The Irish Penny Journal, Vol. 1 No. 39, March 27, 1841 online

. (page 2 of 3)
Online LibraryVariousThe Irish Penny Journal, Vol. 1 No. 39, March 27, 1841 → online text (page 2 of 3)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

of Timbuctoo. Absurd! The balance of power _would_ be disturbed, and very
seriously too, by such a proceeding. By gaining possession of Timbuctoo,
Russia would gain possession of Africa; and by gaining possession of
Africa, Russia would gain possession of Cape Coast Castle, the coast of
Guinea, and the Cape of Good Hope; and by gaining the Cape of Good Hope,
she would deprive us of the East Indies. And, pray, where would we be
then? We put the question to our contemporary with solemn earnestness,
and with calm composure wait for his reply.

Really, our friend “The Watch Tower” is but a so-so hand at politics. He
positively should be more cautious how he speaks of matters with which he
is unacquainted. The consequence of an opposite conduct is a series of
the most ridiculous blunders.

* * * * *

“The Watch Tower” is not to be contradicted and brow-beat in this way
with impunity. He gives in return

A REJOINDER (with cool and easy settler).

In reply to certain captious remarks that appeared in yesterday’s
Patagonian on our leading article of the 15th instant, we beg to say, for
the information of the editor of that paper, that we did _not_ say that
Ministers were outvoted on the potato question. What we did say was, that
Ministers _would_ have been outvoted on that question had they brought it
to issue. Strange that our contemporary _will_ not read us aright.

Again, in ascribing a certain influence to a certain party, we guarded
our expressions by the word “conditionally,” which, however, our
contemporary, with his usual candour, has chosen to overlook, and thus
entirely altered our meaning. Our contemporary concludes his tirade by
asking us what we mean by saying “that the balance of power would not
be in the least disturbed by Russia’s taking possession of Timbuctoo.”
Now, what will our readers think when we tell them that we made no such
assertion? What we said was, that the balance of power would not be
disturbed by Russia’s _occupying_ Timbuctoo, not possessing it, which
difference of expression makes, we apprehend, a material difference
in meaning. We supposed Russia occupying Timbuctoo as a friend, not
possessing it as an enemy; and in this view of the case we repeat
that the balance of power would in no ways be affected. We grant our
contemporary’s conclusions, but deny his premises.

With regard to our contemporary’s sneer at our political knowledge, we
would reply by calling his attention to his own blundering articles - (see
his incomprehensible article on the corn-laws, his interminable article
on the poor-rates, his unintelligible article on free trade and the
Kamschatka loan, &c. &c. &c.) The editor of the Patagonian may rest
assured that he has much to learn in the science of politics, and much,
too, that we could teach him, although it is no business of ours to
enlighten his ignorance.



“ - And this is poor Anselmo’s grave!
Ah, Juan! say of what he died -
For he was young, was young and brave,
Yet gentle as the cooing dove.” -
“He died, alas!” - and Juan sighed, -
“_He died, he died of slighted love_.”

“ - Poor youth! - And, Juan! - spake he aught
Of what he felt, before he died?” -
“ - He said that all his pains were nought
Save one - of which he would not speak -
Alas! we had not far to seek
For that: - it was the one dark thought
Wherewith in vain his spirit strove -
_He died, he died of slighted love_.”

“ - And when Death hovered nearer still,
What said he of his mournful fate?”
“ - That death was not so sharp an ill -
That Life, o’erdarkened by Despair,
Was bitterer far than Death to bear;
That rest awaits us in the tomb,
Where Anguish sleeps with Love and Hate.
Thus much he spake - and some were there
Who wept aloud his early doom;
But others knelt in silent prayer, -
And when they said that such as he
Were flowers that GOD took up to bloom
In Heaven, he smiled so thankfully!
And raised his failing eyes above -
_He died, he died of slighted love_.”

“ - And - Shepherd! - when the heavenly spark
Was flickering in its lamp of clay,
Before the glassy eye grew dark,
What said he more? or said he aught?” -
“ - But this - ‘The pilgrim goes his way: -
Farewell the beauty of the moon!
Farewell the glory of the noon!
The home of rest my heart hath sought
So long in vain will soon be mine -
Soon will that heart, all quelled and cold,
Lie low aneath the trodden mould,
Which brings it Peace, - a welcome boon!
Yet Love, ah, Love is still divine,
And surely Goodness never dies!’ -
He said no more - we closed his eyes -
We laid him in the grassy grove -
_He died, he died of slighted love_.”

