Justin H. (Justin Huntly) McCarthy.

The fair Irish maid online

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Dennis moved on a way apart. The desire of
Dennis's heart was for music, for music as expressed
in words and for music as expressed in song. As a
boy he had, like the artificial poet of the dawning
eighteenth century, lisped in numbers, for the
numbers came, but unlike Mr. Pope, young Tirowen


followed a muse who was a ruddy wench of the
country-side, who could speak the ancient speech
and had been the true inspiration of popular music
for centuries back. Young Dennis went to Dublin
with a brain stored with an incredible treasury of
songs that he had learned from the peasants with
whom he had loved to play and with a heart that
seemed ever to beat time to the rhythm of the riddle
and pipes.

Loving these songs and loving that music, it was
natural for the boy to imitate both. One conse-
quence of his experiments was that he was brought
into connection with Mr. Edward Bunting, who
was then engaged in making his collection of old
Irish ballads. Mr. Bunting gained not a little aid
from Dennis's extensive knowledge of folk-song,
and being grateful for the younger man's help, and
pleased at the young man's enthusiasm, made
him acquainted with Dr. George Petrie, a young
man whose ardor in pursuit of Irish ballad-lore
was as much keener than Bunting's as his knowl-
edge was more extensive. With Petrie the young
man made many excursions in the neighborhood of
Dublin collecting songs from the lips of the peasants,
and noting down the music which accompanied the

In these pleasant, peaceful ways young Dennis
spent the most of his Dublin days in these pleas-
ant, peaceful ways and in the furtherance of the
great work. For Dennis conceived himself con-


secrated to a great work to the writing of a play
which was to be a great play, maybe the great play
of his day. To the elaboration of this masterpiece
he looked with a simple confidence for fame and
fortune. It was to be called "The Buried City,"
and it dealt with the legend of the ancient kingdom
that was supposed to be hidden under the waters
of Cloyne Bay. He loved this work of his for its
own sake, but in truth he loved it most for the
sake of a girl named Grania, to whom he used to
read it when he was home for his holidays, and in
whose sincere praise he found a reward beyond rubies.
These occupations were interrupted suddenly by
the death of Dennis's father, who was found lifeless
one morning in a field not far from the farm; and
to Dennis, as his only child, the whole of his prop-
erty descended. It was not very much, yet the
farm was snug enough to afford Dennis a sufficient
livelihood if he were willing to throw himself heart
and soul into the business of a farmer's life. But
this was just what Dennis was most unwilling to do.
He hated what he called the monotony of a farmer's
life; he disdained the small returns that such a life
could promise. Ambition bubbled within him like
water in a red-hot caldron. He wanted the world's
praise, the world's homage, the red of the world's
gold, as well as the green of the world's laurels.
He was ambitious for himself; ambitious for ambi-
tion's sake; but he was also ambitious for the sake
of another, for Dennis Tirowen was in love.


In the eyes of the country-side there yawned a gulf
as great as the Gap of Dunluce between Grania
and Dennis. In the eyes of the ordinary foreigner,
Mr. Rubie or another, the girl in her well-worn
peasant's dress would have seemed to be, from
the point of view of a social world as the foreigner
understood it, the inferior of the young farmer.
But to the children of the kingdom of Kerry Gra-
nia was the last of the O' Haras of Cloyne, the
last of a race of ancient name, the last of a line
of gentlefolk that had led their people time and
time again in vain resistance to oppression and
that had freely given their blood for the cause.
The O'Haras belonged to the essential aristocracy
of Ireland. This was one of the many things that
were simplicity itself to the native, and an un-
solvable mystery to the stranger. Dennis Tirowen
was well enough in his way; he had ox in stall,
money in poke, barn and byre. He had even the
smack of a remote gentility in his blood. But for
all that he was no more than a workaday farmer
in a small way, and a workaday farmer in a small
way was one that must kneel in humility at the
lowest step of the dais whereon the last daughter
of the O'Haras of Cloyne metaphorically sat en-

