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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

the irishman's pet

The following note on the favorite Irish pet is found in a book of essays on the nations of the world. . .
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The pig is the favourite animal. The Irish treat him as kindly as their children, give him a corner of the hut, and share their milk, and potatoes, and bread with him. At last the day comes when the pig must be taken to be sold. The master ties a wisp of straw round piggy's hind leg, and so he drives him along the road, till he comes to the ship in which poor piggy is to sail for England. The Irishman is very sorry to lose his pet—his pig. It is very droll to see the pigs put on board the ships, and to hear their masters bidding them good-bye.
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But wait! Here's some bonus observations on the Irish people!
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Dress. — Rags. This is the dress of the poor Irish. They do not mend their clothes, so the holes get larger and larger. Their coats are made of a gray woollen cloth called "frieze," and they are worn till they drop off the back: first one tail of the coat comes off, then the other, and then the sleeves disappear, till at length nothing but a heap of rags remains. Their hats often get wet with the rain, and at last the crown comes out, yet they are worn as long as they will stick on the head. . .
Character.—What sort of people are the Irish? The merriest, drollest people in the world. They are very kind and good-natured when pleased, but if affronted, are filled with rage. The poor men are fond of drinking and keeping company with their friends; but they often quarrel with them, and then they call them names and throw things at them, and cover them with bruises. . .
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From Favell Lee Mortimer, The countries of Europe described: with anecdotes and numerous illustrations (New York: G.S. Appleton, 1850) pp. 51-54.  Mrs. Mortimer was an English Evangelical author of educational texts; her travel books are particularly notable given that she left England only twice.

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