- _Dublin University Magazine._



Corney Neylan, our village schoolmaster, when any question of arithmetic
may be proposed to him which he is in no humour to answer, and would
rather turn off by a joke, has been frequently known to reply to it by
asking _another_ question, like this: -

“Now, boys, ye’re striving to puzzle me; and I’ll engage none of ye can
answer something that I’ll ask ye, now.”

“What is it, Corney? Let’s hear it!”

“How many grains of oatenmale are contained in one given square foot of

This is, in its turn, a poser; but probably the number of schemes,
tricks, and contrivances, in an Irish cranium, might be found as hard to
be enumerated as the grains of meal in the aforesaid foot of stirabout!

Thus, while around the blazing turf fire, on a winter’s evening, the
story, the pipe, and the joke, take their rounds by turn, you will
invariably discover that that tale always gains a double share of
applause which may contain a relation of some clever successful scheme
or trick, or the “sayings and doings” of some remarkably clever fellow,
albeit perhaps a great rogue; in fact, such stories as these are suited
to the conceptions and tastes of a shrewd and ready-witted people.

But without tiring my reader with any more “shanachus,” for so we term
“palaver” in Clare, let me endeavour to present him with one of these
very stories, which, if it boasteth not of much interest, may perhaps
amuse him by its originality. Honour to that man, whomsoever he may be,
who first rescued these curious legends from oblivion, and found in our
Irish Penny Journal an excellent repository for their safer preservation!

The reader must not be surprised if my story contains a slight dash of
the marvellous, probably bordering on the hyperbolical; but this, which
I verily believe is but a kind of ornament, something superadded by the
genius of the narrators, as it has descended, must be taken as it is
meant, and will in most instances be found capable of _translation_, as
it were, into language easily and naturally to be explained.

A very long time ago, then, somewhere in the western part of the province
of Munster, lived, in a small and wretched cabin, a poor widow, named
Moireen Mera. She had three sons, two of whom were fine young men; but
the third - and of him we shall soon hear a good deal - though strong and
active, was of a lazy disposition, which resulted, as his mother at
least always thought, not so much from any fault of his own, as from his
natural foolishness of character; in fact, she really considered him as
of that class called in Ireland “naturals.” But before we say anything of
the third son, let us trace the histories of his two elder brothers.

Now, the first, whose name was Mihal More, or Michael Big Fellow, either
that he considered the small spot of land which his mother held quite
unable to support the family, or was actuated by some desire to improve
his condition away from home, never let his mother rest one moment until
she had consented to his starting, in order that he might, as he said,
should he fall in with a good master, return, and perhaps make her
comfortable for the remainder of her days.

To this plan, after much hesitation, Moireen Mera at length agreed, and
the day was fixed by Mihal for starting. “And, mother,” said he, “though
you have but little left, and it is wrong to deprive you of it, if you
_would_ but bake me a fine cake of wheaten bread, and if you _could_ but
spare me one of the hens - ah! that would be too much to ask! - against the
long road; could you, mother?”

“Why not, Michael? I could never refuse you any thing; and you will want
the cake and the hen badly enough. And, Mihal, _a vick asthore!_ if you
_should_ ever meet _one of the good people_, or any thing you may think
_isn’t right_, pass it by, and say not a word.”

It was evening when he began his expedition, nor did he stop on the
road till daylight returned, when he found himself in the centre of a
wood, and very faint and hungry. Seeing a convenient-looking rock near a
place where he thought it most probable he should find water, he seated
himself, with the intention of satisfying his hunger and thirst.

He had not been many moments engaged in eating some of his bread, and had
just commenced an attack on the hen, by taking off one of her wings, when
there came up to him a poor greyhound, which looked the very picture of
starvation. Greyhounds are proverbially thin, but this was thinner than
the thinnest, and, it was easy to see, had doubtlessly left at home a
numerous young family.

