Battle of the Factions

from Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry by William Carleton

First published in 1830 by George Routledge & Co, Farringdon Street

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Neil Malone Annigulating the Miller, by Phiz.
Fight between the O'Callaghans and O'Hallaghans at Knockimdowney.

Accordingly, the next evening found them all present, when it was determined unanimously that Pat
Frayne, the hedge schoolmaster, should furnish them with the intellectual portion of the
entertainment for that night, their object being, each to tell a story in his  turn.

“Very well,” said, Pat, “I am quite simultaneous to the wishes of the company; but you will plaise to
observe, that there is clay which is moist, and clay which is not moist. Now, under certain
circumstances, the clay which is not moist, ought to be made moist, and one of those circumstances
is that in which any larned person becomes loquacious, and indulges in narrative. The philosophical
raison, as decided on by Socrates, and the great Phelim O’Poteen, two of the most celebrated
liquorary characters that ever graced the sunny side of a plantation, is, that when a man commences
a narration with his clay not moist, the said narration is found, by all larned experience, to be a very
dry one – ehem!”


“Very right, Mr Frayne,” replied Andy Morrow; “so in ordher to avoid a dhry narrative, Nancy,
give the masther a jug of your stoutest to wet his whistle, and keep him in wind as he goes along.”

“Thank you, Mr. Morrow – and in requital for your kindness, I will elucidate for you such a sample
of unadulterated Ciceronian eloquence, as would not be found originating from every
chimney-corner in this Province, anyhow. I am not bright, however, at oral relation. – I have
accordingly composed into narrative the following tale, which is appellated ‘The Battle of the
Factions:’-

“My grandfather, Connor O’Callaghan, though a tall, erect man, with white flowing hair, like snow,
that falls profusely about his broad shoulders, is now in his eighty-third year: an amazing age,
considhering his former habits. His countenance is still marked with honesty and traces of hard
fighting, and his cheeks ruddy and cudgel-worn; his eyes, though not as black as they often used to
be, have lost very little of that nate fire which characterises the eyes of the O’Callaghans, and for
which I myself have been – but my modesty won’t allow me to allude to that: let it be sufficient
for the present to say, that there never was remembered so handsome a man in his native parish,
and that I am as like him as one Cork-red phatie is to another. Indeed, it has been often said, that
it would be hard to meet an O’Callaghan without a black eye in his head. He has lost his fore-teeth,
however, a point in which, unfortunately, I, though his grandson, have a strong resemblance to him.
The truth is, they were knocked out of him in rows, before he had reached his thirty-fifth year – 
circumstance which the kind reader will be pleased to receive in extenuation for the same defect
in myself. That, however, is but a trifle, which never gave either of us much trouble.


“It pleased Providence to bring us through many hair-breadth escapes, with our craniums uncracked; and when we considher that he, on taking a retrogradation of his past life, can indulge in the plasin recollection of having broken two skulls in his fighting days, and myself one, without either of us getting a fracture in return, I think we have both rason to be thankful. He was a powerful bulliah battha[1] in his day, and never met a man able to fight him, except big Mucklemurray, who stood before him the greater part of an hour and a half, in the fair of Knockimdowney, on the day that the first great fight took place – twenty years afther the hard frost – between the O’Callaghans and the O’Hallaghans. The two men fought single hands – for both factions were willing to let them try the engagement out, that they might see what side could boast of having the best man. They began where you enter the north side of Knockimdowney, and fought successively up to the other end, then back again to the spot where they commenced, and afterwards up to the middle of the town, right opposite to the market-place, where my grandfather, by the same a-token, lost a grinder; but he soon took satisfaction for that, by giving Mucklemurray a tip above the eye with the end of an oak stick, dacently loaded with lead, which made the poor man feel very quare entirely, for the few days that he survived it.

“Faith, if an Irishman happened to be born in Scotland, he would find it mighty inconvanient – afther losing two or three grinders in a row – to manage the hard oaten bread that they use there; for which rason, God be good to his sowl that first invented the phaties, anyhow, because a man can masticate them without a tooth, at all at all. I’ll engage, if larned books were consulted, it would be found out that he was an Irishman. I wonder that neither Pastorial nor Columbkill mentions anything about him in their prophecies consarning the church; for my own part, I’m strongly inclinated to believe that it must have been Saint Patrick himself; and I think that his driving all kinds of venomous reptiles out of the kingdom is, according to the Socrastic method of argument, an undeniable proof of it. The subject, to a dead certainty, is not touched upon in the Brehon Code[2], nor by any of the three Psalters[3], which is extremely odd, seeing that the earth never produced a root equal to it in the multiplying force of prolification. It is, indeed, the root of prosperity to a fighting people: and many a time my grandfather boasts to this day, that the first bit of bread he ever ett was a phatie.

“In mentioning my grandfather’s fight with Mucklemurray, I happened to name them blackguards, the O’Hallaghans: hard fortune to the same set, for they have no more discretion in their quarrels, than so many Egyptian mummies, African buffoons, or any other uncivilised animals. It was one of them, he that’s married to my own fourth cousin, Biddy O’Callaghan, that knocked two of my grinders out, for which piece of civility I had the satisfaction of breaking a splinter or two in his carcase, being always honestly disposed to pay my debts.

“With respect to the O’Hallaghans, they and our family have been next neighbours since before the Flood – and that’s as good as two hundred years; for I believe it’s 198, anyhow, since my great grandfather’s grand uncle’s ould mare was swept out of the ‘Island,’ in the dead of the night, about half an hour after the whole country had been ris out of their beds by the thunder and lightning. Many a field of oats and many a life, both of beast and Christian, was lost in it, especially of those that lived on the bottoms about the edge of the river: and it was true for them that said it came before something; for the next year was one of the hottest summers ever remembered in Ireland.

“These O’Hallaghans couldn’t be at peace with a saint. Before they and our faction began to quarrel, it’s said that the O’Donnells, or Donnells, and they had been at it, - and a blackguard set the same O’Donnells were, at all times – in fair and market, dance, wake, and berrin, setting the country on fire. Whenever they met, it was heads cracked and bones broken; till by degrees the O’Donnells feel away, one after another, from fighting, accidents, and hanging; so that at last there was hardly the name of one of them in the neighbourhood. The O’Hallaghans, after this, had the country to themselves – were the cocks of the walk entirely; - who but they? A man darn’t look crooked at them, or he was certain of getting his head in his fist. And when they’d get drunk in a fair, it was nothing but ‘Whoo! For the O’Hallaghans!’ and leaping yards high off the pavement, brandishing their cudgels over their heads, striking their heels against their hams, tossing up their hats; and when all would fail, they’d strip off their coats, and trail them up and down the street, shouting, ‘Who dare touch the coat of an O’Hallaghan? Where’s the blackguard Donnells now?’ – and so on, till flesh and blood couldn’t stand it.

“In the course of time, the whole country was turned against them; for no crowd could get together in which they didn’t kick up a row, nor a bit of stray fighting couldn’t be, but they’d pick it up first; and if a man would venture to give them a contrairy answer, he was sure to get the crame of a good welting for his pains. The very landlord was timourous of them; for when they’d get behind in their rint, hard fortune to the bailiff, or proctor, or steward, he could find, that would have anything to say to them. And the more wise they; for maybe, a month would hardly pass till all belonging to them in the world would be in a heap of ashes: and who could say who did it? for they were as cunning as foxes.

“If one of them wanted a wife, it was nothing but find out the purtiest and richest farmer’s daughter in the neighbourhood, and next march into her father’s house, at the dead hour of night, tie and gag every mortal in it, and off with her to some friend’s place in another part of the country. Then what could be done? If the girl’s parents didn’t like to give in, their daughter’s name was sure to be ruined; at all events, no other man would think of marrying her, and the only plan was, to make the best of a bad bargain; and God he knows, it was making a bad bargain for a girl to have any matrimonial concatenation with the same O’Hallaghans; for they always had the bad drop in them, from first to last, from big to little – the blackguards! But wait, it’s not over with them yet.

“The bone of contintion  that got between them and our faction was this circumstance: their lands and ours were divided by a river that ran down from the high mountains of Slieve Boglish, and, after a coorse of eight or ten miles, disembogued itself, first into George Duffy’s mill-dam, and afterwards into that superb stream, the Blackwater, that might be well and appropriately appellated the Irish Niger. This river, which, though small at first, occasionally inflated itself to such a gigantic altitude, that it swept away cows, corn, and cottages, or whatever else happened to be in the way, was the march ditch, or merin between our farms. Perhaps it is worth while remarking, as a solution for natural philosophers, that these inundations were much more frequent in winter than in summer; though, when they did occur in summer, they were truly terrific.

“God be with the days, when I and half a dozen gorsoons used to go out, of a warm Sunday in summer, the bed of the river nothing but a line of white meandering stones, so hot that you could hardly stand upon them, with a small obscure thread of water creeping invisibly among them, hiding itself, as it were, from the scorching sun; except here and there, that you might find a small crystal pool where the streams had accumulated. Our plan was to bring a pocketful of roche lime with us, and put it in the pool, when all the fish used to rise on the instant to the surface, gasping with open mouth for fresh air, and we had only to lift them out of the water; a nate plan, which, perhaps, might be adopted successfully, on a more extensive scale, by the Irish fisheries. Indeed, I almost regret that I did not remain in that station of life, for I was much happier then than ever I was since I began to study and practice larning. But this is vagating from the subject.

“Well, then, I have said that them O’Hallaghans lived beside us, and that this stream divided our lands. About half a quarter – i.e. to accommodate myself to the vulgar phraseology – or, to speak more scientifically, one-eighth of a mile from our house, was as purty a hazel glen as you’d wish to see, near half a mile long – its developments and proportions were truly classical. In the bottom of this glen was a small green island, about twelve yards, diametrically, of Irish admeasurement, that is to say, be the same more or less; at all events, it lay in the way of the river, which, however, ran towards the O’Hallaghan side, and, consequently, the island was our property.

