I’ll not go beyant it, of coorse. The
truth is, I’d die soon if I gev it up altogether.”

“We have certainly no objection against that,” said the priest,
“provided you keep within what would injure your health, or make you
tipsy. Your drunkenness is not only sinful but disreputable; besides,
you must not throw a slur upon the character of your children, who hold
respectable and rising situations in the world.”

“No,” said Peter, in a kind of soliloquy, “I’d lay down my life,
avoumeen, sooner nor I’d cause you a minute’s sufferin’. Father Mulcahy,
go an wid the masses. I’ll get an oath drawn up, an’ whin it’s done,
I’ll swear to it. I know a man that’ll do it for me.”

The priest then departed, quite satisfied with having accomplished his
object; and Peter, in the course of that evening, directed his steps to
the house of the village schoolmaster, for the purpose of getting him to
“draw up” the intended oath.

“Misther O’Flaherty,” said he, “I’m comin’ to ax a requist of you an’
I hope you’ll grant it to me. I brought down a sup in this flask, an’
while we’re takin’ it, we can talk over what I want.”

“If it be anything widin the circumference of my power, set it down,
Misther Connell, as already operated upon. I’d drop a pen to no man at
keepin’ books by double enthry, which is the Italian method invinted by
Pope Gregory the Great. The Three sets bear a theological ratio to the
three states of a thrue Christian. ‘The Waste-book,’ says Pope Gregory,
‘is this world, the Journal is purgatory, an’ the Ledger is heaven. Or
it may be compared,’ he says, in the priface of the work, ‘to the three
states of the Catholic church--the church Militant, the church Suffering
and the church Triumphant.’ The larnin’ of that man was beyant the reach
of credibility.”

“Arra, have you a small glass, Masther? You see, Misther O’Flaherty,
it’s consarnin’ purgatory, this that I want to talk about.”

“Nancy, get us a glass--oh, here it is! Thin if it be, it’s a wrong
enthry in the Journal.”

“Here’s your health, Masther!--Not forgetting you, Mrs. O’Flaherty.
No, indeed, thin it’s not in the Journal, but an oath I’m goin’ to take
against liquor.”

“Nothin’ is asier to post than it is. We must enter it it undher the
head of--let me see!--it must go in the spirit account, undher the head
of Profit an’ Loss, Your good health, Mr. Connell!--Nancy, I dhrink ta
your improvement in imperturbability! Yes, it must be enthered undher
the”----

“Faix, undher the rose, I think,” observed Pether; “don’t you know the
smack, of it? You see since I took to it, I like the smell o’ what I
used to squeeze out o’ the barley myself, long ago. Mr. O’Flaherty, I
only want you to dhraw up an oath against liquor for me; but it’s not
for the books, good or bad. I promised to Father Mulcahy, that I’d do
it. It’s regardin’ my poor Ellish’s sowl in purgatory.”

“Nancy, hand me a slate an’ cutter. Faith, the same’s a provident
resolution; but how is it an’ purgatory concatenated?”

“The priest, you see, won’t go an wid the masses for her till I take the
oath.”

“That’s but wake logic, if you ped him for thim.”

“Faix, an’ I did--an’ well, too;--but about the oath? Have you the
pencil?”

“I have; jist lave the thing to me.”

“Asy, Masther--you don’t undherstand it yit. Put down two tumblers for
me at home.”

“How is that, Misther Connell?--It’s mysterious, if you’re about to
swear against liquor!”

“I am. Put down, as I said, two tumblers for me at home--Are they down?”

“They are down--but”--

“Asy!--very good!--Put down two more for me at Dan’s. Let me see!--two
more; behind the garden. Well!--put down one at Father Mulcahy’s;--two
more at, Frank M’Carrol’s of Kilclay. How many’s that?”

“Nine!!!”

“Very good. Now put down one wid ould’ Bartle Gorman, of Cargah; an’ two
over wid honest Roger M’Gaugy, of Nurchasey. How-many have you now?”

“Twelve in all!!!! But, Misther Connelly there’s a demonstration badly
wanted here. I must confis I was always bright, but at present I’m as
dark as Nox. I’d thank you for a taste of explanation.”

“Asy, man alive! Is there twelve in all?”

“Twelve in all: I’ve calculated them.”

“Well, we’ll hould to that. Och, och!--I’m sure, avourneen, afore
I’d let you suffer one minute’s pain, I’d not scruple to take an oath
against liquor, any way. He may go an wid the masses now for you, as
soon as he likes! Mr. O’Flaherty, will you put that down on paper,--an’
I’ll swear to it, wid a blessin’, to-morrow.”

“But what object do you wish to effectuate by this?”

“You see, Masther, I dhrink one day wid another from a score to two
dozen tumblers, an’ I want to swear to no more nor twelve in the
twenty-four hours.”

“Why, there’s intelligibility in that!--Wid great pleasure, Mr.
Connell, I’ll indite it. Katty, tare me a lafe out o’ Brian Murphy’s
copy there.”

“You see, Masther, it’s for Ellish’s sake I’m doin’ this. State that in
the oath.”

“I know it; an’ well she desarved that specimen of abstinence from you,
Misther Connell. Thank you!--Your health agin! an’ God grant you grace
an’ fortitude to go through wid the same oath!--An’ so he will, or I’m
greviously mistaken in you.”

     “OATH AGAINST LIQUOR,

     made by me, Cornelius O’Flaherty, Philomath, on behalf
     of Mr. Peter Connell, of the cross-roads, Merchant, on
     one part--and of the soul of Mrs. Ellish Connell, now
     in purgatory, Merchantess, on the other.

     “I solemnly and meritoriously, and soberly swear, that
     a single tumbler of whiskey punch shall not cross my
     lips during the twenty-four hours of the day, barring
     twelve, the locality of which is as followeth:

     “Imprimis--Two tumblers at home, 2
     Secundo--Two more ditto at my son Dan’s, 2
     Tertio--Two more ditto behind my own garden, 2
     Quarto--One ditto at the Reverend Father Mulcahy’s, 1
     Quinto--Two more ditto at Frank M’Carroll s, of Kilclay, 2
     Sexto--One ditto wid ould Bartle Gorman, of Cargah, 1
     Septimo--Two more ditto wid honest Roger M’Gaugy, of Nurchasey, 2
                                                                    ====
                                                                     12
     N.B.--Except in case any Docthor of Physic might
     think it right and medical to ordher me more for my
     health; or in case I could get Father Mulcahy to take
     the oath off of me for a start, at a wedding, or a
     christening, or at any other meeting of friends where
     there’s drink.

     his
     Peter X Connell.
     mark.

     Witness present,
     Cornelius O’Flaherty, Philomath.
     _June the 4th, 18--_

     I certify that I have made and calculated this oath for
     Misther Pettier Connell, Merchant, and that it is
     strictly and arithmetically proper and correct.

     “Cornelius O’Flaherty, Philomath.
     “_Dated this Mh day of June, 18--_.”


“I think, Misther O’Flaherty, it’s a dacent oath as it stands. Plase
God, I’ll swear to it some time to-morrow evenin’.”

“Dacent! Why I don’t wish to become eulogistically addicted; but I’d
back tha same oath, for both grammar and arithmetic, aginst any that
ever was drawn up by a lawyer--ay, by the great Counsellor himself!--but
faith, I’d not face him at a Vow, for all that; he’s the greatest man at
a Vow in the three kingdoms.”

“I’ll tell you what I’m thinkin’, Masther--as my hand’s in, mightn’t I
as well take another wid an ould friend of mine, Owen Smith, of Lisbuy?
He’s a dacent ould residenther, an’ likes it. It’ll make the baker’s or
the long dozen.”

“Why, it’s not a bad thought; but won’t thirteen get into your head?”

“No, nor three more to the back o’ that. I only begin to get hearty
about seventeen, so that the long dozen, afther all, is best; for--God
he knows, I’ve a regard for Owen Smith this many a year, an’ I wouldn’t
wish to lave him out.”

“Very well,--I’ll add it up to the other part of the oath.

     ‘Octavo--One ditto out of respect for dacent Owen Smith, of
          Lisbuy, 1

Now I must make the total amount thirteen, an’ all will be right.”

“Masther, have you a prayer-book widin?--bekase if you have, I may as
well swear here, and you can witness it.”

“Katty, hand over the Spiritual Exercises--a book aquil to the Bible
itself for piety an’ devotion.”

“Sure they say, Masther, any book that, the name o’ God’s in, is good
for an oath. Now, wid the help o’ goodness, repate the words afore me,
an’ I’ll sware thim.”

O’Flaherty hemmed two or three times, and complied with Peter’s wishes,
who followed him in the words until the oath was concluded. He then
kissed the book, and expressed himself much at ease, as well, he said,
upon the account of Ellish’s soul, as for the sake of his children.

For some time after this, his oath was the standing jest of the
neighborhood: even to this day, Peter Connell’s oath against liquor is a
proverb in that part of the country. Immediately after he had sworn,
no one could ever perceive that he violated it in the slightest degree;
indeed there could be no doubt as to literally fulfilling it. A day
never passed in which he did not punctually pay a visit to those whose
names wore dotted down, with whom he sat, pulled out his flask, and
drank his quantum. In the meantime the poor man was breaking down
rapidly; so much so, that his appearance generally excited pity, if not
sorrow, among his neighbors. His character became simpler every day, and
his intellect evidently more exhausted. The inoffensive humor, for which
he had been noted, was also completely on the wane; his eye waxed dim,
his step feeble, but the benevolence of his heart never failed him. Many
acts of his private generosity are well known, and still remembered with
gratitude.

In proportion as the strength of his mind and constitution diminished,
so did his capacity for bearing liquor. When he first bound himself
by the oath not to exceed the long dozen, such was his vigor, that the
effects of thirteen tumblers could scarcely be perceived on him. This
state of health, however, did not last. As he wore away, the influence
of so much liquor was becoming stronger, until at length he found that
it was more than he could bear, that he frequently confounded the
names of the men, and the number of tumblers mentioned in the oath, and
sometimes took in, in his route, persons and places not to be found in
it at all. This grieved him, and he resolved to wait upon O’Flaherty
for the purpose of having some means devised of guiding him during his
potations.

“Masther,” said he, “we must thry an’ make this oath somethin’ plainer.
You see when I get confused, I’m not able to remimber things as I ought.
Sometimes, instid o’ one tumbler, I take two at the wrong place; an’
sarra bit o’ me but called in an’ had three wid ould Jack Rogers, that
isn’t in it at all. On another day I had a couple wid honest Barney
Casey, an my way acrass to Bartle Gorman’s. I’m not what I was, Masther,
ahagm; so I’d thank you to dhraw it out more clearer, if you can, nor it
was.”

