Click here to Download The Irish Twins PDF Book by Lucy Fitch Perkins English having PDF Size 2.23 MB and No of Pages 71.
One day of the world, when it was young summer in Ireland, old Grannie Malone sat by her fireplace knitting. She was all alone, and in her lap lay a letter. Sometimes she took the letter in her hands, and turned it over and over, and looked at it. Then she would put it down again with a little sigh.
The Irish Twins PDF Book by Lucy Fitch Perkins
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“If I but had the learning,” said Grannie Malone to herself, “I could be reading Michael’s letters without calling in the Priest, and ’tis long since he passed this door. ’Tis hard work waiting until some one can tell me what at all is in it.” She stooped over and put a bit of peat on the fire, and because she had no one else to talk to, she talked to the tea-kettle.
“There now,” she said to it, “’tis a lazy bit of steam that’s coming out of the nose of you! I’ll be wanting my tea soon, and no water boiling.” She lifted the lid and peeped into the kettle. “’Tis empty entirely!” she cried, “and a thirsty kettle it is surely, and no one but myself to fetch and carry for it!” She got up slowly, laid her knitting and the letter on the chair, took the kettle off the hook, and went to the door.
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There was but one door and one window in the one little room of her cabin, so if the sun had not been shining brightly it would have been quite dark within. But the upper half of the door stood open, and the afternoon sun slanted across the earthen floor and brightened the dishes that stood on the old dresser.
It even showed Grannie Malone’s bed in the far end of the room, and some of her clothes hanging from the rafters overhead. There was little else in the room to see, except her chair, a wooden table, and a little bench by the fire, a pile of peat on the hearth, and a bag of potatoes in the corner.
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Grannie Malone opened the lower half of the door and stepped out into the sunshine. Some speckled hens that had been sunning themselves on the doorstep fluttered out of the way, and then ran after her to the well. “Shoo—get along with you!” cried Grannie Malone. She flapped her apron at them.
’Tis you that are always thinking of something to eat! Sure, there are bugs enough in Ireland, without your always being at my heels to be fed! Come now,—scratch for your living like honest hens, and I’ll give you a sup of water if it’s dry you are.” The well had a stone curb around it, and a bucket with a rope tied to it stood on the curb.
Grannie let the bucket down into the well until she heard it strike the fresh spring water with a splash. Then she pulled and pulled on the rope. The bucket came up slowly and water spilled over the sides as Grannie lifted it to the curb. She and Eileen flew to the fireplace. Eileen got there first. She knocked the cover off the little kettle with the tongs, and out flew a cloud of smoke. The Irish Twins PDF Book
“Och, murder! ’Tis destroyed entirely!” poor Grannie groaned. “I’ll turn it quick,” said Eileen. She was in such a hurry she didn’t wait for a fork or stick or anything! She took right hold of the little cakeen, and lifted it out of the kettle with her hand! The little cake was hot! “Ow! Ow!” shrieked Eileen, and she dropped it right into the ashes!
Then she danced up and down and sucked her fingers. “The Saints help us! The cakeen is bewitched,” wailed poor Grannie. She picked it up, and tossed it from one hand to the other, while she blew off the ashes. Then she dropped it, burned side up, into the kettle once more, clapped on the cover, and set it where it would cook more slowly.
When that was done, she looked at Eileen’s fingers. “It’s not so bad at all, mavourneen, praise be to God,” she said. “Sure, I thought I had you killed entirely, the way you screamed!” “Eileen is always burning herself,” said Larry. “Mother says ’tis only when she’s burned up altogether that she’ll learn to keep out of the fire at all!” The Irish Twins PDF Book
“’Twas all the fault of that disgraceful old hen,” Grannie Malone said. “Sure, I’ll have to be putting manners on her! She’s no notion of behaviour at all, at all. Reach the sugar bowl, Larry, avic, and sit down by the table and rest your bones. I’ll have the tea ready for you in a minute. Sit you down, too, Eileen, while I get the potatoes.”
She took the tongs and drew out the potatoes, blew off the ashes, and put them on the table. Then she poured the boiling water over the tea-leaves, and set the tea to draw, while she took the cakeen from the kettle. “’Tis not burned so much, after all,” she said, as she looked it over. “Sure, we can shut our eyes when we eat it.”
She drew her own chair up to the table; the Twins sat on the bench on the other side. Grannie Malone crossed herself, and then they each took a potato, and broke it open. They put salt on it, poured a little milk into the skin which they held like a cup, and it was ready to eat. Grannie poured the tea, and they had milk and sugar in it. The Irish Twins PDF Book
The little cakeen was broken open and buttered, and, “Musha, ’tis fit for the Queen herself,” said Larry, when he had taken his first bite. And Eileen said, “Indeed, ma’am, it’s a grand cook you are entirely.” “Sure, I’d need to be a grand cook with the grand company I have,” Grannie answered politely, “and with the fine son I have in America to be sending me a fortune in every letter!
’Tis a great thing to have a good son, and do you be that same to your Mother, the both of you, for ’tis but one Mother that you’ll get in all the world, and you’ve a right to be choice of her.” “Sure, I’ll never at all be a good son to my Mother,” laughed Eileen. “Well, then,” said Grannie, “you can be a good daughter to her, and that’s not far behind.
