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Birdie fell into Colamore Har-
on the gravel path in a woeful state-her wet green skirt clinging to her little legs, the discoloured poppies of her hat flat upon the wet ribbon.
"Change that child's clothes," said my mother, indifferently, as if she were all her life accustomed to the sight of a terrified child rescued from the deep, and went on talking to the gardener.
It would be a bold and inhuman assertion to make, and certainly one I am far from maintaining, that harsh treatment is the proper training of children. But my mother's method has undoubtedly answered better than that of many a tender or self-sacrificing mother. It built us in an admirable fashion for adversity, -taught us to rely upon ourselves, taught us, above all, that necessary lesson-how to suffer and not whine. It is only when I observe how feebly and shabbily a spoiled woman can face trouble and pain, that I feel one may with reason cherish some pride of the power of enduring both with a smile. And when, stupefied and shamed, I contemplate the petty trickeries to which worldliness and untruthfulness can reduce a woman, the infamous devices a slender purse can drag educated ladies into, thus am I partially consoled for the sufferings of childhood. It is much, when one fronts battle, to have been reared in an atmosphere of abMy mother was standing in solute rectitude, of truthful and the front garden talking to honourable instinct. It is a the gardener, when the party blessing indeed when love inmarched in upon her. cludes all this. But bleak as frowned as Birdie was deposited the start was, I would not have
The wall of Colamore Har bour was protected by an iron chain that swung low from the big stones that divided the festoons. Birdie's foot slipped, and the child in a twinkling tumbled over, and plunged, with a hollow crash, into the heavy grey sea. Happily there were bathing-women and fishermen within hail, and as quickly as she had taken an unexpected bath, Birdie was once more in our midst, dripping like a Newfoundland, white and shaking with terror. One of the big boys took her up in his arms and tenderly carried her home. We all followed, awed and hysterical.
had it otherwise at the cost of to a Scottish mother. Kings these great and virile virtues. are all very well in their way, And since it would appear that especially if they happen to be the Irish habit of boasting is reigning; but when one learns an incorrigible weakness, and as authentic fact that an Irish that even in these democratic journalist has offered an article days my people still persist in to an unknown editor, accomdescending from kings who panied with a letter stating have slept in peace over seven that the blood of seven kings hundred years, and may with- runs in his veins, one feels that out any extravagant scorn of such a race is all the more fact be presumed to have passed rational for a little foreign for ever into the state of legend, blood to modify the imperishI am glad to acknowledge the able and universal blight of priceless debt of common-sense royalty.
CHAPTER XXVII.-A DISMAL END OF HOLIDAYS.
For the joy of our small kingdom a delightful Fenian dropped into our midst. was breathed among us in fatal undertones that he had actually shot a man. He was a figure of romance, if ever there was one. He went about with long boots, and an opera-glass slung over his shoulder. He had lovely dark blue eyes, which Pauline described as Byronic, and lisped most captivatingly. He was a kind of adopted relative, and, as a special correspondent, has passed into history. He became our elder brother, and in the years to come solaced himself in camp by regarding Agnes as a lost early love. We lay about him on the grass as he told us the tales of the Wonderful Nights. Better still, he invented adventures of his own almost as alarming and enthralling. He told us that he had been to Persia, which was not true-but no matter. We believed in the Persian princess who had swung her
self, at the risk of life, from
And then he would offer us a taste of adventure for ourselves: in the absence of our parents he would crowd us into the waggonette, and drive my stepfather's pet horses at a diabolical rate up by the exquisite coast road of Sorrento, into Bray and through the Wicklow mountains, each curve and hollow and hilly bank menacing to lay us in pieces upon the landscape, and we shouting and hurrahing, in a fond notion that we were offering to the uni
His fear of my mother filled us with a rapturous sense of comradeship, though this fear was quite foolish, for my mother never concealed her preference for his sex, and to men was always as amiable as she was the reverse to us. He beamed and joked with her, but was careful to scan her visage, on the look-out for the first symptoms of storm. The bolt fell rudely upon his shoulders the day he lamed the horses, and did some damage to the waggonette. I never knew what she said to him; but it must have been exceedingly bitter and unbearable, for his cheeks were as white as paper, and his eyes as black as sloes. He was penniless for the moment, and down on his luck, which makes a man more nervously sensitive to slight than in his happier hours.
My stepfather was sorry for him; but, remembering the horses, was relieved to send him off to Spain with a new outfit and the inevitable operaglasses.
than him. He could not exist without a fancied love-affair on hand.
In the Carlist War, where he claimed to have saved the colours of Spain, rejected the hand of an Infanta, and lent his last five-pound note to Don Carlos, which that illustrious person forgot to return,—'tis a way, he would say musingly, with princes, -as he started for battle, he pathetically adjured his comrades to cut off a lock of his blue-black hair and send it to Agnes, with the assurance that his last thought was given to her. In the pauses of battle he actually entertained himself by composing an imaginary correspondence with an ardent and amorous Agnes, which he read aloud to his dearest friend, with tears in his voice.
