Ballygullion

Leslie Montgomery

 Source : http://www.culturenorthernireland.org/article/3408/leslie-montgomery
 
Lynn C. Doyle

Leslie Montgomery

The Downpatrick bank manager was the first Irish writer appointed to the Censorship Board in 1936 and a major influence on early 20th Century Ulster theatre

Born in Downpatrick on October, 5 1873, Leslie Alexander Montgomery was educated at Dundalk in County Louth. He commenced work as a bank clerk at the age of 16, and remained with the Northern Banking Company, working in locations such as Keady and Cushendall before a transfer to the quaint seaside town of Skerries. There he became branch manager until his retirement in 1934.

Aside from this rather straight-laced, white collar career, however, Montgomery fostered a life-time passion for writing in various forms and genres, and his contribution to Ulster literature in the early part of the 20th century should not be underestimated.

Montgomery was part of the Ulster Literary Theatre movement founded by Bulmer Hobson and David Parkhill in 1902, and early works included Love and Land, a play that was produced at the Little Theatre in London and represented Montgomery’s first critical success.

Other works during this decade included The Summons andThe Lilac Ribbon. By the beginning of the 1920s Montgomery was a leading northern playwright. He was best known, however for the Ballygullion series, 20 books which fondly caricatured Northern Irish village life. The first in the series was published in 1908 and the last in 1957.

He wrote the first book, which would lend its title to the rest of the series, in Dublin. This was followed by other works every few years such as Mr. Wildridge of the Bank, Lobster Salad,Dear Ducks, Me and Mr. Murphy, Rosabelle and Other Stories.

Written in the dialect of the east Ulster region, where Montgomery came from, the stories celebrate an imaginary townland area in the Slieve Gullion region of County Down. They reflected Montgomery’s early years there and in Dundalk. The books also revealed a lot about contemporary Ulster life, as the following example, written in the Ulster-Scots dialect, from Ballygullionillustrates:

‘Wan afthernoon I was workin’ about the yard, whin who should come intil it but wee Mr. Anthony, the solicitor, an’ Mr. Harrington av the Bank. Good evenin’ to yez both, sez I; what has sthrayed ye out av Ballygullion the day, gintle- men? Pat, sez Mr. Anthony, are ye on for a night’s sport? That’ll depend, sez I. I wasn’t goin’ to let on what I’d do till I knowed what they were afther.

For if it’s shootin’, sez I to meself, I’m otherwise engaged. Mr. Anthony’s as dacint a wee man as iver stepped? divil recave the betther; but a bigger ould dundherhead niver wint out wi’ a gun in his fist. Between his short sight, an’ his ram-stam way av runnin’ at things, it was the danger av your life to go within a mile av him.

Didn’t he blow in the end windy av the Presbyterian meetin’- house wan prayer-meetin’ night in the month av May, thryin’ to shoot a crow off ould Major Dennison’s tombstone in the buryin’ ground outside; an’ wanst he thralled me two miles to Bally- breen bog afther a flock av wild geese he said he seen, an’ before I could stop him he ’tilled ould Mrs. Murphy’s gandher that lives in Drumcrow, an’ had to pay her a cowld pound, forbye a new gandher he bought her.’

Montgomery adopted a pseudonym for his writing, using a homophone of ‘linseed oil’. Supposedly, he chose the name after seeing a large tin of linseed oil in a paint shop, initially signing ‘Lynn C. Doyle’ but later dropping the ‘C’.

The versatile writer had also produced poetry during the 1930s. Ballygullion Ballads, published in 1936 was illustrated by the famous Belfast artist William Conor, as were several of the later editions of his books.

Montgomery had the somewhat dubious honour of being the first Irish writer to be appointed to the Censorship Board, in 1936; he resigned within two years of accepting the job, however, claiming that it was ‘so terribly easy to read only the marked passages, so hard to wade through the whole book afterwards’.

Following his retirement from the Northern Banking Company, he gained further notoriety as a lecturer, and also regularly broadcast his stories for the fledgling BBC in Belfast; indeed his most productive period as a writer was in his 1960s, during which time he wrote his autobiography, An Ulster Childhood, in 1954.

Leslie Montgomery died in Dublin on August 18, 1961, but his legacy is preserved in the Lynn Doyle Collection at Belfast Central Library – which consists of a series of archival boxes which were purchased by the library. The collection is extensive, and includes broadcasts and lecture transcripts, manuscripts, essays, short stories, poetry, personal correspondence, photographs, land leases and legal documents.

Cathal Coyle

The Manx Cat

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

“THE MANX CAT”

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’
curiosity.
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’
still.

” 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’
valuable.”

” 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
heart.
” 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
inside.
” 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 .

 

The Green Cheese

Lynn Doyle (Linseed Oil)

It all begun wi ‘ me meetin’ Pether Boylan comin ‘ from Ballygullion wan Sathurday night.

