Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Some Irish Yesterdays
Author: Somerville, E. Oe. (Edith Oenone), Ross, Martin
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Some Irish Yesterdays" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



[Illustration: Cover art]



[Illustration: "SHE FOUND THE IDEA HIGHLY HUMOROUS"]



                              *SOME IRISH
                              YESTERDAYS*


                                   BY

                           E. OE. SOMERVILLE

                                  AND

                              MARTIN ROSS

                               AUTHORS OF
                "THE REAL CHARLOTTE," "SOME EXPERIENCES
              OF AN IRISH R.M.," "ALL ON THE IRISH SHORE,"
                               ETC. ETC.



                             ILLUSTRATED BY
                           E. OE. SOMERVILLE



                        LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO.
                       39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON
                          NEW YORK AND BOMBAY
                                  1906

                         _All rights reserved_



                               *CONTENTS*

An Outpost of Ireland
Picnics
Boon Companions
The Biography of a Pump
Hunting Mahatmas
A Patrick’s Day Hunt
Alsatia
"In Sickness and in Health"
Horticultural
Out of Hand
A Record of Holiday
Lost, Stolen, or Strayed
Children of the Captivity
Slipper’s A B C of Fox-Hunting



_The Authors desire to thank the Editors of the Magazines and
Periodicals in which the following Sketches have appeared, for their
permission to reprint them here; and they wish also to acknowledge the
courtesy of Messrs. Constable & Co. in permitting the reproduction of "A
Patrick’s Day Hunt."_

_October_ 1906



                            *ILLUSTRATIONS*


"*She found the idea highly humorous*" . . . _Frontispiece_

*Kilronan Bay*

*An Aran Fisherman*

"*White houses clustered round a fragment of bastion*"

"*The outline of Connemara was still sharp*"

*The Elder Turf-Boy*

*An August Afternoon*

*Rickeen*

*Ross Lake*

"*The hovering horde vacillates no longer*"

"*A voice fell like a falling star*"

"*I wash meself every Sathurday morning*"

"*It’s all would be about it, she’d break the side car!*"

"*The like o’ the crowd that was in Kyleranny*"

"*He’s gone North agin!*"

"*The Widow Brinckley faced him the same as Jeffrey faced his cat*"

"*The villyan wheeled into the yard as nate as a bicycle*"

"*Sending his wild voice abroad*"

*Old Michael*

"*Ancient widowhood and spinsterdom*"

"*What have ye on yer noa-se*"

"*She’s the liveliest of them, God bless her!*"

"*And cabbages!" said the mountainy man*

*The Candidate*

"*A man must wote the way his priest and bishop ’ll tell him*"

*Facing America*

*In West Carbery*

*Patsey Sweeny*

*Mrs. Sweeny*

"*In a lonely cottage*"

*Children of the Captivity*

*Slipper’s A B C of Fox-Hunting*



                        *AN OUTPOST OF IRELAND*


"Is it a bath on Twelfth Day?  Sure no one would expect that, no more
than on a Sunday!"

Twelfth Day was accordingly added to Miss Gerraghty’s list of Bath
Holidays—that is to say, the list allotted to Miss Gerraghty’s visitors.
Judging from appearances, her private list was composed of one infinite
bath holiday; indeed, she has been heard in the kitchen announcing in
clear tones her opinion of "them thrash of baths" to an audience whose
hands and faces wore a sympathetic half-mourning.  Nature, we were given
to understand, had intended Miss Gerraghty to be a lady; a fate more
blind to the fitness of things decreed that she should serve tables in a
Galway lodging-house, a position in which higher destinies are likely to
be overlooked.  Some touches of dignity remained hers by an immutable
etiquette; no cap had ever found footing upon her raven fringe; a watch
chain took the place of the ignoble white apron. Chiefest of all
prerogatives, she was addressed as "Miss Gerraghty" by the
establishment, an example so carefully set by her brother, the
proprietor, as to suggest that her dowry was mingled with the funds of
the management.

With these solaces she doubtless fed her inner need of refinement, even
while she launched the thirteenth trump of repartee at the woman who
came to sell turkeys, or broke a lance in coquetry with the coal man.
Such episodes were freely audible to the sitting room by the
hall—indeed, the woman with the turkeys finally thrust her flushed face
and the turkey’s haggard bosom round the door, in an appeal to Cæsar
that made the rooftree ring.  These things occur in Galway, with a
simplicity that is not often met with elsewhere.

There was an afternoon when a native of the Islands of Aran penetrated
to the hearth-rug of Miss Gerraghty’s front sitting-room, in the
endeavour to plant upon its occupants a forequarter of mutton that smelt
of fish, and was as destitute of fat as the rocks of its birthplace.
Even the Aran man’s assurance that it was "as sweet as sugar," could not
relax by a line the contempt with which Miss Gerraghty, when summoned to
judgment, surveyed the dainty and its owner. In course of the
discussion, she took occasion to inform the company that she herself
could only "eat ram mutton by the dint of the gravy," which bore, as it
seemed, somewhat darkly upon the matter, but had the effect of deepening
the complexion of the Aran man by quite two shades of maroon, as he
hoisted his unattractive burden to his frieze-clad shoulder and removed
himself.

Miss Gerraghty then stated that them Aran people had a way of their own
and a sense of their own, like the Indians, and that a gentleman friend
of hers who travelled in tea, had once been weather-bound in Aran and
had had a bad stomach ever since.  She then retired to the kitchen,
where the narrative of the rout of the Aran Islander held, for the space
of ten enjoyable minutes, an audience swelled by the addition of the
washerwoman and the baker’s boy.

The incident passed, yet the phrase "a way of their own, and a sense of
their own—like the Indians," hung hauntingly in the memory.

Any attempt to portray Marino Cottage would be incomplete without
mention of its consort, Ocean Prospect, an affiliated establishment,
spoken of in the household as "Opposite," from which, at any hour of the
day or night, uncertain numbers of Miss Gerraghty’s nieces crossed the
road to Marino Cottage, laden, like ants, with burdens varying from a
feather bed to a kettle of boiling water.  A flavour of the life of the
"Swiss Family Robinson" was thus imparted, Ocean Prospect filling the
position of the wreck, which, as the virtuously brought up should
remember, yielded fresh butter, kegs of gunpowder, and bedroom slippers
with equal promptness.  Miss Gerraghty’s nieces occupied undefined and
interchangeable positions in both households, from Bedelia, who played
the piano, and on Saturdays crimped her hood of auburn hair, to Bridget
Ellen, who at seven years of age could discern a stale herring and tell
the fishwoman so.  Like Goldsmith, they left nothing untouched, and
there was nothing that they touched that they did not adorn, with genial
finger-mark or the generously strewn cinder. Their hats perched like
mange-stricken parakeets in the hall, their witticisms drew forth the
admiring yells of the kitchen audience from breakfast till bed time, the
creaking of their boots was as the innumerable rendings of glazed
calico, or the delirium of a corncrake.  The Holy-days of the Roman
Catholic church were observed by them with every honour, and with many
varieties of evening party; and it is a matter for mingled thankfulness
and regret that they observed them, for the most part, "Opposite."
Assuredly Bedelia, with a clean face, playing dance music, would have
been a spectacle hardly less memorable than Miss Gerraghty and her
Sunday boots circling in a waltz and creaking through a quadrille, or
sipping a glass of port with the delicacy befitting the noblesse.  Yet
with three Holy-days in one fortnight it might have proved excessive.

Miss Gerraghty rises irrepressibly into the foreground of these winter
days, but Christmas week in Galway Town remains an impression both
salient and characteristic. During its wet and miry days the country
people moved in a slow and voluble throng through streets and shops,
indifferent to weather, and time and space, while the sleety storm
roared of shipwreck above the rooftops, and the wearied young gentlemen
behind the counters held their own against the old women with a
philosophy perfected in the afflictions of many market days.

"Four an’ tinpince!" shouts an old woman in a short scarlet petticoat
and a long blue cloak, scornfully thumbing a pair of boots and slapping
them down on the counter. She traduces them, minutely, to a party of
friends, who, being skilled in the _rôle_ expected of them, implore her
not to waste her valuable time on such unworthy objects.  The salesman
has placed himself upon a bench, with his legs extended along it, his
eyes on the ceiling, and his arms folded; his lips repeat occasionally
the formula "Five shillins!" otherwise he remains as remote as the Grand
Lama of Tibet.

"You’re too tight with me!" laments the proprietor of a cartload of
apples, in pathetic appeal to a customer.  "God knows I’m not tight!"
responds the customer, with even superior pathos, "but the times is
scroogin’ meself!"

It is, perhaps, the leading draper who endures most.  All day long the
blue cloaks and the bony elbows jostle against his counters, disparaging
hands subject his calicoes and his flannels to gruesome tests, his plush
work-bags and scent-cases are handled uncomprehendingly and flung aside;
acrid jibes are levelled at his assistants, who, to do them justice,
show a practised tartness in rejoinder.  Through the noise and the smell
of stale turf smoke a large musical-box hammers and tinkles forth the
"Washington Post."

Late in the wild darkness of the January evenings the cry "Will thu
gull-a-wallia?" (_sic_) ("Are you going home?") passes from group to
group in the streets.  It is far on into the night before the carts with
their load of sleepy and drunken people cease to stagger and clatter
along the bleak roads that take them home.  Beaten with snow, blinded
with rain, the holiday season wears itself out in darkness, dirt, and
inconvenience, after the manner of such seasons, churches and public
houses presenting the only open doors in the shuttered streets.  All day
the electric light hung its fervid loops of white fire up in the roof of
the church of St. Nicholas, unearthly, coldly intense, suiting well the
spirituality of arches and pillars, loftily interclasping through the
storms of centuries.  The tattered colours of the Connaught Rangers
droop on either side of the chancel arch, shreds of mellow colour
against the grey limestone; they say things that are moving to a Galway
heart.  Out where the long Sea Road follows the shore of Galway Bay, the
great winds press heavily against the windows of Marino Cottage, and the
little one-horse trams glide on the desolate shining road like
white-backed beetles.

The year strengthened and the days lengthened over misty seas ridged
with angry white.  Out where the murky west held the Islands of Aran in
its bosom, the sunsets came later day by day.  Once, and memorably, a
dishevelled and flying pageant of green and lurid pink glowed, like the
torn colours in the church, beneath the darkening roof of cloud; in its
heart I saw the Aran steamer, labouring on the dark horizon of climbing
waves.

                     *      *      *      *      *

It was February when Circumstance took me in her hand and flung me
across two seas into the blue and gold weather and the purple and silver
mountains of the Department of "Pyrénées Orientales;" and May had come
before I was again in London, shivering in a cold rain that dropped
acridly out of the dirty fog, the orphan rain of London, that knows no
previousness of clouded hill, no dignity of broad-sailed mists moving up
along the moor, no hereafter of clean breezes sweeping the bounteous
heaven. Twenty hours later the mild yet poignant fragrance of Irish air
was in the window of my railway carriage, and the smell of turf smoke
came up out of the west across the stone walls of Roscommon.

Turf smoke lurked in concentrated staleness about the garb of the two
priests in the opposite corner, yet it was preferable to yesterday’s raw
whiff of the Channel; the galloping whisper of the Daily Office in the
two Breviaries revealed the accents of Connaught, and were comfortable
to an ear already soothed by drowsiness.  Let others roll and stagger to
foreign lands in front of the lashing fins of a screw, I was advancing
on an even axle into springtime in the County of Galway; in my mind’s
eye I beheld the Aran steamer leisurely paddling upon a sea of satin
smoothness to the unknown islands, and in my ear sang the phrase "a way
of their own, and a sense of their own; like the Indians."

Two mornings later the door of my bedroom in a hotel in Eyre Square,
Galway, was dealt a fateful blow by the hand of the hotel cook, at 3.30
A.M., a blow weighted by lifelong combat with loins of mutton.  It was
no less a person than she who placed the teapot on the breakfast table,
murmuring apologetically that "Gerrls was no good to rise early, but
owld ones like herself wouldn’t ax to stay in bed."  The sunshine of May
fell upon her grey locks as she stood at the portal to watch her guest’s
departure, and her "God speed ye!" mingled with the bang of the
swing-door as it slammed upon the dark and sleeping house.

The laburnums of Eyre Square were fountains of gold, and the lilac was
delicate and cool; a perfect stillness lay upon Galway. Passing on
through the streets there was no sign of life, and the morning sunshine
smote on ranks of muffled windows: here and there on the old houses the
coats-of-arms of the Galway Tribes uplifted their melancholy witness to
bygone greatness, but the town spoke with no living voice.  Emerging at
length from between blind-eyed house fronts, the docks were reached, and
in the large vacant spaces of water now to be found where was once the
second port of the United Kingdom, the smoke of a little steamer rose in
lonely activity, with the mountains of Clare and the glitter of Galway
Bay for a background.

There was some delay in departure, owing partly to a genial sympathy
with the unpunctual, partly to a question of precedence among a pig
family in the process of embarkation. The captain, a large clerical man
in a soft felt hat, bore it with the equanimity of one who has learned
in many journeys between Galway and Aran what is the full significance
of the devils having entered into the swine.  The boat moved out at
length into the gleaming breadth of the bay; slowly the gray town
grouped itself in its low-lying corner, the spires rose, waist-deep in
roofs, and the heavy tower of St. Nicholas bore its associations of
seven hundred years in the brilliant youth of the spring sunlight.  The
western suburbs stretched far along the bay, with slopes smoothly
wooded; white houses looked blankly out from their trim demesnes, like
alienated friends gazing an unmoved farewell.  Even Marino Cottage,
attired in a summer wash of pink, seemed to regard us with a new and
strange exclusiveness. Inexpressibly pure of plumage, the gulls rode the
clear wavelets, and swooped from poise to poise with striding wing,
masters of art in two elements, with cold eyes observant of the cumbrous
creature that crawled on the face of the waters with smoke and foam and
splashing.  Thirty miles away a low, blue mound on the horizon
represented those Islands of Aran described in the ancient "Book of
Rights" as "The Aras of the Sea;" the bows of the steamer swung to them,
gradually the brown and ragged coasts of Connemara opened away to the
north, and to the south the barren verge of the County of Clare was
shorn perpendicular to the sea at the thousand-foot drop of the cliffs
of Moher.

[Illustration: KILRONAN BAY]

The steamer plodded on at her ten miles an hour, the pig families below
uttered no more than an occasional yell of fractiousness or dolour, and
a party of Aran women sat and conversed under their red shawls with that
unflagging zest and seemingly inexhaustible supply of material that may
well be the envy of the cultured.

It was eight o’clock when the anchor was let go in Kilronan Bay,
opposite the principal village of the principal island, while the
changeless sunshine shone on shallow green water, on dazzling
whitewashed cottages, on dark hills and valleys of grey stone.  Round
the steamer flocked battered punts and tarred canvas corraghs with their
bows high out of the water; tanned faces, puckered by the sunlight,
stared up from them, and in a storm of Irish the process of disembarking
began—the phrase but feebly expresses the spectacle of a kitchen table
lowered from the deck and laid on its back in a corragh, or the feat of
placing an old woman sitting in the table with a gander in her lap.  The
corragh has no keel, and a sneeze is rightly believed to be fatal to its
equilibrium, but an Aran old woman and an Aran gander can rush in where
Sir Isaac Newton might fear to tread.

A crowd waited at the pier’s end, as the boats came creaking and gliding
in to their feet; a crowd of large and angular people, their faces
strong and inquisitive, and instantly remarkable to any one accustomed
to the mild and half-bashful expression of West Galway eyes.  There is
about them an air of a foreign race and of an earlier century. Under
circumstances less soul-stirring than the arrival of the Galway steamer,
their long composed faces express their monotony of mood; their eyes are
steady and far-looking, as those that from day to day measure the sweep
of great horizons.  Men and women alike wear "pampooties"—-slippers of
raw cowhide, with the hair outside—and walk with the alertness and
erectness that are learned from rocky ground and the absence of stiff
and high-heeled boots; the men affect short, full trousers, ending high
above the ankle, so that the pampootie is freely displayed in its
varieties of dun or black or speckled hide.  Topping the costume is a
"Tam o’ Shanter" cap, probably made in Birmingham.  It is not a graceful
dress, but the square shoulders and flat backs would dignify a worse
one, and the mild and mottled pampootie loses its effeminacy with the
people’s singularly emphatic tread.

[Illustration: AN ARAN FISHERMAN]

A hostelry of two whitewashed stories and a thatched roof faced the
pier, and we went thither in search of a car, ordered some days before.
The door was open, admitting a flood of sunshine to a narrow passage, on
one side of which was a kitchen, on the other a sitting-room, with a
wall paper of drab trellis-work starred with balls of Reckitt’s blue—so
it seemed, at least, to eyes blinded by the outer glare.  It contained
chiefly the smell of apples and sour bread proper to rooms of its class,
such as in the Isles of Aran seemed impossibly conventional. Train-oil
and sealskins would have shed a fitter perfume.  Having invoked the
household in vain, I essayed the kitchen, where an old man in
shirt-sleeves was in the act of eating his breakfast.  He regarded me,
not without aversion, and continued to share an egg with a child of
three years old who stood intent and dirty-faced at his elbow.  I waited
till a precarious teaspoonful had been lowered into the wide open mouth,
and made my inquiry about the car.

"They’re out since five o’clock looking for the horse."  Another
spoonful of egg trembled in the balance, and entered the speaker’s
mouth, not without disaster.

I averted my eyes, and asked where the horse was usually kept.

"He does be out on the rocks."  The spoon was pointed out of the window,
somewhat peevishly.

Looking in the direction indicated, we saw the arid shore of the bay,
where, instead of sands, grey stone in platforms and pavements met the
blue and glittering tide.  From the shore the country rose in haggard
slopes of gray stone with rifts of green; cresting the height, one of
Aran’s many ruined oratories lifted a naked gable in the deep of the
sky. A narrow road followed the bend of the bay, glaring white for two
shelterless miles; no living thing was visible; the pursuit of the horse
must be raging on the other side of the island.  It continued for
another hour, with what episodes of crag and crevasse can scarcely be
imagined; finally a dejected and shaggy captive was led in and was
thrust into the shafts of a car.

The drive that followed is not easily forgotten.  There were moments
when the car seemed to open at all its joints, as if falling asunder
from exhaustion; and the shafts swayed and swung like twin bowsprits,
the wheels creaked ominously, and one tyre left an undulating line in
the gritty dust of the road.  On either side spread floors of stone, on
which sat parliaments of boulders; we passed a stone platform so large
and so level that the addition of three walls has made a creditable
ball-alley of it.  The walls are said to have been built with money
given for the relief of distress in Aran; if so, relief money has often
been worse spent in the West of Ireland.  The road kept in touch with
the coast, the car mounted to higher ground, with the shafts pointing
heavenward on either side of the horse’s touzled mane.  Pale green
fields and pale tracts of sand mitigated the tyranny of rock, as the
island sloped south-eastward into the rich and wide azure of the sea.  A
village straggled along the shore, the chief mass of the low, white
houses clustered round a fragment of bastion and buttress that tells of
the days when Cromwell’s arm was long enough to grasp even Aran and
build a stronghold there, what time the iron entered into the soul of
Galway.

[Illustration: "WHITE HOUSES CLUSTERED ROUND A FRAGMENT OF BASTION"]

The builders of the castle had not far to seek for their cut stone.
Four churches and a lofty and slender Round Tower were close at hand, a
constellation in the devotional system of "Ara the Holy," the mother of
many saints and many churches, and therefore peculiarly suited to the
purpose of the Cromwellians.  The churches were demolished, the topmost
stones of the Tower were utilised, and its "Sweet bell" lost in the
sand.  Today but twelve feet of the beautiful masonry remain to testify
to the fervid skill of its builders.

Red-shawled women sat by the white-washed doorways of the village, red
petticoated children pattered barefoot on the hot rocks by the roadside,
and behind them burned the sea’s leagues of lapis lazuli; the green of
the grass lands intervened suavely in the delicious jangle of colour.
We were at our journey’s end so far as the car was concerned; the
artless islander, having extorted a payment of four shillings for a
drive of two miles, retired, and we pursued our way on foot to the Lodge
above the village, which was our destination.

[Illustration: "THE OUTLINE OF CONNEMARA WAS STILL SHARP"]

Life at the Lodge on the hill during the ten days that followed had
aspects that were wholly ideal, and aspects that were unreservedly
scullion.  The chief windows faced north-east, framing a splendid
outlook across a plain of sea to where the Connemara mountains have
pitched their tents in a jagged line, pale in the torpid heat of
morning, dark at evening against some lengthening creek of sunset.
When, at some ten of the clock the rooms in the lonely house had passed
from gloaming to darkness, and the paraffin lamp glared smokily at the
semi-grand piano and the horsehair sofa, the wild and noble outline of
Connemara was still sharp, the gleam behind it still a harbourage for
the daylight.

The more elementary needs of the establishment were coped with by a
henchwoman from the village below, a middle-aged and taciturn widow,
wearing a red-checked shawl over her broad chest, a smaller red shawl
over her head, an excessively short red homespun skirt, and pampooties.
In the early hours of the summer morning her step, muffled in cowhide,
traversed the house weightily; in due time followed the entrance of the
stable bucket, borne with a slow stride that showed to admiration the
grey woollen ankles under the short skirt: her eye rested askance, and
not without saturnine humour, upon the weakling of a later civilisation
who still lay in bed.  As the bucket was set down a deep and serious
voice uttered the monosyllable "bath," as colourlessly as the bleat of a
sheep, and, with the exit of her sallow face and dreamy blue eyes, the
strange, arduous, trifling day began.

Breakfast was not its least achievement, prepared by our own hands at a
turf fire that added an aroma of its own to the coffee, and delicately
flavoured the hot milk.  Owing to a scarcity of saucepans the eggs must
be boiled in a portly iron pot and fished from its depths with the
tongs, and through all, and impeding all, went the flushed pertinacity
of the amateur toast-maker.  Dinner was a more serious affair, a
strenuous triumph of mind over matter and over the Widow Holloran, a
daily despair, by reason of potatoes whose hearts remained harder than
Pharaoh’s, and chiefly by reason of the dearth of pie-dishes.

"Why wouldn’t ye ax Miss O’Regan down in the town for the loan of a
pie-dish?  Sure she’s full up of pie-dishes."  This remarkable
information came from Mrs. Holloran, but was not acted upon.

After twenty four hours of the ministry of the Widow Holloran, we found
the conclusion forced upon us that the Simple Life was far more
complicated, and infinitely more exacting than the normal existence of
the worldling. To us, nurturing a sulky flame in a gloomy pile of turf,
the truly Simple Life resolved itself into two words: good servants.
Even the least of Miss Gerraghty’s nieces would have been a Godsend; the
thought of mutton chops, procurable at any instant, all but brought a
dimness to the eye that foresaw a dinner—the third in succession—of
American bacon and eggs that tasted of fish.  It was in one of the long
May twilights that we were waited upon by the man who had, on the
hearthrug of Marino Cottage’s Front Sitting-room, offered us mutton,
sweet as sugar.  This time he offered not mutton, but sheep; he produced
a sort of subscription list, and invited us to put down our names for
any piece we might prefer of an animal which was at the moment nibbling
the dainty grass among the boulders.  We subscribed, with a shudder
which was, as it proved, superfluous. The subscription list did not
fill, and two days afterwards we were told that the matter had fallen
through, and if we wanted "buttcher’s mate" we must telegraph to Galway.

I have heard, in another part of Ireland, described slightingly as "a
wild westhern place in Cork," of a somewhat similar, but more elaborate
process.  "When they goes to kill a cow there, they dhrive her out
through the sthreet, and a man in front of her ringing a bell, and
another man with her, and he having a bit o’ chalk (and it _should_ be a
black cow).  Every one then can tell what bit of her they want, and the
man dhraws it out on her with the chalk.  But it _should_ be a black
cow."  I think it was a relative of this butcher who, when remonstrated
with about his meat, on the ground that it had not been properly killed,
replied unanswerably, "I declare to ye, the one that had the killing of
that cow was the Lord Almighty."

Meals at the Lodge were not things done in a corner.  Sheep cropped the
grass to the edge of the window sill, village children loitered
observantly on their way to the well, tall brindled dogs, in whom must
lurk some strain of the old Irish wolfhound, gnawed sapless bones in the
porch, as in an accustomed sanctuary.  The cuckoo, that pretended
recluse, passed and repassed in clumsy flight, even perching on the roof
of the house, and sending a hoarse and hollow cry down the chimney.
Sitting on the rock ledges in the long morning, the chiefest concern of
idleness was to note his short and graceless flittings from boulder to
wall, his tactless call, coarsened by nearness and the lack of illusion.
Not thus does the spirit voice poise the twin notes in tireless mystery,
among the wooded shores of Connemara lakes.

Below the Lodge, to the south-east, the restless sand has smothered many
a landmark, obliterated many a grave.  Lie down in it, it is a soft bed;
let it slip through your fingers, dry and fine and delicate, while the
sea line is high and blue above you, and the light breaker strikes the
slow moments in rhythm.  Saint and oratory, cloghaun and cromlech, lie
deep in its oblivion, their memory living faintly and more faintly from
lip to lip through the years; around the saints their halos still
linger, pale in this age’s noonday, and the fishermen still strike sail
at the corner of the island to the little crumbling tower that is
supposed to mark the grave of Saint Gregory.

