Abbildungen der Seite



It's enough to say here, that sometimes one in crassing a style or ditch would drop into the shough ; sometimes another would find himself headforemost on the ground; a woman would be capsized here in crossing a ridgy field, bringing her fore-rider to the ground along with her: another would be hanging like a broken arch, ready to come down, till some one would ride up and fix her on her seat. But as all this happened in going over the fields, we expected that when we'd get out on the king's high-way there would be less danger, as we would have no ditches or drains to

When we came in sight of the house, there was a general shout of welcome from the bride's party, who were on the watch for us: could'nt do less nor give them back the cheer in full chorus; but we had better have let that alone, for some of the young horses took the sthadh, others of them capered about; the asses--the devil choak them-that were along with us should begin to bray, as if it was the king's birth-day -and a mule of Jack Irwin's took it into his head to stand stock still. This brought another dozen of them to the ground; so that between one thing and another, we were near half an hour before we got on the march again. When the blood horse that the tailor rode, saw the crowd and heard the shouting, he cocked his ears, and set off with himself full speed: but before he had gone far, he was without a rider, and went galloping up to the bride's house, the bridle hanging about his feet. But Billy, having taken a glass or two, wasn't to be cowed; so he came up in great blood, and swore he would ride him to America, sooner than let the bottle be won from the bridegroom's party. When we arrived, there was nothing but shaking hands and kissing, and all kinds of slewsthering—men kissing men-women kissing women—and after that men and women. Another breakfast was ready for us; and here we all sat down. Myself and my next relations in the bride's house, and the others in the barn and garden; for one house wouldn't hold the half of us. Eating, however, was all only talk; but we took some of the poteen agin, and in a short time afterwards set off along the paved road to the priest's house, to be tied as fast as he could make us, and that was fast enough. Before we went out to mount our horses though, there was such a hullabaloo with the bride and her friends as there was with myself: but my uncle soon put a stop to it, and in five minutes had them breaking their hearts laughing. Bless my heart what doings! what roasting and boiling !-and what tribes of beggars, and shulers, and vagabons of all sorts and sizes, were sunning themselves about the doors—wishing us a thousand times long life and happiness. There was a fiddler and a piper: the piper was to stop in my father-in-law's while we were going to be married, and the fiddler was to come with ourselves, in ordher you know, to have a dance at the priest's house, and to play for us coming and going; for there's nothing like a taste of music when one's on for sport.” '-— pp. 112-115.

The marriage took place at the priest's house, which was four miles off, after which the party devoted an hour or so to dancing in his reverence's barn. The return home is well described.

""When this was over we mounted again, the fiddler taking his ould situation behind my uncle. You know it is usual, after getting the knot tied, to go to a public house or shebeen, to get some refreshment after the journey; so, accordingly, we went to little lame Larry Spooney's-grand

father to him that was transported the other day for staling Bob Beaty's sheep; he was called Spooney himself, from his sheep-stealing, ever since Paddy Keenan made the song upon him, ending with “ his house never wants a good ram-horn spoon ;” so that, let people say what they will, these things run in the blood-well, we went to his shebeen house, but the tithe of us couldn't get into it; so, we sat on the green before the door, and, by my song, we took dacently with him, any how; and, only for my uncle, it's odds but we would have all been fuddled. It was now that I began to notish a kind of coolness betune my party and the bride's, and for some time I didn't know what to make of it. I wasn't long so, however; for my uncle, who still had his eye about him, comes over to me, and says,

“ Shane, I doubt there will be bad work amongst these people, particularly betune the Dorans and the Flanagans—the truth is, that the ould business of the law-shoot will break out, and except they're kept from drink, take my

word for it, there will be blood spilled. The running for the bottle will be a good excuse,” says he,“ So I think we had better move home before they go too far in the drink.” Well, any way, there was truth in this; so, accordingly, lhe reckoning was ped, and, as this was the thrate of the weddineers to the bride and the bridegroom, every one of the men clubbed his share, but neither I nor the girls, any thing. Ha-ha-ha! Well, I never-ha-ha -ha!- I never laughed so much in one day, as I did in that, and I can't help laughing at it yet. Well, well! when we all got on the top of our horses, and sich other iligant cattle as we had—the crowning of a king was nothing to it. We were now purty well I thank you, as to liquor; and, as the knot was tied, and all safe, there was no end to our good spirits : sc, when we took the road, the men were in high blood, particularly Billy Cormick, the tailor, who had a pair of long cavalry spurs upon him, that he was scarcely able to walk in. -and he not more nor four feet high. The women, too, were in blood, having faces upon them, with the hate of the day and the liquor, as full as trumpeters,

