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´╗┐Title: Penelope's Irish Experiences
Author: Wiggin, Kate Douglas Smith, 1856-1923
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Penelope's Irish Experiences" ***

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PENELOPE'S IRISH EXPERIENCES

by Kate Douglas Wiggin.

Published 1901.



             To my first Irish friend, Jane Barlow.



Contents.

     Part First--Leinster.

     I.      We emulate the Rollo books.
     II.     Irish itineraries.
     III.    We sight a derelict.
     IV.     Enter Benella Dusenberry.
     V.      The Wearing of the Green.
     VI.     Dublin, then and now.


     Part Second--Munster.

     VII.    A tour and a detour.
     VIII.   Romance and reality.
     IX.     The light of other days.
     X.      The belles of Shandon.
     XI.     'The rale thing.'
     XII.    Life at Knockarney House.
     XIII.   'O! the sound of the Kerry dancin'.'
     XIV.    'Mrs. Mullarkey's iligant locks.'
     XV.     Penelope weaves a web.
     XVI.    Salemina has her chance.


     Part Third--Ulster.

     XVII.   The glens of Antrim.
     XVIII.  Limavady love-letters.
     XIX.    'In ould Donegal.'
     XX.     We evict a tenant.
     XXI.    Lachrymae Hibernicae.


     Part Fourth--Connaught.

     XXII.   The weeping west.
     XXIII.  Beams and motes.
     XXIV.   Humours of the road.
     XXV.    The wee folk.


     Part Fifth--Royal Meath.

     XXVI.   Ireland's gold.
     XXVII.  The three chatelaines of Devorgilla.
     XXVIII. Round towers and reflections.
     XXIX.   Aunt David's garden.
     XXX.    The quest of the fair strangers.
     XXXI.   Good-bye, dark Rosaleen!
     XXXII.  'As the sunflower turns.'



Part First--Leinster.



Chapter I. We emulate the Rollo books.

     'Sure a terrible time I was out o' the way,
        Over the sea, over the sea,
      Till I come to Ireland one sunny day,--
        Betther for me, betther for me:
      The first time me fut got the feel o' the ground
        I was strollin' along in an Irish city
      That hasn't its aquil the world around
        For the air that is sweet an' the girls that are pretty.'

                                              --Moira O'Neill.



                           Dublin, O'Carolan's Private Hotel.

It is the most absurd thing in the world that Salemina, Francesca, and I
should be in Ireland together.

That any three spinsters should be fellow-travellers is not in itself
extraordinary, and so our former journeyings in England and Scotland
could hardly be described as eccentric in any way; but now that I am
a matron and Francesca is shortly to be married, it is odd, to say the
least, to see us cosily ensconced in a private sitting-room of a Dublin
hotel, the table laid for three, and not a vestige of a man anywhere to
be seen. Where, one might ask, if he knew the antecedent circumstances,
are Miss Hamilton's American spouse and Miss Monroe's Scottish lover?

Francesca had passed most of the winter in Scotland. Her indulgent
parent had given his consent to her marriage with a Scotsman, but
insisted that she take a year to make up her mind as to which particular
one. Memories of her past flirtations, divagations, plans for a life of
single blessedness, all conspired to make him incredulous, and the loyal
Salemina, feeling some responsibility in the matter, had elected to
remain by Francesca's side during the time when her affections were
supposed to be crystallising into some permanent form.

It was natural enough that my husband and I should spend the first
summer of our married life abroad, for we had been accustomed to do this
before we met, a period that we always allude to as the Dark Ages; but
no sooner had we arrived in Edinburgh, and no sooner had my husband
persuaded our two friends to join us in a long, delicious Irish holiday,
than he was compelled to return to America for a month or so.

I think you must number among your acquaintances such a man as Mr.
William Beresford, whose wife I have the honour to be. Physically the
type is vigorous, or has the appearance and gives the impression of
being vigorous, because it has never the time to be otherwise, since
it is always engaged in nursing its ailing or decrepit relatives.
Intellectually it is full of vitality; any mind grows when it is
exercised, and the brain that has to settle all its own affairs and all
the affairs of its friends and acquaintances could never lack energy.
Spiritually it is almost too good for earth, and any woman who lives in
the house with it has moments of despondency and self-chastisement,
in which she fears that heaven may prove all too small to contain the
perfect being and its unregenerate family as well.

Financially it has at least a moderate bank account; that is, it
is never penniless, indeed it can never afford to be, because it is
peremptory that it should possess funds in order to disburse them to
needier brothers. There is never an hour when Mr. William Beresford is
not signing notes and bonds and drafts for less fortunate men; giving
small loans just to 'help a fellow over a hard place'; educating
friends' children, starting them in business, or securing appointments
for them. The widow and the fatherless have worn such an obvious path to
his office and residence that no bereaved person could possibly lose
his way, and as a matter of fact no one of them ever does. This special
journey of his to America has been made necessary because, first, his
cousin's widow has been defrauded of a large sum by her man of business;
and second, his college chum and dearest friend has just died in Chicago
after appointing him executor of his estate and guardian of his only
child. The wording of the will is, 'as a sacred charge and with full
power.' Incidentally, as it were, one of his junior partners has been
ordered a long sea voyage, and another has to go somewhere for mud
baths. The junior partners were my idea, and were suggested solely that
their senior might be left more or less free from business care, but
it was impossible that Willie should have selected sound, robust
partners--his tastes do not incline him in the direction of selfish
ease; accordingly he chose two delightful, estimable, frail gentlemen
who needed comfortable incomes in conjunction with light duties.

I am railing at my husband for all this, but I love him for it just the
same, and it shows why the table is laid for three.

"Salemina," I said, extending my slipper toe to the glowing peat, which
by extraordinary effort had been brought up from the hotel kitchen, as a
bit of local colour, "it is ridiculous that we three women should be in
Ireland together; it's the sort of thing that happens in a book, and of
which we say that it could never occur in real life. Three persons do
not spend successive seasons in England, Scotland and Ireland unless
they are writing an Itinerary of the British Isles. The situation is
possible, certainly, but it isn't simple, or natural, or probable. We
are behaving precisely like characters in fiction, who, having been
popular in the first volume, are exploited again and again until their
popularity wanes. We are like the Trotty books or the Elsie Dinmore
series. England was our first volume, Scotland our second, and here we
are, if you please, about to live a third volume in Ireland. We fall in
love, we marry and are given in marriage, we promote and take part
in international alliances, but when the curtain goes up again, our
accumulations, acquisitions--whatever you choose to call
them--have disappeared. We are not to the superficial eye the
spinster-philanthropist, the bride to be, the wife of a year; we are
the same old Salemina, Francesca and Penelope. It is so dramatic that my
husband should be called to America; as a woman I miss him and need him;
as a character I am much better single. I don't suppose publishers like
married heroines any more than managers like married leading ladies.
Then how entirely proper it is that Ronald Macdonald cannot leave his
new parish in the Highlands. The one, my husband, belongs to the first
volume; Francesca's lover to the second; and good gracious, Salemina,
don't you see the inference?"

"I may be dull," she replied, "but I confess I do not."

"We are three?"

"Who is three?"

"That is not good English, but I repeat with different emphasis WE are
three. I fell in love in England, Francesca fell in love in Scotland-"
And here I paused, watching the blush mount rosily to Salemina's grey
hair; pink is very becoming to grey, and that, we always say, accounts
more satisfactorily for Salemina's frequent blushes than her modesty,
which is about of the usual sort.

"Your argument is interesting, and even ingenious," she replied, "but
I fail to see my responsibility. If you persist in thinking of me as
a character in fiction, I shall rebel. I am not the stuff of which
heroines are made; besides, I would never appear in anything so cheap
and obvious as a series, and the three-volume novel is as much out of
fashion as the Rollo books."

"But we are unconscious heroines, you understand," I explained. "While
we were experiencing our experiences we did not notice them, but they
have attained by degrees a sufficient bulk so that they are visible
to the naked eye. We can look back now and perceive the path we have
travelled."

"It isn't retrospect I object to, but anticipation," she retorted; "not
history, but prophecy. It is one thing to gaze sentimentally at the road
you have travelled, quite another to conjure up impossible pictures of
the future."

Salemina calls herself a trifle over forty, but I am not certain of
her age, and think perhaps that she is uncertain herself. She has good
reason to forget it, and so have we. Of course she could consult the
Bible family record daily, but if she consulted her looking-glass
afterward the one impression would always nullify the other. Her hair is
silvered, it is true, but that is so clearly a trick of Nature that it
makes her look younger rather than older.

Francesca came into the room just here. I said a moment ago that she was
the same old Francesca, but I was wrong; she is softening, sweetening,
expanding; in a word, blooming. Not only this, but Ronald Macdonald's
likeness has been stamped upon her in some magical way, so that,
although she has not lost her own personality, she seems to have added
a reflection of his. In the glimpses of herself, her views, feelings,
opinions, convictions, which she gives us in a kind of solution, as
it were, there are always traces of Ronald Macdonald; or, to be more
poetical, he seems to have bent over the crystal pool, and his image is
reflected there.

You remember in New England they allude to a bride as 'she that was'
a so-and-so. In my private interviews with Salemina I now habitually
allude to Francesca as 'she that was a Monroe'; it is so significant
of her present state of absorption. Several times this week I have been
obliged to inquire, "Was I, by any chance, as absent-minded and dull in
Pettybaw as Francesca is under the same circumstances in Dublin?"

"Quite."

"Duller if anything."

These candid replies being uttered in cheerful unison I change the
subject, but cannot resist telling them both casually that the building
of the Royal Dublin Society is in Kildare Street, just three minutes'
from O'Carolan's, and that I have noticed it is for the promotion of
Husbandry and other useful arts and sciences.



Chapter II. Irish itineraries.

    'And I will make my journey, if life and health but stand,
     Unto that pleasant country, that fresh and fragrant strand,
     And leave your boasted braveries, your wealth and high command,
     For the fair hills of holy Ireland.'

                                      --Sir Samuel Ferguson.

Our mutual relations have changed little, notwithstanding that
betrothals and marriages have intervened, and in spite of the fact
that Salemina has grown a year younger; a mysterious feat that she has
accomplished on each anniversary of her birth since the forming of our
alliance.

It is many months since we travelled together in Scotland, but on
entering this very room in Dublin, the other day, we proceeded to show
our several individualities as usual: I going to the window to see the
view, Francesca consulting the placard on the door for hours of table
d'hote, and Salemina walking to the grate and lifting the ugly little
paper screen to say, "There is a fire laid; how nice!" As the matron I
have been promoted to a nominal charge of the travelling arrangements.
Therefore, while the others drive or sail, read or write, I am buried
in Murray's Handbook, or immersed in maps. When I sleep, my dreams
are spotted, starred, notched, and lined with hieroglyphics, circles,
horizontal dashes, long lines, and black dots, signifying hotels, coach
and rail routes, and tramways.

All this would have been done by Himself with the greatest ease in the
world. In the humbler walks of Irish life the head of the house, if he
is of the proper sort, is called Himself, and it is in the shadow of
this stately title that my Ulysses will appear in this chronicle.

I am quite sure I do not believe in the inferiority of woman, but I have
a feeling that a man is a trifle superior in practical affairs. If I am
in doubt, and there is no husband, brother, or cousin near, from whom to
seek advice, I instinctively ask the butler or the coachman rather than
a female friend; also, when a female friend has consulted the Bradshaw
in my behalf, I slip out and seek confirmation from the butcher's boy or
the milkman. Himself would have laid out all our journeyings for us, and
we should have gone placidly along in well-ordered paths. As it is,
we are already pledged to do the most absurd and unusual things, and
Ireland bids fair to be seen in the most topsy-turvy, helter-skelter
fashion imaginable.

Francesca's propositions are especially nonsensical, being provocative
of fruitless discussion, and adding absolutely nothing to the sum of
human intelligence.

"Why not start without any special route in view, and visit the towns
with which we already have familiar associations?" she asked. "We should
have all sorts of experiences by the way, and be free from the blighting
influences of a definite purpose. Who that has ever travelled fails to
call to mind certain images when the names of cities come up in general
conversation? If Bologna, Brussels, or Lima is mentioned, I think at
once of sausages, sprouts, and beans, and it gives me a feeling of
friendly intimacy. I remember Neufchatel and Cheddar by their cheeses,
Dorking and Cochin China by their hens, Whitby by its jet, or York by
its hams, so that I am never wholly ignorant of places and their subtle
associations."

"That method appeals strongly to the fancy," said Salemina drily. "What
subtle associations have you already established in Ireland?"

"Let me see," she responded thoughtfully; "the list is not a long one.
Limerick and Carrickmacross for lace, Shandon for the bells, Blarney
and Donnybrook for the stone and the fair, Kilkenny for the cats, and
Balbriggan for the stockings."

"You are sordid this morning," reproved Salemina; "it would be better if
you remembered Limerick by the famous siege, and Balbriggan as the
place where King William encamped with his army after the battle of the
Boyne."

"I've studied the song-writers more than the histories and geographies,"
I said, "so I should like to go to Bray and look up the Vicar, then to
Coleraine to see where Kitty broke the famous pitcher; or to Tara, where
the harp that once, or to Athlone, where dwelt Widow Malone, ochone, and
so on; just start with an armful of Tom Moore's poems and Lover's and
Ferguson's, and, yes," I added generously, "some of the nice moderns,
and visit the scenes they've written about."

"And be disappointed," quoth Francesca cynically. "Poets see everything
by the light that never was on sea or land; still I won't deny that they
help the blind, and I should rather like to know if there are still any
Nora Creinas and Sweet Peggies and Pretty Girls Milking their Cows."

"I am very anxious to visit as many of the Round Towers as possible,"
said Salemina. "When I was a girl of seventeen I had a very dear friend,
a young Irishman, who has since become a well-known antiquary and
archaeologist. He was a student, and afterwards, I think, a professor
here in Trinity College, but I have not heard from him for many years."

"Don't look him up, darling," pleaded Francesca. "You are so much our
superior now that we positively must protect you from all elevating
influences."

"I won't insist on the Round Towers," smiled Salemina, "and I think
Penelope's idea a delightful one; we might add to it a sort of literary
pilgrimage to the homes and haunts of Ireland's famous writers."

"I didn't know that she had any," interrupted Francesca.

This is a favourite method of conversation with that spoiled young
person; it seems to appeal to her in three different ways: she likes
to belittle herself, she likes to shock Salemina, and she likes to have
information given her on the spot in some succinct, portable, convenient
form.

"Oh," she continued apologetically, "of course there are Dean Swift and
Thomas Moore and Charles Lever."

"And," I added "certain minor authors named Goldsmith, Sterne, Steele,
and Samuel Lover."

"And Bishop Berkeley, and Brinsley Sheridan, and Maria Edgeworth, and
Father Prout," continued Salemina, "and certain great speech-makers like
Burke and Grattan and Curran; and how delightful to visit all the places
connected with Stella and Vanessa, and the spot where Spenser wrote the
Faerie Queene."

     "'Nor own a land on earth but one,
       We're Paddies, and no more,'"

sang Francesca. "You will be telling me in a moment that Thomas Carlyle
was born in Skereenarinka, and that Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet
in Coolagarranoe," for she had drawn the guidebook toward her and made
good use of it. "Let us do the literary pilgrimage, certainly, before
we leave Ireland, but suppose we begin with something less intellectual.
This is the most pugnacious map I ever gazed upon. All the names seem
to begin or end with kill, bally, whack, shock, or knock; no wonder the
Irish make good soldiers! Suppose we start with a sanguinary trip to the
Kill places, so that I can tell any timid Americans I meet in travelling
that I have been to Kilmacow and to Kilmacthomas, and am going to-morrow
to Kilmore, and the next day to Kilumaule."

"I think that must have been said before," I objected.

"It is so obvious that it's not unlikely," she rejoined; "then let
us simply agree to go afterwards to see all the Bally places from
Ballydehob on the south to Ballycastle or Ballymoney on the north,
and from Ballynahinch or Ballywilliam on the east to Ballyvaughan or
Ballybunnion on the west, and passing through, in transit,

     Ballyragget,
     Ballysadare,
     Ballybrophy,
     Ballinasloe,
     Ballyhooley,
     Ballycumber,
     Ballyduff,
     Ballynashee,
     Ballywhack.

Don't they all sound jolly and grotesque?"

"They do indeed," we agreed, "and the plan is quite worthy of you; we
can say no more."

We had now developed so many more ideas than we could possibly use that
the labour of deciding among them was the next thing to be done. Each of
us stood out boldly for her own project,--even Francesca clinging, from
sheer wilfulness, to her worthless and absurd itineraries,--until, in
order to bring the matter to any sort of decision, somebody suggested
that we consult Benella; which reminds me that you have not yet the
pleasure of Benella's acquaintance.



Chapter III. We sight a derelict.

     'O Bay of Dublin, my heart you're troublin',
      Your beauty haunts me like a fever dream.'
                                         Lady Dufferin.

To perform the introduction properly I must go back a day or two. We
had elected to cross to Dublin directly from Scotland, an easy night
journey. Accordingly we embarked in a steamer called the Prince or the
King of something or other, the name being many degrees more princely or
kingly than the craft itself.

We had intended, too, to make our own comparison of the Bay of Dublin
and the Bay of Naples, because every traveller, from Charles Lever's
Jack Hinton down to Thackeray and Mr. Alfred Austin has always made it a
point of honour to do so. We were balked in our conscientious endeavour,
because we arrived at the North Wall forty minutes earlier than the hour
set by the steamship company. It is quite impossible for anything in
Ireland to be done strictly on the minute, and in struggling not to be
hopelessly behind time, a 'disthressful counthry' will occasionally be
ahead of it. We had been told that we should arrive in a drizzling rain,
and that no one but Lady Dufferin had ever on approaching Ireland seen
the 'sweet faces of the Wicklow mountains reflected in a smooth and
silver sea.' The grumblers were right on this special occasion, although
we have proved them false more than once since.

I was in a fever of fear that Ireland would not be as Irish as we wished
it to be. It seemed probable that processions of prosperous aldermen,
school directors, contractors, mayors, and ward politicians, returning
to their native land to see how Herself was getting on, the crathur,
might have deposited on the soil successive layers of Irish-American
virtues, such as punctuality, thrift, and cleanliness, until they had
quite obscured fair Erin's peculiar and pathetic charm. We longed for
the new Ireland as fervently as any of her own patriots, but we wished
to see the old Ireland before it passed. There is plenty of it left
(alas! the patriots would say), and Dublin was as dear and as dirty as
when Lady Morgan first called it so, long years ago. The boat was met
by a crowd of ragged gossoons, most of them barefooted, some of them
stockingless, and in men's shoes, and several of them with flowers in
their unspeakable hats and caps. There were no cabs or jaunting cars
because we had not been expected so early, and the jarveys were in
attendance on the Holyhead steamer. It was while I was searching for a
piece of lost luggage that I saw the stewardess assisting a young woman
off the gang plank, and leading her toward a pile of wool bags on
the dock. She sank helplessly on one of them, and leaned her head on
another. As the night had been one calculated to disturb the physical
equilibrium of a poor sailor, and the breakfast of a character to
discourage the stoutest stomach, I gave her a careless thought of pity
and speedily forgot her. Two trunks, a holdall, a hatbox--in which
reposed, in solitary grandeur, Francesca's picture hat, intended for
the further undoing of the Irish gentry--a guitar case, two bags, three
umbrellas; all were safe but Salemina's large Vuitton trunk and my
valise, which had been last seen at Edinburgh station. Salemina returned
to the boat, while Francesca and I wended our way among the heaps of
luggage, followed by crowds of ragamuffins, who offered to run for a
car, run for a cab, run for a porter, carry our luggage up the street
to the cab-stand, carry our wraps, carry us, 'do any mortial thing for a
penny, melady, an' there is no cars here, melady, God bless me sowl, and
that He be good to us all if I'm tellin' you a word of a lie!'

Entirely unused to this flow of conversation, we were obliged to stop
every few seconds to recount our luggage and try to remember what we
were looking for. We all met finally, and I rescued Salemina from the
voluble thanks of an old woman to whom she had thoughtlessly given a
three-penny bit. This mother of a 'long wake family' was wishing that
Salemina might live to 'ate the hin' that scratched over her grave,
and invoking many other uncommon and picturesque blessings, but we were
obliged to ask her to desist and let us attend to our own business.

"Will I clane the whole of thim off for you for a penny, your ladyship's
honour, ma'am?" asked the oldest of the ragamuffins, and I gladly
assented to the novel proposition. He did it, too, and there seemed to
be no hurt feelings in the company.

Just then there was a rattle of cabs and side-cars, and our
self-constituted major-domo engaged two of them to await our pleasure.
At the same moment our eyes lighted upon Salemina's huge Vuitton, which
had been dragged behind the pile of wool sacks. It was no wonder it
had escaped our notice, for it was mostly covered by the person of the
sea-sick maiden whom I had seen on the arm of the stewardess. She was
seated on it, exhaustion in every line of her figure, her head upon my
travelling bag, her feet dangling over the edge until they just touched
the 'S. P., Salem, Mass., U.S.A.' painted in large red letters on the
end. She was too ill to respond to our questions, but there was no
mistaking her nationality. Her dress, hat, shoes, gloves, face, figure
were American. We sent for the stewardess, who told us that she had
arrived in Glasgow on the day previous, and had been very ill all the
way coming from Boston.

"Boston!" exclaimed Salemina. "Do you say she is from Boston, poor
thing?"

("I didn't know that a person living in Boston could ever, under any
circumstances, be a 'poor thing,'" whispered Francesca to me.)

"She was not fit to be crossing last night, and the doctor on the
American ship told her so, and advised her to stay in bed for three days
before coming to Ireland; but it seems as if she were determined to get
to her journey's end."

"We must have our trunk," I interposed. "Can't we move her carefully
over to the wool sacks, and won't you stay with her until her friends
come?"

"She has no friends in this country, ma'am. She's just travelling for
pleasure like."

"Good gracious! what a position for her to be in," said Salemina. "Can't
you take her back to the steamer and put her to bed?"

"I could ask the captain, certainly, miss, though of course it's
something we never do, and besides we have to set the ship to rights and
go across again this evening."

"Ask her what hotel she is going to, Salemina," we suggested, "and let
us drop her there, and put her in charge of the housekeeper; of course
if it is only sea-sickness she will be all right in the morning."

The girl's eyes were closed, but she opened them languidly as Salemina
chafed her cold hands, and asked gently if we could not drive her to an
hotel.

"Is--this--your--baggage?" she whispered.

"It is," Salemina answered, somewhat puzzled.

"Then don't--leave me here, I am from Salem--myself," whereupon without
any more warning she promptly fainted away on the trunk.

The situation was becoming embarrassing. The assemblage grew larger,
and a more interesting and sympathetic audience I never saw. To an Irish
crowd, always warm-hearted and kindly, willing to take any trouble
for friend or stranger, and with a positive terror of loneliness, or
separation from kith and kin, the helpless creature appealed in every
way. One and another joined the group with a "Holy Biddy! what's this at
all?"

"The saints presarve us, is it dyin' she is?"

"Look at the iligant duds she do be wearin'."

"Call the docthor, is it? God give you sinse! Sure the docthors is only
a flock of omadhauns."

"Is it your daughter she is, ma'am?" (This to Salemina.)

"She's from Ameriky, the poor mischancy crathur."

"Give her a toothful of whisky, your ladyship. Sure it's nayther bite
nor sup she's had the morn, and belike she's as impty as a quarry-hole."

When this last expression from the mother of the long weak family fell
upon Salemina's cultured ears she looked desperate.

We could not leave a fellow-countrywoman, least of all could Salemina
forsake a fellow-citizen, in such a hapless plight.

"Take one cab with Francesca and the luggage, Penelope," she whispered.
"I will bring the girl with me, put her to bed, find her friends,
and see that she starts on her journey safely; it's very awkward, but
there's nothing else to be done."

So we departed in a chorus of popular approval.

"Sure it's you that have the good hearts!"

"May the heavens be your bed!"

"May the journey thrive wid her, the crathur!"

Francesca and I arrived first at the hotel where our rooms were already
engaged, and there proved to be a comfortable little dressing, or
maid's, room just off Salemina's.

Here the Derelict was presently ensconced, and there she lay, in a sort
of profound exhaustion, all day, without once absolutely regaining
her consciousness. Instead of visiting the National Gallery as I had
intended, I returned to the dock to see if I could find the girl's
luggage, or get any further information from the stewardess before she
left Dublin.

"I'll send the doctor at once, but we must learn all possible
particulars now," I said maliciously to poor Salemina. "It would be so
awkward, you know, if you should be arrested for abduction."

The doctor thought it was probably nothing more than the complete
prostration that might follow eight days of sea-sickness, but the
patient's heart was certainly a little weak, and she needed the utmost
quiet. His fee was a guinea for the first visit, and he would drop in
again in the course of the afternoon to relieve our anxiety. We took
turns in watching by her bedside, but the two unemployed ones lingered
forlornly near, and had no heart for sightseeing. Francesca did,
however, purchase opera tickets for the evening, and secretly engaged
the housemaid to act as head nurse in our absence.

As we were dining at seven, we heard a faint voice in the little room
beyond. Salemina left her dinner and went in to find her charge slightly
better. We had been able thus far only to take off her dress, shoes, and
such garments as made her uncomfortable; Salemina now managed to slip on
a nightdress and put her under the bedcovers, returning then to her cold
mutton cutlet.

"She's an extraordinary person," she said, absently playing with her
knife and fork. "She didn't ask me where she was, or show any interest
in her surroundings; perhaps she is still too weak. She said she was
better, and when I had made her ready for bed, she whispered, 'I've got
to say my prayers'.

"'Say them by all means,' I replied.

"'But I must get up and kneel down, she said.

"I told her she must do nothing of the sort; that she was far too ill.

"'But I must,' she urged. 'I never go to bed without saying my prayers
on my knees.'

"I forbade her doing it; she closed her eyes, and I came away. Isn't she
quaint?"

At this juncture we heard the thud of a soft falling body, and rushing
in we found that the Derelict had crept from her bed to her knees, and
had probably not prayed more than two minutes before she fainted for the
fifth or sixth time in twenty-four hours. Salemina was vexed, angel
and philanthropist though she is. Francesca and I were so helpless with
laughter that we could hardly lift the too conscientious maiden into
bed. The situation may have been pathetic; to the truly pious mind it
would indeed have been indescribably touching, but for the moment the
humorous side of it was too much for our self-control. Salemina, in
rushing for stimulants and smelling salts, broke her only comfortable
eyeglasses, and this accident, coupled with her other anxieties
and responsibilities, caused her to shed tears, an occurrence so
unprecedented that Francesca and I kissed and comforted her and tucked
her up on the sofa. Then we sent for the doctor, gave our opera tickets
to the head waiter and chambermaid, and settled down to a cheerful home
evening, our first in Ireland.

"If Himself were here, we should not be in this plight," I sighed.

"I don't know how you can say that," responded Salemina, with
considerable spirit. "You know perfectly well that if your husband had
found a mother and seven children helpless and deserted on that dock,
he would have brought them all to this hotel, and then tried to find the
father and grandfather."

"And it's not Salemina's fault," argued Francesca. "She couldn't help
the girl being born in Salem; not that I believe that she ever heard of
the place before she saw it printed on Salemina's trunk. I told you it
was too big and red, dear, but you wouldn't listen! I am the strongest
American of the party, but I confess that U.S.A. in letters five inches
long is too much for my patriotism."

"It would not be if you ever had charge of the luggage," retorted
Salemina.

"And whatever you do, Francesca," I added beseechingly, "don't impugn
the veracity of our Derelict. While we think of ourselves as ministering
angels I can endure anything, but if we are the dupes of an adventuress,
there is nothing pretty about it. By the way, I have consulted the
English manageress of this hotel, who was not particularly sympathetic.
'Perhaps you shouldn't have assumed charge of her, madam,' she said,
'but having done so, hadn't you better see if you can get her into a
hospital?' It isn't a bad suggestion, and after a day or two we will
consider it, or I will get a trained nurse to take full charge of her.
I would be at any reasonable expense rather than have our pleasure
interfered with any further."

It still seems odd to make a proposition of this kind. In former times,
Francesca was the Croesus of the party, Salemina came second, and I
last, with a most precarious income. Now I am the wealthy one, Francesca
is reduced to the second place, and Salemina to the third, but it makes
no difference whatever, either in our relations, our arrangements, or,
for that matter, in our expenditures.



Chapter IV. Enter Benella Dusenberry.

     'A fair maiden wander'd
        All wearied and lone,
      Sighing, "I'm a poor stranger,
        And far from my own."
      We invited her in,
      We offered her share
      Of our humble cottage
      And our humble fare;
      We bade her take comfort,
      No longer to moan,
      And made the poor stranger
      Be one of our own.'
                      Old Irish Song.

The next morning dawned as lovely as if it had slipped out of Paradise,
and as for freshness, and emerald sheen, the world from our windows was
like a lettuce leaf just washed in dew. The windows of my bedroom looked
out pleasantly on St. Stephen's Green, commonly called Stephen's Green,
or by citizens of the baser sort, Stephens's Green. It is a good English
mile in circumference, and many are the changes in it from the time it
was first laid out, in 1670, to the present day, when it was made into a
public park by Lord Ardilaun.

When the celebrated Mrs. Delany, then Mrs. Pendarves, first saw it, the
centre was a swamp, where in winter a quantity of snipe congregated,
and Harris in his History of Dublin alludes to the presence of snipe
and swamp as an agreeable and uncommon circumstance not to be met with
perhaps in any other great city in the world.

A double row of spreading lime-trees bordered its four sides, one of
which, known as Beaux' Walk, was a favourite lounge for fashionable
idlers. Here stood Bishop Clayton's residence, a large building with a
front like Devonshire House in Piccadilly: so writes Mrs. Delany. It was
splendidly furnished, and the bishop lived in a style which proves that
Irish prelates of the day were not all given to self-abnegation and
mortification of the flesh.

A long line of vehicles, outside-cars and cabs, some of them battered
and shaky, others sufficiently well-looking, was gathering on two sides
of the Green, for Dublin, you know, is 'the car-drivingest city in
the world.' Francesca and I had our first experience yesterday in the
intervals of nursing, driving to Dublin Castle, Trinity College, the
Four Courts, and Grafton Street (the Regent Street of Dublin). It is
easy to tell the stranger, stiff, decorous, terrified, clutching the
rail with one or both hands, but we took for our model a pretty Irish
girl, who looked like nothing so much as a bird on a swaying bough. It
is no longer called the 'jaunting,' but the outside car and there
is another charming word lost to the world. There was formerly an
inside-car too, but it is almost unknown in Dublin, though still found
in some of the smaller towns. An outside-car has its wheels practically
inside the body of the vehicle, but an inside car carries its wheels
outside. This definition was given us by an Irish driver, but lucid
definition is not perhaps an Irishman's strong point. It is clearer to
say that the passenger sits outside of the wheels on the one, inside on
the other. There are seats for two persons over each of the two
wheels, and a dickey for the driver in front, should he need to use it.
Ordinarily he sits on one side, driving, while you perch on the other,
and thus you jog along, each seeing your own side of the road, and
discussing the topics of the day across the 'well,' as the covered-in
centre of the car is called. There are those who do not agree with its
champions, who call it 'Cupid's own conveyance'; they find the seat too
small for two, yet feel it a bit unsociable when the companion occupies
the opposite side. To me a modern Dublin car with rubber tires and a
good Irish horse is the jolliest vehicle in the universe; there is a
liveliness, an irresponsible gaiety, in the spring and sway of it; an
ease in the half-lounging position against the cushions, a unique charm
in 'travelling edgeways' with your feet planted on the step. You must
not be afraid of a car if you want to enjoy it. Hold the rail if you
must, at first, though it's just as bad form as clinging to your horse's
mane while riding in the Row. Your driver will take all the chances that
a crowded thoroughfare gives him; he would scorn to leave more than an
inch between your feet and a Guinness' beer dray; he will shake your
flounces and furbelows in the very windows of the passing trams, but he
is beloved by the gods, and nothing ever happens to him.

The morning was enchanting, as I said, and, above all, the Derelict was
better.

"It's a grand night's slape I had wid her intirely," said the housemaid;
"an' sure it's not to-day she'll be dyin' on you at all, at all; she's
had the white drink in the bowl twyst, and a grand cup o' tay on the top
o' that."

Salemina fortified herself with breakfast before she went in to an
interview, which we all felt to be important and decisive. The time
seemed endless to us, and endless were our suppositions.

"Perhaps she has had morning prayers and fainted again."

"Perhaps she has turned out to be Salemina's long-lost cousin."

"Perhaps she is upbraiding Salemina for kidnapping her when she was
insensible."

"Perhaps she is relating her life history; if it is a sad one, Salemina
is adopting her legally at this moment."

"Perhaps she is one of Mr. Beresford's wards, and has come over to
complain of somebody's ill treatment."

Here Salemina entered, looking flushed and embarrassed. We thought it a
bad sign that she could not meet our eyes without confusion, but I made
room for her on the sofa, and Francesca drew her chair closer.

"She is from Salem," began the poor dear; "she has never been out of
Massachusetts in her life."

"Unfortunate girl!" exclaimed Francesca, adding prudently, as she saw
Salemina's rising colour, "though of course if one has to reside in a
single state, Massachusetts offers more compensations than any other."

"She knows every nook and corner in the place," continued Salemina;
"she has even seen the house where I was born, and her name is Benella
Dusenberry."

"Impossible!" cried Francesca. "Dusenberry is unlikely enough, but
who ever heard of such a name as Benella! It sounds like a flavouring
extract."

"She came over to see the world, she says."

"Oh! then she has money?"

"No--or at least, yes; or at least she had enough when she left America
to last for two or three months, or until she could earn something."

"Of course she left her little all in a chamois-skin bag under her
pillow on the steamer," suggested Francesca.

"That is precisely what she did," Salemina replied, with a pale smile.
"However, she was so ill in the steerage that she had to pay twenty-five
or thirty dollars extra to go into the second cabin, and this naturally
reduced the amount of her savings, though it makes no difference since
she left them all behind her, save a few dollars in her purse. She says
she is usually perfectly well, but that she was very tired when she
started, that it was her first sea-voyage, and the passage was unusually
rough."

"Where is she going?"

"I don't know; I mean she doesn't know. Her maternal grandmother was
born in Trim, near Tara, in Meath, but she does not think she has any
relations over here. She is entirely alone in the world, and that gives
her a certain sentiment in regard to Ireland, which she heard a great
deal about when she was a child. The maternal grandmother must have gone
to Salem at a very early age, as Benella herself savours only of New
England soil."

"Has she any trade, or is she trained to do anything whatsoever?" asked
Francesca.

"No, she hoped to take some position of 'trust.' She does not care at
all what it is, so long as the occupation is 'interestin' work,' she
says. That is rather vague, of course, but she speaks and appears like a
nice, conscientious person."

"Tell us the rest; conceal nothing," I said sternly.

"She--she thinks that we have saved her life, and she feels that she
belongs to us," faltered Salemina.

"Belongs to us!" we cried in a duet. "Was there ever such a base reward
given to virtue; ever such an unwelcome expression of gratitude! Belong
to us, indeed! We can't have her; we won't have her. Were you perfectly
frank with her?"

"I tried to be, but she almost insisted; she has set her heart upon
being our maid."

"Does she know how to be a maid?"

"No, but she is extremely teachable, she says."

"I have my doubts," remarked Francesca; "a liking for personal service
is not a distinguishing characteristic of New Englanders; they are
not the stuff of which maids are made. If she were French or German or
Senegambian, in fact anything but a Saleminian, we might use her; we
have always said we needed some one."

Salemina brightened. "I thought myself it might be rather nice--that is,
I thought it might be a way out of the difficulty. Penelope had thought
at one time of bringing a maid, and it would save us a great deal of
trouble. The doctor thinks she could travel a short distance in a few
days; perhaps it is a Providence in disguise."

"The disguise is perfect," murmured Francesca.

"You see," Salemina continued, "when the poor thing tottered along the
wharf the stewardess laid her on the pile of wool sacks-"

"Like a dying Chancellor," again interpolated the irrepressible.

"And ran off to help another passenger. When she opened her eyes, she
saw straight in front of her, in huge letters, 'Salem, Mass., U.S.A.'
It loomed before her despairing vision, I suppose, like a great ark
of refuge, and seemed to her in her half-dazed condition not only a
reminder, but almost a message from home. She had then no thought of
ever seeing the owner; she says she felt only that she should like
to die quietly on anything marked 'Salem, Mass.' Go in to see her
presently, Penelope, and make up your own mind about her. See if you
can persuade her to--to--well, to give us up. Try to get her out of the
notion of being our maid. She is so firm; I never saw so feeble a person
who could be so firm; and what in the world shall we do with her if she
keeps on insisting, in her nervous state?"

"My idea would be," I suggested, "to engage her provisionally, if we
must, not because we want her, but because her heart is weak. I shall
tell her that we do not feel like leaving her behind, and yet we
ourselves cannot be detained in Dublin indefinitely; that we will try
the arrangement for a month, and that she can consider herself free to
leave us at any time on a week's notice."

"I approve of that," agreed Francesca, "because it makes it easier to
dismiss her in case she turns out to be a Massachusetts Borgia. You
remember, however, that we bore with the vapours and vagaries, the sighs
and moans of Jane Grieve in Pettybaw, all those weeks, and not one of us
had the courage to throw off her yoke. Never shall I forget her at your
wedding, Penelope; the teardrop glistened in her eye as usual; I think
it is glued there! Ronald was sympathetic, because he fancied she was
weeping for the loss of you, but on inquiry it transpired that she was
thinking of a marriage in that 'won'erfu' fine family in Glasgy,'
with whose charms she had made us all too familiar. She asked to be
remembered when I began my own housekeeping, and I told her truthfully
that she was not a person who could be forgotten; I repressed my feeling
that she is too tearful for a Highland village where it rains most
of the year, also my conviction that Ronald's parish would chasten me
sufficiently without her aid."

I did as Salemina wished, and had a conference with Miss Dusenberry. I
hope I was quite clear in my stipulations as to the perfect freedom
of the four contracting parties. I know I intended to be, and I was
embarrassed to see Francesca and Salemina exchange glances next day when
Benella said she would show us what a good sailor she could be, on the
return voyage to America, adding that she thought a person would be much
less liable to sea-sickness when travelling in the first cabin.



Chapter V. The Wearing of the Green.

     'Sir Knight, I feel not the least alarm,
      No son of Erin will offer me harm--
      For tho' they love woman and golden store,
      Sir Knight, they love honour and virtue more!'
                                   Thomas Moore.

"This is an anniversary," said Salemina, coming into the sitting-room at
breakfast-time with a book under her arm. "Having given up all hope of
any one's waking in this hotel, which, before nine in the morning, is
precisely like the Sleeping Beauty's castle, I dressed and determined to
look up Brian Boru."

"From all that I can recall of him he was not a person to meet before
breakfast," yawned Francesca; "still I shall be glad of a little
fresh light, for my mind is in a most chaotic state, induced by the
intellectual preparation that you have made me undergo during the past
month. I dreamed last night that I was conducting a mothers' meeting
in Ronald's new parish, and the subject for discussion was the Small
Livings Scheme, the object of which is to augment the stipends of the
ministers of the Church of Scotland to a minimum of 200 pounds per
annum. I tried to keep the members to the point, but was distracted
by the sudden appearance, in all corners of the church, of people who
hadn't been 'asked to the party.' There was Brian Boru, Tony Lumpkin,
Finn McCool, Felicia Hemans, Ossian, Mrs. Delany, Sitric of the Silken
Beard, St. Columba, Mickey Free, Strongbow, Maria Edgeworth, and the
Venerable Bede. Imagine leading a mothers' meeting with those people
in the pews,--it was impossible! St. Columbkille and the Venerable Bede
seemed to know about parochial charges and livings and stipends and
glebes, and Maria Edgeworth was rather helpful; but Brian and Sitric
glared at each other and brandished their hymn-books threateningly,
while Ossian refused to sit in the same pew with Mickey Free, who
behaved in an odious manner, and interrupted each of the speakers in
turn. Incidentally a group of persons huddled together in a far corner
rose out of the dim light, and flapping huge wings, flew over my head
and out of the window above the altar. This I took to be the Flight of
the Earls, and the terror of it awoke me. Whatever my parish duties
may be in the future, at least they cannot be any more dreadful and
disorderly than the dream."

"I don't know which is more to blame, the seed that I sowed, or the
soil on which it fell," said Salemina, laughing heartily at Francesca's
whimsical nightmares; "but as I said, this is an anniversary. The famous
battle of Clontarf was fought here in Dublin on this very day eight
hundred years ago, and Brian Boru routed the Danes in what was the last
struggle between Christianity and heathenism. The greatest slaughter
took place on the streets along which we drove yesterday from Ballybough
Bridge to the Four Courts. Brian Boru was king of Munster, you remember"
(Salemina always says this for courtesy's sake), "or at least you have
read of that time in Ireland's history when a fair lady dressed in fine
silk and gold and jewels could walk unmolested the length of the land,
because of the love the people bore King Brian and the respect they
cherished for his wise laws. Well, Mailmora, the king of Leinster, had
quarrelled with him, and joined forces with the Danish leaders against
him. Broder and Amlaff, two Vikings from the Isle of Man, brought with
them a 'fleet of two thousand Denmarkians and a thousand men covered
with mail from head to foot,' to meet the Irish, who always fought in
tunics. Joyce says that Broder wore a coat of mail that no steel would
bite, that he was both tall and strong, and that his black locks were
so long that he tucked them under his belt,--there's a portrait for your
gallery, Penelope. Brian's army was encamped on the Green of Aha-Clee,
which is now Phoenix Park, and when he set fire to the Danish districts,
the fierce Norsemen within the city could see a blazing, smoking pathway
that reached from Dublin to Howth. The quarrel must have been all the
more virulent in that Mailmora was Brian's brother-in-law, and Brian's
daughter was the wife of Sitric of the Silken Beard, Danish king of
Dublin."

"I refuse to remember their relationships or alliances," said Francesca.
"They were always intermarrying with their foes in order to gain
strength, but it generally seems to have made things worse rather
than better; still I don't mind hearing what became of Brian after his
victory; let us quite finish with him before the eggs come up. I suppose
it will be eggs?"

"Broder the Viking rushed upon him in his tent where he was praying,
cleft his head from his body, and he is buried in Armagh Cathedral,"
said Salemina, closing the book. "Penelope, do ring again for breakfast,
and just to keep us from realising our hunger read 'Remember the Glories
of Brian the Brave.'"

We had brought letters of introduction to a dean, a bishop, and a Rt.
Hon. Lord Justice, so there were a few delightful invitations when the
morning post came up; not so many as there might have been, perhaps,
had not the Irish capital been in a state of complete dementia over the
presence of the greatest Queen in the world. [*] Privately, I think that
those nations in the habit of having kings and queens at all should have
four, like those in a pack of cards; then they could manage to give all
their colonies and dependencies a frequent sight of royalty, and prevent
much excitement and heart-burning.


     * Penelope's experiences in Scotland, given in a former
     volume, ended, the meticulous proof-reader will remember,
     with her marriage in the year of the Queen's Jubilee. It is
     apparent in the opening chapters of this story that Penelope
     came to Ireland the following spring, which, though the
     matter is hardly important, was not that of the Queen's
     memorable visit. The Irish experiences are probably the
     fruit of several expeditions, and Penelope has chosen to
     include this vivid impression of Her Majesty's welcome to
     Ireland, even though it might convict her of an anachronism.
     Perhaps as this is not an historical novel, but a 'chronicle
     of small beer,' the trifling inaccuracy may be pardoned.--K.
     D. W.


