From The Bibliophile Library of Literature, Art, & Rare Manuscripts, Vol. XVIII, compiled and arranged by Nathan Haskell Dole, Forrest Morgan, and Caroline Ticknor; The International Bibliophile Society, New York-London; 1904; pp. 6057-6064.
[SAMUEL LOVER: An Irish artist, novelist, and song writer; born at Dublin, February 24, 1797; died at St. Heliers, July 6, 1868. He established himself in his native city as a marine painter and miniaturist, and in 1835 removed to London, where he wrote for periodicals. He was the author of “Legends and Stories of Ireland” (1831), the novels “Rory O’More” (1836) and “Handy Andy” (1842), and the songs “Molly Bawn,” “Low-backed Car,” “Four-leaved Shamrock,” etc.]
MATHEWS, in his “Trip to America,” gives a ludicrous representation of an Irishman who has left his own country on the old-fashion speculation of “seeking his fortune,” and who, after various previous failures in the pursuit, at length goes into the back settlements, with the intention of becoming interpreter general between the Yankees and the Indian tribes; but the Indians rejected his proffered service, “the poor ignorant craytures,” as he himself says, “just because he did not understand the language.” We are told, moreover, that Goldsmith visited the land of dikes and dams, for the purpose of teaching the Hollanders English, quite overlooking (until his arrival in the country made it obvious) that he did not know a word of Dutch himself! I have prefaced the following story thus, in the hope that the “precedent,” which covers so many absurdities in law, may be considered available by the author, as well as the suitor, and may serve a turn in the court of criticism, as well as in the common pleas.
A certain old gentleman in the west of Ireland, whose love of the ridiculous quite equaled his taste for claret and fox-hunting, 6058 was wont, upon certain festive occasions when opportunity offered, to amuse his friends by drawing out one of his servants, who was exceedingly fond of what he termed his “thravels,” and in whom a good deal of whim, some queer stories, and perhaps, more than all, long and faithful services, had established a right of loquacity. He was one of those few trusty and privileged domestics who, if his master unheedingly uttered a rash thing in a fit of passion, would venture to set him right. If the squire said, “I’ll turn that rascal off,” my friend Pat would say, “Throth you won’t, sir;” and Pat was always right, for if any altercation arose upon the “subject-matter in hand,” he was sure to throw in some good reason, either from former services, general good conduct, or the delinquent’s “wife and childher,” that always turned the scale.
But I am digressing. On such merry meetings as I have alluded to, the master, after making certain “approaches,” as a military man would say, as the preparatory steps in laying siege to some extravaganza of this servant, might, perchance, assail Pat thus: “By the by, Sir John” (addressing a distinguished guest), “Pat has a very curious story which something you told me to-day reminds me of. You remember, Pat” (turning to the man, evidently pleased at the notice thus paid to himself) — “you remember that queer adventure you had in France?”
“Throth I do, sir,” grins forth Pat.
“What!” exclaims Sir John, in feigned surprise, “was Pat ever in France?”
“Indeed he was,” cries mine host; and Pat adds, “Ay, and farther, plaze your honor!”
“I assure you, Sir John,” continues my host, ‘Pat told me a story once that surprised me very much, respecting the ignorance of the French.”
“Indeed!” rejoins the baronet; “really, I always supposed the French to be a most accomplished people.”
“Throth then, they are not, sir,” interrupts Pat.
“Oh, by no means,” adds mine host, shaking his head emphatically.
“I believe, Pat, ’twas when you were crossing the Atlantic?” says the master, turning to Pat with a seductive air, and leading into the “full and true account” (for Pat had thought fit to visit North America for a “raison he had,” in the autumn of the year ninety-eight).
“Yes, sir,” says Pat, “the broad Atlantic,” — a favorite 6059 phrase of his, which he gave with a brogue as broad, almost, as the Atlantic itself.
“It was the time I was lost in crassin’ the broad Atlantic, a comin’ home,” began Pat, decoyed into the recital; “whin the winds began to blow, and the sae to rowl, that you’d think the ‘Colleen dhas’ (that was her name) would not have a mast left but what would rowl out of her.