“Now, you’ll observe, that this river had been, for ages, the merin between the two farms, for they both belonged to separate landlords, and so long as it kept the O’Hallaghan side of the little peninsula in question there could be no dispute about it, for all was clear. One wet winter, however, it seemed to change its mind upon the subject; for it wrought and wore away a passage for itself on our side of the island, and by that means took part, as it were, with the O’Hallaghans, leaving the territory which had been our property for centhries, in their possession. This was a vexatious change to us, and, indeed, eventually produced very feudal consequences. No sooner had the stream changed sides, than the O’Hallaghans claimed the island as theirs, according to their tenement; and we, having had it for such length of time in our possession, could not break ourselves of the habitude of occupying it. They incarcerated our cattle, and we incarcerated theirs. They summoned us to their landlord, who was a magistrate; and we summoned them to ours, who was another. The verdicts were north and south. Their landlord gave in favour of them, and ours in favour of us. The one said he had law on his side; the other, that he had proscription and possession, length of time and usage.

“The two squires then fought a challenge upon the head of it, and what was more singular, upon the disputed spot itself; the one standing on their side, the other on ours; for it was just twelve paces every way. Their friend was a small, light man, with legs like drumsticks; the other was a large, able-bodied gentleman, with a red face and hooked nose. It pastured upon their landlord’s spindle leg, on which he held it out, exclaiming, that while he lived he would never fight another challenge with his antagonist, ‘because,’ said he, holding out his own spindle shank, ‘the man who would hit that could hit anything.’


“We then were advised, by an attorney, to go to law with them; and they were advised by another attorney to go to law with us: accordingly, we did so, and in the course of eight or nine years it might have been decided, but just as the legal term approximated in which the decision was to be announced, the river divided itself with mathematical exactitude on each side of the island. This altered the state and law of the question in toto; but, in the mean time, both we and the O’Hallaghans were nearly fractured by the expenses. Now during the law-suite we usually houghed and mutilated each other’s cattle, according as they trespassed the premises. This brought on the usual concomitants of various battles, fought and won by both sides, and occasioned the law-suit to be dropped; for we found it a mighty inconvanient matter to fight it out both ways; by the same a-token that I think it a proof of stultity to go to law at all at all, as long as a person is able to take it into his own management. For the only incongruity in the matter is this: that, in the one case, a set of lawyers have the law in their hands, and, in the other, that you have it in your own; that’s the only difference, and ‘tis easy knowing where the advantage lies.

“We, however, paid the most of the expenses, and would have ped them all with the greatest integrity, were it not that our attorney, when about to issue an execution against our property, happened somehow to be shot, one evening, as he returned home from a dinner which was given by him that was attorney for the O’Hallaghans. Many a boast the O’Hallaghans made, before the quarrelling between us and them commenced, that they’d sweep the streets with the fighting O’Callaghans, which was an epithet that was occasionally applied to our family. We differed, however, materially from them; for we were honourable, never starting out in dozens on a single man or two, and beating him into insignificance. A couple, or maybe, when irritated, three, were the most we ever set at a single enemy; and if we left him lying in a state of imperception, it was the most we ever did, except in a regular confliction, when a man is justified in saving his own skull by breaking one of the opposite faction. For the truth of the business is, that he who breaks the skull of him who endeavours to break his own is safest; and, surely, when a man is driven to such an alternative, the choice is unhesitating.

"O'Hallaghans' attorney, however, had better luck; they were, it is true, rather in the retrograde with
him touching the law
charges, and, of coorse, it was only candid in him to look for his own. One
morning, he found that two of his horses had
been executed by some incendiary unknown, in the
coorse of the night; and, on going to look at them, he found a taste of
a notice posted on the inside
of the stable-door, giving him intelligence that if he did not find a horpos corpus[4] whereby to
transfer his body out of the country, he would experience a fate parallel to that of his brother lawyer
or the horses. And, undoubtedly, if honest people never perpetrated worse than banishing such
varmin, along with proctors, and drivers of all kinds, out of a civilized country, they would not be
so very culpable or atrocious.

"After this, the lawyer went to reside in Dublin; and the only bodily injury he received was the
death of a land-agent and a bailiff, who lost their lives faithfully in driving for rent. They died, however,
successfully; the bailiff having been provided for nearly a year before the agent was sent to give an
account of his stewardship - as the Authorized Version has it.
"The occasion on which the first re-encounter between us and the O'Hallaghans took place, was a
peaceable one. Several of our respective friends undertook to produce a friendly and oblivious
potation between us - it was at a berrin belonging to a corpse who was related to us both; and,
certainly, in the beginning we were all as thick as whigged milk. But there is no use now in dwelling
too long upon that circumstance; let it be sufficient to assert that the accommodation was effectuated
by fists and cudgels, on both sides - the first man that struck a blow being one of the friends that wished
to bring about the tranquillity. From that out the play commenced, and God he knows when it may
end; for no dacent faction could give in to another faction without losing their character, and being
kicked, and cuffed, and kilt, every week in the year.
"It is the great battle, however, which I am after going to describe: that in which we and the
O'Hallaghans had contrived, one way or other, to have the parish divided- one-half for them, and
the other for us; and, upon my credibility, it is no exaggeration to declare that the whole parish,
though ten miles by six, assembled itself in the town of Knockimdowny, upon this interesting occasion.
In thruth,
Ireland ought to be a land of mathemathitians; for I am sure her population is well trained,
at all events, in the two sciences of multiplication and division. Before I adventure, however, upon the
narration, I must wax pathetic a little, and then proceed with the main body of the story. 
"Poor Rose O'Hallaghan! - or, as she was designated- Rose Galh, or Fair Rose, and sometimes
simply, Rose Hallaghan, because the detention of the big O often produces an afflatus in the
pronunciation, that is sometimes mighty inconvenient to such as do not understand oratory - besides,
that the Irish are rather fond of sending the liquids in a gutthural direction - Poor Rose! that faction
fight, was a black day to her, the sweet innocent - when it was well known that there wasn't a man,
woman, or child, on either side that wouldn't lay their hands under her feet. However, in order to
insense the reader better into her character, I will commence a small sub-narration, which will
afterwards emerge into the parent stream of the story.
"The chapel of Knockimdowny is a slated house, without any ornament, except a set of wooden
cuts, painted red and blue, that are placed seriatum around the square of the building in the
internal side. Fourteen[5] of these suspind at equal distances on the walls, each set in a painted
frame; these constitute a certain species of country devotion. It is usual, on Sundays, for such of
the congregation as are most inclined to piety, to genuflect at the first of these pictures, and commence
a certain number of prayers to it after the repetition of which, they travel on their knees along the
bare earth to the second, where they repate another prayer peculiar to that, and so on, till they finish
the grand tower of the interior. Such, however, as are not especially addictated to this kind of
locomotive prayer, collect together in various knots through the chapel, and amuse themselves by
auditing or narrating anecdotes, discussing policy, or detraction; and in case it be summer, and the
day of a fine texture, they scatter themselves into little crowds on the chapel-green, or lie at their
length upon the grass in listless groups, giving way to chat and laughter.
 