It was worth something to be one of the lunatic populace when the little
lady in black, with her parasol bordered in silver shamrocks, drove
along the gaily decorated streets, for the Irish, it seems to me, desire
nothing better than to be loyal, if any persons to whom they can be
loyal are presented to them.

"Irish disaffection is, after all, but skin-deep," said our friend the
dean; "it is a cutaneous malady, produced by external irritants. Below
the surface there is a deep spring of personal loyalty, which needs only
a touch like that of the prophet's wand to enable it to gush forth in
healing floods. Her Majesty might drive through these crowded streets
in her donkey chaise unguarded, as secure as the lady in that poem of
Moore's which portrayed the safety of women in Brian Boru's time. The
old song has taken on a new meaning. It begins, you know,--

     'Lady, dost thou not fear to stray
      So lone and lonely through this dark way?'

and the Queen might answer as did the heroine,

     'Sir Knight, I feel not the least alarm,
      No son of Erin will offer me harm.'"

It was small use for the parliamentary misrepresentatives to advise
treating Victoria of the Good Deeds with the courtesy due to a foreign
sovereign visiting the country. Under the miles of flags she drove, red,
white, and blue, tossing themselves in the sweet spring air, and up from
the warm hearts of the surging masses of people, men and women alike,
Crimean soldiers and old crones in rags, gentry and peasants, went a
greeting I never before heard given to any sovereign, for it was a sigh
of infinite content that trembled on the lips and then broke into a deep
sob, as a knot of Trinity College students in a spontaneous burst of
song flung out the last verse of 'The New Wearing of the Green.' [**]

  'And so upon St. Patrick's Day, Victoria, she has said
   Each Irish regiment shall wear the Green beside the Red;
   And she's coming to ould Ireland, who away so long has been,
   And dear knows but into Dublin she'll ride Wearing of the Green.'


   ** Alfred Perceval Graves.

The first cheers were faint and broken, and the emotion that quivered
on every face and the tears that gleamed in a thousand eyes made it the
most touching spectacle in the world. 'Foreign Sovereign, indeed!'
She was the Queen of Ireland, and the nation of courtiers and hero
worshippers was at her feet. There was the history of five hundred years
in that greeting, and to me it spoke volumes.

Plenty of people there were in the crowd, too, who were heartily 'agin
the Government'; but Daniel O'Connell is not the only Irishman who
could combine a detestation of the Imperial Parliament with a passionate
loyalty to the sovereign.

There was a woman near us who 'remimbered the last time Her Noble
Highness come, thirty-nine years back,--glory be to God, thim was the
times!'--and who kept ejaculating, "She's the best woman in the wurrld,
bar none, and the most varchous faymale!" As her husband made no reply,
she was obliged in her excitement to thump him with her umbrella and
repeat, "The most varchous faymale, do you hear?" At which he retorted,
"Have conduct, woman; sure I've nothin' agin it."

"Look at the size of her now," she went on, "sittin' in that grand
carriage, no bigger than me own Kitty, and always in the black, the
darlin'. Look at her, a widdy woman, raring that large and heavy family
of children; and how well she's married off her daughters (more luck to
her!), though to be sure they must have been well fortuned! They do
be sayin' she's come over because she's plazed with seein' estated
gintlemen lave iverything and go out and be shot by thim bloody Boers,
bad scran to thim! Sure if I had the sons, sorra a wan but I'd lave
go! Who's the iligant sojers in the silver stays, Thady? Is it the Life
Guards you're callin' thim?"

There were two soldiers' wives standing on the pavement near us, and
one of them showed a half-sovereign to the other, saying, "'Tis the last
day's airnin' iver I seen by him, Mrs. Muldoon, ma'am! Ah, there's thim
says for this war, an' there's thim says agin this war, but Heaven lave
Himself where he is, I says, for of all the ragin' Turcomaniacs iver a
misfortunate woman was curst with, Pat Brady, my full private, he bates
'em all!"

Here the band played 'Come back to Erin,' and the scene was
indescribable. Nothing could have induced me to witness it had I
realised what it was to be, for I wept at Holyrood when I heard the
plaintive strains of 'Bonnie Charlie's noo Awa' floating up to the
Gallery of Kings from the palace courtyard, and I did not wish Francesca
to see me shedding national, political, and historical tears so soon
again. Francesca herself is so ardent a republican that she weeps
only for presidents and cabinet officers. For my part, although I am
thoroughly loyal, I cannot become sufficiently attached to a president
in four years to shed tears when I see him driving at the head of a
procession.



Chapter VI. Dublin, then and now.

     'I found in Innisfail the fair,
      In Ireland, while in exile there,
      Women of worth, both grave and gay men,
      Many clerics, and many laymen.'
                        James Clarence Mangan.

Mrs. Delany, writing from Dublin in 1731, says: 'As for the generality
of people that I meet with here, they are much the same as in England--a
mixture of good and bad. All that I have met with behave themselves very
decently according to their rank; now and then an oddity breaks out, but
never so extraordinary but that I can match it in England. There is a
heartiness among them that is more like Cornwall than any I have known,
and great sociableness.' This picturesque figure in the life of her day
gives charming pictures in her memoirs of the Irish society of the time,
descriptions which are confirmed by contemporary writers. She was the
wife of Dr. Delany, Dean of Down, the companion of duchesses and queens,
and the friend of Swift. Hannah More, in a poem called 'Sensibility,'
published in 1778, gives this quaint and stilted picture of her:--

     'Delany shines, in worth serenely bright,
      Wisdom's strong ray, and virtue's milder light.
      And she who blessed the friend and graced the page of Swift,
              still lends her lustre to our age.
      Long, long protract thy light, O star benign,
      Whose setting beams with added brightness shine!'

The Irish ladies of Delany's day, who scarcely ever appeared on foot in
the streets, were famous for their grace in dancing, it seems, as the
men were for their skill in swimming. The hospitality of the upper
classes was profuse, and by no means lacking in brilliancy or in grace.
The humorous and satirical poetry found in the fugitive literature of
the period shows conclusively that there were plenty of bright
spirits and keen wits at the banquets, routs, and balls. The curse of
absenteeism was little felt in Dublin, where the Parliament secured the
presence of most of the aristocracy and of much of the talent of the
country, and during the residence of the viceroy there was the influence
of the court to contribute to the sparkling character of Dublin society.

How they managed to sparkle when discussing some of the heavy dinner
menus of the time I cannot think. Here is one of the Dean of Down's
bills of fare:--

     Turkeys endove
     Boyled leg of mutton
     Greens, etc.
     Soup
     Plum Pudding
     Roast loin of veal
     Venison pasty
     Partridge
     Sweetbreads
     Collared Pig
     Creamed apple tart
     Crabs
     Fricassee of eggs
     Pigeons
           No dessert to be had.

Although there is no mention of beverages we may be sure that this
array of viands was not eaten dry, but was washed down with a plentiful
variety of wines and liquors.

The hosts, either in Dublin or London, who numbered among their dinner
guests such Irishmen as Sheridan or Lysaght, Mangan or Lever, Curran
or Lover, Father Prout or Dean Swift, had as great a feast of wit and
repartee as one will be apt soon to hear again; although it must have
been Lever or Lover who furnished the cream of Irish humour, and Father
Prout and Swift the curds.

If you are fortunate enough to be bidden to the right houses in Ireland
to-day, you will have as much good talk as you are likely to listen to
anywhere else in this degenerate age, which has mostly forgotten how to
converse in learning to chat; and any one who goes to the Spring Show
at Ball's Bridge, or to the Punchestown or Leopardstown races, or to the
Dublin horse show, will have to confess that the Irishwomen can dispute
the palm with any nation.

     'Light on their feet now they passed me and sped,
        Give you me word, give you me word,
      Every girl wid a turn o' the head
        Just like a bird, just like a bird;
      And the lashes so thick round their beautiful eyes
      Shinin' to tell you it's fair time o' day wid them,
      Back in me heart wid a kind of surprise,
      I think how the Irish girls has the way wid them!'

Their charm is made up of beautiful eyes and lashes, lustre of hair,
poise of head, shapeliness of form, vivacity and coquetry; and there
is a matchless grace in the way they wear the 'whatever,' be it the
chiffons of the fashionable dame, or the shawl of the country colleen,
who can draw the two corners of that faded article of apparel shyly over
her lips and look out from under it with a pair of luminous grey eyes in
a manner that is fairly 'disthractin'.'

Yesterday was a red-letter day, for I dined in the evening at Dublin
Castle, and Francesca was bidden to the concert in the Throne Room
afterwards. It was a brilliant scene when the assembled guests awaited
their host and hostess, the shaded lights bringing out the satins and
velvets, pearls and diamonds, uniforms, orders, and medals. Suddenly
the hum of voices ceased as one of the aides-de-camp who preceded the
vice-regal party announced 'their Excellencies.' We made a sort of
passage as these dignitaries advanced to shake hands with a few of those
they knew best. The Lord Lieutenant then gave his arm to the lady of
highest rank (alas, it was not I!); her Excellency chose her proper
squire, and we passed through the beautifully decorated rooms to St.
Patrick's Hall in a nicely graded procession, magnificence at the head,
humility at the tail. A string band was discoursing sweet music the
while, and I fitted to its measures certain well-known lines descriptive
of the entrance of the beasts into the ark.

     'The animals went in two by two,
      The elephant and the kangaroo.'

As my escort was a certain brilliant lord justice, and as the wittiest
dean in Leinster was my other neighbour, I almost forgot to eat in my
pleasure and excitement. I told the dean that we had chosen Scottish
ancestors before going to our first great dinner in Edinburgh, feeling
that we should be more in sympathy with the festivities and more
acceptable to our hostess, but that I had forgotten to provide myself
for this occasion, my first function in Dublin; whereupon the good dean
promptly remembered that there was a Penelope O'Connor, daughter of the
King of Connaught. I could not quite give up Tam o' the Cowgate (Thomas
Hamilton) or Jenny Geddes of fauld-stule fame, also a Hamilton, but I
added the King of Connaught to the list of my chosen forebears with much
delight, in spite of the polite protests of the Rev. Father O'Hogan, who
sat opposite, and who remarked that

     'Man for his glory
        To ancestry flies,
      But woman's bright story
        Is told in her eyes.
      While the monarch but traces
        Through mortal his line,
      Beauty born of the Graces
        Ranks next to divine.'

I asked the Reverend Father if he were descended from Galloping O'Hogan,
who helped Patrick Sarsfield to spike the guns of the Williamites at
Limerick.

"By me sowl, ma'am, it's not discinded at all I am; I am one o' the
common sort, just," he answered, broadening his brogue to make me smile.
A delightful man he was, exactly such an one as might have sprung full
grown from a Lever novel; one who could talk equally well with his flock
about pigs or penances, purgatory or potatoes, and quote Tom Moore and
Lover when occasion demanded.

Story after story fell from his genial lips, and at last he said
apologetically, "One more, and I have done," when a pretty woman,
sitting near him, interpolated slyly, "We might say to you, your
reverence, what the old woman said to the eloquent priest who finished
his sermon with 'One word, and I have done'".

"An' what is that, ma'am?" asked Father O'Hogan.

"'Och! me darlin' pracher, may ye niver be done!'"

We all agreed that we should like to reconstruct the scene for a moment
and look at a drawing-room of two hundred years ago, when the Lady
Lieutenant after the minuets at eleven o'clock went to her basset table,
while her pages attended behind her chair, and when on ball nights
the ladies scrambled for sweetmeats on the dancing-floor. As to their
probable toilets, one could not give purer pleasure than by quoting Mrs.
Delany's description of one of them:--

'The Duchess's dress was of white satin embroidered, the bottom of the
petticoat brown hills covered with all sorts of weeds, and every
breadth had an old stump of a tree, that ran up almost to the top of
the petticoat, broken and ragged, and worked with brown chenille, round
which twined nasturtiums, ivy, honeysuckles, periwinkles, and all sorts
of running flowers, which spread and covered the petticoat.... The
robings and facings were little green banks covered with all sorts of
weeds, and the sleeves and the rest of the gown loose twining branches
of the same sort as those on the petticoat. Many of the leaves were
finished with gold, and part of the stumps of the trees looked like the
gilding of the sun. I never saw a piece of work so prettily fancied.'

She adds a few other details for the instruction of her sister Anne:--

'Heads are variously adorned; pompons with some accompaniment of
feathers, ribbons, or flowers; lappets in all sorts of curli-murlis;
long hoods are worn close under the chin; the ear-rings go round the
neck(!), and tie with bows and ends behind. Night-gowns are worn without
hoops.'



Part Second--Munster.



Chapter VII. A tour and a detour.

     '"An' there," sez I to meself, "we're goin' wherever we go,
       But where we'll be whin we git there it's never a know
                 I'll know."'
                                              Jane Barlow.

We had planned to go direct from Dublin to Valencia Island, where there
is not, I am told, 'one dhry step 'twixt your fut an' the States';
but we thought it too tiring a journey for Benella, and arranged for a
little visit to Cork first. We nearly missed the train owing to the
late arrival of Salemina at the Kingsbridge station. She had been buying
malted milk, Mellin's Food, an alcohol lamp, a tin cup, and getting all
the doctor's prescriptions renewed.

We intended, too, to go second or third class now an then, in order to
study the humours of the natives, but of course we went 'first' on this
occasion on account of Benella. I told her that we could not follow
British usage and call her by her surname. Dusenberry was too long and
too--well, too extraordinary for daily use abroad.

"P'r'aps it is," she assented meekly; "and still, Mis' Beresford, when
a man's name is Dusenberry, you can't hardly blame him for wanting his
child to be called by it, can you?"

This was incontrovertible, and I asked her middle name. It was Frances,
and that was too like Francesca.

"You don't like the sound o' Benella?" she inquired. "I've always set
great store by my name, it is so unlikely. My father's name was Benjamin
and my mother's Ella, and mine is made from both of 'em; but you can
call me any kind of a name you please, after what you've done for me,"
and she closed her eyes patiently.

     'Call me Daphne, call me Chloris,
      Call me Lalage or Doris,
      Only, only call me thine,'

which is exactly what we are not ready to do, I thought, in a poetic
parenthesis.

Benella looks frail and yet hardy. She has an unusual and perhaps
unnecessary amount of imagination for her station, some native
common-sense, but limited experience; she is somewhat vague and
inconsistent in her theories of life, but I am sure there is vitality,
and energy too, in her composition, although it has been temporarily
drowned in the Atlantic Ocean. If she were a clock, I should think that
some experimenter had taken out her original works, and substituted
others to see how they would run. The clock has a New England case
and strikes with a New England tone, but the works do not match it
altogether. Of course I know that one does not ordinarily engage a
lady's-maid because of these piquant peculiarities; but in our case the
circumstances were extraordinary. I have explained them fully to Himself
in my letters, and Francesca too has written pages of illuminating
detail to Ronald Macdonald.

The similarity in the minds of men must sometimes come across them with
a shock, unless indeed it appeals to their sense of humour. Himself
in America, and the Rev. Mr. Macdonald in the north of Scotland, both
answered, in course of time, that a lady's-maid should be engaged
because is a lady's-maid and for no other reason.

Was ever anything duller than this, more conventional, more commonplace
or didactic, less imaginative? Himself added, "You are a romantic idiot,
and I love you more than tongue can tell." Francesca did not say what
Ronald added; probably a part of this same sentence (owing to the
aforesaid similarity of men's minds), reserving the rest for the frank
intimacy of the connubial state.

Everything looked beautiful in the uncertain glory of the April day.
The thistle-down clouds opened now and then to shake out a delicate,
brilliant little shower that ceased in a trice, and the sun smiled
through the light veil of rain, turning every falling drop to a jewel.
It was as if the fairies were busy at aerial watering-pots, without
any more serious purpose than to amuse themselves and make the earth
beautiful; and we realised that Irish rain is as warm as an Irish
welcome, and soft as an Irish smile.

Everything was bursting into new life, everything but the primroses, and
their glory was departing. The yellow carpet seemed as bright as ever
on the sunny hedgerow banks and on the fringe of the woods, but when we
plucked some at a wayside station we saw that they were just past their
golden prime. There was a grey-green hint of verdure in the sallows
that stood against a dark background of firs, and the branches of
the fruit-trees were tipped with pink, rosy-hued promises of May just
threatening to break through their silvery April sheaths. Raindrops
were still glistening on the fronds of the tender young ferns and on the
great clumps of pale, delicately scented bog violets that we found in
a marshy spot and brought in to Salemina, who was not in her usual
spirits; who indeed seemed distinctly anxious.

She was enchanted with the changeful charm of the landscape, and found
Mrs. Delany's Memoirs a book after her own heart, but ever and anon
her eyes rested on Benella's pale face. Nothing could have been
more doggedly conscientious and assiduous than our attentions to the
Derelict. She had beef juice at Kildare, malted milk at Ballybrophy,
tea at Dundrum; nevertheless, as we approached Limerick Junction we were
obliged to hold a consultation. Salemina wished to alight from the
train at the next station, take a three hours' rest, then jog on to any
comfortable place for the night, and to Cork in the morning.

"I shall feel much more comfortable," she said, "if you go on and amuse
yourselves as you like, leaving Benella to me for a day, or even for two
or three days. I can't help feeling that the chief fault, or at least
the chief responsibility, is mine. If I hadn't been born in Salem, or
hadn't had the word painted on my trunk in such red letters she wouldn't
have fainted on it, and I needn't have saved her life. It is too late
to turn back now; it is saved, or partly saved, and I must persevere in
saving it, at least until I find that it's not worth saving."

"Poor darling!" said Francesca sympathisingly. "I'll look in Murray
and find a nice interesting place. You can put Benella to bed in the
Southern Hotel at Limerick Junction, and perhaps you can then drive
within sight of the Round Tower of Cashel. Then you can take up the
afternoon train and go to--let me see--how would you like Buttevant?
(Boutez en avant, you know, the 'Push forward' motto of the Barrymores.)
It's delightful, Penelope," she continued; "we'd better get off, too. It
is a garrison town, and there is a military hotel. Then in the vicinity
is Kilcolman, where Spenser wrote the Faerie Queene: so there is the
beginning of your literary pilgrimage the very first day, without any
plotting or planning. The little river Aubeg, which flows by Kilcolman
Castle, Spenser called the Mulla, and referred to it as 'Mulla mine,
whose waves I whilom taught to weep.' That, by the way, is no more than
our Jane Grieve could have done for the rivers of Scotland. What do you
say? and won't you be a 'prood woman the day' when you sign the hotel
register 'Miss Peabody and maid, Salem, Mass., U.S.A'"

I thought most favourably of Buttevant, but on prudently inquiring the
guard's opinion, he said it was not a comfortable place for an invalid
lady, and that Mallow was much more the thing. At Limerick Junction,
then, we all alighted, and in the ten minutes' wait saw Benella escorted
up the hotel stairway by a sympathetic head waiter.

Detached from Salemina's fostering care and prudent espionage,
separated, above all, from the depressing Miss Dusenberry, we planned
every conceivable folly in the way of guidebook expeditions. The
exhilarating sense of being married, and therefore properly equipped to
undertake any sort of excursion with perfect propriety, gave added zest
to the affair in my eyes. Sleeping at Cork in an Imperial Hotel was far
too usual a proceeding,--we scorned it. As the very apex of boldness and
reckless defiance of common-sense, we let our heavy luggage go on to the
capital of Munster, and, taking our handbags, entered a railway carriage
standing on a side track, and were speedily on our way,--we knew not
whither, and cared less. We discovered all too soon that we were going
to Waterford, the Star of the Suir,--

     'The gentle Shure, that making way
      By sweet Clonmell, adorns rich Waterford';

and we were charmed at first sight with its quaint bridge spanning the
silvery river. It was only five o'clock, and we walked about the fine
old ninth-century town, called by the Cavaliers the Urbs Intacta,
because it was the one place in Ireland which successfully resisted the
all-conquering Cromwell. Francesca sent a telegram at once to

     MISS PEABODY AND MAID, Great Southern Hotel, Limerick Junction.

     Came to Waterford instead Cork.  Strongbow landed here 1771,
defeating Danes and Irish. Youghal to-morrow, pronounced Yawl. Address,
Green Park, Miss Murphy's. How's Derelict?

     FRANELOPE.

It was absurd, of course, but an absurdity that can be achieved at the
cost of eighteen-pence is well worth the money.

Nobody but a Baedeker or a Murray could write an account of our doings
the next two days. Feeling that we might at any hour be recalled to
Benella's bedside, we took a childlike pleasure in crowding as much as
possible into the time. This zeal was responsible for our leaving the
Urbs Intacta, and pushing on to pass the night in something smaller and
more idyllic.

I dissuaded Francesca from seeking a lodging in Ballybricken by
informing her that it was the heart of the bacon industry, and the home
of the best-known body of pig-buyers in Ireland; but her mind was fixed
upon Kills and Ballies. On asking our jarvey the meaning of Bally as
a prefix, he answered reflectively: "I don't think there's annything
onderhanded in the manin', melady; I think it means BALLY jist."

The name of the place where we did go shall never be divulged, lest a
curious public follow in our footsteps; and if perchance it have not
our youth, vigour, and appetite for adventure, it might die there in the
principal hotel, unwept, unhonoured, and unsung. The house is said to be
three hundred and seventy-five years old, but we are convinced that this
is a wicked understatement of its antiquity. It must have been built
since the Deluge, else it would at least have had one general spring
cleaning in the course of its existence. Cromwell had been there too,
and in the confusion of his departure they must have forgotten to sweep
under the beds. We entered our rooms at ten in the evening, having
dismissed our car, knowing well that there was no other place to stop
the night. We gave the jarvey twice his fare to avoid altercation,
'but divil a penny less would he take,' although it was he who had
recommended the place as a cosy hotel. "It looks like a small little
house, melady, but 'tis large inside, and it has a power o' beds in it."
We each generously insisted on taking the dirtiest bedroom (they had
both been last occupied by the Cromwellian soldiers, we agreed), but
relinquished the idea, because the more we compared them the more
impossible it was to decide which was the dirtiest. There were no locks
on the doors. "And sure what matther for that, Miss? Nobody has a right
(i.e. business) to be comin' in here but meself," said the aged woman
who showed us to our rooms.



Chapter VIII. Romance and reality.

     'But he lay like a warrior taking his rest,
      With his martial cloak around him.'
                             Charles Wolfe.

At midnight I heard a faint tap at my door, and Francesca walked in, her
eyes wide and bright, her cheeks flushed, her long, dark braid of hair
hanging over her black travelling cloak. I laughed as I saw her, she
looked so like Sir Patrick Spens in the ballad play at Pettybaw,--a
memorable occasion when Ronald Macdonald caught her acting that tragic
role in his ministerial gown, the very day that Himself came from Paris
to marry me in Pettybaw, dear little Pettybaw!

"I came in to find out if your bed is as bad as mine, but I see you have
not slept in it," she whispered.

"I was just coming in to see if yours could be any worse," I replied.
"Do you mean to say that you have tried it, courageous girl? I blew out
my candle, and then, after an interval in which to forget, sat down on
the outside as a preliminary; but the moon rose just then, and I could
get no further."

I had not unpacked my bag. I had simply slipped on my macintosh,
selected a wooden chair, and, putting a Cromwellian towel over it,
seated myself shudderingly on it and put my feet on the rounds, quoting
Moore meantime--

       'And the best of all ways
        To lengthen our days
      Is to steal a few hours from the night, my dear!"

Francesca followed my example, and we passed the night in reading
Celtic romances to each other. We could see the faint outline of
sweet Slievenamann from our windows--the mountain of the fair women of
Feimheann, celebrated as the hunting-ground of the Finnian Chiefs.

       'One day Finn and Oscar
      Followed the chase in Sliabh-na-mban-Feimheann,
      With three thousand Finnian chiefs
      Ere the sun looked out from his circle.'

In the Finnian legend, the great Finn McCool, when much puzzled in the
choice of a wife, seated himself on its summit. At last he decided to
make himself a prize in a competition of all the fair women in Ireland.
They should start at the foot of the mountain, and the one who first
reached the summit should be the great Finn's bride. It was Grainne Oge,
the Gallic Helen, and daughter of Cormac, the king of Ireland, who won
the chieftain, 'being fleetest of foot and longest of wind.'

We almost forgot our discomforts in this enthralling story, and slept
on each other's nice clean shoulders a little, just before the dawn. And
such a dawn! Such infinite softness of air, such dew-drenched verdure!
It is a backward spring, they say, but to me the woods are even lovelier
than in their summer wealth of foliage, when one can hardly distinguish
the beauty of the single tree from that of its neighbours, since the
colours are blended in one universal green. Now we see the feathery
tassels of the beech bursting out of their brown husks, the russet hues
of the young oak leaves, and the countless emerald gleams that 'break
from the ruby-budded lime.' The greenest trees are the larch, the
horse-chestnut, and the sycamore, three naturalised citizens who
apparently still keep to their native fashions, and put out their
foliage as they used to do in their own homes. The young alders and the
hawthorn hedges are greening, but it will be a fortnight before we
can realise the beauty of that snow-white bloom, with its bitter-sweet
fragrance. The cuckoo-flower came this year before instead of after the
bird, they tell us, showing that even Nature, in these days of anarchy
and misrule, is capable of taking liberties with her own laws. There
is a fragrance of freshly turned earth in the air, and the rooks are
streaming out from the elms by the little church, and resting for a bit
in a group of plume-like yews. The last few days of warmth and sunshine
have inspired the birds, and as Francesca and I sit at our windows
breathing in the sweetness and freshness of the morning, there is a
concert of thrushes and blackbirds in the shrubberies. The little
birds furnish the chorus or the undertone of song, the hedge-sparrows,
redbreasts, and chaffinches, but the meistersingers 'call the tune,'
and lead the feathered orchestra with clear and certain notes. It is a
golden time for the minstrels, for nest-building is finished, and the
feeding of the younglings a good time yet in the future. We can see one
little brown lady hovering warm eggs under her breast, her bright eyes
peeping through a screen of leaves as she glances up at her singing
lord, pouring out his thanks for the morning sun. There is only a hint
of breeze, it might almost be the whisper of uncurling fern fronds, but
soft as it is, it stirs the branches here and there, and I know that it
is rocking hundreds of tiny cradles in the forest.

When I was always painting in those other days before I met Himself, one
might think my eyes would have been even keener to see beauty than
now, when my brushes are more seldom used; but it is not so. There is
something, deep hidden in my consciousness, that makes all loveliness
lovelier, that helps me to interpret it in a different and in a larger
sense. I have a feeling that I have been lifted out of the individual
and given my true place in the general scheme of the universe, and, in
some subtle way that I can hardly explain, I am more nearly related to
all things good, beautiful, and true than I was when I was wholly an
artist, and therefore less a woman. The bursting of the leaf-buds brings
me a tender thought of the one dear heart that gives me all its spring;
and whenever I see the smile of a child, a generous look, the flash of
sympathy in an eye, it makes me warm with swift remembrance of the one I
love the best of all, just 'as a lamplight will set a linnet singing for
the sun.'

Love is doing the same thing for Francesca; for the smaller feelings
merge themselves in the larger ones, as little streams lose themselves
in oceans. Whenever we talk quietly together of that strange, new,
difficult life that she is going so bravely and so joyously to meet, I
know by her expression that Ronald's noble face, a little shy, a
little proud, but altogether adoring, serves her for courage and for
inspiration, and she feels that his hand is holding hers across the
distance, in a clasp that promises strength.

At five o'clock we longed to ring for hot water, but did not dare. Even
at six there was no sound of life in the cosy inn which we have named
The Cromwell Arms ('Mrs. Duddy, Manageress; Comfort, Cleanliness,
Courtesy; Night Porter; Cycling Shed'). From seven to half-past we read
pages and pages of delicious history and legend, and decided to go from
Cappoquin to Youghal by steamer, if we could possibly reach the place of
departure in time. At half-past seven we pulled the bell energetically.
Nothing happened, and we pulled again and again, discovering at last
that the connection between the bell-rope and the bell-wire had long
since disappeared, though it had been more than once established with
bits of twine, fishing-line, and shoe laces. Francesca then went across
the hall to examine her methods of communication, and presently I heard
a welcome tinkle, and another, and another, followed in due season by
a cheerful voice, saying, "Don't desthroy it intirely, ma'am; I'll be
coming direckly." We ordered jugs of hot water, and were told that it
would be some time before it could be had, as ladies were not in the
habit of calling for it before nine in the morning, and as the damper of
the kitchen-range was out of order. Did we wish it in a little canteen
with whisky and a bit of lemon-peel, or were we afther wantin' it in
a jug? We replied promptly that it was not the hour for toddy, but the
hour for baths, with us, and the decrepit and very sleepy night porter
departed to wake the cook and build the fire; advising me first, in a
friendly way, to take the hearth brush that was 'kapin' the windy up,
and rap on the wall if I needed annything more.' At eight o'clock we
heard the porter's shuffling step in the hall, followed by a howl and a
polite objurgation. A strange dog had passed the night under Francesca's
bed, and the porter was giving him what he called 'a good hand and fut
downstairs.' He had put down the hot water for this operation, and on
taking up the burden again we heard him exclaim: "Arrah! look at that
now! May the divil fly away with the excommunicated ould jug!" It
was past saving, the jug, and leaked so freely that one had to be
exceedingly nimble to put to use any of the smoky water in it. "Thim
fools o' turf do nothing but smoke on me," apologised the venerable
servitor, who then asked, "would we be pleased to order breakquist." We
were wise in our generation, and asked for nothing but bacon, eggs, and
tea; and after a smoky bath and a change of raiment we seated at our
repast in the coffee-room, feeling wonderfully fresh and cheerful. By
looking directly at each other most of the time, and making experimental
journeys from plate to mouth, thus barring out any intimate knowledge of
the tablecloth and the waiter's linen, we managed to make a breakfast.
Francesca is enough to give any one a good appetite. Ronald Macdonald
will be a lucky fellow, I think, to begin his day by sitting opposite
her, for her eyes shine like those of a child, and one's gaze lingers
fondly on the cool freshness of her cheek. Breakfast over and the bill
settled, we speedily shook off as much of the dust of Mrs. Duddy's hotel
as could be shaken off, and departed on the most decrepit sidecar that
ever rolled on two wheels, being wished a safe journey by a slatternly
maid who stood in the doorway, by the wide Mrs. Duddy herself, who
realised in her capacious person the picturesque Irish phrase, 'the
full-of-the-door of a woman,' and by our friend the head waiter, who
leaned against Mrs. Duddy's ancestral pillars in such a way that the
morning sun shone full upon his costume and revealed its weaknesses to
our reluctant gaze.

The driver said it was eleven miles to Cappoquin, the guide-book
fourteen, but this difference of opinion, we find, is only the
difference between Irish and English miles, for which our driver had an
unspeakable contempt, as of a vastly inferior quality. He had, on the
other hand, a great respect for Mrs. Duddy and her comfortable, cleanly,
and courteous establishment (as per advertisement), and the warmest
admiration for the village in which she had appropriately located
herself, a village which he alluded to as 'wan of the natest towns in
the ring of Ireland, for if ye made a slip in the street of it, be the
help of God ye were always sure to fall into a public-house!'

"We had better not tell the full particulars of this journey to
Salemina," said Francesca prudently, as we rumbled along; "though,
oddly enough, if you remember, whenever any one speaks disparagingly of
Ireland, she always takes up cudgels in its behalf."

"Francesca, now that you are within three or four months of being
married, can you manage to keep a secret?"

"Yes," she whispered eagerly, squeezing my hand and inclining her
shoulder cosily to mine. "Yes, oh yes, and how it would raise my spirits
after a sleepless night!"

"When Salemina was eighteen she had a romance, and the hero of it was
the son of an Irish gentleman, an M.P., who was travelling in America,
or living there for a few years,--I can't remember which. He was nothing
more than a lad, less than twenty-one years old, but he was very much in
love with Salemina. How far her feelings were involved I never knew,
but she felt that she could not promise to marry him. Her mother was an
invalid, and her father a delightful, scholarly, autocratic, selfish old
gentleman, who ruled his household with a rod of iron. Salemina coddled
and nursed them both during all her young life; indeed, little as she
realised it, she never had any separate existence or individuality until
they both died, when she was thirty-one or two years old."

"And what became of the young Irishman? Was he faithful to his first
love, or did he marry?"

"He married, many years afterward, and that was the time I first
heard the story. His marriage took place in Dublin, on the very day,
I believe, that Salemina's father was buried; for Fate has the most
relentless way of arranging these coincidences. I don't remember his
name, and I don't know where he lives or what has become of him. I
imagine the romance has been dead and buried in rose-leaves for years;
Salemina never has spoken of it to me, but it would account for her
sentimental championship of Ireland."



Chapter IX. The light of other days.

     'Oft in the stilly night,
        Ere slumber's chain has bound me,
      Fond memory brings the light
        Of other days around me.'
                        Thomas Moore.

If you want to fall head over ears in love with Ireland at the very
first sight of her charms, take, as we did, the steamer from Cappoquin
to Youghal, and float down the vale of the Blackwater--

     'Swift Awniduff, which of the Englishman
      Is cal' de Blackwater.'

The shores of this Irish Rhine are so lovely that the sail on a
sunny day is one of unequalled charm. Behind us the mountains ranged
themselves in a mysterious melancholy background; ahead the river wended
its way southward in and out, in and out, through rocky cliffs and
well-wooded shores.

The first tributary stream that we met was the little Finisk, on the
higher banks of which is Affane House. The lands of Affane are said to
have been given by one of the FitzGeralds to Sir Walter Raleigh for a
breakfast, a very high price to pay for bacon and eggs, and it was here
that he planted the first cherry-tree in Ireland, bringing it from the
Canary Islands to the Isle of Weeping.

Looking back just below here, we saw the tower and cloisters of Mount
Melleray, the Trappist monastery. Very beautiful and very lonely looked
'the little town of God,' in the shadows of the gloomy hills. We wished
we had known the day before how near we were to it, for we could have
claimed a night's lodging at the ladies' guest-house, where all creeds,
classes, and nationalities are received with a cead-mile-failte, [*] and
where any offering for food or shelter is given only at the visitors
pleasure. The Celtic proverb, 'Melodious is the closed mouth,' might be
written over the cloisters; for it is a village of silence, and only the
monks who teach in the schools or who attend visitors are absolved from
the vow.

     *A hundred thousand welcomes.

Next came Dromana Castle, where the extraordinary old Countess of
Desmond was born,--the wonderful old lady whose supposed one hundred
and forty years so astonished posterity. She must have married Thomas,
twelfth Earl of Desmond, after 1505, as his first wife is known to have
been alive in that year. Raleigh saw her in 1589, and she died in 1604:
so it would seem that she must have been at least one hundred and ten or
one hundred and twelve when she met her untimely death,--a death brought
about entirely by her own youthful impetuosity and her fondness for
athletic sports. Robert Sydney, second Earl of Leicester, makes the
following reference to her in his Table-Book, written when he was
ambassador at Paris, about 1640:--

'The old Countess of Desmond was a marryed woman in Edward IV. time in
England, and lived till towards the end of Queen Elizabeth, so she must
needes be neare one hundred and forty yeares old. She had a new sett of
teeth not long afore her death, and might have lived much longer had she
not mett with a kinde of violent death; for she would needes climbe
a nut-tree to gather nuts; so falling down she hurt her thigh, which
brought a fever, and that fever brought death. This my cousin Walter
Fitzwilliam told me.'

It is true that the aforesaid cousin Walter may have been a better
raconteur than historian; still, local tradition vigorously opposes
any lessening of the number of the countess's years, pinning its faith
rather on one Hayman, who says that she presented herself at the English
court at the age of one hundred and forty years, to petition for her
jointure, which she lost by the attainder of the last earl; and it also
prefers to have her fall from the historic cherry-tree that Sir Walter
planted, rather than from a casual nut-tree.

Down the lovely river we went, lazily lying back in the sun, almost the
only passengers on the little craft, as it was still far too early for
tourists; down past Villierstown, Cooneen Ferry, Strancally Castle, with
its 'Murdering Hole' made famous by the Lords of Desmond, through the
Broads of Clashmore; then past Temple Michael, an old castle of the
Geraldines, which Cromwell battered down for 'dire insolence,' until
we steamed slowly into the harbour of Youghal--and, to use our driver's
expression, there is no more 'onderhanded manin'' in Youghal than the
town of the Yew Wood, which is much prettier to the eye and sweeter to
the ear.

Here we found a letter from Salemina, and expended another eighteenpence
in telegraphing to her:--

     PEABODY, Coolkilla House, near Mardyke Walk, Cork.

     We are under Yew Tree at Myrtle Grove where Raleigh and Spenser
smoked, read manuscript Faerie Queene, and planted first potato.
Delighted Benella better. Join you to-morrow. Don't encourage
archaeologist.

     PENESCA.

We had a charming hour at Myrtle Grove House, an unpretentious, gabled
dwelling, for a time the residence of the ill-fated soldier captain, Sir
Walter Raleigh. You remember, perhaps, that he was mayor of Youghal in
1588. After the suppression of the Geraldine rebellion, the vast estates
of the Earl of Desmond and those of one hundred and forty of the leading
gentlemen of Munster, his adherents, were confiscated, and proclamation
was made all through England inviting gentlemen to 'undertake' the
plantation of this rich territory. Estates were offered at two or three
pence an acre, and no rent was to be paid for the first five years. Many
of these great 'undertakers,' as they were called, were English noblemen
who never saw Ireland; but among them were Raleigh and Spenser, who
received forty-two thousand and twelve thousand acres respectively, and
in consideration of certain patronage 'undertook' to carry the business
of the Crown through Parliament.

Francesca was greatly pleased with this information, culled mostly from
Joyce's Child's History of Ireland. The volume had been bought in Dublin
by Salemina and presented to us as a piece of genial humour, but it
became our daily companion.

I made a rhyme for her, which she sent Miss Peabody, to show her that we
were growing in wisdom, notwithstanding our separation from her.

    'You have thought of Sir Walter as soldier and knight,
     Edmund Spenser, you've heard, was well able to write;
     But Raleigh the planter, and Spenser verse-maker,
     Each, oddly enough, was by trade 'Undertaker.''

It was in 1589 that the Shepherd of the Ocean, as Spenser calls him,
sailed to England to superintend the publishing of the Faerie Queene:
so from what I know of authors' habits, it is probable that Spenser did
read him the poem under the Yew Tree in Myrtle Grove garden. It seems
long ago, does it not, when the Faerie Queene was a manuscript, tobacco
just discovered, the potato a novelty, and the first Irish cherry-tree
just a wee thing newly transplanted from the Canary Islands? Were our
own cherry-trees already in America when Columbus discovered us, or did
the Pilgrim Fathers bring over 'slips' or 'grafts,' knowing that they
would be needed for George Washington later on, so that he might furnish
an untruthful world with a sublime sentiment? We re-read Salemina's
letter under the Yew Tree:--

                                           Coolkilla House, Cork.
MY DEAREST GIRLS,--It seems years instead of days since we parted, and
I miss the two madcaps more than I can say. In your absence my life
is always so quiet, discreet, dignified,--and, yes, I confess it, so
monotonous! I go to none but the best hotels, meet none but the
best people, and my timidity and conservatism for ever keep me in
conventional paths. Dazzled and terrified as I still am when you
precipitate adventures upon me, I always find afterwards that I
have enjoyed them in spite of my fears. Life without you is like a
stenographic report of a dull sermon; with you it is by turns a dramatic
story, a poem, and a romance. Sometimes it is a penny-dreadful, as when
you deliberately leave your luggage on an express train going south,
enter another standing upon a side track, and embark for an unknown
destination. I watched you from an upper window of the Junction Hotel,
but could not leave Benella to argue with you. When your respected
husband and lover have charge of you, you will not be allowed such
pranks, I warrant you.

Benella has improved wonderfully in the last twenty-four hours, and I
am trying to give her some training for her future duties. We can never
forget our native land so long as we have her with us, for she is a
perfect specimen of the Puritan spinster, though too young in years,
perhaps, for determined celibacy. Do you know, we none of us mentioned
wages in our conversations with her? Fortunately she seems more alive
to the advantages of foreign travel than to the filling of her empty
coffers. (By the way, I have written to the purser of the ship that she
crossed in, to see if I can recover the sixty or seventy dollars she
left behind her.) Her principal idea in life seems to be that of finding
some kind of work that will be 'interestin'' whether it is lucrative or
not.

I don't think she will be able to dress hair, or anything of that
sort--save in the way of plain sewing, she is very unskilful with her
hands; and she will be of no use as courier, she is so provincial and
inexperienced. She has no head for business whatever, and cannot help
Francesca with the accounts. She recites to herself again and again,
'Four farthings make one penny, twelvepence make one shilling, twenty
shillings make one pound'; but when I give her a handful of money and
ask her for six shillings and sixpence, five and three, one pound two,
or two pound ten, she cannot manage the operation. She is docile, well
mannered, grateful, and really likable, but her present philosophy of
life is a thing of shreds and patches. She calls it 'the science,' as if
there were but one; and she became a convert to its teachings this
past winter, while living in the house of a woman lecturer in Salem,
a lecturer, not a 'curist,' she explains. She attended to the door,
ushered in the members of classes, kept the lecture-room in order, and
so forth, imbibing by the way various doctrines, or parts of doctrines,
which she is not the sort of person to assimilate, but with which she is
experimenting: holding, meantime, a grim intuition of their foolishness,
or so it seems to me. 'The science' made it easier for her to seek her
ancestors in a foreign country with only a hundred dollars in her purse;
for the Salem priestess proclaims the glad tidings that all the wealth
of the world is ours, if we will but assert our heirship. Benella
believed this more or less until a week's sea-sickness undermined all
her new convictions of every sort. When she woke in the little bedroom
at O'Carolan's, she says, her heart was quite at rest, for she knew that
we were the kind of people one could rely on! I mustered courage to
say, "I hope so, and I hope also that we shall be able to rely upon you,
Benella!"

This idea evidently had not occurred to her, but she accepted it, and I
could see that she turned it over in her mind. You can imagine that this
vague philosophy of a Salem woman scientist superimposed on a foundation
of orthodoxy makes a curious combination, and one which will only be
temporary.

We shall expect you to-morrow evening, and we shall be quite ready to go
on to the Lakes of Killarney or wherever you wish. By the way, I met
an old acquaintance the morning I arrived here. I went to see Queen's
College; and as I was walking under the archway which has carved upon
it, 'Where Finbarr taught let Munster learn,' I saw two gentlemen. They
looked like professors, and I asked if I might see the college. They
said certainly, and offered to take my card into some one who would
do the honours properly. I passed it to one of them: we looked at each
other, and recognition was mutual. He (Dr. La Touche) is giving a course
of lectures here on Irish Antiquities. It has been a great privilege to
see this city and its environs with so learned a man; I wish you could
have shared it. Yesterday he made up a party and we went to Passage,
which you may remember in Father Prout's verses:--

     'The town of Passage is both large and spacious,
        And situated upon the say;
      'Tis nate and dacent, and quite adjacent
        To come from Cork on a summer's day.
      There you may slip in and take a dippin'
        Fornent the shippin' that at anchor ride;
      Or in a wherry cross o'er the ferry
        To Carrigaloe, on the other side.'

