Justin H. (Justin Huntly) McCarthy.

The fair Irish maid online

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fairer than that ?"

The expression on Mr. Rubie's face would have


shown to any one less heedless than My Lord Cloyne
that he did not think my lord's conduct was anything
but discreditable. When Mr. Rubie sighed over
the vagaries of Mr. Fox he was, as it were, restored
and solaced by reflecting upon the virtue of Mr.
Burke, but My Lord Cloyne had nothing in Mr.
Rubie's eyes to counterbalance his proclaimed
licentiousness. Wherefore, Mr. Rubie frowned,
and My Lord Cloyne, embarked upon his narrative,
took no notice of his frown.

"The damned little baggage," he continued,
thoughtfully. "She might have been a queen, the
way she took me." Mr. Rubie felt a growing
interest in this unknown girl. "How did she take
you ?" Rubie asked.

"Devilish uncivil, I can tell you," Cloyne an-
swered, with an acrid smile of reminiscence. "I
made my proposal as a man of honor should, and
by Jove! I was quite prepared to make good all
that I promised, if it cost me another farm. But
bless your heart! I found that I had run up against
a very amazon of virtue. Egad! I was staggered.
Lord! she had a tongue. It was not that she got
angry a fine woman in a fury is a pretty sight,
you know" here Mr. Rubie, by an indignant
shake of the head and a protesting wave of his
pencil, seemed to proclaim that he knew nothing
of the kind " flaming cheeks, blazing eyes, tousled
hair, heaving bosom, and the rest of the accessories.
I know them well enough; I like them well enough;


but this girl was not a bit of that kidney. She does
not rage, but she has such a cursed unpleasant
way of laughing and keeping cool while she laughs,
and staring you out of countenance for all your rank
in the grand army of gallantry, and jeering and
sneering, that, begad! she made me feel uncom-
monly like a fool.'*

Mr. Rubie felt, and, indeed, showed, a strong
disapproval of my lord's narrative. His gorge rose
as he would have expressed it at the libertine
spirit of his lordship's speech, of his lordship's de-
meanor toward the great sexual problems of life.
But even while he condemned, he was honest enough
to wonder vaguely whether or no a certain wicked
spirit of envy ladled the salt into his condemna-
tion in tablespoonfuls. The uncomfortable doubt
charged his disapproval with spitefulness when he

"As bad as that?" Rubie asked, with a faint
touch of malice in his voice.

"Worse," Cloyne admitted, with the cheerfulness
of a schoolboy. "When I tried to redeem the
situation by action, to prove my passion 'more by
deed than word,' as Byron says, I protest the en-
counter showed no better result for me. Naturally,
I did what any one in my position would have done.
I saw that the preliminaries of courtship, the skirm-
ishings, had failed, and I sought to redeem the
situation by a general attack."

My lord paused, apparently overcome by the rec-


ollection of his wrongs. Mr. Rubie, inclined to be
malicious in the strength of his integrity, and con-
scious that my lord confessed defeat, pressed for
particulars of the disaster. "What did the young
lady do then ?" he inquired.

My lord grinned at the memory. "Why," he
said, "the vixen picked up a pitchfork and threat-
ened to stick it into me if I didn't mend my manners.
Begad! she'd have done it, too, I believe, and I
was wearing a waistcoat that day that I wouldn't
have had scratched for the world. It was a dream
that came to me after a careless study in a case of
minerals in the library. The cool smoothness, the
calm coloring of some of the stones, inspired me.
Nature, believe me, is our best guide in our attire,
and I evolved a waistcoat with subtly blended hints
of agate and jade and bloodstone that was a master-
piece of tact. I swear, I trembled for it when the
child brandished her trident."

"Only your waistcoat?" Rubie questioned,

My lord took up the implied challenge briskly.
"Oh, I'd have risked my skin for a kiss," he in-
sisted, "but, damn me, not Catford's latest."

Mr. Rubie was no authority in the sartorial
world, and allowed himself to be tailored by an
honest fellow in Bloomsbury, but even he could not
be ignorant of the genius of Catford, the tailor of
the great, and he nodded a reluctant recognition of
his fame.

4 37


Cloyne continued. "No girl in the world is
worth such a masterpiece."

Mr. Rubie shook his head. " I cannot believe,"
he said, "that any human being really feels like
that about his clothes."