“Well, sure enough, the masts went by the boord, at last, and the pumps were choak’d (divil choak them for that same), and av coorse the wather gained an us; and throth, to be filled with wather is neither good for man or baste; and she was sinkin’ fast, settlin’ down, as the sailors call it; and faith I never was good at settlin’ down in my life, and I liked it then less nor ever; accordingly we prepared for the worst, and put out the boat, and got a sack o’ bishkits, and a cashk o’ pork, and a kag o’ wather, and a thrifle o’ rum aboord, and any other little matthers we could think iv in the mortial hurry we wor in — and faith, there was no time to be lost, for my darlint, the ‘Colleen dhas,’ went down like a lump o’ lead, afore we wor many strokes o’ the oar away from her.
“Well, we dhrifted away all that night, and next mornin’ we put up a blanket an the ind av a pole as well as we could, and then we sailed illigant; for we daren’t show a stitch o’ canvas the night before, bekase it was blowin’ like murther, savin’ your presence, and sure it’s the wondher of the world we worn’t swally’d alive by the ragin’ sae.
“Well, away we wint, for more nor a week, and nothin’ before our two good-lookin’ eyes but the canophy iv heaven, and the wide ocean — the broad Atlantic — not a thing was to be seen but the sae and the sky; and though the sae and the sky is mighty purty things in themselves, throth they’re no great things when you’ve nothin’ else to look at for a week together — and the barest rock in the world — so it was land, would be more welkim. And then, soon enough, throth, our provision began to run low, the bishkits, and the wather, and the rum — throth that was gone first of all — God help uz — and oh! it was thin starvation began to stare us in the face — ‘Oh, murther, murther, captain, darlint’, says I, ‘I wish we could see land anywhere,’ says I.
“ ‘More power to your elbow, Paddy, my boy,’ says he, ‘for sitch a good wish, and throth it’s myself wishes the same.’
“ ‘Oh,’ says I, ‘that it may plaze you, sweet queen iv heaven, 6060 supposing it was only a dissolute island,’ says I, ‘inhabited wid Turks, sure they wouldn’t be such bad Christhans as to refuse us a bit and a sup.’
“ ‘Whist, whisht, Paddy,’ says the captain, ‘don’t be talkin’ bad of any one,’ says he; ‘you don’t know how soon you may want a good word put in for yourself, if you should be called to quarthers in th’ other world, all of a suddint,’ says he.
“ ‘Thrue for you, captain, darling,’ says I — I called him darlint, and made free wid him, you see, bekase disthress makes uz all equal — ‘thrue for you, captain, jewel — God betune uz and harm, I own no man any spite’ — and throth that was only thruth. Well, the last bishkit was sarved out, and by gor the wather itself was all gone at last, and we passed the night mighty cowld. Well, at the brake o’ day the sun riz most beautiful out o’ the waves, that was as bright as silver and as clear as crysthal: — but it was only the more cruel upon us, for we wor beginnin’ to feel terrible hungry; when all at wanst I thought I spied the land — by gor I thought I felt my heart up in my throat in a minit, and ‘Thunder an’ turf, captain,’ says I, ‘look to leeward,’ says I.
“ ‘What for?’ says he.
“ ‘I think I see the land,’ says I. So he ups with his bring-em-near — (that’s what the sailors call a spyglass, sir), and looks out, and, sure enough, it was.
“ ‘Hurra,’ says he, ‘we’re all right now; pull away, my boys,’ says he.
“ ‘Take care you’re not mistaken,’ says I; ‘maybe it’s only a fog bank, captain, darlint,’ says I.
“ ‘Oh no,’ says he, ‘it’s the land in airnest.’
“ ‘Oh then, whereabouts in the wide world are we, captain,’ says I, ‘maybe it id be in Roosia, or Proosia, or the Garman Oceant,’ says I.
“ ‘Tut, you fool,’ says he — for he had that consaited way wid him — thinkin’ himself cleverer nor any one else — ‘tut, you fool,’ says he, ‘that’s France,’ says he.
“ ‘Tare an ouns,’ says I, ‘do you tell me so? and how do you know it’s France it is, captain dear?’ says I.
“ ‘Bekase this is the Bay o’ Bishky we’re in now,’ says he.
“ ‘Throth I was thinkin’ so myself,’ says I, ‘by the rowl it has; for I often heerd av it in regard of that same;’ and throth the likes av it I never seen before nor since, and with the help o’ God, never will.6061
“Well, with that, my heart began to grow light; and when I seen my life was safe, I began to grow twice hungrier nor ever — ‘so,’ says I, ‘captain jewel, I wish we had a gridiron.’
