E-text prepared by Delphine Lettau and Joseph E. Loewenstein, M.D.
In 1834, at age 19, Anthony Trollope became a junior clerk in the British postal service. He did not get on well with his superiors, and his career looked like a dead end. In 1841 he accepted an assignment in Ireland as an inspector, remaining there for ten years. It was there that his civil service career began to flourish. It was there, also, that he began writing novels.
Several of Trollope's early novels were set in Ireland, including The Macdermots of Ballycloran, his first published novel, and Castle Richmond. Readers of those early Irish novels can easily perceive Trollope's great affection for and sympathy with the Irish people, especially the poor.
In 1882 Ireland was in the midst of great troubles, including boycotts and the near breakdown of law and order. In May of that year Lord Frederick Cavendish, the newly-appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland, and Thomas Burke, a prominent civil servant, were assassinated in Dublin. The news stirred Trollope, despite his poor health, to travel to Ireland to see for himself the state of things. Upon his return to England he began writing The Landleaguers. He made a second journey to Ireland in August, 1882, to seek more material for his book. He returned to England exhausted, but he continued writing. He had almost completed the book when he suffered a stroke on November 3, 1882. He never recovered, and he died on December 6.
Trollope's second son, Henry, arranged for publication of the almost finished novel. The reader should note Henry Trollope's preface to Volume I and Postscript at the end of the book.
Readers familiar with Trollope's early Irish novels will be struck, as they read The Landleaguers, by his bitterness at what was happening in Ireland in 1881 and 1882.
In Three Volumes—VOL. I.
London Chatto & Windus, Piccadilly 1883 [All rights reserved]
Charles Dickens and Evans, Crystal Palace Press.
I. MR. JONES OF CASTLE MORONY. II. THE MAN IN THE MASK. III. FATHER BROSNAN. IV. MR. BLAKE OF CARNLOUGH. V. MR. O'MAHONY AND HIS DAUGHTER. VI. RACHEL AND HER LOVERS. VII. BROWN'S. VIII. CHRISTMAS-DAY, 1880. IX. BLACK DALY. X. BALLYTOWNGAL. XI. MOYTUBBER. XII. "DON'T HATE HIM, ADA." XIII. EDITH'S ELOQUENCE. XIV. RACHEL'S CORRESPONDENCE. XV. CAPTAIN YORKE CLAYTON. XVI. CAPTAIN CLAYTON COMES TO THE CASTLE.
This novel was to have contained sixty chapters. My father had written as much as is now published before his last illness. It will be seen that he had not finished the forty-ninth chapter; and the fragmentary portion of that chapter stands now just as he left it. He left no materials from which the tale could be completed, and no attempt at completion will be made. At the end of the third volume I have stated what were his intentions with regard to certain people in the story; but beyond what is there said I know nothing.
HENRY M. TROLLOPE.
MR. JONES OF CASTLE MORONY.
In the year 1850 the two estates of Ballintubber and Morony were sold to Mr. Philip Jones, under the Estates Court, which had then been established. They had been the property of two different owners, but lay conveniently so as to make one possession for one proprietor. They were in the County Galway, and lay to the right and left of the road which runs down from the little town of Headford to Lough Corrib. At the time when the purchase was made there was no quieter spot in all Ireland, or one in which the lawful requirements of a landlord were more readily performed by a poor and obedient tenantry. The people were all Roman Catholics, were for the most part uneducated, and it may be said of them that not only were their souls not their own, but that they were not ambitious even of possessing their own bodies. Circumstances have changed much with them since that date. Not only have they in part repudiated the power of the priest as to their souls, but, in compliance with teaching which has come to them from America, they claim to be masters also of their bodies. Never were a people less fitted to exercise such dominion without control. Generous, kindly, impulsive, and docile, they have been willing to follow any recognised leader. When Philip Jones bought the property that had belonged to the widow O'Dwyer—for Ballintubber had for the last hundred years been the property of the O'Dwyers—and Morony, which, had been an outlying town-land belonging to the Hacketts for the last two centuries, he had at first been looked down upon as a new comer. But all that had passed by, and Mr. Jones was as much respected as though he had been an O'Jones from the time of Queen Elizabeth. But now the American teaching had come up, and things were different.
Mr. Jones had expended over L30,000 in purchasing the property, and was congratulated by all men on having done well with his money. There were some among his friends in England—and his friends were all English—who had told him that he was incurring a great risk in going into so distant and wild a country. But it was acknowledged that he could not in England have obtained so good a return in the way of rent. And it was soon found that the opportunities for improving the property were many and close at hand. At the end of ten years all men who knew Mr. Jones personally, or had seen the increasing comforts of Morony Castle, declared that, as he liked the kind of life, he had done uncommonly well for himself.
Nor had he done badly for his three married sisters, each of whom had left L4,000 in his hands. All the circumstances of the Miss Jones's as they had been, it will be here unnecessary to explain. Since Philip had become owner of Morony Castle, each of them had married, and the three brothers-in-law were equally well satisfied with the investment of their money. It will, however, thus be understood that the property did not belong entirely to Mr. Jones, and that the brothers-in-law and their wives were part owners. Mr. Jones, however, had been in possession of some other means, and had been able to use capital in improving the estate. But he was an aspiring man, and in addition to his money had borrowed something beyond. The sum borrowed, however, had been so small and so well expended, as to have created no sense of embarrassment in his mind.
When our story commences he was the father of four children. The elder and the younger were boys, and two girls came between them. In 1880, Frank, the elder, was two-and-twenty. The two girls who followed close after were twenty and nineteen, and the youngest boy, who was born after an interval of nearly ten years, was but ten years old. Some years after the mother had died, and Mr. Jones had since lived as a widower. It may be as well to state here that in 1880 he was fifty-five years old.
When his wife had died, the nature of the man had apparently been changed. Of all men he had been the most cheerful, the most eager, and the most easily pleased. He had worked hard at his property, and had loved his work. He knew every man and woman about the place, and always had a word to say to them. He had had a sailing boat on the lake, in which he had spent much of his time, but his wife had always been with him. Since her death he had hardly put his foot within the boat. He had lately become quick and short-tempered, but always with a visible attempt to be kind to those around him. But people said of him that since his wife had died he had shown an indifference to the affairs of the world. He was anxious—so it was said—to leave matters as much as possible to his son; but, as has been already stated, his son was only twenty-two. He had formerly taken a great pleasure in attending the assizes at Galway. He had been named as a grand juror for the county, which he had indeed regarded as a great compliment; but since his wife's death he had not once attended.
People said of him that he had become indifferent to the work of his life, but in this they hardly spoke the truth. He had become indifferent rather to what had been its pleasures. To that which his conscience told him was its work, he applied himself with assiduity enough. There were two cares which sat near his heart: first, that no one should rob him; and secondly, that he should rob no one. It will often be the case that the first will look after itself, whereas the second will require careful watching. It was certainly the case with Philip Jones that he was most anxious to rob no one. He was, perhaps, a little too anxious that no one should rob him.
A few words must be said of his children. Frank, the eldest, was a good-looking, clever boy, who had been educated at the Queen's College, at Galway, and would have been better trained to meet the world had circumstances enabled him to be sent to a public school in England. As it was he thought himself, as heir to Morony Castle, to be a little god upon earth; and he thought also that it behoved his sisters and his brother, and the various dependents about the place, to treat him as though he were a god. To his father he was respectful, and fairly obedient in all matters, save one. As to that one matter, from which arose some trouble, much will have to be said as the story goes on.
The two girls were named Ada and Edith, and were, in form and figure, very unlike each other. Ada, the eldest, was tall, fair-haired, and very lovely. It was admitted in County Galway that among the Galway lasses no girl exceeded Ada Jones in brightness of beauty. She was sweet-tempered also, and gracious as she was lovely. But Edith did not share the gifts, which the fairy had bestowed upon her sister, in equal parts. She was, however, clever, and kind, and affectionate. In all matters, within the house, she was ready to accept a situation below her sister's; but this was not by her sister's doing. The demigod of the family seemed to assume this position, but on Ada's part there was no assumption. Edith, however, felt her infirmity. Among girls this is made to depend more on physical beauty than on other gifts, and there was no doubt that in this respect Edith was the inferior. She was dark, and small of stature, not ungraceful in her movements, or awkward in her person. She was black-haired, as had been her mother's, and almost swarthy in her complexion, and there was a squareness about her chin which robbed her face of much of its feminine softness. But her eyes were very bright, and when she would laugh, or say something intended to make another laugh, her face would be brightened up with fun, good-humour, or wit, in a manner which enabled no one to call her plain.
