Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PEGGY'S WEDDING, by THOMAS EDWARD BROWN



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PEGGY'S WEDDING, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Is that you, peggy? My goodness me!
Last Line: "and, misthriss! No more weddin's, aw good sakes! No, no more weddin's for me!"
Alternate Author Name(s): Brown, T. E.
Subject(s): Marriage; Weddings; Husbands; Wives


"IS that you, Peggy? my goodness me!
And so dark still I can hardly see!
Wait, woman, wait!
I'll come down: ye needn' go on hommerin' at such a rate.
Here's the master snorin'
Like a mill, and you to be breakin' the door in --
It's just disthractin', that's what it is --
Aisy, woman! yis! yis! --
There's people'll snore -- where's that perricut?
There's people'll hommer -- my gough! that slut!
I'm comin'! I'm comin'!
God bless the woman!
I navar heard such a row-----

"Aw dear! aw dear! aw, the craythur! aw, poor Peggy, what's the matter with you now?
Come in! come in! the sowl! the sowl!
What is it, Peggy, what? and where have you left Dan Cowle?
Is he outside in the street? -- well, where is he then?
Did you call at the halfway-house? did he get -- aw, bless these men!
Did he fall on the road? No, ye say, no?
Well then where did he go?
Is he lyin' in the ditch?
Did he lave you, or did you lave him -- which?
You left him?
So I suppose it's not a man you're wantin' at all, but a cherubim?
Aye! aye!
Middlin' high!

"And you that were married only yesterday, and the weddin' out of this house --
To be comin' home in the mornin' all ragg'd and rumpled like a reg'lar trouse --
Peggy, Peggy! You'd like to blow the fire, just to feel
You're at home again -- eh, Peggy? Don't kneel! don't kneel!
Don't be foolish, Peggy. There! take the bellows,
And blow away!
And we'll have a cup o' tay,
And then you'll tell us.
Why -- Dan Cowle! Dan Ballabroo!
A dacent man, and well-to-do!
Dan! Dan Cowle! dear heart!
And the beautiful ye went away in the cart!
And you've tuk and left him! left Dan!
Left the man!"

"Man! did ye say? aw Misthriss, Misthriss! what are ye talkin'?
Man! do ye call that craythur a man, because he's a thing that's walkin'
On two legs, and a tongue in his head? a beautiful surt
Of a man -- you call him a man, I call him a dirt!
That's what I call him -- a dirt, and a sneak, and a dunkey --
Man! if that chap's a man, he's a cross 'twix a man and a monkey!
And a touch of a divil, and a touch of a fool . . .
Listen, Misthriss, listen! We warn' half-way up Barrule,
When I thought he'd ha' stayed a bit -- and only raisonable he shud --
At Kinvigs's -- bein' a thing lek that's general understood --
What's halfway-houses for, I'd like to know --
Just so!
You wouldn' be agen that?
What?

"Certainly! and company waitin' -- and just a drop to warm a body --
And dear me! what is there in half a glass of rum, or a whole glass, for the matter of that, to
harm a body?
And well you know it isn' the dhrink I regard --
Well you know that -- but still a body's hardly prepar'd
To pass the only public-house on the road, drivin' home on your weddin' night --
It isn' right,
Nor correck, nor friendly, nor in any surt of a concatenation
Lek accordin' to your station --
And disappintin' people that way, when they're trustin'
Your proper feelin's, is quite disgustin'.

"So I lays my hand on his arm, just by way of signifyin' --
Nothin' more -- and behould ye! he cocks hisself up as stiff and as dignifyin',
And rip! and rup! and chip! and chup!
And 'There's nobody up,' he says. Nobody up?
And glasses jinglin', and windows blazin',
And people comin' out, and shoutin' amazin'
To stop! But no! but sticks his elbers like skewers in a body --
'What!' I says, 'not a glass of toddy?
Just for neighbourly dacency?'
'It's surprisin' how early they're goin' to bed,' says he.
'Goin' to bed!' says I. 'Yes,' he says -- middlin' snarly --
'Kinvigs's was allis early,' he says, 'partic'lar early' --
And his ould hoss gallopin', and heisin' his hind-quarters, and workin'
Like a see-saw, and bumpin' and jerkin',
And sent me flyin', with my head in the bottom of the cart, and my feet in the air,
And the rest of me -- anywhere.