"In this mode, laired on the sunny side of the ditches and hedges, or collected in rings round that
respectable character, the Academician of the village, or some other well-known Senachie, or
story-teller, they amuse themselves till the priest's arrival. Perhaps, too, some walking geographer
of a pilgrim may happen to be present; and if there be, he is sure to draw a crowd about him, in
spite of all the efforts of the learned Academician to the contrary. It is no unusual thing to see such
a vagrant, in all the vanity of conscious sanctimony, standing in the middle of the attentive peasants,
like the nave and felloes of a cart-wheel - if I may be permitted the loan of an apt similitude -
repeating some piece of unfathomable and labyrinthine devotion, or perhaps warbling, from
Stentorian lungs, some melodia sacra, in an untranslatable tongue; or, it may be, exhibiting the
mysterious power of an amber bade fastened as a Decade to his paudareens[6] lifting a chaff or
light bit of straw by the force of its attraction. This is an exploit which causes many an eye to turn
from the bades to his own bearded face, with a hope, as it were, of being able to catch a glimpse of
the lurking sanctimony by which the knave hoaxes them in the miraculous.
"The amusements of the females are also nearly such as I have drafted out. Nosegays of the darlings
might be seen sated on green banks, or sauntering about with a sly intention of coming in compact
with their sweethearts, or, like bachelors' buttons in smilingrows, criticising the young men as they
pass. Others of them might be seen screened behind a hedge, with their backs to the spectators taking
the papers off their curls before small bit of looking-glass placed against the ditch; or perhaps putting
on their shoes and stockings - which phrase can be used only by the authority of the figure heusteron
proteron
- inasmuch as if they put on the shoes first, you persave, it would be a scientific job to
get on the stockings after; but it's an idiomatical expression, and therefore justifiable. However, it's a
general custom in the country, which I dare to say has not yet spread into large cities, for the young
women to walk bare-footed to the chapel, or within a short distance of it, that they may exhibit their
bleached thread stockings and well-greased slippers to the best advantage, not pretermitting a
well-turned ankle and neat leg, which, I may fearlessly assert, my fair country-women can show
against any other nation, living or dead.
"One sunny Sabbath, the congregation of Knockimdowny were thus assimilated, amusing themselves
in the manner I have just outlined; a series of country girls sat on a little green mount, called the
Rabbit Bank, from the circumstance of its having been formerly an open burrow, though of late
years it has been closed. It was near twelve o'clock, the hour at which Father Luke O'Shaughran
was generally seen topping the rise of the hill at Larry Mulligan's public-house, jogging on his bay
hack at something between a walk and a trot - that is to say, his horse moved his fore and hind legs
on the off side at one motion, and the fore and hind legs of the near side in another, going at a kind
of dog's trot, like the pace of an idiot with sore feet in a shower - a pace, indeed, to which the animal
had been set for the last sixteen years, but beyond which, no force, or entreaty, or science, or power,
either divine or human, of his Reverence could drive him. As yet, however, he had not become
apparent; and the girls already mentioned were discussing the pretensions which several of their
acquaintances had to dress or beauty.
"'Peggy,' said Katy Carroll to her companion, Peggy Donohue, 'were you out[7] last Sunday?'
"'No, in troth, Katty, I was disappointed in getting my shoes from Paddy Mellon[8], though I
left him the measure for my foot three weeks agone, and gave him a thousand warnings to make
them duck-nebs; but, instead of that,' said she, holding out a very purty foot, 'he has made them as
sharp in the toe as a pick-axe, and a full mile too short for me. But why do ye ax was I out, Katty?'
"'Oh, nothing,' responded Katty, 'only that you missed a sight, anyway.'
"'What was it Kitty, a-hagur?' asked her companion with mighty great curiosity.
"'Why, nothing less, indeed, nor Rose Cullenan decked out in a white muslin gown, and a black
sprush bonnet, tied under her chin wid a silk ribbon, no less; but what killed us out and out was -
you wouldn't guess?'
"'Arrah, how could I guess, woman alive? A silk handkerchy, maybe; for I wouldn't doubt the same
Rose but she would be setting herself up for the likes of such a thing.' 
"'It's herself that had, as red as scarlet, about her neck; but that's not it.'
"'Arrah, Katty, tell it to us at wanst; out with it, a-hagur; sure there's no treason in it, anyhow.'
"'Why, thin, nothing less nor a crass-bar red-and-white pocket-handkerchy, to wipe her purty
complexion wid!'
"To this Peggy replied by a loud laugh, in which it was difficult to say whether there was more of
satire than astonishment.
"'A pocket-handkerchy!' she exclaimed; 'musha, are we alive afther that, at all at all! Why, that
bates Molly M'Cullagh and her red mantle entirely. I'm sure, but it's well come up for the likes of her,
a poor, imperint crathur, that sprung from nothing, to give herself sich airs.'
"'Molly M'Cullagh, indeed,' said Katty, 'why, they oughtn't to be mintioned in the one day, woman.
Molly's come of a dacent ould stock, and kind mother for her to keep herself in genteel ordher at all
times; she sees nothing else, and can afford it, not all as one as the other flipe[9] that would go to the
world's end for a bit of dress.' 
"'Sure she thinks she's a beauty, too, if you plase,' said Peggy, tossing her head with an air of disdain;
'but tell us, Katty, how did the muslin sit upon her at all, the upsetting crathur?' 
"'Why, for all the world like a shift on a Maypowl, or a stocking on a body's nose: only nothing killed
us outright but the pocket-handkerchy!'
"'Hut!' said the other, 'what could we expect from a proud piece like her, that brings a Manwill[10] to
mass every Sunday, purtending she can read in it, and Jem Finigan saw the wrong side of the book
towards her, the Sunday of the Purcession!'[11] 
"At this hit they both formed another risible junction, quite as sarcastic as the former - in the midst of
which the innocent object of their censure, dressed in all her obnoxious finery, came up and joined them.
She was scarcely sated - I blush to the very point of my pen during the manuscription - when the
confabulation assumed a character directly antipodial to that which marked the precedent dialogue. 
"'My gracious, Rose, but that's a purty thing you have got in your gown! - where did you buy it?'
"'Och, thin, not a one of myself likes it over much. I'm sorry I didn't buy a gingham: I could have got
a beautiful patthern, all out, for two shillings less; but they don't wash so well as this. I bought it in
Paddy McGartland's, Peggy.' 
"'Troth, it's nothing else but a great beauty; I didn't see anything on you this long time that becomes
you so well, and I've remarked that you always look best in white.' 
"'Who made it, Rose?' inquired Katty; 'for it sits illegant'
"'Indeed,' replied Rose, 'for the differ of the price, I thought it better to bring it to Peggy Boyle, and
be sartin of not having it spoiled. Nelly Keenan made the last; and although there was a full breadth
more in it nor this, bad cess to the one of her but spoiled it on me; it was ever so much too short in
the body, and too tight in the sleeves, and then I had no step at all at all.' 
"'The sprush bonnet is exactly the fit for the gown,' observed Katty; 'the black and the white's jist
the cut - how many yards had you, Rose?'
"'Jist ten and a half; but the half-yard was for the tucks.'
"'Ay, faix! and brave full tucks she left in it; ten would do me, Rose?'
"'Ten! - no, nor ten and a half; you're a size bigger nor me at the laste, Peggy; but you'd be asy fitted,
you're so well made.'
"'Rose, darling,' said Peggy, 'that's a great beauty, and shows off your complexion all to pieces; you
have no notion how well you look in it and the sprush.' 
"In a few minutes after this her namesake, Rose Galh O'Hallaghan, came towards the chapel, in
society with her father, mother, and her two sisters. The eldest, Mary, was about twenty-one;
Rose, who was the second, about nineteen, or scarcely that; and Nancy, the junior of the three,
about twice seven. 
"'There's the O'Hallaghans,' says Rose.
"'Ay,' replied Katty; 'you may talk of beauty, now; did you ever lay your two eyes on the likes
of Rose for downright - musha, if myself knows what to call it - but, anyhow, she's the lovely
crathur to look at.' 
"Kind reader, without a single disrespectful insinuation against any portion of the fair sex, you may
judge what Rose O'Hallaghan must have been, when even these three were necessitated to praise
her in her absence! 
"'I'll warrant,' observed Katty, 'we'll soon be after seeing John O'Callaghan' - (he was my own
cousin) - 'sthrolling afther them, at his ase.'
"'Why,' asked Rose, 'what makes you say that?'
"'Bekase,' replied the other, I've a rason for it.'
"'Sure John O'Callaghan wouldn't be thinking of her,' observed Rose, 'and their families would
see other shot: their factions would never have a crass-marriage, anyhow.' 
"'Well,' said Peggy, 'it's the thousand pities that the same two couldn't go together; for fair and
handsome as Rose is, you'll not deny but John comes up to her; but I faix! sure enough it's they that's
the proud people on both sides, and dangerous to make or meddle with, not saying that ever there
was the likes of the same two for dacency and peaceableness among either of the factions.' 
"'Didn't I tell yez?' cried Katty; 'look at him now staling afther her: and it'll be the same thing going
home again; and  if Rose is not much belied,it's not a bit displasing to her.' 
"'Between ourselves’, observed Peggy, ‘it would be no wondher the darling young crathur would
fall in love with him; for you might thravel the country afore you'd meet with his fellow for face
and figure.' 
"'There's Father Ned,' remarked Katty; 'we had betther get into the chapel before the scroodgin
comes an, or your bonnet and gown, Rose, won't be the betther for it.' 
"They now proceeded to the chapel, and those who had been amusing themselves after the same
mode, followed their exemplar. In a short time the hedges and ditches adjoining the chapel were
quite in solitude, with the exception of a few persons from the extreme parts of the parish, who
might be seen running with all possible velocity 'to overtake mass,' as the phrase on that point
expresses itself. 
"The chapel of Knockimdowny was situated at the foot of a range of lofty mountains; a bye-road
went past the very door, which had under subjection a beautiful extent of cultivated country,
diversificated by hill and dale, or rather by hill and hollow; for, as far as my own geographical
knowledge goes, I have uniformly found them inseparable. It was also ornamented with the waving
verdure of rich corn-fields and meadows, not pretermitting phatie-fields in full blossom - a part
of rural landscape which, to my utter astonishment, has escaped the pen of poet, and the brush of
painter; although I will risk my reputation as a man of pure and categorical taste, if a finer ingredient
in the composition of a landscape could be found than a field of Cork-red phaties[12] or Moroky
blacks in full bloom, allowing a man to judge by the pleasure they confer upon the eye, and
therefore to the heart. About a mile up from the chapel, towards the south, a mountain-stream -
not the one already intimated - over which there was no bridge, crossed the road. But in lieu of a
bridge, there was a long double plank laid over it, from bank to bank; and as the river was broad,
and not sufficiently incarcerated within its channel, the neighbours were necessitated to throw these
planks across the narrowest part they could find in the contiguity of the road. This part was
consequently the deepest, and, in floods, the most dangerous; for the banks were elevated as far
as they went, and quite tortuositous.
"Shortly after the priest had entered the chapel, it was observed that the hemisphere became, of
a sudden, unusually obscure, though the preceding part of the day had not only been uncloudously
bright, but hot in a most especial manner. The obscurity, however, increased rapidly, accompanied
by that gloomy stillness which always takes precedence of a storm, and fills the mind with vague and
interminable terror. But this ominous silence was not long unfractured; for soon after the first
appearance of the  gloom, a flash of lightning quivered through the chapel, followed by an
extragavantly loud clap of thunder, which shook the very glass in the windows, and filled the
congregation to the brim with terror. Their dismay, however, would have been infinitely greater,
only for the presence of his Reverence, and the confidence which might be traced to the solemn
occasion on which they were assimilated.
"From this moment the storm became progressive in dreadful magnitude, and the thunder, in
concomitance with the most vivid flashes of lightning, pealed through the sky, with an awful
grandeur and magnificence, that were exalted and even rendered more sublime by the still
solemnity of religious worship. Every heart now prayed fervently - every spirit shrunk into a
deep sense of its own guilt and helplessness - and every conscience was terror-stricken, as
the voice of an angry God thundered out of his temple of storms though the heavens; for truly,
as the Authorized Version has it, 'darkness was under his feet, and his pavilion round about
was dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies, because he was wroth.'
"The rain now condescended in even-down torrents, and thunder succeeded thunder in deep
and terrific peals, whilst the roar of the gigantic echoes that deepened and reverberated
among the glens and hollows, 'laughing in their mountain mirth,' - hard fortune to me, but they
made the flesh creep on my bones! 
"This lasted for an hour, when the thunder slackened: but the rain still continued. As soon as
mass was over, and the storm had elapsed, except an odd peal which might be heard rolling
at a distance behind the hills, the people began gradually to recover their spirits, and enter into
confabulation; but to venture out was still impracticable. For about another hour it rained
incessantly, after which it ceased; the hemisphere became lighter - and the sun shone out once
more upon the countenance of nature with its former brightness. The congregation then decanted
itself out of the chapel - the spirits of the people dancing with that remarkable buoyancy or
juvenility which is felt after a thunderstorm, when the air is calm, soople, and balmy - and all
nature garmented with glittering verdure and light. The crowd next began to commingle on their
way home, and to make the usual observations upon the extraordinary storm which had just passed,
and the probable effect it would produce on the fruit and agriculture of the neighbourhood. 
"When the three young women, whom we have already introduced to our respectable readers, had
evacuated the chapel, they determined to substantiate a certitude, as far as their observation could
reach, as to the truth of what Kitty Carroll had hinted at, in reference to John O'Callaghan's
attachment to Rose Galh O'Hallaghan, and her taciturn approval of it. For this purpose they kept
their eye upon John, who certainly seemed in no especial hurry home, but lingered upon the chapel
green in a very careless method. Rose Galh, however, soon made her appearance, and, after going
up the chapel-road a short space, John slyly walked at some distance behind, without seeming to pay
her any particular notice, whilst a person up to the secret might observe Rose's bright eye sometimes
peeping back to see if he was after her. In this manner they proceeded until they came to the river,
which, to their great alarm, was almost fluctuating over its highest banks.
"A crowd was now assembled, consulting as to the safest method of crossing the planks, under
which the red boiling current ran, with less violence, it is true, but much deeper than in any other
part of the stream. The final decision was, that the very young and the old, and such as were feeble,
should proceed by a circuit of some miles to a bridge that crossed it, and that the young men should
place themselves on their knees along the planks,  their hands locked in each other, thus forming a
support on one side, upon which such as had courage to venture across might lean, in case of accident
or megrim. Indeed, anybody that had able nerves might have crossed the planks without this precaution,
had they been dry; but, in consequence of the rain, and the frequent attrition of feet, they were quite
slippery; and, besides, the flood rolled terrifically two or three yards below them, which might be apt
to beget a megrim that would not be felt if there was no flood. 
"When this expedient had been hit upon, several young men volunteered themselves to put it in
practice; and in a short time a considerable number of both sexuals crossed over, without the
occurrence of any unpleasant accident. Paddy O'Hallaghan and his family had been stationed
for some time on the bank, watching the success of the plan; and as it appeared not to be attended
with any particular danger, they also determined to make the attempt. About a perch below the planks
stood John O'Callaghan, watching the progress of those who were crossing them, but taking no part
in what was going forward. The river, under the planks, and for some perches above and below them,
might be about ten feet deep; but to those who could swim, it was less perilous, should any accident
befall them, than those parts where the current was more rapid, but shallower. The water here boiled,
and bubbled, and whirled about; but it was slow, and its yellow surface unbroken by rocks or fords.
 
