Darby O'Gill and the Good People/Chapter III
THE news that Darby O'Gill had spint six months with the Good People spread fast and far and wide. At fair or hurlin' or market he would be backed be a crowd agin some convaynient wall, and there for hours men, women, and childher, with jaws dhroppin', and eyes bulgin'd stand ferninst him listening to half frightened questions or to bould mystarious answers.
Alway, though, one bit of wise adwise inded his discoorge: "Nayther make nor moil nor meddle with the fairies," Darby'd say. "If you're going along the lonely boreen at night, and you hear, from some fairy fort, a sound of fiddles, or of piping, or of sweet woices singing, or of little feet pattering in the dance, don't turn your head, but say your prayers an' hould on your way. The pleasures the Good People'll share with you have a sore sorrow hid in them, an' the gifts they'll offer are only made to break hearts with."
Things went this a-way till one day in the market, over among the cows, Maurteen Cavanaugh, the school masther - a cross-faced, argifying ould man he was - contradicted Darby pint blank. "Stay a bit," says Maurteen, catching Darby by the coat collar.
"You forget about the little fairy cobbler, the Leprechaun," he says. "You can't deny that to catch the Leprechaun is great luck entirely. If one only fix the glance of his eye on the cobbler, that look makes the fairy a presner - one can do anything with him as long as a human look covers the little lad - and he'll give the favors of three wishes to buy his freedom," says Maurteen.
At that Darby, smiling high and knowledgeable, made answer over the heads of the crowd.
"God help your sinse, honest man!" he says. "Around the favors of thim same three wishes is a bog of thricks an' cajoleries and conditions that'll defayt the wisest.
"First of all, if the look be taken from the little cobbler for as much as the wink of an eye, he's gone forever," he says. "Man alive, even when he does grant the favors of the three wishes, you're not safe, for, if you tell anyone you've seen the Leprechaun, the favors melt like snow, or if you make a fourth wish that day, whiff! They turn to smoke. Take my adwice, nayther make nor moil nor meddle with the fairies."
"Thrue for ye," spoke up long Pether McCarthy, siding in with Darby. "Didn't Barney McBride, on his way to early mass one May morning, catch the fairy cobbler sewing an' workin' away under a hedge. 'Have a pinch of snuff, Barney agrah,' says the Leprechaun, handing up the little snuff-box. But, mind ye, when my poor Barney bint to take a thumb an' finger full what did the little villain do but fling the box, snuff and all, into Barney's face. An' thin, whilst the poor lad was winkin' and blinkin', the Leprechaun gave one leap and was lost in the reeds.
"Thin again, there was Peggy O'Rourke, who captured him fair an' square in a hawthorn bush. In spite of his wiles she wrung from him the favors of the three wishes. Knowing, of course, that if she towldt anyone of what happened to her the spell was broken, and the wishes wouldn't come thrue, she hurried home, aching and longing to in some way find from her husband, Andy, what wishes she'd make.
"Throwing open her door, she said, 'What would ye wish for most in the world, Andy dear. Tell me an' your wish'll come true,' says she. A peddler was crying his wares out in the lane. 'Lanterns, tin lanterns!' cried the peddler. 'I wish I had one of thim lanterns,' says Andy, careless and bendin' over to get a coal for his pipe, when, lo and behold, there was a lantern in his hand.
"Well, so vexed was Peggy that one of her fine wishes should be wasted on a palthry tin lantern that she lost all patience with him. 'Why, thin, bad scran to you,' says she, not mindin' her own words, 'I wish the lantern was fastened to the ind of your nose.'
"The word wasn't well out of her mouth till the lantern was hung swinging from the ind of Andy's nose in a way that the wit of man couldn't loosen. It took the third and last of Peggy's wishes to relayse Andy."
"Look at that now," cried a dozen voices from the admiring crowd. "Darby said so from the first."
Well, after a time people used to come from miles around to see Darby, and sit under the straw stack beside the stable to adwise with our hayro about their most important business - what was the best time for the settin' of hins and what was good to cure colic in childher, an' things like that.
