presently reappeared with a small pipkin of milk, which she offered to me with a trembling hand. I drank the milk; it was sour, but I found it highly refreshing. I then took out a penny and offered it to her, whereupon she shook her head, smiled, and, patting my face with her skinny hand, murmured some words in a tongue which I had never heard before.

I walked on by my father’s side, holding the stirrup-leather of his horse; presently several low uncouth cars passed by, drawn by starved cattle: the drivers were tall fellows, with dark features and athletic frames - they wore long loose blue cloaks with sleeves, which last, however, dangled unoccupied: these cloaks appeared in tolerably good condition, not so their under garments. On their heads were broad slouching hats: the generality of them were bare-footed. As they passed, the soldiers jested with them in the patois of East Anglia, whereupon the fellows laughed, and appeared to jest with the soldiers; but what they said who knows, it being in a rough guttural language, strange and wild. The soldiers stared at each other, and were silent.

‘A strange language that!’ said a young officer to my father, ‘I don’t understand a word of it; what can it be?’

‘Irish!’ said my father, with a loud voice, ‘and a bad language it is, I have known it of old, that is, I have often heard it spoken when I was a guardsman in London. There’s one part of London where all the Irish live - at least all the worst of them - and there they hatch their villainies and speak this tongue; it is that which keeps them together and makes them dangerous: I was once sent there to seize a couple of deserters - Irish - who had taken refuge amongst their companions; we found them in what was in my time called a ken, that is a house where only thieves and desperadoes are to be found. Knowing on what kind of business I was bound, I had taken with me a sergeant’s party; it was well I did so. We found the deserters in a large room, with at least thirty ruffians, horrid-looking fellows, seated about a long table, drinking, swearing, and talking Irish. Ah! we had a tough battle, I remember; the two fellows did nothing, but sat still, thinking it best to be quiet; but the rest, with an ubbubboo like the blowing up of a powder-magazine, sprang up, brandishing their sticks; for these fellows always carry sticks with them even to bed, and not unfrequently spring up in their sleep, striking left and right.’

‘And did you take the deserters?’ said the officer.

‘Yes,’ said my father; ‘for we formed at the end of the room, and charged with fixed bayonets, which compelled the others to yield notwithstanding their numbers; but the worst was when we got out into the street; the whole district had become alarmed, and hundreds came pouring down upon us - men, women, and children. Women, did I say! - they looked fiends, half naked, with their hair hanging down over their bosoms; they tore up the very pavement to hurl at us, sticks rang about our ears, stones, and Irish - I liked the Irish worst of all, it sounded so horrid, especially as I did not understand it. It’s a bad language.’

‘A queer tongue,’ said I; ‘I wonder if I could learn it.’

‘Learn it!’ said my father; ‘what should you learn it for? - however, I am not afraid of that. It is not like Scotch, no person can learn it, save those who are born to it, and even in Ireland the respectable people do not speak it, only the wilder sort, like those we have passed.’

Within a day or two we had reached a tall range of mountains running north and south, which I was told were those of Tipperary; along the skirts of these we proceeded till we came to a town, the principal one of these regions. It was on the bank of a beautiful river, which separated it from the mountains. It was rather an ancient place, and might contain some ten thousand inhabitants - I found that it was our destination; there were extensive barracks at the farther end, in which the corps took up its quarters; with respect to ourselves, we took lodgings in a house which stood in the principal street.

‘You never saw more elegant lodgings than these, captain,’ said the master of the house, a tall, handsome, and athletic man, who came up whilst our little family were seated at dinner late in the afternoon of the day of our arrival; ‘they beat anything in this town of Clonmel. I do not let them for the sake of interest,

  By PanEris using Melati.

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