Girl Auction


Part 6

Now the two girls sit in their chilly bedroom. Molly is planning a departure – a permanent one. The pussycat, MeeMee, has to come along: the single-minded small sister Babsie has negotiated that. But “no more livestock, and total obedience” is the price she has had to pay.

But she’d got her way over the puisín….

They’d watched Paudhaun, the ‘bidder,’ shamble away from the house a short time ago, his lantern quenched, and he heading down the dark lane, potholes dull with the black frost, towards his home, and witchy old scheming mother….. {His shambling gait was not the result of genetics, or an accident. It was due to the Dacent making a skelp at a farm worker youth, who then struck him a mighty blow with the butt-end of a hedging tool – the fearsome

‘slasher’ – and then raced off to pastures new, leaving the Dacent in a bad way indeed…}

“Now that Dacent lutherawn is gone,” said Molly, “and to Hell with him! We’ll have to wait until himself goes to bed, before we make a move. No chance of you getting hold of that idle

MeeMee puisín with him below – he’d get suspicious, as her highness might start the usual bawlin’ when she’s taken from behind the fire, and giving those feeble slaps of hers. He’s not bright, but he notices anything that’s unusual, that’s for sure.. So we’d better leave her until we’re ready to go. If he does catch you, say the Mee had been puking all day. That might put him off… You’re no good at fibs, but in the dark, he’ll hardly notice.

“Now, while we’re waiting, Babsie – would you like to see what Santy Claus brought to us last Christmas? It’s stuff that we’re surely going to need….”

At this statement, Babsie started a wee bit of ‘hegging’ – as this put the final seal on one very hard fact: their imminent departure to – where? – was now a certainty.

The forsaking of the only home she’d ever known was now cold and ice-clear. That grim reality had closed up on her – and Babsie was suddenly afraid.

‘Cripes!’ she thought, panicking a bit – ‘Out in all that dark! And that oul divil Banshee wan,

hanging around the Rushy Bog! And that dirty bloomin’ spirit lad – ‘Tub o’ Guts!’ Jaypers – we’ll be done!’

{Readers – the Tub lad was a well-known local ghost, infamous for gadding about in the guise of a disgusting snot-green wood and leather firkin of rotten intestines. That was his favourite pose, or repose.} This rather flatulent creepy ghost’s favourite frightening trick was to hop up {legless – so don’t ask me how} in the air, turn his vile bucketty-bod into an obscene squat – and then wallooosh the entire dire contents of his rotten oul transparent belly all over your horrified little self. Not the most pleasant of prospects, for sure… And you frit out of your wits… }

Such a vile act was performed specifically to keep you away from his favourite ‘hang-out’ dens. These were mostly adjacent to deep pits and dykes; so tales about him haunting such dangerous places showed he had a weird attachment to dank murky spots…. The subject of

there being a ‘Mrs TOG’ lurking about was never discussed – any more than was a ‘Mr Banshee.’

Being ‘wasted’{?} in such a malodorous fashion wasn’t exactly the most glamorous – or sought after – ‘end-of-life scene.’ And seldom the kind of scenario quoted poetically by Byron or Yeats, when illustrating the sad – but despairingly romantic – departure of some beauteous and fragrant lady… In this case, forget the ‘fragrant’…

“Cripes!” thought the Babs – “I’m all over the place – better get my little head together!

Maybe a small request to Mammy would help? No – better not trouble her, up in Heaven – where she’s happy. Better not tell her about things like this – they’d only worry her. Maybe a prayer to Holy God? But I haven’t a lot of practise at that –- we haven’t been chatting much lately, so He’d hardly bother…

“Better stick with the Moller’s plan – whatever it is… And put our trust in this being All Souls Night.” {All Soul’s being traditionally a time when normal rules of reality could be suspended. When old-time magicry could return for a brief spell, to soothe the spirits of long-gone people who lived in the stone and dark ages. Our far ancestors}

So, her mind made up, she choked back a wee sob, and stuck her firm little chin out. Molly had been watching the mites changing face, watched the clouds chasing rafts of sunshine, watched the little storms flit across the small tidy features – but had stayed silent.

Now, seeing the chin ‘out’ – and well-knowing her small sister’s contrary – but strong – personality – Molly grinned – but behind her hand! Everything was going to be alright, in that direction.

This was no wilting flower – not this little sis; she’d fight her corner like a bear cub, any day, for any reason. Aye, after all, here was the girl who wouldn’t pray much – but who called out, each and every night, before going asleep: “Goodnight, Mammy, I’ll see you in fifty years orso!…”

This crisis ‘Babsie moment’ – which Molly knew had to come – was now over.

Thinking clear, now, Molly got down on her knees, and clambered half-under the bed. Shebacked out again – pulling a double rope – with sticks stretching between them!

‘What the blazes is this yoke?’ thought Babsie! ‘Ah, it looks like a ladder of twine andkippens!’ Yes – right, there, B! It was a rough {very rough} rope ladder – but sturdy enough. Mollythen crawled back in under the bed again, and dragged out – two heavy woollen capes – andtwo pairs of high-top leather boots. And didn’t Babs like the cut of those! {A little bit ofvanity – no bad thing in a small girl – was certainly not absent from the Babs.}

Last of all, Molly scrambled in out of sight completely, rummaged about, and backed out,pulling a cardboard case. This latter was already half-packed. Babsie, even in the faintyellowy glow of the tallow candle, could see her only good dress, laid on the very top.

Though knowing fine well what was going on, she still ‘lost the run of herself’ a bit, andWhimpered “where are you going with my best dress, Moll?”

She got a fairly Arctic stare for that comment… “It’s not just me going, girl” Molly snapped, “we are both leaving this house sometime in the next few hours; forever – I hope, and I’ve no doubt you know it, too. So don’t start your usual chipping and cranking, or asking me any more stupidities.

Just do as I tell you – or we’re both finished……..

To be continued….


The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of The Kilkenny Observer.



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