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“ WELL, irroo, Crohoore mollhaheh," what was the hardest case you were ever in?” said Darby Shea. But I must premise a few words as to Crohoore and the scene of the conversation,
Jack Ahearin had a number of men digging potatoes for him, in the winter of 1823. Of course they did not dine until after nightfall ; but that meal being over, a roaring fire was made down, and the boys and girls gathered round it to joke and tell stories for a few hours. A short wall stretched out from the hearth, and with the side wall of the house, served to enclose the fireplace. Along this a broad block was laid, generally the most comfortable seat at the fire. Crohoore, with his legs extended at full length, and his crutches lying by him, was its sole occupant, for two reasons; first, as an honour and a convenience to him ; secondly, because whoever sat near him while telling a story, was sure to receive sundry hard punches and knocks. His mode of describing his innumerable adventures is exceedingly dramatic; and if he has to tell of a particular blow, in the excitement of the moment he gives the person next him a dreadful thump on the head or the body, as the narration requires. Those, therefore, who know him, edge off to a respect. ful distance as soon as he begins; and then, having no one to act on, it is surprising what a pelt he'll give himself on the side of the head, or what a sound he'll “ take out” of his bare breast by a blow, to the great delight and laughter of all the children, who are thrown into ecstasies at it. Crohoore's life was one of constant adventures, and he literally carries them in his head. It is as irregular externally as a bog of turf, full of dints and holes, with every one of which some story is invariably connected. One had the lock of a pistol “smothered” in it, while they were endeavouring to arrest him as a Whiteboy ; another was left by a broad. sword on a similar occasion ; a third was the fruit of a single combat, (with sticks,) and a thousand others were given in fights accurately registered with all their particular circumstances. When the young boys, with whom he is a prodigious favourite, almost as great as with myself, ' wish to excite him, and get some story, one of them passes his hand
through his grey hairs, until he meets some well-known hollow, and says, “ Irroo, Crohoore, blood and fire! this was a great cut ; where did you get it?” Crohoore then, with apparent reluctance, begins to explain; word is sent in all directions, “Come, come, Crohoore is telling about the cut that Ned Charles gave him," and he has an audience im. mediately. The old men take nearly equal pleasure in him, for many have been themselves witnesses of his exploits; and as his courage, notoriously, was so desperate that there was scarce any thing too daring to be attempted by him, they are not shocked by a story, which, though improbable for another, is yet perfectly natural and likely, when told of him. Indeed, I never heard any doubts cast on his veracity. His name is a sort of voucher; and if, when he has to describe a scene, he seizes your hand and puts it into the hollow of a wound ; or if, when he says, that on one occasion he got nine sabre cuts from his shoulder to his
• Wicked, i. e. daring, Croboore, a name expressive of admiration and fear.
wrist, he can pull up his wrist, and show you as many white seams, it is very hard but to believe him.
He was a strange mixture of virtues and faults. With the most passionate tenderness of affection for his family, and for those friends to whom he attached himself, he had not a vestige of compassion for their enemies, or the enemies of their country, Naturally he would not hurt a fly: but a bailiff, a proctor, or a policeman, he would kill without the slightest sense of impropriety; and while in quarrels with others, whom he hated most bitterly, there was a generous fairness of all in any way connected with the laws, or in the service of “ King George," he would have thought it a sin not to take every advantage. Open warfare in their case seemed as absurd as a fair duel with a rattlesnake or a tiger would appear to a backwoodsman. What justice would they show him at the assizes? They were only to be knocked on the head. An officer of the Court of Chancery came one time to serve a person, to whom he was much attached, with a law order. Crohoore was wild with rage. He stole out, took up a huge stone into an old castle, under which the officer must pass; and had he not most fortunately been discovered, would beyond all doubt have killed him. In short, he was as devoted to his friends as ever was clansman to his chief. Life and limb were nothing in their service; but, on the other hand, he expected, when in a scrape,-and he was enough of himself to keep the clerk of the crown in constant employment, the most usual charge against him being Whiteboyism,--that neither money, labour, nor interest should be spared to bring him through ; and certainly if affection, courage, and fidelity, though often dreadfully misdirected in the mode of showing them, could deserve it, they would not be spared. A tub of gold could not purchase him; and, Iam sure, he might be cut in pieces before he would betray his friends.
Yet, with all his wildness, Crohoore was very industrious. He would toil like a slave at task work, and, indeed, was in much request as an excellent labourer. It was in the evenings after returning from a day's work that he did most of his own business, often continuing at it by moonlight; but he was never intended to be rich. At the time that Hoche's fleet arrived in Bantry Bay, he had a farm of twenty acres, and four or five good milch cows, and was, in short, in a thriving way. But the moment the news reached him, his blood was up, he killed and salted all his cows, and was of course broken. After some time he fell lame, and at length became a gaberlunzie. But his lameness could not seize him like an ordinary man. He was sitting in his own house, almost unable to move, when the word ran that the police were coming to arrest him; he sprung up at once, rushed out, and ran as well as ever, For two years after, he continued perfectly free from lameness: by de.. grees then it returned ; and as, unluckily, he had no warrant out against him, it has never since departed.