The ridge of the island runs in table lands of rock, dropping in cliffs
to the sea along its south-western face.  These heights are level
deserts of stone, streaked with soft grass where the yellow vetch blazes
and a myriad wild roses lay their petals against the boulders.  Yet even
these handmaids of the rock are not the tenderest of its surprises. Look
down the slits and fissures as you step across them on a May day, and
you will see fronds of maiden hair climbing out of the darkness and warm
mud below.  A month later they will be strong and tall above the
surface; the clots of foam may often strike them when, below their
platform, the piled-up Atlantic rolls its vastness to the attack, with
the cruel green of the up-drawn wave, with the hurl of the pent tons
against crag and cliff.  But for us, on that May morning, land and sea
lay in rapt accord, and the breast of the brimming tide was laid to the
breast of the cliff, with a low and broken voice of joy.

The walk here became finally and definitely a steeplechase, and those
not bred in Galway had better think twice before attempting an Aran
stone wall; indeed, when five feet of ponderous and trembling stone
lattice work has to be dealt with, the native himself will probably
adopt the simple course of throwing it down, building it up again or
not, according to the dictates of conscience. If the explorer survives
two hours of this exercise, he will have reached the fort of Dun Ængus,
built in days when Christianity, a climbing sunrise, was as yet far
below the Irish horizon.  Of its kind, it is reputed to be as perfect as
anything in Europe, but it is an unlovely kind.  Three invertebrate
walls of loose stones, eighteen feet high and fifteen feet thick, sprawl
in a triple horseshoe to the edge of a cliff, which, with its sheer drop
of three hundred feet to the sea, completes the line of defence.  The
innermost of the three ramparts encloses a windy plateau where, in times
of siege, the Firbolg Prince Ængus, son of Huamor, probably enjoyed the
society of all the cattle in the island, and of an indefinite number of
wives.  The outermost rampart girdles eleven acres of rocky hillside,
and here the unwearied savage labour constructed a chevaux-de-frise by
wedging slabs and splinters of stone into every crevice.  Hardly now, in
the intelligent calm of sight-seeing, can the invader make a way through
the ankle-breaking confusion, where, in the gloaming centuries before
St. Patrick, bloody hands clutched the limestone edges in the death
stagger, and matted heads crashed dizzily down, in unrecorded death and
courage and despair.

After those days Danes and Irish and English plundered in their turn,
but the stillness of the rock and the loneliness of the sea closed in
again on the islands, while on the mainland rebellion and conquest
alternated in a various agony, and the civilisation thrust on Ireland
was a coat of many colours, dipped in blood.  These Aras of the Sea rest
in their primitive calm, nurturing a strong, leisurely people, with the
patience and hardiness of the rock in their blood; equipped physically
for any destiny, equipped mentally with the quick financial ability and
shrewdness of the Irish, yet slow to imitate, slow in the adoption of
what others initiate, regarding, I fear, their country as the invalid
and ill-used wife of the British ogre, a wife of the admired Early
Victorian type, unoriginative, prolific, and unable to support herself.

Looking down from Dun Ængus there is little expression of the three
thousand lives that are hemmed in this floating parish.  No wheel is
audible along the nine miles of Irish moor; the other two islands lie
gray and still, rimmed by fawning and flashing tides, lifeless save
where the smoke of burning kelp creeps blue by the water’s edge.

It is a pleasant descent to the village of Kilmurvey, down through the
buoyant air of the hill side; the grass steals its way among the
outposts of rock, till the foot travels with unfamiliar ease in level
fields.  Near Kilmurvey the Resident Magistrate’s house shows a trim
roof among young larch and spruce, a miracle of modernity and right
angles after the strewn monstrosities of the ridge above; passing near
it, a piano gave forth a Nocturne of Chopin’s to the solitude, a
patrician lament, a skilled passion, in a land where ear and voice have
preserved the single threads of melody, and harmony is as yet unwoven.

With its barbaric novelties of colour, its wild, red-clad women, its
background of grey rock, its glare of sunshine, Aran should be a place
known to painters, but at the first sight of even the sketch book the
village street becomes a desert; the mothers, spitting to avert the "bad
eye," snatch their children into their houses, and bang their doors. The
old women vanish from the door steps, the boys take to the rocks.  As it
is the creed of Aran that any one that has his "likeness dhrew out" will
die within the year, it seems unfeeling to urge the matter upon them.
Here and there the mission shilling makes its convert; an old woman
braced herself to the risk on the excellent ground that she would
probably die before the year was out, and might as well make the most of
her chances.  She found the idea highly humorous, and so did several of
the neighbours.

Our departure from Aran was not out of keeping with the general run of
events there. Struggling with painting materials, plants of maidenhair
fern, and the usual oversights and overflows of packing, scantily
enveloped in newspaper, we made our way on foot from the Lodge to the
bay below it, a distance of some two or three hundred yards, and there
embarked, attended to the boat by Mrs. Holloran and her next of kin—in
other words, a crowd of some twenty deeply interested persons.  We had
shoved off and were moving out towards the steamer over the transparent
green deeps of the bay, when I remembered the little boy who had driven
our portmanteaux down to the beach in a donkey cart, and I flung a
shilling to one of the next-of-kin in settlement of the obligation. We
saw the emissary present the tribute.

"He’ll not take it!" was shouted from the shore.

I protested at the full pitch of my voice to the effect that he must not
allow his magnanimity to interfere with his just dues, that I was very
glad to give it to him.

"He’ll take three!" travelled to us like a cannon ball across the
translucent water.

Nothing travelled back.  Nothing, that is, except the Galway steamer,
which presently flapped its paddles into the falling tide, and took us
away to regions where we ourselves were natives, and viewed the tourist
with a proper hauteur.

Meditating on those May days, winnowed now of their husk of culinary
difficulties, they seem the most purely lonely, the most crowded with
impressions, that could befall. Habituated to the stillness of West
Galway life, these stillnesses were vast and expressive beyond any
previous experience of mine; in the shadeless brilliance, the bare
grayness, I breathed a foreign and tingling air.  The people’s
profoundly self-centred existence has "no thoroughfare" written across
it; lying on the warm rocks, they see Ireland stretched silent,
enigmatic, apart from them, and are content that it is so.  Their
poverty is known to many, their way of thought to a few; they remain
motionless on the edge of Europe, with the dust of the saints beneath
their feet.



                               *PICNICS*


A kettle seated decorously on a kitchen range is far less likely to be
smoked than one propped precariously on a heap of smouldering sticks.
It is also ordained by the forces of civilisation that it shall
eventually boil; a point by no means to be taken for granted in the
matter of the sticks.  A sparcity of saucers, an apostolic community of
teaspoons; no one would suspect the hidden humour in such disabilities
if confronted with them at an ordinary "At Home," and however excellent
the appetite brought to bear upon a chicken pie at a luncheon party, in
the lack of knives and forks it would scarce nerve its possessor to eat
with his fingers.  And yet, so skin deep a fraud is civilisation, the
chicken bone to which, through the years, I look back most fondly, was
gnawed, warm from the pocket, on the top of one of the Bantry mountains.

[Illustration: "THE ELDER TURF-BOY"]

The first picnic in which I clearly recall taking part was, like many
that succeeded it, illicit.  It unconsciously adhered to the great and
golden precept that picnics should be limited in number and select in
company.  It consisted, in fact, of no more than four, which, with a
leggy deerhound, a turf fire, and the smoke from the turf fire, were as
much as could be fitted in.  Why a ruinous lime-kiln should have been
chosen is not worth inquiring into.  It probably conformed best with
those ideals of cave-dwelling, secrecy, and rigorous discomfort that are
treasured by the young.  We were, indeed, excessively young, and should
have been walking in all godliness with the governess; two of us at
least should. The other two were turf-boys, who should have been
carrying baskets of turf on their backs into the kitchen, and submitting
themselves reverently to the innumerable oppressions of the cook, who,
they assured us, had already pitched them to the Seventeen Divils three
times that same day.  The lime-kiln was sketchily roofed with branches,
thatched with sedge and was entered by the hole at which the smoke came
out.  It was a feat of some skill to lower oneself through this hole,
avoid the fire, grope for the table—a packing-case—with one toe, and
thence fall on top of the rest of the party.  Except in the item of
sociability I do not think that the deerhound can have enjoyed himself
much; he spent most of the time in dodging the transits of the kettle,
and it was our malign custom to wipe the knives on his back, in places
just beyond the flaps of a tongue as long and red as a slice of ham.
What we ate is best forgotten.  Something disgusting with carraway seeds
in it, kneaded by our own filthy hands, lubricated with lard, and baked
in a frying pan in the inmost heart of the turf smoke.  The drink was
claret, stolen from the dining-room, and boiled with a few handfuls of
the snow that lay sparsely under the fir trees round the lime-kiln.  Why
the claret should have been boiled with snow is hard to explain.  I
think it must have been due to its suggestion of Polar expeditions and
Roman Feasts; subjects both of them, that lent themselves to learned and
condescending explanation to the turf-boys.  Afterwards, when the elder
turf-boy, Sonny Walsh, produced a pack of cards from a cavity in his
coat that had begun life as a pocket, and dealt them out for "Spoilt
Five" it was the turf-boy’s turn to condescend.  "Spoilt Five" is not in
any sense child’s play; its rules are complicated, and its play overlaid
with weird usages and expressions.  For the uninitiated it was out of
the question to distinguish kings from queens, or the all-important
"Five-Fingers" from any other five, through the haze of dirt with which
all were befogged.  The turf-boys knew them as the shepherd knows his
flock, and at the end of the game had become possessors of our
stock-in-trade, consisting of a Manx halfpenny, a slate pencil with
plaid paper gummed round its shank, two lemon drops, and a livery
button.

This was a good and thoroughly enjoyable picnic, containing within
itself all the elements of success, difficult as these may be to define,
and still more difficult as they are to secure.

[Illustration: AN AUGUST AFTERNOON]

I remember an August afternoon, and a long island that lay sweltering in
a sea of flat and streaky blue.  Two heated boatloads approached it at
full speed, each determined to get there first, and equally determined
not to seem aware of any emulation.  Simultaneously the keels drove like
ploughs into the hot shingle, the inevitable troop of dogs flung
themselves ashore—it is noteworthy that all dogs dash into a boat as if
they were leading a forlorn hope, and leave it as if they were escaping
from a fire—the party spread itself over the beach in cheerful argument
as to the most suitable place for the repast, and while the contention
was still hot as to the relative merits of a long disused churchyard,
with an ancient stone coffin lid for a table, or a baking corner of the
strand, where a thin stream trickled over the cliffs to the sea, one
came from the boats with a stricken face, and said that all the food had
been left behind.  There was silence for a space.  Then, while the
accusers answered one another, the remembrance of Mrs. Driscoll’s
cottage shone like a star on a stormy night into the minds of the
castaways. Under happier circumstances the metaphor might have seemed
inappropriate, but there is a time for everything, and the time for Mrs.
Driscoll’s cottage to pose as a star of hope and deliverance had
arrived.  Mrs. Driscoll herself, emerging from her cowhouse,
sympathetic, hospitable, and very dirty, was equal to the occasion.
Would she lend us a skillet?  Sure, why not!  An’ eggs is it? an’
praties? an’ a sup o’ milk, and the sign o’ butther?  Well, well! the
cratures!  An’ they come to this lonesome place to ate their dinner, an’
to lave it afther them afther! Glory be to mercy!  Well, the genthry is
quare, but for all they’re very good!  She led the foraging party in to
her cottage.  It was the only house on the island, and, in rough
weather, as solitary and cut off from humanity as was Noah’s Ark.
Indeed, solitariness was not the only point wherein a resemblance to the
Ark was suggested.  A cloud of hens screeched forth over the half door
in our faces; two cats and a pig sped out as we opened it; a small but
determined mother goat dared us to force the fortalice of the inner
chamber in which her offspring were, no doubt, in laager; a gander
lifted his clattering bill from a skillet—the skillet, I may say, in
which our subsequent meal was to be prepared—to hiss alarmingly at us;
two children and, I think, a calf, shuddered noiselessly out of sight
into the brown vault of the fireplace, and through it all, as Mrs.
Browning sings, "The nightingales" (or, strictly speaking, the ducks)
"drove straight and full their long clear call."

Mrs. Driscoll drove, headlong as an ocean steamer, through her _ménage_.
The skillet was snatched from the gander; with one sweeping cuff a
low-growling, elderly dog was dashed from its seat on the potato sack
under the table.  The dresser yielded a bowl full of eggs; from the
bedroom came milk and butter (happily, none of us, save the goat, was
made free of the mysteries of their place of keeping), and a little girl
was plucked from the depths of the chimney and commanded to "run away to
the well for a pitcher of water."

"Not from the well in the bohireen," we said quickly, "it doesn’t look
very—"

"Sure that’s grand wather, asthore," replied Mrs. Driscoll, "if ye’ll
take the green top off it there’s no better wather in the globe of
Ireland, nor in Carbery nayther!"

We accepted the reassurance.  When one is less than twenty and more than
half-starved, one accepts a good deal, and I cannot remember that any of
us were any the worse for the water.  At all events the potatoes were
boiled in it, the eggs nestling amicably among them (this to save time
and fuel). Ultimately there was made a comprehensive blend of
everything—eggs, potatoes, milk and butter, the whole served hot, on
flat stones, and eaten with pocket knives and cockleshells.

Over our heads the unsophisticated seagulls swooped and screamed—I
remember that one of them nearly knocked my hat off on that island one
day—the air quivered like hot oil between us and the purple distance of
the mainland, and yet there was the island freshness in it; we lay on
our backs on the heathery verge of the cliffs and drowsed off the
potatoes.  There were no plates to wash, no forks to clean.  It was an
admirable picnic.  So every one thought, save the dogs, who found
egg-shells and potato-skins a poor substitute for chicken bones.

There is, I think, in the matter of picnics no middle course endurable.
If they cannot attain to the untrammelled simplicity of the savage, they
require all the resources of civilisation to justify them.  Let there be
men-servants, and maid-servants, and cattle—for carting purposes—and, in
fact, all the things enumerated in the Tenth Commandment, including your
neighbour’s wife. Let there also be champagne—and yet, not even
champagne will alleviate much if your neighbour’s wife be dull and
greedy, and how often, how almost invariably is she, at a picnic, both
these things!  There certainly is something in the conditions of set
feasts out of doors that induces an unusual measure of gluttony.
Primarily, of course, there is the lack of other occupation, but
chiefly, I think, there is the instinctive wish to lessen the labours of
packing up.  Packing up is the dark feature of the best picnic.  I have
often pitied the Apostles for the seven basketfuls that they found left
on their hands.

If an instance of all that is worst in a picnic be required I may
lightly record some of the features of an entertainment which, one
summer, I was by Heaven’s help and a little lower diplomacy, enabled to
evade. The drag-net of the African war had gone heavily over the
neighbourhood, and to the forty women who had unflinchingly accepted,
but two men were found to preserve the just balance of the sexes.  These
numbers are not fictitious.  They may be found seared upon the heart of
the hostess.

The forty, with a singular fatuity, seem to have been as tenacious of
their dignity as jurymen at a Coroner’s inquest.  It was theirs, as
females, to sit still and be fed, and this they did, even though the
feeding process was conducted solely by the two heroes of the afternoon,
and was necessarily of the most gradual character.  The kettle, or
rather kettles, were—it is the only bright spot in the affair—ably
manipulated by serfs in the background, and in their hands was also the
grosser conduct of the feast, the unpacking, the setting forth on the
grass of a table cloth of about half an acre in area, and the placing on
its unattainable central plateaux those matters—such as cream-jugs and
fruit salads—in greatest request and most prone to disaster.  They,
also, had been the selectors of a ruined cottage as the site of the camp
fires, and it was only when these were being prepared that a swarm of
bees discovered itself in the chimney.  Fortunately, however, before it
went on to discover the picnic, some one, with the Irish gift of using
the wrong thing in the right place, stopped the flue with a hamper and a
carriage rug, thus heading off the worst of the bees, while the fires
were relit in the corners of the cottage.  The two men faced the
position.  Through smoke and bees they did their duty, carting back and
forth the eighty cups of tea which the occasion demanded; but they said
afterwards that more than patriotism barbed the regret that their
country had deemed them too old for active service.  As for the forty
ladies, they sat and fulfilled what was for them the primary, if not the
only object of the picnic, by eating and drinking, without haste,
without rest, till the kettles gave out.  Then, like a flock of gorged
birds, they rose heavily, and unaffectedly begged to be allowed to order
their carriages, and so went home.  The hostess had held a walk and a
view in reserve, in case of emergencies, but it was not for her to
complain.  The two men then had their tea.

It has been my fate to take part in several yachting picnics.  They have
all had one common and hideous feature—even as a cocked-nose or a squint
will run in families—the yachts have invariably been becalmed. Their
other conditions have been various. Sometimes the food was sent by land
to meet the yachters at the chosen rendezvous; sometimes the picnicking
contingent rode bicycles and sent the food by sea, and sometimes the
yacht alone took the whole outfit, food and feeders, and putting forth
to sea, incontinently fell upon flat calms, and the slow pulsing swell
of the Atlantic, and thus, though the direct cause varied, the net
result was ever the same—starvation.  There is hidden away in West Cork
a most lovely and lonely lake.  It is joined with the sea by a narrow
neck, up which at high water boats can come.  To landward is a great
hill, thickly grown with firs, and aboriginal oaks, and hollies, wherein
on a still night you may hear the wild screech of the martin-cats,
ripping the darkness blood-curdlingly, like a woman’s scream.  From its
summit is a view of wondrous beauty and expanse (not necessarily
synonymous terms, though often reckoned so), and it was there that we
were to picnic, bicycling as near the top as might be, while hirelings
from the yacht were to carry provisions up the hill for us.  It was a
luncheon picnic, the blackest kind of all.  The yacht started at
daybreak; all was to be ready on the hill top by our arrival.

I should think the least intelligent would have already gathered the
_dénouement_ of this "Cautionary Tale," as Mrs. Sherwood would call it,
and I need do no more than indicate the closing scene of the day’s
tragedy.  On a sea of turquoise, far-away sails, saffron-coloured, and
motionless in the afternoon sunlight.  On the mud floor of a roadside
public house, a small company of bicyclists, drearily preserving life by
means of sour porter, flat, sweet lemonade, and probably the stalest
biscuits in the wide province of Munster.

Many high authorities, including, I am told, Mr. Herbert Spencer, assure
us that it is the inherited influences of prehistoric ancestors that
breed in otherwise decent and home-keeping souls the love of the lawless
freedom of a picnic, and, to be sure, the pleasure that we had in our
island orgy, with its plateless, spoonless indecorums, can best be
explained on some such theory.  None the less, I maintain that the ideal
picnic is only achieved by the most super-civilised elimination and
selection.  Two, or at most four, congenial souls, and a tea basket of
latest device and most expert equipment—these things, and thoroughly dry
grass, and I ask no more of heaven.



                           *BOON COMPANIONS*


"D’ye remember of Gill and Poor Fellow, greyhounds that was in it long
ago?"

I did not.  In the long and tear-stained annals of the family dogs but
one greyhound was in my memory, the saintly and beautiful Gazelle, own
niece to "Master McGrath," as was recited with bated breath to new
governesses and other of the unenlightened, coupled with large
statements as to her uncomputable value had not her tail in youth been
shut into a stable door and given a double angle like a bayonet.

Rickeen was occupied, to some extent, in felling a young ash tree.  He
swung in half a score of blows that made it shiver, and presently came
to the expected pause.

"Faith thim was the dogs—!  My brother Tom was butler here the same
time. B’leeve me ’twas himself was souple!  He’d run home any minute in
the day, two miles, and ye wouldn’t hardly feel him gone."

This remarkable accomplishment on the part of the butler was allowed to
sink in, as it deserved.

"He had a tarrier, and one day going through the Wood of Annagh himself
and the tarrier wakened a hare, and the two o’ thim was hunting her
through and fro, and he cursing the full of a house on the tarrier. He
shtud then on the big rock that’s in it, and he let a whistle on his two
fingers. The two greyhounds was sthretched within at the kitchen fire up
at the Big House, and sorra word of lie I’m tellin’, but Poor Fellow put
an ear on him, and the two of them legged it out of the kitchen and away
with them to the wood, and they never stopped nor stayed till they found
Tom, and themselves and the tarrier killed the hare."

The big rock and the Big House were severed by an Irish mile of tree
trunks and briars, but criticism is the last thing required from a
listener, and I hope I played my part.

[Illustration: RICKEEN]

Rickeen was again possessed by a spasm of industry: the chips flew out,
the tall young ash cracked, and sank into the arms of its neighbours.
There was a singular simplicity about the forestry of the establishment.
When the bitter cry of the cook went forth for wood wherewith to cook
the impending meal, Rickeen prayed that the divil might roast and baste
all the women in Ireland, and cut down a convenient young tree.  By this
means the plantations were lightly thinned at the ends nearest the
house, and as a general thing the cook gave notice every three weeks,
which prevented any unwholesome stagnation.

"But as for dogs," continued Rickeen, a little later, as he snicked off
the greeny-grey branches, "the grandest dog ever was in this counthry
was Mullowny’s.  Ye couldn’t know what kind of a breed was in him, but
ye’d _have_ to like him, he was that spotted."

Here a long-drawn yell came forth from the yard, resolving itself
gradually into a statement to Rickeen that the Misthress wanted her
keys, and himself was the last one she seen them with.

Rickeen put down his hatchet in fateful silence.  His dog, couched in a
brake where the young bracken stems curled like bishops’ croziers round
her crafty snout, raised one yellow eyebrow out of what was apparently
deep sleep, arose, and followed him with her wonted gravity.  Her cold
manner was the next thing to good breeding; in spite of a family tree
exclusively composed of crosses, in spite of a coat suggestive of a
badger skin that has been used as a door mat, there was that in her pale
eyes and in the set smile at the corners of her mouth that discouraged
familiarity, and induced other dogs to feign a sudden interest in their
own affairs as she approached.  To follow Rickeen she gnawed ropes, and
swam lakes, and ate her way through doors, and Rickeen never to my
knowledge addressed her, except with the command to drive in the cows.
In her next incarnation she will probably be the ideal colonist’s wife.

I remained sitting on a stump in the silence, and thought of my first
love, Bran. Through the tree stems I could see a grassy hill sloping to
the lake side, where, at the age of nine, I grovelled one morning among
the cowslips and mopped my soaking tears with my holland waggoner, and
wished for death, because Bran had been drowned. Bran was a cur, half
silky and gracious Gordon setter, half woolly vulgarian of the Irish
cottage breed, and to us, his comrades, a hero, an object of passionate
faith, and, as such, the victim of many well-meant but excruciating
honours.  He wore, with docile consciousness of his absurdity,
ornamental harness of strangling complications, and with it drew at a
foot pace a grocer’s box, mounted on wheels, while we walked before and
after with fixed bayonets and all the gravity befitting a guard of
honour operating in shrubberies teeming with banditti.  It was not till
an attempt was made to put the new bull dog into double harness with him
that Bran showed symptoms of resentment, and the battle that then raged
in the tangle of the shoulder straps and traces placed him, if possible,
higher in our respect.  The matter was patched up with the bull dog,
who, though instant in quarrel, was not without good feeling, and next
morning, at an early hour, I saw his frightful face protruding from
under the bedclothes of my brother’s bed, framed in a poke bonnet of
sheet, while two long tails, languidly waving in welcome, hung down over
the valance like bell-ropes, and witnessed to the presence of Bran and
of the young deerhound, Kilfane, hidden in the deepest heart of the bed.

Perhaps Sunday was the day that Bran was most satiating to us.  To go to
church on the top of the family omnibus was at any time the summit of
ambition; with Bran speeding easily in front, or slackening for a
hurried exchange of ferocities with cabin acquaintances, the five miles
(invariably driven in the teeth of a north-westerly wind) were all too
short.  Those inside, whose turn it would be to sit on top coming home,
yearned with crooked necks through the side windows, and stimulated by
glimpses of the hero, were enabled to struggle successfully with the
hideous tendency of childhood to be sea-sick in covered vehicles.
During church time Bran was immured in the lock-up at the police
station, and many a wriggling half-hour’s endurance of the sermon was
gilded by expectancy of the moment when the sorrowful sighing of the
prisoner would turn to ardent sniffing under the door of the lockup, and
the hand of the sergeant would restore to us "life’s greatest
possibility."

One summer night, at about this time, as I lay in my bed, the spirits of
prophecy and of poesy came upon me hand in hand, quite inexplicably.
Bran was in his usual health, and, as I afterwards found, was at that
very hour engaged in stealing mutton hash from the back hall: but it was
decreed that I should compose an ode fatefully commemorating his violent
death.

"Oh, Bran, thou wert gentle and sweet," I began, without an effort,
while Mattel’s Valse swung and crashed its way up through two ceilings
from the drawing-room,

      But now thou art past and gone,
    Like a wave on the ocean so fleet,
      And the deed of death was done.

Even here inspiration did not flag.

      ’Tis no use to wail or to weep.
    For oh, alas and alack!
      Thou’st gone to that eternal sleep,
    From which none can bring thee back.


The magnificence of the close was almost stupefying to the author; even
the second line of the verse had seemed full of a rending passion.  I
sank to sleep, aware that I had taken my place in literature.

