Irish Workers and Travellers

Things Irish Protestants  should know about Ireland

By Sam Smith

 According to Edward T. O’Donnell in theHistory News Network:

“The practice of honoring St. Patrick on March 17, traditionally understood as the day of his death (c. 493) at Downpatrick in County Down, is a tradition that comes from old Ireland. For centuries the people of Ireland marked the day as a solemn religious event, perhaps wearing green, sporting a shamrock, and attending mass, but little more. No one knows for sure when the first commemoration of St. Patrick’s Day in America took place. One of the earliest references is to the establishment of the Charitable Irish Society, founded on St. Patrick’s Day in Boston in 1737. Another early celebration took place in New York City in 1762, when an Irishman named John Marshall held a party in his house. Although little is known of Marshall’s party, it is understood that his guests marched as a body to his house to mark St. Patrick’s Day, thus forming an unofficial ‘parade.’ The first recorded true parade took place in 1766 in New York when local military units, including some Irish soldiers in the British army, marched at dawn from house to house of the leading Irish citizens of the city. With few exceptions, the parade in New York has been held every year since 1766. Thus was a tradition born – an American tradition only recently adopted in Ireland itself.”

 Thus, thanks hanks to Irish-American Protestants, St. Patrick’s Day became secularized rather than, as in Ireland, considered a day of holy obligation. In fact, until the 1970s the bars in Dublin were closed on March 17.

 Early, groups such as the Hibernians, the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick, and Irish Aid societies sprung up in America as a reflection of Irish loyalty and concern for Irish immigrants.

 The idea spread. For example, on March 17, 1812, in Savannah GA, thirteen men founded the Hibernian Society dedicated to aiding destitute Irish immigrants, largely Catholic. A few months later, the group, now up to 44 members, adopted a constitution and the motto, “non sibi sed alis” (not for ourselves, but for others). Not one charter member was a Catholic. One year later, on March 17, the group marched in procession to a Presbyterian church for a service and oration.

 The Catholics were not the only religion persecuted by the English. Presbyterians, who had fled Scotland to escape persecution, found a similar fate in Ireland. It was one of the causes of Irish emigration to America prior to the potato famine. As one history recounts:

“Though they naturally contributed to the stipend of their own preachers, Presbyterians (and other dissenters: Quakers, Baptists and, later, Methodists, as well as Roman Catholics) were obliged by law to financially support the Church of Ireland, through payment of tithes; this provoked deep resentment. Ulster Presbyterians deeply resented being obliged to submit to, support and obey the Episcopalian church interests of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy . . . By the archaic Test Act, Presbyterians were barred from holding public office — unless they took the communion sacrament according to Church of Ireland rites.”

This account also describes a fundamentalist twist that may seem odd to today’s reader:

“The radical biblicism of Ulster Presbyterians meant that they took most seriously scriptural concern for social and political justice. When oppressive, despotic government denied them civil and religious liberty, liberal Presbyterians in late 18th century Ulster began to clamor for constitutional reform of their (Irish-based) British parliament. Political questions, they contended, were ultimately moral and religious concerns and Presbyterians saw it as their duty to create a just society; the state needs be ‘born again.'”

 1791 saw the creation of the multi-denominational United Irishmen. Its members initially merely sought political and economic reforms, but within four years had begun arming themselves and talking of liberation. They also revised their oath to read:

“In the awful presence of God, I do voluntarily declare that I will persevere in endeavoring to form a Brotherhood of affection among Irishmen of every religious persuasion. And that I will also persevere in my endeavors to obtain an equal, full and adequate representation of all the people of Ireland.”

 While many Presbyterians declined to support or withdrew from the United Irishmen, the group was central to the uprising of 1798. This largely Protestant revolt was a failure and, with the exception a minor skirmish in Tipperary in 1848 and one at Chester Castle in 1867, there would not be another Irish armed rebellion until the 20th century.

 Irish Protestant emigrants played a major role in the American Revolution and the revolution in turn influenced events in Ireland. For example, the first copy of the Declaration of Independence to be printed outside of North America appeared in the pages of the ‘Belfast Newsletter.’ A less direct influence came when England was forced to rely on Irish volunteer companies to defend Ireland because its regular troops were in America. After the war, the 80,000-strong Volunteers pressed for political reform.

 Some Irish Protestants and Catholics joined in support of the French revolution and in encouraging a French invasion of Ireland on behalf of the Irish cause. The French national assembly even promised military and financial support for an uprising against the English.

 Among the influences on Irish Protestants were the writings of Tom Paine. His ‘Rights of Man’ was declared “the Bible of Belfast.’ 40,000 copies were sold in Ulster and it was reprinted in four Irish newspapers.

 Following the American revolution, Paine encouraged similar uprisings in Europe, suggesting, “it is not difficult to believe that the spring is begun”.

 Among pro-nationalist Protestants of the time was Theobald Wolfe Tone, who wrote an early “Argument on Behalf of the Catholics of Ireland.” He also served as secretary of the Catholic Committee. Tone, upon his capture in 1798, was refused a soldier’s execution by gunshot and was sentenced to be hung. He made an eloquent speech about the virtues of republicanism in court and then returned to his cell where he cut his own throat.

 Irish Protestant Thomas Addis Emmett, brother of 1798 uprising leader Robert Emmett, was captured and condemned but later won a reprieve. In 1804, a year after his brother was hung, he emigrated to America. He became the highly regarded attorney general of New York, well enough known nationally that a New Orleans attorney said of him, “his name rings down the valley of the Mississippi, and we hail his efforts with a kind of local pride.” Tom Paine liked him well enough to leave him $200 in his will.

 A 20th century Protestant fighter for the Irish cause, Erskine Childers, was executed on charges of possessing a small pistol after helping Eamon de Valera and other IRA members lead a rebellion against the Irish free state government. His son would become president of Ireland in the 1970s. Childers, regarded as the father of the modern spy novel (“Riddle of the Sands”), used his 50-foot ketch to smuggle arms to the Irish rebels. In support of his execution, Winston Churchill said, “no man has done more harm or done more genuine malice or endeavored to bring a greater curse upon the common people of Ireland than this strange being.”

 Although he would later become far more conservative, Protestant poet WB Yeats as a young man was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. An 1899 police report called him as “more or less revolutionary” and he wrote a poem about the 1916 uprising:

Now and in time to be,
Wherever the green is worn,
All changed, changed utterly;
A terrible beauty is born

 Yeats said of Irish Protestants during a 1925 Senate debate on divorce, “We . . . are no petty people. We are one of the great stocks of Europe. We are the people of Burke; we are the people of Swift, the people of Emmet, the people of Parnell. We have created most of the modern literature of this country. We have created the best of its political intelligence.”

 History News Network –In several polls and surveys conducted in the 1970s and 1980s, researchers discovered what at first seemed an astonishing fact: a majority of Americans who identify themselves as Irish also identify themselves as Protestant. For a nation (and an ethnic group for that matter) that had grown so accustomed to conflating Irishness with Catholicism, this announcement was greeted with disbelief. Among some Irish Catholics, the reaction was anger.

The explanation for the find is actually quite simple. Huge numbers of Irish immigrants came to America in the colonial period (indeed, 30 percent of all immigrants from Europe arriving between 1700 and 1820 came from Ireland) and the great majority of them were Presbyterians from Ulster. Of the many thousands of Catholics who came in the 17th and 18th centuries, most appear to have converted to some form of Protestantism.

The Protestant descendents of these early Irish arrivals have been multiplying ever since. In contrast, the great migration of Irish Catholics began only in the 1830s (during which time, of course, many Protestant Irish continued to come). A poll conducted by the National Opinion Research Center makes this point clear: in the 1970s, only 41% of Irish Catholics were fourth generation or more as compared to 83% of Irish Protestants.


Dialann Deoraì


Excuse my  ignorance,  just discovered the origin of  the word ‘boycott’.

Just began reading a book originaly written in Irish, I bought a while ago.

An Irish Navvy –  The Diary of an Exile written by  Donall MacAmhlaigh.

On page 17  I came across a footnote

Captain Boycott*

* The actions of his oppressed tenants towards him gave  the word “boycott” to the English Language.

Captain Boycott: man and myth

‘Captain’ Charles Cunningham Boycott, photographed in London in 1863 in a typically sporting pose. The military title was an affectation: in fact his military career was limited. (Seán Sexton/Getty Images)

Northern Ireland of the 1880’s was mostly owned by relatively rich landowners, many of whom were of English descent and Protestants, while the land was worked by tenant farmers, mainly Irish and Catholic. As predictably happens whenever one group controls the assets and there are numerous asset-less workers, the tenants were often exploited. In the 1870’s, there had been a depression, so farm prices dropped, as well as a famine. Many farmers were unable to pay their rent.

Lord Erne, 3rd of his name, owned estates in County Mayo in Northwest Ireland. His landlord’s agent was Captain Charles Boycott. An Englishman, Boycott had a tenant farm himself. As agent, his main job was collecting rent from Lord Erne’s tenant farmers.

The tenant farmers had complaints. They felt their rent was too high; that they had no rights to improvements they made to the land they worked. They felt the situation unfair, demanding at the least a reduction in rent following years of low prices for their produce and a lengthy famine. The Irish Land League was formed in 1879, campaigning for the three F’s: Fair rent, Fixity of tenure, and Free sale. For the next few years, the Land War ensued throughout Ireland.

The main choice of protest entailed refusing to pay rent unless the landlord agreed to a rent reduction. This tactic succeeded in getting a 25% rent reduction from a Catholic Bishop in one of the first protests. But Lord Erne was made of sterner stuff. He refused his tenants’ demands for lower rent and had Boycott evict the non-paying tenants.

Previous similar incidents often turned violent; Irish revolts had been repeatedly crushed by England’s superior force; agrarian violence in the Land War resulted in many deaths, harsher criminal penalties, and eventually disbandment by force of the Irish Land League. However, this time, the Irish adopted a new tactic.

On September 19th, 1880, Charles Stuart Parnell, the Irish Land League President. gave a speech. During it, Parnell asked: “What do you do with a tenant who bids for a farm from which his neighbor has been evicted?” The crowd had some answers. “Kill him,” “Shoot him,” “Refuse him whiskey!” Parnell replied:

“I wish to point out to you a very much better way – a more Christian and charitable way, which will give the lost man an opportunity of repenting.“When a man takes a farm from which another has been evicted, Shun him in the streets of the town, you must shun him in the shop, you must shun him in the fairgreen and in the marketplace, and even in the place of worship, by leaving him alone, by putting him in a moral Coventry, by isolating him from the rest of his country as if he were the leper of old, you must show your detestation of the crime he has committed”.

Irish revolts which used force had repeatedly failed. The new tactic—shunning, refusing to do business with them at all—was first tried against Lord Erne and Captain Boycott.

The locals refused to harvest Lord Erne’s crops and isolated Boycott. People refused to speak to him; no one would do business with him; washerwoman refused his laundry; the mail carrier refused to deliver his mail. Boycott claimed the mail carrier—a mere boy!—had been threatened with violence if mail service continued. Even shop owners in a nearby village refused to serve him.

The matter garnered great attention when the London Times published Captain Boycott’s letter complaining about his situation. The English newspapers sent correspondents to Ireland. The English papers viewed the situation as Irish Nationalists victimizing a dutiful servant of a Peer of the Realm.

To be sure, Boycott’s version of events, as supported by later witnesses, question whether the tenants’ actions were violence free as Parnell’s speech urged. The sheriffs trying to evict Lord Erne’s tenants, for example, swore they were pelted by stones and dung.Thrown by women no less.

To harvest Lord Erne’s crops, fifty protestant Orangeman traveled to Lord Erne’s estate; to protect them, the crown deployed an entire troop regiment and more than 1,000 Royal Irish Constabulary. Approximately £10,000 was spent to harvest £500 worth of crops.

The shunning of Captain Boycott proved successful (depending on your point of view one must say) in at least a few respects:

Boycott left Ireland in December 1880.

British newspapers began using the “boycott” not as a proper name but to describe a tactic of protest. The verb “boycott” entered the English, Dutch, and other lexicons.

And, in 1888, a young man named Mohandas Karamchand Gandh arrived in London to study law. Ghandi came to learn, eventually becoming a barrister. Ghandi refined the non-violent protest technique of a “boycott” and used it extensively. It succored India’s independence from the British Empire.





I never became really friendly with a pig.

Pigs collectively I liked, just as I liked hens and geese and sheep ; but I never singled out any individual as a special object of affection, as I have sometimes done with all the other species of animals on my uncle’s farm. I never knew a pig by name. Yet pigs rightly considered are attractive animals.

Common report deals hardly with them. To say that a man is as dirty as a pig is to insult the pig. For a pig is a clean animal when his master will permit him to be so. He does not dwell in his moist, insanitary piggery from choice, but loves sweet, dry straw, and spends much of his time perambulating the dunghill to which he is condemned, in search of such a bed. We misapprehend his efforts to attain personal purity, and hold him up to obloquy v/here we should rather approve.

The sow that returned to her wallowings in the mire was really seeking cleanliness. A fallible being will fail somewhere, Doctor  Johnson has pithily said. The sacred writer, inspired only about heavenly things, in the matter of pigs was little better than one of the foolish.

Nor have profane writers dealt more happily with them. There was an old copy of the Essays of Elia in our lumber-room, when I was ji boy. Even then I was a devoted Elian, but I could never quite forgive Lamb for his callous attitude towards sucking pigs. His heartless conceit about the roasted youngsters’ jellied eyes was to me disgusting. It was not worthy of the gentle Elia. He would not have been guilty of it had he ever stood, as I have done many a day for half-an-hour at a time, watching the engaging gambols of a young litter, seen best when fresh straw had been thrown them. There is no more charming picture of animal infancy. Here a roguish eye appears, there a moist shining disk of nose working anticipatively in the hope of provender that your coming has aroused. One sportive little chap seizes a long straw in his mouth and frisks off with it, champing his jaws in pretended relish, another shakes his head till his neck smacks with the long, silken ears, then parades round rakish, with one ear turned inside out. This moment they are all fun and gambol, one jumping over another, or two or three butting a comrade down and nosing him playfully ; the next they form a group before the door, eyeing you with inquiring gravity, then in a sudden impulse scatter diverse through the straw again, squealing in affected panic. There was better matter and more akin to the mild spirit of Elia in such a sight than in the horrid spectacle of a roasted innocent. He might have given us a chapter on tails, and shown us with infinite adornment of fancy how that little embellishment of one end of a pig can modify the character of the other end of him ; how the accident of a straight tail can throw a subtle suggestion of melancholy over a snub and cheerful coun- tenance, or a curly tail bestow a certain archness on a long, serious snout.

To an Irish boy Lamb’s transports over the flavour of sucking pig seemed unnatural and ghoulish. We Irish have a repugnance to immature meats. We do not reckon sucking pig among our dishes. I would as soon think of eating a baby.

But Charles was punished for his repulsive preference. He never knew pig at its best. He does not seem to have known the incom- parable lusciousness (he would have called it sapor) of stuffed pork fillets. From his remark about ” the rank bacon ” he can have enjoyed no breakfast dallyings with mild-cured Irish such as my Cousin Joseph — esteemed a connoisseur — used to deal out to me some morning after I had been storm-stayed at his house, accompanying the generous helping with his time-honoured joke that ” there was something better than Shakespeare.”

Yet it was bacon that prevented my ever having a pig for my friend. The butcher’s  knife hung suspended over the most captivating youngster of our rearing. ■ I could not bear to embark on a friendship of which the end must, inevitably be tragedy. I knew too well the warnings of doom, the straw scattered in the yard, the cauldron of boiling water, the beam in winter laid along the rafters of the barn, in summer resting on two branches of the great ash tree — ^the sledge hammer and cord. Already I saw the carcasses hideously suspended. It was no mere porcine tragedy that my imagination bodied forth. Romance and history swelled the scene. Perhaps the Great Marquis had met his pitiful fate ; or I was in the Middle Ages, and Villon and his associates hung pendent from the gallows.

But had I been transported back to a sterner century, I could never have made one of the jeering crowd at a gallow’s foot. When our dog Keeper’s furious baying told me that Pat D -, the pig-sticker, was at hand, I fled to my bedroom and remained there with muffled ears till the execution was over in all its grisly details. I only once emerged from my retreat before the carcasses were cleaned and hung up ; it was because I wished to know exactly what happened to Vich Ian Vohr and Evan Maccombich after they drove off from Waverley on the hurdle ; and I wish I hadn’t done it. Ever afterward Pat D was to me ” a horrid fellow as beseemed his trade.” He perceived my distaste for him ; and being a kindly man, as I know now, and fond of children, used to propitiate me with bladders. But a pig’s bladder makes a lopsided football, with no accuracy of flight. I had little pleasui-e in Pat’s gifts, and wasn’t softened towards him. My emotions of horror were transient. Before nightfall I was looking forward eagerly to next morning’s drive to the pork-market ; that is, if I had obtained permission to accom- pany old Tom Brogan, who as a steady, faithful retainer of thirty years standing and more was generally trusted to sell our pork. The best market was nine miles away. To arrive in time it was necessary in winter that the cart should leave our house about five o’clock. It was the only early rising that was ever pleasant to me. But everything connected with it was full of novelty and charm. On such a morning a little boy might wash in the most perfunctory fashion un- reproved. Then there was the delight of having breakfast in the kitchen with Tom Brogan, and mopping up my bacon-gravy with crusts, and cooling my tea in the saucer, just as he did. For our maid-servants were always too sleepy to reprove my breaches of table manners, and my aunt, conscious of the undress beneath her shawl, issued her in- structions to Tom in a series of hoverings round the kitchen door, but never ventured in. I had my tea strong those mornings and ate twice as much breakfast as usual, and in half my usual time, the latter part of the meal degenerating into mere cramming as my uncle’s muffled roars from upstairs became more insistent. When I had gulped down the last possible mouthful of tea — the hottest one— I was pounced upon by our maid and wrapped in such superfluity of mufflers that it became necessary to shake the breath half out of my body before my overcoat would button. Then I mounted the box-seat of the stage-coach — for I was generally Tom Brown going to Rugby on such occasions — and off we went.

I shall never forget those early morning drives, though I cannot recall the details of any one of them. They are all compounded into a single experience. There is the sen- sation of darkness and intense cold. The lantern shadows wheel slowly on the trees as our yard boy lights us down the avenue. The lantern hangs in the air without human agency as I look behind me and call good-bye. The ice crashes under our wheels ; our horse snorts and clatters as he mounts the hill, fearful of the frozen road. We emerge from the trees, and there a pale moon is hanging strangely in the west. Presently we settle down to a steady jog. A phantasmagoria of tree and hedge shapes passes sleepily before my eyes. Across the fields sounds the rattle of another cart, bound as I know, on a like errand with ourselves. Another and another is heard as we draw near the four roads. The countryside is filled with the soothing murmur of innumerable carts, all going to D pork-market. I am lying on the straw and Tom Brogan is covering me with a rug. I peer drowsily over the edge of the cart ; we are one of a long procession of carts. Trees and houses are taking on colour ; here and there a lighted window gleams warmly in the pallid dawn. I close my eyes ; and next moment I am staggering on numbed feet in the pork-market of D , and Tom Brogan is peering into my face and asking me if I am sure I am awake.

Row upon row of carts fill up the market square. I scamper in and out, and am dis- concerted to find that our pigs are not the wonders of the pork world I thought them. I hurry back to warn Tom. He is surrounded by several sharp -faced men with pencils and note-books. They are pork- buyers, city men ; the name of a great bacon- curing firm in Belfast is mentioned. I feel myself a country boy, and am abashed before them, and forbear to warn Tom. But I fume with anxiety when he refuses the offered price, and know in my heart he is making a mistake, and that we shall return home ignominious with our pigs unsold. I cannot bear the strain, but go off again among the carts, and am diverted from my anxiety by observing, rather to my disgust, sundry ol boys from our school enjoying a holiday pork-market day. I return to our cart. ‘ pigs* are sold. I am delighted with success ; but feel that Tom took great ri and wonder at his nerve.

Then Tom and I go to what he calls eating-house, and I have steak and oni( and strong tea again, and fresh bread thicker slices than I had ever seen bef( and do not die of it all as I should now, hurry off to buy sweets with the sixpe that Tom has been authorised to give i and to watch the roulette table, and the n with three thimbles and a pea. I perct that this last is a simple fellow, and am sc I have spent my sixpence, and suggest a 1 from Tom ; but he tells me such men h the Black Art, and that I would only 1 my money ; so I press him no more, avoid evil, and pass on to the Aunt Sally

But my early rising begins to tell on i My appetite for pleasure is dulled soo than usual. I begin to have a curii sensation that all the movement around is happening in a dream. Besides, I anxious to get home again, to tell everyb( how well Tom and I have sped in i marketing. So when the cart is ready I cli in willingly enough. I feel a little sad on homeward journey. It is probably the st and onions ; but I do not know that, I think I am sorry about the dead pigs. When I have had my supper, I go to look at the empty piggery, and feel really sorry when I remember its departed occupants, their tumultuous rush to the gate when they heard my footsteps, their cheerful upraised snouts and interrogative gruntiftgs, their luxurious submission to my scratching of their backs with the handle of the yard shovel. These were the nearest approaches to friendship I ever made with our pigs. On the evening of pork-market days I was always sorry I had gone so far.

A wee grumpy man from Belfast

If you’re a Van Fan

Van Morrison with The Monarchs / Them
Chronology 1947/8-1969

Compiled by David Chance

Compiled from books, articles, press clippings, liner notes, interviews (numerous radio/TV/press audio/video interviews with relevant information have yet to be transcribed or noted), contracts, and private correspondence too numerous to cite properly (a detailed bibliography would be book length!). Most of these materials are of public record, though some located only through diligence, while a scant few were provided in kindness by several who had firsthand documentation, knowledge or experience of these events. See also the Glossary entry for Them, and the Them section of the Discography.

August 31, 1963 is the earliest specifically noted date, Van Morrison’s 18th birthday, celebrated in Heidelberg, West Germany while on tour with “The International Monarchs”. Them had, from best accounting, 16 working lineup changes before Van departed company circa August-September 1966. Placement of numerous events [noted by ???] is speculative. Most textual information is directly quoted from source material. In some instances I have parapharased events as noted in more than one source.

This document is anti-copyright, to be freely distributed for information purposes. Criticisms, corrections (doubtless there are many, as all primary source material contains discrepancies throughout, as do I…help with UK geographics especially appreciated), ADDITIONS, and verifications are greatly encouraged. Disclaimers ad infinitum apply. I can be contacted via e-mail at: David Chance, PO Box 39500, St. Louis MO 63139-8500, USA

1947/48 | 1956?/57 | 1957-1958 | 1959 | 1960
1961-1962 | 1963 | 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969

	(Hit Parader, 2/68: "When Van was 2 years old he had his first
	job. His aunt from Detroit gave him $5 for singing "Money Is The
	Root Of All Evil"; "...his greatest influence stems from his
	parents, John Lee Hooker, Leadbelly, Edgar Allan Poe, Muddy
	Waters, Ray Charles, Sonny Boy Williamson, a gypsy woman and,
	moreover, soul brothers and soul sisters.")

	 ???	Smithfield Market	Belfast N. Ireland
		(Turner: "That year his father took him to buy his first
		acoustic guitar", with Solly Lipsitz & Jimmy Thompson [?];
		12th birthday present ???, @August 31st; Mick Brown
		interview, Van says he was 12 when his father bought him
		his 1st guitar; Lonnie Donegan's Leadbelly cover "Rock
		Island Line" was in the UK charts in March '56; Van, Hot
		Press 2000: "I had this book, it was called the Alan Lomax
		Folk Guitar Book, and it was mainly based on the Carter
		Family style...I listened to records as well, of the
		Carter Family and Leadbelly, while I was practising";
		Peter Doggett: "by 1957 he had gathered together a group
		of friends in his first skiffle combo, the Sputniks")

	  ??	??			Belfast	N. Ireland
		(Van: "I toured with the Hospital Stage Productions when I
		was 12. I think that was my first entry into the bright
		lights" [answers a reader's letter {Jean Murphy, Bangor}
		in the "You Pop the Question" column in unknown
		publication, shown in W#4])

THE SPUTNIKS (Van Morrison [gtr, vox], Walter Blakely [washboard], Billy
Ruth [gtr], John McLean [tea-chest bass], Gil Irvine [zobo {wind
		(formed late-1957??)

	  ??	The Willowfield		Belfast	N. Ireland
		(Turner: children's matinee at a local cinema, audience
		aged between 7 and 11)
	  ??	The Strand		Belfast	N. Ireland
		(Turner: children's matinee at a local cinema)
	  ?? 	Turner: "The Sputniks drifted apart later that year
		[1958]"; Doggett: "the Sputniks collapsed within 18

randomly picked from a card deck each weekend] 
(George Jones [gtr], Billy McAllen [gtr], Roy Kane [drm/vox], Van Morrison
[sax, vox?])
	(Mick Brown interview, Van: "various names...The Thunderbirds,
	The Four Jacks...we changed the name about 6 times or something.
	It was the Thunderbirds originally")

	  ??	"the back of a truck parked outside George Jones's house"
					Belfast	N. Ireland
		(at this time Van learns rudimentary tenor sax &
		notation from George Cassidy in order to join "3 weeks
		later" after first inquiring)
	  ??	East Belfast Working Men's Club (aka The Hut)  
					Belfast N. Ireland
	  ??	Brookborough Hall	Belfast	N. Ireland
	  ??	Harriers Hall		Belfast N. Ireland
	  ??				Belfast N. Ireland
		(Bill Dunn joins/sits-in at some point/s; Turner: "Bill
		Dunn remembers working with Van in 'at least 4 different
		bands' around this time...Deanie Sands & The Javelins was
		simply another variation of the old line-up"; NDT 12/91,
		Van: "We had a piano player but he didn't stay there;
		"playing 'Peter Gunn' & 'Tequila' and all that kind of

DEANIE SANDS AND THE JAVELINS (Evelyn Boucher [vox], George Jones [gtr],
Billy McAllen [gtr], Roy Kane [drm], Van Morrison [gtr?, sax, vox])
	(Richard Cromelin writing in the UCLA Daily Bruin 1971: "a 7-piece
	outfit called The Thunderbirds {sometimes The Monarchs}")

	  ??	A.B.C. Cinema		Belfast		N. Ireland
		(minors matinees, Saturdays; Frame: "who by 1960 had
		evolved into The Monarchs")
     Dec. ??	Orangefield School For Boys	Belfast	N. Ireland
		(Van, Hot Press 2000: "The first song I got up and sang
		would probably be the Leadbelly song 'Midnight Special'
		when I was at school. We did this at Christmas, in my last
		year there. I had a skiffle group and it went down great.
		The other guys in the group were actually at the same
		school as me.")

THE MONARCHS (George Jones [gtr], Billy McAllen [gtr], Roy Kane [drm/vox],
Van Morrison [gtr, sax, vox], Wesley Black [keys])
	(Rogan: "by late 1959 they were busy playing local gigs in
	Belfast"; --discrepancy, Turner: "in 1960 the four boys, along
	with Wesley Black, became The Monarchs"; Yorke: 1960, Van: "the
	bass player [?] did the singing, I only sang for part of the
	time...about a quarter of the singing")

    @July ??	Turner: "Van left Orangefield" School for Boys
         ???	VM employed "a few weeks" as an apprentice fitter at
		Musgrave & Co. [engineering firm]
	 ???	"after a brief period in a meat-cleaning factory, Van
		teamed up with Sammy Woodburn and began cleaning windows
		in the streets around Hyndford Street"
	 ???	[dance hall]		Dundonald	N. Ireland
		(intermission at Johnny Johnston and The Midnighters gig,
		witnessed by Tommy Hanna, co-worker at Musgrave & Co., he 
		sang "I Go Ape" [N. Sedaka 1959 charts]; Kane: "we had one
		number based on a blues riff, 'Daddy Cool'")

	(order of membership in various bands is speculative; some events
	may be as late as 1963)

THE MONARCHS (George Jones [gtr], Billy McAllen [gtr], Roy Kane [drm/vox],
Van Morrison [sax, vox, ?], Wesley Black [keys], Jimmy Law [vox], Davey
Bell [sax], Leslie Holmes [trmpt], Ronnie ? [trmbn])
	(questions as to members of the band at this point)

   	  ??	King George V Youth Centre  Belfast  N. Ireland 
		(photo in Turner pg.29, noted as "King George VI")
	  ??	Town Hall		Carrickfergus	N. Ireland
		(recalled by Herbie Armstrong)

THE HALF CUTS (George Jones [gtr], Van Morrison [sax, vox, ?], Geordie
Sproule [?], ....) 

	  ??	Queen's University	Belfast	N. Ireland
		("Geordie & Van & several Monarchs & Federals took the
		stage during a rock 'n' roll festival...dubbing
		themselves The Half Cuts...but the unique amalgam was
		never repeated")

THE GREAT EIGHT (Harry "Mac" Megahey [baritone sax, trmpt], Van Morrison
[sax, vox, ?], ...)

	  ??	??			Belfast N. Ireland
		("Van stayed with them for a few months")

THE HARRY MAC SHOWBAND (Harry "Mac" Megahey [baritone sax, trmpt], Van
Morrison [sax, vox, ?], ...)
		(same as The Great Eight, above ?)

	  ??	East Belfast Working Men's Club (aka The Hut)  
					Belfast N. Ireland

THE OLYMPICS (Harry Baird [?], Van Morrison [sax, vox, ?], ...)

	  ??	??			Belfast	N. Ireland
		("during this period he also became involved with 
		Harry Baird's Olympics; the Olympics hired Van for a few

THE REGENTS SHOWBAND (Harry Baird [Hinton: sic?, Bird] [?], Van Morrison
[sax, vox], ...)

	  ??	??		Radalstown	??
		(B[a]ird/Hinton: "a young farmers' dance, a 5 hour
		marathon during which Van relieved the 2 main singers
		with an impromptu version of Elvis' 'Blue Suede Shoes'. As
		he started singing the audience stood mesmerized. "I edged
		forward to look--his face had gone purple! His eyes were
		stuck out like organ stops. He was freaking out, going
		crazy, and the crowd watched in amazement, wondering if he
		was going to have a stroke. We couldn't let him sing
		anymore--he was scaring the people."")

	(consistent print discrepancies concerning events 1962 or 1963
	regarding tour of Scotland, to London, to Germany, home to
	Belfast; verified by Van: "we got back from Europe in 1963")

	???	??		Drumshanbo	Ireland

THE MONARCHS (George Jones [gtr], Billy McAllen [gtr], Roy Kane [drm/vox],
Van Morrison [sax], Wesley Black [keys], Jimmy Law [vox], Davey Bell
[sax], Leslie Holmes [trmpt], Ronnie ? [trmbn]) 
	("after a few months Morrison set about returning to the 

 @Jan-May ??	Town Hall		Carrickfergus	N. Ireland
	  ??	The Calypso		Lurgan	N. Ireland
	  ??	Thompson's Restaurant	Belfast	N. Ireland
		(numerous performances)

THE MONARCHS (George Jones [gtr], Billy McAllen [gtr], Van Morrison [sax],
Wesley Black [keys], Harry "Mac" Megahey [sax, trmpt], George Hethrington
[vox], Laurie McQueen [drms])
	(some question as to 6 or 7 members)

     @Jun ??	[council house garden of manager Frank Cunningham]
		33 Levernside Rd. 	Pollok	Scotland
		(rehearsal sessions; "starting a tour of Scotland on
		Thursday"; urged to tour Scotland due to a trip to
		Belfast by George Hethrington "a few weeks ago" trying to
		lineup dates "for his own part-time band...He was
		introduced to the Monarchs and signed on...he later got
		his own drummer McQueen into the group"; "after touring
		Scotland the boys move to England and sometime in August
		they hope to tour Germany")
          ??	??			Glasgow	Scotland
		("the unit spent much of the period starving in a council
		estate in the middle of Glasgow...eventually they secured
		a number of gigs"; "during the *months* they spent in
		Scotland"; partial tour support for Don Charles)
          ??	[a spa]			Strathpeffer	Scotland
		("they were scheduled to play at a local hop")
    @July ??	??			London	England
		("they decided to leave Scotland & risk the dangers of
		life in London"; "the *sextet* lived & starved in an
		Austin mini bus parked around the Leicester Square area";
		"one night they were driving around Central London in the
		middle of a *summer* fog"; introduced to Ruby Bard,
		manager of Don Charles & Georgie Fame; Van: "after about 2
		weeks of sleeping in the park we finally got an
		audition...we played about 6 numbers"; Mick Brown
		interview album 1986 inner sleeve transcript, Van: "we
		did U.S.Airbases in England and then in Germany. No, here.
		It was just here actually. We just played U.S.Airbases in
		England, but we went to play clubs in Germany. About four
		months, every night for four months, gruelling. I was 17
		about then." 
	  ??	Flamingo Jazz Club	London	England
	  ??	["Irish dance hall"]	London	England
	  ??	["Irish dance hall"]	London	England
	  ??	["Irish dance hall"]	London	England
		(Bard: "we booked them into a few Irish dance halls in

THE INTERNATIONAL MONARCHS (George Jones [gtr], Billy McAllen [gtr], Van
Morrison [sax], Wesley Black [keys], Harry "Mac" Megahey [sax, trmpt],
George Hethrington [vox], Laurie McQueen [drms]) 

 @Jul-Aug ??	Storeyville Jazz Club	Heidelberg W. Germany
		("they played an arduous series of gigs"; McAllen: "we
		did a second month in Heidelberg and then moved on to the
		Storeyville Club in Frankfurt")
 @Aug-Sep ??	Odeon Keller		Heidelberg W. Germany
		("one month booking")
      Aug 31	[Van's 18th birthday]	Heidelberg W. Germany
		(Van: "Hiedelberg...The Odeon Keller...My surprise
		birthday party...7 sets a night, 7 nights a week,
		matinees Saturday & Sunday")
     @Oct ??	Storeyville Club	Frankfurt W. Germany

THE INTERNATIONAL MONARCHS (George Jones [gtr], Billy McAllen [gtr], Van
Morrison [sax], Wesley Black [keys], Harry "Mac" Megahey [sax, trmpt], Roy
Kane [drms, vox], "King" Oliver Trimble [vox]) 
		(George Hethrington & Laurie McQueen fired while
		in Frankfurt, vocalist "King" Oliver Trimble hired, Roy
		Kane flies over to take over drums & co-vocals)

     @Nov ??	Storeyville Club		Cologne	W. Germany
		("at the height of their success in Frankfurt they were
		required to complete their contractual obligations with 
		a residency in Cologne"; Van appears as a walk-on jazz
		musician in a movie titled 'Glide' after being spotted by
		the film director ["he"]; band scouted by Ron Kovacs of
		CBS Records)
	  ??	Ariola Studios		Cologne	W. Germany
		("Boo-Zooh"/"O Twingy Baby" [both credited to Bob Elger]
		recorded under the name Georgie and The Monarchs [song
		titles & band name as per sleeve, "Boo-Zooh (Hully Gully)
		on label?]; first appearance of Van on record, sax only;
		single released only in Germany & Holland; Doggett: "an
		18-year old Van just recognizable on the extreme left of
		the cover in a ridiculous hat")
	  ??				London	England
		(Doggett: "within a few weeks the Monarchs were back in
		London" [probably to settle 'business'] where they
		immediately broke up")
     @Dec ??				Belfast	N. Ireland
		(the band returns home "a few weeks later"; "Van stayed
		around [London] for awhile" --discrepancy?, likely Van
		returns to Belfast with the rest of the band then joins
		The Manhattan Showband for a tour of England; "following
		the return George Jones received a package of records
		congratulating him on the Top 50 success of 'Boozoo Hully
		Gully'...several weeks later a telegram arrived indicating
		the single had risen to #4 in the German pop charts")

THE MANHATTAN SHOWBAND (Geordie Sproule, Van Morrison, Billy McAllen, 
Herbie Armstrong, ...)