Fronting the fire sat Larry Connor, a pensioner at a shilling a-day. This magnificent income would alone have made Larry a man of con. sequence; but he had also seen the world, been in several engagements, and was, moreover, a very shrewd hard-headed fellow. He, too, had a touch of romance in him, and was much given to reading. His usual place was at a sawyer's on the road side. There, during the dog-days, seated on a piece of deal, with an old pair of spectacles on his nose, he would read Goldsmith's History of Greece or Rome in a loud, stiff, unvarying voice to the sawyers; expounding it as he went along, and adding many wise reflections of his own, with now and then, as an episode, some adventure of the Peninsular campaigns; often, while going to bathe, we stopped to listen to him, and were convulsed with laughter at his extraordinary pronunciations of proper names, for which, of course, we were gravely rebuked; but, notwithstanding these levities, the presence of the “ Latin scholars” was always acceptable to Larry.There was next Donulh Oghe, a noble specimen of the Irish peasant ; over six feet high, and stout in proportion, with a fine, manly, open countenance. For a bet he tied the handles of seven half-hundreds (weight) together, and, walked about with them in one hand for a short time; which gave him a high reputation for strength. But Donulh was one of the most sensible fellows in the house. The others-Jack Connell, a second and much in.. ferior edition of Crohoore, Simon Dauly, Owen Spillane—it is not necessary to dwell on more particularly.
For whatever reason, Crohoore could not be induced to tell any story. “ Well," says Simon Dauly, “ to open the ball, as Crohoore wont spake, I'll tell the hardest case I was ever in, and I think 'twas with a mad dog at Coolgorruv, when we were living there."
“ Ah that's right, Simon, and good luck to you,” exclaimed all the girls together.
“ 'Twas as fine a summer's night as ever came out of the Heavens, and I was after seeing the cows that war all sleeping in the field, ye know, before the house there, and just after my first sleep ; when Kate stirs me, (women, Nell,” to a lively black-eyed girl who hid her face with a laugh in her apron, “ never let a poor fellow alone,) ' Simon, Simon,' says she,
there's something the matther with the pigs abroad. We had at that time a litther of young little bonnuvs [young pigs in the linney outside ; their mother, to be sure, was with 'um ; and the cart was drawn across the mouth of the linney. Well, I heard all the noise of the bonnuvs abroad; so I puts on my shirt, and goes out. A little dog, Purty we called him, went with me. Sure enough there was terrible work' i'the linney, and I could not make out what it was. Purty ran in under the cart, but he was no sooner in than he began to cry for the bare life, and he runs out between my legs; and a yellow mastiff of a mad dog, as big as a calf, after him, eating him all the way,—he nearly thrun me down. Well, Purty runs into the house, for the door would not at all stay closed, and in with him under the bed, where Kate and the childer war; and the mad dog after him, chawing away at him. I ran to the door, and as there war three or four inches between the top of it and the post above, I pulls it out hard, and I calls to the three men that war sleeping on the chest, * Thonom an dhiaoul, Owen Cournane,' says I, “the mad dog is within; hand me the pike over the door. “The divil take me thin, if I do,' says he.”-“ Oh, the coward,” exclaimed Nell, “ I'm ashamed of him.”
“ Thrue for you, but may be I did not give him a lacing for it; may be I did not give him the bating of a buck goat. "Well, yirroo,' says I, you need only remain on the chest where you are: the pike is standing near it; push it out to me.' But the heart of a coward is deaf: he wouldn't stir. "Father,' says little Paddy, getting up in the bed, I'll go and give it to you,'- Lie down, you rascal,' says I, where you are, and don't open your mouth for fear he'd hear you: lie down, agraghal dhe mwhahir ;* I don't want it at all. Well, I didn't know what to do. The mad dog, hear
• Fair-haired love of your mother ; fair-haired object of your mother's love.
ing me, came out from under the bed, and began to run wild about the house, looking for the door ; and how was I sure but he'd jump into the bed. I thought the heart would brake my ribs. At last I thought of the churn-staff that was stuck in the elder-tree, you know, Crohoore? (Crohoore nodded); the tree on the top of the ditch opposite the dunghill out. 'Twas only the day before we made up the dunghill; and there war a pool of wather between it and the ditch. So I gives the door a great pull to me; I runs up the dunghill, and leaps on the ditch: but the big limestone flag that was at the butt of the tree made me slip, and I fell down into the wather. The mad dog heard the noise, and he runs down with a tub of froth at his mouth. Well, I had only just time, and no more, to get upon the dunghill, when he makes at me, and two candles in his eyes; I had nothing, you know, only my hands : but the dung was long and soft, so I caught up a shafe of it, and just as his head was upon the dunghill, I thruv him back. But he makes at me worse than ever ; I thruv him down again, and again: but the heap was getting lower every time, and a dog that way is a sighth stronger than one in his sinses; so I was in a dreadful puzzle; at last I thought of Captain, and I called him, Oych ! He came, an runs at the mad dog,” (“Wishah magreine eh (my dear he is,) Captain,” burst from all,) “and they runs at each other, but Captain knocked him down; and I remember very well, though he had such a grip, that with any other dog his hold was like Owen a Vocchig's vice, he used only give the mad dog a shake, and then throw him from him, they have such vinom. Well he wouldn't be satisfied until he drove him out of the farm, down through the cows to Madam O'Donoghue's, without letting him touch one of them ; and as soon as he had done that, he sat down on the field, and began to ulugone as ever you heard a woman at a funeral.”
