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THE FAIR
IRISH MAID



BY

JUSTIN HUNTLY McCARTHY

AUTHOR OF

"IF I WERE KING" "SERAPHICA"
"THE GORGEOUS BORGIA" ETC.




NEW YORK AND LONDON

HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS
MCMZI



BOOKS BY
JUSTIN HUNTLY McCARTHY

THE FAIR IRISH MAID .... Post 8vo net $1.30

THE KING OVER THE WATER . . . Post 8vo l.BO

THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 2 vols. . Post 8vo 3.00

THE O'FLYNN Post 8vo 1.50

THE GOD OF LOVE Post 8vo 1.50

THE GORGEOUS BORGIA Post 8vo 1.50

SKRAPHICA Post 8vo 1.50

THE DUKE'S MOTTO Post 8vo 1.50

IF I WERE KING. Illustrated. . . . Post 8vo 1.50

MARJORIE. Illustrated Post 8vo 1.50

THE DRYAD Post 8vo 1.50

THE LADY OF LOYALTY HOUSE . . Post 8vo 1.50

THE PROUD PRINCE Post 8vo 1.50

THE FLOWER OF FRANCE Post 8vo 1.50

THE ILLUSTRIOUS O'HAGAN .... Post 8vo 1.50

NEEDLES AND PINS. Illustrated . . Post 8vo 1.50



HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS, N. Y.