Mihal More was so very intent on eating that he heeded not the imploring
look of the poor greyhound, and it was not till, wonderful to say, she
addressed him in _intelligible Irish_, that he deigned to notice her. But
when the first word came from her mouth, he was sure she must be one of
those against any communication with whom his mother had so emphatically
warned him, and accordingly determined to apply her maxim strictly to the

“You are a traveller, I see,” said the greyhound, “and were doubtless
weary and fainting with hunger when you took your seat here. I am the
mother of a numerous and helpless family, who are even now clamorous
for subsistence; this I am unable to afford them, unless I am myself
supported. _You_ have now the means. Afford it to me, then, if only in
the shape of a few of the hen’s small bones; I will be for ever grateful,
and may perhaps be the means of serving you in turn when you may most
want and least expect it.”

But Mihal continued sedulously picking the bones, and when he had
finished, he put them all back into his wallet, still resolving to have
nothing whatever to do with this fairy, represented, as he imagined, by
the greyhound.

“Well!” said she, piteously, “since you give _me_ nothing, follow me. You
are perhaps in search of service; my master, who knows not my faculty of
speech, lives near; _he_ may assist you. And see,” continued she, as he
followed, “behold that well. Had you relieved me, it was in my power to
have changed its contents, which are of _blood_, to the finest virgin
honey; but the honey is beneath the blood, neither can it now be changed!
However, try your fortune, and if you are a reasonably sensible fellow, I
may yet relent, and be reconciled to you.”

Mihal still answered not a word, but followed the greyhound, until she
came to the gate of a comfortable farmer’s residence. She entered the
door, and Mihal saw her occupy her place at the side of the fire, and
that she was quickly besieged by a number of clamorous postulants, whose
wants she seemed but poorly adequate to supply.

At a glance he perceived that the house contained a master and a
mistress; but an old lady in the chimney corner, having by her a pair of
crutches, made him quail, by the sinister expression of her countenance.
Still, nothing daunted, he asked the master of the house at once for

“Plenty of employment have I, friend, and good wages,” answered he, “but
I am a man of a thousand: and I may also say, not one man of a thousand
will stop with me in this house.”

“And may I ask the reason of this, sir?” said Mihal, taking off his hat

“I will answer you immediately; but first follow me into my garden.
There,” said he, pointing to a heap of bones which lay bleaching on the
ground, “_they_ are the bones of those unfortunate persons who have
followed in my service; if now, therefore, you should so wish, you have
my full permission to depart unhurt: if you will brave them, hear now the
terms on which I must be served.”

“Sir,” answered Mihal, “you surprise me. I have travelled far, have no
money, neither any more to eat; say, therefore, your terms; and if I can
at all reconcile myself to them, I am prepared to stop here.”

“You must understand, then,” said the farmer, “that I hold my lands by a
very unusual tenure. This is not my fault. However, you will find _me_ an
indulgent master to _you_, at all events; for, in fact, you may chance
to be my master as much as I yours, or perhaps more; for _these_ are the
terms: -

“If _I_, at any time, first find fault with any one thing _you_ may
say or do, _you_ are to be solemnly bound to take this (pointing to an
immense and sharp axe) and forthwith, without a word, strike _me_ till
_I_ shall be dead: but should _you_, at any one time, first find fault
with one of _my_ words or actions, _I_ must be equally bound to do the
very same dreadful thing to _yourself_. Blame _me_ not, therefore, should
_you_ find fault with _me_, for it will be my destiny, nay, my duty, to
do as I have described; and, on the contrary, if it happen _otherwise_, I
must be ready to submit to my fate. Consider, and reply.”

“O, my master!” said Mihal More, “I have but the alternative of
starvation; I am in a strangely wild country, without a friend. I _must_
die, if I proceed, and nothing more dreadful than death can happen to
me here. I therefore throw myself on your compassion, and agree to your

They then returned to the house, and Mihal felt somewhat refreshed,
even by the smell alone of the savoury viands which the mistress was
then preparing for the afternoon’s repast; the greyhound, too, cast
occasionally wistful glances towards the operations going forward.

At length the dinner hour being all but arrived, the old lady in the
chimney-corner then opened her lips for the first time since Mihal had
come in, and expressed a wish to go out and take a walk; “for,” said she,
“I have not been out for some weeks, ever since our last servant left us.
What is your name, my man?” So he told her. “Come out, then,” said she,
“Mihal, and assist me about the garden, for I am completely cramped.”

