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A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 



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A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

BEING PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS 
OF THE PARNELL FAMILY. BY 
A DAUGHTER OF THE HOUSE 






EMILY MONROE DICKINSON 



DUBLIN: HODGES 
FIGGIS &* CO., Ltd. 
LONDON: SIMPKIN, 
MARSHALL fr* CO. 
Ltd. . . . MCMV 



DA 



• • • 
■ ■ • 

• • • 

• • • 



Printed by Ballaktthi, Hahsok *• Co. 
At the Ballmntyne Pteee 



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PREFACE 

My object in writing these pages was to trace 
some of the principal events which would gratify 
the natural desire of the reading public to know 
something, from a personal source, of a family 
that had become so famous, some of whom were 
so tragically unfortunate in the issues of their 
lives. I have desired, too, to lift to some ex- 
tent the veil of proud reserve that wrapt a 
spirit as brave and impenetrable as ever faced 
the fierce struggles, the stress, and shipwreck 
of political life. 

A well-known Irish journalist has said that 
ours was "the most tragic family he had ever 
heard o£" This, I think, is true ; and so I present 
this sketch, believing that the interest attached 
to some of the characters will make it acceptable, 
and hoping, too, that a saner, truer, and more 
just estimate may be passed upon them. 

I am indebted to my brother, Mr. John 
^ Parnell, for his interest in the book, and his 

i_ help in the matter of the illustrations. 



▼ft 



viii PREFACE 

My best thanks are also due to Sir Walter 
Armstrong, the Trustees of the National Gallery, 
Dublin, and Mr. Sydney P. Hall, for permission 
to reproduce the Hatter's portrait of my brother 
Charles, taken towards the close of his life. 

E. M. D. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 

THE HUNT 

' PAOI 

Morning at Avondale — Cora Parnell — Fox-hunting — The 
Start— The Finish— A Dinner Party— Mrs. Parnell— The 
Parnell Family — An Accident — Cora's Birth — Child-life 
at Avondale — Arthur Monroe Diokinson — Death of 
Hayes Parnell— An Early Attachment — Delia Parnell — 
Lady Howard — School at Paris — life in London — Offers 
of Marriage i 



CHAPTER II 

SOCIETY IN LONDON 

Ball at Lord W 's — Lady Howard — Unwelcome Advances 

—A Question of Social Ethics— Sir Ralph Howard— Sir 
William Fraser — At Court — A London Season— Lord 

W again — Death of Cora's Horse— A Bad Omen — 

Visit from Arthur Monroe Diokinson — A Scene— Sir 
Ralph complains — Death of Mr. Parnell — His Will — Cora 
left Penniless— Filial Grief 13 



is 



x CONTENTS 

CHAPTER III 

THE WEDDING 

Mrs. Parnell made Guardian of the Children— John Parnell 
dispossessed in Favour of Charles Stewart — A Chancery 
Ward's Secret Marriage — life in Dublin — Lord Carlisle — 
An Offer of Adoption — Lord Chancellor Brady — Musical 

Ability — Interview with Mr. L Marriage with 

Captain Monroe Dickinson — Delia's Marriage— Jealousy 33 

CHAPTER IV 

REMORSE 

Charles Stewart Parnell at Cambridge— University Life — 
Boating on the Cam — Daisy — All in a Garden Fair — Love's 
Young Dream — A Rude Awakening — Daisy's Tragic 
Death — An Inquest — Frenzied Grief — Nervous Depres- 
sion — Leaves Cambridge— A Nightly Apparition — Charles 
Hunts with the Wards — The Fenian Movement — A 
Police Search — The Chancery Ward's Public Marriage — 
Beauty and the Beast 49 

CHAPTER V 

CRICKET 

A Paris Honeymoon — Captain Dickinson ordered to the Cape 
— Fanny Parnell — Charles celebrates his Accession to In- 
dependence — Cricket Match Suggested — Preparations— 
A House Party — Arrival of Officers — First Day's Innings 
— Lunch — Evening Amusement — Second Day's Cricket — 
Collapse of the Game — Descent to Flirtation — Love- 
making — Second Night's Amusement — The Widow — A 
Night's Revel — Break up of the Party . 63 



CONTENTS xi 



CHAPTER VI 

ROYAL 



PASS 



Mrs. Parnell's Wealth — Mrs. Dickinson resumes Hunting — 
Purchases Royal — His Escapades — His Death at Twenty- 
two — Captain Dickinson — Club Life fin Dublin — Birth 
of Delia Dickinson — Domestic Trouble — The Drinking 
Habit — Arthur's Struggles to Reform — Painful Scenes — 
Family-Help — Charles's Efforts on his Brother-in-law's 
Behalf — A Proposal of Separation Rejected — Charles 
throws Himself into Political life 79 



CHAPTER VII 
Mb.L 

Afternoon Tea — A Sister's Remonstrance — Mr. L 's De- 
votion — Arthur's Lapses — His Violence — His Loss of all 
Control — A Dangerous Moment — Coldness of Friends 
and Acquaintances — A Sister's Trouble — Scarlatina — 
Her Death — Mrs. Livingstone Thomson — Attempted 
Suicide — Resumes Horse-riding — Arrest of Charles 
Stewart Parnell 93 



CHAPTER VIII 

KTTiMATNHAM 

Visit to Kilmainham Jail — Prison Life — The " Suspects " — 
Licence Allowed — Attempted Bribe — Death of Richard 
Livingstone Thomson — A Mother's Sorrow — Political 
Effect of the Arrests— Release — Meetings at Avondale 
— Reason of Charles's adopting a Political Career — 

Engagement with Miss Pearl H Becomes Famous 

— About to be Married — Jilted 106 



xii CONTENTS 



CHAPTER IX 

COLONEL H 



PAOl 



Fanny Parnell — Her Early Death — John Parnell — Authoress 

meets Oolonel H — An Absorbing Passion — The 

Straggle — The Temptation — An Audacious Proposal — 

Mr. L Interferes — An Accusation — Ties Severed — 

A Moral Drawn 120 



CHAPTER X 

THE BROAD PATH 

After Kilmfrinhftm — A Nation's Gratitude— Forty Thousand 
Pounds subscribed — Rumours of Evil — Charles meets 
Mrs. O'Shea — Illness in London — The Snare Drawn — 
The Broad Road — A Return to Avondale-^James the 
Groom — Improved Prospects 136 



CHAPTER XI 

SORROW 

Prospects of Arthur's Return — A Fit of Depression — An 
Afternoon's Ride — A Sad Telegram — Stunned by 
Arthur's Death— The Funeral— After-effects— Nursed 
by Charles — Delia sent to School — Visit of Mrs. Parnell 
— Five Tears' Solitude 149 



CONTENTS xiii 



CHAPTER XII 

FAITHFUL LOVE 



PAGB 



Mr. L 9 b Devotion — Return to Dublin — Mr. L Pro- 
poses — He is Refused — His Death — Visit to the Channel 
Islands — Bad Reception in Guernsey — Return to Avon- 
dale — Delia Dickinson — A Romantic Attachment — Visit 
to Dublin — Changed Conditions there . . .162 



CHAPTER XIII 

DEATH 

Retribution on Charles — Divorce Proceedings — Treatment 
by the Press — A Social and Political Storm — A Brave 
Stand — Monster Meetings — Effect on Charles — Dejec- 
tion and Despair — His Marriage — A Fresh Storm — Re- 
peated Defeats — Meeting at Cabinteely — An Omen — 
Charles's Superstition — A Wetting — Night Travel — A 
Cold— Death at Brighton— Effect of the News— His 
Funeral 175 

CHAPTER XIV 

JOHN 

Captain and Mrs. Pagett — John Parnell's Accession to Avon- 
dale — Returns with his Mother to Avondale — Confused 
Affairs — Money Difficulties — A Sad Winter — Law's De- 
lays — Delia's Marriage — Memorial Funeral — Rumours 
that Charles lives — Industries at Avondale — Purchase 
of Victor — Delia a Widow — The Rewards of Patriotism 
— Avondale to be Sold 191 



xiv CONTENTS 



CHAPTER XV 

A CRIME 

PAOl 

Mrs. Parnell at Ironsides — A Murderous Blow — Her Re- 
covery — Anna Parnell — Mrs. Parnell returns to Ireland 
— Reception at Kingsbridge — Settles at Avondale — 
— Losses in Speculation — Chair Days at Avondale • • 204 



CHAPTER XVI 

FIRE 

A Proposed Dinner Party — Revived Hospitality — A 
Political Skirmish — Dancing — An Alarm of Fire— Mrs. 
Parnell Fatally Injured— Her Death— Her Funeral — 
Effect on the Authoress — Serious Illness — Brooding 
Grief — Medical Verdict 212 



CHAPTER XVII 

PEACE 

A Slow Recovery — Sale of Avondale — The Auction — A 
Difference of Political Opinion — The Situation at Avon- 
dale Debated — The Bidding at Auction — Lord Beresf ord 
— Delia's Second Marriage — Authoress resumes Horse- 
riding — Purchases Prince— An American Tea — Further 
Money Loss — Retirement — A Sympathetic Friend — 
Peace at Last 227 




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



Charles Stewart Parnell .... Frontispiece 

From the Painting by SYDNEY P. HALL in the 
National Portrait Gallery of Ireland. 



Ohablbs Stewart Parnell, 2btat 8 . 

Charles Stewart Parnell, jbtat 20 

Mrs. Monroe Dickinson on Royal 

avondalb, the home of charles stewart 
Parnell 

Charles Stewart Parnell in his Labora- 
tory 

Mrs. Pabnbll, Mother of Charles 
Stewart Parnell .... 

Avondalb, General View 



To face page 8 

» » 5° 
80 



99 
» 

99 
99 



99 

99 

99 

99 
99 



140 

168 

212 
228 



XV 



A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

CHAPTER I 

THE HUNT 

" Skilled in all tbe craft of hunters, 
Learned in all the lore of old men." 

— Longfellow. 

About fifty years ago, on one of those balmy, 
spring-like mornings towards the end of February, 
when winter seemed for a time to have given 
place to summer, a party of red-coated equestrians 
was assembled. The scene was in what has 
been called the "Garden of Ireland/ 1 and at 
one of the prettiest demesnes in it, that belong- 
ing to my father, John Parnell, Avondale, in the 
county of Wicklow. The occasion for which 
horsemen and hounds had met together was to 
endeavour to run to earth a particularly obnoxious 
fox, who had been making too free with my 
father's lambs, and, in fact, had been rendering 
himself a very great nuisance all round. My 
father, the courteous Master of the Hounds, which 
he kept at Avondale, was mounted on a splendid 



2 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

white horse, his favourite steed, which he had 
had for many years. I, his little daughter 
Cora, 1 aged seven, sitting on a pretty, sleepy- 
looking pony, was by his side in a state of 
repressed excitement, this being my first day 
with hounds and my second on the back of a 
pony. 

Whilst waiting for the start, my father utilised 
the time in giving me a few instructions : " Give 
your pony his head, Cora," he told me, "don't 
attempt to check him ; follow me, and don't hold 
on to the crupper. Tou mustn't give yourself 
a bad habit to begin with." 

Here the "Halloo" sounding, Master Reynard 
having been unearthed, the field started in hot 
pursuit, my father leading, and turning round in 
his saddle now and again, with the easy grace 
of a skilful and experienced rider, to throw a 
glance of encouragement to me, who followed 
closely and obeyed implicitly his injunctions 
from post to finish. The . sleepy-looking pony 
had suddenly wakened up at the first sound of 
the horn, and displayed his mettle by proving 
himself a born hunter, and able to jump, not 
only as well as any horse in the field, but better 
than most My father looked, as he felt, very 
proud of his daughter, and indeed my small 

1 My mother's name for me— not my real one. 



THE HUNT ' 3 

head was in considerable danger of being turned 
by all the compliments and flattering speeches I 
received? on my riding, which all said promised 
to develop later on into horsemanship, or rather 
horsewomanship, of a superior order. Having 
been presented with the brush, I chattered 
happily to my father on the way home, as we 
rode along the road at a slow pace, it being a 
rule of his, unalterable as the law of the Medes 
and Persians, never to ride his hunters fast on 
hard ground. 

At Avondale a roaring wood fire in the huge 
hall, which reached up to the roof, greeted the 
tired sportsmen, and imparted to the old house 
a look of comfort and cheer. This hall was the 
most distinguished feature of the house. A 
carved oak gallery ran across the upper end, 
the railing of which was hung with what were 
the proudest trophies of the family, relics of 
the bravery of their ancestors. 

A dinner party had been organised for that 
evening, so rooms had been prepared for the 
guests who had been hunting, in which to 
exchange their scarlet coats for black. Needless 
to say, they found the good fires and warm water, 
not to mention a tumbler of hot punch with 
which they had been provided, most acceptable. 

My mother, a beautiful and accomplished 



4 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

American, still quite a young woman, was par- 
ticularly famous for her talents as hostess, and 
in the good old days when hospitality was 
extensively and generously practised, she had 
ample scope for the exercise of her talent in 
this respect She was even more charming than 
usual this evening, for having been uneasy all 
day about me, the reaction on getting me back 
safe imparted a greater vivacity to her manner 
than it generally possessed. 

Having been allowed to dine late in honour 
of the occasion, and being much too excited to 
feel tired, I was a source of great amusement 
to the staid and elderly squire to whose lot it 
had fallen to take me in to dinner. The chief 
event of this meal was the entrance to dessert 
of a dark-eyed, intelligent-looking boy of the 
tender age of three, my brother, Charles Stewart 
Parnell, destined in after years to play a 
prominent part on life's stage, who for the 
moment absorbed the general attention. When 
his name, coupled with mine, was proposed as 
a toast, the happiness of that happy day had 
reached a climax, so my mother, having given 
the customary signal for the retirement of the 
ladies to the drawing-room, thought her little 
girl had had enough excitement, and rang the 
bell for the nurse to take me to bed. 



THE HUNT s 

I was one of a large family, which at the 
time this story opens consisted of six children 
— Delia and Hayes, both older than me, and 
John, Katherine, and Charles, who were younger. 
The eldest, Delia, was at a boarding-school in 
Paris, and was then about fourteen. My father 
was a wealthy and very handsome man, belonging 
to one of the best old Irish families. Soon after 
attaining his majority he had, whilst travelling 
with his cousin, Lord Powerscourt, met, fallen 
violently in love with, and married the lovely 
and only daughter of Admiral Stewart, then in 
command of a man-of-war, who distinguished 
himself brilliantly in his profession. The young 
bride of seventeen spent her honeymoon on the 
Atlantic, on her way over from America to Ire- 
land, and the sudden transformation from having 
been the belle of New York to the solitudes 
of Avondale, appears at first to have been a 
great disappointment to her. My father went 
in for farming on an extensive scale, which, 
joined to his being an ardent lover of all kinds 
of sport, kept him very much in the open air, 
so that my mother, not caring for outdoor 
recreations, was in consequence left a good 
deal alone, and naturally, in contrast to the 
gay life she had led in America, found it dull 
and lonely. However, when in due course 



6 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

children began to come, she no longer complained 
so much of loneliness or want of occupation, 
though she never took kindly to the country or 
country pursuits. 

After my successful dUbut in the hunting-field, 
I was permitted to accompany my father on most 
future hunting occasions. I was an extremely 
delicate child, having come into the world too 
soon, and had been ordered to ride a great deal 
for my health, and as this was an exercise I was 
passionately fond of, the prescription accorded 
well with my inclination. The local doctor 
having given it as his opinion that I would not 
live to be twenty-one, my father resolved that 
no care on his part should be wanting to prove 
the man of medicine wrong, and, indeed, I 
have always considered that it was owing to 
the tender and unremitting care of my father 
that I did live, not only to grow up, but to a 
good old age. My birth was heralded by a 
series of catastrophes. A house party being 
in course of progress at Avondale, a certain 

Lord U , one of the guests, whose sight 

was very defective, offered to treat some of 
the ladies to a drive on an outside car, which 
offer was eagerly accepted, my mother form- 
ing one of the party. All went well until on 
returning, Lord U , failing to see in the 




THE HUNT 7 

waning light of a short winter's day, a particularly 
crooked tree at the gate, drove right against it, 
upsetting car, horse, and the whole party, himself 
included. My mother was thrown with her head 
under the horse, from which perilous position 
she was rescued by her husband, who had come 
running down from the house, distraught with 
anxiety, immediately on hearing of the accident 
Another lady had broken her arm, a third having 
sustained various minor injuries, and that night, 
whilst the distracted doctor rushed from one 
sufferer to another, I was ushered into this vale 
of tears. 

The five years succeeding my introduction to 
the hounds passed uneventfully for me. I spent 
the time chiefly on a pony's back as my father's 
companion. Returning from a day's hunting at 
his usual walking pace, he would lessen the 
tedium of it by imparting to me some of his 
own rare knowledge regarding horses. This gave 
me much useful information and practical in- 
struction which afterwards — when the time came 
that I was obliged to keep my horses without 
any help, except that afforded by a groom — was 
a great aid to me. I never forgot those early 
lessons, but treasured them up, and it was partly 
due to this early and good training that I had a 
record of fifty years' almost uninterrupted success 



8 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

and satisfaction with horses, such as is seldom 
the portion of any one who has gone through the 
multitudinous vexations and disappointments that 
horse-flesh is heir to. One of the maxims my 
father impressed on me was, "Never to leave to 
the groom anything I could do myself." No 
doubt my observance of this was one reason 
why my horses were seldom or never "laid up," 
even with a cold, or unable for their work, except 
from an accident — and even accidents were of 
rare occurrence. 

On wet days we children would play together 
in the big hall, which was capacious enough tp 
drive a coach and four round. In a large family 
the different members often divide in twos and 
twos, each one having his own special "chum." 
Thus Hayes and I were chums, John and 
Katherine, whilst the latest arrival, baby Fanny, 
fell to the share of Charles, who from an early 
age exhibited a masterful propensity for dictating 
to and managing others, assuming the leadership 
and trying to set the world and its pilgrims right. 
In order to get his own way with his brothers 
and sisters he would "butt" us all round with 
his head, like a goat, so that he acquired the 
name amongst us of " Butt-head." His high 
spirits, which would not brook control, proved 
a source of great trouble to his nurses, and later 



THE HUNT 9 

on to his governesses and tutors, who, one and 
all, found themselves incapable of managing him, 
though a word of tender remonstrance from his 
mother would appeal at once to his affectionate 
disposition, and curb his most turbulent out- 
breaks of passionate temper. 

At twelve years of age I first met Arthur 
Monroe Dickinson, whose people resided near 
Avondale, for whom I formed a childish attach- 
ment. A year later my brother Hayes, just 
sixteen, met with an accident in the hunting- 
field, from the effects of which he afterwards died. 
From this calamity my father never fully recovered, 
and not caring to hunt again he sold the hounds. 

My mother had always dreaded these hunting- 
days for her children, predicting that some day one 
of them would be brought back dead; but her 
husband had invariably ridiculed her fears, main- 
taining that there could be no danger for his 
children, as they were all born riders. He forgot 
that as many, if not more, accidents are Caused 
from the bad riding of others as from bad riding 
on the part of the individuals themselves; and 
this happened in the case of my brother Hayes, 
whose death was caused by the clumsy horse- 
manship of another rider behind him — Captain 
Ormsby — who, in allowing his horse to "rush" 
a double ditch, simply " rode over " him. 



io A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

My mother in later years had taken to resid- 
ing a great deal in Paris with her mother and 
brother, the former haying refused to live any 
longer with Admiral Stewart, for domestic reasons. 
Meanwhile several other children had been born 
in our family. The attachment between Arthur 
and me continued to progress without inter- 
ference, so that by the time we had attained the 
respective ages of fifteen and twenty, we were 
mutually very much in love, and became privately 
engaged. Arthur had been for some years in the 
army. He was a fine, manly young fellow, but 
possessed no means excepting his pay; so he 
and I agreed to wait for one another, and to 
keep our engagement to ourselves until Arthur, 
now a lieutenant, should get his promotion, and 
be in a position to ask for me openly from my 
father. Meanwhile we were able to meet but 
rarely, Arthur's regiment being quartered in 
England, where his military duties demanded 
his presence. 

The following winter my eldest sister went to 
stay with her aunt, Lady Howard, for her first 
London season. Delia Parnell was considered 
very beautiful. She was of medium height, with 
perfectly modelled figure, like a Venus. Her 
hair, soft, and very abundant, of dusky black, 
contrasted with her ivory skin. When relieved 



THE HUNT ii 

by a light flush she looked radiant. Her 
features were of the Grecian cast, and her 
eyes were soft and dark, with melancholy 
depths in them. She looked forward to a 
great success in London, and to making a good 
marriage. 

My father took me to Paris in order that my 
education should be finished at the same boarding- 
school which my sister had recently left. This 
was a large one, consisting of a hundred girls of 
different nationalities — English, Irish, American, 
French, German, Greek, Italian, Jewish, and 
Armenian. I worked hard, and was specially dis- 
tinguished for my dancing and music. My sister, 
Delia, meanwhile was enjoying all the success, 
and even far more than she had anticipated, in 
London, where her dark style of beauty, set off 
to the utmost by her great natural taste in dress, 
created quite a sensation. After reigning as one 
of the greatest beauties of the day for three suc- 
cessive seasons, she accepted the proposal of a Mr. 
Livingstone Thomson, a millionaire, an American 
of good birth, who had been brought up in Paris. 
When her marriage should have been celebrated 
it was decided that I should take her place at 
Lady Howard's, to be presented and launched 
into society, so that I, in my turn, might make 
a matrimonial choice. Since pledging myself to 



12 A PATBIOT'S MISTAKE 

wait for Arthur, I had had a couple of offers, 
both good from a worldly point of view, but true 
to my boy lover, I unhesitatingly refused both. 

Arthur and I had now been secretly engaged 
for three years, during which period we had 
corresponded regularly, but had seldom met. 
However, absence had only made our love 
grow fonder, as will be seen in the course of 
this narrative. 



CHAPTER II 



SOCIETY IN LONDON 



"Alas! that Spring should vanish with the rose ! 
That Youth's sweet-scented manuscript should close. 
The nightingale, that in the branches sang, 
Ah ! where, and whither flown again, who knows ?" 

—Omar Ehattam. 

A labge crowd was collected, on a warm night 
in April, in front of the superb mansion of Lord 

W in Park Lane to watch the entrance 

of the privileged few hundreds invited to the 
ball of the season. Tired chaperons, very much 
rouged and done up, adorned with sparkling 
diamonds and in gorgeous attire, and fresh 
young girls daintily dressed in white, palpitating 
with excitement, and full of joyous anticipation, 
stepped on the crimson cloth laid down for 
the protection of white satin slippers, and joined 
in the general mStee on the wide staircase. At 

the top of this Lord W stood receiving his 

guests, as they slowly and laboriously pushed 
their way up. 

Lady Howard and I, her dtbutante, were 
amongst the latest arrivals. Having shaken 

»3 



14 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

hands with her host, my aunt introduced me 
—one who had not long left Paris after a 
residence of three years there. 

"So you are a sister of the famous beauty!" 
was Lord W *s first observation. 

" Yes," I replied, " I am not the rose, but I am 
the next best thing, I am related to the rose." 

" Not so sure of that," Lord W answered, 

laughing, "I mean about your not being the 
rose. However, that is a matter of opinion/ 1 
His attention being here claimed by fresh arrivals, 
who had triumphantly surmounted the difficulties 
of the staircase, my chaperon and I passed on 
into the crowded dancing-room, where Lady 
Howard was presently besieged with numerous 
applications for an introduction to the sister of 
the late popular belle, and I was soon busy 
writing down the names of my would-be partners. 

A valse striking up, I was whirled away in 
the arms of an officer, who discoursed on the 
attractions of my eldest sister. The following 
set of lancers I danced with an elderly baronet, 
who likewise discoursed on the same theme. 

After another valse and quadrille — Lord W 

having danced the latter, being at length relieved 
from his post at the head of the stairs — just as a 
spirited valse again commenced, made his way 
over to me. 



SOCIETY IN LONDON 15 

" I hope it is not too late, Miss Parnell, to ask 
for a dance, and trust you have been charitable 
enough to keep one for a poor devil who was 
much too handicapped to look out in time for 
himself/' scanning my card as he spoke. Observ- 
ing the next few dances were all engaged, and 
knowing that Lady Howard never stayed long, 
he coolly wrote his own name on the top of the 
one belonging to the prior claimant for the dance 
about to begin, and heedless of my remonstrances 
or the scowling visage of a gentleman bearing 
down upon us, he put his arm round my waist, 
and hurled me off in the giddy throng. 

Lord W , at this time, was about forty 

years of age. To me, a girl of eighteen, he 
seemed quite old. He was regarded as the 
greatest catch of the season, and many a manoeuv- 
ring mother had tried in vain to secure him for 
her daughter. A fine-looking man, though not 
exactly handsome, he was also a desperate flirt. 
Having strict ideas respecting the conduct of 
"an engaged 91 young lady, which I considered 
could not be too dignified, I resented his free 
and easy manners and his attempts at familiarities, 
especially on so short an acquaintance. Snubbing 
on the part of the fair sex being such a novelty 

to a man in Lord W *s position naturally, 

instead of repulsing, only attracted him all the 



1 6 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

more, and his attentions to the fresh object of 
his admiration grew more marked as the night 
went on. Notwithstanding Lord W *s un- 
welcome advances, or rather perhaps because of 
them, for, of course, so much notice from my 
host procured me plenty from others, I thoroughly 
enjoyed my ball, which was a magnificent scene 
of light, gaiety, and animation. I eagerly dis- 
cussed the events of the evening with my aunt, 
whilst driving home in the carriage. Lady 
Howard was surprised as well as pleased by her 
debutante's success, for as she did not consider 
me even pretty, and coming immediately after 
my beautiful sister, she had not expected such 
a triumph. 

" But I don't like Lord W , Aunt Mary," 

I informed her, " he was quite insulting, squeez- 
ing my hand and waist, and once, on finding 
himself alone with me on the balcony, he actually 
tried to kiss me ! " 

Lady Howard laughed. "Oh! little Cora," 
she replied, patting me on the back, "men are 
all like that" 

" I think it is disgusting," I retorted ; " I don't 
mean to allow them to insult me, whatever others 
may do ; but I won't let the unpleasant remem- 
brance spoil my evening, which otherwise was 
lovely." 



SOCIETY IN LONDON 17 

Other balls succeeded this one. Between 
riding with my uncle, Sir Ralph Howard, in the 
park in the mornings, driving, returning cards, 
or putting in an appearance at some al fresco 
entertainment in the country in the afternoons 
with my aunt, and attending two or often three 
balls at night, I was kept fully occupied in the 
pursuit of pleasure. My uncle had paid a high 
price for a very handsome young black horse, 
which he had bought for me to ride in the park 
with him, and had also presented me with a new 
riding-habit, made by the best London tailor. 

One morning soon after my arrival in London, 
as my uncle and I were taking our ride, we were 
joined by Sir William Fraser, Lady Howard's 
eldest son and stepson to Sir Ralph, also on 
horseback, riding a beautiful bay. Sir Ralph in- 
troduced him to me, and he and I forthwith got 
deeply into the subject of horses, a most congenial 
topic to both. Sir William was one of those rare 
individuals called " woman-haters." Stepping on 
to forty, he had never been known to take any 
notice of ladies, and entertained an especial aver- 
sion to girls in the bread-and-butter stage. He 
was rich, and possessed a nice house in London, 
where he lived en garpon, and had some of the 
best horses procurable for money in his stables. 
I had often heard my sister mention him as having 

B 



1 8 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

systematically avoided her whilst stopping with 
his mother, and was prepared for similar treat- 
ment with respect to myself. It rather surprised 
me, therefore, when instead he continued to ride 
with me and his stepfather, and appeared to enjoy 
discussing the (to him) all-important subject of 
horse-flesh, of which he possessed considerable 
knowledge. A couple of days after the first 
meeting I met him again at a dinner party at 
Lady Howard's. On the gentlemen joining 
the ladies in the drawing-room after dinner, 
Sir William sought me out, and to the intense 
astonishment of his mother and all present, re- 
mained talking by my side during the remainder 
of his stay. 

He asked me several questions. " How I liked 
London ?" "If I had been to many balls, 1 ' and 
"Whether I was going to be presented at the 
approaching drawing-room." Finally, he asked, 
"Who dressed me." 

"My maid," I answered wonderingly, not 
understanding. 

" Oh ! I mean, does my mother or your father 
pay for your dresses ? " 

"Of course, my father does; but in point of 
fact, nobody has to pay for my dresses as I wear 
my sister's old ones, which she left here, and 
which have been altered for me. Even this dress 



SOCIETY IN LONDON 19 

I have on now/' indicating a pretty white frock I 
wore. " is an old one of Delia's." 

Sir William laughed. "Well, you look very 
nice in it, whatever it is ; but it's not every young 
lady who would confess to wearing her sister's 
old clothes, or be satisfied to do so/ 9 Then he 
added, "And is the perfect-fitting riding-habit 
you had on the other day, which made you look 
so fetching, also an old garment of your sister 
Delia's?" 

"Oh, no! Uncle Ralph gave me that habit 
He wrote to my father before I came, stipulating 
that whatever I wore, I mustn't wear any old 
riding-habits, as he wanted me to do him credit 
in the park on horseback/ 9 

" Which you certainly do, and in my opinion 
you look better in the saddle than Delia; but 
it's a pity my respected stepfather isn't as careful 
of his own appearance as he is of that of his niece 
and his groom." Here be it stated in explana- 
tion, that Sir Ralph Howard always selected the 
oldest and most shabby clothes he possessed for 
riding gear, and carried a big cotton umbrella 
under one arm, which accentuated the odd look 
of his attire. He always rode the handsomest 
horse he could procure, for he was not exempt 
from the family trait of love for, and knowledge of, 
horse-flesh. Its accoutrements were faultless, and 



20 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

he took care that his groom should be, not only 
as well mounted as himself, but also that he 
should always be as smartly turned out as possible. 
This evidence of eccentricity on his part was of 
such note, that he was once caricatured by Punch, 
riding in clothes ragged and torn on a splendid 
horse, carrying his cotton umbrella, with a groom 
behind, likewise on a magnificent Horse, but ex- 
ceedingly well dressed, and minus the umbrella. 
Another incident related of him is, that soon after 
his marriage with Lady Fraser, he did not, at 
the first ball she gave as Lady Howard, know 
his own guests. Neither was he known to them, 
for being a man of reserved and quiet habits, and 
having a distaste for society, he had never mixed 
much in social functions, and did not do so even 
with his wife. On being told by Lady Howard 
to take the Duchess of Kent, whom she pointed 
out to him, into supper, he walked up to her 
Grace and offered his arm. 

" Sir ! " exclaimed the indignant lady, drawing 
herself up and surveying Sir Ralph through her 
eye-glass all over, " who are you f " 

"Your host, madame, Sir Ralph Howard," 
replied Sir Ralph, bowing. 

" Oh ! " was the exclamation of the disconcerted 
Duchess, who, with a gracious smile at once ac- 
cepted the proffered arm. 



SOCIETY IN LONDON 21 

But to return to our subject. After some 
further conversation, Sir William made his adieux 
to the company in general, and to his mother in 
particular, to whom, en passant, he observed, " A 
jolly little girl that, mother, in the white muslin 
dress, which, she tells me, is an old rag of Delia's ; 
plenty of go in her ; to my taste preferable to any 
of your society beauties." 

Lady Howard, feeling slightly bewildered, and 
as if nothing would ever surprise her again, 
at this remark of her misogynist son, requested 
me to play something. I immediately complied, 
and seated myself at the piano. I was a very 
good instrumental performer, but had not yet 
attained the height of my abilities as a musician. 
Later on, some said that my execution and ex- 
pression did not fall short of the great Thalberg, 
and that, next to himself, nobody else had ever 
been able to play the music of this celebrated 
composer so well. 

