“Shan Fadh’s Wedding”, in Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry [1830], rep. Collected Works of William Carleton, Vol. III (NY: 1881) [sect. 1 of 2]

On the following evening, the neighbors were soon assembled about Ned’s hearth in the same manner as on the night preceding: - And we may observe, by the way, that though there was a due admixture of opposite creeds and conflicting principles, yet even then, and the time is not so far back, such was their cordiality of heart and simplicity of manners when contrasted with the bitter and rancorous spirit of the present day that the very remembrance of the harmony in which they lived is at once pleasing and melancholy.
After some preliminary chat, “Well Shane”, said Andy Morrow, addressing Shane Fadh, “will you give us an account of your wedding? I’m tould it was the greatest let-out that ever was in the country, before or since.”
 “And you may say that, Mr. Morrow”, said Shane, “I was at many a wedding myself, but never at the likes of my own, barring Tim Lannigan’s, that married Father Corrigan’s niece.”
 “I believe”, said Andy, “that, too, was a dashing one; however, it’s your own we want. Come, Nancy, fill these measures again, and let us be comfortable, at all events, and give Shane a double one, for talking’s druthy work: - I’ll stand this round.”
When the liquor was got in, Shane, after taking a draught, laid down his pint, pulled out his steel tobacco-box, and, after twisting off a chew between his teeth, closed the box, and commenced the story of his wedding.
 “When I was a Brine-Oge”, [1] said Shane, “I was as wild as an unbroken cowlt - no divilment was too hard for me; and so sign’s on it, for there wasn’t a piece of mischief done in the parish, but was laid at my door - and the dear knows I had enough of my own to answer for, let alone to be set down for that of other people; but, any way, there was many a thing done in my name, when I knew neither act nor part about it. One of them I’ll mintion: Dick Cuillenan, father to Paddy, that lives at the crass-roads, beyant Gunpowdher Lodge, was over head and ears in love with Jemmy Finigan’s eldest daughter, Mary, then, sure enough, as purty a girl as you’d meet in a fair - indeed, I think I’m looking at her, with her fair flaxen ringlets hanging over her shoulders, as she used to pass our house, going to mass of a Sunday. God rest her sowl, she’s now in glory - that was before she was my wife. Many a happy day we passed together; and I could take it to my death, that an ill word, let alone to rise our hands to one another, never passed between us - only one day, that a word or two happened about the dinner, in the middle of Lent, being a little too late, so that the horses were kept nigh half an hour out of the plough; and I wouldn’t have valued that so much, only that it was Beal Cam [2] Doherty that joined [3] me in ploughing that year - and I was vexed not to take all I could out of him, for he was a raal Turk himself.
 “I disremember now what passed between us as to words - but I know I had a duck-egg in my hand, and when she spoke, I raised my arm, and nailed - poor Larry Tracy, our servant boy, between the two eyes with it, although the crathur was ating his dinner quietly fornent me, not saying a word.
 “Well, as I tould you, Dick was ever after her, although her father and mother would rather see her under boord [4] than joined to any of that connection; and as for herself, she couldn’t bear the sight of him, he was sich an upsetting, conceited puppy, that thought himself too good for every girl. At any rate, he tried often and often, in fair and market, to get striking up with her; and both coming from and going to mass, ‘twas the same way, for ever after and about her, till the state he was in spread over the parish like wild fire. Still, all he could do was of no use; except to bid him the time of day, she never entered into discoorse with him at all at all. But there was no putting the likes of him off; so he got a quart of spirits in his pocket, one night, and without saying a word to mortal, off he sets full speed to her father’s, in order to brake the thing to the family.
 “Mary might be about seventeen at this time, and her mother looked almost as young and fresh as if she hadn’t been married at all. When Dick came in, you may be sure they were all surprised at the sight of him; but they were civil people - and the mother wiped a chair, and put it over near the fire for him to sit down upon, waiting to hear what he’d say, or what he wanted, although, they could give a purty good guess as to that! - but they only wished to put him off with as little offince as possible. When Dick sot a while, talking about what the price of hay and oats would be in the following summer, and other subjects that he thought would show his knowledge of farming and cattle, he pulls out his bottle, encouraged to by their civil way of talking - and telling the ould couple, that as he came over on his kailyee, [6] he had brought a drop in his pocket to sweeten the discoorse, axing Susy Finigan, the mother, for a glass to send it round with - at the same time drawing over his chair close to Mary who was knitting her stocken up beside her little brother Michael, and chatting to the gorsoon, for fraid that Cuillenan might think she paid him any attention.
When Dick got alongside of her, he began of coorse, to pull out her needles and spoil her knitting, as is customary before the young people come to close spaking. Mary, howsomever, had no welcome for him; so, says she, ‘You ought to know, Dick Cuillenan, who you spake to, before you make the freedom you do’
 “‘But you don’t know, says Dick, ‘that I’m a great hand at spoiling the girls’ knitting, - it’s a fashion I’ve got,’ says he.
 “‘It’s a fashion, then,’ says Mary, ‘that’ll be apt to get you a broken mouth, sometime’. [7]
“‘Then,’ says Dick, ‘whoever does that must marry me.’