\RPER a BROTHE



JBLISHED OCTOE



TO

GEORGE TYLER
CORDIALLY



2060713



Stack
Annex



CONTENTS



413



BOOK I

THE KINGDOM OF DREAMS IN THE KINGDOM
OF KERRY

CHAP. PAGE

I. THE MAID IN THE MIST ...... i

II. VOICES ............. 8

III. MY LORD CLOYNE ......... 16

IV. THE PARLIAMENT-MAN ....... 24

V. "BARREN, BARREN, BEGGARS ALL" ... 41

VI. SOME STATISTICS ......... 52

VII. THE MAN WITH THE FIDDLE ..... 59

VIII. THE TIROWENS .......... 68

IX. JOURNEYS START IN LOVERS' PARTING . . 79

X. THE SOUL OF ERIN . ....... 91

XI. THE DOUBBLES BARON ET FEMME ... 97

XII. THE MAN FROM ATLANTIS ..".... 107

XIII. LORD CLOYNE is SURPRISED ..... 124

XIV. METAMORPHOSIS ..... ..... 136

BOOK II
THE SOUL OF ERIN IN ST. JAMES'S SQUARE

I. BUTTERFLY-BIRTH ......... 143

II. THE COMET OF FIFTEEN ..... .147

III. THE LITTLE QUEEN ........ 152

iii



CONTENTS

CHAP. PAGE

IV. A PRIVATE SECRETARY 160

V. FEASTS AND SUPPERS OF THE GODS . . 167

VI. THE GREAT MR. HERITAGE 174

VII. A POSSIBLE CLUE 184

VIII. Music THE FOOD OF LOVE 191

IX. MOODY FOOD 198

X. I WON'T MARRY You, MY PRETTY MAID 210

XI. A TALE OF A WAGER 218

XII. A CHANGE OF CLOTHES 226

XIII. THE DINNER PARTY 235

XIV. THE UNBURIED CITY 247

XV. RECOGNITION OF GENIUS 252

XVI. MR. RUBIE SAYS His SAY 259

XVII. CAPTAIN CURTIUS PROPOSES 266

XVIII. WISDOM IN THE CAN 274

BOOK III
THE PLAY'S THE THING

I. IN THE ROTUNDO 29!

II. PAR NOBILE FRATRUM 297

III. TOWN TALK 304

IV. THE INSULT TO POET CRINCH . . . . 314

V. A ROMAN HOLIDAY 323

VI. MR. HERITAGE'S VISITOR 330

VII. NEWS INDEED 336

VIII. MR. POINTDEXTER'S "HEY, PRESTO!" . . 344



THE FAIR IRISH MAID



THE FAIR IRISH MAID



THE MAID IN THE MIST



OVER the soft greenness of the Kerry head-
lands, over the sober grayness of the Atlantic
sea, a thick mist prevailed. Its fine whiteness
blurred all things out of custom, tempering harsh
and familiar objects, as cabin shoulder or haystack
hump, to a subtle tenuity of texture and outline
that gave them a sweetness and strangeness akin
to the rare visions of delicate dreams, melting them
into castle and palace and pagoda of fairy-land
with an elfish ease. In that mother-of-pearl atmos-
phere the islands that jeweled the waves between
the horns of the bay and flamed with splendor of
emeralds whenever the glow of sunlight quickened
them, now faded, like waning lamps, one after
another, into the enmeshing dimness, were, as it
seemed, absorbed into the wanness of the lost king-
dom that was supposed to lie beneath those waters.
Shore and ocean alike surrendered vitality and
I



THE FAIR IRISH MAID

vividness to the pensive, dissimulating pall of
vapor. Ship and boat and sea-bird, stock and stone
and tree yielded to its smooth, irresistible persist-
ence, allowing it to muffle the hunger and thirst
of the land and the loneliness of the Way of the
Wild Geese in clinging, shifting films of mystery.
Nothing could resist the lulling, obliterating in-
fluence of the mist. It flung final destruction on
the gaunt remains of the ancient church, the church
that in its greatness of the long ago had sent the
treasure of its eloquence and the splendor of its
wisdom to uplift and civilize England and Germany
and Gaul, the church that had been harried by the
Dane and harried by the Norman, and that had
rallied from each harrying to fall at last before the
Ironsides of Cromwell. Stealthily now the haze
absorbed it, licking up crumbling arch and shat-
tered chancel, leaving nothing visible of the little
that man had suffered to stand. Even the Round
Tower, the high, white Round Tower, that watched
by the ruins of the church as erect a sentinel as it
had watched over its glories, the Round Tower that
was the pride of the country-side, even the Round
Tower seemed to thaw, to dissolve, to melt, to
cease a fierce age-long, firmly defined existence, and
to become slender and pendulous as the waving,
airy dwelling of the impalpable fairies that poise
on the swaying heads of hoary dandelions or float
on the flying thistledown and glide along the shining
strings of gossamer.



THE MAID IN THE MIST

Slowly, steadily, surely, the gloom deepened. It
could not be said to darken, because it was so
steadily white, but the blackest night that ever
brooded over a sleeping world could not have been
more triumphant in its obliteration of the things
that mean life to the living. Here was one of Na-
ture's conquests, one of her assertions of her final
supremacy over the pride and the desire of man.
In the awe of its quietude, in the hush of its cer-
tainty, it seemed to envelop and control the earth
with the finality of the Dusk of Gods. Surely it
would seem that when that veil lifted, if ever it did
lift, it would reveal nothing better than a world re-
turned to the tragedy of the arctic past. Kingdoms
and civilizations, imperial cities, and thrifty villages
must surely be reduced, one and all, to a little
glacial dust; nothing remaining of all the pomp
and luxury and ardor and hot blood but a frozen
sea shuddering against a frozen land, the sea and
the land alike no more than the cemetery of the
ages, the grave of the tale of man.

The mist was the most ruthless of conquerors.
It seemed to annihilate the body, it seemed to dissi-
pate the soul. Its chill impenetrability was more
triumphant than any swords that could slay the
flesh, than any words that could kill the mind.

You might have the hand of a master, the heart

of a hero, the brain of a genius, but in the controlling

nullity of that gloom hand, heart and brain alike

seemed helpless. To be caught in the toils of such

3



THE FAIR IRISH MAID

an atmosphere was to feel lost forever to warmth
and color and cheer, to mirth and passion and appe-
tite, to become, as it were, a formless prisoner in a
formless prison, doomed to such an eternity of gray-
ness as the ancients imagined to hover over the
weary fields of Dis.

A philosopher sitting on that hilltop and peering
through the encircling drifts might very well shiver
at such dreary images and seek to reassure himself
by an insistent recollection of the realities that lay
beyond the milky clouds that shifted about him.
Somewhere behind him in the obscurity lay the
dominant island, presumably proud of the still
raw-new union, no more than fifteen years wasted
since the infancy of its birth; presumably pleased
with its plump and periwigged Prince Regent; very
certainly rejoicing to have held its own, and more
than held its own, with that living incarnation of the
Prince of the Power of the Air, who now sulked,
a tethered eagle, diminished to the empire of the
island called Elba. Away to the sage's left stretches
the acreage of the kingdom that had been so lately
the dominion of the same Prince of the Power of
the Air, the land that had once been France and that
had sought to swell immeasurably and name itself
the world under the spur of a short, stout, pale
Italianate adventurer that carried the crown of
Charlemagne on his high forehead; and that now
was France again and Bourbon nothing changed,
only one Frenchman the more. Straightaway in
4



THE MAID IN THE MIST

front, thousands of salt miles away, Utopia lies
hidden; Utopia, Atlantis, the Land East of the Sun,
West of the Moon, Cocaigne Country, Lubberland,
the Country of Youth, the Realm of Heart's Desire,
where all men were free and ate hominy, where all
men were equal and munched pumpkin-pie, where
all men had a like chance to be chosen President of
the greatest republic since Rome, and where all
men were supposed to find delight in the whittling of
sticks and the chewing of niggerhead. At the hour
the philosopher might consider that very likely
the drums of war were still rolling and the flags of
war still flying even in that enchanted land, though
the hands of peace had been clasped at Ghent and
the second struggle between mother and child was
diplomatically at an end. The philosopher, the
dreamer, might well be tempted to believe that with
Caesar caged in Elba and such amends as might
be made for a Washington in flames, the mist when
it lifted would be as the curtain disclosing a well-
staged allegory of perpetual peace.

As it happened, there was no philosopher on that
headland, but there was indeed a dreamer lying on
the soft, wet grass, dreaming tinted dreams in the
thick of the mist. Yet the dreamer was no man, but
a fair maid. The girl lay flat on the ground, with her
chin propped in the cup of her jointed palms, staring
out seaward as she had been staring when the wings
of the sea-mist swooped over her and inclosed her,

and with her all the world. She did not shift her

2 c



THE FAIR IRISH MAID

attitude, she did not quit her couch for its coming;
she was a true child of the open air, and took sun,
wind, mist, snow, each as it came and made the best
of each. She had liked lying on the grass in the
sun and seeing all that was to be seen so clearly; the
smooth sea whose waves lapped over the spires and
citadels of the buried city, the city whose bells you
could hear of a still morning or evening ringing their
matins and vespers to the sea-changed citizens.
She liked now the lying on the turf in the mist and
seeing nothing at all, or seeing, it may be, all the
marvels and the mysteries that by the paradox of
existence are more vivid in obscurity. In the dark-
ness of mist as in the darkness of sleep the liberated
mind may enter the kingdom of dreams, may meet
on even terms with kings and queens and heroes,
may sit at ease in the palace of the prince and the
garret of the poet and the shelter of the star-gazer,
may love and desire and achieve with a fierceness,
a tenderness and a zest denied to the waker, to the
walker in the light of day.

