an ebook published by Project Gutenberg Australia

Title: The Surprising Adventures Of Mrs. Bridget McSweeney
Author: Thos. E. Spencer
eBook No.: 2400021h.html
Language: English
Date first posted: 2024
Most recent update: 2024

This eBook was produced by: Walter Moore and Colin Choat

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The Surprising Adventures Of Mrs. Bridget McSweeney

Thos. E. Spencer






Mrs. McSweeney at Paddy’s Market
Mrs. McSweeney At The Bowling Green
Mrs. McSweeney At The Wombeyan Caves
Mrs. McSweeney Goes To Manly
Mrs. McSweeney’s Lady Help
Mrs. McSweeney At Killara
Mrs. McSweeney Receives A Deputation
Mrs. McSweeney At A Sale
Mrs. McSweeney On The Razzle-Dazzle
Mrs. McSweeney Goes To A Dance
Mrs. McSweeney Goes To A Dentist
Mrs. McSweeney Plays Golf
Mrs. McSweeney’s Birthday
Mrs. McSweeney On Conjugal Felicity

Mrs. McSweeney at Paddy’s Market

“Faith ’tis glad I am to see ye,” said Mrs. McSweeney, as she opened the door to Mrs. Moloney. “And where have ye been this long time? I’ve not sane ye for a wake, so I haven’t.”

“’Twill be a wake to-morrow,” said Mrs. Moloney, as she prepared to seat herself in the rocking chair, which stood inviting beside the fire, and seemed a desirable haven of rest, when contrasted with the raw damp weather out of doors.

“For the love of Hiven!” screamed Mrs. McSweeney, “moind phwat you are doin’. You were nearly sittin’ on the cat, so you was.”

“Sure! you put me heart in me mouth,” said Mrs. Moloney, as Mrs. McSweeney hunted the cat out of the chair. “’Twas near doin’ it I was. Another second and it would have been a bad job for both of us. I moind the time when I sat on a cat oncet in a room full of payple. I was forced to pretind that I was unconsarned, but, although me face did not bethray me, I carried the marks for a fortnight.” Then, settling herself in the chair and exposing her ample ankles to the warmth of the cheerful blaze, she added: “I called on Sathurday night, but ye were out gallivantin’ somewhere.”

“On Sathurday night?” said Mrs. McSweeney, reflectively. “Let me see now. Where was I on Sathurday night? Oh! I know. I wint wid Pat and the twins to Paddy’s Market. You see the twins are dreadful hard on knickerbockers. It takes me the whole of me time, Mrs. Moloney, kapin’ the sayts of them anyway tidy, and I wanted somethin’ for them to go to school in. I was told that ther’s great bargains to be got in Paddy’s Market, and sometimes little the worse for wear. So when I’d finished washin’ up I says to Pat. ‘We’ll take a run to Paddy’s Market, and maybe we’ll pick up a bargain,’ says I.

“Of course he growled a bit, as he generally does when I ask him to take me out, but he gev in as usual when he found I was set on it. And so we wint. ’Twas a wet noight, and outside the Market it was sloppy and dhrizzly, but inside it was all a blaze of light, wid crowds of payple all pushin’ and jostlin’ as happy as could be. There was old payple, and young payple, and middle-aged payple, of all sorts and sexes enjoyin’ themselves in all sorts of ways.

“We wint in at one ind and out at the other, and then we wint in at the ind we came out of, and out at the ind we wint in at. There was ferns and maiden hair, and cut flowers, and cauliflowers, artificial flowers, and flowers all a-blowin’ and a-growin’. There was potatoes and beans, pumpkins and tomatoes, vegetable-marrows and wathermelons, and ivery kind of fruit you could mintion, to say nothin’ of wild ducks, fowls, geese, rabbits, saveloys, and all other kinds of poulthry, both did and alive. We had no sooner intered and mingled wid the flowin’ throng, than a man shtopped me and he says, says he, ‘There ye are mum! come an have a go at Ally Sloper. Put a penny in the slot, pull his nose gintly, and ye’ll get a prisint,’ says he.

“’Get away wid ye,’ says I, ‘de ye think I’d pull the gintleman’s nose for a prisint?’ I says.

“’The gintleman’s a figure,’ says he. ‘and the oftener you pull his nose the better he likes it. He won’t be offinded,’ says he.

“But I drew myself up with dignity, and passed on me way. ‘Here ye are, mum.’ says another man, that held a picture frame in his hand, wid a bald head and a pair of shpectacles on, ‘Sixpence a pair,’ he says; ‘beautiful gould picture frames.’

“‘Wild rabbits!’ shouted another man. ‘Wild rabbits! fourpence a pair.’ ‘The foinest rabbits in the market,” said another man at the back of the shtall, that was shkinnin’ a rabbit, wid a poultice on his hand and a pipe in his mouth. ‘The foinest rabbits in the markets,’ he said. ‘Just come down by thrain.’

“‘Green peas a penny a plate!’ said a woman wid a thin voice, that was ladling ’em out wid a shawl and a cold in her nose. ‘Only a penny a plate; and lots of vinegar.’

“‘Come along! come along! come along!’ said a foreign-lookin’ gintleman in a white apron and a black moustache, ‘Hokey Pokey a penny a lump.’

“Just opposite the Hokey Pokey gintleman was a big card that said: ‘Put a penny in the slot, and see the livin’ pictures. The Relafe of Ladysmith, and the Eruptions on Mount Vesoovious, taken from life.’ ‘Beautiful girls in tights in lovely attitoods.’ ‘Fight between Corbett and Fitzsimmons.’ ‘Only a penny.’

“‘Here you are, mum,’ shouted a tall thin man, in a big overcoat, wid grey hair, ‘Here you are, mum! put a penny in the slot and thry ye’re weight.’ ‘Here you are, mum! put a penny in the slot, and get a galvanic shock! Only a penny, to see how you like it.’

“And so it was right through the markets. It was for all the world like the Town of Babylon. Aich one was thryin’ to drown the voice of ivery other one, and ivery other one was thryin’ to drown the voice of the next.

“‘Dutch chocolate, a penny a lump;’ ‘Ice crame and wafers’ ‘Here you are, fried fish and chipped potatoes! Sardines! Whose lookin’ for sardines? Two boxes for sixpence!’ ‘Boot laces, a penny a pair!’ ‘Condinsed milk, twopence a tin;’ ‘Bakin’ powdhers and egg powdher, a penny a tin!’

“‘Who’ll thry a new hat at a second-hand price?’ ‘Best bacon, butther and chase in the market!’ ‘Lollies! lollies! lollies. Only four-pence a pound!’ ‘Buy a nice necktie or a waistcoat, sir? A bargain, and almost new.’ ‘Cheap music and second-hand books.’ ‘Here you are, lydy! The cheapest stall in the market for lydie’s underwear. Almost new, and as cheap as dirt.’ ‘Here you are, mum! This is the stall where you can get suited wid a cheap blouse or skirt or a ball dress. A beautiful red satin ball dress for half-a-crown. Was last worn at Government House, by the wife of a squatter that killed half the ladies dead wid invy.’ ‘Here you are, sir. Here’s a fine pair of patent leather boots, almost new, that belonged to a Mimber of Parleymint wid rubber heels.’ ‘A large pair of gould vases, only two shillin’s. Chinese curios—summer-drinks—hot coffee and scones’—and so on, and so on, as the musicians say— ‘ad liberatum,’ only more so.

“‘Buy a nice pair of knickers for the little boy, mum. They’re nearly new, mum. Only been worn a wake. They belonged to the son of a lady at Potts Point, that growed out of them. Only eighteenpince.’



“Now, ’twas knickers I was afther, and so I nudged Pat, and shtopped, while he looked at some second-hand tools on the next shtall, and purtinded he wasn’t wid me.

“‘Have ye two pairs of the same size?’ says I, ‘that’ll fit me twins?’ ‘Sure ma’am,’ says the man, ‘I could fit a dozen twins, if you had ’em. Let ’em all come.’

“Then he called to a fat woman that sat behind the stall:

“‘Rachel,’ he says, ‘hand me down some of those knickers from the back,’ says he, ‘till I fit the lady’s twins. And are these the twins?’ he says. ‘What foine handsome boys they are, to be sure!’

“‘Come here, Mick,’ says I, ‘till the gintleman thrys the length of your leg, and don’t be shmearin’ the toffee all over your face; and lace your boot, and hold yourself up shtraight.’

“Well, after thryin’ about a dozen pairs I chose two pairs of knickers that were as good as new, and so much aloike that you couldn’t tell tother from which, as the sayin’ is, barrin’ that one pair was made of navy blue serge and the other of brown tweed; and the man wrapped them up and I paid him for them, and put them in me basket, which by this time was nearly full. I then shtooped down to wipe Mick’s mouth wid the corner of me handkerchief, when a crowd of larrikins came pushin’ along, and one of them gave me a push behind, which upset me balance, and I fell agin the shtall. Me weight was too great for it, and the whole thing collapsed wid me. The lady behind the shtall was buried in the ould clothes wid me on top of ’em. I was not able to find me legs, and so I shcramed wid all me force, and the lady underneath me thried to shcrame too, but her voice was handicapped wid a waistcoat. I might have laid there till now if some gintleman in the crowd hadn’t kindly tuk me by the ankle wid prisence of mind and helped me to me fate. Me first thought on ashumin’ me nathural position was for me twins. There was a big crowd collected by this time, but nowhere on earth, nor in the Hivens above, could I see me twins.

“‘Where’s me twins?’ I shouted, makin’ a frantic dash through the crowd, which divided as I wint through. ‘Hould on,’ says the man at the shtall; ‘Whose to pay me for me damage?’

“‘Me twins,’ says I, thratin’ him wid contimpt. ‘For the love of mercy, where’s me twins?’ I looked this way, and that way, and the other way, but not a twin could I see.

‘Pat!’ I shouted, as loud as me voice could carry me; ‘Pat, where’s the twins?’ But divil a sight could I see of him or the twins.

“‘Ah!’ I cried, wid tears in me voice, ‘Will nobody tell me where’s me twins?’

“‘Was they boys, mum, or was they gurls?’ asked a motherly lookin’ woman, wid a basket on her arrum dhressed in black thrimmed wid heliothrope.

“‘They was boys, mum,’ says I;  ‘both of ’em.’

“‘Was they fat?’ she says.

“‘They are that,’ says I.

“‘Dhressed in knickerbocker suits?’ she says.

“‘Yes, mum,’ says I.

“‘Wid red hair?’ she says.

“‘Auburn hair, mum?’ says I.

“‘Then I aint sane them,’ she says.

“After that I was like one diminted; I ran this way and that way as fast as I could for the crush of the payple, and although a crowd followed me, divil a one could tell me which way me twins had gone. I wint right along to the inthrance of the markets you go out at, and then back to the inthrance where you go in at, and just as I was comin’ out of the inthrance you go in at, who should I see in the distance but Pat, goin’ in at the inthrance you go out at. I wint through the crowd like a comet, and whin I got up to him he was woipin’ his mouth wid a friend of his that he had met and been across the road with.

“‘Ah! Pat,’ I cried, widhout a breath in me body, ‘where’s the two poor blessed dear childher?’ I says.

“‘The phwat?’ says he, in a tone of surprise.

“The childher, Pat—the two blessed twins that I’m own mother to. Have ye sane them?’ says I. ‘I’ve lost the twins!’

“Phwat blatherin’ nonsense are ye talkin’ about?’ says he. ‘Phwat have ye been up to, and where’s your hat?’

“I put me hand to me head, and would you belayve it, but the sign of a hat I hadn’t got on me, and me hair all down and not a single hairpin left barrin’ two,

“When Pat found that the twins were lost he was as much consarned as meself, and in a towerin’ rage besides. I could not repate to you, Mrs. Moloney, the language he used. He called me everything he could lay his hands on. But ’tis always the faymale that has to bear the throuble, and thin get abused as well.

“‘Why in thunder don’t you look for them?’ says he, in a voice that could be heard at the Circular Quay, and that shook some of the apples off the nearest shtall.

“‘Haven’t I searched for them high and low?’ says I, as I thried to straighten me hair wid a sob.

“‘And phwat have ye on ye’re neck?’ says he.

“‘And phwat do you think, Mrs. Moloney, I had round me neck? Ye’d never guess. ’Twas nothin’ more nor less than a pair of men’s throusers that must have got there when I fell. You can imagine the sight I felt. But at that moment my attintion was divarted by a sound. ’Twas a sound I knew. It was howls, Mrs. Moloney.

“Pat!’ says I; ‘as sure as I’m a livin’ woman that’s me twins.’

“I darted in the direction of the sound, and sure enough there was me two poor blessed twins in the custody of a big policeman, who was grippin’ a hand of aich and marchm’ them off to gaol.

“‘Me childher!’ says I. ‘Phwat are ye doin’ wid me two prescious lambs?’

“‘Are they yours?’ he asked, in the tone of authority that a policeman can ashume so well.

“‘They are,’ says I.

“‘Then take ’em away home,’ says he, ‘and look afther them,’ he says; ‘and knock off the dhrink, and thry to kape yerself daycent,’ says he, ‘or ye’ll be had up for neglectin’ ’em.’

“So I took me twins, and givin’ them aich a good box on the ear to shtop their howlin’, I wint back to Pat.

“‘Oh! Pat,’ says I; ‘let’s get away home out of this,’ an’ thin, a thought shtrikin’ me, I said: ‘Have ye got the basket?’

“‘How should I have the basket?’ he says.

“‘Thin,’ says I, ‘I’ve lost me basket, and it was full. It had the pertaties and beans in it for dinner to-morrow,’ I says.

“‘And the fried fish for supper to-night,’ says he; ‘and the hot saveloys for breakfast.’

“‘And the bacon,’ says I.

“‘And the chase,’ says he.

“‘And the egg-powdher,’ says I.

“‘And me tobacco, and me new poipe,’ says he.

“‘And me childher’s nickers, and me purse, says I, and—

“‘The divil,’ says he, and he shtarted swearin’ again in such a way that his first attimpt was loike a sermon to it.

“So we had to go and find the shtall where I lost me twins, but no trace of me basket could I see from that time to the presint minute. I gave the man back his throusers and got me hat, barrin’ the feather, which cost me seven and elevenpence ha’penny two winthers ago, to say nothin’ of one and threepence to have it dyed and recurled.

“I had an awful job to get Pat away, he being out of timper, and wantin’ to fight the man at the shtall, who said Pat would have to give him damages.

“How we got home I could not tell. The last thing I remimber was seein’ a man just outside the market that wanted to sell Pat a razor, and two men and a woman shtandin’ in the rain singing, ‘Oh, phwat must it be to be there?’ wid a big umbrella and an orgin.”


Mrs. McSweeney At The Bowling Green

“Well now, that was a noice cup of tay, so it was,” said Mrs. McSweeney, as she smacked her lips with an air of gratification, and then wiped her mouth on her drawn-thread handkerchief. “’Tis a great relafe off a body’s moind to be able to come and take a cup of tay and pass the toime of day wid a frind, free from all the shtiffness and resthraint of fashion, so it is.

“Fashionable loife, Mrs. Moloney, has its dhrawbacks, and its pains and pinalties. It has bin thruly said be the poet, ‘Onazy wears the head that lays a crown.’ I only laid a crown oncet, when Pat said he had phwat he called a tip, and I was onazy for a wake, and never sane me crown agin. Fashionable loife is not all beer and shkittles. It has its jooties and its responsibilities, and they’re wearin’.

“They are, indade,” said Mrs. Moloney. “And I often wondher you shtand it as well as you do. But we’re all the craythers of circumstances.”

“’Tis curious you should make that remark,” said Mrs. McSweeney. “’Tis a repitition of phwat the Lady Mare said to me whin I mit her on the bowlin’ grane.”

“You mane the Lady Maress,” said Mrs. Moloney.

“Maybe you’re right,” replied Mrs. McSweeney. “Anyway, it don’t mather. I mane the Mare’s woife. She was as frindly as possible, and she tuk a cup of tay wid me just the same as you or I would. Did you hear that Pat had jined the bowlin’ club?”

“I did not,” said Mrs. Moloney.

“Oh! yes. The saints be praised! Me labour on him is bearin’ fruit, and I’m gettin’ him to look for higher things than two-up and whiskey poker. But I had to persuade him wid me usual diplimatic tictacs. I know he can’t argue wid me whin his head is bad, so I tuk me opportunity one Sunday mornin’, when it was wurrus than usual, and I says to him—

“‘Why don’t you jine a bowlin’ club?’ I says. ‘Where you can shpind your Sathurday afthernoons on a beautiful grane in the open air, where you can mix wid all sorts.’

“‘I don’t want to mix wid all sorts,’ he says. ‘I get enough of that at home!’

“‘I don’t know phwat you mane,’ I says; ‘but you might let me finish phwat I have to say before you shnap me up before I commince,’ says I. ‘I was goin’ to remark that you mate wid all sorts of inflooinchul min,’ I says; ‘lawyers, shop-walkers, retired publicans, and aldhermin, mimbers of Parlymint, docthers, and money-lindhers. ’Tis all the go,’ says I. ‘And they tell me that a man is thought nothin’ of now if he doesn’t belong to a bowlin’ club. They’re that thick that you couldn’t throw a shtone from here to Parramatta widhout hittin’ one of ’em. ’Tis a game as ould as the hills,’ I says, ‘There’s a picture in the Art Gallery showin’ how William the Conqueror played bowls just before the Battle of Thrafalgar.’

“‘A lot you know about it!’ he says. ‘It is Sir Walther Rally that’s playin’,’ he says. ‘While he’s waitin’ for Quane Elizabeth to come wid the Agyptian Armadher,’ says he. ‘We learnt all that at schule. Why, William the phwat’s this wasn’t born thin!’

“‘Anyhow, ’tis an ould game,’ I says; ‘and sometimes they invite the ladies to the grane.’”

“‘That’s phwat you’re dhrivin’ at, is it?’ he says, laughin’.

“‘I tuk no notice of his insinuendo, but I continued me argumint.

“‘You’ll get your name in the papers,’ I says, ‘and perhaps your porthraite!’”

“‘Yes, and they’ll make me look as big a bally froight as they did you whin they shnapped you on the links,’ says he.

“‘And you can wear shlippers, and a blazer,’ says I.’

“‘Can I?’ says he, softenin’ a bit.

“‘You can,’ says I. ‘And they have a bar where you can get a dhrink whin ye’re dhry, which is purty often,’ says I.”

“‘A dhrink of phwat?’ says he, gettin’ intheristed.

“‘Whisky,’ says I.”

“‘I’ll jine!’ says he, and he did.

“It did me heart good whin I sane him goin’ off in his blazer and a bag wid a cigar in his mouth, and an ould gintleman that calls for him, that Pat says has made a mint of money at millin’ wid a cast in his eye.

“The first Sathurday he wint, he was brought home be the man nixt door, who said that the dash of soda he tuk in his whisky must have got on his shtomick, and give him cramps. Pat said it was all owin’ to him being new at the game. He said he got giddy thryin’ to get Kitty out of the ditch. I didn’t know who Kitty was, but he said it wouldn’t happen agin, and so I looked over it for the sake of the socialistic distinction he was gainin’.

“So now, on Sathurday afthernoons he gets home in good toime to his lunch, and the furrust thing he wants to know is whether his gear is all roight. That’s phwat he calls his shlippers and his bowls, and his blazer, and things that he carries in a little leather bag.

“And thin, afther lunch, inshtead of goin’ down to Flaherty’s pub, or playin’ two-up in the back yard wid Mulligan, he puts on a starched shirt and a clane collar, sinds one of the twins for sixpennoth of cigars, and off he goes to the bowlin’ grane as shmart as a prize pig at a show.

“More than oncet they’ve made him ‘Captain,’ and the soide he puts on thin, does me proud. I’ll say to him sometimes, whin I’m settin’ the tay things—

“‘Well,’ I’ll say, ‘did they make you captain, McSweeney, to-day?’

“‘They did,’ he’ll say, wid all the proide in loife, puffin’ at his cigar, and cockin’ his fate on the table as gintale as an aldherman.

“‘And who did you have in your tame?’ I’ll ask him.

“‘Oh! nobody wurruth mintionin’, he’ll say, wid an air of indifferation. ‘Just a mimber of Parlymint, an aldherman, and a J.P.’

“Jist think of it, Mrs. Moloney. Pat! that I’ve shpint years on, thryin’ in vain to get him to hould up the honour of the family, and here he is, only three months in the bowlin’ club, and home he comes, talkin’ about mimbers of Parlymint, aldhermin and J.P’s as ‘nobody wurruth mintionin;’ just as if they was ordinary min loike the rist of us! It makes me fale that I’m rapin’ the reward of me labours on him.

“Well, on Sathurday last, it was a ladies’ day, and Pat bought me a new dhress for the occasion.

“‘There’s thirty bob fer you,’ he says, ‘that I got fer wurrukin’ back. Take it, and do me credit.’

“So I looked at the papers and I found there was a bargain sale at Bolster Bros., where they was sellin’ off a bankrupt shtock at half cost price. I wint in, and the shopwalker was one of the civilest gintlemin I iver mit. He was dhressed in a frock coat wid curly hair and a waxed moustache. As soon as I inthered the shop he come to me, and he says:—

“‘Phwat can I do for you to-day, madam? Ribbons, laces, rimnants or undherclose?’ says he.

“‘I’ll look at some rimnants,’ I says.

“So he tuk me to the rimnant counther and I got a beautiful rimnant of poplin of the new shade of purple, which the young lady tould me was all the rage.

“She said there was six yards of double width, just enough to make me an illigant costhume. But she did not allow for me rotundity, and there was not quite enough. I was a gore short, but as luck would have it, I had some pink silk left afther thrimmin’ me hat, and so I put a pink panel down the front wid a thransparent yoke. I made it wid a bask, wid two medallions in front and one behind. I made it wid short sleeves and wide lace, wid eau-de-neel gloves up to me elbow. I put on me burnt shtraw pill-box hat wid the rid pom-poms, and the bunch of cornflowers at the back, and a grane gossamer, wid vo-rose shpots. I wore tan shoes and open-wurruk shtockins, and whin I was riddy, houldin’ me pink sunshade wid the ould-gold shtripes, Pat said he’d niver sane anythin’ loike me.

“’Twas a beautiful afther noon whin we arroived at the grane. I was inthrojooced to the Mare, and the woife of the Mare, and the Mimber of Parlymint and his lady, and I was there no toime before I was the cinthre of atthraction.

“There was chairs for the ladies, and I got one where I could show off me costhume to advantage. Soon afther our arroival the game comminced. Pat was playin’ near where we was sitting and it was a proud woman I was whin I saw him shtep out and win the toss wid his blazer and a cigar in his mouth.

“Somebody bowled a big white marble along the grass, and thin they all tuk it in turns and bowled bigger marbles at it. But, bedad! I could have done it bether mesilf, for divil a one of ’em bowled shtraight. The Lady Mare said it was becase they were on the bias, but I couldn’t see the sinse of thim bein’ on the bias if they wanted to bowl shtraight.

