Paudeen O'Rafferty's Say Voyage


     Sure now, ladies and gintlemen, if ye plaze, I'll relate the great mistake I made when I came here to Naples—stop, aisy, Paudeen, and don't decaive the ladies and gintlemen; for, bedad, I didn't come at all; they brought me, in a ship—a grate big ship, with two big sticks standing out of it. Masts they call them, bad luck to it and the day I saw it. If I had been an ignorant fellow and didn't know joggraphy and the likes, I'd be safe enough at home now, so I would, in me own cellar, on the Coal-Quay in Dublin. But, divil fire me! I must be making a man of myself, showing me larnin', me knowledge of similitude, and the likes. You see, I wint over to England on a bit of an agricultural speculation—hay-makin' and harvest-rapin'—and, the saison bein' good, I realized a fortune, so I did—a matter of thirty shillings or so.
     So says I to myself, says I, "Now I have got an indipindant competance, I'll go back to Ireland—I'll buy it out, and make meself emperor of it." So I axed one of the boys which was my nearest way to Bristol, to go be the say. So, says one of them—(be the same token he was a cousin of mine—one Terry O'Rafferty—as dacint a boy as you could wish to meet, and as handy with a shillaly. Why, I've seen him clear a tint at Donnybrook fair in less than two minutes, with divil a won to help except his bit of a stick, an' you know that's no aisy job.)
     Well, says Terry to me, says he, "Go down to the quay," says he, "and you'll find out all about it while a cat'd be lickin' her ear."
     Well, I wint to a man that was standin' by the dure of a public house—it was the sign of—the sign—What the divil is this the sign was?—you see I like to be sarcumspectious in me joggraphy—it was the sign of the blind cow kicking the dead man's eyes out—or the dead man kicking the blind cows eyes out—or the dead man's cow kicking the blind—no—well, it was something that way, anyhow.
     So says I to the man, "Sir," says I, "I want a ship."
     "There you are," says he.
     "Where?" says I.
     "There," says he.
     "Thank you," says I. "Which of thim's for Ireland?"
     "Oh, you're an ould-countryman," says he.
     "How the divil did you find that out?" says I.
     "I know it," says he.
     "Who tould you?" says I.
     "No matther," says he. "Come," says he.
     "I will," says I.
     Well, we wint in, and we had a half a pint of whisky. Oh, bedad, it'd have done your heart good to see the bade rise on the top of it. Maybe my heart didn't warm to him, an' his to me, aw murther!
     "Erin go bragh!" says he.
     "Ceadh mille failthe!" says I.
     And there we wor, like two sons of an Irish king, in less than a minute.
     Thin we got to discoorsing about Dublin and Naples, an' other furrin parts that we wor acquainted with, and he began talking about how like the Bay of Naples was to the Bay of Dublin—for, you see, he was an ould soger, d'ye mind?—An' thim ould sogers are always mighty 'cute chaps. He was a grate big chap that was off in the wars among the Frinch and the Spaniards and the Rushers, and other barbarians. So we got talking of similitude an' joggraphy, an' the likes, and mixin' Naples an' wather and Dublin an' whisky, and be me sowl, purty punch we made of it!
     I was in the middle o' my glory, whin in walks the captain o' the ship.
     "Any one here to go aboord?" says he.
     "Here I am," says I.
     And be the same token, me head was quite soft with the whisky, and talking about Dublin an' Naples, and Naples an' whisky, and wather an' Dublin, Dublin an' Naples, Naples an' Dublin—bad cess to me! But I said the one place instead of the other, whin they axed me where I was going, d'ye mind?
     Well, they brought me aboord the ship as dhrunk as a lord, and threw me down in the cellar—the hould, they called it, and the divil's own hould it was—wid sacks, pigs, praties, an' other passengers, an' there they left me in lavendher, like Paddy Ward's pig.
     I fell asleep the first week. Whin I woke up, didn't I heave ahead in me sthomatics enough to make me backbone an' me ribs strike fire!
     "Arrah," says I to meself, says I, "are they ever going to take me home?"
     Just thin I h'ard a voice sing out:
     "There's the Bay!"
     That was enough for me. I scrambled up-stairs till I got on the roof—the deck they call it—as fast as me legs could carry me.
     "Land-ho!" says one of the chaps.
     "Where?" says I.
     "There it is," says he.
     "For the love of glory, show me where!" says I.
     "There, over the cat's head," says he.
     I looked around, but the divil recaive the cat's-head or dog's tail aither I could see! The blaggard stared at me as if I was a banshee or a fairy. I gev another look, and there was the Bay, sure enough, afore me.
     "Arrah good luck to you!" says I, "but you warm the cockles of me heart. But what's come over the Hill of Howth?" says I. "It used to be a civil, paiceable soort of a mountain; but now it's splutthering an' smokin' away like a grate big lime-kiln. Sure the boys must have lit a big bone-fire on top of it, to welcome me!"
     With that, a vagabone that was listenin' to me, cries out in a horse-laugh:
     "Hill of Howth?" says he. "You're a Grecian—that's not the Hill of Howth."
     "Not the Hill of Howth?" says I.
     "No," says he. "That's Mount Vesuvius."
     "Aisy, aisy!" says I. "Isn't Mount Vesulpherous in Italy?"
     "Yis," says he.
     "An' isn't Italy in France?" says I.
     "Of coorse it is," says he.
     "An' isn't France in Gibberalther?" says I.
     "To be sure," says he.
     "An' isn't Gibberalther in Russia?" says I.
     "Maybe so," says he. "But we're in Italy, anyhow—this is the Bay of Naples, and that is Mount Vesuvius."
     "Are you sure?" says I.
     "I am," says he.
     And, he me sowl, it was thrue for him. The ship made a big blundher in takin' me to Naples, whin I wanted to go to Dublin, d'ye mind!


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


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