Of the younger boy, Florian, much will be said as the story goes on; but what can be said of a boy who is only ten which shall be descriptive and also interesting? He was small of his age, but clever and sharp, and, since his mother's death, had been his father's darling. He was beautiful to look at, as were all the children, except poor Edith, but the neighbours declared that his education had been much neglected. His father intended to send him to college at Galway. A bright vision had for a short time flitted before the father's eyes, and he had thought that he would have the boy prepared for Winchester; but lately things had not gone quite so well at Morony Castle, and that idea had passed by. So that it was now understood that Florian Jones would follow his brother to Galway College. Those who used to watch his ways would declare that the professors of Galway College would have some trouble with him.
While the mother had lived no family had been more easily ruled than that of the Jones's, but since her death some irregularities had gone on. The father had made a favourite of the younger boy, and thereby had done mischief. The eldest son, too, had become proud of his position, and an attempt had been made to check him with a hard hand; and yet much in the absolute working of the farm had been left to him. Then troubles had come, in which Mr. Jones would be sometimes too severe, and sometimes too lenient. Of the girls it must be acknowledged that they were to be blamed for no fault after the first blow had come. Everyone at Morony had felt that the great blow had been the death of the mistress. But it must be confessed that other things had happened shortly afterwards which had tended to create disturbance. One of the family had declared that he intended to become a Roman Catholic. The Jones's had been Protestants, the father and mother having both come from England as Protestants. They were not, therefore, Ultra-Protestants, as those will know who best know Ireland. There had been no horror of a Catholic. According to Mrs. Jones the way to heaven had been open to both Catholic and Protestant, only it had suited her to say her prayers after the Protestant fashion. The girls had been filled with no pious fury; and as to Mr. Jones himself, some of the Protestant devotees in the neighbourhood of Tuam had declared that he was only half-hearted in the matter. An old clergyman, attached to the cathedral, and who had been chaplain to Bishop Plunket, had been heard to declare that he would rather have to deal with an avowed Papist.
But the one who had now declared himself as a convert,—I will say pervert if my readers wish it,—was no other than our young friend Florian. He came in one day and assured his sisters that he meant to be a Roman Catholic. They only laughed at him, and told him that he did not know what he was talking about. "Don't I though?" said Florian. "I've had no end of an argument with Father Malachi, and he's got the best o' me. I'm not going to church any more." When his brother Frank was told, he threatened to "lick the young sinner." "That's about the best can be said for you Protestants," said the young imp. "You lick us when you're strong enough." But the father, when he heard the tidings, declared that he would not have his son molested. No doubt he would live to see his mistake. It was to be hoped that he would do so. But there should be no compulsion. So Master Florian remained for the present attached to his Catholic propensities, and duly went to mass at Ballintubber. This had taken place in the autumn of the year.
There had occurred a circumstance which may be called the beginning of our story. It must first be told that Mr. Jones kept about four hundred acres of the estate in his own hands, and had been held to have done very well with it. A tract of this land lay down on Lough Corrib, and had in former days produced almost nothing but rushes. By means of drains and sluices, which had not been brought into use without the expenditure of much capital, he had thoroughly fertilised some eighty acres, where he grew large crops of hay, which he sent across the lake to Galway, and fed his sheep on the after-grass with great profit. But the care of the sluices had been a great labour, and, latterly, a great trouble to Mr. Jones. He had looked for no evil at the hands of his workmen, or tenants, or neighbours. But he had been taught by experience to expect great carelessness. It was when the rain had fallen in heavy quantities, and when the Lough was full that the evil was chiefly expected. Late in the autumn there came news up to the Castle, that the flood gates on the Ballintubber marshes had now been opened, and that the entire eighty acres were under water. Mr. Jones and his eldest son rushed down, and found that it was impossible to do anything. They could only wait till the waters had retreated, which would not take place for six months. The entire crop for the next year had been destroyed. Then Mr. Jones returned to the Castle stricken by a great blow, and was speechless for the rest of the day.
When the news had been brought, the family had been together at the breakfast table. The father and son had gone out together with the teller of the story. But Ada and Edith and Florian were left at the table. They all sat looking at each other till Edith was the first to speak.
"Flory, what do you know of all this?"
"What should I know?" said Flory. The two sisters looked at him, and each was aware that he did know something. Ada was not so quick as Edith, but even she was aroused. And from this moment Edith began to take the lead in managing her brother.
"You do," said Ada. "How was it done? Who did it—and why?"
"Sorrow a know, I know," said the boy.
"Flory, that is a lie," said Edith very solemnly, looking at him with all her eyes.
"You've no right to say that," said Florian. "It's just because I've turned Catholic, and it's all your spite." But the boy blushed ruby red, and the colour told its own story.
As soon as the news had been announced, Edith had seen the boy's countenance and had instantly watched him. His colour had not risen at once; but his lower jaw had fallen, and his eyes had glanced furtively round, and his whole frame had quivered. Then the rush of blood had flown to his face, and the story had been told so that Edith could read it. His first emotion had made it plain even to Ada. "Flory, you know all about it," said Ada.
Edith got up and went across the room and knelt down at the boy's side, leaning against his chair and looking up into his face. "Flory, you may lie with your voice, but you cannot stifle your heart within you. You have confessed the truth."
"I have not," said Flory; "I wasn't in it at all."
"Who says that you were in it? But you know."
"'Deed and I know nothin'." Now the boy began to cry. "You have no right to say I did it. Why should I do the likes of that?"
"Where were you at four o'clock yesterday afternoon?" asked Edith.
"I was just out, up at the lodge yonder."
"Flory, I know that you have seen this thing done. I am as certain of it as though I had been there myself."
"I haven't seen anything done—and I won't stay here to be questioned this way," said the boy, feeling that his blushes would betray him, and his incapacity to "lie square," as the Americans say.
Then the two sisters were left to talk over the matter together. "Did you not see it in his face?" said Edith.
"Yes, I saw something. But you don't mean to say that he knew it was to be done? That would make him a fiend."
"No; I don't think he knew it was to be done. But when Frank was teasing him the other day about his Catholic nonsense, and saying that he would not trust a Papist, Florian took the part of Pat Carroll. If there be a man about the place who would do a base turn to father, it's Pat Carroll. Now I know that Flory was down near the lough yesterday afternoon. Biddy Ryan saw him. If he went on he must have seen the water coming in."
"What shall we do?" asked Ada.
"Ah!—that's just it. What shall we do? If he could be made to tell the truth, that would be best. But as he denies it, father will believe him. Florian will say that we are spiting him because of his religion."
"But, Edith, we must tell father." At last it was decided that Edith should take the boy and talk to him. He was more prone to listen to Edith than to Ada. Edith did find her brother, and talked to him for an hour,—but in vain. He had managed to collect himself after his past breakdown, and was better able to bear the examination to which his sister put him, than at the first moment. He still blushed when he was questioned; till he became dogged and surly. The interview ended with repeated asseverations on Flory's part, that he knew nothing of the meadows.
Mr. Jones and his eldest son returned to the house, having been absent the entire day. "As sure as I am a living man, Pat Carroll has been at the doing of it," said Frank.
"He cannot have done it alone," said Ada.
"There have been others in it."
"That has been the worst of it," said the father. "Of course I have known since the beginning of the year, that that man would do any devil's turn of work against me. But one man cannot do much."
"Too much! too much!" said Edith.
"One man can murder me, of course. But we haven't yet come to such a state of things as that. Twelve months ago I thought there was not a man about the place who would raise his hand to do me an ill turn. I have done them many good turns in my time."
"You have, father," said Ada.
"Then this man came to me and said that because the tenants away in County Mayo were not paying their rents, he could not pay his. And he can sell his interest on his holding now for L150. When I endeavoured to explain this to him, and that it was at my cost his interest in the farm has been created, he became my enemy. I don't mind that; one has to look for that. But that others should be joined in it, and that there should be no one to say that they had seen it! There must have been five pairs of hands at work, and twenty pairs of eyes must have seen what the others were doing."
The two sisters looked at each other, but they said nothing. "I suppose we shall work it out of them some day," said Frank.
"I suppose nothing of the kind," said the father. "There are eighty acres of meadow lying under Lough Corrib this moment which will not give a ton of hay next summer, or food for a sheep next autumn. The pastures will be saturated, and sheep would perish with foot-rot and fluke. Then money must be laid out again upon it, just that Mr. Carroll may again wreak his vengeance." After that there was silence, for the children felt that not a word could be spoken which would comfort their father.
When they sat down to dinner, Mr. Jones asked after Florian. "He's not well," said Edith.
"Florian not well! So there's another misfortune."
"His ill-health is rather ill-humour. Biddy will take care of him, father."
"I do not choose that he should be looked after by Biddy in solitude. I suppose that somebody has been teasing him."
"No, father," said Edith, positively.
"Has anyone been speaking to him about his religion?"
"Not a word," said Edith. Then she told herself that to hold her tongue at the present moment would be cowardly. "Florian, father, has misbehaved himself, and has gone away cross. I would leave him, if I were you, till to-morrow."