These were the simple facts that would on the

face of it have seemed to sunder Grania from Dennis

and Dennis from Grania with the stroke of a social

ax. It is true that the legends of Kerry, told by



the peat on the hearth, whispered under the hedge
in the lee of the wind, included many a brave tale
of the low-born lad that by a courage worthy of
Achilles and a cunning worthy of Odysseus, and
generally by the timely aid of the fairies, had won
the heart and the hand of some king's daughter.
But what was truth in legend was not truth in life
in Ireland in the disillusioning dawn of the nine-
teenth century. Moreover, there hung over Den-
nis a cloud not unlike to that which in Celtic
belief sometimes envelops one that is doomed to
ill fortune the cloud of dislike and distrust of the
changer of faiths. What Dennis's faith actually
might be none of his neighbors could precisely
affirm. They took it for granted that he would
continue to hold his farm on the same condi-
tions as those on which his father had held it, by
persisting in at least the outward show of devotion
to the alien creed. But since Dennis's final return
from Dublin to take possession of his inheritance
he had not shown himself in any place of worship,
either church or chapel, and there were those who
hinted that Dennis Tirowen had gone a step farther
than his father, and had shaken off allegiance to
any faith at all.

It was notably to Dennis's advantage in the
popular mind that he could make music, that he
could make songs, that he knew by heart of heart
every ballad that had ever been blown from God
knows where to Kerry, and every tune that had


ever been scraped on a fiddle or squeezed from the
pipes, or fingered from the harp since the days
of Duncad Mor. Moreover, he could rhyme his
own ballads and make his own music, playing it on
the little fiddle that Edward Bunting, the publisher,
had given him, and playing it in a way that made his
hearers, people to whom the love of music is as
natural an appetite as the need for food and drink,
wild with delight while they listened. Dennis of
the Sweet Mouth they named him in a rapture as he
drifted hither and thither through the kingdom
when he came back from Dublin for his holiday,
and Dennis of the Sweet Mouth he was to them still
now that he was back from Dublin, as it seemed for
good, with his farm to keep him comfortable, and
whatever the old man had saved and left, and with
nothing in the world to do but to enjoy himself
stringing songs and making music and conquering
all things animate and inanimate with the sounds he
could win from the strings of his fiddle, even as
Orpheus of old time did with his lute. Dennis
Tirowen was a man to be admired, a man to be
envied, but neither his admirers nor his enviers
would for one moment have thought of regarding
him as the equal of Grania O'Hara.

To do Dennis Tirowen justice, he knew this as
well as any of his admirers or his enviers. Neighbor-
hood and the fallen estate of Grania had allowed the
boy and girl to become playmates in a way that
would not, of course, have been possible in the days


when the O'Haras were indeed the O'Haras, the
brave days before Boyne, the days even before
Ninety-eight. But if fantastic fortune sanctioned
a friendship between Dennis Tirowen, the prosper-
ous farmer's son, and Grania O'Hara, the great
lady, that lived in a cabin on her old-time estate by
favor of the lords of Cloyne, and earned her suste-
nance by knitting and lace-making, and the showing
of the ruins to casual travelers, the farmer's son was
well aware of the gulf that sundered them. He
grew more and not less aware of it as time went on,
and he began to know better his own mind and his
own heart. The growing knowledge haunted him
seemed like a shadowy presence, making a third in
those excursions of his in company with George
Petrie to gather songs and tunes; seemed to blend
itself insistently with the long-drawn wailing beauty
of ancient music, to take possession of all the love
lyrics of Ireland, and make them the pipes of its
meaning. When Dennis returned to Cloyne as his
own master that secret knowledge had come to its
full growth. Dennis looked at it steadily, under-
stood it and himself, saw what he had to do, and
made up his mind to do it. There was a gulf to be
bridged, but a man of genius could build the bridge.
A man of the temperament of Dennis Tirowen is
always strangely exalted when he tunes his mind to
some high resolve. He feels like another Hannibal,
swearing his unchangeable oath that he will conquer
Rome or perish in the attempt. The danger is


with such a one that the resolve to achieve may
satisfy the stimulated fancy to the abandonment of
achievement. But, fortunately or unfortunately,
the ambition of Dennis was no less strong than his
fancy and his belief in himself was prodigious.
He took the enthusiasm of the country-side as so
much earnest of his power, and he assured himself
time and again, in those communings with his spirit
which had resulted in his present determination,
that he was made for greatness, that his was the
heart, the hand, the brain to win the trophies of the
world and make of them so high a mountain as
should lift him to the level of his lady's lips. Had
he known that he could win his love in that present
hour he would not have accepted the gift. The
thought of any condescension galled him. He must
make himself the equal of the woman of his dreams,
he would make himself the equal of the woman of his
dreams, and then, and then alone, he would utter
the truth that was in him with the proud conscious-
ness of peer addressing peer.



