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A few short papers, under the title of this little venture, appeared, at intervals, in Bentley's Miscellany.
Frequent inquiries have been made
“ Why Handy Andy was not continued ?"
and, indeed, I myself regretted the abandonment of what I thought a fruitful subject for fun and whimsicality, though, from various causes, needless to particularize here, the papers were discontinued ; still, from time to time, recurred the question, “why Handy Andy was not continued ?" and the frequency of the demand has produced the supply.
Ancient custom declares “ we should begin at the beginning," therefore, a short reprint is unavoidable in the first number; but, while fairness to the public demands this acknowledgment, justice to myself requires me to state, that much revision and the introduction of fresh matter has taken place, with a view to the development of story and character necessary to a sustained work; for the first paper of Handy Andy was written without any intention of continuation, and required the amendments and additions I have mentioned. The reprint cannot affect those who have not read the beginning of Andy's adventures ; and those who have, and wish to know more, will, it is hoped, skim over the first number to refresh their memories, and lead them well into the second. If, after all this explanation, there be any who object to the partial reprint, I answer, in the words of the well-known old saying,
“ Sure has ’nt an Irishman lave to spake twice ?"
ANDY Rooney was a fellow who had the most singularly ingenious knack of doing everything the wrong way; disappointment waited on all affairs in which he bore a part, and destruction was at his fingers' ends : so the nickname the neighbours stuck upon him was Handy Andy, and the jeering jingle pleased them.
Andy's entrance into this world was quite in character with his after achievements, for he was nearly the death of his mother. She survived, however, to have herself clawed almost to death while her darling babby was in arms, for he would not take his nourishment from the parent fount unless he had one of his little red fists twisted into his mother's hair, which he dragged till he made her roar ; while he diverted the pain by scratching her till the blood came, with the other. Nevertheless she swore he was “ the loveliest and sweetest craythur the sun ever shined upon;" and when he was able to run about and wield a little stick, and smash everything breakable belonging to her, she only praised his precocious powers, and used to ask, “Did ever any one see a darlin' of his age handle a stick so bowld as he did ?”
Andy grew up in mischief and the admiration of his mammy; but, to do him justice, he never meant harm in the course of his life, and was most anxious to offer his services on all occasions to those who would accept them; but they were only the persons who had not already proved Andy's peculiar powers.
There was a farmer hard by in this happy state of ignorance, named Owen Doyle, or, as he was familiarly called, Owny na Coppal, or, “Owen of the Horses," because he bred many of these animals, and sold them at the neighbouring fairs ; and Andy one day offered his services to Owny when he was in want of some one to drive up a horse to his house from a distant “bottom," as low grounds by a river side are always called in Ireland.
“Oh, he's wild, Andy, and you'd never be able to ketch him," said Owny.
“ Throth, an' I'll engage I'll ketch him if you'll let me go. I never seen the horse I couldn't ketch, sir,” said Andy.
“Why, you little spridhogue, if he took to runnin' over the long bottom, it 'ud be more than a day's work for you to folly him.”
“Oh, but he won't run.”
“Well, you're a willin' brat, anyhow; and so go, and God speed you!" said Owny.
“ Just gi' me a wisp o' hay an'a han'ful iv oats,” said Andy, “if I should have to coax him.".
“Sartinly,” said Owny, who entered the stable and came forth with the articles required by Andy, and a halter for the horse also.
“Now, take care,” said Owny, “ that you're able to ride that horse if you get on him.”
“Oh never fear, sir. I can ride owld Lanty Gubbins's mule betther nor any o' the other boys on the common, and he couldn't throw me th' other day, though he kicked the shoes av him.”
“After that you may ride anything," said Owny: and indeed it was true; for Lanty's mule, which fed on the common, being ridden slily by all the young vagabonds in the neighbourhood, had become such an adept in the art of getting rid of his troublesome customers, that it might be well considered a feat to stick on him.
“Now, take grate care of him, Andy, my boy,” said the farmer.
“Don't be afeard, sir," said Andy, who started on his errand in that peculiar pace which is elegantly called a “sweep's trot;' and as the river lay between Owny Doyle's and the bottom, and was too deep for Andy to ford at that season, he went round by Dinny Dowling's mill, where a small wooden bridge crossed the stream.
Here he thought he might as well secure the assistance of Paudeen, the miller's son, to help him in catching the horse ; so he looked about the place until he found him, and, telling him the errand on which he was going, said, " If you like to come wid me, we can both have a ride.” This was temptation sufficient for Paudeen, and the boys proceeded together to the bottom, and they were not long in securing the horse. When they had got the halter over his head, “Now,” said Andy, “ give me a lift on him ;' and accordingly, by Paudeen's catching Andy's left foot in both his hands clasped together in the fashion of a stirrup, he hoisted his friend on the horse's back; and, as soon as he was secure there, Master Paudeen, by the aid of Andy's hand, contrived to scramble up after him; upon which Andy applied his heels to the horse's side with many vigorous kicks, and crying “hurrup!" at the same time, endeavoured to stimulate Owny's steed into something of a pace as he turned his head towards the mill.
“ Sure aren't you going to crass the river ?” said Paudeen. “No, I'm going to lave you at home.”
“Oh, I'd rather go up to Owny's, and it's the shortest way acrass the river.”
“Yes, but I don't like." “Is it afeard you are ?” said Paudeen. “Not I, indeed,” said Andy; though it was really the fact, for the