"The first of the O'Hallaghans that ventured over it was the youngest, who, being captured by the hand,
was encouraged by many cheerful expressions from the young men who were clinging to the planks.
She got safe over, however; and when she came to the end, one who was stationed on the bank gave
her a joyous pull, that translated her several yards upon terra firma.
"'Well, Nancy,' he observed, 'you're safe, anyhow; and if I don't dance at your wedding for this, I'll
never say you're dacent.'
"To this Nancy gave a jocular promise, and he resumed his station, that he might be ready to render
similar assistance to her next sister. Rose Galh then went to the edge of the plank several times, but
her courage as often refused to be forthcoming. During her hesitation, John O'Callaghan stooped
down, and privately untied his shoes, then unbuttoned his waistcoat, and very gently, being unwilling
to excite notice, slipped the knot of his cravat. At long last, by the encouragement of those who were
on the plank, Rose attempted the passage, and had advanced as far as the middle of it, when a fit of
dizziness and alarm seized her with such violence, that she lost all consciousness - a circumstance of
which those who handed her along were ignorant. The consequence, as might be expected, was
dreadful; for as one of the young men was receiving her hand, that he might pass her to the next, she
lost her momentum, and was instantaneously precipitated into the boiling current.
"The wild and fearful cry of horror that succeeded this cannot be laid on paper. The eldest sister fell
into strong convulsions, and several of the other females fainted on the spot. The mother did not faint;
but, like
Lot's wife, she seemed to be translated into stone: her hands became clenched convulsively,
her teeth locked, her nostrils dilated, and her eyes shot half way out of her head. There she stood,
looking upon her daughter struggling in the flood, with a fixed gaze or wild and impotent frenzy, that,
for fearfulness, beat the thunder-storm all to nothing. The father rushed to the edge of the river,
oblivious of his incapability to swim, determined to save her or lose his own life, which latter would
have been a dead certainty, had he ventured; but he was prevented by the crowd, who pointed
out to him the madness of such a project. 
"'For God's sake, Paddy, don't attimpt it,' they exclaimed, 'except you wish to lose your own life,
without being able to save hers: no man could swim in that flood, and it upwards of ten feet deep.' 
"Their arguments, however, were lost upon him; for, in fact, he was insensible to everything but his
child's preservation. He, therefore, only answered their remonstrances by attempting to make
another plunge into the river. 
"'Let me alone, will yez,' said he - 'let me alone! I'll either save my child, Rose, or die along with
her! How could I live after her? Merciful God, any of them but her! Oh! Rose, darling,' he
exclaimed, 'the favourite of my heart - will no one save you?' All this passed in less than a minute. 
"'Just as these words were uttered, a plunge was heard a few yards below the bridge, and a man
appeared in the flood, making his way with rapid strokes to the drowning girl. Another cry now
arose from the spectators: 'it's John O'Callaghan,' they shouted - 'it's John O'Callaghan,
and they'll both be lost.' 'No,' exclaimed others; 'if it's in the power of man to save her, he will!'
'O, blessed father, she's lost!' now burst from all present; for, after having struggled and been kept
floating for some time by her garments, she at length sunk, apparently exhausted and senseless, and
the thief of a flood flowed over her, as if she had not been under it's surface.
"When O'Callaghan saw that she went down, he raised himself up in the water, and cast his eye
towards that part of the bank opposite which she disappeared, evidently, as it proved, that he
might have a mark to guide him in fixing on the proper spot where to plunge after her. When he
came to the place, he raised himself again in the stream, and, calculating that she must by this time
have been borne some distance from the spot where she sank, he gave a stroke or two down the
river, and disappeared after her. This was followed by another cry of horror and despair, for
somehow, the idea of desolation which marks, at all times, a deep, over-swollen torrent, heightened
by the bleak mountain scenery around them, and the dark, angry voracity of the river where they had
sunk, might have impressed the spectators with utter hopelessness as to the fate of those now
engulfed in its vortex. This, however, I leave to those who are deeper read in philosophy than I am. 
"An awful silence succeeded the last shrill exclamation, broken only by the hoarse rushing of the
waters, whose wild, continuous roar, booming hollowly and dismally in the ear, might be heard
at a great distance over all the country. But a new sensation soon invaded the multitude; for after
the lapse of about half a minute, John O'Callaghan emerged from the flood, bearing in his sinister
hand the body of his own Rose Galh - for it's he that loved her tenderly. A peal of joy congratulated
them from the assembled crowd; hundreds of directions were given to him how to act to the best
advantage. Two young men in especial, who were both dying about the lovely creature that he
held, were quite anxious to give advice.
"'Bring her to the other side, John, ma bouchal; it's the safest,' said Larry Carty.
"'Will you let him alone, Carty?' said Simon Tracy, who was the other, 'you'll only put him in a
perplexity.'
"But Carty should order in spite of every thing. He kept bawling out, however, so loud, that John
raised his eye to see what he meant, and was near losing hold of Rose. This was too much for Tracy,
who ups with his fist, and downs him - so they both at it; for no one there could take themselves off
those that were in danger, to interfere between them. But at all events, no earthly thing can happen
among Irishmen without a fight.
"The father, during this, stood breathless, his hands clasped, and his eyes turned to heaven, praying
in anguish for the delivery of his darling. The mother's look was still wild and fixed, her eyes glazed,
and her muscles hard and stiff; evidently she was insensible to all that was going forward; while
large drops of paralytic agony hung upon her cold brow. Neither of the sisters had yet recovered,
nor could those who supported them turn their eyes from the more imminent danger, to pay them
any particular attention. Many, also, of the other females, whose feelings were too much wound up
when the accident occurred, now fainted, when they saw she was likely to be rescued; but most
of them were weeping with delight and gratitude.
"When John brought her to the surface, he paused for a moment to recover breath and collectedness;
he then caught her by the left arm, near the shoulder, and cut, in a slanting direction, down the stream,
to a watering place, where a slope had been formed in the bank. But he was already too far down to
be able to work across the stream to this point; for it was here much stronger and more rapid than
under the planks. Instead, therefore, of reaching the slope, he found himself in spite of every effort
to the contrary, about a perch below it; and, except he could gain this point, against the strong rush of
the flood, there was very little hope of being able to save either her or himself - for he was now
much exhausted.
"Hitherto, therefore, all was still doubtful, whilst strength was fast failing him. In this trying and
almost hopeless situation, with an admirable presence of mind, he adopted the only expedient which
could possibly enable him to reach the bank. On finding himself receding down, instead of advancing
up the current, he approached the bank, which was here very deep and perpendicular; he then sank
his fingers into and pressed his right foot against the firm blue clay with which it was stratified, and
by this means advanced, bit by bit, up the stream, having no other force by which to propel himself
against it. After this mode did he breast the current with all his strength - which must have been
prodigious, or he never could have borne it out - until he reached the slope, and got from the
influence of the tide, into dead water. On arriving here, his hand was caught by one of the young men
present, who stood up to the neck, waiting his approach. A second man stood behind him, holding
his other hand, a link being thus formed, that reached out to the firm bank; and a good pull now
brought them both to the edge of the river. On finding bottom, John took his Colleen Galh in his
own arms, carried her out, and pressing his lips to hers, laid her in the bosom of her father; then,
after taking another kiss of the young drowned flower, he burst into tears, and fell powerless beside
her. The truth is, the spirit that had kept him firm was now exhausted; both his legs and arms having
become nerveless by the exertion.
"Hitherto her father took no notice of John, for how could he? seeing that he was entirely
wrapped up in his daughter; and the question was, though rescued from the flood, if life was in
her. The sisters were by this time recovered, and weeping over her, along with the father - and,
indeed, with all present; but the mother could not be made to comprehend what they were about,
at all at all. The country people used every means with which they were intimate, to recover Rose;
she was brought instantly to a farmer's house beside the spot, put into a warm bed, covered over
with hot salt, wrapped in half-scorched blankets, and made subject to every other mode of treatment
that could possibly revoke the functions of life. John had now got a dacent draught of whiskey, which
revived him. He stood over her, when he could be admitted, watching for the symptomatics of her
revival; all, however, was vain. He now determined to try another course: by-and-by he stooped,
put his mouth to her mouth, and, drawing in his breath, respired with all his force from the bottom of
his very heart into hers; this he did several times rapidly - faith, a tender and agreeable operation,
any how. But mark the consequence: in less than a minute her white bosom heaved - her breath
returned - her pulse began to play - she opened her eyes, and felt his tears of love raining warmly
on her pale cheek! 
"For years before this no two of these opposite factions had spoken, nor up to this minute had
John and they, even upon this occasion, exchanged a monosyllable. The father now looked at
him - the tears stood afresh in his eyes; he came forward - stretched out his hand - it was
received; and the next moment he fell upon John's neck, and cried like an infant.
"When Rose recovered, she seemed as if striving to recordate what had happened; and, after
two or three minutes, inquired from her sister, in a weak but sweet voice, 'Who saved me?' 
"''Twas John O'Callaghan, Rose darling,' replied the sister, in tears, 'that ventured his own life
into the boiling flood, to save yours—and did save it, jewel!' 
"Rose's eye glanced at John - and I only wish, as I am a bachelor not further than my forty-fourth,
that I may ever have the happiness to get such a glance from two blue eyes, as she gave him that
moment - a faint smile played about her mouth, and a slight blush lit up her fair cheek, like the
evening sunbeams on the virgin snow, as the poets have said for the five-hundredth time, to my own
personal knowledge. She then extended her hand, which John, you may be sure, was no way
backward in receiving, and the tears of love and gratitude ran silently down her cheeks. 
"It is not necessary to detail the circumstances of this day farther; let it be sufficient to say, that a
reconciliation took place between those two branches of the O'Hallaghan and O'Callaghan families,
in consequence of John's heroism and Rose's soft persuasion, and that there was, also, every
perspective of the two factions being penultimately amalgamated. For nearly a century they had
been pell-mell at it, whenever and wherever they could meet. Their forefathers, who had been
engaged in the lawsuit about the island which I have mentioned, were dead and petrified in their
graves; and the little peninsula in the glen was gradationally worn away by the river, till nothin
remained but a desert, upon a small scale, of sand and gravel. Even the ruddy, able-bodied
Squire, with the longitudinal nose, projecting out of his face like a broken arch, and the small,
fiery magistrate - both of whom had fought the duel, for the purpose of setting forth a good example,
and bringing the dispute to a peaceable conclusion - were also dead. The very memory of the
original contention had been lost (except that it was preserved along with the cranium of my
grandfather), or became so indistinct that the parties fastened themselves on some more modern
provocation, which they kept in view until another fresh motive would start up, and so on. I know
not, however, whether it was fair to expect them to give up at once the agreeable recreation of
fighting. It's not easy to abolish old customs, particularly diversions; and every one knows that
this is our national amusement.
 
