AN UNEXPECTED MEETING

It was a curious coincidence that on the very Sunday evening after I had
visited Winifred and arranged for her to spend Tuesday with me at the
hotel, I should have gone to supper with a friend of mine who was also a
great friend of Roderick O’Byrne. She was an exceptional woman, of rare
gifts, of warm heart and of long purse. She had the social talent in its
greatest perfection, and gathered at her house a most brilliant and
entertaining circle. She lived in a part of the city which is rapidly
becoming old-fashioned–in the once desirable Murray Hill region–and
her house was what is known to New Yorkers as an English basement-house:
that is to say, the dining-room is on a level with the street, while the
drawing-room, or suite of drawing-rooms, is reached by mounting the
first stairs. A very handsome suite of rooms had my friend, appointed
with the utmost elegance, and containing innumerable souvenirs of
travel, artistic trifles of all sorts, with exquisite pictures and
priceless statuary, arranged to give the best possible effect.

I had a standing invitation for the Sunday evening suppers, which were
an institution of the house, and where one was always sure of meeting
very agreeable people. The conversation was usually of everything
interesting under the sun. As the guests began to assemble that evening,
I saw amongst them, with very mingled feelings, the familiar figure of
Roderick O’Byrne. It was my first meeting with him since my return from
Ireland, and his presence made me conscious of a curious sensation. I
had heard so much of his past history, the most hidden pages of his
life, that it seemed strange to meet him there in an ordinary
drawing-room. When I thought of Niall, of the old castle with its
romance and mystery, it was hardly credible that this tall and slender
gentleman in the well-fitting evening clothes should be the central
figure in such a drama. And all the time I was withholding from him such
a secret as the presence in America of his only child.

While Roderick stood exchanging a few words with his hostess, I thought
all at once of that little scene which Winifred had recalled–when he
parted in anger from the lady in the yellow dress, who must have been,
of course, his wife. As soon as he saw me he came forward to shake
hands, and dropped into a chair at my side. I found a change in him: he
seemed more silent and preoccupied than I had ever seen him. However, he
was never given to talking commonplaces, and I waited till his mood
should change. He sat near me at supper, and on the other side of him
was a young and very gushing lady. Roderick seemed amused at her efforts
to interest him.

“I have just heard,” she exclaimed, “that you are Irish, Mr. O’Byrne;
and I am so glad! Our hostess has told me that you are not only from
Ireland, but intensely Irish. Now, I think that everything that is
intensely Irish is intensely nice.”

“Thanks so much!” replied Roderick, carelessly. “I am glad you approve
of my nationality; for I have to plead guilty to a very unfashionable
love for my country.”

“Oh, you needn’t plead guilty at all!” cried the charmer. “It is so
refreshing nowadays. And you Irish are so delightfully enthusiastic and
impressionable, and all that.”

Roderick raised his eyebrows ever so slightly.

“By the way,” he observed, turning abruptly to me, “I wonder if you
will agree with the sentiment expressed by my neighbor–you who are so
lately back from Ireland?”

“‘That everything that is intensely Irish is intensely nice’?” I asked.
“I am prepared to endorse that sentiment; for I am more Irish than the
Irish themselves. I know I have borrowed somebody else’s saying; but,
really, I have fallen in love with the dear old land. Its hills and
glens have got into my heart.”

There was a softened look on the man’s face and a moisture in his eyes;
for he was deeply affected. Presently he said in a low tone:

“Do you know I am very homesick of late? I am pining for a sight of the
beautiful hills of the Gilt Spurs and the glorious Dargle. Oh, what
would I not give for one good look at the Dargle, glen and river both!”

“Why don’t you take a trip to Ireland?” I asked.

“Oh, for many reasons!” he said hurriedly.

He did not go into detail and I could not ask.

“But you will go back some day?” I urged.

“Go back?” he repeated. “I used to think I should: indeed, at one time I
longed for the day and hour of my return; and now–”

I wanted to ask the question which rose to my lips, out I dared not; and
just then the conversation became general. Our hostess liked to strike
sparks from all her guests, and especially from the brilliant Roderick
O’Byrne. After we had all returned to the drawing-room he gradually
drifted back again to his chair beside me. We had always been friendly,
but I knew that my society had a special attraction for him just then,
as a link between him and Ireland. He very soon, in fact, reverted to
the subject of our previous talk, inquiring as to this or that place
near his old home; though I observed that he never once mentioned any
person or persons in the neighborhood. It was evident for some reason
that he did not wish to bring Niall into the discourse, and I was just
as anxious at the time to avoid that part of the subject.

