[from Collected Works, T.E.Brown]


" Is that you, Peggy ? my goodness me!
And so dark still I can hardly see!
Wait, woman, wait !
I’ll come down : ye needn’ go on hommerin’ at such a rate.
Here’s the master snorin’
Like a mill, and you to be breakin’ the door in—
It’s just disthractin’, that’s what it is—
Aisy, woman ! yis ! yis
There’s people ‘ll snore—where’s that perricut ?‘
There’s people ‘ll hommer—my gough ! that slut !
I’m comin’ ! I’m comin’!
God bless the woman!
I navar heard such a row—

" Aw dear ! aw dear ! aw, the craythur ! aw, poor Peggy, what’s the matter with you now?
Come in ! come in ! the sowl ! the sowl!
What is it, Peggy, what ? and where have you left Dan Cowle?
Is he outside in the street ?—well, where is he then?
Did you call at the halfway-house ? did he get—aw, bless these men!
Did he fall on the road ? No, ye say, no !
Well then where did he go?
Is he lyin’ in the ditch?
Did he lave you, or did you lave him-which?
You left him !
So I suppose it’s not a man you’re wantin’ at all, but a cherubim?
Aye ! aye !
Middlin’ high!
" And you that were married only yesterday, and the weddin’ out of this house—
To be comin’ home in the mornin’ all ragg’d and rumpled like a reg’lar trouse 2
Peggy, Peggy ! You’d like to blow there, just to feel
You’re at home again—eh,
Don’t kneel ! don’t kneel! Don’t be foolish, Peggy. There ! take the bellows,
And blow away!
And we’ll have a cup o’ tay,
And then you’ll tell us.
Why—Dan Cowle ! Dan Ballabroo!
A dacent man, and well-to-do!
Dan ! Dan Cowle ! dear heart!
And the beautiful ye went away in the cart!
And you’ve tuk and left him ! left Dan!
Left the man !"

" Man ! did ye say ? aw Misthriss, Misthriss ! what are ye talkin’?
Man ! do ye call that craythur a man, because he’s a thing that’s walkin’
On two legs, and a tongue in his head ? a beautiful 3
Of a man—you call him a man, I call him a dirt!
That’s what I call him—a dirt, and a sneak, and a dunkey—
Man ! if that chap’s a man, he’s a cross ‘twix a man and a monkey!
And a touch of a divil, and a touch of a fool . .
Listen, Misthriss, listen ! We warn’ half-way up Barrule,
When I thought he’d ha’ stayed a bit—and only raisonable he shud—
At Kinvigs’s—bein’ a thing lek that’s general understood—
What’s halfway-houses for, I’d like to know—
Just so!
You wouldn’ be agen 4 that?

" Certainly ! and company waitin’—and just a drop to warm a body—
And dear me ! what is there in half a glass of rum, or a whole glass, for the matter of that, to harm a body?
And well you know it isn’ the dhrink I regard—
Well you know that—but still a body’s hardly prepar’d
To pass the only public-house on the road, drivin’ home on your weddin’ night—
It isn’ right,
Nor correck, nor friendly, nor in any surt of a concatenation
Lek accordin’ to your station—
And disappintin’ people that way, wheti they’re trustin’
Your proper feelin’s, is quite disgustin’.

" So I lays my hand on his arm, just by way of signifyin’—
Nothin’ more—and behould ye ! he cocks hisseif up as stiff and as dignifyin’,
And rip ! and rup ! and chip ! and chup!
And ‘ There’s nobody up,’ he says. Nobody up?
And glasses jinglin’, and windows blazin’,
And people comin’ out, and shoutin’ amazin’
To stop ! But no ! but sticks his elbers like skewers in a body—
‘ What ! ‘ I says, ‘ not a glass of toddy?
Just for neighbourly’ dacency?’
‘ It’s surprisin’ how early they’re goin’ to bed,’ says he.
‘ Goin’ to bed ! ‘ says I. ‘ Yes,’ he says—middlin’ snarly—
‘ Kinvigs’s was allis early,’ he says, ‘ partic’lar early ‘—
And his ould hoss gallopin’, and heisin’ his hind-quarters, and workin’
Like a see-saw, and bumpin’ and jerkin’,
And sent me flyin’, with my head in the bottom of the cart, and my feet in the air,
And the rest of me—anywhere.