“Goodevenin Pat,”sez he, stoppin’ the cart; “wud ye take a parcel up till ould Davis’s for me.
Major Donaldson sent it, tell him.”
What’ll it be?” sez I.
“I don’t know,”sez he. “But it has a mortiail quare smell. It’s nothin ‘ livin'”sez he.
“Show me it,’ ‘ sez I. “It’s green cheese,”sez I,”I’ll bate a pound. An’ maybe it’s livin’ too,
for all ye say. The quality does ate it when ye could hardly keep it on the plate wi’ a pitchfork.
I’ll take it up till him if ye’re in a hurry.’ ‘
It’s as good asa shillin’ toye,”sez he, laughin’, as he drives on.
“If it is,”sez I, callin’ afther him, “it’ll be the first he’s give away this ten years.”
For though ould Mr. Davis was a gentleman born, an’ a brave decent ould fellow at that, he was
heart mane. Whin the wife was livin’ he was a great sportin’ man, an ‘ open-handed an’ hearty
enough ; but af ther she died he begin to get terrible wee an ‘ greedy.
He sacked all the servants wan by wan till there was nobody left but an ould housekeeeper ; an’ him
an’ her lived at the big house up the road from me,all be their lone.
Whin I got up till the house, just at the hall door I came on the Quld gintleman himself, dhressed
in a shabby ould suit an’ a hat would have affronted a scarecrow.
“What have you there, Pat,”sez he.
“It’s a present from the Major,”sez I ; ‘ ‘cheese,”sez I, ‘ ‘ be the smell.”
So it is, Pat,”sez he, twinklin’ all over his wrinkled ould face. “Thank ye, thank ye kindly.
I’d give ye a dhrink, but I’m clane out of whiskey just at the minit. Howiver, we’ll have wan another
time. Anything fresh in the counthry ? “sez he.
Not much,”sez I. “They do be sayin’ that Mr. Hastings has entered ‘ Black Billy ‘ for the Grand National.”
“He may lave it alone,”sez he; ‘ ‘ for the baste is no manner of use at a ditch.”
“He may,”sez I; for they say the favourite’ll win. I’d back him meself, but sure there’s no
money in it at six to four. If it was a twelve to wan chance like ‘ Junius ‘ now.”
‘ Twelve to wan again’ ‘ Junius,’ “sez he; ‘ ‘ it’s big oddsy an’ he’s no bad horse. Twelve to wan,”
sez he, to himself like. “No,”sez he, startin’ up.
“Keep your money in your pocket, Pat. Bettin’s the way to lose it; an’ it’s hard to get — hard, hard
to get,”sez he, goin’ into the house.
I thought that was all was goin’ to be about it; but next mornin’ I wasn’t right out av the door till
I meets Mr. Davis himself.
‘Good mornin’, sir,”sez I “How are ye this mornin ‘?”
Not well, Pat,”sez he, ” not well. I had my supper of them cheese,”sez he, “an’ I slept power-
ful bad. Pat,”sez he, sudden like, “do you believe in dhrames? ”
“Some av thim,”sez I. ‘• What were ye dhramin’, sir? ”
“Pat,”sez he in a whisper, ‘ ‘ I dhramed that ‘ Junius’ won the National. Three times I
dhramed it,”sez he. ” I woiidher— I wondher would it come thrue ? ”
The Quld fellow was all in a thrimble wr excitement, an’ in troth I was a bit excited meself ; for
they do say if you dhrame a thing three times runnin’ it’s sartin to come thrue.
I’ll put a pound on him,”sez I, “anyway. It would be a terrible pity to miss the chance. They
say ould Harrison beyont made his fortune by dhramin’ av a gold mine whin he was in Australia.”
“He did,”sez he ; ‘ ‘ he did right enough. Give me your pound, Pat,”sez he, ‘ I’m goin’ to put
a thrifle on meself with a Dublin man I used to do a bit with, an’ I’ll send your pound too. Ye’U get
better odds that way.”
So away the ould chap goes wi’ my pound in his pocket; an’ whin I come to meself a bit, thinks I,
it’s the right ould fool ye are, puttin’ a pound on
another man’s dhrame.
“But, how-an’-iver, it’s away now,”sez I to meself, “an anyway it’s in good company, for the
ould fellow doesn’t part aisy. Who knows what luck we’ll have?”
For all that I was like a hen on a hot griddle from thin till the National.
The big day come, an’ about half-past four, in comes ould Davis intil the yard, an’ ye niver seen
a man in such heart in your life.
“Pat” sez he, “iVs come off— ‘ Junius ‘ has won I Twelve to wan, as Tin a livin ‘ sinner. It’s
a hundred an’ twenty pound in my pocket, ” sez he ‘”An’ it’s twelve in mine,”sez I. ‘ ‘ More power
to the Major’s cheese !”
D’ye think it was the cheese that done it? “sez he.
“Divil a doubt av it,”sez I. “Ye should take another feed av it— before the Two Thousand, say.”
“In throth will I,”sez he. “I’ve hardly touched it since, for it agrees mortial badly wi’ me ; but I
like it a dale betther now^ Pat.”
‘Send me up any sportin’ paper ye get between this an’ that. We needn’t both be buyin’ them,”
sez he. ‘ ‘ I’ll just keep me eye on what’s happenin’ an’ maybe I’ll dhrame somethin’ before
thin.”
So I sent him up Sport for a week or two, and wi’ readin’ at it he begin to get that keen he couldn’t
wait for the “Two Thousand,”but begins to the cheese again.
For a while divil a thing it did for him, but give him heartburn; but afther about ten days he
dhramed the winner of a Sellin’ Plate, an’ a week afther that, two more.
Between the three av thim he made near five hundhred pound, an ‘ me near fifty.
Thin he stopped; for the “Two Thousand “was comin ‘ on, an ‘ he didn’t want to spoil himself for
that.
About ten days before it he came in to me lookin ‘ very miserable an’ down.
‘ Pat,”sez he, ‘ ‘ I’ve done me best, but I can’t dhrame of the race at all, an’ I’ve near disthroyed
meself wi’ that cheese. It’s a mortial pity nothin ‘ else is any good, for this cheese atin’ is terrible bad
for the inside.”
‘Did ye niver thry nothin’ else? “sez I,
“I did, Pat,”sez he; ”but it was no use. I took a shockin’ male of salt herrin’s the other
night,”sez he; ” but divil all I dhramed but nonsense. I niver closed an eye at all till twelve, an’
thin I fell asleep an’ dhramed I was ridin ‘ Widow Murphy’s goat in the Derby, an’ just on the
winnin’ post the baste threw me an’ butted me in the stomach. Terrible real it was, too, for a
dhrame; for whin I awoke I could feel the pain in my inside still. No,”sez he; ‘I’ll have to stick
to the cheese if it kills me.”
Whin it came on till a week before the racci an ‘him niver dhraming anything was any good, he
was near demented; for the more he made, the greedier he was gettin An’ to tell the truth I was
a bit cut meself ; for there was no doubt he was dhramin’ powerful at the first.
To make matthers worse the mice got in at the Major’s cheese, an ‘ ate it ivery crumb, although the
smell might ha’ daunted a man let alone a mouse.
Down comes the ould gentleman the next mornin’ in a terrible way.
“Have ye any cheese in the house,”sez he,”Pat?”
“Divil a crumb,”sez I ; “it’s a thing I niver lip. What’s wrong wi’ what ye have? ”
An’ thin he begins cursin’ the mice something lamentable, an’ bemoanin his luck, till I could
hardly get out av him what had happened.
‘Ye’U have to buy more,”sez I. “There’s time enough yet to dhrame a dozen winners.”
“It’s terrible dear,”sez he, groanin’.
“What about it ? “sez I. “Sure ye’re makin’ a fortune out av it. Give me a shillin’ an’ I’ll run
down to BallyguUion, an’ get ye a pound av good stuff.”
I’d ha ‘ paid for it meself» but, thinks h ” Yeould miser; it’s a heart’s blessin ‘ to make ye spend
somethin’
‘No’ sez he; “I’ll’l go myself’
Away he goes, an’ afther a while he come bade wi’ a pound av quare yellow-lookin’ cheese, that
looked more like soap ‘ He was lookin’ terrible
well plazed, too.
“Man, Pat,”sez he, ‘ ‘ I’m in luck. I got a pound av Meriky cheese for sevenpence.”
“Ye’U not dhrame many winners on that,”sez I. It’s poor lookin’ stuff.”
“Ye niver know,”sez he. ‘ ‘Anyway, we’ll give it a chance.”
An’ wi’ that off he goes like a shot; for he was af eared I might banther him in til buy in’ betther.
The next mornin’ down he comes leppin’ like a yearlin’ calf.
“Pat,”sez he, “I’ve dhramed again. I seen ‘ Buttercup ‘ win the ‘ Two Thousand ‘ as plain as
I see you. An outsider, too,”sez he, “we’ll not get less than twenty to wan.”
“Did ye dhrame it more than wanst? “sez I; for “Buttercup “wasn’t thought much av, I may
tell ye.
“No,”sez he ‘ but I’ll give it another thrial the night.”
That night he dhramed it again, an ‘ the nixt night afther that as well.
He’d niver dhramed av a race three different nights before, an’ that put any doubt av ‘ Butter-
cup ‘ out av our heads.
So I made up me mind to make a death this time, an’ I give him the whole fifty pound I’d
made.
I niver knowed what he put on himself; but it must ha ‘ been somethih ‘ purty big. For there’s no
man as venturesome as your miser whin the greed gets the betther av him.
Anyway ye may guess the state av thrimmles he was in whin he sent an extra sixpence to get the
result telegraphed. ‘Twas the best thing he could ha’ done, too; for he was that busy frettin’ about
the sixpence he was spendin’ that he hadn’t time to worry about the race.
The day av the race came, an’ whiniver I seen the boy passin’ on the red bicycle I down wi’ my spade
an’ away to the big house. The minit I clapped eyes on the ould gintleman I knowed we were done.
He was sittin ‘ on the hall-door steps lookin ‘ fair dazed, wi ‘ the telegram crumpled up in his hand.
“Is it bad news, Mr. Davis? “sez I.
“Bad news’ sez he in a sort av a scrame, startin’ up; “ay, bad news indeed. I’m broke,”
sez he — “broke an’ ruined. The baste niver got a place even. Och, och,”sez he, wringin’ his
hands an’ rockin’ backwards an’ forwards on the stone step, ” my money’s gone, my good money’s
gone, that I gathered hard an’ sore. Curse the baste,”sez he. ‘ ‘ Curse him! Curse him ! ”
He bate his head wi’ his hands, an’ lamented till ye’d been sorry lookin ‘ at him .
” Well, well, now,”sez I, “don’t fret yourself like that. Sure I’m near broke too.”
But that was small comfort till him ; for divil a hair he cared I was broke all out.
“Anyway,”sez I, “we’ll get it back. Sure you’ve dhramed four winners an ‘ only missed
wanst. It’s that chape Meriky cheese has done us. If you’d had the pluck to buy a bit av decent
cheese, this wouldn’t ha’ happened. But your heart wouldn’t let you,”sez I. For by this time I
was beginnin’ to get vexed at the thought av me own good fifty pound.
“You’re right, Pat,”sez he, comin ‘ round a bit. ‘ I give in you’re right. I was mad not to find
out from the Major what sort the first was. But I’ll
do it this day, ” sez he, gettin’ on his feet.
“Ye won’t,”sez I, ‘ ‘ worse luck; for the Major died this mornin ‘ at half-past ten.”
Wi’ that I thought he was off in his tantrums again ; for whin he minded to send to the Major
he thought he seen his money back an’ more.
At long last I got him quieted down to go into Ballygullion an ‘ get as near as he could to the first.
The next night he dhramed a horse sure enough ; but the divil a betther it done than third. I lost
five pound, an’ himself a bit more I’m thinkin’.
Away he goes like a madman to Ballygullion again, an’ buys a pound av another kind, dearer
nor the first. But sure he might as well not ; for his luck was clane gone, an’ he dhramed an’ ould
mare that niver left the post at all — divil keep her there still.
Afther that I stopped; for I seen he was clane done at the dhramin’. But the poor ould gintleman niver
went mad at it till thin.
He ramsacked every shop in Ballygullion an ‘ through the countryside for green cheese, an’ whin
that was no good he sent to Belfast, an ‘ Dublin even. But he niver had a bit of luck at all at all.
Half-time he niver dhramed av a horse, an ‘ if he did dhrame av wan, it wasn’t in the first five.
Afther a while I stopped goin’ up at all, for whin I wasn’t bettin’ he took no manner of intherest in
me, an ‘ besides wi’ the eatin ‘ av so much cheese he got as carnaptious as a clockin’ hen, an ‘ him an ‘
me always fell out whin I advised him to give it up.
But I still heard odd rumours from the neighbours about him ; for people’s tongues soon begin
to go about all the cheese he was buy in ‘ ; an ‘ iverybody thought he was mad, not knowin ‘ anything
about the bettin ‘.
Then I heard he wasn’t well, an ‘ wan afthernoon the ould housekeeper come down to tell me the
masther wanted to see me.
As the two av us was walkin ‘ up the road we fell intil crack.
How ‘s he doin ‘ lately, Molly? ‘ ‘ sez I. Doin ‘,’ ‘ sez she. ”The ould dlvil ‘s clane
crazy. Ye ‘ve heard the notion he ‘s tuk about atin’ cheese— divil choke him on it. Sure the house is
full av it, an ‘ there ‘s a fresh dose comes ivery post.The money he ‘s spendin ‘ on it is lamentable, him
that would ha ‘ wrestled a ghost for a ha’penny. But divil the bite or sup else has come intil the house for
a month barrin ‘ potatoes an’ oatmale. If it wasn’t that the ould fool is near his end I’d ha’ left long
ago, for I’m near dead wi’ the heartburn, an’ me guts does be rumblin’ all the time like an empty churn.”
“Near his end, Molly,”sez I. “Is he bad thin?”
“Bad,”sez she. ‘ ‘ The docthor’s been with him ivery day for a week past. He’s with him now.
Sure ’twas him sent me for you.”An’ right enough the docthor met me in the hall.
“Tell me, Pat,”sez he; “do you know anything of this notion Mr. Davis has got about the
dhramin’?”
“Well, docthor,”sez I, lookin’ a bit foolish, “he dhramed a winner a while ago, afther a supper
av cheese, an’ him an’ me made a bit av money on it; an’ iver since he’s been thryin’ to do the same
again. I’ve tould him over an’ over to give it up, but divil a bit will he.”

