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With the author's last corrections, an introd. Traits and stories of the Irish peasantry , Tegg. Curry, jr. Orr and Co. Traits and stories of the Irish peasantry: second series in three volumes. Traits and stories of the Irish peasantry: consisting of various complete stories in one volume. Publish date unknown, Belford, Clarke. Libraries near you: WorldCat Library. Browne in English. Libraries near you: WorldCat. Niccolls - Celtic ed. Traits and stories of the Irish peasantry , Routledge in English - Complete ed.

Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry Part IV: 4

Traits and stories of the Irish peasantry , Dent in English. Tegg in English - 10th complete ed. Traits and stories of the Irish peasantry , Tegg in English - 7th ed. Tegg in English - 7Th ed. He now went into the room, and taking Katty herself first, the door was closed upon them, and he gave her absolution; and thus he continued to confess and absolve them, one by one, until breakfast.

Whenever a station occurs in Ireland, a crowd of mendicants and other strolling impostors seldom fail to attend it; on this occasion, at least, they did not.

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The day, though frosty, was fine; and the door was surrounded by a train of this description, including both sexes, some sitting on stones, some on stools, with their blankets rolled up under them; and others, more ostensibly devout, on their knees, hard at prayer; which, lest their piety might escape notice, our readers may be assured, they did not offer up in silence. On one side you might observe a sturdy fellow, with a pair of tattered urchins secured to his back by a sheet or blanket pinned across his breast with a long iron skewer, their heads just visible at his shoulders, munching a thick piece of wheaten bread, and the father on his knees, with a a huge wooden cross in hand, repeating padareens , and occasionally throwing a jolly eye towards the door, or through the; window, opposite which he knelt, into the kitchen, as often as any peculiar stir or commotion led him to suppose that breakfast, the loadstar of his devotion, was about to be produced.

Scattered about the door were knots of these, men and women, occasionally chatting together; and when the subject of their conversation happened to be exhausted, resuming their beads, until some new topic would occur, and so on alternately. The interior of the kitchen where the neighbors were assembled, presented an appearance somewhat more decorous. Andy Lalor, the mass-server, in whom the priest had the greatest confidence, stood in a corner examining, in their catechism, those who intended to confess; and, if they were able to stand the test, he gave them a bit of twisted brown paper as a ticket, and they were received at the tribunal.

By this regulation our readers may easily perceive, that the penitent is completely at the mercy of the priest—that all family feuds, quarrels, and secrets are laid open to his eye—that the ruling; passions of men's lives are held up before him, the weaknesses and propensities of nature—all the unguarded avenues of the human heart and character are brought within his positive knowledge, and that, too, as they exist in the young and the old, the married and the single, the male and the female.

It was curious to remark the ludicrous expression of temporary sanctity which was apparent on the countenances of many young men and maidens who were remarkable in the neighborhood for attending dances and wakes, but who, on the present occasion, were sobered down to a gravity which sat very awkwardly upon them; particularly in I the eyes of those who knew the lightness and drollery of their characters. A good-humored nod, or a sly wink, from a young man to his female acquaintance, would now be indulged in; or, perhaps a small joke would escape, which seldom failed to produce a subdued laugh from such as had confessed, or an impatient rebuke from those who had not.

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Whin myself goes to Father Philemy, somehow or other, I totally disremember more nor wan half of what I intinded to tell him, but Father Con misses nothing, for he axes it. When the last observation was finished, Father Con, finding that the usual hour for breakfast had arrived, came into the kitchen, to prepare for the celebration of mass. For this purpose, a table was cleared, and just in the nick of time arrived old Moll Brian, the vestment woman, or itinerant sacristan, whose usual occupation was to carry the priests' robes and other apparatus, from station to station.

In a short time, Father Con was surpliced and robed; Andy Lalor, whose face was charged with commensurate importance during the ceremony, sarved Mass, and answered the priest stoutly in Latin although he had not the advantage of understanding that sacerdotal language. Those who had confessed, now communicated; after which, each of them took a draught, of water out of a small jug, which was handed round from one to another. The ceremony then closed, and those who had partaken of the sacrament, with the exception of such as were detained for breakfast, after filling their bottles with holy water, went home with a light heart.

A little before the mass had been finished, Father Philemy arrived; but, as Phaddy and Katty were then preparing to resave they could not at that moment give him a formal reception.

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As soon, however, as communion was over, the cead millia failtha was repeated with the usual warmth, by both, and by all their immediate friends. Breakfast was now laid in Katty's best style, and with an originality of arrangement that scorned all precedent. Two tables were placed, one after another, in the kitchen; for the other rooms were not sufficiently large to accommodate the company. Father Philemy filled the seat of honor at the head of the table, with his back to an immense fire.

He arrived only a few minutes after Father Philemy, and was a welcome reinforcement to Phaddhy, in the arduous task of sustaining the conversation with suitable credit. With respect to the breakfast, I can only say, that it was superabundant—that the tea was as black as bog water—that there were hen, turkey, and geese eggs—plates of toast soaked, crust and crumb, in butter; and lest there might be a deficiency, one of the daughters sat on a stool at the fire, with her open hand, by way of a fire screen, across her red, half-scorched brows, toasting another plateful, and, to crown all, on each corner of the table was a bottle of whiskey.

At the lower board sat the youngsters, under the surveillance of Katty's sister, who presided in that quarter. This was not lost, for Peter began, and gave them the De profundis —a Latin psalm, which Roman Catholics repeat for the relief of the souls in, purgatory. They forgot, however, that there was a person in company who considered himself as having an equal claim to the repetition of at least the one-half of it; and accordingly, when Peter got up and repeated the first verse, Andy Lalor got also on his legs, and repeated the response. The conversation during breakfast was as sprightly, as full of fun and humor as such breakfasts usually are.