But that, as Mr Kipling in his earlier manner would say, is quite another story, and has nothing to do with the tale of little Angela.
I had no time to lament this fresh eclipse of romance, for Miss Kitty was busy preparing my things for Lysterby, and two days after Edmond's sentimental farewell and departure, I myself most dolefully had
said a bitterer good-bye to the rocks and harbour and hills of Dalkey, and had been transported into the town house, to see Mrs Clement for the last time, and, along with her, make my farewell visit to Kildare.
It was a grievous hour for poor Nurse Cockrane. Jim, her husband, who was down at Wexford two months ago when I came back from Lysterby, had returned a fortnight earlier with death in his eyes.
When we got down at the post-house, the soft fine rain of Ireland was drizzling over the land. A few steps brought us to the top of the green, with the slit of water along the sky and two wild swans visible through the pearl mist.
All the blinds of nurse's windows were drawn down, and I instantly recalled a like picture the day Stevie dropped out of life.
The door was open, and a group of working men, in their Sunday suits, were talking in undertones.
"What has happened?" asked Mrs Clement, alarmed. "Troth, ma'am, an' 'tis a bad day for herself," said one.
"A power of ill-luck," said another. "A fine young man struck down like that in the flower of youth."
Mrs Clement hurried inside, and I followed her in excited silence. In the familiar old parlour, with the china dogs and the green spinet, dear kindly nurse sat back in the black horse-hair arm-chair, sobbing and moaning in the frantic way peasants will when grief strikes them, and around
her in voluble sympathy women hushed and exclaimed and ejaculated, "Glory be to God!" "But who'd think of it?" "Poor Jim! but 'tis himself was the good poor crathur."
I advanced hesitatingly, abashed and frightened by such an explosion of sorrow-I who always went under a bed to weep lest others should mock me. Not then or since could I ever have given expression to such expansive and boisterous feeling, restrained by a fierce and indomitable pride even at so young an age.
Nurse caught sight of me, and held out both hands. I encircled her neck with my arms, and pressed my cheek against hers, and when her sobs had subsided, she stood up, holding me still in a frenzied clasp.
"Come, darling, and look at him for the last time. Poor Jim! He loved you as if you had been his own, his very own, for sure never a child had he."
She took me into Stevie's room, the best bedroom, and on the bed lay a long rigid form. I hardly recognised the dear friendly Jim of my babyhood, on whose knee I so often sat, in the pallid emaciated visage, with the lank black hair round it, and the moustache and beard as black as pitch against the hollow waxen cheek. The same candles were alight upon the table in daytime, and the air yielded the same heavy odour of flowers as on that other day I had penetrated into this room, and found Stevie in his coffin. I shuddered and clung to nurse's skirt, sick with a nameless re
pulsion, yet I am thankful now that I found courage, when she asked me to kiss him, not to shrink from that simple duty of gratitude. I allowed her to lift me, and I put my mouth to the frozen forehead, with what a sense of fear and horror I even can recall to-day. I was glad to nestle up against Mrs Clement on the mail-car and press my lips against her live arm to get the cold contact from them. I felt so miserable, so broken was my faith in life, that the return to Lysterby passed unnoticed. I remember neither the departure, the journey, nor the arrival at school.
tion closed with that dread picture of a dead man and a white shroud, and in the lugubrious illumination of tapers, and nurse sobbing and keening, with no hope of comfort. After that the troubles of home and school looked poor enough, and for some time the nuns found me a very sober and studious little girl. It was long before even Mr Parker could raise a smile; and Play Day, when we were permitted to do as we liked all day, found me with no livelier desire than to sit still and pore over the novels of Lady Georgiana Fullerton.
CHAPTER XXVIII.-MY FIRST COMMUNION.
This period of unwonted mildness in a turbulent career was seized by the good ladies of Lysterby as a fitting moment for my first communion. It might be only a temporary lull in a course of perversity which would not occur again and so I was ordered to study anew the lives of the saints. This was quite enough to turn my eager mind from thoughts of daring deed to dreams of sanctity.
I proposed to model my life on that of each fresh saint; was in turn St Louis of Gonzague, St Elizabeth of Hungary, St Theresa and St Stanislaus of Koscuetzo, for the life of me I cannot remember the spelling of that Polish name, but it began with a K and ended with an O, with a mad assortment of consonants and vowels between. St Elizabeth I found
very charming, until the excessive savagery of her confessor, Master Conrad, diminished my enthusiasm. When I came to the barbarous scene where Master Conrad orders the queen to visit him in his monastery, which was against the monacal law, and then proceeds to thrash her bare back while he piously recites the Miserere, I shut the book for ever, and declined upon the spot to become a saint.
Nevertheless I made my first communion in a most edifying spirit. I spent a week in retreat down in the town convent, and walked for hours up and down the high-walled garden discoursing with precocious unctuousness to my good friend Mother Aloysius, who, naïve soul, was lost in wonder and admiration of my gravity and sanctimoniousness. I medi