"I know there is ill-will against him," said the father. All this was ill-judged on behalf of Mr. Jones. Peter, the old butler, who had lived in the family, was in the room. Peter, of course, was a Roman Catholic, and, though he was as true as steel, it could not but be felt that in this absurd contest he was on the side of the "young masther."
Down in the kitchen the conversion of the "young masther" to the true religion was a great affair, and Mr. Frank and the young ladies were looked upon as hard-hearted and cruel, because they stood in the way of this act of grace. Nothing more was said about Florian that night.
THE MAN IN THE MASK.
Edith, before she went to bed that night, crept up to her brother's bedroom and seated herself on the bedside. It was a little room which Florian occupied alone, and lay at the back of the house, next to that in which Peter slept. Here, as she sat on the bed, she could see by a glance that young Florian feigned to be asleep.
"Flory, you are pretending to be asleep." Flory uttered a short snore,—or rather snort, for he was not a good actor. "You may as well wake up, because otherwise I shall shake you."
"Why am I to be shaked up in bed?"
"Because I want to speak to you."
"Why am I to be made to speak when I want to sleep?"
"Papa has been talking about you downstairs. He has come home from Ballintubber, very tired and very unhappy, and he thinks you have been made to go to bed without your supper because we have been attacking you about religion. I have told him that nobody has said a word to you."
"But you did."
"Not a word."
"You didn't tell him all that you told me—about letting in the water?" This was asked in a tone of great anxiety.
"Not a word,—not as yet."
"And you won't? Mind, I tell you it's all untrue. What do I know about letting in the water?"
"Who did it?"
"I'm not going to tell."
"You know, then?"
"No, I don't. But I'm not going to tell as though I knew it. You don't care about it in your religion, but we Catholics don't like telling lies."
"You saw nothing?"
"Whatever I saw I'm not to tell a lie about it."
"You've promised not, you mean?"
"Now, Edy, you're not going to trap me. You've got your own religion and I've got mine. It's a great thing in our religion to be able to hold your tongue. Father Malachi says it's one of the greatest trials which a man has to go through."
"Then, Flory, am I to gather that you will say nothing further to me?" Here the boy shook his head. "Because in that case I must tell father. At any rate, he must be told, and if you do not tell him, I shall."
"What is there to be told?"
"I shall tell him exactly what I saw,—and Ada. I saw,—we saw,—that when the news came about the flood, you were conscious of it all. If you will go to father and tell him the truth he will be but very little angry with you. I don't suppose you had a hand in it yourself."
"No!" shouted the boy.
"But I think you saw it, and that they made you swear an oath. Was that not so?"
"No!" whispered the boy.
"I am sure it was so." Then the boy again plucked up his courage, and declared with a loud voice, that it was not so.
That night before she retired to rest, Edith went to her father and told him all that she had to say. She took Ada with her, and together they used all their eloquence to make their father believe as they believed.
"No," said Edith, "he has not confessed. But words drop from him which make us sure that he knows who did it. I am certain that he saw it done. I don't mean to say that he saw the whole thing. The water, I suppose, was coming in all night."
"The whole night! While we were sleeping in our beds, the waters of the lough were ruining me," said the father.
"But he saw enough to be able to tell you who did it."
"I know who did it. It was that ruffian Carroll."
"But father, you will want evidence."
"Am I to bring up my own boy to swear that he was there, witnessing what was done, as the friend of my enemies? I do not believe that he was there at all."
"If you question him, he will probably own to it. It will be better to get at the truth and face it. He is only ten years old. You must tell me the story of his pretended conversion."
"Why should it be pretended?" asked the father.
"Well; of his conversion," said Edith.
"I don't see what it has to do with it? Am I to put myself forward as a bigoted Protestant? Florian has been foolish, but am I to say that I am angry, where I am not angry—not specially angry."
"It will show the influence under which he has taken up Carroll's side," said Edith.
"Or the influence under which he has been made to hold his tongue," said Ada.
"Just so," said Edith. "We do not think that he has made one with your enemies in the matter. But he has seen them at work and has been made to promise that he will hold his tongue. I don't suppose you mean to let the affair slip by without punishing any one."
When the girls left him, Mr. Jones was by no means persuaded. As far as he could ascertain from examination of the persons about the locality, there was no one willing to state in evidence that he had seen anything. The injury had been done in November, on a wet, dreary, dull afternoon. He did learn that at half-past three the meadows were in their usual condition. As to the sluices, the gates of which had been pulled out and thrown away in twenty different places, he could learn nothing; no one had seen a sluice gate touched. As to Florian, and what Florian had been seen to do, he had asked no question, because Florian's name had not then been mentioned. But he had been struck by the awful silence of the people. There were women there, living on the spot, with whose families his family had been on the most kindly terms. When rheumatism was rife,—and rheumatism down on the lough side had often been rife—they had all come up to the Castle for port wine and solace. He had refused them nothing,—he, or his dear wife, who had gone, or his daughters; and, to give them their due, they had always been willing to work for him at a moment's notice. He would have declared that no man in Ireland was on better terms with his tenantry than he; and now, because there had been a quarrel between him and that pestilent fellow Carroll,—whom he had been willing to buy out from his bit of land and let him go to America, so that they might all be at peace,—could they all have turned against him and taken Carroll's part? As far as he had been able to gather the feelings of the people, from conversations with them, they had all acknowledged Carroll to be wrong. He would have said that there was not one among them who was not his friend rather than Carroll's. He was aware that there had been ill-feeling about in other parts of the country. There had been,—so he was told,—a few demagogues in Galway town, American chiefly, who had come thither to do what harm they could; and he had heard that there was discontent in parts of Mayo, about Ballyhaunis and Lough Glinn; but where he lived, round Lough Corrib, there had been no evil symptoms of such a nature. Now suddenly he found himself as though surrounded by a nest of hornets. There were eighty acres of his land under water, and no one would tell him how it was done, or by whom.
And now, to make the matter worse, there had come upon him this trouble with reference to his own boy. He would not believe the story which his daughters had told him; and yet he knew within his heart that they were infinitely the better worthy of credit. He believed in them. He knew them to be good and honest and zealous on his behalf; but how much better did he love poor Florian! And in this matter of the child's change of religion, in which he had foolishly taken the child's part, he could not but think that Father Malachi had been most unkind to him; not that he knew what Father Malachi had done in the matter, but Florian talked as though he had been supported all through by the priest. Father Malachi had, in truth, done very little. He had told the boy to go to his father. The boy had said that he had done so, and that his father had assented. "But Frank and the girls are totally against it. They have no sense of religion at all." Then Father Malachi had told him to say his prayers, and come regularly to mass.
Mr. Jones agreed with his daughters that it behoved him to punish the culprit in this matter, but, nevertheless, he thought that it would be better for him to let it go unpunished than to bring his boy into collision with such a one as Pat Carroll. He twice talked the matter over with Florian, and twice did so to no effect. At first he threatened the young sinner, and frowned at him. But his frowns did no good. Florian, if he could stand firm against his sister Edith, was sure that he could do so against his father. Then Mr. Jones spoke him fair, and endeavoured to explain to him how sad a thing it would be if his boy were to turn against his own father and the interests of the family generally.
"But I haven't," said Florian confidently.
"You should tell me what you saw on that afternoon."
"I didn't see anything," said Florian sulkily.
"I don't believe he knew anything about it," said Mr. Jones to Edith afterwards. Edith could only receive this in silence, and keep her own opinion to herself. Ada was altogether of her mind, but Frank at last came round to his father's view. "It isn't probable," he said to his sisters, "that a boy of his age should be able to keep such a secret against four of us; and then it is most improbable that he should have seen anything of the occurrence and not have come at once to his father." But the girls held to their own opinion, till at last they were told by Frank that they were two pig-headed nincompoops.
Things were going on in this way, and Mr. Jones was still striving to find out evidence by which a case might be substantiated against Pat Carroll, when that gentleman, one winter afternoon, was using his eloquence upon Master Florian Jones. It was four o'clock, and the darkness of the night was now coming on very quickly. The scene was a cottage, almost in the town of Headford, and about two miles from the nearest part of the Morony estate. In this cottage Carroll was sitting at one side of a turf fire, while an old woman was standing by the doorway making a stocking. And in this cottage also was another man, whose face was concealed by an old crape mask, which covered his eyes and nose and mouth. He was standing on the other side of the fireplace, and Florian was seated on a stool in front of the fire. Ever and anon he turned his gaze round on the mysterious man in the mask, whom he did not at all know; and, in truth, he was frightened awfully through the whole interview by the man in the mask, who stood there by the fireside, almost close to Florian's elbow, without speaking a word; nor did the old woman say much, though it must be presumed that she heard all that was said.