Dr. La Touche calls Father Prout an Irish potato seasoned with Attic
salt. Is not that a good characterisation?

Good-bye for the moment, as I must see about Benella's luncheon.

Yours affectionately S.P.



Chapter X. The belles of Shandon.

     'The spreading Lee that, like an Island fayre,
      Encloseth Corke with his divided floode.'
                               Edmund Spenser.

We had seen all that Youghal could offer to the tourist; we were
yearning for Salemina; we wanted to hear Benella talk about 'the
science'; we were eager to inspect the archaeologist, to see if he
'would do' for Salemina instead of the canon, or even the minor canon,
of the English Church, for whom we had always privately destined her.
Accordingly we decided to go by an earlier train, and give our family
a pleasant surprise. It was five o'clock in the afternoon when our car
trundled across St. Patrick's Bridge, past Father Mathew's statue, and
within view of the church and bells of Shandon, that sound so grand on
the pleasant waters of the river Lee. Away to the west is the two-armed
river. Along its banks rise hills, green and well wooded, with beautiful
gardens and verdant pastures reaching to the very brink of the shining
stream.

It was Saturday afternoon, and I never drove through a livelier,
quainter, more easy-going town. The streets were full of people selling
various things and plying various trades, and among them we saw many
a girl pretty enough to recall Thackeray's admiration of the Corkagian
beauties of his day. There was one in particular, driving a donkey in a
straw-coloured governess cart, to whose graceful charm we succumbed on
the instant. There was an exquisite deluderin' wildness about her,
a vivacity, a length of eyelash with a gleam of Irish grey eye, 'the
greyest of all things blue, the bluest of all things grey,' that might
well have inspired the English poet to write of her as he did of his own
Irish wife; for Spenser, when he was not writing the Faerie Queene,
or smoking Raleigh's fragrant weed, wooed and wedded a fair colleen of
County Cork.

     'Tell me, ye merchant daughters, did ye see
      So fayre a creature in your town before?
      Her goodlie eyes, like sapphyres shining bright;
      Her forehead, ivory white;
      Her lips like cherries, charming men to byte.'

Now we turned into the old Mardyke Walk, a rus in urbe, an avenue a mile
long lined with noble elm-trees; forsaken now as a fashionable promenade
for the Marina, but still beautiful and still beloved, though frequented
chiefly by nurse-maids and children. Such babies and such children, of
all classes and conditions--so jolly, smiling, dimpled, curly-headed;
such joyous disregard of rags and dirt; such kindness one to the other
in the little groups, where a child of ten would be giving an anxious
eye to four or five brothers and sisters, and mothering a contented baby
in arms as well.

Our driver, though very loquacious, was not quite intelligible. He
pronounced the simple phrase 'St. Patrick's Street' in a way to astonish
the traveller; it would seem impossible to crowd as many h's into three
words, and to wrap each in flannel, as he succeeded in doing. He seemed
pleased with our admiration of the babies, and said that Irish children
did be very fat and strong and hearty; that they were the very best
soldiers the Queen had, God kape her! They could stand anny hardship and
anny climate, for they were not brought up soft, like the English.
He also said that, fine as all Irish children undoubtedly were, Cork
produced the flower of them all, and the finest women and the finest
men; backing his opinion with an Homeric vaunt which Francesca took down
on the spot:--

     'I'd back one man from Corkshire
      To bate ten more from Yorkshire:
        Kerrymen
        Agin Derrymen,
      And Munster agin creation,
      Wirrasthrue! 'tis a pity we aren't a nation!'

Here he slackened his pace as we passed a small bosthoon driving a
donkey, to call out facetiously, "Be good to your little brother,
achree!"

"We must be very near Coolkilla House by this time," said Francesca.
"That isn't Salemina sitting on the bench under the trees, is it? There
is a gentleman with her, and she never wears a wide hat, but it looks
like her red umbrella. No, of course it isn't, for whoever it is belongs
to that maid with the two children. Penelope, it is borne in upon me
that we shouldn't have come here unannounced, three hours ahead of the
time arranged. Perhaps, whenever we had chosen to come, it would have
been too soon. Wouldn't it be exciting to have to keep out of Salemina's
way, as she has always done for us? I couldn't endure it; it would make
me homesick for Ronald. Go slowly, driver, please."

Nevertheless, as we drew nearer we saw that it was Salemina; or at least
it was seven-eighths of her, and one-eighth of a new person with whom
we were not acquainted. She rose to meet us with an exclamation of
astonishment, and after a hasty and affectionate greeting, presented
Dr. La Touche. He said a few courteous words, and to our relief made no
allusions to round towers, duns, raths, or other antiquities, and bade
us adieu, saying that he should have the honour of waiting upon us that
evening with our permission.

A person in a neat black dress and little black bonnet with white lawn
strings now brought up the two children to say good-bye to Salemina.
It was the Derelict, Benella Dusenberry, clothed in maid's apparel, and
looking, notwithstanding that disguise, like a New England schoolma'am.
She was delighted to see us, scanned every detail of Francesca's
travelling costume with the frankest admiration, and would have allowed
us to carry our wraps and umbrellas upstairs if she had not been
reminded by Salemina. We had a cosy cup of tea together, and told our
various adventures, but Salemina was not especially communicative about
hers. Oddly enough, she had met the La Touche children at the hotel in
Mallow. They were travelling with a very raw Irish nurse, who had no
control of them whatever. They shrieked and kicked when taken to their
rooms at night, until Salemina was obliged to speak to them, in order
that Benella's rest should not be disturbed.

"I felt so sorry for them," she said--"the dear little girl put to
bed with tangled hair and unwashed face, the boy in a rumpled, untidy
nightgown, the bedclothes in confusion. I didn't know who they were nor
where they came from, but while the nurse was getting her supper I made
them comfortable, and Broona went to sleep with my strange hand in hers.
Perhaps it was only the warm Irish heart, the easy friendliness of
the Irish temperament, but I felt as if the poor little things must be
neglected indeed, or they would not have clung to a woman whom they had
never seen before." (This is a mistake; anybody who has the opportunity
always clings to Salemina.) "The next morning they were up at daylight,
romping in the hall, stamping, thumping, clattering, with a tin cart
on wheels rattling behind them. I know it was not my affair, and I was
guilty of unpardonable rudeness, but I called the nurse into my room and
spoke to her severely. No, you needn't smile; I was severe. 'Will you
kindly do your duty, and keep the children quiet as they pass through
the halls?' I said. 'It is never too soon to teach them to obey the
rules of a public place, and to be considerate of older people.' She
seemed awestruck. But when she found her tongue she stammered, 'Sure,
ma'am, I've tould thim three times this day already that when their
father comes he'll bate thim with a blackthorn stick!'

"Naturally I was horrified. This, I thought, would explain everything:
no mother, and an irritable, cruel father.

"'Will he really do such a thing?' I asked, feeling as if I must know
the truth.

"'Sure he will not, ma'am!' she answered cheerfully. 'He wouldn't lift a
feather to thim, not if they murdthered the whole counthryside, ma'am.'

"Well, they travelled third class to Cork, and we came first, so we did
not meet, and I did not ask their surnames; but it seems that they were
being brought to their father, whom I met many years ago in America."

As she did not volunteer any further information, we did not like to ask
her where, how many years ago, or under what circumstances. 'Teasing' of
this sort does not appeal to the sophisticated at any time, but it seems
unspeakably vulgar to touch on matters of sentiment with a woman of
middle age. If she has memories, they are sure to be sad and sacred
ones; if she has not, that perhaps is still sadder. We agreed, however,
when the evening was over, that Dr. La Touche was probably the love of
her youth--unless, indeed, he was simply an old friend, and the degree
of Salemina's attachment had been exaggerated; something that is very
likely to happen in the gossip of a New England town, where they always
incline to underestimate the feeling of the man, and overrate that of
the woman, in any love affair. 'I guess she'd take him if she could
get him' is the spoken or unspoken attitude of the public in rural or
provincial New England.

The professor is grave, but very genial when he fully recalls the fact
that he is in company, and has not, like the Trappist monks, taken vows
of silence. Francesca behaved beautifully, on the whole, and made no
embarrassing speeches, although she was in her gayest humour. Salemina
blushed a little when the young sinner dragged into the conversation the
remark that, undoubtedly, from the beginning of the sixth century to the
end of the eighth, Ireland was the University of Europe, just as Greece
was in the late days of the Roman Republic, and asked our guest when
Ireland ceased to be known as 'Insula sanctorum et doctorum,' the island
of saints and scholars.

We had seen her go into Salemina's bedroom, and knew perfectly well that
she had consulted the Peabody notebook, lying open on the desk; but the
professor looked as surprised as if he had heard a pretty paroquet quote
Gibbon. I don't like to see grave and reverend scholars stare at pretty
paroquets, but I won't belittle Salemina's exquisite and peculiar charm
by worrying over the matter.

     'Wirra, wirra!  Ologone!
      Can't ye lave a lad alone,
  Till he's proved there's no tradition left of any other girl--
      Not even Trojan Helen,
      In beauty all excellin'--
  Who's been up to half the divilment of Fan Fitzgerl?'

Of course Francesca's heart is fixed upon Ronald Macdonald, but that
fact has not altered the glance of her eyes. They no longer say,
'Wouldn't you like to fall in love with me, if you dared?' but they
still have a gleam that means, 'Don't fall in love with me; it is no
use!' And of the two, one is about as dangerous as the other, and each
has something of 'Fan Fitzgerl's divilment.

     'Wid her brows of silky black
      Arched above for the attack,
  Her eyes they dart such azure death on poor admiring man;
      Masther Cupid, point your arrows,
      From this out, agin the sparrows,
  For you're bested at Love's archery by young Miss Fan.'

Of course Himself never fell a prey to Francesca's fascinations, but
then he is not susceptible; you could send him off for a ten-mile drive
in the moonlight with Venus herself, and not be in the least anxious.

Dr. La Touche is grey for his years, tall and spare in frame, and there
are many lines of anxiety or thought in his forehead; but a wonderful
smile occasionally smooths them all out, and gives his face a rare
though transient radiance. He looks to me as if he had loved too many
books and too few people; as if he had tried vainly to fill his heart
and life with antiquities, which of all things, perhaps, are the most
bloodless, the least warming and nourishing when taken in excess or as
a steady diet. Himself (God bless him!) shall never have that patient
look, if I can help it; but how it will appeal to Salemina! There are
women who are born to be petted and served, and there are those who seem
born to serve others. Salemina's first idea is always to make tangled
things smooth (like little Broona's curly hair); to bring sweet and
discreet order out of chaos; to prune and graft and water and weed and
tend things, until they blossom for very shame under her healing touch.
Her mind is catholic, well ordered, and broad,--for ever full of other
people's interests, never of her own: and her heart always seems to
me like some dim, sweet-scented guest-chamber in an old New England
mansion, cool and clean and quiet, and fragrant of lavender. It has been
a lovely, generous life, lived for the most part in the shadow of other
people's wishes and plans and desires. I am an impatient person,
I confess, and heaven seems so far away when certain things are in
question: the righting of a child's wrong, or the demolition of a
barrier between two hearts; above all, for certain surgical operations,
more or less spiritual, such as removing scales from eyes that refuse
to see, and stops from ears too dull to hear. Nobody shall have our
Salemina unless he is worthy, but how I should like to see her life
enriched and crowned! How I should enjoy having her dear little overworn
second fiddle taken from her by main force, and a beautiful first
violin, or even the baton for leading an orchestra, put into her
unselfish hands!

And so good-bye and 'good luck to ye, Cork, and your pepper-box
steeple,' for we leave you to-morrow!



Chapter XI. 'The rale thing.'

     'Her ancestors were kings before Moses was born,
      Her mother descended from great Grana Uaile.'
                                Charles Lever.

                                     Knockarney House, Lough Lein.

We are in the province of Munster, the kingdom of Kerry, the town of
Ballyfuchsia, and the house of Mrs. Mullarkey. Knockarney House is
not her name for it; I made it myself. Killarney is church of the
sloe-trees; and as kill is church, the 'onderhanded manin'' of 'arney'
must be something about sloes; then, since knock means hill, Knockarney
should be hill of the sloe-trees.

I have not lost the memory of Jenny Geddes and Tam o' the Cowgate, but
Penelope O'Connor, daughter of the king of Connaught, is more frequently
present in my dreams. I have by no means forgotten that there was a
time when I was not Irish, but for the moment I am of the turf, turfy.
Francesca is really as much in love with Ireland as I, only, since she
has in her heart a certain tender string pulling her all the while to
the land of the heather, she naturally avoids comparisons. Salemina,
too, endeavours to appear neutral, lest she should betray an
inexplicable interest in Dr. La Touche's country. Benella and I alone
are really free to speak the brogue, and carry our wild harps slung
behind us, like Moore's minstrel boy. Nothing but the ignorance of her
national dishes keeps Benella from entire allegiance to this island; but
she thinks a people who have grown up without a knowledge of doughnuts,
baked beans, and blueberry-pie must be lacking in moral foundations.
There is nothing extraordinary in all this; for the Irish, like the
Celtic tribes everywhere, have always had a sort of fascinating power
over people of other races settling among them, so that they become
completely fused with the native population, and grow to be more Irish
than the Irish themselves.

We stayed for a few days in the best hotel; it really was quite good,
and not a bit Irish. There was a Swiss manager, an English housekeeper,
a French head waiter, and a German office clerk. Even Salemina, who
loves comforts, saw that we should not be getting what is known as the
real thing, under these circumstances, and we came here to this--what
shall I call Knockarney House? It was built originally for a fishing
lodge by a sporting gentleman, who brought parties of friends to stop
for a week. On his death is passed somehow into Mrs. Mullarkey's fair
hands, and in a fatal moment she determined to open it occasionally to
'paying guests,' who might wish a quiet home far from the madding crowd
of the summer tourist. This was exactly what we did want, and here we
encamped, on the half-hearted advice of some Irish friends in the town,
who knew nothing else more comfortable to recommend.

"With us, small, quiet, or out-of-the-way places are never clean; or
if they are, then they are not Irish," they said. "You had better see
Ireland from the tourist's point of view for a few years yet, until we
have learned the art of living; but if you are determined to know the
humours of the people, cast all thought of comfort behind you."

So we did, and we afterward thought that this would be a good motto for
Mrs. Mullarkey to carve over the door of Knockarney House. (My name for
it is adopted more or less by the family, though Francesca persists in
dating her letters to Ronald from 'The Rale Thing,' which it undoubtedly
is.) We take almost all the rooms in the house, but there are a
few other guests. Mrs. Waterford, an old lady of ninety-three, from
Mullinavat, is here primarily for her health, and secondarily to dispose
of threepenny shares in an antique necklace, which is to be raffled for
the benefit of a Roman Catholic chapel. Then we have a fishing gentleman
and his bride from Glasgow, and occasional bicyclers who come in for
a dinner, a tea, or a lodging. These three comforts of a home are
sometimes quite indistinguishable with us: the tea is frequently made up
of fragments of dinner, and the beds are always sprinkled with crumbs.
Their source is a mystery, unless they fall from the clothing of the
chambermaids, who frequently drop hairpins and brooches and buttons
between the sheets, and strew whisk brooms and scissors under the
blankets.

We have two general servants, who are supposed to do all the work of the
house, and who are as amiable and obliging and incapable as they well
can be. Oonah generally waits upon the table, and Molly cooks; at
least she cooks now and then when she is not engaged with Peter in the
vegetable garden or the stable. But whatever happens, Mrs. Mullarkey, as
a descendant of one of the Irish kings, is to be looked upon only as an
inspiring ideal, inciting one to high and ever higher flights of happy
incapacity. Benella ostensibly oversees the care of our rooms, but she
is comparatively helpless in such a kingdom of misrule. Why demand clean
linen when there is none; why seek for a towel at midday when it is
never ironed until evening; how sweep when a broom is all inadequate
to the task? Salemina's usual remark, on entering a humble hostelry
anywhere, is: "If the hall is as dirty as this, what must the kitchen
be! Order me two hard-boiled eggs, please!"

"Use your 'science,' Benella," I say to that discouraged New England
maiden, who has never looked at her philosophy from its practical or
humorous side. "If the universe is pure mind and there is no matter,
then this dirt is not a real thing, after all. It seems, of course,
as if it were thicker under the beds and bureaus than elsewhere, but
I suppose our evil thoughts focus themselves there rather than in the
centre of the room. Similarly, if the broom handle is broken, deny
the dirt away--denial is much less laborious than sweeping; bring 'the
science' down to these simple details of everyday life, and you will
make converts by dozens, only pray don't remove, either by suggestion or
any cruder method, the large key that lies near the table leg, for it
is a landmark; and there is another, a crochet needle, by the washstand,
devoted to the same purpose. I wish to show them to the Mullarkey when
we leave."

Under our educational regime, the 'metaphysical' veneer, badly applied
in the first place, and wholly unsuited to the foundation material,
is slowly disappearing, and our Benella is gradually returning to her
normal self. Perhaps nothing has been more useful to her development
than the confusion of Knockarney House.

Our windows are supported on decrepit tennis rackets and worn-out hearth
brushes; the blinds refuse to go up or down; the chairs have weak backs
or legs; the door knobs are disassociated from their handles. As for our
food, we have bacon and eggs, with coffee made, I should think, of brown
beans and liquorice, for breakfast; a bit of sloppy chicken, or fish and
potato, with custard pudding or stewed rhubarb, for dinner; and a cold
supper of--oh! anything that occurs to Molly at the last moment. Nothing
ever occurs either to Molly or Oonah at any previous moment, and in that
they are merely conforming to the universal habit. Last week, when we
were starting for Valencia Island, the Ballyfuchsia stationmaster
was absent at a funeral; meantime the engine had 'gone cold on the
engineer,' and the train could not leave till twelve minutes after the
usual time. We thought we must have consulted a wrong time-table, and
asked confirmation of a man who seemed to have some connection with the
railway. Goaded by his ignorance, I exclaimed, "Is it possible you don't
know the time the trains are going?"

"Begorra, how should I?" he answered. "Faix, the thrains don't always be
knowin' thimselves!"

The starting of the daily 'Mail Express' from Ballyfuchsia is a time
of great excitement and confusion, which on some occasions increases
to positive panic. The stationmaster, armed with a large dinner-bell,
stands on the platform, wearing an expression of anxiety ludicrously
unsuited to the situation. The supreme moment had really arrived some
time before, but he is waiting for Farmer Brodigan with his daughter
Kathleen, and the Widdy Sullivan, and a few other local worthies who are
a 'thrifle late on him.' Finally they come down the hill, and he paces
up and down the station ringing the bell and uttering the warning cry,
"This thrain never shtops! This thrain never shtops! This thrain never
shtops!"--giving one the idea that eternity, instead of Killarney,
must be the final destination of the passengers. The clock in the
Ballyfuchsia telegraph and post office ceases to go for twenty-four
hours at a time, and nobody heeds it, while the postman always has a few
moments' leisure to lay down his knapsack of letters and pitch quoits
with the Royal Irish Constabulary. However, punctuality is perhaps an
individual virtue more than an exclusively national one. I am not sure
that we Americans would not be more agreeable if we spent a month in
Ireland every year, and perhaps Ireland would profit from a month in
America.

At the Brodigans' (Mr. Brodigan is a large farmer, and our nearest
neighbour) all the clocks are from ten to twenty minutes fast or slow;
and what a peaceful place it is! The family doesn't care when it has its
dinner, and, mirabile dictu, the cook doesn't care either!

"If you have no exact time to depend upon, how do you catch trains?" I
asked Mr. Brodigan.

"Sure that's not an everyday matter, and why be foostherin' over it? But
we do, four times out o' five, ma'am!"

"How do you like it that fifth time when you miss it?"

"Sure it's no more throuble to you to miss it the wan time than to hurry
five times! A clock is an overrated piece of furniture, to my mind, Mrs.
Beresford, ma'am. A man can ate whin he's hungry, go to bed whin he's
sleepy, and get up whin he's slept long enough; for faith and it's thim
clocks he has inside of himself that don't need anny winding!"

"What if you had a business appointment with a man in the town, and
missed the train?" I persevered.

"Trains is like misfortunes; they never come singly, ma'am. Wherever
there's a station the trains do be dhroppin' in now and again, and
what's the differ which of thim you take?"

"The man who is waiting for you at the other end of the line may not
agree with you," I suggested.

"Sure, a man can always amuse himself in a town, ma'am. If it's your
own business you're coming on, he knows you'll find him; and if it's
his business, then begorra let him find you!" Which quite reminded me
of what the Irish elf says to the English elf in Moira O'Neill's fairy
story: "A waste of time? Why, you've come to a country where there's no
such thing as a waste of time. We have no value for time here. There is
lashings of it, more than anybody knows what to do with."

I suppose there is somewhere a golden mean between this complete
oblivion of time and our feverish American hurry. There is a 'tedious
haste' in all people who make wheels and pistons and engines, and live
within sound of their everlasting buzz and whir and revolution; and
there is ever a disposition to pause, rest, and consider on the part of
that man whose daily tasks are done in serene collaboration with dew and
rain and sun. One cannot hurry Mother Nature very much, after all, and
one who has much to do with her falls into a peaceful habit of mind. The
mottoes of the two nations are as well rendered in the vernacular as by
any formal or stilted phrases. In Ireland the spoken or unspoken slogan
is, 'Take it aisy'; in America, 'Keep up with the procession'; and
between them lie all the thousand differences of race, climate,
temperament, religion, and government.

I don't suppose there is a nation on the earth better developed on what
might be called the train-catching side than we of the Big Country,
and it is well for us that there is born every now and again among us a
dreamer who is (blessedly) oblivious of time-tables and market reports;
who has been thinking of the rustling of the corn, not of its price. It
is he, if we do not hurry him out of his dream, who will sound the ideal
note in our hurly-burly and bustle of affairs. He may never discover a
town site, but he will create new worlds for us to live in, and in the
course of a century the coming Matthew Arnold will not be minded to call
us an unimaginative and uninteresting people.



Chapter XII. Life at Knockarney House.

     'See where Mononia's heroes lie, proud Owen More's
          descendants,--
      'Tis they that won the glorious name and had the grand
          attendants!'
                                       James Clarence Mangan.

It was a charming thing for us when Dr. La Touche gave us introductions
to the Colquhouns of Ardnagreena; and when they, in turn, took us to tea
with Lord and Lady Killbally at Balkilly Castle. I don't know what there
is about us: we try to live a sequestered life, but there are certain
kind forces in the universe that are always bringing us in contact with
the good, the great, and the powerful. Francesca enjoys it, but secretly
fears to have her democracy undermined. Salemina wonders modestly at her
good fortune. I accept it as the graceful tribute of an old civilisation
to a younger one; the older men grow the better they like girls of
sixteen, and why shouldn't the same thing be true of countries?

As long ago as 1589, one of the English 'undertakers' who obtained some
of the confiscated Desmond lands in Munster wrote of the 'better sorte'
of Irish: 'Although they did never see you before, they will make you
the best cheare their country yieldeth for two or three days, and take
not anything therefor.... They have a common saying which I am persuaded
they speake unfeinedly, which is, 'Defend me and spend me.' Yet many doe
utterly mislike this or any good thing that the poor Irishman dothe.'

This certificate of character from an 'undertaker' of the sixteenth
century certainly speaks volumes for Irish amiability and hospitality,
since it was given at a time when grievances were as real as plenty;
when unutterable resentment must have been rankling in many minds; and
when those traditions were growing which have coloured the whole texture
of Irish thought, until, with the poor and unlettered, to be 'agin the
government' is an inherited instinct, to be obliterated only by time.

We supplement Mrs. Mullarkey's helter-skelter meals with frequent
luncheons and dinners with our new friends, who send us home on our
jaunting-car laden with flowers, fruit, even with jellies and jams. Lady
Killbally forces us to take three cups of tea and a half-dozen marmalade
sandwiches whenever we go to the Castle; for I apologised for our
appetites, one day, by confessing that we had lunched somewhat frugally,
the meal being sweetened, however, by Molly's explanation that there was
a fresh sole in the house, but she thought she would not inthrude on it
before dinner!

We asked, on our arrival at Knockarney House, if we might breakfast at
a regular hour,--say eight thirty. Mrs. Mullarkey agreed, with
that suavity which is, after her untidiness, her distinguishing
characteristic; but notwithstanding this arrangement we break our fast
sometimes at nine forty, sometimes at nine twenty, sometimes at nine,
but never earlier. In order to achieve this much, we are obliged to
rise early and make a combined attack on the executive and culinary
departments. One morning I opened the door leading from the hall into
the back part of the establishment, but closed it hastily, having
interrupted the toilets of three young children, whose existence I had
never suspected, and of Mr. Mullarkey, whom I had thought dead for many
years. Each child had donned one article of clothing, and was apparently
searching for the mate to it, whatever it chanced to be. Mrs. Mullarkey
was fully clothed, and was about to administer correction to one of the
children who, unhappily for him, was not. I retired to my apartment to
report progress, but did not describe the scene minutely, nor mention
the fact that I had seen Salemina's ivory-backed hairbrush put to
excellent if somewhat unusual and unaccustomed service.

Each party in the house eats in solitary splendour, like the MacDermott,
Prince of Coolavin. That royal personage of County Sligo did not,
I believe, allow his wife or his children (who must have had the
MacDermott blood in their veins, even if somewhat diluted) to sit at
table with him. This method introduces the last element of confusion
into the household arrangements, and on two occasions we have had our
custard pudding or stewed fruit served in our bedrooms a full hour after
we had finished dinner. We have reasons for wishing to be first to enter
the dining-room, and we walk in with eyes fixed on the ceiling, by
far the cleanest part of the place. Having wended our way through an
underbrush of corks with an empty bottle here and there, and stumbled
over the holes in the carpet, we arrive at our table in the window.
It is as beautiful as heaven outside, and the table-cloth is at least
cleaner than it will be later, for Mrs. Waterford of Mullinavat has an
unsteady hand.

When Oonah brings in the toast rack now she balances it carefully,
remembering the morning when she dropped it on the floor, but picked up
the slices and offered them to Salemina. Never shall I forget that
dear martyr's expression, which was as if she had made up her mind to
renounce Ireland and leave her to her fate. I know she often must wonder
if Dr. La Touche's servants, like Mrs. Mullarkey's, feel of the potatoes
to see whether they are warm or cold!

At ten thirty there is great confusion and laughter and excitement, for
the sportsmen are setting out for the day and the car has been waiting
at the door for an hour. Oonah is carolling up and down the long
passage, laden with dishes, her cheerfulness not in the least impaired
by having served seven or eight separate breakfasts. Molly has spilled
a jug of milk, and is wiping it up with a child's undershirt. The Glasgy
man is telling them that yesterday they forgot the corkscrew, the salt,
the cup, and the jam from the luncheon basket,--facts so mirth-provoking
that Molly wipes tears of pleasure from her eyes with the milky
undershirt, and Oonah sets the hot-water jug and the coffee-pot on the
stairs to have her laugh out comfortably. When once the car departs,
comparative quiet reigns in and about the house until the passing
bicyclers appear for luncheon or tea, when Oonah picks up the napkins
that we have rolled into wads and flung under the dining-table,
and spreads them on tea-trays, as appetising details for the weary
traveller. There would naturally be more time for housework if so large
a portion of the day were not spent in pleasant interchange of thought
and speech. I can well understand Mrs. Colquhoun's objections to the
housing of the Dublin poor in tenements,--even in those of a better
kind than the present horrible examples; for wherever they are
huddled together in any numbers they will devote most of their time to
conversation. To them talking is more attractive than eating; it even
adds a new joy to drinking; and if I may judge from the groups I have
seen gossiping over a turf fire till midnight, it is preferable to
sleeping. But do not suppose they will bubble over with joke and
repartee, with racy anecdote, to every casual newcomer. The tourist
who looks upon the Irishman as the merry-andrew of the English-speaking
world, and who expects every jarvey he meets to be as whimsical as
Mickey Free, will be disappointed. I have strong suspicions that ragged,
jovial Mickey Free himself, delicious as he is, was created by Lever to
satisfy the Anglo-Saxon idea of the low-comedy Irishman. You will live
in the Emerald Isle for many a month, and not meet the clown or the
villain so familiar to you in modern Irish plays. Dramatists have made
a stage Irishman to suit themselves, and the public and the gallery are
disappointed if anything more reasonable is substituted for him. You
will find, too, that you do not easily gain Paddy's confidence. Misled
by his careless, reckless impetuosity of demeanour, you might expect to
be the confidant of his joys and sorrows, his hopes and expectations,
his faiths and beliefs, his aspirations, fears, longings, at the first
interview. Not at all; you will sooner be admitted to a glimpse of the
travelling Scotsman's or the Englishman's inner life, family history,
personal ambition. Glacial enough at first and far less voluble, he
melts soon enough, if he likes you. Meantime, your impulsive Irish
friend gives himself as freely at the first interview as at the
twentieth; and you know him as well at the end of a week as you are
likely to at the end of a year. He is a product of the past, be
he gentleman or peasant. A few hundred years of necessary reserve
concerning articles of political and religious belief have bred caution
and prudence in stronger natures, cunning and hypocrisy in weaker ones.

Our days are very varied. We have been several times into the town and
spent an hour in the Petty Sessions Court with Mr. Colquhoun, who sits
on the bench. Each time we have come home laden with stories 'as good as
any in the books,' so says Francesca. Have we not with our own eyes seen
the settlement of an assault and battery case between two of the most
notorious brawlers in that alley of the town which we have dubbed 'The
Pass of the Plumes.' [*] Each barrister in the case had a handful of hair
which he introduced on behalf of his client, both ladies apparently
having pulled with equal energy. These most unattractive exhibits
were shown to the women themselves, each recognising her own hair,
but denying the validity of the other exhibit firmly and vehemently.
Prisoner number one kneeled at the rail and insisted on exposing the
place in her head from which the hair had been plucked; upon which
prisoner number two promptly tore off her hat, scattered hairpins to
the four winds, and exposed her own wounds to the judicial eye.
Both prisoners 'had a dhrop taken' just before the affair; that soft
impeachment they could not deny. One of them explained, however, that
she had taken it to help her over a hard job of work, and through a
little miscalculation of quantity it had 'overaided her.' The other
termagant was asked flatly by the magistrate if she had ever seen
the inside of a jail before, but evaded the point with much grace and
ingenuity by telling his Honour that he couldn't expect to meet a woman
anywhere who had not suffered a misforchin somewhere betwixt the cradle
and the grave.

     *The original Pass of the Plumes is near Maryborough, and
     was so called from the number of English helmet plumes that
     were strewn about after O'Moore's fight with five hundred of
     the Earl of Essex's men.

Even the all too common drunk-and-disorderly cases had a flavour
of their own, for one man, being dismissed with a small fine under
condition that he would sign the pledge, assented willingly; but on
being asked for how long he would take it, replied, 'I mostly take it
for life, your worship.'

We also heard the testimony of a girl who had run away from her employer
before the completion of her six months' contract, her plea being that
the fairies pulled her great toe at night so that she could not sleep,
whereupon she finally became so lame that she was unable to work. She
left her employer's house one evening, therefore, and went home, and
curiously enough the fairies 'shtopped pulling the toe on her as soon as
iver she got there!'

Not the least enlivening of the prisoners was a decently educated person
who had been arrested for disturbing the peace. The constable asserted
that he was intoxicated, but the gentleman himself insisted that he was
merely a poet in a more than usually inspired state.

"I am in the poetical advertising line, your worship. It is true I was
surrounded by a crowd, but I was merely practising my trade. I don't
mind telling your worship that this holiday-time makes things a little
lively, and the tradesmen drink my health a trifle oftener than usual;
poetry is dry work, your worship, and a poet needs a good deal of liquid
refreshment. I do not disturb the peace, your worship, at least not more
than any other poet. I go to a grocer's, and, standing outside, I make
up some rhymes about his nice sweet sugar or his ale. If I want to
please a butcher--well, I'll give you a specimen:--

     'Here's to the butcher who sells good meat--
      In this world it's hard to beat;
      It's the very best that's to be had,
      And makes the human heart feel glad.
      There's no necessity to purloin,
      So step in and buy a good sirloin.'

I can go on in this style, like Tennyson's brook, for ever, your
worship." His worship was afraid that he might make the offer good, and
the poet was released, after promising to imbibe less frequently when he
felt the divine afflatus about to descend upon him.

These disagreements between light-hearted and bibulous persons who haunt
the courts week after week have nothing especially pathetic about them,
but there are many that make one's heart ache; many that seem absolutely
beyond any solution, and beyond reach of any justice.



Chapter XIII. 'O! the sound of the Kerry dancing.'

     'The light-hearted daughters of Erin,
      Like the wild mountain deer they can bound;
      Their feet never touch the green island,
      But music is struck from the ground.
      And oft in the glens and green meadows,
      The ould jig they dance with such grace,
      That even the daisies they tread on,
      Look up with delight in their face.'
                               James M'Kowen.

One of our favourite diversions is an occasional glimpse of a
'crossroads dance' on a pleasant Sunday afternoon, when all the young
people of the district are gathered together. Their religious duties are
over with their confessions and their masses, and the priests encourage
these decorous Sabbath gaieties. A place is generally chosen where two
or four roads meet, and the dancers come from the scattered farmhouses
in every direction. In Ballyfuchsia, they dance on a flat piece of road
under some fir-trees and larches, with stretches of mountain covered
with yellow gorse or purple heather, and the quiet lakes lying in the
distance. A message comes down to us at Ardnagreena--where we commonly
spend our Sunday afternoons--that they expect a good dance, and the
blind boy is coming to fiddle; and 'so if you will be coming up, it's
welcome you'll be.' We join them about five o'clock--passing, on our
way, groups of 'boys' of all ages from sixteen upwards, walking in twos
and threes, and parties of three or four girls by themselves; for it
would not be etiquette for the boys and girls to walk together, such
strictness is observed in these matters about here.

When we reach the rendezvous we find quite a crowd of young men and
maidens assembled; the girls all at one side of the road, neatly dressed
in dark skirts and light blouses, with the national woollen shawl over
their heads. Two wide stone walls, or dykes, with turf on top, make
capital seats, and the boys are at the opposite side, as custom demands.
When a young man wants a partner, he steps across the road and asks
a colleen, who lays aside her shawl, generally giving it to a younger
sister to keep until the dance is over, when the girls go back to their
own side of the road and put on their shawls again. Upon our arrival we
find the 'sets' are already in progress; a 'set' being a dance like
a very intricate and very long quadrille. We are greeted with many
friendly words, and the young boatmen and farmers' sons ask the ladies,
"Will you be pleased to dance, miss?" Some of them are shy, and say
they are not familiar with the steps; but their would-be partners remark
encouragingly: "Sure, and what matter? I'll see you through." Soon all
are dancing, and the state of the road is being discussed with as much
interest as the floor of a ballroom. Eager directions are given to the
more ignorant newcomers, such as, "Twirl your girl, captain!" or "Turn
your back to your face!"--rather a difficult direction to carry out, but
one which conveys its meaning. Salemina confided to her partner that she
feared she was getting a bit old to dance. He looked at her grey hair
carefully for a moment, and then said chivalrously: "I'd not say that
that was old age, ma'am. I'd say it was eddication."

When the sets, which are very long and very decorous, are finished,
sometimes a jig is danced for our benefit. The spectators make a ring,
and the chosen dancers go into the middle, where their steps are watched
by a most critical and discriminating audience with the most minute and
intense interest. Our Molly is one of the best jig dancers among the
girls here (would that she were half as clever at cooking!); but if you
want to see an artist of the first rank, you must watch Kitty O'Rourke,
from the neighbouring village of Dooclone. The half door of the barn is
carried into the ring by one or two of her admirers, whom she numbers
by the score, and on this she dances her famous jig polthogue, sometimes
alone and sometimes with Art Rooney, the only worthy partner for her in
the kingdom of Kerry. Art's mother, 'Bid' Rooney, is a keen matchmaker,
and we heard her the other day advising her son, who was going to
Dooclone, to have a 'weeny court' with his colleen, to put a clane
shirt on him in the middle of the week, and disthract Kitty intirely by
showin' her he had three of thim, annyway!

Kitty is a beauty, and doesn't need to be made 'purty wid cows'--a feat
that the old Irishman proposed to do when he was consummating a match
for his plain daughter. But the gifts of the gods seldom come singly,
and Kitty is well fortuned as well as beautiful; fifty pounds, her own
bedstead and its fittings, a cow, a pig, and a web of linen are supposed
to be the dazzling total, so that it is small wonder her deluderin' ways
are maddening half the boys in Ballyfuchsia and Dooclone. She has the
prettiest pair of feet in the County Kerry, and when they are encased in
a smart pair of shoes, bought for her by Art's rival, the big constable
from Ballyfuchsia barracks, how they do twinkle and caper over that half
barn door, to be sure! Even Murty, the blind fiddler, seems intoxicated
by the plaudits of the bystanders, and he certainly never plays so well
for anybody as for Kitty of the Meadow. Blindness is still common in
Ireland, owing to the smoke in these wretched cabins, where sometimes a
hole in the roof is the only chimney; and although the scores of
blind fiddlers no longer traverse the land, finding a welcome at all
firesides, they are still to be found in every community. Blind Murty
is a favourite guest at the Rooney's cabin, which is never so full that
there is not room for one more. There is a small wooden bed in the
main room, a settle that opens out at night, with hens in the straw
underneath, where a board keeps them safely within until they have
finished laying. There are six children besides Art, and my ambition is
to photograph, or, still better, to sketch the family circle together;
the hens cackling under the settle, the pig ('him as pays the rint')
snoring in the doorway, as a proprietor should, while the children are
picturesquely grouped about. I never succeed, because Mrs. Rooney sees
us as we turn into the lane, and calls to the family to make itself
ready, as quality's comin' in sight. The older children can scramble
under the bed, slip shoes over their bare feet, and be out in front of
the cabin without the loss of a single minute. 'Mickey jew'l,' the baby,
who is only four, but 'who can handle a stick as bould as a man,' is
generally clad in a ragged skirt, slit every few inches from waist to
hem, so that it resembles a cotton fringe. The little coateen that tops
this costume is sometimes, by way of diversion, transferred to the dog,
who runs off with it; but if we appear at this unlucky moment, there
is a stylish yoke of pink ribbon and soiled lace which one of the girls
pins over Mickey jew'l's naked shoulders.

Moya, who has this eye for picturesque propriety, is a great friend
of mine, and has many questions about the Big Country when we take our
walks. She longs to emigrate, but the time is not ripe yet. "The girls
that come back has a lovely style to thim," she says wistfully, "but
they're so polite they can't live in the cabins anny more and be
contint." The 'boys' are not always so improved, she thinks. "You'd
niver find a boy in Ballyfuchsia that would say annything rude to a
girl; but when they come back from Ameriky, it's too free they've grown
intirely." It is a dull life for them, she says, when they have once
been away; though to be sure Ballyfuchsia is a pleasanter place than
Dooclone, where the priest does not approve of dancing, and, however
secretly you may do it, the curate hears of it, and will speak your name
in church.

It was Moya who told me of Kitty's fortune. "She's not the match that
Farmer Brodigan's daughter Kathleen is, to be sure; for he's a rich man,
and has given her an iligant eddication in Cork, so that she can look
high for a husband. She won't be takin' up wid anny of our boys, wid
her two hundred pounds and her twenty cows and her pianya. Och, it's a
thriminjus player she is, ma'am. She's that quick and that strong that
you'd say she wouldn't lave a string on it."

Some of the young men and girls never see each other before the
marriage, Moya says. "But sure," she adds shyly, "I'd niver be contint
with that, though some love matches doesn't turn out anny better than
the others."

"I hope it will be a love match with you, and that I shall dance at your
wedding, Moya," I say to her smilingly.

"Faith, I'm thinkin' my husband's intinded mother died an old maid in
Dublin," she answers merrily. "It's a small fortune I'll be havin' and
few lovers; but you'll be soon dancing at Kathleen Brodigan's wedding,
or Kitty O'Rourke's, maybe."

I do not pretend to understand these humble romances, with their
foundations of cows and linen, which are after all no more sordid than
bank stock and trousseaux from Paris. The sentiment of the Irish peasant
lover seems to be frankly and truly expressed in the verses:--

     'Oh! Moya's wise and beautiful, has wealth in plenteous store,
      And fortune fine in calves and kine, and lovers half a score;
      Her faintest smile would saints beguile, or sinners captivate,
      Oh! I think a dale of Moya, but I'll surely marry Kate.

           .         .         .         .         .

     'Now to let you know the raison why I cannot have my way,
      Nor bid my heart decide the part the lover must obey--
      The calves and kine of Kate are nine, while Moya owns but
          eight,
      So with all my love for Moya I'm compelled to marry Kate!'

I gave Moya a lace neckerchief the other day, and she was rarely
pleased, running into the cabin with it and showing it to her mother
with great pride. After we had walked a bit down the boreen she excused
herself for an instant, and, returning to my side, explained that she
had gone back to ask her mother to mind the kerchief, and not let the
'cow knock it'!

Lady Kilbally tells us that some of the girls who work in the mills deny
themselves proper food, and live on bread and tea for a month, to
save the price of a gay ribbon. This is trying, no doubt, to a
philanthropist, but is it not partly a starved sense of beauty asserting
itself? If it has none of the usual outlets, where can imagination
express itself if not in some paltry thing like a ribbon?



Chapter XIV. Mrs. Mullarkey's iligant locks.

     'Where spreads the beautiful water to gay or cloudy skies,
      And the purple peaks of Killarney from ancient woods arise.'
                                        William Allingham.

Mrs. Mullarkey cannot spoil this paradise for us. When I wake in the
morning, the fuchsia-tree outside my window is such a glorious mass of
colour that it distracts my eyes from the unwashed glass. The air is
still; the mountains in the far distance are clear purple; everything
is fresh washed and purified for the new day. Francesca and I leave the
house sleeping, and make our way to the bogs. We love to sit under a
blossoming sloe-bush and see the silver pools glistening here and there
in the turf cuttings, and watch the transparent vapour rising from the
red-brown of the purple-shadowed bog fields. Dinnis Rooney, half awake,
leisurely, silent, is moving among the stacks with his creel. How the
missel thrushes sing in the woods, and the plaintive note of the curlew
gives the last touch of mysterious tenderness to the scene. There is a
moist, rich fragrance of meadowsweet and bog myrtle in the air; and how
fresh and wild and verdant it is!

     'For there's plenty to mind, sure, if on'y ye look to the grass
                    at your feet,
      For 'tis thick wid the tussocks of heather, an' blossoms and
                    herbs that smell sweet
      If ye tread thim; an' maybe the white o' the bog-cotton waves
                    in the win',
      Like the wool ye might shear off a night-moth, an' set an ould
                    fairy to spin;
      Or wee frauns, each wan stuck 'twixt two leaves on a grand
                    little stem of its own,
      Lettin' on 'twas a plum on a tree.' [*]


     * Jane Barlow.

As for Lough Lein itself, who could speak its loveliness, lying like a
crystal mirror beneath the black Reeks of the McGillicuddy, where, in
the mountain fastnesses, lie spell-bound the sleeping warriors who, with
their bridles and broadswords in hand, await but the word to give Erin
her own! When we glide along the surface of the lakes, on some bright
day after a heavy rain; when we look down through the clear water on
tiny submerged islets, with their grasses and drowned daisies glancing
up at us from the blue; when we moor the boat and climb the hillsides,
we are dazzled by the luxuriant beauty of it all. It hardly seems
real--it is too green, too perfect, to be believed; and one thinks of
some fairy drop-scene, painted by cunning-fingered elves and sprites,
who might have a wee folk's way of mixing roses and rainbows,
dew-drenched greens and sun-warmed yellows; showing the picture to you
first all burnished, glittering and radiant, then 'veiled in mist and
diamonded with showers.' We climb, climb, up, up, into the heart of the
leafy loveliness; peering down into dewy dingles, stopping now and again
to watch one of the countless streams as it tinkles and gurgles down
an emerald ravine to join the lakes. The way is strewn with lichens and
mosses; rich green hollies and arbutus surround us on every side;
the ivy hangs in sweet disorder from the rocks; and when we reach the
innermost recess of the glen we can find moist green jungles of ferns
and bracken, a very bending, curling forest of fronds:--

     'The fairy's tall palm-tree, the heath bird's fresh nest,
      And the couch the red deer deems the sweetest and best.'

Carrantual rears its crested head high above the other mountains, and on
its summit Shon the Outlaw, footsore, weary, slept; sighing, "For once,
thank God, I am above all my enemies."

You must go to sweet Innisfallen, too, and you must not be prosaic or
incredulous at the boatman's stories, or turn the 'bodthered ear to
them.' These are no ordinary hillsides: not only do the wee folk troop
through the frond forests nightly, but great heroic figures of romance
have stalked majestically along these mountain summits. Every waterfall
foaming and dashing from its rocky bed in the glen has a legend in the
toss and swirl of the water.

Can't you see the O'Sullivan, famous for fleetness of foot and prowess
in the chase, starting forth in the cool o' the morn to hunt the red
deer? His dogs sniff the heather; a splendid stag bounds across the
path; swift as lightning the dogs follow the scent across moors and
glens. Throughout the long day the chieftain chases the stag, until at
nightfall, weary and thirsty, he loses the scent, and blows a blast on
his horn to call the dogs homeward.

And then he hears a voice: "O'Sullivan, turn back!"

He looks over his shoulder to behold the great Finn McCool, central
figure in centuries of romance.

"Why do you dare chase my stag?" he asks.

"Because it is the finest man ever saw," answers the chieftain
composedly.

"You are a valiant man," says the hero, pleased with the reply; "and
as you thirst from the long chase, I will give you to drink." So he
crunches his giant heel into the rock, and forth burst the waters,
seething and roaring as they do to this day; "and may the divil fly away
wid me if I've spoke an unthrue word, ma'am!"

Come to Lough Lein as did we, too early for the crowd of sightseers; but
when the 'long light shakes across the lakes,' the blackest arts of the
tourist (and they are as black as they are many) cannot break the spell.
Sitting on one of these hillsides, we heard a bugle-call taken up and
repeated in delicate, ethereal echoes,--sweet enough, indeed, to be
worthy of the fairy buglers who are supposed to pass the sound along
their lines from crag to crag, until it faints and dies in silence. And
then came the 'Lament for Owen Roe O'Neil.' We were thrilled to the
very heart with the sorrowful strains; and when we issued from our leafy
covert, and rounded the point of rocks from which the sound came,
we found a fat man in uniform playing the bugle. 'Blank's Tours' was
embroidered on his cap, and I have no doubt that he is a good husband
and father, even a good citizen, but he is a blight upon the landscape,
and fancy cannot breathe in his presence. The typical tourist should be
encouraged within bounds, both because he is of some benefit to Ireland,
and because Ireland is of inestimable benefit to him; but he should
not be allowed to jeer and laugh at the legends (the gentle smile of
sophisticated unbelief, with its twinkle of amusement, is unknown to and
for ever beyond him); and above all, he should never be allowed to carry
or to play on a concertina, for this is the unpardonable sin.

We had an adventure yesterday. We were to dine at eight o'clock at
Balkilly Castle, where Dr. La Touche is staying the week-end with Lord
and Lady Killbally. We had been spending an hour or two after tea in
writing an Irish letter, and were a bit late in dressing. These letters,
written in the vernacular, are a favourite diversion of ours when
visiting in foreign lands; and they are very easily done when once you
have caught the idioms, for you can always supplement your slender store
of words and expressions with choice selections from native authors.

What Francesca and I wore to the Castle dinner is, alas! no longer of
any consequence to the community at large. In the mysterious purposes
of that third volume which we seem to be living in Ireland, Francesca's
beauty and mine, her hats and frocks as well as mine, are all reduced to
the background; but Salemina's toilet had cost us some thought. When she
first issued from the discreet and decorous fastnesses of Salem society,
she had never donned any dinner dress that was not as high at the throat
and as long in the sleeves as the Puritan mothers ever wore to meeting.
In England she lapsed sufficiently from the rigid Salem standard to
adopt a timid compromise; in Scotland we coaxed her into still further
modernities, until now she is completely enfranchised. We achieved this
at considerable trouble, but do not grudge the time spent in persuasion
when we see her en grande toilette. In day dress she has always
been inclined ever so little to a primness and severity that suggest
old-maidishness. In her low gown of pale grey, with all her silver
hair waved softly, she is unexpectedly lovely,--her face softened,
transformed, and magically 'brought out' by the whiteness of her
shoulders and slender throat. Not an ornament, not a jewel, will she
wear; and she is right to keep the nunlike simplicity of style which
suits her so well, and which holds its own even in the vicinity of
Francesca's proud and glowing young beauty.

On this particular evening, Francesca, who wished her to look her best,
had prudently hidden her eyeglasses, for which we are now trying to
substitute a silver-handled lorgnette. Two years ago we deliberately
smashed her spectacles, which she had adopted at five-and-twenty.

"But they are more convenient than eye-glasses," she urged obtusely.

"That argument is beneath you, dear," we replied. "If your hair were not
prematurely grey, we might permit the spectacles, hideous as they are,
but a combination of the two is impossible; the world shall not convict
you of failing sight when you are guilty only of petty astigmatism!"

The grey satin had been chosen for this dinner, and Salemina was
dressed, with the exception of the pretty pearl-embroidered waist that
has to be laced at the last moment, and had slipped on a dressing jacket
to come down from her room in the second story, to be advised in some
trifling detail. She looked unusually well, I thought: her eyes were
bright and her cheeks flushed, as she rustled in, holding her satin
skirts daintily away from the dusty carpets.

Now, from the morning of our arrival we have had trouble with the
Mullarkey door-knobs, which come off continually, and lie on the floors
at one side of the door or the other. Benella followed Salemina from
her room, and, being in haste, closed the door with unwonted energy. She
heard the well-known rattle and clang, but little suspected that, as one
knob dropped outside in the hall, the other fell inside, carrying the
rod of connection with it. It was not long before we heard a cry of
despair from above, and we responded to it promptly.

"It's fell in on the inside, knob and all, as I always knew it would
some day; and now we can't get back into the room!" said Benella.

"Oh, nonsense! We can open it with something or other," I answered
encouragingly, as I drew on my gloves; "only you must hasten, for the
car is at the door."

The curling iron was too large, the shoe hook too short, a lead pencil
too smooth, a crochet needle too slender: we tried them all, and the
door resisted all our insinuations. "Must you necessarily get in before
we go?" I asked Salemina thoughtlessly.

She gave me a glance that almost froze my blood, as she replied, "The
waist of my dress is in the room."

Francesca and I spent a moment in irrepressible mirth, and then summoned
Mrs. Mullarkey. Whether the Irish kings could be relied upon in an
emergency I do not know, but their descendants cannot. Mrs. Mullarkey
had gone to the convent to see the Mother Superior about something; Mr.
Mullarkey was at the Dooclone market; Peter was not to be found; but
Oonah and Molly came, and also the old lady from Mullinavat, with a
package of raffle tickets in her hand.

We left this small army under Benella's charge, and went down to my room
for a hasty consultation.

"Could you wear any evening bodice of Francesca's?" I asked.

"Of course not. Francesca's waist measure is three inches smaller than
mine."

"Could you manage my black lace dress?"

"Penelope, you know it would only reach to my ankles! No, you must go
without me, and go at once. We are too new acquaintances to keep Lady
Killbally's dinner waiting. Why did I come to this place like a pauper,
with only one evening gown, when I should have known that if there is
a castle anywhere within forty miles you always spend half your time in
it!"

This slur was totally unjustified, but I pardoned it, because Salemina's
temper is ordinarily perfect, and the circumstances were somewhat
tragic. "If you had brought a dozen costumes, they would all be in your
room at this moment," I replied; "but we must think of something. It
is impossible for you to remain behind; we were invited more on your
account than our own, for you are Dr. La Touche's friend, and the dinner
is especially in his honour. Molly, have you a ladder?"

"Sorra a wan, ma'am."

"Could we borrow one?"

"We could not, Mrs. Beresford, ma'am."

"Then see if you can break down the door; try hard, and if you succeed I
will buy you a nice new one! Part of Miss Peabody's dress is inside the
room, and we shall be late to the Castle dinner."

The entire corps, with Mrs. Waterford of Mullinavat on top, cast itself
on the door, which withstood the shock to perfection. Then in a moment
we heard: "Weary's on it, it will not come down for us, ma'am. It's the
iligant locks we do be havin' in the house; they're mortial shtrong,
ma'am!"

"Strong, indeed!" exclaimed the incensed Benella, in a burst of New
England wrath. "There's nothing strong about the place but the impidence
of the people in it! If you had told Peter to get a carpenter or a
locksmith, as I've been asking you these two weeks, it would have been
all right; but you never do anything till a month after it's too late.
I've no patience with such a set of doshies, dawdling around and leaving
everything to go to rack and ruin!"

"Sure it was yourself that ruinated the thing," responded Molly, with
spirit, for the unaccustomed word 'doshy' had kindled her quick Irish
temper. "It's aisy handlin' the knob is used to, and faith it would 'a'
stuck there for you a twelvemonth!"

"They will be quarrelling soon," said Salemina nervously. "Do not wait
another instant; you are late enough now, and I insist on your going.
Make any excuse you see fit: say I am ill, say I am dead, if you like,
but don't tell the real excuse--it is too shiftless and wretched and
embarrassing. Don't cry, Benella. Molly, Oonah, go downstairs to your
work. Mrs. Waterford, I think perhaps you have forgotten that we have
already purchased raffle tickets, and we'll not take any more for fear
that we may draw the necklace. Good-bye, dears; tell Lady Killbally I
shall see her to-morrow."



Chapter XV. Penelope weaves a web.

     'Why the shovel and tongs
      To each other belongs,
      And the kettle sings songs
      Full of family glee,
      While alone with your cup,
      Like a hermit you sup,
      Och hone, Widow Machree.'
                        Samuel Lover.

Francesca and I were gloomy enough, as we drove along facing each other
in Ballyfuchsia's one 'inside-car'--a strange and fearsome vehicle,
partaking of the nature of a broken-down omnibus, a hearse, and an
overgrown black beetle. It holds four, or at a squeeze six, the seats
being placed from stem to stern lengthwise, and the balance being so
delicate that the passengers, when going uphill, are shaken into a heap
at the door, which is represented by a ragged leather flap. I have often
seen it strew the hard highroad with passengers, as it jolts up the
steep incline that leads to Ardnagreena, and the 'fares' who succeed in
staying in always sit in one another's laps a good part of the way--a
method pleasing only to relatives or intimate friends. Francesca and I
agreed to tell the real reason of Salemina's absence. "It is Ireland's
fault, and I will not have America blamed for it," she insisted; "but
it is so embarrassing to be going to the dinner ourselves, and
leaving behind the most important personage. Think of Dr. La Touche's
disappointment, think of Salemina's; and they'll never understand why
she couldn't have come in a dressing jacket. I shall advise her to
discharge Benella after this episode, for no one can tell the effect it
may have upon all our future lives, even those of the doctor's two poor
motherless children."

It is a four-mile drive to Balkilly Castle, and when we arrived there
we were so shaken that we had to retire to a dressing-room for repairs.
Then came the dreaded moment when we entered the great hall and advanced
to meet Lady Killbally, who looked over our heads to greet the missing
Salemina. Francesca's beauty, my supposed genius, both fell flat; it
was Salemina whose presence was especially desired. The company was
assembled, save for one guest still more tardy than ourselves, and we
had a moment or two to tell our story as sympathetically as possible. It
had an uncommonly good reception, and, coupled with the Irish letter I
read at dessert, carried the dinner along on a basis of such laughter
and good-fellowship that finally there was no place for regret save in
the hearts of those who knew and loved Salemina--poor Salemina,
spending her dull, lonely evening in our rooms, and later on in her own
uneventful bed, if indeed she had been lucky enough to gain access to
that bed. I had hoped Lady Killbally would put one of us beside Dr.
La Touche, so that we might at least keep Salemina's memory green by
tactful conversation; but it was too large a company to rearrange, and
he had to sit by an empty chair, which perhaps was just as salutary,
after all. The dinner was very smart, and the company interesting and
clever, but my thoughts were elsewhere. As there were fewer squires than
dames at the feast, Lady Killbally kindly took me on her left, with
a view to better acquaintance, and I was heartily glad of a possible
chance to hear something of Dr. La Touche's earlier life. In our
previous interviews, Salemina's presence had always precluded the
possibility of leading the conversation in the wished-for direction.

When I first saw Gerald La Touche I felt that he required explanation.
Usually speaking, a human being ought to be able, in an evening's
conversation, to explain himself, without any adventitious aid. If he is
a man, alive, vigorous, well poised, conscious of his own individuality,
he shows you, without any effort, as much of his past as you need to
form your impression, and as much of his future as you have intuition to
read. As opposed to the vigorous personality, there is the colourless,
flavourless, insubstantial sort, forgotten as soon as learned, and for
ever confused with that of the previous or the next comer. When I was a
beginner in portrait-painting, I remember that, after I had succeeded
in making my background stay back where it belonged, my figure sometimes
had a way of clinging to it in a kind of smudgy weakness, as if it were
afraid to come out like a man and stand the inspection of my eye. How
often have I squandered paint upon the ungrateful object without adding
a cubit to its stature! It refused to look like flesh and blood, but
resembled rather some half-made creature flung on the passive canvas in
a liquid state, with its edges running over into the background. There
are a good many of these people in literature, too,--heroes who, like
home-made paper dolls, do not stand up well; or if they manage to
perform that feat, one unexpectedly discovers, when they are placed in
a strong light, that they have no vital organs whatever, and can be seen
through without the slightest difficulty. Dr. La Touche does not belong
to either of these two classes: he is not warm, magnetic, powerful,
impressive: neither is he by any means destitute of vital organs;
but his personality is blurred in some way. He seems a bit remote,
absentminded, and a trifle, just a trifle, over-resigned. Privately, I
think a man can afford to be resigned only to one thing, and that is the
will of God; against all other odds I prefer to see him fight till
the last armed foe expires. Dr. La Touche is devotedly attached to his
children, but quite helpless in their hands; so that he never looks at
them with pleasure or comfort or pride, but always with an anxiety as
to what they may do next. I understand him better now that I know the
circumstances of which he has been the product. (Of course one is always
a product of circumstances, unless one can manage to be superior to
them.) His wife, the daughter of an American consul in Ireland, was a
charming but somewhat feather-brained person, rather given to whims and
caprices; very pretty, very young, very much spoiled, very attractive,
very undisciplined. All went well enough with them until her father was
recalled to America, because of some change in political administration.
The young Mrs. La Touche seemed to have no resources apart from her
family, and even her baby 'Jackeen' failed to absorb her as might have
been expected.

"We thought her a most trying woman at this time," said Lady Killbally.
"She seemed to have no thought of her husband's interests, and none of
the responsibilities that she had assumed in marrying him; her only idea
of life appeared to be amusement and variety and gaiety. Gerald was
a student, and always very grave and serious; the kind of man who
invariably marries a butterfly, if he can find one to make him
miserable. He was exceedingly patient; but after the birth of little
Broona, Adeline became so homesick and depressed and discontented that,
although the journey was almost an impossibility at the time, Gerald
took her back to her people, and left her with them, while he returned
to his duties at Trinity College. Their life, I suppose, had been very
unhappy for a year or two before this, and when he came home to Dublin
without his children, he looked a sad and broken man. He was absolutely
faithful to his ideals, I am glad to say, and never wavered in his
allegiance to his wife, however disappointed he may have been in her;
going over regularly to spend his long vacations in America, although
she never seemed to wish to see him. At last she fell into a state of
hopeless melancholia; and it was rather a relief to us all to feel that
we had judged her too severely, and that her unreasonableness and her
extraordinary caprices had been born of mental disorder more than of
moral obliquity. Gerald gave up everything to nurse her and rouse her
from her apathy; but she faded away without ever once coming back to a
more normal self, and that was the end of it all. Gerald's father had
died meanwhile, and he had fallen heir to the property and the estates.
They were very much encumbered, but he is gradually getting affairs into
a less chaotic state; and while his fortune would seem a small one to
you extravagant Americans, he is what we Irish paupers would call well
to do."

Lady Killbally was suspiciously willing to give me all this
information,--so much so that I ventured to ask about the children.

"They are captivating, neglected little things," she said. "Madame La
Touche, an aged aunt, has the ostensible charge of them, and she is a
most easy-going person. The servants are of the 'old family' sort,
the reckless, improvident, untidy, devoted, quarrelsome creatures that
always stand by the ruined Irish gentry in all their misfortunes, and
generally make their life a burden to them at the same time. Gerald is a
saint, and therefore never complains."

"It never seems to me that saints are altogether adapted to positions
like these," I sighed; "sinners would do ever so much better. I should
like to see Dr. La Touche take off his halo, lay it carefully on the
bureau, and wield a battle-axe. The world will never acknowledge his
merit; it will even forget him presently, and his life will have been
given up to the evolution of the passive virtues. Do you suppose he will
recognise the tender passion if it ever does bud in his breast, or will
he think it a weed, instead of a flower, and let it wither for want of
attention?"

"I think his friends will have to enhance his self-respect, or he
will for ever be too modest to declare himself," said Lady Killbally.
"Perhaps you can help us: he is probably going to America this winter to
lecture at some of your universities, and he may stay there for a year
or two, so he says. At any rate, if the right woman ever appears on
the scene, I hope she will have the instinct to admire and love and
reverence him as we do," and here she smiled directly into my eyes, and
slipping her pretty hand under the tablecloth squeezed mine in a manner
that spoke volumes.

It is not easy to explain one's desire to marry off all the unmarried
persons in one's vicinity. When I look steadfastly at any group of
people, large or small, they usually segregate themselves into twos
under my prophetic eye. It they are nice and attractive, I am pleased to
see them mated; if they are horrid and disagreeable, I like to think of
them as improving under the discipline of matrimony. It is joy to see
beauty meet a kindling eye, but I am more delighted still to watch a man
fall under the glamour of a plain, dull girl, and it is ecstasy for me
to see a perfectly unattractive, stupid woman snapped up at last, when I
have given up hopes of settling her in life. Sometimes there are men
so uninspiring that I cannot converse with them a single moment without
yawning; but though failures in all other relations, one can conceive
of their being tolerably useful as husbands and fathers; not for one's
self, you understand, but for one's neighbours.

Dr. La Touche's life now, to any understanding eye, is as incomplete
as the unfinished window in Aladdin's tower. He is too wrinkled, too
studious, too quiet, too patient for his years. His children need a
mother, his old family servants need discipline, his baronial halls need
sweeping and cleaning (I haven't seen them, but I know they do!), and
his aged aunt needs advice and guidance. On the other hand, there are
those (I speak guardedly) who have walked in shady, sequestered paths
all their lives, looking at hundreds of happy lovers on the sunny
highroad, but never joining them; those who adore erudition, who love
children, who have a genius for unselfish devotion, who are sweet and
refined and clever, and who look perfectly lovely when they put on
grey satin and leave off eyeglasses. They say they are over forty, and
although this probably is exaggeration, they may be thirty-nine and
three-quarters; and if so, the time is limited in which to find for them
a worthy mate, since half of the masculine population is looking for
itself, and always in the wrong quarter, needing no assistance to
discover rose-cheeked idiots of nineteen, whose obvious charms draw
thousands to a dull and uneventful fate.

These thoughts were running idly through my mind while the Honourable
Michael McGillicuddy was discoursing to me of Mr. Gladstone's
misunderstanding of Irish questions,--a misunderstanding, he said, so
colossal, so temperamental, and so all-embracing, that it amounted
to genius. I was so anxious to return to Salemina that I wished I had
ordered the car at ten thirty instead of eleven; but I made up my mind,
as we ladies went to the drawing-room for coffee, that I would seize the
first favourable opportunity to explore the secret chambers of Dr. La
Touche's being. I love to rummage in out-of-the-way corners of people's
brains and hearts if they will let me. I like to follow a courteous host
through the public corridors of his house and come upon a little chamber
closed to the casual visitor. If I have known him long enough I put
my hand on the latch and smile inquiringly. He looks confused and
conscious, but unlocks the door. Then I peep in, and often I see
something that pleases and charms and touches me so much that it shows
in my eyes when I lift them to his to say "Thank you." Sometimes, after
that, my host gives me the key and says gravely "Pray come in whenever
you like."

When Dr. La Touche offers me this hospitality I shall find out whether
he knows anything of that lavender-scented guest-room in Salemina's
heart. First, has he ever seen it? Second, has he ever stopped in it for
any length of time? Third, was he sufficiently enamoured of it to occupy
it on a long lease?



Chapter XVI. Salemina has her chance.

     'And what use is one's life widout chances?
        Ye've always a chance wid the tide.'
                                  Jane Barlow.

I was walking with Lady Fincoss, and Francesca with Miss Clondalkin,
a very learned personage who has deciphered more undecipherable
inscriptions than any lady in Ireland, when our eyes fell upon an
unexpected tableau.

Seated on a divan in the centre of the drawing-room, in a most
distinguished attitude, in unexceptionable attire, and with the
rose-coloured lights making all her soft greys opalescent, was Miss
Salemina Peabody. Our exclamations of astonishment were so audible that
they must have reached the dining-room, for Lord Killbally did not keep
the gentlemen long at their wine.

Salemina cannot tell a story quite as it ought to be told to produce an
effect. She is too reserved, too concise, too rigidly conscientious. She
does not like to be the centre of interest, even in a modest contretemps
like being locked out of a room which contains part of her dress; but
from her brief explanation to Lady Killbally, her more complete and
confidential account on the way home, and Benella's graphic story when
we arrived there, we were able to get all the details.

When the inside-car passed out of view with us, it appears that Benella
wept tears of rage, at the sight of which Oonah and Molly trembled. In
that moment of despair and remorse, her mind worked as it must always
have done before the Salem priestess befogged it with hazy philosophies,
understood neither by teacher nor by pupil. Peter had come back, but
could suggest nothing. Benella forgot her 'science,' which prohibits
rage and recrimination, and called him a great, hulking, lazy vagabone,
and told him she'd like to have him in Salem for five minutes, just to
show him a man with head on his shoulders.

"You call this a Christian country," she said, "and you haven't got a
screwdriver, nor a bradawl, nor a monkey-wrench, nor a rat-tail file,
nor no kind of a useful tool to bless yourselves with; and my Miss
Peabody, that's worth ten dozen of you put together, has got to stay
home from the Castle and eat warmed-up scraps served in courses,
with twenty minutes' wait between 'em. Now you do as I say: take the
dining-table and set it out under the window, and the carving-table on
top o' that, and see how fur up it'll reach. I guess you can't stump a
Salem woman by telling her there ain't no ladder."

The two tables were finally in position; but there still remained nine
feet of distance to that key of the situation, Salemina's window, and
Mrs. Waterford's dressing-table went on top of this pile. "Now, Peter,"
were the next orders, "if you've got sprawl enough, and want to rest
yourself by doin' something useful for once in your life, you just
hold down the dining-table; and you and Oonah, Molly, keep the next two
tables stiddy, while I climb up."

The intrepid Benella could barely reach the sill, even from this
ingeniously dizzy elevation, and Mrs. Waterford and Salemina were called
on to 'stiddy' the tables, while Molly was bidden to help by giving an
heroic 'boost' when the word of command came. The device was completely
successful, and in a trice the conqueror disappeared, to reappear at the
window holding the precious pearl-embroidered bodice wrapped in a towel.
"I wouldn't stop to fool with the door-knob till I dropped you this,"
she said. "Oonah, you go and wash your hands clean, and help Miss
Peabody into it,--and mind you start the lacing right at the top; and
you, Peter, run down to Rooney's and get the donkey and the cart, and
bring 'em back with you,--and don't you let the grass grow under your
feet neither!"

There was literally no other mode of conveyance within miles, and time
was precious. Salemina wrapped herself in Francesca's long black cloak,
and climbed into the cart. Dinnis hauls turf in it, takes a sack of
potatoes or a pig to market in it, and the stubborn little ass, blind of
one eye, has never in his wholly elective course of existence taken up
the subject of speed.

It was eight o'clock when Benella mounted the seat beside Salemina, and
gave the donkey a preliminary touch of the stick.

"Be aisy wid him," cautioned Peter. "He's a very arch donkey for a lady
to be dhrivin', and mebbe he'd lay down and not get up for you."

"Arrah! shut yer mouth, Pether. Give him a couple of belts anondher the
hind leg, melady, and that'll put the fear o' God in him!" said Dinnis.

"I'd rather not go at all," urged Salemina timidly; "it's too late, and
too extraordinary."

"I'm not going to have it on my conscience to make you lose this
dinner-party,--not if I have to carry you on my back the whole way,"
said Benella doggedly; "and this donkey won't lay down with me more'n
once,--I can tell him that right at the start."

"Sure, melady, he'll go to Galway for you, when oncet he's started wid
himself; and it's only a couple o' fingers to the Castle, annyways."

The four-mile drive, especially through the village of Ballyfuchsia, was
an eventful one, but by dint of prodding, poking, and belting, Benella
had accomplished half the distance in three-quarters of an hour, when
the donkey suddenly lay down 'on her,' according to Peter's prediction.
This was luckily at the town cross, where a group of idlers rendered
hearty assistance. Willing as they were to succour a lady in disthress,
they did not know of any car which could be secured in time to be of
service, but one of them offered to walk and run by the side of the
donkey, so as to kape him on his legs. It was in this wise that
Miss Peabody approached Balkilly Castle; and when a gilded
gentleman-in-waiting lifted her from Rooney's 'plain cart,' she was just
on the verge of hysterics. Fortunately his Magnificence was English, and
betrayed no surprise at the arrival in this humble fashion of a dinner
guest, but simply summoned the Irish housekeeper, who revived her with
wine, and called on all the saints to witness that she'd never heard of
such a shameful thing, and such a disgrace to Ballyfuchsia. The idea of
not keeping a ladder in a house where the door-knobs were apt to come
off struck her as being the worst feature of the accident, though this
unexpected and truly Milesian view of the matter had never occurred to
us.

"Well, I got Miss Peabody to the dinner-party," said Benella
triumphantly, when she was laboriously unlacing my frock, later on, "or
at least I got her there before it broke up. I had to walk every step o'
the way home, and the donkey laid down four times, but I was so nerved
up I didn't care a mite. I was bound Miss Peabody shouldn't lose her
chance, after all she's done for me!"

"Her chance?" I asked, somewhat puzzled, for dinners, even Castle
dinners, are not rare in Salemina's experience.

"Yes, her chance," repeated Benella mysteriously; "you'd know well
enough what I mean, if you'd ben born and brought up in Salem,
Massachusetts!"

                               * * * * *

Copy of a letter read by Penelope O'Connor, descendant of the King of
Connaught, at the dinner of Lord and Lady Killbally at Balkilly Castle.
It needed no apology then, but in sending it to our American friends, we
were obliged to explain that though the Irish peasants interlard their
conversation with saints, angels, and devils, and use the name of the
Virgin Mary, and even the Almighty, with, to our ears, undue familiarity
and frequency, there is no profane or irreverent intent. They are
instinctively religious, and it is only because they feel on terms of
such friendly intimacy with the powers above that they speak of them so
often.

                                        At the Widdy Mullarkey's,
                                  Knockarney House, Ballyfuchsia,
                                                    County Kerry.

Och! musha bedad, man alive, but it's a fine counthry over here, and it
bangs all the jewel of a view we do be havin' from the windys, begorra!
Knockarney House is in a wild, remoted place at the back of beyant, and
faix we're as much alone as Robinson Crusoe on a dissolute island; but
when we do be wishful to go to the town, sure there's ivery convaniency.
There's ayther a bit of a jauntin' car wid a skewbald pony for drivin',
or we can borry the loan of Dinnis Rooney's blind ass wid the plain
cart, or we can just take a fut in a hand and leg it over the bog. Sure
it's no great thing to go do, but only a taste of divarsion like, though
it's three good Irish miles an' powerful hot weather, with niver a dhrop
of wet these manny days. It's a great old spring we're havin' intirely;
it has raison to be proud of itself, begob!

Paddy, the gossoon that drives the car (it's a gossoon we call him,
but faix he stands five fut nine in his stockin's, when he wears
anny)--Paddy, as I'm afther tellin' you, lives in a cabin down below
the knockaun, a thrifle back of the road. There's a nate stack of turf
fornint it, and a pitaty pot sets beside the doore, wid the hins and
chuckens rachin' over into it like aigles tryin' to swally the smell.

Across the way there does be a bit of sthrame that's fairly shtiff wid
troutses in the saison, and a growth of rooshes under the edge lookin'
that smooth and greeny it must be a pleasure intirely to the grand young
pig and the goat that spinds their time by the side of it when out of
doores, which is seldom. Paddy himself is raggetty like, and a sight to
behould wid the daylight shinin' through the ould coat on him; but he's
a dacint spalpeen, and sure we'd be lost widout him. His mother's a
widdy woman with nine moidtherin' childer, not countin' the pig an' the
goat, which has aquil advantages. It's nine she has livin', she says,
and four slapin' in the beds o' glory; and faix I hope thim that's in
glory is quieter than the wans that's here, for the divil is busy wid
thim the whole of the day. Here's wan o' thim now makin' me as onaisy as
an ould hin on a hot griddle, slappin' big sods of turf over the
dike, and ruinatin' the timpers of our poulthry. We've a right to be
lambastin' thim this blessed minute, the crathurs; as sure as eggs is
mate, if they was mine they'd sup sorrow wid a spoon of grief, before
they wint to bed this night!

Mistress Colquhoun, that lives at Ardnagreena on the road to the town,
is an iligant lady intirely, an' she's uncommon frindly, may the peace
of heaven be her sowl's rist! She's rale charitable-like an' liberal
with the whativer, an' as for Himself, sure he's the darlin' fine man!
He taches the dead-and-gone languages in the grand sates of larnin',
and has more eddication and comperhinson than the whole of County Kerry
rowled together.

Then there's Lord and Lady Killbally; faix there's no iliganter family
on this counthryside, and they has the beautiful quality stoppin' wid
thim, begob! They have a pew o' their own in the church, an' their
coachman wears top-boots wid yaller chimbleys to thim. They do be very
openhanded wid the eatin' and the drinkin', and it bangs Banagher the
figurandyin' we do have wid thim! So you see Ould Ireland is not too
disthressful a counthry to be divartin' ourselves in, an' we have our
healths finely, glory be to God!

Well, we must be shankin' off wid ourselves now to the Colquhouns',
where they're wettin' a dhrop o' tay for us this mortial instant.

It's no good for yous to write to us here, for we'll be quittin' out o'
this before the letther has a chanst to come; though sure it can folly
us as we're jiggin' along to the north.

Don't be thinkin' that you've shlipped hould of our ricollections,
though the breadth of the ocean say's betune us. More power to your
elbow! May your life be aisy, and may the heavens be your bed!

                                   Penelope O'Connor Beresford.



Part Third--Ulster.



Chapter XVII. The Glens of Antrim.

     'Silent, O Moyle, [*] be the roar of thy water;
        Break not, ye breezes, your chain of repose;
      While murmuring mournfully, Lir's lovely daughter
        Tells to the night-star her tale of woes.'
                                    Thomas Moore.

     * The sea between Erin and Alban (Ireland and Scotland) was
     called in the olden time the Sea of Moyle, from the Moyle,
     or Mull, of Cantire.

                                    Sorley Boy Hotel,

                                     Glens of Antrim.

We are here for a week, in the neighbourhood of Cushendun, just to see
a bit of the north-eastern corner of Erin, where, at the end of
the nineteenth century, as at the beginning of the seventeenth, the
population is almost exclusively Catholic and Celtic. The Gaelic
Sorley Boy is, in Irish state papers, Carolus Flavus--yellow-haired
Charles--the most famous of the Macdonnell fighters; the one who, when
recognised by Elizabeth as Lord of the Route, and given a patent for his
estates, burned the document before his retainers, swearing that
what had been won by the sword should never be held by the sheepskin.
Cushendun was one of the places in our literary pilgrimage, because of
its association with that charming Irish poetess and good glenswoman who
calls herself 'Moira O'Neill.'

This country of the Glens, east of the river Bann, escaped 'plantation,'
and that accounts for its Celtic character. When the grand Ulster
chieftains, the O'Donnells and the O'Neills of Donegal, went under, the
third great house of Ulster, the 'Macdonnells of the Isles,' was more
fortunate, and, thanks to its Scots blood, found favour with James I.
It was a Macdonnell who was created first Earl of Antrim, and given a
'grant of the Glens and the Route, from the Curran of Larne to the Cutts
of Coleraine.' Ballycastle is our nearest large town, and its great days
were all under the Macdonnells, where, in the Franciscan abbey across
the bay, it is said the ground 'literally heaves with Clandonnell dust.'
Here are buried those of the clan who perished at the hands of Shane
O'Neill--Shane the Proud, who signed himself 'Myself O'Neill,' and who
has been called 'the shaker of Ulster'; here, too, are those who fell in
the great fight at Slieve-an-Aura up in Glen Shesk, when the Macdonnells
finally routed the older lords, the M'Quillans. A clansman once went to
the Countess of Antrim to ask the lease of a farm.

"Another Macdonnell?" asked the countess. "Why, you must all be
Macdonnells in the Low Glens!"

"Ay," said the man. "Too many Macdonnells now, but not one too many on
the day of Aura."

From the cliffs of Antrim we can see on any clear day the Sea of Moyle
and the bonnie blue hills of Scotland, divided from Ulster at this point
by only twenty miles of sea path. The Irish or Gaels or Scots of 'Uladh'
often crossed in their curraghs to this lovely coast of Alba, then
inhabited by the Picts. Here, 'when the tide drains out wid itself
beyant the rocks,' we sit for many an hour, perhaps on the very spot
from which they pushed off their boats. The Mull of Cantire runs out
sharply toward you; south of it are Ailsa Craig and the soft Ayrshire
coast; north of the Mull are blue, blue mountains in a semicircle,
and just beyond them somewhere, Francesca knows, are the Argyleshire
Highlands. And oh! the pearl and opal tints that the Irish atmosphere
flings over the scene, shifting them ever at will, in misty sun or
radiant shower; and how lovely are the too rare bits of woodland!
The ground is sometimes white with wild garlic, sometimes blue with
hyacinths; the primroses still linger in moist, hidden places, and there
are violets and marsh marigolds. Everything wears the colour of Hope. If
there are buds that will never bloom and birds that will never fly, the
great mother-heart does not know it yet. "I wonder," said Salemina, "if
that is why we think of autumn as sad--because the story of the year is
known and told?"

Long, long before the Clandonnell ruled these hills and glens and cliffs
they were the home of Celtic legend. Over the waters of the wee river
Margy, with its half-mile course, often sailed the four white swans,
those enchanted children of Lir, king of the Isle of Man, who had been
transformed into this guise by their cruel stepmother, with a stroke of
her druidical fairy wand. After turning them into four beautiful white
swans she pronounced their doom, which was to sail three hundred years
on smooth Lough Derryvara, three hundred on the Sea of Erris--sail, and
sail, until the union of Largnen, the prince from the north, with Decca,
the princess from the south; until the Taillkenn [**] should come to Erinn,
bringing the light of a pure faith, and until they should hear the voice
of a Christian bell. They were allowed to keep their own Gaelic speech,
and to sing sweet, plaintive, fairy music, which should excel all the
music of the world, and which should lull to sleep all who listened to
it. We could hear it, we three, for we loved the story; and love opens
the ear as well as the heart to all sorts of sounds not heard by the
dull and incredulous. You may hear it, too, any fine soft day if you
will sit there looking out on Fair Head and Rathlin Island, and read the
old fairy tale. When you put down the book you will see Finola, Lir's
lovely daughter, in any white-breasted bird; and while she covers her
brothers with her wings, she will chant to you her old song in the
Gaelic tongue.

     ** A name given by the Druids to St. Patrick.


     'Ah, happy is Lir's bright home today
      With mirth and music and poet's lay;
      But gloomy and cold his children's home,
      For ever tossed on the briny foam.

      Our wreath-ed feathers are thin and light
      When the wind blows keen through the wintry night;
      Yet oft we were robed, long, long ago,
      In purple mantles and robes of snow.

      On Moyle's bleak current our food and wine
      Are sandy seaweed and bitter brine;
      Yet oft we feasted in days of old,
      And hazel-mead drank from cups of gold.

      Our beds are rocks in the dripping caves;
      Our lullaby song the roar of the waves;
      But soft, rich couches once we pressed,
      And harpers lulled us each night to rest.

      Lonely we swim on the billowy main,
      Through frost and snow, through storm and rain;
      Alas for the days when round us moved
      The chiefs and princes and friends we loved!'+

+Joyce's translation.

The Fate of the Children of Lir is the second of Erin's Three Sorrows
of Story, and the third and greatest is the Fate of the Sons of Usnach,
which has to do with a sloping rock on the north side of Fair Head, five
miles from us. Here the three sons of Usnach landed when they returned
from Alba to Erin with Deirdre--Deirdre, who was 'beautiful as Helen,
and gifted like Cassandra with unavailing prophecy'; and by reason of
her beauty many sorrows fell upon the Ultonians.

Naisi, son of Conor, king of Uladh, had fled with Deirdre, daughter of
Phelim, the king's story-teller, to a sea-girt islet on Lough Etive,
where they lived happily by the chase. Naisi's two brothers went with
them, and thus the three sons of Usnach were all in Alba. Then the story
goes on to say that Fergus, one of Conor's nobles, goes to seek the
exiles, and Naisi and Deirdre, while playing at the chess, hear from the
shore 'the cry of a man of Erin.' It is against Deirdre's will that they
finally leave Alba with Fergus, who says, "Birthright is first, for ill
it goes with a man, although he be great and prosperous, if he does not
see daily his native earth."

So they sailed away over the sea, and Deirdre sang this lay as the
shores of Alba faded from her sight:--

"My love to thee, O Land in the East, and 'tis ill for me to leave thee,
for delightful are thy coves and havens, thy kind, soft, flowery fields,
thy pleasant, green-sided hills; and little was our need of departing."

Then in her song she went over the glens of their lordship, naming
them all, and calling to mind how here they hunted the stag, here they
fished, here they slept, with the swaying fern for pillows, and here the
cuckoo called to them. And "Never," she sang, "would I quit Alba were it
not that Naisi sailed thence in his ship."

They landed first under Fair Head, and then later at Rathlin Island,
where their fate met them at last, as Deirdre had prophesied. It is a
sad story, and we can easily weep at the thrilling moment when, there
being no man among the Ultonians to do the king's bidding, a Norse
captive takes Naisi's magic sword and strikes off the heads of the three
sons of Usnach with one swift blow, and Deirdre, falling prone upon the
dead bodies, chants a lament; and when she has finished singing, she
puts her pale cheek against Naisi's, and dies; and a great cairn is
piled over them, and an inscription in Ogam set upon it.

We were full of legendary lore, these days, for we were fresh from a
sight of Glen Ariff. Who that has ever chanced to be there in a pelting
rain but will remember its innumerable little waterfalls, and the great
falls of Ess-na-Crubh and Ess-na-Craoibhe? And who can ever forget the
atmosphere of romance that broods over these Irish glens?

We have had many advantages here as elsewhere; for kind Dr. La Touche,
Lady Killbally, and Mrs. Colquhoun follow us with letters, and wherever
there is an unusual personage in a district we are commended to his or
her care. Sometimes it is one of the 'grand quality,' and often it is
an Ossianic sort of person like Shaun O'Grady, who lives in a little
whitewashed cabin, and who has, like Mr. Yeats's Gleeman, 'the whole
Middle Ages under his frieze coat.' The longer and more intimately we
know these peasants, the more we realise how much in imagination, or in
the clouds, if you will, they live. The ragged man of leisure you meet
on the road may be a philosopher, and is still more likely to be a poet;
but unless you have something of each in yourself, you may mistake him
for a mere beggar.

"The practical ones have all emigrated," a Dublin novelist told us,
"and the dreamers are left. The heads of the older ones are filled with
poetry and legends; they see nothing as it is, but always through some
iridescent-tinted medium. Their waking moments, when not tormented by
hunger, are spent in heaven, and they all live in a dream, whether it
be of the next world or of a revolution. Effort is to them useless,
submission to everybody and everything the only safe course; in a word,
fatalism expresses their attitude to life."

Much of this submission to the inevitable is a product of past poverty,
misfortune, and famine, and the rest is undoubtedly a trace of the same
spirit that we find in the lives and writings of the saints, and which
is an integral part of the mystery and the traditions of Romanism. We
who live in the bright (and sometimes staring) sunlight of common-sense
can hardly hope to penetrate the dim, mysterious world of the Catholic
peasant, with his unworldliness and sense of failure.

Dr. Douglas Hyde, an Irish scholar and staunch Protestant, says: "A
pious race is the Gaelic race. The Irish Gael is pious by nature. There
is not an Irishman in a hundred in whom is the making of an unbeliever.
The spirit, and the things of the spirit, affect him more powerfully
than the body, and the things of the body... What is invisible for other
people is visible for him... He feels invisible powers before him, and
by his side, and at his back, throughout the day and throughout the
night... His mind on the subject may be summed up in the two sayings:
that of the early Church, 'Let ancient things prevail,' and that of St.
Augustine, 'Credo quia impossibile.' Nature did not form him to be an
unbeliever; unbelief is alien to his mind and contrary to his feelings."

Here, only a few miles away, is the Slemish mountain where St. Patrick,
then a captive of the rich cattle-owner Milcho, herded his sheep and
swine. Here, when his flocks were sleeping, he poured out his prayers,
a Christian voice in Pagan darkness. It was the memory of that darkness,
you remember, that brought him back, years after, to convert Milcho.
Here, too, they say, lies the great bard Ossian; for they love to think
that Finn's son Oisin, [++] the hero poet, survived to the time of St.
Patrick, three hundred years after the other 'Fianna' had vanished from
the earth,--the three centuries being passed in Tir-nan-og, the Land of
Youth, where the great Oisin married the king's daughter, Niam of the
Golden Hair. 'Ossian after the Fianna' is a phrase which has become the
synonym of all survivors' sorrow. Blinded by tears, broken by age, the
hero bard when he returns to earth has no fellowship but with grief, and
thus he sings:--


       'No hero now where heroes hurled,--
      Long this night the clouds delay--
      No man like me, in all the world,
        Alone with grief, and grey.

        Long this night the clouds delay--
      I raise their grave carn, stone on stone,
      For Finn and Fianna passed away--
        I, Ossian left alone.'