FOR a short while the pair, young man and
young maid, stood looking after Mr. Rubie
in silence. When the politician was out of sight
round the be^nd in the road Grania turned and
gazed steadily at her companion, and there was
banter in her eyes and banter on her lips as she
noted his sullen bearing and sour regard. "I'm
thinking/' she said, slowly, with a teasing tang in her
voice, "you've got out of bed on the wrong side this

The frown on the face of Dennis deepened, and
his whole bearing, stiff enough already, seemed to
grow stiffen "There was nothing the matter with
me or my bed or the morning," he answered, dog-
gedly. "I came over here blithely enough in the
thought of sight and speech of you. But you can't
be surprised if I don't like to see you philandering
with strangers."

Grania burst out laughing as she recalled the

image of the solemn foreigner in blue and buff

whose business in life it appeared to be to acquire

statistics. "Bless your heart!" she declared, "we



were not philandering. He was seeking for statis-
tics, if you know what they may be" Dennis
nodded glumly "and I gave him some of my own
which bewildered him a little, I think. The good
man is as grave as an owl, and if he were as gay as
a linnet he would never be the bird for my cage."

There seemed to Grania as she spoke something
especial^ and refreshingly diverting in the thought
of Mr. Rubie as a possible philanderer. The earnest
stranger from England, in his blue coat and buff
waistcoat, somewhat stout, somewhat florid, very
sturdy and solid and solemn, with an insatiable
hunger for information and an unquenchable thirst
for statistics, seemed to her a very unlikely person-
age to convert into a prosperous or even a promis-
ing philanderer. So thinking, she looked at Dennis,
appraising and admiring the easy poise of his
strong body, the proud carriage of the comely head,
and as she looked she marveled a little at the droll-
ness of the nature of men. Here was handsome
Dennis, than whom no better built and better favored
lad trod the grass of Kerry, wearing a very sulky
frown on his fine face because he had found Grania
talking with a pompous and commonplace foreigner
that sought to carry with him into the freedom of
the country the heavy air of the House of Commons.
So, while she merrily repudiated any suggestion of
of philandering as concerned her conversation with
Mr. Rubie, she could not help thinking that Dennis
was rather silly to make the suggestion.


Dennis's only reply was a grunt.

"Don't look so sour," Grania expostulated, with
a smile that should have dissipated the ill temper
of the youth as the sun a while back had dissipated
the enfolding mist. "It is foolish you are to be-
have so, spoiling the fair day that way." She
paused for a moment, and then as Dennis still said
nothing, she went on again. "Isn't it a beautiful
day ? Who would ever believe that it was winter
with the grass so green and the sea so blue and the
sun so bright. Oh, Dennis, this is one of those
days when I always have a feeling in my bones as
if something wonderful were going to happen."

She clasped her hands as she spoke in the ardor
of her enjoyment of the beauty about her. The
young man looked curiously at her, and the curiosity
happily banished the fretfulness from his face.
Evidently there was something in the words she had
uttered, those words in which she breathed her
expectation of something wonderful about to hap-
pen, which touched some responsive chord in his
mind. All his ill humor had disappeared now as he
spoke. "What makes you say that?" he asked,
with an eagerness that surprised Grania.

She laughed into his handsome, confident face,
a roguish spirit danced in her eyes and dimpled the
corners of her mouth. She beckoned to Dennis to
draw nearer, with the air of one that has a great
secret to impart. " Sure, I saw a fairy this morn-
ing," Grania said, impressively.


Dennis gaped at her, suddenly startled from the
sense of his own importance by the oddity of her
statement. "A fairy!" he ejaculated. The occa-
sion, his purpose, his determination, all these were so
grave that though he knew Grania well, and her
fairy-talk, it surprised him at the moment almost
as much as it had surprised the Englishman a while

Grania nodded. "A leprechaun, no less. I
was walking along a bit of a valley that shone as
bright as spring, and there he was, a little wee shee
of a fellow, sitting on a stone, with his little green
coat on his body, and his little red cap on his head,
and a little shoe between his knees, and a little ham-
mer in his hand, and there he was cobbling away
for the dear life of him."

