The Peel Plays: Sketches of Manx Life
Rosy Basins, or Them oul’ times.
(Cottage kitchen. Peat fire on hearth. Dresser with rosy basins, etc. Round table on which Nessy is arranging the “mrastyr beg’ or “little’ dinner.” House door opening on storm. Another showing staircase. Enter Finlo with bons.
FINLO. Aw Nessy veen! It’s well you’ve plenty fire in for it’s coul’ scandalous an’ a middlin’ coorse night doin’ in. Wasn’ I sayin’ this morning we’d be getting some dirt out of this dark?
NESSY. Deed yes, Finlo. Coul’ enough, an’ sorry I am for the wans that’s on the sea this night. There’s been fire on the pane all day, an’ that’s a middlin’ sure sign of storm. I wouldn’ thruss there’s wuss comin’.
FINLO. Where’s the childher?
NESSY. It’s like they’ll be up on the laff in the barn still. In hidlands likely to see will Daa come for to fetch them.
FINLO. They’ll be gettin’ their death of coul’ out theer, woman!
NESSY. No fear. Not them, – unless indeed John’s lil wan. She’s been rared so tendhar, the way they are in Englan’. I don’t know in me senses how folks can live in them places with murders an’ favers an’ all manner of dirts goin’. P’raps you’d bes’ be bringin’ them in Daa for the priddhas is teempt at me this while.
NESSY (to Grandaa). We was talkin’ of John’s til wan, Grandaa. The chile’s lookin’ better already since she’s been with our wans. Wouldn’ you think she’d be starved at them theer to keep her slim an’ genteel.
GRANDAA. Aw well! Englan’s all very well for lords an’ high wans, but it’s not no place at all for childher anyhow. Poor John for all! Better keep the chile here, Nessy veen. Her bite an’ sup’s not much. Let the mother go home an’ leave her here.
NESSY. ‘Deed, I believe she would leave the chile. Not that I’d be sayin’ no ill of her neither, but she’s so dalicut an’ high –an’ the prim an’ genteel you never saw. Why she’s hardly lettin’ the words out of her mouth she’s so fine an’ eddicated.
(Children’s voices outside.)
NESSY. Now then, come in urrov the cowl’. Come to your suppers. Come Boy Beg. Come Lhiannoo Veen. Come Daa an’ bring the lil wan. Aw the bogh! (taking child from Finlo). Was she wantin’ a piece then! Come veen, an’ A’ntie will take care of thee. Now Boy Beg! Mind you your manners an’ don’t be boul’ or I’ll warm you. Don’t be shovin’ him Lhiannoo Veen. Be good childher now an’ show the lil wan how nice you can be. Sit quite now an’ let’s hear you sing your Grace –
(Nessy sits down with child in her arms. Boy Beg and Lhiannoo Veen with ” rosy basins ” and “pieces ” in their hands, sing:) –
With happy hearts and smiling face
We come to sing our daily Grace –
A crumb for me
An’ a crumb for thee
An’ a crumb for the lil burds
out on the tree.
For warmth and light, and sunshine bright
For cheerful day, and quiet night –
A crumb for me
An’ a crumb for thee
An’ a crumb for the wans
that’s out on the sea.
And may we still be glad to share
With those whose lives are poor and bare –
A crumb for me
An’ a crumb for thee
An’ a crumb for the wans –
in the Tramman Tree.
(The meal finished, Nessy clears table and puts things aside. Grandaa takes child on his knee. Group sit round table with Boy Beg and Lhiannoo Veen on low stools in front. Noise of wind and rain.
FINLO. Just lizzen to that now. It’s bad terrible an’ a big sup of rain doin’ in. Turning to snow again too, I’m thinkin’. Was there as big storms in them oul’ times Grandaa?
GRANDAA. Aw well, they were much the same I’m thinkin’. But th’oul’ times was bes’ for all.
FINLD. That’s what th’oul’ wans is sayin’ still. Did you ever hear Danny Boyde sing the song about them oul’ times? Lizzen now an’ see can I put a mouth on it:– (Sings).
Them was the times, the fine oul’ times
When the Manx was goin’ a spakin';
In the pulphit an’ all, it was goin’ for all
At the like of the oul’ Archdacon.
Them was the times, th’oul’-fashioned times
When the flax would be goin’ a spinnin';
An’ the busy the queels were whistling roun’
As quick as the talk of the women.
Them was the times, the prosperous times
When no one was thinkin’ of savin’s;
But heavin’ the puddens over the quay
To show there was lashin’s an’ lavin’s.
Them was the times, the fine oul’ times
When the weaver was bringin’ the Newses,
An’ colloguin’ the bargain urrov the wife
While giving the masthar his viewses.
Them was the times, the courtin’ times
When the buoys to the dhure were stealin';
An’ the busy the dogs were waggin’ their tails
To show there was no ill-feelin’.
Them was the times, the fine oul’ times
When the childher were goin’ a rarin’
On porridge an’ jough, an’ bonnags an’ broth
An’ suppin’ on priddhas an’ herrin’.
GRANDAA. Aye, aye. Thou’s doin’ middlin’, but there’s not the blast on it that Danny Boyde had. ‘Deed yes. Th’oul’ times was bes’ for all. An’ I think the people was more livelier an’ more heartier them times till what they are now, singin’ an’ dancin’ an’ playin’ ball on the green, an’ never no person comin’ to put a sour look on them. Theer was wan year I was out at Skeeyl-y-Maghal theer. A turble nice place it was too, they’re tellin’ me it’s altered thremendjus at them now. There was a buriful dub of wathier where the sun-dial is now, and the green grass sloping to it on all sides like a picture. An’ the wans from the houses roun’ would be out theer dancin’ like mad in th’everin’. Many’s the time I’ve seen it. An’ the Pazon comin’ across from his house wis de lil fiddle to his chin, an’ play, play, playin’ for the wans that was dancin’ an’ never no harm at all
FINLO. That was nice too. They’re sayin’ the Manx was turble good at the music them times. It’s not often you’ll be hearin’ a fiddle at the Pazons now. It’s more for pianners an’ organs they are now.
NESSY. They was used to be sayin’ when a chile had long han’s at her – Fine han’s for beatin’ the barley cake – but these days it’s – Fine han’s for to play the pianner.
