Castle Rackrent eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 136 pages of information about Castle Rackrent.

GLOSSARY 5.  HE DEMEANED HIMSELF GREATLY—­

Means, he lowered or disgraced himself much.

GLOSSARY 6.  DUTY FOWLS, DUTY TURKEYS, AND DUTY GEESE.—­

In many leases in Ireland, tenants were formerly bound to supply an inordinate quantity of poultry to their landlords.  The Editor knew of thirty turkeys being reserved in one lease of a small farm.

GLOSSARY 7.  ENGLISH TENANTS.—­

An English tenant does not mean a tenant who is an Englishman, but a tenant who pays his rent the day that it is due.  It is a common prejudice in Ireland, amongst the poorer classes of people, to believe that all tenants in England pay their rents on the very day when they become due.  An Irishman, when he goes to take a farm, if he wants to prove to his landlord that he is a substantial man, offers to become an English tenant.  If a tenant disobliges his landlord by voting against him, or against his opinion, at an election, the tenant is immediately informed by the agent that he must become an English tenant.  This threat does not imply that he is to change his language or his country, but that he must pay all the arrear of rent which he owes, and that he must thenceforward pay his rent on that day when it becomes due.

GLOSSARY 8.  CANTING—­

Does not mean talking or writing hypocritical nonsense, but selling substantially by auction.

GLOSSARY 9.  DUTY WORK.—­

It was formerly common in Ireland to insert clauses in leases, binding tenants to furnish their landlords with labourers and horses for several days in the year.  Much petty tyranny and oppression have resulted from this feudal custom.  Whenever a poor man disobliged his landlord, the agent sent to him for his duty work; and Thady does not exaggerate when he says, that the tenants were often called from their own work to do that of their landlord.  Thus the very means of earning their rent were taken from them:  whilst they were getting home their landlord’s harvest, their own was often ruined, and yet their rents were expected to be paid as punctually as if their time had been at their own disposal.  This appears the height of absurd injustice.

In Esthonia, amongst the poor Sclavonian race of peasant slaves, they pay tributes to their lords, not under the name of duty work, duty geese, duty turkeys, etc., but under the name of RIGHTEOUSNESSES.  The following ballad is a curious specimen of Esthonian poetry:—­

     This is the cause that the country is ruined,
     And the straw of the thatch is eaten away,
     The gentry are come to live in the land—­
     Chimneys between the village,
     And the proprietor upon

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Castle Rackrent from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.