“ ‘Why then,’ says he, ‘thunder an turf,’ says he, ‘what puts a gridiron into your head?’
“ ‘Bekase I’m starvin’ with the hunger,’ says I.
“ ‘And sure, bad luck to you,’ says he, ‘you couldn’t ate a gridiron,’ says he, ‘barrin’ you wor a pelican o’ the wildherness,’ says he.
“ ‘Ate a gridiron?’ says I; ‘och, in throth I’m not sich a gommoch all out as that, anyhow. But sure, if we had a gridiron, we could dress a beefstake,’ says I.
“ ‘Arrah! but where’s the beefstake?’ says he.
“ ‘Sure, couldn’t we cut a slice aff the pork?’ says I.
“ ‘Be gor, I never thought o’ that,’ says the captain. ‘You’re a clever fellow, Paddy,’ says he, laughin’.
“ ‘Oh, there’s many a thrue word said in a joke,’ says I.
“ ‘Thrue for you, Paddy,’ says he.
“ ‘Well then,’ says I, ‘if you put me ashore there beyant’ (for we were nearin’ the land all the time), ‘and sure I can ax thim for to lind me the loan of a gridiron,’ says I.
“ ‘Oh by gor, the butther’s comin’ out o’ the stirabout in airnest now,’ says he; ‘you gommoch,’ says he, ‘sure I towld you before that’s France — and sure they’re all furriners there,’ says the captain.
“ ‘Well,’ says I, ‘and how do you know but I’m as good a furriner myself as any o’ thim?’
“ ‘What do you mane,’ says he.
“ ‘I mane,’ says I, ‘what I towld you, that I’m as good a furriner myself as any o’ thim.’
“ ‘Make me sinsible,’ says he.
“ ‘By dad, maybe that’s more nor I could do,’ says I — and we all began to laugh at him, for I thought I’d pay him aff for his bit o’ consait about the Garman Oceant.’
“ ‘Lave aff your humbuggin,’ says he, ‘I bid you, and tell me what it is you mane, at all at all.’
“ ‘Parly voo frongsay,’ says I.
“ ‘Oh, your humble sarvant,’ says he; ‘why, by gor, you’re a scholar, Paddy.’
“ ‘Throth, you may say that,’ says I.
“ ‘Why, you’re a clever fellow, Paddy,’ says the captain, jeerin’ like.6062
“ ‘You’re not the first that said that,’ says I, ‘whether you joke or no.’
“ ‘Oh, but I’m in airnest,’ says the captain — ‘and do you tell me, Paddy,’ says he, ‘that you spake Frinch?’
“ ‘Parly voo frongsay,’ says I.
“ ‘By gor, that bangs Banagher, and all the world knows Banagher bangs the divil — I never met the like o’ you, Paddy,’ says he — ‘pull away, boys, and put Paddy ashore, and maybe we won’t get a good bellyful before long.’
“So with that, it was no sooner said nor done — they pulled away and got close inshore in less than no time, and run the boat up into a little creek, and a beautiful creek it was, with a lovely white sthrand — an illigant place for ladies to bathe in the summer; and out I got — and it’s stiff enough in my limbs I was, afther bein’ cramp’d up in the boat, and perished with the cowld and hunger; but I conthrived to scramble on, one way or t’other, tow’rds a little bit iv a wood that was close to the shore, and the smoke curlin’ out of it, quite timptin’ like.
“ ‘By the powdhers o’ war, I am all right,’ says I; ‘there’s a house there;’ and sure enough there was, and a parcel of men, women and childher, ating their dinner round a table, quite convaynient. And so I wint up to the door, and I thought I’d be very civil to thim, as I heerd the Frinch was always mighty p’lite intirely — and I thought I’d show them what good manners was.
“So I took aff my hat, and making a low bow, says I, ‘God save all here,’ says I.
“Well, to be sure, they all stopt ating at wanst, and begun to stare at me — and, faith, they almost looked me out of countenance; and I thought to myself it was not good manners at all — more betoken from furriners which they call so mighty p’lite; but I never minded that, in regard o’ wanting the gridiron; and so says I, ‘I beg your pardon,’ says I, ‘for the liberty I take, but it’s only bein’ in disthress in regard of ating,’ says I; ‘that I make bowld to throuble yez, and if yez could lind me the loan of a gridiron,’ says I, ‘I’d be intirely obleeged to ye.’