Suddenly Roderick said:

“I was struck very much the other day by a face which I saw just for a
moment.”

My heart stood still. I knew what was coming, and I almost dreaded it.
But, happily, he did not associate the incident with me.

“It was that of a child,” he said, somewhat gravely. “It was a beautiful
face, I suppose; but it was not that which specially attracted my
attention. I only caught a glimpse–the merest glimpse–of it, but it
brought back the past to me as in a flash.”

“Strange!” I commented mechanically; for I scarce knew what to say.

“Yes, it was very strange,” went on Roderick. “I was standing at the
corner of Twenty-third Street, waiting to cross, and it must be owned
that I was thinking of anything else than Ireland and my past life
there. You know what a crowd there is at that particular place. Suddenly
a carriage stood still an instant, delayed by the traffic; and out of it
looked that exquisite child-face, full of wonder, of curiosity, and, I
thought, of sadness.”

I concealed my emotion by an effort; and had he not been so occupied
with his subject he might have perceived at once that the story had an
unusual interest for me.

“Would you believe,” he said, “that New York faded from before me, and
instead I saw the Dargle, the glen and the river, with all their lovely
surroundings–yes, I saw them as distinctly as I see you now? The
Dargle and–other places about there,” he concluded, after a brief
pause.

I wondered if he were thinking of the castle.

“By the way,” he asked of a sudden, “were you in that part of Ireland at
all–I mean Wicklow?”

“Oh, yes!” I said, trying to speak indifferently. “I saw most of the
show places there.”

“Did you meet any people thereabouts?” he inquired, speaking very slowly
and playing with a paper-knife which he had taken up from a neighboring
davenport.

It was my turn to hesitate a moment before I replied:

“I met the parish priest, Father Owen, as he is popularly called.”

“Father Owen Farley!” exclaimed Roderick, apparently carried away by a
sudden burst of enthusiasm; “the dearest, the best, the kindest of men!”

“You know him, then?” I asked.

The glow faded from his face almost at once.

“I was brought up in that part of the country,” he said in a reserved
way, as if anxious to drop the subject; “so that of course I knew him
when I was a boy.”

“Well, he certainly is all you say of him,” I declared cordially; “he
charmed me from the very first.”

“Yes, he has an unusually attractive way with him,” Roderick said–“or
used to have long ago.”

And then he dismissed the subject and began to talk of some matter of
current interest. However, he very soon reverted to that one topic which
seemed to be occupying his thoughts. Waking out of a reverie, he
suddenly exclaimed:

“I wish I were a miniature painter, and I should try to put on ivory,
just from memory, that exquisite child-face.”

“Perhaps you will see her again,” I ventured.

“I never expect to,” he said decisively. “New York is not Ireland.
People are swallowed up here as in a quicksand.”

“Life has many surprises,” I observed tentatively.

He looked at me keenly for an instant; then he resumed his indifferent
air and continued to play with the paper-knife.




“You will think me altogether a dreamer,” remarked Roderick, “to be so
impressed by a passing face.”

I do not know what impelled me to say then:

“Perhaps there was some special reason. Possibly she may have reminded
you of some one whom you once knew.”

He started; the paper-knife fell from his hands, and he was long in
picking it up. But the flash of his dark eyes in that brief moment
recalled Niall. The incident was not without its value. I saw my way
clear before me. I should gradually try to revive his interest in the
past: to forge a chain which should lead him inevitably back to the
castle of his ancestors, to Winifred and to his eccentric but devoted
kinsman. And at the same time I might chance to discover his motive for
so long neglecting his only child.

When Roderick raised his head again, and replaced the paper-knife, with
a hand which trembled somewhat, upon the davenport, he said, in a tone
of studied carelessness:

“Don’t let us talk of this any more. It does seem very absurd. I am half
ashamed of having told you anything about it. And there is the professor
going to the piano.”

