THE STORY OF BAWN
AUTHOR OF "THE DEAR IRISH GIRL," "JULIA," "DICK PENTREATH," ETC.
CHICAGO A.C. McCLURG & CO. 1907
Published March 2, 1907
Printed in Great Britain
CHAPTER PAGE I. Myself 1 II. The Ghosts 7 III. The Creamery 16 IV. Richard Dawson 24 V. The Nurse 33 VI. One Side of a Story 42 VII. Old, Unhappy, Far-off Things 50 VIII. The Stile in the Wood 55 IX. A Rough Lover 63 X. The Trap 70 XI. The Friend 78 XII. The Enemy 86 XIII. Enlightenment 93 XIV. The Miniature 102 XV. The Empty House 108 XVI. The Portrait 116 XVII. The Will of Others 122 XVIII. Flight 129 XIX. The Crying in the Night 137 XX. An Eavesdropper 144 XXI. The New Maid 152 XXII. The Dinner-party 160 XXIII. The Bargain 167 XXIV. The Blow Falls 175 XXV. The Lover 183 XXVI. The Tribunal 191 XXVII. Brosna 199 XXVIII. The Quick and the Dead 207 XXIX. The Sickness 215 XXX. The Dark Days 223 XXXI. The Wedding-dress 231 XXXII. The New Home 239 XXXIII. The End of It 249 XXXIV. The Knocking at the Door 257 XXXV. The Messenger 266 XXXVI. The Old Lovers 275 XXXVII. The Judgment of God 283 XXXVIII. Confession 289 XXXIX. The Bridegroom Comes 299 XL. King Cophetua 307
THE STORY OF BAWN
I am Bawn Devereux, and I have lived as long as I remember at Aghadoe Abbey with my grandfather and grandmother, the Lord and Lady St. Leger.
At one time we were a family of five. There was my Uncle Luke, and there was my cousin Theobald.
Theobald was my boy cousin, and we played together up and down the long corridors in winter, and in the darkness of the underground passage, in summer in the woods and shrubberies and gardens, and we were happy together.
I was eager to please Theobald, and I put away from me my natural shrinkings from things he did not mind, lest he should despise me and be dissatisfied with me, longing for a boy's company. I would do all he did, and I must have been a famous tomboy. But my reward was that he never seemed to desire other company than mine.
Once, indeed, I remember that when he handed me live bait to put upon the hook I turned suddenly pale and burst into tears.
When I had done it I looked at him apprehensively, dreading to see his contempt written in his face, but there was no such thing. There was instead the dawn of a new feeling. My cousin's face wore such an expression as I had never seen in it before. He was at this time a tall boy of fifteen, and Bridget Connor, my grandmother's maid, was making me my first long frock.
He looked at me with that strange expression, and he said, "Poor little Bawn!"
It was the beginning of the new order of things in which I fagged for him no more, but was spared the labours and fatigues I had endured cheerfully during our early years. Indeed, I often wonder now at the things I did for him, such things as the feminine nature turns from with horror, although they seem to come naturally enough to a boy.
That day I heard my grandfather and grandmother discussing me.
Theobald was playing in a cricket match in the neighbourhood, and I was at home, reading in one of the recesses of the library. The book was Thackeray's "Henry Esmond," and I was so lost in the romance and tenderness of it—I was at that chapter where Harry returns bringing his sheaves with him—that I did not notice what they were saying till my own name caught my ears.
I remember that the afternoon had come on wet, and that while I read the wet branches of the lilac beat against the leaded window. I could see the flowers through an open pane, and smell their delightful perfume. There was an apple tree in view, too, with all its blossoms hanging in pink limpness.
I had forgotten my grandfather and grandmother sitting by the library fire, within the hooded settle that made the fireside like a little room; and they had forgotten my presence, if indeed they had known of it.
"Bawn is the very moral of what I was at her age," my grandmother said. "Have you noticed, Toby"—my grandfather also was a Theobald—"how tall she grows? And how she sways in walking like a poplar tree? She has my complexion before it ran in streaks, and my hair before it faded, and my eyes before they were dim. She has the carriage of the head which made them call me the Swan of Dunclody. She will be fifteen come Michaelmas, and she shall have my pearls for her neck."
I heard her in an excessive surprise. My grandmother had been esteemed a great beauty in her day and had been sung by the ballad-singers. Was it possible that my looks could be like hers? I had not thought about them hitherto any more than my cousin had about his. It was with almost a sense of relief that I heard my grandfather's reply.
"The child is well enough," he said, "but as for being so like you, that she is not, nor ever will have your share of beauty. As for your spoilt roses I do not see them, nor the dimmed eyes, nor the faded hair. You were lovely when I saw you first, and you are no less lovely in my sight to-day."
"In your sight—at seventy!" my grandmother said; and I could picture to myself the well-pleased expression of her dear face.
As for my Uncle Luke, of him I have but a dim memory, yet it is of something bonny. To be sure I have his picture in my grandmother's boudoir to remind me of him, a fair, full-lipped, smiling and merry face, with dark brown hair which would have curled if it were permitted. His comeliness survived even the hideous fashion of men's dress of his day, and my memory of him is of one in riding-breeches and a scarlet coat, for I think that must have been how I saw him oftenest.
He used to lift me to his shoulders and let me climb upon his head, and I remember that it seemed very fine to me to survey the world from that eminence.
I could have been no more than six years of age when my Uncle Luke vanished out of my surroundings.
At that time Theobald had not come to be an inmate of Aghadoe, and I noticed things as an over-wise child, accustomed to the society of its elders, will.
I often wondered about it in later years. I had no memory of a wake and a funeral, and I think if these things had been I should have known. But there was a period of trouble in which I was packed away to my nursery and the companionship of Maureen Kelly, our old nurse.
When I emerged from that it was to find my grandfather stern and sad, and my grandmother with a scared look and the roses of her cheeks faded.
And for long the shadow lay over Aghadoe. But in course of time people grew used to it as they will to all things, and my grandfather took snuff and played whist with his cronies, and drank his French claret, and rode to hounds, as he had been used; and my grandmother played on the harp to him of evenings when we were alone, and walked with him and talked to him, and saw to the affairs of her household, as though the machinery of life had not for a period run slow and heavy.
We were very old-fashioned at Aghadoe Abbey and satisfied with old-fashioned ways. There was a great deal of talk about opening up the country, and even the gentry were full of it, but my grandfather would take snuff and look scornful.
"And when you have opened it up," he said, "you will let in the devil and all his angels."
It was certainly true that the people had hitherto been kind and innocent, so that any change might be for the worse, yet I was a little curious about what lay out in the world beyond our hills. And now it was no great journey to see, for they had opened a light railway, and from the front of the house we could see beyond the lake and the park, through the opening where the Purple Hill rises, that weird thing which rushes round the base of the hill half a dozen times a day before it climbs with no effort to the gorge between the hills and makes its way into the world. It does not even go by steam, so the thing was a great marvel to us and our people, to whom steam was quite marvel enough.
My grandfather at first would not even look on it. I have seen him turn away sharply from the window to avoid seeing it. When we went out to drive we turned our backs upon it, my grandfather saying that he would not insult his horses by letting them look at it, and indeed I think that, old as they were, yet having blood in them they would curvet a bit if they saw anything so strange to them.
There is one thing the light railway has done, and that is to give the people a market for their goods. We were all much poorer than we once were, except Mr. Dawson, who made his money by money-lending in Dublin and London; but even with Mr. Dawson's big house we did not make a market for the countryside.
Besides, there was a stir among the people there used not to be. They were spinning and weaving in their cottages, and they were rearing fowl and growing fruit and flowers.
The things which before the peasant children did for sport they now did for profit as well. It caused the greatest surprise in the minds of the people when they discovered that anybody could want their blackberries and their mushrooms; that money was to be made out of even the gathering of shamrocks. They thought that people out in the world who were ready to pay money for such things must be very queer people indeed. But since there were "such quare ould oddities," it was just as well, since they made life easier for the poor.
Another thing was that a creamery had been started at Araglin, only a mile or two from us, and the girls went there from the farms to learn the trade of dairying.
If it were not for the light railway none of these things would have been possible, and so I forgave it that it flew with a shriek round the base of the Purple Hill, setting all the mountains rattling with echoes, and disturbing the water fowl on the lakes and the song-birds in the woods, the eagle in his eyrie, and the wild red deer, to say nothing of the innumerable grouse and partridges and black cock and plover and hares and rabbits on the mountain-side.
My grandmother was not as angry against the light railway as my grandfather; she used to say that we must go with the times, and she was glad the people were stirring since it kept their thoughts from turning to America. She had been talked over by Miss Champion, my godmother and the greatest friend we have. And Miss Champion was always on the side of the people, and had even persuaded my grandmother to let her have some of her famous recipes, such as those for elder and blackberry wine, and for various preserves, and for fine soaps and washes for the skin, so that the people might know them and make more money.
"Every one makes money except the gentry," my grandfather grumbled, "and we grow poorer year by year."
My grandfather talked freely in my presence; and I knew that Aghadoe Abbey was mortgaged to the doors and that the mortgages would be foreclosed at my grandfather's death. They kept nothing from me, and my grandmother has said to me with a watery smile: "If I survive your grandfather, Bawn, my dear, you and I will have to find genteel lodgings in Dublin. It would be a strange thing for a Lady St. Leger to come down from Aghadoe Abbey to that. To be sure there was once a Countess went ballad-singing in the streets of Cork."