“However, they samed to git moighty intheristed in it. One man shtood at the far ind in a rid jumper wid grane shtripes, and whin the Mimber of Parlymint was goin’ to kneel down on a little mat, he says,

“‘Now,’ says he, ‘take plinty of grane, and you’ll dhraw the shot. That’s roight!’ he says, ‘That was a dead dhraw.’

“‘Now,’ he says agin, ‘take Jack away. Do a wick off this one and you’ll get furrum on to Kitty. Oh!’ says he, ‘Phwat a pity! You’re in the ditch, and you’re did!’

“‘How about a shnifther?’ says Pat, whin they’d bowled all the balls up.

“And thin they wint into the house they called a pavilion.

“‘Now,’ says Pat, whin they come out agin, ‘We’ll have a long head this toime.’ And thin they shtarted bowlin’ the big marbles agin.

“‘How many do we lay?’ says Pat, whin it was his turn.

“‘Two and two siconds,’ says the Mimber of Parlymint.

“‘Thin watch me now,’ says Pat, and he bowled agin.

“‘That was a magpie,’ says the Mimber of Parlymint. ‘Why don’t you kape up, man? Where was you thryin’ to go? To Parramatta?’

“‘Faith!’ says Pat, ‘I had the wrong bias on it.’

“Thin he shtooped agin, and I couldn’t hilp admoirin’ his profile whin he shtooped, although it’s mesilf that says it.

“‘Look at that now!’ says he. ‘Did I kiss Kitty that toime?’

“‘You did,’ said the Mimber, ‘and you’re layin’ up close alongside of her.’

“Thin the Mare had to go, and he says,

“‘Phwat do I want to do? Shall I make a dhrive?’

“‘Yes,’ says the man at the other ind, ‘Just come in here, and kape well up and you’ll take Jack away.’

“So the Mare wint to kneel on the mat, but it was not aisy for the Mare to kneel. He was a short fat man, and was handicapped owin’ to bein’ curved both ways and his garmints bein’ toight. He had his back to us, and ivery toime he thried to shtoop he put me heart in me mouth, for I made sure that somethin’ would happen.

He had one advantage, however. He was bow-legged, and in place of shtoopin’, as you or I would, he used to bind his legs outward, and git down betwane thim.

“After the Mare had gone, the Mimber of Parlymint says:—

“‘Well, boys,’ says he, ‘Phwat about a shneezer?’

“So they all wint into the pavilion agin, and come out woipin’ their mouths.

“Be this toime they was gettin’ quoite excited, becase it sames there was phwat they called a thropy to be played for, and Pat and the Mimber of Parlymint was a tie.

“They played agin, and they said the Mimber was leadin’, and thin they said he wasn’t, because Pat had knocked Jack into the ditch. I didn’t see him hit anybody, but it moight have bin that me attintion was divarted be a heliothrope blouse that was sittin’ on a chair in front of me wid a V shaped yoke down the back.

“Anyhow, I couldn’t see phwat difference it ’ud make excipt to the man he hit, if any. But they was that excited over it that Pat said he thought it was toime for another shnifther.

“As they wint into the pavilion, the Mare called Pat on one side, and he said to him:—

‘McSweeney,’ says he, ‘lind me the loan of your ear for a minute. Take me advoice,’ he says, ‘and don’t have any more shneezers until the play is over. You’ll be seein’ two Kitty’s,’ he says, ‘and you’ll lose the throfy.’

“‘No bally fear!’ says Pat, cockin’ up the ind of his cigar. ‘He has one ivery toime I have one, and I can take tin to his one!’ he says.

“Whin they come out agin, Pat was not walkin’ very shtidy, and he shtumbled up agin the Lady Mare, and almost knocked her out of the chair. But she tuk it quoite good humoured, especially afther the gintale way Pat apologised.

“‘I big your pardon,’ he says, liftin’ his hat wid his cigar and blazer, and blowin’ the shmoke from it in rings, ‘I beg your pardon. ’Twas me bally shlipper that thripped me. I hope there’s no offince?’

“‘Oh! none at all,’ says the Lady Mare, shmoilin’ at him shwately.

“‘You’re sure you’re not offinded,’ says he, ‘fair dinkum?’

“‘I’m not offinded at all,’ she says.

“‘Thin come and have a shnifther,’ says Pat.

“‘Phwat is that?’ says she, shmoilin’ agin.

“‘A shnifther,’ says Pat, ‘is a shneezer, or a livener, or an eye-opener. Or would you loike somethin’ soft, wid a shtick in it?’

“‘No, thank you,’ says the Lady Mare.

“‘I hope there’s no offince?’ says Pat.

“‘None at all, I assure you,’ says the Lady Mare.

“Jist thin the Mare calls out:—

“‘Come along, McSweeney,’ he says. ‘’Tis the last round, and we’re waitin’ for you. Afther this round, we’ll give the ladies some tay.’

“And so they played agin, and the Mimber of Parlymint won the throfy.

“It sames the Mare had been backin’ Pat, and he said that if it hadn’t of bane for the shneezers, Pat would have won. He said it was the last one that broke the camel’s back. Pat said the shnifthers had nothin’ to do wid it, becase the Mimber had as many as him.

“They dishcovered aftherwards that the Mimber had tipped the shteward to give him ginger ale out of a whisky bottle, and so all his shnifthers had bin soft ones, and that was how he won the throfy.

“If I was to till you how Pat talked of him the nixt mornm’, or one half the wurruds he used, they’d be havin’ Pat breastin’ the bar of Parlymint House on a charge of high thrayson.

“Howiver, we had some tay and sandwiches and cakes and things, and they were all jolly and frindly loike, and it made me heart shwell in me bosom to see how Pat behaved himsilf, and handed the tay to the ladies in his shlippers. I thought oncet there’d be throuble, whin the Mare was handin’ some sandwiches to a lady in a sailor hat on a thray, and nearly shpilled thim into her lap. But the Mare only laughed, and the lady said it didn’t mather, and wint on sippin’ her tay wid a beautiful tailor-made costhume that must have cost a mint of money that they said was the woife of a docther wid undhressed kid gloves on.

“Afther the tay was over, the ladies and gintlemin formed thimsilves into groups and shtrolled about.

“The Mare and me formed one group. He was a rale plisant gintleman, in shpoite of his corpulation, wid a carbuncle on his nose, that was a bit short winded but polite and obligin’.

“He tould me all about the club, and how they was goin’ to thry to win the pinnant, and he showed me the medal he’d won two years before on the bottom of his waistcoat

“‘I’m the prisident of the club,’ he says; ‘and I’m proud of the mimbers. I’m proud of McSweeney,’ he says. ‘And he would have won the throfy if it hadn’t of bin that he had a couple of shneezers.’

“‘He had five,’ I says.

“‘How do you know?’ says he.

“‘I counted ’em,’ I says, ‘wid me own eyes.’

“‘Did you?’ he says. ‘Oh!’ says he, ‘McSweeney is a lucky man to have a woife loike you to kape her eye on him. ’Tis not many womin would take that intherist in their husbands,’ he says, lookin’ at me and sighin’.

“‘I don’t know,’ I says, pinsively. ‘Your good lady tuk as much intherist as me. She counted yours.’

“‘Did she?’ he says. ‘I didn’t think she would. Anyway,’ he says, ‘McSweeney is a good man. He is clever at knockin’ Jack out. It’s not often that McSweeney is dead,’ he says. ‘If he rolls in the ditch, it is ginerally afther he’s kissed Kitty.’

“‘Is it?’ says I, as cool as I could.

“‘It is,’ he says. ‘If I’m captain, and till him to get furrum on to Kitty, there’s not a man in the club can get closer, although they all do their bist.’

“‘And who’s Kitty?’ says I, shtoppin’ in me prominade, and facin’ him. ‘Who’s Kitty? Tell me this minute,’ I says, for I could hould mesilf no longer.

“‘Oh!’ says the Mare, laughin’. ‘Pat will tell you all about Kitty whin you get home. He knows!’

“‘And who’s Jack?’ says I.

“‘Oh!’ he says, ‘Jack and Kitty are one.’

“‘Thin she’s married!’ I says; ‘and Pat knocks Jack out, and kisses Kitty, and gets closer to her than any man in the club,’ says I. ‘Wait till I get him home!’ I says. ‘To think I should have persuaded him to jine a bowlin’ club, and that I should have weaned him from two-up for this!’ And a tear ran down me chake and made a shtreak in me powdher, which I didn’t notice till I got home.

“But the Mare only shmoiled, and got rid in the face, as if he was sickenin’ for appleplexy.

“Thin he explained to me that Kitty was the name of the white ball, and that sometoimes they called it Jack.

“Of course I had to belave him, becase it was onpossible for me to disprove that phwat he said wasn’t thrue.

“It was all very noice, Mrs. Moloney, but, as you say, fashionable loife has its dhrawbacks and its limentations, as you’ll foind out for yoursilf if you iver have the luck to get there.

“Whoile I was talkin’ to the Mare, Pat was in the pavilion, and he must have bin shniftin’ agin, for I heard a familiar voice that I’d heard before, singing out—

“‘Let me get at him! Where is he? Faith! I’ll shpile his beauty for him if he’s forty mimbers of Parlymint. Show him to me, till I roll him in the dirt,’ he says. ‘He’s toime is come,’ says he. ‘His division bell is ringin’, for whin I lay hould of him, I’ll tear him to paces!’

“And he run out of the pavilion, wid the sleeves of his blazer torn and his eyes rowlin’, where they’d bin thryin to hould him back be ’em to kape him from the Mimber.

“Just thin, his eye fell on me, and he thried to shtraiten himself, wipin’ his mouth wid the back of his hand and his waistcoat undone.

“‘Show him to me, Biddy,’ he says, ‘till I break his head for the honour of the family.’

“But, furrum in me dignity, and thrimblin’ all over wid excitemint, I says to him:—

“‘Pathrick McSweeney!’ says I, ‘remimber yoursilf!’

“‘For the love of Hiven, Biddy, don’t call me Pathrick!’ he says. ‘Ain’t I in throuble enough?’

“‘I’ll call you Pathrick as long as I live until you remimber yoursilf,’ says I. ‘Will you remimber yoursilf?’

“‘Call me Pat, and I’ll thry,’ says he.

“‘Well thin, Pat,’ says I, as if I was throwin’ it at him. ‘Remimber where you are. The eyes of the wurruld is on you. Don’t dishgrace me before the Mare and the Aldhermin, and the Mimber of Parlymint,’ I says.

“‘Where is the Mimber of Parlymint?’ he says, shtartin’ off agin. ‘Show him to me.’

“‘I’ll do no such thing,’ I says. ‘Don’t make a fool of yoursilf, or whin I get you home I’ll niver let you hear the last of it.’

“‘Thin phwat did he mane be it?’ he says.

“‘Mane be phwat?’ says I.

“‘Be dodgin’ his shnifthers,’ he says, ‘and shwindlin’ me out of me throfy,’ says he. ‘The curse of Cromwell on him! The manest thing a bowler can do,’ he says, ‘is to dodge a shnifther.’

“Jist thin his eye fell on the Mare be me soide, and he says,

“‘I’ll appale,’ says he, ‘to the prisident. Phwat is the greatest crime a bowler can commit?’ he says. ‘Tell me that.’

“‘To dodge a shnifther,’ says the Mare.

“‘Didn’t I tell you so, Biddy?’ says he.

“Thin he put his arrum through the Mare’s, and says:—

“‘To the divil wid all shnifther-dodgers!’ he says. ‘Cumanavanother!’ And, as the Mare didn’t care to go back on his own judgment, he wint.

“Well, the last one put him in a good humour, and I got him home safe.

“I asked him last noight whin they was goin’ to invite the ladies there agin, but he said he didn’t expect they’d have thim there agin for a long toime.

“‘Why?’ says I.

“‘Becase,’ says he, ‘they’re gettin’ to know too bally much,’ he says. ‘They’ve shtarted to count the shnifthers!’

“Well, I suppose I must be goin’. Good-bye”

“Good-bye,” said Mrs. Moloney.

Then, as Mrs. McSweeney was closing the gate, Mrs. Moloney called her back.

“Come here,” she said. “One of your back buttons is off. Phwat a blessin’ I twigged it. Come insoide, and I’ll put a pin in it.”


Mrs. McSweeney At The Wombeyan Caves

“I thought you’d be over,” said Mrs. McSweeney, as she kissed Mrs. Moloney, and led the way into the sitting-room, where the tray was laid for afternoon tea. “Get the rockin’ chair, and take off your hat and sit in it, and make yourself comfortable.”

“I see you’re back,” said Mrs. Moloney, as she sank into the rocking chair with a sigh.

“Me back?” said Mrs. McSweeney, in some alarm. “Where? Is me hooks undone?”

“I mane that I see you are back from your thrip,” explained Mrs. Moloney. “And how did ye enjy it?”

“Enjy it? is it?” repeated Mrs. McSweeney, “I niver enjyed meself so much since I attinded me own christenin’. I’ve bin dyin’ to tell you all about it. Is your tay to your loikin’? Would ye loike a dhrop of something in it? I think a little’s good for the shtomich, although ’tis not much I take. And now I’ll tell you all about me thrip. You see, Pat dhrew a horse.”

“You mane he dhruv a horse,” interjected Mrs. Moloney, as she replaced the little black bottle on the table.

“I mane nothin’ of the sort,” said Mrs. McSweeney. “I mane that he dhrew a horse in the shwape. He got twinty-five pounds for it, and he cum home that good timpered it was a thrate to see him, although he shmelt of cloves, and would kape kissin’ me on me lips till I purtinded to get vexed wid him.”

“‘Sure!’ says he, ‘you needn’t to frown at me. It’s a thrate I’m intindin’ to give ye. I’ve dhrawn a horse in the shwape,’ he says, ‘and I’ve got twinty-five soverigns, barrin’ one that I changed. I’ve got a wake off,’ says he, ‘and I’m going to take ye to Fairyland, where there’s marble palisses and cathedrals all undher the ground.’

“‘Who built ’em,’ says I.

“‘Nobody,’ he says, ‘that’s the wonder of it. They built thimselves, like the Giants’ Causeway, and the Cave of Fingal. ’Tis a place they call the Wumbeyam Caves,’ he says, ‘and ye’ll have a ride in the thrain, and a dhrive in the counthry; ye’ll see the rabbits in their native lairs,’ says he, ‘and it’ll shake up your liver, and blow the shmoke off ye, and make ye tin years younger.’

“‘I’ve no shmoke on me,’ says I.

“‘I was shpakin’,’ he says, ‘phwat they call alphobolically.’

“‘Oh!’ says I, for I had no idea phwat that mint.

“Well, to make a long sthory short, as the sayin’ is, we left Norah to mind the house and the twins, and he tuk me to the Caves, and the thrip I’ll never forget. We tuk the thrain on Monday mornin’ at Ridfern Station for Goulburn. It was a beautiful day, and we had a lovely journey. Pat got me a corner sate, where I cud look out of the window, and admoire the scenery as it wint past.

“The effect on me was exhilarating although we wint so quick that you no sooner saw something to look at, than it was gone, and you found yoursilf lookin’ at somethin’ else. Now it was a couple of chubby childher on a fence that was shoutin’ at the thrain as it wint by; thin it was a flock of sheep that was grazin’ in a paddick that Pat said was afther bein’ shorn. Thin past some cottages, and some gum threes, over a bridge that crossed a river that some min was paintin’ rid. Thin into a tunnel that froightened the loife out of me, it was that dark, and before I’d recovered me composure, out into the sunshine, that was so bright it made me eyes wather. We passed a lot of little towns where the payple samed to have nothin’ to do but to watch the thrain come in and go out again. Then, more threes, and more paddicks, more finces and more sheep. There was railway thrucks loaded wid bags of wheat, and bales of wool, and firewood, and coal and bricks and things, and when we shtopped once, where Pat said they were givin’ the engine a dhrink, there were thrucks loaded wid bulls that thried to shtick their horns out at us, and wid sheep that made me heart bleed when I saw they had got one down and was thramplin’ on him, and me powerless to intherfere. Thin we passed a place where there was a lot of shmoke on a hill, which Pat said was a bush fire.

“Presently we passed another bridge, and Pat said we’d be there in a minute. I looked out and saw a big square brick buildin’, and a man walkin’ on the wall carryin’ a gun, wid little towers on the corner. Pat tould me this was Goulbura Gaol. Thin we passed some more cottages, some more childher sittin’ on a fince, more cottages and houses, and sheds, and thin the thrain gave a puff and a shnort and a jerk that hit me head agin the window I was lookin’ out of, and we was there.

“There was a friend of Pat’s on the station to mate us, and whin we shtepped on to the platform, I could see that the payple were admoirin’ me new costhume. Even the policeman was shtruck by me appearance, for he kept his eyes on me. You see the poor payple that live in these out of the way places don’t often see the latest fashion from town, and iverything I had on me was new: and I’d been careful to sit sthraight in the thrain so as not to crumple anything. I had a new rid dhress of nun’s veilin’, wid a green yoke, and a rid hat thrimmed wid forget-me-nots, and a blue feather. Me gloves were buff undhressed kids, and me sunshade mauve, wid old gold sthripes, and a mother of pearl handle, so you can guess me appearance was shtrikin’.

“Pat’s frind had hired a sulky for us, and a horse, wid a shlidin’ seat, and a place behind for the luggage, and so afther we had had some dinner at the hotel, we shtarted for a place they call Taralga.

“They had some throuble to get me into the sulky, for the shteps was high, but they managed between them, and we were riddy.

“‘Do you know the road?’ said Pat’s frind.

“‘Divil a know I know!’ said Pat; ‘but I suppose we’ll find it.’

“‘Well,’ he says, ‘you can’t well miss it when you get on to it. You go sthraight up the road till you get to the gaol. Thin you turn to the lift, and kapin’ the gaol on your right shouldher, you’ll come to a bridge that’s over the river that has an iron railin’ to it,’ he says. ‘Thin you cross the bridge,’ he says, ‘and turn up the first road to the right, than ye’ll pass the lunatic asylum, and whin ye get safe past that, you’re on the road to Taralga,’ says he; ‘and you can’t miss it. Ye’ll have fine weather,’ he says, ‘if it don’t rain, and if the horse don’t jib on ye, ye’ll be there before sundown.’

“‘Does the horse bolt?’ I says, as I held on to the sulky wid both hands.

“‘He’ll not bolt wid you behind him, ma’am,’ he says. Thin liftin’ his hat politely, he wished us a good time, and bid us good-day. And so we shtarted. It tuk me some time to find out where to sit so as to balance the sulky properly, but at last Pat said if I’d sit in the middle, he could sit partly on the rail, and thin she’d be properly thrimmed. So we wint up the sthrate, and the payple were lookin’ at us as we wint, and I must confiss that I never felt as proud in me loife. We saw the gaol, which Pat kept on his right shouldher, and thin we come to the bridge. We were nearly havin’ an accident at the bridge, for two min came along on a bicycle, as we were gettin’ near the bridge, and the horse gave a jump that nearly upset me, and if I hadn’t have caught the reins, I’m sure we’d have been capsized into the wather, although Pat was near losin’ his timper, and said I’d no right to touch the reins, and to let him do the shteerin’. We passed the lunatic asylum, where they’d a beautiful garden, up some hills and down some hills. We shtopped at a hotel by the side of the road, where Pat said the horse wanted to get his wind, and he brought me some limonade, which was very acceptable, as the day was wurrum. We crossed another river that Pat said was the Sooley, and then up more hills. There were two finces, one on aich side of the road, and so we couldn’t miss our way. The magpies were whistlin’, and the shape were grazin’ in the paddicks, in some places corn was growin’ and in others, cows were bein’ dhriven home by boys and gurls that were goin’ to be milked. Here and there, we saw some little rabbits. They’d sit in the road and look at us till we nearly got up to thim, and thin they’d make for a hole in the fince, and you could see thim goin’ across the paddicks, showin’ their little white tails as they wint.

“We got to Taralga all right about siven, p.m. in the evenin’, wid nothin’ worse than a thundhershtorm, that lasted about a quarter of an hour. It rained hard while it lasted, and the mauve came out of me sunshade on to me hat, and ran down me face and dropped on to me green yoke, and the green from me yoke got into me undherbody, and the rid from me nuns veilin’ dress shtreaked me book muslin petticoat, but it didn’t mather much, for the sun came out and dhried me before we got to Taralga, and I knew that as we were so far from civilization, me appearance did not signify.

“We dhrove through the one shtrate of the little town, because Pat couldn’t quite make up his mind which would be the best hotel to shtay at, but whin we found we were nearly through the town, we shtopped, and Pat arranged for a room and a shtable for us and the horse.

“I found meself shtiff afther me long ride, but the payple at the hotel were very kind, and afther a good dinner, I was not sorry to retoire to me room.

“We were up by daylight nixt mornin’, as Pat said we’d only shtop for a shnack, as we’d dhrive in the cool of the mornin’, and get breakfast at the caves. So the horse and sulky were brought round, and afther some throuble, they got me in it. I was a bit shtiff wid me ride the day before, but the man at the hotel got a candle box for me to shtep on, and wid the help of him and Pat I got sated.

“‘Pwhat’s the mather wid the horse?’ says Pat, for he didn’t same inclined to go.

“‘He’ll be all right directly,’ said the man. ‘He’s a bit cool. He’ll wurrum up directly.’ Wid that he gave him a shlap, and said ‘Git up,’ and the horse nearly shtood on his hind legs, and thin shtarted at a gallop. He didn’t gallop far, however, for he tuk Pat unawares, and he hidn’t got properly hould of the reins, so I caught the one nearest to me, and pulled it as hard as I could.

“Inshtead of shtoppin’ whin I pulled the reins, phwat did the brute do but thry to turn round. Thin the wheel of the sulky shtruck a bank by the side of the road, and the ground flew up and hit me.

“The nixt I knew, I felt meself being lifted to a sittin’ posture. Somebody thin bathed me face wid some cold wather, and I heard a woman’s voice sayin’, ‘Poor dear! I wondher is she hurt?’ I opened me eyes thin and saw the purtiest sight I’d iver wish to see, for before me there was shtandin’ in a row in their night gowns, three of the foinest little gurls me eyes ever lit on. The oldest was about eight, the youngest about two, and the other was somewhere between them. This one had the purtiest blue eyes, that were lookin’ at me in wondherment, and the curliest flaxen hair. The little woman that was the mother of ’em was bathin’ me face wid wather, and the little man that was the father of ’em was chafin’ me hands, in a white apron.

“‘Are you betfter, ma’am?’ said the little woman.

“‘I think so,’ I said: ‘If you’ll kindly help me up, I’ll see.’

“So they helped me up, and the lady invited me in to rist for a minute and to tidy meself.

“‘Phwat was it?’ I said, when I found I could shtand.

“‘The horse ran agin a bank,’ said the man, ‘and the belly-band broke. So long as you’re not hurt, we’ll soon fix the belly-band.’

“‘And me husband,’ I says; ‘where’s Pat?’

“‘Oh, he’s all right,’ said the lady, ‘he’s houldin’ the horse.’

