Friday, January 31, 2014

A couple of chapters from the "Kiltartan History Book" of Lady Gregory. I suspect that she was transcribing a version of history from the mouths of Irish peasants. There is a story told of Yeats and Augusta Gregory going round the cottages of the Gaelic speaking peasantry. The gentle lady entered the cottages of the poor, sat among them, listening to their tales, and writing them down. The middle class Yeats thought himself too good to mingle with the lower orders and waited outside.
He was, in his own mind, the rightful Duke of Ormond.

"Henry the Eighth was crying and roaring and leaping out of the bed for three days and nights before his death. And he died cursing his children, and he that had eight millions when he came to the Throne, coining leather money at the end."

"Queen Elizabeth was awful. Beyond everything she was. When she came to the turn she dyed her hair red, and whatever man she had to do with, she sent him to the block in the morning, that he would be able to tell nothing. She had an awful temper. She would throw a knife from the table at the waiting ladies, and if anything vexed her she would maybe work upon the floor. A thousand dresses she left after her. Very superstitious she was. Sure after her death they found a card, the ace of hearts, nailed to her chair under the seat. She thought she would never die while she had it there. And she bought a bracelet from an old woman out in Wales that was over a hundred years. It was superstition made her do that, and they found it after her death tied about her neck."

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