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Title: Doing My Bit For Ireland
Author: Skinnider, Margaret
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.

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School-teacher, suffragist, nationalist: wounded while fighting in the
uniform of the Irish Volunteers]





[Illustration: Logo]


Copyright, 1917, by

_Published, June, 1917_


When the revolt of a people that feels itself oppressed is successful,
it is written down in history as a revolution--as in this country in
1776. When it fails, it is called an insurrection--as in Ireland in
1916. Those who conquer usually write the history of the conquest. For
that reason the story of the "Dublin Insurrection" may become legendary
in Ireland, where it passes from mouth to mouth, and may remain quite
unknown throughout the rest of the world, unless those of us who were in
it and yet escaped execution, imprisonment, or deportation, write
truthfully of our personal part in the rising of Easter week.

It was in my own right name that I applied for a passport to come to
this country. When it was granted me after a long delay, I wondered if,
after all, the English authorities had known nothing of my activity in
the rising. But that can hardly be, for it was a Government detective
who came to arrest me at the hospital in Dublin where I was recovering
from wounds received during the fighting.

I was not allowed to stay in prison; the surgeon in charge of the
hospital insisted to the authorities at Dublin Castle that I was in no
condition to be locked up in a cell. But later they might have arrested
me, for I was in Dublin twice--once in August and again in November. On
both occasions detectives were following me. I have heard that three
days after I openly left my home in Glasgow to come to this country,
inquiries were made for me of my family and friends.

That there is some risk in publishing my story, I am well aware; but
that is the sort of risk which we who love Ireland must run, if we are
to bring to the knowledge of the world the truth of that heroic attempt
last spring to free Ireland and win for her a place as a small but
independent nation, entitled to the respect of all who love liberty. It
is to win that respect, even though we failed to gain our freedom, that
I tell what I know of the rising.

I find that here in America it is hard to imagine a successful Irish
revolt, but there was more than a fighting chance for us as our plans
were laid. Ireland can easily be defended by the population once they
are aroused, for the country is well suited to guerilla warfare, and the
mountains near the coast form a natural defense from attack by sea. Nor
do the people have to go outside for their food. They could easily live
for years in the interior on what the soil is capable of producing. And
there is plenty of ammunition in Ireland, too. If we had been able to
take the British as completely off guard in the country districts as we
did in Dublin--had there not been the delay of a day in carrying out
concerted action--we could have seized all the arms and ammunition of
the British arsenals on the island.

To-day it would be harder, for the British are not likely to be again
caught unaware of our plans. Besides, they are taking precautions.
Drilling of any sort is forbidden; foot-ball games are not allowed; all
excursions are prohibited. The people are not allowed to come together
in numbers on any occasion.

For a long time after the rising, I dreamed every night about it. The
dream was not as it actually took place, for the streets were different
and the strategic plans changed, while the outcome was always
successful. My awakening was a bitter disappointment, yet the memory of
our failure is a greater memory than many of us ever dared to hope.

In all the literature of the Celtic revival through which Ireland has
gained fresh recognition from the world, there is no finer passage nor
one that can mean so much to us, than that paragraph of the last
proclamation which Padraic Pearse wrote in the ruined Dublin post-office
when under shell and shrapnel fire. At a moment when he knew that the
rising had been defeated, that the end of his supreme attempt had come,
he wrote:

"For four days they (the men) have fought and toiled, almost without
cessation, almost without sleep; and in the intervals of fighting, they
have sung songs of the freedom of Ireland. No man has complained, no
man has asked 'why?'. Each individual has spent himself, happy to pour
out his strength for Ireland and for freedom. If they do not win this
fight, they will at least have deserved to win it. But win it they will,
although they may win it in death. Already they have won a great thing.
They have redeemed Dublin from many shames, and made her name splendid
among the names of cities."

[Illustration: Signature]


Margaret Skinnider                      _Frontispiece_

The Irish Cross Presented to the Author              2

Constance Gore-Booth, Countess de Markievicz         7

Margaret Skinnider wearing Boy's Clothes            21

A Fianna Boy                                        53

James Connolly                                      93

The Proclamation of the Irish Republic             107

Belt Buckle                                        135

Stamps issued by the Irish Republic                135

Pearse's Last Proclamation                         151

The Order that made the Surrender of the
  College of Surgeons Inevitable                   160

The Pass Out of Ireland                            196



The inscription reads: "The Cumman-na-mBan and Irish Volunteers,
Glasgow, present this to Margaret Skinnider for the work she did for
Ireland, Easter Week, 1916."]



Just before Christmas a year ago, I accepted an invitation to visit some
friends in the north of Ireland, where, as a little girl, I had spent
many midsummer vacations. My father and mother are Irish, but have lived
almost all their lives in Scotland and much of that time in Glasgow.
Scotland is my home, but Ireland my country.

On those vacation visits to County Monaghan, Ulster, I had come to know
the beauty of the inland country, for I stayed nine miles from the town
of Monaghan. We used to go there in a jaunting-car and on the way
passed the fine places of the rich English people--the "Planter" people
we called them because they were of the stock that Cromwell brought over
from England and planted on Irish soil. We would pass, too, the small
and poor homes of the Irish, with their wee bit of ground. It was then I
began to feel resentment, though I was only a child.

In Scotland there were no such contrasts for me to see, but there were
the histories of Ireland,--not those the English have written but those
read by all the young Irish to-day after they finish studying the
Anglicized histories used in the schools. I did it the other way about,
for I was not more than twelve when a boy friend loaned me a big thick
book, printed in very small type, an Irish history of Ireland. Later I
read the school histories and the resentment I had felt in County
Monaghan grew hotter.

Then there were the old poems which we all learned. My favorite was,
"The Jackets Green," the song of a young girl whose lover died for
Ireland in the time of William III. The red coat and the green jacket!
All the differences between the British and Irish lay in the contrast
between those two colors. William III, too! Up to his reign the Irish
army had been a reality; Ireland had had a population of nine millions.
To-day there are only four millions of Irish in Ireland, a country that
could easily support five times that number in ease and comfort. The
history of my country after the time of William III seemed to me to be a
history of oppression which we should tell with tears if we did not tell
it with anger.

But I believed the time was at hand to do something. We _all_ believed
that; for an English war is always the signal for an Irish rising. Ever
since this war began, I had been hearing of vague plans. In Glasgow I
belonged to the Irish Volunteers and to the Cumman-na-mBan, an
organization of Irish girls and women. I had learned to shoot in one of
the rifle practice clubs which the British organized so that women could
help in the defense of the Empire. These clubs had sprung up like
mushrooms and died as quickly, but I kept on till I was a good marksman.
I believed the opportunity would soon come to defend my own country. And
now I was going over at Christmas to learn what hope there was of a
rising in the spring.

After all, I did not go to the quiet hills of Monaghan, but to Dublin at
the invitation of the most patriotic and revolutionary woman in all
Ireland. Constance Gore-Booth, who by her marriage with a member of the
Polish nobility became the Countess Markievicz, had heard of my work in
the Cumman-na-mBan and wanted to talk with me. She knew where all the
men and women who loved Ireland were working, and sooner or later met
them all, in spite of the fact that she was of Planter stock and by
birth of the English nobility in Ireland.


One of the leaders of the rising. (Her death sentence was commuted to
life imprisonment)]

It was at night that I crossed the Irish Sea. All other passengers went
to their state-rooms, but I stayed on deck. Leaning back in a
steamer-chair, with my hat for a pillow, I dropped asleep. That I ever
awakened was a miracle. In my hat I was carrying to Ireland detonators
for bombs, and the wires were wrapped around me under my coat. That was
why I had not wanted to go to a state-room where I might run into a
hot-water pipe or an electric wire that would set them off. But
pressure, they told me when I reached Dublin, is just as dangerous, and
my head had been resting heavily on them all night!

It is hard now to think of that hospitable house in Leinster Road with
all the life gone out of it and its mistress in an English prison. Every
one coming to Dublin who was interested in plays, painting, the Gaelic
language, suffrage, labor, or Irish Nationalism, visited there. The
Countess Markievicz kept "open house" not only for her friends, but for
her friends' friends. As one of them has written: "Until she came down
to breakfast in the morning, she never knew what guests she had under
her roof. In order not to disturb her, they often climbed in through
the window late at night."

The place was full of books; you could not walk about without stumbling
over them. There were times, too, when the house looked like the
wardrobe in a theater. You would meet people coming down-stairs in all
manner of costume for their part in plays the count wrote and
"Madam"--as we called her--acted with the help of whoever were her
guests. These theatrical costumes were sometimes used for plays put on
at the Abbey Theater, near by. They served, too, as disguises for
suffragettes or labor leaders wanted by the police. The house was always
watched whenever there was any sort of agitation in Dublin.

I remember hearing of one labor leader whom the police hoped to arrest
before he could address a mass-meeting. He was known to visit Madam, so
the plainclothes men made for Surrey House at once. When they arrived
they found a fancy-dress ball going on to welcome the count back from
Poland. All windows were lighted, music for dancing could be heard, and
guests in carriages and motors were arriving. This was no likely haunt
for a labor agitator, so they went away. But caution brought them back
the next morning, for rumor still had it that their man was hiding
there. They waited about the house all that morning and afternoon. Many
persons came and went, among them an old man who walked with difficulty
and leaned upon the arm of a young woman. The police paid no more
attention to him than to the others, but it was the labor leader in one
of the disguises from the theatrical wardrobe. He made his speech that
night surrounded by such a crowd of loyal defenders that he could not
be arrested.

During the Transport Workers' strike in 1913, Madam threw open her house
as a place of refuge where strikers were sure to find something to eat
or a spot to sleep, if only on the drawing-room floor. In addition, she
sold her jewels to obtain money to establish soup-kitchens for their
families. Her energy and courage always led her where the conflict was
hottest. I do not think she knew what it was to be afraid, once she
decided upon a course of action. Although belonging to the most
privileged class in Ireland by birth and education, as a little girl she
had thrown herself into the Irish cause. She and her sister Eva used to
go to the stables, take horses without permission, and ride at a mad
pace to the big meetings. There they would hear the great Parnell or
the eloquent Michael Davitt tell the story of the wrongs done to
Ireland, and urge upon their hearers great courage and self-sacrifice
that these wrongs might be righted. If all those at such meetings had
heeded the speakers' words as did this little daughter of Lady
Gore-Booth; had they surrendered themselves as completely as she did, I
verily believe we would to-day be far along the road toward a free

As a child all the villagers on her father's estate loved Madam, for
they felt her sincerity. When she was sent away to school or went to
Paris to study painting, for which she had marked talent, they missed
her. It was while she was in Paris that she met and married another
artist, a member of the Polish nobility. Poland and Ireland! Two
countries which have had their great history and their great
humiliation now have their hope of freedom!

Neither the count nor countess were willing to permanently give up their
country of birth, so they decided to live part of the time in Dublin and
part of the time on his estates near Warsaw. It was while Madam was in
Poland that she learned some of the fine old Polish airs to which she
later put words for the Irish. Upon her return to Ireland she was at
last expected to take her place as a social leader in the Dublin Castle
set. Instead, she went more ardently than ever into all the different
movements that were working towards the freedom of Ireland.

About this time Baden-Powell was organizing his British Boy Scouts in
Ireland. He was so much impressed with the success Padraic Pearse was
having with Irish boys that he asked him to help him in the Boy Scout
movement. Pearse did not care to make potential British soldiers out of
Irish boys, however, and refused this invitation. The incident stirred
Madam to urge an Irish Boy Scout movement. She could not find any one to
take it up with energy, so she decided to do it herself with Pearse's
coöperation. Madam had never done work of this sort, but that did not
deter her. Since it must be an organization that would do something for
Irish spirit in Irish boys, she named it after the Fianna Fireann, a
military organization during the reign of Cormac MacAirt, one of the old
Irish heroes. Its story was one of daring and chivalry such as would
appeal to boys. With this name went instruction in Ireland's history in
the days of her independence and great deeds, as well as instruction in
scouting and shooting.

At Cullenswood House, where Padraic Pearse had his boys' school until it
outgrew these quarters, there is a fresco in the hall that pictures an
old Druid warning the boy hero, Cuchullain, that whoever takes up arms
on a certain day will become famous, but will die an early death. The
answer, which became a motto for the boys in that school and also a
prophecy of their teacher's death, is in old Irish beneath the fresco:

"I care not if my life has only the span of a night and a day if my
deeds be spoken of by the men of Ireland!"

It was in this spirit of devotion to Ireland that the Fianna boys were
drilled. The house in Leinster Road was always running over with them,
some as young as ten years. You would find them studying hard or, just
as likely, sliding down the fine old banisters. Madam never went
anywhere that they did not follow as a bodyguard. They loved her and
trusted her, a high compliment, since I have always found that boys are
keen judges of sincerity. If her work had been either pose or mere
hysterical enthusiasm, as some English "friends" in Dublin have sought
to make the world believe, these boys would have discovered it quickly
enough. As it was, they remained her friends, and two of the younger
men, executed after Easter Week, were volunteer officers who received
their first training under Madam in the Fianna.

The countess was one of the best shots in Ireland, and taught the boys
how to shoot. After the rising, when we all had surrendered, there still
was one house from which constant and effective firing went on for
three days. At last a considerable force of British took it by storm.
Imagine the surprise of the officer in command when he found that its
only occupants were three boys, all under sixteen!

"Who taught you to shoot like that?" he asked them.

"The Countess Markievicz," came the answer.

"How often did she drill you?"

"Only on Sundays," was the reply.

"And these great lumps of mine," exclaimed the officer in disgust, "are
drilled twice a day and don't yet know their left foot from their

Madam also took real interest in the personal problems of her boys.
While I was staying with her at Christmas, she was teaching a boy to
sing. He was slowly growing blind, and nothing could be done to save his
sight; but she determined that he should have a livelihood, and spent
hours of her crowded days in teaching him the words and music of all the
best patriotic songs and ballads. If she heard that any of the boys were
sick, she would have them brought over to Surrey House where she herself
could nurse and cheer them. Between times she would rouse their love of
country to a desire to study its history.

When I told Madam I could pass as a boy, even if it came to wrestling or
whistling, she tried me out by putting me into a boy's suit, a Fianna
uniform. She placed me under the care of one of her boys to whom she
explained I was a girl, but that, since it might be necessary some day
to disguise me as a boy, she wanted to find whether I could escape
detection. I was supposed to be one of the Glasgow Fianna. We went out,
joined the other Fianna, and walked about the streets whistling rebel
tunes. Whenever we passed a British soldier we made him take to the
gutter, telling him the streets of Dublin were no place "for the likes
of him."


(wearing boy's clothes)]

The boys took me for one of themselves, and some began to tell me their
deeds of prowess in Dublin. Ever since the war began they had gone about
to recruiting meetings, putting speakers to rout and sometimes upsetting
the platforms. This sounds like rowdyism, but it is only by such tests
of courage and strength that the youth of a dominated race can acquire
the self-confidence needed later for the real struggle.

They sang for me Madam's "Anti-recruiting Song," which they always used
as an accompaniment to their attacks on recruiting-booths. Its first two
lines go thus:

     The recruiters are raidin' old Dublin, boys!
     It's them we'll have to be troublin', boys!

And the last two lines are:

     From a Gael with a gun the Briton will run!
     And we'll dance at the wake of the Empire, boys!

These disturbances by the Fianna were part of a campaign by which
Nationalists hoped to keep Irishmen out of the war and ready for their
own fight when the time came. Many were kept at home, but hundreds,
thrown out of work by their employers with the direct purpose of making
them enter the British army, had to enlist for the pitiful "king's
shilling." Nothing so illustrates the complete lack of humor of the
British as their method of arousing interest in the war. They declared
it was the part of England to "defend the honor and integrity of small

Even before the war the countess had watched for any opportunity to
destroy militarist propaganda. Although England has won the world's
heart by explaining she never considered there was danger of war, and
for that reason the preparedness of her enemy was an unfair advantage,
still, we had heard of the German menace for a long time. It was
announced in Dublin that the play, "An Englishman's Home," which had had
a long run in London, where it pictured to thousands the invasion of
England by the Germans, was to open for an equally long run in the Irish
capital to stir us to take precautions against invasion.

Madam took her Fianna boys in full force to the opening night
performance. They occupied pit and gallery while the rest of the
theater was filled with British officers and their wives. The fine
uniforms and evening dress made a great showing, for Dublin is the most
heavily garrisoned city of its size in the world.

The play went on peacefully enough until the Germans appeared on the
stage. At their first appearance as the invading foe, the Fianna, in
green shirts and saffron kilts, stood up and sung in German "The Watch
on the Rhine," just as the countess had taught it to them.

Of course there was consternation, but after a moment an officer stood
up and began to sing "God Save the King." All the other officers and the
"ascendancy people," as we call our English upper class in Ireland, rose
and joined him. But you cannot safely sing "God Save the King" in
Dublin. Eggs and vegetables at once began to fly, and the curtain had
to be rung down. So ended the Dublin run of "An Englishman's Home"!

These things the Fianna boys told me on our way to the shooting-gallery
where they wanted to see the Glasgow "boy" shoot. I hit the bull's-eye
oftener than any of them, much to the delight of the boy who knew I was
a girl. He was not much surprised, however, for by her own skill Madam
had accustomed them to expect good marksmanship in a woman.


As this was my first visit to Dublin, Madam thought I might want to see
some of the sights. She took me to a museum and next suggested that we
visit an art gallery.

"What I really want to see," I told her, "is the poorest part of Dublin,
the very _poorest_ part."

This pleased her, for her heart is always there. She took me to Ash
Street. I do not believe there is a worse street in the world than Ash
Street. It lies in a hollow where sewage runs and refuse falls; it is
not paved and is full of holes. One might think it had been under
shell-fire. Some of the houses have fallen down,--from sheer weariness
it seems,--while others are shored up at the sides with beams. The
fallen houses look like corpses, the others like cripples leaning upon

Dublin is full of such streets, lanes, and courts where houses, years
ago condemned by the authorities, are still tenanted. These houses are
symbolic of the downfall of Ireland. They were built by rich Irishmen
for their homes. To-day they are tenements for the poorest Irish people,
but they have not been remodeled for this purpose, and that is one
reason why them seem so appalling--the poor among the ruins of grandeur.

In one room, perhaps a drawing-room, you find four families, each in its
own corner, with sometimes not as much as the tattered curtains for
partitions. Above them may be a ceiling of wonderfully modeled and
painted figures, a form of decoration the art of which has been lost.
At the end of this room is a mantel of purest white marble over an
enormous fireplace long ago blocked up, except for a small opening in
which a few coals at a time may be burned. The doors of such a room are
often made of solid mahogany fifteen feet in height.

The gas company of Dublin refuses to furnish gas above the second floor,
and the little fireplaces can never give enough heat, even when fuel is
comparatively plentiful. As I write, coal is fifteen dollars a ton, and
is costing the poor, who buy in small quantities, from thirty to
forty-five per cent. more.

In Dublin there are more than twenty thousand such rooms in which one or
more families are living. That epidemics are not more deadly speaks well
for the fundamental health of those who live in them, for there are no
sanitary arrangements. Water is drawn from a single tap somewhere in the
backyard. The only toilet, to be used by all the people in any one of
these houses, is also in the backyard or, worse still, in a dark,
unventilated basement.

The head of a family in these one-time "mansions," which number several
thousand, seldom makes more than four or five dollars a week! Of this
amount, if they want the luxury of even a small room to themselves, they
must pay about a dollar. Is it any wonder that the word "rent" has a
fearful sound to the Irish? After this rent is paid, there is not much
left for food and clothes. Starvation, even in time of peace, is always
hovering near. Bread and tea for breakfast, but rarely butter; bread and
tea, and either herrings or potatoes, sometimes with cabbage, for their
midday meal; bread and tea for supper. Two fifths of the inhabitants of
Dublin live on this fare the year round. If they have beef or mutton
once a week they must eat it boiled or fried, since the fireplaces are
too primitive for roasting or baking. Neither will they permit baking of
bread or cakes.

Yet Ireland could raise fruit and vegetables and grain for twenty
million people! I have seen ships deep laden with food for need of which
the Irish are slowly starving--I contend undernourishment _is_
starvation--going in a steady stream to England. The reason was that the
English were able to pay better prices than the man at home. Food, since
the beginning of the war, has literally been drained out of the country.
Ireland to-day is in a state of famishment, if not of famine.

Here in Dublin, though the streets and lanes seem full of children, the
death-rate is tremendously high. The population of all Ireland has
decreased fifty per cent. in fifty years. In Poland, under the rule of
the Russian czar, the population increased. It is one thing to read
about Irish "grievances," it is another to be living where they go on
year after year.

"Grievance"--that is the way the British sum up our sense of wrong, and
with such effect that people the world over fancy our wrongs are not
wrongs but imagined grievances. The word itself counts against us in the
eyes of those who have never been to Ireland and seen for themselves the
conditions under which the great majority of the population must live.
To be sure, there are always complaints carried to Parliament and then a
"commission of inquiry," followed a little later by a "report upon
conditions." But the actual results seem small. It was disgust for this
sort of carrying out complaints in a basket and bringing back reports in
the very same basket that roused Arthur Griffith to write his pamphlet
on Hungary and her rebuilding from _within_. He felt that the Irish,
too, must set about saving themselves without political help from
parliamentarians. He even went so far as to say that, since Irishmen who
went to Parliament seemed so soon to forget their country except as it
served their political advancement, we ought not to send men to
Parliament. Ireland, he declared, should concentrate upon the economic
and industrial life possible to her--a life that could be developed
wonderfully if men set out to win Ireland for the Irish. This propaganda
of Griffith's--for it soon became such--stirred all the young men and
women who before had been hopeless. "Ireland for the Irish!" The
movement quickly became what is called the "Sinn Fein," which is Gaelic
for "Ourselves Alone."

That this organization should be considered in America as a sort of
"Black Hand," or anarchistic society, is evidence of the impression it
made upon the English as a powerful factor to be reckoned with. It had
come into being overnight, but its principles were as old as Ireland. It
sprang from a love of Ireland and not, as many believe, from hatred of
England. It could not have thrived as it did wherever it touched a young
heart and brain if it had merely been a protest. It had a national ideal
and goal. Every day was dedicated to it. To speak the Irish language; to
wear Irish-made clothes of Irish tweed; to think and feel, write,
paint, or work for the best interests of Ireland; to make every act,
personal or communal, count for the betterment of Ireland--all this was
animated by love of our country. The Sinn Fein was constantly inspired
by poems and essays which appeared in Arthur Griffith's weekly magazine.
That poetry to-day is known throughout civilization as the poetry of the
"Celtic Revival."

There was a gospel of "passive resistance," too, which led Irishmen to
refuse to pay taxes or take any part in the Anglicizing of Ireland. It
was this phase that soon won the disapproval of the party that stood for
parliamentary activity, and naturally it aroused dissatisfaction in

From Ash Street the countess took me to Glasnevin Cemetery, where men
lie buried, who, having lived under conditions such as I had just looked
upon, spent their lives in protest against the same. Here was the grave
of O'Donovan Rossa and a score of others whom I felt were heroes. Here,
also, was the grave of Anne Devlin, that brave woman who refused to
betray Robert Emmet to the British officers seeking him after his
unsuccessful effort to oppose English rule in 1803. These graves and the
ruinous houses of Ash Street show patriotism and poverty working for
each other and, despite themselves, against each other.

A few months after my visit, there was fighting all about Glasnevin
Cemetery between the Royal Irish Constabulary and those who were to
carry on the traditions of the great struggle.

Not far from the home of Countess Markievicz stand the Portobello
barracks, while much farther off are the Beggar's Bush barracks. She
asked me one day if I thought I could make a plan of the latter from
observation that would be of use if at any time it was decided to
dynamite them. She gave no explanation, did not even tell me in what
part of Dublin the barracks were located nor that two officers of the
Irish Volunteers had already tried to make this plan and had failed. But
she knew that I had had experience in gaging distances and drawing maps.
I had just taken a course in calculus, and it was when telling her of my
love for mathematics that she set me this task.

There was a large map of Dublin on the wall of a study in her house. I
scrutinized this carefully, for I did not know my way alone about
Dublin. Then I started out and found the place without great difficulty.
It is in the southwestern outskirts of the city, a large, brick
structure filling in the right angle where two streets meet. From this
corner I walked very slowly along the front of the barracks, counting my
paces, gaging the height of the outer wall, and studying the building
itself for anything its secretive exterior might betray. I presently
noticed that the loopholes which appeared in the wall at regular
intervals stopped short a number of yards from the corner. They had been
filled in with bricks of a slightly different color than the rest of the
wall. At once I asked myself why this had been done and, to discover the
reason, if possible, crossed the street to where I could look over the
wall. I was able to see that within the right angle at the corner was a
small, circular building. It stood close to both the front and side
wall, yet did not touch either. There was room for a sentry to walk
around it, and all loopholes near it had been bricked up.

The conclusion I drew from this fact was that here was a powder
magazine. It was so placed as not to be too noticeable from the street,
easily guarded by a sentry, and conveniently near the loopholes in case
defense of the barracks became necessary.

I walked away, and next approached the barracks from another side. Here
I found that between the street and the main wall was a low outer wall
about my own height. When I reached the spot where I thought the
magazine ought to be, I took my handkerchief and let it
blow--accidentally, of course--over this outer wall. A passing boy
gallantly offered to get it for me. Being a woman and naturally curious,
I found it necessary to pull myself up on tiptoe to watch him as he
climbed over the wall. The ground between the two walls had not been
paved, but was of soft earth. I had seen enough. Thanking the boy, I put
my handkerchief carefully into my pocket so as not to trouble any one
else by making them climb about on Dublin walls, and went on my way.

Upon my return to Leinster Road, I gave the distances and heights I had
taken to Madam, describing the way a hole could be dug, under cover of a
dark night, between the two walls close to where the magazine stood. A
quantity of explosive could be placed in this hole, a long wire could be
attached to a detonator and laid along the outer wall for some distance,
and then, without being noticed, some one could touch the end of the
wire with the battery from a pocket flashlamp. The explosion that
followed, I felt sure, would blow up not only the inner wall, but the
wall of the magazine and set off the powder stored therein. Madam asked
me to write this all down. Later she showed what I had written to the
man who was to be Commander-in-chief of the Republican army in Dublin,
James Connolly. He knew Beggar's Bush barracks well enough to see that
my map was correct and believed the plan practicable enough to carry out
in case conscription should become a fact in Ireland despite all
promises to the contrary.

But the test I had been put to was, it seemed, not merely a test of my
ability to draw maps and figure distances. From that day I was taken
into the confidence of the leaders of the movement for making Ireland a

The situation, I learned from Mr. Connolly, was very hopeful, because
for the first time in hundreds of years those who were planning a
revolution to free Ireland had organized bodies of Irishmen who not only
were well trained in the use of firearms, but so full of the spirit of
the undertaking that they were ready at a moment's notice to mobilize.
There was the Irish Citizen Army which Mr. Connolly had organized after
the Transport Workers' strike to defend working-men from onslaughts by
the police. I do not believe any one who has not seen what we call a
"baton charge" of the Dublin police can quite comprehend the motives
which make for such ruthless methods.

In the first place, whenever the police are called out for strike duty
or to be on the lookout for rioting, they are given permission to drink
all they wish. At the station-houses are big barrels of porter from
which the police are expected to help themselves freely. Then the
saloon-keepers--we call them publicans--are not expected to refuse a
drink to any policeman who demands it, and are paid or not according to
the mood of the protector of the public peace. Add to this that the
police do not attack in order to disperse a crowd, but to kill. In a
public square where a crowd has gathered to hear a labor speech, the
police assemble on four sides and, upon a given signal, rush to the
center, pushing even innocent passers-by into the midst of the crowd
that, on the instant, has become a mob. Then the police use their batons
like shillalahs, swinging them around and around before bringing them
down upon the heads of the people.

Fearing one of these baton attacks in 1913, Madam, having come down to
the square in her car, had just stepped out upon the sidewalk when she
was struck full in the face by a policeman's club! On that same day,
too, the police rushed into the adjoining streets and clubbed every
person they met, even people several blocks from the square who, at the
moment, were coming out of church from vesper service.

Mr. Connolly found that in any strike in Ireland the interests of
England and of the employer were the same; that his strikers had to meet
the two members of the opposition without any defense. Therefore he had
organized the men who were fighting for better hours and wages into a
"Citizen Army." It is against the law for any one to bear arms in
Ireland, but in this case the authorities could do nothing because they
had not disarmed the men of Ulster when the latter armed and drilled to
defend themselves against Home Rule, should it become a fact. The
Ulster-men were openly planning insurrection under Sir Edward
Carson--insurrection against a law, a political measure desired by the
majority! It was an anarchistic outbreak that Carson had in mind. Mr.
Connolly, on the other hand, was organizing simply for defense against
police power that had grown unbridled in its activities. No one
interfered with him.

As always, this organization was under surveillance, and reports about
it were sent to the authorities. But there appeared to be no more than
three hundred members, a small body not dangerous to the police if it
should come into conflict with them. It was not known that there were
several times three hundred members, but that only this number was
allowed to drill or march at any one time. This drilling baffled the
police. Many a night the three hundred would be mobilized and quietly
march through Dublin out into the country, the police trailing wearily
and nervously after them, expecting some excitement along the line of
march. Nothing ever happened. Back to town in the wee, small hours the
police would come, only to see the men disperse as quietly as they had
assembled and go home to bed. After this had happened many times, it no
longer attracted official attention. Only perfunctory reports were made
of any mobilization of the Citizen Army, and thus it came about that on
Easter Sunday the mobilization was taken for nothing more than the usual
drill and not reported.

The second organization, the Irish Volunteers, was brought into being by
those in favor of Home Rule, and was a makeweight against the
Ulster-men. Since the Irish Volunteers were organized to protect law, to
uphold Home Rule should it become a fact as promised, nothing could be
done by the authorities when the volunteers began to arm themselves.
Besides, nothing had been done to prevent the Ulster-men from arming
themselves. The conservative press in England actually supported the
Ulster-men, and English army officers resigned rather than disarm them.
What, then, could they be expected to do to a body of men who stood for
law and order instead of opposing it as in Ulster? This situation made
possible a strategic position for the leaders of the Republican

Had not the authorities realized that now they would meet with armed
resistance if they broke their promise about conscription, we should
have had to send our brothers to France and Flanders early in the war.
But the Citizen Army and the Irish Volunteers had no intention of
allowing men to be carried off to fight England's battles when, for the
first time in many years, there was a chance of winning freedom for
Ireland. To keep this constantly in the public mind, Mr. Connolly had a
large sign hung over the main entrance to Liberty Hall, his



The need of explosives was great, and I took part in a number of
expeditions to obtain them. One night we raided a ship lying in the
river. The sailors were drunk, and three or four of our men had no
trouble in getting into the hold. I was standing guard on the other side
of the embankment wall, holding one end of a string that served as a
telegraph between our outposts in the street and our men in the boat.
One jerk from me meant, "Some one coming"; two jerks, "Police"; three
jerks, "Clear out as best you can."

Suddenly I heard the outpost up the street whistling a patriotic tune.
This was a signal to me. It meant the police were coming. I gave two
jerks of the string and waited.

A policeman came slowly toward me. He had his dark-lantern and, catching
sight of me, flashed it in my face. He stared, but said nothing. No
doubt he was wondering what a decently dressed girl was doing in that
part of town at such an hour. I watched him as closely as he watched me.
If he caught sight of my string, I intended to give three jerks, and, at
the same moment, throw pepper in his face, my only weapon.

But he did not notice the string, and passed on. My heart had stopped
beating; now it began again, though I felt rather queer. Risks like this
have to be taken, however, when one is preparing a revolution and has
neither firearms nor ammunition, the people in power having put an
embargo upon them. It is all in the way of war. I can add that this
raid was as successful as usual.

One day the countess took several of us, including her dog Poppet, out
beyond Dundrum. Upon our return we could call this expedition "a little
shooting party." And it would be the truth, for Poppet, being an Irish
cocker, more interested in hunting than in revolts, joined himself to
two men who were intent on getting birds. He was of so great assistance
that these men, in recognition of his services, gave us a few of the
birds he brought in. We took them home as trophies.

[Illustration: A FIANNA BOY]

But the whole truth was that we had been out to test dynamite. We were
looking for some old wall to blow up, and found one on the side of a
hill. After the hunters had disappeared, two of us were posted with
field-glasses while Madam set off the explosive. It was a lonely place,
so we were not disturbed. The great stones flew into the air with dust
and thunder. Indeed, the country people round about, when they heard
that rumble and saw the cloud of smoke, must have wondered at the sudden
thunder-storm on the hill.

An Irishman told me once that, although he had hoped for a revolution
and worked for it, he had never felt it would be a reality until one
night when he and some friends, out cross-country walking in the
moonlight, came upon Madam and her Fianna boys bivouacked in the open.
They had come out for a drill. She was in uniform, with kneebreeches,
puttees, and officer's coat, and the whole scene was martial and

The Fianna were proud of the fact that they were the first military
organization in Ireland, four years older than either the Irish Citizen
Army or the Irish Volunteers. It was in 1909 that the countess heard of
Baden-Powell coming to Ireland to organize his British Boy Scouts, where
they might be useful later on to the empire. She tried to get people
interested in organizing the same way for Ireland, and finally made this
her own task, though she knew nothing of military tactics and as little
of boys. There was virtually no money or equipment like that in
Baden-Powell's organization, and naturally many blunders were made at
the outset. But she studied both boys and tactics, and finally came to
believe that to succeed, the spirit of old Ireland must be invoked. So
the organization was given the historic Gaelic name, Fianna, with its
flavor of romance and patriotic tradition. The boys saved up their money
for uniforms and equipment, and from the beginning were aware of
themselves as an independent, self-respecting body. They have stood
well the test of the revolution.

One of the most popular actresses at the Abbey Theater in Dublin was
Helen Maloney. Through her energy Mr. Connolly returned from America to
organize the working-men of Ireland, and thus met the countess. From the
friendship and coöperation of these three persons, you can judge how all
class distinction had gone down before the love of Ireland and the
determination to free her.

James Connolly was a very quiet man at the time I met him, quiet and
tense. He was short and thick-set, with a shrewd eye and determined
speech. He proved a genius at organization, and this was lucky, for in
Dublin there are no great factories, except Guinness's, to employ large
numbers of men, and this makes organization difficult. To have managed
such a strike as the Transport Workers' in 1913, after only half a dozen
years of organization, is proof of his great ability. And then to
organize a Citizen's Army!

Connolly is the answer to those who think the rising was the work of
dreamers and idealists. No one who knew him could doubt that when he led
his army of working-men into battle for the Irish Republic, he believed
there was a good fighting chance to establish such a republic. He was
practical, and had no wish to spill blood for the mere glory of it;
there was nothing melodramatic about him. A north of Ireland man,--he
originally came from the only part of Ireland I know well, County
Monaghan,--he had many times given proof of sound judgment and courage.
He was often at the house of the countess while I was visiting her, and
one evening, just before I left, Madam called my attention to the fact
that he was in better spirits than for a long time past. Word had come
to him from America that on or near Easter Sunday a shipful of arms and
ammunition would arrive in Ireland. This news determined the date of the
rising, for it was all that was needed from without to insure success.
We believed this then, and do still.

