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Title: That Droll Lady
Author: Thos. E. Spencer
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Language: English
Date first posted: 2024
Most recent update: 2024

This eBook was produced by: Walter Moore

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That Droll Lady
Being The Further Adventures Of Mrs. Bridget McSweeney

Thos. E. Spencer




Mrs. McSweeney At A Bazaar
Mrs. McSweeney Has Visitors
Mrs. McSweeney Goes To The Zoo
Mrs. McSweeney At A Picture Show
Mrs. McSweeney At The Review
Mrs. McSweeney At The Gardens
Mrs. McSweeney On Microbes
Mrs. McSweeney Goes House-Hunting
Mrs. McSweeney Has A Turkish Bath
Mrs. McSweeney Moves
Mrs. McSweeney Goes A-Fishing
Mrs. McSweeney Up The Blue Mountains
Mrs. McSweeney Goes To Vote
Mrs. McSweeney On Troglodytes
Mrs. McSweeney Has A Cold
Mrs. McSweeney At A Euchre Party
Mrs. McSweeney Plays A Part


Mrs. McSweeney at a Bazaar

“By the Holy Shmoke,” exclaimed Mrs. McSweeney, jumping from the rocking chair in which she had been gracefully reclining, “’tis a quarther to five. Pat will be home at six, and not a praty peeled.”

“But the clock only sthruck three,’’ said Mrs. Moloney.

“That’s why I know it is a quarther to five,” said Mrs. McSweeney. “Faith! I’d back that clock agin the sun. If you wind it up oncet a week, pint the minute hand on ten minutes every mornin’, and allow for the variations, you can always be sure of bein’ wdhin ten minutes of the post office clock. But I must attind to me praties or there’ll be the divil to pay and nothing to pay him wid.”

“I’ll come and help you,” said Mrs. Moloney, “and we can talk as we peel them.”

Mrs. McSweeney led the way to the kitchen, lent Mrs. Moloney an apron, and, as they dropped the parings into the same tin dish, the conversation, which had been interrupted by the striking of the clock, was resumed.

“Where was I?” said Mrs. McSweeney.

“You was just going to tell me about the bazaar,” said Mrs. Moloney.

“So I was,” said Mrs. McSweeney, “Well, if you want to begin a thing properly, I suppose there’s nothin’ like beginin’ at the beginning so I might as well tell you phwat led up to it. You know the youngest Miss Simpson, the one wid the crooked nose?”

“The one wid the pimple on her chin?” said Mrs. Moloney.

“’Tis not a pimple, ’tis a wart. They say she has them all over her. But that’s the one. She came to me a fortnight ago last Friday. Let me see. Was it a fortnight, or was it three weeks? Maybe ’twas three weeks. Anyway, ’twas the day Miss Tompkins’s cat sihtole me kidneys, for I was just accusin’ her of it over the back fince when the door-bell rang. Miss Simpson, the one wid the crooked nose, I think she’s the youngest, but anyhow it doesn’t matther because neither of ’em will ever see forty agin, she came and asked me if I would help them wid a bazaar they was gettin’ up for the purpose of supplying boot polish to the Solomon Islanders.”

“Sure,” says I, “phwat do I care whether they have boot polish or not?”

“Nobody cares,” she says, “but we are gettin’ up a bazaar, and when you get up a bazaar you must get it up for something.”

Then she praised me new fire screen, and went on, “You know, Mrs. McSweeney, ’tis the fun we want. All the nice people will be there. We have the pathronage of two real live mimbars of parlymint, three aldhermen, a publican, and the wife of a pawnbroker. With the exception of the mimbers of parlymdnt, they are all givin’ something to the bazaar, and we want you to be in the fashion and give us a conthribution.”

“And why,” says I, “ain’t the mimbers of parlymint givin’ somethin’?”

“They are givin’ their names,’’ she says. “That is the fashion wid mimbers of parlymint.”

Well, she got round me that way, that I tuk a ticket and promised a contribution.

I didn’t know phwat to buy them for the bazaar, so I consulted Mrs. Broadfoot, who knows all about bazaars, her husband bein’ a policeman. She told me that it was not considhered the thing to buy anything for a bazaar, the proper thing to do was to make something.

You know, Mrs. Moloney, that if I pride mysilf upon anything it is my cooking, and I have reason to do so, as you can witness by frequent experiences. So I made up my mind to make a cake for the bazaar. Knowin’ that the mimbers of parlymint and the aldhermen were great judges of cakes, bein’ so much among ’em, I tuk the greatest pains to make it, and mixed it, as they say, regardless of expense. The day before the openin’ of the bazaar I sent it to Miss Simpson wid a shmall boy and my complimints.

I got a new shampane shantung dhress for the occasion and a chanticlere hat wid a rooster on top surrounded wid poppies.

I thought I’d be late for the openin’, as I was behind toime in shtartin’ owin’ to Pat bein’ late home for his lunch and havin’ to wash up and the kitchen chimbley catchin’ fire just as I was shtartin’ to get ready. It was a mercy the greengrocer happened to call at the toime because, although I had my hair down and nothin’ on but a wrapper, he put some bags over it and extinguished it before any great damage was done.

When I did get my dhress on I perspired that way that I burst a hook in my hurry and had to take it off to sew it on agin. When I got to the bazaar I found that although I was a half an hour late I was a half an hour early. I was gettin’ tired of shtandin’ in the crowd and one of me corns a shootin’ when the Ministher for Public Functions arrived wid his wife dhressed in a frock coat and a tall hat

He made a beautiful speech and tould us how the Solomon Islanders were all livin’ in a shtate of cannibalism, owin’ to never havin’ known the civilisin’ influence of boot polish. He complimented the ladies who had got up the bazaar, he praised the mimbers of parlymint, and the aldhermin and the publicans, and the pawnbroker’s wife, and declared the bazaar open. He then bought a sixpenny buttonhole from the mare’s daughter and wint away to open another bazaar.

Before he wint, I was inthrojooced to him. When he caught me name he shmiled. “Mrs. McSweeney is it?” he said. “Faith, I have heard of you. I look upon you,” he says, “as one of the mainstays of the Governmint,” he says, “While the people have your advintures to read,” he says, “the counthry will be safe. The people will be good timpered and continted and take no notice of the Governmint. Everybody will be happy,” he says, “for divil a soul could read them and be miserable.”

Afther he had gone the bazaar began in earnest.

“Will you buy a doll, Mrs. McSweeney?” said a sweet young female of uncertain age. “Only seven and six,” she says, “and it can say ‘Mum.’”

“I have no use for dolls,” says I, “me twins has grown out of them.”

Then another lady, wid a purple velvet gown, the wife of a publican, thrimmed wid sequins, wanted me to buy a pillow sham. Another one wanted me to buy a bar of scented soap in a green voile thrimmed wid insertion at twopence three farthings a yard. At last I was surrounded that way that I thought I’d burst another hook, and I said, “For the love of all that’s good, show me to the refrishmint shtall.”

“This way, Ma’am,” said a lady in shpectacles about five feet tin high and thin in proportion, and she led me down the hall between the shtalls on which were a variety of articles too numerous to mintion and a band playin’ and the flags a wavin’ till we came to a shtall at the far end of the room.

“This, Ma’am,” said the thin lady, “is me daughter’s shtall. She would like you to go into her lucky bag.”

“ME,” says I.

“Yes,” says she.

“Where is it?” I says.

“This is it,” she says, and she showed me a bag about as big as a minnow.

“And do you think,” says I, “that the likes of me cud get into the likes of that?”

“She would like you to take a chance in it for sixpence,” she says.

“I would not take me chance in it for a pound,” says I. Then I says, “I want the refrishmint shtall.”

“Well, ’tis before you,” said the thin womian wid a shniff.

I wint in the direction she pinted and there I saw the refrishmint shtall covered wid all sorts of nice things to eat, and Miss Simpson, wid the wart on her face dhressed in white muslin for all the wurruld as if she was only half her age.

“How do you do?” she says. “How do you like the tout ensemble?

“The tout is all right,” I says, “but I don’t care much for the ensemble.” For I wanted to let her see that I knew as much about it as she did. “But,” I says, “I’m tired, and I want a cup of tay. Have you a cup of tay on you?”

“I can get you a cup in a moment,” she says.

“And I’ll thry a bit of the cake I made,” says I, lookin’ round for it.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” she said, in a confused tone of voice. “You can’t. It’s sold.”

“Sold!” says I, “and how much did you get for it?”

“I got a shillin’ for it,” she says.

“Great Golliwogs!” says I, “and the engradients cost me four and six, to say nothin’ of me throuble and firin’ and the use of me shtove. Who bought it?” I says.

“My sisther,” she says. “When you sint it round yisterday we had some friends for afthemoon tay and my sisther bought it on the shpot.”

“Bought it for a shillin’,” says I.

“She bought it for the good of the cause,” she said, wid a toss of her head.

“Then I think,” says I, “that she ought to have let it be sold for the good of the Solomon Islanders. But anyway, can you get me a cup of tay?”

“I can,” she says, “if you will wait a minute.”

“I’ll wait here,” says I. And I looked round for somethin’ to sit on. There bein’ no chairs in sight and bein’ dead tired, I sat down on the corner of the shtail. I had no sooner sat down and put me weight on it than I found it was made of nothin’ but some boards laid on trestles. You could never imagine the result widhout bein’ there to see it. The end of the shtail that I sat on wint down, and all the rist of the shtall wint up. I grabbed at Miss Simpson, but she didn’t break me fall worth mintionin’. She wint down, and bang, I wint on top of her, and the refrishmints were distributed wid promiscuousness and indiscriminality over all the shtails in the vicinity, and elsewhere. A fancy goods shtall was liberally shpatthered wid calves’ foot jelly, loaves of bread went crashin’ into the middle of a china shtall, a knuckle of ham knocked over a large doll that was given by Mrs. Moses in a glass case, a blanc mange landed fair on the bald head of one of the mimbers of parlymint and slithered from his head down the neck of his wife in a low-neeked book-muslin dhress, and all was confusion and eatables. But this was only the fringe of it. Miss Simpson and I were in the centhre. The sight I was when they picked me up was beyond dishcription. I shtraightened meself as well as I could and wint away home. I saw the people on the thram laughin’ at somethin’, but it was not until I got home that I realized the extint of me rediculousness. I found that I had a lump of plum cake on the top of me rooster, a ham sandwich among me poppies, and a bath bun shtickin’ on the end of me hat pin. I found a jam tart in me transformation, and me dhress was a ruin. I wondhered next day phwat made the twins so quiet, and when I wint into the kitchen to see, there they were, as good as gold. One of them was pickin’ jujubes off me yoke, while the other was suckin’ me Shantung where I had sat down in a dish of chocolate creams. When I undhressed that night, conversation lollies rained from every garmint, and apple marangs oozed from me.

“Well, if you must go you must. It is just as well that phwat Pat said should be buried in obliviousness. Good bye. Don’t forget the shtep.”


Mrs. McSweeney Has Visitors

“I’m so glad you’ve come,” said Mrs. McSweeney.

“I’ve been just dyin’ for somebody to talk to. If I don’t aise me moind I’ll bust, so I will.”

“I had to go up the road to get something for Moloney’s lunch,’’ said Mrs. Moloney, as she hung her umbrella on the gas bracket, “so I thought I’d step in and pass the time of day.”

“’Twas kind of you,” said Mrs. McSweeney. “I wanted to have a good talk wid somebody, and it might as well be you as anybody else. Did you know I have had visitors?”

“I heard you had someone staying wid you,” said Mrs. Moloney, “but I didn’t know they were visitors.”

“Did I ever tell you of me cousin, Mick Flaherty?” said Mrs. McSweeney. “I thought not. Well, ’tis a good many years ago now that he wint up the counthry to look for work, and he got a job on a station, and he did so well that he was able to take up a bit of land, and he shtarted farmin’ wid two cows and a few pounds in his pocket. It was not long before he got married to a native of the disthrict named Matilda. She was christened afther her father’s favourite cow. Poor Mick! He died suddenly, gettin’ through a fence wid a gun in his hand, not knowin’ it was loaded. He left her wid six childer and about a thousan’ sheep and several cows. The second eldest is delicate, and so she wrote and said she was bringing him to Sydney for a change, and as they ’d never been in Sydney before, could I put them up for a week. ’Twas a week they came for and they shtayed a month. ’Twas the longest month, Mrs. Moloney, I ever lived. My heart is bruck wid ’em. ’Tis not that I grudged them the bit they ate, far from it, but they got on me nerves. She only brought the sick one wid her, and I’ve been thanking Providence she didn’t bring the lot. I often thry to think that if one child that was sick could get into so much mischief, phwat would have become of me if she had brought the others that were well. And I give it up.

Before they’d been in Sydney a day he was teachin’ me twins to snare me neighbour’s cats in the back yard like rabbits. The second day he was down he was teachin’ ’em sheep shearin’ wid Mrs. Jones’s poodle dog. And although I sent her the hair, she swears she’ll have the law agin me. Me shtair carpet’s ruined wid ’em racin’ up and down like mad all day. Me linoleum is shpoiled through him runnin’ over it like a big draft horse wid hobnailed boots on, and me heart has been in me mouth for a month.

She would never go outside the door widhout me, and Payther (that was his name) would not let her go out widhout him. He used to follow her about like a foal afther a mare.

If I tuk them out I was never sure that I’d get them home alive. We were comin’ home from the Zoo one day and we had to change thrams at the railway. I turned round to buy a paper from a boy, and whin I turned agin there was Matilda and Payther shtandin’ right in the road of a thram that was comin’ towards them. I shcreamed to them and a gintleman dhragged them away just in toime to save their lives, and when I asked them phwat they meant by gettin’ in front of the thram, Matilda said it was all right. “The dhriver could see us there,” says she, “and he could have pulled his thram on one side.”

That was the way with them. They thought they knew everything when they knew nothing.

Last Wednesday bein’ a half holiday Pat said he would hurry home and take us to a picnic. He said he would lave wurruk early and be home at twelve 0’clock. I knew he’d want some hot wather to wash the dirt off his hands, so about five minutes to twelve I put the little kettle on the gas ring and lit the gas. Then I wint upsthairs to get him a clean shirt out and while I was away he came in.

He shouted out, “Where’s me hot wather?”

It’s on the gas ring,” I shouted back sat him.

“Why the blazes didn’t you make it hot?” he sings out.

“’Tis gettin’ hot,” I shouts.

“The gas is not alight,” he says.

“Well,” says I, “I cud take me dyin’ oath I lit it.”

Then I heard him sthrike a match and then— then—there was a bang, and his howls were like fog-horns.

I was down shtairs wid me heart in me mouth three steps at a time and there was Pat dancing about the kitchen wid half his whiskers singed off. When he stopped his dancin’ I asked him how he did it.

“How did I do it?” says he, “sure I never did it. All I did was to shtrike a match. All the rist did itself.”

“But wasn’t the gas alight?” says I.

“No,” says Matilda, “I thought it was burnin’ to waste, so I blew it out.”

I looked at Pat, and Pat looked at me. Then he looked at Matilda. By the look of him I cud tell phwat was in his moind, but he didn’t say it. He felt his right whisker, which was crumblin’ in his hand, and then, wid a big effort, he said:

“You will be obliging me, ma’am, the next time you touch the gas to lave it alone.”

“Oh! very well,” said Matilda, as she tossed her head, “the next time I see it wastin’ I will let it waste.”

“If you plase,” said Pat. And then he said, “Well, I suppose we must get ready to go to the picnic.”

“You’d betther look in the glass first,” says I, “and see how you fancy yoursilf wid half a whisker.”

“Howly Moses!” he shouted, as he looked in the glass. “I don’t know which I’m most like, a scarecrow or a birch broom in a fit. Nobody would take me for a man.” Then he scratched his head and sighed. “I’ll have to go and get a clane shave,” he said.

So off he wint to the barber’s shop while I put clane collars on the twins. Prisently he came back growlin’.

“Phwat’s the matter,” says I, “and why didn’t you get your shave?”

“Get me shave!” he says, in a tone of contimptuousness. “Isn’t it Widnesday?” he says. “’Twas two minutes past one whin I got there,” he says, “and the barber says it ’ud be more than his life was worth to shave me afther one o’clock on Widnesday. He’d be breakin’ the Early Closin’ Act and The Arbitration Act, and several more Acts of Parliament and be rindherin’ himself liable to be fined tin times over.”

“And phwat are we to do?” I says, as Matilda eame down all ready to go out, and wid Payther in a new pair of nickers.

“You can go up to the pub and get me a flask of whisky,” he says, “and then,” says he, “you can do what you bally well like. I’m goin’ to dhrown me sorrows in dhrink, and then I’m goin’ to bed, and I’m goin’ to shtop there until I can get a lawful shave. If I let anybody I know see me like this, the mimory ’ud haunt ’em.”

I had to get him the whisky and he wint to bed. Then I got out me mendin’, and when Matilda saw that I was settled for the afthernoon, she tuk off her things and went on to the balkiney wid Payther, and sat there till tay time. Pat had to lose toime next mornin’, owin’ to his toime of shtartin’ bein’ seven and the barber not openin’ till eight. When he came home that night the twins came runnin’ in and said there a sthrange man comin’ in to the gate. I didn’t know him mesilf till he shpoke, for he looked as much like Father O’Reilly as Father O’Reilly himself, and more so.

Counthry people are all right in the bush, Mrs. Moloney, but whin they come to town they don’t seem to fit their surroundin’s. Thinkin’ to get them a threat, I got some fish one day for dinner. At the table, Payther used to eat as if every moment of his life was goin’ to be the next. He used to ate his gravy, wid his knife, and he’d empty his plate quicker than I cud fill it. When he got helped to fish he shtarted at it as if it was the first meal he’d had for six months. He had only taken the second mouthful when he began to choke.

“What ails you, Payther?” says Matilda. But Payther kept on coughin’ and chokin’.

“Why don’t you speak to me, and tell me what it is,” says Matilda. But Payther. when he thried to shpake to her, only shpluttered and coughed the fish he had in his mouth all over me clane cloth.

“He has a fishbone in his throat,” says I.

“The idea of you givin’ him fish to ate wid bones in it,” says Matilda,

‘‘He should take his toime and look out for the bones,” says I. For I was not well plased at the way she shpoke to me, and me patience was gettin’ exhausted wid ’em.

“’Tis thryin’ to kill me darlin’ child you are,” she says. “Can’t you speak to me, Payther? Oh! what will I do wid him?”

“Give him some hard crust to chew,” says I, “perhaps that will sind it down.” But Payther would not take the crust, and threw himself on to the floor and kicked. “Shtand him on his head,” says I, “perhaps that will bring it up!” She tried to catch him by the legs to shtand him on his head, but Payther made a kick at her, and in thryin’ to save hersilf she caught me by the hair and shpoiled me new transformation that cost me five and six at the bargain sale. Then I made a grab at Payther, but he eluded me and disappeared coughin’ and shplutterin’ under the table.

“Come out of that, you little divil,” says I, for I was losin’ me timper.

“Don’t you dare to call me little darlin’ a divil,” says Matilda, bridlin’ up at me.

“I’ll call him a divil as often as I choose, and oftener if I like,” says I, for me timper was clane gone by this toime. Then seein’ Payther’s fut shtickin’ out from undher the table I made a grab at it. When she saw me grab, she gave me a push, and I shud have fallen if I had not caught howld of somethin’. So I caught Matilda. She caught the table cloth, but it came wid her, and down we wint, and everything on the table afther us. Whin I exthricated myself, I was a wreck, and me new eau-de-neil blouse was ruined. I looked for Matilda, and she was layin’ on the floor in a dead faint. I got a dipper of wather and threw it over her and she soon came to. When she did, the first thing she said was:—

“Payther! Where is my Payther?”

In my agitation I had clane forgotten Payther, but when I looked for him undher the table, he was scoopin’ up some jelly from the floor wid his hands and atin’ it.

“Where’s the fishbone?’’ says I.

“It’s gone,” says he, wid his mouth full of jelly.

“Which way did it got” says Matilda, “up or down!”

“I don’t know,” he says, “whether I coughed it up or choked it down. Anyway it’s gone. This jelly’s bosker. There’s no bones in it.”

Well, somehow this little incident caused a coolness between me and Matilda, especially whin Pat tried to take her part.

“You must be lanient wid her,” he said. “She’s from the counthry and it’s natural for her to be fond of her child.”

“And I think,” says I, “that it’s toime she wint back to the counthry, and I’ve a notion that she’s fond of more than her child.”

“What do you mane?” he says.

“I know phwat I mane,” says I. “Do you think it’s me she’s shtoppin’ here for?”

“I should think not,” says he, “and you as cool to her as you are.”

“Then it must be you,” says I.

“Get me me boots,” he says, “and don’t be a bally idiot.” But anyhow, I’m thankful to say they’re gone. The house is that quiet it don’t seem like the same place. I wished her goodbye when she shtarted for the counthry and I tould her that I wished she might live long and die happy there.

“And must you go? Dear me! How the toime flies. Don’t forget your wathermelon.”


Mrs. McSweeney Goes to the Zoo

“Come in,” says Mrs. McSweeney, “come in. Don’t be shtandin’ there wearin’ out the doormat, take the rockin’ chair and sit on it. And where did you shpend the King’s Birthday?”

“We wint to the National Park,” said Mrs. Moloney, as she arranged the cushions in the rocking chair, “and the mosquitoes nearly devoured us. I have to wear a veil wid red shpots to hide the marks of them. What wid the mosquitoes and the sun, and the sand-flies, we were all like—eh—what is that animal that has shpots all over it?”

“The leopard,’’ said Mrs. McSweeney. “If you had shpint your holiday in the same sinsible manner as we did you’d have no need to ask.”

“There are different opinions about sinsibility,” said Mrs. Moloney, “but where did you go?”

“Well,” replied Mrs. McSweeney, “as the mother of twins and the wife of the man that reckons he’s the father of ’em, I considher it my bounden duty to combine recreation wid education, so that their minds and their bodies may devilope side by side like the—”

“Meaning which?” said Mrs. Moloney, “the twins, or the man that reckons he’s the father of ’em?”

“Principally the twins,” said Mrs. McSweeney, “though the oldest of us ain’t so wise that we have not a lot to learn, if it’s only good manners.”

“Thrue for you,” said Mrs. Moloney. “Thrue for you.”

“Tis thrue for others beside me,” said Mrs. McSweeney, “and perhaps more so.”

“I think there’s thunder about,” said Mrs. Moloney.

“Maybe there is, and maybe there isn’t,” replied Mrs. McSweeney. “If there is, ’twill be time enough for us to attmd to it when we hear it. Where was I when you intherrupted me?”

