New Irish Comedies
by Lady Augusta Gregory
By Lady Gregory
The Bogie Men—The Full Moon—Coats Darmer's Gold—McDonough's Wife
COPYRIGHT 1913 BY LADY GREGORY
TO THE RT. HON. W.F. BAILEY COUNSELLOR, PEACEMAKER, FRIEND
ABBEY THEATRE, 1913.
THE BOGIE MEN
THE FULL MOON
THE BOGIE MEN
Taig O'Harragha | BOTH CHIMNEY
Darby Melody | SWEEPS
THE BOGIE MEN
Scene: A Shed near where a coach stops. Darby comes in. Has a
can of water in one hand, a sweep's bag and brush in the other.
lays down bag on an empty box and puts can on the floor. Is
showy suit of clothes out of bag and admiring them and is about
put them on when he hears some one coming and hurriedly puts them
back into the bag.
Taig: (At door.) God save all here!
Darby: God save you. A sweep is it? (Suspiciously.) What
brought you following me?
Taig: Why wouldn't I be a sweep as good as yourself?
Darby: It is not one of my own trade I came looking to meet
with. It is a shelter I was searching out, where I could put on a
decent appearance, rinsing my head and my features in a tin can of
Taig: Is it long till the coach will be passing by the
Darby: Within about a half an hour they were telling me.
Taig: There does be much people travelling to this place?
Darby: I suppose there might, and it being the high road from
the town of Ennis.
Taig: It should be in this town you follow your trade?
Darby: It is not in the towns I do be.
Taig: There's nothing but the towns, since the farmers in the
country clear out their own chimneys with a bush under and a bush
Darby: I travel only gentlemen's houses.
Taig: There does be more of company in the streets than you'd
find on the bare road.
Darby: It isn't easy get company for a person has but two
Taig: Wealth to be in the family it is all one nearly with
having a grip of it in your own palm.
Darby: I wish to the Lord it was the one thing.
Taig: You to know what I know—
Darby: What is it that you know?
Taig: It is dealing out cards through the night time I will
be from this out, and making bets on racehorses and fighting-cocks
through all the hours of the day.
Darby: I would sooner to be sleeping in feathers and to do no
hand's turn at all, day or night.
Taig: If I came paddling along through every place this day
and the road hard under my feet, it is likely I will have my choice way
Darby: How is that now?
Taig: A horse maybe and a car or two horses, or maybe to go
in the coach, and I myself sitting alongside the man came in it.
Darby: Is it that he is taking you into his service?
Taig: Not at all! And I being of his own family and his
Darby: Of his blood now?
Taig: A relation I have, that is full up of money and of
every whole thing.
Darby: A relation?
Taig: A first cousin, by the side of the mother.
Darby: Well, I am not without having a first cousin of my
Taig: I wouldn't think he'd be much. To be listening to my
mother giving out a report of my one's ways, you would maybe believe it
is no empty skin of a man he is.
Darby: My own mother was not without giving out a report of
my man's ways.
Taig: Did she see him?
Darby: She did, I suppose, or the thing was near him. She
never was tired talking of him.
Taig: It is often my own mother would have Dermot pictured to
Darby: It is often the likeness of Timothy was laid down to
me by the teaching of my mother's mouth, since I was able to walk the
floor. She thought the whole world of him.
Taig: A bright scholar she laid Dermot down to be. A good
doing fellow for himself. A man would be well able to go up to his
Darby: That is the same account used to be given out of
Taig: To some trade of merchandise it is likely Dermot was
reared. A good living man that was never any cost on his mother.
Darby: To own an estate before he would go far in age Timothy
was on the road.
Taig: To have the handling of silks and jewelleries and to be
free of them, and of suits and the making of suits, that is the way
with the big merchants of the world.
Darby: It is letting out his land to grass farmers a man
owning acres does be making his profit.
Taig: A queer thing you to be the way you are, and he to be
an upstanding gentleman.
Darby: It is the way I went down; my mother used to be
faulting me and I not being the equal of him. Tormenting and picking at
me and shouting me on the road. “You thraneen,” she'd say, “you little
trifle of a son! You stumbling over the threshold as if in slumber, and
Timothy being as swift as a bee!”
Taig: So my own mother used to be going on at myself, and be
letting out shrieks and screeches. “What now would your cousin Dermot
be saying?” every time there would come a new rent in my rags.
Darby: “Little he'd think of you,” she'd say; “you without
body and puny, not fit to lift scraws from off the field, and Timothy
bringing in profit to his mother's hand, and earning prizes and
Taig: The time it would fail me to follow my book or to say
off my A, B, ab, to draw Dermot down on me she would. “Before he was up
to your age,” she would lay down, “he was fitted to say off Catechisms
and to read newses. You have no more intellect beside him,” she'd say,
“than a chicken has its head yet in the shell.”
Darby: “Let you hold up the same as Timothy,” she'd give out,
and I to stoop my shoulders the time the sun would prey upon my head.
“He that is as straight and as clean as a green rush on the brink of
Taig: “It is you will be fit but to blow the bellows,” my
mother would say, “the time Dermot will be forging gold.” I let on the
book to have gone astray on me at the last. Why would I go crush and
bruise myself under a weight of learning, and there being one in the
family well able to take my cost and my support whatever way it might
go? Dermot that would feel my keep no more than the lake would feel the
weight of the duck.
Darby: I seen no use to be going sweating after farmers,
striving to plough or to scatter seed, when I never could come anear
Timothy in any sort of a way, and he, by what she was saying, able to
thrash out a rick of oats in the day. So it fell out I was thrown on
the ways of the world, having no skill in any trade, till there came a
demand for me going aloft in chimneys, I being as thin as a needle and
shrunken with weakness and want of food.
Taig: I got my living for a while by miracle and trafficking
in rabbit skins, till a sweep from Limerick bound me to himself one
time I was skinned with the winter. Great cruelty he gave me till I ran
from him with the brush and the bag, and went foraging around for
Darby: So am I going around by myself. I never had a comrade
Taig: My mother that would hit me a crack if I made free with
any of the chaps of the village, saying that would not serve me with
Dermot, that had a good top-coat and was brought up to manners and
Darby: My own mother that drew down Timothy on me the time
she'd catch me going with the lads that had their pleasure out of the
world, slashing tops and pebbles, throwing and going on with games.
Taig: I took my own way after, fitting myself for sports and
funning, against the time the rich man would stretch out his hand.
Going with wild lads and poachers I was, till they left me carrying
their snares in under my coat, that I was lodged for three months in
Darby: The neighbours had it against me after, I not being
friendly when we were small. The most time I am going the road it is a
lonesome shadow I cast before me.
Taig: (Looking out of the door.) It is on this day I will
be making acquaintance with himself. My mother that sent him a request
to come meet me in this town on this day, it being the first of the
Darby: My own mother that did no less, telling me she got
word from Timothy he would come meet here with myself. It is certain he
will bring me into his house, she having wedded secondly with a
labouring man has got a job at Golden Hill in Lancashire. I would not
recognise him beyond any other one.
Taig: I would recognise the signs of a big man. I wish I was
within in his kitchen. There is a pinch of hunger within in my heart.
Darby: So there is within in myself.
Taig: Is there nothing at all in the bag?
Darby: It is a bit of a salted herring.
Taig: Why wouldn't you use it?
Darby: I would be delicate coming before him and the smell of
it to be on me, and all the grand meats will be at his table.
Taig: (Showing a bottle.) The full of a pint I have of porter,
that fell from a tinker's car.
Darby: I wonder you would not swallow it down for to keep
courage in your mind.
Taig: It is what I am thinking, I to take it fasting, it
might put confusion and wildness in my head. I would wish, and I
meeting with him, my wits to be of the one clearness with his own. It
is not long to be waiting; it is in claret I will be quenching my
thirst to-night, or in punch!
Darby: (Looking out.) I am nearly in dread meeting Timothy,
fearing I will not be pleasing to him, and I not acquainted with his
Taig: I would not be afeard, and Dermot to come sparkling in,
and seven horses in his coach.
Darby: What way can I come before him at all? I would be
better pleased you to personate me and to stand up to him in my place.
Taig: Any person to put orders on me, or to bid me change my
habits, I'd give no heed! I'd stand up to him in the spite of his
Darby: If it wasn't for the hearthfires to be slackened with
the springtime, and my work to be lessened with the strengthening of
the sun, I'd sooner not see him till another moon is passed, or two
Taig: He to bid me read out the news of the world, taking me
to be a scholar, I'd give him words that are in no books! I'd give him
newses! I'd knock rights out of him or any one I ever seen.
Darby: I could speak only of my trade. The boundaries of the
world to be between us, I'm thinking I'd never ask to go cross them at
Taig: He to go into Court swearing witnesses and to bring me
along with him to face the judges and the whole troop of the police,
I'd go bail I'll be no way daunted or scared.
Darby: What way can I keep company with him? I that was
partly reared in the workhouse. And he having a star on his hat and a
golden apple in his hand. He will maybe be bidding me to scour myself
with soapy water all the Sundays and Holy days of the year! I tell you
I am getting low hearted. I pray to the Lord to forgive me where I did
not go under the schoolmaster's rod!
Taig: I that will shape crampy words the same as any scholar
at all! I'll let on to be a master of learning and of Latin!
Darby: Ah, what letting on? It is Timothy will look through
me the same as if my eyes were windows, and my thoughts standing as
plain as cattle under the risen sun! It is easier letting on to have
knowledge than to put on manners and behaviour.
Taig: Ah, what's manners but to refuse no man a share of your
bite and to keep back your hand from throwing stones?
Darby: I tell you I'm in shivers! My heart that is shaking
like an ivy leaf! My bones that are loosened and slackened in the
similitude of a rope of tow! I'd sooner meet with a lion of the
wilderness or the wickedest wind of the hills! I thought it never would
come to pass. I'd sooner go into the pettiest house, the wildest home
and the worst! Look at here now. Let me stop along with yourself. I
never let out so much of my heart to any one at all till this day. It's
a pity we should be parted!
Taig: Is it to come following after me you would, before the
face of Dermot?
Darby: I'd feel no dread and you being at my side.
Taig: Dermot to see me in company with the like of you! I
wouldn't for the whole world he should be aware I had ever any traffic
with chimneys or with soot. It would not be for his honour you to draw
Darby: (Indignantly.) No but Timothy that would make objection
to yourself! He that would whip the world for manners and behaviour!
Taig: Dermot that is better again. He that would write and
dictate to you at the one time!
Darby: What is that beside owning tillage, and to need no
education, but to take rents into your hand?
Taig: I would never believe him to own an estate.
Darby: Why wouldn't he own it? “The biggest thing and the
grandest,” my mother would say when I would ask her what was he doing.
Taig: Ah, what could be before selling out silks and satins.
There is many an estated lord couldn't reach you out a fourpenny bit.
Darby: The grandest house around the seas of Ireland he
should have, beautifully made up! You would nearly go astray in it! It
wouldn't be known what you could make of it at all! You wouldn't have
it walked in a month!
Taig: What is that beside having a range of shops as wide
maybe as the street beyond?
Darby: A house would be the capital of the county! One door
for the rich, one door for the common! Velvet carpets rolled up, the
way there would no dust from the chimney fall upon them. A hundred
wouldn't be many standing in a corner of that place! A high bed of
feathers, curled hair mattresses. A cover laid on it would be flowery
with blossoms of gold!
Taig: Muslin and gauze, cambric and linen! Canton crossbar!
Glass windows full up of ribbons as gaudy as the crooked bow in the
sky! Sovereigns and shillings in and out as plenty as to riddle rape
seed. Sure them that do be selling in shops die leaving millions.
Darby: Your man is not so good as mine in his office or in
Taig: There is the horn of the coach. Get out now till I'll
prepare myself. He might chance to come seeking for me here.
Darby: There's a lather of sweat on myself. That's my tin can
Taig: (Holding can from him.) Get out I tell you! I wouldn't
wish him to feel the smell of you on the breeze.
Darby: (Almost crying.) You are a mean savage to go keeping
from me my tin can and my rag!
Taig: Go wash yourself at the pump can't you?
Darby: That we may never be within the same four walls again,
or come under the lintel of the one door! (He goes out.)
Taig: (Calling after him while he takes a suit of clothes from
his bag.) I'm not like yourself! I have good clothes to put on me,
what you haven't got! A body-coat my mother made out—she lost up to
three shillings on it,—and a hat—and a speckled blue cravat.
(He hastily throws off his sweep's smock and cap, and puts on
clothes. As he does he sings:)
All round my hat I wore a green ribbon,
All round my hat for a year and a day;
And if any one asks me the reason I wore it
I'll say that my true love went over the sea!
All in my hat I will stick a blue feather
The same as the birds do be up in the tree;
And if you would ask me the reason I do it
I'll tell you my true love is come back to me!
(He washes his face and wipes it, looking at himself in the tin
can. He catches sight of a straw hat passing window.)
Who is that? A gentleman? (He draws back.)
(Darby comes in. He has changed his clothes and wears a straw hat
and light coat and trousers. He is looking for a necktie which
had dropped and picks up. His back is turned to Taig who is
at the other door.)
Taig: (Awed.) It cannot be that you are Dermot Melody?
Darby: My father's name was Melody sure enough, till he lost
his life in the year of the black potatoes.
Taig: It is yourself I am come here purposely to meet with.
Darby: You should be my mother's sister's son so, Timothy
Taig: (Sheepishly.) I am that. I am sorry indeed it failed me
to be out before you in the street.
Darby: Oh, I wouldn't be looking for that much from you.
(They are trying to keep their backs to each other, and to rub
their faces cleaner.)
Taig: I wouldn't wish to be anyway troublesome to you. I am
badly worthy of you.
Darby: It is in dread I am of being troublesome to yourself.
Taig: Oh, it would be hard for you to be that. Nothing
you could put on me would be any hardship at all, if it was to walk
Darby: You have a willing heart surely.
Taig: Any little job at all I could do for you———
Darby: All I would ask of you is to give me my nourishment
and my bite.
Taig: I will do that. I will be your serving man.
Darby: Ah, you are going too far in that.
Taig: It's my born duty to do that much. I'll bring your
dinner before you, if I can be anyway pleasing to you; you that is used
to wealthy people.
Darby: Indeed I was often in a house having up to twenty
Taig: You are a rare good man, nothing short of it, and you
going as you did so high in the world.
Darby: Any person would go high before he would put his hand
out through the top of a chimney.
Taig: Having full and plenty of every good thing.
Darby: I saw nothing so plentiful as soot. There is not the
equal of it nourishing a garden. It would turn every crop blue, being
Taig: (Weeping.) It is a very unkind thing to go drawing
chimneys down on me and soot, and you having all that ever was!
Darby: Little enough I have or ever had.
Taig: To be casting up my trade against me, I being poor and
hungry, and you having coins and tokens from all the goldpits of the
Darby: I wish I ever handled a coin of gold in my lifetime.
Taig: To speak despisingly, not pitiful. And I thinking the
chimney sweeping would be forgot and not reproached to me, if you have
handled the fooleries and watches of the world, that you don't know the
end of your riches!
Darby: I am maybe getting your meaning wrong, your tongue
being a little hard and sharp because you are Englified, but I am
without new learnments and so I speak flat.
Taig: You to have the millions of King Solomon, you have no
right to be putting reflections on me! I would never behave that way,
and housefuls to fall into my hand.
Darby: You are striving to put ridicule on me and to make a
fool of me. That is a very unseemly thing to do! I that did not ask to
go hide the bag or the brush.
Taig: There you are going on again. Is it to the customers in
your shops you will be giving out that it was my lot to go through the
world as a sweep?
Darby: Customers and shops! Will you stop your funning? Let
you quit mocking and making a sport of me! That is very bad acting
Taig: Striving to blacken my face again at the time I had it
washed pure white. You surely have a heart of marble.
Darby: What way at all can you be putting such a rascally say
out of your mouth? I'll take no more talk from you, I to be twenty-two
degrees lower than the Hottentots!
Taig: If you are my full cousin Dermot Melody I'll make you
quit talking of soot!
Darby: I'll take no more talk from yourself!
Taig: Have a care now!
Darby: Have a care yourself!
(Each gives the other a push. They stumble and fall, sitting
facing one another. Darby's hat falls off.)
Taig: Is it you it is?
Darby: Who else would it be?
Taig: What call had you letting on to be Dermot Melody?
Darby: What letting on? Dermot is my full name, but Darby is
the name I am called.
Taig: Are you a man owning riches and shops and merchandise?
Darby: I am not, or anything of the sort.
Taig: Have you teems of money in the bank?
Darby: If I had would I be sitting on this floor?
Taig: You thief you!
Darby: Thief yourself! Turn around now till I will measure
your features and your face. Yourself is it! Is it personating
my cousin Timothy you are?
Taig: I am personating no one but myself.
Darby: You letting on to be an estated magistrate and my own
cousin and such a great generation of a man. And you not owning so much
as a rood of ridges!
Taig: Covering yourself with choice clothing for to deceive
me and to lead me astray!
Darby: Putting on your head a fine glossy hat and I thinking
you to have come with the spring-tide, the way you had luck through
Taig: Letting on to be Dermot Melody! You that are but the
cull and the weakling of a race! It is a queer game you played on me
and a crooked game. I never would have brought my legs so far to meet
with the sooty likes of you!
Darby: Letting on to be my poor Timothy O'Harragha!
Taig: I never was called but Taig. Timothy was a sort of a
Holy day name.
Darby: Where now are our two cousins? Or is it that the both
of us are cracked?
Taig: It is, or our mothers before us.
Darby: My mother was a McGarrity woman from Loughrea. It is
Mary was her Christened name.
Taig: So was my own mother of the McGarritys. It is sisters
they were sure enough.
Darby: That makes us out to be full cousins in the heel.
Taig: You no better than myself! And the prayers I used to be
saying for you, and you but a sketch and an excuse of a man!
Darby: Ah, I am thinking people put more in their prayers
than was ever put in them by God.
Taig: Our mothers picturing us to one another as if we were
the best in the world.
Darby: Lies I suppose they were drawing down, for to startle
us into good behaviour.
Taig: Wouldn't you say now mothers to be a terror?
Darby: And we nothing at all after but two chimney sweepers
and two harmless drifty lads.
Taig: Where is the great quality dinner yourself was to give
me, having seven sorts of dressed meat? Pullets and bacon I was looking
for, and to fall on an easy life.
Darby: Gone like the clouds of the winter's fog. We rose out
of it the same as we went in.
Taig: We have nothing to do but to starve with the hunger,
and you being as bare as myself.
Darby: We are in a bad shift surely. We must perish with the
want of support. It is one of the tricks of the world does be played
upon the children of Adam.
Taig: All we have to do is to crawl to the poorhouse gate. Or
to go dig a pit in the graveyard, as it is short till we'll be
stretched there with the want of food.
Darby: Food is it? There is nothing at this time against me
eating my bit of a herring.
(Seizes it and takes a bite.)
Taig: Give me a divide of it.
Darby: Give me a drop of your own porter so, is in the
bottle. There need be no dread on you now, of you being no match for
your grand man.