“I see, Mr. Connell; I comprehend wid the greatest ase in life, the
very plan for it. We must reduce the oath to Geography, for I’m at home
there, bein’ a Surveyor myself. I’ll lay down a map o’ the parish, an’
draw the houses of your friends at their proper places, so that you’ll
never be out o’ your latitude at all.”

“Faix, I doubt that, Masther--ha, ha, ha!” replied Peter; “I’m afeard I
will, of an odd time, for I’m not able to carry what I used to do; but
no matther: thry what you can do for me this time, any how. I think I
could bear the long dozen still if I didn’t make mistakes.”

O’Flaherty accordingly set himself to work; and as his knowledge, not
only of the parish, but of every person and house in it, was accurate,
he soon had a tolerably correct skeleton map of it drawn for Peter’s
use.

“Now,” said he, “lend me your ears.”

“Faix, I’ll do no sich thing,” replied Peter--“I know a thrick worth two
of it. Lend you my ears, inagh!--catch me at it! You have a bigger pair
of your own nor I have--ha, ha, ha!”

“Well, in other words, pay attintion. Now, see this dot--that’s your own
house.”

“Put a crass there,” said Peter, “an’ thin I’ll know it’s the
Crass-roads.”

“Upon my reputation, you’re right; an’ that’s what I call a good
specimen of ingenuity. I’ll take the hint from that, an’ we’ll make it
a Hieroglyphical as well as a Geographical oath. Well, there’s a crass,
wid two tumblers. Is that clear?”

“It is, it is! faix”

“Now here we draw a line to your son Dan’s. Let me see; he keeps a mill,
an’ sells cloth. Very good. I’ll dhraw a mill-wheel an’ a yard-wand.
There’s two tumblers. Will you know that?”

“I see it: go an, nothin’ can be clearer. So far, I can’t go asthray.”

“Well, what next? Two behind your own garden. What metaphor for the
garden? Let me see!--let me cogitate! A dragon--the Hesperides! That’s
beyant you. A bit of a hedge will do, an’ a gate.”

“Don’t put a gate in, it’s not lucky. You know, when a man takes to
dhrink, they say he’s goin’ a gray gate, or a black gate, or a bad
gate. Put that out, an’ make the hedge longer, an’ it’ll do--wid the two
tumblers, though.”

“They’re down. One at the Reverend Father Mulcahy’s. How will we
thranslate the priest?”

“Faix, I doubt that will be a difficquilt business.”

“Upon my reputation, I agree wid you in that, especially whin he repates
Latin. However, we’ll see. He writes P.P. afther his name;--pee-pee is
what we call the turkeys wid. What ‘ud you think o’ two turkeys?”

“The priest would like them roasted, but I couldn’t undherstand that.
No; put down the sign o’ the horsewhip, or the cudgel; for he’s handy,
an’ argues well wid both?”

“Good! I’ll put down the horsewhip first, an’ the cudgel alongside of
it; then the tumbler, an’ there’ll be the sign o’ the priest.”

“Ay, do, Masther, an’ faix the priest ‘ll be complate--there can be no
mistakin’ him thin. Divil a one but that’s a good thought!”

“There it is in black an’ white. Who comes next? Frank M’Carroll. He’s
a farmer. I’ll put down a spade an’ a harrow. Well, that’s done--two
tumblers.”

“I won’t mistake that, aither. It’s clear enough.”

“Bartle Gorman’s of Cargah. Bartle’s a little lame, an’ uses a staff wid
a cross on the end that he houlds in his hand. I’ll put down a staff wid
a cross on it.”

“Would there be no danger of me mistakin’ that for the priest’s cudgel?”

“Divil the slightest. I’ll pledge my knowledge of geography, they’re two
very different weapons.”

“Well, put it down--I’ll know it.”

“Roger M’Gaugy of Nurchasy. What for him? Roger’s a pig-driver. I’ll put
down pig. You’ll comprehend that?”

“I ought; for many a pig I sould in my day. Put down the pig; an’ if you
could put two black spots upon his back, I’d know it to be one I sould
him about four years agone--the fattest ever was in the country--it had
to be brought home on a car, for it wasn’t able to walk wid fat.”

“Very good; the spots are on it. The last is Owen Smith of Lisbuy. Now,
do you see that I’ve drawn a line from place to place, so that you have
nothing to do only to keep to it as you go. What for Owen?”

“Owen! Let me see--Owen! Pooh! What’s come over me, that I’ve nothin’
for Owen? Ah! I have it. He’s a horse-jockey: put down a gray mare I
sould him about five years agone.”

“I’ll put down a horse; but I can’t make a gray mare wid black ink.”

“Well, make a mare of her, any way.”

“Faith, an’ that same puzzles me. Stop, I have it; I’ll put a foal along
wid her.”

“As good as the bank. God bless you, Misther O’Flaherty. I think this
‘ll keep me from mistakes. An’ now, if you’ll slip up to me afther dusk,
I’ll send you down a couple o’ bottles and a flitch. Sure you desarve
more for the throuble you tuck.”

Many of our readers, particularly of our English readers, will be
somewhat startled to hear that, except the change of names and places,
there is actually little exaggeration in the form of this oath; so just
is the observation, that the romance of truth frequently exceeds that of
fiction.

Peter had, however, over-rated his own strength in supposing that he
could bear the long dozen in future; ere many months passed he was
scarcely able to reach the half of that number without sinking into
intoxication. Whilst in this state, he was in the habit of going to the
graveyard in which his wife lay buried, where he sat, and wept like a
child, sang her favorite songs, or knelt and offered up his prayers for
the repose of her soul. None ever mocked him for this; on the contrary,
there was always some kind person to assist him home. And as he
staggered on, instead of sneers and ridicule, one might hear such
expressions as these:--

“Poor Pether! he’s nearly off; an’ a dacent, kind neighbor he ever was.
The death of the wife broke his heart--he never ris his head since.”

“Ay, poor man! God pity him! Hell soon be sleepin’ beside her, beyant
there, where she’s lyin’. It was never known of Peter Connell that he
offinded man, woman, or child since he was born, barrin’ the gaugers,
bad luck to thim, afore he was marrid--but that was no offince. Sowl, he
was their match, any how. When he an’ the wife’s gone, they won’t lave
their likes behind them. The sons are bodaghs--gintlemen, now; an’
it’s nothin’ but dinners an’ company. Ahagur, that wasn’t the way their
hardworkin’ father an’ mother made the money that they’re houldin’ their
heads up wid such consequence upon.”

The children, however, did not give Peter up as hopeless. Father
Mulcahy, too, once-more assailed him on his weak side. One morning, when
he was sober, nervous, and depressed, the priest arrived, and finding
him at home, addressed him as follows:--

“Peter, I’m sorry, and vexed, and angry this morning; and you are the
cause of it”

“How is that, your Reverence?” said Peter. “God help me,” he added,
“don’t be hard an me, sir, for I’m to be pitied. Don’t be hard on me,
for the short time I’ll be here. I know it won’t be long--I’ll be wid
her soon. Asthore machree, we’ll’ be together, I hope, afore long--an’,
oh! if it was the will o’ God, I would be glad if it was afore night!”

The poor, shattered, heart-broken creature wept bitterly, for he felt
somewhat sensible of the justice of the reproof which he expected from
the priest, as well as undiminished sorrow for his wife.

“I’m not going to be hard on you,” said the good-natured priest; “I only
called to tell you a dream that your son Dan had last night about you
and his mother.”

“About Ellish! Oh, for heaven’s sake what about her, Father, avourneen?”

“She appeared to him, last night,” replied Father Mulcahy, “and told him
that your drinking kept her out of happiness.”

“Queen of heaven!” exclaimed Peter, deeply affected, “is that true? Oh,”
 said he, dropping on his knees, “Father, ahagur machree, pardon me--oh,
forgive me! I now promise, solemnly and seriously, to drink neither
in the house nor out of it, for the time to come, not one drop at all,
good, bad, or indifferent, of either whiskey, wine, or punch--barrin’
one glass. Are you now satisfied? an’ do you think she’ll get to
happiness?”

“All will be well, I trust,” said the priest. “I shall mention this to
Dan and the rest, and depend upon it, they, too, will be happy to hear
it.”

“Here’s what Mr. O’Flaherty an’ myself made up,” said Peter: “burn it,
Father; take it out of my sight, for it’s now no use to me.”

“What is this at all?” said Mr. Mulcahy, looking into it. “Is it an
oath?”

“It’s the Joggraphy of one I swore some time ago; but it’s now out of
date--I’m done wid it.”

The priest could not avoid smiling when he perused it, and on getting
from Peter’s lips an explanation of the hieroglyphics, he laughed
heartily at the ingenious shifts they had made to guide his memory.

Peter, for some time after this, confined himself to one glass, as
he had promised; but he felt such depression and feebleness, that he
ventured slowly, and by degrees, to enlarge the “glass” from which he
drank. His impression touching the happiness of his wife was, that as he
had for several months strictly observed his promise, she had probably
during that period gone to heaven. He then began to exercise his
ingenuity gradually, as we have said, by using, from time to time, a
glass larger than the preceding one; thus receding from the spirit of
his vow to the letter, and increasing the quantity of his drink from a
small glass to the most capacious tumbler he could find. The manner in
which he drank this was highly illustrative of the customs which prevail
on this subject in Ireland. He remembered, that in making the vow, he
used the words, “neither in the house nor out of it;” but in order
to get over this dilemma, he usually stood with one foot outside the
threshold, and the other in the house, keeping himself in that position
which would render it difficult to determine whether he was either
out or in. At other times, when he happened to be upstairs, he usually
thrust one-half of his person out of the window, with the same ludicrous
intention of keeping the letter of his vow.

Many a smile this adroitness of his occasioned to the lookers-on: but
further ridicule was checked by his wobegone and afflicted look. He was
now a mere skeleton, feeble and tottering.