Any man so parsecuted with admiration an' hayrofication might aisily feel his chest swell out a bit, so it's no wondher that Darby set himself up for a knowledgeable man.
He took to talking slow an' shuttin' one eye whin he listened, and he walked with a knowledgeable twist to his chowldhers. He grew monsthrously fond of fairs and public gatherings, where people made much of him; and he lost every ounce of liking he ever had for hard worruk.
Things wint on with him in this way from bad to worse, and where it would have inded no man knows, if one unlucky morning he hadn't rayfused to bring in a creel of turf his wife Bridget had axed him to fetch her. The unfortunit man said it was no work for the likes of him.
The last word was still on Darby's lips whin he rayalized his mistake an' he'd have give the worruld to have the sayin' back agin.
For a minute you could have heard a pin dhrop. Bridget, instead of being in a hurry to begin at him, was crool dayliberate. She planted herself at the door, her two fists on her hips an' her lips shut.
The look Julius Sayser'd trow at a sarvant girl he'd caught stealing sugar from the rile cupboard was the glance she waved up and down from Darby's toes to his head and from his head to his brogues agin.
Thin she began an' talked steady as a fall of hail that has now an' then a bit of lightning an' tunder mixed in it.
The knowledgeable man stood purtendin' to brush his hat and tryin' to look brave, but the heart inside of him was meltin' like butther.
Bridget began aisily be carelessly mentioning a few of Darby's best known wakenesses. Afther that she took up some of them not so well known, being ones Darby himself had sayrious doubts about having at all. But on these last she was more savare than on the first. Through it all he daren't say a word - he only smiled lofty and bitther.
'Twas but natural next for Bridget to explain what a poor crachure her husband was on the day she got him, an' what she might have been if she had married aither one of the six others who had axed her. The step for her was a little one thin to the shortcomings and misfortunes of his blood relaytions, which she follyed back to the blaggardisms of his fourth cousin, Phelim McFadden.
Even in his misery poor Darby couldn't but marvel at her wondherful memory.
By the time she began talking of her own family, and especially about her Aunt Honoria O'Shaughnessy, who had once shook hands with a bishop, and who in the rebellion of ninety-eight had trun a brick at a Lord Liftinant, whin he was riding by, Darby was as wilted and as forlorn as a roosther caught out in the winther rain.
He lost more pride in those few minutes than it had taken months to gather an' hoard. It kept falling in great drops from his forehead.
Just as Bridget was lading up to what Father Cassidy calls a pur-roar-ration - that being the part of your wife's discoorse whin, afther telling you all that she's done for you, and all she's stood from your relaytions, she breaks down and cries, and so smothers you entirely - just as she was coming to that, I say, Darby scrooged his caubeen down on his head, stuck his fingers in his two ears, and making one grand rush through the door, bolted as fast as his legs could carry him down the road toward the Sleive-na-mon Mountains.
Bridget stood on the step looking after him too surprised for a word. With his fingers still in his ears, so that he couldn't hear her commands to turn back, he ran without stopping till he came to the willow tree near Micky Doolan's forge. There he slowed down to fill his lungs with the fresh, sweet air.
'Twas one of those warm-hearted, laughing autumn days which steals for a while the bonnet and shawl of the May. The sun from a sky of feathery whiteness laned over, telling jokes to the worruld an' the goold harvest-fields and purple hills, lazy and continted, laughed back at the sun. Even the black-bird flying over the haw tree looked down an' sang to those below, "God save all here," an' the linnet from her bough answered back quick an' sweet, "God save you kindly, sir."
With such pleasant sights and sounds an' twitterings at every side, our hayro didn't feel the time passing till he was on top of the first hill of the Sleive-na-mon Mountains, which, as every one knows, is called the Pig's Head.
It wasn't quite lonesome enough on the Pig's Head, so our hayro plunged into the valley an' climbed the second mountain - the Divil's Pillow - where 'twas lonesome and desarted enough to shuit anyone.
Beneath the shade of a three, for the day was warm, he sat himself down in the long, sweet grass, lit his pipe, and let his mind go free. But, as he did, his thoughts rose together, like a flock of frightened, angry pheasants, an' whirred back to the owdacious things Bridget had said about his relations.