"" There was now a great jealousy among them that were bint for winning the bottle; and when one horseman would crass another, striving to have the whip hand of him when they'd set off, why, you see, his horse would get a cut of the whip itself for his pains. My uncle and I, however, did all we could to pacify them; and their own bad horsemanship, and the screeching of the women, prevented any strokes at that time. Some of them were ripping up ould sores against one another as they went along; others, particularly the youngsters, with their sweethearts behind them, coorting away for the life of them; and some might be heard miles off, singing and laughing: and you may be sure the fiddler behind my uncle wasn't idle, no more nor another. In this way we dashed on glariously, till we came in sight of the Dumb-hill, where we were to start for the bottle. And now you might see the men fixing themselves on their saddles, sacks, and suggawns; and the women tying kerchiefs and shawls about their

caps and bonnets, to keep them from flying off, and then gripping their foreriders hard and fast by the bosoms. When we got to the Dumb-hill, there were five or sis fellows that didn't come with us to the priest's, but met us with cudgels in their hands, to prevent any of them from starting before the others, and to show fair play.

““ Well, when they were all in a lump,-horses, mules, ragherys and asses, some, as I said, with saddles, some with none; and all just as I could you

before; the word was given, and off they scoured, myself along with the rest; and divil be off me, if ever I saw such a sight but itself, either before or since. Off they skelped through thick and thin, in a cloud of dust like a mist about us: but it was a mercy that the life wasn't tramped out of some of us; for before we had gone fifty perches, the one third of them were sprawling a top of one another on the road. As for the women, they went down right and left—sometimes bringing the horsemen with them; and many of the boys getting black eyes and bloody noses on the stones. Some of them being half blind with the motion and the whiskey, turned off the wrong way, and gallopped on, thinking they had completely distanced the crowd ; and it wasn't until they cooled a bit that they found out their mistake. But the best sport of all was, when they came to the lazy corner, just at Jack Gallagher's fush, where the water came out a good way acrass the road; being in such a flight, they either forgot or didn't know how to turn the angle properly, and plash weat above thirty of them, coming down right on the top of one another, souse into the pool. By this time there was about a dozen of the best horses a good distance before the rest, cutting one another up for the bottle; amongst these were the Dorans and the Flanagans; but they, you see, wisely enough dropped their women at the beginning, and only rode single. I myself didn't mind the bottle, but kept close to Mary, for fraid that among sich a divil's pack of half-mad fellows, any thing might happen her. At any rate, I was next the first batch : but where do you think the tailor was all this time? Why away off like lightning, miles before them—flying like a swallow : and how he kept his sate so long has puzzled me from that day to this ; but, any how, truth's best-there he was topping the bill ever so far before them. Though, after all, the unlucky crathur nearly missed the bottle ; for when he turned to the bride's house, instead of pulling up as he ought to do-why, to show his horsemanship to the crowd that was out looking at them, he should begin to cut up the horse right and left, until he made him take the garden ditch in full flight, landing him among the cabbages. About four yards or five from the spot where the horse lodged himself, was a well, and a plirty deep one too, by my word; but not a sowl present could tell what became of the tailor, until Owen Smith chanced to look into the well, and saw his long spurs just above the water ; so he was pulled up in a purty pickle, not worth the washing ; but what did he care? although he had a small body, the divil a one of him but had a sowl big enough for Golias or Sampson the Great. As soon as he got his eyes clear, right or wrong, he insisted on getting the bottle ; but he was late, poor fellow, for before he got out of the garden, two of them came upPaddy Doran and Peter Flanagan, cutting one another to pieces, and not the length of your nail betune them. Weil, well, that was a terrible day, sure enough. In the twinkling of an eye they were both off the horses, the blood streaming from their bare heads, struggling to take the bottle from my father, who didn't know which of them to give it to. He knew if he'd hand it to one, the other would take offince, and then he was in a great puzzle, striving to rason with them; but long Paddy Doran caught it while he was speaking to Flanagan, and the next minnit Flanagan measured him with a heavy loaded whip, and left him stretched upon the stones. And now the work began; for by this time the friends of both parties came up and joined them. Such knocking down, such roaring

among the men, and screeching and clapping of hands and wiping of

women, when

a brother, or a son, or a husband, would get bis gruel! Indeed, out of a fair, I never saw any thing to come up to it. But during all this work, the busiest man among the whole set was the tailor, and what was worst of all for the poor crather, he should single himself out against both parties, bekase you see he thought they were cutting him out of his right to the bottle."--vol. i. pp.

123-125. The only other part of the history that deserves to be quoted is the scene after dinner. It is certainly very imperfect, as, indeed, is the whole that follows. These deficiences are easily accounted for when we see how much more intent the author was to detail a long and foolish conversation on religious topics between two priests, than to complete the sketch of the wedding.