We were collecting and hiding what arms and ammunition we could. In
proportion to the amount of courage of those in the secret, so the
dynamite that they hid against the day soon to come grew and
accumulated. Though the house in Leinster Road was always watched, the
countess had it stocked like an arsenal. Bombs and rifles were hidden in
absurd places, for she had the skill to do it and escape detection. A
French journalist who visited Dublin shortly before the insurrection
possibly came upon some of this evidence, or perhaps it was only the
Fianna uniforms which impressed him, for he wrote:

"The salon of the Countess Markiewicz is not a salon. It is a military

Despite this martial ardor, Madam found time to write poetry and
"seditious" songs. This poetry would be in print now had not the house
of Mrs. Wise-Power, where she left it for safekeeping, been blown to
pieces by English gunners when they tried to find the range of the
post-office. Their marksmanship would not have been so poor, perhaps,
had they had the countess to teach them.

Many of the singers of our old and new lays are in prison, sentenced for
their part in stirring up insurrection, even though they had nothing to
do with the rising itself. The authorities seemed to take no notice of
these patriotic concerts while they were being given, but afterward they
paid this modern minstrelsy the tribute it deserved. For these concerts
were full of inspiration to every one who attended. Though all were in
the open, they were, as a matter of fact, "seditious," if that word
means stirring up rebellion against those who rule you against your

One of the many things I recall gives a clear idea of the untiring and
never-ending enthusiasm of the countess. She realized one day that the
Christmas-cards usually sold in Ireland were "made in Germany," and
since the war was on, had been supplanted by cards "made in England."
She sat down at once to design Irish Christmas-cards for the holiday
season of 1916. But when that Christmas came around she was in prison,
and the cards were--no one can say where.

When I left Dublin to return to my teaching in Glasgow, they made me
promise that I would come back whenever they sent for me, probably just
before Easter.


When I told my mother on my return of the plans for Easter, she shook
her head.

"There never was an Irish rising that some one didn't betray it," she
said. "It was so in '67, and before that in 1798."

But she did not appreciate the spirit I had found in Dublin. I told her
that all were united, rich and poor, dock-workers, school-teachers,
poets, and bar-tenders. They were working together; I believed they
would stand and fight together. And I was right.

It was not easy to go quietly back to teaching mathematics and hear only
now and then what was going on in Dublin. Fortunately, Glasgow is two
fifths Irish. Indeed, there are as many Irish there as in Dublin itself,
and the spirit among the younger generation is perhaps more intense
because we are a little to one side and thus afraid of becoming

In February, when conscription came to Scotland, there was nothing for
members of the Irish Volunteers in Glasgow to do but to disappear. I
knew one lad of seventeen whose parents, though Irish, wanted him to
volunteer in the service of the empire. He refused, telling them his
life belonged to Ireland. He went over to fight at the time of the
rising, and served a year in prison afterward.

Whenever an Irish Volunteer was notified to report for service in the
Glasgow contingent of the British army, he would slip across the same
night to Ireland, and go to Kimmage, where a camp was maintained for
these boys. While the British military authorities were hunting for them
in Scotland and calling them "slackers," they were drilling and
practising at the target, or making ammunition for a cause they believed
in and for which they were ready to die.

Presently news came from Dublin that James Connolly had written a play
entitled, "Under which Flag?" We heard also that when it was produced,
it had a great effect upon the public. In this play the hero, during the
last act, chooses the flag of the republic and the final curtain falls.
Some one told Mr. Connolly he ought to write another act to show what
happened afterward. His reply was that another act would have to be
written by "all of us together."

I know that many people in this country have seen the Irish Players and
felt their work was a great contribution to the drama, but I doubt if
any one here can realize what it means to see upon the stage a play
dealing with your hopes and fears just at a time when one or the other
are about to be realized. For ten years the world has watched with
interest as these plays were staged, as poetry appeared which seemed to
have a new note in it. The world called it a "Celtic Revival." England,
too, was interested, for these Irish playwrights, poets, and painters
served to stimulate her own artists. What if some of the sagas, revived
by archæologists, _did_ picture Irish heroism? What if the theme of play
or poem _was_ a free Ireland? What if school-boys under a Gaelic name
_did_ play at soldiering?

"Dangerous?" some one asked.

"Nonsense!" retorted mighty England. "Would poets, pedagogues, and
dreamers dare to lead the Irish people against the imperial power that
had dominated them for centuries? Unthinkable!"

England has never understood us so little as in these last ten years.
Our pride was growing tremendously--pride not in what we _have_, but in
what we _are_. The Celtic Revival was only an expression of this new

It was on the eighteenth of April that a member of the Dublin town
council discovered that the British meant to seize all arms and
ammunition of the Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army. History was
repeating itself. It was on an eighteenth of April that American
colonists discovered the British intention of seizing _their_ arms and
ammunition at Concord. In both cases revolt was made inevitable by this

What the reason was that led immediately to such an order being given to
the British military authorities in Dublin, I do not know. It had to do
with conscription, of course, and it may have been quickened by the
resistance of the Irish Citizen Army to the police. Madam told me that,
a short time before, the police had attempted one noon to raid Liberty
Hall while they supposed the place was empty. By the merest accident,
she and Mr. Connolly, with one or two others, were still there. The
object of the raid was to get possession of the press on which was
printed "The Workers' Republic," a paper published at the hall by Mr.

When the first members of the police force entered, Connolly asked them
if they had a warrant. They had none. He told them they could not come
in without one. At the same time the countess quietly drew her revolver
and as quietly pointed it in their direction in a playful manner. They
understood her, however, and quickly withdrew to get their warrant.

Immediately Connolly sent an order for the Citizen Army to mobilize. How
they came! On the run, slipping into uniform coats as they ran; several
from the tops of buildings where they were at work, others from
underground. More than one, thinking this an occasion of some
seriousness, instantly threw up their jobs.

By the time the police returned with their warrant, the Irish Citizen
Army was drawn up around Liberty Hall, ready to defend it. It was not

Mr. Connolly showed me a copy of the secret order when I arrived on
Holy Thursday. It read:

     The following precautionary measures have been sanctioned by the
     Irish Office on recommendation of the General Officer commanding
     the forces in Ireland. All preparations will be made to put these
     measures in force immediately on receipt of an order issued from
     the Chief Secretary's Office, Dublin Castle, and signed by the
     Under Secretary and the General Officer commanding the forces in

     First, the following persons will be put under arrest: All members
     of the Sinn Fein National Council, the Central Executive Irish Sinn
     Fein Volunteer County Board, Irish Sinn Fein Volunteers, Executive
     Committee National Volunteers, Coisda Gnotha Committee, Gaelic
     League. See list A3 and 4, and supplementary list A2.

I interrupt the order to emphasize the fact that we were all listed, and
that the "Sinn Fein" organization seemed to attract most attention from
the authorities. Indeed, after it was all over, the rising was often
called the "Sinn Fein Revolt." The Sinn Fein was an organization which
had become a menace to Great Britain because of its tactics of _passive
resistance_. The words Sinn Fein, as already stated, mean "ourselves
alone," and the whole movement was for an Irish Ireland.

The Sinn Feiners are likened to the "Black Hand" or other anarchistic
groups by those who read of them as leaders of a "revolt." As a matter
of fact, they were, from the first, the literary, artistic, and economic
personalities who started the Celtic Revival. Arthur Griffiths, who is
not given enough credit for the passion with which he conceived the idea
of working for Ireland as Hungarians worked for Hungary, published a
little weekly magazine in which the first of the new poetry appeared. It
appealed to the deepest instincts in us; it was a revolt of the spirit,
clothing itself in practical deed.

But it was not a negative program. The refusal to do or say or think in
the Anglicized way, as was expected of us, held in it loyalty to
something fine and free, the existence of which we believed in because
we had read of it in the history of Ireland in our sagas. We were not a
people struggling up into an untried experience, but a people regaining
our kingdom, which at one time in the history of mankind had been called
"great" wherever it was known of or rumored.

This was the feeling that animated the groups listed by British military
men as the "Sinn Fein National Council" and "Central Executive and
Coisda Gnotha Committee of the Gaelic League," but which to an outsider
cannot, without explanation, give any idea of the fire and fervor
implanted in committee and council.

But to return to the document. It went on:

     An order will be issued to the inhabitants of the city to remain in
     their homes until such time as the Competent Military Authority may
     otherwise direct and permit.

     Pickets chosen from units of Territorial Forces will be at all
     points marked on maps 3 and 4. Accompanying mounted patrols will
     continuously visit all points and report every hour.

     The following premises will be occupied by adequate forces and all
     necessary measures used without need of reference to Headquarters:

     First, premises known as Liberty Hall, Beresford Place;
     No. 6 Harcourt Street, Sinn Fein Building;
     No. 2 Dawson Street, Headquarters Volunteers;
     No. 12 D'Olier Street, Nationality Office;
     No. 25 Rutland Square, Gaelic League office;
     No. 41 Rutland Square, Foresters' Hall;
     Sinn Fein Volunteer premises in city;
     All National Volunteer premises in city;
     Trades Council premises, Capel Street;
     Surrey House, Leinster Road, Rathmines.

     The following premises will be isolated, all communication to or
     from them prevented: Premises known as the Archbishop's House,
     Drumcondra; Mansion House, Dawson Street; No. 40 Herbert Park,
     Ballyboden; Saint Enda's College, Hermitage, Rathfarnham; and, in
     addition, premises in list 5 D, see maps 3 and 4.

This order should become a classic, because it is such a good list of
all meeting-places of those who loved and worked for Ireland in the last
few years. Even the home of the countess, Surrey House, was to have been
occupied; and Saint Enda's, the school where Padraic Pearse was head
master and chief inspiration, was to be "isolated."

Had there been any question about a rising, the possession of this
secret order to the military authorities in Dublin would have been the
signal for it. It was not to be expected that these headquarters of all
that was Irish in the city would surrender tamely to "occupation." More
than this, the order gave new determination to a secret organization not
mentioned in it, the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Not that this was a
new organization, or unknown to the British, for, in its several phases,
it had been in existence since 1858. Its oath is secret, yet has been
published in connection with disclosures about the Fenian movement. This
was one of the names it bore, before the rising of 1867 betrayed it to
the Government. So at this time Connolly and Padraic Pearse and
McDonagh, with all those working to free Ireland, were members of this
brotherhood, and the republic seemed nearer becoming a reality than
ever before in the history of the long struggle.

At Liberty Hall I saw the flag of the republic waiting to be raised. I
saw, too, the bombs and ammunition stored there, and was set to work
with some other girls making cartridges. This was on the Thursday before
Easter. That same evening I was given a despatch to take to Belfast. The
address of the man to whom it was to be delivered was at Mr. Connolly's
home in the outskirts of the city. I was to go there first and get it
from Nora Connolly, then go on to this man.

I had never been in Belfast, and when I reached the city, it was two
o'clock in the morning. The streets were dark and deserted. I finally
had to ask a policeman which of the few cars running would take me to
that part of town where the Connollys lived. I wonder what he would
have done had he guessed I was bent upon revolutionary business. There
is something very weird in knowing that while things are going on as
usual in the outer world, great changes are coming unawares.

I rang in vain when I reached the house. Could all the family be
somewhere else? Could I have made a mistake? I was beginning to think so
when a window opened, and I heard a voice say: "It's all right, Mother.
It's only a girl." Presently the door opened. They had been afraid that
it was the police, for in these last few days before the time set,
suspense was keen. At any moment all plans might be given away to the
police and every one arrested. A ring in the middle of the night was
terrifying. They had not been to bed; they were making Red Cross
bandages and learning details of equipment and uniform for the
first-aid girls. They had slept little for days, now that the time of
the rising approached.

We did not dare go out again in the dead of night to hunt up the man for
whom I had brought my despatch. This action would create suspicion. So
about five o'clock, just when the working-people were beginning to go
about their tasks, we took the street car, went into another part of
Belfast, and found him.

Mrs. Connolly and the girls went back to Dublin with me. They were to be
there during the revolt, and did not know if they would ever see their
home again; but they dared not take anything with them except the
clothes on their backs. Always no suspicion must be aroused; it must
look as if they were starting off for the Easter holidays. This was not
an easy leave-taking, for there was a fair chance of the house being
sacked and burned. Mrs. Connolly went about, picking up little things
that would go in her trunk but the absence of which would not be noticed
if any inquisitive policeman came in to see whether anything suspicious
was going on. As we left, none of them looked back or gave any show of
feeling. Revolution makes brave actors.

That afternoon I was again at ammunition work. This time my duty was to
go about Dublin, taking from hiding-places dynamite and bombs secreted
therein. Once, on my way back to Liberty Hall with some dynamite wrapped
in a neat bundle on the seat beside me, I heard a queer, buzzing noise.
It seemed to come from inside the bundle.

"Is it going off?" I asked myself, and sat tight, expecting every moment
to be blown to bits. But nothing happened; it was only the car-wheels
complaining as we passed over an uneven bit of track.


It was on Saturday morning that I heard the news of our first defeat--a
defeat before we had begun. The ship with arms and ammunition that had
been promised us while I was in Dublin at Christmas, had come into
Tralee Harbor and waited twenty-one hours for the Irish Volunteers of
Tralee to come and unload her. But it had attracted no attention except
from a British patrol-boat, and so had to turn about and put to sea
again. Thereupon, the suspicions of the officials having led them to set
out after the _Aud_, she had shown her German colors and, in full sight
of the harbor, blew herself up rather than allow her valuable cargo to
fall into the hands of the British.

Besides several machine-guns, twenty thousand rifles and a million
rounds of ammunition were aboard that ship. For every one of those
rifles we could have won a man to carry it in the rebellion. Thus their
loss was an actual loss of fighting strength.

It all was a blunder that now seems like fate. The _Aud_, as first
planned, was to arrive on Good Friday. Then the leaders decided it would
be better not to have her arrive until after the rising had begun, or on
Easter. Word of this decision was sent to America, to be forwarded to
Germany. This was done, but the _Aud_ had just sailed, keeping to her
original schedule. She carried no wireless, and so could not be reached
at sea.

I often think the heroic determination of that captain to sink his ship
and crew must have been preceded by many hours of bitterest chagrin and
anxiety. He could not have had the slightest idea why the plan was not
being carried out. It would have been, too, had the Volunteers at
Tralee, remembering the uncertainty of all communication, been on watch
for fear the countermanding order might have miscarried.

But it was too late now to draw back, even had the leaders so desired. I
do not believe that idea ever entered their heads, for their course of
action had been long planned. Two men, however, were uncertain of the
wisdom of going on with it. One of them, The O'Rahilly, was minister of
munitions in the provisional government and felt the loss keenly,
because his entire plan of work had been based on this cargo now at the
bottom of the ocean. When he found that the majority believed success
was still possible, and that the seizure of arms in the British arsenals
in Ireland would compensate for the loss, he gave in and worked as
wholeheartedly as the others. The second man to demur was Professor Eoin
McNeill, who was at the head of the Irish Volunteers as their
commander-in-chief. He did not wish to risk the lives of his men against
such heavy odds. Yet, when he left the conference, he had not given one
hint of actually opposing plans then under discussion.

As I came out of church on Easter morning, I saw placards everywhere to
this effect:


This was astounding! The manoeuvers were to be the beginning of the
revolution. To-day they were not to be the usual, simple drill, but the
real beginning of military action. All over Ireland the Volunteers were
expected to mobilize and stay mobilized until the blow had been
struck--until, perhaps, victory had been won. And the Irish Volunteers
made up two thirds of our fighting force. "No Volunteer manoeuvers
to-day"? What could it mean?

I bought a newspaper and read the order of demobilization, signed by
Professor McNeill. What could have happened? I hurried to Liberty Hall
to find the leaders there as much in the dark as I. They knew McNeill
had been depressed and fearful of results, but they had not supposed him
capable of actually calling off his men from the movement so late in the
day, though this was quite within his technical rights if he wished.
They had taken for granted that he, like The O'Rahilly, would prefer to
cast in his lot with the rest of us. I recalled that at Christmas the
countess had been eager to have another head chosen for the Volunteers.
Over and over again she had said that, though McNeill had been splendid
for purposes of organization, and the presence of so earnest and pacific
a man in command of the Volunteers had prevented England from getting
nervous, he was not the man for a crisis. She liked him, but her
intuition proved right. He could not bear that his Irish Volunteers
should risk their lives and gain nothing thereby. He truly believed they
had no chance without the help the _Aud_ had promised. As soon as he had
published his demobilization order, he went to his home outside Dublin
and stayed there during the rising. It was there he was arrested and,
though his action so helped the British that the royal commission
afterward said he "broke the back of the rebellion," he was sentenced
for life, and sits to-day in Dartmoor Prison making sacks. This is the
man who was one of our greatest authorities on early Irish history.

There never was a hint of suspicion that McNeill's act was other than
the result of fear. No one who knew him could doubt his loyalty to
Ireland. It was his love for the Volunteers, the love of a man
instinctively pacifist, that made him give that order. Oh, the satire of
history! By such an order, many of us believe, he delivered to the
executioner the flower of Ireland's heart and brain. We believe that if
those manoeuvers had taken place at the time set, the British arsenals
in Ireland would easily have been taken and arms provided for our men.
Indeed, we would rather have taken arms and ammunition from the British
than have accepted them as gifts from other people.

The eternal buoyancy with which Irishmen are credited came to their
rescue that Sunday morning. Mr. Connolly and others believed that if
word was sent into the country districts that the Citizen Army was
proceeding with its plans, that the Volunteers of Dublin, consisting of
four battalions under Padraic Pearse and Thomas McDonaugh, were going to
mobilize, the response would be immediate. At once word was sent out
broadcast. Norah Connolly walked eighty miles during the week through
the country about Dublin, carrying orders from headquarters. But she,
like other messengers, found that the Volunteers were so accustomed to
McNeill's signature that they were afraid to act without it. They
feared a British trick. We Irish are so schooled in suspicion that it
sometimes counts against us. In Galway they had heard that the rising in
Dublin was on, and later put up such a fight that, had it been seconded
in other counties by even a few groups, the republic would have lived
longer than it did. It might even have won the victory in which, only
three days before, we all had faith.

