Billy Maloney’s Taste of Love and Glory
by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
From “The Purcell Papers.”
Let the reader fancy a soft summer evening, the
fresh dews falling on bush and flower. The sun has
just gone down, and the thrilling vespers of thrushes
and blackbirds ring with a wild joy through the saddened
air; the west is piled with fantastic clouds, and clothed
in tints of crimson and amber, melting away into a wan
green, and so eastward into the deepest blue, through
which soon the stars will begin to peep.
Let him fancy himself seated upon the low mossy
wall of an ancient churchyard, where hundreds of grey
stones rise above the sward, under the fantastic branches
of two or three half-withered ash-trees, spreading their
arms in everlasting love and sorrow over the dead.
The narrow road upon which I and my companion
await the tax-cart that is to carry me and my basket,
with its rich fruitage of speckled trout, away, lies at his
feet, and far below spreads an undulating plain, rising
westward into soft hills, and traversed (every here and
there visibly) by a winding stream which, even through
the mists of evening, catches and returns the funeral
glories of the skies.
As the eye traces its wayward wanderings, it loses them
for a moment in the heaving verdure of white-thorns
and ash, from among which floats from some dozen rude
chimneys, mostly unseen, the transparent blue film of
turf smoke. There we know, although we cannot
see it, the steep old bridge of Carrickdrum spans the
river; and stretching away far to the right the valley
of Lisnamoe; its steeps and hollows, its straggling
hedges, its fair-green, its tall scattered trees, and old
grey tower, are disappearing fast among the discoloured
tints and blaze of evening.
Those landmarks, as we sit listlessly expecting the
arrival of our modest conveyance, suggest to our companion—a
bare-legged Celtic brother of the gentle craft,
somewhat at the wrong side of forty, with a turf-coloured
caubeen, patched frieze, a clear brown complexion, dark-grey
eyes and a right pleasant dash of roguery in his
features—the tale, which, if the reader pleases, he is
welcome to hear along with me just as it falls from the
lips of our humble comrade.
His words I can give, but your own fancy must supply
the advantages of an intelligent, expressive countenance,
and what is, perhaps, harder still, the harmony of his
glorious brogue, that, like the melodies of our own
dear country, will leave a burden of mirth or of sorrow
with nearly equal propriety, tickling the diaphragm
as easily as it plays with the heart-strings, and is in itself
a national music that, I trust, may never, never—scouted
and despised though it be—never cease, like the lost tones
of our harp, to be heard in the fields of my country,
in welcome or endearment, in fun or in sorrow, stirring
the hearts of Irishmen and Irish women.
My friend of the caubeen and naked shanks, then,
commenced, and continued his relation, as nearly
as possible, in the following words:—
Av coorse ye often heerd talk of Billy Malowney,
that lived by the bridge of Carrickadrum. “Leumarinka”
was the name they put on him, he was sich a
beautiful dancer. An’ faix, it’s he was the rale sportin’
boy, every way—killin’ the hares, and gaffin’ the
salmons, an’ fightin’ the men, an’ funnin’ the women,
and coortin’ the girls; an’, be the same token, there
was not a colleen inside iv his jurisdiction but was
breakin’ her heart wid the fair love iv him.
Well, this was all pleasand enough, to be sure, while
it lasted; but inhuman beings is born to misfortune,
an’ Bill’s divarshin was not to last always. A young
boy can’t be continually coortin’ and kissin’ the girls
(an’ more’s the pity) without exposin’ himself to the
most eminent parril; an’ so signs an’ what should
happen Billy Malowney himself, but to fall in love at
last wid little Molly Donovan, in Coolamoe.
I never could ondherstand why in the world it was
Bill fell in love wid her, above all the girls in the country.
She was not within four stone weight iv being as fat
as Peg Brallaghan; and as for redness in the face,
she could not hould a candle to Judy Flaherty. (Poor
Judy! she was my sweetheart, the darlin’, an’ coorted
me constant, ever entil she married a boy of the Butlers;
an’ it’s twenty years now since she was buried under
the ould white-thorn in Garbally. But that’s no
Well, at any rate, Molly Donovan tuck his fancy
an’ that’s everything! She had smooth brown hair—as
smooth as silk—an’ a pair iv soft coaxin’ eyes—an’
the whitest little teeth you ever seen; an’, bedad, she
was every taste as much in love wid himself as he was.