  @Jan-Mar ??	??			Calais	England
	  ???	??			Dover	England
	  ???	??			London	England
		(NDT 12/91, Van: "We were playing at a club in Heidelberg
		[Summer 1963] I went back--Calais, Dover &
		London--and it had all changed from 6 months previously"
		[referring to R&B vs. "groups" style of music being
		popular]; Turner: "they played weekend dates mainly at
		Irish clubs"; Frame: "Morrison joined The Manhattan
		Showband for 3 months before playing briefly with The
		Golden Eagles")
	   ??	Club A-Go-Go			Newcastle England
		(Turner: "in Newcastle they saw the Alan Price Set",
		with Eric Burdon, later The Animals; --discrepancy, Van:
		"we played the Cafe A-Go-Go in Newcastle...they said
		there's this band in here called the Alan Price Band or
		something like that, but we never heard them")
     March 16	Studio 51 (Leicester Square)	London	England
		(Van & Herbie Armstrong attend The Downliners Sect
		concert; Armstrong: Van asks "if he could blow harmonica
		with them but they said it was too late")
	   17 	[Irish ballroom]  Camden Town	London	England
	   ??			  Camden Town	London	England
		(Van plays 'Could You Would You' for Herbie Armstrong "in
		a spare bedroom over the venue")
	   ??	The band returns home to Belfast
           2?	The Orchid		Belfast	N. Ireland
		(Wrixon: "at the same time the Manhattan Showband had come
		together to play in the Orchid, with Van Morrison on sax")

(BRIAN ROSSI AND) THE GOLDEN EAGLES (Brian Rossi [organ], Herbie Armstrong
[gtr], Van Morrison [sax, harmonica, vox], Tito Tinsley [bass], ...; 
11-piece band, "9 men & 2 teenage girls")

	   2?	The Plaza Ballroom	Belfast N. Ireland
		(Turner: upon his arrival back in Belfast Armstrong
		invited to join The Golden Eagles, Van offers his
		services, hired as a vocalist [auditions had been held
		for 2 weeks], Van & Herbie rehearsed the next day at
		Armstrong's home, drive to the audition in a butcher's
		van "to avoid being seen by anyone connected with The
		Manhattan Showband", they started work that night; Van
		given vocalist spot on 'Sticks and Stones' & 'What'd I
		Say'; "five-night-a-week feature"; "during this period
		there was an advert in the Belfast Evening Telegraph,
		'Musicians wanted to start R&B club'; Van: "there was
		only me and this other guy who showed up")

THE GAMBLERS (Billy Harrison [gtr, vox], Alan Henderson [bass], Ronnie
Millings [drms], Eric Wrixon [keys], Van Morrison [sax, vox]) 
	("formed in 1962"; Wrixon recruited later, who later recruited
	Morrison; --discrepancy as to who "recruited" whom, whether Van
	was seeking a "backup group" for the R&B club, or The Gamblers
	took him on as another member...I suppose it depends on how one
	looks at it and who is doing the looking)

     	   ??	??			Belfast	N. Ireland
		(Hinton: "their repertoire was largely rock 'n' roll:
		early Presley, Little Willie John's 'Fever', 'The Hippy
		Hippy Shake'"; Wrixon: "that went along for 2 or 3 months
		rehearsing as The Gamblers; at the same time the Manhattan
		Showband had come together to play in the Orchid, with Van
		Morrison on sax; Billy & I went along to see it one night,
		we were speaking to Van afterwards...Van came down and
		within a week he was a permanent fixture in the band";
		band name soon changed to 'THEM')

THEM (1)
(Billy Harrison [gtr, vox], Alan Henderson [bass], Ronnie Millings [drms],
Eric Wrixon [keys], Van Morrison [sax, vox, hrmca]; 16 lineup changes
before Van leaves circa August-September 1966)

     April ??	(Hinton: "a band also called The Gamblers had just
		replaced The Tornados as backing group to Billy Fury";
		"Eric Wrixon came up with the name Them when we were
		sitting in the rehearsal rooms, and we decided to let the
		hair grow..."; Wrixon: "I think it was a reaction to the
		fact that everyone was called the 'somethings'...I think
		it was the first time anyone had given themselves a name
		that was a single word"; the group rehearsed at Billy
		Harrison's home and in a rented attic room above Dougie
		Knight's bicycle & record shop)
	   14	Belfast Telegraph ad: Who are? What are? THEM
	   15	Belfast Telegraph ad: When? and where? will you see THEM
	   16	Belfast Telegraph ad: Rhythm and Blues and THEM When?
           17	Rhythm & Blues Club, Maritime Hotel, College Square North
					Belfast	N. Ireland 
		(aka "The Maritime Club", later Club Rado)
		(Belfast Telegraph ad: To-night, 8:30, Introducing
		THEM, Ireland's Specialists in Rhythm and Blues; 
		200-capacity ballroom; "the first night ["gig on a
		Friday"] there were 40 people"; 1st public performance, 20
		weeks later to the day they would release their 1st single)
           24	Rhythm & Blues Club, Maritime Hotel
		(2nd performance; "the second [week] there were 100
		[people]"; supporting band The Mad Lads come on board)
       May  1	Rhythm & Blues Club, Maritime Hotel
		("the third week they were queueing before 6:00 to get
		in"; "the thing just took off on that third week"; Wrixon:
		"it was sold out at 7:00 with 250 people paying 10
            8	Rhythm & Blues Club, Maritime Hotel
		(4th week; "gig on a Friday night")
           15	Rhythm & Blues Club, Maritime Hotel
		(Hinton: "The Misfits drummer would often deputize for
		Ronnie Millings, or Van would duet with Keith [sic,
		Kenny] McDowell of The Mad Lads, or for showmen of the
		calibre of Johnny Johnston or Tony Ford to vault on stage
		for a couple of numbers"; "The Rolling Stones played
		Belfast a month after the opening of the Rhythm & Blues
	  ???	[recording studio ?]	Belfast	N. Ireland
		(1st studio session with engineering student Peter Lloyd
		[having seen them perform, implied] for "a University rag
		week promotion"; "Peter persuaded them to record a song
		for the University rag [Queens' University Rag Week]"
		--see late-66 also; college-issued recording/vinyl ???)
           22	Rhythm & Blues Club, Maritime Hotel
          ???   [recording studio]	Belfast N. Ireland
		(2nd studio session w/Lloyd; "and following the session he
		took the group into another studio where they cut 'Turn On
		Your Lovelight'"; "the fledgling band recorded some demos
		for Peter Lloyd" [see?? the 'bedroom tape' @4/67]; the
		song ['Lovelight'] was then taken to Mervyn Solomon,
		brother of Phil Solomon; Mervyn "arranged for the group to
		come to his home where they ran through their repertoire
		on acoustic guitars...satisfied with what he heard he
		alerted Phil", who then contacted Dick Rowe)
           29	Rhythm & Blues Club, Maritime Hotel
     @June ??	Rhythm & Blues Club, Maritime Hotel
					Belfast	N. Ireland
		("Dick Rowe arrived one night at the Maritime")
	   ??	(contract signed between Decca & manager Phil Solomon for
		Them; Hinton: "Rowe had to secure their parents'
		signatures for a *standard 2 year contract*"; "within
		weeks of the signing Them were taken to" London to record)

  @June?-Dec?	Rhythm & Blues Club, Maritime Hotel
					Belfast N. Ireland
		(numerous performances, "we reached the stage of playing
		7 nights a week, 4 times a night")
	  ???	The Dance Studio 	Belfast N. Ireland
	  ???	The Fiesta		Belfast N. Ireland
	  ???	Rhythm & Blues Club, Maritime Hotel
		(Wrixon: "the way of making money was to play in as many
		places as possible in one night; once the Maritime had
		been built up with Them as the anchor band, Them would 
		have gone out and played [The Dance Studio & The Fiesta]
		and then an hour in the Maritime")
	  ???	Spanish Rooms (Falls Rd.)	Belfast N. Ireland
	  ???	Sammy Houston's Jazz Club	Belfast	N. Ireland
	  ???	Embassy				Derry	Ireland
	  ???	??				Dublin	Ireland
	  ???	??				Waterford Ireland
		(Hinton: "during a month with run-of-the-mill dates like
		the Spanish Rooms & Sammy Houston's Jazz Club, there would
		be side trips into ballrooms like Derry's Embassy...they
		would regularly drive over the border to Dublin & as far
		south as Waterford")
	  ???	The Plaza Ballroom	Belfast	N. Ireland
		(BW who attended: "they would have played there at least a
		couple of times at lunchtime")
	  ???	The Plaza Ballroom	Belfast	N. Ireland
		(BW: "they would certainly have played there at night" 
		[as well])
	  ???	Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI)  
					Belfast N. Ireland 
		(as per BW who attended)
	  ???	Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI) 
		(BW: on at least 2 occasions)
	  ???	Queen's University	Belfast N. Ireland
		(MB: "Holmes Hook, contracted Them for a gig in '64. Their
		organ died and they left it in the club. It was at the
		same university where Van got his honorary doctorate")
          ???	King George V Youth Centre (May St.)  Belfast  N. Ireland 
                (as per BW who attended, noted as "King George VI" in
		Turner pg.29)
          ???	Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI)  
					Belfast N. Ireland 
		(as per BW who attended, "it was on a Saturday night
		before the week they headed off to London to record their
		first record...well documented in the papers")
	  ???	Rhythm & Blues Club, Maritime Hotel
		("on one occasion Van entered the club at closing time
		and along with a fellow member of Them took the stage
		for an impromptu session...a couple of hours")
	  ???	(Eric Wrixon departs, Patrick 'John' McAuley recruited)

THEM (2)
(Billy Harrison, Alan Henderson, Ronnie Millings, Van Morrison, Patrick
'John' McAuley) 

       July 5	[Decca's #2 studios]  West Hampstead  London  England
		(1st sessions, Turner: Groovin', You Can't Judge A Book By
		Its Cover, Turn On Your Lovelight, Don't Start Crying Now,
		One Two Brown Eyes, Philosophy, Gloria)
           ??	Aaland Hotel [lounge]	Bloomsbury  London  England
		("the band stayed at the same hotel as blues harmonica
		legend Little Walter"; Van: "we had a manager who brought
		us to London to stay at this hotel...we were sitting
		there for weeks...we were having a jam session downstairs
		and all of a sudden there people were wandering through
		and somebody says 'Little Walter's coming in!'...and I 
		used to go for Chinese food for him--there was a Chinese
		restaurant a couple streets away"; NME '65, Van: "we used
		to have sessions with him and John Lee Hooker in the
		lounge"; Van: "sometimes I would run errands and then he
		[Little Walter] would show me something like playing a
		harp in several keys")
	   ??	Bloomsbury Cafe across from the Aaland Hotel
		(Dutch article 3/77, Van: "There we used to get
		sandwiches, if we had the money for them {and that was
     	   ??	[club, Little Walter gig]	London	England
		("Van, Alan and Billy went to see Walter at a club one
		night and he called us up on stage to play with him; he
		and Van both sang and blew harp, Alan played bass, Billy
		played guitar")
	  ???	[club, Jimmy Reed gig]		London	England
		(Dutch article 3/77, Van: "One day we were asked to
		{support} Jimmy Reed in London. And there we went,
		nervous as hell...the night before the gig we wanted to
		meet Reed to go through the setlist, but Jimmy had
		troubles at the airport, so we only saw him when we had
		to get up on stage")
	  ???	??				Manchester England
		(Dutch article 3/77, Van: "Manchester was a real Them
		minded town. We loved playing there. It's still a real
		Jimmy Saville town. We got to see him once when we were
		touring the town. We said hello and he invited us into his
	  ???	??					England
		(at some point Them tours with The Pretty Things)
      @Aug ??	band returns to Belfast
        Sep 4	"Don't Start Crying Now"/"One Two Brown Eyes" released
		(1st Them single; review appears in Record Retailer and
		Music Industry News, September 3, 1964, W#11)
  	  ???	'Thank Your Lucky Stars' [TV studio] ??	Ireland
		(Saturday night ITV program, "first important public
      @Oct ??	band returns to London
		(2nd sessions: Baby Please Don't Go, All For Myself,
		Stormy Monday Blues, ...)
        Nov 6	"Baby, Please Don't Go"/"Gloria" released
		(2nd Them single; DeWitt: BPDG reaches #2 in Ireland, #5
		in England, #108 in America [8 weeks in Billboard]; Gloria
		reaches #1 in Holland, #71 in America [7 weeks in
		Billboard]; --discrepancy, see UlsterWeek 9/65: "BPDG
		reached #10")
	  ???	'Discs-a-Gogo' (TV program)	??	??
	  ???	??				??	??
		(J.Robb column @Feb '65: "[Billy Harrison] told the
		story of the time Phil Solomon bought them a set of new
		suits for a TV show--and they turned up in old 
		prisoner-of-war garments bought in an army surplus shop
		for a few shillings"; Discs A-Go-Go??)

THEM (3)
(Billy Harrison, Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Patrick 'John' McAuley)

           ??	(Ronnie Millings returns to Belfast; "for a short while
		they worked as a 4-piece"; Patrick 'John' McAuley switches
		from organ to drums; "lasted only a few weeks")

THEM (4)
(Billy Harrison, Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Eric Wrixon, Patrick 'John'

      @Dec ??	(Eric Wrixon returns on keyboards)
           2?	'Ready Steady Go'	Redufussion TV Studios	
				Kingsway	London	England
		(lip sync, "Baby Please Don't Go"; Hinton: "a Yuletide
		edition of ITV's Ready Steady Go, headlined by The Rolling
		Stones"; "2 weeks later they learned that BPDG had entered
		the British charts and that the song was going to be
		played each week over the opening credits of Ready Steady
		Go", "supplanting Manfred Mann's '54321'")
           2?	the band returns to Belfast
		("Don't Start Crying Now was released and did nothing so
		the Solomon organisation said 'It didn't chart, why don't
		you fuck off back to Belfast'; so the band arrived back
		in Belfast about 12 weeks later"; Frame: "they went home
		for Christmas")
           ??	"Baby, Please Don't Go" enters British charts at #46
		(Yorke: "it hit the British charts in the last week of
 @Dec-Jan'65?  (Yorke: "they had to abandon their residency booking at
		the Maritime Hotel")

	  ???	Queen's Hall		Holywood	Ireland
	  ???	Queen's Hall		Newtownards	Ireland
	  ???	Queen's Court		Bangor		N. Ireland
	  ???	The Crown		Morden		England
	  ???	Hope & Shamrock		Birmingham	England
	  ???	The Lyceum		??		??
		("at the Lyceum Van's moodiness incensed the punters to
		such a degree that they booed him off the stage")
	  ???	The Pacific 		??		??
		(photo accompanying Billy Harrison interview, W#4,
		manager Micky Quinn)
	  ???	The Royal Hotel		London	England
		(Van meets Gene Vincent; Van: "I hung out with him...and I
		got to know him a bit. He'd been to Egypt and he'd just
		got back")

THEM (5)
(Billy Harrison, Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Patrick 'John' McAuley,
Jackie 'Griff/ith' McAuley)

       Jan ??	("early in January" Eric Wrixon departs, replaced by
		Jackie McAuley; "Peter Docherty comes in as road manager
		prior to return to London; both out within 4 months")
	  ???	??		Strabane	Ireland
	  ???	??		Newry		Ireland
		("the band started to be demanded in provincial Northern
		Ireland", mention of previous 2 locations)
           ??	??		Donegal Town	Ireland 
		("penny riot")
          	??		Lifford		Ireland 
		("penny riot"; same evening?, "they had been booked to
		make half-hour appearances at a dance...on Sunday night")
           ??	Orange Hall	Armagh		Ireland 
		(Friday night, "penny riot")
           ??	Town Hall	Cookstown	Ireland 
		("penny riot"; weekend after Donegal Town & Lifford
		incidents; attended by City Week journalist Paul Charles)
           ??	Strand Ballroom		Portstewart	Ireland
		("the week after Cookstown; supporting The Pacific
		Showband; Baby Please Don't Go at #4 in Ireland, #23 in
		Britain" [NME charts])
	   ??	(Wavelength filmography note "11/64" interview clip news
		report "standing next to a juke box commenting on recent
		crowd trouble at a gig")
	   ??	'Top Of The Pops' (BBC TV)	Manchester England
		(introduced by Alan Freeman, "BPDG" at #23;
		--discrepancy?, see March 1965 below)
           ??	Delta Rhythm Club		Ireland
		("this week's stars of Top of the Pops")
	   ??	The Flamingo		Ballymena	Ireland
		(2 nights after Top of the Pops aired; --discrepancy?, see
		March 1965 below)
	   ??	Sammy Houston's Jazz Club	Belfast	N. Ireland
		("last Belfast appearance before...London")
	   21	the band returns to London
		(Johnny Robb column: "their return to England on January
		21; Lillian Gore, the 18-year old machinist who is
		secretary of the THEM Fan Club")
	   ??	[recording studio]		London	England
		(Hinton: "in January Berns jetted across the Atlantic";
		"he forced them to undergo endless rehearsals in a
		room above a pub facing Brewer a matter of
		weeks Them were transformed into a reasonably effective
		recording unit"; 3rd recording session with Bert Berns:
		Here Comes the Night, (It Won't Hurt) Half As Much, Little
		Girl [rude], ...)
	 ???					??	??
		(Them interviewed by Ron Boyle, Daily Express: "he could
		not remember a less co-operative group than THEM...'One
		of them even refused to answer simple personal questions
		like "What age are you?" I just got fed up and left
	 ???					??	??
		(J.Robb column @2/65: Them interviewed by Des Hickey,
		Sunday Independent, "a few weeks ago...he said they were
		rude & disinterested & Billy Harrison started to play the
		guitar while he was talking to them")
       Feb 9	("'Baby, Please Don't Go' reached the #9 spot in Britain's
		most authoritative was #2 in Ulster and went to
		#5 in Scotland") 
          1?					London	England
		(see Feb. 19th Johnny Robb column)
          20	Club Noreik	Tottenham	London?	England
	  ??	'Them' EP released in the UK (Decca DFE 8612) w/"Philosophy"
	  ??	(Mirabelle, 'Heart Throbs' column [Them & Michael Caine]
		by Dawn James: [Harrison] "our next record 'Here Comes The
		Night' is more melodic than the last. It will be a hit")
	 ???				Edinburgh	Scotland
	 ???				Barnstaple	England
	 ???				??		Scotland
		(Jackie McAuley: "we'd be in Edinburgh one night,
		Barnstaple the next, back in Scotland the next,
		sometimes twice a night")
	 ???	Pontiac		Putney		England
	 ???	Beat City		London	England
		(Hinton: "strutting their stuff in supercool new clubs
		like the Pontiac in Putney or Alexis Korner's Beat City")
       Mar 5	"Here Comes The Night"/"All For Myself" released
		(3rd Them single; "3 weeks later it entered the British
		charts & finally peaked at #2, 2 months later it entered
		the US charts [DeWitt: July], peaking at #24"; 10 weeks in
          17	"Here Comes The Night" at #25 UK
          19	'Thank Your Lucky Stars' (Irish Television [ITV] program)
		(Saturday night, "to plug new single")
          31	"Here Comes The Night" at #12 UK
	 ???	??			Stevenage	??
		(Chris Ryder: "in Stevenage they doubled the average
		crowd when they appeared")
	 ???	??			Bath 		England
		(Ryder: "in Bath they drew 500 more than The Beatles")
	 ???	??			Elgin		Scotland
		(Ryder: "in Elgin rag students captured them...all were
		mobbed and lost cufflinks, ties and even shoes")
         ???	??		Barrow-In-Furness	England
		(sleeping in a jail for lack of hotel space & minibus 
	 ???	The Bird Cage		Plymouth England
	 ???	Agincourt		Camberley	England
	 ???	Floral Hall		Southport	England
	 ???	Basingstoke Technical College  Basingstoke  England
	 ???	Rock Garden Pavilion	Llandrindod Wells  England
	 ???	Dreamland		Margate	 ??	England
	 ???	Palace Ballroom			Isle of Man
		(Hinton: "they zigzagged from the Bird the
		Palace Ballroom on the Isle of Man, often they would
		have to drop everything to fit in Saturday Club or Top of
		the Pops"; see January 1965 above)
	 ???				??		??
		(Jackie McAuley: "one time Van got out and I went with
		him; we walked for miles...he was saying 'I'm just gonna
		keep walking, for ever and ever.'...Billy would do
		everything he could to persuade Van that everything would
		work out in the time Van never said one word
		for 3 days, and we were with him 24 hours a day!")
       Apr 3	'Saturday Club' (BBC radio)	London	England
		(1st BBC radio session, possibly 'Saturday Club', a
		morning show: Here Comes The Night, All For [By] Myself)
           7	"Here Comes The Night" at #5 UK
          11	The Empire Pool (Wembley Arena) London	England
		'New Musical Express Poll Winners Concert 1965'
                (introduced by Jimmy Saville, "Here Comes The Night",
		"Turn On Your Lovelight"; only live performance of Them
		known to exist, concert recorded for UK TV broadcast,
          14	??			Birmingham	England
		(last performance of Jackie McAuley with Them; "Here Comes
		The Night" at #3 UK)

THEM (6)
(Billy Harrison, Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Patrick 'John' McAuley)
		(Jackie McAuley sacked in Birmingham; Frame: "Jackie left
		following a ferocious argument with Alan Henderson and
		went back to Belfast"; Jackie reported "missing for a
		week" since the 15th, press clip @April 21st)

	  15	??			Kidderminster	England
		(single performance by this 4-piece lineup of Them)
          17	St. Columbana's Parish Church, Ballyhome, N. Ireland
		(marriage of Billy Harrison to secretary Vivian McMeekin;
		honeymoon in London; Alan Henderson is Best Man; remainder
		of the band "stayed in their Belfast homes")

THEM (7)
(Billy Harrison, Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Eric Wrixon, Patrick 'John'
		(Eric Wrixon returns "for another 6 weeks")

 	 ???  	Wimbledon Palais  London  England 
		(as per Chris Walter, photographer)
	 ???	??			Swindon England
		(Hinton: "a support slot to Screaming Lord Sutch dragged
		from Morrison, 'I wasn't born in Swindon, but I'm dying
	 ???	[recording studio]		London?	England
		(interview with Keith Altham of the NME; "Billy Harrison
		spent most of the interview cleaning his nails with a
	 ???		London	England
		(Turner: press conference, Great Malborough Street, the
		group arrived an hour late)
	 ???	??				??	??
		(15-minute interview with Judith Simons; "Eventually she
		said, 'Well, who actually formed you?' and Harrison said,
		'British Plastics fucking molded us'")
	 ???	[interview with the New Musical Express]  London  England
		(Frame: "Van would tell the NME that the greatest thrill
		of his life was 'talking the blues' with John Lee Hooker,
		who he'd met in the interim"; see July 1964 above)

THEM (8)
(Billy Harrison, Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Patrick 'John' McAuley,
Ronnie Millings) 

 @late-Apr??	(Eric Wrixon leaves again, replaced by Ronnie Millings)
	  ??	Rikki Tik	Windsor  Cheshire  England
		(Millings: "they knew their *organist* was leaving...I
		went along and played that night at the Rikki Tik",
		probably only gig this lineup)

THEM (9)
(Billy Harrison, Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Patrick 'John' McAuley,
Peter Bardens) 

      May  ?	("Peter Bardens recruited from The Cheynes; Millings
		switches to drums"; question as to a 6-piece band for a
		short while ?, "Millings switches to drums"; Millings
		"leaves" at some point; Frame: "as soon as Bardens arrived
		they began work in earnest on their first LP")
           7	(CityWeek: "Them have been recording a lot during the past
		few days with new organist Peter Bardens for their
		longplayer which will be released soon")
	 ???	Y.M.C.A. (Tottenham Court Rd.)	London	England
		(rehearsal session)
	  ??	Regent Sound (recording studio)	London	England
		(Frame: final Berns session, band records Go On Home Baby, 
		My Little Baby, and I Gave My Love A Diamond; "Berns
		returned to the States leaving Tommy Scott to complete the
		work on Them's debut album"; likely point at which Little 
		Girl re-recorded due to "rude ending" on Lord Taverner's)
	  ??	Lord Taverner's '14' album released w/"Little Girl" [rude]
	  12	"Here Comes The Night" at #2
          ??	(Chris Ryder column: "Dick Clark has booked our own
		Belfast popsters to appear in his own 'Caravan Show'";
		later publication: "owing to the present difficulties with
		the immigration authorities and American unions, the
		trip--originally scheduled for June--may have to be
	  28	'Them' album released in Belfast
		(CityWeek: "although its official British release date is
		tomorrow, the debut album from THEM has been available in
		their native city since last weekend")
      June 1	Tunbridge Wells Public Hall	?? 	England
	   2	Bristol Corn Exchange	Bristol		England
           3	Town Hall		Holsworthy	England
	   4	Forum			Plymouth	England
	   7	Top Spot		Ross-On-Wye	England
 	  10	'Them' album released in the UK (Decca LK 4700)
		released on a Thursday (from clipping); "The Angry Young
		Them" [publicist Les Perrin] on the back cover, Decca logo
		on the front cover; "for 1965, best selling album on the
		Irish charts, 8th best selling album in the British
		charts, reaches #54 in US album charts [Yorke: #21]
		(released July) [in Billboard for 23 weeks]"; Henderson:
		"the 3 sessions we did for it were good")
	  ??	"One More Time/How Long Baby" released
		(4th Them single; half-page ad on the front of the NME,
		June 1965; DeWitt: reaches #1 in Ireland, #4 in England,
		not released in the U.S.; --discrepancy, see CityWeek
		8/65: "which did not get enough TV plugs to push it past
		the 46 slot")
	  11	Scunthorpe TA Centre	Scunthorpe?	England
	  12	Ramsey Gaiety		?	England
	  13	Putney The Place	?	England
	  19	Town Hall	Dudley	?	England
	  21	Beachcombers at Leigh & Bolton	?	England
	  23	'Ready Steady Go' (TV studio)   ?  	England
		(2nd [?] appearance "to plug new single"; Frame: "they
		were dumped off RSG for being 2 hours late for rehearsal"
		--conflicts w/Hinton pg.52; NME "Lifelines" section
		article; CityBeat: "Ulster TV didn't take the programme
		until the week after their appearance"; possibly a "3rd" 
		RSG appearance back in April 1965?; Henderson: "that was
		just about the best thing ['One More Time'] we've done
	  ??	BBC Studios (radio)	London	England
		(2nd BBC radio sessions: "Gloria", "One More Time")
	  ??	[recording session?]	London	England
		("'Them Again' cut at various sessions since June")
	 ???	??			London?	England
		interview with Richard Green of Record Mirror
		("Green asked Morrison how he wrote 'One More Time', the
		singer replied abruptly, 'I got a pencil and wrote it on
		a piece of paper.'")
     July ??			North London	England
		(CityBeat: "they all live in different flats around North
		London...Billy & Vivienne living in Willsden since their 
		marriage last Easter...Alan Henderson shares the 5-room
		apartment"; Turner: "Van was now living in a rented
		flat [Nottinghill Gate]")
	   ?	??			Preston	England
	   ?	??			West Hartlepool	England
	   ?	??			London	England
		(CityBeat article, Harrison: "We've no intention of
		breaking up...truth is, I'm tired out. We have just
		finished as 800-mile round trip, playing dates in Northern
		clubs...W.Hartlepool, Preston, London tonight. Man, I'm
		shagged."; Henderson: "Splitting up indeed! Here we are,
		one record in the American top 20, another one moving up
		the British charts and *less than a month away from our
		tour of the States*"; CityBeat: "the boys hope to get back
		to Belfast for a few days before their August 1st
	  ??	the band returns to Belfast
	  ??	[CityWeek offices]	Belfast N. Ireland
		(presented with 1st CityBeat Golden Guitar Award; "one of 
		their first Belfast stops will be the CityWeek office
		where they will be presented with the Golden Guitar

THEM (10)
(Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Patrick 'John' McAuley, Peter Bardens)

	   ?	??			??	??
		(Billy Harrison leaves the band: "one day they turned up
		in the minibus at the house *to go to a show* and I said,
		'Bye, bye. Go on your own. I'm not going'"; single ?
		performance with this 4-piece lineup?; breakup reported
		as "the other 4 members of Them met recently and voted
		Billy out of the group")

THEM (11)
(Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Patrick 'John' McAuley, Peter Bardens, Joe

	  ??				Belfast N. Ireland
		(Joe Boni recruited to replace Harrison; Bardens/Frame
		interview: "Van was head and shoulders above the rest of
		the band, though he was often difficult to work with and
		often had trouble communicating his ideas to the others.
		As well as that there was always conflict and tension over
		who was leader...'and sometimes Van's eyes got all glassy,
		you knew he was about to erupt!' All of this internecine
		warfare came to a head in the first week of July when
		Harrison was booted out")

THEM (12)
(Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Peter Bardens, Joe Boni, Terry Noone)
		(discrepancy? as to the name(s) Joe Boni and/or Joe Baldi
		[sic?] around this time, one and the same person??)

	  ??				??	??
		(Patrick 'John' McAuley departs "within days of
		Harrison's dismissal"; replaced by Terry Noone; Turner:
		lineup "never recorded...lasted only a matter of weeks")
	  ??	??			??	??
		(press clip, "Lowdown": "their minibus, which has only
		been able to travel backwards because of gear
		trouble", "the group also fell out of the back recently,
		their Canadian road manager forgot to lock it...shame
		about the split")
      Aug  1	("but they're looking forward to a trip to America on
		August 1...their visit will last 5 weeks")
	  ??				Ruislip Lido	??
		(photo session in a swimming pool, Turner pg.59)
	   3	(contract signed in London by "Mr. Boyle" for gig on 
		Nov. 19 in Shropshire UK)
	  ??	"(It Won't Hurt) Half As Much"/"I'm Gonna Dress In Black"
		(5th Them single; "recorded before Harrison & McAuley left
		last month")
          16	("on August 16 they fly to America for a five week tour")
	  ??				Edinburgh	Scotland
		("Van & Alan sacked Boni, Noone and Bardens"; Frame:
		"Baldi [Boni?] 'One day we arrived in Edinburgh and I said
		'this is where I get off'...Bardens, unhappy with the
		administrative side of the group, took that as his cue to
		leave too, and Noone, who had never felt comfortable, made
		it three"; Van & Alan return to Belfast)
      Sep  1	(UlsterWeek: "Billy Harrison & John McAuley are starting a
		group called Them. They claim they have the name
		registered with the Board of Trade...presently rehearsing
		for a recording session next week...joined by Nick Wyner
		& Skip Allen"; "shortly after this news broke, Alan
		Henderson admitted that he and Van were coming home this
		month to form a new all-Irish group")
	   3	The Wheels release their cover of "Gloria"

THEM (13)
(Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Eric Wrixon, Jim Armstrong, Ray Elliot,
John Wilson)

	  ??	The Maritime Hotel	Belfast	N. Ireland
		(band audition, Saturday; band rehearsals "each day this
		week"; Frame: "Morrison and Henderson shot back to Belfast
		and in 2 weeks had recruited, rehearsed and debuted a new
		Them"; ?: "new players were rapidly recruited including
		Joe Baldi [sic?, likely inaccurate, see Edinburgh previous
		entry], soon replaced by Jim Armstrong, returning pianist
		Wrixon, saxophonist Ray Elliot & drummer John Wilson";
		6-piece lineup)
	  1?				Belfast N. Ireland
	  1?				Belfast N. Ireland
	  1?				Belfast N. Ireland
		(Wrixon: "we did about 3 gigs...and then...I...left")
	 ???				Belfast N. Ireland
		(as per Frame, at some point "Van [had] asked Paul Brady
		to join Them")

THEM (14)
(Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Jim Armstrong, Ray Elliot, John Wilson)

          24	Top Hat Club		Lisburn N. Ireland
		(Friday night gig, debut of new band lineup; "played a
		40-minute set...before leaving for London"; Belfast clip:
		"their first work will be in America. Them fly out after
		their Belfast holiday" --discrepancy?)
          ??	[Decca studio]		London	England
		("in September Morrison recorded with the fresh lineup")
      Oct 15	Zeeta House	Putney	??	England
	  19	Olympia			Paris	France
		(CityBeat: "Iron Curtain Tour For Them?...1st working
		visit abroad...appeared just one night...more European
		tours are in the offing, among them the possibility of
		Poland...they may be going back [to France] before
		Christmas"; Armstrong: "Barry Maguire was on the bill with
		us...we played 6 numbers, 3 of which are in the French top
		30"; CityWeek: "they had no less than 4 curtain
		calls...only vocalist Van Henderson [sic] & bass
		guitarist Alan Henderson are left of the original...the
		once-scheduled Stateside autumn tour that was lined up
		before their troubles is definitely on in the New Year")
      Nov  5	(Patrick 'John' & Jackie 'Griff' McAuley, under the
		management of Ray Henderson, had formed a group also
		calling themselves Them ["once billed as 'Some of Them'];
		advertisement was made in Disc Weekly for 'Them' in
		caricature, the McAuley brothers along with "Ken" [Billy
		Harrison] & "Mark" [?, Van Morrison], "the agency were
		unable to supply the surnames of the latter pair"; 
		alluding that this 'Them' was the 'Them' of Baby Please
		Don't Go fame; legal complaint registered under the
		'Business Names Act' of 1916 by "Them Limited in the name
		of Them" [London; "Capable Management Ltd."; "Maurice
		King, boss"] through Bernard Sheridan for an injunction
		against the McAuley group...alleged by the petitioners as
		constituting a misrepresentation"; Harrison: "the McAuley
		group are not the group that kids know as THEM. I got out
		of the whole affair pronto before this thing blew up"; see
		Jan 13, 1966)
	  ??	"Mystic Eyes"/"If You And I Could Be As Two" released
		(6th Them single; DeWitt: reaches #33 in America
		[Yorke: #29] in December; 8 weeks in Billboard; fails to
		chart in the UK; may be 1st week November release)
	  ??				London	England
	  	(interview 10/65, Van comments on recording 'Mystic Eyes':
		"the lyrics were just words from another song I was
		writing at the time...we put it on tape the 2nd time
	  ??	("a second Them LP was finished by November, cut at
		various sessions since June"; Turner: "in Dec. Them
		recorded their second album with Tommy Scott in total
          19	Majestic Ballroom	?alington   Shropshire	England
		(contract signed August 3 by "Mr. Boyle, 'the Management'")
	  25	profile of Van Morrison appears in CityWeek
      Dec 16	contract signed between Galaxy Entertainments (management)
		and Kings Agency for bookings in January 1966

@Oct-May'66??	various unknown UK/European gigs
		(Wilson: "I was so young I couldn't get a permit to do
		European gigs, so they had to get a stand-in drummer any
		time they played in Europe")
          ??	St. Mary's College	?	?	
		(Armstrong: "one night in St. Mary's College they pulled 
		the plug...the caretaker came on and switched off the
		power", during 'Train and the River')
	  ??	Newcastle College	Newcastle	England
		(Armstrong: "we found out that our manager was actually
		charging a lot Newcastle College they told us
		they'd paid 500 [pounds] for us, and we said, 'But we're
		only supposed to get 300'...when we asked the management,
		their line was 'You've been booked from someone over here
		who's paying 400 for you, and someone over here paid
		300'...we couldn't understand why they couldn't sell us
		direct for 500. And the management was taking 35% of the
		300 as well.")