“You was makin’ a vain attimpt to devilope something side by side wid something else,” said Mrs. Moloney, “and you got the twins and the father of the twins mixed up that way that I couldn’t tell the tother from which. But tell your own tale in your own way. ’Tis not for me to tell you how to tell your tale.”

“Well,” said Mrs. McSweeney, “Pat wanted to go to the races, but wishing as I said, to combine recreation wid amusement—no—I mane information wid education—no—that is not it. I mane that wishin’ to combine information wid recreation— that’s it—I persuaded him to take the twins and me to the Zoo. He was grumpy about it at first and said he didn’t get a holiday very often and why shouldn’t he enjoy himself when he did?

“What can you see at the Zoo,” he says, “that you can’t see any time goin’ up George Sthreet?”

“Tigers and lions,” says I.

“Who wants to see tigers and lions?” he says.

“’Twill be an education for the twins,” says I.

“Oh, well, have your own bally way,” he says, “as you always do. ”

And so we wint to the Zoo. I did not know at first what dress to wear, but I decided at last on me heliothrope hobbled skirt, cut low at the neck, and me new chanticlere hat. You didn’t see me new chanticlere hat? It has, or I mane it had, a fullsized bantam roosther on top, red poppies all round, a big tartan bow at the back, and forget-me-nots undherneath. Oh, it was a poem. The thram was crowded and the guard in a divil of a hurry. “Now then. Hurry on,” he says. But I couldn’t hurry on. When I made me hobble I didn’t reckon on the height of the thram shtep, and so it was a bit too tight for me to sthretch. However, wid the help of Providince and some assistance from Pat and the conducthor, I got safely on board. I could get no sate, but was thankful to have something to shtand on. Pat and the twins had to ride on the footboard. Pat was on one side and the twins on the other. They kept me heart in me mouth, for I felt sure that one or other or all of them would fall off every time the thram gev a jerk. I had to look both ways at oncet. Now I’d be tellin’ the twins to hould tight, and then I’d be tellin Pat to be careful. At last a man that was shtandin’ just behind me and houldin’ on by the sthrap, made me jump by shoutin’ in me ear:—

“Missus,” he says, “would it be askin’ too much if I was to ask you to take charge of that bally hat of yours and to keep it shtill? It is as big as a cartwheel and has teeth on it like a circular saw. Every time you twist your head, and that’s about ten times a second, it cuts pieces out of me. There’s several bits of my ear on the floor of the thram now.”

I was about to give him a sharp answer, but when I saw him wipin’ the blood off his ear I hadn’t the heart to talk to him as I would have liked to talk to him, so I gev him a look of silent contimpt instead. I was glad whin we got to the Zoo, for me limbs were gettin’ pins and needles in them through shtandin’ on one leg like a chicken roostin’.

“Buy some peanuts for ze monk.”

It was a little dark man with a basket that was shpakin’.

“Buy some peanuts for ze monk?”

“Get away wid you,” says I. “Monks don’t eat peanuts.”

“Oh, yes, Missy. Ze monks very fond of ze peanuts.”

“But,” says I, “there are no monks in here. This is the Zoo.”

“Oh, yes. Plenty monks. Long-haired monks, short-haired monks. Monks wis ze long tail, and monks wis ze short tail. Plenty monks. ’

So I bought some peanuts and we went to the enthrance. Pat paid for the lot of us and they tould us to go through a thing like an iron cage, and that twisted round and round. Pat got through all right and so did the twins, but when it came to my turrun I found that the thing was about two sizes too shmall for me. They twisted it backwards and forwards and me about half way in it, till I was a mask of bruises. Then the man did phwat he should have done at first, he tould them to take me in at the cart enthrance.

When I got inside I thought the twins were goin’ mad.

“Come here, Mum,” says Pat junior, pullin’ me round to the right. “Come and see the big brown bear.”

“No! Come this way,” says Mike. “Come and see Jumbo. He’s cracking nuts with his trunk.”

“Garn,” says Pat junior. “That’s the monkey.”

“Garn yerself,” says Mike. “Monkeys ain’t got trunks.”

Just then I sees Pat senior beckoning to us, and phwat should he be lookin’ at but a big brown bear on the top of a big pole in a place they called a pit. He used to climb the pole for the buns and cakes that the people would throw to him. Then he’d go down agin for all the world like a hod-carrier goin’ down a laddher. Then he’d sit up on the bottom and keep turnin’ round lookin’ for more buns. He’d been sittin’ up and turnin’ round so often that his tail was worn to a shtump. It was no more use to him as a fly-catcher than it would have been to dip honey out of a jar.

Next we wint to see some birds they call cranes. Why they call them cranes I don’t know. They have thin legs that seem too thin for them to shtand on, and to show off they shtand on one of them while they scratch their ear wid the other.

Then we saw some cassiwaries, and some emus, and some more bears and an osthrich that looked for all the world like a two-legged camel, hump and all.

Near the osthriches were some Highland cattle. “Come and look,” says Pat. “These are Scotch cattle.”

“You have no need to tell me that,” says I.”Look at that black bull wid the black hair all over his face. He’s the dead image of old McKinley that lives opposite to us. If I was in surf bathin’ and he poked up his head foreninst me I should say ‘Good mornin’, Mr. McKinley.’”

The only answer Pat gave to this was a shniff and a shnort. He can’t bear to hear me talk of surf bathin’.

We saw a lot of other animals from all over the world. There were some dear little antelopes. They were that graceful and frisky they reminded me of the time when I was a girl. There were some cattle from Foochow, and an animal wid a name I could not pronounce. It was spelt G. N. U. It had curly horns and two odd ends. His forequarthers seemed to belong to one animal and his hindquarthers to another. He had black whiskers on his face, a black mane on has neck, and a silver tail on his — other end. We saw some yaks from India, and gazelles from Arabia, where the sthreet arabs come from. We were passing a fince where there was another quiet-lookin’ baste. Pat was walkin’ foreninst me and not lookin’ at the animals, but was feastin’ his eyes on two girls who were walkin’ in front of him dhressed in the height of fashion and green open-work shtockin’s.

“Phwat’s the name of that one,” I says.

“Which one?” he says. “The one wid the pink hat or the one —”

“I mane the animal behind the fince,” I says. “Not them bould hussies that you have been eyein’ so closely.”

“Oh,” he says, turnin’ round to look at the card. “He is called—Holy Saint Dominick!”

“That’s a quare name for an animal,” says I.

“May the divil roast him, and you too,” says Pat, wipin’ his face on his coat sleeve. “He shpat fair in me eye.”

I looked at the card from a distance, and it said:


And I found it was called a vecuna.

“Sure,” says Pat, “I wish he was a man, I’d take a fall out of him for shpittin’ in me eye. ’Tis a thing I would not let me most intimate friend do.” And he wiped his face some more. “Why didn’t you warn me?” he says.

“You would have seen the card,” I says, “if you hadn’t been so busy watchin’ those bould hussies wid the green shtockin’s,” I says.

Just then he saw one of the twins laughin’ and he made a skelp at him, but the young ’un ducked undher his arrum and got away. For the next few minutes Pat was as grumpy as the ould camel that we saw in the next yard. He was the most miserable camel in the world if you could judge by his appearance. He was turnin’ grey, his lips were thremblin’ and his hump was all askew. We saw the Syrian goats. There were two of them. A blonde and a brunette. Their ears were so long that they had to hold up their heads to keep from walkin’on them.

Pat was some distance ahead when I heard him callin’ to me,

“Come here,” he says. “Come quick and see your Uncle, ould Tim Sheehy. ’Tis the dead spit of him.”

I wint to where he was pointin’, and there, in a glass cage, was the ugliest and the blackest lookin’ monkey I had ever seen. I couldn’t help laughin’ at him, for his face was the image of Uncle Tim’s before he got it shpoilt at the picnic.

There were more monkeys, big monkeys and little monkeys, white-nosed monkeys and pig-tailed monkeys, bonnet monkeys and baboons. We saw the man feedin’ the lions and the tigers, the wolves and the leopards. We wint to the aquarium and saw the Paradise fishes, Zebra fishes, Burmese eels, and bullrouts. We saw shnakes of all kinds. Diamond shnakes, black shnakes, whip shnakes and tiger shnakes. Afther we had seen the shnakes we saw the flamingoes, who were all legs and necks, and the sacred ibis that was all beak.

We saw the polar bears and the opossums, and the kangaroos, and there was one female kangaroo that had a dear little joey in her pouch. Then we wint to see the birds. Oh! the lovely birds they have. Parrots and parakeets of all sizes and colours. Red parrots and green parrots, black-tailed parrakeets and blue-fronted Amazons.

“Oh! Mum!” shouted Mike, “come and look at the eagle.”

I wint round the corner to where he was, and saw a solemn-lookin’ ould bird that looked more like an owl than what I thought an eagle would look like. He looked as if he was half asleep.

“Is that thing an eagle?” I says.

“Yes,” says Mike. “Look at the ticket.”

“Well,” says I, “he seems to be sleepy.”

“I’ll wake him,’’ says Pat junior, and he tuk off his cap and waved it at the eagle, who took no notice of him.

Mike then waved his cap and dhropped it inside the fince. He was goin’ to crawl undher afther it but I shtopped him.

“I’ll get it for you,” I says, “don’t you go in.” And I reached over the rail to get it for him, I had no sooner shtooped down than I felt a tug.

“Houly Moses,’’ says I, “phwat’s caught me?”

“There’s nothin’ caught you,” says Pat laughin’. “’Tis the eagle that has caught your bantam roosther. They’re cock-fightin’, and it’s tin to one on the eagle. Pull Biddy, or he’ll have it.”

“Oh! me beautiful chanticlere,” says I. “It’ll be ruined,”

Then I felt another big tug that I thought had cost me me new hair pads. “Shoo him off,” I says.

Pat shouted at the eagle, and waved his arrums to thry to make him lose his hoult, but it was no use. The eagle wouldn’t give way, me hat pins wouldn’t give way, and me hair pads were thrue to me, so the roosther had to give way, and when I lifted me head the eagle was houldin’ me roosther in his claw, and pickin’ the shtuffin’ out of him wid his beak, so he was.

I shtraightened me hat the best way I could, but it was like Kitty Booney when she arrived in America, it had lost its characther.

When I’d sthraightened me hat I insisted on goin’ home, and we shtarted to walk towards the gate, but in goin’ to the gate we had to pass the place where the elephant was.

“Oh! Mum,” shouted the twins, both at oncet, “here’s the elephant. Come and have a ride.’’

There he was, for all the wurruld like you’d see him in a picture book. He had his thrunk at one end and his tail at the other, and he was waggin’ them both. There was a man dhrivin’ him wid a shtraw hat and a sandy moustache.

“Do you think he would carry me?” I says to the man.

“I think he would,” says the man, “but we give no guarantee. You see he’s only an elephant. But if you like to chance it we will thry.”

At that moment I caught the elephant’s eye, and if ever an eye shpoke, Mrs. Moloney, it was the eye of that elephant at that moment.

“No,” says I, “I will not chance it. The twins may ride if they like, but I have too much respect for my dignity to ride a thing like that.”

“All right, Mum,” said the twins, both at oncet.

“You must sit shtill and not move,” I says to them.

“All right, Mum,’’ says they.

They climbed up a sort of a platform on to the elephant’s back, the man got asthride of his neck, and off they shtarted. They were sittin’ one on each side of the elephant, and I was just thinkin’ how I’d like to get their photos taken, when Pat junior made a grab at an apple that Mike was atin’, and they shtarted fightin’ for it.

“Shtop your tomfoolery,” I shouted, “or you’ll be failin’ off.”

Sure enough the wurruds were not out of me mouth when Mike shlipped and would have fallen if Pat had not grabbed him by the hair.

They both commenced howlin’ at oncet and I thought that every moment they’d be undhar the fate of the elephant, and he joggin’ along and grinnin’ as if he enjoyed it. They were comin’ back towards me, and throwin’ discretion to the winds, as the sayin’ is, I ran in front of the elephant and waved me umbrelly frantically round me head.

“Shtop, you murdherin’ divil,” I shouted. “Do you want to make orphans of me two twins?”

But he never shtopped. Before I knew another thing, he had his thrunk round me waist. He upended me over his head and sat me sthraddle ways on his neck in front of the dhriver. Poor man, he was as frightened as I was, besides bein’ half shmothered. Well, you know, Mrs. Moloney, hobble shkirts were never intinded for that kind of treatmeat. Me heliothrope, that cost three and eleven pence three farthings a yard at the bargain sale, was a ruin, I went out in a hobble shkirt, but I came home in a directwore, and the wind blowin that way that pins wouldn’t hould it.

But, barrin’ one or two little things that happened and were not on the programme, we had a grand day at the Zoo.

“Well, if you must go, you must. I suppose I’ll see you to-morrow. Mind the rint in the carpet.”


Mrs. McSweeney at a Picture Show

“Have you seen the pictures?” said Mrs. McSweeney, as she settled herself on Mrs. Moloney’s balcony for a comfortable chat.

“The pictures in what?” said Mrs. Moloney, as she noted that Mrs. McSweeney had a new pair of open-worked stockings.

“I mane the livin’ pictures,” said Mrs. McSweeney, “at the theayter.”

“I have not been to the theayter for ages,” said Mrs. Moloney. ‘‘By the time Moloney gets home and has a wash, and gets his tay, ’tis too late for theayters, and him wantin’ to get to bed early, havin’ to be up before daylight.”

“That’s the best of havin’ a man that can come home early now and then if he wants to,” said Mrs. McSweeney. “Pat can always get home at six, if he wants to, and it gives us time to take part in a little social enjymint now and agin.”

“I don’t care much for social enjymint,” said Mrs. Moloney. “So long as Moloney has regular work and keeps off the dhrink, I can find enough to do at home widhout gaddin’ about. ”

“Well,” said Mrs. McSweeney, shrugging her shoulders, “the donkey that always lives on thistles never knows the want of oats. Social enjymint is necessary to those that’s accustomed to it.”

“But what about the pictures?” said Mrs. Moloney.

“I was just comin’ to that when you intherrupted me,” said Mrs. McSweeney. “As Pat can get home at six o’clock when he likes, bein’ in a position of responsibility, he came home early one night last week and I had sausages for his tay. Sausages is his weak point, and always puts him in a good humour. So, when he had finished his tay and had a shmoke, he began playin’ wid the twins. At last one of ’em said, “When are you goin’ to take us to the pictures, Dad?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” he says, “suppose we go tonight?”

“Hurray!” says the twins, both at oncet.

“There’ll just be time,” says Pat. “Put on your things, Biddy, and we’ll all go to the pictures.”

Afther I’d got Pat out a clean shirt and collar, and washed the twins and combed their hair, I put on me new dhress of black shiffon glassy and embossed fillet lace, and me green velvet toke wid the red feather, and off we shtarted to the pictures.

We got there in good toime and got a good place in the front sates and waited for the performance to commence.

By-and-bye the musicians came in wid their insthruments and they tuk their sates and waited.

‘‘Phwat are they waitin’ for?” I says to Pat. “Why don’t they shtart?”

“They’re waitin,’” he says, “for the conducthor.”

“And why didn’t he come in wid the others?” I says.

“Becase he likes his little bit of fat,” says Pat. “If he came in wid the others people might take him for a musician.”

Just as he was shpeakin’ in walked the conductor, and as soon as he tuk his sate he gave a little tap wid his shtick and off the music shtarted. When they played the “Minsthrel Boy” me heart was in me mouth, but when they played the “Wind that shuk the Barley” it was in me feet I had to hould on to the sate to keep mesilf from gettin’ up and dancin’. And even then me feet wouldn’t keep shtill.

At last they lowered the lights and they showed the first picture.

“Hats off!” shouted somebody behind.

I looked round and divil a one could I see wid a hat on, so I went on lookin’ at the pictures.

“Hats off!” shouted somebody agin.

Just then somebody prodded me in the back wid somethin’, and I jumped and gave a shqueal, it shtartled me so?

“Phwat’s the matter?” says Pat.

“Somebody poked me in the ribs,” I says.

Then he shtud up and looked round. “Who was it poked me wife in the ribs?” he says, “Tell me that,” he says.

“’Twas I that touched her,” says a young female wid a pink dhress thrimmed wid gold passyminthery and a green parasol.

“And phwat did you for?” says Pat, as he looked at her in a mildher tone of voice.

“Will you kindly ask her to take off her hat?” she says wid a simile. “It hides all the pictures.”

“Take your hat off, Biddy,” he says, “the young lady can’t see the pictures.” And he shmiled back at her.

“I’ll take it off when I choose,” I says, not likin’ the way he looked at her.

“Don’t bother her,” says a young felly two sates back. “Perhaps if she does she’ll have to take her hair off wid it.”

“Some of your hair would come off mighty quick,” says I, “if I could get at you.”

“Shut up!” says Pat. “You’re makin’ an exhibition of yoursilf.”

“Am I?” I says, “where?”

“Here,” he says.

“’Tis aisy to be seen,” I says, “that I can be insulted wid immunity by a set of blackguards and that I have nobody to take me part.”

“If you won’t take that bally hat off, keep it shtill,” says an old man three sates back. “I’m breakin’ me neck thryin’ to dodge it.”

“I suppose I’d betther take it off?” I says to Pat in a whisper, “although I can’t see that it interferes wid anybody.”

“Yes,” he says, “take the bally thing off for the sake of peace and quietness. I can’t fight them all and look at the pictures at the same time.”

So I tuk it off and held it on me knee, and there was a great sigh of satisfaction behind me. And then I was able to fix me moind on the pictures. At least they said they was pictures, but I had a doubt about it. They were min and women movin’ about, and their eyes were movin’, and their lips were movin’, and I have an idea that it was real min and women pretendin’ to be pictures.

There was one place where there was a lovely counthry lane and a man hidin’ behind a tree wid a gun in his hand, and if ever there was a murdherous lookin’ villain he was one. The way he rolled his eyes was enough to turrun your blood into wather.

Presently, along came a fine lookin’ young felly carryin’ a bag full of money. As he came to the tree, the man behind it lifted his gun and tuk aim at him. The young man came along, gettin’ closer and closer, and the man wid the gun took aim agin. I cud shtand it no longer.

“Look out!” I shcreamed, “dodge him! Dodge him! He’s goin’ to shoot!”

But I was too late. Bang! went the gun, and when I opened my eyes agin, there was the young man, weltherin’ in his—phwat is it they welther in?”

“Gore,” said Mrs. Moloney.

“Yes,” said Mrs. McSweeney, “that’s it. The young man was weltherin’ in his gore.”

“Police!” I shouted. “The vagebone. He’s killed a man, and now he is robbin’ him.”

But the police tuk no notice, Pat tould me to shut up, and said somethin’ about “Blatherin’ idiot,” but I didn’t cateh phwat it was, and the people laughed. But I was so upset that I never knew phwat became of the robber, but Pat said it ended all right and he got his deserts, which was a blessin.

By-and-bye the lights wint up and Pat said there would be an intherval of tin minutes, and he said he just remimbered that he had to go out and see a man about a football match and to sit shtill and he’d be back in a minute.

I laid me hat on his sate to mind it and looked round at the people. The young lady in the pink dhress shmiled at me and said it was very warrm.

Not to be outdone in politeness, I tould her that it was.

“’Tis a nice show, ma’am,” she says.

“It is then,” says I.

“Are the little boys enjyin’ themselves?” she says, lookin’ at them and shmilin’.

“You bet,” says Pat.

“Bosker,” says Mike.

“Would you like some chocolates?” she says.

“Rather,” says both of ’em at once.

She gave them some chocolates and I made them say “Thank you,” and we got talkin’ to one another. She tould me that her young man, who had gone out to see a man about something, brought her to see the pictures about three times a week. She said her mother was a widow and her father was a clergyman, and she was shtudyin’ typewritin’ to help her poor old mother who was not too well off, and her sweetheart not bein’ able to marry her yet, as he was in a bank and not allowed to get married until promoted.

“Your collar is crooked,” she said, shimlin’ at me.

“Thank you, my dear,” says I, “would you mind straightenin’ it?”

She sthraightened me collar, and while she was doin’ it, the lights went down and the pictures came up. The first picture was a funny one and the twins were laughin’ at it fit to break a blood vessel when Pat came back,

“You had some throuble to find the man!” I says to him as he went to sit down.

“I did,” he says. “He was a—Houly Murdher!”

‘‘Phwat is it?” says I.

But he shtarted to dance and all the time thryin’ to keep back the bad language he was burstin’ to use. The people shouted ‘‘Silence!’’ and “Sit down!”

“There’s not a man here’ll make me sit down,” says Pat, dancin’ as well as he cud between the sates.

As he jumped I saw that me green velvet hat was hangin’ to him

“Pat,” says I, “you’ll ruin me hat.”

“To the divil wid your bally hat,” he says. “’Tis not the hat I’m moindin’, it’s the bally pins.”

“Which pin is it?” says I.

“All of ’em,” he says.

Well, I felt for the pins and I pulled ’em out one at the time, and the people were shtill singin’ out for him to sit down, and so he thried to sit down agin but he jumped up wid a yell.

“I can’t do it,” he says, “I can’t do it. I’ll never be able to sit agin. ”

“Well, then, we’d betther go home,” I says.

“Yes,” said a man behind, “take him home like a good woman.”

Pat wanted to fight the man that said it, but it was too dark for him to see which man it was that said it, which perhaps was quite as well.

Me hat was a wreck. I sthraightened it as well as I could, but it would turrun down in some places and cock up in others that way that I was ashamed of it.

Comin’ home in the thram there was a ladylike woman sittin’ in the sate opposite to me, and she made me quite uncomfortable the way she kept lookin’ at me. At last she spoke.

“I hope you will not think me rude,” she said, wid a shmile, “but I was surprised at your hat.”

“Was you,” I says. “And phwat were you surprised at?” For I couldn’t tell her everything, and Pat shtandin’ on the footboard of the thram close by, rubbin’ himself.

“Well,” she says, “I am a milliner, and it was only to-day the mail came in and brought the very latest Paris fashions, and now to-night I see you have one on. ’Tis the very latest, and I didn’t think there was one in Sydney yet.”

And sure enough if you go round the block now, you’ll see scores of them turruned down and cocked up just the same as mine. The next time I want to get a hat of the latest fashion, I’m goin’ to get Pat to take me to a picture show.

Well, we got home all right. I called and got a fine lobsther and a bottle of shtout and by the time we had finished that Pat was in a purty good humour agin, the only dhrawback bein’ that Pat had to take his off the mantelpiece.