GRANDAA. Well, the man that was on the Church was good though. The rale oul’ sort. Never no pride at him at all but the gennal! Aw kind shockin’. An’ thatch to his house like the rest, but kep’ nice at him though with a house- keeper an’ two gels to be doin’ the butter an’ answerin’ the dhure. The housekeeper was a turble smart woman but middlin’ sevare. Boul’ as a leopard she was, an’ wouldn’ take no sauce from no person. An’ I’m not sayin’ no ill of her neither, but ma word, the tongue! There was wan everin’ that a passel of us boys was goin’ up the lane at the back surrupshus, never no harm at all, but jus’ capers an’ passin’ the time of day, an’ the two gels doin’ imperince on us from the windhar, when out she come, an’, ” Be off,” she says, an’ “You swine,” she says, an’ “Pazon’ll be larshin’ you,” she says, an’, “Ye oncultivated dirts,”she says. Uncultivated Dirts! That’s what she was callin’ us. Uncultivated Dirts! . . . Aw well! It was life for all!
LH. V. Mammy?
NESSY. Yes lov’. Tell Mammy then.
LH. V. (going up to Nessy). Mammy. What’s Grandaa tellin’ that time about the sheep in the snow?
NESSY. Aw the sheep in the snow is it? Aw the poor lil lammies that was goin’ a buryin’ down, down in the snow.
FINLO. Aw deed! That was a terrible story. Grandaa can sing it nice though.
GRANRAA. I’m fearin’ it’s forgot at me. Let’s see how’s this it’s goin’.
KIRREE FO NIAGHTHEY.
Oh dark is the daylight and darker the sky
And small are the snowflakes but closely they lie
Then haste ye my shepherds, to the hills we must go
For I’m fearin’ the sheep will be lost in the snow.
Then up rose the shepherd and sadly did say
Oh masthar, oh masthar, there’s sorrow this day –
For the childher this morn to the schoolhouse did go
And I’m fearin’ they’re losted deep under the snow.
Oh haste ye then shepherds, get lanterns and men
For the snowflakes are piling on mountain and glen.
Fetch Trusty and Mona the best dogs I know
For there’s more than the sheep may be lost in the snow.
Oh Trusty, oh Mona, what is it you’ve found
And what is there under that cold silent mound?
For the poor dogs lamenting lay down in their woe,
But their cries could not waken the lambs in the snow.
And the childher were lyin’ so peaceful and sweet,
A sod for their pillow, a stone to their feet;
And rosy their faces in the lanterns’ red glow –
But the light never wakened the lambs in the snow.
There’s sheep on Slieu Whallian and sheep on Slieu Dhoo,
And young lambs are playing in sheltered Folieu;
But there’s mourning and crying in farms high and low
For the lambs that were lying deep under the snow.
NESSY. Aw dear, to think of that now!
FINLO. Well, Well. It’s time we were taking the road to bed now. We’ll be goin’ soon this coorse night while there’s good fire in. Do you know for why, Boy Beg?
Boy BEG. For because tomorrer’ll come quick.
LH. V. No, no – but to let the lil Fayries come in to the fire. Isn’t it Daa?
GRANDAA. Aye, aye, that’s it. There’s plenty talkin’ doin’ in at some of these grammatical fellas, but I wouldn’ thruss there’s more in than they’re knowin’. An’ what harm is it either to be lavin’ a bit of warm turf on the hearth an’ a tase of bread an’ milk for them that’s out on the coul’ hills, an’ isn’ doin’ us no harm at all when we’re not goin’ against them.
(Children set rosy basins with milk and bits of bonnag, and all sing) –
What road are you taking, my lhiannoo veg villish
And where will you go at the end of the day?
We are taking the road to the Glen of the Twilight
And “Cadlag the Sleeper” will show us the way.
Where the Fayries are weaving the dreams for our pillow
And lighting the candles that burn in the sky.
Where Cadlag the Sleeper is swaying the willow
And blackbirds are calling, Oie-vie, Oie-vie.
And what will you do in the Glen of the Twilight
When Cadlag the Sleeper has found you a nest?
We’ll play with the roses the Fayries have brought us,
And murmur of waters will lull us to rest.
Where the Fayries are weaving the dreams for our pillow
And rocking the cradle where softly we’ll lie –
Where Cadlag the Sleeper is swaying the willow,
And childher are nodding, Oie-vie, Oie-vie.
(During last verse surging more and more slowly; the children nodding and falling asleep.)
(Same interior. Firelight. Door opens and Stranger is blown in. Shuts door with difficulty against storm).
STRANGER. (With patronising air). Good evening, my good peo – Why – dear me! Is no one here! Can they be actually all gone to bed at this hour? Barely nine o’clock – Well I’m thankful to find such comfortable shelter for the night. (Peering round). And what have we here? Milk and bread set out! This must be what we read of – food and drink set out for the Fairies, or ” Good People” as I have heard them called. Is it possible that in these enlightened days there may still be found men and women with such credulity! It is appalling to think of such ignorance. Well – I at least am provided with a good supper and will at once proceed to enjoy this delicious repast! (Sups) And in the morning I will convince these good people of the extreme foolishness of their belief. (Puts basin down and settles himself in chimney corner, hidden behind coats, etc. After a few seconds soft music is heard. Stranger moves and listens. Air of Yuan y jaggad keear).
Is there welcome here to-night,
Is the chiollagh warm and bright?
Yes there’s welcome here to-night
For the welcome Fayries.
Plenty welcome here,
Plenty welcome there,
Welcome, welcome, plenty welcome
For the Fayries here.
Are the bits of bonnag there
For the Fayries’ simple fare?
See the bits of bonnag there.
For the welcome Fayries.
Bits of bonnag here
Bits of bonnag there
Bits of bonnag, bits of bonnag
For the Fayries here.
Are the rosy basins set
For the Fayries cold and wet?
See the rosy basins set
For the welcome Fayries.
Rosy basins here
Rosy basins there
Rosy basins, rosy basins
For the Fayries here.
(Both groups fly on to floor; join hands dancing and singing, Stranger watching intently.)
Come we then to dance around
So no witch may here be found.
Never witch may cross the ground
Danced on by the Fayries.
Fayries dancing here
Fayries dancing there
(Door to staircase opens softly. Stranger hides behind coats. Children enter barefoot and half-dressed. Fairies flee. Children go to chiollagh, pick up basins and look at each other gravely.)
BOY BEG. (Coming forward and holding out basin.) The Fayries has ate all up! (Working spoon round basin.) Even the scraerpin’s!
LH. V. (Taking basins.) I’ll heiss these basins on the chiss for fraid they’ll be broke. (coming back) Lets play pretence Boy Beg.
BOY BEG. (Eagerly.) ‘Tence I’m the Phynodderee. (Gets broom and begins to sweep. Lh. V. watching. )
LH. V. ‘Tence I’m the Moddha Dhoo. (Hides behind door and sings:– Air of Kirk Katreeney Marroo.)