" So he puts out his hand—
‘ Bless my sowl ! ‘ he says, ‘ I thought it was gone !’
‘ What ? ‘ says I. ‘ The box,’ he says, maenin’ my box, and my weddin’ bonnet
Smashed to jammy—’ I wish you’d sit upon it,’
He says—the box, of coorse ! So I thought I’d be a little lovin’
And that—and I comes up lek gradjal, lek shiftin’ and shovin’
Lek agen him in a way. And I says, ‘ I’d like to be with you,’ says I,
' My own husband,’ I says ; for I thought it better to try
Was there just a taste
Of anything of a husband in him. So he put his arm round my waist—
Not round either—for he couldn’ do that—
Not for the stout I am, bein’ allis a gintale figger, but just like a lath—
Agen the back o’ my stays, and not the smallest curl
Or squeeze in the ould pump-handle, not the smallest in the worl’—
And his eyes on the box—and ‘ There it’s goin’!’
He says, and waein’ and woin’—
And as restless ! And then we got on the mountain ; and the ling
Was smellin’ very sweet in the dark, and a stream began ting-ting-ting
Down the other way—very pleasant, and it got couldher,
And I thought it was only a ‘spectable thing to put my head on his shouldher.

" O dear ! he got as crabbit
As an ould buck rabbit;
And he hitched and he hunched, and he cribbed and he crunched,
Till he was all bunched
In a lump ; and anyway his blades that sharp
And snaggy you might as well ha’ leaned your head on the backbone of a carp.

" So I didn’ care, and I sat up as straight
And as indepandin’. It was gettin’ late
When we come to his house ; and there was a falla theer standin’ on the look-out
On the very top of the midden, and jumps down, and grips the hoss, and gives a big shout,
And ‘ Look here ! ‘ he says, ‘ who’s goin’ to pay me? 'Pay !‘
Thinks !—and this ould fool goin’ seerchin’ away
In all his pockets—and gev a start,
And ‘ Bless my heart !’
He says, ‘ hey I lost it ? hey I lost it ? ‘ and twisses and wriggles
Hisself into knots—and the other chap stands and sniggles—
A young chap—And ‘ Dear me ! ‘ says Dan, ‘ it must ha’ dropt out on the road comin’—
It’s very disthressin’,’ he says. ‘ Faith then ! you’re a rummin,’
Says the chap, and like to buss 5
What’s the use o’ talkin’ ? ‘ says Dan Cowle, ‘ I’ve lost my puss.
Where’s your puss, Peggy ? maybe,’ he says, ‘ you’ll not mind
Payin’ the man,’ he says—’ if you’ll be so kind,’
He says—but oh ! that creepin’, and that sneakin’, and that slewin’, and that screwin’,
Like a conger just. And ‘ What’s a doin’?’
Says I ; ‘ isn’ it your own cart you got?’
‘ Well— no— it’s not,’ he says,
‘ I must confess—
The fact of the matter is,’ he says,
‘ My own cart is bruk very bad,
And I borrowed this one for the occasion.’ So I paid the lad.

" ‘ Aye, aye ! his cart is bruk very bad,’ says the chap,
‘ Likewise his trap,
And the phaeton, and the barooch, and the jantin’-car, and the family coach-and-four ‘—
And he gev a roor
Out of hisself, this young divil—
And ‘ Hurrah for the weddiners ! ‘ he says. ‘ Be civil ! be civil!’
Says Dan, ‘ be civil, young man, it would well become ye ‘—
But says I—’ Take your money and your cart,’ I says, ‘ and be off with ye, ye scum ye!
Be off ! ‘ I says, ‘ stir your stumps !’
(These Foxdale lumps 6
Is pirriful.7) And Dan with the box on the street, and pokin’
The key in the door—and, you know, I seen the chimbley wasn’ smokin’,
Nor nothin’—flor no cowhouse about that I could see,
Nor no garden, nor a bush, let alone a tree— But just a crock
Standin’ on a rock,
And water runnin’ in it very free
At the gable, and slishin’ and slushin’, and muckin’ the street
Under one’s feet.

" And this is the man that tould me he’d make me
So comfible!
But still
You’ll not mistake me,
You know me, Misthriss, don’t ye ? and you know I wouldn’ flinch,
No, not even if I was deceived—no, not an inch!
On I’d go, through the smooth and the rough,
Content enough— For richer for poorer, for better for wuss—
Lost his puss!
Had he ? lost two ! lost twenty!
Give me a man with a lovin’ heart, Misthriss, with a lovin’ heart—
That’s plenty— Plenty for me—navar mind the cart—
With a lovin’ heart, and some wit about him—
And I’d navar doubt him,
Misthriss—no ! For better for wuss—
Them’s the words, and didn’ the Pazon say them ? And I’d nuss
His childher, and I’d work, and I’d slave, and I’d die
Before I’d be beat—and still a lie
Is a dirty thing—fore or aft,
As the sailors is sayin’—
But listen again—
Misthriss ! Misthriss ! you don’t know half.