"So he puts out his hand --
'Bless my sowl!' he says, 'I thought it was gone!'
'What?' says I. 'The box,' he says, maenin' my box, and my weddin' bonnet
Smashed to jammy -- 'I wish you'd sit upon it,'
He says -- the box, of coorse! So I thought I'd be a little lovin'
And that -- and I comes up lek gradjal, lek shiftin' and shovin'
Lek agen him in a way. And I says, 'I'd like to be with you,' says I,
'My own husband,' I says; for I thought it better to try
Was there just a taste
Of anything of a husband in him. So he put his arm round my waist --
Not round either -- for he couldn' do that --
Not for the stout I am, bein' allis a gintale figger, but just like a lath --
Flat
Agen the back o' my stays, and not the smallest curl
Or squeeze in the ould pump-handle, not the smallest in the worl' --
And his eyes on the box -- and 'There it's goin'!'
He says, and waein' and woin' --
And as restless! And then we got on the mountain; and the ling
Was smellin' very sweet in the dark, and a stream began ting-ting-ting
Down the other way -- very pleasant, and it got couldher,
And I thought it was only a 'spectable thing to put my head on his shouldher.

"O dear! he got as crabbit
As an ould buck rabbit;
And he hitched and he hunched, and he cribbed and he crunched,
Till he was all bunched
In a lump; and anyway his blades that sharp
And snaggy you might as well ha' leaned your head on the backbone of a carp.

"So I didn' care, and I sat up as straight
And as indepandin'. It was gettin' late
When we come to his house; and there was a falla theer standin' on the look-out
On the very top of the midden, and jumps down, and grips the hoss, and gives a big shout,
And 'Look here!' he says, 'who's goin' to pay me? 'Pay!'
Thinks I -- and this ould fool goin' seerchin' away
In all his pockets -- and gev a start,
And 'Bless my heart!'
He says, 'hev I lost it? hev I lost it?' and twisses and wriggles
Hisself into knots -- and the other chap stands and sniggles --
A young chap -- And 'Dear me!' says Dan, 'it must ha' dropt out on the road comin' --
It's very disthressin',' he says. 'Faith then! you're a rummin,'
Says the chap, and like to buss --
'What's the use o' talkin'?' says Dan Cowle, 'I've lost my puss.
Where's your puss, Peggy? maybe,' he says, 'you'll not mind
Payin' the man,' he says -- 'if you'll be so kind,'
He says -- but oh! that creepin', and that sneakin', and that slewin', and that screwin',
Like a conger just. And 'What's a doin'?'
Says I; 'isn' it your own cart you got?'
'Well----- no----- it's not,'
He says, 'I must confess --
The fact of the matter is,' he says,
'My own cart is bruk very bad,
And I borrowed this one for the occasion.' So I paid the lad.

"'Aye, aye! his cart is bruk very bad,' says the chap,
'Likewise his trap,
And the phaeton, and the barooch, and the jantin'-car, and the family coach-and-four' --
And he gev a roor
Out of hisself, this young divil --
And 'Hurrah for the weddiners!' he says. 'Be civil! be civil!'
Says Dan, 'be civil, young man, it would well become ye' --
But says I -- 'Take your money and your cart,' I says, 'and be off with ye, ye scum ye!
Be off!' I says, 'stir your stumps!'
(These Foxdale lumps
Is pirriful.) And Dan with the box on the street, and pokin'
The key in the door -- and, you know, I seen the chimbley wasn' smokin',
Nor nothin' -- nor no cowhouse about that I could see,
Nor no garden, nor a bush, let alone a tree --
But just a crock
Standin' on a rock,
And water runnin' in it very free
At the gable, and slishin' and slushin', and muckin' the street
Under one's feet.

"And this is the man that tould me he'd make me
So comfible!
But still
You'll not mistake me,
You know me, Misthriss, don't ye? and you know I wouldn' flinch,
No, not even if I was deceived -- no, not an inch!
On I'd go, through the smooth and the rough,
Content enough --
For richer for poorer, for better for wuss --
Lost his puss!
Had he? lost two! lost twenty!
Give me a man with a lovin' heart, Misthriss, with a lovin' heart --
That's plenty --
Plenty for me -- navar mind the cart --
With a lovin' heart, and some wit about him --
And I'd navar doubt him,
Misthriss -- no! For better for wuss --
Them's the words, and didn' the Pazon say them? And I'd nuss
His childher, and I'd work, and I'd slave, and I'd die
Before I'd be beat -- and still a lie
Is a dirty thing -- fore or aft,
As the sailors is sayin' --
But listen again --
Misthriss! Misthriss! you don't know half.