“‘And them that gets you, will have a prize to brag of,’ says she; ‘stop yourself, Cuillenan - -single your freedom, and double your distance, if you plase; I’ll cut my coat off no such cloth.’
“‘Well, Mary,’ says he, ‘maybe, if you, don’t, as good will; but you won’t be so cruel as all that comes to - the worst side of you is out, I think.’
 “He was now beginning to make greater freedom; but Mary rises from her seat, and whisks away with herself, her cheek as red as a rose with vexation at the fellow’s imperance. ‘Very well,’ says Dick, ‘off you go; but there’s as good fish in the say as ever was catched. - I’m sorry to see, Susy,’ says he to her mother, ‘that Mary’s no friend of mine, and I’d be mighty glad to find it otherwise; for, to tell the truth, I’d wish to become connected with the family. In the mane time, hadn’t you better get us a glass, till we drink one bottle on the head of it, anyway.’
 “‘Why, then, Dick Cuillenan,’ says the mother, ‘I don’t wish you anything else than good luck and happiness; but, as to Mary, she’s not for you herself, nor would it be a good match between the families at all. Mary is to have her grandfather’s sixty guineas; and the two moulleens [8] that her uncle Jack left her four years ago has brought her a good stock for any farm. Now if she married you, Dick, where’s the farm to bring her to? - surely it’s not upon them seven acres of stone and bent, upon the long Esker, [8] that I’d let my daughter go to live. So, Dick, put up your bottle, and in the name of God, go home, boy, and mind your business; but, above all, when you want a wife, go to them that you may have a right to expect, and not to a girl like Mary Finigan, that could lay down guineas where you could hardly find shillings.’
 “‘Very well, Susy,’ says Dick, nettled enough, as he well might, ‘I say to you, just as I say to your daughter, if you be proud there’s no force.’” “But what has this to do with you, Shane?” asked Andy Morrow; “sure we wanted to hear an account of your wedding, but instead of that, it’s Dick Cuillenan’s history you’re giving us.”
 “That’s just it”, said Shane; “sure, only for this same Dick, I’d never got Mary Finigan for a wife. Dick took Susy’s advice, bekase, after all, the undacent drop was in him? or he’d never have brought the bottle out of the house at all; but, faith he riz up, put the whiskey in his pocket, and went home with a face on him as black as my hat with venom. Well, things passed on till the Christmas following, when one night, after the Finigans had all gone to bed, there comes a crowd of fellows to the door, thumping at it with great violence, and swearing that if the people within wouldn’t open it immediately, it would be smashed into smithereens. The family, of coorse, were all alarmed; but somehow or other, Susy herself got suspicious that it might be something about Mary, so up she gets, and sends the daughter to her own bed, and lies down herself in the daughter’s. “In the mane time, Finigan got up, and after lighting a candle, opened the door at once. ‘Come, Finigan,’ says a strange voice, ‘put out the candle, except you wish us to make a candlestick of the thatch,’ says he - ‘or to give you a prod of a bagnet under the ribs,’ says he.
 “It was a folly for one man to go to bell-the-cat with a whole crowd; so he blew the candle out, and next minute they rushed in, and went as straight as a rule to Mary’s bed. The mother all the time lay close, and never said a word. At any rate, what could be expected, only that, do what she could, at the long-run she must go? So according, after a very hard battle on her side, being a powerful woman, she was obliged to travel - but not till she had left many of them marks to remimber her by; among the rest, Dick himself got his nose split on his face, with the stroke of a churn-staff, so that he carried half a nose on each cheek till the day of his death. Still there was very little spoke, for they didn’t wish to betray themselves on any side. The only thing that Finigan could hear, was my name repeated several times, as if the whole thing was going on under my direction; for Dick thought, that if there was any one in the parish likely to be set down for it, it was me.
 “When Susy found they were for putting her behind one of them, on a horse, she rebelled again, and it took near a dozen of boys to hoist her up; but one vagabone of them, that had a rusty broad-sword in his hand, gave her a skelp with the flat side of it, that subdued her at once, and off they went. Now, above all nights in the year, who should be dead but my own full cousin, Denis Fadh - God be good to him! - and I, and Jack, and Dan, his brothers, while bringing home whiskey for the wake and berrin, met them on the road. At first we thought them distant relations coming to the wake, but when I saw only one woman among the set, and she mounted on a horse, I began to suspect that all wasn’t right. I accordingly turned back a bit, and walked near enough without their seeing me to hear the discoorse, and discover the whole business. In less than no time I was back at the wake-house, so I up and tould them what I saw, and off we set, about forty of us, with good cudgels, scythe-sneds, and flails, fully bent to bring her back from them, come or go what would. And troth, sure enough, we did it; and I was the man myself, that rode afore the mother on the same horse that carried her off.
 “From this out, when and wherever I got an opportunity, I whispered the soft nonsense, Nancy, into poor Mary’s ear, until I put my comedher [10] on her, and she couldn’t live at all without me. But I was something for a woman to look at then, any how, standing six feet two in my stocking soles, which, you know, made them call me Shane Fadh. [11] At that time I had a dacent farm of fourteen acres in Crocknagooran - the same that my son, Ned, has at the present time; and though, as to wealth, by no manner of manes fit to compare with the Finigans, yet, upon the whole, she might have made a worse match. The father, however, wasn’t for me; but the mother was: so after drinking a bottle or two with the mother, Sarah Traynor, her cousin, and Mary, along with Jack Donnellan, on my part, in their own barn, unknown to the father, we agreed to make, a runaway match of it, and appointed my uncle Brian Slevin’s as the house we’d go to. The next Sunday was the day appointed; so I had my uncle’s family prepared, and sent two gallons of whiskey, to be there before us, knowing that neither the Finigans nor my own friends liked stinginess.