” Well, go in an’ thry him again,”sez he. “He’ll maybe take more notice of what ye say
now; for I’ve tould him he’ll not live above a fortnight if he doesn’t quit the cheese.”
So away goes I up to the bedroom, an’ troth twas a cruel sight to see him lyin ‘ there. Terrible
failed he was; all gathered up lookin% an’ not more than half the size he was whin I seen him last.
” Och, Mr. Davis dear’ sez I, ‘ what have ye been doin’ to yerself at all, at all.”
“I’ve been ruinin’ meself,”sez he, ” that’s all. I’m near a pauper,”sez he, in a sort av heart-
broken way, wi’ the tears rollin’ down his cheeks me that was a well-off man if I had a’ had sense.”
“Come,”sez I, ‘ ‘ you’re not as bad as that yet; you’ve still a fine place behind ye.”
“Have I ? “sez he. ‘ ‘ Do ye see that letther ? Well, there’s six notes av fifty pound in it, an’
that’s all that’s left av what I raised on the same place,”sez he.
“Och, och,”sez I, ‘ ‘ this is terrible altogether. I niver thought it was as bad as this wi’ ye.”
“Wheesht, Pat,”sez he, risin’ on his elbow an’ spakin’ in a whisper. “I’ll get it back yet. I’ve
found the right kind av cheese at last. It come just before I tuk to me bed,”sez he, “an’ I kept a bit in
the dhressin’-table unbeknownst to the docthor.
I’ve dhramed ‘ Clematis ‘ for the ‘ St. Leger ‘ for sivin nights now, an ‘ she’s a twinty to wan chance.
You post this letther to Dublin to-day for me’ sez he, “an ‘ Til come out right yet. The wire’U come
to you, an’ the docthor’ll niver know.”
“Is it mad ye think I am,”sez I, ‘ ‘ to post your last shillin’ away. Divil a fear o’ me.”
“Listen to me, Pat,”sez he, ‘ ‘ if ‘ Qematis’ wins I’m set up again for me day; an’ I’ll niver back a
horse again av I was to dhrame a whole circus av thim. An’ if she loses, sure I’ve neither chick nor
child to be the worse.”
“But what about yourself, Mr. Davis? “sez I.
“Pat,”sez he, ‘ ‘ if she loses I’ll not be long here. It’ll break my heart if I don’t get me money
back. I can’t stop thinkin’ av it day nor night day nor night.”
“But she’ll not lose,”sez he. “Somethin’ tells me she’ll not lose. I’ve got the right kind av cheese
again, I know I have. Ye don’t believe it, I see that, an’ I’ll not tell ye what it is or where I got
it now. But when I’ve win, an’ ye’re convinced, I will. Sure there’s a fortune in it— aye, a fortune,”sez he.
He was sittin’ up in the bed be this time, wi’ his eyes all bright an’ glitterin’, an’ it come over me
whin I looked at him that, sure enough, he wasn’t all there.
However, thinks I, what he says is thrue— he’ll not be long for this world if he doesn’t get his
money back, an’ I’ll give him his chance. Sure we’ll know wan way or another in a fortnight. So
away I goes an’ posts the letther.
Two days afterwards whin I got me Sport, I seen that “Clematis “was riz in the bettin’ from twinty,
till twelve to wan. ” That looks well,.”sez I. An’ up I goes to the big house to tell the ould gintle-
man. He was weaker a good deal, but the news heartened him up a bit.
“Here, Pat,”sez he, gropin’ under the pillow, ” here’s a shillin ‘, get a paper ivery day, an’ let me
know how the bettin ‘ goes.’ ‘
I had mighty little hope av him afther that, for I don’t believe he’d spent a penny on a paper since
the misthress died, let alone a shillin’.
But the nixt day the mare was up till eight to wan; an’ afther that she riz in the bettin’ steady,
an’ the ould gintleman kept mendin’ ivery day.
Three days before the race she was at four to wan, an’ I was cursin’ meself that I hadn’t the heart
to back her whin there was a dacent price to be got.
Thin the nixt mornin’ comes out a report in the paper that “Clematis “had broken down in thrain-
ing an’ was scratched.
“It’s all up wi’ him now,”sez I
Up I goes, intendin’ to say nothin’ about it, an’ make out the mare was doin ‘ well ; but whin I wint
intil the room, sure ‘ I seen death in his face.
“I’m done, Pat,”sez he. “The docthor was here an’ tould me about the mare. I didn’t want
him to know I was bettin’; but I couldn’t thole till you come.”
“Divil stretch his long tongue another fut I “sez I. ‘ ‘ He might a’ had more gumption. But keep
up your heart, there’ll be betther news in the mornin’.”
An’ so there was. Next mornin’ the paper says the report about ” Clematis”was only partly thrue,
an’ she’d start alright. For all that, she was back to the twinties in the bettin’ an’ all I could do I
couldn’t cheer the ould gintleman up.
The docthor met me comin’ down the stairs, an’ afther givin’ me the divil’s own dhressin’ down for
deceivin’ him, forbids me to go up again.
“He’s too wake to stand any excitement,”sez he. ‘ If I’d caught ye in time ye’d not have been
in wi’ him the day.”
“But docthor,”sez I, “sure the race is on tomorrow, an ‘ if the mare wins you’ll let me tell
him.”
“If the sky falls I “sez he. ‘ Ye might as well expect my pony to win.”An’, in troth, I couldn’t
conthradict him.
All the nixt afthernoon from dinner-time I was goin’ about like a ghost round a graveyard, lookin’
for the telegram. At last, about half-past three, I sees the boy comin’ up the road. I run down to
meet him an’ tuk the invilope out av his han’, but me own was thrimmlin’ that I could hardly open it.
There was just three words: — “Clematis won easily; “an’ whin I read them the sight near left
my eyes.
Thin I to my heels an’ up the road for the big house wi’ me heart in a twitter. I niver looked to
right or left, but up to the ould gintleman’s room.
The docthor heard me comin’, an’ steps out on the landin’.
“Wheesht, Pat,”sez he, ‘ ‘ an’ go quietly down if ye have any dacency at all. The man’s dyin’,”
sez he.
“He’ll not die,”sez I, “if ye’ll only let me in. The mare’s won I tell ye.”