“So they helped me into the house, and sat me on the sofy, and the little gurls all followed us in; the youngest hidin’ behind her mother, and the oldest behind her father, but the middle one marched in, and come and shtood and looked at me, and asked me was I hurt much.

“‘I don’t think so, me darlin’,’ says I, and she laughed, and asked me could she shtroke me feather. And we got to be frinds at once.

“So the man said as I was bether he’d lave me wid his wife while he wint to mind the belly-band.

“‘’Tis a blessin’ it’s no wurrus,’ he says; ‘it was a mercy ye lit on a soft place, ma’am.’

“‘‘Tis rude for you to say that,’ says I, wid dignity.

“‘I mane a soft place on the ground, ma’am,’ says he, blushin’ to the roots of his hat.

“‘I beg your pardon for misundhershtandin’ you,’ I says; ‘but I didn’t think it was particularly soft. I’m shaken that way that I don’t know which ind I’m sittin’ on,’ says I, ‘and me hair pad’s loose; but glory be to the powers, I don’t think any of me bones is missin’.’

“So, afther I’d shtraitened meself, I talked to the childhren, while the mother made me a cup of tay, and the father minded the belly-band.

“‘And phwat got you up so early?’ says I to the childhers.

“‘Father had to get up early, so we got up too,’ said the one wid the curly hair.

“‘And why did he have to get up early?’ I asked. ‘Phwat does he do?’

“‘Father is a saddler,’ she says, ‘and he minds boots, and sings in the choir whin the minister preaches. He had to get up early this mornm’ to mind the minister’s boots, ’cause the ’lastic was torn and let the grass seeds in, and they’re the only pair he’s got. Did you come from Sydney?’ she says.

“‘I did,’ says I.

“‘I have an auntie in Sydney,’ she says, ‘and she sint me a doll. I’ll show it to you,’ and she ran and got her doll.

“‘You see,’ she says, ‘it will go to slape whin I lay it on its back. But I can’t make it kneel. When I want it to say its prayers, I have to lay it on its stomick.’

“Thin she clambered on me knee, and shtroked me face.

“‘Phwat makes your chakes so rid?’ she says.

“‘Faith! I don’t know,’ I says, laughin’ at her. ‘Phwat makes yer hair so curly?’

“‘That’s curly because I was mint for a boy,’ says she. ‘Father says I was mint for a boy.’ Thin she tuk me on the verandy to show me the flowers.

“‘And phwat buildin’ is that across the road?’ says I.

“‘That is the church,’ she says, ‘where I go to Sunday School. And do you see the buildin’ at the foot of the hill?’ she says, ‘The one wid the chimbley?’

“‘I do,’ says I. ‘Phwat is that?’

“‘That is the Sacristy’, she says, ‘where the praste is supposed to shlape whin he comes to Taralga. And the other one at the ind of the garden is the Nunnery, where he’s supposed not to shlape.’

“Just thin the child’s mother called me in to me tay, and soon afther they tould me the belly-band was minded, so thankin’ the saddler and his wife for their kindness, and kissin’ the dear childher, we shtarled once more for the Wumbeyam Caves. ’Twas a perfect summer mornin’, and the air that fresh and pure it made ye fale young to breathe it. The road wound up a hill, and thin into a valley. We passed a big buther facthory, where they were bringin’ carts loaded wid milk-cans; and the magpies was a whistlin’, and I felt that great charm that they say comes to payple in the bush, and gives ye a falin’ as if you want to thank God that ye’re alive.

“We wint through some beautiful scenery, and along roads where ye could look down into the deep brown gullies, where the gum threes at the bottom looked like grass, and thin we wound round the foot of a big hill, into a beautiful green valley, where there were some big pine threes, and thin we come to a house that they call the Cave House. We got there about half-past nine in the mornin’, and were soon sittin’ down to a breakfast of steak and eggs, to which we paid particular attrition. Thin the man that kapes the house and minds the caves asked us if we were ready to go and see them, and we said we were. So he came wid his arrums full of candleshticks, and a thing like a breastplate round his neck, which I aftherwards found was phwat they call a magnesia light, and away we wint up a big hill.

“We came at last to an iron gratin’ in the ground fastened wid a padlock, which the guide said was the inthrance to the caves, and tould us to walk in. I’ll niver forget me sinsations whin I looked in, and saw nothin’ but a big dark hole that you couldn’t see the bottom of, it was that dark and deep. There was an iron ladder inside the gratin,’ which I found we had to climb down.

“There were some other payple wid us that came from the house, and I didn’t know phwat to do about the ladder. There was an ould gintleman wid a rid nose and shpectacles that Pat said was a philosopher, and two young gigglin’ gurls, and the way thim gurls wint down the ladder made me fale ashamed of me sex.

“‘Come on,’ says Pat. ‘It’s not deep, and you see the gintleman is waitin’ for you.’

“‘Shall I go first, madam?’ says the philosopher.

“‘No, indade!’ says I, ‘not if I die in the attimpt!’ And wid that I got on the ladder somehow, and felt me way down. I could hear the gurls gigglin’ not far below me, so I guessed it wasn’t very deep.

“At last, whin I felt I was in the bowels of the earth, me fut shlipped on the iron ladder, and I thought it was did and gone I was, and called to Pat to take care of the twins, but I felt meself caught behind, and I found mesjelf shtandin’ on the ground wid the gurls.

“‘It’s all right, ma’am,’ says one, ‘you were on the last shtep.’

“I looked up, and saw Pat just above me, and the philosopher just above him, and the guide just comin’ through the hole. Whin we were all on the ground I was able to see by the candles that we were in a shmall place about the size of a room, wid rocky walls.

“‘Is this phwat we come from Sydney to see?’ I says.

“‘This is only the enthrance, ma’am,’ says the guide politely: ‘ye’ll see more prisently. Follow me, plaze,’

“Thin he wint round a corner, and I saw him disappearin’ down another ladder, which I could see by the candle he carried was deeper than the first. I declared to Pat that I could niver venture to go down, but he tould me not to make an ass of meself—as if I iver did!—and he said he would go first and shtidy me fate so that I couldn’t shlip, and tould me to hould on tight, and I’d find it as aisy as failin’ off a log. I thought I’d niver get to the bottom, but I did, and so did the others.

“The guide thin tuk us round a path wid a railin’ on one side of it, and tould us to wait, and thin left us in the dark, and we heard him schramblin’ away in the distance. I was beginnin’ to thrimble, and holdin’ on to Pat for me loife, when the guide called to us from somewhere a long way off, that he was goin’ to turn on the magnesia light. And thin, all at once, the whole place was filled wid a bright light, and the grandeur I can niver dischribe to you! There was the most beautiful sight in the wurruld. All round us was things shtickin’ from the roof and the walls and the ground below, which the philosopher said was stalickmites, and stalagtites, and some they gave all sorts of names to, such as shawls, and curtains; and some were as white as snow, and shinin’ like diamonds, and others were all colours of the rainbow.

“You could compare it to a marble pallis, or a crystal grotto, or a cathedral. It was as grand as all of ’em put together. Some of the stalickmites were like monumints, and some like statues. I was just tellin’ Pat to look at something in the roof that was like angel’s wings, when the light wint out, and all round us was dark again, except for our candles, which were just sufficient to let us see how dark it was.

“The guide come back, and he took us along more passages, and down more ladders, and up more ladders, which I found were not so bad whin ye got used to thim, and the philosopher in the shpectacles said not to mind him.

“‘Whin we are in Rome,’ says he, ‘we must do as they do in Rome. Don’t mind us,’ he says, ‘me and the gurls is used to it. We’ve been here before.’

“So we wint on, and the place was so beautiful that I reconciled mesilf to the inevitable, and kipt goin’.

“We saw phwat the guide called the Wollondilly Cave, and the Pine Forest, and Lot’s Wife and the Cockatoo, which you would swear was carved wid human hands, but the guide said they wasn’t. We saw more statues, and more shawls, and curtains, and pillars, and columns, and groined arches, and pulpits, and organ galleries. There was a room like a throne room, and a fairy grotto, and white shtaligmites, and pink shtaligmites, and shawls wid delicate brown shtripes and fringes, and so natural, they samed to have been dhraped on purpose.

“We must have walked miles, whin the guide said we’d go up again to the daylight. Thin I saw we were at the foot of a ladder that was longer than any of ’em, and I tould Pat that to attimpt to climb it would be the death of me.

“‘Ye’ll have to climb it, or be left,’ he says, ‘and if you’re left you’ll be turned into a shtaligmite,’ says he.



“So he promised to follow close behind me, and I comminced to climb. But me arrums was achin’, and me legs was thrimblin’ that way, that whin we were half way up, I felt I could go no further for untould gould.

“‘Oh, Pat!’ says I, ‘get from undher me, and take care of the twins, for I’m goin’ to dhrop!’

“‘How the bally blazes can I get from undher ye?’ says he. Thin he got close up behind me, and he says: ‘Sit on me head, and rist a minute.’

“So, feelin’ his head undher me, I risted, thrimblin’ like an aspen leaf, as they say. I hadn’t got me wind properly, whin I heard Pat say in a muffled tone: “For the love of Hiven, Biddy,’ he says, ‘hould on, for I’m nearly shmothered, and I’m losin’ me grip.’

“So I clutched the ladder tight, and aised me weight off him. Thin he heaved a sigh, and he says,

“‘Now, thry to mount,’ says he, ‘and I’ll shove behind.’

“And so, shtep by shtep, I managed to get high enough for the guide and the philosopher to reach me, and wid thim pullin’, and Pat shovin’ behind, I managed to get into the blissid sunshine again.

‘‘We put out our candles, and whin I had got me wind, I found that the place we come out was a different place to the one we wint in, and there was a little windin’ path that lid down to the flat where the Cave House shtood.

“The guide lid the way, and the philosopher come wid me, while Pat loithered behind wid the two gurls, and I could hear them gigglin’ away as they followed, and I belave it was me they was gigglin’ at. However, me first feelin’ at that moment was for me dinner, which we found was cold turkey and ham, wid potaties and jam tart.

“I felt bether whin I had had a couple of helpin’s, and a rist in a big rockin’ chair on the verandy.

“About an hour afther dinner, the guide got his candles again, and said he was goin’ to take us into the Grand Arch.

“‘I suppose,’ says Pat, ‘ye’ll shtay and rist yoursilf?’ and he gathered up the gurls’ candles to carry thim.

“‘Indade, I’ll do no such thing,’ says I. ‘I suppose you’d like to be gallivantin’ in the bowels of the earth,’ I says, ‘wid thim gigglin’ gurls, and hilpin’ ’em up ladders and things?’

“‘I tould ye,’ he says, ‘that a visit to the Caves would make ye fale younger.’

“‘Younger or ouldher, I’m goin’ to kape me eye on you,’ I says; ‘so ye can get me a candle, too.’

“Well, we wint to the Grand Arch, and saw millions of little funny black wallabies hoppin’ about, and thin into the caves agin by a sort of side inthrance. At last we come to a big cave, where the guide said he’d show us the bats. He gave a shout and turned on his magnesia light, and in an instant the whole place was filled wid bats. They flew all round us, and flapped close to our faces, and the air was thick wid ’em, but the shmell was so pronounced, we were glad to get away from it.

“Well, we wint through a lot more caves, each one more beautiful than the one that wint before.

We completed our inspiction about five o’clock, and thin, as I was about done up, we wint and laid undher the pine threes until it was toime for tay.

“We were all fit for our tay afther the day’s exertions. I sat nixt to the philosopher, and he compliminted me on me activity as he handed me the toast and me complixion.

“Afther tay we sat on the verandy listenin’ to the mopokes and curlews and things, until me eyes got did wid shlape. So we wint to bed in a room that opened like a lot more rooms off a long corridhor. I was off, as the sayin’ is, before me head touched the pillow, and I must have shlept well, for I heard nothin’ till near mornin’.

“It must have been dhramin’ I was, for I dhreamt I was in the cave among the bats. But I thought the bats was the souls of the condimned, and that they was all cryin’ and howlin’ at once. The noise got greather and greather, and closer and closer, until I shtarted up in bed wid the fright. Pat was shleepin’ sound, but the howls was shtill fillin’ the house. I seized Pat be the hair, and shook him wid me fright.

“‘Pat!’ says I, ‘phwat is the noise? Do you hear it?’ I says. ‘Is it mopokes or wallabies? Or is it the lunatic asylum broke loose?’

“Pat sat up and rubbed his eyes. Afther listenin’ for a minute he says, ‘’Tis bagpipes.’

“‘And who do you think would be playin’ bagpipes at this unearthly hour in the mornin’?’ I says. And the sound shtopped just outside our door, and thin turned and wint away agin.

“Pat looked at his watch, and found it was a quarter to five.

“‘Here it comes agin!’ I says, as I heard the shrieks approachin’.

“Pat jumped out of bed in his pyjamas, and opened the door and paped out, just as the sound got abreast of us.

“Who should it be but the guide, walkin’ up and down the corridhors, and playin’ the bagpipes as if he was mad!

“He shtopped whin he saw Pat and he whispered to Pat,

“‘Don’t make a noise!’ he says, ‘or you’ll be wakin’ the ladies,’ and thin he reshumed his practice, and Pat shut the door.

“I could have done wid some more shlape, but I felt I’d like to hear how the bagpipes sounded at a distance, for I had a notion that the greather the distance, the bether they’d sound.

“So we got up, and took a shtroll in the frish mornin’ air to a place they call the Watherfall. There was plinty of fall, but not much wather. We risted durin’ the mornin’, and afther lunch we shtarted back for Taralga.

“We shtayed the night there, and I took the opportunity to call and see the saddler and his wife, and take some lollies for the childher.

“The nixt day we wint to Goulburn, where we shpint a day wid Pat’s frind, and then come back to Sydney, where we arrived safely.

“Norah was all right, and so were the twins, except that Mick had the inflooenzy, through atin’ green figs that he found hangin’ over a fince in the lane that he took to be pashion fruit.

“You must get Moloney to take you to the caves some day.”

“I will,” said Mrs. Moloney, as she emptied the crumbs from her lap into the fender, “when he dhraws a horse!”


Mrs. McSweeney Goes To Manly

“’Tis a beauty, so it is,” said Mrs. Moloney, as she admired the new hat that Mrs. McSweeney held up for her inspection. “And where did you buy it?”

“I got it at a bargain sale,” said Mrs. McSweeney, with pardonable pride, “Ready to wear, five and elivenpince three farthin’s. There were only two of ’em lift, and I was just in toime. The other was shnapped up before me eyes.”

“’Tis a beauty!” repeated Mrs. Moloney, “’tis nearly as good as the one I got for four and ninepince ha’penny at the sale three months ago.”

“Yours had no feather,” said Mrs. McSweeney.

“It had a whole bird,” replied Mrs. Moloney. “Have ye worn it yet?”

“Oh, yes,” replied Mrs. McSweeney, as she replaced the hat in the box. “I wore it at Manly. Last Saturday afthernoon bein’ the anniversary of our weddin’, Pat came home early, and asked me would I loike a run down to Manly.

“I would,” says I.

“Then come along,” says he, “and we’ll go and get a shniif of the briny.”

So I put on me eau-de-neel gown, wid the rid thrimmin’, and me green parasol, and me new hat, so as to look noice and quiet and lady-loike, and off we shtarted.

Whin we got to the wharf, there was lots of other payple waitin’ for the boat, and min sellin’ fruit.

“Here you are,” says one, “Feegee bananas, thirteen for sixpince, and put ’em in a bag.”

I intimated to Pat that I’d loike some fruit, and so he bought some bananas and apples and pashion fruit, and we shtrolled down to the boat.

The bell rang just as we got alongside it, and we had to hurry that way that we were nearly to Pinchgut before I got me wind.

The trip on the wather was lovely, and there was a man wid a fiddle wid a rid nose, and another wid a harp, that had bushy whiskers, on which he played the “Last Rose of Summer,” wid variations, and I was enjoyin’ mesilf so whin all at once the boat give a lurch, and I thought she was goin’ to upset.

“Och! Pat,” says I, as I made a clutch at him, “do you think she’ll upset? It reminds me of the Bay of Biscuits!”

“Don’t be a fool,” says he, shakin’ me loose, and shpeakin’ as if he was sellin’ rabbits. “It’s nothin’.”

“Well,” says I, “you needn’t to roar out at a body like an elephant.”

“Oh, shut up!” says he, “don’t you see the harp larfin’ at ye?”

I thought it best to kape me mouth shut just thin, so I said nothin’, but gev the harp a look of contimpt, and walked aft towards the front of the ship, and shpint the rist of the toime atin’ bananas and gazin’ pinsively at the wather.

Well, we got to Manly, and we shtrolled on the sand, and watched the gurls and boys paddlin’ in the wather, and as there was nobody particular about, I filt incloined to paddle too, so I says to Pat:—

“Pat,” says I, “I should loike to lave me fate in the wather.”

“And how wud ye walk home,” he says, “an ye lave yer fate in the wather?”

“Sure,” says I, “You know phwat I mane. I mane that I would loike to wash me fate.”

“Haven’t ye got wather enough at home to wash ’em?” says he.

“Och! They don’t want washin’,” says I, “but I want to paddle.”

“Paddle me gran’mother’s cat!” says he, “have ye no more sinse, and ye as ould as ye are?” Thin, afther lookin’ as sour as a butcher in Lint he says;—

“Come and have a cup of tay, and we’ll go and look at the Chute.”

Just up the hill there was a place inside a fince where there was a band playin’, and crowds of payple goin’ in. Pat tuk me in, and asked me would I loike to go on the Chute.

“Phwat is it loike?” says I.

“Oh!” says he, “it is a thing that iverybody goes on,” he says, “I’ve niver been on it,” says he, “but they say it is a beautiful sinsation. It makes ye fale as if your inside was outside,” he says, “and as if you was cut off at the waist, and one half of you was racin’ the other half and batin’ it. It makes you fale as if you were makin’ a fool of yoursilf widhout bein’ ashamed of it. You walk up a big flight of shteps, and get into a boat, and then the boat shlithers down into the wather at the botthom, and you get out at the ind of the voyage, at the place ye shtarted from,” he says, “and thin, whin ye get over your sickness and your giddiness, ye tell the other payple that it’s lovely, so that they can go and make fools of thimselves, and you can have the pleasure of sittin’ and watchin’ ’em do it!”

“I don’t think I’ll thry it,” says I.

“I don’t think I would if I were you,” he says, “afther the bananas you’ve aten.”

Well, we shtrolled round the ground, watchin’ the payple, and listnin’ to the band, and I was amusin’ mesilf takin’ notice of the latest fashions, whin Pat mit a friend of his named Dooley. He inthrojooced me to Mr. Dooley, and thin we all shtrolled together till Pat said Mr. Dooley wanted him to go and see a man about a dog, and that I could sit on a sate, and he’d be back in a minute or two, if not sooner.

I sat for some toime on the sate lost in thought, and admoirin’ the crowd that was promenadin’ round me, whin suddenly hearin’ some one cough on the sate alongside me, it gradually dawned on me, loike a flash of lightning, that I was not alone. I glanced casually round wid an air of innocence, and saw, sittin’ on the same sate beside me, one of the handsomest men I iver clapped me two eyes on.

He had a Panama hat wid blue eyes, and a moustache wid the inds shtickin’ out that way you could see ’em behind his back. He was shmokin’ a beautiful cigar, and I could see, widhout lookin’ at him that his eyes were fixed on me under the edge of his Panama hat.

I thried to comport mesilf wid an air of simplicity, and wint on admoirin’ the crowd, whin he coughed agin.

I would have got up, but Pat told me not to move, and so I turned round, but I could fale the blue eyes of the man in the Panama hat burnin’ holes in me back. Thin he coughed agin, and I thried not to look round, but I couldn’t hilp mesilf. Just as me eyes met his, he shmoiled, and in me agitation I dhropped me handkerchief.

“Permit me!” says he, as he picked it up and handed it to me wid the air of a jook. Of course I had to permit him, and so I thanked him wid an air of politeness tempered wid coolness, and he said “it was a foine day.”

I could not conthradict him wid veracity, and so I admitted it was.

“’Tis a beautiful thing.” says he, as he puffed the shmoke in rings from his mouth, and blew it through his nose, “’tis a beautiful thing to see the young min and maidens enjyin’ thimsilves,” he says, “among the beauties of Nature and the athractions of invintive science.” he says.

“Have ye thried the Chute, Miss?” he says.

“Indade, I have not!” I says, “I should be afraid of upsettin’ in the wather,” says I, lookin’ round to see if Pat was in sight, shmoilin’ to mesilf at him callin’ me “Miss,” and me wondherin’ phwat the twins was up to.

“I am informed,” he says, “that the danger is shmall, but if ’tis the wather you are afraid of, you should thry the toboggan. ’Tis loike flyin’,” he says. “Would you do me the favour, Miss,” he says, “to ride on the toboggan wid me?”

“Thank you all the same,” says I, shmoilin’ to mesilf agin, “I have a comfortable sate, and I prefer to remain on terry firmer.”

“The sate is certainly firmer than the toboggan,” he says, “but ’tis not so sinsational. Don’t you loike sinsations?” he says.

“There are different sorts of sinsations,” says I.

“I know there is,” he says, wid a sigh that come right up from the bottom of his waistcoat, “I know there is! I have filt siveral kinds of ’em since I’ve been sittin’ on this sate.” Thin he looked at me pinsiveiy undher the brim of his Panama hat, and he says:—

“Beauteous maiden,” he says, “wilt thou not toboggan wid me?”

“I wilt not!” says I, “and I think the sooner ye quit this sate the bether it will be for you.’

“I will niver quit it,” he says, “so long as you remain. I fale,” he says, “that in matin’ you I’ve mit me afinity.”

And he shtill continued to gaze at me until I filt quite uncomfortable. I was wishin’ Pat would come back, and dhreadin’ him doin’ that same, him bein’ unraysonably jealous sometimes.

I looked all round, but couldn’t see Pat anywhere, and I gathered up me basket, me purse and handkerchief that were layin’ on the sate beside me, as if intindin’ to take me departure.

“Don’t run away, little one!” says he, comin’ closer, and thryin’ to put his arrum round me waist. “Shtay, oh, shtay one brief hour or two and listen to the shtory of me love! The minute I seen ye,” says he, “me heart was yours, and I’ve niver took me eves off you since the last toime I looked at ye. Don’t lave me,” he says.

Well, you know, Mrs. Moloney, ’tis always gratifyin’ to make an imprission. I had made many in me toime of all sorts, but this one samed to be the most sudden.

I was not sure whether he mint phawt he said, or whether he had been dhrinkin’, but he did not same loike a man in licker. I should have been amused at me advinture, for he was not a bad looking stamp of a man, but I was in mortal dhread of Pat.

I’ve often noticed that whin we are unable to decide for oursilves that Fate shteps in and decides for us. And so it was in this case.

