Слике страница

Editor, “ Every one would wish and be proud to have such at his funeral, or at that of his friends.” The lower Irish are wonderfully eager to attend the funerals of their friends and relations, and they make their relationships branch out to a great extent. The proof that a poor man has been well beloved during his life is his having a crowded funeral. To attend a neighbour's funeral is a cheap proof of humanity, but it does not, as some imagine, cost nothing. The time spent in attending funerals may be safely valued at half a million to the Irish nation ; the Editor thinks that double that sum would not be too high an estimate. The habits of profligacy and drunkenness, which are acquired at wakes, are here put out of the question. When a labourer, a carpenter, or a smith, is not at his work, which frequently happens, ask where he is gone, and ten to one the answer is “Oh faith, please your honour, he couldn't do a stroke to-day, for he's gone to the funeral.”

Even beggars, when they grow old, go about begging for their own funerals; that is, begging for money to buy a coffin, candles, pipes, and tobacco. For the use of the candles, pipes, and tobacco, see Wake.

Those who value customs in proportion to their antiquity, and nations in proportion to their adherence to ancient customs, will, doubtless, admire the Irish Ullaloo, and the Irish nation, for persevering in this usage from time immemorial. The Editor, however, has observed some alarming symptoms, which seem to prognosticate the declining taste for the Ullaloo in Ireland. In a coini: theatrical entertainment, represented not long since on the Dublin stage, a chorus of old women was introduued, who set up the Irish howl round the relics o^ a physician, who is supposed to have fallen under iha wooden sword of Harlequin. After the old women have continued their Ullaloo for a decent time, with all the necessary accompaniments of wringing their hands, wiping or rubbing their eyes with the corners of their gowns or aprons, &c. one of the mourners suddenly suspends her lamentable cries, and, turning to her neighbour, asks, “Arrah now, honey, who is it we're crying for?”

Page 6. The tenants were sent away without their whiskey. It is usual with some landlords to give their inferior tenants a glass of whiskey when they pay their rents. Thady calls it their whiskey; not that the whiskey is actually the property of the tenants, but that it becomes their right after it has been often given to them. In this general mode of reasoning respecting rights the lower Irish are not singular, but they are peculiarly quick and tenacious in claiming these rights. “Last year your honour gave me some straw for the roof of my house, and I expect your honour will be after doing the same this year.” In this manner gifts are frequently turned into tributes. The high and low are not always dissimilar in their habits. It is said, that the Sublime Ottoman Porte is very apt to claim gifts as tributes: thus it is dangerous to send the Grand Seignor a fine horse on his birthday. ane year, lest on his next birthday he should oxpect a similar present, and should proceed to demanstrate the reasonableness of his expectations.

**Page 7. He demeaned himself greatly-means, "he lowered or disgraced himself much.

Page 7. Duty fowls, and duty turkies, and duty geese.-In many leases in Ireland, tenants were formerly bound to supply an inordinate quantity of poultry to their landlords. The Editor knew of thirty turkies being reserved in one lease of a small farm.

Page 9. English tenants.-An English tenant does not mean a tenant who is an Englishman, but a tenant who pays his rent the day that it is due. It is a common prejudice in Ireland, amongst the poorer classes of people, to believe that all tenants in England pay

their rents on the very day when they become due. An Irishman, when he goes to take a farm, if he wants to prove to his landlord that he is a substantial man, offers to become an English tenant. If a tenant disobliges his landlord by voting against him, or against his opinion, at an election, the tenant is immediately informed by the agent, that he must become an English tenant. This threat does not imply that he is to change his language or his country, but that he must pay all the arrear of rent which he owes, and that he must thenceforward pay his rent on that day when it becomes due.

Page 9. Canting-does not mean talking or writing hypocritical nonsense, but selling substantially by auction.

Page 9. Duty work.-It was formerly common in Ireland to insert clauses in leases, binding tenants to furnish their landlords with labourers and horses for several days in the year. Much petty tyranny and oppression have resulted from this feudal custom. Whenever a poor man disobliged his landlord, the agent sent to him for his duty work, and Thady does not exaggerate when he says, that the tenants were often called from their own work to do that of their landlord. Thus the very means of earning their rent were taken from them: whilst they were getting home their landlord's harvest, their own was often ruined, and yet their rents were expected to be paid as punctually as if their time had been at their own disposal. This appears the height of absurd injustice. In Esthonia, amongst the poor

Sclavonian race of peasant slaves, they pay tributes to their lords, not under the name of duty work, duty geese, duty turkies, &c., but under the name of righteousnesses. The following ballad is a curious specimen of Esthonian poetry:

“ This is the cause that the country is ruined,
And the straw of the thatch is eaten away,
The gentry are come to live in the land-
Chimneys between the village,
And the proprietor upon the white floor!
The sheep brings forth a lamb with a white forehead,

This is paid to the lord for a righteousness sheep.
The sow farrows pigs,
They go to the spit of the lord.
The hen lays eggs,
They go into the lord's frying-pan.
The cow drops a male calf,
That goes into the lord's herd as a bull.
The mare foals a horse foal,
That must be for my lord's nag.
The boor's wife has sons,

They must go to look after my lord's poultry.” Page 10. Out of forty-nine suits which he had, he never lost one but seventeen.-- Thady's language in this instance is a specimen of a mode of rhetoric common in Ireland. An astonishing assertion is made in the beginning of a sentence, which ceases to be in the least surprising, when you hear the qualifying explanation that follows. Thus a man who is in the last stage of staggering drunkenness will, if he can articulate, swear to you—“Upon his conscience now, and may he never stir from the spot alive if he is telling a lie, upon his conscience he has not tasted a drop of any thing, good or bad, since morning at-all-at-all, but half a pint of whiskey, please your honour.”

Page 11. Fairy Mounts—Barrows. It is said that these high mounts were of great service to the natives of Ireland when Ireland was invaded by the Danes. Watch was always kept on them, and upon the approach of an enemy a fire was lighted to give notice to the next watch, and thus the intelligence was quickly communicated through the country.

« ПретходнаНастави »