The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #98210   Message #1944774
Posted By: GUEST,John Moulden
22-Jan-07 - 05:33 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Matt Hyland
Subject: RE: Origins: Matt Hyland origins??
The lines that say:

"Oh must I go away," he said, "Oh must I go without my wages",
"Without a penny in my purse, just like a poor forlorn stranger."

have to be read in the context of the hiring system of the agricultural labour market in 19th and early 20th century Ireland (and Scotland too and much or northern England) where a labourer was bound to a farmer for six months in exchange for an agreed wage which was paid only at the end of the period. Leaving early meant the loss of, in this case (because the couple needed time to get to know one another) approaching half a years money. I think that's no small matter and worth whingeing about. Hiring was an iniquitous system which met its end with the Second World War and the Agricultural Workers' Wages Board. I remember hearing that Joe Holmes (Len Graham's singing partner who died in 1979), who had hired, remarked that he had never had a decant week's pay till that man Hitler came along.