A year afterwards came the miserable tears among the cowslips, the first
taste of the bitter core of sentiment, and the discovery that the
prophetic ode did not express the position.

Bran occupies the whole foreground of the history of pets, but there
were many of a lesser sort.  There was even another elegy, beginning:

    Stranger, with reverence draw near,
    A Linnet lies below.

But birds were not our foible.

Rabbits followed each other in bewildering succession, and travelled to
their doom by the same track.  We fed them with milk and water out of
eggspoons, with daisies, and with clover, but the morning always came
when the foundling lay stiff in its hay, its black eyes glazed, and the
limp daisies untouched beside it.  One notable exception is recorded, a
young rabbit brought in with a broken leg, who out of pure contrariety
and improbability lived for a year.  It became precocious beyond belief,
and sat all day observing life from the arm of its proprietor. At night
it slept, or affected to sleep, in a box in her room, biding its time
till the candle was put out.  Under cover of darkness it would then
stealthily come forth and would buck with precision from the floor on to
the face of the sleeper, repeating the feat as often as repulsed, until
a burrow in some corner of the bed was granted.  (It is not out of place
here to mention that its nails were cut with extreme care and
regularity.)  Its diet presented no difficulty, save in the matter of
restriction.  It partook of the family meals as they came: porridge,
marmalade, bread and butter, meat; uncooked green vegetables were not so
much as mentioned in its presence.  It even, horrible to confess,
frequently ate rabbit-pie, and cracked and crunched the bones of its
relatives with cannibal glee.  On these scandalous foods it throve, but
remained dwarfish and uncanny. It had moods of suspicion and brooding,
when it sat in the chimney of an empty room. Once, under the protection,
no doubt, of the evil spirits with whom it was in league, it leaped from
a window sill forty feet above the ground, alighted with a flop, and
greeted those who rushed to pick up the corpse with a cold stare of
inquiry as to what the excitement was about.  It met its death by
presuming in the open field upon the long-suffering of the dogs whom it
terrorised in the house.

Outside the inner circle of pets, and within the outer circle of the
donkeys whom we partly loved, partly scorned, and daily martyrised, kids
held a certain position of their own.  They are not to be commended,
being skittish, peevish, tactless and strong, but they were not without
attraction.  One of them, black and white, with oblique barley-sugar
eyes, showed much inclination towards the profession of house dog, and
learned many essentials of that trade; the doors that were worth waiting
at, the perils and rich prizes of the kitchen passages, the moment to
intrude, the moment to fly.  An incident of its career can best be told
in the words of a certain Bridget, a notable member of the long dynasty
of Bridgets that passed processionally through the establishment _en
route_ for America.

"The Misthress was below in the hall and she heard one above on the top
landin’, walkin’ as sthrong as a man.  ’Bridget!’ says she," (the voice
of command was given with great elegance and hauteur), "and what was in
it but the young goat, and it commenced walkin’ down the stairs.  ’Come
here, Bridget!’ says the Misthress, and sure of course the goat said
nothing, but goin’ on always from step to step.  ’Arrah musha! The divil
go from ye,’ says the Misthress, ’why don’t ye spake?  What sort of
hoppin’ is it ye have up there?’"  (The elegance of the imitation here
yielded to the narrator’s sense of what was fitting.)  "Faith, the goat
stood then, like it’d be afraid.  ’The Lord save us, it’s the fairies!’
says the Misthress, an’ there wasn’t one in the house but she called,
and what did they get in it but the goat, an’ it having a stocking half
ate!"

Not long afterwards (next day probably) the kid was sent back on an
outside car to its native place, a region of bog and rock and scrub,
where its lamentations for the schoolroom fire had ample scope.  It was
escorted to its Siberia by a large party from the schoolroom, filled
with curiosity to see how it would be received in its family circle.
The boy who was left to hold the horse became also impelled to see the
meeting, with the result that the horse and car were found a little
later on their backs in a bog ditch, which conclusion is not to this
hour known to the authorities.

It was in the winter that the Reign of Terror of the Monkeys began.  The
first of them, large and grey, wearing the name of Lizzie, and a red
flannel coat, arrived in December, and it was humanely arranged that she
should live close to the kitchen fire on the flour bin.  It was also
enacted that she was to be chained to the wall "until she got to know
people a little."

There are Northern stories, Eastern ones, too, I believe, of houses in
which evil spirits having once gained entrance, remained in immutable
possession.  Thus it was with us. In a short time Lizzie got to know
every one very thoroughly.  She bit each visitor indiscriminately, and
having analysed the samples, she arranged a sliding scale of likes and
dislikes, on the negative principle.  That is to say, she would tolerate
A till B arrived, when she bit A.  On C’s appearance she bit both A and
B, and so on up to Z.  The master of the house was Z.  (Herein she
showed her infernal cunning.)  Z was never bitten.  The kitchenmaid, in
whose control were the dainties that Lizzie’s soul loved, was Y, _i.e._,
she was only bitten on the arrival of the master.  Lizzie’s bad life had
the sole merit of brevity.  One of her customs was to strike a match,
and having burnt the hair on her grimy, nervous little arm, to eat the
frizzled remains.  (Thus invalidating the vaunt that man is the only
animal that cooks.)  Having on several occasions nearly set the house on
fire, matches were forbidden to her, but one fortunate day a new boxful
somehow fell into her possession, and, varying her wonted practice, she
ate off the heads of most of the matches.  Therewith her spirit passed;
but only temporarily.  In less than a year she was with us again.  This
time in the guise of a small brown monkey, that went by the name of
Jack.  A clear proof of obsession by the spirit of Lizzie was afforded
in the fact that precisely the same sliding scale of hatred was
observed, culminating as before in the master of the house.  Jack was in
some particulars less repellent than his predecessor.  He was smaller,
and was given to fits, which gave a hope that his life might not long be
spared. By this time the flour-bin from long camping would have supplied
the germs of enteric to an entire army corps.  (I hasten to say that,
being in Ireland, it was never used as a flour-bin having been thus
temporarily styled as a concession to convention during the brief reign
of an English cook who had long before fled to her native land.)
Between the flour-bin and the wall Jack’s fits usually took place, and
it was the wont of the tender-hearted kitchenmaid (known to this day
among her fellows as "Mary-the-Monkey."  The suffix "the Monkey" being a
distinguishing mark; as "Philippe-le-Bel," "Robert-the-Lion") to unchain
him after one of these seizures and to sit before the fire with him on
her lap. No experience seemed to teach her that his first act on
recovery was to bite her suddenly and then escape.  The alarm was spread
in precisely the same manner on each successive occasion.  First a
shrill and piercing scream from "Mary-the-Monkey," usually coupled with
an appeal to her God.  Then an answering yell from the next victim in
the pantry.  Then a shouting, and an earthquake slamming of doors
through the house as its occupants one and all sped to safety.  Finally
the voice of the master assuring the invisible household that all was
well, and that the monkey would never bite any one if they did not show
that they were afraid of him.

Jack died in a fit, and was mourned only by the master and the faithful
kitchenmaid. Yet had he and his fellow had any desire for social success
it would have been easy for them to have achieved it in a family so
inured to pets as ours.

But monkeys are worse than tactless. They understand their own
hideousness and unpopularity, yet will not make a step towards
amiability.  A little leaning to the pathetic would have made us adore
them, but they prefer to remain malevolent, remote, uttering coarse,
mysterious grunts and screeches, out of hearts full of cold devilry.  It
is in keeping with their vulgarity that they should thrust their way
into an assemblage of pets; an insult even to the kid and the rabbit, an
outrage to the memory of Bran.



                       *THE BIOGRAPHY OF A PUMP*


The date of its birth is uncertain.  A torpid tradition places it in the
Early Victorian Era, but the Regency is more probable; even the
Rebellion of ’96 may not have been beyond its ken.  Being a native of
West Galway, neither Regency nor Early Victorian Era was likely to be an
epoch in its surroundings. It belonged to the period when

    "... Dick Martin ruled
    The trackless wilds of Connemara;"

and the men who put it in its place scarcely knew whether king or queen
ruled in an England that was as remote from them as the India of to-day.

It is probable that in the youth of the pump its labours were light.
Baths were the eccentricity of a few, a revival of the corrupt days of
the Roman Empire; and the process by which the stalwart fox-hunter of
the beginning of this century got into his clothes was one that it might
be well to slur over, invaluable as he and his costume have been to the
Christmas numbers.  Vast and simple cooking operations, conducted on an
open grate four feet long; vats of meat pickle lying in cellars where
the light came greenly through ivied windows; cauldrons of potatoes, and
possibly cauldrons of punch; these formed the highest claims on the
water-supply before the dynasty of the bath was proclaimed in the
establishment.  The deathless discontent that followed the innovation
has produced many stirring household episodes, none of them more sudden
and complete than that which occurred on the day when one of those
vessels of wrath, the bath, was repainted for the first time.  The local
carpenter had arrived for the purpose, with what disdain for such
trifling can be imagined.  Arriving early, he discovered the bath as yet
unemptied, an added insult to a man whose time was much occupied with
fishing on the lake, and other serious matters.  The housemaid, with
ill-timed coquetry, put out her tongue at him when approached on the
subject.  In silence more bodeful than repartee he returned to the bath,
carried it to the door, and emptied its contents down the passage.  A
stupefied stillness fell upon the bystanders, then arose outcry almost
choked by rage, while behind a locked door the carpenter whistled and
audibly chuckled over his work.

In those days the turf-boy was an institution, oppressive, but
necessitated by an establishment where coal had never been seen, and an
armful of turf burned away in an hour.  All day they plied bare-foot
between the turf-house and the various fuel depots of the house with
baskets of the long, hard sods on their backs, and guile and mutiny in
their hearts, because that with the office of turf-boy was linked the
hated one of water-carrier.  About this latter clustered battles of
endless variety, involving the sacred person of the cook, and frequently
topped as with a banner by her giving of warning.  After long warfare it
was lightly thought that the exodus of cooks might be stayed by the
introduction of a self-filling boiler supplied from a small tank, which
must, by Median and Persian law, be replenished every morning.  It was
done, and for an incredible fortnight the charm of novelty retained its
hold on the turf-boys; the tank was filled, the ball-cock did its work
like a book, and the Dublin cook was fain to seek another grievance.
The inevitable hour drew on when the tank, like any other entertainment,
must cease to amuse, the hour in which it ebbed unreplenished to its
dregs, while the turf-boys, much preoccupied with making a wicker snare
for blackbirds, known as a cradle-bird, sat round the fire, and
dismissed the boiler from their minds with a calm, native trust in
Providence.  It was in the meridian of this peace that the boiler burst,
with a single and shattering report.  What followed on that crack of
doom it is not necessary to record; the imagination of any householder
can shadow forth the attitude of the cook, and no living pen could
reproduce the flight of the turf-boys.

It is more agreeable to turn to another scene, in which the pump played
its part to a limited extent, when, on the last night of the old year,
the coach-house was garlanded with holly and ivy, and "Pete-een bawn,"
the Albino fiddler, sat on high on a window-sill, twitching out jigs and
reels from the fiddle that he played on his knee, while the thick boots
of a roomful of dancers kept light and unflagging time.  As the crowning
hour of twelve drew on, preparations began for the brew of punch that
was to usher in the new year, and a tasting committee, formed of the
gamekeeper and the kitchenmaid, was met by the supreme question of what
to brew it in. A bucket was considered too small, the churn was rejected
because it had "an ugly smell."  Finally some genius bethought him of a
hip-bath.  The bath was snatched from the nearest bedroom by a bevy of
turf-boys, the stone jar of John Jameson was emptied into it, and
followed with more reticence by kettles of boiling water; all that
remained was to provide each guest with a cup to dip into the reeking
pool.  Ten minutes later the bath was empty, and a ring of boys radiated
from it at full length, lapping the last drops, and even licking the
enamel, while the dancing was resumed with startling emphasis.  Outside,
a light snow was on the ground, the north wind blew dark in that bitter
midnight, and the ice on the lake uttered strange sounds—hollow, musical
shocks with the voice of the imprisoned water in them. Every tree in the
woods stood separate in white silhouette, the rime sifting through the
branches in a dry whisper.  Upon this subtle mood of winter came forth
from the open doors of the coach-house the light of lamps with tin
reflectors, the shrewish scream of the fiddle as Pete-een bawn jerked
his white head in accord with "The hare was in the corn," the aroma of
punch and of clothes seasoned in turf smoke.  It is better to withdraw
from these early hours of the new year, before the uncertain homeward
footsteps blotted the thin snow, and the exponents of the genial first
stage of drunkenness assisted the exponents of the aggressive second
stage to pull themselves together for early Mass.

[Illustration: ROSS LAKE]

It has been mentioned that the pump was subject to chronic and
mysterious ailments, on which every skilled opinion in the country was
brought to bear, while the water famine was sore in the land, and the
turf-boys plied with buckets and bewailings between the lake and the
cook, and unearthly pronged creatures gyrated in the water-bottles.  It
was during one of these visitations, when the back yard was torn up into
entrenchments, and the pump lay two miles away at the forge, that the
Garrygillihy horse races were held, and with this event the revolt of
the turf-boys broke forth.  On the previous day they concealed
themselves in an old limekiln and mended their trousers; on the morning
itself they made the simple statement that "if the servants was to die
dancing for turf and wather they’ll not get it to-day," after which
ultimatum they were seen no more. Many things happened in their absence,
not at first sight connected with it; the cook went to bed in the
afternoon, the hens walked upstairs to the pantry, and picked out the
inside of a plum cake, and a cow got into the coach-house, and ate the
cushion of the car.  The cook gave warning next day, the kitchenmaid, in
tears, followed suit, because the cook had called her a "jumper"
(_i.e._, a pervert to Protestantism); the housemaid, also in tears,
asserted that the kitchenmaid "had a spleen agin her," and the stableman
was heard darkly soliloquising over the cleaning of the bits that "a lie
was _something_, but there was no dealing with a d—d lie."  All these
things were subsequently traced by tortuous ways to the grand central
fact that the turf-boys had gone to the Garrygillihy races.

There came at length a notable crisis, when the pump showed that it had,
like most of its countrymen, a power of rising to the occasion.  It was
on a bright morning in May that the kitchen chimney caught fire, an
event of yearly occurrence, and by no means displeasing to the
authorities.  The big shaft roared with furnace heat up its eighty feet,
the ugly blaze wavered from the chimney top; a few buckets of water were
poured down, and all became quiet.  It had happened in the immemorial
manner, but just once too often.  Four hours later, in the stillness of
the hot afternoon, the voice of the fire was heard again, a soft, busy
crackling in the timbers of the roof, a muffled booming sound that grew
above it; a tongue of flame through the slates, a drip of melted lead
from the eaves, and the house was full of shouts and rushing feet.  An
hour afterwards the battle was over, and the toilers could fling
themselves down, breathless, to realise an incredible escape, and the
clang of the pump handle ceased.  Throughout that hour of stress none of
the pump’s repertoire of evil symptoms was exhibited, nor did it fail to
respond to the astonishing variety of receptacles presented to its grim
beak.  Next day it gasped forth the mud of the bottom of the well, and
fell into a fractious disorder from which it has never rallied; but none
the less the old house at its back owes its life to the allegiance of
its comrade of a hundred years.



                           *HUNTING MAHATMAS*


Many people have learnt from "Kim" what it is to be a "Chela," and there
was a time, not long ago, when every self-respecting evening paper and
most of the magazines had something sufficiently—or
self-sufficiently—illuminating to say about Karma or the Mahatma.  I am
not skilled in Buddhism, but I have assimilated a fact or two about
Mahatmas, and in so doing have become aware of wider issues.

A Mahatma, I believe, implies primarily a teacher, an instructor, a sage
or hermit with intermittently social tendencies; it also implies the
possession of many useful endowments. Matter and space appear to be
negligible accidents to the competent Mahatma.  As a mere after-dinner
triviality he will summon you a cigarette from infinity and will
materialise it on the table; moving to higher things, he can produce a
copy of the _Times_ in the remoter parts of Tibet on the day on which it
appears in London, advertisements and all, but exclusive, I fancy, of
library privileges.  Transcending these lighter accomplishments,
however, is his power of transporting himself to a chosen place at a
chosen time without visible means of progression.  He, we are assured,
can fade from the landscape with the beautiful elusiveness of a rainbow,
and can develop himself elsewhere, in or out of the landscape, with a
precision with which the rainbow cannot hope to compete.

There is a matter that seems to me to have escaped observation—it
certainly is not generally admitted—that in society not notably occult,
in what, in fact, are often spoken of as Hunting Circles (though why
circles, save with a very bad fox, it is hard to say), these privileged
beings are found. Unsuspected, unappreciated, his high gifts often
despised, even disliked, the Mahatma blooms in what might seem the
uncongenial soil of many a hunting country.

There is a difference, distinct and, in my mind, well defined, between
the people who hunt and the people who go hunting.  The people who hunt
are the professionals; serious, impassioned even, but with subdued
emotion; fanatics who live only to conjugate the verb To Hunt in all its
moods and tenses; recognising implicitly the force of its imperative,
accepting its future with joy, its past with loquacity.  For them hunt
numbers are compiled, and runs recorded with geographical accuracy and
microscopic detail; they cut out the work, they give the time.  Yet it
is not among their thrusting ranks that the Mahatma is found.  He is
evolved, in perfect response to the need for him, among the wider
brotherhood of those who go hunting.  These are the true free lances of
the chase.  Having cast off the fear of public opinion, and purged
themselves of the love of display, they have no conventions to respect
and no position to lose.  Hand in hand with their devotion to sport goes
the most saving good sense.  How despicable to these enfranchised minds
must be the meaningless twists, the desperate endeavours of the zealots
who, infatuated as a string of ants, surmount unwaveringly every
obstacle that lies in their path!  As, from a pleasant hill side, the
Mahatma views these struggles, he must surely feel how well it is with
him, and how useful a thing it is to combine moral courage with
intelligence.

[Illustration: "THE HOVERING HORDE VACILLATES NO LONGER"]

But in a hilly and gateless country, such as Ireland excels in, moral
courage and intelligence will not suffice; inspiration is needed, and
straightway, out of a hovering and uncertain horde of riders, the
Mahatma materialises.  The hour has come, and the man. (These things, it
may be noted, often synchronise with the interposition of the class of
fence that is like an east wind, in being neither good for man nor
beast.)  Without a shadow of hesitation the Mahatma turns his horse at a
right angle from the line the hounds are running, possibly even in a
diametrically opposite direction.  It matters not; the result will
justify him.  The hovering horde vacillates no longer; no word is
spoken, no allegiance sworn; his sovereignty is as instant and
unquestioned as that of the queen bee; one telepathic moment has
transformed them into his disciples.

It is here that the superiority of the hunting Mahatma to the religious
variety makes itself felt.  Like the Magic Carpet in the "Arabian
Nights" he has the mystic power of transporting not only himself but his
adherents.  One moment and you may see him skilfully "knocking a gap"
(_i.e._, unbuilding a wall) or opening a gate, as the case may be, while
the disciples wait respectfully; the next they are lost, swallowed up in
the Fifth Dimension, or wherever it is that Mahatmas move and have their
being.  It may be a quarter of an hour afterwards, it may be twenty
minutes; the hunt arrives, heated, something blown, and very proud of
itself, at a road where there is a momentary check.  There, drawn up,
calm and omniscient, is the Mahatma, with the disciples.  He has seen
the fox (who, it may not be out of place to note, is on these occasions
always the largest dog-fox that the country has ever produced).  He
advises the huntsman, with perfect knowledge, where to cast his hounds,
and once more betakes himself, with his party, to the Fifth Dimension.
During the various turns and chances of the average hunting run in rough
country, he is met with on every road that is crossed by the hunt.  He
is a directory of the most obscure and unsuspected gaps, an amateur of
padlocks, a Samson who can lift from their hinges the gates of Gaza, or
any other gates that may intervene.  He is present at all disasters, and
acts as a sort of convalescent home for their victims, and as a
rallying-place for those who have been thrown out.

As I muse over his gifts, and the benevolence with which they are
exercised, my heart warms to him and his compeers.  Had I my way no hunt
establishment should be without its own accredited Mahatma.  He should
be entitled to the letters M.F.H. as unquestioningly as the Master.  I
would blazon them on his broad back (the Mahatma’s figure is wont to be
a fine one), plain for all men to see, and brand them on his ample
sandwich-case. "Mahatma to the Meaths!"  Any man might be pleased to
have some such an inscription on his tombstone.  "Mahatma to the
Blazers" might hold some hint of incongruity; yet, however blazing one
may be, there are moments——

It has happened to me, in a remote part of the County Waterford, to have
lost the hounds, and at the same moment to find myself confronted by a
frowning bank, hollow-faced, afforested with furze, wholly, as it seemed
to me, impassable.  While I surveyed it in dejection the cry of the
hounds was borne to me on the wind; the music had a dying fall, they
were running hard, and away from me.  It was then that the voice of the
local Mahatma fell like a falling star from the hillside above me.

"Go on a small piece to the right and ye’ll get a passage."

I obeyed, and saw that hoof marks of cattle led to a cleft in the bank,
so masked with furze bushes as to be invisible.  I squeezed through it,
and found the valley smiling before me, and the hounds still within
reach.  But the Mahatma had gone.

I met him at the next check, cool and unruffled, silent as to the
miraculous nature of his transit.

"Ye’re barefooted," he said briefly.

[Illustration: "A VOICE FELL LIKE A FALLING STAR"]

I found that I had indeed lost a foreshoe.

Strange that such faculties as his should command so little general
admiration!  Upon his final manifestation, which occurred after the fox
had gone to ground, I heard the Master say brutally:

"How the devil did you get here?"

The Master had given his horse two bad cuts.

The Mahatma maintained a Druid silence; it was not for him to comment on
the eternal supremacy of Mind over Matter.



                         *A PATRICK’S DAY HUNT*


I wash meself every Sathurday morning, whether I want it or no and ’twas
washing my face I was when William Sheehan came in the door, and it no
more than ten o’clock in the morning.

[Illustration: "I WASH MESELF EVERY SATHURDAY MORNING"]

That’s the way I remember ’twas a Sathurday, and Pathrick’s Day was
Monday.

"God bless the work!" says he.

"You too," says I.

"Would ye lend me the loan of a harness," says he, "to drive Anne
Roche"—(that’s his wife)—"to town on Pathrick’s Day?"

The dear knows, says I to meself, if I walked two mile asking a harness
it isn’t to drive that one I’d ask it!

"I will to be sure," says I, "and welcome, but is it to town you’re
going on Pathrick’s Day in place of going to Kyleranny?  Sure you know
yourself there’s the fun of Cork in Kyleranny when the Hunt’s in it on a
Holy-day!"

"I believe so indeed," says he.

"Faith you do believe it," says I.  "D’ye remember one time," I says,
"when the Hunt was in it, Stephen’s Day it was, you comin down
Knockranny Hill hoppin’ a quarther of a mile on your one leg, and the
other foot fasht in the stirrup, and the owld mare you had that time
throttin’ on always. The Smith said it was the pleasantest thing ever he
seen!"

"God be with the owld days!" says William, "that was long ago times,
before I was married," says he.

"Thrue for you!" says I.

"Will ye lend me the harness?" says he to me again.

"Come here now William," says I, "you an’ me is friends this many a
year.  There isn’t one in the counthry I have as much wish for as
yourself.  The Divil sweep ye!" says I.  "Sure it’s follying the Hunt
you should be, in place of goin’ drivin’ a side-car to town like a
servant boy!" says I, "and you that was careing a puppy all the winter
for the Hunt, the same as meself!"

"Ah, that was the grand pup!" says he. "’Twas a pity he died, and God
knows," says he, "I dunno in the world what killed him, if it wasn’t a
bottle of varnish he dhrank one morning."

Faith, says I to meself, it’s aisy known what killed the poor pup.  It
isn’t long ourselves’d live if we didn’t get our victuals!

I drew out then, and I gave William a puck in the chest.

"I’m tellin’ you now," says I.  "Dang the harness ye’ll get from me on
Pathrick’s Day!  No!  But you’ll throw the saddle on the pony a’ Monday
morning and you’ll come out to the Hunt to jolly yourself!"

"Sure the pony has the colour o’ lameness on him since I had him at
Cappagh Fair last Tuesday, under pigs," says he.  "That was thirty mile
on him."

"Arrah! what signifies that?" says I, "that little horse is as tough as
an eel!"

"And he have a sore place on his shesht, about as big as a thimble,"
says he.

"And is it on his shesht you’d go put the saddle?" says I.

"Well, it is not," says he.

"And as to go putting a collar and harness on a crayture that has the
skin sthripped," says I, "if it was an ass itself the polis’d be afther
ye for it."

"Indeed I’m told so," says he.

"Musha, Divil’s cure to ye!" says I, "isn’t it what ye can be tellin’
your wife?" says I.  "How simple ye are!" says I.

Not another word he spoke but to walk away out o’ the house.

"Ye have the man annoyed with your thricks, Conny," says me wife, "why
wouldn’t ye give him what he was axing and not to be blackguarding that
way?  Maybe yerself wouldn’t be so ready to go borrowing a harness for
your wife?" says she.

"Maybe if I was married to Anne Roche it isn’t me razor she’d take to go
cuttin’ spuds for seed?" says I.