During the music Roderick lay back in his chair, and as he listened to
the dreamy, soothing sound of the “Songs without Words,” I knew that his
mind was running on the sweet child-face which had so impressed him, and
on the train of associations which that chance meeting had conjured up.
I had no further conversation with him on that occasion, and very soon
after I took my leave and went home to ponder over the situation, which
I found most interesting. It seemed as if I were holding the thread of a
tangled skein, which must sooner or later straighten itself out. I lay
awake half the night, picturing to myself Roderick’s delight when he
should discover that the sweet child-face was that of his own Winifred;
and his sorrow, and perhaps remorse, for the past, when he had neglected
her. I wondered where and when the disclosure should take place and how
it would be brought about. I also resolved to interest Winifred in her
father. I could see that she clung much more to the memory of her
mother, and seemed to remember Roderick only as the dark gentleman who
had got angry with the beautiful lady and slammed the door.

I rose early next morning, for I wanted to go down town. I was going as
far as Barclay Street to buy a small statue of the Sacred Heart, which I
wished to give Winifred as a present. I was impatient for her coming;
for, besides the fact that I was really attached to the child and took a
sincere pleasure in her society, I felt a new interest in her since my
late conversation with her father.

I looked out the window. There was a drizzling fog. The shops opposite
looked dreary and uninviting, and the people who were hastening down
Broadway had all the same miserable appearance, looking spectral in the
fog. My heart sank. If it were the same kind of weather on the morrow
there would be no chance of having Winifred with me. In the first place,
she would not be allowed to come; and in the second, there would be very
little pleasure in bringing her down from the convent just to spend a
few hours shut up in my apartments at the hotel.

I dressed and went out. The streets were glazed over with a thin coat
of frost, which made the walking treacherous and unsafe. The snowfall of
two or three days before had entirely disappeared. I picked my way
along, making one more in the procession of spectres, till I reached the
nearest elevated station, which was in the square at Thirty-third
Street, near the _Herald_ building. I was soon flying through the air,
and in the twinkling of an eye was almost in the heart of the business
portion of the great “down-town.” Warehouses arose on all sides: from
some came a fragrant odor telling of coffee and spices; from others
flashed visions of delicate china, rich bronzes, and beautiful
glassware. And finally I was set down within a block or so of my
destination.

I picked my way carefully along the narrow lane-like street, and emerged
just opposite old St. Peter’s, the mother-church of New York. Its somber
walls looked gray and dismal in that dreary fog; but within it was warm
and cheerful, and imposing in a massive, old-fashioned way. I prayed
earnestly for the success of all our scheming–that is, Niall’s and
mine; and, above all, for the happy reunion of father and daughter.

After that I went out again to purchase my statue. I was now in the
region of the Catholic publishers, which is full of many memories of
other days and the various phases of Catholic life in New York. There
much has been done for the Catholic cause; much has been discussed, much
has been attempted, and many attempts have failed. It is historic
ground. I bought my statue and hurried home, glad to be housed on that
chilly and disagreeable day. I had a few other preparations to make, on
the chance that the weather would clear up; but I resolved to leave them
till the morning, when they might be easily accomplished by the aid of
the telephone.

Continue Reading

ARRIVAL IN NEW YORK

Our voyage to America was a very pleasant one. The weather was
excellent. The warm glow of midsummer was over everything, and the cool
ocean breezes were most grateful as we sat at evening on the deck and
watched the stars burn above our heads in the sky, which always seems so
vast when one is on the face of the water. After the first two or three
days, neither of us was seasick, and Winifred took to the sea at once.
She loved the salt air, the cool spray blowing in her face as she stood
upon the deck, her hair flying about her and her face aglow. Often she
spoke of the dear land she had left and of her dear ones, while her eyes
filled with tears and her voice trembled with emotion.

One afternoon, as we watched the sun glinting on the waves, Winifred
said:

“Just now that same sun is lighting all the hills! That was what made
people call them, in the Irish tongue, the hills of ‘the gilt spurs.'”

“That is a pretty name,” I observed; “and well describes how they look
at this hour of a fine evening.”

“I wish I could see them now,” said Winifred; and then she fell silent,
as if in thought.

She was very shy of the strangers on board the steamer, and rarely
exchanged a word with any of them except at table; though many of them
noticed her and spoke with admiration of her charming face and her
graceful ways.