"That day is far away," I answered. "And when it comes there will be no genteel lodgings, but Theobald and I will take care of you somewhere. In a little house it may be, but one with a garden where you can walk in the sun in winter mornings as you do now, and prod at the weeds in the path as you do now with your silver-headed cane."
"If I could survive your grandfather," she said, turning away her head, "my heart would break to leave Aghadoe. I ask nothing of you and Theobald, Bawn, but that you should take care of each other when we are gone. It is not right that the old should burden the young."
I have always known, or at least since I was capable of entertaining such things, that our grandparents destined Theobald and me for each other. I have no love for Theobald such as I find in my books, but I have a great affection for him as the dearest of brothers.
I have not said before that he is a soldier. What else should he be but a soldier? Since there have always been soldiers in the family, and my grandfather could not have borne him to be anything else.
Dear Theobald, how brave and simple and kind he was!
I have said nothing about the ghosts of Aghadoe Abbey, but it has many ghosts, or it had.
First and foremost there is the Lord St. Leger, who was killed in a Dublin street brawl a hundred years ago, who will come driving home at midnight headless in his coach, and the coachman driving him also headless, carrying his head under his arm. That is not a very pleasant thing to see enter as the gates swing open of themselves to let the ghost through.
Then there is the ghost of the woman who cries outside in the shrubbery. I have seen her myself in a glint of the moonlight, her black hair covering her face as she bends to the earth, incessantly seeking something among the dead leaves, which she cannot discover, and for which she cries.
And again, there is the lady who goes down the stairs, down, down, through the underground passage, and yet lower to the well that lies under the house, and is seen no more. A new maid once saw her in broad daylight—or at least in the grey of the morning—and followed her down the stairs, thinking that it was one of the family ill perhaps, who needed some attention. She could tell afterwards the very pattern of the lace on the fine nightgown, and describe how the fair curls clustered on the lady's neck. It was only when the lady disappeared before her, a white shimmer down the darkness of the underground corridor, that the poor thing realized she had seen a ghost, and fell fainting, with a clatter of her dustpan and brush which brought her help.
I could make a long list of the ghosts, for they are many, but I will not, lest I should be tedious. Only Aghadoe Abbey was eerie at night, especially in winter storms, since my cousin Theobald went away. I have often thought that the curious formation of the house, which has as many rooms beneath the ground as above it, helped to give it an eerie feeling, for one could not but imagine those downstair rooms filled with ghosts. I had seen the rooms lit dimly once or twice, but for a long time we had not used them, the expense of lighting them with a thousand wax candles glimmering in glittering chandeliers being too great.
But in the days before Cousin Theobald left us I was not afraid. He slept across the corridor from my room, and I had only to cry out and I knew he would fly to my assistance.
His sword was new at that time, and he was very proud of it. He turned it about, making it flash in the sunlight, and, said he, "Cousin Bawn, fear nothing; for if anything were to frighten you, either ghost or mortal, I would run it through with my sword. At your least cry I should wake, and I have always the sword close to my hand. Very often I lie awake when you do not think it to watch over you."
It gave me great comfort at the time, though looking back on it now I think my cousin, being so healthy and in the air all day, must have slept very soundly. Yet I am sure he thought he woke.
And, indeed, after he left the ghosts were worse than ever. I used to take my little dog into my arms for company, and, hiding my head under the bedclothes, I used to lie quaking because of the crying of the ghosts. It was a wild winter when Theobald left us, and they cried every night. It is a sound I have never grown used to, though I have heard it every winter I can remember. And also the swish of the satin as it went by my door, and the tap of high-heeled shoes. They cried more that winter than I ever heard them, except in the winter after Uncle Luke went away (but then I was little, and had the company of Maureen Kelly, my nurse); and in a winter which was yet to be.
But at that time I was happy despite the ghosts, and had no idea that the world held any fate for me other than to be always among such gentle, high-minded people as were my grandfather and grandmother, my cousin Theobald, and my dear godmother. For ghosts, especially of one's own blood, are gentle and little likely to harm one, and must be permitted by the good God to come back for some good reason.
It is another matter when it is some one of flesh and blood, who wants to take you in his arms and kiss you while your flesh creeps, and your whole soul cries out against it. And it is the worst matter of all when those to whom you have fled all your days for help and protection, to whom you would have looked to save you from such a thing, look on, with pale faces indeed, yet never interfere.
Often, often in the days that were to come I had rather be of the company of the ghosts than to endure the things I had to endure.
It was through my godmother that I went to learn the butter-making at the Creamery, and since it was strange that my grandparents should have permitted me to go, I must explain how it was that Miss Champion came to have so much influence with them and over our affairs generally, and who the lady was.
She was our nearest neighbour, at Castle Clody, the beautiful old house which stands on the side of the river Clody, overlooking the falls. She had been an orphan almost from her birth, and had grown up as independent and able to manage her affairs as any man.
She was a great sportswoman even in our country of such, and being exposed to all manner of wind and weathers, her face had come to have a weather-beaten look. She had very beautiful grey eyes and a deal of black, silken hair, and she was unusually tall. Even the weather, when it had roughened and tanned her complexion, had but given her a new charm to my mind, for she looked as wholesome and sweet and out-of-doors as the weather itself. Yet people said she was plain. I could not see it, but then she was too good to me and I loved her.
I remember that usually she wore grey tweed tailor-made gowns, in which her beautiful figure showed to advantage, unless she happened to be riding when she wore a dark grey habit. But I have seen her very splendid when she went out in the evening; and I have never seen a woman better fitted to grace splendid garments.
She had taken to herself at Castle Clody, because it was her nature to foster and protect something, a cousin of hers, a peevish, exacting invalid whom we always called Miss Joan, her name being Joan Standish.
If you spent only ten minutes by Miss Joan's bedside you were sure to hear her grumble at her cousin Mary. Since everything was done for her that could possibly be done for an invalid her lot had great alleviations, but she seemed to take it as an offence that my godmother should be so strong and free, should walk with such a swinging stride, and always enjoy her food, and bring that smell of the open air with her wherever she came.
She had an unpleasant flattering way with her at times.
"Come, my dear," she would say, "sit down and talk to me. I live in so dreary an isolation, and my nerves get into that state that I could scream when a harsh voice falls on my ear. Your voice is soft and sweet, but have you ever noticed Mary's? It is as harsh as a crow's, and when she comes in with those strong boots of hers creaking she destroys my peace of mind for an hour."
"She has a beautiful voice," I answered her once, "and there is such assurance in her tread. I should think it would be more trying to the nerves to live where every one went tiptoe."
But no manner of coldness could check Miss Joan's propensity for belittling her benefactress. And I remember that once she had been tittle-tattling as usual, and had said something more indefensible than usual of her benefactress, when looking up suddenly we found Miss Champion in the room.
"Let the child love me, Joan," she said, with the nearest approach to sharpness I ever heard in her speech; but when Miss Joan burst into tears she stooped and shook up her pillows and soothed her in a way that was tender without being attached, and afterwards she said something to me which was a dark saying since I did not know the secret between her and Miss Joan.
"One must needs be good to anything that has hurt one so much," she said.
I had always known vaguely that there was something between Mary Champion and my Uncle Luke, and that explained to some extent her influence with my grandparents. She brought into their shut-up lives, indeed, the open air and the ways of other folk, without which I think we should have all grown too strange and odd and a century at least behind our time. Indeed, even with her, I think we were so much out of date.
"The child grows more and more like a plant which has lived without the light," she said one day of me to my grandmother.
"It is Bawn's nature to look pale," my grandmother said, looking at me in an alarmed way.
"It is her nature to look pale perhaps," my godmother said, while I fidgeted at hearing myself discussed, "but she ought to look no paler than this apple-blossom I am wearing, which at all events dreams of rose-colour. You keep her too much penned. I shall have to carry her off to Dublin for some gaiety. If the season were not nearly over——"
"We couldn't do without Bawn," said my grandmother hastily. "We are too old to live without something young beside us. Besides, she is very happy—aren't you, Bawn?"
"Very happy." I answered the appeal in her dear voice and eyes. And to be sure I was happy, if it were not for the loneliness and the ghosts at night.
"She is always reading," my godmother went on. "Young girls should not be always reading. It bends their backs and dims their eyes and makes them forget their walks and rides. I'll tell you what, Lady St. Leger, you had better let Bawn come and learn butter-making with me at the Creamery. I am going to take a course of lessons and then I can make my own butter. I think Margaret Dwyer is getting past her work. Joan says the butter is rancid, and for once I believe Joan has cause. Every lady ought to at least superintend her own dairy."
"I used to visit mine often," said my grandmother, "before Lord St. Leger needed so much of my time. It was a pretty place, with white walls and a fountain bubbling. It is a long time since I have visited it."
"Let Bawn do it. I went to visit Lady Ardaragh the other day, and she gave me tea in her dairy. It is coming into fashion to be housekeepers and dairymaids once more."
"Would you like to go to the Creamery, Bawn?" asked my grandmother.
"I should love to," said I. "And to have a herd of little Kerries like Lady Ardaragh. The dairy is as pretty as ever, but it wants washing, and the fountain is broken. I believe Michael Friely could mend it."
My grandfather made no objection when he heard of the plan, only saying something with a laugh about fine ladies liking to play dairymaids. So it was settled I should go to the Creamery; and Bridget Connor made gowns of cotton for me to wear at the Creamery, and white aprons to go with them.
I think my grandmother looked on it as a child's play for my diversion, and she would have Bridget make me as pretty as she could. I dare say I did look as though I played at work, for I caught sight of myself in the Venetian mirror on the wall of my grandmother's boudoir as she turned me round about, her maid, Bridget Connor, who learnt dressmaking in Paris, pinching here and letting loose there.