But you’d never believe it, Mrs. Moloney, the sin and wickedness there is in this wurruld. When I wint to take off me things I found that me pendant wid the ruby and the diamonds that Pat bought me when he won the sweep was gone. I was that upset that the lobsther and stout was wasted on me. I couldn’t tell Pat, on top of his other throubles, so I went to bed and laid awake all night thinkin’ of it.

I have been lookin’ ever since for the clergyman’s daughter, but I’m afraid I’ll never see her or my pendant agin.

“Well, I must be goin’ or Pat will be home before me and lookin’ for the vaseline I promised to take him home.”


Mrs. McSweeney at the Review

“Sure ’tis a beautiful day, so it is,” said Mrs. McSweeney, in answer to Mrs. Moloney’s salutation. “Dhraw your chair to the windy. I’m enjyin’ the shmell of the geraniums. ’Tis quite refreshin’ afther washin Pat’s socks. Where did you go yesterday? Nowhere? I wint to the review, no less. McSweeney had a holiday, and when I tuk him up a cup of tay in the mornin’, he says to me, “Biddy,” he says, “did you ever see a King’s Birthday?”

“Phwat a question,” says I.

“How?” says he.

“As if anybody cud see a birthday,” says I.

“Bad scran to you,” he says, “’tis mighty smart ye are this mornin’.’’ Then says he, “You know what I mane. I mane the levy, wid the soldiers, and the voluntayrs and things they hould in the park,” he says.

“You mane the review,” says I.

“Well, did ye ever see a review?” he says.

“I can’t exactly say that I did,” says I, “but me aunt on me mother’s side that married O’Toole of Ballyragin’’—

“Oh! Hould your blather,” he says, for he can never bear to hear me talk of me ancesthry. “Will you come to the review to-day?” he says.

“I don’t know phwat I cud wear,” says I.

“Wear anything,” he says. “Sure, Biddy, haven’t I often tould ye that ye have the kind of beauty that looks best when it’s unadorned? What did the poet say about it, Biddy? You used to be good at poethry.”

“Which poet?” says I.

“Divil a know I know,” says he, scratchm’ his head. “But put on anything you like and we’ll go and see the review,

Wid the bands a playin’
And the thrumpets brayin’,
And the horses boundin’
And the bugles soundin’;
Wid the swords a flashin’
And the sabres clashing
Wid the dhrums a beatin’
And the throops rethreatin’,
Wid the flags a flyin’
And the—”

“Oh! shut up,” says I. “Ye’re devilopin’ a habit of poethry that’ll grow on ye,” says I.

“’Tis not a habit,” he says, “’tis a natural accomplishment that was born wid me. There’s toimes when I can’t help it. It oozes from me like wather from a leaky shoe.”

Anyhow, I put on me tartan blouse with the red yoke and a pink skirt wid the green braid trimmin and we wint to the review.

“Phwat hat did ye wear?” asked Mrs. Moloney.

“I wore my Merry Widow hat, wid the forget-me-nots,” said Mrs. McSweeney, “and we shtarted early to avoid the crush, as the sayin’ is. There was no seats to be had on the thram, but I managed to squeeze in while Pat shtood on the footboard. I was no sooner in the thram than it shtarted that quick that I lost me balance, and then I sat down in the lap of a thin gintleman in a grey felt hat wid a flop. The concussion was great, and it was some toime before I cud exthrieate meself und sthruggle to me feet, for when I tried to rise I found that the thin gintleman’s glasses were caught in me forget-me-nots, while me umbrelly was hooked into the weskit of a stout man that sat foreninst me. When he had unhooked me, the stout gintleman gave me a pull in front and the thin gintleman a shove behind and I got to me feet wid Pat glarin’ at me from the footboard.

“I ask your pardon,” says I to the thin man, when I had gained me feet.

“Don’t mintion it,” he says, when he had got his breath and shtopped coughin’.

“Did I hurt you?” says I.

“I don’t think there’s anything bruk,” he said. “I’ll be able to tell bether when the thram shtops and I’m able to sthraighten myself.”

Just then the thram shtopped wid a jerk and it threw me towards the stout gintleman, but he saved me by shtickin’ out his two arrums and shovin’ me back agin.

“I ask your pardon,” says I. “’Twas the jerk of the thram that did it.”

“’Tis all right,” he says, “I’m used to it. I wurruk in a wool-sthore. I’m handlin’ bales of wool all the week.”

When we got to the Park it was beautiful to see the crowds of min, wimmin, and soldiers, all pushin’ and scrougin’ in different directions.

“Come on,” says Pat, “and we’ll get a good place to see the Governor.”

“Come there, shtand back,” said a felly in cordheroy pants and leggin’s that Pat said was a throoper. “Shtand back.”

He gave Pat a shove and he shtepped back right on to me favourite corn. I sang out and shoved him off it. The throoper pushed him back, so I shoved him agin. When the throoper saw him comin’ at him the second toime he caught Pat by the collar.

“Defyin’ the law, are you,” he said, as he shuk him, “come along wid me to the police station. I’ll soon show you.”

He was just goin’ to march Pat off, and Pat lookin’ that wild that I thought he’d hit the policeman, when I says, “’Twas my fault,” I says, “’Twas me that pushed him.”

“Then,” says he, “I’ll have to arrest you.” And he let go of Pat.

“Arrist me, is it?” says I, “faith! if you do you’ll get your hands full. I’ll not go a foot,” says I, “unless you carry me.”

He looked at me for a minute, and then he laughed. “I’ll not take the job on,” he says. “Keep back out of the crowd,” he says, “and when the review’s over I’ll fetch a throlly for you.”

He passed on, shovin’ the crowd back as he wint, and we were able to look about us. Pat was a bit grumpy at first, but at last a bugle sounded and he couldn’t be grumpy any more.

“Do you see the soldiers?” he says.

And sure enough I did. There they shtud, in a long row, wid their guns and swords and things.

Some was dhressed in rid coats, some in grey, some in brown, and some in blue. It was as good as a scene in a pantomime.

“Which is the Governor?” says I.

“Him on the chistnut horse,” says Pat.

“Bless him,” says I, “how nice he looks. And phwat a beautiful chist proticther he has.”

“Sure,” says Pat, “that is not a chist proticther. ”

“Then phwat’s it for?” says I.

“To keep his chist from gettin’ hurt wid the bullets and the cannon balls and things,” says he.

“And phwat’s that but a chist proticther?” says I.

“Oh! shut up,” he says, “and don’t be passin’ remarks about the Governor.”

“That’s not the Governor,” said a man in a tall hat wid a red moustache, “that’s only his hay-de-kong.”

“Which is the Governor, then?” says I.

“The one wid the cocked hat and feathers and gould sthripes on his breast,” he says. “Look now,” he says, “they’re goin’ to march past.’’

And sure enough they all came marchin’, some in rid coats, some in blue, and some in kharkee, some on foot and some on horseback. There was some they called the light horses, and some the heavy horses. There was the naval brigade, wid their white caps, and the artilleree wid their guns, and the lancers wid their lances, and the bands were playin’ and sthreamers flyin’, and the man in the tall hat tould us the names of them as they wint past.

There was one band that was not playin’ at all until it got right forninst us, and just as they were passin’ the dhrummer gave his dhrum three bangs and they shtruck up a tune that brought the tears into me eyes and me heart into me mouth. ’Twas “Garryowen,” no less.

“’Tis the Irish Brigade,” said the man wid the tall hat, makin’ room for me to look.

And sure enough, there they came, wid their heads in the air, as bould as brass and twice as shiney, lookin’ as saucy as they did whin they followed the Duke of Willington into the Battle of Thrafalga, and tuk the consait out of Napoleon Boniparty.

“Hurray!” says I, as I waved me umbrelly round me head, to the imminent danger of the crowd, ‘‘Hurray! Who says that Austhralia is not safe from the proud invadher,” I says, “when she has an Irish Brigade to protict her?”

“Oh! shut up,” said a man behind me that was shmokin’ a cigarette wid a red necktie, “you’re not in Ireland now.”

“No” says I, “and you were never there.”

“How do you know?” says he.

“Bekase Saint Pathrick banished the likes of you,” says I.

“Are ye callin’ me a riptile?” says he.

“’Tis good enough for you,” says I.

“’Struth!’’ says he, “ if you was a man I’d stouch yer.”

“Phwat’s that?” says Pat, sthrugglin’ to get at him through the crowd. “Stouch me missis is it? Here, who’ll hould me coat?”

I began to schrame, and in thryin’ to keep Pat back me umbrelly poked the gintleman in the eye wid the tall hat.

“For the love of Heaven keep him back,” says I, “or there’ll be murdher done.”

“Don’t keep him back,” said the man wid the red necktie, “let him come on, it will be a lesson to him.”

Just then a man came ridin’ by that would have had a foine chist if his head had been turned the other way round, and he shouted something that sounded like “Her-r-r-hoop,’’ and all the soldiers that were facin’ us on the other side of the Park pointed their guns at us simultaneously.


He had no sooner said it agin than all the soldiers fired their guns at once. Sueh a rattle I never heard, and I thought me toime had come. Then I turned to run away.

“Let me out!” I said to the crowd. “I’ll not shtay here to be shot in could blood,” says I, “and to lave me two motherless twins mournin’ for me.”

“Shtop, Biddy,” says Pat. “Don’t be a blatherin’ idiot.” But I kept thryin’ to make a hole in the crowd. “Biddy!” he says, “they’re not loaded.”

But I wouldn’t chance it. The crowd parted for me and I ran till I got the other side of the hill, and I sank on the grass wid me head in a shwim and me hat a ruin.

Pat was just tellin’ me that I ought to have more sinse when I thought that me latther end was before me. There was a puff of shmoke just over me head , and I no sooner saw it than I thought me, head was off.

“BANG!” Oh! I thought I’d never get the sound of me ears agin.

BANG! “Pat,” says I, “let me out of this.”


“Biddy,” says he, “don’t be a flamin—”


“Shtop kickin’,” says he, “and hould up your head. It’s only—”


“It only the cannons—”


I heard no more for the next half hour, although Pat said it was only about two minutes, but BANG! BANG! BANG! All I remimber is a confused conglomeration of crowds, trees, thrams, and Pat puttin’ vinigar and brown paper on me head and swearin’ at me inwardly.

“Where am I?” says I, faintly.

“You’re at home, glory be to the Powers,” says Pat.

“And where’s your coat?” I says.

“Haven’t I it on?” he says. “May the divil fly away wid you, Biddy,” he says. “I must have left it in the crowd, and I’m so used to have it off that I never missed it till this minute, through lookin’ afther you, and bringin’ you home in a cab,” he says.

“Pat,” says I, “I’ll never go to another review,” says I, “as long as I live.”

“I know you won’t,” he says.

Then he pulled his boots off, and as he banged them on the floor it made me shcream, for I thought his boots were guns. Me nerves are shathered, Mrs. Moloney. When the alarram clock wint off this mornin’ I shcreamed and fell out of bed wid the fright, and when I was gettin’ Pat his breakfast I dhropped the tay-pot when a bit of coal fell into the fendy.

Each toime there has been a knock at the door or a ring at the bell to-day I’ve bruk something, and if I keep like this much longer there’ll not be a whole thing in the house.

“Did you say you must be goin’? Well, the best of frinds must part. Shut the door aisy. If you bang it, I’d jump that way that it would be a toss up whether I should ever come down agin.

“Good-bye. Call in agin soon.”


Mrs. McSweeney at the Gardens

“’Tis a question,” said Mrs. McSweeney, an she helped Mrs. Moloney to her fifth scone, “’tis a question whether we will ever be able to give half as much to Nature as Nature has given to us.”

“’Tis a question,” replied Mrs. Moloney, “whether Nature hasn’t given too much to some of us.” And she smiled sweetly at Mrs. McSweeney.

“Of course,” retorted Mrs. McSweeney, “you can shpake for yourself. You have a lot to be thankful for. See the appetite Nature has given you.”

“’Tis a healthy one,” said Mrs. Moloney, “and none of me other frinds remind me of it. But if Nature gave me a good appetite, which is a conshtant expinse and only an occasional pleasure, she gave me me bunions, which are always on me mind.”

“Most people have them on their feet,” said Mrs. McSweeney. “But whin I shpoke of Nature I was alloodin’ to Nature in her biggest sinse. To her bounchous gifts that are spread all over the Universe, and in other places too numerous to mintion, like plums in a Christmas cake, or flies on a threacle cask. To the rain—”

“That came through the tiles and shpoiled me best quilt,” said Mrs. Moloney.

“To the sunshine, the mountains and the flood,” said Mrs. McSweeney.

“To the insects, and the riptiles, and the mud,” echoed Mrs. Moloney.

“Some people,’ continued Mrs. McSweeney, “always look on the darkest side of everything. If they were thransported to the sun they would wandher round it lookin’ for a dark side. I suppose they can’t help it. It is the way, they’re built.”

“I suppose,” said Mrs. Moloney, “’twas Nature that built ’em.”

“’Tis well that Nature gave me a sweet timper,” said Mrs. McSweeney, “or ’tis annoyed I’d be at your interruptions. As it is I must be charitable and pity your want of depreciation. Sure, ’tis a funny place the wurruld would be if we were all made alike. ’Twas not an argumint I intinded to provoke. I was alloodin’ to the beauties of Nature as seen in our own botanic gardens. Last Choosday week was the birthday of me twins, and as I always give them a threat on their birthday, I tuk them to the gardens. The one great advantage about twins is that one birthday does the two of them. So I got them ready in the mornin’ and we wint to the gardens. We wint in the thram as far as King Sthreet and walked up and through the domain.

When we got to the gardens we went to see the ducks in the ponds. There were wild ducks, and anchovy ducks, and ducks that were not ducks but drakes. The twins fed them wid biscuits and bits of bread. ’Twas a beautiful day and the gardens looked lovely. They were as green as the hills of Wicklow. I never go to the gardens but I think of the green fields of Ballyragin, I get young again, and this time I was that jubilant that I offered to run Mick for a penny, and I should have beaten him if it hadn’t been for me shkirts gettin’ in the road.

We had lunch phwat they call all frisco, which means “undher a tree.” ’Tis undher the trees that Nature gives you the healthy appetite. The way the twins got outside the scones and the sandwiches, the cakes and the tarts, the peaches and the bananas was a treat to see, and beyant description. I could see them swellin’ that way that I had to eat the last couple of tarts mesilf to keep them’ from burstin’.

As it was they had pains that way that I had to rowl them six times down a hill to disthribute the loads they had undher their pinafores.

Afther we’d rested and got over the effects of our lunch we tuk a walk to look at the flowers. Och! the beautiful flowers.

The roses and lillies and sweet daffodillies,
    That down in the gardens grow;
The pretty primroses they make into posies.
    And cowslips all in a row,

Wid the green of the grass, and the beds of flowers, the gardens look for all the wurruld like a patchwork quilt. There were beds of violets and beds of verbenas, beds of gladigoniums and beds of pelarolouses. On one side was a big patch of chrysanthuses and on the other a bunch of polianthimums, besides a lot that I didn’t know the names of.

When we came to any that I didn’t know the names of, the twins used to read them to me. ’Twas not that I couldn’t read them, but I should have had to use me glasses, and I never put them on in public. The way the twins used to handle the hard wurruds was delightful to a mother’s ear to see.

“This is a larkspur,” says Pat.

“And this is a high biscuits,” says Mike.

“Here’s a columbine,” says Pat.

“And here’s a cyclorama,” says Mike.

“Look at the princes feather,” says Pat.

“Oh! Mum, look at the carbunculus,” says Mike.

“This is a trifoleum,” says Pat.

“Get away wid you,” says I. “Is it your own mother you’d be afther desayvin’? Whoever named that flower knew nothin’ about it. A trifoleum indeed. Why, ’tis the dear little shamrock no less.”

I wint down on me knees to look at it, and sure enough there it was, as green and as modest as if it had been growin’ in its own green Isle where

“It grows in the brakes, in the bogs and the mireland,
The dear little, sweet little shamrock of Ireland.”

I wanted no more flowers, for me heart was back in the land of me girlhood.

“Come along,” says I, “we’ll go up to the wishin’ tree.”

“What’s the wishin’ tree?” says Pat.

“’Tis a tree,” says I, “that was planted by Captain Cook when he first laid out these gardens. He planted a big pine tree that he happened to have wid him, and he put a shpell on it.”

“What’s a spell, Mum?” says Mike.

“’Tis a kind of charram,” says I. “And he made it so that for the future anybody walkin’ round it backwards three times could wish a wish, and phwatever they wished they’d get.”

“Hurray!” says the twins both at oncet. “Come and wish a wish.”

There was nearly a fight when we got to the tree to see which of them should have the first wish, but I decided that Mike should go first as he was the youngest. He walked three times round the tree backwards, and then wished he was a man.

“Sure,” says I, “your wish’ll come thrue some day if you live long enough, but you’ll have to wait awhile.”

Then Pat shtarted to walk backwards, but he only got half way when he shtopped.

“Phwat did you shtop for?” I says.

“There’s a poleeshman comin’,” he says.

“Och!” says I, “take no notice. He’ll not say anything to you.” So he wint on until he had gone three times round.

“Phwat did you wish?” says I.

“I won’t tell you,” he says.

“And is that the way,” says I, “that you shpake to the mother that’s givin’ you a birthday? ’Tis ashamed of yourself you should be.”

Well,” he says, “if you want to know, I wished I was a girl.”

“Well, maybe you’ll get your wish,” I says, “if you wait long enough. It takes a long while to turn a boy into a gurrul.”

“I don’t feel any difference,” he says.

“Have patience,” I says. “You don’t know phwat may happen.”

“Well,” says he, shpakin’ sheepish like, “it’s your turn now.”

“Sure I was never good at walkin’ backwards,” I says, “except when I twisted me leg and had to walk backwards to go forwards. But we’re out to enjy ourselves and so I suppose I might as well thry. I’ll wish a wish meself.”

I shtarted to walk backwards, but I found it no aisy matther, bekase if you once look forward as you walk backward you lose your wish,

“Am I goin’ shtraight?” I says, when I was about half ways round.

“No,” says Pat, “you are goin’ round.”

“I mane am I goin’ shtraight round?” I says.

“Oh, near enough,” says he, “only you nearly walked on to the geranthemums. Keep to the right a bit.”

So I kept to the right a bit.

“A bit more,” he says.

So I turruned a bit more to the right.

“Now go sthraight ahead,” he said.

I wint shtraight for about a half, or it might be three-quarthers, of a yard. The little shpalpeen.

He knew phwat he was about, for I hadn’t tuk two shteps when I felt a concussion behind me. Then I fell over something, turruned a back somerset, and found mesilf sittin’ out of wind on the ashfelt footpath. Just in front of me, on the way I had come, sat a big poleesthman in white pants wid a red face. He was lookin’ at me as if he would swallow me. It seems he was stoopin’ down tyin’ his boot-lace when that young divil of a Pat backed me on to him.

“Tare an’ ouns,” he says, when he got some wind. “Is it salt and batthery or phwat?”

“No,” says I, “’tis a case of obsthructin’ the footpath.”

“I’ll obsthruct you,” he says, “when I get me wind. ’Tis threason to be upsettin’ a mimber of the foorce. I’ll run you in. By the ghost of me grandmother’s gridiron, I will.”

“Say that agin,” I says.

“I’ll see you” he says.

But I burrust out laughin’. I could hould it no longer.

“Phwat are you laughin’ at?” he says. “I’ll tache you—”

“Oh,” I says, “hould your whisht, You’ve taught me all you’re ever likely to tache me. Do you moind the last time we tuk the flure together? ’Twas at Dinny Doolan’s weddin’. The time Con Rooney lost his ear. ’Twas just before you sailed for Austhralia where you were goin’ to make a fortune in three months. ’Tis years ago. Ye were a shmart young felly then. You have doubled your weight at laste, but your brogue has the same flavour, and you have the same ould oath. I’d know you, Tim Donovan, if you were kippered.”

He picked up his helmet that was on the ground beside him, and then he looked at me. At last a light seemed to dawn on him.

“Troth!” he says, “am I wool gatherin’?”

“You look like it,” says I.

“It can’t be,” he says, “but it is. Sure, you’re not Biddy?”

“I am that same,” says I. “The gurrul you jilted, no less.”

He got on his feet and brushed his trousers, and then he turruned to the twins.

“Move on,” he says. “Gwanawayouterthat.”

“Lave them alone, Tim,” I says. “They are my twins.”

“Your phwat?”

“My twins. And now help me up. And how is Mrs. Donovan?” says I, as he sthruggled to raise me.

“She is,” he said, “the same as usual. She is not so plump as you, Biddy, and she doesn’t bear her age well.”

“He didn’t run me in. He’s comin’ to tay nixt Sunday, that bein’ his day off jooty. Talkin’ of tay, it’s nearly six o’clock, and me wid fish to cook. Good-bye. Pop in agin soon.”


Mrs. McSweeney on Microbes

“’Tis just in toime ye are,” said Mrs. McSweeney, as she placed an extra cup and saucer for Mrs. Moloney. “So sure as the clock sthrikes four a sinkin’ feelin’ comes over me, and ’tis then I foind a cup of tay is both refrishin’ and invigoratin’. And how is Moloney and the gurls?”

“The gurls are well, thank you,” replied Mrs. Moloney, as she removed her hat and gloves, “but Moloney’s a wreck. He lost three days last week and two this week wid the inflooenzy, and it has left him that cross that there’s no doin’ anything wid him, to say nothin’ of the pains in his limbs that keep me awake all night with his groanin’. I’m that worn out I cud shleep sthandin’.”

“Faith! ’tis well I know the sinsation,” said Mrs. McSweeney, as she removed Mrs. Moloney’s hat pins from the biscuit barrel and stuck them in the tea-cosy, “didn’t I have it meself last winther. And phwat wid the pains and the aches in me limbs, the looseness of me cough, and the tightness of me chest, me groanin’ and me wheezin me moanin’ and me shneezin’, Pat used to use bad language at me in his shleep. Not that I cud blame him for it, for phwat wid rubbin’ me wid liniment, handin’ me cough mixture, attindin’ to the twins, and tellin’ me the toime every quarther of an hour, the shleep he got wasn’t worth mintionin’ more especially as it was the busy saison and he wurrukin’ overtime. But I didn’t know so much about it then as I know now. ’Tis a curious thing, Mrs. Moloney, but I always notice that the more we learn the more we seem to know. Do you know phwat causes the inflooenzy, Mrs. Moloney? ’Tis microbes. Phwat? never heard of microbes! Well, well now. I thought everybody knew phwat microbes was. Microbes, Mrs. Moloney, are—well—they are just microbes. Neither more nor less. That’s the name they give them. Everything, now-a-days, is caused by ’em. Do you moind the wurruds of the poet?

