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The Connaught Smuggler – 1881

Cork Examiner, Supplement 23rd July, 1881

Spanish arch, Galway Wikimedia Commons Photo: Sylvia

Spanish arch, Galway
Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Sylvia

The Connaught Smuggler (Part 2) (abridged)
A large fleet of East Indiamen, unable to beat up channel, due to north-easterly winds, was obliged to put into Galway Bay for water and provisions, and there these huge merchantmen lay at anchor, freighted not only with tea and indigo, but with those delicate muslins which Manchester had not yet learned to imitate.

Now, it was known to Biddy Bod that each officer and sailor, might have a supply of such valuable goods as a private venture, and to make her own market, she went on board. Expert as she was in smuggling, she knew how and where about her own ample person to stow away soft goods. She, by nature large and was also ‘prone’ to dropsy.  The swelling of her legs and body was sometimes awful. What medicine she used to get down the enlargement, whether belladonna or digitalis, is not recorded, but she did now and then keep down her dropsical dispositions and “became small by degrees and beautifully less.”
On her return from the India fleet, Biddy Bod had a full fit of ‘dropsy’. Her body was like a rhinoceros;s, her legs like those of the largest elephant of the King of Siam; she might have got the elephantiasis from being  so near, (while on board the fleet), the elephant which the Nabob of Arcot was sending as a present to Queen Charlotte.  So she landed, in all her amphoteric, west of Claddagh.  When she did she (as I may say) tapped herself.  She unrolled all the gold and silver muslin, the wonders of the India loom; Cashmere shawls from her person. These she stuffed into the hollow of an immense pillion  fastened on her large black button tailed mare.   By help of a convenient granite stone she mounted,  her man Luke before her, with her arm confidingly placed around said Luke’s waist.  They departed,  slow paced and sure, away from the town of Galway and  the custom house, the dreaded custom house. They took the road to Athenry  and all seemed safe. All of a sudden, at the turning of the road, out bounced a smart, dapper, active eyed, but rather diminutive man, and caught hold of the rein of her bridle.   More…

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