LH. V. Bow-wow.
BOY BEG and LH. V. together.
There’s the Moddha Dhoo.
Bowowoo, B-wo o o o o o o.
All alone Wisout no bone
Bough! Wough! Wough! Wough!
The poor old Moddha Dhoo
Bo w o o o. B-wo o o o o o o.
BOY BEG and LH. V. together.
Lonely Moddha Dhoo
Bo w o o B-w o o o o o.
Come and play With us to-day
Bough! Wough! Wough! Wough!
Poor old Moddha Dhoo
B-w o w o o o o o o.
Sounds overhead. LH. V. comes forward.
LH. V. Hush Boy Beg for fraid we’ll wake Mammy. Lets ‘tence we’re the Fayries now an’ praps they’ll come back. (Fairy Music.)
Children join hands and dance. Fairies steal out one by one and join in. All dance to Fairy music.
Sound overhead of stick knocking on floor. Music ceases abruptly. Fairies flee. Children stand apart listening.
NESSY. (from staircase.) Boy Beg! Lhiannoo Veen! Comeback to bed this minute! Ma Word I’ll warm you!
The Lazy Wife.
(Farm Kitchen with wide chimney, and peat smouldering on hearth. House very untidy – all through-others – Joaney crouching over ashes with tousled hair, cap hanging by one string, dirty torn apron, &c. An old patched jacket in one hand and a “Ladies’ Journal” in the other.)
(Enter Illiam in rags.)
ILLIAM. Is the jaggad soo at thee yet wumman?
JOANEY. Aye, ye’ll have it jus’ now.
ILLIAM. Jus’ now! I’ll warrant thee jus’ now. An’ never no fire in, nor a dhrop of tay nor so much as a place to sit down in. An’ the clo’es in rags on me fit to frecken the rooks. Are you goin’ to side the house at all to-day?
JOANEY. Thraa-di-liooar, man alive, thraa-di-liooar.
ILLIAM. Thraa-di-liooar, ye liggey-ma hraa! An’ arnt you shamed to be seein’ me th’ object I am, more fit for wan that’s thravellin’ on the houses than a well-off man with a good farm an’ stock an’ all arrim.
JOANEY. You might be purrin’ a bit of fire on, Illiam.
ILLIAM. An’ what for isn’ there fire on, an’ when am I goin’ to be gettin’ me dinner, an’ where am I goin’ to sit when I do get it?
JOANEY. An’ the dear me – what’s the use of a man at all, that he can’t do a han’s turn for him-self, an’ me so busy with the wool all the morning – Can’t you be gettin’ your dinner for yourself, ye oul’ creep?
ILLIAM. No, I cann’t be gerrin’ it for meself either, an’ what for should I be doin’ the like when there’s a woman in to be doin’ it for me? Wheer have you been at all-leavin’ the house like this? – At your readin’ an’ trash it’s like – (Picking up “Journal”) Here’s a fine book for the like of you – all about lords and ladies, an’ la, la, an’ ya, ya, an’ curtseyin’ an’ carryin’ on. An’ you sittin’ in th’ ashes all day an’ not enough go on you to reddy your head, let alone sweepin’ the flure. There was a Peel woman that I was seein’ yestherday itself an’ it no more than ten o’clock in the morning an’ the house all sided at her an’ herself as nice as a body could wish to see.
JOANEY. Aisy, aisy! you an’ your Peel woman. What is a man known’ at all about all the work a woman has to be doin’?
ILLIAM. Is it wantin’ sarvents you are to be waitin’ on you? Why don’t you give the cat directions an’ set her to be sidin’ the house – I’m sure she’s keepin’ a claner face till you any day. An’ the Peel woman was sayin’ what a fine house you should be havin’ here, with me havin’ the farm an’ stock an’ all. I don’t know what took me for to take an’ marry you at all only you were chasin’ me so hard.
JOANEY. Chasin’ you, ye oul’ riblas! Chasin’ you indeed; How dare you be talkin’ of chasin’ – an’ you comin’ teazin’ an’ teazin’, an’ speeikin’ over the sthreet, an’ creep, creep, creepin’ roun’ the houses more circutious than a snipe for fear you’d be took at Daa an’ the boys, an’ goin’ down on your knees in the midden to be beggin’ me – I only married you at all to be shut on you! An’ now goin’ an’ talkin’ of the Peel woman indeed!
ILLIAM. An’ if I’d known the surt you were I’d have took me road home before I looked at you – though you were a middlin’ smart lil sthugga in them days too.
JOANEY. (Bridling and looking in glass.) Smart! Aye indeed – an’ what’s the use in being smart with an’ oul’ creep comin’ in to the fire, an’ all he’s got to say is. “Are ye therr wumman?” an’, “Is my denner ready wumman?” an’, “I’m dhry thremendjus wumman, if there’s a dhrop of jough in, an’ a piece with a good slaa of butther on it.” – An’ never seein’ if I have a cap to me head or a shoe to me fut!
ILLIAM. I’d be seein’ quick enough if the house was claned up an’ a tale of something ready for a man when he’s comin’ in from his work. What wool have you been at this morning at all? I’m seeing the queel on the flure middlin’ often but I’m not seein’ no new clo’es in the chiss at all. An’ the Peel woman with the weavers in scores comin’ for the tred she’s spinning.
JOANEY. Stop now an’ see what I have done – an’ the balls of wool in pellags on the flure of the laff.
ILLIAM. Pitch them down to me then that I can be countin’ them.
JOANEY. An’ who’s to be purrin’ them back again I’d like to know. An’ the weaver comin’ to ask for the wool an’ the balls all goin’ a losin’ after all my work. An’ then if I’m goin’ roun’ on my bended knees lookin’ for them, it ‘ll be, “Are ye theer wumman?” an’ “What’s doin’ on the cat that she’s not keepin’ things sided” – If I pitch them down, you mus’ throw every wan back to me before I’ll pitch another to you.
(Goes upon laf muttering and grumbling loudly. Tosses down ball which Illiam returns, counting one. She continues, hitting him when possible, Illiam dodging and rubbing his head, counting in Manx as he returns it each time).
JOANEY. Areye sure you’re counting right now?
ILLIAM. Aye, aye. That’s a score I’ve counted now.
JOANEY. Aw well. That’s all that’s in.