THEM (15)
(Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Ray Elliot, Jim Armstrong, Dave Harvey)
	(Hit Parader 2/68: "Van scored a successful tour in 1966 in France,
	*Scandinavia* and the West Coast of America with Them")

      Jan  ?	(John Wilson leaves the band, replaced by Dave Harvey)
           4	Assembley Hall	Aylesbury	Bucks	England
	  10	Labour Hall	Bletcheley	Bucks	England
	  11	The Hut	(Furlong Rd.)	Westcott  Surrey  England
          12	'Them Again' released in the UK
	  13	(legal case over McAuley group's 'Them' appears in court
		documents signed by J.H. Davies, Registrar of Business
		Names; CityBeat's Johnny Robb columnist called in to
		testify; CityBeat article week of Jan 16-22)
	  ??	??			??	Wales
		("at the time of press [legal affair], Van Morrison was
		touring with THEM in Wales")
	  27	Whitehall	East Grinstead	Sussex	England
	  ??	(CityWeek 1/66: THEM wish to thank their many fans for the
		wonderful success in voting them TOP in the 'Irish Beat
		Group Of The Year' Poll and in the Rhythm and Blues
		section, and also Tenth in the 'Best British Group'
		section. They would like to hear personally from their
		fans if they would care to write to: THEM c/o Hyde Park
		Music Publishers Ltd., 73-75 New Oxford Street, London WC1")
      Feb ??	???			???		UK
      Mar ??	"Call My Name"/"Bring 'Em On In" released in the UK
		(7th Them single; Collis pg.210 "alternate versions")
	  ??	"Call My Name"/"Bring 'Em On In" released in the USA
		(album versions --Collis pg.210)
	  ??	??			??	Wales
          ??	Hungerford Bridge, Thames Embankment nr Big Ben	
					London	England
		('Shindig / Where The Action Is' film shoot; aired on US
		TV, voice of Dick Clark dubbed in; lip-sync "Call My Name"
		& "Mystic Eyes"; Armstrong: "we drove overnight from
		Wales, were in London 8:00 a.m. to pose & mime to some
		records for an American TV show called 'Shindig'
		['Shindig' was cancelled 1/66, 'Where the Action Is'
		became "replacement" show], and then we drove to Edinburgh
		for a gig that night")
	  	[unknown venue]		Edinburgh	Scotland
      Apr ??	'Them Again' released in the US
		(reaches #138 in Billboard, 6 weeks in the charts)
	  ??	[recording studio]	London	England
		(last studio session, "Them didn't record after April";
		"Tommy Scott produced the final Them session"; Richard
		Corey, Mighty Like A Rose, ...)
      May 14	Decca Entertainments Centre ("the Ashton Palais")
				Ashton-under-Lyne	England
	  ??	"Gloria" at #71 Billboard charts USA
	  ??	"Richard Cory"/"Don't You Know" released
		(8th Them single)
	  2?	the band flies to America, "accompanied by Tommy
		Scott"; Armstrong: "we were met in at the airport in NY
		[Kennedy Airport for a press reception] and had the Riot
		Act read to us. No drugs, no underage women. ["they
		visited radio stations"] Then we flew to San Francisco and
		the guy who'd read us the riot act woke up beside a 15
		year old!...then we flew to Phoenix"
	  2?	[football field]	Phoenix AZ
		(Armstrong: "we did the first gig in a football
		field...they drove us on an open-backed Cadillac with
		these masses of screaming kids around us. We had a P.A.
		with 2 little column speakers and I had a little Fender
		amp, not miked or anything, and we were expected to fill
		this huge outdoor arena"; see August below, return to AZ)
          27	Rollarena		San Leandro CA
		(Van meets Janet "Planet"; supporting acts were Peter
		Wheat & The Breadmen, and The Canadian Fuzz)
	  28	'American Bandstand' [TV studio] Los Angeles CA
		(only reference found in DeWitt: "in May 1966 when Van was
		interviewed by American Bandstand's Saturday show from
		L.A. [possibly the 21st? band in NY?]...when Them was 
		booked to appear on American Bandstand, Ronnie Harran the
		talent agent for the Whisky-A-Go-Go, was able to sign Them
		for a 17 night [sic] stint")
          30	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA	
		(Monday, 1st night of an 18-night stint (24 performances);
		300-capacity club owned by Elmer Valentine; 1st week
		supported by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, with
		Frank Zappa on occasion joining Them [Armstrong: "played
		with us a couple of was fun swapping choruses
		with him on something like 'Stormy Monday'"]; John
		Densmore: "Them slammed through several songs one right
		after the other, making them indistinguishable...Van was
		drunk & very uptight & violent with the mic stand, 
		crashing it down on the stage...when he dropped his lower
		jaw & tongue and let out one of those yells of rage")
		[opening night private party, apartment]  ??  CA
		(Densmore: "[Van] sat on the couch, moody & glowering, and
		didn't say a word. All of a sudden he grabbed a guitar and
		started singing songs about reincarnation, being in
		'another time & place'...the apartment fell silent and all
		eyes were riveted on Van..."; Van roomed at the Sunset
          31	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
     June  1	[Wednesday, night off]
	   2	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
           3	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
           4	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA (2 shows)
           5	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA (2 shows)
           6	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
		(Frame: 2nd week opening act was The Doors; other acts
		appearing at the time were The Association, Buffalo
		Springfield?, ...; a live album was planned [unreleased];
		contract signed in Beverly Hills with Artistic Consultants
		for Hawaii gigs July 8-10)
           7	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
           8	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
           9	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
          10	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
          11	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA (2 shows)
          12	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA (2 shows)
          13	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
		(DeWitt: among those who witnessed the performances were
		Roger McGuinn, Harry Vestine, Mac Rebennack, Jim Guercio,
		Grace Slick, Kim Fowley, Nick Venet, Lou Adler, Joe Smith
		["soon Warner Brothers, at Smith's urging, began a 
		campaign to lure Van to their label"]; Armstrong: "beer
		was free for the band and spirits half-price, but we still
		ran up a tab of $2600 in 2 weeks!")
          14	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
          15	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
          16	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
          17	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA  
          18	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA (2 shows)
		("on the last night of the residency Jim Morrison joined
		Them onstage...'we did the big Gloria jam'"; Densmore: "we
		all played 'Gloria' together, 2 keyboards, 2 guitars, 2
		drummers, Alan [bass], and 2 Morrisons"; Yorke: "In The
		Midnight Hour" also performed)
          23	Fillmore Auditorium 	San Francisco CA 
		(supported by The New Tweedy Brothers)
	  2?	Longshoremen's Hall	San Francisco CA
          26 	Oakland [Coliseum] Auditorium Arena	Oakland CA 
     July  8	Waikiki Shell	Kapiolani Park  Honolulu  Hawaii
		(shared the bill with the Ramsey Lewis Trio; Turner:
		'Ballerina' played for the first time in public, having
		been rehearsed on tour; Armstrong: "a lot of the stuff we 
		rehearsed into tape recorders was the guts of 'Astral
		Weeks'. Alan, Ray and I sat acoustically with flutes and
		stuff playing 'Ballerina' into a tape recorder. In fact we
		used to do 'Ballerina' on stage")
           9	Waikiki Shell	Kapiolani Park  Honolulu  Hawaii 
		(the promoter, thinking the band had played horribly &
		was drunk the 1st night, confronted them; "we played
		Waikiki Shell absolutely the *next night* we
		all got drunk")
          10	Waikiki Shell	Kapiolani Park  Honolulu  Hawaii 
		(rain date; likely no performance)
  	 ???	??			Fresno Beach CA
		(as per Armstrong interview 1989)
	 ???	??			San Luis Obispo CA
		(incident between Ray Elliot & Van)
	 ???	Loser's South		San Jose CA 
		(Turner: "to play a residency"; possibly August)
	  23	Strand Theater		Modesto CA
          29 	Fillmore Auditorium 	San Francisco CA 
		(supported by The Sons of Champlin; Dewitt: "3 encores")
	  30 	Fillmore Auditorium 	San Francisco CA
      Aug ??	football stadium at Salpointe Catholic High School
					Tucscon AZ
		(Turner: "after playing more dates in AZ the tour ground
		to a halt in Los Angeles"; see May 2? above; "at the
		same time they were unable to extend their visas and had
		to turn down offers of extra dates"; Van buys an
		"expensive reel-to-reel tape recorder")
	   6				Los Angeles CA
		(Turner pg.66: Van sends postcard to Bangor, having just
		met Bo Diddley)
	  ??	(Van leaves the band, returns to London w/Alan Henderson
		"to sort out business", leaving Armstrong, Elliot & Harvey
		in L.A.)
	  ??	"I Can Only Give You Everything"/"Don't Start Crying Now"
		released in the US "posthumously"
		(9th/final Them single w/Van)
	 ???				London	England
		(Turner: "they failed to reach an agreement with the
		Solomons and returned, dejected, to Belfast"; Rogan: "When
		he visited Phil Coulter upon his return to London, it was
		evident that Van had not yet recovered from the sudden
		break from his manager")
	 ???				Belfast N. Ireland
		(Frame: "he arrived back in Belfast a couple weeks before
		his 21st birthday")

THEM (16)
(Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Jim Armstrong, Sammy Stitt)

     @Sep ??	Embassy Ballroom	Derry	Ireland
		("Back in Ireland the band played a last few gigs",
		w/Sammy Stitt [drums, Van's cousin]; Armstrong: "we ended
		up playing the Embassy in Derry with Van's cousin Sammy
		Stitt, a harmonica player on drums. The place was stuffed
		but the band was awful. There was still a bad feeling from
		the American tour and the drummer was all over the place,
		so I said forget it")
	  ??	??			Dublin	Ireland
		(Hinton: "Van and Alan gravitated back to Belfast and
		played 2 final concerts, in Derry & Dublin")

(Van Morrison [vox, gtr, sax], Eric Bell [gtr], Joe Hanratty [drms], Mike
Brown [bass]) 

 @Sep-Nov ??	The Maritime Club	Belfast N. Ireland
		(Eric Bell: "Morrison held auditions in the Maritime Club
		for a new band"; Turner: "after playing through his set
		with them individually at home he arranged for them to
		rehearse in a room over Dougie Knight's [bicycle/record
		shop]" Collis: Van living in a flat in Ladbroke Grove)
    	 ???	Square One Club		Belfast	N. Ireland
		("the first gig we did", on a weekend; Turner: Alan
		Henderson "turned up to double on bass for some Them
		numbers such as 'Mystic Eyes', & 'Baby Please Don't Go',
		the local press was on hand and the room was so jammed
		that girls in the front were actually playing with the
		musicians' shoe laces"; Bell: Van said "fuck the list and
		start a blues in E...he was playing a blue 
		Stratocaster...and started making things up as he went
		along...just like a jazz musician")
	 ???	Town Hall		Carrickfergus N. Ireland
		(Turner: "their next performance"; "top the bill to the
		Bangor Carpetbaggers and The Fugitives in a beat-feast";
		"Van turned a few heads by arriving in a floral suit
		bought in San Francisco"; "in the middle of the set he
		walked to the mic with a big book in his hand...he stood
		there and said, 'To wank or not to wank, that is the
		question'...when he didn't get much reaction he said,
		'Hands up all the wankers in the hall'...Teddy Boys
		started throwing pennies on stage and the promoter had to
		clamber up and appeal for calm", as per Bell)
	 ???	[various locations]		Ireland
		("we played around Ireland for 2 or 3 months"; Rogan: "on
		one occasion he was joined onstage by Rod Stewart for an
		impromptu rendition of 'Gloria'"; Doggett: "Van was
		performing 'TB Sheets' by the end of 1966")
	 ???	Sammy Houston's Jazz Club	Belfast N. Ireland
		("the group played a few more local gigs at Sammy
		Houston's Jazz Club and at Queen's University")
	 ???	Queens' University "Rag Ball"  Belfast  N. Ireland
		(incident reviewed in City Week by Donal Corvin; Bell: "I
		left the band that night because there was a bad feeling")


 @Dec'66-Feb??	[monastery]			??	??
		(Interview 3/67: "We heard something, you were in the 
		monastery some it true?"; Van: "Yeah I was,
		yeah."; "Why?"; Van: "Because I was completely sick of the
		pop scene and I just wanted to get away from it all
		because it was gettin' too much, y'know, it's so false,
		the pop scene is false, it's not real...I went and they
		said they would let me stay there for as long as I 
		intended to stay, to think and read, philosophize, y'know,
		this type of thing, and they said if I wanna come back 
		anytime I could come back")
	  ??	Alan Henderson, from America, contacts Jim Armstrong "at
		the beginning of 1967 and asked if I fancied going back to
		the States. We [without Van] rehearsed in Belfast with
		Kenny McDowell on vocals and we were sent tickets [Texas
		promoter?] and went back without Van. Van actually rang
		Alan in the States wanting to know how we'd got over
		there"; Them, without Van, goes on to record later in
		1967, releasing an album 1/68, "Now and Them", more to
		follow through 1979, various incarnations of 'Them'
	  ??	Turner: "during this period he had been writing a lot
		more songs with the use of the new tape recorder [see
		August 1966] and sending tracks to record
		companies...Philips in London had begun to show some
		interest and also Bert Berns in NY"; possibly offers from
		Warner Bros. as well --see June 1966; Hinton: "Decca
		showed interest and arranged for 4 solo tracks to be
		recorded at their West Hampstead studios"; Doggett: demo
		tape with 'Brown Eyed Girl' & 'TB Sheets' "circulated
		around London and also sent to Bert Berns"; Van: "somebody
		saw Bert and he said, 'Oh, yeah, if you see Van, tell him
		I have my own record company, and I'd like to do something
		with him'. At the same time I was trying to get a solo
		thing together, and basically the interest from Bert was
		the first thing that had come through. I was waiting on
		someone else from another company to make up his mind when
		Bert said, 'Why don't you come over and we'll cut a few
       Mar ?	Van travels to Holland
	  ??	??				The Netherlands
		(Van interviewed by Harry 'Cuby' Muskee & Willem De
		Ridder for Hitweek; Van: "I have a new manager, Jerry
	   9	Buiten Societeit	  	Deventer   The Netherlands
		(concert reel of this perfromance sent to a US fan by Van
		later; existence noted of a Van/Cuby studio collaboration,
		as yet unissued)
	  ??    Wassenaar Wildlife Breeding (zoo) Wassenaar The Netherlands
		(w/Cuby & The Blizzards, lip-sync "Mystic Eyes" + 
		'monastery' interview)
	  ??	(H.Armstrong, "playing guitar in The Wheels with Brian
		Rossi, asked Van if he would like to join": "he told me
		that he had a phone call to make to Bert Berns in America")
	  2?	(Turner: "Dougie Knight remembers Van coming into his shop
		and announcing that he was going to be making a record in
		New York; within days word was out that he'd signed a
		contract and was in America")
	  2?	(Hinton/Dougie Knight: "one night just before taking the
		plane Van spent an evening drinking & listening to blues
		albums, 'At one stage he decided he was going to swim
		across the Lagan' but was persuaded against it")
          27	Van arrives back in New York City, Kennedy Airport
		(Hinton: "took a taxi to Bert Berns' apartment"; Van: "I
		had a couple of other offers but I thought this was the
		best one seeing as I wanted to come to America anyway")
	  28	A&R Studios (112 W. 48th St.)	New York NY
		(first BANG recording sessions; Rogan: "One day Bert
		entered the studio...Morrison was instructed to cut 8 
		tracks from which Berns intended to select 4 singles":
		Brown Eyed Girl [23 takes], Ro Ro Rosy, Goodbye Baby,
		TB Sheets; Hinton: the session was from 4:00pm-midnight)
	  29	A&R Studios (112 W. 48th St.)	New York NY
		(2nd day of recording: Who Drove the Red Sports Car,
		Midnight Special, Spanish Rose, He Ain't Give You None;
		--discrepancy, Van, Hot Press 2000: "I went to New York
		for 4 days. One of those days I recorded 8 tracks")
	  30	(Turner: "the next day Van was on the plane back to
  @Apr-Jun??	(Turner: "he kept a low profile over the next 3 months,
		during which he spent a lot of his time at home on
		Hyndford St. writing most of the songs that would make up
		'Astral Weeks'", notably Madame George & Beside You)
	 ???						The Netherlands
		('The Bedroom Tape' sent to "Mysterious Strength" fanclub
		in Holland [originally called The Dutch Them Fanclub,
		started @1966, name changed "within a few months" to The
		Dutch Van Morrison Fanclub, name changed to Mysterious
		Strength "at Van's suggestion"]; speculative: tape made
		available through Van's mother; J.Armstrong, commenting on
		"Now and Them" LP 1/68: "'Walking in the Queen's Garden'
		is one we used to do with Van" [America '66 tour])
     July 15    "Brown Eyed Girl" released
		(reaches #10 Billboard "about 6 weeks later" and remained
		there for 16 weeks"; Van: "originally it was called 'Brown
		Skinned Girl' when I wrote the 	song...after we'd recorded
		it, I looked at the tape box and didn't even notice that
		I'd changed the title")
	  22	Turner: "BEG enters the Cashbox charts on July 22nd and
		eventually rises to #8; --discrepancy with next entry
	  28	"Brown Eyed Girl" released in the UK (London Records)
     @Aug ??	[phone interview from Belfast to "Go" magazine in NY]
		(Van: "Now there is no limit to what I can do. I plan to
		use the type of instrumentation I like and be completely
		free. This is only the beginning for me.")
	  ??	Hinton: "within weeks Berns had summoned him back
		to NY & booked him into a hotel on Broadway--within safe 
		view & bugging range of Berns' office"; Turner: "with a
		hit on his hands Berns made plans to have Van return to
		America...Janet & Peter flew in from CA to move in with
	  ??	[boat celebration/gig]	Hudson River	New York NY
		(DeWitt: Bert Berns hired a boat to cruise down the Hudson
		River and this extraordinary press conference resulted in
		airplay and a great deal of media attention"; photo shown
		in the Sep. 2nd issue of Record World)
	  31	The Bitter End		New York NY
		(possibly shows on August 29 and 30 as well)
      Sep  1	The Bitter End		New York NY
	   2	The Bitter End		New York NY
	   3	The Bitter End		New York NY
	   4	The Bitter End		New York NY
	  11	The Scene		New York NY 
		(Van, Hot Press 2000: "I got a gig at a place called The
		Scene in New York, for $75 all in. I had to pay the band,
		pay the taxi, pay everything out of $75 a night, two sets
		a night") --may allude to Jan. 27, 1969 press (?) gig
	  12	The Scene		New York NY (2 shows?)
	  13	The Scene		New York NY (2 shows?)
	  14	The Scene		New York NY (2 shows?)
	  15	The Scene		New York NY (2 shows?)
	  16	The Scene		New York NY (2 shows?)
	  17	The Scene		New York NY (2 shows?)
		(possible final show on Sep. 18, 1967)
	  ??	"The Story of Them" posthumously released single
      Oct ??	"Ro Ro Rosey"/"Chick-A-Boom" [w/The Sweet Inspirations]
		(reaches #107 in the US, 2 weeks in Billboard)
	  ??	Van begins West Coast tour
		(backed by Charlie Brown [gtr], Eric Oxendine [bs] and Bob
		Grenier [drms]; Rogan: "a tour of the States was order to cash in on the chart impact of
		'Brown Eyed Girl', booked into a number of dives and MOR
		joints"; Van: "it put me in some of the worst joints I
		ever worked...they were totally unreal")
           7	Hullabaloo Club		Hollywood CA
	  13	The Family Dog		Denver CO
		(opening act, The Daily Flash)
	  14	The Family Dog		Denver CO
		(opening act, The Daily Flash)
	  17	Crystal Ballroom	Portland OR
	  20	Avalon Ballroom		San Francisco CA
		(opening acts, The Daily Flash and Hair)
	  21	Avalon Ballroom		San Francisco CA
		(opening acts, The Daily Flash and Hair)
	  22	Avalon Ballroom		San Francisco CA
		(opening acts, The Daily Flash and Hair)
	  ??   	Blowin' Your Mind LP released
		(Turner: "he learned of its release while on the road";
		Van: "I got a call from a friend one day [Peter Wolf?] and
		this guy says 'Hey I got your album, man.' And I said,
		'What album?' Bang had turned around and put out an album
		of those 4 singles and I didn't even know about it!";
		reaches #182 in Billboard, 7 weeks in the charts)
      Nov ??    [KRLA radio studio]	Los Angeles CA
		(interview w/John Carpenter)
	  11	'American Bandstand' [TV studio] Los Angeles CA
		(broadcast date ?; brief 'interview' with Dick Clark;
		lip-sync Brown Eyed Girl, Ro Ro Rosey)
	 ???	Loser's South		San Jose CA
	  ??	Van returns to New York
	  ??	[recording studio]	New York NY
		(3rd studio sessions with Berns: Chick-A-Boom, It's All
		Right, Beside You, Madame George, Joe Harper Saturday
		Morning, ... [8 tracks altogether])
      Dec ??	DeWitt: "there were a number of major record companies
		interested in Van and during December several recording
		executives approached him"
	  30	Bert Berns dies of a heart attack, 38 years old
		(Doggett: "the day before New Year's Eve)

	 ???	[Green Street]		Cambridge MA
		DeWitt: "in late 1967 Van moved from NY to Cambridge";
		--discrepancy w/Doggett: "soon after the collapse of
		Van's contract with Bang [Van & Janet] set up home in
      Feb ??	"The Best Of Van Morrison" released
		(BANG label, including songs from 11/67 sessions)
	 ???	Doggett: Eileen Berns told Turner that Van quickly
		approached her with a request to be released from his
		contract"; see 'The BANG Contractuals'
  Mar-Aug ??	??			??	??
	 ???	[WPIX Channel TV]	??	New York
		(appearance with Tom Kielbania & John Payne, "on a Sunday
		morning/afternoon", live show)
	 ???	[unknown]		??	  MA
		(TV appearance "on a public station in Boston" with Tom
		Kielbania & Charlie Mariano, live show)
	 ???	[unknown small club]	Cambridge MA
		(DeWitt: "one night in an obscure Cambridge club Van and
		Peter Wolf shared the stage and sang 'Gloria' and 'Brown
		Eyed Girl' to an eager audience of about 50 people")
	 ???	Doggett: "for the rest of 1968 Morrison played local
		shows with jazz musicians like Tom Kielbania and John
	 ???	Doggett: "as soon as the Warners deal was completed,
		Morrison began cutting songwriting demos of the material
		he'd accumulated over the past year. Warners Music
		apparently has around 6 hours of this material, dating
		from 1968 and 1969, though only about 60 minutes of tapes
		have leaked onto the collector's market"; see bootleg
		"Gypsy Soul"
      Sep ??	Century Sound [recording studio] New York NY
		(Doggett: "the sessions for Astral Weeks occupied 3
		days in September 1968")
	 ???	Doggett: "later in the year [Van & Janet] were married"
      Nov ??	'Astral Weeks' released in the US
		(Doggett: "it reached American shops before Christmas
		but wasn't issued in Britain until the following autumn")

      Jan 27 ?  The Scene		New York NY
		(not verified, possible pre-West Coast press gig?)
          31    Avalon Ballroom         San Francisco CA
      Feb  1    Avalon Ballroom         San Francisco CA
           2    Avalon Ballroom         San Francisco CA
      Feb  5	Whisky-A-Go-Go		West Hollywood CA
		(Doggett: "Judy Sims, Hollywood correspondent of
		London-based 'pop paper' Disc & Music Echo, reports on
		Van's opening night: [her review trashed the who attended a following night notes
		that the audience thoroughly enjoyed the performance],
		'he played an acoustic guitar backed by a saxophone player
		[John Payne, also on flute] and an upright bass {Tom
		Kielbania]'"; see example line-up, Don Paulsen photo,
		Turner pg.82)
           6    Whiskey-A-Go-Go         West Hollywood CA
	   7    Whiskey-A-Go-Go         West Hollywood CA
	   8    Whiskey-A-Go-Go         West Hollywood CA
	   9    Whiskey-A-Go-Go         West Hollywood CA
	  1?	Van returns home to Cambridge MA (see next entry)
	  1?	Doggett: "in February 1969, the week after [the 
		Whisky-A-Go-Go gigs], Van & Janet Morrison moved out to
	  21    Grande Ballroom         Detroit MI
	  22    Grande Ballroom         Detroit MI
	  23    Grande Ballroom         Detroit MI
  Mar-Jun ??	??			??	??
	 ???    The Catacombs           Boston  MA
	 ???    The Gaslight            Boston  MA
		(???, New York City NY ???)
      Jul 20 	[unknown venue] Newport RI "Newport Folk Festival"
      Aug 29    Cafe au Go Go           New York NY
	  30    Cafe au Go Go           New York NY
	  31    Cafe au Go Go           New York NY
      Sep 15    Ungano's                New York NY
	  16    Ungano's                New York NY
	  17    Ungano's                New York NY
	  18    Ungano's                New York NY
  Oct-Dec ??	??			??	??
	 ???				Woodstock NY
		(at some point Van rehearses, performs, and records
		[on drums] with The Montgomeries, a local Woodstock band,
		producing some songs with them; see also David Gahr photo,
		Turner pg.103, possibly 1970)

CityWeek - CityBeat column clippings
Collis, John - Van Morrison: Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart (1995)
DeWitt, Howard A. - Van Morrison: The Mystic's Music (1982)
Doggett, Peter - articles
Frame, Peter - The Beatles and Some Other Guys: Rock Family Trees
	from the Sixties Beat Boom (1997)
Hinton, Brian - Celtic Crossroads: the art of Van Morrison (1997)
Hodgett, Trevor - articles
Hogg, Brian - articles
New Musical Express - clippings (@1964-66)
Rogan, Johnny - Van Morrison: A Portrait Of The Artist (1984)
Turner, Steve - Too Late To Stop Now (1993)
Wavelength: the Unofficial Van Morrison Magazine [The Story of Them series]
Yorke, Ritchie - Van Morrison: Into the Music (1975)
private correspondence - Thanks! to innumerable who have generously
	supplied scarce secondary source material

To myself, because I put so much damn work into it for no one's ultimate
curiosity & obsession but my own. And to Van Morrison, and everyone
concerned/mentioned in this chronology, for allowing heart to open in
spite of the bullshit and unawares... admirable for anyone to live in,
whether it's mobile phones or a knock on the door. "Take it where you
find it". Thanks for keeping it real...

Part of the unofficial website


Entrainment – bla bla bla


BBC 4 Full Concert

Irish Rain – Better or Wetter

The 11 Levels of Irish Rain

The rain goes up to 11.

THE IRISH HAVE a large number of words for rain. And knowing exactly which word or phrase to apply at any time can be tricky – especially for newcomers.
With this in mind, we have prepared this scientific ordering, which we’re calling the Fliuch Scale. (It works like the Richter – so “Christ, I heard today was a 6.7 on the Fliuch Scale” and so on).
We’re hoping it will be adopted officially by Met Éireann in the near future. But until then: yes, the rain in Ireland goes up to 11.
Level 1: Grand soft day (thank God)

How to spot: Grey out, just a thick mist, not too cold, might rain later. In other words, conditions are normal.

Source: K Mick
Level 2: Spitting (or ‘only spitting’)

How to spot: Definitely raining, but sure it might clear up. It wouldn’t stop you nipping to the shops/going for a walk/having a picnic on a freezing beach on a family holiday, anyway.

Source: scjody
Level 3: Wetting rain



How to spot: Looks deceptively innocuous – you’d think it was no more than a mist – but soaks through clothing and makes you screw up your face in an unattractive way while walking through it.
Is it worth taking an umbrella? Maybe, but you’ll only have to carry it round.

Source: Sebastian Anthony
Level 4: Rotten


How to spot: All-over greyness. Possible windiness. Unrelenting rain that never turns into a good honest downpour, but is definitely umbrella material. The weather equivalent of a sulking teenager.

Source: Ian Wilson
Level 5: Pissing


How to spot: Heavy-ish rain. Would definitely make you think twice about going into town for a few things. Windscreen wipers up to the second setting in the car.

Source: tonyhall
Level 6: Raining stair rods


How to spot: Big, fat rain that really means it. Minor-league umbrellas (ie those €4 ones from Centra) may struggle. You have your good shoes ruined.

Source: wfbakker2
Level 7: Bucketing


How to spot: Heavy rain with a surprise element: “It started bucketing down.” Generally appears when you have planned some kind of outdoor activity.
You might sit in the car for a while to see will it ease off. It probably won’t.

Source: lucyrfisher
Level 8: Hooring


How to spot: Windscreen wipers up to full. People scurrying between shop doorways. Someone probably holding a newspaper over their head, which is completely pointless and will ruin your newspaper.

Source: wfbakker2
Level 9: Pelting down


How to spot: Serious quantities of water falling from the sky. Enough of a conversation point that you will almost certainly compare damp patches with at least one work colleague. Lift dialogues will go like this: “Jaysus, the weather.” “I know, Jaysus.”

Source: young shanahan
Level 10: Lashing


How to spot: Rain actually bouncing off the ground. Even medium-quality umbrellas are no protection. Their corpses lie strewn around the city streets.

Source: jontintinjordan
Level 11: Hammering


How to spot: Even the Irish a bit taken aback by the force of it. People talk about it in hushed tones and you can see them struggling for a big enough word: “It’s absolutely lashing… no, I mean REALLY lashing… HAMMERING down.”
Don’t go outside. You’ll ruin yourself.

Source: jon_a_ross

Original :

The Spirit of Ireland

Images from Ireland in the 1920s and 1930s
Taken from The Spirit of Ireland by Lynn Doyle
Published by B.T Batsford Ltd in 1935
Spirit Ireland

‘They cannot love the Irish language without depreciating the English language; and forget that it is paying the Irish people no compliment to prove that eight hundred years they were held down by a nation of nincompoops’


A man from Connemara.

A man from Connemara.

'Children of Mary', County Donegal.

‘Children of Mary’, County Donegal.

Eamon De Valera walks with church leaders.

Eamon De Valera walks with church leaders.

Priests at Maynooth.

Priests at Maynooth.

A priest blesses a garda.

A priest blesses a garda.

Going to mass in the west of Ireland..

Going to mass in the west of Ireland..

'Boycott British Goods and Courts' protest in Dublin.

‘Boycott British Goods and Courts’ protest in Dublin.

Horse market at Ballinasloe, County Galway.

Horse market at Ballinasloe, County Galway.

Cattle fair at Cashel, County Tipperary.

Cattle fair at Cashel, County Tipperary.

Sheep fair at Killarney, County Kerry

Sheep fair at Killarney, County Kerry

Nelson's column on O'Connell Street, Dublin

Nelson’s column on O’Connell Street, Dublin

A family on the Blasket Islands.

A family on the Blasket Islands.

An old woman on Great Blasket Island takes a rest.

An old woman on Great Blasket Island takes a rest.

A couple by the fireside in a cottage on Aran.

A couple by the fireside in a cottage on Aran.

Men from the Aran Isles.

Men from the Aran Isles.

People at a hunt gathering.

People at a hunt gathering.

The Westmeath hounds in Mullingar, County Westmeath.

The Westmeath hounds in Mullingar, County Westmeath.

A pack of hounds in Cork.

A pack of hounds in Cork.

An old woman in Cork.

An old woman in Cork.

Girl from Kerry leading a donkey

Girl from Kerry leading a donkey

Donegall Square in Belfast.

Donegall Square in Belfast.

Unionists celebrate the Twelfth of July in Belfast.

Unionists celebrate the Twelfth of July in Belfast.

Royal Avenue in Belfast.

Royal Avenue in Belfast.

The walls of Derry

The walls of Derry

The law courts at Londonderry

The law courts at Londonderry

Village thatcher at work in Fermanagh

Village thatcher at work in Fermanagh

A woman spinning in Donegal.

A woman spinning in Donegal.

Carrying turf at Donegal

Carrying turf at Donegal

Loading turf into a boat.

Loading turf into a boat.

The Claddagh, shortly before they were demolished.

The Claddagh, shortly before they were demolished.

A man from Connemara.

A man from Connemara.

'Tir Agus Teanga' ('Land and Language') meeting in County Galway.

‘Tir Agus Teanga’ (‘Land and Language’) meeting in County Galway.

A shop in Galway

A shop in Galway

Gathering Carrageen at Cashla, County Galway

Gathering Carrageen at Cashla, County Galway

A storyteller at Carna Feis, County Galway.

A storyteller at Carna Feis, County Galway.

An illegal distillery, location unknown.

An illegal distillery, location unknown.


A family in a cart.

A family in a cart.

An Ulster Childhood – Lynn C. Doyle

The Spirit of Ireland (Batsford 1935), prefatorily addressed to better class of English tourist since the others who visit would need no formal introduction to ‘the ordinary Irish’, described as ‘travell[ing] steerage in every relation to life’. [on a certain type of Irish-Irelander and language enthusiast],

They cannot love the Irish language without depreciating the English language; and forget that it is paying the Irish people no compliment to prove that eight hundred years they were held down by a nation of nincompoops

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Our feet no more shall chase the ball, Nor in the dance delight, Our sun of life has reached its noon, And now turns toward the night.
What then ? Its evening beams diffuse A clearer, mellower ray. And in the fields that knew its strength We see our children play.
Gazing, another morn of life To dear remembrance springs ; And, faintly sweet, across the years Another laughter rings.


This little book is not an autobiography. Neither the characters nor the incidents are taken unaltered from life. Not even the little boy is true, though the author set out to tell the truth about him. But a ” grown-up ” can- not tell the truth about a little boy, even if he would. In spite of himself humour and sadness will creep in ; and little boys have not enough experience of life to be either humorous or sad. So it is the grown-up author who has written the book, and not the little boy he used to be. But the author does not feel that the public is thereby wholly cheated, remembering how often in the writing of it he became that little boy again.






Some time ago, rummaging in a box of family papers, I came on an old wages book of a farm in the County Down. There were no dates given, but I surmise that it went back to about fifty years ago. One of the entries ran, “J. Lenaghan, half a year’s wages as second ploughman, £4 los.” The entry set me thinking ; for I remembered J. Lenaghan. Those were the days when a ploughman sometimes remained with one master his whole lifetime, and J. Lenaghan flourished as late as my boyhood. Perhaps ” flourished ” is not the word ; it would be more accurate to say ” existed.” I recall J. Lenaghan very clearly, a tall, stooped man, with a shock of black hair turning a little grey, and a sallow, melan- choly visage. It was no wonder if he was melancholy. He cannot have had much cause for mirth. He married late in life for an agricultural labourer, and of his six or seven living children — I cannot remember the exact number — none was old enough to help him. Prices were then much cheaper than they are in these days of war ; yet at the very best, when one divides nine pounds a year by a woman and six children the quotient is small. It is hard to see how the thing could be done.

Yet it was done, though with sad pinching and distress. I have heard the little Lenaghans crying many a time as I went past the house at bedtime, and I used to blame their mother for being a cross woman, and feared and avoided her ; but I think now that I wronged her, and that hungry little stomachs and little cold chilblained feet were the cause of most of the wailing ; and when I remember her pale, patient face I am sorry for my childish sitting in judgment.

But in those days it never entered my head, nor the heads of people a great deal older and wiser than I, that the Lenaghans were being hardly dealt with at all. We spoke rather more about the will of Providence than we do now, though perhaps we practised it less, and we thought it was the will of Providence that a ploughman should be paid only nine pounds a year, and that his wife and children should always be hungry, and himself and they scarcely enough clad for decency, let alone warmth and comeliness. We thought that Providence sent such folk on earth poor and kept them so, that we might pity them a little when we had time to spare from our eating and drinking and amusement to remember their sad case, and give them clothes that we could no longer wear, and a little food from our superfluity, and thereby do good to our souls.