One night, in the depth of winter, he went into the town where his two
sons resided; he had been ill in mind and body during the day, and he
fancied that change of scene and society might benefit him. His daughter
and son-in-law, in consequence of his illness, watched him so closely,
that he could not succeed in getting his usual “glass.” This offended
him, and he escaped without their knowledge to the son who kept the inn.
On arriving there, he went upstairs, and by a douceur to the waiter,
got a large tumbler filled with spirits. The lingering influences of
a conscience that generally felt strongly on the side of a moral duty,
though poorly instructed, prompted him to drink it in the usual manner,
by keeping one-half of his body, as, nearly as he could guess, out of
the window, that it might be said he drank it neither in nor out of the
house. He had scarcely finished his draught, however, when he lost his
balance, and was precipitated upon the pavement. The crash of his fall
was heard in the bar, and his son, who had just come in, ran, along with
several others, to ascertain what had happened. They found him, however,
only severely stunned. He was immediately brought in, and medical aid
sent for; but, though he recovered from the immediate effects of the
fall, the shock it gave to his broken constitution, and his excessive
grief, carried him off in a few months afterwards. He expired in the
arms of his son and daughter, and amidst the tears of those who knew his
simplicity of character, his goodness of heart, and his attachment to
the wife by whose death that heart had been broken.

Such was the melancholy end of the honest and warm-hearted Peter
Connell, who, unhappily, was not a solitary instance of a man driven to
habits of intoxication and neglect of business by the force of sorrow,
which time and a well-regulated mind might otherwise have overcome. We
have held him up, on the one hand, as an example worthy of imitation
in that industry and steadiness which, under the direction of his wife,
raised him from poverty to independence and wealth; and, on the other,
as a man resorting to the use of spirituous liquors that he might
be enabled to support affliction--a course which, so far from having
sustained him under it, shattered his constitution, shortened his life,
and destroyed his happiness. In conclusion, we wish our countrymen of
Peter’s class would imitate him in his better qualities, and try to
avoid his failings.



THE LIANHAN SHEE.


One summer evening Mary Sullivan was sitting at her own well-swept
hearthstone, knitting feet to a pair of sheep’s gray stockings for
Bartley, her husband. It was one of those serene evenings in the
month of June, when the decline of day assumes a calmness and repose,
resembling what we might suppose to have irradiated Eden, when our first
parents sat in it before their fall. The beams of the sun shone through
the windows in clear shafts of amber light, exhibiting millions of those
atoms which float to the naked eye within its mild radiance. The dog lay
barking in his dreams at her feet, and the gray cat sat purring placidly
upon his back, from which even his occasional agitation did not dislodge
her.

Mrs. Sullivan was the wife of a wealthy farmer, and niece to the Rev.
Felix O’Rourke; her kitchen was consequently large, comfortable, and
warm. Over where she sat, jutted out the “brace” well lined with bacon;
to the right hung a well-scoured salt-box, and to the left was the jamb,
with its little gothic paneless window to admit the light. Within it
hung several ash rungs, seasoning for flail-sooples, or boulteens, a
dozen of eel-skins, and several stripes of horse-skin, as hangings for
them. The dresser was a “parfit white,” and well furnished with the
usual appurtenances. Over the door and on the “threshel,” were nailed,
“for luck,” two horse-shoes, that had been found by accident. In a
little “hole” in the wall, beneath the salt-box, lay a bottle of holy
water to keep the place purified; and against the cope-stone of the
gable, on the outside, grew a large lump of house-leek, as a specific
for sore eyes and other maladies.

In the corner of the garden were a few stalks of tansy “to kill the
thievin’ worms in the childhre, the crathurs,” together with a little
Rose-noble, Solomon’s Seal, and Bu-gloss, each for some medicinal
purpose. The “lime wather” Mrs. Sullivan could make herself, and the
“bog bane” for the Unh roe, (* Literally, red water) or heart-burn, grew
in their own meadow drain; so that, in fact, she had within her reach a
very decent pharmacopoeia, perhaps as harmless as that of the profession
itself. Lying on the top of the salt-box was a bunch of fairy flax, and
sewed in the folds of her own scapular was the dust of what had once
been a four-leaved shamrock, an invaluable specific “for seein’ the good
people,” if they happened to come within the bounds of vision. Over the
door in the inside, over the beds, and over the cattle in the outhouses,
were placed branches of withered palm, that had been consecrated by the
priest on Palm Sunday; and when the cows happened to calve, this good
woman tied, with her own hands, a woollen thread about their tails, to
prevent them from being overlooked by evil eyes, or elf-shot* by the
fairies, who seem to possess a peculiar power over females of every
species during the period of parturition. It is unnecessary to mention
the variety of charms which she possessed for that obsolete malady the
colic, the toothache, headache, or for removing warts, and taking motes
out of the eyes; let it suffice to inform our readers that she was well
stocked with them; and that, in addition to this, she, together with her
husband, drank a potion made up and administered by an herb-doctor, for
preventing forever the slightest misunderstanding or quarrel between man
and wife. Whether it produced this desirable object or not our readers
may conjecture, when we add, that the herb-doctor, after having taken a
very liberal advantage of their generosity, was immediately compelled to
disappear from the neighborhood, in order to avoid meeting with Bartley,
who had a sharp lookout for him, not exactly on his own account, but
“in regard,” he said, “that it had no effect upon Mary, at all, at all;”
 whilst Mary, on the other hand, admitted its efficacy upon herself, but
maintained, “that Bartley was worse nor ever afther it.”

     * This was, and in remote parts of the country still
     is, one of the strongest instances of belief in the
     power of the Fairies. The injury, which, if not
     counteracted by a charm from the lips of a “Fairy-man,”
      or “Fairy-woman,” was uniformly inflicted on the animal
     by what was termed an elf-stone--which was nothing
     more nor less than a piece of sharp flint, from three
     to four or five ounces in weight. The cow was supposed
     to be struck upon the loin with it by these mischievous
     little beings, and the nature of the wound was indeed
     said to be very peculiar--that is, it cut the midriff
     without making any visible or palpable wound on the
     outward skin. All animals dying of this complaint,
     were supposed to be carried to the good people, and
     there are many in the country who would not believe
     that the dead carcass of the cow was that of the real
     one at all, but an old log or block of wood, made to
     resemble it. All such frauds, however, and deceptions
     were inexplicable to every one, but such as happened to
     possess a four-leaved shamrock, and this enabled its
     possessor to see the block or log in its real shape,
     although to others it appeared to be the real carcass.

Such was Mary Sullivan, as she sat at her own hearth, quite alone,
engaged as we have represented her. What she may have been meditating on
we cannot pretend to ascertain; but after some time, she looked sharply
into the “backstone,” or hob, with an air of anxiety and alarm. By
and by she suspended her knitting, and listened with much earnestness,
leaning her right ear over to the hob, from whence the sounds to which
she paid such deep attention proceeded. At length she crossed herself
devoutly, and exclaimed, “Queen of saints about us!--is it back ye are?
Well sure there’s no use in talkin’, bekase they say you know what’s
said of you, or to you--an’ we may as well spake yez fair.--Hem--musha,
yez are welcome back, crickets, avourneenee! I hope that, not like the
last visit ye ped us, yez are comin’ for luck now! Moolyeen (* a cow
without horns) died, any way, soon afther your other kailyee, (* short
visit) ye crathurs ye. Here’s the bread, an’ the salt, an’ the male for
yez, an’ we wish ye well. Eh?--saints above, if it isn’t listenin’ they
are jist like a Christhien! Wurrah, but ye are the wise an’ the quare
crathurs all out!”

She then shook a little holy water over the hob, and muttered to herself
an Irish charm or prayer against the evils which crickets are often
supposed by the peasantry to bring with them, and requested, still in
the words of the charm, that their presence might, on that occasion,
rather be a presage of good fortune to man and beast belonging to her.

“There now, ye _dhonans_ (* a diminuitive, delicate little thing) ye,
sure ye can’t say that ye’re ill-thrated here, anyhow, or ever was
mocked or made game of in the same family. You have got your hansel, an’
full an’ plenty of it; hopin’ at the same time that you’ll have no rason
in life to cut our best clothes from revinge. Sure an’ I didn’t desarve
to have my brave stuff long body (* an old-fashioned Irish gown) riddled
the way it was, the last time ye wor here, an’ only bekase little Barny,
that has but the sinse of a gorsoon, tould yez in a joke to pack off wid
yourself somewhere else. Musha, never heed what the likes of him says;
sure he’s but a caudy, (* little boy) that doesn’t mane ill, only the
bit o’ divarsion wid yez.”

She then resumed her knitting, occasionally stopping, as she changed her
needles, to listen, with her ear set, as if she wished to augur from the
nature of their chirping, whether they came for good or for evil. This,
however, seemed to be beyond her faculty of translating their language;
for--after sagely shaking her head two or three times, she knit more
busily than before.*

     * Of the origin of this singular superstition I can
     find no account whatsoever; it is conceived, however,
     in a mild, sweet, and hospitable spirit. The visits of
     these migratory little creatures, which may be termed
     domestic grasshoppers, are very capricious and
     uncertain, as are their departures; and it is, I should
     think, for this reason, that they are believed to be
     cognizant of the ongoings of human life. We can easily
     suppose, for instance, that the coincidence of their
     disappearance from a family, and the occurrence of a
     death in that family, frequently multiplied as such
     coincidences must be in the country at large, might
     occasion the people, who are naturally credulous, to
     associate the one event with the other; and on that
     slight basis erect the general superstition. Crickets,
     too, when chirupping, have a habit of suddenly ceasing,
     so that when any particularly interesting conversation
     happens to go on about the rustic hearth, this stopping
     of their little chaunt looks so like listening, that it
     is scarcely to be wondered at that the country folks
     think they understand every word that is spoken. They
     are thought, also, to foresee both good and evil, and
     are considered vindictive, but yet capable of being
     conciliated by fair words and kindness. They are also
     very destructive among wearing-apparel, which they
     frequently nibble into holes; and this is always looked
     upon as a piece of revenge, occasioned by some
     disrespectful language used towards them, or some
     neglect of their little wants. This note was necessary
     in order to render the conduct and language of Mary
     Sullivan perfectly intelligible.

At this moment, the shadow of a person passing the house darkened the
window opposite which she sat, and immediately a tall female, of a wild
dress and aspect, entered the kitchen.

“_Gho manhy dhea ghud, a ban chohr!_ the blessin’ o’ goodness upon
you, dacent woman,” said Mrs. Sullivan, addressing her in those kindly
phrases so peculiar to the Irish language.

Instead of making her any reply, however, the woman, whose eye glistened
with a wild depth of meaning, exclaimed in low tones, apparently of much
anguish, “_Husht, husht’, dherum!_ husht, husht, I say--let me alone--I
will do it--will you husht? I will, I say--I will--there now--that’s
it--be quiet, an’ I will do it--be quiet!” and as she thus spoke, she
turned her face back over her left shoulder, as if some invisible being
dogged her steps, and stood bending over her.

