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The Emigrants Of Ahadarra The Works of William Carleton, Volume Two   By: (1794-1869)

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By William Carleton

CHAPTER I. A strong Farmer's Establishment and Family.

It was one summer morning, about nine o'clock, when a little man, in the garb and trim of a mendicant, accompanied by a slender but rather handsome looking girl about sixteen, or it may be a year more, were upon their way to the house of a man, who, from his position in life, might be considered a wealthy agriculturist, and only a step or two beneath the condition of a gentleman farmer, although much more plain and rustic in his manners. The house and place had about them that characteristic appearance of abundance and slovenly neglect which is, unfortunately, almost peculiar to our country. The house was a long slated one, and stood upon a little eminence, about three or four hundred yards from the highway. It was approached by a broad and ragged boreen or mock avenue, as it might be called, that was in very good keeping with the premises to which it led. As you entered it from the road, you had to pass through an iron gate, which it was a task to open, and which, when opened, it was another task to shut. In consequence of this difficulty, foot passengers had made themselves a way upon each side of it, through which they went to and came from the house; and in this they were sanctioned by the example of the family themselves, who, so long as these side paths were passable, manifested as much reluctance to open or close the gate as any one else.

The month was May; and nothing could be more delightful and exhilarating than the breeze which played over the green fields that were now radiant with the light which was flooded down upon them from the cloudless sun. Around them, in every field, were the tokens of that pleasant labor from which the hopes of ample and abundant harvests always spring. Here, fixed in the ground, stood the spades of a boon of laborers, who, as was evident from that circumstance, were then at breakfast; in another place might be seen the plough and a portion of the tackle lying beside it, being expressive of the same fact. Around them, on every side, in hedges, ditches, green fields, and meadows, the birds seemed animated into joyous activity or incessant battle, by the business of nest building or love. Whilst all around, from earth and air, streamed the ceaseless voice of universal melody and song.

A considerable number of men working together.

On reaching the gate, Peety Dhu and his pretty daughter turned up towards the house we have alluded to which was the residence of a man named Burke. On reaching it they were observed by a couple of large dogs, who, partaking of the hospitable but neglected habits of the family, first approached and looked at them for a moment, then wagged their tails by way of welcome, and immediately scampered off into the kitchen to forage for themselves.

Burke's house and farmyard, though strongly indicative of wealth and abundance in the owner, were, notwithstanding, evidently the property of a man whose mind was far back in a knowledge of agriculture, and the industrial pursuits that depend upon it. His haggard was slovenly in the extreme, and his farmyard exceedingly offensive to most of the senses; everything lay about in a careless and neglected manner; wheelbarrows without their trundles sacks for days under the rain that fell from the eaves of the houses other implements embedded in mud car houses tumbling down the pump without a handle the garden gate open, and the pigs hard at work destroying the vegetables, and rooting up the garden in all directions. In fact, the very animals about the house were conscious of the character of the people, and acted accordingly. If one of the dogs, for instance, was hunted at the pigs, he ran in an apparent fury towards that which happened to be nearest him, which merely lifted its head and listened for a time the dog, with loud and boisterous barking, seizing its ear, led it along for three or four yards in that position, after which, upon the pig demurring to proceed any further, he very quietly dropped it and trotted in again, leaving the destructive animal to resume its depredations... Continue reading book >>

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