In a few days the drawing-room came off, and 
I made my curtsey to the Queen. I found the 
function insufferably dull and tedious, but ac- 
quitted myself to my aunt's satisfaction. Of 
course, as a debutante my dress was entirely 
white, simple and suitable to my years, but as 
one white dress is so like another, it can be 
left to the imagination of the reader. Lady 



22 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

Howard was one blaze of diamonds, was be- 
comingly rouged, and wore a handsome gown 
of cream lace over crimson satin, and a crimson 
satin train trimmed with cream, and white, and 
yellow flowers. 

The ball that followed was the crowning event 
of that season, and had been eagerly anticipated 
by me and other debutantes of the year, as well 
as by many in the political world for less girlish 
reasons. It was hoped that a certain great 
statesman/ then nearing the close of his brilliant 
public career, would appear at it, and that from 
his reception by royalty, an inkling might be 
gained of the probable duration of his admini- 
stration. The consequent crowded attendance 
and subdued buzz of excitement lent life and 
colour to a function otherwise somewhat stately 
and cold. It was a brilliant panorama of 
colour. The white marble columns of the 
magnificent palace rooms formed a back- 
ground for some of the most beautiful floral 
decorations seen that season, among which, like 
brighter flowers, the lovely dresses and diamonds 
of the guests, contrasting with the varied uni- 
forms, glimmered and shone. My reputation 
for truthfulness would have suffered had I told 
Sir William Fraser that the dress in which I 

1 Lord Palmereton. 



SOCIETY IN LONDON 23 

appeared that evening was one of my sister's 
old ones. I was and looked supremely happy, 
haying been presented by Lady Howard with 
a beautiful gown fresh from Worth's, in which 
I was flatteringly told I looked like a young 
queen. 

At this time I was very slight, and rather 
delicate in appearance. My face had not any 
striking regularity of features or style of beauty, 
but it had life and brightness and magnetism 
in it, was thought uncommon, and one of those 
which for many men have much attraction. 
Whatever may have been the disappointment 
felt in the petticoat world as the result of my 
ball, I felt nothing but the greatest delight, 
being at the age when the cup of pleasure has 
not lost its sparkling foam. Many were the 
wondering and half -envious looks which I 
received from those who had been through 
the mill -round of four or five seasons, and 
had almost forgotten their first enthusiasm for 
court functions. 

like all my family, I had that keen enjoy- 
ment of life and artistic appreciation of form 
and colour which goes with the Celtic blood, 
though some of my charm came from my Ameri- 
can mother. My freshness and youth, set off 
with the Paris gown and the joie de vie 



24 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

which I always possessed, attracted a good deal 
of attention, and won more than a passing smile 
from the royal personages present I was more 
at home on horseback and in the open air than 
in London crushes, and even in my first season 
often thought with regret of my Irish riding 
lessons with my father and the old hunting 
pony. It was to this that my grace as a dancer 
was due, and my card was in great request, 

Lord W and Sir William Eraser vying 

with one another in their homage. 

The latter, leaning against a pillar, had been 
rather morosely regarding me as I spun past 

with Lord W to the strains of a popular 

valse. He had become fond of his naive little 
cousin, and it hurt him to witness the insolent, 
impassioned glances of a satiated rovd bestowed 
on an ignorant child of nature, for as such he 
considered me. 

At the conclusion of the dance he approached, 
and with scant ceremony held out his arm to 
take me away from my present partner, but 

Lord W , with temper, protested that Miss 

Farnell was engaged to him for the next. 

I glanced at Sir William, and meeting his 
serious true eyes fixed on me with a wistful 
expression, immediately asserted I was tired 
and would dance no more that night, so 




SOCIETY IN LONDON 25 

releasing myself from Lord W I took my 

cousin's arm and allowed him to lead me off 
in triumph. 

"Cousin mine/' said Sir William, "do you 
know you are responsible for much in bringing 
an elderly bachelor like me to a scene such 
as this?" 

"How so, William?" I asked. 

We were now great friends. 

"Why, because I never go to balls, and had 
firmly resolved I wouldn't come to this, but 
sitting comfortably before the fire in my arm- 
chair, a provoking, piquant, dear little face 
obtruded itself before my mental vision, beckon- 
ing me with a tiny finger to come and see how 
peacock, otherwise court, plumage became her, 
so here I am. By Jove ! you look too stunning 
for mortal man to resist" 

I laughed. " Oh, William, it was good of you 
to take me away from Lord W I do 

detest him so, but Aunt Mary would be cross 
if I wasn't civil to him." 

"Poor child. You have a hard time of it; 
but never mind, trust to me, and I will make 
your lot smoother if I can." 

This was the last occasion on which I was 
destined to meet my cousin, as after events 
caused our paths in life to diverge ; but I 



26 A PATRICKS MISTAKE 

always remembered him with warm feelings of 
cousinly affection, and of gratitude for his 
championship. 

The guests did not separate till very late, the 
ball being the closing one of the season, and most 
of them woke up the next morning with a sigh 
of relief to think of rest and change and the 
free air of the moor or sea. 

Just now a great piece of bad luck befell me, 
an ill omen, the superstitious would say, of the 
far heavier trouble that was to follow. On enter- 
ing the stable one morning the groom found the 
beautiful black horse I rode, for which my uncle 
had given such a big price, dead. Mystery en- 
veloped his death, as there was nothing whatever 
to explain it I had ridden him the previous 
day, and the animal had never been in better 
health or spirits, or more fit. However, the 
events which followed, bringing sorrow thick and 
fast in their train, soon obliterated the remem- 
brance of the lesser evil ; but I must not anticipate. 

Arthur's regiment having recently been moved 
to Aldershot, he wrote to me appointing a 
day and hour to visit me, so calling one 
morning at Lady Howard's house in Bel- 
grave Square, he asked for Miss Parnell, and 
was informed by the big powdered flunkey, with 
irreproachable calves, at the door, that " by her 




SOCIETY IN LONDON 27 

ladyship's orders no gentlemen were to be ad- 
mitted to see Miss Farnell." 1 

"Indeed! Well, I intend to be an excep- 
tion," said Arthur, determined that nothing 
should stand in the way of his seeing his lady- 
love. The man, in obedience to his instructions, 
tried to arrest his progress towards the staircase, 
but Arthur's strong arm, shooting out, thrust him 
against the wall. Another equally big powdered 
flunkey, with calves to match, standing in the 
background, at this crisis thought it best to come 
to his comrade's assistance, but Arthur's other 
arm quickly disposed of him also, so as no 
further barrier existed he ascended the stair- 
case, and finding his little sweetheart, who had 
been listening in fear and trepidation to the 
altercation in the hall, r awaiting him at the top 
of the first flight, walked after me into the 
drawing-room. 

In five minutes, much to our consternation, 
Lady Howard sailed in, accompanied by Sir 
Ralph. After half-an-hours constrained con- 
versation the latter went away, and Arthur and 
I had barely time to make an appointment to 
meet in the square the next day at twelve 
o'clock when the door opened, and one of the 
big flunkeys, who had not yet recovered the 

1 In these days young girls were very strictly chaperoned. 



28 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

unceremonious treatment he had received, 
entered, and announced in stentorian tones, 
blended with an air of ill-concealed satisfaction, 
that "Sir Ralph Howard desired to speak to 
Miss Parnell in the study!" 

Divining thereupon I was "in" for it, and 
hastily wishing Arthur " good-bye," the powdered 
footman waiting to have the pleasure of showing 
him out, I descended with quaking heart but 
dauntless mien. 

"Cora, who is that gentleman?" demanded 
Sir Ralph in stern tones and with a sterner 
face. 

" A Mr. Dickinson. I have known him since 
a child," was my reply. 

"Is your father acquainted with him?" 

" Yes." 

"Hum! I will write to your father. That 
is all I have to say at present" 

I felt myself dismissed and in disgrace. 

The next day I met Arthur according to 
appointment in the square. Now I had no 
horse to ride, so I was in the habit of walking 
alone every morning about twelve o'clock. After 
taking a turn, Arthur and I sat down on a seat 
in the arbour, and just as Arthur, encircling me 
with his arm, was taking the kisses which absence 
had long denied him, Lady Howard glided by. 




SOCIETY IN LONDON 29 

She passed us with a sweeping bow, and walked 
on without a word. 

" She is angry ; go after her/ 9 advised Arthur, 
and I went, overtaking her on the doorstep. In 
my flurry I had locked Arthur into the square, 
which at the time was deserted, except by him- 
self, but this did not occur to me at the moment. 

" Aunt Mary, I am very sorry/ 9 1 began. 

" I hope you are, and am more surprised than 
I can say that a daughter of John Parnell's could 
be capable of such conduct ! " 

"But we are engaged, though nobody knows 
it/ 9 1 explained, to account for the kissing. 

" The fact of your having formed an engage- 
ment without the knowledge of your family only 
makes your behaviour worse. Besides, being 
engaged is no excuse for allowing a man to kiss 

you. Your friend, Adelaide L ," alluding to 

one of the beauties of the season, " would, I am 
sure, rather cut off her right hand than permit 

Colonel S to take such a liberty, although 

she is engaged to be married to him/ 9 In after 

years this same Adelaide L was divorced 

from her husband, Colonel S , for permitting 

too much familiarity on the part of another man. 

I felt inclined to retort that my aunt had not 

seen any harm in Lord W 9 s attempted 

familiarities, though possessing no right what- 



30 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

ever, but desisted. Lady Howard and I had 
meanwhile been taking a turn up a side street. 
After a lengthened lecture on the part of the 
former, to which I listened in silence, we returned 
to the house on fairly friendly terms. On reach- 
ing my room it suddenly occurred to me that 
Arthur had been locked in ever since, so in con- 
sternation I hastened back to the square to 
unlock the gate, in ignorance that Lady Howard 
was watching me from the window. 

My aunt afterwards made the most of this as 
a proof that my professions of repentance were 
not to be relied on, and it helped to augment the 
storm which presently descended on my head, 
under which even my intrepid spirit threatened 
to quail. Sir Ralph wrote relating with exag- 
geration the whole episode to my father, stating 
that I was too wild, and that he could not under- 
take the responsibility which the care of such a 
reckless girl would entail. 

My father happened to be ill at the time, and 
with the exaggerated imagination of illness, the 
affair assumed distorted and gigantic proportions 
in his mind. Leaving his bed in order to fulfil 
a long-standing engagement to play in a big 
international cricket match, in direct disobedience 
to his doctor's orders, who told him if he did so 
it would surely cost him his life, he went straight 




SOCIETY IN LONDON 31 

from the cricket match to his solicitor's in order 
to make his will, by which act it would seem he 
had a prevision that the verdict of the doctor 
would prove right. After a short illness, every 
one was startled by news of his death, and Sir 
Ralph was summoned over to Dublin to attend 
to the arrangements of his nephew's funeral. 
My mother also hurried over, on receiving a 
telegram, from Paris, having been joined in 
London by me. 

On my father's will being read it was found 
that, in consequence of his anger at my having 
made an engagement unknown to him, he had 
omitted the name of his favourite daughter, who 
was therefore at the start of life left penniless. 
This, however, did not concern me much then, 
for having been very fond of my father, I was 
too much stunned by his death, especially under 
the unhappy circumstances, to have any feeling 
except the acutest sorrow for a dearly loved 
father, who had ever been good and kind to 
me. Indeed, if anything, he had erred in being 
only too fond of his children. 

This was my first real trouble, and one not 
easy "to get over/ 9 as the saying is. In a 
nature like mine keenly felt emotions were 
liable to take a deep root, and it was many 
years before my grief for my father was even 



32 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

partially assuaged. I felt it so much the first 
year that my mother, finding all her efforts to 
rouse me powerless, and becoming alarmed, in- 
sisted on consulting a doctor, who prescribed 
" distraction/ 9 it being his opinion that if I 
continued to dwell so constantly on one subject 
my reason would be endangered. Time, how- 
ever, the great physician, came to my aid, as it 
invariably does sooner or later, in spite of our 
want of faith and belief in it. Though we 
pass through sorrow and tribulation, these cannot 
last for ever; and however poignant our grief 
may be at first, or even for long after, it must 
eventually pale as the years go by, for it has 
been ordained by a wisdom greater than man's 
that grief in its most acute stage cannot be of 
long duration, but must in due course be 
replaced by a milder form of sorrow called 
" resignation. 9 ' 

Well for us it is so, as otherwise we could 
scarce go on living, and certainly could never 
again feel any enjoyment of life. Let us be 
thankful that most of us possess a fund of 
elasticity which enables us in time to overcome, 
to a certain extent, the most overwhelming and 
crushing strokes of fate. 



I 



CHAPTER III 

THE WEDDING 

" Oh, there's nothing half bo sweet in life 
Ab love's young dream. 19 

—Moor*. 

After my father's death his children and his 
property were put into Chancery. In his will 
he had appointed Sir Ralph Howard guardian 
of both, but Sir Ralph declining to act as 
"guardian of the persons/' the Court selected 
my mother for that office, and it was settled 
that a liberal allowance should be paid to her 
for the expenses of living, education, &c. 

The first winter following the sad occurrence 
was passed quietly by the family at Avondale, 
which in the spring, by order of the Court, was 
let pending the majority of my brother Charles. 
It may be as well to mention here that in his 
testamentary disposition my father had passed oyer 
his eldest son John, for no explicit reason, in 
favour of his younger son Charles, to whom he 
had left the principal family estate, Avondale, 
John inheriting merely the portion of a younger 
son. Both John and Charles were very young 

33 c 



34 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

when their father died, and the former had never 
offended him in any way, so nobody could under- 
stand the reason of this apparent act of injustice. 
Certain it is, however, that my father's will, and 
Charles's consequent accession and heritage as 
the eldest son, never brought him any blessing, 
but quite the contrary. It might have been 
better for him if he had remained in the position 
of a younger son, instead of having been given 
the place which belonged by moral right to his 
elder brother. An unjust will never brings a 
blessing to the one who profits by it 

My mother, in obedience to the Lord Chan* 
cellor's commands, took a house at the seaside. 
She would have liked to take her children away 
to London or Paris, but was prohibited by the 
Court from taking them out of Ireland. We 
had masters, and a resident tutor and a German 
governess. There my mother made an acquaint- 
ance of one who ingratiated himself into her 
favour by helping her, as a friend, in her law 
business and other matters. My sister and I 
were thus thrown a good deal in his way. She 
was now about fifteen and very lovely, but of a 
totally different style of beauty to her sister, Delia 
Livingstone Thomson. She was exceedingly fair, 
with an abundance of golden hair, which hung like 
an aureole around her. Her figure was tall and 



THE WEDDING 35 

willowy. She had large and dark blue eyes, the 
typical Irish eyes, straight features, and a com- 
plexion with the delicate pink often seen on the 
inside of sea shells, forming altogether a bewilder- 
ing picture that was hardly of the earth. Mother's 
friend, who excelled in sharpness and clever- 
ness, was an adept in flirting, and his audacity 
in this respect, I thought, fully equalled, or even 

surpassed, if that were possible, Lord W 's. 

He first directed his attention towards me, which 
culminated in an offer of marriage, although he 
knew I considered myself engaged. When re- 
jected by me, he transferred his homage and 
affections to my sister, with whom he made such 
good use of his opportunities and influence, that 
on her attaining the age of sixteen he persuaded 
her to elope with him, without the knowledge 
of her ngpther, who was ill at the time, or that 
of her family, even running the risk of the Lord 
Chancellor's anger. They were married in Scot- 
land, according to the Scotch fashion, after which 
my sister returned to her family, she and her 
husband having decided on keeping their mar- 
riage secret until the former should come of age, 
and be discharged as a ward of Court 

Meanwhile, sufficient time having elapsed since 
my father's death, my mother was ordered by 
the Court to take a house in Dublin, so that 



36 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

her elder daughters might have the advantages 
of a Dublin season. Lord Carlisle was then 
Lord-Lieutenant, and an old friend of my 
mother's. Now, taking advantage of such an 
excellent opportunity of renewing his former 
friendship, he "took her under his wing 11 and 
secured to her and her daughters introductions 
to the best houses and families which Dublin 
society afforded, so that my mother's I first en- 
trance into the social atmosphere of Dublin took 
place under the most favourable auspices. Lord 
Carlisle directed that invitations should be sent 
to her to all his own entertainments, either public 
or private, including the dinner parties, on which 
occasions he showed her every personal attention, 
and at balls introduced partners himself to my 
sister and me. He also insisted that the names 
of my mother and her two daughters should be 
amongst those on the list submitted to him for 
every private party at which he intended to be 
present My sister, her secret still kept, had 
admirers innumerable, and took very kindly to 
all the adulation and admiration showered upon 
her. She and I now led a very gay life, running 
the giddy round of vain delights, and living in 
a world made up of drives and rides, dinners, 
kettle-drums, balls, concerts and theatres, 
fashionable talk, and everything else that was 



v 



THE WEDDING 37 

light and sparkling. I did not enjoy it; on 
the contrary, the festive scenes I was compelled 
to attend jarred and grated on my mood, and I 
would fain have kept aloof from them altogether, 
but was not allowed to do so. Notwithstanding 
my indifference and distant manner, I had some 

admirers, and one, a barrister, Mr. L , fell 

deeply in love with me, but more of him here- 
after. I was quite content to leave the palm 
of admiration to my lovely sister, of whom I 
was . very fond, and who, in her turn, almost 
idolised me. 

In consequence of the omission of my name 
in my father's will, I could not have been made 
a ward of Chancery, having no money, without 
a certain sum being deposited in Court, so an 
uncle of mine, Mr. Wigram, belonging to the sect 
of the Plymouth Brethren, on hearing that 
Admiral Stewart, who had retired on full pay, 
had offered to give his grand-daughter a home, 
determined I should not be allowed to live in 
such a questionable atmosphere, as he rightly 
considered a residence under his roof could not 
fail to be. He therefore paid down the necessary 
amount required to make me a ward of Court, as 
he knew very well the Lord Chancellor would 
not permit me to go to live in America. 

Mr. Wigram himself, a little later on, offered to 



38 A PATBIOTS MISTAKE 

adopt me, and to settle by deed five hundred a 
year on me for life, which offer was formally laid 
before the Court, the only condition being that 
I should live with him and my aunt, his wife, 
instead of with my mother. This offer, in the 
interests of his penniless ward, the Lord Chan- 
cellor felt bound to consider, and finally he 
decided that the decision should be left to 
myself, who, he said, was not to be influenced 
by any one. I, however, knew my mother was 
very much troubled by the possibility of losing 
me. A day was settled for me to announce my 
decision in Court, but, haying previously made up 
my mind, I felt no nervousness or perplexity 
when the decisive moment arrived. Lord Chan- 
cellor Brady, a nice kind old man, whom even 
the imposing grandeur of the law could not 
make stern, took me into a small private room, 
and asked me to choose between my mother 
on one part and my uncle and five hundred a 
year for life on the other. I replied I would 
not leave my mother. " God bless you, my 
child," said the old Lord Chancellor, putting 
his hand in fatherly benediction on my head. 
In later years these words often came back to 
my remembrance. The Lord Chancellor having 
heard of the youthful engagement, had from 
the first issued a decided veto against any 



THE WEDDING 39 

communication whatever between the lovers. I 
wa8 too much afraid of getting my mother, being 
our guardian, into trouble, to attempt to in- 
fringe this edict; so for three years succeeding 
my father's death Arthur and I did not meet 
once, or even correspond. On coming of age 
I was dismissed as a ward of Chancery. Lady 
Howard then sent me a pressing invitation to 
spend another season in London with her, but 
I positively refused to do so, the remembrance 
of the previous one with its tragic ending being 
still too painful, so my sister went instead. 

Soon after, Arthur's regiment was quartered in 
Dublin. My mother withdrew all opposition, and 
laid no further restriction on our meeting, and 
the engagement was publicly given out, so Arthur 
became a constant visitor. His regiment was re- 
nowned for its entertainments, which were con- 
ducted on the most elaborate and expensive scale. 
The next two years, between almost daily inter- 
course at home, frequent meetings in society and 
at balls, on which occasions Arthur always stood 
waiting with a lovely bouquet ready to present 
to his Jhmcde, and riding parties, passed happily. 
Arthur was very popular with his brother officers 
and a great favourite with his coloneL He was 
considered the strongest man in the British army, 
was fair and good-looking, sang well, and was a 



40 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

general pet with the ladies; but though he did 
his share of flirting, as what young man worth 
his salt, made much of by the fair sex, would not ? 
he never for a single moment swerved in his 
devotion to, and love for, his betrothed. I always 
knew this, and that however much he might like 
to amuse himself with others, his heart was mine, 
and mine alone. 

I had some time since reached the zenith of 
my fame as a pianist, and was frequently asked 
to play at the large concerts organised for charit- 
able purposes. My audience often consisted of 
a couple of thousand people. I always played 
without music. A curious proof that my soul 
was in my art was that before any great per- 
formance I often dreamt how execution and 
expression should be rendered. I would then 
play it in exact accordance with my dream, and 
on these occasions I simply surpassed myself. 
Like Thalberg, whose music I chiefly played, 
and which suited my style, I also excelled in 
the pathetic softness with which I played the 
passages that called for expression. These often 
drew tears from the eyes of my hearers. 

After his regiment had been quartered in 
Ireland for two years, Arthur got his promotion, 
and being now in command of a company, he 
pressed me to name the day for our marriage. 



THE WEDDING 41 

The 30th April was settled for the celebration 
of the long-delayed event, which was to take 
place in Dublin. My mother purchased for me a 
very nice trousseau, and invited a large number 
of guests to the wedding breakfast. It was 
the evening before, and all were resting after 
the fatigues of the day. My sister was at the 
piano, playing softly one of Beethoven's minor 
symphonies. I stood by the open window, 
dreamily watching the shadows deepening 
against the ruddy glow of the sky, while my 
mother was dividing her attention between 
a piece of embroidery and thoughts of her 
own youth, when a servant entered with a 
card for me. I took it, and was awakened 
from my abstraction by the name of Mr. 

L . Half angry, and yet puzzled, I looked 

at my mother to know what I should do. 
The servant's entrance had passed unnoticed 
by my sister, so the music still went on, and 
the fair head at the piano did not turn. My 
mother signed to me to go and see him, and 
I, remembering his favourite haunt, went into 
the garden at the back, and found him amongst 
the roses, which were now budding. In my 
long white dress, coming down the path, I 
saw the tall figure standing, half awkwardly, 
yet with a new touch of dignity and manli- 



42 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

ness, and greeted him with quiet friendliness. 
"Yon must forgive me, Cora, for bothering 
yon jnst now/' he said, as we turned to pace 
the path together. "I am not going to in- 
dulge in any high heroics, and I do not grudge 
Captain Monroe Dickinson his good fortune, 
though it is rather a wrench to give up the 
hope of winning you. I had a fancy to see 
you once more before to-morrow, as it is then 
good-bye." 

"How strange men are. I did not think 
you had so much sentiment, but why should 
the fact of my marrying prevent us from being 
friends? Love and marriage are intended to 
widen our sympathies and deepen our friend- 
ships. Ton seem to think I am going to be 
put in a box, and Arthur will have the key." 

Mr. L laughed almost in spite of himself. 

"I do not think it would be easy to keep the 
lid down, but marriage always makes a difference, 
especially with girls. Anyway, I want you to 
promise that you will always regard me as a 
friend, and come to me if wanting any advice, 
or in any difficulty. Ton know I am much 
older than Captain Dickinson, and have more 
experience of the world." 

I readily promised. I had always felt really 
grateful to Mr. L for his devotion to me, 



THE WEDDING 43 

and had regarded him as my best friend. He 
was my ideal of a modern Bayard, sans peur 
et sans reproche, who lived as straight as he 
rode. 

After a few more turns np and down the 
gravelled walk, talking about my future and 
Arthur's plans, I asked him to come to the 
drawing-room to see my mother and sister, as 
they were alone. He, however, declined, saying 
his horse was waiting. 

When the hall door was reached, Mr. L 

again reminded me of the promise I had given. 
"I am not likely to forget it," I replied, "nor 
all your other kindness to me. Good-bye, dear 

Mr. L , I hope you will have all the 

happiness you deserve." Mr. L , unable 

to find words, clasped my hand and suddenly 
put it to his lips. I was rather surprised, and 
must have looked it, as I knew his undemon- 
strative nature, and that he never yielded to 
emotions. Seeing this he lightly quoted Juliet's 
line about parting, and vaulting into his saddle, 
trotted down the street Listening to his horse's 
hoofs, with a slight shadow over the brightness 
of my mood, I walked slowly up to the drawing- 
room, where I found lights, and the conversation 
soon turned on the events of to-morrow. 

We will not emulate a famous novelist in 



44 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

devoting long pages to a description of my 
trousseau. It was lovely and in perfect taste, 
with a beautiful sprinkling of my favourite colour 
in gowns and hats. 

Every one said I made a charming bride. My 
white satin dress, made in the fashion of that day, 
looked more picturesque than our present-day 
style, which too often in aiming at " chic " smart- 
ness loses artistic grace. Its soft flowing folds 
hung round my figure, and the train was carried 
by two cherub-like boys, though at the dtje&ner 
they gave ample proof that their nature was 
anything but angelic. Arthur looked very hand- 
some and happy, but, like all men at their 
wedding, seemed to be making desperate efforts 
to appear quite at his ease, and as if he went 
through the same ordeal every day in the year. 

For the rest, it was much like other weddings. 
There was the usual air of joyous relief and 
restored animation when the ceremony was over, 
and the usual vigorous signs of goodwill from 
the guests and the attendant cherubs, with a 
very unusual display of largesse on the pavement, 
flung by Arthur in acknowledgment of the street- 
boys' cheering. Then came the dSjeHner with 
all the inspiration that makes wit flow and happy 
laughter ring. 

The wedding presents were laid out on a long 



THE WEDDING 45 

table in the library, and proved the popularity 
of both bride and bridegroom. Not only friends, 
but all the servants and workpeople at Avondale 
seemed to be anxious to vie with one another 
in sending tokens of their goodwill, for a love 
match always finds favour, and Arthur's genial 
courtesy had made us popular everywhere. The 
crowning gift, however, was a superb necklace 
and bracelet of diamonds, the present of Charles, 
who had given me away. He had also made me 
a liberal marriage settlement on his estate in 
lieu of the loss I had sustained by having been 
omitted in my father's will. 

I shall now leave the bride and bridegroom 
to themselves for a while, in the enjoyment of 
their mutual love and long-tried affection, which 
had triumphed over and stood firm against 
the innumerable obstacles and trials that invari- 
ably beset the course of true love that does not 
run smooth, and turn my attention to some other 
members of the family who have been somewhat 
neglected. 

I must go back to the time of Delia ParnelTs 
marriage. It was not a love match on her part. 
She married Mr. Livingstone Thomson for 
his money, and had frankly told him so before- 
hand; but he was so infatuated with- her that 
he was content to take her on any terms. My 



46 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

mother had not liked the union, as her pene- 
tration enabled her to discern that her future 
son-in-law was inclined to be of a very jealous 
disposition, which would not conduce to the 
happiness of married life, and her instinct turned 
out right Shortly after their wedding Mr. 
Thomson developed the most extraordinary 
and unfounded jealousy, which rendered his 
wife's life a perfect torment to her. Their hotel 
in Paris, where they lived, was conducted on 
the most magnificent scale, and at St Germains 
their palace resembled fairyland. 

Mrs. Thomson took her place at once in 
the best society, and at the expiration of her 
mourning for her father, went out a great deal. 
She had won position in the world as one of 
its most beautiful women. She was known in 
her box at the theatre ; people paused and looked 
after her as she went by in her carriage; and 
even amongst French women she was remark- 
able for her faultless taste in dress. As a 
matter of course, admirers flocked around her; 
but she kept them all at a respectful distance. 

In Paris it was not the custom for husbands 
to show jealousy of their wives, whatever they 
might feel, or for husbands and wives to appear 
much together in society, but Mr. Thomson's 
poor attempts to conceal his jealous feelings 



THE WEDDING 47 

Only rendered him all the more ridiculous. He 
also insisted on always accompanying his wife 
wherever she went, and even appeared at her 
afternoon receptions, an almost unheard-of pro- 
ceeding in Parisian society. He succeeded in 
becoming the laughing-stock of all, much to 
Delia's annoyance, especially when he even 
went so far as to object to other men putting 
her cloak on when she was leaving a party, 
and transgressed all convenances by doing so 
himself. 

Before they married, Mr. Thomson had made 
a request that Delia should relinquish her 
riding, which she was very fond of. She 
was a graceful and daring rider, and was one 
of the best horsewomen of the day, but Mr. 
Thomson was not able to ride, and objected 
to her going alone, attended only by a groom. 
Delia had acceded to this demand, but even 
when she drove or walked he was always with 
her. At St. Oermains she had to confine her 
walking exercise to pacing up and down in 
front on the veranda, where Mr. Thomson 
would sit and watch her. After the birth of a 
son, Mr. Thomson decided he did not want 
any more children, and the boy was put with 
his nurse to inhabit the extreme end of the 
house. As he got older Mr. Thomson became 



48 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

more impossible. The gay life his wife led, 
the admiration she received, unlimited money, 
her handsome and costly carriage horses, dia- 
monds and lovely dresses, did not compensate 
her for the miseries caused by her husband's 
jealous disposition, or for (on her part) a love- 
less marriage. 

Note. — Since writing this chapter, my brother, Mr. John Howard 
Parnell, on looking through some old letters discovered the reason 
of the apparent act of injustice done to him by his father's passing 
him over in his will in favour of his younger brother. It seems 
Sir Ralph Howard had promised to make John (called Howard 
after him) his heir, but this he ultimately did not do. My father, 
therefore, relying on this promise, passed him over in the disposal 
of his property. 




CHAPTER IV 

REMORSE 

" Remorse is as the heart on which it grows ; 

If that be gentle, it drops balmy dews 

Of true repentance." 

— Oolbridqi. 

Charles Stewart Parnell had meanwhile been 
sent to Cambridge, where he was supposed to 
be preparing for his future responsibilities as 
a landlord and head of the family. 

During his sojourn at the University a very 
unhappy event occurred, which we would 
willingly cover with the large cloak of charity, 
and ignore but for the baneful influence it had 
on his after life, and for the explanation it 
affords of the counter-stroke which Fate struck 
him in his later years. So true is the scriptural 
mandate which says, " Whatsoever a man soweth, 
that shall he also reap/' 

His Cambridge days were boyishly happy 
with all the "long, long thoughts" of youth 
that distinguish an undergraduate's life; with 
also, it must be confessed, a good deal of the 
recklessness of character which distinguishes the 
Cambridge undergraduate from his more staid 



SO A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

brother of Oxford, a recklessness, however, in 
its milder aspects, preferred by many to the 
scholarly youthful calm of the latter, who say 
that, as a rule, Cambridge turns out better 
specimens of all-round manhood than Oxford. 

Be this as it may, it would have been 
well for Charles if he had been more of the 
Cambridge athlete in his college days and less 
of a student of human nature. There is an 
age at which it may prove a rather dangerous 
study, and lead to unfortunate side issues. 
He was now at that age, and he possessed 
besides the headlong impetuosity and tendency 
to live in the present, regardless of a future, 
which characterise the Irish race, especially in 
their teens. A year of this Cambridge life 
of mingled work and play went by, Charles 
trying to fit himself for the public life which 
was, even then, his greatest ambition, while 
enjoying to the full the college friendships, 
debating clubs, and wine parties, which serve 
to brighten the grey existence of an under- 
graduate. It was then, when he had reached 
his nineteenth year, that the first tragedy of 
his life came, a tragedy in which, alas! another 
suffered, though released by the hand of death 
from sharing the lifelong remorse which was 
his heritage. 



67^^^ jfauwj. 3&*»*#. 



REMORSE 5 1 

Boating was as popular then as now on the 
Cam, and Charles was one of the most enthusi- 
astic oarsmen on the river, spending nearly all 
his spare time in flannels. As is well known, 
the county that gave England her Cromwell is 
studded with farms, tilled by the sturdy yeoman 
stock that supplied that remarkable man with 
some of his bravest Ironsides. One of the best 
cultivated of these sober English homesteads lay 
a couple of miles down the river, sloping to its 
bank. It was frequently passed and repassed 
by the various boat-clubs. In the old fruit- 
garden nearest the river might be seen, on 
several,, day 8 of the week, a young girl, not more 
than sixteen, of remarkable loveliness, engaged, 
basket in hand, in picking fruit She was the 
daughter of the owner of the farm, an old 
and much-respected inhabitant of the district, 
though in far from affluent circumstances. A 
considerable share of the profits from the farm 
came from the sale of the fruit, which was 
managed by Daisy, young as she was. 