“It’s too late,”sez he; “he’s at his last gasp.”
“Let me in,”sez I, pushin’ past him; ‘ ‘ it’s not too late yet,”an’ before he could stop me I was in
the room.
The ould gintleman was lyin’ very still an’ quiet,wi’ his eyes half shut; an ‘ whin I seen him me
heart near failed me.
But I fell on me knees be the bedside.
Mr. Davis,”sez I, as softly as I could.
He opened his eyes a bit, an’ I seen that he knowed me; for they brightened, an’ a wee bit av
colour come in his face.
“Pat,”sez he, in a whisper, ‘• Pat ! ”
“The mare’s won, sir,”sez I “The mare’s won I Ye’re all right yet. Sure ye’U niver give in
now.”
The poor ould fellow stretched out his hand, an’ laid it on mine that was lyin’ on the bed. A sort
av a smile come on his face, an’ his lips moved a thrifle. When I seen that I laned over him.
“Pat,”sez he, very slow an’ faint, ” Mooney’s — Sack ville Street — thirteenpence a pound. ‘ ‘ Thin he
stopped.
I looked at his face, an’ run out av the room cry in’ like a child.

 

 

 

Introductory to Ballygullion

Lynn Doyle the pseudonym of the humorist & playwright Leslie Alexander Montgomery, was born in Downpatrick on 5 October 1873 (died 18 August 1961). He was part of the Ulster Literary Theatre movement and is most famous for his Ballygullion series of 20 books which fondly caricatured Northern Ireland village life. Interestingly he chose his pseudonym after seeing a large tin of linseed oil in a paint shop, initially signing “Lynn C. Doyle” but later dropping the “C.”

U1140_TN_thompson_10

He was a County Down bank manager.  It is also said at one stage he started to train as a reporter and that he practised shorthand by taking down the talk around the fireside. As a result his ear for dialect was extremely accurate, and gives his stories their wonderful richness and vitality and their great humour.

This is a book that has been a classic since the day it was first published in 1908, 106 years ago. Ballygullion is timeless in its appeal.

My Introductory

To my wife – Willie Oats.

Sucking an Ice Lolly held by our son, he said to her “E’ mollo” (It Soft and flacid), she looked at me and with her eyes sparkling and smiling and with a certain  expression, and everone knew the meaning of the look and all laughing out loud.