I can see myself, a small, self-satisfied Pharisee, going down the road one frosty day with a pair of my discarded boots under my arm, and thinking myself a good many removes nearer Heaven as I walked back again with the grateful mother’s praises sounding in my ears ; and perhaps I was too. But I cannot have been very far advanced in saintliness, after all, for I know that when I saw the boots on the feet of one of the Lenaghan boys a few days later, neatly clouted by his father in his scanty evening leisure, I was heartily vexed that I had suggested their being given away. On the whole I recall the little Lenaghans as objects of my envy. I envied them their freedom from the restraints of propriety and social observance. I envied them their exemption from the brushing of teeth and the trimming of fingernails, and the to me excessive use of soap. I washed with reluc- tance in those days, even though I knew and detested how my nostrils would smart when my face was washed for me. I had a natural affinity for dirt, just as much as the little Lenaghans had, and I envied their unrestrained liberty to practise it. In particular I envied their exemption from the use of pocket-handkerchiefs and the consequent necessity of keeping them clean. I often emulated their larger freedom in the matter of nose-blowing ; but somehow I never could quite acquire the trick of it, and desisted regretfully in the end, confessing to myselfthat the little Lenaghans were more highly gifted than L Sartorially I envied them their emancipation from caps — and I might well do so, fo^ I am sure that any one of them that is living has more hairs on his head than I — and their use of mufflers instead of collars, and their bare feet and callous soles in summer-time, and their reckless exposure of their nether garments to rents, and their subsequent fine disregard of protruding shirt- tails. In the article of gloves I rather thought I had the better of them. True, I hated wearing gloves ; but they were an acknow- ledged mark of social superiority ; and when I went past their house on my way to church on Sundays I always pulled on my gloves ostentatiously, and felt that I predominated over the little Lenaghans.

Then I envied them the knowledge of wild birds and wild flowers and insects that seemed almost intuitive to them, but was a constant mystery to me ; for I was a town-bred child for some years. All I know of wood-craft I learned from them ; and I wish I had been a more attentive pupil. Later I tried to make up my deficiencies from books ; but know- ledge gained that way has not the same savour, and does not so dwell in the memory, or become part of oneself. To this day a yellow- hammer is a ” yellow-yorlin ” to me, and a chaffinch an ” apple-picker,” and a newt a ” man-creeper,” a wicked insect that if you fall asleep by a waterside crawls down your throat and exterminates you ; and I envied the little Lenaghans their knowledge of these things and of a great many other arcana of Nature into which I could never penetrate. But above all I envied them a certain kind of coarse sugar with large, flat grains, that their mother bought, and that presented its most alluring appearance when sunk in butter on the top of a split half-farl of soda-bread. And that is another source of envy that I had quite forgotten ; for the little Lenaghans ate griddle-bread — when there was any — and our bread was baked in an oven, and wasn’t the same thing at all. And, besides, they enjoyed another kind of bread compounded of oatmeal and potatoes — they called it ” praitie-oaten ” — and such a delectable viand was unknown in our house.

When I come to think of everything, the little Lenaghans can’t have had such a bad time of it after all. For their father must have had more wages than nine pounds a year by my time, and he took his meals in our house, and had his cottage free — though it was the full rent it was worth — and free firewood, and milk and butter at a cheap uniform rate, and a rood of potato ground. No ; decidedly the little Lenaghans had a better time of it than I recalled at first. And yet — and yet — I remember their father’s face — and their mother’s.
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In my young days the farm servants in Ulster always took their meals at the farm house. ” Board-wages ” were unknown, even for married men. The custom still obtains, but with the larger farmers it is fast dying out. The modern servant-girl will not endure it, and small wonder ; for under the system she was condemned to a life of endless drudgery, cooking and dish-washing. It is really she who has brought about the change ; for board-wages are abhorrent to the Ulster farmer, who, as a rule — like most farmers — does not care to part with ready money, and thinks he is keeping his wages-bill lower when he is paying part of it in kind.

But your modern country servant girl is a shy bird, and even threatens to become extinct. She must be humoured or she will fly off to town or city service, and having tasted of the sweets thereof will never return to the slops of a country kitchen, or the foul ways of a farmyard in winter. She has become nice in her habits, dresses in a passable imitation of her mistress’s imitation of fashion- able garb, begins to insist, most unreasonably, on a night off in the week the same as her town sister, is known sometimes to possess abicycle, and has generally, as my older country lady* friends keep telling me, become much more ” upsetting ” than the girls they re- member. To such an extent has she departed from common decency that I learn she has flatly refused latterly to feed pigs, and demands that this unseemly office be delegated to some man kind. Her mistress is obliged to bow to the rod ; and in the kitchen presents . an appearance of resignation if not of cheerful- ness ; but when you call on your country friends, and Herself has looked cautiously out of the room and then closed the door, you hear sad tales of declension from the standard of ” the servant girls of my day ” ; and how ” that blade in the kitchen is as big a lady as I am myself.” To ask of such a damsel the unending slavery of indoor feeding of farm- hands is obviously out of the question ; and so ” board-wages ” are coming in.

The indoor system had its defects. For one thing it pressed hardly on the married ploughman’s wife and children. He himself was sure of plentiful and nourishing food in most farmsteads ; but the residuary money wage was lamentably insufficient for his family’s needs, in times gone by, at any rate. But from the farmer’s point of view there were many advantages, the chief of which was that the master and his men were thrown into closer fellowship. They were more members of one family than employer and employed ;a keener sense of common aims and common interests possessed them. The servants were not the mere agents of their master’s will. They ^ook their part in shaping the destinies of the farm. If the master did not eat with his men he generally emerged from the Olympian aloofness of the ” parlour ” after the evening meal. The kitchen became a Parliament where questions of high policy were discussed ; whether the Barn Field should be broken up this year, or the Rush Meadow drained ; would the Hills bear cutting a second time, and was oats or flax the most likely crop for the Whinney Brae ; with a glance at such impending matters as the accouchement of the ” springer ” cow or the immolation of the fat porkers, whose evening meal the servant girl was at that moment making ready — no finicky modern miss in buckled shoes and a print dress, but a strapping, frowsy, red-armed wench, in clattering hob-nailed boots and a sack-cloth apron, or ” rubber,” as we called it, bustling about with a clash of zinc buckets, and driving even her master to hasty retreat from his own fireside with fear of scalded shins.

Under such a patriarchal system, while there was much more loyalty and esprit de cceur among farm servants, there was naturally much less observance of outward forms of respect. In Leinster and Munster, farms are generally large ; and there is a distinct gap between master and man. Farm servants there will call their employer ” sir,” and even touch their hats to him ; a thing we do not hold with in the Black North, unless we are working for ” the gentry.” But farms in Ulster are much smaller. In many cases farmer and hands sit at the same table, go afield together, and pick potatoes side by side in the same outhouse. In their working hours there is no social distinction between them. They will sit down amicably in the same ditch side to smoke a pipe together — literally ” a pipe,” for in the deficiency of tobacco I have seen one pipe do duty in alternate mouths with no greater sacrifice to ceremony than a perfunctory wipe of the mouthpiece on the seat of alternate trousers — and the servant’s address to his master is simply ” Robert,” or ” John,” or ” Thomas,” as the case may be.

The dietary in my young days was plentiful, but rough, and roughly served. For breakfast there was set down a great tin dish of oatmeal porridge, made with water or buttermilk— it was called ” paritch ” in the vernacular ; the first time I saw the word ” porridge ” in print it savoured to me of literary affectation ; and the men supped them — for we called it ” them “■ — out of tin mugs half -filled with sweet milk, and with iron spoons. After the porridge a mug of tea and a half-farl of home- made bread was handed each man ; and he drank his tea thankfully, even though he well

knew it was ” the room ” tea with an extra spoonful thrown in on the used leaves, and well watered. For dinner there was boiled home-cyred beef and bacon, mostly preceded by the broth in which it had been boiled, potatoes, and sometimes vegetables. On a Friday, if there were Roman Catholic servants, a couple of herrings, fresh or salted, took the place of the beef, and I have seen a half dozen men sit contentedly enough round a table on which a potful of boiled potatoes had been emptied out steaming in their jackets, and make a meal on them with the accompaniment of only butter and sweet milk. The evening meal was the same as the morning one ; but sometimes the tea was brought out to the fields about four o’clock, and the day wound up with porridge.

, We have become luxurious in the North now, I am told. Bacon and eggs are not unknown for breakfast ; in fact, labour impu- dently demands that they shall not be un- known. I have even heard of pudding for dinner ; but I cannot believe that. It would be a sore trial to my aunt, I know, if she were still alive. She had her own notions of how the lower orders should feed. The lower orders were aware of them.

A wandering mendicant used to call at our house occasionally, hoping for money, but generally put off with meal. One day — there had been a party the evening before — my auntstupefied him by setting before him a plate of chicken. He did not begin to it at once, and my aunt, thinking he was abashed by her presence, left the kitchen. As the door closed, the old fellow leaned over to the servant. ” Biddy,” he whispered cautiously, ” Biddy, what happened to the hin ? ”
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The country folk of Ulster are not much given to literature. Even in the towns we are content to subsist on scandalously short commons in the way of reading matter. It was but the other day I was reproached with the scarcity of book-shops in Belfast, and could only retort irrelevantly with the output of linen. True, we have taken no contemp- tible part in the Irish Literary Revival of recent years. Some of the sweetest singers among our latter-day poets are Ulster born and bred ; and the accomplishment of the Ulster Literary Theatre alone would justify us in claiming our share in the restoration of Irish drama to truth and naturalness. But the field of culture is restricted. The bulk of the people, in town and country, remain as unliterary as ever. The Gaelic revival has not touched us, at least one section of us. That section will have no truck with Maeve and Grania, CuchuUin and Conchobar, the Fianna and the Children of Lir. It looks upon these fabled beings as having their origin not in Ireland, but somewhere among the Seven Hills ; and is inclined to suspect themof a past not wholly untainted with the heresy of Home Rule. I do not think they will ever resume their sway in Ulster while the present population endures. They are too airy and unsubstantial for our Northern imaginations. I was reared in the Lowland Scottish tradi- tion of homely realism, and my Gamaliel was, strangely enough, a Celtic Irishman, one Paddy Haggarty, a servant on my aunt’s farm. Paddy was a quiet, modest little fellow, not dull, for he had a pawky mother-wit, but not much given to speech, and taking no part in the rough horse-play that passed for humour among his fellows. I was a diffident child, a little spoiled by loneliness and too much reading, and over-sensitive to jests ; and Paddy and I struck up a friendship. He slept in a small apartment off the stable, and after he had tested me sufficiently he admitted me to the intimacy of his chamber, a privilege never before accorded to any person about the farm. The first few nights passed pleasantly enough. Paddy had an extensive fund of country anec- dote ; and I unloaded on him the accumula- tions of some years of miscellaneous browsing among books, most of which I only partially understood. Though I failed to profit by Paddy’s lessons in the art of smoking, I made some progress in taking snuff. But the real glory of our friendship dates from the night when Paddy, after shuffling in silence on his stool for a long time, asked me suddenly ” If I knew anything of Rabbie Burns at all ? ” I answered that I knew nothing of him save the name ; but that I had often intended to read his poetry, only there was not a copy in our house. To this day I can remember the almost reverent expression with which Paddy drew the dumpy little duodecimo volume from beneath his pillow. That night the harness- room Burns club was inaugurated.

For a long period I was content to fulfil the part of congregation at our worshippings, and remain a listener while Paddy read and expounded. I remember that he began with ” The Twa Dogs,” and how the friskings of our own collie and mastiff rose before my eyes as he read. Till then my acquaintance with verse had been restricted to Pope’s Homer. This I encountered in an old- fashioned edition, in which the ” s’s ” were printed as ” fs,” or so they seemed to me. They puzzled me a good deal. I never could understand what the dart meant by ” hiffing on ” before it ” stretched in the dust the great Iphitus’ son ” ; but I accepted the reading without question, and the dart con- tinued to ” hiff ” for me during many years. But I had read Pope for the bloodshed rather than for the poetry ; and this was a new kind of poetry that Paddy was reading me. The note of sincerity touched even my childish heart ; the homely dialect words sounded kindly in my Ulster ears. ” Twa dogs^that were na thrang at hame.” From that line onward I listened with all my soul ; and when the poem was finished I had become with Paddy a devotee in the worship of Rabbie Burns.

In general Paddy was sparing of commen- tary, and such exposition as he indulged in was apt to be coloured by his political opinions. When, for instance, he read in ” The Twa Dogs ” of the ” poor tenant bodies, scant o’ cash, How they maun thole a factor’s snash,” he paused to explain that a factor was, with us, a land-agent. ” And, God knows,” he added heartily, ” the people of this counthry had plenty to thole from them too, before Billy Gladstone’s time.” But I was rapt in the discovery that ” thole ” and ” snash ” were real words, and that I might use them in the future without shamefaced- ness ; and Paddy’s agrarian bitterness passed by unheeding ears.

As became a younger disciple I accepted without question Paddy’s selections from the inspired text. His favourites were mine, and with a few exceptions they have remained so. To Paddy as a ploughman perhaps the ” Address to a Mouse ” had the more intimate appeal ; but I never had the heart to kill a field-mouse after. The homely truth of ” The Farmer’s Salutation to his Auld Mare Maggie,” ” The Death and Dying Words of Poor Mailie,” and ” Hallowe’en,” charmed us both equally. We both assented heartily to the imprecatory ” Address to the Toothache,” and even thought we derived some benefit from fhe use of it as an incantation, such triumphs has faith. Neither of us knew what a ” haggis ” was, but I am sure that had one been placed before us we would have partaken of it almost sacramentally. Together we shuddered over ” Death and Doctor Horn- book ” and the ” Address to the Deil ” ; but I think I was more openly sympathetic than Paddy to the kindly relentings in the closing stanza of the latter ; for Paddy was already in his bedchamber, and I had the dark yard to cross.

But ” Tarn o’ Shanter ” was and has re- mained my favourite. Not even endless repetition — and we repeated it endlessly — could abate one single thrill. I enjoyed even while I trembled. To this hour I can see Paddy lower his book and look at me as he delivered with solemn impressiveness :

That night, a child might understand The deil had business on his hand.

I feel still the stirrings among my hair. It was many a year before I could hear thunder after nightfall without a cautious glance round for His Majesty ; and even now I am easier on a country walk by night when I have put a running stream between me and the powers of darkness.

The poems of religious satire Paddy passed over in silence, probably out of consideration for my feelings, but partly, no doubt, because as a Roman Catholic the Auld and New Lichts stood for him equally as darkness. But he was aware of the purpose of these poems. Looking back I seem to discern from his reference to them that he derived some such satisfaction from this fouling of the Protestant nest as a Protestant might be supposed to draw from Erasmus’ Praise of Folly or Pascal’s Provincial Letters. The Songs neither of us read much. Here again Paddy may have been considerate of me ; but he was a staid little fellow, and not much given to dalliance. The Bacchanalian poems of Burns, however, appealed to him strongly. Though Paddy could not fairly be called a heavy drinker it must be admitted that in the matter of porter he was prone to occasional steppings aside ; and thirsty, mellow, or repentant, his mood was reflected in our readings. When the convivial element began to predominate I knew that Paddy would shortly go on the spree ; and I knew, too, that when the spree was over we would read largely in Rabbie’s peni- tential psalms. Paddy used them as proved as a cure, as a preventative they failed utterly, and at last after an unusually heavy spree Paddy betook himself to ” the clergy ” and scdemnly renounced drink. He did not renounce Burns though ; and it was with misgiving that I enjoyed his spirited delivery of ” John Barleycorn,” some months later. I was justified by the event ; for Paddy having occasion to go to the fair of C allowed himself to be persuaded by some casuist that lager beer was within the limits of his pledge, and was found that evening by a ganger of the local railway peacefully sleeping in the track of an oncoming train. I think at first he felt himself ill-used in this affair ; for I remember that he subsequently recited the stanzas ending

But if I must afflicted be

To suit some wise design,

Then man my soul with firm resolves

To bear and not repine,

as one rather bowing beneath the visitation of Providence than suff”ering from his own errors ; but his remorse did not endure long ; for a few nights after he read me ” Scotch Drink ” with a good deal of gusto, remarking cheerfully at the close that ” Rabbie was no reading for a Temperance man ” ; and so far as I know he never renewed his pledge.

Although I worshipped at the shrine of his idol with at least as much fervour as Paddy,began presently to decline somewhat from s pure monotheism. Having tasted of the i^eets of poetry I was not content with my ■St sip, but began to range further, and dili- ;ntly ransacked my aunt’s library for books verse. I could never carry Paddy with me. ot only did he refuse to be tempted from s poetical faith, but he was even chary of ibjecting himself to temptation. I remember lat in my browsings I fell a victim to the mble facility of. the Ingoldsby Legends. But iddy would have none of them ; and after taring the ” Jackdaw of Rheims,” refused to iten further, on the ground that though he as no bigot he couldn’t be expected to like range poetry. I confess that on reading le poem again I sympathised with him, and as so appalled by my failure in tact that I )stained from the harness-room for a long time. During this period of voluntary exile I learthed, to my great delight, Bloomfield’s armer’s Boy, and hastened with it to Paddy I a peace-offering. But Paddy made short ork of Bloomfield. He listened patiently lOugh till I came to the passage :

O’er heaven’s bright azure, hence with joyful eyes The farmer sees dark clouds assembling rise ; Borne o’er his fields a heavy torrent falls, And strikes the earth in hasty driving squalls. ” Right welcome down, ye precious drops,” he cries ; But soon, too soon, the partial blessing flies. ” Boy, bring the harrows, try how deep the rain Has forced its way ! ” then stopped me. ” Tell me, Master Lynn,” he said, ” did ye ever hear a farmer talk like that ? ” I had to admit that I never did.

” That’s where Rabbie has it over them all,” he went on. ” Rabble’s poetry is just like a labourin’ man’s talk, only someway or another it lilts itself into verses. — ^Was this Bloomfield brought up to the land ? ”

I said he was. ” Well, he got little good of his trainin’,” said Paddy. ” I’ll hold ye Rabbie could ha’ made a guess of how deep a shower of rain went into a turnip field without turnin’ out a harrow an’ a pair of horses.”

But I shook Paddy badly with a little volume of Robert Fergusson’s poems. I conducted my attack better than I knew then ; for Paddy was a fervent admirer of ” The Cotter’s Saturday Night ” ; and I began with its perhaps greater original, ” The Farmer’s Ingle.” I could see that the beautiful opening stanzas impressed him :

When gloming grey out o’er the welkin keeks. . . .

He listened to the end of the poem in silence, then took the book from my hand, and turned the leaves over discontentedly. ” The man has got most of his words from Rabbie,” he said at length ; ” but there’s no denyin’ he handles them well.”

Presently he came on the lines :

When Father Adie first pit spade in The bonny yard o’ ancient Eden His amry had no Uquor laid in

To fire his mou’. Nor did he thole his wife’s upbraidin’

For being fou’.

His bairns had a’ before the Flood, A langer tack o’ -flesh an’ blood, An’ on mair pithy shanks they stood

Than Noah’s line ; Wha still hae been a feckless brood

Wi’ drinkin’ wine.

Paddy closed the book with a smile of triumph. ” I doubt,” said he, “he’s only a narrow body after all.”

From that night on he would hear no more 3f Fergusson, and always spoke of him after- wards as ” that teetotaller.” Nor could I tempt him with other strange gods. ” No, Master Lynn,” he would say, ” Rabbie’U do fOr me. Rich or poor, drunk or sober, there’s always somethin’ in hini to suit a body. He’ll last me my time.”

If Paddy is above ground in the County Down he is likely of the same opinion still. The Gaelic Revival has repopulated the other three provinces, and the glens and mountains of Ulster, with fairies and leprechauns, whose airy tongues syllable a new language that is also old. But round about my part of the world we still people the dark hours with material and Gothic shapes, and call, in his own speech, on the great enchanter, Rabbie Burns.
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It was as far as I remember about three weeks after the coming of Anne Blaney to my aunt’s house as domestic servant that Paddy • Haggerty began to read the Songs of Burns. A very short time afterwards I heard him one evening crooning over to a tune that must have been of his own composing :

Her face is fair, her heart is true, As spotless as she’s bonnie, O ; The opening gowan wat wi’ dew, Nae purer is than Nannie, O.”

Hitherto the reading of Burns by Paddy and myself had been confined to the poems of country life, and the Bacchanalian ditties ; but from this time on we devoted ourselves, at the instance of Paddy, to the discreetly amatory verse. I was too young to understand the significance of the change. The song quoted above, which became Paddy’s favourite, and was the only one to which I ever heard him give musical expression, afforded no clue to my childish understanding.

I can see Anne now, a quiet, motherly little body, with a slightly pock-marked face, neutral-tinted hair, and clear, honest grey eyes. She was afflicted with a passion for tidiness that was a sore trial to both her and me ; nevertheless I liked her from the first. But [ should never have thought of comparing tier to an opening gowan wet with dew. To me she seemed quite old. Looking back, I suppose she must have been about twenty-six. But she was staid beyond her years. I could not think of her as ever having been young. [ am sure that not even Robert Burns would have thought of addressing her as Nannie ; ind I know she wouldn’t have liked it if he had. Yet she a\vakened romance in Paddy Haggarty’s heart ; and he hymned her in 2very variant of her prim name, and remained unabashed.

The other servants on the farm were more abservant than I was, and it soon got about that Paddy Haggarty was Anne’s ” boy.” I did not beUeve the story for a long time, and did not venture to speak to Paddy about it. But one day I came upon him embracing A.nne at the back of a haystack. I remember I thought it a rather silly business, and was chiefly impressed by the fact that I saw Anne’s hair looking untidy for the first time since she had come to live at our house. I was aware, however, that embracing was a recog- nised symptom in such cases, and from that time on took their courtship as a matter of course, and had no diffidence in inquiring from Anne shortly afterwards when she was going to marry Paddy. To my astonishment she began to cry, not violently, but in a quiet, restrained fashion. I think I must have had a sympathetic manner in those days ; for Anne dried her tears presently and said if I would go with *her to her room she would tell me all about it ; and that I was a kindly, good child, and it was no wonder Paddy liked me.

I was greatly flattered by her confidence, and sat patiently on the bed while she cried a little more before beginning her story. Then she told me that she loved Paddy Haggarty. He was the only man that had ever laid a finger on her, or ever would do so ; but she could never marry him.

I was very much astonished and distressed to hear this, and sat for a long time cogitating on the reason, while Anne cried again. Then I remembered that Paddy sometimes drank too much porter, and I asked Anne if that was why she wouldn’t marry him. But Anne said No ; as far as she was aware all men drank porter, and she would be lucky if she got a man that took it so seldom as Paddy. Finally she dried her tears and put her hand- kerchief back in her pocket, telling me very plainly and simply she had never been taught to read and write, and that Paddy had a deal of learning and was always reading poetry, and she knew he would never disgrace himself by marrying a wife who had no education. There was no use saying anything more about it. She had made up her mind, and thought  she could thole. I asked her if Paddy knew she could not read or write, and she told me he did not, and that she would die rather than tell him. And she said she meant to pretend she did not care for him any more, but kept putting it off, for she found it very hard to do. I was a good deal shocked by what Anne had told me ; for I thought it very likely she was right, and that Paddy would not marry a wife who had no education ; and I had learned from my lighter reading that to be crossed in love was the most dreadful thing could happen to any person. But I was rather glad she was so old ; for my sense of romance told me that but for this it would clearly be my duty to grow up quickly and marry her myself. Then I thought out another solution as I lay in bed that night, and fell asleep picturing Anne as the faithful foster-mother of my children after my young wife’s piteous death. But in the morning I had a still brighter inspiration, and hurried down to the kitchen with a conscience refreshingly clear about my unwashed face to tell Anne the difficulty was solved. I would teach her to read ; I was sure I could if she would only work hard ; and I knew she would do so, that Paddy might marry her soon. I remember that Anne was not nearly so excited as I had expected, but looked at me in her sober way and said, not very hopefully, she would try her hand at it anyway. I remember, too, that she sent me back to wash my face. I thought it very ungrateful of her after all my meditated kind- ness, and wasn’t quite sure whether I was doing tho, best thing for Paddy. But after breakfast my enthusiasm returned. When I came home from school with a new First Reading-Book for Anne in my pocket, I was so impatient that I thought it would never grow dark. For we had arranged that three nights a week I was to lie awake and meet Anne in the kitchen when everyone else had gone to bed, and the first lesson was to take place that night.

I can still see the dim kitchen, with ghostly shapes of hanging garments on the walls, and hear the creaking crickets, and watch Anne’s earnest face in the candle glow. I remember the very words of some of our first lessons. ” The cat is on the mat. Is it Sam or Pat .? Sam has a fat ram. Dan has a bad pen.” I observe a certain want of continuity in the thought ; but both Anne and I were too much wrapped up in our task to be conscious of it at the time. How often we repeated those phrases I cannot now compute, but it must have run far into the hundreds ; for Anne was a slow pupil. But I was too much elevated in my own conceit to be other than patient with her. I went about in a glow of self-righteousness, hugging my secret to my heart, and exulted over Paddy as a father might over his favourite son. Little dramatic  romances wove themselves in my brain ; how, for instance, Paddy should be called away to visit his sick mother just after Anne had learned to write, and how I would instruct her in composing a love-letter to him. Then I pictured Paddy’s amazement and delight when he would receive the letter, and how he would hurry back and clasp Anne to his bosom, and bring her off to his home just in time to have their hands solemnly joined by his dying parent. I was a little disconcerted in this particular romance by remembering suddenly that Paddy was not aware of Anne’s illiteracy, and so would not be surprised by ber letter, and spent many an hour vainly trying to re-cast my story, as I have often done since with other stories ; but I cannot recall whether I succeeded or not.

I know that the real story ended quite un- dramatically, as most real stories do ; for just about the time Anne was promoted to words of two syllables Paddy proposed to her, and was accepted ; and as far as I could find out there was never a word said about education at all. Nor did I inquire too closely into the matter. To tell the truth, Anne had been making a very poor hand of the two syllables. I had lost a little of my enthusiasm ; and was beginning to find it very hard to keep awake of nights. But I cried heartily when she and Paddy were married and went away to County Antrim, where Paddy had got a situation as under bailiff on a gentleman’s estate. Years later, when I learned about wedding presents, I sent Paddy a handsome edition of,Robert Burns’ poems. Later still, when I had learned the value of old friends, I went to visit the couple, and wasn’t a bit disappointed to find my beautiful present enshrined in ” the room,” carefully dusted, but never opened. Paddy still made use of the crabbed little duodecimo that he and I had read together many a night in the harness- room at home.

As we sat at tea Anne reminded me quite placidly of the nights when I had tried to teach her reading ; and Paddy and she smiled at the reminiscence, wandering on to talk of old times. Then I saw that the disparity of education had never been thought of much between them, or troubled their happiness.
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It is well known that in the North of Ireland we take our politics seriously ; and, since our politics and our religion are inextricably mingled, the same is true of our religion. On these two vital points some people thinlc we are as bitter as ever. I am not certain about it. One dogma, maintained equally firmly by Catholic and Protestant when I was a boy — the eternal damnation of all adherents of the opposite faith — is being considerably impaired by the lapse of time. We are as sure as ever we were that we are right and that our opponents are wrong ; but about the exact consequences of their error we are less positive than we used to be.

A story is told of a well-known Presbyterian divine who flourished in Ulster many years ago. After exhorting a backslider among his flock long, earnestly — and vainly — he raised his clenched fist — it was no small one — ” You’ll go to hell,” he thundered. ” You’ll go to hell as surely as I’ll crush that fly.” The fist des- cended ; but the insect avoided fate, and buzzed away unharmed. The chagrined minister silently followed its flight. ” Well, well,” he said at length, reluctantly, I am afraid, though he was a good man, ” the Lord is merciful and long-suffering. There may be a chance for you yet.” About our opponents in religion we begin in the North, perhaps equally rlluctantly, to be of the reverend gentleman’s opinion. There may be a chance for the other fellow, we think.

But when I was a boy there was no such sentimental tampering with the decrees, as we understood them, of a just Providence. Damnation, utter and final, was the lot of the goats ; and we were the sheep always.

About ninety-five per cent, of the scholars at the country school I attended till the age of eleven were of the opposite creed to mine. We of the five per cent, were under no delu- sions about the eternal future of the ninety- five, nor did the disparity in numbers ever prevent us from making our convictions mani- fest. I bear in my head records of our long controversy, principally caused by well-aimed road metal. It was at the close of secular instruction for the day, that war most fre- quently broke out. The majority suffered daily half-an-hour’s religious instruction after we were free to depart, and we used to linger a while to emphasise — indiscreetly — our ad- vantage.

As we made our post-bellum journey home, we often discussed with mingled awe and contempt what fearful rites were practised during that mysterious half-hour. I am sure the reality fell far short of our dark surmises.One of the hardier spirits among us nearly achieved initiation once by scaHng a window. It was felt to be a perilous mission. The rest of us watched from a safe distance, poised For flight. But almost in the very moment of success the adventurer’s toe slipped out of the too shallow chink we had secretly cut in the wall, and an abraded knee and a bitten tongue persuaded him that there should be no traffic with the unclean thing.

He was helped to this conviction next day by our Master, who had marked his dis- ardered flight. An upright, conscientious man, the Master would have been years ahead of bis age if he had been any less sure of our altimate damnation than we were of his. Yet he always dealt more than justice to the minority lest he might be suspected of bias. On this occasion he would have been more than human had he spared the rod ; for certainly it was in no spirit of reverence that fohnny D drew near his ministrations.

Once only did I know the Master to display something of the North of Ireland Adam. The warmer controversialists had hit on a device for conducting their disputes even during school hours. One young zealot would chalk on his slate — I blush to relate

it—” To H with the Pope,” and exhibit the legend for an instant, at the same time projecting over the slate a contorted visage svith thrust-out tongue ; to which his opponent hastened to retaliate by exhibiting in the same manner, ” To H with King WiUiam.”

Unluckily for the Romanist champion on a certain occasion, the Master, turning in his quarter-deck pacing, a couple or so yards short of his recognised mark, caught him in the very act of proclaiming his faith. Instantly he pounced on him, dragged him by the ear, squirming, to his desk, and drew forth his cane. To this day I can recall the deficiency of my saliva as I strove hastily to obliterate my own pious aspiration for the reigning Pontiff.

” Rub out that disgraceful sentence, sir,” roared the Master to the discovered culprit. ” And now, Joseph,” he continued with the inflection of sorrow that all of us dreaded and none of us believed in, ” I regret that I shall have to cane you soundly. But first I must tell you how hurt and pained I am to find you writing such a sentence on your slate. A Catholic should not be guilty of such an action. It’s unmannerly, and unchristian,” and  he was thought to have a turn of wit, and the temptation was too much for him — ” unnecessary.”

It was in this atmosphere that I was born and brought up, nor has the air greatly cleared since then. Yet none but an Ulster man can fairly criticise Ulstermen. The foreigner, looking at the surface of things, judges both sides too hardly. There was a good deal of  convention in our attitude towards one another n those days, as I think there is still. In ;heory we hated one another bitterly, but Dractice did not follow at theory’s heels, in country districts at least. Our childish freaks ipart, in all my boyhood I never knew of anyone being insulted on account of his religion, or beaten, or injured in his property or business. I never knew a man refuse to give jmplojrment on that account, or turn away a servant — or buy in a dearer market. These :hings may have been done in the towns — doubtless all of them were, except the last — but in the country I never knew an instance of them. About festival times, the Twelfth af July and the Fifteenth of August, there was a good deal of tall talk ; the flame of zeal burned higher for a space before and after these seasons ; but the two parties never came to blows in our district. I once saw blood spilt at the Twelfth of July ; but it was over a matter of precedence between two Orange Lodges, when in the fraternal conflict John Simson, a noted drummer, was grievously smitten with a flute.

We possess in the North one great corrective of bitterness, that dry sense of humour that is so often infused with self-criticism. We are conscious of our bitterness, and see the ridi- culous side of it now and then. In a strange way it is a bond of union between the two parties. I have heard a knot of Ulstermen of  both sides, thrown together at an election or a lawsuit outside their native province, beguile a whole evening with apt anecdote of their mutual feud ; and the shrewdest knocks were often self-inflicted. There is hope for the future in such an attitude of mind, when ” our follies, turning round against themselves, in support of our affections, retain nothing but their humanity.”

When I mix in such a gathering I see that the true solvent of our odium theohgicum is mutual intercourse. I esteem it fortunate that I was educated for some years at a mixed school. It does not seem, as I have described it, a nursery of toleration ; but seeds of tole- ration were sown there. When you go to school with your enemy, you are in the way to becoming his friend. The black-eye I received at the hand of Peter H over apoint of dogma, thirty years ago, is a tie between us nowadays when we meet. We differ on that point of dogma still ; but Peter will never blacken my eye about it again, nor wish to do so. We know each other, and estimating our differences, find them out- weighed by friendship.

I had other such advantages in my up- bringing whereby the root of bitterness has failed to flourish in my soul. The priesthood visited little at Protestant houses when I was a boy, and would not have been very warmly greeted if they had done so ; but old Father  and my Cousin Joseph liked and respected each other, and the old man was a welcome guest at my cousin’s house. I often met him there, and so lost my childish dread jf his cloth. Not even a little Ulster boy could have been afraid of old Father B .

Even my aunt, when speaking of him, went so Far as to say that ” there was good and bad af all sorts.” He used to give me pennies, and when his ramshackle phaeton with the old white pony in it overtook me on the road to school he never failed to help me on my way. Perhaps I would have been happier on foot. I felt my orthodoxy a little blown upon on the days when Father B drove me to school. On such days I wbs a keener partisan of the Protestant faith than usual. But this aggravation of zeal was only outward show. In secret my bigotry was being undermined by Father B and his pennies, and his pony-phaeton, and his white hair and kind old face. I was never in danger of becoming a proselyte to his faith, nor did he ever try to make one of me; but without knowing it he planted a little seed of toleration in my Ulster soul. Years after he stretched out his hand from the grave to water it.

When my Cousin Joseph died it fell to my lot to assist in sorting his papers, of which he had left a great many, being a kindly man to whom a friend’s letter was a precious thing. In the corner of a wooden box I found a parcel of letters wrapped up in an old news- paper. A marked passage in the newspaper recorded a presentation to the Protestant clergyman under whom my Cousin Joseph had sat — as our Northern phrase goes. I knew him well, a genial man and a tolerant, as befitted a bosom crony of my Cousin Joseph’s. I knew, too, that he had shared my cousin’s liking for old Father B . I had watched the pair smoke a pipe together many an evening. So I was not greatly sur- prised to find among the bundle of letters — which related to the presentation — one from Father B to my Cousin Joseph. It ran something like this :

” My Dear Joseph, — ” I hear you are getting up a presentation to my old friend, the Rev. Mr. N . You did not ask me to contribute. I can quite well understand why, though I think, my dear Joseph, you might have known me better. But I hope you will allow me to give some- thing towards it. For the Rev. Mr. N is my friend, and a man of peace which I think every Christian clergyman should be.”

When I looked at the list of contributors I saw that my Cousin Joseph had accepted Father B ‘s contribution. It was not the smallest in the list.

To a reader born outside of the Ulster of my youth it might not have seemed a very remarkable thing that one Christian clerg5nitian should wish to pay a mark of respect mother ; but I knew better. As I read Father B ‘s letter the old man’s face came back to me, and the face of his friend, and remembering that there were not many men of peace among the clergymen of those times I felt glad that I had been privileged to know two of them, and had found grace — though at some lapse of time — to profit thereby.
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My Cousin William was an Ulster Presbyterian of the old school. It was in his company that I first became acquainted with the Presbyterian form of worship. I did not find the experience altogether pleasant. I was a shy child, and shrank from notoriety ; and when at the first prayer he stood up in his pew, turning his back on the Minister, I confess I was appalled. A scared glance round the church showed me that all the elder men were standing in like fashion. I perceived that it would be indecent to kneel. But I could not bring myself to follow my cousin’s example. I felt that I should testify to the faith that was in me and refuse to stand up in the House of Rimmon. So I com- promised ; and suffered the long prayer in a crouching posture, resolving that I would never again stray from my own fold. It was in a highly critical frame of mind that I straightened myself up for the following psalm. But I did not long preserve my aloofness. The simple rhythm of the metrical version as the minister read it out struck pleasantly on an ear not yet attuned to the subtler cadences of our own Prayer Book rendering. My curiosity was aroused by the faint breathing of a pitch as pipe sounding mysteriously from nowhere, and sharpened by the musical drone of the un- marked precentor as he hummed the key-note. Then with a stern vigour that thrilled my heart the psalm arose, strong, simple, un- adorned ; and all my prejudices vanished. It was the forty-ninth psalm : ” God is our refuge and our strength,” and the tune was ” Martyrdom.” I had never heard such singing till then. There was an organ in our church ; our slender choir strove with it, but seldom prevailed, and we in the congregation left them to the unequal struggle ; but here everyone sang, men and women, girls and boys. Perhaps the result might not have pleased a more cultivated ear than mine. I still think my Cousin William would have been wiser not to sing. But I was moved by that psalm as I had never been moved by any music before. The ring of simple sincerity and defiant faith stirred echoes of old story. There was a rebel note in the strain. I was Henry Morton, and the high, stern hymn- of enthusiasm floated towards me across the marshes of Drumclog. That psalm interpreted to me the spirit of Puritanism. The tradition in which I was brought up has more of colour and warmth and mystery. I would not willingly adopt any other. The light of eternity, when it reaches me at all, comes to me through stained glass windows, and floating on the wings of cunning music. But the creed of my Cousin William was worthy of his sturdier race, and more bracing to the spul.