Wasn't she the mendageous, humbrageous woman, he thought, to say such things about as illigant stock as the O'Gills and the O'Gradys?
Why, Wullum O'Gill, Darby's uncle, at that minute was head butler at Castle Brophy, and was known far an' wide as being one of the foinest scholars an' as having the most beautiful pair of legs in all Ireland.
This same Wullum O'Gill had tould Bridget in Darby's own hearing, on a day when the three were going through the great picture gallery at Castle Brophy, that the O'Gills at one time had been kings in Ireland.
Darby never since could raymember whether this time was before the flood or after the flood. Bridget said it was durin' the flood, but surely that sayin' was nonsinse.
Howsumever, Darby knew his Uncle Wullum was right, for he often felt in himself the signs of greatness. And now, as he sat alone on the grass, he said out loud:
"If I had me rights I'd be doing nothing all day long but sittin' on a throne, an' playin' games of forty-five with me Lord Liftinant an' some of me generals. There never was a lord that liked good ateing or dhrinking betther nor I or who hates worse to get up airly in the morning. That last disloike, I'm tould, is a great sign entirely of gentle blood the worruld over," says he.
As for his wife's people, the O'Hagans and the O'Shaughnessys, well - they were no great shakes, he said to himself, at laste so far as looks were consarned. All the handsomeness in Darby's childher came from his own side of the family. Even Father Cassidy said the childher took afther the O'Gills.
"If I were rich," says Darby to a lazy ould bumble bee who was droning an' tumbling in front of him, "I'd have a castle like Castle Brophy, with a great picture gallery in it. On one wall I'd put the pictures of the O'Gills and the O'Gradys, and on the wall ferninst thim I'd have the O'Hagans an' the O'Shaughnessys."
At that idea his heart bubbled in a new and fierce delight. "Bridget's people," he says again, scowling at the bee, "would look four times as common as they raylly are, whin they were compared in that way with my own relations. An' whenever Bridget got rampageous, I'd take her in and show her the difference betwixt the two clans, just to punish her, so I would."
How long the lad sat that way warming the cowld thoughts of his heart with drowsy pleasant dhrames an' misty longings he don't rightly know, whin - tack, tack, tack, tack, came the busy sound of a little hammer from the other side of a fallen oak.
"Be jingo!" he says to himself with a start, "'tis the Leprechaun that's in it."
In a second he was on his hands an' knees, the tails of his coat flung across his back, an' he crawling softly toward the sound of the hammer. Quiet as a mouse he lifted himself up on the mossy log to look over, and there, before his two popping eyes, was a sight of wondheration.
Sitting on a white stone, an' working away like fury, hammering pegs into a little red shoe, half the size of your thumb, was a bald-headed ould cobbler of about twice the height of your hand. On the top of a round snub nose was perched a pair of horn-rimmed spectacles, an' a narrow fringe of iron-grey whiskers grew under his stubby chin. The brown leather apron he wore was so long that it covered his green knee-breeches an' almost hid the knitted grey stockings.
The Leprechaun - for 'twas he indade - as he worked, mumbled an' mutthered in great discontent.
"Oh, haven't I the hard, hard luck!" he said. "I'll never have thim done in time for her to dance in to-night. So thin, I'll be kilt intirely," says he. "Was there ever another quane of the fairies as wearing on shoes an' brogues an' dancin' slippers? Haven't I the-" Looking up, he saw Darby.
"The top of the day to you, dacint man," says the cobbler, jumpin' up. Giving a sharp cry, he pinted quick at Darby's stomach. "But, wirra, wirra, what's that woolly ugly thing you have crawlin' an' creepin' on your weskit?" he said, purtendin' to be all excited.
"Sorra thing on my weskit," answered Darby, cool as ice, "or anywhere else, that'll make me take my two bright eyes off'n you - not for a second," says he.
"Well! Well! Will you look at that, now!" laughed the cobbler. "Mark how quick an' handy he took me up. Will you have a pinch of snuff, clever man?" he axed, houlding up the little box.