     ++ Pronounced Isheen' in Munster, Osh'in in Ulster.

In more senses than one Irish folk-lore is Irish history. At least the
traditions that have been handed down from one generation to another
contain not only the sometimes authentic record of events, but
a revelation of the Milesian temperament, with its mirth and its
melancholy, its exuberant fancy and its passion. So in these weird tales
there is plenty of history, and plenty of poetry, to one who will listen
to it; but the high and tragic story of Ireland has been cherished
mainly in the sorrowful traditions of a defeated race, and the legends
have not yet been wrought into undying verse. Erin's songs of battle
could only recount weary successions of Flodden Fields, with never
a Bannockburn and its nimbus of victory; for, as Ossian says of his
countrymen, "they went forth to the war, but they always fell"; but
somewhere in the green isle is an unborn poet who will put all this
mystery, beauty, passion, romance, and sadness, these tragic memories,
these beliefs, these visions of unfulfilled desire, into verse that will
glow on the page and live for ever. Somewhere is a mother who has kept
all these things in her heart, and who will bear a son to write
them. Meantime, who shall say that they have not been imbedded in the
language, as flower petals might be in amber?--that language which,
as an English scholar says, "has been blossoming there unseen, like a
hidden garland of roses; and whenever the wind has blown from the west,
English poetry has felt the vague perfume of it."



Chapter XVIII. Limavady love-letters.

     'As beautiful Kitty one morning was tripping
      With a pitcher of milk from the fair of Coleraine,
      When she saw me she stumbled, the pitcher it tumbled,
      And all the sweet buttermilk watered the plain.'
                                           Anonymous.

We wanted to cross to Rathlin Island, which is 'like an Irish stockinge,
the toe of which pointeth to the main lande.' That would bring Francesca
six miles nearer to Scotland and her Scottish lover; and we wished to
see the castle of Robert the Bruce, where, according to the legend, he
learned his lesson from the 'six times baffled spider.' We delayed too
long, however, and the Sea of Moyle looked as bleak and stormy as it did
to the children of Lir. We had no mind to be swallowed up in Brecain's
Caldron, where the grandson of Niall and the Nine Hostages sank with
his fifty curraghs, so we took a day of golf at the Ballycastle links.
Salemina, who is a neophyte, found a forlorn lady driving and putting
about by herself, and they made a match just to increase the interest of
the game. There was but one boy in evidence, and the versatile Benella
offered to caddie for them, leaving the more experienced gossoon to
Francesca and me. The Irish caddie does not, on the whole, perhaps
manifest so keen an interest in the fine points of the game as his
Scottish brother. He is somewhat languid in his search for a ball, and
will occasionally, when serving amiable ladies, sit under a tree in the
sun and speculate as to its whereabouts. As for staying by you while
you 'hole out' on your last green, he has no possible interest in that
proceeding, and is off and away, giving his perfunctory and half-hearted
polish to your clubs while you are passing through this thrilling
crisis. Salemina, wishing to know what was considered a good score by
local players on these links, asked our young friend 'what they got
round in, here,' and was answered, 'They tries to go round in as few as
possible, ma'am, but they mostly takes more!' We all came together again
at luncheon, and Salemina returned flushed with victory. She had made
the nine hole course in one hundred and sixty, and had beaten her
adversary five up and four to play.

The next morning, bright and early, we left for Coleraine, a great
Presbyterian stronghold in what is called by the Roman Catholics the
'black north.' If we liked it, and saw anything of Kitty's descendants,
or any nice pitchers to break, or any reason for breaking them, we
intended to stop; if not, then to push on to the walled town of Derry,--

     'Where Foyle his swelling waters
      Rolls northward to the main.'

We thought it Francesca's duty, as she was to be the wife of a Scottish
minister of the Established Church, to look up Presbyterianism in
Ireland whenever and wherever possible, with a view to discoursing
learnedly about it in her letters,--though, as she confesses
ingenuously, Ronald, in his, never so much as mentions Presbyterianism.
As for ourselves, we determined to observe all theological differences
between Protestants and Roman Catholics, but leave Presbyterianism to
gang its ain gait. We had devoted hours--yes, days--in Edinburgh to the
understanding of the subtle and technical barriers which separated the
Free Kirkers and the United Presbyterians; and the first thing they did,
after we had completely mastered the subject, was to unite. It is all
very well for Salemina, who condenses her information and stows it
away neatly; but we who have small storage room and inferior methods of
packing must be as economical as possible in amassing facts.

If we had been touring properly, of course we should have been going
to the Giant's Causeway and the swinging Bridge at Carrick-a-rede; but
propriety is the last thing we aim at in our itineraries. We were within
worshipping distance of two rather important shrines in our literary
pilgrimage; for we had met a very knowledgeable traveller at the Sorley
Boy, and after a little chat with him had planned a day of surprises for
the academic Miss Peabody. We proposed to halt at Port Stewart, lunch at
Coleraine, sleep at Limavady; and meantime Salemina was to read all the
books at her command, and guess, we hoped vainly, the why and wherefore
of these stops.

On the appointed day, the lady in question drove in state on a car with
Benella, but Francesca and I hired a couple of very wheezy bicycles for
the journey. We had a thrilling start; for it chanced to be a fair day
in Ballycastle, and we wheeled through a sea of squealing, bolting
pigs, stupid sheep, and unruly cows, all pursued on every side by their
drivers. To alight from a bicycle in such a whirl of beasts always seems
certain death; to remain seated diminishes, I believe, the number of
one's days of life to an appreciable extent. Francesca chose the first
course, and, standing still in the middle of the street, called upon
everybody within hearing to save her, and that right speedily. A crowd
of 'jibbing' heifers encircled her on all sides, while a fat porker,
'who (his driver said) might be a prize pig by his impidence,' and a
donkey that was feelin' blue-mouldy for want of a batin', tried to
poke their noses into the group. Salemina's only weapon was her scarlet
parasol, and, standing on the step of her side-car, she brandished this
with such terrible effect that the only bull in the cavalcade put up
his head and roared. "Have conduct, woman dear!" cried his owner to
Salemina. "Sure if you kape on moidherin' him wid that ombrelly, you'll
have him ugly on me immajently, and the divil a bit o' me can stop him."
"Don't be cryin' that way, asthore," he went on, going to Francesca's
side, and piloting her tenderly to the hedge. "Sure I'll nourish him wid
the whip whin I get him to a more remoted place."

We had no more adventures, but Francesca was so unhinged by her
unfortunate exit from Ballycastle that, after a few miles, she announced
her intention of putting her machine and herself on the car; whereupon
Benella proclaimed herself a competent cyclist, and climbed down
blithely to mount the discarded wheel. Her ideas of propriety were by
this time so developed that she rode ten or twelve feet behind me, where
she looked quaint enough, in her black dress and little black bonnet
with its white lawn strings.

"Sure it's a quare footman ye have, me lady," said a genial and friendly
person who was sitting by the roadside smoking his old dudeen. An
Irishman, somehow, is always going to his work 'jist,' or coming from
it, or thinking how it shall presently be done, or meditating on the
next step in the process, or resting a bit before taking it up again, or
reflecting whether the weather is on the whole favourable to its proper
performance; but however poor and needy he may be, it is somewhat
difficult to catch him at the precise working moment. Mr. Alfred Austin
says of the Irish peasants that idleness and poverty seem natural to
them. "Life to the Scotsman or Englishman is a business to conduct, to
extend, to render profitable. To the Irishman it is a dream, a little
bit of passing consciousness on a rather hard pillow; the hard part of
it being the occasional necessity for work, which spoils the tenderness
and continuity of the dream."

Presently we passed the Castle, rode along a neat quay with a row of
houses advertising lodgings to let; and here is Lever Cottage, where
Harry Lorrequer was written; for Lever was dispensary doctor in Port
Stewart when his first book was appearing in the Dublin University
Magazine.

We did not fancy Coleraine; it looked like anything but Cuil-rathain, a
ferny corner. Kitty's sweet buttermilk may have watered, but it had
not fertilised the plain, though the town itself seemed painfully
prosperous. Neither the Clothworkers' Inn nor the Corporation Arms
looked a pleasant stopping-place, and the humble inn we finally selected
for a brief rest proved to be about as gay as a family vault, with
a landlady who had all the characteristics of a poker except its
occasional warmth, as the Liberator said of another stiff and formal
person. Whether she was Scot or Saxon I know not; she was certainly not
Celt, and certainly no Barney McCrea of her day would have kissed her
if she had spilled ever so many pitchers of sweet buttermilk over the
plain; so we took the railway, and departed with delight for Limavady,
where Thackeray, fresh from his visit to Charles Lever, laid his
poetical tribute at the stockingless feet of Miss Margaret of that town.

O'Cahan, whose chief seat was at Limavady, was the principal urraght of
O'Neill, and when one of the great clan was 'proclaimed' at Tullaghogue
it was the magnificent privilege of the O'Cahan to toss a shoe over
his head. We slept at O'Cahan's Hotel, and--well, one must sleep; and
wherever we attend to that necessary function without due preparation,
we generally make a mistake in the selection of the particular spot.
Protestantism does not necessarily mean cleanliness, although it may
have natural tendencies in that direction; and we find, to our surprise
( a surprise rooted, probably, in bigotry), that Catholicism can be
as clean as a penny whistle, now and again. There were no special
privileges at O'Cahan's for maids, and Benella, therefore, had a
delightful evening in the coffee-room with a storm-bound commercial
traveller. As for Francesca and me, there was plenty to occupy us in our
regular letters to Ronald and Himself; and Salemina wrote several sheets
of thin paper to somebody,--no one in America, either, for we saw her
put on a penny stamp.

Our pleasant duties over, we looked into the cheerful glow of the turf
sods while I read aloud Thackeray's Peg of Limavady. He spells the town
with two d's, by the way, to insure its being rhymed properly with Paddy
and daddy.

     'Riding from Coleraine
        (Famed for lovely Kitty),
      Came a Cockney bound
        Unto Derry city;
      Weary was his soul,
        Shivering and sad he
      Bumped along the road
        Leads to Limavaddy.

          .  .  .  .

      Limavaddy inn's
        But a humble baithouse,
      Where you may procure
        Whisky and potatoes;
      Landlord at the door
        Gives a smiling welcome
      To the shivering wights
        Who to his hotel come.
      Landlady within
        Sits and knits a stocking,
      With a wary foot
        Baby's cradle rocking.

          .  .  .  .

      Presently a maid
        Enters with the liquor
      (Half a pint of ale
        Frothing in a beaker).
      Gads! I didn't know
        What my beating heart meant:
      Hebe's self I thought
        Entered the apartment.
      As she came she smiled,
        And the smile bewitching,
      On my word and honour,
        Lighted all the kitchen!

          .  .  .  .

      This I do declare,
        Happy is the laddy
      Who the heart can share
        Of Peg of Limavaddy.
      Married if she were,
        Blest would be the daddy
      Of the children fair
        Of Peg of Limavaddy.
      Beauty is not rare
        In the land of Paddy,
      Fair beyond compare
        Is Peg of Limavaddy.'

This cheered us a bit; but the wind sighed in the trees, the rain
dripped on the window panes, and we felt for the first time a
consciousness of home-longing. Francesca sat on a low stool, looking
into the fire, Ronald's last letter in her lap, and it was easy indeed
to see that her heart was in the Highlands. She has been giving us a few
extracts from the communication, an unusual proceeding, as Ronald, in
his ordinary correspondence, is evidently not a quotable person. We
smiled over his account of a visit to his old parish of Inchcaldy in
Fifeshire. There is a certain large orphanage in the vicinity, in which
we had all taken an interest, chiefly because our friends the Macraes of
Pettybaw House were among its guardians.

It seems that Lady Rowardennan of the Castle had promised the orphans,
en bloc, that those who passed through an entire year without once
falling into falsehood should have a treat or festival of their own
choosing. On the eventful day of decision, those orphans, male and
female, who had not for a twelve-month deviated from the truth by a
hair's-breadth, raised their little white hands (emblematic of their
pure hearts and lips), and were solemnly counted. Then came the unhappy
moment when a scattering of small grimy paws was timidly put up, and
their falsifying owners confessed that they had fibbed more than once
during the year. These tearful fibbers were also counted, and sent from
the room, while the non-fibbers chose their reward, which was to sail
around the Bass Rock and the Isle of May in a steam tug.

On the festival day, the matron of the orphanage chanced on the happy
thought that it might have a moral effect on the said fibbers to see the
non-fibbers depart in a blaze of glory; so they were taken to the beach
to watch the tug start on its voyage. The confessed criminals looked
wretched enough, Ronald wrote, when forsaken by their virtuous
playmates, who stepped jauntily on board, holding their sailor hats
on their heads and carrying nice little luncheon baskets; so miserably
unhappy, indeed, did they seem that certain sympathetic and ill-balanced
persons sprang to their relief, providing them with sandwiches,
sweeties, and pennies. It was a lovely day, and when the fibbers' tears
were dried they played merrily on the sand, their games directed and
shared by the aforesaid misguided persons.

Meantime a high wind had sprung up at sea, and the tug was tossed to
and fro upon the foamy deep. So many and so varied were the ills of
the righteous orphans that the matron could not attend to all of them
properly, and they were laid on benches or on the deck, where they
languidly declined luncheon, and wept for a sight of the land. At five
the tug steamed up to the home landing. A few of the voyagers were able
to walk ashore, some were assisted, others were carried; and as the
pale, haggard, truthful company gathered on the beach, they were met by
a boisterous, happy crowd of Ananiases and Sapphiras, sunburned, warm,
full of tea and cakes and high spirits, and with the moral law already
so uncertain in their minds that at the sight of the suffering non-liars
it tottered to its fall.

Ronald hopes that Lady Rowardennan and the matron may perhaps have
gained some useful experience by the incident, though the orphans,
truthful and untruthful, are hopelessly mixed in their views of
right-doing.

He is staying now at the great house of the neighbourhood, while his new
manse is being put in order. Roderick, the piper, he says, has a grand
collection of pipe tunes given him by an officer of the Black Watch.
Francesca, when she and Ronald visit the Castle on their wedding
journey, is to have 'Johnnie Cope' to wake her in the morning, 'Brose
and Butter' just before dinner is served, a reel, a strathspey, and
a march while the meal is going on, and, last of all, the 'Highland
Wedding.' Ronald does not know whether there are any Lowland Scots
or English words to this pipe tune, but it is always played in the
Highlands after the actual marriage, and the words in Gaelic are, 'Alas
for me if the wife I have married is not a good one, for she will eat
the food and not do the work!'

"You don't think Ronald meant anything personal in quoting that?" I
asked Francesca teasingly; but she shot me such a reproachful look that
I hadn't the heart to persist, her face was so full of self-distrust and
love and longing.

What creatures of sense we are, after all; and in certain moods, of what
avail is it if the beloved object is alive, safe, loyal, so long as
he is absent? He may write letters like Horace Walpole or
Chesterfield--better still, like Alfred de Musset, or George Sand, or
the Brownings; but one clasp of the hand that moved the pen is worth an
ocean of words! You believe only in the etherealised, the spiritualised
passion of love; you know that it can exist through years of separation,
can live and grow where a coarser feeling would die for lack of
nourishment; still though your spirit should be strong enough to meet
its spirit mate somewhere in the realms of imagination, and the bodily
presence ought not really to be necessary, your stubborn heart of flesh
craves sight and sound and touch. That is the only pitiless part
of death, it seems to me. We have had the friendship, the love, the
sympathy, and these are things that can never die; they have made us
what we are, and they are by their very nature immortal; yet we would
come near to bartering all these spiritual possessions for the 'touch of
a vanished hand, and the sound of a voice that is still.'

How could I ever think life easy enough to be ventured on alone! It
is so beautiful to feel oneself of infinite value to one other human
creature; to hear beside one's own step the tread of a chosen companion
on the same road. And if the way be dusty or the hills difficult to
climb, each can say to the other, 'I love you, dear; lean on me and walk
in confidence. I can always be counted on, whatever happens.'



Chapter XIX. 'In ould Donegal.'

     'Here's a health to you, Father O'Flynn!
      Slainte, and slainte, and slainte agin;
      Pow'rfulest preacher and tenderest teacher,
      And kindliest creature in ould Donegal.'
                                Alfred Perceval Graves.

                                     Coomnageeha Hotel,
                                       In Ould Donegal.

It is a far cry from the kingdom of Kerry to 'ould Donegal,' where we
have been travelling for a week, chiefly in the hope of meeting Father
O'Flynn. We miss our careless, genial, ragged, southern Paddy just a
bit; for he was a picturesque, likable figure, on the whole, and easier
to know than this Ulster Irishman, the product of a mixed descent.

We did not stop long in Belfast; for if there is anything we detest,
when on our journeys, it is to mix too much with people of industry,
thrift, and business sagacity. Sturdy, prosperous, calculating,
well-to-do Protestants are well enough in their way, and undoubtedly
they make a very good backbone for Ireland; but we crave something more
romantic than the citizen virtues, or we should have remained in our own
country, where they are tolerably common, although we have not as yet
anything approaching over-production.

Belfast, it seems, is, and has always been, a centre of Presbyterianism.
The members of the Presbytery protested against the execution of Charles
I., and received an irate reply from Milton, who said that 'the blockish
presbyters of Clandeboy' were 'egregious liars and impostors,' who meant
to stir up rebellion 'from their unchristian synagogue at Belfast in a
barbarous nook of Ireland.'

Dr. La Touche writes to Salemina that we need not try to understand all
the religious and political complications which surround us. They are
by no means as violent or as many as in Thackeray's day, when the great
English author found nine shades of politico-religious differences in
the Irish Liverpool. As the impartial observer must, in such a case,
necessarily displease eight parties, and probably the whole nine,
Thackeray advised a rigid abstinence from all intellectual curiosity.
Dr. La Touche says, if we wish to know the north better, it will do us
no harm to study the Plantation of Ulster, the United Irish
movement, Orangeism, Irish Jacobitism, the effect of French and Swiss
Republicanism in the evolution of public sentiment, and the close
relation and affection that formerly existed between the north of
Ireland and New England. (This last topic seems to appeal to Salemina
particularly.) He also alludes to Tories and Rapparees, Rousseau and
Thomas Paine and Owen Roe O'Neill, but I have entirely forgotten their
connection with the subject. Francesca and I are thoroughly enjoying
ourselves, as only those people can who never take notes, and never
try, when Pandora's box is opened in their neighbourhood, to seize the
heterogeneous contents and put them back properly, with nice little
labels on them.

Ireland is no longer a battlefield of English parties, neither is it
wholly a laboratory for political experiment; but from having been both
the one and the other, its features are a bit knocked out of shape and
proportion, as it were. We have bought two hideous engravings of the
Battle of the Boyne and the Secret of England's Greatness; and whenever
we stay for a night in any inn where perchance these are not, we pin
them on the wall, and are received into the landlady's heart at once. I
don't know which is the finer study: the picture of his Majesty William
III. crossing the Boyne, or the plump little Queen presenting a huge
family Bible to an apparently uninterested black youth. In the latter
work of art the eye is confused at first as the three principal features
approach each other very nearly in size, and Francesca asked innocently,
"Which IS the secret of England's greatness--the Bible, the Queen, or
the black man?"

This is a thriving town, and we are at a smart hotel which had for two
years an English manager. The scent of the roses hangs round it still,
but it is gradually growing fainter under the stress of small patronage
and other adverse circumstances. The table linen is a trifle ragged,
though clean; but the circle of red and green wineglasses by each plate,
an array not borne out by the number of vintages on the wine-list, the
tiny ferns scattered everywhere in innumerable pots, and the dozens of
minute glass vases, each holding a few blue hyacinths, give an air of
urban elegance to the dining-room. The guests are requested, in printed
placards, to be punctual at meals, especially at the seven-thirty table
d'hote dinner, and the management itself is punctual at this function
about seven forty-five. This is much better than in the south, where
we, and sixty other travellers, were once kept waiting fifteen minutes
between the soup and the fish course. When we were finally served with
half-cooked turbot, a pleasant-spoken waitress went about to each table,
explaining to the irate guests that the cook was 'not at her best.' We
caught a glimpse of her as she was being borne aloft, struggling and
eloquent, and were able to understand the reason of her unachieved
ideals.

There is nothing sacred about dinner to the average Irishman; he is
willing to take anything that comes, as a rule, and cooking is not
regarded as a fine art here. Perhaps occasional flashes of starvation
and seasons of famine have rendered the Irish palate easier to please;
at all events, wherever the national god may be, its pedestal is not
in the stomach. Our breakfast, day after day, week after week, has been
bacon and eggs. One morning we had tomatoes on bacon, and concluded that
the cook had experienced religion or fallen in love, since both these
operations send a flush of blood to the brain and stimulate the mental
processes. But no; we found simply that the eggs had not been brought in
time for breakfast. There is no consciousness of monotony--far from
it; the nobility and gentry can at least eat what they choose, and they
choose bacon and eggs. There is no running of the family gamut, either,
from plain boiled to omelet; poached or fried eggs on bacon it is,
weekdays and Sundays. The luncheon, too, is rarely inspired: they eat
cold joint of beef with pickled beetroot, or mutton and boiled potatoes,
with unfailing regularity, finishing off at most hotels with semolina
pudding, a concoction intended for, and appealing solely to, the taste
of the toothless infant, who, having just graduated from rubber rings,
has not a jaded palate.

How the long breakfast bill at an up-to-date Belfast hostelry awed us,
after weeks of bacon and eggs! The viands on the menu swam together
before our dazed eyes.

     Porridge
     Fillets of Plaice
     Whiting
     Fried Sole
     Savoury Omelet
     Kidneys and Bacon
     Cold Meats.

I looked at this array like one in a dream, realising that I had lost
the power of selection, and remembering the scientific fact that unused
faculties perish for want of exercise. The man who was serving us
rattled his tray, shifted his weight wearily from one foot to the other
and cleared his throat suggestively; until at last I said hastily,
"Bacon and eggs, please," and Salemina, the most critical person in the
party, murmured, "The same."

It is odd to see how soon, if one has a strong sense of humanity, one
feels at home in a foreign country. I, at least, am never impressed by
the differences, but only by the similarities, between English-speaking
peoples. We take part in the life about us here, living each experience
as fully as we can, whether it be a 'hiring fair' in Donegal or a
pilgrimage to the Doon 'Well of Healing.' Not the least part of the
pleasure is to watch its effect upon the Derelict. Where, or in what
way, could three persons hope to gain as much return from a monthly
expenditure of twenty dollars, added to her living and travelling
expenses, as we have had in Miss Benella Dusenberry? We sometimes ask
ourselves what we found to do with our time before she came into the
family, and yet she is as busy as possible herself.

Having twice singed Francesca's beautiful locks, she no longer attempts
hair-dressing; while she never accomplishes the lacing of an evening
dress without putting her knee in the centre of your back once, at
least, during the operation. She can button shoes, and she can mend
and patch and darn to perfection; she has a frenzy for small laundry
operations, and, after washing the windows of her room, she adorns every
pane of glass with a fine cambric handkerchief, and, stretching a
line between the bedpost and the bureau knob, she hangs out her
white neckties and her bonnet strings to dry. She has learned to pack
reasonably well, too. But if she has another passion beside those of
washing and mending, it is for making bags. She buys scraps of gingham
and print, and makes cases of every possible size and for every
possible purpose; so that all our personal property, roughly
speaking--hair-brushes, shoes, writing materials, pincushions,
photographs, underclothing, gloves, medicines,--is bagged. The strings
in the bags pull both ways, and nothing is commoner than to see Benella
open and close seventeen or eighteen of them when she is searching for
Francesca's rubbers or my gold thimble. But what other lady's-maid
or travelling companion ever had half the Derelict's unique charm
and interest, half her conversational power, her unusual and original
defects and virtues? Put her in a third-class carriage when we
go 'first,' and she makes friends with all her fellow-travellers,
discussing Home Rule or Free Silver with the utmost prejudice and
vehemence, and freeing her mind on any point, to the delight of the
natives. Occasionally, when borne along by the joy of argument, she
forgets to change at the point of junction, and has to be found and
dragged out of the railway carriage; occasionally, too, she is left
behind when taking a cheerful cup of tea at a way station, but this is
comparatively seldom. Her stories of life belowstairs in the various
inns and hotels, her altercations with housemaid or boots or landlady in
our behalf, all add a zest to the day's doings.

Benella's father was an itinerant preacher, her mother the daughter of
a Vermont farmer; and although she was left an orphan at ten years,
educating and supporting herself as best she could after that, she is as
truly a combination of both parents as her name is a union of their two
names.

"I'm so 'fraid I shan't run across any of grandmother's folks over
here, after all," she said yesterday, "though I ask every nice-appearin'
person I meet anywheres if he or she's any kin to Mary Boyce of Trim;
and then, again, I'm scared to death for fear I shall find I'm own
cousin to one of these here critters that ain't brushed their hair nor
washed their apurns for a month o' Sundays! I declare, it keeps me real
nerved up... I think it's partly the climate that makes 'em so slack,"
she philosophised, pinning a new bag on her knee, and preparing to
backstitch the seam. "There's nothin' like a Massachusetts winter for
puttin' the git-up-an'-git into you. Land! you've got to move round
smart, or you'd freeze in your tracks. These warm, moist places always
makes folks lazy; and when they're hot enough, if you take notice,
it makes heathen of 'em. It always seems so queer to me that real hot
weather and the Christian religion don't seem to git along together.
P'r'aps it's just as well that the idol-worshippers should get used to
heat in this world, for they'll have it consid'able hot in the next one,
I guess! And see here, Mrs. Beresford, will you get me ten cents'--I
mean sixpence--worth o' red gingham to make Miss Monroe a bag for Mr.
Macdonald's letters? They go sprawlin' all over her trunk; and there's
so many of 'em I wish to the land she'd send 'em to the bank while she's
travellin'!"



Chapter XX. We evict a tenant.

     'Soon as you lift the latch, little ones are meeting you,
      Soon as you're 'neath the thatch, kindly looks are
           greeting you;
      Scarcely have you time to be holding out the fist to them--
      Down by the fireside you're sitting in the midst of them.'
                                          Francis Fahy.

                                     Roothythanthrum Cottage,
                                    Knockcool, County Tyrone.

Of course, we have always intended sooner or later to forsake this life
of hotels and lodgings, and become either Irish landlords or tenants,
or both, with a view to the better understanding of one burning Irish
question. We heard of a charming house in County Down, which could be
secured by renting it the first of May for the season; but as we
could occupy it only for a month at most we were obliged to forego the
opportunity.

"We have been told from time immemorial that absenteeism has been one of
the curses of Ireland," I remarked to Salemina; "so, whatever the charms
of the cottage in Rostrevor, do not let us take it, and in so doing
become absentee landlords."

"It was you two who hired the 'wee theekit hoosie' in Pettybaw," said
Francesca. "I am going to be in the vanguard of the next house-hunting
expedition; in fact, I have almost made up my mind to take my third of
Benella and be an independent householder for a time. If I am ever to
learn the management of an establishment before beginning to experiment
on Ronald's, now is the proper moment."

"Ronald must have looked the future in the face when he asked you to
marry him," I replied, "although it is possible that he looked only at
you, and therefore it is his duty to endure your maiden incapacities;
but why should Salemina and I suffer you to experiment upon us, pray?"

It was Benella, after all, who inveigled us into making our first
political misstep; for, after avoiding the sin of absenteeism, we fell
into one almost as black, inasmuch as we evicted a tenant. It is part of
Benella's heterogeneous and unusual duty to take a bicycle and scour the
country in search of information for us: to find out where shops are,
post-office, lodgings, places for good sketches, ruins, pretty roads for
walks and drives, and many other things, too numerous to mention. She
came home from one of these expeditions flushed with triumph.

"I've got you a house!" she exclaimed proudly. "There's a lady in it
now, but she'll move out to-morrow when we move in; and we are to pay
seventeen dollars fifty--I mean three pound ten--a week for the house,
with privilege of renewal, and she throws in the hired girl." (Benella
is hopelessly provincial in the matter of language: butler, chef, boots,
footman, scullery-maid, all come under the generic term of 'help.')

"I knew our week at this hotel was out to-morrow," she continued, "and
we've about used up this place, anyway, and the new village that I've
b'en to is the prettiest place we've seen yet; it's got an up-and-down
hill to it, just like home, and the house I've partly rented is opposite
a fair green, where there's a market every week, and Wednesday's the
day; and we'll save money, for I shan't cost you so much when we can
housekeep."

"Would you mind explaining a little more in detail," asked Salemina
quietly, "and telling me whether you have hired the house for yourself
or for us?"

"For us all," she replied genially--"you don't suppose I'd leave you?
I liked the looks of this cottage the first time I passed it, and I got
acquainted with the hired girl by going in the side yard and asking for
a drink. The next time I went I got acquainted with the lady, who's got
the most outlandish name that ever was wrote down, and here it is on a
paper; and to-day I asked her if she didn't want to rent her house for a
week to three quiet ladies without children and only one of them
married and him away. She said it wa'n't her own, and I asked her if she
couldn't sublet to desirable parties--I knew she was as poor as Job's
turkey by her looks; and she said it would suit her well enough, if she
had any place to go. I asked her if she wouldn't like to travel, and
she said no. Then I says, 'Wouldn't you like to go to visit some of your
folks?' And she said she s'posed she could stop a week with her son's
wife, just to oblige us. So I engaged a car to drive you down this
afternoon just to look at the place; and if you like it we can easy move
over to-morrow. The sun's so hot I asked the stableman if he hadn't got
a top buggy, or a surrey, or a carryall; but he never heard tell of any
of 'em; he didn't even know a shay. I forgot to tell you the lady is a
Protestant, and the hired girl's name is Bridget Thunder, and she's a
Roman Catholic, but she seems extra smart and neat. I was kind of in
hopes she wouldn't be, for I thought I should enjoy trainin' her, and
doin' that much for the country."

And so we drove over to this village of Knockcool (Knockcool, by the
way, means 'Hill of Sleep'), as much to make amends for Benella's
eccentricities as with any idea of falling in with her proposal. The
house proved everything she said, and in Mrs. Wogan Odevaine Benella had
found a person every whit as remarkable as herself. She is evidently an
Irish gentlewoman of very small means, very flexible in her views and
convictions, very talkative and amusing, and very much impressed with
Benella as a product of New England institutions. We all took a fancy
to one another at first sight, and we heard with real pleasure that
her son's wife lived only a few miles away. We insisted on paying the
evicted lady the three pounds ten in advance for the first week. She
seemed surprised, and we remembered that Irish tenants, though often
capable of shedding blood for a good landlord, are generally averse
to paying him rent. Mrs. Wogan Odevaine then drove away in high good
humour, taking some personal belongings with her, and promising to drink
tea with us some time during the week. She kissed Francesca good-bye,
told her she was the prettiest creature she had ever seen, and asked if
she might have a peep at all her hats and frocks when she came to visit
us.

Salemina says that Rhododendron Cottage (pronounced by Bridget Thunder
'Roothythanthrum') being the property of one landlord and the residence
of four tenants at the same time makes us in a sense participators in
the old system of rundale tenure, long since abolished. The good-will
or tenant-right was infinitely subdivided, and the tiniest holdings
sometimes existed in thirty-two pieces. The result of this joint tenure
was an extraordinary tangle, particularly when it went so far as the
subdivision of 'one cow's grass,' or even of a horse, which, being owned
jointly by three men, ultimately went lame, because none of them would
pay for shoeing the fourth foot.

We have been here five days, and instead of reproving Benella, as we
intended, for gross assumption of authority in the matter, we are more
than ever her bond-slaves. The place is altogether charming, and here it
is for you.

Knockcool Street is Knockcool village itself, as with almost all Irish
towns; but the line of little thatched cabins is brightened at the far
end by the neat house of Mrs. Wogan Odevaine, set a trifle back in its
own garden, by the pillared porch of a modest hotel, and by the barracks
of the Royal Irish Constabulary. The sign of the Provincial Bank of
Ireland almost faces our windows; and although it is used as a meal-shop
the rest of the week, they tell us that two thousand pounds in money is
needed there on fair-days. Next to it is a little house, the upper part
of which is used as a Methodist chapel; and old Nancy, the caretaker, is
already a good friend of ours. It is a humble house of prayer, but Nancy
takes much pride in it, and showed us the melodeon, 'worked by a young
lady from Rossantach,' the Sunday-school rooms, and even the cupboard
where she keeps the jugs for the love-feast and the linen and wine for
the sacrament, which is administered once in three years. Next comes the
Hoeys' cabin, where we have always a cordial welcome, but where we never
go all together, for fear of embarrassing the family, which is a large
one--three generations under one roof, and plenty of children in the
last. Old Mrs. Hoey does not rightly know her age, she says; but her
daughter Ellen was born the year of the Big Wind, and she herself was
twenty-two when she was married, and you might allow a year between that
and when Ellen was born, and make your own calculation.

She tells many stories of the Big Wind, which we learn was in 1839,
making Ellen's age about sixty-one and her mother's eighty-four. The
fury of the storm was such that it forced the water of the Lough far
ashore, stranding the fish among the rocks, where they were found dead
by hundreds. When next morning dawned there was confusion and ruin on
every side: the cross had tumbled from the chapel, the tombstones were
overturned in the graveyard, trees and branches blocked the roadways,
cabins were stripped of their thatches, and cattle found dead in the
fields; so it is small wonder old Mrs. Hoey remembers the day of Ellen's
birth, weak as she is on all other dates.

Ellen's husband, Miles M'Gillan, is the carpenter on an estate in the
neighbourhood. His shop opens out of the cabin, and I love to sit by the
Hoey fireside, where the fan bellows, turned by a crank, brings in an
instant a fresh flame to the sods of smouldering turf, and watch a wee
Colleen Bawn playing among her daddy's shavings, tying them about her
waist and fat wrists, hanging them on her ears and in among her brown
curls. Mother Hoey says that I do not speak like an American--that I
have not so many 'caperin's' in my language, whatever they may be; and
so we have long delightful chats together when I go in for a taste of
Ellen's griddle bread, cooked over the peat coals. Francesca, meantime,
is calling on Mrs. O'Rourke, whose son has taken more than fifty bicycle
prizes; and no stranger can come to Knockcool without inspecting the
brave show of silver, medals, and china that adorn the bedroom, and
make the O'Rourkes the proudest couple in ould Donegal. Phelim O'Rourke
smokes his dudeen on a bench by the door, and invites the passer-by to
enter and examine the trophies. His trousers are held up with bits of
rope arranged as suspenders; indeed, his toilet is so much a matter of
strings that it must be a work of time to tie on his clothing in the
morning, in case he takes it off at night, which is open to doubt;
nevertheless it is he that's the satisfied man, and the luck would be
on him as well as on e'er a man alive, were he not kilt wid the cough
intirely! Mrs. Phelim's skirt shows a triangle of red flannel behind,
where the two ends of the waistband fail to meet by about six inches,
but are held together by a piece of white ball fringe. Any informality
in this part of her costume is, however, more than atoned for by the
presence of a dingy bonnet of magenta velvet, which she always dons for
visitors.

The O'Rourke family is the essence of hospitality, so their kitchen
is generally full of children and visitors; and on the occasion when
Salemina issued from the prize bedroom, the guests were so busy with
conversation that, to use their own language, divil a wan of thim clapt
eyes on the O'Rourke puppy, and they did not notice that the baste was
floundering in a tub of soft, newly made butter standing on the floor.
He was indeed desperately involved, being so completely wound up in the
waxy mass that he could not climb over the tub's edge. He looked comical
and miserable enough in his plight: the children and the visitors
thought so, and so did Francesca and I; but Salemina went directly home,
and kept her room for an hour. She is so sensitive! Och, thin, it's
herself that's the marthyr intirely! We cannot see that the incident
affects us so long as we avoid the O'Rourkes' butter; but she says,
covering her eyes with her handkerchief and shuddering: "Suppose there
are other tubs and other pup--Oh, I cannot bear the thought of it,
dears! Please change the subject, and order me two hard-boiled eggs for
dinner."

Leaving Knockcool behind us, we walk along the country road between
high, thick hedges: here a clump of weather-beaten trees, there a
stretch of bog with silver pools and piles of black turf, then a sudden
view of hazy hills, a grove of beeches, a great house with a splendid
gateway, and sometimes, riding through it, a figure new to our eyes, a
Lady Master of the Hounds, handsome in her habit with red facings. We
pass many an 'evicted farm,' the ruined house with the rushes growing
all about it, and a lonely goat browsing near; and on we walk, until
we can see the roofs of Lisdara's solitary cabin row, huddled under
the shadow of a gloomy hill topped by the ruins of an old fort. All is
silent, and the blue haze of the peat smoke curls up from the thatch.
Lisdara's young people have mostly gone to the Big Country; and how
many tears have dropped on the path we are treading, as Peggy and Mary,
Cormac and Miles, with a wooden box in the donkey cart behind them, or
perhaps with only a bundle hanging from a blackthorn stick, have come
down the hill to seek their fortune! Perhaps Peggy is barefooted;
perhaps Mary has little luggage beyond a pot of shamrock or a mountain
thrush in a wicker cage; but what matter for that? They are used to
poverty and hardship and hunger, and although they are going quite
penniless to a new country, sure it can be no worse than the old. This
is the happy-go-lucky Irish philosophy, and there is mixed with it a
deal of simple trust in God.

How many exiles and wanderers, both those who have no fortune and
those who have failed to win it, dream of these cabin rows, these
sweet-scented boreens with their 'banks of furze unprofitably gay,'
these leaking thatches with the purple loosestrife growing in their
ragged seams, and, looking backward across the distance of time and
space, give the humble spot a tender thought, because after all it was
in their dear native isle!

     'Pearly are the skies in the country of my fathers,
        Purple are thy mountains, home of my heart;
      Mother of my yearning, love of all my longings,
        Keep me in remembrance long leagues apart.'

I have been thinking in this strain because of an old dame in the first
cabin in Lisdara row, whose daughter is in America, and who can talk of
nothing else. She shows us the last letter, with its postal order for
sixteen shillings, that Mida sent from New York, with little presents
for blind Timsy, 'dark since he were three years old,' and for lame
Dan, or the 'Bocca,' as he is called in Lisdara. Mida was named for the
virgin saint of Killeedy in Limerick. [*] "And it's she that's good enough
to bear a saint's name, glory be to God!" exclaims the old mother
returning Mida's photograph to a hole in the wall where the pig cannot
possibly molest it.

         * Saint Mide, the Brigit of Munster.

At the far end of the row lives 'Omadhaun Pat.' He is a 'little
sthrange,' you understand; not because he was born with too small a
share of wit, but because he fell asleep one evening when he was lying
on the grass up by the old fort, and--'well, he was niver the same thing
since.' There are places in Ireland, you must know, where if you lie
down upon the green earth and sink into untimely slumber, you will 'wake
silly'; or, for that matter, although it is doubtless a risk, you may
escape the fate of waking silly, and wake a poet! Carolan fell asleep
upon a faery rath, and it was the faeries who filled his ears with
music, so that he was haunted by the tunes ever afterward; and perhaps
all poets, whether they are conscious of it or not, fall asleep on faery
raths before they write sweet songs.

Little Omadhaun Pat is pale, hollow-eyed, and thin; but that, his mother
says, is 'because he is over-studyin' for his confirmation.' The
great day is many weeks away, but to me it seems likely that, when the
examination comes, Pat will be where he will know more than the priests!

Next door lives old Biddy Tuke. She is too aged to work, and she sits
in her doorway, always a pleasant figure in her short woollen petticoat,
her little shawl, and her neat white cap. She has pitaties for food,
with stirabout of Indian meal once a day (oatmeal is too dear), tea
occasionally when there is sixpence left from the rent, and she has more
than once tasted bacon in her eighty years of life; more than once, she
tells me proudly, for it's she that's had the good sons to help her a
bit now and then,--four to carry her and one to walk after, which is the
Irish notion of an ideal family.

"It's no chuckens I do be havin' now, ma'am," she says, "but it's
a darlin' flock I had ten year ago, whin Dinnis was harvestin' in
Scotland! Sure it was two-and-twinty chuckens I had on the floore wid
meself that year, ma'am."

"Oh, it's a conthrary world, that's a mortial fact!" as Phelim O'Rourke
is wont to say when his cough is bad; and for my life I can frame no
better wish for ould Biddy Tuke and Omadhaun Pat, dark Timsy and the
Bocca, than that they might wake, one of these summer mornings, in the
harvest-field of the seventh heaven. That place is reserved for the
saints, and surely these unfortunates, acquainted with grief like
Another, might without difficulty find entrance there.

I am not wise enough to say how much of all this squalor and
wretchedness and hunger is the fault of the people themselves, how much
of it belongs to circumstances and environment, how much is the result
of past errors of government, how much is race, how much is religion. I
only know that children should never be hungry, that there are ignorant
human creatures to be taught how to live; and if it is a hard task,
the sooner it is begun the better, both for teachers and pupils. It is
comparatively easy to form opinions and devise remedies, when one knows
the absolute truth of things; but it is so difficult to find the truth
here, or at least there are so many and such different truths to weigh
in the balance,--the Protestant and the Roman Catholic truth, the
landlord's and the tenant's, the Nationalist's and the Unionist's truth!
I am sadly befogged, and so, pushing the vexing questions all aside, I
take dark Timsy, Bocca Lynch, and Omadhaun Pat up on the green hillside
near the ruined fort, to tell them stories, and teach them some of the
thousand things that happier, luckier children know.

This is an island of anomalies: the Irish peasants will puzzle you,
perplex you, disappoint you with their inconsistencies, but keep from
liking them if you can! There are a few cleaner and more comfortable
homes in Lisdara and Knockcool than when we came, and Benella has
been invaluable, although her reforms, as might be expected, are of
an unusual character, and with her the wheels of progress never move
silently, as they should, but always squeak. With the two golden
sovereigns given her to spend, she has bought scissors, knives, hammers,
boards, sewing materials, knitting needles, and yarn,--everything to
work with, and nothing to eat, drink, or wear, though Heaven knows there
is little enough of such things in Lisdara.

"The quicker you wear 'em out, the better you'll suit me," she says to
the awestricken Lisdarians. "I'm a workin' woman myself, an' it's my
ladies' money I've spent this time; but I'll make out to keep you in
brooms and scrubbin' brushes, if only you'll use 'em! You mustn't take
offence at anything I say to you, for I'm part Irish--my grandmother was
Mary Boyce of Trim; and if she hadn't come away and settled in Salem,
Massachusetts, mebbe I wouldn't have known a scrubbin' brush by sight
myself!"



Chapter XXI. Lachrymae Hibernicae.

     'What ails you, Sister Erin, that your face
      Is, like your mountains, still bedewed with tears?
            .   .   .   .   .   .   .
      Forgive! forget! lest harsher lips should say,
      Like your turf fire, your rancour smoulders long,
      And let Oblivion strew Time's ashes o'er your wrong.'
                                          Alfred Austin.