The girl was young, newly one and twenty,
newly mistress of her heritage of woe; the girl was
beautiful, with a beauty of black hair and purple-
colored eyes, and soft, warm skin and clean, strong
limbs and finely molded flesh. Health and strength
flew their red flags in her smooth cheeks; love of the
land and the sea and the day and the night shone in
her eyes; she was such a one as you might expect
to see stepping, short-kirtled, down some mountain-
6



THE MAID IN THE MIST

glade in Thessaly, with a boar-spear in her hand,
and seeing, wonder if you beheld mere girl or sheer
goddess. For this girl had a curious quality of
composition. Robust as she was and nobly made,
there was an elusiveness about her vigor which
hinted at divinity. If you could bring yourself to
believe in the persistence of some of those exquisite
half-gods of the ancient world, beings whose mortal-
ity was leavened with some privilege of Olympian
power, you might be willing to admit that here was
indeed a Dryad or an Oread that had abandoned
the hills of Hellas for the hills of Ireland.

The girl thought none of these thoughts about
herself; she would have laughed to hear such
thought thrust into the formality of words and laid
at her feet. She took herself as she found herself,
with her youth, and her fairness and courage, and
for all her poverty she loved the life she lived and
the wretched folk that loved her, and the songs
that the winds of Ireland sing. She was as sturdy
as a savage and as healthy as a savage, and in a
way she was as simple as a savage, for she followed
an ancient faith frankly, and yet she held out both
hands to the fairies. But there was a strong heart
in that gracious body and a shrewd brain behind
those glorious eyes.



II

VOICES

VOICES came up out of the vapor, voices clear,
brisk and cheerful for the most part, but with
the major briskness maimed here and there with
petulance and querulousness that whined and
sighed its way through the twisting sweeps of sea-
fog. So might the voices of ancient prophets have
sounded rumbling through the clouds to their wor-
shipers. But these were no prophetic voices; they
were the voices of men and women groping their
way toward the place where the ruins of ancient
ecclesiastical glories still faced wind and weather,
toward the place where the great white obelisk of
the Round Tower stood self-assertive, stalwart in
its challenge to time, to the place on the sweet-
scented, breezy headland overlooking the misted
waters and the city buried beneath them, where the
girl lay. All of the voices, clear, brisk, and cheer-
ful, petulant and querulous, were familiar to the
girl's keen ears, and she frowned a little as she heard
them, tightening her lips. She liked the speakers
well enough, and she knew that they loved her dear-
ly, but she did not want them or any one just then.
8



VOICES

Very certainly she did not want the company of
Larry Flanagan, of Patsy Doolan, of old Molly
Maloney, that was credited by popular superstition
with the weight of a century of years, or of impudent
little Biddy Sheehan, that for sheer devilment of
word and deed could beat any child in the baronies
that might be two years her senior. There was not
the slightest doubt in the girl's mind as to who the
invaders of her wrack-swathed solitude might be.
She had the savage's simplicity of natural gifts,
the simple certainty that never forgot a face, never
forgot a voice. With a little shiver of impatience
at the disturbance of her solitude, the girl sundered
herself unwillingly from the soft, moist grass and
rose to her feet. Already the rule of the opaque
sea-fog was beginning to fail. A little wind stirred,
dividing its folds, sending them adrift in curving
wisps and trailing laniments. As she peered through
the lifting curtains of dimness she could faintly dis-
cern a number of forms slowly ascending the slope,
and her eyes confirmed the witness of her ears as
to the identity of the intruders.

She felt an almost animal resentment at their
coming. She had been so happy in her loneliness,
in her queer day-dreams. She had forgotten the
folk with the familiar voices; she had forgotten
everything that was real and practical and pathetic;
she had become for the hour unhuman, untroubled
by mortality, poverty, care; unfretted by her daily
sorrow for others, even for such others as those



THE FAIR IRISH MAID

that now by their coming had banished her vi-
sions.

She had been for the hour a fairy, or as good as
a fairy, in that mist which is the kingdom of such
spirits. She had been Meave the magnificent mar-
shaling her army against Cuchulin, the hero of
heroes; she had been the wonder woman that had
lured Oisin to Tirn'an Oge; she had been her
namesake laying her spell upon the great-hearted
envoy of Finn, the son of Coul, and now she must
shake herself free from her reverie because of the
sound of voices that roused her from her waking
sleep, that reminded her of life and the cruel things
that were incidental or essential to life hunger and
cold, and servitude.