Cloyne regarded him with an expression of pity.
"You never had any imagination, my dear fellow.
But who are you to preach, anyhow. Why do you
wear that blue coat and that yellow waistcoat, for
instance ?" my lord asked, with knowledge of the
answer, for he was aware of the fact that certain
English sympathizers with the United States were
pleased to do as Mr. Rubie was doing, were pleased
to do what Mr. Fox had done.

"That is very different," Rubie answered, pom-
pously. "They represent a political tradition."

Cloyne laughed mockingly. " Because your idol
Fox chose to sport blue and buff to show his sym-
pathy with the late Mr. Washington and his rebels,
you choose to show your sympathy with the present
generation of Yankees by wearing a crude and
assertive combination of hues. My dear sir, if you
will allow me to say so, you blaspheme, you con-
fuse political opinions, which are of no impor-
tance, with questions of tint and shade and tone
and match, which are of overwhelming impor-
tance. In a word, as regards the mode, you are
hopeless. You have no appreciation of the beau-

" Pardon me," Rubie answered, solemnly, " I am


impregnated with the principles of Mr. Burke's
great treatise on the Sublime and the Beauti-

Cloyne held out his hands in a gesture of comic
despair. "Good Lord, Burke again!" he wailed.
" Between Burke and Fox, I protest, you are fit for

"You know not what you say," Rubie said, and
resumed his sketch.

"Well, I must hasten to meet my coming
guests," Cloyne answered. "But once again let
me warn you, if you do happen to come across Miss
O'.Hara, to leave love-making on one side."

Mr. Rubie made a gesture of impatient protest,
of which my lord took no notice. "Not only is she
desperately well able to take care of herself," he
continued, "but I hear now that she has a swain
in these parts, a certain Dennis Tirowen a small
farmer of the kind that would like to be a gentleman"
my lord said this with a certain show of contempt.
"He is big and strong and reported to be quarrel-

"He shall have no cause to pick a quarrel with
me," Mr. Rubie asserted, sententiously, busily plying
his pencil.

Cloyne laughed again. "Well," he said, "you
are warned against maid and man, and so I leave
you to destiny."

Gaily My Lord Cloyne waved his hand, gaily My
Lord Cloyne twirled his cane as he started on his


descent of the hill, leaving Mr. Rubie with pursed
mouth and puckered eyebrows, busy with his sketch,
and busy, too, though very much against his will
and judgment, with the thoughts that Lord Cloyne's
talk had called into being.


MR. RUBIE felt a sense of relief at the depar-
ture of Lord Cloyne. While he recognized
the politeness of his host, his lordship's lack of
seriousness grated upon the nature of the man, who
took life very seriously. Mr. Rubie considered
it shocking that a man could think and talk of
trivialities while there existed grave problems to
engage the mind, and he felt himself ill at ease in
the company of a person who wanted to talk of
coats and waistcoats while he wanted to talk of
affairs and economics.

All the same, Mr. Rubie might not have felt so
elated at the absence of Lord Cloyne if he could
have guessed at the consequences which that same
absence was to entail. While he plied his pencil
briskly, putting in the strokes with a firmness that
proved him a fairly competent draftsman, he was
peacefully unaware of the assault that was now to
be made upon his principles and his pocket. Heads
peeped cautiously from the shelter of various
fragments of the shattered church; when these
heads were satisfied that the coast was clear and


my lord out of sight they, with their pertaining
bodies, emerged from their lair and descended upon
the stranger. Suddenly Mr. Rubie, busily working,
found himself environed by importunity.

The beggars clustered around him, naked, as it
were, hyperbolically, and practically unashamed.
Gaunt, haggard faces glowered at him; gaunt, hag-
gard hands entreated, demanded; hoarse voices
supplicated, whining, cajoling, detestable. The
perturbed senses of the astonished traveler, thus
rudely taken unawares, multiplied their numbers,
multiplied their voices; he seemed at first to be the
centre of a very mob, and it was not for some few
seconds that he was able to resolve his tormentors
into their actual numbers.

They gabbled and chuckled about him; he found
them like the misshapen specters of an uneasy
dream, and he was vehemently and vainly eager to
be rid of them. He was to learn that their impor-
tunities were not to be easily dissipated. They had
not ventured to assert themselves while his lordship
was present, for they knew and feared his heavy
hand. But the strange gentleman was another
matter. He looked amiable, might, surely must,
prove amenable to solicitations; the attempt was
worth the making.