 “Well, well, after all, the world is a strange thing - it’s myself hardly knows what to make of it. It’s I that did doat night and day upon that girl; and indeed there was them that could have seen me in Jimmaiky for her sake, for she was the beauty of the country, not to say of the parish, for a girl in her station. For my part, I could neither ate nor sleep, for thinking that she was so soon to be my own married wife, and to live under my roof. And when I’d think of it, how my heart would bounce to my throat, with downright joy and delight! The mother had made us promise not to meet till Sunday, for fraid of the father becoming suspicious: but if I was to be shot for it, I couldn’t hinder myself from going every night to the great flowering whitethorn that was behind their garden; and although she knew I hadn’t promised to come, yet there she still was; something, she said, tould her I would come.
 “The next Sunday we met at Althadhawan wood, and I’ll never forget what I felt when I was going to the green at St. Patrick’s Chair, where the boys and girls meet on Sunday; but there she was - the bright eyes dancing: with joy in her head to see me. We spent the evening in the wood, till it was dusk - I bating them all leaping, dancing, and throwing the stone; for, by my song, I thought I had the action of ten men in me; she looking on, and smiling like an angel, when I’d lave them miles behind me. As it grew dusk, they all went home, except herself and me, and a few more who, maybe, had something of the same kind on hands. “‘Well Mary,’ says I, ‘ acushla machree, it’s dark enough for us to go; and, in the name of God, let us be off.”
 “The crathur looked into my face, and got pale - for she was very young then: ‘Shane,’ says she, and she thrimbled like an aspen lafe, ‘I’m going to trust myself with - you for ever - for ever, Shane, avourueen, - and her sweet voice broke into purty murmurs as she spoke; ‘whether for happiness or sorrow God he only knows. I can bear poverty and distress, sickness and want will’ you, but I can’t bear to think that you should ever forget to love me as you do now, or your heart should ever cool to me: but I’m sure,’ says she, ‘you’ll never forget this night - and the solemn promises you made me, before God and the blessed skies above us.’
 “We were sitting at the time under the shade of a rowan-tree, and I had only one answer to make - I pulled her to my breast, where she laid her head and cried like a child with her cheek against mine. My own eyes weren’t dry, although I felt no sorrow, but - but - I never forgot that night - and I never will.”
He now paused a few minutes, being too much affected to proceed. “Poor Shane”, said Nancy, in a whisper to Andy Morrow, “night and day he’s thinking about that woman; she’s now dead going on a year, and you would think by him, although he bears up very well before company that she died only yestherday - but indeed it’s he that was always the kind-hearted, affectionate man; and a better husband never broke bread.”
 “Well”, said Shane, resuming the story, and clearing his voice, “it’s great consolation to me, now that she’s gone, to think that I never broke the promise I made her that night; for as I tould you, except in regard to the duck-egg, a bitther word never passed between us. I was in a passion then, for a wonder, and bent upon showing her that I was a dangerous man to provoke; so just to give her a spice of what I could do, I made Larry feel it - and may God forgive me for raising my hand even then to her. But sure he would be a brute that would beat such a woman except by proxy. When it was clear dark we set off, and after crossing the country for two miles, reached my uncle’s, where a great many of my friends were expecting us. As soon as we came to the door I struck it two or three times, for that was the sign, and my aunt came out, and taking Mary in her arms, kissed her, and, with a thousand welcomes, brought us both in.
 “You all know that the best of aiting and dhrinking is provided when a runaway couple is expected; and indeed there was galore of both there. My uncle and all that were within welcomed us again; and many a good song and hearty jug of punch was sent round that night. The next morning my uncle went to her father’s, and broke the business to him at once: indeed it wasn’t very hard to do, for I believe it reached him afore he saw my uncle at all; so she was brought home [12] that day, and, on the Thursday night after, I, my father, uncle, and several other friends, went there and made the match. She had sixty guineas, that her grandfather left her, thirteen head of cattle, two feather- and two chaff-beds, with sheeting, quilts, and blankets; three pieces of bleached linen, and a flock of geese of her own rearing - upon the whole, among ourselves, it wasn’t aisy to get such a fortune.
 “Well, the match was made, and the wedding day appointed; but there was one thing still to be managed, and that was how to get over standing at mass on Sunday, to make satisfaction for the scandal we gave the church by running away with one another - but that’s all stuff, for who cares a pin about standing, when three halves of the parish are married in the same way! The only thing that vexed me was, that it would keep back the wedding-day. However, her father and my uncle went to the priest, and spoke to him, trying, of coorse, to get us off it, but he knew we were fat geese, and was in for giving us a plucking. - Hut, tut! - he wouldn’t hear of it at all, not he; for although he would ride fifty miles to sarve either of us, he couldn’t break the new orders that he had got only a few days before that from the bishop. No; we must stand [13] - for it would be setting a bad example to the parish; and if he would let us pass, how could he punish the rest of his flock, when they’d be guilty of the same thing?
 “‘Well, well, your Reverence,’ says my uncle, winking at her father, ‘if that’s the case, it can’t be helped, any how - they must only stand, as many a dacent father and mother’s child has done before them, and will again, plase God - your Reverence is right in doing your duty.’
 “‘True for you, Brian,’ says his Reverence, ‘and yet, God knows, there’s no man in the parish would be sorrier to see such a dacent, comely young couple put upon a level with all the scrubs of the parish; and I know, Jemmy Finigan, it would go hard with your young, bashful daughter to get through with it, having the eyes of the whole congregation staring on her.’
 “‘Why, then, your Reverence, as to that,’ says my uncle, who was just as stiff as the other was stout, ‘the bashfulest of them will do more nor that to get a husband.’
 “‘But you tell me,’ says the priest, ‘that the wedding-day is fixed upon; how will you manage there?’
 “‘Why, put it off for three Sundays longer, to be sure,’ says the uncle.
 “‘But you forget this, Brian,’ says the priest, ‘that good luck or prosperity never attends the putting off of a wedding.’
 “Now here, you see, is where the priest had them; for they knew that as well as his Reverence himself - so they were in a puzzle again.
 “‘It’s a disagreeable business,’ says the priest, ‘but the truth is, I could get them off with the bishop, only for one thing - I owe him five guineas of altar-money, and I am so far back in dues that I’m not able to pay him. If I could inclose this to him in a letter, I would get them off at once, although it
would be bringing myself into trouble with the parish afterwards; but, at all events,’ says he, ‘I wouldn’t make every one of you both - so, to prove that I wish to sarve you, I’ll sell the best cow in my byre, and pay him myself, rather than their wedding day should be put off, poor things, or themselves brought to any bad luck - the Lord keep them from it!’
 “While he was speaking, he stamped his foot two or three times on the flure, and the housekeeper came in. - ’Katty,’ says he, ‘bring us in a bottle of whiskey; at all events, I can’t let you away,’ says he, ‘without tasting something, and drinking luck to the young folks.’
 “‘In troth,’ says Jemmy Finigan, ‘and begging your Reverence’s pardon, the sorra cow you’ll sell this bout, any how, on account of me or my childhre, bekase I’ll lay down on the nail what’ll clear you wid the bishop; and in the name of goodness, as the day is fixed and all, let the crathurs not be disappointed.’
 “‘Jemmy,’ says my uncle, ‘if you go to that, you’ll pay but your share, for I insist upon laying down one-half, at laste.’
 “At any rate they came down with the cash, and after drinking a bottle between them, went home in choice spirits entirely at their good luck in so aisily getting us off. When they had left the house a bit, the priest sent after them - ’Jemmy,’ says he to Finigan, ‘I forgot a circumstance, and that is, to tell
you that I will go and marry them at your own house, and bring Father James, my curate with me.’ ‘Oh, wurrah, no,’ said both, ‘don’t mention that, your Reverence, except you wish to break their hearts, out and out! why, that would be a thousand times worse nor making them stand to do penance: doesn’t your Reverence know that if they hadn’t the pleasure of running for the bottle, the whole wedding wouldn’t be worth three half-pence?’ ‘Indeed, I forgot that, Jemmy.’ ‘But sure,’ says my uncle, ‘your Reverence and Father James must be at
it, whether or not - for that we intended from the first.’ ‘Tell them I’ll run for the bottle, too,’ says the priest, laughing, ‘and will make some of them look
sharp, never fear.’
 “Well, by my song, so far all was right; and may be it’s we that weren’t glad - maning Mary and myself - that there was nothing more in the way to put off the wedding-day. So, as the bridegroom’s share of the expense always is to provide the whiskey, I’m sure, for the honour and glory of taking the blooming young crathur from the great lot of bachelors that were all breaking their hearts about her, I couldn’t do less nor finish the thing dacintly; knowing, besides, the high doings that the Finigans would have of it - for they were always looked upon as a family that never had their heart in a trifle, when it would come to the push. So, you see, I and my brother Mickey, my cousin Tom, and Dom’nick Nulty, went up into the mountains to Tim Cassidy’s still-house, where we spent a glorious day, and bought fifteen gallons of stuff, that one drop of it would bring the tear, if possible, to a young widdy’s eye that had berrid a bad husband. Indeed, this was at my father’s bidding, who wasn’t a bit
behindhand with any of them in cutting a dash. ‘Shane,’ says he to me, ‘you know the Finigans of ould, that they won’t be contint with what would do another, and that, except they go beyant the thing, entirely, they won’t be satisfied. They’ll have the whole countryside at the wadding, and we must let them see that we have a spirit and a faction of our own,’ says he, ‘that we needn’t be ashamed of. They’ve got all kinds of ateables in cart-loads, and as we’re to get the drinkables, we must see and give as good as they’ll bring. I myself, and your mother, will go round and invite all we can think of, and let you and Mickey go up the hills to Tim Cassidy, and get fifteen gallons of whiskey, for I don’t think less will do us.’
 “This we accordingly complied with, as I said, and surely better stuff never went down the red lane [14] than the same whiskey; for the people knew nothing about watering it then, at all at all. The next thing I did was to get a fine shop cloth coat, a pair of top-boots, and buckskin breeches fit for a squire; along with a new Caroline hat that would throw off the wet like a duck. Mat Kavanagh, the schoolmaster from Findramore bridge, lent me his watch for the occasion, after my spending near two days learning from him to know what o’clock it was. At last, somehow, I masthered that point so well that, in a quarter of an hour at least, I could give a dacent guess at the time upon it.
 “Well, at last the day came. The wedding morning, or the bride’s part of it, [15] as they say, was beautiful. It was then the month of July. The evening before my father and my brother went over to Jemmy Finigan’s, to make the regulations for the wedding. We, that is my party, were to be at the bride’s house about ten o’clock, and we were then to proceed, all on horseback, to the priest’s, to be married. We were then, after drinking something at Tom Hance’s public-house, to come back as far as the Dumbhill, where we were to start and run for the bottle. That morning we were all up at the shriek of day. From six o’clock my own faction, friends and neighbors, began to come, all mounted; and about eight o’clock there was a whole regiment of them, some on horses, some on mules, others on raheries [16] and asses; and, by my word, I believe little Dick Snudaghan, the tailor’s apprentice, that had a hand in making my wedding-clothes, was mounted upon a buck goat, with a bridle of salvages tied to his horns. Anything at all to keep their feet from the ground; for nobody would be allowed to go with the wedding that hadn’t some animal between them and the earth.
 “To make a long story short, so large a bridegroom’s party was never seen in that country before, save and except Tim Lannigans, that I mentioned just now. It would make you split your face laughing to see the figure they cut; some of them had saddles and bridles - others had saddles and halthers; some had back-suggawns of straw, with hay Stirrups to them, but good bridles; others sacks filled up as like saddles as they could make them, girthed with hay-ropes five or six times tied round the horse’s body. When one or two of the horses wouldn’t carry double, except the hind rider sat stride-ways, the women had to be put foremost, and the men behind them. Some had dacent pillions enough, but most of them had none at all, and the women were obliged to sit where the pillion ought to be - and a hard card they had to play to keep their seats even when the horses walked asy, so what must it be when they came to a gallop! but that same was nothing at all to a trot.
 “From the time they began to come that morning, you may be sartain that the glass was no cripple, any how - although, for fear of accidents, we took care not to go too deep. At eight o’clock we sat down to a rousing breakfast, for we thought it best to eat a trifle at home, lest they might think that what we were to get at the bride’s breakfast might be thought any novelty. As for my part, I was in such a state, that I couldn’t let a morsel cross my throat, nor did I know what end of me was uppermost. After breakfast they all got their cattle, and I my hat and whip, and was ready to mount, when my uncle whispered to me that I must kneel down and ax my father and mother’s blessing, and forgiveness for all my disobedience and offinces towards them - and also to requist the blessing of my brothers and sisters. Well, in a short time I was down; and my goodness! such a hullabaloo of crying as there was in a minute’s time! ‘Oh, Shane Fadh - Shane Fadh, acushla machree !’ says my poor mother in Irish, ‘you’re going to break up the ring about your father’s hearth and mine - going to lave us, avourneen, for ever, and we to hear your light foot and sweet voice, morning, noon, and night, no more! Oh!’ says she, ‘it’s you that was the good son all out; and the good brother, too: kind and cheerful was your voice, and full of love and affection was your heart! Shane, avourneen dheelish, if ever I was harsh to you, forgive your poor mother, that will never see you more on her flure as one of her own family.’
 “Even my father, that wasn’t much given to crying, couldn’t speak, but went over to a corner and cried till the neighbours stopped him. As for my brothers and sisters, they were all in an uproar; and I myself cried like a Trojan, merely bekase I see them at it. My father and mother both kissed me, and gave me their blessing; and my brothers and sisters did the same, while you’d think all their hearts would break. ‘Come, come,’ says my uncle, ‘I’ll have none of this: what a hubbub you make, and your son going to be well married - going to be joined to a girl that your betters would be proud to get into connection with. You should have more sense, Rose Campbell - you ought to thank God that he had the luck to come acrass such a colleen for a wife; and that it’s not going to his grave, instead of into the arms of a purty girl - and what’s better, a good girl. So quit your blubbering, Rose; and you, Jack,’ says he to my father, ‘that ought to have more sense, stop this instant. Clear off, every one of you, out of this, and let the young boy go to his horse. Clear out, I say, or by the powers I’ll - look at them three stags of huzzies; by the hand of my body they’re blubbering bekase it’s not their own story this blessed day. Move - bounce! - and you, Rose Oge, if you’re not behind Dudley Pulton in less than no time, by the hole of my coat, I’ll marry a wife myself, and then where will the twenty guineas be that I’m to lave you?’
 “God rest his soul, and yet there was a tear in his eye all the while - even in spite of his joking!
 “Any how, it’s easy knowing that there wasn’t sorrow at the bottom of their grief: for they were all now laughing at my uncle’s jokes, even while their eyes were red with the tears: my mother herself couldn’t but be in a good humour, and join her smile with the rest.
 “My uncle now drove us all out before him; not, however, till my mother had sprinkled a drop of holy water on each of us, and given me and my brothers and sisters a small taste of blessed candle, to prevent us from sudden death and accidents. [17] My father and she didn’t come with as then, but they went over to the bride’s while we were all gone to the priest’s house. At last we set off in great style and spirits - I well mounted on a good horse of my own, and my brother (On one that he had borrowed from Peter Dannellon), fully bent on winning the bottle. I would have borrowed him myself, but I thought it dacenter to ride my own horse manfully, even though he never won a side of mutton or a saddle, like Dannellon’s. But the man that was most likely to come in for the bottle was little Billy Cormick, the tailor, who rode a blood-racer that young-John Little had wickedly lent him for the special purpose; he was a tall bay animal, with long small legs, a switch tail, and didn’t know how to trot. Maybe we didn’t cut a dash - and might have taken a town before us. Out we set about nine o’clock, and went acrass the country: but I’ll not stop to mintion what happened some of them, even before we got to the bride’s house. It’s enough to say here, that sometimes one in crassing a stile or ditch would drop into the shough; [18] sometimes another would find himself head foremost on the ground; a woman would be capsized here in crassing a ridgy field, bringing her fore-rider to the ground along with her; another would be hanging like a broken arch, ready to come down, till some one would ride up and fix her on the seat. But as all this happened in going over the fields, we expected that when we’d get out on the king’s highway there would be less danger, as we would have no ditches or drains to crass. When we came in sight of the house, there was a general shout of welcome from the bride’s party, who were on the watch for us: we couldn’t do less nor give them back the chorus; but we had better have let that alone, for some of the young horses took the stadh, [19] others of them capered about; the asses - the sorra choke them - that were along with us should begin to bray, as if it was the king’s birthday - and a mule of Jack Urwin’s took it into his head to stand stock still. This brought another dozen of them to the ground; so that, between one thing or another, we were near half an hour before we got on the march again. When the blood-horse that the tailor rode saw the crowd and heard the shouting, he cocked his ears, and set off with himself full speed; but
before he had got far he was without a rider, and went galloping up to the bride’s house, the bridle hangin’ about his feet. Billy, however, having taken a glass or two, wasn’t to be cowed: so he came up in great blood, and swore he would ride him to America, sooner than let the bottle be won from the bridegroom’s party.
 “When we arrived, there was nothing but shaking hands and kissing, and all kinds of slewsthering - men kissing men - women kissing women - and after that men and women all through other. Another breakfast was ready for us; and here we all sat down; myself and my next relations in the bride’s house, and the others in the barn and garden; for one house wouldn’t hold the half of us. Eating, however, was all only talk: of coorse we took some of the poteen again, and in a short time afterwards set off along the paved road to the priest’s house, to be tied as fast as he could make us, and that was fast enough. Before we went out to mount our horses though, there was just such a hullabaloo with the bride and her friends as there was with myself: but my uncle soon put a stop to it, and in five minutes had them breaking their hearts laughing. “Bless my heart, what doings! what roasting and boiling! - and what tribes of beggars and shulers, and vagabonds of all sorts and sizes, were sunning themselves about the doors wishing us a thousand times long life and happiness. There was a fiddler and piper: the piper was to stop in my father-in-law’s while we were going to be married, to keep the neighbors that were met there shaking their toes while we were at the priest’s; and the fiddler was to come with ourselves, in order you know, to have a dance at the priest’s house, and to play for us coming and going; for there’s nothing like a taste of music when one’s on for sport. As we were setting off, ould Mary M’Quade from Kilnahushogue, who was sent for bekase she understood charms, and had the name of being lucky, took myself aside: ‘Shane Fadh,’ says she, ‘you’re a young man well to look upon; may God bless you and keep you so; and there’s not a doubt but there’s them here that wishes you ill - that would rather be in your shoes this blessed day, with your young colleen bawn, [20] that will be your wife before the sun sets, plase the heavens. There’s ould Fanny Barton, the wrinkled thief of a hag, that the Finigans axed here for the sake of her decent son-in-law, who ran away with her daughter Betty, that was the great beauty some years ago: her breath’s not good, Shane, and many a strange thing’s said of her. Well, maybe, I know more about that nor I’m not going to mintion, any how: more betoken that it’s not for nothing the white hare haunts the shrubbery behind her house.’
 “‘But what harm could she do me, Sonsy Mary?’ says I - for she was called Sonsy - ’we have often sarved her one way or other.’
 “Ax me no questions about her, Shane,’ says she, ‘don’t I know what she did to Ned Donnelly, that was to be pitied, if ever a man was to be pitied, for as good as seven months after his marriage, until I relieved him; was gone to a thread he was, and didn’t they pay me decently for my throuble!’
 “‘Well, and what am I to do, Mary?’ says I, knowing very well that what she sed was thrue enough, although I didn’t wish her to see that I was afeard.
 “‘Why,’ says she, ‘you must first exchange money with me, and then, if you do as I bid you you may lave the rest to myself.’
 “‘I then took out, begad, a daicent lot of silver - say a crown or so - for my blood was up and the money was flush - and gave it to her for which I got a cronagh-bawn half-penny in exchange.