I was siftin’ wid me back partly to him, wondherin’ phawt it would be the bist to do. I was lookin’ down in a pinsive attitood, examinin’ the initial in the corner of me dhrawn thread handkerchafe while he was talkin’. I happened to glance at him out of the corner of me eye to see if he was lookin’ at me, whin the first thing I saw was the Panama hat flyin’ off wid a whisk, and thin Pat, who samed to have risen from the earth, grabbed the man be the collar, and liftin’ him from the sate so that he could kick him where he wanted to, he gev him a kick that sint him on his hands and knees.

Pickin’ himsilf up he turned on Pat and said:

“How dare you kick me, you dirthy shcrounhrel,” he says. “If you do that agin before me face, I’ll break your neck,” says he.

“If you do you will not break it twice,” says Pat, “I’ll tache you to shpake to me woife,’ says he. Thin, wavin’ his arrums loike the legs of a kickin’ donkey, he says, “Come on! till I knock your two ugly eyes into one,” he says, “till I sind ye home that way that they’ll think you’ve been at an all night sittin’ of parleymint,” says he.

The man turned pale whin Pat said that, and didn’t come on as quick as I expected him. In fact he didn’t come on at all. Of the two, he samed rather to go the other way. Whin Pat saw that he wouldn’t come to him, he shtarted to pull off his coat, but just thin Dooley said there was a policeman comin’, and so Pat put it on agin, and the man picked up his Panama hat, and was soon lost in the movin’ crowd, and he mit me gaze no more.

Thin Pat turned to me.

“And phwat do you mane!” he says, “you ould hay-bag!” he says, “to be philandherin’ and kyoglin’ wid all the shtrange min in Manly,” says he. “I can’t go and have a — I mane to see a man about a dog, than you must be makin’ a holy show of yoursilf before me eyes. Phwat do ye mane?”

“Phawt do you mane?” says I, wid all the coolness I could ashume, “phwat do you mane wid your base insinuations?”

“Who was the man,” says he, “that you were philandherin’ wid? Tell me that!”

“I was philandherin’ wid no man,” I says, “and you should know bether than to say so. The gintleman was just politely passin’ the toime of day wid me, whin you come up makin’ a dhrunken disthurbance. You can go home be yoursilf,” says I, “you and your Dooleys. Me heart is broke,” I says, “wid your base insinuations, so it is. I’ll go home in a boat be mesilf,” says I, “wid no one to look afther me. I’ll dhrift about, so I will, loike a rudder widhout a boat, and if I dhrift to say, and git dhrowned in the bottomless ocean, you can shtand on me grave, and wape tears of remorse be the bucketful, and say it was all your own fault for desertin’ me in me hour of need.”

And I buried me face in me handkerchafe, and watched him through the dhrawn threads. I know he can’t shtand to see me crying so in a minute he says:—

“Oh, well! There’s no harrum done. We’ll say no more about it. Get your things, and we’ll go to the boat.”

I purtinded not to forgive him for a while, but at last I gave a final sob, picked up me basket, and me purse, and wid an air of sadness which I know becomes me, I followed him to the boat. He bought me a bunch of wild flowers on the wharf, and as I unbint on the voyage, be the toime we got to Circular Kay, he was quite affictionate.

Afther we had landed from the boat, I was just afther bowin’ politely to Mr. Dooley, who was goin’ be a different thrain, whin Pat, who had been falin’ in all his pockets, says:—

“Have ye any money on ye?”

“I have a half a sovereign, and some silver,” I says. “Haven’t you any yoursilf?”

“Divil a cint, only twopince,” he says, “I shpint me last sixpince on the bunch of flowers. Lind me a bob,” he says, “till I return Dooley’s politeness.”

So I opened me purse, and I thought I should have dhropped win I found that it was full of nothin’ but imptyness.

“Oh, Pat!” says I, “me money’s all gone, so it is!”

“Where did ye see it last?” says he.

“Whin I paid for the tay,” I says.

“And where was it whin I wint to get a — I mane whin I wint to see the man about the dog?” he says.

“It was on the sate be the soide of the basket,” I says.

“That’s phwat comes of your damned kyoglin’,” he says, “now you see phwat it brings ye to.” Thin he shtamped and swore, and I couldn’t get in a wurrud edgeways.

“How are we goin’ to get home?” says he.

So I got me dhrawn thread handkerchafe out agin, but he took no notice of it.

“Here!” he says, “take the only twopence I’ve got,” he says, “get into the thram and go home, and I’ll walk, and shtop your shnivellin’,” he says, “you and your kyoglin’!”

So I took a thram, and arrived in front of me door about half past siven, as toired as could be, and me fate shwellin’ so that I was wishin’ to get me boots off, whin I remimbered to me misfortune that the twins had gone to Norah’s to tay, and that Pat had the kay of the house in his pocket. So I had to sit two mortal hours on the gas mether until he got home.

Whin he at lingth arrived, I perceived that he was not walkin’ straight, and I says to him:—

“Phwat kept ye?” says I, “where on earth have ye been all this toime?”

“Sure,” says he, “I’ve just been walkin’ all the while, and niver shtopped once, except for a minute to sell a horse wid Dooley, who lint me half a crown.”

“And do ye mane to say,” says I, “that you’ve been dhrinkin’, and borrowin’ money, and sellin’ horses and things, and me wid the fate fit to dhrop off of me, shtuck out on the gas mether?”

“Och! dhry up,” says he, wid the voice of an earthquake, “to blazes wid you! Sure it’s a pity ye didn’t lave yer fate in the wather before you wint philanderin’ and losin’ your money!”

Wid that he pulled off his boots, and threw thim all over the house, and wint to shlape on the couch.

“Good-bye, Mrs. Moloney. Don’t forget your parcel. I guess Moloney would shtorm if you left your shin behind you and he was done out of his soup.”


Mrs. McSweeney’s Lady Help

“Faith! ye made me jump!” said Mrs. McSweeney, as she looked up from her work, and saw Mrs. Moloney peeping at her round the door of the dining-room. “I niver heard ye come in.”

“Didn’t you hear me tap?” said Mrs, Moloney.

“Divil a tap did I hear,” said Mrs. McSweeney, “I was buried in the infinitude of me reflicksions. Me mind was runnin’ away wid me, and I was pondherm’ on the multiplicity of human affairs. How did ye get in?”

“The door was ajar,” replied Mrs. Moloney, as she took off her hat and gloves, “and so, as ye didn’t hear me tappin’, I walked in.”

“I’m glad ye did. I want somebody to loiven me up a bit. Did you hear the throuble I had?”

“No,” said Mrs. Moloney, drawing her chair closer, “phwat was it?”

“Well, you know,” answered Mrs, McSweeney, with a sigh, “that whin ye were here last, I’d been turnin’ me house out, wid nobody to hilp me but Mrs. O’Rielly that goes out be the day, and is not very shmart on her pins. I wint through the whole place, windows and all. I had no rest till I was finished, and even whin I was risting I white-washed the kitchen, but though me heart was good, and buoyed me up during the excitement of the effort, I was no sooner done than I was complately prosthrated, and me fate shwelled to that extint that I can’t put thim to the ground whin I walk. Pat was very koind to me, and said that in me delicate shtate, I ought to take it aisy, and get a gurrul to do the house wurruk.

So I consulted me frind, Mrs. Jackson, and says she, “Mrs. McSweeney,” says she, “If I were you I wouldn’t get a servant, becase ye don’t know who ye moight be takin’ into yer house; I’d get a lady help.”

“And phwat’s the difference?” says I.

“Oh! all the difference in loife,” says she. “If ye have a lady hilp, she’ll do all the house wurruk the same as a servant, and besides that, she’ll play the pianny for you, and do all the needle wurruk and mindin’, and be a companion for you, do your hair if ye’re going out, and whin ye’ve nothin’ else to do, ye can sit down so noice and chat wid her about yer naybors; and if Pat gets out of timper, see how noice it’ull be to have somebody always alongside ye that ye can open your heart to.” Thin she added, “Besides, as the occupation is more gentale, they’ll come for less money than a servant, and wait for it if ye are not in a position to pay every wake, and they don’t ate so much, bein’ more perlite.”

So I adverthised in the paper, and I had siveral young wimmin called to enquire about the appintment.

The furrust one said she thought the place wouldn’t shute her, as we didn’t kape a gineral, and she wasn’t used to rough wurruk. The nixt one said she was willin’ to do anything, and afther a conversation, I agreed that she should come that avenin’. I lint her foive shillings to pay for her thrunks to be brought round, and she wint away, and I was happy. But she must have forgot the addhress or somethin’, for she niver came back. Thin another young lady called, and she had such a swate smoile that I tuk to her at wanst.

She said her father was a rethrinched civil servant, and, though he didn’t moind her acceptin’ a position as lady hilp for an ’onorarum, he wouldn’t think of her acceptin’ a place where she had to wurruk for wages. She said she supposed she wud be thrated as one of the family, and that she would be allowed to use the pianny for an hour or two aich day for practice, as she was larnin’ music and singin’. Thin whin I consinted, she said that her mother would want to see her sometimes, and that she supposed she might resave her friends in the dhrawin’-room? As her father was a rethrinched civil servant, and her brother, Augustus, was in a bank, and her other brother, Norman Percy, was in the Threasury, of course she couldn’t ask them into the kitchen.

“Well!” says I, “I niver lit me husband into the dhrawin’-room except sometimes of a Sunday, whin he’s cleaned and got his slippers on; but I suppose,” says I, “that your frinds will not make a mess?”

“Oh, no!” says she, “me frinds is all gentlefolks; one of me cousins is in the paramount artillery, and another in the perleese.”

The ’onorarum was fixed at nine shillings a wake, and she came the nixt mornin’. It samed so noice to have a lady hilp. She dusthed the dhrawin’-room while I claned the dinin’-room, and the hall, and the shtairs. She answered the door while I was busy wid me washin’ and while I was foldin’ the clothes she played the pianny.

She played “Dhrink to me only” beautiful. Her cousin in the paramount artillery called one night, and Pat and him played euchre, and I thought mesilf the luckiest woman in the wurruld.

I niver filt more proud in me loife than I did last wake. It was a beautiful afthernoon. The air was as balmy as in summer, and I took me needlewurruk out on the balkinny, and Miss McGlibbon and I took a cup of afthernoon tay there as well. Me heart swelled whin I seen the look of invy on the ugly fatures of Mrs. Tacitus whin she passed and saw the way we was enjoyin’ oursilves, all so gentale and ladyloike.

Faith! I little thought, as I sipped me tay so contintedly, wid me lady help smoilin’ forenenst me, that her smoile was loike Judas’s Chariot, and that she was flatherin’ me wid soft words, just for all the wurruld loike a snake in the grass! Thruly does the poet say, that you can’t tell a book be its cover, and that you must get to the kernel of a thing before you can tell whether its flesh, fowl, or good red nerrin’.

She behaved very well for the furrust few days she was in me house, although I noticed that her perliteness didn’t prevint her from atin’ a good square male, and that scarcely a night wint by that she didn’t have her mother, or her rethrinched father, or her brother or one of her cousins in me dhrawin’-room; and I noticed that the tay and sugar disappeared at a great rate. I couid have looked over that, and I could have looked over the smashin’ of me bist china vase. I kipt me place whin her cousin in the paramount artillery was smokin’ his dirty pipe in me drawin’-room, and makin’ me lace curtains shmell that way that the room was loike a taproom. I only made a moild remonsthrance whin her cousin got rompin’ wid her and shpilt a cup of tay over me new Brussels carpit; but whin her cousin was gone, and she thought I was in bed, and she got laughin’ and carryin’ on wid Pat, twistin’ his moustache in her fingers, curlin’ his hair and smoothin’ it over the bald place, and shpittin’ on her fingers to make it shtay there, and even asked him to unlace her boots for her, I thought it was toime to spake to her wid a firrum hand.



I shouldn’t have lost me timper even thin, knowin’ so well how to maintain me quiet dignity undher all circumstances, but for her impudince.

Whin I had talked to her moildly in me night-dhress for tin minutes or so, and it was a chilly night and the back door open as I found out to me cost, she said in a brazen way:—

‘‘Oh, chuck it!” says she; “what are ye given us? Your jilous!”

“And if I am,” says I, “can you woundher at it? Phawt do you mane,” says I, “to be comin’ into payple’s houses, and tamperin’ wid the virtue of payple’s husbands? Ye brazenfaced hussy, phwat do ye mane? It’s me belafe that you’re no bether than ye should be!”

“Oh! shut up,” says she, “yer Oirish.”

“And have ye the chake,” I says, “to call me Oirish, and throw me counthry in me face in me own house? Get out of me house this minute,” says I.

“I’ll go whin I loike,” says she, “you must give me a wake’s notice.”

With that she grinned in me face, and marched upstairs to bed, and as she wint up she shnapped her fingers at me, and said:—

“I wouldn’t shtop in the house along wid you, and if I wasn’t a perfect lady and me father a rethrinched civil servant I’d tear out a handful of yer bloomin’ red hair!”

Now, Mrs. Moloney, I’d be the last in the wurruld to be ashamed of the hair that Nature give me. If it was rid, I’d freely own it, but all me frinds who know me know it’s a lovely auburn, and that you’ve said yoursilf, Mrs. Moloney, toimes without number.

The nixt mornin’ I told her she had to lave, and she said I must give her a wake’s notice, or a wake’s money.

So I gave her nine shillins, and she called a cab, and put her box in it. I seen the cabby wink at her, and whin he asked “where to?” she says, “Oh! to the old shop,” and away they wint.

Mrs. Tacitus, and her nixt door neighbour, who was passing at the toime, grinned loike a cupple of Chishire cats.

She wasn’t gone half an hour, whin I found that I couldn’t find me silver tay spoons that was given me as a weddin’ present. I informed the perleese, and Conshtable Doolan tould me that he expicted her father had been rethrinched from Darlinhurst, because his toime was up. Howiver, he promised to go to the adhress to make enquiries, and I waited for twinty-four hours on the throws of anxiety. He called nixt day, and tould me that her adhress wasn’t her adhress at all. He said it was phwat they call a factacious one.

He’d no sooner gone than I discovered that me gould brooch wid the green emerald in it that Pat give me whin we was courtin’ was nowhere in the house. Thin I missed two of Pat’s bist shirts, me white petticoat wid the lace round the edge, and two silk handkerchiefs. Oh! phwat shall I do?

I’m afraid to search any more for fear everythin’ that’s in the house will be missin’. Pat’s gould watch that was give him as a testymonial from the Hibernian Society is gone, and he’ll kill me whin he comes home. Holy murdher! phwat’ll I do?”

And Mrs. McSweeney burst into tears, and dhropped her face in her hands, sobbing convulsively, as if her heart would break. Mrs. Moloney took advantage of Mrs. McSweeney’s temporary mental aberration, to put a little more whisky in her tea.

She then raised Mrs. McSweeney’s head, kissed her affectionately on both, cheeks, called her a poor dear persecuted darling, told her to cheer up, and be certain that a merciful Providence would bring the hussy to a bad end.

Thin, remarking that it was near time to be seeing about Moloney’s tea, she took her departure.


Mrs. McSweeney at Killara

“’Tis a wurrum day,” said Mrs. Moloney, as she fanned herself with her handkerchief, “and the sun is that hot that you’d think it was the place we read about. ’Tis roasted I am wid the hate and the dust till me clothes is shtickin’ to me. Don’t let me dishturb you. I can talk to you while you dhress. How rid your arrums are.”

“Yes,” replied Mrs. McSweeney, as she took the hairpins from her mouth, “’twas the day in the bush that did it. And, ’tis not only me arrums, but I’m all over like a boiled lobsther, although the vaseline is gradually resthorin’ me natural tint.”

“And phwat happened ye?” enquired Mrs. Moloney, as she took the comb and brush and proceeded to do Mrs. McSweeney’s hair. “Why, your shoulders are blisthered.”

“’Twas the day in the bush,” repeated Mrs. McSweeney. “’Twas the day among the hills and the gullies of a place they call Killara, where Pat tuk us to gather wild flowers last Monday. It being a holiday the shtore was shut, and so Pat said he would take us to a place where we could gather flannel flowers by the bushel, and waratahs by the cartload. ‘Where you’ll get the shmell of the eucaluptis,’ he says; ‘where we can bile the billy among the rocks, and ate our food wid the flavour of the ozone,’ says he; ‘and schamper among the bouldhers, and pick wild flowers like a lot of young nannigoats. Where we can dispinse,’ he says, ‘wid the resthraints and encumbrances of civilization, and enjoy ourselves in native simplicity, as happy as if we were cannibals,’ says he. ‘Where we can lay on our backs and watch the birds among the threes, and listen to the voice of the musical muskeeters,’ says he. ‘Where we can fancy that we’re thousands of miles from anywhere, and close our eyes in pace,’ he says, ‘and feel that we’re like Robinson Crusoe, and the monarchs of all that belongs to us. We’ll make it a family party,’ he says. ‘There’ll be me and you and the twins, and Norah and Gwendoline,’ says he. (Norah is his sister, and Gwendoline is his niece.) ‘We’ll pack a hamper,’ he says, ‘and we’ll shtart early, and we’ll take it aisy, and we’ll have a good ould toime.’

“I was busy all day Sathurday and Sunday gettin’ things ready. I got the beautifullest ox tongue ye ever saw, and boiled it and pressed it in the billy. I made some scones, and cakes, and things, packed up some tay and sugar and butther and milk and mustard, two loaves of bread and a sandwich cake, some cups, and plates, and knives and forks, wid a tablecloth and a bottle of pickles. I packed phwat I could in the basket, and made parcels of the rist.

‘‘We had an early breakfust, intindin’ to shtart before it got wurrum, but Norah kept us waitin’, havin’ to iron her blouse which she forgot on Sathurday, havin’ a lot of other things to attind to, and Gwendoline finding a hole in her shtockin’, which she had to take off and darn. However, we shtarted about 9 o’clock a.m. in the mornin’, as happy as could be, barrin’ a little unpleasantness that occurred because I insisted on the twins takin’ their overcoats for fear it might rain, which Pat said was bally foolishness as we had too much to carry; not that he had anything to grumble about, for he only had the basket, and the billy, and a jam sandwich, which I rowled up into a nate parcel, as I couldn’t get it into the basket widhout crushing it. But this bein’ over away we wint.

“The thrams were crowded, but there was plinty of room on the boat. We caught the thrain at Milson’s Point, and phwat wid admoirin’ the scenery, and shtudyin’ the cut of a new kind of blouse that was on a lady wid a thransparent yoke, we got to Killara before I knew we’d stharted.

“There was not many people got out at Killara, and we shtrolled along the road in the shwate counthry air, admoirin’ the grass, and threes, and gardens and things.

“Killara is a place where people go to live when they want to get away from somewhere else. They have nice houses and gardens, and summerhouses, and ferneries, and lawnmowers, and all sorts of things.

“The further we got from the station the further the houses were apart, and between the houses are patches of bush and shady threes. As we wint along the road I felt as frisky as a two year old, and the way the twins was enjoyin’ themselves was enough to bring gladness to the heart of any lawfully begotten parent.

“And so we wint, as the poet says ‘Wid mirth on our lips and music in our hearts,’ for maybe a mile or two; and divel a soul did we mate but two min and a boy—and we didn’t mate thim becase they turned into the bush before we cum up wid ’em—and an ould rid cow that was grazin’ undher a gum-three wid crumpled horns.

“At last we got to a hill, which we wint up, and faith it knocked some of the friskiness out of me, for by the toime we got to the top I was that toired that I thought me legs ’ud dhrop from undher me, and Pat was growlin’ that the basket weighed a ton. When we got to the top we sat down to admoire the scenery by mutual consint, widhout shpakin’ a wurrud. ‘Have we much further to go?’ I says, when I could get wind enough to shpake.

“‘Faith!’ says Pat, ‘if it wasn’t for the bally basket it ’ud be no distance. There’s just a couple more hills, or perhaps it may be three, and thin we’ll begin to go down to the gullies,’ he says.

“Just thin Norah jumped to her fate wid a yell that was fit to wake the did.

“Saints alive!” says I, “Phwat’s the matter?”

“Oh!” she says, “’tis bit by a shnake I am, and the wurruld’s a comin’ to an ind.”

“Where are ye bit?” says I.

“Sure,” she says, “I can’t show ye. There’s, a man on the verandah just along the road, and I saw him look up when he heard me schrame, so he did. But it’s killed I am. I can fale the poison gettin’ into me system.”

“Faith!” says Pat, “’tis a big fuss ye are makin’ about nothin’. ’Twas a soldier ant,” he says, “can’t ye see ye were sittin’ on a bid of ’em. But, ’tis the way wid wimmen,” he says “they’ve no pheelosify. If a thing like that happened to a man, ’tis wid pheelosify he’d take it. The foinest thing in the wurruld,” says he, “is pheelosify. ’Tis the art of takin’ things as they come. Trouble and pain are nothin’ if ye have pheelosify. But ’tis only min that have it. That’s why you never see a man make a fuss about nothin’. The pain will soon get aisier,” he says, “especially if ye rub it wid a little vinegar. In the manetoime there’s nothin’ to do but to take it wid pheelosify.” “There’s no danger in a soldier ant,” he says, “’tis maybe onpleasant for the toime, but ye must grin and bear it. That’s pheelosify.” As he said this, he was just pickin’ up the basket to reshume our journey, but he dhropped it again wid a yell.

“Holy, Moses!” he cried, as he hopped to a shtump and sat down on it, “come quick and put your hand up me throusies,” he says. “There’s one of the divels has got me by the tindherest part of me leg,” says he, “and he’s bit me tin times at once in the one place, and he’s tearin’ bits out of me, so he is. Oh! its crippled I’ll be entoirely, and you shtandin’ there like a bally idiot. Why don’t you come and take him off of me?”

“Why don’t you take it wid pheelosify?” says I.

“To the divel wid you and your pheelosify,” he says. “Shut up! and don’t be shtandin’ there grinnin’ like a Cheshire cat,” he says, “while your husband’s sufferin’ the torments of the condimned. There’s some things that bate pheelosify,” he says, “and this is one of ’em. Let’s get away to the gullies till I can rub some vinegar on it.”

So we shtarted and wint up some more hills till we come to a place where Pat said we’d turn off to find the gullies. Soon afther we turned off the road we began to see the flowers. There was flannel flowers, and Christmas bells, Christmas bush, and little blue flowers, rid flowers, yellow flowers and white flowers. Gwendoline and the twins wanted to shtop and pick ivery one they saw, but Pat said there’d be plenty of bether ones lower down. And so we kept on climbin’ lower and lower, and yit we didn’t same to get any nearer to the bottom.

“Where’ll we bile the billy?” says I at lingth.

“How can we bile the billy widhout wather?” says Pat.

“And when’ll we get wather?” I says.

“When we come to it,” says he.

And so we wint on, The others were jumpin’ from rock to rock, but, I had to slither down owin to me corpulancy, till I was almost worn out wid the roughness of the rocks, to say nothin’ of the dhry shticks and the lawyer bushes that ripped me gathers and nearly tore the gound off of me.

At last we came to a place that samed to be the bottom, but it was nothin’ but rocks and bushes and things, and not a drop of wather.

