Quotes Mulvaney

June 4th to 10th


‘“Breast to breast!” he sez, as the Tyrone was pushin’ us forward closer an’ closer.

‘“An’ hand over back!” sez a Sargint that was behin’. I saw a sword lick out past Crook’s ear, an’ the Paythan was tuk in the apple av his throat like a pig at Dromeen Fair.

‘“Thank ye, Brother Inner Guard,” sez Crook,



This is from “With the Main Guard“” collected in Soliiers Three.

On a stifling June night, when the men are in danger of apoplexy from the heat, Mulvaney tells a tale of  a fight on the frontier

Mulcahy tore on, sobbing; the straight-held blade went home through the defenceless breast, and the body pitched forward almost before a shot from Dan’s rifle brought down the slayer and still further hurried the Afghan retreat. The two Irishmen went out to bring in their dead.


This is from “The Mutiny of the Mavericks“, collected in Life’s Handicap

A secret Irish republican organisation aims  to foment mutiny against the British among Irish soldiers of the British army. They send an agent, Mulcahy, who joins up in the ‘Mavericks.

The soldiers, who enjoy soldiering, particularly if it involves fighting, recognise Mulcahy for what he is, and have little sympathy for his views. But he is a copious source of beer and they play alomg woth him.

When the news comes that the regiment is off on active service  the men are overjoyed, and can’t wait to get into battle. Mulcahy e tries to report sick, but is sent off nonetheless. It is made clear by his comrades that he is going to his death, at their hands or those of the enemy. He dies fighting like a madman.

‘Thin the bhoys gave wan devastatin’ howl, an’ pranced into the dhark, feelin’ for the town, an blindin’ and stiffin’ like Cavalry Ridin’ Masters whin the grass pricked their bare legs.


This is from The Taking of Lungtungpen”  collectd in Plaijn Tales from the Hills.

Mulvaney tells a tale of fighting in Burma, when a platoon of young soldiers strip off to  swim a river, and – mother naked – capture an enemy village full of bandits.