At Philadelphia, the city of trees, where in spite of a day in the police court and before a judge, and the arrest of our players at the suit not of a Puritan but a publican, and the throwing of currant cake with intent to injure, I received very great personal kindness, a story of his childhood told by my host gave me a fable on which to hang my musings; and the Dublin enthusiast and the American enthusiast who interchanged so many compliments and made so brave a show to one another, became Dermot and Timothy, “two harmless drifty lads,” the Bogie Men of my little play. They were to have been vagrants, tatterdemalions, but I needed some dress the change of which would change their whole appearance in a moment, and there came to mind the chimney sweepers of my childhood.
They used to come trotting the five miles from Loughrea, little fellows with blue eyes shining out from soot-black faces, wearing little soot-coloured smocks. Our old doctor told us he had gone to see one of them who was sick, and had found him lying in a box, with soot up to his chin as bedding and blanket.
Not many years ago a decent looking man came to my door, with I forget what request. He told me he had heard of ghosts and fairies, but had never met with anything worse than himself, but that he had had one great fright in his lifetime. Its cause had been the squealing and outcry made by two rats caught in one trap, that had come clattering down a flight of steps one time when he was a little lad, and had come sweeping chimneys to Roxborough.
[Music: AIR OF “ALL AROUND MY HAT I WILL WEAR A GREEN RIBBON!”]
It had sometimes preyed on my mind that Hyacinth Halvey had been left by me in Cloon for his lifetime, bearing the weight of a character that had been put on him by force. But it failed me to release him by reason, that “binds men to the wheel”; it took the call of some of those unruly ones who give in to no limitations, and dance to the sound of music that is outside this world, to bring him out from “roast and boiled and all the comforts of the day.” Where he is now I do not know, but anyway he is free.
Tannian’s dog has now become a protagonist; and Bartley Fallon and Shawn Early strayed in from the fair green of Spreading the News, and Mrs. Broderick from the little shop where The Jackdaw hops on the counter, as witnesses to the miracle that happened in Hyacinth’s own inside; and it is likely they may be talking of it yet; for the talks of Cloon are long talks, and the histories told there do not lessen or fail.
As to Davideen’s song, I give the air of it below. The Queen Anne in it was no English queen, but, as I think, that Aine of the old gods at whose hill mad dogs were used to gather, and who turned to grey the yellow hair of Finn of the Fianna of Ireland. It is with some thought of her in their mind that the history-tellers say “Anne was not fair like the Georges but very bad and a tyrant. She tyrannised over the Irish. She was very wicked; oh! very wicked indeed!”