“Is this the bottom?” says I, as I sunk exhausted on a tussock of grass.

“It is the bottom of this part of it,” says Pat. “but we’ll have to follow it further down to get to the wather.”

Well, following it down was worse than gettin’ to it. The bottom of the gully was nothin’ but a dhried-up water course, wid rocks and bouldhers mixed wid ferns and bushes that way that whin ye put your foot down you never knew where it would land. The twins did right enough because they could squeeze between the rocks and crawl undher thim. Pat was all right, because he could jump from one to the other; Norah and Gwendoline did pretty well, except when Gwendoline’s shoe came off, and Pat had to lower Pat junior down between two rocks to get it up again. But poor me! I got jammed three times that way that it took the lot of ’em to pull me through; and once, through threadin’ on a rotten shtick which bethrayed me, I was caught that way between two bouldhers, wid me head on one and me fate on another, that I thought I’d have to lay wid me back broke and die of shtarvation.

Afther descendin’ this way for hours and hours, one of the twins—I think it was Mike, but it might have been Pat, anyway it was the one that was ahead—sang out that there was some wather among the rocks.

Whin we came to it Pat said we’d find some bether lower down, as this had tadpoles in it, But I put me foot down, and shternly refused to go another inch till we’d biled the billy and I had some tay, tadpoles or no tadpoles.

I don’t think I iver enjoyed a male as well as that one. Everybody was hungry and thirsty, and in atin’ and dhrinkin’ we soon forgot onr throubles. We were alone in the wide, wide bush. There wasn’t a sound to disturb our pace and quietness but the sound of our own voices, and the locusts and the buzz of the musical muskeeters that were round us in millions. If it hadn’t of been that Gwendoline dhropped the milk bottle on the rock and broke it, that Mike broke two of me best cups, so that we had to take it in turns wid the pannikin, that the ants got into the sugar, that Mike sat on the jam sandwich and squeezed all the jam out through the newspaper, and that Pat burned his fingers takin’ the billy from the fire—if it hadn’t been for these little things—our pleasure would have been perfect.

Afther our lunch, I reclined gracefully among some ferns and dhry shticks, while Pat sat on a rock and shmoked his pipe to kape the muskeeters off me. Norah was washin’ her handkerchief in the wather-hole, Gwendoline was swingin’ on a bough atin’ monkey nuts, and the twins was afightin’ for a waratah that Norah had picked on the way down, and it samed as if we were a bit out of the Arabian nights, so it did.

When Pat had finished his shmoke we packed up, and afther thravelin’ for some time wid the usual difficulties, we got a place that Pat said was the place we were afther lookin’ for. And a beautiful place it was. There was plinty of grass, a big flat rock, and a lovely shtrame of wather, ripplin’ and gurglin’ along in the sunlight, only when I got a pannikin of it to dh’rink I found it was salt it was. However, there was plinty of fresh not far away, and so Pat said we’d camp and enjoy oursilves. We took our hats off because, although the sun was hot there was plinty of shade, and we purtinded we was a camp of blackfellows and bushrangers.

Gwendoline and the twins tuk off their boots and shtockin’s and then all paddled in the wather till I invied them.

Well, do you know, Mrs. Moloney, the hate was so hot, and the wather looked so cool, so, as Pat was the only man about, and I didn’t care for him, I made up me moind that I’d have a paddle too. So I tuk off me shoes and sthockin’s, and turned up me shkirts as far as propriety would allow me, and I wint in a paddling. Oh! the joy of it! The sinsation was delightful. I felt like a mermaid or a wather nymph. Pat was sittin’ on the side of a hill, wid a whisky flask in one hand and a pannikin in the other, and I was amusin’ the twins wid me antics in the wather, and makin’ them and Gwendoline laugh.

“Will ye have a dhrop of whisky?” said Pat, “to kape out the could?”

“There is no could,” says I, “but I’ll have it all the same if ye’ll sind it to me. It is grand!” says I, “the wather is like milk, it is. Oh, Pat!’ I said, in me innocint enjoyment, “wouldn’t it be grand to be a crockidile?”

“Wid that, me fut shlipped from undher me and losin’ me equilibrium, down I sat in about two fate of wather, wid an awful splash.

“’Tis a crockidile you look like now,” says Pat, “and all ye want is the shcales.” And insthead of comin’ to help me out, there he sat, houldin’ the whisky flask and the pannikin, and laughin’ till the tears ran down his chakes.

Well, although I was dhrinched to me shkin, I had to laugh too. And Norah laughed, and Gwendoline laughed, and they all laughed, barrin’ the twins, and they began to cry.

Young Mick tuk me by the hand and thried to pull me out, but he might as well have thried to lift a cow out of a bog. I thried to help him get me up, but in sthrugglin’ I hit me toe agin a rock and dislicated it, and the rock bein’ shlippery, I shlid back into where the wather was deeper, and I lay down wid nothin’ but me head above it. Then Gwendoline laughed again, and young Pat, who thought his mother was dhrownded, threw the billy at her, which didn’t hit her, but knocked the whisky flask out of his father’s hand. Before it could be recovered the best part of it was shpilled on the ground, which made Pat laugh on the other side of his mouth. He began shwearin’ at young Pat, Gwendoline began to cry, and Norah ran to pick up the whisky flask, and save the rimnant that was in it.

Durin’ the divarsion I managed to shcramble out of the wather. Thin they all laughed agin. Even the twins laughed this toime.

Well, every stitch on me was soaked, but it was a wurrum day, and we were alone in the bush, and so I wint behind a shcrub and got Norah to help me peel off, and to lind me her book muslin petticoat, which I found quite sufficient in the sun, and I sat on a rock and read a comic paper for about two hours while me clothes dhried.

It was rale nice while it lasted, although Pat said he’d like a camera, and I’m glad he hadn’t one. But I’ve suffered for it since, for I’m shkinnin’ loike an onion from that toime to the prisint.

But my clothes dhried all right. Phwat was left of the whisky previnted me catchin’ could, and barrin’ the shkinnin’, which, maybe, will leave me fairer, I’m little the worse.

Towards evenin’, afther I was resthored to me nathural comforts, Pat said it was toime we’d be goin’. So we packed up and shtarted.

If climbin’ down the gullies was pain, climbin’ up again was purgathory. Many toimes, as we mounted rock afther rock, and me breath failed me, and me legs was thrimblin’ wid the exertion, I begged them to lave me to die, and let me bones be a livin’ testimony to other payple’s foolishness. But Pat kept forgin’ ahead wid the basket, Norah and Gwendoline aich tuk one of me hands, while the twins prized me up behind. And so we kept goin’, except in two or three of the shtapest places, whin Pat had to come back and help the twins wid his shouldher. He kept sayin’ that ivery hill was the last, but when we got to the top of it, we always found a bigger one forninst us.

At last I laid down on the ground quite careless of me appearances, and said if they wanted me to walk any further they’d have to get the ambulance. Just thin, Pat, who was still forgin’ ahead, said he could see a house. Norah and Gwendoline ran afther him, and nobody waited to see whether I was did or aloive but me blessed twins, and they would have run too only for a bunch of Christmas bells they wanted to pick.

Whin I’d got me wind, I made them aich lind me a shouldher, and so I managed to come up wid the others. The house was a dairy farm where they kipt cows; and I found Pat and Norah and Gwendoline sittin’ by the fince dhrinkin’ milk out of a billy, and thinkin’ no more of me and me sufferin’s than if I wasn’t there.

It was all level ground from here to the station, although the distance was that great I thought I’d never rache it.

The others all say it was a grand day we had. Pat says, “look at the flowers we got.”

Flowers indade! I suppose we could have bought as many for threepence in Martin Place.

Pat says we will go there agin nixt holiday. Will we? Ye can take it from me, Mrs. Moloney, that the nixt toime he takes me to Killara he’ll go alone, like Mick O’Dooley did to the wishin’ gate. The gullies may be nice, and the hills may be grand, but I’d think the gullies and hills nicer and grander if they were rowled out flat.

“Must you go so soon? Well, well! I’d no idea how late it was. I must get me shtew on. I’ve me shin to boil, and it takes a lot of cookin’.

“Good bye! Don’t forget your sunshade and your sausages. They’re on the pianny.”


Mrs. McSweeney Receives A Deputation

“Take the chair wid the cushion on it,” said Mrs. McSweeney, “you are not in a hurry. ’Tis early yet, and I’ve not sane you since the last toime. ’Tis quite a swell ye are in your new blouse.”

“Do you loike it?” said Mrs. Moloney. “I made it from a rimnant while Moloney was at a political matin’. He wanted me to go wid him. He said I ought to shtudy politics now we’ve got the frangise, but I tould him I had enough to do wid lookin’ afther me home widhout goin’ intherferin’ wid things that didn’t cansarn me. He said how would I know how to vote, but I tould him to go and find out and let me know, and if I was compilled to vote, I’d vote the way he did, whichever way it was. So I made me blouse, and he wint electioneerin’.”

“Ye did quite right,” said Mrs. McSweeney. “There’s min’s wurruk and there’s wimmin’s wurruk, and whin min thry to take the place of wimmen, and wimmen thry to take the place of min, they are both rediculous. If a woman attinds to her wurruk she has no toime for politics, and if she attinds to politics, she has no toime for her household duties.

The thruth of this observation was brought to me moind last wake, whin, just as I was busy makin’ some scones for Pat’s tay, a knock come to me door.

Mrs. Jackson was takin’ a cup of tay wid me, and passin’ the toime of day in the kitchen, so, as me hands was all over flour, and me dhress turned up to kape it clane, I asked her to be koind enough to open the door, and if it was the man sellin’ vegetables to tell him I didn’t want any.

She come back in a minute, and tould me that there was three ladies in the drawin’-room, that wanted to say Mrs. McSweeney wid their compliments. So I washed me hands and shtraightened me dhress, and toidied me hair, and wint in to see thim.

Whin I enthered the room I was accosted by a tall dark woman, wid high chake bones and shpectacles, a green umbrellow, and yellow cotton gloves, wid a wart on her nose, who said in a voice for all the wurruld like the ghost in Hamlet:—

“Mrs. McSweeney, I preshume?” and she shtuck one hand on her hip, and bumped her umbrellow on the carpet.

“That’s me, at your service,” says I perlitely.

“Me name is Moddle,” says this excenthric faymale, raisin’ her voice and elevatin’ her roight hand. I thought she was goin’ to give a recitation, and say: “On Yonder Crampin’ Hills,” but she didn’t. She paused, and as I didn’t same to be overcome by her announcement, she repated it.

“Me name is Moddle,” says she, and she throid hard to smoile, but she was evidently out of practice, for she couldn’t manage it.

“This is me darther, Miss Moddle,” she says, pintin’ to a consumptive-lokin’ gurrul, wid a cast in her eye, that was a-sittin’ on her roight hand, “and this is Miss Biffen, and she pinted to a fat old woman that was sittin’ in a big hat wid a rid feather, on her other side.

“We’ve bin readin’ about you,” she says, “and we’ve heard payple talkin’ about you. We’ve bin discussin’ you, and we’ve come to the conclusion that you’d be a tower of stringth to us. You are aware, Mrs. McSweeney, that we are down-throdden,” she says, “and that we’ve bin shweatin’ under the yoke of oppression. Too  long, Mrs. McSweeney, too long, have we bin the slaves of that base creature, man!”

“I didn’t know it,” says I.

“No, ma’am,” replied Mrs. Moddle, bumpin’ her unbrellow into me carpet agin; “that’s where the injustice and the iniquity comes in. We’ve bin slaves for hundhreds of years!”

“Shpake for yourself,” says I.

“We’ve bin slaves,” says Mrs. Moddle, “for hundhreds of years and we didn’t know it. But we have the vote, and we’re goin’ to throw off the yoke, and we want you to hilp us. We have read your diffusions and we rejice that the fame of such brilliant diffusions belongs to one of our sects.”

I was goin’ to reply, but she waved her hand, and continued:—

“We’ve bin appointed,” she says, “to form a depredation to wait on you.”

“I’m much obliged to ye,” says I, “but afther the experience I had wid me lady help, I’ve decided not to have anybody to wait on me regular, except Mrs. O’Rielly, wunst or twice a wake, as me necessities may require.”

She bumped her unbrellow on the floor and raisin’ her voice a couple of octives, she wint on:—

“We belong,” says she, “to the Wimmin’s Sufferin’s Lage, and we’ve come to inlist you in our cause.”

“Not if I know it,” says I. “There was only one of me family that iver enlisted, and that was me brother Barney. He was sint out to Japan to foight the Afgans, and a big lump of a Turk hit him on the head wid an asseguy, and he had to wear a silver plate in it, and he wint about iver afther carryin’ a big umbrellow, and fancyin’ he was the Emperor of Chiney.”

“Mrs. McSweeney,” says the spokeswoman, “we’re afoightin’ for the roights of poor down-throdden wimmin. We’re as good as min. Phwat would the wurruld be loike, Mrs. McSweeney, widhout wimmin?”

“I’ll give it up,” says I. “Phwat would it be loike?”

“It would be a dissolute wildherness,” she says, “full of nothin’ but savages. We are goin’ to claim our roights, Mrs. McSweeney, and we’re goin’ to have ’em. We have bin the slaves of min, long enough, and we are goin’ to demand the same privileges and the same powers as the min. Wimmin are as good as min, Mrs. McSweeney.”

“They are bether for some things,” says I.

“’Tis thrue, Mrs. McSweeney,” says Mrs. Moddle, bumpin’ me carpit agin. “’Tis thrue, and I’m glad to know that you are one of us. I rejice that we shall have you undher our banner. We will insist on the aqual disthribution of iverything, so that wimmin can have all they want, and the min can have phwat’s lift, and be kipt in their proper place. The day is comin’, Mrs. McSweeney, whin the highest offices in the Shtate will be open to wimmin, whin we shall see thim in Parleymint, in the pulpit, and in the bar.”

“You can see thim in the bar now, sometoimes,” says I, “and I don’t know that the soight is elevatin’.”

“I don’t mane phwat you mane, Mrs. McSweeney,” says she, wavin’ her umbrellow round her head, and nearly pokin’ it through Pat’s enlarged photograph, “I don’t mane the bar that you mane, I mane the legal bar. We shall see thim at the bar, and on the binch. There will be faymale professors, and faymale magisthrates, faymale docthers, and faymale prastes.”

“And phwat will they do wid the babies?” says I.

“Let the min take the throuble of the babies,” says she, thumpin’ her unbrellow on me pianny. “The min can take the throuble of the babies. The wimmin have borne it long enough. Besides, Mrs. McSweeney, in a perfect shtate of society such as wimmin ’ud make, there’d be no babies. Whin we rule the wurruld, there will be no babies, Mrs. McSweeney.”

“‘Twould be a curious wurruld,” says I.

“But you’ll jine us, Mrs. McSweeney,” she continued, shwingin’ her umbrellow agin, and tarin’ a rint in me new lace curtains.

“You’ll jine us,” she says, “and hilp us to plant the banner of freedom on the mountain tops of victhory, where it’ll float down the sthrame of success till it thramples the tyranny of min benathe its fate,” she says. “We’re goin’ to share the management of the Shtate, the highest offices will be open to us, and we’ll wear the—”

“If ye do ye’ll be a purty guy, and ye’ll not be comfortable,” says I. “I wunst wore bloomers, and I filt as if I’d lift part of me clothes behoind me.”

“I was not talkin’ of clothes,” says she, “I was goin’ to say, ‘we’ll wear the crown of baize.’’’

“You’ll excuse me, Mrs. Moddle,” says I, “but me scones is burnin’. I’ve heard of you payple before, but I niver seen one. Git home, and do yer darnin’ and mindin’, and kape widin yer spear. There’s room enough in the wurruld for both min and wimmin, and they’ve both got a spear. From the toime of the Quane of Shebert to our own late blissed Victoria (long loife to her) the min have thrated the wimmin as well as they desarve. The min have wurruked for thim, fought for thim, and died for thim. Take me advoice, Mrs. Moddle,” says I, “go home and darn yer gloves, I see they want it, and don’t meddle wid phwat ye don’t undershtand. Get that poor gurrul somethin’ for her cough,” says I, “and attind to yer domestic duties. Do yer bist in yer own spear, and earn the esthame of the other sects, and you may be sure that they’ll make bether laws to protict ye than you could make yoursilf. Look afther the childher,” says I, “if ye have any, and you can thin mould the min that have to make the laws. And if ye have none,” says I, “go and look afther the little waifs and sthrays, and be a mother to the motherless. Lave the breeches to thim that can wear thim widhout bein’ rediculous,” I says, “and now I’ll wish you good-day, for I must get the scones ready for Pat’s tay.”

Wid that I bowed ’em out. Och! me poor adopthed counthry! Phwat will you do whin Mrs. Moddle wears the crown of baize? Depind upon it, Mrs. Moloney, that whin min and wimmin first were made, their Maker knew phwat He was about. He intinded thim to go through loife soide by soide in different grooves, but not in the same one.

The wurruld rowled on for thousands of years widhout wimmin havin’ a vote, and they’ve done their share of rulin’. Let the min think they rule the wurruld. Phwat does it matther if the wimmin rule the min? The wimmin that lift their names on the pages of the wurruld’s histhory, are the wimmin that did wimmin’s wurruk, and did it well.

The wimmin that now-a-days are thryin’ to play the man, are only playin’ the fool. ’Tis noice to ride on a thrain. How would it fale if a woman had charge of the engine? Let the min do the hard wurruk, Mrs. Moloney, and let the wimmin make their labour loight wid their shmoiles and caresses. Let the wimmin attind to the thrainin’ of the boys, so that they have pure moinds in sound bodies, and let the gurruls cultivate the domesthic virtues, and not thry to push the boys out of their spear, and it will be all right. In the manetoime, I must look afther me cookin’. You go and do the same, me dear. Give Moloney a good dinner and a shmoile, and he’ll vote as you want him to.


Mrs. McSweeney At A Sale

“’Twas a day,” said Mrs. McSweeney, as she fished a dead fly out of her tea, and helped herself to a second piece of loaf sugar, “that will shtick to my mimery like tar to a tom-cat. ’Twas the most exciting day I iver shpint. Whin I say the most exciting av coorse I shpake paregorrically, as Father Doolan would say. But for all that ’twas an exciting day, so it was, and is imprinted upon me moind in indesthructable characters. Whin I wint out av me house that mornin’, Mrs. Moloney, I had no idea that I was goin’ anywhere, and yet I wint, and I can assure you that the realization of my anticipation exceeded my utmost expictation, so it did.

“I wore me blue silk blouse which I had had turned and dyed pink, wid the thransparent yoke, and me rid crash skirt wid open-wurruk shtockins and tan shoes, me grane sthraw hat wid the blue cornflowers, and me rid and white sthriped sunshade. I was sthrollin’ down Pitt Sthrate quiet and unconcerned, whin I heard a boy ringin’ a bell, enough to dhrown the dhrums of your ears. At that very minute who should I see forninst me, comin’ towards me in the opposite direction, but Mrs. McGuffin, whose husband is in the Wather and Sewerage. Principally I think in the Sewerage.

“Good mornin’, Mrs. McSweeney,” says she, “sure, it is good for sores eyes to see ye.”

“The same to you,” says I, “and many of ’em.”

“Are ye goin’ to the sale?” she says.

“’Tis the most important sale of the sayson,” she says. “The furniture of a gintleman’s mansion,” she says, “wid pitures, brickey-bracks, pot-plants, and piannies, wid the shtock of a pawnbroker that has never been redeemed,” says she, “and a Brussels carpet, the property of a widow lady about four yards shquare,” says she. “I came bekase I want a pair of Mrs. Potts’ irons.”

I was in two moinds whether to go in or not, bekase I had foive pounds in me purse that I was to deposit in the Savin’s Bank for Pat, and the money to pay the gas bill, to say nothing of a few shillings of me own. But Mrs. McGuffin said it ud be all right if I kep me purse in me hand and me money in me purse, and so I tould her I’d shtep in for a while.

“Am I sthraight behind?” says I, turnin’ round so as to face her wid me back.

“As sthraight as is natural,” says she.

“I mane is me blouse all roight,” I says.

“It is,” says she, “barrin’ that it’s a bit wrinkled on the left shouldher,” she says.

Wid that we intered the room. There was a big crowd there both of males and faymales, and they were turnin’ things over as if they belonged to them, so they was. At th’ moment av our inthry the man on th’ nosthrum that Mrs. McGuffin said was the auctioneer, was expatiatin’ on the vartues of a lawn mower, which a man was holdin’ up for the inspiction of the crowd.

“Now then,” says he. “How much for the lawn mower? Don’t all shpake at once,” he says, “I have eliven and sixpence bid. Goin! at eliven and sixpence,” an’ he tould the man to turn it round. “Any advance,” he says, “I will not dwell upon it. Any advance? Twelve,” he says, “twelve shillin’s! Goin’! at twelve.” Wid that he caught me eye and shmoiled at me, quite frindly like, an’ I, not to be outdone in perliteness, gev him a frindly nod in return.



“Thirteen!” says he, “goin’ at thirteen. Any advance on thirteen?”

Nobody shpoke, and so he tapped his pincil on his book and said:—

“Gone at thirteen.”

“Your name, please, Madam?” he said.

“Me name is Bridget McSweeney,” says I.

“Will ye pay now, Mrs. McSweeney?” he says.

“For phwat?” says I.

“For the lawn mower!” he says.

“And why should I pay ye for th’ lawn mower?” says I.

“Bekase ye bought it,” he says.

“Me?” says I.

“Yes, you,” says he. “Didn’t ye bid thirteen shillin’s for it?” he says.

“Well!” says I, “av all the impident things I iver heard,” I says.

“Why,” says I, “I have but this moment intered th’ room wid me frind. An’ I declare,” I says, “if this very minute was to be me nixt, that I niver opened me mouth in the room since I asked me frind if me back was sthraight outside the door,” I says.

“Didn’t ye nod to me?” says he.

“I belave I did,” I says,  “whin ye shmoiled at me, frindly like.”

“Well! that was a bid,” says he. “And did ye not hear me say,” says he, “that I wud not dwell upon it?”

“An’ little credit to ye,” says I, “fur who wud be wishin’ to dwell upon a lawn mower?”

“An’ didn’t I knock it down quick to ye?” he says, “bekase I was sthruck wid your appearance. And, gintlemin,” he says, wavin’ his arrum around him, “watin’ here to bid me two pound tin?”

“Hear, hear!” said a man wid a Roman nose and a Hebrew cast av countenance.

“It is a lawn mower,” he continued, “that has few equals. It is a double actin’, self workin’ lawn mower,” he says, “that will mow your lawn while your husband sthrolls about wid his hands behind him and shmokes his pipe,” he says, “an’ it is in perfect condition barrin’ a whale that is missin’.”

“But I have no lawn to mow,” says I, “barrin a shmall flower bid wid a few geraniums.”

“Thin,” says he, “get your husband to make you a lawn, and thin he can mow it,” he says. Just thin I heard a gintlemin beside me say, in a low tone of voice not intinded for me ear:—

“It is dirt chape at two pound tin,” he says, “since I may live till I die.”

