Synge: THE PEOPLE OF THE GLENS

The Farmyard at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre

The Farmyard at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, New Bliss, County Monaghan

Today’s reading is by an Irish great, John Millington Synge.  No other writer lived and breathed Ireland as much as he.

The excerpts below are from The People of the Glens:

“I had a power of children,” an old man who was born in Glenmalure, said to me once:  “I had a power of children, and they all went to California, with what I could give them, and bought a bit of a field.  Then, when they put in the plough, it stuck fast on them.  They looked in beneath it, and there was fine gold stretched within the earth.  They’re rich now and their daughters are riding on fine horses with new saddles on them, and elegant bits in their mouths, yet not a ha’porth did they ever send me, and may the devil ride with them to hell!”

*          *          *

I saw he was one of the old people one sometimes meets with who emigrated when the people were simpler than they are at present, and who often come back, after a lifetime in the States, as Irish as any old man who has never been twenty miles from the town of Wicklow.

*          *          *

“God Almighty forgive me, Avourneen,” she went on, when I had finished, “we don’t know anything about it.  We have our bit of turf, and our bit of sticks, and our bit to eat, and we have our health.  Glory be to His Holy Name, not a one of the childer was ever a day ill, except one boy was hurted off a cart, and he never overed it.  It’s small right we have to complain at all.”

She died the following winter, and her son went to New York.

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