"Arrah, sit down to your breakfast, Conny," says she, "and have done
with your chat!"

"I’m tellin’ you," says I, "if Anne Roche goes to town on Pathrick’s
Day, it’s her own two legs’ll carry her!"

"Glory be to God!" says me wife, "she’ll be mad altogether!  She’ll tear
iron!" says she.

"Divil mend her!" says I.

Now as for the foxy mare I had that time, I declare to ye if ye had her
within in the stable, and to be keeping oats to her for two days, she’d
have as much thricks and _tashpy_ in her, and she’d be as anxious for
the road as a lad that’d be goin’ to a fair.

If she was to be kept within always and getting what she’d ax of hay and
oats, it’s all would be about it she’d break the sidecar! (and faith,
she was nigh handy to doin’ that same one time!)  But what can a
crayture do that’s working always, and getting black potatoes for her
diet?

I went to her St. Pathrick’s morning early, and the full up of a tin
basin of oats in my hand.  The very minute I opened the door:

"Ah—hem!" says she to me, this way.

"The Divil go from you!" says I, "wasn’t the year long enough for you to
get a cough, and not to be sick on Pathrick’s Day?  And if ye were
coughing the full o’ the house ye’ll not stop within to-day!" says I,
"ye can have your choice thing of coughing to-morrow!" says I.

And b’lieve me, ’tis she that had that same.

I rode her out quite and aisy, it’s no more than five mile to Kyleranny,
and the two lads of sons I have was legging it out before me.

"What have ye in the bottles?" says I to the eldest little fella when I
passed them out.

"Milk, Sir!" says he.

"And what have ye in the bag?" says I to the other lad.

"Me boots, Sir," says he.

I knew well that was a lie for them, but I said nayther here nor there
to them.

[Illustration: "IT’S ALL WOULD BE ABOUT IT SHE’D BREAK THE SIDE CAR!"]

When I was passing Macarthy’s, coming into Kyleranny, what was in it but
William Sheehan’s yella horse—"Shan Bui" is the name we has in this
counthry for them yella horses with the black sthripe on their back—and
he outside the door, and a bag on his nose.

Musha, more power to ye William! says I to meself, ye stole away clever!
But indeed it’s aisy known that Herself had the kay of the bin!

Himself came out then; he was afther drinkin’ a couple or three glasses
o’ portlier to hearten himself, the poor fella, and he was ’long with me
from that out from first to last, but not a word good nor bad he spoke
of the wife.

[Illustration: "THE LIKE O’ THE CROWD THAT WAS IN KYLERANNY"]

The like o’ the crowd of people that was in Kyleranny that day never you
seen—side-cars, and carts, and phaytons, and all sorts, let alone them
that was goin’ huntin’. Ye wouldn’t hardly know there was hounds in it
at all with the dint of the people that’d be around them, and it’d be as
good for you to thry to get into Heaven as to get past the cross roads.
Ye’d lose your life cursin’ before the owld women’d stand out from under
your feet.  Ye’d have to be going around them this way, the same as a
person that’d be winding a watch.

"Is it sick the Major is, that he’s not in it?" says I to Tim Hurley the
Whip (that’s the son of an Aunt of mine by the mother), when I got to
come at him, "and Johnny Daly riding Monaloo?"

"He has the ’fluenzy," says Tim.

"Is it bad with him?" says I.

"He’s bad enough to-day," says he, "but yesterday he was clear dead
altogether."

"It’s a pity anything would ail him," says I.

The Major was a fine man, always, and his family was a fine family.
Sure me father used to say that in owld times if ye went to the Big
House ye’d get the smell o’ roast beef when ye’d be no more than half
way up the avenue, and there’d be dhrinkin’ all day and knockin’ all
night, and if ye axed the change of a half-crown, it wasn’t in it.

Faith, I said to John Daly, there wouldn’t be any fun, nor no cursin’
nor nothing, when the Major wouldn’t be in it.

"Maybe I might please ye yet before the day’s out," says he, lookin’ at
me ugly enough. "Time’s up!" says he then, and with that he comminced to
bugle, and away with himself and Tim and the dogs, out north for
Dempsey’s Gorse.

Well, you’d have to pity William Sheehan if ye seen him that time
follyin’ the hounds out the road from Kyleranny to Dempsey’s Gorse.  As
soon as me bowld Shan Bui felt the horses throttin, and batthering, and
belting the road afther him, he made all sorts of shapes and forms of
himself, and as for William, if it wasn’t for the almighty howlt he cot
of the crupper of the owld saddle, he was a dead man.

"Blasht your sowl, William!" says owld Dan Donovan to him, "if you would
save your bones," says he, "you will lead him out now for a mile till
you’re coming up to Dempsey’s, and when ye have the hill agin him then’s
the time ye’ll get satisfaction!"

Well, William had great courage the same day.  He held his howlt on the
little horse out to Dempsey’s, and when we come to the gap into the
southern field, below the house, Johnny Daly went away in up through the
land.  Well, at the third field west of where Dempsey had the turnips
two years ago, there was about three foot of a stone wall before us.
The yella pony jumped it very crabbed, but the minute he landed, and he
havin’ the fall o’ the ground before him, he made a ball of himself, and
he bet a lash on Dan Donovan’s owld white mare that wasn’t sayin’ a
word, only goin’ from step to step over the wall, like a Christian, and
with that he legged it away down the hill!

B’lieve me, William was promising God that time that if he come safe out
of it he’d howld to the side-car and not ax to go huntin’ agin!  But
indeed poor William had great courage all through, only for the wife.

"Whatever way it is," says I to Dan Donovan, and we wheeling round the
brink o’ the hill, "every horse that’s in it will have his ’nough of
grass ate before the dogs’ll have them furze bushes rattled out, and,
I’m tellin’ye, that’ll quieten them."

"The divil a fox is there in it at all," says Dan.

"Well, now," says William, "there’s a woman of the Sullivans’ that has a
little house beyond, is afther tellin’ me a while ago himself and his
pups has a nest in it some place.  Last week she seen them walkin’ in
and out of it, like young pigs."

"Maybe she didn’t tell ye what way her sons has them pairsecuted with
greyhounds and bulldogs and all sorts!" says Dan.

Well, divil such screechin’ ever ye heard as what the dogs comminced
then down in the furze.

"That’s Fiddler!" says Dan, "that’s a great hound!  Maybe it’s a cat he
have nooked in it!"

"Faith, well is he called Fiddler!" says I, "he roars most furious."

"Look over!  Look over at Johnny Daly!" says William, "what bugling he
have now!  If it’s a cat itself, what harm would it do them to ate her!
It’s little ateing there is in the like of her; them poor craytures of
dogs does be starved with the hunger; and that’s what has them yowling
this way."

"Look at Johnny skelpin’ round the bog!" says I, "mind ye, he’s souple
yet, and he as gross as a bullock, and a back on him as long as a
double-ditch!"

"Whisht!" says Dan, "that’s the Whip man screechin’ to the dogs!  They
have a fox surely!"

"Ye lie!" says William, "that’s Jeremi’h Drishcoll’s screech, I seen him
within in the furze.  Hi cock!  Jeremi’h!  Bate him out of it boy!"

"Ah, that’s a fine sober fox," says owld Dan, "he’ll not lave his den
for them.  It’s a pity now," says he, "that the Major wouldn’t have a
fox keeping in a stable, and on a holiday, or the like o’ that, to put a
halter on him and lead him out before the hounds.  Begob, he’d give them
a nice chase!"

With that all the lads on the hills around let a roar out o’ them.

"Hulla!  Hulla!  Hulla!" says they.  "Look at the cat!  Look at he!
Look at he!  Down him!  Land him!"

Every dog that was in it legged it to the roar.

Well, if ye seen Johnny Daly comin’ down the hill that time ye’d think
the fairies was afther him.  He’d jump the house, he was that mad!

"Plase God he’ll not come our way!" says I.

I declare to ye now, if you seen Jeremi’h Driscoll leppin’ the furze
bushes, and Johnny Daly afther him with the whip, ye’d as soon be
lookin’ at it as ateing your dinner.  And as for Tim Hurley, you’d have
to pity him, sthrivin’ to go around every hound that was in it.

"The dogs have her ate!  More power! They have the owld cat ate!" says
Smartheen, that was sitting up on the wall behind us. "She was dam cute!
I thought she’d besht them!  The shkamer!"

’Twasn’t long afther that till Tim Hurley had all the dogs gothered and
counted, and ’tis he that got his own trouble with them! Them poor
fellas of Whips catches great hardship.  Johnny Daly faced away up the
hill agin them, and the whole o’ thim afther him.

"It’s for Bludth he’s making," says I, "and if that’s to be the way,
it’s there ye’ll see leppin!" says I.  "Tighten yerself now Dan!" says
I, "thim banks above in Bludth does be made up very crabby, and as for
walls, it’s not stones at all they has in them, but bog mould and
slates!"

Well, for all, poor William Sheehan had great courage that day.

"Your sowl to the divil, Smartheen!" says he.  "Knock a few o’ thim
stones, boy!"

With that he gives the yella pony a salamandher of a belt, and he
coorsed him about three turns around the field the way he’d knock the
wind out o’ him, in regard of he being out on grass always, and when he
thought he felt him jaded it’s then he faced him in at the wall.  But in
spite of all he jumped it very sevare and very ugly.  Them Shan Buies is
very piggish that way.

Meself, I don’t like them flippant leppers; I’d like a horse that will
put his two forefeet into the butt o’ the wall, and give ye time to say
two Aves and a Father before he leps out.

"As for my mare," says I to Dan, the same time, "she boxed her knee a
fortnight ago, and it’s big with her yet, and faith she’s avouring it
always.  And indeed that’s a cross place in any case," says I.  "God
bless ye, Smartheen," says I, "throw down a couple more o’ them stones!"

I’m tellin’ ye Smartheen was a decent civil boy always.

We follied on the bohireens afther that, ye’d think ’twas a wedding with
all that was in it!  Throttin’ and steppin’ their horses, and the hounds
and the ladies and gentlemen and all out before us.

"Faith," says I, "they’d get as nice a shweat this way as what they’d
get in any quadhreel whatever in Dublin Castle," says I, "and as for
jogglin’ and jowltin’," says I, "any one’d be the better o’ this in his
health while he’ll live," says I.

Indeed, all that was in it was teeming down with the heat before we were
up into Bludth at all.

Comin’ up out o’ the bohireen there was a stick left across in the end
of it, keepin’ in calves; a middlin’ heavy pole, and the two ends fasht.
If it was in the Cork Park races ye wouldn’t see as much fun as what we
knocked out of it with young Tom Dennehy!  Sure he was ridin’ the
Docthor’s grey mare, an’ he dhressed out, and grand yalla gaiters on
him, and he in dhread of his life!

"Dennehy took great use out o’ the bohireens all through!" says one of
the lads "’tis time for him to throw a lep for us now!"

It’s well the Docthor wasn’t looking at them that time, and they weltin’
the mare with switches and stones, and Dennehy howlding her back from
the lep when she’d be gethered for it.—Begob! he fell heavy when the
crayture jumped in the spite of him! And there’s where the fun was!

Ye wouldn’t blame him to be afraid if it wasn’t for the dirty little
boasting he has always.  But indeed ’twould stun any one to hear the
talk of the Dennehys.

"Mind yourself now, William," says Dan, afther the three of us had a
place made out above on the hill for ourselves to stand aisy. "The hill
tops is lakes afther the rain," says he, "though be Jingo!" says he,
"that little horse went over the hill very knacky!"

"Look at Smartheen comin’ down the bohireen over!" says I, "what have he
in the bag?  Ye’d say it was a side o’ bacon with all the dogs that’s
snortin’ afther it."

"Be dom!" says William, "but it’s a fox! Look at Johnny Daly that has
all his own dogs dhrove in under the wall.  B’lieve me, them two has it
settled out!  We’ll see sport now," says he, "afther Smartheen’ll throw
down the owld bag and give the fox a couple of kicks for to rise his
heart for him!"

Well, what it was vexed Johnny Daly I dunno, but he was mad altogether!
He lepped out the wall before him, and he as wicked with the passion as
that he didn’t roar, nor say a word, till he had Smartheen cot by the
coat and the whip ruz to him to sthrike him!  Ye wouldn’t know what was
the two o’ thim sayin’, but Smartheen thought to run, and ’twas then
Johnny cot the bag secondly to take it from him.  Every lad that was in
it comminced to cheer and to bawl when they seen the two o’ thim in
howlts.  I believe meself let a few screeches, but as for William, if it
was his father that he seen took by the polis, an’ he dhrunk, he
wouldn’t have more nature for him than what he showed to that boy.

"_Hon-a-maun-dhiaoul_!  He’ll have him dhragged off the horse!" says
Dan.

"He will!  He will!" says I, "he’s dam stubborn!"

Maybe if it wasn’t for the way Johnny crooked the owld horse with the
spur, sthrivin’ to squeeze the leg around him, he’d have held his howlt,
but a Turk couldn’t stand it with the hoist that owld Monaloo let out of
him.

"He’s down!" says Dan.  "He’s dead! ’Tis on his head he’s fallen!"

"Ye’re a liar!" says William, "it’s on the fox he fell!  The big
mastheen of a tyrant!"

’Twasn’t long then till the whole of us was gathered lookin’ at Johnny,
and he ravin’ like a cat in the measles, and every bit that was on him
desthroyed with the gutther, and says he to Smartheen, givin’ a bitter
big curse:

"It’s all I wish," says he, "that ye were a football before me!  Ye
wouldn’t last me three kicks!" says he.

’Twould dhrive a chill through your stomach to be leshnin’ to the talk
he had. And sure the fox was as flat as the palm o’ yer hand within in
the bag!

"Oh, fie, fie!" says Dan, "our fox is gone from us!"

Indeed, ye wouldn’t like to be lookin’ at the crayture.  Johnny Daly’s a
very weighty man, and sure it’s the last sthraw, as they say, put the
hump on the camel.  But in any case Smartheen battled it out well, and
all that was in it was givin’ him applauses.

Yerself knows Bludth, that there’s as many hooks and pooks in it as that
a person’d be moidthered before he’d have them gone around, let alone
dogs, and horses.

"B’lieve me," says Dan, "’tis as good for them to give over; sure we’re
sick and tired waitin’ on them.  The fox that keeps this hill has a
sthrong dungeon, and sorra fear of him to lave it for to be sporting for
them. What a fool he is!"

"Yerrah shut yer mouth, Dan!" says I, "thim lads on the paikeen south is
screechin’ like as if they seen somethin’!  What have ye over there?"
says I, lettin’ a roar.

"Yerrah, what are they sayin’ at all?" says William, "it’s like pigs
talkin’!  Sure I can’t understand them no more than if I was a fool!"

With that the dogs comminced to gallop, and away with the whole of us.
Well, William had great courage always.

"’Tis down the gully we should go, and we’ll be before them whatever
side they’ll turn," says he.

"Musha, the divil go from ye!" says I, "maybe it’s down the chimbly ye’d
have us go!  Sure a man itself couldn’t stand in it, it’s that steep!"

"No, nor ten men couldn’t!" says Dan.

"If it was the ugliest place in life, ye’ll be hard set to find a
betther," says William.

Well, afther all, we went down in it, as well as another, and you may
say there was scroogin’ and scramblin’, and thim that was afther us was
bet down on us like a load o’ hay, and thim that was before us cursin’
black and blue for the way ourselves was squeezin’ them.

"Faith!  We’re as throng as three in a bed!" says Dan, "the dogs could
run away in their choice place and divil a one of us would know what
side they went!"

"He’s gone north agin!" says a lad above on the hill, and every one that
was in it turned about in the gully and up with them up it agin.

[Illustration: "HE’S GONE NORTH AGIN!"]

"Maybe if it was himself was down in it he wouldn’t have so much chat
about goin’ north!" says I, "and we twistin’ in it like ye’d be dancin’
a reel."

But as for William’s little horse, if it was the roof of the chapel he
was on he’d run in it like a bird, rocks or slates or any other thing,
he wouldn’t give a dang for them.

The sight’d lave your eyes if ye were lookin’ at us afther that, comin’
down out of Bludth, with slidin’ and slippin’, and buck leps and all
sorts, and the dogs yowlin’ away through the counthry from us.  Great
banks there was below in the fields.  Every one o’ them that we come
into my mare would crouch like a hen before it, and she’d let a screech,
and over with her, and wouldn’t lave an iron on it.  That was her
routheen always, only when she soured by the dint of the Shan Bui, that
was baulking with William out before her.  When I’d have to dhrive her
over before me she’d be waitin’ on me the far side of the fence, ateing
grass, till I’d come afther her.  She is a grand mare indeed, and high
ginthry does be jumpin’ mad to buy her foals.

’Twasn’t long till we come up to the dogs, where they were searchin’ and
snuffin’ round the four corners of the field, and divil a smell could
they get.  We seen a lad then standing up on a rock, waving.

"He’s gone wesht up the road!" says he.

"Did ye see him?" says Johnny Daly.

"Faith I did so!" says me lad, "and he was the most courageous thief of
a fox ever ye seen!"

I went up to the lad.

"Where did ye get the two coats, ye’re afther throwing behind the wall?"
says I.

"’Tis aiqual to you where I got them," says me lad, "ax no questions and
ye’ll be told no lies!"

"Faith, there’s no occasion," says I, "sure it’s you is good-natured to
be carryin’ the two coats that was on my two sons this morning," says I,
"and you bloated with running," says I.

Divil a word he said, but away with him.

"Thim two young lads o’ mine will be apt to get a bating before night!"
says I to meself, "and they’re in the want of it!"

"Forrad!  Forrad!" says Johnny to the dogs, that was whining most
peevish round and about, and you’d think if he never had a nose on him
he’d get the smell o’ the paraffin oil, it was that parsevarin’.

Two mile we legged it then, and the biggest walls in the counthry was in
it, and God help them that had to be building them afther us!  Comin’ up
Milleenavillen, William and a few more of us turned about round the butt
o’ the hill, for fear we’d be bet out entirely, and it wasn’t long till
we met with a great mountaineer of a big bank down in the widow
Brinckley’s land.  Meself dhrew out back a couple o’ fields, and knocked
a few sticks that was in a gap, but me brave William didn’t do but to
let a roar to the Shan Bui, and to land him two clouts in the jaw comin’
into the bank.  The Shan Bui lepped up on to it, as loose as a hare,
with the fright, but what’d be before him only posts that the widow
Brinckley had dhrove in the far side o’ the bank, and ropes on them, and
clothes hangin’ out on them. He put a hump on himself like a ferret when
he seen them, but if all the polis in Ireland was below mindin’ the
clothes, he’d have to change his feet and lep out on to them, with the
gallop he had on him, and he cot the two hind legs in the ropes, and
himself and William and the clothes was threwn down in the field.

"He’s dead!" says I.  "’Twould kill him if he was a bull!"

"’Twould, or if he was an ass," says young Tom Dennehy, that was on the
eastern side o’ the fence.

Well afther all, not a bit in the world was on him, only a tooth he had
was stirrin’ always in his head afther it.  But I’m tellin’ ye, the
widow Brinckley faced him the same as Jeffrey faced his cat, as they
say, in regard of some sort of a petticoat the Shan Bui had dhraggin’
afther him.

[Illustration: "THE WIDOW BRINCKLEY FACED HIM THE SAME AS JEFFREY FACED
HIS CAT"]

Out with the whole of us then from her into the road and left her afther
us, and she dhrawing down saints and divils and the price o’ the
petticoat on us.

"It couldn’t be," says I, "that it’s into William’s land the dogs is
facin’ now!  Look at the line they’re going beyond over the hill!"

"Begob, it is!" says Dan.

"If that be so it’d be betther for William to go under the sod!" says I.

Faith, I believe the divil was always busy with the Shan Bui!  The very
minute he got the smell o’ the road under his feet, he comminced firin’
and lashin’, and when he had William loosened, it’s then he legged it.

"He’s diddled now entirely!" says I, "that horse won’t stand or stay
till he lands him within his own yard.  The Lord look down in pity on
William this day!  Herself’ll ate the face off him!"

Begob, the Shan Bui kept the one gallop always, the same as a thrain,
and we battherin’ the road afther him, and the dogs and all screechin’
down the hill before us.  Your heart’d rise if ye were listenin’ to
them!

"He’ll run to the say with him!" says Dan, "the two o’ them’ll be
cliffted!"

"Sorra fear of him!" says I, "what a fool he is!  Look at him now,
tightening himself comin’ down to the gate!"

Begannies!  The villyan wheeled into the yard as nate as a bicycle, and
every hound in the pack was in it before him!

[Illustration: "THE VILLYAN WHEELED INTO THE YARD AS NATE AS A BICYCLE"]

                     *      *      *      *      *

Twas the week afther, and I goin’ to owld Dick Courtney’s funeral (the
Lord have mercy on him) and who would I meet only Anne Roche!

Well now I declare to ye, divil such an ateing ever I got from any
woman!  The dogs wouldn’t pick me bones afther her! Sure she pitched all
that was within and without to the Seventeen Divils.

And sure there was no blame on me at all, only she seen them two young
whipsthers o’ mine when they thrown the owld bag they had with the
ferret’s bed back into her hen-house, and they near dead with thralling
it out through the counthry.

A half a gallon of paraffin they had soaked in it.  If it was herself
and not meself had one and eightpence lost by it she might be talkin’.

I’m told she gave William the Seven Shows of Cork on the head of it, but
indeed poor William had great courage the same day.



                               *ALSATIA*


No doubt the fact that it was forbidden, or mainly forbidden, lent it a
considerable charm. The prohibitory edict was a semi-obsolete Statute
of—say—the reign of Edward VI. Authorities, when driven to their last
trench, fell back on it, declaring that no respectable children were
allowed in stable-yards, or ever had been.  We never argued the point.
At an early age we had learned the folly of hardening fluid prohibition
into adamant by argument; but we did not cease from visiting the yard.

As I look back I see a procession advancing from the dimmest and most
ancient places of memory, a procession as varied as that which in
Maclise’s picture slowly winds away from the Ark.  Heading it are two
figures who, in their prime, ranked equally as the over-lords of the
stable-yard, Old Michael, and the copper-coloured turkey cock.  When one
has attained an altitude of some considerable number of inches over five
feet, it is hard to estimate the terror that a robust turkey cock can
inspire in a person, however charged with valiant intention, of little
more than forty-eight inches over all.  The copper-coloured turkey cock
was subtle as he was vicious; he appreciated as well as any Boer General
the moral effect of a surprise. To face him, to go forth with intent to
battle, was possible, even enjoyable, but at this moment I can feel the
panic, blinding and disintegrating, of being taken in the rear; I
remember the sound of the striding claws on the gravel behind me, the
rustle of the stiff wings; were I but four feet high, and still wore
short socks, I am convinced that I would run as hard if similarly
attacked.

Coincident with the time that the turkey cock held sway, one of us had
somehow acquired a dog, a meek, female creature, always engaged either
prospectively or retrospectively in family affairs, and loaded with a
spirit broken by long beatings from the back-door.  She was white, with
very sore eyes and a long tail; one of her relatives professed to be a
bull-terrier, a fact much dwelt on by her proprietor; but beyond the
soreness of her eyes there was but little to substantiate it.

"Those village dogs had better look out," said the proprietor.
"May-fly’ll most likely kill them if she meets them."

She had come to us in May, and the name held for us the glamour of a
hundred springs. Among the village dogs was one, contemptible beyond its
fellows, known to us as Boiled Rice (a food specially abhorred by us,
which her coat and complexion were supposed to resemble).  Boiled Rice
was generally on hand at or about the lodge gates, and one day Mayfly
was formally led forth to slaughter her. Boiled Rice was a small and
disgusting creature, very old, and nearly toothless, and without
reputation as a fighter.  None the less, when located by our scouts she
did not refuse battle.  On the contrary, she bustled up to May-fly, and,
rising upon the shortest pair of hind legs ever put under any
four-legged creature save a lizard, laid her paws upon her shoulders and
yapped harshly in her face. Then, if ever, the blood of the bull terrier
relation should have come into action; for some unfortunate reason that
was the precise moment at which it ebbed.  Our champion gave a squeak of
resentful alarm, and, disengaging herself from the enemy, fled
unpretentiously, unhesitatingly, without a hint of reprisal.  For our
parts we stoned and hunted Boiled Rice more mercilessly than ever after
this overthrow.  An unexpected aspect in the character of May-fly was
that she, who fled from every living thing, remained unmoved by the
ferocities of the copper turkey cock.  At a word from us, and it was a
word often spoken, she would take him by his scarlet and bulbous beard
and gallop him off into remote places, from whence, long afterwards, he
might be seen gloomily returning, a discredited and bedraggled despot.
It was her sole achievement, and one greatly valued by us, but,
unfortunately, it found no favour with the authorities, and one night
she and the then puppy—she always had a puppy or so in her lair behind
the potato house—were swept.

[Illustration: "SENDING HIS WILD VOICE ABROAD"
"OLD MICHAEL"]

Neck and neck with the copper turkey cock came Old Michael, equal in
malignity, but less active.  He was nominally a stable helper, and was
also a self-constituted spy in the service of the government—or rather
of the governess—and a more implacable tale-bearer never truckled to
authorities.