I did not want to make a public disthurbance and so, as it seemed I had a bargain, I paid for it, but I made up me moind that the nixt toime I nodded to him I’d kape me head shtill if I broke me nick.

“The nixt article,” said the auctioneer, “is a wooden bidsthid,” he says, “it is an antique bit av furniture; and for anything I know it might have been shlipt on by Quane Victoria at the toime she married the Prince Concert,” says he, “at the Tower of London. How much for it? Shtart it somebody.”

“It has an ironbark lig to it,” says a man shtanding near me in a bathered hat wid black whiskers.

“That,” says the auctioneer, “is only where it has been rinovated,” he says. “It shows th’ unity av the British Impire,” says he.

“It is a combination of English oak and Austhralian hardwood,” says he. “How much?”

“One and threepence,” says the man wid the black whiskers.

“Do ye mane to insult me?” says the auctioneer, “one and threepence!” he says, “for the bidshtid that Quane Victoria slipt on,” says he.

“And the symbol of th’ unity of the British Impire.”

“How do ye know she slip’ on it?” says the man wid the black whiskers.

“How do you know she didn’t?” says the auctioneer. “And one and threepence is all I’m bid. Any advance on one and threepence? Are ye all done? Goin’ at one and three! Goin’ one! Goin’ twice! For the third and last toime! Gone at one and threepence to Mr. Isaacs,” he says.

“Now here is something,” says the auctioneer, “that will suit the lady that bought the lawn mower. ’Tis a rilic of th’ Ermerald Isle,” he says. “’Tis a full sized photograph of Robert Immit, th’ Irish Pathriot, that fought at the battle av Clonmell and killed three hundred and sixty-foive Englishmen wid his own hand,” says he.

“He is in a gould frame,” he says, “and is taken in his lancer’s uniform on a black horse. How much for it?”

Now I’d often heard Pat shpake of Robert Immit, and I thought it ’ud make him a foine prisent for his birthday.

“Five,” says a woman that was sittin’ on a washsthand wid a marble tap in a rid hat thrimmed wid crushed sthrawberry laves.

“Five pounds I’m bid,” says th’ auctioneer, lookin’ at me. “Any advance on foive pounds?”

“’Twas shillin’s I mint,” says the woman wid th’ rid hat.

“What?” says he, “foive shillin’s for th’ picture of Daniel O’Connell?” he says.

“’Twas Robert Immit a minute ago,” says I.

“And so it is Robert Immit,” he says, turnin’ it round, “I did not ricognize him,” says he, “for his back was towards me.”

“Tin shilling” says I.

“Fifteen!” says the woman wid the rid hat.

“A pound!” says I, lookin’ at her undher th’ auctioneer’s arrum wid a glance of lofty contimpt.

“Twinty-foive,” she says, retarnin’ the glance.

“Thirty shillin’s,” says I, thrimblin’ all over wid excitemint.

“Thirty shillin’s I’m bid,” says the auctioneer. “Any advance on thirty? Goin’ at thirty!” He lifted up his pincil and I thought the pathriot was moine, whin the woman wad the rid hat said, “Thirty foive.”

Robert Immit seemed to be gettin’ farther from me, but I could not let foive shillin’s shtand betwane us. So I shouted in tones of defiance, “Two pounds!”

“Thank you, ma’am,” said the auctioneer, “’Twould not be half the value av him, if he was aloive,” he says, “and it is well known,” says he, “that pathriots is worth tin toimes as much whin they are did, as whin they are aloive,” he says.

“Is he did?” says I.

“Did as a door nail,” says he. “He has been did since the day he departed this loife, hundhreds of years ago,” he says.

“In that case I’ll give ye two pounds tin for him,” says I, and I looked at the woman in the rid hat wid all the shcorn me countenance ’ud hould.

“Goin’,” says he, “at two pound tin. Any advance on two pound tin? Gone at two pound tin. Mrs. McSweeney,” he says, “the pathriot is yours.”

Afther he had knocked Robert Immit down wid his pincil, th’ auctioneer put up a child’s cot, a whatnot, and a number of articles that I could not remimber if I was to think of thim includin’ a perambulather, a wardhrobe, a chiny tay sit, and a silver inkshtand that had been prisinted to an alderman wid a glass back.

The nixt article looked to me loike a picture, although the auctioneer said it was an “Old, Masther.” I could not see it very well owing to a tall man in front and the crowd pushin’ behind, till I thought that my gathers would be torn out. I thried to ilbow meself into a bether position, whin I felt a push behind which in shpite of me usual lady-loike deportment I could not help returnin’ wid falin’s of resintment.

“Do you know who ye’re shovin’,” says I to a little fat man behind me.

“I don’t,” he says, “but whoever ye are,” says he, “I wish ye’d kape ye’re umbrelly out av me eye,” says he.

“Why don’t you kape ye’re eye in ye’re pocket?” says I, which I admit, Mrs. Moloney, was not lady-loike through me indignation gettin’ the bether av me.

“’Twould be bether for you,” says he, “if you had anything in ye’re purse,” he says, “if you had kept your eye on it,” says he.

Wid that I looked for me purse and I found that I couldn’t find it, for it was gone.

Me falin’s at that moment, Mrs. Moloney, I could not deshcribe to you if you was to offer me untold millions, which you are not loikely to do, Moloney havin’ lost his job. I schramed “Murdher! Fire! Thaves! Robbers! Police!” And thin I filt faint. Me head began to shwim and I bust into tears. I threw meself, as I thought, into th’ arrums av Mrs. McGuffin, but she havin’ shifted her position, ’twas th’ arrums av th’ little fat man. Whether ’twas me momintum that was too much for him I could not say, but he lost his balance and fill agin an ould lady that was lanin’ agin a hall shtand in green shpectacles.

Thin there was a crash and thin me sinses were oblitherated, I was loike one in a dhrame, till I found meself on a couch and a policeman dhrinchin’ me wid could wather, til me new hair pad was shpoiled and me hat a ruin.

The first wurruds that shmote me in the ear, fell from the mouth av the policeman.

“Is she dhrunk?” says he.

“Where am I?” says I, lookin’ round in a tone of bewildhermint for Mrs. McGuffin, who was not to be seen.

“’Tis not where ye are but where ye will be, unless ye pay the damage,” says the policeman.

“Take me home,” says I, “for me head’s a shwimming like a taytotum,” I says.

“’Tis five pounds sivintane and sixpince,” says the auctioneer.

“Me purse,” I says; “give me me purse, and me money for me gas,” says I.

“We want no more av your gas,” says he. “Will ye pay the damage and not be shtoppin’ me sale?” he says.

Mrs. Moloney, I will not dwell upon the sane that followed. Me degradhation was too great for wurruds. I was taken away to the police station, a crowd followin’ behind widhout a hat and not a single hairpin in me head.

I was kept there for two mortal hours until they rung up for Pat in a shtate of collapse thryin’ to fasten on me hat and kape me hair up at the same time wid the only hat pin I had left, and that a bint one wid the point broke off.

Pat had to lave his wurruk in the middle of the day, and they wud not let me go till he had promised to settle the damage.

I thought me falin’s wud choke me, and that I should burst, I was that full until Pat baled me out. He tuk me home in a cab, and thin wint to see th’ auctioneer.

He cum home about nine o’clock at night p.m., and although he wint sthraight to bid wid his boots on, I dare not say a wurrud.

The nixt mornin’ I tuk him a cup av tay to bid before he was awake. As soon as he woke up he sat up and rubbed his eyes.

“Well!” says he, as soon as he had one av ’em open, “don’t you think ye are a blitherin’, idiot?”

I would not av coarse demane meself by answering such a quistion, but wid as much dignity as I could ashume I said to him:—

“How did ye get on wid th’ auctioneer?”

“I compromised wid him,” he says, “for four pounds tin:”

It sames that the hall shtand in failin’ had shtruck a table full of brickybracks, and this had fallen through an overmantel and the damage was extinsive, to say nothing of the lady in the green shpectacles, who had ruined her dhress through her plaquet catchin’ in one of the hat pegs of the hall shtand and rippin’ it down to the hem.

“And phwat about the lawn mower and the pathriot?” I said.

“The phwat?” says he.

“The lawn mower and the porthrait av Robert Immit that I bought and paid for,” says I.

“The lawn mower,” says he, “was not worth its weight in ould iron,” he says, “and the picture av Robert Immit as ye call it was the picture av a New South Wales lancer, cut from a bally alminack,” he says.

Whin I heard that, Mrs. Moloney, me cup av misery was full to the brim.

“And where are they,” says I, wid me eyes full of tears, and a lump in me throat as big as a shtone.

“I sould ’em for three and sixpince,” he says, “to a woman in a rid hat wid crushed strawberry laves,” says he.

And thin, Mrs. Moloney, me cup av misery ran over loike an avalanche.


Mrs. McSweeney On The Razzle-Dazzle

“Bring your chair on to the balkinny,” said Mrs. McSweeney, as she sat near her work basket, which was heaped up with stockings of all sorts and sizes. “I’m at me wit’s inds,” she said, “wid the twins shtockin’s. I never know which ind of ’em to shtart at, for they’re as hard upon the knees as upon the heels of ’em. ’Tis only last wake that this pair of Mike’s was new, and now look at ’em. They’ve holes at both inds.”

“’Tis the same wid my Pether,” said Mrs. Moloney, as she placed her chair in the shady corner of the balcony. “Phwat wid the knees of his shtockin’s and the sate of his pants, he kapes me goin’. ’Tis little rist a woman has, especially if she’s the mother of a family and has childer.”

“Where were ye yestherday?” said Mrs. McSweeney. “I saw you and Moloney pass in the mornin’. I would have come out but I was doin’ me hair at the toime, and only had one side of it crimped.”

“We wint to the Gardens,” replied Mrs. Moloney. “We wint there to avoid the crush.”

“I love a crush,” said Mrs. McSweeney. “We wint to Bondi. We had an early lunch and took the thram to Bondi. Were you iver on the razzle-dazzle, Mrs. Moloney?”

“No indade,” replied Mrs. Moloney, with some asperity. “I do not deny that I sometimes take a little dhrop of spirits, but I know whin to shtop, and what is due to me position as a daycent married woman.”

“And phwat has spirits to do wid the razzle-dazzle?” enquired Mrs. McSweeney, drawing herself up with dignity.

“Isn’t the razzle-dazzle goin’ on the booze?” enquired Mrs. Moloney.

“Not a bit of it,” said Mrs. McSweeney. “I wint on the razzle-dazzle at Bondi, yistherday afthernoon, and I niver touched a dhrop of shpirits barrin’ a bottle of limonade. It is thrue, Mrs. Moloney, phwat the good book says, ‘Man comes up loike a weed and woman loike a flower, and if they don’t live to a daycent age they get cut off in their youth and die young.’ ’Tis a poor heart that niver rejoices. If ye live till you die ye’ll probably be did longer than ye live, and so ’tis well to make the bist of loife while it lasts. You’ll never be younger than ye are to-day, if you live to be a hundhred, and ’tis the same wid the bist of us. ’Twas some such thoughts as these that took me on the razzle-dazzle yistherday. I wint wid Pat and the twins, and we wint for the express purpose of enjyin’ ourselves. And we did it. Phwat enjoyment could you have, Mrs. Moloney, bether than a new sinsation? ’Tis new sinsations that supply phwat we might call the condiments of loife. Loife widhout new sinsations would be loike bafe widhout musthard or pepper or salt, and the razzle-dazzle is a new sinsation. At laste it was to me. In fact it was a number of ’em each more sinsational than the last.

“You remimber, Mrs. Moloney, that the day was perfect, and the say breeze that blew from the ocean was like a whiff of hiven. The thram goin’ out was packed, which I think ought to be shtopped, because whin payple pays their fares it’s not fair to be squeezed into a sardine, wid a fat gintleman shtickin’ his elbow in your face ivery time the thram stops, and sittin’ in your lap ivery time it moves agin. I was all of a shweat whin we got out of the thram, which made the say breeze all the more delicious. We shtrolled along the beach and watched the childer paddle in the wather, until we came to a place where min and women were all goin’ in together. Pat said ’twas phwat they called mixed bathin’ that was gettin’ all the rage.

“Would you loike to go in?” says he.

“Phwat!” says I. “Do you think I have no more respict for phwat is joo to me sects, than to be exposin’ me limbs like some of those brazen hussies?”

“Where’s the hurrum?” he says.

I would not discuss the matter wid him, Mrs. Moloney, because if you discuss thing wid Pat, one wurrud always lades to another, but I had me thoughts. I do not object to see min bathin’ in proper costhumes, but wid wimmen I think it is ojeous. Pat said he couldn’t see the difference, but I didn’t belave him. I could. Anyhow, I tould him it was no place for him, and I took him away from the wather.

So we wint higher up the beach where there was min sellin’ ice crame, and donkeys, and all sorts of payple, enjoyin’ thimsilves in all sorts of ways. The twins had a ride on a roundabout on two horses, and thin we wint a bit further and we seen the funniest arrangemint you iver clapped your mortal eyes on.

There was a tall pole in the middle, and there were some rods from the pole, and hangin’ to the rods was a sate, where payple were sittin’ and goin’ round.

This is phwat they call the razzle-dazzle, and the twins wanted a ride on it. Pat said they could, and they had a go.

When the thing shtopped goin’ round they said it was grand. In fact Pat, junior, said it was “Boska.”

“Have a go, mum,” he says, “it’s all right. It’s like goin’ round in a boat.”

In a moment of weakness, Mrs. Moloney, and influenced by me motherly affection, I consinted, and took me sate on the razzle-dazzle.

“Hould on!” says the man. And he began to shove it round. As it wint it kept goin’ up one side and down at the other like a man wid a short leg. One minute the ground samed to dhrop from undher me, and the nixt it rose up as if it was goin’ to strike me. “Why—don’t— they—kape—it—livel?” says I, as well as I could for the jerks.

“That’s the fun of it,” says Mike. “That’s why they call it a razzle-dazzle.”

“Phwat — do—I—care—phwat they—phwat they—they—call it?” says I. For one minute me heart was in me mouth, and the nixt it was in me boots.

Ivery now and thin I could see Pat, but I’d no sooner see him than he’d fly past me like a shootin’ shtar.

“Take—me—off!” I said, as he flew past me.

“I can’t ’till it shtops,” he said, nixt time I saw him.

“I’ll—jump—off thin,” says I, as I passed him again.

“Hould tight, and don’t make a holy show of yourself,” he shouted, the nixt time he come round.

But I felt as if me toime had come, and so I left off lookin’ for Pat, and I watched for the ground to come up to me agin. It came once or twice, but I felt afraid to jump. The nixt time it came up I made up me mind to go. I thried to shlither, but me crash costhume was caught on the back of the sate. Just thin Pat passed me agin, and he was wavin’ his hands and shoutin’. I didn’t hear the wurruds he was sayin’ the first time, but the nixt I heard him say.

“Hould tight ’till it shtops, or you’ll break your nick,” he shouted.

“It—is—broken—alridy,” I said, as we mit agin.

“’Tis showin’ your dimity, you are,” he shouted, the nixt toime we passed, “and you’ve a hole in your shtockin’.”

Well, Mrs. Moloney, his wurruds gave me such a shock that I lost me hould and me costhume gave way. As providence would have it, the ground was comin’ up at the toime and I didn’t have to fall far. I landed like a cat on me hands and knees, and was just tryin’ to rise, whin the thing come round agin and hit me a blow that fiathened me, and lift me that way that I couldn’t sit aisy for a wake widhout a cushion.

They shtopped the razzle-dazzle thin, but the blow shtunned me that way that Pat had to sind to the hotel for some spirits to bring me round, while the twins howled, and the razzle-dazzle man bathed me face wid say wather, in his hat, which a young woman was houldin’ for him in a green dhress.

“Is it dead you are?” says Pat.

“I don’t think so,” I says.

“The saints be praised,” he says, “I thought you were, by the way you was groanin’.”

The shpirits revived me a bit, but ivery now and agin I’d clutch at the grass to kape from failin’, for I thought I was shtill on the razzle-dazzle, and could fale mesilf goin’ round and round, and up and down. Me head was loike a taytotum, and you could fale me heart batin’ through me shtays.

“Oh! Pathrick, take me home agin.” says I.

’Tis not often I call him Pathrick. It is only when I am in that shtate that I think me next minute is approaching and I fale that I would like to lave him wid a good imprission.

“Take me home, Pathrick,” I says.

“Is it as bad as that?” says he.

“It is,” I says.

I could see that he was gettin’ frightened, so to aise his mind I said: “Iver since that thing sthruck me, when I wasn’t lookin’, I fale as if me ind was approachin’. Me bones is that sore that I can’t breathe,” I says, “and me crash costhume’s a wreck. I shall never live to get home,” says I, “and me hat’ll have to be rewired before I can wear it again.”

“Shall I take a cab?” he says.

“No. I think it ’ud be bether to get a cab to take me,” says I.

There was a cab not far away, and Pat called him over, and Pat and the cabman, and the twins and the razzle-dazzle man helped me in. Pat tould him where to go, and we dhrove away in the cab, the cabman whippin’ up the horse to the cheers of the multitude.

It did not same long till we arrived home, and I felt bether for the dhrive, as the air revived me and the beatin’ of me heart was soothed by the twins sittin’ on me knee.

Whin we got to the house, Pat hilped me out and sat me on the front shtep while he paid the cabman, because he had the key in his pocket.

“How much is the damage?” said Pat, as he pulled out some silver.

“Tin shillings,” said the cabman, as he lit his pipe with all the coolness in the wurruld.

“Tin divils,” says Pat, “phwat do you take us for?”

“Well,” says he, “I don’t kape a cab and fade a horse, to take you for nothin’,” he says.

“Why,” says Pat, “we’ve only been a half an hour.”

“You can’t depind on that watch,” says the cabman. “Besides,” he says, “see the load I had to carry. I’ll have to lay me horse up for a wake to get over it,” he says.

“I’ll see you, ” says Pat, “in the four quarters of the globe at once, and in a hotter place than Bondi, before you get tin shillins out of me.”

“Well! make it siven and six and we’ll cry quits,” says the cabman.

And I belave Pat would have paid him siven and six, if I had not intherfered.

“You’ll get no siven and six here,” says I. “’Tis an imposition, so it is, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself, thryin’ to impose on spectable payple.”

“Oh!” he says, “you shut up. Anybody can see where you’ve been.”

“And where have I been?” says I, dhrawin’ meself up wid dignity and houldin’ on to the railin’s.

“You’ve been on the razzle-dazzle,” he says.

“And phwat if I have?” says I. “Didn’t I pay for it?” I says. “’Tis loike your impudence to be throwin’ the razzle-dazzle in me face. Phwat do you mane?” says I.

“I mane that we always charges more for dhrunks,” he says.

“You impudent shpalpeen,” I says, “I’ll have you to know I’m a lady,” I says, “and if I had you off that box,” I says, “I’d pull ivery hair you have out by the roots,” I says, “and sind you home as bald as a billiard ball, and wid your ears in your pocket,” I says, for I was beginnin’ to lose me timper. “You are not fit to black my boots,” I says, “wid your impudence. ”

“I know I ain’t,” he says, “and I’d be long sorry to thry.”

“I’ll take your number,” says I.

“You can take a runnin’ jump at yoursilf,” says he, “for all I care!”

“Pat!” says I, “will you shtand there and hear your own wife insulted?” I said. “Oh!” I says, burstin’ into tears. “I wish I was a man.”

“I wish you was,” says Pat. And thin he tould the cabman that if he’d get off the box he’d fight him to see whether he’d pay him tin shillin’s or nothin’.

But the cabby said they might just as well toss as fight. It ’ud be aisier and quicker. He said he’d toss him to see whether he’d pay him siven and six or five shillin’s and the winner shout.

Well! they tossed, and Pat lost. He gave the cabman the siven and sixpence, whin, phwat did he do, but whips up his horse and tells Pat he’d shout for him the nixt time he met him down at the Hotel Austhralia.

Pat was that bad timpered all night through losin’ his dhrink, that he blamed me for it, which caused a coolness that might have lasted till this minute, only that he got a shplinter in his thumb nixt morning when choppin’ the wood to light the fire, and he had to come to me before I was out of bid to get it out agin, and he kissed me from habit, before he thought phwat he was doin’.

As I remarked before, Mrs. Maloney, the condiments of loife consists of new sinsations, but it is possible to take too much condiment, and ’tis the same wid new sinsations.

I got more new sinsations in the foive minutes I was on the razzle-dazzle, than I iver got before in as many wakes. I will not deny that some of them were pleasant, but they were too crowded.

’Tis well to get used to one sinsation before you thry the nixt. Too many at once are apt to be confusin’. Take the advoice of a frind, Mrs. Moloney. Whin ye think of thryin’ the razzle dazzle, don’t do it at once or suddenly. Thry turnin’ head over heels down shtairs for a week two or three toimes a day, and whin you can do that wid pleasure and comfort, and land gracefully at the bottom ivery toime, you may thry the razzle dazzle, wid some raysonable hope of ginuine enjyment.

Can ye open the door yourself? I’d come wid ye wid all the pleasure in loife but I’m as shtiff as a frozen sheep. I never move but I can fale me bones crack. Mind the shtep and don’t forget to call on Cheusday. I hope me shtiffness will be off me by that toime. Goodbye. Remimber me to Moloney and the gurls.


Mrs. McSweeney Goes To A Dance

‘‘Come in, me dear,” said Mrs. McSweeney, ‘‘and take off your goloshes. Are you wet? ’Tis a cold day, so it is, and the wind’s been blowin’ down the chimbley till the room’s full of shmuts!’

“Maybe it wants shwaypin,” said Mrs. Moloney, as she put her goloshes in the fender, “and phwat is the news? I hear you’re been gallivantin’ agin.”

“’Tis an ould sayin’, and a thrue one,” said Mrs. McSweeney, “that there is nothin’ so surprisin’ as the unexpicted. One night last wake, as I was just preparin’ to do some darnin’, as Pat was workin’ late, there came a tap at the door. I opened the door, and there was Mr. and Mrs. Jackson dhressed up as foine as a pig at Christmas.

“Mrs. McSweeney,” says Mrs. Jackson, “we’re just called round to see if ye’ll come to a social.”

“Well,” says I, “I always thry to be social, but phwats it loike? I don’t care much about hard drinkin’, for I’ve seen the evils of it in me own family.”

“Oh! it’s not that,” says she, “just a little dancing and some light refreshments. I think I heard ye say ye could dance?”

“Well,” says I, “it’s some years since I danced now, and I might be a bit short-winded, but tin years ago, whin I used to go to the Fair at Ballyragin, there was ne’er a one in the counthry that could dance me down, although its meself that say it.”

“Come along, thin,” says she, “we’ll wait while ye dhress, and we’ll go together. I tould Jackson that I thought ye’d loike to come.”

So I dhressed and off we shtarted. Whin we got there, we found the room all decorated, and a lot of payple all in avenin’ dress, and two fiddles and a pianny, and I walked in on Mr. Jackson’s arrum.

