From that the family removed to a place called Tonagh, or, more familiarly, Towney, about an English mile from Prillisk. It was here I first went to school to a Connaught-man named Pat Frayne, who, however, remained there only for a very short period in the neighborhood.
Such was the neglected state of education at that time, that for a year or two afterwards there was no school sufficiently near to which I could be sent. At length it was ascertained that a master, another Connaught-man by the way, named O'Beirne, had opened a school a hedge-school of course at Pindramore. To this I was sent, along with my brother John, the youngest of the family next to myself.
And now, my beloved Cooleen Bawn, whilst I have thus endeavored to make you smile, I assure you I have exaggerated very little. This dress, you know, is precisely that of a wretched Connaught-man looking for employment. The woman, who will, through our confidant, Lanigan, deliver this to you, is a poor faithful creature, a pensioner of mine, who may be trusted.
"All's Well" is very pleasant when sung decently in tune, and inspires noble and poetic ideas of duty, courage, and danger: but when you hear it shouted all the night through, accompanied by a clapping of muskets in a time of profound peace, the sentinel's cry becomes no more romantic to the hearer than it is to the sandy Connaught-man or the bare-legged Highlander who delivers it.
Unfortunately, Paddy is wiser anywhere than at home, where wisdom, sobriety, and industry are best calculated to promote his own interests. This slight sketch of Phil Purcel we have presented to our readers as a specimen of the low, cunning Connaught-man; and we have only to add, that neither the pig-selling scene, nor the battle on the deck of the vessel in Liverpool, is fictitious.
This certainly was not the fault of the people, but of those laws, which, by making education a crime, generated ignorance, and then punished it for violating them. For the present it is enough to say, that a most interesting child, a niece of my own, lost her life by the severity of Pat Frayne, the Connaught-man.