It was a lovely, calm morning when we steamed into New York Bay. We
both were up early and on deck; and I pointed out to Winifred Staten
Island, lying green and garden-like on the water’s breast; and
Governor’s Island, with its forts; and Bedloe’s Island, with its huge
Liberty statue, the goddess standing with colossal torch at the entrance
to the New World. At last there was New York itself, the Empire City,
the great metropolis; and over it rested a haze, whence emerged the
steeple of Old Trinity, the Custom House, and the tops of various high
buildings, which filled Winifred with wonder; she had never seen
anything like these “sky-scrapers,” as they are called. She talked of
them even after we had landed, and as we drove up Broadway to the hotel
were I had my quarters. This great thoroughfare seemed to bewilder her
altogether.

“The people!” she cried–“all the people! Why, they are thicker together
than trees in a wood,” and she simply stopped her ears against the
noise. “It seems as if there was a thunderstorm going on all the time!”
she exclaimed.

She was much amused also at the swift, gliding motion of the cable-cars,
unlike anything she had yet seen.

“Isn’t it all wonderful!” she would cry. “Oh, if Niall could see this!”

“He has seen just as wonderful sights and far more so,” I reminded her.
“You know how much he has travelled.”

“Well, if Barney and Moira and the other people from home could see this
place, they’d think they were dreaming. I’m not quite sure that I won’t
wake up–only,” she added, with one of her droll looks, “I couldn’t be
asleep in such a noise.”

We had reached the corner of Twenty-third Street, and I saw Madison
Square and the Fifth Avenue Hotel arising on my vision. There was even
an unusual traffic just then. Cars, express wagons, private carriages,
vehicles of all sorts, were crowding and jostling one another to the
imminent risk of those within them, as well as those who attempted to
cross on foot. The carriage in which we sat had to stop for an instant,
and in that instant I saw standing at the corner of the street Roderick
O’Byrne. His face was clouded by care or anxiety of some sort, which
wholly changed its ordinary bright character. He was looking
thoughtfully before him, while he waited a favorable opportunity to make
the crossing.

Suddenly his eyes fell full upon Winifred, who was looking out of the
window with eager interest. He started as if he had been stung. Yet he
could not possibly have recognized the child, who was, happily,
unconscious of his regard. It must have been some resemblance he
discovered in her. Fortunately, he was so absorbed in his study of her
face that he did not perceive me. I shrank back as far as possible in my
corner of the vehicle and waited breathlessly, till next moment the
carriage swept onward, and those two, so closely bound by the tenderest
ties of kindred, were parted in the great vortex.

I felt a sense of relief that Roderick had not glanced in my direction.
Had he done so, he would inevitably have recognized me, and I should
have been confronted at our next meeting with all manner of awkward
inquiries. For I could not tell him that his daughter was in my keeping
and then refuse to let him see or communicate with her.

The hotel seemed a most magnificent place to Winifred; for though we had
been in very comfortable quarters in Dublin, the luxury of a New York
hotel seems quite a different affair. The service in the dining-room,
the table appointments, the variety of the bill of fare, the orchestra
which played sweet strains during all the meal, were dreamlike, almost,
to this child of the hills. The elevator seemed to her as something very
amusing. She would like to have gone up and down in it several times.
She had a charming little room adjoining mine, all done in gray and
pink, and an outlook upon the gay street.

She could scarcely tear herself away from the window in the few days
that elapsed before I had decided upon a school for her and made some
simple preparations. Indeed, I found it rather difficult to decide upon
a school for the child, not because there were no good ones, but for the
opposite reason that there were so many. But to one thing I made up my
mind: she must be out of town. The presence of her father in New York
made that a necessity. Yet, on the other hand, I could not send her too
far away, as I wanted to see her often, mark her progress and the effect
of austere school-life on one who had been accustomed to a free, wild
existence on the beautiful Wicklow hills. It was this circumstance which
finally determined my choice. I must be in easy distance of the child,
so great was my responsibility.

I took her to her new home one evening just as the shadows were
deepening and New York lay like a great map traced out in lights. They
gleamed and glowed through the gathering darkness, and through the smoke
clouds which arose from the countless factories. I felt a curious sense
of desolation, and I was certain that Winifred would suffer from this
when she found herself enclosed in an unfamiliar building, to become a
mere atom, as it were, in a multitude.

