Bridget O'Hoolegoin's Letter

My Dear Nephew:
     I haven't sent ye a letter since the last time I wrote to ye, bekase we have moved from our former place of livin' and I didn't know where a letter would find ye; but I now with pleasure take up me pin to inform ye of the death of yer own livin' uncle, Ned Fitzpatrick, who died very suddenly a few days ago afther a lingerin' illness of six weeks. The poor fellow was in violent convulsions the whole time of his sickness, lyin' in' incoherently, and cryin' for wather. I had no opportunity of informin' ye of his death sooner, except I wrote to ye by the last post, which same went off two days before he died; and then ye would have postage to pay. I fear it was by his last sickness, for he was niver well ten days togither durin' the whole of his confinement; and I believe his death was brought about by his aitin' too much of rabbit stuffed with pais and gravy, or pais and gravy stufffed with rabbit; but be that as it may, when he brathed his last, the docther gave up all hope of his recover. I needn't tell ye anything about his age, for ye well know that in June next he would have been just seventy-five years old lackin' ten months, and had he lived till that time, would have been just six months dead. His property now devolves to his next of kin, which all died some time ago, so that I expect it will be divided between us; and ye know his property, which was very large, was sold to pay his debts, and the remainder he lost at a horse-race; but it was the opinion of iverybody at the time he would have won the race, if the baste he run aginst hadn't been too fast for him.
     I niver saw a man in all my life, and the docthers all said so, that observed directions or took medicine betther than he did. He said he would as leve dhrink bitter as sweet if it had only the same taste, and ipecakana as wisky punch, if it would only put him in the same humor for fightin'. But, poor sowl! he wil niver ate or dhrink any more, and ye haven't a livin' relation in the world except meself and yer two cousins who were kilt in the last war. I cannot dwell on the mournful subject any longer, and shall sale me letther with black salin'-wax, and put in it yer uncle's coat-of-arms. So I beg ye not to brake two or three days afther ye resave this, and by that time ye will be well prepared for the sorrowful tidings. Yer old sweetheart sinds her love unknownst to ye. When Jarry McGhee arrives in American, ax him for this letther, and if he don't brung it from amongst the rest, tell him it's the one that spakes about yer uncle's death, and saled in black.

       I remain yer affectionate ould grandmother,

       Bridget O'Hoolegoin

P.S.--Don't write till ye resave this.
N.B.--When yez come to this place, stop, and don't rade any more until my next.

Selections from Dick's Irish Dialect Recitations, edited by Wm. B. Dick, New York, Dick & Fitzgerald, Publishers 1879

Return to Irish Dialect Recitations
Graphics copyright 1997 Kathleen A. O'Connell