Well, now, he was raly stupid wid love: there was
not a bit of fun left in him. He was good for nothin’
an airth bud sittin’ under bushes, smokin’ tobacky,
and sighin’ till you’d wonder how in the world he got
wind for it all.
An’, bedad, he was an illigant scholar, moreover
an’, so signs by, it’s many’s the song he made about her;
an’ if you’d be walkin’ in the evening, a mile away
from Carrickadrum, begorra you’d hear him singing
out like a bull, all across the country, in her praises.
Well, ye may be sure, ould Tim Donovan and the
wife was not a bit too well plased to see Bill Malowney
coortin’ their daughter Molly; for, do ye mind, she was
the only child they had, and her fortune was thirty-five
pounds, two cows, and five illigant pigs, three iron pots,
a skillet, an’ a trifle iv poultry in hand; and no one
knew how much besides, whenever the Lord id be plased
to call the ould people out of the way into glory!
So, it was not likely ould Tim Donovan id be fallin’
in love wid poor Bill Malowney as aisy as the girls did;
for, barrin’ his beauty, an’ his gun, an’ his dhudheen,
an’ his janious, the divil a taste of property iv any sort
or description he had in the wide world!
Well, as bad as that was, Billy would not give in that
her father and mother had the smallest taste iv a right
to intherfare, good or bad.
“An’ you’re welcome to rafuse me,” says he, “whin’
I ax your lave,” says he; “an’ I’ll ax your lave,” says
he, “whenever I want to coort yourselves,” says he;
“but it’s your daughter I’m coortin’ at the present,”
says he, “an’ that’s all I’ll say,” says he; “for I’d a
soon take a doase of salts as be discoursin’ ye,” says
So it was a rale blazin’ battle betune himself and the
ould people; an’, begorra, there was no soart iv
blaguardin’ that did not pass betune them; an’ they
put a solemn injection on Molly again seein’ him or
meetin’ him for the future.
But it was all iv no use. You might as well be pursuadin’
the birds agin flying, or sthrivin’ to coax the
stars out of the sky into your hat, as be talking common
sinse to them that’s fairly bothered and burstin’ wid
love. There’s nothin’ like it. The toothache and
colic together id compose you betther for an argyment
than itself. It leaves you fit for nothin’ bud nansinse.
It’s stronger than whisky, for one good drop iv it
will make you drunk for one year, and sick, begorra,
for a dozen.
It’s stronger than the say, for it’ll carry you round
the world an’ never let you sink, in sunshine or storm;
an’, begorra, it’s stronger than Death himself, for it is
not afeard iv him, bedad, but dares him in every shape.
Bud lovers has quarrels sometimes, and, begorra,
when they do, you’d a’most imagine they hated one
another like man and wife. An’ so, signs an’, Billy
Malowney and Molly Donovan fell out one evening
at ould Tom Dundon’s wake; an’ whatever came betune
them, she made no more about it but just draws her
cloak round her, and away wid herself and the sarvant-girl
home again, as if there was not a corpse, or a fiddle,
or a taste of divarsion in it.
Well, Billy Malowney follied her down the boreen,
to try could he deludher her back again; but, if she
was bitther before, she gave it to him in airnest when
she got him alone to herself, and to that degree that he
wished her safe home, short and sulky enough, an’
walked back again, as mad as the devil himself, to the
wake, to pay respect to poor Tom Dundon.
