Short story from Ballgullion
Lynn.C. Doyle (Linseed Oil) alias LeslieAlexander Montgomery
a comic homophone of ‘linseed oil’; later without the “C.”] b. Downpatrick, Co. Down; worked as a branch bank-manager in Cushendall, Co. Antrim; also in Keady, Co. Armagh, and latterly in Skerries, Co. Dublin; he published Ballygullion (1908 and edns.), the first of thirteen volumes of fiction while a banker in Dublin, 1908, to be followed 14 other comic titles in Hiberno-English, ending with The Ballygullion Bus (1957) and Mr Anthony of Ballygullion (1979), mixing nationalist and Orange characters – the last being the local solicitor (‘as decent a wee man as iver stepped’)
THE SILENT DOG
The minit I clapped eyes on the baste I
knowed there was an unlucky look about him.
But if there was bad luck wi’ him sure the
most av it fell his own road. It was this way
I come across him. Wan afthernoon I was
workin’ about the yard, whin who should come
intil it but wee Mr. Anthony, the solicitor, an*
Mr. Harrington av the Bank.
” Good evenin’ to yez both,” sez I ; ” what
has sthrayed ye out av Ballygullion the day,
gintlemen ? ”
” Pat,” sez Mr. Anthony, ” are ye on for a
night’s sport ? ”
That’ll depend,” sez I.
I wasn’t goin’ to let on what I’d do till I
knowed what they were afther. For if it’s
shootin’, sez I to meself, Pm otherwise engaged.
Mr. Anthony’s as dacint a wee man as iver
stepped, divil recave the betther ; but a bigger
ould dundherhead niver wint out wi’ a gun in
his fist. Between his short sight, an’ his ram-
stam way av runnin’ at things, it was the
danger av your life to go within a mile av him.
Didn’t he blow in the end windy av the
Presbyterian meetin’-house wan prayer-meetin’
night in the month av May, thryin’ to shoot a
crow off ould Major Dennison’s tombstone in
the buryin’ ground outside ; an* wanst he
thrailed me two miles to Ballybreen bog afther
a flock av wild geese he said he seen, an’ before
I could stop him he killed ould Mrs. Murphy’s
gandher that lives in Drumcrow, an’ had to pay
her a cowld pound, forbye a new gandher he
So whin he sez ” Are ye on for a
night?” thinks I, I’ll know what yez are afther
“Well, Pat,” sez he, “Mr. Harrington an’
me has planned to have a night’s rabbit-nettin’
up at Mr. Hastings’s at The Warren ”
” Is it mad yez are ? ” sez I. ” Sure ye’ll
be right foment the house, an’ the ould gintle-
man’ll hear the first bark ; an’ doesn’t the
whole counthryside know he’s a fair lunatic
” Aye, but,” sez Mr. Anthony, ” we’ve got a
“A what?” sez I.
” A silent dog,” sez he. ” A dog, Pat,” sez
he, ” that’ll hunt rabbits, or rats aye or cats,”
sez he, ” an’ niver even give a whine. I have
him chained to the gate here.”
THE SILENT DOG
Wi’ that he goes round the corner an* fetches
back a dog on a chain.
” There he is, Pat,” sez he ; ” an’ you
wouldn’t get a bark out av him if you thried
him for a month.”
” Faith,” sez I ” it’s well he’s some good
points about him, for be me sowl he’s no
An’ nayther he was ; a low-set, crooked-
legged baste, wi’ a dirty brown coat, an’ a wee
bunty tail. Wan av his ears was half tore off”,
an’ he’d lost two teeth in the front.
” An’ what do you think about it, Mr.
Harrington ? ” sez I.
Between ourselves, Mr. Harrington was
supposed to be coortin’ the youngest wan av
the Miss Hastings’s, an’ 1 thought it a quare
thing if he’d run the risk av a. row wi’ the ould
fellow for the sake av a night’s sport.
” There’ll be Ould Nick himself to pay if
we’re catched, an’ that’ll be no good till any av
us,” sez I, lookin’ hard at him.
” Oh ! I know rightly what ye mane, Pat,”
sez he, ” but it doesn’t matther. The ould
fellow an’ me has fell out,” sez he, savage-like,
” an’ I don’t mind the chance av a row if I can
spite him a bit.”