"Is it the same snuff you gave Barney McBride awhile ago?" axed Darby, sarcastic. "Lave off your foolishness," says our hayro, growin' fierce, "and grant me at once the favors of the three wishes, or I'll have you smoking like a herring in my own chimney before nightfall," says he.
At that the Leprechaun, seeing he but wasted time on so knowledgeable a man as Darby O'Gill, surrendered and granted the favors of the three wishes.
"What is it you ask?" says the cobbler, himself turning on a sudden very sour an' sullen.
"First an' foremost," says Darby, "I want a home of my ansisthers, an' it must be a castle like Castle Brophy, with pictures of my kith an' kin on the wall, and then facing them pictures of my wife Bridget's kith an' kin on the other wall."
"That favor I give you; that wish I grant ye," says the fairy, making the shape of a castle on the ground with his awl.
"What next?" he grunted.
"I want goold enough for me an' my generations to enjoy in grandeur the place forever." "Always the goold," sneered the little man, bending to dhraw with his awl on the turf the shape of a purse.
"Now for your third and last wish. Have a care!"
"I want the castle set on this hill - the Divil's Pillow - where we two stand," says Darby. Then sweeping with his arm, he says, "I want the land about to be my demesne."
The Leprechaun struck his awl on the ground. "That wish I give you; that wish I grant you," he says. With that he straightened himself up, and, grinning most aggravatin' the while, he looked Darby over from top to toe. "You're a foine knowledgeable man, but have a care of the fourth wish," says he.
Bekase there was more of a challenge than friendly warning in what the small lad said, Darby snapped his fingers at him an' cried:
"Have no fear, little man! If I got all Ireland ground for making a fourth wish, however small, before midnight, I'd not make it. I'm going home now to fetch Bridget an' the childher, and the only fear or unaisiness I have is that you'll not keep your word, so as to have the castle here ready before us when I come back."
"Oho! I'm not to be thrusted, amn't I?" screeched the little lad, flaring into a blazing passion. He jumped upon the log that was betwixt them an' with one fist behind his back, shook the other at Darby.
"You ignorant, auspicious-minded blaggard," says he. "How dare the likes of you say the likes of that to the likes of me?" cried the cobbler. "I'd have you to know," he says, "that I had a repitation for truth an' voracity ayquil, if not shuperior, to the best before you were born," he shouted. "I'll take no high talk from a man that's afraid to give words to his own wife whin she's in a tantrum," says the Leprechaun.
"It's aisy to know you're not a married man," says Darby, mighty scornful, "bekase if you-" The lad stopped short, forgetting what he was going to say in his surprise an' aggaytation, for the far side of the mountain was waving up an' down before his eyes like a great green blanket that is being shook by two women; while at the same time high spots of turf on the hillside toppled sidewise to level themselves up with the low places. The enchantment had already begun to make things ready for the castle. A dozen foine threes that stood in a little groove bent their heads quickly together, and thin by some inwisible hand they were plucked up by the roots an' dhropped aside, much the same as a man might grasp a handful of weeds an' fling them from his garden.
The ground undher the knowledgeable man's feet began to rumble an' heave. He waited for no more. With a cry that was half of gladness an' half of fear, he turned on his heel an' started on a run down into the walley, leaving the little cobbler standing on the log, shouting abuse after him an' ballyraggin' him as he ran.
So excited was Darby that, going up the Pig's Head, he was nearly run over by a crowd of great brown building stones which were moving down slow an' ordherly like a flock of driven sheep; but they moved without so much as bruising a blade of grass or bendin' a twig, as they came. Only once, and that at the top of the Pig's Head, he trew a look back.
The Divil's Pillow was in a great commotion; a whirlwind was sweeping over it, whether of dust or of mist he couldn't tell.
After this, Darby never looked back agin, or to the right or the left of him, but kept straight on till he found himself, panting and puffing, at his own kitchen door. 'Twas tin minutes before he could spake, but at last, whin he tould Bridget to make ready herself and the childher to go up to the Divil's Pillow with him, for once in her life that raymarkable woman, without axing, How comes it so? What rayson have you or why should I do it? Set to work washing the childher's faces.