Daisy was as innocent as the large-eyed flowers 
from which she took her name, wholly uncon- 
scious of her charms and therefore more charm- 
ing. Her blue eyes and golden hair, with the 
white dresses which she generally wore, made 
her an entrancing picture, especially to the 



52 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

uncritical eyes and susceptible heart of nine- 
teen, and Charles had no sooner seen her in 
the glow of a summer evening than he resolved 
to make her acquaintance. This he easily 
managed, as even at that age he was develop- 
ing some of the ingenuity of resource which 
afterwards served him in worthier causes. The 
next day he arranged to be at the same place 
at the hour when the fruit-picking was in pro- 
gress for the following day's market, and was 
even more charmed by a closer view of the 
delicate, rose-tinted face under the white sun- 
bonnet Daisy, on her part, though apparently 
more intent on the plum and pear trees than 
ever, was for the first time blissfully aware that 
the dark-haired young gentleman with the in- 
scrutable eyes, whom she had often noticed on 
the river, preferred gazing at her to practising 
his strokes. She was not a vain girl, coming 
from an ancestry that had covered their sweetest 
faces with the Puritan hoods as a protest against 
the vanity and worldliness of the Cavalier court, 
and that were distinctly religious in their habits 
of thought, though often grotesque in their modes 
of expressing them. Her knowledge of the world 
was very small. Living in a secluded district 
with few neighbours, love in connection with 
herself had hardly yet entered her head; and 



REMORSE 53 

she had no mother. Little wonder then that it 
was with something of the wonder and the thrill 
of a first emotion that she received the unspoken 
homage of a handsome youth, whom she knew 
to be a member of the neighbouring university, 
and far above her station in life. 

An acquaintance was quickly made by means 
of a fortunate accident to Charles's oar and the 
borrowing of some cord, and he arranged to meet 
Daisy on future evenings, charging her to strict 
secrecy in fear of his college authorities. The 
young girl willingly promised. She was already 
captivated by his fascination, and understood the 
dreadful consequences that would ensue if their 
new friendship came even to her father's ears. 
No thought of injuring a peaceful heart, still 
less of any wrongdoing, had entered Charles's 
head. His artistic sensibilities were kindled by 
the beauty of a flower in, as he thought, an 
unfavourable soil, and since leaving his family 
he had often yearned for feminine society. He 
therefore magnanimously resolved to give Daisy 
a good deal of his improving society, and help 
to advance her education. 

In the long evening walks, when the fruit 
season was over, the acquaintance ripened into 
a deep and trusting affection on the girl's part, 
and an equally strong, though less pure and 



54 A v PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

unselfish passion on the boy's part. He knew 
it was impossible to marry Daisy, lovely and 
innocent though she was, as he was under 
age and a ward of Chancery. 

At nineteen one does not analyse one's emo- 
tions, nor does a youth know how to exercise 
the self-discipline and restraint that come with 
later years. They were lovers and happy in 
each other 8 society, until their paradise was 
spoiled by an impulse of young passion, and, 
as is usually the case, the ebb-tide, on one side 
at least, set in from that hour. A coldness and 
estrangement gradually grew between them, and 
an increasing wretchedness on the girl's part, who 
was sensitive and inexperienced. Charles was 
with her as frequently as ever. Though their 
meetings had lost their first joy, he, to do him 
justice, had no idea of the misery the poor girl 
suffered, or that she contemplated self-destruc- 
tion. He was rudely awakened. One morning, 
on coming along the river bank, near the place 
where Daisy and he had first met, he caught the 
sound of many frightened voices. On turning 
a bend in the path he suddenly cameFon a group 
which haunted him for years after. A small 
crowd of villagers was gathered round a figure 
that had just been dragged from the river, now 
swollen with heavy rain. A woman held the 




REMORSE 5 5 

head that was covered with dank masses of 
golden hair, and the slender, dripping form 
was that of a young girl. Pushing aside the 
crowd with a gasp of horror, Charles recognised 
the body of his little wife, as he had called 
Daisy- She was quite dead, and, as one of the 
bystanders said, must have been in the water 
for many hours. It was a sad ending to a 
bright young life, and if ever a man (for he 
ceased to be a boy from that hour) understood 
the meaning of remorse, of the " worm that dieth 
not and the fire that is not quenched/ 9 it was 
Charles as he gazed at the lifeless form that had 
contained so pure and loving a souL 

His wild looks and frenzied exclamations, as 
he knelt beside the body, excited the curiosity 
of the bystanders. None of them knew him as 
an acquaintance of Daisy's, so loyally had she 
kept her promise, and they had never been seen 
together in the village. 

Restraining with a strong effort his emotions, 
he got some of the onlookers to assist him in 
conveying the earthly remains of Daisy to the 
village inn, remembering in an agony of remorse 
their first meeting, almost in the same place six 
months before. His first thought was of her 
old father, to whom Daisy had been passionately 
devoted, and to whom she was as the apple of 



56 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

his eye, often begging Charles to allow her to 
tell him of their friendship. A message was 
sent to the farm to warn him of an accident 
that had happened to Daisy, and sick with his 
own anguish, as well as the thought of the old 
man's grief, Charles went back to college, 
though he never afterwards knew how he got 
there. 

An inquest was held, at which he was present 
as a witness. While shielding the girl's name 
from slander, he admitted having a great ad- 
miration and friendship for her, and the shock 
which her death gave him. 

The usual verdict of suicide while temporarily 
insane, the bald words in which twelve stolid 
Englishmen sum up some of the deepest hidden 
tragedies of life, was pronounced over Daisy's 
lifeless form. She was buried in the village 
churchyard with her namesake flowers growing 
round her, and for Charles a lifelong punishment 
began. 

Various versions of his acquaintance with the 
dead girl had come to the knowledge of the 
heads of his college, and Charles's name was 
formally removed from the books of his uni- 
versity. 

Cambridge was now hateful to him, and 
he thought this punishment a very light one 




REMORSE 57 

compared with the torturing remorse which was 
to haunt him the greater part of, if not all, his 
life. His family were unaware of the exact 
nature of the blow that was crushing him. 
Long after his first frenzied grief had given 
place to the saddened calm which marked all 
his after life, he reaped the consequences of 
his youthful folly and selfishness, and was the 
frequent victim of violent nervous attacks. In 
these would appear before him, in the dead of 
the night, standing at the foot of his bed, the 
dripping white-clad form, with locks like a 
cataract of golden rain, which he had seen 
that morning on the river bank. 

The cause of these attacks, and of his frequent 
fits of nervous depression, was unknown to any 
of his family until several years after, when an 
accident revealed them. 

It was one autumn at Avondale after my 
marriage, when Arthur and I were staying 
there. The cricket was in full swing, and the 
house was full of guests. Charles had asked 
Arthur to share his room, which, when feeling 
more than usually nervous at night alone, he 
often did. There had been a merry dinner party 
the night before, succeeded by a dance, but 
every one noticed how worn and grave Charles 
appeared. I was puzzled, knowing his prospects 



58 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

and popularity were at their brightest. I attri- 
buted his altered looks to ill-health, in spite of 
his assurance that he was perfectly well. In 
the morning, coming down the corridor I met 
Arthur, and was surprised at his grave ex- 
pression in spite of my gay greeting. He drew 
me into the library instead of going into the 
dining-room, and, after complimenting me on 
my morning appearance, put me into a big 
chair. " What is it, Arthur ? " I said ; " you look 
quite ghostly/ 9 "I want to ask you about 
Charles," was the answer. "Has he ever had 
an affaire de cosurf He has been disturbing 
me half the night, moaning and calling out 
about some Daisy, and at one time he got 
so frenzied with a vision at the foot of the 
bed, that I had to hold him. I didn't like 
to ask him, as he didn't give me his confidence. 
It was only by the mere chance of my sharing 
his room last night that I learnt that there 
was something on his mind. Poor fellow," 
he continued, striding up and down the room, 
" I will never forget his face when he said, 
pointing to the foot of the bed, 'Daisy is 
there/ He musn't be allowed to brood over 
this affair, whatever it is." I was very much 
shocked. Somehow Charles had always seemed 
something of an anchorite to me, yet, remem- 



REMORSE 59 

bering chance words and allusions, and the 
sudden termination of his college career, I 
discovered with a flash of insight the whole 
cause of his altered and careworn looks. 

" We must all make much of him/ 9 I said ; 
"and now let us go into breakfast, the others 
will be waiting." Watching Charles from 
my place at the head of the table, I was 
struck anew by his haggard look as he entered 
the room, and from that day recognised that 
there had been a hidden tragedy in his young 
life, the cause of the saddened melancholy of 
his nature, and also the cause of the utter 
indifference to woman's charms which charac- 
terised him, and about which he had been 
often rallied by both Arthur and myself. 
Though always treating women with an almost 
knight-errant chivalry and respect, he never 
seemed to desire either their friendship or their 
love, though, like most men with an early 
romance, possessing a mysterious fascination 
for many of them. 

When at home for the vacation, in the 
earlier years of his mother's residence in 
Dublin, Charles went in a great deal for 
hunting. He had inherited his father's love 
of horses and gift of horsemanship. One 
instance of his solicitude and consideration 



60 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

t 

for his tired steed may here be mentioned. 
It was his frequent habit to relieve his 
horse of his weight altogether, after a heavy 
day with the Wards, by walking all the way 
home himself, sometimes over twelve miles, 
leading his jaded animal. In this he even 
surpassed his father. He took a keen relish 
in the inexpressible intoxicating sport of 
hunting, in the thundering rush of the hunt 
itself, but some doctor telling him he had 
heart disease, and must avoid excitement, he 
reluctantly abandoned his favourite recreation. 
The doctor's opinion afterwards turned out 
erroneous. 

Charles had not as yet shown any Radical 
tendencies; rather the reverse. 

It was during this time that the Fenian move- 
ment took place. Charles evinced no sympathy 
with the Fenians, and was vexed with his mother 
for taking the active part on their behalf which 
she did, and for mixing herself up so much with 
their affairs. 

My mother felt a most lively interest in the 
sufferings of these poor men, spending money 
liberally on their necessities, and smuggling some 
at her own expense off to America, thus enabling 
them to escape arrest and imprisonment. She 
even went the length of hiding and harbouring 



REMORSE 6 1 

some in her own house. This was the cause of 
suspicion being directed against it by the Castle 
authorities, and a search was ordered and made ; l 
but on that occasion no Fenians or trace of their 
presence was found, nothing, in fact, but the 
swords belonging to John and Charles, which 
they had worn when attending levees, and 
my love-letters from Arthur. The former (the 
swords) the search party captured, evidently 
considering they had performed a great feat, but 
they indulgently told me I might keep my love- 
letters. 

Soon after my wedding my sister came of age 
and was dismissed as a ward from Court. Her 
husband proposed to reveal their marriage, but 
being afraid that if the Scotch ceremony was 
made known he might be brought to book by the 
Lord Chancellor for running away with one of 
his wards, and would probably be imprisoned, he 
decided that they should go through the form of 
marriage in church, and have a notice of it in- 
serted in the papers, and that the previous one 
in Scotland should not be mentioned. This they 
accordingly did, not, however, with my mother's 
consent, to whom such a match for her peerless 
daughter was a tremendous disappointment. In- 
deed, it was an amazement to the whole of 

1 Lord Carlisle had been dead for some time. 



62 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

Dublin, and to every one who had seen or 
known her. Afterwards the oddly matched pair 
were called " Beauty and the Beast" Needless 
to say which was "Beauty" and which was 
" Beast" 



CHAPTER V 

CRICKET 

" The Ball no question makes of Ayes and Noes, 
But right or left, as strikes the Player, goes." 

— Omab Khayyam. 

Arthur and I spent our honeymoon in Paris, 
first on a visit to my uncle, Colonel Stewart, 
and secondly, with my sister, Mrs. Livingstone 
Thomson, at St. Germains. The latter place 
struck me as a perfect fairyland. Delia's mag- 
nificent Russian horses were an endless delight to 
me. I enjoyed the pleasant drives in the charm- 
ing forests of St Germains immensely, but I did 
not envy my sister her wealth, or the evidence of 
it which manifested itself on all sides. On the 
contrary, I pitied her, for in spite of all, I saw 
Delia was not happy. 

On leaving St. Germains, Arthur introduced me 
in my new rdle as his wife to his brother officers, 
who gave me a hearty reception, and celebrated 
my advent amongst them with a dance. The 
regiment was again quartered in England, but 
was not destined to remain there long. In less 

than a year it was under orders for the Cape of 

63 



64 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

4 

Good Hope, on a fortnight's notice. I had always 
been an exceptionally bad sailor, and just now 
was more than usually delicate. Under the cir- 
cumstances it was considered the journey would 
be a risk, and my family were much opposed to 
my undertaking it. Arthur decided I should 
not be allowed to do so. Then came the question 
of separation, for Arthur had to go. In the end 
he found he could not bring himself to leave his 
wife of a year, even temporarily, but what was he 
to do ? Finally, he resolved on throwing up his 
career, and tendered his resignation. I thought 
it a pity he should leave the army, where he was 
getting on so well, and remonstrated with him. 
I begged him at least not to act hastily, but to 
give the matter due consideration. I also sug- 
gested that I might join him later on, and said 
that in any case the separation would be only 
temporary, and that I thought it would be very 
unwise for him to relinquish his career. 

"My darling, what are all the careers in the 
world to me in comparison with you?" Arthur 
protested. "We survived separation before our 
marriage," I reminded him. " But you are now 
my wife. I won't be parted from my wife; so 
don't say another word. My mind is made up. 
I shall get a land agency, and we will live in 
Dublin." So it was settled. Arthur obtained a 



CRICKET 6$ 

land agency, and took a house in Dublin, the 
furnishing of which gave him and me plenty of 
pleasant occupation. 

My mother was about giving up her house with 
the intention of residing in Paris with her brother. 
Her mother was dead. She had got leave from 
the Court to take the younger members of the 
family with her. Fanny was to go to Lady 
Howard's. Fanny was talented and very pretty, 
neither fair nor dark, but something between. 
She had brown hair, aquiline features, a fair 
complexion slightly touched by the damask of the 
rose, and a slight but well-proportioned figure. 
Her eyes were dark blue. She had had pro- 
posals in Dublin, but was ambitious of marrying 
well, and none of them had come up to the mark. 

Meanwhile Charles, having reached, in the eyes 
of the law, years of discretion, had taken up his 
residence at Avondale in solitary grandeur, where 
he interested himself in sawmills and mining 
operations. 

Shortly after he came of age, Arthur, who was 
now his right-hand man, endeavoured to per- 
suade him that the correct way of celebrating 
the attainment of his independence would be 
to have what he called "a real spree." This 
was a suggestion which found favour in Charles's 
eyes, and was forthwith carried out, It took 



66 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

the form of a three days' cricket match between 
the officers of the garrison of Dublin and the 
Wicklow team. It was decided to put the 
officers, a good dozen or more, up at Avondale, 
without, however* disturbing a Mrs. Moore, who 
with her two lovely daughters were then staying 
there with me. The arrangement of the rooms 
was left to me, who was to act as hostess, and 
who was supposed to inherit my mother's talent 
in this capacity. A little management was found 
necessary to ensure sufficient accommodation. 
It was proposed that the men of the party, 
Charles and his brother Henry, Arthur and a 

Mr. Frederick C , the latter one of my 

latest admirers, should sleep over at the dower- 
house, Casino, situated on the lawn, on mattresses 
on the floor, provided from Avondale, Casino 
being destitute of furnitura In this way, and 
by putting two or three officers in one room, 
enough space would be contrived. 

The ensuing week was passed in all the bustle 
of preparations attendant on such a festive 
occasion. Numerous invitations were sent to 
the county gentry, and also to friends and 
acquaintances in Dublin, from whence a military 
band had been bespoken, and the fame of this 
having got abroad enhanced considerably the 
importance of the event. Booms were taken 




CRICKET 67 

at the hotel for the band. Tents and marquees 
were erected, in one of which afternoon tea 
and ices were to be served. The ballroom 
was swept, and the floor polished; musicians 
engaged; the wine ordered. Arthur, having 
undertaken the catering, for which he had ca/rte 
blanche, was able to uphold the credit of the 
army, and by the time the early train from 
Dublin brought down the officers and the first 
batch of visitors invited from town for that 
day, everything was ready and all preparations 
completed. Avondale looked its loveliest on a 
fine ripe day in July; the sky of pure and 
cloudless blue; all the glory of the morning 
sunshine and the full summer bathing it in 
floods of living gold; the avenue overshadowed 
by stately oaks and broad branching elms in all 
the glorious panoply of opulent summer leafage. 
The beautiful lawn, overburdened with its wealth 
of majestic old timber of every description, 
stretched grand and impressive in the distance, 
disclosing the shining and swiftly flowing river 
in the hollow — a sight calculated to strike the 
visitors with the greatest admiration, who were 
fresh from, and weary of, the dust and heat 
of Dublin. 

The merry party, all bent on enjoyment, 
coming up the avenue, were greeted by the 



68 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

strains of the band, interspersed with the cawing 
of the rooks, which sounded weird and strange 
through the ancient place. 

At eleven o'clock the signal was given for 
the match to commence. Charles, like his 
father, was very fond of cricket, a game in 
which, also like him, he excelled. 

For the first three hours the match proceeded 
with indefatigable zeal and good scoring on the 
part of Wicklow. When the gong sounded for 
luncheon, the hungry guests adjourned to the 
house to do justice to the appetising and 
hospitable collation prepared for them. 

Before this the county families had arrived, 
and helped to fill the spacious and grand old 
dining-room, with its ceiling and walls of curious, 
quaint Italian carving and sculpture. The long 
mahogany table glittered with silver and sparkled 
with flowers which delighted the eye, while 
the hospitality of the house was shown by the 
triumphs of culinary skill under which the table 
groaned, and was strained to its utmost limits 
to supply room for all. 

Healths were drunk, a custom prevalent in 
those days; the champagne flowed freely, and 
many brilliant and even eloquent speeches 
followed the repast Then the cricketers re- 
luctantly returned to their game, which at first 




CRICKET 69 

they made a pretence of continuing with the 
ardour of the morning, but alas for human 
infirmity, and for man's in particular, gradually 
it became apparent that the presence of so 
many of the fair sex, which included several 
very pretty girls, and still prettier young matrons, 
was beginning to tell, and threatening to dis- 
tract the attention of the players, especially 
that of the army, who, however, to do them 
justice, for that afternoon at least, bravely fought 
against the disturbing influence, and succeeded 
partially in keeping the enemy at bay. 

The wickets were drawn at six, and the 
company dispersed to prepare for dinner, with 
the exception of those who had come down 
from Dublin for the day, and who had to return 

* 

by the late train. 

Dinner was as great a success as the luncheon, 
and the wine again flowed freely according to the 
custom of the day. In due course the musicians 
struck up for dancing, which was kept in full 
swing until a late hour, and terminated by a 
generous supper, and once more the champagne 
went round. 

The county magnates then dispersing to their 
different homes, I suggested to Mrs. Moore that 
we also should retire. The distant sound of 
music-hall songs, varied by much riotous laughter 



70 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

and clapping of hands, succeeded the departure 
of the ladies, and faintly reached us in our 
apartments. Further than this no disturbance 
of any consequence occurred that first night, 
and in the small hours of the morning the 
noisy party proceeded with commendable orderli- 
ness to seek their respective couches, and soon 
silence reigned in the house. 

The next morning the festivities were resumed, 
commencing with a substantial breakfast, and 
the cricketers, feeling like giants refreshed, con- 
tinued the match with renewed energy. The 
batch of visitors from Dublin for the second 
day included an exceedingly pretty young widow, 
who was still garbed in woe for her late dearly 
beloved departed, and whom I had promised to 
put up at Avondale. The weather remained 
glorious, the band and rooks performed ener- 
getically, and the county visitors again turned 
out in full force and in best summer attire in 
time for luncheon, after which meal an increased 
tendency towards disinclination for the continu- 
ance of the game was more openly demonstrated 
by the parties concerned. 

Charles, who was anxious to have the match 
completed, perceiving signs of mutiny amongst the 
cricketers, exhibited the arbitrative qualities for 
which he was afterwards so conspicuous, and called 




CRICKET 71 

them all to order. For a time the game again 
progressed with exemplary attention. Suddenly 
the representatives of His Majesty's service, who 
were the ringleaders, declaring it was impossible 
to keep their eyes on the ball surrounded by 
so much to distract them, threw down their bats, 
and,' joining the ladies, the whole party paired 
off into the woods. Now commenced a scene 
of fun and flirtation which surpasses descrip- 
tion, and which had probably never before been 
equalled in the old haunts of Avondale. In 
every shady nook and corner were to be seen 
an isolated couple engaged in the pleasant pas- 
time of love-making, the young widow, notwith- 
standing her robes of black, being foremost in the 
practice of the art. Charles, yielding with philo- 
sophical resignation to the inevitable, had himself 
followed the general example, and had selected 

as his companion Miss May P , a lovely 

girl, whose father was anxious to secure Charles 
for a son-in-law. It was the opinion of some 
that he would succeed in his design, but Charles 
could never be brought quite to the point, and 
May afterwards married a lord. Arthur electing 
to amuse himself with the widow, Mr. Frederick 

C , a rising and extremely handsome young 

politician, who had fallen a victim to my charms 
when he had met me shortly after Arthur's 



72 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

retirement from the army, and I strolled away 
together down to the river. Up to the present 
Frederick's conduct at all times, and especially 
when alone with me, had always been marked 
with the greatest respect ,and circumspection, 
and as yet he had never ventured to give his 
feelings utterance. 

On this occasion, however, having, in common 
with the rest, shown due appreciation of his 
host's excellent champagne, he rashly declared 
his love, but was quickly recalled to his senses 
when, turning on him like a little fury and 
stamping my foot, I demanded how he dared 
insult me. " Oh ! " moaned poor Frederick, 
" now I have vexed you, and you won't be 
friends with me any more." Overcome with 
emotion he threw himself on the grass and 
sobbed like a child. This novel spectacle brought 
all the cows round in wondering surprise to gaze 
at him. " Get up," I told him hard-heartedly, 
still too indignant for a softer mood, "the 
cows are laughing at you ; " whereupon Frederick 
arose, made his peace with me, and we both 
entered into a compact of friendship which 
lasted for years. 

The hours passed all too quickly, and again the 
big gong booming out reminded the wanderers 
that such an unromantic necessity as dinner 




CRICKET 73 

existed. The dinner the second day did full 
credit to Arthur's powers as caterer, and the 
wine continued to flow as freely as ever. Again 
the musicians struck up for dancing. The 
ballroom was large and handsome. Spacious 
mirrors in gilt frames formed panels in the 
lower part of the walls, the remainder being 
toned in sage green, and in each recess between 
the mirrors was a statue. 

Dancing was carried on with even greater 
zest than on the previous evening. The in- 
teresting widow attracted a large share of 
attention. I, too, whose manners as hostess 
were enhanced by a sweetly pretty and most 
becoming blue and white Parisian toilette, 
had achieved two fresh conquests, a Major 

G and a Captain V , both much 4pris t 

especially the former, who forthwith conceived 
a hostile feeling towards Arthur, which was 
returned with interest Having noticed, not- 
withstanding his apparent absorption in the 

widow, that Major G and I had danced 

several times together, Arthur approached and 

demanded of Major G , " What the devil do 

you mean by dancing so often with my wife?" 
"What's that to you? Mind your own busi- 
ness/' retorted Major G . Arthur's temper 

rose at this reply, and he answered with heat, 



74 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

"I demand that you will give me the satisfac- 
tion of fighting it out on the lawn/ 9 hut here 
Charles, exercising his privilege as host, and a 
few others interfered, and had the would-be 
combatants parted. Again, having partaken of 
a good supper, the county families drove off to 
their different abodes. Once more I proposed 
to Mrs. Moore that we too should retreat, but 
first the widow had to be disposed of for the 
night, which presented considerable difficulty, for 
every room was full. In desperation, and long- 
ing for a few hours' sleep, I at last put her 
into a room in which two of the officers had 
slept the night before, impressing on her to be 
sure and push the chest of drawers against the 
door, to which there was no key, telling her if 
she was disturbed to come to me, whose room 
was opposite. Then, wishing her pleasant 
dreams, left her to her fate, and the two men, 
whose room she had, unknown to them, appro- 
priated, to spend the night as best they could. 
Again the distant sounds of revelry were heard 
in the direction of the supper room, accompanied 
by more rollicking songs and popping of cham- 
pagne corks, and at length the riotous crew 
began to come upstairs to bed, some without 
lights, trusting to those in the passages. Amongst 
these revellers were the two whose room was 




II 



CRICKET 75 

occupied by the widow, and several others who 
were also under the delusion, or, perhaps, who 
can say ? actuated by some natural law of instinct 
with reference to widows, that this particular 
apartment also belonged to them. All made for 
the identical room where the young widow re- 
posed in blissful slumber in a huge old-fashioned 
four-poster, large enough for the comfortable 
accommodation of a whole family. Finding the 
door barricaded they hurled themselves in a 
body against it, and upsetting with a crash the 
chest of drawers, entered the room. 

"I say, there's room for us all here/' one 
called out. The startled widow, on hearing 
this, slipped out of bed and escaped. Three 
more of the hilarious party ensconced them- 
selves in the linen-press, which they mistook 
for their beds, another installed himself cosily 
in the shower-bath, and a fifth made frantic 
attempts to get up the chimney, insisting that 
that was his bed. In due course, however, all 
quieted down, and the house was wrapped in 
silence. The next morning the widow received 
a letter from her solicitor, who was supposed 
to have a weakness for her. He stated that 
from rumours which had reached him with 
reference to the festivities at Avondale, which 
he understood was full of officers, who were 



76 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

all excited, it was evident that the house was 
not fit for her, and he peremptorily exhorted 
here to return to Dublin by the earliest train, 
which she did. 

The third day being much a repetition of 
the one before, it is unnecessary to describe it 
in full. There was a final attempt to finish 
the ill-fated match, again abandoned in favour 
of the rival and superior attractions of the 
ladies, more roaming, loitering, and spooning 
under the leafy trees in the woods, more eating 
and drinking, more dancing and flirting, but 
not another night Charles had discreetly 
ordered a "special" to take the Dublin party, 
including the officers, back to town at one 
o'clock, so the festive scene broke up, after 
supper, at midnight Then ensued handshak- 
ings and farewells, "and there were sudden 
partings such as press the life from out young 
hearts, and choking sighs which ne'er might 
be repeated/ 9 

Finding it very hard to part, the guests tore 
themselves away, some of the officers singing, 
as they went down the avenue, "The girl I 
have left behind me," others shouting out to 
Charles, who stood on the terrace watching 
their departure by moonlight, that they would 
play the return match on some other occasion. 



CRICKET 77 

The county families also bade hostess and 
host good-night, expressing with seeming sin- 
cerity grateful thanks for the pleasant time they 
had had, but, notwithstanding that they had 
partaken of Charles's hospitality and enjoyed 
themselves immensely, afterwards professed 
themselves much shocked, and abused the 
whole entertainment soundly. Quoth Charles, 
as he re-entered the drawing-room with Arthur, 
after speeding the last of the departing guests, 
"the next cricket match I have I won't ask 
any ladies, or at least only ugly ones." "Well, 
Charles," said Arthur, who did not particularly 
care for cricket, " of course fellows would rather 
be spooning nice girls in the shady woods than 
running about in a hot sun with bats in their 
haiids, and if you collect together all the 
prettiest girls available, what can you expect!" 
4 'Didn't Mouse look pretty?" asked Charles 
irrelevantly — Mouse was the pet name for May 

P . "And, by Jove! didn't Pussy look 

ripping?" — his pet name for me — supplemented 
Arthur. Now that, in consequence of her 
absence, the fascinations of the widow were 
getting hazy, suddenly becoming affectionate, 
he put his arm round my waist. "She did," 
agreed Charles, "and if she always looks as 
charming as she does when acting hostess, I 



78 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

shall be in love with her myself. No wonder 
the fellows all admired her so much. 19 Here I 
yawned. "I am dying for a good long sleep/' 
I said, and Charles, as he lighted a bedroom 
candle, remarked, "After sleeping on the floor 
I shall appreciate an 'elevated 9 bed again/ 9 and 
so we separated to seek a much-needed rest. 



CHAPTER VI 

ROYAL 

" Once in love and twice in war 
Hath he borne me strong and far." 

— E. B. Browning. 

The life that opened out before me on first 
finding myself established in a house of my 
own, was full of novelty. All the world seemed 
fair to me, and full of movement, cheerfulness, 
and hope. Arthur and I, having already a large 
circle of friends and acquaintances, had every 
prospect of leading a happy and enjoyable 
existence. 

A year had elapsed after my mother had 
gone to live with her brother, Colonel Stewart, 
when the latter died rather suddenly, leaving 
the whole of his immense fortune to his sister. 

Admiral Stewart's death had occurred shortly 
before, so that my mother, by American law, 
came in for all his money too, as she inherited 
her brother's share on his death as well as 
her own. 

She was now quite a millionairess, and able 
to make me a liberal allowance, so Arthur and 

79 



80 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

I were able to indulge our mutual taste for 
horses. I resumed my hunting. Since my 
father's death I had been in possession of my 
mare, which I had been allowed to claim as 
my own on the occasion of the auction at 
Avondale of my father's personal property, but 
I had not cared to hunt Now, accompanied 
by my husband, I took to it again with renewed 
energy, and it was during the next few years 
that I established my fame as a horsewoman. 
Arthur, who rode very well, and was nearly as 
fond of horses as I was, used to hunt regularly 
with the Wards, and many a pleasant day we 
had. Starting with a couple of hundred of red 
coats and a sprinkling of dark habits, we would 
all jog along together some twelve miles to the 
place of meeting. Then the breakneck run 
of twenty minutes or half-an-hour at steeple- 
chase speed, followed by the return journey of 
fifteen or eighteen miles at a walking pace, 
relieved by an occasional jog. 

How I enjoyed the cup of fragrant tea and 
slices of thin bread and butter after a ride of 
over thirty miles, only those who have experi- 
enced it can know. 

After some difficulty I had succeeded in 
getting a horse to suit me. He was a blood 
royal, a perfect picture and a born hunter. A 



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ROYAL 8 1 

beautiful, dark, rich bay, with black points and 
long, flowing, abundant mane and tail. His 
owner was the envy of all who saw him.- Royal, 
as he was called, became quite a feature in 
Dublin. Pedestrians stood and looked at the 
horse and his rider as we passed along, until 
out of sight; the inmates of carriages and cabs, 
particularly the male sex, put their heads out 
of the windows to gaze after us ; cavalry officers 
followed us to the stables in order to find out 
to whom the horse belonged, and whether any 
money would buy him. No money would buy 
him; and for seventeen years and a half Royal 
carried me right loyally and faithfully through 
thick and thin, never failing me under any 
circumstances. We had innumerable adventures 
and hair-breadth escapes, out of which we both 
came unhurt. The most marvellous, perhaps, 
was once when Royal accomplished the feat of 
falling backwards over a precipice on top of 
me, who was dragged from under him, without 
injury to either. The fall was broken through 
a quantity of leaves at the bottom, which made 
a sort of feather-bed. It was no doubt due to 
this that neither horse nor rider was hurt. One 
of Royal's cleverest performances was one day 
when trotting smartly round the west corner 

of Stephen's Green with me on his back. A 

t 



82 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

donkey-cart, driven by an old woman, getting 
in his way, he jumped clean over the cart, 
clearing by a couple of inches the head of the 
terrified old lady. The car-men standing by 

marked their appreciation of this feat by a 
ringing cheer. 

Royal died eventually at the age of twenty- 
two, from inflammation caused by eating too 
much new hay, which had been given him with- 
out my knowledge. I had taken my last ride 
on him the previous day, when he was in such 
health and spirits that it took all my strength 
to hold him. The day of Royal's death was a 
black one at Avondale, where the event hap- 
pened, for the horse had been so long in the 
family that he seemed to be part of it. His 
beautiful temper and gentle nature had endeared 
him to all. 