Well, my dear, it was aisy seen there was something
wrong wid Billy Malowney, for he paid no attintion
for the rest of the evening to any soart of divarsion but
the whisky alone; an’ every glass he’d drink it’s what
he’d be wishing the divil had the woman, an’ the worst
iv bad luck to all soarts iv courting, until, at last, wid
the goodness iv the sperits, an’ the badness iv his temper,
an’ the constant flusthration iv cursin’, he grew all as
one as you might say almost, saving your presince,
Well, who should he fall in wid, in that childish
condition, as he was deploying along the road almost
as straight as the letter S, an’ cursin’ the girls, an’ roarin’
for more whisky, but the recruiting-sargent iv the
So, cute enough, the sargent begins to convarse
him, an’ it was not long until he had him sitting in
Murphy’s public-house, wid an elegant dandy iv punch
before him, an’ the king’s money safe an’ snug in the
lowest wrinkle of his breeches pocket.
So away wid him, and the dhrums and fifes playing,
an’ a dozen more unforthunate bliggards just listed
along with him, an’ he shakin’ hands wid the sargent,
and swearin’ agin the women every minute, until, be
the time he kem to himself, begorra, he was a good ten
miles on the road to Dublin, an’ Molly and all behind
It id be no good tellin’ you iv the letters he wrote
to her from the barracks there, nor how she was breaking
her heart to go and see him just wanst before he’d go;
but the father and mother would not allow iv it be no
An’ so in less time than you’d be thinkin’ about it,
the colonel had him polished off into a rale elegant
soger, wid his gun exercise, and his bagnet exercise,
and his small sword, and broad sword, and pistol and
dagger, an’ all the rest, an’ then away wid him on
board a man-a-war to furrin parts, to fight for King
George agin Bonypart, that was great in them times.
Well, it was very soon in everyone’s mouth how
Billy Malowney was batin’ all before him, astonishin’
the ginerals, and frightenin’ the inimy to that degree,
there was not a Frinchman dare say parley voo outside
of the rounds iv his camp.
You may be sure Molly was proud iv that same, though
she never spoke a word about it; until at last news kem
home that Billy Malowney was surrounded an’
murdered be the Frinch army, under Napoleon Bonypart
himself. The news was brought by Jack Bryan
Dhas, the pedlar, that said he met the corporal iv the
regiment on the quay iv Limerick, an’ how he brought
him into a public-house and thrated him to a naggin,
and got all the news about poor Billy Malowney out
iv him while they war dhrinkin’ it; an’ a sorrowful
story it was.
The way it happened, accordin’ as the corporal tould
him, was jist how the Dook iv Wellington detarmined
to fight a rale tarin’ battle wid the Frinch, and Bonypart
at the same time was aiqually detarmined to
fight the divil’s own scrimmidge wid the British foorces.
Well, as soon as the business was pretty near ready
at both sides, Bonypart and the general next undher
himself gets up behind a bush, to look at their inimies
through spy-glasses, and thry would they know any iv
them at the distance.
“Bedad!” says the gineral, afther a divil iv a long
spy, “I’d bet half a pint,” says he, “that’s Billy
Malowney himself,” says he, “down there,” says he.
“Och!” says Bonypart, “do you tell me so?”
says he—“I’m fairly heart-scalded with that same
Billy Malowney,” says he; “an’ I think if I wanst
got shut iv him, I’d bate the rest of them aisy,” says
“I’m thinking so myself,” says the general, says he;
“but he’s a tough bye,” says he.
“Tough!” says Bonypart, “he’s the divil,” says he.
“Begorra, I’d be better plased,” says the gineral,
says he, “to take himself than the Duke iv Willinton,”
says he, “an’ Sir Edward Blakeney into the bargain,”
“The Duke of Wellinton and Gineral Blakeney,”
says Bonypart, “is great for planning, no doubt,”
says he; “but Billy Malowney’s the boy for action,”
says he—“an’ action’s everything, just now,” says he.
So with that Bonypart pushes up his cocked hat,
and begins scratching his head, and thinking and considherin’
for the bare life, and at last says he to the
“Gineral Commandher iv all the Foorces,” says he,
“I’ve hot it,” says he: “ordher out the forlorn hope,”
says he, “an’ give them as much powdher, both glazed
and blasting,” says he, “an’ as much bullets, do ye
mind, an’ swan-dhrops an’ chainshot,” says he, “an’
all soorts iv waipons an’ combustables as they can
carry; an’ let them surround Bill Malowney,” says he,
“an’ if they can get any soort iv an advantage,” says
he, “let them knock him to smithereens,” says he,
“an’ then take him presner,” says he; “an’ tell all the
bandmen iv the Frinch army,” says he, “to play up
‘Garryowen,’ to keep up their sperits,” says he, “all
the time they’re advancin’. And you may promise
them anything you like in my name,” says he; “for,
by my sowl, I don’t think it’s many iv them ‘ill come
back to throuble us,” says he, winkin’ at him.
So away with the gineral, an’ he ordhers out the
forlorn hope, an’ tells the band to play, an’ everything
else, just as Bonypart desired him. An’ sure enough
whin Billy Malowney heerd the music where he was
standin’ taking a blast of the dhudheen to compose
his mind for murdherin’ the Frinchmen as usual, being
mighty partial to that tune intirely, he cocks his ear
a one side, an’ down he stoops to listen to the music;
but, begorra, who should be in his rare all the time
but a Frinch grannideer behind a bush, and seeing
him stooped in a convenient forum, bedad he let flies
at him straight, and fired him right forward between
the legs an’ the small iv the back, glory be to God!
with what they call (saving your presence) a bum-shell.
Well, Bill Malowney let one roar out iv him, an’
away he rolled over the field iv battle like a slitther
(as Bonypart and the Duke iv Wellington, that was
watching the manoeuvres from a distance, both consayved)
An’ sure enough the Frinch was overjoyed beyant
all bounds, an’ small blame to them—an’ the Duke of
Wellington, I’m toult, was never all out the same man
At any rate, the news kem home how Billy Malowney
was murdhered by the Frinch in furrin parts.
Well, all this time, you may be sure, there was no
want iv boys comin’ to coort purty Molly Donovan;
but one way ar another, she always kept puttin’ them
off constant. An’ though her father and mother was
nathurally anxious to get rid of her respickably, they
did not like to marry her off in spite iv her teeth.
An’ this way, promising one while and puttin’ it off
another, she conthrived to get on from one Shrove
to another, until near seven years was over and gone from
the time when Billy Malowney listed for furrin sarvice.
It was nigh hand a year from the time whin the news
iv Leum-a-rinka bein’ killed by the Frinch came home,
an’ in place iv forgettin’ him, as the saisins wint over,
it’s what Molly was growin’ paler and more lonesome
every day, antil the neighbours thought she was fallin’
into a decline; and this is the way it was with her whin
the fair of Lisnamoe kem round.
It was a beautiful evenin’, just at the time iv the reapin’
iv the oats, and the sun was shinin’ through the red
clouds far away over the hills iv Cahirmore.
Her father an’ mother, an’ the biys an’ girls, was all
away down in the fair, and Molly sittin’ all alone on the
step of the stile, listenin’ to the foolish little birds
whistlin’ among the leaves—and the sound of the mountain-river
flowin’ through the stones an’ bushes—an’
the crows flyin’ home high overhead to the woods iv
Glinvarlogh—an’ down in the glen, far away, she could
see the fair-green iv Lisnamoe in the mist, an’ sunshine
among the grey rocks and threes—an’ the cows
an’ horses, an’ the blue frieze, an’ the red cloaks, an’
the tents, an’ the smoke, an’ the ould round tower—all
as soft an’ as sorrowful as a dhrame iv ould times.
An’ while she was looking this way, an’ thinking iv
Leum-a-rinka—poor Bill iv the dance, that was sleepin’
in his lonesome glory in the fields of Spain—she began
to sing the song he used to like so well in the ould times:
“Shule, shule, shule a-roon;”
an’ when she ended the verse, what do you think but
she heard a manly voice just at the other side iv the
hedge, singing the last words over again!
Well she knew it; her heart fluttered up like a little
bird that id be wounded, and then dhropped still in her
breast. It was himself. In a minute he was through
the hedge and standing before her.
“Leum!” says she.
“Mavourneen cuishla machree!” says he; and
without another word they were locked in one
Well, it id only be nansinse for me thryin’ to tell
ye all the foolish things they said, and how they looked
in one another’s faces, an’ laughed, an’ cried, an’
laughed again; and how, when they came to themselves’
and she was able at last to believe it was raly Billy himself
that was there, actially holdin’ her hand, and lookin’
in her eyes the same way as ever, barrin’ he was browner
and boulder, an’ did not, maybe, look quite as merry
in himself as he used to do in former times—an’
fondher for all, an’ more lovin’ than ever—how he
tould her all about the wars wid the Frinchmen—an’
how he was wounded, and left for dead in the field of
battle, bein’ shot through the breast, and how he was
discharged, an’ got a pinsion iv a full shillin’ a day—and
how he was come back to live the rest iv his days in
the sweet glen iv Lisnamoe, an’ (if only she’d consint)
to marry herself in spite iv them all.
Well, ye may aisily think they had plinty to talk
about, afther seven years without seeing one another;
and so signs on, the time flew by as swift an’ as pleasant
as a bird on the wing, an’ the sun wint down, an’ the
moon shone sweet, yet they didn’t mind a ha’port
about it, but kept talkin an’ whisperin’, an’ whisperin’
an’ talkin’; for it’s wondherful how often a tinder-hearted
girl will bear to hear a purty boy tellin’ her
the same story constant over an’ over; ontil at last,
sure enough, they heerd the ould man himself comin’
up the boreen, singin’ the “Colleen Rue”—a thing
he never done barrin’ whin he had a dhrop in; an’
the misthress walkin’ in front iv him an’ two illigant
Kerry cows he just bought in the fair, an’ the sarvint
biys dhriving them behind.
“Oh, blessed hour!” says Molly, “here’s my
“I’ll spake to him this minute,” says Bill.
“Oh, not for the world,” says she; “he’s singin’
the ‘Colleen Rue,’” says she, “and no one dar raison
with him,” says she.
“An’ where’ll I go?” says he, “for they’re into
the haggard an top iv us,” says he, “an’ they’ll see
me iv I lep through the hedge,” says he.
“Thry the pig-sty,” says she, “mavourneen,” says
she, “in the name iv God,” says she.
“Well, darlint,” says he, “for your sake,” says he,
“I’ll condescend to them animals,” says he.
An’ wid that he makes a dart to get in; bud, begorra,
it was too late—the pigs was all gone home, and the
pig-sty was as full as the Birr coach wid six inside.
“Och! blur-an’-agers,” says he, “there is not
room for a suckin’-pig,” says he, “let alone a Christian,”
“Well, run into the house, Billy,” says she, “this
minute,” says she, “an’ hide yourself antil they’re
quiet,” says she, “an’ thin you can steal out,” says
she, “anknownst to them all,” says she.
“I’ll do your biddin’,” says he, “Molly asthore,”
“Run in thin,” says she, “an’ I’ll go an’ meet them,”
So wid that away wid her, and in wint Billy, an’
where did he hide himself bud in a little closet that
was off iv the room where the ould man and woman
slep’. So he closed the doore, and sot down in an ould
chair he found there convanient.
Well, he was not well in it when all the rest iv them
comes into the kitchen, an’ ould Tim Donovan singin’
the “Colleen Rue” for the bare life, an’ the rest i’
them sthrivin’ to humour him, an doin’ exactly everything
he bid them, because they seen he was foolish
be the manes of the liquor.
Well, to be sure all this kep’ them long enough, you
may be sure, from goin’ to bed, so that Billy could get
no manner iv an advantage to get out iv the house, and
so he sted sittin’ in the dark closet in state, cursin’ the
“Colleen Rue,” and wondhering to the divil whin
they’d get the ould man into his bed. An’, as if that was
not delay enough, who should come in to stop for the
night but Father O’Flaherty, of Cahirmore, that was
buyin’ a horse at the fair! An’ av course, there was
a bed to be med down for his Raverance, an’ some other
attintions; an’ a long discoorse himself an’ ould Mrs.
Donovan had about the slaughter iv Billy Malowney,
an’ how he was buried on the field of battle; an’ his
Raverance hoped he got a dacent funeral, an’ all the other
convaniences iv religion. An’ so you may suppose
it was pretty late in the night before all iv them got
to their beds.
Well, Tim Donovan could not settle to sleep at all
at all, an’ he kep’ discoorsin’ the wife about the new
cows he bought, an’ the strippers he sould, an’ so on
for better than an hour, ontil from one thing to another
he kem to talk about the pigs, an’ the poulthry, and
at last, having nothing betther to discoorse about, he
begun at his daughter Molly, an’ all the heartscald
she was to him be raisin iv refusin’ the men. An’
at last says he:
“I onderstand,” says he, “very well how it is,”
says he. “It’s how she was in love,” says he, “wid
that bliggard, Billy Malowney,” says he, “bad luck
to him!” says he; for by this time he was coming
to his raison.
“Ah!” says the wife, says she, “Tim darlint, don’t
be cursin’ them that’s dead an’ buried,” says she.
“An’ why would not I,” says he, “if they desarve
it?” says he.
“Whisht,” says she, “an’ listen to that,” says she.
“In the name of the Blessed Vargin,” says she, “what
is it?” says she.
An’ sure enough what was it bud Bill Malowney
that was dhroppin’ asleep in the closet, an’ snorin’ like
a church organ.
“Is it a pig,” says he, “or is it a Christian?”
“Arra! listen to the tune iv it,” says she; “sure
a pig never done the like iv that,” says she.
“Whatever it is,” says he, “it’s in the room wid us,”
says he. “The Lord be marciful to us!” says he.
“I tould you not to be cursin’,” says she; “bad
luck to you,” says she, “for an ommadhaun!” for
she was a very religious woman in herself.
“Sure, he’s buried in Spain,” says he; “an’ it is
not for one little innocent expression,” says he, “he’d
be comin’ all that way to annoy the house,” says he.
Well, while they war talkin,’ Bill turns in the way
he was sleepin’ into an aisier imposture; and as soon
as he stopped snorin’ ould Tim Donovan’s courage riz
agin, and says he.
“I’ll go to the kitchen,” says he, “an’ light a rish,”
An’ with that away wid him, an’ the wife kep’ workin’
the beads all the time, an’ before they kem back Bill
was snorin’ as loud as ever.
“Oh! bloody wars—I mane the blessed saints above
us!—that deadly sound,” says he; “it’s going on as
lively as ever,” says he.
“I’m as wake as a rag,” says his wife, says she, “wid
the fair anasiness,” says she. “It’s out iv the little
closet it’s comin’,” says she.
“Say your prayers,” says he, “an’ hould your
tongue,” says he, “while I discoorse it,” says he.
“An’ who are ye,” says he, “in the name iv all the
holy saints?” says he, givin’ the door a dab iv a crusheen
that wakened Bill inside.
“I ax,” says he, “who you are?” says he.
Well, Bill did not rightly remember where in the
world he was, but he pushed open the door, an’ says
“Billy Malowney’s my name,” says he, “an’ I’ll
thank ye to tell me a betther,” says he.
Well, whin Tim Donovan heard that, an’ actially
seen that it was Bill himself that was in it, he had not
strength enough to let a bawl out iv him, but he dhropt
the candle out iv his hand, an’ down wid himself on his
back in the dark.
Well, the wife let a screech you’d hear at the mill
iv Killraghlin, an’—
“Oh,” says she, “the spirit has him, body an’
bones!” says she. “Oh, holy St. Bridget—oh
Mother iv Marcy—oh, Father O’Flaherty!” says she,
screechin’ murdher from out iv her bed.
Well, Bill Malowney was not a minute rememberin’
himself, an’ so out wid him quite an’ aisy, an’ through
the kitchen; bud in place iv the door iv the house,
it’s what he kem to the door iv Father O’Flaherty’s
little room, where he was jist wakenin’ wid the noise
iv the screechin’ an’ battherin’; an’, bedad, Bill makes
no more about it, but he jumps, wid one boult, clever
an’ clane into his Raverance’s bed.
“What do ye mane, you uncivilised bliggard?”
says his Raverance. “Is that a venerable way,” says
he, “to approach your clargy?” says he.