“_Gho manhy dhea ghud, a ban chohr, dherhum areesh!_ the blessin’ o’ God
on you, honest woman, I say again,” said Mrs. Sullivan, repeating that
sacred form of salutation with which the peasantry address each other.
“‘Tis a fine evenin’, honest woman, glory be to him that sent the same,
and amin! If it was cowld, I’d be axin’ you to draw your chair in to the
fire: but, any way, won’t you sit down?”

As she ceased speaking, the piercing eye of the strange woman became
riveted on her with a glare, which, whilst it startled Mrs. Sullivan,
seemed full of an agony that almost abstracted her from external
life. It was not, however, so wholly absorbing as to prevent it from
expressing a marked interest, whether for good or evil, in the woman who
addressed her so hospitably.

“Husht, now--husht,” she said, as if aside--“husht, won’t you--sure I
may speak the thing to her--you said it--there now, husht!” And then
fastening her dark eyes on Mrs. Sullivan, she smiled bitterly and
mysteriously.

“I know you well,” she said, without, however, returning the blessing
contained in the usual reply to Mrs. Sullivan’s salutation--“I know you
well, Mary Sullivan--husht, now, husht--yes, I know you well, and the
power of all that you carry about you; but you’d be better than you
are--and that’s well enough now--if you had sense to know--ah, ah,
ah!--what’s this!” she exclaimed abruptly, with three distinct shrieks,
that seemed to be produced by sensations of sharp and piercing agony.

“In the name of goodness, what’s over you, honest woman?” inquired Mrs.
Sullivan, as she started from her chair, and ran to her in a state of
alarm, bordering on terror--“Is it sick you are?”

The woman’s face had got haggard, and its features distorted; but in a
few minutes they resumed their peculiar expression of settled wildness
and mystery. “Sick!” she replied, licking her parched lips, “awirck,
awirek! look! look!” and she pointed with a shudder that almost
convulsed her whole frame, to a lump that rose on her shoulders; this,
be it what it might, was covered with a red cloak, closely pinned and
tied with great caution about her body--“‘tis here! I have it!”

“Blessed mother!” exclaimed Mrs. Sullivan, tottering over to her chair,
as finished a picture of horror as the eye could witness, “this day’s
Friday: the saints stand betwixt me an’ all harm! Oh, holy Mary
protect me! _Nhanim an airh_,” in the name of the Father, etc., and she
forthwith proceeded to bless herself, which she did thirteen times in
honor of the blessed virgin and the twelve apostles.

“Ay, it’s as you see!” replied the stranger, bitterly. “It is
here--husht, now--husht, I say--I will say the thing to her, mayn’t I?
Ay, indeed, Mary Sullivan, ‘tis with me always--always. Well, well, no,
I won’t. I won’t--easy. Oh, blessed saints, easy, and I won’t.”

In the meantime Mrs. Sullivan had uncorked a bottle of holy water, and
plentifully bedewed herself with it, as a preservative against this
mysterious woman and her dreadful secret.

“Blessed mother above!” she ejaculated, “the _Lianhan Shee_” And as
she spoke, with the holy water in the palm of her hand, she advanced
cautiously, and with great terror, to throw it upon the stranger and the
unearthly thing she bore.

“Don’t attempt it!” shouted the other, in tones of mingled fierceness
and terror, “do you want to give me pain without keeping yourself
anything at all safer? Don’t you know it doesn’t care about your holy
water? But I’d suffer for it, an’ perhaps so would you.”

Mrs. Sullivan, terrified by the agitated looks of the woman, drew back
with affright, and threw the holy water with which she intended to
purify the other on her own person.

“Why thin, you lost crathur, who or what are you at all?--don’t,
don’t--for the sake of all the saints and angels of heaven, don’t come
next or near me--keep your distance--but what are you, or how did you
come to get that ‘good thing’ you carry about wid you?”

“Ay, indeed!” replied the woman bitterly, “as if I would or could tell
you that! I say, you woman, you’re doing what’s not right in asking me
a question you ought not let to cross your lips--look to yourself, and
what’s over you.”

The simple woman, thinking her meaning literal, almost leaped off her
seat with terror, and turned up her eyes to ascertain whether or not any
dreadful appearance had approached her, or hung over her where she sat.

“Woman,” said she, “I spoke you kind an’ fair, an’ I wish you
well--but”--

“But what?” replied the other--and her eyes kindled into deep and
profound excitement, apparently upon very slight grounds.

“Why--hem--nothin’ at all sure, only”--

“Only what?” asked the stranger, with a face of anguish that seemed to
torture every feature out of its proper lineaments.

“Dacent woman,” said Mrs. Sullivan, whilst the hair began to stand
with terror upon her head, “sure it’s no wondher in life that I’m in a
perplexity, whin a _Lianhan Shee_ is undher the one roof wid me. ‘Tisn’t
that I want to know anything’ at all about it--the dear forbid I should;
but I never hard of a person bein’ tormented wid it as you are. I always
used to hear the people say that it thrated its friends well.”

“Husht!” said the woman, looking wildly over her shoulder, “I’ll not
tell: it’s on myself I’ll leave the blame! Why, will you never pity me?
Am I to be night and day tormented? Oh, you’re wicked an’ cruel for no
reason!”

“Thry,” said Mrs. Sullivan, “an’ bless yourself; call on God.”

“Ah!” shouted the other, “are you going to get me killed?” and as she
uttered the words, a spasmodic working which must have occasioned great
pain, even to torture, became audible in her throat: her bosom heaved
up and down, and her head was bent repeatedly on her breast, as if by
force.

“Don’t mention that name,” said she, “in my presence, except you mean
to drive me to utter distraction. I mean,” she continued, after a
considerable effort to recover her former tone and manner--“hear me with
attention--I mean, woman--you, Mary Sullivan--that if you mention that
holy name, you might as well keep plunging sharp knives into my heart!
Husht! peace to me for one minute, tormentor! Spare me something, I’m in
your power!”

“Will you ate anything?” said Mrs. Sullivan; “poor crathur, you look
like hunger an’ distress; there’s enough in the house, blessed be them
that sent it! an’ you had betther thry an’ take some nourishment, any
way;” and she raised her eyes in a silent prayer of relief and ease for
the unhappy woman, whose unhallowed association had, in her opinion,
sealed her doom.

“Will I?--will I?--oh!” she replied, “may you never know misery for
offering it! Oh, bring me something--some refreshment--some food--for
I’m dying with hunger.”

Mrs. Sullivan, who, with all her superstition, was remarkable for
charity and benevolence, immediately placed food and drink before her,
which the stranger absolutely devoured--taking care occasionally to
secrete under the protuberance which appeared behind her neck, a portion
of what she ate. This, however, she did, not by stealth, but openly;
merely taking means to prevent the concealed thing, from being, by any
possible accident discovered.

When the craving of hunger was satisfied, she appeared to suffer less
from the persecution of her tormentor than, before; whether it was, as
Mrs. Sullivan thought, that the food with which she plied it, appeased
in some degree its irritability, or lessened that of the stranger, it
was difficult to say; at all events, she became more composed; her eyes
resumed somewhat of a natural expression; each sharp ferocious glare,
which shot, from them! with such intense and rapid flashes, partially
disappeared; her knit brows dilated, and part of a forehead, which had
once been capacious and handsome, lost the contractions which deformed
it by deep wrinkles. Altogether the change was evident, and very-much
relieved Mrs. Sullivan, who could not avoid observing it.

“It’s not that I care much about it, if you’d think it not right o’ me,
but it’s odd enough for you to keep the lower part of your face muffled
up in that black cloth, an’ then your forehead, too, is covered down on
your face a bit? If they’re part of the bargain,”--and she shuddered at
the thought--“between you an’ anything that’s not good--hem!--I think
you’d do well to throw thim off o’ you, an’ turn to thim that can
protect you from everything that’s bad. Now a scapular would keep all
the divils in hell from one; an’ if you’d”--

On looking at the stranger she hesitated, for the wild expression of her
eyes began to return.

“Don’t begin my punishment again,” replied the woman; “make no
allus--don’t make mention in my presence of anything that’s good.
Husht,--husht,--it’s beginning--easy now--easy! No,” said she, “I came
to tell you, that only for my breakin’ a vow I made to this thing upon
me, I’d be happy instead of miserable with it. I say, it’s a good thing
to have, if the person will use this bottle,” she added, producing one,
“as I will direct them.”

“I wouldn’t wish, for my part,” replied Mrs. Sullivan, “to have anything
to do wid it--neither act nor part;” and she crossed herself devoutly,
on contemplating such an unholy alliance as that at which her companion
hinted.

“Mary Sullivan,” replied the other, “I can put good fortune and
happiness in the way of you and yours. It is for you the good is
intended; if you don’t get both, no other can,” and her eyes kindled as
she spoke, like those of the Pythoness in the moment of inspiration.

Mrs. Sullivan looked at her with awe, fear, and a strong mixture of
curiosity; she had often heard that the _Lianhan Shee_ had, through
means of the person to whom it was bound, conferred wealth upon several,
although it could never render this important service to those who
exercised direct authority over it. She therefore experienced something
like a conflict between her fears and a love of that wealth, the
possession of which was so plainly intimated to her.

“The money,” said she, “would be one thing, but to have the _Lianhan
Shee_ planted over a body’s shouldher--och; the saints preserve us!--no,
not for oceans’ of hard goold would I have it in my company one minnit.
But in regard to the money--hem!--why, if it could be managed widout
havin’ act or part wid that thing, people would do anything in rason and
fairity.”

“You have this day been kind to me,” replied the woman, “and that’s
what I can’t say of many--dear help me!--husht! Every door is shut in
my face! Does not every cheek get pale when I am seen? If I meet a
fellow-creature on the road, they turn into the field to avoid me; if I
ask for food, it’s to a deaf ear I speak; if I am thirsty, they send
me to the river. What house would shelter me? In cold, in hunger, in
drought, in storm, and in tempest, I am alone and unfriended, hated,
feared, an’ avoided; starving in the winter’s cold, and burning in the
summer’s heat. All this is my fate here; and--oh! oh! oh!--have mercy,
tormentor--have mercy! I will not lift my thoughts there--I’ll keep the
paction--but spare me now!”

She turned round as she spoke, seeming to follow an invisible object,
or, perhaps, attempting to get a more complete view of the mysterious
being which exercised such a terrible and painful influence over her.
Mrs. Sullivan, also, kept her eye fixed upon the lump, and actually
believed that she saw it move. Fear of incurring the displeasure of what
it contained, and a superstitious reluctance harshly to thrust a person
from her door who had eaten of her food, prevented her from desiring the
woman to depart.

“In the name of Goodness,” she replied, “I will have nothing to do wid
your gift. Providence, blessed be his name, has done well for me an’
mine, an’ it mightn’t be right to go beyant what it has pleased him to
give me.”

