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Birdie fell into Colamore Har- on the gravel path in a woeful bour. We were coming down state-her wet green skirt clingfrom Killiney Hill, a lovely spot ing to her little legs, the dismore prosperous lands might coloured poppies of her hat flat envy us. Birdie walked inside, upon the wet ribbon. in a pretty short frock of pale “Change that child's clothes," green alpaca, and a new hat said my mother, indifferently, with red poppies among the as if she were all her life accusribbon. In those days Birdie tomed to the sight of a terrified and I ran it closely as infant child rescued from the deep, beauties. Her hair was a shade and went on talking to the more flaxen than mine, and the gardener. roses of her cheeks a shade It would be a bold and inpaler. She was fatter, too, and human assertion to make, and less vapoury; but I carried the certainly one I am far from palm as an ethereal doll, with maintaining, that harsh treatà classic profile. Alas! the ment is the proper training of promise of that period was children. . But my mother's never fulfilled. Both profile and method has undoubtedly anpride of beauty vanished on the swered better than that of threshold of girlhood, to make many a tender or self-sacrificway for the appearance of a ing mother. It built us in an dairymaid in their distinguished admirable fashion for adversity, stead,
-taught us to rely upon ourThe wall of Colamore Har selves, taught us, above all, that bour was protected by an iron necessary lesson—how to suffer chain that swung low from the and not whine. It is only big stones that divided the when I observe how feebly and festoons. Birdie's foot slipped, shabbily a spoiled woman can and the child in a twinkling face trouble and pain, that I tumbled over, and plunged, with feel one may with reason cherish a hollow crash, into the heavy some pride of the power of engrey sea. Happily there were during both with a smile. And bathing-women and fishermen when, stupefied and shamed, I within hail, and as quickly as contemplate the petty trickeries she had taken an unexpected to which worldliness and unbath, Birdie was once more in truthfulness can reduce a woour midst, dripping like a New- man, the infamous devices a foundland, white and shaking slender purse can drag educated with terror. One of the big ladies into, thus am I partially boys took her up in his arms consoled for the sufferings of and tenderly carried her home. childhood. It is much, when We all followed, awed and one fronts battle, to have been hysterical.
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. She cludes all this. But bleak as frowned as Birdie was deposited the start was, I would not have 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 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 self, at the risk of life, from kingdom a delightful Fenian the harem window to become dropped into our midst. It a Christian and marry him ; was breathed among us in fatal and the king, her royal father, undertones that he had actually who followed the lovers on shot a man. He was a figure horseback and was stabbed in of romance, if ever there was the breast by Edmond's trusty
He went about with long sword. The incoherence of his boots, and an opera-glass slung reminiscences constituted their over his shoulder. He had conspicuous charm. To-day we lovely. dark - blue eyes, which left him at Samarcand, and on Pauline described as Byronic, the morrow found him with a and lisped most captivatingly. fresh and more perilous loveHe was a kind of adopted rela- adventure at Constantinople. tive, and, as a special correspon- * It was entrancing. dent, has passed into history. He And then he would offer us a became our elder brother, and taste of adventure for ourselves : in the years to come solaced in the absence of our parents himself in camp by regarding he would crowd us into the Agnes as a lost early love. We waggonette, and drive my steplay about him on the grass as father's pet horses at a diabolihe told us the tales of the cal rate up by the exquisite Wonderful Nights. Better still, coast - road of Sorrento, into he invented adventures of his Bray and through the Wicklow own almost as alarming and mountains, each curve and holenthralling, He told us that low and hilly bank menacing he had been to Persia, which to lay us in pieces upon the was not true--but no matter. landscape, and we shouting and We believed in the Persian hurrahing, in a fond notion that princess who had swung her- were offering to the uni
verse the spectacle of the insta- “I shall never forget the old bility of the United Kingdom. Dalkey garden," he said to Edmond's formidable method of Agnes, on the morning of his conspiring against the Govern- departure, quite as sentimentment at that time consisted in ally as if he were talking to a delighting and amusing a troop grown-up young person. The of little girls !
rascal was always playing a Foolish, reckless creature, al- part for his own imagination, cohol absorbed and tarnished his and even a slip of a girl of brilliant gifts, and his bones lie fourteen was better than noscattered at far-off Khartoum. body to regret after a three He made of a life that might weeks' stay in a romantically have been a heroic poem a situated house. It was stronger mere trivial legend, and, with than him. He could not exist his lust for adventure and peril, without a fancied love-affair on he met the death he wished for, hand. brief and glorious.
In the Carlist War, where His fear of my mother filled he claimed to have saved the us with a rapturous sense of colours of Spain, rejected the comradeship, though this fear hand of an Infanta, and lent was quite foolish, for my mother his last five-pound note to Don never concealed her preference Carlos, which that illustrious for his sex, and to men was person forgot to return,—’tis a always as amiable as she was way, he would say musingly, the reverse to us. He beamed with princes,—as he started for and joked with her, but was battle, he pathetically adjured careful to scan her visage, on his comrades to cut off a lock the look-out for the first symp- of his blue-black hair and send toms of storm. The bolt fell it to Agnes, with the assurance rudely upon his shoulders the that his last thought was given day he lamed the horses, and to her. In the pauses of battle did some damage to the waggon- he actually entertained himself ette. I never knew what she by composing an imaginary
. said to him ; but it must have correspondence with an ardent been exceedingly bitter and un- and amorous Agnes, which he bearable, for his cheeks were read aloud to his dearest friend, as white as paper, and his eyes with tears in his voice. as black as sloes.