At tea-time, and again after our simple dinner--for Bridget Thunder's
repertory is not large, and Benella's is quite unsuited to the Knockcool
markets--we wend our way to a certain house that stands by itself on
the road to Lisdara. It is only a whitewashed cabin with green window
trimmings, but it is a larger and more comfortable one than we commonly
see, and it is the perfection of neatness within and without. The stone
wall that encloses it is whitewashed too, and the iron picket railing at
the top is painted bright green; the stones on the posts are green also,
and there is the prettiest possible garden, with nicely cut borders of
box. In fine, if ever there was a cheery place to look at, Sarsfield
Cottage is that one; and if ever there was a cheerless gentleman, it is
Mr. Jordan, who dwells there. Mrs. Wogan Odevaine commended him to us
as the man of all others with whom to discuss Irish questions, if we
wanted, for once in a way, to hear a thoroughly disaffected, outraged,
wrong-headed, and rancorous view of things.

"He is an encyclopaedia, and he is perfectly delightful on any topic in
the universe but the wrongs of Ireland," said she; "not entirely sane
and yet a good father, and a good neighbour, and a good talker. Faith,
he can abuse the English government with any man alive! He has a smaller
grudge against you Americans, perhaps, than against most of the other
nations, so possibly he may elect to discuss something more cheerful
than our national grievances; if he does, and you want a livelier topic,
just mention--let me see--you might speak of Wentworth, who destroyed
Ireland's woollen industry, though it is true he laid the foundation
of the linen trade, so he wouldn't do, though Mr. Jordan is likely to
remember the former point and forget the latter. Well, just breathe the
words 'Catholic Disqualification' or 'Ulster Confiscation,' and you will
have as pretty a burst of oratory as you'd care to hear. You remember
that exasperated Englishman who asked in the House why Irishmen were
always laying bare their grievances. And Major O'Gorman bawled across
the floor, 'Because they want them redressed!'"

Salemina and I went to call on Mr. Jordan the very next day after our
arrival at Knockcool. Over the sitting-room or library door at Sarsfield
Cottage is a coat of arms with the motto of the Jordans, 'Percussus
surgam'; and as our friend is descended from Richard Jordan of Knock,
who died on the scaffold at Claremorris in the memorable year 1798, I
find that he is related to me, for one of the De Exeter Jordans married
Penelope O'Connor, daughter of the king of Connaught. He took her
to wife, too, when the espousal of anything Irish, names, language,
apparel, customs, or daughters, was high treason, and meant instant
confiscation of estates. I never thought of mentioning the relationship,
for obviously a family cannot hold grievances for hundreds of years and
bequeath a sense of humour at the same time.

The name Jordan is derived, it appears, from a noble ancestor who was
banner-bearer in the Crusades and who distinguished himself in many
battles, but particularly in one fought against the infidels on the
banks of the River Jordan in the Holy Land. In this conflict he was
felled to the ground three times during the day, but owing to his
gigantic strength, his great valour, and the number of the Saracens
prostrated by his sword, he succeeded in escaping death and keeping
the banner of the Cross hoisted; hence by way of eminence he was called
Jordan; and the motto of this illustrious family ever since has been,
'Though I fall I rise.'

Mr. Jordan's wife has been long dead, but he has four sons, only one of
them, Napper Tandy, living at home. Theobald Wolfe Tone is practising
law in Dublin; Hamilton Rowan is a physician in Cork; and Daniel
O'Connell, commonly called 'Lib' (a delicate reference to the
Liberator), is still a lad at Trinity. It is a great pity that Mr.
Jordan could not have had a larger family, that he might have kept fresh
in the national heart the names of a few more patriots; for his library
walls, 'where Memory sits by the altar she has raised to Woe,' are hung
with engravings and prints of celebrated insurgents, rebels, agitators,
demagogues, denunciators, conspirators,--pictures of anybody, in a word,
who ever struck a blow, right or wrong, well or ill judged, for the
green isle. That gallant Jacobite, Patrick Sarsfield, Burke, Grattan,
Flood, and Robert Emmet stand shoulder to shoulder with three Fenian
gentlemen, names Allan, Larkin, and O'Brien, known in ultra-Nationalist
circles as the 'Manchester martyrs.' For some years after this trio was
hanged in Salford jail, it appears that the infant mind was sadly mixed
in its attempt to separate knowledge in the concrete from the more or
less abstract information contained in the Catechism; and many a bishop
was shocked, when asking in the confirmation service, "Who are the
martyrs?" to be told, "Allan, Larkin, and O'Brien, me lord!"

Francesca says she longs to smuggle into Mr. Jordan's library a picture
of Tom Steele, one of Daniel O'Connell's henchmen, to whom he gave the
title of Head Pacificator of Ireland. Many amusing stories are told
of this official, of his gaudy uniform, his strut and swagger, and his
pompous language. At a political meeting on one occasion, he attacked,
it seems, one Peter Purcell, a Dublin tradesman who had fallen out with
the Liberator on some minor question. "Say no more on the subject, Tom,"
cried O'Connell, who was in the chair, "I forgive Peter from the bottom
of my heart."

"You may forgive him, liberator and saviour of my country," rejoined
Steele, in a characteristic burst of his amazingly fervent rhetoric.
"Yes, you, in the discharge of your ethereal functions as the moral
regenerator of Ireland, may forgive him; but, revered leader, I also
have functions of my own to perform; and I tell you that, as Head
Pacificator of Ireland, I can never forgive the diabolical villain that
dared to dispute your august will."

The doughty Steele, who appears to have been but poorly fitted by nature
for his office, was considered at the time to be half a madman, but as
Sir James O'Connell, Daniel's candid brother, said, "And who the divil
else would take such a job?" At any rate, when we gaze at Mr. Jordan's
gallery, imagining the scene that would ensue were the breath of life
breathed into the patriots' quivering nostrils, we feel sure that the
Head Pacificator would be kept busy.

Dear old white-haired Mr. Jordan, known in select circles as 'Grievance
Jordan,' sitting in his library surrounded by his denunciators,
conspirators, and martyrs, with incendiary documents piled mountains
high on his desk--what a pathetic anachronism he is after all!

The shillelagh is hung on the wall now, for the most part, and faction
fighting is at an end; but in the very last moments of it there were
still 'ructions' between the Fitzgeralds and the Moriartys, and the
age-old reason of the quarrel was, according to the Fitzgeralds, the
betrayal of the 'Cause of Ireland.' The particular instance occurred in
the sixteenth century, but no Fitzgerald could ever afterward meet any
Moriarty at a fair without crying, "Who dare tread on the tail of me
coat?" and inviting him to join in the dishcussion with shticks. This
practically is Mr. Jordan's position; and if an Irishman desires to
live entirely in the past, he can be as unhappy as any man alive. He is
writing a book, which Mrs. Wogan Odevaine insists is to be called The
Groans of Ireland; but after a glance at a page of memoranda pencilled
in a collection of Swift's Irish Tracts that he lent to me (the
volume containing that ghastly piece of irony, The Modest Proposal for
Preventing the Poor of Ireland from being a Burden to their Parents
and Country), I have concluded that he is editing a Catalogue of Irish
Wrongs, Alphabetically Arranged. This idea pleased Mrs. Wogan Odevaine
extremely; and when she drove over to tea, bringing several cheerful
young people to call upon us, she proposed, in the most light-hearted
way in the world, to play what she termed the Grievance Game, an
intellectual diversion which she had invented on the instant. She
proposed it, apparently, with a view of showing us how small a knowledge
of Ireland's ancient wrongs is the property of the modern Irish girl,
and how slight a hold on her memory and imagination have the unspeakably
bitter days of the long ago.

We were each given pencil and paper, and two or three letters of the
alphabet, and bidden to arrange the wrongs of Ireland neatly under
them, as we supposed Mr. Jordan to be doing for the instruction and the
depression of posterity. The result proved that Mrs. Odevaine was a true
prophet, for the youngest members of the coterie came off badly enough,
and read their brief list of grievances with much chagrin at their lack
of knowledge; the only piece of information they possessed in common
being the inherited idea that England never had understood Ireland,
never would, never could, never should, never might understand her.

Rosetta Odevaine succeeded in remembering, for A, F, and H, Absenteeism,
Flight of the Earls, Famine, and Hunger; her elder sister, Eileen, fresh
from college, was rather triumphant with O and P, giving us Oppression
of the Irish Tenantry, Penal Laws, Protestant Supremacy, Poynings' Law,
Potato Rot, and Plantations. Their friend, Rhona Burke, had V, W, X, Y,
Z, and succeeded only in finding Wentworth and Woollen Trade Destroyed,
until Miss Odevaine helped her with Wood's Halfpence, about which
everybody else had to be enlightened; and there was plenty of laughter
when Francesca suggested for V, Vipers Expelled by St. Patrick. Salemina
carried off the first prize; but we insisted C and D were the easiest
letters; at any rate, her list showed great erudition, and would
certainly have pleased Mr. Jordan. C, Church Cess, Catholic
Disqualification, Crimes Act of 1887, Confiscations, Cromwell, Carrying
Away of Lia Fail (Stone of Destiny) from Tara. D, Destruction of Trees
on Confiscated Lands, Discoverers (of flaws in Irish titles), Debasing
of the Coinage by James I.

Mrs. Odevaine came next with R and S. R, Recall of Lord Fitzwilliams
by Pitt, Rundale Land Tenure, Rack-Rents, Ribbonism. S, Schism Act,
Supremacy Act, Sixth Act of George I.

I followed with T and U, having unearthed Tithes and the Test Act for
the first, and Undertakers, the Acts of Union and Uniformity, for the
second; while Francesca, who had been given I, J, K, L, and M, disgraced
herself by failing on all the letters but the last, under which she
finally catalogued one particularly obnoxious wrong in Middlemen.

This ignorance of the past may have its bright side, after all, though
to speak truthfully, it did show a too scanty knowledge of national
history. But if one must forget, it is as well to begin with the wrongs
of far-off years, those 'done to your ancient name or wreaked upon your
race.'



Part Fourth--Connaught.



Chapter XXII. The Weeping West.

     'Veiled in your mist, and diamonded with showers.'
                                     Alfred Austin.


                              Shan Van Vocht Hotel,
                                Heart of Connemara.


Shan Van Vocht means in English the 'Poor Little Old Woman,' one of the
many endearing names given to Ireland in the Gaelic. There is, too,
a well-known rebel song called by this title--one which was not only
written in Irish and English, but which was translated into French for
the soldiers at Brest who were to invade Ireland under Hoche.

We had come from Knockcool, Donegal, to Westport, in County Mayo, and
the day was enlivened by two purely Irish touches, one at the beginning
and one at the end. We alighted at a certain railway junction to
await our train, and were interested in a large detachment of
soldiers--leaving for a long journey, we judged, by the number of
railway carriages and the amount of luggage and stores. In every crowded
compartment there were two or three men leaning out over the locked
doors; for the guard was making ready to start. All were chatting gaily
with their sweethearts, wives, and daughters, save one gloomy fellow
sitting alone in a corner, searching the crowd with sad eyes for a
wished-for face or a last greeting. The bell rang, the engine stirred;
suddenly a pretty, rosy girl flew breathlessly down the platform,
pushing her way through the groups of onlookers. The man's eyes lighted;
he rose to his feet, but the other fellows blocked the way; the door was
locked, and he had but one precious moment. Still he was equal to
the emergency, for he raised his fist and with one blow shattered the
window, got his kiss, and the train rumbled away, with his victorious
smile set in a frame of broken glass! I liked that man better than any
one I've seen since Himself deserted me for his Duty! How I hope the
pretty girl will be faithful, and how I hope that an ideal lover will
not be shot in South Africa!

And if he was truly Irish, so was the porter at a little way station
where we stopped in the dark, after being delayed interminably at
Claremorris by some trifling accident. We were eight persons packed into
a second-class carriage, and totally ignorant of our whereabouts; but
the porter, opening the door hastily, shouted, "Is there anny one there
for here?"--a question so vague and illogical that none of us said
anything in reply, but simply gazed at one another, and then laughed as
the train went on.

We are on a here-to-day-and-gone-to-morrow journey, determined to avoid
the railways, and travel by private conveyance and the public 'long
cars,' just for a glimpse of the Weeping West before we settle down
quietly in County Meath for our last few weeks of Irish life.

Thus far it has been a pursuit of the picturesque under umbrellas;
in fact, we're desthroyed wid the dint of the damp! 'Moist and
agreeable--that's the Irish notion both for climate and company.' If
the barometer bore any relation to the weather, we could plan our drives
with more discretion; but it sometimes remains as steady as a rock
during two days of sea mist, and Francesca, finding it wholly regardless
of gentle tapping, lost her temper on one occasion and rapped it
so severely as to crack the glass. That this peculiarity of Irish
barometers has been noted before we are sure, because of this verse
written by a native bard:--

     'When the glass is up to thirty,
      Be sure the weather will be dirty.
      When the glass is high, O very!
      There'll be rain in Cork and Kerry.
      When the glass is low, O Lork!
      There'll be rain in Kerry and Cork!'

I might add:--

      And when the glass has climbed its best,
      The sky is weeping in the West.

The national rainbow is as deceitful as the barometer, and it is no
uncommon thing for us to have half a dozen of them in a day, between
heavy showers, like the smiles and tears of Irish character; though, to
be sure, one does not need to be an Irish patriot to declare that a fine
day in this country is worth three fine days anywhere else. The present
weather is accounted for partially by the fact that, as Horace Walpole
said, summer has set in with its usual severity, and the tourist is
abroad in the land.

I am not sure but that we belong to the hated class for the moment,
though at least we try to emulate tourist virtues, if there are any, and
avoid tourist vices, which is next to impossible, as they are the fruit
of the tour itself. It is the circular tour which, in its effect upon
the great middle class, is the most virulent and contagious, and which
breeds the most offensive habits of thought and speech. The circular
tour is a magnificent idea, a praiseworthy business scheme; it has
educated the minds of millions and why it should have ruined their
manners is a mystery, unless indeed they had none when they were at
home. Some of our fellow-travellers with whom we originally started
disappear every day or two, to join us again. We lose them temporarily
when we take a private conveyance or when they stop at a cheap hotel,
but we come altogether again on coach or long car; and although they
have torn off many coupons in the interval, their remaining stock seems
to assure us of their society for days to come.

We have a Protestant clergyman who is travelling for his health,
but beguiling his time by observations for a volume to be called The
Relation between Priests and Pauperism. It seems, at first thought,
as if the circular coupon system were ill fitted to furnish him with
corroborative detail; but inasmuch as every traveller finds in a country
only, so to speak, what he brings to it, he will gather statistics
enough. Those persons who start with a certain bias of mind in one
direction seldom notice any facts that would throw out of joint those
previously amassed; they instinctively collect the ones that 'match,'
all others having a tendency to disturb the harmony of the original
scheme. The clergyman's travelling companion is a person who possesses
not a single opinion, conviction, or trait in common with him; so we
conclude that they joined forces for economy's sake. This comrade we
call 'the man with the evergreen heart,' for we can hardly tell by his
appearance whether he is an old young man or a young old one. With his
hat on he is juvenile; when he removes it, he is so distinctly
elderly that we do not know whether to regard him as damaged youth or
well-preserved old age; but he transfers his solicitous attentions to
lady after lady, rebuffs not having the slightest effect upon his warm,
susceptible, ardent nature. We suppose that he is single, but we know
that he can be married at a moment's notice by anybody who is willing to
accept the risks of the situation. Then we have a nice schoolmaster, so
agreeable that Salemina, Francesca, and I draw lots every evening as
to who shall sit beside him next day. He has just had seventy boys down
with measles at the same time, giving prizes to those who could show the
best rash! Salemina is no friend to the competitive system in education,
but this appealed to her as being as wise as it was whimsical.

We have also in our company an indiscreet and inflammable Irishman from
Wexford and a cutler from Birmingham, who lose no opportunity to have
a conversational scrimmage. When the car stops to change or water the
horses (and as for this last operation, our steeds might always manage
it without loss of time by keeping their mouths open), we generally
hear something like this; for although the two gentlemen have never met
before, they fight as if they had known each other all their lives.

Mr. Shamrock. "Faith, then, if you don't like the hotels and the
railroads, go to Paris or London; we've done widout you up to now,
and we can kape on doing widout you! We'd have more money to spind in
entertainin' you if the government hadn't taken three million of pounds
out of us to build fortifications in China."

Mr. Rose. "That's all bosh and nonsense; you wouldn't know how to manage
an hotel if you had the money."

Mr. Shamrock. "If we can't make hotel-kapers, it's soldiers we can make;
and be the same token you can't manage India or Canada widout our help!
Faith, England owes Ireland more than she can pay, and it's not her
business to be thravelin' round criticisin' the throubles she's helped
to projuce."

Mr. Rose. "William Ewart Gladstone did enough for your island to make up
for all the harm that the other statesmen may or may not have done."

Mr. Shamrock, touched in his most vulnerable point, shrieks above the
rattle of the wheels: "The wurrst statesman that iver put his name to
paper was William Ewart Gladstone!"

Mr. Rose. "The best, I say!"

Mr. Shamrock. "I say the wurrst!"

Mr. Rose. "The best!!"

Mr. Shamrock. "The wurrst!!"

Mr. Rose (after a pause). "It's your absentee landlords that have done
the mischief. I'd hang every one of them, if I had my way."

Mr. Shamrock. "Faith, they'd be absent thin, sure enough!"

And at this everybody laughs, and the trouble is over for a brief space,
much to the relief of Mrs. Shamrock, until her husband finds himself,
after a little, sufficiently calm to repeat a Cockney anecdote, which is
received by Mr. Rose in resentful silence, it being merely a description
of the common bat, an unfortunate animal that, according to Mr.
Shamrock, "'as no 'ole to 'ide in, no 'ands to 'old by, no 'orns to 'urt
with, though Nature 'as given 'im 'ooks be'ind to 'itch 'imself up by."

The last two noteworthy personages in our party are a dapper Frenchman,
who is in business at Manchester, and a portly Londoner, both of whom
are seeing Ireland for the first time. The Frenchman does not grumble at
the weather, for he says that in Manchester it rains twice a day all the
year round, save during the winter, when it commonly rains all day.

Sir James Paget, in an address on recreation, defined its chief element
to be surprise. If that is true, the portly Londoner must be exhilarated
beyond words. But with him the sensation does not stop with surprise:
it speedily becomes amazement, and then horror; for he is of the
comparative type, and therefore sees things done and hears things said,
on every hand, that are not said and done at all in the same way in
London. He sees people--ay, and policemen--bicycling on footpaths and
riding without lamps, and is horrified to learn that they are seldom,
if ever, prosecuted. He is shocked at the cabins, and the rocks, and the
beggar children, and the lack of trees; at the lack of logic, also, and
the lack of shoes; at the prevalence of the brogue; above all, at the
presence of the pig in the parlour. He is outraged at the weather, and
he minds getting wet the more because he hates Irish whisky. He keeps a
little notebook, and he can hardly wait for dinner to be over, he is
so anxious to send a communication (probably signed 'Veritas') to the
London Times.

The multiplicity of rocks and the absence of trees are indeed the two
most striking features of the landscape; and yet Boate says, 'In
ancient times as long as the land was in full possession of the Irish
themselves, all Ireland was very full of woods on every side, as
evidently appeareth by the writings of Giraldus Cambrensis.' But this
was long ago,--

     'Ere the emerald gem of the western world
      Was set in the brow of a stranger.'

In the long wars with the English these forests were the favourite
refuge of the natives, and it was a common saying that the Irish could
never be tamed while the leaves were upon the trees. Then passages were
cut through the woods, and the policy of felling them, as a military
measure, was begun and carried forward on a gigantic scale in
Elizabeth's reign.

At one of the cabins along the road they were making great preparations,
which we understood from having seen the same thing in Lisdara. There
are wee villages and solitary cabins so far from chapel that the priests
establish 'stations' for confession. A certain house is selected, and
all the old, infirm, and feeble ones come there to confess and hear
Mass. The priest afterwards eats breakfast with the family; and there
is great pride in this function, and great rivalry in the humble
arrangements. Mrs. Odevaine often lends a linen cloth and flowers to
one of her neighbours, she tells us; to another a knife and fork, or a
silver teapot; and so on. This cabin was at the foot of a long hill, and
the driver gave me permission to walk; so Francesca and I slipped down,
I with a parcel which chanced to have in it some small purchases made
at the last hotel. We asked if we might help a bit, and give a little
teapot of Belleek ware and a linen doily trimmed with Irish lace. Both
the articles were trumpery bits of souvenirs, but the old dame was
inclined to think that the angels and saints had taken her in charge,
and nothing could exceed her gratitude. She offered us a potato from
the pot, a cup of tea or goat's milk, and a bunch of wildflowers from
a cracked cup; and this last we accepted as we departed in a shower of
blessings, the most interesting of them being, "May the Blessed Virgin
twine your brow with roses when ye sit in the sates of glory!" and "The
Lord be good to ye, and sind ye a duke for a husband!" We felt more than
repaid for our impulsive interest, and as we disappeared from sight a
last 'Bannact dea leat!' ('God's blessing be on your way!') was wafted
to our ears.

I seem to have known all these people before, and indeed I have met them
between the covers of a book; for Connemara has one prophet, and her
name is Jane Barlow. In how many of these wild bog-lands of Connaught
have we seen a huddle of desolate cabins on a rocky hillside, turf
stacks looking darkly at the doors, and empty black pots sitting on the
thresholds, and fancied we have found Lisconnel! I should recognise
Ody Rafferty, the widow M'Gurk, Mad Bell, old Mrs. Kilfoyle, or Stacey
Doyne, if I met them face to face, just as I should know other real
human creatures of a higher type,--Beatrix Esmond, Becky Sharp, Meg
Merrilies, or Di Vernon.



Chapter XXIII. Beams and motes.

     'Mud cabins swarm in
      This place so charming,
      With sailor garments
        Hung out to dry;
      And each abode is
      Snug and commodious,
      With pigs melodious
        In their straw-built sty.'
                       Father Prout.

'"Did the Irish elves ever explain themselves to you, Red Rose?"

'"I can't say that they did," said the English Elf. "You can't call it
an explanation to say that a thing has always been that way, just: or
that a thing would be a heap more bother any other way."'

The west of Ireland is depressing, but it is very beautiful; at least
if your taste includes an appreciation of what is wild, magnificent,
and sombre. Oppressed you must be, even if you are an artist, by its
bleakness and its dreariness, its lonely lakes reflecting a dull, grey
sky, its desolate boglands, its solitary chapels, its wretched cabins
perched on hillsides that are very wildernesses of rocks. But for cloud
effects, for wonderful shadows, for fantastic and unbelievable sunsets,
when the mountains are violet, the lakes silver with red flashes, the
islets gold and crimson and purple, and the whole cloudy west in a
flame, it is unsurpassed; only your standard of beauty must not be a
velvet lawn studded with copper beeches, or a primary-hued landscape
bathed in American sunshine. Connemara is austere and gloomy under a
dull sky, but it has the poetic charm that belongs to all mystery,
and its bare cliffs and ridges are delicately pencilled on a violet
background, in a way peculiar to itself and enchantingly lovely.

The waste of all God's gifts; the incredible poverty; the miserable
huts, often without window or chimney; the sad-eyed women, sometimes
nothing but 'skins, bones, and grief'; the wild, beautiful children,
springing up like startled deer from behind piles of rocks or growths of
underbrush; the stony little bits of earth which the peasants cling to
with such passion, while good grasslands lie unused, yet seem for ever
out of reach,--all this makes one dream, and wonder, and speculate, and
hope against hope that the worst is over and a better day dawning. We
passed within sight of a hill village without a single road to
connect it with the outer world. The only supply of turf was on the
mountain-top, and from thence it had to be brought, basket by basket,
even in the snow. The only manure for such land is seaweed, and that
must be carried from the shore to the tiny plats of sterile earth on the
hillside. I remember it all, for I refused to buy a pair of stockings of
a woman along the road. We had taken so many that my courage failed; but
I saw her climbing the slopes patiently, wearily, a shawl over her white
hair,--knitting, knitting, knitting, as she walked in the rain to her
cabin somewhere behind the high hills. We never give to beggars in any
case, but we buy whatever we can as we are able; and why did I draw the
line at that particular pair of stockings, only to be haunted by that
pathetic figure for the rest of my life? Beggars there are by the score,
chiefly in the tourist districts; but it is only fair to add that there
are hundreds of huts where it would be a dire insult to offer a penny
for a glass of water, a sup of milk, or the shelter of a turf fire.

As we drive along the road, we see, if the umbrellas can be closed for a
half-hour, flocks of sheep grazing on the tops of the hills, where it is
sunnier, where food is better and flies less numerous. Crystal streams
and waterfalls are pouring down the hillsides to lose themselves in one
of Connemara's many bays, and we have a glimpse of osmunda fern, golden
green and beautiful. It was under a branch of this Osmunda regalis
that the Irish princess lay hidden, they say, till she had evaded her
pursuers. The blue turf smoke rises here and there,--now from a cabin
with house-leek growing on the crumbling thatch, now from one whose roof
is held on by ropes and stones,--and there is always a turf bog, stacks
and stacks of the cut blocks, a woman in a gown of dark-red flannel
resting for a moment, with the empty creel beside her, and a man cutting
in the distance. After climbing the long hill beyond the 'station' we
are rewarded by a glimpse of more fertile fields; the clumps of ragwort
and purple loosestrife are reinforced with kingcups and lilies growing
near the wayside, and the rare sight, first of a pot of geraniums in the
window, and then of a garden all aglow with red fuchsias, torch plants,
and huge dahlias, so cheers Veritas that he takes heart again. "This
is something like home!" he exclaims breezily; whereupon Mr. Shamrock
murmurs that if people find nothing to admire in a foreign country save
what resembles their own, he wonders that they take the trouble to be
travelling.

"It is a darlin' year for the pitaties," the drivers says; and there
are plenty of them planted hereabouts, even in stony spots not worth
a keenogue for anything else, for "pitaties doesn't require anny
inTHRICKet farmin', you see, ma'am."

The clergyman remarks that only three things are required to make
Ireland the most attractive country in the world: "Protestantism,
cleanliness, and gardens"; and Mr. Shamrock, who is of course a Roman
Catholic, answers this tactful speech in a way that surprises the
speaker and keeps him silent for hours.

The Birmingham cutler, who has a copy of Ismay's Children in his pocket,
triumphantly reads aloud, at this moment, a remark put into the mouth of
an Irish character: "The low Irish are quite destitute of all notion of
beauty,--have not the remotest particle of artistic sentiment or taste;
their cabins are exactly as they were six hundred years ago, for they
never want to improve themselves."

Then Mr. Shamrock asserts that any show of prosperity on a tenant's
part would only mean an advance of rent on the landlord's; and Mr. Rose
retorts that while that might have been true in former times, it is
utterly false to-day.

Mrs. Shamrock, who is a natural apologist, pleads that the Irish gentry
have the most beautiful gardens in the world and the greatest natural
taste in gardening, and there must be some reason why the lower classes
are so different in this respect. May it not be due partly to lack of
ground, lack of money to spend on seeds and fertilisers, lack of all
refining, civilising and educating influences? Mr. Shamrock adds that
the dwellers in cabins cannot successfully train creepers against the
walls or flowers in the dooryard, because of the goat, pig, donkey,
ducks, hens, and chickens; and Veritas asks triumphantly, "Why don't you
keep the pig in a sty, then?"

The man with the evergreen heart (who has already been told this morning
that I am happily married, Francesca engaged, Salemina a determined
celibate, but Benella quite at liberty) peeps under Salemina's umbrella
at this juncture, and says tenderly, "And what do you think about these
vexed questions, dear madam?" Which gives her a chance to reply with
some distinctness, "I shall not know what I think for several months to
come; and at any rate there are various things more needed on this coach
than opinions."

At this the Frenchman murmurs, "Ah, she has right!" and the Birmingham
cutler says, "'Ear! 'ear!"

On another day the parson began to tell the man with the evergreen heart
some interesting things about America. He had never been there himself,
but he had a cousin who had travelled extensively in that country,
and had brought back much unusual information. "The Americans are an
extraordinary people on the practical side," he remarked; "but having
said that, you have said all, for they are sordid, and absolutely devoid
of ideality. Take an American at his roller-top desk, a telephone at one
side and a typewriter at the other, talk to him of pork and dollars,
and you have him at his very best. He always keeps on his Panama hat at
business, and sits in a rocking-chair smoking a long cigar. The American
woman wears a blue dress with a red lining, or a black dress with orange
trimmings, showing a survival of African taste; while another exhibits
the American-Indian type,--sallow, with high cheekbones. The manners of
the servant classes are extraordinary. I believe they are called 'the
help,' and they commonly sit in the drawing-room after the work is
finished."

"You surprise me!" said Mrs. Shamrock.

"It is indeed amazing," he continued; "and there are other extraordinary
customs, among them the habit of mixing ices with all beverages. They
plunge ices into mugs of ale, beer, porter, lemonade, or Apollinaris,
and sip the mixture with a long ladle at the chemist's counter, where it
is usually served."

"You surprise me!" exclaimed the cutler.

"You surprise me too!" I echoed in my inmost heart. Francesca would not
have confined herself to that blameless mode of expression, you may be
sure, and I was glad that she was on the back seat of the car. I did
not know it at the time, but Veritas, who is a man of intelligence,
had identified her as an American, and wishing to inform himself on all
possible points, had asked her frankly why it was that the people of
her nation gave him the impression of never being restful or quiet,
but always so excessively and abnormally quick in motion and speech and
thought.

"Casual impressions are not worth anything," she replied nonchalantly.
"As a nation, you might sometimes give us the impression of being
phlegmatic and slow-witted. Both ideas may have some basis of fact, yet
not be absolutely true. We are not all abnormally quick in America. Look
at our messenger boys, for example."

"We! Phlegmatic and slow-witted!" exclaimed Veritas. "You surprise me!
And why do you not reward these government messengers for speed, and
stimulate them in that way?"

"We do," Francesca answered; "that is the only way in which we ever get
them to arrive anywhere--by rewarding and stimulating them at both ends
of the journey, and sometimes, in extreme cases, at a halfway station."

"This is most interesting," said Veritas, as he took out his damp
notebook; "and perhaps you can tell me why your newspapers are so poorly
edited, so cheap, so sensational?"

"I confess I can't explain it," she sighed, as if sorely puzzled. "Can
it be that we have expended our strength on magazines, where you are so
lamentably weak?"

At this moment the rain began as if there had been a long drought
and the sky had just determined to make up the deficiency. It fell in
sheets, and the wind blew I know not how many Irish miles an hour.
The Frenchman put on a silk macintosh with a cape, and was berated by
everybody in the same seat because he stood up a moment and let the
water in under the lap covers. His umbrella was a dainty en-tout-cas
with a mother-of-pearl handle, that had answered well enough in heavy
mist or soft drizzle. His hat of fine straw was tied with a neat cord
to his buttonhole; but although that precaution insured its ultimate
safety, it did not prevent its soaring from his head and descending on
Mrs. Shamrock's bonnet. He conscientiously tried holding it on with one
hand, but was then reproved by both neighbours because his macintosh
dripped over them.

"How are your spirits, Frenchy?" asked the cutler jocosely.

"I am not too greatly sad," said the poor gentleman, "but I will be
glad it should be finished; far more joyfully would I be at Manchester,
triste as it may be."

Just then a gust of wind blew his cape over his head and snapped his
parasol.

"It is evidently it has been made in Ireland," he sighed, with a
desperate attempt at gaiety. "It should have had a grosser stem,
and helas! it must not be easy to have it mended in these barbarous
veelages."

We stopped at four o'clock at a wayside hostelry, and I had quietly
made up my mind to descend from the car, and take rooms for the night,
whatever the place might be. Unfortunately, the same idea occurred to
three or four of the soaked travellers; and as men could leap down,
while ladies must wait for the steps, the chivalrous sex, their manners
obscured by the circular tour system, secured the rooms, and I was
obliged to ascend again, wetter than ever, to my perch beside the
driver.

"Can I get the box seat, do you think, if I pay extra for it?" I had
asked one of the stablemen before breakfast.

"You don't need to be payin', miss! Just confront the driver, and you'll
get it aisy!" If, by the way, I had confronted him at the end instead of
at the beginning of the journey, my charms certainly would not have
been all-powerful, for my coat had been leaked upon by red and green
umbrellas, my hat was a shapeless jelly, and my face imprinted with the
spots from a drenched blue veil.

After two hours more of this we reached the Shan Van Vocht Hotel, where
we had engaged apartments; but we found to our consternation that it was
full, and that we had been put in lodgings a half-mile away.

Salemina, whose patience was quite exhausted by the discomforts of the
day, groaned aloud when we were deposited at the door of a village shop,
and ushered upstairs to our tiny quarters; but she ceased abruptly when
she really took note of our surroundings. Everything was humble, but
clean and shining--glass, crockery, bedding, floor, on the which we were
dripping pools of water, while our landlady's daughter tried to make us
more comfortable.

"It's a soft night we're havin'," she said, in a dove's voice, "but
we'll do right enough if the win' doesn't rise up on us."

Left to ourselves, we walked about the wee rooms on ever new and more
joyful voyages of discovery. The curtains rolled up and down easily; the
windows were propped upon nice clean sticks instead of tennis rackets
and hearth brushes; there was a well-washed stone to keep the curtain
down on the sill; and just outside were tiny window gardens, in each of
which grew three marigolds and three asters, in a box fenced about with
little green pickets. There were well-dusted books on the tables, and
Francesca wanted to sit down immediately to The Charming Cora, reprinted
from The Girl's Own Paper. Salemina meantime had tempted fate by looking
under the bed, where she found the floor so exquisitely neat that she
patted it affectionately with her hand.

We had scarcely donned our dry clothing when the hotel proprietor sent a
jaunting-car for our drive to the seven-o'clock table d'hote dinner. We
carefully avoided our travelling companions that night, but learned the
next morning that the Frenchman had slept on four chairs, and rejected
the hotel coffee with the remark that it was not 'veritable'--a
criticism in which he was quite justified. Our comparative Englishman
had occupied a cot in a room where the tin bathtubs were kept. He was
writing to The Times at the moment of telling me his woes, and, without
seeing the letter, I could divine his impassioned advice never to travel
in the west of Ireland in rainy weather. He remarked (as if quoting from
his own communication) that the scenery was magnificent, but that there
was an entirely insufficient supply of hot water; that the waiters had
the appearance of being low comedians, and their service was of the
character one might expect from that description; that he had been
talking before breakfast with a German gentleman, who had sat on a
wall opposite the village of Dugort, in the island of Achill, from six
o'clock in the morning until nine, and in that time he had seen coming
out of an Irish hut three geese, eight goslings, six hens, fifteen
chickens, two pigs, two cows, two barefooted girls, the master of the
house leading a horse, three small children carrying cloth bags filled
with school-books, and finally a strapping mother leading a donkey
loaded with peat-baskets; that all this poverty and ignorance and
indolence and filth was spoiling his holiday; and finally, that if he
should be as greatly disappointed in the fishing as he had been in the
hotel accommodations--here we almost fainted from suspense--he should be
obliged to go home! And not only that, but he should feel it his duty to
warn others of what they might expect.

"Perhaps you are justified," said Francesca sympathetically. "People who
are used to the dry, sunny climate and the clear atmosphere of London
ought not to expose themselves to Irish rain without due consideration."

He agreed with her, glancing over his spectacles to see if she by any
possibility could be amusing herself at his expense--good, old, fussy,
fault-finding Veritas; but indeed Francesca's eyes were so soft and
lovely and honest that the more he looked at her, the less he could do
her the injustice of suspecting her sincerity.

But mind you, although I would never confess it to Veritas, because he
sees nothing but flaws on every side, the Irish pig is, to my taste, a
trifle too much in the foreground. He pays the rent, no doubt; but
this magnificent achievement could be managed from a sty in the rear,
ungrateful as it might seem to immure so useful a personage behind a
door or conceal his virtues from the public at large.



Chapter XXIV. Humours of the road.

     'Cheerful at morn, he wakes from short repose,
      Breasts the keen air, and carols as he goes.'
                                       Oliver Goldsmith.

If you drive from Clifden to Oughterard by way of Maam Cross, and then
on to Galway, you will pass through the O'Flahertys' country, one of
whom, Murrough O'Flaherty, was governor of this country of Iar (western)
Connaught. You will like to see the last of the O'Flaherty yews,
a thousand years old at least, and the ruins of the castle and
banqueting-hall. The family glories are enumerated in ancient Irish
manuscript, and instead of the butler, footman, chef, coachman, and
gardener of to-day we read of the O'Flaherty physician, standard-bearer,
brehon or judge, master of the revels, and keeper of the bees; and the
moment Himself is rich enough, I intend to add some of these picturesque
personages to our staff.

We afterwards learned that there was formerly an inscription over the
west gate of Galway:--

     'From the fury of the O'Flaherties,
        Good Lord, deliver us.'

After Richard de Burgo took the town, in 1226, it became a flourishing
English colony, and the citizens must have guarded themselves from
any intercourse with the native Irish; at least, an old by-law of 1518
enacts that 'neither O' nor Mac shalle strutte ne swaggere thro' the
streetes of Galway.'

We did not go to Galway straight, because we never do anything straight.
We seldom get any reliable information, and never any inspiring
suggestions, from the natives themselves. They are all patriotically
sure that Ireland is the finest counthry in the world, God bless her!
but in the matter of seeing that finest counthry in the easiest or best
fashion they are all very vague. Indirectly, our own lack of geography,
coupled with the ignorance of the people themselves, has been of the
greatest service in enlivening our journeys. Francesca says that, in
looking back, she finds that our errors of judgment have always resulted
in our most charming and unforgettable experiences; but let no one who
is travelling with a well-balanced and logical-minded man attempt to
follow in our footsteps.

Being as free as air on this occasion (if I except the dread of
Benella's scorn, which descends upon us now and then, and moves us to
repentance, sometimes even to better behaviour), we passed Porridgetown
and Cloomore, and ferried across to the opposite side of Lough Corrib.
Salemina, of course, had fixed upon Cong as our objective point, because
of its caverns and archaeological remains, which Dr. La Touche tells her
not on any account to miss. Francesca and I said nothing, but we had
a very definite idea of avoiding Cong, and going nearer Tuam, to climb
Knockma, the hill of the fairies, and explore their ancient haunts and
archaeological remains, which are more in our line than the caverns of
Cong.

Speaking of Dr. La Touche reminds me that we have not the smallest
notion as to how our middle-aged romance is progressing. Absence may,
at this juncture, be just as helpful a force in its development as daily
intercourse would be; for when one is past thirty, I fancy there is a
deal of 'thinking-it-over' to do. Precious little there is when we are
younger; heart does it all then, and never asks head's advice! But in
too much delay there lies no plenty, and there's the danger. Actually,
Francesca and I could be no more anxious to settle Salemina in life if
she were lame, halt, blind, and homeless, instead of being attractive,
charming, absurdly young for her age, and not without means. The
difficulty is that she is one of those 'continent, persisting, immovable
persons' whom Emerson describes as marked out for the blessing of the
world. That quality always makes a man anxious. He fears that he may
only get his rightful share of blessing, and he craves the whole output,
so to speak.

We naturally mention Dr. La Touche very often, since he is always
writing to Salemina or to me, offering counsel and suggestion. Madame La
Touche, the venerable aunt, has written also, asking us to visit them
in Meath; but this invitation we have declined, principally because the
Colquhouns will be with them, and they would surely be burdened by the
addition of three ladies and a maid to their family; partly because we
shall be freer in our own house, which will be as near the La Touche
mansion as possible, you may be sure, if Francesca and I have anything
to do with choosing it.

The La Touche name, then, is often on our lips, but Salemina offers no
intimation that it is indelibly imprinted on her heart of hearts. It
is a good name to be written anywhere, and we fancied there was the
slightest possible hint of pride and possession in Salemina's voice when
she read to us to-night, from her third volume of Lecky's History of
Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, a paragraph concerning one David La
Touche, from whom Dr. Gerald is descended:--

'In the last of the Irish Parliaments no less than five members of the
name sat together in the House of Commons, and his family may claim what
is in truth the highest honour of which an Irish family can boast,--that
during many successive governments, and in a period of most lavish
corruption, it possessed great parliamentary influence, and yet passed
through political life untitled and unstained.'

There is just the faintest gleam of hope, by the way, that Himself may
join us at the very end of June, and he is sure to be helpful on this
sentimental journey; he aided Ronald and Francesca more than once
in their tempestuous love-affair, and if his wits are not dulled by
marriage, as so often happens, he will be invaluable. It will not be
long then, probably, before I assume my natural, my secondary position
in the landscape of events. The junior partners are now, so to speak, on
their legs, although it is idle to suppose that such brittle appendages
will support them for any length of time. As soon as we return in the
autumn I should like to advertise (if Himself will permit me) for a
perfectly sound and kind junior partner,--one who has been well broken
to harness, and who will neither shy nor balk, no matter what the
provocation; the next step being to urge Himself to relinquish
altogether the bondage of business care. There is no need of his
continuing in it, since other people's business will always give him
ample scope for his energies. He has, since his return to America,
dispensed justice and mercy, chiefly mercy, to one embezzler, one honest
fellow tempted beyond his strength, one widow, one unfortunate friend
of his youth, and two orphans, and it was in no sense an extraordinary
season.

To return to notes of travel, our method of progression, since we
deserted the high-road and the public car, has been strangely varied. I
think there is no manner of steed or vehicle which has not been used by
us, at one time or another, even to the arch donkey and the low-backed
car with its truss of hay, like that of the immortal Peggy. I thought at
first that 'arch' was an unusual adjective to apply to a donkey, but
I find after all that it is abundantly expressive. Benella, who
disapproves entirely of this casual sort of travelling, far from
'answerable roads' and in 'backwards places' (Irish for 'behind the
times'), is yet wonderfully successful in discovering equipages of some
sort in unlikely spots.

In towns of any size or pretensions, we find by the town cross or near
the inn a motley collection of things on wheels, with drivers sometimes
as sober as Father Mathew, sometimes not. Yesterday we had a mare which
the driver confessed he bought without 'overcircumspectin' it,' and
although you couldn't, as he said, 'extinguish her at first sight from a
grand throtter, she hadn't rightly the speed you could wish.'

"It's not so powerful young she is, melady!" he confessed. "You'd be
afther lookin' at a chicken a long time and niver be reminded of her;
but sure ye might thry her, for belike ye wouldn't fancy a horse that
would be leppin' stone walls wid ye, like Dan Ryan's there! My little
baste'll get ye to Rossan before night, and she won't hurt man nor
mortial in doin' it."

"Begorra, you're right, nor herself nayther," said Dan Ryan; "and if
it's leppin' ye mane, sure she couldn't lep a sod o' turf, that
mare couldn't! God pardon ye, melady, for thrustin' yerself to that
paiceable, brindly-coloured ould hin, whin ye might be gettin' a dacint,
high-steppin' horse for a shillin' or two more; an' belike I might
contint meself to take less, for I wouldn't be extortin' ye like Barney
O'Mara there!"

Our chosen driver replied to this by saying that he wouldn't be caught
dead at a pig fair with Dan Ryan's horse, but in the midst of all the
distracting discussions and arguments that followed we held to
our original bargain; for we did not like the look of Dan Ryan's
high-stepper, who was a 'thrifle mounTAIny,' as they say in these parts,
and had a wild eye to boot. We started, and in a half-hour we could
still see the chapel spire of the little village we had just left. It
was for once a beautiful day, but we felt that we must reach a railway
station some time or other, in order to find a place to sleep.

"Can't you make her go a bit faster? Do you want to keep us on the road
all night?" inquired Francesca.

"I do not, your ladyship's honour, ma'am."

"Is she tired, or doesn't she ever go any better?" urged Salemina.