Time has modified the ceremonial of Pres- byterianism since my Cousin William’s days. There is a harmonium in the little meeting- house now ; and I am told they sometimes sing hymns. It is not for me to comment, much less to criticise ; but my cousin would not have approved. For him the Psalms of David were the only fit vehicle of praise. He was very hardly persuaded to consent to paraphrases. It was a pious thought to bury him in a distant nook of the kirk-yard, out of sound of the instrument against which he so long contended. Measured by feeling he dwelt in a religious world nearer the sixteenth century than the twentieth. The ancient practice was unimpaired by time so long as he continued a ruling elder. When the con- gregation broke the memorial bread together it was in apostolic simplicity. The humble board stood on trestles in the aisle. The minister prayed in such words as came to him, or read a few sentences from that piteous story of long ago ; the platter of bread went from hand to hand; the elders, passing roimd with a flagon, served the cup as Peter or John might have done in that Supper-room of nineteen centuries before. The worshippers ate their Sacramental meal reverently but composed, as men who looked not that their Lord should descend on them in the form of spirit, but rather take his place among them as Man. It is long years since I was present at the Presbyterain rite ; it may be conducted differently nowadays ; but I know that as a boy I witnessed it with emotion and tears.

Yet there was a certain matter-of-factness in their dealings with sacred things that from my training I could never attain to. I have been at a tea-party in a Presbyterian Meeting- house before now, but I would be well into the second cup before I began to relish my meal. I have often tried to enjoy the subse- quent concert, and have sometimes succeeded ; but I was never quite at ease. If the roof had fallen in at any moment it would only have been what I was looking for. But such a state of mind was nothing to what I expe- rienced the first time I attended Cousin William’s Meeting-house on Sacrament Sun- day, when as we drove home together he produced from his pockets a square of the species of short-cake used at the solemn table, telling me with a benevolent smile it was a portion that had been left over. I did not dare to refuse the offered fragment ; but I took it very much as some timid member of his band must have received the Shew Bread under the commanding eye of King David ; and my flesh crept as I ate.

But if there was little of the mystical in my Cousin William’s religion it was an ever present reality to him. His garment of righteousness was no ceremonial vestment to be put on and laid aside at sundry appointed hours knd times ; it was his daily raiment. His faith was childlike and unquestioning, troubled by no introspective pryings, enfeebled by no casuistries of doubt. Nor was he given to spiritual pride. His confidence was rooted in humility. He knew himself a sinner, and was therefore assured of his salvation.

For an Ulster Protestant of his generation he was tolerant, though for the eternal welfare of his Roman Catholic neighbours he looked perhaps more to the mercy of their Creator than to the efficacy of their faith. Yet I have heard him say more than once that he did not see why the Pope should not be a good man. He was practical, too, in his toleration. It was his boast that he had never made the difference of a shilling between a Protestant and a Catholic in his life.

He had his prejudices ; but he was slow to carry them to the point of interference with others. A fanatical teetotaller in theory and practice, I have known him to abstain from the Bench — for he was of the Quorum when his neighbour Barney D ‘s licence was in annual question. He would be glad, he said, to have the house closed, but he could not see his way clear enough to justify him in taking the bread from a neighbour’s mouth.

His pleasures were few and simple, and seldom led him beyond his orbit as a farmer. He loved a neat homestead, and delighted in whitewash and red-lead. His hedges were trim to a fault. Round about his dwelling they were his personal care ; and there fancy blossomed in him. The garden hedge was adorned with strange shapes of birds and beasts, a little stiffer, perchance, than Nature would have chosen ; but she was never able to steal a march on his shears.

He was handy with his clasp-knife, too. A whole army of fierce little soldiers, with bright red coats and bright blue trousers, stood to attention on sticks all round the house, and brandished their wooden swords fiercely in every breeze. The one in the front garden was my special favourite. He was more embellished than the others, in honour of his post of dignity. His red coat was adorned with blue buttons, and his blue trouser-legs had each a red stripe. His countenance was perhaps more striking than beautiful. His broad cheeks were very red, and his eyes very blue. My cousin used to say whimsically that he was an ugly fellow like himself ; and though I didn’t think my Cousin William ugly at all, I felt in my heart there was a resemblance.

There was a patriarchal simplicity in my Cousin WilUam’s way of living. He rose with the lark, and lay down with the lamb. He was fond of telling in his old age that he had never seen the lamps of B lighted. He was more the father of his servants than their master. After the evening meal he moved to the kitchen, and sitting in his great arm- chair — my cousin was a large man — put on his spectacles and read the daily paper to his housekeeper and his men. His comments on politics were coloured with a cautious Radi- calism. He did not love landlords, and had been a great tenant-right man in his day. But on the question of Home Rule he was what in Ulster would be called ” sound,” He admired Gladstone ; but thought his reforms should have stopped at the Land Acts.

When his early bedtime drew near he reached down from the cupboard the Bible and his book of Family Worship, and we had prayers. I always remained for prayers on a night when I was visiting there. I felt more secure when crossing the bogs after- wards. The Protestant men-servants used to remain, too; in many cases, no doubt, from a sense of piety, but not in all. I knew quite well that John H , his yard-man, had no such motive. John always fidgeted on his knees, and prayed with his pipe in his hand. I am afraid he caused sad wandering in my thoughts. Our little ceremony closed with the Lord’s Prayer. By that time John’s pangs had become almost insupportable ; I knew quite well |he would grope for a match about ” Deliver us from evil,” and though I closed my eyes reverently at the beginning of the prayer I always looked through my fingers then, in a kind of wager with myself whether I would hit the actual moment. I confess, too, that — little sinner that I was — some peculiarities of my cousin’s did not escape my magpie observation even in that solemn hour. I early observed that in con- ducting the service he fell into unconscious imitation of his worthy minister in manner and diction. Even in his pronunciation I caught echoes of the Meeting-house pulpit. The good clergyman, among other idiosyn- cracies of speech, commonly, I remember, said ” gresshously hear us,” and ” O Gud,” and my cousin faithfully copied these pecu- liarities in his own ministerings. The varia- tions took my fancy the first time I heard family prayers in my Cousin William’s, and I tried them in my own private devotions that night. But on reflecting in the dark I was convicted of levity, and clambered out of bed in the cold, and said my prayers over again.

But my Cousin WiUiam did not know the wickedness of my heart. I was a favourite of his. He thought me a good child ; and indeed his influence made rne so. When I was in his company I turned my best side outward.

It was not from hypocrisy, either. I loved my Cousin William, and respected and looked up to him more than to any other man I have known ‘before or since. He was a little old- fashioned in his notions ; the scope of his mind was not very wide ; he would have liked the thing that shall be to remain the thing that has been, and such an attitude does not make for progress. But he was simple, and good, and kind. If his creed was narrow his heart was big, and it was by the dictates of his heart that he steered his course in life. He was a shrewd man, too, within his limitations, and had a certain homely pithiness of speech, and could be angry for the right as he saw it. He stood for my con- ception of Doctor Johnson after my childish reading of Boswell ; and though I smile now, it may be that the great Doctor, looking to essentials as he always did, would not have disdained the comparison.

If my Cousin William had any weakness it was that he was a little too fond of land. Had I been the Adversary and my Cousin William enacting the part of Job, I would have assailed him on the tenth commandment, with a few acres of good meadow. Yet he would have prevailed against me. He made wide his boundaries while he lived, but died with the blessing of the widow and the fatherless.

He was a frugal man, but leaned more to saving than to getting, and did not make haste to grow rich. In the cause of charity or of religion he could be nobly generous, without self-righteousness. There was a heartiness in his bounty that multiplied the gift. Nor did he lack the grace of ‘small benevolences. I had gone to boarding-school before he died ; and when I said good-bye to him at the end of the holidays he always gave me a shilling, and patted me on the head and told me to be a good boy and mind my task. The last time I said good-bye to my Cousin William he was sitting by himself in his parlour. He was as kind and cheerful as ever, but a little graver. We had a long, quiet chat together ; and he told me about the days when he, too, was a boy. He had not been quite so well lately, he said ; and being confined to the house a good deal had fallen to thinking of old times. But I wasn’t to say anything at home about his illness ; for people had their harvest to mind. When I bade him good- bye he held my hand longer than usual, and prayed God to bless me and make me grow up a good man. I looked in my palm after I had left the room, and saw he had given me half-a-sovereign. It was a great sum of money to me then ; but I was not elated by my good fortune, and walked home very soberly across the bogs.
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To an Ulster boy brought up in a district where the two parties, NationaUst and Orange, were almost equal in numbers, and political feeling consequently strong, the name of a Home Ruler had necessarily a sinister sound. Home Rulers to my childish mind were a dark, subtle, and dangerous race, outwardly genial and friendly, but inwardly meditating fearful things. I knew that when the signal was given, and one never could tell the moment, they were ready to rise, murder my uncle, possess themselves of his farm, and drive out my aunt and myself to perish on the mountains. It was some miles from our farm to the moun- tains. I used to wonder dimly how we should be able to make our way thither at such a time. But in my aunt’s stories it was on the moun- tains we always died, and I felt that we were bound to get there somehow.

Looking back, it seems strange to me that both my aunt and myself should have tacitly exempted from our ban those Roman Catholics — for in my youth Roman Catholic and Home Ruler were synonymous terms — ^with whom we came into close personal relations. To me Paddy Haggarty, our second ploughman, was simply Paddy Haggarty. I took it as a matter of course that he should go to Mass on Sunday mornings, and eat fish on a Friday ; and attributed no particular turpitude to him on account of these things. As for my aunt, I know that in matters demanding honesty and fidelity she would have trusted Tom Brogan, her thirty years’ retainer, sooner than the Worshipful Master of an Orange Lodge.

Nevertheless, the unknown Home Ruler remained to me an object of fear and suspicion, hateful as an individual, but in association an incubus. The United Irish League was at that time the body through which Celtic Ireland sought political regeneration, and the League Rooms were as abominable to me as the Temple of Dagon to a devout Israelite of old. Even in the daytime its green shutters had a sinister look. I would not willingly have gone past the building after nightfall.

How I laughed not long ago to hear our little Roman Catholic maid plead to be ex- cused from an evening errand that would have led her past the neighbouring Orange Lodge. It was Lodge night, she said, and she wouldn’t go near the place for anything. But the incident illuminated my childhood. I saw that many a little Catholic, side by side with whom I had trotted to school in outward friendliness and inward mistrust, must have felt towards me just as I did towards him. The pleasant yellow of the Orange Hall shutters that smiled so reassuringly upon me, must to him have gUmmered malignantly through the mists of inveterate tradition.

Yet there was little of which he need have been afraid. I have never been an Orange- man ; but as a child I associated a good deal with Orangemen, and dwelt on the very fringe of their mystery. In my tender years the Twelfth of July was a sacred festival, and the procession a solemn rite. I tended the Orange lilies in our garden very much as the Roman Vestals must have nourished the sacred birds, and on the Eleventh night made oblation of them with swelling heart for the annual Arch under which Protestant and Catholic passed to and fro all the next day, doubtless with some diversity of emotion.

Our first ploughman, William Brown, put on something of the pontifical with his Orange sash as he went forth on the Twelfth morning. I remember yet my thrill when the tossing banners first gleamed yellow among the distant trees ; and when at the road end, holding tightly to my nurse’s hand, I watched the procession pass, the corybantes of fife and drum, whom I had known yesterday as mortal men and neighbours, were become a priesthood. Presently, as I grew stronger in the legs and was allowed to walk to the field of assembly in a lucky year when it was near at hand, I began to abate something of my awe. Carnal imaginings of cakes and ginger-ale began to mingle in my anticipations of the Twelfth.

I began to lose my dread of big drums as I encountered them piled inglorious on the field, and even to essay a sacrilegious thump at one now and then on the sly. Something of respect and wonder they still inspired ; but it was as merely mortal instruments. I imbibed legends of their acoustic powers ; how a drum with one head made of ass’s skin rose supereminent in sound above ordinary drums, but drums with two such heads were forbidden by law, such was their window- shattering might. A spirit of the virtuoso dawned in my mind. I began to perceive some evidences of design amid the welter of noise, to discern fine points of drumming. And then our neighbouring lodge formed a flute and drum band ; and big drums fell from their high estate for ever. Henceforward for me Orangeism connoted music. I longed to become an Orangeman ; but it was as a musician, and no longer as a martyr in a great cause. The possibility was now not utterly unthinkable. Quite small boys, I saw, were allowed to play the triangle. After one or two experiments with saucepan lids I even began to dream of the cymbals. But the ultimate reality was glorious beyond my imagining. My aunt became aware of my yearnings, bestowed upon me her blessing and a ” D ” flute, and sent me off one morning with William Brown to be enrolled in the band.

It would be too long to tell of my initiation and progress ; my timid entry into the sacred precincts ; the momentary return of my former awe as I marked the tattered flags hanging from the roof, the skeletons of time- worn drums, the mysterious regalia in its tabernacle of glass ; of my wrestlings with the high ” G ” in ” KiUarney,” and how the suave melody in “La Somnambula ” stole into my soul ; of my thrill almost to pain when I first heard the four’ short crescendo rolls in the penultimate phrase of ” The British Grenadiers,” and how in consequence thereof I deserted the flute for the kettle- drum. In one way it was not an unprofitable time. I cannot play the flute now ; and when but yesterday I essayed to renew the glories of the kettledrum — on a tin can — for my youngest son, my ” roll ” was a thing of naught. But all was not loss. I can look back now and recall, not the band of furious zealots eager to wade kn^e^deep in blood, that our neighbours were taught to see in us, but a body of sober-minded, earnest youths and men, cherishing a simple loyalty to ” those put in authority over them ” that often con- flicted with their own material interests ; hold- ing firmly to principles that they perhaps imperfectly understood, but for which many of them would have cheerfully died ; in theory detesting the religious tenets of the majority of their fellow-countrymen, but in practice kind and neighbourly without distinction of faith, and in their own place of assembly yielding to that very charm of rite and vest- ment that was so incomprehensible to them in the ceremonies of others. I like to tWnk that had I been privileged to enter the rallying-room of United Irishism I should have found there also nothing worthy of hate or dread, that I need no more have trembled to pass the temple of my little schoolmate’s childish political faith than he to pass mine. I remember, too, that in the bond of common craftsmanship our big drummer. Bob J , came closer to Barney H — — , the drummer of the ” Young Erin ” band, than he did to any Protestant in Ulster ; and dare to hope greatly for the future from that touch of Nature, working in nobler things.

Who shall appraise the value of common aims, and common interests, and common memories; of mutual knowledge, when we have discarded our blind guides, and know one another as we are, not as we are feigned to be. Who knows but my little friend’s grandson and mine may some day stand hand in hand with swelling bosoms when the drums break forth, and Orange and Green come down the road together in memory of dead Irishmen who fought in diverse causes, and sometimes with one another, but always for Ireland.
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As a boy I enjoyed a reputation for hardi- hood, in my Cousin Joseph’s family. When I set out of a dark winter’s night for the lonely two-mile walk home, no one ever thought of offering to accompany me. I marched off whistling, proudly conscious of the half -scared, half-admiring faces of the little cousins, my contemporaries, who clung around the door-cheeks and peered fearfully into the night. Cousin Joseph never failed to say I was a plucky fellow ; and his children’s quavering farewells testified still more eloquently to my courage. As far as might be I lived up to my reputation with them. If water had to be fetched from the well after nightfall, or old John the yardman summoned from his lonely ” sleeping-house ” away at the end of the farmstead, I -was always the one to volunteer for duty. When ghosts were timidly hinted at among us my voice was always high in derision — till an hour or so before my departure for home. After that time I played for safety ; and if I did not confess I was at least careful not to blaspheme.

The truth is, that night walk was a horror to me. From the moment that Cousin Joseph’s halldoor cut off light, and strange tree-shapes leaped up menacing before me, I scarcely drew a natural breath till I reached the ash- tree at the foot of our avenue. At that point I always took to my heels. Till then I kept myself in hand, and at dangerous spots walked slower than my usual. If I quickened my pace my courage declined. I felt myself in danger of running ; and I knew that if I once ran it was all over with me. I would be delivered into the power of the Adversary, and become the quarry in an infernal hunt of which the end was madness or perhaps death. But at the ash-tree our kitchen door was within the limits of a single effort ; and the impulse to lay hold on safety was always too strong for me. Besides, a little water- course ran under the road there. .But it was a tiny trickle at best. I was never quite sure of its efficacy except in rainy weather ; and for the most part I put my trust in speed. How well I remember that sobbing rush, and my creeping scalp, and the icy breath that struck between my shoulders. Then the struggle to regain calm that my knock might be unhurried, the endless moment of waiting, the glad -sound of scraping chair and clumping feet, and the shudder as I crossed the threshold. Not that I was a greater coward than any other child of my age, but my knowledge was more. Few children knew the ghostly topography of that journey as I did. For the first half-mile or so there was nothing more than such stuff for the imagination as any country road could furnish of a dark night, a misshapen bush, a wandering goat, a cottier’s belated washing. Such sources of the supernatural are not to be despised. It is a poor sheet that cannot find some shivering spirit glad enough to clothe his nakedness with it ; and many a ghost that holds its head high in the underworld is sprung from nothing more alarming than a stray goat with a dragging chain. But my homeward road had no need of such impostors. For the last mile and a half it was thronged with authentic spirits.

I knew too well the little bank where Tom Hillis had died of a surfeit of whiskey on his way home “from B races. He sat there every night at the hour when his tipsy spirit had departed. But no one had been present at his death ; and who was to say when the spot might not be tenanted ? I shut my eyes before I came to that part of the road ; and if he was ever sitting there when I passed I was spared the knowledge.

At the first crossroads William Dornan the highwayman had been buried with a stake through his heart, long before my time, for blowing out his brains when he was sur- rounded by his pursuers, instead of allowing himself to be brought to Belfast and hanged like a Christian, William was a merely historic ghost, picturesque but unconvincing. I had disinterred him from a local memoir and given him to the countryside again. But I was never able to bestow on him even spiritual substantiality. The statute of limi- tations had run for William ; nobody regarded him seriously ; I wasn’t very much afraid of him myself.

It was another matter with the Tinker’s Wife. The memory of her dreadful end still lingered in the countryside. I have spoken with old men ■ who had seen her husband and murderer executed. The precise spot where she died had become a little uncertain by my time. At any part of the tree-shaded quarter of a mile beyond the crossroads one might meet the couple, he stalking moodily a few yards in front of his victim, as they walked in life. That quarter of a mile I went softly, treading on the grassy margin of the road, my ears strained for the thin clash of tinware.

After that the oak on which Blind James had hanged himself remained to be passed. But Blind James had been considerate of little boys in his end. The fatal tree was full two hundred yards from the road. Of a moonlight night, it is true, his pendulous form was plain to be seen. But it is still a matter of faith to me. I never tested the authenticity of the story by looking. Last ordeal of all was the churchyard. No special legend of terror attached to it. For aught I knew its silent citizens had all been laid to rest with full rites, and patiently awaited judgment. But between midnight and cock-crow even the blessed dead might walk ; and I had small doubt that they exercised their privilege. It mattered little to me that I was never afoot in those hours. I could not tell how time ran in Hades, or by what calendar the clocks of eternity were set. I averted my face during my long passage of the churchyard wall, and thence onward avoided the error of Lot’s wife. It would have been wiser to look back. Ghost after ghost took up its silent station at my shoulder. By the time I reached my ash-tree the dread Trump might have sounded over K churchyard and awakened no more commotion than in a burial place of Sadducees.
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It was in Robert Murray’s that I had laid upon me my burden of ghostly knowledge ; the last cottage in County Down one would have associated with the supernatural. A cheerful, almost rowdy, cottier’s dwelling, filled to the brim with father and mother, half-a- dozen working sons, and two grown-up daughters, and running over nightly with casual droppers-in. Robert’s was my favourite cottage to visit in of winter nights. I liked to go there early and watch the womenfolk bustling over the preparation of the family supper. Perhaps hot griddle-cakes buttered, and of a lucky night sugared as well, had something to do with my preference. I had never eaten such griddle-cakes before. By telling ‘my aunt that, one night, I nearly cut myself off from Robert Murray’s fireside for ever. It was Mary Murray who baked the griddle-cakes. Hannah was the better-looking of the two sisters, and the livelier ; but Mary was the more industrious, in spite of her delicate health, and had the kinder heart. I loved Hannah during the greater part of my tenth and eleventh years ; but it was with a merely romantic passion, When I thought of marriage about that time it was always Mary I had in my mind.

A great deal of baking was necessary in Robert’s house. From about seven o’clock steady eating set in ; good, plain, appetising food ; endless farls of soda-bread and oat- cakes and potato-oaten, and tea in quarts, black and hot and strong, with three or four teaspoonfuls of sugar to every cup ; such tea as the sedentary worker does not drink with impunity after twenty-five. I look at the straw-coloured liquid I am condemned to nowadays, and sadden when I remember Mrs. Murray’s rich, fragrant brew of one and a half teaspoonfuls to each adult, and one for the teapot. None of your cheap tea either. The best teas in the London market came to the North of Ireland, I have heard it said ; and the best of those were drunk in the labourers’ cottages. No self-respecting cot- tier’s wife paid less than three and sixpence a pound when I was a boy. I lived to see top-priced tea come down to half-a-crown. It was advertised as a special blend, too ; but Mrs. Murray wouldn’t have believed in it.

Supper was a running meal at Murray’s. The men of the family came in one after the other, according to the distance they had to tramp from their work, satisfied their hunger, and took their places by the fire. By the time dishes were washed and the womenfolk had ” cleaned themselves ” callers began to arrive. The kitchen door would open slowly just wide enough to admit a head and shoulders. When the newcomer had surveyed the company, and saluted them with a slow sideways nod of the head, he would permit his legs to enter, and then seat himself in silence and get out his pipe. In about ten minutes he would be thawed enough to join the con- versation. By the time he was amalgamated in the circle, another visitor would have arrived, till about eight o’clock the kitchen was half-filled with people and completely filled with smoke. Tongues were well loosened by then ; jest and banter flew round the younger people, coarse enough at times, but always good-humoured and taken in good part ; rough practical jokes were played ; stories told, and riddles propounded ; while in one corner Robert discussed serious matters with a few elders — the cost of food-stuflFs, or the price of pigs ; now and then raising his voice in a vain appeal to ” let people hear their ears.” At the back of the circle Hannah moved about ceaselessly in a shallow pretence of housework, rubbing this and polishing that, all the time keeping up a stream of chaff and repartee, and playing off one admirer nicely against another, with the cruelty of the heart- whole. From such a bustling scene the spirit- world seemed far distant. I forgot that the longest evening will come to an end, and that, sooner or later, I must go out into the dark. But I would shortly be reminded of it. About nine o’clock Robert went to bed. He was a railway ganger, and had generally miles to walk to his job. When he retired the eMer naembers of the company went home. Robert’s temper usually endured the increased noise about half-an-hour. Several times in that space his wife would be sum- moned ” up the room,” and would return with orders for ” less noise ” ; but it was always quite clear from her manner that she sympathised with youthful high spirits, and I am afraid we paid little attention to her.

Finally came Robert’s exasperated bellow, demanding to know ” who the devil could go to sleep with that row going on.” It was then that voices lowered, and chairs were drawn up to the fire, and ghost stories began.

Now was Mary’s hour. Hitherto her gentle presence had been obscured by her sister’s flaunting charms ; but now her mild influence flooded the room like moonlight, and subdued our souls to awe. Her pale, transparent features took on something of the mystic as she spoke ; we saw her fate in her face ; and listened to her as to one who was nearer the other world than we. It was not by Mary that my soul was filled with the terror by night. Her imagination rapt her above the grotesque and the horrible. The spirits that visited Mary had their habitation in the upper air.

But of the grotesque and the horrible we had plenty. The rest of the company leaned to the traditional, the clanking chain, the white sheet, hollow moans, and furniture that stirred without mortal agency. I became expert in the habits of ghosts, and skilled in divining omens. Magpies and rooks became birds of fate to me. The death-watch de- ferred my slumbers. — In those days I had no mind to die sleeping. — I knew that the solemn knocks portending death were always three in number. I have heard them sound many a night, and hoped they were for my uncle. I learned why ghosts ” walked ” ; and from the circumstances of a spirit’s departure could nicely have estimated its chances of quiet rest. Any ghost, it is true, was liable to return, generally to a churchyard, though sometimes to the spot where it had quitted the body ; but in many cases the likelihood was greatly increased, and in some return was certain. The spirits of unchristened children, for ex- ample, always returned. But these were hardly numbered among my terrors. For some reason I saw them with my mind’s eye as little blind kittens, and had pity for them, but no fear.

Deaths by violence or misadventure were fruitful of ghosts, suicides especially. These yielded a most unpleasant class of apparition, given to harrowing reproductions of the rash act that has cut them off from life. Murderers ” walked “—that is, if they had been detected and duly hanged. A malevolent and dangerous class these (Robert Murray the younger was fond of relating a narrow escape he had from one » of them), fortunately restricted to the neighbourhood of their crimes. Persons wrongfully dispossessed of houses or lands became a nightly burden to their dispossessors, but were seldom visible to anybody else, and might be set down as negligible. Buried money and hidden wills were accountable for another more or less harmless body of ghosts, too much occupied with their quest to concern themselves with the living, but troublesome, and in time apt to become wearing. Mrs. Murray had been pestered out of a comfortable house in her early days by such an absent- minded spirit, not to speak of twenty-five pounds she had lost through his forgetfulness while in the flesh.

All this grisly lore, and much beside, I received without question. I compiled a mental catalogue of all the troubled spirits that had walked our neighbourhood within living memory, and could have filled in an outline ghost-map of the district five miles round my uncle’s house. Thereon I could have marked not only legitimate ghosts, of men and women once alive and dreading ghosts themselves, but banshees, black dogs, and will-o’-the-wisps ; and fairy thorns, round which the little people danced each moonlight night, and might not be looked upon without deadly harm.

I have outgrown all these phantoms. I have enshrined reason, and am become material. No goblins haunt my night journeys. Dark- ness and light are alike untenanted for me. I could root up a fairy thorn nowadays, and fear no evil.

It is not all advantage. There is departed with my childish bogies much that I would not willingly have sacrificed. The fairies no longer dance in the moonlight, yet now how gladly would my eyes behold them. How gladly would I renew the terrors of that walk from my Cousin Joseph’s if the old man were still there to hearten me on my way, and if my feet were still bringing me home.
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The library in our house was also the lumber room. All the rubbish of a generation had found its way there. The room was seldom entered by any adult member of the household except to add some fresh specimen to the collection. It was my kingdom. I had good times as a little boy, as good as any other country boy, and better than any town one ; but the happiest hours of all I spent squatted on the dusty floor of the lumber- room poring over some dog-eared volume, often far above my childish understanding. It was then I first tasted the pleasures of the imagination, and discovered that man could make out of his brain a brighter, more desirable world than this everyday earth ; and could betake himself thither when the old world became too burdensome. I took too much of my exercise in that new world, and sowed the seeds of dyspepsia and short-sight thereby. But my bane brought its antidote with it. I learned to rank a good book above a good dinner ; and if my sight is short, perhaps I can see more with it than some who have it longer.

When meals were ready I was always sought in the lumber-room. And then, when the barn had been explored, and the stable, and the hayloft, and the garden, and the grove of trees beyond the paddock, I was sought there again. Only in my direst extremity of wrong- doing would some elder seek me in person. The steep flight of stairs, little better than a ladder, that led to my enchanted attic, was my protection. No one willingly toiled up that ascent. Not the maids, for they feared to discover work there. Not my aunt, for her shortness of breath. Not my uncle, for private reasons of his own. I lingered till wrath was as hot as dinner was cold, reading furiously in hope of reaching some duller passage before the menacing note that pre- luded an ascent should sound on my ears ; and, in the trance of some delightful para- graph, a new discovery or an old favourite, staving off the inevitable moment with a series of absent-minded assurances that I was ” coming.”

There have been no books written since like the ones I read then, and there never will be. Even they themselves are not the same. There is not the same savour in a tournament now as in the days when I was Ivanhoe, and overthrew Front-de-Bceuf with a lance made out of a withered hollyhock, and marred my Cousin Barbara’s cheek for a twelvemonth. Many a wonder has shrunk into the ordinary since then. Rupert Donnerhugel’s two-handed brand has only one hilt now, and Christian’s two-edged sword but a single blade. Brian de Boys-Gilbert pronounces his name quite differently in these sophisticated days, and isn’t the man he was ; and though the Sangreal is still a shadowy substance, it is no longer contained in my aunt’s willow-pattern soup tureen.

It was in those days that I first knew the joys of battle — in Josephus’ Wars of the Jews. I shared my discovery with the milk-cart driver, a bloody-minded youth like myself. He was a strong Orangeman, and as soon as he learned that the fighting was about religion he became as eager to listen as I was to read ; but when in course of time it emerged that the Pope as then was not, he couldn’t see what there was to fight about, and left me to finish the book alone. In those days, too, I read Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, in a one- volume edition printed in what I know now to be ” Minion ” type, and ruined my eye- sight and my English style for ever.

My chiefest treasure was Cassell’s Penny Readings, that admirable miscellany. Here first I met Kinglake, and the tall busby, and the thin red line. Scott’s version of ” The Wild Huntsman ” was there too. I remember the fearsome illustration. My mind was attuned to such horrors. That frenzied horseman with his hell-hounds swept the Barony of Lecale nightly for years after. Then there were the illustrations to Froissart’s Battle of Otterbourne, with the moonlight glinting on the corsleted dead. I forgot my Scots blood in Sympathy with the losing side, and have hardly yet got over my sorrow that Sir Henry Percy did not recover his pennon.

But a certain set of volumes stands out in my memory before all my other books. One of the minor tragedies of my childhood was connected therewith. It was an Encyclopaedia in ten volumes. I recall them clearly, their grey dust-covers, and scarlet edges, and the bright blue cloth binding patterned in gold. The title was The Popular Encyclopeedia, or Conversation’s Lexicon: I missed the apos- trophe in the sub-title, taking the word lexicon for an unknown adjective archaically placed after its noun, and found the phrase attractive, though I sometimes wondered how one carried on lexicon conversations. At first the books brought pleasure and interest into my life. The full-page plates I loved especially. About that time I was in search of a new career, having in turn given up piracy and soldiering ; and the illustrations of steam-engines fixed my wandering fancy for a while. I remember, too, that from another plate I became acquainted with the interior wonders of the human frame ; and abandoned the art of walking on my hands, just as I had nearly mastered it, from a feeling that it was better to let well alone. The mass of information in the letterpress filled me with joy. I took all learning for my province, and hugged myself that there was so much to know, and that so few people could be aware of that. I used to cram up some out-of-the-way subject, and then art- fully lead up to it in conversation, and made no small reputation in this way, particularly at school.

This display of knowledge was my undoing. Not content to shine merely among my fellows I must show off my learning before the Master himself. I did this partly out of vanity, but not altogether. There was policy in it, too. Many a time when my lessons were not too well learnt I belied the anticipative tingling of my palm by a timely display of supererogatory knowledge. At length the Master began to observe that the range of my information was beyond the ordinary, and sought the reason. I was but too glad to disclose it ; and not only told him of the Popular Encyclopcedta, but in a folly compounded partly of pride, partly of sycophancy, offersd to lend him the precious volumes. I had reckoned without my aunt. When I asked her permission she refused it flatly. She had lent books before, she said, and remembered what had happened to them. If the schoolmaster didn’t know all he needed to know, at his time of life, it was a shame for him. Let him buy books if he wanted them. She had never heard the like.

The next thing she supposed would be his wife would be asking her to tea.

My aunt was so very hot upon the subject that in any other circumstances I would have yielded silently. But this was no ordinary case. I had volunteered the loan in humble propitiation, as some meek pagan might have vowed his choicest wether to the altar of Hades, and my offering had found favour. Not even the most superstitious of heathen could have quailed more at the prospect of drawing near the temple giftless than I did at the thought of going to school next day without the promised book. The Master had the reputation — with parents — of being a just man ; but the justice of the grown-up has to the young very much the appearance of tyranny, and we esteemed him harsh. To tell the truth, justice was the last thing I was seeking. Hitherto, from a social standing a little above the average in a country school, and a certain flashiness of parts, I had enjoyed a degree of favouritism, and had traded on it, and was loth to forfeit it. I was too well aware that an impartial report of my school- work would speedily lead to the curtailment of my dear, desultory readings, and I grieved at the thought of giving up Malory for Euclid. True, I might say my aunt had forbidden me to lend the books ; but danger lay that way also. I knew the Master’s disconcerting intuition too well to hope that he would not perceive the implied slight, and saw myself a vicarious sufferer for my aunt’s snobbishness. I pleaded with her, but to little purpose. The utmost my entreaties could wring from her was that I might lend the Master an old two-volume edition of Chambers’s Encychpcedia. I was to palm it off as the real Simon Pure. He would never know the difference, my aunt said. But I remembered too well my boasting of the ten beautiful blue-cloth volumes, and found no comfort in her words. Besides, my self-respect rebelled against the insincerity. I would rather have faced the penalties of direct refusal than have attempted that degrading subterfuge.

I spent a night of weeping and rebellious thought, and arose to crime. When I entered school that morning I laid the first volume of the Conversations Lexicon on the Master’s desk, and along with it — a supplementary offering — the two- volume Chambers’s. The ten dust-covers of the Conversations stood up erect and portly as before, but one of them, a little more portly than the others, but less fortified with learning, must have shared my tremblings when my aunt’s footsteps approached that steep little stair.

My crime was not without recompense. I set home-lessons at nought while the Master was working through the Conversations, per- fecting myself in Malory, and making further inroads on Gibbon. But I paid bitterly in  the end. The shadow that had fallen between my aunt and me was not lifted when the Master had finished with the Encyclopeedia. Just as niy conscience began to feel a light- ening, disaster befell me — at the ninth volume. On my coming home from school, I had hidden it in the cavity of the hollow ash, that I might restore it to its place in the bookcase after dark. When I returned it was gone. I remember how frantically I hunted through the little copse, sobbing and distraught, and returned every now and then to the hollow tree, insisting to my incredulous mind that it must be there. I dared not make inquiry among the servants. For weeks I wandered deviously about the garden and farmyard in an unhoping search. Gradually I desisted. In time the sense of disaster began to weigh less on me. But always at the back of my mind there remained a little canker of uneasiness. I used to lie awake at nights, and picture some lucky happening, such as a fire, that might wipe out the evidence of my crime for ever. I even thought of bringing about a small conflagration myself ; and if I could have been sure I would burn down nothing but the attic I think I would have risked it. Still more dreadful imaginings visited me. I saw myself assisting at the obsequies of my aunt, weeping, yet supported in my grief by the thought that now she could never know I had lost the ninth volume of the Conversations Lexicon. Then I would feel I was a very wicked little boy, and could scarcely wait for morning lest I myself should die before I had confessed my crime ; though I never did confess when morning came. But I laid up treasure against the day of discovery, becoming a better boy towards my aunt, less disobedient and neglect- ful, more eager to anticipate her wishes. This was the easier for me because I had left off my reading, and only stole up to the attic now and then to look inside the dust cover of the ninth volume in case a miracle should have happened. My health improved under this change of habits. It would have been better for me, for both worlds, if I had con- tinued in my state of Damocles. But my deliverance was decreed.