“Hould your tongue,” says Bill, “an’ I’ll do ye no
harum,” says he.
“Who are you, ye schoundhrel iv the world?” says
“Whisht!” says he, “I’m Bill Malowney,” says
“You lie!” says his Raverance—for he was
frightened beyont all bearin’—an’ he makes bud one
jump out iv the bed at the wrong side, where there
was only jist a little place in the wall for a press, an’
his Raverance could not as much as turn in it for the
wealth iv kingdoms. “You lie,” says he; “but for
fear it’s the thruth you’re tellin’,” says he, “here’s
at ye in the name iv all the blessed saints together!”
An’ wid that, my dear, he blazes away at him wid
a Latin prayer iv the strongest description, an’, as he
said to himself afterwards, that was iv a nature that
id dhrive the divil himself up the chimley like a puff
iv tobacky smoke, wid his tail betune his legs.
“Arra, what are ye sthrivin’ to say,” says Bill, says
he; “if ye don’t hould your tongue,” says he, “wid
your parly voo,” says he, “it’s what I’ll put my thumb
on your windpipe,” says he, “an’ Billy Malowney
never wint back iv his word yet,” says he.
“Thunder-an-owns,” says his Raverance, says he—seein’
the Latin took no infect on him, at all at all,
an’ screechin’ that you’d think he’d rise the thatch
up iv the house wid the fair fright—“an’ thundher
and blazes, boys, will none of yes come here wid a
candle, but lave your clargy to be choked by a spirit
in the dark?” says he.
Well, be this time the sarvint boys and the rest iv
them wor up an’ half dressed, an’ in they all run, one
on top iv another, wid pitchforks and spades, thinkin’
it was only what his Raverance slep’ a dhrame iv the like,
by means of the punch he was afther takin’ just before
he rowl’d himself into the bed. But, begorra, whin
they seen it was raly Billy Malowney himself that was
in it, it was only who’d be foremost out agin, tumblin’
backways, one over another, and his Raverance roarin’
an’ cursin’ them like mad for not waitin’ for him.
Well, my dear, it was betther than half an hour before
Billy Malowney could explain to them all how it raly
was himself, for begorra they were all iv them persuadin’
him that he was a spirit to that degree it’s a
wondher he did not give in to it, if it was only to put
a stop to the argiment.
Well, his Raverance tould the ould people then
there was no use in sthrivin’ agin the will iv Providence
an’ the vagaries iv love united; an’ whin they kem to
undherstand to a sartinty how Billy had a shillin’ a
day for the rest iv his days, begorra they took rather
a likin’ to him, and considhered at wanst how he must
hav riz out of all his nansinse entirely, or His gracious
Majesty id never have condescinded to show him his
countenance every day of his life on a silver
An’ so, begorra, they never stopt till it was all settled—an’
there was not sich a weddin’ as that in the counthry
sinst. It’s more than forty years ago, an’ though
I was no more nor a gossoon meself, I remimber it like
yesterday. Molly never looked so purty before, an’
Billy Malowney was plisant beyont all hearin’, to that
degree that half the girls in it was fairly tarin’ mad—only
they would not let on—they had not him to themselves
in place iv her. An’ begorra, I’d be afeared
to tell ye, because you would not believe me, since
that blessid man Father Mathew put an ent to all soorts
of sociality, the Lord reward him, how many gallons
iv pottieen whisky was dhrank upon that most solemn
and tindher occaison.
Pat Hanlon, the piper, had a faver out iv it; an’
Neddy Shawn Heigue, mountin’ his horse the wrong
way, broke his collar-bone, by the manes iv fallin’ over
his tail while he was feelin’ for his head; an’ Payther
Brian, the horse-docther, I am tould, was never quite
right in the head ever afther; an’ ould Tim Donovan
was singin’ the “Colleen Rue” night and day for a
full week; an’, begorra the weddin’ was only the foundation
iv fun, and the beginning iv divarsion, for there
was not a year for ten years afther, an’ more, but
brought round a christenin’ as regular as the sasins