THE WONDERFUL TUNE 1G7
at one time, yet, owing to the hole in his throat, it took many a filling.
' That was no bad whisky neither,' says Maurice, handing back the empty bottle.
' By the holy frost, then ! ' says Paddy, ' 'tis but cold comfort there's in that bottle now ; and 'tis your word we must take for the strength of the whisky, for you've left us no sample to judge by ' ; and to be sure Maurice had not.
Now I need not tell any gentleman or lady that if he or she was to drink an honest bottle of whisky at one pull, it is not at all the same thing as drinking a bottle of water ; and in the whole course of my life I never knew more than five men who could do so without being the worse. Of these Maurice Connor was not one, though he had a stiff head enough of his own. Don't think I blame him for it; but true is the word that says, 'When liquor's in sense is out'; and puff, at a breath, out he blasted his wonderful tune.
'Twas really then beyond all belief or telling the dancing. Maurice himself could not keep quiet; staggering now on one leg, now on the other, and rolling about like a ship in a cross sea, trying to humour the tune. There was his mother, too, moving her old bones as light as the youngest girl of them all; but her dancing, no, nor the dancing of all the rest, is not worthy the speaking about to the work that was going on down upon the strand. Every inch of it covered with all manner of fish jumping and plunging about to the music, and every moment more and more would tumble in out of the water, charmed by the wonderful tune. Crabs of monstrous size spun round and round on one claw with the nimbleness of a dancing master, and twirled and tossed their other claws about like limbs that did not belong to them. It was a sight surprising to behold. But perhaps you may have heard of Father Florence Conry, as pleasant a man as