“Phwat great evints from little causes shpring.”

When the poet said that, Mrs. Moloney, microbes was the little causes he was alludin’ to. I learned all about them at a lecture the either night. The lecture was in connection wid the fresh hair laague, and the tixt was “Microbes.” The gintleman that lectured showed us pictures of ’em; and they was the funniest things, Mrs. Maloney. Pat said it made him feel for all the wurruld as if he’d been takin’ too much bad whisky. There was microbes like shnakes, and microbes like goannas, long ones and short ones, thin ones and thick ones. Some were sthraight and some were crooked, some were all head and no tail, and some were all tail and no head. There were microbes like tadpoles, microbes like corkscrews, and microbes like pieces of maccarony.

The gintleman explained that they were different families of ’em, wid family resimblances in each, and the way they increase their families is quite beyond our powers of conciption, Mrs. Moloney. To think of a microbe becomin’ a great grandfather, wid millions of descendants, in twinty minutes, is enough to make you doubt the truth of the lecturer if he wasn’t a clergyman and it not bein’ to his advantage to tell a lie.

Everything we eat has microbes in it, everything we dhrink has microbes in it, and all diseases are caused by microbes. The air we breathe is full of ’em, and the wather we dhrink is thick wid ’em. I can’t purtind to remimber the names of ’em, but everything is caused by ’em. There are thousands of different sorts, and each sort is the cause of something. There is the microbe of Inflooenzy, and the microbe of Brown-quiet-us. The microbe of Love, and the microbe of Jealousy. The microbe of Fashion, and the microbe of Politics. Phwatever happens now, you may take it for granted that there’s microbes at wurruk. If you feel sad, it’s microbes. If you feel jolly, it’s microbes. If you feel betwixt and between, it’s microbes, only then they’re fightin’ each other.

The only consolation we have is that they are like min, and disagree wid each other. It may surprise you to know, Mrs. Moloney, that at the prisent moment ye have inside ye hundreds of millions of microbes that are fightin’ battles in your interior, and that your very loife, to say nothing of your future health and happiness, is depindin’ on the result. Even your moral character is in the balance and may be found wantin’. The microbes of Love and Hathred, of Virtue and Vice, of Honesty and Depravity, are at this moment contindin’ in mortal combat undherneath your shtay bodice, and it is quite uncertain which will win. But ’tis pale ye look. Perhaps a little shpirits? Phwat will ye take wid it? Nothing? Well, perhaps it will be best that way. I like it nate mesilf. And I have some cloves. Here’s to you. May the microbes of throuble never get into your organs to disthurb their harmony.

Now, as I was sayin’, everything is caused by microbes, and if they did not destroy one another the wurruld wud be full of ’em. The microbe of Love continds wid the microbe of Jealousy, and they fight each other till they desthroy each other and there’s nothin’ of either of ’em left. The microbe of Selfishness is fightin’ the microbe of Ginerosity, the microbe of Pride is preyin’ on the microbe of Humility, the microbe of Laziness on that of Industhry, that of Threachery on that of Loyalty, while the microbe of Tears is devourin’ the microbe of Mirth and Laughter. The microbe of Timidity subdues the microbe of Courage, and the microbe of old age is continually gettin’ the betther of that of youth.

There are microbes that have been discovered and indintified and some that have elluded indintification, and that go about their dirthy wurruk in secret. There are microbes that projooce themselves and some that can be inthrojooced by inockilation. If a man is a fool he can be inockilated wid the microbe of Common Sinse, and if a woman is a flirt and a breaker of hearts she ought to be inockilated wid the microbe of Blighted Affection. As some can only be inthrojooced by inockilation, so some can only be removed by an operation.

Do you mind the toime of Mrs. Dwyer’s last evenin’? I mane the evenin’ ye were not invited? Well, on that night I met Mrs. Murphy that keeps the little shop at the corner. She has a friend in a warehouse in the city, whose brother is married to a young woman who has a cousin who is a nurse in a hospital wid streamers and a blue cloak. She was tellin’ me that the time of the nurses is principally taken up wid attendin’ operations and fightin’ microbes. They fight ’em by the antideciptic system, and most of the operations is for appindixitis. ’Tis a new disease, and consequently all the best people has it.

Well, to come back to the day of Mrs. Dwyer’s evenin’. I met that night the most perfect gintleman I ever saw wid my two mortal eyes. He’s in the hair dhressin’ line, and keeps a shop where he sells tobacco and cigars wid lovely dark eyes and a waxed moustache. He comliminted me on me compliction, and we had two waltzes, some ice crame and green ginger. He handed me a glass of wine as he squeezed me hand wid a dash of sody in it, and he was just callin’ me his “affinity,” phwatever that is, when some evil janius inockilated Pat wid the microbe of Jealousy, and he insisted on me goin’ home at once if not sooner.

The gintlemanly man came to the door wid us, and he bowed me out like a duke, and although Pat put a dint in his hard hat wid his umbrelly which a blind man could see was done on purpose although purtinded to be an accident, he shmiled sweetly and niver resinted it. Oh! dear! Mrs. Moloney, the conthrasts there is in min! The way Pat talked about that gintleman, besides throwin’ doubts on me own sinse of propriety, on the road home would have brought the blush of shame to me cheek if anybody had been there to hear it.

Well, would you believe it, the very next day that followed the night of the party that gintlemanly man was taken away to a private hospital wid appindixitis. When I remarked to Pat that it was curious he should be taken away the night after he had been talkin’ to me, he said perhaps that was the cause. I asked him phwat he mint, but he only growled and told me to get him his boots and not make him late for his thram.

Well, Mrs. Moloney, it was the microbes that was the cause of it, although the docthor said it was the carraway seeds in his appindage that was in the cake. But they removed his appindage just in toime to save his life, and he has it now in the barber’s shop in a bottle. His thrade is doubled wid people goin’ to look at it. Even Pat wint, so he did. He wint and got a shave, and he wid only three days’ growth on him. The microbe of Curiosity must have got the upper hand of the microbe of Jealousy, for he wint and spint three pence just to look at the gintlemanly man’s appindage in a bottle. Pat says he has five chairs and no waitin’. He runs his saloon on the patent antideciptic system, and he has five assistants and he has them all paralysed— eh—phwat? Sterilysed is it? Well, it all means the same thing. It prevints infection, and if you pay a shillin’ a week they’ll shave you wid your own mug.

’Tis a wonderful wurruld, Mrs. Moloney, and every new discovery that’s made brings something fresh to light that was never known before.

“Must you go? Well! Remimber me to Moloney and the girls. Tell him I hope his Inflooenzy will soon be over, one way or the other. Here’s to our nixt happy meetin’. May the microbes of Frindship be always victorious, and may the microbes of Moind how you go. You nearly frightened the hair off me head. ’Tis the oil-cloth that wants a tack in it. Good-bye.”


Mrs. McSweeney Goes House-hunting

“’Twill be sorry I’ll be to lose you,” said Mrs. Moloney, “but I suppose your mind’s made up and there’s no shiftin’ you?”

“It is,” said Mrs. McSweeney, “there’s not a shift in me. Me determination is as fixed as the laws of the Swedes and Proosians. But sure ’tis not a penny thram fare that’ll keep us apart, is it? and besides, if you bring Moloney along, he might take a fancy to come and live out of town himself. There’s a beautiful cottage alongside the one we’ve taken that would just suit you.”

“I’ll come over and see you when you get settled,” said Mrs. Moloney, “and I might look at it. Did you have much throuble to find a place?”

“Throuble is it?” exclaimed Mrs. McSweeney, holding up her hands and shuddering at the remembrance, “’twas that much, throuble that I wondher how I pulled through it alive. I wouldn’t go through it agin for all the tay in China. But, as I tould you, me moind was made up and it had to be done. We’ve lived in this house long enough to pay for it, and never a week back in the rint barrin’ two, and one of them was only a half a week, and was the landlord’s own fault owin’ to him not callin’, or at least if he did I was out, and then to be tould to me own face that I shtopped the dhrain on purpose, because I poured some hot fat down it. How could I know that it would get hard and choke the thrap? To be cheeked by a bit of a plumber that I cud have picked up and thrown over the fince. Besides, phwat’s the good of a drain if it won’t take away anything you loike to put down it? Phwat are dhrains for? Anyway, I gave notice. Then we had to find another place. I thought it ’ud be the aisyest thing in the wurruld to do that. We talked it over, Pat and I, and ’twas then our throubles began.

“I think,” says I, “that I’d like to get near the say for the sake of the twins.”

“Do you,” he says, as he thried to blow his pipe clear, “then you’ve got two chances, your own and Buckley’s. You’re not goin’ near the say,” he says. “I know you,” he says. “’Tis the surruf bathin’ you’re thinkin’ of. No Biddy. Not much.”

“I notice,” says I, “that you are very fond of goin’ to Manly on a Sunday mornin’ and watchin’ the surruf bathin’ when the other folks is in the wather.”

“Watchin’ other folks is all right,” he says. “It is part of a man’s relaxation and part of his education, and it removes many of his delusions,” he says. “I don’t mind watchin’ them, but I object to them watchin’ you. I remimiber once,” he says, “I saw you in the surruf. ’Twas a funny sight. But I mind the time I saw you come out of the surruf. ’Twas an awful sight. The mental photograph is engraved on me moind in indelible ink. I know the remarks that are made by those that watch, Biddy, and I’m not goin’ to have them made about you. I couldn’t shtand it. I’d sooner,” he says, “go and live near the cricket ground so that I cud go to the football matches widhout payin’ thram fare. Go and get a place at Darlinghurst or Paddington, or somewhere there,” he says, “if you’ve made up your mind to go.”

“Me moind is made up,” I says, “and I’ve guv notice.”

“All right,” he says, “plaze yoursilf. I must go or I’ll miss me thram.”

So I put on me new tailor-made costume, that I made meself, and I tuk the thram for Paddington. I walked up one sthreet and down another, till I thought me legs would dhrop from undher me. The only cottage that I saw that would suit us was on top of a flight of shteps that I knew ’ud be the death of the twins if I tuk it, and I came home the first night widhout a leg to call me own, and in a shtate of nervous prosthration, to say nothin’ of me bunions, that were shootin’ that way that you’d think they were goin’ off every minute.

When I tould Pat where I’d been he says, “Didn’t you look at the papers before you shtarted?”

“No,” I says, as I rubbed me bunion wid a raw onion.”

“’Tis just like a woman,” he says, “to shtart out widhout knowin’ where she is goin’ and to come home widhout gettin’ there. You should have looked at the papers, and then you’d know exactly where to go.”

So the next mornin’ I looked at the papers and saw quite a number of risidences advertised at Paddington to let, and I made a list of them, and puttin’ on me ould boots to be aisy, off I shtarted.

The first place I came to only had two bedrooms, and we wanted three, and so that was no good. The next place on me list said “Two minutes from the thram.” I tuk the thram to the nearest shtoppin’ place, and it tuk me twinty minutes to walk to the cottage, and when I got there the people were just movin’ in. The next place on me list was in the next shtreet to the first place I had been to, so I had to rethrace me footshteps. When I found the cottage I had to go about a mile to get the kay, and when I’d looked at it I found it had two bay windies widhout a bathroom, and that the front door was at the side. So I tuk the kay back and came home, more tired than the night before.

“How did you get on?” said Pat, when he came in.

“Didn’t get on at all,” I says, “I have walked the two legs off me and I have got nothin’,” I says.

“Did you go to the house agents?” he says.

“I did not,” says I. “I only wint to the places that were advertised.”

“Just like a woman,” he says. “Anybody but a woman would go to the house agents first of all. Phwat are they there for?”

Well, I got ready agin the nixt day and I wint to a house agent. He was a civil man, the house agent, and he tould me he had plinty of places to suit me. “Phwat a fool I was,” I thought to meself, “to go trapessin’ around the counthry ruinin’ me boots and torturin’ me bunions, when I might have come here and got suited widhout any throuble at all.”

“A cottage, is it?” he says, “wid a nice bit of a garden wid a dhrawin’ room, a dinin’ room’, three bedrooms wid foldin’ doors, a washhouse and a bathroom. We have any amount of them. Billy,” he says to a young fellow sittin’ on a shtool wid a red head, “take the kays and show the lady the places we have to let.”

The young man got off his shtool, tuk off his ould coat and hung it on a nail, put on a shmart one and his hat and said he was ready. As soon as we got round the corner he lit a cigarette.

“Here you are, Ma’am,” he said, as he shtopped before a two shtory house wid a broken balkiny rail that the twins would be sure to be fallin’ over every toime me back was turned.

“Do you call that a cottage?” says I.

‘‘No,” he says, “that’s a villa.”

“But I want a cottage,” I says to him, sharply.

“I thought you might like a villa best,” he says, just as sharp.

“If you’ve got a cottage to let, show it me,” I says.

“All right,” he says, “come on.” And he lit another cigarette.

He walked me up one shtreet and down another till I lost me bearin’s, and he walked that fast that I had to sing out to him, widhout a breath in me body.

“Hi!” says I, “don’t go so fast or you’ll be losin’ me.”

“All right,” he says, “I’ll go slow. Not much of a shprinter are you?” he says. And then he dawdled along as if he was followin’ the dead march. After walkin’ up several more sthreets he shtopped in front of a pretty cottage wid roses growin’ up the front verandah. It looked all right from the outside, and afther the red-haired young man had thried about sixteen kays in the door, he found one that fitted, and we went in.

Well, it had a dhrawin’ room and three bedrooms, and a bay window wid foldin’ doors. There were about three shteps up to the front and about ten shteps down at the back, wid a beautiful view of the Harbour from the back door.

“Where’s the bathroom,” I says, when I’d climbed down the shteps into the back yard.

“Up there,” he says, pintin’ up a laddher.

“And do you have to go up a laddher in full view of the Harbour to have a bath?” I says.

“I don’t” he says, “but you will, if you live here, that is if you ever have a bath.”

“Then I’m not goin’ to live here,” says I furrumly.

“Came on then,” he says, “I’ll show you another. Pity you didn’t say that you objected to go up a laddher to the bathroom,” he says, “We’re only wastin’ time.” And he lit another cigarette.

“Is it far to the next place?” I says, for me bunion was goin’ it agin and I was tired,

“Not if we take the short cut across the paddock,” he says.

“Take the shortest cut you can,” says I.

He wint down a side sthreet, at the bottom of which was a fince wid some of the palin’s off. I got through all right, but was only about half way across the paddock when I felt me heart in me mouth. I had on me heliothrope hat wid the scarlet feather, which had only just been dyed, and a cow that was feedin’ in the paddock caught sight of me red feather and tuk afther me.

The young man was ahead of me and so I shcreamed out to him. “Come and shoo this cow off me,” I said, “or he’ll be atin’ me.”

“No fear, Ma’am,” he says, ‘‘it has plenty of green food.” But he came and shooed the cow off and at last we got to the fince at the other side, wid me in a thremble and all me nerves a twitchin’. The young man got through all right, but he had to cock his leg over a high rail to do it.

“How am I to get through there?” I says.

“Get undher it,” he says.

“You couldn’t get undher it yoursilf,” says I, “and you’re not half me size.”

“Then do as I did,” he says.

“I’ll do no such thing,” I says.

“Then you’ll have to go back and walk round,” he says. “I don’t care. I’ll wait here.” And he lit another cigarette.

“If you shtay here, who’ll shoo the cow?” says I.

“Cows ain’t horses,” he says. “They don’t shoe cows.”

“I couldn’t face the cow by mesilf,” I says, “and I’m dog tired.”

“All right,” he says, as he sat on the rail and blew the shmoke through his nose.

“Will you turrun your back and promise not to look?” I says.

“All right,” he says, “anything to plaze you,” and he turruned his back to me and looked up the sthreet.

Well, I managed to get through the fince somehow, but I left a bit of me red feather in it, and as I shtepped through I felt somethin’ go, and I was onaisy all the afthernon, not knowin’ phwat it might be.

It was not long till he shtopped in front of a pretty place wid a porch in front wid wisteria growin’ all over it and a nice garden in front wid dhrawin’ room, dinin’ room, three bedrooms, a nice bathroom widhout a laddher, a washhouse, and a little shop on the opposite side of the sthreet which would be handy if you wanted anything in a hurry, or ran out of tay or sugar.

I made up me mind to take it, and was in the best bedroom, thryin’ to make up me mind where I’d put me wardrobe, when I felt somethin’ annoyin’ me. I couldn’t look for it on account of the young man bein’ there, and I didn’t know how to get rid of him.

I wanted to shake mesilf, but didn’t like, and so I just shtud it as well as I cud.

‘”I think we’ll get out,” says I.

“All right,” he says.

“’Tis a nice cottage,” I says.

“It is,” he says, “it’s an all right place.”

“How did the last tenant come to leave?” I says, as he turruned to go.

“He didn’t leave,” he says, “he was carried out. This was the room he died in.”

“Phwat did he die of?” I says, turrunin’ pale, and rubbin mesilf syruptitiously.

“Carbonic plague,” he says, lightin’ another cigarette.

“Great Galway!” says I, shakin’ mesilf in shpite of mesilf. I made a bee-line for the door, nearly knockin’ him over in me impestuosity. “Why didn’t you tell me that before, and me the mother of twins?” I says.

“You never asked me,” he says, lightin’ another cigarette in place of the one I had knocked out of his mouth.

How I got home I don’t know. I remimber that I rode on the front of the thram so as to keep away far as possible from the people, and that when I got off the thram I tould the dhriver that if he didn’t want the plague he’d betther go home at oncet and fumigate himsilf. The moment I got indoors I wint and shuk mesilf over the bath, and, Mrs. Moloney, I was alive.

When Pat came home I was sittin’ in a sheet soaked in carbonic acid, and sulphur burnin’ all round me in a cloud.

When Pat opened the door he said, “Phwat the blue blazez—”

But I interrupted him wid a wave of me arrum, “Keep off me, Pat,” I says, “and keep me blessed twins away from me. You can bid me good-bye; through the windy.”

He tuk no notice of me when I tould him I had the plague, but he chucked the sulphur out of the windy, tuk me sheet away, and made me go to bed and take something hot.

I felt no afther effects, but it was days before I got over the shock. It was the end of me househuntin’.

“And how did you get the place you’re goin’ to move to?” said Mrs. Moloney.

“Sure I left it to Pat. I tould him that I would only move into a place where nobody had ever lived before, and he said that if I wanted a new house he supposed we’d betther move up the line. So he wint last Sathurday and got a beautiful cottage up the line wid a nice piece of ground, and he says he’ll grow vegetables inshtead of goin’ to the football matches on Sathurday afthernoons. Well, goodbye. You’ll come and see us when we’re settled, won’t you!”


Mrs. McSweeney Has a Turkish Bath

“Sure,” said Mrs. Moloney, as she stirred her tea and gazed contemplatively at Mrs. McSweeney, “I’ve been lookin’ and lookin’ and lookin’ at you, and the more I look the more I can’t make you out. Have you been gettin’ a new transformation or is it a new complexion tonic that makes the difference in your appearance?”

“’Tis a wondher there is any of me appearance left at all,” said Mrs. McSweeney, with a sigh. “Did you ever have a bath, Mrs. Moloney?” Then, catching her friend’s eye, in which there was a dangerous glint, she added quickly, “I don’t mane an ordinary bath that just washes the dirt off the surface, I mane a Turrukish bath. One that cleans out the pores and washes you through and through. I’ve often heard it said that we were made of dirt, and I tuk it for a figure of speech. I never realised how thrue it was until yestherday. Did you ever have a Turrukish bath?”

“I’ve never felt the need of one,” said Mrs. Moloney. “What put the idea into your head?”

“Well,” said Mrs. McSweeney, “last week I wint to afthernoon tay wid an old frind of mine who’s daughter’s been recently married and whose husband was there, as nice a gurrl as you’d wish to set eyes on. There were several more ladies present besides me, and I found mesilf sittin’ beside a bright little woman who was sittin’ on a couch dhressed in a tailor made costhume and a friendly manner, wid a foine complixion.

“Mrs. McSweeney,” says she, as she shifted up to make room for me, “I hope you are enjoying yourself.”

“I am then,” says I, as I helped mesilf to another scone. “I always enjoy these family gatherin’s.”

“So do I,” she says. “Enjoy them betther than the theayther, and almost as moich as a Turrukish bath.”

“I never knew that turkeys had baths,” says I.

At that she laughed, and said, “I didn’t mane a turkey’s bath. I mint a bath like they have in Turkey. ’Tis splendid for the health and beautifyin’ for the complixion. You ought to have one,” she says, “’twould do you good.”

“I think I would rather go to the pictures,” I said.

“You couldn’t get betther pictures anywhere than you’d get there,” she said. “To see the forms flittin’ about in the hayt would remind you of a picture of Danty’s Infernal. You will find the temperature pretty high till you get used to it, but it is as well to get used to it. One never knows their luck.”

“I don’t know whether it would suit me constitution,” says I.

“’Twould be sure to suit you,” she says. “The jockeys take them for bringing down the weight.”

“Will they bring down the weight?” says I.

“You can bring your weight down to anything or nothing in a Turrukish bath,” she says, “and they’re grand for the complixion.”

She was a purty little thing wid a foine complixion of her own, or at least it seemed as if it was her own, but it’s not easy to judge these days, and she seemed to be so bright and lively that I made up me mind that I’d have a Turrukish bath. So yestherday I gave the twins their lunch to school, and I knew Pat wouldn’t be home till six because he’d gone up the line to look at Rafferty’s foundations. Afther I tidied up and had a bite to eat I dhressed mesilf and wint to look for the Turrukish bath.

’Twas not hard to find the place from the addhress the little woman gave me, and I went inside the door and the first thing that give me a bit of a shtart was to see a man sittin’ at a little windy, as a man was about the last thing I was thinkin’ of seein’ there. But it seems he only belonged to the office, and was there to take the money.

I gave him a half a crown, which the little woman told me was the right charge, and he looked at me and shmiled.

“Phwat’s the matther?” says I, “ain’t it right?”

“’Tis quite right, Ma’am,” he says, “’tis the ordinary charge, at present, but I was just wondherin’ what we’d have to do next week as I saw you.”

“Phwat about next week?” I says.

“Next week, Ma’am,” he says, “the Turrukish bath attindants’ award will come into force.”

“Phwat has that to do wid it?” says I.

“Not much,” he says, “only the award provides that they shall get so much a pound exthra for anything over twelve shtone.”

“When will you take the weight?” I says, “as they go in or as they come out?”