Having been summoned early in the morning 
to the stables, Royal, knowing his mistress's 
footsteps, though in great pain, turned his head 
as I entered the stables, and greeted me with 
a whinny. No work was done that day at 
Avondale; the family remained with the dying 
favourite, and the workpeople thronged the 
yard, while two of them rubbed him, one on 
each side. Poor Royal groaned more like a 
human being than an animal, and the big drops 



ROYAL 83 

of perspiration caused by his agony poured down 
like water. Through it all the noble beast 
seemed conscious of the care lavished on him, 
and grateful for it The veterinary surgeon, 
who had been sent for, stood by, unable to do 
anything. 

Royal's large, dark eyes turned now and 
then wistfully to the corner where I stood, 
wrestling with my tearless grief at his suffer- 
ings. Up to the last he kept on his feet, 
leaning against the wall, and only at the end 
of the nine hours he suddenly fell, and after a 
slight struggle, with a big sigh of relief, breathed 
his last 

The men made a grand grave, railed round, 
in the garden, with an inscription over it: 
" Royal, loyal and true, who for seventeen years 
and a half carried Mrs. Dickinson/ 9 

Arthur had also a good mount, a horse called 
Tory. One day, looking at him out at grass 
at Avondale, Charles had thus named him, on 
account of his lean nature, which refused to 
put on flesh. He said the horse resembled a 
Conservative in that he had an opportunity of 
improving his condition and would not do so, 
so Tory he remained. Charles's political opinions 
were thus early shown by the sentiments he 
expressed. 



84. A, PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

He lost no opportunity of impressing on me! 
between whom and himself there existed a cer- 
tain rivalry in the matter of horses, that I would 
never have any luck with horses called after 
the royal family. However, it was I who had 
most unusual luck with them, whereas Charles 
was always singularly unlucky, although he 
gave them Nationalist names, such as Home 
Rule, Ac. 

So four years passed very pleasantly. Arthur 
had been unanimously elected a member of the 
United Service Club. This club at that time 
was the gayest in the city; in fact, it had be- 
come so fast that it resembled a certain famous 
club of an earlier date. Consisting altogether 
of officers, who were much faster as a class 
then than they are now, drinking and gambling 
assumed alarming proportions. They spent 
night after night over the card tables, and day- 
light still found them at it, whilst champagne 
and whisky were consumed freely. It was a 
bad school for a young man of Arthur's dis- 
position to have got into. It was also bad 
for him not to have any occupation other 
than that of amusement. He missed, too, the 
wholesome discipline of the army. Being of 
a very enthusiastic, genial, social character, 
with a strain of wildness, and easily led, but 



ROYAL 85 

extremely lovable, certain signs of deterioration, 
in consequence of the bad example around him, 
began to show themselves. These were at first 
very faint, but gradually increased, until at last his 
friends became apprehensive of the future both 
for him and me. Much sympathy was felt for 
me, who expected soon to become a mother. 
In due course the baby was born — a girl, called 
Delia, after her grandmother. This event, which 
those who had his interest at heart had urgently 
hoped and expected would arrest the progress 
of Arthur's downward career, only seemed to 
have the effect of urging him on quicker, and 
yet he was very fond of the child, and fonder 
and prouder of me than ever. 

He often told me that he hoped he would 
die the first, as he knew he would not be able 
to live without me. Indeed, it would after- 
wards seem as if he was doing his best to 
bring this about by shortening, through the 
pernicious and fatal effects of indulgence in 
drink, a life which, by virtue of his uncommon 
strength, should have lasted to a vigorous old age. 

My experience was such that I had no idea 
of the cause of my husband's ailment; others 
knew better, but could not bring themselves to 
enlighten me. Time and circumstances, how* 
ever, did that most effectually. 



86 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

No description could convey an idea of the 
magnitude of the shock on first having my eyes 
opened, but determination and reason overcame 
this, and I set myself to the endeavour of 
counteracting, with wifely influence, the demon 
of drink, only to find that there is no rival so 
strong, against which to maintain any permanent 
weight, once it has taken a hold of a man, and 
has reduced his will to the weakness of an 
infant, when the craving for spirits has got him 
in its grasp. For the next ten years it was 
my fete to watch the progress of this insidious 
disease, to go through all the different and 
various phases which attend its course, to strain 
every nerve in the endeavour to keep Arthur 
out of trouble; and when, notwithstanding my 
efforts, he persisted on getting into scrapes — 
for he was always in hot water — I spared 
neither money nor exertion to extricate him 
from the consequences of his folly. I could 
tell of awful scenes — terrible days and terrible 
nights. What words can describe the torture 
of witnessing the slow but sure descent of one 
you love, of seeing him go from bad to worse, 
and feeling your utter impotency to save him? 
Of watching his frantic struggles to resist the 
temptation, only to fall again in the end; and, 
saddest of all, the sight of his remorse and 



ROYAL 87 

repentance, his tears and promises of reforma- 
tion — in fact, the piteous spectacle of a strong 
man drinking himself slowly but surely to 
death? Such scenes, repeated again and again, 
no words can adequately describe; neither can 
those who have not experienced it have any 
conception of what a hell on earth a woman 
undergoes under such circumstances. 

Still, there were sometimes long intervals of 
abstinence on Arthur's part and of comparative 
happiness, for when his own bright, sweet- 
natured self, he was always the best of company. 
The trying scenes I had to endure did not kill 
a love which excuses everything, forgives every- 
thing, condones everything. My love was all 
the stronger by reason of a certain protective 
element in it My powerlessness to save Arthur 
hurt that motherly instinct of pity and protec- 
tion which is an element in the love of most 
women. They altered its nature, however, which 
changed into a sort of maternal affection. I 
thought of my husband as of something suffer- 
ing, in need of protection, who seemed to 
depend on me, to whom I dedicated daily 
and hourly service — as of a mother, not a wife. 
I used to say I had two babies— one big and 
one small* 

The little baby grew bigger under difficulties. 



88 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

My time was so taken up with her father that 
I was compelled to leave the child a great deal 
to nurses. 

In the future it was a consolation to me to 
feel that my exertions on Arthur's behalf had 
been to a certain, though limited, extent re- 
warded with success. My vigilance succeeded 
in keeping him from worse trouble, into which 
he nlight have fallen, if he had been left alto- 
gether to his own devices. At times he dis- 
played a violence which was especially directed 
against my brother-in-law, for whom he had 
ever cherished bitter feelings because he had 
dared to try and rob him of me, and I lived in 
fear that his repeated threats to shoot him 
would some day be carried out. Once, return- 
ing from a walk, and missing Arthur's gun 
from its customary place, with instinctive pre- 
vision I hastened to my brother-in-law's house, 
where I found Arthur standing on the doorstep 
with the gun in his hand. Inventing, in the 
emergency of the moment, an excuse, I coaxed 
him away, and on getting the dangerous weapon 
safely inside the house, forthwith placed it under 
lock and key, on pretence of restoring it to its 
place. It transpired afterwards the gun was not 
loaded, but at the time I was ignorant of this. 
In any case, I knew my brother-in-law would 



< 

k 



ROYAL 89 

have made a " case" out of the harmless incident 
if he had got the chance. 

In addition to all the rest, the taste for 
gambling had with opportunity and incitement 
increased to such an extent, and his losses were 
so great, that, added to the other ruinous con- 
sequences of drink, ruin began to stare him in 
the face. 

At this crisis, Charles, just then at the begin- 
ning of his political career, made an attempt to 
come to my help. He persuaded Arthur to go 
away for a while with him to Avondale, and 
tried the effect of a constant surveillance. He 
would not allow any wine or spirits in the 
house ; forbade any to be supplied ; went without 
himself for the sake of example; and, in fact, 
did all and more that the best of brothers 
could do for another. This plan succeeded for 
a time. One day Arthur contrived to elude 
Charles's vigilance, and escaped into the town, 
whence he provided himself with a bottle of 
whisky, which he consumed that night in the 
privacy of his bedroom. Under its influence 
the system of surveillance to which he had re- 
cently been subjected assumed undue propor- 
tions. He imagined himself much insulted and 
very badly treated, in consequence of which he 
vented his feelings of resentment by bursting 



90 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

into Charles's room in the early hours of the 
morning, clutching a big stick in his hand, with 
all the mien of a madman. Flourishing the 
stick over the unfortunate Charles's head, he 
threatened to "go" for him. The alarmed 
occupant sprang from his bed quicker than he 
had ever done before, and rushing out in his 
nightshirt and slippers, spent the remainder of 
the sleeping hours in the yard. 

The next day Charles sent Arthur back to 
Dublin. His next attempt to mend matters 
was not much more successful. He first did 
his utmost to persuade me to go in for a sepa- 
ration, which I refused to do. My refusal to 
comply with his wishes on this occasion was 
the cause of the only estrangement that ever 
existed between him and me. He then called 
together a family council, the result of which 
was that the family agreed to offer Arthur five 
hundred a year if he would live abroad without 
me, the agreement to become void and the 
allowance to cease if the condition attached 
should be violated. Arthur indignantly rejected 
this offer, asserting that he could not be bribed 
to live away from his wife. 

Charles then washed his hands of the whole 
business, and threw himself with zeal into 



ROYAL 91 

public life, haying enlisted in the cause of the 
Nationalists. The groanings of his country 
incensed him against every crowned head. He 
flung himself into the contest for freedom, 
equality of privilege, and self-government. 



CHAPTER VII 

MR. L 

u And thus he bore without abuse 
The grand old name of gentleman, 
Defamed by every charlatan, 
And soiled with all ignoble use* 

-TunnraoN. 

A very pretty blue - and - white boudoir in a 
fashionable Dublin square. It is my sister's 
house, and she is herself seated at a little 
octagon table, dispensing tea in little blue cups. 
She is evidently rather angry, and is, speaking 
earnestly. On a low chair near the fire, I am 
listening with a curious air of detachment in 
my attitude, as we listen to the criticisms of 
those who do not understand us. Both have 
changed but little since our first season. She 
looks the more matronly, and is perhaps con- 
scious of it, as she advises her elder sister. 

The subject of our conversation is Mr. L 

and his frequent visits to her house whenever 
there is the slightest chance of my being 
there. 

"And not only that/' my sister was saying, 
" but wherever I go people may be heard jesting 

9* 



MR. L 93 

about his devotion to you. There will be scandal 
about it Tou were at the races to-day, and 

every one saw Mr. L anxiously scanning 

the course till you drove up with us, and then 
he never left your side all day." 

I raised my eyebrows slightly, and smiled at 
her excitement. 

"My dear child" I said, "if you are for 
ever thinking about what Dublin says, you will 
have enough to occupy your mind. I would 
advise you to think of better subjects. You 

know, and I know, that Mr. L is one of my 

oldest friends, and quite old enough to be my 
father. If he chooses to fancy himself in love 
with me, I am not to blame, and as for what 
people say, let them amuse themselves in their 
own way." 

"If it were only amusing," my sister inter- 
jected. " Of course we know his age and all 
that; but he is a man, and you cannot have a 
man shadowing you everywhere without being 
talked about as being in love with each other/' 

"I have always found it more convenient to 
let the love be on one side,' 1 I said, laughing. 
"My wise sister is developing into a veritable 
dragon of the British matron type. Do not 
get cross, dear, and oh, do not lecture me. It 
does not suit you at all." 



94 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

The conversation ended, as it generally did, in 
her giving in to my views. She, though lovely 
and interesting! was of a very pliant nature, 
and her early marriage to a rather ordinary 
type of man had made her very conventional. 

She was not always able to understand my 
stronger, more independent character. 

Mr. L was a widower, and much older 

than L His love for me, which was the rare, 
changeless and unselfish devotion of a true man, 
was destined to last through all the vicissi- 
tudes of the later years of my married life, 
and even until death rendered him powerless 
to serve me any longer. 

He stood as a shield between me and all my 
difficulties, both great and small, in every way 
that he possibly could. He placed his time, his 
brains, his purse, his health, and would place 
even his very life, at my disposal, and all 
without the shadow of a hope of any return or 
reward. 

I naturally regarded him more in the light 

of a father than of a lover, but Mr. L 's 

feelings towards me were by no means paternal. 
He loved me with all the passionate fervour 
of a man capable of the deepest feeling, to 
whom the woman he loves is sacred, who is 
willing to sacrifice himself and his desires for 



MR. L 95 

her, and whose first object in life she is, and 
not himself. 

Not to every one is given the priceless pos- 
session of a love like his, even once in a life- 
time. Well for me it was to have such a 
faithful friend to help and advise me in the 
numerous perplexities and difficulties my posi- 
tion entailed, to sympathise in my many 
troubles, to encourage and cheer me in my 
hours of despondency, to make the rough 
places smooth and the crooked paths straight 
for me, and to sustain me in my fits of despair. 
He was the giver and I was the receiver. He 
gave all and took nothing — the true motto of 
love and charity — very different to the motto of 
modern manhood, "Take all and give nothing. 11 

Mr. L was more than content with the 

meagre exchange of gratitude he received for 
his unlimited and boundless love, manifested 
by constant acts of consideration and fore- 
thought. 

Like most good men, he reverenced women, 
and treated them with the respect he con- 
sidered them entitled to. It is, however, an 
indisputable fact that women, especially good 
women, seldom love good men to the same 
extent as they bestow their affections on worth- 
less scamps. It is one of those enigmas 



96 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

that, as Dundreary would have said, "No 
fellar can understand." It is so, neverthe- 
less. As 9 according to Longfellow, "affection 
never is wasted/ 9 we must only hope that the 
endless adoration lavished on bad men by good 
women may be the means ordained by God of 
producing beneficial results, which we in our 
short-sighted wisdom can neither foresee nor 
comprehend. 

As the years passed, Arthur's periods of dis- 
sipation became longer and more frequent, 
with shorter and fewer intervals of steadiness 
between. 

His brain having become somewhat affected, 
he was simply at these epochs like a lunatic 
at large, and did the most extraordinary things. 
Some of his eccentricities proved very expen- 
sive and inconvenient. For instance, one of 
the many different phases he exhibited found 
vent in burning his clothes. As fast as new 
ones were supplied him, he made a bonfire of 
them. Another inconvenient phase consisted 
in throwing the dinner, plates and glass, out 
of the window. One day a plate in its descent 
narrowly escaped braining a next-door neigh- 
bour who happened to be passing. Occasion* 
ally, he threw the servants down the staircase, 
but they were so fond of him that they did 



MR. L— - 97 

not mind such rough usage. Charles, to whom 
I had been relating this fact, remarked it was 
singular how some contrived to inspire affec- f 
tion. He did not think, if he threw his 
servants down the staircase, that they would 
take it so quietly from him. 

Towards me personally Arthur never evinced 
any violence, and even in his worst moments 
never forgot I was his wife, and that he was 
fond of me. 

One night he returned late from the club 
very much the worse for wine. On entering 
the room where I was awaiting his return, 
not having yet undressed, he approached me 
and put his hand round my throat "Pussy, 
I am so fond of you I feel that I should like 
to strangle you,' 9 his fingers tightening, as he 
spoke, round my throat. 

Turning pale, but preserving my presence of 
mind, I laughed up in his face. 

" Oh, Arthur ! you know you would be sorry, 
and would be punished.' 1 

" Yes, I know ; and I know: I would be sorry, 
but I can't help it I do love you so much." 

" Well," I rejoined, feeling his fingers tighten- 
ing more and more, "come down to the 
dining-room, where there is more light and 

space." 

a 



98 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

Still looking him calmly in the face, I 
coaxed him step by step towards the door, 
which was shut, and asked him to open it 
He relaxed his hold of my throat in order 
to do so. Taking advantage of my freedom, 
I sprang down the staircase, and snatching up 
a shawl in the hall, ran out into the street, 
where, watched by a suspicious policeman on 
the opposite side, I spent the night pacing 
backwards and forwards in the rain. 

After this, I never ventured to undress or to 
go to bed at such times. 

I frequently passed weeks without any rest, 
excepting a short sleep snatched during quiet 
interludes, or without taking my clothes off, 
except to take a bath. 

Arthur was far too restless to remain quiet. 
He would wander all over the house, in and 
out of every room, until the morning. Then, 
tired out, he would fall asleep for a while in 
his dressing-room. 

Friends and acquaintances began to look 
askance, and partly because every one was very 
much afraid; some omitted Arthur in their 
invitations, but I refused to go to entertain- 
ments from which he was excluded. I also 
resented the reception of such invitations, which 
I considered added insult to injury, for I 




MR. L 99 

thought, unless both were asked, it would 
have been better taste not to ask either. 

Thus it came to pass that I offended the 
greater number of acquaintances and so-called 
friends by not only declining their invitations, 
but even a continuance of their acquaintance. 
Whilst I was existing as best I could, my 
sister was having ample time to repent of her 
rash marriage — not that she ever confessed to 
doing so. She, too, was fond of, and loyal to, 
her husband, to whom she was a very good 
wife. She was extremely fond of her children, 
of whom she had three living, and to them 
she devoted her life. 

Refusing to allow nurses to have the charge 
of such precious treasures, she undertook the 
sole care of them herself, quite giving up 
society, of which she had formerly been such 
an ornament, and in which she was still so 
calculated to shine. She loved horses, and 
drove a great deal with her children in a 
carriage drawn by a handsome pair of bays. A 
pretty picture she made as the carriage passed 
through the streets, and all eyes turned to 
look at her. 

She was now about twenty-seven, and was 
expecting another baby daily, when the three 
children took the scarlatina. My sister sat up 



ioo A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

night and day with them, and gave herself no 
rest. Feeling the fatigue would prove too much 
for her, and fearing that the expected little 
stranger would suffer in consequence, she asked 
for extra assistance, to which reasonable request 
objections were raised. 

The doctor, who had attended her on each 
previous occasion of childbirth, remonstrated with 
her husband for allowing his wife to remain in the 
house under such circumstances. He declared 
that if she took the scarlatina, and in his opinion 
this was inevitable, she would certainly die, and 
he entreated him to exert his marital authority to 
induce her to leave the house. Her husband, 
getting very much annoyed by the doctor's inter- 
ference, informed him curtly that his wife should 
not quit the house with his consent; moreover, 
he would know where to find another doctor, 
and summarily dismissed the kind and anxious 
old man. 

Thus my poor sister met her hour of trouble 
attended by a stranger. As foretold by the old 
doctor, she caught the infectious disease. In her 
exhausted condition she rapidly sank after the 
birth of a girl, who survived. 

We will draw a veil over the husband's terrible 
remorse and anguish,, for which even his worst 
enemies pitied him, as he hung over the dead 





MR. L 101 

body of his late loving wife, his young and lovely 
helpmeet, who had sacrificed so much for his 
sake. We will also draw a veil over my deep 
sorrow for the loss of a loved and favourite 
sister. I registered a vow to myself that never, 
never would I forgive the man to whose instru- 
mentality I considered that sister's death was 
due. 

Let us hold sacred, too, the frantic grief of the 
poor mother, far away in America, as she recalled 
only the engaging ways and amiable disposition 
of her daughter, quite forgetting her faults, or the 
undutiful conduct she had been led into, through 
her trusting and affectionate character, for love of 
a clever and seductive man. 

I shall now turn to Delia, whom it looks I have 
almost forgotten. For long she kept the promise 
anent the relinquishment of her riding, but after 
many years she began to miss the exhilarating 
pastime more and more. 

At length she came to the conclusion that life 
was not worth having without horse exercise. 
She therefore begged her husband to reconsider 
his decision, and allow her to resume her riding. 
When, in spite of her pleading and entreaties, 
he still refused, she determined on carrying 
out a desperate and sinful resolution, which, 
strengthened by the other miseries of her 



102 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

existence, had for some time been forming 
itself in her mind. 

A younger sister was then staying on a visit 
at St. Germains. One night she was awakened 
from her sleep by the apparition of Delia, 
whose pale face rivalled the whiteness of her 
dressing-gown. 

"Anna," she wailed, "I have just taken a 
dose of poison, because I am so unhappy, and 
now I am sorry. I want to live. What shall I 
do! Oh! what shall I dot" 

Anna started up, and, speechless from horror, 
hurried to Mr. Thomson's room, shook him 
roughly, and told him to go at once for a doctor, 
as Delia had taken poison. 

Mr. Thomson, on being made to comprehend 
the shocking tidings, jumped out of bed, dressed 
hastily, and obeyed his sister-in-law's command. 
Thanks to his promptitude in the observance 
of her directions, Delia's life was saved. Her 
husband, taking warning from the fright he had 
received, never again prohibited his wife the in- 
dulgence of her favourite recreation, but per- 
mitted her to ride to her heart's content. For the 
future Delia was to be seen daily scouring the 
country for hours on a three-hundred-guinea 
mare, accompanied by her son on a bicycle. In 
consequence of this boy having a slight delicacy 




MR L 103 

of the spine, the doctors had forbidden him 
the more violent exercise of horse-riding. So 
Delia had now a few years of enjoyment and 
freedom in the companionship of her only son, 
between whom and his mother a warm attachment 
existed. Delia, being of a very undemonstra- 
tive and of an apparently cold temperament, some, 
with the usual want of judgment of people who 
don't understand, said that she did not care for 
her son. Which charitable verdict after events 
proved wrong. 

Whilst his sister Delia was rejoicing in, and 
profiting, by her hardly gained liberty, Charles was 
making a name which rang from one end of the 
world to the other. It is not my intention to 
relate his public career, which has already been 
written upon by several better able to describe 
it than I am, and which, in any case, could 
only be more or less a repetition of what has 
previously been stated. 

The Kilmainham episode is, perhaps, a solitary 
incident pertaining to his political life, wherein 
I had more opportunities of witnessing his 
sufferings, and certain events of his sojourn there, 
than any outsider could possibly have had. 
Therefore, it may be interesting to give a 
brief sketch of this part of his career as a public 
character. 



104 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

Charles was arrested as a "Suspect" at 
Morrison's Hotel in Dublin. 

Having a few days previously received a tele- 
gram from one of his colleagues, telling him 
" to look out for squalls/ 9 and understanding the 
significance of the message, he could, had he 
chosen, have evaded arrest by leaving the country, 
but this he scorned to do. 

He had spent the day before at Avondale, 
where I was staying with my little daughter and 

a friend, Mr. James C . He had dined 

with me and my guest, intending to proceed to 
Dublin by the late train, and to return to Avon- 
dale in a couple of days. 

He looked pale, was rather silent, and seemed 
thoughtful and preoccupied. When starting 
for the train, his little niece, of whom he was 
very fond, told him " to be sure and come back 
soon." The next morning, whilst he was still in 
bed, the officers of the law entered the hotel 
in order to execute the warrant they held for 
his arrest He was transferred in a cab to 
Kilmainham. 

The news spread like wildfire, and it was 
reported that Gladstone, on first hearing it, 
"threw up his hat with delight" 

I heard the intelligence as my daughter and 
Mr. James C and I were on our way 



MR. L 105 

driving to Aughavanagh, Charles's shooting-lodge 
in the mountains, where we had arranged to have 
a picnic. 

This contemplated diversion was now aban- 
doned, and we returned to the house to find all 
the fires out and everything very desolate. The 
faithful old housekeeper, who had been there for 
many years, and who worshipped her master, was 
too overwhelmed with grief by the news to attend 
to such mundane affairs, and was, indeed, quite 
incapacitated to do anything, except to weep. 
This she did enough for herself and every one 
else. 

On receiving a telegram "to send him some 
clean linen/ 1 she, however, roused herself suffi- 
ciently to look after her master's wants. 



CHAPTER VIII 

KILMAINHAM 

"Oh, the soul keeps its youth, 
But the body faints sore ; it is tired in the race, 
It sinks in the chariot ere reaching the goal" 

—KB. Browning. 

Charles had been a week in Kilmainham before 
I was able to pay my first visit there, the forma- 
lities being endless which had to be undergone 
to enable me to obtain a formal permission for 
a private visit. Brick and stone and iron bars 
everywhere, and the ordinary sounds of life caught 
tone from their environment. Even the sunlight 
was pierced by iron bars, and stole in distorted 
refractions to the most secluded spots, as though 
afraid. For it was a jail. The place was like 
some cold city belonging to another world, of 
wonderful cleanliness, precision, and order, in 
which one day was exactly the counterpart of 
the day that went before it. This fearful mono- 
tony was stamped upon every wall and window ; 
upon every ceiling above, every flagstone below. 
And in this brick and stone, with mighty locks, 
bolts, and bars, between himself and freedom, 
was Charles Stewart Parnell. 

io6 



KILMAINHAM 107 

I found him in the best room which the prison 
afforded. He was sitting in an arm-chair, by 
a bright, glowing fire, absorbed in a book. He 
looked paler and thinner, his eyes were heavy, 
and it was evident that the confinement, depriva- 
tion of his liberty, and the want of fresh air, 
were even at this early date beginning to tell 
on his health and strength. I had imagined him 
on prison diet, and was relieved to find that he 
was allowed, in common with the rest of the 
"Suspects," to have anything he liked to eat 
and drink— of course, at his own expense. I was 
also glad to hear that he and his companions 
in misfortune could play football, or indulge in 
any other recreation they preferred, and as much 
as they chose, in an enormous, well-ventilated 
hall, which had a balcony all round, and re- 
sembled an opera-house, minus the seats. 

After the first visit, I experienced no further 
difficulty in getting leave for future private visits, 
and I constantly called to see and to try and 
cheer my brother. I could not fail to perceive 
the change for the worse in his appearance, which 
each time was more and more apparent. 

It was the rule to search the bags or muffs 
of every visitor who carried such articles, both 
on entering and leaving. For some reason I 
was made an exception, and no one asked to 



108 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

examine any parcels or bags I might chance to 
have with me. The utmost confidence seemed 
to be placed in me by the governor, who was 
very courteous and kind; so I had quite the 
run of the prison, and soon became at home 
there. 

All the "Suspects" of a certain class dined 
together in Charles's room every evening, and 
they were allowed free access to one another's 
apartments during the day. 

Notwithstanding so much licence, to one in 
Charles's position, accustomed to the luxuries of 
Avondale, life in Kilmainham, even under such 
comparatively easy circumstances, was very severe, 
and it was always remembered as the most trying 
time he had passed. 

The six months he was condemned to spend 
within the gloomy precincts of the prison shook 
his constitution and undermined his health to 
such an extent that he never recovered the in- 
jurious effects of his imprisonment, but was ever 
after extremely delicate and subject to divers 
ailments and illnesses. 

All letters written or received by the "Suspects" 
were opened and read by the governor. Faith- 
less to, and taking advantage of, the trust reposed 
in me, my sole anxiety being to help my brother, 
I offered to post any letters or papers for Charles 



KILMAINHAM 109 

he liked, and I was the only one who had oppor- 
tunities of conveying letters in and out which 
were unread, without meeting with any inter- 
ference. 

Charles, who was much too chivalrous to let 
me encounter the risk of entailing on myself 
the unpleasantness, and perhaps worse, which 
the possible discovery of such a proceeding 
might involve, refused to avail himself of my 
offer. 

He was very anxious once to have a particular 
letter posted unseen by the governor, and rashly 
offered the warder a sovereign to post it without 
his knowledge. The warder, instead of doing 
so, immediately informed the governor of Charles's 
attempted bribe, thereby bringing on him a week 
of solitary confinement and stricter surveillance. 
It was some time before even I was permitted 
any more private interviews. 

After five months of prison, Charles got leave 
en parole to attend his nephew Richard Thom- 
son's funeral at Paris. 

He stayed there a fortnight endeavouring 
to console his broken-hearted sister, whose grief 
for the rather sudden death, from typhus fever, 
of her only son, who had just reached the age 
of twenty-one, was a surprise to those who 
had credited her with " heartlessness." Delia 



no A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

Thomson did not long survive her son's 
death. She never rode again; gave up all 
society ; always wore the deepest black, a colour 
she had hitherto detested; and finally fretted 
herself into an untimely grave. A month after 
his return to Kilmainham, Charles was released, 
and proceeded to Avondale, where he stayed 
for a while, hoping to recruit his shattered 
health^ which was never the same again as it 
had been prior to his incarceration. 

Even from the standpoint of the Government, 
this imprisonment was a mistake, and calculated 
rather to foster and cherish the movement it 
was intended to check. The emotional and 
chivalrous Celtic character, always given to 
espouse lost causes and worship martyred heroes, 
was fired with enthusiasm for the Nationalist 
movement, when it was once persecuted. The 
imprisoned leader became a greater hero than 
ever, and in spite of the loss of his personal 
influence, the movement grew and flourished. 
The fact of his suffering for the cause, and 
the very rigour of the Act under which he 
was arrested and committed as a " Suspect," 
strengthened and enhanced his influence as a 
leader of the national party in the next few 
years of his public life. During this time 
Charles frequently held large gatherings of his 



KILM AINHAM 1 1 1 



colleagues at Avondale to discuss the 
of the nation. The discussions usually took 
place at night after dinner. We dined in the 
library, our usual sitting-room, and on the 
conclusion of the meal I generally lay down 
on the sofa* This was when I was living at 
Avondale. The first night one of these con- 
ferences was to be held, I proceeded to settle 
myself on the sofa according to my custom, 
but Mr. Michael Davitt, as spokesman for the 
rest, objected to my presence, and suggested 
that I should leave the room. Charles, however, 
objected, and said I was to remain where I 
was, adding, on perceiving the consternation 
depicted on the faces of Mr. Michael Davitt 
and the others, for their consolation, that "I 
was quite safe." Thereupon, closing my eyes, 
I feigned sleep, but I did not sleep, and 
heard all that passed. I shall not make any 
revelations of these private confabulations, for 
although he is dead I still consider myself 
bound in honour to verify and support my 
brother's statement that "I was quite safe." 
Anything I could reveal, however, would only 
reflect credit on Charles, who held his followers 
in leash. We will now go back a few years 
in order to give an account of Charles's love 
affair and engagement to an American girl, 



M2 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

which shows how his entrance into a parlia- 
mentary political career had its origin in a 
woman. 

The scene opens in New York, in one of 
the fine houses in Fifth Avenue. 

Charles, a slender and very handsome, dark- 
eyed young man of twenty-three, looking slighter 
and handsomer than ever in evening clothes, 
was engaged talking to his hostess, Mrs. Forbes, 
when his attention was attracted by a strikingly 
beautiful girl, of superb and queenly carriage, 
dressed with the taste which Americans alone 
possess. 

She was standing near, a ring of admirers 
around her, all pleading for her favour and 
competing for her smiles, whilst she conversed 
with and entertained them with infinite tact 
and cleverness. 

Coil upon coil of rich masses of chestnut 
auburn hair, piled high up on top of a small 
and shapely head; large slumberous eyes of 
varying colour, now dark as night and now of 
a golden hazel, which scintillated and flashed 
with every change of feeling which her ex- 
pressive countenance instantly betrayed; a skin 
beautifully fair, and a figure perfect in its grace 
and its maturity of development, rendered her 
a ^distraction from head to foot 




KILMAINHAM 113 

41 Mrs. Forbes," asked Charles as he gazed at 
this vision of loveliness, "who is the young 
lady in black and gold, surrounded by all those 
men ? " 

" A Miss H , an only daughter and a very 

rich heiress/ 1 

"And, like the gods, divinely tall and most 
divinely fair/ 1 muttered Charles. Then aloud 
and eagerly to his hostess: "Fray introduce 
me." Mrs. Forbes at once complied with his 
request The capricious beauty thereupon dis- 
missed her admirers and proceeded to concentrate 
her wit and attention on her latest conquest. 
Long before the conclusion of the party Charles 
was completely subjugated, and his heart had 
gone, never to return to its rightful owner 
again. 

The intimacy between him and the bewitching 
American increased and throve apace amidst the 
congenial society and in the unconstrained socia- 
bility of New York. 

In accordance with the charmingly sensible 
laws of American etiquette, Charlie's intercourse 
with his fair inamorata was unrestricted by the 
presence and gine of a chaperon, an unknown 
article in the social life of the New World, so 
they were at liberty to roam about together in 
an enchanting dual solitude. 