” I’m wi’ you there,” sez I ; ” for he’s no
friend av mine. But what about the dog. Can
yez depend on him not to bark ? ” sez I.
” I tell ye, man,” sez Mr. Anthony, ” he’ll
not bark. Hit him a kick,” sez he, ” an’ see
if he even whines.”
” Hit him a welt yourself, Mr. Anthony,”
sez 1 ; “he knows you betther nor me.” For
there was a quare glitther’ in the baste’s eye I
So Mr. Anthony fetches him a lick wi’ the
toe av his boot ; an’ wi’ that the dog turns on
him, an’ without even a girn, catches him be
the ball av the leg, an* houlds on like grim
death, worryin’ at him. Mr. Anthony he lets
a screech an’ begins to pull away from the dog.
” Haul him off, Pat ! ” sez he, I’m bit till
the bone ! Kick the brute. Why don’t ye
pull him off, Archie ? ” sez he, dancin’ round
on wan leg an’ cursin’ like a haythen.
As luck would have it, he’d on a pair of
them putty leggin’s, an’ the dog only had his
teeth in wan av them ; an’ afther the first
fright, whin we seen he wasn’t likely to be
hurt, Mr. Barrington an’ myself couldn’t do
nothin’ for the laughin’, till Mr. Anthony was
” What the divil,” sez he, ” are yez grinnin’
at, ye pair av monkeys ? Pull him off quick,
or he’ll be through to me leg.”
So I lifts a bit of a stick, an’ hits the dog
two or three lundhers wid it ; but divil a bit
would he let go.
THE SILENT DOG 55
” He’s a terrible hoult, anyway, Mr.
Anthony,” sez I. ” What’ll I do wi’ him at
all, at all ? ”
” Bate him over the head wi’ a stone,” sez he.
” I’ll hurt the baste,” sez I, if I do.”
” 1 don’t give a damn,” sez he, ” if ye kill
him. Get him off anyhow,” sez he.
So I ups wi a stone an’ runs over till the pair
av thim ; an’ whin the dog seen me comin’ wi’
the stone, he lets go Mr. Anthony’s leg all av a
suddint an’ turns sharp on me. Mr. Anthony,
he was pullin’ the other way, an’ whin the dog
let go he went on his hands an’ knees intil the
sheugh, an’ I took a run-race an’ got up on the
ditch, thinkin’ I felt the baste’s teeth in me leg
Whin I looked over my shouldher I seen Mr.
Barrington had him be the chain.
” More power to ye, Mr. Barrington,” sez I ;
” it’s well ye were there, for I’ve no leggin’s on,
an’ if he’d got me he’d ‘a massacred me.”
” He’s safe enough, now, Pat,” sez he, ” come
So I come down an’ give Mr. Anthony a pull
out of the sheugh.
I thought Mr. Barrington would have died
laughin’ at him ; an’ in troth it was small
wondher, * for he was a shockin’ sight wi’
gutthers an’ clay. But for all that he wasn’t a
” Ye may laugh, Archie,” sez he ; ” but the
dog didn’t give a squeak anyhow. Ye’re satis-
fied av that.”
” Oh, I’m quite satisfied,” sez Mr. Barring-
ton. ” I think we can depend on him. Anyway,
I’ll not bother thryin’ him,” sez he.
So we trysted to meet the nixt night at Mr.
Anthony’s gate, as bein’ the handiest place for
all parties ; for it’s about half-roads between me
an’ Ballygullion, an’ just across the river on the
other side av the county road an’ you’re in the
Warren grounds. I was to bring me nets.
It was a gran’ moonlight night when I left
home, an’ when I come to Mr. Anthony’s gate
the two av them was there wi’ the dog.
Mr. Anthony was in great heart.
“We couldn’t have picked a betther night,”
sez he. “We’ll be able to see what we’re
” Aye, an’ the rabbits’ll be able to see what
we’re doin’ too,” sez I. ” There’s no good
startin’ till it clouds over a bit.” It was risin’
a bit cloudy behind the wind, an’ I knowed the
moon would be soon covered.
” Maybe you’re right,” sez Mr. Anthony.
” I’ll tell you what I’ll do while we’re waitin’.
I’ll run back an’ get the air-gun,” sez he’.