" So we got in, however, and he groped about, and he found a flint-and-steel,
And he skinned his ould knuckles all like a pridha 8 peel,
Streck-streckin’ away ; and, when he gor 9 a light at last,
You navar seen such a rookery. A dresser there was—
Yis—but hardly a plate or a bason, or any other surt o’ war’,
And a hape of mouldy turmits 10 in a corner there—could, comfortless things they are—
And a rot-hole,11 or a shot-hole, I don’t know which, and I don’t care etha’,12
And a barrel that looked like male, with a flag or a slate on the top of it, and a medha,13
And a pot, and nothin’ in it, and no fire, if there had been, and as for bed or beddin’—
Well, I dedn’ throuble, no, faith, I dedn’.

" It was a house that if you were inside you’d see about as much sky as roof,
A surt o’ mixthar o’ the two, and a touch of harry-long-legses and spiders—aw, it’s the troof ! 14 it’s the troof,
The troof I’m tellin’ ! And the scraas 15 hangin’ in rags and strings of dirt as black
You couldn’ tell were they scraas, or strips tore from a rotten ould sack,
Or nettin’ or somethin’. And I can tell ye the chap begun, as a body might say,
To look rather ashamed of hisself— I think so — in a way—
Yis—he didn’ look at me for a bit at all,
But cocked his face agen the wall.

" And—’ It’s too late,’ he says, ‘ it’s too late for supper, I suppose ‘—
And ye might have sniffed and sniffed till ye straint your nose
Afore you’d ha’ got a smell of supper in yandhar place—
But he turned at last, and I saw his face—
Workin’, workin’, workin’ most terrible,
And screwin’ the eye, and workin’ still—
And—’ Let’s sit down a bit,’ he says, and he studdied the candle, if ye plaze, and he looks up as innocent as a linnet,
And he says, ‘ That’s a nice puss you’ve got,’ he says ; ‘ how much is there in it?’
And I tould him £4 : 16s. and 2½d. farlin’—
So he says, ‘ That’s a nice little bit o’ money, my darlin’—
Let’s see it,’ he says.
So I gev it to him, ye know;
And he counted it out, I tell ye, every coin of it, very slow—
Very slow he counted—and then—what d’ye think?
Whips it in his pocket ! ‘ A nice lump of jink !’
Says Dan ; and he snuggled up closer to me, and he began to fiddle and fiddle,
Lek tryin’ to span me round the middle—
Some surt o’ coortin’ ! thinks I, he’s improvin’, I doubt—
The ould villyan ! He was just tryin’ to find out
Had I any more stitched up in my stays!
And a man with such ways—
Would you call him a man ? now would ye, Misthriss? would ye, though?
That was the fiddlin’—aye ! he said it, he said it hisself, the ould crow!
Yis, and his dirty ould mouth all of a pucker, and grippin’ and nippin’,
And declarin’ he felt the shillin’s slippin’
Between the quiltin’s—aw dear ! aw dear!
But I was enough for him—navar fear!

" I says—’ This is no place for me,’ I says ; and up I Jumps—
‘ I’m off,’ I says ; and he rattles his ould stumps—
And—’ Off? ‘ he says—’ Why you’ve not opened your box yet !’
‘ Clear out o’ the road ! ‘ I says. ‘ I hevn’ seen your frocks yet,’
He says, ‘ nor the sheetin’ nor nothin’ !—just give us that key—
It’s every bit my proppity ! ‘ he says. ‘ Out o’ the way!’
I says, and I gript the box. But if I gript it, he gript it, and he shouted and bawled,
And backards and forrards we tugged and we hauled;
And we staggered this way, and we staggered that way,
And higgledy-piggledy, and I cannot tell what way—
But I gev him a run in on the dresser, and his ould back bent,
And—down he went!

" And the crockery—what there was—all smashed—well to be sure!
And the turmits rowlin’ on the floor— So the box was mine, and I out on the door.
‘ Murdher ! tieves ! ‘ and he run after me full trot—
‘ You’re a robber ! ‘ he says ; ‘ you’ve robbed me ! everything you got
Belongs to me—I’ll bring a shuit,’ he says ; ‘ I’ll bring a shuit
For damagers ! ‘ he says—the ould brute— ‘ I’ll have your life ! ‘ he says,
‘ Ar’n’ you my wife ? ‘ he says— ‘ Murdher ! ‘ he says, ‘ murdher ! ‘ — ‘ Murdher — your granny,’
I says—’ Good-bye, Dan Cowle ! good-bye, Danny ! ‘
And I left him standin’ in the road ; and here I am, as you see—
And, Misthriss I no more weddin’s, aw good sakes ! no, no more weddin’s for me !"

1 Petticoat,
2 Slattern. 3 Sort. 4 Against.
5 Burst. 6 Lads. 7 Pitiful, detestable.
8 Potato.
9 Got. 10 Turnips. 11 Rat.hole.
12 Either. 13 Small, one-handled tub.
14 Truth. 15 Strips of sod laid on the rafters under the thatch.


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HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2000