“A rational sentiment!--I mean there’s good sense in what you say,”
 answered the stranger: “but you need not be afraid,” and she accompanied
the expression by holding up the bottle and kneeling: “now,” she added,
“listen to me, and judge for yourself, if what I say, when I swear it,
can be a lie.” She then proceeded to utter oaths of the most solemn
nature, the purport of which Was to assure Mrs. Sullivan that drinking
of the bottle would be attended with no danger. “You see this little
bottle, drink it. Oh, for my sake and your own drink it; it will give
wealth without end to you and to all belonging to you. Take one-half of
it before sunrise, and the other half when he goes down. You must stand
while drinking it, with your face to the east, in the morning; and at
night, to the west. Will you promise to do this?”

“How would drinkin’ the bottle get me money?” inquired Mrs. Sullivan,
who certainly felt a strong tendency of heart to the wealth.

“That I can’t tell you now, nor would you understand it, even if I
could; but you will know all when what I say is complied with.”

“Keep your bottle, dacent woman. I wash my hands of it: the saints above
guard me from the timptation! I’m sure it’s not right, for as I’m a
sinner, ‘tis getting stronger every minute widin me? Keep it! I’m loth
to bid any one that ett o’ my bread to go from my hearth, but if you go,
I’ll make it worth your while. Saints above, what’s comin’ over me. In
my whole life I never had such a hankerin’ afther money! Well, well, but
it’s quare entirely!”

“Will you drink it?” asked her companion. “If it does hurt or harm
to you or yours, or anything but good, may what is hanging over me be
fulfilled!” and she extended a thin, but, considering her years,
not ungraceful arm, in the act of holding out the bottle to her kind
entertainer.

“For the sake of all that’s good and gracious take it without
scruple--it is not hurtful, a child might drink every drop that’s in it.
Oh, for the sake of all you love, and of all that love you, take it!”
 and as she urged her, the tears streamed down her cheeks.

“No, no,” replied Mrs. Sullivan, “it’ll never cross my lips; not if it
made me as rich as ould Hendherson, that airs his guineas in the sun,
for fraid they’d get light by lyin’ past.”

“I entreat you to take it?” said the strange woman.

“Never, never!--once for all--I say, I won’t; so spare your breath.”

The firmness of the good housewife was not, in fact to be shaken; so,
after exhausting all the motives and arguments with which she could urge
the accomplishments of her design, the strange woman, having again put
the bottle into her bosom, prepared to depart.

She had now once more become calm, and resumed her seat with the languid
air of one who has suffered much exhaustion and excitement. She put
her hand upon her forehead for a few moments, as if collecting her
faculties, or endeavoring to remember the purport of their previous
conversation. A slight moisture had broken through her skin, and
altogether, notwithstanding her avowed criminality in entering into an
unholy bond, she appeared an object of deep compassion.

In a moment her manner changed again, and her eyes blazed out once more,
as she asked her alarmed hostess:--

“Again, Mary Sullivan, will you take the gift that I have it in my power
to give you? ay or no? speak, poor mortal, if you know what is for your
own good?”

Mrs. Sullivan’s fears, however, had overcome her love of money,
particularly as she thought that wealth obtained in such a manner could
not prosper; her only objection being to the means of acquiring it.

“Oh!” said the stranger, “am I doomed never to meet with any one who
will take the promise off me by drinking of this bottle? Oh! but I am
unhappy! What it is to fear--ah! ah!--and keep his commandments. Had
I done so in my youthful time, I wouldn’t now--ah--merciful mother, is
there no relief? kill me, tormentor; kill me outright, for surely the
pangs of eternity cannot be greater than those you now make me suffer.
Woman,” said she, and her muscles stood out in extraordinary energy--
“woman, Mary Sullivan--ay, if you should kill me--blast me--where I
stand, I will say the word--woman--you have daughters--teach them--to
fear-”

Having got so far, she stopped--her bosom heaved up and down--her frame
shook dreadfully--her eyeballs became lurid and fiery--her hands were
clenched, and the spasmodic throes of inward convulsion worked the white
froth up to her mouth; at length she suddenly became like a statue, with
this wild, supernatural expression intense upon her, and with an awful
calmness, by far more dreadful than excitement could be, concluded by
pronouncing, in deep, husky tones, the name of God.

Having accomplished this with such a powerful struggle, she turned
round, with pale despair in her countenance and manner, and with
streaming eyes slowly departed, leaving Mrs. Sullivan in a situation not
at all to be envied.

In a short time the other members of the family, who had been out
at their evening employments, returned. Bartley, her husband, having
entered somewhat sooner than his three daughters from milking, was the
first to come in; presently the girls followed, and in a few minutes
they sat down to supper, together with the servants, who dropped in
one by one, after the toil of the day. On placing themselves about the
table, Bartley, as usual, took his seat at the head; but Mrs. Sullivan,
instead of occupying hers, sat at the fire in a state of uncommon
agitation. Every two or three minutes she would cross herself devoutly,
and mutter such prayers against spiritual influences of an evil nature,
as she could compose herself to remember.

“Thin, why don’t you come to your supper, Mary,” said the husband,
“while the sowans are warm? Brave and thick they are this night, any
way.”

His wife was silent; for so strong a hold had the strange woman and her
appalling secret upon her mind, that it was not till he repeated his
question three or four times--raising his head with surprise, and
asking, “Eh, thin, Mary, what’s come over you--is it unwell you
are?”--that she noticed what he said.

“Supper!” she exclaimed, “unwell! ‘tis a good right I have to be
unwell,--I hope nothin’ bad will happen, any way. Feel my face, Nanny,”
 she added, addressing one of her daughters, “it’s as cowld an’ wet as a
lime-stone--ay, an’ if you found me a corpse before you, it wouldn’t be
at all strange.”

There was a general pause at the seriousness of this intimation. The
husband rose from his supper, and went up to the hearth where she sat.

“Turn round to the light,” said he; “why, Mary dear, in the name of
wondher, what ails you? for you’re like a corpse, sure enough. Can’t
you tell us what has happened, or what put you in such a state? Why,
childhre, the cowld sweat’s teemin’ off her!”

The poor woman, unable to sustain the shock produced by her interview
with the stranger, found herself getting more weak, and requested a
drink of water; but before it could be put to her lips, she laid her
head upon the back of the chair and fainted. Grief, and uproar, and
confusion followed this alarming incident. The presence of mind, so
necessary on such occasions, was wholly lost; one ran here, and another
there, all jostling against each other, without being cool enough to
render her proper assistance. The daughters were in tears, and Bartley
himself was dreadfully shocked by seeing his wife apparently lifeless
before him.

She soon recovered, however, and relieved them from the apprehension of
her death, which they thought had actually taken place. “Mary,” said the
husband, “something quare entirely has happened, or you wouldn’t be in
this state!”

“Did any of you see a strange woman lavin’ the house, a minute or two
before ye came in?” she inquired.

“No,” they replied, “not a stim of any one did we see.”

“_Wurrah dheelish!_ No?--now is it possible ye didn’t?” She then
described her, but all declared they had seen no such person.

“Bartley, whisper,” said she, and beckoning him over to her, in a
few words she revealed the secret. The husband grew pale, and crossed
himself. “Mother of Saints! childhre,” said he, “a _Lianhan Shee!_”
 The words were no sooner uttered than every countenance assumed the
pallidness of death: and every right hand was raised in the act of
blessing the person, and crossing the forehead. “The _Lianhan Shee!!_”
 all exclaimed in fear and horror--“This day’s Friday, God betwixt us
an’ harm!”*

     * This short form is supposed to be a safeguard against
     the Fairies. The particular day must be always named.

It was now after dusk, and the hour had already deepened into the
darkness of a calm, moonless, summer night; the hearth, therefore, in a
short time, became surrounded by a circle, consisting of every person in
the house; the door was closed and securely bolted;--a struggle for the
safest seat took place, and to Bartley’s shame be it spoken, he lodged
himself on the hob within the jamb, as the most distant situation
from the fearful being known as the _Lianhan Shee_. The recent terror,
however, brooded over them all; their topic of conversation was the
mysterious visit, of which Mrs. Sullivan gave a painfully accurate
detail; whilst every ear of those who composed her audience was set,
and every single hair of their heads bristled up, as if awakened into
distinct life by the story. Bartley looked into the fire soberly, except
when the cat, in prowling about the dresser, electrified him into a
start of fear, which sensation went round every link of the living chain
about the hearth.

The next day the story spread through the whole neighborhood,
accumulating in interest and incident as it went. Where it received the
touches, embellishments, and emendations, with which it was amplified,
it would be difficult to say; every one told it, forsooth, exactly as
he heard it from another; but indeed it is not improbable, that those
through whom it passed were unconscious of the additions it had received
at their hands. It is not unreasonable to suppose that imagination
in such cases often colors highly without a premeditated design of
falsehood. Fear and dread, however, accompanied its progress; such
families as had neglected to keep holy water in their houses borrowed
some from their neighbors; every old prayer which had become rusty
from disuse, was brightened up--charms were hung about the necks of
cattle--and gospels about those of children--crosses were placed over
the doors and windows;--no unclean water was thrown out before sunrise
or after dusk--

     “E’en those prayed now who never prayed before.
     And those who always prayed, still prayed the more.”

The inscrutable woman who caused such general dismay in the parish was
an object of much pity. Avoided, feared, and detested, she could find
no rest for her weary feet, nor any shelter for her unprotected head. If
she was seen approaching a house, the door and windows were immediately
closed against her; if met on the way she was avoided as a pestilence.
How she lived no one could tell, for none would permit themselves to
know. It was asserted that she existed without meat or drink, and that
she was doomed to remain possessed of life, the prey of hunger and
thirst, until she could get some one weak enough to break the spell by
drinking her hellish draught, to taste which, they said, would be to
change places with herself, and assume her despair and misery.

There had lived in the country about six months before her appearance
in it, a man named Stephenson. He was unmarried, and the last of his
family. This person led a solitary and secluded life, and exhibited
during the last years of his existence strong symptoms of eccentricity,
which, for some months before his death, assumed a character of
unquestionable derangement. He was found one morning hanging by a halter
in his own stable, where he had, under the influence of his malady,
committed suicide. At this time the public press had not, as now,
familiarized the minds of the people to that dreadful crime, and it was
consequently looked upon then with an intensity of horror, of which
we can scarcely entertain any adequate notion. His farm remained
unoccupied, for while an acre of land could be obtained in any other
quarter, no man would enter upon such unhallowed premises. The house was
locked up, and it was currently reported that Stephenson and the devil
each night repeated the hanging scene in the stable; and that when the
former was committing the “hopeless sin,” the halter slipped several
times from the beam of the stable-loft, when Satan came, in the shape of
a dark complexioned man with a hollow voice, and secured the rope until
Stephenson’s end was accomplished.