The priest, Phaddhy, and the young collegian, had a topic of their own, whilst the rest were engaged in a kind of by play, until the meal was finished. This, more majorum , was complied with; and the glass, as usual, went round the table, beginning with their Reverences. Hitherto, Father Philemy had not had time to bestow any attention on the state of Kitty's larder, as he was in the habit of doing, with a view to ascertain the several items contained therein for dinner. But as soon as the breakfast-things were removed, and the coast clear, he took a peep into the pantry, and, after throwing his eye over its contents, sat down at the fire, making Phaddhy take a seat beside him, for the especial purpose of sounding him as to the practicability of effecting a certain design, which was then snugly latent in his Reverence's fancy.

The fact was, that on taking the survey of the premises aforesaid, he discovered that, although there was abundance of fowl, and fish, and bacon, and hung-beef—yet, by some unaccountable and disastrous omission, there was neither fresh mutton nor fresh beef.

The priest, it must be confessed, was a man of considerable fortitude, but this was a blow for which he was scarcely prepared, particularly as a boiled leg of mutton was one of his fifteen favorite joints at dinner. He accordingly took two or three pinches of snuff in rapid succession, and a seat at the fire, as I have said, placing Phaddhy, unconscious of his design, immediately beside him.

Now, the reader knows that Phaddhy was a man possessing a considerable portion of dry, sarcastic humor, along with that natural, quickness of penetration and shrewdness for which most of the Irish peasantry are in a very peculiar degree remarkable; add to this that Father Philemy, in consequence of his contemptuous bearing to him before he came in for his brother's property, stood not very high in his estimation.

The priest knew this, and consequently felt that the point in question would require to be managed, on his part, with suitable address. I'm happy to, see that you have such a fine thriving family: how many sons and daughters have you? Only for him, your Reverence, there would be very few inquiring this or any other day about them. God be good to him— requiescat animus ejus in pace, per omnia secula seculorum , Amen! But God look upon us, yer Reverence—or upon myself, anyway; for if he's to suffer for his doings that way, I'm afeard we'll have a troublesome reck'ning of it.

I say you could not listen to them; the hair would stand on your head if he did; but God forgive him—that's the worst I wish him. Didn't the hair stand on your head, Phaddhy, to hear him? I was always troubled about the way the fellow died, but I hadn't the slightest notion: that he went off such a reprobate. I fought his battle and yours hard enough yesterday; but I knew less about him than I do now. You must know that we were all to be starved here to-day.

Why, then, dear forgive me, not these five years;—and I'd surely be the first of the family that would show a mane spirit, or a want of hospitality. M'Loughlin will give me the right sort, if he has it betune him and death. Phaddhy, I tell you, you're enough to vex me to the core—five years!

What do I care about your mutton and your wine! It would teach you humility, you hardened creature, and God knows you want it; for my part, I'm speaking to you about other things; but that's the way with the most of you—mention any spiritual subject that concerns your soul, and you turn a deaf ear to it—here, Dolan, come in to your duty.

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In the meantime, you may as well tell Katty not to boil the mutton too much; it's on your knees you ought to be at your rosary, or the seven penitential psalms, any way. No, nor one of his faction couldn't lay his finger on such a dhrop. I'll try, anyhow; and if I can make off five for you, I will. So saying, his Reverence—for whom Phaddhy, with all his shrewdness in general, was not a match—went into his room, that he might send home about four dozen of honest, good-humored, thoughtless, jovial, swearing, drinking, fighting Hibernians, free from every possible stain of sin and wickedness!

Can't you stand back, and behave yourselves like common Christians? Hagarty, why do you crush them two girls there, you great Turk, you? Look at the vagabonds! He then returned into the house; and, after calling in about two dozen, began to catechize them as follows, still holding the whip in his hand, whilst many of those individuals, who at a party quarrel or faction fight, in fair or market, were incapable of the slightest terror, now stood trembling before him, absolutely pale and breathless with fear.

Can you read, sir? How many kinds of commandments are there? Well now, repeat the commandments of the Church.


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Oh, the Boeotian! I tell you it's not gray attitudes, but bay attitudes—doesn't every one know the eight beatitudes? Nor was his Reverence's own voice the first to subside into that gravity which became the solemnity of the occasion; or even whilst he continued the interrogatories, his eye was laughing at the conceit with which it was evident the inner man was not competent to grapple.


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  5. Those who stood around Kelly now fell back to a safe distance, and all was silence, terror, and trepidation once more. Stop, I say—it's pastors. What is the church? Kelly only smiled at the want of comprehension which prevented him from seeing the thing according to the view which his Reverence took of it. This was a puzzler to Kelly, who only knew his own side of the question. Now, Kelly, all's right but the money—have you brought your dues? It is to be observed here, that, according as the penitents went to be examined, or to kneel down to confess, a certain sum was exacted from each, which varied according to the arrears that might have been due to the priest.

    Indeed, it is not unusual for the host and hostess, on these occasions, to be refused a participation in the sacrament, until they pay this money, notwithstanding the considerable expense they are put to in entertaining not only the clergy, but a certain number of their own friends and relations. A lad now approached him, whose face, on a first view, had something simple and thoughtless in it, but in which, on a closer inspection, might be traced a lurking, sarcastic humor, of which his Reverence never dreamt.

    This over, he repaired to his room, where the work of absolution commenced; and, as there was a considerable number to be rendered sinless before the hour of dinner, he contrived to unsin them with an alacrity that was really surprising. Immediately after the conversation already detailed between his Reverence and Phaddhy, the latter sought Katty, that he might communicate to her the unlucky oversight which they had committed, in neglecting to provide fresh meat and wine. It was enough for them to bate us in the law-shoot about the horse, and not to have the laugh agin at us about this.