New Irish Comedies
Lady Augusta Gregory
Part 2 out of 3
_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 gap.
_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 that.
_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 near it.
_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 hurry.
_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 lost.
_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
_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 all."
_Hazel:_ "To lay down his mind on paper it would be hard to beat
_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 myself.
_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 delay.
_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 my
_Hazel:_ Not at all.
_Mineog:_ You to kill me to-day and to think to bury me to-morrow!
_Hazel:_ Can't you listen? I was wanting something to fill space.
_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 down.
_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 you
_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
_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
_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
_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 me?
_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 man!
_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
_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
_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 time!
_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
_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 couple
of chairs. An old coat and hat hanging on the wall. A knocking is
heard at door at back. It is unlatched from outside. Delia comes in_.
_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
_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 the
_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 nickname.
_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
_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 being
_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
_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 it.
_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
_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 thorny heart.
_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 door?
_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 his
room. There is a knock at the door. Then it is cautiously opened and
Simon Niland comes in, and stands near the hearth. Damer comes back
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 or
_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 out.
_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
_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
_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 bed,
_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
_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 chance.
_Simon:_ You didn't make it but with yourself.
_Damer:_ It was through my luck leaving me I swore against betting
_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 asleep
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
_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
_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 come?
_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?
_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 see!
_(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
_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
_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
_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 his
_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 it.
_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
_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 law.
_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
_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 crock.
_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 all!
_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 gold?
_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
_Simon:_ So I will make it out. Where now is Damer?
_Staffy:_ He is gone down the road, where he brought away Jubair
_Simon:_ What are you saying? The dog gone is it? _(Goes to door.)_
_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 box.
_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 door.
_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 mouth.
_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 that?
_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
_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 it
_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 prey?
_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 stranger?
_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
_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
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