By this time the company was hard and fast at the punch, the songs, and the dancing. The dinner had been cleared off, except what was before the friar, and the beggers and shulers were clawing and scoulding one another about the divide. The dacentest of us went into the house for a while, taking the fiddler with us, and the rest staid on the green to dance, where they were soon joined by lots of the counthry-people; so that, in a short time, there was a large number entirely. After sitting for some time within, Mary and I began, you may be sure, to get uneasy, sitting palavering among a parcel of ould sober folk; so, at last, out we slipped, and the few other dacent young people that were with us, to join the dance, and shake our toe along with the rest of them. When we made our appearance, the flure was instantly cleared for us, and then she and I danced the Humours of Glin. Well it's no matter, it's all past now, and she lies low; but I may say that it wasn't very often danced in better style since, I'd wager. Many a shake-hands did I get from the neighbours' sons, wishing me joy—and I'm sure I couldn't do less than thrate them to a glass, yon know; and 'twas the same way with Mary—many a neighbour's daughter, that she didn't do more nor know by eye-sight, may-be, would come up and wish her happiness in the same manner, and she would say to me, • Shane,

avourneen, that's such a man's daughter--they’re dacent, friendly people, and we can't do less nor give her a glass.' I, of coorse, would go down and bring them over, after a little pulling--making, you see, as if they wouldn't come--to where my brother was handing out the native."?-pp. 143, 144.

The sports which usually take place at a wake are well described by our author in another tale, entitled " Larry M‘Farland's Wake.” This word in Ireland means the assembling of persons in the room where a corpse is laid out, and where the junior part of the company are in the habit of performing all manner of tricks for their amusement. As traits of national manners, tbey possess a good deal of interest.

"" The way they play it, Mr. Morrow, is this:-two young men out of each parish, go out upon the Aure—one of them stands up, then beads himself, Sir, at a half bend, placing his left hand behind on the back part of his ham, keeping it there to receive what it's to get. Well, there he stands, and the other coining behind him, places his foot out before him,

doubles up the cuff of his coat, to give his hand and wrist freedom ; he then rises his right arm, coming down with the heel of his hand upon the other fellow's palm, under him, with full force. By jing, it's the divil's own diversion;

for you might as well get a stroke of a sledge as a blow. from some of them able, hard-working fellows, with hands upon them like lime stone. When the fellow that's down gets it hot and heavy, the man that struck him stands bent in his place, and some friend of the other comes down upon him, and pays him for what the other fellow got. In this way they take it, turn about, one out of each parish, till it's over; for, I believe, if they were to pelt one another since, that they'd never give up. soul, but it was terrible to hear the strokes that the Slip and Pat MʻArdle did give that night."-pp. 201, 202.

Bless my

[blocks in formation]


« « The next play they went to was the sitting brogue. This is played by a ring of them, sitting down upon the bare ground, keeping their knees up. A shoe-maker's leather apron is then got, or a good stout brogue, and sent round under their knees. In the mean time, one stands in the middle; and after the brogue is sent round, he is to catch it as soon as he

While he is there, of coorse, his back must be to some one, and accordingly those that are behind him, thump him right and left with the brogue, while he, all the time, is striving to catch it. Whoever he catches this brogue with must stand up in his place, while he sits down where the other had been, and then the play goes on as before. There's another play called the Standing-brogue—where one man gets a brogue of the same kind, and another stands up facing him, with his two hands locked together, forming an arch turned upside down. The man that houlds the brogue then strikes him with it betune the hands; and even the smartest fellow ceives several pelts, before he is able to close his hands and catch it; but when he does, he becomes brogue-man, and one of the opposite party stands for him, until he catches it. The same thing is gone through, from one to another, on each side, until it is over. The next is Kissing, and is played in this manner :-A chair or stool is placed in the middle of the Alure, and the man who manages the play sits down upon it, and calls his sweet-heart, or the prettiest girl in the house. She, accordingly, comes forward, and must kiss him. He then rises up, and she sits down. “Come now,” he says, “ fair maid-call them you like best to kiss She then calls them she likes best, and when the young man she calls comes over and kisses her, he then takes her place, and calls another girl --and so on, smacking away for a couple of hours. Well, it's no wonder that Ireland's full of people; for I believe they do nothing but coort from the time they're the hoith of my leg. I dunna is it true, as I hear Captain Sloethorn's steward say, that the English women are so fond of Irishgen?” ?—pp. 203—205.

"" The next is marrying-a bouchal puts an ould dark coat on him, and if he can borry a wig from any of the ould men in the wake-house, why, well and good, he's the liker his work—this is the priest : he takes and drives all the young men out of the house, and shuts the door


them, so that they can't get in till he lets them. He then ranges the girls all beside one another, and going to the first, makes her name him she wishes to be her husband; this she does, of course, and the priest lugs him in, shat

you !

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »