We crept closer to the fire; the kettle was lowered on the chain, and the old man began his story of the famine. There was a chapter of it that always acted as an anti-dote--a mitigation, at least--to hunger; for we were always notified of the application before the sermon began, and the application was that we had not yet hungered unto death! A few sentences of the anti-hunger story will suffice:
"Och, but thim wor awful days! A million men, women, an' childther died of th' hunger; but, begorra, all th' time th' English tuk th' rint, an' they tuk th' crops too, sich as th' wor. Seven childther did th' McWhirthers' hev nixt dour, an' afther starvin' fur four days th' got a poke o' meal an' made porridge, an' whin m' father wint in t' borrow a pot he found four of thim dead--sittin' on the floor aroun' th' pot, wid th' spoons in their han's! Och, ay, 'deed, thim wor awful days!"
We had heard it a dozen times, but it was always new and gave us a sense of gratitude that we had only starved