"The two o’ them is round back o’ the cow-house, Miss.  It’s now this
minute I seen them climbing out over the garden gate!"

Thus we, prone on the slant of the cow-house roof, under the drooping
laurel branches, with our pockets crammed with green, young apples, have
listened, panting, to our betrayal.  Any other man on the place would
have lied in our cause with chapter and verse.

There was a tradition about Old Michael that he had once been bitten by
a mad dog, and had thereupon, as a recognised antidote, killed the dog
and eaten its liver.  There was something luridly attractive about the
transaction, and we often discussed the possibility as to whether the
liver had thoroughly played its part, and whether it might not be that
he suffered from slight chronic hydrophobia, and that, at any moment, he
might turn snarling and foaming upon us.  His ordinary manner lent
itself to the fancy, his rages were so explosive, his yells at the
horses under his charge so ungoverned, so screeching.  One of these was
a white pony that might have walked straight out of a fairy tale, in
which he would have been exclusively employed as palfrey to the
principal Princess. He had been bought through, or from, we never quite
knew which, an old farmer, one Jer Sullivan, who lived at the head of a
long and lonely Atlantic cove, and was as much fisherman as farmer, and
more beggar than either.  His main source of income was a petition in
which was feelingly narrated the manner of death that befell his only
horse.

"She was clifted one night by dogs hunting her, and drowned in the tide,
and I have no one now to trust to, only the Lord."

Thus sorrowed the petition, Christmas by Christmas, getting a little
browner as time went by, but no less insatiable.  One windy Christmas
Eve Jer Sullivan and the petition had appeared as usual, together with
the horde of old women who, by long-established custom, received a dole
on that day.

[Illustration: "ANCIENT WIDOWHOOD AND SPINSTERDOM"]

In the twilight of the December morning they came by twos and threes,
fluttering up the avenue, looking, with their long dark cloaks and thin
red legs and feet, like the choughs that used to breed in the
neighbouring cliffs.  Upon the wet grass on the way round to the stable
yard they squatted in a gabbling row, waiting for the coming forth of
the master, and chaffing Jer Sullivan for having joined the ranks of
ancient widowhood and spinsterdom, with the unquenchable spirit that
lurks in the oldest and most forlorn Irish peasant woman.  On this
occasion, Jer, having exhausted his stock of repartee, planted himself
on the hall-door steps.

"Is the granddada comin’?" he called through the window to us, assembled
in the hall.  His face, wrinkled and grizzly, was pressed against the
glass, his filmy eye was full of unutterable things.

"I have a present for ye!" he said, as soon as we had opened the door.

To expect a begging petition, and instead of it to be threatened with a
gift, is something disconcerting, but we were young, too young to know
the mental and financial wear and tear involved by a present from such
as Mr. Sullivan.

"What would you be sayin’ to a nate little pony?" went on Jer, with a
beguiling smile that was staked out by four huge yellow teeth.  "Sure a
friend o’ mine has him below at the gate.  Wait awhile now——"

He paused, with an artist’s knowledge of effect, and strayed away down
the avenue in the indefinite manner of beggar men.

The ceremonial of the gifts pursued its usual course.  The Master moved
down the row, a silence of expectation before him, a cackle of blessings
behind him; as each received her dole she gathered her ragged plumage
about her and flitted away, blessings still flowing from her as the
steam-clouds trail out behind a train.

To us again, after breakfast, returned Jer Sullivan, and, incredible
sight, he was leading a small pony.  It was about thirteen hands high;
in colour, dirty white, with a very wild eye, a figure like a toast
rack, and a long tail.

"Sure your Honour knows the breed of him well.  His dam was by the Kerry
Diamond, the same as your Honour’s coach-horses, the grandest horses in
the globe of Ireland!"

Jer took a pull, and the Master eyed the pony in deep silence; the pony
eyed us and snorted apprehensively.

"Sure the granddam of that one," resumed Jer, "was no loftier size than
himself, an’ she took a load out o’ Banthry, an’ a woman, an’ three
bonnives, an’ two bundles o’ spades, an’ seven hours was all she took
comin’ to Tragumena Strand."

"What do you want for him?" said the Master.  To say that our hearts
leaped in us at this approach to business, is to put the thing very
mildly.  They rolled and rioted like porpoises in a summer sea, what
time the Master, and Jer, and Jimmy Hosford, the coachman, who had
joined the action irrepressibly, moved round and round in the slow
orbits of the deal.  The fiction that the pony was a present had been
abandoned, the thing had narrowed to a duel between Jer Sullivan and
Jimmy Hosford.  The Master had made his offer—£5, I believe—and had
strolled away.

"There isn’t as much condition on him as’d bait a hook," said Jimmy
Hosford.

"Oh, Jimmy!" we screamed as one man, "he’s a lovely——"

"Ah, God help ye!" said Jimmy Hosford, washing his hands of a bargain in
which he had to suffer such collaborators.

"My darlin’ childhren," said Jer in a hoarse whisper to us, "don’t mind
for he bein’ a small bit thin an’ wake in himself; it’s what ails
him"—the whisper deepened and thickened—"he was ridden—by nights!" he
paused awfully; "wouldn’t I find him in the mornings bate out an’
sweatin’; an’ signs on it, the world wouldn’t make him cross runnin’
wather!"

"Who rode him?" said we, thrilling to the implied mystery.

Jer looked right and left over his shoulders.

"Those People!" said he.

A fairy-ridden pony!  It needed but that touch of romance.  The pony was
bought. £5 and a weakling heifer calf were the terms finally agreed to.
The explanation offered subsequently by Old Michael that it was the
Tragumena boys that took the pony by nights for blagyarding, and to ride
him in the tide, was dismissed with deserved contempt; the pony was
called Fairy, and a better never bolted in a snaffle, or kicked its
rider over its head when invited to jump a stream.

Those who have in any measure dipped below the surface of stable yard
politics, can hardly fail to have become aware, even in a minor degree,
of the subtle relations existing between the house dogs and the yard
cats. That an understanding, almost amounting to a treaty, obtains,
there can be no reasonable doubt.  That the dogs are ashamed of it is
certain; that the cats are not, is a fact bound up in the character of
cats, who are never ashamed of anything.  But yesterday, unsuspected and
unseen, I viewed a typical instance of the strange and chilly truce that
holds in the ashpit when the house dogs, the yard cats, the turkey cock,
and, most implacably hated of all by all, the _pensionnaire_ hound
mother and her brood, feasted horribly and illicitly among cinders and
refuse.  The house dogs, furtively and hurriedly, with ears laid back,
and guilty pauses in mid-bone; the hound mother grossly and jealously,
something disposed to truculence; the turkey cock contemptibly, with
sunken tail, and wattles of faded pink, prepared to skip four times his
own length if the hound mother so much as looked at him.

Of the whole party the hound puppies and the cats alone showed to any
advantage. The puppies, jovially unaware of the momentousness of each
instant, sprawled and croaked over the woolly shin bone of a lamb; the
cats were unalterably dignified, nibbling with deliberate daintiness the
remains of a long-interred cod-fish.  A millennial peace rested upon the
scene.

It was possibly half an hour later, when those ineffable snobs, the
house dogs, basking in the smiles of the aristocracy, had their
attention drawn to the creeping grey form of the yard Tom, making
fowling observations in the shrubbery.  Like twin bolts from a
thunder-cloud they sped on the chase; two highly connected white
fox-terrier ladies, shrieking shrill threats at the intruding vermin.
No wonder the yard Tom galloped. Yet the close observer could not but
notice that as soon as the distance from the quarry had been reduced to
some three or four feet, it remained fixed at that.  In that nicely
maintained interval was embodied one of the most immutable clauses of
the treaty.

The treaty, however, and all connected with it, were of the most
artificial and trifling to that child of nature, the hound mother. She,
like her many predecessors, pretended to no higher sphere of operations
than the stable yard.

"The care of my children and the surveillance of the ashpit," she seemed
to say, "are all I demand."

But, like her predecessors, a more accomplished and wide ranging thief
never jumped on to a kitchen table, or smirked hypocritically outside a
hall door on the chance of making a dash upon the dining-room.  It is
not long since that history, for the twentieth time, repeated itself.

"The ham! the ham!" wailed from the dining-room the voice of the
mistress. "Niobe has stolen the ham!"

The sequel was given by the laundry-woman, herself long versed in the
ways of the stable yard, and of hound mothers.

"I was west in the field spreading the clothes, when I seen herself
sthretched above on the hayrick.  Divil blow the stir that was out of
her!  I knew by her she was at something!  An’ afther that I dunno why
she wouldn’t bursht with all the wather she dhrank!  She has the divil’s
own inside!"



                     *"IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH"*


When I first heard these words I was not highly impressed by them, or by
anything at the moment except the redness of the bridegroom’s nose, and
the surprising manner in which one of "the young ladies’" dresses had
been coerced into fitting the bride.  The solemnities of the service
passed, in every sense, over my head, which was then not much higher
than the table at which the priest stood; indeed, it was only by putting
forth the fullest wriggling powers of childhood that I was able to gloat
in comfort on the bride’s blushes from a loophole between the
turf-flavoured folds of her mother’s Galway cloak and the repressive
elbow of my elder brother.  Why the ceremony should have taken place in
the vestry I cannot say, beyond that it was a custom in the little Roman
Catholic Chapel of which I write; just as it was in those friendly days
a custom with us to go to the marriages of the tenants, and to take our
share of the blessing and the sprinkled holy water.

The accustomed gold, silver, and copper were laid on the book by the
bridegroom, the portentous words were spoken, with the melancholy Galway
accent adding its emphasis to them, and at the next interval the priest
opened the window behind him.

"Run down to Mick Leonard’s for a coal," he said in Irish to some one
outside, and then proceeded with a most sound and simple exordium to the
newly married pair.

In a few minutes there appeared in the open window a hand holding a live
coal of turf in a bent stick.  I can see it yet, the pale fire in the
white ash of the sod, thrust between us and the blue sky, and the
priest’s hand put out to take it, but I cannot remember now what was its
mission, whether to light a candle or incense.

After this came a sprinkling with holy water with something that nearly
resembled a hearth-brush.  A drop fell into my open mouth as I stood
gaping with the detestable curiosity of my age, and its peculiar,
slightly brackish flavour is always the impression that comes first when
I recall that day.  There was a long business of hand shakings and
huggings, and the wedding party squeezed itself out of the narrow vestry
doorway, with hearts fully attuned to the afternoon’s entertainment.

At the gate some shaggy horses were tied up, and having clambered on to
one of these, much as a man would climb a tree, the bridegroom hauled
his bride up behind him, and started for home at a lumbering gallop.
Shouting and whooping, the other men got on their horses and pursued,
and the whole clattering, bumping cavalcade passed out of sight, leaving
us transfixed in admiration of the traditional "dragging home" of the
bride.  For me the only remaining recollections of the day are of a
surfeit in the bedroom of the bride’s mother, where in gluttonous
solitude I partook of hot soda-bread, half a glass of luscious port, and
a boiled egg; while the less honoured guests in the kitchen outside
harangued and sang songs, and drank the wine of the country in its
integrity.  My wedding garment was, I recollect, a Holland "waggoner,"
loosely girt by a shiny black belt with a brass serpent buckle.  At no
subsequent wedding breakfast have I been as enjoyably dressed, and, as a
natural consequence, at none have I eaten as much.

As my first distinct glimpse into matrimony it stands far back and
detached; after it, in the Bayeux tapestry of childhood, horses, dogs,
and baffled governesses moved on in untiring confusion, for periods of
unmeasured time, before the subject again presented itself.

There lives in my memory a Sunday morning in spring, when the little
beech leaves were poised like pale green moths among the bare branches,
and the northerly showers whipped the lambs into shelter.  The servants
had gone in a body to early mass, leaving the preparations for breakfast
in the hands of Tom Cashen, a trusted friend and counsellor, whose
ordinary business it was to attend to the affairs of the yard and its
pigs.

There was soda-bread to be watched in the oven, there were saucepans and
kettles resolved upon untimely boiling, there was porridge to be
stirred, and there was also Tom Cashen’s dog, a hungry, furtive thing,
capable at any moment of clearing the table of all that was upon it.
The moment came, as it comes to those who wait with complete
attentiveness, and Tom Cashen’s dog did not let it slip.  It was during
the retributions of justice that the bread burned in the oven, the
coffee boiled over on the range, and the porridge adhered massively to
the bottom of the saucepan.

"I’d sooner be digging the clay from morning till night," said Tom
Cashen, after a long and prayerful imprecation, "than to be at this kind
of work.  There isn’t a man in the world without getting married but
he’s sure to die quare, and no wonder, from the work that’s within!"

Translated into our inferior English this aphorism sets forth the
opinion that a bachelor who has to do his own household work is bound to
end his days in a lunatic asylum.  This view of matrimony had not before
been heard by me, and it seemed to be wholly reasonable.  For one thing,
the men in the yard were always right in our eyes, and always full of
just complaints against the kitchen; in any case, the Work that was
Within—the arduous triflings with saucepans and sweeping-brushes—was
certainly contemptible as compared with the realities and the
fascinations of the stable and the hay-cart.  The point of view of Mrs.
Tom Cashen was not touched upon; I think I realised that she was not
likely to have one.

She was described at the time of her marriage as "fine and fair and
freckled, and a great warrant to fatten turkeys," and she walked two
miles every day, with a basket on her back, to carry Tom Cashen’s dinner
to him—potatoes and boiled eggs, kept hot in a clean towel.  Later on
the dinner was carried by two barefooted little boys; from
thenceforward, during many years, there was always a barefooted little
boy or two to carry it, whereat the heart of Tom Cashen was glad, and
so, in a modified degree, was the heart of Mrs. Tom Cashen, combating
hourly, in a swarming cabin, with the Work that was Within.

Some time afterwards, when a spare son or two had betaken themselves,
weeping direfully, to America, it fell to my lot to sit by the fire in
the Cashen household, and to read aloud a letter from one of them, for
the enlightenment of his parents, who were not skilled in the finer
arts.  It was a most affectionate letter, inquiring in turn for all
members of the family, and it enclosed an order for two pounds.  It
concluded as follows:

"I think, my dear father, I will not see you again, because you are very
old and you will soon die, but when I come home I hope to have the
pleasure of visiting your grave and crying my stomachful over it."

On receiving these cheering assurances the gratification of Tom Cashen
was enormous; it was more to him, he said, than the two pounds itself,
and, in his own words, he "had to cry a handful."

There came a day when the words of the letter recurred in their
extremest force. Within sight of the Chapel, spoken of further back,
stands a ruin, with the ground inside and outside of it choked with
graves; mound and crooked headstone and battered slab, with the briar
wreathing them, and the limestone rock thrusting its strong shoulder up
between.  In the last light of an October afternoon I found myself
there, in a crowd that huddled and swayed round one intense point of
interest—a shallow grave, dug with difficulty, where was laid in its
deal coffin the quiet body left behind by the restless spirit of Tom
Cashen, at the close of a companionship that had always been interesting
and generally happy.

The parish priest was ill, and his substitute was late; the matter was
proceeded with in a simplicity that was quite without self-consciousness
or embarrassment.  Tom Cashen’s eldest son, grieved, as was well known,
to his gentle heart’s core, had in a newspaper earth that had been
blessed (by whom I know not), and from the newspaper it was shaken by
him upon the coffin.  Holy water was poured into the grave from a
soda-water bottle, and the bottle itself thrown in after it; then
followed the shovelling in and stamping down, and the tender twilight
falling in compassion on the scene.

The crowd became thin and dispersed, and as I walked away meditating on
things that had passed and things that had endured during an absence of
many years, a woman kneeling by a grave got heavily on to her feet and
called me by my name.  A middle-aged stranger in a frilled cap and blue
cloak, with handsome eyes full of friendliness; that was the first
impression.  Then some wraith of old association began to flit about the
worn features, and suddenly the bride of twenty-five years ago was there
beneath the cap frill.  Five minutes told the story: ill-health, an
everlasting pain "out through the top of the head," sons and daughters
in profusion, and baskets of turf carried on the back in boggy places.
"Himself" was pointed out among the crowd.  His nose glowed portentously
above a rusty grey beard, and beneath a hat-brim of a bibulous tilt.
The introduction was not pressed.

The sunny Shrove Tuesday in early March lived again as she spoke, the
glare of sunshine upon the bare country brimming with imminent life, the
scent of the furze, already muffling its spikes in bloom, the daffodils
hanging their lamps in the shady places. How strangely, how bleakly
different was the life history summarised in the melancholy October
evening.  Instead of the broad-backed horse, galloping on roads that
were white in the sun and haze of the strong March day, with the large
frieze-clad waist to meet her arms about, and the laughter and shouting
of the pursuers coming to her ear, there would be a long and miry
tramping in the darkness, behind her spouse, with talk of guano and
geese and pigs’ food, and a perfect foreknowledge of how he would
complete, at the always convenient shebeen, the glorious fabric of
intoxication, of which the foundation had been well and duly laid at the
funeral.

The possessor of these materials for discontent was quite unaware of any
of them.  Her husband was as good as other people’s, and seldom got
drunk, except at funerals, weddings and fairs, or on the Holy days of
the Church, and that was no more than was natural.  Anything less would
be cheerless, even uncanny.  She introduced her daughter, "the second
eldest, and she up to twenty years, and she having her passage paid to
America with all she earned in the lace school."  The young lady up to
twenty years had her hair down her back, and wore a long coat with huge
buttons, and a whole Harvest Festival in her hat, from which wisps of
emerald grass drooped over the fierce fringe below it.  To be very
young, even childish, is the aim of her generation.  The battle has been
waged, even to weeping, by the ladies of the Big House, with a "tweeny"
of seventeen, who, on every descent to the populous regions of the yard
and kitchen, plucked the hairpins from her orange mane, and allowed it
to flow forth in assertion of her infant charms.  The previous
generation, superior in this as in many other ways, grows old as
unaffectedly as animals; it is a part of its deep and unstudied
philosophy.

"I’m very old now, sure," said the matron of twenty-five years’
standing, with a comfortable laugh, "I think I must be near forty-five
years."

Had she said sixty it would not have seemed much above the mark, and she
would have said it with equal composure.  I looked the conventional
incredulity, and realised that it was thrown away.  She, in return,
assured me that for my part she had often read of beauty in a book, but
had never till now really seen it, that my face was made for the ruin of
the world, and that she’d know me out of my father’s family by the two
eyes and the snout.  All was accepted with fitting seriousness, and the
piece of news that had been held back with difficulty during these
ceremonial observances, was at length given the rein.  Had I not heard
of how her sister’s daughter, down in Drohorna, had that morning brought
three children into the world, daughters, unfortunately, but still a
matter reflecting much lustre on the parish, and on that Providence that
had singled it out from the Diocese for the honour.

The conversation abruptly closed, as the priest who was to have
performed the Funeral Office scorched up on his bicycle, scarlet-faced,
and half an hour late.  As if the sight of him set the seal of the
irrevocable upon what had been done, the widow of Tom Cashen broke into
hoarse wailing; she was arduously consoled and taken away, and her
husband was left behind in the solitude, he, who hated to be alone, and
was afraid to pass the churchyard at night.

A discussion raged as to the opening of his strong box, the men who
stamped down the earth on the grave using the action as an emphasis to
their assertions.  At length the churchyard emptied, the evening wind
was raw, and in the gloom the white chapel on the hill stared with its
gaunt windows, impervious to the life histories of its own making
impossible as an accessory to sentiment.

[Illustration: "WHAT HAVE YE ON YER NO-ASE?"]

Obvious duty has seldom gone more suavely hand-in-hand with perfect
enjoyment than in the attendance of the parish, practically _en masse_,
at the levée held next day, and for many succeeding days, by the
Triplets.  A grey road runs north and south past their cabin door, level
on the level face of the bog for a shelterless half-mile, and neither
wake nor "Stations" could have commanded a more representative gathering
than went and came upon it in those moist autumn afternoons.  The gander
who lorded it over the nibbled strip of grass in front of the cabin yard
was worn down to amiability by a hundred assaults on new comers and an
equal number of glorious returns to the applause of his family; the
half-bred collie, coiled under a cart, closed his cunning eyes to
aggressions that were beyond all barking; a five-year-old boy with tough
tight curls of amber, and an appallingly dirty face, regarded me from
the doorstep with brazen _sang froid_ as I approached, and said in a
loud and winding drawl: "What have ye on yer no-ase?"  Praise is seldom
perfected in the mouth of the babe and suckling.  I removed my
pince-nez, and passed with difficulty into a doorway filled with people,
the blue smoke from the interior filling up the crevices.  The father of
the Triplets, a lanky young man, in the Sunday clothes in which he had
just returned from making his application for the King’s Bounty, was
according an unchanging, helpless grin to the shafts of felicitation
that beset him, the most barbed being screamed in Irish by the old
women, to the rapture of the audience.

Behind this unequal strife the Triplets held their court, in a cradle by
the fire, canopied with coarse flannel, and rocked unceasingly, one
would say maddeningly, by a female relative with an expression of pomp
befitting the show-woman.  It suggested the bellringer who said, "We
preached a very fine sermon to-day."  The wicker walls rolled creakily.
The rockers were uneven, so was the earthen floor beneath them, and each
oscillation contained three separate jerks.  In this bewildering world,
composed of sallow blankets and an unceasing earthquake, the three brand
new souls reposed as best they might; the show-woman’s grimy hand parted
their firmament of flannel, and revealed three minute faces of the
pallor of lard, dome-like in forehead, with tiny and precisely similar
features, wonderfully absorbed in sleep. The infant of a day old appeals
unfailingly to the compassion, but its most impassioned adherent must
admit that it is out of drawing. The light from the open door struck
suddenly into the cradle, as some one clove a path through the
assemblage; one of the absorbed faces worked in vexation, elderly,
miserable vexation.  Tears, too, angry and pitiful; the long slit of
opening eyelid was full of them, the unseeing disc of dull blue within
swam in them, the stately bald head turned to terra-cotta.

[Illustration: "SHE’S THE LIVELIEST OF THEM, GOD BLESS HER!"]

"She’s the liveliest of them, God bless her!" said the show-woman, in
high admiration, "but as for the little one-een next the fire, she’ll
never do a day’s good.  ’Twasn’t hardly making day this morning when I
had a pot of water on the fire for her."

Being interpreted, this meant that the little one-een by the fire had in
the cold autumn dawn retraced her way so far into the white trance of
the unknown that all was made ready for washing and laying her out.  She
lay like a doll made of pale puckered wax, her sleeping lids had a
lavender tone, and the shadows about her mouth were grey. Next morning
the cocks had crowed but once when the pot of water simmered again over
the turf fire, and the weak and lonely combat with death ended in
defeat.

The life that she was not to share moved on about her in leisurely
squalor; the smoke from the turf fire strayed languidly up the sooty
wall, and blundered against the broad mouth of the chimney till the
rafters were lost in the blue and settled obscurity.  The walls were
yellow with smoke; it was easy to imagine its flavour in the bowl of
milk that stood on the dresser, ready for the invalid in the inner room.
Obscure corners harboured obscure masses that might be family raiment,
or beds, or old women; somewhere among them the jubilant cry of a hen
proclaimed the feat of laying an egg, in muffled tones that suggested a
lurking-place under a bed.  Between the cradle and the fire sat an old
man in a prehistoric tall hat, motionless in the stupor of his great
age; at his feet a boy wrangled with a woolly puppy that rolled its eyes
till the blue whites showed, in a delicious glance of humour, as it
tugged at the red flannel shirt of its playmate.

"God save all here," said a voice, very dictatorially, at the door; a
black-haired old woman shoved her way to the cradle, and parted the
blankets with a professional air. She was a Wise Woman from the
mountain, and foreknowing the moment when she would spit, for luck, in
the faces of the helpless trio in the cradle, I jostled my way to the
bedroom of their mother.  It had an almost conventual calm.  Moderate as
was the light that struggled through a hermetically sealed window of
eighteen inches by twelve, it was further baffled by an apron pinned
across the panes; the air was heavy, reinforced only by the draughts and
the smoke that entered hand-in-hand from the kitchen.

In one of two great beds the invalid lay in the twilight, with her hand
pressed to her head.  She was collected, well-bred, and concerned for
the welfare of the visitor, and of all the visitor’s relations,
mentioned in due order of seniority.  The glory of her position burned
in two spots of excitement on her high cheek bones, but it could not
eliminate her good manners.  Her sister loudly recited the facts that
she was using no food, only sups of milk and water, that as for puddings
or any little rarities, if you ran down gold in a cup she wouldn’t let
it to her lips.

"There’s nothing in the world wide I could fancy," said the sick girl,
feebly, "unless it’d be the lick of a fish’s tail."

The entry of the Wise Woman, with a stentorian benediction, here drove
me forth like a bolted rabbit, and having skirted the evil-smelling
morass in front of the house, I breathed the large air of the bogs with
enthusiasm.  The evening was speechless and oppressive; it held like a
headache the question whether it is useful to be sorry for those who are
not sorry for themselves, and, unrepining, grope out their lives in the
dark house of ignorance; and whether discontent with one’s lot is not
the mother of good cooking and other excellent things.