“By gor, they all stared at me twice worse nor before; and with that says I (knowin’ what was in their minds), ‘indeed it’s thrue for you,’ says I — ‘I’m tatthered to pieces, and God knows I look quare enough — but it’s by raison of the storm, says I, ‘which druv us ashore here below, and we’re all starvin’, says I.6063
“So then they began to look at each other agin; and myself, seeing at wanst dirty thoughts was in their heads, and they tuck me for a poor beggar, comin’ to crave charity — with that, says I, ‘Oh! not at all,’ says I, ‘by no manes — we have plenty o’ mate ourselves, there below, and we’ll dhress it,’ says I, ‘if you would be plased to lind us the loan of a gridiron,’ says I, makin’ a low bow.
“Well, sire, with that, throth they stared at me twice worse nor ever — and, faith, I began to think that maybe the captain was wrong, and that it was not France at all at all; and so says I, ‘I beg pardon sir,’ says I, to a fine owld man, with a head of hair as white as silver — ‘maybe I’m undher a mistake,’ says I; ‘but I thought I was in France, sir: aren’t you furriners?’ says I — ‘Parly voo frongsay?
“ ‘We munseer,’ says he.
“ ‘Then would you lind me the loan of a gridiron,’ says I, ‘if you plase?’
“Oh, it was thin that they stared at me as if I had siven heads; and, faith, myself began to feel flusthered like, and onaisy — and so says I, makin’ a bow and scrape agin, “I know it’s a liberty I take, sir,’ says I, ‘but it’s only in regard of bein’ cast away; and if you plase, sir,’ says I, ‘Parly voo frongsay?
“ ‘We munseer,’ says he, mighty sharp.
“ ‘Then would you lind me the loan of a gridiron?” says I, ‘and you’ll obleege me.’
“Well, sir, the old chap began to munseer me; but the divil a bit of a gridiron he’d gie me; and so I began to think they wor all neygars, for all their fine manners; and throth my blood began to rise, and says I, ‘By my sowl, if it was you was in disthress,’ says I, ‘and if it was to owld Ireland you kem, it’s not only the gridiron they’d give you, if you ax’d it, but something to put an it too, and the dhrop o’ dhrink into the bargain, and cead mile failte.’
“Well, the word cead mile failte seemed to sthreck his heart,’ and the owld chap cocked his ear, and so I thought I’d give him another offer, and make him sinsible at last; and so says I, wanst more, quite slow, that he might undherstand — ‘Parly — voo — frongsay, munseer?’
“ ‘We munseer,’ says he.
“ Then lind me the loan of a gridiron,’ says I, ‘and bad scran to you.’
“Well, bad win to the bit of it he’d gi’ me, and the owld 6064 chap begins bowin’ and scrapin’, and said something or other about a long tongs.
“ ‘Phoo! — the divil sweep yourself and your tongs,’ says I, ‘don’t want a tongs at all at all; but can’t you listen to raison,’ says I — ‘Parly voo frongsay?’
“ ‘We munseer,’
“ ‘Then lind me the loan of a gridiron,’ says I, ‘and howld your prate,’
“Well, what would you think but he shook his owld noddle, as much as to say he wouldn’t; and so says I, “Bad cess to the likes o’ that I ever seen — throth if you wor in my counthry it’s not that a-way they’d use you; the curse o’ the crows an you, you owld sinner,’ says I, ‘the divil a longer I’ll darken your door.’
“So he seen I was vex’d, and I thought, as I was turnin’ away, I seen him begin to relint, and that his conscience throubled him; and, says I, turnin’ back, ‘Well, I’ll give you one chance more — you owld thief — are you a Christhan at all at all! Are you a furriner?’ says I, ‘that all the world call so p’lite. Bad luck to you, do you undherstand your own language? — Parly voo frongsay?’
“ ‘We munseer,’ says he.
“ ‘Then thunder an’ turf,’ says I, ‘will you lind me the loan of a gridiron?’
“Well, sir, the divil resave the bit of it he’d gi’ me — and so with that, the ‘curse o’ the hungry an you, you owld negarly villain,’ says I: ‘the back o’ my hand and the sowl o’ my fut to you, that you may want a gridiron yourself yit,’ says I, ‘and wherever I go, high and low, rich and poor, shall hear o’ you,’ says I, and with that I left them there, sir and kem away — and in throth it’s often sence that I thought that it was remarkable.”