The Volunteers numbered men from every class and station; the Citizen
Army was made up of working-men who had the advantage of being under a
man of decision and quick judgment. At four o'clock the Citizen Army
mobilized in front of Liberty Hall to carry out the route march as
planned. After this march the men were formed into a hollow square in
front of Liberty Hall and Connolly addressed them.

"You are now under arms," he concluded. "You will not lay down your
arms until you have struck a blow for Ireland!"

The men cheered, shots were fired into the air, and that night their
barracks was Liberty Hall.

You might think a demonstration of this character, a speech in the open,
would attract enough attention from the police to make them send a
report to the authorities. None was sent. They had come to feel, I
suppose, that while there was so much talk there would be little action.
Nor did they remember that Easter is always the anniversary of that
fight hundreds of years ago when native Irish came to drive the
foreigner from Dublin. This year, in addition, it fell upon the date of
the Battle of Clontarf, so there was double reason for sentiment to
seize upon the day for a revolt.

During the night, Irishmen from England and Scotland who had been
encamped at Kimmage with some others, came into Dublin and joined the
men at Liberty Hall. Next morning I saw them while they were drawn up,
waiting for orders. Every man carried a rifle and a pike! Those pikes
were admission of our loss through the sinking of the _Aud_, for the men
who carried them might have been shouldering additional rifles to give
to any recruits picked up during the course of the day. Pikes would not
appeal to an unarmed man as a fit weapon with which to meet British
soldiers in battle. We could have used every one of those twenty
thousand lost rifles, for they would have made a tremendous appeal.

I was sent on my bicycle to scout about the city and report if troops
from any of the barracks were stirring. They were not. Moreover, I
learned that their officers, for the most part, were off to the races at
Fairview in the gayest of moods.

When I returned to report to Mr. Connolly, I had my first glimpse of
Padraic Pearse, provisional president of the Irish Republic. He was a
tall man, over six feet, with broad shoulders slightly stooped from long
hours as a student and writer. But he had a soldierly bearing and was
very cool and determined, I thought, for a man on whom so much
responsibility rested,--at the very moment, too, when his dream was
about to take form. Thomas McDonagh was also there. I had not seen him
before in uniform, and he, too, gave me the impression that our Irish
scholars must be soldiers at bottom, so well did he appear in his green
uniform. At Christmas he had given me a fine revolver. It would be one
of my proudest possessions if I had it now, but it was confiscated by
the British.

[Illustration: JAMES CONNOLLY]

I was next detailed as despatch rider for the St. Stephen's Green
Command. Again I went out to scout, this time for Commandant Michael
Mallin. If I did not find the military moving, I was to remain at the
end of the Green until I should see our men coming in to take
possession. There were no soldiers in sight; only a policeman standing
at the far end of the Green doing nothing. He paid no attention to me; I
was only a girl on a bicycle. But I watched him closely. It was
impossible to believe that neither the police nor the military
authorities were on guard. But this chap stood about idly and was the
last policeman I saw until after the rising was over. They seemed to
vanish from the streets of Dublin. Even to-day no one can tell you where
they went.

It was a great moment for me, as I stood there, when, between the
budding branches of trees, I caught sight of men in dark green uniforms
coming along in twos and threes to take up their position in and about
the Green and at the corners of streets leading into it. There were only
thirty-six altogether, whereas the original plan had been for a hundred.
That was one of the first effects of Eoin McNeill's refusal to join us.
But behind them I could see, in the spring sunlight, those legions of
Irish who made their fight against as heavy or heavier odds and who,
though they died, had left us their dream to make real. Perhaps this

At last all the men were standing ready, awaiting the signal. In every
part of Dublin similar small groups were waiting for the hour to strike.
The revolution had begun!


To the British, I am told, there was something uncanny about the
suddenness with which the important centers of Dublin's life were
quietly seized at noon on Easter Monday by groups of calm, determined
men in green uniforms.

They were not merely surprised; they were frightened. The superstitious
element in their fear was great, too. It had always been so. When
Kitchener was drowned off the Irish coast, a man I know, an Irishman,
spoke of it to an English soldier.

"Yes; you and your damned rosaries!" retorted the soldier, looking
frightened even as he said it.

The British seem to feel we are in league with unearthly powers against
which they have no protection. On Easter Monday they believed that
behind this sudden decision, as it appeared to them, something dark and
sinister was lurking. How else would we dare to revolt against the
British Empire? It was as if our men were not flesh and blood, but
spirits summoned up by their own bad conscience to take vengeance for
many centuries of misrule. It must have been some such feeling that
accounted for the way they lost, at the very outset, all their usual
military calm and ruthlessness.

We recognized this feeling, and it made our men stronger in spirit. We
were convinced of the justice of our cause, convinced that even dying
was a small matter compared with the privilege we now shared of fighting
for that cause. Besides, there was no traitor in our ranks. No one had
whispered a word of our plans to the British authorities. That is one
reason why our memory of Easter Week has in it something finer than the
memory of any other rising in the past. You must bear in mind that the
temptation to betray the rising must have been just as strong, that it
had in it just as much guarantee of security for the future, as
heretofore. Yet no one yielded to this temptation. Even more amazing was
the fact that the authorities had not paid any heed to those utterances
which for months past had been highly seditious. For instance, here is
what Padraic Pearse stated openly in one of his articles:

     I am ready. For years I have waited and prayed for this day. We
     have the most glorious opportunity that has ever presented itself
     of really asserting ourselves. Such an opportunity will never come
     again. We have Ireland's liberty in our hands. Or are we content to
     remain as slaves and idly watch the final extermination of the

Nothing could be more outspoken or direct. When it is remembered that
England's enemies have always been regarded as Ireland's allies; that an
English war, wherever fought, is a signal for us to rise once more, no
matter how many defeats we have suffered, it might have been supposed
the British, stationed in such numbers in and around Dublin, would not
have been put to sleep by what must have seemed, to the wary observer,
an acute attack of openness and a vigorous interest in military affairs.
There were some, of course, among the police and officials who made
their reports of "highly seditious" meetings and writings, but I suppose
the authorities did not believe we would strike. From America they
learned of aid to come by ship when Igel's papers were seized by United
States authorities. It may have been this information that put the
English patrol-boats on their guard in Tralee Harbor. It even may have
been thought that when that ship went down the rising was automatically
ended. So it might have been had our revolt been "made in Germany," but
it must be remembered that it was the Irish who approached the Germans.
Thus there was no anxiety in Dublin that Easter Monday except as to
which horse would win the Fairview races.

As soon as our men were in position in St. Stephen's Green, I rode off
down Leeson Street toward the Grand Canal to learn if the British
soldiers were now leaving Beggar's Bush or the Portobello barracks.
Everything remained quiet. That signified to me that our men had taken
possession of the post-office for headquarters and of all other premises
decided on in the revised plan of strategy adapted to a much smaller

The names of these places do not sound martial. Jacob's Biscuit Factory,
Boland's Bakery, Harcourt Street Railway Station, and Four Courts are
common enough, but each had been chosen for the strategic advantage it
would give those defending Dublin with a few men against a great number.
The Dublin & Southeastern Railway yards, for example, gave control of
the approach from Kingstown where, it was expected, the English coming
over to Ireland would land.

Again I was sent out to learn if the Harcourt Street Station had been
occupied by our men. This had been done, and already telegraph wires
there, as well as elsewhere, had been cut to isolate Dublin. Telephone
wires were cut, too, but one was overlooked. By that wire word of the
rising reached London much sooner than otherwise would have been the
case. But here again, the wonder is not that something had been
overlooked, but that so much was accomplished. By the original plan,
volunteers were told off to do this wire-cutting and the hundred and one
things necessary to a revolt taking place in a city like Dublin. When
this work was redistributed to one third the original number of men, it
was hard to be certain that those who had never _drilled_ for the kind
of task assigned them could do it at all. This insurrection had been all
but rehearsed, during those months when it was being worked out on
paper, by daily and weekly drills.

Upon my return, I found our men intrenching themselves in St. Stephen's
Green. All carried tools with which to dig themselves in, and shrubbery
was used to protect the trenches. Motorcars and drays passing the Green
were commandeered, too, to form a barricade. Much to the bewilderment of
their occupants, who had no warning that anything was amiss in Dublin,
the men in green uniforms would signal them to stop. Except in one
instance, they did so quickly enough. Then they were told to get out. An
experienced chauffeur among our men would jump in at once and drive the
car to a position where it was needed. The occupants would stand for a
moment aghast, then take to their heels. One drayman refused his cart
and persisted in his refusal, not believing it when our men told him
this was war. He was shot. Two British officers were taken prisoners in
one of the autos. We could not afford men to stand guard over them, but
we took good care of them. Afterward they paid us the tribute of saying
that we obeyed all the rules of war.

Commandant Mallin gave me my first despatch to carry to headquarters at
the general post-office. As I crossed O'Connell Street, I had to ride
through great crowds of people who had gathered to hear Padraic Pearse
read the proclamation of the republic at the foot of Nelson's Pillar.
They had to scatter when the Fifth Lancers--the first of the military
forces to learn that insurgents had taken possession of the
post-office--rode in among them to attack the post-office.

[Illustration:     POBLACHT NA H EIREANN.

                          OF THE
                      IRISH REPUBLIC
                  TO THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND.

IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN In the name of God and of the dead generations
from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood. Ireland,
through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her

Having organised and trained her manhood through her secret
revolutionary organisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and
through her open military organisations, the Irish Volunteers and the
Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having
resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes
that moment, and, supported by her exiled children in America and by
gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength,
she strikes in full confidence of victory.

We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of
Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be
sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a
foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it
ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In
every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national
freedom and sovereignty; six times during the past three hundred years
they have asserted it in arms. Standing on that fundamental right and
again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim
the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our
lives and the lives of our comrades-in-arms to the cause of its freedom,
or its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.

The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of
every Irishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and
civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens,
and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the
whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the
nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by
an alien government, which have divided a minority from the majority in
the past.

Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment
of a permanent National Government, representative of the whole people
of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the
Provisional Government, hereby constituted, will administer the civil
and military affairs of the Republic in trust for the people.

We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the
Most High God, Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that
no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity,
or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and
discipline and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves
for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which
it is called.

     Signed on Behalf of the Provisional Government,

     P. H. PEARSE,


(All of its signers were executed)]

Nothing can give one a better idea of how demoralized the British were
by the first news of the rising than to learn that they sent cavalry to
attack a fortified building. Men on horseback stood no chance against
rifle-fire from the windows of the post-office. It must be said in
extenuation, however, that it probably was because this cavalry
detachment had just convoyed some ammunition-wagons to a place not far
from O'Connell Street, and so were sent to "scatter" men who, they
supposed, could be put to flight by the mere appearance of regulars on

When I reached the open space in front of the post-office, I saw two or
three men and horses lying in the street, killed by the first volley
from the building. It was several days before these horses were taken
away, and there was something in the sight of the dumb beasts that hurt
me every time I had to pass them. It may sound harsh when I say that the
thought of British soldiers being killed in the same way did not awaken
similar feelings. That is because for many centuries we have been
harassed by men in British uniform. They have become to us symbols of a
power that seems to delight in tyranny.

Even while I was cycling toward the post-office, the crowd had
reassembled to watch the raising of the flag of the Irish Republic. As
the tricolor--green, white, and orange--appeared above the roof of the
post-office, a salute was fired. A few days later, while it was still
waving, James Connolly wrote: "For the first time in seven hundred years
the flag of a free Ireland floats triumphantly over Dublin City!"

Mr. Connolly and a few of his officers came out to look at it as it
waved up there against the sky. I saw an old woman go up to him and,
bending her knee, kiss his hand. Indeed, the people loved and trusted

Inside the post-office our men were busy putting things to right after
the lancers' attack. They were getting ready for prolonged resistance.
Window-panes were smashed, and barricades set up to protect men who soon
would be shooting from behind them. Provisions were brought over from
Liberty Hall, where they had long been stored against this day. But what
impressed me most was the way the men went at it, as though this was the
usual sort of thing to be doing and all in the day's work. There was no
sign of excitement, but there was a tenseness, a sense of expectancy, a
kind of exaltation, that was almost more than I could bear.

I delivered my despatch, and was given another to carry back to
Commandant Mallin. Crowds were still in O'Connell Street when I left on
my errand. They were always there when bullets were not flying, and
always seemed in sympathy with the men in the post-office. I found this
same sympathy all over the city wherever I went. Even when men would not
take guns and join us, they were friendly.

The soldiers from Portobello barracks were sent out twice on Monday to
attack our position in St. Stephen's Green. The first time was at noon,
before we were completely intrenched. They had gone only as far as
Portobello Bridge, but a few rods from the barracks, when they were
fired on from the roof of Davies's public-house just the other side of
the bridge. Our rifle-fire was uninterrupted, and a number of the
soldiers fell. They probably thought they were dealing with a
considerable force, for they did not advance until the firing ceased or
until word was brought to the _three men_ on the roof that we were
securely intrenched. Even then they did not come on to attack us, but
went somewhere else in the city.

At six o'clock that evening, just when it was beginning to grow dusk, on
my way back from the post-office I noticed that the crowd of curious
civilians who had been hanging about the Green all day had quite
disappeared. The next thing I saw was two persons hurrying away from the
Green. These were Town Councilor Partridge and the countess. They came
to a halt in the street just ahead of me. Then I saw the British
soldiers coming up Harcourt Street!

The countess stood motionless, waiting for them to come near. She was a
lieutenant in the Irish Volunteers and, in her officer's uniform and
black hat with great plumes, looked most impressive. At length she
raised her gun to her shoulder--it was an "automatic" over a foot long,
which she had converted into a short rifle by taking out the wooden
holster and using it as a stock--and took aim. Neither she nor Partridge
noticed me as I came up behind them. I was quite close when they fired.
The shots rang out at the same moment, and I saw the two officers
leading the column drop to the street. As the countess was taking aim
again, the soldiers, without firing a shot, turned and ran in great
confusion for their barracks. The whole company fled as fast as they
could from _two_ people, one of them a woman! When you consider,
however, that for years these soldiers had been going about Dublin as if
they owned it; that now they did not know from what house or street
corner they might be fired upon by men in green uniforms, it is not to
be wondered at that they were temporarily demoralized.

As we went back to the Green, Madam told me of the attempt made that
morning by herself, Sean Connolly, and ten others to enter Dublin Castle
and plant the flag of the Irish republic on the roof of that stronghold
of British power in Ireland. There always is a considerable military
force housed in the castle, but so completely were they taken by
surprise that for a few moments it seemed as if the small group would
succeed in entering. It was only when their leader, Sean Connolly, was
shot dead that the attempt was abandoned. It seemed to me particularly
fitting that Madam had been a member of this party, for she belonged by
"right of birth" to those who always were invited to social affairs at
the castle. Yet she had long refused to accept these invitations, and
had taken the side of those who hoped for the ultimate withdrawal of
those Dublin Castle hosts.

Immediately after this gallant attempt, which might have succeeded had
it taken place on Sunday with the number of men originally intended,
Madam returned to St. Stephen's Green and alone and single-handed took
possession of the College of Surgeons. This is a big, square, granite
building on the west side of the Green. It was, as we later discovered,
impregnable. For all impression they made, the machine-gun bullets with
which the British soldiers peppered it for five days might have been
dried peas.

The countess, fortunately, had met with no resistance. She walked up the
steps, rang the bell, and, when no one answered, fired into the lock
and entered. The flag we flew from the roof of the building was a small
one I had brought on my bicycle from headquarters.


We were all happy that night as we camped in St. Stephen's Green.
Despite the handicap we were under through lack of men, almost
everything was going our way. It was a cold, damp night. The first-aid
and despatch-girls of our command went into a summer-house for shelter.
It had no walls, but there was a floor to lie upon, and a roof. I slept
at once and slept heavily.

Madam was not so fortunate. She was too tired and excited to sleep.
Instead, she walked about, looking for some sheltered place and, to get
out of the wind, tried lying down in one of the trenches. But the ground
was much too chilly, so she walked about until she noticed the
motor-car of her friend, Dr. Katherine Lynn, seized that morning for the
barricade. She climbed in, found a rug, and went to sleep in comparative
comfort. When morning came she could not forgive herself for having
slept there all night while the rest of us remained outdoors. She had
intended to get up after an hour or two of it and make one of us take
her place. She did not waken, however, till she heard the hailing of
machine-gun bullets on the roof of the car. The girls in the
summer-house, with the exception of myself, were awakened at the same
moment in the same way, and ran for safety behind one of the
embankments. It seems the British had taken possession of a hotel at one
side of the Green--the Hotel Shelbourne--and had placed a machine-gun on
the roof. At four o'clock in the morning they began firing.

The chill I was having woke me, but I quickly followed the others to
their hiding-place. From the first we were aware that had we taken
possession of all buildings around the Green, according to our original
plan, this morning salute of the British would have been impossible. As
it was, our intrenchments and barricades proved of no avail. We realized
at once we should have to evacuate the Green and retire into the College
of Surgeons.

Commandant Mallin sent me with a despatch to headquarters. He recognized
immediately that a regiment could not hold the Green against a
machine-gun on a tall building that could rake our position easily.

As soon as I returned, I was sent away again to bring in sixteen men
guarding the Leeson Street bridge. If we abandoned the Green before
they could join us, they would be cut off and in great danger. As I rode
along on my bicycle, I had my first taste of the risks of
street-fighting. Soldiers on top of the Hotel Shelbourne aimed their
machine-gun directly at me. Bullets struck the wooden rim of my bicycle
wheels, puncturing it; others rattled on the metal rim or among the
spokes. I knew one might strike me at any moment, so I rode as fast as I
could. My speed saved my life, and I was soon out of range around a
corner. I was not exactly frightened nor did I feel aware of having
shown any special courage. My anxiety for the men I was to bring in
filled my mind, for though I was out of range, unless we could find a
roundabout way to the College of Surgeons seventeen of us would be under
fire. To make matters worse, the men were on foot.

After I reached this group and gave the order for their return, I
scouted ahead up streets I knew would bring us back safely to the
college, unless already guarded by the British. It was while I was
riding ahead of them that I had fresh evidence of the friendliness of
the people. Two men presently approached me. They stepped out into the
street and said quietly:

"All is safe ahead."

I rode back, told the guard, and we moved on more rapidly. At another
spot a woman leaned out of her window just as I was passing. "You are
losing your revolver," she called to me.

She may have saved my life by that warning, for my revolver had torn its
way through the pocket of my raincoat, and, in another moment, would
have fallen to the ground. Had it been discharged, the result might
have been fatal.

As we came to the College of Surgeons and were going in by a side door,
the men were just retiring from the Green. Since every moment counted, I
had ridden ahead to report to Commandant Mallin, and while he stood
listening to me, a bullet whizzed through his hat. He took it off,
looked at it without comment, and put it on again. Evidently the
machine-gun was still at work.

One of our boys was killed before we got inside the College of Surgeons.
Had the British gunners been better trained for their task, we might
have lost more, for we were completely at their mercy from the moment
they began to fire at dawn until the big door of the college closed, and
we took up the defense of our new position in the great stone fortress.

Every time I left the college, I was forced to run the gauntlet of this
machine-gun. I blessed the enemy's bad marksmanship several times a day.
To be sure, they tried hard enough to hit something. Once that day I saw
them shooting at our first-aid girls, who made excellent targets in
their white dresses, with large red crosses on them. It was a miracle
that none of them was wounded. Bullets passed through one girl's skirt,
and another girl had the heel of her shoe shot off. If I myself had not
seen this happen, I could not have believed that British soldiers would
disobey the rules of war concerning the Red Cross.

Mr. Connolly had issued orders that no soldier was to be shot who did
not have arms, and he did not consider the side-arms they always
carried as "arms." My revolver had been given me for self-defense in
case I fell into the hands of any soldiers. I confess that, though I
never used it, I often felt tempted when I saw British soldiers going
along in twos and threes, bent on shooting any of our men. I was not in
uniform, however, and had had orders not to shoot except thus clothed
and so a member of the Republican Army.

Some of the streets I had to ride through were as quiet and peaceful as
if there was no thought of revolution in Dublin, but in others I could
hear now and then scattered shots from around some corner. It was more
than likely that snipers were trying to hold up a force of British on
their way to attack one of our main positions. Sometimes I would hear
the rattle of a machine-gun, and this warned me that I was approaching
a house where the enemy was raking a position held by our men.
Generally, however, it was the complete and death-like emptiness of a
street that warned me I was close to a scene of hot fighting. This was
not always so, for there were times when the curiosity of the crowd got
the better of its caution, and it would push dangerously near the

Several days elapsed before the people of Dublin became fully aware of
the meaning of what was going on. Riots are not rare, and this might
well seem to many of them only rioting on a large scale, with some new
and interesting features. The poor of Dublin have never been appeased
with bread or circuses by the British authorities. They have had to be
content with starvation and an occasional street disturbance. But little
by little, as I rode along, I could detect a change in attitude. Some
became craven and disappeared; in others, it seemed that at last their
souls might come out of hiding and face the day.

The spirit at the post-office was always the same--quiet, cheerful, and
energetic. I used to stand at the head of the great central staircase
waiting for answers to my despatches and could see the leaders as they
went to and fro through the corridor. Padraic Pearse impressed me by his
natural air of command. He was serious, but not troubled, not even when
he had to ask for men from the Citizen Army to eke out the scant numbers
of his Volunteers for some expedition. No one had thought it would be
that way, for the Volunteers were originally two to one compared with
the Citizen Army. Recruits were coming in every day, but at the most
there were not fifteen hundred men against twenty thousand British
soldiers stationed in or near Dublin.

Whenever there came a lull in business or fighting, the men would begin
to sing either rebel songs or those old lays dear to Irishmen the world
over. And sometimes they knelt in prayer, Protestants and Catholics side
by side. From the very beginning there was a sense of the religious
character in what we were doing. This song and prayer at the post-office
were all natural, devoid of self-consciousness. A gay song would follow
a solemn prayer, and somehow was not out of harmony with it.

One source of inspiration at the post-office was "old Tom Clarke," who
had served fifteen years for taking part in the rising of sixty-seven.
His pale, worn face showed the havoc wrought by that long term in an
English prison, but his spirit had not been broken.

There was Jo Plunkett, too, pale and weak, having come directly from the
hospital where he had just undergone an operation. But he knew what
prestige his name would lend to this movement--a name famous for seven
hundred years in Irish history. He looked like death, and he met death a
few days later at the hands of the English.

I talked about explosives one day with Sean McDermott and we went
together to consult a wounded chemist in a rear room to find out what
could be done with chemicals we had found at the College of Surgeons.
Sean McDermott was like a creature from another planet who had brought
his radiance with him to this one. Every one felt this and loved him for
the courage and sweetness he put into all he did.

The O'Rahilly was another of the striking figures at the post-office.
He was known as one of the handsomest men in Ireland, and, in addition
to being head of a famous old clan, had large estates. He had given much
property to the cause, and now was risking his life for it. He was
killed on the last day of the fighting as he led a sortie into the
street at one side of the post-office. His last words were, "Good-by and
good luck to you!" He said those words to British prisoners he was
setting free because the post-office had caught fire and the game was
up. They afterward told of his kindness and care for them at a moment
when he himself was in the greatest possible danger.

I can pass anywhere for a Scotch girl,--I have often had to since the
rising,--and friends will tell you I am hard-headed and practical,
without the least trace of mysticism. Yet, whenever I was in general
headquarters in the post-office, I felt, despite commonplace
surroundings and the din of fighting, an exalted calm that can be
possible only where men are giving themselves unreservedly and with
clear conscience to a great cause.


Singing "Soldiers are we whose lives are pledged to Ireland," we had
withdrawn from St. Stephen's Green into the College of Surgeons. Only
one of our men had been killed, yet this was a retreat, and we knew it.
If only we had had enough men to take possession of the Shelbourne
Hotel, we need not have yielded the Green. As it was, we wasted no time
in mourning, but went to work at once to make ourselves ready for a
siege that might last no one knew how long.

Under orders from Commandant Mallin, some of the men began to cut
through the walls into adjoining buildings. Others went up on the roof
to use their rifles against the British soldiers on top of the
Shelbourne. Madam went about everywhere, seeking to find anything that
could be of use to us. She discovered sixty-seven rifles, with fifteen
thousand rounds of cartridges; also bandoliers and haversacks. All this
had belonged, no doubt, to the training corps of the College of
Surgeons, and would have been used against us had we not reached the
building first.

On the ground floor of the big building were lecture-rooms and a museum;
up-stairs other class-rooms, laboratories, and the library. On the third
floor were the caretaker's rooms and a kitchen where our first-aid and
despatch-girls took possession and cooked for the others as long as
anything remained to cook. Lastly came the garret up under the roof. To
shoot from the roof itself quickly became impossible, since our men
were easy targets for the gunners on the Shelbourne. As soon as one of
our boys was wounded, we knew they had our range, and decided to cut
holes through and directly under the sloping roof. Here we could shoot
in perfect safety while remaining unseen.

On Wednesday there was little despatch-bearing to do, so I stood around
watching the men up there at work. The countess realized my impatience
to be doing my bit, also my hesitation at putting myself forward to ask
for permission. Without saying anything to me, she went to Commandant
Mallin and told him she thought I could be of use under the roof. He
gave his permission at once, and she brought me the answer.

Madam had had a fine uniform of green moleskin made for me. With her
usual generosity, she had mine made of better material than her own. It
consisted of kneebreeches, belted coat, and puttees. I slipped into this
uniform, climbed up astride the rafters, and was assigned a loophole
through which to shoot. It was dark there, full of smoke and the din of
firing, but it was good to be in action. I could look across the tops of
trees and see the British soldiers on the roof of the Shelbourne. I
could also hear their shot hailing against the roof and wall of our
fortress, for in truth this building was just that. More than once I saw
the man I aimed at fall.

[Illustration: BELT BUCKLE]


To those who have been following the Great War, reading of thousands and
hundreds of thousands attacking one another in open battle or in
mile-long trench-warfare, this exchange of shots between two buildings
across a Dublin green may seem petty. But to us there could be nothing
greater. Every shot we fired was a declaration to the world that
Ireland, a small country but large in our hearts, was demanding her
independence. We knew that all over Dublin, perhaps by this time all
over Ireland, other groups like ours were filled with the same
intensity, the same determination, to make the Irish Republic, no matter
how short-lived, a reality of which history would have to take account.
Besides, the longer we could keep our tricolor flying over the College
of Surgeons, the greater the chance that Irish courage would respond and
we should gain recruits.

Whenever I was called down to carry a despatch, I took off my uniform,
put on my gray dress and hat, and went out the side door of the college
with my message. As soon as I returned, I slipped back into my uniform
and joined the firing-squad.

There were a good many of the Fianna boys in the college with us. As
usual, their allegiance to Madam would not let them leave her. One of
them, Tommie Keenan of Camden Row, was only twelve years old, but was
invaluable. He would go out for food and medicine and, because he was so
little, never attracted attention, though he wore his green Fianna shirt
under his jacket. On Tuesday he came to the conclusion, perhaps with
Madam's aid, that he ought to go home and tell his parents what he was
doing. Commandant Mallin advised him, just before he left, to take off
his green shirt and not wear it again for a while. It was a day or more
before he returned, because his father had locked him in his room. We
sympathized with the father, for that was just what we had expected him
to do. But when a friend came along who promised to keep guard over
Tommy if he was allowed to go for a walk, the boy's chance came. Eluding
this friend, he ran the most roundabout way until he arrived where he
felt "duty" called him.

The boy already referred to as nearly blind was with us, too. He pleaded
so hard to be allowed to use a rifle that the men finally put him at a
loophole, where he breathlessly fired shot after shot in the direction
of the hotel. Maybe the prayers he murmured gave him success.

Our rations were short, but I do not remember that any one complained. I
for one had no appetite for more than a slice of bread or two a day,
with a cup of bouillon made from the cubes laid in as part of our
necessary ration. The two captured British officers had their meals
regularly whether any one else ate or not, and seemed grateful for it.

Every evening fighting would quiet down, and the boys and men--about a
hundred, now, through recruits who had joined us--would gather in the
largest lecture-hall to sing under the leadership of Jo Connolly, whose
brother Sean had fallen the first day in front of Dublin Castle. I can
hear them even now:

     "Armed for the battle,
     Kneel we before Thee,
     Bless Thou our banners,
     God of the brave!
     'Ireland is living'--
     Shout we triumphant,
     'Ireland is waking--
     Hands grasp the sword!'"

They were singing this chant, written by the countess and set to some
Polish revolutionary air, on Wednesday evening. I was up-stairs,
studying a map of our surroundings and trying to find a way by which we
could dislodge the soldiers from the roof of the Hotel Shelbourne. When
Commandant Mallin came in, I asked him if he would let me go out with
one man and try to throw a bomb attached to an eight-second fuse through
the hotel window. I knew there was a bow-window on the side farthest
from us, which was not likely to be guarded. We could use our bicycles
and get away before the bomb exploded,--that is, if we were quick
enough. At any rate, it was worth trying, whatever the risk.

Commandant Mallin agreed the plan was a good one, but much too
dangerous. I pointed out to him that it had been my speed which had
saved me so far from machine-gun fire on the hotel roof. It was not that
the British were doing us any real harm in the college, but it was high
time to take the aggressive, for success would hearten the men in other
"forts" who were not having as safe a time of it. He finally agreed,
though not at all willingly, for he did not want to let a woman run this
sort of risk. My answer to that argument was that we had the same right
to risk our lives as the men; that in the constitution of the Irish
Republic, women were on an equality with men. For the first time in
history, indeed, a constitution had been written that incorporated the
principle of equal suffrage. But the Commandant told me there was
another task to be accomplished before the hotel could be bombed. That
was to cut off the retreat of a British force which had planted a
machine-gun on the flat roof of University Church. It was against our
rules to use any church, Protestant or Catholic, in our defense, no
matter what advantage that might give us. But this church, close at
hand, had been occupied by the British and was cutting us off from
another command with whom it was necessary to keep in communication. In
order to cut off the retreat of these soldiers, it would be necessary to
burn two buildings. I asked the Commandant to let me help in this
undertaking. He consented, and gave me four men to help fire one
building, while another party went out to fire the other. It meant a
great deal to me that he should trust me with this piece of work, and I
felt elated. While I changed once more into my uniform, for the work of
war can only be done by those who wear its dress, I could still hear
them singing:

     "Who fights for Ireland,
     God guide his blows home!
     Who dies for Ireland,
     God give him peace!
     Knowing our cause just,
     March we victorious,
     Giving our hearts' blood
     Ireland to free!"


It took only a few moments to reach the building we were to set afire.
Councilor Partridge smashed the glass door in the front of a shop that
occupied the ground floor. He did it with the butt of his rifle and a
flash followed. It had been discharged! I rushed past him into the
doorway of the shop, calling to the others to come on. Behind me came
the sound of a volley, and I fell. It was as I had on the instant
divined. That flash had revealed us to the enemy.

"It's all over," I muttered, as I felt myself falling. But a moment
later, when I knew I was not dead, I was sure I should pull through.
Before another volley could be fired, Mr. Partridge lifted and carried
me into the street. There on the sidewalk lay a dark figure in a pool of
blood. It was Fred Ryan, a mere lad of seventeen, who had wanted to come
with us as one of the party of four.

"We must take him along," I said.

But it was no use; he was dead.

With help, I managed to walk to the corner. Then the other man who had
stopped behind to set the building afire caught up with us. Between them
they succeeded in carrying me back to the College of Surgeons.

As we came into the vestibule, Jo Connolly was waiting with his bicycle,
ready to go out with me to bomb the hotel. His surprise at seeing me
hurt was as if I had been out for a stroll upon peaceful streets and met
with an accident.

They laid me on a large table and cut away the coat of my fine, new
uniform. I cried over that. Then they found I had been shot in three
places, my right side under the arm, my right arm, and in the back on my
right side. Had I not turned as I went through that shop-door to call to
the others, I would have got all three bullets in my back and lungs and
surely been done for.

They had to probe several times to get the bullets, and all the while
Madam held my hand. But the probing did not hurt as much as she expected
it would. My disappointment at not being able to bomb the Hotel
Shelbourne was what made me unhappy. They wanted to send me to the
hospital across the Green, but I absolutely refused to go. So the men
brought in a cot, and the first-aid girls bandaged me, as there was no
getting a doctor that night. What really did distress me was my cough
and the pain in my chest. When I tried to keep from coughing, I made a
queer noise in my throat and noticed every one around me look

"It's no death-rattle," I explained, and they all had to laugh,--that
is, all laughed except Commandant Mallin. He said he could not forgive
himself as long as he lived for having let me go out on that errand. But
he did not live long, poor fellow! I tried to cheer him by pointing out
that he had in reality saved my life, since the bombing plan was much
more dangerous.

Soon after I was brought in, the countess and Councilor Partridge
disappeared. When she returned to me, she said very quietly:

"You are avenged, my dear."

It seems they had gone out to where Fred Ryan lay, and Partridge, to
attract the fire of the soldiers across the street in the Sinn Fein
Bank, had stooped over the dead boy to lift him. There were only two
soldiers and they both fired. That gave Madam a chance to sight them.
She fired twice and killed both.

They tell me that all next day I was delirious and lay moaning and
talking incoherently. It was not the bullets that brought me to this
pass, but pneumonia. Even so I am glad I was there and not at a
hospital. Later a doctor who was summoned made the mistake of using too
much corrosive sublimate on my wounds, and for once I knew what torture
is. The mistake took all the skin off my side and back. But Madam is a
natural nurse. Among her friends she was noted for her desire to care
for them if they fell ill. Some one was almost always in bed at Surrey
House; some friend whose eyes might be troubling her to whom the
countess would read aloud or apply soothing applications; a Fianna boy,
or an actress from the Abbey Theater who needed to build up her nerves.
Thus I was in good hands, and besides, following my instinct, I ate
nothing for the next three days, but drank quantities of water.


Written under shell and shrapnel fire. (His marvelous handwriting is due
to his mastery of the Gaelic script.)

Headquarters, Army of the Irish Republic,
General Post Office


28th April, 1916. 9·30, a.m.

The Forces of the Irish Republic, which was proclaimed in Dublin on
Easter Monday, 24th April, have been in possession of the central part
of the Capital since 12 noon on that day. Up to yesterday afternoon,
Headquarters was in touch with all the main outlying positions, and
despite furious and almost continuous assaults by the British Forces all
those positions were then still being held, and the Commandants in
charge were confident of their ability to hold them for a long time.

During the course of yesterday afternoon, and evening, the enemy
succeeded in cutting our communications with our other positions in the
city, and Headquarters is to-day isolated.

The enemy has burnt down whole blocks of houses, apparently with the
object of giving themselves a clear field for the play of Artillery and
field guns against us. We have been bombarded during the evening and
night by shrapnel and machine gun fire, but without material damage to
our position, which is of great strength.

We are busy completing arrangements for the final defence of
Headquarters, and are determined to hold it while the buildings last.