The walls of my grandmother's boudoir are covered with mother-of-pearl which glows splendidly when the lamps are lit.
I glanced at the Venetian mirror and saw myself like a rose in my rosy frock, with the apron of spotless muslin and the mushroom hat with a wreath of pink roses. My grandmother said something about dairying at the Petit Trianon, but indeed my intentions were of the most business-like.
I remember that it was the month of May, and all the pastures were richest gold and snowiest white, drifts of gold and white. The thorn-trees were all in bloom, and the banks were covered with the white stitchwort and blue speedwell. The birds were in full song, and the mornings and evenings were especially delicious.
I was to attend the Creamery for three months, so as to become proficient in dairymaid work, and then I thought I could do some good among our own people who could not afford to send a girl to the Creamery to learn her business. Or it might be where there was no girl, and the vanithee-that is to say, the good woman—did her work in her own way, not half pressing the water out of the butter, so that it became rancid after a few hours, or letting the cream become rancid before she churned it. I had hopes that I could persuade even the most obstinate of them to mend their ways; and that perhaps was an indication of my youth.
I used to go to Araglin every day, wet or dry. It is about three miles from the Abbey as one goes to it through our own park, and by Daly's Wood, which is a little wood, barely more than a coppice; the entrance to it faces a gate in our park wall, and when you have traversed its short length you have cut off a mile of the distance to Araglin if you went by road.
I liked the work at the Creamery extremely. The place was so cool and sweet with the splashing of falling water and the smell of cream and warm milk, and the fresh-looking, wholesome girls in their print frocks, and all the shining, clean utensils.
The walk to and from the Creamery was most delightful, especially those May days when there were such drifts of flowers and the wood was full of bluebells, and little white and blue wild anemones and harebells and sweet woodruff.
Nothing could well be more fragrant than the wood in those days of early summer.
It was a place in which the trees were of the light and springing variety with slender, pale trunks, but high overhead a mass of feathery leaves made a roof against the sky.
I have often sheltered in the wood from a heavy shower and not received a drop; yet it was suffused through the sunshiny hours with a soft goldenness. Below the trees was only undergrowth and the grass sown thickly with flowers. The path went so straight through it that as you entered by the stile at one end you saw far before you the arch of light over the stile that took you on to the road at the other end.
Occasionally my godmother was at the Creamery, working away with the rest, but she had so much to do of many kinds that she could not be looked for regularly.
In a little while I was very much at home among the girls, who at first were shy of me. If I could have gone to the Creamery at Araglin without their knowing that I was Bawn Devereux, the young lady at the big house, I would have enjoyed it, but that was not possible.
However, they soon forgot to be afraid of me, and laughed and chattered among themselves, very little deterred by my presence, except for giving me a shy glance now and again. They were most polite and gentle with me, and would help me if they saw me lifting a heavy crock of milk, with a "By your leave, Miss Bawn," which was very pleasant.
I used to listen to their simple talk after they had forgotten their awe of me, and smile and sigh to myself. It was often of lovers, and they rallied each other about this or that swain; and sometimes it was of their fortunes, which were being built up by tiny sums out of much poverty, so that their milk and roses, their bright eyes and satin heads might be gilt for their cold lovers. But I never heard anything Lady St. Leger would not wish me to hear; indeed, the talk those summer days was in keeping with the freshness and sweetness of the world about us.
One day that we were butter-making a party of visitors came in to see the Creamery, as sometimes happened. I was washing the butter which lay before me in a pan of water, with the sleeves of my gown pinned above my elbow.
When the visitors paused to see what we were doing I did not look at them but went on with my work. There was a good deal of whispering and laughing among them, and I felt without looking at them that they were not gentle-folk, at least such gentle-folk as I knew.
But presently I had the most painful sense of being stared out of countenance, and lifting my eyes I found the eyes of one of the visitors fixed upon me with so rude and insolent a gaze that the colour rushed into my cheeks as though some one had struck me.
The person was a youngish man, dressed in what I took to be the height of fashion. We know little enough about fashion, and my grandfather's knee-breeches and frilled shirt were very smart in the Forties. The young man had red hair and very bold blue eyes; his complexion was ruddy, and his strong white teeth showed under his red moustache.
At the moment of looking at him I was aware of the greatest aversion and fear within myself. I lowered my eyes and devoted myself to what I was doing, painfully conscious all the time of the colour in my cheeks which must make me conspicuous to those who were looking at me. I heard a little giggle; then the voice of one of the ladies very slightly subdued—
"Oh, come away, Dick. Don't you see how you are making that poor girl blush?"
To my relief I heard them go, but it was some time before I could recover myself.
I had no idea at all but that they were chance visitors brought into the neighbourhood by the light railway, but I was soon to be disillusioned.
Several times that day I caught the eyes of a very pretty and innocent-looking girl, named Nora Brady, fixed on me, and there was something odd about her look; so much so that later in the day, as I was putting on my hat to go home, while Nora was preparing to start without any such formality, I suddenly asked her—
"Why have you been looking at me now and again to-day as though you were going to say something to me?"
To my amazement she blushed hotly and stammered something about not having known that she was looking at me.
"Never mind, Nora," I said, pitying her confusion; "a cat may look at a king, you know. Not that I'm a king nor a queen either."
"Oh, indeed, Miss Bawn," she said, blushing again. "You're pretty enough to be the Queen. Sure that's why poor Master Richard stared at you, not meaning to be impudent at all, let alone that he thought you a poor girl."
"Master Richard Dawson. 'Twas him came in to-day with some of the quality ladies they have stopping at Damerstown. He didn't mean any harm, Miss Bawn."
So it was Richard Dawson, the only son of the rich money-lender, on whom we of the older, more exclusive gentry turn our backs. He had been wild in his boyhood, and had quarrelled with his father and flung himself off to America. We had not heard of his return.
I noticed half consciously the pleading look of Nora's blue eyes under their black lashes. Why was the child so much concerned at what had offended me? But I hardly thought of her.
I was thinking with an unreasonable wave of repulsion that I should doubtless meet Richard Dawson, if not in the drawing-rooms of our friends at least about our quiet lanes and roads, where hitherto there had been nothing to fear. I wished he had stayed in America; and on one subject I made up my mind. That was that if I must meet Richard Dawson I should certainly be as cold to him as was compatible with civility to those in whose houses I might meet him.
For we were not all a century behind our times. Some of us had a Dublin season every year and had been presented at Court, and some of us even went to London for the season.
Lady Ardaragh was one of those. She used to quiz us openly for our old-fashioned ways, but so sweetly that even my grandmother laughed with her. And she used to say that if one were too particular about one's visiting-list so as to exclude the newly rich people, one would have to mark off half Park Lane and that wonderful district which she would have us believe lay all about it. One met the oddest people in her drawing-room, where she fluttered about among them like a gay little butterfly while Sir Arthur, her serious husband, locked himself away among his books.
"If I hadn't such oddities I should bore myself to extinction, dear Lady St. Leger," she said to my grandmother once. "Arthur will keep me here nine months of the year. What is one to do?"
"Why, I am sure there is plenty to do," my grandmother replied simply. "Bawn is busy from morning to night, what with her garden and her birds and her dogs and her reading and music, and now with the Creamery. So should I be if Lord St. Leger did not claim so much of my attention. I neglect things sadly nowadays because my husband leans on me as a staff, although I am nearly as old as he. And there is your dear boy."
Lady Ardaragh frowned.
"Sir Arthur never knows how I look, what I put on," she said. "He was an ardent lover enough, but now I do not think I could provoke him if I tried. He simply does not think of me. An illuminated manuscript is more to him than I am; and he would rather have a black-letter book than my youth. As for my Robin, I adore him; but his fine nurse comes between him and me. And to be sure, even if she didn't I have no time for babies."
That was the way with Lady Ardaragh. Her moods changed from one minute to another with incredible swiftness.
I had always had a great admiration for her, the pretty creature, and when she had spoken of the illuminated manuscript I had a sudden vision of her with her head of curls, and her pink, babyish face against a background of pale gold.
To be sure her diversions, as even I knew, were something of the talk of the countryside; and I have heard ladies say when they visited my grandmother that it was a wonder Sir Arthur permitted it, but they would be silent when they saw me. Yet my grandmother loved Lady Ardaragh, and before my presence was noticed I have heard her say in a rebuking way that her ladyship's ways were only the ways of a girl married to an elderly, grave scholar.
I was tolerably sure that some time or other we should meet the Dawsons in Lady Ardaragh's drawing-room, and I looked forward with horror to seeing Richard Dawson again.
But as it chanced, I was to meet him otherwise, and in no very pleasant fashion.
It was a few days later that, coming in one afternoon, I found Miss Champion with my grandmother and noticed that there was something odd in the manner of both of them. Nor was I kept long in suspense about it, for Miss Champion, who was the most candid person alive, could not long keep a secret.
"Would you like to go to Dublin, Bawn?" she asked.
To Dublin! I could hardly have been more bewildered if she had asked me would I like to go to the North Pole. Indeed, I had never contemplated going so far. It would have been a great adventure to have gone even so far as Quinn, our fair and market town, which lies on the other side of the Purple Hill, seven miles away.
I stammered out that I should like to go to Dublin, looking from Mary Champion's face to my grandmother's, for I could hardly believe that the latter would consent to so tremendous an adventure.