"Faix, Mr. Flory, an' it's well for you you've come," said Carroll. "Jist you sit steady there, 'cause it won't do the laist good in life you're moving about where all the world'd see you." It was thus that the boy was addressed by him, whom we may now call his co-conspirator, and Carroll showed plainly, by his movements and by the glances which he cast around him, that he understood perfectly the dreadful nature of the business in which he was engaged. "You see that jintl'man there?" And Carroll pointed to the man in the mask.
"I see him," said poor Florian, almost in tears.
"You'd better mark him, that's all. If he cotches a hould o'ye he'd tear ye to tatthers, that's all. Not that he'd do ye the laist harum in life if ye'd just hould yer pace, and say nothin' to nobody."
"Not a word I'll say, Pat."
"Don't! That's all about it. Don't! We knows,—he knows,—what they're driving at down at the Castle. Sorra a word comes out of the mouth o' one on 'em, but that he knows it." Here the man in the mask shook his head and looked as horrible as a man in a mask can look. "They'll tell ye that the father who owns ye ought to know all about it. It's just him as shouldn't know."
"He don't," said Florian.
"Not a know;—an' if you main to keep yourself from being holed as they holed Muster Bingham the other day away at Hollymount." The boy understood perfectly well what was meant by the process of "holing." The Mr. Bingham, a small landlord, who had been acting as his own agent some twenty miles off, in the County of Mayo, had been frightfully murdered three months since. It was the first murder that had stained the quarrel which had now commenced in that part of the country. Mr. Bingham had been unpopular, but he had had to deal with such a small property, that no one had imagined that an attack would be made on him. But he had been shot down as he was driving home from Hollymount, whither he had gone to receive rent. He had been shot down during daylight, and no one had as yet been brought to justice for the murder. "You mind's Muster Bingham, Muster Flory; eh? He's gone, and sorra a soul knows anything about it. It's I'd be sorry to think you'd be polished off that way." Again the man in the mask made signs that he was wide awake.
To tell the truth of Florian, he felt rather complimented in the midst of all his horrors in being thus threatened with the fate of Mr. Bingham. He had heard much about Mr. Bingham, and regarded him as a person of much importance since his death. He was raised to a level now with Mr. Bingham. And then his immediate position was very much better than Bingham's. He was alive, and up to the present moment,—as long as he held his tongue and told nothing,—he would be regarded with friendly eyes by that terrible man in the mask. But, through it all, there was the agonising feeling that he was betraying them all at home. His father and Edith and Frank would not murder him when they found him out, but they would despise him. And the boy knew something,—he knew much of what was due by him to his father. At this moment he was much in dread of Pat Carroll. He was in greater dread of the man in the mask. But as he sat there, terrified by them as they intended to terrify him, he was aware of all that courage would demand from him. If he could once escape from that horrid cabin, he thought that he might be able to make a clean breast and tell everything. "It's I that'd be awful sorry that anything like what happened Bingham, should happen to you, Muster Flory."
"Why wouldn't you; and I'd have done nothing against you?" said Florian. He did feel that his conduct up to the present moment deserved more of gratitude than of threats from Pat Carroll.
"You're to remimber your oath, Muster Flory. You're become one of us, as Father Brosnan was telling you. You're not to be one of us, and then go over among them schaming Prothestants."
"I haven't gone over among them,—only my father is one of them."
"What's yer father to do with it now you're a Catholic? Av you is ever false to a Catholic on behalf of them Prothestants, though he's twice yer own father, you'd go t' hell for it; that's where you'd be going. And it's not only that, but the jintl'man as is there will be sending you on the journey." Then Pat signified that he alluded to the man in the mask, and the gentleman in the mask clenched his fist and shook it,—and shook his head also. "You ask Father Brosnan also, whether you ain't to be thrue to us Catholics now you're one of us? It's a great favour as has been done you. You're mindful o' that—ain't you?" Poor Flory said that he was mindful.
Here they were joined by another conspirator, a man whom Florian had seen down by the sluices with Pat Carroll, and whom he thought he remembered to have noticed among the tenants from the other side of Ballintubber. "What's the chap up to now?" asked the stranger.
"He ain't up to nothin'," said Carroll. "We're only a cautioning of him."
"Not to be splitting on yourself?"
"Nor yet on you," said Carroll.
"Sorra a word he can say agin me," said the stranger. "I wasn't in it at all."
"But you was," said Florian. "I saw you pick the latch up and throw it away."
"You've sharp eyes, ain't you, to be seeing what warn't there to be seen at all? If you say you saw me in it, I'll have the tongue out of your mouth, you young liar."
"What's the good of frightening the boy, Michael. He's a good boy, and isn't a going to peach upon any of us."
"But I ain't a liar. He's a liar." This Florian said, plucking up renewed courage from the kind words Pat Carroll had said in his favour.
"Never mind," said Pat, throwing oil on the troubled waters. "We're all frinds at present, and shall be as long as we don't split on nobody."
"It's the meanest thing out,—that splitting on a pal," said the man who had been called Michael. "It's twice worse when one does it to one's father. I wouldn't show a ha'porth of mercy to such a chap as that."
"And to a Catholic as peached to a Prothestant," said Carroll, intending to signify his hatred of such a wretch by spitting on the ground.
"Or to a son as split because his father was in question." Then Michael spat twice upon the floor, showing the extremity of the disgust which in such a case would overpower him.
"I suppose I may go now," said Florian. He was told by Pat Carroll that he might go. But just at that moment the man in the mask, who had not spoken a word, extemporised a cross out of two bits of burned wood from the hearth, and put it right before Florian's nose; one hand held one stick, and the other, the other. "Swear," said the man in the mask.
"Bedad! he's in the right of it. Another oath will make it all the stronger. 'That ye'll never say a word of this to mortial ears, whether father or sister or brother, let 'em say what they will to yer, s'help yer the Blessed Virgin.'"
"I won't then," said Florian, struggling to get at the cross to kiss it.
"Stop a moment, me fine fellow," said Michael. "Nor yet to no one else—and you'll give yourself up to hell flames av you don't keep the blessed oath to the last day of your life. Now let him kiss it, Pat. I wouldn't be in his shoes for a ten-pun note if he breaks that oath."
"Nor I neither," said Pat. "Oh laws, no." Then Florian was allowed to escape from the cabin. This he did, and going out into the dark, and looking about him to see that he was not watched, made his way in at the back door of a fairly large house which stood near, still in the outskirts of the town of Headford. It was a fairly large house in Headford; but Headford does not contain many large houses. It was that in which lived Father Giles, the old parish priest of Tuam;—and with Father Giles lived his curate, that Father Brosnan of whom mention has above been made.
There has come a change among the priests in Ireland during the last fifty years, as has been natural. Among whom has there not come a change in half a century? In England, statesmen are different, and parsons, and judges, and peers. When an entire country has been left unmoved by the outside world, so as to seem to have been left asleep while others have been awake, the different classes will seem to be the same at the end of every half century. A village lawyer in Spain will be as was a village lawyer fifty years ago. But a parish priest in Ireland will be an altered personage, because the country generally has not been sleeping.
There used to be two distinct sorts of priests; of whom the elder, who had probably been abroad, was the better educated; whereas the younger, who was home-nurtured, had less to say for himself on general topics. He was generally the more zealous in his religious duties, but the elder was the better read in doctrinal theology. As to the political question of the day, they were both apt to be on the list against the Government, though not so with such violence as to make themselves often obnoxious to the laws. It was natural that they should be opposed to the Government, as long as the Protestant Church claimed an ascendency over them. But their feelings and aspirations were based then on their religious opinions. Now a set of men has risen up, with whom opposition to the rulers of the country is connected chiefly with political ideas. A dream of Home Rule has made them what they are, and thus they have been roused into waking life, by the American spirit, which has been imported into the country. There is still the old difference between the elder and the younger priests. The parish priest is not so frequently opposed to the law, as is his curate. The parish priest is willing that the landlord shall receive his rents, is not at least anxious, that he shall be dispossessed of his land. But the curate has ideas of peasant proprietors; is very hot for Home Rule, is less obedient to the authority of the bishops than he was of yore, and thinks more of the political, and less of the religious state of his country.
This variance of feeling might be seen in the three priests who have been already mentioned in our story. Father Giles was the parish pastor of Headford, in which position he had been for nearly forty years. He was a man seventy years of age, in full possession of all his faculties, very zealous in the well-being of his people, prone to teach them that if they would say their prayers, and do as they were bid by their betters, they would, in the long run, and after various phases of Catholic well or ill-being, go to heaven. But they would also have enough to eat in this world; which seemed to be almost more prominent in Father Giles's teaching than the happy bliss of heaven. But the older Father Giles became the more he thought of the good things of this world, on behalf of his people, and the less he liked being troubled with the political desires of his curate. He had gone so far as to forbid Father Brosnan to do this, or to do that on various occasions, to make a political speech here, or to attend a demonstration there;—in doing which, or in not doing it, the curate sometimes obeyed, but sometimes disobeyed the priest, thereby bringing Father Giles in his old age into infinite trouble.