But that, as Mr Kipling in penniless for the moment, and his earlier manner would say, down on his luck, which makes is quite another story, and has a man more nervously sensitive nothing to do with the tale of to slight than in his happier little Angela. hours,
I had no time to lament this My stepfather was sorry for fresh eclipse of romance, for him ; butremembering the Miss Kitty was busy preparing horses, was relieved to send my things for Lysterby, and him off to Spain with a new two days after Edmond's sentioutfit and the inevitable opera- mental farewell and departure, glasses.
I myself most dolefully had said a bitterer good-bye to the her in voluble sympathy women rocks and harbour and hills of hushed and exclaimed and ejacDalkey, and had been trans- ulated, “Glory be to God!” ported into the town house, to “But who'd think of it?” see Mrs Clement for the last “ Poor Jim! but 'tis himself time, and, along with her, make was the good poor crathur.” my farewell visit to Kildare. I advanced hesitatingly,
It was a grievous hour for abashed and frightened by such poor Nurse Cockrane. Jim, an explosion of sorrow-I who her husband, who was down at always went under a bed to Wexford two months ago when weep lest others should mock I came back from Lysterby, me. Not then or since could I had returned a fortnight earlier ever have given expression to with death in his eyes.
such expansive and boisterous When we got down at the feeling, restrained by a fierce post-house, the soft fine rain of and indomitable pride even at Ireland was drizzling over the so young an age. land. A few steps brought us Nurse caught sight of me, to the top of the green, with and held out both hands. I the slit of water along the sky encircled her neck with my and two wild swans visible arms, and pressed my cheek through the pearl mist. All against hers, and when her the blinds of nurse's windows sobs had subsided, she stood up, were drawn down, and I in- holding me still in a frenzied stantly recalled a like picture clasp. the day Stevie dropped out of “Come, darling, and look at life.
him for the last time. Poor The door was open, and a
Jim! He loved you as if you group of working men, in their had been his own, his very own, Sunday suits, were talking in for sure never a child had he.” undertones.
She took me into Stevie's “ What
has happened ?" room, the best bedroom, and on asked Mrs Clement, alarmed. the bed lay a long rigid form.
“Troth, ma'am, an' 'tis a bad I hardly recognised the dear day for herself,” said one. friendly Jim of my babyhood, on
“A power of ill-luck,” said whose knee I so often sat, in another. “A fine young man the pallid emaciated visage, struck down like that in the with the lank black hair round flower of youth."
it, and the moustache and beard Mrs Clement hurried inside, as black as pitch against the and I followed her in excited hollow waxen cheek. The same silence. In the familiar old candles were alight upon the parlour, with the china dogs table in daytime, and the air and the green spinet, dear yielded the same heavy odour kindly nurse sat back in the of flowers as on that other day black horse - hair arm - chair, I had penetrated into this room, sobbing and moaning in the and found Stevie in his coffin. I frantic way peasants will when shuddered and clung to nurse's grief strikes them, and around skirt, sick with a nameless re
pulsion, yet I am thankful now The episode of my first vacathat I found courage, when she tion closed with that dread picasked me to kiss him, not to ture of a dead man and a white shrink from that simple duty of shroud, and in the lugubrious gratitude. I allowed her to lift illumination of tapers, and nurse me, and I put my mouth to the sobbing and keening, with no frozen forehead, with what a hope of comfort. After that sense of fear and horror I even the troubles of home and school can recall to-day. I was glad to looked poor enough, and for nestle up against Mrs Clement some time the nuns found me on the mail-car and press my
a very sober and studious little lips against her live arm to get girl. It was long before even the cold contact from them. Mr Parker could raise a smile ; I felt so miserable, so broken and Play Day, when we were was my faith in life, that the permitted to do as we liked all return to Lysterby passed un- day, found me with no livelier noticed. I remember neither desire than to sit still and the departure, the journey, nor pore over the novels of Lady the arrival at school.
CHAPTER XXVIII.- MY FIRST COMMUNION.
This period of unwonted
unwonted very charming, until the excessmildness in a turbulent career ive savagery of her confessor, was seized by the good ladies Master Conrad, diminished my of Lysterby as a fitting moment enthusiasm. When I came to for my first communion. It the barbarous
where might be only a temporary Master Conrad orders
the lull in a course of perversity queen to visit him in his which would not occur again monastery, which was against and so I was ordered to study the monacal law, and then anew the lives of the saints. proceeds to thrash her bare This was quite enough to turn back while he piously recites my eager mind from thoughts the Miserere, I shut the book of daring deed to dreams of for ever, and declined upon sanctity.
the spot to become a saint. I proposed to model my life Nevertheless I made my first on that of each fresh saint; was communion in a most edifying in turn St Louis of Gonzague, spirit. I spent a week in reSt Elizabeth of Hungary, St treat down in the town convent, Theresa and St Stanislaus of and walked for hours up and Koscuetzo,-for the life of me down the high-walled garden I cannot remember the spelling discoursing
precocious of that Polish name, but it unctuousness to my good friend began with a K and ended Mother Aloysius, who, naïve with an O, with a mad assort- soul, was lost in wonder and ment of consonants and vowels admiration of my gravity and between. St Elizabeth I found sanctimoniousness. I medi