His introductory
To my wife – Lynn Doyle

My sporting associate and occasional client, Mr. Patrick Murphy, opened the door of my
Belfast Office about twelve inches, insinuated himself through the aperture, and seating
himself on the extreme edge of a chair, regarded me anxiously.
I had seldom seen him so serious. The humorous twinkle in his eye was quenched
momentarily for the first time in our acquaintance.
” I suppose ye hadn’t time since mornin’ to look intil that,” he said, nodding his head
towards a pile of manuscript on my desk.
” I’m sorry to say I had, Pat,” I answered.” In fact, I read it all through.”
” An’ what might ye think av it ?” he asked cautiously.
” I think we’ll print it, Pat,” said I. ” But I want to know first if it’s all your own.”
” Ivery word av it, Misther Doyle,” he said.
“Who wrote it all out for you then, Pat ?” I said. ” It’s not in your hand surely ?”
” Ye may swear that,” he answered. ” 1 wasn’t that long at school. Wait an’ I’ll tell
you the whole story :
” I was sthrolling along the road at me aise wan Sathurday afthernoon last October, when
I heard the tootin’ av a horn behind me.
“Pat,’ sez 1 to meself, Ye’d betther take to the ditch till that fellow gets by ; for the same
ginthry is no ways particular who they run down, from a hen till a human bein’.’
” So I tuk in to the side av the road, an’ ’twas well I did.
” Round the corner wi’ a whizz comes a fellow on a mothor bicycle, shoots clear av me
be about six inches, gives a couple av bad wobbles, an’ round the nixt bend in a cloud av
dust, lavin’ a stink behind him fit to throw a thrain off the lines.
” Bad luck to ye, an’ the whole breed av ye,’ sez I, stampin’ and spittin’ ; for you’re
the curse av dacint counthry people that the roads was made for. A bad end to you an’
your ould machine anyway.’
” ‘Twas only an idle word av mine, but ye niver seen an ill wish come sooner to roost.
I wasn’t more than a couple of hundhred yards furdher on till I come on him sittin’ in
the ditch.
” He got up very shaky lookin’ as I come near him.
I beg your pardon, sir,’ sez he, very polite, but would you mind giving me shove ? I got off,’ sez he.
” I could see that. He had rowled over a couple av times on the road aftherwards, too ;
but whin he said nothin’ about that, neither did I.
” The bicycle was lyin’ again the side av the ditch, stinkin’ away as busy as it could ; but
there was a kind av a publichouse whiff in the air, too, that I couldn’t well blame on it. I
took a hard look at the fellow an* give a sniff or two, an’ it come into me mind that he was
no teetotaler. Me heart softened till him a bit.
” It’s bad enough,’ thinks taken in dhrink wi’ a horse an’ cart but whin it comes to a mother bicycle it must be the very divil.’
Come on then,’ sez I to the fellow. But if i’d ha been you, I wouldn’t ha’ got
off. I don’t know how ye got on at the start, but ye should ha’ kept at it. Up wi’ ye,
anyway.’
“So I gets the machine out av the ditch, grips the handle wi’ me left hand, and gives
him a powerful shove wi’ the right.
” Away ye go ! ‘ sez I.
” But I was wrong. To this day I don’tknow what wint asthray ; but whin 1 riz out av the ditch me boy was lying undher the machine in the middle av the road.
” Up I gets, pulls the machine off him, an’ gets him on his feet. He was in a lamentable
state wi’ dust an’ bits av sticks, an’ the sate av his breeches all soakin’ where the paraffin had
seeped out av the tin tank.
” That was a bad start sez he, lookin at me very sayrious.
”  It was,’ sez I, c mortial bad. But it’ll make a brave finish if ye’ll let it. Just you
sit down by the roadside an’ let the wind blow on ye a bit, an’ in half an hour’s time ye’ll be
fit to ride her on a tight-rope.’
” I’m all right,’ sez he, straightenin’ himself up that far that he nearly sat down on the road
again. ‘ Hould on till I get me pipe ‘ an’ he begins gropin’ all over himself.
” Prisintly, he out wi’ an ould briar pipe, takes out a match, an’ reaches for the leg av
his breeches wi’ it.
“‘Hould on, hould on, man!’ I shouts.  Do ye want to desthroy yourself an me too ? ‘
” ‘ What’s wrong wi’ ye ? ‘ sez he, blinkin’ at me.
” Look here, me dacint fellow,’ sez I, if ye light that match on your breeches, an’ thim
soakin’ wi’ paraffin, they’ll burn through to your inside in about two minits or less, and
thin,’ sez I, c judgin’ be your breath, ye’ll blow up. Away intil the middle av the nixt field if
ye’re on for that. I’ve me wife an’ family to think av.’
” Niver mind then/ sez he, puttin’ up the pipe, an’ takin’ the bicycle handles from me ;
gimme another shove. Aisier a wee bit nor the last ; for me head’s a bit light wi’ the fall.’
” This time we done the trick. Away he goes like a good one, the machine spittin’ like
a mangerfull av cats. But he wasn’t more than fifty yards up the road whin off bumps his
lamp. I could see him grippin’ the brakes.
” Now, you’ve done it,’ sez I. An’ sure enough so he had.
” The machine stood on the front wheel for a minit, emptied him off on the road, an’
then come down on him with a souse would ha’ made jelly av a sober man.
” Up I runs an’ pulh the bicycle off him again. But when I turned to see if he was
dead, he was on his feet again as full av pluck as iver.
” I got off for me lamp,’ sez he.
” I noticed that,’ sez I. An’ ye’ll stay off too. I don’t want to waste a day on a
Crowner’s jury, an’ the potatoes comin’ out. Sit down on the ditch, and we’ll have a crack
till ye come round a bit.’
” I can’t,’ sez he, I must be in Belfast the night, an’ I’ve a long way to go. Gimme
hoult, an’ I’ll push her along a bit, an’ thin get on ‘ ; an’ he takes the handles.
“The machine leans away from him a bit as if it wasn’t very sure av him, he overbalances,
slides across the paraffin tank on his belly, stands on his head on the far side for a minit,
an’ thin rowls over intil the ditch.
” ‘Look now,’ sez I, as I pulls him up again, ye’d betther finish the performance wi’ that,
for if ye won’t sit down an’ have sense, I’m goin’ home ; an’ I’ll take the bicycle wi’ me.’
” What’s your name?’ sez he, takin’ me by the hand.
” ‘ Murphy,’ sez I, < Pat Murphy, if that’s any good to ye.*
” ‘ Well, listen to me, Pat Murphy,’ sez he. If iver man or woman offers ye champagne
on an empty stomach, don’t you take it, that’s all ; especially if you’re goin’ to take whisky
afther it.
“Til promise,’ sez I. ‘The next time Molly brings home champagne for me supper,
I’ll make her drink it herself.’
“‘You’re jokin’ now,’ sez he; but I was givin’ ye good advice. An’ if iver ye should
get a dose av it, go home on your feet. Champagne an’ mothor bicyclin’ is two different
kinds av amusements,’ sez he, an’ should be kept separate.’
“‘Where did ye get it, anyway?’ sez I. ‘ It’s mighty scarce in these parts, I’d think.’
” I’ll sit down,’ sez he, ‘ if I must, an’ tell ye all about it.”
” ‘ I was up at a big garden-party at Lord Lord-knows-who,’ sez he, ‘ it doesn’t matther
much writin’ a report av the proceedin’s for a newspaper ‘
” ‘ Is writin’ your thrade, thin ?’ sez I, breakin’ in.
“‘Just that,’ sez he. ‘Why?’ ” ‘ Oh, nothin,’ sez I, ‘ but I often wished
1 had some skill av it.’
” ‘ What’d ye do if ye had ? ‘ sez he. ” Sure there’s nothin’ to write about here ?’
“‘Is there not ?’ sez I. ‘I tell ye what it is, if some av you writin’ chaps was to come
down intil the counthry instead of writin’ about it from the towns, ye’d do well be it ; for if ye
only know’d, there’s a dale av good crack to be picked up.’
” ‘ What about ? ‘ sez he. ‘ Potatoes an’ cabbages ?’
” ‘ Men an’ wimmen sez I, ‘ betther av both than ye can show in the town, an’ more
variety av thim. Sure you townspeople is all as like as peas in a pod, an’ any notion ye have
in your heads ye get it out av the papers. There’s fun in the counthry too. It vexes me
to hear people talkin’ about it bein’ quiet an’ dull. It may be ; but I niver seen three or
four people gathered about a four-roads but they riz a bitav a laugh before theywint home.
I’ve heard more good stories, too, round a counthry fireside av a Sathurday night than
would make a betther book than a good many that’s goin’ about.
” ‘ Tell me wan or two while I’m sittin’ here,’ sez he. c I can take thim in now. That last
knock has settled me brains.’
” It’s well it didn’t settle thim on the side av the road,’ sez I. Ye must carry thim in
a brave thick case. But wait till I get out the pipe, an’ here goes. A while more av a rest
’11 do ye no harm.’
” So I tould him the first wan or two stories come intil me head, an’ he was well plazed. Ivery
now an’ thin he’d break out in a snirt av a laugh, an’ slap himself on the knee, till if I’d
been rale sure ’twas the stories was doin’ it I’d ha’ been as well plazed as himself.
” I’d always had the name in the counthry av tellin a good story ; but I’d niver thried me
hand on a town man before.
” They’re good,’ sez he, at the last, ‘ they’re good. I believe you’re right ; people would
laugh at thim.’
” l’m not so sure av that,’ sez I.
” Why ?’ sez he.’; Didn’t I laugh ?’
“‘Ay, but sez I, ‘iverybody hasn’t come fresh from a garden party.’
‘”Tut/ sez he, lookin a bit foolish, ‘there’s nothin’ the matther wi’ me now. I’ll tell ye
what, though/ sez he. ‘It’s time I was out av this’ lookin’ at his watch ‘but I’ll be dhrivin’
back on the bicycle to Dublin to-morrow, and if ye’ll show me where to find ye, I’ll stop
awhile an’ thry the stories on spring wather. If they stand that, they’ll do. Ye can tell me
two or three more, an’ I’ll fix thim up a bit.’
“‘Divil a fix sez I. ‘Ye’ll just put thim down as I tell thim to ye. There come a man
here wanst an’ got two or three cracks av the counthry-side, but he only spoiled thim. Be-
tween cuttin’ out this to keep thim ginteel, an’ puttin’ in that to give thim a tone, whin he had
done they were nayther wan thing or another. There’s no use stickin’ in big long college words
in plain counthry people’s crack. It’s like puttin’ a cloth patch on a pair av cordhuroys.
Come down the morrow an’ put a story or two down for me just as ye get thim, an’ I’ll pay ye
anythin’ in raison for your throuble.’
” ‘ Ye’ll pay me nothin’ sez he. ‘ I owe ye a skinful av whole bones, an’ ye ean take it out
in ink an’ paper. If they look well whin they’re copied we might do somethin’ wi thim.
Give me a shove now. I’ll see you to-morrow.
“The nixt day he come out sure enough, an’ another two Sundays afther that, an’ was in
big heart about printin’ the stories. Thin for a long while I heard no word av him, an’ at
last there come the big parcel av paper ye have there, an’ a letther to say he was away in London
an’ couldn’t come out any more, but he’d sent what stories he’d wrote down an’ wished me
luck wi’ thim.
“The parcel lay in the cupboard iver since, for I didn’t know what to do wi’ it ; till comin’
up to Belfast the day to the sale I bethought meself av you, Misther Doyle, an’ put it in me
pocket to show to ye.
“An’ if, as ye say, ye’ll face puttin’ it in print, there’ll nobody be betther plazed than I
will. Do ye think it will do ?”
” We’ll try, anyhow, Pat,” I said. ” Is there anything you’d like to add ? ”
” Divil a word, Misther Doyle,” he answered, ” if I have my way av it.”
” You wouldn’t like to describe Ballygullion and the country round it ?”
“Betther not,” he said. “Thim that reads till the end’ll know as much about Ballygullion
as is good for thim or me, either. I don’t want to be hunted out av the counthry wi’ a
pitchfork.”
” Very well, Pat,” I said.” “I’ll have the manuscript printed as it stands.”

