Captain Weddall’s Bicycle: part 3

Chain smoking the night away Sean O’Longain could not rest that night. When he eventually fell asleep his dreams were haunted by sea captains and bicycles. About 7.30 the following morning he was woken from his restless slumber by a rap on the door. Thinking that somehow the captain had found out about the mangled bicycle and had come to reprimand the hapless school teacher about it.

It was not the enraged captain Weddal, it was his landlady. What she had to tell him was the last thing he expected.

“Shaun, Shaun,” said my landlady (in an unusual tone of voice), “are you awake?” said she,

“Indeed I am mam,” said I, inĀ  a voice that was not very normal either.

“Isn’t it awful! Isn’t it awful!” said she.

“What’s wrong mam, what’s wrong?” asked I.

“Ochon ochon go deo, poor Captain Weddall was found dead in bed this morning.”

The young teacher could not believe the timing of Captain Weddall’s death.

“Neighbours passing were bewailing the captain’s sudden demise. I joined in their lamentations as best I could under the circumstances. “May God be good to him.” Says I “the poor poor captain was a kind old neigbour.”

“Isn’t he as well off” says old Mrs. O’Toole, “his troubles are over.”

“True for ye,” says I -“and the troubles of other people too.”

Just as he was breathing a sigh of relief, his landlady back back from visiting the new widow, advised that he should go to see Mrs. Weddall, as she would like to see him. He did reluctantly.

“I did so and offered my sincere sympathy to Mrs. Weddall, after which she invited me into the room to see the captain laid out. That was my hardest ordeal. Even though I knew him to be dead I still had a sort of feeling that he might make some move at my presence. I gave the corpse a side glance, made some excuse and took my leave from the room as soon as the opportunity offered. “Guilty conscience makes cowards of us.””

Emily being Emily, a generous soul told the young teacher and Gaelic Leaguer, that he could keep the bike. I would have been more use to him as he needed one to travel around the island. He thanked her accordingly. He had it repaired and kept if for a long time. No doubt he treasured the bike that in its way was hard bought. Emily as well as her husband went to their graves without knowing of the accident. If they did know they probably would have laughed.

Connaught Telegraph 1830-current, 19.05.1956, page 4