"There were, it is true, many among both factions who saw the matter in this reasonable light,
and who wished rather, if it were to cease, that it should die away by degrees, from the battle
of the whole parish, equally divided between the factions, to the subordinate row between
certain members of them - from that to the faint broil of certain families, and so on to the
single-handed play between individuals. At all events, one-half of them were for peace, and
two-thirds of them were equally divided between peace and war.
"For three months after the accident which befel Rose Galh O'Hallaghan, both factions had
been tolerantly quiet - that is to say, they had no general engagement. Some slight skirmishes
certainly did take place on market-nights, when the drop was in, and the spirits up; but in those
neither John nor Rose's immediate families took any part. The fact was, that John and Rose
were on the evening of matrimony; the match had been made - the day appointed, and every
other necessary stipulation ratified. Now, John was as fine a young man as you would meet in
a day's travelling; and as for Rose, her name went far and near for beauty: and with justice, for
the sun never shone on a fairer, meeker, or modester virgin than Rose Galh O'Hallaghan.
"It might be, indeed, that there were those on both sides who thought that, if the marriage was
obstructed, their own sons and daughters would have a better chance. Rose had many admirers;
they might have envied John his happiness; many fathers, on the other side, might have wished
their sons to succeed with Rose. Whether I am sinister in this conjecture is more than I can say.
I grant, indeed, that a great portion of it is speculation on my part. The wedding-day, however,
was arranged; but, unfortunately, the fair-day of Knockimdowny occurred, in the rotation of
natural time, precisely one week before it. I know not from what motive it proceeded, but the
factions on both sides were never known to make a more light-hearted preparation for battle.
Cudgels of all sorts and sizes (and some of them, to my own knowledge, great beauties) were
provided. 
"I believe I may as well take this opportunity of saying that real Irish cudgels must be
root-growing, either oak, black-thorn, or crab-tree - although crab-tree, by the way, is apt to
fly. They should not be too long - three feet and a few inches is an accommodating length. They
must be naturally top-heavy, and have around the end that is to make acquaintance with the
cranium three or four natural lumps, calculated to divide the flesh in the natest manner, and to
leave, if possible, the smallest taste in life of pit in the skull. But if a good root-growing kippeen
be light at the fighting-end, or possess not the proper number of knobs, a hole, a few inches deep,
is to be bored in the end, which must be filled with melted lead. This gives it a widow-and-orphan-
making quality, a child-bereaving touch, altogether very desirable. If, however, the top splits in
the boring - which, in awkward hands, is not uncommon - the defect may be remediated by putting
on an iron ferrule, and driving two or three strong nails into it, simply to preserve it from flying off;
not that an Irishman is ever at a loss for weapons when in a fight, for so long as a scythe,
flail, spade, pitchfork, or stone is at hand, he feels quite contented with the lot of war. No man,
as they say of great statesmen, is more fertile in expedients during a row; which, by the way, I
take to be a good quality, at all events.
"I remember the fair-day of Knockimdowny well; it has kept me from griddle-bread and tough
nutriment ever since. Hard fortune to Jack Roe O'Hallaghan! No man had better teeth than I had
till I met with him that day. He fought stoutly on his own side; but he was ped then for the same
basting that fell to me, though not by my hands, if to get his jaw dacently divided into three halves
could be called a fair liquidation of an old debt - it was equal to twenty shillings in the pound, any how.
"There had not been a larger fair in the town of Knockimdowny for years. The day was dark and
sunless, but sultry. On looking through the crowd, I could see no man without a cudgel; yet, what
was strange, there was no certainty of any sport. Several desultory skrimmages had locality, but
they were altogether sequestered from the great factions of the O's. Except that it was pleasant
and stirred one's blood to look at them, or occasioned the cudgels to be grasped more firmly,
there was no personal interest felt by any of us in them; they therefore began and ended, here
and there, through the fair, like mere flashes in the pan, dying in their own smoke.
"The blood of every prolific nation is naturally hot; but when that hot blood is inflamed by ardent
spirits, it is not to be supposed that men should be cool; and God he knows, there is not on the
level surface of this habitable globe, a nation that has been so thoroughly inflamed by ardent
spirits
of all kinds as Ireland.
"Up till four o'clock that day, the factions were quiet. Several relations on both sides had been
invited to drink by John and Rose's families, for the purpose of establishing a good feeling between
them. But this was, after all, hardly to be expected, for they hated one another with an ardency much
too good-humoured and buoyant; and, between ourselves, to bring Paddy over a bottle is a very
equivocal mode of giving him an anti-cudgelling disposition. After the hour of four, several of the
factions were getting very friendly, which I knew at the time to be a bad sign. Many of them nodded
to each other, which I knew to be a worse one; and some of them shook hands with the greatest
cordiality, which I no sooner saw than I slipped the knot of my cravat, and held myself in preparation
for the sport.
 
