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often finds it hard to bear with the shortcomings of some of the hotels in the remote parts of Ireland. But the genuine, heartfelt welcome which is given to visitors at these primitive hostelries—a welcome which is not at all inspired by mercenary motives--and the quaint and homely experiences to be met with in them, undoubtedly add to the charm of touring in out-of-the-way parts of Ireland. Thackeray relates in his 'Irish Sketch Book' that once when dining in a rural hotel in Ireland he asked the waiter for some currant jelly with his roast mutton.
66 There's no jelly, sur, but I'll give you some fine lobster sauce!” was the waiter's answer. We may be sure that this quaint and unexpected reply lent more piquancy to the novelist's dinner than all the currant jelly in the world could bave imparted.
A traveler staying at one of these out-of-way inns found his boots still lying uncleaned outside his bedroom door in the morning. He summoned the landlord, to obtain an explanation of this remissness in the service. “My boots have been lying there all night untouched !” he exclaimed. “Yes, yer honner,” said the landlord, proud of the honesty and good name of his house," an' they might lie there for a month, and no wan wud touch thim!' The excuses given for deficiencies at these hotels are always diverting. “ Bring me a hot plate, waiter,” said a visitor to a Mayo hotel as he sat at the dinner table.“ The hot plates is not come in yet, sur," replied the waiter. Then hurry up and get them in,” said the hungry visitor. “I mane, sur, they ’re not in saison,” explained the waiter. “Hot plates come in in October and goes out in May." A friend of mine who visited the backward parts of Kerry last summer told me that he stayed one night at a humble hotel in Cahirciveen. His bedroom was on the ground floor. During the night he was awakened by a noise in the room, and to his consternation saw a rat prowling about for something to eat. Next morning he reported the matter to the landlord. “Look at that, now," said the landlord; “it's all that Johnnie's fault. Johnnie, Johnnie!” he cried, and on the appearance of a bare-legged youth, who acted the part of “boots,” he exclaimed, “You bla'guard, why didn't ye put Biddy into the room wid this gintleman last night?" “ Biddy” was an Irish terrier!
The Irish waiters in country hotels are, as a rule, very comical and amusing. Lord Carlisle used to relate a laughable experience he had with a waiter at an agricultural dinner in Galway during the time he was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. This waiter, who happened to be a droll person, was specially appointed to attend to the wants of the Viceroy. He passed remarks on every dish with which he supplied his Excellency. Handing him a dish of peas, he said, “ Pays, yer Excellency,” adding in a whisper, “an' if I was you, the divil a wan iv thim I'd touch, for they ’re as hard as bullets !” A barrister told me that during an assize at Nenagh he and some friends played cards one night at the hotel where they were staying. He dropped a pound note under the table, and, discovering his loss as he was going to bed, returned to the room immediately. The waiter said to him, “Did you lose anything, sur?" “Yes, a pound note,” replied my friend. “I found it; and here it is,” returned the waiter, adding, “ Begor, wasn't it lucky for you none of the gintlemen found it!”
Whatever may be said of Irish hotels, it cannot be writ- . ten of them what Dr. Magee, Archbishop of York, a witty Irishman, wrote in the visitors' book of the hostelry in a popular holiday resort in England: “I came here for change and rest. The waiter has the change; the landlord the rest."
Heinrich Heine has described Ireland as an ethereal young lady,“ with her heart full of sun, and her head full of flowery wit.” A happy and poetic description, truly. It is not, alas! all flowery wit in the head of Ireland, nor all sunshine in her heart; but she has as large a share of joyousness and humor as any nation in the world. She also rejoices in the passionate devotion of her children. Wherever they may be, Ireland is always in their thoughts. An Irish exile was at a dinner in Paris.
Some one proposed the toast of “ The land we live in.” “Aye, with all my soul,” cried the Irishman, raising his glass,
“ Here's to poor old Ireland!”
Michee Mee Domagh
CONTENTS OF VOLUME VIII.
THE SUNNINESS OF IRISH LIFE.- Michael MacDonagh vii