/ 



ii4 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

After a couple of months of this delightful 

freedom, Miss H suddenly tired of America 

and American ways, and decided on trying " fresh 
fields and pastures new. 91 

She selected Rome as the scene of her future 
enterprises, and accordingly one day departed 
thither with five or six boxes, leaving many 
broken hearts behind as mementoes of her 
stay. 

For Charles the world had become grey, and 
life was dull, flat, and unprofitable. Her absence 
changed light into darkness, happiness into a 
dreary aching void. He struggled on for three 
whole days, then followed his divinity to Rome. 

Before many weeks had passed he had pro- 
posed and been accepted, and it was soon known 
that the attractive young Irishman was engaged 
to the late belle of New York, and heiress of 
the rich Mr. H . 

The months that succeeded were perhaps the 
happiest of Charles's life. It seemed to him 
that there was a great, burst of sunlight across 
the world, and that the world itself had suddenly 
grown many coloured and a place of joys. Life 
was bathed in an untold glory. That summer 
contained the great romance of his life. Bask- 
ing in the charms and reciprocated love of his 
adored siren, whom he loved with every fibre 



KILMAINHAM 115 

of his being, with every throb of his heart, 
ecstasy running through his veins like quick- 
silver at the touch of her hand, he experienced 
for a brief space the delights of a " heaven upon 
earth." Alas! too soon was his dream of bliss 
dispelled by a rough awakening from his delirium 
of enchantment 

One memorable day the idol of his life 
coolly informed him she had changed her 
mind, and would not marry him, because he 
had no name. "No name, Pearl! why I have 
one of the oldest in Ireland/ 9 ejaculated Charles, 
astonished. 

"Oh! I mean you have never distinguished 
yourself in any way. The man I marry must be 
a hero, and be able to boast of a self-made name, 
one that all the world has heard of, and that 
rings with his fame — not a musty old Irish name 
belonging to some antediluvian mouldy old 
family of bygone generations." 

"I am very young, Pearl; give me a little 
time, and I will make a name that even you 
will be proud of; only give me time. Will 
you marry me then, Pearl? when I come and 
lay a name worthy even of your acceptance 
at your feet? My love, don't say me nay, don't 
break my heart; give me hope in the future, 
and an object for which to live and work," 



n6 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

pleaded Charles, with all the fervour of which 
he was capable, the true love of his great 
nature betraying itself in his anxiety to gain 
Pearl's consent to his request. 

His eloquence met with its reward; Pearl 
capitulated, and promised to do what her lover 
had asked, and to wait for him meanwhile. 
So they parted, she to return to a life of 
gaiety and incense of admiration in America. 
Charles returned to Ireland, to throw himself 
with all the ardour of his temperament into a 
public political career, whereby he vowed an 
inward vow that he would make a name which 
would not prove unworthy even of his idolised 
Pearl. 

Meetings for the future were not frequent be- 
tween the lovers. Pearl remained in America, 
with admirers thick as leaves around her; and 
Charles was too much bent on achieving his 
goal, and on compassing the future he had set 
before him, to lose any time he could help 
by absence from the scene of his exertions. 

The comparatively short time that elapsed ere 
his name was heard through the length and 
breadth of the United Kingdom, and far and 
wide, is well known, and how, long before reach- 
ing the prime of life, the name of " Charles 



KILMAINHAM 117 

Stewart Parnell " was on every lip. Peaxl heard 
of his many triumphs and marvellous success, 
how he was a man who could hold men by 
the glow of his eye, the cool defiance of his 
carriage, and mould the world of politics and 
direct great forces. 

Her heart glowed with pride and pleasure. 

One day, on Charles's arrival in New York, 
he hurried to the presence of his goddess, and, 
laying his "name" at her feet, asked would 
she marry him now. " Yes," was the reply, as 
Pearl, proud and happy, yielded to her lover's 
entreaty, and consented to become his wife in 
three months from that date. 

After a few days of bliss, Charles again re- 
turned to his arduous work in Ireland. Nine 
weeks passed quickly. 

Pearl, that star for which Charles had sighed 
for so long, was within his reach, and he 
looked forward to calling his beloved his own, 
his wife. He was on the point of starting 
for America, where their nuptials were to be 
celebrated, when — but how write about, how 
describe, the bolt that fell with unrelenting 
force on Charles's head? How portray the 
indescribable anguish, the sharp agony, the 
despair contained in an innocent • looking tele- 



n8 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

gram, placed in Charles's hand by an obsequious 
waiter on the eve of his departure? We can 
but picture him in his agony and passion, in 
his mad despair. He had loved her with all 
the strength of his strong nature. This ill- 
omened message announced the marriage of 
his inconstant fiancee to another. 

The blow thus dealt him harshly and sum- 
marily bade fair at first to change and sour 
his affectionate disposition, but in time the 
innate nobility of his nature conquered. He 
rose superior to his trouble and the deaden- 
ing influence of a rejected love. He did not 
even give his feelings vent by railing at and 
abusing all women, as so many under similar 
circumstances do. 

He came forth strengthened and ennobled by 
the fiery trial through which he had passed, 
but he never loved again. 

From henceforth he bestowed all his affec- 
tion on his country. On the amelioration of 
its wrongs he centred all his attention. The 
work which he had first undertaken for love 
of a woman he afterwards continued with un- 
abated ardour from patriotic feeling, and for 
love of the nation whose cause he had espoused 
with Spartan courage, though many believed it 




KILMATNHAM 119 

to be a forlorn hope. So true it is that it is 
an "ill wind that blows nobody any good." 

Thus Ireland, for the devotion and sacrifice of 
Charles's life and all benefits derived therefrom, 
had to thank the faithlessness and fickleness of 
a woman! 



CHAPTER IX 

COLONEL H 

"The falcon has the eyes of the dove. 
Ah love t 
Perjured, fake, treacherous lore." 

—Longfellow. 

My mother, after her brother's death, had taken 
up her residence in America, where her newly- 
acquired property demanded her presence and 
attention. 

She was accompanied thither by her three 
younger daughters, Fanny, Anna, and Theodosia. 
Anna returned to Ireland in about a year, Theo- 
dosia married a navy man, and Fanny remained 
as her mother's companion and help. Fanny, 
when last mentioned, was about going to Lady 
Howard's for a London season, but in a month 
after her arrival her visit was cut short by the 
sudden death of her aunt. Sir Ralph followed 
his better half a few years later. Much to his 
nieces 9 gratification, though greatly grieved by this 
loss, they found that Sir Ralph had not forgotten 
their future, and had left all, including me, hand- 
some legacies. 



IK> 



COLONEL H 121 

Fanny became extremely popular at my mother's 
country place, Ironsides, in New Jersey, and 
beloved by all, especially the poor. Having a 
wider grasp of political matters than most girls 
of her age, and being a very ardent patriot, she 
took a deep interest in her brother's politics, 
which were also hers. 

Her feelings towards, and love for, Ireland found 
expression in poetry, of which she wrote a great 
deal. Several of her poems were published. 
The climate of New Jersey disagreed with her, 
and her health declined in consequence. She 
suffered severely from the malaria of the country, 
which induced rheumatic fever, that left the seeds 
of heart disease. Being naturally brave and of 
an unselfish nature, her friends were ignorant of 
. the hold that the disease had got upon her, 
especially as she went through her ordinary 
routine of daily duties, held her head high, and 
greeted the' world with a smile of courage. Her 
death afterwards at an early age was therefore 
unexpected. She was very much lamented and 
missed by all who knew her, and particularly by 
her poor people, but most of all by her mother, 
who was now left alone. 

John Howard Farnell, who had some years 
before gone to America to seek his fortune, was 
meanwhile having a rough time of it down south. 



122 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

He has not yet had much part in this story, 
like his brother Charles, he was tall and dark 
and aristocratic looking, but there all resemblance 
ceased. 

In his love for rural pursuits, being very fond 
of flowers, he differed from his brother, whose 
bent lay more in the fields of literature and 
science. In his taste for geology John was a 
veritable Hugh Miller. He had also inherited a 
remarkable talent for painting from some remote 
ancestor. John went in for fruit-growing in 
America very extensively, of which industry he 
had a great deal of knowledge, and his peaches 
obtained a far-famed distinction. 

Henry Parnell had married, and turned to house- 
keeping and superintending babies, which he 
varied by mountain climbing. 

Having thus shortly disposed of the dif- 
ferent living members of the family, I shall 
now return to myself and my ever- increasing 
perplexities. 

Only that these are facts, the temptation to 
skip the following portion might prove irre- 
sistible. Being true, it must be given in all its 
baldness. 

A crisis had arrived in my life which it would 
be hard to define or explain. It originated 
in my meeting with a Colonel H , who 



COLONEL H 123 

had been introduced to me by Arthur, of whom 
he was an old army friend, but who had also 
retired. 

Colonel H was an extremely handsome 

man, now in his prime. He was also, to use 
a vulgar expression, an inveterate " lady-killer. w 
Possessed of most insinuating manners and 
address, and a handsome face and figure, he had 
been accustomed all his life to find the fair sex 
comparatively easy victims. With him and me 
it was on both sides a case of love at first sight. 

On my part it was quite a different love to what 
I had felt, and still felt for Arthur, which partook 
now largely of the maternal, for poor Arthur had 
come to lean on me like a child, and my feel- 
ings for Colonel H in no way interfered 

with it. 

I had probably been too young at the time 
of my engagement to Arthur to love with the 
passion, latent in every woman, of later years. 
My love for Arthur had always been marked by 
its purity and innocence, otherwise ignorance, 
which usually pervades first and early love. The 
love that comes with maturer years is of quite 
a different sort, less of purity and more of passion 
— in fact, an inferior article altogether ; but better 
adapted to man, who is not made to mate with 
angels. 



124 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

It is probable, that only for the peculiar cir- 
cumstances of my life with Arthur, my thoughts 
and affections would not have strayed, even tem- 
porarily. Be that as it may, the love that sprang 

up between Colonel H and me was as violent 

as it was hopeless. 

One of those rare passions, all absorbing, blind 
and deaf to everything but itself, a wild storm 
now rising high in a whirlwind of passion, now 
sinking into a treacherous calm. 

An alternate delirium of rapture and despair, 
which while it steeps the mind for a brief 
space in paradise, leaves a bitter taste in the 
mouth. 

As there is no higher stimulus to love or 
passion than the fact that the coveted one 

belongs to some one else, Colonel H was 

completely carried away by his feelings, which 
overpowered reason, sense, and every other con- 
sideration. He moved heaven and earth to gain 
his object, if not by fait means, by foul, and 
was as much surprised as irritated by the fierce 
resistance which he met with, and which in- 
cited him to still more extreme measures to get 
his own way. 

But the woman who hesitates is sewed. 

It was the old story ; prudence and inclination 
striving for the mastery, self-respect and passion 



COLONEL H 125 

at war. My will proved conqueror. I emerged 
a winner, though feeling that my victory had 
been dearly purchased. 

One day, when walking in St. Stephen's Green, 

I was joined by Colonel H . It was the 

early afternoon. The colonel wished to unfold 
his plan of campaign. "My dearest," he com- 
menced, "how long are we to go on like this? 
Platonics are not in my line. I don't believe 
in them between man and woman. Sue for a 
divorce, and I swear, by all that is most sacred, 
that as soon as the necessary time which the law 
demands has elapsed, I will then, with your con- 
sent, marry you myself." 

" I cannot, Cecil/ 9 1 murmured in low tones. 

" Tou would only have to ask for it to get it 
He wouldn't have a leg to stand on. Darling, 
don't you love me? Tou couldn't look me in 
the face, and tell me you don't I know you do. 
Think how happy we would be together. I 
would never allow you to regret having taken 
such a step. It would be my sole object to 
make you happy. You should never have a wish 
ungratified. I feel as if I would give all the 
world for you. I never loved a woman as I love 
you. I cannot live without you." 

Don't urge me," I implored, tears in my eyes. 

I couldn't do as you ask. Poor Arthur! I 






126 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

should never forgive myself if I deserted him 
now. But, Cecil, it hurts me to refuse you." 

" Well then," impatiently, "let appearances be 
against yourself, and let the divorce proceedings 
come from the other side." 

I was confounded by the audacity of this 
proposal, and was silent 

"We will leave some evening in the same 

boat from Kingstown," continued Colonel H , 

mistaking my silence as a favourable! sign, "and 
if you wish we will part at Holyhead. The 
mere fact of our leaving together would be 
amply sufficient grounds for a divorce action 
on Arthur' 8 part. This need not be defended, 
and so, from appearances only" (he dwelt par- 
ticularly on this), " you can obtain your freedom, 
and we can be married." 

I secretly thought it would require much 
stronger evidence than merely leaving Kings- 
town in the same boat with Colonel H 

to make Arthur go in for divorce proceedings. 
To try him, I asked him one evening, shortly 
after I had finally broken with the Colonel, 
whether he would believe it if somebody told 
him bad things about me. "Believe it? No!" 
Arthur said. "I shouldn't believe it; but the 
man or woman who came to me with such 
tales had better say their prayers first, for he 




, 1 1.. 



COLONEL H 127 

or she would never get another chance of saying 
them." I thought this such a "manly" answer. 
Strange to say, Arthur remained ignorant of the 

tittle-tattle concerning me and Colonel H ; 

but having regard to his manner of life at this 
time, perhaps this was not so surprising. 

Having recovered my power of speech, and 
declining to meet the Colonel's wishes by the 
adoption of such a Machiavellian method, 
which would be so detrimental to my good 
name, we parted in discord, in a scene of 
violent reproach and recrimination on the part 

of Colonel H , who declared that women 

were veritable devils, "cold, merciless, and un- 
reliable." I experienced a totally new and most 
unpleasant feeling of lessened self-respect and 
condemnation. I longed for the strength to be 
able to dismiss this man from my presence, 
who dared insult me with such preposterous 
propositions, and refuse once for all ever to 
see him again — to be less under his sway and 
magnetism. I would ask myself indignantly 
what witchcraft had made me the slave of an 
unworthy man. 

Yet, even when my strong will seemed about 
to gain the ascendancy, a wave of feeling would 
shake my good resolutions to the wind, and 
leave me weaker than before. Colonel H 's 



128 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

unceasing and unconcealed attentions to and 
hot pursuit of me had not passed unnoticed. 
Several people had remarked and passed com- 
ments on what at first they thought was only 

a flirtation; but soon Colonel H 's open 

and reckless avowal of his infatuation and in- 
tentions left no longer room for doubt upon 
the subject The affair began to assume a 
graver aspect in the minds of many. 

The prevailing rumours had reached Mr. 

L 9 8 ears, and slow as he was to give 

credence to reports detrimental to the woman 
he had set on a pedestal, a certain jealous 
instinct, in this particular instance, shook even 
his boundless faith and confidence. 

As usual, it was not so much of himself he 
thought as of me, and the best way to exer- 
cise his protective powers so as to help me 
in this portentous crisis of my life. 

Perhaps the plan he adopted with a view to 
saving me was a mistake — indeed the result 
proved it so ; but much must be excused to one 
who loved so truly and unselfishly as he did. 

He was paying, according to his custom, his 
daily visit, and boldly introduced the name of 

Colonel H . He commented on the talk 

to which his constant attendance on me had 
given rise. " The clubs are full of it/ 9 he said ; 



COLONEL H- 129 

"you may imagine how painful it is to me to 
hear your name bandied about, and to be obliged 
to listen to base insinuations of one whom I 
thought the purest creature on God's earth. . I 
don't wish to say anything about myself or my 
own feelings, but as you value your future and 
that of your child! I entreat you to pause on 
the edge of the precipice on which you stand. 
Moreover/ 9 he added, " I have been informed on 

indisputable authority that Colonel H has 

been heard to boast publicly at his club of 
4 his conquest' as he calls it." As he expected, 
this was more than enough to raise the pride 
and hurt the self-esteem of any woman, but 
especially of so proud a one as I was. 

My indignation and outraged feelings turned, 

as Mr. L meant they should, against the man 

whom I believed to have taken such an unfair 
and dastardly advantage of my friendly rela- 
tions with him, and who, I told myself, was 
too utterly vile and contemptible for any further 
feeling on my part, except that of dislike and 
aversion. "I shall never speak to him again," 

I declared impulsively, and much to Mr. L 's 

delight; "that is," I corrected, "except to tell 
him I have heard he has been boasting about me." 

" No, don't tell him that, and don't see him any 

more, but quietly drop his acquaintance." 

1 



130 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

"I don't mind so much what people say. 
They are always too ready to put wrong con- 
structions on innocent actions, hut I could 
never have anything again to do with Colonel 

H if he has talked about me at his club 

in the way you say he has." 

Mr. L being a man of unimpeachable 

truth and honesty, I never doubted for a moment 
the veracity of his statement 

"Well, dismiss him firmly, but it's not neces- 
sary to give him any reason or explanation/ 9 
urged Mr. L emphatically. 

"I shall certainly send him about his busi- 
ness/' I repeated, but was silent on the subject 
of the other condition. 

"God bless you," Mr. L concluded, as 

he rose to go, "and give you strength to 
Adhere to your, good resolution. I would rather 
£ee you in your coffin than see you unable to 
hold that proud little head I have loved so 
Well as high as ever. Tou know I have always 
placed you on a pedestal, and I want to keep 
you there." 

"I don't wish to be put on a pedestal," I 
retorted, my temper being up. "It is very 
dull sitting on a pedestal." 

I listened to his retreating steps, then in 
hot and feverish haste I sought my alleged 



/ 



COLONEL H 131 

calumniator, and hurled my accusation fiercely 
on his head, revealing in my rage the name 
of my informant- 
Colonel H , struck dumb at first with 

surprise, hotly denied the accusation, then swear- 
ing he would not rest until he had proved his 
innocence of such a libel, he departed in furious 
wrath to write a challenge to Mr. L . How- 
ever, before posting it, he showed the letter 
to a mutual friend of his and mine, who wisely 
persuaded him, instead of putting it in the post, 
to commit it to the flames. 

He next proceeded to collect evidence with 
reference to the falsity of the dastardly act 
imputed to him. In this he succeeded, for a 
large number of members of the club declared 
their willingness to come forward to give their 
testimony to the fact that he had never been 
heard to mention my name except in terms of 
respect He made no secret, though, of being 
madly in love with me. 

The matter terminated in a contrite con- 
fession on the part of Mr. L that he had 

purposely invented the tale in order to alienate 

me from Colonel H . Instead of this it 

had a contrary effect. In my remorse and 
regret for having believed him capable of 
such meanness, I was inclined to err on the 



132 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

side of exaggerated self-reproach, and to unduly 
exalt the man, who, in this case at least, 
had been wrongly accused. 

The position of things remained unaltered 
for a while longer. I still struggled vainly 
to overcome my madness, and made reso- 
lutions never again to see the object of it, 
which were only to be broken the next 
interview by Colonel H 's passionate pro- 
testations and entreaties not to banish him 
completely from my presence. 

Though months would pass without a 
meeting, the rapture and ecstasy we both 
felt when we met again proved how vain 
had been the experiment of absence to 
kill or even to lessen our mutual infatu- 
ation; but on the contrary, it had only served 
to strengthen it 

The relations between us, however, could 
not continue for ever on these lines. 

Colonel H , having tried all other methods 

to attain his object, merely to find himself 
balked, at length lost patience. 

As a last resource, he informed me that I 
must choose finally between him and com- 
plete severance, as he was too fond of me to 
continue any longer to meet me on our 
present platonic terms. He must have all or 



COLONEL H 133 

nothing, he said. He believed, in his self- 
conceit, this would clinch the matter, and 
bring it to the termination he desired, for he 
thought I loved him too well to let him go 
out of my life altogether. Much to his sur- 
prise and vexation I did, and even insisted 
on his keeping to the ultimatum he had 
himself proposed. Finding he was taken at 
his word, he would fain have retracted his 
self-imposed sentence of banishment. 

It had needed only this spur to enable me 
to maintain my firmness in adhering to the 
right course of action, and to part for ever 
from a man who had acquired such an extra- 
ordinary influence over me as to have suc- 
ceeded, even to the extent he had, in tempting 
me from the straight path, and causing an 
inexplicable lapse in an otherwise (on that 
score) irreproachable life. 

I kept to my decision, and Colonel H and 

I never met again. In the steady perseverance 
of a good resolve strength was given me, and 
in time my mad infatuation ceased to exist, 
as though it had never been. Passion is not 
love, nor fleeting desire undying devotion. 

A few years later I heard of Colonel H 's 

death, and rejoiced as well as wondered at 
my indifference to the news. 



134 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

Certain shady transactions on his part 
having transpired afterwards, I congratulated 
myself more and more on my escape from an 
unscrupulous man. 

If girls and women only knew the real 
character of these fascinating and too often 
irresistible "Don Juans," perhaps they would 
pause before delivering themselves over to their 
tender mercies. Though for their sakes they 
are ready to sacrifice themselves, their relations 
and friends, they only find in the end what 
fools they have been, and are scorned by the 
very men for whom they have sacrificed all that 
a woman holds most dear. Too late they rue 
in sackcloth and ashes the bitter penalties 
of sin and weakness, of which not the least 
is the loss of the strong tower of self-respect, 
that once lost can never be regained, and 
bereft of it either man or woman is like a ship 
without a rudder, which is eventually broken 
in pieces on the rocks. 

We should therefore endeavour, at all costs, 
to preserve this most precious and priceless 
possession, so that we may try and steer clear 
of the many shoals and pitfalls of life which 
must necessarily meet and impede our footsteps 
through a world full of difficulties and alluring 
temptations, especially for the young and un- 



'T „' 



COLONEL H i3S 

wary. We are all only imperfect human beings, 
as it is intended we should be, and it is not 
for us to judge one another, fond as we are of 
doing so. We may not all have exactly the 
same faults, but though we may be free from 
the more conspicuous misdemeanours of our 
neighbours, it does not follow that we are not 
guilty of others quite as bad, or worse. So in 
our judgment of others, if judge others we 
must, let us be more charitable and lenient, 
remembering that those who live in glass 
houses should not throw stones. 

As it has been, so it always will be, in 
spite of the modern strongmindedness of the 
" new woman," who, notwithstanding her 
mannish and independent ways, will find, 
sooner or later, that after all she is a woman, 
and consequently as liable as her weaker sister 
to the ordinary frailties of her sex. 



CHAPTER X 

THE BROAD PATH 

" Wild words wander here and there ; 

God's great gift of speech abused 

Makes thy memory confused, 

Bat let them rave." 

— Tbmnybobt. 

After emerging from Kilmainham, Charles 
was more idolised by the people, on whose 
account he had suffered such privations and 
sacrificed his health, than ever. Their gratitude 
was demonstrated by a substantial testimonial, 
intended for the purpose of freeing his estate 
from the mortgages with which he had saddled 
Avondale, in order to raise money to carry on 
"The Cause.' 9 Forty thousand pounds was 
subscribed by a grateful nation for this 
object. 

Charles devoted his time and brains with 
unabated energy to the welfare of his country, 
and towards the broader tenets of socialism, 
putting his shattered health on one side as of 
no account. As the years passed, each one 
fuller of brilliant success than the last, and 
just when he was at the height of his success, 



THE BROAD PATH 13? 

whispers began to circulate faintly with reference 
to an intrigue on Charles's part with a married 
woman. 

As yet no publicity was given to the affair, 
which his supporters derided as due to the 
machinations of his enemies, to calumniate for 
their own ends the character of their leader. 

Unfortunately this was not the case, as after 
events proved. There was only too good 
ground for the rumours, which many would fain 
have believed to be merely scandalous reports, 
especially as Charles had recently been so 
well able to give the lie to the villainous 
attempt to stigmatise him as a murderer, and 
his triumphant refutation of the hideous crime 
imputed to him had raised him to the pinnacle 
of the pedestal on which his followers had 
placed him. 

Very little is known about the real facts 
of the regrettable "mistake" which afterwards 
proved to be the rock on which he split, other- 
wise he might have been judged more leniently. 
Had he been less chivalrous in his dealings with 
women, or had gratitude been a lesser adjunct 
in his disposition, he might not have so com- 
pletely immolated himself at a woman's shrine 
as he did. An instance of his chivalrous dis- 
position towards women may here be given. 



138 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

It was the occasion of a great ball in Dublin. 
Charles wished to present a lady of his 
acquaintance with a bouquet He searched 
all Dublin over, but failed to find a bouquet 
which he considered good enough to offer to 
a lady. "Well, Charles/' asked Arthur when 
Charles returned from his fruitless quest, "have 
you got the bouquet?" "No/' he replied, "in 
the whole of Dublin I didn't see one fit to 
present to a lady, and I would rather not give 
one at all than insult a lady by offering her 
one that's not worthy of her acceptance. A 
man should only offer a woman the very best" 
It may also here be stated that Charles in one 
respect was not Irish, for he never forgot a 
kindness. 

Charles first met the lady for whom he 
later on sacrificed all the hardly-won fame and 
success of years, even his popularity, his am- 
bition, and life itself, at Lady K 's. The 

latter had sent him an invitation to dinner a 
few days previously, but Charles, who was very 
absent-minded with respect to social functions, 
and unconventional in the extreme, had for- 
gotten the right date of the party. He there- 
fore turned up a couple of evenings afterwards 

an hour before the time. Lady K , glad 

to have him on any terms, did not undeceive 



THE BROAD PATH 139 

him as to his error, bat hastily sent off several 
notes explaining the situation, and asking some 
of her most intimate friends to help her in her 
emergency. She begged they would excuse the 
shortness of the notice, and come to dine that 
evening. She also ordered a hastily improvised 
dinner from a near caterer's. 

Amongst the guests was Mrs. O'Shea, who 
was then considered very pretty, and fascinating 
to a degree. About ten years Charles's senior, 
she was still in her prime. With her it 
appears to have been a case of love at first 
sight. In her infatuation for the attractive 
and distinguished young Irish leader, who was 
generally regarded as so unapproachable, and 
icily indifferent to the blandishments of the 
fair sex, she seems to have forgotten all ordi- 
nary caution, and to have acted from the 
beginning with the abandon of one who con- 
siders the world well lost for love. At first, 
and for long, Charles was as adamant to the 
fascinations of the charmer. Once he even 
placed the ocean between himself and tempta- 
tion, but adverse fate played into the hands 
of the woman who so madly worshipped him. 

The confinement and privations he had under- 
gone in Kilmainham, which had so shaken his 
constitution, culminated in a severe attack of 



HO A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

illness, and for many weeks his life was 
despaired of. Alone and at the mercy of 
London servants, Mrs. O'Shea, taking pity on 
his helplessness, constituted herself his nurse, 
and nursed him through the long and dangerous 
sickness with a zeal and with an unremitting 
care which lov;e alone can prompt. Indeed, 
it was probably owing to her tender vigilance 
and good nursing that Charles's life was saved. 

At all events, he himself attributed his 
recovery to his kind and attentive nurse, who 
certainly did not spare herself in his behalf. 
Her faithful care prevailed. 

Once more, after months of illness, followed 
by convalescence, Charles appeared again in 
public life, the mere shadow of his former 
self. By this time he had come to feel the 
love born of gratitude for one to whom he 
considered he owed his life. The iron hand of 
fate was gradually weaving a snare around him 
which he presently was to find too strong. 

Captain O'Shea suddenly objected to the 
terms of intimacy existing between Charles and 
his wife. The consequent scenes and alter- 
cations became frequent, and resulted in Mrs. 
O'Shea's leaving her husband's house and 
- taking refuge with the man she loved. 

Thus he entered on "the broad road that 



THE BROAD PATH 141 

leadeth to destruction, the path whereof is the 
way to Hell, leading down to the chambers 
of death ! " 

Whilst events were moving swiftly, Arthur's 
career in Dublin, an ever-hastening plunge down- 
wards, was drawing near to a conclusion. My 
patience was sorely tried, but I held tenaciously 
on in my self-appointed task of endeavouring 
to save my husband from the consequences of 
his foolishness. He was seldom or never now 
out of trouble. The prolonged strain began to 
tell very much on my health and nerves. 

When Charles again, in spite of former 
rebuffs, tried to come to my aid, I was more 
willing to listen to his advice than I had been 
ten years previously. 

I accepted his invitation to go and stop at 
Avondale for a few months for change and 
rest with my little daughter, leaving Arthur 
to his own devices in Dublin. 

The latter, however, had not been left long 
to his own sweet will before he plunged deeper 
into troubled waters than he had yet done. 
On receipt of a telegram informing me of my 
husband's arrest for assault, I hurried up to 
Dublin, and succeeded in procuring him bail 
pending trial. I also tried to make terms with 
the party prosecuting, but the amount offered 



142 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

was not considered large enough, so my offer 
was refused. 

Arthur, however, settled the difficulty by pro- 
posing to leave the country and have a change. 
He accordingly departed for the gay little city 
of Brussels. 

I remained behind in order to endeavour to 
effect a final settlement, and pave the way for 
his return. My sister, Mrs. Fagett, accompanied 
by her husband, two big dogs as large as they 
make them, and a couple of horses, came over 
to stay at Avondale, and the summer promised 
to be an agreeable variety for all parties. 

Then began a cheerful time — lawn tennis, 
riding excursions, and picnics were the order 
of the day, and once more the old house 
resounded with laughter and sounds of merri- 
ment and fun. Arthur wrote regularly twice 
a week, long and loving letters, and appeared 
to be enjoying his exile amongst new scenes 
and faces, which also seemed to be exer- 
cising a beneficial effect on him in other 
respects. 

My mind was easier than it had been for 
years, and my health improved under exemption 
from grave thoughts and care. Thus the 
summer passed, and the days grew shorter, 
gloomier, and colder. Soon, when the chill 



_L 



THE BROAD PATH 143 

nip of winter began to make itself felt, the 
hunting season commenced, and I again 
appeared in the fields of the scenes of my 
childhood's triumphs and success, which recalled 
with strange vividness the memory of the happy 
days passed with my father, when we two were 
so much to one another. 

Now, I had to depend on the escort of a 
groom, and one who sometimes proved a 
broken reed. This man was a good groom 
when sober, but unhappily he was not always 
so, and occasionally, being too incapable to 
sit his horse, fell off when riding with his 
mistress. 

On one memorable occasion I started at ten 
in the morning to ride to Bray, a distance of 
thirty miles from Avondale. James, the groom, 
who was under the influence of drink even at 
that early hour, had a fall ere we had pro- 
ceeded far. Leaving him to his fate, I 
followed in pursuit of the runaway horse. 
Instead of keeping the road and a straight 
direction, which would have brought us to 
Bray in real John Oilpin style, the animal led 
me a run across country, terminated at length 
by a dexterous ploughman, who adroitly caught 
the thoroughbred the groom had been riding, 
and checked him in his mad and headlong 



144 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

course. It was dark long before I got back 
to Avondale with the captured horse. Then, 
remembering James had the key of the stables 
in his pocket, without which the horses could 
not be got in, I proceeded to the town, where 
the man had lodgings, on the chance of finding 
him there. 

James, awakening to the discovery that he 
was lying on the road, cursing both his mistress 
and his steed for having deserted him, had 
picked himself up and found his way home. 

He had gone to bed, and was enjoying the 
sleep of the inebriated. 

When wakened up, and made to understand 
the key was wanting, he refused to give it, de- 
claring that no stranger should touch the horse. 
After keeping me waiting whilst he dressed, 
he accompanied me back, grumbling at the 
hard treatment he had sustained, especially be- 
wailing the barbarity which had left him on 
the road. He said it was a case of "save the 
horse" and "never mind the man," and he had 
known a gentleman who had got "six months" 
with hard labour for a similar offence. 

Muttering oyer his grievances, and spilling 
the grease of the one candle over my riding- 
habit, he essayed to rub the horse down, whilst 
I stood silently watching my favourite "done 



THE BROAD PATH 145 

up" and made comfortable, before seeking the 
much-needed rest and refreshment for myself, 
having been ten hours in my habit on a bitterly 
cold day without either eating or drinking. 

After this little experience I gave James the 
option of leaving my service or taking the 
pledge. He chose the latter alternative, and 
for a time scrupulously kept it, giving every 
satisfaction. But this happy state of things was 
destined to be suddenly interrupted. 