“ Oych, see that, what sinse he had! And what did ye do with him Simon?”
« Ah, I was obliged to get him killed two days after, he began to grow mad, and to eat himself; so we sent to Bill Doody, for I would not touch a hair of his head, and he shot him, I'd give the best cow on the bawn for him that morning."
“ Gondouth, to be sure you would. But what happened the pigs ; did they go mad ?"
- A quare thing then. Their mother, about a month after that, went up to Sheeans, to the furze brake there, and began to root it away. In an hour you'd think she'd do more than twenty men: so we killed her. self, and two or three of the bonnuus that went the same way. The rest of them didn't go mad, but they never grew a bit, and the world wouldn't fatten 'um. The hair on 'um was like a field of new stubbles ; all long and standing up for themselves, as if every one of 'um was mad."
- Well, the glory! But, Simon, what happened the mad dog?"
“Oych ! bad luck to him over and over again ! sure 'twas he bit Miss Hayes."
« Simon, what's that you say? Was it your mad dog that killed her?"
“ Indeed it was, to my shame and sorrow. The next day he ran back towards Lismanghane; and the country, to be sure, was on fire after him. She was standing on the lawn abroad: they say she thought 'twas a hunt when she heard the lu, [the yell-the shouting of the country people in chase of the mad dog :) but before any one knew anything or could help it, he bit her in the cheek and the hand, and they were obliged to smother her between two beds."
“In the cheek? Oh, Simon, that was the pity on earth,” said Donulh
Oghe, “ I never seen such a face. I declare to Goodness, too, you'd rather hear her spaking, and more in particular when she laughed, than the finest echo Spillane ever took out of Glenna, 'twas so sweet."
« 'Tis thrue for him," said Crohoore: “ neither did I ever see such a face except her eye, and that was like the lake at Tomies, where the carbuncle is shining at the bottom."*
“ Well, well, Crohoore, I suppose she was handsome enough ; but if you was in Spain or foreign parts, you would not think so much of her," in. terrupted Larry. “I tell you what, when we were marching through Ballyfranca (Villafranca, perhaps] I seen a woman there that she wasn't priming to; a woman that would make a whole regiment, cry Eyes right!””
“ Whisht, hould your tongue; what were all the women in all the bollihmwoers [cities] of the world beyond sea to be compared with her ? Do you want to throw the ould souldier over me ?-Put away that work, I tell you. Look, did you ever see a fine field of whate, almost ripe, when the wind was blowing this way from the west on a summer's evening, and the shadows running over it ? Well, that was like your face, Eliza Hayes, when you were listening to a story.”
“ Wisha, ma greine hu, Crohuier!” [Wisha, my love you are, Crohoore,] exclaimed two or three of the girls together; and the dispute ended by acclamation, Larry being completely silenced by this volley from the women,
There was silence for some time. “Well,” says Crohoore, “as Simon told about the bonnuve, I'll tell what happened me with Jack M‘Carthy's boar. 'Twisn't the hardest case I was ever in ; but faith he gave me enough of it,-my own bellyful! You remember Thigue Gaouncheuch, Larry?"_“I do, well."-" Well, he had this orchard over one year; and the apples was a show: you'd think the trees would break down with 'em. “Yirrah !' says I, one evening, this way, to Jack Crimin and Owen Ahearin, and they were two as stout slashing fellows as you'd see at the patthern at Ghairah-na-Ornhun, 'wouldn't we relieve the trees of that neger over, and November night not far off ?'--' Done,' says Jack, • I'm at you,' says Owen; and we settled the night.”
Stealing apples, it ought to be observed on Crohoore's behalf, was never regarded as an offence or shame. It was purely a piece of fun to please the girls; and young fellows showed their spirit and address on the occasion. At the same time, the orchard-man was expected to guard his apples the best he could, even to the length of shooting a man. Without danger, there would have been neither honour nor pleasure in the matter. In fact, it was an understood thing on both sides, that the boys were to steal the apples if they could, and the owner of the apples to shoot the boys in the act if he could ; but any appeal to the law was, by universal consent, pronounced very mean,-quite a disgrace.
“When the night came,-'twas a windy blowing one, and the moon
• The deepest part of the lake is near Tomies: The depth is about 60 or 70 fathoms. In several legends the carbuncle cuts a considerable figure. Sometimes it is part of O'Donoghue's immense wealth, guarded by the dog Bran, at the bottom of the lake; where it may be seen on particular occasions, flashing up through the water with supernatural brilliancy; and sometimes it is floating on the surface, as is attested by a native poet, when enumerating the wonders of Killarney in such sweet-fowing verse as the following :
“ 'Tis there you'd see the carbuncle that's swimming by nature,
The deer running up and down, and the hounds tallying after." 10. .-v0L II.