But Father Malachi, in the neighbouring parish of Ballintubber, ran a course somewhat intermediate between these two. He, at the present moment, had no curate who interfered with his happiness. There was, indeed, a curate of Ballintubber—so named; but he lived away, not inhabiting the same house with Father Malachi, as is usual in Ireland; having a chapel to himself, and seldom making his way into our part of the country. Father Malachi was a strong-minded man, who knew the world. He, too, had an inclination for Home Rule, and still entertained a jealousy against the quasi-ascendency of a Protestant bishop; but he had no sympathy whatever with Father Brosnan. Ireland for the Irish might be very well, but he did not at all want to have Ireland for the Americans. Father Giles and Father Malachi certainly agreed on one thing—that Brosnan was a great trouble.
If the conversion of Florian Jones was to be attributed to any clerical influence, Father Brosnan was entitled to claim the good or the evil done; but in truth very few polemical arguments had been used on the occasion. The boy's head had been filled with the idea of doing something remarkable, and he had himself gone to the priest. When a Protestant child does go to a priest on such a mission, what can the priest do but accept him? He is bound to look upon the suppliant as a brand to be saved from the burning. "You stupid young ass!" the priest may say to himself, apostrophising the boy; "why don't you remain as you are for the present? Why do you come to trouble me with a matter you can know nothing about?" But the priest must do as his Church directs him, and the brands have to be saved from the burning. Father Brosnan sent the boy to Father Malachi, and Father Malachi told the lad to go to his terrestrial father. It was this that Mr. Jones had expected, and there the boy was received as a Catholic.
But to Father Brosnan the matter was much more important in its political view. Father Brosnan knew the application as to his rent which had been made by Pat Carroll to his landlord. He was of opinion that no rent ought to be paid by any Irish tenant to any landlord—no rent, at least, to a Protestant landlord. Wrath boiled within his bosom when he heard of the answer which was given, as though Mr. Jones had robbed the man by his refusal. Mr. Brosnan thought that for the present a tenant was, as a matter of course, entitled to abatement in his rent, as in a short time he must be entitled to his land without paying any. He considered not at all the circumstances, whether, as had been the case on certain properties in Mayo, all money expended had been so expended by the tenant, or by the landlord, as had been the case with Pat Carroll's land. That was an injustice, according to Mr. Brosnan's theory; as is all property in accordance with the teaching of some political doctors who are not burdened with any.
It would have been unfair to Mr. Brosnan to say that he sympathised with murderers, or that he agreed with those who considered that midnight outrages were fair atonements; he demanded rights. He himself would have been hot with righteous indignation, had such a charge been made against him. But in the quarrel which was now beginning all his sympathies were with the Carrolls at large, and not with the Jones's at large. At every victory won by the British Parliament his heart again boiled with indignation. At every triumphant note that came over the water from America—which was generally raised by the record of the dollars sent—he boiled, on the other hand, with joy. He had gleams in his mind of a Republic. He thought of a Saxon as an evil being. The Queen, he would say, was very well, but she was better at a distance. The Lord-Lieutenant was a British vanity, and English pomp, but the Chief Secretary was a minister of the evil one himself. He believed that England was enriched by many millions a year robbed from Ireland, and that Ireland was impoverished to the same extent. He was a man thoroughly disloyal, and at the same time thoroughly ignorant, altogether in the dark as to the truth of things, a man who, whatever might be his fitness for the duties of the priesthood, to which he had been educated, had no capability of perceiving political facts, and no honesty in teaching them. But it would have been unjust to him to say that he was a murderer, or that he countenanced murder. To him it was that young Florian now betook himself, and found him seated alone in the back parlour in Father Giles's house. The old priest was out, and Father Brosnan was engaged on some portion of clerical duties. To give him his due, he performed those duties rigidly, and the more rigidly when, in doing them, he obeyed the letter of the law rather than the spirit. As Father Giles, in his idea of his duties, took altogether the other side of the question, and, in thinking of the spirit, had nearly altogether ignored the letter, it may be imagined that the two men did not agree together very well. In truth, Father Giles looked upon Father Brosnan as an ignorant, impertinent puppy, whereas Father Brosnan returned the compliment by regarding Father Giles as half an infidel, and almost as bad as a Protestant.
"Well, Master Florian," said the priest, "and how are things going with you?"
"Oh! Father Brosnan, I'm in terrible throuble."
"What throuble's up now?"
"They're all agin me at home, and father's nearly as bad as any of them. It's all along of my religion."
"I thought your father had given his consent?"
"So he has; but still he's agin me. And my two sisters are dead agin me. What am I to do about Pat Carroll?"
"Just hould your tongue."
"They do be saying that because what Pat and the other boys did was agin father's interest, I am bound to tell."
"You've given a promise?"
"I did give a promise."
"And you swore an oath," said the priest solemnly.
"I did swear an oath certainly."
"Then you must hould your tongue. In such a case as this I cannot absolve you from your word. I don't know what it is that Pat Carroll did." Here it must be admitted Father Brosnan did not stick to the absolute truth. He did know what Pat Carroll had done. All Headford knew that Mr. Jones's meadows had been flooded, and the priest must have known that the present cause of trouble at Castle Morony, was the injury thus done. Father Brosnan knew and approved of Pat Carroll's enmity to the Jones family. But he was able to justify the falsehood of his own heart, by stumbling over the degree of knowledge necessary. There was a sense in which he did not know it. He need not have sworn to it in a Court of Law. So he told himself, and so justified his conscience. "You need not tell me," he went on to say when the boy was proceeding to whisper the story, "I am not bound to know what it is that Pat Carroll does, and what it is that your father suffers. Do you go home, and keep your toe in your pump, as they say, and come to me for confession a day or two before Christmas. And if any of them say anything to you about your religion, just sit quiet and bear it."
The boy was then dismissed, and went home to his father's home, indifferent as to who might see him now, because he had come from the priest's house. But the terror of that man in the mask still clung to him; and mingled with that was the righteous fear, which still struck cold to his heart, of the wicked injury which he was doing his father. Boy though he was, he knew well what truth and loyalty, and the bonds which should bind a family together, demanded from him. He was miserable with a woe which he had not known how to explain to the priest, as he thought of his terrible condition. At first Pat Carroll and his friends had recommended themselves to him. He had, in truth, only come on the scene of devastation down by the lough, by mere accident. But he had before heard that Pat was an aggrieved man in reference to his rent, and had taken it into his boyish heart to sympathise with such sorrows. When Pat had got hold of him on the spot, and had first exacted the promise of secrecy, Florian had given it willingly. He had not expected to be questioned on the subject, and had not attributed the importance to it which it had afterwards assumed. He had since denied all knowledge of it, and was of course burdened with a boy's fear of having to acknowledge the falsehood. And now there had been added to it that awful scene in the cabin at Headford, and on the top of that had come the priest's injunction. "In such a case as this I cannot absolve you from your word." It was so that the priest had addressed him, and there was something in it that struck his young mind with awe. There was the man in the mask tendering to him the oath upon the cross; and there had been Pat Carroll assuring him of that man's wrath. Then there had come the other stranger, speaking out angrily, and promising to him all evil, were he to divulge a word.
Nevertheless, his conscience was so strong within him, that when he reached the Castle he had almost made up his mind to tell his father everything. But just as he was about to enter the Lodge gate, he was touched on the arm by a female. "Master Florian," said the female, "we is all in your hands." It was now dark night, and he could not even see the woman's face. She seemed indeed to keep her face covered, and yet he could see the gleam of her eyes. "You're one of us now, Master Florian."
"I'm a Catholic, if you mean that."
"What else should I main? Would ye be unthrue to your own people? Do ye know what would happen you if ye commit such a sin as that? I tould them up there that you'd never bring down hell fire upon yer head, by such a deed as that. It isn't what ye can do to him he'll mind, I said, but the anger o' the Blessed Virgin. Worn't it thrue for me what I said, Master Florian?" She held him in the dark, and he could see the glimmer of her eyes, and hear the whisper of her voice, and she frightened him with the fear of the world to come. As he made his way up to the hall door, it was not the dread of the man in the mask, so much as the fear inspired by this woman which made him resolve that, come what come might, he must stick to the lie which he had told.