Mihal muttered a few words about dinner, hunger, and so on, but was
interrupted by the farmer, who said, “Mihal, you _must_ attend my mother;
she has sometimes strange fancies. Besides, remember our agreement. _Do
you find fault with me?_”

“O, by no means, sir,” said Mihal, frightened; “I must do my business, I

The dinner was actually laid out on the plates to every one when Mihal
and the old lady walked out. No sooner had they done so, than the
greyhound, before she could be prevented, pounced on his dinner, and
devoured it in a moment!

The old lady thought proper to walk for some hours in the garden; and now
was Mihal very hungry, for he had tasted nothing since he had finished
the hen early that morning; he almost began to wish that he had relieved
the greyhound.

When they came in at last, the supper was being prepared. Mihal was now
quite certain that his wants would be attended to; but how woefully
was he doomed to be disappointed! For, no sooner had they entered the
house than the accursed old lady seized a large cake of wheaten bread,
which was baking on the embers, and, hastily spreading on it a coat of
butter, directed Mihal to attend her again into the garden! He could say
nothing, for his master’s eyes were on him. He was completely bewildered.
In despair he went with the old lady, and as it was a lovely moonlight
night, she stopped out an unusual time, and it was very late when they
came in.

Mihal stretched himself, quite fainting, on the bed, but slept not a
wink. How I wish, now, thought he, that I had given the greyhound not
only the small bones, but even half my hen!

The next morning the family early assembled for breakfast, and again were
the cakes put down to bake over the glowing fire. _Again_ did the old
lady seize one, and command Mihal into the garden!

He was now completely exhausted; and, determining to expostulate with his
master when he came in, went up to him, craving some food.

“No,” said the farmer; “we never eat except at stated times, and my
mother keeps the keys.”

“Ah, sir, have pity on me!” answered Mihal; “how can I exist, or do your

“_And can you blame me?_” said the master.

Mihal, now quite losing sight of the agreement, and confused by the
question, put in so treacherous a manner, answered, “that of course he
could not but blame any person who would permit such infamous conduct.”

Here was the signal. Mihal, in his enfeebled state, was no match for
the sturdy farmer; in a moment his head was rolling on the floor by a
vigorous stroke of the fatal axe, while grins of satisfaction might
be seen playing on the countenances both of the old lady, _and her

The feelings of the poor widow may be imagined, when no tidings ever
reached her of her Mihal More. But, on the expiration of a year, the
second son, Pauthrick Dhuv, or Patrick Black Fellow, so called from his
dark complexion, also prevailed on his mother to let him go in search of
his brother, and of employment.

But why should I describe again the horrid scene? Let me satisfy you by
merely saying that precisely the same occurrences also happened to poor
Pauthrick Dhuv, and that his bones were added to those of his brother,
and of the other victims behind the farmer’s garden!

But when, in the course of another year, neither Mihal nor Pauthrick
appeared, the widow’s grief was unbounded. How was she, then, astonished,
when “the fool,” as he was yet always called, although his real name was
Rooshkulum, actually volunteered to do the same! Nothing could stop him:
go he would. So the cake was baked, the hen was killed and roasted, and
Rooshkulum, “the fool,” set out on _his_ expedition. And _there_, at the
rock in the wood, was that very same greyhound; and as soon as she had
looked him in the face, he said, “Why, poor thing! I have here what I
cannot eat, and you seem badly to need it; here are these bones and some
of this cake.”

It was _then_ the greyhound addressed him. “Come with me,” said she; “lo!
here is the well, of which _your two brothers_ could not drink: behold!
here is the honey on the top, clear and pure, but the blood is far

When “the fool” had satisfied himself at this well, he followed the
greyhound to the farmer’s house. It _may_ be barely possible that by the
road he received from her some excellent advice.

The conversation that ensued when Rooshkulum arrived at the farmer’s, and
offered himself for his servant, was much of the same nature as I have
before detailed while relating the former part of my story. “But,” said
Rooshkulum the fool, “I will not bind myself to these terms for ever; I
might get tired of you, or you of me; so, if you please, I will agree to
stop with you for certain till we both hear the cuckoo cry when we are

To this they agreed, and went into the house. However, just before they
stepped in, the farmer asked Rooshkulum his name.