The child was grave and quiet, but did not seem to shrink at all from
school-life. In fact, she had rather entered into the prospect of going
there with the enthusiasm of her age, and had begun to plan out the
details of her new existence. She told me after that she had
experienced an awful sense of loneliness when going to bed in a strange
dormitory, with its rows of curtained beds, amongst so many whom she had
never seen before. During the night prayers and the final hymn she had
cried all the time.

These sensations are common enough to all who go into new scenes for the
first time; but for some weeks after Winifred’s arrival at the convent
she reminded me of nothing so much as a bird in a cage. I am sure the
ordinary little restraints of school-life must have been intolerable to
one brought up, as she had been, unrestrained upon the hills. In the
austere convent parlor, with her black dress, and her curls fastened
back from her face with a ribbon, she was like a spirit of her former
self. She told me, in her quaint speech, that she only lived from one
visit of mine to another. Usually she was pale, sad and listless. The
spirit of mischief seemed to have gone out of her, and the Religious who
presided in the parlor told me that she was docile to her teachers and
very diligent in her studies.

“If I study very hard perhaps I will get home sooner,” Winifred
explained to me as we sat hand in hand in the corner of the parlor. “My
heart aches to see Ireland again, and the Dargle and the hills and
Granny and Niall and Father Owen, and every one.”

“It will not be very long till you see them all again,” I observed
soothingly. “Time passes very quickly.”

She heaved a deep sigh, as if to signify that time did not pass so very
quickly for her.

When I rose to go that day I told her that I was going to get
permission, if possible, for her to come down and spend a day with me.

“To spend a day with you in the big city down there!” she cried. “Oh,
it will be lovely! We can see so many things and we can talk about
home.”

That seemed to be indeed her greatest pleasure. The permission was
granted, with even better terms than I had expected; for she was to come
down on the following Tuesday morning and remain with me till the day
after.

“It is a privilege we do not often grant,” the nun said, smiling. “But
in this child’s case we think it is really essential. The change from a
widely different life was so very sudden.”




“So you are to come on Tuesday, and this is Sunday,” I told Winifred.

Her eyes fairly sparkled with delight, as she danced along by my side
with something of her old gaiety. “There is only one day between.
To-morrow I shall study very hard, and say all my lessons and practise
for my singing lesson on Thursday, and do everything well.”

I smiled.

“Father Owen would say you should do that every day,” I reminded her.
“You remember how he pointed out that the robin did his work in storm or
sunshine.”

“Oh, but ’tis much easier to work in sunshine!” Winifred cried out.

“I suppose it is,” laughed I; “but that is no reason why you shouldn’t
try to do what is harder.”

“I do try,” Winifred said earnestly. “I get up the moment the bell rings
in the morning–though I don’t find that as hard as some of the girls
do, for I was often out on the hills at sunrise. Then I’m one of the
first in the chapel; and in class I study my lessons and I hardly ever
talk. At recreation I don’t feel much like playing yet, but perhaps I
shall after a while–when I know some of the girls better.”

“Yes, I am sure you will. How do you like your companions?” I asked.

“I think a good many of them are nice. But it takes me a long time to
know strangers, I suppose because I scarcely ever saw any.”

“And your teachers?” I inquired.

“Oh, they are all very kind, especially to me, because I come from so
far away and have no mother! I like my music teacher best, though. I
wish you knew her.”

“I must make her acquaintance some time,” I remarked; “I want to know
all your friends.”

“The French teacher is the crossest. She isn’t a nun, though, and
doesn’t wear a nun’s dress. She scolds me if I don’t know the verbs or
if I make mistakes in spelling. I told her the other day that I didn’t
want a stranger to speak so to me. The girls all laughed, but she didn’t
understand what I was saying.”

“Just as well in that case.” And I laughed, picturing to myself the
little girl addressing the Frenchwoman with her princess air.

We were standing all this time in the hall, which was not altogether
according to rule, as I well knew; for farewells are usually made in the
parlor. But I had not the heart to send Winifred away, and the presiding
Religious did not appear to notice. I fancy the nuns often strained the
rule a little in her regard, taking the circumstances into
consideration.