ILLIAM. Deed you’ve spun well wumman for all. There’s plenty done at thee now for the weaver. I’ll be seein’ him this everin’ an’ I’ll tell him to give a call in a week to-day. (Exit Illiam. )
JOANEY. Aw thou’ll get lave. – (coming down heavily, wiping her face and pushing back her untidy hair.) – Are you gone Illiam? (wringing her hands in distress.) Aw dear, dear! It’s me that’ll be catchin’ it now! What in the world will I do at all, an’ th’oul’ weaver comin’ a week to-day!
(Paces up and down pleating her apron and thinking.)
They’re sayin’ the Foawr up on the hill yondhar is turble good to spin. I wonder would he help me now if I could collogue it out of him. I’ve a mind to go an’ clane meself an’ take the road up for all. great voice from chimney.
FOAWR. Is it help with the wool you’re wantin’ ven thie?
JOANEY. (Looking round startled.) Aw the sakes! An’ who is it that’s askin’ for I’m not knowin’ your voice at all; an’ wheer are you that you’re not liftin’ the latch an’ comin’ in on the dhure like other folk.
FOAWR. You’re wantin’ help bad, ven thie.
JOANEY. Deed I am; though its not no consarn of yours whoever you may be. We don’t want no thramps here so I’m tellin’ ye, an’ ye’d bes make haste an’ come urrov theer middlin handy.
FOAWR. Ye’ll be in a fine hole a week to-day ven thie, if the wool is not ready.
JOANEY. Aye hole enough, an’ nawthin’ to you any how. You’d better be takin’ the road now for you’ll not get nawthin’ here.
FOAWR. Himself so mad an’ all when he finds the way you’ve been deceivin’ him. I wouldn’ thruss but he’ll be puttin’ you to the dhure some of these days, ven thie.
JOANEY. Aw no, Aw no, Illiam’s a quate man, an’ though he’s takin’ a bit of anger now an’ again he’ll not be for puttin’ me to the dhure at all. But he’ll be scandalous angry this time for all.
FOAWR. What would you be offerin’ me now if I help you with the wool, ven thie?
JOANEY. Whatever you’re askin’ its like.
FOAWR. I’m not askin’ much, ven thie. Only that you’ll tell me my name when I bring you the wool a week to-day.
JOANEY. Chut, Chut! That’s aisy enough. The voice that’s at you is big enough for the Foawr himself. Any wan of the neighbours can be tellin’ me your name any day.
FOAWR. Very well then. If it is so easy mind you yourself, for if you fail to tell me when I bring the wool not one haporth will you get, but a fine new spinning wheel in my house where you’ll sit an’ spin till Peel fair is in the Harbour. So good- evening to you.
JOANEY. Good-everin’. (After a pause goes round looking out of door and window and up chimney &c.) Aw well now. Did ever anybody hear the like! A new spinnin’ queel indeed, an’ spin for him is it! Th’oul’ schamer! As if wan oul’ coar-ny-hasthan wasn’ enough to be spinnin’ for. Deed I’m thinkin’ I’d better side this place a bit an’ get a clane brat on me, an’ then I’ll take a look in on some of the wins in the Glen an’ see can I find that oul’ rip’s name at all.
(Roughly clears room; pushing things into cupboards whose doors burst open and spill out their own contents – Sweeps round floor, spills the milk. Takes Illiam’s jacket to wipe it up, dries her hands and face with the jacket, pricks her finger with the needle stuck in it, and exit with finger in her mouth.)
(Room in Foawr’s house, eight or ten Fairies with spinning-wheels, sing.
Snieu queel snieu; ‘rane queel ‘rane;
Dy chooilly chlea er y thie, snieu or my skyn,
Lheeish yn ollan, Ihiams yn snaie
S’beg fys ec yn ven litcheragh
Dy re Mollyndroat my ennym.
JOANEY. (Peeping in cautiously, comes forward, bobbing curtseys and lifting hands in astonishment.) Aw yes. I’ve gor it now! Mollyndhroat. Is that the name that’s on him? Well, well, I might have gone among the neighbours an’ none of them able to tell me as much. An’ I thought I would come up to the house an’ be hearin’ it from the sarvents. But I wouldn’ be for inthrudin’ on the quality at all an’ me in me dishabills. (Fairies come round her and one speaks as they slowly circle round her.)
1ST FAIRY. Mollyndhroat is his name. If you don’t tell it right you will have to be a slave like us and spin, spin, spin till Peel fair is in the Harbour.
JOANEY. Aw deed, that would be a bad job. Mollyndhroat. No, no. I’ll not forget it at all. But how he found out I was wantin’ help is what beats me.
2ND FAIRY. That’s easy told. You have a big oven back of your house opening into the chimley. Well the Foawr when he’s feelin’ the couth likes to creep in there and then he is hearing the newses, an’ that’s how he heard what you were saying.
JOANEY. Aw well now! To think of that. An’ many’s the time we would be hearin’ noises in the oven too an’ thinkin’ it was rots that was in.
1ST FAIRY. Lizzen now. When the Foawr brings the wool to you he will be askin’ you down the chimley if you have got his name. An’ if you can tell it right he will be rolling the balls of wool down the chimley to you.
JOANEY. Aye aye. An’ I’ll be ready with my apern held out to catch them for fear th’ oul vagabone will be thryin’ to go back on his bargain.
2ND FAIRY. Then you’ll be very keerful to count the balls an’ when you’ve jus’ wan short of the score you’ll shove a bart of sthrow up the chimley to prevent him pitchin’ the last wan down.
JOANEY. (Listening with open mouth and bobbing curtseys first to one and then to another.) Aw deed now.
1ST FAIRY. Yes now mind you don’t forget. The Foawr is bound to give you the score of balls, and it’s in the oven he’ll have to stop till he’s given up every wan.
JOANEY. Well now! But still an’ for all, what for am I goin’ to waste wan leavin’ it with him?
2nd FAIRY. For this reason; that while the Foawr is fast in the oven is the time we will have a chance to get free from him an’ his spinnin’ queels, for its home (all joining in with wails of grief ) home, home we’re wantin’ to be, an’ longin’ longin’ all the time – Oh –
(All sing to Air of “Ta mee nish Keayney.”)
Hear us lamenting for our homes far away
Far away, far away!
Where the bees among the heather and the wood-dove on the spray.
Are mourning on the mountains, an’ lamenting night an’ day
For the wans that’s so far away.
JOANEY. Aw well! I mus’ be doin’ what I can anyhow an’ maybe you’ll be purrin’ a sight on me wan of these days.-
(Sounds heard of great steps. Fairies fly to their wheels and begin to spin wildly, singing “Snieu queel Snieu.” Joaney flees looking round and peeping to see if the way is clear.)