"It is time for her to see and be seen," my godmother went on. "You are twenty years old, are you not, Bawn? Why, at twenty I had seen a deal of the world, had travelled far away from Castle Clody and the valley of the Moy. Next season she ought to be presented, Lady St. Leger. I shall take her up and do it myself, if you will not. She ought not to be hidden away."
At this my grandmother looked alarmed, and said something under her breath of which I caught but a name or two, my Uncle Luke's and Theobald's.
From whatever my grandmother had said Miss Champion seemed to dissent even violently.
"It is all forgotten," she said, "and if any remembered it they would take my view of it and not yours. He should have stayed and faced it out. No jury would have brought in a worse verdict than manslaughter, and if it had been tried outside Dublin, in Irish Ireland, no jury would have convicted at all. I know the people adore Luke's memory because he struck that blow in defence of a woman. Why will you behave as though you held him guilty, Lady St. Leger?"
She gained heat as she proceeded, and although she spoke hastily, and hardly above her breath I heard every word.
It was not the first indication I had had that my Uncle Luke's disappearance was connected somehow with a deed of violence, although the details had never been told to me. Now I spoke up.
"I am sure that Uncle Luke did nothing we need be ashamed of, Gran," I said. "I remember him well, and he was very kind. I can see him now putting my canary's little leg in splints when it had broken it, and the dogs adored him. Old Dido yet listens for his return."
My grandmother began to weep softly.
"I did not want Bawn to know anything about those dreadful happenings, Mary," she said. "And whatever I believe or feel about Luke would not stand in the eyes of the law, since I am only his mother and why should I not believe in my son?"
"It is my quarrel with you and Lord St. Leger that you will act as though you believed him guilty," my godmother said. "As for Bawn, Lady St. Leger, you must let me tell her the story. It is time that she should know it. Not now, but another time when it will not grieve you. And you will let her come with me to Dublin?"
"If her grandfather consents, Mary. I have no doubt that he will consent if you ask him. But Bawn will need some clothes if she is to see your friends. What are we going to do about her clothes?"
"You must leave that to me, Lady St. Leger, as being Bawn's godmother. If I have not done my duty by her hitherto, it does not mean that I never shall."
After all, I did not hear Uncle Luke's story from my godmother but from Maureen Kelly.
Maureen was now getting old, and she had a room allotted to herself at the extreme end of the left wing which looked out on the gable of the Abbey and the graves which are all that remain of the old Abbey from which the house takes its name.
To be sure the grass grows up to the empty window-sockets of the gable; and as for the graves they are clean blotted out in the prairie grass that is like the grey waves of the sea above them.
It is a narrow slip of a room, and she sits there and sews, mending the linen which is old and thin and darning finely the holes in the damask cloth or the rents which time has made in my grandmother's lace; and when the light fails her knitting those stockings of fine blue-grey wool which my grandfather always wears.
Maureen, as often happens with old privileged servants, quarrels with the other servants and is not much sought after by them. She lives in a great independence of her own, and has her own cups and saucers; they are fine old china, with brown sea-shells and seaweed upon them, and they belonged to the nursery when I was the one child there.
And she has her own tea and bread and butter and sugar; and anything else she requires she fetches from the kitchen, walking about haughtily among the other servants, and not staying longer than is necessary to get what things she requires.
I went very often to Maureen's room.
For one thing, it was like looking into my childhood to go there. It is so still. The nursery pictures are on the wall, and in a cupboard there are my discarded books and toys, with others of an earlier date than mine. There is the dolls' house which was given to my great-grandmother when she was a child by Lord Kilwarden, that just judge who was a great friend of our family. It is not so elaborate as the dolls' houses of to-day, but it is big enough for a small child to creep within it, and it seemed wonderful to me as it had done to my mother before me, and to my Aunt Eleanor, who was Theobald's mother. I know my grandmother loves the dolls' house, and would not consent to its being put away in the lumber-room.
In winter Maureen's room is the warmest spot of the house, which is old and draughty, and I have always gone there when I have wanted to get the chill out of my bones. Maureen will sit by the window sewing, while I get down on to the little stool which used to be mine in my childhood and look into the heart of the flame and imagine things there.
There is a photograph of my Uncle Luke on the chimney-piece, an artless thing of a country photographer. He is wearing his militia uniform, and even the country photographer had no power to destroy the bonny charm which sat on his eyes and his lips.
Now Maureen had, whether from increasing years or from the lonely life she led, come to have delusions at times, to mix up me with my mother or my Aunt Eleanor, to talk of Uncle Luke as though he were yet with us or might be expected at any moment home from college, or from a hunting day or a fair or market, or his training with his regiment on the Curragh of Kildare.
But on this day she was clear enough in her mind.
Uncle Luke's old setter, Dido, that was a young thing when he went away, had followed me upstairs and lay along the rug with her head on my lap. Now and again she pricked her ears as though she heard something or thought she did. It was Dido who led us on to talk of Uncle Luke. Maureen is no more tolerant of dogs about her than others of her class, but she tolerates Dido because she belonged to Uncle Luke.
"If his Lordship had a real kindness for that old dog," she began, "he'd poison her and put her out of her trouble."
Dido looked back over her ears at her as a dog will, knowing itself discussed.
"I don't think Dido would call it a kindness, Maureen," said I. "Let me see—how old is she?"
"She must be nigh on fifteen years old. I remember well the day Master Luke brought her home. I wonder his Lordship can bear to have her about, seeing who it was that gave her to him."
"And who was it, Maureen?" I asked.
Her old eyes narrowed themselves cunningly.
"No one could ever say, Miss Bawn, that I talked about the family."
"Very well, Maureen," I said. "But I am to hear it, all the same. Miss Champion is going to tell me. She said so to my grandmother yesterday, and would have done it then only that she feared to disturb Gran. I am going to her this afternoon to talk about our trip to Dublin, and then she will tell me."
"That is the way," said Maureen, with great bitterness. "People will tell you not to tell things: and when you've held yourself in till you're fit to burst after all those years they'll tell themselves. Why shouldn't you know, Miss Bawn, my lamb? There's some for Master Luke and there's some against him, but I'm for him whatever story was the true one."
"So should I be, Maureen," said I. "I remember how he carried me round the stables and to the kennels on his shoulder, and how he brought me in to see Bridget Kinsella, the huntsman's wife, and she gave me bread and brown sugar with cream over it. And when we were coming back it was cold, and Uncle Luke carried me inside his coat."
"Aye," said Maureen, "he was ever softhearted. A bit wild, but not more so than became his station. And if Miss Champion had been kinder with him the trouble need never have happened."
I had often noticed a curious hostility in Maureen towards Miss Champion, and had wondered at it, since she was so devoted to us all.
"She tell the story, indeed!" she went on with bitterness. "If she tells it she'd better keep back nothing. Why did she send him to get consolation from other ladies? He was always true-hearted from a child. And if Miss Cardew had a fancy for him, who should blame her?"
Now, I had heard dimly of Miss Cardew who was an heiress, and of how Sir Jasper Tuite had tried to abduct her, but somehow I had never heard the whole of the story. People had dropped talking about it as soon as they had discovered my presence. And I had had no idea at all that it had to do with Uncle Luke.
ONE SIDE OF A STORY
"Tell me now, Maureen," I said, "since you have told me so much. It was Sir Jasper Tuite, was it not, that waylaid Miss Cardew on her way from Kilmany Church, and was killed in the struggle? And what had Uncle Luke to do with it?"
"Ah, that is what only he himself could tell. For the poor young lady, who was never over-strong, went clean out of her wits afterwards: and to be sure Sir Jasper Tuite was dead and cold when they found him. The horses that drew the carriage had taken flight and galloped off home with Miss Cardew, and her cowardly coachman had run away and never came back till the whole thing was over. Miss Cardew, poor thing, never could tell what happened, rightly. And Sir Jasper, if he was dead, he hadn't died of the pistol-shot, but of an old trouble of the heart. The bullet was in the fleshy part of his shoulder, and the doctors would have got it out as easy as possible. And, sure, if he'd lived he'd have been sent to prison. It used to be life for runnin' away with a lady against her will in the old days. Master Luke's pistol was found just as he'd thrown it down, and his name on it. He must have thought he'd killed Sir Jasper. Small wrong, some people say, if he had, for Sir Jasper was bad as many a poor girl knew to her cost."
"Uncle Luke should not have gone away," I said.
"Well, you see, dearie, he thought it the kindest thing to do. And then—there were stories. I never believed them myself. People asked how it was that Master Luke came to be armed. There was reason enough, for the country was disturbed at the time."
"Stories," I repeated after her—"what stories?"
"Why, there were some bad enough to say that it was Master Luke was tryin' to abduct the lady, and that it was Sir Jasper was hinderin' him. I couldn't believe it myself. He cared for none but Miss Mary, although she'd been hard to him. And Miss Irene Cardew would have gone with Master Luke willin' enough. A pretty delicate little lady she was, and 'ud jump if she caught sight of her own shadow. Sure, Master Luke could have nothing but pity for her."
"There seem to have been a great many stories," I said.
"Aye, indeed, so there were, my jewel. There isn't two you'd meet in the county this minute 'ud hold the same opinion about it. Not but that any way the country people are on the side of Master Luke."
I was silent for a few minutes, stroking Dido's silky head, letting her rippled ears fall through my fingers. Her dim eyes were fixed on me with a terrible wistfulness, as though she longed to speak and could not. I felt a great pity for the old dog. What a sad lot is theirs, depending on our presence as they do for the light in their sky, to whom our slightest absence is the absence of death.
"Was nothing ever heard of him?" I asked after that silence.