I desire now, lest I may not have an opportunity later, to pay homage to
the gallantry of the Soldiers of Irish Freedom who have during the past
four days been writing with fire and steel, the most glorious chapter in
the later history of Ireland. Justice can never be done to their
heroism, to their discipline, to their gay and unconquerable spirit, in
the midst of peril and death.

Let me, who have led them into this, speak in my own, and in my
fellow-commanders' names, and in the name of Ireland present and to
come, their praise, and ask those who come after them to remember them.

For four days they have fought and toiled, almost without cessation,
almost without sleep, and in the intervals of fighting, they have sung
songs of the freedom of Ireland. No man has complained, no man has asked
"why?". Each individual has spent himself, happy to pour out his
strength for Ireland and for freedom. If they do not win this fight,
they will at least have deserved to win it. But win it they will,
although they may win it in death. Already they have won a great thing.
They have redeemed Dublin from many shames, and made her name splendid
among the names of Cities.

If I were to mention names of individuals, my list would be a long one.

I will name only that of Commandant General James Connolly, Commanding
the Dublin division. He lies wounded, but is still the guiding brain of
our resistance.

If we accomplish no more than we have accomplished, I am satisfied. I am
satisfied that we have saved Ireland's honour. I am satisfied that we
should have accomplished more, that we should have accomplished the task
of enthroning, as well as proclaiming, the Irish Republic as a Sovereign
State, had our arrangements for a simultaneous rising of the whole
country, with a combined plan as sound as the Dublin plan has been
proved to be, been allowed to go through on Easter Sunday. Of the fatal
countermanding order which prevented those plans from being carried out,
I shall not speak further. Both Eoin MacNeill and we have acted in the
best interests of Ireland.

For my part, as to anything I have done in this, I am not afraid to face
either the judgement of God, or the judgement of posterity.

(Signed) P. H. Pearse, Commandant General.
Commanding-in-chief the Army of the Irish Republic and
President of the Provisional Government.]

Once a day they allowed me visitors. Every one who came to my room was
confident that things were going well. That we were isolated from other
"forts" and even from headquarters did not necessarily mean they were
losing ground. We were holding out, and our spirits rose high. We
believed, too, that by this time the Volunteers outside Dublin had
risen. We could not know that, even where they had joined the rising on
Easter Monday, the loss of one day had given the British enough time to
be on guard, so that in no instance could our men enter the barracks
and seize arms as originally planned.

While I lay there, I could hear the booming of big guns. All of us
believed it was the Germans attacking the British on the water. There
had been a rumor that German submarines would come into the fight if
they learned there was a chance of our winning it. I had heard that
report the evening before the rising. Edmond Kent, one of the republican
leaders, had been most confident of our success, and when a friend asked
him, "What if the British bring up their big guns?" he replied:

"The moment they bring up their big guns, we win."

He did not explain what he meant by this, but I took it that he expected
outside aid the minute the British, recognizing our revolt as serious,
gave us the dignity of combatants by using heavy artillery against us.
Whatever he meant, the fact remains that when they took this action,
they made us a "belligerent" in the world's eyes and gave us the excuse
we could so well use--an appeal to the world court as a "small nation,"
for a place at the coming peace conference.

Sunday morning one of the despatch-girls, white and scared because she
had been escorted to our "fort" by British soldiers, came from
headquarters to inform Commandant Mallin that a general surrender had
been decided on. The Commandant and Madam were in my room at the time,
and Madam instantly grew pale.

"Surrender?" she cried. "We'll never surrender!"

Then she begged the Commandant, who could make the decision for our
division, not to think of giving in. It would be better, she said, for
all of us to be killed at our posts. I felt as she did about it, but the
girl who had brought the despatch became more and more excited, saying
that the soldiers outside had threatened to "blow her little head off"
if she did not come out soon with the word they wanted. Possibly they
suspected any Irish girl would be more likely to urge resistance than

Commandant Mallin, to quiet us, I suppose, said he would not surrender
unless forced to do so. But he must have decided to give in at once, for
in less than an hour an ambulance came to take me to St. Vincent's
Hospital, just across the Green.

As they carried me down-stairs, our boys came out to shake my hand. I
urged them again and again to hold out. As I said good-by to Commandant
Mallin, I had a feeling I should never see him again. Not that it
entered my head for a moment that he would be executed by the British.
Despite all our wrongs and their injustices, I did not dream of their
killing prisoners of war.

I felt no such dread concerning the countess, though our last words
together were about her will. I had witnessed it, and she had slipped it
in the lining of my coat. I was to get it to her family at the earliest
possible moment. It was fortunate that I did.

My departure was the first move in the surrender. That afternoon all the
revolutionists gave up their arms to the British in St. Patrick's


Those first two weeks in St. Vincent's Hospital were the blackest of my
life. In that small, white room I was, at first, as much cut off as
though in my grave. I had fever, and the doctors and nurses were more
worried over my pneumonia than over my wounds, though every time they
dressed them I suffered from the original treatment with corrosive
sublimate. My greatest anxiety, however, was because I could get no word
to my mother in Glasgow. I knew she would think I had been killed.

That was just what happened. The first word she had received since the
day I left home was that I was dead; that I had been shot in the spine,
and left lying on the Dublin pavement for two days. The next rumor that
reached her was that I was not dead, but paralyzed. The third report was
that the British had sentenced me to fifteen years' imprisonment. Had I
not been wounded, the last would probably have been true.

After two weeks I wrote a letter, and the doctor had it forwarded home
for me. It had not been easy work writing it, for my right arm was the
one that had been wounded. I knew, though, that unless she had word in
my own handwriting, my mother might not believe what she read.

Presently news began to drift in to me of trials and executions. I could
not get it through my head. Why were these men not treated as prisoners
of war? We had obeyed all rules of war and surrendered as formally as
any army ever capitulated. All my reports were of death; nothing but

At dawn on May 3, the British shot Padraic Pearse, Thomas McDonagh, and
old Tom Clarke.

The following day they shot Joseph Plunkett, the brother of Padraic
Pearse, and two other leaders, Daly and O'Hanrahan.

The third day John McBride, a man known the world over for his stand in
the Boer War, was shot to death. He was the only one killed that day,
and we wondered why. What was this British reasoning that determined who
should go in company with his fellows and who should go alone?

At length came the turn of the Countess Markievicz. Because she was a
woman, they commuted her death-sentence to penal servitude for life. I
was very glad; but I knew that, since she had fought as one of them,
she would rather have died with them. Penal servitude! Those words rang
like a knell for one who was all energy, who needed people around her,
who wanted to serve.


In order to prevent the further slaughter of Dublin citizens, and in the
hope of saving the lives of our followers now surrounded and hopelessly
outnumbered, the members of the Provisional Government present at
Head-Quarters have agreed to an unconditional surrender, and the
Commandants of the various districts in the City and Country will order
their commands to lay down arms.

P. H. Pearse
29th April 1916
3.45 p. m.

I agree to these conditions for the men only under my own command in the
Moore Street District and for the men in the Stephen's Green Command.

James Connolly
April 29/16

On consultation with Commandant Connolly and their officers I have
decided to agree to unconditional surrender also.

Thomas MacDonagh.]

The British did not shoot any one on Sunday. They let us meditate on all
that the past week had done to our leaders. There is no torture so
excruciating as suspense. It is the suspense which Ireland has had to
endure for generations that has weakened her more than any battles. How
we have waited and waited! It has always been hard for us to believe we
were not to realize our hopes. Even in these latter years during which
Home Rule has loomed large before us, we have not suspected that, in the
end, it would become only a parliamentary trick and a delusion. If any
one had told me the Sunday before that all these men were to be shot, I
should not have believed them. Our bitter belief has been forced upon

On Monday the British began it again. This time it was Michael Mallin
they stood against a wall and shot. I remembered how, when I was so ill
at the College of Surgeons, he had been gentle with me. He always had
tried to ease the discomforts of his men. You would never have guessed
by looking at him, he was so quiet and restrained, that he had been
waiting twenty years for the day which would make him a commandant over
Irish soldiers. He told me that, as a boy of fourteen, he had enlisted
in the British army to get experience with which to fight Great Britain.
When he was stationed in India, he said, he had lain awake night after
night, planning how some day he could put his military knowledge at
Ireland's service. Six days he served Ireland; eight days he lay in
prison; now he was dead!

Later his widow came to see me. She brought me the note-book he used
when writing the despatches I carried. She brought me, besides, some
small bits of Irish poplin he had woven himself. She did not break down;
she seemed exalted. It was the same with all the wives of those shot,
and with the mother of Padraic and William Pearse. You would have
thought they had been greatly honored, that their dignity was equal to
bearing it.

Yet they all had terrible stories of cruelty to tell me. Kilmainham
Prison was a grim waiting-room for death. In addition, the court-martial
never lasted long enough for any one to feel he had been fairly tried
and judged. I heard all the prison sentences, over a hundred that first
week! Most of them were for long terms, and five for life. Councilor
Partridge was given a fifteen-year sentence that afterward was commuted
to ten.

It is not the same thing to read of executions and sentences in the
press and to hear of them from the lips of friends,--the wives, mothers,
and daughters of the men executed or sentenced for life. To feel we had
failed in our purpose was enough to make us brood; but to know that
never again would these men sing rebel songs together or tell of their

At length Norah Connolly and her sister came to see me. They told me of
their father's last hours; how, because of his wound that already had
brought him close to death, he had to be strapped into a chair to face
the firing-squad. I thought of gentle Mrs. Connolly saying good-by to
her husband, knowing all the while what was about to take place!

Some of the first-aid girls who had been in prison for fifteen days came
to visit me, too. We compared notes. I learned then how Chris Caffrey
had been stripped and searched by British soldiers to her shame, for she
was a modest girl. But she had eaten her despatch before they dragged
her off the street where she had been bicycling. I heard, too, how Chris
had been almost prevented from reaching headquarters by a crowd of poor
women gathered about the post-office for their usual weekly "separation
allowance." Their husbands were all fighting in France or Flanders for
the British. They would not get their allowance this week, and were
terror-stricken, crowding about the post-office and crying and shouting
hysterically. Chris, as we called Christine, had to fire her revolver
at the ground before they would make way for her.

Next followed the story of Francis Sheehy Skeffington, one of the few
men in Dublin we could go to for advice about the law when we had any
plan to carry out. He had been shot without a trial, they said; without
even knowing, when called out into the little courtyard, that he was
about to be killed. And he had had _nothing to do with the rising_! He
always had been against the use of force. When he was arrested, after a
day spent in trying to get a committee of safety together because the
police had disappeared, his wife did not even know where he was. She had
no word of his death until a day after he was buried in quicklime, the
burial of a criminal!

Ah, how the stories of Belgian atrocities which we had heard from the
lips of the Archbishop of Michlin when the Great War broke out, paled
beside this one fortnight in Dublin! We did not know when it would end
or how. There ensued a reign of terror in all Irish homes, whether the
men or women had had anything to do with the rising or not. For both
soldiers and police were now given power to arrest any one they pleased.
Several hundred men were put in prison under no charge, nor were any
charges ever preferred in many cases.

The women, too! Helen Maloney and Dr. Katherine Lynn, whose motor Madam
had used that night in St. Stephen's Green and whose bicycle I had been
riding, were both arrested Easter Monday and taken to Dublin Castle.
Miss Maloney was discovered a few hours later with the lock half off her
door, her fingers bleeding pitifully from attempts to get out. Next they
were taken to Kilmainham jail, where for fifteen days those two women,
with eighty others, were kept in a room completely lacking any sanitary
arrangements. We used to shudder at stories of such deeds, which we then
believed could happen only in Siberia. Dr. Lynn is famous for her
surgical skill. She is one of the Irish doctors to whom the British send
their worst war cripples for treatment, and is far more successful than
they in treating such cases. Many visitors to Dublin have seen Miss
Maloney on the stage of the Abbey Theater and recognized her talent. Dr.
Lynn was deported to Bath; Miss Maloney was sent to the Aylesbury
Prison, and kept there a year. Never once during that time was any
charge preferred against her.

Little Tommy Keenan of Camden Row had, so he thought, the good fortune
to be put in prison with sixty of the Fianna when our men surrendered
the College of Surgeons. But, much to their chagrin, at the end of two
weeks the boys were released. Did they scurry away to grow up into
better British subjects? Not at all! Tommy lined them up in front of the
jail and led them off down the street singing "The Watch on the Rhine"
at the top of their lungs.

There was no end to the stories I heard as I lay there in the hospital.
Stories of heroism and stories of disaster followed one another, each
strengthening my belief that the courage and honor of the heroic days of
Ireland were still alive in our hearts. Perhaps it is for this we should
love our enemies: when they cleave with their swords the heart of a
brave man, they lay bare the truth of life.


There came a day when I could no longer endure lying alone in my room,
thinking of all that had happened for this reason or that. The nurses
had been very kind to me. Some of them were in sympathy with the Sinn
Fein movement, while all of them felt the horror of the executions.
There were times when I could rise above this horror and cheer them,
too, by singing a rebel song. I had interested them, besides, in
suffrage work we had been doing in Glasgow, where for several years
eleven hundred militants had done picketing and the like.

Finally, however, I persuaded them to let me move into the public ward,
where I could see other women patients and talk a little. There were
about twenty women and girls in the ward. Nine of them, who had nothing
to do with the rising, had been wounded by British soldiers. The nurses
insisted this was accidental. But the women themselves would not agree
to that explanation, nor did I, for I recalled the Red Cross girls being
shot at,--a thing I had seen with my own eyes. I told the nurses I had
seen the British firing at our ambulances in the belief, no doubt, that
we were doing what we had caught them at--transporting troops from one
part of Dublin to another in ambulances. Sometimes I felt sorry to have
to make those nurses see facts as they were, instead of helping them
keep what few illusions still remained about their men in khaki. But I
was glad when I could tell them what I had just heard of De Vallera's
daring. With a handful of men, he had prevented two thousand of the
famous Sherwood Foresters coming through lower Mount Street to attack
one of our positions. Or, again, it did me good to relate the story of
the seventeen-year-old lad who single-handed had captured a British
general. The sequel to that tale, however, was not very cheerful, for
the same general had sat at the court-martial, and gave the boy who
before had had power of life and death over him, a ten year sentence.

There were three women in the ward who had all been struck by the same
bullet: a mother, her daughter, and a cousin. They had been friendly to
the British soldiers, had fed them because, as the mother told me, her
husband and son were in the trenches fighting for Great Britain. These
three women had been at their window, looking with curiosity into the
street, when the very soldier they had just fed turned suddenly and shot
them. One had her jawbone broken, the second her arm pierced, and the
third was struck in the breast. They were all serious wounds which kept
them in bed. While I was still in the ward, the two men of this family
came back from Flanders on leave, only to find no one at home. The
neighbors directed them to the hospital. I hate to think how those men
looked when they learned why their women wore bandages. They told me
that during Easter Week the Germans put up opposite the trenches of the
Irish Brigade a placard that read:

     _"The military are shooting down your wives and children in

But the Irish soldiers had not believed it.

I asked them if it was true, as alleged, that in answer to the placard,
the Irish Brigade had sung "Rule, Britannia." They were indignant at the
idea. They might be wearing khaki, they said, but they never yet had
sung "Rule, Britannia." When the day came for them to return to the
front, the father wanted to desert, dangerous as that would be, while
the son was eager to go back to the trenches.

"This time," he said to me, "we'll not be killing Germans!"

When rumors came later of a mutiny in the Irish regiment, I wondered to
myself if these two men were at the bottom of it.

Stories of atrocities poured into our ears when the Germans invaded
Belgium. Now we had to hear them from our own people, and now we had to
believe them. They were stories as cruel as any heard since the days of
the Island Magee massacre.

In the House of Commons shortly after the rising, the cabinet was
questioned if it were true that the body of a boy in the uniform of the
Irish Volunteers had been unearthed in the grounds of Trinity College,
with the marks of twenty bayonet wounds upon him.

"No," was the response, "there were not twenty; there were only

The body in question was that of Gerald Keogh, one of a family
passionately devoted to the cause of Irish freedom. He had been sent to
Kimmage to bring back fifty men. He went scouting ahead of them, just as
I had done when I brought in the men from the Leeson Street bridge. As
he was passing Trinity College, held by the British, he was shot down
and swiftly captured. It is generally understood he was asked for
information, and that, upon his refusing to answer, the soldiers tried
to force it from him by prodding him with their bayonets. I might add
that the fifty men with him were not attacked as they went by.

This boy's brother was also captured by British soldiers, who decided to
hang him then and there. He begged them to shoot him, but they fastened
a noose around his neck and led him to a lamp-post. Fortunately an
officer came along at that moment and rescued him. Even children were
not safe from being terrorized by the soldiers, as Mr. Dillon later
brought out in the House of Commons.

There also were murders in North King Street. Fourteen men who had
nothing to do with the rising, were killed in their homes by British
soldiers who buried them in their cellars, while others looted the
houses. The house in Leinster Road was pillaged, and the soldiers had
the effrontery to sell the books, fine furniture, and paintings on the
street in front of the dwelling.

I had been in the hospital now about five weeks, and had been told I
might go in a few days to visit friends in the city if I would promise
to return every day to have my wounds dressed. Then one morning I was
informed there was a "G-man," as we call government detectives, waiting
down-stairs to see me. He had been coming every day to the hospital, it
seems, to learn if I was yet strong enough to go to jail. Evidently he
had decided that I was, for he told me I must accompany him to Bridewell

When I went up to the ward to say good-by and get my things, I found
the nurses terribly upset. You see, it brought the Irish question right
home to that hospital. They went to him in a body and tried to beg me
off, but he insisted on his rights, and away I went despite tears and

This was the first time I had been out, so naturally I felt queer and
weak. Nor was I pleased with my companion. He had a fat, self-satisfied
face; in fact, was not at all the handsome, keen-looking detective you
see on the cover of a dime novel. Besides, he was _too_ polite. He
thought, I suppose, that this would be the best way to get me to answer
the hundred and one questions he began to ask me. I told him I might
answer questions about myself, but I certainly should not answer any
concerning the countess or my other friends.