“It’ll make no noise, an’ I -might get a shot at
a rabbit. Hould the dog, Archie, till I come
THE SILENT DOG
” If ye take my advice,” sez I, ” ye’ll let the
But he never listened to me, an’ made off up
the avenue at a trot, lavin’ Mr. Barrington an’
me standin’ there’.
Mr. Barrington was very heavy an’ down,
an’ said nothin’, but kept suckin’ away at the
pipe ; not like himself at all ; for he’s mostly
full av jokes an’ fun, an’ ready to laugh at
” What’s up between yourself an’ Mr.
Hastings above, Mr. Barrington,” sez I, ” if
it’s not bould av me to ask?”
“Nothin’ much, Pat,” sez he. “Only I
spoke till him about what ye know, an’ he’s
forbid me the house.”
” The ould upstart,” sez he between his teeth
till himself, ” because av his dirty money turnin’
up his nose at a man whose gran’-father was a
gintleman when his was carryin’ a hod.”
Ye must know the Hastings made their money
in the buildin’ line, an’ none av them was very
much before the present man.
” What need ye care,” sez I, ” about the ould
fellow at all, at all, if the young lady an’ you
has made it up ?”
“Oh, it’s willin’ enough she’d be (the
darlin’!” sez he under his breath) ; “but I’d
be a nice hound to ask her to marry me on two
hundhred an’ fifty a year.”
” Divil moan her,” sez I, ” if she niver gets
a man wi’ more. Sure I’ve brought up a wife
an’ family on the fift’ av it.”
Mr. Barrington he laughs a bit at that, an*
just thin Mr. Anthony comes up an’ stops the
” The moon’s well hid, now,” sez he ; we’ll
make a start.”
So we crossed the river an’ took to the fields,
an’ afther half a mile av a walk we come to the
plantin’ below the big house. There’s about
fifteen acres av it in a sort of half-moon, then a
big stretch of grass land they call the lawn,
right up to the hall-door, wi’ an odd big tree
in it here an’ there. The upper end av the
plantin’s fair alive wi’ rabbit-holes, an’ av a fine
night the rabbits does be feedin’ on the law in
hundhreds. Our schame was to run the nest
along in front of the holes, an’ thin get round an’
let the dog loose to scare the rabbits intil them.
As soon as we got the nets set we slipped
round to the horn av the plantin’, close up to
the house. Mr. Anthony puts the end av the
chain he had the dog on in my hand.
” Now, Pat,” sez he, ” you hould the dog in
till we get to the middle av the lawn, an’ I’ll
maybe get a shot,” sez he, puttin’ a pellet in
” Ye ould fool,” thinks I, ” wi’ your pop-
gun ; it’s well if ye don’t lame somebody.”
THE SILENT DOG
For his hands was in such a thrimmle wi’ nar-
vousness that he could hardly snap the breech.
Howiver, out we moves, an’ just thin, as ill-
luck would have it, out comes the moon.
” Bad cess to ye,” sez I, cc ye ould divil ye,
weren’t ye all right behind there, but ye must
come out an’ spoil sport.”
But Mr. Anthony was well plazed.
” Wheesht, Pat,” sez he, ” I see wan.”
Wi’ that he puts his foot in a rabbit-hole, an*
down he slaps on his face, an’ the gun snaps
an’ pins the dog in the side somewhere.
Maybe it was more than mortial baste could
stan’, for thim wee pellets is cruel, but anyway
the dog sets up the horridest howlin’ ye iver
heard, an’ I was that taken in at him I dhropped
the chain an’ let him go.
An’ thin the fun began, Mr. Anthony rippin’
an’ cursin’ an* spittin’ out bits av grass, an’ the
silent dog runnin’ round an’ round in rings an’
yowlin’ murther, wi’ the chain rattlin’ behind
him like a tinker’s cart.
Mr. Barrington, divil miss him, but he’d
see fun in it, he begins to laugh.
” For a silent dog, Anthony,” sez he, ” he’s
makin’ a brave noise.”
” Shut up, ye fool,” sez Mr. Anthony, as
mad as you like, ” an’ catch the brute. Be the
mortial,” sez he, ” if I catch him, I’ll make a
silent dog av him.”
But the divil a catch him could we do ; an*
the more we went near him the louder he yelled.