In this stable did the wanderer take up her residence at night; and when
we consider the belief of the people in the night-scenes, which were
supposed to occur in it, we need not be surprised at the new feature
of horror which this circumstance super-added to her character. Her
presence and appearance, in the parish were dreadful; a public outcry
was soon raised against her, which, were it not from fear of her power
over their lives and cattle, might have ended in her death. None,
however, had courage to grapple with her, or to attempt expelling her
by violence, lest a signal vengeance might be taken on any who dared
to injure a woman that could call in the terrible aid of the _Lianhan
Shee_.

In this state of feeling they applied to the parish priest, who,
on hearing the marvellous stories related concerning her, and on
questioning each man closely upon his authority, could perceive, that,
like most other reports, they were to be traced principally to the
imagination and fears of the people. He ascertained, however, enough
from Bartley Sullivan to justify a belief that there was something
certainly uncommon about the woman; and being of a cold, phlegmatic
disposition, with some humor, he desired them to go home, if they were
wise--he shook his head mysteriously as he spoke--“and do the woman no
injury, if they didn’t wish--” and with this abrupt hint he sent them
about their business.

This, however, did not satisfy them. In the same parish lived a
suspended priest, called Father Philip O’Dallaghy, who supported
himself, as most of them do, by curing certain diseases of the
people--miraculously! He had no other means of subsistence, nor indeed
did he seem strongly devoted to life, or to the pleasures it
afforded. He was not addicted to those intemperate habits which
characterize “Blessed Priests” in general; spirits he never tasted, nor
any food that could be termed a luxury, or even a comfort. His communion
with the people was brief, and marked by a tone of severe contemptuous
misanthropy. He seldom stirred abroad except during morning, or in
the evening twilight, when he might be seen gliding amidst the coming
darkness, like a dissatisfied spirit. His life was an austere one,
and his devotional practices were said to be of the most remorseful
character. Such a man, in fact, was calculated to hold a powerful sway
over the prejudices and superstitions of the people. This was true. His
power was considered almost unlimited, and his life one that would not
disgrace the highest saint in the calendar. There were not wanting some
persons in the parish who hinted that Father Felix O’Rourke, the parish
priest, was himself rather reluctant to incur the displeasure, or
challenge the power, of the _Lianhan Shee_, by, driving its victim
out of the parish. The opinion of these persons was, in its distinct
unvarnished reality, that Father Felix absolutely showed the white
feather on this critical occasion--that he became shy, and begged
leave to decline being introduced to this intractable pair--seeming to
intimate that he did not at all relish adding them to the stock of his
acquaintances.

Father Philip they considered as a decided contrast to him on this
point. His stern and severe manner, rugged, and, when occasion demanded,
daring, they believed suitable to the qualities requisite for sustaining
such an interview. They accordingly waited, on him; and after Bartley
and his friends had given as faithful a report of the circumstances as,
considering all things, could be expected, he told Bartley he would hear
from Mrs. Sullivan’s own lips the authentic narrative. This was quite
satisfactory, and what was expected from him. As for himself, he
appeared to take no particular interest in the matter, further than that
of allaying the ferment and alarm which had spread through the parish.
“Plase your Reverence,” said Bartley, “she came in to Mary, and she
alone in the house, and for the matther o’ that, I believe she laid
hands upon her, and tossed and tumbled the crathur, and she but a sickly
woman, through the four corners of the house. Not that Mary lets an so
much, for she’s afeard; but I know from her way, when she spakes about
her, that it’s thruth, your Reverence.”

“But didn’t the _Lianhan Shee_,” said one of them, “put a sharp-pointed
knife to her breast, wid a divilish intintion of makin’ her give the
best of aitin’ an’ dhrinkin’ the house afforded?”

“She got the victuals, to a sartinty,” replied Bartley, “and ‘overlooked’
my woman for her pains; for she’s not the picture of herself since.”

Every one now told some magnified and terrible circumstance,
illustrating the formidable power of the _Lianhan Shee_.

When they had finished, the sarcastic lip of the priest curled into an
expression of irony and contempt; his brow, which was naturally black
and heavy, darkened; and a keen, but rather a ferocious-looking eye,
shot forth a glance, which, while it intimated disdain for those to whom
it was directed, spoke also of a dark and troubled spirit in himself.
The man seemed to brook with scorn the degrading situation of a
religious quack, to which some incontrollable destiny had doomed him.

“I shall see your wife to-morrow,” said he to Bartley; “and after
hearing the plain account of what happened, I will consider what is best
to be done with this dark, perhaps unhappy, perhaps guilty character;
but whether dark, or unhappy, or guilty, I, for one, should not and will
not avoid her. Go, and bring me word to-morrow evening, when I can see
her on the following day. Begone!”

When they withdrew, Father Philip paced his room for some time in
silence and anxiety.

“Ay,” said he, “infatuated people! sunk in superstition and ignorance,
yet, perhaps, happier in your degradation than those who, in the pride
of knowledge, can only look back upon a life of crime and misery. What
is a sceptic? What is an infidel? Men who, when they will not submit to
moral restraint, harden themselves into scepticism and infidelity, until
in the headlong career of guilt, that which was first adopted to
lull the outcry of conscience, is supported by the pretended pride of
principle. Principle in a sceptic! Hollow and devilish lie! Would I have
plunged into scepticism, had I not first violated the moral sanctions of
religion? Never. I became an infidel, because I first became a villain!
Writhing under a load of guilt, that which I wished might be true I soon
forced myself to think true: and now”--he here clenched his hands and
groaned--“now--ay--now--and hereafter--oh, that hereafter! Why can I
not shake the thoughts of it from my conscience? Religion! Christianity!
With all the hardness of an infidel’s heart I feel your truth; because,
if every man were the villain that infidelity would make him, then
indeed might every man curse God for his existence bestowed upon him--as
I would, but dare not do. Yet why can I not believe?--Alas! why should
God accept an unrepentant heart? Am I not a hypocrite, mocking him by
a guilty pretension to his power, and leading the dark into thicker
darkness? Then these hands--blood!--broken vows!--ha! ha! ha! Well,
go--let misery have its laugh, like the light that breaks from the
thunder-cloud. Prefer Voltaire to Christ; sow the wind, and reap the
whirlwind, as I have done--ha, ha, ha! Swim, world--swim about me! I
have lost the ways of Providence, and am dark! She awaits me; but I
broke the chain that galled us: yet it still rankles--still rankles!”

The unhappy man threw himself into a chair in a paroxysm of frenzied
agony. For more than an hour he sat in the same posture, until he became
gradually hardened into a stiff, lethargic insensibility, callous and
impervious to feeling, reason, or religion--an awful transition from a
visitation of conscience so terrible as that which he had just suffered.
At length he arose, and by walking moodily about, relapsed into his
usual gloomy and restless character.

When Bartley went home, he communicated to his wife Father Philip’s
intention of calling on the following day, to hear a correct account of
the Lianhan Shee.

“Why, thin,” said she, “I’m glad of it, for I intinded myself to go to
him, any way, to get my new scapular consecrated. How-an’-ever, as he’s
to come, I’ll get a set of gospels for the boys an’ girls, an’ he can
consecrate all when his hand’s in. Aroon, Bartley, they say that man’s
so holy that he can do anything--ay, melt a body off the face o’ the
earth, like snow off a ditch. Dear me, but the power they have is
strange all out!”

“There’s no use in gettin’ him anything to ate or dhrink,” replied
Bartley; “he wouldn’t take a glass o’ whiskey once in seven years.
Throth, myself thinks he’s a little too dry; sure he might be holy
enough, an’ yet take a sup of an odd time. There’s Father Felix, an’
though we all know he’s far from bein’ so blessed a man as him, yet he
has friendship an’ neighborliness in him, an’ never refuses a glass in
rason.”

“But do you know what I was tould about Father Philip, Bartley?”

“I’ll tell you that afther I hear it, Mary, my woman; you won’t expect
me to tell what I don’t know?--ha, ha, ha!”

“Behave, Bartley, an’ quit your jokin’ now, at all evints; keep it till
we’re talkin’ of somethin’ else, an’ don’t let us be committin’ sin,
maybe, while we’re spakin’ of what we’re spakin’ about; but they say
it’s as thrue as the sun to the dial:--the Lent afore last itself it
was,--he never tasted mate or dhrink durin’ the whole seven weeks! Oh,
you needn’t stare! it’s well known by thim that has as much sinse
as you--no, not so much as you’d carry on the point o’ this
knittin’-needle. Well, sure the housekeeper an’ the two sarvants
wondhered--faix, they couldn’t do less--an’ took it into their heads
to watch him closely; an’ what do you think--blessed be all the saints
above!--what do you think they seen?”

“The Goodness above knows; for me--I don’t.”

“Why, thin, whin he was asleep they seen a small silk thread in his
mouth, that came down through the ceilin’ from heaven, an’ he suckin’
it, just as a child would his mother’s breast whin the crathur ‘ud
be asleep: so that was the way he was supported by the angels! An’ I
remimber myself, though he’s a dark, spare, yallow man at all times, yet
he never looked half so fat an’ rosy as he did the same Lent!”

“Glory be to Heaven! Well, well--it is sthrange the power they have! As
for him, I’d as fee meet St. Pettier, or St. Pathrick himself, as him;
for one can’t but fear him, somehow.”

“Fear him! Och, it ‘ud be the pity o’ thim that ‘ud do anything to
vex or anger that man. Why, his very look ‘ud wither thim, till there
wouldn’t be the thrack* o’ thim on the earth; an’ as for his curse, why
it ‘ud scorch thim to ashes!”

     * Track, foot-mark, put for life

As it was generally known that Father Philip was to visit Mrs. Sullivan
the next day, in order to hear an account of the mystery which filled
the parish with such fear, a very great number of the parishioners were
assembled in and about Bartley’s long before he made his appearance. At
length he was seen walking slowly down the road, with an open book in
his hand, on the pages of which he looked from time to time. When he
approached the house, those who were standing about it assembled in
a body, and, with one consent, uncovered their heads, and asked his
blessing. His appearance bespoke a mind ill at ease; his face was
haggard, and his eyes bloodshot. On seeing the people kneel, he
smiled with his usual bitterness, and, shaking his hand with an air
of impatience over them, muttered some words, rather in mockery of the
ceremony than otherwise. They then rose, and blessing themselves, put
on their hats, rubbed the dust off their knees, and appeared to think
themselves recruited by a peculiar accession of grace.

