Glen Aldyn Plays/Hommy Beg and the Guillyn Veggey

Hommy Beg and the Guillyn Veggey.


Room in farmhouse, littered with breakfast dishes, etc. Cradle in centre. One or two stools or chairs. Dresser. Chiollagh, with tongs, etc. Mrs. Gale on low chair rocking the cradle.

Mrs Gale [sings]:

Snieu, wheeyl, snieu;
’Rance, wheeyl, ’rane,
Snieu dy-rea er-my-skyn
Dagh bangan as banglane.
Yiow yn Ree yn ollan bane
As yiow-mayd hene y snaie;
Roish lhie-ny-greiney bee eh jeant ain
As eisht ersooyl dy lhie.

Child in cradle [crying]: Yiow-ow-ow-ow!

Mrs Gale: Well, well, the boghey-beg. [Pats and rooks.] There, there then, go to sleep an’ Mammy wont leave thee. [Sings.]

Snieu, wheeyl, snieu
’Rane, wheeyl, ’rane
Hushie, hushie, bowie,
Hushie, bowie, bow.

I believe he is goin’ off and I’ll get a chance to tidy up a bit before Hommy comes. [Moves away on tiptoe. Child yells.] Well, well. [Coming back and rocking.] Hush thee; Hush thee; Hushie bowie bow.

Rocks a few seconds, and then tries to slip away again; lifts a cup or two to the dresser. Child yells. Rushes back and rocks vigorously. Child throws blankets off. Mrs Gale puts them back, and pats and rocks, singing, “Snieu, wheeyl,” etc. Enter Hommy.

Hommy: Good morning, Mrs. Gale. The Masther was tellin’ me to call roun’ for that you had some stitches wantin’ doin’.

Mrs. Gale: Yes, sure. Work enough in this house an’ no chance for me to be puttin’ a run of fixin’ on anything. Will you take a dhrink of tea before you begin? The place is all through others, an’ indeed I’m not able to side things at all I am so hobbled with this chile.

Hommy: Aw, indade! He’ grow ’stro’nary though, since last I saw him. No, I’ll not take anything just now, thank you kindly. Maybe a sup just now when I’ll be dhry pullin’ the needle in an’ out. Is it tejus like this he is all the time?

Mrs. Gale: Aw, tejus scandalous. My word, there’s no ress at us night or day. Himself walkin’ the flure with him all night. I don’t know what’s doin’ on him.

Hommy [looking down wisely through his spectacles at cradle]: He’s lookin’ middlin’ wickad too. [Child yells.]

Mrs. Gale [angrily]: Don’t be sayin’ such things an’ him in pain, perhaps, poor lil sowl. There’s something must be hurtin’ him to make him so cross. An’ not able to put a foot to the ground yet.

Hommy: Aw, indade! They’re sayin’ it’s very backward he is.

Mrs. Gale: He is that–but he’s cuttin’ his teeth fine, for all. He took an’ bit his Daa yesterday in a mistake. ’Deed but he can bite well enough.

Hommy: Aw, indade! An’ is it only now he is cuttin’ his teeth, an’ him very near four years of age. He should be walkin’ by now.

Mrs. Gale: An’ how is he goin’ to be walkin’ an’ him so wake that his legs is no more use to him till a piece of tangle! It’s like cuttin’ the teeth is enough for him at a time.

Hommy: An’ not spakin’ yet either, they’re sayin’.

Mrs. Gale: Not a word out of him yet. ’Deed, though, there’s many that’s doin’ more talk than work.

Rocks again, and sings.

Hommy: It’s my belief it’s wickad he is, an’ if you were to take an’–

Mrs. Gale: Wickad, indeed, Hommy Beg! You were wickad, too, when you were a chile, from all that’s sayin’, an’ your mother pullin’ twigs from the hedges to be larshin’ you with. [To Child] There, there then, was Hommy bad to the poor lil falla? What’s doin’ on him then!

Hommy: Well I’d better be lookin’ for the mendin’. Them coats an’ things, is it? [Goes to pile of things and begins looking them over. With coat or waistcoat held out, he stops and looks wisely at Mrs. Gale over his glasses.] Well, he’s what you might call a species of coorosity, anyway.

Mrs. Gale [furiously]: Coorosity yourself, Hommy Beg! How dare you be comin’ in the house callin’ names to him–jus’ you set down to your own work, an’ leave him to mine. [Hommy shrugs his shoulders and settles himself cross-legged on table with work.] Coorosity, indeed! As if childher was like them big dolls that can only squeak when you pinch them.

Gradually subsides, quiets child, tucks him up again, and taking shawl from peg, prepares to go out.