She had been dwelling in the kingdom of dreams,
seeing enchanted sights, thinking ecstatic thoughts,
and still she wished to linger there; but she might do
so no longer, for the voices of the world were upon
her, and the sound of them dissipated her visions,
and brought her back to the world she knew so well,
the world that was watered with tears and fanned
with lamentations. Even while she regretted she
chided herself for regretting, for the love of her
heart was given to the unhappy children of her
race; but even while she chided she continued to
regret, for the dream had been sweet, and sweet
dreams are swift to fly. Even as she stood erect the
capricious morning began to change, asserting it-
self in sudden sunlight, scattering its mists and
10



VOICES

rending their remnants into long, pale pennons,
dissipating them over the sea. She knew that in
a few seconds the world would be flooded with
clear air; she knew that in a few seconds she would
be robbed of her secrecy and delivered visible to
those that were mounting the hill-road. She knew
them well, knew them with affection, but she did
not want speech with them just then. She turned
and ran swiftly with the ease of one to whom running
is as native as walking toward the Round Tower.
The Tower, like all of its kind, had, in accordance
with the defensive purposes for which it was erected,
its only entrance at a distance from the ground. In
this instance the doorway was only some six feet
from the soil, and in old days the opening had been
reached by a ladder which was lowered down when
needed by some applicant for admission, and with-
drawn again thereafter. In later days, however,
when the Round Tower ceased to be of any use as a
stronghold, and became instead an object of interest
to the curious, some one had been at the pains to
construct a rude flight of brickwork steps to the
entrance, and up this stairway the occasional anti-
quary and casual traveler ascended at rare intervals
to peer knowingly up the long shaft of the Tower,
denuded long since of all the woodwork that divided
it into floors, and murmur something foolish about
the ancient world.

Up these steps the girl now sprang nimbly and
plunged into the dark, cool recess of the antique



THE FAIR IRISH MAID

fortress. It was a familiar spot to her. It had been,
as it were, the nursery and playground of her child-
hood. Here in the company of her nurse she had
passed dazzling hours as the pair crouched together,
sheltered from the insistent rain, while the oldster
told the youngster wonderful tales of Finn and the
Feni, of the Gilla Dacker, and the little weaver that
killed threescore and ten at a blow, and of Gilla na
Chreck, and the great doings of Lawn Dyarrig.
For her that dark, damp, elongated vault was more
fragrant than a rose-garden, more radiant than a
terrace overlooking the sea, for it had been for her,
and, indeed, still was, the cage that contained mar-
vels. There were none now to share her taste, for
the peasantry believed the Tower to be haunted and
made testimony of their faith in a rigid abstention.
Wherefore the girl had the place to herself whenever
she wanted it, on wet days and windy days and infre-
quent days of snow when, even to her hardened out-
of-doors body it seemed pleasant for a while to sit
snug and warm and pass the time of day with ghosts
and goblins, spooks and fairies. The girl glided
into the familiar dusk and squatted on the ground
with her hands clasped about her knees, waiting on
the time when she would be free to go forth again.
The small company of peasants whose voices had
disturbed Grania's solitude and driven her to take
refuge in her Round Tower were slowly making their
way up the hill-road. The party was composed of
two elderly men, Larry Flanagan and Patsy Doolan,
12



VOICES

one quite old and witch-like woman, Molly Maloney,
and Biddy Sheehan, a little bare-legged girl about
twelve years old. They were all miserably dressed
and all appeared to be the victims of extreme want.
They were indeed as poor as they seemed to be, and
their way of life was extremely squalid and wretched,
but their native vivacity asserted itself in the eager-
ness of their speech and gestures.

As they reached the summit Larry Flanagan
stretched out his arms as if to greet the reassuring
sunlight. He was a small man with red hair that
flamed out from a round red face that shone like an
apple. "The saints be praised!" he ejaculated,
" for the blessed sunlight. I thought the mist would
never lift, and then the Parliament-man wouldn't
come."