Taig: That is so. (Drinks.) I'll strive no more to fit
myself for high quality relations. I am free from patterns of high up
cousins from this out. I'll be a pattern to myself.
Darby: I am well content being free of you, the way you were
pictured to be. I declare to my goodness, the name of you put terror on
me through the whole of my lifetime, and your image to be clogging and
checking me on every side.
Taig: To be thinking of you being in the world was a holy
terror to myself. I give you my word you came through my sleep the same
as a scarecrow or a dragon.
Darby: It is great things I will be doing from this out, we
two having nothing to cast up against one another. To be quit of
Timothy the bogie and to get Taig for a comrade, I'm as proud as the
Crown of France!
Taig: I'm in dread of neither bumble or bagman or bugaboo! I
will regulate things from myself from this out.
Darby: There to be fineness of living in the world, why
wouldn't I make it out for myself?
Taig: It is to the harbours of America we will work our way
across the wideness of the sea. It is well able we should be to go
mounting up aloft in ropes. Come on Darby out of this!
Darby: There is magic and mastery come into me! This day has
put wings to my heart!
Taig: Be easy now. We are maybe not clear of the chimneys
Darby: What signifies chimneys? We'll go up in them till
we'll take a view of the Seven Stars! It is out beyond the hills of
Burren I will cast my eye, till I'll see the three gates of Heaven!
Taig: It's like enough, luck will flow to you. The way most
people fail is in not keeping up the heart. Faith, it's well you have
myself to mind you. Gather up now your brush and your bag.
(They go to the door holding each other's hands and singing:
“All in my hat I will cock a blue feather,” etc.)
THE FULL MOON
TO ALL SANE PEOPLE IN OR OUT OF CLOON
WHO KNOW THEIR NEIGHBOURS TO BE
NATURALLY CRACKED OR SOMEWAY QUEER
OR TO HAVE GONE WRONG IN THE HEAD.
PERSONS [Sidenote: ALL SANE]
HER BROTHER, AN INNOCENT
THE FULL MOON
Scene: A shed close to Cloon Station; Bartley Fallon is
gloomily on a box; Hyacinth Halvey and Shawn Early are coming in
Shawn Early: It is likely the train will not be up to its
time, and cattle being on it for the fair. It's best wait in the shed.
Is that Bartley Fallon? What way are you, Bartley?
Bartley Fallon: Faith, no way at all. On the drag, on the
drag; striving to put the bad times over me.
Shawn Early: Is it business with the nine o'clock you have?
Bartley Fallon: The wife that is gone visiting to Tubber, and
that has the door locked till such time as she will come back on the
train. And I thought this shed a place where no bad thing would be apt
to happen me, and not to be going through the streets, and the darkness
Shawn Early: It is not long till the full moon will be
Bartley Fallon: Everything that is bad, the falling
sickness—God save the mark—or the like, should be at its worst at the
full moon. I suppose because it is the leader of the stars.
Shawn Early: Ah, what could happen any person in the street
Bartley Fallon: There might. Look at Matt Finn, the
coffin-maker, put his hand on a cage the circus brought, and the lion
took and tore it till they stuck him with a fork you'd rise dung with,
and at that he let it drop. And that was a man had never quitted Cloon.
Shawn Early: I thought you might be sending something to the
Bartley Fallon: It isn't to the train I would be trusting
anything I would have to sell, where it might be thrown off the track.
And where would be the use sending the couple of little lambs I have?
It is likely there is no one would ask me where was I going. When the
weight is not in them, they won't carry the price. Sure, the grass I
have is no good, but seven times worse than the road.
Shawn Early: They are saying there'll be good demand at the
fair of Carrow to-morrow.
Hyacinth Halvey: To-morrow the fair day of Carrow? I was not
Bartley Fallon: Ah, there won't be many in it, I'm thinking.
There isn't a hungrier village in Connacht, they were telling me, and
it's poor the look of it as well.
Hyacinth Halvey: To-morrow the fair day. There will be all
sorts in the streets to-night.
Bartley Fallon: The sort that will be in it will be a bad
sort—sievemakers and tramps and neuks.
Hyacinth Halvey: The tents on the fair green; there will be
music in it; there was a fiddler having no legs would set men of
threescore years and of fourscore years dancing. I can nearly hear his
(He whistles “The Heather Broom.”)
Bartley Fallon: You are apt to be going there on the train, I
suppose? It is well to be you, Mr. Halvey, having a good place in the
town, and the price of your fare, and maybe six times the price of it,
in your pocket.
Hyacinth Halvey: I didn't think of that. I wonder could I
go—for one night only—and see what the lads are doing.
Shawn Early: Are you forgetting, Mr. Halvey, that you are to
meet his Reverence on the platform that is coming home from drinking
water at the Spa?
Hyacinth Halvey: So I can meet him, and get in the train
after him getting out.
(Mrs. Broderick and Peter Tannian come in.)
Mrs. Broderick: Is that Mr. Halvey is in it? I was looking
for you at the chapel as I passed, and the Angelus bell after ringing.
Hyacinth Halvey: Business I have here, ma'am. I was in dread
I might not be here before the train.
Mrs. Broderick: So you might not, indeed. That nine o'clock
train you can never trust it to be late.
Hyacinth Halvey: To meet Father Gregan I am come, and maybe
to go on myself.
Mrs. Broderick: Sure, I knew well you would be in haste to be
before Father Gregan, and we knowing what we know.
Hyacinth Halvey: I have no business only to be showing
respect to him.
Shawn Early: His good word he will give to Mr. Halvey at the
Board, where it is likely he will be made Clerk of the Union next week.
Mrs. Broderick: His good word he will give to another thing
besides that, I am thinking.
Hyacinth Halvey: I don't know what you are talking about.
Mrs. Broderick: Didn't you hear the news, Peter Tannian, that
Mr. Halvey is apt to be linked and joined in marriage with Miss Joyce,
the priest's housekeeper?
Peter Tannian: I to believe all the lies I'd hear, I'd be a
racked man by this.
Mrs. Broderick: What I say now is as true as if you were on
the other side of me. I suppose now the priest is come home there'll be
no delay getting the license.
Hyacinth Halvey: It is not so settled as that.
Mrs. Broderick: Why wouldn't it be settled and it being told
at Mrs. Delane's and through the whole world?
Peter Tannian: She should be a steady wife for him—a fortied
Shawn Early: A very good fortune in the bank they are saying
she has, and she having crossed the ocean twice to America.
Hartley Fallen: It's as good for him to have a woman will
keep the door open before him and his victuals ready and a quiet tongue
in her head. Not like that little Tartar of my own.
Mrs. Broderick. And an educated woman along with that. A man
of his sort, going to be Clerk of the Union and to be taken up with
books and papers, it's likely he'd die in a week, he to marry a dunce.
Bartley Fallon: So it's likely he would.
Mrs. Broderick: A little shop they are saying she will take,
for to open a flour store, and you to be keeping the accounts, the way
you would not spend any waste time.
Hyacinth Halvey: I have no mind to be settling myself down
yet a while. I might maybe take a ramble here or there. There's many of
my comrades in the States.
Mrs. Broderick: To go away from Cloon, is it? And why would
you think to do that, and the whole town the same as a father and
mother to you? Sure, the sergeant would live and die with you, and
there are no two from this to Galway as great as yourself and the
priest. To see you coming up the street, and your Dublin top-coat
around you, there are some would give you a salute the same nearly as
Peter Tannian: They wouldn't do that maybe and they hearing
things as I heard them.
Hyacinth Halvey: What things?
Peter Tannian: There was a herd passing through from Carrow.
It is what I heard him saying———
Mrs. Broderick: You heard nothing of Mr. Halvey, but what is
worthy of him. But that's the way always. The most thing a man does,
the less he will get for it after.
Peter Tannian: A grand place in Carrow I suppose you had?
Hyacinth Halvey: I had plenty of places. Giving out
Mrs. Broderick: It is well fitted for any place he is, and
all that was written around him and he coming into Cloon.
Peter Tannian: Writing is easy.
Mrs. Broderick: Look at him since he was here, this
twelvemonth back, that he never went into a dance-house or stood at a
cross-road, and never lost a half-an-hour with drink. Made no blunder,
made no rumours. Whatever could be said of his worth, it could not be
too well said.
Hyacinth Halvey: Do you think now, ma'am, would it be any
harm I to go spend a day or maybe two days out of this—I to go on the
Miss Joyce: (At door, coming in backwards.) Go back now, go
back! Don't be following after me in through the door! Is Mr. Halvey
there? Don't let her come following me, Mr. Halvey!
Hyacinth Halvey: Who is it is in it?
(Sound of discordant singing outside.)
Miss Joyce: Cracked Mary it is, that is after coming back
this day from the asylum.
Hyacinth Halvey: I never saw her, I think.
Shawn Early: The creature, she was light this long while and
not good in the head, and at the last lunacy came on her and she was
tied and bound. Sometimes singing and dancing she does be, and
Miss Joyce: They had a right to keep her spancelled in the
asylum. She would begrudge any respectable person to be walking the
street. She'd hoot you, she'd shout you, she'd clap her hands at you.
She is a blight in the town.
Hyacinth Halvey: There is a lad along with her.
Shawn Early: It is Davideen, her brother, that is innocent.
He was left rambling from place to place the time she was put within
(Cracked Mary and Davideen come in.
Miss Joyce clings to Hyacinth's arm.)
Cracked Mary: Give me a charity now, the way I'll be keeping
a little rag on me and a little shoe to my foot. Give me the price of
tobacco and the price of a grain of tea; for tobacco is blessed and tea
is good for the head.
Shawn Early: Give out now, Davideen, a verse of “The Heather
Broom.” That's a splendid tune.
Oh, don't you remember,
As it's often I told you,
As you passed through our kitchen,
That a new broom sweeps clean?
Come out now and buy one,
Come out now and try one—
(His voice cracks, and he breaks off, laughing foolishly.)
Mrs. Broderick: He has a sweet note in his voice, but to know
or to understand what he is doing, he couldn't do it.
Cracked Mary: Leave him a while. His song that does be
clogged through the daytime, the same as the sight is clogged with
myself. It isn't but in the night time I can see anything worth while.
Davy is a proper boy, a proper boy; let you leave Davy alone. It was
himself came before me ere yesterday in the morning, and I walking out
the madhouse door.
Shawn Early: It is often there will fiddlers be waiting to
play for them coming out, that are maybe the finest dancers of the day.
Cracked Mary: Waiting before me he was, and no one to give
him knowledge unless it might be the Big Man. I give you my word he
near ate the face off me. As glad to see me he was as if I had dropped
from heaven. Come hither to me, Davy, and give no heed to them. It is
as dull and as lagging as themselves you would be maybe, and the world
to be different and the moon to change its courses with the sun.
Bartley Fallon: I never would wish to be put within a
madhouse before I'd die.
Cracked Mary: Sorry they were losing me. There was not a
better prisoner in it than my own four bones.
Bartley Fallon: Squeals you would hear from it, they were
telling me, like you'd hear at the ringing of the pigs. Savages with
whips beating them the same as hounds. You would not stand and listen
to them for a hundred sovereigns. Of all bad things that can come upon
a man, it is certain the madness is the last.
Miss Joyce: It is likely she was well content in it, and the
friends she had being of her own class.
Cracked Mary: What way could you make friends with people
would be always talking? Too much of talk and of noise there was in it,
cursing, and praying, and tormenting; some dancing, some singing, and
one writing a letter to a she devil called Lucifer. I not to close my
ears, I would have lost the sound of Davideen's song.
Miss Joyce: It was good shelter you got in it through the bad
weather, and not to be out perishing under cold, the same as the
starlings in the snow.
Cracked Mary: I was my seven months in it, my seven months
and a day. My good clothes that went astray on me and my boots. My fine
gaudy dress was all moth-eated, that was worked with the wings of
birds. To fall into dust and ashes it did, and the wings rose up into
the high air.
Bartley Fallen. Take care would the madness catch on to
ourselves the same as the chin-cough or the pock.
Mrs. Broderick: Ah, that's not the way it goes travelling
from one to another, but some that are naturally cracked and inherit
Shawn Early: It is a family failing with her tribe. The most
of them get giddy in their latter end.
Miss Joyce: It might be it was sent as a punishment before
birth, for to show the power of God.
Peter Tannian: It is tea-drinking does it, and that is the
reason it is on the wife it is apt to fall for the most part.
Mrs. Broderick: Ah, there's some does be thinking their wives
isn't right, and there's others think they are too right. There to be
any fear of me going astray, I give you my word I'd lose my wits on the
Hyacinth Halvey: There are some say it is the moon.
Shawn Early: So it is too. The time the moon is going back,
the blood that is in a person does be weakening, but when the moon is
strong, the blood that moves strong in the same way. And it to be at
the full, it drags the wits along with it, the same as it drags the
Mrs. Broderick: Those that are light show off more and have
the talk of twenty the time it is at the full, that is sure enough. And
to hold up a silk handkerchief and to look through it, you would see
the four quarters of the moon; I was often told that.
Miss Joyce: It is not you, Mr. Halvey, will give in to an
unruly thing like the moon, that is under no authority, and cannot be
put back, the same as a fast day that would chance to fall upon a
Hyacinth Halvey: It is likely it is put in the sky the same
as a clock for our use, the way you would pick knowledge of the
weather, the time the stars would be wild about it.
Mrs. Broderick: That is very nice now. The thing you'd know,
you'd like to go on, and to hear more or less about it.
Miss Joyce: (To H.H.) It is a lantern for your own use it will
be to-night, and his Reverence coming home through the street, and
yourself coming along with him to the house.
Mrs. Broderick: That's right, Miss Joyce. Keep a good grip of
him. What do you say to him talking a while ago as if his mind was
running on some thought to leave Cloon?
Miss Joyce: What way could he leave it?
Hyacinth Halvey: No way at all, I'm thinking, unless there
would be a miracle worked by the moon.
Mrs. Broderick: Ah, miracles is gone out of the world this
long time, with education, unless that they might happen in your own
Miss Joyce: I'll go set the table and kindle the fire, and
I'll come back to meet the train with you myself.
(She goes. A noise heard outside.)
Hyacinth Halvey: What is that now?
Shawn Early: (At door.) Some noise as of running.
Hartley Fallon: (Going to door.) It might chance to be some
prisoner they would be bringing to the train.
Peter Tannian: No, but some lads that are running.
(They go out. H.H. is going too, but Mrs. Broderick goes before
and turns him round in doorway.)
Mrs. Broderick: Don't be coming out now in the dust that was
formed by the heat is in the breeze. It would be a pity to spoil your
Dublin coat, or your shirt that is that white you would nearly take it
to be blue.
(She goes out, pushing him in and shutting door after her.)
Cracked Mary: Ha! ha! ha!
Hyacinth Halvey: What is it you are laughing at?
Cracked Mary: Ha! ha! ha! It is a very laughable thing now,
the third most laughable thing I ever met with in my lifetime.
Hyacinth Halvey: What is that?
Cracked Mary: A fine young man to be shut up and bound in a
narrow little shed, and the full moon rising, and I knowing what I
Hyacinth Halvey: It's little you are likely to know about me.
Cracked Mary: Tambourines and fiddles and pipes—melodeons
and the whistling of drums.
Hyacinth Halvey: I suppose it is the Carrow fair you are
Cracked Mary: Sitting within walls, and a top-coat wrapped
around him, and mirth and music and frolic being in the place we know,
and some dancing sets on the floor.
Hyacinth Halvey: I wish I wasn't in this place tonight. I
would like well to be going on the train, if it wasn't for the talk the
neighbours would be making. I would like well to slip away. It is a
long time I am going without any sort of funny comrades.
(Goes to door. The others enter quickly, pushing him back.)
Bartley Fallon: Nothing at all to see. It would be best for
us to have stopped where we were.
Mrs. Broderick: Running like foals to see it, and nothing to
be in it worth while.
Hyacinth Halvey: What was it was in it?
Shawn Early: Nothing at all but some lads that were running
in pursuit of a dog.
Bartley Fallon: Near knocked us they did, and they coming
round the corner of the wall.
Hyacinth Halvey: Is it that it was a mad dog?
Peter Tannian: Ah, what mad? Mad dogs are done away with now
by the head Government and muzzles and the police.
Bartley Fallon: They are more watchful over them than they
used. But all the same, you to see a strange dog afar off, you would be
uneasy, thinking it might be yourself he would be searching out as his
Mrs. Broderick: Sure, there did a dog go mad through Galway,
and the whole town rose against him, and flocked him into a corner, and
shot him there. He did no harm after, he being made an end of at the
Shawn Early: It might be that dog they were pursuing after
was mad, on the head of being under the full moon.
Cracked Mary: (Jumping up excitedly.) That mad dog, he is a
Dublin dog; he is betune you and Belfast—he is running ahead—you
couldn't keep up with him.
Hyacinth Halvey: There is one, so, mad upon the road.
Cracked Mary: There is police after him, but they cannot come
up with him; he destroyed a splendid sow; nine bonavs they buried or
Shawn Early: What place is he gone now?
Cracked Mary: He made off towards Craughwell, and he bit a
fine young man.
Bartley Fallen: So he would too. Sure, when a mad dog would
be going about, on horseback or wherever you are, you're ruined.
Cracked Mary: That dog is going on all the time; he wouldn't
stop, but go ahead and bring that mouthful with him. He is still on the
road; he is keeping the middle of the road; they say he is as big as a
Hyacinth Halvey: It is the police I have a right to forewarn
to go after him.
Cracked Mary: The motor cars is going to get out to track
him, for fear he would destroy the world!
Mrs. Broderick: That is a very nice thought now, to be
sending the motor cars after him to overturn and to crush him the same
as an ass-car in their path.
Cracked Mary: You can't save yourself from a dog; he is after
his own equals, dogs. He is doing every harm. They are out night and
Shawn Early: Sure, a mad dog would go from this to Kinvara in
a half a minute, like the train.
Cracked Mary: He won't stay in this country down—he goes the
straight road—he takes by the wind. He is as big as a yearling calf.
Mrs. Broderick: I wouldn't ever forgive myself I to see him.
Cracked Mary: He is not very heavy yet. There is only the
relics in him.
Hyacinth Halvey: They have a right to bring their rifles in
Cracked Mary: The police is afraid of their life. They wrote
for motor cars to follow him. Sure, he'd destroy the beasts of the
field. A milch cow, he to grab at her, she's settled. Terrible wicked
he is; he's as big as five dogs, and he does be very strong. I hope in
the Lord he'll be caught. It will be a blessing from the Almighty God
to kill that dog.
Hyacinth Halvey: He is surely the one is raging through the
Peter Tannian: Why wouldn't he be him? Is it likely there
would be two of them in it at the one time?
Shawn Early: A queer cut of a dog he was; a lurcher, a
Peter Tannian: I would say him to be about the size of the
foal of a horse.
Mrs. Broderick: Didn't he behave well not to do ourselves an
Bartley Fallon: It is likely he will do great destruction. I
wouldn't say but I felt the weight of him and his two paws around my
Hyacinth Halvey: I will go out following him.
Shawn Early: (Holding him). Oh, let you not endanger yourself!