After breakfast the next morning, his father summoned him into his room. "Now," said Flory to himself, as he followed his father trembling,—"now must I be true." By this he meant that he must be true to his co-conspirators. If he were false to them, he would have to incur the anger of the Blessed Virgin. How this should be made to fall upon him, he did not in the least understand; but he did understand that the Virgin as he had thought her, should be kind, and mild, and gracious. He had never stopped to think whether the curse as uttered by the woman, might or might not be true. Of loyalty to his father he had thought much; but now he believed that it behoved him to think more of loyalty to the Virgin, as defined by the woman in the dark.
He followed his father into the magistrates' room, leaving his brother and two sisters in the parlour. He was glad that none of them were invited to accompany him, for he felt that his father was more prone to believe him, than were either his sisters or even his brother. "Florian," said his father, "you know, do you not, the trouble to which I have been put about this man, Pat Carroll?"
"Yes, father; I know you have."
"And the terrible loss which I have incurred! Eighty acres are under water. I suppose the miscreant will have cost me between L400 and L500."
"As much as that?" said Florian, frightened by the magnitude of the sum named.
"Indeed he will. It is hard to calculate the extent of the malignity of a wicked man. Whether the barony will share the loss with me I cannot yet say; but in either case the wickedness will be the same. There is no word bad enough for it. It is altogether damnable; and this is done by a man who calls me in question because of my religion." Here the father paused, but Florian stood by without an answer. If Pat Carroll was right in his religion, his father must be wrong; and Florian thought that Pat Carroll was right. But he did not see how the two things were joined together,—the opening of the sluices, and the truth of Pat Carroll's religious convictions. "But bad as the matter is as regards Pat Carroll, it is all as nothing in reference to the accusation made against you." Here the father came up, and laying his two hands on the boy's shoulders looked sadly into his face. "I cannot believe that my own boy, my darling boy, has joined in this evil deed against me!" Here the father ceased and waited for his son to speak.
The son remembered the determination to which he had come, and resolved to adhere to it. "I didn't," he said after a pause.
"I cannot believe it of you; and yet, your sisters who are as true as steel, who are so good that I bless God morning and night that He in His mercy has left me such treasures,—they believe it."
"They are against me because of my religion."
"No, Florian, not so; they disapprove of your change in religion, but they are not brought to accuse you by such a feeling. They say that they see it in your face."
"How can they see all that in my face?"
"That though you are lying persistently, you cannot hide from them that you are lying. They are not only good girls, but they have very sharp wits. A cleverer girl than Edith, or one better able to read the truth of a boy's head, or even a man's, I have never known. I hardly dare to put my own judgment against hers."
"In this case she knows nothing about it."
"But to me it is of such vital importance! It is not simply that your evidence is needed to punish the man; I would let the man go and all the evil that he has done me. But not for any money that I could name would I entertain such an opinion of my son. Were I convinced at this moment that you are innocent, I should be a happy man."
"Then you may, father."
"But your manner is against you. You do not answer me with that appearance of frankness which I should have expected."
"Of course it all makes me very miserable. How can a fellow be frank when he's suspected like this?"
"Florian, do you give me your most solemn assurance that you saw nothing of this evil work while it was being perpetrated?"
"You saw nothing, and you knew nothing?"
"You have no reason to accuse Pat Carroll, except by what you have heard?"
"Nor anyone else?"
"No, father." Then Mr. Jones stood silent, looking at his son. And the more he looked the more he doubted him. When the boy had uttered "No, father," for the last time, Mr. Jones felt almost convinced—almost convinced that Edith was right. "You may go now, Florian," he said. And the boy departed, fully convinced that his father had disbelieved him.
MR. BLAKE OF CARNLOUGH.
Three or four days after the occurrences narrated in the last chapter, Mr. Jones got on to his car and had himself driven down to Carnlough, the seat of Mr. Thomas Blake, a gentleman living about two miles the other side of Tuam. To reach Carnlough he had a journey to make of about ten miles, and as he seldom went, in these days, so far away from home, the fact of his going was known to all the household.
"Father is going to Carnlough," Florian said to Peter, the butler. "What is he going for?"
"'Deed, then, Master Flory, who can tell that? Mr. Blake is a very old friend of master's."
"But why is he going now? It isn't often he goes to Carnlough; and when he does go, he is sure to say why."
"I shouldn't wonder af he's going to ax him as to how he shall get rid of the waters."
"He knows that better than Mr. Blake can tell him."
"Or maybe he's going to inquire how he shall cotch a hould of Pat Carroll."
It was evident, from the butler's answers, that all the world at Morony Castle felt that at present Mr. Jones could engage himself on no other subject than that of the flood.
"I wish father wouldn't think so much about the flood. After all, what's L500? It won't ruin a man like my father."
But the butler showed by his visage that he regarded L500 as a very serious matter, and that he was not at all astonished by the occupation which it gave to his master's thoughts.
Mr. Blake, of Carnlough, was the first Irishman with whom Mr. Jones had become acquainted in the County Galway. It was through his instance, indeed, that the Morony and Ballintubber properties had been bought, so that the acquaintance must have been well established before the purchase had been made. Mr. Blake was a man of good property, who, in former years, had always been regarded as popular in the county. He was a Protestant, but had not made himself odious to the Roman Catholics around him as an Orangeman, nor had he ever been considered to be hard as a landlord. He thought, perhaps, a little too much of popularity, and had prided himself a little perhaps, on managing "his boys"—as he called the tenants—with peculiar skill. Even still he could boast of his success, though there had arisen some little difficulties as to rent over at Carnlough; and, indeed, he was frightened lest some of the evil ways which had begun to prevail in the neighbouring parts of County Mayo, should make their way into County Galway.
Mr. Blake and Mr. Jones had been very intimate. It had been at Mr. Blake's instance that Mr. Jones had been brought on to the Grand Jury. But latterly they had not seen very much of each other. Mr. Jones, since the death of his wife, did not go frequently to Galway, and Carnlough was a long distance for a morning's drive. But on this occasion Mr. Jones drove himself over simply with the view of making a morning call. "Well, Jones, how are you;—and how are the girls, and how is Frank, and how is that young pickle, Master Florian?" These questions were answered by others of a similar nature. "How are the girls, and how is Mrs. Blake, and what is going on here at Carnlough?" There was no inquiry after the eldest son, for it was Mr. Blake's misfortune that he had no male child to inherit his property.
"Faith, then, things ain't going on a bit too well," said Mr. Blake. "Abatement, abatement, nothing but abatement! Nobody abates me anything. I have to pay all family charges just the same as ever. What would they say if I was to take away my wife and girls, shut up Carnlough, and go and live in France? I could give them some abatement then and be a richer man. But how would they like to have Carnlough empty?"
"There's no danger of that, I think."
"Upon my word, I don't know. The girls are talking of it, and when they begin to talk of a thing, I am very likely to do it. And Mrs. Blake is quite ready."
"You wouldn't leave the country?"
"That's just it. I'll stay if they'll let me. If they'll pay me rent enough to enable me to live here comfortably, I'll not desert them. But if they think that I'm to keep up the place on borrowed money, they'll find their mistake. I didn't mind ten per cent. for the last two years, though I have taken to drinking whisky punch in my old age, instead of claret and sherry. And I don't mind ten per cent. for this year, though I am sorely in want of a young horse to carry me. But if the ten per cent. is to go on, or to become twenty per cent. as one blackguard hinted, I shall say good-bye to Carnlough. They may fight it out then with Terry Daly as they can." Now, Terry Daly was the well-known agent for the lands of Carnlough. "What has brought you over here to-day?" asked Mr. Blake. "I can see with half an eye that there is some fresh trouble."
"Indeed there is."
"I have heard what they did with your sluices. That's another trick they've learnt out of County Mayo. When a landlord is not rich enough to give them all that they want, they make the matter easier by doing the best they can to ruin him. I don't think anything of that kind has been done at Carnlough."
"There is worse than that," said Mr. Jones sorrowfully.
"The devil there is! They have not mutilated any of your cattle?"
"No, there is nothing of that kind. The only enemy I've got about the place, as far as I know, is one Pat Carroll. It was he and others, whom he paid to serve him, that have let the waters in upon the meadows. Eighty acres are under water at this moment. But I can bear that like a man. The worst of that is, that all the neighbours should have seen him do it, and not one of them have come forward to tell me."
"That is the worst," said Mr. Blake. "There must be some terrible understanding among them, some compact for evil, when twenty men are afraid to tell what one man has been seen to do. It's fearful to think that the priests should not put a stop to it. How is Master Florian getting on with his priest?"
"It's about him that I have come to speak to you," said Mr. Jones.
"Yes; indeed. When I tell you my story, I think you will understand that I would tell it to no one but yourself in County Galway. I fear that Florian saw the men at work upon the flood gates."
"And will he not tell the truth?"
"You must remember that I cannot say that I know anything. The boy declares that he saw nothing; that he knows nothing. I have no evidence; but his sisters are sure that it is so. Edith says that he certainly was present when the gates were removed. She only judges from his manner and his countenance."