” We’d better run,” sez I ; ” the house’ll be
But I didn’t spake in time. All av a suddint
the big front door opens wi’ a clatther.
” Come on, men,” I hears in ould Mr.
Hastings’s voice. ” Scatther across the lawn,
an’ ye can’t miss the blackguards.”
Ye niver seen three men run faster than we
did for that plantin’.
Divil a much laughin* there was in Mr.
” If we’re caught, Pat,” sez he, as he run,
” I’m done entirely. I’ll be disgraced for iver,”
” We’ll not be caught,” sez I, as well as I
could wi’ thryin’ to keep up wi’ him. ” Sure
we’ve over three hundhred yards av a start.
Look out for the nets ! ” sez I.
But wee Mr. Anthony was runnin’ like a red-
shank ten yards in front av us, an’ niver heard
me. The net just took him on the shin-bone,
an’ he riz about two feet in the air, an’ lit on
his belly on the plantin’ ditch wi’ a sough.
Whin we got up till him he could hardly spake.
” Up wi’ you, quick, Anthony,” sez Mr.
” I can’t,” sez he wi’ a groan or two ; ” me
heart’s bursted,” sez he.
THE SILENT DOG
” Not a bit av it,” sez Mr. Barrington, feelin’
him ; ” it’s only your braces.”
” Come on, Mr. Anthony,” sez I, ” you’re
not bate yet.” But he couldn’t move.
” Run yourselves, boys,” sez he, in a kind av
” Come on, sir,” sez 1 to Mr. Barrington,
” they’ll be on us in a minit.”
The words wasn’t right out av me mouth till
he catches me be the throat.
” This way, men,” sez he, at the top av his
voice ; ” I’ve got wan o’ the villains.”
” It’s not goin’ to sell me, ye are, Mr.
Barrington,” sez I.
” Hit me a good knock wi’ your fist in the
face, Pat,” sez he. ” Quick, man !”
“Be me sowl will I,” sez I, “if ye don’t let
” I won’t let go till ye do,” sez he.
” Here goes thin,” sez I to meself. ” It’s a
quare business anyway, but if ye’ve sould me
ye desarve it, an’ if ye haven’t, sure ye asked
for it yourself ; an’ wi’ that I fetches him wan on
the right cheek-bone would ha’ felled a bullock,
an’ off I goes like the divil, lavin’ him where
I was away safe an’ well, for the moon was
hid again, an’ it was gey an’ dark ; but I hadn’t
run above a hundhred yards till I come on that
unfortunate divil av a dog whimperin’ in the
bushes. He took till his heels whin he heard
me comin’ an’ kep’ in front av me about ten or
fifteen yards ; an’ if he’d been silent all his
days before, be me sowl he made up for it that
night, for the gowls av him was lamentable.
“The divil choke ye, anyway,” sez I, when
I’d run near a quarther av a mile an’ him niver
stopped ; ” for if I’m not catched it’s no fault
of yours.” I stopped a minit to get me wind,
an’ at first I thought there was nobody follyin’ ;
but thin I hears ould Billy the game-keeper’s
“This way, boys,” sez he. “They’re not
away from us yet ; I hear their dog.”
” An’ divil thank ye,” sez I to meself ; “sure
ould Pether of the Bog could hear him, that’s
been stone deaf this fifteen years.”
So away I goes again, wi’ the dog in front av
me, him yowlin’ an’ guldherin’ harder than iver,
thinkin’ I was comin’ to kill him fair out this
time. But whin he comes to the river bank,
he takes down the sthrame nixt Ballygullion.
“Good-bye, me darlin’,” sez I, an’ I off up
the sthrame as hard as I could belt. Before I’d
gone very far, I hears a sound av men runnin’,
an’ thin a shout or two down the sthrame, an’
a couple av shots, an’ then nothin.’ But I
niver stopped till I was at home an’ in me bed.
All night long I lay wondherin’ what could
have come on Mr. Barrington. The more I
THE SILENT DOG 63
thought about it the more it looked like some
thrick, but divil a bit av me could see through it.
” Howaniver,” thinks I, I’ll lie low,” an’ I
keeps to the house for a week, lettin’ on I’d a
cowld ; till on market day the wife comes home
from Ballygullion in a terrible flutther.
” Did ye hear about the poachin’ at Mr.
Hastings’s, Pat?” sez she.