It is the peelers should go follow him, that are armed with their
batons and their guns.
Hyacinth Halvey: I'll go. He might do some injury going
through the town.
Mrs. Broderick: Ah now, it is not yourself we would let go
into danger! It is Peter Tannian should go, if any person should go.
Peter Tannian: Is it Hyacinth Halvey you are taking to be so
far before myself?
Mrs. Broderick: Why wouldn't he be before you?
Peter Tannian: Ask him what was he in Carrow? Ask was he a
sort of a corner-boy, ringing the bell, pumping water, gathering a few
coppers in the daytime for to scatter on a game of cards.
Hyacinth Halvey: Stop your lies and your chat!
Mrs. Broderick: (to Tannian) You are going light in the head
to talk that way.
Shawn Early: He is, and queer in the mind. Take care did he
get a bite from the dog, that left some venom working in his blood.
Hyacinth Halvey: So he might, and he having a sort of a
little rent in his sleeve.
Peter Tannian: I to have got a bite from the dog, is it? I
did not come anear him at all. You to strip me as bare as winter you
will not find the track of his teeth. It is Shawn Early was nearer to
him than what I was.
Shawn Early: I was not nearer, or as near as what Mrs.
Mrs. Broderick: I made away when I saw him. My chest is not
the better of it yet. Since I left off fretting I got gross. I am that
nervous I would run from a blessed sheep, let alone a dog.
Shawn Early: To see any of the signs of madness upon him, it
is Mr. Halvey the sergeant would look to for to make his report.
Hyacinth Halvey: So I would make a report.
Peter Tannian: Is it that you lay down you can see signs? Is
that the learning they were giving you in Carrow?
Mrs. Broderick: Don't be speaking with him at all. It is easy
know the signs. A person to be laughing and mocking, and that would not
have the same habits with yourself, or to have no fear of things you
would be in dread of, or to be using a different class of food.
Peter Tannian: I use no food but clean food.
Hyacinth Halvey: To be giddy in the head is a sign, and to be
talking of things that passed years ago.
Peter Tannian: I am talking of nothing but the thing I have a
right to talk of.
Mrs. Broderick: To be nervous and thinking and pausing, and
playing with knicknacks.
Peter Tannian: It never was my habit to be playing with
Bartley Fallon: When the master in the school where I was
went queer, he beat me with two clean rods, and wrote my name with my
Mrs. Broderick: To take the shoe off their foot, and to hit
out right and left with it, bawling their life out, tearing their
clothes, scattering and casting them in every part; or to run naked
through the town, and all the people after them.
Shawn Early: To be jumping the height of trees they do be,
and all the people striving to slacken them.
Hyacinth Halvey: To steal prayer-books and rosaries, and to
be saying prayers they never could keep in mind before.
Mrs. Broderick: Very strong, that they could leap a
wall—jumping and pushing and kicking—or to tie people to one another
with a rope.
Shawn Early: Any fear of any person here being violent, Mr.
Halvey will get him put under restraint.
Peter Tannian: Is it myself you are thinking to put under
restraint? Would a man would be pushing and kicking and tearing his
clothes, be able to do arithmetic on a board? Look now at that. (Chalks
figures on door.) Three and three makes six!—and three—
Mrs. Broderick: I'm no hand at figuring, but I can say out a
blessed hymn, what any person with the mind gone contrary in them could
not do. Hearken now till you'll know is there confusion in my mind.
Mary Broderick is my name;
Fiddane was my station;
Cloon is my dwelling-place;
And (I hope) heaven is my destination.
Mary Broderick is my name,
Cloon was my—
Cracked Mary: (With a cackle of delight.) Give heed to
them now, Davideen! That's the way the crazed people used to be going
on in the place where I was, every one thinking the other to be
Hyacinth Halvey: (To Tannian.) Look now at your great
figuring! Argus with his hundred eyes wouldn't know is that a nought or
is it a nine without a tail.
Peter Tannian: Leave that blame on a little ridge that is in
the nature of the chalk. Look now at Mary Broderick, that it has failed
to word out her verse.
Mrs. Broderick: Ah, what signifies? I'd never get light
greatly. It wouldn't be worth while I to go mad.
(Bartley Fallon gives a deep groan.)
Shawn Early: What is on you, Bartley?
Bartley Fallon: I'm in dread it is I myself has got the venom
into my blood.
Hyacinth Halvey: What makes you think that?
Bartley Fallon: It's a sort of a thing would be apt to happen
me, and any malice to fall within the town at all.
Mrs. Broderick: Give heed to him, Hyacinth Halvey; you are
the most man we have to baffle any wrong thing coming in our midst!
Hyacinth Halvey: Is it that you are feeling any pain as of a
wound or a sore?
Bartley Fallon: Some sort of a little catch I'm thinking
there is in under my knee. I would feel no pain unless I would turn it
Hyacinth Halvey: What class of feeling would you say you are
Bartley Fallon: I am feeling as if the five fingers of my
hand to be lessening from me, the same as five farthing dips the heat
of the sun would be sweating the tallow from.
Hyacinth Halvey: That is a strange account.
Bartley Fallon: And a sort of a megrim in my head, the same
as a sheep would get a fit of staggers in a field.
Hyacinth Halvey: That is what I would look for. Is there some
sort of a roaring in your ear?
Bartley Fallon: There is, there is, as if I would hear voices
would be talking.
Hyacinth Halvey: Would you feel any wish to go tearing and
Bartley Fallon: I would indeed, and there to be an enemy upon
my path. Would you say now, Widow Broderick, am I getting anyway flushy
in the face?
Mrs. Broderick: Don't leave your eye off him for pity's sake.
He is reddening as red as a rose.
Bartley Fallon: I could as if walk on the wind with
lightness. Something that is rising in my veins the same as froth would
be rising on a pint.
Hyacinth Halvey: It is the doctor I'd best call for—and
maybe the sergeant and the priest.
Bartley Fallon: There are three thoughts going through my
mind—to hang myself or to drown myself, or to cut my neck with a
Mrs. Broderick: It is the doctor will serve him best, where
it is the mad blood that should be bled away. To break up eggs, the
white of them, in a tin can, will put new blood in him, and whiskey,
and to taste no food through twenty-one days.
Bartley Fallon: I'm thinking so long a fast wouldn't serve
me. I wouldn't wish the lads will bear my body to the grave, to lay
down there was nothing within it but a grasshopper or a wisp of dry
Shawn Early: No, but to cut a piece out of his leg the doctor
will, the way the poison will get no leave to work.
Peter Tannian: Or to burn it with red-hot irons, the way it
will not scatter itself and grow. There does a doctor do that out in
Mrs. Broderick: It would be more natural to cut the leg off
him in some sort of a Christian way.
Shawn Early: If it was a pig was bit, or a sow or a bonav, it
to show the signs, it would be shot, if it was a whole fleet of them
was in it.
Mrs. Broderick: I knew of a man that was butler in a big
house was bit, and they tied him first and smothered him after, and his
master shot the dog. A splendid shot he was; the thing he'd not see
he'd hit it the same as the thing he'd see. I heard that from an
outside neighbour of my own, a woman that told no lies.
Shawn Early: Sure, they did the same thing to a high-up lady
over in England, and she after being bit by her own little spaniel and
it having a ring around its neck.
Peter Tannian: That is the only best thing to do. Whether the
bite is from a dog, or a cat, or whatever it may be, to put the quilt
and the blankets on the person and smother him in the bed. To smother
them out-and-out you should, before the madness will work.
Hyacinth Halvey: I'd be loth he to be shot or smothered. I'd
sooner to give him a chance in the asylum.
Mrs. Broderick: To keep him there and to try him through
three changes of the moon. It's well for you, Bartley, Mr. Halvey being
in charge of you, that is known to be a tender man.
Peter Tannian: He to have got a bite and to go biting others,
he would put in them the same malice. It is the old people used to tell
that down, and they must have had some reason doing that.
Shawn Early: To get a bite of a dog you must chance your
life. There is no doubt at all about that. It might work till the time
of the new moon or the full moon, and then they must be shot or
Hyacinth Halvey: It is a pity there to be no cure found for
it in the world.
Shawn Early: There never came out from the Almighty any cure
for a mad dog.
(Bartley Fallon has been edging towards door.)
Shawn Early: Oh! stop him and keep a hold of him, Mr. Halvey!
Hyacinth Halvey: Stop where you are.
Bartley Fallon: Isn't it enough to have madness before me,
that you will not let me go fall in my own choice place?
Hyacinth Halvey: The neighbours would think it bad of me to
let a raving man out into their midst.
Bartley Fallon: Is it to shoot me you are going?
Hyacinth Halvey: I will call to the doctor to say is the
padded room at the workhouse the most place where you will be safe,
till such time as it will be known did the poison wear away.
Bartley Fallon: I will not go in it! It is likely I might be
forgot in it, or the nurses to be in dread to bring me nourishment, and
they to hear me barking within the door. I'm thinking it was allotted
by nature I never would die an easy death.
Hyacinth Halvey: I will keep a watch over you myself.
Bartley Fallon: Where's the use of that the time the breath
will be gone out of me, and you maybe playing cards on my coffin, and I
having nothing around or about me but the shroud, and the habit, and
the little board?
Hyacinth Halvey: Sure, I cannot leave you the way you are.
Bartley Fallon: It is what I ever and always heard, a dog to
bite you, all you have to do is to take a pinch of its hair and to lay
it into the wound.
Mrs. Broderick: So I heard that myself. A dog to bite any
person he is entitled to be plucked of his hair.
Hyacinth Halvey: I'll go out; I might chance to see him.
Mrs. Broderick: You will not, without getting advice from the
priest that is coming in the train. Let his Reverence come into this
place, and say is it Bartley or is it Peter Tannian was done
destruction on by the dog.
Shawn Early: There is a surer way than that.
Mrs. Broderick: What way?
Shawn Early: It takes madness to find out madness. Let you
call to the cracked woman that should know.
Hyacinth Halvey: Come hither, Mary, and tell us is there any
one of your own sort in this shed?
Mrs. Broderick: That is a good thought. It is only themselves
that recognise one another.
Bartley Fallon: Do not ask her! I will not leave it to her!
Mrs. Broderick: Sure, she cannot say more than what yourself
has said against yourself.
Bartley Fallon: I'm in dread she might know too much, and be
telling out what is within in my mind.
Hyacinth Halvey: That's foolishness. These are not the
ancient times, when Ireland was full of haunted people.
Bartley Fallon: Is a man having a wife and three acres of
land to be put under the judgment of a witch?
Hyacinth Halvey: I would not give in to any pagan thing, but
to recognise one of her own sort, that is a thing can be understood.
Mrs. Broderick: So it could be too, the same as witnesses in
Bartley Fallon: I will not give in to going to demons or
druids or freemasons! Wasn't there enough of misfortune set before my
path through every day of my lifetime without it to be linked with me
after my death? Is it that you would force me to lose the comforts of
heaven and to get the poverty of hell? I tell you I will have no trade
with witches! I would sooner go face the featherbeds.
Hyacinth Halvey: Say out, girl, do you see any craziness here
or anything of the sort?
Cracked Mary: Every day in the year there comes some malice
into the world, and where it comes from is no good place.
Mrs. Broderick: That is it, a venomous dew, as in the year of
the famine. There is no astronomer can say it is from the earth or the
Hyacinth Halvey: It is what we are asking you, did any of
that malice get its scope in this place?
Cracked Mary: That was settled in Mayo two thousand years
Mrs. Broderick: Ah, there's no head or tail to that one's
story. You 'd be left at the latter end the same as at the
Hyacinth Halvey: That dog you were talking of, that is raging
through the district and the town—did it leave any madness after it?
Cracked Mary: It will go in the wind, there is a certain time
for that. It might go off in the wind again. It might go shaping off
and do no harm.
Bartley Fallon: Where is that dog presently, till some person
might go pluck out a few ribs of its hair?
Cracked Mary: Raging ever and always it is, raging wild.
Sure, that is a dog was in it before the foundations of the world.
Peter Tannian: Who is it now that venom fell on, whatever
beast's jaws may have scattered it?
Cracked Mary: It is the full moon knows that. The moon to
slacken it is safe, there is no harm in it. Almighty God will do that
much. He'll slacken it like you 'd slacken lime.
Shawn Early: There is reason in what she is saying. Set open
the door and let the full moon call its own!
Bartley Fallon: Don't let in the rays of it upon us or I'm a
gone man. It to shine on them that are going wrong in the head, it
would raise a great stir in the mind. Sure, it's in the asylum at that
time they do have whips to chastise them.
(Goes to corner.)
Cracked Mary: That's it. The moon is terrible. The full moon
cracks them out and out, any one that would have any spleen or any
relics in them.
Mrs. Broderick: Do not let in the light of it. I would
scruple to look at it myself.
Cracked Mary: Let you throw open the door, Davideen. It is
not ourselves are in dread that the white man in the sky will be
calling names after us and ridiculing us. Ha! ha! I might be as foolish
as yourselves and as fearful, but for the Almighty that left a little
cleft in my skull, that would let in His candle through the night time.
Hyacinth Halvey: Hurry on now, tell us is there any one in
this place is wild and astray like yourself.
(He opens the door. The light falls on him.)
Cracked Mary: (Putting her hand on him.) There was great
shouting in the big round house, and you coming into it last night.
Hyacinth Halvey: What are you saying? I never went frolicking
in the night time since the day I came into Cloon.
Cracked Mary: We were talking of it a while ago. I knew you
by the smile and by the laugh of you. A queen having a yellow dress,
and the hair on her smooth like marble. All the dead of the village
were in it, and of the living myself and yourself.
Hyacinth Halvey: I thought it was of Carrow she was talking;
it is of the other world she is raving, and of the shadow-shapes of the
Cracked Mary: You have the door open—the speckled horses are
on the road!—make a leap on the horse as it goes by, the horse that is
without a rider. Can't you hear them puffing and roaring? Their breath
is like a fog upon the air.
Hyacinth Halvey: What you hear is but the train puffing afar
Cracked Mary: Make a snap at the bridle as it passes by the
bush in the western gap. Run out now, run, where you have the bare
ridge of the world before you, and no one to take orders from but
yourself, maybe, and God.
Hyacinth Halvey: Ah, what way can I run to any place!
Cracked Mary: Stop where you are, so. In my opinion it is
little difference the moon can see between the whole of ye. Come on,
Davideen, come out now, we have the wideness of the night before us. O
golden God! All bad things quieten in the night time, and the ugly
thing itself will put on some sort of a decent face! Come out now to
the night that will give you the song, and will show myself out as
beautiful as Helen of the Greek gods, that hanged herself the day there
first came a wrinkle on her face!
Davideen: (Coming close, and taking her hand as he sings.)
Oh! don't you remember
What our comrades called to us
And they footing steps
At the call of the moon?
Come out to the rushes,
Come out to the bushes,
Where the music is called
By the lads of Queen Anne!
(They look beautiful. They dance and sing in perfect time
as they go out.)
(Closing the door, and pointing at Hyacinth, who stands gazing
after them, and when the door is shut sits down thinking
deeply.) It is on him her judgment fell, and a clear judgment.
Shawn Early: She gave out that award fair enough.
Peter Tannian: Did you take notice, and he coming into the
shed, he had like some sort of a little twist in his walk?
Mrs. Broderick: I would be loth to think there would be any
poison lurking in his veins. Where now would it come from, and Cracked
Mary's dog being as good as no dog at all?
Peter Tannian: It might chance, and he a child in the cradle,
to get the bite of a dog. It might be only now, its full time being
come, its power would begin to work.
Mrs. Broderick: So it would too, and he but to see the shadow
of the dog bit him in a body glass, or in the waves, and he himself
looking over a boat, and as if called to throw himself in the tide. But
I would not have thought it of Mr. Halvey. Well, it's as hard to know
what might be spreading abroad in any person's mind, as to put the body
of a horse out through a cambric needle.
(Hyacinth looks at them.)
Shawn Early: Be quiet now, he is going to say some word.
Hyacinth Halvey: There is a thought in my mind. I think it
was coming this good while.
Shawn Early: Whisht now and listen.
Hyacinth Halvey: I made a great mistake coming into this
Peter Tannian: There was some mistake made anyway.
Hyacinth: It is foolishness kept me in it ever since. It is
too big a name was put upon me.
Peter Tannian: It is the power of the moon is forcing the
truth out of him.
Hyacinth Halvey: Every person in the town giving me out for
more than I am. I got too much of that in the heel.
Shawn Early: He is talking queer now anyway.
Hyacinth Halvey: Calling to me every little minute—expecting
me to do this thing and that thing—watching me the same as a watchdog,
their eyes as if fixed upon my face.
Mrs. Broderick: To be giving out such strange thoughts, he
hasn't much brains left around him.
Hyacinth Halvey: I looking to be Clerk of the Union, and the
place I had giving me enough to do, and too much to do. Tied on this
side, tied on that side. I to be bothered with business through the
holy livelong day!
Peter Tannian: It is good pay he got with it. Eighty pounds a
year doesn't come on the wind.
Hyacinth Halvey: In danger to be linked and wed—I never
ambitioned it—with a woman would want me to be earning through every
day of the year.
Shawn Early: He is a gone man surely.
Hyacinth Hakey: The wide ridge of the world before me, and to
have no one to look to for orders; that would be better than roast and
boiled and all the comforts of the day. I declare to goodness, and I 'd
nearly take my oath, I 'd sooner be among a fleet of tinkers, than
attending meetings of the Board!
Mrs. Broderick: If there are fairies in it, it is in the
fairies he is.
Peter Tannian: Give me a hold of that chain.
Mrs. Broderick: What is it you are about to do?
Peter Tannian: To bind him to the chair I will before he will
burst out wild mad. Come over here, Bartley Fallon, and lend a hand if
(Bartley Fallon appears from corner with a chicken crate over
Mrs. Broderick: O Bartley, that is the strangest lightness
ever I saw, to go bind a chicken crate around your skull!
Bartley Fallon: Will you tighten the knots I have tied, Peter
Tannian! I am in dread they might slacken or fail.
Shawn Early: Was there ever seen before this night such power
to be in the moon!
Bartley Fallon: It would seem to be putting very wild unruly
thoughts a-through me, stirring up whatever spleen or whatever relics
was left in me by the nature of the dog.
Peter Tannian: Is it that you think those rods, spaced wide,
as they are, will keep out the moon from entering your brain?
Bartley Fallon: There does great strength come at the time
the wits would be driven out of a person. I never was handled by a
policeman—but once—and never hit a blow on any man. I would not wish
to destroy my neighbour or to have his blood on my hands.
Shawn Early: It is best keep out of his reach.
Bartley Fallon: The way I have this fixed, there is no person
will be the worse for me. I to rush down the street and to meet with my
most enemy in some lonesome craggy place, it would fail me, and I
thrusting for it to scatter any share of poison in his body or to sink
my teeth in his skin. I wouldn't wonder I to have hung for some of you,
and that plan not to have come into my head.
(Whistle of train heard.)
Hyacinth Halvey: (Getting up.) I have my mind made up, I am
going out of this on that train.
Peter Tannian: You are not going so easy as what you think.