A week afterwards an emissary brought to the Big House the intelligence
that the mother of the Triplets had in the interval been at the point of
death, and had been anointed, had an impression on her chest, and could
give "no account of the pain she had in her side, only that it was like
a person polishing a boot, and there to be lumps in the boot, and he
having a brush in his hand."  From out of these symptoms was distilled
the fact that she had had pleurisy, acquired while walking barefoot in
the yard to feed the calves.  She entreated the gift of a pair of boots,
and the emissary added, as a rider, the fact that the Colonel’s boots
would be just her fit.  The Colonel was away, but the main body of his
boots stood in battalions in his room.  A pair of the dustiest was
snatched, in a heat of philanthropy, and bestowed, and proved, we were
given to understand, an invaluable adjunct to the feeding of the calves.
It is worth mentioning that the Colonel, on his return next day, was by
no means as gratified as had been hoped; they were, he said, the one and
only pair of patent leather boots in which he could walk with comfort
and credit in London, and the moving circumstance of Triplets had no
power to allay his bitter and impotent wrath.  His only tall hat had
already been sold at a Jumble sale, and he did well to be angry.  The
cook, who had been sceptical throughout as to the necessity for the
gift, tactfully reported that the Colonel’s boots were too tight for
That One, and brought from Second Mass the comfortable tidings that they
had preyed on her feet.

The cook, always lenient, after the manner of her kind, to the Colonel
and all his sex, was at that time much preoccupied with matrimonial
affairs.  It was soon afterwards that a strange young man in Sunday
clothes appeared at intervals in the yard, and melted like a wraith into
dark doorways in the kitchen passages.  He was found eating trifle in
the servants’ hall, and in the evenings he fished on the lake.  He was,
we discovered, the cook’s brother, arrived from Loughrea to investigate
the position of the swain whom the cook wished to marry.  On the fourth
day he passed imperceptibly out of the establishment, and the cook
fought loudly and venomously with all who crossed her path.  It
transpired that the brother had visited the home of the aspirant, and
had found, she said, that it was a backwards place, and a narrow house,
and he wouldn’t let her go in it.  She had twice at Mass seen the
candidate for her hand, she informed us, lamentably, and he was a nice
young man, foxy in the face, and she got a good account of him.  That it
was remarkable, or at all unpleasant, to marry a perfect stranger was a
point quite outside her comprehension.  She had never spoken to him, she
admitted, but what signified, so long as she got a good account of him.
It was afterwards discovered that the lover had been rejected because
his family had been broom-makers, and that no self-respecting girl would
look at him on that account.  The point of social etiquette here touched
remains still dark, but it was insuperable, and the cook eventually
married the gentleman whose lofty calling it was to drive the butcher’s
cart.

The day before the marriage the battle was waged in the usual manner
between the Loughrea brother and the bridegroom; greasy pound notes were
slapped down on the table, the bride’s savings were vaunted above the
bridegroom’s heifers and position as heir to his mother’s bit of land,
and with swaggering and bluff and whiskey drinking the bargain was
concluded.  Nothing could have been more frankly commercial; nothing,
apparently, could have given more satisfaction. The cook departed, and
lived in a cabin with a variety of her husband’s relatives, who were by
no means overjoyed at the circumstance; potatoes for dinner, and stewed
tea morning, noon and night were her diet; the hens roosted above her
bed, she weeded turnips and "spread" turf, she grew thin and pale, but
never, so far as is known, did she repine, or regret the print dresses
and the flesh-pots.  The butcher’s driver was "a quiet boy," better than
most husbands; had it been the broom-maker, foxy in the face she would
have made him an equally good wife.  In a community where old maids are
almost unknown, the only point worth considering was that she was
married and had a "young son," and every man and woman in the country
would have said that she was right.  In traversing the point we should
run our heads against a wall of primeval instinct.

Writers of novels, and readers of novels, had better shut their eyes to
the fact, the inexorable fact, that such marriages are rushed into every
day—loveless, sordid marriages, such as we are taught to hold in
abhorrence, and that from them springs, like a flower from a dust heap,
the unsullied, uneventful home-life of Western Ireland.  It is romance
that holds the two-edged sword, the sharp ecstasy and the severing
scythe stroke, the expectancy and the disillusioning, the trance and the
clearer vision.

It is even more than passive domestic toleration that blossoms in the
cramped and dirty cabin life, affection grows with years, and where
personal attraction never counted for much, the loss of it hurts nobody.

"Their hearts were within in each other," was said of an elderly couple,
who, thirty years before, had been married in the priest’s kitchen on
the last night of Shraft; married as a happy thought, and by the merest
chance.  The lawful bride had taken her place by the bridegroom, but,
changing her mind at the last possible moment, sprang from her knees,
and declined the ceremony. As her betrothal was probably an affair of
that afternoon it was not so dramatic an action as might be assumed, nor
did it cause any hitch in the proceedings.  The priest looked round the
well-filled kitchen.

"Here, Mary Kate!" he said to his servant, "come on you, and marry the
man! Sure you wouldn’t let him go away, and he after walking five miles
in the rain!"

Mary Kate knelt down by the bridegroom. We do not hear of remonstrance
on her part, and thirty years afterwards, when their children were
married or gone to America, it was said that this couple’s "hearts were
within in each other."  It was said with perfect perception of the ways
and the deeps of devotion; but the absence of it at their wedding was
not worthy of remark, and in these things is the essence of the Irish
nature, that keenly perceives sentiment, and contentedly ignores it.

"She isn’t much, indeed," said a farmer of exceeding astuteness, when
questioned about his matrimonial intentions, "but she’s a nate little
clerk."  By this was delicately conveyed the fact that she could read
and write, and that he could not.  The marriage was highly successful.

Years afterwards a friend said to him in congratulation, "Well, James, I
hear you married your daughter well."

"I did, sir, and I got him cheap."  Then in a whisper, "He was divilish
owld."

The computation by which the years of the bridegroom were set against
the purchase money—in other words, the bride’s dowry—must have been an
intricate one, involving, one would say, the tables of insurance, and
the best skill of the nate little clerk.

Congratulations, not unmixed with some genial surprise, were proffered
to another parent on the marriage of his daughter, a person by no means
in her first youth, and possessed of but one eye.

"Sure I had to give him ten pounds agin’ the blind eye," explained the
father of the bride, with unimpaired cordiality.

There is here no material, of the accepted sort, for a playwright; no
unsatisfied yearnings and shattered ideals, nothing but remarkable
common sense, and a profound awe for the Sacrament of Marriage.
Marriage, humourous, commercial, and quite unlovely, is the first act;
the second is mere preoccupation with an accomplished destiny; the last
is usually twilight and much faithfulness.  The dialogue is a
masterpiece throughout, epigram, heart-piercing pathos, with humour,
heavenly and inveterate, lubricating all. Perhaps the clue to success
lies here, in the mutual possession of agreeability and the good nature
that goes with the best agreeability; certain it is that with a command
of repartee that makes fighting an artistic enjoyment, their conjugal
battles are insignificant.

The two-fold heart of the race beats everywhere in the confusion; gross
worldliness, and a matrimonial standard clear and unquestioned as the
stars; Love the negligible quantity, and attachment the rule.  It is for
us, more singly bent on happiness, to aim at rapture and to foreknow
disappointment.



                            *HORTICULTURAL*


I admit that I hesitate at the thought of pressing into the elect
company of those who have discoursed upon gardens.  From Lord Bacon down
to the Poet Laureate, from the Poet Laureate up to that self-sufficing
and yet voluble "Elizabeth," of whose German Garden all the craft have
read, there seems no inch of garden sod that has been left unturned.  I
ask myself: Have I any original suggestions on, for example, The
disbudding of ’Mums? (a term of horrid familiarity that I have seen
applied to Chrysanthemums). Any high thoughts on Manures?  Any special
convictions in the matter of mulches?

My conscience, far from admitting ability to treat of these solemn
things, reminds me that but little more than a year ago I should
scarcely have been entrusted with the weeding of a gravel path, and
hints at that Affair of the Coltsfoot.  It is, in fact, the Coltsfoot
Affair that decides me.  I cannot be a guide or a sign-post, but I can
be a scarecrow. I would say a moral scarecrow, though it may be conceded
that the costume of the gardening amateur often lends itself to the more
practical _rôle_.

I was not at all aware of being in the movement when I found myself
snatching at my weekly copy of _Gardening Illustrated_ in preference to
the daily paper, and brooding heavily upon delphiniums when I might have
been profiting by the sermon.  It was only by degrees, as I went about
the world, that I noted how quick and strong would beat the answering
conversational pulse at the mention of a garden, at the sighing
reference to the arrangement of a herbaceous border. It seemed that
every second person I met was as much of a gardener as I was, in the
matter of enthusiasm, and, as they might easily be, something more in
the matter of practice.  This discovery revolutionised society for me.
It has doubtless done so for many another.  The most penal afternoon
visit may have its alleviations in a valuable hint on "the desire of the
rose"—not for the star—but for the cleanings of the scullery drain; the
most inveterate dowager may be found to be a man and a brother,
profoundly versed in daffodils, full of lore about "Alpines."  How
astonishing it is to find oneself cheerfully, even ardently, assenting
to what would once have been regarded as the hideous proposal to "Walk
round the garden!"  Such a walk has ceased to be a penance; it has
become something, not quite a scouting expedition, not quite a
(herbaceous) border-foray, not quite a "beggar’s lay"; but it has
something in it of the charms of all three.  Which element preponderates
depends on the character. There are moss-troopers born, who will twitch
off a cutting, and filch a seed head, uncontrollably.  There are
heaven-endowed mendicants who will yearn and flatter the filling of a
flower bed into a knotted pocket handkerchief.  It is a useful principle
to accept everything, regardless of the accident of the seasons.  There
are many other accidents of far higher importance to be considered—lapse
of memory on the part of the giver, for instance, or repentance.  In the
amenities of gardeners, as in love, the advice to "Take me when I’m in
the humour," is sound, and a cutting in the hand is well worth six in or
on the bush, when the bush is another’s.

I believe it is the gambling element that gives to gardening so potent a
charm—that, and the seedmen’s catalogues.  One of my first adventures
was in response to a singularly seductive advertisement—"Humulus
Lupulus," it said, "The finest creeper in the world.  Grows forty feet
in a single night. Massive clusters of yellowish blossoms. Beautiful;
Healthy."  I have the constitutional misfortune to believe,
unquestioning, the printed word.  Even now I find it hard to discount
the flights of fancy of that poetic idealist, the advertising
nurseryman.  I despatched eighteenpence by the next post; received by
return an undemonstrative bundle of little roots, planted them
prayerfully in a choice place, and then, as it happened, left home for a
time.  On my return to my garden I found the usual crop of catastrophes
and compensations, but disregarding all alike I sped to the site of the
Humulus Lupulus.  There had been near the same spot a highly esteemed
rose, "Climbing Captain Christie."  The first thing that greeted me was
the wan, indignant face of a Captain Christie, who, having climbed for
all he was worth, was none the less overtaken, and was now gazing at me
in strangled pallor from the depths of a thicket of common hops.  The
Poetic Idealist had triumphed.

I have never been able precisely to ascertain to what extent Bat
Whoolley found me out in the Affair—already alluded to—of the Coltsfoot.
Bat is my gardener, and I value his opinion highly, almost as highly as
he does himself, though possibly with more limitations.  Winter
Heliotrope was what my neighbour called Coltsfoot.  I felt there was
something not quite sound in the lavish way she pressed it upon me.  She
said there was nothing like it for covering bare places, and that I
might dig it up for myself and take all I wanted.  That specious
permission might have warned me; so also might the singular fact that my
neighbour’s shrubbery had for undergrowth naught save the curving leaves
of the winter heliotrope.  None the less, I planted out two or three
colonies of it on the outskirts of the rock garden.

One morning, at the turn by the pine tree (one of my colonies had been
unostentatiously planted in a bare place behind the pine tree), I met
Bat.  His face was redder than usual, and there was something very
searching in his eye.  Mine did not meet it.

"Look at that!" he said.

He held up a handful of long white roots, and brandished it, much as
Jupiter is represented brandishing a handful of lightning. "Look at that
dam-root"—he pronounced the words as one pronounces beet-root—"that
some"—here a powerful variant on the usual definition of fool—"is after
planting in your honour’s consarns!  See here! If ye left no more o’
that in the ground than as much as ye couldn’t see itself, it’d have the
place ate up in one fortnight!  I gave the morning to it, an’ if I give
the day itself it’s hardly I’ll have it all dug—Divil’s cure to the—"
(Here more variants in connection with the imposter.)

Something wavering in Bat’s eye, even while the denunciation proceeded,
made me conscious of the smirch of suspicion.  I remained silent as the
grave.  Secretly I visited the other colonies, and found that one of
them was already swinging an enveloping wing round the rearguard of the
Iris Kaempferi, and that another had flung outposts into the heart of
the helianthemums. At a bound I ranged myself with the opposition.

"Bat," I said, "the Dam-roots are in the garden!"

That night a fair-sized bundle of winter heliotrope was restored to my
generous neighbour.  Bat threw it over the wall.

I am slowly acquiring some insight into my gardener’s likes and
dislikes.  He despises anything that he suspects of being a wild flower.

"’Sha! that’s no good!  That’s one of the Heth family!  The hills is
rotten with it."

But on the other hand, he will lavish such a wealth of attention upon
potatoes as would, if bestowed on the despised daughter of Heth, cause
it to blossom like the rose. There are, in his opinion, but three
flowers really worthy of cultivation.  Red geraniums, blue lobelias, and
yellow calceolarias.  With these, had he his will, should all my garden
be glorious.  I never buy them; I never see them in their earlier
stages, but suddenly, in the herbaceous border, the trio will appear,
uttering a note of colour only comparable to the shriek of a macaw.

"Why then, there isn’t a gentleman’s garden in Ireland but thim have the
sway in it!" Bat says, when he finds me brooding over a shattered ideal.
"There was Mr. Massy’s was the grand place!  The garden steps big slobs
of marble, and the gate lodges dashed and haberdashed, and the gardens
fit to blind yer eye by the dint o’ thim!"

What "haberdashed" may mean I cannot say, but "thim" meant the
combination so dear to his heart that a stouter than mine would be
needed to abolish it, even from a herbaceous border.

Sometimes, chiefly on Sunday afternoons, I am visited by compunction in
the matter of the prohibited "calcies" and "lobaylias," for it is on
Sundays that Bat is "at home" to three favoured enemies of his own
profession.  They move, very slowly, and, for the most part, silently,
from bed to bed, like doctors making a clinical inspection at a
hospital; at intervals they put a horny finger under a patient’s chin
and gravely study his complexion, or, wishing perhaps to show generosity
to a rival, they pick off some malign bug or caterpillar, and squash it
between an unhesitating finger and thumb. It is at such times that I
feel how far my garden in its lack of that gorgeous trio lags behind
that of any other gentleman in Ireland.

But my gardener has his alleviations. There was one bright day which,
having begun with the funeral of a relative, culminated in a visit as
prolonged as it was satiating from the chief mourner.  King Solomon did
not exploit his Temple more thoroughly for the discomfiture of the Queen
of Sheba than did Bat his gardens for the Chief Mourner. The latter, a
"mountainy man from back in the counthry," paced heavily round after Mr.
Whoolly, his hands folded on the apex of his back under the voluminous
skirts of his blue frieze coat, a stick hanging from them like a tail.
The deep silence of his native hills was on him; he suffered his
emotions without expression until the tour of the kitchen garden was
made, its climax—fortunately stage-managed by Bat—being "a bed of
greens."  There is that in such a bed that, in such a nature, touches an
even more vibrating chord than potatoes.

"And cabbages!" said the mountainy man, almost in a whisper.

[Illustration: "AND CABBAGES!" SAID THE MOUNTAINY MAN]

The Queen of Sheba herself was not a more gratifying audience.  Mr.
Whoolley seems to have observed the parallelism of the cases, and
assuming that the visitor, in spite of the funeral, had no more spirit
left in him, the couple adjourned to a convenient public house and were
no more seen.

On the whole, I think I may say that I give Bat satisfaction.  He is
generous in judging rather by intention than achievement, and he sees
the advantages of fostering a disposition to weed.  Only once has he
been tried too high, and that was when I planted out a bed with what he
calls "pushoch-bui," a most pestilent weed whose English equivalent is,
I fancy, charlock.  To me he passed over the error in a very handsome
manner, but I heard him the same afternoon say to the subordinate who
was making good my misdoing:

"Is it that one!  Sure he’s no more good than a feather!"

Another act of folly of mine, however, carried with it more serious
consequences. I was so far left to myself as to give permission to a
Sunday School excursion of unknown dimensions to disport itself in my
domains. Dates were discussed, and times arranged, and then a sponge of
kindly oblivion wiped the affair from my mind.  It was a couple of
months afterwards—I was inspecting my wall fruit in the kitchen garden
at eleven o’clock in the morning, and being eaten by midges in a way
that foretold immediate rain, when there was a sound of thunderous
driving on the avenue.  Just then the rain began to fall, and almost at
the same moment there arrived to me a rushing messenger from the house
saying "there were ladies in the drawing-room."

I am a lone man, and there is no one to share with me the brunt of such
a moment. I hurried in, and was confronted as I neared the hall door by
four huge yellow brakes, full of children, and roofed with umbrellas.
Two, already empty, were emulously pressing towards the yard, one taking
a short cut across a strip of lawn, and two more were disgorging their
burdens at large.  I went into the drawing-room and found it lined with
ladies in black.  It was explained to me that on account of the rain the
party, which comprised the Patrons, Teachers, and Pupils of four Sunday
Schools, had "taken the liberty of coming to the house for shelter."
Even as they spoke a strange murmuring sound arose from beneath my
feet—the hum as of an angry hive.  The house, like many old country
houses in Ireland, stands upon a basement storey, and I realised that
its cavernous recesses were being utilised as a receptacle for the
Amalgamated Sunday Schools.

I cannot clearly recall the varied events of that day of nightmare.  I
remember finding, at one juncture, one of my subordinates stemming the
rush of the Sunday Schools up the back-stairs with the kitchen table and
an old driving whip.  At another, my honoured presence was requested in
a cave-like place, once a laundry, wherein a shocking meal was being
partaken of.  I noticed a teacher with a "cut" of cold salmon, wrapped
in newspaper.  She ate it with her fingers, quaffing raspberry vinegar
the while.  Kettles, capacious as the boiler of a man-of-war, steamed on
the ancient fireplace; the air reeked of damp children and buns.  Later
on it cleared, and I led a company of female patrons forth to see the
garden.  Already the sward of the tennis ground looked like Epsom Downs
on the day after the Derby, and an animated game of Hide-and-Seek was in
progress among my young rhododendrons. I averted my eyes.  In the flower
garden the usual amusement of leaping the beds had taken place, with the
usual results of chasm-like footprints in the centre of each. The first
endurable incident of the day was the discovery that Bat had locked the
kitchen garden gate, and that my strollings with the patronesses were
perforce ended.  But even as I was expressing my regrets (coupled,
mentally, with a resolve to raise Mr. Whoolly’s wages) there arose from
within the walls cries of the most poignant, accompanied by roars
comparable only to those of a wounded tiger.  On the top of the wall,
just above us there shot into view the face of a boy, a face scarlet
with exertion, vociferous in lamentation. Quickly following it there
appeared down the length of the wall other faces, equally agitated,
while from within came a sound as of the heavy beating of carpets. Other
sounds came also.  Sounds of indignation too explicit to be printable.
I blushed for the patronesses.  None the less I endorsed every word of
it as I realised that my best peach trees were being used as ladders by
the Amalgamated Sunday Schools.

I think that was about the last act in the tragedy.  Not long
afterwards, in a yellow glow of late, repentant sunlight, the four
brakes drove—with further cuttings of grassy corners—up to the hall
door.  The Sunday Schools were condensed into them, each child receiving
an orange as it took its seat, and thin cheers arose in my honour.
Simultaneously the brakes snowed forth orange peel upon the gravel; the
procession swept out of sight, still cheering, still snowing orange
peel.

For reasons darkly and inextricably mixed up with the Sunday School
excursion, dinner that night was served at nine o’clock, and as I was
aware that every servant in the house was in a separate and towering
passion, I refrained from inquiry.

Yet, even through the indigestion following on this belated repast, I
was upheld by the remembrance of Bat’s face, as he glared at me through
the bars of the kitchen garden gate, and said:

"Thanks be to God, I’m after breaking six pay-sticks on their backs!"



                             *OUT OF HAND*


Soldiers were there to keep the peace.  The redcoats and the bayonets
moved in a rigid line through the crowd that blocked the two streets of
the town.  They guarded a small body of voters that had come across
Lough Corrib, and was making its way to the polling-booths, headed by a
Galway landlord, on whose arm leaned an old man, decrepit, and unnerved
by the storm of opposition through which they passed.

Another Galway landlord was ranging through groups of men who turned
their backs on him, and hid behind each other, his tenants, personal
friends all of them, who, for the first time on record, had voted in
opposition to his wishes.

"Every one of them!" he said, while the atmosphere that surrounds
suffering and strong emotion made itself felt, "all but two or three.
They have all gone against me."

It was a memorable election, marking the new departure in Irish
politics, and it broke the hearts and practically ended the lives of two
at least of the Galway landlords.  Till that time the landlords took
their tenants to the poll _en masse_; thenceforward they were to advance
under the banner of the Church.

The epoch that here found its close was memorable, too, in its way.  It
held, far back in it, the brave days when the Galway elections lasted
for a month, and the actual voting for a week, days to which the pages
of Lever bear witness.  As that week of delightful warfare strove on the
electors became more fastidious about their drinks, and would accept
nothing less aristocratic than mulled port and claret.  These
restoratives were brewed in fish-kettles on the big fireplaces of the
ballroom in Kilroy’s hotel, an agreeable incident, not, we think,
commemorated by Lever.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Twenty years afterwards a Galway village lay mute in the sunshine,
drowsy with respectability, assertive of rectitude in every slant of its
slate roofs.  To view it thus from the waste altitudes of the moor above
it, on a Sunday morning of July, with the call of a cock straining up
through the silence, was to endue it with all the stillness and
strictness of the day itself, even to credit it with a Presbyterian
rigour of Sabbaticism that was at variance with the traditions of the
County Galway.  Down on its own level, and approaching it through the
aisle of shade that lay between broken demesne walls and under the lofty
embrace of demesne trees, the glare of its whitewash closed the vista
blatantly, and with a self-righteousness that suppressed the romantic as
a thing of libertine irrelevance.  Therefore, to an eye accustomed,
during many Sundays, to the recognition of the barren street, with its
strings of ducks in moody reverie about the unremunerative gutters, and
its dogs asleep outside the closed doors, it was startling beyond the
merit of the occasion to be confronted with a staring crowd of people
that filled the street loosely from end to end. Every face was turned
towards the new-comer, till the whole slope of the hill was flushed with
them; then it darkened, as the people realised that nothing worthy of
further notice was occurring, and turned their heads again towards
Galway.

The crowd was a representative one. Wizened old men in swallow-tailed
coats and knee-breeches, degenerate youth in check suits and pot-hats,
tanned women in deep-hooded cloaks, girls with shawls over their heads,
freckled and ubiquitous children—all smelling heavily of turf smoke,
some modernised with the master smell of hair-oil. The anti-Parnellite
candidate was expected to arrive at any moment from Galway, to address
those who had come to the village for Mass; and though the people had
now been out of chapel for an hour there seemed to be no wish to
disperse, or any sign of impatience.  They even appeared to be enjoying
themselves as thoroughly as was compatible with the fact that the
public-houses had not yet been opened.  Anything so fascinating as a
little political excitement was worth waiting for, especially while
Providence was liberal of fresh arrivals on outside cars, and invention
failed not of the personal allusion wherewith to greet them; so that
time passed healthfully, and expectation was no more than pleasantly
ripe when outposts on the hill heralded at length the approach of the
candidate.

A blended roar of execration and encouragement went out to meet him—a
greeting sustained on every note of the human compass in a savagely
inarticulate mass of discord.  He seemed to cleave his way through it as
he passed, his figure moving pompously along on its car above the
shoulders of the people, in black coat and white waistcoat, while a deft
hand manipulated a tall hat in recognition of every crumb of welcome.
He passed on down a by-road towards the chapel, followed by a few dozen
people, and by the booing and hooting of the rest of the assemblage.
Clearly the materials for the meeting were elsewhere.

It was not far to the chapel, four hundred yards or thereabouts of dusty
road, that lay hot and quiet between loose stone walls, dropping to a
hollow and rising again to the low height where stood the unmistakable
building that is the heart and fountain of parish politics, its plaster
and whitewash veiled a little by the kindly churchyard trees, and the
stone cross on its gable standing strong and keen under the melting sky.

On nearing the churchyard the candidate’s voice was audible through the
trees in fluent, opening sentences, each point duly weighted with a
"Hee’rr, hee’rr!" as businesslike as the "Amen" of the parish clerk.
His car was waiting outside in the shade, and the carman, who was
perhaps a little _blasé_ in the matter of speeches, was smoking an
unemotional pipe beside it.

"Indeed, you may say the town of Galway is in a quare way," he said,
putting his hand to a cheek that was just perceptibly more purple than
the other.  "Look at meself, the figure I am, that wasn’t spakin’ a word
to a Christhian, good nor bad, and lasht night a fishwoman comes down to
me in the sthreet this ways"—squaring his elbows and strutting—"’Hi for
Lynch!’ says she, hittin’ me a puck in the jaw with her skib (basket).
The Lord save us! ’tis hardly I ran from her before she had the town
gethered afther her.  Begob, the women’s the most that’d frighten ye!"

