Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry

William Carleton
Traits and Stories of the Irish

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Phelim O'toole's Courtship and Other
by William Carleton This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at
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Title: Phelim O'toole's Courtship and Other Stories Traits And Stories
Of The Irish Peasantry, The Works of William Carleton, Volume Three
Author: William Carleton
Illustrator: M. L. Flanery
Release Date: June 7, 2005 [EBook #16019]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Produced by David Widger



Phelim O'toole's Courtship Wildgoose Lodge Tubber Derg; Or, The
Red Well. Neal Malone Art Maguire; Or, The Broken Pledge.

Phelim O'Toole, who had the honor of being that interesting personage,
an only son, was heir to a snug estate of half an acre, which had been
the family patrimony since the time of his grandfather, Tyrrell O'Toole,
who won it from the Sassenah at the point of his reaping-hook, during a
descent once made upon England by a body of "spalpeens," in the
month of August. This resolute little band was led on by Tyrrell, who,
having secured about eight guineas by the excursion, returned to his
own country, with a coarse linen travelling-bag slung across his
shoulder, a new hat in one hand, and a staff in the other. On reaching
once more his native village of Teernarogarah, he immediately took
half an acre, for which he paid a moderate rent in the shape of daily
labor as a cotter. On this he resided until death, after which event he
was succeeded by his son, Larry O'Toole, the father of the "purty boy"
who is about to shine in the following pages.
Phelim's father and mother had been married near seven years without
the happiness of a family. This to both was a great affliction. Sheelah
O'Toole was melancholy from night to morning, and Larry was
melancholy from morning to night. Their cottage was silent and
solitary; the floor and furniture had not the appearance of any cottage in
which Irish children are wont to amuse themselves. When they rose in
the morning, a miserable stillness prevailed around them; young voices
were not heard--laughing eyes turned not on their parents--the melody
of angry squabbles, as the urchins, in their parents' fancy, cuffed and
scratched each other--half, or wholly naked among the ashes in the
morning, soothed not the yearning hearts of Larry and his wife. No, no;
there was none of this.
Morning passed in a quietness hard to be borne: noon arrived, but the
dismal dreary sense of childlessness hung upon the house and their
hearts; night again returned, only to add its darkness to that which
overshadowed the sorrowful spirits of this disconsolate couple.
For the first two or three years, they bore this privation with a strong
confidence that it would not last. The heart, however, sometimes
becomes tired of hoping, or unable to bear the burthen of expectation,

which time only renders heavier. They first began to fret and pine, then
to murmur, and finally to recriminate.
Sheelah wished for children, "to have the crathurs to spake to," she said,
"and comfort us when we'd get ould an' helpless."
Larry cared not, provided they had a son to inherit the "half acre." This
was the burthen of his wishes, for in all their altercations, his closing
observation usually was--"well, but what's to become of the half acre?"
"What's to become of the half acre? Arrah what do I care for the half
acre? It's not that you ought to be thinkin' of, but the dismal poor house
we have, wid not the laugh or schreech of a single pastiah (* child) in it
from year's end to year's end."
"Well, Sheelah?--"
"Well, yourself, Larry? To the diouol I pitch your half acre, man."
"To the diouol you--pitch--What do you fly at me for?"
"Who's flyin' at you? They'd have little tow on their rock that 'ud fly at
"You are flyin' at me; an' only you have a hard face, you wouldn't do
"A hard face! Indeed it's well come over wid us, to be tould that by the
likes o' you! ha!"
"No matther for that! You had betther keep a soft tongue in your head,
an' a civil one, in the mane time. Why did the divil timpt you to take a
fancy to me at all?"
"That's it. Throw the grah an' love I once had for you in my teeth, now.
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