“Hould me!” says I.

“Why?” says he.

“They’ve been greasin’ the floor,” says I.

“Oh, it’s only a bit fast,” he says.

Well, we got safely to a sate, whin a gintleman came up.

“Mr. Brown,” says Mrs. Jackson, “Mr. Brown —Mrs McSweeney.”

He bowed politely and said, “May I see yer program?”

“You may,” says I, “wid all the pleasure in loife. Although I think its the same as all the rist.”

The music shtruck up, and he offered me his arrum.

“The Lancers,” says he.

“Where are they?” I whispered.

“Where are phwat?” he says.

“The Lancers,” says I.

“Oh, that’s phwat we’re to dance,” says he.

Wid that he shtopped opposite another lady and gentleman, and the music shtruck up agin, and he bowed again, and I returned his politeness, and shtill I couldn’t see a single Lancer, But I thought they might be there widout their uniform, so I said nothin’.

Thin Mr. Brown tuk me hand and led me up to the man forenenst me, who tuk me round me waist, and turned me round and round and round, till I thought the room was a shpinnin’ Jinny. Whin he left me go, another man tuk me the same way, and turned me round and round agin.

“Bad cess to ye!” says I, ‘‘will ye let me go? Do ye think I come here to be made giddy by ivery shpalpeen in the room?” Thin Mr. Brown whispered to me—

“Set, Mrs. McSweeney, set!”

“How can I set,” says I, “when I’ve nothin’ to set on?”

With that I noticed him wink at the man on the opposite side, and they both shtarted laughin’.

“Take me to a sate,” says I, “and I will set down. The Lancers can do it thimselves for me.”

So he tuk me to me sate, and be the toime I had got me wind, and the room had shtopped goin’ round, Mrs. Jackson joined me.

“Mrs. McSweeney,” says she in a tone of severity, “I thought ye could dance?”

“And who says I can’t?” says I.

“Well,” says she, “ye spoiled the set.”

“How could I do that,” I says, “whin I didn’t set?”

“Don’t thry to dance agin,” says she, wid a shneer.

“Phwat?’ says I, “do ye think I can’t?’

“Well,” says she, “I’ve sane some dancin’ in me toime,” says she: “and Mr. Brown is a beautiful dancer, and phwat have ye done? Mrs. McSweeney, in the front of the whole room you’ve disgraced him, and he’s Jackson’s boss,” says she. “And I inthrojooced you. Can you wondher at me bein’ upset?”

“Troth!” says I, “it was me that was nearly upset! But phwat has that to do wid dancin’? You’ve brought me here,” says I “undher false purtinces. ’Tis a conspiracy,” I says. “You asked me to come to a social! Divil a bit of sociability have I sane yet. Then that pale-faced gossoon that you call Mr. Brown said somethin’ about Lancers. Do yon think I don’t know a Lancer whin I see one, and Pat’s cousin in ’em for the last eighteen months? Where are the Lancers, Mrs. Jackson?” I says, “pint ’em out to me!”

“’Tis the name of the dance,” she says, “and for the love of Hiven, don’t shpake so loud!” says she.

“The name of phwat?” says I, takin’ no notice of her, “The dance do you call it? You call that dancin’, do you? Wait till I show you how they dance at Ballyragin. I’m not to say old, Mrs. Jackson, although I’m not so young as I used to be before I arroived at me prisent toime of loife. But I can fut it a bit yet. Here,” says I, to the fiddler, “play me Garryowen, and I’ll dance any man in the room!”

He grinned loike a monkey, so I shouted out, “Play me Garryowen, and don’t be openin’ yer mouth like the Bay of Fingal.” So he shtarted, and the pianny joined in, and thin I shtarted, and I showed thim phwat rale dancin’ was.

And as I danced, the tune got into me blood, and I warrumed up, and said “Faster! bad luck to ye, faster, whoop! Do you see me now? Come on!” says I, “if any of you’s game to dance me down!” There wasn’t a man that would face me, so I thried to fancy I had a partner, and was just advancin’ to him, wid me hands on me hips, and me head full back, whin me feet shlipped, the floor shlithereid from undher me, and down I sat. I have the bruise now, but the applause was thremendous.

Thin Mr. Jackson came and asked me would I go down and take some refrishments, and I said I would, for I was pumped out wid me exertions. He tuk me down to the refrishment room, and asked phwat I would take.

“I think,” says I, “I’ll just take a bite of bread and chase and a glass of portlier, that bein’ me usual supper whin I take any.”

“I’m afraid they have not got it,” he says.

“Thin,” says I, puffin’, “Phwat’s the good of askin’ me phwat I’ll take if they haven’t got it? Phwat have they got?” I says.

“There’s limonade, and ice crame, and jam sandwiches,” he says, “and Othellos and Disdemonas, and fancy biscuits, and crame merangs, and fruit and jelly, and chocolate cakes, and all s0rts of fancy pasthry!” he says. And he was goin’ on, but I shtopped him. “That’ll be enough!” says I. “Fetch me a few of aich of ’em.’’

“I’ll do phwat I can,” says he.

He soon came back wid two plates piled up, and whin I’d finished ’em and had a second helpin’ of jelly and a cup of tay, I filt bether.

“Shall we go back to the ball room, Mrs. McSweeney?” says he, “or do you think you would rather —”

“I think I’m just as comfortable here,” says I, as I tossed the crumbs off me eau-de-neel skirt.

“As you loike,” he says.

Thin I said, “Do you not dance, Mr. Jackson?”

“Oh! yes,” he says, “did you not see me dancin’ in the first set?”

“I don’t mane that slidin’ and shpinnin’ round,” says I, “I don’t call that dancin’. Can ye dance loike I danced? Did ye see me?”

“Faith!” says he, “The whole room was admoirin’ ye. There’s not many can dance loike that, Mrs. McSweeney!”

“I can’t dance now loike I used to, Mr, Jackson,” says I. “Tin years ago was the time you should have sane me. ’Twas a foine, loose-limbed gurl I was then!”

“I’m sure you must have been,” says he.

“I was single thin,” I says, looking down with a sigh.

“’Twas a pity I didn’t know you then, Mrs. McSweeney,’ he says, as he arranged me collarette.

“’Tis very well for you to say that,” says I, tapping him wid me fan, “but you can’t belave the min!”

He looked at me in a tone of pinsiveness, but at that moment who should come sailin’ into the room on the arrum of Mr. Brown but Mrs. Jackson in a towerin’ rage, “I’m goin’ home,” she says, “you can shtay and make an exhibition of yoursilf if you loike,” she says, “but it’s disgraceful, and you’ll be the talk of the company. You can shtay, and I’ll get Mr. Brown to take me home, and lave me wid me broken heart on the doorshtep!”

“Mrs. Jackson,” says I, wid frigidity, “if you’re manin’ me,” I says.

But just then she turned on her heel to walk away, and Jackson, lookin’ quite miserable, said:

“Take no notice, Mrs. McSweeney, it’s a way she’s got. Don’t rouse her, or I’ll get no pace for a fortnight.”

So I got me wrap, and we wint home. Nobody said a wurrud all the way, and whin we got to me door, we parted wid a bow of frigid politeness.

I haven’t sane her since, but Pat said he saw Jackson nixt day, and he had shtickin’ plasther on his nose. Phwat’s the smell, Mrs. Moloney? Begorra! There’s a loive coal in one of your goloshes, and it’s burnt a hole through the bottom. Well! well! ’tis a pity! You’ll have to get thim half-soled.


Mrs. McSweeney Goes To A Dentist

“Phwat is the mather wid you?” said Mrs. Moloney, as she entered the sitting-room, where Mrs. McSweeney sat in front of a fire with her head wrapped in a shawl. “Is it the inflooenzie or the whoopin’ cough or phwat? You look for all the wurruld as if you couldn’t help it. And you wid a big fire, and the day that wurrum outside that I ran over widhout me jacket and only a thin blouse. You shmell like an oven. Phwat in the wurruld is it, at all at all?”

“Oh! Mrs. Moloney, my dear,” said Mrs McSweeney, groaning as she held her face in her hands. “It’s kilt I am entoirely. All the pain that was iver invented is concinthrated in me jaws, and is dhrivin’ me to a lunatic asylum. But it is nothing to phwat it was before I wint to the dintist, so it aint. Oh! wirrah, wirrah! why was I born? Would you pass me me shmellin’ bottle? It’s on the mantelpiece, behind the shepherdess in a green bottle wid a glass shtopper.”

Mrs. Moloney passed the smelling salts, and after Mrs. McSweeney had somewhat recovered, she continued:—

“I often think, Mrs. Moloney, that the bane of our loives is our tathe. Whether it is that we’re not properly constructed, or phwat it is, I don’t know, but our tathe same to be always throublin’ us.

“Whin we see a poor little babe in the cradle, or a cot, and it gets a pain anywhere, we always put it down to tathe. In the first years of our existence ’tis our tathe that brings us face to face wid the throubles of this loife, and if you see a healthy baby sick, you can be sure that if he’s in pain, it’s the tathe or the wind. We get them in trouble and we part with them in thribulation. Oh! wirrah, wirrah! phwat will I do? It’s achin’ now although it’s been out for over a day and a night. It’s throubled me off and on for a year, and for the last three wakes it’s ached continually more or less, but principally more. ’Twas only a little shtump, but it had three prongs, and it pained me from the soul of me fut to the crown of me head, so it did. And devil a bit of sympathy did I get from Pat. Last Sathurday night I wint up the road to do me marketin’, and the night bein’ could, I put a table napkin round me face to kape me tooth from achin’, which it didn’t besides makin’ me a soight. Whin I got home and me in mortal agony, he was sittin’ beside the foire radin’ the paper, and insthead of him sympathisin’ wid me, he growled bekase I’d forgot his tobacco and the shop was shut. I thried everything for it that I had in the house. I put Kyann pepper on it, and a musthard plasther, and thin some hot salt, and yet it got no better, and Pat radin’ the paper through all me moanin’. At last I could shtand it no longer, so I snatched the paper from him and I said:

“Pat!” I says, “for the love of Hiven,” says I, “tell me phwat to do for it before I take lave of me sinses.”

“I think ye’ve taken lave of ’em now,” says he, pickin’ up the paper. “I dont’ know phwat ’ud do it good,” he says, “unless it was a shmoke, and ye’ve left me widhout me baccy,” he says. And he wint on radin’ his paper as if nothin’ had happened.

 “Ye’ve no falin’” I says, “or you’d thry to do something for me.” And I wint on groanin’ and he wint on radin’ his paper. This wint on for maybe twinty minutes, though it samed a wake, whin he shtartled me by shoutin’:—

“Oh! shtop your groanin’ and gruntin’,” he says. “Do you think that’ll aise it if you groan for a fortnight?”

“Thin tell me phwat to do,” says I, “for I’m deminted.”

“I’ll tell you phwat’ll cure it,” he says, “an’ ye’re game to do it.”

“Phwat?” says I. “I’m game to do anything.”

“Thin fill your mouth wid could wather,” he says, “and sit on the fire till it biles.” And he wint on radin’ his paper.

Seein’ I could get no sympathy from him, I filled a shtockin’ wid hot salt and wint to bed wid it round me head. It got a bit aisier afther a while and I wint to shlape, but it jumped that way that I dhreamt I was a bicycle and that me tathe was me threadles. To show you the unfeelinness of man—I don’t think I was ashlape an hour, and me just nice and wurrum, whin Pat come to bed and woke me up wid his could fate, which wint shtraight to me tooth agin.

Phwat I suffered all that night and the next day, and all the nixt night, no mortal tongue can tell, if it was from now till Christmas; so on Monday mornin’ in a fit of desperation, I made up me moind I’d go and get it out. I lit the copper and put on a copper full of white things, and thin I put on me green skirt and pink blouse, and me hat wid the carnations in it, that was put on anyhow and groanin’ wid pain, and I wint up the road to the Dintist’s. I’d no sooner got to his gate, and thinkin’ of the ordeal I had forninst me, than me tooth got aisier and the pain left me entoirely. It samed like bein’ in Hiven, and so, as the pain was gone, the necessity for the ordeal was gone too, and I turned round and wint back home agin. I changed agin, shtarted on wid me washin’, when, just as I was liftin’ the things from the copper, I got a shock as if the copper shtick was an electhoral batthery. I dhropped the copper shtick and put me hands to the roof of me head, for I thought it was off. I could not tell you the tormints I endured while I got into me green shkirt and pink blouse agin, but I managed it somehow. I had nobody to tell me if I was right behind, and I believe several of me hooks was undone, but I was oblivious to me personal appearance; and so, nursin’ me face in me hands, I wint up the road as hard as I could lick, and rung the bell at the door of the Dintist that had a brass plate on it. A gurl opened the door and said the dintist was engaged and would I sit down a minute?

I sat down, and just thin I heard somebody schrame in the nixt room. Thin me tooth shtopped achin’ agin and I was thinkin’ phwat I’d do, whether I’d get the ordeal over or go back to me washin’, whin the room door opened and the Dintist put his head out. He was a little man with a dark moustache, and he shmoiled and asked me to come in, and I wint, and he asked me phwat was the throuble.

I tould him there was a whole heap of throuble; that me tooth was the bane of me existence and I wanted him to dhraw it. He bowed politely and said ’twould take no time, and he wouldn’t hurt me, and it ’ud be all over in a minute.

“Will you have it exthracted wid gas,” he says, as he rubbed his hands.

“I don’t care whether you do it wid gas, or the electhric light,” I says, “but I should think the daylight was as good as either of ’em.”

“The daylight is good enough to see by,” he says, “but we give gas for painless exthraction,” says he. “The fee is five shillings wid gas, or two and sixpence widhout.”

“And which is the quickest?” says I, for the pain was coming on agin.

“There is not much difference,” he says, “’twill not take me long to administher the gas, but the quickest is to take it out sthraight.”

“Thin take it out sthraight,” I says, “for the pain is killin’ me.”

“Open your mouth and let me see it,” he says

So he handed me to a big arrum chair, and I sat down and opened me mouth wide.

“That will do,” he says, “I’m not comin’ in. I can see it from the outside.”

“Do you mane,” I says, “to be castin’ reflections on the size of me mouth? Troth ’tis no bigger than yours, and I’m a bigger woman than you are.”

“I beg your pardon, Madam,” says he, “no refactions was intinded. It was a joke I always use to put me patients in a good humour.”

“Thin shtop your jokin’,” says I, “and get on wid your work, for I’m not in a jokin’ humour.”

I think there must have been somethin’ in the expression of me eye that he didn’t like, for he got very meek and solemn all at once, and I opened me mouth agin.

“Is it a big one?” he says.

“It is as big as the post office tower,” says I.

“Scarcely, Madam,” says he, as he looked in me mouth wid a magnifying glass, “there would not be room for it, you know.”

“Take it out and get it over anyhow,” says I.

“I will have it out, Madam, before you know it,” he says.

Thin he swung a thing round that had a glass of wather on it, and a napkin, and a lot of pairs of pinchers and things, and takin’ the sthrongest lookin’ pair, he tould me to grip the arrums of the chair, to hould me head back, and open me mouth. Thin he rowled up his sleeves and said I was not to be frightened.

I did as he tould me, and he shtuck the pinchers into me mouth, and seemed to grip me very soul. He twisted and pulled and pulled and twisted till I thought me toime was come. It was in purgatory I was at that minute. I thried to shcrame; but I couldn’t. I made an effort to call out to him, but he had me gagged wid the pinchers. I sthruggled to get me arrums free, but they was jammed under the arrums of the chair that way I couldn’t move ’em, while he was pressin’ on me. But thanks to Providence and me natural agility, I managed at last to get me knee in his stomach, and the rist was aisy. I gave him a push that would have dhrove him through the windy, only his foot catchin’ in the hearthrug, he sat down gracefully in the fender. He sat there for a minute looking at me widhout a wurrud, but his attitood shpoke volumes.



At length he arose, and eyein’ me cautiously, he said: “Madam,’’ says he, rubbin’ his head and lookin’ at his pinchers, “you have broken me best biceps.”

“I wish,” said I, when I could get me wind, “that I’d broken your dirthy neck, you blundherin’, clumsy, careless gossoon, you. You had hould of me by the wrong tooth.” Thin, groanin’ wid me agony, I said, “Bedad,” says I, “’tis a mercy it shtud the shtrain, so it is. ’Tis the only one I have that will bite a biscuit.”

“Didn’t you tell me it was the big one?” says he, keepin’ his distance.

“Who’s the dintist?” says I, “you or me? Do you expict me to look into me own mouth?” I says.

“Let me have another look,” says he, approaching me sideways.

I opened me mouth and he had another look, kapin’ one eye on me mouth and another on me eye.

Then he touched me tooth wid somethin’, and I knew by the shock that he had touched the right one.

“Is that the one?” he says, rethreatin a shtep or two.

“It is,” says I.

“It is only a little one,” he says, “and it is in the shadow of the big one, but we’ll have it,” he says “if you’ll promise to sit shtill and not to move.”

“For the love of Hiven take it out and be done with it,” says I, “for I’m sufferin’ tormints and me copper will be out.”

So he got another pair of pinchers in place of the broken ones, and says, “I can get at it best from the back,” says he. “Now sit shtill and hould tight to the chair and you’ll soon be out of your pain.”

So he got behind me and tould me to lean back and open me mouth, and not to loose me hould on the chair. He then gripped me head wid his left hand, and shtuck the pinchers into me mouth agin wid his right.

“Now,” he says, “it’ll hurt a bit because it’s only a shtump, and I’ll have to dig a bit to get hould of it, but whin once I have hould of it, it’ll soon be over.”

Thin he comminced diggin’. ’Twould take dictionaries, Mrs. Moloney, to deshcribe me pain, but I shtood it like a martyr till he comminced to twist and pull.

He gave one pull, and thin he gave another pull, and thin a grunt, and a bigger pull, and me all the toime sufferin’ in mortal agony, and thin his pinchers shlipped and cut me lip.

“Have ye got it?” I says, as well as me feelin’s would allow me.

“I have not,” he says, “but kape shtill and we’ll have it next toime.”

Wid that he shtarted diggin’ agin and I thried to think of me prayers.

“Now we’ll have it,” he said, and he gave a tug and a twist that I wouldn’t have belaved possible in so shmall a man, if it hadn’t been mesilf he was tuggin’ at, which didn’t lave room for doubt.

The pain was so tremendous that me fortitude deserted me. I loosed me hould of the chair, and liftin’ me hands over me head, I grabbed him by the hair.

“Take care phwat you’re doin’,” he said, “I’ve got me hould and it’s got to come; kape quiet or I’ll maybe break your jaw.”

Wid that he gave another tug, and me presence of moind forsook me. I shlipped from the chair to the floor, but he hung on to me by me shtump. I rowled over in me pain, but he rowled over too. For a little man he was the most obstinate I iver met. No mather how I’d twisht and turn, he’d do the same, and he hung to me like a mimber of parliament to his billet. At last I gev another rowl which sint him clane over me, and he jumped up, and as he rethreated to the far side of the room, he shouted:—

“Hurray!” says he. “I’ve got it, and ’tis a beauty. Look at the prongs. ’Twas the last rowl that did it.”

I gathered mesilf up and shtaggered towards him, but he snatched up a big shtick from the corner of the room, and wavin’ it over his head he said:—

“Kape off me!” he said, “kape off me. I’m desprit. I’m a married man wid six childher and a deaf aunt depindin’ on me, and I’ll take no risks. Sit down and kape quiet and I’ll give you something to wash out your mouth, but I must considher me family.”

I sat down, but he handed me the glass from behind. There was somethin’ in me eye that previnted him facin’ me. But I washed me mouth out and was just comin’ away whin he said:—

“You will excuse me, ma’am, but you have not settled.”

“I’ll get settled whin I get home,” I said.

“I mane,” says he, still kapin’ behind the chair, “that you have not settled wid me.”

“I have not,” says I, “and I don’t fale equal to it to-day, but so sure as my name is Bridget McSweeney we shall meet agin. The toime will come,” I said, “and me vengeance will kape.”

“I mane,” he says, “that you have not paid me for me work,” he says, “there’s two and six for the tooth, and it’ll cost three and six to get me biceps minded, to say nothin’ of the fire-screen that has a hole in it, and the general disarrangement of me room.”

“You broke your biceps on the wrong tooth,” says I, “and the hole in the fire screen was the natural result. I’ll pay you,” I says, “two and six widhout prejudice for pullin’ me tooth, and I’ll take me own toime to settle wid you for any other differences betwane us,” I said.

So I threw a half a crown on the floor and came away home. Me copper was out, and I did not fale equal to loighten’ it agin. It got a bit aisier afther it shwelled, but it’s givin’ me fits still. I suppose the poor man did his best, and he certainly hung on to me whin I was beside mesilf, and I suppose it is his thrade to hurt people, so as to shtop their pain.

It is all in the way of his business; but he must be often in danger of his loife. Oh! wirrah! wirrah! ’Tis painin’ agin, and I have not been able to ate anythin’ since Sathurday but milk, and I think a taste of shpirits might revive me and deaden the pain. ’Tis in the safe behind a packet of oatmeal in a blue bottle.

Help yoursilf; a little will do you no harrum There’s hot wather in the kettle, and some loaf’ sugar in the biscuit barrel.

So Mrs. Moloney acted in accordance with instructions, and drank to Mrs. McSweeney’s good health, wishing her speedy relief.


Mrs. McSweeney Plays Golf

“Well! here I am,” said Mrs. McSweeney, as she entered Mrs. Moloney’s sitting-room, “I thought I’d pop over and tell you all about it, as I knew you’d be dyin’ to know.”

“’Tis a foine complixion you have,’ said Mrs. Moloney, “and its glad I am to see you.” Then, as she placed a chair for Mrs. McSweeney, she said:—

“And how did you get on? ’Tis quite toney you’re gettin’. Lave you alone to be in the fashion.”

“Me complixion,” said Mrs. McSweeney, “is all me own, thank goodness, and it is joo to the sun and the fresh breeze on the links. I lost three pounds in weight on Saturday, and I feel the bether for it, barrin’ the shtiffness in me jints. ’Tis a game that should be comminced young, they say. Not that I’m ould, but I’m not as young as I used to be, and me weight has accumulated faster than me strength.

“But, praise be to the Saints, I’m as supple as most wimmin of me size and weight.”

“I see you have a new tammy-shanter,” said Mrs. Moloney.

“’Tis the one I bought to play golf in,” replied Mrs. McSweeney, “I thought I’d put it on to see how you loiked it. You knew I’d jined the Golf Club?”

“I was tould somethin’ about it,” said Mrs. Moloney, “but its Frinch to me, so it is.”

“Well, I was injooced to jine be Mrs. Saunders, whose husband is in a bank. She says to me, “Mrs. McSweeney,” says she, “Do you play golf?”

“Phwat is golf?” says I.

“Oh! ’tis the most deloightfullest game,” she says, “and they play it on the links. Of course you know phwat links is,” she says.

“Indade I do,” says I, “there’s links of a chain,” I says, “and links in crosher wurruck.”