Hyacinth Halvey: Let you mind your own business.
Peter Tannian: I am well able to mind it.
Hyacinth Halvey: (Throwing off top-coat.) You cannot keep me
Peter Tannian: Give me a hand with the chain.
(They throw it round Hyacinth and hold him.)
Hyacinth Halvey: Is it out of your senses you are gone?
Peter Tannian: Not at all, but yourself that is gone raving
mad from the fury and the strength of some dog.
Miss Joyce: (At door.) Are you there, Hyacinth Halvey? The
train is in. Come forward now, and give a welcome to his Reverence.
Hyacinth Halvey: Let me go out of this!
Miss Joyce: You are near late as it is. The train is about to
Hyacinth Halvey: Let me go, or I'll tear the heart out of ye!
Shawn Early: Oh, he is stark, staring mad!
Hyacinth Halvey: Mad, am I? Bit by a dog, am I? You'll see am
I mad! I'll show madness to you! Let go your hold or I'll skin you!
I'll destroy you! I'll bite you! I'm a red enemy to the whole of you!
Leave go your grip! Yes, I'm mad! Bow wow wow, wow wow!
(They let go and fall back in terror, and he rushes out of the
Miss Joyce: What at all has happened? Where is he gone?
Shawn Early: To the train he is gone, and away in it he is
Miss Joyce: He gave some sort of a bark or a howl.
Shawn Early: He is gone clean mad. Great arguing he had, and
leaping and roaring.
Bartley Fallon: (Taking off crate.) He went very near to
tear us all asunder. I declare I amn't worth a match.
Mrs. Broderick: He made a reel in my head, till I don't know
am I right myself.
Shawn Early: Bawling his life out, tearing his clothes,
tearing and eating them. Look at his top-coat he left after him.
Bartley Fallon: He poured all over with pure white foam.
Peter Tannian: There now is an end of your elegant man.
Shawn Early: Bit he was with the mad dog that went tearing,
and lads chasing him a while ago.
Miss Joyce: Sure that was Tannian's own dog, that had a bit
of meat snapped from Quirke's ass-car. He is without this door now.
(All look out.) He has the appearance of having a full meal taken.
Bartley Fallon: And they to be saying I went mad. That is the
way always, and a thing to be tasked to me that was not in it at all.
Mrs. Broderick: (Laying her hand on Miss Joyce's shoulder.)
Take comfort now; and if it was the moon done all, and has your
bachelor swept, let you not begrudge it its full share of praise for
the hand it had in banishing a strange bird, might have gone wild and
bawling like eleven, and you after being wed with him, and would maybe
have put a match to the roof. And hadn't you the luck of the world now,
that you did not give notice to the priest!
Hazel EDITOR OF “CHAMPION"
Mineog EDITOR OF “TRIBUNE"
John A WAITER
Scene: Dining room of Royal Hotel Cloonmore.
Hazel: (Coming in.) Did Mr. Mineog come yet, John?
John: He did not, Mr. Hazel. Ah, he won't be long coming.
It's seldom he does be late.
Hazel: Is the dinner ready?
John: It is, sir. Boiled beef and parsnips, the same as every
Monday for all comers, and an apple pie for yourself and Mr. Mineog.
Mineog: (Coming in.) Mr. Hazel is the first tonight. I'm glad
to see you looking so good.
(They take off coats and give to waiter.)
Mineog: Put that on its own peg.
Hazel: And mine on its own peg to the rear.
John: I will, sir.
(He drops coats in putting them up. Then notices broken pane
in window and picks up the coats hurriedly, putting them on
pegs. Hazel and Mineog have sat down.)
Hazel: Have you any strange news?
Mineog: I have but the same news I always have, that it is
quick Monday comes around, and that it is hard make provision for to
fill up the four sheets of the Tribune, and nothing happening in
these parts worth while. There would seem to be no news on this day
beyond all days of the year.
Hazel: Sure there is the same care and the same burden on
myself. I wish I didn't put a supplement to the Champion. The
deer knows what way will I fill it between this and Thursday, or in
what place I can go questing after news!
Mineog: Last week passed without anything doing. It is a very
backward place to give information for two papers. If it was not for
the league is between us, and for us meeting here on every Monday to
make sure we are taking different sides on every question may turn up,
and giving every abuse to one another in print, there is no person
would pay his penny for the two of them, or it may be for the one of
Hazel: That is so. And the worst is, there is no question
ever rises that we do not agree on, or that would have power to make us
fall out in earnest. It was different in my early time. The questions
used to rise up then were worth fighting for.
Mineog: There are some people so cantankerous they will heat
themselves in argument as to which side might be right or wrong in a
war, or if wars should be in it at all, or hangings.
Hazel: Ah, when they are as long on the road as we are,
they'll take things easy. Mineog: Now all the kingdoms of the
earth to go struggling on one wrong side or another, or to bring
themselves down to dust and ashes, it would not break our friendship.
In all the years past there never did a cross word rise between us.
Hazel: There never will. What are the fights of politics and
parties beside living neighbourly with one another, and to go peaceable
to the grave, our selves that are the oldest residents in the Square.
Mineog: It will be long indeed before you will be followed to
the grave. You didn't live no length yet. You are too fresh to go out
and to forsake your wife and your family.
Hazel: Ah, when the age would be getting up on you, you
wouldn't be getting younger. But it's yourself that is as full of
spirit as a four-year-old. I wish I had a sovereign for every year you
will reign after me in the Square.
Mineog: (Sneezes.) There is a draught of air coming in the
Hazel: (Rising.) Take care might it be open—no, but a
pane that is out. There is a very chilly breeze sweeping in.
Mineog: (Rising.) I will put on my coat so. There is no
use giving provocation to a cold.
Hazel: I'll do the same myself. It is hard to banish a sore
(They put on coats. John brings in dinner. They sit down.)
Mineog: See can you baffle that draught of air, John.
John: I'll go in search of something to stop it, sir. This
bit of a board I brought is too unshapely.
Mineog: Two columns of the Tribune as empty yet as
anything you could see. I had them kept free for the Bishop's speech
and he didn't come after.
Hazel: That's the same cause has left myself with so wide a
Mineog: In the years past there used always to be something
happening such as famines, or the invention of printing. The whole
world has got very slack.
Hazel: You are a better hand than what I am at filling odd
spaces would be left bare. It is often I think the news you put out
comes partly from your own brain, and the prophecies you lay down about
the weather and the crops.
Mineog: Ah, I might stick in a bit of invention sometimes,
when I'm put to the pin of my collar.
Hazel: I might maybe make an attack on the Tribune for
Mineog: Ah, what is it but a white sin. Sure it tells every
person the same thing. It doesn't tell many lies, it goes somewhere a
Hazel: I spent a good while this evening searching through
the shelves of the press I have in the office. I write an article an
odd time, when there is nothing doing, that might come handy in a
Mineog: So have I a press of the sort, and shelves in it. I
am after going through them to-day.
Hazel: But it's hard find a thing would be suitable, unless
you might dress it up again someway fresh.
Mineog: I made a thought and I searching a while ago. I was
thinking it would be a very nice thing to show respect to yourself, and
friendliness, putting down a short account of you and of all you have
done for your family and for the town.
Hazel: That is a strange thing now! I had it in my mind to do
the very same service to yourself.
Mineog: Is that so?
Hazel: Your worth and your generosity and the way you have
worked the Tribune for your own and for the public good.
Mineog: And another thing. I not only thought to write it but
I am after writing it.
Hazel: (Suspiciously.) You had not much time for that.
Mineog: I never was one to spare myself in anything that
could benefit a friend.
Hazel: Neither would I spare myself. I have my article wrote.
Mineog: I have a mind to read my own one to you, the way you
will know there is nothing in it but what is friendly and is kind.
Hazel: I will do the same thing. There's nothing I have said
in it but what you will like to be hearing.
Mineog: (Who has rummaged pockets.) I thought I put it in the
inside pocket—no matter—here it is.
Hazel: (Rummaging.) Here is my one. I was thinking I had it
Mineog: (Reading, after he has turned over a couple of sheets
rapidly) “Born and bred in this Square, he took his chief pride in
his native town.”
Hazel: (Turning over two sheets.) “It was in this parish and
district he spent the most part of his promising youth—Richly stored
with world-wide knowledge.”
Mineog: “Well able to give out an opinion on any matter at
Hazel: “To lay down his mind on paper it would be hard to
Mineog: “With all that, humble that he would halt and speak
to you the same as a child——” I'm maybe putting it down a bit too
simple, but the printer will give it a little shaping after.
Hazel: So will my own printer be lengthening out the words
for me according to the type and the letters of the alphabet he will
have plentiful and to spare.
Mineog: “Well looking and well thought of. A true Irishman in
supporting all forms of sport.”
Hazel: What's that? I never was one for betting on races or
gaining prizes for riddles.
Mineog: It is strange now I have no recollection of putting
that down. It is I myself in the days gone by would put an odd shilling
on a horse.
Hazel: These typewriters would bother the world. Wait
now—let me throw an eye on those papers you have in your hand.
Mineog: Not at all. I would sooner be giving it out to you
Hazel: Of course it is very pleasing to be listening to so
nice an account—but lend it a minute.
(Puts out hand.)
Mineog: Bring me now a bottle of wine, John—you know the
sort—till I'll drink to Mr. Hazel's good health.
John: I will, sir.
Hazel: No, but bring it at my own expense till I will drink
to Mr. Mineog. Just give me a hold of that paper for one minute only.
Mineog: Keep patience now. I will go through it with no
Hazel: (Making a snap.) Just for one minute.
Mineog: (Clapping his hand on it.) What a hurry you are
in! Stop now till I'll find the place. “Very rarely indeed has been met
with so fair and so neighbourly a man.”
Hazel: Give me a look at it.
Mineog: What is it ails you? You are uneasy about something.
What is it you are hiding from me?
Hazel: What would I have to hide but that the papers got
mixed in some way, and you have in your hand what I wrote about
yourself, and not what you wrote about myself?
Mineog: What way did they get into the wrong pocket now?
Hazel: (Putting MS. in his pocket.) Give me back my own and I
will give you back your own.
Mineog: I don't know. You are putting it in my mind there
might be something underhand. I would like to make sure what did you
say about me in the heel. (Turns over.) “He was honest and widely
respected.” Was honest—are you saying me to be a rogue at this
Hazel: That's not fair dealing to be searching through it
against my will.
Mineog: “He was trusted through the whole townland.” Was
trusted—is it that you are making me out to be a thief?
Hazel: Well, follow your own road and take your own way.
Mineog: ”——Mr. Mineog leaves no family to lament his loss,
but along with the Tribune, which he fostered with the care of a
father, we offer up prayers for the repose of his soul.” (Stands up.)
It is a notice of my death you are after writing!
Hazel: You should understand that.
Mineog: An obituary notice! Of myself! Is it that you expect
me to quit the living world between this and Thursday?
Hazel: I had no thought of the kind.
Mineog: I'm not stretched yet! What call have you to go offer
prayers for me?
Hazel: I tell you I had it put by this long time till I would
have occasion to use it.
Mineog: Is it this long time, so, you have been waiting for
Hazel: Not at all.
Mineog: You to kill me to-day and to think to bury me
Hazel: Can't you listen? I was wanting something to fill
Mineog: Would nothing serve you to fill space but only my own
corpse? To go set my coffin making and to put nettles growing on my
hearth! Wouldn't it be enough to rob my house or to make an attack upon
my means? Wouldn't that fill up the gap?
Hazel: Let you not twist it that way!
Mineog: The time I was in the face of my little dinner to go
startle me with a thing of the sort! I'm not worth the ground I stand
on! For the Champion of next Thursday! I to be dead ere
Hazel: I looked for no such thing.
Mineog: What is it makes you say me to be done and dying? Am
I reduced in the face?
Hazel: You are not.
Mineog: Am I yellow and pale and shrunken?
Hazel: Why would you be?
Mineog: Would you say me to be crampy in the body? Am I
staggery in the legs?
Hazel: I see no such signs.
Mineog: Is it in my hand you see them? Is it lame or is it
freezed-brittle like ice?
Hazel: It is as warm and as good as my own.
Mineog: Let me take a hold of you till you will tell me has
it the feel of a dead man's grip.
Hazel: I know that it has not.
Mineog: Is it shaking like a bunch of timber shavings?
Hazel: Not at all, not at all.
Mineog: It should be my hearing that is failing from me, or
that I am crippled and have lost my walk.
Hazel: You are roaring and bawling without sense.
Mineog: Let the Champion go to flitters before I will
die to please it! I will not give in to it driving me out of the world
before my hour is spent! It would hardly ask that of a man would be of
no use and no account, or even of a beast of any consequence.
Hazel: Who is asking you to die?
Mineog: Giving no time hardly for the priest to overtake me
and to give me the rites of the Church!
Hazel: I tell you there is no danger of you giving up at all!
Every person knows there must some sickness come before death. Some
take it from a neighbour and it is put on others by God.
Mineog: Even so, it's hard say.
Hazel: You have not a ha'p'orth on you. No complaint in the
Mineog: That's nothing! Sickness comes upon some as sudden as
to clap their hands.
Hazel: What are you talking about? You are thinking us to be
in the days of the cholera yet!
Mineog: There are yet other diseases besides that.
Hazel: You put the measles over you and we going the road to
Mineog: There is more than measles has power bring a man
Hazel: You had the chin-cough passed and you rising. We were
cut at the one time for the pock.
Mineog: A disease to be allotted to you it would find you
out, and you maybe up twenty mile in the air!
Hazel: Ah, what disease could have you swept in the course of
the next two days?
Mineog: That is what I'm after saying—unless you might have
murder in your mind?
Hazel: Ah, what murder!
Mineog: What way are you thinking to do away with me? To
shoot me with the trigger of a gun and to give me shortening of life?
Hazel: The trigger of a gun! God bless it, I never fingered
such a thing in the length of my life!
Mineog: To take aim at me and destroy me; to shoot me in
forty halves like a crow in the time of the wheat!
Hazel: Oh, now, don't say a thing like that!
Mineog: Or to drown me maybe in the river, enticing me across
the rotten plank of the bridge. (Seizing bottle.) Will you tell me
on the virtue of your oath, is death lurking in that sherry wine?
Hazel: (Pulling out paper.) Ah, God bless your jig! And how
would I know is it a notice of my own death has come into my hand in
the pocket of this coat I put on me through a mistake?
Mineog: Give it here. That's my property!
Hazel: (Reading.) “We sympathise with Mrs. Hazel and the
family.” There is proof now. Is it that you would go grieving with my
wife and I to be living yet?
Mineog: I didn't follow you out beyond this world with
craving for the repose of your soul. It is nothing at all beside what
Hazel: Oh, I bear no grudge at all against you. I am not
huffy and crabbed like yourself to go taking offence. Sure Kings and
big people of the sort are used to see their dead-notices made ready
from the hour of their birth out. And it is not anything printed on
papers or any flight of words on the Tribune could give me any
concern at all. See now will I be put out. (Reads.) What now is
this? “Mr. Hazel was of good race, having in him the old stock of the
country, the Mahons, the O'Hagans, the Casserlys——.” Where now did
you get that? I never heard before, a Casserly to be in my fathers.
Mineog: It might be on the side of the mother.
Hazel: It was not. My mother was a girl of the Hessians that
was born in the year of the French. My grandmother was Winefred Kane.
Mineog: What is being out in one name towards drawing down
the forecast of all classes of deaths upon myself?
Hazel: There are twenty thousand things you might lay down
and I would give them no leave to annoy me. But I have no mind any
strange family to be mixed through me, but to go my own road and to
carry my own character.
Mineog: I would say you to be very crabbed to be making much
of a small little mistake of the sort.
Hazel: I will not have blood put in my veins that never rose
up in them by birth. You to have put a slur maybe on the whole of my
posterity for ever. That now is a thing out of measure.
Mineog: It might be the Casserlys are as fair as the
Hessians, and as well looking and as well reared.
Hazel: There's no one can know that. What place owns them? My
tribe didn't come inside the province. Every generation was born and
bred in this or in some neighbouring townland.
Mineog: Sure you will be but yourself whatever family may be
laying claim to you.
Hazel: Any person of the Casserlys to have done a wrong deed
at any time, the neighbours would be watching and probing my own brood
till they would see might the track of it break out in any way. It ran
through our race to be hard tempered, from the Kanes that are very hot.
Mineog: Why would the family of the Casserlys go doing wrong
deeds more than another?
Hazel: I would never forgive it, if it was the highest man in
Connacht said it.
Mineog: I tell you there to be any flaw in them, it would
have worked itself out in yourself ere this.
Hazel: Putting on me the weight of a family I never knew or
never heard the name of at all. It is that is killing me entirely.
Mineog: Neither did I ever hear their name or if they ever
lived in the world, or did any deed good or bad in it at all.
Hazel: What made you drag them hither for to write them in my
Mineog: I did not drag them hither——Give me that paper.
(Takes MS. and looks at it.) What would it be but a misprint?
Hessian, Casserly. There does be great resemblance in the sound of a
Hazel: Whether or no, you have a great wrong done me! The
person I had most dependence on to be the most person to annoy me! If
it was a man from the County Mayo I wouldn't see him treated that way!
Mineog: Have sense now! What would signify anything might be
wrote about you, and the green scraws being over your head?
Hazel: That's the worst! I give you my oath I would not go
miching from death or be in terror of the sharpness of his bones, and
he coming as at the Flood to sweep the living world along with me, and
leave no man on earth having penmanship to handle my deeds, or to put
his own skin on my story!
Mineog: Ah it's likely the both of us will be forgotten and
our names along with us, and we out in the meadow of the dead.
Hazel: I will not be forgotten! I have posterity will put a
good slab over me. Not like some would be left without a monument,
unless it might be the rags of a cast waistcoat would be put on sticks
in a barley garden, to go flapping at the thieves of the air.
Mineog: Let the birds or the neighbours go screech after me
and welcome, and I not in it to hear or to be annoyed.
Hazel: Why wouldn't we hear? I'm in dread it's too much I'll
hear, and you yourself sending such news to travel abroad, that there
is blood in me I concealed through my lifetime!
Mineog: What you are saying now has not the sense of reason.
Hazel: Tom Mineog to say that of me, that was my trusty
comrade and my friend, what at all will strangers be putting out about
Mineog: Ah, what call have you to go lamenting as if you had
lost all on this side of the sea!
Hazel: You to have brought that annoyance on me, what would
enemies be saying of me? That it was in my breed to be cracked or to
have a thorn in the tongue. There's a generation of families would be
great with you, and behind you they would be backbiting you.
Mineog: They will not. You are of a family doesn't know how
to say a wrong word.
Hazel: A rabbit mushroom they might say me to be, with no
memory behind or around me!
Mineog: Not at all. The world knows you to be civil and
brought up to mannerly ways.
Hazel: They might say me to have been a foreigner or a Jew
Mineog: I can bear witness you have no such yellow look. And
Hazel is a natural name.
Hazel: It's likely they'll say I was a sheep-stealer or a
tinker that went foraging around after food!
Mineog: You that never put your hand on a rabbit burrow or
stood before a magistrate or a judge!