Larry postured before him with extended hands
and features twisted into a grin of supplication.
"Sure it is the kind face your Honor has," he whined.

Biddy, the little bare-legged girl, pushed her way


impudently in front of him and stared up with a
roguish smile. "And the kind face means the kind
hand," she said, emphatically.

The man Patsy pawed the air as if he were trying
to soothe the stranger with amiable gestures.
"Sure your Honor will spare a shilling," he said,
coaxingly, "to drink your Honor's health."

The old woman Molly hobbled up close to him,
peering at him with her wrinkled face. "Give me
the price of the tay, agra," she implored.

The politician resented the interruption of his
task, and he had the economist's dislike for mendic-
ity. He tried to go on with his task without paying
any heed to the petitionings of the beggars, but the
beggars were not to be put off with indifference, and
persisted in their entreaties. "Confound you, go
away!" Rubie vociferated. "Don't you see I'm
busy ?" But he might as well have hoped to see
the ruins disappear before the sound of his voice as
the determined supplicants that environed him.

"Sure," said the old woman, whose voice of en-
treaty now seemed to be slightly blended with
menace, "a gentleman with such a kind face on him
would never be too busy to find an old woman her
tay money."

"Or a pint of porter for a poor old man," Larry
insinuated, "and maybe a paper of shag to put in his

As Molly begged so Biddy begged; as Larry im-
plored so Patsy implored. Then all four voices


roared together, a confused chorus of clamorous
demand. It seemed a pandemonium to the be-
wildered and indignant politician.

Mr. Rubie closed his pocket-book with a snap,
thrust it into his pocket, and addressed his assailants
in his best House of Commons manner. "I am
firmly opposed to mendicity," he declared, "and
disapprove of indiscriminate charity."

The little bare-legged girl applauded him lustily.
"Listen to the fine words that flow from him," she
cried, "the beautiful turns of his speech."

The man Patsy came close to Mr. Rubie and
entreated, "Just a pint of porter, your Honor," in a
wheedling voice.

The old woman thrust her claw-like hand close
to Mr. Rubie's face. "Only the price of the tay,"
she demanded, fiercely.

Wherever Mr. Rubie turned, one of the crowd
faced him now the old witch, now the girlish imp,
now the red, short Larry, now the long, pale Patsy.
Mr. Rubie felt that it would be undignified to take
to his heels, and he plainly saw that any slower mode
of progress would mean the escort of the beggars for
all the length of his return journey. Yet he was
obdurate in his resolve not to be cajoled into satisfy-
ing their demands, and so he grew hotter and angrier
as the noise increased, and those that made it showed
no sign of willingness to take their dismissal at Mr.
Rubie's command.

While the din was at its worst it was suddenly


silenced as if by magic, and the Englishman, turning
to see what had worked this wonder, found himself
face to face with a beautiful girl who seemed to
have come upon the scene by enchantment. The
noise of the beggars petitioning had risen to Crania's
retreat in the Round Tower and brought the girl to
the door, whence she saw, and must needs smile, a
little at the sight, the stranger being badgered. But
if she smiled at the scene, she would by no means
allow it to continue. Swiftly she descended the
ladder, and, flinging herself into the thick of the little
mob, scattered its members apart with fierce words
of reproof, to which the beggars listened in silence.
Grania was really angry, for all that she had been
amused by the plight of the beleaguered visitor.
"For shame!" she cried, "for shame!" as she ad-
dressed in turn each of the offenders by name. Mr.
Rubie, all amazement, listening to and staring at
this divine fairy that had so suddenly hurled herself
upon his enemies, heard so much and understood it.
He heard much more, but understood no word. For
Grania, who had begun her scolding in English, in
order that the Sassenach might appreciate her
disavowal and disapproval of the conduct of her
friends, became instantly unwilling to berate her
compatriots in a speech intelligible to the stranger,
and so slipped swiftly into the Gaelic. In the
Gaelic she upbraided them with a vehemence that
impressed the uncomprehending Rubie and that
reduced the beggars to abject subjection.


Mr. Rubie was far from being an impressionable
man, but what he now witnessed impressed him as
he had never been impressed since the night, now
long ago, when he had been taken to the playhouse
and had seen a famous actress in the part of Portia.
He gaped at the glorious girl who was clad like a
beggar and who carried herself like a queen; he
observed with dazzled gaze the color of her lips and
eyes and hair, the suave symmetry of her figure, the
buoyancy of her youth; he listened with bewitched
ear to the fluent music, like the music of running
water, of that to him unknown tongue. Mr. Rubie
in his enchantment would have been content to be
denounced by such a lovely creature. To be de-
fended by her was a rapture akin to the winning of a
close division.