(Farm Kitchen. Illiam & Joaney. Evening dusk.)
ILLIAM. I was seein’ a fine sight this everin’ comin’ over Laxa way.
JOANEY. Aw deed. What newses have you got now?
ILLIAM. I was comin’ up by the mines theer an’ the whole place a blaze of light, an’ a great whirring an’ whistlin’ soun’ comin’ up the Glen. I had a mind to run but I gave a look down first to see could I see anything at all. An’ theer behoul ye was the Foawr sittin’ at the big Laxa queel spinnin’ like the win’ an’ his han’s flyin’ with the tred to an’ fro like lightening, an’ him shoutin’ like mad to the whistlin’ queel.
JOANEY. Losh bless me! What was it he was shoutin?
ILLIAM. I can’t mind it jus’ now.
JOANEY. Was it this (Sings Snieu Queel Snieu in a high-pitched quavering voice.)
ILLIAM. Its like it was. (Joaney looks pleased and nods her head.) Aw well. Thou’s meddlin’ good to spin thyself but I’m thinkin’ thou’s got thy match in yondhar falla. Never in all my born days did I see such a tred. Fine as a cobweb it was an’ tough as gaid.
JOANEY. Chut. Chut. I could do as good too if I was as big as Laxa Queel.
ILLIAM. Aw well; it was middlin’ good for all. – Is this th’ everin’ Johnny the Penny was comin’? I’ll take a look down the road to see is he in sight, an’ thou’d bes’ be puttin’ the wool together for him. (Exit Illiam.)
(Foawr’s great voice heard from chimney.)
FOAWR. Is it you that’s in, ven thie?
JOANEY. Aye deed; it’s me right enough.
FOAWR. Have you foun’ the name that’s on me, ven thie? For not wan ball of wool will you be gettin’ if you havn’t.
JOANEY. An’ dear me, what hurry is there on you?
FOAWR. Well, you’d bes’ make haste before Himself catches you.
JOANEY. Aw well! I’m not very sure that I can remember it. Let’e see now what’s this it is? Is it Mollyree it is – No?
FOAWR. No it’s not.
JOANEY. Well, look at that now! The head that’s on me is no batther till a gorse-bush for names, though I have it right enough. You’ll be wan of the Mollyrine wans though!
FOAWR. I’m not wan of that clan.
JOANEY. Aw well! It’s like they’re callin’ you Mollyvriday?
FOAWR. They are not though.
JOANEY. I’ll warrant your name is Mollychreest.
FOAWR. You’re wrong then.
JOANEY. Are you goin’ by the name of Molly- voirrey?
FOAWR. Deed I am not.
JOANEY. An’ maybe your name is Mollyvartin for all?
FOAWR. An’ maybe it’s not at all.
JOANEY. Aw well now! They’re sayin’ there was only seven families livin’ on th’ Islan’ at wan time, an’ their names all began with Molly. Them was the rael oul’ standards! So if you are not Mollycharaine, you’re none of the rale oul’ Manx wans at all an’ I’m not thinkin’ nawthin’ of you!
FOAWR. Well I’m not for all though. Now be careful, ven thie, for next guess is your last.
JOANEY (pretends to look frightened and retreats slowly pointing her finger at chimney where there is the shadow of a great hand holding a ball). Slesh hene yn ollan as lesh my hene y snaie, Son shen MOLLYNDHROAT (with a shout) cha vow eh dy braa!
FOAWR roaring and throwing stones and ashes down). Bad luck to you then. You never would have guessed it unless you’re an’ oul’ witch.
JOANEY. Bad luck to yourself, my Boy, for thrying to stale a decent woman’s wool.
FOAWR. Goll dys y Jowyl yourself an’ your wool an’ take that an’ that – (Pitching down balls furiously. Joaney runs round catching and counting them till within one of the score, when she tumbles them all down again and shoves a truss of straw of the Chimney. Great roaring and spluttering. Fairies fly in dancing and singing Tappagyn Jiargyn as they dance round her) –
He’s fast in the chimney
That’s houlin’ him tight,
An’ we’ve stopped on our way
For to lave you good-night.
But mend you your ways,
Or some of these days
You’ll be took, you’ll be took –
Took at the Foawr.
You shall have a new bonnet
With ribbons of green,
And a new chequered apern
That’s fit for a queen.
But mend you your ways,
Or some of these days
You’ll be took, you’ll be took,
Took at the Foawr.
ILLIAM. Are ye theer, wumman?
JOANEY. Aye am I. Is the weaver there?
ILLIAM. I’m seein’ him comin’ roun’ by the Chappal. He’ll not be long – Ma word wumman, what have ye been at now!
JOANEY (excitedly). Illiam! There’s some big, murtherin’, thief of a jackdowe buildin’ his nes’ in the oven. Go you roun’ at the back an’ stuff a bart of sthrowe down the chimley the way we’ll get him choked urrov that, an’ I can be clearin’ him away when I go for to light the fire in the morning.
(Illiam goes out. Joaney begins picking up balls of wool in her apron again, letting them fall as fast as she picks them up).
EUNYS or The Dalby Maid.
(Fisherman’s Cottage. Little deep window looking over the sea. Juan and Nora sitting on either side of the “chiollagh” listening and looking anxiously at each other. Music of “Arrane Ghelbee” heard, increasing in sound and stopping abruptly.)
JUAN. Did thou hear that, woman?
NORA. I did so. Deed yes, Juan.
JUAN. Did thou notice the tune was going furder this time?
NORA. Aye, furder still – always a lil bit an’ a lil bit on – whatever is it meanin’ at all!
JUAN. Did thou notice it different this time?
NORA. Was it louder like – as if it was takin’ anger at us?
JUAN. Like enough. Thinkin’ of to-morrow.
NORA (lifting her apron to her eyes and weeping.) To-morrow, to-morrow! What will we do at all to-morrow; an’ black shame comin’ on us for all the people to see.
JUAN. An’ black shame put on the chile that’s been like our own an’ not sense at her even to be knowin’ it.
NORA. Chile veen! Chile veen! As innocent as the lil lambs in the fiel’ for all she’s lookin’ so weiss. That’s the way the lambs is, too, lookin’ so weiss, an’ only knowin’ the sun is in for to warm them an’ yarb in for them to eat, an’ never takin’ no heed of what to-morrow may bring. And that’s our Eunys the same-knowin’ nothin’ but jus’ to be happy an’ to be doin’ what we are tellin’ her. An’ the name of Eunys that was put on her at th’oul’ Pazon was good too, for joy an’ comfort an’ happiness she has brought to us all these years.