“As they go in, Ma’am,” he says, “and the awkward part about it is,” he says, “the chairman and the mimbers of the Board can come in and inspect the attindants at wurruk at any time.”

“But that’s not sense,” says I.

“No, Ma’am,” he says, “it is not sense, but it is the law,”

He gave me a little copper token to give the attindant and told me to walk sthraight in.

I wint in and found a room wid a number of lounges and couches and extension chairs and attindants and several women layin’ about on ’em. One of the attindants showed me into a dhressin’ box to dhress, or rather to undhress, and after politely askin’ me if I had enough room, she went away and came back again wid a bathin’ costhume thrimmed wid new moons.

Afther a great sthruggle I got into it as far as I could, I then put me head out of the door and called the attendant.

“Where’ll I lave me purse?” says I.

“Didn’t you lave it at the office?” she says.

“No,” says I, “I don’t like askin’ favours of min of the opposite sex,” I says, “havin’ a husband inclined to be jealous of me on the slightest provocation. I’ll lave it in me boot,” I says. “Now which way have I to go, and phwat have I to do?”

She tuk me into a room where the temperature was hot enough to make you think seriously of your future, and I wondhered where I was goin’. There were two attendants in there wid costhumes on like the one I was wearing only they fitted ’em betther. One of ’em wet a towel and put it on my head. Then the two shtud near me while one waited for a lady undher the shower, and I heard one of ’em say wid a sigh as she looked at me:

“Ah, well, I suppose it’s all in the day’s wurruk.”

“Faith,” said the other, “it is a day’s wurruk in itself.”

Then she asked me would I like to go into the hot room.

“Isn’t this the hot room?” says I.

“Oh, no,” she says, “come along.”

Well, Mrs. Moloney, the next room made me think of phwat the little woman had tould me about Danty’s Infernal. I began to repint of me sins as fast as I cud think of ’em, and I thought of phwat the little woman said. ‘You never know your luck.’ I made for the nearest seat, for the mattin’ on the flure was tickling my bare feet, and as soon as I reached it down I sat. I hadn’t properly sat down when I shprang into the sir wid a whoop. I thought I was burnt to death and that me end was upon me.

“What’s the matther?” said a lady sittin’ near, who was groanin’ and rubbin’ her legs wid rheumatics. “Did you find the sate wurrum?” she says. “You’ll get used to it in time. Are you good at prespirin’?” she says.

“I can prespire as well as the next,” says I.

“Then the bath will do you good,” she says. “Nobody can tell how dirty the cleanest of us is until the presperation begins to bring it out. Feel your chist,” says she, “and if it’s not comin’ out take a dhrink of could wather.”

“It’s comin’ out all right,” I says, “I can feel it thricklin’ down me.”

I did not dare to sit down agin afther my first experience, so I shtud and watched the other women in the room, and I thought of phwat the little woman had said about the livin’ pictures. Some were flittin’ about sippin’ could wather, and lookin’ like ghosts in the dim light, others were sthretched out on the binches, and now and agin the attendant would come into the door and a couple of ladies ud get up and go out. I was gettin’ hotter and hotter, and the presperation was thricklin’ down me and dhroppin’ from the end of me nose till I was shtandin’ in a pool of it. I was just wondherin’ phwat Pat would say if they had to carry me home in a bucket, when the attendant came and tould me it was my turrun next.

“Are you ready, Ma’am?” she says.

“Reddy,” says I, “did you ever see anything redder? Why, a boiled lobsther would be a fool to me.”

“This way, Ma’am,” she says.

I followed her out and she pinted to a marble shlab wid curtains round it hanging on a rod on which she tould me to get.

Well, I did get on to it at last, although it was that shlippery that I nearly shlithered over the other side of it, and it seems that this was the important pint of the proceedings. The way I was soaped and rubbed and had the wather poured over me is beyant description. The gurrl was very good to me, and beyant ticklin’ the soles of me feet, and pressin’ rather hard on me favourite bunion, she was as gentle as cud be, and her hands were like velvet. She washed my head like it was never washed before, although, through houldin’ me breadth when I thought she was goin’ to pour the wather over me, and breathin’ just as she did pour it, I came near gettin’ dhrounded. Then she tould me to turn over and she covered me wid a red hot towel from top to bottom and shmacked me all over, till I tingled agin.

“Faith!” says I, “the next time the twins play up on me I’ll send them to you.” Then as I sat up I said, “You look tired, my dear?”

“Oh, no,” she said, grabbin’ her right arrum wid her left hand. “I will soon get over it.” Then she looked at me agin and said, “Ain’t you Mrs. McSweeney?”

“I am,” says I, proudly. “How did you find out?”

“I guessed it was you by your figure,” she says “There ain’t another like it in Sydney, and when I heard you mention the twins I felt sure.”

“I don’t know about me figure,” I says. “I’ve seen some fine figures doin’ the block.”

“You can’t judge ’em on the block,” she says, “like you can on the slab.”

Wid that she turned the shower on me, and I thought all the breadth had left me body agin. First it was hot, but it got cooler and cooler, till all the hate was gone from me and me teeth began to chatther. Then she rouled me in a couple of sheets and gave me a pair of shlippers that were all soles, and which I lost before I’d taken four shteps, then she rang a bell, opened a door, and handed me over to another attindant. This was the first gurrl I’d seen when I went in, and she led me to a lounge, and tould me to lie there and get cool. I was that tired that I just flopped down on it, and the gurrl was shtartin’ to tuck me in, when bang! wint the cane bottom out of the lounge and through it I wint like a clown through a paper hoop.

There were a number of ladies in the room on other lounges, and they all sat up and shrieked wid one voice. Then I heard the voice of a man outside askin’ phwat was the matther?

“Don’t let him in,” shcreamed the ladies as they all shtarted posin’ in the most graceful attitudes they could assume under the circumstances, “don’t let him in.”

He didn’t come in, and the attindant made me up a lounge wid some cushions on the flure.

And oh, ’twas heavenly! ’Twas wurruth all I’d been through to feel the delightful sinsation of ristfulness. You feel as if all the worries of life had been scrubbed clane out of you.

I lay there in a shtate of happy obliviousness, until I began to feel a sinkin’ feelin’, and I called the gurrl to bring me a cup of cocoa, which she did.

“Will you bring me my purse?” I said. “You will find it in me boot.”

“You will excuse me, Ma’am,” she says, “but as I heard you say you had put it in your boot, and we ain’t allowed to look afther valuables, I tuk the boot to the office. You can claim it as you go out, and you can pay for the cocoa then.”

“But me boot,” says I, “I can’t dhress widhout me boot, and I can’t go to the office before I’m dhressed.”

“You can put everything else on,” she says, “and you can come back and put on your boot. It is no distance, and there’s carpet all the way.”

But it wasn’t me boot I was thinkin’ of. ’Twas me transformation. I had tucked it into me boot on top of me purse for safety, and I was mad to think of the man in the office seein’ me transformation shtickin’ out of me boot. However, there was no help for it, and so, afther dhrinkin’ me cocoa I dhressed as much as I could, and wint out to the office wid a towel round me head, and claimed me property.

“A boot?” said the man, wid an innocent look.

“Is it a kid,” he says, “wid red whiskers?”

“Give me me boot,” I says in a tone of grim determination. “Give me me boot, or I’ll soon feteh somebody along that will take the consait out of you.”

“No offince, Ma’am,” he says. “I was only wishin’ to idintify it. When I first saw it,” he says, “it frightened me. I thought a fox had got into your boot, and that his tail was shtickin’ out. Is this it, ma’am?”

And he handed it to me wid the thransformation hangin’ half-way out of it. I put on me most dignified look, but said nothing. I put ’em both on and came away. All the way home I felt that light that I thought I was some new kind of airyplane. I was almost afraid to lift me fut for fear I’d soar.

Will you have another cup of tay? Why, the pot is shtone could. Will you wait till I make some more?

“No, thank you,” said Mrs. Moloney, as she gathered up Moloney’s socks, which she had brought to darn, but which had been reposing peacefully in the crown of her hat, “I must go, or the police will be afther me for desertin’ me childher. Don’t come to the door. You must be careful for a while. You don’t know phwat might happen. The wind might be mistakin’ you for a thistle seed. Good-bye.”


Mrs. McSweeney Moves

“Take off your hat and fur and wipe your shoes and I’ll put them on the hall-shtand,” said Mrs. Moloney. “’Tis glad I am that you’ve found time to call and see me. I was beginnin’ to give you up.”

“Faith, I’ve ben nearly givin’ mesilf up,” said Mrs. McSweeney, as she handed her hat to Mrs. Moloney. “Moind the feather. It is a new one.” And she sank, with a sigh, into the rocking chair.

“And how are you getting on?” said Mrs. Moloney, as she spread the table cloth on half the table. “Are you settled yet?”

“If I had not the patience of Job and the timper of a saint,” replied Mrs. McSweeney, “I would have been settled a dozen toimes over. Never no more, Mrs. Moloney, never no more. I will dhrag out a miserable existence in a pig shtye, wid a leaky roof and a shmoky chimbley in every room, before I’d face it agin. I tould you that McSweeney tuk a cottage up the loine. It looked a sweet place, wid grass growin’ on the footpath, a tiled roof wid three bedrooms, a kitchen, and a gas shtove wid foldin’ doors and a washhouse wid fixed tubs and a garden back and front. The front verandah had fancy tiles and there were tiles under the bay windows and over the bay windows and at each side of the bay windows. If tiles meant happiness the cottage would have been the Castle of Delight. The front door was painted a kind of heliothrope picked out wid gold and a bronze knob and knocker.

It was a lovely cottage and it was wid a light heart that I began to pack. Faith, you have to shtart to pack before you know how much you’ve got. The more I packed the more I seemed to have.

Pat lost a day to help me take down the pictures and the blinds and the curtain rods. He grumbled all the while owin’ to a touch of rheumatics makin’ it hard for him to get up and down the shteps. At least he put it down to rheumatics. I put it down to cussedness. Every toime he’d go up the laddher he’d groan, and every toime he’d come down the laddher he’d grunt, and when he wasn’t groanin’ or gruntin’ he was usin’ language that I could not be afther repatin’, Mrs. Moloney, even to you.

We had nearly all the pictures down and I was thankin’ me shtars that the climbin’ was nearly over, while I held the shteps while he thried to take down Pope Pius the ninth. He was gruntin’ away, and grumblin’. “Faith, ’tis mighty hard to take him down,” he says. I held the shteps and said nothin’, knowin’ phwat he is, when he sung out to me:—

“Hould it, Biddy, hould it”

I held on to the shteps tighter than ever, when there was a crash behind me that made me think me end was approachin’. The language flew round that way that the room was ablaze wid it.

“Blank! Dash! Bust! Blow! Confound! the bally thing,” he says.

I looked round me, and there laid His Holiness on the floor, wid his glass smashed to smithereens.

“Why didn’t you hould it?” he says, “and me singin’ out till I was black, in the face.”

“Why didn’t you tell me phwat to hould?” says I.

“Tell you be Dash! Blank! Blow! Confound!” he says. “Where was your sinse?”

“If I had no more sinse than you,” says I. “’twould be no throuble to hide it.”

“’Twill cost tin shillin’s,” he said, lookin’ at it and scratchin’ his head, “to get a new glass and frame for it.”

“Thanks be to Providence,” says I, “that the picture is safe.”

“No thanks to you,” he says, as he moved the shteps.

There was only one more picture. It was the one that used to hang over the mantelpiece in the ould place. You remimber. The picture of a cow in a milkm’ yard. It was me favourite picture, for it always remoinded me of me poor ould mother.

“Shift that bally washin’ tub,” he says, “and let’s get the job over. I’m as shtiff as a broom-handle.”

I shifted the tub out of the road. It was one I’d brought in to pack some crockery in, and he put the laddher in front of the mantelpiece.

“Now attind to phwat you’re doin’ this time,” he says, grumpy like.

“See that you get a furrum hould of the picture,” says I, “and don’t be afther dhroppin’ it.” For I was losin’ me usual patience.

“Perhaps you could get the bally thing down betther than I cud,” he says.

“’Twould be hard to get it down much worse,” says I, lookin’ at the Pope on the flure.

“You’d betther thry,” he says, in a sarcastical tone of voice.

“Hould the laddher,” I says, “and I’ll have it down while you’d be gruntin’ at it.”

So he held the laddher and I mounted it shtep by shtep as well as I could, considherin’ me weight and me clothes, which kept gettin’ in the road. I got about five shteps up and I began to feel tottery, and it was awkward to reach the picture widhout over reachin’ meself.

“I knew you couldn’t do it,” he says wid a shneer. “Come down and let me at it.”

“You hould the shteps,” I says, “and let me alone.”

“Put one fut on the mantelshelf, to shteady yourself,” he says.

I thought it was a good idea, so I put one fut on the mantelshelf wid the other on the laddher and reached over to reach the picture. I had just got it, and untwisted the shtring off the nail, when I felt a sinsation that I shall never forget to my dying day. The laddher was goin’ from me. I thried to get back on the laddher wid me fut that was on the mantelpiece, but I couldn’t manage it. Then I thried to get on to the mantelpiece wid the fut that was on the laddher, but I couldn’t.

“Keep up,” says Pat.

‘‘Hould the laddher,” says I.

“It’s gettin’ the bether of me,” he says, gruntin’. Well, Mrs. Moloney, the space betwen the laddher and the mantelpiece kept gettin’ widher and widher until it was too wide for me to sthreteh it, and down I came wid a thud that shuk the house. I landed in the tub, and Pat went clean through the cow. The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was Pat glarin’ at me wid the eow’s head over his right ear and the cow’s tail over his left.

“Get up out of that,” he says, “and help me out of this bally cow.”

“I can’t,” I says, “till you get me out of this tub.”

Did you ever feel the sinsation, Mrs. Moloney, of comin’ down flop, from a height of six feet, and sittin’ in a tub that was two sizes too small for you?”

“I did not,” said Mrs. Moloney.

“Then you can’t imagine phwat it’s like,” said Mrs. McSweeney. “Sure I’ll carry the impression to me dyin’ day, and afther.”

“Don’t sit there makin’ faces,” he says, “come and help me out of this, the glass has cut me ear off.”

“’Tis only a bit of it,” says I, “but if it had cut your head off I cudn’t help you, for it’s shtuck fast I am in the tub.”

I don’t know phwat would have happened if the milkman had not come at that minute.

“Turn the handle and come in,” shouted Pat. And the milkman came in and I’ll never forget the look on his face when he peeped in the door. There was Pat with his head through the cow, thryin’ to hould the picture shteady so that the glass wouldn’t cut him any worse, and there was I, wid me head and shoulders shtickin’ out of one side of the tub, and me legs out of the other. I had to shut me eyes so that I couldn’t see the milkman lookin’ at me. Well, afther a lot of coaxin’ and a little bad language, they got the cow off Pat and then they turruned their attintion to me.

“Give me a hand wid the Missus,” says Pat, “and we’ll lift her out of the tub.”

“Let him take me shouldhers,” I says, “and you can take the other end.”

So the milkman tuk me by the shouldhers and Pat tuk me by the legs and between ’em they managed to lift me, but when they lifted me they lifted the tub wid me.

“Shake her,” says Pat, “and perhaps the tub will dhrop from undher her.”

“Wait till I get me wind and a fresh hoult,” says the milkman.

So he got a fresh hoult and they tuk me up agin and shuk me, but the tub shtuck as fast as an oysther to a rock.

“Let’s turn her over and lift the tub from off her,” says the milkman.

They turruned me over and lifted the tub, but that was no use, for they lifted me wid it. They put me down agin and turruned me right side up, and they both sat down and wiped their faces.

“I don’t know phwat to do,” says Pat. “I can’t move her to the other house like that.”

“She’s a tight fit,” says the milkman. “Could you lift her while I pull the tub?”

“Lift her!” says Pat. “Do you think I am a bally derrick?”

“Well,” says the milkman, “I must get away on me rounds. I’ve read somewhere that if you make iron hot it will expand. How would it do to put the tub over the fire?”

“You’ll not put it over the fire while I’m in it,” I says. “I think I have a voice in this arrangement.”

“You have more than a voice in it,” says Pat mournfully, “The thing is to get you out.”

“I think you’ll have to cut her out,” says the milkman.

“Get out of me house this minute,” I says, “you inhuman monsther, you! Isn’t it bad enough for a poor woman to be jammed the way I am widhout bein’ made mincemeat of?”

‘‘’Twas not you I meant to cut,” he says, “it was the tub.”

“A good ideal” says Pat. “Cud we get a plumber?”

“I’ll send you one,” says the milkman. “I must get on me rounds.”

He wint away and Pat sat down on the flure and lit his pipe and talked to me. I will not thry to tell you phwat he said. He owned aftherwards that he was ashamed of it. But he had me at his mercy and he tuk me at a mean advantage. It seemed hours till the plumber came, but when he did come he was a very civil man and the father of a family, and he soon had me out. It tuk me an hour to get sthraight, and me tub was a ruin.

By the time I was able to walk the min came wid the furniture van, and the way they handled me furniture nearly bruk me heart. But they got everything in at last and off they shtarted about dinner time.

Pat and I tuk the thram and then the thrain and when we got out to the house I was glad to sit on the flure to rest mesilf. It was a foine day but a bit cloudy. We had a look round the new cottage and I was delighted wid it. Just across the road in front was a boiler maker’s, and from the back windows we had an illegiant view of a brickyard.

“I wish they’d come, I am gettin’ hungry,” I says to Pat, when we had looked at everything for about the sixth toime.

“Didn’t you bring something to ate wid you,” says he.

“No,” I says, “I packed all the food in a boot thrunk and they put it on the back of the van,” I says.

“Just like a woman,” he says.

Well, we waited and waited and it was gettin’ towards evenin’ and there was no sign of the van.

“I’ll go down the road a bit,” says Pat at last, “and see if I can see anything of them.”

“Well, don’t be long,” I says.

He, went down the road and was away about a quarther of an hour. He came back and said he cud see nothing of them, but he seemed a bit betther tempered.

We waited some toime longer, and I was nearly failin’ off to shleep, when Pat said he thought he would take another walk down the road and look for them.

“I’ll come too,” I says.

“You’ll do no such thing,” he says. “Who’d mind the house?”

“Nobody can run away wid it,” I says.

“You shtay where you are,” he says. “They might come while we are away.”

He wint away agin and he was away a little longer that toime. When he came back he was in the best timper I’d seen him in since they cut me out of the tub.

The sun wint down and it began to get dark.

“I think I’ll go and have another look,” he says.

When he came back it was nearly pitch dark, and I cud hear him singin’ as he came up the road.

“Did you see them?” I says.

“Divil a sight of them,” he says. “But phwat’s the odds so long as you’re happy?”

“But I’m not happy,” I says. “Is there a pub down the road?”

“There is, a bit of a one,” he says. “I think I’ll go and see if they’re comin’.”

“Not a foot do you go out of this,” I says to him. “You’ll sit down there and shtay wid me till the van comes,”

“Well, light the gas,” he says.

“There is no gas,” I says, “it is not connected.”

“Then you should have seen to it,” he says, “and had it connected. It is just like a woman. I think I’ll go—”

“You’ll sit down there on the flure,” says I.

“All right,” he says. And he sat down on the flure and lit his pipe. He had not been there three minutes when his pipe fell on the flure and he began to shnore. And there was I, in the dark in a sthrange house wid nobody to protect me but a dhrunken man and him fast ashleep. I must have fallen ashleep myself soon afther, for when I woke the daylight was just peepin’ into the window, and I couldn’t move, for me limbs were shtone. Pat was shtill shnorin’, and I had to shcream to wake him.

He was in a bad timper when he did wake, and swore that he’d fight the vanmen when they did come. He got a bit betther when he got quite awake, and when the men did arrive about an hour afther, inshtead of fightin’ them he tuk ’em up the road and shouted for them. It seems they had been out all night. They had lost their way and had to camp till daylight.

While Pat tuk them down the road I looked for the boot thrunk to get something to ate, but the lid of it was broke and it was empty. The men said the food must have jolted out on the road. I had to go and find a shop, which was about a mile away. By the toime I had got a bite to ate the van was unloaded and me goods and chatties were dumped down in the house anyhow. The bedroom furniture was nearly all in the kitchen, the dhrawin’ room furniture in the bedrooms, and the dhrawin’ room was filled wid a collection of kitchen and garden utensils, pot plants and ferns, and most of them ruined.

It tuk me weeks to get me furniture sorted, and when I did get it sorted I found that phwat wasn’t broken was missin’.

And the house! As I said before, it was fine weather the day we moved, but the next day it came on to rain. The wather came through the roof in a dozen places, and the yard was like a quagmire. When the windows are shut they won’t open, and when they are open they won’t shut. When I walk across the flure it shakes the bricky brack off me whatnot, and there ain’t a chimbley in the house that doesn’t put more shmoke into the room than up the chimbley. ’Twas a blessin’ the twins were away at their Aunt’s while we were movin’, for the first night I got their bedstead up a big patch of the ceiling fell on to their bed, and if they hadn’t been away they’d have been there when it fell. Pat spends most of his toime in the evening goin’ up the road and back agin. He got the habit the first night. He tould me afther we’d got into the house that he’d bought it on the toime payment system and paid a deposit. Now he’s whippin’ the cat. If we open the front door we get the noise from the boiler maker’s, and if we open the back door we get clouds of dust from the brickyard. The first toime it rained the tiles shtarted to fall out from the bay window, and if we hear a noise in the night now we know phwat it is. I’ll say to Pat, “Did you hear a noise?” and he’ll say, “Oh, it’s all right, it’s only another tile fell out of the bay window,” and he’ll turrun over and go to shleep agin. Well, how the toime flies. I must really be goin’.”


Mrs. McSweeney Goes a-Fishing

“Did you get the birthday card!” said Mrs. Moloney, as she took off her goloshes and sank into the arm chair that Mrs. McSweeney had placed near the fire for her, for the day was chilly.

“I did,” said Mrs. McSweeney, “and thank you kindly. ’Tis the kind remimbrance that plaises me and not the value of it.”

“’Twas the best I could get widhout goin’ to town,” said Mrs. Moloney.

“The verse on it was very pretty,” said Mrs. McSweeney, Then she added with a sigh, “Faith, the ouldher you get the more birthdays you seem to have. ’Tis like milestones they are on the road of life. And the farther we journey the closer they get together. They show us how far we have gone, but they never tell us how far we have to go. In fact, we never know, young or ould, whether we shall ever see the next one till we get to it. ’Tis for that reason that I like to shpind me birthday in the bosom of me family, meanin’ of course Pat and the twins. Pat always gives me a treat on me birthday. He asks me phwat I would like, and I always tell him something else, and then I generally get the thing I set me mind on. ’Tis the way to manage a man, my dear; manage him that way that he thinks he’s managing you, and you’ll be successful.