"Nothing. Some said that he got on board a hooker and was carried to Liverpool and got off to America. Others said the same hooker—she was a stranger in these parts—was swept out to sea and, in the big storm that broke that very week, foundered."
"It is most likely," said I, "for if he were living he would never have left them in suspense all these years."
"There, you're wrong, Miss Bawn. Master Luke is not dead."
Dido stirred uneasily and whimpered.
"He's not dead, Miss Bawn, for if he was dead the banshee would have cried. And the dead coach would have driven up with a rattle and stopped at our door. It never has, Miss Bawn. What you've heard has never stopped at our doors. To hear wheels in the distance is nothing. As for the cryin' in the shrubbery, that is another story. Some day I may tell it to you, child."
"You have not told me yet," I said, "why you blame my godmother."
I had it in my mind that Lord and Lady St. Leger did not blame her, so there could be nothing to blame. It was some stupid and ignorant prejudice of old Maureen's. I knew she had fostered my Uncle Luke, and that she loved him, as the foster-mother does, with an unreasoning and jealous passion.
Her old lips met tightly.
"Ask Miss Mary herself about that, Miss Bawn," she said. "No one can say that I am one to talk. After all those years, it would be a pity to spoil all the tellin' for Miss Mary."
She sat smiling to herself, a bitter and mocking smile, when she had finished the sentence. I knew Maureen better than to try to win talk from her when she had once made up her mind to silence, so I let her be, only changing the conversation to another subject.
"What will it be like, Maureen, when I am gone?" I asked.
"It will be lonely, Miss Bawn," she answered; and then, as I had expected, she added, with a little sourness, "Not that you are a patch on Master Luke and Miss Eleanor and your own mother for cheerfulness in the house. Och, the days I could tell of when there was the fine company-keepin', and the divarsion, and the carriages of the quality drivin' up to the doors, and the music and the dancin'! Them were the days that were worth havin', an' not these days when every one is old—every one but yourself, Miss Bawn; and you're that quiet that I wouldn't know you were in the house. Och, the good days! the good days!"
"They were good when Theobald was here," I said. "He made enough noise, Maureen; didn't he? You used to scold then because he made so much."
"I always thought more of a boy than a girl," she answered. "You're bonny enough, Miss Bawn, but you're not to be compared with Master Theobald, let alone them I nursed at my breast—Master Luke and your mother and your Aunt Eleanor."
"Mary Cashel thinks the world of me," I said, with enjoyment. Mary Cashel is my foster-mother, and lives at the head of the Glen.
"She's a poor, foolish, talkative creature," Maureen said. "If her Ladyship had listened to me she'd never have had Mary Cashel in the house."
Just then the setting sun glinted on the windows of Brosna, the great house that neighbours ours, which belongs to the Cardews, and has been empty, as its owner, Anthony Cardew, has been away from it many years. The sun was going down in a great glory, and window after window in the long house-front took fire and flamed like a torch.
"You would think," said I, "that they were lighting fires over there against Captain Cardew's return."
Maureen rose from her place and peered curiously in the direction of my gaze.
"I wonder he doesn't be selling it," she said, "and not be letting it go to rack and ruin and him never comin' home. 'Tis an unlucky country so it is where the houses of the gentry must be all stannin' empty or tumblin' to ruins, or bein' turned into asylums or the like."
"I should like to see the inside of Brosna," I said. "Is it as fine as they say?"
"It is the finest house in this country, Miss Bawn—finer even than the Abbey. But all goin' to rack and ruin for want of an owner to look after it. But as for seein' it, I wouldn't be talkin' about such a thing. It is a long time since his Lordship and her Ladyship could bear to hear the name of Cardew."
"I have heard you say, Maureen," I went on, "that Anthony Cardew was the handsomest young man ever seen in this country, that he had a leg and foot as elegant even as Uncle Luke's, and that to see him dance was the finest sight you could wish for, and that all the ladies were in love with him."
"I never put him before Master Luke. No, no, Miss Bawn, I never put him before my own boy. There, don't be talkin' about the Cardews, child. What are they to you?"
I got up and went out; and while my thoughts were busy with my visit to Dublin there would flash through them like warp and woof the thought of Anthony Cardew, who had gone away before I was born and of whom so many romantic stories were told. I felt that I must hear some of them, even though the name of Cardew was not to be mentioned in our hearing.
OLD, UNHAPPY, FAR-OFF THINGS
I found my godmother watering her rose trees on the eastward side of the house from which the sun had now departed. The grassy terraces before the house smelt deliciously, for a water-sprinkler in the grass sent out fine spray like a fountain. It was very hot weather, and I had walked across; it had been cool enough in the shelter of the wood but the roads had been blinding hot.
"Sit down, Bawn," she said, coming towards me, having left her hose to run at the foot of a rose tree. "See how busy I am! Of course, a gardener's boy would do it but I love to give drink to the thirsty."
She was wearing a cool muslin dress transparent at the neck. Round her throat she had a slender chain with a locket to it. She was brown as a berry, but she looked as though the hot weather dealt gently with her. As she sat down by me and took Dido's head into her lap, to the great discomfort of a rabble of jealous dogs who sat round watching her and whining, it struck me that her eyes were the very colour of the dog's and as faithful.
"You look cool," I said.
"And you; you have no idea how pink print becomes you. But first we will have tea. Joan has a sick headache and will have none of me to-day. So we shall be just our two selves."
As she said it I noticed a line of pain and weariness deepen in her forehead, and her lips droop ever so slightly. It was something I had noticed before when Miss Standish had been more than commonly trying. I looked at my godmother with new interest, having learnt what had befallen Uncle Luke. She wore her hair in an old-fashioned way which became her. It was in loops each side of her forehead, displaying her ears, and was then taken up and plaited at the back of her head. The fashion was a quarter of a century old but nothing could have been prettier.
She took Dido's head between her hands and looked down into her eyes.
"She is growing very old, Bawn," she said sadly.
It reminded me of something Maureen had said and had not explained.
"Who gave Dido to Uncle Luke?" I asked.
She turned red and pale.
"What have you been hearing, Bawn?" she asked.
"Maureen has been talking to me about Uncle Luke. I did not think it wrong to listen to her, since I knew that I was to hear the story from you."
"Maureen did not spare me," she said in a low voice.
"For the matter of that she said nothing. She hinted that you had been hard on Uncle Luke, but she bid me ask yourself."
"Do you think it likely I was hard to him, Bawn?"
She was looking into the dog's eyes now and the dog into hers. The two hearts that were always faithful to Uncle Luke understood each other. Deep answered deep.
"I am sure you were not," I said.
"Maureen did not know," she went on gently.
"Sure your dog for you could die With no truer heart than I,"
she murmured, with a fervour that startled me. Then her eyes grew misty.
"Dido and I are always listening for the same foot," she said. "If Luke L'Estrange were to come back now, perhaps we should both die of joy. What was it you were asking me, Bawn? Who was it gave Luke the dog. It was Irene Cardew, poor girl. All the tragedy is over and done. I don't mind telling you, Bawn—Irene is beyond being hurt by it—that she was fond of Luke. Perhaps it was my fault. Luke had hurt me and I was angry, saying to myself that I did well to be angry. We never do well to be angry, little Bawn, with those we love. I thought there was plenty of time for Luke to come back and be forgiven. But there is never plenty of time in this world. I am sure of one thing, that he loved only me."
"And that is a great thing to be sure of," I said.
A servant brought out the tea-table and set it before us. We were silent while he went to and fro bringing us the tea equipage, the bread and butter and sandwiches and hot tea-cakes. When we were again alone my godmother poured out the tea, smiling at me across the cups.
"We must not talk any more of the old, unhappy, far-off things," she said. "You have heard enough, little Bawn; only take warning by the sins and follies of your elders. Do not quarrel with Theobald, thinking there is time to make up."
"For the matter of that," I said, "I never feel inclined to quarrel with Theobald. And, dear godmother, I am sure you were not hard with Uncle Luke."
"Thank you, Bawn. He was foolish like other young men of his class. I had better tell you, lest you should wrong Luke in your thoughts. He came to me when he had drunk too much. I thought I did well for his own sake to be angry and I sent him away unforgiven. There were many ready to comfort him, and it was not in him to rebuff a woman, especially a woman who let him see that she was in love with him. He was often with Irene Cardew while I was angry with him. It gave colour to the stories afterwards."
"I know; Maureen told me."
"No one that knew him could believe it. It was like Jasper Tuite that he could not even die without wronging another."
THE STILE IN THE WOOD
After that she changed the conversation to other things; and when I had drunk my tea and eaten with an appetite I went upstairs with her to see things she had promised to show me.
I had had no idea that they were for me. I knew that she had a great many old and beautiful things, and from my childhood I had delighted in them. I could remember her calling for me in her pony phaeton before Uncle Luke had left us, and she would carry me all over Castle Clody for she was a tall, strong young woman; and while she changed her dress I used to sit in the middle of her bed with the curtains of blue and silver damask falling to either side of me, and she would give me boxes of pretty things to play with. To this day I like better than any of her valuable jewels her pretty trinkets of garnet and amethyst and topaz, of which she has a great many. They lay in trays in glass-lidded boxes and I delighted to look at them. Many of them have come to me as Christmas and birthday gifts since then, and Miss Standish had many of them, for although she was an invalid she delighted in pretty things and was greedy for them. My dear godmother is one to give with both hands; indeed, to value things chiefly for the pleasure of giving them.
Lying on her bed now were a number of garments so pretty that I cried out in delight. They were all white, yellowed a little with age, and in some instances with a pattern in colours.