JUAN. An’ never an ill word or a cross look at her, but doin’ lil things for others an’ as good to read her book as any.
NORA. Aye, an’ betthar too than some that’s jealous of her.
JUAN. An’ Pazon that should be leadin’ a sthray lamb tendhar, to be like puttin’ spite on her for all! “Example,” he was sayin’, an’ “Presented at the Wardens for loose talkin’ an’ foolish laughter, an’ puttin’ flowers in her hair like a heathen.” An’ the chile lookin’ at him so serious like, wontherin’ at all the big words, an’ then smilin’ at him till you’d have thought he must have seen she wasn’ like others.
NORA. An’ I believe Pazon is sorry for all. But he’s a sevare man, an’ not likin’ to go back on his word. An’ he always was for givin’ ear to them that’s tellin’ crimes on others. Look at the way he was with his own childher, till they took an’ lef’ him an’ the hearts jus bruk at them. There’s neither mirth nor music comin’ from yandhar house, an’ I believe there isn’t a more unhappier man in the Parish than Pazon. An’ I’m blamin’ some wans a deal more till him.
JUAN. Some wans; aye indeed. Them wans that has childher of their own an’ should be more tendherer than given’ heed to all the talk that’s goin’. But them Wardens is hardening their hearts that’s hard enough already. It’s pride that’s doin’ on them, for, to be sayin’ that so many has been presented is showin’ how keen they are to be mindin’ the Parish.
NORA. Only this everin’ itself I have been thinkin’ of the time she come to us. Do you min’ Juan how the sun was shining sthraight over the sea an’ the lil tune of the waves on the shore?
JUAN. An’ us two down at the edge of the tide talkin’ of the lil wans that was took, an’ us lef’ hungerin’ for the feel of a chile’s arms roun’ our neck.
NORA. An’ the quare oul’ boat comin’ in urrov the sunset an’ row, row, rowin’ nearer an’ nearer, an’ the music comin’, an’ us wontherin’ who could it be at all, an’ the tune jus’ like the waves goin’ up an’ down an’ never gettin’ no furder-
JUAN. An’ the sun blazin’ sudden in our eyes an’ jus’ puzzled with the light-
NORA. An’ there at our feet on the wet san’ the chile lyin’, an’ lookin’ to be took up at us. Aw well, I don’t know how can I bear it. Her to be took an’ put at the Church dhure the same as them that has desarved it!
JUAN. I tell you woman I can’t bear it, an’ I’m goin’ up to put a sight on Pazon again an’ see can I peacify him and make him more lenient, an’ take this black shame off of us that has never gone against him.
NORA. Aw Juan, Juan, I’m fearin’ thou’ll do no good, man. For he’s hard terrible, an’ it’s example he’s wantin’ to make, an’ the Bishop talkin’, he says, of the scandal, an’ (crying and rocking herself) it’s our poor innocent lamb that’s took without mercy.
JUAN (preparing to leave the house). Were you askin’ Mrs. Cushlahan for the sheet when you were in this morning?
NORA. Aye Juan, an’ the bes’ sheet in the chins she said would not be too good for our Lhiannoo. She is a kind woman is Mrs. Cushlahan, an’ vext turble that them Wardens has put such a thing on us. The bes’ sheet that she has got, fine linen they’d had there these years, an’ lace trimming on the hem fit for a queen.
JUAN (Going). An’ what good will fine linen and lace be doin’ at all? It’s sackcloth an’ ashes that should be in for them that’s desarvin’ such punishment, an’ them that’s innocent like our Eunys isn’t needin’ no lace to set them off. (Exit)
NORA (sol.) Aw well; it’s pleasin’ the chile for all. The sowl! When I would be thryin’ me bes’ for to explain what them wans was sayin’, an’ tellin’ her for why she was to be wearin’ the white sheet at the Church dhure, all she was sayin’ was:– “See the pretty lace, Granny veen – is it me that’s to be dhressed so fine, an’ all the people comin’ to see!” Aw dear, dear, but Juan mus’ be mindin’ that she’ll not be hearin’ any ill words from wans that’ll be mockin’. But there’s no fear for all, for she would only be smilin’ at them, an’ never take in the meaning anyway of what they would be thinkin’. It’s time the chile was home too. (Sitting down and folding her hands patiently). Aw well, she’ll not be long now.
Parson’s Study. Parson writing. Enter Juan.
PARSON (drily). Well, Juan Sayle, what is it you want?
JUAN (feebly,). Good everin’, Sir, good everin’.
PARSON. Yes, Yes. Good evening. What is it you have come for? You know I am always busy on Saturday evening.
JUAN (gazing round). Aye, aye. An’ all these fine books. There’ll be a sight of readin’ in them too. Is any, of them tellin’ of the ways of shepherds, with sthray lambs?
PARSON (frowning impatiently). What do you mean, Juan Sayle? Have you been taking too much again? (Looking closely and severely at the old man.)
JUAN. God forgive your Reverence. Taking too much again! It’s well known in Dalby there isn’t a soberer man in than me, unless it’s your Reverence, an’ indeed if there’s a dhrop between us it’s not me that’s had it anyhow-.
PARSON. Come now, I think you had better go home, and let the solemn thought of the coming morrow sober you and teach you to take more heed to the ways of your household.
JUAN (standing stubbornly leaning on stick & gazing on floor). Pazon! Pazon! You have known me these years, an’ you cannot be sayin’ that I have ever been consarned in dhrink, or unruly, or that my house was not regulated; an’ the lit wan that was sent to us in place of them that was took was never no trouble to you in the Parish, but rared at me an’ the wife as studdy an’ God-fearing as we could do it. An’ wherever she come from (looking through window with far-away dreamy air) she has been a good chile to us, an’ its like there’s wans in that’ll be takin’ heed that the like of her is not to be treated bad-(Music of Arrane Ghelbee heard; Juan starts, holding up hand and listeng). Did you hear that, Sir? (music gradually dying away).
PARSON. Hear what, Juan Sayle? And what are you looking at me like that for? Come now! I can make allowance for the real trouble this light- minded girl has brought upon you, but do not you forget your obedience to the Church and to me as your Spiritual Guide and Superior.
JUAN (aside dreamily). An’ the tune goin’ still, an’ likely him not hearin’ it afther all. Well, well! (To Pazon.) Is it light-minded you are callin’ her, Sir? Light indeed – but the light of an innocent heart that knows no guile, an’ her min’ as the min’ of a chile for all her eighteen years.