“Good-by till Tuesday!” Winifred called after me, as I stepped out into
the porch; “and thank you for all the nice things you have brought me!”

For indeed I never went empty-handed to see the child, remembering my
own school-days. I had visited Maillard’s that afternoon before taking
the cars, and had chosen from the dainty confections which so
temptingly fill the glass cases and adorn the plate-glass windows. I was
told that she always distributed my gifts amongst her companions with a
royal generosity, often keeping but little for herself. While I was
still in the porch I heard her telling a companion:

“I am going to town on Tuesday. Isn’t that splendid!”

“Oh, you lucky girl!” said the other. “I wish I had come from Ireland or
some other place: then I might get out oftener.”

I went homeward, musing on that happy time of life when a day out of
school, a promised holiday, gives a keener delight than anything in
after life.

“Why does youth ever pass away, with its glow and glory?” I thought.
“And how dull its going leaves this prosaic earth!”

Continue Reading

IN THE CAPITAL

The August morning which was to see our departure dawned at last. The
leave-taking with old Granny Meehan was very pathetic. The poor woman,
with her deep resignation, her confidence in God’s providence, was a
striking illustration of the best virtues of her race. Calmly she bade
us farewell, praying many a prayer, invoking many a blessing on the
beloved head of her little charge. We left her sitting at her accustomed
seat near the hearth, with Tabby purring against her and the pleasant
sunshine flooding the apartment.

Winifred had been up early, as she said, to bid “good-by!” to every
stick and stone. She called each fowl in the courtyard by name, as she
had done on that other morning when I saw her feeding them; and her
tears fell silently as she bent over them.

When the moment came to say the last farewell, Winifred seized Brown
Peter, the cat, in her arms; and the animal blinked knowingly, and
purred and rubbed its head against her soft cheek. Then Winifred threw
her arms once more around Granny’s neck, and that part of the
leave-taking was over. Barney and Moira set up a howl and followed us
down as far as the inn, where the jaunting-car with the luggage was
waiting for us.

Niall I did not see at all. He had taken leave of Winifred the evening
before, and then, with a wild gesture of despair, had fled to the hills.
He left for me a letter of instructions, recalling all my promises and
the conditions upon which he had allowed the child to go. With the
letter was a sum of money to be used for Winifred’s education. Could I
have seen him I would have begged him to take back this latter; for when
I had proposed taking the girl with me to America and putting her in a
convent, it was, of course, to be at my own expense. I mentally resolved
not to spend a penny of the amount, but to put it at interest for
Winifred.

At the inn we found Father Owen in conversation with the landlord. He
came forward at once to greet us, crying out cheerfully to the child:

“So there you are, my pet, setting out upon your travels to seek your
fortune, like the people in the fairy books!”

Winifred’s grief, which had been of a gentle and restrained character
throughout, and unlike what might have been expected from her impetuous
disposition, broke out again at sight of her beloved friend.

“Tut, tut, my child!” cried the priest. “This isn’t April. Nature is
smiling, and you must smile too. You’re going away to a great, fine
country; and when you’ve seen everything, you’ll be coming back to tell
us all about it.”

Winifred wept silently, her tears falling down upon her gingham frock,
so that she had to wipe them away. Father Owen turned to me, thinking it
better, perhaps, to let the bitter, short-lived grief of childhood take
its course.

“And so you’re leaving Wicklow and Ireland, carrying with you, I hope, a
good impression.”

“That I am,” I responded heartily; “and my most fervent wish is that I
may come back again.”

“To be sure you will, with Winifred here; and I hope, if it be God’s
will, we’ll all be here to receive you.”

“I hope so indeed,” I answered.

“I had a letter a few days ago from Father Brady in New York,” went on
Father Owen. “I was in the seminary with him in France. He knows you
well and is glad I made your acquaintance.”

“I have known Father Brady for many years,” I replied; “he is a great
friend of mine.”

The old priest nodded as if to express his satisfaction. I thought,
perhaps, he had written to make assurance doubly sure as to my fitness
for the care of the child. If so, I could only admire his wisdom.

“Niall is in a bad way,” he whispered; “and will be, I don’t doubt, for
days to come. I met him raging and tearing through the woods like a
maniac. That is his manner of expressing grief. It was useless to argue
with him, so I just had to come away and leave him.”