Maybe she dabbed a little more soap in their eyes than was needful, for 'twas a habit she had; though this time, if she did, not a whimper broke from the little hayros. For the matther of that, not one word, good, bad, or indifferent, did herself spake till the whole family were trudging down the lane two by two, marching like sojers.
As they came near the first hill, along its sides, the evening twilight turned from purple to brown, and at the top of the Pig's Head the darkness of a black night swooped suddenly down on them. Darby hurried on a step or two ahead, an' resting his hand upon the large rock that crowns the hill, looked anxiously over to the Divil's Pillow. Although he was ready for something foine, yet the greatness of the foineness that met his gaze knocked the breath out of him.
Across the deep walley, and on top of the second mountain, he saw lined against the evening sky the roof of an imminse castle, with towers an' parrypets an' battlements. Undher the towers a thousand sullen windows glowed red in the black walls. Castle Brophy couldn't hould a candle to it.
"Behold!" says Darby, flinging out his arms and turning to his wife, who had just come up, "Behold the castle of my ansisthers, who were my forefathers!"
"How," says Bridget, quick and scornful, "How could your aunt's sisters be your four fathers?"
What Darby was going to say to her he don't just raymember, for at that instant, from the right hand side of the mountain, came a cracking of whips, a rattling of wheels, an' the rush of horses, and, lo and behold! a great dark coach with flashing lamps, and drawn by four coal-black horses, dashed up the hill and stopped beside them. Two shadowy men were on the driver's box.
"Is this Lord Darby O'Gill?" axed one of them in a deep, muffled voice. Before Darby could reply, Bridget took the words out of his mouth.
"It is," she cried, in a kind of a half cheer, "an' Lady O'Gill an' the childher." "Then hurry up," says the coachman, "your supper's gettin' cowld."
Without waiting for anyone, Bridget flung open the carriage door, an' pushin' Darby aside, jumped in among the cushins. Darby, his heart sizzlin' with vexation at her audaciousness, lifted in one after another the childher, and then got in himself. He couldn't understand at all the change in his wife, for she had always been the odherliest, modestist woman in the parish.
Well, he'd no sooner shut the door than crack went the whip, the horses gave a spring, the carriage jumped, and down the hill they went. For fastness there was never another carriage ride like that before nor since. Darby hildt tight with both hands to the window, his face pressed against the glass. He couldn't tell whether the horses were only flying, or whether the coach was falling down the hill into the walley. By the hollow feel in his stomach he thought they were falling. He was striving to think of some prayers when there came a terrible joult, which sint his two heels against the roof, an' his head betwixt the cushins. As he righted himself the wheels began to grate on a graveled road, an' plainly they were dashing up the side of the second mountain.
Even so, they couldn't have gone far whin the carriage dhrew up in a flurryan' he saw through the gloom a high iron gate being slowly opened.
"Pass on," said a woice from somewhere in the shadows, "their supper's getting cowld."
As they flew undher the great archway Darby had a glimpse of the thing which had opened the gate, and had said their supper was getting cowld. It was standing on its hind legs; in the darkness he couldn't be quite sure as to its shape, but it was ayther a bear or a loin.
His mind was in a pondher about this when, with a swirl an' a bump, the carriage stopped another time; an' now it stood before a broad flight of stone steps which led up to the main door of the castle. Darby, half afraid, peering out through the darkness, saw a square of light high above him which came from the open hall door. Three sarvents in livery stood waiting on the thrashol.
"Make haste, make haste," says one in a doleful voice, "their supper's gettin' cowld."
Hearing these words, Bridget imagetly bounced out an' was half way up the steps before Darby could ketch her an' hould her till the childher came on.
"I never in all my life saw her so audacious," he says, half cryin' and linkin' her arm to keep her back; an' thin, with the childher follying, two by two, according to size, the whole family payraded up the steps till Darby, with a gasp of deloight, stopped on the thrashol of a splendid hall. From a high ceiling hung great flags from every nation an' domination, which swung an' swayed in the dazzlin' light.