"I have often had occasion to remark - and few men, let me tell you, had finer opportunities of
doing so - the differential symptomatics between a Party Fight, that is, a battle between Orangemen
and Ribbonmen, and one between two Roman Catholic Factions. There is something infinitely
more anxious, silent, and deadly, in the compressed vengeance, and the hope of slaughter, which
characterise a party fight, than is to be seen in a battle between factions. The truth is, the enmity
is not so deep and well-grounded in the latter as in the former. The feeling is not political nor
religious between the factions; whereas, in the other, it is both, which is a mighty great advantage;
for when this is adjuncted to an intense personal hatred, and a sense of wrong, probably arising
from a too intimate recollection of the leaded black-thorn, or the awkward death of some relative,
by the musket or the bayonet, it is apt to produce very purty fighting, and much respectable retribution. 
"In a party fight, a prophetic sense of danger hangs, as it were, over the crowd - the very air is
loaded with apprehension; and the vengeance burst is proceeded by a close, thick darkness,
almost sulphury, that is more terrifical than the conflict itself, though clearly less dangerous and fatal.
The scowl of the opposing parties, the blanched cheeks, the knit brows, and the grinding teeth,
not pretermitting the deadly gleams that shoot from their kindled eyes, are ornaments which a plain
battle between factions cannot boast, but which, notwithstanding, are very suitable to the fierce and
gloomy silence of that premeditated vengeance which burns with such intensity in the heart, and
scorches up the vitals into such a thirst for blood. Not but that they come by different means to the
same conclusion; because it is the feeling, and not altogether the manner of operation, that is
different. 
"Now a faction fight doesn't resemble this, at all, at all. Paddy's at home here; all song, dance,
good-humour, and affection. His cheek is flushed with delight, which, indeed, may derive
assistance from the consciousness of having no bayonets or loaded carabines to contend with;
but any how, he's at home - his eye is lit with real glee - he tosses his hat in the air, in the height
of mirth - and leaps, like a mounteback, two yards from the ground. Then, with what a gracious
dexterity he brandishes his cudgel! what a joyous spirit is heard in his shout at the face of a friend
from another faction! His very 'whoo!' is contagious, and would make a man, that had settled on
running away, return and join the sport with an appetite truly Irish. He is, in fact, while under the
influence of this heavenly afflatus, in love with every one, man, woman, and child. If he meet his
sweetheart, he will give her a kiss and a hug, and that with double kindness, because he is on his
way to thrash her father or brother. It is the acumen of his enjoyment; and woe be to him who
will adventure to go between him and his amusements. To be sure, skulls and bones are broken,
and lives lost; but they are lost in pleasant fighting - they are the consequences of the sport, the
beauty of which consists in breaking as many heads and necks as you can; and certainly when a
man enters into the spirit of any exercise, there is nothing like elevating himself to the point of
excellence. Then a man ought never to be disheartened. If you lose this game, or get your head
good-humouredly beaten to pieces, why you may win another, or your friends may mollify
two or three skulls as a set-off to yours; but that is nothing.


"When the evening became more advanced, maybe, considering the poor look up there was
for anything like decent sport  - maybe, in the early part of the day, it wasn't the delightful sight
to see the boys on each side of the two great factions, beginning to get frolicksome. Maybe
the songs and the shouting, when they began, hadn't melody and music in them, any how!
People may talk about harmony; but what harmony is equal to that in which five or six hundred
men sing and shout, and leap and caper at each other, as a prelude to neighbourly fighting,
where they beat time upon the drums of each other's ears and heads with oak drumsticks?
That's an Irishman's music; and hard fortune to the garran[13] that wouldn't have friendship
and kindness in him to join and play a stave along with them! 'Whoo! your sowl! Hurroo!
Success to our side! Hi for the O'Callaghans! Where's the blackguard to -,' I beg pardon, decent
reader; I forgot myself for a moment, or rather I got new life in me, for I am nothing at all at all
for the last five months - a kind of nonentity I may say, ever since that vagabond Burgess
occasioned me to pay a visit to my distant relations, till my friends get that last matter of the
collar-bone settled.

“The impulse which faction fighting gives to trade and business in Ireland is truly surprising; whereas party fighting depreciates both. As soon as it is perceived that a party fight is to be expected, all buying and selling are nearly suspended for the day; and those who are not up[14], and many who are, take themselves and their property home as quickly as may be convenient. But in a faction fight, as soon as there is any perspective of a row, depend upon it, there is quick work at all kinds of negociation; and truly there is nothing like brevity and decision in buying and selling; for which reason faction fighting, at all events, if only for the sake of national prosperity, should be encouraged and kept up.

“Towards five o’clock, if a man was placed on an exalted station, so that he could look at the crowd, and wasn’t able to fight, he could have seen much that a man might envy him for. Here a hat went up, or maybe a dozen of them; then followed a general huzza. On the other side, two dozen caubeens sought the sky, like so many scaldy crows attempting their own element for the first time, only they were not so black. Then another shout, which was answered by that of their friends on the opposite side; so that you would hardly know which side huzzaed loudest, the blending of both was so truly symphonious. Now there was a shout for the face of an O’Callaghan: this was prosecuted on the very heels by another for the face of an O’Hallaghan. Immediately a man of the O’Hallaghan side doffed his tattered frieze, and catching it by the very extremity of the sleeve, drew it with a tact, known only be an initiation of half-a-dozen street days, up the pavement after him. On the instant, a blade from the O’Callaghan side peeled with equal alacrity, and stretching his home-made[15] at full length after him, proceeded triumphantly up the street, to meet the other.

“Thundher-an-ages, what’s this for, at all, at all! I wish I hadn’t begun to manuscript an account of it, any how; ‘tis like a hungry man dreaming of a good dinner at a feast, and afterwards awaking and finding his front ribs and back-bone on the point of union. Reader, is that a black-thorn you carry – tut, where is my imagination bound for? – to meet the other, I say.

“Where’s the rascally O’Callaghan that will place his toe or his shillely on this frieze?’ ‘Is there no blackguard O’Hallaghan jist to look crucked at the coat of an O’Callaghan, or say black’s the white of his eye?’

“’Throth and there is, Ned, avourneen, that same on the sod here.’

“’Is that Barney?’

“’The same, Ned, ma bouchal; and how is your mother’s son, Ned?’

“’In good health at the present time, thank God and you; how is yourself, Barney?’

“’Can’t complain as time goes; only take this, any how, to mend your health, ma bouchal.’ (Whack).

“’Success, Barney, and here’s at your service, avick, not making little of what I got, any way.’ (Crack).

“About five o’clock on a May evening, in the fair of Knockimdowney, was the ice thus broken, with all possible civility, by Ned and Barney. The next moment a general rush took place towards the scene of action, and ere you could bless yourself, Barney and Ned were both down, weltering in their own and each other’s blood. I scarcely know, indeed, though with a mighty respectable quote of experimentality myself, how to describe what followed. For the first twenty minutes the general harmony of this fine row might be set to music, according to a scale something like this:- Whick whack – crick crack – whick whack – crick crack - &c. &c. &c. ‘Here yer sowl- (crack) – there yer sowl – (whack.) Whoo for the O’Hallaghans!’ – (crack, crack crack.). ‘Hurroo for the O’Callaghans! – (whack, whack, whack.) The O’Callaghans for ever!’ – (whack) ‘The O’Hallaghans for ever!’ – (crack) ‘Murther! Murther! (crick, crack) – foul! Foul! – (whick, whack.) Blood and turf! – (whack, whick) – tunther-an-ouns’ – (crack, crick.) ‘Hurroo! My darlings! Handle your kippeens – (crack, crack) – the O’Hallaghans are going!’ – (whack, whack.).

“You are to suppose them here to have been at it for about half an hour.

“Whack, crack – ‘oh – oh –oh! Have mercy upon me, boys – (crack – a shriek of murther! murther! – crack, crack, whack) – my life – my life – (crack, crack – whack, whack) – oh! for the sake of the living Father! – for the sake of my wife and childher, Ned Hallaghan, spare my life.’

“’So we will, but take this, any how’ – (whack, crack, whack, crack.)

“’Oh! For the love of God don’t kill – (whack, crack, whack.) Oh!’ – (crack, crack, whack – dies.)

“’Huzza! huzza! huzza!’ from the O’Hallaghans. ‘Bravo, boys! there’s one of them done for: whoo! My darlings! Hurroo! The O’Hallaghans for ever!’

“The scene now changes to the O’Callaghan side.

“’Jack – oh, Jack, avourneen – hell to their sowls for murdherers – Paddy’s killed – his skull’s smashed! Revinge, boys, Paddy O’Callaghan’s killed! On with you, O’Callaghans – on with you – on with you, Paddy O’Callaghan’s murdhered – take to the stones – that’s it – keep it up – down with him! Success! – he’s the bloody villain that didn’t show him marcy – that’s it. Tunder-an’-ouns, is it laving him that way you are afther – let me at him!’

“’Here’s a stone, Tom!’

“’No, no, this stick has the lead in it. It’ll do him, never fear!’

“’Let him alone, Barney, he’s got enough.’

“’By the powdhers, it’s myself that won’t: didn’t he kill Paddy? – (crack, crack.) Take that, you murdhering thief!’ – (whack, whack.)

“’Oh! – (whack, crack) – my head – I’m killed – I’m (crack – kicks the bucket.)

“’Now, your sowl, that does you, any way – (crack, whack) – hurro! – huzza! – tol-deroll, lol-derol, tow, row, row huzza for the O’Callaghans!’

“From this moment the battle became delightful; was now pelt and welt on both sides, but many of the kippeens were broken; many of the boys had their fighting arms disabled by a dislocation, or bit of fracture, and those weren’t equal to more than doing a little upon such as were down.

“In the midst of the din, such a dialogue as this might be heard:

“’Larry, you’re after being done for, for this day.’ (Whack, crack.)

“’Only an eye gone – is that Mickey?’ (whick, whack, crick crack).

“’That’s it, my darlings!  - you may say that, Larry – ‘tis my mother’s son that’s in it – (crack, crack, a general huzza:) (Mickey and Larry) huzza! huzza! huzza for the O’Hallaghans! What have you got, Larry? – (crack, crack.)

“’Only the bone of my arm, God be praised for it, very purtily snapt across!’ – (whack, whack). 

“’Is that all? Well, some people have luck!’ – (crack, crack, crack).

“’Why I’ve no reason to complain, thank God – (whack, crack! – purty play that, any way – Paddy O’Callaghan’s settled – did you hear it? – (whack, whack, another shout) – That’s it, boys – handle the shilleleys! – Success O’Hallaghans – down with the bloody O’Callaghans!’ 

“’I did hear it: so is Jem O’Hallaghan – (crack, whack, whack, crack) – yo’ure not able to get up, I see – tare-an-ounty, isn’t it a pleasure to hear that play? – What ails you?’

