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peasants, as we have before noticed at pp. 13–16. In one case I found that a cow, though sold, was not delivered till the bargain was “ wetted.”
Tobacco Spinners.—There are some set rules of drinking here.
Mornings are very general, and from making it a practice to drink these together, they assume the appearance sometimes of compulsory usage, for it will give offence if one man refuses to drink with the rest. A glass after breakfast is common, also, as well as before it. This seems very sad, and ought to be severely censured, some employers will say. Let those masters cast the first stone here, who do not themselves stimulate daily after dinner, and whose wives do not imbibe brandied wines before it. One man told me that he was glad when his son left the tobacconist trade, and enlisted for a soldier: the young man was disgusted with the drunken tyranny among the hands.
Coopers.—There are various compulsory usages here, also, and penalties for non-compliance, as in other trades. One punishment is this : after a man has set up the staves of a barrel before they are bound together by hooping, some of the hands mischievously loose the set, and it falls asunder of course, and has to be put up again. The apprentice footing is 1l.; journeyman's is ll. or thereabouts. In the central parts of Ireland the following seem to be rules. No stranger will be admitted into the body unless on payment of 101.; this is put into the general fund, which, with a weekly sum paid by each member, goes to support those who are out of employment, and who receive 10s. per week for six months. At Christmas the surplus is equally divided amongst all the members, when it is understood that such surplus shall be spent in drink. If a member works with 6 a colt," that is, one who works under wages, or does not belong to the body, he becomes thus subject to such fine as the committee of the trade may choose to inflict. As regards marriages and births, this trade resembles others, and I am given to understand that they equal any other in drunkenness.
Jewellers and Watchmakers.-Footings are usual here : from 10s. to 11. 1s. The other men back the principal by a smaller sum on each occasion. Something is expected at marriage.
Painters.—In this trade there are fuotings and fines as usual ; but at the period of my investigation here, there happened to have existed for some time a schism in the trade, two conflicting bodies at variance with each other, which had for a time, in some measure, broken up the general unity of the
drinking usages among them, and impaired for a season their influence.
Printers.—There is considerable drinking on the pay-night among this class. Apprentice's footing, about 108.; a journeyman on entering "the chapel,” 58. There are drink fines for breaking the laws of the chapel." If a journeyman marries, he pays from 5s. to a guinea; on the birth of a son he gives a treat; if a daughter, the other men give him a treat. If one man uses type not his own, or calls names, or acts improperly to others, then the father of the shop calls “a chapel,” when the dispute, if any, is settled. In getting a new fount of type the men subscribe for a drink; on setting up a new office, the employer gives a treat. There is the punishment of “Coventry” on non-compliance, from the causes already stated in other trades.
Lace-makers.- If lace-makers do not give the trimmers money to drink, they will, in revenge, injure the article : they will rub the lace together, and make it soft, and quite unmarketable. Car or Cab-men.—A proprietor of a car must pay
the others 10s. for drink, on placing his vehicle on the stand or station for the first time. An informant at first refused, but had the wheels taken off his car.
Scriveners' Clerks. These are said to be habitual drunkards: their employment is of that irregular character that begets improvident habits. They are frequently obliged to sit up all night when there is a great pressure of business, especially during the law terms, and on such occasions, it seems, they must be well supplied with drink. Some of these unfortunate, though, generally speaking, educated men, have scarcely as much clothing as necessity and decency require. When unemployed by the scrivener, the poorer classes of them are permitted to wait in a public-house, and it is expected by the landlord, if they should afterwards be in the receipt of a little money, they should come and spend a portion of it in drink. Sometimes he gives them credit for drink, which they pay when employed at their business.
Chandlers.—This trade is not a very extensive one. They meet generally twice a-week at the “house of call,” which herē, as in most others, is a public-house. The apprentices pay from 5s. to 10s., or even a larger sum, as footing-money; on initiation into the body, there is a fee of one guinea and a half; and should a member at any time leave the body to become a master, and again have to return to the trade, he is
obliged to pay a similar fee; each man when employed has to pay
1s. a week to the fund, for the support of those who may be unemployed; and this fund is in a great measure consumed in drink by the latter, who are continually lurking about the “ house of call.” If a man work more than a certain quantity in the day he is fined ll., and a similar fine is inflicted for various other infractions of the rules of trade. Should it be discovered that any of the body is working under price, measures are taken to have him "slated :” those who undertake the “slating ” are generally all well primed with drink.
Butchers.—“Whipping the herring.' There is a ludicrous custom prevalent among the butchers' men in Dublin, bearing the above title, which may be considered a drinking usage. On the Saturday which closes the seven weeks of Lent, the butchers' men decorate one of their number with sheep skins, to which are attached the animals' legs, dangling about, so as to represent drapery; over the sheep skins are put the guts of a pig, which had previously been blown, and tied
at every six inches' distance, to appear like chain-work. The individual thus arrayed wears a hideous-looking mask, a cocked hat, and is mounted on an ass, and carries a wand in his hand. He assumes the title of his majesty,” and is surrounded by a few others, similarly, though not so gorgeously clad, who act as his attendants. One of the party holds in his hand a pole, on the summit of which are fixed two hoops crossing each other perpendicularly, and on the top of these again a sheep's head is placed, and a number of herrings suspended underneath ; in the other hand he holds a small birch broom, with which he occasionally strikes the herrings, repeating each time the following verse :
"We come from Merrin
And wish you a happy Easter.” This singular cortège, followed by a crowd of the lowest rabble, goes from shop to shop, and on each repetition of the above doggrel, the laureate of the party solicits a contribution, which is usually given to get rid of the nuisance, and after á large sum has been collected in this way it is spent in whisky.