Dennis grinned. " It's funning you are," he said.
"Is it some dream you are telling me ?"

Grania went on without resenting his skepti-
cism. "Maybe I was dreaming," she answered,
"or maybe I was waking. It is hard enough some-
times to tell which are the true things the things
we dream about or the things we know waking.
Anyhow, whether I saw with my eyes open or saw
with my eyes shut, I saw my little fairy-man, and
my little fairy-man never saw me. You know it's
the best of luck to come on a leprechaun unawares.
So I popped out my hand and caught him between
finger and thumb and held him fast. He struggled
and tussled, but it was all no good, for I would not


let him go. When he saw that there was no escape
the little rogue took off his cap with a flourish and
said, as clear as a whistle, 'Grania, my girl, if you
will give me my liberty it is myself will give you
the good luck.' So of course I set him free, and
now I am waiting for him to keep his word to

The girl laughed gaily as she finished her tale,
but Dennis seemed inclined to resent the light-
hearted turn the conversation had taken. "I don't
believe in dreams. Give me the real world to deal
with and the real people in it."

Grania looked shocked. "And you the poet!"
she said, reproachfully.

So might Diana have gazed reprovingly upon
Orion when she found him unworthy of her esteem.

The young man shrugged his shoulders impa-
tiently. "Poets don't want to see fairies," he as-
serted, defiantly. "They want to make other
people see them."

Grania nodded. "It's yourself can do that
same," she said, "with the words of your lips and the
strings of your fiddle. Dennis of the Sweet Mouth.
That's your name all over the kingdom of Kerry."

Dennis looked at her thoughtfully, with the air
of a man that has come to an earnest resolution and
yet finds it hard to put into effect. "I hope," he
said at length, "it will stand to me otherwhere than
in Kerry."

Grania stared at him amazed. Something in the


sound of his voice troubled her suddenly, though
the words he uttered were scarcely troubling.

Dennis read her wonder, and spoke hurriedly.

"I'm going away, Grania; that's what I've come
to tell you. I'm going away."

Grania gave a little cry of astonishment. "Go-
ing away!" she repeated, and Dennis echoed her.

"Going away!"

The girl looked anxiously at him. " Is it to Dub-
lin ?" she asked.

Dennis shook his head. "Dublin be damned,"
he said, fiercely. "I've eaten and drunk all that
Dublin can give me. I'm too big for Dublin, I'm
thinking." He paused for a moment to give due
effect to the announcement he was about to make,
and then spoke with dramatic emphasis. "It's
to London I'm going."

Grania looked at him in amazement, and it seemed
to her of a sudden as if her heart grew red-hot, as a
coulter under the hammer, and then ice-cold, as the
coulter when it is plunged hissing hot into chill
water. "What do you want to go to London for, in
the name of the crows ?" she faltered, striving to
carry her question off with an air of careless interest.

Dennis looked mighty wise, but in his heart he was
a trifle vexed, for he only heard the carelessness in
Crania's question. For all that he was so fine a
musician, his ear did not catch the veiled grief.
"Just to make my fortune, no less," he answered;
and he felt very big indeed as he spoke the simple


words that have been the Jack O'Lanthorn to so
many and the Star of Destiny to so few.

Grania looked at him dubiously. She hoped
it was not her reluctance to part with him that
prompted her to think with less certainty of his
success than he seemed to entertain. "Are you
sure you can do that same in the great, cold city ?"
she asked, anxiously. She felt toward this big,
comely boy, aggressive in his self-confidence, as the
mother duck feels when its ducklings make their
first essay upon the smooth waters of the pond.

Dennis didn't seem to entertain any doubt. He
had thought it all out; he had made his decision;
he had burned his bridges, though as yet Grania was
ignorant of this. So he threw back his handsome
head with a great air of disdain for her dubiety, and
answered her with a gallant air that foretokened
victory. "Didn't Tom Moore make money over
there, bags of it ? " he asked, in a ringing voice ; " and
didn't he have all the grand folks hanging on his
lips, and wasn't he hobanob with dukes and earls
and princes, and didn't he wind up with a snug
place in the customs, or some such like ?" Dennis
paused for a moment to watch the effect of his words
upon Grania, who did not seem to be as much im-
pressed as he could have wished, and then resumed
the course of his argument. "What Tom Moore
could do I can do. I hope you will not be denying
that, Grania ?"