"What made her suspect him?" asked Mr. Blake.
"Only that she saw him when the news was brought to us. Edith is not ill-natured. She would not be prone to make a story against her brother."
"If Edith says so, it is so," said Mr. Blake, who among all Edith's admirers was one of the most ardent.
"I don't quite say that. I only mean to express my conviction that she intends to get at the truth."
"I'll wager my life upon her," said Mr. Blake. "As to the other;—well, you know, Jones, that he has turned Roman Catholic."
"That means nothing," said the distressed father. "He is only ten years old. Of course he's a fool for his pains; but he would not on that account do such a deed as this."
"I don't know. You must remember that he will be telling everything to the priests."
"We have two priests about us," said Mr. Jones, "and I would trust them in anything. There is Father Giles at Headford, and he is as fair a man as any clergyman of our own could be. You cannot imagine that he would give such advice to my boy?"
"Not Father Giles certainly," said the other man.
"Then down with us at Ballintubber there is Father Malachi."
"I know him too," said Mr. Blake. "He would not interfere with a boy like Florian. Is there no one else? What curate lives with Father Malachi?"
"There is none with him at Ballintubber. One Brosnan lives with Father Giles."
"That man is a firebrand," said Mr. Blake. "He is a wretched politician, always preaching up Home Rule."
"But I do not think that even he would teach a boy to deceive his own father in such a matter as this."
"I am not sure," said Blake. "It is very difficult to get at the vagaries of mind in such a man as Mr. Brosnan. But what do you intend to do?"
"I have come to you for advice. But remember this:—in my present frame of mind, the suspicion that I feel as to poor Florian is ten times worse to me than the loss of all my meadows. If I could find out Edith to have been wrong, I should be at once relieved of the great trouble which sits heaviest at my heart."
"I fear that Edith is right," said Mr. Blake.
"You are prejudiced a little in her favour. Whatever she says you will think right."
"You must weigh that, and take it for what it's worth," said Mr. Blake. "We know that the boy has got himself into bad hands. You do not suspect him of a desire to injure you?"
"Oh, no!" said the father.
"But he has seen these men do it, and now refuses to tell you. They have terrified him."
"He is not a cowardly boy," said Mr. Jones, still standing up for his son.
"But they have made him swear an oath that he will not tell. There has been something of that sort. What does he say himself?"
"Simply that he knows nothing about it."
"But how does he say it? Does he look you in the face? A boy of that kind may lie. Boys do—and girls also. When people say they don't, they know nothing about it; but if it's worth one's while to look at them one can generally tell when they're lying. I'm not a bit afraid of a boy when he is lying,—but only of one who can lie as though he didn't lie."
"I think that Florian is lying," said Mr. Jones slowly; "he does not look me in the face, and he does not lie straightforward."
"Then Edith is right; and I am right when I swear by her."
"But what am I to do with him? If, as I suppose, he saw Pat Carroll do the mischief, he must have seen others with him. If we knew who were the lot, we could certainly get the truth out of some of them, so as to get evidence for a conviction."
"Can't he be made to speak?" asked Mr. Blake.
"How can I make him? It will be understood all about Morony that he has been lying. And I feel that it is thought that he has made himself a hero by sticking to his lie. If they should turn upon him?" Mr. Blake sat silent but made no immediate reply. "It would be better for me to let the whole thing slide. If they were to kill him!"
"They would not do that. Here in County Galway they have not come to that as yet. There is not a county in all Ireland in which such a deed could be done," said Mr. Blake, standing up for his country. "Are you to let this ruffian pass unpunished while you have the power of convicting him? I think that you are bound to punish him. For the sake of your country you are bound to do so."
"And the boy?" said Mr. Jones hoarsely.
"He is but ten years old, and will soon live it down. And the disgrace of the lie will be drowned in the triumph of telling the truth at last. We should all feel,—I should feel,—that he would in such case deserve well, rather than ill, of his father and of me, and of all of us. Besides you had some idea of sending him to school in England." Here Mr. Jones shook his head, intending to indicate that no such expensive step as that would be possible after the loss incurred by the flooding of the eighty acres. "At any rate my advice to you is to make him declare the truth. I think little harm of a boy for lying, but I do think harm of those who allow a lie to pass unnoticed." So saying Mr. Blake ended the meeting, and took Mr. Jones away to see Mrs. Blake and the girls.
"I do suppose that father has gone to Carnlough, to consult with Mr. Blake about this affair of the flood." It was thus that Ada spoke to her brother Florian, when he came to her discussing the matter of their father's absence.
"What can Mr. Blake know about it?" said Florian.
"I suppose he means to ask about you. It is quite clear, Florian, that no one in the house believes you."
"You mean that Peter thinks you are right to stand to the lie now you have told it. More shame for Peter if he does."
"You wouldn't have a fellow go and put himself out of favour with all the boys through the country? There is a horrible man that wears a mask—" Then he remembered, and stopped himself. He was on closer terms with Ada than with Edith, but not on terms so close as to justify his whispering a word about the man in the mask.
"Where did you see the man in the mask?" asked Ada. "Who is the man in the mask?"
"I don't know."
"But you know where you saw him. You must know that. What did the man in the mask say to you?"
"I am not going to tell you anything about him," said the boy. "I am not going to have my secrets got out of me in that way. It isn't honest. Nobody but a Protestant would do it." So saying Florian left his sister, with the tale of the man in the mask only half told.
MR. O'MAHONY AND HIS DAUGHTER.
We must now turn to another personage in our story, and tell our readers something of the adventures and conditions of this gentleman;—something also of his daughter. The adventures of her early life will occupy much of our time and many of our pages; and though her father may not be so interesting as it is hoped that she will become, still he was so peculiar in his modes of thought, and so honest, though by no means wise, in his manner of thinking, as to make his story also perhaps worth the telling.
Gerald O'Mahony was at the time of the flooding of Mr. Jones's meadows not much more than forty years old. But he was already the father of a daughter nearly twenty. Where he was born, from what parents, or to what portion of Ireland his family belonged, no one knew. He himself had been heard to declare a suspicion that his father had come from County Kerry. But as he himself had been, according to his own statement, probably born in the United States, the county to which his father had belonged is not important. He had been bred up as a Roman Catholic, but had long since thrown over all the prejudices of his religion. He had married when he was quite young, and had soon lost his wife. But in talking of her now he always described her as an angel. But though he looked to be so young as to be his daughter's brother, rather than her father, he had never thought of marrying again. His daughter he declared was everything to him. But those who knew him well said that politics were dearer to him even than his daughter. Since he had been known in County Galway, he had passed and repassed nearly a dozen times between New York and Ireland; and his daughter had twice come with him. He had no declared means, but he had never been known to borrow a shilling, or to leave a bill unpaid. But he had frequently said aloud that he had no money left, and that unless he returned to his own country he and his daughter must be taken in by some poor-house. For Mr. O'Mahony, fond as he was of Ireland, allowed no one to say that he was an Irishman.
But his troubles were apparently no troubles to him. He was always good-humoured, and seemed always to be happy—except when in public, when he was engaged upon politics. Then he would work himself up to such a state of indignant anger as seemed to be altogether antagonistic to good-humour. The position he filled,—or had filled,—was that of lecturer on behalf of the United States. He had lectured at Manchester, at Glasgow, at Liverpool, and lately all over Ireland. But he had risen to such a height of wrath in advocating the doctrine of Republicanism that he had been stopped by the police. He had been held to have said things disrespectful of the Queen. This he loudly denied. He had always, he said, spoken of the Queen's virtues, her graces, and general fitness for her high office. He had declared,—and this was true,—that of all kings and queens of whom he had read in history she was the best. But, he had gone on to say there should be no king or queen. The practice was an absurdity. The reverence paid even to the high office was such as, in his idea, degraded a man. Even in America, the Kotooing which took place before the President's toe was to him an abomination. No man in accordance with his theory should worship another man. Titles should only be used as indicative of a man's trade or occupation. As one man was Mr. General Grant, another man should be Mr. Bricklayer Green. He could not do away with the Queen. But for the woman, he was quite disposed to worship her. All women were to be worshipped, and it was a privilege of a man to worship a woman. When a woman possessed so many virtues as did the Queen of England, it became a man's duty to worship them. But it was a woman whom he would worship, and not the Queen. This was carried to such a length, and he was so eloquent on the subject that the police were desired to interfere, and he was made to hold his tongue,—at any rate as far as England and Ireland were concerned.