Hazel: They'll put me down as a grabber that was ready to
quench a widow's fire!
Mineog: Oh, where are you running to at all my dear man!
Hazel: And I not to be able at that time to rise up and to
get satisfaction! I to be wandering as a shadow and to see some schemer
spilling out his lies! That would be the most grief in death! I to hit
him a blow of my fist and he maybe not to feel it or to think it to be
but a breeze of wind!
Mineog: You are going too far entirely!
Hazel: I to give out a strong curse on him and on his
posterity and his land. It would kill my heart if he would take it to
be no human voice, but some vanity like the hissing of geese!
Mineog: I myself would recognise your voice, and you to be
living or dead.
Hazel: You say that now. But my ghost to come calling to you
in the night time to rise up and to clear my character, you would run
shivering to the priest as from some unnatural thing. You would call to
him to come banish me with a Mass!
Mineog: The Lord be between us and harm.
Hazel: To have no power of revenge after death! My strength
to go nourish weeds and grass! A lie to be told and I living I could go
lay my case before the courts. So I will too! I'll silence you! I'll
learn you to have done with misspellings and with death notices! I'll
hinder you bringing in Casserlys! I go take advice from the lawyer!
(Goes towards door.)
Mineog: I'll go lay down my own case and the way that you
have my life threatened!
Hazel: I'll get justice and a hearing. The Judge will give in
to my say!
Mineog: I that will put you under bail! I'll bind you over to
Hazel: I'll break the bail of the sun and moon before I'll
give you leave to go brand me with strange names the same as you would
tarbrand a sheep! I'll put yourself and your Tribune under the
law of libel!
Mineog: I'll make a world's wonder of you! I'll give plenty
and enough to the Champion to fill out its windy pages that
Hazel: (At door.) I will lay my information before you will
Mineog: (Seizing him.) I will lay my information against you
for theft and you bringing away my coat!
Hazel: I have no intention of bringing it away!
Mineog: Is it that you will deny it? Don't I know that spot
of grease on the sleeve?
Hazel: Did I never carve a goose? Why wouldn't there be a
spot of grease on my own sleeve?
Mineog: Strip it off of you this minute!
Hazel: Give me back my own coat, so!
Mineog: What are you talking about! That's a great wonder
now. So it is not my own coat.
Hazel: Strip it off before you will quit the room!
Mineog: I'll be well pleased casting it off!
Hazel: You will not cast it on the dust and the dirt of the
floor! (Helps him.) Go easy now.——That's it——
(Takes it off gently and places it on chair.)
Mineog: Give me now my own coat!
Hazel: (Struggling with it.) It fails me to get it off.
Mineog: What way did you get it on?
Hazel: It is that it is made too narrow.
Mineog: No, but yourself that has too much bulk.
Hazel: (Struggling.) There now is a tear!
Mineog: (Taking his arm.) Mind now, you'll have it destroyed.
Hazel: Give me a hand, so.
Mineog: (Helping him gently.) Have a care—it's a bit tender
in the seams——give me here your hand—it is caught in the rip of the
John: (Coming in, puts pie on table.) Wait now, sir, till I'll
aid you to handle Mr. Hazel's coat.
(Whips off coat, takes up other coat, hangs both on pegs.)
The apple pie, Sir.
(Hazel sits down, gasping and wiping his face.
Mineog turns his back.)
John: Is there anything after happening, Mr. Hazel?
Hazel: There is not—unless some sort of a battle.
John: Ah, what signifies? There to be more of battles in the
world there would be less of wars.
(He pushes Mineog's chair to table.)
Hazel: (After a pause.) Apple pie?
Mineog: (Sitting down.) Indeed, I am not any way inclined for
(Takes plate. John stuffs a cushion into window pane and picks up
John: Are these belonging to you, Mr. Mineog?
Mineog: Let you throw them on the coals of the fire, where we
have no use for them presently.
Hazel: (Stopping John and taking them.) Thursday is very near
at hand. Two empty columns is a large space to go fill.
Mineog: Indeed I am feeling no way fit to go writing columns.
Hazel: (Putting his MS. in his pocket.) There is nothing ails
them only to begin a good way after the start, and to stop before the
Mineog: (Putting his MS. in his pocket.) We'll do that. We can
put such part of them as we do not need at this time back in the shelf
of the press.
Hazel: (Filling glasses and lifting his.) That it may be long
before they will be needed!
Mineog: (Lifting glass.) That they may never be needed!
A COMEDY IN TWO ACTS
Patrick Kirwan CALLED DAMER
Staffy Kirwan HIS BROTHER
Delia Hessian HIS SISTER
Ralph Hessian HER HUSBAND
Simon Niland THEIR NEPHEW
Scene: The kitchen in Damer's house. Outer door at back. Door
leading to an inner room to right. A dresser, a table, and a
of chairs. An old coat and hat hanging on the wall. A knocking
heard at door at back. It is unlatched from outside. Delia comes
Delia: (Looking round cautiously and going back to door.) You
may come in, Staffy and Ralph. There would seem to be no person here.
Staffy: Take care would Damer ask us to cross the threshold
at all. I would not ask to go pushing on him, but to wait till he would
call to us himself. He is not an easy led man.
Delia: (Crossing and knocking at inner door.) He is not in it.
He is likely slipped out unknownst.
Ralph: Herself that thought to find him at the brink of death
and nearing his last leap, after what happened him with the jennet. We
heard tell of it as far as we were.
Delia: What ailed him to go own a jennet, he that has means
to stable a bay horse would set the windows rattling on the public
road, and it sparkling over the flintstones after dark?
Staffy: Sure he owns no fourfooted beast only the dog abroad
in its box. To make its way into the haggard the jennet did, the time
it staggered him with a kick. To forage out some grazing it thought to
do, beyond dirt and scutchgrass among the stones. Very cross jennets do
be, as it is a cross man it met with.
Delia: A queer sort of a brother he is. To go searching
Ireland you wouldn't find queerer. But as soon as I got word what
happened I bade Ralph to put the tacklings on the ass. We must have
nature about us some way. There was silence between us long enough.
Ralph: She was thinking it might be the cause of him getting
his death sooner than God has it promised to him, and that it might
turn his mind more friendly like towards us, he knowing us to be at
hand for to settle out his burying.
Delia: Why wouldn't it, and we being all the brothers and
sisters ever he had, since Jane Niland, God rest her soul, went out
last Little Christmas from the troubles and torments of the world.
Staffy: There is nothing left of that marriage now, only one
young lad is said to be mostly a fool.
Delia: It is ourselves can bear witness to that, where he
came into the house ere yesterday, having no way of living, since death
and misfortune scattered him, but as if he was left down out of the
Ralph: He has not, unless the pound piece the mother put into
his hand at the last. It is much she had that itself. The time Tom
Niland died from her, he didn't leave her hardly the cat.
Staffy: The lad to have any wit around him he would have come
travelling hither along with yourselves, to see would he knock any
kindness out of Damer.
Ralph: It is what herself was saying, it would be no
advantage to him to be coming here at all, he being as he is half
light, where there is nothing only will or wit could pick any profit
out of Damer. She did not let on to him what side were we facing, and
we travelling out from Loughtyshassy.
Staffy: It is likely he will get tidings as good as yourself.
It is said, and said largely, Damer has a full gallon jar of gold.
Ralph: There is no one could lift it—God bless it—they were
telling me. Filled up it is and brimmed to the very brink.
Staffy: His heart and his soul gone into it. He is death on
that gallon of gold.
Delia: He would give leave to the poorhouse to bury him, if
he could but put in his will they should leave it down with his bones.
Staffy: A man could live an easy life surely and that much
being in the house.
Delia: There is no more grasping man within the four walls of
the world. A strange thing he turning to be so ugly and prone to
misery, where he was reared along with myself. I have the first
covetous person yet to meet I would like! I never would go thrusting
after gold, I to get all Lord Clanricarde's estate.
Ralph: She never would, only at a time she might have her own
means spent and consumed.
Staffy: The house is very racked beside what it was. The
hungriest cabin in the whole ring of Connemara would not show out so
empty and so bare.
Delia: (Taking up a jug.) No sign in this vessel of anything
that would leave a sign. I'll go bail he takes his tea in a black
state, and the milk to be rotting in the churn.
Ralph: (Handling a coat and hat hanging on a nail.) That's a
queer cut of a hat. That now should have been a good top-coat in its
Delia: For pity's sake! That is the top-coat and the hat he
used to be wearing and he riding his long-tailed pony to every
racecourse from this to the Curragh of Kildare. A good class of cloth
it should be to last out through seventeen years.
Staffy: The time he was young and fundless he had not a bad
reaching hand. He never was thrifty but lavish till he came into the
ownership of the land. It is as if his luck left him, he growing timid
at the time he had means to lose.
Delia: Every horse he would back at that time it would surely
win all before it. I saw the people thronging him one time, taking him
in their arms for joy, and the winnings coming into his hand. It is
likely they ran out through the fingers as swift nearly as they flowed
Staffy: He grew to be very dark and crabbed from the time of
the father's death. His mind was on his halfpenny ever since.
Delia: (Looking at dresser.) Spiders' webs heaped in ridges
the same as windrows in a bleach of hay. What now is that there above
on the upper shelf?
Ralph: (Taking it from top shelf.) It is but a pack of cards.
Staffy: They should maybe be the very same that brought him
profit in his wild days. He always had a lucky hand.
Delia: (Dusting them.) You would give your seven oaths the
dust to have been gathering on them since the time of the Hebrews'
Flood. I'll tell you now a thing to do. We being here before him in the
house, why wouldn't we ready it and put some sort of face upon it, the
way he would be in humour with us coming in.
Ralph: And the way he might incline to put into our hand some
good promise or some gift.
Delia: (Dusting.) I would wish no gift from any person at all,
but that my mind is set at this time on a fleet of white goats and a
guinea-hen are to be canted out from the Spanish woman at Lisatuwna
cross by reason of the hanging gale.
Staffy: That was the way with you, Delia, from the time you
could look out from the half-door, to be coveting pictures and
fooleries, that would shape themselves in your mind.
Delia: There is no sin coveting things are of no great use or
profit, but would show out good and have some grandeur around them.
Those goats now! Browsing on the blossoms of the bushes they would be,
or the herbs that give out a sweet smell. Stir yourself, Staffy, and
throw your eye on that turf beyond in the corner. It is that wet you
could wring from it splashes and streams. Let you rise the ashes from
the sods are on the hearth and redden them with a goosewing, if there
is a goosewing to be found. There is no greater beauty to be met with
than the leaping of a little yellow flame.
Staffy: In my opinion there will no pay-day come for this
work, but only a thank-you job; a County Clare payment, 'God spare you
Delia: Let you do it, Ralph so. (Takes potatoes from a
sieve.) A roasted potato would be a nice thing to put before him, in
the place of this old crust of a loaf. Put them in now around the sods,
the way they will be crispy before him.
Ralph: (Taking them.) And the way he will see you are a good
housekeeper and will mind well anything he might think fit to give.
Delia: (At clock.) I'll set to the right time of day the two
hands of the clock are pointing a full hour before the sun. Take,
Staffy, that pair of shoes and lessen from them the clay of the land.
That much of doing will not break your heart. He will be as proud as
the fallen angels seeing the way we have all set out before him.
(A harsh laugh is heard at inner door. They turn and see Damer
Ralph: Glory be to God!
Delia: It is Damer was within all the time!
Staffy: What are you talking about, Delia? It is Patrick you
were meaning to say.
Damer: Let her go on prattling out Damer to my face, as it is
often she called it behind my shoulders. Damer the chandler, the miser
got the spoil of the Danes, that was mocked at since the time of the
Danes. I know well herself and the world have me christened with that
Ralph: Ah, it is not to dispraise you they put it on you, but
to show you out so wealthy and so rich.
Damer: I am thinking it is not love of my four bones brings
you on this day under my thatch?
Staffy: We heard tell you were after being destroyed with a
Damer: Picking up newses and tidings of me ye do be. It is
short the delay was on you coming.
Delia: And I after travelling through the most of the day on
the head of you being wounded and hurt, thinking you to be grieving to
see one of your own! And I in dread of my life stealing past your
Damer: My joy he is, scaring you with his bark! If it wasn't
for him you would have me clogged and tormented, coming in and
bothering me every whole minute.
Delia: There is no person in Ireland only yourself but would
have as much welcome for me to-day as on the first day ever they saw
Damer: What's that you are doing with my broom?
Delia: To do away with the spider's webs I did, where the
shelves were looped with them and smothered. Look at all that came off
of that pack of cards.
Damer: What call had you to do away with them, and they
belonging to myself? Is it to bleed to death I should and I to get a
tip of a billhook or a slasher? You and your vagaries to have left me
bare, that I would be without means to quench the blood, and it to rise
up from my veins and to scatter on every side!
Delia: Is it that you are without e'er a rag, and that
ancient coat to be hanging on the wall?
Damer: The place swept to flitters! What is that man of yours
doing and he handling my turf?
Ralph: It was herself thought to be serviceable to you,
setting out the fuel that was full of dampness where it would get an
air of the fire.
Damer: To dry it is it? (Seizes sods and takes them from the
hearth.) And what length would it be without being burned and
consumed and it not to be wet putting it on? (Pours water over it.)
And I after stacking it purposely in the corner where there does be a
drip from the thatch.
Ralph: She but thought it would be more answerable to you
Damer: What way could I bear the expense of a fire on the
hearth and it to leave smouldering and to break out into a blaze? A
month's cutting maybe to go to ashes within three minutes, and into
wisps of smoke. And the price of turf in this year gone wild out of
measure, and it packed so roguish you could read the printed speeches
on the paper through the sods you do be buying in the creel.
Staffy: I was saying myself not to meddle with it. It is
hurry is a worse friend than delay.
Damer: Where did you get those spuds are roasting there upon
Ralph: Herself that brought them out from the sieve, thinking
to make ready your meal.
Damer: My seed potatoes! Samples I got from the guardians and
asked in the shops and in stores till I'd gather enough to set a few
ridges in the gardens would serve me through the length of the year!
Delia: Let you be satisfied so with your mouldy bit of loaf.
(Breaks a bit from it and hands it to him.)
Damer: Do not be breaking it so wasteful! The mice to have
news there was as much as that of crumbs in the house, they would be
running the same as chickens around the floor!
Ralph: Thinking to be comfortable to you she was, the way you
would make us welcome from this out.
Damer: Which of ye is after meddling with my clock?
Delia: It was a full hour before its time.
Darner: It to be beyond its time, wouldn't that save fire and
candles sending me to my bed early in the night? Leave down those
boots! (Takes them from Staffy.) Is it that you are wearing out the
uppers with scraping at them and scratching! Is it to rob me ye are
come into this place?
Delia: I tell you we only came in getting word that you were
done and dying.
Damer: Ha! Is it to think I was dying ye did? Well, I am not.
I am not so easy quenched. Strength and courage I have, to keep a fast
grip of what I own.
Delia: Let you not be talking that way! We are no grabbers
and no thieves!
Damer: I have it in my mind that ye are. Very ravenous to run
through my money ye are.
Delia: The world knows I am not ravenous! I never gave my
heart to silver or to gold but only to the thing it would bring in. But
to hold from me the thing my heart is craving after, you might as well
blacken the hearth.
Damer: Striving to scare me out of my courage and my wits,
the way I'll give in to go making my will.
Ralph: She would not be wishful you to do that the time your
mind would be vexed.
Damer: I'll make it, sick or sound, if I have a mind to make
Delia: Little thanks you'll get from me if you make it or do
not make it. That is the naked truth.
Damer: The whole of ye think yourselves to be very managing
and very wise!
Delia: Let you go will it so to an asylum for fools.
Damer: Why wouldn't I? It is in the asylums all the sense is
these times. There is only the fools left outside.
Delia: You to bestow it outside of your own kindred for to
benefit and comfort your soul, all the world will say it is that you
had it gathered together by fraud.
Staffy: Do not be annoying him now.
Delia: I will not. But the time he will be lying under the
flagstone, it is holly rods and brambles will spring up from out of his
Damer: A hasty, cranky woman in the house is worse than you
to lay your hand upon red coals! I know well your tongue that is as
sharp as the sickle of the moon!
Delia: The character you will leave after you will be worse
out and out than Herod's!
Damer: The devil upon the winds she is! That one was born
into the world having the use of the bow and arrows!
Delia: You not to give fair play to your own, it is a pitiful
ghost will appear in your image, questing and craving our prayers!
Damer: I know well what is your aim and your drift!
Delia: I say any man has a right to give thanks to the
heavens, and he having decent people to will his means to, in place of
people having no call to it.
Damer: Whoever I'll will it to will have call to it!
Delia: Or to part with it to low people and to mean people,
and you having it to give.
Damer: Having it to give is it? Do you see that lock on the
Delia: I do see it and have eyes to see it.
Damer: Can you make any guess what is inside of it?
Delia: It is likely it is what there is so much talk about,
your own full gallon of gold.
(Ralph takes off his hat.)
Damer: Lay now your eye to that lock hole.
Ralph: (Looking through keyhole.) It is all dusky within. It
fails me to see any shining thing.
(Staffy and Delia put their eyes to keyhole but draw back
Darner: If you cannot see it, try can you get the smell of
it. Take a good draw of it now; lay your head along the hinges of the
door. So now ye may quit and scamper out of this, the whole throng of
ye, robbers and hangmen and bankbreakers, bargers and bad characters,
and you may believe me telling you that is the nearest ye ever will
come to my gold!
(He bangs back into room locking door after him.)
Delia: He has no more nature than the brutes of the field,
hunting and howling after us.
Staffy: Yourself that rose him out of his wits and his
senses. We will sup sorrow for this day's work where he will put curses
after us. It is best for us go back to my place. It may be to-morrow
that his anger will be cured up.
Ralph: I thought it was to lay him out with candles we were
brought here. I declare I came nearer furnishing out a corpse myself
with the start I got.
Delia: There is no dread on me. When he gets in humour I will
tackle up again to him. It is too far I came to be facing back to
Loughtyshassy and I fasting from the price of my goats! Little collars
I was thinking to buckle around their neck the same as a lady's lapdog,
and maybe so far as a small clear-sounding bell.
(They go out, Damer comes back. He puts on clock, rakes out fire,
picks up potatoes and puts them back in sieve, takes bread into
room. There is a knock at the door. Then it is cautiously opened
Simon Niland comes in, and stands near the hearth. Damer comes
and sees him.)
Damer: What are you looking for?
Simon: For what I won't get seemingly, that is a welcome.
Damer: Maybe it's for fists you are looking?
Simon: It is not, before I will get my rest. I couldn't box
to-night if I was the Queen of England.
Damer: Have you any traffic with that congregation is after
Simon: I seen no person good or bad, but a dog and it on the
Damer: You to have in you any of the breed of the Kirwans
that is my own, I'd rise the tongs and pitch you out from the door!
Simon: I suppose you would not begrudge me to rest myself for
a while, (Sits down.)
Damer: I'll give leave to no strolling vagabond to sit in any
place at all.
Simon: All right so.
(Tosses a coin he takes from his pocket, tied in a spotted
Damer: What's that you're doing?