Two lines of men and maid servants, dhressed in silks an' satins an' brocades, stood facing aich other, bowing an' smiling an' wavin' their hands in welcome. The two lines stretched down to the go old stairway at the far ind of the hall. For half of one minute, Darby, every eye in his head as big as a tay cup, stood hesitaytin'. Thin he said, "Why should it flutther me? Arrah, ain't it all mine? Aren't all these people in me pay? I'll engage it's a pritty penny all this grandeur is costing me to keep up this minute." He trew out his chest. "Come on Bridget!" he says, "let's go into the home of my ansisthers."
Howandever, scarcely had he stepped into the beautiful place, whin two pipers with their pipes, two fiddlers with their fiddles, two flute players with their flutes, an' they dhressed in scarlet an' goold, stepped out in front of him, and thus to maylodious music the family proudly marched down the hall, climbed up the goolden stairway at its ind, an' thin turned to enter the biggest room Darby had ever seen.
Something in his sowl whuspered that this was the picture gallery.
"Be the powers of Pewther," says the knowledgeable man to himself, "I wouldn't be in Bridget's place this minute for a hatful of money. Wait, oh just wait, till she has to compare her own relations with my own foine people! I know how she'll feel, but I wondher what she'll say," he says.
The thought that all the unjust things, all the unraysonable things Bridget had said about his kith an' kin were just going to be disproved and turned against herself made him proud an' almost happy.
But wirrasthrue! He should have raymembered his own adwise not to make nor moil nor meddle with the fairies, for here he was to get the first hard welt from the little Leprechaun.
It was the picture gallery sure enough, but how terribly different everything was from what the poor lad expected. There on the left wall, grand an' noble, shone the pictures of Bridget's people. Of all the well-dhressed, handsome, proud-appearing persons in the whole worruld the O'Hagans an' the O'Shaughnessys would compare with the best. This was a hard enough crack, though a crushinger knock was to come. Ferninst them, on the right wall, glowered the O'Gills and the O'Gradys, and of all the ragged, sheepstealing, hangdog looking villains one ever saw, in jail or out of jail, it was Darby's kindred.
The place of honor on the right wall was given to Darby's fourth cousin, Phelem McFadden, an' he was painted with a pair of handcuffs on him. Wullum O'Gill had a squint in his right eye, and his thin legs bowed like hoops on a barrel.
If you have ever at night been groping your way through a dark room, and got a sudden hard bump on the forehead from the edge of the door, you can understand the feelings of the knowledgeable man.
"Take that picture out!" he said hoarsely, as soon as he could speak. "An' will some one kindly inthrojuice me to the man who med it. Bekase," he says, "I intend to take his life. There was never a crass-eyed O'Gill since the world began," says he.
Think of his horror an' surprise whin he saw the left eye of Wullum Gill twist itself slowly over toward his nose and squint worse than the right eye.
Purtending not to see this, an' hoping no one else did, Darby fiercely led the way over to the other wall.
Fronting him stood the handsome picture of Honoria O'Shaughnessy, an' she dhressed in a shuit of tin clothes, like the knights of ould used to wear - armor I think they calls it.
She hildt a spear in her hand, with a little flag on the blade, an' her smile was proud and high.
"Take that likeness out too," says Darby, very spiteful. "That's not a dacint shuit of clothes for any woman to wear." The next minute you might have knocked him down with a feather, for the picture of Honoria O'Shaughnessy opened its mouth and stuck out its tongue at him.
"The supper's getting cowld, the supper's getting cowld," some one cried at the other ind of the picture gallery .Two big doors were swung open, an' glad enough was our poor hayro to folly the musicianers down to the room where the ateing an' drinking were to be thransacted.
This was a little room with lots of looking glasses, and it was bright with a thousand candles, and white with the shiningest marble. On the table was biled beef an' reddishes an' carrots an' roast mutton an' all kinds of important ateing an' drinking. Beside these stood fruits an' sweets an' - but sure what is the use in talkin'?
A high-backed chair stood ready for aich of the familly, an' 'twas a lovely sight to see them all whin they were sitting there, Darby at the head, Bridget at the foot, the childher - the poor little paythriarchs - sitting bolt upright on aich side, with a bewigged and befrilled serving man standing haughty behind every chair.