There was a scarf of China crepe, powdered as thickly as possible with roses and golden bees. There was an opera cloak made of a beautiful old Indian shawl. There were several frocks of silk and lace and muslin and fine woollen. There were finely laced and frilled petticoats and silk stockings and shoes with paste buckles and a feather fan. Also there were fichus and lace-edged handkerchiefs and such things, to strike a young girl dumb with delight.
"They are all for you, Bawn," she said, smiling at me. "They were my wedding clothes, and they have lain packed away in silver paper all these years. I have brought them into the light of day for you. They ought to have been kept for your wedding perhaps, but as there is nothing definite——"
"Theobald and I shall be quite old before we need think of marriage, if we ever do," I said. "I don't want to be married. It is nicer when people will be satisfied with being just dear brothers. And are they really for me, god-mamma? Why should you not wear them yourself? They are so beautiful!"
"Let me have the pleasure of seeing you wear them, Bawn. We shall depend less on the Dublin shops during our visit. Louise will fit the things on you. They will have to be taken in for you. They will not look old-fashioned. The fashion has come back to them."
I stood an hour or more while Louise pinned the things on me, kneeling by my side and turning me this way and that way to look at myself in the long glass of the wardrobe.
She kept up a running conversation on the things while she fitted me; ecstatic little cries of admiration; deep sighs of satisfaction; with all the animation of the Frenchwoman.
"I believe you get at least as much pleasure out of them as I do, Louise," I said.
"Ah, heaven, more!" she answered. "Mademoiselle is but a child; she does not know the delight of the feel, the soft lovely feel, of this that drapes so perfectly. Fortunately Mademoiselle lends herself to the lovely things. They become her. They cling to her figure as though they loved it. The result will be charming. M. le Capitaine Theobald he should be here to see the result. How his eyes would sparkle!"
"M. le Capitaine Theobald, as you call him, Louise," I said, "would not know one stuff from another. It is quite possible that he would like me better in the pink print yonder. The beautiful things will be quite wasted on him. He thinks a white muslin frock with a blue sash the finest thing a girl can wear."
"It is not bad, for an ingenue," said Louise, thoughtfully. "But I do not agree with you, Mademoiselle, that he would not admire these lovely things. He might not know, but he would admire all the same."
"Possibly," I said, with patience. I was not greatly interested in Theobald's point of view. I might have altered in my cousin's eyes; but he had hardly altered to me from the boy with whom I went climbing and skating in the old days. I could not imagine myself having any sentimentality about Theobald.
"Mademoiselle is too sensible for her years," said Louise; and I was conscious of a subtle disparagement in the speech.
"I am not sensible at all, Louise," I answered, with some indignation. "I am not sensible where grandpapa is concerned, nor grandmamma, I tremble if grandpapa is a little later on a hunting day than we expect him, or on Wednesday when the petty sessions are on at Quinn. I am terrified about grandmamma if her finger aches; and I lie awake at night imagining all the terrible things that could befall them."
"Ah, that is affectionateness. I never said you were not affectionate, Mademoiselle."
But there was some meaning in Louise's accusation, although she would say no more, pretending that she was always one to let her tongue run away with her. Louise had been with Miss Champion these twenty years, and was a privileged person as old servants are amongst us.
When she had finished I went to look for my godmother, and found her with Miss Standish, bathing her forehead with eau-de-Cologne.
"Poor little Bawn," she said, "you look tired. Louise has kept you standing too long. Once set Louise to fitting clothes and she forgets everything. Could you not sit down here and rest a while before starting for home?"
"Yes, why not sit with me for a while?" Miss Standish put in eagerly. "I always find your voice restful, Bawn."
But I would not stay. I had promised my grandmother to be home by half-past six at latest, and I was not going to have her fretting about my absence. It was six o'clock now and the shadows were growing longer; the coolness of evening was coming. The birds were singing their even-song. As I went down the marble steps in the grassy terraces from the house I saw the peacock and his lady already at roost in a low tree, although the darkness would not come for some hours yet, and indeed would be then only a green twilight.
There was never anything to be afraid of on our roads. Our valley was in such a quiet isolation, so far away from the main roads, that even a tramp or an importunate beggar were not to be feared. The labourers going home from the fields touched their caps with a friendly "God save you kindly, Miss Bawn." The children by the cottage doors smiled at me shyly. Even the dogs knew me. It was the road I had taken to the Creamery and back every day; and I had been familiar with it from my childhood.
The sun was yet so hot on the exposed road that Dido and I were glad to get within the shelter of Daly's Wood. Though the sun poured upon the wood it was cool within it and steeped in a golden haze. The pale stems of the springing trees looked like so many great candles in a golden house; there was a sweet sound of falling waters, for a little mountain stream ran through the wood, and in its neighbourhood the air was damp and deliciously sweet. Where the water tumbled over broken boulders and formed a little pool Dido stood to drink, and I stood, too, a minute listening to the bird-songs of which the wood was full.
When we had turned round and gone on our way I observed that there was some one sitting on the stile which led out on the road nearly opposite the postern gate in our park wall and supposed it to be some one resting there who would rise up to let me pass.
I could not imagine myself being afraid of these quiet places, where, no matter what happened elsewhere, the people were always friendly and respectful. But as I came close up to the man who sat on the stile and who had not turned his head at the sound of my foot on the path, all of a sudden I became filled with a nameless terror.
The wide shoulders, the rather massive head with the closely curling red hair; I seemed to recognize them all at once for Richard Dawson's, and I was as frightened as ever was a hare of the dogs; nay, more frightened, for the hare has at least her speed. My feet seemed clogged by leaden weights as they might be in the terror of a dream. Then the man turned about with a smile which showed all his white teeth and I was sick with fear.
"It is the third day I have been waiting for you, you pretty creature," he said. "I am going to lift you over the stile, and then you shall give me a kiss for it."
He flung his arms about me and I closed my eyes while I tried to push him away. I felt his breath on my face, and my loathing of him was so great that it made me physically incapable of resistance. I uttered one cry, but I felt that there was no body of sound in it to carry it even if anybody had been near. But suddenly I heard a furious growl, and I felt myself released.
"Damn the brute! She has bitten me," he said furiously.
And there he was with the blood running down his hand, while my brave old dog stood by ready to defend me against all the world.
A ROUGH LOVER
For a second or two we stood staring at each other while Richard Dawson mopped the blood from his hand.
"Don't you see that your damned dog has bitten me?" he shouted, as though my silence infuriated him.
"I see," I said with my hand on Dido's collar to restrain her. "You shouldn't have been rude to me, sir."
He stopped staunching his wound and burst into a great roar of laughter which had no good humour in it.
"Lord, lord!" he said. "That's the best thing I've heard of this many a day. Why a little country hussy like you ought to be honoured by receiving a gentleman's kisses. There, my dear, get rid of your dog. I don't want to kick her brains out as I could easily do, and as she deserves to have done for having bitten me. Send her home with a stone at her heels and come and sit by me on the stile. You shall see how prettily a gentleman makes love."
I suppose I must have looked at him with the horror I felt for him, for he laughed again.
"What," he said, "am I so ugly as all that? I can tell you, my dear, that a good many of your sex, both small and great, regard me as a very pretty fellow. In fact, I'm pestered with the women. I assure you I really am, my dear. And so you won't give me a kiss of your own free will? Why, I could take it if I liked; but I'm not sure that I want to take it till you come and offer it to me of your own free will."
"That I shall never do," I said.
"I'm not so sure of that," he replied. "There aren't many ladies in this county wouldn't give me a kiss if I wanted it, much less a little dairymaid like you."
I thought at the time that it was his egregious vanity and conceit, but in this I was wrong, as events afterwards proved. Indeed, it was a very strange thing how women, both gentle and simple, were in many cases attracted by the coarse good looks and insolent, swaggering way of Richard Dawson—an inconceivable thing to me in the case of a lady, although more easily understood in the case of a poor peasant girl like Nora Brady.
His mood had apparently changed, and I was less afraid of him, although my detestation of him had been deepened by his conduct to me.
He still sat on the stile so that I could not pass him; but all the anger had gone out of his face, although the blood still trickled a little from the back of his hand where Dido had planted her teeth.
"Will you let me pass, please?" said I.
"Presently, my dear." How I hated him for his easy insolence! "I want to hear first what it is you dislike in me."
"Everything," I answered.
"Why," he said mockingly, "it is a thing of spirit, and it will be the more pleasure to tame it. I am tired of birds that come fluttering into my hands and cling to me when I no longer desire them. Upon my word, I like you the better for it. Come, I'm sorry I frightened you. I can say no more than that; it is the fault of your sex, which is so complaisant."
He put his hand into his pocket and drew out a handful of coins.
"Here's a sovereign," he said, "to buy a ribbon. It can't make you prettier, but may it make you kinder when next we meet!"
He flung the coin as though he expected me to catch it, but, of course, I made no effort to do so and it fell on the ground and rolled away into a heap of dead leaves. No matter what happened I could not have kept myself from kicking at it contemptuously with my foot where it lay.
"Not enough, eh?" he asked, his eyebrows raised in amusement. "Would five do?"
I stared at him and the colour flamed in my cheeks.
"Why, you are prettier than ever," he said. "If you look at me like that much longer I shall be obliged to kiss you, although I would rather wait till you came offering me a kiss. Pretty spitfire! Where have they been hiding you? I had no idea, till I saw you the other day at the Creamery, that there was anything so pretty hereabouts. I generally find out what there is delectable in the way of femininity before I am forty-eight hours in a place. You have no idea of what an adorable little modesty you looked with your white arms plunged in the milk. You took the shine out of the ladies, my dear."