One morning the party was assembled at eight 
o'clock in the dining-room for breakfast, both 
ladies and gentlemen in hunting costume prior 
to starting for the day's sport. 

James knocked at the door, and on being 
told to come in, entered. In plain and forcible 
language he informed the company in general, 
and me in particular, that he was too "intoxi- 
cated" to ride after me that day. He said he 
thought it best to let me know beforehand, as 
if he were to mount a horse in his condition 
some irremediable mischief might ensue. More- 
over, like a true son of Adam, he blamed his 
wife for the unlucky occurrence, as she had 
been so inconsiderate as \p present him during 
the night with a sixth baby, a piece of bad luck, 
in his opinion, which he evidently considered an 
ample excuse for his incapable state. 



146 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

Needless to say, this naive announcement 
caused much amusement, and one of the gentle- 
men present offering his escort instead — this not 
being the age when ladies were strong-minded 
enough to ride to hounds unattended — the 
dilemma was settled. So the party started on 
their quest of pleasure. This gentleman, how- 
ever, in the excitement of the sport later on in 
the day, forgot his promise. This want of care 
had an unlucky result for James's mistress. 
On coming to a thick wood, my horse, having 
already once or twice knocked me against a 
tree, finding himself surrounded by the same 
obstacles, and feeling very excited, doubtless 
thought I would be safer at home. He there- 
fore denied himself his greatest pleasure, that 
of following the hounds, and suddenly set off 
homewards at full gallop, all my efforts to 
stop him being unavailing. Soon after this 
Captain and Mrs. Fagett left, and the party 
broke up. 

Some time later, my uncle, Mr. Bligh before 
mentioned, died, leaving me a few thousand 
pounds, so I had not at present to add the 
want of money to my other difficulties, not- 
withstanding that it required much to meet 
Arthur's expenses. Though many blamed me, 
and even went so far as to say that my indis- 




THE BROAD PATH 147 

criminate generosity encouraged Arthur in his 
reckless course, I could never forget it was 
for my sake he had thrown up his military 
career. 

Now, too, I saw my way to bringing my 
husband's prosecutor to terms, for, like most 
men, he had his price, and it was only a 
question of money. 

Whether it was the salutary effects of another 
sky, and freedom from the old trammels of per- 
nicious habits and companionship, or whether it 
was his better nature at last attaining the 
ascendancy, or the grace of God in his heart, 
Arthur certainly seemed to be gaining the 
victory over the terrible vice and disease which 
had for so long held him captive. 

For the last six months a decided and re- 
markable improvement had taken place in his 
mode of life. His letters at this time were a 
source of exceeding comfort, and full of hope 
for the future. My strenuous efforts to get the 
unfortunate affair which was the cause of his 
exile satisfactorily settled, so as to ensure him 
freedom to return to his native land, were 
ultimately rewarded with success, and I allowed 
myself to hope that Arthur and I might yet be 
happy again together in the autumn of life as 
we had been in the spring. 



1 48 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

I looked forward to a reunion with all the 
joyful anticipation and gladness with which I 
was wont to await his arrival on leave of 
absence in the golden days of our engage- 
ment 



CHAPTER XI 

SORROW 

" Give sorrow words ; the grief that does not speak 
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart, and bids it break." 



All remaining obstacles to Arthur's return had 
been finally smoothed and squared by the all- 
powerful medium of " gold." 

The date was fixed for the long-parted husband 
and wife to meet again. I was making my 
arrangements for leaving Avondale, in order to 
get the house in Dublin ready for the reception 
of the exile. 

I had been a short time alone. The guests 
were gone, and, with the exception of occa- 
sional afternoon visits from neighbouring county 
families, the days passed uneventfully and 
slowly. 

Mr. L , always my devoted friend, made 

a point of coming down from Dublin as often 

as he could spare time from his official duties, 

especially when I seemed lonely, and would 

149 



ISO A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

try to cheer me up by making me ride and 
walk with him. 

One day in the afternoon before Christmas 
he found me, on arrival, looking pale and list- 
less in the large drawing-room. This was a 
very unusual mood with me, as my spirits and 
gaiety never appeared to desert me even in the 
most depressing circumstances. 

" Why, Mrs. Dickinson, what has happened T " 
was his first .question, as he saw the ashy pale- 
ness of my face. "Have you had bad news 
from the Captain since Tuesday? 9 ' the day of 
his last visit. 

"I have had no news whatever/' I replied 
wearily ; " that is what troubles me. He usually 
writes very regularly. You know I am not 
given to foreboding; yet a presentiment has 
haunted me all day that something is wrong." 

Mr. L was no particular friend of Arthur's, 

but for my sake he had tried to give him the 
best advice, and even when that advice was 
not followed never uttered a word against 
him. 

44 That is nonsense/' he said, after a moment's 
thought. "You only get fanciful and nervous 
with the loneliness of the house. Come out 
and have a gallop. After the horse's escapade 



SORROW i s i 

at the hunt, a little exercise will do him good. 
You c4n put on your habit in a few minutes, 
and the ride will be a tonic for you." 

I looked out at the wintry sunshine flecking 
the trees on the lawn, and yielded willingly 
enough. A horse and an open field were my 
own remedies for a fit of depression. Little did 
I know that my depression was caused by the 
telepathy of love. We both enjoyed the swift 
canter through the velvet-sod fields and the 
crisp freshness of the early winter. The country 
was looking lovely, and I felt the weight on 
my spirits lightening under the exhilaration of 
the keen air and my companion's cheerful con- 
versation. Neither of us noticed a heavy rain- 
cloud, which, like an ill omen, burst in a harsh 
shower just as the avenue gates were reached, 
drenching both riders before we got to the hall 
door, where a car was waiting to convey Mr. 

L to the station, as he had to return to 

Dublin by the next train. 

It was getting late, and after helping me to 
dismount he wished me good-bye, and jumping 
on to the car drove off. 

I at once sought my room to change my 
damp habit On the chest of drawers lay a 
telegram which had been awaiting me for a 



1 52 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

,'ouple of hours. I opened it and read the few 
words that changed in a moment the whole 
current of my life, and precipitated me from 
the heights of anticipated happiness to the 
depths of misery and woe. 

Brutally brief, as telegrams must be, was the 
yellow harbinger of desolation, which announced 
the sudden death of the " Capitaine Dickinson." 
Finding this at first almost impossible of realisa- 
tion, my dazed! brain slowly mastered the deadly 
significance of the short message. The room 
flew round with a terrible velocity, and with one 
shriek, which penetrated even to the basement, 
I fell, and for a while at least was oblivious 
to my bitter trouble. 

The old housekeeper, who had rushed up on 
hearing the wild scream, found me lying sense- 
less on the floor. Having tried every remedy 
in vain to restore consciousness, the frightened 
woman despatched a messenger to the steward, 
imploring his help in her dilemma. The steward, 
having a knowledge of the French language, was 
enabled to discover from the telegram the cause 
of the attack. After a time his efforts, united 
to those of the housekeeper's, to bring me round 
were effectual, only to be succeeded by repeated 
fits of convulsions even more alarming than the 



SORROW 153 

previous insensibility. At length exhausted 
nature had its way, and the steward left to 
send a wire to Charles. Having been divested 
of my wet habit, I was got to bed. 

The next day brought Charles in answer to 
the steward's wire. He found me even more 
prostrated than he had been prepared to expect, 
an unnatural calm having superseded the more 
wholesome, though perhaps more painful and 
uncontrolled, burst of grief consequent on the 
first shock of hearing the news. 

On seeing Charles I became feverishly anxious 
that he should be made acquainted with Arthur's 
often-expressed wish that he should be buried, 
when he died, at Ballinatone, a sweetly peace- 
ful spot near Avondale, where his father already 
lay. 

When Charles assured me that my wishes in 
this and every other respect should be attended 
to, and told me to leave all arrangements 
to him, I relapsed into my previous apathetic, 
tearless mood, unable to eat, sleep, or cry. 
Charles, rendered uneasy by my condition, sum- 
moned medical aid, but the science of all the 
physicians in the world is powerless to mend 
a broken heart, and no doctor, however clever, 
can "minister to a mind diseased." 



1 54 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

It was at this critical season of my life that 
my brother's affection shone out in full lustre. 
With rare tact he forebore to worry me, or to 
allow me to be worried, by unnecessary details. 
Taking everything connected with the last sad 
rites to the dead man on his own shoulders, 
he sent the steward off to Brussels, well sup- 
plied with money, and invested with authority 
to make all arrangements necessary for having 
the body brought over to Ireland as expedi- 
tiously as possible. Though there was no super- 
fluous delay, it was a full week before these 
could be completed. 

Meanwhile I still remained apparently in- 
sensible of all surroundings, causing those 
about me much anxiety, but otherwise giving 
no trouble. 

The morning of the funeral dawned bright 
and frosty. There had been a slight fall of 
snow, which clung to the branches of the trees 
in feathery beauty, and icicles sparkled in the 
sun. It had been settled that the coffin con- 
taining poor Arthur's remains should come down 
for interment at Ballinatone by the morning 
train. Lying still and tearless, I was suddenly 
startled by the loud whistle heralding its ap- 
proach, which sent a thrill through me like 
an electric shock. Suddenly recollecting that 



SORROW 1 5 5 

the dead body of my husband had arrived, and 
realising the manner of his home-coming, the 
tears so long denied me rushed forth in a 
torrent, and mercifully relieved the tension of 
my brain. 

After the lapse of another week, I was able 
to exchange my bed for a sofa. 

My wan appearance, like that of one who had 
been ill for months, filled every one with com- 
passion. Charles, whose presence was urgently 
required elsewhere, stopped on at Avondale, 
insensibly comforting me by his silent and un- 
obtrusive sympathy and calmly cheerful society. 
He coaxed me to eat little dainties he had 
himself procured for me from Dublin, and re- 
fraining from urging me to premature exertions, 
left me chiefly to nature's restorative powers. 
Under this tactful and judicious treatment, I 
gradually gained health and strength, and be- 
came strong enough to hear some of the 
particulars of Arthur's death. 

It seemed the cause of his death, which it 
was feared had been precipitated by his late 
abstemiousness, was cerebral apoplexy, swift as 
a thunderclap. Having accustomed himself to 
the artificial stimulant of spirits for so long, 
the sudden cessation reacted on his system. The 
truth of the saying, "Drink ever, die never/ 9 



156 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

has often been exemplified in the fatal results 
accruing from the too sudden abstinence from 
stimulants, when they have been rendered neces- 
sary by habit in those who unfortunately have 
allowed themselves to be mastered by these most 
pernicious drugs. 

To me it was an unspeakable satisfaction to 
know that Arthur had during the last few months 
of his life vanquished his enemy; for surely it 
was something more than mere change of air 
and scene, that had enabled him at the last to 
resist the habit that his life in Ireland had 
helped to strengthen, which the grace of God 
in the heart could alone have enabled him 
to do. 

Having extended his stay at Avondale to its 
utmost limits, Charles was reluctantly forced to 
leave me, to wrestle alone in my crushing desola- 
tion with the bitterest grief I had yet known. 
Driven nearly frenzied with well-nigh insupport- 
able reminiscences, living over and over again 
in the past, recalling the manly, impulsive, 
lovable qualities of my boy lover, merged 
afterwards into the adoring husband, the man 
loved by nearly all who knew him, as I re- 
membered Arthur in his early days, my heart 
seemed to break under its load of accumulated 
sorrow. 




SORROW 157 

Piles of letters received since my affliction 
remained unopened. When at last I broke the 
seals and read them, a curious mixture of 
condolence and congratulations met my eyes. 
It was the amazing fact, that some of my so- 
called friends, singularly deficient in discrimina- 
tion, actually had the bad taste to consider my 
husband's death a fitting occasion on which 
to pen expressions of congratulation! But it 
mattered nothing to me, who turned from all 
letters, whether of condolence or the reverse, 
in weariness of spirit, as well as from all 
visits. 

So vain are even the best-meant attempts of 
our dearest friends to strengthen the broken and 
bruised reed bent under the mighty reality of 
a sorrow— deep and real. 

Charles, actuated by motives of kindness and 
consideration, proposed that I should give up 
the Dublin house, and make my home at Avon- 
dale. I assented, for the thought of returning 
to the abode once shared with my husband, 
and full of remembrances both happy and pain- 
ful, was too repugnant for contemplation, and 
I settled down to a solitary existence in the 
gloomy ancestral mansion. 

By Charles's advice, who deemed it best for 
the child's sake, she being now of an age to 



158 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

profit by discipline and educational advantages, 
my daughter was sent to a boarding-school. 
The months that followed were passed by me in 
uninterrupted seclusion and monotonous isolation, 
and for once the great healer "Time" seemed 
to fail to bring any balm to my wounded heart 
My mother came over for a brief visit from 
America, and, alarmed at my stonily apathetic 
and lonely condition, entreated Charles to exert 
his influence to induce me to travel for a 
while. 

The evening before her departure, my mother 
was sitting in the drawing-room alone when 
Charles came in. My mother was looking 
anxious and careworn. "Charles/' she began, 
"Cora should not be allowed to remain here 
by herself in her present state of health. She 
is the shadow of what she used to be. Ton 
have influence with her, and I wish you would 
exert it to induce her to travel." 

Charles was silent. After a few minutes' 
meditation, he replied, "She shrinks with dis- 
taste from change of any sort. The shock has 
been too great, too sudden, to be mitigated by 
many words or sympathy. Better leave her alone. 
She will come round quicker if left to herself than 
she would if prematurely urged to exertions she 
is still both mentally and physically unfit for." 



SORROW 159 

"I do not agree with you/ 9 said my mother; 
" change would rouse her up. If she stays here 
she will brood and mope." 

" Change of scene is not much good without 
change of mind. Poor Arthur ! Cora was fond 
of him in spite of all. He had many excellent 
qualities to counterbalance his one great weak- 
ness, and if he had had more strength of will, 
his life might have been a very useful one. 
Believe me, mother, she is best as she is." 

My mother, deferring to her son's judgment, 
returned to America, leaving me again to my 
self-imposed solitude. 

Five years passed, during which, with the ex- 
ception of my daughter's visits for the holidays, 
and Charles's short ones, which latterly had be- 
come " like angels' visits, few and far between/ 9 
I saw nobody, and went nowhere. It was about 
this time that Charles became so engrossed with 
Mrs. O'Shea, and he was now completely under 
her sway. 

Charles and I were not of the same politics. 
This, however, did not make us the worse friends, 
but perhaps rather the contrary. We agreed to 
differ, and by a tacit understanding, we never 
discussed politics when together. During his 
periods of sojourn at Avondale, on the long rides 
and drives we took together, we talked of every 



160 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

subject under the sun, except political ones. 
In the course of these excursions, he would often 
exclaim to me, "How nice it is to be with 
some one I can depend on not talking 'shop/ 
It's such a relief to escape from it for a while ! " 
He used to enjoy these expeditions, and the 
choice little picnics he and I used to have 
together, carrying our luncheon fastened to our 
saddles without the presence of a third party, 
unless it was the groom holding our horses at 
a distance, with almost boyish zest, and for me 
they were red-letter days. It was a pleasure 
to watch him, though somehow mixed with a 
feeling of sadness, scaling a mountain with 
springy steps, whilst I sat down to await his 
return at the foot, a riding habit in those days, 
when worn long, not being adapted to climbing 
mountains. 

I continued to lead my calm and uneventful 
life, wandering alone through the empty rooms 
of the big and dreary house, in robes of deepest 
black, like a dark and melancholy spirit, and 
riding for hours in order to secure, by physical 
exhaustion, sleep at night 

At last, an invasion of my solitude was 
threatened by Mr. L , who wrote, pro- 
posing himself as my guest for a couple of 
days, and remembering all his former kind- 



SORROW 161 

ness and goodness in my hour of need, I re- 
sponded by sending him a warm invitation to 
come and share my quiet existence for a few 
days, promising him a hearty welcome and a 
cordial reception. 



CHAPTER XII 

FAITHFUL LOVE 

" Because I love thee I obtain 

From that aame love this vindicating grace, 
To live on still in love, and yet in vain, 
To bleat thee, yet renounce thee to thy face." 

— E. B. Browning. 

Mb. L , respecting my deep sorrow, had, 

since Arthur's death, refrained from troubling 
me with his own feelings or hopes, trusting that 
the softening influence of time would some 
day enable him to plead his cause and ask for 
his reward. Without appearing unduly ob- 
trusive or selfish, it seemed to him that the 
time had now arrived when he might put his 
fate to the test. 

He eagerly availed himself of the chance, 
offered by a week under the same roof as his 
idol, to further the progress of his suit He 
reached Avondale one glorious evening in the 
gold and crimson beauty of late autumn, when 
the trees were changing their summer hue of 
verdant green for a mixture of rich autumnal 
tints, and the rooks were having their usual 
evening concert before retiring to rest. 

ttfa 




FAITHFUL LOVE 163 

I had not yet discarded my sable garments. 
My black dress, falling in graceful folds, accen- 
tuated the slenderness of my figure. Mr. L , 

as he gazed at my face, to which grief had 
added an expression of sadness which, in his 
opinion, rendered it more attractive than ever, 
felt that, if he could persuade me to give my 
future into his keeping, it would be his one 
object to make the remainder of my life so 
smoothly content that I would in time regain 
a measure of happiness, and that the trials of 
the past would gradually fade into a sort of 
distant dream. As to the answer he would 
receive he was not sure, though, with the pro- 
verbial vanity of men, and forgetting that with 
some there is no rival so strong as death, he 
was inclined to think it would be in his 
favour. 

Anyway, he did not intend to propose just 
yet, only to pave the way for a favourable 
reception of his advances. 

Meanwhile he revelled in my society, doing 
his utmost to minister to my comfort and wants, 
and to render himself indispensable to me, so 
that I once more experienced a pleasurable 
sensation in having a congenial companion to 
accompany me in my walks and drives. 

Together we explored on foot the lovely 



1 64 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

woods. We extended our driving expeditions 
far and wide oyer the beautiful country, where 
the graceful deer browsed in the extensive 
parks belonging to the owners of the various 
charming seats about, and hills and valleys, 
with rivers flowing through, lay in picturesque 
variety. 

One afternoon turned out very wet I felt 
restless, and anxious to exorcise my restlessness 

by a long ramble ; but as Mr. L had not 

brought any change of clothes, not expecting 
to require them for so short a time, the cere- 
mony of evening dress being dispensed with, I 
remonstrated against his accompanying me on 
the present occasion. 

Loth to be deprived of my society even for 
one afternoon, he insisted on being my escort 
as usual, regardless of the fact that he would 
have to sit in wet clothes for the rest of the 
evening. 

A bad cold was the penalty of such reckless 
conduct, which laid the seeds of a more serious 
illness, although Mr. L , at the time, ap- 
parently quite recovered the consequences of 
his rashness in a few days. Shortly after the 
visit of my old friend, having taken apart- 
ments, I removed to Dublin for the winter, 
putting my horses into livery. It felt very 



-a— i 



FAITHFUL LOVE 165 

strange to be again returning to the scene of 
my matrimonial experiences, agreeable or other- 
wise, for the first time since last I had lived 
there with Arthur. 

I was reminded at every nook and corner of 
the city of past events, some happy and others 
painful, which recalled daily and hourly reminis- 
cences of my brief periods of happiness and 
longer ones of trouble and sadness. 

After all, the trials and worries of my married 
life dwindled into mere petty grievances in 
comparison with the hopeless and far greater 
calamity of death. 

Mr. L constituted himself my constant 

cavaliere servente. In due course, thinking the 
time was now ripe enough, he asked me to be 
his wife. 

To me, in spite of my preoccupation and 
abstraction, whose every thought was concen- 
trated on the memory of the dead, this was not 
exactly a matter of surprise, or unexpected; 
nevertheless I was perplexed on finding myself 
confronted with a decided question, to which it 
was imperative to give a decided answer. I 
had regarded the inevitable crisis hazily, as 
from a distance, conveniently to be deferred to 
some undefined time in the far future, especially 
having nourished the delusion that the black 



1 66 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

dresses and crape I continued to wear would 
act as a deterrent to him, and as a sign that 
my heart was in my husband's grave. There- 
fore it would be useless to expect me to enter- 
tain the idea of a second marriage, and I tried 
to soften the refusal it grieved me to the core 
to be compelled to give to the request of my 
faithful and true friend as much as possible. 

Soften it as I would, the blow, all the 
heavier for its unexpectedness, staggered poor 

Mr. L , who thus found the hopes so long 

secretly cherished and repressed permanently 
shattered. Some instinct told him I was not 
one to alter my decision. 

He gave himself up to brooding and fretting, 
which, to a man of his age and capacity for 
depth of feeling, was a serious matter. Whether 
it was that, or the remains of the cold he had 
caught from his recent wetting at Avondale, or 
both, symptoms of the fatal disease of con- 
sumption began to show, and in six months 
one of the best and truest friends a woman 
ever had succumbed to the dreadful malady, 
vulgarly known as "galloping consumption." 

In after years, I had indeed often to acknow- 
ledge the truth of what he had once told me, 
that "I would miss him some day." Never 
again was I to know what a friend a man can 



FAITHFUL LOVE 167 

be to a woman who lores her genuinely and 
unselfishly, whose love and friendship are worth 
a legion of ordinary ones — one who is able and 
willing to give counsel to, or take action on 
behalf of the woman he lores, whose body and 
soul are true to her. 

How sad that we so often realise too late 
the full value of blessings, too lightly appreci- 
ated when possessed, and only tome to prise 
them as they deserve when we have lost 
them. 

But so it is, and always will be, whilst 
human nature is so imperfect, anomalous, and 
contrary. Dissatisfied with the things we have 
and which are easily obtained, and ever striving 
after the difficult and impossible, we can but 
stumble blindly on through the pitfalls of our 
brief career on earth, until the day dawns when 
the light will enter into our souls, when we shall 
see with eyes that are opened, and understand 
with the understanding of the enlightened. 

The next winter I again moved to Dublin 
for a few months, having spent the summer 
at Avondale. Finding life in Dublin, in my 
widowed condition, productive of more pain 
than pleasure, I arranged to travel, as in fresh 
scenes there would be less to remind me of 
the past; so accompanied by my daughter, two 



1 68 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

horses, and a groom, I started for London, 
where I felt very lonely. 

After a fortnight's stay, I went to stop with 
a lady living at Richmond. Here I enjoyed 
the rides in the lovely park, the pretty scenery, 
and the society of the friend whose guest I 
was for a month. I next directed my steps 
towards Jersey, which beautiful little island I 
liked very much. The inhabitants, too, were 
social and friendly, and a couple of months 
passed agreeably. Then I visited Guernsey, 
intending to make a short stay there on my 
way home; but the weather became and con- 
tinued so inclement that, in consequence of 
the difficulty and risk of getting my horses 
shipped, I found myself weather-bound in this 
inhospitable island for a great part of the 
winter. I did not like Guernsey or its inhabi- 
tants, and taking into consideration the recep- 
tion and unpleasantness I encountered, it was 
not astonishing. I discovered that one of the 
most peculiar characteristics of the people of 
Guernsey was a propensity for rudeness and 
bad manners, incredible in a people living near 
the politest nation in Europe. The natives 
made it their business to acquaint themselves 
with my history and circumstances. On discover- 
ing I was related to the notorious "Agitator," 



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FAITHFUL LOVE 169 

whose politics they condemned, they visited 
their disapproval and wrath on the head of 
his unoffending sister. Ladies stared and eye- 
glassed me with the most insolent air as I 
rode about the island, and arrived at the 
conclusion that I must be very disreputable or 
I would not ride so much. 

Anonymous letters from parties unknown 
were showered on me, bidding me "go back 
and shoot the landlords, because that was all 
I was fit for/ 9 demanding was " Dublin too 
hot to hold me/' and making various other 
observations of a similar nature, equally offen- 
sive and insulting, all of which, however, I 
quietly ignored; and the only explanation of 
these abusive tongues which I could think of 
was that the women of Guernsey are not parti- 
cularly attractive. 

I continued my daily rides, undeterred by the 
sneers and gibes that met me on all sides. It 
was not pleasant, though, and notwithstanding 
my apparent insensibility I felt it keenly, and 
hailed with joy the first spell of weather 
sufficiently calm to permit of my taking my 
horses across the water, back to Ireland. 

On my return I again subsided into per- 
manent residence at Avondale, where there 
was less to recall to my memory all those 



i7o A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 



that had been legacies of my married 
life, and once more resumed my former lonely, 
monotonous existence. After a time I was 
enlivened by the society of my daughter, whose 
education being supposed to be finished, came 
to keep me company. 

Delia was now about seventeen, very fair, 
and bore a striking resemblance to her father, 
whose disposition she appeared also to have 
inherited in many ways. She had a rare 
wealth of fair hair, like the gold dust of 
Arabia shining through it, reaching below her 
knees, which seemed too heavy for the head 
it adorned. She possessed in a remarkable 
degree that wondrous art, indescribable as 
electricity, but potent as the powers of the air 
— fascination ! 

Endowed with exuberant vitality, she dashed 
into the old-world silence and solitude of 
Avondale like a wild wave of the sea. Her 
incessant chatter and laughter awoke the long- 
hushed echoes of the ancient house to respon- 
sive gaiety, and every lingering shadow of 
dulness or loneliness fled away from the 
exhilarating effects of her presence. 

Delighted at first with Avondale, with the 
country, and everything else, she proved a 
charming acquisition. After a month of rural 




FAITHFUL LOVE 171 

rapture she began to tire of the dulness and 
sameness inseparable from the still life of the 
country. She craved for a many-coloured, 
many-phased existence, and for a wider and 
gayer sphere of action, wherein to gratify the 
tastes and capacity for pleasure natural to 
youth. 

I was debarred from gratifying her wishes 
owing to the heavy loss of income which befell 
me about this time, through the total failure 
of my mother's affairs, who, having failed for 
a large amount through unfortunate specula- 
tions in America, now found herself reduced 
to an almost impoverished condition, and no 
longer able to continue the liberal allowance she 
had hitherto made to each of her daughters. 

Nor was this the only monetary loss sustained 
by me, whose resources had already been con- 
siderably crippled by the payment of Arthur's 
debts, so that expense became an essential 
consideration, and retrenchment a disagreeable 
necessity. Therefore a prolonged and permanent 
residence at Avondale was no longer a mere 
question of choice, but absolutely indispen- 
sable. 

Delia rebelled openly at the hard lines un- 
toward circumstances had dealt her, complaining 
of the injustice of fate, which deprived her, at 



172 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

the opening of her young life, of the pleasures 
she had looked forward to - enjoying on her 
emancipation from school, and entailed on her 
instead the restrictions of a curtailed income. 

Her discontent added to my troubles, especially 
as I could not help feeling my daughter had 
some ground for her dissatisfaction, and that 
it was really hard for her to have to forego 
the joys natural to her age for the want of 
the needful money. My utter helplessness to 
meet the difficulty accentuated the hardness of 
the case. 

The years that followed Delia's arrival at 
Avondale slowly passed, and she grew more 
reconciled to the dulness of her surroundings. 
Failing other distractions, she flung herself into 
a flirtation with a young man, tutor in a neigh- 
bouring family, who was quite destitute of 
private means. The intimacy between them 
had existed for some months, and developed 
into an engagement, before it came to my 
knowledge; but, as soon as I became aware 
of it, being conscious that the affair must be 
nipped in the bud, I endeavoured to steel myself 
to the unpleasant task of thwarting my daughter's 
young affections. Opposition, however, only 
serving to strengthen the determination of the 
lovers to stick to one another, and to marry 



FAITHFUL LOVE 173 

on nothing more substantial than love or fancy, 
I appealed for assistance to the gentleman in 
whose house the objectionable suitor lived as 
tutor to his son. IJe at once strove to remedy 
the distress which had been occasioned me 
by an inmate of his house, and summarily 
dismissed the offending youth. Absence and 
separation diminished the ardour of feelings 
which subsequently proved of an evanescent 
nature, and afforded the young couple an oppor- 
tunity of mutually regaining their senses. To 
Delia it was afterwards a matter of congratula- 
tion that she had escaped an impecunious and 
unequal marriage. 

Next winter, profiting by this experience, and 
fearing the injurious results which a dull and 
vegetating existence, devoid of suitable com- 
panions, would have on a temperament like 
my daughter's, highly emotional, full of animal 
spirits, and with a large capacity for enjoyment, 
I resolved to try and manage to take her to 
Dublin for a while. 

Owing to my long retirement and seclusion, 
and absence from Dublin, I knew very few 
people there in comparison to the extensive 
circle of friends and acquaintances of earlier 
years. Politics, too, interfered, so social life 
wore a very different aspect. Cold looks and 



174 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

distant bows took the place in many cases of 
the hearty and friendly cordiality of happier 
times, therefore invitations were not at all so 
plentiful as of yore. 

Consequently an attempt to renew the con* 
ditions of other days proved rather a failure, 
and Delia, finding the expectations she had 
formed of the pleasures of society disappointed, 
sought consolation in a series of flirtations with 
all sorts and conditions of men. She displayed 
such recklessness that I was kept in perpetual 
fear. It resulted in the girl's engaging herself 
to several men at the same time, from which 
arose complications both puzzling and annoying. 
When each in turn found this out, it ended 
by one and all becoming enraged and breaking 
their engagements. 




CHAPTER XIII 

DEATH 

" In tne fall dutch of circumstance 
I have not winced, nor cried aloud." 

— W. E. Hbituet. 

The time was now approaching when Charles 
Stewart Parnell was to reap the bitter fruits 
of his mistake, and to find that the way of 
transgressors is hard, and the wages of sin is 
death. 

Nemesis, or retribution, was treading fast on 
his heels in the shape of Captain O'Shea, who 
commenced proceedings in the Divorce Court, 
in which Charles figured as the co-respondent 
The action was undefended, and resulted in 
Captain O'Shea obtaining a dissolution of his 
marriage. 

Probably many remember the intense excite- 
ment and the extraordinary sensation caused by 
the climax, which, though not unexpected by 
some, was yet a great surprise to the majority. 
It was fraught with pain to those who had, 
in spite of appearances so greatly against him, 
believed in his innocence to the last. 

ITS 



176 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

The papers teemed with the subject, and 
revelled in the details. It formed the topic 
of the day, and was in every mouth. Nothing 
else was talked of. Like the "Yellow Press/' 
the British journals were full of denunciations 
and gloatings oyer the weakness of a strong 
man's life. The abuse and invectives hurled at 
the former popular leader by vile, defaming 
tongues, from north and south, east and west, 
were something unparalleled, as were also the 
venomous and widely extended hatred and malice 
evinced by the shower of vindictive epithets that 
rained from far and near. 

With indomitable will and deathless pluck 
Charles faced the storm and clatter that raged 
on all sides. He confronted his legion of ad- 
versaries with proud and calm defiance, and 
with grim, unyielding determination. Alone, 
he stood up against the hundreds and thou- 
sands who shed their venom on him, and 
clamoured to "cast him to the wolves/' He 
bore unflinchingly the altered demeanour and 
changed attitude of those who had hitherto 
been, or at least had professed to be, his 
friends. 

Cast off and forsaken by friend and foe 
alike; unaided and solitary, through months of 
darkness, hampered by an atmosphere redolent 




DEATH 177 

of hostile and revengeful feeling he fought 
his battle single-handed — and such a battle! 
My heart ached to see him. 

Waxing paler and thinner, day by day, as, 
coerced by priestly influence, each county and 
town in turn declared against him, the "Un- 
crowned King" felt himself getting worsted in 
the fight, and the shadows of a great despair 
darkening around him. 

Still he continued daily to tread the weary 
tread-mill of a blighted life. 

He tried to steel himself against the general 
gorging and gloating over the scandal, and the 
ingratitude of a people to whom he had bared 
his breast and stretched out his hand, but who 
now rewarded him with a dagger at his heart. 
There was not one who did not enjoy fling- 
ing a missile at him, as, just in sight of the 
promised land, he was to be refused admittance. 
He was doomed to see the great structure of 
his life-work crumbled to dust and scattered to 
the four winds of heaven. 

