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SUPERSTITIONS OF THE IRISH PEASANTRY -- NO. 111. THE CITY IN THE SEA. language is a mixture of Irish, EngThe sun, on a lovely summer's lish, and the dialect spoken in the evening, had scarcely hidden his se- barony of Forth; and which Valency rene face behind the sombre moun- and others suppose is the ancient tains of Leinster, when the peasantry British. They have, of course, their of Lacken and its neighbourhood be- superstitions, and that of The City gan to flock to the wake of Peter in the Sea' is not the least remarkRevel, whose corpse was now laid out able. in his own spacious barn. The ‘house The wake on this night was well of mourning,' though always gloomy, attended. Pipes and tobacco lay in was on this occasion associated with abundance on the table; and bread, fearful and melancholy ideas; for su- cheese, and whisky, were distributed perstition, ever active, had imparted with an unsparing hand. The pracits terrors to the presence of death. tise of keening was then unknown in The deceased was the last of his fa- these parts; and the absence of mermily; for the table on which his body cenary mourners left the attendants lay had, within the last twelve to a more natural expression of their months, waked his wife and six feelings. children.
• The Lard be gud an' marciful to Lacken, as the name imports, is 'a your poor ould sowl, Peter astore,' piece of ground that gradually de- says an old woman, who sat, with a scends to the water, formed by the bar short black pipe in the side of her of Lough, and lies in that part of the mouth, near the head of the corpse, county of Wexford called Bargie, be- ' for 'twas yourself was the gud wartween the little villages of Duncor- rent to go to wake or birnt when any mick and Bannow. Immediately be- o' the neighbours went to their long fore it stretches out the burrow of home.' Ballyteige, protecting it, as it were, ·Poor man,' said another, he's from the waves of St. George's Chan- had a sorrowful handful of it this nel, while the angry waters, as they long twelmonth, Katty, hunny.' rush through the bar, keep up a deaf. Faith, Molly, agra," replied ening noise, the modulations of which Katty, you may say that; for, serve as a barometer to the country- though the poor and the stranger people for ascertaining the changes in were ever and always welcome to his the weather.* The scenery here is corneal, t some evil eye fell upon the not unpleasing. The waters within Revels, and a cromsmaul in particular the burrow-or, as they are called, on poor Peter.' the little sea-have all the appear- That comes,' said another old ance of an expanded Jake, covering woman, of building his house in the several thousand acres, and abound- path of the “gud people.” , ing with fish and wild fowl. To the ? Fade s is that you say?? asked an south is seen, through the hazy ex- old man. halations of the sea, the conspicuous Ich|l am sayin,' she replied, town of Feathard, the tower of Hook, 'nothin but downright truth; for, and the Mouth of the Suir ; while since the hour Peter Revel built his on the other hand rise up the Sal- house in the path of the Sheeoges, I tees, fronting the highly-cultivated he had'nt a day's luck. "His cow, lands of Kilmore, on which is re- his caul,** his pig, and his sheep, flected the shadow of many a sail, as died; but, as he did'nt take warnen, the vessels, on passing here, are his children died one afther another ; obliged to keep near the shore. The then his maun,tt and now himself. inhabitants are decidedly the happiest Sure, is'nt it well known that his in Ireland, and consequently the house is haunted every liven night in most moral and independent. Their the year ?"
* M‘Swine's Gun, in the north of Ireland, serves, with unerring accuracy, for the same purpose. + Funeral. Corner. What. llI. Fairies.
How is that?' enquired Katty. where's the wonder in his not believe " Why, because,' replied the old ing in Sheeoges, since the brute ate woman, 'it stands where it ought’nt meat of a Friday-on that blessed and to stand, in the way the gud people holy day, that a dog would hardly travel from the wrath to the “ City in touch it?' the Sea”- that is, Bannow that was.' This observation was well timed.
• Hah! hah! hah !' roared out a The people were shocked at Luke's thoughtless young fellow, named irreverence, but being now reminded Luke Sparrow, alias the Buck of that he was a Protestant, they soon Duncormick, who sat, with Peggy comforted themselves by reflecting Roach, on his knee, in the far corner that his opinions respecting another of the barn. Och ! musha,' he con- world were entitled to no respect. tinued, how ould women's goster The good humour, so lately intersickens me out and out! “ City in the rupted, was now restored; hurry-theSea!” psha! who knows that ?' brogue commenced ; ‘God speed the
• Ich knows it, garsoon,' replied an Plough' was played; and the boys old fisherman, “and is'nt it a shame and girls were certainly as happy as and scandal for a pustughawn like you the spectators of an Italian Opera at to be maken a gawky o' himself, and the King's Theatre. bringing other innocent people into Luke Sparrow was one of the few danger with your hah! hah! hah! Protestants in this neighbourhood, just as if those oulder and wiser than and though he occasionally boasted yourself did'nt know, ay, and were of his loyalty, he took special care in the “ City in the Sea,” too? Many that it should not prove offensive, and many and many is the time Ich lest his residence might turn out, as have seen the chimneys, and the tops he said himself, to be a hornet's nest. of the castle buried in the water, as He went, therefore, to every place Ich sailed over it ;* and, troth! the other boys went, except to chathere's not a man from Ballyhack to pel; and as he had a good person, Raslare, would throw out his nets and was fond of dressing it out to the over Bannow.'