"She does; it's God's truth I'm tellin' ye, melady, she's that flippant
sometimes that I scarcely can hould her, and the car jumps undher her
like a spring bed."

"Then what on earth IS the matter with her?" I inquired, with some fire
in my eye.

"Sure I believe she's takin' time to think of the iligant load she's
carryin', melady, and small blame to her!" said Mr. Barney O'Mara; and
after that we let him drive as best he could, although it did take us
four hours to do nine Irish miles. He came, did Mr. Barney, from County
Armagh, and he beguiled the way with interesting tales from that
section of Ireland, one of which, 'the Old Crow and the Young Crow,'
particularly took our fancies.

"An old crow was teaching a young crow one day, and says to him, 'Now,
my son,' says he, 'listen to the advice I'm going to give you,' says he.
'If you see a person coming near you and stooping, mind yourself, and be
on your keeping; he's stooping for a stone to throw at you,' says he.

"'But tell me,' says the young crow, 'what should I do if he had a stone
already down in his pocket?' says he.

"'Musha, go 'long out of that,' says the old crow, 'you've learned
enough; the divil another learning I'm able to give you.'"

He was a perfect honey-pot of useless and unreliable information, was
Barney O'Mara, and most learned in fairy lore; but for that matter, all
the people walking along the road, the drivers, the boatman and guides,
the men and women in the cottages where we stop in a shower or to
inquire the way, relate stories of phookas, leprehauns, and sprites,
banshees and all the various classes of elves and fays, as simply and
seriously as they would speak of any other occurrences. Barney told
us gravely of the old woman who was in the habit of laying pishogues
(charms) to break the legs of his neighbour's cattle, because of an
ancient grudge she bore him; and also how necessary it is to put a bit
of burning turf under the churn to prevent the phookas, or mischievous
fairies, from abstracting the butter or spoiling the churning in any
way. Irish fays seem to be much interested in dairy matters, for,
besides the sprites who delight in distracting the cream and keeping
back the butter (I wonder if a lazy up-and-down movement of the dasher
invites them at all, at all?), it is well known that many a milkmaid
on a May morning has seen fairy cows browsing along the banks of
lakes,--cows that vanish into thin mist at the sound of human footfall.

When we were quite cross at missing the noon train from Rossan, quite
tired of the car's jolting, somewhat vexed even at the mare's continued
enjoyment of her 'iligant load,' Barney appeased us all by singing, in
a delightful, mellow voice, a fairy song called the 'Leprehaun,' [*] This
personage, you must know, if you haven't a large acquaintance among
Irish fairies, is a tricksy fellow in a green coat and scarlet cap, with
brave shoe buckles on his wee brogues. You will catch him sometimes, if
the 'glamour' is on you, under a burdock leaf or a thorn bush, and he
is always making or mending a shoe. He commonly has a little purse about
him, which, if you are quick enough, you can snatch; and a wonderful
purse it is, for whatever you spend, there is always money to be found
in it. Truth to tell, nobody has yet succeeded in being quicker than
Master Leprehaun, though many have offered to fill his cruiskeen with
'mountain dew,' of which Irish fairies are passionately fond.

            * By Patrick W. Joyce.

     'In a shady nook, one moonlight night,
        A leprehaun I spied;
      With scarlet cap and coat of green,
        A cruiskeen by his side.
      'Twas tick, tack, tick, his hammer went,
        Upon a weeny shoe;
      And I laughed to think of his purse of gold;
        But the fairy was laughing too!

      With tip-toe step and beating heart,
        Quite softly I drew nigh:
      There was mischief in his merry face,
        A twinkle in his eye.
      He hammered, and sang with tiny voice,
        And drank his mountain dew;
      And I laughed to think he was caught at last;
        But the fairy was laughing too!

      As quick as thought I seized the elf.
        "Your fairy purse!" I cried.
      "The purse!" he said--"'tis in her hand--
        That lady at your side."
      I turned to look:  the elf was off.
        Then what was I to do?
      O, I laughed to think what a fool I'd been;
        And the fairy was laughing too!'

I cannot communicate any idea of the rollicking gaiety and quaint charm
Barney gave to the tune, nor the light-hearted, irresistible chuckle
with which he rendered the last two lines, giving a snap of his whip as
accent to the long 'O':--

     'O, I laughed to think what a fool I'd been;
        And the fairy was laughing too!'

After he had sung it twice through, Benella took my guitar from its case
for me, and we sang it after him, again and again; so it was in happy
fashion that we at least approached Ballyrossan, where we bade Barney
O'Mara a cordial farewell, paying him four shillings over his fare,
which was cheap indeed for the song.

As we saw him vanish slowly up the road, ragged himself, the car and
harness almost ready to drop to pieces, the mare, I am sure, in the
last week of her existence, we were glad that he had his Celtic fancy to
enliven his life a bit,--that fancy which seems a providential reaction
against the cruel despotisms of fact.



Chapter XXV. The wee folk.

     'There sings a bonnie linnet
        Up the heather glen;
      The voice has magic in it
        Too sweet for mortal men!
      Sing O, the blooming heather,
        O, the heather glen!
      Where fairest fairies gather
        To lure in mortal men.'

                                Carrig-a-fooka Inn, near Knockma,
                                   On the shores of Lough Corrib.

A modern Irish poet [*] says something that Francesca has quoted to Ronald
in her letter to-day, and we await from Scotland his confirmation or
denial. He accuses the Scots of having discovered the fairies to be
pagan and wicked, and of denouncing them from the pulpits, whereas Irish
priests discuss with them the state of their souls; or at least they
did, until it was decided that they had none, but would dry up like so
much bright vapour at the last day. It was more in sadness than in anger
that the priests announced this fiat; for Irish sprites and goblins do
gay, graceful, and humorous things, for the most part, tricksy sins,
not deserving annihilation, whereas Scottish fays are sometimes
malevolent,--or so says the Irish poet.

     * W. B. Yeats.

This is very sad, no doubt, but it does not begin to be as sad as
having no fairies at all. There must have been a few in England in
Shakespeare's time, or he could never have written The Tempest or the
Midsummer Night's Dream; but where have they vanished?

As for us in America, I fear that we never have had any 'wee folk.' The
Indians had their woodland spirits, spirits of rocks, trees, mountains,
star and moon maidens; the negroes had their enchanted animals and
conjure men; but as for real wee folk, either they were not indigenous
to the soil or else we unconsciously drove them away. Yet we had
facilities to offer! The columbines, harebells, and fringed gentians
would have been just as cosy and secluded places to live in as the Irish
foxgloves, which are simply running over with fairies. Perhaps they
wouldn't have liked our cold winters; still it must have been something
more than climate, and I am afraid I know the reason well--we are too
sensible; and if there is anything a fairy detests, it is common-sense.
We are too rich, also; and a second thing that a fairy abhors is the
chink of dollars. Perhaps, when I am again enjoying the advantages
brought about by sound money, commercial prosperity, and a magnificent
system of public education, I shall feel differently about it; but for
the moment I am just a bit embarrassed and crestfallen to belong to a
nation absolutely shunned by the fairies. If they had only settled among
us like other colonists, shaped us to their ends as far as they could,
and, when they couldn't, conformed themselves to ours, there might have
been, by this time, fairy trusts stretching out benign arms all over the
continent.

Of course it is an age of incredulity, but Salemina, Francesca, and I
have not come to Ireland to scoff, and whatever we do we shall not go
to the length of doubting the fairies; for, as Barney O'Mara says, 'they
stand to raison.'

Glen Ailna is a 'gentle' place near Carrig-a-fooka Inn--that is,
one beloved by the sheehogues; and though you may be never so much
interested, I may not tell you its exact whereabouts, since no one can
ever find it unless he is himself under the glamour. Perhaps you might
be a doubter, with no eyes for the 'dim kingdom'; perhaps you might gaze
for ever, and never be able to see a red-capped fiddler, fiddling
under a blossoming sloe bush. You might even see him, and then indulge
yourself in a fit of common-sense or doubt of your own eyes, in which
case the wee dancers would never flock to the sound of the fiddle or
gather on the fairy ring. This is the reason that I shall never take you
to Knockma, to Glen Ailna, or especially to the hyacinth wood, which is
a little plantation near the ruin of a fort. Just why the fairies are so
fond of an old rath or lis I cannot imagine, for you would never suppose
that antiquaries, archaeologists, and wee folk would care for the same
places.

I have no intention of interviewing the grander personages among the
Irish fairies, for they are known to be haughty, unapproachable, and
severe, as befits the descendants of the great Nature Gods and the
under-deities of flood and fell and angry sea. It is the lesser folk,
the gay, gracious, little men that I wish to meet; those who pipe and
dance on the fairy ring. The 'ring' is made, you know, by the tiny feet
that have tripped for ages and ages, flying, dancing, circling, over the
tender young grass. Rain cannot wash it away; you may walk over it; you
may even plough up the soil, and replant it ever so many times; the
next season the fairy ring shines in the grass just the same. It seems
strange that I am blind to it, when an ignorant, dirty spalpeen who
lives near the foot of Knockma has seen it and heard the fairy music
again and again. He took me to the very place where, last Lammas Eve,
he saw plainly--for there was a beautiful, white moon overhead--the
arch king and queen of the fairies, who appear only on state occasions,
together with a crowd of dancers, and more than a dozen pipers piping
melodious music. Not only that, but (lucky little beggar!) he heard
distinctly the fulparnee and the folpornee, the rap-lay-hoota and the
roolya-boolya--noises indicative of the very jolliest and wildest and
most uncommon form of fairy conviviality. Failing a glimpse of these
midsummer revels, my next choice would be to see the Elf Horseman
galloping round the shores of the Fairy Lough in the cool of the morn.

     'Loughareema, Loughareema,
        Stars come out and stars are hidin';
      The wather whispers on the stones,
        The flittherin' moths are free.
      Onest before the mornin' light
        The Horseman will come ridin'
      Roun' an' roun' the Fairy Lough,
        An' no one there to see.'

But there will be some one there, and that is the aforesaid Jamesy
Flanigan! Sometimes I think he is fibbing, but a glance at his soft,
dark, far-seeing eyes under their fringe of thick lashes convinces me to
the contrary. His field of vision is different from mine, that is all,
and he fears that if I accompany him to the shores of the Fairy Lough
the Horseman will not ride for him; so I am even taunted with undue
common-sense by a little Irish gossoon.

I tried to coax Benella to go with me to the hyacinth wood by moonlight.
Fairies detest a crowd, and I ought to have gone alone; but, to tell
the truth, I hardly dared, for they have a way of kidnapping attractive
ladies and keeping them for years in the dim kingdom. I would not trust
Himself at Glen Ailna for worlds, for gentlemen are not exempt from
danger. Connla of the Golden Hair was lured away by a fairy maiden, and
taken, in a 'gleaming, straight-gliding, strong, crystal canoe,' to her
domain in the hills; and Oisin, you remember, was transported to the
Land of the Ever Youthful by the beautiful Niam. If one could only be
sure of coming back! but Oisin, for instance, was detained three hundred
years, so one might not be allowed to return, and still worse, one
might not wish to; three hundred years of youth would tempt--a woman!
My opinion, after reading the Elf Errant, is that one of us has been
there--Moira O'Neill. I should suspect her of being able to wear a fairy
cap herself, were it not for the human heart-throb in her verses; but I
am sure she has the glamour whenever she desires it, and hears the fairy
pipes at will.

Benella is of different stuff; she not only distrusts fairies, but, like
the Scotch Presbyterians, she fears that they are wicked. "Still, you
say they haven't got immortal souls to save, and I don't suppose they're
responsible for their actions," she allows; "but as for traipsing up to
those heathenish, haunted woods when all Christian folks are in bed, I
don't believe in it, and neither would Mr. Beresford; but if you're set
on it, I shall go with you!"

"You wouldn't be of the slightest use," I answered severely; "indeed,
you'd be worse than nobody. The fairies cannot endure doubters; it
makes them fold their wings over their heads and shrink away into their
flowercups. I should be mortified beyond words if a fairy should meet me
in your company."

Benella seemed hurt and a trifle resentful as she replied: "That about
doubters is just what Mrs. Kimberly used to say." (Mrs. Kimberly is the
Salem priestess, the originator of the 'science.') "She couldn't talk a
mite if there was doubters in the hall; and it's so with spiritualists
and clairvoyants, too--they're all of 'em scare-cats. I guess likely
that those that's so afraid of being doubted has some good reason for
it!"

Well, I never went to the hyacinth wood by moonlight, since so many
objections were raised, but I did go once at noonday, the very most
unlikely hour of all the twenty-four, and yet--As I sat there beneath a
gnarled thorn, weary and warm with my climb, I looked into the heart of
a bluebell forest growing under a circle of gleaming silver birches,
and suddenly I heard fairy music--at least it was not mortal--and many
sounds were mingled in it: the sighing of birches, the carol of a lark,
the leap and laugh of a silvery runnel tumbling down the hillside, the
soft whir of butterflies' wings, and a sweet little over or under tone,
from the over or under world, that I took to be the opening of a million
hyacinth buds in the sunshine. Then I heard the delicious sound of
a fairy laugh, and, looking under a swaying branch of meadowsweet, I
saw--yes, I really saw--You must know that first a wee green door swung
open in the stem of the meadowsweet, and out of that land where you can
buy joy for a penny came a fairy in the usual red and green. I had the
Elf Errant in my lap, and I think that in itself made him feel more at
home with me, as well as the fact, perhaps, that for the moment I wasn't
a bit sensible and had no money about me. I was all ready with an
Irish salutation, for the purposes of further disarming his aversion. I
intended to say, as prettily as possible, though, alas! I cannot manage
the brogue, "And what way do I see you now?" or "Good-mornin' to yer
honour's honour!" But I was struck dumb by my good fortune at seeing him
at all. He looked at me once, and then, flinging up his arms, he gave a
weeny, weeny yawn! This was disconcerting, for people almost never yawn
in my company; and to make it worse, he kept on yawning, until, for very
sympathy, and not at all in the way of revenge, I yawned too. Then the
green door swung open again, and a gay rabble of wide-awake fairies came
trooping out: and some of them kissed the hyacinth bells to open them,
and some of them flew to the thorn-tree, until every little brancheen
was white with flowers, where but a moment ago had been tightly-closed
buds. The yawning fairy slept meanwhile under the swaying meadowsweet,
and the butterflies fanned him with their soft wings; but, alas! it
could not have been the hour for dancing on the fairy ring, nor the
proper time for the fairy pipers, and long, long as I looked I saw and
heard nothing more than what I have told you. Indeed, I presently lost
even that, for a bee buzzed, a white petal dropped from the thorn-tree
on my face, there was a scraping of tiny claws and the sound of two
squirrels barking love to each other in the high branches, and in that
moment the glamour that was upon me vanished in a twinkling.

"But I really did see the fairies!" I exclaimed triumphantly to Benella
the doubter, when I returned Carrig-a-fooka Inn, much too late for
luncheon.

"I want to know!" she exclaimed, in her New England vernacular. "I
guess by the looks o' your eyes they didn't turn out to be very lively
comp'ny!"



Part Fifth--Royal Meath.



Chapter XXVI. Ireland's gold.

     'I sat upon the rustic seat--
        The seat an aged bay-tree crowns--
      And saw outspreading from our feet
        The golden glory of the Downs.
      The furze-crowned heights, the glorious glen,
        The white-walled chapel glistening near,
      The house of God, the homes of men,
        The fragrant hay, the ripening ear.'
                              Denis Florence M'Carthy.

                                    The Old Hall, Devorgilla,
                                           Vale of the Boyne.

We have now lived in each of Ireland's four provinces, Leinster,
Munster, Ulster, and Connaught, but the confines of these provinces, and
their number, have changed several times since the beginning of history.
In A.D. 130 the Milesian monarchy was restored in the person of Tuathal
(Too'hal) the Legitimate. Over each of the Irish provinces was a ri or
king, and there was also over all Ireland an Ard-ri or supreme monarch
who lived at Tara up to the time of its abandonment in the sixth
century. Before Tuathal's day, the Ard-ri had for his land allowance
only a small tract around Tara, but Tuathal cut off a portion from each
of the four older provinces, at the Great Stone of Divisions in the
centre of Ireland, making the fifth province of Royal Meath, which
has since disappeared, but which was much larger than the present two
counties of Meath and Westmeath. In this once famous, and now most
lovely and fertile spot, with the good republican's love of royalty and
royal institutions, we have settled ourselves; in the midst of verdant
plains watered by the Boyne and the Blackwater, here rippling over
shallows, there meandering in slow deep reaches between reedy banks.

The Old Hall, from which I write, is somewhere in the vale of the Boyne,
somewhere near Yellow Steeple, not so far from Treadagh, only a few
miles from Ballybilly (I hope to be forgiven this irreverence to the
glorious memory of his Majesty, William, Prince of Orange!), and within
driving distance of Killkienan, Croagh-Patrick, Domteagh, and Tara Hill
itself. If you know your Royal Meath, these geographical suggestions
will give you some idea of our location; if not, take your map of
Ireland, please (a thing nobody has near him), and find the town of
Tuam, where you left us a little time ago. You will see a railway
line from Tuam to Athenry, Athlone, and Mullingar. Anybody can
visit Mullingar--it is for the million; but only the elect may go to
Devorgilla. It is the captive of our bow and spear; or, to change the
figure, it is a violet by a mossy stone, which we refuse to have plucked
from its poetic solitude and worn in the bosom or in the buttonhole of
the tourist.

At Mullingar, then, we slip on enchanted garments which conceal us from
the casual eye, and disappear into what is, in midsummer, a bower of
beauty. There you will find, when you find us, Devorgilla, lovely enough
to be Tir-nan-og, that Land of the Ever Youthful well know to the Celts
of long ago. Here we have rested our weary bodies and purified our
travel-stained minds. Fresh from the poverty-ridden hillsides of
Connaught, these rich grazing-lands, comfortable houses, magnificent
demesnes and castles, are unspeakably grateful to the eye and healing
to the spirit. We have not forgotten, shall never forget, our Connemara
folk, nor yet Omadhaun Pat and dark Timsy of Lisdara in the north; but
it is good, for a change, to breathe in this sense of general comfort,
good cheer, and abundance.

Benella is radiant, for she is near enough to Trim to go there
occasionally to seek for traces of her ancestress, Mary Boyce; and
as for Salemina, this bit of country is a Mecca for antiquaries and
scholars, and we are fairly surrounded by towers, tumuli, and cairns.
"It's mostly ruins they do be wantin', these days," said a wayside
acquaintance. "I built a stone house for my donkey on the knockaun
beyant my cabin just, and bedad, there's a crowd round it every Saturday
callin' it the risidence of wan of the Danish kings! An' they are
diggin' at Tara now, ma'am, looking for the Ark of the Covenant! They do
be sayin' the prophet Jeremiah come over from England and brought it wid
him. Begorra, it's a lucky man he was to get away wid it!"

Added to these advantages of position, we are within a few miles of
Rosnaree, Dr. La Touche's demesne, to which he comes home from Dublin
to-morrow, bringing with him our dear Mr. and Mrs. Colquhoun of
Ardnagreena. We have been here ourselves for ten days, and are flattered
to think that we have used the time as unconventionally as we could
well have done. We made a literary pilgrimage first, but that is another
story, and I will only say that we had a day in Edgeworthstown and a
drive through Goldsmith's country, where we saw the Deserted Village,
with its mill and brook, the 'church that tops the neighbouring hill';
and even rested under

     'The hawthorn bush with seats beneath the shade
      For talking age and whispering lovers made.'

There are many parts of Ireland where one could not find a habitable
house to rent, but in this locality they are numerous enough to make it
possible to choose. We had driven over perhaps twenty square miles of
country, with the view of selecting the most delectable spot that could
be found, without going too far from Rosnaree. The chief trouble was
that we always desired every dwelling that we saw. I tell you this with
a view of lessening the shock when I confess that, before we came to the
Old Hall where we are now settled for a month, and which was Salemina's
choice, Francesca and I took two different houses, and lived in them for
seven days, each in solitary splendour, like the Prince of Coolavin. It
was not difficult to agree upon the district, we were of one mind there:
the moment that we passed the town and drove along the flowery way that
leads to Devorgilla, we knew that it was the road of destiny.

The whitethorn is very late this year, and we found ourselves in the
full glory of it. It is beautiful in all its stages, from the time when
it first opens its buds, to the season when 'every spray is white with
may, and blooms the eglantine.' There is no hint of green leaf visible
then, and every tree is 'as white as snow of one night.' This is
the Gaelic comparison, and the first snow seems especially white and
dazzling, I suppose, when one sees it in the morning where were green
fields the night before. The sloe, which is the blackthorn, comes
still earlier and has fewer leaves. That is the tree of the old English
song:--

     'From the white-blossomed sloe
      My dear Chloe requested
        A sprig her fair breast to adorn.
      "No, by Heav'ns!" I exclaimed, "may I perish,
        If ever I plant in that bosom a thorn!"'

And it is not only trees, but hedges and bushes and groves of hawthorn,
for a white thorn bush is seldom if ever cut down here, lest a grieved
and displeased fairy look up from the cloven trunk, and no Irishman
could bear to meet the reproach of her eyes. Do not imagine, however,
that we are all in white, like a bride: there is the pink hawthorn,
and there are pink and white horse-chestnuts laden with flowers, yellow
laburnums hanging over whitewashed farm-buildings, lilacs, and, most
wonderful of all, the blaze of the yellow gorse. There will be a thorn
hedge struggling with and conquering a grey stone wall; then a golden
gorse bush struggling with and conquering the thorn; seeking the sun,
it knows no restraints, and creeping through the barriers of green and
white and grey, it fairly hurls its yellow splendours in great blazing
patches along the wayside. In dazzling glory, in richness of colour,
there is nothing in nature that we can compare with this loveliest and
commonest of all wayside weeds. The gleaming wealth of the Klondike
would make a poor showing beside a single Irish hedgerow; one would
think that Mother Earth had stored in her bosom all the sunniest gleams
of bygone summers, and was now giving them back to the sun king from
whom she borrowed them.

It was at twilight when we first swam this fragrant, golden
sea--twilight, and the birds were singing in every bush; the thrushes
and blackbirds in the blossoming cherry and chestnut-trees were so many
and so tuneful that the chorus was sweet and strong beyond anything
I ever heard. There had been a shower or two, of course; showers that
looked like shimmering curtains of silver gauze, and whether they lifted
or fell the birds went on singing.

"I did not believe such a thing possible but it is lovelier than
Pettybaw," said Francesca; and just here we came in sight of a pink
cottage cuddling on the breast of a hill. Pink the cottage was, as if
it had been hewed out of a coral branch or the heart of a salmon;
pink-washed were the stone walls and posts; pink even were the chimneys;
a green lattice over the front was the only leaf in the bouquet.
Wallflowers grew against the pink stone walls, and there is no beautiful
word in any beautiful language that can describe the effect of
that modest, rose-hued dwelling blushing against a background of
heather-brown hills covered solidly with golden gorse bushes in full
bloom. Himself and I have always agreed to spend our anniversaries with
Mrs. Bobby at Comfort Cottage, in England, or at Bide-a-Wee, the 'wee,
theekit hoosie' in the loaning at Pettybaw, for our little love-story
was begun in the one and carried on in the other; but this, this, I
thought instantly, must somehow be crowded into the scheme of red-letter
days. And now we suddenly discovered something at once interesting and
disconcerting--an American flag floating from a tree in the background.

"The place is rented, then," said Francesca, "to some enterprising
American or some star-spangled Irishman who has succeeded in discovering
Devorgilla before us. I well understand how the shade of Columbus must
feel whenever Amerigo Vespucci's name is mentioned!"

We sent the driver off to await our pleasure, and held a consultation by
the wayside.

"I shall call at any rate," I announced; "any excuse will serve which
brings me nearer to that adorable dwelling. I intend to be standing in
that pink doorway, with that green lattice over my head, when Himself
arrives in Devorgilla. I intend to end my days within those rosy walls,
and to begin the process at the earliest possible moment."

Salemina disapproved, of course. Her method is always to stand well
in the rear, trembling beforehand lest I should do something
unconventional; then, later on, when things romantic begin to transpire,
she says delightedly, "Wasn't that clever of us?"

"An American flag," I urged, "is a proclamation; indeed, it is, in a
sense, an invitation; besides it is my duty to salute it in a foreign
land!"

"Patriotism, how many sins are practised in thy name!" said Salemina
satirically. "Can't you salute your flag from the high-road?"

"Not properly, Sally dear, nor satisfactorily. So you and Francesca sit
down, timidly and respectably, under the safe shadow of the hedge, while
I call upon the blooming family in the darling, blooming house. I am an
American artist, lured to their door alike by devotion to my country's
flag and love of the picturesque." And so saying I ascended the path
with some dignity and a false show of assurance.

The circumstances did not chance to be precisely what I had expected.
There was a nice girl tidying the kitchen, and I found no difficulty
in making friends with her. Her mother owned the cottage, and rented
it every season to a Belfast lady, who was coming in a week to take
possession, as usual. The American flag had been floating in honour of
her mother's brother, who had come over from Milwaukee to make them a
little visit, and had just left that afternoon to sail from Liverpool.
The rest of the family lived, during the three summer months, in a
smaller house down the road; but she herself always stayed at the
cottage, to 'mind' the Belfast lady's children.

When I looked at the pink floor of the kitchen and the view from the
windows, I would have given anything in the world to outbid, yes, even
to obliterate the Belfast lady; but this, unfortunately, was not only
illegal and immoral, but it was impossible. So, calling the mother in
from the stables, I succeeded, after fifteen minutes' persuasion, in
getting permission to occupy the house for one week, beginning with
the next morning, and returned in triumph to my weary constituents, who
thought it an insane idea.

"Of course it is," I responded cheerfully; "that is why it is going to
be so altogether charming. Don't be envious; I will find something mad
for you to do, too. One of us is always submitting to the will of the
majority; now let us be as individually silly as we like for a week,
and then take a long farewell of freakishness and freedom. Let the third
volume die in lurid splendour, since there is never to be a fourth."

"There is still Wales," suggested Francesca.

"Too small, Fanny dear, and we could never pronounce the names. Besides,
what sort of adventures would be possible to three--I mean, of course,
two--persons tied down by marital responsibilities and family cares?
Is it the sunset or the reflection of the pink house that is shining on
your pink face, Salemina?"

"I am extremely warm," she replied haughtily.

"I don't wonder; sitting on the damp grass under a hedge is so
stimulating to the circulation!" observed 'young Miss Fan.'



Chapter XXVII. The three chatelaines of Devorgilla.

     'Have you been at Devorgilla,
        Have you seen, at Devorgilla,
      Beauty's train trip o'er the plain,--
        The lovely maids of Devorgilla?'
                         Adapted from Edward Lysaght.

The next morning the Old Hall dropped like a ripe rowan berry into our
very laps. The landlord of the Shamrock Inn directed us thither, and
within the hour it belonged to us for the rest of the summer. Miss
Peabody, inclined to be severe with me for my desertion, took up
her residence at once. It had never been rented before; but Miss
Llewellyn-Joyce, the owner, had suddenly determined to visit her sister
in London, and was glad to find appreciative and careful tenants. She
was taking her own maid with her, and thus only one servant remained, to
be rented with the premises, as is frequently the Irish fashion. The Old
Hall has not always been managed thus economically, it is easy to see,
and Miss Llewellyn-Joyce speaks with the utmost candour of her poverty,
as indeed the ruined Irish gentry always do. I well remember taking tea
with a family in West Clare where in default of a spoon the old squire
stirred his cup with the poker, a proceeding apparently so usual that he
never thought of apologising for it as an oddity.

The Hall has a lodge, which is a sort of miniature Round Tower, at the
entrance gate, and we see nothing for it but to import a brass-buttoned
boy from the nearest metropolis, where we must also send for a second
maid.

"That'll do when you get him," objected Benella, "though boys need a lot
of overseeing; but as nobody can get in or come out o' that gate without
help, I shall have to go to the lodge every day now, and set down
there with my sewin' from four to six in the afternoon, or whenever the
callin' hours is. When I engaged with you, it wasn't for any particular
kind of work; it was to make myself useful. I've been errand-boy and
courier, golf-caddie and footman, beau, cook, land agent, and mother to
you all, and I guess I can be a lodge-keeper as well as not."

Francesca had her choice of residing either with Salemina or with me,
during our week of separation, and drove in my company to Rosaleen
Cottage, to make up her mind. While she was standing at my gate, engaged
in reflection, she espied a small cabin not far away, and walked toward
it on a tour of investigation. It proved to have three tiny rooms--a
bedroom, sitting-room, and kitchen. The rent was only two pounds a
month, it is true, but it was in all respects the most unattractive,
poverty-stricken, undesirable dwelling I ever saw. It was the small
stove in the kitchen that kindled Francesca's imagination, and she made
up her mind instantly to become a householder on her own account. I
tried to dissuade her; but she is as firm as the Rock of Cashel when
once she has set her heart upon anything.

"I shall be almost your next-door neighbour, Penelope," she coaxed, "and
of course you will give me Benella. She will sleep in the sitting-room,
and I will do the cooking. The landlady says there is no trouble
about food. 'What to ate?' she inquired, leaning out sociably over the
half-door. 'Sure it'll drive up to your very doore just.' And here is
the 'wee grass,' as she calls it, where 'yous can take your tay' under
the Japanese umbrella left by the last tenant. Think how unusual it will
be for us to live in three different houses for a week; and 'there's
luck in odd numbers, says Rory O'More.' We shall have the advantages of
good society, too, when we are living apart, for I foresee entertainment
after entertainment. We will give breakfasts, luncheons, teas, and
dinners to one another; and meanwhile I shall have learned all the
housewifely arts. Think, too, how much better you can paint with me out
of your way!"

"Does no thought of your eccentricity blight your young spirit, dear?"

"Why should it when I have simply shaped my course by yours?"

"But I am married, my child."

"And I'm 'going to be married, aha, Mamma!' as the song says; and what
about Salemina, you haven't scolded her?"

"She is living her very last days of single blessedness," I rejoined;
"she does not know it, but she is; and I want to give her all the
freedom possible. Very well, dear innocent, live in your wee hut, then,
if you can persuade Benella to stay with you; but I think there would
best be no public visiting between you and those who live in Rosaleen
Cottage and the Old Hall, as it might ruin their social position."

Benella confessed that she had not the heart to refuse Francesca
anything. "She's too handsome," she said, "and too winnin'. I s'pose
she'll cook up some dreadful messes, but I'm willin' to eat 'em, to
oblige her, and perhaps it'll save her husband a few spells of dyspepsy
at the start; though, as far as my experience goes, ministers'll always
eat anything that's set before 'em, and look over their shoulders for
more."

We had a heavenly week of silliness, and by dint of concealing our real
relations from the general public, I fancy we escaped harsh criticism.
There is a very large percentage of lunacy anyway in Ireland, as well
as great leniency of public opinion, and I fancy there is scarcely a
country on the map in which one could be more foolish without being
found out. Visit each other we did constantly, and candour obliges me to
state that, though each of us secretly prided herself on the perfection
of her cuisine, Miss Monroe gave the most successful afternoon tea of
all, on the 'wee grass,' under the Japanese umbrella. How unexpectedly
good were her scones, her tea-cakes, and her cress sandwiches, and how
pretty and graceful and womanly she was, all flushed with pride at our
envy and approbation! I did a water-colour sketch of her and sent it to
Ronald, receiving in return a letter bubbling over with fond admiration
and gratitude. She seems always in tone with the season and the
landscape, does Francesca, and she arrives at it unconsciously, too.
She glances out of her window at the yellow laburnum-tree when she
is putting on her white frock, and it suggests to her all her amber
trinkets and her drooping hat with the wreath of buttercups. When she
came to my hawthorn luncheon at Rosaleen Cottage she did not make the
mistake of heaping pink on pink, but wore a cotton gown of palest green,
with a bunch of rosy blossoms at her belt. I painted her just as she
stood under the hawthorn, with its fluttering petals and singing birds,
calling the picture Grainne Mael [*]: A Vision of Erinn, writing under
it the verse:--


     'The thrushes seen in bushes green are singing loud--
      Bid sadness go and gladness glow,--give welcome proud!
      The Rover comes, the Lover, whom you long bewail,
      O'er sunny seas, with honey breeze, to Grainne Mael.'

     * Pronounced Graunia Wael, the M being modified.  It is one
     of the endearing names given to Ireland in the Penal Times.

Benella, I fancy, never had so varied a week in her life, and she was
in her element. We were obliged to hire a side-car by the day, as two
of our residences were over a mile apart; and the driver of that vehicle
was the only person, I think, who had any suspicion of our sanity. In
the intervals of teaching Francesca cooking, and eating the results
while the cook herself prudently lunched or dined with her friends,
Benella 'spring-cleaned' the lodge at the Old Hall, scrubbed the
gateposts, mended stone walls, weeded garden beds, made bags for the
brooms and dusters and mattresses, burned coffee and camphor and other
ill-smelling things in all the rooms, and devoted considerable time to
superintending my little maid, that I might not feel neglected. We were
naturally obliged, meanwhile, to wait upon ourselves and keep our frocks
in order; but as long as the Derelict was so busy and happy, and
so devoted to the universal good, it would have been churlish and
ungrateful to complain.

On leaving the Wee Hut, as Francesca had, with ostentatious modesty,
named her residence, she paid her landlady two pounds, and was
discomfited when the exuberant and impetuous woman embraced her in a
paroxysm of weeping gratitude.

"I cannot understand, Penelope, why she was so disproportionately
grateful, for I only gave her five shillings over the two pounds rent."

"Yes, dear," I responded drily; "but you remember that the rent was for
the month, and you paid her two pounds five shillings for the week."

All the rest of that day Francesca was angelic. She brought footstools
for Salemina, wound wool for her, insisted upon washing my paint
brushes, read aloud to us while we were working, and offered to be the
one to discharge Benella if the awful moment for that surgical operation
should ever come. Finally, just as we were about to separate for the
night, she said, with insinuating sweetness, "You won't tell Ronald
about my mistake with the rent-money, will you, dearest and darlingest
girls?"

We are now quite ready to join in all the gaieties that may ensue when
Rosnaree welcomes its master and his guests. Our page in buttons at the
lodge gives Benella full scope for her administrative ability, which
seems to have sprung into being since she entered our service; at least,
if I except that evidence of it which she displayed in managing us when
first we met. She calls our page 'the Button Boy,' and makes his life
a burden to him by taking him away from his easy duties at the gate,
covering his livery with baggy overalls, and setting him to weed the
garden. It can never, in the nature of things, be made free from weeds
during our brief term of tenancy, but Benella cleverly keeps her slave
at work on the beds and the walks that are the most conspicuous to
visitors. The Old Hall used simply to be called 'Aunt David's house' by
the Welsh Joyces, and it was Aunt David herself who made the garden;
she who traced the lines of the flower-beds with the ivory tip of her
parasol; she who planned the quaint stone gateways and arbours and
hedge seats; she who devised the interminable stretches of paths, the
labyrinthine walks, the mazes, and the hidden flower-plots. You walk on
and on between high hedges, until, if you have not missed your way, you
presently find a little pansy or rose or lily garden. It is quite the
most unexpected and piquant method of laying out a place I have ever
seen; and the only difficulty about it is that any gardener, unless
he were possessed of unusual sense of direction, would be continually
astray in it. The Button Boy, obeying the laws of human nature, is lost
in two minutes, but requires two hours in which to find himself.
Benella suspects that he prefers this wandering to and fro to the more
monotonous task of weeding, and it is no uncommon thing for her to
pursue the recalcitrant page through the mazes and labyrinths for an
hour at a time, and perhaps lose herself in the end. Salemina and I were
sitting this morning in the Peacock Walk, where two trees clipped into
the shape of long-tailed birds mount guard over the box hedge, and put
their beaks together to form an arch. In the dim distance we could see
Benella 'bagging' the Button Boy, and, after putting the trowel and rake
in his reluctant hands, tying the free end of a ball of string to his
leg, and sending him to find and weed the pansy garden. We laughed until
the echoes rang, to see him depart, dragging his lengthening chain,
or his Ariadne thread, behind him, while Benella grimly held the ball,
determined that no excuses or apologies should interfere with his work
on this occasion.



Chapter XXVIII. Round towers and reflections.

     'On Lough Neagh's banks, as the fisherman strays,
        When the cool, calm eve's declining.
      He sees the round towers of other days
        Beneath the waters shining.'
                           Thomas Moore.

A Dublin car-driver told me one day that he had just taken a
picnic-party to the borders of a lake, where they had had tea in a
tramcar which had been placed there for such purposes. Francesca and I
were amused at the idea, but did not think of it again until we drove
through the La Touche estate, on one of the first days after our arrival
at Devorgilla. We left Salemina at Rosnaree House with Aunt La Touche
and the children, and proceeded to explore the grounds, with the view of
deciding on certain improvements to be made when the property passes, so
to speak, into our hands.

Truth to say, nature has done more for it than we could have done; and
if it is a trifle overgrown and rough and rank, it could hardly be
more beautiful. At the very furthest confines of the demesne there is a
brook,--large enough, indeed, to be called a river here, where they have
no Mississippi to dwarf all other streams and serve as an impossible
standard of comparison. Tall trees droop over the calm water, and on
its margins grow spearwort, opening its big yellow cups to the sunshine,
meadow rue, purple and yellow loosestrife, bog bean, and sweet flag.
Here and there float upon the surface the round leaves and delicate
white blossoms of the frogbit, together with lilies, pondweeds, and
water starworts.

"What an idyllic place to sit and read, or sew, or have tea!" exclaimed
Francesca.

"What a place for a tram tea-house!" I added. "Do you suppose we
could manage it as a surprise to Dr. La Touche, in return for all his
kindness?"

"It would cost a pretty penny, I fear," said Francesca prudently,
"though it isn't as if it were going out of the family. Now that there
is no longer any need for you to sell pictures, I suppose you could
dash off one in an hour or two that would buy a tram; and papa cabled me
yesterday, you know, to draw on him freely. I used to think, whenever
he said that, that he would marry again within the week; but I did him
injustice. A tram tea-house by the river,--wouldn't it be unique? Do
let us see what we can do about it through some of our Dublin
acquaintances."

The plan proved unexpectedly easy to carry out, and not ruinously
extravagant, either; for our friend the American consul knew the
principal director in a tram company, and a dilapidated and discarded
car was sent to us in a few days. There were certain moments--once when
we saw that it had not been painted for twenty years, once when the
freight bill was handed us, and again when we contracted for the removal
of our gift from the station to the river-bank--when we regretted the
fertility of imagination that had led us to these lengths; but when
we finally saw the car by the water-side, there was no room left for
regret. Benella said that, with the assistance of the Button Boy, she
could paint it easily herself; but we engaged an expert, who put on a
coat of dark green very speedily, and we consoled the Derelict with the
suggestion that she could cover the cushions, and make the interior cosy
and pretty.

All this happened some little time ago. Dr. La Touche has been at home
for a fortnight, and we have had to use the greatest ingenuity to keep
people away from that particular spot, which, fortunately for us, is
a secluded one. All is ready now, however, and the following cards of
invitation have been issued:--

               The honour of your presence
                   is requested at the
               Opening of the New Tea Tram
            On the River Bank, Rosnaree Demesne,
              Wednesday, June 27th, at 4 p.m.
             The ceremony will be performed by
                  H.R.H. Salemina Peabody.
             The Bishop of Ossory in the Chair.

I have just learned that a certain William Beresford was Bishop of
Ossory once on a time, and I intend to personate this dignitary, clad
in Dr. La Touche's cap and gown. We spend this sunny morning by the
river-bank; Francesca hemming the last of the yellow window curtains,
and I making souvenir programmes for the great occasion. Salemina had
gone for the day with the Colquhouns and Dr. La Touche to lunch with
some people near Kavan and see Donaghmore Round Tower and the moat.

"Is she in love with Dr. Gerald?" asked Francesca suddenly, looking
up from her work. "Was she ever in love with him? She must have been,
mustn't she? I cannot and will not entertain any other conviction."

"I don't know, my dear," I answered thoughtfully, pausing over an
initial letter I was illuminating; "but I can't imagine what we shall do
if we have to tear down our sweet little romance, bit by bit, and leave
the stupid couple sitting in the ruins. They enjoy ruins far too well
already, and it would be just like their obstinacy to go on sitting in
them."

"And they are so incredibly slow about it all," Francesca commented.
"It took me about two minutes, at Lady Baird's dinner, where I first
met Ronald, to decide that I would marry him as soon as possible. When
a month had gone by, and he hadn't asked me, I thought, like Rosalind,
that I'd as lief be wooed of a snail."

"I was not quite so expeditious as you," I confessed, "though I believe
Himself says that his feeling was instantaneous. I never cared for
anything but painting before I met him, so I never chanced to suffer any
of those pangs that lovelorn maidens are said to feel when the beloved
delays his avowals: perhaps that is the reason I suffer so much now,
vicariously."

"The lack of positive information makes one so impatient," Francesca
went on. "I am sure he is as fond of her as ever; but if she refused
him when he was young and handsome, with every prospect of a brilliant
career before him, perhaps he thinks he has even less chance now. He
was the first to forget their romance, and the one to marry; his estates
have been wasted by his father's legal warfares, and he has been an
unhappy and a disappointed man. Now he has to beg her to heal his
wounds, as it were, and to accept the care and responsibility of his
children."

"It is very easy to see that we are not the only ones who suspect his
sentiments," I said, smiling at my thoughts. "Mrs. Colquhoun told me
that she and Salemina stopped at one of the tenants' cabins, the other
day, to leave some small comforts that Dr. La Touche had sent to a sick
child. The woman thanked Salemina, and Mrs. Colquhoun heard her say,
'When a man will stop, coming in the doore, an' stoop down to give a
sthroke and a scratch to the pig's back, depend on it, ma'am, him that's
so friendly with a poor fellow-crathur will make ye a good husband.'

"I have given him every opportunity to confide in me," I continued,
after a pause, "but he accepts none of them; and yet I like him a
thousand times better now that I have seen him as the master of his
own house. He is so courtly, and, in these latter days, so genial and
sunny... Salemina's life would not at first be any too easy, I fear; the
aunt is very feeble, and the establishment is so neglected. I went into
Dr. Gerald's study the other day to see an old print, and there was a
buzz-buzz-zzzz when the butler pulled up the blinds. 'Do you mind bees,
ma'am?' he asked blandly. 'There's been a swarm of them in one corner
of the ceiling for manny years, an' we don't like to disturb them.'...
Benella said yesterday: 'Of course, when you three separate, I shall
stay with the one that needs me most; but if Miss Peabody SHOULD settle
over here anywhere, I'd like to take a scrubbing brush an' go through
the castle, or whatever she's going to live in, with soap and sand and
ammonia, and make it water-sweet before she sets foot in it.'... As for
the children, however, no one could regard them as a drawback, for they
are altogether charming; not well disciplined, of course, but lovable
to the last degree. Broona was planning her future life when we were
walking together yesterday. Jackeen is to be 'an engineer, by the
sea,' so it seems, and Broona is to be a farmer's wife with a tiny red
bill-book like Mrs. Colquhoun's. Her little boys and girls will sell the
milk, and when Jackeen has his engineering holidays he will come and
eat fresh butter and scones and cream and jam at the farm, and when her
children have their holidays they will go and play on 'Jackeen's beach.'
It is the little people I rely upon chiefly, after all. I wish you could
have seen them cataract down the staircase to greet her this morning. I
notice that she tries to make me divert their attention when Dr. Gerald
is present; for it is a bit suggestive to a widower to see his children
pursue, hang about, and caress a lovely, unmarried lady. Broona,
especially, can hardly keep away from Salemina; and she is such a
fascinating midget, I should think anybody would be glad to have her
included in a marriage contract. 'You have a weeny, weeny line between
your eyebrows, just like my daddy's,' she said to Salemina the other
day. 'It's such a little one, perhaps I can kiss it away; but daddy has
too many, and they are cutted too deep. Sometimes he whispers, 'Daddy is
sad, Broona,' and then I say, 'Play up, play up, and play the game!' and
that makes him smile.'"