Simon: Pitching a coin I was to see would it bid me go west
Damer: Go toss outside so.
Simon: (Stooping and groping.) I will after I will find it.
Damer: Hurry on now.
Simon: Wait till I'll kindle a match.
(Lights one and picks up coin.)
Damer: What is that in your hand?
Simon: You should know.
Damer: Is it gold it is?
Simon: It is all I have of means in the world. I never
handled a coin before it, but my bite to be given me and my bed.
Damer: You'll mind it well if you have sense.
Simon: It is towards the east it bade me go. I'll travel as
far as the races of Knockbarron to-morrow.
Damer: You'll be apt to lose it going to races.
Simon: I'll go bet with it, and see what way will it turn
Damer: You to set all you own upon a horse that might fail at
the leaps! It is a very foolish thing doing that.
Simon: It might not. Some have luck and are born lucky and
more have run through their luck. If I lose it, it is lost. It would
not keep me long anyway. I to win, I will have more and plenty.
Damer: You will surely lose it.
Simon: If I do I have nothing to get or to fall back on. It
is some other one must take my charges.
Damer: A great pity to go lose a gold sovereign to some
schemer you never saw before.
Simon: Sure you must take some risk. You cannot put your
hands around the world.
Damer: It to be swept by a trick of the loop man!
Simon: It is not with that class I will make free.
Damer: To go lose the whole of it in one second of time!
Simon: I will make four divides of it.
Damer: To go change it into silver and into copper! That
would be the most pity in the world.
Simon: I'll chance it all upon the one jock so.
Damer: Gold! Believe me it is a good thing to hold and a very
heartbreak the time it is lost. (Takes it in his hand.) Pure gold!
There is not a thing to be got with it as worthy as what it is itself!
There is no comfort in any place and it not in it. The Queen's image on
it and her crown. Solid between the fingers; weighty in the palm of the
hand; as beautiful as ever I saw.
Simon: It is likely it is the same nearly as any other one.
Damer: Gold! My darling it is! From the hollows of the world
to the heights of the world there is no grander thing to be found. My
bone and my marrow! Let me have the full of my arms of it and I'll not
ask the flowers of field or fallow or the dancing of the Easter sun!
Simon: I am thinking you should be Damer. I heard said Damer
has a full crock of gold.
Damer: He has not! He has not!
Simon: That is what the world says anyway. I heard it as far
as the seaside.
Damer: I wish to my God it was true!
Simon: Full and brimming to the brink. That is the way it was
Damer: It is not full! It is not! Whisper now. It is many a
time I thought it to be full, full at last, full at last!
Simon: And it wasn't after?
Damer: To take it and to shake it I do. It is often I gave
myself a promise the time there will be no sound from it, I will give
in to nourish myself, I will rise out of misery. But every time I will
try it, I will hear a little clatter that tells me there is some space
left; some small little hole or gap.
Simon: What signifies that when you have so much in it?
Damer: Weightier it gets and weightier, but there will always
be that little sound. I thought to stop it one time, putting in a
fistful of hayseed; but I felt in my heart that was not dealing fair
and honest with myself, and I rose up and shook it out again, rising up
from my bed in the night time. I near got my death with the cold and
the draught fell on me doing that.
Simon: It is best for me be going on where I might find my
Damer: Hearken now. I am old and the long road behind me. You
are young and in your strength. It is you is rich, it is I myself that
is poor. You know well, you to get the offer, you would not change your
lot with my own.
Simon: I suppose I might not. I'd as lief keep my countenance
and my run.
Darner: Isn't it a great pity there to be that hollow within
in my gallon, and the little coin that would likely just fill it up, to
be going out of the house?
Simon: Is it that you are asking it of me?
Damer: You might never find so good a way to open Heaven to
yourself with a charity. To be bringing peace to an old man that has
not long to live in the world! You wouldn't think now how quiet I would
sleep, and the good dreams would be going through me, and that gallon
jar to be full and to make no sound the time I would roll it on the
floor. That would be a great deed for one little pound piece to do!
Simon: I'll toss you for it.
Damer: I would not dare put anything at all upon a chance.
Simon: Leave it alone so. (Turns away.)
Damer: (Seizing him.) It would make such a good appearance in
the little gap!
Simon: Head or harp?
Damer: No, I'm in dread I might lose.
Simon: Take your chance or leave it.
Damer: I to lose, you may kill me on the moment! My heart is
driven down in the sole of my shoe!
Simon: That is poor courage.
Damer: There is some shiver forewarning me I will lose! I
made a strong oath I never would give in again to try any sort of
Simon: You didn't make it but with yourself.
Damer: It was through my luck leaving me I swore against
betting and gaming.
Simon: It might turn back fresh and hearty where you gave it
so long a rest.
Simon: Here now.
Damer: I dare not.
Simon: (Going to door.) I'll make my bet so according to a
dream I had. It is on a red horse I will put it to-morrow.
Damer: No—stop—wait a minute.
Simon: I'll win surely following my dream.
Damer: I might not lose.
Simon: I'm in dread of that. All turns to the man is rich.
Damer: I'll chance it!
Simon: You said no and I'll take no.
Damer: You cannot go back of your word.
Simon: Let me go out from you tempting me.
Damer: (Seizing him.) Heads! I say heads!
Simon: Harps it is. I win.
Damer: My bitter grief! Ochone!
Simon: I'll toss you for another.
Damer: You will not. What's tosses? Look at here what is put
in my way! (Holds up pack of cards.)
Simon: Where's the stakes?
Damer: Wait a second. (Goes into room.)
Simon: Hurry on or I won't stop.
Damer: Let you not stir out of that!
(Comes back and throws money on table.)
Simon: Come on so.
Darner: Give me the pack. (Cuts.) I didn't feel a card
between my fingers this seven and a half-score years!
Simon: Spades are trumps.
Darner: (Lighting candle.) I'll win it back! I won't begrudge
spending a penny candle, no, or two penny candles! I'll play you to the
brink of day!
The next morning. The same kitchen. Simon Niland is lying
on the hearth. Ralph and Staffy are looking at him.
Staffy: Who is it at all is in it?
Ralph: Who would it be but Simon Niland, that is come
following after us.
Staffy: Stretched and sleeping all the same as if there was a
pin of slumber in his hair, as in the early times of the world. The day
passing without anything doing. That one will never win to a fortune.
Ralph: It would be as well for ourselves maybe he not to be
too great with Damer.
Staffy: Will Delia make any headway I wonder. She had good
courage to go face him, and he abroad on the land, sitting stooped on
the bent body of a bush.
Ralph: I wonder what way did that lad make his way into this
place. Wait now till I'll waken and question him.
Simon: (Drowsily.) Who is that stirring me?
Ralph: Rouse yourself up now.
Simon: Do not be rousing me, where I am striving to catch a
hold of the tail of my last dream.
Staffy: Is it seeking for a share of Damer's wealth you are
Simon: I never asked and never looked for it.
Staffy: You are going the wrong road to reach to it.
Simon: A bald cat there was in the dream, was keeping watch
over jewelleries in a cave.
Staffy: No person at all would stretch out his hand to a lad
would be rambling and walking the world, and it in its darkness and
sleep, and be drowsing and miching from labour through the hours the
sun has command of.
Delia: (At the door). Is it that ye are within, Staffy and
Ralph: We are, and another along with us.
Delia: Put him out the door!
Ralph: Ah, there's no danger of him coming around Damer. He
is simple and has queer talk too.
Delia: Put him out I say! (Pushes Simon to door.) Let him
drowse out the day in the car shed! I tell you Damer is at hand!
Ralph: Has he the frown on him yet?
Staffy: Did his anger anyway cool down?
Delia: He is coming I say. I am partly in dread of him. I am
afeard and affrighted!
Ralph: He should be in terrible rages so. There was no dread
on you yesterday, and he cursing and roaring the way he was.
Delia: He is mad this time out and out. Wait now till you'll
(She goes behind dresser. Damer comes to the door. Staffy goes
behind a chair. Ralph seizes a broom.)
Damer: (At door.) Are you acquainted with any person, Ralph
Hessian, is in need of a savage dog?
Staffy: Is it that you are about to part Jubair your dog?
Damer: I have no use for him presently.
Staffy: Is it that you are without dread of robbers coming
for to knock in your skull with a stone? Or maybe out in the night it
is to burn you out of the house they would.
Damer: What signifies, what signifies? All must die, all must
die. The longest person that will live in the world, he is bound to go
in the heel. Life is a long road to travel and a hard rough track under
Staffy: Mike Merrick the huckster has an apple garden bought
against the harvest. He should likely be seeking for a dog. There do be
little lads passing to the school.
Damer: He might want him, he might want him.
(He leans upon half-door.)
Staffy: Is it that you are tired and wore out carrying the
load of your wealth?
Damer: It is a bad load surely. It was the love of money
destroyed Buonaparte where he went robbing a church, without the men of
learning are telling lies.
Staffy: I would never go so far as robbery, but to bid it
welcome I would, and it coming fair and easy into my hand.
Damer: There was a king out in Foreign went astray through
the same sin. His people that made a mockery of him after his death,
filling up his jaws with rendered gold. Believe me, any person goes
coveting after riches puts himself under a bad master.
Staffy: That is a master I'd be willing to engage with, he to
give me my victuals and my ease.
Damer: In my opinion it was to keep temptation from our path
the gold of the world was covered under rocks and in the depths of the
streams. Believe me it is best leave it where it is, and not to meddle
with the Almighty.
Staffy: You'd be best without it. It is the weight of it is
bowing you to your grave. When things are vexing your mind and you are
trouble minded they'll be going through your head in the night time.
There is a big shift and a great change in you since yesterday. There
is not the half of you in it. You have the cut of the misfortune.
Damer: I am under misfortune indeed.
Staffy: Give over now your load to myself before the coming
of the dusk. The way you are there'll be nothing left of you within
three days. There is no way with you but death.
Delia: (To Ralph.) Let you raise your voice now, and come
around him on my own behalf.
Ralph: It is what herself is saying, you to be quitting the
world as it seems, it is as good for you make over to her your crock of
Damer: I would not wish, for all the glories of Ireland, to
leave temptation in the path of my own sister or my kin, or to twist a
gad for their neck.
Delia: (To Ralph.) Tell him I'll chance it.
Damer: At the time of the judgment of the mountain, when the
sun and moon will be all one with two blackberries, it is not being
pampered with plenty will serve you, beside being great with the
Delia: (Shrinking back.) I would as soon nearly not get it
at all, where it might bring me to the wretched state of Damer!
(Dog heard barking.)
Damer: I'll go bring my poor Jubair out of this. A great sin
and a great pity to be losing provision with a dog, and the image of
the saints maybe to be going hungry and bare. How do I know what troop
might be bearing witness against me before the gate of heaven? To be
cherishing a ravenous beast might be setting his teeth in their limbs!
To give charity to the poor is the best religion in Ireland. Didn't our
Lord Himself go beg through three and thirty years? (He goes.)
Delia: (Coming forward.) Will you believe me now telling you
he is gone unsteady in the head?
Staffy: I see no other sign. He is a gone man surely. His
understanding warped and turned backward. To see him blighted the way
he is would stir the heart of a stone.
Ralph: He surely got some vision or some warning, or there
lit on him a fit or a stroke.
Staffy: Twice a child and only once a man. He is turned to be
innocent with age.
Ralph: It would be a bad thing he to meet with his death
unknown to us.
Delia: It would be worse again he that is gone out of his
latitude to be brought away to the asylum.
Ralph: I don't know.
Delia: But I know. He to die, and to make no will, it is
ourselves, by rule and by right, that would lay claim to his wealth.
Staffy: So we could do that, and he to come to his end in the
bad place, God save the mark!
Delia: Would you say there would be no fear the Government
might stretch out and take charge of it, saying him to be outside of
Ralph: That would be the worst of all. We to be forced to
hire an attorney against them, till we would break one another at law.
Delia: He to be stopping here, and being light in the brain,
it is likely some thief travelling the road might break his way in and
Ralph: It would be right for us keep some sort of a watch on
Staffy: What way would we be sitting here watching it, the
same as a hen on a pebble of flint, through a quarter or it might be
three quarters of a year? He might drag for a good while yet, and live
and linger into old days.
Delia: To take some cross turn he might, and to come at us
violent and maybe tear the flesh from our bones.
Staffy: It is best for us do nothing so, but to leave it to
the foreknowledge of God.
Delia: There is but the one thing to do. To bring it away out
of this and to lodge it within in my own house. We can settle out a
place under the hearth.
Staffy: We can make a right division of it at such time as
the end will come.
Ralph: What way now will we bring away the crock?
Delia: Let you go outside and be watching the road while
Staffy will be bringing out the gold.
Staffy: Ah, I'm not so limber as what Ralph is. There does be
giddiness and delay in my feet. It might fail me to heave it to a
hiding place and to bring it away unknownst.
Delia: Let you go out so and be keeping a watch, and Ralph
will put it on the ass-car under sacks.
Ralph: Do it you. I am not of his own kindred and his family.
Any person to get a sketch of me bringing it away they might nearly
take myself to be a thief.
Delia: We are doing but what is fair and is right.
Ralph: Maybe so. But any neighbour to be questioning me, it
might be hard put a skin on the story.
Delia: There is no person to do it but the one. (Calls from
the door.) Come in here from the shed, Simon Niland, if the
sluggishness is banished from your eyesight and from your limbs.
Simon: (At door) I was thinking to go travel my road.
Delia: Have you any desire to reach out your hand for to save
a mortal life?
Simon: (Coming in.) Whose life is that?
Staffy: The man of this house that is your uncle and is owner
of wealth closed up in a jar. We now being wittier than himself, that
has lost his wits, have our mind made up to bring it away.
Simon: Outside of his knowledge is it?
Staffy: It will be safe and well minded and lodged in loyal
keeping, it being no profit to him that is at this time shook and
blighted, but only a danger to his days.
Delia: The seven senses to be going astray on him, what would
ail any tramp or neuk that would be passing the road, not to rob him
and to lay him stone dead?
Staffy: Go in now and bring out from the room and to such
place as we will command, that gallon jar of gold.
Ralph: It being certain it will be brought away from him, it
is best it to be kept in the family, and not to go nourishing lawyers
Simon: Is it to steal it I should?
Staffy: What way will it be stealing, and the whole of us to
be looking on at your deed?
Simon: Ah, what call have I to do that much and maybe put
myself in danger of the judge, for the sake of a man is without sense.
Delia: Let you do it for my own sake so. You heard me giving
out news on yesterday of the white goats are on the bounds of being
sold. The neighbours will give me no more credit, where they loaned me
the price of a crested side car was auctioned out at a quality sale.
Ralph: Picking the eyes out of my own head they are, to pay
the little bills they have against her.
Delia: I am no way greedy, I would ask neither food or bite,
I would not begrudge turning Sunday into Friday if I could but get my
heart's desire. Such a thing now as a guinea-hen would be bringing
fashion to the door, throwing it a handful of yellow meal, and it in
its speckled plumage giving out its foreign call!
Simon: I have no mind to be brought within the power of the
Delia: You that are near in blood to refuse me so small an
asking, what chance would I have sending requests to Heaven that is
beyond the height of the clouds!
Staffy: That's the way with them that are reared poor, they
are the hardest after to humour, striving to bring everything to their
own way. But there's a class of people in the world wouldn't do a
hand's turn, no more than the bird upon the tree.
Ralph: I wonder you not to give in to us, when all the world
knows God formed young people for to be giving aid to elder people, and
beyond all to them that are near to them in blood.
Staffy: Look now, Simon, let you be said and led by me. You
having no great share of wisdom we are wishful to make a snug man of
you and to put you on a right road. Go in now and you will not be kept
out of your own profit and your share, and a harbour of plenty beyond
Simon: It might be guarded by a serpent in a tree, or by
unnatural things would be in the similitude of cats.
Staffy: Ah, that class is done away with this good while.
Ralph: There is no person having sense, but would take means,
by hook or by crook, to make his pocket stiff and he to be given his
fair chance. It is to save you from starvation we are wishful to do, as
much as to bring profit to ourselves.
Staffy: You not to follow our say you will be brought to burn
green ferns to boil your victuals, or to devour the berries of the
Simon: I would not wish a head to follow me and leap up on
the table and wrestle me, or to drink against me with its gory mouth.
Staffy: You that have not the substance of a crane's marrow,
to go shrink from so small a bidding, let you go on the shaughraun or
to the workhouse, where you would not take our advice.
Simon: I'll go do your bidding so. I will go bring out the
Staffy: There is my whiteheaded boy! I'll keep a watch, the
way Damer will not steal in on us without warning.
Ralph: He should have the key in some secret place. It is
best for you give the lock a blow of your foot.
Simon: I'll do that.
(He gives door a kick. It opens easily.)
Delia: Was I right now saying Damer is turned innocent? Sure
the door was not locked at all.
Simon: (Dragging out jar.) Here it is now.
Ralph: So it is and no mistake.
Staffy: There should be great weight in it.
Ralph: I am in dread it might work a hole down through the
timber of the car.
Delia: Why wouldn't we open it here? It would be handier
bringing it away in small divides.
Ralph: The way we would make sure of getting our own share at
Delia: Let you draw out the cork from it.
Ralph: I don't know can I lift it. (Stoops and lifts it
easily.) The Lord protect and save us! There is no weight in it at
Staffy: (Seizing and shaking it.) Not a one penny in it but
clean empty. That beats all.
Delia: It is with banknotes it is stuffed that are deaf and
do be giving out no sound. (She pokes in a knitting pin.) Nothing in
it at all, but as bare as the canopy of heaven!
Ralph: There being nothing within in it, where now is the
Staffy: Some person should have made away with it.
Delia: Some robber or some great rogue. A terrible thing such
ruffians to be around in the world! To turn and rob a poor man of all
he had spared and had earned.
Staffy: They have done him a great wrong surely, taking from
him all he had of comfort in his life.
Ralph: My grief it is there being no more hangings for
thieves, that are worse again than murderers that might do their deed
out of heat. It is thieving is the last crime.
Staffy: We to lay our hand on that vagabond we'll give him
cruelty will force him to Christian habits.
Ralph: Take care might he be nearer than what you think!
(He points at Simon. All look at him.)
Staffy: Sure enough it is with himself only we found him on
the hearth this morning.
Delia: He hasn't hardly the intellect to be the thief.
Simon: I tell you I never since the day I was born could be
charged with the weight of a brass pin!
Staffy: It is to Damer, my fine boy, you will have to make
out your case.
Simon: So I will make it out. Where now is Damer?
Staffy: He is gone down the road, where he brought away
Jubair the dog.
Simon: What are you saying? The dog gone is it? (Goes to
Ralph: (Taking hold of him.) What makes you go out in such a
Simon: What is that to you?
Delia: What cause has he to be making a run?
Simon: Let me mind my own business.
Staffy: It is maybe our own business.
Simon: To make a search I must in that dog's kennel of straw.
Delia: Go out, Ralph, till you will bring it in.
(Ralph goes out.)
Staffy: (Seizing him) A man to go rush out headlong and money
after being stolen, I have no mind to let him make his escape.