Grania shook her head. Why should she deny
? 85


it. After all there was something in what Dennis
said. Mr. Moore's chances could have seemed
scarcely brighter when he crossed the Irish Sea to
fame and fortune. There was a moment's silence
between the pair, and then Dennis spoke, and his
voice had another and a deeper note in it than the
clarion-call of self-confidence.

"I want to make my fortune," he said, "for there
is something I want more than any fortune in the
world, something that only a fortune can help me

Grania smiled faintly, with a sudden tugging at
her heart-strings. She felt in a twink as she had
felt on hot summer days when everything on earth
and in air conspired to warn her of the coming rush
of the storm. She knew that what she had waited
for was coming, coming at last. She did not know
what to say, yet knew that she must give some an-
swer to the challenge in Dennis's speech. "What is
it?" she asked, "that you want more than any
fortune in the world."

Dennis seemed newly embarrassed, eager to
speak, and yet uncertain what to say. His lips
moved and gave forth no sound. Desperately he
rallied his self-command.

"It is the wise woman you are, Grania," he said,
with an attempt to be playful that was pathetically
a failure; "but for all your wisdom there is one
secret that you have never guessed."

Grania looked steadfastly at him, sadness in her


eyes. "What may that secret be, Dennis of the
Sweet Mouth ?" she questioned.

Dennis answered her and there was no gaiety
now in his voice, only the strength of a fierce
sweet passion surrendering itself to confession.

"You have never guessed that I love you, that I
have loved you for this many a day, that you are all
the world to me, that I shall love you all the hours
of my life."

He shook as he spoke, his hands trembled, and
there were tears in his eyes. Grania fetched a little
sigh over the astounding density of men; then she
found a smile for her proclaimed lover. She went
up to him and rested her hand for a minute upon his

"My poor boy," she said, in a tone of infinite
tenderness that would have told Dennis much if he
had been Dennis of the wise head as well as Dennis
of the sweet mouth, "it is well I know that you have
been in love with me this long year and more, and
it is often and often that I have wondered that you
didn't ease your heart; but it is better late than
never, and I am glad to hear you speak this day."

Dennis looked at her in wonder. "Heaven's
name," he cried, "why didn't you give me an ink-

Grania looked at him with playful reproach.
"There's a fine way of talking," she said. "Would
you have me go trapesing after a man that hasn't the
kick in him to speak for himself?"


Dennis hung his head. "What was the good of
my speaking," he asked, "me with my bit of a
farm, me with my fiddle and my jingles, and you
the lady born, one of the O'Haras, no less ? What
kind of a gossoon would I be to say to you, biting
my heart while I say it, 'Crania, Grania, I love

Grania had listened to him with a pleased smile
on her face. When he had made an end she an-
swered him eagerly. "Of course I'm glad to be
anO'Hara; who could help that ? But any man has
the right to tell any woman he loves her, just as any
woman has the right to say yes or no to him. And
it's never 'no' that I would have said to you, Dennis
of the Sweet Mouth, if you had spoken yesterday or
any of the yesterdays."

Dennis shook his head sadly. "I couldn't speak,
Grania. What have I to give ? Is it you would be
feeding the pig and washing the linen and mending
the clothes and cooking the dinner ? I have no small
opinion of myself, but I couldn't ask that of you."

"I could be happy enough in the little farm with
you," Grania said, softly; but the soft words brought
no smile to Dennis's face.

"That's all very pretty and poetic," he said.

" But you are a poet," Grania protested.

"I'm not poet enough," Dennis affirmed, "to

make you a poor man's wife. So I'll tell you what

I have done. I have sold the farm and the land, and

I've got the price of them in my pocket to carry me



to London and keep me going till I've made my

His words sounded tragic in Crania's ears.
"Sold the farm and the land!" she echoed. "You
have never done that, Dennis ?"

"That is just what I have done," he answered;
" and it was wise of me to do it anyway, for I am not
going to deny the old faith any longer, for all that my
father did so, and it's the poor holding I'd have in
that case. So it is to England I'll be journeying this
very day, and I'll come back to you with a fortune."

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