I told Father Owen how shocked I was to hear this, but he answered:

“Oh, he will get over the worst of it in a few days! How different,
though, from Granny Meehan! I went in to see her yesterday. She’s marked
with grace, is that poor blind woman. ‘It’s God’s will for the child to
go,’ she said; ‘and if I never have her with me again here below, why,
we’ll meet above in glory, and we’ll be the happier for this sorrow.’
Wasn’t that beautiful, my dear lady? didn’t it make me ashamed of my own
shortcomings!”

I assented heartily.

“Yes, Father: she has a fine nature and a beautiful faith.”

Meanwhile Winifred dried her tears, and was trying to soothe her humble
friends, who had accompanied us with lamentations all the way.

“I’ll come back again,” Winifred said to them; “I won’t be _very_ long
away, and I’ll bring each of you something from America.”

Her voice quivered as she made these promises, which caused Moira’s face
to brighten a little through her tears, and Barney to stammer out,
brokenly:

“Och, then, Miss Winifred alanna, if you bring us back yourself, it’s
all we’ll be wantin’!”

His red eyes and tear-stained cheeks gave force and sincerity to his
words.

“Be a man now, Barney,” said Father Owen, “and just tell Miss Winifred
you wish her joy in the fine voyage she’s going to take. Come, Moira my
girl, dry your eyes and say good-by. Look how the sun is shining, and
think how the goodness of God is over those that go and those that stay,
just like yonder blue sky. Hear the thrush and the blackbird in the
hedges giving glory to God whatever comes.”

By this time we were seated in the car. I exchanged a few farewell words
with my landlord, who showed real emotion at our departure.

“God be with you, ma’am!” he cried. “It’s yourself has brightened us all
up for weeks past. And God be with you too, Miss Winifred dear! Sure
we’ll be missin’ your very pranks. Do you mind the day that you led me
astray in the hills above, makin’ b’lieve you were a Will-o’-the-wisp?”

And the landlord forced a laugh, which was not very genuine. I think he
would have continued his reminiscences longer had not Father Owen judged
it best to put an end to the parting scene.

“Don’t be keeping them any longer,” he said; “let them get away before
the heat of the day. And now I’ll give you my last blessing, Winifred my
dear, and your kind friend too.”

Winifred knelt at the old priest’s feet in the morning sunshine. I,
being already seated in the car, bent my head. Father Owen solemnly
raised his hand–the consecrated hand of God’s minister,–looking
upward, while his white hair framed his face like an aureola. Fervently
he invoked the blessing of Heaven upon me and upon the child, upon our
voyage and our arrival. His voice broke as he came to the last words,
and he attempted to say no more; while I made a sign to the driver, who
drove quickly from the door, followed by a parting howl from Barney and
Moira.

I stole a last glance at the lovely Glen of the Dargle, the waterfall in
the distance, and the natural bridge spanning the ravine, on which I had
first seen Winifred. The thought flashed into my mind that I had come
into the paradise of her youth, disturbing its idyllic peace; whether
for better or worse was yet to be seen. I consoled myself with the
assurance that, in any event, I had acted for the best.

We took the Enniskerry road to Dublin, and the drive was delightful. At
one point in the journey we passed between the rude granite sides of
that cleft in the mountains known as “The Scalp.” As I looked up at them
in their stern grandeur I had an uneasy feeling that some of the huge
masses of rock, which appeared to be quite loose, might tumble upon our
heads. Winifred, who was becoming, if not more cheerful, at least more
composed, was greatly interested in “The Scalp,” and told me the legend
of the place.

“The devil,” she said, “was once driving sheep to Dublin, and when he
reached this mountain he couldn’t get through it. So he gave a great
kick with his foot and made the passage for himself and his flocks. And
that, ’tis said, is why it is so wild and strange. But of course it
isn’t true,” Winifred concluded, eying the great rocks above us with
her wistful eyes. “Still, it is different from other mountains.”

“It has an uncouth shape,” I agreed; “and I suppose that’s what put it
into the people’s heads that the devil must have had a hand in its
formation.”