Marshalsea Prison.—When an insolvent is put into the Marshalsea of Dublin, or sheriff's prison, he must give a gallon of whisky and a bag of coals to those who occupy the room into which he is placed, otherwise they will not permit him to sleep in, or ma use of that apartment. The prisoners frequently get up mock trials, appoint a lord mayor and sheriff,
to try those amongst them who have been guilty of any breach of their “prison discipline;" on being convicted, which is invariably the case, they must pay a fine, which is spent in drink.
Donnybrook Fair.—This annual scene of profligacy and drunkenness is held during the last week in August, and is commenced on a Sunday. The fair green is situated at the south-east extremity of the suburbs of Dublin. There are generally from two to three hundred tents erected, in all of which, besides public-houses in the neighbourhood, the worst description of whisky is sold; each tent is provided with a piper or fiddler, and a board for dancing. The fair is most thronged on the last day of its being holden, which is called · Walking Sunday:" it is frequented not only by the thieves and prostitutes of Dublin, but even by shopkeepers, tradesmen, and their wives and children, and by domestic servants. Parties are brought out from the city in cars at so low a charge as 2d. each person; and it is truly pitiable to witness the treatment that the miserable, half-starved horses receive from the drunken carmen. The extent of crime, disease, and improvidence, resulting from Donnybrook is thus described in a tract issued by the Port of Dublin Temperance Society :
:-“The week previous to Donnybrook fair several hundred pounds are drawn from the Savings Banks in this city, beyond the amount of any other equal period of the year, while the subsequent deposits do not reach the customary balance until November ; thus proving, that even those who are otherwise provident cannot withstand this “snare of the devil.' Immediately before, and during the fair, the pawnbrokers do, to an extraordinary extent, more business than at any other season. Persons who combine cunning with their folly, defer the purchase of clothing, and other articles, to the week before Donnybrook fair, knowing that in the low slop shops, and such like, wherein they deal, sales are made that week at a sacrifice, to raise money for the fair. It is a fact, that an unusual quantity of whisky is removed from the custom-house during the time of Donnybrook fair, proving that this chiefest of the chief curses of Ireland, whisky, runs, as the life-blood, through whatever leads to outrage and debauchery, penury, and woe, in this besotted country. Immediately after Donnybrook fair, it is invariably observed, that an excessive number of servants are out of place. In addition to the above facts, it may observed, th increased accommodation is provided in the hospitals for persons who have contracted diseases at
Donnybrook, many by lying on the damp ground all night in a state of inebriation ; and a few years ago, one individual, while in this state, had his face almost eaten off by a pig. So customary has it been hitherto for persons of respectability to consider Donnybrook as a place of unusual recreation, that many have put off their evening parties to enable their servants to go there, and have then, with singular inconsistency, dismissed them from their service because they have returned home in a state of drunkenness. It may be right to observe, that Alderman Hodge, the late Lord Mayor, has in all probability given a death blow to Donnybrook fair, by the energetic measures he took of compelling the tent-keepers to take down their tents on the Saturday evening previous to Walking Sunday,' which had the effect of putting a stop to those drunken orgies which would inevitably have resulted from its continuance during the following week.”
Prince Pückler thus describes this scene:-“Donnybrook fair is a kind of popular festival. Nothing indeed can be more national; the poverty, the dirt, and the wild tumult, were as great as the glee and merriment with which the cheapest pleasures were enjoyed. I saw things eaten and drunk with delight, which forced me to turn my head quickly away to remain master of my disgust. Heat and dust, crowd and stench, made it impossible to stay long; but these do not annoy the natives.
There were many hundred tents, all ragged, like the people, and adorned with tawdry rags instead of flags; many contented themselves with a cross on a hoop: one had hoisted a dead and half-putrid cat as a sign. The lowest sort of rope-dancers and posture-masters exercised their toilsome vocation on stages of planks, and dressed in shabby finery, dancing and grimacing in the dreadful heat till they were completely exhausted. A third part of the public lay, or rather rolled, about drunk. Others ate, screamed, shouted, and fought. The women rode about, sitting two and three upon an ass, pushed their way through the crowd, smoked with great delight, and coquetted with their sweethearts. The most ridiculous group was one which I should have thought indigenous only to Rio de la Plata :-two beggars were seated on a horse, who by his wretched plight seemed to supplicate for them; they had no saddle, and a piece of twine served as reins."*
House Smiths.--The apprentice footing here is 1l.; journey
* Tour of a German Prince. London. P. 203.