” Holy Pether,” says I to meself, ” I’m
“What poachin’, Molly ?” sez I.
” Sure,” says she, ” poachers broke intil Mr.
Hastings’s on last Tuesda’ night, above ten
av thim, to thrap his rabbits, an’ Mr. Barring-
ton, of the Bank, an’ Mr. Anthony, the soli-
citor, follyed thim to catch thim an’ got nearly
killed. Wee Mr. Anthony’s been in bed iver
since, an’ Mr. Barrmgton has a face like a prize-
” Ould Mr. Hastings’s tarrible plazed
about thim both. They say he’s promised
Mr. Anthony the agency av the estate whin
ould Jenkins dies, an’ there’s a sough in the
town that Mr. Barrington’s goin’ to marry Miss
Thin I seen the whole thing in a wink.
” Well done yourself, Mr. Barrington,” thinks
I, ” sure you’re the able one. Thrust you to
get out av a hole, if ye were up till the neck
“I’ll just slip down to the town, Molly,”
sez 1, “an’ hear all about it.”
Whin I got intil Ballygullion I sends a
message till the Bank to Mr. Barrington, askin’
him if he could step down the length of the
bridge to see a couple of ferrets I had, -just for
Prisintly down he comes, an’ in troth I hardly
There was a big lump av stickin’-plasther
above his right eye, an’ the whole cheek was all
puffed up, an’ as yellow as a duck’s foot.
” Aye, ye ould reprobate,” sez he, catchin’ me
look ; ” ye see the hand ye’ve made av me.”
“Sure,” sez I, “ye brought it on yourself.
Didn’t ye ask me to hit ye.”
” I didn’t tell ye to hit me such a skelp,” sez
he. ” You’ve loosened every tooth in me head,
an’ I’ve been livin’ on slops an’ mashes for a
week past. But niver mind, Pat,” sez he,
” I’ve had good luck out of it. There’s no
wan would think I got an eye^like this from a
” Be me sowl, Mr. Barrington,” sez I, ” ye’re
a cliver wan. Ye’ve bamboozled the ould
gintleman finely, wi’ your ten poachers. An’
is it true what they’re sayin’ about the young
lady an’ you ?”
“True enough, Pat,” sez he. “We’re to be
married within three months. The ould fellow
THE SILENT DOG 65
has behaved uncommon handsome, an’ I feel
a mane baste for deceivin’ him. But anyhow,
1 tould Anne Miss Hastings,” sez he, gettin’
very red where his face wasn’t yellow.
“An’ what did she say, Mr. Barrington?”
“Whin she’d done laughin’,” sez he, “she
tould me to tell ye ye’d niver want a day’s
shootin’ in The Warren as long as she could
put in a word for ye ; an’ she’s goin’ to get the
best kennel in Ireland for the dog. Have ye
any notion what’s become av him ?”
” Divil a bit av me knows,” sez I.
Wi’ that I sees somethin’ comin’ floatin’ down
“Be the mortial, Mr. Barrington,” sez I,
whin I’d looked at it a minit. “It’s him!”
“What ?” sez Mr. Barrington. “What is
it, Pat?” sez he.
“The dog,” sez I, pointin’.
” Not a bit av it,” sez he, ” that’s twice the
” Maybe he’s a bit swelled,” sez I ; an* whin
it floated down the length av the bridge, sure
enough it was himself.
Mr. Barrington stands lookin’ at him till I
war near turned, for in troth he was smellin’
higher nor a daisy.
” Come on, Pat,” sez he, at the last, turnin’
away. ” I’m sorry the poor baste’s killed, for
he done me a good turn, an’ I can’t return him
another wan now. But I’ll send down some-
body to fish him out an’ give him a dacint
c It’s all ye can do for him, Mr. Harrington,”
sez I . ” Rest his sowl, if he has wan, though
I did lose two good rabbit-nets be him, he’s a
silent dog now, anyway.”
It’s a brave while ago since it all happened,
an’ Mr. Harrington an’ the wife, Miss Hastings
that was, is in Dublin now, in the big Bank
there ; but to this day there’s a wee headstone
in the Bank garden at Ballygullion, wi’ words
on it that has bothered the whole countryside
but me an’ Mr. Anthony :
“IN LOVING MEMORY
THE SILENT DOG.”