I feel it due to myself to say that I have rigidly kept my word. The readers of the
following pages are consequently looking at Ballygullion through the eyes of Mr. Patrick
Murphy.

Illustration:  “Bringing him to the point”  Hugh Thomson Ulster Museum

The Silent Dog

Another wee story from Ballygullion – Lynn Doyle

The minit I clapped eyes on the baste I knowed there was an unlucky look about him. stray_dog_by_on_u[1]
But if there was bad luck wi’ him sure the most av it fell his own road. It was this way
I come across him. Wan afthernoon I was workin’ about the yard, whin who should come
intil it but wee Mr. Anthony, the solicitor, an Mr. Harrington av the Bank.

” Good evenin’ to yez both,” sez I ; ” what has sthrayed ye out av Ballygullion the day,
gintlemen ? ”

” Pat,” sez Mr. Anthony, ” are ye on for a night’s sport ? ”

That’ll depend,” sez I.

I wasn’t goin’ to let on what I’d do till I knowed what they were afther. For if it’s
shootin’, sez I to meself, I’m otherwise engaged.

Mr. Anthony’s as dacint a wee man as iver stepped, divil recave the betther ; but a bigger
ould dundherhead niver wint out wi’ a gun in his fist. Between his short sight, an’ his ram-
stam way av runnin’ at things, it was the danger av your life to go within a mile av him.
Didn’t he blow in the end windy av the Presbyterian meetin’-house wan prayer-meetin’
night in the month av May, thryin’ to shoot a crow off ould Major Dennison’s tombstone in
the buryin’ ground outside ; an wanst he thrailed me two miles to Ballybreen bog afther
a flock av wild geese he said he seen, an’ before I could stop him he killed ould Mrs. Murphy’s
gandher that lives in Drumcrow, an’ had to pay her a cowld pound, forbye a new gandher he
bought her.

So whin he sez ” Are ye on for a night?” thinks I, I’ll know what yez are afther
first.

“Well, Pat,” sez he, “Mr. Harrington an’ me has planned to have a night’s rabbit-nettin’
up at Mr. Hastings’s at The Warren ”

” Is it mad yez are ? ” sez I. ” Sure ye’ll be right foment the house, an’ the ould gintle-
man’ll hear the first bark ; an’ doesn’t the whole counthryside know he’s a fair lunatic
about poachin’.”

” Aye, but,” sez Mr. Anthony, ” we’ve got a silent dog.”

“A what?” sez I.

” A silent dog,” sez he. ” A dog, Pat,” sez he, ” that’ll hunt rabbits, or rats aye or cats,”
sez he, ” an’ niver even give a whine. I have him chained to the gate here.”

Wi’ that he goes round the corner an fetches back a dog on a chain.

” There he is, Pat,” sez he ; ” an’ you wouldn’t get a bark out av him if you thried
him for a month.”

” Faith,” sez I ” it’s well he’s some good points about him, for be me sowl he’s no
beauty.”

An’ nayther he was ; a low-set, crooked-legged baste, wi’ a dirty brown coat, an’ a wee
bunty tail. Wan av his ears was half tore off”,an’ he’d lost two teeth in the front.

” An’ what do you think about it, Mr. Harrington ? ” sez I.

Between ourselves, Mr. Harrington was supposed to be coortin’ the youngest wan av
the Miss Hastings’s, an’ 1 thought it a quare thing if he’d run the risk av a. row wi’ the ould
fellow for the sake av a night’s sport.

” There’ll be Ould Nick himself to pay if we’re catched, an’ that’ll be no good till any av
us,” sez I, lookin’ hard at him.

” Oh ! I know rightly what ye mane, Pat,” sez he, ” but it doesn’t matther. The ould
fellow an’ me has fell out,” sez he, savage-like,” an’ I don’t mind the chance av a row if I can
spite him a bit.”

” I’m wi’ you there,” sez I ; ” for he’s no friend av mine. But what about the dog. Can
yez depend on him not to bark ? ” sez I.

” I tell ye, man,” sez Mr. Anthony, ” he’ll not bark. Hit him a kick,” sez he, ” an’ see
if he even whines.”

” Hit him a welt yourself, Mr. Anthony,” sez I ; “he knows you betther nor me.” For
there was a quare glitther’ in the baste’s eye I didn’t like.

So Mr. Anthony fetches him a lick wi’ the toe av his boot ; an’ wi’ that the dog turns on
him, an’ without even a girn, catches him be the ball av the leg, an* houlds on like grim
death, worryin’ at him. Mr. Anthony he lets a screech an’ begins to pull away from the dog.

” Haul him off, Pat ! ” sez he, I’m bit till the bone ! Kick the brute. Why don’t ye
pull him off, Archie ? ” sez he, dancin’ round on wan leg an’ cursin’ like a haythen.

As luck would have it, he’d on a pair of them putty leggin’s, an’ the dog only had his
teeth in wan av them ; an’ afther the first fright, whin we seen he wasn’t likely to be
hurt, Mr. Barrington an’ myself couldn’t do nothin’ for the laughin’, till Mr. Anthony was
fair wild.

” What the divil,” sez he, ” are yez grinnin’ at, ye pair av monkeys ? Pull him off quick,
or he’ll be through to me leg.”

So I lifts a bit of a stick, an’ hits the dog two or three lundhers wid it ; but divil a bit
would he let go.