PARSON. If Eunys is really eighteen years, she is quite old enough to know that she is bringing trouble on you and your wife; and considering the circumstances of her birth, it is doubly to be desired that she should learn to conduct herself with modesty and soberness.
JUAN. Did you ever rightly know them circumstances, Sir?
PARSON. I know enough of the world, Juan Sayle, to find it only too easy to account for such circumstances. I also know that you and your wife took her as a foundling, and deserve praise for –
JUAN. Praise! – Us that’s lovin’ her!
PARSON. – for your care of her all these years. I also know from what has been told me, that you and your wife invented some foolish stories about your finding her as a baby; and that you deliberately checked any rumours that might have led to the discovery of her parents, and did your best to hide all traces of them by pretended mysteries, with which you thought to delude your neighbours. You know probably who those parents were, and, (if they were relatives of your own, whose shame you wished to hide) you are none the less guilty of having connived at fraud and deceit all these years.
JUAN. Will your Reverence have patience an’ let me tell the story now. I am an old man, Sir, and I have lived honourable all my life, an’ it’s hard talkin’ of shame an’ deceit to them that’s not desarvin’ it.
PARSON. Well, Sayle, in consideration of your age and the trouble you are in, I will listen to you. But I warn you that you will not impose upon me as you did upon your simpler neighbours and friends.
JUAN. It’s thruth I’m tellin’ you, Sir, an’ no lie, an’ this is the way the chile come to us –
(Parson fetches note-book & inkstand, Juan watching and waiting quietly till he settles).
JUAN. Well, your Reverence – herself an’ me was down at the tide that everin’, an’ the wather low, an’ the sun goin’ down; an’ there was no soun’ heard but the lil tune of the waves. An’ out of the brightness of the sky we saw a boat comin’ from the Wes’ an’ wan rowin’ towards us, an’ music comin’ over the wather to us. We were hearin’ no words, but music it was, sweeter than any bird could sing. An’ the wife went down on her knees on the wet san’, an’ “Juan, Juan,” I was hearin’ her say, “Juan, Juan, look what the say has brought us, Juan.” But I was takin’ no heed for I was watchin’ an’ lookin’ with my han’ over me eyes, an’ then I saw him like as if he was goin’ back again, an’ he rew, an’ he rew, an’ he rew – a mis’ come over me eyes that I could not see him. An’ I looked down at my feet and there was herself on her knees with a chile in her arms. “Juan, Juan,” she says, “look what the say has brought us in place of them that’s gone.” An’ the babe looked up an’ smiled as if it was come home. Aye, aye, that’s the way it was.
PARSON. (After a pause.) And what did you do then?
JUAN. An’ we went up the shore with it, an’ a passel of folk was on the sthreet. But when we were tellin’ them.-“Aw purr it back! purr it back where it come from” they were sayin’ – “You’ll never get no good from the like of yandhar” they were sayin’! “Purr it back. There’ll be wans in to look afther it an’ take it back.” That’s the way they were talkin’. But the music was soundin’ loud again like as if it was takin’ anger at us. I don’t know was them wans hearin’ it or not, but the wife an’ me, we was hearin’ it. – An’ we went in an’ shut the dhure, an’ aw the joy we took of the chile. An’ me sent up on the laff for th’ oul’ cradle, an’ herself raeching down in the chiss for the lil caps an’ coats an’ shoes our wans had wore! Aw well, well! An’ to think what’s comin’ on the chile now!
PARSON. Now Sayle, I have listened patiently to you because I promised to hear your story, but you cannot expect me to believe such a tissue of falsehood. –
JUAN. (Doggedly.) It’s thruth I’m tellin’ ye an’ no lie. An’ the babe christened nex’ day at th’ oul’ Parson, an’ us mindin’ keerful that it was not took back before –
PARSON. I am not saying that you mean to speak falsely and I wish to be charitable as far as I can. It is probable that you and Mrs. Sayle have told your story so often that you have almost come to believe in it yourself – but I must tell you that I am very much shocked to find how much hold superstition still has upon you.
JUAN (Going on as if he had not heard.) An’ he was askin’ herself what would she call the chile, an’ she answered an’ said, – “Call her Eunys, for the Lord hath comforted His people.” An’ he did so an’ the babe was named “Eunys” – that’s like you’d be callin’ Joy, Comfort, Happiness to, Sir, – an’ the Sign of the Cross put on her – though I’m thinkin’ them wans out yandhar, (pointing towards sea) was not bes’ pleased, for the storm that was in that night was cruel urrov massy.
PARSON. (Getting up angrily.) There now, that will do, this is mere profanity. Worse than ignorance, and heart-breaking after all the years I have laboured among you. All you say only convinces me that the Church needs to take severe measures in dealing with you and I shall take occasion to-morrow to speak very seriously about the terrible and heathenish superstition which binds you still in chains of darkness.
JUAN. (Interrupting.) Is there no chance at all of the penance being took off of her?
PARSON. I cannot go back from my word Sayle, nor has anything you have said given me any reason for so doing. The girl has been presented by the Wardens, who I have no doubt have grave reasons for taking such a step, and she must go through what is ordained for her own good and for the sake of example to others.
JUAN. (Half-incredulous.) An’ is she, that’s not even knowin’ the meanin’ of such things – is she to stand at the Church dhure in the white sheet for all?
PARSON. She must stand at the Church door in the white sheet of penance –
JUAN. You are calling it the white sheet of penance but when our Eunys is wearin’ it to- morrow it will be the white robe of Innocence, an’ the cannle in her han’ will shine no brighter than the pure soul of her before the Angels that are in Heaven.
(Fisherman’s Cottage. Nora sitting waiting. Soft strains of music dying away as door open and Eunys enters slowly, looking back, and with hand waving and lips moving as if speaking.)
NORA. (Watching.) Who’s thy company, chree?
(Eunys takes no heed but coming forward slowly takes stool at Nora’s feet and looks up, affectionately caressing the old woman’s face.)
NORA. What’s doin’ on thee, chree?
EUNYS. (Holding up hand and listening.) Arn’t you hearing it Granny veen, an’ arn’t you hearing them calling me all the time?
NORA. Who is it that’s callin’ my lamb? Hush thee, hush thee, chile veen. It’s fancies an’ fayries thass in. Stay quite now an’ let Grannie talk to thee.
EUNYS. (With a far-away look.) Still they’re calling me, Granny, first thing when the sun comes slanting in on the wall an’ the birds are singing, an’ the leaves of the trees are whisperin’ in at the window, they are crying, “Lhiannoo come away.” In the morning down at the tide an’ up in the Glen they’re calling, “Lhiannoo come away;” coming along the lane in the little everin’, an’ the waves all dancin’ in the sunset, still I’m hearin’ them calling “Lhiannoo come away, Lhiannoo come away!”