On entering the house the same form was repeated; and when it was over,
the best chair was placed for him by Mary’s own hands, and the fire
stirred up, and a line of respect drawn, within which none was to
intrude, lest he might feel in any degree incommoded.

“My good neighbor,” said he to Mrs. Sullivan, “what strange woman is
this, who has thrown the parish into such a ferment? I’m told she paid
you a visit? Pray sit down.”

“I humbly thank your Reverence,” said Mary, curtseying lowly, “but I’d
rather not sit, sir, if you plase. I hope I know what respect manes,
your Reverence. Barny Bradagh, I’ll thank you to stand up, if you plase,
an’ his Reverence to the fore, Barny.”

“I ax your Reverence’s pardon, an’ yours, too, Mrs. Sullivan: sure we
didn’t mane the disrespect, any how, sir, plase your Reverence.”

“About this woman, and the _Lianhan Shee?_” said the priest, without
noticing Barny’s apology. “Pray what do you precisely understand by a
_Lianhan Shee?_”

“Why, sir,” replied Mary, “some sthrange bein’ from the good people,
or fairies, that sticks to some persons. There’s a bargain, sir, your
Reverence, made atween thim; an’ the divil, sir, that is, the ould
boy--the saints about us!--has a hand in it. The _Lianhan Shee_, your
Reverence, is never seen only by thim it keeps wid; but--hem!--it
always, with the help of the ould boy, conthrives, sir, to make the
person brake the agreement, an’ thin it has thim in its power; but if
they don’t brake the agreement, thin it’s in their power. If they can
get any body to put in their place, they may get out o’ the bargain; for
they can, of a sartainty, give oceans o’ money to people, but can’t take
any themselves, plase your Reverence. But sure, where’s the use o’ me
to be tellin’ your Reverence what you know betther nor myself?--an’ why
shouldn’t you, or any one that has the power you have?”

He smiled again at this in his own peculiar manner, and was proceeding
to inquire more particularly into the nature of the interview between
them, when the noise of feet, and sounds of general alarm, accompanied
by a rush of people into the house, arrested his attention, and he
hastily inquired into the cause of the commotion. Before he could
receive a reply, however, the house was almost crowded; and it was not
without considerable difficulty, that, by the exertions of Mrs. Sullivan
and Bartley, sufficient order and quiet were obtained to hear distinctly
what was said.

“Plase your Reverence,” said several voices at once, “they’re comin’,
hot-foot, into the very house to us! Was ever the likes seen! an’ they
must know right well, sir, that you’re widin in it.”

“Who are coming?” he inquired. “Why the woman, sir, an’ her good pet,
the _Lianhan Shee_, your Reverence.”

“Well,” said he, “but why should you all appear so blanched with terror?
Let her come in, and we shall see how far she is capable of injuring her
fellow-creatures: some maniac,” he muttered, in a low soliloquy, “whom
the villany of the world has driven into derangement--some victim to a
hand like m----. Well, they say there is a Providence, yet such things
are permitted!”

“He’s sayin’ a prayer now,” observed one of them; “haven’t we a good
right to be thankful that he’s in the place wid us while she’s in it,
or dear knows what harm she might do us--maybe rise the wind!”* As the
latter speaker concluded, there was a dead silence. The persons about
the door crushed each other backwards, their feet set out before them,
and their shoulders laid with violent pressure against those who stood
behind, for each felt anxious to avoid all danger of contact with a
being against whose power even a blessed priest found it necessary to
guard himself by a prayer.

     * It is generally supposed by the people, that persons
     who have entered into a compact with Satan can raise
     the wind by calling him up, and that it cannot be laid
     unless by the death of a black cock, a black dog, or an
     unchristened child.

At length a low murmur ran among the people--“Father O’Rourke!--here’s
Father O’Rourke!--he has turned the corner after her, an’ they’re both
comin’ in.” Immediately they entered, but it was quite evident from the
manner of the worthy priest that he was unacquainted with the person
of this singular being. When they crossed the threshold, the priest
advanced, and expressed his surprise at the throng of people assembled.

“Plase your Reverence,” said Bartley, “that’s the woman,” nodding
significantly towards her as he spoke, but without looking at her
person, lest the evil eye he dreaded so much might meet his, and give
him “the blast.”

The dreaded female, on seeing the house in such a crowded state,
started, paused, and glanced with some terror at the persons assembled.
Her dress was not altered since her last visit; but her countenance,
though more meagre and emaciated, expressed but little of the unsettled
energy which then flashed from her eyes, and distorted her features by
the depth of that mysterious excitement by which she had been agitated.
Her countenance was still muffled as before, the awful protuberance rose
from her shoulders, and the same band which Mrs. Sullivan had alluded to
during their interview, was bound about the upper part of her forehead.

She had already stood upwards of two minutes, during which the fall of
a feather might be heard, yet none bade God bless her--no kind hand was
extended to greet her--no heart warmed in affection towards her; on
the contrary, every eye glanced at her, as a being marked with enmity
towards God. Blanched faces and knit brows, the signs of fear and
hatred, were turned upon her; her breath was considered pestilential,
and her touch paralysis. There she stood, proscribed, avoided, and
hunted like a tigress, all fearing to encounter, yet wishing to
exterminate her! Who could she be?--or what had she done, that the
finger of the Almighty marked her out for such a fearful weight of
vengeance?

Father Philip rose and advanced a few steps, until he stood confronting
her. His person was tall, his features dark, severe, and solemn: and
when the nature of the investigation about to take place is considered,
it need not be wondered at, that the moment was, to those present, one
of deep and impressive interest--such as a visible conflict between
a supposed champion of God and a supernatural being was calculated to
excite.

“Woman,” said he, in his deep stern voice, “tell me who and what you
are, and why you assume a character of such a repulsive and mysterious
nature, when it can entail only misery, shame, and persecution on
yourself? I conjure you, in the name of Him after whose image you are
created, to speak truly?”

He paused, and the tall figure stood mute before him. The silence was
dead as death--every breath was hushed and the persons assembled stood
immovable as statues! Still she spoke not; but the violent heaving of
her breast evinced the internal working of some dreadful struggle. Her
face before was pale--it was now ghastly; her lips became blue, and her
eyes vacant.

“Speak!” said he, “I conjure you in the name of the power by whom we
live!”

It is probable that the agitation under which she labored was produced
by the severe effort made to sustain the unexpected trial she had to
undergo.

For some minutes her struggle continued; but having begun at its highest
pitch, it gradually subsided until it settled in a calmness which
appeared fixed and awful as the resolution of despair. With breathless
composure she turned round, and put back that part of her dress which
concealed her face, except the band on her forehead, which she did not
remove; having done this she turned again, and walked calmly towards
Father Philip, with a deadly smile upon her thin lips. When within
a step of where he stood, she paused, and riveting her eyes upon him
exclaimed--

“Who and what am I? The victim of infidelity and you, the bearer of a
cursed existence, the scoff and scorn of the world, the monument of a
broken vow and a guilty life, a being scourged by the scorpion lash
of conscience, blasted by periodical insanity, pelted by the winter’s
storm, scorched by the summer’s heat, withered by starvation, hated by
man, and touched into my inmost spirit by the anticipated tortures of
future misery. I have no rest for the sole of my foot, no repose for a
head distracted by the contemplation of a guilty life; I am the unclean
spirit which walketh to seek rest and findeth none; I am--_what you have
made me!_ Behold,” she added, holding up the bottle, “this failed, and I
live to accuse you. But no, you are my husband--though our union was but
a guilty form, and I will bury that in silence. You thought me dead, and
you flew to avoid punishment--did you avoid it? No; the finger of God
has written pain and punishment upon your brow. I have been in all
characters, in all shapes, have spoken with the tongue of a peasant,
moved in my natural sphere; but my knees were smitten, my brain
stricken, and the wild malady which banishes me from society has been
upon me for years. Such I am, and such, I say, have you made me. As
for you, kind-hearted woman, there was nothing in this bottle but pure
water. The interval of reason returned this day, and having remembered
glimpses of our conversation, I came to apologize to you, and to explain
the nature of my unhappy distemper, and to beg a little bread, which I
have not tasted for two days. I at times conceive myself attended by
an evil spirit shaped out by a guilty conscience, and this is the only
familiar which attends me, and by it I have been dogged into madness
through every turning of life. Whilst it lasts I am subject to spasms
and convulsive starts which are exceedingly painful. The lump on my back
is the robe I wore when innocent in my peaceful convent.”

The intensity of general interest was now transferred to Father Philip;
every face was turned towards him, but he cared not. A solemn stillness
yet prevailed among all present. From the moment she spoke, her eye drew
his with the power of a basilisk. His pale face became like marble, not
a muscle moved; and when she ceased speaking, his blood-shot eyes were
still fixed upon her countenance with a gloomy calmness like that which
precedes a tempest. They stood before each other, dreadful counterparts
in guilt, for truly his spirit was as dark as hers.

At length he glanced angrily around him;--“Well,” said he, “what is it
now, ye poor infatuated wretches, to trust in the sanctity of man.
Learn from me to place the same confidence in God which you place in
his guilty creatures, and you will not lean on a broken reed. Father
O’Rourke, you, too, witness my disgrace, but not my punishment. It
is pleasant, no doubt, to have a topic for conversation at your
Conferences; enjoy it. As for you, Margaret, if society lessen
misery, we may be less miserable. But the band of your order, and the
remembrance of your vow is on your forehead, like the mark of Cain--tear
it off, and let it not blast a man who is the victim of prejudice
still,--nay of superstition, as well as of guilt; tear it from my
sight.” His eyes kindled fearfully, as he attempted to pull it away by
force.

She calmly took it off, and he immediately tore it into pieces, and
stamped upon the fragments as he flung them on the ground.

“Come,” said the despairing man--“come--there is a shelter for you, but
no peace!--food, and drink, and raiment, but no peace!--no peace!” As he
uttered these words, in a voice that sank to its deepest pitch, he took
her hand, and they both departed to his own residence.

The amazement and horror of those who were assembled in Bartley’s house
cannot be described. Our readers may be assured that they deepened in
character as they spread through the parish. An undefined, fear of this
mysterious pair seized upon the people, for their images were associated
in their minds with darkness and crime, and supernatural communion. The
departing words of Father Philip rang in their ears: they trembled,
and devoutly crossed themselves, as fancy again repeated the awful
exclamation of the priest--“No peace! no peace!”