The old woman, speaking the first, and speaking
in English, with a view to touching the heart of the
Parliament-man, addressed Grania apologetically,
as reverently as if she were addressing a queen.
"Sure, Miss Grania, darling," she pleaded, "there's
no harm in asking a gentleman with a benevolent
face on him, for a poor little bit of a sixpence."

There was a murmur from the others which im-
plied, under submission to Crania's better judgment,
agreement with Molly's plea, but it faded into
silence before Crania's instant disapproval. "Yes,
there is, great harm," the girl answered, severely;
and the old woman and the old woman's companions
accepted the reproof humbly, shrinking into them-


selves before the anger of one that was little more
than a girl, but who was a girl of the O'Haras, the
child of a hero of Ninety-eight.

Mr. Rubie meanwhile, honestly amazed at all
that was happening, had stood open-mouthed and
dumfounded, gaping and staring at the alterca-
tion between his late opponents and the beautiful
girl who seemed to dominate them so completely.
All his confidence, his composure, his cocksureness
had momentarily vanished. His House of Com-
mons manner had fallen from him like a cloak; he
was just an ordinary, commonplace looker-on. With
an effort he rallied, pulled himself together, assured
himself that this would never do. Spurring him-
self to action, Mr. Rubie advanced toward Grania,
raising his hat and assuming something of the
manner that was wont to impress St. Stephen's.
"Have I the honor," he said, with what he believed
to be a happy blend of suavity and dignity, "of
addressing Miss O'Hara?"

Grania nodded and smiled, and it seemed to the as-
tonished politician as if he had never seen a woman
smile before. "You have that," she said, simply.

The Member of Parliament made her another
bow and presented himself formally. "My name
is Rubie," he said, "John Rubie, Member of
Parliament. I am Lord Cloyne's guest at the
Hall. I was engaged in making a sketch of yonder
Round Tower when these good people came upon
me, and, I must confess, took me by surprise. You


must not think me close-fisted, Miss O'Hara, or
callous to distress, but I have strong views about
indiscriminate charity."

Had Mr. Rubie been addressing the assembled
Parliament, had he been delivering himself to a meet-
ing of some earnest society for the promotion of this
and the propagation of that, had he been exchang-
ing ideas at a tea party in one of the elegant villas
of South London that sheltered so much philan-
thropy and aimed at so much reform, his manner
would have been admired, his words would have
been esteemed and his sentiments would have been
applauded. But the wisest of economists is at a
disadvantage when he expounds his views to an
audience that knows nothing whatever of economics,
that knows, indeed, of little more than the fact that
it is always hungry, always ill-clad, often cold
and often wet. What the Parliament-man de-
nounced as indiscriminate charity was to those poor
wretches as the unexpected manna, as the rare favor
of fate that flung for an instant, capriciously, some
pitiful share of the good and desirable things of
the world into their lean hands and their drawn

Therefore the little fellowship of wretchedness
listened to the expression of Mr. Ruble's economic
theories with a- manifest disapproval for which
Biddy alone ventured to find voice. "Sure you
said that before, darlin'," the bare-legged girl said,
with a chuckle.



Her companions grinned their satisfaction, and
Mr. Rubie endeavored with no great measure of
success to look as if he had not heard and to con-
ceal his annoyance. Grania lifted a reproving
finger and reduced Biddy to silence. Then she
turned to the irritated politician, and the sound of
her voice soothed his exasperated nerves.

"You are quite in the right of it, Mr. Rubie," she
said, "and I hate to see my country-people begging
of strangers."

Rubie protested. He was himself again, and as
ready to be pompous on the soil of Kerry as on the
floor of St. Stephen's. "Please don't call me a
stranger, Miss O'Hara," he entreated. "We are
all one people now under the Union sharing com-
mon hopes, common interests, common purposes "
The swell of his eloquence was suddenly stayed.

"Are we that same?" Grania interrupted, ironi-
cally. "Why, it's fine news you'd be telling me
if it only chanced to be true. Would you be say-
ing that we have common laws, too ?"