He had made Galway a kind of centre home, attracted thither by the friendship which his daughter had made with Ada and Edith Jones. For though Ada and Edith were by no means Republican in their thoughts and feelings, it had come to pass that they dearly loved the American girl who was so. Rachel O'Mahony had frequently been at Morony Castle, as had also her father; and Mr. Jones had taken delight in controverting the arguments of the American, because, as he had said, the American had been unselfish and true. But since his lecturing had been stopped, it had become necessary that he should go elsewhere to look for means of livelihood, and he had now betaken himself to London for that purpose,—a circumstance which will be explained at greater length as the story progresses.
Republicanism was not the only matter in his political creed to which Gerald O'Mahony was devoted. Though he was no Irishman, as he delighted to intimate, his heart was Irish; and during his various visits to the country, he had filled his bosom with thoughts of Irish wrongs. No educated man was ever born and bred in more utter ignorance of all political truths than this amiable and philanthropic gentleman. In regard to Ireland his theory was that the land should be taken from the present proprietors, and divided among the peasants who tilled it. When asked what should be done with the present owners, he was quite ready with his answer: "Let them be paid for the property by the State!" He would have no man injured to the extent of a shilling. When asked where the State was to get the money, he declared that that was a mere detail. States did get money. As for the landlords themselves, with the money in their pockets, let them emigrate to the United States, if they were in want of something to do. As to the division of the land,—that he said would settle itself. One man would have ten acres, and another fifty; but that would be fair, because one man had been used to pay for ten, and another to pay for fifty. As for the men who got no land in the scramble he could see no injustice. The man who chanced to have been a tenant for the last twelve months, must take the benefit of his position. No doubt such man could sell his land immediately after he got it, because Freedom of Sale was one of the points of his charter. He could see the injustice of giving the land at a rent fixed by the State, because the State has no right to interfere in ordinary contracts between man and man. But if the land was to be given up without any rent, then he could see no injustice. Thus, and thus only, could Ireland be made to return to the beauty and the grace of her original simplicity.
But on the wrongs arising from the want of Home Rule he was warmer even than on those which the land question had produced. "Why should Ireland be governed by a British Parliament, a British Lord-Lieutenant, a British Chief-Secretary, a British Commander-in-Chief, and trodden under foot by a British soldiery? Why should Scotland be so governed, why should Wales, why should Yorkshire?" Mr. Jones would reply, "Repeal the Unions; restore the Heptarchy!" Mr. O'Mahony had but a confused idea of what the Heptarchy had been. But he was sure that it would be for the benefit of Ireland, that Irish knives should be made of Irish steel. "As undoubtedly would have been the case if the question of protection were to be left to an Irish Parliament to settle," said Mr. Jones. "Heaven help the man who would want to cut his mutton. His best chance would be that he would soon have no mutton to cut."
So the dispute was carried on with much warmth on one side, and with many arguments on the other, but without any quarrelling. It was impossible to quarrel with O'Mahony, who was thoroughly unselfish, and desirous of no violence. When he had heard what had been done in reference to Mr. Jones's meadows, and had been told of the suspected conduct of Pat Carroll, he was as indignant as though he had himself been a landed proprietor, or even an Orangeman. And on Mr. Jones's part there was a desire to do justice to all around him, which came within the capacity of O'Mahony's vision. He knew that Mr. Jones himself was a fair-dealing, honest gentleman, and he could not, therefore, quarrel with him.
There is a steamer running from the town of Galway, across Lough Corrib, to the little village of Cong, on the Mayo side of the lake, which stops and picks up passengers within a mile of Morony Castle. From this, passengers are landed, so that the means of transit between Galway and Mr. Jones's house are peculiarly easy. Up and down by this steamer Ada and Edith Jones had frequently gone to visit their friend, and as frequently that friend had come to visit them. But unfortunately the steamer had been open to others besides the young ladies, and Rachel O'Mahony had found a dearer friend than either of the girls at Morony Castle. It had come to pass that Frank Jones and Rachel O'Mahony had declared themselves to be engaged. On no such ground as want of wealth, or want of family, or want of education, had Mr. Jones based his objection to the match; but there had been a peculiarity in the position of Rachel which had made him hesitate. It was not that she was an American, but such an American! It was not that he was a Republican, but such a Republican! And she was more anxious to carry Frank away with her to the United States, and to join him in a political partnership with her father, than to come and settle herself down at the Castle. Thus there had arisen an understanding on the part of the young people, that, though they were engaged, they were engaged without the consent of the young man's father. Rachel therefore was not to be brought to the Castle while Frank was there. To all this Rachel's father had assented, in a smiling indifferent manner, half intended to ridicule all who were concerned. As it was not a question of politics, Mr. O'Mahony could not work himself up to any anger, or apparently even to anxiety in the matter. "Your young people,"—here he meant English and Irish generally,—"are taught to think they should begin the world where we leave it off."
"Your young people are just as fond of what money will buy as are ours," said Mr. Jones.
"But they are fonder of one another, even, than of money. When they love one another they become engaged. Then they marry. And as a rule they don't starve. As a rule people with us seldom do starve. As for making out an income for a young man to start with, that with us is quite out of the question. Frank some day will have this property."
"That won't give him much of an income," said Mr. Jones, who since the affair of the flood had become very despondent in reference to the estate.
"Then he's as well off now as ever he will be, and might as well marry the girl." But all this was said with no eagerness.
"They are merely boy and girl as yet," said Mr. Jones.
"I was married, and Rachel was born before I was Frank's age." So saying, Mr. O'Mahony consented to come to Morony Castle, and bid them adieu, without bringing his girl with him. This was hard upon Ada and Edith, as Mr. Frank, of course, went into Galway as often as he pleased, and made his adieu after his own fashion.
And there had come up another cause which had created further objections to the marriage in Mr. Jones's mind. Mr. O'Mahony had declared that as his lecturing was brought to an end by the police, he must throw himself upon Rachel's capabilities for earning some money. Rachel's capabilities had been often discussed at the Castle, but with various feelings on the three sides into which the party had formed themselves. All the Jones's were on one side, and declared that the capability had better not be exercised. In this they were probably wrong;—but it was their opinion. They had lived for many years away from London. The children had so lived all their lives; and they conceived that prejudices still existed which had now been banished or nearly banished from the world. Mr. O'Mahony, who formed another party, thought that the matter was one of supreme indifference. As long as he could earn money by lecturing it was well that he should earn it. It was always better that the men of a family should work than the women; but, if the man's talent was of no use, then it might be well to fall back upon the woman. He only laughed at the existence of a prejudice in the matter. He himself had no prejudices. He regarded all prejudices as the triumph of folly over education.
But Rachel, who was the third party in the discussion, had a very strong feeling of her own. She was of opinion that if the capability in question existed, it ought to be exercised. On that subject,—her possession of the capability,—she entertained, she said, strong doubts. But if the capability existed it certainly ought to be used. That was Rachel's opinion, expressed with all the vigour which she knew how to throw into the subject.
This capability had already been exercised in New York, where it had been efficacious, though the effect had not been great. She had been brought up to sing, and great things had been promised of her voice. An American manager had thought much of her performance, though she had hitherto, he said, been young, and had not come to the strength of her throat. But he had himself seen to her education, almost as a child, and had been sure that sooner or later she would do great things in the musical world. Mr. Mahomet M. Moss was the gentleman in question, and he at present was in London. That such a voice as Rachel O'Mahony's should be lost to the world, was to his thinking a profanity, an indecency, an iniquity, a wasting of God's choicest gifts, and an abomination not to be thought of; for Mr. Mahomet M. Moss was in the affairs of his own profession a most energetic gentleman. Rachel rather turned up her nose at Mr. Mahomet M. Moss; but she was very anxious to go to London and to take her chance, and to do something, as she said, laughing, just to keep her father's pot a little on the boil;—but for Mr. Mahomet M. Moss she did not care one straw. Mr. O'Mahony was therefore ready to start on the journey, and had now come to Morony Castle to say farewell to his friend Mr. Jones. "Are you sure about that fellow Moss?" said Mr. Jones.
"What do you call sure about him? He's as big a swindler, I guess, as you shall find from here to himself."
"And are you going to put Rachel into his hands?"
"Well, I think so;—after a sort of fashion. He'll swindle her out of three parts of what she earns;—but she'll get the fourth part. It's always the way with a young girl when she's first brought out."
"I don't mean about money. Will you leave her conduct in his hands?"
"He'll be a clever chap who'll undertake to look after Rachel's conduct. I guess she'll conduct herself mostly."
"You'll be there to be sure," said Mr. Jones.
"Yes, I shall be there; and she'll conduct me too. Very likely."
"But, Mr. O'Mahony,—as a father!"
"I know pretty well what you would be saying. Our young folk grow old quicker a long sight than yours do. Now your girls here are as sweet as primroses out of the wood. But Rachel is like a rose that has been brought up to stand firm on its own bush. I'm not a bit afraid of her. Nor yet is your son. She looks as though you might blow her away with the breath from your mouth. You try her, and you'll find that she'll want a deal of blowing."