I could only look at him with steady animosity, while my hand on her collar kept poor Dido in check. I saw that he took me for a peasant girl and I was not minded to enlighten him. I was going away; and perhaps before I came back he would be gone again on his travels, for I had always heard that he was wild and a rover and could not be persuaded to settle down and live at Damerstown although his father and mother were most anxious that he should. My heartfelt desire at the moment was that I should never again see Richard Dawson's face, with its insolent and coarse good looks, as long as I lived.
"Yes, you took the shine out of the fine ladies that were with me that day," he went on, "fine a conceit as they have of themselves. They were fine London ladies, my dear, the sort that play cards all night, and motor all day, and have no time to be God-fearing and loving like the women that went before them. You didn't look at them?"
The speech struck me as oddly incongruous in parts of it, yet we had heard—about the one thing we had heard in his favour—that he was fond of his old mother, a good-natured, homely, kindly body, people said, who was rather unhappy among the Dawson riches, rather afraid of her granite-faced, beetling-browed husband.
"No, I didn't look at them," I said.
"And why not, pray?"
"I took no interest in them. I did not like their way of speaking. They seemed vulgar to me."
I hardly knew why I answered him. Perhaps he compelled me. When I had answered he turned round and looked at me with an uproarious delight in his face.
"If Lady Meg could only hear you! Lord! lord!" he said, with infinite gusto. "The daughter of a hundred earls! And Miss Moxon, just as high born and just as fast! How amazed they would be. They would box your pretty ears, my dear; at least Lady Meg would."
"That they would not," I answered him. "And now, please let me pass."
"Without a kiss?" he said mockingly. "Very well, then, I shall let you go. But I feel myself a poor-spirited fellow for it. Do you know that your eyes are like wet violets? And when do we meet again, my dear?"
However, though he mocked he stood aside to let me pass, which at first I hesitated to do, fearing that he might perhaps seize me in his arms as I passed him.
To my great vexation he seemed to guess at this feeling of mine, for he laughed again and said—
"Don't be afraid, pretty one. I promised to let you pass and I shall. No one shall say that Dick Dawson's word isn't as good as his bond; and his bond is worth a good deal. He ought to know something of bonds too, seeing the way the money was made."
So he mocked at himself when he was not mocking at me. I did not altogether trust him, but I made up my mind that if he was rude to me again my poor dog should protect me as she had done before. But after all there was no necessity, for with a sudden movement my enemy lifted his hat, turned away and walked down the road, smiling at me, as he went, over his shoulder.
Never was any one so glad of a place of refuge as I was when I went in at the postern gate in the wall and was within our own woods. I tried to shoot the rusty bolt into its place, but it had been unused for years and I could not move it, so I let it be. And now it was twilight in the dark woods but I felt at home, and letting Dido go, she bounded on before me as though she were young again, and I followed more sedately, with an occasional glance back to see I was not followed.
The sight of the red sun sinking down a long, green avenue turned my thoughts for a moment from the painful memory of Richard Dawson's rudeness, which, now that I had escaped from him, made me feel sick and ashamed.
It was something I could never tell to anybody, and I felt as though I must carry some shameful secret all my days and that it must appear in my face, and I was glad that I need not meet the eyes of my grandparents by daylight, but could deceive their dear, dim sight in the shaded candle-light and afterwards have the night to recover myself.
With a young girl's extremity of virginal pride and modesty, I hated even myself because he had touched me and could have disfigured the face he had praised.
But the red sun glinting down the long arcades, promising another fine day to-morrow, gave my thoughts a welcome turn. I remembered how it had shone yesterday in the long line of windows at Brosna; and that led me to think of Anthony Cardew.
He had the most romantic stories attaching to him, such stories as were sure to please a young girl's fancy. It was to be sure not a name we mentioned at Aghadoe. Indeed, even before I knew about Uncle Luke there was something that forbade my talking of the Cardews before Lord and Lady St. Leger or before my godmother.
Only old Maureen, who so often mixed up the present and the past, would talk of the Cardews as though their name had never been banned, as though they still came and went as friends and intimates at Aghadoe Abbey as in the days before the trouble came about Uncle Luke.
I knew that Captain Cardew had long since retired from the army, and that one never knew in what corner of the world he might not be, since wherever adventures were to be found he was.
I knew that he had spent many years of his life—he must be now nearly forty, which was a great age to me—in the service of an unhappy great lady whose little kingdom had been unjustly taken from her, and in her cause he had spent his patrimony which had once been great. And now since she no longer lived, having given up her gentle soul some two years after she had sought the shelter of the convent against a rough world, he was free once more to devote his sword of Don Quixote to some other lost cause.
I knew, furthermore, that he was reported to have raised money from Mr. Dawson of Damerstown at ruinous interest to spend it in the service of the Princess Pauline, and that he was now very poor, too poor to keep his old home from going to pieces and being consumed by the damp and by rats and mice and general decay.
People used to wonder he did not try to sell it. Indeed, it was common talk that before Mr. Dawson had bought Damerstown he had tried to obtain possession of Brosna, and that his offer had been refused by Anthony Cardew with contempt. The common talk even found words for the refusal.
"What?" Captain Cardew was reported to have said. "You have plucked me clean enough, God knows, but I keep my honour intact, and that forbids that I should see Dawsons in the house where Cardews lived honourably and wronged none but themselves."
The low sun going down in a blaze behind the trees brought these things into my mind. I remember that the wood was as sweet from the scent of the white-thorn and the lilacs and a thousand other sweet and fresh things as though some heavenly censer swung there. The thrushes and the blackbirds were singing their wildest as is their custom about sunset; and below their triumphant songs you could hear the whole chorus of the little birds' voices as well as the fiddling and harping of the myriad field-crickets and grasshoppers. Then from the field beyond the wood I could hear the corncrakes sawing away in the yet unmown grass, and there were a great many wood-doves uttering their soft laments.
I have always loved the things of nature; but on this evening they had less power than usual to soothe me. The shame of my recent encounter with Richard Dawson kept sending the colour to my cheeks and the little shocks of repulsion through my blood. I felt that if he had really kissed me I must have killed him or myself. My fingers twitched as I thought on a certain dagger, little but deadly, which lay in a glass case in the picture-gallery, and I resolved that I would carry it in my breast for the future on my country rambles lest I should meet again with such rudeness as I had met to-day and have nothing with which to defend myself.
I was so engaged in my thoughts as I walked along that I had not noticed how far ahead of me Dido had run. But suddenly she was brought to my mind by the most horrible yelping which made me run as fast as ever I ran in my life.
I came up with her in a little glade away from the main path, a mere gamekeepers' passage, now much overgrown and choked up, for it was long since we had kept gamekeepers. I had to creep on my hands and knees through the briars and undergrowth to reach the place where she was, which was a clear space in the midst of the tangle.
As soon as she saw me she left off yelping and waited for me with an air of expectancy, as though she knew that I would soon put an end to her discomfort.
But alas for the poor thing's faith in me, I saw when I came up to her that her foot was caught in a trap, a horrible iron-toothed thing, the like of which I had never seen before. It must have rusted there from the old days till my poor dog by some accident had released it. I saw that there were bones by it—the bones of some poor wild creature, doubtless, who had perished in it, and the bones had no doubt acted as a warning to the others.
As I knelt down Dido licked my face frantically, being quite sure I was going to release her. But that was not so easy. Pull as I would I could not bring the teeth of the trap apart.
"I shall have to go for help, Dido," I said, after a few minutes, trusting to her sense to understand. But as I rose to go and she saw that I was leaving her, she began immediately a loud, almost hysterical barking, interspersed with little piteous moans and whimpers which were most painful to hear.
I did not know what to do, so I began to cry myself, and then I knelt down beside her and began again my useless effort to release her.
The sun by now was sinking low, although there would be light for an hour or two yet. I guessed that it must be seven o'clock, and I knew that my grandmother would be uneasy about me, and that presently my grandfather would have to be told, and the whole household would be anxious. What was I to do? I could not even think that they would come this way looking for me, since they had not known of my intention of coming home by Daly's Wood and the postern.
I was in the greatest perplexity and distress, and I never was so glad in my life as when I heard a shout close at hand. I believe that if it had been Richard Dawson himself I should have welcomed him at that moment.
"Come this way, please," I called out. "My dog is caught in a trap and I cannot leave her."
I heard some one come as I had come, on hands and knees, through the undergrowth; then he emerged into the little glade and stood upright, the grass and the leaves about his clothing.
He did not look at me at first, but came, with that clucking of the tongue against the palate which we use in Ireland as a sound of pity and concern, to the rescue of the dog. His hands, fine and long and slender, tore the trap apart as though it had been paper.
"Poor beast!" he said, "she is very little the worse. The teeth of the trap had grown blunt, although they were strong enough to hold her."
I thought him the very finest gentleman I had ever seen or ever hoped to see, and that is to say a good deal, since it would not be easy to find a finer gentleman than my grandfather. And I had the portrait of Uncle Luke and my childish memory of him. And Theobald is as fine and gallant a young gentleman as you would wish to see.
But this stranger was finer than any of them.
Suddenly he looked at me for the first time, and I saw his face change. Some wave of emotion passed over it, troubling its gay serenity. His lips trembled. And then he was himself again.
"Pardon me," he said. "For the moment I thought I had seen a ghost—as though ghosts apparelled themselves like the rose! You are very like some one I once knew who is now dead. I am so glad I have been able to help your poor dog."
I stammered like the rustic Richard Dawson had taken me for. Who could this finest of fine gentlemen be?
