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The Connaught Smuggler – 1881 (concluded)

Cork Examiner, Supplement 23rd July, 1881 (abridged)

Galway Cathedral Photo; Norma Scheibe
Galway Cathedral
Photo; Norma Scheibe

“Madam,” said he.
“You must excuse me for stopping you.  While I have every desire to be civil to a lady, I have received information I can depend on, that you have just landed from the East India fleet with a quantity of goods about you.  You must submit to be searched; which I must now proceed to do, in the most accurate manner consistent with my respect for your sex and quality.”
Biddy was at this account, no doubt, surprised and distressed, but in no way thrown off her centre.  Without any hesitation, she replied;
“Sir, many thanks to you for your civility. I am quite aware you are but acting according to information, and doing what you consider your duty; and sir, in order to show how much you are mistaken, I shall at once alight.  I am sure, sir, a gentleman like you will help a poor, infirm woman, labouring under my sad complaint, to alight with ease. The mare – bad manners to her – is skittish, and it requires all my servant’s hands to hold her.”

To the servant she said;
“Luke, avick! This gentleman insists on taking me down.  Hold hard the beast while I am alighting – I’ll do my endeavours to get off – there sir – so Button” (speaking to her horse).
“Now, hold up your arms, sir, and I will gently drop. Yes, that will do.”
And with that she plopped herself into the little dapper excise man’s arms.
A summer tent, pitched on a Syrian meadow might as well bear up against the down tumbling avalanche as this spare man could the mountain of flesh that came over him in the form of Biddy.  Down he went sprawling, as Biddy had intended he should do, and she uppermost, moaning and heaving over him. And there they lay, when with stentorian voice, Biddy cried to her boy Luke;
“Luke, bouey, ride off; never mind me! The gentleman, I’m sure will help me up when he can! Skelp away mo bouchall.”
In the meanwhile, the excise man lay groaning and Biddy moaning.

I shall not attempt to describe the remainder of this scene. I leave it to the imagination of the reader to suppose that the smuggler kept her position just so long as she thought it gave time enough for her property being carried far away from the hands of the overwhelmed gauger.