best advantage, he acquired the name • And fade brought the city there?' of the Buck of Duncormick. Luke's asked the Buck.
education or fortune did not exalt Some say,' replied the fisherman, him above the condition of his neighan earthquake; but I believe it was bours; and, though he affected to enchantment.'
despise the popular belief in Shee· Luke, at this, gave another irre- oges, there was not a man in existverend laugh; and, in the course of ence more in dread of their power. argument, denied, in toto, the exist- Passing a cross-road, at night, he ence of Sheeoges, or fairies. The old always whistled; and if riding or women appeared shocked at his scep-. walking by a wrath or mote, he made ticism, and in the hope of reclaiming the sign of the cross ; because if it him from what they appreheuded a did no good (said Luke), it did no dangerous error, related many sur- harır. ; and, since the Papists believed prising instances of fairy revenge in it, perhaps it might be serviceable upon those who dared to question to a Protestant. their existence or deny their autho- The Buck being one of the volunrity. Still the Buck appeared incre- teers of this period, set off, in his dulous ; and, though numerous per- regimentals, the morning after the sons were mentioned who had been wake, to attend parade at Taghmon; in the · City of the Sea, yet he per- and, as he was one of the cleanest sisted in saying, to the horror of all and best-mounted of the troop, the the old people present, that there was commander chose him to carry a no such place. The Lard enlighten dispatch to Duncannon. Luke was him,' said Katty, as the Buck and vain of the appointment; and, as he Peggy withdrew from the wake! · But cantered on his way over Goff's
* The belief in subaquaneous cities prevails in various parts of Ireland, and no doubt it proceeds from the same cause---optical deception. The spires and towers of Bannow, like those of Lough Neagh, were pointed out to me in 1810, during an excursion from Cullenstown to Feathard.
Bridge, the discordant gratings of his curlew, and the cry of the plover, saddle, boots, sword, &c. was the assured him that he was near the most delicious music to his ears. As Scar; and in a few minutes after the he thought of his own importance, broad expanse of strand and water he stood more erect in his stirrups; shone as white as silver beneath the and though the idle villagers laughed beams of a declining moon. This at him as he passed, he did not allow sight relieved Luke from the few aphimself to suffer any diminution of prehensions of Sheeoges which now dignity, but attributed their conduct and again crossed his inind as he to the envy little minds always feel passed by lonesome places; and a's for those above thein.
he descended the steep hill which • At rather an early hour in the leads immediately to the Scar, he evening he arrived at Duncannon; commenced whistling God speed the and, having delivered his dispatch to Plough. "Whistle and be sure of the proper authority, he called on a the Fairies,' was an observation he cousin who belonged to the garrison, had often heard ; and, thinking that and proceeded with hiin to view the he had done wrong, he looked about fort. Luke, however, loved whiskyhiin to see if his imprudence had better than forty-pounders; and knew subjected him to any ill consequence. more of jugs, quarts, and glasses, On the left side he saw nothing but than of bastions and parapets; and the furze ditch ; but, when he turned accordingly took an early opportu- to the right, he was not a little nity of inviting his guide to Jaek startled by the presence of a horseRea's alehouse. The punch was ex- man alongside of him. He thought cellent; and naggin followed naggin, he knew the rider ; but no, it could until the roll of the drum warned not be him. No later than last night the Buck's cousin that it was time to he saw the corpse of Peter Revel laid return to the garrison. Luke, who out in his own barn; and yet the perwished him to wait for another jug, son beside him wore the clothes and hade him farewell with some reluc- rode the same horse as his deceased tance; and then, mounting his horse, neighbour! His • fetch,' thought he quitted the town. There were Luke. No, he is dead, and there two roads by which he might return could be no fetch ;' it therefore home, but that over the Scar of Bar- must be his ghost. Horrible appreristown was by many miles the hension ! He would have crossed shorter. Luke cast his eye up to the himself, were he not prevented by moon, which fung his shadow before the dread of ridicule; for, if the him, not with the poetical intention stranger turned out after all to be a of returning thanks for its silvery mere man, the laugh of the parish light, but for the more useful pur- would be heard at the Buck's expose of ascertaining its position. He pense. After snatching a few hasty was not entirely ignorant of nautical glances at his strangecompanion, Luke' affairs; and when he saw in what ventured to break silence; but he had part of the heavens the luminary of not uttered the first word of the usual night was situated, he said to himself, salutation, “God save you,' when a " It is now over the gable-end of my flash of lightning prevented his father's barn, and of course the tide finishing it; and, ere he could prois out: l’ll therefore cross the Scar, ceed, the apparition asked, “Fadie* and call to see Peggy Roach before I art thou goin?' go home.'
•H-0-0-me,' stammered out Luke, With this resolution he turned his as he recognised the voice of Peter horse to the right, and held his course Revel. through Tintern, which village he “It is too late,' returned the other; passed just as Mr. Colclough's abbey'vou may as well stop with an ould clock struck eleven. Apprized of the neighbour for one night:' and he set lateness of the hour, the Buck stuck off at full gallop-Luke's horse, in the spurs into the sides of his horse, spite of his endeavours, following. and proceeded at nearly a full gallop. When they came to the channel of In a short time the screech of the the Scar the water separated; and the Buck, to his great terror and recall the past, he made all possible amazement, found himself sinking haste from his disagreeable situation. into the earth, and thought he heard When fairly on the dry strand, his a noise over his head, as if the waves tenacious memory began to embody were closing above. But there was the events of his late adventure ; and, no time for reflection, one wonder though his senses were a little bewil. was so quickly succeeded by another; dered, he did not forget his horse ; and at the moment when Luke which not finding, as usual, between thought he was lost for ever, he found his legs, he proceeded to walk, in his himself agreeably riding along a de. heavy cavalry boots, for his father's lightful road, apparently on a fine house at Duncormick. As he prosummer's day, though he could no- ceeded along the road, he was surwhere see the sun. In about half an prised to see no sign of any men hour, himself and companion entered stirring ; while such women and chilan antiquated town, such as Luke dren as he saw precipitately fled never saw before ; nor could he sup- from his sight in terror and amazepress a smile at the singular dresses ment: and, what was still more wonof the people, as they passed in pur- derful, he knew none of the females suit of either business or pleasure. he met, though now within two miles A moment after, they alighted before of his native village. His surprise a spacious mansion; and the Buck was soon increased when he heard was welcomed by troops of ladies and the shout of war; and almost the gentlemen-all very strangely dress. next instant beheld the confused aped, to be sure, but extremely polite: proach of a retreating army. They Their attentions were so flattering, wore red coats, however; and this and their manners so pleasing, that was a most cheering circumstance, as Luke forgot his situation, and entered the Buck recollected with satisfaction without reluctance into the gaieties that he had the honour to be a loyalof the place. The viands that were ist. With a bold front, therefore, he set before him had a most delicious walked forward ; and was not a little taste, and the fruits and flowers a be- chagrined to find his fellow-soldiers wildering perfume; but, above all, the staring at him, and laughing at each whisky exceeded any thing that ever other. “Who is he?' asked one. entered the Buck's lips before or “Cut him down!' cried another. “Let since. It was so rich and mellow the old rascal live!' exclaimed a third. that it tasted like honey; and so “Old!' said Luke, instinctively putstrong, that it warmed like love. The ting his hand up to his chin, which very remembrance of it, ever after- he intended to stroke with complawards, was sufficient to throw Luke cency, when a wild cry of horror prointo ecstacies ; and he would drink it claimed his anguish at finding twelve in imagination by smacking his lips, inches of beard hanging down upon and showing by other indications The his breast. The laugh of the soldiers pleasure it gave him.
at Luke's strange conduct was here The tippler dreads nothing so much interrupted by news from the rear ; az old whisky, because it impercep. and they proceeded in great haste, tibly incapacitates him for protracted making a cut of their swords at the enjoyment; and the Buck was, in poor Buck as they passed. These, the bacchanalian phrase, soon done however, he avoided; and, when the up' by the good spirits. He began road was cleared, he proceeded toto talk thick and loud, laughed iin- wards Duncormick ; but had not moderately, and at length tumbled gone far, when a score pikes were under the table ; from which position presented at him. “An Orangeman!' he was carried to a bed-chamber, all they exclaimed; pike him! run the time singing out in a most dis- him through, the Protestant rascal! cordant key, The day we crossed don't you see his regimentals ?' and the Water,' &c. &c.
they were about putting their threat When he awoke, he found himself into execution, when Luke espied a lying on a bare rock, close to the school-fellow ainong his assailants, tower of Hook, the spray dashing notwithstanding that he looked nearly over hiin; anıl, without waiting to twenty vears older than when he last