Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Billy in the Bowl

I have a friend arriving tomorrow, and the day he leaves my mom arrives. The neat 'To Do' list I drew up last week has been ignored until this morning.

And what am I doing? Getting stuck into a big bowl of fresh pineapple, and writing away. I'm still in 18th century Dublin. There was a guy who used to go around Oxmantown called Billy in the Bowl, "having been introduced into the world with only a head, body, and arms". The historical account is worth sharing:

When he grew up he conveyed himself along in a large bowl fortified by iron, in which he was embedded. This man was the original "Billy in the Bowl," for though many other personages who got along in various ways were honoured with the same sobriquet, yet this fellow was the king of them all.

He soon ingratiated himself with the simple servant maids from Meath in the respectable houses of Oxmantown. "It's only Billy in the Bowl, ma'am." "Oh, very well," and Billy's bowl was filled with beef, bread, etc. Nature had compensated for his curtailment by giving him fine dark eyes, an aquiline nose, and a well-formed mouth, with dark curling locks, and a body and arms of herculean power.

It turned out that this favourite of the ladies was also a thief and murderer, who took on two women at a time - he'd grab one while turning the iron bowl over the other one to knock them out!

Sufficeth to say I'm engrossed. I can probably distract my visitor with the sea view as I hoover quietly tomorrow...

No comments: