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University of California • Berkeley 


The Friends of The Bancroft Library 





"the real CHARLOTTE," ETC. 






All rights resefved. 


I HAVE many people to thank, for many things, 
and I have an explanation to make, but the thanks 
must come first. 

I offer my most sincere gratitude to Mrs. Butler 
and to Professor Edgeworth, for their kindness in 
permitting me to print Miss Edgeworth's letters to 
Mrs. Bushe ; to Lord Dunsany, for the extract from 
" Plays of Gods and Men," which has said for me what 
I could not say for myself ; to the Editors of the 
Spectator and of Punch, for their permission to use 
Martin Ross's letter and the quatrain to her memory ; 
to the Hon. Mrs. Campbell, the Right Hon. Sir Horace 
Plunkett, P.C, Captain Stephen Gwynn, M.P., Lady 
Coghill, Colonel Dawson, and other of Martin Ross's 
friends, for lending me the letters that she wrote to 
them ; even when these are not quoted verbatim, they 
have been of great service to me, and I am very 
grateful for having been allowed to see them. 

I have to explain what may strike some as singular, 
viz., the omission, as far as was practicable, from 
the letters of Martin Ross, and from this book in 
general, of the names of her and my friends and 
relatives who are still living. I have been guided 
by a consensus of the opinion of those whom I have 
consulted, and also by my remembrance of Martin 
Ross's views on the subject, which she often expressed 


to me in connection with sundry and various volumes 
of Recollections, that have dealt with living con- 
temporaries with a frankness that would have seemed 
excessive in the case of a memoir of the life of Queen 
Anne. If I have gone to the opposite extreme, I 
hope it may be found a fault on the right side. 

September 20th, 1917. 


chap. page 

Inteoductoey 1 

I. — The Martins of Ross 3 

n.— The Chief 41 

III. — Mainly Maeia Edgewoeth 51 

IV.— Old Foegotten Things 61 

V. — Eaely West Caebeey 71 

VI.— Hee Mothee . . . . . . .78 

Vn.— My Mothee 87 

VIII.— Heeself ........ 97 

IX.— Myself When Young 106 

X.— When First She Came 119 

XI.—" An Ibish Cousm " 128 

Xn. — The Yeaes op the Locust . . . .140 

XIII.— The Restoration 163 

XIV.— RiCKEEN 169 

XV.— Faiths and Faietes . . . . . .181 

XVI. — Beliefs and Believees 188 

XVII. — Lettees feom Ross 197 




XVIII.—" TouKS, Idle Toues " 207 

XIX.— Of Dogs 217 

XX.—" The Real Chaelotte " . . . .229 

XXI.— Saint Andeews 241 

XXII.— At IStaples 252 

XXIII.— Paris Again .... . . 260 

XXIV.— Horses and Hounds 272 

XXV.— « The Irish R.M." 286 

XXVI.— Of Good Times 294 

XXVII.— Various Opinions 309 

XXVIII.— The Last 324 


I.— Letters from Chief Justice Charles Kendal 

BusHE to Mrs. Bushe 329 

IL— A Note by Captain Stephen Gwtnn, M.P. . . 336 

III.— Her Freends 337 

IV.— Bibliography 840 


Violet Florence Martin (Photograph) 

Ross House, Co. Galway {inset) The Martin 

Coat of Arms (Photograph) 
Castle Haven Harbour (Photo, by Martin Boss) 
Carberiae Rupes (Photo, by Sir E. B. Goghill 

Bart.) . . . " . 
From the Garden, Brisbane (Photo, by Martin 

Drishane House (Photo, by Martin Boss) 
Hydrangeas, Drishane Avenue (Photo, by 
Martin Boss) .... 

Dans la Rive Gauche (Drawing by E. (E 

Somerville) ..... 
Martin Ross on Confidence (Photograph) 
Edith (Enone Somerville (Photograph) . 

A Castle Haven Woman (Drawing by E. (E 
Somerville) . . . . . 

Martin Ross (Photo, by Lady Coghill) 

Ross Lake (Photograph) 

E. CE. Somerville on Tarbrush (Photograph) 

E. (E. S.— Candy— Sheila— V. F. M. (Photo, by 
Sir E. B. Coghill, BaH.) 

Candy (Photo, by Martin Boss) 

E. (E. S. and a Dilettante (Photo, by Martin 
Boss) ....... 

" Chez Cuneo " (Drawing by E. (E. Somerville) 

The West Carbery Hounds (Photo, by Miss 

M. J. Bobertson) ..... 

At Bunalun. " Gone to Ground " (Photo, by 
Mr. Ambrose Cramer) .... 

Waiting for the Terriers (Photo, by Mr. Ambrose 

West Carbery Hounds at Liss Ard (Photograph) 

Portofino (Photo, by Martin Boss) 


Facing page 

























What is this child of man that can conquer Time and that is 
braver than Love ? 


Even Memory .... 

He shall bring back our year to us that Time cannot destroy. 
Time cannot slaughter it if Memory says no. It is reprieved, 
though banished. We shall often see it, though a little far off, 
and all its hours and days shall dance to us and go by one by one 
and come back and dance again. 


Why, that is true. They shall come back to us, I had thought 
that they that work miracles, whether in Heaven or Earth, were 
unable to do one thing. I thought that they could not bring back 
days again when once they had fallen into the hands of Time. 

It is a trick that Memory can do. He comes up softly in the 
town or the desert, wherever a few men are, like the strange dark 
conjurers who sing to snakes, and he does his trick before them, 
and does it again and again. 

We will often make him bring the old days back when you are 
gone to your people and I am miserably wedded to the princess 
coming from Tharba. 


They will come with sand on their feet from the golden, 
beautiful desert ; they will come with a long-gone sunset each one 
over his head. Their lips will laugh with the olden evening 

From " Plays oj Gods and Men,'' by Lord Dunsany. 



Perhaps I ought to begin by saying that I have 
always called her " Martin " ; I propose to do so 
still. I cannot think of her by any other name. To 
her own family, and to certain of her friends, she is 
Violet ; to many others she is best known as Martin 
Ross. But I shall write of her as I think of her. 
* * * * * 

When we first met each other we were, as we then 
thought, well stricken in years. That is to say, she 
was a little over twenty, and I was four years older 
than she. Not absolutely the earliest morning of 
life ; say, about half-past ten o'clock, with breakfast 
(and all traces of bread and butter) cleared away. 

We have said to each other at intervals since then 
that some day we should have to write our memoirs ; 
I even went so far as to prepare an illustration — I have 
it still — of our probable appearances in the year 1920. 
(And the forecast was not a flattering one.) Well, 
1920 has not arrived yet, but it has moved into the 
circle of possibilities ; 1917 has come, and Martin 
has gone, and I am left alone to write the memoirs, 
with such a feeling of inadequacy as does not often, 
I hope, beset the historian. 

These vagrant memories do not pretend to regard 



themselves as biography, autobiography, as anything 
serious or valuable. Martin and I were not accus- 
tomed to take ourselves seriously, and if what I may 
remember has any value, it will be the value that there 
must be in a record, however unworthy, of so rare and 
sunny a spirit as hers, and also, perhaps, in the pre- 
servation of a phase of Irish life that is fast disappear- 
ing. I will not attempt any plan of the path that I 
propose to follow. I must trust to the caprice of 
memory, supplemented by the diaries that we have 
kept with the intermittent conscientiousness proper 
to such. To keep a diary, in any degree, implies a 
certain share of industry, of persistence, even of 
imagination. Let us leave it at that. The diaries 
will not be brought into court. 



A FEW years ago Martin wrote an account of her 
eldest brother, Robert, known and loved by a very 
wide circle outside his own family as " Ballyhooley." 
He died in September, 1905, and in the following 
spring, one of his many friends. Sir Henniker Heaton, 
wrote to my cousin and begged her to help him in 
compiling a book that should be a memorial of Robert, 
of his life, his writings, and of his very distinguished 
and valuable political work as a speaker and writer 
in the Unionist cause. Sir Henniker Heaton died, and 
the project unfortunately fell through, but not before 
my cousin had written an account of Robert, and, 
incidentally, a history of Ross and the Martins which is 
in itself so interesting, and that, indirectly, accounts 
for so many of her own characteristics, that, although 
much that she had meant to write remains unac- 
complished, I propose, unfinished though it is, to 
make it the foremost chapter in these idle and straying 


Part I 

My brother Robert's life began with the epoch 
that has changed the face and the heart of Ireland. It 

B 2 


ended untimely, in strange accord with the close of 
that epoch ; the ship has sunk, and he has gone down 
with it. 

He was born on June 17th, 1846, the first year of 
the Irish famine, when Ireland brimmed with a 
potato-fed population, and had not as yet discovered 
America. The quietness of untroubled centuries lay 
like a spell on Connemara, the country of his ancestors ; 
the old ways of life were unquestioned at Ross, and 
my father went and came among his people in an 
intimacy as native as the soft air they breathed. 
On the crowded estate the old routine of potato 
planting and turf cutting was pursued tranquilly ; 
the people intermarried and subdivided their holdings ; 
few could read, and many could not speak English. 
All were known to the Master, and he was known and 
understood by them, as the old Galway people knew 
and understood ; and the subdivisions of the land 
were permitted, and the arrears of rent were given time, 
or taken in boat-loads of turf, or worked off by day- 
labour, and eviction was unheard of. It was give and 
take, with the personal element always warm in it : 
as a system it was probably quite uneconomic, but the 
hand of affection held it together, and the tradition 
of centuries was at its back. 

The intimate relations of landlord and tenant were 
an old story at Ross. It was in the days of Queen 
Elizabeth that they began, when the Anglo-Norman 
families, known as the Tribes of Galway, still in the 
high summer of their singular and romantic pros- 
perity, began to contemplate existence as being possible 
outside the walls of Galway Town, and by purchase 
or by conquest acquired many lands in the county. 
They had lived for three or four centuries in the town, 
self-sufficing, clannish and rich ; they did not forget 
the days of Strong-Bow, who, in the time of Henry II, 


began the settlement of Galway, nor yet the leadership 
of De Burgho, and they maintained their isolation, 
and married and intermarried in inveterate exclusive- 
ness, until, in the time of Henry VIII, relationship 
was so close and intricate that marriages were not 
easy. They rang the changes on Christian names, 
Nicholas, Dominick, Robert, Andrew ; they built 
great houses of the grey Galway limestone, with the 
Spanish courtyards and deep archways that they 
learned from their intercourse with Spain, and they 
carved their coats of arms upon them in that indomit- 
able family pride that is an asset of immense value 
in the history of a country. Even now, the shop- 
fronts of Galway carry the symbols of chivalry above 
their doors, and battered shields and quarterings 
look strangely down from their places in the ancient 
walls upon the customers that pass in beneath them. 
It was in the sixteenth century that Robert Martin, 
one of the long and powerful line of High Sheriffs 
and Mayors of Galway, became possessed of a large 
amount of land in West Galway, and in 1590 Ross 
was his country place. From this point the Martins 
began slowly to assimilate West Galway ; Ross, 
Dangan, Birch Hall, and Ballinahinch, marked their 
progress, until Ballinahinch, youngest and greatest 
of the family strongholds, had gathered to itself 
nearly 200,000 acres of Connemara. It fell, tragically, 
from the hand of its last owner, Mary Martin, Princess 
of Connemara, in the time of the Famine, and that page 
of Martin history is closed in Galway, though the 
descendants of her grandfather, " Humanity Dick '* 
(for ever to be had in honourable remembrance as 
the author of " Martin's Act for the Prevention of 
Cruelty to Animals "), have kept alive the old name 
of Ballinahinch, and have opened a new and notable 
record for themselves in Canada. 


Of Dangan, the postern gate by the Galway river 
remains ; of Birch Hall, the ruins of a courtyard and 
of a manorial dove-cot ; Ross, the first outpost, nurse 
of many generations of Martins, still stands by its 
lake and looks across it to its old neighbour, the brown 
mountain, Croagh Keenan. 

Through a line of Jaspers, Nicholases and Roberts, 
the story of Ross moved prosperously on from Robert 
of Elizabeth's times, untouched even by the hand of 
Cromwell, unshaken even when the gates of Galway, 
twelve miles away, opened at length to Ireton. 
Beyond the town of Galway, the Cromwellian did not 
set his foot ; Connemara was a dark and barren 
country, and the Martins, Roman Catholic and Royal- 
ists to the core, as were all the other Tribes of Galway, 
held the key of the road. 

From that conflict Ross emerged, minus most of 
its possessions in Galway town and suburbs ; after 
the Restoration they were restored by the Decree of 
Charles II, but remained nevertheless in the hands 
of those to whom they had been apportioned as spoil. 
The many links that had bound Ross to Galway Town 
seem thenceforward to have been severed ; during 
the eighteenth century the life of its owners was that of 
their surroundings, peaceful for the most part, and 
intricately bound up with that of their tenants. They 
were still Roman Catholic and Jacobite — a kinsman 
of Dangan was an agent for Charles Edward — and each 
generation provided several priests for its Church. 
With my great-grandfather, Nicholas, came the change 
of creed ; he became a Protestant in order to marry a 
Protestant neighbour. Miss Elizabeth O'Hara, of 
Lenaboy ; where an affair of the heart was concerned, 
he was not the man to stick at what he perhaps con- 
sidered to be a trifle. It is said that at the end of his 
long life his early training asserted itself, and drew him 


again towards the Church of his fathers ; it is certainly 
probable that he died, as he was born, a son of Rome. 

But the die had been cast. His six children were 
born and bred Protestants. Strong in all ways, they 
were strong Protestants, and Low Church, according 
to the fashion of their time, yet they lived in an entirely 
Roman Catholic district without religious friction of 
any kind. 

It was during the life of Nicholas, my great-grand- 
father, that Ross House was burned down ; with much 
loss, it is believed, of plate and pictures ; it had a 
tower, and stood beautifully on a point in the lake. 
He replaced it by the present house, built about the 
year 1777, whose architecture is not aesthetically to 
his credit ; it is a tall, unlovely block, of great solidity, 
with kitchen premises half underground, and the 
whole surrounded by a wide and deep area. It 
suggests the idea of defence, which was probably not 
absent from the builder's mind, yet the Rebellion of 
twenty years later did not put it to the test. In the 
great storm of 1839, still known as " The Big Wind," 
my grandfather gathered the whole household into 
the kitchen for safety, and, looking up at its heavily- 
vaulted ceiling, said that if Ross fell, not a house in 
Ireland would stand that night. Many fell, but Ross 
House stood the assault, even though the lawn was 
white with the spray borne in from the Atlantic, six 
miles away. It has at least two fine rooms, a lofty 
well-staircase, with balusters of mahogany, taken out 
of a wreck, and it takes all day the sun into its heart, 
looking west and south, with tall windows, over lake 
and mountain. It is said that a man is never in love 
till he is in love with a plain woman, and in spite of 
draughts, of exhausting flights of stairs, of chimneys 
that are the despair of sweeps, it has held the affection 
of five generations of Martins. 


A dark limestone slab, over the dining-room 
chimney-piece, bears the coat of arms — *' a Calvary 
Cross, between the Sun in splendour on the dexter 
limb, and the Moon in crescent on the sinister of 
the second " — ^to quote the official description. The 
crest is a six-pointed star, and the motto, " Sic itur 
ad astra," connects with the single-minded simplicity 
of the Crusader, the Cross of our faith with the Star 
of our hope. In the book of pedigrees at Dublin 
Castle it is stated that the arms were given by Richard 
Cceur de Lion to Oliver Martin, in the Holy Land ; a 
further family tradition says that Oliver Martin 
shared Richard's captivity in Austria. The stone on 
which the arms are carved came originally from an old 
house in Galway ; it has the name of Robuck Martin 
below, and the date 1649 above. It is one of several 
now lying at Ross, resembling the lintels of doorways, 
and engraved with the arms of various Martins and 
their wives. 

The Protestantism of my grandfather, Robert, did 
not deter him from marrying a Roman Catholic, Miss 
Mary Ann Blakeney, of Bally Ellen, Co. Carlow, one 
of three beauties known in Carlow and Waterford as 
" The Three Marys." As in most of the acts of his 
prudent and long-headed life, he did not do wrong. 
Her four children were brought up as Protestants, 
but the rites of her Church were celebrated at Ross 
without let or hindrance ; my brother Robert could 
remember listening at the drawing-room door to the 
chanting of the Mass inside, and prayers were held 
daily by her for the servants, all of whom, then as 
now, were Roman Catholics. 

" Hadn't I the divil's own luck," groaned a stable- 
boy, stuffing his pipe into his pocket as the prayer-bell 
clanged, " that I didn't tell the Misthress I was a 
Protestant I " 


She lived till 1855, a hale, quiet, and singularly 
handsome woman, possessed of the fortunate gift of 
living in amity under the same roof with the many 
and various relations-in-law who regarded Ross as 
their home. Family feeling was almost a religious 
tenet with my grandfather, and in this, as in other 
things, he lived up to his theories. Shrewd and 
patient, and absolutely proficient in the affairs of his 
property, he could take a long look ahead, even when 
the Irish Famine lay like a black fog upon all things ; 
and when he gave up his management of the estate 
there was not a debt upon it. One of his sayings is 
so unexpected in a man of his time as to be worth 
repeating. " If a man kicks me I suppose I must take 
notice of that," he said when reminded of some fancied 
affront to himself, ** short of that, we needn't trouble 
ourselves about it." He had the family liking for a 
horse ; it is recorded that in a dealer's yard in Dublin 
he mounted a refractory animal, in his frock coat and 
tall hat, got him out of the yard, and took him round 
St. Stephen's Green at a gallop, through the traffic, 
laying into him with his umbrella. He was once, in 
Dublin, induced to go to an oratorio, and bore it for 
some time in silence, till the choir reiterated the theme, 
" Go forth, ye sons of Aaron ! Go ! " " Begad, here 
goes I " said my grandfather, rising and leaving the 

My father, James, was born in 1804, and grew up 
endowed, as many still testify, with good looks and 
the peculiarly genial and polished manner that seemed 
to be an attribute of the Galway gentlemen of his time. 
He had also a gift with his pen that was afterwards 
to serve him well, but the business capacity of his 
father was strangely absent from the character of an 
otherwise able man. He took his degree at Trinity 
College, Dublin, and was intended for the Bar, but 


almost before his dinners were eaten he was immersed 
in other affairs. He was but little over twenty when 
he married Miss Anne Higinbotham. It was a very 
happy marriage ; he and his wife, and the four 
daughters who were born to them, lived in his father's 
house at Ross, according to the patriarchal custom of 
the time, and my father abandoned the Bar, and lived 
then, as always, the healthy country life that he 
delighted in. He shot woodcock with the skill that 
was essential in the days of muzzle-loaders, and pulled 
a good oar in his father's boat at the regattas of 
Lough Corrib and Lough Mask, as various silver cups 
still testify. I remember seeing him, a straight and 
spare man, well on in his sixth decade, take a racing 
spin with my brothers on Ross Lake, and though his 
stroke was pronounced by the younger generation to 
be old-fashioned, and a trifle stiff, he held his own with 
them. Robert has often told me that when they 
walked the grouse mountains together, his father 
could, at the end of the day, face a hill better than he, 
with all his equipment of youth and athleticism. 

Among the silver cups at Ross was a two-handled 
one, that often fascinated our childhood, with the 
inscription : 


It was given to my father in memory of a duel in 
which he had acted as second, to Henry Adair, who 
was a kinsman of his first wife. 

My father's first wife had no son ; she died at the 
birth of a daughter, and her loss was deep and grievous 
to her husband. Her four daughters grew up, very 
good-looking and very agreeable, and were married 
when still in their teens. Their husbands all came 
from the County Antrim, and two of them were 


brothers. Barklie, Callwell, McCalmont, Barton, are 
well-known names in Ireland to-day, and beyond it, 
and the children of his four elder sisters are bound to 
my brother Robert's life by links of long intimacy 
and profound affection. 

The aim of the foregoing resumS of family history 
has been to put forward only such things as seem to 
have been determining in the environment and 
heritage to which Robert was born. The chivalrous 
past of Galway, the close intimacy with the people, 
the loyalty to family ties, were the traditions among 
which he was bred ; the Protestant instinct, and a 
tolerance for the sister religion, born of sympathy and 
personal respect, had preceded him for two generations, 
and a store of shrewd humour and common sense had 
been laid by in the family for the younger generation 
to profit by if they wished. 

My father was a widower of forty when he first met 
his second wife. Miss Anna Selina Fox, in Dublin. 
She was then two and twenty, a slender girl, of the 
type known in those days as elegant, and with a mind 
divided in allegiance between outdoor amusements and 
the Latin poets. Her father, Charles Fox, of New Park, 
Co. Longford, was a barrister, and was son of Justice 
Fox, of the Court of Common Pleas. He married 
Katherine, daughter of Chief Justice Bushe, and died 
while still a young man ; his children were brought 
up at Kilmurrey, the house of their mother's father. 

The career of the Right Honourable Charles Kendal 
Bushe, Chief Justice of Ireland, is a public one, and 
need not here be dwelt upon ; but even at this dis- 
tance of time it thrills the hearts of his descendants 
to remember his lofty indifference to every voice save 
those of conscience and patriotism, when, in the 
Irish House of Commons, he opposed the Act of Union 
with all the noble gift of language that won for him 


the name " Silver-tongued Bushe," and left the walls 
ringing with the reiterated entreaty, " I ask you, 
gentlemen, will you give up your country ! " 

His attitude then and afterwards cost him the 
peerage that would otherwise have been his ; but 
above the accident of distinction, and beyond all 
gainsaying, is the fact that in the list of influential 
Irishmen made before the Union, with their probable 
prices (as supporters of the Act) set over against 
them, the one word following the name of Charles 
Kendal Bushe is " Incorruptible.*' 

His private life rang true to his public utterances ; 
culture and charm, and a swift and delightful wit, 
made his memory a fetish to those who lived 
under his roof. My mother's early life moved as 
if to the music of a minuet. She learned Latin with 
a tutor, she studied the guitar, she sat in the 
old-fashioned drawing-room at Kilmurrey while " The 
Chief" read aloud Shakespeare, or the latest novel 
of Sir Walter Scott ; she wrote, at eight years old, 
verses of smooth and virtuous precocity ; at seven- 
teen she translated into creditable verse, in the 
metre beloved of Pope, a Latin poem by Lord 
Wellesley, the then Viceroy, and received from him 
a volume in which it was included, with an inscrip- 
tion no less stately than the binding. In her out- 
door life she was what, in those decorous days, was 
called a " Tomboy," and the physical courage of 
her youth remained her distinguishing characteristic 
through life. Like the lilies of the field, she toiled 
not, neither did she spin, yet I have never known a 
more feminine character. 

It was from her that her eldest son derived the 
highly strung temperament, the unconscious keenness 
of observation that was only stimulated by the short 
sight common to them both, the gift of rapid versify- 


ing, and a deftness and brilliance in epigram and 
repartee that came to both in lineal descent from 
" The Chief.'* An instance of Robert's quickness in 
retort occurs to me, and I will give it here. It happened 
that he was being examined in a land case connected 
with Ross. The solicitor for the other side objected 
to the evidence that he gave, as relating to affairs 
that occurred before he was born, and described it as 
" hearsay evidence." 

" Well, for the matter of that, the fact that I was 
born is one that I have only on hearsay evidence 1 '* 
said Robert unanswerably. 

My mother first met my father at the house of her 
uncle, Mr. Arthur Bushe, in Dublin. She met him 
again at a ball given by Kildare Street Club ; they 
had in common the love of the classics and the love 
of outdoor life ; his handsome face, his attractiveness, 
have been so often dwelt on by those who knew him at 
that time, that the mention of them here may be for- 
given. In March, 1844, they were married in Dublin, 
and a month later their carriage was met a couple of 
miles from Ross by the tenants, and was drawn home 
by them, while the bonfires blazed at the gates and at 
the hall door, and the bagpipes squealed their wel- 
come. Bringing with her a great deal of energy, both 
social and literary, a kicking pony, and a profound 
ignorance of household affairs, my mother entered 
upon her long career at Ross. That her sister-in-law, 
Marian Martin, held the reins of office was fortunate 
for all that composite establishment ; when, later on, 
my mother took them in her delicate, impatient hands, 
she held the strictly logical conviction that a sheep 
possessed four " legs of mutton," and she has shown 
me a rustic seat, hidden deep in laurels, where she was 
wont to hide when, as she said, " they came to look 
for me, to ask what was to be for the servants' dinner." 


For the first year of her married life tranquillity 
reigned in house and estate ; a daughter was born, 
and was accepted with fortitude by an establishment 
already well equipped in that respect. But a darker 
possibility than the want of an heir arose suddenly and 
engrossed all minds. 

In July, 1845, my father drove to the Assizes in 
Galway, twelve and a half English miles away, and 
as he drove he looked with a knowledgeable eye at the 
plots of potatoes lying thick and green on either side 
of the road, and thought that he had seldom seen a 
richer crop. He slept in Galway that night, and next 
day as he drove home the smell of the potato-blight 
was heavy in the air, a new and nauseous smell. It 
was the first breath of the Irish famine. The suc- 
ceeding months brought the catastrophe, somewhat 
limited in that first winter, a blow to startle, even to 
stun, but not a. death-stroke. Optimistically the 
people flung their thoughts forward to the next crop, 
and bore the pinch of the winter with spasmodic and 
mismanaged help from the Government, with help, 
lesser in degree, but more direct, from their land- 

In was in the following summer of stress and hope 
that my brother Robert was born, in Dublin, the first 
son in the Martin family for forty-two years, and the 
welcome accorded to him was what might have been 
expected. The doctor was kissed by every woman 
in the house, so he assured my brother many years 
afterwards, and, late at night as it was, my father went 
down to Kildare Street Club to find some friend to 
whom he could tell the news (and there is a touch of 
appropriateness in the fact that the Club, that for so 
many years was a home for Robert, had the first news 
of his birth). 

Radiant with her achievement my mother posted 


over the long roads to Ross, in the summer weather, 
with her precious first-born son, and the welcome of 
Ross was poured forth upon her. The workmen in the 
yard kissed the baby's hands, the old women came from 
the mountains to prophesy and to bless and to perform 
the dreadful rite of spitting upon the child, for luck. 
My father's mother, honourable as was her wont 
towards her husband's and son's religion, asked my 
mother if a little holy water might be sprinkled on the 

" If you heat it you may give him a bath in it ! " 
replied the baby's mother, with irrepressible light- 

It may be taken for granted that he received, as 
we all did, secret baptism at the hands of the priest. 
It was a kindly precaution taken by our foster mothers, 
who were, it is needless to say, Roman Catholics ; 
it gave them peace of mind in the matter of the foster 
children whom they worshipped, and my father and 
mother made no inquiries. Their Low Church training 
did not interfere with their common sense, nor did 
it blind them to the devotion that craved for the 

A month or two later the cold fear for the safety of 
the potatoes fell again upon the people ; the paralys- 
ing certainty followed. The green stalks blackened, 
the potatoes turned to black slime, and the avalanche 
of starvation, fever and death fell upon the country. 
It was in the winter of 1847, " the black '47," as they 
called it, when Robert was in his second year, that the 
horror was at its worst, and before hope had kindled 
again his ears must have known with their first under- 
standing the weak voice of hunger and the moan of 
illness among the despairing creatures who flocked 
for aid into the yard and the long downstairs passages 
of Ross. Many stories of that time remain among 


the old tenants ; of the corpses buried where they 
fell by the roadside, near Ross Gate ; of the coffins 
made of loose boards tied round with a hay rope. 
None, perhaps, is more pitiful than that of a woman 
who walked fifteen miles across a desolate moor, with 
a child in her arms and a child by her side, to get the 
relief that she heard was to be had at Ross. Before 
she reached the house the child in her arms was dead ; 
she carried it into the kitchen and sank on the flags. 
When my aunt spoke to her she found that she had 
gone mad ; reason had stopped in that whelming 
hour, like the watch of a drowned man. 

A soup-kitchen was established by my father and 
mother at one of the gates of Ross ; the cattle that the 
people could not feed were bought from them, and 
boiled down, and the gates were locked to keep back 
the crowd that pressed for the ration. Without rents, 
with poor rate at 22s. 6d. in the pound, the household 
of Ross staggered through the intimidating years, with 
the starving tenants hanging, as it were, upon its 
skirts, impossible to feed, impossible to see unfed. 
The rapid pens of my father and mother sent the story 
far ; some of the great tide of help that flowed into 
Ireland came to them ; the English Quakers loaded 
a ship with provisions and sent them to Galway Bay. 
Hunger was in some degree dealt with, but the Famine 
fever remained undefeated. My aunt, Marian Martin 
(afterwards Mrs. Arthur Bushe), caught it in a school 
that she had got together on the estate, where she 
herself taught little girls to read and write and knit, 
and kept them alive with breakfasts of oatmeal 
porridge. My aunt has told me how, as she lay in the 
blind trance of the fever, my grandfather, who believed 
implicitly in his own medical skill, opened a vein in 
her arm and bled her. The relief, according to her 
account, was instant and exquisite, and her recovery 


set in from that hour. She may have owed much to 
the determination of the Martins of that period that 
they would not be ill. My mother, herself a daring 
rebel against the thraldom of illness, used to say 
that at Ross no one was ill till they were dead, and no 
one was dead till they were buried. It was the 
Christian Science of a tough-grained generation. 

The little girls whom my aunt taught are old women 
now, courteous in manner, cultivated in speech, thanks 
to the education that was given them when National 
Schools were not. 

Our kinsman, Thomas Martin of Ballinahinch, fell 
a victim to the Famine fever, caught in the Court- 
house while discharging his duties as a magistrate. He 
was buried in Galway, forty miles by road from Ballina- 
hinch, and his funeral, followed by his tenants, was 
two hours in passing Ross Gate. In the words of 
A. M. Sullivan, " No adequate tribute has ever been 
paid to those Irish landlords — and they were men of 
every party and creed — who perished, martyrs to 
duty, in that awful time ; who did not fly the plague- 
reeking workhouse, or fever- tainted court." Amongst 
them he singled out for mention Mr. Martin of Ballina- 
hinch, and Mr. Nolan of Ballinderry (father of Colonel 
Nolan, M.P.), the latter of whom died of typhus caught 
in Tuam Workhouse. 

When Robert was three years old, the new seed 
potatoes began to resist the blight ; he was nearly 
seven before the victory was complete, and by that 
time the cards that he must play had already been 
dealt to him. 

Part II 

The Famine yielded like the ice of the Northern 
Seas ; it ran like melted snows in the veins of Ireland 
for many years afterwards. Landlords who had es- 



caped ruin at the time were more slowly ruined as 
time went on and the money borrowed in the hour 
of need exacted its toll ; Ross held its ground, with 
what stress its owners best knew. It was in those 
difficult years of Robert's boyhood, when yet more 
brothers and sisters continued to arrive rapidly, that 
his father began to write for the Press. He contri- 
buted leading articles to the Morning Herald, a London 
paper, now extinct ; he went to London and lived the 
life that the writing of leading articles entails, with its 
long waiting for the telegrams, and its small-hour 
suppers, and it told on the health of a man whose 
heart had been left behind him in the West. It tided 
over the evil time, it brought him into notice with the 
Conservative Party and the Irish Government, and 
probably gained for him subsequently his appointment 
of Poor Law Auditor. 

His style in writing is quite unlike that of his eldest 
son ; it is more rigid, less flowing ; the sentences are 
short and pointed, evidently modelled on the rhythmic 
hammer- stroke of Macaulay ; it has not the careless 
and sunshiny ease with which Robert achieved his 
best at the first attempt. That facility and versifi- 
cation that is akin to the gift of music, and, like it, is 
inborn, came from my mother, and came to him alone 
of his eight brothers and sisters ; in her letters to her 
children she dropped into doggerel verse without an 
effort, rhymes and metres were in her blood, and to 
the last year of her life she never failed to criticise 
occasional and quite insignificant roughnesses in her 
son's poems. Of her own polished and musical style 
one verse in illustration may be given. 

•' In the fond visions of the silent night, 

I dreamt thy love, thy long sought love, was won ; 
Was it a dream, that vision of delight — ? 

I woke ; 'twas but a dream, let me dream on ! " 


Robert was a nervous, warm-hearted boy, dark- 
eyed and romantic-looking ; the sensitive nature that 
expanded to affection was always his, and made him 
cling to those who were kind to him. The vigorous 
and outdoor life of Ross was the best tonic for such a 
nature, the large and healthful intimacy with lake and 
woods, bog and wild weather, and shooting and 
rowing, learned unconsciously from a father who de- 
lighted in them, and a mother who knew no fear for 
herself and had little for her children. Everything 
in those early days of his was large and vigorous ; 
tall trees to climb, great winds across the lake to 
wrestle with, strenuous and capable talk upstairs and 
downstairs, in front of furnaces of turf and logs, long 
drives, and the big Galway welcome at the end of them. 
One day was like another, yet no day was monotonous. 
Prayers followed breakfast, long prayers, beginning 
with the Psalms, of which each child read a verse in 
due order of seniority ; then First and Second Lessons, 
frequently a chapter from a religious treatise, finally 
a prayer, from a work named " The Tent and Altar," 
all read with excellent emphasis by the master of the 
house. In later years, after Robert had matriculated 
at Trinity College, I remember with what youthful 
austerity he read prayers at Ross, and with what awe 
we saw him reject "The Tent and Altar" and heard 
him recite from memory the Morning Prayers from the 
Church Service. He was at the same time deputed to 
teach Old Testament history to his brothers and 
sisters ; to this hour the Judges of Israel are pain- 
fully stamped on my brain, as is the tearful morning 
when the Bible was hurled at my inattentive head 
by the hand of the remorseless elder brother. 

Robert's early schoolroom work at Ross was got 
through with the ease that may be imagined by 
anyone who has known his quickness in assimilating 

c 2 


ideas and his cast-iron memory. As was the case 
with all the Ross children, the real interests of the 
day were with the workmen and the animals. The 
agreeability of the Galway peasant was enthralling ; 
even to a child ; the dogs were held in even higher 
esteem. Throughout Robert's life dogs knew him as 
their friend ; skilled in the lore of the affections, they 
recognised his gentle heart, and the devotion to him 
of his Gordon setter, Rose, is a thing to remember. 
Even of late years I have seen him hurry away when 
his sterner sisters thought it necessary to chastise an 
offending dog ; the suffering of others was almost too 
keenly understood by him. 

Reading aloud rounded off the close of those early 
days at Ross, Shakespeare and Walter Scott, Napier 
and Miss Edgeworth ; the foundation of literary cul- 
ture was well and truly laid, and laid with respect and 
enthusiasm, so that what the boy's mind did not 
grasp was stored up for his later understanding, 
among things to be venerated, and fine diction and 
choice phrase were imprinted upon an ear that was 
ever retentive of music. Everyone who remembers his 
childhood remembers him singing songs and playing 
the piano. His ear was singularly quick, and I think 
it was impossible for him to sing out of tune. He 
learned his notes in the schoolroom, but his musical 
education was dropped when he went to school, as is 
frequently the case ; throughout his life he accom- 
panied himself on the piano by ear, with ease, if with 
limitations ; simple as the accompaniments were, 
there was never a false note, and it seemed as if his 
hands fell on the right places without an effort. 

A strange feature in his early education and in the 
establishment at Ross was James Tucker, an ex-hedge 
schoolmaster, whose long face, blue shaven chin, 
shabby black clothes, and gift for poetry have passed 


inextricably into the annals of the household. He 
entered it first at the time of the Famine, ostensibly 
to give temporary help in the management and ac- 
counts of the school which my aunt Marian had 
started for the tenants' children ; he remained for 
many years, and filled many important posts. He 
taught us the three R's with rigour and perseverance, 
he wrote odes for our birthdays, he was controller-in- 
chief of the dairy ; later on, when my father received 
the appointment of Auditor of Poor Law, under the 
Local Government Board, Tucker filled in the blue 
" abstracts " of the Auditor's work in admirably 
neat columns. Robert's recital of the multiplication 
table was often interrupted by wails for " Misther 
Tucker " and the key of the dairy, from the kitchen- 
maid at the foot of the schoolroom stairs, and the 
interruption was freely cursed, in a vindictive whisper, 
by the schoolmaster. Tucker was slightly eccentric, 
a feature for which there was always toleration and 
room at Ross ; he entered largely into the schoolroom 
theatricals that sprang up as soon as Robert was old 
enough to whip up a company from the ranks of his 
brothers and sisters. The first of which there is any 
record is the tragedy of " Bluebeard," adapted by 
him at the age of eight. As the author did not feel 
equal to writing it down, it was taught to the actors 
by word of mouth, he himself taking the title role. 
The performance took place privately in the school- 
room, an apartment discreetly placed by the authori- 
ties in a wing known as " The Offices," beyond ken 
or call of the house proper. Tucker was stage manager, 
every servant in the house was commandeered as 
audience. The play met with much acceptance up 
to the point when Bluebeard dragged Fatima (a 
shrieking sister) round the room by her hair, be- 
labouring her with a wooden sword, amid the ecstatic 


yells of the spectators, but at this juncture the 
mistress of the house interrupted the revels with 
paralysing suddenness. She had in vain rung the 
drawing-room bell for tea, she had searched and found 
the house mysteriously silent and empty, till the 
plaudits of the rescue scene drew her to the school- 
room. Players and audience broke into rout, and 
Robert's first dramatic enterprise ended in disorder, 
and, if I mistake not, for the principals, untimely bed. 

It was some years afterwards, when Robert was at 
Trinity, that a similar effort on his part of missionary 
culture ended in a like disaster. He became filled 
with the idea of getting up a cricket team at Ross, 
and in a summer vacation he collected his eleven, 
taught them to hold a bat, and harangued them 
eloquently on the laws of the game. It was unfor- 
tunate that its rules became mixed up in the minds 
of the players with a game of their own, called " Burnt 
Ball," which closely resembles " Rounders," and is 
played with a large, soft ball. In the first day of 
cricket things progressed slowly, and the unconverted 
might have been forgiven for finding the entertain- 
ment a trifle dull. A batsman at length hit a ball 
and ran. It was fielded by cover-point, who, bored 
by long inaction, had waited impatiently for his chance. 
In the enthusiasm of at length getting something to 
do, the recently learned laws of cricket were swept 
from the mind of cover-point, and the rules of 
Burnt Ball instantly reasserted themselves. He 
hurled the ball at the batsman, shouting : "Go 
out I You're burnt ! " and smote him heavily on 
the head. 

The batsman went out, that is to say, he picked 
himself up and tottered from the fire zone, and 
neither then nor subsequently did cricket prosper at 


Then, and always, Robert shared his enthusiasm 
with others ; he gave himself to his surroundings, 
whether people or things, and, as afterwards, it was 
preferably people. He had the gift of living in the 
present and living every moment of it ; it might have 
been of him that Carlyle said, " Happy men live in 
the present, for its bounty suffices, and wise men too, 
for they know its value." 

Throughout Robert's school and college days 
theatricals, charades, and living pictures, written or 
arranged by him, continued to flourish at Ross. There 
remains in my memory a play, got up by him when 
he was about seventeen, in which he himself, despising 
the powers of his sisters, took the part of the heroine, 
with the invaluable Tucker as the lover. A tarletan 
dress was commandeered from the largest of the 
sisterhood, and in it, at the crisis of the play, he 
endeavoured to elope with Tucker over a clothes-horse, 
draped in a curtain. It was at this point that the 
tarletan dress, tried beyond its strength, split down 
the back from neck to waist ; the heroine flung her 
lover from her, and backed off the stage with her 
front turned firmly to the audience, and the elopement 
was deferred sine die. 

Those were light-hearted days, yet they were 
indelible in Robert's memory, and the strength and 
savour of the old Galway times were in them as in- 
extricably as the smell of the turf smoke and the bog 
myrtle. Nothing was conventional or stagnant, things 
were done on the spur of the moment, and with 
a total disregard for pomps and vanities, and everyone 
preferred good fun to a punctual dinner. Mingling 
with all were the poor people, with their cleverness, 
their good manners, and their unflagging spirits ; 
I can see before me the carpenter painting a boat by 
the old boat quay, and Robert sitting on a rock, and 


talking to him for long tracts of the hot afternoon. 
At another time one could see Robert holding, with 
the utmost zeal and discrimination, a court of arbi- 
tration in the coach-house for the settling of an in- 
tricate and vociferous dispute between two of the 

Life at Ross was of the traditional Irish kind, with 
many retainers at low wages, which works out as a 
costly establishment with nothing to show for it. 
A sheep a week and a cow a month were supplied 
by the farm, and assimilated by the household ; it 
seemed as if with the farm produce, the abundance 
of dairy cows, the packed turf house, the fallen timber 
ready to be cut up, the fruitful garden, the game and 
the trout, there should have been affluence. But 
after all these followed the Saturday night labour 
bill, and the fact remains, as many Irish landlords 
can testify, that these free fruits of the earth 
are heavily paid for, that convenience is mis- 
taken for economy, and that farming is, for the 
average gentleman, more of an occupation than an 

The Famine had left its legacy of debt and a lowered 
rental, and further hindrances to the financial success 
of farm and estate were the preoccupation of my 
father's life with his work as Auditor of Poor Law 
Unions, the enormous household waste that took 
toll of everything, and, last and most inveterate 
of all, my father's generous and soft - hearted 

One instance will give, in a few sentences, the re- 
lation between landlord and tenant, which, as it would 
seem, all recent legislation has sedulously schemed to 
destroy. I give it in the words of one of the tenants, 
widow of an eye-witness. 

" The widow A., down by the lake-side " (Lough 


Corrib — about three miles away), " was very poor one 
time, and she was a good while in arrears with her 
rent. The Master sent to her two or three times, 
and in the end he walked down himself after his 
breakfast, and he took Thady " (the steward) " with 
him. Well, when he went into the house, she was so 
proud to see him, and ' Your Honour is welcome ! ' 
says she, and she put a chair for him. He didn't sit 
down at all, but he was standing up there with his 
back to the dresser, and the children were sitting 
down one side the fire. The tears came from the 
Master's eyes ; Thady seen them fall down the cheek. 
* Say no more about the rent,' says the Master, to 
her, * you need say no more about it till I come to 
you again.' Well, it was the next winter the men 
were working in Gurthnamuckla, and Thady with 
them, and the Master came to the wall of the field and 
a letter in his hand, and he called Thady over to him. 
What had he to show him but the Widow A.'s rent 
that her brother in America sent her 1 " 

It will not happen again ; it belongs to an almost 
forgotten rSgimet that was capable of abuse, yet 
capable too of summoning forth the best impulses 
of Irish hearts. The end of that regime was not far 
away, and the beginning of the end was already on 
the horizon of Ross. 

My grandfather, whose peculiar capacity might once 
have saved the financial situation, had fallen into a 
species of second childhood. He died at Ross, and I 
remember the cold thrill of terror with which I heard 
him "keened" by an old tenant, a widow, who asked per- 
mission to see him as he lay dead. She went into 
the twilit room, and suddenly the tremendous and 
sustained wail went through the house, like the voice 
of the grave itself. 

It seemed as if Ross had borne a charmed life 


during the troubles of the later 'sixties. The Fenian 
rising of 1867 did not touch it ; the flicker of it was 
like sheet lightning in the Eastern sky, but the storm 
passed almost unheard. It had been so in previous 
risings ; Ross seemed to be geographically intended 
for peace. It is bounded on the east by the long 
waters of Lough Corrib, on the west by barren 
mountains, stretching to the Atlantic, on the north 
by the great silences of Connemara. Within these 
boundaries the mutual dependence of landlord and 
tenant remained unshaken ; it was a delicate relation, 
almost akin to matrimony, and like a happy marriage, 
it needed that both sides should be good fellows. The 
Disestablishment of the Irish Church came in 1869, 
a direct blow at Protestantism, and an equally direct 
tax upon landlords for the support of their Church, 
but of this revolution the tenants appeared to be 
unaware. In 1870 came Gladstone's Land Act, which 
by a system of fines shielded the tenant to a great 
extent from " capricious eviction." As evictions, 
capricious or otherwise, did not occur at Ross, this 
section of the Act was not of epoch-making importance 
there ; its other provision, by which tenants became 
proprietors of their own improvements, was also some- 
thing of a superfluity. It was 1872 that brought 
the first cold plunge into Irish politics of the new 

In February of that year Captain Trench, son of 
Lord Clancarty, contested one of the divisions of 
County Galway in the Conservative interest, his 
opponent being Captain Nolan, a Home Ruler. It 
went without saying that my father gave his support 
to the Conservative, who was also a Galway man, 
and the son of a friend. Up to that time it was a 
matter of course that the Ross tenants voted with 
their landlord. Captain Trench canvassed the Ross 


district, and there was no indication of what was 
about to happen, or if there were, my father did not 
beheve it. The polHng place for that part of the 
country was in Oughterard, about five miles away ; 
my father drove there on the election day, and on the 
hill above the town was met by a man who advised 
him to turn back. A troop of cavalry glittered in the 
main street and the crowd seethed about them. My 
father drove on and saw a company of infantry 
keeping the way for Mr. Arthur Guinness, afterwards 
Lord Ardilaun, as he convoyed to the poll a handful 
of his tenants from Ashford at the other side of Lough 
Corrib to vote for Captain Trench, he himself walking 
in front with the oldest of them on his arm. During 
that morning my father ranged through the crowd 
incredulously, asking for this or that tenant, unable 
to believe that they had deserted him. It was 
a futile search ; with a few valiant exceptions the Ross 
tenants, following the example of the rest of the 
constituency, voted according to the orders of their 
Church, and Captain Nolan was elected by a majority 
of four to one. It was a priest from another part of 
the diocese who gave forth the mandate, with an 
extraordinary fury of hatred against the landlord 
side ; one need not blame the sheep who passed in 
a frightened huddle from one fold to another. When 
my father came home that afternoon, even the 
youngest child of the house could see how great had 
been the blow. It was not the political defeat, severe 
as that was, it was the personal wound, and it was 
incurable. A petition against the result of the 
election brought about the famous trial in Galway, 
at which Judge Keogh, himself a Roman Catholic, 
denounced the priestly intimidation that was estab- 
lished in the mouths of many witnesses. The Ballot 
Act followed in June, but these things could not 


soothe the wounded spirit of the men who had trusted 
in their tenants. 

Startlingly, the death of a Galway landlord followed 
on the election. He was a Roman Catholic, and 
belonged to one of the oldest families in the county ; 
on his death-bed he desired that not one of his tenants 
should touch his coffin. It was not in that spirit that 
my father, a few weeks afterwards, faced the end. 
In March he caught cold on one of his many journeys 
of inspection ; he was taken ill at the Galway Club, 
and a slow pleurisy followed. He lay ill for a time 
in Galway, and the longing for home strengthened 
with every day. 

" If I could hear the cawing of the Ross crows I 
should get well," he said pitifully. 

He was brought home, but he was even then past 

Some scenes remain for ever on the memory. In 
the early afternoon of the 23rd of April, I looked down 
through the rails of the well-staircase, and saw Robert 
come upstairs to his father's room, his tall figure 
almost supported on the shoulder of one of the men. 
All was then over, and the last of the old order of the 
Landlords of Ross had gone, murmuring, 

" I am ready to meet Thee, Eternal Father I " 

Part III 

With the death of my father the curtain fell for 
ever on the old life at Ross, the stage darkened, and 
the keening of the tenants as they followed his coffin 
was the last music of the piece. 

Two or three months afterwards the house was 
empty. In the blaze of the June weather, the hall 
door, that had always stood open, was shut and barred, 
and, in the stillness, the rabbits ventured up to the 


broad limestone steps where once the talk of the house 
had centred in the summer evenings. For the first 
time in its history Ross House was empty ; my mother 
and her children had embarked upon life in Dublin, 
and Robert, like his father before him, had gone to 
London to write for the Press. 

For five or six years Robert lived in London. He 
belonged to the Arundel Club, where lived and moved 
the Bohemians of that day, the perfect and single- 
hearted Bohemians, who were, perhaps, survivals of 
the days of Richard Steele, and have now vanished, 
unable to exist in the shadeless glare of Borough 
Councils. Their literary power was unquestioned, 
the current of their talk was strong, with baffling swirl 
and eddy, and he who plunged in it must be a resource- 
ful and strong swimmer. Linked inseparably with 
those years of London life was my mother's cousin, 
W. G. Wills, the playwright, poet and painter, who 
in these early 'seventies had suddenly achieved cele- 
brity as a dramatist, with the tragedy of " Charles I." 
If a record could be discovered of the hierarchs of 
the Bohemians it would open of itself at the name 
of Willie Wills. Great gifts of play-writing and por- 
trait-painting rained upon him a reputation that he 
never troubled himself about ; he remained unalter- 
ably himself, and, clad in his long grey ulster, lived 
in his studio a life unfettered by the clock. Of his 
amazing menage, of the strange and starveling hangers- 
on that followed him as rooks follow the plough, to 
see what they could pick up, all who knew him had 
stories to tell. Of the luncheons at his studio, where 
the beefsteak came wrapped in newspaper, and the 
plates that were hopelessly dirty were thrown out of 
the window ; of the appointments written boldly on 
the wall and straightway forgotten ; the litter of 
canvases, the scraps of manuscript, and among and 


above these incidents, the tranquillity, the charm, the 
agreeability of Willie Wills.* 

Robert has found him and my mother lunching 
together gloriously on mutton chops, cooked by being 
flung into the heart of the fire. 

" Just one more, Nannie," said the dramatist, as 
Robert entered, spearing a blazing fragment and pre- 
senting it to his boon companion with a courtly 

In the old days at Ross, Willie Wills was a frequent 
guest, and held the children in thrall — as he could 
always ensnare and hold children — with his exquisite 
story-telling. Their natural guardians withdrew with 
confidence, as Willie began, with enormous gravity, the 
tale of " The Little Old Woman who lived in the Dark 
Wood, and had one long yellow Tooth," and, returning 
after an interval, heard that " at this momentous crisis 
seven dead men, in sacks, staggered into the room — ! " 
while, in the fateful pause that followed, the clamour 
of the children, " Go on, Willie Wills ! " would rise. 

Robert and Willie Wills were in many aspects of 
character and of gifts unlike, yet with some cousinly 
points in common. Both were cultivated and literary, 
yet seldom read a book ; both were sensitive to criti- 
cism, and even touchingly anxious for approval ; both 
were delightful companions in a tete-d-tete. Where 
sympathy is joined with imagination, and sense of 
humour with both, it is a combination hard to beat. 
Robert regarded routine respectfully, if from afar, 
and sincerely admired the efforts of those who en- 

* Robert has told me how, hearing from Willie Wills that " the 
money-market was tight," he went to proffer assistance. In 
Willie's studio he was about to light a cigarette with a half-burned 
''spill" of paper, when he became aware that the "spill" was a 
five-pound note, an unsuspected relic of more prosperous times, 
that had already been used for a like purpose. E. OE. S. 


deavoured to systematise his belongings. Willie Wills 
was superbly indifferent to surroundings, yet took a 
certain pride in new clothes. The real points of 
resemblance were in heart ; the chivalrous desire 
to help the weak, and the indelible filial instinct that 
glows in natures of the best sort, and marks un- 
failingly a good son as a good fellow through all the 
nations of the world. 

Throughout these London days Robert wrote for 
the Globe and other papers, chiefly paragraphs and 
light articles, that ran from his pen with the real 
enjoyment that he found in writing them at the last 
moment. He seemed to do better when working 
against time than when he had large days in hand and 
a well-ordered writing-table inviting his presence. 
He found these things thoroughly uninspiring, and 
facilities for correcting his work were odious to him. 
Proofs he never looked at ; he said he couldn't face 
them ; probably because of the critical power that 
underlay his facility. 

London with Robert in it was then, as ever, for 
Robert's family, a place with a different meaning 
— a place of theatre tickets, of luncheons, of news- 
paper news viewed from within, of politics and 
actors reduced to human personalities. It was a 
fixed rule that he should meet his female rela- 
tives on their arrival at Euston ; it is on record 
that he was once in time, but it is also recorded 
that on that occasion the train was forty minutes 
late. The hum of London seasons filled his brain ; 
London may be attractive or repellent, but it will 
be heard, and it made strong music for a nature 
that loved the stir of men and the encounter of minds. 
Four hundred miles away lay Ross in the whispering 
stillness of its summer woods, and the monotony of 
its winter winds, producing heavy bags of woodcock 


after its kind, while its master " shot folly as she flew," 
and found his game in the canards of Fleet Street and 
Westminster. It was inevitable as things stood, but 
in that alienation both missed much that lay in the 
power of each to give. 

It was while Robert was living in London that the 
resignation of Mr. Gladstone took place. Out of the 
ensuing general election in the spring of 1873 came 
Isaac Butt and his lieutenants, with a party of sixty 
Home Rulers behind them ; Ireland had sent them 
instead of the dozen or so of the previous Parliament, 
and it was said that Ireland had done it in the new- 
found shelter of the Ballot Act. Robert knew, as 
anyone brought up as he was must know, that for 
most of Ireland the Ballot Act could not be a shelter. 
The Gal way election of 1872 had shown to all in whose 
hands the great power of the franchise lay. One 
indefensible position had been replaced by another, 
feudal power by clerical, and only those who knew 
Robert well, understood how hard it hit him. He 
shot at Ross occasionally, he visited it now and then, 
and at every visit his perceptive nature was aware that 
a new spirit was abroad ; in spite of the genuine and 
traditional feeling of the people for their old allies, 
in spite of their good breeding, and their anxious desire 
to conceal the rift. The separation had begun, and 
only those who have experienced it will understand 
how strange, how wounding it is. 

It was not universal, and theoretical hostility strove 
always with the soft voice of memory. My father was 
still to all, " The Masther, the Lord have mercy on 
him " ; the Martins were still " The Family," who 
could do no wrong, whose defects, if such were ad- 
mitted, were revered. " The Martin family hadn't 
good sight," said a tenant, " but sure the people say 
that was a proof of their nobility." 


There is an incident of one of Robert's visits to 
Ross that is not too small to be worth recording. He 
had given his Gordon setter, Rose, to a friend who lived 
five miles away from Ross, and she had settled down 
with resignation to her new life. Trained in the lan- 
guage of the drawing-room, she may have heard it 
said that Robert was at Ross, or her deep and in- 
scrutable perceptions may have received a wave of 
warning of his nearness. Whatever it was that 
prompted her, the old dog made her way alone to 
Ross, and found her master there. 

In 1877 Robert turned his steps again to Dublin, 
and before the year was out he was living with his 
grandmother, and was immersed in the life, political, 
theatrical and social, of Dublin. 

My mother's mother, Mrs. Fox, was, as has been said, 
a daughter of Chief Justice Bushe, and was a notable 
member of a remarkable band of brothers and sisters. 
Strongly humorous, strongly affectionate, a doughty 
politician, original in every idea, and delightful in 
her prejudices ; a black letter authority on Shake- 
speare and Scott, a keen debater upon Carlyle, upon 
Miss Rhoda Broughton, upon all that was worth 
reading. I can see her declaiming " Henry IV " 
to Robert and his brethren, with irrepressible gestures 
of her hand, with a big voice for Falstaff, and a small 
voice for Mine Hostess, and an eye that raked the 
audience lest it should waver in attentiveness. Even 
as clearly can I see her, as, at a time of crisis, — it was, 
I think, after Gladstone's attack on Trinity College, — 
she sprang from her chair, and speechlessly wrung 
the hand of someone who had rushed into her dining- 
room, crying, 

" Gladstone has resigned ! " 

That was how she and her family took their politics. 

She loved Robert with a touching devotion, and I 



think those days in Herbert Street were deeply woven 
into his memory. It was a quiet street, with a long 
strip of grass and hawthorns, instead of houses, 
forming one side of it, part of the grounds of the 
convent that stood at the end. There the birds sang, 
and a little convent bell spelt out the Angelus with a 
friendly voice ; the old red-brick house, with its old 
furniture and its old china, the convent bell, with its 
reminder of cloistered calm, all made a suitable setting 
for the strictly ordered, cultured life of the old lady 
who bestowed on them their appropriateness. 

In the spring of '78 Robert was in the thick of 
amateur theatricals. He was never a first-rate actor, 
but he was a thoroughly reliable one ; he always knew 
his part, though none could say how or when he 
learned it, he could " gag " with confidence, and 
dropped on to his cue unerringly, and he had that 
liking for his audience that is the shortest cut to 
being on good terms with them. His gift in ready 
verse was not allowed to remain idle. He wrote 
prologues, he arranged singing quadrilles ; when the 
Sheridan Club had a guest whom it delighted to honour, 
it was Robert who wrote and recited the ode for the 
occasion ; an ode that never attempted too much, and 
just touched the core of the matter. 

With the close of the 'seventies came the burst 
into the open of the Irish Parliamentary Party, in 
full cry. Like hounds hunting confusedly in covert, 
they had, in the hands of Isaac Butt, kept up a certain 
amount of noise and excitement, keen, yet uncertain 
as to what game was on foot. From 1877 it was 
Parnell who carried the horn, a grim, disdainful 
Master, whose pack never dared to get closer to him 
than the length of his thong ; but he laid them on 
the line, and they ran it like wolves. 

Up to 1877 crops and prices were good, even re- 


markably so, and rents were paid. Following that 
year came, like successive blows on the same spot, 
three bad harvests that culminated in the disastrous 
season of 1879-80. It was in 1847 that the Famine 
broke the heart and the life of O'Connell ; it was the 
partial failure of the crop of '79 and '80 that created 
Parnell's opportunity — so masterful a factor has been 
the potato in the destinies of Irishmen. 

In 1879 the rents began to fail. The distress was 
not comparable to that of '47, but it brought about 
a revolution infinitely greater. At its close it left the 
Irish tenant practically owner of his land, with a rent 
fixed by Government, and the feudal link with the 
landlord was broken for ever. On the Ross estate a 
new agent had inaugurated a new policy, excellent 
in theory, abhorrent to those whom it concerned, the 
" striping " of many of the holdings, in order to give 
to each tenant an equal share of good and bad land. 
Anyone who knows the Irish tenant will immediately 
understand what it means to interfere with his land, 
and, above all things, to give to another tenant any 
part of it. It was done nevertheless. The long lines 
of stone wall ran symmetrically parallel over hill and 
pasture and bog, and the symmetry was hateful and 
the equality bitter to those most concerned. It is 
probable that the discontent sank in and prepared the 
way for the mischief that was coming. 

By the winter of 1879 the pinch had become severe. 
The tenants, by this time two or three years in arrear, 
did not meet their liabilities, and most landlords went 
without the greater part of their income. Robert, 
among many others, began to learn what it was to be 
deprived of the moderate income left to him after the 
charges on his estate were paid. He never again 
received any. 

Three Relief Funds in Dublin coped as best they 

D 2 


could with the distress of the Irish poor. One of 
them was worked with great enthusiasm and organ- 
ising power by the Duchess of Marlborough, and by 
every means known to a most capable leader of Society 
she lured from Society of all grades a ready *'rate in 
aid." Entertainments sprang up — theatricals, bazaars, 
concerts — that helped the Fund and at the same time 
put heart into the flagging Dublin season, and Robert 
was in the thick of charitable endeavour. His first 
Irish song, the leader of a long line that culminated 
later in " Ballyhooly," was written at about this 
time, " The Vagrants of Erin," a swinging tune, that 
marched to words National enough for any party. 

" Give me your hand, if owld Ireland's the land 
From which you may chance to be farin'," 

it began, with all its author's geniality, and the Irish 
audience responded to its first chords with drowning 
applause. Once, as he sang it, accompanying himself, 
and swinging with the tune, the music stool began to 
sway in ominous accord. " First it bent, and syne 
it brake," and Robert staggered to his feet, but just 
in time. 

" This is a pantomime song, with a breakdown in 
it ! " he said, while the head of the stool rolled from 
its broken stalk and trundled down the stage. 

He had the gift of making friends with his audience ; 
as he came on to the platform to sing, his air of enjoy- 
ment, his friendly eyes, even his single eyeglass, had 
already done half the business. He took them, as it 
were, to his bosom, and whatever might be their grade, 
he did his best for them. In spite of the liberties he 
took with time, words and tune, he was singularly 
easy to accompany, for anyone acquainted with his 
methods and prepared to cast himself (it was generally 
herself) adrift with him, and trust to ear instead of 


to book. However far afield Robert might range, 
whatever stories he told, he would surely drop back 
into the key and the words, like a wild duck into the 
water, with a just sufficient hint to the waiting 
coadjutor that his circling flight was ending. His 
topical songs of those early 'eighties have died, as all 
of their kind must die. He wrote down nothing, the 
occasion is forgotten, and the brain in which they had 
their being has passed from us. One or two points 
and hits remain with me. In the year that Shotover 
won the Oaks, a commemorating verse ended : 

" Of course she was Shot over, 
She'd a Cannon on her back ! " 

In one of the songs, the explanation of the failure 
of the ships Alert and Discovery to reach the North 
Pole was that " those on the Discovery were not on 
the Alert." 

In spite of the thunderous political background of 
the early 'eighties, in spite of the empty pockets of 
those dependent on Irish rents, in spite of the crime 
that drew forth the Crimes Act, the fun and the spirit 
were inextinguishable in Dublin. 

But the political background was growing blacker, 
and the thunder more loud. Gladstone's Land Act 
of 1881 had not pacified Ireland, even though it made 
the tenant practically owner of his land, even though 
the rents were fixed by Government officials, whose 
mission was to coax sedition to complacence, if not to 
loyalty. Ireland was falling into chaos. Arrears of 
rent. Relief Committees, No Rent manifestoes. Plan 
of Campaign evictions. Funds for Distressed Irish 
Ladies, outrages, boycotting, and Parnell stirring the 
" Seething Pot " with a steady hand, while his sub- 
ordinates stoked the fire. Boycotting was responded 
to by the Property Defence Association, and in 1882 


Robert went forth under its auspices as an " Emer- 
gency man." His business was to visit the boycotted 
landlords and farmers and to supply them with men — 
from the North, for the most part — to do the farm 
work. Those who do not know Ireland, and for whom 
the word boycotting has no personal associations, can 
hardly realise what that dark time meant to its 
victims. The owners of boycotted lands, unable to 
get food or necessaries of any kind from the local 
tradespeople, imported supplies from England and 
the North, and opened stores in their stable yards 
for such of the faithful as stood firm. Ladies, totally 
unaccustomed to outdoor labour, saved crops and 
herded cattle, matters that in themselves might have 
been found interesting, if arduous, but the terror was 
over all, and in face of bitter antagonism the task 
was too great. 

It was at this work that Robert knew, for the first 
time, what it was to have every man's hand against 
him, to meet the stare of hatred, the jeer, and the side- 
long curse ; to face endless drives on outside cars, with 
his revolver in his hand ; to plan the uphill tussle with 
boycotted crops, and cattle for which a market could 
scarcely be found ; to know the imminence of death, 
when, by accidentally choosing one of two roads, he 
evaded the man with a gun who had gone out to wait 
for him. It taught him much of difficult men and 
of tangled politics, he learned how to make the best 
of a bad business, and how to fight in a corner ; it 
made him a proficient in Irish affairs, and it added to 
his opinions a seriousness based on strong and moving 

Gladstone had faced a dangerous Ireland with 
concession in one hand and coercion in the other, 
and however either may go in single harness, there is 
no doubt that they cannot with success be driven as 


a pair. There followed the Maamtrasna murders, the 
extermination of the Huddy family, the assassination 
in Phoenix Park of Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr. 
Burke, the attempted assassination of Judge Lawson 
opposite Kildare Street Club. When Robert was 
entering into the deep places of his last illness, he 
spoke with all his wonted grasp of details of those 
webs of conspiracy. Tradesmen who came from 
Dublin to work in Kylemore Castle (then the property 
of Mr. Mitchell Henry) infected the mind of Northern 
Connemara with the idea that assassination was a 
fitting expression of political opinion. The murders 
of the Maamtrasna district followed. The stately 
mountains beheld the struggle and the slaughter, and 
the sweet waters of Lough Mask closed upon the 

Month by month the net of conspiracy was woven, 
and life was the prize played for in wonderful silence 
and darkness, and murder was achieved like a victory 
at chess. We know how the victories were paid for. 
I do not forget the face of Timothy Kelly, as he stood 
in the dock and was tried for participation in the 
Phoenix Park murders. There is a pallor of fear that 
is remembered when once seen, and to see that sick 
and desperate paleness on the face of a boy of seven- 
teen is to feel for ever the mystery and enormity of 
his crime, and the equal immensity of the punishment. 
Unforgettable, too, is the moment when his mother 
took her seat in the witness chair to support the alibi 
put forward on his behalf, and looked her boy in his 
white and stricken face, white and stricken as he. Yet 
she did not waver, and gave her evidence quietly and 

A phrase or two from the speech for the defence has 
fixed itself in the memory. 

" Take the scales of Justice," said the Counsel, 


with a wide gesture of appeal towards the jury ; " lift 
them far above the reach of passion and prejudice, 
into those serener regions above where Justice herself 
reigns supreme " 

Death brooded palpably over the brown and grey 
Court, and held the tense faces of all in his thrall, and 
weighted every syllable of the speeches. Never was 
the irrelevancy of murder as a political weapon made 
more clear, and the fearful appropriateness of capital 
punishment seemed clear too, mystery requited with 

When we came into the Court we were told that the 
jury would disagree, there being at least one " In- 
vincible " on the list, and it was so. But with the 
next trial the end was reached, and the trapped 
creature in the dock, with the men who were his 
confederates, went down into the oblivion into which 
they had thrust their prey. 

Many years ago a mission priest delivered a sermon 
in Irish in the bare white chapel that stands high on 
a hill above Ross Lake. I remember one sentence, 
translated for me by one of the congregation. 

" Oh black seas of Eternity, without height or 
depth, bay, brink, or shore ! How can anyone look into 
your depths and neglect the salvation of his soul ! " ^ 

It expresses all that need now be remembered of 
the Phoenix Park murders. 

' This sentence was subsequently introduced in the article " At 
the River's Edge," by Martin Ross, The Englishwoman's Review. 


It is a commonplace, even amounting to a bromide, 
to speak of the breadth, the depth, and the length 
of the ties of Irish kinship. In Ireland it is not so 
much Love that hath us in the net as Relationship. 
Pedigree takes precedence even of politics, and in all 
affairs that matter it governs unquestioned. It is 
sufficient to say that the candidate for any post, 
in any walk of life — is " a cousin of me own, by the 
Father " — "a sort of a relation o' mine, by the 
Mother " — and support of the unfittest is condoned, 
even justified. 

I am uncertain if the practice of deifying a relation- 
ship by the employment of the definite article is 
peculiar to Munster, or even to Ireland. " The faw- 
ther," " the a'nt." He who speaks to me of my 
father as " The Fawther," implies a sort of humorous 
intimacy, a respect just tinged with facetiousness, 
that is quite lacking in the severe directness of " your 

There was once a high magnate of a self-satisfied 
provincial town (its identity is negligible). An ex- 
hibition was presently to be held there, and it chanced 
that a visit from Royalty occurred shortly before the 
completion of the arrangements. It also chanced 
that a possible visit to Ireland of a still greater 


Personage impended — (this was several years ago). 
The lesser Royalty partook of lunch with the magnate, 
and the latter broached the question of a State opening 
of the exhibition by the august visitor to be. 

" When ye go back to London, now," he beguiled, 
" coax the Brother ! " 

How winning is the method of address ! It has in 
it something of the insidious coquetry of the little 
dog who skips, in affected artlessness, uninvited, upon 
your knee. 

I have strayed from my text, which was the potency 
of the net of relationship. Being Irish, I have to 
acknowledge its spell, and I think it is indisputable 
that a thread, however slender, of kinship adds a 
force to friendship. 

Martin's mother and mine were first cousins, grand- 
daughters of Chief Justice Charles Kendal Bushe, and 
of his wife, Anne Crampton. I have heard my mother 
assert that she had seventy first cousins, all grand- 
children of " The Chief," but I think there was a touch 
of fancy about this. There is something sounding 
and sumptuous about the number seventy, and some 
remembrance of Ahab and his seventy relatives may 
have been in it. In her memoir of her brother Robert, 
Martin has given some suggestion of the remarkable 
charm and influence of these great-grandparents of 
ours. The adoration that both of them inspired 
distils like a perfume from every record of them. 
They seem to have obliterated all their rival grand- 
fathers and grandmothers. One reflects that each of 
the seventy first cousins must have possessed four 
grandparents, yet, in the radiance of this couple, the 
alternative grandpapas and grandmammas appear to 
have been, in the regard of their grandchildren, no 
more than shadows. 

They lived in a strangely interesting time, the time 

''THE CHIEF'' 43 

of the Union, when there was room in the upper classes 
for each individual to be known to each, and the pro- 
portion of those that governed, and those that were 
governed, was as the players in an international 
cricket match to the lookers-on ; and it is not too much 
to boast that, out of a very brilliant team, there 
was no better innings played than that of Charles 
Kendal Bushe. When, as in " the '98," the lookers-on 
attempted to join in the game, the result exemplified 
their incapacity and the advantages of the existing 

Martin had been given by her mother a boxful of 
old family letters ; one of those pathetic collections 
of letters that no one either wants, or looks at, or 
feels justified in burning. I know not for how many 
years they had been hidden away. We had talked, 
every now and then, of examining them, but the 
examination had been postponed for a more conve- 
nient season that never came. Now life is emptier, 
and time seems of less value ; I have read them all, 
and I think that some extracts from them will not 
come amiss among these memories. 

It would require a sounder historian than I, and one 
who had specialised in Irish affairs of the latter years 
of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth 
centuries, to deal adequately with these old papers. 
The Chief Justice and his wife lived intensely, in the 
very heart of the most intense time, probably, that 
Ireland has ever known. They knew all the rebel 
leaders, Wolfe Tone, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, and the 
rest of the splendid romantics who fought and died, 
and lit with the white flame of devotion one page at 
least of Ireland's history. The names of Plunket, 
Grattan, Saurin, later, O' Council, and others less well 
known, are found in many of these letters, and there are 
valentines from "Jemmy Saurin," apostrophising" the 


blue eyes of Kitty " (one of the Chief's daughters, and 
grandmother of " Martin Ross ") ; genuine, perhaps, 
but more probably faked by the young lady's heartless 
relatives ; anagrams upon the name of Charles Kendal 
Bushe, and an epigram, written by C. K. B. himself, 
which has a very charming deftness, and shall be 
transcribed here. 

To Chloe 
{To accompany the gift of a watch) 

Among our fashionable Bands, 

No wonder Time should love to linger, 

Allowed to place his two riide hands 
Where others dare not lay a finger. 

The more I investigate the contents of the old letter 
box the more fascinating they prove themselves to be. 

I must, at all events, endeavour to refrain from 
irrelevant quotation — (even regretfully omitting " The 
cure for Ellen P.'s spots. Kate writes me word her 
face is now as clear as chrystal ") — and will try to 
deal only with such of the contents of the box as 
come legitimately within my scope. 

The Chief's letters cover a wide period, from about 
1795 (a couple of years after his marriage) to 1837. 
One does not, perhaps, find in them the brilliance that 
is associated with his name in public life and in general 
society. Those from which I have made extracts 
were written to his wife. Deeply woven in them is 
the devotion to her that was the mainspring of his 
life, and in works of devotion one need not expect to 
find epigram.^ 

In one of them, written in 1807, he writes from 
Dublin, to her, in the country, telling her of " an 
unfortunate business " in which he, " without any 
personal ill-will to anyone," " found it his duty to 

1 In these, and all the following letters, I have left the spelling, 
punctuation, etc., unchanged. 

''THE CHIEF" 45 

take a part." He deplores that " among the Members 
of the Bar coldness and jealousy prevail, where there 
had been the utmost harmony and unanimity." *' It 
is not in my nature to like such a state of things," he 
says, and, I believe, says truly, " and when I am alone 
my spirits are affected by it in a way that I wou'd not 
for the World confess to anyone but you. I am told 
that I am libell'd in the newspapers, which I dont 
know for I have not read them, and which I wou'd not 
care about, from the same motives that have so often, 
to your knowledge, made me indifferent about being 
prais'd in them. . . . You remember on a former 
trying occasion how I acted and I can never forget 
the heroism with which you supported me and en- 
courag'd me in a conduct which was apparently 
ruinous in its consequences to yourself and our darling 
Babies. Ever since you left this, my mind has been 
agitated in the way I have described to you. I am 
seven years older and my nerves twenty years older 
than at the period of the Union. Judge, then, the 
delight I feel at the prospect of seeing again so soon, 
the bosom friend dearer than all, the only person upon 
whose heart I can repose my own when weary — I 
judge of it by the pleasure I feel in thus unburthening 
myself to you, and in the consciousness that the very 
writing of this letter has given me the only warm, 
comfortable and confidential glow of heart which I 
have felt since you left me. Adieu beloved Nan — 
Pray burn this immediately " (twice underlined) " and 
let no human being learn anything of those thoughts 
which to you alone I wou'd communicate. Ever 
yours C. K. B." 

It is a hundred and more years since this injunction 
was written. The paper is stained and brittle, and I 
think that perhaps a tear, perhaps also a kiss or two, 
have contributed a little to the staining. But though 


she disobeyed him I beHeve he has forgiven her. I 
hope he will also forgive a great-granddaughter who 
has chanced upon this record of a disobedience that 
few could blame and that any lover would extol. 

Long afterwards the same thought came in nearly 
the same words to another Irishman, the poet, George 
Darley, and he wrote those lines that have in them 
the same note of whispered tenderness that still 
breathes from the discoloured page of the letter that 
should have been burned a hundred years ago. 

" One in whose gentle bosom I 

Can pour my inmost heart of woes, 
Like the care-burthened honey-fly 
That hides his murmurs in the rose." 

I have said that it was an interesting time to be 
alive in, this junction of the eighteenth and nineteenth 
centuries. That the Chief's sympathies were, as I 
have already mentioned, with the men on the losing 
side is very well known. In one of the early letters 
to his wife, he speaks of having had " a very prosperous 
circuit," and says his business was " pretty general, 
not confin'd to friends or United Irishmen, tho these 
latter have been no bad friends to me either." He 
did not defend their methods, but he stood by his 
friends, and to the end of his life he stood by his 

In a letter written by Mrs. Bushe to their son Charles, 
at Castlehaven, after the death of the Chief (that is 
to say, forty-three years, at least, after the Act of 
Union), she speaks of the chaotic state of the country, 
and the ruin caused by the arbitrary and ill-considered 
enforcement of the recent Poor Law legislation. 
" Useless however to complain. England has the 
might which supersedes the right, and we are punished 
now for our own folly in consenting to the Union ! 

^'THE CHIEF'' 47 

Just what your Father predicted — * when Ireland 
gives up the rights that she has, what right has she 
then to complain ? ' — How true this little squib of 

the poor dear C " (Chief). " Happy for him he did 

not live to see the ruin he predicted ! " 

The following account of a visit to Edgeworths- 
town forms part of a letter, written at Omagh and dated 
Monday, August 16th, 1810. It is from Chief Justice 
Bushe to his wife ; the beginning portion of the letter 
is printed in the Appendix I. (page 332). 

" I am not surpriz'd that you ask about Edge worths- 
town, and I can only tell you that every thing which 
Smyly has often said to us in praise of it is true and 
unexaggerated. Society in that house is certainly 
on the best plan I have ever met with. Edgeworth 
is a very clever fellow of much talent, and tho not 
deeply inform' d on any subject, is highly (which is 
consistent with being superficially) so in all. He talks 
a great deal and very pleasantly and loves to exhibit 
and perhaps obtrude what he wou'd be so justifiably 
vain of (his daughter and her works) if you did not 
trace that pride to his predominant Egotism, and see 
that he admires her because she is his child, and her 
works because they are his Grand Children. Mrs. 
Edgeworth is uncommonly agreeable and has been 
and not long ago very pretty. She is a perfect Scholar, 
and at the same time a good Mother and housewife. 
She is an excellent painter, like yourself, and like you 
has been oblig'd by producing Originals to give up 
Copying : She is you know a 5th or 6th Wife and her 
last child was his 22d. Two Miss Sneyds, amiable 
old maids, live with him. They are sisters of one of 
his wives, a beautiful and celebrated Honoria Sneyd, 
mention'd in Miss Seward's Monody on Major Andre 
and known by her misfortune in having been betroth'd 
to that poor fellow. They are Litchfield people of 


the old literary set of the Garricks Dr. Johnson Miss 
Seward &c &c. There are many young Edgeworths 
male and female all of promise and talent and all living 
round the same table with this set among whom I 
have not yet mentioned Miss Edgeworth, because I 
consider you as already knowing her from her works. 
In such a Society you may suppose Conversation must 
be good, but I was not prepared to find it so easy. It 
is the only set of the kind I ever met with in which 
you are neither led nor driven, but actually fall, and 
that imperceptibly, into literary topics, and I 
attribute it to this that in that house literature is 
not a treat for Company upon Invitation days, but is 
actually the daily bread of the family. Miss Edge- 
worth is for nothing more remarkable than for the 
total absence of vanity. She seems to have studied 
her father's foibles for two purposes, to avoid them 
and never to appear to see them, and what does not 
always happen, her want of affectation is unaffected. 
She is as well bred and as well dress 'd and as easy 
and as much like other people as if she was not a 
celebrated author. No pretensions, not a bit of blue 
stocking is to be discover'd. In the Conversation she 
neither advances or keeps back, but mixes naturally 
and cheerfully in it, and tho in the number of words 
she says less than anyone yet the excellence of her 
remarks and the unpremeditated point which she 
gives them makes you recollect her to have talk'd 
more than others. I was struck by a little felicity 
of hers the night I was there. Shakespear was talk'd 
of as he always is, and I mentioned what you have 
lately heard me speak of as a literary discovery and 
curiosity, that he has borrow' d the Character of 
Cardinal Wolsey from Campion, the old Chronicler 
of Ireland. This was new to them and Edgeworth 
began one of his rattles — 

"TZTjE CHIEF'' 49 

" * Well Sir, and has the minute, and the laborious, 
and the indefatigable, and the prying, and the in- 
vestigating Malone found this out ? ' 

" Miss Edge worth said, almost under her breath, 

" ' It was too large for him to see ! ' 

" Is not that good Epigram ? I think it is. Edge- 
worth gave her the advantage of taking her into 
France with his Wife and others of his family during 
the short peace, and they were persons to improve 
such an opportunity. Miss Edgeworth's Madame 
Fleury, in the Fashionable Tales is form'd on a true 
story which she learn'd there. You will think this no 
description unless you know what her figure is, and 
face &c. &c. I think her very good looking and can 
suppose that she was once pretty. Imagine Miss 
Wilmot at about 43 years old for such I suppose Miss 
E. to be, with all the Intelligence of her Countenance 
perhaps encreas'd and the Sensibility preserv'd but 
somewhat reduc'd, the figure very smart and neat 
as it must be if like Miss W's but some of its beautiful 
redundancies retir'd upon a peace Establishment. 

" Such is Miss Edge worth but take her for all in all, 
there is nothing like her to be seen, or rather to be 
known, for it is impossible to be an hour in her 
Company without recognizing her Talent, benevolence 
and worth. 

" An interesting anecdote occurs to me that Edge- 
worth told us and forc'd her to produce the proof of. 

" Old Johnson of St. Paul's Churchyard London has 
always been her bookseller and purchased her Works at 
first experimentally and latterly liberally. He died 
a few months ago and rather suddenly and a few hours 
before his death he sent for his nephew to whom he 
bequeath'd his property and who succeeded him in his 
business and told him that he felt he had done Miss 
E. injustice in only giving her £450 for Fashionable 


Tales and desir'd him to give her £450 more. He died 
that day and the next the Nephew sent her an account 
of the Transaction and the £450. This story only 
requires to be told by Miss E. I read the original 

" Adieu beloved Nan. I have scribbled very much 
but since I left town I have no other opportunity of 
chatting to you. 

" Ever your 

C. K. B." 



There is a portrait of Mrs. Bushe that is now in 
the possession of one of her many great-grandchildren, 
Sir Egerton Coghill. It is a small picture, in pastel, 
very delightful in technique, and the subject is worthy 
of the technique. Nancy Crampton was her name, 
and the picture was probably done at the time of her 
marriage, in 1793, and is a record of the excellent 
judgment of the future Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. 

It would be hard to find a more charming face. 
From below a cloud of brown curls, deep and steady 
blue eyes look straight into yours from under level 
brows. The extreme intellectuality of the expression 
does not master its sweetness. In looking at the pic- 
ture the lines come back — 

" One in whose gentle bosom I 

Can pour my inmost heart of woes." 

No wonder that in the troublous days of the Union, 
when bribes and threats assailed the young barrister 
who was already a power in the land, no wonder 
indeed that he often, as he says in one of his letters, 
" heav'd a sigh, and thought of Nancy," and knew 
" with delight " that on her heart he could repose his 
own when weary. 

Here, I think, may fitly be given some lines that 

E 2 


the Chief wrote, when he was an old man, to accom- 
pany the gift to his wife of a white fur tippet. 

To A Tippet. 

Soon as thy milk-white folds are prest 
Like Wreaths of Snow about her breast. 
Oh guard that precious heart from harm 
Like thee *t is pure, like thee 't is warm. 

Love and wit are immortal, we know, but the spirit 
is rare that can inspire them after nearly fifty years 
of married life ; yet rarer, perhaps, the young heart 
that can persuade them still to dwell with it and to 
overlook the silver head. 

I grieve that I have been unable to find any of Mrs. 
Bushe's earlier letters. She was a brilliant creature 
in all ways, and had a rare and enchanting gift as an 
artist, which, even in those days, when young ladies 
of quality were immured inexorably within the padded 
cell of the amateur, could scarce have failed to make 
its mark, had she not, as the Chief, with marital com- 
placency, observed, devoted herself to " making 
originals instead of copies.'* 

In her time there were few women who gave even 
a moment's thought to the possibilities of individual 
life as an artist, however aware they might be — must 
have been — of the gifts they possessed. I daresay 
that my great-grandmother was well satisfied enough 
with what life had brought her — " honour, love, 
obedience, troops of friends." In one of her letters, 
written when she was a very old woman, she writes 
gaily of the hateful limitations of old age, and says : 

" When people will live beyond their time such 
things must be, and I have a right to be thankful 
that old Time has put on his Slippers, and does not 
ride roughshod over me." 

(Which shows, I think, that marriage had subdued 


the artist in her, and had, in compensation, evoked 
the philosopher.) 

It is clear, from the last letter in the preceding 
chapter, that Miss Edgeworth and Mrs. Bushe had not 
met before 1810. How soon afterwards they met, 
and the friendship, that lasted for the rest of their 
lives, began, I cannot ascertain. In one of Miss Edge- 
worth's letters (quoted in one of the many volumes 
that have been written about her) she says : 

" Having named Mrs. Bushe, I must mention that 
whenever I meet her she is my delight and admiration, 
from her wit, humour, and variety of conversation." 

Among the contents of the letter-box that Martin 
gave me are several letters from Miss Edgeworth, and 
they testify to the fact that she lost no time in falling 
in love with her " very dear Mrs. Bushe." 

I recognise, gratefully, how highly I am privileged 
in being permitted to include in my book these letters 
from the brilliant pioneer of Irish novelists. To the 
readers and lovers of, for example, " Castle Rackrent," 
they may seem a trifle disappointing in their sub- 
mission to the conventions of their period, a period 
that decreed a mincing and fettered mode for its lady 
letter- writers, and rigorously exacted from its females 
the suitable simper. 

The writing is pale, prim, and pointed, undeniably 
suggestive of prunes, and prisms, and papa (that 
inveterate papa of Maria's) ; yet, in spite of the fetters 
of convention, the light step is felt, and although 
the manner may mince, it cannot conceal the humour, 
the spirit, and the charm of disposition. 

Miss Edgeworth was born in the same year as Chief 
Justice Bushe, and died six years later than he, in 
1849. Her friendship with Mrs. Bushe remained 
unbroken to the last, and their mutual admiration 
continued unshaken. In such of Miss Edgeworth's 


letters to my great-grandmother as I have seen, she 
speaks but little of literary work. One of the later 
letters, however (dated 1827), accompanied a present 
of one of her books ; the date would make it appear 
that this was one of the sequels to " Early Lessons " 
— (in which the unfortunate Rosamond is victimised 
by the dastardly fraud of the Purple Jar, and Harry 
gets no breakfast until he has made his bed, although 
the fact that his sole ablutions consist in washing 
his hands is in no way imputed to him as sin. But 
this, also, is of the period). 

Miss Maria Edgeworth to Mrs. Bushe. 
" Edgeworth's Town 

" July 12. 1827. 

" How can I venture to send such an insignificant 
little child's book to Mrs. Bushe ? — Because I know 
she loves me and will think the smallest offering from 
me a mark of kindness — of confidence in her indul- 
gence and partiality. 

" My sister Harriet has given me great pleasure by 
writing me word how kindly you speak of me, dear Mrs. 
Bushe, and as I know your sincerity, to speak and to 
think kindly with you are one and the same. Believe 
me I have the honour to be like you in this. In every 
thing that has affected you since we parted (that has 
come to my knowledge) I have keenly sympathised — 
Oh that we could meet again. I am sure our minds 
would open and join immediately. After all there is 
no greater mistake in life than counting happiness by 
pounds shillings and pence — You and I have never 
done this I believe — We ought to meet again. 
Cannot you contrive it ? 

" I am glad at least that my sister Harriet has the 
pleasure which I have not. Your penetration will 
soon discover all my father's heart and all his talents 


in her. Remember me most respectfully and most 
affectionately to the Chief Justice and believe me 
" Most truly your 

" Affectionate friend 

" Maria Edgeworth. 

" Harriet did not know this little vol was published 
or that I intended publishing it when you spoke to 

" I had amused myself with the assistance of a 
confederate sister at home in getting them printed 
without her knowing it for the Wise pleasure of sur- 
prising her as she had always said I could not print 
anything without her knowledge — These little wee 
wee plays were written ages ago in my age of happiness 
for birthday diversions and Harriet added the cross 
Prissy 16 years ago ! " 

Miss Maria Edgeworth to Mrs. Bushe 
Kilmurrey, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny. 

" Edgeworth' s Town 

" June 18th 1815. 

" My very dear Mrs. Bushe, 

" This letter is dictated by my father as you might 
guess by the bold appellation with which I have begun. 
He projects a migration southward this ensuing month 
— ^towards Cork where Mrs. Edgeworth's brother is 
fatly and fitly provided for in the Church. In his 
route my father glances sideways to the real pleasure 
of having an opportunity of seeing you free from all 
the shackles of high station and high fashion, in the 
retirement which your wise husband prefers to both. 
Tell us when he will be at home and when at home 
whether it will be convenient (we are vain to think it 
would be agreeable you perceive) to receive us for a 
day and a night. There will be three of us, papa, 


mama and self. Though we were Foxites we cannot 
sleep ' three in a hed.^ As the circuit will probably 
engage the Sol. gen ^ for some time to come our pros- 
pect looks to the period when he may return. 

" So far from my father — now of him. This day he 
is much better and we are all in high spirits. And 
he will not let me add one word more. 
" Dear Mrs. Bushe, 

" Affectionately yours 

" Maria Edge worth." 

" From Miss Maria Edgeworth 

TO Mrs. Bushe, Kilmurrey, Thomastown, 
Co. Kilkenny 

" Edgeworth's Town 

Augt. 2Qth 1832. 
My dear Mrs. Bushe 

" Did you ever form any idea of the extent of my 
assurance — 

" If you did I have a notion I shall now exceed 
whatever might have been your estimate. 

" I am about to ask you — ^to ask you plunging — 
without preface or apology to go to work for me — 
and to give me only because I have the assurance to 
ask for it what every body would wish to have from 
you and nobody who had any pretence to modesty 
(out of your own family and privileged circle of dears) 
would venture to think of asking for. 

" A bag if you please of your own braid work my 
dear Mrs. Bushe — Louisa Beaufort who has just come 
to visit us tells me that your braid work is so beautiful 
that I do covet this souvenir from you. The least 
Forget me not — or Heartsease will fulfil all my wishes — 
if indeed you are so very kind as to listen to me. I 

* Solicitor-Grcneral. 


have your Madonna over the chimney piece in our 
Hbrary and often do I look at her with affection and 
gratitude. I wish dear Mrs. Bushe we could ever meet 
again, but this world goes so badly that I fear our 
throats will be cut by order of O'Connell & Co very 
soon, or we shall be beggars walking the world, and 
walking the world different ways. It is good to laugh 
as long as we can, however and whenever we can — 
between crying times — of which there are so many too 
many now a days. 

" I hear sad tidings of my much loved, more loved 
even than admired, friend Sir Walter Scott. His 
body lives and is likely to live some time — his mind 
oh such a mind ! is gone forever. His temper too 
which was most charming and most amiable is changed 
by disease. Mrs. Lockhart that daughter who so 
admires him is more to be pitied than words can 
express. His mind was a little revived by the first 
return to Abbotsford — but sunk again — Of all 
afflictions surely this is the worst that friends can 
have to endure — death a comparative blessing. 

" I find the love of garden grow upon me as I grow 
older more and more. Shrubs and flowers and such 
small gay things, that bloom and please and fade 
and wither and are gone and we care not for them, are 
refreshing interests, in life, and if we cannot say never 
fading pleasures, we may say unreproved pleasures and 
never grieving losses. 

" I remember your history of the bed of tulips or 
anemones which the Chief Justice fancied he should 
fancy and which you reared for him and he walked 
over without knowing. 

" Does your taste for flowers continue. We have 
some fine carnations — if you could fancy them. Some 
way or other they should get to you. If not by a 
flying carpet by as good a mode of conveyance or 


better — ^the frank of Sir W. Gapes or Right Hon. 
C. G. S. Stanley. 

" To either of which direct for me anything of what- 
ever size or weight (barring the size of the house or so) 
and it will be conveyed to me swift and sure as if the 
African Magician himself carried the same. 

" I more much more wish to hear from you my dear 
Mrs. Bushe, and to know from your own self how you 
are going on than to have all the braided bags however 
pretty that could be given to me. That is the truth 
of the matter. So pray write to me and tell me all 
that concerns you — ^for 

" I am very sincerely and affectionately 
" Your little old friend 

" Maria Edge worth. 

" Will you present my affectionate respects to the 
Chief Justice. I wish his country were more worthy 
of him — or rather I wish his country were allowed to be 
and to show itself more worthy of such a Chief Justice 
and such a private character as his. 

" I am convinced that if the Scotch maxim of Let 
well alone were pursued in Ireland we should do well 
enough. But to the rage of obtaining popularity 
in a single individual must the peace of a country be 

" What can the heart of such a man be made of ? 
And however great his talents how infinitely little and 
nauseously mean must his Mind be I 

^ " He is too clever and clear sighted not to know 
too well what he is about and what his own motions 
are. It is my belief however that he could not now be 
quiet if he would he has such a Mob-omania upon 

" We are quiet enough here — as yet." 
1 Daniel O'Connell. 


" The Lord Chief Justice of Ireland 

" 17 Upper Mount Street, Dublin. 
From Miss Maria Edgeworth. 

A proverb goes — (I love it well) 
Of " Give an inch and take an ell " 
'Tis lady's law — and, to be brief 
Now must be mine, my dear Lord Chief 

" The case is this — 

" May I beg your Lordship not to shake your head 
irrevocably before you have heard me out — 

" Suppose I only modestly say suppose 

. . . which leaves the matter just as it was, in case 
your Lordship is determined to oppose — suppose now, 
in short, you could contrive to come down to us a day 
— a day or two — (pray dont start off !) or if you could 
possibly bear 3 — days before the assizes ? You could 
get — say here — without hurry to dinner at 7 — or — name 
your hour — and you should have coffee comfortably 
without being obliged to enter an appearance in the 
drawing room, and should retire to rest at whatever 
hour you like — and I do humbly concieve that your 
bed and all concerns, might be as comfortably arranged 
here as at MuUingar Hotel — (though I wd not disparage 
sd Hotel) — But double bedded or single room and 
room for friend and servant adjoining — and a whole 
apartment with backstairs of its own shut out from 
the rest of the house is at your Lordship's disposal— 
And as to invalid habits unless you have the habit 
of walking in your sleep all over the house I don't see 
how they could incommode or be incommoded. 

" If you mean that you like to lie in bed in the 
morning late — Lie as late as ever you please. 

" No questions asked. No breakfast waiting for 
you below, or thought of your appearance till you 
please to shine upon us. Breakfast waiting your 


bell's touch, in your bed, or out of it at any hour you 
please — And no worry of Company at dinner (unless 
you bespeak the world and his wife — But if you did 
we should not know where to find them for you). 

" We have only our own e very-day family party and 
should only wish and hope to add to it, to meet you, 
a sister, who in happy days knew and admired you, 
even from her childhood (Mrs. Butler nee Harriet 
Edgeworth) and her husband, whom you knew in 
happy days too, at the late Bishop of Meath's. Thank 
you my dear Lord for promising to look for the Bishop's 

" Now pray let me thank you in my heart for your 
answer to this letter. 

" Mrs Bushe if she likes me as well as I most humbly 
believe she does, will put in a good word for us — and her 
good words can never be said in vain — and must be 
followed by good deeds. 

" I am my dear Lord 
with more respect than appears here 
And all the sincerely affectionate 
regard that has been felt for you (we need not 
say how many years) — 

" Your — to be obliged — humble servant 

" Maria Edgeworth 
" Edgeworth Town 
" Feh. \st 1837 " 



Chief Justice Bushe died in 1843, and Maria 
Edge worth in 1849, but Mrs. Bushe lived on till 1857, 
a delight and an inspiration to her children and grand- 
children. To her, even more than to the Chief, may- 
be ascribed the inevitable, almost invariable turn for 
the Arts, in some form, frequently in all forms, that 
distinguishes their descendants, and to her also is 
attributed a quality in story-telling known as " Cramp- 
ton dash," which may be explained as an intensifying 
process, analogous to the swell in an organ. 

But few of their grandchildren, that potent and far- 
reaching first cousinhood of seventy, now remain. 
Bushes, Plunkets, Coghills, Foxes, Franks, Harrises, 
they were a notable company, and I imagine that in 
the middle and later years of the last century they 
made a clan of no small power and influence. 
" Dublin is my washpot, over Merrion Square will I 
cast out my shoe,'' they might have said, possibly 
did say, in their arrogant youth, when " The Family," 
good-looking, amusing, and strenuous, " took the 
flure " in the Dublin society of the 'fifties. From 
among them came no luminary in Art, specially out- 
standing, yet there was scarcely one of them without 
some touch of that spark which is lit by a coal taken 
from the altar, and is, for want of a better term, 


called originality ; and although the reputations of 
neither Shakespeare nor Michael Angelo were threat- 
ened, they could have provided a club dedicated 
to " Les Quatz' Arts " with a very useful selection 
of members. 

(Yet the mention of Shakespeare, and the wish to 
be sincere, force me to recall a tale of two of these 
first cousins of Martin's mother and mine, the one 
an artist of delightful achievement, the other, amongst 
her many gifts, an astronomer and writer. The 
latter reproached the former for her neglect of 
Shakespeare, and announced her intention of reading 
aloud to her one of his plays. The artist replied with 
a high and characteristic tranquillity, " Shakespeare 
was a coarse man, my dear, but you may read him to 
me if you like. I can go into a reverie.") 

It is not out of place to mention here that the first 
writing in which Martin and I collaborated was a 
solemnly preposterous work, a dictionary of the words 
and phrases peculiar to our family, past and present, 
with derivations and definitions— the definitions being 
our opportunity. It might possibly— in fact I think 
some selections would — entertain the public, but I 
can confidently say it will never be offered to it ; 
Bowdler himself would quail at the difficulties it 
would present. 

* ♦ * « * 

Martin has, in her memoir of her brother Robert, 
given a sketch of life at Ross as it was in the old 
days, in its patriarchal simplicity, its pastoral abun- 
dance, its limitless hospitality, its feudal relations with 
the peasants. Its simplicity was, I imagine, of a more 
primitive type than can be claimed for any conditions 
that I can personally remember in my own country. 
The time of which she has written was already passing 
when she arrived on the scene, and she had to rely 


mainly on the records of her elders. The general 
atmosphere there and in my country was much the 
same, but a certain degree of sophistication may have 
set in a little earlier here, and when I say " here,'* 
I speak of that fair and far-away district, the Barony 
of West Carbery, County Cork, the ultimate corner of 
the ultimate speck of Europe— Ireland. You will 
not find West Carbery 's name in the atlas, but Cape 
Clear will not be denied, and there is nothing of West 
Carbery west of Cape Clear, unless one counts its 
many sons and daughters who have gone even farther 
west, to the Land of the Setting Sun. 

The Ireland that Martin and I knew when we were 
children is fast leaving us ; every day some landmark 
is wiped out ; I will try, as she has done, to recapture 
some of the flying memories. 

To begin with 

Castle Townshend. 

Castle Townshend is a small village in the south- 
west of the County of Cork, unique in many ways 
among Irish villages, incomparable in the beauty of 
its surroundings, remarkable in its high level of 
civilisation, and in the number of its " quality houses." 
" High ginthry does be jumpin' mad for rooms in 
this village," was how the matter was defined by a 
skilled authority, while another, equally versed in 
social matters, listened coldly to commendation of a 
rival village, and remarked, " It's a nice place enough, 
but the ginthry is very light in it. It's very light 
with them there entirely." 

I hasten to add that this criticism did not refer to 
the morals of the gentry, merely to their scarcity — 
as one says " a light crop." 

Castlehaven Harbour, to whose steep shores it 
adheres, defiant of the law of gravity, by whose rules 


it should long since have slipped into the sea, has its 
place in history. The Spanish Armada touched 
en passant (touched rather hard in some places), one of 
Queen Elizabeth's admirals, Admiral Leveson, touched 
too, fairly hard, and left cannon-ball bruises on the 
walls of Castlehaven Castle. The next distinguished 
visitors were a force of Cromwell's troopers. Brian's 
Fort, built by Brian Townshend, the son of one of 
Cromwell's officers, still stands firm, and Swift's tower, 
near it, is distinguished as the place where " the 
gloomy Dean " (of autre fois) wrote a Latin poem, 
called " Carberiae Rupes." A translation of this com- 
pliment to the Rocks of Carbery was printed one 
hundred and seventy years ago in Smith's " History of 
the Co. Cork." It was much admired by the historian. 
A quotation from it may be found in " A Record of 
Holiday," in one of our books, " Some Irish Yester- 
days," but candour compels me to admit that four 
of its lines, descriptive of the coast of Carbery — 

" Oft too, with hideous yawn, the cavern wide 
Presents an orifice on either side ; 
A dismal orifice, from sea to sea 
Extended, pervious to the god of day." 

— might be taken as equally descriptive of its 

The Titanic passed within a few miles of Castle- 
haven on her first and last voyage ; I saw her racing 
to the West, into the glow of a fierce winter sunset. 
It was from Castle Townshend that the first warnings 
of the sharks that were waiting for the Lusitania 
were sent ; and into Castlehaven Harbour came, 
by many succeeding tides, victims of that tragedy. 
Let it be remembered to the honour of the fishermen 
who harvested those sheaves of German reaping, that 
the money and the jewels, which most of the drowned 




people had brought with them, were left with them, 

It must have been eighty or ninety years ago that 
the first member of " The Chief's " family reached 
Castlehaven. This was his second son, the Rev. 
Charles Bushe, who was, as Miss Edgeworth says of 
her stepmamma's brother, " fatly and fitly provided 
for " with the living of Castlehaven. Somervilles and 
Townshends had been living and intermarrying in 
Castlehaven Parish, with none to molest their ancient 
^solitary reign, since Brian Townshend built himself the 
fort from which he could look forth upon one of the 
loveliest harbours in Ireland, and the Reverend 
Thomas Somerville, the first of his family to settle in 
Munster, took to himself (by purchase from the repre- 
sentatives of the Earl of Castlehaven) the old 
O'Driscoll Castle, and lies buried beside it, in St. 
Barrahane's churchyard, under a slab that proclaims 
him to have been " A Worthy Magistrate, and a Safe 
and Affable Companion." The two clans enjoyed 
in those days, I imagine, a splendid isolation, akin to 
that of the Samurai in Old Japan, and the Rev. 
Charles Bushe, an apostle of an alien cultivation, 
probably realised the feelings of Will Adams when he 
was cast ashore at Osaka, may, indeed, have felt his 
position to be as precarious as that of the first mission- 
ary at the Court of the King of the Cannibal Islands. 

My great-uncle Charles was for forty years the 
Rector of Castlehaven Parish, and the result of his 
ministry that most directly affects me was the marriage 
of my father. Colonel Thomas Henry Somerville, of 
Brisbane, to the Rev. Charles's niece, Adelaide 
Coghill. (That she was also his step-sister-in-law is 
a fact too bewildering to anyone save a professional 
genealogist for me to dwell on it here. I will merely 
say that my mother's father was Admiral Sir Josiah 



Coghill, and her mother was Anna Maria Bushe, 
daughter of the Chief Justice.) ^ 

There is a picture extant, the work of that artist 
to whom I have already referred, in which is depicted 
the supposed indignation of the Aboriginal Red 
men, i.e., my grandfather Somerville and his house- 
hold, at the apostasy of my father, a Prince of the 
(Red) Blood Royal, in departing from the family 
habit of marrying a Townshend, and in allying himself 
with a Paleface. In that picture the Red men and 
women are armed with clubs, the Palefaces with 
croquet mallets. It was with these that they entered 
in and possessed the land. My grandmother (nee 
Townshend, of Castle Townshend), a small and 
eminently dignified lady, one of my great-aunts, 
and other female relatives, are profanely represented, 
capering with fury, clad in brief garments of rabbit 
skin. The Paleface females surge in vast crinolines ; 
the young Red man is encircled by them, as was the 
swineherd in Andersen's fairy tale, by the Court 
ladies. My grandfather swings a tomahawk, and is 
faced by my uncle. Sir Joscelyn Coghill, leader of 
the second wave of invasion, with a photographic 
camera (the first ever seen in West Carbery) and a 

« 9|e * * ^f 

I think I must diverge somewhat farther from my 

1 Among the letters in the old letter-box of which I have spoken 
was a paper, the contents of which may be offered to the pro- 
fessional genealogist. They are as follows : 

" By the marriage of Charles Bushe to Emmeline Coghill, (daughter 
of Sir J, Coghill Bt. by his first wife,) the lady becomes neice {sic) 
to her husband, sister to her mother, and daughter to her grand- 
mother, aunt to her sisters and cousins, and grandaunt to her own 
children, stepmother to her cousins, and sister-in-law to her father, 
while her mother will be at the same time aunt and grandmother 
to her nephews and neices." I recommend no one to try to under- 
stand these statements. — E. OE. S. 


main thesis in order to talk a little about the Ancient 
Order of Hibernians (if I may borrow the appella- 
tion) who were thus dispossessed. For, as is the way- 
all the world over, the missionaries ate up the 
cannibals, and the Red men have left only their 
names and an unworthy granddaughter to com- 
memorate their customs. 

Few South Pacific Islands are now as isolated as 
was, in those days, — I speak of ninety or one hundred 
years ago — Castle Townshend. The roads were 
little better than bridle-paths ; they straggled and 
struggled, as far as was possible, along the crests of 
the hills, and this was as a protection to the traveller, 
who could less easily be ambushed and waylaid by 
members of the large assortment of secret societies, 
Whiteboys, Ribbonmen, Molly Maguires, Outlaws in 
variety, whose spare moments between rebellions 
were lightened by highway robbery. I have heard 
that my great-grandmother's " coach " was the only 
wheeled vehicle that came into Castle Townshend. 
My great-grandfather used to' ride to Cork, fifty-two 
miles, and the tradition is that he had a fabulous 
black mare, named Bess, who trotted the journey in 
three hours (which I take leave to doubt). All the 
heavy traffic came and went by sea. The pews of 
the church came from Cork by ship. They have 
passed now, but I can remember them, and I should 
have thought that their large simplicity would not 
have been beyond the scope of the local carpenter. 
There was a triple erection for the pulpit ; the clerk 
sat in the basement, the service was read au premier, 
and to the top story my great-uncle Charles was wont 
to mount, in a black gown and " bands," and thence 
deliver classic discourses, worthy, as I have heard, 
of the son of " silver-tongued Bushe," but memorable 
to me (at the age of, say, six) for the conviction, 

F 2 


imparted by them anew each Sunday, that they were 
samples of eternity, and would never end. My 
eldest brother, who shared the large square pew with 
our grandfather and me, was much sustained by a 
feud with a coastguard child, with whom he competed 
in the emulous construction of grimaces, mainly 
based, like the sermons, on an excessive length of 
tongue, but I had no such solace. Feuds are, un- 
doubtedly, a great solace to ennuis and in the elder 
times of a hundred years or so ago they seem to have 
been the mainstay of society in West Cork. Splendid 
feuds, thoroughly made, solid, and without a crack 
into which any importunate dove could insert so 
much as an olive-leaf. 

Ireland was, in those days, a forcing bed for indi- 
viduality. Men and women, of the upper classes, 
were what is usually described as " a law unto them- 
selves," which is another way of saying that they 
broke those of all other authorities. That the larger 
landowners were, as a class, honourable, reasonably 
fair-minded, and generous, as is not, on the whole, 
disputed, is a credit to their native kindliness and 
good breeding. They had neither public opinion 
nor legal restraint to interfere with them. Each 
estate was a kingdom, and, in the impossibility of 
locomotion, each neighbouring potentate acquired a 
relative importance quite out of proportion to his 
merits, for to love your neighbour — or, at all events, 
to marry her — was almost inevitable when matches 
were a matter of mileage, and marriages might be 
said to have been made by the map. Enormous 
families were the rule in all classes, such being reputed 
to be the will of God, and the olive branches about 
the paternal table often became of so dense a growth 
as to exclude from it all other fruits of the earth, 
save, possibly, the potato. 


Equally vigorous, as I have said, was the growth of 
character. There was room in those spacious days for 
expansion, and the advantage was not wasted. There 
was an old lady who lived in West Carbery, and 
died some fifty years ago, about whom legend has 
accumulated. She lived in a gaunt grey house, that 
still exists, and is as suggestive of a cave as anything 
as high and narrow, and implacably symmetrical, 
can be. Tall elms enshroud it, and rooks at evening 
make a black cloud about it. It has now been civil- 
ised, but I can remember the awe it inspired in me as 
a child. She was of distinguished and ancient family 
(though she was born in such remote ages that one 
would say there could have been scarcely more than 
two generations between her and Adam and Eve). 
She was very rich, and she was a miser of the school 
of comic opera, showy and dramatic. Her only son, 
known, not without reason, as " Johnny Wild," is 
said, after many failures, to have finally extracted 
money from her by the ingenious expedient of in- 
veigling her into a shed in which was a wicked bull, 
and basing a claim for an advance on the probability 
that the bull would do the same. She lost ten shillings 
on a rent day, and raised it among her tenants by 
means of a round-robin. Her costume was that of a 
scarecrow that has lost all self-respect, yet — a solitary 
extravagance — when she went in a train she travelled 
first-class. It is said that on a journey to Dublin 
she was denounced to the guard as a beggar-woman 
who had mistaken the carriage. It happened that 
the denouncer was a lady with a courtesy-title 
derived from a peerage of recent and dubious origin. 
The beggar-woman threatened to recite their respective 
pedigrees on the platform, and the protest was with- 
drawn. Naturally she fought with most of her neigh- 
bours, specially her kinsfolk, and, as a result of a 


specially sanguinary engagement, announced that she 
would never again " set foot " in the village sacred to 
her clan (and it may be noted that the term " to 
set foot " invariably implies something sacrificial, a 
rite, but one always more honoured in the breach than 
in the observance) " until the day when she went into 
it with four horses and her two feet foremost," which 
referred to her final transit to the family burying- 
ground. On her death-bed, a cousin, not unnaturally 
anxious as to her future welfare, offered to read to 
her suitable portions of the Bible, but the offer was 

" Faith, my dear, I'll not trouble ye. I know it all 
by heart ; but I'm obliged to ye, and I wish I had a 
pound that I might give it ye, but I haven't so much 
as a ha'penny." 

She shortly afterwards died, and there was found 
in her bedroom, in a desk, £500, and a further £20 
was discovered rolled up in an old bonnet, a black 
straw bonnet with bright green ribbons. 



I HAVE already commented on the social importance, 
and value, of the feuds of a century ago. Fights were 
made, like the wall-papers, the carpets, the furniture, 
to last. Friendships too, I daresay, but though it 
was possible to dissolve a friendship, the full-fledged 
fight, beaked and clawed, was incapable as an eagle 
of laying down its weapons. 

Such a fight there was between two sisters, both long 
since dead. They were said to have been among " The 
Beauties of the Court of the Regent " — delightful 
phrase, bringing visions of ringlets and rouge, and low 
necks and high play — and both were famed for their 
wit, their charm, and their affection for each other. 
Still unmarried, their mother brought them home to 
Castle Townshend (for reasons not unconnected with 
the run of the cards), not quite so young as they had 
been — in those days a young lady's first youth seems 
to have been irrevocably lost at about three and 
twenty— yet none the less dangerous on that account. 
Most feuds originate in a difference of opinion, but this 
one, or so it has always been said, was due to a disas- 
trous similarity in taste. Legends hint that a young 
cousin, my grandfather, then a personable youth 
fresh from Oxford, was the difficulty. But whatever 
the cause (and he married the elder sister) peace was 


not found in sixty years ; the combatants died, and 
the fight outlived the fighters. 

In these feebler days the mental attitude of that time 
is hard to realise. The stories that have come down 
to us only complicate the effort to reconstitute the 
people and the period, but they may help— some of 
them— to explain the French Revolution. A tale is 
told of one of these ex-beauties, noted, be it remem- 
bered, for her charm of manner, her culture, her sense 
of humour. Near the end of her long life she went to 
the funeral of a relative, leaning decorously upon the 
arm of a kinsman. At the churchyard a countryman 
pushed forward between her and the coffin. She 
thereupon disengaged her arm from that of her squire, 
and struck the countryman in the face. It is no less 
characteristic of the time that the countryman's 
attitude does not come into the story, but it seems to 
me probable that he went home and boasted then, and 

for the rest of his life, that old Madam had " bet 

him a blow in the face." 

There is yet another story, written in a letter to a 
young cousin, by my father's cousin, the late Mrs. 
Pierrepont Mundy, a very delightful letter-writer 
and story-teller, who has taken with her to the next 
world a collection of anecdotes that may possibly cause 
her relatives there to share the regret of her friends 
here that she did not leave them behind her. 

" One more link in the chain of events," she 

" Grandma's sister-in-law married her brother, 
' Devil Dick,' who was violent to madness. His 
mother alone was not afraid of him. She had a spirit 
of her own. On one occasion she went over a ship 
at Cork, intending to make purchases from contraband 
goods. She set aside chosen ones, but was stopped 
by the Excisemen, She looked at the basket full. 


raised her tiny foot (which you and I, dearest A., 
inherit) and kicked the whole collection overboard 
into the Sea ! 

" That same foot she released from her high-heeled 
shoe on arriving, driven from Cork in a ' Jarvey,' 
and, when the Cocker said ' Stop Madam, you haven't 
paid ! ' she threw the money on the ground, and 
with her shoe she dealt him a smart box on the ear and 

" ' Take that before the Grand Jury ! ' 
(meaning she could do anything and would not get 

" Une maitresse femme ! " 

Thus my cousin concludes her story, not with- 
out a certain approbation of our ancestress. 

Indisputably the coming of the Palefaces slackened 
the moral fibre of Castle Townshend ; the fire has gone 
out of the fights and the heat out of the hatreds. 
I do not claim for the later generations a higher 
standard ; peace is mainly ensued by lack of concen- 
tration ; it is not so much that we forgive, as that we 
forget. I ^egret that these early histories do not 
present my departed relatives in a more attractive 
light, but personal experience has taught me how 
infinitely boring can be the virtues of other people's 

A strange product of these high explosives was my 
father, who, as was said of another like unto him, was 
" The gentlest crayture ever came into a house." 
He had no brothers and but one sister, a fact that did 
not, I think, distress my grandparents, who were in 
advance of their period in considering the prevalent 
immense families ill-bred ; and even had the matter 
been for them a subject of regret, they had at least 
one consolation — a consolation offered in a similar 
case to a cousin of Martin's — " Afther all," it was 


said, " if ye had a hundhred of them ye couldn't have 
a greater variety." 

An only son, with a solitary sister, brought up in 
the days when the difference between the sexes was 
clearly defined by the position of the definite article, 
" an only son " being by no means in the same case, 
grammatical or otherwise, with " only a daughter," 
it would not have been surprising had he developed 
into such a flower of culture as had blossomed in 
*' Johnny Wild." I expect that the rare and pas- 
sionate devotion of his father to his mother taught 
him a lesson not generally inculcated in his time. 
In truth, his love and consideration for his mother 
and sister amounted to anachronism in those days, 
when chivalry was mostly relegated to the Eglinton 
Tournament, and unselfishness was bracketed with 
needlework as a graceful and exclusive attribute 
of the Ministering Angel. 

Mrs. Pierrepont Mundy, once defined the two men 
of her acquaintance whom most she delighted to 
honour as 

" Preux Chevaliers ! Christian gentlemen, who 
feed their dogs from the dinner- table ! " 

I find it impossible to better this as a description 
of my father. I recognise the profound convention- 
ality of saying that dogs and children adored him, 
yet, conventional though the statement may be, it 
is inflicted upon me by the facts of the case. In him 
children knew, intuitively, the kindred soul, dogs 
recognised, not by mere intuition, but by force of 
intellect, their slave. I can see him surreptitiously 
passing forbidden delicacies from his plate to the 
silent watchers beneath the surface, his eyes disin- 
genuously fixed upon the window to divert my 
mother's suspicions, and I can still hear his leisurely 


histories of two imaginary South African Lion-slayers, 
named, with a massive simpHcity, Smith and Brown, 
whose achievements were for us, as children, the last 
possibility of romance. 

Children alone could extract from him the tales 
of various feats of his youth, feats in which, one 
supposes, the wild blood that was in him found its 
outlet and satisfaction ; of the savage bull on to 
whose back he had dropped fron the branch of a tree, 
and whom he had then ridden in glory round and round 
the field ; of the bulldog who jumped at the nose of 
a young half-trained Arab mare when my father was 
riding her, and caught it, and held on. And so did 
my father, while the mare flung herself into knots 
(and how either dog or man " held their ho wit " it is 
hard to imagine). The bulldog was finally detached 
with a pitchfork by one Jerry Hegarty, who must 
himself have shown no mean skill and courage in 
adventuring into the whirl of that nightmare conflict, 
but my father sat it out. It was a daughter of that 
mare, named Lalla Rukh, a lovely grey (whom I can 
remember as a creature by me revered and adored, 
above, perhaps, any earthly thing), who was being 
ridden by my father through a town when they met 
a brass band. Lalla Rukh first attempted flight, 
but such was her confidence in her rider that, in 
the end, she let him ride her up to the big drum, 
and, in further token of devotion, she then, heroically, 
put her nose on it. One imagines that the big drummer 
was enough of a gentleman to refrain from his duties 
during those tense moments, but the rest of the band 
blazed on. My father was a boy of seventeen when he 
got his commission and was presently quartered at 
Birr, where he acted as Whip to the regimental pack 
of hounds. There is an authentic story of a hound, 


that my grandfather sent to Birr, by rail and coach, 
escaping from the barracks, and making his way back 
to the kennels at Drishane. Birr is in King's County, 
and the journey, even across country, must be over a 
hundred miles. (These things being thus, it is hard 
to understand why any dog is ever lost.) 

My father was in the Kaffir wars of 1843 and 1849, 
and fought right through the Crimean campaign, being 
one of the very few infantry officers who won all the 
clasps with the Crimean medal. One of his brother 
officers in the 68th Durham Light Infantry has told 
(I quote from an account published by the officer in 
question) " of an incident that shows the coolness and 
ready daring that characterised him. On the morning 
of the battle of Inkermann, 5th Nov., 1854, the 68th 
saw a body of troops moving close by. Owing to the 
fog it was impossible to distinguish if these were 
Russian or English. It was of the utmost importance, 
and the Colonel of the 68th exclaimed, ' What would 
I give to be able to decide ! ' 

" Without a pause Henry Somerville said, ' I'll 
soon let you know ! ' And, throwing open his grey 
military great-coat, he showed the scarlet uniform 

" In a second a storm of rifle bullets answered the 
momentous question, thus speedily proving that 
enemies, and not friends, formed the advancing 

There is another story of my father's turning 
back, during a retirement up hill under heavy fire, 
at the battle of the Alma, to save a wounded 
private, whom he carried on his back out of danger. 
But not from him did we hear of these things. 
One of the few soldiering stories that I can recollect 
hearing from him was in connection with the fighting 
proclivities of his servant, Con DriscoU, a son of a 


tenant who had followed him into the regiment. 
Con had been in a row of no small severity ; his 
defence, as is not unusual, took the form of reflections 
upon the character of his adversary, and an exposition 
of his own self-restraint. 

"If it wasn't that I knew me ordhers," he said, 
*' and the di-shiplin^ of the Sarvice, I wouldn't lave 
him till I danced on his shesht ! " 



I HAVE spoken of that first cousinhood of seventy, 
the grandchildren of the Chief Justice, of whom my 
mother and Martin's were not the least notable 
members. I want to say something more of these 
two, and if such tales as Martin and I have remembered 
may seem sometimes to impinge upon the Fifth Com- 
mandment, I would, in apology, recall the old story 
of the masquerade at which Love cloaked himself 
in laughter, and was only discovered when he laughed 
till he cried, and they saw that the laughter was 
assumed, but the tears were real. 

I have come upon a letter of my cousin Nannie's, 
undated, unfortunately, but its internal evidence, 
indicating for her an age not far exceeding seven 
years, would place it in or about the year 1830. 

" To Mrs. Charles Fox : 

" My dear Mama, 

" I am very sorry for touching that stinking little 
cat. I'll try to-morrow and Teusday if I can do as 
happy and as well without touching Dawny. I had 
once before my birthday a little holiness in my heart 
and for two days I was trying to keep it in and I 
exceeded a little in it but alas one day Satan tempted 
me and one day I kept it out of my heart and then I 


did not care what I did and I ware very bold. One 
day the week after that I tried without touching 
Dawny and I thought myself every bit as much happy 
but I was tempted tempted tempted another day : 
but I hope to-morrow morning I may be good Mama 
and that there will be one day that I may please 

" Your affectionate daughter 

" Nannie Fox." 

The crime of which this is an expression of repent- 
ance is obscure. That the repentance was not un- 
tinged by indignation with the temptation is obvious ; 
but why should she not have " touched Dawny " ? 
I am reminded of a companion incident. A small 
boy, of whom I have the honour to be godmother, 
was privileged to come upon a cache of carpenter's 
tools, unhampered by the carpenter. He cut his 
fingers and was sent to bed. In the devotions which 
he subsequently offered up, the following clause was 

" And please God, be more careful another time, 
and don't let me touch Willy DriscoU's tools." 

A very just apportioning of the blame. My cousin 
Nannie put it all upon Satan, who was the more 
fashionable deity of her period. 

I remember that my aunt Florence Coghill sat up 
for the whole of one night, verifying from her Bible the 
existence of the devil ; a fact that had been called 
in question by a reprobate nephew. She came down 
to breakfast wan, but triumphant, and flung texts 
upon the nephew, even as the shields were cast upon 

Martin had many stories of her mother, which, 
alas ! she has not written down. Many of them 
related to the time when they were living in Dublin, 


and with all humility, and with apologies for possible 
error, I will try to remember some of them. Mrs. 
Martin was then a large and handsome lady of impos- 
ing presence, slow-moving, stately, and, in spite of a 
very genial manner, distinctly of a presence to inspire 
respect. It was alleged by her graceless family that 
only by aligning her with some fixed and distant 
object, and by close observation of the one in relation 
to the other, was it possible to see her move. (One 
of the stories turned on the mistake of one of her 
children, short-sighted like herself. " Oh, there's 
Mamma coming at last ! " A pause. Then, in tones 
of disappointment, " No, it's only the tramcar ! ") 

Martin once wrote that " the essence of good house- 
keeping is to make people eat things that they naturally 
dislike. Ingredients that must, for the sacred sake of 
economy, be utilised, are rarely attractive, but the 
good housekeeper can send the most nauseous of them 
to heaven, in a curry, as in a chariot of fire." 

It must be admitted that neither artistic house- 
keeping, nor even the lower branches of the art, were 
my cousin Nannie's strong suit. It is related of her 
that one day, returning from a tea-party, she re- 
membered that her household lacked some minor need. 
Undeterred by her tea-party splendour of attire, she 
sailed serenely into a small and unknown grocer's 
shop in quest of what she needed. The grocer, stout 
and middle-aged, lolled on his fat bare arms on the 
counter, reading a newspaper. He negligently pro- 
duced the requirement, received the payment for it, 
and then, remarking affably, " Ta ta, me child ! " 
returned to his paper. 

My cousin Nannie, whose sense of the ridiculous 
could afflict her like an illness, tottered home in 
tearful ecstasies, and was only less shattered by the 
condescension of the grocer than by another tribute. 


somewhat similar in kind. She had a singularly 
small and well-shaped foot ; a fact to which her son 
Robert was wont to attribute the peculiarity that 
her shoe-strings were rarely securely fastened, involving 
her in an appeal to the nearest man to tie them. She 
returned to her family one day and related with joy 
how, as she passed a cabstand, her shoe lace had 
become unfastened, and how she had then asked a 
cabman to tie it for her. She thanked him with her 
usual and special skill in such matters, and, as she 
slowly moved away, she was pleased to hear her 
cabman remark to a fellow : 

" That's a dam pleshant owld heifer ! " 

And the response of the fellow : 
• " Ah, Shakespeare says ye'll always know a rale 
lady when ye see her." 

Her love for society was only matched by her 
intolerance of being bored. There was a recess in 
her bedroom, possessed of a small window and a heavy 
curtain. To this one day, on hearing a ring at the 
door, she hurriedly repaired, and took with her a 
chair and a book. She heard the travelling foot of 
the maid, searching for her. Then the curtain was 
pushed aside and the maid's face appeared. 

" Oh, is it there you are ! " said the maid, with the 
satisfaction of the finder in a game of hide and seek. 
That her mistress did not dash her book in her face 
speaks well for her self-control. 

It may be urged that Mrs. Martin might have spared 
herself this discomfiture by the simpler expedient 
of leaving directions that she was '* Not at Home." 
But this shows how little the present generation can 
appreciate the consciences of the last. I have known 
my mother to rush into the garden on a wet day, in 
order that the servant might truthfully say she was 
" out." 


" Ah, Ma'am, 't was too much trouble you put on 
yourself," said the devoted retainer for whom the 
sacrifice was made. " God knows I'd tell a bigger lie 
than that for you ! And be glad to do it ! " (which 
was probably true, if only from the artist's point of 

Mrs. Martin's contempt for danger was one of the 
many points wherein she differed from the average 
woman of her time. Indeed, it cannot be said that 
she despised it, as, quite obviously, she enjoyed it. 
Martin has told of how she and her mother were 
caught in a storm, in a small boat, on Lough Corrib. 
Things became serious ; one boatman dropped his 
oar and prayed, the other wept but continued to 
row ; Martin, who had not been bred to boats on 
Ross Lake for nothing, tugged at the abandoned oar 
of the supplicant. Meanwhile her mother sat erect 
in the stern, looking on the tempest in as unshaken 
a mood as Shakespeare could have desired, and 
enjoying every moment of it. Neither where horses 
were concerned did she know fear. I have been with 
her in a landau, with one horse trying to bolt, while 
the other had kicked till it got a leg over the trace. 
Help was at hand, and during the readjustment Mrs. 
Martin firmly retained her seat. Her only anxiety 
was lest the drive might have to be given up, her 
only regret that both horses had not bolted. She 
said she liked driving at a good round pace. An 
outside-car might do anything short of lying down 
and rolling, without being able to shake her off ; her 
son Robert used to say of her that on an outside- 
car his mother's grasp of the situation was analogous 
to that of a poached egg on toast — both being practi- 
cally undetachable. 

How different was she from her first cousin, my 
mother, who, frankly mid-Victorian, proclaimed her- 


self a coward, without a blush, even with ostentation. 
When the much-used label, " Mid- Victorian," is 
applied, it calls up, in my mind at least, a type of 
which the three primary causes are, John Leech's 
pictures, " The Newcomes," and Anthony Trollope's 
massive output. Pondering over these signs of that 
time, I withdraw the label from my mother and her 
compeers. Either must that be done, or the letter 
" i " substituted for the " a " in label. Let us think 
for a moment of Mrs. Proudie, of " The Campaigner " ; 
of Eleanor, " The Warden's " daughter, who bursts 
into floods of tears as a solution to all situations ; of 
the insufferable Amelia Osborne. Consider John 
Leech's females, the young ones, turbaned and 
crinolined, wholly idiotic, flying with an equal terror 
from bulls and mice, ogling Lord Dundreary and his 
whiskers, being scored off by rude little boys. And 
the elderly women, whose age, if nothing else, marked 
them, in mid- Victorian times, as fit subjects for 
ridicule, invariably hideous, jealous, spiteful, nagging, 
and even more grossly imbecile than their juniors. 
Thackeray and Trollope between them poisoned the 
wells in the 'fifties, and the water has hardly cleared 
yet. Nevertheless, with however mutinous a mind 
their books are approached, their supreme skill, 
their great authority, cannot be withstood ; their 
odious women must needs be authentic. I am there- 
fore forced to the conclusion that Martin's mother, 
and mine, and their sisters, and their cousins and 
their aunts were exceptions to the rule that all mid- 
Victorian women were cats, and I can only deposit 
the matter upon that crowded ash-heap, that vast 
parcel-office, adored of the bromidic, " the knees of 
the Gods," there to be left till called for. 

« * 3iC Nc ♦ 

There is a song that my mother used to sing to us 



when we were children, of which I can now remember 
only fragments, but what I can recall of it is so 
beautifully typical of the early Victorian young lady, 
and of what may be called the Bonnet and Shawl 
attitude towards the Lover, that a verse or two shall 
be transcribed. I believe it used to be sung at the 
house of my grandmother (Anna Maria Coghill, nie 
Bushe), in Cheltenham, by one of the many literary 
and artistic dandies who hung about her and her 
handsome daughters. Lord Lytton, then Sir Edward 
Bulwer Lytton, was one of these, and he and my 
grandmother were among the first amateur experi- 
menters in mesmerism, thought-reading, and clair- 
voyance, as might have been expected from the future 
author of " Zanoni," and from the mother of my 
mother (who was wont, with her usual entire frank- 
ness, to declare herself " the most curious person in 
the world," i.e. the most inquisitive). 

I do not know the name of the song or of its 
composer. It has a most suitable, whining, peevish 
little tune ; my mother used to sing it to us with 
intense dramatic expression, and it was considered 
to be a failure if the last verse did not leave my 
brother and me dissolved in tears. The song is in 
the form of a dialogue between the Lady and the 
Lover, and the Lady begins : 

" So so so. Sir, you've come at last ! 

I thought you'd come no more, 
I've waited with my bonnet on 

From one till half -past four ! 
You know I hate to sit at home 

Uncertain where to go, 
You'll break my heart, I know you will. 

If you continue so ! " 

(The tune demands the repetition of the last two 
lines, but it, I regret to say, cannot be given here.) 


One sees her drooping on a high chair by the window 
(which of course is closed), her ringlets losing their 
curl, her cheeks their colour. The Lover takes a 
high hand. 

" Pooh ! pooh ! my dear ! Dry up your tears," 
he begins, arrogantly, and goes on to ask for trouble 
by explaining that the delay was caused by his 
having come "down Grosvenor Gate Miss Fanny's 
eye to catch," and he ends with defiance — 

" I won't, I swear, I won't be made 
To keep time like a watch ! " 

The Lady repHes : 

" What ! Fanny Grey ! Ah, now indeed 
I understand it all ! 
I saw you making love to her 
At Lady Gossip's ball ! " 
" My life, my soul ! My dearest Jane ! 
I love but you alone I 
I never thought of Fanny Grey ! 
(How tiresome she's grown ! ) 
I never thought of Fanny Grey ! 
(How tiresome she's grown !) " 

The last phrase an aside to the moved audience. 
" She " was his so-called " dearest Jane " I We 
thrilled at the perfidy, which lost nothing from my 
mother's delivery. 

And then poor Jane's reproaches, and his impudent 

" Oh Charles, I wonder that the earth 
Don't open where you stand ! 
By the Heaven that's above us both, 
I saw you kiss her hand ! " 
" You didn't dear, and if you did, 
Supposing it is true. 
When a pretty woman shows her rings 
What can a poor man do ! " 


But it was always the last lines of the last verse 
that touched the fount of tears. Charles, with specious 
excuses, has made his farewells ; she watches him 
from the window (still closed, no doubt). 

" Goodbye, goodbye, we'll meet again 
On one of these fine days ! " 

he has warbled and departed. And then her cry 
(to the audience) : 

" He's turned the street, I knew he would ! 
He's gone to Fanny Grey's ! 
He's turned the street, I knew he would. 
He's gone — to Fanny Grey's ! " 

I shall never forget that absurd tune, and its final 
feeble wail of despair ; and inextricably blended with 
it is the memory of how lusciously my brother and I 
used to weep, even while we clamoured for an encore. 



The men and women, but more specially the women, 
of my mother's family and generation are a lost pattern, 
a vanished type. 

I once read a fragment, by John Davidson, that 
appeared some years ago in the Outlook. I grieve that 
I have lost the copy and do not remember its date. 
It was called, if I am not mistaken, " The Last of 
the Alanadoths," and purported to be the final page 
of the history of a great and marvellous tribe, whose 
stature was twice that of ordinary beings, whose 
strength was as the strength of ten, and in whose 
veins blue and glittering flame ran, instead of blood. 
These, having in various ways successfully staggered 
ordinary humanity, all finally embarked upon an 
ice-floe, and were lost in the Polar mists. " Thus 
perished," ends the chronicle, " the splendid and 
puissant Alanadoths ! " 

I have now forgotten many of the details, but I 
remember that when I read it, it irresistibly suggested 
to me the thought of my mother and her sisters and 
brothers. Tall, and fervent, and flaming, full of what 
seemed like quenchless vitality, their blood, if not 
flame, yet of that most ardent blend of Irish and 
English that has produced the finest fighters in the 
world. And now, like the splendid and puissant 


Alanadoths, they also have vanished (save one, the 
stoutest fighter of them all) into the mists that shroud 
the borderland between our life and the next. 

They kept their youthful outlook undimmed, and 
took all things in their stride, without introspection 
or hesitation. Their unflinching conscientiousness, 
their violent church-going (I speak of the sisters), 
were accompanied by a whole-souled love of a spree, 
and a wonderful gift for a row. Or for an argument. 
There are many who still remember those great 
arguments that, on the smallest provocation, would 
rise, and stir, and deepen, and grow, burgeoning 
like a rose of storm among the Alanadoths. They 
meant little at the moment, and nothing afterwards, 
but while they lasted they were awe-inspiring. It 
is said that a stranger, without their gates, heard 
from afar one such dispute, and trembling, asked 
what it might mean. 

" Oh, that ! " said a little girl, with sang-froid, 
" That's only the Coghills roaring.'* 

(As a dweller in the Hebrides would speak of a 
North- Atlantic storm.) 

My mother was a person entirely original in her 
candour, and with a point of view quite untrammelled 
by convention. Martin and I have ever been careful 
to abstain from introducing portraiture or caricature 
into our books, but we have not denied that the 
character of " Lady Dysart " (in " The Real Char- 
lotte ") was largely inspired by my mother. 

She, as we said of Lady Dysart, said the things that 
other people were afraid to think. 

" Poetry ! " she declaimed, " I Jiate poetry— at 
least good poetry ! " 

Her common sense often amounted to inspiration. 
It happened one Christmas that my sister and I 
found ourselves in difficulties in the matter of a 


suitable offering to an old servant of forty years' 
standing ; she was living on a pension, her fancies 
were few, her needs none. A very difficult subject 
for benefaction. My mother, however, unhesitatingly 
propounded a suggestion. 

" Give her a nice shroud ! There's nothing in the 
world she'd like as well as that ! " 

Which was probably true, but was a counsel of 
perfection that we were too feeble to accept. 

It is indeed indisputable that my mother breathed 
easily a larger air than the lungs of her children could 
compete with. Handsome, impetuous, generous, high- 
spirited, yet with the softest and most easily-entreated 
heart, she was like a summer day, with white clouds 
sailing high in a clear sky, and a big wind blowing. 
Hers was the gift of becoming, without conscious 
effort, the rallying point of any entertainment. It 
was she who never failed to supply the saving salt 
of a dull dinner-party ; her inveterate joie-de-vivre 
made a radiance that struck responsive sparkles from 
her surroundings, whatever they might be. 

She was a brilliant pianiste, and played with the 
same spirit with which she tackled the other affairs 
of life. She was renowned as an accompanist, having 
been trained to that most onerous and perilous office 
by an accomplished and exacting elder brother — and 
nothing can be as relentlessly exacting as a brother 
who sings — and she had a gift of reading music, with 
entire facility, that is as rare among amateurs as it is 

Music, books, pictures, politics, were in her blood. 
Music, with plenty of tune ; painting, with plenty of 
colour and a rigid adherence to fact ; novels, compact 
of love-making ; and politics, of the most implacable 
party brand. Alas ! she did not live to see many of 
our books, but I fear that such as she did see, with 


their culpable economy of either love-makings or 
happy endings, were a disappointment to her. In 
her opinion the characters should leave a story, as 
the occupants left Noah's Ark, in couples. I remember 
the indignation in her voice when, having finished 
reading " An Irish Cousin," she said : 

" But you never said who Mimi Burke married." 

Those who have done us the honour of reading that 
early work will, I think, admit that our description 
of Miss Mimi Burke might have exonerated us from 
the necessity of providing her with a husband. 

My mother was one of the most thorough and 
satisfying letter-writers of a family skilled in that 
art, having in a high degree the true instinct in the 
matter of material, and knowing how to separate the 
wheat from the chaff (and — Men entendu — to give the 
preference to the chaff). She was a Woman 
Suffragist, unfaltering, firm, and logical ; a philan- 
thropist, practical and energetic. 

" Where'd we be at all if it wasn't for the Colonel's 
Big Lady ! " said the hungry country women, in 
the Bad Times, scurrying, barefooted, to her in any 
emergency, to be fed and doctored and scolded. She 
was a Spiritualist, wide-minded, eager, rejoicing in 
the occult, mysterious side of things, with the same 
enthusiasm with which she faced her sunshiny everyday 
life. Not that it was all sunshine. My grandfather, 
Thomas Somerville, of Drishane, died in 1882. With 
him, as Martin has said of his contemporary, her 
father, passed the last of the old order, the unquestioned 
lords of the land. Mr. Gladstone's successive Land 
Acts were steadily making themselves felt, and my 
father and mother, like many another Irish father 
and mother, began to learn what it was to have, as a 
tenant said of himself, " a long serious family, and God 
knows how I'll make the two ends of the candle meet ! " 





^ fl%^. _ ■■■■ /y 









I marvel now, when I think of their courage and 
their gallant self-denial. The long, but far from 
serious, family, numbering no less than five sons and 
two daughters, thought little of Land Acts at the 
time, and took life as lightly as ever. The stable was 
cut down, but there were no hounds then, and I was 
in the delirium of a first break into oil colours, after 
a spring spent in Paris in drawing and painting, and 
even horses were negligible quantities. There was no 
change made in the destined professions for the sons ; 
it was on themselves that my father and mother 
economised ; and with effort, and forethought, and 
sheer self-denial, somehow they " made good," and 
pulled through those bad years of the early 'eighties, 
when rents were unpaid, and crops failed, and Parnell 
and his wolf-pack were out for blood, and the English 
Government flung them, bit by bit, the property of 
the only men in Ireland who, faithful to the pitch of 
folly, had supported it since the days of the Union. 
When the Russian woman threw the babies to the 
wolves, at least they were her own. 

I have claimed for my mother moral courage and 
self-denial, and, in making good that claim, said that 
the stable establishment at Brisbane — never a large 
one — had been cut down. I feel I ought to admit that 
this particular economy cannot be said to have 
afflicted her. She had an unassailable conviction 
that every horse was " at heart a rake." Though she 
was not specially active, no rabbit could bolt before 
a ferret more instantaneously than she from a carriage 
at the first wink of one of the " bright eyes of danger." 
No horse was quiet enough for her, few were too 

" Slugs ? " she has said, in defence of her carriage- 
horses, " I love slugs ! I adore them ! And slugs or 
no, I will not be driven by B " (a massive sailor 


son). " He's no more use on the box than a blue 
bottle ! " 

There was an occasion when she was discovered 
halfway up a ladder, faintly endeavouring to hang a 
picture, and unable to do so by reason of physical 
terror. She was restored to safety, and with recovered 
vigour she countered reproaches with the singular yet 
pertinent inquiry : " May I ask, am I a paralysed 
babe ? " 

Her similes were generally unexpected, but were 
invariably to the point. It often pleases me to try 
to recall some of the flowers of fancy that she has 
lavished upon my personal appearance. I think I 
should begin by saying that her ideal daughter had 
been denied to her. This being should have had hair 
of dazzling gold, blue eyes as big as mill-wheels, and 
should have been incessantly enmeshed in the most 
lurid flirtation. My eyes did indeed begin by being 
blue, but, as was said by an old nurse who held by 
the Somerville tradition of brown ones, 

" By the help of the Lord they'll change ! " 

They did change, but as the assistance was with- 
drawn when they had merely attained to a non- 
committal grey, neither in eyes, nor in the other 
conditions, did I gratify my mother's aspirations. 

I have been at a dinner-party with her, and have 
found, to my great discomfort, her eyes dwelling 
heavily upon my head. Her face wore openly the 
expression of a soul in torment. I knew that in some 
way, dark to me, I was the cause. After dinner she 
took an early opportunity of assuring me that my 
appearance had made her long to go under the dinner- 

" Never," she said, " have I seen your hair so 
abominable. It was like a collection of filthy little 


Which was distressing enough, but not more so 
than being told on a similar occasion, and, I think, 
for similar reasons, that I was " not like any human 
young lady," and again, she has seriously, even with 
agony, informed me that I was " the Disgrace of 
Castle Townshend ! " 

It was a sounding title, with something historic 
and splendid about it. 

" The Butcher of Anjou ! " " The Curse of Crom- 
well ! " occur to me as parallel instances. 

It was my privilege — sometimes, I think, my mis- 
fortune — to have succeeded my mother as the un- 
official player of the organ in Castlehaven Church, and 
her criticisms of the music, and specially of the choir, 
were as unfailing as unsparing. 

" They sang like infuriated pea-hens ! Never have 
I heard such a collection of screech-cats I You should 
have drowned them with the great diapason ! " 

Not long ago, among some of her papers, I found a 
home-made copybook, of blue foolscap paper, with 
lines very irregularly ruled on it, and, on the lines, 
still more irregular phalanxes of " pothooks and 
hangers." Further investigation discovered my own 
name, and a date that placed me at something under 
six years old ; and at the foot of each page was 
my mother's careful and considered judgment upon 
my efforts. "Middling," "Careless," "Bobbish," 
" Naughty," " Abominable," and then a black day, 
when it was written, plain for all men to see, that I 
was not only abominable, but also naughty. 

" Naughty and Abominable," there it stands, and 
shows not only my early criminality, but my mother's 
enchanting sincerity. What young mamma, of five 
or six and twenty, is there to-day who would thus 
faithfully allot praise or blame to her young. I feel 
safe in saying that the naughtier and more abominable 


the copy, the more inevitably would it be described 
as either killing or sweet. 

In reference to this special page, I may add that, 
although I regard myself as a reliable opinion in 
calligraphy, I am unable to detect any perceptible 
difference between the pothooks and hangers of the 
occasion when I was bobbish, or those of that day of 
wrath when I was both naughty and abominable. 

Amongst other episodes I cherish an unforgettable 
picture of my mother having her fortune told by her 
hand. (A criminal act, as we have recently learned, 
and one that under our enlightened laws might have 
involved heavy penalties.) 

The Sibyl was a little lady endowed with an unusual 
share of that special variety of psychic faculty that 
makes the cheiromant, and also with a gift, almost 
rarer, of genuine enthusiasm for the good qualities 
of others, an innocent and whole-souled creator and 
worshipper of heroes, if ever there were one. To her 
did my mother confide her hand, her pretty hand, 
with the shell pink palm, and the blush on the Mount 
of Venus, that she had inherited from her mother, 
the Chief's daughter. 

" Intensely nervous ! " pronounced the Sibyl (who 
habitually talked in italics and a lovable Cork brogue), 
looking at the maze of delicate lines that indicate the 
high-strung temperament. " Adores her children ! " 

" Not a bit of it ! " says my mother, flinging up 
her head, in a way she had, like a stag, and regarding 
with a dauntless eye her two grinning daughters. 

The Sibyl swept on, dealing with line and mount 
and star, going from strength to strength in the 
exposition till, at the line of the heart, she came to a 
dead set. 

" Oh, Mrs. Somerville ! What do I see ? Cownfless 
flirtations ! ! And Oh — " (a long squeal of sympathy 


and excitement) " Four ! Yes ! One — Two — Three 
—Four Great Passions ! " 

At this the ecstasy of my mother knew no bounds. 
" Four, Miss X. ! Are you sure ? " 

Miss X. was certain. She expounded and amplified, 
and having put the Four Great Passions on a basis 
of rock, proceeded with her elucidation of lesser 
matters ; but it was evident that my mother's 
attention was no longer hers. 

" I'm trying to remember who the Four Passions 
were," she said that evening to one of her first cousins 
(who might be supposed to know something of her 
guilty past), and to my sister, " There was Charlie 

B . He'll do for one— and L. W. !— that's 

two — and then — Oh, yes ! — then there was S. B I 

Minnie ! Was I in love with S. B ? " She paused for 

an answer that her cousin was incapable, for more 
reasons than the obvious one, of giving. 

My mother resumed the delicious inquiry. 

" Well — " she said, musingly, " Anyhow, that's 
only three. Now, who was the fourth ? " 

My sister Hildegarde, who was young and inclined 
to be romantic, said languish ingly, 

" Why, of course it was Papa, Mother ! " 

My father and mother's mutual love and devotion 
were as delightful an example of what twenty-five 
years of happy married life bestows as can well be 
conceived, and I think Hildegarde was justified. My 
mother, however, regarded her with wide open blue 
eyes, almost sightless from the dazzle of dreams — 
dreams of the four reckless and dangerous beings who 
had galloped, hopeless and frenzied, into darkness 
(not to say oblivion) for love of her— dreams of her 
own passionate, heartbroken despair when they had 
thus galloped. 

"What? . . . What? . . ." she demanded, be- 


wilderedly, sitting erect, with eyes like stars, looking 
as Juno might have looked had her peacock turned 
upon her, " What do you say ? " 

" There was Papa, Mother," repeated Hildegarde 
firmly, but not (she says) reprovingly, '^' He was the 
fourth, of course I " 

''Papa??? . . ." 

The preposterous dowdiness of this suggestion 
almost deprived my mother of the power of speech. 

" Paj)a / . . . Paugh ! " 

* * ♦ 4e * 

Thus did the splendid and puissant Alanadoths 
dispose of the cobweb conventions of mere mortals. 



" It was on a Sunday, the eleventh day of a lovely 
June," her sister, Mrs. Edward Hewson, has written, 
" that Violet entered the family. A time of roses, 
when Ross was at its best, with its delightful old- 
fashioned gardens fragrant with midsummer flowers, 
and its shady walks at their darkest and greenest as 
they wandered through deep laurel groves to the lake. 
She was the eleventh daughter that had been born to 
the house, and she received a cold welcome. 

" * I am glad the Misthress is well,' said old Thady 
Connor, the steward ; ' but I am sorry for other 

*' I think my father's feelings were the same, but he 
said she was * a pretty little child.' My mother 
comforted herself with the reflection that girls were 
cheaper than boys. 

*' At a year old she was the prettiest child I ever sa\^, 
with her glorious dark eyes, and golden hair, and lovely 
colour ; a dear little child, but quite unnoticed in 
the nursery. Charlie was the child brought forward. 
I think the unnoticed childhood had its effect. She 
lived her own life apart. Then came the reign of 
the Governesses, and their delight in her. I never 
remember the time she could not read, and she played 
the piano at four years old very well. (At twelve 

'' H 


years old she took first prize for piano-playing at an 
open competition, held in Dublin, for girls up to 

" Her great delight at four or five years old was to 
slip into the drawing-room and read the illustrated 
editions of the poets. Her favourite was an edition 
of Milton, with terrifying pictures ; this she read 
with delight. One day there was an afternoon party, 
and, as usual, Violet stole into the drawing-room and 
was quickly engrossed in her loved Milton, entirely 
oblivious of the company. Later on, she was found 
fast asleep, with her head resting on the large volume. 
The scene is present with me ; the rosy little face, and 
the golden hair resting on the book. 

*' I remember that Henry H said ' Some day I 

shall boast that I knew Violet as a child ! ' " 

She was christened Violet Florence, by her mother's 
cousin, Lord Plunket, afterwards Archbishop of 
Dublin, in the drawing-room at Ross, the vessel em- 
ployed for the rite being, she has assured me, the 
silver slop-basin, and at Ross she spent the first ten 
happy years of her life. 

I, also, had a happy childhood, full of horses and 
dogs and boats and dangers (which latter are the 
glory of life to any respectable child with suitable 
opportunity), but after I had seen Ross I could almost 
have envied Martin and her brother, Charlie, nearest 
to her in age, their suzerainty over Ross demesne. 

" I thravelled Ireland," said someone, " and afther 
all, there's great heart in the County of Cork ! ", and 
I am faithful to my own county ; but there is a special 
magic in Galway, in its people and in its scenery, and 
for me, Ross, and its lake and its woods, is Galway. 
The beauty of Ross is past praising. I think of it as 
I saw it first, on a pensive evening of early spring, 
still and grey, with a yellow spear-head of light low 


in the west. Still and grey was the lake, too, with 
the brown mountain, Croagh-Keenan, and the grey- 
sky, with that spear-thrust of yellow light in it, lying 
deep in the wide, quiet water, that was furrowed now 
and then by the flapping rush of a coot, or streaked 
with the meditative drift of a wild duck ; farther 
back came the tall battalions of reeds, thronging in 
pale multitudes back to the shadowy woods ; and for 
foreground, the beautiful, broken line of the shore, 
with huge boulders of limestone scattered on it, 
making black blots in the pearl-grey of the shallows. 

On higher ground above the lake stands the old 
house, tall and severe, a sentinel that keeps several 
eyes, all of them intimidating, on all around it. The 
woods of Annagh, of Bullivawnen, of Cluinamurnyeen, 
trail down to the lake side, with spaces of grass, and 
spaces of hazel, and spaces of bog among them. I 
have called the limestone boulders blots, but that was 
on an evening in February ; if you were to see them on 
a bright spring morning, as they lie among primroses 
at the lip of the lake, you would think them a decora- 
tion, a collar of gems, that respond to the suggestions 
of the sky, and are blue, or purple, or grey, bright or 
sullen, as it requires of them. Things, also, to make a 
child delirious with their possibilities. One might 
jump from one huge stone to another, till, especially 
in a dry summer when the lake was low, one might 
find oneself far out, beyond even the Turf Quay, or 
Swans' Island, whence nothing but one's own prowess 
could ever restore one to home and family. If other 
stimulant were needed, it was supplied by the thought 
of the giant pike, who were known to inhabit the 
outer depths. One of them, stuffed and varnished, 
honoured the hall at Ross with its presence. It looked 
big and wicked enough to pull down a small girl as 
easily as a minnow. 

H 2 


When I first went to Ross, a grown-up young woman, 
I found that seduction of the boulders, and of the 
chain of leaps that they suggested, very potent. 
The attraction of the pike also was not to be denied. 
(We used to try to shoot them with a shot-gun, and 
sometimes succeeded.) What then must the lake not 
have meant to its own children ? 

I don't suppose that any little girl ever had more 
accidents than Martin. Entirely fearless and reckless, 
and desperately short-sighted, full of emulation and 
the irrepressible love of a lark, scrapes, in the physical 
as well as the moral sense, were her daily portion, and 
how she came through, as she did, with nothing worse 
than a few unnoticeable scars to commemorate her 
many disasters, is a fact known only to her pains- 
taking guardian angel. Tenants, who came to Ross 
on their various affairs, found their horses snatched 
to be galloped by " the children," their donkeys pur- 
loined for like purposes (or the donkeys' nearest 
equivalent to a gallop) — and it may be noted that the 
harder the victimised horses were galloped, the more 
profound was the admiration, even the exultation, of 
their owners. 

" Sure," said a southern woman of some children 
renowned for their naughtiness, " them's very arch 
childhren. But, afther all, I dunno what's the use of 
havin' childhren if they're not arch ! " 

In certain of the essays in one of our books, *' Some 
Irish Yesterdays," we have pooled memories of our 
respective childhoods, which, fortunately, perhaps, 
for the peace of nations, were separated by some 
hundred miles of moor and mountain, as well as by 
an interval of years. Their conditions were similar 
in many respects, and specially so in the government 
of the nursery. Our mothers, if their nurses satisfied 
their requirements, had a large indifference to the 


antecedents of the nurses' underlings, who were 
usually beings of the type that is caught at large on a 
turf-bog and imported raw into the ministry. One 
such was once described to me — " An innocent, good- 
natured slob of a gerr'l that was rared in a bog beside 
me. The sort of gerr'l now that if you were sick would 
sit up all night to look afther ye, and if you weren't, 
she'd lie in bed all day ! " 

I believe the nurses enjoyed the assimilation of 
the raw product, much as a groom likes the interest 
afforded by an unbroken colt, and they found the 
patronage among the mothers of the disciples a 
useful asset. In later years, Martin was discoursing 
of her nursery life, with her foster-mother, who had 
also been her nurse, Nurse B., a most agreeable person, 
gifted with a saturnine humour that is not infrequent 
in our countrywomen. 

" Sure didn't I ketch Kit Sal one time "—(the 
reigning nursemaid) — " an' she bating and kicking 
yerself on the avenue ! " Nurse B. began. She then 
went on to describe how she had fallen on Kit Sal, 
torn her hair, and " shtuck her teeth in her." 

" The Misthress seen me aftherwards, and she 
axed me what was on me, for sure I was cryin' with the 
rage. ' Nothin' Ma'am ! ' says I. But I told her 
two days afther, an' she goes to Kit Sal, an' says she, 

* What call had you to bate Miss Wilet ? ' says she, 

* Ye big shtump ! ' ' She wouldn't folly me,' says 
Kit. ' Well indeed,' says the Misthress, * I believe 
ye got a bigger batin' yerself from Nurse, and as far 
as that goes,' says she, ' I declare to God,* says she, 
' I wish she dhrank yer blood 1 ' says she.' ' 

The tale is above comment, but for those who knew 
Mrs. Martin's very special distinction of manner and 
language, it has a peculiar appeal. 

Nurse B. was small, spare, and erect, with a manner 


that did not conceal her contempt for the world at 
large — (with one cherished exception, " Miss Wilet ") 
— and a trenchancy of speech that was not infrequently 
permitted to express it. At Ross, at lunch one day, 
during the later time when Mrs. Martin had returned 
there, the then cat — (the pampered and resented draw- 
ing-room lady, not the mere kitchen cat) — exhibited a 
more than usually inordinate greediness, and Mrs. 
Martin appealed, with some reproach, to Nurse B., 
who was at that time acting — and the word may be 
taken in its stage connection— the part of parlour- 

" Nurse ! Does this poor cat ever get anything to 
eat ? " 

" It'd be the quare cat if it didn't ! " replied Nurse, 
with a single glance at " Miss Wilet " to claim the 
victor's laurel. 


It was not until Martin and I began to write 
" The Real Charlotte " that I understood how wide 
and varied a course of instruction was to be obtained 
in a Dublin Sunday school. Judging by a large 
collection of heavily-gilded books, quite unreadable 
(and quite unread), each of which celebrates proficiency 
in some branch of scriptural learning, Martin took 
all the available prizes. In addition to these trophies 
and the knowledge they implied, she learnt much of 
that middle sphere of human existence that has 
practically no normal points of contact with any other 
class, either above or below it. 

It was a rather risky experiment, as will, I think, 
be admitted by anyone who considers the manners 
and customs of the detestable little boys and girls 
who squabble and giggle in the first chapter of " The 
Real Charlotte." There are not many children who 
could have come unscathed out of such a furnace. 


There is a story of a priest who was such a good man 
that he " went through Purgatory like a flash of 
lightning. There wasn't a singe on him ! '* 

Martin was adored, revered, was received as an 
oracle by her fellow scholars, and was, as was in- 
variable with her, the wonder and admiration of her 
teacher. She has told me how she took part in 
dreadful revels, school feasts and the hke, which, 
in their profound aloofness from her home-life, had 
something almost illicit about them. With her in- 
tensely receptive, perceptive brain, she was absorbing 
impressions, points of view, turns and twists of 
character wrought on by circumstance ; yet, when 
that phase of her childhood had passed, " there 
wasn't a singe on her I " 

She had a spiritual reserve and seriousness that 
shielded her, like an armour of polished steel that 
reflects all, and is impenetrable. Refinement was 
surpassingly hers ; intellectual refinement, a mental 
fastidiousness that rejected inevitably the phrase 
or sentiment that had a tinge of commonness ; 
personal refinement, in her dress, in the exquisite 
precision of all her equipment ; physical refinement, 
in the silken softness of her hair, the slender fineness 
of her hands and feet, the flower-bloom of her skin ; 
and over and above all, she had the refinement of 
sentiment, which, when it is joined with a profound 
sensitiveness and power of emotion, has a beauty 
and a perfectness scarcely to be expressed in words. 

She has told me stories of those times, and of the 
curious contrasts of her environment. Long, confi- 
dential walks with " Francie Fitzpatrick " and her 
fellows, followed by an abrupt descent from the 
position of " Sir Oracle," to the status of the youngest 
of a number of sisters and brothers whose cleverness, 
smartness, and good looks filled her with awe and 


glory. She was intensely critical and intensely ap- 
preciative. The little slender brown-eyed girl, who 
was part pet, part fag of that brilliant, free-going, 
family crowd, secretly appraised them all in her 
balancing, deliberative mind, and, fortunately for 
all concerned, passed them sound. They taught her 
to brush their hair, and read her the poets while 
she was thus employed ; they chaffed her, and called 
her The Little Philosopher, and unlike many elder 
sisters — (and I speak as an elder sister) — dragged 
her into things instead of keeping her out of them. 
It must have been a delightful house, full of good 
looks and good company. I was far away in South 
Cork, and knew of the Martins but distantly and 
dimly ; after my eldest brother had met them and 
returned to chant their charms, I think that a certain 
faint hostility tinged my very occasional thoughts 
of them, which, after all, is not unusual. 

The Martins' house in Dublin was one of the 
gathering places for the clans of the family. Dublin 
society still existed in those days ; things went with 
a swing, and there was a tingle in life. Probably 
there was no place in the kingdom where a greater 
number of pleasant people were to be met with. 
Jovial, unconventional, radiant with good looks, 
unfailing in agreeability, they hunted, they danced, 
they got up theatricals and concerts, they — the 
elder ones, at least — went to church with an equal 
enthusiasm, and fought to the death over the relative 
merits of their pet parsons. 

Martin has told me of a Homeric and typical battle 
of which she was a spectator, between her mother 
and one of my many aunts, Florence Coghill. It 
began at tea, at the house of another aunt, with a 
suave and academic discussion of the Irish Episco- 
pate, and narrowed a little to the fact that the 


diocese of Cork needed a bishop. My aunt Florence 
said easily, 

" Oh — Gregg, of course ! " 

My cousin Nannie (Mrs. Martin) replied with a 
sweet reasonableness, yet firmly, " I think you will 
find that Pakenham Walsh is the man." 

The battle then was joined. From argument it 
passed on into shouting, and thence neared fisticuffs. 
They advanced towards each other in large armchairs, 
even as, in these later days, the " Tanks " move 
into action. They beat each other's knees, each 
lady crying the name of her champion, and then my 
aunt remembered that she had a train to catch, and 
rushed from the room. The air was still trembling 
with her departure, when the door was part opened, 
the monosyllable " Gregg ! " was projected through 
the aperture, and before reply was possible, the 
slam of the hall door was heard. 

Mrs. Martin flung herself upon the window, and 
was in time to scream " Paknamwalsh ! " in one 
tense syllable, to my aunt's departing long, thin 

My aunt Florence was too gallant a foe to affect, 
as at the distance she might well have done, uncon- 
sciousness. Anyone who knows the deaf and dumb 
alphabet will realise what conquering gestures were 
hers, as turning to face the enemy she responded, 

" G ! R ! E ! G ! G ! " 

and with the last triumphant thump of her clenched 
fists, fled round the corner. 

And she was right. " Gregg & son. Bishops to 
the Church of Ireland," have passed into ecclesiastical 



I HAVE deeply considered the question as to how 
far and how deep I should go in the matter of my 
experiences as an Art student. Those brief but 
intense visits to Paris come back to me as almost 
the best times that life has given me. To be young, 
and very ardent, and to achieve what you have most 
desired, and to find that it brings full measure and 
running over — all those privileges were mine. I may 
have taken my hand from the plough, and tried to 
" cultiver mon jardin " in other of the fields of Para- 
dise, but if I did indeed loose my hand from its 
first grasp, it was to place it in another, in the hand 
of the best comrade, and the gayest playboy, and 
the faithfullest friend, that ever came to turn labour 
to pastime, and life into a song. 

I believe that those who have been Art students 
themselves will sympathise with my recollections, 
and I trust that those who were not will tolerate 
them. If neither of these expectations is fulfilled, 
this chapter can be lightly skipped. The damage 
done on either side will be inconsiderable. 

Drawing and riding seem to me to go farther back 
into my consciousness than any other of the facts 
of life. I cannot remember a time when I had not 
a pony and a pencil. I adored both about equally, 
and if I cannot, even now, draw a horse as I should 


wish to do it — a fact of which I am but too well 
aware — it is not for want of beginning early and 
trying often. 

My education in Art has been somewhat spasmodic. 
I think I was about seventeen when a dazzling invita- 
tion came for me from a very much loved aunt who 
was also my godmother, to stay with her in London 
and to work for a term at the South Kensington 
School of Art. There followed three months of a 
most useful breaking-in for a rather headstrong and 
unbroken colt. I do not know what the present 
curriculum of South Kensington may be ; I know 
what it was then. From a lawless life of caricaturing 
my brethren, my governesses, my clergy, my elders 
and betters generally, copying in pen and ink all 
the hunting pictures, from John Leech to Georgina 
Bowers, that old and new " Punches " had to offer, 
and painting such landscapes in water colours as 
would have induced the outraged earth to open its 
mouth and swallow up me and all my house, had 
it but seen them, I passed to a rule of iron discipline. 

1. Decoration, scrolls and ornament in all moods 
and tenses. 

2. The meticulous study in outline of casts of 
detached portions of the human frame, noses, ears, 
hands, feet ; and 

3. The most heart-breaking and time-wasting stip- 
pling of the same. 

I well remember how, on a day that I was toiling 
at a large and knubbly foot, a full-rigged Mamma 
came sailing round the class, with a daughter in tow. 
The other students were occupied with scrolls and 
apples and the like. The Mamma shed gracious 
sanction as she passed. Then came my turn. I 
was aware of a pause, a shock of disapproval, and 
then the words, 


" A naked foot, my dear ! " 

There was a tug on the tow-rope and the daughter 
was removed. 

I imagine it must have been near the end of my 
three months that my detested efforts were made 
into a bundle and sent up to high places with a scribble 
on the margin of one of them, " May Miss Somerville 
pass for the Antique ? E. Miller." 

In due course the bundle was returned. Mr. 
Sparkes, a majestic and terrible being, wrapped in 
remoteness and in a great and waving red beard, 
as in a mantle of flame, had placed his sign of ac- 
quiescence after the inquiry. Miss Somerville was 
given to understand that she was permitted to Pass 
for the Antique. 

This, however. Miss Somerville did not do. She 
was (not without deep regret for all of her London 
sojourn that did not include the School of Art) 
permitted instead to pass the portals of Paddington 
Station, and to return to Ireland by " The Bristol 
Boat,*' in other words, an instrument of the devil, 
much in vogue at that time among the Irish of the 
South, that took some thirty hours to paddle across 
the Channel, and was known to the wits of Cork as 
" The Steam Roller." It was, I fancy, on board the 
Steam Roller that a cousin of mine, when still deep 
in hard-earned slumber, and still far outside " The 
Heads " {i.e. the entrance of Cork Harbour), was 
assaulted by the steward. 

" Come, get up, get up ! " said the steward, shaking 
him by the shoulder, with the licence of old acquaint- 
ance and authority. 

My cousin replied with a recommendation to the 
steward to betake himself to a rival place of torment, 
where (he added) there was little the steward could 
learn, and much that he could teach. 


" Well," replied the steward, dispassionately, " ye're 
partly right. Ye have an hour yet." 

Thus I found myself back in Carbery again, left 
once more to follow my own buccaneering fancy in 
the domain of Art, a little straightened and corrected, 
perhaps, in eye, and with ideas on matters aesthetic 
beneficially widened. But this was due mainly to 
one who has ever been my patron saint in Art, that 
cousin who preferred reverie to Shakespeare ; partly, 
also, to peripatetic lunches among the pictures and 
marvels of the South Kensington Museum ; not, I 
say firmly, to that heavy-earned Pass for the Antique. 

My next term of serious apprenticeship did not 
occur for four or five years, and was spent in Diissel- 
dorf. One of my cousins (now my brother-in-law), 
Egerton Coghill, was studying painting there, and 
advised my doing the same. It was there, therefore, 
that I made my first dash into drawing from life, 
under the guidance of M. Gabriel Nicolet, then himself 
a student, now a well-known and successful portrait- 
painter. In the following spring I was there again, 
for singing lessons as well as for painting. This 
time I had Herr Carl Sohn for my professor, a delight- 
ful painter, who helped me much, but on the whole I 
think that I learnt more of music than of anything 
else while I was in Diisseldorf, and had I learnt 
nothing of either, I can at least look back to the 
concerts at the Ton Halle, and praise Heaven for 
the remembrance of their super-excellence. Twice 
a week came the concerts ; it was very much the 
thing to go to them, and I have not often enjoyed 
music more than I have at those Ton Halle nights, 
sitting with the good friends whom Providence had 
considerately sent to Diisseldorf to be kind to me, 
in an atmosphere of rank German tobacco, listening 
to the best of orchestras, and enjoying every note 


they played, while I covered my programme with 
caricatures (as, also, was very much the thing to 

My friends and I joined one of the big Gesang 
Vereins, and a very good two months ended in three 
ecstatic days of singing alto in the Rheinische Musik 
Fest, which, by great good luck, took place that May 
in Diisseldorf. 

The Abbe Liszt was one of the glories of the 
occasion. I saw him roving through the gardens of 
the Ton Halle, with an ignored train of admirers 
at his heels ; an old lion, with a silver mane, and a 
dark, untamed eye. 

I do not regret those two springs in Dusseldorf, 
but still less do I regret the change of counsels that 
resulted in my going to Paris in the following year. 
" When the true gods come, the half-gods go," and, 
apart from other considerations, the Dusseldorf School 
of Art only admitted male students, and ignored, 
with true German chivalry, the other half of creation. 

Of old, we are told, Freedom sat on the heights, 
well above the snow line, no doubt, and, even in 
1884, she was disposed to turn a freezing eye and a 
cold shoulder on any young woman who had the 
temerity to climb in her direction. My cousin, who 
had been painting in Dusseldorf, had moved on to 
Paris, and his reports of the studios there, as compared 
with the possibilities of work in Diisseldorf, settled 
the question for me. But the point was not carried 
without friction. 

" Paris ! " 

They all said this at the tops of their voices. It 
does not specially matter now who they were ; there 
are always people to say this kind of thing. 

They said that Paris was the Scarlet Woman 
embodied ; they also said. 


" The IDEA of letting a girl go to Paris ! " 

This they said incessantly in capital letters, and 
in " capital letters " (they were renowned for writing 
" capital letters "), and my mother was frightened. 

So a compromise was effected, and I went to Paris 
with a bodyguard, consisting of my mother, my eldest 
brother, a female cousin, and with us another girl, 
the friend with whom I had worked in Dusseldorf. 
We went to a pension in the Avenue de Villiers, which, 
I should imagine and hope, exists no more. 

As I think of its gloomy and hideous salons, its 
atmosphere of garlic and bad cigars, its system of 
ventilation, which consisted of heated draughts that 
travelled from one stifling room to another, seeking 
an open window and finding none ; when I remember 
the thread-like passages, dark as in a coal mine, the 
clusters of tiny bedrooms, as thick as cells in a wasp's 
nest ; the endless yet inadequate meals, I recognise, 
with long overdue gratitude, the devotion of the 
bodyguard. For me and my fellow-student nothing 
of this signified. For us was the larger air, the 
engrossing toil of the studio. It absorbed us from 
8 a.m. till 5 p.m. But the wheels of the bodyguard 
drave heavily, and they had a poor time of it. 

So poor indeed was it, that, after three weeks of 
conscientious sight-seeing and no afternoon tea (" Le 
Fife o'clock " not having then reached the shores 
of France), my mother decided it were better to 
leave me alone, sitting upon the very knee of the 
Scarlet Woman, than to endure the Avenue de Vil- 
liers any longer, and to fly back to what she was 
wont to describe to her offspring, if restive, as " your- 
own-good-home-and-what-more-do-you-want." (In 
this connection, I remember an argument I once had 
with her, in which, being young and merely theoreti- 
cally affaired with the matter, I furiously asserted 


my preference, even — as the fight warmed — my adora- 
tion, for the practice of cremation, and my unalterable 
resolve to be thus disposed of. My mother, who 
would rise to any argument, no less furiously combated 
the suggestion, and finally clinched the matter by 
saying, " Cremation ! Nonsense 1 I can tell you, 
my fine friend, you shall just be popped into your 
own good family vault 1 ") 

With the departure of my people. May Goodhall 
and I also shook off as much of the dust of the Avenue 
de Villiers as was possible, and moved to another 
pension^ nearly vis-a-vis the Studio. This latter 
was an offshoot of the well-known Atelier Colarossi. 
It had been started in the Rue Washington (Avenue 
des Champs Elysees) in order to secure English and 
American clients, as well as those French jeunes fllles 
bien elevees to whose parents the studios of the Quartier 
Latin did not commend themselves. Its tone was 
distinctly amateur ; we were all " tres bien elevSes " 
and " tres gentilles,^' and in recognition of this, a sort 
of professional chaperon had been provided, a small, 
cross female, who made up the fire, posed the models, 
and fought with les Sieves over the poses, and hatred 
for whom created a bond of union among all who came 
within her orbit. One of the French girls, Mile. 

La C , fair, smart, good-looking, bestowed upon 

me some degree of favour. The class was wont to do 
a weekly composition for correction by M. Dagnan- 
Bouveret, who was one of the professors ; the subjects 

he selected were usually Scriptural, and Mile. La C 

was accustomed to appeal to me for information. She 
was, I remember, quite at sea about La fille de Jephtiy 
and explained that the Bible was a book not convenable 
pour les jeunes filles, whereas the Lives of the Saints 
were most interesting, and full of a thousand delicious 
little horrors. Without approaching Martin's Sunday 


School erudition, I presently found myself established 
as the exponent of the composition. I recollect one 
week, when the subject was " The Maries at the 
Sepulchre," an obsequious German came to inquire 
" if eet was in ze morning zat ze holy Laties did co 
to ze tomb ? Or did zose Laties, perhaps, co in ze 
efening ? " 

Mile, la C 's home chanced to be the house next 

but one to the Studio, and the Rue Washington was 
a street of a decorum appropriate to its name. None 
the less, a bonne came daily at 12 o'clock to escort 
her home for dejeuner. There came a day when the 
bonne failed of her mission, and on my return at one 
o'clock, I found my young friend (who was as old as 
she would ever, probably, admit to being) faint with 
hunger, and very angry, but too much afraid of the 
wrath of her family to return alone. 

One wonders whether, even in provincial France, 
Freedom still denies herself to this extent. 

In the following spring I went again to Paris, and 
this time, my friend May Goodhall being unfortu- 
nately unable to come with me, a very delightful 
American, and her friend, German by up-bringing, 
but of old French noble descent, allowed me to join 
their menage. Its duties were divided according 

to our capacities. Marion A was housekeeper, 

" Ponce," by virtue of her German training, was cook, 
and to me was allotted the humble role of scullion. 
We had rooms in a tall and filthy old house in the Rue 
Madame, one of those sinister and dark and narrow 
streets that one finds in the Rive Gauche, that seem 
as if they must harbour all variety of horrors, known 
and unknown, and are composed of houses whose 
incredible discomforts would break the spirit of any 
creature less inveterate in optimism than an Art 
student. For Marion and Ponce and I had decided 


to abandon the Rue Washington, and to go to what 
was known there as " le Colarossi la-has,"" the real, 
serious, professional studio (as opposed to its refined 
astral body, ''' pres VEtoiW''), and we now felt our- 
selves Art students indeed. 

I don't know how young women manage now, but 
in those days I and my fellows were usually given — 
like the Prodigal Son — a portion, a sum of money, 
which was to last for as long or as short a time as we 
pleased, but we knew that when it ended there would 
be no husks to fall back upon ; nothing but one long 
note on the horn, " Home ! ", and home we should 
have to go. (I once ran it to so fine a point that I 
could buy no food between Paris and London, and 
when I arrived at my uncle's house in London, it 
was my long-suffering uncle who paid the cabman.) 

Therefore, for the keen ones, the most stringent 
and profound economies were the rule. Never did I 
reveal to my father and mother more than the most 
carefully selected details of that house in the Rue 
Madame. I paid seven francs per week for my 
bedroom and service, and though this may not 
seem excessive, I am inclined now to think that the 
accommodation was dear at the money. My room, 
au cinquieme, had a tiled floor, but this was of less 
consequence, as its size permitted of most of the 
affairs of life being conducted from a central and 
stationary position on the bed. Thence, I could shut 
the door, poke the fire, cook my breakfast, and open 
the window, a conventional rite, quite disconnected 
with the question of fresh air. The outlook was into 
a central shaft, full of darkness and windows, remark- 
able for the variety and pungency of its atmosphere, 
and for the fact that at no hour of the day or night did 
it cease to reverberate with the thunderous gabble of 
pianos, the acrid screeches of the violin — (to which 


latter I contributed a not unworthy share) — and, 
worst of all, the Solfeggi of the embryo vocalist. 

The service (comprised, it may be remembered, 
in the daily franc) consisted in the occasional offices 
of a male housemaid, whose professional visits could 
only be traced by the diminution of our hoarded 
supplies of English cigarettes. Yet he was not all 
evil. He reminded me of my own people at home in 
his readiness to perform any task that was not part 
of his duties, and a small coin would generally evoke 

hot water. Marion A , who had retained, even in 

the Rue Madame, a domestic standard to which I 
never aspired, would, at intervals, offer Leon her 
opinion of him and his methods. The housemaid, 
with one of Ponce's cigarettes in the corner of his 
mouth, and one of mine behind his ear, would accept 
it in the best spirit possible, and once went so far as 
to assure her, with a charming smile, that he had now 
been so much and so very often scolded that he really 
did not mind it in the least. 

Colarossi, the proprietor of the studios, was a wily 
and good-natured old Italian, who had been a model, 
and having saved money, had somehow acquired a 
nest of tumble-down studios in the Rue de la Grande 
Chaumiere. He then bribed, with the promise of 
brilliant pupils, some rising artists to act as his 
" Professeurs," and secured, with the promise of 
brilliant professors, a satisfactory crowd of rising 
pupils, and by various arts he had succeeded in keeping 
both promises sufficiently to make his venture a suc- 
cess. The studio in which I worked was at the top of 
the building, and was reached by a very precarious, 
external wooden staircase ; the men-students were 
on the ground-floor beneath us. " Le Colarossi la- 
has " was indisputably serious. The models were 
well managed, as might be expected, when no trick 

I 2 


of the trade could hope to pass undetected by " Le 
Patron " ; the students were there to work, and to 
do good work at that, and the women*s and men's 
studios were all crowded with " les sirieux" Raphael 
Collin, gloomy, pale, pock-marked, and clever, and 
Gustave Courtois — " Le beau Gustave '* — tall and 
swaggering, with a forked red beard, and a furious 
moustache like two emphatic accents (both grave 
and acute), were our professors. They were both 
first-rate men, and were respected as much as 
they were feared. They went their rounds with 
— as it were — scythe blades on their chariot wheels, 
and flaming swords in their hands. It was nerve- 
shaking to hear the cheerful and incessant noises of 
" les hommes en has '* cease in an instant, as though 
they had all been turned to stone, and to know that 
the Terror that walked in the noonday was upon them. 
Extraordinary how that silence, and that awful time 
of waiting for the step on our stair, opened the eyes ; 
everything was wrong, and it was now too late to 
make it right. And then, the professor's tour of 
slaughter over, and the study, that was ^^ pas assez 
Men construit" looking with its savage corrections, 
as if someone had been striking matches on it, how 
feebly one tottered to the old concierge for the three 
sous' worth of black coffee that was to pull one 
together, and enable the same office to be performed 
for the humiliated drawing. It may, however, be 
remembered to '^ le beau Gustave " that one eleve 
was spared from the fire and sword to which he was 
wont to put the Studio. This was a small and ancient 
widow who arrived one Monday morning, announcing 
that she was eighty-two, but none the less had decided 
to become an artist. It was soon pathetically obvious 
that she would require a further eighty-two years, at 
least, to carry out her intention. Courtois came. 


regarded with stupefaction the sheet of brown paper 
on which she had described, in pink chalk, hiero- 
glyphs whose purport were known only to herself, 
faltered " Continuez, Madame,^^ and hurried on. De- 
spite this encouragement, the old lady apparently 
abandoned her high resolve, for on Saturday she 
departed, and the Studio knew her no more. 

When I think of Colarossi's, I can now recall only 
foreigners ; many Germans, a Czech, who sang, 
beautifully, enchanting Volksliede of the Balkans, 
and whose accompaniments I used to play on a piano 
that properly required two performers, one to sit on 
the music stool and put the notes down, the other to 
sit on the floor and push them up again ; they all 
stuck. There were Swiss, and Russians, and Fin- 
landaises ; there was a Hungarian Jewess, a disgusting 
being, almost brutish in her manners and customs, 
yet briUiant in her work ; an oily little Marseillaise, 
Parthians and Medes and Elamites, dwellers in 
Mesopotamia (with a stress upon the first syllable), 
unclean, uncivilised, determined, with but one object 
in life, to extract the last sou of value from their 
abonnements (and, incidentally, also to extract from 
any unguarded receptacle such colours, charcoal, 
punaises, etc., as they were in need of, uninfluenced 
by any consideration save that of detection.) 

The standard of accomplishment was very high. 
The Marseillaise, who looked like a rag-picker, did 
extraordinarily good work; so, as I have said, did 
the Jewess, whose appearance suggested an itinerant 
barrow and fried potatoes. (Delicious French fried 
potatoes 1 I used to buy five sous' worth off a brazier 
at the corner of the Place S. Sulpice, and carry them 
back to the mSnage wrapped in a piece of La 
PatriCy until Ponce, who adored animals, was told 
very officiously that they were fried in the fat of 


lost dogs, and forbade further dealings with the 

Colarossi's never took " a day off." Weekdays, 
Sundays, and holy days, the studios were open, and 
there were Sieves at work. Impossible to imagine 
what has become of them, all those strange, half- 
sophisticated savages, diligently polishing their single 
weapon, to which all else had been sacrificed. 

Yet when I look back to the Studio, to its profound 
engrossment in its intention, its single-hearted sacri- 
fice of everything in life to the one Vision, its gorgeous 
contempt for appearances and conventions, I find 
myself thinking how good it would be to be five and 
twenty, and storming up that rickety staircase again, 
with a paint-box in one hand, and a Carton as big as 
the Gates of Gaza in the other. 




" Sure ye're always laughing ! That ye may laugh 
in the sight of the Glory of Heaven ! " 

This benediction was bestowed upon Martin by a 
beggar-woman in Skibbereen, and I hope, and believe, 
it has been fulfilled. Wherever she was, if a thing 
amused her she had to laugh. I can see her in such 
a case, the unpredictable thing that was to touch the 
spot, said or done, with streaming tears, helpless, 
almost agonised, much as one has seen a child writhe 
in the tortured ecstasy of being tickled. The large 
conventional jest had but small power over her ; it 
was the trivial, subtle absurdity, the inversion of the 
expected, the sublimity getting a little above itself 
and failing to realise that it had taken that fatal 
step over the border ; these were the things that 
felled her, and laid her, wherever she might be, in 

In Richmond Parish Church, on a summer Sunday, 
it happened to her and a friend to be obliged to stand 
in the aisle, awaiting the patronage of the pew- 
opener. The aisle was thronged, and Martin was tired. 
She essayed to lean against the end of a fully occupied 
pew, and not only fully occupied, but occupied by a 
row of such devout and splendid ladies as are only 
seen in perfection in smart suburban churches. 1 


have said the aisle was thronged, and, as she leaned, 
the pressure increased. Too late she knew that she 
had miscalculated her mark. Like Sisera, the son of 
Jabin, she bowed (only she bowed backwards), she 
fell ; where she fell, there she lay down, and where 
she lay down was along the laps of those devout and 
splendid ladies. These gazed down into her con- 
vulsed countenance with eyes that could not have 
expressed greater horror or surprise if she had been a 
boa constrictor ; a smileless glare, terribly enhanced 
by gold-rimmed pince-nez. She thinks she must 
have extended over fully four of them. She never 
knew how she regained the aisle. She was herself 
quite powerless, and she thinks that with knee action, 
similar to that of a knife-grinder, they must have 
banged her on to her feet. It was enough for her to 
be beyond the power of those horrified and indignant 
and gold eye-glassed eyes, even though she knew that 
nothing could deliver her from the grip of the demon 
of laughter. She says she was given a seat, out of 
pity, I suppose, shortly afterwards, and there, on 
her knees and hidden under the brim of her hat, she 
wept, and uttered those faint insect squeaks that 
indicate the extremity of endurance, until the end of 
the service, when her unfortunate companion led her 

It was, as it happens, in church that I saw her first ; 
in our own church, in Castle Townshend. That was 
on Sunday, January 17, 1886. I immediately com- 
mandeered her to sing in the choir, and from that day, 
little as she then knew it, she was fated to become one 
of its fundamental props and stays. A position than 
which few are more arduous and none more thank- 

I suppose some suggestion of what she looked like 
should here be given. The photograph that forms 


the frontispiece of this book was of this period, and 
it gives as good a suggestion of her as can be hoped 
for from a photograph. She was of what was then 
considered " medium height," 5 ft. 5j in. Since then 
the standard has gone up, but in 1886 Martin was 
accustomed to assert that small men considered her 
" a monstrous fine woman," and big men said she was 
" a dear little thing." I find myself incapable of 
appraising her. Many drawings I have made of her, 
and, that spring of 1886, before I went to Paris, I 
attempted also a small sketch in oils, with a hope, 
that was futile, that colour might succeed where black 
and white had failed. I can only offer an inadequate 

Eyes : large, soft, and brown, with the charm of 
expression that is often one of the compensations 
of short sight. Hair : bright brown and waving, 
liable to come down out riding, and on one such occa- 
sion described by an impressionable old General as 
" a chestnut wealth," a stigma that she was never 
able to live down. A colour like a wild rose — a simile 
that should be revered on account of its long service 
to mankind, and must be forgiven since none other 
meets the case — and a figure of the lightest and 
slightest, on which had been bestowed the great and 
capricious boon of smartness, which is a thing 
apart, and does not rely upon merely anatomical 

"By Jove, Miss Martin," said an ancient dressmaker, 
of the order generically known as " little women," 
" By Jove, Miss, you have a very genteel back ! " 
And the compliment could not have been better put, 
though I think, from a literary standpoint, it was 
excelled by a commendation pronounced by a " little 
tailor " on a coat of his own construction. " Now, Mr. 
Sullivan," said his client anxiously, twining her neck. 


giraffe-like, in a vain endeavour, to view the small 
of her own back, " is the back right ? " 

"Mrs.Cair'rns," replied Mr. Sullivan with solemnity, 
" humanity could do no more." 

Martin's figure, good anywhere, looked its best 
in the saddle ; she had the effect of having poised 
there without effort, as a bird poises on a spray ; 
she looked even more of a feather-weight than she 
was, yet no horse that I have ever known, could, with 
his most malign capers, discompose the airy security 
of her seat, still less shake her nerve. Before I knew 
how extravagantly short-sighted she was, I did not 
appreciate the pluck that permitted her to accept 
any sort of a mount, and to face any sort of a fence, 
blindfold, and that inspired her out hunting to charge 
what came in her way, with no more knowledge of 
what was to happen than Marcus Curtius had when 
he leaped into the gulf. 

It is trite, not to say stupid, to expatiate upon that 
January Sunday when I first met her ; yet it has 
proved the hinge of my life, the place where my fate, 
and hers, turned over, and new and unforeseen things 
began to happen to us. They did not happen at 
once. An idler, more good-for-nothing pack of " blag- 
yards " than we all were could not easily be found. 
I, alone, kept up a pretence of occupation ; I was 
making drawings for the Graphic in those days, and 
was in the habit of impounding my young friends as 
models. My then studio— better known as " the Pur- 
lieu," because my mother, inveighing against its 
extreme disorder, had compared it to " the revolting 
purlieus of some disgusting town " — (I have said she 
did not spare emphasis) — was a meeting place for 
the unemployed, I may say the unemployable, even 
though I could occasionally wring a pose from one of 


Many and strange were the expedients to which I 
had to resort in the execution of those drawings for 
the Graphic. For one series that set forth the romantic 
and cheiromantic adventures of a clergyman, and the 
lady (Martin) of his choice, the bedroom of a clerical 
guest had to be burgled, and his Sunday coat and hat 
abstracted, at imminent risk of discovery. In another, 
entitled " A Mule Ride in Trinidad," a brother, in 
the exiguous costume of bathing drawers and a large 
straw hat, was for two mornings one of the attractions 
and ornaments of the Purlieu, after which he retired 
to bed with a heavy cold, calling down curses upon 
the Purlieu stove (an objet d'art of which Mrs. 
Martin had said that it solved the problem of pro- 
ducing smoke without fire). Of another series dealing 
with the adventures of a student of the violin in Paris, 
I find in my diary the moving entry, " Crucified 
Martin head downwards, as the fiddle girl, practising, 
with her music on the floor. Compelled H." (another 
female relative whose name shall be withheld) " to 
pose as a Paris tram horse, in white stockings, with 
a chowrie for a tail." 

These artistic exertions were varied by schooling 
the carriage horses across country — in this connection 
I find mention of a youth imported by a brother, 
and briefly alluded to by Martin as " a being like 
a little meek bird with a brogue " ; tobogganing in a 
bath chair down the village hill (Castle Townshend 
Hill, which has a fall of about fifty feet in two) ; 
" giant-striding " on the fly pole in January mud ; 
and, by the exercise of Machiavellian diplomacy, 
securing Sorcerer and Ballyhooly, the carriage horses 
aforesaid, for an occasional day with a scratch pack 
of trencher-fed hounds, that visited the country at 
intervals, and for whom the epithet " scratch " was 
appropriate in more senses than one. 


It is perhaps noteworthy that on my second or 
third meeting with Martin I suggested to her that we 
should write a book together and that I should illus- 
trate it. We had each of us already made our debut 
in print ; she in the grave columns of the Irish Times, 
with an article on the Administration of Relief to the 
Sufferers from the " Bad Times " of which she makes 
mention in her memoir of her brother Robert (page 
37) ; I in the Argosy, with a short story, founded upon 
an incident of high improbability, recounted, by the 
way, by the " little meek bird with a brogue "; and 
not, I fear, made more credible by my rendering of 
it, which had all the worst faults of conventionality 
and sensationalism. 

The literary atmosphere that year was full of what 
were known as " Shilling Shockers." A great hit had 
been made with a book of this variety, named 
" Called Back," and two cousins of our mothers', Mr. 
W. Wills (the dramatist, already mentioned), and the 
Hon. Mrs. Greene (whose delightful stories for children, 
" Cushions and Corners," " The Grey House on the 
Hill," etc., mark an epoch in such literature), were 
reported to be collaborating in such a work. But 
I went to Paris, and Martin put forth on a prolonged 
round of visits, and our literary ambitions were stowed 
away with our winter clothes. 

In June I returned from Paris ; ** pale and 
dwindled," Martin's diary mentions, " but fashion- 
able," which I find gratifying, though quite untrue. 
It was one of those perfect summers that come some- 
times to the south of Ireland, when rain is not, and 
the sun is hot, but never too hot, and the gardens 
are a storm of flowers, flowers such as one does not 
see elsewhere, children of the south and the sun 
and the sea ; tall delphiniums that have climbed to 
the sky and brought down its most heavenly blue ; 


Japanese iris, with their pale and dappled lilac discs 
spread forth to the sun, like little plates and saucers 
at a high and honourable " tea ceremony " in the 
land of Nippon ; peonies and poppies, arums and 
asphodel, every one of them three times as tall, and 
three times as brilliant, and three times as sweet as 
any of their English cousins, and all of them, and 
everything else as well, irradiated for me that happy 
year by a new " Spirit of Delight." It was, as I have 
said, though then we knew it only dimly, the beginning, 
for us, of a new era. For most boys and girls the 
varying, yet invariable, flirtations, and emotional 
episodes of youth, are resolved and composed by 
marriage. To Martin and to me was opened another 
way, and the flowering of both our lives was when we 
met each other. 

If ever Ireland should become organised and 
systematised, and allotmented, I would put in a 
plea that the parish of Castle Haven may be kept 
as a national reserve for idlers and artists and idealists. 
The memory comes back to me of those blue mornings 
of mid-June that Martin and I, with perhaps the 
saving pretence of a paint-box, used to spend, lying 
on the warm, short grass of the sheep fields on 
Drishane Side, high over the harbour, listening to the 
curving cry of the curlews and the mewing of the 
sea-gulls, as they drifted in the blue over our heads ; 
watching the sunlight waking dancing stars to life 
in the deeper blue firmament below, and criticising 
condescendingly the manoeuvres of the little white- 
sailed racing yachts, as they strove and squeezed 
round their mark-buoys, or rushed emulously to the 
horizon and back again. Below us, by a hundred 
feet or so, other idlers bathed in the Dutchman's 
Cove, uttering those sea-bird screams that seem to 
be induced by the sea equally in girls as in gulls. 


But Martin and I, having taken high ground as artists 
and ideahsts, remained, roasting gloriously in the 
sun, at the top of the cliffs. 

That summer was for all of us a time of extreme 
and excessive lawn tennis. Tournaments, formal and 
informal, were incessant, challenges and matches 
raged. Martin and I played an unforgettable match 
against two long-legged lads, whose handicap, con- 
sisting as it did in tight skirts, and highly-trimmed 
mushroom hats, pressed nearly as heavily on us as 
on them. My mother, and a female friend of like 
passions with herself, had backed us to win, and they 
kept up a wonderful and shameless barrage of abuse 
between the petticoated warriors and their game, and 
an equally staunch supporting fire of encouragement 
to us. When at last Martin and I triumphed, my 
mother and the female friend were voiceless from long 
screaming, but they rushed speechlessly into the 
middle of the court and there flung themselves into 
each other's arms. 

It was one of those times of high tide that come now 
and then, and not in the Golden World did the time 
fleet more carelessly than it did for all of us that 
summer. The mornings for sheer idling, the after- 
noons for lawn tennis, the evenings for dancing, to 
my mother's unrivalled playing ; or there was a 
coming concert, or a function in the church, to be 
practised for. A new and zealous clergyman had 
recently taken the place of a very easy-going cousin of 
my mother's, and I find in Martin's diary this entry : 

" Unparalleled insolence of the new Parson, who 
wanted to know, on Saturday, if Edith had yet chosen 
the hymns ! " and again — " E. by superhuman exer- 
tions, got the hymns away " (i.e. sent up to the reading 

desk) " before the 3rd Collect. Canon swore 

himself in." 

Kind and excellent man ! Had the organist been 


the subject sworn about, no one could have blamed 
him. It was his hat and coat that we stole. His 
wondrous gentleness and long suffering with a rap- 
scallion choir shall not be forgotten by a no less 
rapscallion organist. 

When I try to recall that lovely summer and its 
successor, the year of the old Queen's First Jubilee, 
1887, 1 seem best to remember those magical evenings 
when two or three boat-loads of us would row " up 
the river," which is no river, but a narrow and 
winding sea-creek, of, as we hold, unparalleled 
beauty, between high hills, with trees on both its 
sides, drooping low over the water, and seaweed, 
instead of ivy, hanging from their branches. Nothing 
more enchanting than resting on one's oars in the 
heart of that dark mirror, with no sound but the sleepy 
chuckle of the herons in the tall trees on the hill-side, 
or the gurgle of the tide against the bows, until some- 
one, perhaps, would start one of the glees that were 
being practised for the then concert — there was 
always one in the offing— and the Echo, that dwells 
opposite Roger's Island, would wake from its sleep 
and join in, not more than half a minute behind the 

Or out at the mouth of the harbour, the boats 
rocking a little in the wide golden fields of moon- 
light, golden as sunlight, almost, in those August 
nights, and the lazy oars, paddling in what seemed 
a sea of opal oil, would drip with the pale flames 
of the phosphorus that seethed and whispered at 
their touch, when, as Martin has said, 

" Land and sea lay in rapt accord, and the breast 
of the brimming tide was laid to the breast of the 
cliff, with a low and broken voice of joy." 

These are some of those Irish yesterdays, that came 
and went lightly, and were more memorable than 
Martin and I knew, that summer, when first she came. 


I THINK that the final impulse towards the career 
of letters was given to us by that sorceress of whom 
mention has already been made. By her we were 
assured of much that we did, and even more that 
we did not aspire to (which included two husbands 
for me, and at least one for Martin) ; but in the former 
category was included " literary success," and, with 
that we took heart and went forward. 

It was in October, 1887, that we began what was 
soon to be known to us as " The Shocker," and " The 
Shaughraun," to our family generally, as '* that 
nonsense of the girls," and subsequently, to the general 
public, as " An Irish Cousin." Seldom have the 
young and ardent " commenced author " under less 
conducive circumstances. We were resented on so 
many grounds. Waste of time ; the arrogance of 
having conceived such a project ; and, chiefly, the 
abstention of two playmates. They called us " The 
Shockers," " The Geniuses " (this in bitter irony), 
" The Hugger-muggerers " (this flight of fancy was 
my mother's) ; when not actually reviled, we were 
treated with much the same disapproving sufferance 
that is shown to an outside dog who sneaks into the 
house on a wet day. We compared ourselves, not 
without reason, to the Waldenses and the Albigenses, 


and hid and fled about the house, with the knowledge 
that every man's hand was against us. 

Begun in idleness and without conviction, persecu- 
tion had its usual effect, and deepened somewhat tepid 
effort into enthusiasm, but the first genuine literary- 
impulse was given by a visit to an old and lonely 
house, that stands on the edge of the sea, some 
twelve or thirteen miles from Drishane. It was at 
that time inhabited by a distant kinswoman of mine, 
a pathetic little old spinster lady, with the most 
charming, refined, and delicate looks, and a pretty 
voice, made interesting by the old-fashioned Irish 
touch in it ; provincial, in that it told of life in a 
province, yet entirely compatible with gentle breeding. 
She called me " Eddith," I remember (a pronunciation 
entirely her own), and she addressed the remarkable 
being who ushered us in, half butler, half coachman, 
as " Dinnis," and she asked us to " take a glass of 
wine " with her, and, apologising for the all too brief 
glimpse of the fire vouchsafed to the leg of mutton, 
said she trusted we did not mind the meat being 
" rare." 

The little lady who entertained us is dead now ; the 
old house, stripped of its ancient portraits and furni- 
ture, is, like many another, in the hands of farmer- 
people ; its gardens have reverted to jungle. I wonder 
if the tombstone of the little pet dog has been 
respected. In the shade of a row of immense junipers, 
that made a sheltering hedge between the flower 
garden and the wide Atlantic, stood the stone, in- 
scribed, with the romantic preciosity of our hostess's 


" Lily, a violet-shrouded tomb of woe." 

But it was the old house, dying even then, that 
touched our imaginations ; full of memories of brave 
days past, when the little lady's great-grandfather, 



" Splendid Ned," had been a leading blade in " The 
County of Corke Militia Dragoons," and his son, her 
grandfather, had raised a troop of yeomanry to fight 
the Whiteboys, and, when the English Government 
disbanded the yeomen, had, in just fury, pitched their 
arms over the cliff into the sea, rather than yield them 
to the rebels, and had then drunk the King's health, 
with showy loyalty, in claret that had never paid the 
same King a farthing. 

We had ridden the long thirteen miles in gorgeous 
October sunshine ; before we had seen the gardens, 
and the old castle on the cliff, and the views generally, 
the sun was low in the sky, but we were not allowed 
to leave until a tea, as colossal as our lunch had been, 
was consumed. Our protests were unheeded, and we 
were assured that we should be "no time at all 
springing through the country home." (A sugges- 
tion that moved Martin so disastrously, that only by 
means of hasty and forced facetiousness was I enabled 
to justify her reception of it.) The sunset was red 
in the west when our horses were brought round to 
the door, and it was at that precise moment that 
into the Irish Cousin some thrill of genuineness was 
breathed. In the darkened fa9ade of the long grey 
house, a window, just over the hall-door, caught our 
attention. In it, for an instant, was a white face. 
Trails of ivy hung over the panes, but we saw the 
face glimmer there for a minute and vanish. 

As we rode home along the side of the hills, and 
watched the fires of the sunset sink into the sea, and 
met the crescent moon coming with faint light to 
lead us home, we could talk and think only of that 
presence at the window. We had been warned of 
certain subjects not to be approached, and knew 
enough of the history of that old house to realise 
what we had seen. An old stock, isolated from the 


world at large, wearing itself out in those excesses 
that are a protest of human nature against unnatural 
conditions, dies at last with its victims round its 
death-bed. Half-acknowledged, half-witted, wholly 
horrifying ; living ghosts, haunting the house that 
gave them but half their share of life, yet withheld 
from them, with half-hearted guardianship, the boon 
of death. 

The shock of it was what we had needed, and with 
it " the Shocker " started into life, or, if that is too 
much to say for it, its authors, at least, felt that 
conviction had come to them ; the insincere ambition 
of the " Penny Dreadful " faded, realities asserted 
themselves, and the faked " thrills " that were to 
make our fortunes were repudiated for ever. Little 
as we may have achieved it, an ideal of Art rose then 
for us, far and faint as the half-moon, and often, like 
her, hidden in clouds, yet never quite lost or forgotten. 

* Hf i¥ * * 

Probably all those who have driven the pen, in 
either single or double harness, are familiar with 
the questions wont to be propounded by those inte- 
rested, or anxious to appear interested, in the craft 
of letters. It is strange how beaten a track curiosity 
uses. The inquiries vary but little. One type of 
investigator regards the metier of book-maker as a 
kind of cross between the trades of cook and conjurer. 
If the recipe of the mixture, or the trick of its produc- 
tion, can be extracted from those possessed of the 
secret, the desired result can be achieved as simply 
as a rice pudding, and forced like a card upon the 
pubhshers. The alternative inquirer approaches the 
problem from the opposite pole, and poses respect- 
fully that conundrum with which the Youth felled 
Father William : 

" What makes you so awfully clever ? " " How 

K 2 


do you think of the things ? " And again, " How 
can you make the words come one after the other ? " 
And yet another, more wounding, though put in all 
good feeling, " But how do you manage about the 
spelling ? I suppose the printers do that for you ? " 
With Martin and me, however, the fact of our 
collaboration admitted of variants. I have found a 
fragment of a letter of mine to her that sets forth 
some of these. As it also in some degree expounds 
the type of the examiner, I transcribe it all. 

E. (E. S. to V. F. M. (circa 1904). 

" She was wearing white kid gloves, and was 
eating heavily buttered teacake and drinking tea, 
with her gloves buttoned, and her veil down, and 
her loins, generally, girded, as if she were keeping 
the Passover. She began by discussing Archdeacon 
Z 's wife. 

" * Ah, she was a sweet woman, but she always had 
a very delicate, puny sort of a colour. Ah no, not 
strong.' A sigh, made difficult, but very moving, 
by teacake, followed by hurried absorption of tea. 
' And the poor Archdeacon too. Ah, he was a very 
clever man.' (My countenance probably expressed 
dissent.) * Well, he was very clever at religion. 
Oh, he was a wonderfully holy man ! Now, that's 
what I'd call him, holy. And he used to talk like that. 
Nothing but religion ; he certainly was most clever 
at it.' 

" Later on in the conversation, which lasted, most 
en joy ably, for half an hour, ' Are you the Miss Somer- 
ville who writes the books with Miss Martin ? Now ! 
To think I should have been talking to you all this 
time ! And is it you that do the story and Miss Martin 
the words ? ' (etc., etc., for some time). ' And which 
of you holds the pen ? ' (To this branch of the 


examination much weight was attached, and it 
continued for some time.) ' And do you put in 
everyone you meet ? No ? Only sometimes ? And 
sometimes people who you never met ? Well ! I 
declare, that's like direct inspiration ! ' 

" She was a delightful woman. She went on to 
ask me, 

" * Do you travel much ? I love it ! I think 
Abroad's very pritty. Do you like Abroad ? * 

" She also told me that she and ' me daughter * 
had just been to Dublin — * to see the great tree 
y'know.' By the aid of ' direct inspiration ' I 
guessed that she meant Beerbohm of that ilk, but as 
she hadn't mentioned the theatre, I think it was 
rather a fine effort." 

The question put by this lady, as to which of us 
held the pen, has ever been considered of the greatest 
moment, and, as a matter of fact, during our many 
years of collaboration, it was a point that never 
entered our minds to consider. To those who may be 
interested in an unimportant detail, I may say that 
our work was done conversationally. One or the 
other — not infrequently both, simultaneously — would 
state a proposition. This would be argued, combated 
perhaps, approved, or modified ; it would then be 
written down by the (wholly fortuitous) holder of 
the pen, would be scratched out, scribbled in again ; 
before it found itself finally transferred into decorous 
MS. would probably have suffered many things, but 
it would, at all events, have had the advantage of 
having been well aired. 

I have an interesting letter, written by a very clever 
woman, herself a writer, to a cousin of ours. She 
found it impossible to believe in the jointness of 
the authorship, though she admitted her inability 


to discern the joints in the writing, and having 
given " An Irish Cousin " a handhng far more generous 
than it deserves, says : 

** But though I think the book a ^ success, and 
cannot pick out the fastenings of the two hands, I 
yet think the next novel ought to be by one of them. 
I wonder by which ! I say this because I thought 
the conception and carrying out of ' Willy ' much 
the best part of the character drawing of the whole 
book. It had the real thing in it. If Willy, and the 
poor people's talk, were by one hand, that hand is 
the better of the two, say I ! " 

I sent this letter to Martin, and had " the two 
hands " collaborated in her reply, it could not more 
sufficingly have expressed my feelings. 

V. F. M. to E. (E. S. (Sept., 1889.) 

" You do not say if you want Miss 's most 

interesting letter back. Never mind what she says 
about people writing together. We have proved that 
we can do it, and we shall go on. The reason few 
people can, is because they have separate minds 
upon most subjects, and fight their own hands all 
the time. I think the two Shockers have a very 
strange belief in each other, joined to a critical faculty ; 
added to which, writing together is, to me at least, 
one of the greatest pleasures I have. To write with 
you doubles the triumph and the enjoyment, having 
first halved the trouble and anxiety." 

On January 3rd, 1888, we had finished the first 
half of " An Irish Cousin." 

I find in my diary : "A few last re visionary 
scratches at the poor Shocker, and so farewell for the 
present. Gave it to mother to read. She loathes it." 

All through the spring months we wrote and rewrote. 


and clean-copied, and cast away the clean copies 
illegible from corrections. Intermittently, and as we 
could, we wrote on, and in Martin's diary I find a 
quotation from an old part-song that expressed the 
general attitude towards us : 

" Thus flies the dolphin from the shark, 
And the stag before the hounds." 

Martin and I were the dolphin and the stag. As a 
propitiatory measure the Shocker was read aloud at 
intervals, but with no great success. Our families 
declined to take us seriously, but none the less offered 
criticisms, incessant, and mutually destructive. In 
connection with this point, and as a warning to other 
beginners, I will offer a few quotations from letters 
of this period. 

E. (E. S. to V. F. M. (Spring, 1888.) 

" Minnie says you are too refined, and too anxious 
not to have anything in our book that was ever in 
anyone else's book. Mother, on the other hand, 
complained bitterly of the want of love interest. 
Minnie defended us, and told her that there was now 
plenty of love in it. To which Mother, who had not 
then read the proposal, replied with infinite scorn, 
' only squeezing her hand, my dear ! ' She went on 
to say that she ' liked improprieties.' I assured her 
I had urged you in vain to permit such, and she 
declared that you were quite wrong, and when I 
suggested the comments of The Family, she loudly 
deplored the fact of our writing being known, ignoring 
the fact that she has herself blazoned it to the ends 
of the earth and to Aunt X." 

Following on this, a protest is recorded from another 
relative, on the use of the expression " he ran as if 


the devil were after him," but the letter ends with a 
reassuring postscript. 

" Mother has just said that she thought Chapter IX 
excellent, ' most fiery love * ; though she said it had 
rather taken her by surprise, as she * had not noticed 
a stream of love leading up to it — only jealousy.' " 

At length, in London, on May 24th, the end, which 
had seemed further off than the end of the world, 
came. The MS., fairly and beautifully copied, — type- 
writers being then unborn, — was sent off to Messrs. 
Sampson Low. In a month it returned, without 
comment. We then, with, as Dr. Johnson says, " a 
frigid tranquillity, having little to fear or hope from 
censure, or from praise," placed it in the hands of a 
friend to do with it as he saw fit, and proceeded to 
forget all about it. 

It was not until the following December that the 
dormant Shocker suddenly woke to life. It was on 
Sunday morning, December 2nd, 1888, that the 
fateful letter came. Messrs. R. Bentley & Son offered 
us £25 on publication, and £25 on sale of 500 copies 
of the book, which was to be published in two volumes 
at half a guinea each. 

" All comment is inadequate," says Martin's diary ; 
" wrote a dizzy letter of acceptance to Bentley, and 
went to church, twice, in a glorified trance." 

(Thus did a huntsman of mine, having slain two 
foxes in a morning, which is a rarer feat in Carbery 
than — say — in Cheshire, present himself in gratitude 
at the priest's night-school.) 

Passing over intermediate matters, I will follow 
the career of the Shocker, which was not published 
for six months after its assignment to Messrs. Bentley, 
six months during which Martin had written several 
admirable articles for The World (then edited by 
Mr. Edmund Yates), and I had illustrated a picture- 

"^iV IRISH COUSIN'' 187 

book, " The Kerry Recruit," and written an indifferent 
short story, and we had begun to think about " The 
Real Charlotte." For some reason that I have now 
forgotten, my mother was opposed to my own name 
appearing in " An Irish Cousin." Martin's nom de 
plume was ready to hand, her articles in The World 
having been signed " Martin Ross," but it was only 
after much debate and searching of pedigrees that 
a Somerville ancestress, by name Geilles Herring, was 
selected to face the music for me. Her literary 
career was brief, and was given a death-blow by 
Edmund Yates, who asked " Martin Ross " the reason 
of her collaboration with a grilled herring ; and as 
well as I remember, my own name was permitted to 
appear in the second edition. 

This followed the first with a pleasing celerity, and 
was sold out by the close of the year. Any who have 
themselves been through the mill, and know what it 
is to bring forth a book, will remember the joys, and 
fears, and indignations, and triumphings, that accom- 
pany the appearance of a first-born effort. Many and 
various were the letters and criticisms. Our vast 
relationship made an advertising agency of the most 
far-reaching and pervasive nature, and our friends 
were faithful in their insistence in the matter at the 

" Have you ' An Irish Cousin ? ' " was demanded at 
a Portsmouth bookshop. 

" No, Madam," the bookseller replied, with hauteur, 
" I have no H'Irish relations." 

Looking back on it now, I recognise that what was 
in itself but a very moderate and poorly constructed 
book owed its success, not only with the public, but 
with the reviewers, to the fact that it chanced to be 
the first in its particular field. Miss Edgeworth 
had been the last to write of Irish country life with 


sincerity and originality, dealing with both the upper 
and lower classes, and dealing with both uncon- 
ventionally. Lever's brilliant and extravagant books, 
with their ever enchanting Micky Frees and Corney 
Delaneys, merely created and throned the stage 
Irishman, the apotheosis of the English ideal. It 
was of Lever's period to be extravagant. The 
Handley Cross series is a case in point. Let me 
humbly and hurriedly disclaim any impious thought 
of depreciating Surtees. No one who has ever ridden 
a hunt, or loved a hound, but must admit that he 
has his unsurpassable moments. " The Cat and 
Custard-pot day," with that run that goes with the 
rush of a storm ; the tete-a-tete of Mr. Jorrocks and 
James Pigg, during which they drank each other's 
healths, and the healths of the hounds, and the 
seance culminated with the immortal definition of 
the state of the weather, as it obtained in the cup- 
board ; Soapey Sponge and Lucy Glitters " saiUng 
away with the again breast-high-scent pack "—these 
things are indeed hors concours. But I think it is 
undeniable that the hunting people of Handley Cross, 
like Lever's dragoons, were always at full gallop. 
With Surtees as with Lever, everyone is " all out," 
there is nothing in hand — save perhaps a pair of 
duelling pistols or a tandem whip— and the height of 
the spirits is only equalled by the tallness of the hero's 
talk. That intolerable adjective " rollicking " is 
consecrated to Lever ; if certain of the rank and file 
of the reviewers of our later books could have realised 
with what abhorrence we found it applied to ourselves, 
and could have known how rigorously we had en- 
deavoured to purge our work of anything that might 
justify it, they might, out of the kindness that they 
have always shown us, have been more sparing of it. 
Lever was a Dublin man, who lived most of his 



life on the Continent, and worked, like a scene- 
painter, by artificial light, from memoranda. Miss 
Edgeworth had the privilege, which was also ours, of 
living in Ireland, in the country, and among the people 
of whom she wrote. Of the Irish novels of Miss Lawless 
the same may be said, though the angle at which she 
chose to regard that many-sided and deeply agreeable 
person, the Irish peasant, excluded the humour that 
permeates Miss Edgeworth's books. (One recalls 
with gratitude the " quality toss " of Miss Judy 
McQuirk.) That Miss Edgeworth's father was a 
landlord, and a resident one, deepened her insight 
and widened her opportunities. Panoramic views 
may, no doubt, be obtained from London ; and what 
a County Meath lady spoke of as a " ventre a terre in 
Dublin " has its advantages ; but I am glad that my 
lot arid Martin's were cast " in a fair ground, in a 
good ground. In Carbery " — (with apologies to Mr. 
Kipling)—" by the sea." 

♦ ♦ ♦ * * 

I will not inflict the undeservedly kind comments 
of the reviewers of " An Irish Cousin " upon these 
pages, though I may admit that nothing that I have 
ever read, before or since, has seemed to me as entirely 
delightful as the column and a half that The Spectator 
generously devoted to a very humble book, by two 
unknowns, who had themselves nearly lost belief in it. 

August, 1889, was a lucky month for Martin and 
me. We had a " good Press " — we have often mar- 
velled at its goodness — we were justified of our year 
of despised effort ; the hunted Shockers emerged 
from their caves to take a place in the sun ; we had 
indeed " Commenced Author." 



Before I abandon these " Irish Cousin " years at 
Drishane, I should hke to say something more of the 
old conditions there. I do not think I claim too much 
for my father and mother when I say that they 
represented for the poor people of the parish their 
Earthly Providence, their Court of Universal Appeal, 
and, in my mother's case, their Medical Attendant, 
who, moreover, provided the remedies, as well as the 
nourishment, that she prescribed. 

The years of the 'eighties were years of leanness, 
" years that the locust hath eaten." Congested Dis- 
trict Boards and Departments of Agriculture had not 
then arisen. Successive alterations of the existing 
land tenure had bewildered rather than encouraged 
the primitive farmers of this southern seaboard ; the 
benefits promised were slow in materialising, and in 
the meantime the crops failed. The lowering or 
remission of rents did not mean any immediate 
benefit to people who were often many years in 
arrears. Even in normal years the yield of the land, 
in the district of which I speak, barely sufficed to 
feed the dwellers on it ; the rent, when paid, was, in 
most cases, sent from America, by emigrated sons and 
daughters. There was but little margin at any time. 
In bad years there was hunger. 


Two or three fairly prosperous farms there were, 
and for the rest, a crowd of entirely " uneconomic " 
holdings, a rabble of fragmentary patches, scarcely 
larger than the " allotments " of this present war 
time, each producing a plentiful crop of children, but 
leaving much to be desired in such matters as the 
increase of the soil. 

The district is not a large one. It contains about 
eight miles of fierce and implacable seaboard, with 
only a couple of coves in which the fishermen can find 
some shelter for their boats, and its whole extent is 
but three or four miles in length, by a little more than 
half as many in depth. A great headland, like a lion 
couchant, sentinels it on one side ; on the other, a long 
and malign spike of rock, thinly clad with heather, and 
furze, drives out into the Atlantic, like an alligator 
with jaws turned seawards. Not few are the ships 
that have found their fate in those jaws ; during these 
past three years of war, this stretch of sea has seen 
sudden and fearful happenings, but even these trage- 
dies are scarcely more fearful than those that, in the 
blackness of mid-winter storms, have befallen 
many a ship on the desperate rocks of Yokawn and 

It is hard to blame people for being ignorant, 
equally hard to condemn them for thriftlessness and 
dirt in such conditions as obtained thirty years ago 
in what are now called " Congested Districts." Thrift- 
lessness and dirt were indeed the ruling powers in 
that desolate country. In fortunate years, desolate 
and " congested " though it was, its little fields, inset 
among the rocks and bogs, could produce crops in 
reasonable quantity, and— as I do not wish to overstate 
the case — not less luxuriant in growth than their 
attendant weeds. The yellow ragwort, the purple 
loosestrife, the gorgeous red and orange heads of the 


docks, only in Kerry can \he^efieurs de mal be equalled, 
even in Kerry they cannot be surpassed. The huge 
shoulder of the headland is beautiful with heather 
and ling of all sorts and shades ; the pink sea-thrift — 
would that other forms of thrift throve with equal 
success ! — meets the heather at the verge of the 
cliffs, and looks like a decoration of posies of monthly 
roses. Osmunda Regalis fern fringes the streams, and 
the fuchsia bushes have fed on the Food of the Gods 
and are become trees. On a central plateau, high over 
the sea, stands one of the signal towers that were 
built at the time of the French landing in Bantry. 
In its little courtyard you stand " ringed by the azure 
world." From west to east the ocean is wide before 
you. On many days I have seen it, in summer and 
winter alike lovely ; a vast outlook that snatches 
away your breath, and takes you to its bosom, making 
you feel yourself the very apex and central point of 
the wondrous crescent line of fretted shore, that 
swings from the far blue Fastnet Rock, looking like 
an anchored battleship, on the west, to the long and 
slender arm of the Galley Head, with its white light- 
house, floating like a seagull on the rim of the horizon. 
Between those points, among those heavenly blues and 
greens and purples, that change and glow and melt 
into each other in ecstasies of passionate colour, 
history has been made, and unforgettable things have 
happened. But standing up there in the wind and the 
sun, on that small green circle of grass, hearing the 
sea-birds' wild and restless cries, watching the waves 
lift and break into snow on the flanks of the Stag 
Rocks far below, it is impossible to remember human 
insanity, impossible to think of anything save of the 
overwhelming beauty that encircles you. 

In that climate and that soil anything could flourish, 
given only a little shelter, and a little care, and the 


elimination from the cultivators of traditional im- 
becilities ; eliminating also, if possible, fatalism, and 
the custom of attributing to " the Will o' God " each 
and every disaster, from a houseful of hungry children 
to an outbreak of typhus consequent on hopelessly 
insanitary conditions. 

" How was it the spuds failed with ye ? " asked 
someone, looking at the blackened " lazy-beds " of 

" I couldn't hardly say," replied the cultivator, 
who had omitted the attention of spraying them ; 
" Whatever it was, God spurned them in a boggy 

Things are better now. The Congested Districts 
Board has done much, the general spread of education 
and civilisation has done more. Inspectors, instruc- 
tors, remission of rents, land purchase. State loans, 
English money in various forms, have improved the 
conditions in a way that would hardly have been 
credible thirty years ago, when, in these congested 
districts, semi-famine was chronic, and few, besides 
the " little scholars " of the National Schools, could 
read or write, and the breeding of animals and 
cultivation of crops was the affair of an absentee 
Providence, and no more to be influenced by human 
agency than the vagaries of the weather. 

The first of the " Famines " in which I can remember 
my mother's collecting and distributing relief was in 
1880. The potatoes had failed, and I find it recorded 
that " troops of poor women came to Brisbane from 
the west for help." My mother lectured them on the 
necessity of not eating the potatoes that had been 
given them for seed, and assured them, not as super- 
fluously as might be supposed, that if they ate 
them they could not sow them. To this they replied 
in chorus. 


" May the Lord spare your Honour long ! " and went 
home and boiled the seed-potatoes for supper. 

Poor creatures, what else could they do, with their 
children asking them for food ? 

In that same spring came a woman, crying, and 
saying she was " the most disthressful poor person, 
that hadn't the good luck to be in the Misthress's 
division." Asked where she lived, she replied, 

"I do be like a wild goose over on the side of 
Drominidy Wood." 

Spring after spring, during those dark years for 
Ireland of the 'eighties, the misery and the hunger- 
time recurred. Seed-potatoes, supplied by charity, 
were eaten ; funds were raised, and help, public and 
private, was given, but Famine, like its brother, 
Typhus, was only conciliated, never annihilated. 
In 1891 Mr. Balfour's Relief Fund and Relief Works 
brought almost the first touch of permanence into the 
alleviating conditions. My mother was among the 
chief of the distributors for this parish. Desperate 
though the state of many of the people was, Ireland 
has not yet, thank Heaven, ceased to be Ireland, and 
the distribution of relief had some irrepressibly enter- 
taining aspects that need not wholly be ignored. 

My mother had herself collected a considerable 
sum of money, for buying food and clothes (the 
Government fund being, as well as I recollect, mainly 
devoted to the purchase of seed-potatoes). Many 
were her clients, and grievous though their need was, 
it was impossible not to enjoy the high absurdities 
of her convocations of distribution. These took place 
in the kitchen at Drishane. The women came twice 
a week to get the food tickets, and the preliminary 
gathering in the stable-yard looked and sounded like 
a parliament of rooks. Incredibly ragged and wretched, 
but unquenchable in spirit and conversation, they sat. 


huddled in dark cloaks or shawls, on the ground in 
rows, waiting to be admitted to the kitchen when " The 
Misthress " was ready for them. Most of them had 
known nothing of the existence of the fund until told 
of it by my mother's envoys. It was my mission, 
and that of my brethren, to ride through the dis- 
tressed town-lands, and summon those who seemed in 
worst need, and in my letters and diaries of these 
years I have found many entries on the subject. 

" Jan. 27, 1891. — Rode round the Lickowen country. 
Sickened and stunned by the misery. Hordes of 
women and children in the filthiest rags. Gave as 
many bread and tea tickets as we could, but felt 
helpless and despairing in the face of such hopeless 

" January 30. — Jack and I again rode to the West 
to collect Widows for the Relief Fund. Bagged nine 
and had some lepping " (an ameliorating circumstance 
of these expeditions was the necessity of making 
cross-country short cuts). " Numbers of women came 
over, some being rank frauds ably detected by the 
kitchenmaid ; one or two knee-deep in lies." " The 
boys walked to Bawneshal with tea, etc., for two of 
the worst widows." (The adjective refers to their 
social, not their moral standing.) 

On another occasion I have recorded that my sister 
was sent to inquire into the circumstances of a poor 
woman with a large family. The latter, in absorbed 
interest in the proceedings, surrounded the mother, 
who held in her arms the most recent of the number, 
an infant three weeks old. 

" I have seven children," said the pale mother, 
" and this little one-een that," she turned a humorous 
grey eye on her listening family, " I'm afther taking 
out of the fox's mouth ! " (The fox playing the part 
attributed in Germany to the stork.) 



My sister, absorbed in estimating the needs of the 
seven Httle brothers and sisters, replied absently, 

" Poor little thing I It must have been very 
frightened ! " 

Mrs. ConoUy stared, and, in all her misery, began 
to laugh ; " May the Lord love ye. Miss ! " she said 
compassionately yet admiringly, " May ye never grow 
grey ! " 

The difficulties of distribution were many, not the 
least being that of steeling my mother's heart, and 
keeping her doles in some reasonable relation to her 
resources. I should like to try to give some idea of 
one of these gatherings. Lists of those in most 
immediate need of help had been prepared, I do not 
now remember by whom, and, in the majority of cases, 
the names given were those of the males of the respec- 
tive households. Therefore would my mother, stand- 
ing tall and majestic in the middle of the big, dark, 
old kitchen at Drishane, her list in her hand, certain 
underlings (usually her daughters and the kitchen- 
maid) in attendance, summon to her presence — let 
us say — " John Collins, Jeremiah Leary, Patrick 
DriscoU." (These are names typical of this end of West 
Carbery, and the subsequent proceedings, like the 
names, may be accepted in a representative sense.) 

The underling, as Gold Stick-in-Waiting, would 
then advance to the back door, and from the closely 
attendant throng without would draw, as one draws 
hounds in kennel, but with far more difficulty, the 
female equivalents of the gentlemen in question. 

" Now, John Collins," says my mother (who declared 
it confused her if she didn't stick to what was written 
in the list), addressing a little woman, the rags of whose 
shrouding black shawl made her look like the Jackdaw 
of Rheims subsequent to the curse, " Now, John 
Collins, here's your ticket. Is your daughter better ? " 


" Why then she is not, your Honour, Ma'am," 
raphes John Colhns in a voluble whine, " only worse 
she is. She didn't ate a bit since." John Collins 
pauses, removes a hairpin from her back hair, and with 
nicety indicates on it a quarter of an inch. " God 
knows she didn't ate that much since your Honour 
seen her ; but sure she might fancy some little rarity 
that yourself 'd send her." 

There follow medical details on which I do not 
propose to dwell. My mother, ever a mighty doctor 
before the Lord, prescribes, promises " a rarity," 
in the shape of a rice pudding, and John Collins, well 
satisfied, swings her shawl, yashmak-wise, across her 
mouth, and pads away on her bare feet. 

" Patrick DriscoU ! " 

Patrick Driscoll, bony and haggard, the hood of 
her dark cloak over her red head, demands an extra 
quantity, on the plea of extra poverty. 

She is asked why her husband does not get work. 

" Husband is it ! " echoes Patrick Driscoll, wither- 
ingly, " What have I but a soort of an old man of 
a husband, that's no use only to stay in his bed ! " 

Other women press in through the doorway, despite 
the efforts of the underlings, each eloquent of her 
superior sufferings. Another husband is inquired 

" He's dead, Ma'am, the Lord ha' mercy upon him, 
he's in his coffin this minute ; and Fegs, he was in 
the want of it ! " 

Yet another has a blind husband. 

" Dark as a stone, asthore," she says to Gold Stick, 
" only for he being healthy and qu'ite, I'd be dead 
altogether ! Well, welcome the Will o' God ! I 
might be worse, as bad as I am ! " 

Philosophy, resignation, piety, humour, one finds 
them all in these bewildering, infuriating, enchanting 

L 2 


people. And then, perhaps, a cry from the heart of 
the crowd, 

" Sure ye'll not forget yer own darUn' Mary Leary ! " 

A heartrending appeal that elicits from the Mistress 
a peremptory command not to attempt to come out 
of her turn. 

Nothing could be more admirable than my mother's 
manner with the people. Entirely simple, dictatorial, 
sympathetic, sensible. She believed herself to be 
an infallible judge of character, but " for all and for 
all," as we say in Carbery, her soft heart was often her 
undoing, and her sterner progeny found her bene- 
volence difficult to control. She was, in fact, as a 
man said of a spendthrift and drunken brother, " too 
lion-hearted for her manes " (means). 

" No wonder," said one of her supplicants, " Faith, 
no wonder at all for the Colonel to be proud of her ! 
She'd delight a Black I " 

Whether this imputed to the Black a specially 
severe standard of taste, or if it meant that even the 
most insensate savage would be roused to enthusiasm 
by my mother's beauty, I am unable to deter- 

I have a letter from my companion Gold Stick, from 
which I think a few quotations, in exemplification, 
may be permitted. 


" The women have swarmed since you left. I 
really think I know every one of them now, by voice, 
sight, and smell, notably Widow Catherine Cullinane, 
who has besieged us daily. Her voice is not dulcet, 
especially when raised in abusive entreaty, but she 
has not got anything out of me yet. It is as well that 
C. (a brother) and I are here to manage the show, as 
Mother is, to say the least, lavish. I was out one day 


when a woman called, a Mrs. Michael Kelleher ; she 
has the most magnificent figure, walk, and throat that 
I have ever seen. She is tall, and her throat is exactly 
like the Rossetti women's throats, long and round, and 
like cream. She would make a splendid model for 
you. I had seen her before, and proved her not 
deserving," (O wise young judge of quite nineteen !) 
" her husband being a caretaker with a house and 
4s. a week, and the use of two cows, besides a daughter 
out as a nursemaid. She really did not exactly beg, 
but came to see if she had ' a shance of the sharity.' 
Her eldest boy, aged eleven, had fallen off the cowhouse 
roof on to a cow's back (neither hurt !), and we gave 
her EUiman, which cured him. But the day I was 
out. Mother saw her, and although I had given full 
particulars in the book as to her means " — (her 
princely affluence in fact, as compared with her 
fellows) — " she gave her bread, tea, sugar, and meal, 
simply because she had a baby the other day and had 
a child with a bad cold." 

Regarding the matter dispassionately, and from a 
distance, I should say that either affliction amply 
justified my mother's action, but jH. did not then 
think so. 

" I don't think this will happen again," she resumes, 
severely, " as Mother now regrets having done it. 
All the same, I had the greatest difficulty in stopping 
her from clothing an entire family with the Dorcas 
things, (which are lovely) as I told her, there are not 
100 things, and there are over 200 people, and it 
seems wicked to clothe one family from top to toe, 
so I prevailed. E. says the Balfour Fund will help 
very few of our women." (E. was my cousin Egerton 
Coghill, who, like Robert Martin, had given his 
services to the Government as a distributor of the 
Fund, and, in the south and west of the County Cork, 


had some of the worst districts in Ireland under his 

" No one with less than a quarter of an acre of 
land is entitled to get help," my sister's letter continues, 
" as they can get Out-door Relief from the Rates, and 
no one with one ' healthy male ' able to work on the 
Balfour road can have it, in fact, only those with sick 
husbands, or widows with farms, are eligible. As the 
fund is over £44,000, and I have estimated that £150 
would keep our Western women going for 6 months, 
it seems to me very unfair to send the quarter-acre 
people on to the Rates." 

It may be gathered from this that the difficulties of 
administration were not light ; it may also, perhaps, 
be inferred that the ancient confidence in the landlord 
class (none of these people were tenants of my father's), 
which modern teaching has done its best to obliterate, 
was not entirely misplaced. I do not claim any 
exceptional virtues for my father and mother. Their 
efforts on behalf of their distressed neighbours 
were no more than typical of what their class was, 
and is, accustomed to consider the point of honour. 
It remains to be seen if the substitutes for the old 
order will adopt and continue the tradition of 
" Noblesse oblige.'' 

I have heard a beggar-woman haranguing on this 

" I towld them," she cried, with, I admit, an eye 
on my hand as it sought my pocket, *' you were the 
owld stock, and had the glance of the Somervilles 
in your eye I God be with the owld times ! The 
Somervilles and the Townshends ! Them was the 
rale genthry ! Not this shipwrecked crew that's in 
it now ! " 

I may as well acknowledge at once that Martin 



and I have ever adored and encouraged beggars, 
however venal, and have seldom lost an opportunity 
of enjoying their conversation ; ancient female beggars 
especially, although I have met many very attractive 
old men. At my mother's Famine Conversaziones 
many beggar-women, whose names were on no list, 
would join themselves to the company of the ac- 

" I have no certain place Achudth ! " (a term of 
endearment), said one such to me, " I'm between 
God and the people." 

It may be said that the people, however deep 
their own want, are unfailing in charity to such as 
she. I had, for a long time, a creature on my visiting 
list, or, to be accurate, I was on hers, who was known 
as " the Womaneen." As far as I know, she subsisted 
entirely on " the Neighbours," wandering round the 
country from house to house, never refused a night's 
lodging and the " wetting of her mouth o' tay " ; 
generally given " a share o' praties " to " put in her 
bag for herself." She was the very best of company, 
and the bestowal of that super-coveted boon, an old 
pair of boots, had power to evoke a gratitude that 
shamed its recipient. 

" Yes, .Hanora," I have said, " I beheve I have a 
pair to give you." 

On this the " Womaneen " opened the service of 
thanksgiving by clasping her hands, mutely raising 
her eyes to Heaven, and opening and shutting her 
mouth ; this to show that emotion had rendered her 
speechless. She next seized my reluctant hand, and 
smacked upon it kisses of a breadth and quality that 
suggested the enveloping smack of a pancake when 
it has been tossed high and returns to its pan. Her 
speech was then recovered. 

" That Good Luck may attind you every day you 


see the sun ! That I mightn't leave this world until 
I see you well marrid ! " A pause, and a luscious 
look that spoke unutterable things. " Ah ha ! I'll 
tell the Miss Connors that ye thrated me dacint ! " 
A laugh, triumphing in my superiority to the Misses 
Connor, followed, and I made haste to produce the 

" Oh ! Oh ! Oh ! Me heart 'd open ! Ye-me-lay, 
but they'll go on me in style ! " 

Then, in a darkling whisper, and with a conspirator's 
eye on the open hall-door : " Where did you get them, 
asthore ? Was it Mamma gave 'em t'ye ? " (The 
implication being that I, for love of the " Womaneen," 
must have stolen them, as no one could have parted 
with them voluntarily.) Then returning to the larger 
style. " That God Almighty may retch out the two 
hands to ye, my Pearl of a noble lady ! How will I 
return thanks to ye ? That the great God may lave 
me alive until I'd be crawlin' this-a-way "—(an inch 
by inch progress is pantomimed with two gnarled 
and ebony fingers)—" and on my knees, till I'd see 
the gran' wed din' of my fine lady that gave me the 
paireen o' shluppers ! " 

I think it will be admitted that this was an adequate 
return for value received. 



It was in June, 1888, that Mrs. Martin became the 
tenant of Ross House and that she and her daughters 
returned to Galway, sixteen years, to the very month, 
since they had left it. 

It would demand one more skilled than I in the 
unfathomable depths of Irish Land Legislation to 
attempt to set forth the precise status of Ross, its 
house, demesne, and estate, at this time. It is not, 
after all, a matter of any moment, save to those 
concerned. Mrs. Martin had been staying in Galway, 
and had paid a visit to Ross, with the result that she 
decided to rent the house and gardens from the 
authorities in whose jurisdiction they then were, and 
set herself to " build the walls of Jerusalem." The 
point which may be dwelt on is the courage that was 
required to return to a place so fraught with memories 
of a happiness never to be recaptured, and to take 
up life again among people in whom, as was only too 
probable, the ancient friendship was undermined by 
years of absence, misrepresentation, and misunder- 
standing. The handling of the estate had been un- 
fortunate ; the house and demesne had been either 
empty, or in the hands of strangers, careless and 
neglectful of all things, save only of the woodcock 
shooting, and the rabbit-trapping. When Mrs. Martin 


proposed to become a tenant in her old home, it had 
been empty for some time, and had suffered the usual 
indignities at the hands of what are erroneously known 
as caretakers. It is possible that caretakers exist 
who take care, and take nothing else, but the converse 
is more usual, and I do not imagine that Ross was 
any exception to the average of such cases. 

The motives that impelled my cousin Nannie to 
face the enormous difficulties involved can, however, 
be understood, and that Martin should have sacrificed 
herself to the Lares and Penates of Ross — Ross, the 
love of which was rooted in her from her cradle — 
was no more, I suppose, than was to be expected from 

From her mother had come the initiative, but it 
was Martin who saved Ross. She hurled herself into 
the work of restoration with her own peculiar blend 
of enthusiasm and industry, qualities that, in my 
experience, are rarely united. Her letters became 
instantly full of house-paintings, house-cleanings, 
mendings, repairs of every kind ; what was in any 
degree possible she did with her own hands, what was 
not, she supervised, inventing, instructing, insisting 
on the work being done right, in the teeth of the 
invincible determination of the workmen to adhere 
to the tradition of the elders, and do it wrong. 

Looking back on it, it seems something of a waste 
to have set a razor to cut down trees, and the work 
that was accomplished by " Martin Ross '* that year 
was small indeed as compared with the manifold 
activities of " Miss Wilet." 

There was everything to be done, inside and outside 
that old house, and no one to do it but one fragile, 
indomitable girl. Ireland, now, is full of such places 
as Ross was then. " Gentry-houses," places that 
were once disseminators of light, of the humanities ; 


centres of civilisation ; places to which the poor 

people rushed, in any trouble, as to Cities of Refuge. 

They are now destroyed, become desolate, derelict. 


" The Lion and the Lizard keep 
The Courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep ; 
And Bahram, that great Hunter — the Wild Ass 
Stamps o'er his Head, but cannot break his Sleep." 

But even more than the laying waste of Ross House 
and gardens I believe it was the torture of the thought 
that the Ross people might feel that the Martins had 
failed them, and that the " Big House " was no longer 
the City of Refuge for its dependants in the day of 
trouble, that chiefly spurred Martin on, in her long 
and gallant fight with every sort of difficulty, that 
summer, when she and her mother began to face the 
music again at Ross. 

In that music, however, there was an undertone of 
discord that threatened for a while to wreck all the 
harmony. There are a few words that Martin had 
written, in continuation of the account of her brother 
Robert, that explain the matter a little, and I will 
quote them here. 

" The white chapel that overlooked the lake and 
the woods of Ross, heard much, at about this time 
{i.e. the later years of the 'eighties), that was not of 
a spiritual tendency. The Land League had been 
established in the parish ; the branch had for its 
head, in the then Parish Priest, an Apostle of land 
agitation, a man whose power of bitter animosity, 
legal insight, and fighting quality, would have made 
his name in another profession. He made his mark 
in his own, a grievous one for himself. He rose up 
against his Bishop, supported by the great majority 
of his parish, and received the reprimand of his Church. 
He went with his case to Rome, and after long intrigue 


there, came home, a beaten man, dispossessed of his 
parish, and was received in Gal way with a brass 
band and a procession, the latter of which accompanied 
him, brokenly, but with persistence, to his home, a 
distance of about fifteen miles. For many months 
afterwards the strange and not unimpressive spectacle 
presented itself, of a Roman Catholic Priest defying 
his Church, and holding, by some potent spell, the 
support of the majority of his parish. Sunday after 
Sunday two currents of parishioners set in different 
directions, the one heading to the lawful Chapel 
on the hill and the accredited priest, the other to 
the green and white ' Land League Hut,' that had 
been built with money that Father Z. had himself 

Martin's MS. ceases here. I may add to it a little. 

I went to Ross not long after Father Z.'s return 
from Rome. I chanced but once to see him, but 
the remembrance of that fierce and pallid face, and of 
the hatred in it, is with me still. He is dead, and I 
believe that his teaching died with him. The evil 
that men do does not always live after them. The 
choice of his successor was a fortunate one for the 
parish of Rosscahill. Few people out of Ireland 
realise how much depends on the personality of the 
parish priest. Father Z. had had it in his power to 
shake a friendship of centuries, but it was deeply 
rooted, he could do no more than shake it. His suc- 
cessor had other views of his duty ; in him the people 
of Rosscahill and the House of Ross, alike, found a 
friend, unfailing in kindness and sympathy, a priest 
who made it his mission to bring peace to his parish, 
and not a sword. 

No one was more sensible of this friendship, or more 
grateful for it than Martin. What sustained her and 
made the sacrifice of time, strength, and money in 


some degree worth while, during that hard, pioneer 
year at Ross, was the renewal of the old goodfellow- 
ship and intimacy with the tenants. Sixteen years 
is a big gap, but not so big that it cannot be bridged. 
Even had the gap been wider, I believe Martin's 
slender hand would have reached across it. As she 
has said of the relation between the Martins and their 
tenants — " The personal element was always warm 
in it . . . the hand of affection held it together. . . ." ^ 
And so she and her mother proved it. It was the 
intense interest and affection which Martin had in 
and for the " Ross people " that made enjoyment 
march with what she believed to be her duty. She 
had a gift for doing, happily and beautifully, always 
the right thing, at no matter what cost to herself. A 
very unusual gift, and one of more value to others 
than to its possessor. One remembers the Arab 
steed, who dies at a gallop. It was not only that 
she was faithful and unselfish, but she so applied her 
intellect to obliterating all traces of her fidelity and 
her unselfishness, that their object strode, unconscious, 
into the soft place that she had prepared, and realised 
nothing of the self-sacrifice that had gone to its making. 
With her, it was impossible to say which was the more 
beautiful, the gentleness of heart, or the brilliance of 
intellect. I have heard that among the poor people 

1 Throughout these recollections I have, as far as has been 
possible, refrained from mentioning those who are still trying to 
make the best of a moderate kind of world. (Far be it from me to 
add to their trials ! ) I wish to say, however, in connection with 
the subject of this chapter, that in the struggle for life which so 
many of the Irish gentry had at this period to face, Martin's brothers 
and sisters were no less ardently engaged than were their mother and 
their youngest sister. In London, in India, in Ceylon, the Martins 
were doing " their country's work," as Mr. Kipling has sung, and 
although the fates at first prevented their taking a hand in person 
in the restoration of Ross, it is well known that " The Irish over 
the seas " are not in the habit of forgetting " their own people 
and their Father's House." 


they called her The Gentle Lady ; in such a matter, 
poor people are the best judges. 

In her first letters to me from Ross, the place it held 
in her heart is shown, and there is shown also some of 
the difficulties, the heartrendings, the inconveniences, 
the absurdities, of those first months of reclamation. 
No one but Martin herself will ever know what courage 
and capacity were required to cope with them. She 
overcame them all. Many times have I been a guest 
at Ross, and more wholly enjoyable visits seldom fall 
to anyone's lot. But the comfort and restored civilisa- 
tion of the old house had cost a high price. 

V. F. M. to E. (E. S. (Ross, July, 1888.) 

" It is a curious thing to be at Ross. But it does 
not seem as if we were — not yet. It takes a long time 
to patch the present Ross, and the one I remember, 
on to each other. It is, of course, smaller, and was, 
I think, disappointing, but it is deeply interesting, as 
you can imagine. It is also heartrending. . . . 
Everything looks ragged and unkempt, but it is a 
fine free feeling to sit up in this window and look 
abroad. There are plenty of trees left, and there is 
a wonderful Sleeping-Beauty-Palace air about 
everything, wildness, and luxuriance, and solitude. 
As to being lonely, or anything like it, it does not 
enter my mind. The amount of work to be done 
would put an end to that pretty fast. . . . The 
garden is, as the people told me, ' the height o' 
yerself in weeds,' not a walk visible. The hot-house, 
a sloping jungle of vines run wild ; the melon pit 
rears with great care a grove of nettles, the stableyard 
is a meadow. We inhabit five rooms in the house, 
the drawing-room having been made (by the care- 
takers) a kitchen. I could laugh and I could cry 
when I think of it. There is a small elderly mare here 




(belonging to the estate) whom we shall use. A 
charming creature, with a high character and a hollow 
back. I spent this morning in having her heels and 
mane and ears clipped, and it took two men, and 
myself, to hold her while her ears were being done. Car 
or conveyance we have none, at present, but we have 
many offers of cars. I drive Mama on these extra- 
ordinary farmers' cars, and oh ! could you but see the 
harness ! Mouldy leather, interludes of twine in 
the reins — terrific ! '* 

There follow particulars of the innumerable repairs 
required in the house. 

" My hand is shaking from working on the avenue, 
I mean cutting the edges of it, which will be my daily 
occupation for ever, as by the time I get to the end, 
I shall have to begin again, and both sides mean 
a mile and a quarter to keep right. . . . The tenants 
have been very good about coming and working here 
for nothing, except their dinners, and a great deal 
has been done by them. It is, of course, gratifying, 
but, in a way, very painful. The son of the old 
carpenter has been making a cupboard for me, also 
all for love. He is a very smart person and has been 
to America, but he is still the same ' Patcheen Lee ' — 
(I have altered most of the names throughout — ^E.CE.S.) 
— " whom Charlie and I used to beat with sticks till 
he was * near dead,' as he himself says proudly. 

** We have many visits from the poor people 
about, and the same compliments, and lamentations, 
and finding of likenesses goes on. This takes up a lot 
of time, and exhausts one's powers of rejoinder. 
Added to this, I don't know yet what to make of the 
people. ... Of course some are really devoted, 
but there is a change, and I can feel it. I wish you 
had seen Paddy Griffy, a very active little old man, and 
a beloved of mine, when he came down on Sunday 


night to welcome me. After the usual hand-kissings 
on the steps, he put his hands over his head and stood 
in the doorway, I suppose invoking his saint. He 
then rushed into the hall. 

" ' Dance Paddy ! ' screamed Nurse Barrett (my 
foster-mother, now our maid-of-all-work). 

" And he did dance, and awfully well too, to his 
own singing. Mama, who was attired in a flowing 
pink dressing-gown, and a black hat trimmed with 
lilac, became suddenly emulous, and, with her spade 
under her arm, joined in the jig. This lasted for 
about a minute, and was a never-to-be-forgotten sight. 
They skipped round the hall, they changed sides, 
they swept up to each other and back again, and 
finished with the deepest curtseys. ... I went 
down to the Gate-house after dinner, and there 
discoursed Nurse Griffy for a long time." (At Ross, 
and probably elsewhere in the County Galway, the 
foster-mothers of " the Family " received the courtesy- 
title of " Nurse," and retained it for the rest of their 
lives. I have been at Ross when the three principal 
domestics were all ceremoniously addressed as 
" Nurse," and were alluded to, collectively, as " the 
Nursies." After all, at one time or another, there were 
probably twelve or fourteen ladies who had earned 
the title.) " I was amused by a little discourse about 
the badness of the shooting of the tenants here last 
winter " {i.e. the Englishmen who took the shooting). 
" Birds were fairly plenty, but the men couldn't hit 

" ' 'Tis no more than one in the score they got ! ' 
says Paddy Griffy, who was one of the beaters, with 
full-toned contempt. 

" ' Well, maybe they done their besht,' says Kitty 
Hynes, the Gate-house woman, who is always apolo- 


" ' You spoke a thrue word,* says Paddy Griffy, 
' Faith, they done their besht, Mrs. Hynes ! I seen 
a great wisp o' shnipes going up before them, and the 
divil a one in it that didn't go from them ! But you 
may beheve they done their besht ! ' 

" This wants the indescribable satisfaction of the 
speaker, and the ecstasy of Kitty Hynes at finding 
that she had said something wonderful." 

This is a part of her first letter. To those unversed 
in Ireland and her ways, the latter may appear in- 
credible, " nay, sometimes even terrible," as Ruskin 
says of the pine-trees ; but as I think that enlighten- 
ment is good for the soul, I shall continue to give the 
history of the renewal of Ross, as set forth in Martin's 
letters, and these may present to the English reader 
(to whom I would specially commend the incident of 
the children's tea-party, in all its bearings) a new and 
not uninteresting facet in the social life of the most 
paradoxical country in the world. 

V. F. M. to E. GE. S. (July '88. Ross.) 

" I had not heard of F.'s death. It was a shock. 
He seemed a thoroughly alive and practical person. 
I don't know why it should be touching that he should 
rave of his hounds to the end, but it is. I suppose any 
shred of the ordinary interests is precious in a strange 
unnatural thing, like dying. I think often of a thing 
that a countrywoman here said to me the other 
day, apropos of her sons going away from her to 

" ' But what use is it to cry, even if ye dhragged 
the hair out o' yer head I Ye might as well be singin' 
an' dancin'.' 

" She was crying when she said it, and was a wild- 
looking creature whom you would like to paint, and 



the thing altogether stays in my mind." (And now 
abides in the mouth of Norry the Boat, in " The Real 

" Your letter spent 2 hours after its arrival in 
Nurse Barrett's pocket, while I entertained some 
thirty of the children about here. Tea, and bread and 
jam, and barm bracks " — (a sort of sweet loaf, made 
with barm, and " brack ^''^ i.e. " spotted," with 
currants)—" in the lawn, and races afterwards. I 
had a very wearying day. Cutting up food in the 
morning, and then at luncheon I received a great 
shock. I had asked a girl who teaches a National 
School to bring 12 of her best scholars, and besides 
these, we had only invited about half a dozen. At 
luncheon in comes the teacher's sister to say that 
the teacher had gone to Galway ' on business,' and 
that no children were coming. Boycotted, I thought 
at once. However I thought I would make an effort, 
even though I was told that the priest must have 
vetoed the whole thing, and I sent a whip round 
to the near villages, which are loyal, and away I went 
myself to two more. I never had such a facer as 
thinking the children were to be kept away, and with 
that I nearly cried while I was pelting over the fields. 
I could only find six children, of whom three were 
too young to come, and one was a Land Leaguer's. 
However two were to be had, and I pelted home again, 
very anxious. There I found the half dozen I knew 
would come, and divil another. I waited, and after 
I had begun to feel very low, I saw a little throng on 
the back avenue, poor little things, with their best 
frocks, such as they were. I could have kissed them, 
but gave them tea instead, and before it was over 
another bunch of children, including babies in arms, 
arrived, and there was great hilarity. I never shall 
understand what was the matter about the teacher. 


She is a nice girl, but they are all cowards, and she 
may have thought she was running a risk. She was 
here to-day, with a present of eggs and white cabbage, 
which was a peace offering, of course." 

In those bad times this form of stabbing friendship 
in the back was very popular. I remember how, a 
few years earlier, a Christmas feast to over a hundred 
National School children was effectively boycotted, 
the sole reason being a resolve on the part of the 
ruling powers to discourage anything so unseasonable 
as Peace on Earth and good will towards ladies. 
These dark ages are now, for the most part, past. 
Possibly, some day, a people naturally friendly 
and kind-hearted will be permitted to realise that 
patriotism means loving their country, instead of 
hating their neighbours. 

At Ross, happily, the hostile influence had but 
small strength for evil. Had it been even stronger, 
I think it would not long have withstood the appeal 
that was made to the chivalry of the people by the 
gallant fight to restore the old ways, the old friendship. 

Martin's letter continues : 

" The presents are very touching, but rather 
embarrassing, and last week there was a great flow of 
them ; they included butter, eggs, a chicken, and a 
bottle of port ; all from different tenants, some very 
poor. An experience of last week was going to see a 
party of sisters who are tenants, and work their farm 
themselves. In the twinkling of an eye I was sitting 
' back in the room,' with the sisterhood exhausting 
themselves in praise of my unparalleled beauty, and 
with a large glass of potheen before me, which I knew 
had got to be taken somehow. It was much better 
than I expected, and I got through a respectable 
amount of it before handing it on with a flourish to 
one of my hostesses, which was looked on as the height 

M 2 


of politeness. I wish I could remember some of the 
criticisms that went on all the time. 

" * I assure you, Miss Wilet, you are very handsome, 
I may say beautiful.' ' I often read of beauty in 
books, but indeed we never seen it till to-day. Indeed 
you are a perfect creature.' ' All the young ladies in 
Connemara may go to bed now. Sure they're nothing 
but upstarts.' ' And it's not only that you're lovely, 
but so commanding. Indeed you have an imprettive 
look ! ' This, I believe, means imperative. Then 
another sister took up the wondrous tale. ' Sure we're 
all enamoured by you ! ' 

" This and much more, and I just sat and laughed 
weakly and drunkenly. Many other precious things 
I lost, as all the sisters talked together, yea, they 
answered one to another. Custom has taken the edge 
off the admiration now, I am grieved to say, but it 
still exists, and the friend of my youth, Patcheen 
Lee, is especially dogmatic in pronouncing upon my 
loveliness. I am afraid all these flowers of speech 
will have faded before you get here ; they will then 
begin upon you." 

Another extract from the letters of these early days 
I will give. The sister whose return to Ross is told 
of was Geraldine, wife of Canon Edward Hewson ; ^ 
it is her account of Martin, as a little child, that is 
given in Chapter VIII. 

" Geraldine felt this place more of a nightmare 
than I did. The old days were more present with 
her, naturally, than with me. I pitied her when she 
came up the steps. She couldn't say a word for a 
long time. There was a bonfire at the gate in her 
honour in the evening, built just as we described it 
1 Mrs. Hewson died July, 1917. 


in the Shocker, a heap of turf, glowing all through, 
and sticks at the top. Poor Geraldine was so tired I 
had to drive her down to it, but she went very gallant 
and remembered the people very well. There was 
little cheering or demonstrativeness, but there was a 
great deal of conversation and some slight and 
inevitable subsequent refreshment in the form of 

" I can hardly tell you what it felt like to see the 
bonfire blazing there, just as it used to in my father's 
time, when he and the boys and all of us used to come 
down when someone was being welcomed home, and 
it was all the most natural thing in the world. It 
was very different to see Geraldine walk in front of 
us through the wide open gates, between the tall 
pillars, with her white face and her black clothes. 
Thady Connor, the old steward, met her at the gate, 
and not in any ' Royal enclosure ' could be surpassed 
the way he took off his hat, and came silently forward 
to her, while everyone else kept back, in dead silence 
too. Of course they had all known her well. What 
with that glare of the bonfire, and the lit circle of 
faces, and the welcome killed with memories for 
her, I wonder how she stood it. It was the attempt 
at the old times that was painful and wretched, at 
least I thought it so. Edward was wonderful, in a 
trying position. In about two minutes he was holding 
a group of men in deep converse without any apparent 
effort, and he was much approved of. 

" ' A fine respectable gentleman ' — ' The tallest man 
on the property '—such were the comments." 

There are two poems that were written many years 
ago, by one of the tenants, one Jimmy X., a noted 
poet, in praise of the Martins and of Ross, and myste- 
riously blended with these themes is a eulogy of a 


certain musician, who was also a tenant. The first few 
verses were dictated to Martin, I know not by whom ; 
the last three were written for her by the poet himself ; 
his spelling lends a subtle charm. To read it, giving 
the lines their due poise and balance, demands skill, 
the poem being of the modern mode, metrical, but 
rhymeless. There is a tune appertaining to it which 
offers some assistance in the matter of stress, but it 
must here be divorced from its words ; since, however, 
it is a tune of maddening and haunting incomplete- 
ness, a tune that has " no earthly close," one of those 
tunes, in fact, that are of the nature of a possession 
(in an evil and spiritual sense), this need not be 


It is well known through Ireland 
That Ross it is a fine place 
The healthiest in climate 
That ever yet was known. 

When you get up in the morning 
Ye'U hear the thrishes warbling 
The cuckoo playing most charming 
Which echoes the place. 

The birds they join in chorus 
To hum their notes melodious 
The bees are humming music 
All over the demesne. 

The place it being so holy 
It is there they live in glory. 
Honey is flowing 
And rolling there in sthrames. 

There follows a panegyric of " Robert Martin Esqur,'* 
the Bard lamenting his inability to " tell the lovely 
fatures of the noble gentleman." 


•' Indeed," he continues, " it sprung through nature 
For this gentleman being famous, 
The Martins were the bravest 
That ever were before. 

" With Colonels and good Majors 
Who fought with many nations, 
I'm sure twas them that gained it 
On the plains of Waterloo." 

Thus far the dictation ; the following four verses 
are as they came from the hand of their maker. 

A''song composed for Robirt Martin Esqur and one of his tinants 



Its now we have a tradesman 

The best in any nation. 

He never met his eaquils, he went to tullamore. 

He played in Munstereven 

The tune of Nora Chrena 

But Garryown delighted the natives of the town. 

He can write music 
Play it and peruse it 

A man in deep concumption from death he revive 
But from the first creation 
There was never yet his eaquels 
So clever and ingenious with honour and renown. 

3rd virce 

Patrick he resayved them 

So deacent and so plesant 

He is as nice a man in features as I ever saw before 

When they sat to his table with turkeys and bacon 

With Brandy and good ale he would suplie as many more. 

He got aninvetation to Dublin with they ladies 

They brought him in their pheatons he was playing as they were 

He is the best fluit player from Cliften to Glasnevan 
They thought he was inchanted his music was so neat. 


4th virce 
His fluit is above mention 
It is the best youtencal {utensil) 
That ever yet was mentioned sunce the race of Man 
He got it by great intrest as a presant from the gentry 
It was sent to him by finvarra the rular of Nockma. 

There are many more varces (or virces) in which the 
glories of Ross, of " Robirt " Martin, and of his 
" tinant," are hymned with equal ardour, but I think 
these samples suffice. 



The journey from Brisbane to Ross was first made 
by me in February, 1889. As the conventional crow 
flies, or as, on the map, the direct line is drawn, the 
distance is no more than a hundred miles, but by 
the time you have steered east to Cork, and north- 
west to Limerick, and north to Ennis, and to Athenry, 
and to Galway, with prolonged changes (and always 
for the worse), at each of these places, you begin to 
realise the greatness of Ireland, and to regard with 
awe the independent attitude of mind of her railway 
companies. It would indeed seem that the Sinn Fein 
movement, *' Ourselves Alone," might have been 
conceived and brought forth by any one of the lines 
involved in the trajet from Cork to Galway. I cannot 
say what are the conditions now, but there was a 
time when each connecting link was separated by an 
interval of just as many minutes as enabled the last 
shriek of the train as it left the station to madden the 
ear of the traveller. Once I have been spared this 
trial ; it was at Limerick ; a member of the staff was 
starting with his bride on their honeymoon. The 
station palpitated ; there were white satin ribbons 
on the engine, a hoar-frost of rice on the platform ; 
there was also a prolonged and sympathetic delay, 
while the bride kissed the remainder of the staff. 


And thus, with the aid of a fleet porter, and by 
travelHng in " fateful Love's high fellowship," I 
succeeded in shortening my journey by some two 
hours, and in taking unawares the train at " The 
Junction " (which, as everyone in Munster knows, is 
the Limerick Junction). 

February is a bad month for the West of Ireland, 
but there are places, like people, that rely on features 
and are independent of complexion. Ross was grey 
and cold, windy, rainy, and snowy, but its beauty 
did not fail. Martin and I heeded the occasional 
ill-temper of the weather as little as two of the wild 
duck whom we so assiduously strove to shoot. We 
had been lent a boat and a gun, and there are not many 
pleasanter things to do in a still February twilight 
than to paddle quietly along the winding waterways 
among the tall pale reeds of Ross Lake ; in the 
thrilling solitude and secrecy of those dark and polished 
paths anything may be expected, from a troop of wild 
swans, or the kraken, down to the alternative thrill 
of the splashing, swishing burst upwards of the duck, 
as the boat invades their hidden haven. We walked 
enormously ; visiting the people in the little villages 
on the estate, making exciting and precarious short 
cuts across bogs ; getting " bushed " in those strange 
wildernesses, where hazel and blackthorn scrub has 
squeezed up between the thick-sown limestone boulders 
of West Galway, and a combination has resulted that 
makes as impenetrable a barrier as can well be 
imagined. We wandered in the lovely Wood of 
Annagh, lovely always, but loveliest as I saw it later 
on, in April, when primroses, like faint sunlight, 
illumined every glade and filled the wood with airs of 
Paradise. We explored the inmost recesses of TuUy 
Wood, which is a place of mystery, with a prehistoric 
baptismal *' buUan " stone, and chapel, in its depths. 


There are quagmires in TuUy, " shwally-holes " hidden 
in sedge among the dark fir-trees, and somewhere, 
deep in it, you may come on a tiny lake among the 
big, wildly-scattered pine-stems, and a view between 
them over red and brown bog to the pale, windy 
mountains of Connemara. 

I was having a holiday from writing, and was paint- 
ing any model, old or young, that I could suborn to 
my use. We searched the National Schools for red- 
haired children, for whom I had a special craving, 
and, after considerable search, were directed to ask 
in Doone for the house of one Kennealy, which 
harboured " a Twin," " a foxy Twin " ; and there 
found " The Twin," i.e. two little girls of surpassing 
ugliness, but with hair of such burnished copper as 
is inevitably described by the phrase " such as Titian 
would have loved to paint." 

Tliere are few evasions of a difficulty more bromidic 
and more unwarrantable. " A sunset such as Turner 
would have loved to paint." " A complexion such 
as Sir Joshua would have loved to paint." The 
formula is invariable. It is difficult to decide whether 
the stricken incapacity of description, or the presump- 
tion of a layman in selecting for a painter his subject, 
is the more offensive. 

"Oh, what a handsome sunset you have ! " 

I have heard at a garden party a lady thus compli- 
ment the proprietor of the decoration. 

" I know," she turned to me, " that you're delighting 
in it ! What a pity you haven't your easel with 
you ! " (Nothing else, presumably, was required.) 
The attitude of mind is the same, but there is much 
in the way a thing is said. 

A special joy was imparted to Martin's and my 
wanderings about Ross by the presence of the Puppet. 
I had brought him to Paris (and Martin and I had 


together smuggled him home under the very nose of 
the Douane) ; he had accompanied me on a yachting 
excursion (in the course of which I walked on deck 
in my sleep, and very nearly walked overboard, the 
Puppet following me faithfully ; in which case we 
should neither of us have ever been heard of again, 
as the tide-race in Youghal Harbour is no place for 
a bad swimmer). He had paid many and various 
visits with me, and had passed from a luxury into a 
necessity. Naturally he came with me to Ross. He 
was a very small fox terrier, rather fast in manner, 
but engaging ; with a heart framed equally for love 
or war, and a snub nose. His official name was Patsey ; 
a stupid name, I admit, and conventional to exhaus- 
tion, but of a simplicity that popularised him. There 
are a few such names, for humans as for dogs. I 
need give but one instance. Bill. (I do not refer to 
the Bills of humbler life, though I am not sure that 
the rule does not apply there also.) The man who 
hails his friend as " Bill " feels himself, in so doing, a 
humourist, which naturally endears Bill to him. 

It was Fanny Currey, by the way, who called 
Patsey " The Puppet " (as a variant of " The Puppy "). 
There are not many people with any pretensions to 
light and leading who did not know Miss Fanny 
Currey of Lismore. She is dead now, and Ireland is 
a poorer place for her loss. I will not now try to speak 
of her brilliance and versatility. She was, among her 
many gifts, a profound and learned dog-owner, and 
though her taste had been somewhat perverted by 
dachshunds (which can degenerate into a very lowering 
habit), it was an honour to any little dog to be noticed 
by her. 

The Puppet had various accomplishments. He 
wept when rebuked, and, sitting up penitentially, 
real tears would course one another down his brief 


and innocent nose. He could walk on his forelegs 
only ; he could jump bog-drains that would daunt a 
foxhound ; even the tall single-stone walls of Galway, 
that crumble at a touch, could not stop him. The 
carpenter at Ross was so moved by his phenomenal 
activity that he challenged me to " lep my dog agin 
his." His dog, a collie, was defeated, and the carpenter 
said, generously, that he " gave it in to the Puppet 
that he was dam' wise." 

Many were the vicissitudes through which that 
little dog came safely. A mad dog in Castle Haven 
missed him by a hair's breadth. (The hair, one 
supposes, of the dog that did not bite him.) Distemper 
fits in Paris were only just mastered. (It is worthy 
of note that the cure was effected by strong coffee, 
prescribed by a noted vet. of the Quartier Latin.) 
In battles often, in perils of the sea ; nor shall I soon 
forget a critical time in infancy, when, as my diary 
sourly relates, " Jack and Hugh " (two small and 
savage brothers) " rushed to me in state of frantic 
morbid delight, to tell me that the puppy had thrown 
up a huge worm, and was dying." 

And all these troubles he survived only to die of 
poison at Ross. But this came later, during my 
second visit, and during that first and happy time the 
Puppet and Martin and I enjoyed ourselves without 
let or hindrance. 

It is long now since I have been in Galway, and I 
know that many of the poor people with whom Martin 
and I used to talk, endlessly, and always, for us, 
interestingly, have gone over to that other world 
where she now is. Of them all, I think the one most 
beloved by her was the little man of whom she dis- 
coursed in one of the chapters of " Some Irish Yester- 
days " as " Rickeen." This was not his name, but it 
will serve. Rickeen was of the inmost and straitest 


sect of the Ross tenants. His farm, which was a 
very small one, was, I imagine, run by his wife and 
children ; he, being rightly convinced that Ross 
House and all appertaining to it would fall in ruin 
without his constant attention, spent his life " about 
the place," in the stables, the garden, the house ; 
and wherever he was, he was talking, and that, usually 
and preferably, to " Miss Wilet." 

The adoration that was given to her by all the people 
found its highest expression in Rickeen. She was his 
religion, the visible saint whom he worshipped, he 
gave her his supreme confidence. I believe he spoke 
the truth to her. More can hardly be said. 

Rickeen was a small, dark fellow, with black 
whiskers, and a pale, sharp-featured face. We used 
to think that he was like a London clergyman, rather 
old-fashioned, yet broad in his views. He had a 
passion for horses and dogs, and was unlike most of 
his fellows in a certain poetic regard for such frivolous 
by-products of nature as flowers and birds. I can see 
Rickeen on a fair May morning pulling off his black 
slouch hat to Martin and me, with the shine of the 
sun on his high forehead, on which rings of sparse 
black hair straggled, his dark eyes beaming, and I 
can hear his soft-tuned Galway voice saying : 

" Well, glory be to God, Miss Wilet, this is a grand 
day ! And great growth entirely in the weather ! 
Faith, I didn't think to see it so good at all to-day, 
there was two o' thim planets close afther the moon 
last night ! " 

And he would probably go on to tell us of the 
garden o' praties he had, and the " bumbles and the 
blozzums they had on them. Faith, I'd rather be 
lookin' at them than ateing me dinner ! " (The term 
" bumbles " referred, we gathered, to buds.) 

Martin would contentedly spend a morning in 


scraping paths and raking gravel with Rickeen, and, 
having a marvellous gift of memory, would justify 
herself of her idleness by repeating to me, at length, 
one of his recitals. Some of these, as will presently 
be discovered, she has written down, but the written 
word is a poor thing. " When the lamp is shattered, 
the light in the dust lies dead." For anyone who knew 
the perfection of Martin's rendering of the tones of 
West Galway, of the gestures, the pauses, that give 
the life of a story, the words lying dead on the page 
are only a pain. Perhaps, some day, portable and 
bindable phonography will be as much part of a 
book as its pictures are. 

Phonetic spelling in matters of dialect is a delusive 
thing, to be used with the utmost restraint. It is 
superfluous for those who know, boring for tljose who 
do not. Of what avail is spelling when confronted 
with the problem of indicating the pronunciation of, 
for example, " Papa " ; the slurring and softening 
of the consonant, the flattening of the vowel sound 
— how can these be even indicated ? And, spelling 
or no, can any tongue, save an Irish one, pronounce 
the words " being " and " ideal," as though they 
owned but one syllable ? Long ago Martin and I 
debated the 'point, and the conclusion that we then 
arrived at was that the root of the matter in questions 
of dialect was in the idiomatic phrase and the mental 
attitude. The doctrine of " Alice's " friend, the 
Duchess, still seems to me the only safe guide. " Take 
care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of 

There was a sunny spring afternoon at Ross, and 
Martin and Rickeen and I and the Puppet went forth 
together to erect a wall of " scraws," i.e. sods, round 
the tennis ground. As soon as there was a sufficient 
elevation for the purpose, we seated ourselves on the 


scraws, and the business of conversation with Rickeen, 
that had, in some degree, been interfered with by his 
labours in scraw-cutting and hfting, was given full 
scope. The Puppet was a little below us, hunting 
young rabbits in the dead bracken. At intervals we 
could see him, proceeding in grasshopper springs 
through the bracken (which is the correct way to 
draw heavy covert, as all truly sporting little dogs 
know), throughout we could hear him. Rooks in 
the tall elms behind the stables, feeding their young 
ones, made a pleasing undercurrent of accompaniment 
to the Puppet's soprano solo. There was a bloom of 
green over the larches ; scraps of silver glinting 
between the tree stems represented the lake. The 
languor of spring was in the air, and it seemed exercise 
enough to watch Rickeen's wondrous deftness in 
marking, cutting, and lifting the scraws on the blade 
of his narrow spade, and tossing them accurately on 
to their appointed spot on the rising wall. 

Martin had a Maltese charm against the " Mai 
Occhio " ; a curious silver thing, whose design included 
a branch of the Tree of Life, and clenched fists, and a 
crescent moon, and other symbolisms. This, and its 
uses, she expounded to Rickeen, and he, in his turn, 
offered us his experience of the Evil Eye, and of 
suitable precautions against it. 

" Look now. Miss Wilet, if a pairson 'd say ' that's 
a fine gerr'l,' or ' a fine cow,' or the like o' that, and 
wouldn't say ' God bless him I ' that's what we'd 
call * Dhroch Hool.' ^ That's the Bad Eye. Maybe, 
then, the one he didn't say ' God bless them ' to would 
fall back, or dhrop down, or the like o' that ; and 
then, supposin' a pairson 'd folly the one that gave 
the Bad Eye, and to bring him back, and then if that 
one 'd bate three spits down on the one that was lyin' 

1 I think it best to spell all the Irish phrases phonetically. 


sthritched, and to say ' God bless him,' he'd be all 

Strange how wide is the belief in the protective 
power of this simple provision of Nature. From the 
llama to the cat, it is relied on, and by the cat, no 
doubt, it was suggested to the human being as a 
means of defiance and frustration. There was a 
beggar-woman who, as my mother has told me, did 
not fail on the occasion of any of our christenings to 
bestow upon the infant an amulet of this nature. 
She had a magnificent oath, reserved, I imagine, for 
great occasions. 

" By the Life of Pharaoh ! " she would say, advanc- 
ing upon the baby, " I pray that all bad luck may be 
beyant ye, and that my luck may be in your road 
before ye ! " 

The amulet would then be administered. 

Martin and Rickeen and I discoursed, I remember, 
for some time upon these subjects. The mysterious 
pack of white hounds who hunt the woods of Ross, 
whose music has been heard more than once, and the 
sight of which has been vouchsafed to some few 
favoured ones, was touched on, and Martin told of 
an Appearance that had come to her and some of her 
brothers and sisters, one dusky evening, in the Ross 
avenue. Something that was first like a woman 
walking quickly towards them, and then rose, vast 
and toppling, like a high load of hay, and then sank 
down into nothingness. 

" Ah sure, the Avenue 1 " said Rickeen, as one 
that sets aside the thing that is obvious. " No one 
wouldn't know what 'd be in it. There was one that 
seen fairies as thick as grass in it, and they havin' 
red caps on them ! " 

He turned from us, and fell to outlining the scraws 
that he was going to cut. We watched him for a 




space, while the afternoon shadow of the house 
crept nearer to us down the slope, and Martin began 
to talk of the coach that drives to Ross when the head 
of the house dies. At the death of her grandfather she 
had been too little to comprehend such things. 

" I can only remember ' The Old Governor ' in 
snatches," she said. 

From across the lake the rattle of the mail car on 
the Galway road came, faintly, and mysterious enough 
to have posed as the sound of the ghostly coach. 
The staccato hunting yelps of the Puppet had died 
down, and from among the boughs of a small beech 
tree, a little hapless dwarf of a tree, twisted by a 
hundred thwarted intentions, a thrush flung a spray 
of notes into the air, bright and sudden as an April 
shower. Rickeen paused. 

" Ye'd like to be leshnin' to the birds screechin'," 
he remarked appreciatively ; " But now. Miss Wilet, 
as for the coach, I dunno. There's quare things goin' ; 
ye couldn't hardly say what harm 'd be in them, only 
ye'd friken when ye meet them." He gave his white 
flannel bauneen, which is a loose coat, an extra twist, 
stuffing the corners that he had twisted together 
inside the band of his trousers, and entered upon his 

" I remember well the time the Owld Governor, 
that's yer grandfather, died. Your father was back 
in Swineford, in the County Mayo, the same time, 
and the Misthress sent for me and she give me a letther 
for him. * Take the steamer to Cong,' says she, ' and 
dhrive then, and don't rest till ye'll find him.' 

" But sure Louisa Laffey, that was at the Gate-house 
that time, she says to me, ' Do not,' says she, ' take 
the steamer at all,' says she. ' Go across the ferry," 
says she, ' an' dhrive to Headford and ye'll get another 
car there.' 

" I was a big lump of a boy that time, twenty years 


an' more maybe, and faith, I didn't let on, but God 
knows I was afraid goin' in it. 'Twas night on me 
when I got to Headford, and when I wint to th' hotel 
that was in it, faith sorra car was before me ; but the 
gerr'l that was mindin' th' hotel says, ' D'ye see the 
house over with the light in it ? ' 'I do,' says I. 
' Maybe ye'd get a ear in it,' says she. Faith, the man 
that was there ruz out of his bed to come with me ! " 

A pause, to permit us to recognise the devotion of 
the man. 

" We went dhrivin' then," resumed Rickeen, with 
a spacious gesture, " dhrivin' always, and it deep in the 
night, and we gettin' on till it was near Claremorris, 
back in the County Mayo. Well, there was a hill 
there, and a big wood, and when we come there was 
a river, and it up with the road, and what 'd rise out 
of it only two wild duck ! Faith, the horse gave a 
lep and threwn herself down, an' meself was thrown 
a-past her, and the man the other side, and he broke 
his little finger, and the harness was broke." 

He dwelt for a moment on the memory, and we 
made comment. 

" What did we do, is it ? " Rickeen went on. " To 
walk into the town o' Swineford we done. ' It's 
hardly we'll find a house open in it,' says the fella 
that was dhrivin' me. But what 'd it be but the night 
before the Fair o' Swineford, and there was lads goin' 
to the fair that had boots for mendin', and faith we 
seen the light in the shoemaker's house when we come 
into the town." 

" That was luck for you," said Martin. 

Rickeen turned his dark eyes on her, and then on me, 
with an expression that had in it something of pity, 
and something of triumph, the triumph of the story- 
teller who has a stone in his sling. 

" 'Twas a half door was in it," he went on, " and 

N 2 


when I looked over the door, faith I started when I 
seen the two that was inside, an' they sewin' boots. 
Two brothers they were, an' they as small — ! " He 
spread forth his two lean brown hands at about three 
feet above the ground, " an' not as much mate on 
them as 'd bait a mouse thrap, an' they as quare — ! " 
He turned aside, and secretly spat behind his hand. 
" Faith, I wasn't willin' to go in where they were. 
'Twasn't that they were that small entirely, nor they 
had no frump on thim— — " 

" No whaU Rick ? " we ventured. 

" No frump like, on their shoulder," Rick said, 
with an explanatory hand indicating a hump ; " but 
faith, above all ever I seen I wouldn't wish to go next 
or nigh them 1 

" The man that was with me put a bag on the horse's 
head. ' Come inside,' says he, ' till they have the 
harness mended.' ' I'll stay mindin' the horse,' says 
I, ' for fear would she spill the oats.' ' I know well,' 
says he, ' ye wouldn't like to go in where thim is ! ' 
* Well then, God knows I would not ! ' says I, ' above 
all ever I seen ! ' " 

" And had they the Bad Eye ? " said Martin. 

Rickeen again turned aside, and the propitiatory 
or protective act was repeated. 

" I dunno what way was in thim," he replied, 
cautiously, " but b'lieve me 'twas thim that could 
sew ! " 

At this point a long and seemingly tortured squeal 
from the Puppet told that the rabbit had at long last 
broken covert. I cannot now remember if he or the 
rabbit had the pre-eminence — I think the rabbit— but 
the immediate result was that for us the story of those 
Leprechaim brethren remained unfinished, which is, 
perhaps, more stimulating, and leaves the imagination 
something to play with. 



In our parts of Ireland we do not for a moment 
pretend to be too civilised for superstition. When 
Cromwell offered the alternative of " Hell or Con- 
naught," with, no doubt, the comfortable feeling 
that it was a case of six of one and half a dozen of 
the other, more creatures than he knew of accepted 
the latter refuge. And when, in the County Cork, the 
ancient saying was proved that " Beyond the Leap " 
—which is a village about twelve miles inland from 
the Western Ocean — was indeed " beyond the Law," 
and that the King's writ, if it ran at all, ran for its 
life in the wrong direction, sanctuary was found there, 
also, for more than the hard-pressed people of the 

The " Fairies and Bridhogues and Witches " of the 
old song fled west and south ; in Galway, in Kerry and 
in Cork, they are still with us. Have I not seen and 
handled a little shoe that was found in a desolate pass 
of the Bantry mountains ? It was picked up seventy 
or eighty years ago by a countryman, who was crossing 
a pass at dawn to fetch the doctor to his child. It is 
about two and a half inches long, and is of leather, 
in all respects like a countryman's brogue, a little 
worn, as if the wearer had had it in use for some time. 
The countryman gave it to the doctor, and the doctor's 


niece showed it to me, and if anyone can offer a more 
reasonable suggestion than that a Leprechaun made 
it for a fairy customer, who, Hke Cinderella, dropped 
it at a dance in the mountains, I should be glad to 
hear it. 

At Delphi, in Connemara, to two brothers, a Bishop 
and a Dean of the Irish Church, many years before 
its disestablishment, when Bishops were Lords Spiritual 
and Temporal, and by no means people to be trifled 
with, to these, and to their sister, there came visibly 
down the beautiful Erriff river a boatload of fairies. 
They disembarked at a little strand — one of those 
smooth and golden river strands that were obviously 
created in order to be danced on by fairies — and there 
the fairies danced, under the eyes of "^Tom of Tuam " 
(thus I have heard that Bishop irreverently spoken 
of by my cousin Nannie Martin), and of his brother, the 
Dean, and of their sister ; but to what music I know 
not. They were possibly related to the Ross fairies, 
as it was noted (by the Bishop's sister, I believe) that 
they " wore red caps, and were very small and 

Not half a mile from Drishane Gate there is a little 
wood that has not the best of reputations. At its 
western end there is an opening, out of the road that 
traverses it, that has been immemorially called the 
Fairies' Gap. I have in vain striven to obtain the 
facts as to the Fairies' Gap. Such information as was 
obtainable had no special connection with Those 
People, yet was vague and disquieting. That there 
was Something within in the wood, and it might come 
out at you when you'd be going through it late of an 
evening, but if " you could have a Friendly Ghost 
to be with you, there could no harm happen you." 
The thought of the friendly ghost is strangely soothing 
and reassuring ; perhaps oftener than one knows 


one has a kind and viewless companion to avert 

Only eighteen months ago I was told of an old man 
who was coming from the West into Castle Townshend 
village to get his separation allowance. " A decent 
old man he was too, and he a tailor, with a son in the 
army in France. He was passing through the wood, 
and it duskish, and what would he see but the road 
full of ladies, ten thousand of them, he thought. 
They passed him out, going very quietly, like nuns 
they were, and there was one o' them, and when she 
passed him out, he said she looked at him so pitiful, 
' Faith,' says the old tailor, ' if I had a fi' pun note to 
my name I'd give it in Masses for her soul ! ' " 

I was told by a woman, a neighbour of mine, of a 
young wife who lived among these hills, and was 
caught away by the fairies and hidden under Liss 
Ard Lake. " A little girl there was, of the Driscolls, 
that was sent to Skibbereen on a message, and when 
she was coming home, at the bridge, east of the lake, 
one met her, and took her in under the lake entirely. 
And she seen a deal there, and great riches ; and who 
would she meet only the young woman that was 
whipped away. * Let you not eat e'er a thing,' says 
she to the little girl, * the way Theirselves '11 not be 
able to keep you.' She told the little girl then that 
she should tell her husband that on a night in the week 
she would go riding with the fairies, and to let him 
wait at the cross-roads above on Bluidth. Herself 
would be on the last horse of them, and he a white 
horse, and when the husband 'd see her, he should 
catch a hold of her, and pull her from the horse, and 
keep her. The little girl went home, and she told the 
husband. The husband said surely he would go and 
meet her the way she told him ; but the father of the 
woman told him he would be better leave her with 


them now they had her, as he would have no more 
luck with her, and in the latter end the husband was 
said by him, and he left the woman with them." 

I know the cross-roads above on Bluidth ; often, 
coming back from hunting, " and it duskish," with the 
friendly hounds round my horse, and my home waiting 
for me, I have thought of the lost woman that was 
riding the white horse at the end of the fairy troop, 
and of the tragic eyes that watched in vain for the 
coward husband. 

* * 4( * ale 

We have, or had, a saint in Castle Haven parish, 
Saint Barrahane was his name, and his Well of Bap- 
tism is still honoured and has the usual unattractive 
tributes of rag on its over-shadowing thorn-bush. 
The well is in a deep, wooded glen, just above a 
graveyard that is probably of an equal age with it. 
The graveyard lies on the shore, under the lee of 
that castle that stood the bombardment from Queen 
Elizabeth's sea captains ; the sea has made more than 
one sally to invade the precincts, but the protecting 
sea wall, though it has been undermined and sometimes 
thrown down, has not, so far, failed of its office. It 
is considered a good and fortunate place to be buried 
in. All my people lie there, and I think there should 
be luck for those who lie in a place of such ancient 
sanctity. It is held that the last person who is buried 
in it has to keep the graveyard in order, and — in what 
way is not specified — to attend to the wants of his 
neighbours. I can well remember seeing a race 
between two funerals, as to which should get their 
candidate to the graveyard first. A very steep and 
winding lane leads down to the sea, and down it thun- 
dered the carts with the coffins, and their following 

In the next parish to Castle Haven there is a grave- 


yard lonelier even than that of Saint Barrahane. 
Like most of the ancient burial places it is situated 
close to the sea, probably to permit of the funerals 
taking place by boat, in times when roads hardly 
existed. There, at the top of the cliffs, among the 
ruins of a church, and among the dreadful wreck of 
tombs too old even for tradition to whisper whose 
once they were, there took place, not long ago, the 
funeral of a certain woman, who was well known and 
well loved. I was told of an old beggar-woman who 
walked many miles to see the last of a friend. 

" She rose early, and she hasted, and she was at 
the gate of the graveyard when the funeral was 
coming," another woman told me ; " an' when she 
seen them, and they carrying in the corpse, she let 
the owld cloak back from her. And when she seen 
the corpse pass her, she threw up the hands, and says 
she, ' That your journey may thrive wid ye ! ' " 

That journey that we think to be so long and dark 
and difficult. Perhaps we may find, as in so many of 
our other journeys, that it is the preparation and 
the setting forth that are the hardest part of it. 

In Ireland, at all events, it is certain that a warning 
to the traveller, or to the friends of the traveller, 
is sometimes vouchsafed. Things happen that are 
explainable in no commonsense, commonplace way ; 
things of which one can only say that they are with- 
drawals for an instant of the curtain that veils the 
spiritual from the material. I speak only of what I 
have personal knowledge, and I will not attempt to 
justify my beliefs to anyone who may consider either 
that I have deceived myself, or that the truth is 
not in me. In the spring of 1886 one of my great- 
aunts died. She had been a Herbert, from the County 
Kerry, and had married my grandfather's brother, 
Major John Somerville. Her age " went with the 


century," and when heavy illness came upon her there 
was obviously but little hope of her recovery. I went 
late one afternoon to inquire for her. She lived in a 
small house just over the sea, and my way to it from 
Brisbane lay through a dark little grove of tall trees ; 
a high cliff shut out the light on one hand, below the 
path were the trees, straining up to the height of the 
cliff, and below the trees, the sea, which, on that 
February evening, strove, and tossed, and growled. 
The last news had been that she was better, but as I 
went through the twilight of the trees a woman's 
voice quite near me was lifted up in a long howl, 
ending in sobs. I said to myself that Aunt Fanny 
was dead, and this was " Nancyco," her ancient dairy- 
woman, keening her. In a moment I heard the cry 
and the sobs again, such large, immoderate sobs as 
countrywomen dedicate to a great occasion, and as 
I hurried along that gloomy path the crying came a 
third time. Decidedly Aunt Fanny was dead. Arrived 
at the house, it was quite a shock to hear that, on 
the contrary, she was better. I asked, with some 
indignation, why, this being so, Nancyco was making 
such a noise. I was told that Nancyco hadn't been 
" in it " all day ; that she was at home, and that 
there was no one " in it." I said naught of my 
Banshee, but when, three days afterwards, the old 
lady slipped out through that opening in the curtain, 
I remembered her warning. 

Such a thing has happened thrice in my knowledge ; 
the second time on a lovely June night, the night of 
the eve of St. John, when every hill was alight with 
bonfires, and one might hope the powers of evil were 
propitiated and at rest. Yet, on that still and holy 
night, six boys and girls, the children of some of my 
father's tenants, were drowned on their way home 
from a church festival that %\i^j had attended at Ross 


Carbery. The party of eight young people had rowed 
along the coast to Ross harbour, and of the eight but 
two returned. At " the mid-hour of night " my 
sister, who was then only a child, came running to 
my room for shelter and reassurance. She had been 
wakened by the crying of a woman, in the garden 
under her window ; the crying came in successive 
bursts, and she was frightened. At breakfast the 
news of the drowning was brought to my father. It 
had happened near an island, and it was at just about 
the time that the voice had broken the scented peace 
of the June night that the boatload of boys and girls 
were fighting for their lives in the black water, and 
some of them losing the fight. 

One other time also I know of, though the warning 
was not, as I might have expected, given to me person- 
ally. The end was near, and the voice cried beneath 
the windows of the room in which Martin lay. The 
hearing of it was, perhaps in mercy, withheld from 
me. The anguish of those December days of 1915 
needed no intensifying. 



There is, I imagine, some obscure connection 
between the Fairies and the Evil Eye. There was 
" an old Cronachaun of a fellow," who lived in the 
parish of Myross, who was said to be " away with the 
Fairies " a great deal, and, whether as a resulting 
privilege or not I cannot say, he also had the Bad 
Eye. It was asserted that he could go to the top 
of Mount Gabriel, which is a good twenty miles away, 
in five minutes. It seems a harmless feat, but it must 
be said that Mount Gabriel, in spite of its name, is 
not altogether to be trusted. It is the sort of place 
where the " Fodheen Mara " might come on at any 
moment. The Fodheen Mara is a sudden loss of 
your bearings, and a bewilderment as to where you 
are, that prevails, like a miasma, in certain spots ; 
but, Rickeen has told me, "if a person 'd have as 
much sense as to turn anything he'd have on him 
inside out, he'd know the way again in the minute." 
Or the " Fare Gurtha " might assail you, and it is 
even more awful than the Fodheen Mara, being a 
sudden starvation that doubles you up and kills you, 
unless you can instantly get food. Also, on Mount 
Gabriel's summit there is a lake, and it is well known 
that a heifer that ran into the lake came back to her 
owner out of the sea, " below in SchuU harbour," 
which implies something wrong, somewhere. 


A neighbour of the old Cronachaun (which means a 
dwarfish cripple), and presumably a rival in the Black 
Arts, was accused by the Cronachaun's wife of being 
" an owld wicked divil of a witch- woman, who is 
up to ninety years, but she can't die because she's 
that bad the Lord won't take her ! Sure didn't she 
look out of her door and see meself going by, and says 
she ' Miggera Murth ' ! (and that means ' misfortune 
to ye ') and the owld daughther she has, she looked 
out too, and she says, three times over, ' Amin-a- 
heerna I ' and after that what did I do but to fall 
off the laddher and break me leg ! " 

" Amin-a-heerna " is a reiterated amen. No wonder 
the curse operated. 

I have myself, when pursuing the harmless trade of 
painter, been credited with the possession of the 
Evil Eye. In the Isle of Aran, Martin has told how 
" at the first sight of the sketch book the village 
street becomes a desert ; the mothers, spitting to 
avert the Bad Eye, snatch their children into their 
houses, and bang their doors. The old women vanish 
from the door-steps, the boys take to the rocks." 
We are too civilised now in West Carbery to hold these 
opinions, but I can recollect the speed with which 
an old man, a dweller in an unfashionable part of 
Castle Townshend, known as Dirty Lane, fled before 
me down that thoroughfare, declaring that the Lord 
should take him, and no one else (ajeu d' esprit which 
I cannot but think was unintentional). 


" In the dacent old days 
Before stockings and stays 
Were invented, or breeches, top-boots and top-hats," 

all illness was attributed to ill-wishers. It is certain 
that charms and remedies, all more or less disgusting, 
are still relied on, and are exhibited with a faith that 


I's denied to the doctor's remedies, and that wins half 
the battle in advance. 

" Ha, thim docthors ! " said a dissatisfied patient 
on hearing of the death of his medical adviser. " They 
can let themselves die too ! " 

I think it advisable, for many reasons, to withhold 
such recipes as I can now recall, but I may offer a 
couple of samples that will possibly check any desire 
for more. 

In typhoid fever : " close out " all the windows, 
and anoint the patient from head to foot with sheep's 

In whooping-cough : the patient should be put 
" under an ass, and over an ass " ; but a better method 
is to induce a gander to spit down the sufferer's 

" A lucky hand " in doctor or nurse is of more value 
than many diplomas. There is an old woman whose 
practice has been untrammelled by the fetters or 
follies of science. 

" The cratures ! " she says of her cUents. " They 
sends for me, and I goes to them, and I gives them the 
best help I can. And sure the Lord Almighty's very 
thankful to me ; He'd be glad of a help too." 

She is now " pushing ninety," but she is still helping. 

If a quack is not procurable, a doctor with a hot 
temper is generally well thought of. Martin made 
some notes of a conversation that she had with a 
countryman in West Carbery, which exemplified 
this fact. The " Old Doctor " referred to was noted 
for his potency in language as in physic, and it was 

" Lave him curse, Ma'am ! " whispered a patient to 
the doctor's expostulating wife, " For God's sake, 
lave him curse ! " 

" I had to wait in a hayfield at the top of the Glen," 
Martin's notes record, " while E. was haranguing at a 


cottage about a litter of cubs, whose Mamma con- 
sidered that chicken, now and then, was good for 
them. There was a man making the hay into small 
cocks, with much the same delicate languor with 
which an invalid arranges an offering of flowers. 
Glandore Harbour was spread forth below me, a lovely- 
space of glittering water, and the music of invisible 
larks drifted down in silver shreds through air that 
trembled with heat. This, I thought, is a good place 
in which to be, and I selected a haycock capable of 
supporting me, and the haymaker and I presently 
fell into converse. The talk, I now forget why, turjied 
to the medical profession. 

" * Thim Cork docthors was very nice,' said the 
man, pausing from his labours, and seating himself 
upon a neighbouring haycock, ' but sure docthors 
won't do much for the likes of us, only for ladies and 
gentlemen. Ye should be the Pink of Fashion for 
them ! ' 

" He surveyed me narrowly ; apparently the thick- 
ness of the soles of my boots inspired him with 

" * Ye're a counthry lady, and ye have understand- 
ing of poor people. Some o' thim docthors would be 
sevare on poor people if their houses wouldn't be — ' 
he considered, and decided that the expression was 
good enough to bear repetition, ' — wouldn't be the 
Pink of Fashion. Well, the Owld Docthor was good, 
but he was very cross. But the people that isn't 
cross is the worst. There's no good in anny woman 
that isn't cross. Sure, you know yourself, my lady, 
the gerr'l that's cross, she's the good servant ! ' 

" He looked to me, with his head on one side for 
assent. I assented. 

" ' Well, as for the Owld Docthor,' he resumed, 
' he was very cross, but afther he put that blast 
out of him he'd be very good. My own brother was 


goin' into th' Excise, and he went to the Owld 
Docthor for a certifi-cat. Sure, didn't the Docthor 
give him back the sovereign ! " You'll want it," 
says he, " for yer journey." There was an old 
lady here, and she was as cross as a diggle.' (' A 
diggle,' it may be noted, is a euphuism by which, to 
ears polite, the Prince of Darkness is indicated.) 
' She'd go out to where the men 'd be working, and 
if she'd be displeased, she'd go round them with a 
stick. Faith she would. She'd put them in with a 
stick ! But afther five minutes she'd be all right ; 
afther she had that blast put out of her.' 

" It gives a comfortable feeling that ' crossness ' 
is of the nature of a gas-shell, and can be eliminated 
from the system in a single explosion." 

Unfortunately the interview was interrupted here. 

Dean Swift says somewhere that " Good manners 
is the art of making those people easy with whom we 
converse." Martin had a very special gift of en- 
couraging people to talk to her. There was something 
magnetic about her, some power of sympathy and 
extraction combined. Together with this she had a 
singular gift of toleration for stupid people, even of 
enjoyment of stupidity, if sincerity, and a certain 
virtuous anxiety, accompanied it. She was wont 
to declare that the personal offices of a good and dull 
person were pleasing to her. The fumbling efforts, 
the laboured breathing of one endeavouring— let us 
say — to untie her veil ; a man, for choice, frightened, 
but thoroughly well-intentioned and humble. This 
she enjoyed, repudiating the reproach of effeteness, 
which, in this connection, I have many times laid to 
her charge. 

In dealing with Rickeen, however, allowances for 
stupidity (she called it simplicity) had not to be taken 


into consideration. I have a letter from her, re- 
counting another of her conversations with Rick, 
in which he discussed a " village tragedy " that 
occurred at Christmas time, a few years after she had 
returned to Ross. (The reference at the beginning of 
the letter is to the sudden death of an acquaintance. ) 

V. F. M. to E. CE. S. (Ross, January, 1894.) 

" These sudden deaths are happy for the people 
who die them, but desperate for those who are left 
behind. Certainly it makes one feel that the thing 
to desire, beyond most heavenly things, is strength 
to face the dreadful thing that may be coming. For 
oneself, one could wish for the passion for death that 
was in a young fellow here. He disappeared on St. 
Stephen's Day ^ and they found him at last in the 
Wood of Annagh, in an awful pond that is on your 
left, just after you get into the wood — Poulleen-a-ferla. 
They hooked him up from among the sunken branches 
of trees, and found him by getting a boat on to the 
pool and staring down in all lights. Finally they 
wrapped a big stone in a white flannel ' bauneen ' 
and dropped it in. They were just able to see where 
it lay, and it placed things for them, so that they at 
last recognised some dim companion shadow as what 
they were searching for, and got it out. He was a 
very religious and steady young man, but his mind 
was weak, and it turns out that what chiefly preyed 
on it was that one day some people called him from 
his work and deluded him somehow into shortening 
up the chain of the chapel bell, in order that when the 
new priest came to hold Mass next Sunday, the bell 
could not be rung. (I have told you that Father Z. 
has been forbidden to officiate, and a new priest is 

1 December 26th. 


" When this poor boy found out what he had done, 
he was miserable. He brooded over it and his people 
were alarmed, and watched him, more or less, but not 
enough. Never was a more bitter comment on a 
parish feud, and never was there a more innocent and 
godly life turned to active insanity by dastardly 
treatment. (The curs, who were afraid to meddle with 
the Chapel themselves !) " 

Rickeen's discussion of the matter with Martin and 
one of the " Nursies " is interesting in showing the 
point of view of an intelligent peasant, a man who had 
been to America, and who was, though illiterate, of 
exceptionally sound and subtle judgment. I copy 
it from the notes that Martin sent to me. 

" Rickeen and Nurse Davin and I were talking about 
the poor boy who is believed to have drowned himself. 
Rick took up his parable. 

" ' Sure you remember of him ? Red Mike's son, 
back in Brahalish ? Him that used to be minding 
the bins for the Misthress ? 

" ' Always and ever he was the same ; not a word o* 
talk out of him the longest year that ever came, only 
talkin' about God, and goin' to Mass, and very fond 
of the work. Sure they say the mother wouldn't let 
him to Mass this while back to Father X.' (N.B. 
This is the lawful priest. Father Z., his predecessor, 
was suspended by the Church, but many of the parish 
still side with him.) ' And Mortheen, the brother 
that's in Galway, got an account he was frettin' like, 
and he hired a car and took him to Galway to go to 
Mass there, and tellin' him no one 'd be denyin' him 
there. Faith, sorra Mass he'd go to in it ! They say 
before he left home, a whileen back, himself was back 
in the room, and the people was outside, talkin', and 
sayin' he should be sent to Ballinasloe ' (the Lunatic 


Asylum) ' and sorra bit but when they looked round, 
himself was there, leshnin* to them ! " What did 
I ever do to ye ? " says he, '* And aren't ye damned 
fools," says he, walkin' over to them this way, '' to 
think ye'll put me in it ! " says he. And sorra word 
more he spoke. 

" * The Lord save us ! They're lookin' for him 
now since Stephenses Day, and I'm sure 'tis in 
PouUeen-a-ferla he is. He was down lookin' at it a 
while ago, and Stephenses Day they seen him runnin' 
down through Bullywawneen, and they're afther 
findin' his Scaflflin and his Agnus Di ^ on a flagstone 
that's on the brink. Sure he took thim off him the 
ways he'd be dhrowned. No one could be dhrowned 
that had thim on him. Faith, he could not. 

" ' Didn't ye hear talk of the man back in Malrour, 
that wint down to the lake last Sunday, and jumped 
into it to dhrown himself ? The people that seen him 
they ran, and they dhragged him out, an' he lyin' on 
his back, and the scafflin he got from the priest round 
his neck ; and it dhry ! God help the crature ! ' 

" (Nurse Davin, weeping, * Amin ! Amin ! ') 

" * But sure what way can they find him in PouUeen- 
a-ferla ? I know well there's thirty feet o' wather in it. 
Maybe they'd see him down through the wather to-day, 
it's that clear. God knows 'tis quare weather. The 
air's like it 'd be comin' up out o' the ground, and no 
breeze in it at all ! I'm thinkin' it's the weather as 
well as another that's puttin' the people asthray in 
their heads.' 

" Rick paused here to take breath, and turned 
to Nurse Davin, who was peeling potatoes, and 
groaning at suitable intervals. 

" * Nurse, did ye ever hear tell o' puttin' a shave 
(sheaf) o' oats on the wather where ye'd think a 
^ Scapular and Agnus Dei. 

O 2 


pairson 'd be dhrowned, an' it '11 stand up whin it 'd 
be over the place where he's lyin' ? They have a shave 
bey ant, but it's lyin' on the wather always. I 
wouldn't believe that at all.' 

" Nurse Davin uttered a non-committal invocation 
of her favourite saint, but offered no opinion. 

" ' Sure it was that that they coaxed him to do 
at the chapel that preyed on him entirely.' 

" ' Lord ha' mercy on him ! ' said Nurse, wiping 
her eyes. 

" ' When he knew then what he done,' Rick resumed, 
turning to me again, ' sorra Mass he'd ever go to again, 
and they knew by him he was watchin' his shance to 
make off. They follied him a few days back, when 
they seen him sneakin' off down through the wood, 
but sorra bit but he felt them afther him and he turned 

" ' 'Twas on Stephenses Day he wint cuttin' a rope 
o' ferns with his brother, and faith when the brother 
was talkin' to a man that was in it, he shlipped away. 
The brother thought it was home he wint, till he got 
the rope o' ferns threwn afther him on the ground. 

" ' An' that, now, was the time he got the shance.' 

" Nurse Davin, who is the very salt of the earth, 
has felt it all very deeply. I cheered her by giving 
her your Christmas messages. She was overwhelmed 
with gratitude. ' And would ye be pleased to wish 
her every sort of good luck and happiness, and the 
blessing o' God on her ! The crature ! Indeed she 
was good, and clane, and quiet, and sensible ! 
And her little dog— so nice and so clever ! ' " (This 
was the Puppet.) " ' She cried afther him, the 
crature ! She could do no more.' " 

I trust I maybe pardoned for quoting this encomium. 
The virtues enumerated by Nurse Davin have not 
often been ascribed to me. 



Taking the publication of " An Irish Cousin " as 
the beginning of our literary work, its next develop- 
ment was a series of short articles on Irish subjects 
that Martin wrote, single-handed, for the World. 

The sap was beginning to run up ; more and more 
things began with her to throw themselves, almost 
unconsciously, into phrases and forms. Her thoughts 
blossomed in the fit words, as the life in the tree 
breaks in leaves. Everything appealed to her in 
this new life at Ross, which was the old, and while 
she weeded the flower-beds in the garden, or painted 
doors in the house, or drove her mother for long 
miles on the outside car, she was meditating, and 
phrase-making, and formulating her impressions. 
These, presently, passing through her letters to me, 
as through a filter, developed into an article, which was 
primarily inspired by the death of one of the older 
retainers of Ross. 

Mr. Edmund Yates then had the World at his 
feet, having created it not very many years before, 
and that he possessed the flair for good work was 
evident in the enthusiasm for her writing that, from 
the first, he did not attempt to conceal from Martin. 

If, in things literary, the buyer would forget his 
traditional pose of saying " it is naught," and would 



woo the thirsty, tremulous soul of the artist with 
appreciation, the bargain would not often work out 
to his disadvantage. Edmund Yates had the courage 
of his opinions, and the admiration that he was too 
generous to withhold more than counterbalanced 
the minuteness of the cheque that came from his 

The first of these articles, " A Delegate of the 
National League," appeared in July, 1889, and was 
received by our friends with mingled emotions. It 
is my mature conviction that they were horrified by 
its want of levity. That " a Shocker " should preach, 
that " one of the girls " should discourse on what was 
respectfully summarised by a young lady of my ac- 
quaintance as " Deep subjects of Life and Death," 
was not quite what anyone enjoyed. Mrs. H. Ward's 
book, " Robert Elsmere," had just appeared ; it was 
considered to be necessary to read it, and to talk 
intellectually about it, and it was found wearing 
that Martin should also be among the Prophets, 
and should write what one of her cousins called 
" Potted Carlyle." None the less, she followed up 
" The Delegate," in a month or two, with another 
article in the same vein, entitled " Cheops in Conne- 
mara." In some of her letters of this period she 
speaks of these articles. 

" I weed the garden a good deal," she says, " and 
give meat to my household, and I got a sort of grip 
of the Education article to-day, and hope it may con- 
tinue. But I am a fraud in the way of writing. 
I heap together descriptions, with a few carefully 
constructed moralities interspersed, and hide behind 
them, so that no one shall discern my ignorance and 

" I am ploughing along at an article, and have a 
most ponderous notion in my head for another about 


the poor women of the West of Ireland, their lives, 
their training, their characters, all with a view as to 
whether they would be the better for having votes, 
or would give a better or worse vote than the men. 
I feel overwhelmed and inadequate. I think I write 
worse every time I try " (which was obviously 

" Mama has had a most kind letter from Sir 
William Gregory. He has many literary friends and 
so has Augusta " (Lady Gregory), " and he says they 
will both do their best for The Shocker, and that he 
hopes his conscience will allow him to praise it with 
trumpets and shawms. Poor Mama required a little 
bucking up after the profound gloom in which she 
was plunged by a letter from her oldest ally, Mrs. X., 
saying she thought the ' Delegate ' was ' high-flown 
and verbose ' — ' merely, of course, the faults of young 
writing,' says Mrs. X. Mama was absolutely stag- 
gered, and has gone about saying at intervals, ' Knee- 
buckles to a Highlander I ' by which she means to 
express her glorious contempt for Mrs. X.'s opinion of 
the classics." 

The " ponderous notion " of which she spoke 
eventually developed into an article which she called 
" In Sickness and in Health." It first appeared in 
Blackwood's Magazine^ and we reprinted it in 
**Some Irish Yesterdays." It is, I think, a very 
delightful example of a class of writing in which she 
seems to me to be unequalled. 

" Erin, the tear and the smile in thine eye," 

is a line that is entirely applicable to her, and to her 
outlook on the ways of Ross and its people. She 
loved them and she laughed at them, and even though 
she could hold Ross at arm's length, to analyse, and to 
philosophise, and to make literature of it and of its 


happenings, she took it back to her heart again, and 
forgave what she could not approve, for no better 
reason than that she loved it. 

I am aware that the prosperity of a letter, as of a 
jest, often lies in the ear of him that hears, or reads. 
Nevertheless I propose here and now to give a few 
extracts from her Ross letters. None of them have 
any connection with each other, or with anything else 
in particular, and anyone who fears to find them 
irrelevant or frivolous may, like Francie Fitzpatrick 
(when she eluded Master Whitty) " give a defiant 
skip and pass on." 

V. F. M. to E. (E. S. (Ross, 1895.) 

" Nurse B. gave, yesterday, a fine example of 
using the feminine for animals to imply cunning. 

" * Didn't a big rat walk in the lardher windy, and 
me lookin' at her this ways, through the door, an' 
she took a bit o' bacon to dhrag it with her. She was 
that long ' (indicating as far as her elbow), ' an' 
not that high ! ' (measuring half her little finger). 
' Faith, Bridgie dhrove her the way she came ! ' 

" Bridgie is of undaunted courage, runs after rats 
to slay them, and fears * neither God nor devil, like 
the Black Prosbitarians.' She is a Topsy, lies and 
steals and idles, and is as clever as she can be. Could 
you but see her with a pink bow in her cap, and 
creaking Sunday boots, and her flaming orange hair 
and red eyes you would not be the better of it. She 
is fifteen, and for some mysterious reason, unknown 
to myself, I like her. ... I am working at an 
article, badly. I am very stupid, and not the least 
clever, except at mending blinds, and the pump. I 
am tired of turning away my eyes from iniquity that 
I cannot rectify, of trying to get the servants up in 
the morning, of many things, but let me be thankful, 


I have had the kitchen whitewashed. I laugh fool- 
ishly when I think of the Herculaneum and Pompeii 
episode from which the cat and three kittens barely- 
escaped with their lives. The cat, being in labour, 
selected as her refuge the old oven in the corner of 
the kitchen, a bricked cavern, warm, lofty, and 
secluded. There, among bottles, rags, and other 
concealments of Bridgie's, she nourished and brought 
up her young in great calm, till the day that Andy 
set to work at the kitchen chimney. No one knew 
that the old oven had a special flue of its own, and 
it was down this flue that the soot elected to come. 
I was fortunately pervading space that day, and 
came in time to see a dense black cloud issuing from 
the oven's mouth into the kitchen. I yelled to a 
vague assembly of Bridgets in the servants' hall, all 
of whom were sufficiently dirty to bear a little more 
without injury, and having rushed into the gloom 
they promptly slammed the door on the unfortunate 
family inside, on whom then rained without inter- 
mission, soot, bricks, and jackdaws' nests. Having 
with difficulty got the door open again, the party 
was disinterred, quite unhurt, but blacky and more 
entirely mortified than anything you can imagine. 
For the rest of the day ' Jubilee ' cleaned herself and 
her children in the coldest parts of the house, with 
ostentatious fury. She was offered the top turf-box 
on the back stairs, but instantly refused, and finally 
settled herself in a stone compartment of the wine- 
cellar ; a top berth this time, you bet ! " 

V. F. M. to E. (E. S. (Ross, 1901.) 

" We did not achieve church this morning without 
some difficulty. I went round to the yard after 
breakfast, to see that things were en train, and was 
informed by Rickeen that he had not fed the grey 


pony, as he had found a weazel in the oats, * and sure 
there's some kind of a pizen in thim.' Being unable 
to combat this statement, I desired that the pony 
should be given hay. This was done but at the 
last moment, just before she was being put into 
the shafts, she * sthripped a shoe.' Mama's old pony, 
Killola, was again a little lame — nothing for it but 
the monster Daisy, browsing in the lawn with her 
foal. It was then 10.45. I had on a voile skirt of 
stupendous length, with a floating train, my best 
gloves and other Sunday trappings, none the less 
must I help Rick to harness Daisy. Then the trouble 
was to shut her foal into the barn. In the barn was 
already immured the donkey, filled with one fierce 
determination to flee over to the White Field, where 
was Darcy's donkey. I had to hold Daisy, and combat 
her maternal instincts, and endure her ceaseless 
shriekings ; I also had to head off the donkey, which 
burst from the barn, with gallopings and capers, 
while Rickeen stuffed in the foal, who, like its mother, 
was shrieking at the top of its voice. I also was weak 
with laughing, as Rick's language, both English and 
Irish, was terrific, and the donkey very ridiculous. 
Rick finally flailed it into what he called ' the pig- 
shtyle,' with many fervent ' Hona-mig-a-dhiouls ' 
(Rick always throws in ' mig,' for pure intensity and 
rhythm). Then— (' musha, the Lord save thim that's 
in a hurry ')— the harness had to be torn off the grey, 
in the loose box, * for fear would she rub the collar 
agin the Major ' (which is what he calls the manger). 
Then we pitched Mama on to the car and got off. 
Daisy, almost invisible under her buffalo mane, as 
usual went the pace, and we got in at the First Lesson, 
and all was well." 

V. F. M. to E. (E. S. (Ross.) 
" I had a long walk on Thursday in search of turf, 


to burn with logs. A sunset, that was boiling up orange 
steam on to grey clouds, kept turning me round all 
the way to Esker. At the turn to Pribaun I heard a 
frightful ruction going on. Two men in a cart using 
awful language at the tops of their voices, and Pat 
Lydon, on the fence, giving it back to them, asserting 
with unnecessary invocations, that there was nothing 
he hated like * thim liars.' The men drove on as I 
came up, still chewing the last mouthful of curses as 
they passed, and Pat came forward with his hat off 
and the sweetest smile. 

" ' What was all that about ? ' said I. 

" ' Oh, thim was just tellin' me the price o' pigs in 
Ochtherard yesterday.' (This in a tone of the barest 
interest.) ' And how's Mama ? Divil a one in the 
counthry's gettin' fat, only Mama ! ' This was, of 
course, the highest compliment, and I recognised 
that I was expected to enquire no more into the 
matter of the price of pigs. He then advised me 
to go to Jimmy X. (the song-maker) for turf, and I 
found him at Esker, dreamily contemplating an 
immense and haggard-looking sow, on whom, no 
doubt, he was composing a sonnet. He assured me 
that he would sell Mama a rick of turf. I asked how 
muth was in the rick. 

" ' Well, indeed Miss, of that matter I am quite 
ignorant, but Jimmy Darcy can value it— (stand in 
off the road for fear anyone would hear us !) ' (Then 
in a decorous whisper) ' But him and me is not very 
great since he summonsed me little girl for puUin' 
grass in the Wood of Annagh ' 

" There followed much more, in a small and depre- 
cating voice, which, when told to Jim Darcy, he 
laughed to scorn. 

" ' There's not a basket, no, nor a sod he doesn't 
know that's in that rick ! ' 

" The end of it was that the two Jimmy s wrangled 


down in the Bog of Pullagh the greater part of the 
next day, and nothing more than that has been 

" Poor old Kitty has been in trouble. I have not 
time now to give you the particulars, but will only 
note her account of the singular effects of remorse 
upon her, as unfolded to me by her, subsequent to 
the interview between her and her accuser and Katie. 

" ' Faith the hair is dhroppin' out o' me head, and 
the skin roUin' off the soles o' me feet, with the 
frettin'. Whin I heard what Mrs. Currey said, I 
went back to that woman above, an' she in her bed. 
I dhragged her from the bed,' (sob) ' an' she shweatin,' 
(sob) ' an' I brought her down to Mrs. Currey at the 
Big House ' 

" I have been doctoring Honor Joyce up in Doone 
for some days. She has had agonising pain, which 
the poor creature bore like a Trojan. I asked her 
to describe it, and she said feebly, 

" ' I couldn't give ye any patthern of it indeed, 
but it's like in me side as a pairson 'd be polishin' a 
boot, and he with a brush in his hand.' Which was 
indeed enlightening. Such a house ! One little room, 
with some boards nailed together for a bed, in which 
was hay with blankets over it ; a goat was tethered 
a few feet away, and while I was putting the mustard- 
leaf on, there came suddenly, and apparently from 
the bed itself, ' a cry so jubilant, so strange,' that 
indicated that somewhere under the bed a hen had 
laid an egg. 

" ' God bless her ! ' says Honor, faintly. 

" Next I heard a choking cough in the heart of 
the blankets. It was a sick boy, huddled in there with 
his mother — quite invisible — ^buried in the bedclothes, 
like a dog ... A beautiful day yesterday, fine 
and clear throughout. To-day the storm stormeth 


as usual, and the white mist people are rushing after 
each other across the lawn, sure sign of hopeless wet. 
Poor Michael (an old tenant) died on Thursday night 
— a very gallant, quiet end, conscious and calm. His 
daughter did not mean to say anything remarkable 
when she told me that he died ' as quiet, now as 
quiet as a little fish ' ; but those were her words. I 
went up there to see his old wife, and coming into a 
house black with people, was suddenly confronted with 
Michael's body, laid out in the kitchen. His son, 
three parts drunk, advanced and delivered a loud, 
horrible harangue on Michael and the Martin family. 
The people sat like owls, listening, and we retired into 
a room where were whisky bottles galore, and the 
cream of the company ; men from Galway, respectably 
drunk, and magnificent in speech . . . The funeral 
yesterday to which I went (Michael was one of our 
oldest and most faithful friends) was only a shade 
less horrifying. At all events the pale, tranced face 
was hidden, and the living people looked less brutal 
without that terrific, purified presence " 

One other picture, of about the same period, may 
be given, and in connection with these experiences 
two things may be remembered. That they happened 
more than twenty years ago ; also, that among these 
people, primitive, and proud, tenacious of conventions, 
and faithful to their dead, a want of hospitality at a 
funeral implied a want of respect for the one who had 
left them. 

Unfortunately, it has not even yet been learnt 
that hospitality is not necessarily synonymous with 

V. F. M. to E. (E. S. (Ross, 1895.) 

" William L.'s wife died suddenly, having had a 


dead baby, two days ago, and was buried yesterday, 
up at the Chapel on the Hill. I went to the back gate 
and walked with the funeral from there. It was an 
extraordinary scene. The people who had relations 
buried there, roared and howled on the graves, and 
round the grave where Mrs. L. was being buried, there 
was a perpetual whining and moaning, awfully like 
the tuning of fiddles in an orchestra. Drunken men 
staggered about ; one or two smart relations from 
Galway flaunted to and fro in their best clothes, 
occasionally crossing themselves, and three keeners 
knelt together inside the inmost ring by the grave, 
with their hands locked, rocking, and crying into 
each other's hoods, three awful witches, telling each 
other the full horrors that the other people were not 
competent to understand. Tliere was no priest, but 
Mrs. L.'s brother read a kind of Litany, very like ours, 
at top speed, and all the people answered. Every 
Saint in the calendar was called on to save her and 
to protect her, and there poor William stood, with 
his head down, and his hat over his eyes. It was 
impressive, very, and the view was so fresh and clean 
and delightful from that height. The thump of the 
clods and stones on the coffin was a sound that made 
one shudder, and all the people keened and cried 
at it. . . . There have been many enquiries for you 
since I came home. Rickeen thinks he never seen 
the like of a lady like you that would have * that 
undherstandin' of a man's work ; and didn't I see 
her put her hand to thim palings and lep over them ! 
Faith I thought there was no ladies could be as 
soople as our own till I seen her. But indeed, the 
both o' yee proved very bad that yee didn't get marri'd, 
and all the places yee were in ! ' " 



The adverse opinion of her old and once-trusted 
comrade, Mrs. X., in the matter of " The Delegate " 
was not the only trial of the kind that Mrs. Martin 
had to face. I imagine that few things in her life had 
given her as much pleasure as Violet's success as a 
writer. She had a very highly cultured taste, and her 
literary judgment, builded as it was upon the rock 
of the classics, was as sound as it was fastidious. Had 
a conflict been pressed between it and maternal pride, 
I believe the latter would have been worsted. Fortu- 
nately, her critical faculty permitted her to extend 
to Martin's writing the same entire approval that she 
bestowed upon her in all other regards. It is usual 
to make merry over a mother's glorying in her young, 
but there are few things more touching than to see a 
brilliant creature, whose own glories are past, renew 
her youth, and yet forget it, in the rising sun of a 
child's success. 

No one expects to be a prophet in his own country, 
but when Martin and I first began to write, we have 
sometimes felt as if a mean might have been dis- 
covered between receiving our books with the trumpets 
and shawms, suggested by Sir William Gregory, and 
treating them as regrettable slips, over which a cloak 
of kindly silence was to be flung. My cousin Nannie 


and — though in less degree — my mother, were both 
out for trumpets, and the silence of their acquaint- 
ances (a silence that Martin and I did not fail to assure 
them was compassionate) filled them with wrath that 
only each other's sympathy could assuage. (It is, 
I am sure, unnecessary to say that each was comfort- 
ingly aware that her own daughter had done all the 
work. But this did not invalidate the sympathy.) 

The formula touching the superfluity of knee- 
buckles to the Highlander was, however, sustaining ; 
and this was fortunate, as each of Martin's articles, 
as they appeared in the Worlds called it into requisition. 
If " The Delegate " had staggered the Highlanders, 
they literally reeled when " Cheops in Connemara " 
was offered for their learning by Mrs. Martin, who had 
a pathetic hope, never realised, that some day they 
might find grace and understanding. 

It was of " Cheops " that a lady, who may be called 
Mrs. Brown, said to my cousin Nannie, 

" Oh, Mrs. Martin, I loved it ! It was so nice ! 
I couldn't quite understand it, though I read it twice 
over, but I showed it to Mr. Brown, and he solved the 
problem ! " 

Wonderful man, as Martin commented when she 
wrote the story to me. 

It was this same Mr. Brown whose criticism of the 
" Irish Cousin," wrung from him by Mrs. Martin, 
was so encouraging. 

" I found it," he wrote, " highly imaginative, but 
not nonsensical, unusual in a work of legendary 
character. In fact, it is not bosh ! " 

The singular spring from the clouds to every day's 
most common slang was typical of good Mr. Brown. 
He is now beyond the clouds, or, in any case, is, I 
am sure, where he will not be offended if I recall one 
or two of his pulpit utterances. In my diary at this 


time I find : " Interesting sermon. Mr. Brown told 
us that ' a sin, though very great, is not as great as one 
that exceeds it ; but remember that sin can only- 
find entrance in a heart prepared for it, even as matches 
strike only on the box. And oh friends, it is useless 
to trust in those whose names are fragrant in Christian 
society to pull you through.' " 

Martin was much attached to Mr. Brown, who was 
as kind a man, and as worthy a parson, as ever was 
great-grandson to Mrs. Malaprop. In a letter to me 
she says : 

" Last Sunday's sermon was full of ' jewels five 
words long.' I noticed first an allusion to Jacob's 
perfidy to Esau. ' Which of us. Beloved, would not 
have blushed if we had been in — in — in the shoes in 
which Jacob was then living ? Or if we had been his 
mother ? ' 

" There was something in this so suggestive of the 
tale of the Old Woman, who with her family, lived in 
a shoe, that I found my seat in the front row of the 
choir inconvenient, more especially when one recol- 
lected that in Jacob's time sandals were the usual wear. 
Mr. B. then proceeded to tell us of ' The Greek Chap ' 
who held the gunwale of the boat and ' when his 
right hand was chopped off, held it with his left, and 
that being cut off, caught it in his teeth. Then his 
head was cut off I Think of him. Beloved, who, when 
his head was cut off, still with his teeth held the boat 
impossible ! ' 

" The last word was doubtless the nearest he could 
get to * immoveable.' At this two prominent members 
of the choir laughed, long and agonisingly, as did 
many others. I never smiled. Had you been there I 
might have been unequal to the strain, but I felt sorry 
for poor Mr. Brown, as it was only a slip to say ' head ' 
for ' hand.' He got through the rest pretty well, 



only saying, a little later, that we should not ' ask 
the Almighty for mercies to be doled out to us, like 
a pauper's gruel, in half-pints.' He gave us another 
striking metaphor, a few Sundays ago. * Dear friends, 
to what shall I liken the Day of Resurrection, and the 
rising of us, miserable sinners, from the grave ? Will 
it not be like poor, wretched, black chimney-sweeps, 
sticking their heads up out of chimneys ! ' " 

Martin's pitifulness to incapacity, whether mental 
or physical, could be almost exasperating sometimes 
in its wide charity. Failure of any kind appealed to 
her generosity. Her consideration and tenderness 
for the limitations and disabilities of old age were 
very wonderful and beautiful things, and no one ever 
knew her to triumph over a fallen foe. For myself, I 
am of opinion that, with some foes, this is a mistake, 
akin to being heroic at a dentist's. However, the 
question need not now be discussed. 

That " An Irish Cousin " had satisfied Messrs. 
Bentley's expectations was evidenced by a letter from 
Mr. R. Bentley in October, 1889, in which he suggested 
that we should write a three-volume novel for them, 
and offered us £100 down and £125 on the second 500 
copies. We were then at work on a short novel that 
we had been commissioned to write. This was 
" Naboth's Vineyard," which, after various adven- 
tures, was first published by Spencer Blackett, in 
October, 1891. The story had had a preliminary 
canter in the Lady's Pictorial Christmas number as 
a short story, which we called " Slide Number 42." 
It was sufficiently approved of to encourage us to 
fill it up and make a novel of it. As a book it has had 
a curious career. We had sold the copyright without 
reservation, and presently it was passed on to Mr. 
Blackett. We next heard of it in the hands of Griffith 
and Farran. Then it appeared as a " yellow-back " 

I Q 


at 2s, Tauchnitz then produced it ; finally, not very 
long ago, a friend sent us a copy, bound rather like a 
manual of devotion, with silver edges to the pages, 
which she had bought, new, for 4d. ; which makes one 
fear that Ahab's venture had not turned out too well. 
It was a story of the Land League, and the actors in 
it were all of the peasant class. It was very well 
reviewed, and was, in fact, treated by the Olympians, 
the Spectator y the Saturday Review, the Times, etc., 
with a respect and a seriousness that almost alarmed 
us. It seemed that we had been talking prose without 
knowing it, and we were so gratified by the discovery 
that we decided forthwith to abandon all distractions 
and plunge solemnly, and with single-hearted industry, 
into the construction of the three- volume novel desired 
by Messrs. Bentley. 

This was not, however, as simple a matter as it 
seemed, and the way was far from clear. I was doing 
illustrations for a children's story (and a very delight- 
ful one), " Clear as the Noonday," by my cousin, 
Mrs. James Penrose, and I was also illustrating an 
old Irish song of Crimean times, *' The Kerry Recruit," 
which has been more attractively brought to the notice 
of the public by another cousin, Mr. Harry Plunket 
Greene. Martin was still enmeshed in her World 
articles and in Ross affairs generally, and though we 
discussed the " serious novel " intermittently it did 
not advance. 

Ross was by this time restored to the normal con- 
dition of Irish country houses, comfortable, hos- 
pitable, unconventional, an altogether pleasant place 
to be in, and with visitors coming and going, it was not 
as easy as it had been for the daughter in residence 
to devote herself to literature, especially serious 

During one of my many visits there, the honourable 

p 2 


and unsolicited office of domestic chaplain had been 
conferred upon me. Martin has written that " Hymns 
and Family Prayers are often receptacles for stale 
metaphor and loose phraseology ; out of them comes 
a religion clothed to suffocation in Sunday clothes 
and smelling of pew-openers. Tate and Brady had 
much to answer for in this respect ; some of their 
verses give at once the peculiar feeling of stiff neck 
produced by a dull sermon and a high pew." 

In this condemnation, however, the family prayers 
at Ross were not included. When I knew them they 
took the form of selections from the Morning Service, 
and included the Psalms for the day ; nothing more 
simple and suitable could be imagined ; nevertheless, 
there were times when they might, indisputably, have 
been more honoured in the breach than in the 
observance. I have already alluded to my cousin 
Nannie's sense of humour, and its power of over- 
whelming her in sudden catastrophe. On some 
forgotten occasion, one of those contretemps peculiar 
to the moment of household devotion had taken 
place, and the remembrance of this, recurring, as 
it did, daily, with the opening of the Prayer-book, 
rarely failed to render impossible for her a 
decorous reading of the prayers. This was the 
more disastrous, because, like very many of " The 
Chief's " descendants, she specially enjoyed reading 
aloud. With much reluctance she deputed her 
office to Martin, but, unhappily, some aspect of the 
affair (which had, it may be admitted, some that 
were sufficiently absurd) would tickle the deputy, 
and prayers at Ross, which, as I have said, included 
the Psalms for the day, ended, more than once, at 
very short notice. I may say that during my tenure 
of the office, although I could not, like Martin, repeat 
all the Psalms from memory, I acquitted myself 


respectably, if quite without distinction. This, as 
far as I know, has been achieved by but one reader, 
who will, I trust, forgive me if I abandon, for once, 
the effort to refrain from mention of existing contem- 
poraries, and quote Martin's account of her success. 

V. F. M. to E. (E. S. (Ross, 1890.) 

" None of us were able to go to church to-day, 
the weather being detestable and Mama's eyes much 
inflamed by gout. So we had prayers at home. 
Quite early in the morning Mama had strong convul- 
sions at the very thought, and I compelled her to 
delegate Katie for the office of chaplain. Muriel 
and her English nurse, Hoskins, were summoned, and 
before they came Mama stipulated that the Psalms 
should be read. Katie consented, on condition that 
Mama should not try to read her verse, and after some 
resistance. Mama gave in. In came Hoskins, looking 
the picture of propriety, with a crimson nose, and 
Muriel, armed with a Child's Bible, and Katie made a 
start. Will you believe that Mama could not refrain, 
but nipped in with the second verse, in a voice of the 
most majestic gravity. The fourth verse was her next, 
and in that I detected effort, and prepared for the 
worst. At the sixth came collapse, and a stifled 
anguish of laughter. I said in tones of ice, 

" * I'm afraid your eye is hurting you ? ' 

" * Yes,' gasped Mama. 

" Katie swept on without a stagger, and thus the 
situation was saved. I think Hoskins would consider 
laughter of the kind so incredible that she would 
more easily believe that Mama always did this when 
her eye hurt her. Katie slew Mama, hip and thigh, 
afterwards, as indeed, her magnificent handling of the 
affair entitled her to do." 


In spite of our excellent resolutions, the serious 
novel was again put on the shelf, and the next work 
we undertook was a tour on behalf of the Lady's 
Pictorial. This was provoked by a guide-book to 
Connemara, which was sent to Martin by an English 
friend. She wrote to me and said, " E. H. has sent 
me an intolerably vulgar guide to Connemara, and 
suggests that you and I should try and do something 
to take its place. It is written as it were in descrip- 
tion of a tour made by an ingenuous family party. 
' Jack,' very manly ; the Young Ladies, very ladylike ; 
a kind and humorous mother, etc. ' Jack ' is much 
the most revolting. The informant of the party 
gives many interesting facts about the disappearance 
of the Martins from the face of the earth, and deplores 
the breaking up of the property ^ put together by 
CromwelVs soldier ' ! " 

I think it was this culminating offence that decided 
us to supplement the information supplied to the 
ingenuous family. Our examination into the condi- 
tions of Connemara, and our findings on its scenery, 
hotels, roads, etc., were not accomplished without 
considerable effort. In 1890 there was no railway 
to Clifden, hotels were few and indifferent, means 
of communication scant and expensive. We hired a 
jennet and a governess-cart, and strayed among the 
mountains like tinkers, stopping where we must, 
taking chances for bed and board. It was un- 
comfortable and enjoyable, and I imagine that our 
account of it, which was published as a book by 
Messrs. W. H. Allen, is still consulted by the tourist 
who does not require either mental improvement or 
reliable statistics. 

In the autumn of '91 we went, by arrangement 
with the Lady^s Pictorial, to Bordeaux, to investigate, 
and to give our valuable views upon the vintage in 


that district. This developed into a very interesting 
expedition ; we had introductions that opened to us 
the gloomy and historic portals of the principal 
" Caves " ; we saw claret in all its stages (some of 
them horrible) ; we assisted at a " Danse de Vendange,'^ 
a sort of Harvest Home, at which we trod strange 
measures with the vintagers, feeling, as we swung 
and sprang to the squeals of pipes and fiddles, as 
though we were in comic opera ; we gained a pleasing 
insight into the charm of French hospitality, and we 
acquired — and this was the tour's only drawback — ^a 
taste for the very best claret that we have since found 
unfortunately superfluous. 

These articles, also, were republished with the title 
" In the Vine Country," Martin's suggestion of " From 
Cork to Claret " being rejected as too subtle for the 
public. Such, at least, was the publishers' opinion, 
which is often pessimistic as to the intelligence of the 

Since I am on the subject of our tours, I may as 
well deal with them all. It was in June, 1893, that 
we rode through Wales, at the behest of Black and 
White. The articles, with my drawings, were subse- 
quently published by Messrs. Blackwood, and were 
entitled " Beggars on Horseback." We were a little 
more than a week on the road, and were mounted on 
hireling ponies and hireling saddles (facts that may 
enlist the sympathies of those who have a knowledge 
of such matters). I may here admit that, in spite of 
certain obvious advantages of a literary kind, these 
amateur-gipsy tours are not altogether as enjoyable 
as our accounts of them might lead the artless reader 
to imagine. They demand iron endurance, the temper 
of Mark Tapley, and the Will to Survive of Robinson 
Crusoe. I do not say that we possessed these attri- 
butes, but we realised their necessity. 


Only once more, and in this same year, 1893, did 
we adventure on a tour. This time again on behalf 
of the Lady's Pictorial, and, at our own suggestion, 
to Denmark. We had offered the Editor four alter- 
natives, Lapland or Denmark, Killarney or Kiel. 
He chose Denmark, and I have, ever since 1914, 
deeply regretted that we did not insist on Kiel. 

The artistic and social difficulties in dealing with 
this class of work have not, in my experience, been 
sufficiently set forth. We were provided with intro- 
ductions, obtained variously, mainly through our 
own friends. We were given, editorially, to under- 
stand that the events, be they what they may, were 
ever to be treated from the humorous point of view. 
" Pleasant " is the word employed, which means 
pleasant for the pampered reader, but not necessarily 
for anyone else. 

Well, " pleasant '* things, resulting from some of 
these kind, private introductions, undoubtedly 
occurred, but it is a poor return for full-handed 
hospitality to swing its bones, as on a gibbet, in a 
newspaper. Many have been the priceless occurrences 
that we have had to bury in our own bosoms, or, in 
writing them down, write ourselves down also as 
dastards. It is some consolation to be able to say 
this here and now. For all I know, there may still 
be those who consider that Martin Ross and E. (E. 
Somerville treated them, either by omission or com- 
mission, with ingratitude. If so, let me now assure 
them that they little know how they were spared. 



Throughout these very discursive annals I have 
tried to keep in remembrance a lesson that I learnt 
a few years ago from a very interesting book of 
Mr. Seton Thompson's called, I think, " In the Arctic 
Prairies." In it he began by saying that travellers' 
accounts of their sufferings from mosquitoes were liable 
to degenerate into a weariness to the reader ; therefore 
he determined to mass all he had suffered into one 
chapter. Thenceforward, when the remembrance of 
the mosquitoes became too poignant for endurance, 
a pause came in the narrative, and a footnote said 
(with an audible groan), " See Chapter So and So." 
Thus it has been with me and dogs. This is Chapter So 
and So, and I honourably invite the Skip of Defiance 
already several times advocated. 

M. Maeterlinck has written of dogs with deep 
discernment, yet not, I think, in quite the right 
spirit. No dogs, save perhaps hounds, should speak 
of " Master," or " Mistress." The relationship should 
be as that of a parent ; at farthest, that of a fond 
governess. R. L. Stevenson's essay, " The Character 
of Dogs," treats of dogs with all his enchanting 
perception and subtlety, and contains the matchless 
phrase " That mass of carneying affectations, the 


female dog '* ; yet memorable as the phrase is, I 
would venture to protest against the assumption 
that is implicit in it, namely, that affectation is a 
thing to be reprobated. Martin's and my opinion 
has ever been that it is one of the most bewitching 
of qualities. I believe I rather enjoy it in young ladies ; 
I adore it in " the female dog." But it must be genuine 
affectation. The hauteur of a fox terrier lady with a 
stranger cad-dog is made infinitely more precious by 
the certainty that when the Parent's eye is removed, 
it will immediately become transmuted into the most 
unbridled familiarity. 

I recall a sunny summer morning when, on the 
lawn tennis ground at Brisbane, Martin and I received 
a visit from the then parson of the parish, and from 
his large black retriever. Candy and Sheila, my fox 
terriers, ladies both, received it also, but in their 
case, with a dignity that we could not hope to emulate. 
Shortly after the interview opened, chancing to look 
round, I beheld two motionless round white mounds, 
hedgehog in attitude, super-hedgehog in sentiment, 
buried in profoundest slumber. Round the mounds, 
with faint yelps, in brief rushes, panting with adora- 
tion, with long pink tongue flapping, and white teeth 
flashing, fore-legs wide apart and flung flat on the 
grass, went the parson's retriever. With sealed eyes 
the ladies slept on. Yet, when Martin and the parson 
and I had strayed on into the flower garden, I cannot 
conceal the fact that both the Clara Vere de Veres 
abandoned themselves to a Maenad activity that took 
the amazed and deeply gratified retriever as its focal 
point, and might have given effective hints to 
any impersonator of Salome dancing before King 

I have ever been faithful to two breeds, foxhounds, 
and fox terriers, and, as I look back over a long series 

OF DOGS 219 

of Grandes Passions^ I see Ranger and Rachel and 
Science, with their faithful, beautiful hound-faces, 
waving their sterns to me through the mists of 
memory, and The Puppet, and Dot, and, paramount 
among them all, the little " Head-dog," Candy, all 
waiting in the past, to be remembered and praised, 
and petted. Mention has already been made of 
The Puppet's brief but brilliant life. Martin has 
summed him up as " an engaging but ill-mannered 
little thing," but this dispassionate assessment did 
not interfere with her affection for him. Some time 
after his early and tragic death, she sent me a little 
MS. book entitled " Passages in the Life of a Puppet, 
By its Mother, Being some ^Extracts from Her Corre- 
spondence." These, with her comments, elucidatory 
and otherwise, I still preserve, and they are often 
both entertaining and instructive. They are, on the 
whole, of too esoteric a nature for these pages, but 
I may offer one extract that may be regarded 
as not unsuitable by that influential person, " the 
general reader." This treats of The Puppet in the 
capacity of parent, and is endorsed by Martin, " The 
Puppet in his own Home Circle is unamiable, and is 
much disliked by his wife." 

" His attitude is one of curiosity and suspicion. 
When I go to see Dot and the puppies, he creeps after 
me, walking with the most exaggerated caution on 
three legs, one being held high in air, in the pose of 
one who says * Hark ! ' or * Hist ! ' Sometimes he 
forgets, and says it with a hind-leg, but there are 
never more than three paws on the ground. Meantime, 
the Mamma, with meek, beaming eyes fixed on me, 
keeps up a low and thunderous growl. At other times, 
he scrutinises the family from a distance, severely, 
sitting erect, like one of Landseer's lions (but the 
pose is grander), with ears inside out, as cleared for 


action. I dither " The extract ends thus, with 

some abruptness, and recognising the truth of the 
final statement, I will leave the Puppet and his 
Passages, with an apology for having alluded to them. 
We have, sometimes, thought of writing a dog-novel 
(being attracted by the thought of calling it " Kennel- 
worth "), but we were forced to recognise that society 
is not yet ripe for it. 

In fact, the position of dogs requires readjustment. 
It is marked by immoderation. To declaim that 
dogs should be kept in their Proper Place, is merely 
to invite to battle. One thing I will say as touching 
the case of dogs whose " proper place " has been, as 
with myself, the bosoms of their respective owners. 
There comes to those owners something catastrophic, 
a death or a disaster, or even some such household 
throe as a wedding or a ball. The dogs are forgotten. 
The belief that has been fostered in them of their own 
importance remains unshaken-, Their intelligent con- 
sciousness of individual life is as intense as ever. 
Even if the amazing stories of dog-intelligence, that 
were heard a few years ago, were untrue, it is im- 
possible to deny to dogs whose minds have been 
humanised a share of comprehension that is practically 
human. Yet, when the Big Moment comes in the life 
of the house, the dogs are brushed aside and ignored. 
One is sometimes dimly, remotely aware, through 
one's own misery or pre-occupation, of the lonely, 
bewildered little fellow-being who has suddenly become 
insignificant, but that is all. One gives him to eat 
and drink, but one has withdrawn one's soul from 
him, and he knows it, and wonders why, and suffers. 
It is inevitable, but, like many an inevitable thing, 
it is not fair. 

After Dot, in the succession of fox terriers, came 
Musk, who was unto Dot as a daughter, so much so, 

OF DOGS 321 

indeed, that I find it said in my diary that Dot, like 
the Abbess in the Ballad of the Nun, 

" loved her more and more, 

And as a mark of perfect trust 
Made her the Keeper of the Ashpit." 

Musk belonged, strictly speaking, to my sister ; her 
name, through modifications that might interest an 
etymologist, but no one else, became more usually. 
Muck, or Pucket. As the Pucket she reigned for many 
years jointly with her eldest daughter, Candy, and 
with a later daughter. Sheila, on the steps of the 
throne. The Pucket had a singular fear of anyone 
who approached her without speaking. If, on a return 
after the briefest absence, the friend, or even the 
Mother, received her welcoming barks in silence, 
yet continued to advance towards her — about which 
there may be conceded to be something fateful— the 
Pucket's voice would falter, she would retreat with 
ever increasing speed, and I have seen her, when 
further retirement was impossible, plunge herself into 
a bush and thence cry for help. One of her daughters 
will sometimes act in this way, and I have known 
other dogs to behave similarly. On what, then, does 
their apprehension of their friends rely ? Not sight, 
nor smell ; not voice, as a deaf dog recognises his 
friends ? I can only suppose that the unwonted lack 
of response suggests a mental overthrow, and that 
Musk felt that nothing less than the failure of their 
reason would silence her Mother or her Aunt. 

On another occasion, and a more legitimate one, I 
have seen Musk's self-control overthrown. An elderly 
lady-guest, now dead, whose name and demeanour 
equally suggested the sobriquet of " The Bedlamite," 
undertook one evening to sing for us. Musk, in 
common with all our dogs, was inured to, practically, 


any form of music, but when the Bedlamite advanced 
with a concertina to the middle of the drawing-room, 
and, with Nautch-like wavings of the instrument, 
began to shriek— there is no other word— Salaman's 
entirely beautiful setting of " I arise from dreams of 
thee,*' to the sole accompaniment of the concertina's 
shrill wheezings, the Pucket, after some cautious 
and horrified attention, retired stealthily under the 
table, and uttered low and windy howls. 

But there are so many points in connection with 
which, as it must seem to dogs, our behaviour is inscrut- 
able. One may take the case of baths, which must 
daily mystify them. As I put forth to the bath-room, 
I can nearly always recognise in my dogs some arti- 
ficiality of manner, an assumption of indifference, 
that they are far from feeling. They regard me with 
bright, wary eyes, and remain in their baskets, still 
as birds on eggs. " She goes," they say, " to that 
revolting and unnecessary torture, known as Washy- 
washy. Why she inflicts it upon herself is known to 
Heaven alone. For our part, let us keep perfectly 
quiet, nor tempt the incalculable impulses that rule 
her in these matters." 

I have never been addicted to dachshunds, but I 
must make mention of one, Koko ; incomparable 
as a lady of fashion, as a fag at lawn tennis, and as a 
thief. She also had a gift, not without its uses, of 
biting beggars. Her owner, my cousin Doctor Violet 
Coghill, who was in Koko's time a medical student, 
had a practice in dogbites more extended than even her 
enthusiasm desired. Once, when a patient came to 
be dressed and compensated, Koko was collared, 
chained, and, to make assurance doubly sure, tucked 
under the doctor's left arm. Thence, during the 
inspection of the wound, she stretched a neck like 
a snake, and bit the patient again. No dinner-table 

OF DOGS 238 

was safe from her depredations. " Koko is around the 
coasts ! '* parlourmaids have been heard to cry, 
flying to their dining-rooms, as merchant-brigs might 
fly to harbour upon a rumour of Paul Jones. She and 
another, my sister's Max, were the first dachshunds 
in Carbery. I have heard Max discussed by little 
boys in Skibbereen. 

" 'Tis a daag ! " 

" 'Tis not I " 

» 'Tis ! " 

" 'Tis not I 'Tis a Sarpint ! " 

Another and more sophisticated critic decided that 
it was " a little running sofa." But this was in- 
tentionally facetious ; the serpent theory expressed 
a genuine conviction. 

It was at one time said of my family, generally, 
that we were kept by a few dogs for their convenience 
and entertainment, and later there was a period when 
amongst ourselves and our cousins we could muster 
about fourteen, in variety, mainly small dogs. We 
decided to have a drag-hunt, and in order to ensure 
some measure of success— (I ask all serious Hound-men 
to turn away their eyes from beholding iniquity) — I 
desired my huntsman, an orderly-minded Englishman, 
to bring Rachel and Admiral to run the drag. 

" Oh, Master, you wouldn't ask them pore 'ounds 
to do such a thing ? " said G. 

I said I would ; that they were old, and steady ; 
in short, I apologised, but was firm. 

G. asked coldly if a couple would be enough. 

I said quite enough, adding that all the ladies' and 
gentlemen's dogs were coming. 

G. said, " Oh, them cur-dogs " 

He then asked, with resignation, the hour of " the 
meet," and retired. 

At the appointed time he was there, with Rachel 


and Admiral, and two other couples, his principles 
having succumbed to the temptation of a hunt in 
June. The fourteen cur-dogs, ranging from griffons, 
through fox terriers and spaniels, to a deerhound, 
were there too, with a suitable number of proprietors, 
and the hare having been given a fair start, the pack 
was laid on. The run began badly, as the smallest 
dogs, believing the time had come to indulge their 
long-nourished detestation of the hounds, flung them- 
selves upon the blameless Rachel and her party, who, 
for some distance, conscientiously ran the line, with 
cur-dogs hanging like earrings from their ears. Neither 
was the hare immune from difficulties. His course 
had been plotted to pass that old graveyard at 
Castle Haven whereof mention has been made, and 
when he arrived at it he found a funeral in progress. 
He lifted the drag, and tried to conceal his true cha- 
racter. In vain. When he had passed, and he ventured 
to become once more a hare, he found that there was 
not a man of the funeral who was not hanging over 
the graveyard wall, absorbed in the progress of the 
chase. This had been arranged to conclude at the 
kennels, and Candy and I, having been skirters 
throughout, waited at a suitable point to see the 
finish. First came the hare, very purple in the face, 
but still uncaught and undefeated, the paraffined 
remains of the rabbit still bouncing zealously after 
him. Then I heard the single, recurring note of a 
hound, and presently Rachel came into view at a 
leisurely trot ; as she passed me, she smiled apolo- 
getically — she had a pretty smile that showed her 
front teeth — and waved her stern. I understood her 
to say that it was all rot, but she was going through 
with it. After Rachel, nothing. I was high on the 
hill-side above the kennels, and I heard a vague row 
on the road below, from which I gathered that the 

OF DOGS 225 

game had palled on the rest of the pursuers, and they 
were going home for tea. 

I have loved many dogs. All of them have had 
" bits of my heart to tear," and have torn it, but of 
them all, Candy comes first, and will remain so. 
" Wee Candy is just fear£u\\y neat ! " as her faithful 
friend, Madge Robertson, used to say, with the 
whole-hearted enthusiasm of a Highlander. Candy 
was a very small smooth fox terrier, eldest daughter 
of Muck, with a forehead as high and as full as that 
of the Chinese God of Wisdom, and eyes that had a 
more profound and burning soul in them than I have 
seen in the eyes of any other living thing. I pass 
over her nose in silence. Her figure was perfection, 
and her complexion, snow, with one autumn leaf 
veiling her right eye. 

She danced at tea-parties, whirling in a gauze frock, 
and an Early Victorian straw bonnet trimmed with 
rosebuds. In this attire she would walk, or rather 
trip, elegantly, from end to end of a table, appraising 
what was thereon, and deciding by which cake to take 
up her position. To see her say her grace, with her 
little bonneted head in her paws, on her Mother's 
knee, had power to make right-minded persons weep 
(even as one of my sisters-in-law has been seen to 
shed tears, when, from the top of an omnibus, she 
chanced to behold her eldest son, walking in boredom, 
yet in unflawed goodness, with his nurse). 

She was the little dog who set the fashion to all her 
fellows, and her rules were of iron. Chief among these, 
was, as St. Paul might have said, to abstain from 
affectionate licking. This, she held, was underbred, 
and never done by the best dogs. She had a wounding 
way of carefully sniffing the face or the fingers, and 
then turning aside ; but on some few and high 
occasions the ordinance has been infringed. Above 



and beyond all others of her race she had the power 
of expressing herself. It was she who organised and 
headed the Reception Committees that welcomed my 
return after absence, and I have often been told how, 
when my return was announced to her, she would 
assemble herself and her comrades in a position that 
commanded the point of arrival, and would lead the 
first public salutations and reproaches for past neglect ; 
and, these suitably and histrionically accomplished, 
no other little dog could disclose so deep yet decorous 
an ecstasy, her face hidden in my neck, while she 
uttered faint and tiny groans of love. Portraits, and, 
still less, photographs, convey little or nothing to 
most dogs, but I have seen Candy stiffen up and gaze 
fixedly at a snapshot of a bull-terrier (very white on 
a dark background) that chanced to be on a level with 
her eyes, uttering the while small and bead-like growls. 

Her unusual brain power was paid for by overstrung 
nerves, and any loud and sudden sound had power to 
terrify her. She nearly died from what would now 
be called shock, after a few hours spent in the inferno 
of Glasgow streets, in the course of a journey which 
she and I made to the Highlands. We were going 
to the Island of Mull, and there we enjoyed ourselves 
as, I think, only the guests of Highland hosts and 
hostesses can. Candy, as was invariably the case, 
immediately took precedence of all other beings. 

" Jeanie," said the Laird to his sister, " you've 
let the fire out." 

Jeanie, in whose lap Candy was embedded, replied, 
" I couldn't help it, Duncan. Candy dislikes so 
intensely the noise of putting on coal." 

The Laird admitted the explanation. 

Much remains to be desired in travelling facilities 
on steamers, but in nothing more than in provision 


OF DOGS 227 

for dogs and children ; a creche in which to immure 
children and those doomed to attend them, a suitably 
arranged receptacle in each cabin for the passenger's 
dog. On a certain cross-Channel route, between 
Ireland and England, I had, before the War, estab- 
lished myself and my dogs on a sound basis. The 
dear Stewardess, with whom this was arranged, is 
now dead, so without injury to her I can reveal the 
relations between us. You must picture me as lurking, 
with two small white dogs in a leash, in some obscure 
spot beneath the bridge. I have secured a cabin, and 
during the confusion prior to getting under way I 
rush into it with the dogs. I then establish them in a 
rug under a seat. The Stewardess enters — we converse 
affably. (One of these many journeys took place on 
the same day that Queen Victoria crossed the Irish 
Sea to pay her last visit to Ireland. I mentioned the 
fact to the Stewardess. " Why, then, I hope she'll 
have a good crossing, the poor gerr'l I " replied the 
Stewardess, benignantly.) 

To return to the dogs. They, being well trained, 
have instantly composed themselves for sleep. The 
Stewardess, equally well trained, ignores them, only, 
when leaving the cabin, saying firmly, " Now, I don't 
see them dogs. I never seen them at all." 

Then she leaves. Later, the vessel having started, 
and I having retired to my berth, the door is softly 
opened. In the darkness I hear the Stewardess's 
voice hiss, in the thinnest of whispers, " Have ye their 
tickets ? " I reply in equally gnat-like tones, " I 
have ! " " I'll take them, so," she replies. And all is 

It was this same Stewardess, in the course of my 
first crossing with her, of whom I wrote to Martin as 
follows. The subject is not strictly within the scope 

Q 2 


of this chapter, but, as may have been observed, I 
have absolved myself from limitations such as this. 

E. (E. S. to V. F. M. (May, 1890.) 

" The Stewardess, in the course of much friendly 
converse, said, ' Well, and I suppose ye're coming 
back from school, now ? ' 

" I concealed my deep gratification at the supposi- 
tion, and said ' No — ^that I was done with school for 
some time.' * Well then, I suppose you are too ' — 
(clearly thinking I was offended at the inference) — 
' I suppose you're too big now to be going to school ! ' 

" Then I said I had never gone to school ; whereat 
she put her helm hard down, and began to abuse 
school-girls with much heartiness, and said they gave 
more trouble than any other passengers. 

" ' Indeed, they're great imps,' she said. 

" I, clearly, am that woman whom you have so often 
and so consistently abused, to whom Stewardesses talk 
—(all night, by the light of a sickeningly swinging 
colza-oil lamp)." 

A friend of mine once said to this admirable woman 
that she proposed to bring her dog to England, and 
quoted the precedent of my dogs as to cabin 

" Is it Miss Somerville ? " said the Stewardess, in 
a voice weary with the satiety of a foregone conclusion. 
" Sure, she has nests of them ! " 


" The Real Charlotte " can claim resemblance with 
Homer in one peculiarity at least, that of a plurality 
of birthplaces. She was first born at Ross, in 
November, 1889,^ and achieved as much life as there 
may be in a skeleton scenario. She then expired, 
untimely. Her next avatar was at Drishane, when, 
in April, 1890, we wrote with enthusiasm the first 
chapter, and having done so, straightway put her on 
a shelf, and she died again. In the following November 
we did five more chapters, and established in our own 
minds the identity of the characters. Thenceforward 
those unattractive beings, Charlotte Mullen, Roddy 
Lambert, The Turkey-Hen, entered like the plague 
of frogs into our kneading-troughs, our wash-tubs, 
our bedchambers. With them came Hawkins, 
Christopher, and others, but with a less persistence. 
But of them all, and, I think, of all the company 
of more or less tangible shadows who have been fated 
to declare themselves by our pens, it is Francie 
Fitzpatrick who was our most constant companion, 
and she was the one of them all who " had the sway." 
We knew her best ; we were fondest of her. Martin 
began by knowing her better than I did, but, even 
during the period when she sat on the shelf with her 
fellows, while Martin and I boiled the pot with short 


stories and the like (that are now rSchauJfS in " All 
on the Irish Shore "), or wrote up tours, or frankly 
idled, Francie was taking a hand in what we did, 
and her point of view was in our minds. 

Very often have we been accused of wresting to 
our vile purposes the friends and acquaintances 
among whom we have lived and moved and had our 
being. If I am to be believed in anything, I may be 
believed in this that I now say. Of all the people of 
whom we have written, three only have had any 
direct prototype in life. One was " Slipper," another 
was " Maria," both of whom are in " Some Experiences 
of an Irish R.M.," and the other was the Real Char- 
lotte. Slipper's identity is negligible. So is Maria's. 
She who inspired Charlotte had left this world before 
we began to write books, and had left, unhappy woman, 
so few friends, if any, that in trying to embody some 
of her aspects in Charlotte Mullen, Martin and I felt 
we were breaking no law of courtesy or of honour. 

One very strange fact in connection with Charlotte 
I may here record. Some time after the book had 
been published, an old lady who had known her in 
the flesh met us, and said — (please try to realise the 
godliest and most esoteric of County Cork accents) — 

" And tell me, how in the worr'ld did you know 
about Charlotte's " (I may call her Charlotte) " love- 
affair ? " 

We said we had never known of such. That it had 
developed itself out of the story ; in fact, that we 
had no idea that anything of the kind was possible. 

" Well, 'tis pairfectly true ! " replied the old lady, 

And so indeed it was, as was then expounded to us. 
In almost every detail of Charlotte's relations with 
Lambert and his wife ; incredibly, even appallingly 
true. And we then remembered how, while we were 


still writing the book, a communication had come to 
my sister, purporting to be from the Real Charlotte, 
in some sphere other than this. A message of such 
hatred as inevitably suggested the words, " Hell 
holds no fury like a woman scorned." 

These are things beyond and above our comprehen- 
sion ; it is trying the poor old scapegoat of Coinci- 
dence very high if it is to be pressed into the service 
of a case as complicated, and elaborate, and identical 
in detail as was this one. 

" The Real Charlotte " went with us through the years 
'90 and '91, and was finished during the early summer 
of '92. There is an entry in my diary. " June 8, >^ 
1892. Wrote feverishly. The most agitating scenes 
of Charlotte. Finished Francie." 

We felt her death very much. We had sat out on 
the cliffs, in heavenly May weather, with Poul 
Ghurrum, the Blue Hole, at our feet, and the great 
wall of Brisbane Side rising sheer behind us, blazing 
with yellow furze blossom, just flecked here and 
there with the reticent silver of blackthorn. The 
time of the " Scoriveen," the Blackthorn winter, that 
last flick of the lash of the east wind, that comes so 
often early in May, was past. We and the dogs had 
achieved as much freedom from social and household 
offices as gave us the mornings, pure and wide, and 
unmolested. There is a place in the orchard at 
Brisbane that is bound up with those final chapters, 
when we began to know that there could be but one 
fate for Francie. It felt like killing a wild bird that 
had trusted itself to you. 

We have often been reviled for that, as for many 
other incidents in " The Real Charlotte," but I still 
think we were right. 

Although the book was practically finished in June, 
the delays and interruptions that had followed it from 


the first pursued it still. It was still in the roughest 
and most bewildering of manuscript, and its recopying 
involved us, as has been invariably our fate, in many 
alterations and additions. Interspersed with this 
work were short stories, visits, hunting, occasional 
articles called for by some casual paper or magazine. 
It was not until February 4, 1893, that we " actually 
and entirely finished off the Welsh Aunt, alias ' The 
Real Charlotte,' and sent her off. Poor old thing." 

But even then there was no rest for the sole of her 
foot. Bentley offered £100, neither more nor less. 
Our diaries remark, " wrote breathing forth fire and 
and fury, and refused." In March I find that the day 
after I had " ridden a hunt on a drunk pony," 
" Bentley returned the MS." I think the excite- 
ment of the hunt on that unusual mount took the 
sting out of Charlotte's reverse. In April, " Smith 
and Elder curtly refused the Real C. They said their 
reader, Mr. James Payn, was ill. Can his illness 
have been the result of reading Charlotte ? Or was 
it anticipatory ? " Martin was at this time in Dublin, 
a sojourn thus summarised in her diary : " Dublin 
filled with dull, dirty, middle-aged women. Had 
my hair done in enormous bundle at back. Hideous 
but compulsory." I joined her there and we pro- 
ceeded to London and saw and heard many cheerful 
things. (Amongst other items in my diary, I find 
" Heard Mr. Haweis preach a good sermon on Judas 
Iscariot, with faint but pleasant suggestion of a 
parallel between him and Mr. Gladstone.") We then 
opened negotiations with Messrs. Ward and Downey, 
and pending their completion, Martin and I, with 
my mother and my sister, paid our first visit to Oxford. 

The affair opened badly. Our luggage had been 
early entrusted to a porter, to be deposited in the 
^loak-room, and the porter was trysted to meet us at 


a certain hour and place. At the time appointed the 
porter was not. Our luggage eyed us coldly across 
the barrier, and, the recognition being one-sided, and 
unsupported by tickets, remained there, while we 
searched for the porter and the tickets (for which he 
had paid). He never transpired, and his fate remains 
a Mystery of the Great Western. By what is known 
in an Irish Petty Sessions Court as " hard swearing," 
we obtained possession of our property, but not before 
my mother had {vide my diary) " gone foaming to 
Oxford " without either her ducats or her daughters, 
coerced by the necessity of propitiating our host, a 
Don of Magdalen, with whom it seemed unwise to trifle. 
Those days at Oxford are written in our memories 
in red letters, even though a party more bent on 
triviality and foolishness has not often disgraced the 
hospitality of a Scholar. He does not, I fear, forget 
how, after patient and learned exposition and exhibi- 
tion of many colleges, one asked him, in genuine, even 
painstaking, ignorance, to remind her which of them 
had been " Waddle College " ; and how he was only 
able to recall it to the inquirer's memory by the 
mention of a certain little white dog that was sitting 
at the entrance gate. Nor how, when taken to the 
roof of the Bodleian, to be shown the surrounding 
glories of Oxford, the sight of one of the ventilators 
of its reading-room had evoked in Martin Ross an 
uncontrollable longing to shriek down it, in imitation 
of a dog whose tail has been jammed in a door. (An 
incomparable gift of hers, that has made the fortune 
of many a dull dinner-party.) I have often wondered 
what the grave students in that home of learning 
thought of the unearthly cry from the heavens, 
Sirius, as it were, in mortal agony. We were not 
permitted to wait for a sequel. Our host, with 
blanched face, hurried us away. 


" These be toys," but they were pleasant, and one 
more recollection of that time may be permitted. It 
was April 30th, and on May morning, as all properly 
instructed persons know, the choristers of Magdalen 
salute the rising sun from the top of Magdalen Tower. 
Our host, the Don, being a man having authority, deter- 
mined that we were to view this ceremony ; and being 
also a man of intelligence, decided that one of his 
menials should for the occasion take his office of guide 
and protector. Accordingly, at some four of the clock, 
a faithful undergraduate threw small stones at our 
windows in the Mitre Hotel, and, presently, with an 
ever increasing crowd, we ran at his heels to Magdalen 
Tower. We gained the spiral stone staircase with a 
good few on it in advance of us, and a mighty multitude 
following behind. Then it was, when about halfway 
up, and anything save advance was impossible, that 
the youngest and the tallest of us announced that 
giddiness had come upon her, and that she was unable 
to move. The faithful undergraduate rose to the 
occasion, and immediately directed her to put her 
arms round his waist. This she did, and, unsolicited, 
buried her face in his Norfolk jacket's waist-band. 
Thus they arrived safely at the antechamber to the 
roof. There we left her, and climbed the ladder that 
leads to the roof. The sun rose, the white-robed choir 
warbled their Latin hymn, the Tower rocked, we saw 
its battlements sway between us and its neighbour 
spires, and while these things were occurring, a very 
long thing, like an alligator, crawled across the leads 
towards us — ^the youngest of the party, unable to be 
out of it, but equally unable to stand up. The faithful 
undergraduate renewed his attentions. 

All this is long ago ; the two gayest spirits, who 
made the fortunes of that visit, have left us. 
Magdalen, and its cloisters, and its music, have moved 


into the bright places of memory. When I think now 
of those May days 

" Tliere comes no answer but a sigh, 
A wavering thought of the grey roofs, 
The fluttering gown, the gleaming oars. 
And the sound of many bells." i 

and I " can make reply," falteringly, 

" ' I too have seen Oxford.' " 

About a fortnight after this we sold " The Real 
Charlotte " to Messrs. Ward and Downey for £250 and 
half American rights (which, as far as I can remember, 
never materialised). After this we devoted ourselves 
to the trousseau of the youngest of the party — which 
was a matter that had not been divulged to the faithful 
undergraduate, and is only mentioned now in order 
to justify the chronicling of two of the comments of 
Castle Haven on the accompanying display of wedding 
presents. One critic said that to see them was like 
being in Paradise. Another declared that it was for 
all the world like a circus. 

Are things that are equal to the same thing equal 
to each other ? It is a question for the Don of 
Magdalen to decide. 

Not for another year did " The Real Charlotte " see 
the light. Various business disasters pursued and 
detained her ; it was in May, 1894, that she at length 
appeared, and was received by no means with the 
trumpets and shawms suggested by Sir William 

1 "Et in Arcadia Ego" E. L. in the Spectator. August 25, 1917. 


One distinguished London literary paper pro- 
nounced it to be " one of the most disagreeable novels 
we have ever read " ; and ended with the crushing 
assertion that it could " hardly imagine a book more 
calculated to depress and disgust even a hardened 
reader . . . the amours are mean, the people mostly 
repulsive, and the surroundings depressing." Another 
advised us to " call in a third coadjutor, in the shape 
of a judicious but determined expurgator of rubbish " ; 
The Weekly Sun, which did indeed, as Martin said, 
give us the best, and best written, notice that we had 
had, ended a review of eight columns by condemning 
the book as " unsympathetic, hard, and harsh," though 
"worthy of study, of serious thought, of sombre but 
perhaps instructive reflection." A few reviewers of 
importance certainly showed us — as St. Paul says — no 
little kindness, (not that I wish it to be inferred that 
reviewers are a barbarous people, which would be the 
height of ingratitude,) but, on the whole, poor Char- 
lotte fared badly, and one Dublin paper, while " com- 
mending the book " to its readers, even saying that 
Francie was " an attractive heroine," went on to 
deplore the " undeniable air of vulgarity which clings 
to her," and finally exclaimed, with grieved incredulity, 
" Surely no girl of Francie's social position screams, 
' G'long, ye dirty fella ' ! " 

A very regrettable incident, but, I fear (to quote kind 
Mr. Brown), though legendary, it is not nonsensical. 

So was it also with our own friends. My mother first 
wrote, briefly, " All here loathe Charlotte." With 
the arrival of the more favourable reviews her 
personal " loathing " became modified ; later, at my 
behest, she gave me the following able synopsis of 
unskilled opinion. 

" As you told me to give you faithfully all I heard, 
pro and con, about Charlotte, I will do so. 

" Mrs. A. ' Very clever, very clever, but I have no 


praise for it, Mrs. Somerville, no praise ! The subjects 
are too nasty ! I have no interest in such vulgar 
people, and I'm sure the Authors have really none 
either, but it is very clever of them to be able to write 
at all, and to get money for it ! ' 

" Mrs. B. was extremely interested in the book and 
thought it most powerful, but said that nothing would 
induce her even to tell her sisters that such a book 
was to be had, as the imprecations would shock them 
to that extent that they would never get over it. 

" Then Miss C. didn't like it, first because of the 
oaths, and secondly because it would give English 
people the idea that in all ranks of Irish life the people 
were vulgar, rowdy, and gave horrible parties. 

" The D.'s didn't like it either, for the same reasons, 
but thought if you had given ' Christopher ' a stronger 
back-bone, and hadn't allowed him to say ' Lawks ! ', 
that he would have been a redeeming character, and 
also ' Pamela,' had she only been brought forward 
more prominently, and that you had allowed her to 
marry ' Cursiter.' " 

From these, and many similar pronouncements, it 
was but too apparent to us that the Doctors were 
entirely agreed in their decision, and that my mother 
had herself summarised the general opinion, when she 
wrote to one of her sisters that " Francie deserved to 
break her neck for her vulgarity ; she certainly wasn't 
nice enough in any way to evoke sympathy, and the 
girls had to kill her to get the whole set of them out 
of the awful muddle they had got into ! " 

The authors, on receipt of these criticisms, laughed 
rather wanly. " Sophie pleurait, mais la poupee restait 
cassee^ Although we could laugh, a certain depression 
was inescapable. 

I do not say that we had only adverse opinions from 
our friends. Our own generation sustained us with 
warm and enthusiastic approval, and we were fortified 


by this, despite the fact that a stern young brother 
wrote to me in high reprobation, and ended by saying 
that " such a combination of bodily and mental 
hideosity as Charlotte could never have existed 
outside of your and Martin's diseased imaginations." 
Which left little more to be said. 

On the whole, the point insisted on, to the exclusion 
of every other aspect of the book, was the " un- 
pleasantness " of the characters. The pendulum has 
now swung the other way, and *' pleasant " characters 
usually involve a charge of want of seriousness. Very 
humbly, and quite uncontroversially, I may say that 
Martin and I have not wavered from the opinion 
that "The Real Charlotte" was, and remains, the best 
of our books, and, with this very mild commendation, 
the matter, as far as we are concerned, closes. 

We were in Paris (with the tallest and youngest 
of the Magdalen Tower party) when Charlotte was 
published. I was working for a brief spell at the 
studio of M. Delecluse ; Martin was writing a series 
of short articles, which, with the title " Quartier 
Latinities," and adorned by drawings of mine, ap- 
peared in Black and White. The casual, artless, yet 
art-full life of " The Quarter " fascinated Martin ; 
she had the gift of living it with zest, while remaining 
far enough outside it to be able to savour its many 
absurdities. As we said, in one of our books, and 
the idea was hers, " The Irishman is always the critic 
in the stalls, and is also, in spirit, behind the scenes." 
The " English Club " for women artists, of which I 
was a member, soon got to know, and to accept, the 
slim and immaculately neat critic of the simple habits 
and customs of its members, and resented not at all her 
analysis of its psychology. Black and White had an 
immense vogue there ; some day, perhaps, those 
articles, and others of Martin Ross's stray writings, 
may be collected and reprinted. If the " Boul' Miche'," 


now orphaned of its artists, ever gathers a new genera- 
tion under its wings, these divagations of autre-fois 
will have an interest of their own for those that 
survive of the old order. 

We had rooms at a very unfashionable hotel on the 
Boulevard Mont Parnasse, at the corner of the Boule- 
vard Raspail. It was mainly occupied by art students, 
and the flare of esprit a bruler lit its many windows 
at the sacred hour of le fife o'clock, or such of its 
windows as appertained to les Anglaises, The third 
member of our menage went daily to what she spoke 
of as " The Louvre *' — meaning the Magasin, not the 
Musee — and explained rather vaguely that she had 
" to buy things for a bazaar.'* Her other occupation 
was that of cook. There was a day when " Ponce " 
(my fellow lodger, it may be remembered, in the Rue 
Madame) came beneath our windows at lunch time 
and was offered hospitality. She declined, and was 
then desired to " run over to Carraton's " and purchase 
for the cook a dozen of eggs. This she did, and cried 
to us from the street below — (we were swells, living 
au 'premier) — that the eggs were there. The cook is 
a person of resource, and in order to save trouble, 
she bade Ponce wait, while she lowered to her a basket, 
by the apostolic method of small cords, in which she 
should place the eggs. Across the way was a cafS, 
dedicated to a mysterious and ever-thirsty company, 
^^Les hons Gymnasiarques.^' The attention of these 
beings, and that of a neighbouring cab-stand, was 
speedily attracted to the proceeding. Spellbound 
they watched the cook as she lowered the basket to 
Ponce. Holding their breaths, they watched Ponce 
entrust the eggs to the basket ; as it rose, they rose 
from their seats beneath the awning ; as the small cords 
broke — which of course they did, when the basket was 
about halfway to the window — and the eggs enveloped 
Ponce in involuntary omelette, the Bons Gymnasiarques 


cheered. I have little doubt but that that omelette 
helped to cement the Entente Cordiale, which was at 
that time still considerably below the national horizon. 

I am aware that tales of French as she is spoke by 
the English have been many, " but each must mourn 
his own (she saith)," and we had a painful episode or 
two that must be recounted. The gentlemen of the 
Magasin du Louvre could, if they would, contribute 
some stirring stories. One wonders if one of them 
is still dining out on the tall young English lady who 
told him at the Rayon devoted to slippers that she 
desired for herself a pair of pantalons rouges ? And 
if another, who presided at a lace counter, has forgotten 
the singular request made to him for a " Front avec 
des rides " ? "A wrinkled forehead ! " one seems 
to hear him murmur to himself, " In the name of a 
pipe, how, at her age, can I procure this for her ? " 

These are, however, child's play in comparison with 
what befell one of my cousins, when shopping in 
Geneva with an aunt, a tall and impressive aunt, 
godly, serious, middle-aged, the Church of Ireland, 
as it were, embodied, appropriately, in a black 
Geneva gown. My aunt desired a pillow to supple- 
ment the agremens of her hotel ; one imagines that 
the equivalents for mattress and for pillow must 
have, in one red ruin, blended themselves in her 
mind. " Oreiller,'' " sommier,'' something akin to 
these formulated itself in her brain and sprang to 
her lips, and she said, 

" Donnez moi un sommelier, s'il vous plait." 

" M'dame ? " replied the shopman, in a single, 
curt, slightly bewildered syllable. 

" Un sommelier," repeated the embodiment of the 
Irish Church, distinctly, " Je dors tou jours avec deux 
sommeliers ' ' 

Here my cousin intervened. 



For the remainder of the year '94 the exigencies 
of family hfe kept Martin and me apart, she at Ross, 
or paying visits, I at home, doing the illustrations for 
our Danish tour, with complete insincerity, from 
local models. My diary says, " Impounded Mother 
to pose as the Hofjagermesterinde, and Mary Anne 
Whoolly as a Copenhagen market-woman — as Tennyson 
prophetically said, ' All, all are Danes.' " 

In the meantime " The Real Charlotte " continued 
to run the race set before her, with a growing tide 
of approval from those whose approval we most valued, 
and with steadily improving sales. In November I 
went to Leicestershire (a visit that shall be told of 
hereafter), and thence I moved on to Paris. 

In January, 1895, Martin went to Scotland, and 
paid a very enjoyable visit to some friends at St. 
Andrews, a visit that was ever specially memorable 
for her from the fact that it was at St. Andrews, 
among the kind and sympathetic and clever people 
whom she met there, that she realised for the first time 
that with " The Real Charlotte " we had made a 
mark, and a mark that was far deeper and more 
impressive than had been hitherto suspected by 
either of us. The enjoyment of this discovery was 
much enhanced by the fact that Mr. Andrew Lang, 


whom she met at St. Andrews, was one of the firmest 
friends of the much-abused " Miss Mullen." 

I have some letters that Martin wrote from St. 
Andrews, to me, in Paris, and I do not think that I 
need apologise for transcribing them here, even though 
some of her comments and descriptions do not err 
on the side of over-formality. Her pleasure in the 
whole experience can, I think, only give pleasure in 
return to the people who were so kind to her, and 
whose welcome to her, as a writer, was so generous, 
and so unexpected. Brief as was her acquaintance 
with Mr. Lang, his delightful personality could hardly 
have been better comprehended than it was by her, 
and I believe that his friends will understand, through 
all the chaff of her descriptions, that he had no more 
genuine appreciator than Martin Ross. 

V. F. M. to E. GE. S. (St. Andrews, Jan. 16, 1895.) 

" It is a long journey here from Ross, by reason 
of the many changes, and by reason of my back," 
(she had fallen downstairs at Ross, and had hurt her 
back, straining and bruising it very badly,) " which 
gave me rather a poor time. I hurt it horribly getting 
in and out of carriages, and was rather depressed 
about it altogether . . . However it is ever so much 
better to-day, and none the worse for the dinner 
last night. I don't think I looked too bad, in spite of 
all. I was ladylike and somewhat hectic and hollow- 
eyed. The Langs have large rooms, and their dinner- 
party was fourteen ... an ugly nice youth was my 
portion, and I was put at Andrew Lang's left. I was 
not shy, but anxious. A. L. is very curious to look 
at ; tall, very thin, white hair, growing far down 
his forehead, and shading dark eyebrows and piercing- 
looking, charming brown eyes. He has a somewhat 
foxey profile, a lemon-pale face and a black moustache. 


Altogether very quaint looks, and appropriate. I 
think he is shy ; he keeps his head down and often 
does not look at you when speaking, his voice is 
rather high and indistinct, and he pitches his sentences 
out with a jerk. Anyhow I paid court to my own 
young man for soup and fish time, and found him 
most agreeable and clever, and I did talk of hunting, 
and he was mad about it, so now ! no more of your 
cautionary hints ! 

" To me then Andrew L. with a sort of off-hand 

" ' I suppose you're the one that did the writing ? ' 
" I explained with some care that it was not so. 
He said he didn't know how any two people could 
equally evolve characters, etc., that he had tried, and 
it was always he or the other who did it all. I said 
I didn't know how we managed, but anyhow that I 
knew little of book-making as a science. He said I 
must know a good deal, on which I had nothing to 
say. He talked of Miss Broughton, Stevenson, and 
others, as personal friends, and exhibited at intervals 
a curious silent laugh up under his nose. . . . He 
was so interesting that I hardly noticed how ripping 
was the dinner, just as good as it could be. I then 
retired upon my own man for a while, and Andrew 
upon his woman ; then my youth and he and I had 
a long talk about Oscar Wilde and others. Altogether 
I have seldom been more entertained and at ease. 
After dinner the matrons were introduced and were 
very civil, and praised Charlotte for its ' delightful 
humour, and freshness and newness of feeling,' and 
so on. One said that her son told her he would get 
anything else of ours that he could lay his hands on. 
Then the men again. I shared an unknown man with 
a matron, and then the good and kind Andrew drew 
a chair up and discoursed me, and told me how he is 

R 2 


writing a life of Joan of Arc—' the greatest human 
being since Jesus Christ.' He seems wonderfully 
informed on all subjects. To hear him reel off the 
historical surroundings of the Book of Esther would 
surprise you and would scandalise the Canon. He 
offered to give me a lesson in golf, but, like Cuthbert's 
soldier servant I ' pleaded the 'eadache.' I hear 
that I was highly honoured, as he very often won't 
talk to people and is rude ; I must say I thought he 
was, in his jerky, unconventional way, polite to 
everyone . . . This is a cultured house, and all 
the new books are here . . . I wish I had been 
walking in the moonlight by the Seine. It is like a 
dream to think of it. Talking to Andrew Lang has 
made me feel that nothing I could write could be any 
good ; he seems to have seen the end of perfection. 
I will take my stand on Charlotte, I think, and learn 
to make my own clothes, and so subside noiselessly 
into middle age." 

V. F. M. to E. CE. S. (St. Andrews, Jan. 23, 1895.) 

" Do you know that even now the sun doesn't rise 
here till 8.30 at the best ; at the worst it is not seen 
till about a quarter to nine ! This, and the amazing 
cold of the wind make one know that this is pretty 
far north . . . Since I last wrote various have 
been the dissipations. Afternoon teas, two dinners, 
an organ recital, a concert. It is very amusing. 
They are all, as people, more interesting than the 
average, being Scotch, and they have a high opinion 
of Charlotte. I am beginning to be accustomed to 
having people introduced to me, and feeling that 
they expect me to say something clever. I never do. 
I am merely very conversational, and feel in the 
highest spirits, which is the effect of the air. It is 
passing pleasant to hear my nice hostess tell me how 


she went into an assembly of women (and this being 
St. Andrews, mostly clever ones) and heard them 
raving of Charlotte. She then said, * I know one of 
the authors, and she is coming to stay with me 1 ' 
Sensation ! By the bye, several people have told me 
that Charlotte is like ' La Cousine Bette,' which is 
one of Balzac's novels. I had to admit that we have 
neither of us read Balzac. At one dinner-party the 
host, who is an excellent photographer, showed some 
very good lantern-slides, mostly ruins, old churches 
and the like, being things Mr. Lang is interested in. 
Finally came some statuary groups ; from outside 
South Kensington, I think ; horrible blacks on the 
backs of camels, etc. On the first glimpse of these 
Andrew, who had, I think, been getting bored, 
shuddered, and fled away into the next room, refusing 
to return till all was over. 

" ' If you had any Greek statuary ' he said, 

feebly, but there was none. 

" Then I was turned on to shriek like a dog, and 
he was bewildered and perturbed, but not amused. 
He asked me, in an unhappy way, how I did it. I 
said by main strength, the way the Irishman played 
the fiddle. This was counted a good jest. On that 
the Langs left, he saying in a vague, dejected way, 
apropos of nothing, ' If you'd like me to take you 
round the town sights I'll go— perhaps if Monday 
were fine ' he then faded out of the house. 

" On Monday no sign of him, nor on Tuesday either. 
I withered in neglect, though assured that he never 
kept appointments, or did anything. Yesterday he 
sent word that he would come at 2.30, and he really 
did. The weather was furiously Arctic. 

" ' Doctor Nansen, I presume ? ' said I, coming in 
dressed and ready. He looked foolish, and admitted 
it was a bad day for exploration. (Monday had 


been lovely.) However we went. You will observe 
that I was keeping my tail very erect. 

" In the iron blast we went down South Street, 
where most things are. It is a little like the High 
at Oxford, on a small trim scale. Andrew was imme- 
diately very nice, and I think he likes showing people 
round. Have I mentioned that he is a gentleman ? 
Rather particularly so. It is worth mentioning. He 
was a most perished-looking one, this piercing day, 
with his white face, and his grey hair under a deer- 
stalker, but still he looks all that. I won't at this 
time tell you of all the churches and places he took 
me through. It was pleasant to hear him, in the 
middle of the leading Presbyterian Church, and 
before the pew opener, call John Knox a scoundrel, 
with intensest venom. In one small particular you 
may applaud me. He showed me a place where Lord 
Bute is scrabbling up the ruins of an old Priory and 
building ugly red sandstone imitations on the founda- 
tions. I said, 

" ' The sacred Keep of Ilion is rent 
With shaft and pit ; ' 

" This is the beginning of a sonnet by Andrew 
Lang, in the * Sonnets of this Century,' mourning the 
modern prying into the story of Troy. 

'' We talked of dogs, and I quoted from Stevenson's 
Essay. He also has written an attack on them, having 
been unaware of Stevenson's. He keeps and adores 
a cat, which he says hates him . . . While in the 
College Library Dr. Boyd (the * Country Parson ') 
came in and spoke to Mr. Lang. I examined the 
nearest bookcase, but was ware of the C.P.'s china 
blue eye upon me, and he presently spoke to me. 
He is like a clean, rubicund priest, with a high nose ; 
more than all he is like a creditable ancestor on a 
wall, and should have a choker and a high coat collar. 


He told me that his wife is now ' gloating over Char- 
lotte,' which was nice of him, and I am to go to tea 
with them to-morrow. Why aren't you here to take 
your share ? 

" I said to Andrew that I thought of going to 
Edinburgh on Monday, to see a few things, and he 
said he would be there and would show me Holyrood. 
He said in his resigned voice, ' I'll meet you anywhere 
you like.' ... I am going to write to Mr. Blackwood, 
who has asked me to go to see him. I will ask him 
if he would like the ' Beggars.' Andrew L. wants 
to go there too, so we may go together. Now you 
must be sick of A. L. and I will mention only two or 
three more things about him. 

" He put a notice of Charlotte into some American 
magazine for which he writes, before he knew me. I 
believe it is a good one, but am rather shy of asking 
about it. You will be glad that she is getting a lift 
in America. I hope some of your artist friends will 
see it. He told me that Charlotte treated of quite a 
new phase, and seemed to think that was its chiefest 
merit. He would prefer our writing in future more of 
the sort of people one is likely to meet in everyday 
life. He put his name in the Mark Twain Birthday 
Book, and I told him you had compiled it. Lastly, I 
may remark that when he leaves St. Andrews to- 
morrow, all other men go with him, as far as I am 
concerned, or rather they stay, and they seem 
bourgeois and commonplace (which is ungrateful, and 
not strictly true, and of course there are exceptions, 
and, chief among them, my nice host, and Father A., 
who are always what one likes). . . Post has come, 
bringing a most unexpected tribute to the Real C. 
from T. P. O'Connor in the Weekly Sun. It is really 
one of the best, and best-written notices we have 
ever had. I read it with high gratification, in spite 


of his calling us ' Shoneens ' — (whatever they may be) 
. . . The Editor of Black and White has written asking 
for something about St. Andrews, from an Irish point 
of view. ' But what about the artist ? ' says he. 
What indeed ? And I don't know what to write 
about. Everyone has written about St. Andrews. . . . 
I saw them play the game of ' Curling,' which was 
funny, like bowls played on ice, with big round stones 
that slide. The friends of a stone tear in front of it 
as it slides, sweeping the ice with twigs so as to further 
its progress. When a good bowl is made they say 
' Fine stone ! ' It is in many ways absurd. . . ." 

St. Andrews, Jan. 29. '95. 

"... The dissipations have raged, and I have 
been much courted by the ladies of St. Andrews. 
I shall not come back here again. Having created 
an impression I shall retire on it before they begin 
to find me out. It will be your turn next. . . . Mrs. 

Lang wrote to say that the B s, with whom the 

Langs were staying in Edinburgh, wanted me to lunch 
there, being * proud to be my compatriots.' Professor 
B. is Irish, and is professor of Greek at Edinburgh 
University, and Mrs. B. is also Irish. . . . Accord- 
ingly, yesterday I hied me forth alone. It was a 
lovely hard frost here, but by the time I was half way 
— (it is about two hours by train) — the snow began. I 

drove to the B s, along Princes Street, all horrible 

with snow, but my breath was taken away by the 
beauty of it. There is a deep fall of ground along one 
side, where once there was a lake, then with one 
incredible lep, up towers the crag, three hundred feet, 
and the Castle, and the ramparts all along the top. It 
was foggy, with sun struggling through, and to see 
that thing hump its great shoulder into the haze was 
fine. You know what I think of Scott. You would 


think the same if you once saw Edinburgh. It was 
almost overwhelming to think of all that has happened 
there — However, to resume, before you are bored. 

'• Andhrew he resaved me. 
So dacent and so pleasant, 
He's as nice a man in fayture 
As I ever seen before." 

(vide Jimmy and the Song of Ross). He is indeed, 
and he has a most correct and rather effeminate 
profile. No one else was in. He was as miserable 
about the snow as a cat, and huddled into a huge 
coat lined with sable. In state we drove up to the 
Castle by a long round, and how the horse got up 
that slippery hill I don't know. The Castle was very 
grand ; snowy courtyards with grey old walls, and 
chapels, and dining-halls, most infinitely preferable 
to Frederiksborg. The view should have been noble ; 
as the weather was, one could only see Scott's monu- 
ment — a very fine thing — and a very hazy town. 
It is an awful thing to look over those parapets ! 
A company of the Black Watch was drilling in the outer 
courtyard, very grand, and a piper went strutting 
like a turkeycock, and skirling. It was wild, and I 
stood up by ' Mons Meg ' and was thrilled. Is it 
an insult to mention that Mons Meg is the huge, 
historic old gun, and crouches like a she-mastiff on 
the topmost crag, glaring forth over Edinburgh with 
the most concentrated defiance ? You couldn't believe 
the expression of that gun. I asked Andrew L. 
whether it was the same as ' Muckle-mouthed Meg,' 
having vague memories of the name. He said in a 
dying gasp that Muckle-mouthed Meg was his great- 
great-grandmother ! That was a bad miss, but I 
preserved my head just enough to enquire what had 
become of the ' Muckle mouth.' (I may add that his 
own is admirable.) He could only say with some 


slight embarrassment that it must have gone in the 
other line. 

" We solemnly viewed the Regalia, of which he 
knew the history of every stone, and the room where 
James VI was born, a place about as big as a dinner- 
table, and so on, and his information on all was petri- 
fying. Then it was all but lunch time, but we flew 
into St. Giles' on the way home to see Montrose's 
tomb. A more beautiful and charming face than 
Montrose's you couldn't see, and the church is a very 
fine one. An old verger caught sight of us, and in- 
stantly flung to the winds a party he was taking 
round, and endeavoured to show us everything, in 
spite of A. L.'s protests. At length I firmly said, 
* Please show us the door.' He smiled darkly, and led 
us to a door, which, when opened, led into an oaken 
and carven little room. He then snatched a book 
from a shelf — and a pen and ink from somewhere else. 

" ' I know distinguished visitors when I see them 1 ' 
says he, showing us the signatures of all the Royalties 
and distinguished people, about two on each page. 
' Please write your names.' 

" Andrew wrote his, and I mine, on a blank sheet, 
and there they remain for posterity. Andrew swears 
the verger didn't know him, and that it was all the 
fur coat, and that our names were a bitter disappoint- 
ment — why didn't I put ' Princess of Connemara ' ? 

*' Then to lunch. The B s were very nice. He is 

tall and thin, she short, both as pleasant and uncon- 
ventional and easy as nice Irish people alone are. After 
lunch she and Mrs. Lang tackled me in the drawing- 
room about the original of the Real C. I gaily admitted 
that she was drawn from life, and that you had known 
her a thousand times better than I. Then I told them 
various tales of her, and, without thinking, revealed 
her name. 


" ' Oh yes 1 ' says Mrs. B. in ecstasy, ' she was my 
husband's cousin ! ' 

" I covered my face with my hands, and I swear 
that the blush trickled through my fingers. I then 
rose, in strong convulsions, and attempted to fly the 

house. Professor B was called in to triumph over 

me, and said that she was only a very distant cousin, 
and that he had never seen her, and didn't care what 
had been said of her. They were enchanted about it 
and my confusion, and they have asked me to go to 
their place in Ireland, with delightful cordiality . . . 
Andrew L. and I then walked forth to Blackwood's, a 
very fine old-fashioned place, with interesting pictures. 
We were instantly shown upstairs, to a large, pleasant 
room, where was Mr. Blackwood ... I broached 
the subject of the ' Beggars,' while Andrew stuck his 
nose into a book. Mr. Blackwood said he would like 
to see it. . . . Mr. Lang then spoke to him about 
an article on Junius that he is writing, and I put my 
nose into a book. We then left. There was no time 
to see Holyrood. . . . Thus to the train. My most 
comfortable thought during the two hours' journey 
home was that in talking to Mrs. B. I had placed 
Charlotte on your shoulders ! Andrew L. was very 
kind, and told me that if ever I wanted anything 
done that he could help me in, that he would do it . . . 
My last impression of him is of his whipping out of 
the carriage as it began to move on, in the midst of 
an account of how Buddha died of eating roast pork 
to surfeit." 



In February, 1895, I met Martin in London, and 
found her in considerable feather, consequent on her 
reviving visit to St. Andrews, and on that gorgeous 
review in which we had been called hard and pitiless 
censors, as well as sardonic, squalid, and merciless 
observers of Irish life. We felt this to be so uplifting 
that we lost no time in laying the foundations of a 
further " ferocious narrative." This became, in pro- 
cess of time, " The Silver Fox." It had the disadvan- 
tage, from our point of view, of appearing first in a 
weekly paper (since defunct). This involved a steady 
rate of production, and recurring " curtains," which 
are alike objectionable ; the former to the peace of 
mind of the author, while the latter are noxious 
trucklings to and stimulation of the casual reader. 
That, at least, is how the stipulated sensation at 
the end of each weekly instalment appeared to us 
at the time, and I have seen no reason for relinquish- 
ing these views. " The Silver Fox," like most of 
our books, was the victim of many interruptions ; 
it was finished in 1896, and as soon as its weekly 
career was careered, it was sold to Messrs. Lawrence 
and Bullen, who published it in October, 1897. It was 
a curious coincidence that almost in the same week we 
hunted a silver-grey fox with the West Carbery hounds. 

AT tlTAPLES 258 

The hunt took place on Friday, the 13th of the month, 
we lost the fox in a quarry-hole, in which a farmer had, 
at the bidding of a dream, dug, fruitlessly, and at much 
expense, for fairy gold, and two of our horses were very 
badly cut. I saw the Silver Fox break covert, it was 
the Round Covert at Bunalun, and by all the laws of 
romance I ought to have broken my neck ; but the 
Powers of Darkness discredited him, and neither he 
nor I were any the worse for the hunt. I do not 
remember ever seeing him again, and I presume he 
returned immediately to the red covers (without a t) 
of our book, from which he had been given a temporary 

It was in May and June, 1895, that we spent a happy 
and primitive fortnight in one of the Isles of Aran ; 
we have described it in " Some Irish Yesterdays," 
and it need not be further dealt with, though I may 
quote from my diary the fact that on " May 22. 
M. & I rescued a drowning child by the quay, and got 
very wet thereby. Several Natives surveyed perform- 
ance, pleased, but calm, and did not offer assistance." 

In July, an entirely new entertainment was kindly 
provided for us by a General Election ; our services 
were requisitioned by the Irish Unionist Alliance, 
and with a deep, inward sense of ignorance (not to 
say of play-acting), we sailed forth to instruct the 
East Anglian elector in the facts of Irish politics. It 
was a more arduous mission than we had expected, 
and it opened for us a window into English middle- 
class life through which we saw and learned many 
unsuspected things. Notably the persistence of 
English type, and the truth that was in George Eliot. 
We met John Bunyan, unconverted, it is true, but 
unmistakably he ; cobbling in a roadside stall, full 
of theories, and endowed by heredity with a splendid 
Biblical speech in which to set them forth. Seth Bede 


was there, a house-painter and a mystic, with trans- 
parent, other-worldly blue eyes and a New Testament 
standard of ethics. Dinah Morris was there too, a 
female preacher and a saintly creature, who shamed 
for us the play-acting aspect of the affair into abeyance, 
and whose high and serious spirit recognised and met 
Martin's spirit on a plane far remote from the sordid 
or ludicrous controversies of electioneering. 

These few and elect souls we met by chance and 
privilege, not by intention. We had been given 
" professional " people, mainly, as our victims. 
Doctors, lawyers, and non- conforming parsons of 
various denominations. It taught us an unforgettable 
lesson of English honesty, level-headedness, and open- 
mindedness. Also of English courtesy. With but 
a solitary exception, we were received and listened to, 
seriously, and with a respect that we secretly found 
rather discomposing. They took themselves seriously, 
and their respect almost persuaded us that we were 
neither actors nor critics, but real people with a real 
message. The whole trend of Irish politics has 
changed since then. Every camp has been shifted, 
many infallibles have failed. I am not likely to go 
on the stump again, but I shall ever remember with 
pride that on this, our single entry into practical 
politics, our man got in, and that a Radical poster 
referred directly, and in enormous capital letters, to 
Martin and me as " IRISH LOCUSTS." 

I went to Aix-les-Bains a year or two after this. 
It was the first of several experiences of that least 
oppressive of penalties for the sins of your forefathers, 
if not of your own. There was one year when among 
the usual number of kings and potentates was one of 
the Austrian Rothschilds. With him was an in- 
separable private secretary, who had been, one would 
say, cut with a fret-saw straight from an Assyrian 


bas-relief. His profile and his crimped beard were as 
memorable as the example set by M. le Baron to the 
gamblers at the Cercle. Followed by a smart crowd 
in search of a sensation, the Baron and the Secretary 
moved to the table of " Les Petits Chevaux,^' and 
people waited to see the Bank broken in a single coup. 
The Baron murmured a command to the Profile. The 
Profile put a franc on " Egalite.'' " Egalite " won. 
The process was repeated until the Baron was the 
winner of ten francs, when the couple retired, and 
were seen there no more, and one began to understand 
why rich men are rich. There was one dazzling night 
with " the little horses " when I found myself steering 
them in the Chariot of the Sun. I could not make 
a mistake ; where I led, the table, with gamblers' 
instant adoption of a mascot, followed. I found 
myself famous, and won forty-five francs. Alas I 
I was not Baron de Rothschild, or even the Assyrian 
Profile, and the rest is silence. 

From Aix I went to Boulogne, and meeting Martin 
there, we moved on to Etaples, which was, that 
summer (1898), the only place that any self-respecting 
painter could choose for a painting ground. Cazin, 
and a few others of the great, had made it fashionable, 
and there were two " Classes " there (which, for the 
benefit of the uninitiated, are companies of personally- 
conducted art-students, who move in groups round a 
law-giver, and paint series of successive landscapes, 
that, in their one-ness and yet progressiveness, might 
be utilised with effect as cinematograph backgrounds). 
We found, by appointment, at Etaples a number of 
our particular friends, " Kinkie," " Madame La-La," 
" The Dean," Helen Simpson, Anna Richards, a 
pleasingly Irish-American gang, with whom we had 
worked and played in Paris. The two or three small 
hotels and boarding-houses were full of painters, and 


the Quartier Latin held the town in thrall. As far, 
at least, as bedrooms, studios, and feeding places were 
concerned. Sheds and barns and gardens, all were 
absorbed ; everyone gave up everything to MM. Les 
Etrangers; everyone, I should say, who had been 
confirmed. Confirmation at Etaples was apparently 
of the nature of the Conversion of St. Paul in its 
effect upon the character. After confirmation, instant 
politeness and kindness to the stranger within their 
gates characterised the natives ; prior to that ceremony, 
it is impossible to give any adequate impression of the 
atrocity of the children of the town. If an artist 
pitched his easel and hoisted his umbrella on any spot 
unsurrounded by a ten-foot wall, he was immediately 
mobbed by the unconfirmed. The procedure was 
invariable. One chose, with the usual effort, the 
point of view. One set one's palette and began to 
work. A child strayed round a corner and came to a 
dead set. It retired ; one heard its sabots clattering 
as it flew. Presently, from afar, the clatter would be 
renewed, an hundred-fold ; shrill cries blended with 
it. Then the children arrived. They leaned heavily 
on the shoulders of the painter, and were shaken off. 
They attempted, often successfully, to steal his 
colours. They postured between him and his subject, 
dancing, and putting forth their tongues. They also 

The maddened painters made deputations to the 
Mayor, to the Cure, to the Police, and from all received 
the same reply, that mediant as the children undeniably 
were now, they would become entirely sage after 
confirmation. We did not attempt to dispute the 
forecast, but our contention that, though consolatory 
to parents, it was of no satisfaction to us, was ignored 
by the authorities. Therefore, in so far as was 
possible, we took measures into our own hands. I 


wrote home for a hunting-crop, and Martin took 
upon herself the varying yet allied offices of Chucker- 
out and Whipper-in. She was not only fleet of foot, 
but subtle in expedient and daring in execution. I 
recall with ecstasy a day when a wholly loathsome boy, 
to whose back a baby appeared to be glued, was put to 
flight by her with the stick of my sketching-umbrella. 
Right across the long Bridge of Staples he fled, 
howling ; the baby, crouched on his shoulders, sitting 
as tight as Tod Sloan, while Martin, filled with a 
splendid wrath, belaboured him heavily below the 
baby, ceasing not until he had plunged, still howling, 
into a fisherman's cottage. Another boy, tending 
cattle on the marshes, drove a calf in front of us, and, 
with a weapon that might have been the leg of a 
table, beat it sickeningly about the eyes. In an 
instant Martin had snatched the table-leg from him 
and hurled it into a wide dyke, the next moment she 
had sent his cap, skimming like a clay pigeon, across 
it, and " Madame La-La " (who is six feet high), 
rising, cobra-like, from the lair in which she had 
concealed herself from the enemy, chased the calf 
from our neighbourhood. Later, we heard him 
indicate Martin to his fellows. 

''*' Elle est mechante, celle la!^"* — and, to our deep 
gratification, the warning was accepted. 

In those far-off times Paris Plage and Le Touquet 
were little more than names, and were represented 
by a few villas and chalets of fantastic architecture 
peppered sparsely among the sand-dunes and in the 
little fairy-tale forests of toy pine-trees that divided 
Etaples from Le Touquet. There was a villa, whose 
touching name of " Home, Swet Home," appealed 
to the heated wayfarer, where now a Red Cross 
hospital is a stepping-stone to " Home," for many a 
British wayfarer who has fallen by the way, and pale 



English boys, in blue hospital kit, lie about on the 
beach where we have sat and sketched the plump 
French ladies in their beautiful bathing dresses. 

It was among Cazin's sand-dunes, possibly on the 
very spot where Hagar is tearing her hair over 
Ishmael (in his great picture, which used to hang in 
the Luxembourg), that the " Irish R.M." came into 
existence. During the previous year or two we had, 
singly and jointly, been writing short stories and 
articles, most of which were republished in a volume, 
" All on the Irish Shore." Many of these had appeared 
in the Badminton Magazine, and its editor now 
requested us to write for it a series of such stories. 
Therefore we sat out on the sand hills, roasting in 
the great sunshine of Northern France, and talked, 
until we had talked Major Sinclair Yeates, R.M., 
and Flurry Knox into existence. " Great Uncle 
MacCarthy's " Ghost and the adventure of the stolen 
foxes followed, as it were, of necessity. It has always 
seemed to us that character presupposes incident. 
The first thing needful is to know your man. Before 
we had left Etaples, we had learned to know most of 
the people of the R.M.'s country very well indeed, 
and all the better for the fact that, of them all, 
" Slipper " and " Maria " alone had prototypes in 
the world as we knew it. All the others were members 
of a select circle of which Martin and I alone had the 
entree. Or so at least we then believed, but since, of 
half a dozen counties of Ireland, at least, we have 
been categorically and dogmatically assured that 
" all the characters in the R.M." lived, moved, and 
had their being in them, we have almost been forced 
to the conclusion that there were indeed six Richmonds 
in every field, and that, in the spirit, we have known 
them all. 

The illustrations to the first and second of the 

AT tlTAPLES 259 

stories were accomplished at Staples, and, in the 
dearth of suitable models, Martin, and other equally 
improbable victims, had to be sacrificed. One piece 
of luck fell to me in the matter. I wished to make 
an end-drawing, for the first story, of a fox, and I 
felt unequal to evolving a plausible imitation from 
my inner consciousness. It may not be believed, but 
it is a fact that, as, one afternoon, I crossed the 
Bridge of Etaples, I met upon it a man leading a 
young fox on a chain, a creature as mysteriously 
heaven-sent as was the lion to the old " Man of God.'* 

s 2 



We returned to Drishane in October, having by 
that time written and illustrated the third story of 
the series. Which was fortunate, as on the first of 
November, " November Day " as we call it in Carbery, 
we went a-hunting, and under my eyes Martin " took 
a toss " such as I trust I may never have to see 
again. It happened in the middle of a run ; there 
was a bar across an opening into a field. It was a 
wooden bar, with bushes under it, and it was not very 
high, but firmly fixed. I jumped it, and called to 
her to come on. The horse she was riding. Dervish, 
was a good hunter, but was cunning and often lazy. 
He took the bar with his knees, and I saw him slowly 
fall on to his head, and then turn over, rolling on 
Martin, who had kept too tightly her grip of the 
saddle. Then he struggled to his feet, but she lay 

It was two months before she was able again to 
" lift her hand serenely in the sunshine, as before," 
or so much as take a pen in it, and several years before 
she could be said to have regained such strength as 
had been hers. Nothing had been broken, and she 
had entirely escaped disfigurement, even though the 
eye-glasses, in which she always rode, had cut her 
brow ; but one of the pummels of the saddle had 


bruised her spine, and the shock to a system so highly- 
strung as hers was what might be expected. The 
marvel was that so fragile a creature could ever have 
recovered, but her spirit was undefeated, and long 
before she could even move herself in bed, she had 
begun to work with me again, battling against all 
the varied and subtle sufferings that are known only 
to those who have damaged a nerve centre, with the 
light-hearted courage that was so conspicuously hers. 
During the second half of that black November we 
were writing " The Waters of Strife," which is the 
fourth story of the " R.M." series. Its chief incident 
was the vision which came to the central figure of 
the story, of the face of the man he had murdered. 
This incident, as it happened, was a true one, and 
was the pivot of the story. We had promised a 
monthly story, and in order to keep faith, we had 
written it with an effort that had required almost more 
than we had to give. The story now appears in our 
book as we originally wrote it, but on its first appear- 
ance in the Badminton Magazine a passage had been 
introduced by an alien and unsolicited collaborator, 
and " various jests " had been " eliminated as unfit " 
for, one supposes, the sensitive readers of the magazine. 
Sometimes one wonders who are these ethereal beings 
whose sensibilities are only shielded from shock by 
the sympathetic delicacy of editors. I remember once 
before being crushed by another editor. I had drawn, 
from life, for the Connemara Tour, a portrait of 
" Little Judy from Menlo," a Gal way beggar-woman 
of wide renown. It was returned with the comment 
that " such a thing would shock delicate ladies." 
So, as the song says, " Judy being bashful said 
* No, no, no ' ! " and returned to private hfe. Another 
and less distinguished beggar-woman once said to me 
of the disappointments of life, 


" Such things must be, Miss Somerville, my darlin' 
gerr'l ! " and authors must, one supposes, submit 
sometimes to be sacrificed to the susceptibihties of 
the ideal reader. 

The twelve " R.M." stories kept us desperately at 
work until the beginning of August, 1899. Looking 
back on the writing of them, each one, as we finished 
it, seemed to be the last possible effort of exhausted 
nature. Martin hardly knew, through those strenuous 
months, what it was to be out of suffering. Even 
though it cannot be denied that we both of us found 
enjoyment in the writing of them, I look back upon 
the finish of each story as a nightmare effort. Copying 
our unspeakably tortuous MS. till the small hours of 
the morning of the last possible day ; whirling through 
the work of the illustrations (I may confess that one 
small drawing, that of " Maria " with the cockatoo 
between her paws, was done, as it were " between 
the stirrup and the ground," while the horse, whose 
mission it was to gallop in pursuit of the postman, 
stamped and raged under my studio windows). By 
the time the last bundle had been dispatched Martin 
and I had arrived at a stage when we regarded an 
ink-bottle as a mad dog does a bucket of water. Rest, 
and change of air, for both of us, was indicated. I 
was sent to Aix, she went to North Wales, and we 
decided to meet in Paris and spend the winter there. 

In the beginning of October, 1899, we established 
ourselves in an appartement in the Boulevard Edgar 
Quinet, and there we spent the next four months. 

Looking back through our old diaries I recognise 
for how little of that time Martin was free from 
suffering of some kind. The effects of the hunting 
accident, and the strain of writing, too soon under- 
taken, were only now beginning to come to their own. 
Neuralgia, exhaustion, backaches, and all the in- 


describable miseries of neurasthenia held her in thrall. 
It is probable that the bracing tonic of the Paris 
climate saved her from a still worse time, but she had 
come through her reserves, and was now going on 
pluck. We wrote, desultorily, when she felt equal to 
it, and I worked at M. Delecluse's studio in the 
mornings, and, with some others, assisted Mr. Cyrus 
Cuneo, a young, and then unknown, American, in 
getting up an " illustration class " in the afternoons. 
Most people have seen the brilliant black and white 
illustrations that Mr. Cuneo drew for the Illustrated 
London News and other papers and magazines, and 
his early death has left a blank that will not easily be 
filled. He could have been no more than four or 
five and twenty when I met him, and he was already 
an extraordinarily clever draughtsman. He was small, 
dark, and exceedingly good-looking, with a peculiarly 
beautiful litheness, balance, and swiftness of move- 
ment, that was to some extent explained by the fact 
that before he took up Art he had occupied the exalted 
position of " Champion Bantam of the South Pacific 
Slope " ! 