When the time for me birthday was approachin’ he asked me phwat treat I would like. Now I wanted to go fishin’ for the sake of the twins, and so I says, “I’d like to shpind a quiet day at home.”

“Bedad, that’s just like a woman,” he says. “I go and get a day off because it is your birthday, and you want to shtay in the bally house.”

“It would not cost so much,” I says.

“Hang the cost,” he says, “what has the cost to do wid you? It is my shout.”

“Oh, well,” I says, “have your own way, but don’t take me on the wather.”

“And why not on the wather?” he says. “Where betther could you go on a hot day like this?”

“Well, not in a rowin’ boat,” I says.

“Why not in a rowin’ boat?” he says. “Why not get a boat and go fishin’?”

“I don’t know how to fish,” I says.

“I’ll tache you,” says he.

“Oh, well,” I says, “have your own way and we’ll get peace and quietness. I’ll give the twins their lunch to school.”

“You’ll do no such thing,” he says. “We’ll take them wid us.”

So I had me own way and he thought it was himself that did it all. He shtarted to get out his fishin’ lines as pleased as the cow that laid the goulden calf.

He tuk us to the Figtree and engaged a boat and we wint up the Lane Cove River. I asked Pat why they called it the Lane Cove. He tould me that the first man that lived on that river was so thin that they called him the “Lane Cove,” and the river was named afther him.

I tuk plinty of lunch bekase I know by experience how the twins and Pat can ate when they are out on a thrip, besides gettin’ a bit peckish mysilf sometimes. I had some scones, and cakes, some mate sandwiches and some fish sandwiches, some jelly and some tarts, a tin of sardines and a loaf of bread, and a big Charlotte Roose. They were all packed in a carryall and I put it shnugly on a coil of rope that was in the front of the boat. Pat pulled us up the river, and everything was so paceful and quiet that it seemed that throuble was banished from the wurruld. The twins were singing, and danglin’ their fate in the wather. I wanted to dangle mine, but Pat said we had come out to catch fish, not leeches.

“Be the hole in me coat,” he says, “’tis warrum, so it is.” And he tuk off his waistcoat and his braces, and then his boots and socks.

“Ah!” he says, wid a grunt of satisfaction, “that is betther.”

“Let me help you pull,” says I, for I felt as frisky as a two-year-ould.

“Do you think you cud?” he says.

“I do,” I says, “it looks aisy enough.”

So afther a lot of throuble to get me turruned round, he gev me a bit of wood to pull wid, and showed me how to hould it.

“Now,” he says, “are you ready?”

“I am,” says I.

“Then off she goes,” he says. “Put your weight into it.”

I gev a couple of big pulls and was doin’ shplindidly, but at the third shtroke the bit of wood lost its grip of the wather. I was puttin’ me weight on it, and back I wint on top of Pat. ’Twas a mercy there was nobody else in the boat, bekase for a time there was nothin’ of me to be seen but me new lisle thread shtockin’s wid the lace ankles that I had bought for the occasion at eleven pence three farthings a pair. It tuk Pat some time to upend me widhout upsettin’ the boat.

“Bedad,” he said, as soon as he got his wind, “’tis a shtrong boat she is, or you’d have knocked the bottom out of her.” Then he said, “That’s enough rowin’ for you. I think we’ll dhrop the kellick and see if the fish are bitin.”

The kellick was a big shtone tied to a rope, and he dhropped it overboard into the wather. The shtone made a shplash and the rope ran out afther it, and I forgot the carryall until I saw it go over the side, and there was our beautiful lunch sinkin’ out of sight in the salt wather. We managed to fish it out agin afther a lot of dillydatherin’, but everything in it was shpoiled wid the salt wather. The only things we saved were a tin of sardines and a bottle of beer.

“Who put the basket on the kelliek rope?” says Pat.

“I did,” I says.

“Just like a woman,” says he.

“Oh well,” I says, thryin’ to make the best of it, “it might have been wurrus. It might have been one of the twins that wint over.”

“Bedad, it might have been wurrus than that,” says Pat. “We might have lost the beer.”

The twins thried to ate some of the cakes that had been soaked in salt wather, but they gev up the attimpt wid tears in their eyes.

“Phwat’ll we do wid all the food?” says I. “Save it,” says Pat, “it’ll do for burley.”

“Phwat’s burley?” I says to him.

“Burley,” he says, “is what anybody uses when they want to catch anything. It is to atthract them and put them off their guard. Do you mind the time when we were courtin’, when you used to put your fut on me knee and ask me to lace up your shoe? When you used to show about six inches of as fine an ankle as was ever seen on a woman, and all the while purtindin’ to blush? That was burley.”

“Go along wid you,” I says. “Do you mane to tell me that I laid mesilf out to catch you?”

“Troth, I belave you did then,” he says, “but I don’t blame you. I was wurruth thryin’ for. You’ve been paid for your throuble. But hould your whist. The fish won’t bite if you keep on talkin’.”

By this time he had got his lines out. He gave me one to hould and one to ache of the twins. One of the twins was at one end of the boat and one at the other, while Pat fished from one side and me from the other. We waited for some time, and it was that peaceful sittin’ there wid nothin’ to do but wait, and wid nothin’ to hear but the gurgle of the wather agin the boat, that I was nearly ashleep when young Pat shtartled me out of me dhream.

“I’ve got a bite,” he says.

“Where is it?” I says. “Pull him in.”

“’Tis a muskayther,” he says. And he laughed at me and Mike laughed wid him.

“Wait till I get you on terry firmness,” I says. “I’ll give you something to giggle at.” But they only giggled the more and so I wint on attindin’ to me waitin’.

“Whisht! Whisht!” says Pat, afther a while. “I feel him nibblin’. Watch me handle him.” And he jerked the line gently. Just then I felt my line jerk, and I says, “I’ve got a nibble too.”

Then the twins sung out that they had nibbles. “Shteady now,” says Pat, “take it aisy. The place is just swarmin’ wid ’em.”

“Pull careful,” he said, afther a while, “or they’ll give you the shlip.”

So we all began pullin’, and the hardher we pulled the hardher the fish pulled. Pat was just pullin’ somethin’ up from the wather that looked like a big fish when I felt a big tug on my line. I gev a pull and then Pat’s fish disappeared. At last he got it agin and landed it in the boat, and phwat was it but a bunch of weeds from the river’s bottom, and among the weeds he found that all four of our lines were tangled together. Then Pat said wurruds that I wouldn’t be afther repaytin’. It tuk three quarthers of an hour and the whole bottle of beer to get them disentangled agin.

Afther that, Pat said he’d thry by himself, and he did. While he fished, the twins divided the tin of sardines. About oncet every half hour I’d wake up and ask Pat if he had a bite, and he’d say “No,” short like, and I’d doze agin.

It must have been about two o ’clock in the afthernoon when the twins began to complain that they were thirsty, and that reminded me that I was hungry and that we had no lunch. So I asked Pat to shift and see if we could find a place where we could get a bite to ate.

“I want nothin’ to ate,” he says, “till I catch a fish.”

“If we wait for that,” I says, “it’s shtarvin’ we’ll be, so we will.”

“That’s just like a woman,” he says, “always thinkin’ more of little Mary than of shport.”

“I’m pleased wid your shport,” says I, “if that’s phwat you call it.”

“Well,” he says, “’tis high tide now and that is the best time to catch ’em. I’ll pull up the kellick and row further out,” he says “They may bite betther there.”

So he pulled up the kellick and rowed out into the sthrame. He pulled for some time, and at last it seemed to me that the more he pulled the less we moved, and I tould him so.

“What bally rot,” he said. “Look at the shweat on me. Do you think I could shweat like that widhout movin’ her?”

Just then his oar touched bottom. “By Saint Dominick,” he says, “we are on a mud-bank.”

He thried the depth and sure enough we hadn’t got more than a fut of wather and the boat was sittin’ on the bottom. He thried to push her off, and he thried to pull her off, but it was no use. The more he thried the hardher we shtuck.

The tide was goin’ out and the fut of wather was soon rejooced to six inches, and then to nothin’ at all. About an hour afther we got slituck we were high and dhry on a big bank of mud wid the wather gettin’ farther and farther away from us.

Pat thried the depth of the mud, but as far as he could poke his oar in it went down into soft oozy mud. Ther was nothin’ for it but to wait until we were rescued or the tide turruned.

I will not attimpt to describe the afthernoon we shpint. Pat shmoked and dozed and shwore, the twins howled and fought aich other, and I tould Pat a few things which I think will do him good when he is in the humour to think about them.

At last the sun wint down and we were shtill there. “As the sun wint down the muskaythers woke up. They bit the poor twins till they howled agin. They bit me through my muslin sleeves, and through my lace ankles and through everything I had on me. There was not an inch of me that wasn’t tattooed.

’Twas two o’clock in the mornin’ when the tide floated us off. We had to wait on the wharf at Figtree for three hours for the first boat. When we got home I had to go shtraight to bed wid cramps in me inside, and Pat had just time to put some hot wather bottles to me feet when it was time for him to go to his wurruk. It tuk me three days and four pots of vaseline and carbolic acid to get rid of the muskayther bites, and I’ve been hungry ever since. I thought my last mileshtone was goin’ to be me final one. I want no more birthdays.

“Must you go? I didn’t tell you about the sandflies. Well, if you must be goin’ I’ll tell you about them next time we meet. Good-bye.”


Mrs. McSweeney Up the Blue Mountains

“Come in,” said Mrs. McSweeney, “come in. Sure, ’tis you that I have been expectin’ to see all the mornin’, so it is.”

“’Tis a fine day this mornin’” said Mrs. Moloney, as she started to pull out her hat pins.

“‘Tis indeed a foine mornin’ to-day, if we don’t get some rain this evenin’,” said Mrs. McSweeney. “Take off your hat and shut the door and put it on the hall shtand. You’ll excuse me risin’. Me limbs has gone back on me. One of them’s that shtiff that I can’t bend it, and the other’s that limp that I can’t sthraighten it. I believe I’m gettin’ lumbago in the right one, and I shouldn’t be at all surprised if the left one turns to appindixitis.”

“Sure,” said Mrs. Moloney, as she drew the rocking chair up to the fire, “you don’t get that in the leg. ’Twould be conthrary to the usual custom of the disease.”

“Conthrary to custom, is it?” said Mrs. McSweeney, indignantly. “And could they be more conthrary to custom than they are? Sure, the only way I can get forward is to walk backward. Isn’t that conthrary to custom? If they’re conthrary to custom in one way can’t they be conthrary to custom in another. These things often happen. It was only last week that Pat had house-maid’s knee in his arrums. Wasn’t that conthrary to custom?”

“I don’t know,” said Mrs. Moloney, doubtfully. “But how did you catch it anyway?”

“I didn’t catch it at all,” replied Mrs. McSweeney, with a groan. “It shtole on me, like a thafe in the dark. ’Twas only the day before yistherday that I was hoppin’ and friskin’ about on the Blue Mountains;—you know we wint to the Mountains?”

“I heard you wint somewhere,” said Mrs. Moloney, “but I thought it was Lawson, or Leura, or Blackheath, or somewhere.”

“Well,” said Mrs. McSweeney, “that is the Blue Mountains. We wint there for a week, and it was only the day before yistherday that I was hoppin’ and climbin’ about like a—phwat’s the thing that we rade about, that climbs into all sorts of inaccessible places?”

“A kangaroo?” suggested Mrs. Moloney.

“No,” said Mrs. McSweeney, “I don’t mane a kangaroo.”

“Do you mane a flea?” said Mrs. Moloney,

“No indeed,” said Mrs. McSweeney. “I don’t mane a flea. They go into inaccessible places, but they hop, they don’t climb.”

“Was it a goat?” said Mrs. Moloney.

“No!” snapped Mrs. McSweeney, “would you compare me to a goat?”

“Was it a gazelle?” ventured Mrs. Moloney, timidly.

“That’s more like it,” said Mrs. McSweeney, somewhat mollified, “but it was not a gazelle I was thryin’ to think of. Phwat’s the other name for wash-leather?”

“Shammy,” said Mrs. Moloney.

“That’s it,” said Mrs. McSweeney, “shammies are the things I was thryin to think of. They run about the hills in Switzerland. A gintleman on the Mountains was comparin’ me to one. He told us all about them. They run about the mountains and shtand on places where there’s nothin’ to shtand on. Oh! dear. To think that two days ago I was friskin’ about like a shammy, and that I’m lyin’ here now wid two left legs.”

“How can you have two left legs?” said Mrs. Moloney.

“Becase I have two legs and neither of them is right,” said Mrs. McSweeney. “But shtir the fire, and I’ll tell you all about it. You know Pat got his holidays, and he came home as merry as a cricket.”

“Biddy,” says he, “I have a fortnit’s holiday.” he says, “and I’m goin’ to take you and the twins up the Mountains. I’ve taken a cottage thousands of feet above the level of the say, and we’ll go up and fill our chists wid the fresh mountain air,” he says, “it’ll do the twins a world of good. It’ll make me a new man and you a new wummun.”

“I don’t want to be a new wummun,” I says, “and I don’t want you to be a new man. Phwat could I do wid a new man?”

“Sure,” he says, “I was only shpakin’ alphabollically. I mane that it’ll put new life into the pair of us.”

“That ud be all right.” I says.

Well, the upshot of it was that we wint to the Mountains. And Pat was right. The sights we saw were all worth the throuble we tuk to see them. The air was like wine, and I cud feel the new life enterin’ me veins wid every breath I dhrew. As soon as I got out of the thrain I wanted to dance, and before I’d been there two days I was shkippin’ about like a shammy that had just been weaned. You wouldn’t think it to see me now, but ’tis the thruth I’m tellin’ you, so it is.

We wint to the Look-out, where you can see the Lone Mountain, and the Narraw Neck, and the Pulpit Rock, and the Orphan Rock, and the Three Sisters. They are three rocks. A young gintleman that was there, who had a lot to say and who reckoned he knew all about it, said they called them Grerty, Tottie, and Maud. One of them is bigger than the others, one is smaller than the others, while the middle one is betwixt and between. We saw the Leura Falls and the Wintworth Falls, The Weepin’ Rock, and the Valley of the Wathers. We climbed up the Giants’ Causeway, and we saw Govett’s Lape. They showed us the place where he leapt from. They say he was a bushranger, and that he leapt over the brink on horseback sooner than be taken. He wint down, and down, and down until he disappeared from view, and they say that if he didn’t shtop he’s goin’ yet. We wint down the zigzag road to the Kanimbla Valley. As we came up we were caught in a big thunder shtorm, and we tuk refuge in the cave where the bushranger used to hide. I’ll never forget the sinsation. I fancied I cud feel shnakes all over me, and I shcreamed inwardly. It got dark before the shtorm was over, and the only toime we could see anything was when we got a blindin’ flash of lightnin’. The lightnin’ lit up the rocks till they looked like ruins of old castles, while the gum threes looked like ghosts of dead giants wavin’ their arrums at us.

At last the rain ceased, but the lightnin’ roared and the thundher clashed as bad as ever.

“Come along,” says Pat. “Now’s the toime to be goin’ if you don’t want to be afther campin’ here all night.”

“I can’t see me way,” says I, when we got on the road agin, “and I’m sure the twins’ll be afther breakin’ their blessed necks before we get half ways home.”

“Hould on to me coat-tails,” says Pat, “and let young Pat and Mike hould on to yours. I can find the road for you’ze, and you can folly in me footsteps. We’ll play folly me Laydher.”

Well, we got to the top all right, and soon afther that Pat came to a sudden shtep.

“Phwat is it?” says I.

“’Tis a bally three lyin’ in the road,” says he, “and it’s as big as a house. We’ll have to climb over it.”

Sure enough it was the thrunk of a three, and it was about five feet thick. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to get over it, but Pat got up and sat asthride of it and tuk me by the arrums, while the twins prized me up from behind, and at last I dhropped to the other side, more dead than alive, and me clothes a ruin. The twins shcrambled over afther me wid the help of Pat, and we were all safe on the other side. Then there came a big flash of lightning and we saw that we were not six feet from the end of the log. If we had gone that much to the left we could have walked round it.

“Never moind,” says Pat, “hould on to me coattails agin. We’ll soon be on the main road. I know the way. Mind the culvert. There used to be a culvert about here. Moind the—”

Just then I lost the grip of his coat-tails. There was a big splash, some language, and a flash of lightnin’. And there I saw Pat floundherin’ about in the wather up to his arrum-pits. He managed to get out somehow, and soon afther that we got on to the main road.

But that was nothin’ to the Pass. We did the Pass. We didn’t intind to do it, but we did it all the same. ’Twas the day before yistherday. The last day we were to have on the Mountains.

Pat and I and the twins shtarted out to take a good long walk. We wint down some gullies, and we saw some wather falls, and cascades and things, and a place they called the Meetin’ of the Wathers. And we came to a look-out where we cud see the ferns and the thricklin’ wather, thousands of feet below us.

“Would you be game to go down?” says Pat

“I’d be game to go anywhere,” says I, for the mountain air was shtirrin’ up me blood, “but do you think the twins cud manage it?”

“We can do it all right; come on, mum,” and off the little darlin’s shcampered down the path.

Well, we had to climb a lot of shteps, and then we had to go down a lot of shteps, and some of them were as shteep as the roof of a barn. I had a job to keep me footin’, and at last we came to a place where I couldn’t walk at all. Pat wint on ahead, takin’ no notice, as hard as he could, and I sat mesilf down on the top shtep.

“Pat,” I shouted to him, “I’ll never be able to climb down there unless I shlither.”

“Come down anyway you like,” he says, “it’s aisy enough.”

So I sat down and shtarted to shlither. When I was about half ways down Pat looked up at me.

“Biddy,” he says, “I’d give anything if you could eome down and have a look at yoursilf. You never saw anything like the sight ye are. If anybody was to see you,” he says, “you’d lose your reputation for ever.”

“Och! go out of that,” says I, “sure, there’s nobody here to see me, and if there was, who ever heard of anybody losin’ their reputation on the Blue Mountains?” I says. “Shtand at the bottom to catch me if I fall.”

“I’ll shtand at the bottom,” he says, “but if you fall the twins will be orphans, for you’ll be the death of the pair of us.”

Well, I managed to get down, and we went along windin’ paths, and down more shteps, until we seemed to get into the bowels of the earth, where the sun never shines, and where there was nothin’ but rocks, thricklin’ wather, and ferns of all sorts and sizes.

“Come round here,” says Pat, “and you’ll get a shplindid view of the falls.” And he led the way down some shteps that were cut between two solid walls of rock.

“Come along, Biddy,” he says, “it is a shplindid sight.”

I thried to follow him, but I soon found that there was not room enough for me to shqueeze through.

“I can’t get through there,” I says, as I measured the shpace wid me eye.

“Give me your hand,” he says, “and I’ll help you.”

“Perhaps,” I says, “I might manage it sideways.”

“Phwat’s the difference,” he says. “Ye measure just about the same from North to South as you do from East to West,” he says.

“Perhaps so,” says I, “but I think I’m a bit more pliable one way than the other,” I says.

“May be you are,” he says, “you know best. Anyway plaze yourself.”

Well, I went sideways as far as I could, and at last I got shtuck that way I couldn’t move. The hardher Pat pulled, the tighter I was wedged.

“Lave off pullin’,” I says. “I’ll turn round and go back.”

I thried to turn round, and that fixed me. It jammed the laste pliable part of me between the rocks that tight that I thought I’d end me days there.

Pat pulled and the twins shoved, and then Pat shoved and the twins puled, and then they all pulled together, and then they all shoved together, but it was no use. I was a fixture, and it seemed as though they’d have to shift the Blue Mountains before they’d be able to shift me.

“Bedad,” says Pat, as he sat on a shtep and wiped the shweat off his brow, “the only way to shift you will be to get some dianimite, and blast you out.”

At this the twins howled. Then six young men wid six young women came round a path and wanted to come up the shteps.

“You can’t go up,” says Pat. “Me missus is shtuck in the middle, and she’s a fixture half ways up.”

Then another party came round the path at the top. and wanted to come down.

“You can’t go down,” says the twins. “Our mother is jammed half ways down.”

Then the young men began to grumble, and Pat offered to fight the lot of them. Then some more people come round and wanted to come up, and another party arrived and wanted to come down, till the road was blocked as far as the eye could reach.

At last a gintleman suggested that they should all make a combined effort to shift me. So, as there seemed nothin’ else for it, Pat tuk me by the hands, and another man grabbed him round the waist, and another grabbed the other one, and so on. Then the twins pushed me, and the men behind pushed the twins, and the girls pushed the men. Then an old gintleman waved his handkerchief and said, “One, two, three, go!” And they all pushed and pulled together. Nothin’ could shtand it. I felt the Blue Mountains shake, and then I broke loose. I shot out like a shtone from a catapult. The way I bowled them young men over was a sight to see. I don’t know which was the worst, them that were pullin’ and went forninst me, or those that were shovin’ and came behind. The picnic parties were that mixed that it was an hour before they were properly sorted and right side up. Seein’ that there were sixteen honeymoon couples among them it was apt to cause confusion.

I dare not thry to go back the way I went, so we had to go right round and do the Pass, and faith, it nearly did me. The Blue Mountains is a foine thing, taken in modheration, but I got an overdose, and I’ll bear the remimbranees of it to me dyin’ day.

That’s the reason I have two left legs, and have to walk backward to get forward.

“Well, well! How the toime flies. And so you must go? Thry a little somethin’ first. You’ll find the bottle in the cheffonier. Thanks, I’ll take a little dhrop nate. I don’t belave in mixin’ my dhrinks. Here’s to you, may you live till I do the Pass agin.”


Mrs. McSweeney Goes to Vote

“I don’t know why they made the women take part in politics,” said Mrs. Moloney, as she picked her teeth with a fork. “We had quite enough throuble and worry of our own without them givin’ us fresh ones that don’t belong to us.”

“I don’t know about them not belongin’ to us,” said Mrs. McSweeney. “There are not many throubles that don’t belong to a woman.”

“Well, the men always did it,” answered her friend, “and why couldn’t they keep on doin’ it? I’ve heard you say yourself that you didn’t want to vote and that we were just as well off without it.”

“Maybe you have,” said Mrs. McSweeney, “and maybe I was right, when I said it. There are many throubles we have that we’d be betther off widhout. I believe we were betther off widhout the franchise, but now we have it we must use it. Who did you vote for?”