Mr. Rubie thought of the penal laws and changed
his note. He began on a fresh tack. "If these
poor creatures are really in want," he said, in-
dicating with a forensic gesture the little riot of
beggars who huddled together in manifest dejec-
tion, with their gaze fixed wistfully on the girl
whom they so faithfully obeyed, though her coming
had shattered their hopes.

Again Grania interrupted him. "Do you think,


Mr. Rubie," pointing to the four people whose rags
would have been disdained by any self-respecting
scarecrow, and whose faces were pinched with
hunger and suffering, "they dress like that for the
pleasure of the thing ?"

"'Well, you know," Mr. Rubie suggested, "we
have professional beggars in England." Mr. Rubie
felt and looked embarrassed. The misery of the
mendicants was patent enough, and he felt re-
morseful for his economic sternness. He tried to
justify himself.

"These troubles are genuine enough," Grania
said, sadly, and for a moment the bitter water
filled her eyes.

The beggars heard her, the beggars saw her.
They raised a little wail like a keen.

Mr. Rubie was touched to a degree that would
have surprised him if he had had time to analyze
his emotions. "Then pray allow me to offer some
small relief," he said, earnestly. He put his hand
in his breeches pocket as he spoke and pulled out
a handful of silver. He turned to the beggars whose
presence he had resented so hotly a few minutes
before. "Here!" he cried, and held out his hands
with its generous contents toward the poor creatures
who hurried eagerly forward with gleaming eyes
and clawing fingers.

But Grania again intervened between them and
the stranger. "Don't run from one extreme to the
other, Mr. Rubie," she said, quietly, as with one


extended hand she restrained the advance of the
beggars and with the other she waved aside the
proffered bounty. "If you mean to be generous
I will make bold to borrow this crown." She took
out a crown piece delicately from the little pile of
silver that lay on Mr. Rubie's broad, expanded palm
and held it out to Larry, who shambled hurriedly
toward her. "Here, Larry," she said, and her voice
was as gentle now as it had been stern a while ago;
"here is a crown for you all from this kind gen-
tleman. Take it and divide it fair among the lot
of you; divide it fair, I say, for if you don't I shall
hear of it, and have a small word of my own to say
to you."

Larry touched his forehead respectfully, first to
the girl and then to the Englishman. "Yes, Miss
Grania," he said, humbly. Inwardly he reflected
that after all they had not done so badly. The
crown divided up would amount to more than a
shilling apiece, and they could scarcely have dared
to hope for more than a sixpence each from the
stranger, so the morning had not been unprofitable.

At a gesture from Grania the little crowd of
beggars, after much shuffling and scraping, trooped
off in the direction of the village, and Grania and
Mr. Rubie were left face to face.



MR. RUBIE gave a little apologetic cough. "I
hope you do not think me stingy " he began.

But Grania stayed him, smiling. "You have
just proved the contrary," she asserted. As she
spoke she seated herself comfortably on the hillside,
and invited Rubie with a gesture to do the like.
As he obeyed he felt, to his surprise, like a subject in
the presence of his queen.

Seated, he pursued his theme. " But on principle
I detest mendicity," he continued, with the air of
one who was accustomed to have his principles and
his expositions thereof respected.

Grania only shrugged her shoulders. "If you
make slaves of people," she said, quietly, "they will
acquire the vices of slaves."

Rubie protested, pawing the air, against such
extravagances of thought and speech. "Really,
Miss O'Hara," he cried, "slaves! What an ex-
pression. I admit to errors in the past, but now,
the Union our best intentions "

Grania showed a decided determination to change
the subject. "It's no use our talking politics, Mr.


Ruble," she said, emphatically. Then seeing that
Mr. Rubie looked somewhat crestfallen at her
abruptness, she continued, more amiably. "What
are you doing in Ireland, if I may make so bold as
to ask ?"

Rubie beamed anew at this suggestion of interest
in his doings, though he was inwardly astonished at
his pleasure in the girl's condescension. "Why,
Miss O'Hara," Rubie explained, "I have crossed
St. George's Channel to see something of Ireland for
myself, that I may be the better equipped to speak
with authority in the House. I conceive that Irish
affairs are worthy of the pains of a personal in-

Grania was vastly amused by the self-importance
of the traveler, but she kept her amusement sedu-
lously to herself. "They are so," Grania agreed,

Mr. Rubie leaned forward and addressed the girl
in a low, confidential voice, the low, confidential
voice that he used on occasions when he made his
way to the Treasury Bench to breathe some wisdom

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