At the churchyard gate a couple of long-tailed colts were tied up,
saddle-horses evidently, but bare-backed, and bridled with a halter,
their bodies bloated with summer grass out of all proportion to their
long legs, and their countrified ears pricking occasionally at the
cheers that did not by the blink of an eyelid affect the doze of the
Galway car-horse. The company inside was a small one as compared with
that in the street, and had in it a much larger proportion of women and
old men, to which was perhaps due the superior calm of the proceedings.
The churchyard was a spacious one, depressingly roomy indeed for the
present occasion, for which any suburban back garden would have
sufficed. Most of the audience had mounted on the tombstones, great
slabs of limestone that formed the lids of the boxes placed over the
more distinguished dead, blackish grey, and ringing under the
hobnailed-boots like metal. The candidate stood on the highest
tombstone, and all around him leaned and clung these strange groups of
men and women, looking like the wooded islands in the lake close by;
while between them the quiet background of the graveyard was visible,
with its bent and musing trees, and array of low head-stones gazing
blindly at the concourse.

The bald top of the candidate’s head formed the focus-point of the
gathering, giving back the sun’s glare like glass as it swung and jerked
with the flow of oratory, and beside it the immense shovel-hat of the
old priest moved occasionally in accord, italicising for the benefit of
the flock such phrases as seemed especially edifying.  The curate was
nowhere to be seen; rumour said that his political theories were not
formed on those of his superior.  A remembrance recurred of meeting,
that morning, a severely contemplative young priest, walking alone and
away from the village, with the green flicker of the leaves overhead
playing strangely across the gloom of his sallow face.

[Illustration: THE CANDIDATE]

The candidate’s speech seemed, indeed, to require a little driving home.
It was, for the most part, an explanation to his constituents of the
reasons that made it necessary for him to forego the happiness of
acquainting himself with them in any intimate degree.  He was, he said,
in his temperately florid manner, closely connected with a large firm in
England and, deplorable to relate, his income depended on his living in
the bosom of the English firm.  "Sure we know that—we know that!" yelled
the half-dozen most chosen supporters, crushing precariously round the
candidate on the edge of the tombstone platform, with their wild,
combative faces pressing, all on fire, towards him.  Perhaps he might
yet be roused to say the right things about the rival candidate, the
things that would wring forth a cheer in reply to those distant ones
that came maddeningly at intervals from the crowd in the street.

But the speaker kept his eloquence well in hand, confining himself to
such blind alleys of assertion as the remarkable success of his own
career, his confidence that his constituents would re-elect him, and his
desire to benefit them in some immeasurable way if they did so.  A
permissive cynicism curved the wrinkles on the faces of the old men who
stood on the grassy graves behind him, with their hands under their
coat-tails, and their grizzled chins sunk in their shirt-collars; they
knew how they were going to vote, and their own powers (matured in the
sale of many a heifer and rood of bog) of taking a part and sustaining
it, with a perfectness that would deceive the elect, made them sceptical
as to the ends of speech-making.  The women were tittering and
whispering under their shawls; but were certainly impressed by the
candidate’s Sunday attire, his well-kept grey moustache, and his affable
way of saying "ladies and gentlemen" every now and then.

The speech ambled to its close, through a peroration of an uncertain
conversational tone, assisted at critical points by one or other of the
supporters, who would ungovernably supply the needed word out of the
bursting fulness of his own repertoire. It was the sole outlet for their
enthusiasm, except for the cheer that caught at the ravelled edge of the
final sentence, as the candidate put on his hat and bowed himself from
the tombstone.

"Be prayin’ for the meetin’, gerrls," said the old priest, leading the
way to the vestry, with rusty skirts floating widely.  The door closed
on him and his protégé, the clumps on the tombstones fell apart,
mingling in a laughing and talking stream towards the churchyard gate,
and the prayers of the young ladies were apparently deferred to a more
convenient season.

The chapel door stood open, showing the barren squareness of the
interior; a zinc tub, half-full of Holy-water, stood in the porch, with
the flags all round it wet from the splash of dipping hands; the altar
gleamed gaudily at the further end; and a tall confession-box stood
solitary in the seatless expanse of floor, fraught with the inseparable
mystery and suggestiveness of its kind, and holding within its curtained
rails the knowledge of what things are counted for unrighteousness in
that twilight place, the conscience of the Western peasant.  The air
inside was warm, and still laden with the smell of frieze coats and
stale turf smoke; but, except for this furnishing, the blankness was
complete. Sunday and its Mass were over and done with for a week, and
priest and congregation were striving factors in the carnal toils of
election.

The people dispersed slowly, discussing the absorbing topic of the day,
some in their native tongue, but for the most part in English, so
pronounced as to be in the distance scarcely distinguishable from the
liquid and guttural flow of Galway Irish.

[Illustration: "A MAN MUST WOTE THE WAY HIS PRIEST AND BISHOP’LL TELL
HIM"]

"Sure, a man must wote the way his priest and bishop’ll tell him," says
a tall supporter, with the air of a person repeating a truism.

"Well, meself’d say," says another, whose handsome eyes shone in the
shadow of his soft felt hat, while his hands helped out his words with
picturesque gesture, "the man I’d have a wish for to wote for him, is
the man that’d rise out o’ his bed in the night and give hay and oats to
yer horse, and yerself fotever ye’d ax, when any one else’d leshen
(listen) in their bed if ye were battherin’ there till mornin’."

This argument referred to the well-known good nature of the Parnellite
candidate, a general dealer and publican in a neighbouring village.

"Well, indeed, he’s no scholar, I suppose," says a young fellow, still
in reference to the Parnellite.  "He has no learnin’ nor way of spakin’
no more than meself, but becripes! he’s a fine sthrong man, and he’ll be
well able to fight and box in Parliament."

This was said in entire good faith, and was listened to with respect.

"Come on back the road!" bawls a supporter, beckoning authoritatively
from the distance, "let yees come on now, the whole o’ yee, the way we’d
be before the car and it going up!"

The reason for this manoeuvre was presently apparent, on returning to
the village street.  As the candidate’s car left the chapel the
Parnellite crowd thronged the corner by which it must pass; a battery of
threatening faces, waiting with unknown purpose; a gauntlet to run or to
run away from.  The car came slowly up the hill, preceded by a party of
supporters; the candidate on one side, looking anxious the old priest on
the other, bare-headed, and looking still more anxious, but waving his
hand as if in greeting, while the interwoven yells became a thrilling
mass of sound.

It was well for the candidate that his companion was one of the oldest
and most popular of the Galway priests.  That prestige had shielded the
churchyard meeting from disturbance, and but for its influence now the
future M.P. might have returned to England with an appearance not
advantageous to the firm of which he was a member.  A forest of clenched
fists and sticks seemed to leap up towards him, the scream of hatred
never took breath, and there was entreaty in the face of the priest as
his wrinkled hands waved repressively above the tumult.  There was a
long moment of uncertainty, but in the next the car was through in
safety, and was gone in the twinkling of an eye, the supporters running
in its wake till the last waving gleam of the candidate’s silk hat had
been garnered.

It was then that things began to look, to an Irish eye, most promising
and attractive. The supporters turned, formed into a solid body of
perhaps forty men and boys, and marched with inimitable swagger straight
back into the crowd, all together, in a kind of chant, shouting, "To
hell with ——!" (the rival candidate) at the utmost strength of their
lungs.  The theme was a simple one, but magnificently vocalised, and was
instantly replied to in the _tu quoque_ manner by the opposite party.
Sticks went up, the women rushed outwards for safety, looking, with
their floating shawls, like a flock of frightened turkeys; and at this
point the four constabulary men who represented that force made
themselves felt.  The dangerous moment yielded easily and unresentfully
to these judicious hands, and the excitement sputtered out in a little
bragging and hustling, without so much as a black eye to commemorate it.
In half an hour the ducks were again waddling in line along the empty
street, and a muffled hum proceeding from the shuttered public houses,
told that the _bonâ fide_ travellers had at length reached their
journey’s end.  It was a lamentable falling off from the days of the
fish kettles and the mulled port of Kilroy’s Hotel.

The episode had expired in the way that might have been expected, and
was at best an indeterminate, shapeless thing, full of unripe revolt
that it was too childish to express.  But that moment when the little
flame first flickers in the gorse, feeling its naked way among the
thorns and affluent blossom, has a wonder of birth in it that is
forgotten when the blazing hillside jars the noonday, and the smoke
rolls monotonously from strongholds of conflagration.



                         *A RECORD OF HOLIDAY*


Of summer holidays it may at least be contended that they involve two
periods of undiluted enjoyment; the time of anticipation, and the
calm—if sometimes chastened—season of retrospect.

I am glad; now that the mice are nesting in my trunks, and the spiders
weaving fresh straps round my hold-all, that I have been to Switzerland,
that the greasy Visitors’ books of several West of Ireland hotels hold
my name.  Also, I remember how very cheerful it was to study a
scarlet-hued Bradshaw, and to reflect that, with certain financial
restrictions, the Continent of Europe lay smiling before me.  (I
remember also, that I lent that entertaining work to an American friend,
and found the utmost difficulty in recovering it from him.  It was only
restored, indeed, on the morning of my departure, and my friend
mentioned that he had sat up all night reading it, "Just to see how it
ended," he said.)

Between, however, these seasons of satisfaction, there stretches the
actual time of holiday, and as I reflect upon it, I am struck by the
fact that its more salient features are misfortunes.  From a literary
point of view this has its advantages; the happy traveller has no
history.  If the converse is true it would need Gibbon or Macaulay to
deal with our transit from the County Cork to that Alpine fastness for
which we had trustingly, fearlessly labelled our luggage.

It began with fog in the Channel—the Irish Channel—solid, tangible fog,
through which our bewildered steamer stumbled, uttering large, desolate
cries of distress, stopping every now and then to bellow like a lost
cow, sometimes, even, going astern, while muffled hootings told of
another wanderer who had drawn nearer than was convenient.

"When I heard ’em giving the signal to go astern," said a sailor officer
of high degree, next morning, as he gobbled a belated mouthful of
breakfast, "I thought it was about time to get up and put on my clothes.
Said nothing about it to m’ wife, though!"

I wonder if he has realised yet why everyone smiled.

In London, rain; in Paris, blinding heat. Dizzily we staggered round the
elder Salon, and through its innumerable small square rooms, with their
lining of flagrant canvases; it was like exploring the brain-cells of a
fever patient in delirium.  One healing instant was ours, when at the
public baths in the Boulevard Mont Parnasse, the waters of a "_Bain
Complet_" closed over the exhausted person; but that, even, was speedily
poisoned by the discovery that towels and soap, being extras, were not
left in the _Cabinet de Bain_, and the bather, having with dripping
hands explored the pocket for the needed coins, had then to tender them
to the attendant through a difficult slit of doorway, receiving in
exchange a small fragment of slightly scented marble and a gauze veil.

After that, the night journey to Geneva. Heat, sardine-like proximity of
fellow travellers, two dauntless English ladies, who turned the long
night into one unending and clanking tea-party; a nightmare interlude of
_douaniers_, then, when a troubled sleep had at length been bestowed,
Geneva; and all the horrors that attend the finish of a long train
journey.

At breakfast, at our hotel, a survey of what we had hitherto endured in
the pursuit of pleasure stung us to a brief revolt.  This was a holiday,
we told ourselves, why hurry? Fortified by a principle, theoretically
unassailable, we strolled about Geneva.  It was cold and very wet;
still, in our newly realised leisure, we made a point of strolling. On
our return to our hotel most of the staff were on the pavement,
seemingly very much excited.  A _voiture_, laden with our luggage, stood
at the door.  It appeared that our steamer left for Villeneuve in eight
minutes. I imagine that the hotel staff’s agitation arose from the fear
that we should not have time to tip them all.  This was, alas,
unfounded.

The driver took us first to the wrong steamer.  He then turned his
machine too short, and locked the fore carriage.  Then he shambled
across the long bridge to the other steamboat quai, while we sat
forward, like the coxswains of racing eights, in sweating agony,
watching our boat getting up steam and preparing for instant departure.

We caught the boat by springing, like Spurius Lartius and Herminius,
across the widening chasm between her deck and the shore, and therewith
fell into a species of syncope.  Mists shrouded the mountains; a chilled
rain swept the lake.  For our parts, slowly recovering, we kept the
cabin, and swept the tea-table.  It was almost our first moment of
enjoyment.

The Alpine fastness, already alluded to, was not gained for a further
couple of days, during which an awakening distaste for Switzerland
slowly grew in us, though it did not thoroughly mature till mellowed by
a mule ride up a mountain.  Reticence in narration is a quality that I
endeavour to cultivate.  It becomes a necessity in treating of the
village and its surrounding slums from and through which our start was
made. Having, in a state nearing starvation, been offered the sole
refreshment available, namely, concentrated essence of typhoid in the
guise of glasses of milk, and having retained sufficient self-control to
refuse them, we started on mule-back for the mountain. Traversing, as I
have every reason to believe, the open main drain of the village, our
animals proceeded to totter up a narrow and precipitous watercourse.

"_La voie la plus directe_," explained the mule-driver, lashing his
ancient cattle in a general way, and without animosity.

The cloud that accompanied our wanderings, as in the case of the
Israelites, did not fail of its usual office.  Even through the crown of
a Panama straw hat the rain attained to my skin.  Thence it descended,
enveloping me, as it were an inner garment. Twice my mule fell down.  I
could not reproach it.  Indeed, nothing but the fact that one of its
parents had been an ass explained its readiness to pick itself up and go
on again.  It had, however, an incentive, supplied in the rear by its
proprietor; we had naught save the fetish of Holiday to goad us onward,
and its potency was beginning to weaken.

One week of the mountain hotel was as much as we were able to endure.
The usual "exceptional" weather prevailed.  How familiar is the formula,
and how entirely unworthy of credence!

"For seventeen years"—the Landlord calls heaven to witness—"it has never
been so wet, or so cold, or so stormy at this time. If Monsieur or
Madame, had come but three weeks ago—or would wait but three days
longer——"

There was a time when the glamour of holiday might have induced belief,
might even have beguiled a further endurance of the age-long
_table-d’hôte_ repasts, of the aggressive muscularity of the English
schoolmaster, who, during the progress of the _ménu_ from the watery
soup to the acrid Alpine strawberry, faced us, boasting at large and in
detail; of the German bride, who practised the piano for four hours
daily (her head upon her bridegroom’s shoulder, his faithful arm round
her waist). These things, though unattractive in themselves, might once
have been submitted to as elements of the theoretical holiday (in
Switzerland), as mere inevitable crumples in the rose-leaf.

But, on this occasion—it is possibly one of the compensations of
advancing years—we found ourselves endowed with a juster sense of
proportion.  The close of the eighth day saw us heading for home with a
speed that almost amounted to rout.  The mule-driver’s maxim, "_la voie
la plus directe_" seemed good common sense; we drew neither breath nor
bridle, Geneva, Paris, London were but names in the night, till we found
ourselves facing America from the front doorstep of a certain remote
hostelry in the far west of Connaught.

[Illustration: FACING AMERICA]

Then, and not till then, did something of the largeness, the leisure,
the absurdity, the unconventionality, that should enter into all true
holiday, begin for us.

I have said hostelry, and undoubtedly the words "Seaview Hotel," in
letters large and green, were inscribed upon its pink-washed walls, but
without this clue I do not think the closest observer would be able to
detect its walk in life.  It had but one storey; a dark and narrow
passage led from the entrance to the kitchen, and therein, at (as
subsequent experience showed us) any time of the day or night, the
entire establishment might be found, massed, talking as though they had
not met for years, and were to separate in an hour.

Thus we, led by our carman, an _habitué_ of the house, found them, and
thus, with but brief intervals, they continued during the period we
spent among them.

"What is it, Mike?" this to the car-driver from a very stout lady, whom
we rightly assumed to be the proprietress.  "Oh—the sitting-room," she
exhibited a natural annoyance, having been interrupted in a
pronouncement on, I gathered, the feeding of pigs. "Here!  Mary Kate,
show the sitting-room!"  She re-addressed herself to her subject.

Mary Kate, a charming slattern with a profusion of fair hair, "showed"
the sitting-room. It was small, but not unclean, and, in addition to the
normal outfit of table and chairs, was remarkably equipped with a large
double perambulator, whose use as a sideboard was sufficiently indicated
by the fact that a cruet stand and a loaf of bread occupied one seat,
while a piece of cold beef reclined on the other.  The bedrooms, if I
may quote a French guide-book’s remarks upon the retreat of a hermit,
"excited I know not what emotions of religious terror;" emotions that
were not allayed by the suspicion, that deepened to certainty, that, in
the absence of visitors, they were occupied by the staff.

"Hot wather?  O _cerr*tainly!" said Mary Kate, kindly.  "Beg your
pardon—" she crushed past me to the chimney-piece, and proceeded to
grope behind photograph frames and a crowded multitude of glass and
china, *objets d’art_.  "I left me hat pins—" here she giggled
confidentially, while, so intimate was the arrangement of the _objets
d’art_, that several of them fell off at the farther end of the chimney
piece.  "Ah! what matther!  Sure they’re all a little broke!" said Mary
Kate, wedging them into their places again, and thrusting the recovered
hat pins into her redundant locks. "Ye’ll be wanting somethin’ to eat
now, I daresay," she went on, "I’ll send granne’ma in to ye."

A brief interval ensued, during which we furtively examined the
bedclothes, and indulged in disturbed conjecture as to the substance
that stuffed the pillows.  Their smell, though curious, offered no basis
for theory.

There came a creeping sound without, and low down, a panel of the door
was dealt a single blow.

I said "Come in!" not without a slight recurrence of religious terror.

A very little and ancient woman stood there, with the trade marks of
soot and grease thick upon her.  When she curtseyed she seemed to merge
in the door mat, so small was she and so dingy.

There was reassurance in the discovery that she seemed as much in awe of
us as we of her.

"How would I know what the likes o’ ye would fancy?" she said, almost
with despair, and went on to hope that our visit might prove an
education into the ways of the aristocracy of which she had long stood
in need, but she coupled the admission with a warning that she "was very
owld and very dull."

It was a high responsibility, this position of exponents of an unknown
type, and it is much to be regretted that we were forced to leave our
venerable disciple under the impression that the upper classes usually
cook their own food at hotels.  It should here be said that this
expedition had not been entered upon without a certain foreknowledge of
what it was likely to involve, and amongst other precautions were
provisions of a portable sort.  These included sausages, and the
sausages we confided to our old lady.

We sat in the parlour enjoying the appetite for dinner that is one of
the bright features of a genuine holiday.  After a delay of about half
an hour, Mary Kate’s head was thrust through a narrow opening of the
door.

"Granne’ma says will the little puddings be split?"

Had the answer been Yes, and that it was usual to serve them with cream
and sugar, I feel sure that grandmamma would have complied.  As it was,
after instructions to Mary Kate, of a lucidity unrivalled by Mrs.
Beeton, the sausages appeared, pale, tepid, raw, in a pie-dish, just
a-wash with luke-warm water.

The holiday appetite quailed at the sight, and the _chef_ was summoned
from the conversazione still raging in the kitchen.  A single glance at
the guests told her of failure, and, with a masterly grasp of the
position, she hurried back to the kitchen and returned with the
frying-pan.

"Keep it now yersels," she said.  "Didn’t I say to ye I was too owld?"

From that time the parlour grate led a sullied life, but—which may have
consoled it—a thoroughly useful one.  We re-cooked the sausages upon it;
the perambulator yielded its increase, toast, grilled beef, sausages,
who could reasonably ask for more?

We spent two days and two nights there; days of perfect weather, spent
in exploring a coast as wild and beautiful as the heart of holiday maker
could desire, nights strangely, almost desolately devoid of the
entomological excursions and pursuits usual to village inns, and, in
spite of the peculiarities of the pillows, sleep was not difficult.  Or
rather, in candour it should be said, was difficult only after the
rising of the sun.  For with the dawn, a vagrant population was astir in
the village; a street Arab community of hens, dogs, geese and donkeys,
incessant and clarion-toned in their addresses to morn and to each
other; creatures who slept under carts and in stray corners; who treated
life as a lounge, and regarded their owners as suzerains merely, to whom
occasional allegiance was to be rendered, or a tributary egg or two laid
in an inaccessible place.

On the whole, the donkeys are those of whom I can speak least
temperately.  They had, for want, possibly, of other employment, adopted
the position of town-criers to the village, or perhaps were its
prophets, perhaps its Cassandras, and they uplifted their testimony from
sunrise till nightfall with a poignancy that rent the very skies.
Standing one evening on one of the low hills that hemmed the village
into its corner by the sea, I counted easily, and with half a glance,
four of these enthusiasts, planted each on a commanding rock or mound,
and sending his wild voice abroad over the valley.  It was a sunny
evening, after a day of sad and opalescent beauty, and the sea had
brightened into blue and silver; the white-washed gables and a far white
lighthouse were radiant with recovered cheerfulness, but the jackasses
were as despairful and implacable as Jeremiah.

There was but one disaster during our brief sojourn at the Sea View
Hotel.  A few sausages and a tin of sardines remained, "spared," as Mary
Kate said, from the first repast.  These she proposed to store, for
safety and coolness, in one of our bedrooms. The idea not being well
received, she finally deposited them in the Post Office, which was
attached to the hotel.  But even this hiding place was not improbable
enough to hoodwink that skilled tactician, the hotel cat, and he, in
some dark hour of the night, found and feasted on them with, no doubt,
all the ravishing joy of a new experience.

[Illustration: IN WEST CARBERY]

We could not but sympathise with him. Thanks to the Sea View Hotel that
subtle joy was also ours.

I began by saying that of the Summer holidays the times of anticipation
and of retrospect were the times of truest pleasure. Yet I can remember
long September days beside a sea of Mediterranean blue, the sea of
Southern Ireland, when the perfect present asked nothing of either past
or future.  The long creek wound, blue-green as a peacock’s breast,
between deep woods.  High places of rock and heather were there, where
you could lie, "ringed with the azure world," and see the huge liners,
yes, and hear them too, as they went throbbing and trampling along the
sun’s path westward.

Those who know this place of holiday are comparatively few, but there is
at least one distinguished name of the company—Dean Swift, no less.  A
couple of hundred years or so ago, he spent a summer in West Carbery,
(an ivy-covered ruin, known as Swift’s Tower, testifies to the fact,)
and he forthwith made a poem about it, a Latin poem, addressed to the
Rocks of Carbery.

One gathers that it was of the nature of an encomium, though the points
selected for description are not those that would tempt the effete
holiday maker of to-day.  Possibly it was the Dean’s majestic
eighteenth-century manner of thanking his host for "a very pleasant
visit."  I came upon it in the house of a descendant of that host,
reverently quoted in a copy of Dr. Smith’s history of the County Cork,
dated 1749.  Thanks to the sympathetic scholarship of a contemporary
divine, the Revd. Dr. Donkin, who made a translation of it, I am able to
give some quotations from it.  Dr. Smith thinks that "the Dean’s
descriptions are as just as his numbers are beautiful."  It is not for
me to disagree with him.  Let them—or some of them—dignify these
unworthy pages.

    "Lo!  From the top of yonder cliff, that shrouds
    Its airy head amidst the azure clouds,
    Hangs the huge fragment, destitute of props,
    Prone on the waves the rocky ruin drops.

                     *      *      *      *      *

    Oft too with hideous yawn, the cavern wide
    Presents an orifice on either side;
    A dismal orifice, from sea to sea
    Extended, pervious to the god of day.

                     *      *      *      *      *

    High on the cliff their nests wild pigeons make,
    And sea calves stable in the oozey lake ...
    When o’er the craggy steep without controul,
    Big with the blast, the raging billows roll, ...
    The neighbouring race, tho’ wont to brave the shocks
    Of angry seas and run along the rocks,
    Now pale with terror, while the ocean foams,
    Fly far and wide, nor trust their native homes.
    The goats, while pendant from the mountain top,
    The wither’d herb improvident they crop,
    Wash’d down the precipice with sudden sweep,
    Leave their sweet lives beneath th’ unfathomed deep."


I am sorry to say that in these degenerate times the improvident goat
has lost his ancient skill and is no longer pendant, and the oozey lake
and stabling sea calf (the latter possibly a lingering survivor of the
Deluge) may no more be found.  None the less, I can confidently commend
the scenes of these catastrophes to the holiday maker of to-day.

Even now, when the sunshine of last September has faded to a memory, and
that of next September is too far away to be even a hope, I can still
feel the soft lift of the western wind, still hear the booming of the
waves in the deep and riven heart of the cliff.



                       *LOST, STOLEN, OR STRAYED*


"I couldn’t find your apron, Ma’am," said the "Why not," imported a
month before, with bare feet and a forelock like a Shetland pony.  She
belonged to the drift-weed of the household, and would, perhaps, now be
ranked as a "tweeny"; her class derived its title from its genial habit
of replying "Why not?" to any given order, without considering or
knowing whether such were its business. The "Why not" was at present
flushed with long search, and with that sub-resentment and assumption of
being suspected that all servants run up like a flag when valuables are
missing.