At the monster meetings, held every week, 
straining every nerve, with all his heart and 
soul, and with an almost inspired eloquence, 
that drew tears from many of his audience, he 
pleaded his cause, which was also the cause of 
his country. He looked at last more like a 

M 



178 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

dead man standing up to speak than a living 
mortal. 

It was infinite pain to me to watch the vain 
and futile struggle of my brother against his 
avowed enemies and treacherous friends. It 
reminded me horribly of a gladiator in ancient 
times, who had to fight antagonist after anta- 
gonist, until in the end he fell in the arena 
bleeding and exhausted. 

It was at one of these meetings that, watch- 
ing Charles as he rose to speak, I first saw the 
shadow of coming death in his face. He wore 
a rapt, a "caught-up" look. 

I had intended spending this winter away, 
but on Charles declaring he would not stop at 
Avondale unless I stayed there too, I altered 
my plans so as to be able to look after his 
comfort during his weekly visits to Ireland. So 
it happened that he and I were more thrown 
together this year, which was destined to be 
Charles's last on earth, than we had been since 
the days of our childhood. 

I remarked with apprehensive forebodings that 
Charles never liked to be alone for a single 
minute, if it could be avoided, during these 
latter months of his life. He, who had always 
stood alone and apart — always! 

If I left one room for another, he would 




DEATH 179 

follow me. He invariably maintained in my 
presence the most cheerful demeanour, would 
talk and laugh, and make the dry jokes for 
which he was noted. 

One morning he came down first, and was 
sitting in the library with the door partly open, 
when, entering the room unperceived, I found 
him with a look in his face of unutterable 
despair, of a despondency which saw no ray 
of light far off in the threatening gloom. In 
his whole attitude was depicted the melancholy 
of a man who, in the contest of life, feels that 
he is beaten. 

On perceiving me, however, an instantaneous 
transformation took place ; his face suddenly 
changed and lighted up, and he fmade a 
jesting allusion on my tardy appearance for 
breakfast 

But I never forgot the look and attitude of 
dejection with which I had surprised him, 
when he was off guard, and thought himself 
alone. 

Six months after the termination of the 
divorce suit, Charles precipitated and sealed his 
fate by his marriage with the woman who had 
been the cause of so much disaster, and the 
avalanche of spiteful maledictions and vile ex- 
pressions which, having nearly worn itself out, 



x8o A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

was partially subsiding, was renewed with 
doubled vigour and energy. 

'The priests were astonishingly active — in fact, 
had been so all along ; but now, infuriated more 
than ever by this crowning offence, activity does 
not describe the zeal they displayed. They ran 
here and they ran there, intimidating and 
threatening "all sorts" to those who voted for 
the transgressor. The threatened bad luck and 
punishment even included the wives and chil- 
dren, born or unborn, of the men who disobeyed 
the priestly mandate. 

Overwhelmed by defeat after defeat which 
followed in his wake, Charles's heart was well- 
nigh broken by the base ingratitude manifested 
by a country for which he had done and sacri- 
ficed so much. Like Caesar of old, it could 
be truly said of him that "ingratitude, more 
strong than traitors' arms, quite vanquished 
him," and the "iron entered into his soul." 

About six* weeks after his marriage he came 
over from Brighton, where he was living, on 
his usual weekly mission, to speak at a meeting 
to be held at Cabinteely. I took rooms At 
Bray, intending with my daughter to accom- 
pany him. We drove together in a close 
carriage, the day being wet. 

On the way we passed a house standing in 




DEATH 181 

its own grounds, where our family had spent a 
summer shortly after my father's death, when 
Charles was quite a youth. He observed with 
interest the different spots which reminded him 
of familiar scenes of his boyhood, drawing my 
attention and recalling my memory to this and 
that incident which had happened in the long 
ago. This gave me an uneasy feeling of pre- 
sage, as bearing too great a resemblance to the 
"babbling of green fields" we so often hear 
of in connection with people who are about 
to die, and is supposed to be a sign of 
approaching death. 

Arrived at the place of meeting, the crowd, 
in their eagerness to shake hands with the re- 
nowned Agitator, instead of waiting for the door 
to be opened, broke the windows of the car- 
riage, and thrust their hands through the broken 
glass. Always conspicuous for his superstitious 
tendencies, this could not fail to strike Charles 
as a sign of evil import Even to me it 
appeared at the time ominous of coming mis- 
fortune. 

As an instance of his superstition I give the 
following. Prior to entering Parliament he 
always stopped with Arthur and me when in 
Dublin, and had arranged to do so as usual 
pending the contest for Meath (for which he 



1 82 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

was afterwards elected, and which was his first 
entrance into public life). He had not, how- 
ever, named a day for coming. One morning, 
whilst I was dressing, the housemaid came 
in and asked me if she should get "Master 
Charles's " room ready. " He hasn't come up 
from Avondale," I said. "Oh yes, ma'am, he 
has just passed me on the staircase going down 
from his room when I was coming up, and he 
has gone out" 

This did not strike me as strange, and sup- 
posing he had come by the first train, I told 
the girl to prepare his room. A few hours later 
he ^turned up with his portmanteau, having just 
arrived by the next train. 

I told him the servant had seen him on the 
staircase early that morning. On hearing this 
he refused to stop in the house, and went with 
his portmanteau to my sister's instead. 

It continued wet all day, and, regardless of 
consequences, Charles stood hatless and without 
an overcoat in a downpour of rain for fully an 
hour, whilst he spoke with undiminished elo- 
quence and sad pathos. On the break-up of the 
gathering at an advanced hour in the afternoon, 
Charles took his niece and me to dine with him 
at the Royal Marine Hotel at Kingstown. 

Having no change of clothes, he sat in his 




DEATH 183 

wet ones during the meal, seemed to be in 
very good spirits, and ordered champagne. 

Dinner oyer, he walked to the station with 
Delia and me, giving the former, who was 
smoking a. cigarette with all the complete 
mastery of custom, a lesson of astronomy on 
the way. 

It was now fine, and the stars were shining 
brightly. Putting us in the carriage of a train 
for Bray, he kissed us both as the train started. 
He himself was bound for Dublin for the night, 
whence he was to leave for England in the 
morning. 

I never saw him again. 

A cold, the result of his exposure, laid him 
up, and it was a fortnight before he was able 
to rise. Even then he was not fit to travel, 
and it was contrary to his doctor's orders that, 
rather than disappoint the people, he dragged 
himself out of bed in order to go over once 
more to Ireland to fulfil an engagement he had 
made to attend another meeting. 

Without halting, he passed through Dublin, 
omitting his usual visit to Avondale, Already 
in a dying condition, alone and uncheered, 
he travelled the many miles to the appointed 
place. 

Those who heard him speak that day, the 



1 84 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

last time his voice was ever to be heard again 
in Ireland, never forgot it. 

He held them enthralled ! — carried away ! 
The vast crowd collected to hear him went 
into an emotional, hysterical enthusiasm, as, 
with almost his dying breath, he once more 
earnestly exhorted them, with all the fervour 
of his heart, never to abandon the cause for 
which he and they had worked together, but, 
come what might, to fight to the bitter end for 
their country, their homes, and their families. 
In conclusion he said, "I shall come over to 
Ireland again this day week." So he did, but 
not alive. As he ceased to speak, a silence 
that could be felt fell upon the meeting. 

Suddenly the tall, fragile figure, on which 
the clothes hung so loosely, standing erect, 
with a mortal pallor on his face, swayed, 
and clutching wildly at the air, fell — sense- 
less. 

The various restoratives applied having proved 
efficacious in bringing him round from his 
fainting-fit, Charles feverishly insisted on re- 
turning at once to Brighton, and rested not a 
moment until the return journey was .accom- 
plished. On his arrival he was barely able to 
get into the bed from which he was never 
again to rise. The long journey to Ireland and 




DEATH 185 

back in his state had brought on a relapse, 
which, as all know, proved fatal. 

But from the first he had little or no chance. 
His strength had been too much reduced by 
the terrible strain of the last ten months to 
resist even a slight illness, and he was bound 
to succumb to the first fit of sickness that 
attacked him. 

There is no doubt that in his last illness he 
was well nursed and cared for. Mrs. O'Shea, 
now his wife, ministered to him with unceasing 
devotion, attending to his every want herself, 
jealous even of the servant who brought his 
food to the door of his bedroom, where she 
took it from her, and never leaving him a 
minute for the few days of life that remained 
to him. 

With his dying 'breath he sent a message of 
forgiveness to his fellow-countrymen, who had 
forsaken him in his direst need, and to those 
who had hounded him to death. On his death- 
bed success or failure was the same to him— or 
rather, failure was of more value then, as he 
might reasonably expect some compensation for 
it in the other world. 

like a lightning-flash there came speeding 
through the telegraph wires the news that 
startled the world by announcing the death 



1 86 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

of the illustrious Irishman, which fell like 
an electric shock on the ears of all, friend 
or foe, and a cry went up through the whole 
kingdom. 

Like wildfire, the news spread far and near 
all over the world. In cities and towns large 
groups gathered in corners to discuss the 
tragic event, and everywhere the most intense 
excitement and interest prevailed. 

Once more, and for the last time, the papers 
teemed with the name of "Charles Stewart 
Parnell," all ordinary topics sinking to insignifi- 
cance by the side of the one that was all- 
paramount, which for the time being absorbed 
every one's attention and comment 

On me the sad news fell with terrible 
suddenness. Receiving a telegram which an- 
nounced that my brother was very ill, and 
no hopes entertained of his recovery, I had 
hurriedly made preparations to go to Brighton, 
hoping to be in time to find him alive. 
Long before I reached my destination I knew 
it was too late, and that Charles was already 
dead. 

Deciding, however, to remain at Brighton for 
the week pending the funeral, I asked to see 
his remains, to which very natural request 
objections were made, and obstacles put in the 




DEATH 1 87 

way of the accomplishment of my desire, by 
the small band of his followers who had stood 
to him apparently [until his death, and had 
taken possession of his body. This small band 
in course of time deserted Charles after his 
burial by joining those who hounded him to 
death. They might just as well have shaken 
hands over his grave first as last. 

In point of fact, no one was allowed to see 
him after his death, a sentinel being placed 
night and day at the door of his room, which 
was kept locked. In consequence of this 
secrecy, mysterious reports got about with 
reference to his death, and many to this day 
believe him to be alive, like the case of the 
first Napoleon and other leaders in many lands. 

The funeral took place the following Sun- 
day in Dublin. As a public funeral it was 
one of the most impressive sights ever wit- 
nessed. 

People in distant countries, with those nearer 
home, contributed magnificent offerings of floral 
wreaths, and the funeral carriage, drawn by six 
horses, was literally covered and overburdened 
by the abundance of superb flowers sent as a 
tribute of respect 

Tens of thousands assembled in the streets of 
Dublin, and stood bareheaded, holding umbrellas 



188 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

to protect them from the rain, which poured 
down, torrent-like in its fury, as the carriage 
containing the body of the man they had helped 
to kill slowly passed along. 

Everywhere were to be seen strong men 
with handkerchiefs to their eyes, crying like 
children. 

Except for the sobs audible from the huge 
mass of human beings which lined the streets, 
so closely packed that all ordinary traffic was 
stopped, a breathless silence reigned. 

The procession started from the City Hall, 
where the remains, encased in their coffin of 
lead and oak, in velvet and gilding, had been 
lying in state for a couple of hours after the 
early service in the church at twelve o'clock. 

So great was the multitude, and so numerous 
were the private carriages stationary at each 
side of the streets all along the entire route, 
that it was six in the evening before it arrived 
at Glasnevin. The rain by this time had ceased, 
and the affecting service for the burial of the 
dead was again read over one of the greatest 
Irishmen of the century, who was consigned to 
earth by moonlight. 

The depth of what he, who had always been 
so quiet, reserved, and inscrutable, though with 
fine and sensitive feelings, had suffered during 




DEATH 1 89 

the last ten months, no one could approximately 
gauge or define. Grimly he had suffered in 
silence and alone. No word of complaint had 
ever been heard to pass his lips. 

Impossible sacrifices are never attempted with- 
out a struggle, and the struggle sometimes lasts 
till death. All people who set themselves super- 
human tasks are destined to suffer failure — more 
or less. 

To me Charles's death was almost a relief, 
in comparison to the spectacle of the slow 
torture he had endured daily from the abandon- 
ment and ingratitude of those who had profited 
by his labours. 

Men who undertake such gigantic schemes, 
eager to take the burdens of the nation on 
their shoulders, should be made of sterner stuff, 
both morally and physically. 

Poor Charles, hampered by his bad health, 
though upheld by his great spirit, which was 
much too big for the body that contained it, 
was no fit subject to cope with the vulgar on- 
slaught of the common, scheming herd by which 
he had been encompassed. 

It was an unequal fight; and small wonder 
that, though having the spirit of Horatius, in 
such a disproportioned and weird fight, which 
death alone was able to end, Charles got 



1 9 o A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

trampled underfoot It was the old straggle 
of weakness against strength, and in it the 
weaker fell a victim, and got crashed beneath 
the heel through the diabolical malignity of 
his enemies. 




CHAPTER XIV 

JOHN 

" Fond memory brings the light of other days around me." 

—Moors. 

The scene now changes to Captain Paget's 
villa on the Thames, to which he and his wife 
had returned after their lengthened visit to 
Avondale. 

Captain Paget had been in the Royal Navy, 
and had retired on full pay when still young 
and rising in his profession. He hated an idle 
life, and loved the sea, for which he found the 
Thames a poor substitute, but now filled up 
his time with horses and cycling, cultivating 
roses and peacocks. He had married several 
years before. 

Captain aild Mrs. Paget's house was one of 
the loveliest spots on the river, and always 
attracted the notice and admiration of the river 
men. The shady lawn was studded with elms 
and surrounded by rose-trees ; the peacocks were 
to be seen trailing their feathers on it in the 
sunshine, and it was in summer the favourite 

»9* 



1 92 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

outdoor drawing-room of the house. Between. 
John Parnell and Captain Paget there had 
existed a close friendship. The latter had often 
used strong language over the curious proviso 
in my father's will that practically made an 
Esau of John. He, though naturally gentle 
and the reverse of ambitious, had found it the 
cruellest blow of his life to be disinherited for 
no fault of his own. It was this that made 
him an exile from his native land, though he 
never cherished the least resentment against his 
younger brother, Charles. Indeed, few were 
aware of the kind heart and the strong human 
sympathy that lay crushed beneath that early 
act of injustice that so altered his after life. 
John had a sensitive nature, and he shrank as 
much as possible from contact with any of 
those who knew of the slight put upon him by 
his father. 

He rarely corresponded with any of his 
relations except me during his long absences, 
and even I had heard nothing of him for more 
than a year before Charles's death. After it, 
John was found to be heir-at-law, and Avon* 
dale, until his return from America, had no 
master. Many were the speculations and com- 
ments on the causes of his long absence and 
silence, and the complications threatened by it. 



JOHN 193 

On this particular morning, in the sonny 
garden by the Thames, it formed the subject of 
Captain and Mrs. Paget's conversation. "Theo- 
dosia," called out the Captain from the clumps 
of rose-trees, where he was busily clipping, " I 
am quite curious to know whether anything has 
been heard of John. He is not the sort of 
fellow that is very careful of his life, and 
maybe has slipped his cable before this. After 
the way he was treated by his father, I don't 
wonder at his cutting up rough and starting 
for America. 91 

"Even though, of course, he has heard of 
Charles's death," returned Mrs. Paget, a pretty, 
dark-haired woman, comfortably ensconced in a 
lounge chair, closing her magazine as she spoke, 
"I doubt whether he will ever return. The 
estate will be like a second-hand present now; 
besides, it's hampered with debts." 

"It would be a pity to see the old place 
left without a master, though I fancy Irish 
patriotism has stripped it rather bare," said 
the Captain, doing the same to the stem of 
one of his rose-trees. " One of the most lovable 
qualities of your enchanting race, Theodosia, is 
their absolute incapacity to manage money 
matters. If your pockets are full, you must 
empty them as fast as possible. They never 

N 



i 9 4 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

seem so smiling and happy as when in a state 
of beggary." 

"I hope I am an exception/' was the reply, 
"as I feel tolerably happy in spite of having 
paid my dressmaker's bill, and still possessing a 
balance at my banker's." 

Mrs. Paget added more thoughtfully, "I am 
anxious about Cora; John's absence puts her 
in an awkward position. She has no one to 
take care of her now, and lawyers can influence 
a woman very easily. A man, who knows some- 
thing of their 'ways that are dark and tricks 
that are vain/ is not so easily taken in by 
them." 

After Charles's death his affairs had been 
found to be in great disorder, the estate having 
been again mortgaged up to the hilt in order 
to raise funds to carry on his work. As he 
had died intestate, the property descended to 
his brother John as heir-at-law, who was still 
in America, where he had made and lost several 
fortunes. No one was able to discover his 
whereabouts for some months, and everything 
was thrown a second time into Chancery. 

At last, in response to repeated letters and 
telegrams, John turned up with his mother, 
whom he had escorted over from New Jersey. 
He became immediately plunged in a mass of 




JOHN 195 

business, confronted with difficulty, and engaged 
with lawyers and the puzzling intricacies of the 
law. Everywhere confusion worse confounded 
reigned, and for long no money was forthcoming 
for any one. 

John, only too anxious to carry on his 
brother's politics and projects, and the family 
traditions — in fact, as far as he could, to supply 
Charles's place — found himself woefully restricted 
through the scarcity of the necessary sinews of 
war. 

Nevertheless, he set bravely to work to main- 
tain a home for his mother, sister, and niece, 
and we four went to Avondale for the winter. 
It was a sad home-coming for my poor mother, 
who had not seen her son Charles for years, 
and for me, to whom Avondale was so associ- 
ated with Charles, especially during the last 
year of his life. 

The winter passed sadly enough, but thanks 
to poor John's praiseworthy efforts there was 
little diminution of the comforts attached to the 
ancestral mansion. 

Meanwhile solicitors innumerable argued and 
fought in Dublin, and knocked their heads to- 
gether in consternation over the almost unprece- 
dented complication and confusion of Charles's 
affairs, on one point alone unanimous, and that 



196 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

was that the estate would have to be sold to 
meet the liabilities. 

Thus the winter slowly changed to spring, 
and my mother, finding she could get no satis- 
faction out of the universal bewilderment, 
returned to America, taking her granddaughter 
with her, and leaving John monarch of all he 
surveyed, though with empty pockets, at Avon- 
dale. I went to spend the summer at Bray. 
John had not, however, much leisure to feel 
his solitude, as the lawyers requisitioned him 
backwards and forwards constantly, and often he 
stopped for a few days at Bray. 

I had again been plunged into mourning, just 
when beginning to change it for lighter shades. 
I spent the summer very quietly, keeping very 
much to myself. In the meantime my daughter 
came back from America, and again John, Delia, 
and I settled down at Avondale for another winter. 
The lawyers still continued the difficult task of 
endeavouring to unravel matters and make a 
possible pathway out of the tangle of monetary 
difficulties, with, however, only little success. The 
chief event of importance which distinguished 
this winter from the last was Delia's marriage — 
not a particularly good one — to a Mr. O'Clery; 
but Delia hungered after an active life. 




JOHN 197 

The monotonous routine of her daily life at 
Avondale was no food for young blood, and so, 
in spite of her mother's and friends' remon- 
strances, she persisted in marrying after a short 
engagement. 

Summer, autumn, and winter succeeded one 
another with unbroken regularity and monotony, 
and still the warfare between the solicitors over 
the hopeless state of things in general connected 
with the estate waged as fiercely as ever. The 
only comprehensible fact in the general mSMe 
was that it was exceedingly hard to get any 
money. 

The first Sunday in October after the anni- 
versary of Charles's death was celebrated by 
a "Memorial Funeral." For some years these 
pilgrimages to his grave were repetitions of the 
real funeral itself, the attendance being almost 
as large as on that occasion. 

Later on, however, the attendance began to 
dwindle. Rumours began to get about more 
openly that Charles had been seen, by this 
person and that, in one place and another. The 
people got the idea that their hero was not 
dead at all, and that it was only a mock 
funeral they assembled to commemorate. These 
annual gatherings sufficed to show that he still 



i 9 8 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

lived in the memory of his countrymen, who 
had had time to deplore his loss, and their mis- 
take in allowing themselves to be influenced by 
the priests, who are always the misleaders of 
people when they mix in politics, and had ex- 
pedited his egress from their midst 

In three years after his marriage Mr. O'Clery 
died, so Delia was now free again* I continued 
to spend the winters at Avondale, and the 
summers at Bray. 

John was very good to me all these weary 
years that followed Charles's death, doing his 
best, on limited means, to supply the place of 
his late brother; but he, too, was to find that 
circumstances would be too strong for him. He 
tried also to keep up the various industries 
Charles had started in order to give employ- 
ment, and started two fresh ones of his own. 

One new industry, which gave employment 
to many starving families during the severity 
of the winters, consisted in having umbrella- 
handles and walking-sticks made out of the 
roots of furze bushes, and various articles 
of furniture, pretty fancy tables, and several 
other things, out of the remains of the timber 
cut for firewood, which was found suitable to be 
utilised. Many visitors used to come to inspect 



JOHN 199 

these novel and curious specimens of home 
manufacture. 

John, however, unfortunately was incapaci- 
tated in every venture by the lack of funds. 

At the request of the Nationalists he entered 
Parliament; but, perhaps, the less said the 
better, about the scandalous way he was after- 
wards treated, by the very men who had urged 
him to this step. 

Let it not be supposed, because latterly the 
subject has not been mentioned, that I had 
given up my riding, though at times, and for 
long intervals, I had relinquished it My horses 
had always been my greatest pets as well as 
most faithful friends. 

I possessed in a rare degree that gift of 
sympathy with dumb animals which horses and 
our domestic pets know and appreciate. The 
exercise was good both for my health and 
spirits, and was a considerable aid in enabling 
me to withstand the trying vicissitudes I had 
to undergo. Since my favourite Royal's death 
I rode much less, and had taken more to driving. 
One reason for this was that, after having been 
accustomed for so many years to a piece of 
perfection in horse-flesh like Royal, I found it 
impossible to replace him. 



aoo A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

About four years after Charles's death, on 
account of having a powerful black horse called 
Victor, of fiery temperament and vicious pro- 
pensities, I took to riding again a great deal. 
He was a very handsome animal, and liked to 
show himself off on his hind legs, having a 
most decided preference to standing and walk- 
ing on two legs rather than on four. 

I had taken a fancy to and bought him some 
ten years previously, when he was young and 
green, in spite of, or rather because of, the 
remonstrances on the part of the dealer 1 who 
was selling him. This man honestly did not 
want me to have him, as he was afraid the horse 
might bring me to grief, and that his, the 
dealer's, reputation would suffer in consequence. 
On the trial drive he had upset the car, 
driven by his owner, and obstinately refused 
to do anything the man wanted, whereon I 
begged to be allowed to drive him myself in 
my phaeton. To this the dealer consented, 
stipulating that he should accompany me. 

X)n this occasion Victor, who seemed to know 
on which side his bread was buttered, behaved 
like a lamb, doing everything his driver asked 

1 The late Patrick Scully, of Percy Place. 




JOHN 20 1 

without making the slightest objection, to the 
astonishment of his master, who could only 
shake his head and declare that "the horse 
knew how to treat a lady/ 9 

The opposition of the dealer having the effect 
of rendering me the more determined to buy 
the animal, I bought him at the high figure 
of £100. 

" For the love of God, don't ride him, ma'am/ 1 
implored the man, divided and much exercised 
in his mind between the good price he was 
getting and his fear of disastrous results. 
" There's not a man in my yard will mount 
him without being first fortified with a stiff 
tumbler of whisky and water/ 9 

" Oh ! " I laughed, " I shall not want to use 
him for the saddle at present, as I am perfectly ' 
suited in that respect" 

Now, however, feeling in the humour to do 
something reckless, I substituted the hot and 
savage Victor to carry me in the place of my 
lost Royal. 

Victor was not so bad as he was depicted. 
Knowing well it was his mistress who was 
on his back, he tried to control his passionate 
temper, and to deport himself like a gentleman. 

Occasionally he forgot, and indulged in a few 



202 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

« 

frantic bounds and plunges. He also, for the 
edification of the crowds on band-days at Bray, 
stood up very high on his hind legs, pawing 
the air with his front ones, in which position 
he looked so alarming that ladies, looking on, 
were terrified. On the whole, the rides were a 
great success, and I enjoyed them more than 
I had expected to enjoy riding after Royal's 
death. 

Mrs. O'Clery, whose tastes were quite different 
to mine, did not care much for horses. She 
was very fond of yachting and swimming, in 
which latter art she excelled. She had taken 
meanwhile to nursing as an outlet for super- 
fluous energy, and was fast becoming a second 
Florence Nightingale in her ministrations to 
the sick. For the present she did not seem 
disposed to avail herself of the liberty afforded 
by her husband's demise to venture upon a 
second matrimonial career. 

John's face grew graver and longer over the 
interminable delays of the solicitors, and the 
despondency engendered by the discovery of 
having succeeded to a heritage of debt and 
difficulty. Year succeeded year, and no satis- 
factory solution of the chaotic state of Charles's 
affairs seemed any nearer. 

More and more, it became evident to all 




JOHN 203 

that Avondale and its broad acres would have 
to be brought to the hammer. The sad fact 
had to be faced that this historic place, for so 
many generations the home of the Parnells, was 
now about to pass from their possession. 

This was the only reward that patriotism had 
brought us. 



CHAPTER XV 

A CRIME 

91 Careless their merits or their faults to scan, 
Her pity gave ere charity began." 

—Goldsmith. 

I comb now to relate an occurrence that I 
would willingly pass over, but for its bearing 
on my story. 

My mother had been living many years in 
America, at her place called Ironsides. Though 
at an age when most people are content to 
leave the active business of life to a younger 
generation, it was still her constant habit to 
attend personally to all business matters con- 
nected with the estate. 

This proof of unusual vitality, wonderful 
in an old lady of eighty, shows the extra- 
ordinary vigour and clearness of understanding 
which characterised this daughter of the great 
Republic of the West 

One stormy evening in February, with her 
usual indomitable energy, which never allowed 
the elements to interfere with any work that 
had to be done, my mother found it necessary 




A CRIME 205 

to transact estate business in the neighbouring 
town. Announcing to the household the ex- 
pected hour of her return, she set off on foot 
with her bag, accompanied by a dog, who was 
her constant attendant. 

Some effort was made to induce her to 
postpone her journey, or take some conveyance 
or an escort, but the will that ruled Ironsides 
was not easily induced to alter a decision once 
made. 

Having transacted her business, my mother's 
return journey had nearly come to an end, 
and she was approaching Ironsides, walking 
slowly. It was a very sequestered place, sur- 
rounded by trees, and the path was lonely, 
without house or cottage nearer than Ironsides 
and its offices. On each side was a high bank, 
topped by a hedge with several gaps. 

The mistress of Ironsides sauntered leisurely, 
watching the sun sink in a golden glow of 
clouds. On nearing the gate, her dog, with 
the instinct for supper -time which charac- 
terises the doggy tribe, ran on through the 
grounds. My mother turned to look at a 
larger gap in the hedge than she had yet 
noticed, when she was suddenly struck down 
by a blow from some heavy instrument behind, 
which felled her to the ground 



206 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

Notwithstanding the awful suddenness of the 
attack, with her usual pluck she still held 
her hag firmly, remembering the valuable papers 
in it 

Fortunately, help arrived soon after she lost 
consciousness. The would-be murderer proved 
to be a man who considered he had a grudge 
against her. Driven by malignant hatred, his 
efforts to revenge himself had now culminated 
in this cold-blooded and cruel outrage. 

At my mother's advanced age, such a sudden 
and ferocious attack caused a very serious 
shock to her system. Indeed, it was at first 
feared the injuries were fatal After being 
carried home in all haste, and doctors and 
nurses summoned, the extent of the injuries 
was ascertained. They showed how near the 
brutal assailant had been to murder. 

Meanwhile, my sister Anna had sailed from 
England in the next boat on hearing of the 
assault, and her mother's critical condition. 

She might have been rightly named " Angel," 
as she had many of the qualities which we gene- 
rally associate with that name, and the remark- 
able unselfishness of her character was, even as 
a child, shown in many small ways. 

Generous to a fault, most of her money 
was liberally spent on others, and she never 



A CRIME 207 

ceroid bear to witness suffering without trying 
to relieve it Ever foremost to help or 
comfort, she was the first to hasten to her 
mother. 

The depositions of the injured lady were 
taken, and the perpetrator of the crime identi- 
fied by her. 

Believing herself to be at the point of 
death, in its shadows she felt the broad 
charity of her character tinged with a divine 
glow of forgiveness, and refused sanction to 
prosecute the wretched man whose own acts 
had made him her enemy. 

However, the innate sense of justice that 
controls public opinion is not easily silenced, 
and the case was taken up by my mother's 
neighbours, with the result that the miserable 
man was compelled to leave the country for 
ever, and felt thankful to escape so easily. 

It was many long weeks before my mother's 
wonderful constitution triumphed over the 
shock it had got In the end her great vitality 
triumphed, and she recovered. Though her mind 
was clear and unimpaired as ever, it was the 
opinion of all, who noticed how shattered and 
infirm this cowardly attack had left her, that 
leniency is sometimes misplaced. 

About eighteen months had elapsed since 



208 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

the crime, when one summer evening, on the 
arrival of the train at Kingsbridge, Dublin, 
the family and a large party had assembled on 
the platform to greet her, and to show her 
how deep was the respect inspired by the 
mother of the late illustrious Irishman, who, 
like Cornelia, considered her children the 
fairest jewels she could give for the good of 
her adopted country. 

Even those who can recall similar scenes of 
greeting after long separation, and the changes 
that time brings, can hardly realise the sorrow 
and pain of the spectators when they saw the 
changed and broken figure again, for the last 
time, alight on Irish soil. 

The enthusiasm and warmth was saddened 
by something of that depth and tenderness 
imparted by the knowledge that life and time 
had left their mark on her indomitable per- 
sonality, though the brave soul still mastered 
her physical weakness. 

Her life at Avondale now wore the peace- 
ful sunset glow that comes after a long and 
well-spent life. Its wooded slopes and lawns 
were the dearest spots in Ireland to her. She 
felt it a refuge after the hustle and bustle of 
the New World, and a joy to be with her loved 
ones again. 




A CRIME 209 

At Christmas the family once more assembled 
to spend the festive season together. 

My mother, since the loss of her money in 
the deep waters of speculation, had, compara- 
tively to what she had possessed, small means. 
On inheriting so much, both from her father 
and her brother, she had voluntarily given up 
her dower to help Charles in his work for the 
Irish, a cause she had always had very much 
at heart. Being so rich, the loss of the few 
hundreds a year which constituted her dower 
was no consideration at the time. When the 
crash of her fortunes came, the despised dower 
would have been only too acceptable, but was 
no longer available, having been sunk, with 
all the rest, in the cause of Ireland. 

So, in the decline of life, the grand old lady 
was menaced with privation. This was happily, 
however, averted, but all the same she went 
without certain luxuries, to which her age and 
her position entitled her. As she had never 
cared for luxury this did not affect her much; 
in any case she never complained, but bore all 
with long-suffering and exemplary patience and 
fortitude. 

A year and a half glided quietly by, bringing 

little or no diversion to the party at Avondale, 

except the occasional visits of John, who, when 

o 



210 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

his parliamentary duties did not necessitate his 
presence in London, divided his time between 
the lawyers in Dublin and the fish and game 
at Avondale. 

My mother's health and strength improved 
very much under the influence of the peaceful 
life, happy surroundings, and freedom from the 
worries to which she had been subjected in 
America. These were chiefly connected with 
the management of Ironsides. Also a lawsuit 
had been instituted against her by an ille- 
gitimate relation, who, in spite of his bar- 
sinister, had yet contested her right to the 
ownership of the place, which was to him a 
Naboth's vineyard. 

This had lately been decided in my mother s 
favour. 