” He’s a terrible hoult, anyway, Mr. Anthony,” sez I. ” What’ll I do wi’ him at
all, at all ? ”

” Bate him over the head wi’ a stone,” sez he.

” I’ll hurt the baste,” sez I, if I do.”

” 1 don’t give a damn,” sez he, ” if ye kill him. Get him off anyhow,” sez he.

So I ups wi a stone an’ runs over till the pair av thim ; an’ whin the dog seen me comin’ wi’
the stone, he lets go Mr. Anthony’s leg all av a suddint an’ turns sharp on me. Mr. Anthony,
he was pullin’ the other way, an’ whin the dog let go he went on his hands an’ knees intil the
sheugh, an’ I took a run-race an’ got up on the ditch, thinkin’ I felt the baste’s teeth in me leg
ivery minit.

Whin I looked over my shouldher I seen Mr. Barrington had him be the chain.

” More power to ye, Mr. Barrington,” sez I ; ” it’s well ye were there, for I’ve no leggin’s on,
an’ if he’d got me he’d ‘a massacred me.”

” He’s safe enough, now, Pat,” sez he, ” come on down.”

So I come down an’ give Mr. Anthony a pull out of the sheugh.

I thought Mr. Barrington would have died laughin’ at him ; an’ in troth it was small
wondher, * for he was a shockin’ sight wi’gutthers an’ clay. But for all that he wasn’t a
bit daunted.

” Ye may laugh, Archie,” sez he ; ” but the dog didn’t give a squeak anyhow. Ye’re satis-
fied av that.”

” Oh, I’m quite satisfied,” sez Mr. Barrington. ” I think we can depend on him. Anyway,
I’ll not bother thryin’ him,” sez he.

So we trysted to meet the nixt night at Mr.Anthony’s gate, as bein’ the handiest place for
all parties ; for it’s about half-roads between me an’ Ballygullion, an’ just across the river on the
other side av the county road an’ you’re in the Warren grounds. I was to bring me nets.

It was a gran’ moonlight night when I left home, an’ when I come to Mr. Anthony’s gate
the two av them was there wi’ the dog.

Mr. Anthony was in great heart.

“We couldn’t have picked a betther night,” sez he. “We’ll be able to see what we’re doin .

” Aye, an’ the rabbits’ll be able to see what we’re doin’ too,” sez I. ” There’s no good
startin’ till it clouds over a bit.” It was risin’ a bit cloudy behind the wind, an’ I knowed the
moon would be soon covered.

” Maybe you’re right,” sez Mr. Anthony. ” I’ll tell you what I’ll do while we’re waitin’.
I’ll run back an’ get the air-gun,” sez he’. “It’ll make no noise, an’ I -might get a shot at
a rabbit. Hould the dog, Archie, till I come back.”

” If ye take my advice,” sez I, ” ye’ll let the gun alone.”

But he never listened to me, an’ made off up the avenue at a trot, lavin’ Mr. Barrington an’
me standin’ there’.

Mr. Barrington was very heavy an’ down, an’ said nothin’, but kept suckin’ away at the
pipe ; not like himself at all ; for he’s mostly full av jokes an’ fun, an’ ready to laugh at
nothin’.

” What’s up between yourself an’ Mr. Hastings above, Mr. Barrington,” sez I, ” if
it’s not bould av me to ask?”

“Nothin’ much, Pat,” sez he. “Only I spoke till him about what ye know, an’ he’s
forbid me the house.”

” The ould upstart,” sez he between his teeth till himself, ” because av his dirty money turnin’
up his nose at a man whose gran’-father was a gintleman when his was carryin’ a hod.”

Ye must know the Hastings made their money in the buildin’ line, an’ none av them was very
much before the present man.

” What need ye care,” sez I, ” about the ould fellow at all, at all, if the young lady an’ you
has made it up ?”

“Oh, it’s willin’ enough she’d be (the darlin’!” sez he under his breath) ; “but I’d
be a nice hound to ask her to marry me on two hundhred an’ fifty a year.”

” Divil moan her,” sez I, ” if she niver gets a man wi’ more. Sure I’ve brought up a wife
an’ family on the fift’ av it.”

Mr. Barrington he laughs a bit at that, an just thin Mr. Anthony comes up an’ stops the
crack.

” The moon’s well hid, now,” sez he ; we’ll make a start.”

So we crossed the river an’ took to the fields,an’ afther half a mile av a walk we come to the
plantin’ below the big house. There’s about fifteen acres av it in a sort of half-moon, then a
big stretch of grass land they call the lawn, right up to the hall-door, wi’ an odd big tree
in it here an’ there. The upper end av the plantin’s fair alive wi’ rabbit-holes, an’ av a fine
night the rabbits does be feedin’ on the law in hundhreds. Our schame was to run the nest
along in front of the holes, an’ thin get round an’ let the dog loose to scare the rabbits intil them.

As soon as we got the nets set we slipped round to the horn av the plantin’, close up to
the house. Mr. Anthony puts the end av the chain he had the dog on in my hand.

” Now, Pat,” sez he, ” you hould the dog in till we get to the middle av the lawn, an’ I’ll
maybe get a shot,” sez he, puttin’ a pellet in the air-gun.

” Ye ould fool,” thinks I, ” wi’ your popgun ; it’s well if ye don’t lame somebody.”

For his hands was in such a thrimmle wi’ narvousness that he could hardly snap the breech.

Howiver, out we moves, an’ just thin, as ill-luck would have it, out comes the moon.

” Bad cess to ye,” sez I, cc ye ould divil ye,weren’t ye all right behind there, but ye must
come out an’ spoil sport.”

But Mr. Anthony was well plazed.

” Wheesht, Pat,” sez he, ” I see wan.”

Wi’ that he puts his foot in a rabbit-hole, an down he slaps on his face, an’ the gun snaps
an’ pins the dog in the side somewhere.

Maybe it was more than mortial baste could stan’, for thim wee pellets is cruel, but anyway
the dog sets up the horridest howlin’ ye iver heard, an’ I was that taken in at him I dhropped
the chain an’ let him go.

An’ thin the fun began, Mr. Anthony rippin’ an’ cursin’ an* spittin’ out bits av grass, an’ the
silent dog runnin’ round an’ round in rings an’ yowlin’ murther, wi’ the chain rattlin’ behind
him like a tinker’s cart.

Mr. Barrington, divil miss him, but he’d see fun in it, he begins to laugh.

” For a silent dog, Anthony,” sez he, ” he’s makin’ a brave noise.”

” Shut up, ye fool,” sez Mr. Anthony, as mad as you like, ” an’ catch the brute. Be the
mortial,” sez he, ” if I catch him, I’ll make a silent dog av him.”

But the divil a catch him could we do ; an the more we went near him the louder he yelled.

” We’d better run,” sez I ; ” the house’ll be up.”

But I didn’t spake in time. All av a suddint the big front door opens wi’ a clatther.

” Come on, men,” I hears in ould Mr. Hastings’s voice. ” Scatther across the lawn,
an’ ye can’t miss the blackguards.”

Ye niver seen three men run faster than we did for that plantin’.

Divil a much laughin* there was in Mr. Barrington then.

” If we’re caught, Pat,” sez he, as he run, ” I’m done entirely. I’ll be disgraced for iver,”
sez he.

” We’ll not be caught,” sez I, as well as I could wi’ thryin’ to keep up wi’ him. ” Sure
we’ve over three hundhred yards av a start. Look out for the nets ! ” sez I.