This response kept him quiet for a block or two. Then he turned
suddenly and asked me about two girls from Glasgow who had come to
Ireland at the same time that I did. I just walked along as though I had
not heard a word, and so we proceeded in silence the rest of the way.

When we entered the vestibule of the prison, an old official immediately
began to catechize me. I refused to answer a single one of his
questions, not even as to my name. Instead I pointed to the "G-man."

"Ask him," I said. "He knows all about me, and can tell you if he wants

The detective's face grew red, but he did answer the old man's
questions. It was very interesting to me to find that he knew who my
parents were; that I had been born twelve miles from Glasgow; that I
had gone to different schools which he named, and that I had attended
the training college for teachers. He told just where I had been
teaching, and how well known I was as a militant suffragette. But what
he did _not_ say was even more interesting. He never declared that I had
been a combatant in the rising. I wondered inwardly if he thought I had
been only a despatch-rider or a first-aid girl. I was exceedingly glad I
had let him answer for me as, taking it for granted they knew all about
me, I might have given myself away.

The old man finally called the matron and told her to treat me well, as
I was not a "drunk or disorderly" person, to which class this prison is
given over, but a military prisoner. Indeed she did treat me well. Since
there was nothing on which to sit down, she kindly opened a cell and
let me sit on the wooden plank they call a bed, and stare at the wooden
head-board. I did not look forward much to such accommodations, with my
wounds still painful. She talked to me, too, very sympathetically.
Sometimes it was hard for us to hear each other, as there were many
drunken men singing and cursing. Being drunk, they were able to forget
that Ireland was under martial law, and cursed the British loudly or
sang disrespectful songs.

The detective had gone out, and those in the jail seemed waiting to hear
from him before they picked out my permanent cell. After about two
hours, he came back. From where I sat, I could see him bend over the old
man and whisper to him. Then he walked over to me.

"Come," he said, "we'll go now."

"Go where?" I asked.

"To the hospital," he replied, "or anywhere else you wish. You are

The matron was as pleased as if she were a friend of mine. I was too
amazed to know what to think. I told the detective, however, that as I
did not know this part of Dublin, I could not find my way back to the
hospital without his company. Off we went again, and he paid my carfare,
for which I thanked him.

In the sky overhead were aëroplanes that the British kept hovering over
Dublin to impress the people.

"Are those the little things with which you fight the Zeppelins?" I
asked my detective.

This remark hurt his feelings. He was not British, he informed me, but a
good Redmondite. How embarrassed he was when I asked him if he liked
arresting Irish who had shown their love of Ireland by being willing to
die for her and, what sometimes seemed worse to me, going into an
English prison for life. After that we did not talk any more until he
said good-by to me at the hospital door.

The nurses were not as surprised to see me back as I had expected them
to be. They had known I was returning, for it was the head doctor who
had telephoned the authorities at Dublin Castle to tell them, with a
good deal of heat, that I was in no condition to begin a prison
sentence. That must have been what the "G-man" had whispered to the old
official at Bridewell Prison.


After two weeks more, I left the hospital and went to stay with a friend
in Dublin. It seemed very strange to me not to be going back to Surrey
House. How everything had changed! As soon as I was strong enough, I
went around to see where the fighting had destroyed whole streets.
Dublin was scarred and, it seemed to me, very sick. I recalled
momentarily that a teacher of mine had once said the name Dublin meant
"the Black Pool."

The building where I had first met Thomas McDonagh, the Volunteer
headquarters, had a "to let" sign in its windows. Who would want to
engage in business in a place where such high hopes had been blasted?

Liberty Hall was a shell, empty of everything but memories.

Around the post-office, all other buildings had been leveled, but the
great building stood there like a monument to Easter Week.

The windows stared vacantly from the house on Leinster Road. Everything
had been taken from it. The looters must have had a merry time. Hundreds
of houses had been thus sacked, for the British soldiers had lived up to
that Tommy whose words make Kipling's famous song:

     The sweatin' Tommies wonder as they spade the beggars under,
     Why lootin' should be entered as a crime;
     So if my song you'll hear, I will learn you plain and clear
     'Ow to pay yourself for fightin' overtime;
                 With the loot!
                 Bloomin' loot!
     That's the thing to make the boys git up and shoot!

         It's the same with dogs and men,
         If you'd make 'em come again
         Clap 'em forward with a

Against our soldiers, on the other hand, a great many of whom were very
poor, there had not been a single accusation of looting. In the
post-office, for instance, they ordered one of the captured British
officers to guard the safe. In the streets where windows had been
broken, they tried to keep the people from pillaging the shops. Whatever
money our men found lying loose in the buildings they occupied was
turned over to their superior officers. Again and again I myself had
seen men of the Citizen Army, quite as poor as any British soldier, hand
over money to Commandant Mallin. Had I only thought of it, I could have
taken this with me when I was carried to the hospital. The cause would
have been at least one hundred pounds richer.

At the College of Surgeons we had destroyed nothing except a portrait of
Queen Victoria. We took that down and made puttees out of it. We did not
feel we were doing any wrong, for it was Queen Victoria who, in 1848,
wrote to her uncle, King Leopold of Belgium:

"There are ample means of crushing the rebellion in Ireland, and I think
it very likely to go off without any contest, which people (I think
rightly) rather regret. The Irish should receive a good lesson or they
will begin it again."

From this quotation any one can see that the Queen looked upon the
Irish as aliens, which, indeed, they are.

We also were very careful of the museum and library at the College of
Surgeons. Although the men did not have any covering and the nights were
cold, they did not cut up the rugs and carpets, but doubled them and
crept in between the folds in rows.

About Jacob's Biscuit Factory, during Easter Week, even though it was a
very dangerous spot, the employees had hovered, for fear their means of
livelihood would be destroyed. But it was not. The machinery was left
uninjured, for we always remembered our own poor.

At Guinness's brewery, where great quantities of stout were stored, none
of it was touched. Most of our men are teetotalers, anyway.

Some of the poor of Dublin had tried to pillage at first, but it was a
pathetic attempt. I saw one specimen of this on Easter Tuesday, while
carrying a despatch. There was a crowd of people about a shoe-shop. The
windows had been smashed, and the poor wretches were clambering into the
shop at great risk of cutting themselves. Once inside, despite all the
outer excitement, they were taking the time to _try on shoes_! Many of
them, one could see, had never had a pair of new shoes in their lives.
Visitors to Dublin going through the poorer parts are always surprised
at the number of children and young girls who walk about bare-footed in
icy weather. It is in this way that their health is undermined.

One day during the week after I left the hospital, I heard that a batch
of prisoners was to be taken to England aboard a cattle-boat leaving the
pier called North Wall. I went down at once to watch for them. It was a
very wet day, and the prisoners had been marched six miles from Richmond
barracks through the pouring rain. But they were singing their rebel
songs, just as if they had never been defeated and were not on their way
to the unknown horrors of an English prison.

The officer in charge seemed much excited, though he had five hundred
soldiers to look after a hundred prisoners.

"For God's sake, close in, or we'll be rushed!" he shouted to his men.
Then the soldiers, with fixed bayonets, "closed in" upon the wet crowd
of rebels, who actually seemed to feel the humor of it.

I knew some of the boys, and walked in between the bayonets to shake
hands with them and march a part of the way. They had heard I was dead,
and looked at first as if they were seeing a ghost. One of them, a
little, lame playwright of whom I had caught a glimpse at Bridewell, had
told me at the time that he was writing a farce about the revolution to
show its absurdity. He had had nothing to do with the rising, for it was
his brother who had been with us at the College of Surgeons. There was
not even a charge against him; yet here he was, limping along in the
rain and mud, but still cheerful. This chap gave me a bundle of clothes
and a message for his mother, so I hunted her up the next morning. She
did not know he had been deported, and was in despair, for she had left
her little cottage in the country to be near her son in Dublin. When I
visited her she was just back from market with fruit she had bought to
take to him, as it was visiting day at the barracks.

These are some of the things that made even quiet old mothers grow


No one could leave Ireland for Scotland without a special permit from
Dublin Castle. This permit was given only when one applied in person, so
I decided to go after it. My friends were terrified; it was putting my
head into the lion's mouth. But it was the only way, even though I might
never come out of that building free.

I took my arm out of the sling, hoping I should not have to raise it;
for I couldn't, nor can yet. For greater precaution, just before I
reached Dublin Castle, I removed the republican colors I always wore,
and put them in my pocket.

I was taken to a room where a police official began to ask me
questions. It was, I believe, my "loyal" Scotch accent that put them off
guard, when I asked for a permit to go to Glasgow. At the hospital one
of the nurses shook her head, following a long talk, and said:

"Your opinions and your accent don't go together."

I have often been told that I look more like a teacher of mathematics,
which, indeed, I am, than like an Irish rebel, of which I am more proud.

The officer first asked me my name. I confess that I gave it to him
while wondering what his next words would be. He merely asked my address
in Dublin, so I gave him the address of friends with whom I was staying.
Would that disturb him, I wondered?

"When did you come to Dublin?" he next asked.

"Holy Thursday," I replied.

"Then you've been here during the rising?"

"Yes," I said.

In a tone which showed how deeply he had been moved by Easter Week, he

"It's been a terrible business!"

To that I could feelingly agree.

At length he gave me a permit, not one to leave Dublin, but merely to
see the military authorities. Here was another ordeal.

I went up to a soldier in the corridor and asked him where I should go.

"What's your name?" he asked.

"It's on this permit," I replied, holding it out to him.

But, as he seemed afraid to touch it, I told him my name, and he took me
to the office where the military authorities were located. I shivered a
little at the chance of his going in with me and telling them I was a
rebel. But he left me at the door.

To my relief, the questions put to me here were the same as before. I
had only to tell the truth, and the polite officer handed over my pass.

As soon as I was outside the castle I replaced my republican colors and
went home to friends who really did not expect to see me again.


     Please pass Margaret Skinnider
     Between Dublin & England
     North Wall [or Kingstown][struck through]
     [Illustration: Stamp: ASSISTANT PROVOST MARSHAL DUBLIN 2/6/16]
     [name unclear] Major
     Asst. provost Marshal]

I did not go directly to Glasgow, however, for I heard that the police
were watching all incoming trains. Instead, I went to a little seaside
resort to recuperate. My sister, who had come over to Dublin to be with
me after I left the hospital, went along, too. She was terrified when we
got off the boat because police were watching the gangway. But nothing
happened. My mother came to see me, and took it all splendidly, though
from the first I had given her an anxious time of it. She is a good

I was proud that I could tell my mother I had been mentioned three times
for bravery in despatches sent to headquarters. The third time was when
I was wounded. Commandant Mallin had said then:

"You'll surely be given the republican cross."

But the republic did not last long enough for that. I _was_ given an
Irish cross. This was the joint gift of the Cumman-na-mBan girls and the
Irish Volunteers of Glasgow. They arranged, as a surprise for me, a
meeting with addresses and songs. Since I had no hint of it, I was out
of Scotland on the day set. They had to repeat part of the ceremony when
I came back. It all was meant to be very solemn, but somehow I felt
strange and absurd to be getting a cross for bravery that had led to
death or prison so many others.

I had left Scotland very quietly to go to England and see some of our
boys being held in Reading Jail without any charge against them. I had
had a good talk with them, even though a guard stood near all the time.
He was a pleasant-enough person, so we included him in our conversation,
explaining the whole rising to him. The boys were in good spirits, too.
They laughed when I told them I had always boasted I would never set
foot in England. And here, on their account, I was not only in England,
but in an English prison.

We had very few Irish revolutionists in the Scotch prisons. Two hundred
of them were brought, during August, to Barlinnie Prison, but they were
allowed to stay only a short time. Far too much sympathy was expressed
for them by the Irish in Glasgow and by Scotch suffragettes, who made a
point of going to visit them and taking them comforts. Presently they
were removed to the camp at Frongoch, Wales, where several hundred
others who had taken part in the rising were interned. As they marched
through the streets of Glasgow, we could not help noticing how much
larger and finer looking they appeared than the British soldiers
guarding them. They were men from Galway,--men who for six long days had
put up a memorable fight in that county, and with less than forty rifles
had held six hundred square miles! Three thousand of the rifles that
went down with the _Aud_ had been promised to Galway. Yet five hundred
men had been ready to "go out" when they heard that, despite the
countermanding order, Dublin forces were rebelling, no matter what the


When I went back to Dublin in August, it was to find that almost every
one on the streets was wearing republican colors. The feeling was
bitter, too--so bitter that the British soldiers had orders to go about
in fives and sixes, but never singly. They were not allowed by their
officers to leave the main thoroughfares, and had to be in barracks
before dark,--that is, all except the patrol. The city was still under
martial law, but it seemed to me the military authorities were the
really nervous persons. Much of this bitterness came from the fact that
people remembered how, after the war in South Africa which lasted three
years instead of five days, only one man had been executed. After _our_
rising sixteen men had been put to death.

Everywhere I heard the opinion expressed that if the revolution could
have lasted a little longer, we would have been flooded with recruits.
As it was, the rising had taken people completely by surprise. Before
they could recover from that surprise, it was over, and its leaders were
paying the penalty of death or imprisonment. One week is a short time
for the general, uninformed mass of a dominated people to decide whether
an outbreak of any sort is merely an impotent rebellion, or a real
revolution with some promise of success. Besides, there have been so
many isolated protests in Ireland, doomed from the first to failure.

There was evidence everywhere that the feeling of bitterness was not
vague, but the direct result of fully understanding what had happened.
At a moving-picture performance of "The Great Betrayal," I was surprised
at the spirit of daring in the audience. The story was about one of
those abortive nationalist revolts in Italy which preceded the
revolution that made Italy free. The plot was parallel in so many
respects to the Easter Week rising in Ireland that crowds flocked every
day to see it. In the final picture, when the heroic leaders were shot
in cold blood, men in the audience called out bitterly:

"That's right, Colthurst! Keep it up!"

Colthurst was the man who shot Sheehy Skeffington without trial on the
second day of the rising. He had been promoted for his deeds of wanton
cruelty, and only the fact that a royal commission was demanded by
Skeffington's widow and her friends, made it necessary to adjudge him
insane as excuse for his behavior, when that behavior was finally
brought to light.

It was on the occasion of my visit to the moving-pictures that I was
annoyed by the knowledge that a detective was following me. His only
disguise was to don Irish tweeds such as "Irish Irelanders" wear to
stimulate home industry. He had been following me about Dublin ever
since my arrival for my August visit. To this day I don't know why he
did not arrest me, nor what he was waiting for me to do. But I decided
now to give him the slip. In Glasgow I have had much practice jumping on
cars going at full speed. The Dublin cars are much slower, so as a car
passed me in the middle of the block, I suddenly leaped aboard, leaving
my British friend standing agape with astonishment on the sidewalk.
Doubtless he felt the time had come for me to carry out whatever plot I
had up my sleeve, and that he had been defeated in his purpose of
looking on. I never saw him again.

Even the children of Ireland have become republicans. There was a strike
not long ago in Dublin schools because an order was issued by the
authorities that school children should not wear republican colors. The
day after the teachers made this announcement some few children obeyed
the order, but they appeared in white dresses with green and orange
ribbons in their hair or cap. When this, too, was forbidden, the pupils
in one of the schools marched out in a body, and proceeded to other
schools throughout the city to call out the pupils on strike. Any school
that did not obey their summons promptly had its windows smashed.
Finally, the police were called and marched against them. The children,
as the sympathetic press put it, "retreated in good order to Mountjoy
Square, where they took their stand and defended their position with
what ammunition was at hand, namely, paving-stones." The end of it all
was that the children won, and went back to school wearing as many
badges or flags as they wished.

Irish boys are showing their attitude, too, for at Padraic Pearse's
school, conducted now by a brother of Thomas McDonagh who taught there
before the rising, there are several hundred boys on the waiting-list.
The school never was as crowded before; the work that Pearse gave his
life for, the inspiriting of Irish youth, is still going on.

Out on Leinster Road one day, I walked past that house where, not nine
months before, I had met so many people of the republican movement. The
house was empty, with that peculiar look of bereavement that some houses
wear. It had been an embodiment of the Countess Markievicz, and, now
that she was gone, looked doomed. Where was she? Over in England in
Aylesbury Prison, but fortunately at work in the kitchen. I could not
fancy her depressed beyond activity of some sort that in the end would
be for Ireland's good.

     "A felon's cap's the noblest crown an Irish head can wear."

This was one of her favorite quotations, and I knew that in wearing the
cap, her courage would not desert her. Her sister had seen her, and told
me she was in good spirits; grateful that they had put her to work and
not left her to inactivity or brooding thoughts. She had repeated what
an old woman in Mountjoy Prison had said to her:

"Man never built a wall but God Almighty threw a gap in it!"

Last November I paid another visit to Dublin. The bitterness had


Here is one of my favorite songs as a child:



     Proudly the note of the trumpet is sounding,
     Loudly the war-cries arise on the gale;
     Fleetly the steed by Lough Swilly is bounding,
     To join the thick squadrons in Saimear's green vale.
       On, every mountaineer,
       Strangers to fight and fear!
     Rush to the standard of dauntless Red Hugh!
       Bonnaught and gallowglass,
       Throng from each mountain pass;
     Onward for Erin, O'Donnell Aboo!


     Princely O'Neill to our aid is advancing
     With many a chieftain and warrior clan.
     A thousand proud steeds in his vanguard are prancing
     'Neath borderers brave from the banks of the Bann.
       Many a heart shall quail
       Under its coat of mail;
     Deeply the merciless foeman shall rue,
       When on his ear shall ring,
       Borne on the breezes' wing,
     Sir Connell's dread war-cry, "O'Donnell Aboo!"