The old woman, Molly, turned to him eagerly her
ancient, wrinkled face, puckered with new lines of
excitement. "Are you certain sure 'twas for this
morning ?" she questioned.

Patsy Doolan, who was as tall as Larry was short
and as pale as Larry was red, answered for him.

"Sure it is," he cried. "Wasn't Foxy Conaher
in the room making the punch, and didn't he hear
every word the gentleman said ? It was this very
morning that he was coming to look at the old
Tower, bless it!"

At this moment the little bare-legged girl gave a
little whoop of triumph. "Hooroo!" she cried.
"I see him on the hill-road!"
13



THE FAIR IRISH MAID

Larry gave her an approving pat on the shoulder.
" Bless your quick eyes!" he said, and turned to look
down the hillside in the direction of the girl's ex-
tended ringer.

What he expected to see was the sturdy, well-set-
up form of the English stranger walking all alone
on the road. That was what Foxy Conaher's words
had led him to expect. It was in that expectation
that the little company had rallied on the hilltop.
Well, the English stranger was there sure enough,
but the English stranger was not walking alone.
He was accompanied by another, who moved with
an easy grace of carriage that was markedly differ-
ent from the bluff and somewhat uncompromis-
ing demeanor of the stranger. Larry knew well
enough who the other man was, and the knowl-
edge was not agreeable to him. Instantly the
hopeful enthusiasm faded from his face, and he
turned back to his companion with his hands
lifted in tribulation. "Oh, murder, we're done
for!" he wailed, as tragically as if he lamented
the fall of empires. "His Lordship is with
him."

At the sound of that simple sentence all his hear-
ers groaned dismally, rocking themselves slowly
backward and forward with every appearance of
the deepest woe.

The old woman was the first to find speech for
her grief. "'Tis he that has the hard hand and
the hard heart for the poor people," she said, bit-
14



VOICES

terly. "There'll be no chance to beg off the Parlia-
ment-man with my lord by his side."

The man Patsy nodded his long head in agree-
ment. "True for you, Molly/' he sighed.

Larry moaned inarticulately, finding his sorrow
too profound for words.

The little girl seemed to be first to recover from
the general depression. "Don't talk so much,"
she said, sharply, her pretty little face all puck-
ered with a grin of impish intelligence. "Maybe
his Lordship is only showing him the way. What
is the matter with us that we couldn't hide be-
hind the ruins a minute and see what happens ? "

Here was a case of wisdom issuing from the
lips of babes. Although the advice came from the
youngest of the company, it found favor with
the others, and was acted upon at once. The
little company of beggars moved slowly into the
ruins of the ancient church, where they easily con-
cealed themselves very effectively from the pair
that were now ascending the hill, the pair one of
whom had been so anxiously expected, the other of
whom was so religiously shunned.



Ill

MY LORD CLOYNE

WHILE the mendicants are skulking in the
cover of the ruins, while the girl is hiding in
the Round Tower, while the two gentlemen are
leisurely ascending the hill, there will be time for
the presentation of a few pages of family history
essential to the tale.

Marcus Loveless was the fifth Earl of Cloyne,
in the kingdom of Kerry, which has nothing what-
ever to do with Cloyne in the County of Cork.
The creation dated from the year 1688, the year
of the great and glorious Revolution, when Sir
Lupus Loveless, that had been equery to his
Gracious Majesty King James the Second, seeing
treachery eaten and drunk and inhaled on all sides
of him, felt, with the sagacity of the rat, that it
would be well for him also to turn renegade. The
thought once entertained was promptly minted into
action, and in reality none too soon, for the Prince
of Orange was dealing out honors and rewards with
so free a hand the free hand of those that thrust
their fingers in another's exchequer that if he had
come a little later Lupus Loveless might have found
16



MY LORD CLOYNE

nothing left worth the sale of what he, having no
saving sense of humor, called his allegiance. As,


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