He was tall and slim, and had an elegance of air which really does not seem to belong to our age. His face was bronzed and his eyes were of so dark a grey—I know since that they are grey—that I thought them black that evening in the shadow of the woods.
He had a little black moustache, and, in odd contrast to it and his look of youth, his hair was quite white. It was perhaps that which gave him his air of elegance. He was really like a powdered gallant of the last century rather than a gentleman of this. But his speech was of this, and very Irish as well.
"I am so glad I was able to assist you," he said. "There, good dog, good dog!" to Dido, who was fawning upon him. "Let me see! She goes a little lame, but there is no harm done. She will be quite well in a day or two. And this shall do no further damage."
I suppose it was no great thing, seeing that the trap was old and rusty, but it seemed to me a great feat of strength when his long fingers tore it apart and flung the two halves into the bushes.
"They are murderous things," he said. "Every man who laid one should himself be caught in it."
"I am grateful to you for ever," I said. "What would I have done if you had not been at hand? I could not leave Dido. If I had she would have broken her leg in the effort to escape. And try as I would, I could not force the trap apart."
"To be sure not," he said, glancing at my hands; "and I'm very glad I came by. By the way, I was trespassing, I'm afraid. If Lord St. Leger or any of his family had come upon me I should have been ordered out of the woods."
"Oh no," I said, with some indignation. "That you would not have been. I am Bawn Devereux, Lord St. Leger's granddaughter. We are not so churlish."
He lifted his hat again.
"Lord St. Leger's popularity is well known," he said. "It has always been a friendly and generous race. Yet I think I should have been turned out of the woods."
"Do not say so," I implored him, in a passion of vexation. "My grandfather would love you because of what you have done for the dog. He is devoted to dumb animals. In any case, he would not have objected to a gentleman walking in his woods. That the postern gate is left open is a proof that people come and go as they will."
"That may be," he said. "The St. Legers have always been at peace with their fellow-men, yet I would not be caught a trespasser."
There was a sudden darkness by which I conjectured that the sun had sunk below the horizon.
"I must be going," I said in a great hurry. "They will be anxious about me at home. For the rest, I give you the freedom of the woods. Come and go when you will. You are welcome to Aghadoe."
His face lit up.
"Faith, it's pleasant to a homeless man like myself to be assured of a welcome," he said. "And now, Miss Bawn, let me see you to the confines of the wood, within sight of the Abbey. Out on the hills and plains it is yet day, but in the woods night comes early, to give a chance perhaps to the birds who have been awake since cock-crow."
I crept out of the glade as I had entered it and he followed me. When we both stood upright in the wood-path we laughed together.
"I believe I knew the place of old," he said, "when I was a little urchin. Sure there's no place like home, after all."
I had been wondering who he might be, and had fancied he was a visitor at one of the houses of the neighbourhood, perhaps at the Ardaraghs', but his speech showed me that he must belong to the county.
"My grandfather would like to thank you," I said, as we walked along the wood-path, where I was glad of his company. Now that the shades closed in, and with the postern gate open, how could I tell that Richard Dawson might not lie in wait for me? He had thought me a peasant girl, the wretch, and offered me money for my kisses. The wave of resentment and disgust in my mind swelled to the full. This gentleman who walked beside me had known me for a lady despite my print frock. I was furious for the moment with Lady Ardaragh and the others who would admit such people as the Dawsons to their drawing-rooms, and I was proud to think that Aghadoe Abbey shut its doors against mere money. There were few things we thought less of than money at Aghadoe.
"Lord St. Leger would like to thank you," I said. "Will you not come in and see him?"
"Why, no," he answered, "although I am loth to say no to so gracious an invitation. Believe me, I am not insensible of the graciousness that prompts it. Ah, here we are in sight of the Abbey. I shall stand and watch till I see you safe within its doors."
While we were yet in the obscurity of the wood he lifted my hand to his lips.
"I am eternally grateful to the good fortune that gave me the chance of serving you," he said.
"I wish you would come and be thanked," I answered in a low voice. I had the oddest reluctance to leave him, with no prospect of ever seeing him again.
"Who knows but we may meet again?" he answered, yet did not offer to tell his name, and I felt shy of asking it.
I turned back on the doorstep when I had come to it, and saw across the lawn and shrubbery his shadowy shape standing at the edge of the wood. I waved my hand to him and he lifted his hat. The sun looked out for the last time from under a purple cloud and I saw him plainly. While I gazed towards him the darkness came again and I lost him; and there was Neil Doherty, our butler, opening the door to me and upbraiding me as he had done when I was a small child.
"Musha, where have you been stravaigin' to, Miss Bawn? and her Ladyship in and out like a dog at a fair, axin', 'Is Miss Bawn in yet, Neil?' His Lordship doesn't know, glory be, or maybe 'tis havin' a bad attack of the gout he'd be. If I was you, Miss Bawn, I'd give up the Creamery, so I would, or lave it to the commonalty! Sure 'twould be fitter for the like o' you to be sittin' at home in the drawing-room, playin' the piano-forty. Yes, your Ladyship, here she is at last. I was just tellin' her that your Ladyship was like a hen on a hot griddle waitin' for her."
"Dear child, you are late," my grandmother said, breaking in on Neil's eloquence, which indeed generally had to be interrupted, for once Neil started there was no knowing when he would leave off.
"It was Dido," I said, telling half the truth. Not for worlds could I have told my grandmother of how Richard Dawson had insulted me. "It was Dido, who caught her foot in a trap. It was an old rusty trap. I do not know how long it can have been there. But it held Dido fast, and she would not let me leave her. I should have been there still if it had not been for the timely help of a gentleman who was passing through the wood and heard her yelping. She made enough noise to wake the dead."
"Ah, poor Dido!"
My grandmother's attention was diverted to the dog, who was especially dear to her for Uncle Luke's sake. She sat down now in the great hooded chair which was supposed to belong to Neil Doherty, only that he did so many things in the house that he never had much time for sitting in state in the hall. She took Dido's paws in her lap and began anxiously to examine them for any injury, while the dog moaned with self-pity.
"I don't think she has any hurt," I assured her. "The trap did not altogether meet on her paw, although it held her a prisoner."
Neil Doherty looked on with an interested face.
"Twould be a kindness to the poor baste," he said, "to drown her, not to be keepin' her alive. Sure, what has she to live for?"
My grandmother looked up at him with a sudden illumination of her face.
"Who knows, Neil," she said, "but Dido may have something to live for yet? And that the thing others of us are living for?"
"Ah, sure you're right, your Ladyship," Neil returned. "Sure God send it! Wouldn't we be all young again if that was to happen?"
My grandmother asked me no more of the gentleman who had come to my help in the wood. Being old she forgot easily, and, besides, she was absorbed in these days in the preparations for my going to Dublin.
For the moment my own interest in the great matter had waned. I used to like to slip away from the perpetual fitting on of garments to ride or drive about the roads outside the Abbey. I was afraid now to walk in unfrequented places, lest I should meet with Richard Dawson; and there are few places in the neighbourhood of Aghadoe which are frequented. I grew quite zealous about afternoon calls, and would remind my grandmother of her neglect of her social duties, a matter which had never troubled me before.
"Why, what has come to you, Bawn?" she asked at length. "You have always been unwilling to make calls before, from the time you were a little girl of six, and I thought it would be a fine thing to take you and Theobald in the barouche to call on Mrs. Langdale, but when I looked for you I could find you nowhere and afterwards I discovered that you had both hidden in the loft in the stable-yard. Well, I suppose you are growing up and this is a sign of it."
I did not undeceive her. I had always abhorred the afternoon calls and the dinner-parties, and most of the other social functions to which I had gone; but now it was another matter. To be sure, when I made my calls I had always the dread of meeting Richard Dawson; but then on the other hand there was always the chance that I might meet that other.
Although he had told me nothing it was certain that he must be staying at some of the houses of the neighbourhood. All I wonder at was that I heard nothing of him when I made my various calls, for even very slight matters, very unimportant and uninteresting persons, are the subject of much discussion in our drawing-rooms, since we see so little of the outside world. And he was not unimportant, not uninteresting. I should have thought they would have talked of nothing else.
My grandmother was very busy in these days. All the old friendships which she had let slip were to be taken up again for me. She spent much time at her desk, and the postbag for the Abbey began to contain many delicate, fragrant epistles.
"I am only sorry, Bawn," she said, looking up at me over her shoulder as I stood behind her chair, "that we cannot open the town-house for you and give a ball for you there. It is what ought to be done, but, of course, it is out of the question. But you must go and see the house, child. It has glorious memories. It is very much impoverished now, and it will be all in dust and darkness; but there the best blood and brains, aye, and hearts of Ireland, used to come. There came Grattan, and Burke, and Flood, and Lord Charlemont. And there came poor Pamela Fitzgerald and her Edward. All that was beautiful and witty in the Ireland of those days moved through the rooms which you will find dark and dusty."
She broke off for a moment and looked straight before her, as though she saw visions, and when she looked up at me again her dear eyes were dim.
"If things had been otherwise," she went on, "we need not have shut up the house, with only Maureen's sister, Bridget, to look after it. Still, Mary Champion will see to your enjoyment, Bawn; and I am surprised to find how many people yet remember me in Dublin. You are sure of a hearty welcome for your grandfather's sake and mine from the old friends. You will make your own way with the young. But now, since I have letters to write, Bawn, and they must be long ones, supposing you go yourself this afternoon and call on Lady Ardaragh and the Chenevixes. You can have the phaeton and drive yourself. And you can leave cards for me. My card-case is on the table."