In a little town in Devonshire, in the mellow September moonlight,
A gentleman passing along a street saw a pitiful sight,
A man bending over the form of a woman on the pavement.
He was uttering plaintive words and seemingly discontent.
“What’s the matter with the woman?” asked the gentleman,
As the poor, fallen woman he did narrowly scan.
“There’s something the matter, as yer honour can see,
But it’s not right to prate about my wife, blame me.”
“Is that really your wife?” said the gentleman.
“Yes, sor, but she looks very pale and wan.”
“But surely she is much younger than you?”
“Only fourteen years, sor, that is thrue.”
“It’s myself that looks a deal oulder nor I really am,
Throuble have whitened my heir, my good gintleman,
Which was once as black as the wings of a crow,
And it’s throuble as is dyed it as white as the snow.
Come, my dear sowl, Bridget, it’s past nine o’clock,
And to see yez lying there it gives my heart a shock.”
And he smoothed away the raven hair from her forehead,
And her hands hung heavily as if she had been dead.
The gentleman saw what was the matter and he sighed again,
And he said, “It’s a great trial and must give you pain,
But I see you are willing to help her all you can.”
But the encouraging words was not lost upon the Irishman.
“Thrial!” he echoed, “Don’t mintion it, yer honour,
But the blessing of God rest upon her.
Poor crathur, she’s good barrin’ this one fault,
And by any one I don’t like to hear her miscault.”
“What was the reason of her taking to drink?”
“Bless yer honour, that’s jest what I oftentimes think,
Some things is done without any rason at all,
And, sure, this one to me is a great downfall.
‘Ah, Bridget, my darlin’, I never dreamt ye’d come to this,”
And stooping down, her cheek he did kiss.
While a glittering tear flashed in the moonlight to the ground,
For the poor husband’s grief was really profound.
“Have you any children?” asked the gentleman.
“No, yer honour, bless the Lord, contented I am,
I wouldn’t have the lambs know any harm o’ their mother,
Besides, sor, to me they would be a great bother.”
“What is your trade, my good man?”
“Gardening, sor, and mighty fond of it I am.
Kind sor, I am out of a job and I am dying with sorrow.”
“Well, you can call at my house by ten o’clock to-morrow.
“And I’ll see what I can do for you.
Now, hasten home with your wife, and I bid you adieu.
But stay, my good man, I did not ask your name.”
“My name is Matthew Mahoney, after Father Matthew of great fame,”
Then Mahoney stooped and lifted Bridget tenderly,
And carried her home in his arms cheerfully,
And put her to bed while he felt quite content,
Still hoping Bridget would see the folly of drinking and repent.
And at ten o’clock next morning Matthew was at Blandford Hall,
And politely for Mr Gillespie he did call,
But he was told Mrs Gillespie he would see,
And was invited into the parlour cheerfully.
And when Mrs Gillespie entered the room
She said, “Matthew Mahoney, I suppose you want to know your doom.
Well, Matthew, tell your wife to call here to-morrow.”
“I’ll ax her, my lady, for my heart’s full of sorrow.”
So Matthew got his wife to make her appearance at Blandford Hall,
And, trembling, upon Mrs Gillespie poor Bridget did call,
And had a pleasant interview with Mrs Gillespie,
And was told she was wanted for a new lodge-keeper immediately.
“But, Bridget, my dear woman, you mustn’t drink any more,
For you have got a good husband you ought to adore,
And Mr Gillespie will help you, I’m sure,
Because he is very kind to deserving poor.”
And Bridget’s repentance was hearty and sincere,
And by the grace of God she never drank whisky, rum, or beer,
And good thoughts come into her mind of Heaven above,
And Matthew Mahoney dearly does her love.