“’Oh, Larry, I’m in great pain, and getting very weak, entirely’ – (faints). 

“’Faix, and he’s settled too, I’m thinking.’

“’Oh, murdher, my arm!’ (One of the O’Callaghans attacks him – crack, crack) – 

“’Take that, you bagabone!’ – (whack, whack).

“’Murdher, murdher, is it striking a down man you’re after? – foul, foul, and my arm broke!’ – (crack, crack). 

“’Take that, with what you got before, and it’ll ase you, maybe.’

“(A party of the O’Hallaghans attack the man who is beating him). 

“’Murdher, murdher! – (crack, whack, whack, crack, crack, whack).

“’Lay on him, your sowls to perdition – lay on him, hot and heavy – give it to him! He sthruck me and me down wide my broken arm!’ 

“’Foul, ye thieves of the world! – (from the O’Callaghan) – foul! Five against one – give me fair play! – (crack, crack, crack) – Oh! – (whack) Oh, oh, oh!’ – (falls senseless, covered with blood).

“’Ha, hell’s cure to you, you bloody thief; you didn’t spare me with my arm broke.’ – (Another general shout). ‘Bad end to it, isn’t it a poor case entirely, that I can’t even throw up my caubeen, let alone join in the diversion.’ 

“Both parties now rallied, and ranged themselves along the street, exhibiting a firm compact phalanx, wedged close against each other, almost foot to foot. The mass was thick and dense, and the tug of conflict stiff, wild, and savage. Much natural skill and dexterity were displayed in their mutual efforts to preserve their respective ranks unbroken, and as the sallies and charges were made on both sides, the temporary rush, the indentation of the multitudinous body, and the rebound into its original position, gave an undulating appearance to the compact mass – reeking, dragging, groaning, and huzzaing as it was, that resembled the serpentine motion of a rushing water-spout in the clouds.

“The women now began to take part with their brothers and sweethearts. Those who had no bachelor among the opposite factions, fought along with their brothers; others did not scruple even to assist in giving their enamoured swains the father of a good beating. Many, however, were more faithful to love than to natural affection, and these sallied out like heroines, under the banners of their sweethearts, fighting with amazing prowess against their friends and relations; nor was it at all extraordinary to see two sisters engaged on opposite sides – perhaps tearing each other as, with dishevelled hair, they screamed with a fury that was truly exemplary. Indeed it is no untruth to assert that the women do much valuable execution. Their manner of fighting is this – as soon as the fair one decides upon taking a part in the row, she instantly takes off her apron or her stocking, stoops down, and lifting the first four pounder she can get, puts it in the corner of her apron, or the foot of her stocking, if it has a foot, and marching into the scene of action, lays about her right and left. Upon my credibility, they are extremely useful and handy and can give mighty nate knockdowns – inasmuch as no guard that a man is acquainted with can ward off their blows. Nay, what is more, it often happens, when a son-in-law is in a faction against his father-in-law and his wife’s people generally, that if he and his wife’s brother meet, the wife will clink him with the pet in her apron, downing her own husband with great skill, for it is not always that marriage extinguishes the hatred of factions; and very often ‘tis the brother that is humiliated. 

“Up to the death of these two men, John O’Callaghan and Rose’s father, together with a large party of their friends on both sides, were drinking in a public-house, determined to take no portion in the fight, at all, at all. Poor Rose, when she heard the shouting and terrible strokes, got as pale as death, and sat close to John, whose hand she captured in hers, beseeching him, and looking up in his face with the most imploring sincerity as she spoke, not to go out among them; the tears falling all the time from her fine eyes, the mellow flashes of which, when John’s pleasantry in soothing her would seduce a smile, went into his very heart. But when, on looking out of the window where they sat, two of the opposing factions heard that a man on each side was killed; and when on ascertaining the names of the individuals, and of those who murdered them, it turned out that one of the murdered men was brother to a person in the room, and his murderer uncle to one of those in the window, it was not in the power of man or woman to keep them asunder, particularly as they were all rather advanced in liquor. In an instant the friends of the murdered man made a rush at the window, before any pacifiers had time to get between them, and catching the nephew of him who had committed the murder, hurled him head-foremost upon the stone pavement, where his skull was dashed to pieces, and his brains scattered about the flags!

“A general attack instantly took place in the room, between the two factions; but the apartment was too low and crowded to permit of proper fighting, so they rushed out to the street, shouting and yelling, as they do when the battle comes to the real point of doing business. As soon as it was seen that the heads of the O’Callaghans and O’Hallaghans were at work as well as the rest, the fight was re-commenced with re-trebled spirit; but when the mutilated body of the man who had been flung from the window, was observed lying in a pool of his own proper brains and blood, such a cry arose among his friends, as would cake[16] the vital fluid in the veins of any one not a party in the quarrel. Now was the work – the moment of interest – men and women groaning, staggering, and lying insensible ; others shouting, leaping, and huzzaing; some singing, and not a few able-bodied spalpeens blurting, like overgrown children, on seeing their own blood; many raging and roaring about like bulls; all this formed such a group as a faction fight, and nothing else, could represent.

“The battle now blazed out afresh; and all kinds of instruments were pressed into the service. Some got flails, some spades, some shovels, and one man got his hands upon a scythe, with which, unquestionably, he would have taken more lives  than one; but, very fortunately, as he sallied out to join the crowd, he was politely visited in the back of the head by a brick-bat, which had a mighty convincing way with it of giving him a peaceable disposition, for he instantly lay down, and did not seem at all anxious as to the result of the battle. The O’Hallaghans were now compelled to give way, owing principally to the introvention of John O’Callaghan, who, although he was as good as sworn to take no part in the contest, was compelled to fight merely to protect himself. But, blood-an-turf! when he did begin, he was dreadful. As soon as his party saw him engaged, they took fresh courage, and in a short time made the O’Hallaghans retreat up to the church-yard. I never saw any thing equal to John; he absolutely sent them down in dozens: and when a man would give him any inconvenience with the stick, he would down him with a fist, for right and left were all alike to him. Poor Rose’s brother and he met, both roused like two lions; but when John saw who it was, he held back his hand:-

“’No, Tom,’ says he, ‘I’ll not strike you, for Rose’s sake. I’m not fighting through ill will to you or your family; so take another direction, for I can’t strike you.’ 

“The blood, however, was unfortunately up in Tom.

“’We’ll decide it now,’ said he. ‘I’m as good a man as you, O’Callaghan; and let me whisper this in your ear – you’ll never warm the one bed with Rose, while’s God’s in heaven – it’s past that now – there can be nothing but blood between us!’ 

“At this juncture two of the O’Callaghans ran with their shillelaghs up, to beat down Tom on the spot.

“’Stop, boys!’ said John, ‘you mustn’t touch him; he had no hand in the quarrel. Go, boys, if you respect me; lave him to myself.’ 

“The boys withdrew to another part of the fight; and the next instant Tom struck the very man that interfered to save him, across the temple, and cut him severely. John put his hand up and staggered.

“’I’m sorry for this,’ he observed; ‘but it’s now self-defence with me;’ and, at the same moment, with one blow, he left Tom O’Hallaghan stretched insensible on the street. 

“On the O’Hallaghans being driven to the church-yard, they were at a mighty great inconvenience for weapons. Most of them had lost their sticks it being a usage in fights of this kind, to twist the cudgels from the grasp of the beaten men, to prevent them from rallying. They soon, however, furnished themselves with the best they could find, videlicet, the skull, leg, thigh, and arm bones, which they found lying about the grave-yard. This was a new species of weapon, for which the majority of the O’Callaghans were scarcely prepared. Out they sallied in a body – some with these, others with stones, and, making fierce assault upon their enemies, absolutely druv them back – not so much by the damage they were doing, as by the alarm and terror which these unexpected species of missiles excited.

“At this moment, not withstanding the fatality that had taken place, nothing could be more truly comical and facetious than the appearance of the field of battle. Skulls were flying in every direction- so thick, indeed, that it might with truth be asserverated, that many who were petrified in the dust, had their skulls broken in this great battle between the factions. – God help poor Ireland! when its inhabitants are so pugnacious, that even the grave is no security against getting their crowns cracked, and their bones fractured! Well, any how, skulls and bones flew in every direction; stones and brick-bats were also put in motion; spades, shovels, loaded whips, pot-sticks, churn-staffs, flails, and all kinds of available weapons were in hot employment. 

“But, perhaps, there was nothing more truly felicitous or original in its way than the mode of warfare adopted by little Neal Malone, who was tailor for the O’Callaghan side: for every tradesman is obliged to fight on behalf of his own faction. Big Frank Farrell, the miller, being on the O’Hallaghan side, had been sent for, and came up from his mill behind the town, quite fresh. He was never what could be called a good man[17], thought it was said that he could lift ten hundredweight. He puffed forward with a great cudgel, determined to commit slaughter out of the face, and the first man he met was the weeshy fraction of a tailor, as nimble as a hare. He immediately attacked him, and would probably have taken his measure for life had not the tailor’s activity protected him. Farrell was in a rage, and Neal, taking advantage of his blind fury, slipt round him, and, with a short run, sprung upon the miller’s back, and planted a foot upon the threshold of each coat pocket, holding by the mealy collar of his waistcoat. In this position he belaboured the miller’s face and eyes with his little hard fist to such purpose, that he had him in the course of a few minutes nearly as blind as a mill-horse. The miller roared for assistance, but the pell-mell was going on too warmly for his cries to be available. In fact, he resembled an elephant with a monkey on his back.

“’How do you like that, Farrell?’ Neal would say, giving him a cuff – ‘and that, and that; but that is best of all. Take it again, gudgeon (two cuffs more) – here’s grist for you (half a dozen additional) – hard fortune to you! (crack, crack.) What! Going to lie down! – by all that’s terrible, if you do, I’ll annigulate[18] you! Here’s a dhuragh[19], (another half dozen) – long measure, you savage! – the baker’s dozen, you baste! – there’s a five-an’-twenty to the score, Sampson! And one or two in’ (crack, whack).