"There isn’t one in the house, but I’m afther axing about it.  It must
be it was waylaid."

It may scarcely be necessary to explain that she meant mislaid, but in
her limited skill in English she had expressed the real trend of the
things in the establishment. They were not, as a rule, lost, nor in the
strict sense of the word were they stolen; they were waylaid, snatched
from their own walk of life and applied to some pressing necessity of
the moment.  The apron might have been taken to clean a bicycle, or to
stay the flow of spilt ink, or to bandage the foal’s leg, and the "Why
not" probably had been a party to its fate.

It is on record that in past ages a punt, used by the master for his own
pleasure, was waylaid after it had been suitably laid up in the
coach-house for the winter.  When Spring came, and the time of the
singing of birds and the painting of boats set in, the punt was not.

It was "gone this long time;" it was "as rotten as that the boards was
falling out of it undher the people’s feet."  "You couldn’t tell what
thim women in the laundhry would catch hold of when they’d be short of
fire, an’ God knows a person’s heart would be broke that’d have to be
lookin’ for sticks for them."

Having arrived at the fact that his boat had been burned, the Master
yielded to the inevitable.

"Begad!" he said, regarding the culprits through his spectacles, "I
believe you’d burn myself if I’d light!"

The march of education has merely added scope to the art of waylaying.
We have in the West of Ireland "heavy showers and showers in between,"
as an old woman put it when describing a wet day.  In the course of one
of the in-betweens a party from the Big House took refuge in a wayside
cabin, and although it is not desirable or polite to observe too
curiously the environment in wayside cabins, a glimpse of a green
morocco-bound volume on a shelf, between a salt-herring and a hair-brush
was too much for the visitor’s good breeding.  Averting our eyes from
the hair-brush we identified the volume as a copy of Byron’s "Marino
Faliero," which had long since disappeared from the drawing-room
book-case in which it had been wont to stand in the decorous neglect
which, I imagine, is not uncommonly its portion.

No one knew anything about the book. It had apparently flown like a
storm-beaten bird to the cabin door, and, out of pure compassion, was
given house room.  From internal evidence it would seem to have inspired
considerable interest in a family of the name of Sweeny, whose
autographs profusely adorned its wide margins.  Later on we heard that
one, Patsey Sweeny, when dying, had asked for the solace of a book. The
Big House had been applied to for something suitable.  We shall never
know what influenced the "Why not" in her selection of "Marino Faliero;"
we shall never know anything in that, or in any similar matter, with any
certainty, but we do not expect certainty in the West of Ireland.
"Marino Faliero" returned to its fellows, importing a rich odour of
tobacco and turf smoke, but otherwise, unfortunately, dumb to its
adventures.

[Illustration: PATSEY SWEENY]

Subsequently a daughter of the house of Sweeny showed much aptitude in
the art of waylaying.  A Confirmation was in prospect at the chapel, at
which Miss Julia Sweeny, aged eleven, was to be presented as a
candidate, the occasion requiring that she should be dressed in purest
white from her oily curls to her nimble and naked feet. When the day of
transformation arrived, the Young Ladies from the Big House turned out
to view it, and as the candidate knelt in angelic decorum in the chapel,
the youngest of the Young Ladies made the gratifying discovery that her
new white canvas tennis shoes were on the feet of Miss Sweeny.  On such
a day it would have been a gross want of taste to have mentioned the
matter, and that evening the tennis shoes re-appeared unostentatiously
in their owner’s room.  No comment was made on either side, but with the
sensitive perception of the clinical thermometer, the Sweeny family
remained invisible for several weeks, after which Mrs. Sweeny arrived
with a score of eggs as a present for the youngest Young Lady, and both
sides felt that a disagreeable estrangement had been handsomely closed.

[Illustration: MRS. SWEENY]

The adventures of the Gravy Spoon were of the simpler household variety,
inexplicable, disconnected, yet following in a certain order a track
familiar to all Irish householders. The gravy spoon was antique, slender
of curve, and delicately ornamented along its graceful handle.  Every
servant connected with the spoon will now testify that the handle was
cracked from the day it was made.  One even asserts that "When ye’d
strike it agin anything there’d be a roaring in it," which, of course,
leaves no more to be said.  That its prolonged absence from the table
should have been unnoticed was well in the character of things: several
months, in fact, passed before the lady of the house observed the cook
skimming cream with a singular and dwarfish weapon, which proved to be
the bowl and one inch of the handle of the gravy spoon.  The explanation
opened with the formula, "Sure that was broke always," followed almost
inevitably by the statement that "it was broke when the young gentlemen
was home."  From the mouth of a third witness came the information that
"Master Lionel broke it one day at luncheon helping curry."  History was
silent as to the composition of this remarkable curry.  The cook entered
no protest.  Memory was not at any time her strongest point, judging at
least from her own guileless confession on one of the many occasions
when dinner was very late.

"Sure I mislaid the pudding, and there I was hunting the house for it,
and where would it be afther all but in the oven!"

The search for the keys was, of course, a mere commonplace of every day.
The storeroom was carefully locked up, and the bunch, an enormous and
for the most part obsolete collection, was then taken severely upstairs
and secreted.  The next event was, usually, the departure beyond ken or
call of the person who had secreted the keys, followed, at a greater or
less interval, by the crisis when they became essential to the progress
of things, by the opening scenes of the hunt, and its gradual broadening
to full cry throughout the house.  During this part of the comedy the
servants, who were perfectly acquainted with every known hiding-place,
remained coldly intent on their business, and the hunters deferred as
long as possible the humiliating moment when their co-operation must be
invited.  When it came, the keys came with it.

To the lost and strayed the ashpit in the yard occasionally offered
harbourage, where, among the hot turf ashes and evil smells, oblivion
came quickly.  Sometimes, when search ran high, as lately in the case of
three errant postal orders, the ashpit was placed under martial law, and
yielded strange spoils to its inquisitors.  Instead of the postal orders
came forth in the first instance a letter, dated 1805, from an
historical personage, once Chief Justice of Ireland.  The letter itself,
in remarkably good preservation, described in choice and flowing English
a fortnight spent in Bath, an experience in remarkable contrast to the
ashpit.  The second trophy was a cheque for eight pounds, recent and
uncashed.  The third was a tea cosy, of old gold and peacock blue satin,
somewhat scorched by turf ashes, but new, and preserving in its quilted
interior the label with which it emerged from its parent bazaar. There
was other booty of an inconsiderable sort, but the postal orders were
not found. The net result of the investigation was that every servant in
the house hovered on the verge of giving warning, till the day when the
postal orders arrived as stowaways in a letter from South Africa.  The
writer made no mention of their presence in the envelope, nor has he
since been able to account for it, nor, to this hour, has any reasonable
theory been brought forward to explain their wanderings.

Lest any hasty judgment should here be formed as to the conduct of Irish
households, it is well to mention that other households, not Irish, have
had experiences as remarkable.

A family of my acquaintance, blameless in domestic life and even notable
in virtue, has established what must be, I think, a singular renown at
Scotland Yard in the matter of lost valuables.  During a stay of two
nights under that hospitable roof, three several and severe disasters
passed like winds through the establishment, causing much mental and
physical stress, and a vast amount of cab hire.

The first was the loss of a diamond star, to recover which Scotland
Yard, much concerned, put forth detectives and established a network of
theories.  It was subsequently found under the owner’s bed.  The second
was less showy but more acute, a purse lost while shopping.  Scotland
Yard (not perhaps without a memory of the diamond star) was guarded, but
still sympathetic.  Several purses had been brought in; would the owner
describe hers?  The owner now asks us to believe that on being
confronted with this question she found herself unable to remember what
her purse was like.  Then perhaps she could mention the sum of money it
contained?  Lamentable to relate, on this point also memory was a blank.
After so flagrant a breakdown the ordinary individual would have ended
the interview in the lockup, but the claimant of the purse, in addition
to being young and lovely, was by no means ordinary.  As a matter of
fact she was invited to try again, and this time was enabled to say that
she believed the purse had a hole in it.  Further details of the
interview were withheld, but we were given to understand that though the
purse was not restored, the excellent relations with the officials
remained unimpaired.

The third catastrophe was the loss of a dressing-bag, containing much of
value, and forgotten, in the customary way, in a cab. This was a
trifling matter; a mere occasion for a morning call at Scotland Yard,
where the officials, with the special and protective smile reserved for
this family, produced the bag.  It was taken airily home in a hansom,
its recovery was announced to an admiring luncheon table, and the
peculiar success of the family with Scotland Yard was discussed.

"But where is the bag?"

And even with the words came the grey dawn of the discovery that the bag
had once more been left in the hansom.

To follow the subsequent events would be an unkindness.  It is enough to
indicate that even Scotland Yard and its special smile were on this
occasion of no avail.

To lose things by accident is, as we all know, calamitously easy, to
lose them designedly is not only difficult but takes nerve and, at the
right moment, want of principle.

There was once a red silk parasol, of the genus known to the trade as an
_en tout cas_, which, literally translated, meant that in sunny weather
it was cumbrous and heavy, and that during showers it wept tears of
indelible maroon upon its possessor.  It passed through an unloved youth
into an abhorred middle age, with a crooked nose, a swelled handle, and
a mottled complexion, unfit for society, yet not sufficiently decayed
for a jumble sale.  I and another went to Dublin for a week, and on
starting found that the red umbrella had been put on the car by the
servants, who held it in high esteem. We did not give it a thought; it
would, of course, return upon the car to its lair in the back hall.  As
the train moved out into sunlight the red umbrella revealed itself,
looming upon us through the netting where a careful porter had placed
it.  Not as yet recognising the hand of Fate, we lightly regarded it,
and determining that it should be left in the train, straightway forgot
its existence until an equally attentive porter placed it respectfully
in our cab in Dublin.  Had we kept our heads we should have offered it
to him, murmuring something about having no change.  Like most
inspirations, this, unfortunately, did not occur to us till some five
minutes later, but it suggested the idea of giving it to a housemaid,
and on this understanding it accompanied us to our destination. During a
week it disgraced our host’s umbrella stand, and during that week we
discovered that the housemaid, who, from the first, was quelling, was a
Plymouth Sister, and would probably have regarded such a gift as an
attempt to sap her religious convictions.  When, on departure, it was
deliberately forgotten, it was the Plymouth Sister who snatched it from
the umbrella stand and breathlessly hurled it into our cab. It was
obvious that to throw it out of the window in streets crowded with
traffic would merely have involved a heavy fee to an inevitable rescuer;
we reserved it for the window of the train, confidently, even enjoyably.
Yet, such was its inveteracy, in the train the spell of forgetfulness
again held us.  The moments when it was remembered were precisely when
the train stopped at stations, or the windows were blocked with fellow
passengers, who would probably have pulled the communication cord to
retrieve it.  As we neared the long bridge of Athlone a final resolve
was made.  The network of big girders glided by, the broad Shannon
glittered far below.  The red umbrella shot like a spear through the
girders and dropped out of sight. "So flashed and fell the brand
Excalibur—"

The train crept into Athlone Station and there entered upon a prolonged
wait among roomy and silent platforms.  We exulted at leisure over the
reel umbrella.  A hurrying foot was distantly heard; doors opened and
shut in rapid succession down the length of the train.  We disinterred
our tickets.  The door of our carriage was opened and a heated boy put
in his face.

"Did anny one here lose a red umbrella?"

It was the supreme moment in a duel with Destiny.

I replied to his question with a firm and simple negative.



                      *CHILDREN OF THE CAPTIVITY*


The road to Connemara lies white across the memory, white and very
quiet.  In that far west of Galway, the silence dwells pure upon the
spacious country, away to where the Twelve Pins make a gallant line
against the northern sky.  It comes in the heathery wind, it borrows
peace from the white cottage gables on the hill side, it is accented by
the creeping approach of a turf cart, rocking behind its thin grey pony.
Little else stirs, save the ducks that sail on a wayside pool to the
push of their yellow propellers; away from the road, on a narrow oasis
of arable soil, a couple of women are digging potatoes; their persistent
voices are borne on the breeze that blows warm over the blossoming
boglands and pink heather.

Scarcely to be analysed is that fragrance of Irish air; the pureness of
bleak mountains is in it, the twang of turf smoke is in it, and there is
something more, inseparable from Ireland’s green and grey landscapes,
wrought in with her bowed and patient cottages, her ragged walls, and
eager rivers, and intelligible only to the spirit.

Over in England there are clustered cottages half buried in rich
meadows, covered with roses to the edge of their mellow roof tiles,
shaded by venerable and venerated trees, pleasant resting-places for the
memory. From one of them comes forth a mild-faced elderly woman in a
mushroom hat, the embodiment of respectability and hard work. If you
talk to her you will be impressed by her sincerity, her reticence, her
reverence for cleanliness, and further, as the conversation progresses,
by her total lack of humour, and her conscientious recital of details
not essential to the story.  You will admire and like her, and she will
bore you; so will her husband, with the serious face and sober blue
eyes, and you will be ashamed of being bored.

[Illustration: IN A LONELY COTTAGE]

Approach one of these lonely cottages on a Connemara road, and you will
find it crooked without quaintness, clumsy, dirty, distressful; yet
there will come forth to you round the manure-heaps in front of the door
a human being, probably barefooted, and better skilled in Irish than in
English, who will converse with you in the true sense of the word, that
is to say, with give and take, with intuition, and with easy and instant
sense of humour.  While you talk to her you can observe two elderly
women in red petticoats and black cloaks advancing on the long road from
Galway, carrying heavy baskets from the market: their eyes are quick,
their faces clearly cut and foreign-looking.  Were it in your power to
listen to what they are saying, you would be entertained as you have
seldom been, by highly seasoned gossip, narrative, both humorous and
tragic, and wide and exhaustive criticism.  A cart lumbers by, loaded
with men and women, their teeth, one would say, loosened in their heads
by the clattering and jolting, but their flow of ideas and language
unshaken.  The two women in the cloaks have arrived at a juncture at
which they must stand still in the ecstasy of the story; the narrator
shoots out a spike of a thumb, and digs her auditor in the chest to barb
the point of the jest as it is delivered.  The recipient swings backward
from the waist with a yell of appreciation, they hitch their cloaks on
their shoulders, and enter on the Committee stage of the affair as they
move on again.

One might safely say that this bare and still country carries an amount
of good talk, nimble, trenchant, and humorous, to the square mile, that
the fat and comfortable plains of England could never rival.  It has
been so for centuries, and all the while the sons and daughters of
Connemara have remained aloof and self-centred, hardly even aware of the
marching life of England, least of all aware that Ireland holds the post
of England’s Court Jester.  Others of their countrymen, more
sophisticated, more astute, probably less agreeable, have not been slow
to realise it.  Perhaps they would have refused the Cap and Bells had
they known the privilege entailed.

"As for our harps," said the Children of the Captivity, "we hanged them
up upon the trees that are therein."  That was when the songs of Zion
were required of them in the strange land, and the strong Euphrates saw
their tears.  The sympathy of all the centuries has been theirs for that
poignant hour; yet, as far as can be known, they were spared an extremer
pang.  It is nowhere recorded that the people of the strange land made
any attempt to sing the songs of Zion to the Children of Israel.

When the Children of Erin hang up their harps in the Babylon of to-day,
the last thing they wish to emulate is that passionate silence of the
Israelites.  They hang them up as those do who enter in and possess the
land, and the songs of Zion have not faltered on their lips.  A captive
race they may be, but their national desire to "take the floor" has
remained unshaken.  They have discovered that an Irish brogue has a
market value, and the songs of Zion have gone through many editions and
held many audiences, since the days when Tom Moore exploited his country
in London drawing-rooms. The moment of bitterness is when the English
become fired with the notion of singing them for themselves.

Perhaps it comes about from English love of a theory, especially an
hereditary theory, that has been handed down to them, well-thumbed by
preceding generations.  They have established a theory for the Irish,
and particularly and confidently for Irish humour, and from owning the
theory there is but a step to becoming proprietors also of the humour.
Myself, when young, was nourished upon a work named "Near Home," and in
the edition current at the time, I remember that the Irish were
indulgently described as "a merry people, and fond of pigs."  The
hereditary theory could hardly have been better summarised.  The average
Englishman owns an Irish story or two, and is genially certain of his
ability to tell it, with all necessary embellishment of accent and
expression.  As often as possible he tells it to an Irishman.

Elusive as running water is the brogue of the Irish peasant; hardly
attained even by those who have known its tune from childhood.  They, at
least, know how it ought to be, and with this knowledge in their hearts,
they have to sit in dreary submission while the stage Irishman convulses
the English audience; they must smile, however galvanically, when
friends, otherwise irreproachable, regale them with the Irish story in
all its stale exuberance of Pat and the Pig, or expound for their
benefit that epitome of _vieux jeu_, the Saxon conception of an Irish
Bull.

As to Irish Bulls, it could be explained, were it of any avail, that
they convey a finer shade of meaning than the downright English language
will otherwise admit of.

"If ye were to be killed crossing a fence ye’d be all right!" said a
looker-on to one whose horse had turned head over heels in the middle of
a level pasture, "but if ye were killed on the flat o’ the field ye’d
never hold up your head again!"

Here was the effort of the true impressionist to create an effect
regardless of the means.

"Jerry was a grand man.  When he’d be idle itself he’d be busy!"

Had the author of this commendation merely said that Jerry’s industry
was unceasing, he would have been unassailable as to diction, but he
would have left his audience cold.  It is a melancholy fact that the
English mind contrives to miss the artist’s intention, and fastens
unalterably on the obvious contradiction of terms.

As in converse, so, and with deeper disaster, is it in literature.
There is scarcely a week in the life of the English comic papers that is
guiltless of some heavy-handed caricature of Irish humour, daubed with
false idiom and preposterous spelling, secure in its consciousness of
being conventional.  It is better to accuse a man of having broken a
commandment than to tell him that his sense of humour appears to you
defective, so, leaving that branch of the subject open, I will only
mention that there are alive many excellent people who will never, on
this side of the grave, be convinced that the Irish peasant does not say
"indade" for "indeed," "belave" for "believe," or "swape" for "sweep."
Inborn and ingrained knowledge of such points is essential; if, among
many anomalies, a rule can be found, it seems to be that in an Irish
brogue the diphthong "ea" changes to "a," as in "say" for "sea," while
the double e remains untampered with; thus you might hear a person say
"I was very wake last week."

Writers of fiction have done much that is painful in dealing with Irish
people. Thackeray’s Captain Costigan spoke like a stage edition of a
Dublin car-driver, which is not what one would expect in a gentleman
who, according to his own account, "bore his Majesty’s Commission in the
foighting Hundtherd and Third," and his introduction of Arthur Pendennis
as "a person of refoined moind, emiable manners, and a sinsare lover of
poethry" is not convincing or even very amusing.  It is strange that the
error of making Irish ladies and gentlemen talk like their servants
should to this hour have a fascination for novelists.  It is not so very
long since that, in a magazine, I read of a high-born Irish Captain of
Hussars, who, in a moment of emotion, exclaimed: "Howly Mither av
Hiven!"

Dealing with present day writers is treading on delicate ground, and it
is with diffidence that one arraigns one of the most enthralling of
living story-tellers.  Few of his works have been more popular than
"Soldiers Three," yet to me and others of my country, it is the
narratives of Private Mulvany that give least pleasure.  "Gurl" for
girl, "Thimber" for timber, and "Quane" for Queen, are conventions that
have unfortunately proved irresistible; they are taken from a random
page or two, and there is no page free of such.

But, after all, right or wrong, pronunciation and spelling are small
things in the presentment of any dialect.  The vitalising power is in
the rhythm of the sentence, the turn of phrase, the knowledge of idiom,
and of, beyond all, the attitude of mind.  A laborious system of
spelling exasperates the reader, jades the eye, and fails to convince
the ear. If, in illustration, I again quote Mr. Kipling, it is because
of the conspicuousness of his figure in literature; he can afford to
occupy the position of target, indifferent alike to miss or bull’s-eye.

Stripped of its curious and stifling superfluities of spelling, a
sentence of Mulvaney’s runs thus:

"Oh, boys, they were more lovely than the like of any loveliness in
heaven; ay, their little bare feet were better than the white hands of a
Lord’s lady, and their mouths were like puckered roses, and their eyes
were bigger and darker than the eyes of any living women I’ve seen."

[Illustration: CHILDREN OF THE CAPTIVITY]

With the exception of "the like" there is nothing in the wording of this
panegyric that would even suggest it had been uttered by an Irishman.
To stud the page with "ut" and "av" instead of "it" and "of" is of no
avail.  Irish people do not say these things; there is a sound that is a
half-tone between the two, not to be captured by English voices, still
less by English vowels.  The shortcoming is, of course, trivial to those
who do not suffer because of it, but want of perception of word and
phrase and turn of thought means more than mere artistic failure, it
means want of knowledge of the wayward and shrewd and sensitive minds
that are at the back of the dialect.

The very wind that blows softly over brown acres of bog carries perfumes
and sounds that England does not know: the women digging the potato-land
are talking of things that England does not understand. The question
that remains is whether England will ever understand.



                          *SLIPPER’S A B C OF
                              FOX-HUNTING*



[Illustration: A is for Alphabet]

"A is for Alphabet.
  Faith!  I’m in dhread
It’s hardly I’ll battle it out up to Z."



[Illustration: B is for Buck]

"B is for Buck.
  Your best howlt is the spurs,
And make sure they’re dhruv home
  When ye’re goin’ through furze."



[Illustration: C is for Check]

"C is for Check.
  If ye go any faster
Ye’ll be apt to be dhrawn into chat,
  With the Master."



[Illustration: D was the Dhrain]

"D was the Dhrain that the fox got inside in.
  Bad luck to the cowardly shkamer for hidin’!"



[Illustration: E came from England]

"E came from England, and wanted no guide.
  Now he’s larning the lie o’ the bogs,
From inside!"



[Illustration: F is Full Cry]

"F is Full Cry.
  And it’s hard to say which
This lad or the hounds
  Lets the powerfullest screech!"



[Illustration: G stands for Geese]

"G stands for Geese.
  Look at Gollagher now,
And himself in the thick of a Family Row!"



[Illustration: H is for Horn]

"H is for Horn.
  The few that can blow it
Are born to the thrick,
  Just the same as a poet!"



[Illustration: I is meself]

"I is meself.
  No great shakes, as you see,
But there’s more than one gerr’l
  Is wishin’ for me!"



[Illustration: J is Jog Home]

"J is Jog Home.
  A dhry misht from the say
Very often comes on,
  Just to soften the way!"



[Illustration: K is the Kick]

"K is the Kick that killed Kinahane dead.
  I’d be sorry to mention
The words that he said!"

[Illustration: M is the Master]

"M is the Master,
  Blaspheemious of habit;
If you would catch hardship
  Cheer hounds to a rabbit!

"And L is the Lep
  That he threw in the passion.
Be cripes!  But thim dogs
  Got their ’nough of a thrashin’!"



[Illustration: N was a Nanny-goat]

"N was a Nanny-goat up on the hill.
  Faith!  Some o’ thim puppies
Is hunting her still!"



[Illustration: O’s the Obstackle]

"O’s the Obstackle
  Tim met in the way.
But the mare being free
  He got no great delay."



[Illustration: P was the Price]

"P was the Price of a nate little bin
  That the foxes ate over and over agin.
And bedad! if it comes to a Quarrel,

    (that’s Q)
I’ll back Biddy Burke
  To out-hucksther a Jew!



[Illustration: R is for River]

"R is for River.
  Young Reilly kept cool.
If ye give him fair warning
  Young Reilly’s no fool.

"And S was the Saxon
  That gave him the warning.
I’m thinkin’ he’ll hardly be dhry
  Before morning."



[Illustration: T is a Tenant]

"T is a Tenant
  About to vacate
The site once well filled by his
  Family Sate.

"And U’s the Umbrella
  That spilt the poor fella.
What call have owld women
  To want an Umbrella?"



[Illustration: V’s the Vet]

"V’s the Vet.
  A nate surgeon, he’ll ’knife it and chance it’!
And he’ll ’cut out the work’
  Without using his lancet!"



[Illustration: Here’s the Wrecker]

"Here’s the Wrecker, and Earth Stopper,
  Bowld Willy Roche.
Sure they say a fried egg’s the one thing
  He can’t poach!"



[Illustration: X is the finish]

"I sthruggled this long time
  And couldn’t find one
Dacent, sportsmanlike word
  That thim letters begun.

"But at all events X is the finish of Fox.
  His Y Z ye can’t see
He’s to ground in the rocks!"



             _Printed by Ballantyne & Co. Limited, London_



           *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *



                        _*BY THE SAME AUTHORS*_


SOME EXPERIENCES OF AN IRISH R.M.
       With 31 Illustrations by E. OE.
       SOMERVILLE.  Crown 8vo, 6s.

ALL ON THE IRISH SHORE:
       Irish Sketches.  With 10 Illustrations
       by E. OE. SOMERVILLE.  Crown 8vo, 6s.

THE REAL CHARLOTTE
       Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.

THE SILVER FOX
       Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.

AN IRISH COUSIN
       Crown 8vo, 6s.

SLIPPER’S A B C OF FOX-HUNTING
       By E. OE. SOMERVILLE, M.F.H.  With
       Illustrations in Colour by the Author.
       4to, boards, 10s. 6d. net.

                        LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Some Irish Yesterdays" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home