When Father Philip and his unhappy associate went home, he instantly
made her a surrender of his small property; but with difficulty did
he command sufficient calmness to accomplish even this. He was
distracted--his blood seemed to have been turned to fire--he clenched
his hands, and he gnashed his teeth, and exhibited the wildest symptoms
of madness. About ten o’clock he desired fuel for a large fire to be
brought into the kitchen, and got a strong cord, which he coiled and
threw carelessly on the table. The family were then ordered to bed.
About eleven they were all asleep; and at the solemn hour of twelve he
heaped additional fuel upon the living turf, until the blaze shone with
scorching light upon everything around. Dark and desolating was the
tempest within him, as he paced, with agitated steps, before the
crackling fire.

“She is risen!” he exclaimed--“the spectre of all my crimes is risen to
haunt me through life! I am a murderer--yet she lives, and my guilt
is not the less! The stamp of eternal infamy is upon me--the finger of
scorn will mark me out--the tongue of reproach will sting me like that
of a serpent--the deadly touch of shame will cover me like a leper--the
laws of society will crush the murderer, not the less that his
wickedness in blood has miscarried: after that comes the black and
terrible tribunal of the Almighty’s vengeance--of his fiery indignation!
Hush!--What sounds are those? They deepen--they deepen! Is it thunder?
It cannot be the crackling of the blaze! It is thunder!--but it speaks
only to my ear! Hush!--Great God, there is a change in my voice! It is
hollow and supernatural! Could a change have come over me? Am I living?
Could I have----Hah!--Could I have departed? and am I now at length
given over to the worm that never dies? If it be at my heart, I may feel
it. God!--I am damned! Here is a viper twined about my limbs trying to
dart its fangs into my heart! Hah!--there are feet pacing in the
room, too, and I hear voices! I am surrounded by evil spirits! Who’s
there?--What are you?--Speak!--They are silent!--There is no answer!
Again comes the thunder! But perchance this is not my place of
punishment, and I will try to leave these horrible spirits!”

[Illustration: PAGE 975-- Who’s there?--What are you?--Speak!]

He opened the door, and passed out into a small green field that lay
behind the house. The night was calm, and the silence profound as death.
Not a cloud obscured the heavens; the light of the moon fell upon the
stillness of the scene around him, with all the touching beauty of a
moonlit midnight in summer. Here he paused a moment, felt his brow,
then his heart, the palpitations of which fell audibly upon his ear. He
became somewhat cooler; the images of madness which had swept through
his stormy brain disappeared, and were succeeded by a lethargic vacancy
of thought, which almost deprived him of the consciousness of his own
identity. From the green field he descended mechanically to a little
glen which opened beside it. It was one of those delightful spots to
which the heart clingeth. Its sloping sides were clothed with patches of
wood, on the leaves of which the moonlight glanced with a soft lustre,
rendered more beautiful by their stillness. That side on which the light
could not fall, lay in deep shadow, which occasionally gave to the rocks
and small projecting precipices an appearance of monstrous and unnatural
life. Having passed through the tangled mazes of the glen, he at length
reached its bottom, along which ran a brook, such as in the description
of the poet,--

     ----In the leafy month of June,
     Unto the sleeping woods all night,
     Singeth a quiet tune.”

Here he stood, and looked upon the green winding margin of the
streamlet--but its song he heard not. With the workings of a guilty
conscience, the beautiful in nature can have no association. He looked
up the glen, but its picturesque windings, soft vistas, and wild
underwood mingling with gray rocks and taller trees, all mellowed by the
moonbeams, had no charms for him. He maintained a profound silence--but
it was not the silence of peace or reflection. He endeavored to recall
the scenes of the past day, but could not bring them back to his memory.
Even the fiery tide of thought, which, like burning lava, seared his
brain a few moments before, was now cold and hardened.

He could remember nothing. The convulsion of his mind was over, and his
faculties were impotent and collapsed.

In this state he unconsciously retraced his steps, and had again reached
the paddock adjoining his house, where, as he thought, the figure of his
paramour stood before him. In a moment his former paroxysm returned, and
with it the gloomy images of a guilty mind, charged with the extravagant
horrors of brain-stricken madness.

“What!” he exclaimed, “the band still on your forehead! Tear it off!”

He caught at the form as he spoke, but there was no resistance to his
grasp. On looking again towards the spot it had ceased to be visible.
The storm within him arose once more; he rushed into the kitchen,
where the fire blazed out with fiercer heat; again he imagined that the
thunder came to his ears, but the thunderings which he heard were only
the voice of conscience. Again his own footsteps and his voice sounded
in his fancy as the footsteps and voices of fiends, with which his
imagination peopled the room. His state and his existence seemed to
him a confused and troubled dream; he tore his hair--threw it on the
table--and immediately started back with a hollow groan; for his locks,
which but a few hours before had been as black as a raven’s wing, were
now white as snow!

On discovering this, he gave a low but frantic laugh. “Ha, ha, ha!” he
exclaimed; “here is another mark--here is food for despair. Silently,
but surely, did the hand of God work this, as proof that I am hopeless!
But I will bear it; I will bear the sight! I now feel myself a man
blasted by the eye of God Himself! Ha, ha, ha! Food for despair! Food
for despair!”

Immediately he passed into his own room, and approaching the
looking-glass beheld a sight calculated to move a statue. His hair
had become literally white, but the shades of his dark complexion, now
distorted by terror and madness, flitted, as his features worked
under the influence of his tremendous passions, into an expression so
frightful, that deep fear came over himself. He snatched one of his
razors, and fled from the glass to the kitchen. He looked upon the fire,
and saw the white ashes lying around its edge.

“Ha!” said he, “the light is come! I see the sign. I am directed, and I
will follow it. There is yet one hope. The immolation! I shall be saved,
yet so as by fire. It is for this my hair has become white;--the sublime
warning for my self-sacrifice! The color of ashes!--white--white! It is
so! I will sacrifice my body in material fire, to save my soul from that
which is eternal! But I had anticipated the sign. The self-sacrifice is
accepted!”*

     * As the reader may be disposed to consider the nature
     of the priest’s death an unjustifiable stretch of
     fiction, I have only to say in reply, that it is no
     fiction at all. It is not, I believe, more than forty,
     or perhaps fifty, years since a priest committed his
     body to the flames, for the purpose of saving his soul
     by an incrematory sacrifice. The object of the suicide
     being founded on the superstitious belief, that a
     priest guilty of great crimes possesses the privilege
     of securing salvation by self-sacrifice. We have heard
     two or three legends among the people in which this
     principle predominated. The outline of one of these,
     called “The Young Priest and Brian Braar,” was as
     follows:--

     A young priest on his way to the College of Valladolid,
     in Spain, was benighted; but found a lodging in a small
     inn on the roadside. Here he was tempted by a young
     maiden of great beauty, who, in the moment of his
     weakness, extorted from him a bond signed with his
     blood, binding himself to her forever. She turned out
     to be an evil spirit: and the young priest proceeded to
     Valladolid with a heavy heart, confessed his crime to
     the Superior, who sent him to the Pope, who sent him to
     a Friar in the County of Armagh, called Brian Braar,
     who sent him to the devil. The devil, on the strength
     of Brian Braar’s letter, gave him a warm reception,
     held a cabinet council immediately, and laid the
     despatch before his colleagues, who agreed that the
     claimant should get back his bond from the brimstone
     lady who had inveigled him. She, however, obstinately
     refused to surrender it, and stood upon her bond, until
     threatened with being thrown three times into Brian
     Braar’s furnace. This tamed her: the man got his bond,
     and returned to Brian Braar on earth. Now Brian Braar
     had for three years past abandoned God, and taken to
     the study of magic with the devil; a circumstance which
     accounts for his influence below. The young priest,
     having possessed himself of his bond, went to Lough
     Derg to wash away his sins; and Brian Braar, having
     also become penitent, the two worthies accompanied each
     other to the lake. On entering the boat, however, to
     cross over to the island, such a storm arose as drove
     them back. Brian assured his companion that he himself
     was the cause of it.

     “There is now,” said he, “but one more chance for me;
     and we must have recourse to it.” He then returned
     homewards, and both had reached a hill-side near
     Bryan’s house, when the latter desired the young priest
     to remain there a few minutes, and he would return to
     him; which he did with a hatchet in his hand.

     “Now,” said he, “you must cut me into four quarters,
     and mince my body into small bits, then cast them into
     the air, and let them go with the wind.”

     The priest, after much entreaty, complied with his
     wishes, and returned to Lough Derg, where he afterwards
     lived twelve years upon one meal of bread and water per
     diem. Having thus purified himself, he returned home;
     but, on passing the hill where he had minced the Friar,
     he was astonished to see the same man celebrating mass,
     attended by a very penitential looking congregation of
     spirits.

     “Ah,” said Brian Braar, when mass was over, “you are
     now a happy man. With regard to my state for the
     voluntary sacrifice I have made of myself, I am to be
     saved; but I must remain on this mountain until the Day
     of Judgment.” So saying, he disappeared.

     There is little to be said about the superstition of
     the _Lianhan Shee_, except that it existed as we have
     drawn it, and that it is now fading fast away. There is
     also something appropriate in associating the heroine
     of this little story with the being called the _Lianhan
     Shee_, because, setting the superstition aside, any
     female who fell into her crime was called _Lianhan
     Shee_. _Lianhan Shee an Sogarth_ signifies a priest’s
     paramour, or, as the country people say, “Miss.” Both
     terms have now nearly become obsolete.

We must here draw a veil over that which ensued, as the description of
it would be both unnatural and revolting. Let it be sufficient to
say, that the next morning he was found burned to a cinder, with the
exception of his feet and legs, which remained as monuments of, perhaps,
the most dreadful suicide that ever was committed by man. His razor,
too, was found bloody, and several clots of gore were discovered about
the hearth; from which circumstances it was plain that he had reduced
his strength so much by loss of blood, that when he committed himself to
the flames, he was unable, even had he been willing, to avoid the fiery
and awful sacrifice of which he made himself the victim. If anything
could deepen the the impression of fear and awe, already so general
among the people, it was the unparalleled nature of his death. Its
circumstances are yet remembered in the parish and county wherein it
occurred--for it is no fiction, gentle reader! and the titular bishop
who then presided over the diocese, declared, that while he lived, no
person bearing the unhappy man’s name should ever be admitted to the
clerical order.

The shock produced by his death struck the miserable woman into the
utter darkness of settled derangement. She survived him some years,
but wandered about through the province, still, according to the
superstitious belief of the people, tormented by the terrible enmity of
the _Lianhan Shee_.





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