NORA. There, there, chile veen. Thou’s tired an’ fanciful. It’ll be fayries that’s callin’ an’ you musn’ be mindin’ them, Graih-ma-chree. You wouldn’ be for leaving me an’ Grandaa at all?
EUNYS. Not only Fayries, Granny. There’s more till Fayries too. The Stars were calling me to-day, Granny.
NORA. Chut! Chut! It’s fancies the chile has got. Lizzen now till I tell thee again what we mus’ be doin’ to-morrow. –
EUNYS. (Unheeding.) I was over on Dalby Mountain a while ago, Granny, an’ I was lyin’ on the turf an’ puttin’ my ear to the ground in the place Grandaa was telling of. Do you mind Granny veen?
NORA. Aye deed. Aye deed. They’re sayin’ if you listen still an’ quite you’ll be hearin’ the Stars tellin’ theSecrets of the Infinite! I’ve heard my own Mother sayin’ it, an’ I’m thinkin’ its what’s meanin’ in the Book where its sayin':– The Morning Stars sang together – Yes, yes chree, I know the place well. An’ were you so far as that chile veen?
EUNYS. I was listening Granny an’ for a long time I was only hearing the bees in among the heather, an’ a lark was singing up in the sky, an’ the lil flies rustling in the stalks of the grass-an’ then, Granny villish, I heard the Stars too, what they were saying. An’ all the Stars were crying (clasping her hands with an upward look) “Lhiannoo come away, Lhiannoo come away.”
NORA. Well now, an’ was that all they had to say. “Come away home ” its like they were meanin’. Home to me an’ thy Grandaa that’s longin’ if the chile veen is out of our sight for an’ hour. That’s what the stars would be tellin’ thee chree. Any way it’s bes’ for lil gels to be stayin’ at home in th’ everin’. There’s wans on the mountains that’s bes’ not spoke of, an’ there’s wans talkin’ too. Aye deed, an’ a power of spite at them too, an’ deed, Eunys, it’s not well for thee to be goin’ alone in them places so often, (tenderly stroking the girl’s hair.
(Door opens and Juan enters with blaze of sunshine.)
EUNYS. See, Granny veen, how the sunset Fayries are coming slidin’ down the sun beams. Did they come with you Grandaa all the way from the sunset?
JUAN. (Closing door and standing looking gravely at her.) Thou’d bes’ be goin’ to bed, Lhiannoo veen. It’s like thou’ll be tired enough to-morrow.
NORA. (Looking anxiously at him.) Was it no good, Juan, man?
JUAN. No good at all, for obstinate turble he was. (Sitting down wearily.) Well, well! that’s the way it iss! She mus stan’ at the Church dhure for all to see in the white sheet an all. (Leaning his head on his hand.)
EUNYS. (Springing up eagerly.) Is it me Grandaa an’ the white sheet? Don’t take on Grandaa-I’m not minding now, for Granny has got a fine dress for me to-morrow. You should see the lace that’s on it – Fit for a Queen isn’t it Granny veen?
NORA. Aye deed. It’s like the Queen isn’ usin’ no better.
EUNYS. Where is it, Granny, that Grandaa can see me in it, an’ then he’ll not be takin’ on any more.
NORA. In the parlour it is. Take the candle chile veen an’ go keerful now. It’s middlin’ dark in theer.
(Ennys goes out and presently returns, slowly entering, draped in sheet and with lighted candle in her hand. Stands listening wistfully.)
(Chorus from without, accompanied by the rhythmical sound of rowlocks.) – (Air “Arrane Ghel bee.”)
Rowing, rowing from the Sunset
Where the water-fayries play,
We are come to bear thee homeward
Lhiannoo, Lhiannoo, come away.
EUNYS. (Answering in clear distinct tones, sings.)
I am coming, I am coming,
Hark they call me from the foam;
(Turning to old folk yearningly.)
Oh, Fare-you-well! I may not linger,
Stars and Sunset call me home.
(Chorus from without.)
Lonely, lonely will they wander
On the ever-dark’ning shore;
Softly sing the waves together
But the Lhiannoo comes no more.
Only from the Land of Sunset
Flowing, flowing evermore,
Oh! Sadly sing the waves together
On the lonely Dalby Shore.
Arrane – A song or ballad.
Beg or Veg – Little.
Bogh – Poor – term of endearment.
Bonnag – Bread baked on the hearth.
Bons – Bits of stick, charred gorse, &c., gathered for kindling a fire.
Carvel – A carol.
Chibber – A well.
Chiollagh – Hearth-stone.
Cooag – The Cuckoo.
Cooish – Confidential chat or discourse.
Couth – The cold.
Cushag – Ragwort.
Eirey – Heir.
Faie – Field near dwelling house.
Foawr – Giant.
Garvel (for ‘Cabbyl’) . – A horse
Gairey – Rough pasture land grown over with gorse.
Glass – Grey, or green.
Gard – Heather-rope.
Jeel – Harm. Mischief.
Kirree – Sheep.
Keill – Small ancient chapel or cell
Lhiannoo – A child.
Loaghtan – The brown mountain sheep
Lumpers – Boys and girls. Probably a sailors’ word.
Mannin or Vannin – Isle of Man.
Ma chree – My heart.
Meein or Veen – Fine, soft-term or endearment.
Millish or Villish – Darling.
Mie or Vie – Good.
Mhellia – Harvest-Home.
Mollyndroat – “Son of the Druid,” a magician
Moar – Great.
Nogh – To-night.
Oie – Eve.
Oie’ll Voirrey – Eve of the Feast of Mary. Christmas Eve
Rhullick – Burial ground.
Sceddan – Herring.
Sniaghthey – Snow.
Sooree – Courting.
Speeikin – Peeping.
Soo – Sewn.
Tramman – Elder Tree.
Tholtan – Ruined cottage or barn.
Treih – Sad.
Traa-di-liooar – Time enough.
Ushag – A bird.
Three plays by Cushag (Josephine Kermode): Rosy Basins, a story of life in the traditional Manx home, complete with a visit by the fairies; The Lazy Wife, a brilliant staging of a folk tale found in Sophia Morrison’s Manx Fairy Tales; and Eunys, the story of a fairy child who returns to her own people once a clash with society and church threatens her world.
Cushag (Josephine Kermode) was the best-loved poet of her generation and perhaps the island’s most intriguing playwright; she is one of the most important writers that the Isle of Man has ever known.