 “‘Now,’ says she, ‘Shane, you must keep this in your company, and for your life and sowl, don’t part wid it for nine days after your marriage; but there’s more to be done,’ says she - ’hould out your right knee;’ so with this she unbuttoned three buttons of my buckskins, and made me loose the knot of my garther on the right leg. ‘Now,’ says she, ‘if you keep them loose till after the priest says the words, and won’t let the money I gave you go out of your company for nine days, along with something else I’ll do that you’re to know nothing about, there’s no fear of all their pisthroges.’ [22] She then pulled off her right shoe, and threw it after us for luck.
 “We were now all in motion once more - the bride riding behind my man, and the bridesmaid behind myself - a fine bouncing girl she was, but not to be mintioned in the one year with my own darlin’ - in troth, it wouldn’t be aisy getting such a couple as we were the same day, though it’s myself that says it. Mary, dressed in a black castor hat, like a man’s, a white muslin coat, with a scarlet silk handkercher about her neck, with a silver buckle and a blue ribbon, for luck, round her waist; her fine hair wasn’t turned up, at all at all, but hung down in beautiful curls on her shoulders; her eyes, you would think, were all light; her lips as plump and as ripe as cherries - and maybe it’s myself that wasn’t to that time o’ day without tasting them, any how; and her teeth, so even, and as white as a burned bone. The day bate all for beauty; I don’t know whether it was from the lightness of my own spirit it came, but, I think, that such a day I never saw from that to this; indeed, I thought everything was dancing and smiling about me, and sartinly every one said, that such a couple hadn’t been married, nor such a wedding seen in the parish for many a long year before. “All the time, as we went along, we had the music; but then at first we were mightily puzzled what to do with the fiddler. To put him as a hind rider it would prevent him from playing, bekase how could he keep the fiddle before him and another so close to him? To put him foremost was as bad, for he couldn’t play and hould the bridle together; so at last my uncle proposed that he should get behind himself, turn his face to the horse’s tail, and saw away like a Trojan.
 “It might be about four miles or so to the priest’s house, and, as the day was fine, we’ got on gloriously. One thing, however, became troublesome; you see there was a cursed set of ups and downs on the road, and as the riding coutrements were so bad with a great many of the weddiners, those that had no saddles, going down steep places, would work onward bit by bit, in spite of all they could do, till they’d be fairly on the horse’s neck, and the women behind them would be on the animal’s shoulders; and it required nice managing to balance themselves, for they might as well sit on the edge of a dale board. Many of them got tosses this way, though it all passed in good humour. But no two among the whole set were more puzzled by this than my uncle and the fiddler - I think I see my uncle this minute with his knees sticking into the horse’s shoulders, and his two hands upon his neck, keeping himself back, with a cruiht [23] upon him, and the fiddler with his heels away, towards the horse’s tail, and he stretched back against my uncle, for all the world like two bricks laid against one another, and one of them falling. ‘Twas the same thing going up a hill; whoever was behind, would be hanging over the horse’s tail, with the arm about the fore-rider’s neck or body, and the other houlding the baste by the mane, to keep them both from sliding off backwards. Many a come-down there was among them - but, as I said, it was all in good humour; and, accordingly, as regularly as they fell, they were sure to get a cheer.
 “When we got to the priest’s house, there was a hearty welcome for us all. The bride and I, with our next kindred and friends, went into the parlour; along with these, there was a set of young fellows, who had been bachelors of the bride’s, that got in with an intention of getting the first kiss [24] and, in coorse, of bating myself out of it. I got a whisper of this; so by my song, I was determined to cut them all out in that, as well as I did in getting herself; but you know, I couldn’t be angry, even if they had got the foreway of me in it, bekase it’s an ould custom. While the priest was going over the business, I kept my eye about me, and sure enough, there were seven or eight fellows all waiting to snap at her. When the ceremony drew near a close, I got up on one leg, so that I could bounce to my feet like lightning, and when it was finished, I got her in my arm, before you could say Jack Robinson, and swinging her behind the priest, gave her the husband’s first kiss. The next minute there was a rush after her; but, as I had got the first, it was but fair that they should come in according as they could, I thought, bekase, you know, it was all in the coorse of practice; but, hould, there were two words to be said to that, for what does Father Dollard do but shoves them off, and a fine stout shoulder he had - shoves them off, like childre, and getting his arms about Mary, gives her half a dozen smacks at least - oh, consuming to the one less - that mine was only a cracker [25] to. The rest, then, all kissed her, one after another, according as they could come in to get one. We then went straight to his Reverence’s barn, which had been cleared out for us the day before, by his own directions, where we danced for an hour or two, his Reverence and his Curate along with us.
 “When this was over we mounted again, the fiddler taking his ould situation behind my uncle. You know it is usual, after getting the knot tied, to go to a public-house or shebeen, to get some refreshment after the journey; so, accordingly, we went to little lame Larry Spooney’s - grandfather to him that was transported the other day for staling Bob Beaty’s sheep; he was called Spooney himself, for his sheep-stealing, ever since Paddy Keenan made the song upon him, ending with ‘his house never wants a good ram-horn spoon;’ so that let people say what they will, these things run in the blood - well, we went to his shebeen house, but the tithe of us couldn’t get into it; so we sot on the green before the door, and, by my song, we took [26] dacently with him, any how; and, only for my uncle, it’s odds but we would have been all fuddled.