“Why,” said he, “mine is a very curious name: it is so curious
a name, indeed, that you would never learn it; and where is the
occasion of breaking your jaws every minute trying to call me
‘Pondracaleuthashochun,’ which _is_ my real name, when you may as well
call me always ‘the Boy?’”

“Well! that will do,” answered the master.

The dinner was now prepared, and laid out on the plates, and the old
tricks about to be played. Rooshkulum, as with the others, could not find
fault, for, fool as he was, he knew the consequences. As he went out with
the old lady, she too inquired his name.

“Why, really,” said he to her, “mine is a name that no one, I venture
to say, was ever called before. All my brothers and sisters died, and
my father and mother thought that perhaps an unusual queer kind of name
might have luck, so they called me ‘_Mehane_.’”

And, reader, if thou understandest not our vernacular, know that “Mehane”
signifies in English “myself.”

They spent some hours, as usual, in the garden, and Rooshkulum returned
tired and exhausted. But when he expected to get his supper, and when she
again brought him out, and ate the fine hot buttered cake before his very
eyes, it was more than flesh and blood could stand. However, he pretended
not to mind it in the least, but was very civil to the old lady, amusing
her by his silly stories. “And now, ma’am,” said he, “let’s walk a little
way down this sunny bank before we go in.”

Certain it was that the sun did happen to shine on the bank at that very
time, but it was to what were _growing_ on it that he wished to direct
her close attention; for when he came to a certain place where there was
a cavity filled by a rank growth of nettles, thistles, and thorns, he
gave his charge such a shove as sent her sprawling and kicking in the
midst of them, uttering wild shrieks, for the pain was great.

But Rooshkulum had no notion of helping her out, and ran into the house,
which was some distance away, desiring the farmer to run, for that his
mother _would_ walk there, and had fallen into a hole, from which he
could not get her out. And then the farmer ran, and cried, “O, mother,
where are you? what has happened?”

“Alas, my son! here I am down in this hole! Help me out! I am ruined,
disfigured for life!”

“And _who_ is it,” said the farmer, “that has dared to serve you thus?”

“O,” said she, “it was Mehane! _Mehane a veil Mehane!_” (Myself has
ruined myself!)

“Who?” said the farmer, as he helped her out.

“O, it was _Mehane_,” answered she; “_Mehane a veil Mehane!_”

“Well, then,” said the farmer, “I suppose it can’t be helped, as it was
yourself that did it. So here, ‘Boy!’ take her on your back, and carry
her home: it was but an accident!”

So Rooshkulum carried her off and put her to bed, she all the time
crying out. “Ah! but it was _Myself_ that ruined Myself!” till her son
thought her half cracked. She was quite unable to rise next morning; so
Rooshkulum “the fool” made an excellent and hearty breakfast, which he
took care also to share with the greyhound.

But then the old lady called her son to her bedside, and explained how
that it was “the Boy” who had done the mischief, “and I command you,”
said she, “to get rid of him, and for that purpose desire him at once to
go and make ‘cuisseh na cuissheh na guirach’ (the road of the sheeps’
feet), that you have long been intending to do, and then to send him with
the flock over the road to the land of the giant; we shall then never see
him more; and it is better to lose even a flock of sheep than have him
longer here, now that he has discovered our trick.”

The farmer called Rooshkulum to him, and taxed him with what he had done
to his mother.

“And,” said Rooshkulum, “_could you blame me_?”

“Why, no,” answered the farmer, remembering _his_ part of the agreement,
“_I don’t blame you_, but you must never do it any more. And now you must
take these (pointing to the sheep), and because the bog is soft on the
road to the ‘land of the giant,’ you must make ‘the road of the sheeps’
feet’ for them to go over, and come back when they are fat, and the giant
will support you while you are there. _Do you blame me for that?_”

“No,” said Rooshkulum, driving away the sheep.

But, contrary to all their expectations, in an hour’s time in marched
Rooshkulum, covered with bog dirt and blood. “O!” said he, “I have had


Online LibraryVariousThe Irish Penny Journal, Vol. 1 No. 39, March 27, 1841 → online text (page 2 of 3)