Whist now, till I tell you the story of the Little Cakeen, and you’ll see that ’tis a good thing entirely to behave yourselves and grow up fine and respectable, like the lad in the tale. It goes like this now:—” “It was once long ago in old Ireland, there was living a fine, clean, honest, poor widow woman, and she having two sons. The Irish Twins PDF Book
And she fetched the both of them up fine and careful, but one of them turned out bad entirely. And one day she says to him, says she:— “‘I’ve given you your living as long as ever I can, and it’s you must go out into the wide world and seek your fortune.’ The land was all owned by rich landlords, who did not do any work themselves.
These landlords very often lived away in England or France, and did not know much about how the poor people lived at home, or how hard they had to work to get the money for the rent of their farms. Sometimes, when they did know, they didn’t care. What they wanted was all the money they could get, so they could live in fine houses and wear beautiful clothes.
And go where they pleased, without doing any work. When the landlords were away, they had agents to collect the rents for them. The business of these agents was to get all the rent money they could, and they made life very hard for the farmers. Sometimes when the farmers couldn’t pay all the rent, the agent would turn them out of their houses. The Irish Twins PDF Book
This was called “evicting” them. The farm that Mr McQueen lived on, as well as the village and all the country roundabout, was owned by the Earl of Elsmore, who lived most of the year in great style in England. The agent who collected rents was Mr Conroy. Nobody liked Mr Conroy very much, but everybody was afraid of him, because he could do so much to injure them.
So one morning when Mr McQueen came back very early from his potato-field, he was not glad to see Mr Conroy’s horse standing near his door, and Mr Conroy himself, leaning on the farmyard fence, looking at the fowls. “How are you, McQueen?” said Mr Conroy, when Mr McQueen came up. “Well enough, Mr Conroy,” said Mr McQueen.
“And you’re doing well with the farm, too, it seems,” said Mr Conroy. “Those are good-looking fowls you have, and the pig is fine and fat. How many cows have you, now?” “Two, and a heifer,” said Mr McQueen. “You drained that field over by the bog this year, didn’t you, and have it planted to turnips?” went on Mr Conroy. The Irish Twins PDF Book
“I’m glad to see you so prosperous, McQueen. Of course, now, the farm is worth more than it was when you first took it, and so you’ll not be surprised that I’m raising the rent on you.” “If the farm is worth more, ’tis my work that has made it so,” said Mr McQueen, “and I shouldn’t be punished for that.
The house is none too good at all, and the place is not worth more. Last year was the drought and all manner of bad luck, and next year may be no better. Truly, Mr Conroy, if you press me, I don’t know how I can scrape more together than I’m paying now.” “Well, then,” said Mr Conroy. “You must just find a way, for this is one of the best farms about here, and you should pay as much as any one.”
“You can’t get money by shaking a man with empty pockets,” said Mr McQueen. But Mr Conroy only laughed and said: “You’ll have five pounds in yours when next rent-day comes around, or ’twill be the worse for you. You wouldn’t like to be evicted, I’m sure.” Then he mounted his horse and rode away. The Irish Twins PDF Book Download
Mr McQueen went into the house with a heavy heart, and told his wife the bad news. “Faith,” said Mrs McQueen, “I’d not be in that man’s shoes for all you could offer. It’s grinding down the faces of the poor he is, and that at the telling of some one else! Not even his badness is his own! He does as he’s bid.”
“It’s your own pig, and I suppose you can go, but you’ll have a long day of it.” “The longer the better,” said the Twins. All that week they carried acorns, and turnip-tops, and everything they could find that was good for pigs to eat, and fed them to Diddy, and she got fatter than ever.
The day before the Fair, they took the scrubbing-pail and the broom, and some water, and scrubbed her until she was all pink and clean. Then they put her in a clean place for the night, and went to bed early so they would be ready to get up in the morning. When the first cock crowed, before daylight the next morning, Eileen’s eyes popped wide open in the dark. The Irish Twins PDF Book Download
The cock crowed again. Cock-a-doodle-doo! “Wake up, Larry darling,” cried Eileen from her bed. “The morn is upon us, and we are not ready for the Fair.” Larry bounded out of bed, and such a scurrying around as there was to get ready! Mrs McQueen was already blowing the fire on the hearth in the kitchen into a blaze, and the kettle was on to boil.
The Twins wet their hair and their Mother parted it and then they combed it down tight on the sides of their heads. But no matter how much they wet their hair, the wind always blew it about their ears again in a very little while. They put on their best clothes, and then they were ready for breakfast. Mr McQueen was up long before the Twins.
He had harnessed Colleen and had loaded the pig into the cart somehow, and tied her securely. This must have been hard work, for Diddy had made up her mind she wasn’t going to the Fair. Mr McQueen had found room, too, for some crocks of butter, and several dozen eggs carefully packed in straw. The Irish Twins PDF Book Free
When breakfast was over, Mrs McQueen brought a stick with notches cut in it and gave it to Mr McQueen. She explained what each notch meant. “There’s one notch, and a big one, for selling the pig,” she said, “and mind you see that the Twins get a good price for the creature. And here’s another for selling the butter and eggs.
And this is a pound of tea for Grannie Malone. She’s been out of tea this week past, and she with no one to send. And this notch is for Mrs Maguire’s side of bacon that you’re to be after bringing her with her egg money, which is wrapped in a piece of paper in your inside pocket, and by the same token don’t you be losing it.