Notes
1. A young man full of fun and frolic. The word literally signifies Young Brian. Such phrases originate thus: - A young man remarkable for one or more qualities of a particular nature becomes so famous for them that his name, in the course of time, is applied to others, as conveying the same character.
2. Crooked mouth.
3. In Ireland, small farmers who cannot afford to keep more than one horse are in the habit of “joining”, as it is termed - that is, of putting their horses together so as to form a yoke, when they plough each other’s farms, working alternately, sometimes, by the week, half-week, or day; that is, I plough this day, or this week, and you the next day, or week, until our crops are got down. In this case, each is anxious to take as much out of the horses as he can, especially where the farms are unequal. For instance, where one farm is larger than another the difference must be paid by the owner of the larger one in horse-labour, man-labour, or money; but that he may have as little to pay as possible, he ploughs as much for himself, by the day, as he can, and often strives to get the other to do as little per day, on the other side, in order to diminish what will remain due to his partner. There is, consequently, a ludicrous undercurrent of petty jealousy running between them, which explains the passage in question.
4. In that part of the country where the scene of Shane Fadh’s Wedding is laid, the bodies of those who die are not stretched out on a bed, and the face exposed; on the contrary, they are placed generally on the ground, or in a bed, but with a board resting upon two stools or chairs over them. This is covered with a clean sheet, generally borrowed from some wealthier neighbor; so that the person of the deceased is altogether concealed. Over the sheet upon the board, are placed plates of cut tobacco, pipes, snuff, &c. This is what is meant by being “undher boord.”
[Note 5 is missing in this copy.]
6. Kailyee - a friendly evening visit.
7. It is no unusual thing in Ireland for a country girl to repulse a fellow whom she thinks beneath her, if not by a flat at least by a flattening refusal; nor is it seldom that the “argumentum fistycuffum” resorted to on such occasions. I have more than once seen a disagreeable lover receive, from that fair hand which he sought, so masterly a blow, that a bleeding nose rewarded his ambition, and silenced for a time his importunity.
8. Cows without horns.
9. Esker; a high ridge of land, generally barren and unproductive, when upon a small scale. It is also a ridgy height that runs for many miles through a country.
10. Comedher - come hither - alluding to the burden of an old love-charm which is still used by the young of both sexes on May-morning. It is a literal translation of the Irish word “gutsho.”
11. Fadh is tall, or long. 
12. One-half, at least, of the marriages in a great portion of Ireland are effected in this manner. They are termed “runaway matches”, and are attended with no disgrace. When the parents of the girl come to understand that she has “gone off”, they bring her home in a day or two; the friends of the parties then meet, and the arrangements for the marriage are made as described in the tale.
13. Matches made in this manner are discountenanced by the Roman Catholic clergy, as being liable to abuse; and, for this reason, the parties, by way of punishment, are sometimes, but not always, made to stand up at mass for one or three Sundays; but, as Shane expresses it, the punishment is so common that it completely loses its effect. To “stand”, in the sense meant here, is this: the priest, when the whole congregation are on their knees, calls the young man and woman by name, who stand up and remain under the gaze of the congregation, whilst he rebukes them for the scandal they gave to the church, after which they kneel down. In general it is looked upon more in fun than punishment. Sometimes, however, the wealthier class compromise this matter with the priest, as described above.
14. Humourous periphrasis for throat.
15. The morning or early part of the day, on which an Irish couple are married, up until noon, is called the bride’s part, which, if the fortunes of the pair are to be happy, is expected to be fair - rain or storm being considered indicative of future calamity.
16. A small, shaggy pony, so called from being found in great numbers on the Island of that name.
17. In many parishes of Ireland a number of small wax candles are blessed by the priest upon Ash-Wednesday, and these are constantly worn about the person until that day twelve months, for the purposes mentioned above.
18. Dyke or drain.
19. Became restive.
20. Fair Girl.
21. So-called from Cronebane, in the county of Wicklow, where there is a copper mine.
22. Charms of an evil nature. These are ceremonies used by such women, and believed to be of efficacy by the people. It is an undoubted fact that the woman here named - and truly named - was called in by honest Ned Donnelly, who, I believe, is alive, and could confirm the truth of it. I remember her well, as I do the occasion on which she was called in by Ned or his friends. I also remember that a neighbor of ours, a tailor named Cormick M’Elroy - father, by the way, to little Billy Cormick, who figures so conspicuously at the wedding - called her in to cure, by the force of charms, some cows he had that were sick.
23. The hump, which constitutes a round-shouldered man. If the reader has ever seen Hogarth’s Illustrations of Hudibras, and remembers the redoubtable hero as he sits on horseback, he will be at no loss in comprehending what a cruiht means. Cruiht is the Irish for harp, and the simile is taken from the projection between the shoulders of the harper which was caused by carrying that instrument.
24. There is always a struggle for this at an Irish wedding, where every man is at liberty - even the priest himself - to anticipate the bridegroom if he can.
25. Cracker is the small, hard cord which is tied to a rustic whip, in order to make it crack. When a man is considered to be inferior to another in anything, the people say, “he wouldn’t make a cracker to his whip.”
26. drank.

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