     Wildly o'er Deamond the war-wolf is howling!
     Fearless the eagle sweeps over the plain!
     The fox in the streets of the city is prowling!
     All, all who would scare them are banished or slain!
       Grasp every stalwart hand
       Hackbut and battle brand,
     Pay them all back the deep debt so long due!
       Norris and Clifford well
       Can of Sir Connell tell;
     Onward to glory, "O'Donnell Aboo!"


     Sacred the cause of Clan Connail's defending,
     The altars we kneel at, the homes of our sires.
     Ruthless the ruin the foe is extending.
     Midnight is red with the plunderers' fires.
       On with O'Donnell, then!
       Fight the old fight again,
     Sons of Sir Connell, all valiant and true;
       Make the false Saxon feel
       Erin's avenging steel!
     Strike for your country, "O'Donnell Aboo!"

This was the other:


     When I was a maiden fair and young
     On the pleasant banks of Lee,
     No bird that in the wild wood sang
     Was half so blythe and free;
     My heart ne'er beats with flying feet,
     Tho' Love sand me his queen,
     Till down the glen rode Saisfield's men
     And they wore their jackets green.


     Young Donal sat on his gallant gray
     Like a king on a royal seat,
     And my heart leaped out on his regal way
     To worship at his feet;
     O Love, had you come in those colors dressed,
     And woo'd with a soldier's mien,
     I'd have laid my head on your throbbing breast
     For the sake of the Irish green.


     No hoarded wealth did my love own
     Save the good sword that he bore,
     But I loved him for himself alone
     And the colors bright he wore.
     For had he come in England's red
     To make me England's queen,
     I'd rove the high green hills instead
     For the sake of the Irish green.


     When William stormed with shot and shell
     At the walls of Garryowen,
     In the breach of death my Donal fell,
     And he sleeps near the treaty stone.
     That breach the foeman never crossed
     While he swung his broadsword keen,
     But I do not weep my darling lost,
     For he fell in his jacket green.

Here is a song that Madam liked very much. It was the most popular song
of the Fenians:


     Fill up once more, we'll drink a toast
       To comrades far away,
     No nation upon earth can boast
       Of braver hearts than they;
     And though they sleep in dungeons deep,
       Or flee, outlawed and banned,
     We love them yet, we can't forget
       The felons of our land.

     In boyhood's bloom and manhood's pride
       Foredoomed by alien laws,
     Some on the scaffold proudly died
       For Ireland's holy cause;
     And, brother, say, shall we to-day
       Unmoved, like cowards stand,
     While traitors shame and foes defame
       The felons of our land?

     Some in the convict's dreary cell
       Have found a living tomb,
     And some, unknown, unfriended, fell
       Within the prison's gloom;
     But what care we, although it be
       Trod by a ruffian band?
     God bless the clay where rest to-day
       The felons of our land!

     Let cowards sneer and tyrants frown,
       Oh, little do we care!
     The felon's cap 's the noblest crown
       An Irish head can wear!
     And every Gael in Innisfail
       Who scorns the serf's vile brand,
     From Lee to Boyne would gladly join
       The felons of our land!

This is one of the songs of earlier risings which we all sang during
the last one:



     Wrap the green flag 'round me, boys,
       To die 'twere far more sweet,
     With Erin's noble emblem, boys,
       To be my winding-sheet;
     In life I longed to see it wave,
       And followed where it led,
     But now my eyes grow dim, my hand
       Would grasp its last bright shred.


     Oh, I had hopes to meet you, boys,
       On many a well-fought field,
     When to our bright green banner, boys,
       The treacherous foe would yield;
     But now, alas, I am denied
       My dearest earthly prayer,
     You'll follow and you'll meet the foe
       But I shall not be there.


     But though my body molder, boys,
       My spirit will be free,
     And every comrade's honor, boys,
       Will still be dear to me;
     And in the thick and bloody fight,
       Let not your courage lag,
     For I'll be there, and hovering near
       Around the dear old flag!

This song, written by the Countess Markiewicz to the tune of "The Young
May Moon," had a great effect in Dublin, before the rising, in
preventing the British from getting Irish recruits. It was sung
everywhere and went thus:



     The recruiters are raidin' old Dublin, boys,
     It's them we'll have to be troublin', boys,
     We'll go to their meetin's and give them such greetin's,
     We'll give them in German for fun, me boys;
     'Tis the Germans they're out to destroy, me boys,
     Whose prosperity did so annoy, me boys,
     So let each Irish blade just stick to his trade
     And let Bull do his own dirty work, me boys.


     For the Germans are winning the war, me boys,
     And England is feeling so sore, me boys,
     They're passing conscription, the only prescription
     To make Englishmen go to the front, me boys.


     Your boss, he won't go to the war, me boys,
     Hun bullets do him so annoy, me boys,
     So kindly he frees you, he does it to squeeze you
     To fight for his money and him, me boys;
     They've hunger conscription in Ireland, boys,
     You'll starve till you're thin as a wire, me boys,
     You'll get very thin, but you won't care a pin
     For you'll know it's for Ireland's sake, me boys.


     For the English are losing the war, me boys,
     And they want _us_ all killed before, me boys,
     The great German nation has sworn their damnation,
     And we'll echo the curse with a will, me boys.


     Then hurrah for the gallant old Dublin, boys,
     And if you wouldn't be muddlin', boys,
     Join a Volunteer corps, or, if that is a bore,
     The Citizen Army's as good, me boys.
     Then hurrah for the Volunteers, me boys,
     Ireland in arms has no fears, me boys,
     And surely if we would see Ireland free,
     We'll arm and we'll drill for the Day, me boys.


     For the Germans are going to win, me boys,
     And Ireland will have to butt in, me boys,
     From a Gael with a gun the Briton will run,
     And we'll dance at the wake of the Empire, boys!

Here is another satirical song, very popular just before and during the
rising. The man who sung it, called Brian na Banba, was deported by the
English after the rising:


     Neighbors, list and hear from me
     The wondrous news I've read to-day,
     Ireland's love of liberty
     'Tis said is dead and passed away;
     Irish men have all grown wiser,
     Now they'll heed no ill adviser,
     They despise their country's story,
     All they love is England's glory--
           Ha, ha, ha!
           Ha, ha, ha!
     All they love is England's glory,
           Ha, ha, ha!

     Now we all must grieve to know
     The deep offense our fathers gave,
     Meeting men with thrust and blow
     That came to rob them and enslave;
     We should blush for their ill-doing,
     Give their errors no renewing,
     And, unlike those old transgressors,
     Never hurt our isle's oppressors--
           Ha, ha, ha!
           Ha, ha, ha!
     Never hurt our isle's oppressors,
           Ha, ha, ha!

     Only think of Hugh O'Neill,
     Thundering down in furious style,
     To assail with lead and steel
     The rovers from our sister isle;
     Chiefs and clans in all directions
     With their far and near connections,
     Warriors bold and swift uprisers,
     Rushing on their civilizers--
           Ha, ha, ha!
           Ha, ha, ha!
     On their gracious civilizers,
           Ha, ha, ha!

     Surely, friends, the chance is great
     We'll cast a cloud on Emmet's fame,
     Scoff at Tone and '98,
     And scorn Lord Edward's honored name;
     Then, in quite a loyal manner,
     Clip and dye our old green banner,
     And, where hangs the harp of Brian,
     Place the mangy British lion--
           Ha, ha, ha!
           Ha, ha, ha!
     Place the mangy British lion,
           Ha, ha, ha!

     Surely, friends, it seems to me,
     England's self ere now should know,
     These are things she'll never see,
     Let Ireland's star be high or low;
     That's the truth, whoe'er denies it,
     Scouts it, flouts it, or decries it,
     Aids to spread a vile invention,
     Drawn from--where I will not mention!
           Ha, ha, ha!
           Ha, ha, ha!
     From the place 'tis wrong to mention,
           Ha, ha, ha!

Another song, written to discourage recruiting for the English army in
Ireland, goes thus:



       Good old Britain, rule the waves
       And gobble up all the land,
       Bring out the blacks and Indian braves
       To jigger the German band;
       Call up Australia and Canada, too,
       To shatter the Kaiser's den,
     We'll stick to the looms while the howitzer booms,
       Eight millions of English men;
       Of mafficking, manly men;
       Of valiant, loyal men;
     We'll capture the trade from here to Belgrade,
       Eight millions of English men.


       There are plenty of fools in Ireland still,
       Just promise them something soon,
       A Union Jack, or a Home Rule Bill,
       Or a slice of the next new moon;
       And they'll rush to the colors with wild hurroos,
       What price the War Lord then?
     They'll settle his hash, while we gobble his cash,
       Eight millions of English men;
       Of beef-eating, bull-dog men;
       Of undersized, able men;
     We're shy of the guns, but we'll beggar the Huns,
       Eight millions of English men.

This is a song that includes the Irish leaders in Parliament in its
satire on Irish "loyalty" to England:

       "Now," says Lady Aberdeen,
       "I've a message from the Queen
     To the loyal hearts in Ireland here at home;
         She wants you all to gather socks,
         Plain as I, or decked with clocks,
     Just to prove the Irish loyal to the throne."


     To Hell with the King, and God save Ireland,
       Get a sack and start the work to-day,
     Gather all the socks you meet, for the English Tommies' feet,
     When they're running from the Germans far away!

       "When you've gathered all the socks,
       Send them on to Dr. Cox,
     Or to Redmond, or to Dillon, or myself,
       For the party on the floor
       Have agreed to look them o'er
     While the Home Rule Bill is resting on the shelf."


     (Same as first stanza. The first line is a parody on the loyalist
     toast: "Here's a health to the King, and God save Ireland!")

The Irish Citizen Army song was written by Jo Connolly, a young
workingman, whose brother, Sean Connolly, was killed while leading the
attack on Dublin Castle Easter Monday. Jo was the boy who cut loopholes
in the roof of the College of Surgeons. He was deported to Wandsworth
Prison, but after a few months was released. The song is sung to the
tune which you know as "John Brown's Body":



     The Irish Citizen Army is the name of our wee band,
     With our marchin' and our drillin', I'm sure you'll call it grand;
     And when we start our fightin' it will be for Ireland,
       And we'll still keep marching on!


       Glory, glory to old Ireland!
       Glory, glory to our sireland!
     Glory to the memory of those who fought and fell,
       And we'll still keep marching on!


     We've got guns and ammunition, we know how to use them well,
     And when we meet the Saxon, we will drive them all to Hell;
     We've got to free our country and avenge all those who fell,
       So we still keep marching on!



     King George he is a coward, that no one can deny,
     When the Germans come to England, from there he'll have to fly;
     And if he comes to Ireland then, by God, he'll have to die,
       And we'll still go marching on!



     When the Germans come to free us, we will lend a helping hand,
     For we believe they're just as good as any in the land,
     They're bound to win our rights for us, let England go be damned!
       And we'll still keep marching on!

Here is the song of the Irish Volunteers, sung at all concerts held
before the rising to get funds for rifles and ammunition. The Volunteers
sang it whenever they marched, and I have been told the men in the
rising of '67 also sang it. It was sung everywhere during the last
rising. When we first withdrew to the College of Surgeons, Frank Robins
sang it, and we all joined in the chorus:


     I'll sing you a song, a soldier's song,
       With a cheering, rousing chorus,
     As round the blazing camp-fire we throng,
       The starry heavens o'er us;
     Impatient for the coming fight,
     And, as we watch the dawning light,
     Here in the silence of the night
       We'll chant the soldier's song:


     Soldiers are we whose lives are pledged to Ireland!
     Some have come from a land beyond the wave,
     Sworn to be free! No more our ancient sireland
     Shall shelter the despot and the slave!
     To-night we'll man the bearna booighill,[1]
     In Erin's cause come woe or weal,
     'Mid cannon's roar or rifle's peal,
       We'll chant a soldier's song!

     'Mid valleys green and towering crag,
       Our fathers fought before us,
     And conquered 'neath the same old flag
       That's proudly floating o'er us;
     We're children of a fighting race
     That never yet has known disgrace,
     And as we go our foe to face,
       We'll chant a soldier's song:


     Sons of the Gael, men of the Pale,
       The long-watched day is breaking!
     The serried ranks of Innisfail
       Have set the tyrant quaking!
     But now our camp-fire's burning low,
     See in the east a silver glow!
     Out yonder waits the Saxon foe!
       Then chant a soldier's song:


The Fianna also had their songs. One of them, written by one of the
Fianna boys, goes:

       Draw the sword ye Irish men!
       The sword is mightier than the pen!
     Fight the good old fight again
     To crush the old transgressor!

       Break the bonds of slavery!
       O great God, it cannot be
       That Gaels could ever bend the knee
       To England, their oppressor!

Almost before it was over, the rising became part of the great
patriotic tradition of Ireland, and on all sides new songs were heard
celebrating it and those who took leading parts in it. Some of these
songs were heavy with a sense of the nation's tragedy. Others--those
written by men who had taken part in the rising--were often full of wit,
that dauntless Irish spirit that does not forsake men even in defeat and
imprisonment. But the most moving, now the most popular of them all, was
written by a nun. It is sung to the tune of "Who Fears to Speak of '98?"
and begins:

     Who fears to speak of Easter Week?
     Who dares its fate deplore?
     The red-gold flame of Erin's name
     Confronts the world once more!
     So, Irishmen, remember, then,
     And raise your heads with pride,
     For great men, and straight men
     Have fought for you and died!

     The spirit wave that came to save
     The peerless Celtic soul,
     From earthly stain of greed and gain
     Had caught them in its roll;
     Had raised them high to do or die,
     To sound the trumpet call,
     To true men, though few men,
     To follow one and all!

     Upon their shield, a stainless field
     With virtue blazoned bright,
     With temperance and purity,
     With truth and honor, right;
     And now they stand at God's right hand,
     Who framed their dauntless clay,
     Who taught them, and brought them
     The honor of to-day!

     The ancient foe hath boasted,--lo:
     That Irishmen were tame!
     They bought our souls with paltry doles,
     And told the world of slaves;
     That lie, men, will die, men,
     In Pearse and Plunkett's graves!

Here is a song written by a member of the Irish Republican army while
he was confined in Richmond Barracks, Dublin, a month after the rising.
It is sung to the tune of "The Mountains of Mourne":


     In Dublin's fair city there's sorrow to-day
     For the flower of her manhood who fell in the fray;
     Her youths and her maidens, her joy and her pride
     Have gone down in battle, in war's raging tide.


     They came forth to fight for a cause that was grand,
     When freedom and liberty called to their land;
     In the ardor of youth, in the spring of the year,
     They came without falter, they fought without fear.


     Near the noon of that day on that April morn,
     Their tramp shook the street where young Emmet was born;
     They waved high their banner, white, orange and green,
     And it waved over freemen, the men of '16!


     And high o'er the Liffey it waved in the wind,
     Over hearts that were brave and the noblest of minds;
     And they fought as of old, and they held the old town
     Till their banner, unsullied, in darkness went down.


     In that Easter Week, dear old Dublin was freed,
     By the blood of her sons from Swords to the Sea,
     Oh, proudly again does she raise her old head
     When the nations lament and salute her bold dead!


     O Irish Republic! O dream of our dreams!
     Resplendent in vision thy bright beauty gleams!
     Though fallen and crushed 'neath thy enemy's heel,
     Thy glory and beauty shine burnished like steel!


     Not in vain was their death who for Ireland died,
     And their deeds in our hearts in gold are inscribed;
     The freeing of Ireland to us is their trust,
     And we can if we will it, we can if we must!


     In Dublin's fair city there's sorrow to-day,
     For the flower of her manhood who fell in the fray;
     But in hearts that are true there is nothing of gloom,
     And Erin regenerate shall rise from the tomb!

The rising inspired not only verse, but music. One of the most popular
songs in Ireland to-day is "Easter Week"; the words by Francis Grenade,
the music by Joseph Mary Crofts:

     Long, long the years thy chains have bound thee, Eire,
     Bitter the tears that sparkled in thy eyes,
     Sudden the cry of freedom thrills the city,
     Brave hearts beat high, thy children round thee rise;
     'Mid shot and shell, where flaming cannon thunder,
     From out that hell we hear their battle-cry:
     "Sinn Fein Amain!" Thy sons salute thee, Eire!
     See! Freedom's dawn is flushing in the skies!

     Dark Rosaleen, thy trampled flag, we swear it,
     Shall lift its sheen triumphant in the sun!
     Thy galling chain, our gallant sword shall save her,
     Ended thy pain and weeping, dearest one!
     In plaintive strains our hearts shall mourn our heroes,
     Till once again thy banner waveth free,
     Close to thy breast, then guard them, gentle Eire,
     There shall they rest till time shall cease to be!

If any proof were needed of the unbroken spirit of our men after the
rising, there could be none better than in the gay and challenging tone
of many of the songs written and sung at the internment camp at
Frongoch, Wales. The British guards were particularly irritated by one
in which every verse ended with the line:

     "Sinn Feiners, Pro-Germans, alive, alive O!"

But there was another that the guards not only tolerated but took to
singing themselves, much to the amusement of our men. The reason they
sang it was because the air was catchy and they had no means of knowing
that the "N. D. U." is the North Dublin Union or workhouse. It was
written by Jack McDonagh, brother of Thomas McDonagh, the poet, who
signed the proclamation of the republic and was shot for it. Here is the

           Come along and join the British Army,
     Show that you're not afraid,
           Put your name upon the roll of honor,
     In the Dublin "Pal's Brigade"!
           They'll send you out to France or Flanders,
     To show that you're true blue,
           But when the war is o'er,
           They won't need you any more,
       So they'll shut you in the N.D.U.!


[1] Pronounced "barnabweel," which means, "gap of danger."


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