One day as I was wandering restlessly about the house my aunt asked me a little sharply if I could find nothing to do but tramp up and down and destroy the carpets. What had come over me, she asked, that never used to have my nose out of a book. She did not wait for an answer, but clapped her hands suddenly, and rose and went into her bedroom. When she came back she bore in her hand a volume of the Encyclopadia. I was a very careless and forgetful little boy, she said, to leave a valuable book like that in the stump of a tree. It might have lain there till Doomsday if her bantam hen hadn’t taken to laying away. But she was as bad as I was, she declared to her goodness, for she had forgotten hiding the book to give me a fright. I was to put it in its place, and promise never to take a book out of the house again, and she would say no more about it.

I did not need a second telling, as you may guess, but hurried up the stairs. As I sat on the ground before the complete ten volumes of the Conversations Lexicon I thought I should never be unhappy again. Then I remembered that my aunt did not know I had lent the books to the Master. In my exaltation I resolved to tell her, and clear my conscience altogether. But on reflection I decided to let sleeping dogs lie ; and sat down on the floor again with Gibbon, and finished the siege of Constantinople.
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I was a poacher in my young days. An Englishman will think this disgraceful. To him a poacher is an evil-doer who does not respect the rights of property. But in the County Down of my childhood we had very democratic notions about game birds, and did not recognise private ownership of them at all. A poacher to us was simply a person who brought himself under the law by carrying a gun without Government licence ; and even in the North-East corner of our island no one is looked down on for breaking a law he does not like. One or two farmers, who aspired to the Commission of the Peace, or lived near a police-barracks, took out ten- shilling licences “to carry and use a gun;” and ” the gentry ” were understood to pay incredible sums for the privilege of shooting game ; but the percentage of guns that con- tributed to the upkeep of Her Majesty’s Government — I write of Victorian days — was small. Our local landowners made little attempt to preserve game ; yet there were few districts where it would more have needed preservation. There was scarcely a kitchen fireplace in the Barony of Lecale but some old fowling-piece hung on a couple of nails above it.

We had no neat hammerless guns in those days, to make killing easy. Even double- barrels were rare, and conferred dignity on their possessors. On Saint Stephen’s Day, when old and young went forth to kill, I have seen converted Brown Besses do their part ; huge engines of destruction, with a barrel as long as a fishing rod and as wide as a gutter- pipe ; historic relics that might in their time have hurled defiance and an ounce and a half of lead against the French at ” Salamanca or Waterloo.

In those days smokeless cartridges were not. Dense fumes of sulphur filled the sportsman’s eyes after his shot, and prolonged the hopes of the unskilful. There were, indeed, no cartridges. We loaded by the muzzle, then. It was an empirical business with most of us. The timid and the finicky might nicely esti- mate their charge with powder-horn and shot- bag, but the impecunious, which embraced all small boys, measured with the open palm and put their trust in a tough barrel and a strong collar-bone.

First went in your powder, then a wad of newspaper — ^we called this ” colfin,” I remember — on which you hammered till your ramrod would leap clean out of the barrel ; then your shot, or ” hail,” and another wad of “colfin,” the last not too tightly hammered if you valued your shoulder. Before placing your cap it was well to look in the nipple for the glittering grains of black powder. Without this precaution miss-fires took place ; and apart from the frustration of your deadly purpose, miss-fires were undesirable. When the cap snapped and no explosion followed you did well, if you were a little boy, to lay your gun on the ground and withdraw to the rear, lest after some inward meditation it should decide to go off after all. I had an action of battery against a gun-butt many a time before I fathomed the mysteries of priming and the deceitfulness of damp powder.

I began my shooting career with a humbler weapon than a gun. I was my own gun- smith, and my fire-arm a pistol made of elderwood, or as we called it, ” boortree.” But my quarry, though I did not know it, was noble, being no less than a little boy of nine. I only just failed to bag him. The greater portion of my pistol returned to its original elements on the occasion ; the rest is still embedded in my right thumb. So I never killed anything with my boortree pistol, thereby falsifying much prophecy. But the disaster to my thumb more than satisfied my aunt’s ambitions as a Cassandra ; and lest a worse thing should befall I was by her good offices with my uncle promoted to a single- barreled snipe-gun that had been my grand- father’s, and took the field in earnest.

It was one thing to possess a gun and another to find a mark for it. The harvest was scarce on account of the multitude of labourers. Nothing that flew or ran wild lived long in the County Down of my child- hood, if only it was eatable. If a covey of partridges ever flew into our district from a far-off demesne I am persuaded it never alighted. As for hares, the rumour of one mobilised every gun* for five miles round.

The L hounds were called harriers ; but it was a courtesy title. If a single dog of the pack could have distinguished between the scent of a hare and of a red-herring the knowledge came through heredity and not experience.

Yet one famous hare sojourned on Hazel Knowe Hill a whole winter, defying fate and powder ; a thing incredible had the fact not been attested by numbers of the unsuccessful, who swore to her tattered ear. In time she became legendary. Dick Murray saw her once, and said she was as big as a calf. Accor- ding to some she had the power of being in two places at the same time. Others said she was a witch and could only be killed by a silver bullet. The L harriers drew Hazel Knowe Hill three times for her in vain ; after which a generation of sceptics arose who denied her existence.

But such a hare there was, for I beheld her miserable end at the hands of Robert Seeds, the roadman, the meanest pot-hunter that ever drew trigger, a man never known to burn powder on anything flying, or even running. Stalking this murderer one evening at a distance of a hundred yards or so in hope .of the reversion of something he should miss, Lsavi^ him suddenly point his gun at a tussock of long grass almost at his feet and fire both barrels. I ran up to find him ruefully gazing at the limbs of the famous* hare. The body he had blov\^n to fragments. The tattered -ear was there, however, plain to be recognised, and might have made the foundation of a fairer fame for Robert ; for wanting a witness of the deed no one would have believed the great hare could have fallen ignominious, a sitting shot. But I refused Robert’s proffered fourpence, and what was harder to refuse, a single-bladed sailor’s knife, the very thing for a young pirate, and took good care that on one occasion at least murder did out.

Such quarry as partridges or hares seldom fell my way. Wood-pigeon, or green plover, with an occasional rabbit, stood at the top of my bill of fare. I say of my bill of fare, for it was a point of duty with me to eat all I slew. For this reason after my first year’s shooting I spared water-hens. True, a water-hen may be eaten, and is certainly better-flavoured than a coot ; but when one has said this the limits of eulogy have been reached. To sportsmen of above twelve years of age I do not recom- mend either bird. But the small fowler should not too early despise the day of blackbirds. They are toothsome little fowl, and if you are pleased to imagine yourself Lemuel Gulliver, make quite respectable capons ; though it will occur to you that Lemuel must have very often gone hungry to bed on his first voyage.

Perhaps I should have done better to shoot as well as eat in the country of imagination. There are no ten-shilling licences in shadow- land. When I went forth as Uncas or Hawk- Eye, and my flintlock was an ash sapling, and I tracked the noble savage through the pathless forests of my uncle’s planting, though my bag was lighter my mind was more at ease. The actual practice of shooting was a wearing business. There were jealous landowners to be looked out for, and cranky farmers, and the police, and an elusive and sinister being known as ” the gauger,” who spent his days searching for the unlicensed, and had power to mulct in fearful penalties. When you saw such a one in the distance — and to the uneasy conscience he was Protean in his shapes — you hid your gun among the briers and looked cherubic and picked black- berries. Only, if you were prudent, you thrust your gun into the briers muzzle fore- most, so that when pulling it out again you avoided receiving the charge in yoiir dia- phragm, a catastrophe I nearly failed to avoid once — by inches. That and a certain tame goose I once shot are among the humiliations  of my sporting career. Still, Time brought in his revenges. Years afterwards I served up that goose, with brier trimmings, to a kindly, editor, and recovered my seven-and- sixpence with large interest. But I still blush over two pickles of lead in old Tom Brogan’s ankle. He showed me them while he and I were hunting for the miscreant who had fired the shot, a tall, dark man with a beard, as I described him, who was never again seen in the country. I shiver yet when I remember how narrowly we escaped finding his gun. It was a light single-barrel, and had once belonged to his grandfather.

I should have been more careful with a gun. I had been well schooled to prudence, and by the best shot and the keenest sports- man I have ever known. This was my Uncle Bob, who was not my uncle at all, or any relation, but an old family friend whom I had adopted to uncleship. Privately, between myself and my imagination, he was really Rip Van Winkle. And indeed, as I remember him, he might have come straight down from the Kaatskill Mountains after awakening from his long sleep. I am sure my Uncle Bob’s beard was as long and straggly as Rip Van Winkle’s, and had been innocent of a barber for quite as many years ; and his shooting- coat was quite as old, and his complexion as weathered with sun and frost and rain. But though it is probable that Rip Van Winkle’s eyebrows had grown grey and bushy like my uncle’s, the eyes that looked out under them could never have been so keen and piercing ; and I am certain that Rip Van Winkle was not so good a shot. Lastly, I know very well that no woman in the Kaatskill or the parts round about could have henpecked my Uncle Bob.

He lived some miles away, in a country of bog and woodland, where game would have been more plentiful than with us if my Uncle Bob had not lived there. By profession he was a farmer, but shooting was his calling. All his energies were directed to the destruc- tion of wild life. In antediluvian days he would have been as great a hunter as Nimrod himself, perhaps a greater. When Nimrod was a boy of seventy or so I cannot think he knew as much of the habits of game as my uncle did, or had killed as many hares and pheasants and partridges and wild ducks, or was as anxious to kill more. I would have backed my Uncle Bob against him any day at finding a hare, or divining where a covey of partridges would alight, or at what freshet you had best wait for wild-duck on a frosty evening.

I do not know whether you could have said that my Uncle Bob loved wild birds and animals, yet his passionate preoccupation had something of the quality of love. And he was merciful towards them according to his lights, and would have followed a wounded partridge half-a-day that he might put it out of its misery.

It is hard to think how he ever came to reach seventy years of age. He was a frail man to look at, and took little account of health when game birds were in question. Walking with him across his fields or among the cattle in his farmstead you would behold an absent-minded old man, with restless, wandering hands and a head a little shaken with palsy. Very likely he would be talking to himself, and not heeding what you said to him, especially if you spoke of farming. But place a gun in his hands, and flush a covey out of the turnips, and you would see a figure of whipcord and steel and a gun that had become part of it ; and when the gun came down from his shoulder there would be birds to retrieve.

If you had been trained under my Uncle Bob you would never have dragged a gun after you through a hedge, or brought one loaded into a house, or levelled it at anyone even when it was empty, or aimed at a black- bird when old Tom Brogan stood directly in the line of fire ; or if you had been a little dreamer, as I was, and done any of these things, your calves and the ramrod of a gun would have become acquainted.

My Uncle Bob never had a miss-fire in all his life, or frightened a horse by firing too near the county-road, or killed or injured a man, or shot a ferret. And he left behind him disciples scarcely less careful than himself.

He is buried in a little, lonely churchyard by the side of a moorland bog. There is no other tenant. The churchyard was conse- crated specially that he might be laid in that spot. It was thought a happy choice for the resting-place of the old fowler. But above his head on a winter’s night sounds the plain- tive note of the curlew, and the drumming of the snipe ; and I wonder that he lies so quiet there. They should have laid his gun by his side, that when he rises in the flesh he might have one last shot before he goes to his account for the beautiful wild creatures that he knew and understood, and, after his nature, killed.
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In the good old times when magicians were not confined to story books but visibly walked the earth, a necromancer beginning his incantations always cast a handful of aromatic herbs into his brazier. I used often to wonder why this was. I know now there are a number of quite learned explanations of the rite ; but I have never read any of them. I practised necromancy a good deal in my childhood, raiding my aunt’s cupboard, to her frequent mystification, for any likely substance from green tea to flour of sulphur ; but never succeeded in evoking any spirits, probably because I was secretly very much afraid I might succeed. But perhaps the real reason was that I was too young. When you come to think of it, all the eminent necromancers were elderly men. I believe if one is old enough, one can summon forth the spirits of departed men and women with- out any fumigation at all. Nevertheless fumigation is a help. I know that now, for by its aid I have just performed my first successful experiment in necromancy, though quite unintentionally. Going through the pockets of a little boy of my acquaintance to-night after he had departed to bed I came on a fragment of horn, and thinking there was quite enough rubbish in the little boy’s pocket without that and several other small matters, I laid it aside. The other trifles, of rusty nails and such like, I presently threw out, but the fragment of horn I dropped into the fire. I muttered no incantation ; but I must now be past the age when incantations are necessary, for no sooner had the heavy, sicklj smell struck on my nostrils than looking through the dim smoke I saw old William McCoubray, the blacksmith. The off hind-hoof of my uncle’s bay horse, Johnny, was resting on his leather apron ; the old man picked up a hot shoe with his pincers and pressed it to the hoof ; the dun smoke rose in clouds from the sizzling horn ; he wryed his head aside and blew the smoke towards me ; the heavy, sickly smell struck on my nostrils ; and I myself was a little boy again.

There is no more attractive • place for a little boy than a blacksmith’s shop, and surely no kindlier blacksmith than William McCoubray ever presided over one. He was a long, thin figure of a man, not a bit like the traditional blacksmith, and his face was long and thin too, and of a rather melancholy expression, tending more to resignation than to repining. It was his habit every now and then, when he thought himself unobserved, to pause in his work, and shaking his head slowly up and down, to sigh forth his plaintive murmur against life : “Ay, ay — dear ay.*”

I am not sure that William found black- smithing a very lucrative calling ; but his melancholy did not spring from that, but was connected with a little blacksmith who had come into the world many years before, and left it again before he had learned even the trade of living. It was a pity ; for beyond doubt he would have been a great blacksmith. William often told me of him when he and I were alone, of his sturdy arms and legs and the deep chest of him — ” not like my pigeon- breast,” William would say — and how strongly he could grip his father’s forefinger, just as if he was laying hold of the handle of the big ” sledge.” He was the only little blacksmith that had been vouchsafed to William and his wife, and William thought he left the world before his father got any good of him. But William was wrong. He made a big corner in his father’s heart for a long succession of little boys to creep into. It was for his sake, though I didn’t know it then, that I was allowed to range William’s forge at will, and upset his nail-box, and blunt his whittle, and mislay his rasp and his pincers, and even break a ” sledge ” handle now and then, unreproved.

I have in my memory a rich store of sights and sounds and smells that I laid up in William’s forge ; the dazzling, quivering glow of incandescent metal as it was drawn from the fire ; the intense white radiance of the fire itself when the bellows were in full blast, and the blue flame that played over it when the bellows were at rest — ^which was not often when I was .in the shop ; the flat sheets of sparks that flew beneath each stroke of the great sledges ; the clank and wheeze of the bellows and the roar of the fierce flame ; the upthrown head and clattering hoofs of a startled horse ; the restless pawing of an impatient one ; the alternate thud and ringing clink as William struck the softened metal and his anvil time about, for some occult reason known to blacksmiths only, though I was always careful to follow his practice myself when he allowed me to spoil a shoe now and then ; the short, sharp hiss as he plunged a finished shoe into the cooling- trough ; the inky water in the trough, from which, for some odd reason, I first formed a visual image of the River Styx ; the light fragments of iron leaf that floated thereon, and the thin steam that wandered over its surface ; the smell of burnt hoof and singed apron ; the thick smoke that hung above our heads and stole away little by little through the open door ; all these came back to me in the fumes of my piece of horn.

During the years that I lived with my uncle he had the best-shod horses in County Down. I saw to that. No ear about the farm was so keen to detect the clank of a loosened shoe as mine, and no eye so sharp to observe a worn one. Our horses never came to disaster of broken knees on the ice-bound roads. At the first frosty twinkle of a star I was importuning our head ploughman to have his team ” sharped.” Riding horses to the forge was my perquisite. Bareback I ranged the wide pampas that stretched along the road between our house and William McCoubray’s, out-galloped the fierce Apache, and hunted doWn the buffalo and the casso- wary. I have encountered the Soldan Saladin many a time on that journey, and overthrown Conrade of Montserrat more than once. The mark is just becoming visible with my receding hair, relic of the day when the Master of the Knights Templar withstood me in the shape of an elm tree, and I vanished imknightly over” the tail through my lance’s refusal to splinter. William McCoubray little knew how often Ivanhoe, or the Black Knight, or Don Quixote has clattered up to his forge- door, and thrown his reins to a fair page, and quaffed a beaker — sometimes of butter- milk—at the hands of that high-born maiden his daughter Martha.

If I dropped out of romance into reality when I entered William’s shop, it was no less enthralling. The stages from the bar of iron to the finished shoe were a procession of delights to a little boy, and only less attractive the operations of fitting the shoe and naihng it on the hoof. Then there were old shoes to be sorted out, and new ones to be cooled, and the bellows to be blown, and nails to be straightened on the old anvil in the corner. There were no neat boxes of shining nails to be, had from the ironmonger in those days. Each blacksmith made his own nails. I have often seen the bundles of long nail rods being delivered at William’s shop, tied in the middle with straw rope, and clashing frantically with every jolt of the cart as they came up to the door. When Jove brandished his thunder- bolts in the course of my reading it was always a bundle of red-hot nail-rods he grasped in his hand. I sometimes made a few nails myself when there was a stray end of nail- rod to be had ; but I have never seen mine used. William explained to me that the nails I made could be used only for a donkey’s shoes, and no donkey ever happened to come to the forge while I was there.

There were quite a number of interesting things about nails. For example, nails with- drawn from an old shoe and no longer fit for use were called ” horse-stumps.” They acquired an unusual toughness by wear. Gun- barrels were made from them. A gun-barrel made from horse-stumps could not burst. I know this is true ; for I tried the effect of a treble charge on a single-barrelled gun of my uncle’s reputed to be made of horse-stumps, and only succeeded in blowing out the nipple, I never quite believed in the horse-stump legend till I tried this experiment ; for it was from Hughey Dixon, William’s assistant, I had learned it ; and Hughey was so noto- rious a wag, or in our speech, ” sconce,” that even I didn’t believe all he said. He was a huge man, flabby for a blacksmith, with a broad face that sweated continually. He worked hard, ‘but laughed harder, and so grew fat. I disliked him in the daytime ; for in daytime there were seldom sufficient objects for his unending chaff to divert it from me. He clouded the pleasure of my visits to the forge for quite a long time by inventing an intrigue between myself and an elderly maiden lady who owned a neighbouring farm, and had once or twice given me bread and sugar on my way to William McCoubray’s. There was never anything between Miss Mc- Kelvey and me but this matter of bread and sugar ; but I was unwise in protesting that so violently to Hughey ; and he caused me a good deal of pain by affecting to disbelieve me. Gossip strongly affirmed that Miss McKelvey was in the habit of praying for a man. If she had but known it, at one time her petition was nightly supported in the orisons of a certain little boy.

I lived the scandal down in time, though Providence did not intervene on my behalf — or Miss McKelvey’s ; and the full pleasure of my daylight visits to the forge returned. But the long nights of the ploughing season were still the greater joy. It was then that plough- men came to William’s to have their plough- socks pointed. The sock of a plough is the portion of it that enters the ground first, and consequently wears away most speedily. It is detachable from the plough-frame, so that it may be re-pointed, which in ploughing time becomes necessary every few days. When I was a boy the ploughriien tramped to the forge and back after hours. Later they began to object to this, and insisted on stopping work in time for the journey to be performed before instead of after supper-time. It is from this period that the farmer dates the spread of Socialism to the country districts. Nowadays sock-points can be bought at a hardware shop so cheaply that they are not worth re-pointing, and the ploughman goes no more to the forge with them. Some of the brightness has gone out of his life thereby. I remember those nights in William’s forge ; the circle of grinning ploughmen squatted on everything that could be turned into a seat, and, when the fire was blown up, the revela- tion of another tier of humanity on points of vantage round the walls ; the clatter of jokes ; the bantering of amateur hammer-men as they strove to emulate Hughey’s mighty strokes ; the increasing triumphant roar of early-comers as each fresh ploughman appeared blinking in the doorway and laid his sock at the end of the long line on the ground. Dominant over clamour of tongues, and clang of hammers, and roar of fire, rang Hughey’s mighty bellow as some shaft of his wit struck home. Woe betide the unhappy wight who should be detected tryirig to push his sock in, out of turn. His past was unrolled incident by incident before the delighted throng ; and the com- mentary was worse than the text. The case of lovers was hardly more enviable. Many a love-lorn ploughman walked four additional miles to Johnny Dougherty’s forge sooner than face Hughey’s tongue. And I, little sycophant, when a victim offered, sat well within the circle of light that Hughey might see, and laughed as loud as any.

It was generally in the company of our second ploughman, Dick Murray — Slippery Dick, he was nicknamed — that I visited the forge at night. Dick was a wit-brother of Hughey’s, with a twist of dry humour in his composition that Hughey lacked. The laughter that followed his sallies was as hearty, but more good-natured. He knocked his man down just as effectually as Hughey did ; but then in some subtle way he picked him up again and dusted him. A certain half-ironical tenderness tinged his mockery of lovers ; for Dick was a great lover himself. It was in consequence of this weakness of his that I kept so good hours on the nights I visited the forge.

But though I always quitted the scene unsatiated I never failed to enjoy the little comedy that preceded our departure. Dick always sat beside the forge-fire, and though the others did not know, his sock lay under the skirts of his coat with a large plug of tobacco concealed in the hollow of it. When a particular significant cough of Dick’s showed that time pressed I knew what would happen. Hughey would lay down on the forge the sock he was working on at the moment and grope among the cinders for his pipe. To all seeming he resumed his interrupted task. But I knew that When that sock was finished it would turn out to be Dick Murray’s, and made my way to the door. There I waited with suppressed glee Hughey’s start of sur- prise and discovery, and Dick’s protestations ; and as the pair of us fled down the road pursued by a volley of contumely, I felt that I partook vicariously in Dick’s glory, and thought we were two very clever fellows.

But I always yearned after the joys from which I was untimely banished, and one night visited the forge alone, and lingered to the end. I had done better to quit it while the tide of life ran strong. . . .

The smoke of my incantation is waning ; the fire sinks on the forge ; weariness falls even on Hughey’s giant frame ; the laughter fails little by little ; one after another the ploughmen go out quietly into the night. Hughey himself is gone at last, and William McCoubray and I are left alone. I feel the kindly farewell pressure of his hand on my shoulder as he turns back into the dreary shop, and hear his patient soliloquy : ” Ay, ay — dear ay.”
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Ploughing is no longer the skilled occupation it used to be. The modern chill-plough demands neither knowledge nor strength. Its guiding wheel measures off the furrow with a monotonous accuracy, and controls the depth of it to a fraction of an inch. Your chill- ploughed field is a depressing prospect of mechanical regularity. The personal touch is wanting. You may drive through County Down the whole of a Spring day and think the same ploughman has turned over every furrow you see. It was different in the days of the old swing-plough. Then a man could mark his individuality as clearly with the plough as with the pen. There was character in ploughing. The expert could recognise at a glance the style of any ploughman in his neighbourhood. Of any acknowledged crafts- man that is ; the undistinguished mass of botchers merely turned over the earth ; they could not be said to plough. But the style of the masters was unmistakeable. The res- pective furrows of Tom Lennon and William Brown were no more to be confounded than is the blank verse of Shakespeare with that of H »’

Milton. Tom Lennons and William Browns there may still be among us, potential plough- men great even as their fathers ; but their gift will never be revealed to them. A mecha- nical age has deprived them of their birthright. They are doomed to an accomplishment of flat mediocrity, and will go down to the grave without their meed of fame.

It is true that ease has come to man and horse. The poet can no longer write of the ” swinkt ploughman ” ; ” steaming ” is no longer the fit adjective for his yoke. The straining horses no longer vivify the landscape with energy embodied ; they have sunk to mere prettiness as they amble across lea or stubble, scarce heeding the trivial machine behind. Then, to guide the old swing-plough was a strong man’s job. Every faculty was at strain during the arduous voyage from hedge to hedge. The instinctive eye might measure the due line, but every trick of horse-craft, every eflFort of muscle, was needed to counteract the hundred influences that contended against a straight furrow. Nor was the struggle conducted in silence. From the moment when his sock-point entered the soil until he emerged sweating on the opposite head-rig the ploughman’s voice never failed in a stream of admonishment, reproof, or encouragement to his striving team. ” Get along, Johnny, get along with you — steady, Dobbin, steady 1 — good horses, good horses ” mingled with the technical ejaculations : ” Hup, hup — wind, wind,” as the team turned towards the furrow or away from it ; and all the time the ploughman’s earth-clogged feet sought purchase on the uneven ground, and his hands gripped tense on the shafts of his rocking plough. It cannot be denied that ease has come to the ploughman, also. But while to his horses the change is perhaps all gain, the ploughman himself has paid a heavy price for it. He has lost interest in his calling since it was degraded to the mere mechanical. He no longer discusses his craft with his fellow-artists at a four-roads or over a cottage fire, or walks five miles of a Sunday, as I have known William Brown do, to view and criticise the accomplishment of a rival. No man is proud of his ploughing nowadays, or envies another’s.

There is worse to come. One glory at least has survived the coming of the chill- plough, the birds. The long line of rooks still stretches from the ploughman’s heels, as if he were ploughing birds out of the earth ; the scolding seagulls still hover above the new-made furrow, a dazzle of beating wings. I loved the Spring ploughing, and ” mitched ” from school many a Spring day to follow the plough. I saw my Mother Earth in the rich brown tilth as never in other aspects. In Autumn, I forgot the giver in the plenteousness of the gift. Then, too, I loved the great cotton- wool clouds, a little soiled on the under-surface in the early weeks, but bleaching to white purity as the season advanced ; I loved the gleam of sunlight on wet tree-bole in the bordering copse ; and rejoiced to mark the cold grey field-pools warm to azure. But most of all I loved the following birds whose tireless energy of beak and wing mocked man’s sedater bread-winning. I delighted in the clamour of their unending squabble for existence, the petulant scream of the seagull, the deeper expostulation of the rook, the jostlings for some fat worm, the preoccupied leap-frog, half vault, half flutter, as each bird strove to approach nearer to the ploughman’s heels. My eye joyed in the metallic iridiscence of blues and greens on a rook’s back as he stalked from furrow to furrow with an embarrassed gravity, as if a Bishop should walk on stilts ; or the delicate poise of an alighting gull, with upstretched fluttering wings and tentative feet. I lay aside my brief against the chill-plough. We are threatened by a greater evil. The motor tractor is at our gates, noisy and noisome, and the ploughman’s birds will soon follow him no more.

I mean well by William Brown when I hope he has been delivered from the evil of tractors to come. And if he has passed to a happier world, killed as I have little doubt by the chill-plough, I trust that, in another sense of the word, there is husbandry in Heaven. For William was a ploughmam incarnate. Every impulse of his soul strove towards perfection in his craft ; all else was trivial to him. As truly as he ploughed to live he lived but to plough. He used to say he would wish to die between the shafts ; but surely not that he might be transported to some region of ploughless bliss.

It is no sarcasm to say that William did my uncle the honour of becoming his first ploughman for several years ; for it was in William’s power to confer Jionour on his master. The fame of his ploughing spread over two baronies. At ploughing-matches he towered above farmers of a hundred acres and more. I used to trot at his heels at these festivals, partaker of his glory, and drink in the respectful asides of bystanders that ” there was William Brown, Mr. W ‘s man.”

Our sideboard glittered with cups of William’s winning ; for in those feudal days the master reaped where the man had sown. Legends sprang up about his ploughing. He could juggle with his plough, men averred. The topmost ridge of his furrow — the ” combing,” as it was technically known — was said to be so sharp that it cut the feet of alighting birds ; and I am willing to believe it, though I cannot say I ever observed the phenomenon myself.

It is sad to think that such a ploughman should have died and left the world no copy ; yet so it was. It has been the fate of the great artist in all ages : the one master passion occupies his soul to the exclusion of lesser affections : he must plough his lonely furrow. Perhaps it is better thus. No son of William’s could have driven a motor tractor gladly.

Yet love knocked at William’s heart once, and gained a partial entrance. Our servant- maid, Kate Keenan, wrought the mischief ; a tall slip of a girl, scarce twenty, with dancing dark eyes, and a mass of purple-black hair always threatening to tumble down her back. There was a wild strain in Kate. She worked singing, idling by starts, then swooping at her task with a whirlwind rush that accom- plished wonders in a marvellously short time, but was very severe on delf. She was given to cheap finery, and became the prey of every pedlar that unrolled his wares in our kitchen. In the most pressing necessity of stockings she would lay out her last coin on a showy hat. I have known her buy a diamond brooch — pedlar’s diamonds — and blacklead her heels till the next monthly wages became due. And she was the only girl I ever saw play the Jew’s Harp. Why stolid William Brown should become the sport of such a Venus it is hard to say ; but before she had been with us a fortnight it was observed that he was Hngering portentously over his evening por- ridge, and that his subsequent pipe was smoked by the kitchen fire instead of in the stable. He was never known to say anything to Kate during these sittings, and his inten- tions were in doubt for some weeks, till -one evening he suddenly asked her if she would step as far as the top of the Whinny Hill with him before bed-time. There was great excitement in the farmstead over this un- expected move of William’s. The progress of the pair was watched by half-a-dozen pairs of eyes from various places of concealment, my aunt, to preserve her dignity, peering out of an upstairs bedroom window. I had become fairly skilled in such matters by this time of my life, and was a good deal dis- appointed to perceive on Kate’s return that her hair was no more disordered than usual, which I thought a bad sign. I was not suffi- ciently intimate with Kate to question her on the subject ; for she was a kindly soul, very fond of children, and prone to gusts of affection involving hugs and kissing, which caused me to hold her more aloof than any of our other maids. But my aunt could not contain her curiosity, and asked Kate if William had said anything. Kate told her he had not said anything either going or coming, but that passing through the haggard on their way back he had tried to put his arm round her, arid she didn’t permit him, because she thought there should be some conversation first. But WiUiam walked to the top of the Whinny Hill with Kate several times during the following week, and towards the end of the week had found his tongue a little, it would seem, for our yard boy lay behind a hedge as they passed one evening, and heard him tell Kate that he had money saved. After this report got about, as the yard boy took very good care it should, it was taken for granted about the farm that William and Kate would shortly be married. I think it might have come to marrying between them ; for William was a personable man, tall, fair-haired, and ruddy-cheeked ; and though he was staid beyond his years, he was a good-natured, likeable fellow. Then Kate was flattered by his attentions. He was a rising man. Already he received five pounds a year more than any ploughman in the district, and it was known that he was well into his second hundred of savings towards buying a farm. Besides, he had never been known to pay court to anyone before, and that in itself was a feather in Kate’s cap.

I wasn’t quite satisfied on William’s account. I admired him and looked up to him as to a man gifted above ordinary ploughmen ; and I was by no means sure that he wasn’t being taken in.

I liked Kate very well ; but she was too young and flighty for my taste, which at that time ran to the sober and mature among women kind ; and I felt that if William knew as much about her as I did he would very likely be of my opinion. I could see quite plainly he knew little about the real Kate, who was always very demure when he was in the kitchen ; and thought at times it was my duty to enlighten him. In particular it was on my conscience that he should be told about the Jew’s Harp. But when I hinted my scruples to my aunt she was greatly dis- turbed, and told me that I must never interfere between lovers. It was a very wicked thing to do she said, and no good ever came of it. I had never seen my aunt so moved before. All the same, . she added, she would believe in the wedding when she saw it.

But William the ploughman stood greatly in the way of William the lover, and in the end proved the undoing of him altogether. It came about in this manner : Like all good ploughmen, William was much attached to his horses, and took great pride in their appearance. No better groomed or glossier pair than William’s ever stepped before a plough. Their meals and toilet were his charge alone. He would allow no meaner hand to minister to them. Above all his charges he was attached to our bay mare, Betty. She was worthy of his love ; a handsome, docile creature, light for a plough-horse, but of a great heart. I have heard William say in an unwonted outburst of feeling that if he, had Betty in the lead he could plough with a Newfoundland dog in the furrow. Nearly all his spare time went to burnishing her beautiful coat — a great deal more of it, indeed, than Kate approved of. I have seen Kate many a night stalking up and down the yard, stormy-faced, while William lingered in the stable to bestow a supererogatory touch of the currycomb on her rival.

But William went his preoccupied way unconscious of her rising indignation. The great Spring ploughing-match was at hand. His name was inscribed twice in succession on the H cup ; and three successive victories won it outright. That ploughing- match was to be William’s Philippi had he but known it. Yet fate did her best for him ; or perhaps it was the humbler divinity of Commonsense. He invited Kate to accom- pany him to the field, ,and partake of the triumph of which none of us stood in any doubt. Such a joint expedition was tanta- mount to a public betrothal. Every grievance vanished from Kate’s volatile mind at the prospect of parading her new dignity before the notables of the countryside. In a nightly canvass of her finery she forgot . William nearly as completely as William in his dream of fame forgot her.

To crown all her good-fortune a pedlar visited our house on the eve of the great day. I remember Kate’s sparkling eyes and flushed cheeks as she tried on one gee-gaw after another, a Marguerite of the kitchen. My aunt caught the infection in the end, and became nearly as excited as Kate. I think we all went a little mad that night. I know my aunt allowed Kate to mortgage two full months’ wages ; and I, infected with Kate’s recklessness, broke open my money-box, and bought myself a four-bladed knife.

Only one treasure remained for Kate to covet, a matter of half-a-dozen yards of lilac ribbon, discovered when she had sunk far below bankruptcy. In vain Kate tried the efi^ect of it in her hair, and on her bosom, and against her neck, in vain the pedlar dangled it. My aunt hardened her heart, not indeed before it was time ; and the lilac ribbon disappeared into the pack again. When the pedlar had gone we spread all the new finery on the kitchen table, and began to turn it over half-heartedly. There was something wanting, and we all knew it. We had sold the spirit of delight for half-a-dozen yards of lilac ribbon. Presently Kate bundled up her purchases and went off with them to her room. There was something disconsolate in her air. My aunt stood looking after her a moment, then drew out her purse and handed me half-a-crown, remarking acidly that she was an old fool, I needed no further hint, but took to my heels. When I reached our farmyard gate, to my surprise the pedlar was just passing out through it. I told him I wished to buy the lilac ribbon. He answered that he was sorry, but he had sold it to one of the men-servants. When I questioned him I found it was to William Brown, and ran hastily back to the kitchen with the news. My aunt and Kate looked at each other for a moment. ” Oh, mem,” said Kate ; that was all ; but I wish William could have heard her. My aunt declared to her goodness she didn’t think William had it in him, and straightway hunted me off to bed. I was very much disappointed and chagrined, and fought off sleep till my aunt’s footsteps sounded on the stair. But when I asked her if William had brought the ribbon to Kate she gave me no satisfaction, demanding quite sharply why I wasn’t asleep hours ago ; from which I concluded that he had not yet given Kate the ribbon. I had a dismal certainty that I should sleep late the next morning and miss the giving of the ribbon ; and I knew from old experience that on a morning of any special activity no one would awaken me, so that I should be out of the way. And of course I did sleep late, so late that when I arrived downstairs it was almost time for William and Kate to start for the ploughing match. Kate was dressed ready to go out ; but when I looked for the ribbon it was nowhere to be seen, and when I began to question my aunt about it she was even shorter with me than the night before”.

Nine o’clock struck, the hour at which William and Kate were to leave ; and there was no word of the ribbon. By this time Kate was half-crying, half-furious, and my aunt’s attitude towards an inquisitive little boy was fairly insufferable. At last a knock came to the kitchen door. It was only the yard boy to say William was ready. ” You may go, Kate,” said my aunt, declaring bitterly to her goodness and patience that men were bigger fools than she thought. Neither she nor I followed Kate out of the kitchen.