“’Oh! Murther sheery!’ shouted the miller. ‘Murther-an-age, I’m kilt! Foul play! – foul play!’

“’You lie, big Nebuchodonosor! It’s not – this is all fair play, you big baste! Fair play, Sampson! – by the same a-token, here’s to jog your memory that it’s the Fair day of Knockimdowney! Irish Fair play, you whale! But I’ll whale you’ (crack, crack, whack).

“’Oh! oh!’ shouted the miller.

“’Oh! oh! is it? Oh, if I had my scissors here till I’d clip your ears off – wouldn’t I bet the happy man, any how, you swab, you?’ (whack, whack, crack.)

“’Murther! murther! murther!’ shouted the miller. ‘Is there no help?’

“’Help, is it? – you may say that (crack crack): there’s a trifle – a small taste in the milling style, you know; and here goes to dislodge a grinder. Did ye ever hear of the tailor on horseback, Sampson? eh? (whack, whack.) Did you ever expect to see a tailor o’horseback of yourself, you baste? (crack.) I tell you, if you offer to lie down, I’ll annigulate you out o’ the face.’

“Never, indeed, was a miller before or since so well dusted; and, I dare say, Neal would have rode him long enough, but for an O’Hallaghan, who had gone into one of the houses to procure a weapon. This man was nearly as original in his choice of one as the tailor in the position which he selected for beating the miller. On entering the kitchen he found that he had been anticipated: there was neither tongs, poker, nor churn-staff nor, in fact, anything wherewith he could assault his enemies: all had been carried off by others. There was, however, a goose, in the action of being roasted on a spit at the fire: this was enough: Honest O’Hallaghan saw nothing but the spit, which he accordingly seized, goose and all, making the best of his way, so armed, to the scene of the battle. He just came out of an entry as the miller was once more roaring for assistance, and, to a dead certainty, would have spitted the tailor like a cock-sparrow against the miller’s carcase, had not his activity once more saved him. Unluckily, the unfortunate miller got the thrust which was intended for Neal, and roared like a bull. He was beginning to shout ‘Foul play!’ again, when, on turning round, he perceived that the thrust had not been intended for him, but for the tailor.

“’Give me that spit,’ said he; ‘ by all the mills that ever were turned, I’ll spit the tailor this blessed minute beside the goose, and we’ll roast them both together.’

“The other refused to part with the spit; but the miller, seizing the goose, flung it with all his force after the tailor, who stooped, however, and avoided the blow.

“’No man has a better right to the goose than the tailor,’ said Neal, as he took it up, and, disappearing, neither he nor the goose could be seen for the remainder of the day.

“The battle was now somewhat abated. Skulls, and bones, and bricks, and stones, were, however, still flying; so that it might be truly said, the bones of contention were numerous. The streets presented a woeful spectacle: men were lying with their bones broken – others, though not so seriously injured, lappered in their blood – some were crawling up, but were instantly knocked down by their enemies – some were leaning against the walls, or groping their way silently along them, endeavouring to escape observation, lest they might be smashed down and altogether murdered. Wives were sitting with the bloody heads of their husbands in their laps, tearing their hair, weeping, and cursing, in all the gall of wrath, those who left them in such a state. Daughters performed the said offices to their fathers, and sisters to their brothers; not pretermitting those who did not neglect their broken-pated bachelors to whom they paid equal attention. Yet was the scene not without abundance of mirth. Many a hat was thrown up by the O’Callaghan side, who certainly gained the day. Many a song was raised by those who tottered about with trickling sconces, half drunk with whiskey, and half stupid with beating. Many a ‘whoo,’ and ‘hurroo,’ and ‘huzza,’ was sent forth by the triumphanters; but truth to tell, they were miserably feeble and faint, compared to what they had been in the beginning of the amusement; sufficiently evincing that, although they might boast of the name of victory, they had got a bellyful of beating; still there was hard fighting.

“I mentioned, some time ago, that a man had adopted a scythe. I wish from my heart there had been no such bloody instrument there that day; but truth must be told. John O’Callaghan was now engaged against a set of the other O’s, who had rallied for the third time, and attacked him and his party. Another brother of Rose Galh’s was in this engagement, and him did John O’Callaghan not only knock down, but cut desperately across the temple. A man, stripped, and covered with blood and dust, at that moment made his appearance, his hand bearing the blade of the aforesaid scythe. His approach was at once furious and rapid, and I may as well add, fatal; for before John O’Callaghan had time to be forewarned of his danger, he was cut down, the artery of his neck laid open, and he died without a groan. It was truly dreadful, even to the oldest fighter present, to see the strong rush of red blood that curvated about his neck, until it gurgled, gurgled, gurgled, and lappered, and bubbled out, ending in small red spouts, blackening and blackening, as they became fainter and more faint. At this criticality, every eye was turned from the corpse to the murderer – but he had been instantly struck down, and a female, with a large stone in her apron, stood over him, her arms stretched out, her face horribly distorted with agony, and her eyes turned backwards, as it were, into her head. In a few seconds, she fell into strong convulsions, and was immediately taken away. Alas! alas! it was Rose Galh; and when we looked at the man she had struck down, he was found to be her brother! flesh of her flesh, and blood of her blood! On examining him more closely, we discovered that his under-jaw hung loose, that his limbs were supple; we tried to make him speak, but in vain – he too was a corpse.

“The fact was, that in consequence of his being stripped, and covered by so much blood and dust, she knew him not; and, impelled by her feelings to avenge herself on the murderer of her lover, to whom she doubly owed her life, she struck him a deadly blow, without knowing him to be her brother. The shock produced by seeing her lover murdered, and the horror of finding that she herself, in avenging him, had taken her brother’s life, was too much for a heart so tender as hers. On recovering from her convulsions, her senses were found to be gone for ever! Poor girl! she  is still living; but from that moment to this, she has never opened her lips to mortal. She is, indeed, a fair ruin, but silent, melancholy, and beautiful as the moon in the summer heaven. Poor Rose Galh! you and many a mother, and father, and wife, and orphan, have had reason to maledict the bloody Battles of the Factions.

“With regard to my grandfather, he says that he didn’t see purtier fighting within his own memory; not since the fight between himself and Big Mucklemurray took place in the same town. But, to do him justice, he condemns the scythe and every other weapon except the cudgels; because, he says, that if they continue to be resorted to, nate fighting will be altogether forgotten in the country.”

[It was the original intention of the author to have made every man in the humble group about Ned M’Keown’s hearth narrate a story illustrating Irish life, feeling, and manners; but on looking into the matter more closely, he had reason to think that such a plan, however agreeable for a time, would ultimately narrow the sphere of his work, and perhaps fatigue the reader by a superfluity of Irish dialogue and its peculiarities of phraseology. He resolved therefore, at the close of the Battle of the Factions, to abandon his original design, and leave himself more room for description and observation.]


Rose Gahl revenging her Lover's death.
Rose Gahl revenging her Lover's death.

[1] Literally, a stroke of cudgel; put for cudgel-player.

[2] This was the old code of laws peculiar to Ireland before the introduction of English legislation into it.

[3] There were properly only two Psalters, those of Tara and Cashel. The Psalters were collections of genealogical history, partly in verse; from which latter circumstance they had their name.

[4] Habeas corpus: the above is the popular pronunciation.

[5] These are called the “Fourteen Stations of the Cross.”

[6] Pilgrims and other impostors pass these things upon the people as miracles upon a small scale.

[7] Out. – The expression in remote parts of the country is understood to mean being at mass.

[8] Paddy Mellon – a short, thickset man, with grey hair, which he always kept cropped close – was the most famous shoemaker in the parish; in fact, the Drummond of a large district. No shoes were considered worth wearing if he did not make them. But, having admitted this, I am bound in common justice and honesty to say that so big a liar never put an awl into leather. No language could describe his iniquity in this respect. I myself am a living witness of this. Many a trudge has the villain taken out of men in my boyhood; and as sure as I went on the appointed day – which was always Saturday – so surely did he swear that they would be ready for me on that day week. He was, as a tradesman, the most multifarious and barefaced liar I ever met; and what was the most rascally trait about him, was the faculty he possessed of making you believe the lie as readily after the fifteenth repetition of it, as when it was uttered fresh from his lips.

[9] Flipe – One who is “flippant” – of which word it is the substantive, and a good one too.

[10] Manual – a Catholic Prayer-book.

[11] The priest described in “Ned M’Keown” having been educated on the Continent, was one of the first to introduce the Procession of the Host in that part of the country. The Consecrated Host, shrined in a silver vessel formed like a chalice, was borne by a priest, under a silken canopy; and to this the other clergymen present offered up incense from a censor, whilst they circumambulated the chapel from inside and out, if the day was fine.

[12] The Engraving at the end of this Tale represents the real Cork red-drawn from the knife itself by Mr. MacManus.

[13] Garran – A horse; but it is always used as meaning a bad one – one without mettle. When figuratively applied to a man, it means a coward.

[14] Initiated into Whiteboyism.

[15] Irish frieze is mostly manufactured at home, which accounts for the expression here.

[16] Harden.

[17] A brave man. He was a man of huge size and prodigious strength, and died in consequence of an injury he received in lifting one of the cathedral bells of Clogher, which is said to be ten hundredweight.

[18] Annihilate. Many of the jawbreakers – and this was one in a double sense – used by the hedge-schoolmasters, are scattered among the people, by whom they are so twisted that it would be extremely difficult to recognise them.

[19] Dhuragh – An additional portion of anything thrown in from a spirit of generosity, after the measure agreed on is given. When the miller, for instance, receives his toll, the country-people usually throw in several handsful of meal as a Dhuragh.


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