“Oh!” says she, laughin’, “them’s not the links at all. Golf links is a big piece of ground wid holes in it.”

“Thin why do they call it links?” says I.

“I don’t know,” she says, “it’s a turrum they use in golf. But you’d better jine the club, and learn all about it.”

“And how could I jine the club whin I niver sane the game? I’m not a golfist.”

“’Tis aisy enough,” she says, “you jine the club, and we’ll tache you. All you have to do, is to knock a little ball wid a shtick they call a club, until you knock it into a hole.”

“I could do that in me own back yard,” says I, “if I wanted to, but I don’t see the use of it.”

“Oh!” she says, “’tis not the game so much as the payple you mate,” says she. “You mate all the bist payple. Lawyers and their wives, and insurance agents, and payple in the govermint service that do nothin’ all day but rade the newspapers, and mimbers of parleymint, and aldhermin. All the most silict society, wid two publicans, and a pawnbroker. Will you jine, and I’ll inthrojooce you?”

“I’ll think it over,” says I.

So I thought it over, and decided that as golf was the fashion, I’d see phwat it was loike. So whin Mrs. Saunders came again, I tould her she could put me name down.

“Now you’ll want some clubs,” she says, “and you’ll have to shtudy your costhume.”

“I have some clubs,” I says.

“Let me see them,” says Mrs. Saunders.

So I wint into the wash-house, and found the Indian clubs the twins had whin they wint to the school demonsthration.

But Mrs. Saunders laughed whin she saw thim, and said they were not golf clubs.

“You couldn’t hit a ball wid one of thim,” she says.

“I belave I could,” says I.

“Oh!” she says, “golf clubs is quite different. I have a beautiful sit. If you put on your hat and run round to me place, I’ll show thim to you.”

So I put on me hat and wint round, and she got phwat she called her clubs, but they looked to me loike walkin’ shticks, only the handles didn’t same to be very convanient, some bein’ made of iron, and some of wood. She explained, howiver, that phwat I took to be handles were the other inds of ’em. There was phwat she called Dhrivers, and Brasseys, and Cleeks, and Mashles, and Niblicks, and Putters, and some that I disremember.

She explained that they were for different kind of shtrokes, and said I’d find out all about it whin I began to use thim. She said I’d bether come out and thry her clubs first, as the lie of thim might not suit me.

We discussed the bist kind of costhume, and she said a short skirt was bist, and that I could cultivate a bether style, and play wid more freedom if I played widhout corsits.

We arranged to go on the followin’ Sathurday, so I got a new pink jersey and a heliothrope skirt just down to me ankles, and a new blue tammy-shanter. As me skirt was short, I got a new pair of openwork shtockin’s, open all the way up, and I guessed I’d be able to appear and hould me own wid the bist of ’em, although I missed me corsits, bein’ always used to ’em.

I called for Mrs. Saunders at the appinted toime, and she said I looked well, but slightly bazzar, phwativer that is, and she said she was all ready, but was waitin’ for her caddy.

“Phwat do you want a caddy for?” says I, “do you make tay out there?”

“Me caddy,” she says, “is the boy that carries me clubs.”

I thought it was a funny name to call him, but I said nothin’, because I filt that I was learnin’ the game.

’Twas a beautiful afternoon whin we arroived at the place they called the links, although, as the sea breeze was cool, I missed me corsits.

There was a number of payple sthrollin’ about, and little flags shtuck in the ground, which Mrs. Saunders said were to mark the holes.

We had not been on the links long whin a gintleman came and shpoke to Mrs. Saunders, and she inthrojooced him to me as Mr. Trudger, Secretary of the club. He was a foine shtamp of a man, and had on a light suit and a shtraw hat wid a red ribbon, and a dark moustache

“I’m delighted to mate you, Mrs. McSweeney,” says he, raisin’ his hat wid a shmoile, “and where have you played, Mrs. McSweeney?”

“Mrs. McSweeney is only a learner yet,” says Mrs. Saunders, “but I think she will soon pick it up.”

“I have no doubt she will,” says Mr. Trudger, “no doubt at all.”

“Thin,” he says, “I suppose you undhershtand the principles of the game, Mrs. McSweeney?”

“Oh! yes,” says I, “the principal thing I know about it is that it is like roundhers. Somebody throws a ball to you, and you hit it with a club if you don’t miss it, and thin you run.”

“Well, no,” says he, shmoilin’ pleasantly, “it is not exactly like that. You don’t run, you walk.”

“Well,” says I, “you would surely not conthradict a lady for a little thing like that. I suppose you can plaise yoursilf whether you run or walk?”

“Of course you can,” he says, “but I’ll do phwat I can to tache you the game. First you want to learn the principles of the game, and ’tis a glorious game, Mrs. McSweeney, and thin you want to learn the shtyle, and hit-a-cat.”

“Phwat! Wid a club?” says I.

“Wid all the clubs,” says he.

“Thin I’ll not learn it,” I says, “I’m aginst cruelty to animals.”

“There is no animals in it,” he says.

“I thought you said I’d have to hit-a-cat?” says I.

“Oh! no, no,” he says, “I said you’d have to learn the hit-a-cat of the game,” he says. “That is, the rules of politeness.”

“I flather mesiif that I undershtand the rules of politeness now,” I says, shtraitenin’ mesilf up, “but if you can tache me any politeness, I’m willin’ to learn,” I says.

“I’ll tache you all I can, Ma’am,” he says, and bowed gracefully.

I wished to show him that I was as polite as him, and so I curtsied as low as I could, and he said as he was not busy, he would begin at once.

“This mark,” says he, “is the tee-ing ground.”

“I see,” says I, “you do have tea here sometimes, thin?”

“’Tis a different kind of tea,” says he, “they call it that because it is the shtartin’ point.”

“And why couldn’t they call it a shtartin’ point, and be done wid it?” says I.

“’Tis a turrum we use in golf,” he says, coughin’ behind his hand. “Now,” says he, “the first thing ye have to do is take up your stance.”

“Where is it, and phwat’s it loike?” says I. “Show it to me and I’ll take it up, if it is not too heavy.”

“The stance is the way you shtand, and the distance’ your fate are apart,” he says, “’tis a turrum we use in golf, and we have different stances for different shots. ’Tis a most important thing,” he says. “For inshtance, here is the ball on a little heap of sand, and it is phwat we call teed. Now whin I take up me position to shtrike, I have got me stance. Now you stand that way.”

So I shtood in the same place as he did, but he said it wasn’t right.

“Put this toe more over this way,” he says, “not too much. About here,” and he shtooped down and shifted me foot, and I was plased that I’d put on me open-wurruk shtockin’s.

“That’s about it,” he says, “now you take a furrum grip of your club,” he says.

Well I gripped it as furrum as I could, but he said I didn’t hold it right.

“Grip it with the overlappin’ grip,” he says.

“Phwat is that?” says I.

“’Tis a turrum we use in golf,” says he. “You do it this way,” and he tuk me fingers and fixed thim, and squazed ’em as he did so. He was very polite, and he was a fine shtamp of a man, wid a beautiful white collar, so high that he always samed to me lookin’ over it at you.

“That’s right,” he says, “now you addhress the ball.”

“Phwat do I say to it?” says I.

“Oh! you say nothin’,” he says, coughin’ agin. “’Tis a turrum we use in golf. It is whin you are preparin’ to hit it,” he says, “and ’tis a most important part of the game if you want a good shot. You put your club close to the ball widhout touchin’ it. Then you kape your eye on the ball. Always remimber that. It is a rule you must never forget if you want to play golf properly. Kape your eye on the ball. “Now,” he says, “having got your stance and addhressed the ball, you give a waggle before you shtrike it. I didn’t mane,” he says, wid another fit of coughin’, “to waggle yoursilf. You give a little waggle wid the club,” he says, “like this,” and he showed me how to do it.

Whin he had taught me how to hould me shouldhers, and to waggle, he said the nixt thing was to learn the upward swing.

“Take notice of me, now,” he says, “you kape your body quite shtill and swing your club up this way. ’Tis one of the most important things in golf,” he says, “if you want to learn shtyle and to make a good shtroke. Now swing your club well back like I did, and remember, kape your eye on the ball!

So I swung the club well back, in fact I swung it too well back, for it shtruck me shouldher blade that way it made me wish I’d put me corsits on.



“Not quite so far back,” says Mr. Trudger. “Now,” he says, “you make a quick down shtroke, and hit the ball shquare and thrue,” he says.

So, puttin’ all me force into me blow, I swung the club down, but the grass bein’ dhry, me fut shlipped, and I sat down wid such a sudden concussion that it shuk the whole of the links, so that the flags fluthered for the nixt tin minutes, and gave me a pain in the chist.

“Oh!” says he, “phwat a pity you slipped, you were makin’ a beautiful shtroke. Allow me to hilp you,” he says. (He was one of the politest min I iver mit.) He tuk me undher me arrums to lift me, but havin’ no corsits on, I couldn’t hilp wrigglin’ he tickled me so.

“Perhaps I can do it bether if I take your hands,” he says. And he tuk me hands, and pulled me to me fate.

“You do not wear shtuds,” he says.

“Of course I don’t,” says I, blushin’, “is it usual for ladies to wear shtuds at golf?” says I.

“Yes,” he says, “in their shoes.”

“’Tis a funny place to wear shtuds,” I says.

“’Tis to prevent slipping” he says, “like these,” and he put up his fut and showed me some little india-rubber things screwed in the soles of his boots.

“Do you call thim shtuds?” I says.

“’Tis a turrum we use in golf,” he says.

Well, I got me stance agin, and I addhressed the ball, and waggled, and did me upward swing widhout hittin’ mesilf, and thin, takin’ care not to shlip, I gave me downward swing, kapin’ me eye on the ball. Whin I thought I’d hit it an almighty shmack, I found I’d only hit the sand, and Mr. Trudger said I’d “foozled” it.

“And phwat’s foozlin’ it?” I says.

“Oh! ’Tis a turrum we use in golf,” says he.

So he teed the ball for me agin, and I wint through all me stances, and addhresses, and waggles, and so on, and this toime I hit the ball and it wint somewhere, but not where I wanted it to go.

“Oh, dear me!” says Mr. Trudger, “phwat a pity you’ve sliced it.”

“Phwat’s slicin’ it?” I says.

“Oh!” he says, “it’s whin you don’t hit it shtraight.”

Mrs. Saunders’ caddie wint and found the ball, and it was as good as before I hit it.

“Is this the same ball?” I says.

“It is,” says the caddie.

“I thought you said I’d sliced it?” I says, “’tis not sliced at all.”

“’Tis a turrum we use in golf,” says Mr. Trudger.

Well, I made up me moind I’d hit it next toime, or I’d know the rayson why.

“Now,” says Mr. Trudger, “be careful of your stance and your upward swing,” he says, “and you’ll do it this time.”

But me timper was gettin up, and me patience desertin’ me, so I says, in tones more sinsible than polite:—

“To the divil,” says I, “wid your stances and addhresses, and your upswings and your downswings. Tell me,” says I, “where you want me to hit it to. Sure! I’ll hit it me own way, and if I miss it whin I hit it me own way, I’ll be the furrust of me family that iver missed anything they shtruck wid a shtick.”

“You want to hit it,” he says, “towards that flag. That is in the furrust hole,” he says.

“Thin shtand aside, and give me ilbow room,” says I. And I took no notice of me stance or me addhress, or me wagglin’, or me up or down swing. I only made up me moind that I’d hit it. And I did! I niver saw the ball agin. The caddie said he saw it goin’ up and up, but that it niver came down agin’.

Mr. Trudger said it was a splendid hit, and that I must have knocked it right over the links into the Pacific Ocean, and that it might turn up in New Zealand. Mrs. Saunders said it was a beautiful hit, and she knew I’d soon learn it, and all the payple said it was a sweet shtroke, and that I’d soon be a good golfist, and me heart was shwellin’ wid me victorious emotions.

We soon got another ball, and Mr. Trudger said we’d thry a shot wid the Brassey, so we shtrolled up the links, and he laid the ball on the ground, and tould me how to shtrike it, and I shtruck at it, but somehow I forgot me overlappin grip, and the Brassey flew out of me hand and shtruck an ould gintilman that was walktn’ wid two ladies in grey pants and a panama hat undher the ribs.

“Struth!” he says, houldin’ his ribs.

“Phwat did he say!” says I to Mr. Trudger.

“’Tis a turrum they use in golf,” he says. Thin he says:—

“I think that will end the furrust lesson,” and he bowed and shook hands wid a roguish shmoile, and I did the same, and I thought he was one of the noicest min I iver saw, and was glad I come.

Thin Mr. Trudger said that Mrs. Saunders and him, and another lady was goin’ to play a threesome, and I could follow thim and see the play. So I did, and faith! I thought the play would niver be over.

They kipt knockin’ the ball towards the flags and were all the while talkin’ of hazards, and bunkers and puttin’ greens, and balls bein’ lost and out of bounds, and shtrokes, and pinalty shtrokes.

Mr. Trudger said that Mrs. Saunders had the honor, and so she had first hit, and ivery toime they hit the ball they would say:—

“One more,” or “two more,” or “one off two,” or “one off three,” and so many holes up, and so many to play.

I had no idea the links was so long ’till we were walkin’ round ’em. They played all up the links and thin all down thim, and before we got back I thought I’d drop, for me new shoes were toight and the corn on me little toe was givin’ me fits, to say nothin’ of me bunion, and falin’ the want of me corsitts, the wind bein’ cool.

’Tis a long lane that has no indin’, and so at last somebody said, “Three up, and two to go,” and that the game was over, and Mr. Trudger had won.

Thin we had some tay and sandwiches, which was very acceptable, and I was inthrojooced to the insurance agent and his wife, to the pawnbroker and his sister, and to a lot of the bist payple.

I began to see that golf was jist the thing that Mrs. Saunders had described it to be. They were all as noice as possible, and I think the noicest of the lot was Mr. Trudger. He tried to make everybody comfortable and paid particular attintion to me, which I accipted wid dignity timpered wid politeness. Whin he had hilped me to me sixth sandwich and me fifth cup of tay, he asked which thram we were takin’.

I tould him, and he said it was fortunate, as we could all go together. So we shtrolled to the thram, and Mr. Trudger, and Mrs. Saunders and mesilf, and the ould gintleman that was wearin’ the panama hat and the two young ladies, all come in the same compartmint, and chatted pleasantly until we arroived at our destination, whin we all got out.

We were wishin’ one another good-bye on the corner, and hopin’ we’d soon meet agin, whin I saw a sight that turned me blood to ice.

I was just sayin’ good-bye to Mr. Trudger, who was complimintin’ me on the progress I’d made, and was holdin’ me fingers so as to show me the principles of the overlappin’ grip, and squazin’ ’em perhaps a little more than was nicessary, whin who should come rushin’ round the corner but Mike, the youngest of me twins, and the soight he was nearly made me dhrop. I’d lift ’em clane and daycent, but his claneness was gone, and his daycency was conshpicuous by its absence, as they say. He had been at the jam, and got it over his face, and the dirt shtickin’ to it. A tuft of his rid hair was shtandin’ up through the roof of his hat, that had lost half the rim as if it had niver sane a comb. He was playin’ football wid me eau-de-nil blouse tied up wid shtring which I’d lift on the line to air, and ivery toime he shtopped to pick it up, I could see the sate of his knickers, that I minded in the mornin’, was gone agin. He had no jacket on, and his shirt was shplit from the neck to the waist I thought I’d dhrop! Here was I, the cintre of a silict circle of the bist society, and there was Mike comin’ shtraight for me. I purtinded not to see him, and thried gintly to disengage me hand from Mr. Trudger’s, who was shmoilin’ at me in the most aristocratic manner over his high collar. Fate was agin’ me. I had not got over the first shock of seein’ him whin he caught sight of me, and came runnin’ over wid a whoop.

I shtill tried to ignore me relationship to him, and gave him a frown over me shoulder, which ought to have pethrified him if he was made of shtone, but it was all in vain. He run over to me and shouted so that they could all hear if they’d have been as deaf as mutes, and he says:—

“Come home at once, Mum!” he says, “Dad’s shickered, and we want you to hilp us lift him out of the dirt-box!”

“Go away at once,” I says, “and don’t be thryin’ to play your jokes. I’ll be home directly, if not sooner,” and I thought I’d faint wid me humiliation.

“I ain’t ajokin’,” he says, “Fair dinkum, Mum! I was shtanding on me head in the yard, and Dad thried to do it, but he fell into the dirt-box, and we can’t get him out.”

“Is this your little boy, Ma’am?” says Mr Trudger, coughin’ and laughin’ pleasantly.

“You bet!” says Mike, grinnin’ at him.

“I’ll shkin you aloive whin I get you in,” says I, “why don’t you wipe your nose whin you shpake to a gintleman?”

Well he did, wid the back of his hand, which made it worse, and I made me excuses and got away as quick as I could.

I shook the divil out of him whin I got him round the corner, but I found that phwat he said was thrue.

We no sooner got Pat out of the dust box than he said he wouldn’t be bate be his own childher, and wanted to shtand on his head agin’, and it was not until I’d given him the lingth of me tongue wid a furrum hand, that he let me take him inside.

’Tis discouragin’, Mrs. Moloney. While I thry to raise me family in the social scale, me husband and me childher go agin’ me. I don’t know how I’ll have the courage to meet Mr. Trudger agin. He is such a foine shtamp of a man, and so gintlemanly that I’ll never look at him but I’ll fale that Mike is showin’ in me face, and I’ll niver shpake to him but the sate of his pants will shtick in me throat.

But I’ll live it down, Mrs. Moloney, if I die in the attimpt. I’m a mimber of the Golf Club, and I’ll bury me family on the links.

I’ll get away now, as I only run out for a minute to get a tin of sardines for Pat’s lunch to-morrow.

Good-bye. I’ll see you agin’ shortly, and we may have toime for a chat.


Mrs. McSweeney’s Birthday

Plaze to give attintion, while I briefly mintion
    Widhout circumvintion, and widhout delay,
All me botheration and me thribulation
    At the celebration of me last birthday.
I had asked the Bradys, and the Miss O’Gradys
    Wid some other ladies, and some shmart young min,
And the invitation gave an intimation
    Of a cold collation, about half-past tin.

We’d Pat’s sister Annie, that plays the pianny,
    And his cousin Fanny, wid her latest songs.
And we’d Michael Noonan, and ould Father Roonan
    That plays a tune on a pair of tongs.
Faith! to hear “Killarney,” and the “Groves of Blarney ”
    Sung be Kitty Mahony, and the “Minsthrel Boy.”
It was mighty plazin, but ’twas more amazin’,
    To see Pat shotazin’ round wid Kate Molloy.

Faith! ’twould bate romancers, whin they danced the lancers,
    To tell how the dancers glided to and fro;
And how I quite plastic, like a thrained gymnastic
    Whirled on toe fantastic ’till it made me blow.
For me cold collation, I’d a great ovation
    In a grand oration Father Roonan said
That he’d always threasure the unbounded measure
    Of his joy and pleasure, until he was dead.

I was highly flathered, but sure, nothing mathered,
    For me joy was shathered whin that ugly ass,
That rid-headed craythor, Mrs. Jones’s Payther,
    Got at me mayther, and turned out me gas.
You may guess me falin’, whun they shtarted shqualin,
    Wid the room all raylin, like a ship at say.
There was sounds of crashin’ and of china smashin’.
    And the folks all dashin’ in aich other’s way.

I heard Norah Brady say to Miss O’Grady,
    Be the noise Pat made he must be murdhered quite;
When Mick Noonan shnatches a box of matches,
    And afther siveral scratches, he shtruck a light
Och! the rivilation of the situation!
    Wid me cold collation all on the floor,
And there was poor Annie on the top of Fanny,
    Cryin’ like a nanny-goat behind the door.

Faith! ’twas discomposing on me eyes unclosin’
    To see Pat reposin’ in Miss Brady’s lap,
And I filt quite flusthered whin I saw the musthard
    Mixed with fruit custhard, in Mick Noonan’s cap;
Father Roonan was pickin’ off some ham and chicken,
    Which wid some crame, was shtickin’ on his Sunday coat;
And ould Tim Dunlavy, that was in the navy,
    Had some bateroot gravy shpilled across his throat.

Faith! me bosom shmarted, as me guests departed,
    Lavin’ me broken hearted, and me eyes in tears,
And wid Pat declarin’, and profanely shwearin’,
    I’d have no more birthdays for a thousand of years.

It bates cockfightin’; there was I delightin’,
    Shpindin’ the night in unbounded joy,
Which as I’ve shtated, was oblitherated
    Be Jones’s addle-pated, rid-headed boy.

But in me prosthration, and me disolation,
    I’ve one consolation that me bosom cheers,
And will be complather, whin I catch that Pathyer
    That turned out me mayther, and I sthretch his ears.
Faith! I’ll bet a shillin’, when I catch the villain,
    I’ll be afther killin’ him, before I’ve done,
Whin I do surprise him, Faith! I’ll so chastise him
    You won’t recognise him as his Mother’s son.


Mrs. McSweeney On Conjugal Felicity

Whin I wint to get married to Pat
    In me coyness and maiden simplicity,
I thought the calm shtrame of our lives
    Would flow on in conjugal felicity
But whin the best man took first kiss,
    And I wasn’t afther previntm’ it,
And Pat laid him out in the church,
    Sure, you couldn’t blame me for resintin’ it.

The honeymoon over and passed,
    Then I moved in the bist of society;
I shtudied the fashions, and dressed
    Wid the greatest good taste and propriety.
Whin I got a bran new Sunday hat
    That was made loike a man’s, wid a dint in it,
And Pat said I looked loike a guy,
    Sure, you couldn’t blame me for resintin’ it.

Whin I brought me new boicycle home,
    And resolved that I’d practise untoiringly,
And I mounted me boike at the door,
    While the neighbours all looked on admoiringly.
Bekase I got shpilled at the gate,
    And me bloomer costhume got a rint in it,
Whin Pat sould me boike to a Jew,
    Sure, you couldn’t blame me for resintin‘ it.

Whin I wint to a dance wid me frinds,
    And they thought wid their lancers to blundher me,
And I danced Garryowen until
    The whole floor seemed to shlither from undher me.
Bekase I complained the nixt day,
    That me hip felt as if I’d a shplint in it,
And he tould me I’d acted the goat—
    Sure, you couldn’t blame me for resintin’ it.

Whin a new lady hilp I engaged,
    And I thought I’d got one of the bist of ’em,
’Till I found she was chakey and bould,
    And a thafe, and as bad as the rist of ’em;
If I wrote down the langw’dge she used,
    Faith! I’m sure you’d object to be printin’ it
Whin she asked Pat to unlace her boots—
    Sure, you couldn’t blame me for resintin’ it.

I’ve a timper as make as a lamb,
    And I shtudy domistic economy,
Though I get no more notice from Pat
    Than if it was Grake, or Asthronomy,
He grunts, and he growls, but I know
    He’ll be some day or other repintin’ it;
Whin he tries to conthrol the whole show,
    Don’t you think I’m quite roight in resintin’ it?


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