John McCullagh January 30, 2007
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It was back in the oul’ days – about eighty or ninety years ago – and there was this chap and he needed a woman. He was about forty he’s self and a little bit past it …


… but even so he wanted one that was right and young – and more important, one that had a bit o’ money.

There was a good bit of barterin’ done then before ye got a woman a’ tall and it was very important to get on the right side of the oul’ boy – aye and many’s the oul’ man that stud far more curtin’ than the lassie herself! If ye had a good farm and a bit o’ money besides, ye cud get the best woman goin’.

But this chap – Pat Bell wus he’s name – had a wee, sour farm that wudn’t graze no more nor a couple o’ oul’ frames o’ cows both near as oul’ as he’self! An’ besides, he hadn’t two brass farthings to rub together!

But man, Pat was oul-fashioned and had he’s head screwed on the right road. He hear’d about this right good-lukin’ girl up round the Dublin Road in Newry and he decided to have a go at gettin’ her.

Now this hussy’s oul’ boy was rowlin’ in money and had over one hundred of acres of land, well-stocked and kept four servin’ boys.

Pat rigged he’self in he’s best outfit, o’ curse, and set off to visit the oul boy about he’s daughter. He borrowed a good blood-stock stallion and expensive saddle an’ rigging from a neighbour. When he arrived he toul’ the oul’ boy he hadn’t bothered dressing for he’d heared that that sort of fakery wus frowned on in these parts.

Yon ole boy was quite pleased to see any dacent man takin’ an interest or a notion in he’s daughter ‘case she too wus past her best, ye see. O’ curse, he wanted first to hear about Pat’s financial standin’ afore inythin’ cud be done.

Pat spun a few big yarns. He’d roun’ a hundr’d acres and grazed most of it, the reason he’d on’y got the two sarvant boys to pay. Things sounded promisin’ to yir oul’ boy. He’d go he’self and have a luk at Pat’s place to see if it wus what it wus supposed to be and if it wus, he’d get the lassie, aye, an’ a bit o’ money beside. The date was arranged when Pat’s place wud be luked over and so stage two o’ the plan went into action.

On the security of his wee farm and the wheen o’ cattle the father had left him, Pat was able to borrow a few hundred pounds from the bank manager. He changed it into one-pound notes, all but four or five fifty pound notes. He made a few thick roll o’ banknotes then, all with a fifty-pound note on the outside, held together with a rubber band. These he stuffed into the pokey-holes that are at the sides of the oul-type fire-places he had there at the range, along with a half-dozen rolled up oul’ newspapers. Yer oul’ boy was due to come on a Saturday evening for Pat was determined he’d not see around the farm at all, on’y the inside of the house.

Well, Saturday come an’ yer oul’ boy with it and Pat went out to greet him.

‘Ye’ve had a long journey,’ says he. ‘Ye’ll have to come in for a wee trate first thing.’

In the both boys went. O’ curse, Pat apologised for the state o’ the house.

‘That’s what comes o’ not havin’ a woman,’ Pat moaned.

When they were havin’ their drink Pat brought roun’ the craic about the Rostrevor murder.

‘Aye, that wus in October ’26,’ says yer oul’ boy.

‘Beggin’ yer pardon, but it wasn’t!’ insisted Pat.

‘I think it was! An’ if it wasn’t, when was it?’ says yer man.

‘I’ve a few oul’ newspapers here, that’ll tell us both when it was,’ says Pat.

He gets up and starts pullin newspapers from one pokey-hole at the side of the range. Out of the papers rowled a ball of fifty-pound notes and scattered over the flure. Pat passed no remarks. He sarched without result for the story in the newspaper about the Rostrevor murder. Then he just gathered up the money an’ stuffed it with the newspapers into the pokey-hole again.

He went to t’other side and drew out more rolled up newspapers and started sarchin’ thru them. Of curse, another few rolls o’ fifty-pound notes were scattered across Pat’s kitchen flure. He paid no mine o’ them, studyin’ the newspaper closely for the missin’ story. When he failed to find it, he stuffed the newspapers, together with the rolls of bank-notes, back into the cubby-hole.

When he gave up, he turned to the oul’ boy and axed him:

‘Do ye want a luk about the place now?’

O’ curse, yer man had seed enough.

‘Ye’ll get the daughter,’ answered the oul’ boy,

‘for anybody that can afford to handle money the way ye do, can afford to luk after me cutty!’

So Pat got he’s woman an’ plenty o’ money foreby. Ye see, her people were big people and cudn’t afford to own up that they’d been fooled even when it was obvious, and cudn’t afford to lave their daughter livin’ in poverty.

Pat wus bought more lan’ and cattle, a bigger house was built, an’ a few sarvant boys laid on.


An’ do ye know what I’m goin’ to tell you?

He turned into a bloody swank and wudn’t talk till he’s ole neighbours and wus a damned sight more stuck-up than the ordinary upper-class!

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