The old lady spent her time chiefly in writing, 
reading, and sewing. Unable to walk, except 
just about the house, she did not go out, as 
she disliked driving. She sat from early morn 
until late at night, day after day, indefatigably 
occupied with either her pen, literature, or 
needlework. Though in her eighty-fourth year, 
she was able to thread the smallest needle, 
and read the smallest print, without glasses. 
She interested herself, too, in the composition 
of music, and frequently played the piano for 




A CRIME 211 

hours, her exquisite, fairy-like touch resounding 
through the rooms like the tinkling of sweet 
and melodious bells. Always cheerful and 
hopeful, her sympathy and interest turned 
readily to all around. 

As the other inmates came in daily from their 
various recreations, bringing with them the fresh- 
ness and sunshine of the outer world, my 
mother, with a sweet, pathetic face and bent 
figure sitting in an arm-chair by the fire, her 
feet resting on the high, old-fashioned fender, 
had ever a cheery and pleasant word for each. 
Her patience and resignation under forced in- 
action, all the harder to bear for one who 
had been possessed of the marvellous vitality 
and energy for which my mother had always 
been remarkable, was touching. It preached a 
silent but impressive lesson to the turbulent 
and discontented spirits of a younger generation, 
who had yet to learn that peace is better 
than pleasure, and that contentment with our 
lot, whatever it may be, is the essential quality 
requisite for happiness in a world of vanity 
and change. 



CHAPTER XVI 

FIRE 

" New Borrow rises as the day returns." 

— Dr. Johnson. 

A gloom, which seemed to grow deeper with 
time, had been stealing over the more youthful 
members of the household of Avondale. In 
order to relieve it, and money matters having 
taken a temporary turn for the better, I pro- 
posed to give a dinner party, to be followed 
by a dance. So, after a lengthened interval 
of depression, everything was topsy-turvy with 
preparations. The long passages of Avondale 
echoed with snatches of song, and the hitherto 
silent house rang with gay voices and lively 
footsteps, and bustle and cheerful confusion 
replaced the former chronic silence and quiet 

My mother, to whom it was a memento of 
her young days, when she was the charming 
hostess of frequent similar entertainments, 
interested herself in the arrangements with 
something like the vivacity and energy of her 
youth. Feeling, with unerring instinct, that 



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FIRE 2 1 3 

this would be the last occasion for the exercise 
of hospitality which the old house would have 
whilst still in possession of the family, I de- 
termined that nothing should be left undone 
on my part to render it a worthy addition 
to the many famous and hospitable functions 
that had for generations preceded it — one that 
all partaking of would remember in years to 
come. 

The guests for dinner numbered thirty. The 
massive sideboard with mirrored back, and the 
table, around which guests had mustered so 
often in times gone by, glittered with its dis- 
play of silver, glass, and an unstinted supply 
of exquisite flowers, arranged with artistic taste 
in handsome and rare old china vases, on which 
the faces of ancestors smiled down from their 
frames on the walls in grim approbation. 

My mother, gowned in a rich, dark-blue 
velvet dress, trimmed with lace and pearl 
ornaments, a white lace veil fastened with a 
comb to the top of her head, and settled over 
her shoulders, Spanish fashion, sat like a queen 
at the head of the feast. Never had she 
looked more charming or so regal. Her 
appearance that night was long remembered 
by all who had the privilege of beholding 
her. 



214 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

It was remarked by many present that never 
had she appeared more clear in her political 
penetration, or her conversational powers more 
brilliant 

After the soup had been removed, a remark 
was made about the outlook in South Africa, 
then beginning to loom ominously for British 
interests in that country. The keen ear at 
the head of the table caught the words, and 
knowing my mother's pro-Boer sympathies, 
there was a general look of expectancy among 
the guests. 

"Captain Hugo," she flashed out with her 
usual candour, " I do not believe your country's 
prospects there are so certain as you suppose. 
The British will find they have underrated the 
Boer, strength, as well as their sincerity in the 
cause. Will your nation ever admit that truth 
and justice as well as religion are not exclu- 
sively of British manufacture? John Bull, in 
thinking the world was made for the purpose 
of increasing England's greatness, is too prone 
to ignore the rights of other nations." 

"I admit," returned the astonished Captain, 
"that we have a good deal of national brag 
in our composition, but look at what England 
has done for her colonies as well as for 
Europe." 



FIRE 215 

"She has done well for her own aggrandise- 
ment, but as for benefiting the world by 
extending her colonies, every one knows that 
your most Christian nation goes by the law 
of 'Might is right.' When there is a question 
of any extension of territory, the rights of other 
nations are never considered. What do you 
consider to be England's motives in the South 
African question? A chivalrous desire to 
champion the cause of the oppressed?" she 
asked ironically. 

"Not altogether. We are trying to settle it 
peaceably; but though we allow a good deal 
of latitude to colonial Dutchmen, we draw the 
line somewhere. Besides, if it takes a hundred 
years, the British nation has a score which 
must be paid off. Gladstone's blunder . and 
Majuba have always been a bitter memory, 
and the Boer will suffer for it if our chance 
comes." 

"They fought for their own interests as you 
for yours," replied my mother. "The truth is 
that John Bull likes to play the part of 
universal philanthropist when it pays, and 
when it results in adding a good slice of some 
one else's territory to the British dominions. 
That is why you axe called a nation of shop- 
keepers — the mercantile instinct rules every- 



216 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

thing, even politics. Bnt you will see that 
I am not .mistaken. The English do not 
know the Boers' strength. They are too sure 
of success, and if it comes to war, will suffer 
for it" 

Captain Hugo laughed. He rather enjoyed 
political skirmishes with my mother, and they 
were the best of friends. He turned and 
made some remark to his next neighbour, 
whom he had neglected since the dinner com- 
menced, and I made an effort to turn the 
conversation to lighter subjects. 

More guests arrived later to join in the 
dancing, and the ballroom pattered with the 
nimble feet of merry couples flying over the 
smooth oak floor. It was a brilliant scene of 
light and warmth, pretty faces and slim figures, 
lovely dresses and flowers, flirtation, mirth, and 
talk. The ballroom, described before on the 
occasion of the cricket match, opened into the 
drawing-room, and the drawing-room into the 
library. All three were very large rooms. The 
drawing-room, an octagon room, with bow- 
windows heavily draped with blue and gold 
curtains, was adorned with old and valuable 
paintings, the work of an ancestor of the 
Farnell family, who was a great genius. The 
library was considered the most handsome room, 



FIRE 217 

and to many the greatest object of interest 
in the house. Its walls were covered with 
Italian boiseries in the antique style. Its 
shelves were lined with precious books, many 
hundreds of years old, bound in leather, and 
valuable manuscripts. Among the books was 
a valuable fourth folio edition of Shakespeare, 
which had been in the possession of the family 
for generations. 

While these rooms were furnished in the 
heavy antique style of oak and mahogany which 
suited the architecture, the lighter and more 
modern styles had been here and thefe intro- 
duced with good effects. 

The entertainment concluded with an excel- 
lent supper, which was duly appreciated, and 
my mother's health was drunk amidst much 
speechifying and cheering. 

It was late, or rather early in the morning, 
when the party broke up, and a storm was 
beginning to rise. Those who returned home 
in their carriages met with the bitter cold 
enhanced by a driving mist, and a gradually 
rising wind. 

My mother, unlike the young people of the 
present day, never of late years breakfasted in 
bed. She always rose early, and had her break- 
fast at eight o'clock in her room, sitting by the 



2i 8 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

fire in a flannel dressing-gown. The morning 
following the evening's dissipation was no ex- 
ception to her general rule, and even the storm, 
which was now at its height, raging round the 
house, did not suffice to make her alter her 
usual habit. I was also up, and arrayed too 
in a dressing-gown, was in my mother's room. 
She complained of the intense cold, so I made 
up a good fire, for precaution putting a fire 
safety screen in front of the blazing logs. My 
mother, in her customary garb, with the addition 
of a warm shawl over her shoulders, sat down 
in the arm-chair, and placing her feet on the 
fender, commenced her breakfast. I lingered 
awhile before going to my own apartment to 
finish dressing, an indefinable feeling of the 
shadow of coming desolation causing me to feel 
reluctant to quit the room ; but telling myself 
it was foolish to yield to nervous fancies, I at 
length left my mother very comfortably installed, 
and doing justice to a good breakfast. I then 
went to my own room close by, to do my hair, 
intending to return in a few minutes. 

Barely ten minutes had elapsed when I heard 
piercing screams proceeding from my mother's 
apartment; and rushing back, a sight met my 
horrified eyes, the remembrance of which will 
haunt me to my dying day. 




FIRE 219 

The room seemed blazing at a dozen different 
points; table and chair covers were burning, 
and clothes left lying about were having an 
especial bonfire. My mother, still sitting in her 
arm-chair, which was on fire, appeared to be 
enveloped in flames. Her grand - daughter, 
awakened from sleep by her grandmother's 
shrieks, in bare feet, and in her night-dress, was 
kneeling on the floor; her hair, a rippling 
sheet of gold, falling in sunny waves below 
her waist. She was clasping with both arms 
a thick blanket round the writhing form of the 
terrified old lady. I succeeded, aided by my 
daughter, in getting my mother, who was para- 
lysed from fright, free from the burning chair 
and on to a safe corner of the floor. Blankets 
were then heaped on her, and the flames envelop- 
ing her were extinguished. I then rang for 
assistance. Leaving my daughter still kneeling 
by her grandmother, trying to calm her agony 
and pacify her fears, I turned my attention to 
the fire, which was going ahead, and destroying 
all before it. It was impossible to quit the 
room, even for a minute, in search of water, 
neither could Delia leave my mother, whose 
screams were awful to hear. 

A long billiard cue, which was kept at hand 
in order to settle the curtains, became useful 



220 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

now on which to pick np all the burning 
debris, which I stuffed into the fireplace and 
chimney as fast as I could. 

Whilst I was thus working with the long pole 
in my hands, against the flames, the servant 
came in answer to the bell. 

What a lurid sight it was that the opening 
of the door revealed ! In the midst that crack- 
ling, dreadful element, with its hot breath against 
my face. On beholding it the servant threw 
up her arms and screamed. In a few words 
I ordered her to send for help and the doctor, 
and continued stuffing all the flaming fragments 
I could pick up on the point of the billiard 
cue into the fireplace. 

Nearly driven distraught by my poor mother's 
screams, which all Delia's attempts at consola- 
tion failed to abate, as a last resource I began 
to pray aloud. 

As my voice rose above the noise and din 
of the roaring chimney inside, and the wild 
hurly-burly of storm and wind that blew and 
whistled round the house outside, the words 
of my simple prayer for help and succour 
silenced my mother's pitiful cries, bringing 
peace to her distracted mind and a temporary 
lull. In a few minutes, and just as I was 
almost suffocated with the smoke, help came 



FIRE 221 

in the shape of people who lived near, and 
who now made themselves of use by fetching 
water. After an interval several other men arrived, 
and the remnants of the fire, which the billiard 
cue had been instrumental in keeping under, 
were soon finally quenched. 

Shortly after my mother had been lifted, on 
to her bed, and soothing remedies applied, the 
doctor, accompanied by a nurse, made his wel- 
come appearance, and quickly and dexterously 
dressed the* poor sufferer's burns. This gave 
her great ease — in fact, after that she felt little 
or no pain. 

In the house, so recently threatened with dire 
and speedy destruction, quietness now reigned, 
but outside the elements still raged and 
shrieked, the elms quaked and swayed, and 
the leafless trees bent their heads beneath the 
blast All that day the attention of every one 
was absorbed in the victim of the burning 
accident, who, as the night drew on, seemed 
so well that hopes were entertained of her 
recovery. She was able to join in the con- 
versation, and even to have one of her usual 
skirmishes with her grand - daughter, which 
always ended in making them better friends 
than ever, but no information with reference 
to the origin of the fire could be extracted 



222 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

from her. In fact, no light was ever thrown 
on the cause cf the catastrophe. 

The night passed as such nights do pass, 
when some one more precious than gold hovers 
between life and death. The watchers hang 
over the beloved form in hushed and breathless 
anxiety and suspense. 

The improvement of the previous evening was 
maintained until about noon of the following 
day, when a sudden collapse took place, and 
my mother commenced to sink with great 
rapidity. She suffered no pain, and was con- 
scious to the last. About five o'clock in the 
afternoon, like a grand old warrior, happy and 
peaceful, surrounded by her family and friends, 
she quietly passed away, without a struggle, into 
the great silence. One of her friends who was 
present remarked he had seen many death-beds, 
but never a happier one. 

Beautiful in the lovely serenity of death, the 
marble figure, with calm, dead face, with its 
placid expression, shrouded by the snowy sheet, 
struck every one with admiration and reverence. 
Many came from a distance for a last look at 
the distinguished mother of the late Irish leader, 
ere the coffin hid her for ever from their sight. 
Inside the house, so lately the scene of festivity, 
and of such unwonted excitement, all was now 




FIRE 223 

the dreariest of the dreary. The servant glided 
about, laying meals which nobody ate, and the 
great house was full of gloom and silence, 
for the shadow of death hung upon it 
The heavy days went slowly by, and that on 
which the mortal remains of Mrs. Farnell were 
to be laid in their last resting-place had 
come. 

Dublin was again the scene of a funeral, 
which, though intended to be private, assumed 
the proportions of a public one. Crowds of 
pedestrians and strings of carriages blocked the 
streets from the station to Glasnevin. It had 
been fittingly settled that the mother of Charles 
Stewart Parnell was to be laid beside her son. 
As the coffin, strewn with magnificent wreaths, 
passed on its way, many were the expressions 
of sympathy to be heard for the tragic ending 
of one who had been an angel of love and 
mercy to many a shadowed home, who had 
never turned a deaf ear to the sufferings of 
others, but had ever been ready to help 
and sympathise, to stretch out a hand never 
empty, all through the years to the close of a 
long and unselfish life. 

So the mother and son, who had had the same 
great cause at heart, which had for its object 
the good of their fellow-creatures, reunited in 



224 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

death, were left lying side by side. There they 
rest with the spirits of the departed — 

(< Watch like God the rolling hours, 
With larger other eyes than ours 
Do make allowance for us all." 

Life falls back into old grooves even after the 
most stupendous calamities, and my mother's 
death made but little change in the mechanical 
routine of Avondale, but in the hearts of her 
family she was missed and mourned with silent 
but deep affection. 

On me the blow fell the heaviest My nervous 
system had received a shock which proved too 
powerful for all the strength of my under- 
standing to resist, and my unemotional, un- 
demonstrative nature had given way suddenly 
before the unexpected assault upon my nerves. 
Now, in my distress, I suffered as none would 
have believed possible. 

A wave of trouble had swept over me, beat- 
ing me to the earth, closing round like a pall, 
and leaving desolation and despair behind, and 
it was all too visible. My supersensitive brain 
brooded over the manner of my awful bereave- 
ment until all my thoughts became warped, and 
all feeling dead or frozen into a dreadful numb- 
ness and torpor. 




FIRE 225 

When the stupendous phenomenon of death, 
or some extreme disaster, comes upon the heart, 
all life is cut in two. Happily there is a limit 
to the most heart-rending grief, and one be- 
comes dead to all sensation, and indifferent to 
all surroundings. The bodily health suffers in 
the fiery furnace of self-torture which a morbid 
conscience and a sensitive temperament permit. 
So with me — my mind acted on my body, and 
a serious illness supervened. The days were a 
succession of nightmares, all presenting the same 
dull hopelessness ; and, in the solitudes of the 
night, revived memories of the scene of the terrible 
fire, and the cruel flames gathering round the 
stooping, shrunken figure of my poor old mother, 
penetrated me with an agony which could find 
no comfort in the knowledge that everything in 
life is transitory — the sorrows as well as the joys. 

Devoured by the demon of unrest, turning in 
loathing nausea from food or drink, unable 
to sleep, I paced the room from morning till 
night, and from night to morning again, brood- 
ing ceaselessly over my grief, until thought itself 
became confused and weakened under this un- 
wonted mental strain. 

The doctors called it "nervous prostration," 
brought on from "shock," and said that it 
would yield to time; but as the weeks passed 



226 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

into months, and the months into years, and I 
grew worse, they changed their verdict, and 
practically condemned me to death. 

This was a sentence, however, that I had from 
the first pronounced on myself; moreover, I 
longed for oblivion in death as only the un- 
happy can long for it, as the simplest solution 
to my harrowing memories and tragic experi- 
ences; but death is a capricious visitor, and 
seldom comes to those who court it. 




CHAPTER XVII 

PEACE 

" The sea — the glorious sea 
From side to side 
Swinging the grandeur of his foamy strength." 

— E. B. Browning. 

The current of b'fe was not yet exhausted, and 
it came back slowly and unwillingly to my aching 
nerves and starved body, as often happens, when 
least expected, and I became conscious that life, 
not death, was my allotted portion. Long after 
I had given up trying to conquer fate, and 
had resolved to endure it, my illness, which 
had for so long baffled all medical science, 
suddenly took a favourable turn, to the amaze- 
ment of all. 

It was now nearly four years since my 
mother's death, and the beginning of my ill- 
ness. The keen edge of torment wore off, and 
both body and mind grew better together. 

A reaction of superabundant energy replaced 
the apathetic lethargy, the indifference to its 
own hopelessness ; and feeling as though I had 
stepped from some intolerable state of existence 

M7 



228 A PATRIOT'S MISTAKE 

into the peace of paradise — in fact, from purga- 
tory into heaven — I surprised every one by my 
rapid progress towards convalescence. But I 
had many a fierce tussle with the physical 
weakness that assailed me, rending me like a 
lion, and threatening to snap in twain the 
slender cord of life. For a long time my fate 
trembled in the balance, and it was many months 
ere my health was really re-established, and I 
could feel that the clouds of recent mourning 
had rolled away for good, and the memory of 
that distressful time became fainter and fainter. 
Convalescence was a matter of more than a year. 
The long -feared worst had now come to pass, 
and the sale of Avondale had to be confronted. 
The noble old house, amidst a park and wood- 
land that were the growth of centuries, the fine 
old hall with its trophies, the deep-set windows 
commanding such lovely views — all had to got 
Strange footsteps would echo in the passages, 
new horses trample on the gravel walk to the 
stables. What a place to live and die in was 
that weather-beaten heritage, with its histories 
of ages and the troubles and joys of genera- 
tions written on every ivy -clad stone of its 
walls. 

The day of the sale arrived, and a crowded 
court awaited in curious expectancy, all eager 





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PEACE 229 

to know into whose hands the ancestral home 
of the late Irish leader would fall. The bidding 
ran high, English bidders and Irish vying with 
one another, and finally the historical house was 
knocked down to a wealthy Irishman, willing 
to pay for the spirit of ancestry that clung to 
the place. Six months later, the furniture and 
books were advertised, and the whole country- 
side knew that all the valuable heirlooms and 
effects of the Parnell family would be scattered. 
The family felt it as the final blow to a long 
series of disastrous misfortunes, and their feelings 
were heartily shared and more openly displayed 
by some of the faithful retainers, who had known 
and loved the house and its owners for more 
than a generation. The old housekeeper, Mrs. 
Murphy, as "racy of the soil" as her name, 
was nearly driven out of her mind with grief 
and excitement. She had been with the Parnell 
family since my mother had come, an American 
bride, to Avondale, and all her ambitions and 
affections were entwined with the family and the 
place. Smith, the steward, was the only other 
relic of the old retainers who had watched the 
fortunes of the house from the time when Charles 
succeeded to it. 

He was a crabbed but honest Englishman, 
and a scorner of Irish ways and Irish politics. 



230 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

Mrs. Murphy, an ardent Irish patriot and Home 
Ruler, had many a stormy argument with Smith, 
who considered himself one of the pillars of 
the British Constitution, especially sent to 
Avondale by Providence, to put down rebellion. 

On this occasion, however, these former 
enemies felt drawn together by a common grief, 
for Smith, in spite of his political feelings, 
adored all the members of the Parnell family, 
and had preferred to remain in their service 
even when offered a chance of settling in 
England 

On the morning of the auction, Smith, coming 
round by the stables, was met by Mrs. Murphy 
with suspiciously red eyes and subdued manner. 

"Ah, the darlint old place/ 1 she wailed, "did 
I ever think it would go to pieces like this, 
and me above the green earth. And what will 
become of Miss Cora, and Miss Delia, to say 
nothing of Mr. John ? My heart is fit to break 
to see them nasty auctioneering men fingering 
of the furniture, that was never meant for the 
likes of them to touch." 

Smith cleared his throat, though he too 
looked very downcast, and prepared for a 
speech. 

"What have I always told you, ma'am? 
If people will meddle with politics they will 



PEACE 231 

soon find themselves with empty pockets, 
especially when they take the wrong side." 

" Do you dare to say," burst out Mrs. Murphy, 
"that Master Charles's politics (God rest his 
soul !) were not right ? It's myself knows that he 
gave the very blood of his heart for his country. 
Didn't I see him raining money again and again 
to help on the cause, and standing on plat- 
forms when he was not fit to be out of his 
bed ? " 

"Does that prove that his side was right?" 
growled Smith. " How can a woman understand 
politics, or what goes against a man?" 

41 It was his country he lived and fought 
for," said Mrs. Murphy, flashing her eyes in 
wrath, " and this is the end of it. You English, 
with your cold ways and stinginess, don't know 
how an Irish patriot can give his gold and 
his life for the green sod of his country. It's 
they that were the thrue old stock. If there 
were more like them, plaze God, we would 
have Ireland a nation before long." 

"And much good would that do you," said 
Smith, forgetting his dejection in the joys of 
controversy. "You would all be beggars and 
bankrupts, and wanting England to help you. 
Look at this now," pointing to the sloping park 
and winding avenue. "If the master had 



232 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

minded this estate like an English squire, and 
let the Parliament do without him, it's here he 
might be yet and the land ours too." 

"Yes, and where would the honour and 
glory be?" was the quick reply. "It's myself 
that's proud of the way the money was spent. 
How would the Irish party have done what 
they did but for him ? " 

"Honour and glory," muttered Smith, "does 
it feed people or keep up the land? It's all 
moonshine and sentiment, and that's what you 
all live on, and much good may it do you, say 
I," turning off round the stables as he spoke in 
a worse temper than ever. 

John Parnell had come down for the auction, 
though it was a bitter trial to him to be 
present, and he would have preferred to remain 
away. He was overwhelmed with grief at 
losing the dear old place, where he had passed 
many a happy hour on the river with the fish. 
He loved and reverenced it, honouring its every 
stone — as all such relics of a chivalrous and 
gracious past deserve to be loved. 

There were things with some deeply-felt asso- 
ciations that he could not bear to allow into 
strangers' hands, and he had come to bid for 
them. 

One of them was a massive antique sideboard 



PEACE 233 

associated with early dinner-parties. There was 
a very large gathering of English and Irish 
curio-dealers as well as county people. John 
was not desirous of meeting former friends, and 
hardly expected their presence. When bidding 
for the sideboard, however, he found a steady 
bidder against him, and looked round, think- 
ing he recognised the voice. 

He and the rival bidder were mutually sur- 
prised at recognising each other's identity. It 
was Lord Beresford, a former neighbour and 
friend of the Parnell family, whose estate was 
near Avondale. 

On recognising John, Lord Beresford at once 
desisted from bidding. 

"I need not say, Mr. Parnell," he said, 
44 how deeply all your friends and neighbours 
feel for you in this trying scene. We will all 
miss the owner of Avondale." 

"Thanks for your sympathy. It's a pretty 
hard wrench to see one's old home go to the 
hammer. The purchaser is a rather nice fellow, 
however, and seems inclined to keep up the 
traditions of the place." 

"Has he got the shooting and fishing as 
well?" inquired Lord Beresford. "My own 
coverts are pretty well stocked, but for the sake 
of old associations I would be glad to rent 



234 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

those of Avondale for a time, also the fishing 
when the season comes." 

"He has got both. I should hare liked you 
to have the fishing. The shooting is not worth 
much now — you know the coverts want stock- 
ing; but I always thought the fishing first-rate. 
I have not whipped the streams for a long 
time, but Smith was telling me this morning 
that the fish never seemed in better form or 
more lively." 

"I always considered this the best fishing in 
the county/' said Lord Beresford, smiling as he 
remembered some of John's exploits with the 
rod. "Thanks for wishing I could have it I 
would have liked nothing better. Now I want 
you to consider Beresford Court your home 
whenever you are in this part of the world. 
We shall be delighted to entertain you." 

"You are very good, and I shall certainly 
avail myself of your kind offer when down 
here. You know, of course, that my circum- 
stances are greatly altered. I have now to 
cultivate money-making." 

"Why, what are your plans? You will not 
leave Ireland?" 

"Not at present, though there is no way of 
setting the Thames on fire here. I have got 
an appointment in Dublin, so must settle there 



PEACE 23 s 

for a time. Even Irish people lose their patriotic 
love of Ireland's capital after some years of 
America. At least I find it slow and dull after 
the balmy air of the Southern States. But it is 
no use complaining. A man must bear his lot" 

"I hope that your's will be brighter before 
long/ 1 Lord Beresford said kindly, with a warm 
clasp of the hand, and the two men separated 
with mutual regret. 

The auction proceeded briskly. The bed, a 
huge four-poster, in which Charles had been 
born, went for a fabulous price, and also all 
the things in his room. 

The fame of the books, which had got abroad, 
had brought connoisseurs from England and else- 
where, and the bidding was fast and keen. The 
majority fetched a high price. 

A few weeks before the auction I had moved 
to Dublin. 

My daughter Delia, meanwhile, had tried some 
of the gaieties of society, but, like many erratic 
and non-erratic people, found its cut-and-dried 
conventions and tame routine of life insupport- 
able. She was a child of nature, and longed 
for the wild, free life that is not found in 
cities, nor in society, nor coteries, with their 
narrow aims and uniform existence. Her friends 
had long since ceased to be surprised at any 



236 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

plan she might propose, or anything adopted to 
vary the monotony of life. It was therefore 
with very little surprise, though with some 
amusement, that they now heard of her inten- 
tion of going on a visit to some of her father's 
relations in Australia. Her means admitted of 
her indulging her taste for travelling, and no 
objection was offered to her plan. 

What might have been expected came to pass. 
On the same ship, returning to Australia, was a 
young Englishman named Wright The fair- 
haired and captivating Delia made an immediate 
impression on him, and, having been introduced, 
they were thrown very much together on the 
long voyage. It ended in the handsome young 
Englishman falling desperately in love, and he 
and Delia were married immediately on land- 
ing. The visit to her relations was consequently 
postponed, and the newly-wedded pair went to 
Mr. Wright's residence instead. This was a 
pleasant change for one to whom life had 
hitherto given more of its realities than of 
its pleasures. 

We will now leave her, hoping that she may 
find happiness in her second marriage, and that 
it may prove an ample compensation for the first 
hasty and short-lived one. 



PEACE 237 

Dublin, at first, seemed a desert to me on 
my return there, after an absence r of many years, 
as, with few exceptions, all former friends and 
acquaintances were either dead or gone away. 
The few that remained, however, welcomed me 
back amongst them with warm cordiality, and I 
found myself much less "shelved" on account 
of politics than I had expected. 

Having now quite recovered from the effects 
of my long illness, and feeling an exhilaration 
of spirits in the reaction from worse than death 
to health and vigour, and a keen sense of plea- 
sure in having got a renewal of life, I exerted 
myself to make fresh acquaintances. No longer 
young, I yet looked younger than I was; and 
my seat on horseback, for which I had ever been 
remarkable, was as good as of yore. I bought 
a new pair of handsome, showy black horses, 
which were respectively christened "King" and 
"Prince," the latter having been selected as my 
saddle-horse. In this capacity he deported him- 
self in princely fashion. Sometimes I drove the 
pair of superb animals, conscious of their pedi- 
gree, together in a phaeton, on which occasions 
their high-stepping action was the admiration of 
Dublin. 

In due course new people called, and I soon 



238 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

had more invitations than I was able to accept, 
and the old sense of enjoyment, to which I had 
been so long a stranger, began to revive. I 
returned the kindness and hospitality I had 
received in the exercise once more of my long 
unused talent for entertaining. The most interest- 
ing of my entertainments was an " American tea/' 
a function which had only been given in Dublin 
once before, by my mother, in the palmy days 
of Lord Carlisle. The mysterious and unknown 
nature of this (in Ireland) rare entertainment 
excited much curiosity and conjecture amongst 
my friends. " What is an American tea ? " may 
be asked by the inquisitive. I shall endeavour 
to give a short description. The reception-rooms 
were decorated with the stars and stripes, every- 
where prominently displayed. Everything Ameri- 
can was largely patronised, with the exception 
of the Yankee drawl, and American free and 
easy informality of manners prevailed. Even the 
ladies were allowed the privilege of making 
speeches on the topical subjects of the day, to 
which the gentlemen replied, and on this occa- 
sion the ladies did more credit to the eloquence 
of \ the Irish race than the latter. These were 
made while supper was in progress. 

The famous American drinks were in great 



PEACE 239 

force, and it might be called a chronic con- 
dition of eating and drinking from start to 
finish, with dancing between whiles. This, 
however, was more European than American. 

The supper was something of a revelation to 
many of the guests. The long tables were deco- 
rated with red and white chrysanthemums, in- 
terspersed with maidenhair ferns, and masses of 
beautiful roses, which had been brought from 
Govent Garden specially for the occasion. 

The supper, in which I tried to satisfy the 
most fastidious taste, had been supplied by a 
well-known London caterer, and American dishes 
had been added to the menu. The company 
included old acquaintances as well as new, and 
the occasion proved one of exceptional enjoy- 
ment to all present. 

After supper the dancing was renewed with 
redoubled energy, and was kept up to a late 
hour. In conclusion the band played the 
British National Anthem, then "God Save 
Ireland," and lastly, " Yankee Doodle." 

Troubles, however, were not yet exhausted. 
It has already been mentioned that Charles had 
charged his estate with a settlement on me on 
the occasion of my marriage. Owing to the 
death at the most critical time of my faithful 



240 A PATRIOTS MISTAKE 

solicitor, 1 who had attended to my interests with 
zealous and unremitting care for over twenty 
years, and had firmly refused to accept any re- 
muneration for his trouble, alleging that he 
could not take money from the sister of a 
man for whom he entertained such a profound 
admiration as he had ever done for my late 
brother, and being unable through illness to 
attend to business matters myself, my fortunes 
went seriously wrong. I suddenly found myself 
deprived of my jointure. This was also a 
visible result of patriotism. Of course, it would 
make a vast difference, as, in consequence of 
such a loss, I should have the ills of restricted 
means to contend with. 

But the blood of an old and tried race was 
in my veins. Nothing daunted, I faced the posi- 
tion, and set about ordering my life on other 
lines. 

Deciding to leave Dublin, and abandon my 
meteoric reappearance in social circles, I wan- 
dered off in search of new scenes and faces. 
After visiting several places, I was held captive 
by one which especially caught my fancy, and 
seemed likely to answer the requirements of my 
altered position. 

A lovely spot, its inhabitants simple in their 

1 Mr. Ambrose Plunkett. 




PEACE 241 

tastes — so simple as to be almost primitive — is 
this little straggling village, scattered about a 
tiny bay, shut in by frowning rocks, with a 
primitive harbour, where fishing - boats lazily 
drifted at anchor ; beyond this lies a great 
expanse of glittering, sunny sea. 

In stormy weather it is wildly, magnificently 
grand, when the ocean heaves tumultuously, and 
the wild-fowl fly in screaming circles, and the 
white horses rise in foam on the dark expanse. 
On a fine, calm day it is lovely beyond con- 
ception, the sun-kissed waves breaking with 
gentle cadence on the shore, and peace on the 
shining sea — a silent rebuke to the hurrying 
strife and unrest in the lives of men. 

Even in this remote region, ostentatiously 
calling itself a bay, cut off from modern 
civilisation, such as motor-cars and emancipated 
women, eager interests and warm feelings were 
aroused, while some links were still retained 
with the great outside world of men and 
women. In my daily wanderings over the cliffs 
I gradually acquired the calm happiness and 
peace of mind which nature can alone restore 
to one who has been bruised and buffeted in 
the conflict with the world. 

Here, too, I quickly made friends amongst 

the kind-hearted and genial people, who received 

Q