"She is a darling," said Francesca, with the suspicion of a tear in her
eye. "'Were you ever in love, Miss Fancy?' she asked me once. 'I was; it
was long, long ago before I belonged to daddy'; and another time when
I had been reading to her, she said 'I often think that when I get
into the kingdom of heaven the person I'll be gladdest to see will be
Marjorie Fleming.' Yes, the children are sure to help; they always do in
whatever circumstances they chance to be placed. Did you notice Salemina
with them at tea-time, yesterday? It was such a charming scene. The
heavy rain had kept them in, and things had gone wrong in the
nursery. Salemina had glued the hair on Broona's dolly, and knit up a
heart-breaking wound in her side. Then she mended the legs of all the
animals in the Noah's ark, so that they stood firm, erect, and proud;
and when, to draw the children's eyes from the wet window-panes, she
proposed a story, it was pretty to see the grateful youngsters snuggle
in her lap and by her side."

"When does an artist ever fail to see pictures? I have loved Salemina
always, even when she used to part her hair in the middle and wear
spectacles; but that is the first time I ever wanted to paint her, with
the firelight shining on the soft, restful greys and violets of her
dress, and Broona in her arms. Of course, if a woman is ever to be
lovely at all, it will be when she is holding a child. It is the oldest
of all old pictures, and the most beautiful, I believe, in a man's eyes.

"And do you notice that she and the doctor are beginning to speak more
freely of their past acquaintance?" I went on, looking up at Francesca,
who had dropped her work in her interest. "It is too amusing! Every hour
or two it is: 'Do you remember the day we went to Bunker Hill?' or,
'Do you recall that charming Mrs. Andrews, with whom we used to dine
occasionally?' or, 'What has become of your cousin Samuel?' and, 'Is
your uncle Thomas yet living?'... The other day, at tea, she asked, 'Do
you still take three lumps, Dr. La Touche? You had always a sweet tooth,
I remember.'... Then they ring the changes in this way: 'You were always
fond of grey, Miss Peabody.' 'You had a great fancy for Moore, in the
old days, Miss Peabody: have you outgrown him, or does the 'Anacreontic
little chap,' as Father Prout called him, still appeal to you?'... 'You
used to admire Boyle O'Reilly, Dr. La Touche. Would you like to see
some of his letters?'... 'Aren't these magnificent rhododendrons, Dr.
La Touche,--even though they are magenta, the colour you specially
dislike?' And so on. Did you chance to look at either of them last
evening, Francesca, when I sang 'Let Erin remember the days of old'?"

"No; I was thinking of something else. I don't know what there is about
your singing, Penny love, that always makes me think of the past and
dream of the future. Which verse do you mean?"

And, still painting, I hummed:--

     "'On Lough Neagh's banks, as the fisherman strays,
        When the cool, calm eve's declining,
      He sees the round towers of other days
        Beneath the waters shining.
         .   .   .   .   .   .
      Thus shall memory oft, in dreams sublime,
        Catch a glimpse of the days that are over,
      And, sighing, look thro' the waves of Time,
        For the long-faded glories they cover.'

"That is what our two dear middle-aged lovers are constantly doing
now,--looking at the round towers of other days, as they bend over
memory's crystal pool and see them reflected there. It is because he
fears that the glories are over and gone that Dr. Gerald is troubled.
Some day he will realise that he need not live on reflections, and he
will seek realities."

"I hope so," said Francesca philosophically, as she folded her work;
"but sometimes these people who go mooning about, and looking through
the waves of Time, tumble in and are drowned."



Chapter XXIX. Aunt David's garden.

     'O wind, O mighty, melancholy wind,
        Blow through me, blow!
      Thou blowest forgotten things into my mind
        From long ago.'
                            John Todhunter.

No one ever had a better opportunity than we, of breathing in, so far
as a stranger and a foreigner may, the old Celtic atmosphere, and of
reliving the misty years of legend before the dawn of history; when

     'Long, long ago, beyond the space
        Of twice two hundred years,
      In Erin old there lived a race
        Taller than Roman spears.'

Mr. Colquhoun is one of the best Gaelic scholars in Ireland, and Dr.
Gerald, though not his equal in knowledge of the language, has 'the full
of a sack of stories' in his head. According to the Book of Leinster, a
professional story-teller was required to know seven times fifty tales,
and I believe the doctor could easily pass this test. It is not easy to
make a good translation from Irish to English, for they tell us there
are no two Aryan languages more opposed to each other in spirit and
idiom. We have heard little of the marvellous old tongue until now,
but we are reading it a bit under the tutelage of these two inspiring
masters, and I fancy it has helped me as much in my understanding of
Ireland as my tedious and perplexing worriments over political problems.

After all, how can we know anything of a nation's present or future
without some attempt to revivify its past? Just as, without some slender
knowledge of its former culture, we must be for ever ignorant of its
inherited powers and aptitudes. The harp that once through Tara's halls
the soul of music shed, now indeed hangs mute on Tara's walls, but for
all that its echoes still reverberate in the listening ear.

When we sit together by the river brink on sunny days, or on the
greensward under the yews in our old garden, we are always telling
ancient Celtic romances, and planning, even acting, new ones.
Francesca's mind and mine are poorly furnished with facts of any sort;
but when the kind scholars in our immediate neighbourhood furnish
necessary information and inspiration, we promptly turn it into dramatic
form, and serve it up before their wondering and admiring gaze. It
is ever our habit to 'make believe' with the children; and just as
we played ballads in Scotland and plotted revels in the Glen at
Rowardennan, so we instinctively fall into the habit of thought and
speech that surrounds us here.

This delights our grave and reverend signiors, and they give themselves
up to our whimsicalities with the most whole-hearted zeal. It is days
since we have spoken of one another by those names which were given to
us in baptism. Francesca is Finola the Festive. Eveleen Colquhoun is
Ethnea. I am the harper, Pearla the Melodious. Miss Peabody is Sheela
the Skilful Scribe, who keeps for posterity a record of all our antics,
in the Speckled Book of Salemina. Dr. Gerald is Borba the Proud, the
Ard-ri or overking. Mr. Colquhoun is really called Dermod, but he would
have been far too modest to choose Dermot O'Dyna for his Celtic
name, had we not insisted; for this historic personage was not only
noble-minded, generous, of untarnished honour, and the bravest of the
brave, but he was as handsome as he was gallant, and so much the idol of
the ladies that he was sometimes called Dermat-na-man, or Dermot of the
women.

Of course we have a corps of shanachies, or story-tellers, gleemen,
gossipreds, leeches, druids, gallowglasses, bards, ollaves, urraghts,
and brehons; but the children can always be shifted from one role to
another, and Benella and the Button Boy, although they are quite unaware
of the honours conferred upon them, are often alluded to in our romances
and theatrical productions.

Aunt David's garden is not a half bad substitute for the old Moy-Mell,
the plain of pleasure of the ancient Irish, when once you have the key
to its treasures. We have made a new and authoritative survey of its
geographical features and compiled a list of its legendary landmarks,
which, strangely enough, seem to have been absolutely unknown to Miss
Llewellyn-Joyce.

In the very centre is the Forradh, or Place of Meeting, and on it is our
own Lia Fail, Stone of Destiny. The one in Westminster Abbey, carried
away from Scotland by Edward I., is thought by many scholars to be
unauthentic, and we hope that ours may prove to have some historical
value. The only test of a Stone of Destiny, as I understand it, is that
it shall 'roar' when an Irish monarch is inaugurated; and that our Lia
Fail was silent when we celebrated this impressive ceremony reflects
less upon its own powers, perhaps, than upon the pedigree of our chosen
Ard-ri.

The arbour under the mountain ash is the Fairy Palace of the Quicken
Tree, and on its walls is suspended the Horn of Foreknowledge, which if
any one looks on it in the morning, fasting, he will know in a moment
all things that are to happen during that day.

The clump of willows is the Wood of the Many Sallows (a willow-tree is
familiarly known as a 'sally' in Ireland). Do you know Yeats's song, put
to a quaint old Irish air?

     'Down by the sally gardens my love and I did meet,
      She passed the sally gardens with little snow-white feet.
      She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree,
      But I, being young and foolish, with her did not agree.'

The summer-house is the Greenan; that is, grianan, a bright, sunny
place. On the arm of a tree in the Greenan hangs something you might (if
you are dull) mistake for a plaited garland of rushes hung with pierced
pennies; but it really is our Chain of Silence, a useful article
of bygone ages, which the lord of a mansion shook when he wished
an attentive hearing, and which deserved a better fate and a longer
survival than it has met. Jackeen's Irish terrier is Bran,--though
he does not closely resemble the great Finn's sweet-voiced,
gracefully-shaped, long-snouted hound; the coracle lying on the shore of
the little lough--the coracle made of skin, like the old Irish boats--is
the Wave-Sweeper; and the faithful mare that we hire by the day is, by
your leave, Enbarr of the Flowing Mane. No warrior was ever killed on
the back of this famous steed, for she was as swift as the clear, cold
wind of spring, travelling with equal ease and speed on land and sea,
an' may the divil fly away wid me if that same's not true.

We no longer find any difficulty in remembering all this nomenclature,
for we are 'under gesa' to use no other. When you are put under gesa to
reveal or to conceal, to defend or to avenge, it is a sort of charm or
spell; also an obligation of honour. Finola is under gesa not to write
to Alba more than six times a week and twice on Sundays; Sheela is bound
by the same charm to give us muffins for afternoon tea; I am vowed to
forget my husband when I am relating romances, and allude to myself, for
dramatic purposes, as a maiden princess, or a maiden of enchanting and
all-conquering beauty. And if we fail to abide by all these laws of the
modern Dedannans of Devorgilla, which are written in the Speckled Book
of Salemina, we are to pay eric-fine. These fines are collected with all
possible solemnity, and the children delight in them to such an extent
that occasionally they break the law for the joy of the penalty. If you
have ever read the Fate of the Children of Turenn, you remember that
they were to pay to Luga the following eric-fine for the slaying of
their father, Kian: two steeds and a chariot, seven pigs, a hound whelp,
a cooking-spit, and three shouts on a hill. This does not at first seem
excessive, if Kian were a good father, and sincerely mourned; but when
Luga began to explain the hidden snares that lay in the pathway, it is
small wonder that the sons of Turenn felt doubt of ever being able to
pay it, and that when, after surmounting all the previous obstacles,
they at last raised three feeble shouts on Midkena's Hill, they
immediately gave up the ghost.

The story told yesterday by Sheela the Scribe was the Magic Thread-Clue,
or the Pursuit of the Gilla Dacker, Benella and the Button Boy being the
chief characters; Finola's was the Voyage of the Children of Corr the
Swift-Footed (the Ard-ri's pseudonym for American travellers); while
mine, to be told to-morrow, is called the Quest of the Fair Strangers,
or the Fairy Quicken Tree of Devorgilla.



Chapter XXX. The Quest of the Fair Strangers,
or The Fairy Quicken-Tree of Devorgilla. [*]

           'Before the King
            The bards will sing.
      And there recall the stories all
        That give renown to Ireland.'
                      Eighteenth Century Song.
                        Englished by George Sigerson.

     * It seems probable that this tale records a real incident
     which took place in Aunt David's garden. Penelope has
     apparently listened with such attention to the old Celtic
     romances as told by the Ard-ri and Dermot O'Dyna that she
     has, consciously or unconsciously, reproduced something of
     their atmosphere and phraseology. The delightful surprise at
     the end must have been contrived by Salemina, when she, in
     her character of Sheela the Scribe, gazed into the Horn of
     Foreknowledge and learned the events that were to happen
     that day.--K.D.W.

                  PEARLA'S STORY.

Three maidens once dwelt in a castle in that part of the Isle of Weeping
known as the cantred of Devorgilla, Devorgilla of the Green Hill Slopes;
and they were baptized according to druidical rites as Sheela the
Scribe, Finola the Festive, and Pearla the Melodious, though by the
dwellers in that land they were called the Fair Strangers, or the
Children of Corr the Swift-Footed.

This cantred of Devorgilla they acquired by paying rent and tribute to
the Wise Woman of Wales, who granted them to fish in its crystal streams
and to hunt over the green-sided hills, to roam through the woods of
yew-trees and to pluck the flowers of every hue that were laughing all
over the plains.

Thus were they circumstanced: Their palace of abode was never without
three shouts in it,--the shout of the maidens brewing tea, the shout of
the guests drinking it, and the shout of the assembled multitude playing
at their games. The same house was never without three measures,--a
measure of magic malt for raising the spirits, a measure of Attic salt
for the seasoning of tales, and a measure of poppy leaves to induce
sleep when the tales were dull.

And the manner of their lives was this: In the cool of the morning they
gathered nuts and arbutus apples and scarlet quicken berries to take
back with them to Tir-thar-toinn, the Country beyond the Wave; for this
was the land of their birth. When the sun was high in the east they went
forth to the chase; sometimes it was to hunt the Ard-ri, and at others
it was in pursuit of Dermot of the Bright Face. Then, after resting
awhile on their couches of soft rushes, they would perform champion
feats, or play on their harps, or fish in their clear-flowing streams
that were swimming with salmon.

The manner of their fishing was this: to cut a long, straight
sallow-tree rod, and having fastened a hook and one of Finola's hairs
upon it, to put a quicken-tree berry upon the hook, and stand on
the brink of the swift-flowing river, whence they drew out the
shining-skinned, silver-sided salmon. These they would straightway broil
over a little fire of birch boughs; and they needed with them no other
food but the magical loaf made by Toma, one of their house-servants. The
witch hag that dwelt on that hillside of Rosnaree called Fan-na-carpat,
or the Slope of the Chariots, had cast a druidical spell over Toma,
by which she was able to knead a loaf that would last twenty days and
twenty nights, and one mouthful of which would satisfy hunger for that
length of time. [**]

     ** Fact.

Not far from the mayden castle was a certain royal palace, with a
glittering roof, and the name of the palace was Rosnaree. And upon the
level green in front of the regal abode, or in the banqueting-halls,
might always be seen noble companies of knights and ladies bright,--some
feasting, some playing at the chess, some giving ear to the music of
their own harps, some continually shaking the Chain of Silence, and some
listening to the poems and tales of heroes of the olden time that were
told by the king's bards and shanachies.

Now all went happily with the Fair Strangers until the crimson berries
were ripening on the quicken-tree near the Fairy Palace. For the berries
possessed secret virtues known only to a man of the Dedannans, and
learned from him by Sheela the Scribe, who put him under gesa not to
reveal the charm to any one else. Whosoever ate of the honey-sweet,
scarlet-glowing fruit felt a cheerful flow of spirits, as if he had
tasted wine or mead, and whosoever ate a sufficient number of them
was almost certain to grow younger. These things were written in the
Speckled Book of Salemina, but in druidical ink, undecipherable to all
eyes but those of the Scribe herself.

So, wishing that none should possess the secret but themselves, the Fair
Strangers set the Gilla Dacker+ to watch the fruit (putting him first
under gesa to eat none of the berries himself, since he was already
too cheerful and too young to be of much service); and thus, in their
absence, the magical tree was never left alone.

     +Could be freely translated as the Slothful Button Boy.

Nevertheless, when Finola the Festive went forth to the chase one day,
she found a quicken berry glowing like a ruby in the highroad, and
Sheela plucked a second from under a gnarled thorn on the Slope of the
Chariots, and Pearla discovered a third in the curiously-compounded,
swiftly-satisfying loaf of Toma. Then the Fair Strangers became very
angry, and sent out their trusty fleet-footed couriers to scour the land
for the invaders; for they knew that none of the Dedannans would take
the berries, being under gesa not to do so. But the couriers returned,
and though they were men able to trace the trail of a fox through nine
glens and nine rivers, they could discover no proof of the presence of a
foreign foe in the mayden cantred of Devorgilla.

Then the hearts of the Fair Strangers were filled with grief and gall,
for they distrusted the couriers, and having consulted the Ard-ri, they
set forth themselves to find and conquer the invader; for the king told
them that there was one other quicken-tree, more beautiful and more
magical than that growing by the Fairy Palace, and that it was set in
another part of the bright-blooming, sweet-scented old garden,--namely,
in the heart of the labyrinthine maze of the Wise Woman of Wales; but as
no one of them, neither the Gilla Dacker nor those who pursued him, had
ever, even with the aid of the Magic Thread-Clue, reached the heart of
the maze, there was no knowledge among them of the second quicken-tree.
The king also told Sheela the Scribe, secretly, that one of his knights
had found a money-piece and a breviary in the forest of Rosnaree; and
the silver was unlike any ever used in the country of the Dedannans, and
the breviary could belong only to a pious Gael known as Loskenn of the
Bare Knees.

Now Sheela the Scribe, having fasted from midnight until dawn, gazed
upon the Horn of Foreknowledge, and read there that it was wiser for her
to remain on guard at the Fairy Palace, while her sisters explored the
secret fastnesses of the labyrinth.

When Finola was apparelled to set forth upon her quest, Pearla thought
her the loveliest maiden upon the ridge of the world, and wondered
whether she meant to conquer the invader by force of arms or by the
power of beauty.

The rose and the lily were fighting together in her face, and one could
not tell which of them got the victory. Her arms and hands were like the
lime, her mouth was as red as a ripe strawberry, her foot as small and
as light as another one's hand, her form smooth and slender, and her
hair falling down from her head under combs of gold.++ One could not
look at her without being 'all over in love with her,' as Oisin said at
his first meeting with Niam of the Golden Hair. And as for Pearla, the
rose on her cheeks was heightened by her rage against the invader,
the delicate blossom of the sloe was not whiter than her neck, and her
glossy chestnut ringlets fell to her waist.

     ++ Description of the Princess in Guleesh na Guss Dhu.

Then the Gilla Dacker unleashed Bran, the keen-scented terrier hound,
and put a pearl-embroidered pillion on Enbarr of the Flowing Mane, and
the two dauntless maidens leaped upon her back, each bearing a broad
shield and a long polished, death-dealing spear. When Enbarr had been
given a free rein she set out for the labyrinth, trailing the Magic
Thread-Clue behind her, cleaving the air with long, active strides;
and if you know what the speed of a swallow is, flying across a
mountain-side, or the dry wind of a March day sweeping over the plains,
then you can understand nothing of the swiftness of this steed of the
flowing mane, acquired by the day by the maydens of Devorgilla.

Many were the dangers that beset the path of these two noble champions
on their quest for the Fairy Quicken Tree. Here they met an enormous
white stoat, but this was slain by the intrepid Bran, and they buried
its bleeding corse and raised a cairn over it, with the name 'Stoat'
graven on it in Ogam; there a druidical fairy mist sprang up in
their path to hide the way, but they pierced it with a note of their
far-reaching, clarion-toned voices,--an art learned in their native land
beyond the wave.

Now the dog Bran, being unhungered, and refusing to eat of Toma's loaf,
as all did who were ignorant of its druidical purpose, fell upon the
Magic Thread-Clue and tore it in twain. This so greatly affrighted the
champions that they sounded the Dord-Fian slowly and plaintively, hoping
that the war-cry might bring Sheela to their rescue. This availing
nothing, Finola was forced to slay Bran with her straight-sided,
silver-shining spear; but this she felt he would not mind if he could
know that he would share the splendid fate of the stoat, and speedily
have a cairn raised over him, with the word 'Bran' graven upon it in
Ogam,--since this is the consolation offered by the victorious living to
all dead Celtic heroes; and if it be a poor substitute for life, it is
at least better than nothing.

It was now many hours after noon, and though to the Fair Strangers it
seemed they had travelled more than forty or a hundred miles, they were
apparently no nearer than ever to the heart of the labyrinth: and this
from the first had been the pestiferous peculiarity of that malignantly
meandering maze. So they dismounted, and tied Enbarr to the branch of
a tree, while they refreshed themselves with a mouthful of Toma's loaf;
and Finola now put her thumb under her 'tooth of knowledge,' for she
wished new guidance and inspiration, and, being more than common modest,
she said: "Inasmuch as we are fairer than all the other maydens in this
labyrinth, why, since we cannot find the heart of the maze, do we not
entice the invaders from their hiding-place by the quicken-tree; and
when we see from what direction they advance, fall upon and slay them;
and after raising the usual cairn to their memory, and carving their
names over it in the customary Ogam, run to the enchanted tree and
gather all the berries that are left? For this is the hour when Sheela
brews the tea, and the knights and the ladies quaff it from our golden
cups; and truly I am weary of this quest, and far rather would I be
there than here."

So Pearla the Melodious took her timpan, and chanted a Gaelic song
that she had learned in the country of the Dedannans; and presently a
round-polished, red-gleaming quicken berry dropped into her lap, and
another into Finola's, and, looking up, they saw nought save only a
cloud of quicken berries falling through the air one after the other.
And this caused them to wonder, for it seemed like unto a snare set for
them; but Pearla said, "There is nought remaining for us but to meet the
danger."

"It is well," replied Finola, shaking down the mantle of her ebon locks,
and setting the golden combs more firmly in them; "only, if I perish,
I prithee let there be no cairns or Ogams. Let me fall, as a beauty
should, face upward; and if it be but a swoon, and the invader be a
handsome prince, see that he wakens me in his own good way."

"To arms, then!" cried Pearla, and, taking up their spears and shields,
the Fair Strangers dashed blindly in the direction whence the berries
fell.

"To arms indeed, but to yours or ours?" called two voices from the heart
of the labyrinth; and there, in an instant, the two brave champions,
Finola and Pearla, found the Fairy Tree hanging thick with scarlet
berries, and under its branches, fit fruit indeed to raise the spirits
or bring eternal youth, were, in the language of the Dedannans, Loskenn
of the Bare Knees and the Bishop of Ossory,--known to the Children of
Corr the Swift-Footed as Ronald Macdonald and Himself!

And the hours ran on; and Sheela the Scribe brewed and brewed and brewed
and brewed the tea at her table in the Peacock Walk, and the knights and
ladies quaffed it from the golden cups belonging to the Wise Woman of
Wales; but Finola the Festive and Pearla the Melodious lingered in the
labyrinth with Loskenn of the Bare Knees and the Bishop of Ossory. And
they said to one another, "Surely, if it were so great a task to find
the heart of this maze, we should be mad to stir from the spot, lest we
lose it again."

And Pearla murmured, "That plan were wise indeed, save that the place
seemeth all too small for so many."

Then Finola drew herself up proudly, and replied, "It is no smaller for
one than for another; but come, Loskenn, let us see if haply we can lose
ourselves in some path of our own finding."

And this they did; and the content of them that departed was no greater
than the content of them that were left behind, and the sun hid himself
for very shame because the brightness of their joy was so much more
dazzling than the glory of his own face. And nothing more is told of
what befell them till they reached the threshold of the Old Hall; and it
was not the sun, but the moon, that shone upon their meeting with Sheela
the Scribe.



Chapter XXXI. Good-bye, dark Rosaleen.

     'When the poor exiles, every pleasure past,
      Hung round the bowers, and fondly looked their last,
      And took a long farewell, and wished in vain
      For seats like these beyond the western main,
      And shuddering still to face the distant deep,
      Returned and wept, and still returned to weep.'
                                   Oliver Goldsmith.

It is almost over, our Irish holiday, so full of delicious, fruitful
experiences; of pleasures we have made and shared, and of other people's
miseries and hardships we could not relieve. Almost over! Soon we shall
be in Dublin, and then on to London to meet Francesca's father; soon be
deciding whether she will be married at the house of their friend the
American ambassador, or in her own country, where she has really had no
home since the death of her mother.

The ceremony over, Mr. Monroe will start again for Cairo or
Constantinople, Stockholm or St. Petersburg; for he is of late years
a determined wanderer, whose fatherly affection is chiefly shown
in liberal allowances, in pride of his daughter's beauty and many
conquests, in conscientious letter-writing, and in frequent calls
upon her between his long journeys. It is because of these paternal
predilections that we are so glad Francesca's heart has resisted all
the shot and shell directed against it from the batteries of a dozen
gay worldlings and yielded so quietly and so completely to Ronald
Macdonald's loyal and tender affection.

At tea-time day before yesterday, Salemina suggested that Francesca and
I find the heart of Aunt David's labyrinth, the which she had discovered
in a less than ten minutes' search that morning, leaving her Gaelic
primer behind her that we might bring it back as a proof of our success.
You have heard in Pearla's Celtic fairy tale the outcome of this little
expedition, and now know that Ronald Macdonald and Himself planned the
joyful surprise for us, and by means of Salemina's aid carried it out
triumphantly.

Ronald crossing to Ireland from Glasgow, and Himself from Liverpool,
had met in Dublin, and travelled post-haste to the Shamrock Inn in
Devorgilla, where they communicated with Salemina and begged her
assistance in their plot.

I was looking forward to my husband's arrival within a week, but Ronald
had said not a word of his intended visit; so that Salemina was properly
nervous lest some one of us should collapse out of sheer joy at the
unexpected meeting.

I have been both quietly and wildly happy many times in my life, but I
think yesterday was the most perfect day in all my chain of years. Not
that in this long separation I have been dull, or sad, or lonely. How
could I be? Dull, with two dear, bright, sunny letters every week,
letters throbbing with manly tenderness, letters breathing the sure,
steadfast, protecting care that a strong man gives to the woman he has
chosen. Sad, with my heart brimming over with sweet memories and
sweeter prophecies, and all its tiny crevices so filled with love that
discontent can find no entrance there! Lonely, when the vision of the
beloved is so poignantly real in absence that his bodily presence adds
only a final touch to joy! Dull, or sad, when in these soft days of
spring and early summer I have harboured a new feeling of companionship
and oneness with Nature, a fresh joy in all her bounteous resource
and plenitude of life, a renewed sense of kinship with her mysterious
awakenings! The heavenly greenness and promise of the outer world seem
but a reflection of the hopes and dreams that irradiate my own inner
consciousness.

My art, dearly as I loved it, dearly as I love it still, never gave
me these strange, unspeakable joys with their delicate margin of pain.
Where are my ambitions, my visions of lonely triumphs, my imperative
need of self-expression, my ennobling glimpses of the unattainable, my
companionship with the shadows in which an artist's life is so rich? Are
they vanished altogether? I think not; only changed in the twinkling
of an eye, merged in something higher still, carried over, linked on,
transformed, transmuted, by Love the alchemist, who, not content with
joys already bestowed, whispers secret promises of raptures yet to come.

The green isle looked its fairest for our wanderers. Just as a woman
adorns herself with all her jewels when she wishes to startle or
enthrall, wishes to make a lover of a friend, so Devorgilla arrayed
herself to conquer these two pairs of fresh eyes, and command their
instant allegiance.

It was a tender, silvery day, fair, mild, pensive, with light shadows
and a capricious sun. There had been a storm of rain the night before,
and it was as if Nature had repented of her wildness, and sought
forgiveness by all sorts of winsome arts, insinuating invitations, soft
caresses, and melting coquetries of demeanour.

Broona and Jackeen had lunched with us at the Old Hall, and, inebriated
by broiled chicken, green peas, and a half holiday, flitted like
fireflies through Aunt David's garden, showing all its treasures to the
two new friends, already in high favour.

Benella, it is unnecessary to say, had confided her entire past life
to Himself after a few hours' acquaintance, while both he and Ronald,
concealing in the most craven manner their original objections to the
part she proposed to play in our triangular alliance, thanked her, with
tears in their eyes, for her devotion to their sovereign ladies.

We had tea in the Italian garden at Rosnaree, and Dr. Gerald, arm in arm
with Himself, walked between its formal flower borders, along its paths
of golden gravel, and among its spirelike cypresses and fountains, where
balustrades and statues, yellowed and stained with age (stains which
Benella longs to scrub away), make the brilliant turf even greener by
contrast.

Tea was to have been followed in due course by dinner, but we all agreed
that nothing should induce us to go indoors on such a beautiful evening;
so baskets were packed, and we went in rowboats to a picnic supper on
Illanroe, a wee island in Lough Beg.

I can close my eyes to-day and see the picture--the lonely little lake,
as blue in the sunshine as the sky above it, but in the twilight first
brown and cool, then flushed with the sunset. The distant hills, the
rocks, the heather, wore tints I never saw them wear before. The singing
wavelets 'spilled their crowns of white upon the beach' across the lake,
and the wild-flowers in the clear shallows near us grew so close to the
brink that they threw their delicate reflections in the water, looking
up at us again framed in red-brown grasses.

By and by the moon rose out of the pearl-greys and ambers in the east,
bevies of black rooks flew homeward, and stillness settled over the face
of the brown lake. Darkness shut us out from Devorgilla; and though we
could still see the glimmer of the village lights, it seemed as if we
were in a little world of our own.

It was useless for Salemina to deny herself to the children, for was
she not going to leave them on the morrow? She sat under the shadow of
a thorn bush, and the two mites, tired with play, cuddled themselves by
her side, unreproved. She looked tenderly, delectably feminine. The moon
shone full upon her face; but there are no ugly lines to hide, for there
are no parched and arid places in her nature. Dews of sympathy, sweet
spring floods of love and compassion, have kept all fresh, serene, and
young.

We had been gay, but silence fell upon us as it had fallen upon the
lake. There would be only a day or two in Dublin, whither Dr. Gerald was
going with us, that he might have the last word and hand-clasp before we
sailed away from Irish shores; and so near was the parting that we were
all, in our hearts, bidding farewell to the Emerald Isle.

Good-bye, Silk of the Kine! I was saying to myself, calling the friendly
spot by one of the endearing names given her by her lovers in the sad
old days. Good-bye, Little Black Rose, growing on the stern Atlantic
shore! Good-bye, Rose of the World, with your jewels of emerald and
amethyst, the green of your fields and the misty purple of your hills!
Good-bye, Shan Van Vocht, Poor Little Old Woman! We are going
back, Himself and I, to the Oilean Ur, as you used to call our new
island--going back to the hurly-burly of affairs, to prosperity and
opportunity; but we shall not forget the lovely Lady of Sorrows looking
out to the west with the pain of a thousand years in her ever youthful
eyes. Good-bye, my Dark Rosaleen, good-bye!



Chapter XXXII. 'As the sunflower turns.'

     'No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets,
        But as truly loves on to the close,
      As the sunflower turns on her god, when he sets,
        The same look which she turned when he rose.'
                                    Thomas Moore.

Here we all are at O'Carolan's Hotel in Dublin--all but the Colquhouns,
who bade us adieu at the station, and the dear children, whose tears are
probably dried by now, although they flowed freely enough at parting.
Broona flung her arms tempestuously around Salemina's neck, exclaiming
between her sobs, "Good-bye, my thousand, thousand blessings!"--an
expression so Irish that we laughed and cried in one breath at the sound
of it.

Here we are in the midst of life once more, though to be sure it is
Irish life, which moves less dizzily than our own. We ourselves feel
thoroughly at home, nor are we wholly forgotten by the public; for on
beckoning to a driver on the cab-stand to approach with his side-car, he
responded with alacrity, calling to his neighbour, "Here's me sixpenny
darlin' again!" and I recognised him immediately as a man who had once
remonstrated with me eloquently on the subject of a fee, making such a
fire of Hibernian jokes over my sixpence that I heartily wished it had
been a half-sovereign.

Cables and telegrams are arriving every hour, and a rich American lady
writes to Salemina, asking her if she can purchase the Book of Kells
for her, as she wishes to give it to a favourite nephew who is a
bibliomaniac. I am begging the shocked Miss Peabody to explain that the
volume in question is not for sale, and to ask at the same time if her
correspondent wishes to purchase the Lakes of Killarney or the Giant's
Causeway in its stead. Francesca, in a whirl of excitement, is buying
cobweb linens, harp brooches, creamy poplins with golden shamrocks woven
into their lustrous surfaces; and as for laces, we spend hours in the
shops, when our respective squires wish us to show them the sights of
Dublin.

Benella is in her element, nursing Salemina, who sprained her ankle just
as we were leaving Devorgilla. At the last moment our side-cars were
so crowded with passengers and packages that she accepted a seat in Dr.
Gerald's carriage, and drove to the station with him. She had a few last
farewells to say in the village, and a few modest remembrances to leave
with some of the poor old women; and I afterward learned that the drive
was not without its embarrassments. The butcher's wife said fervently,
"May you long be spared to each other!" The old weaver exclaimed,
"'Twould be an ojus pity to spoil two houses wid ye!" While the woman
who sells apples at the station capped all by wishing the couple "a long
life and a happy death together." No wonder poor Salemina slipped and
twisted her ankle as she alighted from the carriage! Though walking
without help is still an impossibility, twenty-four hours of rubbing and
bathing and bandaging have made it possible for her to limp discreetly,
and we all went to St. Patrick's Cathedral together this morning.

We had been in the quiet churchyard, where a soft, misty rain was
falling on the yellow acacias and the pink hawthorns. We had stood under
the willow-tree in the deanery garden--the tree that marks the site of
the house from which Dean Swift watched the movements of the torches in
the cathedral at the midnight burial of Stella. They are lying side by
side at the foot of a column in the south side of the nave, and a brass
plate in the pavement announces:--

'Here lies Mrs. Hester Johnson, better known to the world by the name
of Stella, under which she is celebrated in the writings of Dr. Jonathan
Swift, Dean of this Cathedral.'

Poor Stella, at rest for a century and a half beside the man who caused
her such pangs of love and grief--who does not mourn her?

The nave of the cathedral was dim, and empty of all sightseers save our
own group. There was a caretaker who went about in sloppy rubber shoes,
scrubbing marbles and polishing brasses, and behind a high screen or
temporary partition some one was playing softly on an organ.

We stood in a quiet circle by Stella's resting-place, and Dr. Gerald,
who never forgets anything, apparently, was reminding us of Thackeray's
gracious and pathetic tribute:--

'Fair and tender creature, pure and affectionate heart! Boots it to you
now that the whole world loves you and deplores you? Scarce any man
ever thought of your grave that did not cast a flower of pity on it,
and write over it a sweet epitaph. Gentle lady! so lovely, so loving,
so unhappy. You have had countless champions, millions of manly hearts
mourning for you. From generation to generation we take up the fond
tradition of your beauty; we watch and follow your story, your bright
morning love and purity, your constancy, your grief, your sweet
martyrdom. We know your legend by heart. You are one of the saints of
English story.'

As Dr. Gerald's voice died away, the strains of 'Love's Young Dream'
floated out from the distant end of the building.

"The organist must be practising for a wedding," said Francesca, very
much alive to anything of that sort.

     "'Oh, there's nothing half so sweet in life,'"

she hummed. "Isn't it charming?"

"You ought to know," Dr. Gerald answered, looking at her affectionately,
though somewhat too sadly for my taste; "but an old fellow like me must
take refuge in the days of 'milder, calmer beam,' of which the poet
speaks."

Ronald and Himself, guide-books in hand, walked away to talk about the
'Burial of Sir John Moore,' and look for Wolfe's tablet, and I stole
behind the great screen which had been thrown up while repairs of some
sort were being made or a new organ built. A young man was evidently
taking a lesson, for the old organist was sitting on the bench beside
him, pulling out the stops, and indicating the time with his hand. There
was to be a wedding--that was certain; for 'Love's Young Dream' was
taken off the music rack at that moment, while 'Believe me, if all
those endearing young charms' was put in its place, and the melody came
singing out to us on the vox humana stop.

     'Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art,
        Let thy loveliness fade as it will,
      And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart
        Would entwine itself verdantly still.'

Francesca joined me just then, and a tear was in her eye. "Penny dear,
when all is said, 'Believe me' is the dearer song of the two. Anybody
can sing, feel, live, the first, which is but a youthful dream, after
all; but the other has in it the proved fidelity of the years. The first
song belongs to me, I know, and it is all I am fit for now; but I want
to grow toward and deserve the second."

"You are right; but while Love's Young Dream is yours and Ronald's,
dear, take all the joy that it holds for you. The other song is for
Salemina and Dr. Gerald, and I only hope they are realising it at this
moment--secretive, provoking creatures that they are!"

The old organist left his pupil just then, and disappeared through a
little door in the rear.

"Have you the Wedding March there?" I asked the pupil who had been
practising the love-songs.

"Oh yes, madam, though I am afraid I cannot do it justice," he replied
modestly. "Are you interested in organ music?"

"I am very much interested in yours, and I am still more interested in a
romance that has been dragging its weary length along for twenty years,
and is trying to bring itself to a crisis just on the other side of that
screen. You can help me precipitate it, if you only will!"

Well, he was young and he was an Irishman, which is equivalent to being
a born lover, and he had been brought up on Tommy Moore and music--all of
which I had known from the moment I saw him, else I should not have made
the proposition. I peeped from behind the screen. Ronald and Himself
were walking toward us; Salemina and Dr. Gerald were sitting together in
one of the front pews. I beckoned to my husband.

"Will you and Ronald go quietly out one of the side doors," I asked,
"take your own car, and go back to the hotel, allowing us to follow you
a little later?"

It takes more than one year of marriage for even the cleverest Benedict
to uproot those weeds of stupidity, denseness, and non-comprehension
that seem to grow so riotously in the mental garden of the bachelor;
so, said Himself, "We came all together; why shouldn't we go home all
together?" (So like a man! Always reasoning from analogy; always, so to
speak, 'lugging in' logic!)

"Desperate situations demand desperate remedies," I replied
mysteriously, though I hope patiently. "If you go home at once without
any questions, you will be virtuous, and it is more than likely that you
will also be happy; and if you are not, somebody else will be."

Having seen the backs of our two cavaliers disappearing meekly into the
rain, I stationed Francesca at a point of vantage, and went out to my
victims in the front pew.

"The others went on ahead," I explained, with elaborate
carelessness--"they wanted to drive by Dublin Castle; and we are going
to follow as we like. For my part, I am tired, and you are looking pale,
Salemina; I am sure your ankle is painful. Help her, Dr. Gerald, please;
she is so proud and self-reliant that she won't even lean on any one's
arm, if she can avoid it. Take her down the middle aisle, for I've sent
your car to that door" (this was the last of a series of happy thoughts
on my part). "I'll go and tell Francesca, who is flirting with the
organist. She has an appointment at the tailor's; so I will drop her
there, and join you at the hotel in a few minutes."

The refractory pair of innocent, middle-aged lovers started, arm in
arm, on what I ardently hoped would be an eventful walk together. It
was from, instead of toward the altar, to be sure, but I was certain
it would finally lead them to it, notwithstanding the unusual method of
approach. I gave Francesca the signal, and then, disappearing behind the
screen, I held her hand in a palpitation of nervous apprehension that I
had scarcely felt when Himself first asked me to be his.

The young organist, blushing to the roots of his hair, trembling with
responsibility, smiling at the humour of the thing, pulled out all the
stops, and the Wedding March pealed through the cathedral, the splendid
joy and swing and triumph of it echoing through the vaulted aisles in a
way that positively incited one to bigamy.

"We may regard the matter as settled now," whispered Francesca
comfortably. "Anybody would ask anybody else to marry him, whether he
was in love with her or not. If it weren't so beautiful and so touching,
wouldn't it be amusing? Isn't the organist a darling, and doesn't he
enter into the spirit of it? See him shaking with sympathetic
laughter, and yet he never lets a smile creep into the music; it is all
earnestness and majesty. May I peep now and see how they are getting
on?"

"Certainly not! What are you thinking of, Francesca? Our only
justification in this whole matter is that we are absolutely serious
about it. We shall say good-bye to the organist, wring his hand
gratefully, and steal with him through the little door. Then in a
half-hour we shall know the worst or the best; and we must remember
to send him cards and a marked copy of the newspaper containing the
marriage notice."

Salemina told me all about it that night, but she never suspected the
interference of any deus ex machina save that of the traditional God of
Love, who, it seems to me, has not kept up with the requirements of the
age in all respects, and leaves a good deal for us women to do nowadays.

"Would that you had come up this aisle to meet me, Salemina, and that
you were walking down again as my wife!" This was what Dr. Gerald had
surprised her by saying, when the wedding music had finally entered
into his soul, driving away for the moment his doubt and fear and
self-distrust; and I can well believe that the hopelessness of his tone
stirred her tender heart to its very depths.

"What did you answer?" I asked breathlessly, on the impulse of the
moment.

We were talking by the light of a single candle. Salemina turned her
head a little aside, but there was a look on her face that repaid me for
all my labour and anxiety, a look in which her forty years melted away
and became as twenty, a look that was the outward and visible expression
of the inward and spiritual youth that has always been hers; then she
replied simply--"I told him what is true: that my life had been one long
coming to meet him, and that I was quite ready to walk with him to the
end of the world."

                   .    .    .    .    .    .

I left her to her thoughts, which I well knew were more precious than my
words, and went across the hall, where Benella was packing Francesca's
last purchases. Ordinarily one of us manages to superintend such
operations, as the Derelict's principal aim is to make two garments go
where only one went before. Nature in her wildest moments never abhorred
a vacuum in her dominion as Miss Dusenberry resents it in a trunk.

"Benella," I said, in that mysterious whisper which one uses for such
communications, "Dr. La Touche has asked Miss Peabody to marry him, and
she has consented."

"It was full time!" the Derelict responded, with a deep sigh of relief,
"but better late than never! Men folks are so queer, I don't hardly know
how a merciful Providence ever came to invent 'em! Either they're so
bold they'd propose to the Queen o' Sheba without mindin' it a mite,
or else they're such scare-cats you 'bout have to ask 'em yourself, and
then lug 'em to the minister's afterwards--there don't seem to be no
halfway with 'em. Well, I'm glad you're all settled; it must be nice to
have folks!"

It was a pathetic little phrase, and I fancied I detected a tear in
her usually cheerful and decided voice. Acting on the suspicion, I said
hurriedly, "You have already had a share of Miss Monroe's 'folks' and
mine offered you, and now Miss Peabody will be sure to add hers to the
number. Your only difficulty will be to attend to them all impartially,
and keep them from quarrelling as to which shall have you next."

She brightened visibly. "Yes," she assented, without any superfluous
modesty,--squeezing as she spoke a pair of bronze slippers into the
crown of Francesca's favourite hat--"yes, that part'll be hard on all
of us; but I want you to know that I belong to you this winter, any way;
Miss Peabody can get along without me better'n you can."

Her glance was freighted with a kind of evasive, half-embarrassed
affection; shy, unobtrusive, respectful it was, but altogether friendly
and helpful.

That the relations between us have ever quite been those of mistress
and maid, I cannot affirm. We have tried to persuade ourselves that they
were at least an imitation of the proper thing, just to maintain our
self-respect while travelling in a country of monarchical institutions,
but we have always tacitly understood the real situation and accepted
its piquant incongruities.

So when I met Benella Dusenberry's wistful, sympathetic eye, my
republican head, reckless of British conventions, found the maternal
hollow in her spinster shoulder as I said, "Dear old Derelict! it was a
good day for us when you drifted into our harbour!"





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