He was going out of the door then, but they all told him it was best for him to stop the night, and to get strength for the journey; and indeed he wanted that, for he was very weak, and when they gave him food he eat it like a man that had never seen food before, and one of them said, ‘He is eating as if he had trodden on the hungry grass.’ It was in the white light of the morning he set out, and the time seemed long to him till he could get to Mary Lavelle’s house. But when he came to it, he found the door broken, and the thatch dropping from the roof, and no living person to be seen. And when he asked the neighbours what had happened her, all they could say was that she had been put out of the house, and had married some labouring man, and they had gone looking for work to London or Liverpool or some big place. And whether she found a worse place or a better he never knew, but anyway he never met with her or with news of her again.
THE TWISTING OF THE ROPE.
Hanrahan was walking the roads one time near Kinvara at the fall of day, and he heard the sound of a fiddle from a house a little way off the roadside. He turned up the path to it, for he never had the habit of passing by any place where there was music or dancing or good company, without going in. The man of the house was standing at the door, and when Hanrahan came near he knew him and he said: ’A welcome before you, Hanrahan, you have been lost to us this long time.’ But the woman of the house came to the door and she said to her husband: ’I would be as well pleased for Hanrahan not to come in to-night, for he has no good name now among the priests, or with women that mind themselves, and I wouldn’t wonder from his walk if he has a drop of drink taken.’ But the man said, ’I will never turn away Hanrahan of the poets from my door,’ and with that he bade him enter.
There were a good many neighbours gathered in the house, and some of them remembered Hanrahan; but some of the little lads that were in the corners had only heard of him, and they stood up to have a view of him, and one of them said: ’Is not that Hanrahan that had the school, and that was brought away by Them?’ But his mother put her hand over his mouth and bade him be quiet, and not be saying things like that. ‘For Hanrahan is apt to grow wicked,’ she said, ’if he hears talk of that story, or if anyone goes questioning him.’ One or another called out then, asking him for a song, but the man of the house said it was no time to ask him for a song, before he had rested himself; and he gave him whiskey in a glass, and Hanrahan thanked him and wished him good health and drank it off.