“I didn’t vote at all,” said Mrs. Moloney. “I couldn’t be bothered, and besides it was washin’ day.”

“Then,” said Mrs. McSweeney, emphatically, “you neglected your solemn jooty.”

“Did you vote?” asked Mrs. Moloney.

“I did,” said Mrs. McSweeney. “I looked upon it as a jooty I owed to meself, me counthry, me twins, and me sex. For the last two months I’ve been shtudyin’ politics and takin’ part in the campane. I’ve been attindin’ meetings and listnin’ to speeches till me head is in a whirl; there is not a shtockin’ in the house that don’t want darnin’, and it will take me weeks to pull them up.

The first meetin’ I attinded was a meetin’ called to selict a candidate for the Liberals.

“You must go and jine the Liberal League,” says Pat to me one night.

“I thought you was barrickin’ for Labour?” says I.

“So I am,” he says. “That’s why I want you to jine the Liberal League,” he says. “I want you to go and wurruk like blazes for the seliction of Blobb.”

“And who is Blobb?” I says.

“Blobb,” he says, “is opposin’ Cobb. If Cobb is selicted, he will beat our man, but we can beat Blobb dead aisy. So I want you to go and vote for Blobb.”

Well, I got Mrs. Mulligan, and Mrs. Finnigan and about a half a dozen others, and we jined the Liberal League, where they received us, as the sayin’ is, wid open arrums. We all voted for Blobb, and he was selicted. Havin’ a large family of grown up childer, some of ’em married, he had sixteen votes in his own family. He got twinty-one votes and Cobb got nineteen, and so Blobb was the selicted candidate, and Cobb couldn’t shtand widhout shplittin’ the votes and bein’ a thraitor to the cause.

When the fight comminced in earnest there were three candidates in the field all thryin’ to see who could reach the pole first. There was the selicted Liberal candidate, Blobbs, who was a little man wid grey whiskers that had been in the soft goods line. He had retired afther three fires wid a shmall fortune and a large family, and claimed to be a great authority on politics owin’ to his long experience behind the counther and his large family.

Then there was Logan, the selicted Labour candidate, that worked on the wharves, and was a single man wid no family.

The third man was Wobble, the selicted Indepindant candidate. Nobody knew who selicted him, but his occupation was as oncertain as his family and his politics.

Well, they all had meetin’s and they all asked for the votes of their fellow citizens, and each claimed that he was the man to save the country, and that the other fellows had stolen his platform.

The first meetin’ I attinded was Mr, Blobbs’s. He had only a thin voice, poor man, and he was thryin’ to dhrown the voices of fifty people who were all shoutin’ at once, and he was failin’ in the attimpt. Bein’ on the platform I was able to catch a little of phwat he said. He was shpeakin’ of the question of emigration.

“Phwat we want,” says he, “is population. We have only a million and a half of people in New South Wales,” he says, “and we want twinty millions. We can do it widhout emigration,” he says. “I have fourteen childhren of my own. If every man, woman and child in the counthry had fourteen childhren the thing would be done, the problem would be solved, and the counthry—”

I couldn’t catch phwat he said about the counthry, for just then a ripe tomato hit him in the mouth and his concludin’ remarks were indistinct.

I attinded a number of Mr. Blobbs’s meetin’s, and he made the same speech at every one of them, only as the day for the pole got closer and the excitement grew, the ripe tomato used to hit him earlier and oftener.

Then I attinded Logan’s meetin’. He was the shpeaker. He had a voice as penthratin’ as a shteam syren, and fog-horns couldn’t dhrown it.

“Fellow workers,” he says, “the curse of this counthry is its wealth. Put me into parlymint,” he says, “and I’ll pass a law to compel all the rich men to lave the counthry or throw their money into the sea. I’ll make them liquidate it,” he says, “and they can all go and live in Liverpool Asylum, and we’ll all be happy ever afther.”

At this there was loud cheerin’. Just at this moment a shmall boy projooced a ripe tomato, but before he cud throw it, the horny hand of Labour fell on his neck, a hob-nailed boot shtruck the sate of his pants, and he wint away to Blobbs’ meetin’ round the corner.

I attinded one of Mr. Wobbles’s meetin’s, and he got a shplendid hearin’. He was never intherrupted once. I was the only one there barrin’ the chairman, and he was ashleep. He spoke from the balkinney of a house in a side sthreet, and when he got to an important part of his speech he had a habit of turnin’ his eyes up to the moon.

“Fellow Citizens,” he says, lookin’ at me, “vote for the Independant candidate. I am in favour of everything that Blobbs is in favour of and everything that Logan is in favour of, and if that is not enough, bein’ an independant candidate, I can be in favour of anything else you want. I want to save my counthry. (Here he turned his eyes up to the moon.) I want—”

I don’t know phwat else he wanted, because when he dhropped his eyes agin, if he ever did, they fell upon space. I was round the corner.

Well, the day came at last when the candidates were all goin’ to see who could get to the top of the pole first. I was just afther washin’ up the breakfast things, and was lookin’ at the weather to see phwat sort of a dhryin’ day it was goin’ to be, and wondherin’ whether I would light the copper or no, when a ring came to the front door bell. I wint to the door, and there was a man there wid a lot of tickets shtuck all over him.

“I don’t want any to-day,” I says, thinkin’ he was sellin’ something.

“Mrs. Bridget McSweeney, I preshume,” he said, wid a shmile.

“That’s me,” says I.

“I’ve come to see phwat time you’d like me to send the haughtymobeel,” he says.

“The haughty phwat?” says I.

“The haughtymobeel,” he says. “The mothor car.”

“Phwat are you givin’ us?” I says. “Phwat have I to do wid mothor cars?”

“If you will do me the honour,” he says, as he bows fluently, “I will fetch the mothor car and take you up to the pole.”

Well, you know, I’d never had a ride in a mothor car, although I’d often wished to, and I thought that goin’ up a pole in a mothor car would be quite a new sinsation. So I said, “Do you think it will be quite safe?”

“Perfectly safe, madam,” he says, “I will dhrive it mesilf.” And he bowed agin, more fluently than before. “Phwat time will it suit you for me to call?” he said.

“Well,” I said, dhrawin’ mesilf up as if I’d been climbin’ poles in mothor cars all me life, “’tis now half past nine. I have to dhress and put on a copper full of white things. If you call at eleven I’ll be ready.”

He called at eleven, but I wasn’t quite ready owin’ to havin’ to hunt tin minutes to find me fringe net which had got caught in a hook at the back of me eau-de-neel dhress blouse hanging up behind the door. But he didn’t grumble, and he handed me into the mothor car as if I was the Duchess of Darlin’hurst or the Countess of Woolloomooloo. There was only one fault about it. It wint too fast. I had no sooner got me proper pose than we were at the place we were going to, and I had to get out.

“Where is the pole?” says I, as he held out his hand and I shtepped magestically from the car.

“Jumpin’ bloomin’ Jerusalem!” he yelled, till he was black in the face.

“I beg your pardon,” said I, as I let go his hand.

“You’re shtandin’ on me fut,” he shcreamed. “Oh, I thought it was the car goin’ over it!”

“I’m surprised at you,” I says, “to shout so loud for a little thing like that.”

“A little thing do you call it,” he says, as he danced about on one leg and looked at me fut wid the other in his hand.

“Show me the pole,” I said contemptuously.

Then another man wid tickets all over him came up to me and says:

“Are you on the roll, ma’am?”

“Do I look like it? Tell me that,” I says, graspin’ me parasol in a threatenin’ attitude.

“I beg your pardon,” he says, in a tone of civility. “Can I give you your number? What is your name?”

“Phwat is that to you?” says I.

“You’ll have to give your name to vote.” he says.

“Well, it is a name that I was never ashamed of,” says I. “It is Bridget McSweeney, no less.”

Then he wrote a number on a card and gave it to me.”

“Show that inside,” he says, “and they will give you a ballot paper. Vote for Logan,” he says.

“That’s the man that’s goin’ to make the rich men throw their money in the say!” says I.

“That’s the man,” he says.

“Where’ll he make ’em throw it?” I says.

“Oh,” he says, “anywhere. Bondi or Coogee, I suppose.”

“Right,” I says. “I’ll vote for him. And then I’ll go in for surf bathin’.”

I wint a little farther and I met another man.

“Have you your number?” he says.

“I have,” says I.

“Vote for Blobbs,” he whispered.

“Is that the man wid the fourteen childher?” I says.

“’Tis the same,” he says.

“Well, he deserves a vote,” says I, “and I’ll give him one.”

Well, I wint inside and I saw a lot of min sittin’ round some little tables and a big policeman. One tould me to go this way, and another tould me to go that way, until at last an ould gintleman in a white waistcoat wid a bald head gave me a bit of paper.

“Go into that box,” he said, “and put a cross in front of the name you want to vote for,” he says, “fold it up and dhrop it into this box.”

“Is that all I have to do?” I says.

“It is,” says he.

“And is that phwat you call a pole?” I says.

“It is,” he says.

“Well,” says I, “you have queer names for things.”

Well, I did as he tould me, and came out to look for me mothor car, but it was gone, and I had to walk home.

When I got there I found the twins howlin’ on the doorshtep because they’d come home to lunch and couldn’t get in. But I soon pacified them wid bread and jam, and settled down to me domistic jooties wid the proud and happy feelin’ that I’d done me jooty to mesilf, me counthry, me twins, and me sex.

“And who did you vote for?” asked Mrs. Moloney, as she pushed in her hat pins and rose to go.

“Sure,” said Mrs. McSweeney, “nobody can say that Biddy McSweeney was ever one-sided or that black was the white of her eye. I gave a vote aich to the three of ’em.”


Mrs. McSweeney on Troglodytes

“Come in,” said Mrs. MeSweeney to Mrs. Moloney. “Sure, ye’re the very one I was thinkin’ of, so you are. Come right in. Don’t be shtandin’ on ceremony, take a chair and sit on it. I was just wondherin’ could ye come shoppin’ wid me this afthernoon?”

“I think so,” said Mrs. Moloney as she took a seat “What are you goin’ to buy?”

“’Tis a new dhress I’m gettin’ no less. I must dhress up to me shtation. I’m risin’ in the social scale. Of coorse ye didn’t hear that I was the wife of a theodolite?”

“And what’s a theodolite,” enquired Mrs. Moloney, as she helped herself to two lumps of sugar.

“A theodolite is a—a—wait till I see phwat it is. He put the book of rules and rigulations behind the clock. I have it. ’Tis a Throglodyte I mane, so it is. ’Tis phwat they call the Pre-Adamite Ordher of Throglodytes. They put Pat in the chair last night, and ’tis a great man indeed that he is. Mimbers of Parlymint, P.J.’s, and Aldhermin is nothing to him. He came home last night at two o’ clock this mornin’ shtaggerin’ wid the weight of his responsibility, and there isn’t a hat in the house this mornin’ that’ll go near his head.

Whin I asked him phwat he’d been doin’ he says, “’Tis a proud woman you ought to be,” says he, “to be the wife of a man like me,” he says.

“And ’tis ashamed of yoursilf you should be,” says I, “so you ought, to be shtaggerin’ home at two o’clock in the mornin’ and havin’ to help yourself up the shtairs wid the bannisthers and a dint in your hat. Phwat were ye dhrinkin’?” says I.

“I was imbibin’,” says he, “the milk of human kindness, so I was.”

“Then,” says I, “you must have imbibed too much of it, for it made your legs bend like whalebone.”

“’Twas the weight of me responsibility,” says he. “Think of me responsibility. Do you know what I am?”

“A fool,” says I, “to be losin’ your natural rist and me wid me feet like ice and nothin’ to warm ’em on.”

“Guess agin,” says he. “You’re wrong.”

“I wouldn’t waste me breath,” says I.

“Well, I’ll tell ye what I am,” says he, “and then ye’ll be sorry for the way ye shpake to me. I’m the Thruly Appinted Ruler of the Pre-Adamite Ordher of Throglodytes,” says he. “Think of that! Pathrick McSweeney, Esquire, T.A.R.P.O.T.”

“And phwat’s the Ordher of Throglodytes?” I says.

“’Tis an ordher,” he says, “that was established before there was any wimmin in the wurruld. Whin all the people in the wurruld consisted of min, and whin there was nothin’ but paice, love, and harmony. The Throglodytes have great secrets.”

“And how did the min get into the wurruld,” says I, “if there was no wimmin?”

“Ah!” says he, “I mustn’t tell you that. That’s one of the secrets.”

“How much did it cost you,” says I, “to be made a T.A.R.P.O.T. or phwatever you are?” says I.

“That’s another of ’em,” says he.

“And phwat have ye to do?” says I, for I couldn’t help gettin’ a bit curious whin I found there was secrets in it.

“’Tis not what I have to do,” he says, winkin’, “it is what the other fellys have to do. All I have to do is to sit in a grand chair, six sizes too big for me, like the thruly appinted ruler has always done since before Adam was born. All the other fellys have to pay homage to me.”

“Why?” says I.

“Becase I’m the Thruly Appinted Ruler,” he says. “A man has to shade his eyes wid his hands before he can look at me, and before he dares to shpake to me he has to crawl tin yards on his hands and knees, and bump his head six times on the floor. Now you can see the sort of man you have for a husband.” And he shwelled himself out that way that ye’d think the pertaties he’d had for breakfast were footballs.

“And phwat’s it all for?” says I.

“’Tis all for Charity and Binivilence,” says he. “F’rinstance, last night we passed a risolution that Jim Delaney, the Past Appinted Ruler, was the bist man in the wurruld barrin’ me. Lather in the evenin’ we found out that he had lost all his money in a bank smash and wasn’t worth a bean. He’d obtained our unbounded confidence by false pretinces, and so we rescinded the first risolution and passed another that said he’d always been a bad egg. There were two dissinthers, Joe Biddle and Jacob Kuffstein, But their dissinthery didn’t last long. Joe Biddle only gave a couple of injictions whin he got hit wid a pick, and soon afther that Kuffstein got a lick behind the ear wid a long-handled shovel. They tuk ’em both away in the ambulance, and we closed in paice, love, and harmony at tin o’clock at night p.m.”

“But,” says I, “it was two whin ye got home.”

“Was it?” he says.

“It was,” says I, “and whin ye came up the shtairs the whole terrace cud hear you. Your bumpin’ ’ud wake the dead.”

“Would it?” says he.

“It would,” says I, “and whin you did get your boots off ye thried to go to bed in the fender.”

“Did I?” he says.

“Yes, you did,” I says. “The dhrink ’ull be the ruin of you.”

“Will it?” says he, “but I didn’t take much,” he says. “We only had a short intherval for refrishmint afther the meetin’.”

“And phwat became of the two min that were taken away?” says I.

“Divil a know I know,” he says. “But I know they didn’t take all of them away. A bit of one of Kuffstein’s ears was found in Dooley’s pocket.”

“The wretch,” says I. “And phwat’ll they do to Dooley?”

“I suppose,” says he, “they’ll bind him over to kape the piece.”

“And so I’m the wife of a T.A.R.P.O.T., am I?” says I.

‘‘You are,” he says, “and it’s a proud woman ye ought to be instead of abusin’ me.”

“I suppose,” says I, “that a woman ought to be proud whin she’s married to half the alphabet. I suppose I’ll be expected to live up to me shtation?”

“You will,” he says.

“Well then,” I says, “if I’m to be a foine bird I must have foine feathers. I shall want a new costhume to hould up me new dignity in.”

“Will you?” he says. ,

“And a new pair of shoes,” says I,

“Oh!” he says.

“And a new hat,” I says.

“Houly Moses!” says he, “I didn’t reckon on that.” But anyhow he gave me the money. I suppose min must have something to amuse themselves wid. And they’d betther be foolin’ about wid a lot of min than foolin’ wid a lot of wimmin. I don’t mind him goin’ to those sort of meeting. The min never do much harum whin there’s no wimmin about.”

“What were you thinking of getting?” asked Mrs. Moloney.

“Well,” said Mrs. McSweeney, meditatively, “I was thinkin’ of thryin’ muslin-de-lanin over charlotte-roose!”


Mrs. McSweeney Has a Cold

“Phwat’s the matter wid you?” said Mrs. Moloney, as she took off her hat.

“Faith,” said Mrs. McSweeney, as she searched in the pocket of Pat’s overcoat for her handkerchief, “bad as I look ’tis betther thad I feel. Atchoo! I am that shtuffed up wid the cold that I shake the house wid by shneezid. Atchoo! Atchoo! Oh dear, ’twill be the death of be. Wud of be dostrils is shtopped up ad I cad’t breathe out of the other. By life’s a burded to be ad I cad’t shtopp shneezid od accoudt of the irrigatiod id by dose. Atchoo! Atchoo!

“Have you taken anything for it?” said Mrs. Moloney.

“Have I phwat?” said Mrs. McSweeney. “I dod’t thidk there’s adythidk I’ve dot taked. I’ve taked paralogic ad syrup of shqueals, adiseed ad Friar’s balsab, bustard plasters ad—Atchoo! I’ve thried the could pack ad the hot pack, I’ve boiled by feet id bustard ad wather, ad thried all the patedt bedicides that were ever invidted ad bore. Ad the bore I thry to cure it the bore I cad’t. Atchoo!

“Did you thry hot whisky?” said Mrs. Moloney.

“Did I thry hot whisky?” said Mrs. McSweeney, in a tone of contempt, “did I thry hot whisky add could whisky add all other kinds of whisky? Why, the secodd day I had it I widt to the docthor. He filt by pulse.”

“Put out your tongue,” he says. Thed he says, “You have the idfluedzy,” he says. “I will dot give you ady bedicide. Go hobe add go to bed. I will dot ask ibpertidadt questiods,” he says. “I dod’t kdow phwat you are id the habit of takid’ id the way of shtibuledts, but phwatever it is, double it. Double your shtibuledts, add if you are do betther double theb agid. It wadts drivid out,” he says. “Half a guinea.”

Well, I cabe hobe add wedt to bed. You know, Brs. Bolodey, that I only used to take a teaspoodful dow add thed, so I tuk a dessertspoodful. I was do betther that dight, so I tuk a tablespoodful. As that did dot cure be I tuk two tablespoodfuls. By head got wurrus, add so I tuk four tablespoodfuls, add thed I tuk the delariubs, add Pat said that if he hadd’t cub hobe just thed I’d have got the thribbids. As it was he said that whed he cabe id I was thryid to walk up the wall.

The next bordid I was feverish add had a shplittid headache. Pat put be id a could pack. It cured by feverishness, but it didd’t shtop the irrigatiod id by dose. Atckoo! Would you bide haddid be a dry hadkerchief off the fedder? This is the tedth wud I’ve used to-day. Thadk you. Atchco!

Dod’t talk to be about abodiated quidide. I had a cousid wuds who had a could, add she tuk abodiated quidide; she got betther of the could, but id less thad two years she died of appiddicitis, add I cud never bear the dabe of abodiated quidide since.

The other dight Pat gave be sobe vidigar add treacle, add thed sobe bilk add butther, add afther that a hot lebod dridk. Faith! I can feel the sidsatiod dow. I dod’t kdow whether the vidigar disagreed wid the bilk, or whether the lebod wohldd’t bake friedds with the butther, or that the treacle fell out wid the rest of ’en, but I was that bad that I was heavid add groadid all dight. First I was afraid that by edd was cobid, add thed I was afraid it wasd’t. I thought I’d throw up by very toe-dails. I was that bad that I forgot I had a bustard plaster od, but by the bercy of providedce it worked itself off be. Whed Pat woke id the bordid it was roudd his neck. He hasd’t had a collar od sidce. He said I bust have put it there od purpose, but I was too far gode to do adythig od purpose. I cud odly groad add keep wakid Pat up to ask hib to be good to be twins.

“Be good to be twids whed I ab gode,” I says to hib id the bordid whed he was dressid. “If you should get barried agaid.”

“Get phwat?” he says, as he shcraped the bustard frob behide his ear,

“I expect you’ll get barried agaid,” I says.

“Do bally fear,” he says.

“I expect you’ll get barried agaid,” I says, takid do dotice of his idterruptiod, “add whed you do, thry to get sobebody that’ll be kide to theb.”

“I’ll be a bother to theb bysilf,” he says.

“I’d like to see you,” I says, “afther I’b dead add gode, thryid to dard their socks add put dew seats id theid kdickerbockers.”

“You’ll see it all right,” he says, “if you live logg edough.”

I cud odly shniff at the thought of it.

“I’d dard their socks wid copper wire,” he says, “add re-sate their padts wid galvadised irod add rivet theb od,” he says, “rather thad I’d be bothered wid adother bally wubad that ud be keepid be awake all dight wid her shdufflid, add thed whed I did go to shleep to shleep the shleep of the just, to put her bally bustard plasther roudd be deck, add sedd be to wurruk wid wud side of be all pale for wadt of ssleep, add the other side as red as a roosther cobe.”

“You’ll biss be wedd I’b gode,” I says.

“I’m dot so sure,” he says, “we’ll wait add see. You’re dot gode yet,”

Add wid that he lit his pipe add wedt off to his wurruk.

Brs. Begad called to see be that aftherdood, add she said she was sorry she had dot dowd sooder that I had a could.

“Why,” she says, “dobody deed have a could for logg, I cad cure that for you id ad hour or two. You just wait,” she says, “till I rud up to the chebist’s. We’ll sood put you right.”

She wedt up to the chebist’s add she sood cabe back wid sobe strogg eucalyptus, add she got sobe boilid wather add put the eucalyptus id it add thed she put a blagket over by head add she steabed be. Oh, Brs. Bolody, I thought I’d choke. I shtud it as logg as I cud add thed I said:

“Take it off, I’b chokid.”

“Shtadd it a bit logger,” she says, “it’ll do you the wurruld of good.”

But I cud dot shtadd it. I thried to call out, but by breath was gode. I sthruggled add kicked, for I was that way edtaggled id the blagket that I didd’t kdow which edd to get out at, add id by shtruggles phwat shud I do but upset the jug of boilid wather all over by lower exthremities. I thried to shcreab, but couldd’t, add Brs. Regad just pulled the blagket off be as I was givid by last gasp.

The bed was a deluge. Brs. Regad had to take off everythigg, add turrud the bed, besides puttid be idto dry thiggs. Wed I got back to bed agaid I tuk the could shivers, so Brs. Regad got sobe hot wather add put sobe kyadd pepper idto it add bade be dridk it. It shtopped the shivers, but it burrudd the idside out of be. I’ve had burdid volcadoes id be ever sidce.