It scarcely seemed a moment till the door opened again, and Kate flung in, scarlet- faced and sobbing. She did not answer my aunt’s startled inquiry, but began to talce off her hat. I could see that her hands were trembling. All at once she flopped down on a chair, and laughed and laughed. ” Oh, mem,” she said, ” go and look ! ”

My aunt and I ran out. William Brown was standing between the handles of his plough, looking back towards the kitchen door in bewilderment. My gaze travelled to his team. The bay mare’s mane and tail were neatly plaited with lilac ribbon.

Kate married Dick Murray, a former second ploughman of ours, who took service again in our neighbourhood about then. I was reminded of this story by looking at the H Cup not long ago, and seeing William Brown’s name inscribed on it three years in succession.
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I never became really friendly with a pig.

Pigs collectively I liked, just as I liked hens and geese and sheep ; but I never singled out any individual as a special object of affection, as I have sometimes done with all the other species of animals on my uncle’s farm. I never knew a pig by name. Yet pigs rightly considered are attractive animals.

Common report deals hardly with them. To say that a man is as dirty as a pig is to insult the pig. For a pig is a clean animal when his master will permit him to be so. He does not dwell in his moist, insanitary piggery from choice, but loves sweet, dry straw, and spends much of his time perambulating the dunghill to which he is condemned, in search of such a bed. We misapprehend his efforts to attain personal purity, and hold him up to obloquy v/here we should rather approve.

The sow that returned to her wallowings in the mire was really seeking cleanliness. A fallible being will fail somewhere, Doctor  Johnson has pithily said. The sacred writer, inspired only about heavenly things, in the matter of pigs was little better than one of the foolish.

Nor have profane writers dealt more happily with them. There was an old copy of the Essays of Elia in our lumber-room, when I was ji boy. Even then I was a devoted Elian, but I could never quite forgive Lamb for his callous attitude towards sucking pigs. His heartless conceit about the roasted youngsters’ jellied eyes was to me disgusting. It was not worthy of the gentle Elia. He would not have been guilty of it had he ever stood, as I have done many a day for half-an-hour at a time, watching the engaging gambols of a young litter, seen best when fresh straw had been thrown them. There is no more charming picture of animal infancy. Here a roguish eye appears, there a moist shining disk of nose working anticipatively in the hope of provender that your coming has aroused. One sportive little chap seizes a long straw in his mouth and frisks off with it, champing his jaws in pretended relish, another shakes his head till his neck smacks with the long, silken ears, then parades round rakish, with one ear turned inside out. This moment they are all fun and gambol, one jumping over another, or two or three butting a comrade down and nosing him playfully ; the next they form a group before the door, eyeing you with inquiring gravity, then in a sudden impulse scatter diverse through the straw again, squealing in affected panic. There was better matter and more akin to the mild spirit of Elia in such a sight than in the horrid spectacle of a roasted innocent. He might have given us a chapter on tails, and shown us with infinite adornment of fancy how that little embellishment of one end of a pig can modify the character of the other end of him ; how the accident of a straight tail can throw a subtle suggestion of melancholy over a snub and cheerful coun- tenance, or a curly tail bestow a certain archness on a long, serious snout.

To an Irish boy Lamb’s transports over the flavour of sucking pig seemed unnatural and ghoulish. We Irish have a repugnance to immature meats. We do not reckon sucking pig among our dishes. I would as soon think of eating a baby.

But Charles was punished for his repulsive preference. He never knew pig at its best. He does not seem to have known the incom- parable lusciousness (he would have called it sapor) of stuffed pork fillets. From his remark about ” the rank bacon ” he can have enjoyed no breakfast dallyings with mild-cured Irish such as my Cousin Joseph — esteemed a connoisseur — used to deal out to me some morning after I had been storm-stayed at his house, accompanying the generous helping with his time-honoured joke that ” there was something better than Shakespeare.”

Yet it was bacon that prevented my ever having a pig for my friend. The butcher’s  knife hung suspended over the most captivating youngster of our rearing. ■ I could not bear to embark on a friendship of which the end must, inevitably be tragedy. I knew too well the warnings of doom, the straw scattered in the yard, the cauldron of boiling water, the beam in winter laid along the rafters of the barn, in summer resting on two branches of the great ash tree — ^the sledge hammer and cord. Already I saw the carcasses hideously suspended. It was no mere porcine tragedy that my imagination bodied forth. Romance and history swelled the scene. Perhaps the Great Marquis had met his pitiful fate ; or I was in the Middle Ages, and Villon and his associates hung pendent from the gallows.

But had I been transported back to a sterner century, I could never have made one of the jeering crowd at a gallow’s foot. When our dog Keeper’s furious baying told me that Pat D -, the pig-sticker, was at hand, I fled to my bedroom and remained there with muffled ears till the execution was over in all its grisly details. I only once emerged from my retreat before the carcasses were cleaned and hung up ; it was because I wished to know exactly what happened to Vich Ian Vohr and Evan Maccombich after they drove off from Waverley on the hurdle ; and I wish I hadn’t done it. Ever afterward Pat D was to me ” a horrid fellow as beseemed his trade.” He perceived my distaste for him ; and being a kindly man, as I know now, and fond of children, used to propitiate me with bladders. But a pig’s bladder makes a lopsided football, with no accuracy of flight. I had little pleasui-e in Pat’s gifts, and wasn’t softened towards him. My emotions of horror were transient. Before nightfall I was looking forward eagerly to next morning’s drive to the pork-market ; that is, if I had obtained permission to accom- pany old Tom Brogan, who as a steady, faithful retainer of thirty years standing and more was generally trusted to sell our pork. The best market was nine miles away. To arrive in time it was necessary in winter that the cart should leave our house about five o’clock. It was the only early rising that was ever pleasant to me. But everything connected with it was full of novelty and charm. On such a morning a little boy might wash in the most perfunctory fashion un- reproved. Then there was the delight of having breakfast in the kitchen with Tom Brogan, and mopping up my bacon-gravy with crusts, and cooling my tea in the saucer, just as he did. For our maid-servants were always too sleepy to reprove my breaches of table manners, and my aunt, conscious of the undress beneath her shawl, issued her in- structions to Tom in a series of hoverings round the kitchen door, but never ventured in. I had my tea strong those mornings and ate twice as much breakfast as usual, and in half my usual time, the latter part of the meal degenerating into mere cramming as my uncle’s muffled roars from upstairs became more insistent. When I had gulped down the last possible mouthful of tea — the hottest one— I was pounced upon by our maid and wrapped in such superfluity of mufflers that it became necessary to shake the breath half out of my body before my overcoat would button. Then I mounted the box-seat of the stage-coach — for I was generally Tom Brown going to Rugby on such occasions — and off we went.

I shall never forget those early morning drives, though I cannot recall the details of any one of them. They are all compounded into a single experience. There is the sen- sation of darkness and intense cold. The lantern shadows wheel slowly on the trees as our yard boy lights us down the avenue. The lantern hangs in the air without human agency as I look behind me and call good-bye. The ice crashes under our wheels ; our horse snorts and clatters as he mounts the hill, fearful of the frozen road. We emerge from the trees, and there a pale moon is hanging strangely in the west. Presently we settle down to a steady jog. A phantasmagoria of tree and hedge shapes passes sleepily before my eyes. Across the fields sounds the rattle of another cart, bound as I know, on a like errand with ourselves. Another and another is heard as we draw near the four roads. The countryside is filled with the soothing murmur of innumerable carts, all going to D pork-market. I am lying on the straw and Tom Brogan is covering me with a rug. I peer drowsily over the edge of the cart ; we are one of a long procession of carts. Trees and houses are taking on colour ; here and there a lighted window gleams warmly in the pallid dawn. I close my eyes ; and next moment I am staggering on numbed feet in the pork-market of D , and Tom Brogan is peering into my face and asking me if I am sure I am awake.

Row upon row of carts fill up the market square. I scamper in and out, and am dis- concerted to find that our pigs are not the wonders of the pork world I thought them. I hurry back to warn Tom. He is surrounded by several sharp -faced men with pencils and note-books. They are pork- buyers, city men ; the name of a great bacon- curing firm in Belfast is mentioned. I feel myself a country boy, and am abashed before them, and forbear to warn Tom. But I fume with anxiety when he refuses the offered price, and know in my heart he is making a mistake, and that we shall return home ignominious with our pigs unsold. I cannot bear the strain, but go off again among the carts, and am diverted from my anxiety by observing, rather to my disgust, sundry ol boys from our school enjoying a holiday pork-market day. I return to our cart. ‘ pigs* are sold. I am delighted with success ; but feel that Tom took great ri and wonder at his nerve.

Then Tom and I go to what he calls eating-house, and I have steak and oni( and strong tea again, and fresh bread thicker slices than I had ever seen bef( and do not die of it all as I should now, hurry off to buy sweets with the sixpe that Tom has been authorised to give i and to watch the roulette table, and the n with three thimbles and a pea. I perct that this last is a simple fellow, and am sc I have spent my sixpence, and suggest a 1 from Tom ; but he tells me such men h the Black Art, and that I would only 1 my money ; so I press him no more, avoid evil, and pass on to the Aunt Sally

But my early rising begins to tell on i My appetite for pleasure is dulled soo than usual. I begin to have a curii sensation that all the movement around is happening in a dream. Besides, I anxious to get home again, to tell everyb( how well Tom and I have sped in i marketing. So when the cart is ready I cli in willingly enough. I feel a little sad on homeward journey. It is probably the st and onions ; but I do not know that, I think I am sorry about the dead pigs. When I have had my supper, I go to look at the empty piggery, and feel really sorry when I remember its departed occupants, their tumultuous rush to the gate when they heard my footsteps, their cheerful upraised snouts and interrogative gruntiftgs, their luxurious submission to my scratching of their backs with the handle of the yard shovel. These were the nearest approaches to friendship I ever made with our pigs. On the evening of pork-market days I was always sorry I had gone so far.
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In the crafts of ploughing and sowing and reaping my childish days were nearer to the times of Homer and the Old Testament than to the present. A hind of Ithaca might have beheld with small wonder the swing-plough of my boyhood, or Ruth have gleaned after a scythe without amazement. But the coming tiller of the soil will have no portion in the long tradition of man’s dealings with his mother earth. The curse of Adam will have been lifted from him. He will no longer earn his bread by the sweat of his brow. The sons of Adam will soon delve no more, just as the daughters of Eve have long ceased to spin. Doubtless the profit will be great ; but there will be losses. The little boy of to-morrow will eat fine bread and plentiful, but he will never see Tom Brogan go forth, with one of my aunt’s sheets slung round his neck, to illustrate the parable of the Sower as neither woodcut not etching could do. As I watched a sowing-machine to-day, my mind travelled far from these mechanical times. I saw old Tom in a field of County Down, and marked his measured pace and rhythmical swinging arm as he sowed the good seed. It was always Tom who sowed the good seed in our yearly re-enactment of the parable. The thistles and the charlock I blamed on squint-eyed Peter Tumelty, and likened him to the Adversary.

The interregnum between seed-time and harvest has furnished me with few memories of the farm. My summer recollections are filled with fishing, and cricket, and bathing, and picnics, and the exotic pleasures of the seaside. I was less of a country boy in summer, strangely enough. But with harvest time the spell of the country fell on me again. My mind is stored with pictures of that sweetest of all seasons. They come to me in capricious glimpses ; the bright flame of corn-poppies ; purple tints of field-scabious ; the white haze in the zenith, here and there elbow-worn to blue ; the barred clouds, strangely moveless ; the mellow radiance of the sunshine ; the glistening gossamers ; brown-grey islands of hay-cocks in the green after-grass ; stiff stooks of wheat, and gracious oat-stooks, drawn in long ranks across the stubble. The berries of the honeysuckle are red in the hedge ; the propeller-blades of the sycamore fruit are reddening ; one side of the haws has turned reddish-brown. The blackberry clusters are dull as yet ; but here and there one hangs shining and luscious among the dark green leaves. The life of the year is waning ; yet its very decay reveals that it has not been lived in vain ; as if a righteous man should die and leave his good works visibly behind him on the tomb.

I” have many another treasure of memory in my harvest storehouse, albeit a little dis- orderly arranged. The Common is ripe, and must be ” opened ” before the reaping- machine can be set to work. I listen to the steady swish of Tom Brogan’s scythe as he moves along the sward, remorseless as Time, that if Tom but knew it has nearly come to the end of one Tom Brogan’s swathe of life. The old man pauses and wipes the wet grass from his scythe-blade, I hear his whetstone ringing cheerily on the steel. Now the reaper is lumbering and rattling along. Our bay mare Betty snatches a stolen mouthful of oats, then throws her head high to the driver’s admonishing pluck of the rein. William Brown, perched aloft in his jolting seat, shep- herds the severed corn-stalks with oar-like movements of his rake, and leans sideways to dismiss each sheaf with caressing pressure. The following women lift the sheaves knee- high, tie them in one deft movement, then toss them aside and explore their horny hands for thistle-spines till the reaping machine comes round again.

My part in all this activity was that of a busy idleness. I scampered about, ” like a dog at a fair,” in old Tom’s phrase, now pffiejous with oil-can or spanner, now acting as assistant surgeon when a fragment of thistle proved unusually refractory, now fetching water from the spring-well to refresh the thirsty workers. Sometimes I had a short spasm of industry, and made half-a-dozen straps to bind sheaves. The straps were made of two handfuls of corn-straw united by a cunning twist. But my twist lacked cunning, or perhaps it was vigour that was wanting. I knew that the straps of my making would never lie till I had the sheaf safely placed thereon. They kept untwisting all the time I was gathering up my sheaves, and though I hoped for the best, would never withstand the final tug before tying, but always gave way and scattered the oats or wheat dishevelled on the sward. I re- member that in my earliest harvest I had an impulse of frugality, and fell to gleaning, or ” gathering heads,” as we called it in County Down. But I found it back-breaking work, and was very glad when old Jenny Mason, on whose perquisite I was infringing, pointed out to me what a serious injustice I was doing to herself and her pig.

Now and then, when money was plentiful among our hands, I would be commissioned to purvey bottled stout from Barney D ‘s publichouse. I esteemed such days lucky ; for apart from my wage of lemonade (that nostril-tickling delight of youth), there was much scouting to be done on the return journey lest I should be detected by my ui recondite hiding-places to be devised, mysterious indications given. Every afteri I had a task of legitimate usefulness, th didn’t enjoy nearly so much, in helpinj bring out the canful of tea and baske buttered farls of bread for the afternoon meal, then first appearing in the countryi portent of luxury and declining pith. B cracked my little cheeks over farls two in deep, and drank my tea out of a tin, spread the lumps in my butter with thumb, the same as Tom Brogan, and not without my reward. For the most ] however, I was content with sloth. Snu my bower of sheaves I husked oats or w between my palms, and was a hermit ea pulse ; or dissected scarlet berries of wild-rose, and mimched the sweet rind, longed to test whether one of the hairy & would really choke me if I ate, but n found courage for the experiment ; or re the cobwebby film on the coltsfoot leaf fragile thread, and rejoiced in the yc fresh green beneath. Last joy of rea] time, it was my privilege to cut the ultir wisp of grain, that it might be woven the ” churn ” to hang from our kitchen cei till next harvest. Then I distributed ritual half-crowns and whiskey for whic alas for old custom — the former ” chi supper ” had been commuted, and felt my quite the young squire, but never could see why I, who got no whiskey, should be fobbed off with sixpence.

After the reaping time came Harvest Home with its own peculiar joys. First of all there was the ” whummling ” of the stooks that the wind might blow through the sheaves as they lay prone. To a little boy with a rake, and some miscellaneous reading, and any imagination at all, an orgy of chivalry lay open. Foes stood before him in battalions, and could be overwhelmed in half-dozens at a time. But though the mark was easy, triumph was by no means so certain as you might suppose. Given a cluster of stout sheaves, and a rake-handle in the fervour of combat directed incautiously towards a small solar plexus, and I have known victory to shine on the wrong side of the hedge.

Better things came with the ” drawing-in.” A farm-cart furnished with the iron frame on which the load was built made no bad chariot. On a straight course, and with Betty in the shafts, I would have challenged any Roman that ever careered round a Stadium; though perhaps a really experienced Roman would have taken the turning into the Haw- Hill with more judgment, and avoided bringing the gate-post with him. After that fatal day I drove afield no more. I was little discon- certed. It was but a change of pleasures. William Brown became Cebriones to my Hector. Secure in such a driver I hu my vengeful spear and slew whole stook Greeks.

I had a further portion in the drawin when the laden cart was ” up-ended ” in haggard and poured a tumbling cascade plenty along the ground. I yielded to one in the nice calculation of where a might stand so that the torrent of she would foam just to his feet, though I d mind admitting that in the learning stag once or twice stood nearer the cart than back of my head would have chosen. V stack-building began I always had busi: elsewhere, after the first years of vanity, would counsel all little boys to do the sa For the building of stacks has not yet bee a matter of machinery ; and grown-ups 1 a thoughtless habit of summoning little I to tread down the sheaves as they are  A very hot and wearisome business that, fills the boots with lead. The subseqi glide down the long ladder is by no m( worth the price.

Perhaps if you had been standing in haggard later on, when the stack was b( taken down, you would have said I enjc that process most of all. And it cannot denied that for bustle and activity it n high among farming operations. From moment when Tom Brogan threw the b of Admiral Coligny off the top of the stack the ravening adherents of the House of Guise below, my excitement rose in a climax till he reached the last few tiers of sheaves, where the rats and mice ate their Belshazzar’s feast. With the dropping of the first mouse or rat to the ground uproar began. Women cast down their pitchforks and fled shrieking ; men ran diverse with laughter and shouts, beating the ground furiously, half time in vain. Terriers yelped and ran and pounced and slew, and turned again to slaying. Jock the sheep dog barked louder still ; but found one mouse an afternoon’s employment, and let it escape in the end. If there was a pig abroad in the farmstead, and there generally was, he somehow found himself in the middle of the fuss. The very hens and ducks had their share in the fun. The ducks, wise as their wont, lurked underneath the framework of the stack, and guzzled mice to repletion ; the hens fluttered and squawked out of . the rat-killers’ way and into it again, reaping little advantage. Here and there among the stacks a hen wandered in apparent unconcern with a mouse’s tail hanging from her mouth ; but her apoplectic and misgiving eye suggested regret for the easier paths of vegetarianism. In the middle of all the turmoil you might have seen a little boy running about, armed with a big stick, and clamouring for the blood of rats. But if you had been inside that little boy, as I was, you would have known that the one thing he was anxious to was an encounter with a rat ; and th; was even pacifically disposed towards : and very much relieved when the mas of both sorts had been accomplished, an might lay aside his stick and boast of the ???
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There is a small white scar just on the crown of my head, now almost effaced by time. I wish it were not quite so faint. I received the wound many Christmases ago at the hands of no less a personage than Saint George. If you had met him the night he did the deed you would not have recognised him. He would appear to you in the shape of a sturdily-built youth of about fourteen. His body would be shrouded in a ragged white shirt, clearly the cast-off of an older and larger man, and girt about the waist with a rope of straw. The lower portion of his legs would be bound with straw-rope also. On his head instead of a halo there would be a top hat many sizes too large, tilted back to prevent his being completely engulfed, and wreathed with parti-coloured ribbon. Your natural curiosity to behold the countenance of a saint would be frustrated by a pasteboard vizard of horrific lineaments. On the whole you would have been in doubt whether you were looking at a saint at all, and if you had known as much about him as I did you would have been quite certain about it.

But do not suspect me of bearing malice. Saint George and I have shaken hands long ago, and are friends of, alas ! how n years standing. When we meet we fc the war and talk long of old times and plea memories. Not the least pleasant were nights when he and I went Christmas-rhyn together, enacting the fragments, however based, of a drama in which the original may have been Druids, and helping to 1 alive a little longer the embers of an expi tradition.

The members of our little company c back to me one by one. Some are a though changed ; and others being dead changeless. Little Tom Torrens still li and has married a wife twice as big as him and begotten sons and daughters at 1 half-a-score. It was for this quality of ha ness, even then apparent in him, that chose him as our prologue, who must spring from the sheltering darkness into lighted kitchen where we found our st and foreshadow our mystery. His voice like himself, small ; but it was shrill clear-enough, and he made a brave prolog

Room, room, brave and gallant boys, come give us to rhyme, We come to show activity about these Christmas ti Active youth and active age, the like was never acte

the stage. And if you don’t believe what I say enter in St. G and he’ll clear the way.

It was only last week that I heard young Tom— the latest of Old Tom’s family except the twins — declaim the lines to an admiring kitchen-full of his relatives. He did it with a good deal of spirit and vigour, too ; and his voice — it came to him from his mother’s side of the house — is deeper than old Tom’s was at his age ; but though I didn’t care to say so, I thought he wasn’t a patch on what his father used to be.

I will not tell you what Saint George’s name was in private life. Saint George has made money and bought land, and cuts some figure in the country. He is an elder of his Kirk these twenty years, and though he likes to talk with me in private about his Christmas Rhyming days, and some other small follies of his youth, I don’t think he would like his family to know about them.

Robbie McKillop was our Oliver Cromwell. Peace be with him — he is dust these many years ; but he was weak in the part. My Cousin Barbara, despite her sex, was worth a dozen of him ; but happening to catch sight of herself one night in an unexpected looking- glass was so alarmed by her own false-face with its portentous nose that she fell into hysterics, and threw up the part just as she was letter-perfect ; so we had to fall back upon Robbie.

Our ” Doctor ” was one Dick Semple, now also with the shades. His presence caused some scandal among -the parents of troupe ; for his birth was esteemed hum than became the company ; but the dem£ of art prevailed. The ” Doctor ” was comic part, and Dick was inimitable in it

Chubby little Mary Grant, as befitted future mistress of a gaunt three-storied fa house, plied the broom of Little Devil Doi lustily as could be desired ; but I ma now at our sense of the fitness of things we cast Winnie B for Beelzebub. Sua gentler spirit was never wronged by s a part, or a milder, sweeter countena obscured by pasteboard wickedness. But was tall and slim of shape, and cut a gal figure in a red silk blouse, and a pair of mother’s long stockings, and scarlet trui with her skirts stuffed inside in the cause propriety. If the real Prince of Darki was abroad any of those murky nights, we sometimes suspected it, he must h gnashed his teeth to see purity and innoce go by in his image. It was for Winn sweet sake I suffered by Saint George’s sw( The fleeting touch of two cold lips on n has left a more abiding wound than it recompensed.

For weeks before Christmas my Coi Joseph’s corn-loft was the scene of m sewing and snipping, and desperate con vances of ribbons and patches not alw lawfully acquired. No fragment of material was secure to our elders in the month of December. My aunt long deplored a remnant of green satin she lost one winter, and never knew it went to grace Saint Patrick’s helm. Our ill-gotten finery never stayed with us. However glorious we went forth any Christmas, the following one found us once more naked and predatory. For masks we sponged on my Cousin Joseph, and never in vain. Each Christmas he unbuttoned his pockets he swore it was for the last time ; but we knew Cousin Joseph better than that. It was always a very compact little band that travelled the roads on performing nights. In our pretended characters we felt ourselves more obnoxious than usual to the Powers of Darkness. It was safe enough to presume on the benevolenceof Saint Patrick and Saint George towards our travesty of them ; but then we had Beelzebub and Devil Doit among us, and never felt sure how the originals might take it. And though we carried a lantern we seldom dared to display the light. For one thing it was necessary to approach our victims’ houses unperceived. But in addition to that, the appearance of a gro- tesquely-painted mask thrown up suddenly against the darkness is trying to nerves already a little on the strain. Dick Semple once paused unknown to us, to tie his bootlace, and when our lantern was flashed on him as he came running after, we took to our heels and ran |a quarter of a mile. Even grown- found our false faces too much for th Many a farm-house door was barred e on our account for jweeks before Christr not without reason. It was said that J Dorrian’s first-born came untimely into world through his mother’s looking up fi her seat by the kitchen hearth to behold door ” with dreadful faces thronged.” Tl is a mark on her offspring’s cheek to this that every old woman in the country decli is the counterpart of Oliver Cromwell’s n It is true that her doctor derided any c nection between the two happenings ; an incline to believe him ; but it cannot denied that our irruptions sometimes v the cause of more alarm than mirth. I my saw Peter James Dolan sit down in a cr of cream well ripe for churning, at entrance of prologue ; and though Coi Joseph knew Peter James too well to beli he sacrificed the balance of the cream, indemnified him for the irreparable ruin his market-day trousers. I had a good set against the liability, having suffered dam in the same region through the action Peter James’s agent, an Irish terrier ; Peter James in his wrath had carried out oft-repeated threat to ” put the dog on us but I was too bashful to disclose it at time, and let my cousin pay.

It was a matter of some strategy to an entrance to many houses. When after cautious raising of a latch we found a door barred we fell back on guile. Little Tom Torrens was our Sinon on these occasions. Knocking boldly on the door he tuned his piping voice to a pathetic key, and sobbed out some concocted tale of disaster. He had tripped over a stone and cut his knees on the road and required first-aid ; or had fallen in a drain on his way home across the fields and needed drying ; or he had been going to Jervis’s shop for a loaf, and had dropped his sixpence, and could they let him have a blink of light, for if the sixpence were lost he would be beaten when he went home. No Greek that ever entered the Wooden Horse was wiher than little Tom. The tragedy in his voice would have melted rocks, let alone the heart of a farmer’s wife with boys of her own. All this time we stood in a bunch at his elbow, breathless, creeping closer and closer with each sign of relenting within, ready to thrust in our sticks the instant a line of light along the door-post showed that the citadel was breached. Then with a headlong rush the door was flung back, and we poured tumultuously into the kitchen, not seldom over the prostrate body of the sentinel ; and faithless Tom, bounding into the middle of the kitchen, broke into ” Room, room ! ” with all the shrillness of triumph. But having once gained an entrance we were never cast into outer darkness again until our play played out. Perhaps no one was gre deceived by our wiles.

la most farmhouses, indeed, we were ceived with pleasure. The floor was cles of chairs to enlarge our stage. The grown- perched on tables to enjoy the show,  the elder boys and girls kneeling behind peering over their shoulders ; and sle children were brought rosy-faced and yawi from their beds, very often to return thi shrieking. In general, the mothers am our audience witnessed the show from ” room ” door, half-strangled by the arms  clutching youngster, with one or two of less terrified peering from the folds of skirts, herself laughing and soothing in al nate breaths, and patting the affrighted with comfortable hand. In such a house ate and drank plenteously, and put mone] our purse.

Yet strangely enough it is not our trium I recall most clearly. Far more vividl remember the darkness, and the lashing r and the distant soughing wind, and toss branches against pale rifts in the tattc clouds ; or on our rare hard nights, crackling rut-pools, and frosted hedges, glittering rimy fields. I remember our nij alarms of moving sheep and bdated cc and the terror of angry dogs ; and Christmas Eve Devil Doit fell into the race, and the night we saw the corpse-lights in the Quaggy bog. It was when I wished to recall our old rhymes that I found great gaps in my memory, and could not even remember my old part of Saint Patrick. But I pieced them together at last with fragments gathered here and there, and had many a pleasant hour in the doing of it, and fought my mimic battles over again, and made new friends of some old friends, and threw off the burden of the years.

Perhaps the result was not worth my pains. I have recovered no famous drama, long lost to the world, no recondite specimen of folk- lore at which the antiquary may rejoice and fall a- writing to learned journals. The verses halt a little with their long journey down the centuries, and have picked up strange company by the way. But some little boy or girl may like to sit for a space in an Ulster kitchen of thirty years ago, and listen to the Christmas Rhymers. Perhaps after a while they may find some of their seniors at their elbow. Fling open the door, then. Tommy Torrens, and declaim your prologue. Come with me out of the shadows, my little company, and we will speak our lines once more.

You have learned what Saint George was like. Imagine a husky bass rising now and then disconcertingly to treble :

Here comes I, Saint George, from England I have sprung, One of these great and noble deeds a volume to begin.

I was seven long years in a close cave kept,

From there into a prison leapt,

From there bound to a rocky stone,

Where I gave many a sad and grievous moan.

I (fought them all courageously,

And still I gained the victory.

Show me the man.

How dare he stand,

I’ll cut him down with my courageous hand.

This is my cue to enter, armed, like George, with wooden sword and buckle:

Here comes I, Saint Patrick, with my shining bright. I am a famous champion by the day or by the e Who are you but Saint George — Saint Patrick’s Who fed his horse on oats and hay, And afterwards he ran away.

Saint George : I say, by George, you lie, sir.

Saint Patrick :

Pull out your sword and try, sir. I’ll run my rapier through your body, and make y away, sir.

Then what a clatter of wood on before Saint George falls 1 Our coml not all feigning. We fight for a fair as saints have been known to do before put off their human nature. Saint G strikes home — ^very much out of his j and drops at once, cunning rascal, to reprisal, and I, though burning for revenge, must pretend ruth and call for succour :

A doctor, a doctor, ten pounds for a doctor !

Is there not a doctor to be found

To cure this man of his deep and deadly wound ?

And now behold Dick Semple, our comedian and star, with bearded mask, and monstrous phial. But you do not know our Dispensary doctor’s shambling walk and thin cracked voice, and so will not give Dick credit for his artistry.

Yes, here comes I, old Doctor Scott, The best old doctor of the lot. If this man’s life I mean to save, Forty guineas I must have.

Saint Patrick : What can you cure, Doctor ?

Doctor :

I can cure the plague within the plague, the palsy or the gout.

Saint Patrick : What’s your medicine, doctor ?

Doctor :

The rue, the rue. Brock’s dew. Hog’s lar’. Pitch and tar.

The sap of the poker, the juice of the tongs

Three turkey-cock’s eggs nine yards long.

Put these in a hen’s bladder,

And stir up with a cat’s feather, —

Ahd if Jack’s a living man he’ll get up and sing

Saint George (rises and sings) : Wonderful, wonderful, the like was never seen For a stout young fellow about the age of ninet I’ve run with the buck, fought with the bear. And rode with the devil on his old grey mare. And if you don’t believe what I say Enter in Oliver Cromwell and he’ll clear the way. The announcement is not needed ; hi bespeaks him. If we are near the e our Season it is a little battered about tl One does not easily safeguard such a on dark nights.

Here comes I, Oliver Cromwell, as you may sup I’ve conquered many nations with my long copp< I’ve made the French to tremble and the Spai)

quake. And I’ve fought the bloody Dutchman till I m

heart ache. And if you don’t believe what I say Enter in Beelzebub and he’ll clear the way.

Steal softly in, little Winnie, and your lines unabashed. No one but see the sweet pale face behind your fl; vizard. Deal tenderly with the devil a were wont, and still call him Beelth We will weep rather than laugh to hear lisping now. And you, children, intently, for Beelzebub is nervous, and will be very breathless before he has finished his lines, and his voice will trail away to a whisper.

Here comes I, Beelzebub,

Over my shoulder I carry my club,

And in my hand a dripping pan,

I think myself a jolly old man.

And if you don’t believe what I say

Enter in Devil Doit and he’ll clear the way.

Be patient ; our play is nearly ended. But let the head of the family get ready his penny when Devil Doit rattles the money-box. The floor is earthen, and Devil Doit is very handy with his broom. He gives you fair warning :

Here comes I, wee Devil Doit, If you don’t give me money I’ll sweep you all out. Money I want and money I crave, If you don’t give me money I’ll sweep you all to your grave.

Come away from the dust and the laughter. The curtain has fallen, and will not rise again. There is no money for little Devil Doit nowa- days. His broom has become old-fashioned, and would be out of place in a city parlour. Play your own games, children. We of another generation will look on awhile and be merry with you. You must not mind if some of us presently steal away thirty years or so, and spend our Christmas in the country. We shall not be quite so merry there ; but there will be a smile on our lips, and our hearts will be very tender.
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I was fond of low company as a I loved the society of ploughmen, and dealers, and ” tradesmen,” as we cal penters and masons and such like i North of Ireland ; and on occasion wa; not above consorting with tinkers, greatest of all pleasures was to slip ou winter’s night to some labourer’s or farmer’s cottage and take part in a l We are more learned now, and kno’ word for Irish and spell it c.e.l.e.i.d.h it meant just the same then, a gather neighbours in friendly chat round a hean Our servant-maids were scandalised 1 want of proper pride. Many a time threatened to ” tell on me,” and no then carried out their threat. But my although she had plenty of pride, had  a deal of commonsense as well, and winmy unconventionality. It would do the no harm, I have overheard her say, to little of all sorts.

I think she was right, too, and that not do me any harm. If I saw and much that was coarse and unseemly, and heard much, too, that was simpl pure and uplifting. If I learned a little.

I learned a great deal more good. The evil fell away from me as I grew in knowledge ; but the good remains with me to this day. There was many a worse school for a little boy than an Ulster hearthside thirty years ago. And I count it something that I can still sit down in a cottier dwelling and talk to a labourer and his family in their own homely speech, and enter into their humble joys and sorrows with sympathy and under- standing. In those days it did not enter my head that I belonged to a different race of beings. I am not sure that I have learned the lesson yet.

The humbler folk among whom I visited were much more ready to recognise a difference between them and me. Although I was received among them on familiar terms, some little acknowledgment of my higher standing was always insisted on. If among the family circle and its intimates I was always addressed by my Christian name, should a stranger be present it was scrupulously prefixed by the respectful ” Master.” One of ” the room ” chairs was always set out for me to take my place by the hearth. It was a poor household indeed that could not afford me the luxury of at least deal. At first I preferred to sit on one of the common chairs, the seats of which were composed of straw ropes wound on a wooden framework. But I found that the newest was always offered me, and the parities of such a seat, with its prods of corn stalks, require a certain discipline by corduroy before they trouble the wearer of cloth. Perched on my seat of honour I h f time mottled my boyish shins at ids of flame. The dullest to me was e, such as a middling farmer’s house “er. We had coal fires at home. T joy a coal fire to the full one shoi )ne. In its early stages, with a good al, it is true that as many can be und it as can provide themselves kers. I have even known an expert, the due moment to puncture the tiny coal bubble, monopolise a s ker to the common satisfaction ; an( d ambitions in that direction myself, len smoke has dwindled, and the coi )wing and falling lower in the grate, m one fire-gazer is a crowd. The It I see so plainly is perhaps a mmit to another pair of eyes, or the ad a horse. Two souls must surely rfect harmony to read the fiery archil ke. When I hear of such a thing npted to suspect that there is mon e-gazing between them. I know it was so with myself as

eleven and little Lucy D , thughter in one of my coal-fire houses. ,a timid little creature with pretty features and flaxen hair that would not curl for all her mother could do, born to worship aggressive small boys and to bend the neck gladly before a tyrannical husband, and fade beneath the strain of bringing up his rowdy family. I do not think I was an aggressive small boy ; but I was her social superior by some fifty acres, and she looked up to me, and gave me her love.

I used to visit early at that house, before the regular kailyie began. Side by side we pored over the grate^ and I drank in the sweetness of her submissiveness to my inter- pretation of the fiery oracles. When I remember Lucy’s elf-like little face, it is always framed in an aureole of flame-lit hair. But presently a serpent entered into my Eden, a sturdy youth some twelve months my senior ; and I knew the first pangs of jealousy when Lucy began to reject my romantic visions for his prosaic imaginings. I contended with him for some time in a losing struggle, till at last one evening he invited me out to fight, over a unicorn that he maintained was a donkey. I still think it was a unicorn, and with Lucy’s support would have had faith even to single combat ; but she sided with my rival ; and I quitted the field with an obvious retort the recollection of which com- forted me a little in my humiliation. I had to fight him next day, after all, for calling him a donkey, and in the stress of battle it came into my mind that I might just as well been fighting for my unicorn and Lucy’s But he worsted me rather badly, and new that it didn’t matter.