The ateing and dhrinkin' would have begun at once - in troth there was already a bit of biled beef on Darby's plate - only that he spied a little silver bell beside him. Sure, 'twas one like those the quality keep to ring whin they want more hot wather for their punch, but it puzzled the knowledeable man, and 'twas the beginning of his misfortune.
"I wondher," he thought, "if 'tis here for the same raison as the bell is at the Curragh races - do they ring this one so that all at the table will start ateing an' drinking fair, an' no one will have the advantage; or is it." he says to himself agin, "to ring whin the head of the house thinks every one has had enough? Haven't the quality quare ways! I'll be a long time learning them," he says.
He sat silent and puzzling an' staring at the biled beef on his plate, afeared to start in without ringing the bell, an' dhreading to risk ringing it. The grand servants towered cowldly on every side, their chins tilted, but they kep' throwing over their chowlders glances so scornful and haughty that Darby shivered at the thought of showing any uncultivaytion.
While our hayro sat thus in unaisy contimplaytion an' smouldhering mortification an' flurried hesitaytion, a powdhered head was poked over his chowlder, and a soft beguiling woice said, "Is there anything else you'd wish for?"
The foolish lad twisted in his chair, opened his mouth to spake, and gave a look at the bell; shame rushed to his, cheeks, he picked up a bit of the biled beef on his fork, an' to consale his turpitaytion gave the misfortunit answer,
"I'd wish for a pinch of salt, if you plaze," says he.
'Twas no sooner said than came the crash. Oh, tunderation an' murdheration, what a roaring crash it was! The lights winked out together at a breath, an' left a pitchy, throbbing darkness. Overhead and to the sides was a roaring, smashing, crunching noise, like the ocean's madness when the winthry storm breaks agin the Kerry shore; an' in that roar was mingled the tearing and the splitting of the walls and the falling of the chimneys. But through all this confusion could be heard the shrill laughing voice of the Leprechaun. "The clever man med his fourth grand wish," it howled.
Darby - a thousand wild woices screaming an' mocking above him - was on his back, kicking and squirming and striving to get up, but some load hilt him down an' something bound his eyes shut.
"Are you kilt, Bridget asthore?" he cried. "Where are the childher?" he says.
Instead of answer, there suddenly flashed a fierce an' angry silence, an' its quickness frightened the lad more than all the wild confusion before.
'Twas a full minute before he dared to open his eyes to face the horrors which he felt were standing about him; but when courage enough to look came, all he saw was the night-covered mountain, a purple sky, and a thin new moon, with one trembling goold star a hand's space above its bosom.
Darby struggled to his feet. Not a stone of the castle was left, not a sod of turf but what was in its ould place; every sign of the little cobbler's work had melted like April snow. The very threes Darby had seen pulled up by the roots that same afternoon now stood a waving blur below the new moon, an' a nightingale was singing in their branches. A cricket chirped lonesomely on the same fallen log which had hidden the Leprechaun.
"Bridget! Bridget!" Darby called agin an' agin. Only a sleepy owl on a distant hill answered.
A shivering thought jumped into the boy's bewildered sowl - maybe the Leprechaun had stolen Bridget and the childher.
The poor man turned, and for the last time darted down into the night-filled walley.
Not a pool in the road he waited to go around, not a ditch in his path he didn't leap over, but ran as he never ran before, till he raiched his own front door.
His heart stood still as he peeped through the window. There were the childher croodled around Bridget, who sat with the youngest asleep in her lap before the fire, rocking back an' forth, an' she crooning a happy, continted baby song.
Tears of gladness crept into Darby's eyes as he looked in upon her. "God bless her," he says to himself. "She's the flower of the O'Hagans and the O'Shaughnessys, and she's a proud feather in the caps of the O'Gills an' the O'Gradys."
'Twas well he had this happy thought to cheer him as he lifted the door latch, for the manest of all the little cobbler's spiteful thricks waited in the house to meet Darby - nayther Bridget nor the childher raymembered a single thing of all that had happened to them during the day. They were willing to make their happydavitts that they had been no farther than their own petatie patch since morning.