I just bade up by bide that I’d thry do bore cures, but that I’d patiedly wait by edd. When Pat cabe hobe that dight he said I sbelt like a possub. He wouldd’t shleep id the roob, but tuk a rug and shlept od the balkiddy. It is just like a bad, Brs. Bolody, you bay wurruk for hib, and shlave for hib, add sit up at dight for hib, you bay dard his socks add look afther his twids, add whed you are sick, he will go add shleep od the balkiddy just because you sbell of eucalyptus.

I had pledty bore advice. The dighbours were very good to be. Wud brought be sobe arrowroot, adother a custard, add adother sobe beef tay. Aich wud of theb had a fresh rebedy, but I was full of rebedies. I just widt back to the advice the docther gave me add doubled by shtibuladts, but I didd’t double theb so ofted. I got up this bordid for the first tibe, add by the blessid of providence I hope to get rid of it yet. Four o’clock it is. Thed it’s tibe for by bedicide. You’ll fide it id the safe add the sugar basid wid it. Atchoo! That’s right. A little bore. You kdow I have to double it dow. Help yoursilf. Bay you live a logg tibe before you have the idfluedzy, add whed you do bay you take it id tibe. Atchoo! Ar-tishoo! Bless us.”


Mrs. McSweeney at a Euchre Party

“Sure, I thought it was you as soon as I heard the click of the gate,” said Mrs. McSweeney, as she shook hands with Mrs. Moloney. “Faith, ’tis gay you look in your new hat. It reminds me of the one I had last summer.”

“’Tis the very latest style,” said Mrs. Moloney, as she drew out her hat pins and held up her hat for Mrs. McSweeney’s inspection. “Moloney gave it to me out of his overtime for my birthday. But I didn’t come over to show you my hat, although I thought I’d put it on as I was coming. I came to hear about the euchre party. Did you go?”

“Faith, we did,” said Mrs. McSweeney, “and we had a great evenin’.”

“What was it in aid of?” inquired Mrs. Moloney.

“It was in aid of the Home for Motherless Dogs,” replied Mrs. McSweeney. “All the bist people in the neighbourhood were there.”

“Did you say all the bist people?” said Mrs. Moloney.

“I did,” said Mrs. McSweeney. “All the bist people were there.”

Mrs. Moloney sniffed, but said nothing.

“’Twas quite a sinsation I created,” continued Mrs. McSweeney. “I wore me blue silk directwordhress. It was cut low wid a long thrain. When I asked Pat phwat he thought of it he said it was a grand dhress, a foine dhress, and an expinsive dhress, but he would have liked it bether if it had a bit off the bottom and on the top. But of course he’s like all the min, he has no eye for fashion.

When we got there I wint into the lady’s dhressin’ room, where I left me wraps, and afther tonin’ down me complexion a bit I joined Pat and we wint into the card room.

There were about twinty little tables there wid four chairs and a pack of carrds on each. We each had to dhraw a number, and we had to sit at the table that had the number we dhrew. Then a gintleman gave us each a little ticket tied wid a bit of blue ribbon that he said was to keep tally of the games we won, and he showed me to the table where I had to sit.

We were early, and when I got to me table there was only one gintleman sittin’ there. He was playin’ solitary wid a pack of carrds. He was a rather stout gintleman, wid a long nose and a big flower in his button-hole. His head was as shiny as a glass bottle in the sunshine, and it had the bump of benivolence all over it. His voice was like a cross-cut saw, and when I was inthrojooced to him I found that his name was Moses.

“Mrs. McSweeney, is it,” he says. “Your name is familiar to me. I’ve heard of your advintures,” he says, “and it’s a proud man I am to meet you. Do you play euchre?” he shouted at me in a voice that made me jump, which I found aftherwards was due to him bein’ an auctioneer and havin’ to shout to athract the crowd. “Do you play euchre?”

“A little,” said I.

“Well,” he says, “if you can’t play take notice of me and you’ll learn. If you can play, keep your eye on me and you’ll improve. I’ve played,” he says, “before all the crowned and uncrowned heads of Europe, Asia, Africa and Feegee. What I don’t know ain’t worth learnin’. You must have heard of me,” he says, “I wrote a book on euchre. I’m writin’ another now called ‘Mugs I have Met.’ I came here to-night for copy.”

“I suppose,” says I, “that you can play the game well?”

“Play the game?” he says. “Show me the game I can’t play. I can make the carrds do as I like. I can hypnotize them, mesmerize them or paralize them. Look here,” he says, “here are three carrds. Choose one.”

I did so, and it was the jack of clubs.

“Now,” says he, “watch it close or you’ll lose it. One, two, three. Now you see it and now you don’t. Now, Madam, which is the jack of clubs?”

I picked out the one I thought was the jack of clubs and it was the tin of diamonds.

“Watch agin,” he says. “Now then, here you are and here you ain’t. Now you see it and now you don’t. In and out, under and over. Here it is and there it is. Now Madam, which is the jack of clubs?”

I thought I had him that toime, for he showed me the carrd as he laid it down.

“Anybody could pick it out,” I says. “This is it.” And I turned up a carrd, and it was the three of hearts.

“Thry agin,” he says.

“I’ll thry no more,” I says. “I can’t pick it.”

“Not if you picked all day,” he says. “The jack of clubs is up me sleeve.” And he showed it to me. He showed me a lot more tricks and he explained that it was all done by hypnotism.

“I tell them what to do and they do it,” he says, “that’s all there is in it. It is the same wid my customers. I am the only real auctioneer in Sydney,” he says. “The other auctioneers sell the people what they want to buy. I sell them what they don’t want to buy. That’s the difference. That’s Art. A man comes to a sale of mine to buy a bedstead. I sell him a mangle and get a good price for it. That’s Art. Only to-day I sold a job lot of six feedin’ bottles to a confirmed batchelor, and a baby’s pram to an old maid. That’s Art. I sold two cases of whisky to a temperance lecturer and a couple of hams to the Rabbi. That’s Art.”

Just then another lady and gintleman came to the table, the bell rang, and the game commenced. We’d taken two thricks each and I had the left bower, but a man that had a grey moustache on me left hand had the right bower, and we got euchred.

“What the—why the—why didn’t you put your left bower on the off thrick?” said Mr. Moses.

“I was keepin’ it,” says I.

“Houly Moses,” he says, and he pulled out a pincil and began to write on his shirt-cuff. “More copy for me new book,” he says. “You’ll be in chapter one.”

Then we had to change partners, and as Mr. Moses won he had to go to another table and leave me where I was, and he said:

“Farewell, farewell, kind friend adieu, adieu, adieu,
I can no longer shtay wid you, shtay wid you.”

“Good-bye for the present,” he says. “We shall meet agin, Mrs. McSweeney. Until then, be good,” and he kissed his hand to me.

“He’s a funny man,” says I to the lady that was sittin’ next to me. “I can’t tell whether he’s jokin’ or not.”

“He’s a dear old soul,” she said. “He’s that good timpered that he shmiles when he’s asleep.”

“How do you know?” says I.

She looked a bit confused and said, “He told me so himself.”

“Well, he ought to know,” said I.

“Yes,” she continued, “his benivolence oozes from him. You should, see him wid the children. He has none of his own, bein’ a batchelor, but he has nephews and nieces, and he is that good-natured that he buys them boxes of paints and sits on the floor for hours while they paint pictures on his cranium. He doesn’t mind. It is that smooth that it rubs off easily.”

The next partner I had was a little man wid a waxed moustache about five feet four high. He looked as fierce as a bull-dog ant. He played the carrds as if his life depinded on them. When we got euchred he was quite annoyed.

“You gave them the game,” he said.

“Phwat do you mean?” says I.

“If you’d led the heart I could have made me king,” he says. “And then you played your right bower on their joker and your ace on their left bower.”

“I play me own game,” said I wid dignity.

“The best thing in a euchre tournament is that you change partners every game,” he says.

“If they didn’t I’d go home,” says I, for I wasn’t goin’ to let him have the last wurrud.

The next partner I got was a pleasant-lookm’ gintleman wid a dark beard about me own age. He shuffled the carrds and said:

“Now, Mrs. McSweeney, I hope you know the theory of the game. Mind, if you can afford to make it you can afford to lead. Always go once round the harbour. If they make it black, lead black, and vice versa.”

Our opponents made it, and it was my lead. They made it spades, and I remimbered phwat he said and led black. I led the ace of spades, which was the only one I had.

“Why,” says my partner, “you are playin’ their game for them. You should not lead thrumps when they make it,” he says.

“Didn’t you say that if they made it black I was to lead black?” I says. “And phwat could you get blacker than the ace of spades?”

“You want to learn the theory of the game,” he says.

“I play me own game,” says I.

Well, we had several more games and then the bell rang and they said it was all over and that we were to have some light refrishmints. I couldn’t see Pat anywhere, but Mr. Moses came to me and asked me to go and have some refrishmints wid him, and I wint.

He was just tellin’ me a funny sthory and I was laughin’ fit to kill meself when phwat should I hear but Pat’s voice behind me.

He said in a husky tone, “Are you ready to go home?”

“At any toime you like,” says I, shmilin’ at him sweetly.

“Then—hic—come on,” he says.

“Where did you get the dhrink?” says I, for I had seen nothin’ sthronger than sody wather.

“Find out,” he said as he glared at me.

“I’ll tell you when we get outside,” he says, “I’ve been watchin’ your carryin’s on,” says he, and he glared at Mr. Moses.

That gintleman held out his hand to me and I couldn’t ignore it, so I shuk hands wid him.

“Good night, Mrs. McSweeney,” he said, wid a smile about six inches wide. “I hope you have had a pleasant evenin’ and that we’ll meet agin.”

“Is it makin’ appintmints ye are?” said Pat, cockin’ his chin at him. “Do you think I’m blind?” he says. “Wasn’t I watchin’ you?” he says. “Before the pair of you had been in the room two minutes ye were throwin’ sheep’s eyes at one another. What do you mean?” and he turned fiercely upon Mr. Moses. “What do you mean by whisperin’ to me wife across the table, and shoutin’ that you was familiar wid her? Tell me that. Didn’t I hear you ask her to take notice of you? And didn’t she do it. Tell me that.”

“Mr. McSweeney,” said Mr. Moses, shtill shmilin’ at him, “you ought to be a proud man.”

“Why?” said Pat, shtarin’ at him.

“To be married to such a charmin’ and accomplished woman,” he said. “I do not wondher,” he said, “that you sometimes feel the pangs of jealousy when another man looks at her. But how can they help it? But Mr. McSweeney, you have no cause for jealousy. Mrs. McSweeney is as faithful to you as she is handsome,” he says. “I was only showin’ her some thricks,”

“Then you could save yourself the throuble,” says Pat, “for she knows thricks enough.”

“’Twas thricks wid cards,” said Mr. Moses. “Come till I show you one,” and he wint to the table nearest to him and picked up a pack of carrds.

He took three of them and showed them to Pat and threw them on the table. “I was askin’ her to pick out the jack of clubs,” he said.

“As if anybody couldn’t do that,” says Pat.

“Come and thry,” said Mr. Moses. “Now, then, keep your eye on him. Here he is. Under and over. Now you see him and now you don’t. Five shillings you can’t pick out the jack of clubs.”

“Be cripes,” says Pat, “I’ll take you,” and he pulled out two half crowns. “This is him,” and he turned up the two of shpades.

“That’s a good thrick, ain’t it?” said Mr. Moses, as he pocketed the two half crowns. “Good night, Mr. McSweeney. You can trust your wife. Good night, Mrs. McSweeney.” And then he whispered, as he shuk me hand, “’Tis all right, Pet, I hypnotised him.”

And before I could say another wurrud he was goin’ down the shtairs whistlin “There is a Tavern in the Town.”

Pat never said a wurrud until we reached the sthreet, and then he said, “Well, he beats Dooley, and Dooley beat the Devil.”

“And did you win a prize?” said Mrs. Moloney.

“I did,” said Mrs. McSweeney. “The booby prize.”

“What was it?” said Mrs. Moloney.

“’Twas a bar of soft soap,” said Mrs. McSweeney. “I use it on Pat when he gets jealous. Well, goodbye. I must get his dinner. I’m goin’ to hypnotize him to-day with thripe and onions.”


Mrs. McSweeney Plays a Part

“Stand not upon the ordher of your comin’, but come in at oncet,” said Mrs. McSweeney, striking an attitude as Mrs. Moloney entered.

“Whatever is the matther wid you?” said Mrs. Moloney, pausing doubtfully at the door.

“’Tis phwat they call the divine inflatus,” said Mrs. McSweeney. “’Tis stage shtruck I’ve been. Did you know I’d been on the boards?”

“What boards?” said Mrs. Moloney. “Is it the weather boards, the washin’ boards, or the morther boards?”

“’Tis none of them,” replied Mrs. McSweeney. “’Tis the boards of the stage no less. You needn’t be frightened. Come in and sit down and take off your hat, till I tell you all about it.”

Mrs. Moloney entered and took a chair near the door, but Mrs. McSweeney insisted that she should exchange it for the arm chair near the window, and when they were settled Mrs. McSweeney continued.

“Did you ever hear of the Society for the Supply of Jam Tarts to the Aborigines?”

“No,” said Mrs. Moloney.

“’Tis a deservin’ society,” said Mrs. McSweeney. “Widhout ’em some of the aborigines would be weeks widhout seein’ such a thing as a jam tart. That makes them savage. Those that get a regular supply of jam tarts get quite civilised. The society bein’ short of funds, as such societies ginerrally are, got up an entertainment. As it was to be a classical affair, they invited me to take part. ’Twas young Miss Brewsther, the one wid the cast in her eye, that come to ask me.

“Phwat could I do?” says I.

“You might tell us some of your advintures,” she says.

“I’m too modest,” I says, “to talk about mesilf.”

“Could you give us something from Shakespeare?” she says.

“From who?” I says.

“From Shakespeare,” she says. “The man who wrote Othello.”

“I dare say I could if I thried,” I says, “but don’t ask me to take the part of Disdimony,” I says, “bekase if you do there’ll be murdher done. So sure as that blackfellow thried to choke me wid that pillow, I’d wring his neck for him, so I would.”

“You might play a scene wid Mr. Mooney,” she says. “He’s very clever and he’ll coach you.”

“I’ll do phwat I can,” I says. And it was that way that I gev me wurrud to assist. You know me well enough to know, my dear, that when I oncet put me hand to a pillow of salt I never look back, and so I wint on wid it. Mr. Mooney was a nice gintleman wid long hair, and Pat didn’t like me rehearsin’ wid him till I explained that he was a married man wid a large family.

He asked me phwat I would like to play, and so I tould him I would play Lady Macbeth, as she always sthruck me as a manly sort of woman.

We shtarted to learn the parts, and all day long when I was at me wurruk I had the book in me hand, and I used to shtartle the twins sometimes when I’d be practisin’.

Afther we’d been practisin’ for about a month I tould Mr. Mooney that I thought I’d rather play somethin’ else. There was too much blood about Lady Macbeth. It was gettin’ on me nerves. I woke Pat up in the night and tould him to:—

“Go, get some wather, and wash this filthy witness from your hand.”

He was that mad that I thought he’d shtop the rehearsals.

Mr. Mooney asked me phwat I thought I’d like to play.

“Well,” I says, “I’d like to play somethin’ more conjanial to me nature. Somethin’ of a lovin’ disposition.”

“How about Juliet?” he says.

“Is that the one where she shtands on a balcony and talks to the man in the garden?” I says,

“That’s it,” says he.

“That ought to suit me well,” I says.

So it was arranged that I should play Juliet, and Mr. Mooney was to be Romeo. I had to shtudy me part mighty quick bekase the time was approachin’ and we’d wasted a lot of time on Lady Macbeth that was thrown away.

Anyway, by the time we had to perform the piece Mr. Mooney said he thought I would do all right if I didn’t get stage fright.

“There’s little fear of that,” I says. “Biddy McSweeney can hould her own in most places.”

“I hope so,” he says.

We used to rehearse every night the last week; I used to sit on a chair perched up on the middle of the dinin’ table, and Mr. Mooney would kneel on the floor so as to get us used to the right angle. Pat would sit in the corner wid the book and shmoke his pipe as he prompted us when we went wrong. The twins were aujence.

* * * * * * *

The hall was packed on the night of the performance, and the first part consisted of some songs and music. I did not hear any of that, for it tuk them the whole time to get me into the dhress I was to wear to play Juliet in. It was several sizes too shmall, and they could not get it to meet up the back, but the lady that was managin’ things said that it didn’t matther, as I should have to keep me face to the aujence, and so they left the back open and I was able to breathe.

Mr. Mooney and I had to commence the second part. That gev them a chance to put the balcony up while the curtain was down.

At last the bell rang.

“Now, Mrs. McSweeney,” said the stage manager, “’tis time you were on the balcony.”

“Which way do I go?” I says.

“Up that laddher,” he says. “When you get to the hole, that is the balcony. You talk through that to Romeo.”

“Do you think it will hould me?” I says.

“Oh, yes,” he says, “the carpenter was up it just now.”

I went up it very carefully and looked through the hole, and there was Mr. Mooney just below me.

I’ll never forget the sight he looked. He was in tights, and I thought that Mr. Mooney in tights was just about the funniest thing I had ever seen.

“Are you ready?” he says, in a loud whisper.

“I am,” says I, “as soon as I shtop laughin’.”

“Don’t laugh or you’ll shpoil the effect,” he says.

“You get out of sight. They are goin’ to raise the curtain. You know your cue?” he says.

“Phwat cue,” I says. “Sure we’re not playin’ billiards.”

“Duck!” he says, “they’re pullin up the curtain.”

So I ducked quick, and as I did the balcony shuk that way that I thought it would fall from undher me. I listened for Mr. Mooney, and at last I heard him say:

“He jests at scars that never felt a wound.”

At that I popped up me head, and I’ll never forget me feelin’s when I saw the aujence forninst me. The presperation poured from me and me knees were knockin’ that way that the balcony shuk agin. ’Twas a mercy that Mr. Mooney had a long speech to make or I would never have recovered mesilf. As it was I heard him say:

“Oh, that I were a glove upon that hand that I might touch that cheek.”

Then I knew that I had to say “Ah me.” I thried to say it, but me mouth was as dhry as a limekiln. I thried agin and the third time I got it out.

Then he went on: “She speaks. Oh, speak again, bright angel! for thou art as glorious to this night as is the winged messenger of heaven.”

The balcony was shakin’ agin, so I didn’t wait for him to finish, and I said: “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefor art thou Romeo?”

Then he says: “Shall I hear more, or shall I shpake at this?”

So I says, “Hark! Peace! it was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman that givest the stern goodnight”

Then he says, “I take thee at thy word. Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptised.”

Just then I heard the prompther say: “Phwat man art thou?”

At first I tuk no notice, but he shuk the laddher to atthract me attintion, and repayted in a loud whisper, “Phwat man art thou?”

“Go along wid you,” says I, over me shouldher, “sure I’m no man.”

“Oh! go on then,” he says, in a despairin’ tone of voice.

So I turruned to Mr. Mooney and wint on as near as I cud remimber the place:

“Why did you bring these daggers from the place? Go, carry them, and smear the sleepy grooms wid blood.”

“My name, dear Saint,” says Mr. Mooney, “is hateful to myself. Had I it written I would tear the wurrud.”

“Get on your nightgown,” says I, “lest occasion call us, and show us to be watchers.”

“You are all wrong,” says the prompther. “You are mixin’ Juliet with Lady Macbeth.”

“Hould your whisht,” says I, over me shouldher, “who’s playin’ the chracter?”

“Wid Dove’s light wings,” says Mr. Mooney, “did I o’er-perch these walls.”

“Phwat’s the business,” says I, “that such a hidgeous thrumpet calls?”

“Phwat Love can do,” says Mr. Mooney, “that does Love attimpt.”

“’Tis safer,” says I, “to be that which we desthroy, than by desthruction dwell in doubtful joy.”

“Lady,” says Mr. Mooney, “by yondher blessed moon I shwear”.

“My Lord,” says I, “is often taken thus, the fit is momentary.”

“Phwat shall I shwear by?” says Mr. Mooney.

“Why do you make such faces?” says I. “You look but on a shtool.”

“Oh! blessed night,” says Mr. Mooney.

“Almost at odds wid mornin’” says I. “Which is which?”

By this time the aujence were all laughin’ fit to crack their sides, and I didn’t wondher at it. The sight of Mr. Mooney would have made a cat laugh. His tights were shakin’ undher him, and the presperation was washin’ the paint off his face in sthreaks. I was near laughin’ mesilf.

I was just thryin’ to remimber phwat it was I had to say next when I was sthruck bang in the eye wid a peanut.

I laned over the balcony to see if I could find out who it was that threw it.

“I’d like,” I says, “to see the shpalpeen that threw that peanut.”

At this the aujence laughed agin. Then one young larrikin that was sittin’ in a front sate pinted to Mr. Mooney and said: “He’s the one.”

“You’re a liar,” says I. “Mr. Mooney is a respectable married man, when he’s not in tights.” Just then another peanut sthruck me in the other eye, and I laned further over the balcony to thry to find out who it was that threw it. Then I heard a creakin’ noise, and I filt the balcony goin’ and me wid it.

‘‘Look out, Mooney,” shouted the larrikin, “she’s comin’ at you.”

Then, in less time than it takes to talk about it, as the shtory books say, the whole balcony fell wid a crash on the stage, and me wid it, I was that shuk up wid the fall, besides not bein’ sure phwat I looked like from the aujence that I thought it best to faint. When I came to, I found the twins were sittin’ howlin’ one on aiche side of me, Miss Brewsther was cuttin’ me shtaylace, which was aisy to get at on account of me dhress havin’ been left open at the back, and the prompther, wid more energy than was necessary, was pourin’ wather over me out of a bucket. In fact, if I hadn’t come to when I did, I should have been dhrownded.

“Are you betther?” says Miss Brewsther, when I sat up.

“I think so,” says I, “if there’s no bones bruck.”

“I don’t think there are,” she said. “Mr. Mooney was undher you.”

“Poor man,” says I. “And where is he now?”

“They are just takin’ him away in the ambulance,” she says.

“I suppose,” she continued, “this is your first appearance on the boards?”

“It is,” says I, “and by a curious coincidence, and by the help of a merciful Providence, my first appearance will be my last.”

But the performance was a great success. The aujence were still cheerin’ and shoutin’ “encore” when they dhropped the curtain to the appropriate and soothin’ sthrains of “God save the King.”

“Well, I suppose it is time to go. The best of frinds must part and say good-bye. May the bist of luck attind you, and may you always have a daycent wurrud to say for Bridget McSweeney. Good-bye.


Project Gutenberg Australia