Mrs. Gale: I think he’ll be quate now for awhile. Will you cast an eye on him Hommy, an’ I’ll jus’ slip roun’ to Radcliffe’s to see can I get some goose-grease. P’raps the neck is sore at him with all the cryin’ he’s doin’. Cast an eye, Hommy; cast an eye.

Goes out at door.

Hommy [begins to thread needle, etc.]: Well I never saw the like of these wans fir wearin’ their clothes. Childhor now you don’t wonder at. They’re like moths fir their clothes. But these wans is well off an’ no need to be wearin’ such oul duds.

Slowly begins to sew, humming a tune.

Child [sitting up suddenly]: Drop that, Hommy Beg!

Hommy [starts with surprise and then looks over spectacles quite scandalized]: Well, if ever–

Child: Drop it now. [Jumps out of cradle scattering shawls and wraps, Hommy gazing open-mouthed.] Smart now, Hommy–clear this place quick. [Picks up besom and pokes Hommy, finally chasing him into corner, and picking up fiddle in its green bag thrusts it at him.] Now then, tune up! Quick now–give us a quickstep.

“Bollan bane,” or “Tune of wheeyl vooar.” Child dances, throwing things at Hommy, and hitting him with besom; till at last Hommy gets up on table again, playing faster and faster.

Hommy [stopping suddenly]: Whisht! Whisht! Here’s Herself comin’! thank my stars! What in ever will she say!

Child creeps into cradle, drawing shawls and rugs over himself, and begins whining and moaning. Hommy tries clumsily to get down from table.

Mrs. Gale [standing at door with hands uplifted]: What in all the world is the meaning of this?

Hommy [shamefacedly]: Aw, tryin’ to amuse the poor lil falla I was. Makin’ him laugh too, the clavver I was doin’ it. An’ jus’ hear how he’s frettin’ again now I’ve stopped. [Stands looking at Mrs. Gale, rubbing his chin.] I’m thinkin’–

Mrs. Fale [interrupting]: Well, don’t be thinkin’ then, but for goodness sake put a stitch on them duds.

Hommy: Well, but I’m sayin’–

Mrs. Gale: Will you take an’ be doin’ your work, an’ lave thinkin’ an’ sayin’ to the, as is eddicated according.

Takes basin from chiollagh, to feed child.

Hommy [despairingly]: Houl on, woman! Houl on there for a minute now!

Mrs. Gale: An’ what for am I to houl on, an’ the chile needin’ his mate?

Hommy [impressively]: Mrs. Gale, yondher falla is not no right wan at all.

Mrs. Gale: Aw, the dear me, Hommy! What do you mean?

Hommy: Whist, now. Come you ever here that he’ll not be hearin’–

Mrs. Gale: ’Deed I think it’s asleep he is.

Hommy: It’s not sleep that’s doin’ on that falla. Boul as an athag he is, an’ wide awake as a gander. Lizzen here now. Up at the Cronk where I was rarin’ to there was just such another, the very marra of this wan, an’ it was my own Grandmother proved it on them, the way I’ll be doin’ for you now.

Mrs. Gale: Aw Hommy, I’m not goin’ to have the chile hurted–

Hommy: Who’s goin’ to hurt him? If he is what I’m thinkin’ he won’t wait to be hurted, an’ them wans won’t let him be hurted either.

Mrs. Gale: Well now, I have been thinkin’ times there was something quare in him too. Would it be the evil eye that was goin’ a puttin’ on him, or was he butched, or what–. But do you think, Hommy, that themselves have been playing a trick on me?

Hommy: You do as I tell you, Mrs. Gale, an’ you will be thankin’ Hommy gran’ when you’ve your own lil falla back again.

Mrs. Gale [hesitating]: Well as long as you won’t be hurtin’ him for fear you’re makin’ a mistake–. What is it them I am to do Hommy man?

Hommy: You are to go out to the haggart an’ bring in a passel of turves, if you plase, an’ I’ll watch him.

Mrs. Gale goes out, looking first at child in cradle and then suspiciously at Hommy. Child yells.

Hommy [going to cradle and rocking]:

Sleep, boy, sleep,
Dhrame, boy, dhrame;
The King can only ate his mate,
An’ I can do the same.
Hush, boy hush,
Hushie, bowie, bow,
Rixum, raxum, pring, prash,
Hushie, bowie, bow,

Sleep, boy, sleep,
Dhrame, boy, dhrame;
The cat is in the counting-house.
Hush, boy, hush,
Hushie, bowie, bow,
Rixum, raxum, pring, prash,
Cock-a-lory now.

I think it’s asleep he is at last, but I wouldn’ thruss his weather eye is open for all. Let’s have a look. [Bends over cradle. Child turns over and flings his fist in Hommy’s face.] Ogh, murther! Is that the way he’s sleepin’. I’ll have to put a rale charm on him for all.

