Island, He Says, If Men Have A Little Difference, Or A Little Fight,
Their Friends Take Care It Does Not Go Too Far, And In A Little Time
It Is Forgotten.
In Kilronan there is a band of men paid to make out
cases for themselves; the moment a blow is struck they come down and
arrest the man who gave it.
The other man he quarreled with has to
give evidence against him; whole families come down to the court and
swear against each other till they become bitter enemies. If there
is a conviction the man who is convicted never forgives. He waits
his time, and before the year is out there is a cross summons, which
the other man in turn never forgives. The feud continues to grow,
till a dispute about the colour of a man's hair may end in a murder,
after a year's forcing by the law. The mere fact that it is
impossible to get reliable evidence in the island - not because the
people are dishonest, but because they think the claim of kinship
more sacred than the claims of abstract truth - turns the whole
system of sworn evidence into a demoralising farce, and it is easy
to believe that law dealings on this false basis must lead to every
sort of injustice.
While I am discussing these questions with the old men the curaghs
begin to come in with cargoes of salt, and flour, and porter.
To-day a stir was made by the return of a native who had spent five
years in New York.
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