In my humbler visiting circle there few coal fires. A man with a wage amoi at the best to twelve shillings a week c little to swell the royalties of Coal 1 But there are many other means of rail blaze ; and any of them is more allurinj coal. I have often listened to the era of thorns under a pot, and relish the ] more than one who has heard it only his mind’s ear. Nevertheless, thorns disappointing fuel, showy, but of little efi and associated in the farmer’s mind without reason, with open gaps and sfc cattle. I liked their cheerful crackle, aftermath of glowing twigs will etch a p with a freedom of line unknown to But I was not always ignorant of the s of supply, and I had some mental stn between the honour of a guest and the of a nephew.

The steady radiance of well-lighted places it high in the ranks of poor fuel. For myself I never took to it. the tang of goat’s milk, the smell of tui always remained an exotic flavour t( senses. My aunt disliked it for a dif reason. She esteemed it a Roman Catholii and not quite fit burning for the dominant .

Then, too, a masterful uncle need be no Sherlock Holmes to divine from the aroma of a small boy’s clothes that he has not been visiting in the highest circles the night before ; and my aunt’s broadmindedness in the matter of companionship was not shared by her husband, except about his own associates. For these causes, unless the company- promised something above the ordinary, I generally avoided turf -burning cottages.

Wood was my favourite kailyie fire. Even green branches have their merits, of bubbling sap and hissing moisture, soft under-song to the dancing kettle lid. And what can make a cleaner or more cheerful fire than a pile of spHt logs, ash for choice ? I cannot see a noble tree felled now without a pang as for a life untimely taken. But, then, the blazing logs awakened no misgivings in my mind, too intent on my self-imposed task of stoker to remember that some glory of the woodlands was being threatened by my zeal. And as the night drew on and the bright pile shud- dered into ashes, how sweet to watch glow and shadow chase each other over the incan- descent charcoal with every eddying draught, or project the unburned ends with wary toe and awaken the dying flame.

There was a pleasant flavour of the illicit about a log fire also. Trees were the property of the landlord, and might not be felled without his consent. But here conscience slumbered. I was a farmer’s nephew, and my withers were unwrung. Few country consciences were more tender in such a matter. The common bond of advantage stilled both labourer’s and farmer’s tongue ; and many a tall tree fell unmarked of its lawful lord.

With a fire of ” shoughs ” one came in contact with poverty. Shoughs are the frag- ments of stalk beaten from flax fibre in the process of scutching. Small ends and wisps of the fibre are mingled with the shoughs. The whole furnishes the most evanescent of fires, with much blaze but little heat. A torrent of sparks pours up the chimney as it consumes, and this firework display can be augmented by tapping the mass with a poker, as I have been thoughtless enough to do many a time, and waste more rapidly my hostess’s scanty store. I say my hostess’s, for I visited in only one shough-burning cottage. Poor old Mary Kinner, I can see her now, squatted on the earthen floor of her one-roomed dwelling, knees close to chin, mumbling with toothless gums on the short-stemmed clay pipe, her only luxury, too often empty. She dwelt alone, the solitary survivor of her gene- ration, so far sunk in years that, without dying, she might be said to have outlived life.

Mary was come of decent people, as the saying goes in the North ; and folk remembered this. Her pittance of parish relief was eked out by unasked charity. Without abounding, she lived a little on this side of want. Old as she was, the instinct of hospitality still remained with her. Her pocket was a widow’s cruse, never empty of some fragment of ” sweetie ” to please a little boy.

She liked to have me come to her cottage. I had little to say ; for I was overawed by her antiquity ; but the desire of speech had departed from her. Human companionship was all she needed ; and there is something soothing to old age in the presence of a child.

I was always glad to visit Mary. I loved the shough fire, the quick-leaping flame as I cast on each handful, the pouring sparks, the restless afterglow. Not even Mary herself was more pleased when the tin ” tea-drawer ” hissed into steam, or rejoiced more when the twisted paper screw of mingled tea and sugar which she drew from her bosom was fat and promised rich hquor. When, as not seldom, it was meagre, and old Mary’s face and her anxious stirring and reluctant pouring out presaged mere ” water bewitched,” my little heart ached as hers had long lost power to do, and I knew that our hapless servant girl would shortly be in for a wigging over a tea caddy uncannily depleted. Even now I cannot regret those charitable thefts. If they seared my conscience a little they kept my heart tender. And with it all I am quite sure our maids drank too much tea.

When Mary lighted her after-tea pipe I laid down the poker. She was the first woman I had ever seen smoke a pipe, and the performance had a strange fascination for me! Quiet fell on my restless limbs and spirit as I watched. I have sat for half a winter’s evening gazing across the hearth at the old, age- weary face, as it brightened with each ” draw ” and darkened with each puff of smoke, the silence never broken except by Mary’s muttered self-communings. We must have made a strange picture sitting by the dim hearth, without speech or movement, in some mysterious accord of childhood and old age. Those quiet hours made a deeper impression on me than any other experience of my childhood. Pity and sorrow awoke in me then. It was then that the first questionings on life and death stirred my soul. But my sorrow was for others, in whose sad lot I had no portion. I saw that old Mary must die, but was not conscious of my own mortality. It is otherwise with me now. Not long ago, rambling about my early haunts, I entered the roofless cottage that had been Mary’s, and sat by the cold hearth. When I last sat there life stretched long before me. Infinite space divided me from the calamity of old age. Surely it was only yesterday ; but now her remembered face brings with it the poignant knowledge that I, too, am growing old, and must go hence, and that the longest life is, after all, but a fire of shoughs.



It was a bitter evening in March — I mind it as well as yesterday, though I was only a boy of eleven at the time — when I met the little band of gipsies as I was coming home from my uncle’s out farm.

When I saw them I slipped in behind the pillar of a gate till they should pass ; for the gipsies had a bad name in our part of the country, some saying they were kidnappers, and others that they had the Black Art ; and it was falling dark at the time, and I was afraid.

I made sure the last of them was gone before I stepped out again, but just round the bend of the road I came on the old woman struggling along against the wind. Very tall she was, and gaunt-looking, and had on her an old black cloak with a hood, such as I’ve heard my aunt say they wore when she was a young girl.

I didn’t mind the old woman very much, seeing she was by herself ; and it was on my tongue to bid her good-night ; but I thought better of it, and didn’t say a word to her, nor she to me. But she looked at me for a moment, very keen and searching, and it seemed to me that her eyes under the hood were glowing like coals of fire.

As I went on up the road I couldn’t get her out of my head, nor the look she gave me. I was afraid, and yet I wasn’t afraid ; and all the time I felt as if there was some- thing drawing me to her. Before I knew what I was doing I ran back and pulled her by the cloak, and asked her would she like to lie for the night in my uncle’s barn.

She bade ” God bless me,” and said she would be very glad and grateful. And I took her back, and opened the barn door, and shook some straw down in the corner for her to sleep on, and found her an old horse- cover to put over her.

My heart was warmed with what I had done for the old woman, and I didn’t stop at that, but went along to a cottier house and got her a mug of tea and some fresh soda bread. And she ate her supper by what light there was at the door of the barn, and thanked and blessed me again, and went in and lay down on the straw.

All the way home I was in two minds whether to tell my uncle what I had done ; for he was a hard man, and I doubted he would blame me. But my conscience wouldn’t let me keep it to myself, and I told him. He was furiously angry, as I expected, and cursed me for a sentimental young fool, that his barn would be burned down, and ordered me to go back at once and put the old woman out.

I pleaded with him for a long time, but he wouldn’t listen ; so I went back, very slowly and unwillingly, and when I opened the door of the barn and went in, sure enough, as my uncle had said, the old woman was smoking as she lay among the straw ; and worse than all, and what would have driven my uncle clean mad if he had seen it, she had lit a candle and propped it up between two bricks.

I was ready enough to turn her out when I saw that ; but just as I was about to speak she looked up at me, and at the look of her the words failed in my mouth ; for she was like nothing earthly lying there among the straw, with the long grey hair falling about her face and her eyes burning in the sockets like it might be in a dead skull.

I stood there, shifting from one foot to the other, and gazing at her, and all I could find to say after a while was that I hoped she was warm and comfortable.

” I am warm and comfortable this night,” she said, ” and it’s thanks to you that I am that same. But that’s not what your uncle told you to say when he sent you to put me out into the black night and the wind.”

I never answered a word, but the blood chilled in my veins ; for it came into my mind that she couldn’t know all that and be canny.

” Go back to your uncle,” she said at last, ” and tell him that I’ll not go out this night, but will lie here warm and well happed till the morning ; and in the morning I’ll go my way in peace. And tell him that his barn will not be burned down, but will stand for many a year, and be filled with a blessing that was none of his earning. And he will say that he vvill come and put me out with his own hands ; but he will not ; for there is a power above the hard and cruel that strives with them sometimes for their own good.”

And with the way she said that I looked at her again, and the fear of her left me ; for I saw that she was nothing but a poor old woman.

But I was full of curiosity and wonder to know how she could tell what my uncle had said to me ; and at the last I plucked up heart and asked her how she knew, and if I could learn as well as herself. Above all, I said, I wanted to have some skill of telling fortunes and knowing the future. And the old woman answered me, Yes, that she could tell fortunes : ” For how,” said she, ” could you live for & hundred years under the stars, as I have done, without learning wisdom ? ”

” But come,” said she, ” give me your hand, and first of all I’ll tell your fortune, and after that I’ll show you the skill of it as I have it myself. For my days under the sun and the stars are numbered, and it is on me that I shouldn’t leave this world and take with me any virtue that I Have learned there.”

So she told me my fortune, looking at my hand ; both what had happened and what was going to happen.

” And now,” said she, ” mark me, and I’ll tell you what you must do. First of all, when a man asks you to tell his fortune, you will take his hand in yours and look at the palm of it. And at the same time you will clear your mind of every thought, till there is nothing in all wide eternity but the palm of a hand and you gazing at it. And presently the power of your mind will draw virtue from the person whose hand you hold, and you will tell their past life as if it was a story and they telling it with their own lips.”

” But you must remember,” said the old woman, ” to make your mind clear and blank ; for if you cannot do that,” said she, ” you will never tell a good fortune.”

” And what about the future ? ” I asked the old woman.

” For the future,” said she, ” you will use the good sense that God has given you, and the teaching of the wide world and the stars that folk call experience and wisdom. If it’s a handsome slip of a young girl comes to you, what will she be looking but to get married, and what would you tell her but that she will ? For people still wants to shape the future by the desires of their hearts ; and if you tell them the desire of their hearts, what matter if it should never come true ; for who wouldn’t rather deserve a good fortune than gain one ? ”

” And you needn’t fear to be open-handed with your good-ltick,” said she. ” Good news is better, than true news. Besides, what comes true of the fortune you speyed will be remembered, and all the rest will be forgotten.”

” And is that all you can tell of the future ? ” said L For I was disappointed that I should hear no wonderful thing.

” It is all that any man or woman can tell,” said she, ” and it is not a little to them that has the seeing eye and the understanding mind. For in the history of what is gone by is the prophecy of what is to come ; only them that looks must have the great gifts of God.”

When she had said this the old woman was silent for a long time, and smoked her pipe.

” But for all that,” says she to herself very loud and sudden, ” the great mist that hides the future has been lifted for a few persons since the beginning of the world, and who knows but I am one of them ? ”

A kind of fear came on me again when she said that ; and I bid good-night to her, though she didn’t heed me, and slipped away quietly out by the door and off home.

When I got home I told my uncle what the old woman had said, and he did not go to put her out, but cursed her for an old witch, and said that if his barn was burned down he would take it out of my hide in the morning.

Next day I rose up early and ran to look at the barn. My heart leaped in my body when I saw that it was safe.

And I sat down on the stone stile beside the barn, and thought about the fortune that had been speyed for me. Long and long I thought about it, and many a time I have thought of it since. And some of it came true of itself, and some of it I made come true because of what the old woman had told me.
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The Manx Cat

Another story from Ballygullion by Leslie Montgomery  (Lynn C. Doyle – Linseed Oil)


Whiniver a woman takes to keepin* cats it’s as good as all up wi’ her, as far as gettin’ a man
is concerned. Dogs isn’t half as bad. There’s somethin’ manly an’ plucky about a dog, an’
whin ye see even an’ ould maid wi’ a lump av a dog at her heels, it’s a sign there’s some spunk
in her yet.

But cats is the very divil ; cowld-rife,shiverin’ crathers, that’s always shovin’ their
hindher-end up again the grate, an’ wouldn’t face across the sthreet if the sun wasn’t shinin’.
Whin a woman takes to thim she begins clockin’ over the fire, an’ in no time at all she’s
as dhry an’ withered-lookin’ as a row av peasin the month av Septimber.
That’s the way ould Miss Armsthrong wint.

I niver could tell how it was she didn’t get a man, for she had plinty av money an’ a fine
place av it up at the Hall, but wan way or another she missed her market. Thim that she
would take wouldn’t have her, an’ thim that would ha’ taken her she wouldn’t look at.
So be the time she was turned av forty she clane lost heart an’ took to cats.
An’ Lord ! but she had the menagerie av thim, big an* wee, an’ all manner o’ breeds.
I’d niver ha’ thought there was as many kinds av cats in the world, if I hadn’t seen them wi
me own eyes.

An’ for all that she was aye gettin’ more. Ivery now an’ thin you’d see ould Sammy
Bones comin’ out av Ballygullion wi’ a basket on his arm ; an’ ye might ha’ guessed what
was in it a quarther av a mile away, if ye had no power av your nose, that is ; for troth, some
av thim fancy cats looks better nor they smell.
It niver bothered ould Billy, though. He was blin’ av wan eye, an’ by carryin’ the basket
on the side wi’ the good eye, he could keep his head bravely turned away an’ still look in
front av him.

Many a time I wondhered how he iver got safe home wi’ the half av the cats, all the same.
The head was niver the sthrongest part av Sammy, an’* whin ye give him a message ye
were niver sure what he’d bring ye back.

He used to run errands for the whole counthry ; but, wi’ his makin’ one mistake an’
another, people began to stop employin’ him, an 1 he was in a bad way till Miss Armsthrong
took him an’ kept him about the place for runnin odd jobs.

It happened that the ould lady wint to the Isle av Man for a thrip wan summer, an* whin
she was there she heard word av a breed av Manx cats that was beyont iverything.
So she trysted a kitten for herself, an* it was to be sent her whin it was full grown. She
was greatly on wi’ the new cat, an’ talked about it all over the place till iverybody was as
keen to see it as if it had been a goold wan.

An’ goold it might ha’ been, too ; for it seems she paid fifteen pounds for it, a lament-
able price for a cat.
At last the time come for it to be sent, an’ wan mornin’ in Septimber Sammy was sint off
wi’ the wee basket, as usual, to fetch it home.
Wi’ all the crack he’d heard about it, he was mighty curious to see the cat ; but as bad luck
would have it, whin he got to the station, instead av puttin’ the baste in his basket they
just handed him the wee hamper it come in. So all the way home he was fair burstin’ wi’
An’ the divil, bein’ busy as usual, must send big Billy av the Hills, the biggest joker in
Ballygullion, along the same road.
About a mile out av Ballygullion, Billy took up wi’ him.
” What kind av a baste have you the day, Sammy ? ” sez he.
” Oh, begobs,” sez Sammy,” I’ve the quare baste this journey. This is none av your
common pusshies. Fifteen pound she cost fifteen pound, mind ye. She’s a Manx.
What’s a Manx cat like, Mr. Lenahan ? ” sez he.

“Do ye not know that?” sez Billy. “Sure she has only three legs. Divil a baste in the
Isle av Man has more.”
” Three legs ? ” sez Sammy, wi’ the eyes near bulgin’ out av his head. “Begobs, ’tis
wonderful. But how in the name av Hiven does she stand ? Sure she’s bound to cowp over.”
“She’s all right so long as she keeps movin’,” sez Billy ; “an j whin she stops she just props
herself up wi 1 her tail.”
“She must have the wondherful fine tail, thin,” sez Sammy.
” Ye may swear it,” sez Billy. ” They tell me the tail av thim is four times as long as an
ordinary cat’s. It’s a wondher in itself,” sez he.
” Begobs,” sez Sammy, ” I’ll have a look at it. Lend me your knife, Mr. Lenahan, till I
open a wee bit av a hole in the lid. Be the livin’ fortune, the tail’s clane ofT her ! ” sez he,
peerin’ in.

” It’s jokin’ ye are,” sez Billy.
” Divil a bit,” sez Sammy. ” Look for yourself.”
“In troth you’re right, Sammy, ” sez Billy, lookin* in. ” Was she all right whin she left
the station ? ”
” I niver seen her,” sez Sammy. ” They wouldn’t take her out av the hamper.”
“There ye are!” sez Billy. “They’ve taken it off in the railway an’ want to blame it
on you.”
“Begobs,” sez Sammy, “ye’ve hit it. Some of thim porther divils has nipped it off in a
door. The way they slap thim till is sayrious. I mind well bringin’ a fox-terrier to Major
Donaldson. The porther in Belfast nipped his tail in the carriage-door, an’ the poor baste
pinned me be the leg, thinkin’ ’twas I had such a grip av the other end av him. Sure the mark
av his teeth is in my shin yit. But what’s to be done now ? The Misthress’ll be the end
av me.”

” Ye’dbetther look if the tail’s in the hamper,” sez Billy.
” So I had,” sez Sammy. ” Wait till I cut the cords.”
Now the cat may ha’ been the sweetest tempered crather that iver supped milk whin
she started ; but between the hunger an’ the joultin’ an 5 jabblin’ she got on the boat an’
thrain, she was in no very kindly frame av mind be this time, and whin Sammy lifted the
lid she puts out a paw an’ tickles his cheek a bit, purty well intil the bone I would say,
an* Sammy lets a screech out av him an’ dhrops hamper an* all.
“Catch her, ye fool !” sez Billy, reach in’ for the hamper ; for he had no mind to be the
means av losin’ a fifteen pound cat. But just as he stooped, out comes the Manx, cursin’ and
spittin’, an’ wi’ wan spang she lights on Billy’s face, an’ before he got her off he could ha’
matched Sammy’s scratch wi’ a score. The language av Billy bate the cat clane work till
he got her off, an’ whin he did, he gives her a heave lit her twinty yards over the ditch intil
Maginness’s quarry.

The fall would ha’ killed an ordinary baste ; but there’s nothin’ ordinary about a cat, an’ if
she lost wan life in the quarry, she took the other eight up the far side av it, an’ away across
counthry as if the divil was afther her.
An throth I believe he was, an’ stuck till her all day ; for nothin’ less dhriv her across me
an’ wee Mr. Anthony, the solicitor, that was out shootin’ in the afthernoon.
‘Twas unfortunate for the cat anyway, for as she skulked down the ditch in front av him,
Mr. Anthony, who’s terrible short-sighted, up wi’ the gun an’ laid her stiff. An’ the divil
was in that too ; for ’twas the first time I iver knowed him to hit anythin’ that wasn’t standin’

” Hi ! Pat,” sez he, in great delight wi’ him-self. ” I’ve got a rabbit. No,” sez he, gettin’
nearer, ” ’tis a hare. H- 1 to me sowl,” sez he, bendin’ over her-, ” it’s a cat ! ”
” It’s no cat,” sez I, comin’ up, ” where’s her tail?”
“Tail or no tail,” sez he, “it’s a cat. It’s wan av thim Manx cats.”
“Well, well,” sez I ;” there’s little harm done. It might ha’ been a calf or somethin’

” Confound me for a blunderin’ fool,” sez Mr. Anthony, throwin’ down the gun in a rage.
” I’m always exposin* meself to ridicule wan way or another.”
” For the love av Hivin, Mr. Anthony,” sez I, ” the nixt time ye throw down a gun like
that, keep the muzzle nixt yerself. I’ve a wife an’ childher dependin’ on me. But don’t worry
yerself about the cat. Pitch the baste intil the sheugh, an’ come on . Hould on a minit !
Here’s people comin’. Sit down on her !”
Wi’ that up comes ould Sammy and Miss Armsthrong’s gamekeeper, an’ two or three
hangers on about the Hall.

” Ye haven’t seen a cat, Mr. Murphy,” sez the gamekeeper.
I could see Mr. Anthony spreadin’ out the tails av his coat as he sat.
” No,” sez I, ” have ye lost wan ?”
” Ay, have we,” sez he, ” an’ the right name av her is a cat. ‘Twas a Manx cat that this
ould fool here let out av the hamper, as he was bringin’ her home, an’ we’re scourin’ the
counthry for her. An’ well we may. She cost the misthress fifteen pound, an’ she’s
puttin’ out a reward av five for anybody brings news av the baste.”
” Well, good-luck to ye, boys,” sez I ; ” I hope ye’ll get her. Mr. Anthony an’ I’ll keep
an eye out for her. We’re just takin’ a rest for a minit.”
” Come on now, sir,” sez I, whin they’d gone, ” intil the ditch wi’ her, an’ away we’ll go
wi’ nobody a bit the wiser.”

” I hope to goodness it’ll not come out,” sez Mr. Anthony, very nervous like. ” I’ll be
laughed out av the place if it does. I’ve had so many wee accidents like this, ye see. Not
to mention that ‘twould cost me fifteen pound.”
” We’re well clear av her now,” sez I. ” We’re a quarther av a mile away from her be
this time.”

” D’ye think they mightn’t find her,” sez he. “They seen us sittin’ there.”
” Not thim,” sez I. ” They’ll niver go over the same ground twice. She’ll be there till the
rats eat her. Where’s the dog, though ? He wouldn’t touch her, I suppose ?”
” No,” sez Mr. Anthony ; ” he’s too well thrained. I’ll answer for that, for I brought
him up meself, from a puppy. Here, * Rover ! Rover ! ‘” sez he. He whistles a bit, an* in a
minit up comes the dog waggin’ his tail, and lays the cat at his feet.

” I doubt his eddication isn’t finished/’ sez I. ” Confound the dog,” sez he, ” I don’t know
what’s come over him. Wait, though, I know what it was. I didn’t forbid him. Here,
Rover,” sez he, ” see that ! ” holdin’ up the cat, ” don’t touch it ! ”

The dog looks up in his face very wise, an’ wags his tail a bit.
“D’ye mind him, Pat ?” sez Mr. Anthony, pattin’ him on the head. ” Sure he knows the
very words I’m sayin’. Now, over the ditch wi’ the cat, quick, before somebody sees her.”
” Ye’d betther let me bury her,” sez I, an’ then she’s done wi’.”

” No,” sez he he was a terrible obstinate man when he had his mind made up ” I want
to let you see how the dog’s thrained.”
So over the ditch went the cat, an’ on we goes.

Before we were at the nixt turn av the road, up comes the dog again wi’ her in his mouth,
waggin’ his whole hind end he was that sure he’d done a good thing.

” D n the baste,” sez wee Mr. Anthony, in a rage, ” I wish to Hivin I’d shot him instead
av the cat. We’ll niver get rid av the confounded carcase at this rate.”

” Take away the dog,” sez I, ” an’ I’ll hide it. We’ll be found wi’ it before all’s over.”
” Hould on,” sez he, ” an’ I’ll fire a shot. The dog’ll be off to look for what I’ve hit.”
“He’ll not go,” sez I, “when he sees nothin’ fall.”

” Av course he will,” sez he, very cross. “D’ye think I hit something ivery time I fire ?”
“For any sake thin,” sez I, “shoot, an’ have your own way av it.”
Bang goes the gun, off goes the dog to see what Mr. Anthony had missed, an’ away goes
the cat over the ditch again.

“We’re rid av her this time,” sez I. “There’s the dog in front av us.”
The words wasn’t out av me mouth till I hears a wee pipin’ shout behind us : ” Mr.
Anthony, Mr. Anthony.” Whin we looked around here was Brian Burke’s wee son tearin’
afther us wi’ the cat in his hand.

” Here it is, sir,” sez he, comin’ up all out of breath ; ” here’s the baste ye shot. It fell
just at me- feet as the gun went off. An’ man, it give a quare lepp for the last, clane over the
hedge from the county road.”
” What is it, Mr. Anthony?” sez he. “Is it a rabbit ? ”
” Av coorse it is,” sez I. “Give it to me.”
” It’s a quare lookin’ rabbit,” sez he, starin’ at the feet stickin’ out av me pocket. “I niver
knowed a rabbit had claws before.”

” We’re done,” sez Mr. Anthony to me in a whisper. ” Whiniver he hears av Miss Arm-
sthrong’s cat bein’ lost, he’ll put two an’ two together an’ it’ll all be out. Will I give him
half-a-sovereign, an’ tell him to hould his tongue ? ”
“‘if ye give him half-a-sovereign,” sez I, ” he’ll talk about it till he’s a grown man. Give
him a sixpence for findin’ it, an’ thrust to luck.”
The wee fellow went away well plazed wi’ the sixpence, an’ on we thramps wi’ the cat wanst more.

“We’ll niver get rid av the infernal animal,” sez Mr. Anthony, rubbin’ the sweat off his face.
“Damme,” sez he, “it’s like a nightmare. There’s no good hidin’ her now she’s been seen.
I’d betther go on to Miss Armsthrong’s an’ own up till it at wanst. The child’s sure to let it
out if he meets the gamekeeper.”

” Wait a minit,” sez I, ” I have it ! We’ll skin her, an’ hide the skin, an’ do you take the
carcase home wi’ ye. Hould on now ! ” as he was goin’ to break in wi’ something, ” suppose
they do find it on us ; that’s just what we want. { I hear ye killed a quare rabbit/ sez
the gamekeeper. * Nothin’ quare about it/ sez you, * here it is ; ‘ and who’s goin’ to tell it
isn’t a rabbit wi’ the skin off. Let thim make their best or worst av it. An’ if they want to
see the skin, there’s as many rabbit skins at my place as would thatch a house.”

” It sounds all right,” sez he, a bit doubtfullike. ” Anyway we can’t do betther. Skin her
an’ have done wi’ it.”
So I skinned her in a jiffey.
“Now,” sez I, “I’ll bury the skin, an’ thin there’s no evidence again us,”
” It’s a horrid pity to lose the rest av the evenin’s shootin’,” sez Mr. Anthony. ” An’
me eye must be well in too. Ye seen the way I bowled the cat over. It’s not often I’m
shootin’ so well.”

” I’ll tell ye thin what we’ll do,” sez I ; “we’ll lave the carcase at Big Billy’s cottage round the
corner, an’ call for it comin’ back. If we meet the gamekeeper it’s there to show.”
Just at the door av the cottage we meets Billy’s ould mother comin’ out.
” Good afthernoon, Mrs. Lenahan,” sez I, ” would ye mind keepin’ this rabbit for Mr.
Anthony till he comes back ? I’ve skinned it for him, ready to bring home.”
” Hing it up in the wee panthry there,” sez she, ” an’ welcome. I’m goin’ over to me
sisther’s, but if I’m not here whin ye come back, me daughter Margit’ll be home. She’s away
wi’ Billy to Ballygullion. Have ye heard about the cat ? ”

” What cat ?” sez Mr. Anthony, givin’ a jump.

” The Manx cat for Miss Armsthrong,” sez she. ” Ould Sammy let her escape out av the
hamper, an’ whin Billy thried to catch her she near tore the face off him. He come home
here in a lamentable state, an’ I just packed him off to Ballygullion to get the wounds dhressed.
I wish the divil had that ould woman an’ her cats.”
” Amen ! ” sez Mr. Anthony. I hope he answers his responses as hearty in church.
Off we goes to the shootin’ ; but we might as well ha’ stayed at home. Maybe the cat
was weighin’ on his mind, or maybe he’d had his share av straight shootin’ for wan day whin
he hit her for he niver had what you’d call a big average av hits ; but he could do no good
at all wi’ the gun.

His heart was a bit warmed wi’ puttin’ a couple av pickles or so in the dog’s hind leg
whin he was aimin’ at a watherhen, for though he wouldn’t ha’ shot the baste deliberate, he
had a grudge at him over the cat ; but for all that he started back for Billy’s cottage in poor
” This had been a horrid unlucky day,” sez he ; “I wish we were well clear av this cat business.”
” Well, here’s your chance,” sez I. Here’s the gamekeeper an* the rest av thim. Now
for it ; an’ lave as much as ye can to me. I’m rale good at makin’ up a story. An’ faith I’ll
need to be this time, for here’s wee sonny Burke wi’ them.

Up comes the ould gamekeeper lookin’ very tired and cross.
” I take it very ill for a gintleman like you, Mr. Anthony, to keep us scourin’ the counthry
all day,” sez he, ” whin ye might ha’ tould us at wanst ye had shot the cat.”
“Shot what cat, ye ould fool ye?” sez I. “What are ye bletherin’ about ?”
” Ye needn’t be thryin’ on any av you’re bluff wi’ me, Pat Murphy,” sez he. ” The cat’s in
your pocket. Wee sonny Burke here seen the claws.”
” Claws,” sez I. ” Is it claws on a rabbit ? The sorrow a thing we’ve shot this day barrin’
wan solithary rabbit ; an’ ’twas a charity to shoot it before it died av ould age. The divil
a such a job I iver had to get {he skin off an animal before. If ye’d like to see it the body’s
hingin’ up in Billy Lenahan’s. I sent the skin home wi’ wan av my wee boys. But an know-
ledgeable man like you’ll be able to tell a cat from a rabbit, skin or no skin,” sez I.

For the life av me I couldn’t keep a bit av a smile off my face, an’ wan or two av the men
wi* the gamekeeper broke intil a laugh. But he didn’t laugh at all.
” Ye ‘tarnal ould fox ye,” sez he, ” there’s no end to your thricks. But you’re bate this
time. The boy here’ll swear to the claws.”
“Will he?” sez Mr. Anthony. “Come here, sonny,” sez he, gettin’ between the wee
boy an’ the rest. I could see him showin’ the edge av a crown piece out av his pocket. “Are
ye sure ye seen claws, sonny ?”
” No,” sez the wee chap, very quick the Burkes is niver slow when there’s money to be
made ” I niver said I seen claws. I said I thought I seen them.”

” An’ thinkin’s no good, or harm either,” sez Mr. Anthony. ” I doubt, gamekeeper, this
ridiculous idea av yours won’t hould wather. As Pat here says, we can show ye the carcase.”
” Ay, an’ the skin, too,” sez I. “That’s if he can pick it out av four or five dozen lyin’ in
the loft at home. Maybe more than that too ; for the boys was out ferritin’ whin I left home
wi’ you, Mr. Anthony, an’ there’ll be a lot av fresh skins there be this time.
The ould gamekeeper girned, an’ growled, an* mutthered a minit or two, an’ thin turned
away without a word ; for he was bate, an’ he knowed it.
All av a sudden he turned on his fut. ” I have ye yet,” sez he. ” John ” to wan av the
men ” run across to Mr. Connor’s I seen the vet. there as we passed, an’ ask him to step
over to Billy Lenahan’s.”
” We’ll just look at your carcase, gintlemen,” sez he, ” and if the vet. doesn’t know it from
a rabbit there’s mighty little use av all the letthers he puts afther his name. Come on,
now,” sez he, chucklin’ like a layin’ hen, ” smart as ye are! ‘

” We’re done,” sez Mr. Anthony to me as we walked nixt Billy’s. ” I’m down fifteen
pound fifteen pound five, for I’ll have to give that wee Judas a crown. An’ I’ll be laughed
at worse than if I’d owned up at first. Pat,” sez he, very savage, ” if ye hear av anybody
wantin* a breech-loadin’ gun, send him up to me an* Til throw him in a dog, for luck,”
” Tut, tut,” sez I, ” we’re not bate yet if I can only get a word with the vet. Him an’
me’s ould friends.”

But the gamekeeper was too many for me*, The vet. was sittin’ in his thrap at Billy’s door
when we got there, an’ he boned him at wanst.
“Misther Fortescue,” sez he, “Mr. Anthony an* me has a bet on, a big bet, too, for fifteen
pounds, no less. It’s whether ye can tell a rabbit from a cat when the skin is off. Just
come intil Billy’s here an’ we’ll show ye the animal. Ye’ll give me fair play, won’t ye ! ”

“It’s the quarest bet I’ve heard av for a while,” sez the vet. But I’ll soon settle it.
An’ why wouldn’t I give ye fair play ? ” An’before I could get a word wi’ him, he was
” Brazen it out, Mr. Anthony,” whispers I. It’s only his word agin ours. The child’s
word is no value at all. Sure iverybody knows wan av the Burke’s niver tould the truth yit,
barrin’ be a mistake.”

” I’m afeared it’s no good,” sez he ; ” but I’ll do my best.”
” Would ye let us see that rabbit we left in, Mrs. Lenahan ? ” sez he. ” There’s a bet on
about it, an’ these gintlemen is here to see fair fair play.”
” Come in men,” sez he, holdin’ open the door ; ” an’ do you get out to blazes,” sez he,
hittin’ the dog a welt wi’ the toe av his boot that sent him yellin’ down the road.
” I’ll get it for ye, sir,” sez Mrs. Lenahan, goin’ intil the wee panthry.
We heard her scrufflin’ about a bit, an’ thin she comes out empty-handed.

” It’s not there,” sez she, all flusthered ; u somebody’s stole it. I niver touched it ? Mr.
Anthony, I give ye me word an’ honor, sir.”
” Bets is off,” sez the vet. ” No starters.” The ould gamekeeper’s lip dhropped six inches.
” Was it iver there, Mrs. Lenahan,” ‘sez he, very nasty, ” or is the whole thing a made up
story ? ”
“Who’s makin’ up a story ? ” sez she. ” Didn’t I see Pat Murphy hing it up wi’ his own hands.
Wait, here’s Margit.”
“Margit,” sez she, “did ye see a rabbit in the panthry ? ”
“Ay,” sez Margit; “what about it? I cooked it for Billy whin he come home from Ballygullion.”
” An’ did he ate it ? ” sez the gamekeeper, wi’ a screech.

” Ate it ; aye did he, the greedy gorb,” sez she. ” I went down to the fields to loose the
goat, an 1 when I come back he devoured it all, lock, stock, an’ barrel, an’ niver left me even a
bone worth pickin’.”
” Don’t look at me, Mr. Anthony dear,” sez I in a whisper, ” or I’ll burst. Och, poor Billy
the crather ! an’ here he is.”
Down comes Billy from the room that minit. Iverybody held his breath, barrin’ the wimmen
an’ the vet.
” What’s wrong wi’ your face, Billy ? ” sez the vet. ” What are ye all plasthered up for ?”
” Its that ould fool Miss Armstrong’s Manx cat that done it,” sez Billy. ” I wish I had me
hands on it.” An’ he let fly a sthring av oaths.
” Lave the baste alone, Billy,” sez the gamekeeper ; ” lave her alone. You’ve had your
revenge an’ more. You’ve ate her,” sez he. “I’ve what?” sez Billy.

” You’ve ate her,” sez the gamekeeper. ” That was the rabbit ye ate. Mr. Anthony here shot
her ; Pat Murphy skinned her to keep anybody from knowin’ ; an’ you’ve ate her. An’ divil
choke ye on her too, for you’ve lost me five pound.”
But Billy niver heard the last part.

” For the love av Hiven, Mr. Anthony,’* sez he, wi’ the cowld sweat breakin’ on him, an’
his face near green, ” tell me he’s a liar ! ”
. “Av coorse, he is, Billy,” sez I ; ” ’twas a rabbit. I seen Mr. Anthony shoot it, meself.”
Is it truth you’re tellin’, Pat ? ” sez he, all thrimblin.’ ” Don’t decave me. 1’ts not too
late yet, for if it was a cat, her an’ me’ll maybe part company yet. No ! No ! ” sez he, catchin’
sight av Mr. Anthony’s face, ” Mr. Anthony dear, don’t say it was a cat ! ”

” ‘Twas a rabbit, right ” But the words died on me lips.

Out from between the vet.’s feet an’ the gamekeeper’s pushes Mr. Anthony’s dog, all
covered wi’ earth, an’ lays the cat’s skin an’ head at his masther’s feet, right in the middle
av us.

“Hould on, Billy,” sez I ; “wait a minit But Billy made wan rush for the door .