Mrs. Gale returns with turves in her apron. Hommy takes them from her and packs them on fire. Mrs. Gale watches uneasily. Hommy takes the bellows.

Hommy: Now sit you down there with your back to him, an’ take you that waistcut an’ stitch for your life. An’ whatever you do don’t look round or you’ll be murthered with fright.

Hommy blows turves. Child rises up, wringing his hands and begins to wail and roar; then getting out of cradle, sings:–

Roie, roie, roie shoh, ta mee yllagh,
Lossaghyn, lossaghyn, ta mee gred.

Enter Witches, with besoms. Chorus:–

Butcheragh, butcheragh,
Skeab orroo!
Boir ad, stroie ad,
Skeab orroo!

Child:

Ogh hogh, tar da’n bogh,
Caillyn croutagh.
Cur yn sleih dourin treih,
Skeab orroo!
Chorus–Butcheragh, &c.

Child:

Unnysup gow ad.

Omnes:

Unnysup yoiw ad.
Pishaghyu, guinaghyn vermayd sleih.
Chorus–Butcheragh, &c.

All gallop off on their broomsticks, child leading, and singing butcheragh, etc.

Mrs. Gale: Aw Hommy, Hommy, what’s doin’ in at all?

Keeps her face hidden.

Hommy [standing up and rubbing himself]: Aw, butcheragh thremenjus. Did you hear them creechin’, Mrs. Gale?

Mrs. Gale: I hard some sort of hullabalooin’, but I was too freckened to listen. Were they speakin’ bad to us, Hommy?

Hommy: Aw scandalous. English wouldn’ do reachin’ for them, but heavin’ the Gaelic at us as hard as they could.

Mrs. Gale: Wheer’s the chile, Hommy?

Hommy: The chile you’re callin’ him. He’s a thousan’ years is that falla is he’s a day. Wasn’t he leadin’ the whole gang ridin’ his besom as if it was a pony, an’ the whole of them banging poor Hommy most unmarciful. You’ll do all right, but it’s me they’ll be after! ’Deed I’m not feelin’ so well this minute.

Sits down holding his head.

Mrs. Gale: Wheer’s the chile, Hommy Beg. Come urrow that an’ tell me wheer’s the chile!

Hommy: Amn’t I tellin’ you! Ridin’ his besom at the height of this glory and screetchin’ worse nor any of them.

Mrs. Gale: I’ll have the law on you, Hommy, if you don’t fetch the chile back middlin’ quick.

Hommy: Chut, chut, woman; they’re over the Deemster’s chimleys by this time, an’ judge nor jury won’t fetch them back.

Mrs. Gale: I’ll have the law on you, Hommy, an’ not wait for no judge an’ jury. Go on now, an’ don’t stand glommerin’ theer, but fetch him back this minute.

Chases him with the tongs. Hommy makes for door, Mrs. Gale holding on to his jacket and belabouring with the tongs. Hommy stops suddenly.

Hommy: Houl on, woman! Houl on! They’re not done with us yet. I hear somehtin’ breathin’ at the key-hole.

Elfin music heard.

Hommy [in a low voice]: Go an’ sit down again now, an’ turn your back; for if they’re thinkin’ you’re watchin’, they’ll spoil all an’ change him into a passel of cabbage-bons as like as not.

Mrs. Gale goes to her corner, turning her back on door, but sitting up alert, and listening eagerly. Hommy lays tongs across the end of the cradle, covering them out of sight with a rug, and then hides in the chiollagh.

Good Fairies cuter with Babe singing:–

Ushag veg veen we bring you home,
We bring you home, we bring you home;
Happy and gay, we must away,
Away, away, away.

(They dance with babe).

Ushag veg veen, we leave goodbye,
We leave goodbye, we leave goodbye,
Into your dreams we’ll steal and play,
And play, and play, and play.

(They dance with babe, and put him in cradle).

Ushag veg veen, we kiss our hands,
We kiss our hands, we kiss our hands;
Away we fly, and bid good-bye,
Good-bye, good-bye, good-bye.

(They fly out, kissing their hands). Mrs. Gale looks round. Babe holds out hands to her.

Mrs. Gale: Aw, Hommy, come urrov that this minute. See the lil darlin’ that’s here. Look at him, the way the goose-grease has relieved him. Mammy’s own lil darlin’ lov’ again, smilin’ an’ jumpin’–an’ you standin’ theer like a big gomag and hardly a stitch set in them waistcoats yet. [Hommy climbs slowly on to table seating himself cross-legged and threading his needle again.] For goodness sake set to and start now, or if Himself comes in soon there wont be no dinner for lazy wans! [To Babe]: Ushag veg veen it is then, the darlin’ millish veen!

CURTAIN.