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ENTERTAINMENT FOR THE FIRE-SIDE:
TALES, MORAL AND HUMOUROUS;
Histories, Narratives, Adventures, `Anecdotes,
“ The humble office of a Compiler, though it affords little scope for the display of
ability, and is at best a slender ground for reputation, is by no means without its
PRINTED FOR THE PROPRIETORS, BY W. COWDROY, JUN,
From Edgeworth's "ESSAY ON IRISH BULLS."
ITTLE Dominick was born at Fort-Reilly, in Ireland, and bred no ners, and grammar, at the school of Mr. Owen
ap Jones. This gentleman had reason to think himself the greatest of men : for he had, over his chimney-piece, a well-smoked genealogy, duly attested, tracing his ancestry in a direct line, up to Noah, and moreover, he was nearly related to the learned etymologist who, in the time of Queen Elizabeth, wrote a folio volume, to prove that the language of Adam and Eve, in Paradise, was pure Welsh. With such causes to be proud, Mr. Owen
Davies ap Jenkins ap Jones was excuseable for sometimes seeming to forget that a school-master is but a man. He, however, sometimes entirely forgot that a boy is but a boy, and this happened most frequently with respect to Little Dominick.
This unlucky wight was flogged every morning by his master, not for his vices, but for his vicious constructions: and laughed at by his compa
ions, every evening, for his idiomatic absurdities. They would, probably, have been inclined to sympathize in his misfortunes, but that he was the only Irish boy at school; and, as he was at a distance from all his relations, and without a friend to take his part, he was a just object of obloquy and derision. Every sentence he spoke was a bull ; every two words he put together, proved a false concord; and every sound he articulated betrayed the brogue. But, as he possessed some of the characteristic boldness of those who have been dipped in the Shannon, though he was only Little Dominick, he shewed himself able and willing to fight his own battles, with the host of foes by whom he was encompassed. Some of these it was said, were of nearly twice his stature. This may be exaggerated; but it is certain that our hero sometimes ventured with sly Irish humour to. revenge himself on his most powerful tyrant, by mimicking the Welsh accent, in which Mr. Owen ap Jones said to him-“Cot pless me, you plockit, and shall I never learn you enclish crammer?”
It was whispered in the ear of this Dionysius, that our little hero was a mimick, and he was now treated with increased severity.
The midsummer holidays approached ; but he feared they would prove no holidays for him. He had written to his mother, to tell her that school would break up the 21st and to beg an answer, without fail, by return of post; but no answer came.
It was now nearly two months since he had heard from his dear mother, or any of his friends in Ireland. His spirits began to sink under the pressure of these accumulated misfortunes : he slept little ; eat less; and played, not at all. Indeed nobody would play with him on equal terms, because he was nobody's equal: his school-fellows continued to consider him as a being, if not of a different species, at least of a different cast from themselves.
Mr. Owen ap Jones's triumph over the little Irish plockit was nearly complete, for the boy's heart was almost broken, when there came to the school a new scholar-(, how unlike the others !--His name was Edwards: he was the son of a neighbouring Welsh gentleman; and had himself, the spirit of a gentleman. When he saw how poor
Dominick was persecuted, he took him under his protection ; fought his battles with the Welsh boys; and, instead of laughing at him for speaking Irish, he endeavoured to teach him to speak English. In his answers to the first questions Edwards ever asked him, Little Dominick niade two blunders, which set all his other companions in a roar; yet Edwards would not allow them to be genuine bulls.
In answer to the question—Who is your father?” Dominick said, with a deep sigh--" I have no father-I am an Orphan* -I have only mother.” ..."Have you any brothers and sisters ?” “No! I wish I had; for, perhaps they would love me,” said Dominick, with tears in his eyes: I have no brothers but myself.”
One day, Mr. Owen ap Jones came into the school-room, with an open letter in his hand, saying—“Here, you little Irish plockit: here's a letter from your mother.”
The little frish plockit started from his form ; and throwing his grammar on the floor, leaped up higher than he, or any boy in the school had been seen to leap before : then clapping his hands, he osclaimed " A letter from my mother!— And will I hear the letter ? — And will I see her once more ?---And will I go home these holidays ?---O, then I will be too happy!”
" There's no tanger of that,” said Mr. Owen ap Jones; “for your mother, like a wise woman, writes me here, that py the atfice of your cardian, to oom she is coing to pe married, she will not pring you home to Ireland, 'till you are perfect in your Enclish crammar at least.”
“I have my lesson perfect, Sir," said Dominick, taking his grammar up from the floor; "will I say it now?” “No! you plockit, you will not; and I will write your mother word, you have broke Priscian's head, four times this tay, since her letter came.”
Little Dominick, for the first time, was seen to burst into tears--“Will I hear the letter?---Will I see my mother?---Fill I go' home?” Yon Irish plockit!” continued the relentless grammarian, "you Irish plockit, will you never learn the tifference between shall and zvill öv
The Welsh boys all grinned; except Edwards, who hummed, loud enough to be heard--
" Avd will I see him once again?
* Homer's Illiad, Book 6th. line 452, Andromache says to Hector ---- You will make
your son an Orphan, and your wife a widow.”