We arrived in Dublin somewhat tired after our drive, which was not,
however, so very long; and found ourselves comfortably lodged by night
in a hotel on Sackville Street, whence we were to set forth again on our
travels in a few days. For I had purposely arranged that we might spend
a little time in the capital of Ireland, so that Winifred might get at
least a bird’s-eye view of it. I could not guess what was passing in her
mind as we went out, after resting a while, to stroll about in the
lighted streets. She had never been in a city before, and must have been
interested in so much that was novel. But she said little: she had not
yet recovered her natural buoyancy.




The following morning, however, we set out specially for sight-seeing.
We went for a walk in the Phoenix Park, and from a vantage-point near
the magazine looked down on the entire city, with its splendid bridges,
its domes and spires. We saw the Nelson Pillar and the Wellington
Monument, and we roamed at will along the verdant banks of the beautiful
Liffey. We saw the Viceregal Lodge and the Corinthian Pillar and the
Royal Hospital of Kilmainham. Then, of course, we had to see the
churches. It would be tedious indeed to set down here all that we did
see.

We were walking along Westmoreland Street one afternoon, just as the sun
was setting. There had been a heavy shower, which had relieved the
sultriness of an August day, and the ground was damp; but the trees were
a brighter green and sent forth a sweeter fragrance for the rain.
Winifred said suddenly:

“I remember this place very well–Dublin, I mean. I was here long ago,
when I was little.”

“Yes? I suppose one’s memory does go back very far,” I observed
thoughtfully. “But can you recall, for instance, where you lived?”

She shook her head.

“It was in a big house,” she answered, “with a good many stairs in it
and a lot of people. Some of them may have been servants. And I remember
a lady in a yellow dress. Perhaps she was my mother.”

She stopped abruptly, as though the subject were painful; then resumed:

“Since I came to this place, I remember a good many things. The lady in
the yellow dress was standing one evening in a great big room, and she
had a flower in her hair. Oh, she was very beautiful! A gentleman came
in. He was tall and dark.”

“With very bright eyes?” I put in eagerly.

“Yes, they were bright,” she assented; “at least I think so. I remember
the lady better than the gentleman. They were talking, and I couldn’t
understand much of what they said; but I am almost sure the gentleman
was angry, for his face got very red. Then the lady laughed, and the
gentleman went away quickly and shut the door hard. The lady laughed
again and said to me: ‘I hope you haven’t your father’s temper, child.
Poor Roderick! he does flare up so quick. He is just raving now because
I don’t want to go to some outlandish place in the hills.'”

The child stopped, but the little drama of the past which she had evoked
told me a great deal. Niall had blamed Roderick for not bringing his
wife to the castle; but the wife–a somewhat hard and cold beauty, as
old Granny Meehan had once described her–would not come. Roderick had
not cared to throw the blame upon her, and so had quarrelled with his
kinsman. Winifred seemed to ponder upon what she had just told me.

“I wonder where he wanted her to go?” she said slowly.

I did not answer; for I knew it would pain her to hear her dear old
castle described as an “outlandish place.”

“And I wonder how he could be angry with her,” the child continued, “she
was so pretty and had on such a lovely dress!”

“Beauty is not the only thing, and fine dress still less,” I urged.

Winifred turned on me with flashing eyes, as though I had cast some
reflection upon the phantom evoked from her youth by the presence of
familiar scenes.

“But that was my mother!” she cried, as if that silenced every
objection. Then she added, more gently: “I am sorry my father was angry
with her.”

“Yet your father has a noble heart,” I declared.

She smiled as if pleased.

“Some day I may see _him_,” she said; “but my mother is dead.”

There was great pathos in that simple remark; and after that Winifred,
in her usual fashion, turned away altogether from the subject. Just then
we came to a point whence we had a distant view of the Wicklow Hills. I
called Winifred’s attention to them. She gazed at them with tear-dimmed
eyes, and I think after that took very little interest in the rest of
the landscape.

“My own hills!” she said. “Oh, I wonder if Niall is abroad on them now,
and if Barney and Moira are leading poor Cusha to the pasture? And
Granny, I suppose, is sitting alone–all alone. She can not go out on
the hills nor see their beauty.”

I tried to divert her thoughts, but for the time being it was useless.
That was our last day in Dublin. Early on the morrow we were to set out
for Liverpool, whence we were to sail for the Land of the Free.

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