Page images
PDF
EPUB

Christmas or Easter. I niver seen a rale jint o' mate sin' the blessed day I was married to Murty Mahoney, so I haven't,-and that's three an' twenty years cum next Lady-day."

"Your children appear strong and healthy, nevertheless."

"Oh! thanks be where due, they are that; an' why would n't they? They've no stint of de prates any how; an' onst a week, or on a saint's day, mostly a herrin' or a sup o'milk wid them. Sorro' wud I wish to see de day a child o' mine 'ud grumble while he'd a bowl o' Carrigaline beauties, or good red-nosed kidneys planted down upon de table, wid a relish now an' then, or may be onst a week —"

66

"The rain still continues as heavy as ever," said the gentleman. May I ask leave to remain under the shelter of your roof until the storm has passed off?"

"Yer honor 'd be kindly welcome, shoore, if 'twas de grandest house in de county I had afore ye. Judy! rache me de prauskeen 'till I wipe a stool for his honor to sit down upon." "Do not trouble yourself. It is quite clean, I dare say," replied Mr. Stapleton, for such was the gentleman's name.

"Beggin' yer honor's pardin', but I've hard

say, 'quite clane' aint clane enuff for de Englishers,-an' I'm thinking, be yer honor's tongue, that ye does n't belong to this part of de counthree, any how."

"You are right," said Mr. Stapleton; " I am an Englishman, and a stranger in Ireland, and I feel deeply interested by what I have seen of the country. Indeed, my admiration is excited by the numerous instances I meet, where apparently extreme poverty is supported with a degree of cheerfulness and patience, in vain to be sought for in my own more favoured land."

"Oh! where 'ud be de use of bein' onpatient, yer honor? What 'ud we get be that? The Lord knows best what's good for us all; an' shoore, if we've His blessin', 'tis all we want."

"That's true, perhaps; but now, tell me,you have been married three-and-twenty years, you say. You have reared-how many children?" "Tirteen, yer honor. 'Tisn't often ye'll find a smaller family,-that's among the poore o' the county. They tell me chilther's scarcer in the county Limerick, but I dunnow. Murty thought it best to settle where his work was; an' may be 'tis right he was."

"How does he gain his living, and support this large family?"

"He attinds de masons,-that's de masther buildher's," said Mrs. Mahoney, willing to express in the most imposing terms the occupation of her husband.

"What in England we call a bricklayer's labourer, I suppose?"

"I niver hard himself say he was that same," returned the poor woman, a little wounded by what she considered to be so harsh an appellation. "He just mixes up de morthar an' dem things for de workin' men, an' does any odd job that'ud be for helpin 'em, an' de likes o'that, an'-" "Carries a hod for his amusement, I suppose?" said Mr. Stapleton, smiling.

"Is it a hod o' morthar? In coorse he'll do that same in de way o' bis'ness, an' de niver a worse man is he for it, any way," continued the still more offended dame.

"Do not imagine I intended any offence to his, or your feelings, by carelessly mentioning an old subject of jocularity with us in England. A man's usefulness ought to be the truest source of his pride; and neither yourself, nor your husband, I am sure, need blush to own the means of support that have enabled you to bring up this fine family of well-grown girls, and their still more sturdy brothers."

"Yer honor's words are like honey, shoorely," replied Mrs. Mahoney, completely mollified by this saving speech. "De girls is well enuff,Katy be done tazing the boniveen, an' I'll throuble ye!-an' de b'ys, I hope, 'll be gettin' an honest livin' in time, yer honor. Barney! is that yer manners, ye vagabone of de world! keep de trackeens on you do, an' a jintleman to the fore!"

[ocr errors]

"Its tired on 'em and murthered wid 'em intirely I am," retorted the youth in question. "Shoore its hard I medn't aise me feet when I come in doores; yees 'll let Judy and Katy turn out their toes, an' I'm blisthered intirely wid de brogues, so I am, all the way to Blarney that I've been in dem to plaze ye."

"Some of your sons are off your hands, I imagine, Mrs. Mahoney? I see but three of them here."

The poor woman applied her apron (or 'prauskeen', as she would have called it,) to her eyes, seemingly disturbed by the question; after a little time she returned,-"Ah! 'tis a hard trial partin' wid them, so it is—onst they come— two girls an' a b'y's laid under de sod, an' Phelim, that's de eldest, he wint for a soldier; he never tuk to de larnin'; an' de schoolmasther,

ould Justin Delaney, wid de one eye, advised we'd send him abroad, afore, may be, he'd get transported, 'twas de only thing he sed for him, and may be 'd make a jintleman of him all out. There's Judy, an' Katy, an' Peggy, that's all my girls left. Michael, an' Terry, an' Dan's at school, gettin' their larnin', any how. If yer honor looks through the windy,-no, not the windy, the hat's in to keep the wet out where Dan broke it last summer, de rapparee! but out thro' de doore, yer honor 'll see Dinnis sitting under de bush for shelter, and 'twas digging a patch, he was, for de praties. And this is Patrick, yer honor; ah! 'tis he's de jinteelest of 'em all, thryin' to keep de pig out o' yer honor's hat, so he is; 'tis he'll make his fortin some day, whoever 'll live to see it, for its himself had de nate way wid him, ever an' always. But 'tis Barney, there, yer honor, brakes de ould heart in me, so he does, an' has nothin' o' decency or manners about him, for all his schoolin', an' de pains his father tuk, an' myself, moreover, to thry to make something out of him. We niver 'll make our money o' Barney, I'm thinkin', an' all de harum I wish him 's a good sarvice in a genteel family, for Barney's handy enough for that matter."

"The boy seems altogether not particularly

« PreviousContinue »