Delia: If you are honest let you stop within and not to put a
bad appearance upon yourself making off.
Simon: Let me out! I tell you I have a thing concealed in the
Staffy: A strange place to go hiding things and a queer story
Delia: Do not let go your hold. He to go out into the street,
he has the wide world before him.
Ralph: (Dragging kennel in.) Here now is the box.
Simon: (Breaking away and searching it) Where at all is it
Staffy: It is lies he was telling. There is nothing at all
within in it only a wisp of barley straw.
Simon: Where at all is it?
Staffy: What is it is gone from you?
Simon: Not a one pound left!
Delia: Why would you look to find coins of money down in
Simon: It is there I hid it.
Staffy: What is it you hid?
Simon: All that was in the crock and that I took from it.
Where now is my bag of gold?
Staffy: Do you hear what he is after saying?
Ralph: A lad of that sort will not be safe but in the gaol.
Let us give him into the grip of the law.
Delia: No, but let the man owned it do that.
Staffy: So he can task him with it, and he drawing to the
Delia: (Going to it.) It is time for you, Patrick, come in.
(Damer comes in dragging a sack.)
Ralph: You are after being robbed and left bare.
Delia: Not a one penny left of all you have cast into its
Ralph: Herself made a prophecy you would be robbed with the
weakening of your wits, and sure enough it has come about.
Delia: Not a tint of it left. What now do you say, hearing
Damer: (Sitting down by the hearth and laying down sack.) If
it should go it must go. That was allotted to me in the skies.
Delia: Is it that you had knowledge ere this of it being
swept and lost?
Damer: If I had not, why would I have been setting my mind
upon eternity and striving to bring to mind a few prayers? And to have
parted with my wicked dog?
Delia: Let you turn around till you will see before you the
man that is the robber and the thief!
Simon: Thief yourself! You that had a plan made up to bring
Damer: Delia, Delia, what was I laying down a while ago? It
is the love of riches has twisted your heart and your mind.
Delia: Is it that you are contented to be made this one's
Damer: It was foretold for me, I to go stint the body till I
near put myself to death without the Lord calling on me, and to lose
every whole pound after in one night's card playing.
Delia: Is it at cards you lost it?
Damer: With that same pack of cards you laid out under my
hand, I lost all I had gathered to that one.
Staffy: Well, there is nothing so certain in the world as the
running of a fool to a fool.
Delia: Is it taking that lad you are to be a fool? I thinking
him to be as simple as you'd see in the world, and he putting bread
upon his own butter as we slept!
Ralph: We to have known all then we know now, we need not
have wasted on him our advice.
Damer: Give me, boy, one answer. What in the world wide put
venture into you that made you go face the dog?
Simon: Ah, what venture? And he being as he is without teeth?
Damer: You know that, what no one in the parish or out of it
ever found out till now! You should have put your hand in his jaw to
know that much! A right lad you are and a lucky lad. I would nearly
wish you of my own blood and of my race.
Delia: Of your own blood is it?
Damer: That is what I would wish.
Delia: Is it that you are taking Simon Niland to be a
Damer: What Simon Niland?
Delia: Your own nephew and only son to your sister Sarah.
Damer: Do you tell me so! What way did it fail me to
recognise that, and he having daring and spirit the same as used to be
rising up in myself in my early time?
Delia: He was born the very year of you coming into
possession of this place.
Damer: The same year my luck turned against me, and every
horse I would back would get the staggers on the course, or would fail
to rise at the leaps. All the strength of fortune went from me at that
time, it is into himself it flowed and ran. The dead spit and image of
myself he is. Stop with me here through the winter season and through
the summer season! You to be in the house it is not an unlucky house
will be in it. The Royalty of England and of Spain cannot touch upon
yourself. I am prouder of you than if you wrote the wars of Homer or
put down Turgesius of the Danes! You are a lad that can't be beat. It
is you are the Lamb of Luck!
Staffy: What call has he or any of us to be stopping under
Damer's roof and he owning but the four walls presently and a poor
little valley of land?
Ralph: There is nothing worth while in his keeping, and all
he had gathered after being robbed.
Damer: Is that what you are saying? Well, I am not so easy
robbed as you think! (Takes bag from the sack and shakes it.) Is
that what you call being robbed?
Simon: That is my treasure and my bag!
Staffy: I thought it was after being brought away from the
two of you.
Damer: You are out of it! It is Jubair did that much for me.
Jubair, my darling, it is tonight I'll bring him back to the house! It
is not in the box he will be any more but alongside the warmth of the
hearth. The time I went unloosing his chain, didn't he scrape with his
paw till he showed me all I had lost hid in under the straw, and it in
a spotted bag! (Opens and pours out money.)
Simon: It is as well for you have it back where it stopped so
short with myself.
Damer: Is it that I would keep it from you where it was won
fair? It is a rogue of a man would do that. Where would be the use, and
I knowing you could win it back from me at your will, and the five
trumps coming into your hand? It is to share it we will and share
alike, so long as it will not give out!
Delia: A little handsel to myself would do the both of you no
harm at all.
Damer: Delia, my darling, I'll go as far as that on this day
of wonders. I'll handsel you and welcome. I'll bestow on you the empty
jar. (Gives it to her.)
Delia: I'll take it. I'll let on it to be weighty and I
facing back into Loughtyshassy.
Ralph: The neighbours seeing it and taking you to be his heir
you might come to your goats yet.
Delia: Ah, what's goats and what is guinea-hens? Did ever you
see yoked horses in a coach, their skin shining out like shells, rising
their steps in tune the same as a patrol of police? There are peacocks
on the lawns of Lough Cutra they were telling me, having each of them a
hundred eyes. (Goes to door.)
Simon: (Putting his hand on the jar.) I don't know. (To
Damer) It might be a nice thing for the two of us to start
gathering the full of it again.
Damer: Not a fear of me. Where heaping and hoarding that much
has my years withered and blighted up to this, it is not to storing
treasure in any vessel at all I will give the latter end of my days, or
to working the skin off my bones. Give me here that coat. (Puts it
on.) If I was tossed and racked a while ago I'll show out good from
this out. Come on now, out of this, till we'll face to the races of
Loughrea and of Knockbarron. I was miserable and starved long enough.
(Puts on hat.) I'm thinking as long as I'll be living I'll take my
view of the world, for it's long I'll be lying when my eyes are closed
and seeing nothing at all!
(He seizes a handful of gold and puts it in Simon's pocket and
another in his own. They turn towards the door.)
McDonough, a piper.
Scene: A very poor room in Galway with outer and inner door.
Noises of a fair outside. A Hag sitting by the fire. Another
standing by outer door.
First Hag: Is there e'er a sign of McDonough to be coming?
Second Hag: There is not. There were two or three asking for
him, wanting him to bring the pipes to some spree-house at the time the
fair will be at an end.
First Hag: A great wonder he not to have come, and this the
fair day of Galway.
Second Hag: He not to come ere evening, the woman that is
dead must go to her burying without one to follow her, or any friend at
all to flatten the green scraws above her head.
First Hag: Is there no neighbour at all will do that much,
and she being gone out of the world?
Second Hag: There is not. You said to ask Pat Marlborough,
and I asked him, and he said there were plenty of decent women and of
well-reared women in Galway he would follow and welcome the day they
would die, without paying that respect to one not belonging to the
district, or that the town got no good account of the time she came.
First Hag: Did you do as I bade you, asking Cross Ford to
send in a couple of the boys she has?
Second Hag: What a fool I'd be asking her! I laid down to her
the way it was. McDonough's wife to be dead, and he far out in the
country, and no one belonging to her to so much as lift the coffin over
the threshold of the door.
First Hag: What did she say hearing that?
Second Hag: She put a big laugh out of her, and it is what
she said: “May the devil die with her, and it is well pleased the
street will be getting quit of her, and it is hard say on what mountain
she might be grazing now.”
First Hag: There will no help come burying her so.
Second Hag: It is too lofty McDonough was, and too
high-minded, bringing in a woman was maybe no lawful wife, or no honest
child itself, but it might be a bychild or a tinker's brat, and he
giving out no account of her generations or of her name.
First Hag: Whether or no, she was a little giddy. But that is
the way with McDonough. He is sometimes an unruly lad, but he would
near knock you with his pride.
Second Hag: Indeed he is no way humble, but looking for
attendance on her, as if she was the youngest and the greatest in the
First Hag: It is not to humour her the Union men will, and
they carrying her to where they will sink her into the ground, unless
it might be McDonough would come back, and he having money in his hand,
to bring in some keeners and some hired men.
Second Hag: He to come back at this time it is certain he
will bring a fist-full of money.
First Hag: What makes you say that to be certain?
Second Hag: A troop of sheep-shearers that are on the west
side of the fair, looking for hire from the grass farmers. I heard them
laying down they met with McDonough at the big shearing at Cregroostha.
First Hag: What day was that?
Second Hag: This day week for the world.
First Hag: He has time and plenty to be back in Galway ere
Second Hag: Great dancing they had and a great supper at the
time the shearing was at an end and the fleeces lodged in the big
sacks. It is McDonough played his music through the night-time. It is
what I heard them saying, “He went out of that place weightier than he
First Hag: He is a great one to squeeze the pipes surely.
There is no place ever he went into but he brought the whip out of it.
Second Hag: His father was better again, they do be saying.
It was from the other side he got the gift.
First Hag: He did, and from beyond the world, where he
befriended some in the forths of the Danes. It was they taught him
their trade. I heard tell, he to throw the pipes up on top of the
rafters, they would go sounding out tunes of themselves.
Second Hag: He could do no more with them than what McDonough
himself can do—may ill luck attend him! It is inhuman tunes he does be
making; unnatural they are.
First Hag: He is a great musician surely.
Second Hag: There is no person can be safe from him the time
he will put his “come hither” upon them. I give you my word he set
myself dancing reels one time in the street, and I making an attack on
him for keeping the little lads miching from school. That was a great
scandal to put upon a decent woman.
First Hag: He to be in the fair to-day and to take the fancy,
you would hear the nailed boots of the frieze-coated man footing steps
on the sidewalk.
Second Hag: You would, and it's likely he'd play a notion
into the skulls of the pampootied boys from Aran, they to be kings of
France or of Germany, till they'd go lift their head to the clouds and
go knocking all before them. And the police it is likely laughing with
themselves, as if listening to the talk of the blackbird would be
perched upon a blessed bush.
First Hag: I wonder he did not come. Could it be he might be
made away with for the riches he brought from Cregroostha? It would be
a strange thing now, he to be lying and his head broke, at the butt of
a wall, and the woman he thought the whole world of to be getting her
burial from the workhouse.
(A sound of pipes.)
Second Hag: Whist, I tell you! It's the sound of the pipes.
It is McDonough, it is no other one.
First Hag: (Getting up.) I'm in dread of him coming in the
house. He is a hasty man and wicked, and he vexed. What at all will he
say and she being dead before him? Whether or no, it will be a sharp
grief to him, she to scatter and to go. He might give me a backstroke
and drive me out from the door.
Second Hag: Let you make an attack upon himself before he
will have time to make his own attack.
McDonough: (Coming in.) Catherine! Where is she? Where is
First Hag: Is it readying the dinner before you, or wringing
out a shirt for the Sunday like any good slave of a wife, you are used
to find your woman, McDonough?
McDonough: What call would she have stopping in the house
with the withered like of yourself? It is not to the crabbed talk of a
peevish hag a handsome young woman would wish to be listening and sport
and funning being in the fair outside.
First Hag: Go look for her in the fair so, if it is gadding
up and down is her habit, and you being gone out from her sight.
McDonough: (Shaking her.) Tell me out, where is she?
First Hag: Tell out what harbour were you yourself in from
the day you left Cregroostha?
McDonough: Is it that she got word?—or that she was tired
waiting for me?
First Hag: She is gone away from you, McDonough.
McDonough: That is a lie, a black lie.
First Hag: Throwing a lie in a decent woman's face will not
bring you to the truth.
McDonough: Is it what you are laying down that she went away
with some other man? Say that out if you have courage, and I'll wring
your yellow windpipe.
First Hag: Leave your hand off me and open the room door, and
you will see am I telling you any lie.
McDonough: (Goes to door, then stops.) She is not in it. She
would have come out before me, and she hearing the sound of the pipes.
First Hag: It is not the sound of the pipes will rouse her,
or any sound made in this world at all.
McDonough: (Trembling.) What is it?
First Hag: She is gone and she is not living.
McDonough: Is it to die she did? (Clutches her.)
First Hag: Yesterday, and the bells ringing, she turned her
face to the south and died away. It was at the hour of noon I knew and
was aware she was gone. A great loss it to be at the time of the fair,
and all the lodgers that would have come into the house.
McDonough: It is not truth. What would ail her to die?
First Hag: The makings of a child that came before its time,
God save the mark! She made a bad battle at the last.
McDonough: What way did it fail you to send me out messengers
seeking me when you knew her to be done and dying?
First Hag: I thought she would drag another while. There was
no time for the priest itself to overtake her, or to put the little
dress of the Virgin in her hand at the last gasp of death.
McDonough goes into the room. He comes out as if affrighted,
his head against the wall, and breaks into a prayer in Irish:
“An Athair tha in Naomh, dean trocaire orainn! A Dia Righ an
dean trocaire orainn! A Mhuire Mathair Dia, dean trocaire orainn!”
Second Hag: (Venturing near.) Do not go fret after her,
McDonough. She could not go through the world forever, and travelling
the world. It might be that trouble went with her.
McDonough: Get out of that, you hags, you witches you! You
croaking birds of ill luck! It is much if I will leave you in the
living world, and you not to have held back death from her!
Second Hag: That you may never be cross till you will meet
with your own death! What way could any person do that?
McDonough: Get out the door and it will be best for you!
Second Hag: You are talking fool's talk and giving out words
that are foolishness! There is no one at all can put away from his road
the bones and the thinness of death.
McDonough: I to have been in it he would not have come under
the lintel! Ugly as he is and strong, I would be able for him and would
wrestle with him and drag him asunder and put him down! Before I would
let him lay his sharp touch on her I would break and would crush his
naked ribs, and would burn them to lime and scatter them!
First Hag: Where is the use raving? It is best for you to
turn your hand to the thing has to be done.
McDonough: You to have stood in his path he might have
brought you away in her place! That much would be no great thing to
ask, and your life being dead and in ashes.
First Hag: Quieten yourself now where it was the will of God.
She herself made no outcry and no ravings. I did my best for her,
laying her out and putting a middling white sheet around her. I went so
far as to smoothen her hair on the two sides of her face.
McDonough: (Turning to inner door.) Is it that you are gone
from me, Catherine, you that were the blossom of the branch!
(Old woman moans.)
It is a bad case you to have gone and to have left me as lonesome
after you as that no one ever saw the like!
(The old woman moans after each sentence.)
I to bring you travelling you were the best traveller, and the best
stepper, and the best that ever faced the western blast, and the waves
of it blowing from you the shawl! I to be sore in the heart with
walking you would make a smile of a laugh. I would not feel the road
having your company; I would walk every whole step of Ireland.
I to bring you to the dance-house you would dance till you had them
all tired, the same in the late of the day as in the commencement! Your
steps following quick on one another the same as hard rain on a
flagstone! They could not find your equal in all Ireland or in the
whole ring of Connemara!
What way did it fail me to see the withering of the branches on
every bush, as it is certain they withered the time laughter died with
your laugh? The cold of winter has settled on the hearth. My heart is
closed up with trouble!
First Hag: It is best for us shut the door and to keep out
the noises of the fair.
McDonough: Ah, what sort at all are the people of the fair,
to be doing their bargaining and clutching after their luckpenny, and
she being stark and quiet!
First Hag: She has to be buried ere evening. There was a
messenger of a clerk came laying that down.
McDonough: May ill luck attend him! Is it that he thinks she
that is gone has no person belonging to her to wake her through the
First Hag: He sent his men to coffin her. She will be brought
away in the heel of the day.
McDonough: It is a great wake I will give her. It would not
be for honour she to go without that much. Cakes and candles and drink
and tobacco! The table of this house is too narrow. It is from the
neighbours we should borrow tables.
First Hag: That cannot be. It is what the man said, “This is
a common lodging-house. It is right to banish the dead from the
living.” He has the law with him, and custom. There is no use you
thinking to go outside of that.
McDonough: My lasting grief it will be I not to get leave to
show her that respect!
First Hag: “There will a car be sent,” he said, “and two boys
from the Union for to bear her out from the house.”
McDonough: Men from the Union, are you saying? I would not
give leave to one of them to put a hand anigh or anear her! It is not
their car will bring her to the grave. That would be the most pity in
First Hag: You have no other way to bring her on her road. It
is best for you give in to their say.
McDonough: Where are the friends and the neighbours that they
would not put a hand tinder her?
First Hag: They are after making their refusal. She was not
well liked in Galway. There is no one will come to her help.
McDonough: Is that truth, or is it lies you have made up for
First Hag: It is no lie at all. It is as sure as the winter's
frost. You have no one to draw to but yourself.
McDonough: It is mad jealous the women of Galway were and
wild with anger, and she coming among them, that was seventeen times
better than their best! My bitter grief I ever to have come next or
near them, or to have made music for the lugs or for the feet of wide
crooked hags! That they may dance to their death to the devil's pipes
and be the disgrace of the world! It is a great slur on Ireland and a
great scandal they to have made that refusing! That the Corrib River
may leave its merings and rise up out of its banks till the waves will
rise like mountains over the town and smother it, with all that is left
of its tribes!
First Hag: Be whist now, or they will be angered and they
hearing you outside in the fair.
McDonough: Let their day not thrive with the buyers and the
sellers in the fair! The curse of mildew on the tillage men, that every
grain of seed they have sowed may be rotten in the ridges, and the
grass corn blasted from the east before the latter end of harvest! The
curse of the dead on the herds driving cattle and following after
markets and fairs! My own curse on the big farmers slapping and
spitting in their deal! That a blood murrain may fall upon their
bullocks! That rot may fall upon their flocks and maggots make them
their pasture and their prey between this and the great feast of
Christmas! It is my grief every hand in the fair not to be set shaking
and be crookened, where they were not stretched out in friendship to
the fair-haired woman that is left her lone within boards!
Second Hag: (At door.) Is it a niggard you are grown to be,
McDonough, and you with riches in your hand? Is it against a new
wedding you are keeping your pocket stiff, or to buy a house and an
estate, that it fails you to call in hired women to make a right
keening, and a few decent boys to lift her through the streets?
McDonough: I to have money or means in my hand, I would ask
no help or be beholden to any one at all.
Second Hag: If you had means, is it? I heard by true telling
that you have money and means. “At the sheep-shearers' dance a high
lady held the plate for the piper; a sovereign she put in it out of her
hand, and there was no one of the big gentry but followed her. There
never was seen so much riches in any hall or home.” Where now is the
fifty gold sovereigns you brought away from Cregroostha?
McDonough: Where is it?
Second Hag: Is it that you would begrudge it to the woman is
McDonough: You know well I would not begrudge it.
First Hag: A queer thing you to speak so stiff and to be
running down all around you, and your own pocket being bulky the while.