"So we got in, however, and he groped about, and he found a flint-and-steel,
And he skinned his ould knuckles all like a priddha peel,
Streck-streckin' away; and, when he gor a light at last,
You navar seen such a rookery. A dresser there was --
Yis -- but hardly a plate or a bason, or any other surt o' war',
And a hape of mouldy turmits in a corner there -- could, comfortless things they are --
And a rot-hole, or a shot-hole, I don't know which, and I don't care etha',
And a barrel that looked like male, with a flag or a slate on the top of it, and a medha,
And a pot, and nothin' in it, and no fire, if there had been, and as for bed or beddin' --
Well, I dedn' throuble, no, faith, I dedn'.

"It was a house that if you were inside you'd see about as much sky as roof,
A surt o' mixthar o' the two, and a touch of harry-long-legses and spiders -- aw, it's the troof!
it's the troof,
The troof I'm tellin'! And the scraas hangin' in rags and strings of dirt as black
You couldn' tell were they scraas, or strips tore from a rotten ould sack,
Or nettin' or somethin'. And I can tell ye the chap begun, as a body might say,
To look rather ashamed of hisself -- I think so -- in a way --
Yis -- he didn't look at me for a bit at all,
But cocked his face agen the wall.

"And -- 'It's too late,' he says, 'it's too late for supper, I suppose' --
And ye might have sniffed and sniffed till ye straint your nose
Afore you'd ha' got a smell of supper in yandhar place --
But he turned at last, and I saw his face --
Workin', workin', workin' most terrible,
And screwin' the eye, and workin' still --
And -- 'Let's sit down a bit,' he says, and he studdied the candle, if ye plaze, and he looks up as
innocent as a linnet,
And he says, 'That's a nice puss you've got,' he says; 'how much is there in it?'
And I tould him 4 pounds : 16 shillings. and 2 1/2d. farlin' --
So he says, 'That's a nice little bit o' money, my darlin' --
Let's see it,' he says.
So I gev it to him, ye know;
And he counted it out, I tell ye, every coin of it, very slow --
Very slow he counted -- and then -- what d'ye think?
Whips it in his pocket! 'A nice lump of jink!'
Says Dan; and he snuggled up closer to me, and he began to fiddle and fiddle,
Lek tryin' to span me round the middle --
Some surt o' coortin'? thinks I, he's improvin', I doubt --
The ould villyan! He was just tryin' to find out
Had I any more stitched up in my stays!
And a man with such ways --
Would you call him a man? now would ye, Misthriss? would ye, though?
That was the fiddlin' -- aye! he said it, he said it hisself, the ould crow!
Yis, and his dirty ould mouth all of a pucker, and grippin' and nippin',
And declarin' he felt the shillin's slippin'
Between the quiltin's -- aw dear! aw dear!
But I was enough for him -- navar fear!

"I says -- 'This is no place for me,' I says; and up I jumps --
'I'm off,' I says; and he rattles his ould stumps --
And -- 'Off?' he says -- 'Why you've not opened your box yet!'
'Clear out o' the road!' I says. 'I hevn' seen your frocks yet,'
He says, 'nor the sheetin' nor nothin'! -- just give us that key --
It's every bit my proppity!' he says. 'Out o' the way!'
I says, and I gript the box. But if I gript it, he gript it, and he shouted and bawled,
And backards and forrards we tugged and we hauled;
And we staggered this way, and we staggered that way,
And higgledy-piggledy, and I cannot tell what way --
But I gev him a run in on the dresser, and his ould back bent,
And-----down he went!

"And the crockery -- what there was -- all smashed -- well to be sure!
And the turmits rowlin' on the floor --
So the box was mine, and I out on the door.
'Murdher! tieves!' and he run after me full trot --
'You're a robber!' he says; 'you've robbed me! everything you got
Belongs to me -- I'll bring a shuit,' he says; 'I'll bring a shuit
For damagers!' he says -- the ould brute --
'I'll have your life!' he says,
'Ar'n' you my wife?' he says --
'Murdher!' he says, 'murdher!' -- 'Murdher -- your granny,'
I says -- 'Good-bye, Dan Cowle! good-bye, Danny!'
And I left him standin' in the road; and here I am, as you see --
And, Misthriss! no more weddin's, aw good sakes! no, no more weddin's for me!"





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