But wee Mr. Anthony was runnin’ like a red-shank ten yards in front av us, an’ niver heard
me. The net just took him on the shin-bone, an’ he riz about two feet in the air, an’ lit on
his belly on the plantin’ ditch wi’ a sough. Whin we got up till him he could hardly spake.

” Up wi’ you, quick, Anthony,” sez Mr. Barrington.

” I can’t,” sez he wi’ a groan or two ; ” me heart’s bursted,” sez he.

” Not a bit av it,” sez Mr. Barrington, feelin’ him ; ” it’s only your braces.”

” Come on, Mr. Anthony,” sez I, ” you’re not bate yet.” But he couldn’t move.

” Run yourselves, boys,” sez he, in a kind av a whisper.

” Come on, sir,” sez 1 to Mr. Barrington, ” they’ll be on us in a minit.”

The words wasn’t right out av me mouth till he catches me be the throat.

” This way, men,” sez he, at the top av his voice ; ” I’ve got wan o’ the villains.”

” It’s not goin’ to sell me, ye are, Mr. Barrington,” sez I.

” Hit me a good knock wi’ your fist in the face, Pat,” sez he. ” Quick, man !”

“Be me sowl will I,” sez I, “if ye don’t let go-”

” I won’t let go till ye do,” sez he.

” Here goes thin,” sez I to meself. ” It’s a quare business anyway, but if ye’ve sould me
ye desarve it, an’ if ye haven’t, sure ye asked for it yourself ; an’ wi’ that I fetches him wan on
the right cheek-bone would ha’ felled a bullock, an’ off I goes like the divil, lavin’ him where
he fell.

I was away safe an’ well, for the moon was hid again, an’ it was gey an’ dark ; but I hadn’t
run above a hundhred yards till I come on that unfortunate divil av a dog whimperin’ in the
bushes. He took till his heels whin he heard me comin’ an’ kep’ in front av me about ten or
fifteen yards ; an’ if he’d been silent all his days before, be me sowl he made up for it that
night, for the gowls av him was lamentable.

“The divil choke ye, anyway,” sez I, when I’d run near a quarther av a mile an’ him niver
stopped ; ” for if I’m not catched it’s no fault of yours.” I stopped a minit to get me wind,
an’ at first I thought there was nobody follyin’ ; but thin I hears ould Billy the game-keeper’s
voice.

“This way, boys,” sez he. “They’re not away from us yet ; I hear their dog.”

” An’ divil thank ye,” sez I to meself ; “sure ould Pether of the Bog could hear him, that’s
been stone deaf this fifteen years.”

So away I goes again, wi’ the dog in front av me, him yowlin’ an’ guldherin’ harder than iver,
thinkin’ I was comin’ to kill him fair out this time. But whin he comes to the river bank,
he takes down the sthrame nixt Ballygullion.

“Good-bye, me darlin’,” sez I, an’ I off up the sthrame as hard as I could belt. Before I’d
gone very far, I hears a sound av men runnin’, an’ thin a shout or two down the sthrame, an’
a couple av shots, an’ then nothin.’ But I niver stopped till I was at home an’ in me bed.

All night long I lay wondherin’ what could have come on Mr. Barrington. The more I
thought about it the more it looked like some thrick, but divil a bit av me could see through it.

” Howaniver,” thinks I, I’ll lie low,” an’ I keeps to the house for a week, lettin’ on I’d a
cowld ; till on market day the wife comes home from Ballygullion in a terrible flutther.

” Did ye hear about the poachin’ at Mr. Hastings’s, Pat?” sez she.

” Holy Pether,” says I to meself, ” I’m done.”

“What poachin’, Molly ?” sez I.

” Sure,” says she, ” poachers broke intil Mr. Hastings’s on last Tuesda’ night, above ten
av thim, to thrap his rabbits, an’ Mr. Barrington, of the Bank, an’ Mr. Anthony, the soli-
citor, follyed thim to catch thim an’ got nearly killed. Wee Mr. Anthony’s been in bed iver
since, an’ Mr. Barrmgton has a face like a prize-fighter.

” Ould Mr. Hastings’s tarrible plazed about thim both. They say he’s promised
Mr. Anthony the agency av the estate whin ould Jenkins dies, an’ there’s a sough in the
town that Mr. Barrington’s goin’ to marry Miss Anne.”

Thin I seen the whole thing in a wink.

” Well done yourself, Mr. Barrington,” thinks I, ” sure you’re the able one. Thrust you to
get out av a hole, if ye were up till the neck in it.”

“I’ll just slip down to the town, Molly,” sez 1, “an’ hear all about it.”

Whin I got intil Ballygullion I sends a message till the Bank to Mr. Barrington, askin’
him if he could step down the length of the bridge to see a couple of ferrets I had, just for
a blind.

Prisintly down he comes, an’ in troth I hardly knowed him.

There was a big lump av stickin’-plasther above his right eye, an’ the whole cheek was all
puffed up, an’ as yellow as a duck’s foot.

” Aye, ye ould reprobate,” sez he, catchin’ me look ; ” ye see the hand ye’ve made av me.”

“Sure,” sez I, “ye brought it on yourself. Didn’t ye ask me to hit ye.”

” I didn’t tell ye to hit me such a skelp,” sez he. ” You’ve loosened every tooth in me head,
an’ I’ve been livin’ on slops an’ mashes for a week past. But niver mind, Pat,” sez he,
” I’ve had good luck out of it. There’s no wan would think I got an eye like this from a
friend.”

” Be me sowl, Mr. Barrington,” sez I, ” ye’re a cliver wan. Ye’ve bamboozled the ould
gintleman finely, wi’ your ten poachers. An’ is it true what they’re sayin’ about the young
lady an’ you ?”

“True enough, Pat,” sez he. “We’re to be married within three months. The ould fellow
has behaved uncommon handsome, an’ I feel a mane baste for deceivin’ him. But anyhow,
1 tould Anne Miss Hastings,” sez he, gettin’ very red where his face wasn’t yellow.

“An’ what did she say, Mr. Barrington?” sez I.

“Whin she’d done laughin’,” sez he, “she tould me to tell ye ye’d niver want a day’s
shootin’ in The Warren as long as she could put in a word for ye ; an’ she’s goin’ to get the
best kennel in Ireland for the dog. Have ye any notion what’s become av him ?”

” Divil a bit av me knows,” sez I.

Wi’ that I sees somethin’ comin’ floatin’ down the river.

“Be the mortial, Mr. Barrington,” sez I, whin I’d looked at it a minit. “It’s him!”

“What ?” sez Mr. Barrington. “What is it, Pat?” sez he.

“The dog,” sez I, pointin’.

” Not a bit av it,” sez he, ” that’s twice the size.”

” Maybe he’s a bit swelled,” sez I ; an whin it floated down the length av the bridge, sure
enough it was himself.

Mr. Barrington stands lookin’ at him till I war near turned, for in troth he was smellin’
higher nor a daisy.

” Come on, Pat,” sez he, at the last, turnin’ away. ” I’m sorry the poor baste’s killed, for
he done me a good turn, an’ I can’t return him another wan now. But I’ll send down some-
body to fish him out an’ give him a dacint burial

It’s all ye can do for him, Mr. Harrington,” sez I . ” Rest his sowl, if he has wan, though
I did lose two good rabbit-nets be him, he’s a silent dog now, anyway.”

It’s a brave while ago since it all happened, an’ Mr. Harrington an’ the wife, Miss Hastings
that was, is in Dublin now, in the big Bank there ; but to this day there’s a wee headstone
in the Bank garden at Ballygullion, wi’ words on it that has bothered the whole countryside
but me an’ Mr. Anthony :

In Loving Memory of  the Silent Dog”