McDonough: (Turning out pocket.) It is as slack and as
empty as when I went out from this.
Second Hag: You could not have run through that much.
McDonough: Not a red halfpenny left, or so much as the image
of a farthing.
First Hag: Is it robbed and plundered you were, and you
walking the road?
McDonough: (Sitting down and rocking himself.) I wish to
my God it was some robber stripped and left me bare! Robbed and
plundered! I was that, and by the worst man and the unkindest that ever
was joined to a woman or lost a woman, and that is myself.
First Hag: Is it to lose it unknownst you did?
McDonough: What way did I lose it, is it? I lost it knowingly
and of my own will. Thrown on counters, thrown on the drink-house
floor, given for spirits, given for porter, thrown for drink for
friends and acquaintances, for strangers and strollers and vagabonds.
Scattered in the parish of Ardrahan and at Labane cross. Tramps and
schemers lying drunk and dead drunk at the butt of every wall.
(Buries head in his hands.)
First Hag: That is what happened the gold yourself and the
pipes had won? You made no delay doing that much. You have a great
wrong done to the woman inside, where you left her burying bare.
Second Hag: She to be without a farthing dip for her corpse,
and you after lavishing gold.
First Hag: You have a right to bruise your knees making
repentance, you that lay on the one pillow with her. You to be putting
curses upon others and making attacks on them! I would make no
complaint, you to be naked at your own burying and at the very hour of
death, and the rain falling down on your head.
McDonough: Little I mind what happens me. There is no word
you can put out of your mouth can do me any injury at all. Oh,
Catherine, it is best for me go hang myself out of a tree, and my
carcass to be torn by savage dogs that went famished through a great
length of time, and my bones left without a token or a flag or a
headstone, and my name that was up at one time to be forgotten out of
(He bursts out sobbing.)
First Hag: The shadows should be lengthening in the street.
Look out would you see the car to be coming.
Second Hag: It was a while ago at the far corner of the fair.
They were but waiting for the throng to lessen.
First Hag: They are making too much delay.
Second Hag: I see a hint of the livery of the poorhouse
coming through the crowd.
First Hag: The men of the Union are coming to bring her away,
McDonough. There is nothing more to be done. She will get her burial
from the rates.
McDonough: Oh, Catherine, Catherine! Is it I myself have
brought you to that shame and that disgrace!
Second Hag: You are making too much of it. Little it will
signify, and we to be making clay, who was it dug a hole through the
nettles or lifted down the sods over our head.
First Hag: That is so. What signifies she to be followed or
to be going her lone, and her eyes being shut to the world?
McDonough: Is that the thought ye have within ye, ye Galway
hags? It is easy known it is in a trader's town you were bred, and in a
street among dealers.
First Hag: I was but saying it does not signify.
McDonough: But I say it does signify! I will tell that out to
you and the world! That might be the thought of a townsman or a trader,
or a rich merchant itself that had his estate gained by trafficking,
for that is a sort does be thinking more of what they can make out of
the living than of keeping a good memory of the dead!
First Hag: There are worthier men than yourself, maybe, in
storehouses and in shops.
McDonough: But I am of the generations of Orpheus, and have
in me the breed of his master! And of Raftery and Carolan and O'Daly
and all that made sounds of music from this back to the foundations of
the earth! And as to the rich of the world, I would not humble my head
to them. Let them have their serving men and their labourers and
messengers will do their bidding. But the servant I myself command is
the pipes that draws its breath from the four winds, and from a wind is
beyond them again, and at the back of the winds of the air. She was a
wedded woman and a woman having my own gold ring on her hand, and my
own name put down with hers in the book. But she to have been a
shameless woman as ye make her out to be, and sold from tinker to
tinker on the road it is all one! I will show Galway and the world that
it does signify; that it is not fitting McDonough's wife to travel
without company and good hands under her and good following on the
road. Play now, pipes, if you never played before! Call to the keeners
to follow her with screams and beating of the hands and calling out!
Set them crying now with your sound and with your notes, as it is often
you brought them to the dance-house!
(Goes out and plays a lament outside.)
First Hag: (Looking out.) It is queer and wild he is, cutting
his teeth and the hair standing on him.
Second Hag: Some high notion he has, calling them to show
honour to her as if she was the Queen of the Angels.
First Hag: To draw to silence the whole fair did. Every
person is moving towards this house.
(A murmur as of people. McDonough comes in, stands at door,
McDonough: I squeeze the pipes as a challenge to the whole of
the fair, gentle noble and simple, the poor and the high up. Come
hither and cry Catherine McDonough, give a hand to carry her to the
grave! Come to her aid, tribes of Galway, Lynches and Blakes and
Frenches! McDonough's pipes give you that command, that have learned
the lamentation of the Danes.
Come follow her on the road, trades of Galway, the fishermen, and
the carpenters, and the weavers! It is by no short road we will carry
her that never will walk any road from this out! By Williams-gate,
beside Lynch's gallows, beside the gaol of the hangings, the salmon
will make their leap as we pass!
Men at Door: We will. We will follow her, McDonough.
Others: Give us the first place.
Others: We ourselves will carry her!
McDonough: Faith, Catherine, you have your share and your
choice this day of fine men, asking to carry you and to lend you their
I will give no leave to traffickers to put their shoulder under you,
or to any that made a refusal, or any seaside man at all.
I will give leave to no one but the sheep-shearers from Eserkelly,
from Moneen and Cahirlinny and the whole stretch of Cregroostha. It is
they have friendship for music, it is they have a wish for my four
(Sheep-shearers come in. They are dressed in white flannel. Each
has a pair of shears at his side. The first carries a crook.)
First Sheep-shearer: Is it within there she is, McDonough?
First Hag: Go in through the door. The boards are around her
and a clean quilt over them. Have a care not to leave down your hands
on it, and they maybe being soiled with the fair.
(They take off their hats and go in.)
McDonough: (Turning to her door.) If you got no great honour
from your birth up, and went barefoot through the first of your youth,
you will get great respect now and will be remembered in the times to
There is many a lady dragging silk skirts through the lawns and the
flower knots of Connacht, will get no such grand gathering of people at
the last as you are getting on this day.
It is the story of the burying of McDonough's wife will be written
in the book of the people!
(Sheep-shearers appear at inner door. McDonough goes out,
squeezing the pipes. Triumphant music is heard from outside.)
THE BOGIE MEN
A message sent to America from Dublin that our Theatre had been
“driven out with hisses”; an answering message from New York that the
Playboy, the cause of battle, was now “as dead as a doornail,” set
me musing with renewed delight on our incorrigible genius for
myth-making, the faculty that makes our traditional history a perpetual
joy, because it is, like the Sidhe, an eternal Shape-changer.
At Philadelphia, the city of trees, where in spite of a day in the
police court and before a judge, and the arrest of our players at the
suit not of a Puritan but a publican, and the throwing of currant cake
with intent to injure, I received very great personal kindness, a story
of his childhood told by my host gave me a fable on which to hang my
musings; and the Dublin enthusiast and the American enthusiast who
interchanged so many compliments and made so brave a show to one
another, became Dermot and Timothy, “two harmless drifty lads,” the
Bogie Men of my little play. They were to have been vagrants,
tatterdemalions, but I needed some dress the change of which would
change their whole appearance in a moment, and there came to mind the
chimney sweepers of my childhood.
They used to come trotting the five miles from Loughrea, little
fellows with blue eyes shining out from soot-black faces, wearing
little soot-coloured smocks. Our old doctor told us he had gone to see
one of them who was sick, and had found him lying in a box, with soot
up to his chin as bedding and blanket.
Not many years ago a decent looking man came to my door, with I
forget what request. He told me he had heard of ghosts and fairies, but
had never met with anything worse than himself, but that he had had one
great fright in his lifetime. Its cause had been the squealing and
outcry made by two rats caught in one trap, that had come clattering
down a flight of steps one time when he was a little lad, and had come
sweeping chimneys to Roxborough.
[Music: AIR OF “ALL AROUND MY HAT I WILL WEAR A GREEN RIBBON!”]
THE FULL MOON
It had sometimes preyed on my mind that Hyacinth Halvey had
been left by me in Cloon for his lifetime, bearing the weight of a
character that had been put on him by force. But it failed me to
release him by reason, that “binds men to the wheel”; it took the call
of some of those unruly ones who give in to no limitations, and dance
to the sound of music that is outside this world, to bring him out from
“roast and boiled and all the comforts of the day.” Where he is now I
do not know, but anyway he is free.
Tannian's dog has now become a protagonist; and Bartley Fallon and
Shawn Early strayed in from the fair green of Spreading the News, and Mrs. Broderick from the little shop where The Jackdaw hops
on the counter, as witnesses to the miracle that happened in Hyacinth's
own inside; and it is likely they may be talking of it yet; for the
talks of Cloon are long talks, and the histories told there do not
lessen or fail.
As to Davideen's song, I give the air of it below. The Queen Anne in
it was no English queen, but, as I think, that Aine of the old gods at
whose hill mad dogs were used to gather, and who turned to grey the
yellow hair of Finn of the Fianna of Ireland. It is with some thought
of her in their mind that the history-tellers say “Anne was not fair
like the Georges but very bad and a tyrant. She tyrannised over the
Irish. She was very wicked; oh! very wicked indeed!”
[Music: AIR OF “THE HEATHER BROOM!”]
I find some bald little notes I made before writing Coats.
“Hazel is astonished Mineog can take such a thing to heart, but it is
quite different when he himself is off ended.” “The quarrel is so
violent you think it can never be healed, but the ordinary
circumstances of life force reconciliation. They are the most powerful
force of all.” And then a quotation from Nietzsche, “A good war
justifies every cause.”
In a lecture I gave last year on playwriting I said I had been
forced to write comedy because it was wanted for our theatre, to put on
at the end of the verse plays, but that I think tragedy is easier. For,
I said, tragedy shows humanity in the grip of circumstance, of fate, of
what our people call “the thing will happen,” “the Woman in the Stars
that does all.” There is a woman in the stars they say, who is always
hurting herself in one way or other, and according to what she is doing
at the hour of your birth, so will it happen to you in your lifetime,
whether she is hanging herself or drowning herself or burning herself
in the fire. “And,” said an old man who was telling me this, “I am
thinking she was doing a great deal of acting at the time I myself made
my start in the world.” Well, you put your actor in the grip of this
woman, in the claws of the cat. Once in that grip you know what the end
must be. You may let your hero kick or struggle, but he is in the claws
all the time, it is a mere question as to how nearly you will let him
escape, and when you will allow the pounce. Fate itself is the
protagonist, your actor cannot carry much character, it is out of
place. You do not want to know the character of a wrestler you see
trying his strength at a show.
In writing a little tragedy, The Gaol Gate, I made the
scenario in three lines, “He is an informer; he is dead; he is hanged.”
I wrote that play very quickly. My two poor women were in the clutch of
the Woman in the Stars.... I knew what I was going to do and I was able
to keep within those three lines. But in comedy it is different.
Character comes in, and why it is so I cannot explain, but as soon as
one creates a character, he begins to put out little feet of his own
and take his own way.
I had been meditating for a long time past on the mass of advice
that is given one by friends and well-wishers and relations, advice
that would be excellent if the giver were not ignorant so often of the
one essential in the case, the one thing that matters. But there is
usually something out of sight, of which the adviser is unaware, it may
be something half mischievously hidden from him, it may be that “secret
of the heart with God” that is called religion. In the whole course of
our work at the theatre we have been I may say drenched with advice by
friendly people who for years gave us the reasons why we did not
succeed.... All their advice, or at least some of it, might have been
good if we had wanted to make money, to make a common place of
amusement. Our advisers did not see that what we wanted was to create
for Ireland a theatre with a base of realism, with an apex of beauty.
Well, last summer I made a fable for this meditation, this emotion, at
the back of my mind to drive.
I pictured to myself, for I usually first see a play as a picture, a
young man, a mere lad, very sleepy in the daytime. He was surrounded by
people kind and wise, who lamented over his rags and idleness and
assured him that if he didn't get up early and do his work in the
daytime he would never know the feel of money in his hand. He listens
to all their advice, but he does not take it, because he knows what
they do not know, that it is in the night time precisely he is filling
his pocket, in the night when, as I think, we receive gifts from the
unseen. I placed him in the house of a miser, an old man who had saved
a store of gold. I called the old man Damer, from a folk-story of a
chandler who had bought for a song the kegs of gold the Danes had
covered with tallow as a disguise when they were driven out of Ireland,
and who had been rich and a miser ever after. I did not mean this old
man, Damer, to appear at all. He was to be as invisible as that Heaven
of which we are told the violent take it by force. My intention at
first was that he should be robbed, but then I saw robbery would take
too much sympathy from my young lad, and I decided the money should be
won by the lesser sin of cardplaying, but still behind the scenes. Then
I thought it would have a good stage effect if old Damer could just
walk once across the stage in the background. His relations might have
come into the house to try and make themselves agreeable to him, and he
would appear and they would vanish. ... Damer comes in, and contrary
to my intention, he begins to find a tongue of his own. He has made his
start in the world, and has more than a word to say. How that play will
work out I cannot be sure, or if it will ever be finished at all. But
if ever it is I am quite sure it will go as Damer wants, not as I want.
That is what I said last winter, and now in harvest time the play is
all but out of my hands. But as I foretold, Damer has taken possession
of it, turning it to be as simple as a folk-tale, where the innocent of
the world confound the wisdom of the wise. The idea with which I set
out has not indeed quite vanished, but is as if “extinct and pale; not
darkness, but light that has become dead.”
As to Damer's changes of mood, it happened a little time ago, when
the play was roughly written, but on its present lines, that I took up
a volume of Montaigne, and found in it his justification by high
“Verilie it is not want but rather plentie that causeth avarice. I
will speake of mine owne experience concerning this subject. I have
lived in three kinds of condition since I came out of my infancie. The
first time, which continued well nigh twentie yeares, I have past it
over as one who had no other means but casual without any certaine
maintenance or regular prescription. My expenses were so much the more
carelessly laid out and lavishly employed, by how much more they wholly
depended on fortunes rashnesse and exhibition. I never lived so well at
ease.... My second manner of life hath been to have monie: which when I
had once fingred, according to my condition I sought to hoorde up some
against a rainy day.... My minde was ever on my halfe-penny; my
thoughts ever that way. Of commoditie I had little or nothing.... And
after you are once accustomed, and have fixed your thoughts upon a
heape of monie, it is no longer at your service; you dare not diminish
it; it is a building which if you touch or take any part from it, you
will think it will all fall. And I should sooner pawne my clothes or
sell a horse, with lesse care and compulsion than make a breach into
that beloved purse which I kept in store.... I was some yeares of the
same humour: I wot not what good Demon did most profitably remove me
from it, like to the Siracusan, and made me to neglect my sparing.... I
live from hand to mouth, from day to day, and have I but to supplie my
present and ordinarie needs I am satisfied.... And I singularly
gratifie myself this correction came upon me in an age naturally
inclined to covetousnesse, and that I am free from that folly so common
and peculiar to old men, and the most ridiculous of all humane follies.
Feraulez who had passed through both fortunes and found that encrease
of goods was no encrease of appetite to eat, to sleepe or to embrace
his wife; and who on the other side felt heavily on his shoulders the
importunitie of ordering and directing his Oeconomicall affairs as it
doth on mine, determined with himselfe to content a poore young man,
his faithfull friend, greedily gaping after riches, and frankly made
him a present donation of all his great and excessive riches, always
provided hee should undertake to entertaine and find him, honestly and
in good sort, as his guest and friend. In which estate they lived
afterwards most happily and mutually content with the change of their
And so I hope it may come to pass with the remaining years of Simon
and of Damer.
In my childhood there was every year at my old home, Roxborough, or,
as it is called in Irish, Cregroostha, a great sheep-shearing that
lasted many days. On the last evening there was always a dance for the
shearers and their helpers, and two pipers used to sit on chairs placed
on a corn-bin to make music for the dance. One of them was always
McDonough. He was the best of all the wandering pipers who went about
from house to house. When, at my marriage, I moved from the barony of
Dunkellin to the neighbouring barony of Kiltartan, he came and played
at the dance given to the tenants in my honour, and he came and played
also at my son's coming of age. Not long after that he died. The last
time I saw him he came to ask for a loan of money to take the train to
Ennis, where there was some fair or gathering of people going on, and I
would not lend to so old a friend, but gave him a half-sovereign, and
we parted with kindly words. He was so great a piper that in the few
years since his death myths have already begun to gather around him. I
have been told that his father was taken into a hill of the Danes, the
Tuatha de Danaan, the ancient invisible race, and they had taught him
all their tunes and so bewitched his pipes that they would play of
themselves if he threw them up on the rafters. McDonough's pipes, they
say, had not that gift, but he himself could play those inspired tunes.
Lately I was told the story I have used in this play about his taking
away fifty sovereigns from the shearing at Cregroostha and spending
them at a village near. “I said to him,” said the old man who told me
this, “that it would be better for him to have bought a good kitchen of
bacon; but he said, 'Ah, when I want more, I have but to squeeze the
pipes.'“ The story of his wife's death and burial as I give it has been
told to me here and there. That is my fable, and the emotion disclosed
by the story is, I think, the lasting pride of the artist of all ages:
“We are the music makers
And we are the dreamers of dreams....
We in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth.”
I wrote the little play while crossing the Atlantic in the Cymric
last September. Since it was written I have been told at Kinvara that
“McDonough was a proud man; he never would go to a wedding unasked, and
he never would play through a town,” So he had laid down pride for
pride's sake, at that time of the burying of his wife.
In Galway this summer one who was with him at the end told me he had
a happy death, “But he died poor; for what he would make in the long
nights he would spend through the summer days.” And then she said,
“Himself and Reilly and three other fine pipers died within that year.
There was surely a feast of music going on in some other place.”
Dates of production of plays.
THE BOGIE MEN was first produced at the Court Theatre, London, July
1912, with the following cast:
Taig O'Harragha J. M. KERRIGAN
Darby Melody J. A. O'ROURKE
THE FULL MOON was first produced at the Abbey
Theatre, Dublin, on November 10, 1910, with the
Shawn Early J. O'ROURKE
Bartley Fallon ARTHUR SINCLAIR
Peter Tannian SIDNEY MORGAN
Hyacinth Halvey FRED. O'DONOVAN
Mrs. Broderick SARA ALLGOOD
Miss Joyce EILEEN O'DOHERTY
Cracked Mary MAIRE O'NEILL
Davideen J. M. KERRIGAN
COATS was first produced at the Abbey Theatre,
Dublin, December, 1910, with the following cast:
Mineog ARTHUR SINCLAIR
Hazel J. M. KERRIGAN
John J. A. O'ROURKE
DAMER'S GOLD was first produced at the Abbey
Theatre November 21, 1912, with the following cast:
Delia Hessian SARA ALLGOOD
Staffy Kirwan SIDNEY MORGAN
Ralph Hessian J. M. KERRIGAN
Damer ARTHUR SINCLAIR
Simon Niland A. WRIGHT
McDONOUGH'S WIFE has not yet been produced by the Abbey Company.