At that juncture we were all mad about a peculiar 
style of crayon drawing, which, as far as we were 
concerned, had been originated by Cuneo, and about 
a dozen of us took a studio in the Passage Stanilas, 
and worked there, from the most sensational models 
procurable. Cuneo was " Massier " ; he found the 
models, and posed them (mercilessly), and we all 
worked like tigers, and brutally enjoyed the strung-up 
sensation that comes from the pressure of a difficult 
pose. Each stroke is Now or Never, every instant is 
priceless. Pharaoh of the Oppression was not firmer 
in the matter of letting the Children of Israel go, 
than we were with those unhappy models. I console, 
myself by remembering that a good model has a 


pride in his endurance in a difficult pose that is as 
sustaining as honest and just pride always is. Never- 
theless, when I look over these studies, and see the 
tall magician, peering, on tip-toe, over a screen, 
and the High-priest denouncing the violation of the 
sanctuary, and the unfortunate Arab, half rising from 
his couch to scan the horizon, I recognise that for 
these models, though Art was indisputably long. Time 
could hardly have been said to be fleeting. 

Mr. Whistler was at that time in Paris, and had 
a morning class for ladies only, and it was in their 
studio that we had our class. It was large, well- 
lighted, with plenty of stools and easels and a sink 
for washing hands and brushes. It also was 
thoroughly insanitary, and had a well-established 
reputation for cases of typhoid. As a precautionary 
measure we always kept a certain yellow satin cushion 
on the mouth of the sink ; this, not because of any 
superstition as to the colour, or the cushion, but 
because there was no other available " stopper for 
the stink." (Thus uneo, whose language, if free, 
was always well chosen.) One of our members was 
a very clever American girl, who had broken loose 
from the bondage of the Whistler class. There, it 
appeared from her, if you had a soul, you could not 
think of calling it your own. It was intensively 
bossed by Mr. Whistler's Massiere, on the lines laid 
down by Mr. Whistler, until, as my friend said, you 
had " no more use for it, and were just yelling with 
nerves." The model, whether fair, dark, red, white, 
or brown, had to be seen through Mr. Whistler's 
spectacles, and these, judging by the studies that were 
occasionally left on view, were of very heavily smoked 
glass. When it came to the Massiere setting my 
American friend's palette, and dictating to her the 
flesh tones, the daughter of the Great Republic 



observed that she was used to a free country, and 
shook the dust off her feet, and scraped the mud off 
her palette, and retired. An interesting feature of 
the studio was that many sheets of paper on which 
Mr. Whistler had scribbled maxim and epigram 
were nailed on its walls, for general edification, and 
it might have served better had his lieutenant allowed 
these to influence the pupils, unsupported by her 
interpretations. Since then I have met some of these 
pronouncements in print, but I will quote one of 
those that I copied at the time, as it bears on the case 
in point. 

" That flesh should ever be low in tone would seem 
to many a source of sorrow, and of vast vexation, and 
its rendering, in such circumstance, an unfailing 
occasion of suspicion, objection, and reproach ; each 
objection — which is the more fascinating in that it 
would seem to imply superiority and much virtue 
on the part of the one who makes it — is vaguely 
based upon the popular superstition as to what flesh 
really is — when seen on canvas, for the people never 
look at Nature with any sense of its pictorial appear- 
ance, for which reason, by the way, they also never 
look at a picture with any sense of Nature, but 
unconsciously, from habit, with reference to what 
they have seen in other pictures. Lights have been 
heightened until the white of the tube alone remains. 
Shadows have been deepened until black only is 
left ! Scarcely a feature stays in its place, so fierce 
is its intention of firmly coming forth. And in the 
midst of this unseemly struggle for prominence, the 
gentle truth has but a sorry chance, falling flat and 
flavourless and without force." 

No one who has not lived, as we did, the life of 
" The Quarter " can at all appreciate its charm. In 
description — as I have already had occasion to say — 


it is usual, and more entertaining, to dwell upon the 
disasters of daily life, but though these, thanks to a 
bonne a tout faire, and a perfidious stove, were not 
lacking, Martin and I, and our friends, enjoyed our- 
selves. Small and select tea-parties were frequent ; 
occasionally we aspired to giving what has been called 
by a gratified guest in the County Cork " a nice, 
ladylike little dinner," and in a letter of my own I 
find an account of a more unusual form of entertain- 
ment which came our way. 

" A friendly and agreeable American, who works 
in the Studio, asked us to come and see her in her 
rooms, away back of Saint Sulpice. When we got 
there we found, as well as my American friend, 
a little incidental, casual mother, whom she had 
not thought worth mentioning before. She just said, 

" ' Oh, this is Mother,' which, after all, sufficed. 

" ' Mother ' was a perfect specimen of one of the 
secret, serf-like American mothers, who are concealed 
in Paris, put away like a pair of warm stockings, or 
an old waterproof, for an emergency. She was a 
nice, shrivelled, little old thing, very kind and polite. 
Their room, which was about six inches square, had 
little in it save a huge and catafaltic bed with deep 
crimson curtains ; the window curtains were deep 
crimson, the walls, which were brown, had panels 
of deep crimson. Hot air welled into the room through 
gratings. We sat and talked, and looked at picture 
postcards for a long time, and our tongues were 
beginning to hang out, from want of tea, and suffoca- 
tion, when the daughter said something to the mother. 

" There was then produced, from a sort of hole in 
the wall, sweet biscuits, and a bottle of wine, the 
latter also deep crimson (to match the room, no doubt). 
It was a fierce and heady vintage. I know not its 


origin, I can only assure you that in less than two 
minutes from its consumption our faces were tremen- 
dously en suite with the curtains. We tottered 
home, clinging to each other, and lost our way twice." 
We had ourselves an opportunity of offering a some- 
what unusual form of hospitality to two of our 
friends, the occasion being nothing less than the 
expected End of the World. This was timed by the 
newspapers to occur on the night of Novenber 15, 
and I will allow Martin to describe what took place. 
The beginning part of the letter gives the history of 
one of those curious and unlucky coincidences of 
which writing-people are more often the victims than 
is generally known, and for this reason I will transcribe 
it also. 

V. F. M. to Mrs. Martin. (Nov. 23, 1899.) 

"... The story for the Christmas number of 
the Homestead came to a most untimely end ; not 
that it was untimely, as we were at the very limit 
of time allowed for sending it in. It was finished, 
and we were just sitting down to copy it, when I 
chanced to look through last year's Xmas No. (which, 
fortunately, we happened to have here,) in order to 
see about the number of words. I then made the dis- 
covery that one of the stories last Christmas, by Miss 
Jane Barlow, no less ! was built round the same idea 
as ours ; one or two incidents quite startlingly alike, 
so much so that one couldn't possibly send in ours. 
It read like a sort of burlesque of Miss Barlow's, and 
would never have done. There was no time to re- 
write it, so all we could do was to write and tell the 
Editor what had happened, and make our bows. 
E. sent him a sketch, as an amende^ which he has 
accepted in the handsome and gentlemanlike spirit 
in which it was offered, and I sent him a little dull 


article ^ that I happened to have here, on the chance 
that it might do to fill a corner, and it is to appear 
with E.'s sketch. But I am afraid, though he was very 
kind about it, that these things have not at all consoled 
the Editor, who wanted a story like the * R.M.'s.' 

" Nothing very interesting has happened here since 
the night of ' The Leonids,' the Shower of Stars that 
was to have happened last week. There was much 
excitement in Paris, at least the newspapers were 
excited. On my way to the dentist a woman at the 
corner of the boulevard was selling enormous sheets 
of paper, with ' La Fin du Monde, a trois heures ! ' 
on them, and a gorgeous picture of Falbe's comet 
striking the earth. It was then 1.30, but I thought 
I had better go to the dentist just the same. I believe 
that lots of the poor people were very much on the 
jump about it. The Rain of Meteors was prophesied 
by the Observatory here for that night, and Kinkie, 
and the lady whom we call ' Madame La La,' arranged 
to spend the night in our sitting room (which has a 
good view of the sky in two aspects). We laid in 
provender and filled the stove to bursting, and our 
visitors arrived at about 9.30 p.m. It really was very 
like a wake, at the outset. The stipulation was that 
they were to call us if anything happened ; I went to 
bed at 10.30, E. at midnight, and those unhappy 
creatures sat there all night, and nothing happened. 
They saw three falling stars, and they made tea three 
times (once in honour of each star), and they also 
had ' Maggi,' which is the French equivalent for 
Bovril, and twice as nice. During the night I could 
hear their stealthy steps going to and fro to the 
kitchen to boil up things on the gas stove. In the 

1 This article was subsequently incorporated in Martin Ross's 
sketch " Children of the Captivity " and is reprinted in " Some 
Irish Yesterdays." 


awful dawn they crept home, and, I hear, turned up 
at the Studio looking just the sort of wrecks one might 
have expected. 

" I believe that they did see a light go sailing up 
from the Dome of the Observatoire, (which we can see 
from here) and that was a balloon, containing a lady 
astronomer. Mademoiselle Klumpke, (who is, I believe 
an American) and others. She sailed away in the 
piercing cold to somewhere in the South of Switzerland, 
and I believe she saw a few dozen meteors. Anyhow, 
two days afterwards, she walked into Kinkie's studio, 
bringing a piece of mistletoe, and some flowers that 
she had gathered when she got out of the balloon 
down there." 

The South African War made life in Paris, that 
winter, a school of adversity for all English, or 
nominally English, people. Each reverse of our Army 
— and if one could believe the French papers it would 
seem that such took place every second day — was 
snatched at by the people of Paris and their newspapers 
with howls of delight. Men in the omnibuses would 
thrust in our faces La Patrie, or some such paper, to 
exhibit the words " Encore un Ecrasement Anglais .' ", 
in large, exultant letters, filling a page. Respectable 
old gentlemen, in " faultless morning dress," would 
cry " Oh yais ! " as we passed ; large tongues would 
be exhibited to us, till we felt we could have diagnosed 
the digestions of the Quarter. At last our turn came, 
and when the Matin had a line, " Capitulation de 
Cronje,''^ writ large enough for display, Martin made 
an expedition in an omnibus down " The Big Boule- 
vards " for no purpose other than to flaunt it in the 
faces of her fellow passengers. 

To Martin, who was an intensely keen politician, 
the aloofness of many of the art-students whom she 
met, from the War, the overthrow of the French 


Government, from, in fact, any question on any subject 
outside the life of the studio, was a constant amaze- 

In a letter from her to one of her sisters she releases 
her feelings on the subject. 

V. F. M. to Mrs. Cuthbert Dawson. 
(Paris, Nov. 29, 1899.) 

" The French papers are realising that a mistake 
has been made in the attacks on the Queen, and the 
better ones are saying so. But the Patrie, the Libre 
Parole, and all that fleet of halfpenny papers that 
the poor read, have nailed their colours to the mast, 
and it seems as if their idea is to overthrow their 
present Government by fair means or foul. As long 
as this Government is in there will be no quarrel 
with England, but it might, of course, go out like a 
candle, any day. I daresay you have heard the Rire 
spoken of as one of the papers that ought to be 
suppressed. We bought the number that was to be 
all about the English, and all about them it was, a 
sort of comic history of England since the Creation, 
with Hyde Park as the Garden of Eden. The cover 
was a hauntingly horrible picture of Joan of Arc 
being burned. The rest of the pictures were dull, 
disgusting, and too furiously angry to be clever. We 
had pleasure in consigning the whole thing to the 
stove. . . . The students here, with exceptions, of 
course, — appear deaf and blind to all that goes on, and 
Revolutions in Paris, and the War in the Transvaal, 
are as nothing to them as compared with the pose of 
the model. In every street are crowds of them, 
scraping away at their charcoal ' academies ' by 
the roomful, all perfectly engrossed and self-centred, 
and, I think, quite happy. Last Sunday we went to 
a mild little tea-party in a studio, where were several 


of these artist- women, in their best clothes, and some- 
where in the heart of the throng was a tiny hideosity, 
an American, (who has a studio in which R. B. once 
worked,) fat, bearded, and unspeakably common, but 
interesting.^ Holding another court of the women was 
a microbe English artist, an absurd little thing to 
look at, but, I believe, clever ; I hear that on weekdays 
he dresses like a French workman and looks like a toy 
that you would buy at a bazaar. No one talked 
anything but Art, except when occasionally one of 
the hostesses (there were four) hurriedly asked me 
what I thought of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, 
or how two people managed to write together, just to 
show what good hostesses they were, while all the 
while they tried to listen to the harangues of the 
microbe or the hideosity. Poor things, it was very 
nice of them, and I was touched. There are about 
half a dozen, that I know here, who take an English 
paper ; it is a remarkable thing that they are nearly 
all Irish and Scotch, and have baths." 

^ Of this same American a tale is told which might, I think, had 
she known it, have mitigated Martin's disapproval. One of the 
more futile of his pupils showed him a landscape that she had 
painted. He regarded it for some time in silence, then he said : 

" Did you see it like that ? " 

"Oh yes, Mr. L ! " twittered the pupil. 

" And did you feel it Hke that ? " 

" Oh yes, Mr. L , indeed I did ! " 

" Wal," said Mr. L , smoothly, " the next time you see and 

feel hke that, don't 'paint ! " 



With Flurry's Hounds, and you our guide, 
We learned to laugh until we cried ; 
Dear Martin Ross, the coming years 
Find all our laughter lost in tears. 

—Punch, Jan. 19, 1916. 

I HAVE thought of leaving it to our books to express 
and explain the part that hunting has played in Martin's 
life and mine ; but when I remember (to quote once 
again those much-quoted lines) how much of the fun 
that we have had in our lives has been " owed to horse 
and hound," I feel an acknowledgment more direct 
and deliberate is due. 

Almost the first thing that I can remember is the 
duplicity of my grandfather on my behalf in the 
matter of the hounds. He had been forbidden by 
his doctor to hunt ; he had also been forbidden by 
the ladies of his household to permit the junior lady 
of that establishment, then aged five, to " go anywhere 
near the hounds." None the less, by a succession of 
remarkable accidents, not wholly disconnected with 
the fact that my grandfather had had the West Carbery 
hounds himself at one time and knew the country as 
well as the foxes did, he and I rarely missed a sight of 
them, and, on one memorable day, we cut in at a 
moment that bestowed upon us the finish of the run 


and gained for me the brush. Absurdly bestowed, 
of course, but none the less glorious. The glory was 
dimmed a little by the fact that just after the presen- 
tation had been made my pony rolled, and a kind 
but tactless young man picked me up, like a puppy, 
and deposited me on my saddle, instead of mounting 
me as a gentleman should mount a lady. Neverthe- 
less, I can confidently say that the proudest moment 
of my life was when I rode home with the brush. 

My grandfather had hunted for a few seasons, when 
he was a young man, with what he, after the fashion 
of his day, called " the Dook of Beaufort's " hounds. 
He brought over a West Carbery horse. Diamond 
by name, a flea-bitten grey, and he earned for his 
owner the honourable title of " That damned Irish- 
man." There is an old saying, " Nothing stops a 
Carbery man," and I imagine that the title aforesaid 
was applied with special fervour when the hunt went 
into the stone-wall country and Diamond began to 
sing songs of Zion and enjoy himself. 

Hunting in West Carbery died out when I was a 
child, and the hounds were in abeyance for many 
years. Political troubles and bad times generally 
had led to their temporary extinction, and such hunt- 
ing as came my way was in countries far from Carbery. 
Of the Masters of those days not one is now left. 
Hard goers and good sportsmen all round, and men 
too, many of them, of the old-fashioned classical 
culture. It is told of the last of that old brigade that 
during his last illness, a short time before he died, he 

said he supposed he " would d d soon be shooting 

woodcock in Mars with Johnny B." (who was another 
of the same heroic mould), and if his supposition was 
justified, the Martian cock are likely to have had 
a bad time of it. 

In 1891 my brother Aylmer restarted the old West 



Carbery foxhounds, and then indeed did that madness 
of the chase, of which we have treated in " Dan 
Russel the Fox," descend upon us all. The first step 
in the affair was the raising, by means of concerts, 
public meetings, and mendicancy generally, a sum of 
money ; the second was the purchase of a small pack 
from a private owner. These arrived with the title of 
" B.'s Rioters," and it is not too much to say that we 
rioted with them. It was, at first, all thoroughly 
informal and entirely delightful ; later we fell into 
the grip of professionals, who did things as they should 
be done, and inflicted decorum upon us and the 
Rioters. The days of " Danny- O " and " Patsey 
Sweeny " passed, and the thrill died out of the 

No longer are such items to be found as : 

" Jack, Martin, and I took hounds to walk out 
with Patsey. Came on a hare." (This means that 
we went to look for a hare, ardently and with patience.) 
" Ran her for two and a half hours, all on our own 
miserable legs. Lost her in darkness. All pretty 
tired when we got back to kennels." 

Or again. " Aylmer, Martin, and I went to kennels 
and christened the new draft, seven and a half couple 
of puppies. Coupled them and tried to take them 
out. The instant they were coupled they went stark 
mad and fought, mostly in the air ; it looked like a 
battle of German heraldic eagles." 

Other entries, which I decline to make public, relate 
to drags, disreputably laid, for disreputable reasons, 
and usually dedicated to English visitors, who did 
not always appreciate the attention. 

My brother kept the hounds going for twelve 
seasons, during which we had the best of sport and 
learned to know the people and the country in the way 
that hunting alone can teach. After his long term 



of office had ended, a farmer summed up for me the 
opinion that the country people had of him : 

'* He was the King of the world for them ! If he 
rode his horses into their beds they'd ask no better ! ** 

When he gave up in 1903, I followed him in the 
Mastership, which I have held, with an interval of 
four years, ever since. " Of all sitivations under the 
sun, none is more enviable or 'onerable than that of 
a Master of fox'ounds," Mr. Jorrocks observes, and 
further states that his " 'ead is nothin' but one great 
bump of 'untin' ! " I do not say that things have 
gone as far as this with me, but I will admit that the 
habit of keeping hounds is a very clinging one. 

Many congratulations and much encouragement 
were bestowed upon me when I bought the hounds 
and took office, but warnings were not wanting. A 
friend, himself a Master of Hounds, wrote to me and 
said that it required " the patience of Job, and the 
temper of a saint, and the heart of a lion, to navigate 
a pack of foxhounds,'* and there have undoubtedly 
been occasions when for me the value of all these 
attributes was conspicuously proved by their absence 
at need. 

If Mr. Jorrocks's estimate of the job is to be accepted, 
it is, from my point of view, chiefly in the kennels 
that the " enviable " aspect of mastership is to be 
found. I have spoken of three hounds, specially 
beloved, but the restriction of the number is only 
made out of consideration for those readers whose 
patience could stand no more. It is customary to 
despise the ignorant and unlearned in hound matters, 
but I have too often witnessed their sufferings to 
do aught save pity. To be a successful kennel 
visitor is given to so few. I have sometimes wondered 
which is most to be pitied, the sanguine huntsman, 
drawing his hounds one by one, in the ever-renewed 

T 2 


belief that he has found an admirer who knows how 
to admire, ending in bitterness and " letting them 
all come " ; or the straining visitor, groping for the 
right word and praising the wrong hound. In one 
of Mr. Howell's books there is a certain " Tom Corey," 
who, though without a sense of humour, yet feels 
a joke in his heart from sheer lovableness. Even 
so did one of my aunts feel the hounds in her heart. 
Her sympathy and admiration enchanted my hunts- 
man ; he waxed more and more eloquent, and all 
would have been well had not " Tatters," a broken- 
haired fox-terrier, come into view. 

" Oh ! " exclaimed my Aunt S. rapturously, " what 
a darling little hound ! I like it the best of them 
all ! " 

The disaster of a sigh too much, or a kiss too long, 
was never more tragically exemplified. 

Subsequently she was heard describing her visit 
to the kennels ; amongst other details she noted with 
admiration that L., the huntsman, and I knew the 
name of each hound. 

" Edith is wonderful ! " she said fervently, " she 
knows them all ! If she wants one of them she just 
says, ' Here, Spot ! Spot ! Spot ! ' " 

One gathered that the response to this classic 
hound name was instant. 

Huntsmen have, in their way, almost as much to 
put up with as writers in the matter of cross-examina- 

" And do you really know them ? Each one ? " 

" And have they all got names ? " 

Then, upon explanation that there are enough 
names to go round, " And do you absolutely know 
them all ? " 

L., like Tom Corey, was unsustained by a sense 
of humour, and nothing but his lovableness enabled 


him to fulfil that most difficult of Christian duties, 
to suffer fools gladly. 

" Lor, Master, what silly questions they do ask ! " 
he has permitted himself to say sometimes, when 
all was over. Yet, as I have said, sympathy should 
also be reserved for the inquirers. Insatiable as is 
the average mother for admiration of her young, 
she is as water unto wine compared with a huntsman 
and his hounds. Few people have put a foot deeper 
into trouble than I have myself, on the occasion of 
a visit to a very smart pack in England. I had, 
I hope, come respectably through a minute inspection 
of the hounds, and, that crucial trial safely past, 
the Queen of Sheba tottered, spent, but thankful 
for preservation, into the saddle-room, a vast and 
impressive apartment, there to be shown, and to 
express fitting admiration for, the trophies of the 
chase that adorned it. All round the panelled walls 
were masks, beautifully mounted, grinning and snarl- 
ing over their silver name-plates. And I, accustomed 
to the long- jawed wolves that we call foxes in West 
Carbery, said in all good faith, 

" What a number of cubs you have killed ! " 

The Master said, icily, that those were foxes, and 
the subject dropped. 

Poor L. is dead now ; a keener little huntsman 
never blew a horn, but he never quite succeeded in 
hitting it off with the farmers and country people ; 
they were incomprehensible to each other, alike in 
speech and in spirit. L. despised anyone who got 
out of bed later than 5 a.m., winter and summer 
alike, and would boast of having got all his work 
done before others were out of their beds, which was 
trying to people with whom early rising is not a 
foible. He found it impossible to divine the psy- 
chology of the lads who jovially told him that they had 


seen the fox and had " cruisted him well " (which 
meant that they had stoned him back into covert 
when he tried to break). It is hard to kill foxes 
in Carbery, and L. was much exercised about the 
frequent disappointments that them pore 'ounds had 
to endure as a result of bad earth-stopping. One 
wet day, on arriving at the meet, I found him in 
a state of high indignation. The covert we were 
to draw was a very uncertain find, and it transpired 
that L. had secretly arranged with the farmer on 
whose land it was, that he was to turn down a bag- 
man in it. " He said he could get one easy, and you'd 
'ardly think it, Master, but the feller tells me now 
it was a tame fox of 'is own he was going to turn 
down, and now he says to me he thinks the day is 
too wet to bring out such a little pet ! ' A little pet ! ' 
'e says ! " 

The human voice is incapable of an accent of 
more biting scorn than L. imparted to his as he 
spoke these words. I am unable to determine if 
L.'s wrath were attributable to the farmer's heart- 
lessness in having been willing to hunt a tame fox, 
or to his affectation of consideration for it, or whether 
it was the result of rage and disappointment on 
behalf of the hounds. I incline to the last theory. 

I have hunted with a good many packs in Ireland 
of very varying degrees of grandeur, and Ireland is 
privileged in unconventionalism ; nevertheless, it was 
in England, with a highly fashionable Leicestershire 
pack, that I was privileged to behold an incident 
that might have walked out of the pages of Charles 
Lever into the studio of Randolph Caldecott. 

I had brought over a young mare to ride and sell ; 
she and I were the guests of two of the best riders 
in England and the nicest people in the world (which 
is sufficient identification for those that know the 


couple in question). It was my first day with an 
English pack and it had been a good one. Hunting 
for the day was at an end, and we had turned our 
horses for home, when the fight flared up. High 
on the ridge of a hill, dark against a frosty evening 
sky, I can still see the combatants, with their whips 
in the air, laying in to each other happily and whole- 
heartedly for quite a minute or two, before peace- 
makers came rushing up, and what had been a pretty, 
old-fashioned quarrel was patted down into a com- 
monplace, to be dealt with by the family solicitors. 

I had had my own little fracas that day. The 
young mare was hot, and took me over a place which 
included a hedge, and a wet ditch, and an old gentle- 
man who had waited in the ditch while his horse 
went on. I feared, from what I could gather as I 
proceeded on my way, that he was annoyed, but 
as I had caught sight of him just in time to tell him 
to lie down, I could not feel much to blame. 

I had an English huntsman for two or three seasons 
whose keenness was equalled (rather unexpectedly) 
by his piety. He was an extraordinarily hard man 
to go (" No silly joke of a man to ride," as I have 
heard it put), and his excitement when hounds began 
to run would release itself in benedictions. 

" Gawd bless you. Governor boy ! Gawd bless 
you, Rachel my darling ! Come along. Master ! 
Come along ! He's away, thank Gawd ! He's away ! " 

There was a day when hounds took us across a 
bad bit of bog and there checked. Harry, the whipper- 
in, also an Englishman, and not learned in bogs, 
got in rather deep. His horse got away from him, 
and while he was floundering, waist-deep in black 
and very cold bog-water, he saw the hunted fox 
creeping into a patch of furze and rocks. He holloa'd 
to G., who galloped up as near as was advisable. 


" Where is 'e, 'Arry ? " he roared. 

" Be'ind o' them rocks 'e went. I wouldn't 'a 
seen 'im only for gettin' into this somethin' 'ole," 
replied Harry, dragging himself out of the slough. 
" Can't ye catch me 'orse ? " 

" That's all right, 'Arry ! You wouldn't 'a viewed 
'im only for the 'ole. All things works together for 
good with them that loves Gawd ! " 

With which G. laid on his hounds, and left Harry 
to comfort himself with this reflection and to catch 
his horse when he could. 

G.'s word in season reminds me of a prayer that 
my nephew, Paddy Coghill (whose infant devotions 
have already been referred to), offered on his sixth 
birthday, one " Patrick's Day in the morning." 

" And oh, Lord God, make it a good day for hunting, 
and make me sit straight on Kelpie, and show me 
how to hold my reins." 

He subsequently went to the meet, himself and 
pony so covered with shamrock that Tim C. (the 
then huntsman) told him the goats would eat him. 
I cannot now vouch for the first clause of the petition 
having been granted, but the R.F.A. Riding School 
has guaranteed that the latter ones were fulfilled. 

It is impossible for me to write a chapter about 
hunting without speaking of Bridget, a little grey 
mare who is bracketed with Candy, " Equal First." 
I have been so happy as to have owned many good 
hunters. Lottery, by Speculation, a chestnut mare 
who died untimely, staked by a broken bough in 
a gap (and, strangely enough, her brother, " Spec," 
is the only other horse who has in this country, 
thank heaven, had the same hard fate) ; Tarbrush, 
a black but comely lady, of whom it was said that 
she was " a jumper in airnest, who would face up 
and beyond anything she could see," and would. 


if perturbed in temper, go very near to " kicking 
the stars out of the sky " ; Little Tim, a pocket 
Hercules, worthy to be named with George Sorrow's 
tremendous " Irish cob " ; and Kitty, whose flippancy 
is such that it has been said to have consoled the 
country boys for a blank day. " They were well 
satisfied," said a competent judge, " Kitty filled their 

But, as with Candy among dogs, so, among horses, 
Bridget leads, the rest nowhere. Her father was a 
thoroughbred horse, her mother a Bantry mountain 
pony. She herself was very little over 15 hands 
1 inch, and she succeeded in combining the cunning 
and goat-like activity of the spindle side of the 
house with all the heroic qualities of her father's 

" She has a plain head," said a rival horse-coper, 
who had been so unfortunate as not to have seen her 
before I did, " but that suits the rest of her ! " 

I suppose it was a plain head, but anyone who had 
sat behind it and seen its ears prick at sight of the 
coming " lep " would not think much of its plainness. 
I hunted her for ten seasons, and she never gave me 
a fall that was not strictly necessary. Since her 
retirement from the Hunt stables she has acted as 
nursery governess to a succession of rising riders, 
and at the age of seventeen she carried Martin for 
a season, and thought little, with that featherweight, 
of keeping where both of them loved to be, at " the 
top of the Hunt." 

The West Carbery Hunt was once honoured by a visit 
from an American hunting woman, a lady who had 
been sampling various British hunts and who was a 
critic whose good opinion was worth having. She 
was an accomplished rider and a very hard goer, 
and her enjoyment of such sport as we were able 


to show her was eminently gratifying. She made, 
however, one comment upon the country which has 
not been forgotten. We had a ringing fox who rather 
overdid his anxiety to show the visitor a typical 
West Carbery line. He took us round and about a 
particularly typical hill more often than was requisite, 
and he declined to demonstrate the fact that we 
possessed any grass country, or any sound and civilised 
banks. Our visitor had the hunt, such as it was, 
with the best, and spoke with marked enthusiasm 
of the agility of our horses. Later I heard her 
discussing the events of the day. 

" We jumped one place," said my visitor, " and I 
said to myself, ' Well, I suppose that never on God's 
earth shall I see a thing like that again ! ' And a/ter 
that," she went on, " we jumped it five times." 

I might prolong this chapter indefinitely with 
stories of hunting ; of old times in Meath, with 
Captain " Jock " Trotter, or Mr. John Watson, when 
Martin and I hunted there with our cousins, Ethel 
and Jim Penrose ; of characteristically blazing gallops 
with the Galway Blazers, in recent years, ably piloted 
by Martin's eldest brother, Jim Martin ; of many 
a good day at home in our own country. But an 
end must be made, and this chapter may fitly close 
with a letter of Martin's. The hunt of which she 
writes did not take place with the West Carbery, 
but the country she describes is very similar to ours, 
and the incidents might as well have occurred here. 

V. F. M. to the Hon. Mrs. Campbell. (December.) 

" We had an unusual sort of hunt the other day, 
when the hounds, unattended, put a fox out of a 
very thick wood and up a terrible hill ; when we 
caught them up there ensued much scrambling and 
climbing ; there were even moments when, having 


a bad head, I was extremely frightened, and, in the 
middle of all this, a fallow doe joined up from behind, 
through the riders, and got away over the hill-top. 
To the doe the hounds cheerfully attached themselves, 
and we had much fun out of it, and it was given to 
us to see, as they went away, that one hound had a 
rabbit in his mouth. It is not every day that one 
hunts a fox, a deer and a rabbit at the same moment. 
It was like old hunting scenes in tapestry. C, the 
old huntsman, and his old white horse went like 
smoke in the boggy, hilly country. It was pleasant 
to see, and the doe beat the hounds handsomely 
and got back safely to the wood, to which, in the 
meantime, the fox had strolled back by the avenue. 

" Last week we drew another of the minor moun- 
tains of this district, and the new draft got away 
like lightning after a dog ! who fled over a spur of 
the hill for his paternal home. All went out of 
sight, but the row continued. C. sat and blew his 
horn, and the poor Whip nearly burst himself trying 
to get round them. Then they reappeared, half the 
pack by this time, going like mad, and no dog in 
front of them ! We then had a vision of an old hump- 
backed man with a scythe, like the conventional 
figure of ' Time,' set up against a furzy cliff, mowing 
at the hounds in the full belief that they were going 
to pull him down. They swept on up the hill and 
disappeared, having, in the excursion with the dog, 
put up a fox ! E. had divined it and got away with 
them. By cleaving to C. I caught them all right, 
otherwise I should have been left with everyone 
else at the bottom of the hill, saying funny things 
about the dog. It was touching to hear C. saying 
to E. in triumph, ' Where are your English hounds 
now. Miss ? ' She had praised the United, and this 
sank into the soul of C, and indeed it was his 


beloved black-and-tan Kerry beagles and Scalliwags 
who were in front, and the rest not in sight. The 
new English draft were probably occupied in crossing 
themselves instead of the country— for which I don't 
blame them. Personally, however, I feel as if an 
open grass country, and a smart pack, and a sound 
horse, would be very alarming." 

The reference to " a sound horse " may be explained 
by the fact that owing to her exceeding short sight 
we insisted on her being mounted only on old and 
thoroughly reliable hunters, who were able to take 
care of her as well as of themselves ; it need hardly 
be added that such will not invariably pass a vet. 

It was ten years from the date of her bad accident 
before she was able to get out hunting again ; this 
chapter may well end with what she then wrote to 
Mrs. Campbell. 

" I have once more pottered forth with the hounds, 
and have had some real leps, and tasted the wine 
of life again." 

♦ ♦ ♦ * * 4: 

There are some whose names will never be forgotten 
in Carbery who will drink no more with us what 
Martin Ross has called the Wine of Life. For her 
that cup is set aside, and with her now are three of 
the best of the lads whose pride and pleasure it used 
to be to wear the velvet cap of the hunt servant, 
and to turn hounds in West Carbery. Gallant sol- 
diers, dashing riders, dear boys ; they have made the 
supreme sacrifice for their country, and they will 
ride no more with us. 

The hunt goes on ; season follows season ; the 
heather dies on the hills and the furze blossoms 
again in the spring. Other boys will come out to 
follow hounds, and learn those lessons that hunting 


best can teach, but there will never be better than 
those three : Ralph and Gerald Thornycroft, and 
Harry Becher. 

" Bred to hunting they was," said the old huntsman, 
who loved them, and has now, like them, crossed 
that last fence of all, " every one o' them. Better 
gentlemen to cross a country I never see." 


As had been the case with " The Real Charlotte," 
so were we also in Paris when " Some Experiences 
of an Irish R.M."— to give the book its full and 
cumbrous title — was published by Messrs. Longman 
in November, 1899. 

It was probably better for us both that we should 
be where, beyond the voices, there was peace, but it 
meant that most of the fun of publishing a book was 
lost to us. The thrill, for example, of buying a chance 
paper, and lighting upon a review in it. One might 
buy all the papers in Paris without a moment of 

After a time, however, congested envelopes of 
" press cuttings," mostly of a reassuring character, 
began to arrive. Press-cuttings, received en groSy 
are liable to induce feelings of indigestion, and with 
their economy of margin and general suggestion of 
the waste-paper basket, their tendency is to crush the 
romance out of reviews ; but Martin and I found them 
good reading. And gradually, letters from unknown 
readers began to reach us. Pathetic letters, one from 
" an Irish Exile," thanking us for "a Whiff of Irish 
air," another from Australia, proudly claiming posses- 
sion of " Five drops of Irish blood," and offering them 
as an excuse for " troubling us with thanks." Serious 


inquiries, beginning, in one instance, " Dear Sirs or 
Ladies, or Sir or Lady," — as to whether we were men 
or women, or both. A friendly writer, in America, 
informed us that legend was already " crystalising 
all over us." " There is a tradition in our neighbour- 
hood that you are ladies — also that you live at Bally 
something — that you are Art Students in Paris — ^that 
you are Music Students in Germany . . . but my 
writing is not to inquire into your identity — or how 
you collaborate . . , acumulativedebtof gratitude fell 
due ..." The writer then proceeded to congratulate 
us on " having accomplished the rare feat of being 
absolutely modern, yet bearing no date," and ended by 
saying " I think the stories will be as good in ten years 
or fifty (which probably interests you less) as they are 
to-day." A kind forecast, that still remains to be 
verified. The same writer, who was herself one of 
the trade, went on to say that she " knew that the 
Author is not insulted or aggrieved on hearing that 
perfect strangers are eagerly awaiting the next book, 
or re-reading the last with complete enjoyment," 
and this chapter may be taken as a confirmation of 
the truth of what she said. One may often smile at 
the form in which, sometimes, the approval is conveyed, 
but I welcome this opportunity of thanking those 
wonderful people, who have taken the trouble to 
write to Martin and me, often from the ends of the 
earth, to tell us that our writing had given them 
pleasure ; not more, I think, than their letters have 
given us, so we can cry quits over the transaction. 

We have been told, and the story is well authenti- 
cated, of a young lady who invariably slept with two 
copies of the book (like my aunt and her " Somme- 
liers "), one on each side of her, so that on whichever 
side she faced on waking, she could find instant refresh- 
ment. An assurance of almost excessive appreciation 


came from America, informing us that we " had 
Shakspere huddled into a corner, screaming for 
mercy." We were told of a lady (of the bluest 
literary blood) who had classified friends from 
acquaintances by finding out if they had read and 
appreciated " The Real Charlotte " or no, and who 
now was unable to conceive how she had ever existed 
without the assistance of certain quotations from 
" The R.M." Perhaps one of the most pleasing of these 
tales was one of a man who said (to a faithful hearer) 
" First I read it at full speed, because I couldn't 
stop, and then I read it very slowly, chewing every 
word ; and then I read it a third time, dwelling on 
the bits I like best ; and then, and not till then, thank 
Heaven ! I was told it was written by two women ! " 
An old hunting man, a friend and contemporary of 
Surtees and Delme Radcliffe, wrote to us saying that 
he was " The Evangelist of the Irish R.M. It is the 
only doctrine that I preach ... It is ten years 
since I dropped upon it by pure accident, and, like 
Keats, in his equally immortal sonnet — 

' Then felt I like some watcher of the skies 
When a new planet swims into his ken,' 

I am so deeply grieved that you cannot hunt. I 
can sympathise. It is sixty years since I began hunt- 
ing, and I know how you must miss it. Now you 
realise the truth of John Jorrocks. ' For hunting is 
like the air we breathe, if we have it not, we die.' 
But don't do that. Ever yours, etc. etc." 

We have had many letters containing inquiries of 
a sort that taxed both memory and invention to find 
replies to them. Bewildering demands for explana- 
tions, philological, etymological, zoological, of such 
statements as " The Divil in the Wild Woods wouldn't 
content him," or Flurry Knox's refusal to "be seen 



*'THE IRISH R.M." 289 

dead at a pig fair " in certain articles of attire. Why a 
pig fair ? Why dead ? Why everything ? Martin's 
elucidation of the pig fair problem appeared in the 
Spectator, included in a letter from the inquirer, 
" G.," and is as follows : 

" I have never given a necktie to a male friend, or 
even enemy ; but a necktie was once given to me. I 
showed it to a person whose opinion on such matters 
I revere. He said at once, ' I would not be seen 
dead in it at a pig-fair.' The matter of the tie 
ended there ; to use the valuable expression of the 
wife of the male friend, (in connection with a toy 
that might possibly prove injurious to her young,) I 
' gradually threw it away.' That was my first experi- 
ence of the pig-fair trope, and I have never ceased 
to find comfort in it, nor ever questioned its complete- 
ness. I am aware that nothing, presumably, will 
matter to me when I am dead, yet, casting my mind 
forward, I do not wish the beholder of my remains, 
casting his eye backward, to be scandalised by my 
taste in ties, or other accompaniments, while I was 
alive. I do not myself greatly care about being alive 
at a pig-fair, neither is it an advantage, socially or 
otherwise, to be dead there. Yet this odium might be 
enhanced, could even be transcended, in the eye of 
the beholder, by the infamy of my necktie. To this 
point I have treated the beholder as a person able to 
appreciate the discredit, not only of my necktie, 
but also of being dead at a pig-fair. There remains, 
however, and in a highly intensive manner, the pig- 
fair itself. We trust and believe the pig- jobber is 
critical about pigs ; but we do not expect from him 
fastidiousness in artistic and social affairs. He will 
not, we hope, realise the discredit of being dead at a 
pig-fair, but there can be neckties at which he will 
draw the line. Considering, therefore, the disapproba- 



tion of the pig- jobber, joined to that of the other 
beholders, and finding that fore-knowledge of the 
callousness of death could not allay my sense of these 
ignominies, I gradually threw away the necktie." 

I trust " G." will permit me to quote also the 
following from his letter. 

" As reference has been made to the * R.M.' your 
readers will be amused to hear that a French sportsman 
who had asked the name of a good sporting novel, and 
had been recommended the work in question, said 
with some surprise, ' But I did not think such things 
existed in Ireland.' He imagined the title to be 
* Some Reminiscences of an Irish Harem.' " 

A leading place among the communications and 
appreciations that we received about our books was 
taken by what we were accustomed to call Medical 
Testimonials. The number of quinzies and cases of 
tonsilitis that Major Yeates has cured, violently, it is 
true, but effectually, the cases of prostration after 
influenza, in which we were assured he alone had power 
to rouse and cheer the sufferer, cannot possibly be 
enumerated. We have sometimes been flattered 
into the hope that we were beginning to rival the 
Ross " Fluit-player " of whom it was said, " A man 
in deep concumption From death he would revive." 

We had but one complaint, and that was from a 
cousin, who said it had reduced her to " Disabling 
laughter," which, " remembering the awful warning, 

' laugh, and grow F 1 ' " she had tried her utmost to 


The envelopes of press cuttings became more and 
more congested as the months went on, and the 
" R.M." continued his course round the world ; and, 
thanks to his being, on the whole, an inoffensive 
person, he was received with more kindness than we 
had ever dared to hope for. There were, as far as I 

'^THE IRISH R.M:' 291 

can remember, but few rose leaves with crumples in 
them, and even they had their compensations, as, I 
think, the following sample crumple will sufficiently 
indicate. I am far from wishing to hold this pro- 
nouncement up to derision. There was a great deal 
more of it than appears here, which, unfortunately, 
I have not space to quote. We found many of its 
strictures instructive and bracing, and the suffering 
that pulses in the final paragraph bears the traces 
of a genuine emotion. 

" The stories were originally published in a 
magazine, and would be less monotonous and painful, 
no doubt, if read separately, and in small doses . . . 
The picture they give of Irish life is ... so depress- 
ingly squalid and hopeless . . . The food is appal- 
lingly bad, and the cooking and service, if possible, 
worse. No one in the book, high or low, does a 
stroke of work, unless shady horse-selling and keeping 
dirty public houses can be said to be doing work. . . . 
On the whole, the horses and hounds are far more 
important than the human beings, and the stables 
and kennels are only a degree less dilapidated and 
disgusting than the houses. Not a trace of romance, 
seriousness, or tenderness, disturbs the uniform tone 
of the book. 

" Such is the picture of our country, given, I 
believe, by two Irish ladies. One, at least, is Irish 
—Miss Martin, a niece of the Honourable Mrs. P. 
A more unfeminine book I have never perused, or 
one more devoid of any sentiment of refinement, for 
even men who write horsey novels preserve some 
tinge of romance in their feelings towards women 
which these ladies are devoid of. A complete hard- 
ness pervades their treatment of the female as of the 
male characters." 

It is seventeen years since we first perused this 

u 2 


melancholy indictment. Is it too late to do one act 
of justice and to restore to the reviewer one illusion ? 
Martin Ross cannot claim the relationship assigned 
to her ; the Honourable Mrs. P. leaves the court 
without a stain on her character. 

Among the best and most faithful of the friends of 
the R.M., we make bold to count the Army. After 
the South African War, we were shown a letter in 
which a Staff-officer had said that he " had worn 
out three copies of the * Irish R.M.' during the War, 
but it had preserved for him his reason, which would 
otherwise have been lost." Another wrote to tell us 
of the copy of the book that had been found in General 
de Wet's tent, on one of the many occasions when 
that stout campaigner had got up a little earlier than 
had been expected. Yet a third officer, no less than 
a Director of Military Intelligence, said that a statue 
should be erected in honour of the ** R.M." "For ser- 
vices rendered during the War." And, as Mr. Belloc 
has sung, " Surely the Tartar should know ! " 

Much later came a letter from Northern Nigeria, 
telling us that " the book was ripping," apologising 
for " frightful cheek " in writing, ending with the 
statement that " even if we were annoyed," the writer 
was, " at any rate, a long way off I " 

In very truth we were not annoyed. We have had 
letters that filled us with an almost shamed thank- 
fulness that we should have been able, with such 
play-boys as Flurry Knox, and " Shpper," and the 
rest, to give what seemed to be a real lift to people 
who needed it ; and, since 1914, it is not easy to 
express what happiness it has brought us both to 
hear, as we have often heard, that the various volumes 
of the R.M.'s adventures had done their share in 
bringing moments of laughter, and, perhaps, of 
oblivion for a while to their surroundings, to the 


*'THE IRISH R.M:' 308 

fighters in France and in all those other cruel places, 
where endurance and suffering go hand in hand, and 
the lads lay down their lives with a laugh. 

Nothing, I believe, ever gave Martin more pleasure 
than that passages from the " Irish R.M." should 
have been included among the Broad Sheets that 
the Times sent out to the soldiers. It was in the last 
summer of her life, little as we thought it, that this 
honour was paid to our stories, and had she been told 
how brief her time was to be, and been asked to 
choose the boon that she would like best, I believe 
that to be numbered among that elect company of con- 
solers was what she would most gladly have chosen. 

A little book was sent to me, not long ago, which 
was published in the spring of this year, 1917. It 
gives an account, worthy in its courage and simplicity 
of the brilliant and gallant young life that it com- 
memorates. In it is told how Gilbert Talbot, of the 
Rifle Brigade, " began the plan of reading aloud in 
the men's rest times, and we heard from many sources 
what the fun was, and the shouts of laughter, from his 
reading aloud of * Some Experiences of an Irish R.M.' 
* Philippa's first Foxhunt * was a special success." 
And in his last entry in his diary, he himself tells of 
having " read one of the old R.M. stories aloud," 
and that it was " a roaring success." 

Yet one other story, and one that touches the fount 
of tears. It was written to me by one who knew and 
loved Martin ; one whose husband had been killed in 
the war, and who wrote of her eldest son, 

" I want to tell you that the R.M. helped me 

through what would have been D 's twenty-first 

birthday yesterday. I know Violet would have been 

I believe that she knows these things, and I am 
quite sure that she is glad. 


of good times 

In a Swiss Valley. 

Silver and blue the hills, and blue the infinite sky. 
And silver sweet the straying sound of bells 
Among the pines ; their tangled music tells 
Where the brown cattle wander. From on high 
A glacier stream leaps earthward, passionately, 
A white soul flying from a wizard's spells. 
And still above the pines one snow-drift dwells, 
Winter's last sentinel, left there to die. 
From the deep valley, while the waterfall 
Charms memory to sleep, I see the snow 
Sink, conquered, on the pine trees' steady spears. 
A waft of flowers comes to me. Dearest, all 
Our happy days throng back, and with the flow 
Of that wild stream, there mingle alien tears. 

The effort of writing the twelve " R.M." stories 
against time, and before she had even begun to recover 
from the effects of the hunting accident, told upon 
Martin more severely than we could either of us have 
believed possible. For the following four years, 1900 
to 1903, it was impossible for her to undertake any 
work that would demand steady application, and it 
was out of the question to bind ourselves to any date 
for anything. In looking over our records, the fact 
that has throughout been the most outstanding is. 


how seldom she was quite free from suffering of some 
kind or other. For a creature who adored activity 
of any kind, and whose exquisite lightness of poise and 
perfectness of physical equipment predisposed her for 
any form of sport, her crippling short sight was a most 
cruel handicap, and in nothing was the invincible 
courage, patience, and sweetness of her nature so 
demonstrated as in the fortitude with which she 
accepted it. 

It is said that blind people develop a sixth sense, 
and it was a truism with us that Martin saw and knew 
more of any happening, at any entertainment, than any 
of the rest of us, endowed though we were with sight 
like hawks, but unprovided with her perception, and 
concentration, and intuition. There have been times 
when her want of sight supported her, as when, at a 
very big Admiralty House Dinner (no matter where), 
an apple pie that had made the tour of the table in 
vain was handed to her. Unaware of its blighted 
past she partook, and slowly disposed of it, talking 
to her man the while. It was not until she was going 
home that a justly scandalised sister was able to 
demand an explanation as to why she had brought the 
table to a standstill, even as Joshua held up the sun 
at Ajalon. 

But more often— far more often—it has betrayed her. 
Once, after a visit at a country house, the party, a 
large one, stood round the motor in farewell, and she, 
a little late for the train, as was her custom, motor- 
veiled, and deserted by her eye-glasses, hurriedly shook 
hands with all and sundry, and ended with the butler. 
She could never remember how far the salutation 
had been carried, or the point at which her eyes were 
spiritually opened. It was a searing memory, but 
she said she thought and hoped that, as with the Angel 
of the Darker Drink, she did not, at that last dread 



moment, shrink. But, she added, undoubtedly the 
butler did. 

No one was ever such a comrade on an expedition, 
and many such have she and I made together. Times 
of the best, when we went where we would, and did 
what pleased us most, and had what I hold to be, 
on the whole, the best company in the world, that of 
painting people. (Yet I admit that a spice of other 
artists adds flavour.) Even during those years of 
comparative invalidism, after the traitor " Dervish " 
had so nearly crushed her life out of her, Martin never 
surrendered to the allied forces of malaise, and those 
attractions of idleness and comfort which may be 
symbolised in " The Sofa." 

She was on a horse again before many, in her case, 
would have been off the sofa, and when, fighting 
through phalanxes of friends and doctors, she went 
hunting again, her nerve was what it ever had been, 
of steel. We went to Achill Island in one of those 
summers, to a hotel where " The Sofa " was practi- 
cally non-existent (being invariably used as a reserve 
bed for bagmen), and the unpunctuality of the meals 
might possibly have been intended to evoke an appe- 
tite that would ignore their atrocity. In this it failed, 
but it evoked various passages in " Some Irish Yester- 
days," and thus may be credited with having assisted 
us to get better dinners elsewhere. 

We went to London, and stayed at the Bolton 
Studios, that strange, elongated habitation, that is 
like nothing so much as a corridor train in a nightmare. 
There, one night, Martin got ill, and I had to summon, 
post haste, the nearest doctor. He came, and was an 
Irishman, and was as clever as Irish doctors often are, 
and as unconventional. He is dead now, so I may 
mention that when, in the awful, echoing corridor, 
at dead of night, the delicate subject of his fee was 


broached, we discovered that there was an unpro- 
curable sixpence between us. 

He eyed me and said, 

" I'll toss ye for the sixpence ! " 

" Done ! " called Martin, feebly, from within. 

The doctor and I tossed, double or quits, sudden 
death. I won. And there came a faint cock-crow 
from the inner chamber. 

That year she wrote a sketch called " A Patrick's 
Day Hunt," and I drew the illustrations for it. It 
was published as a large coloured picture-book, by 
Constable & Co., and was very well reviewed. The 
story is supposed to be told by a countryman to a 
friend, and is a remarkable tour de forces both in idiom 
and in realising the countryman point of view. We 
were afraid that it might be found too subtle a study 
of dialect for the non-Irish reader, so we were the more 
pleased when we were told of an English Quaker 
family, living in the very heart of their native country, 
who, every day, directly after prayers, read aloud a 
portion of " A Patrick's Day Hunt." 

(In this connection I will quote a fragment of a letter 
which bears indirectly on the same point.) 

E. (E. S. to V. F. M. (Spring, 1903.) 

" 1 have also heard of a very smart lady, going to 

Ireland for the first time, who invested in an R.M., 
saying, * I have bought this book. I want to see how 
one should talk to the Irish.' 

" * Blasht your Sowl ! ' replied my friend Slipper. 

" ' May the Divil crack the two legs undher ye ! ' 
(See any page, anywhere, in the Irish R.M.)" 

Another effort of what I may call the Sofa period 
was an account of a case that we had been privileged to 
see and hear in a County Galway Petty Sessions Court. 


We called it " An Irish Problem " ; it appeared in the 
National Review, and is now reprinted in " All on the 
Irish Shore." This book, which is a collection of 
short stories and articles, was published by Longmans, 
Green & Co. in March, 1903. The stories, etc., in 
it had all appeared in various serials, and one, " An 
Irish Miracle," has called forth many letters and in- 
quiries. Even during the present year of 1917 I have 
had a letter from a lady in Switzerland, asking for 
information as to how to use the charm. 

In a letter from myself to Martin, written during 
a visit to an English country house, I have come upon 
a reference to it. " They have been reading ' All on 
the Irish Shore ' here. It was nobly typical of Colonel 
D. (an old friend) to read ' An Irish Miracle ' in silence, 
and then ask, grimly, how much of it was true. Nothing 
more. There is wonderful strength of character in 
such conduct— beyond most Irish people. It is all 
part of the splendid English gift of not caring if they 
are agreeable or no. Just think of the engaging 
anxiety of the middle-class Irishman to be simpatica 
to his company ! " 

I may here state, with my hand, so to speak, on my 
heart, that there is a charm, an actual form of words 
which may be divulged only by " a her to a him ; or 
a him to a her^ It is of the highest piety, being based 
on the teaching of the Gospels, and should be used 
with reverence ^and conviction. I have heard of two 
occasions, and know of one, on which it took effect. 
Unfortunately it cannot be used in healing a horse, and 
whoever does so, loses henceforth the power of em- 
ploying it successfully ; more than this I cannot say. 
I learnt it in the Co. Meath, and those who would 
" Know my Celia's Charms," or any other charms, 
from "The Cure for a Worm in the Heart," to "A 
Remedy for the Fallen Palate," to say nothing of the 


Curing of Warts, and such small deer, are recommended 
to prosecute their inquiries in the Royal County. 

In October, 1902, it was decreed that Martin should 
try what a rest cure would do for her. During her 
incarceration, and in the spring of 1903, I drew and 
wrote " Slipper's A. B. C. of Fox Hunting," which 
materialised as a large picture-book ; it was published 
by Messrs. Longman, and I dedicated it, in a financial 
as well as a literary sense, to the West Carbery Fox- 
hounds, of which pack, in the same spring, I became 
the Master. 

It was while we were at Aix, that June, that we dis- 
interred " The Irish Cousin," and prepared it for a 
renewal of existence under the auspices of Messrs. 
Longman. Shuddering, we combed out youthful 
redundancies and intensities, and although we found 
it impossible to deal with it as drastically as we could 
have wished, having neither time nor inclination to 
re-write it, we gave it a handling that scared it back 
to London as purged and chastened as a small boy 
after his first term at a public school. During these 
early years of the century, my sister and I, with a solid 
backing from our various relations, instituted a choral 
class in the village of Castle Townshend. It flourished 
for several years ; we discovered no phenomenal 
genius, but we did undoubtedly find a great deal of 
genuine musical feeling. It is worth mentioning that, 
in our experience, the gift of untrained Irish singers 
is rhythm. If once the measure were caught, and the 
"beat" of the stick felt, an inherent sense of time kept 
the choir moving with the precision that is so delightful 
a feature of their dancing of jigs and reels. Some 
pleasant voices we found, and it was noteworthy 
that the better and the more classical the music that 
we tried to teach, the more popular it was. Hardly 
any of them could read music, and it was the task of 


those who could to impart the alto, tenor, and bass 
of the glees to the class, by the arduous method of 
singing each part to its appropriate victims until 
exhaustion intervened. Once learnt, the iron memories 
of our people held the notes secure, but I shall not soon 
forget how one of my cousins spent herself in the task 
of teaching to a new member, a young farm labourer, 
a tenor part. L.'s own voice was a rich and mellow 
contralto, and the remembrance of her deep, im- 
passioned warblings, and of her pupil's random and 
bewildered bleatings, is with me still. Musical socie- 
ties in small communities have precarious lives. 
Gradually our best singers left us, to be wasted as 
sailors, soldiers, servants, school teachers, and I only 
speak of the society now in order to justify and explain 
a letter of Martin's in which is described an experience 
that she owed to it. 

V. F. M. to E. (E. S. (Dublin, October (year uncertain).) 

" Miss K. ceaselessly flits from Committee to Lecture 
and from Lecture to Convention, and would hound 
me to all. She is much wrapped up in the Feis Ceoil, 
of which a meeting, about Village Choral Societies, 
was held in the Mansion House on Friday. She begged 
me to go, and see the Lord Mayor preside, and hear 
much useful information, so, in the interests of the 
C.T. Choral Class I went. It was five o'clock before 
I approached, for the first time in my life, the portals 
of the Mansion House, and in the hall I could see 
nothing but a dirty bicycle and a little boy of about 
ten, who murmured that I was to write my name in 
a book, which I did with a greasy pencil from his own 
pocket. He told me that I was to go to the stairs 
and take the first to the left. I did so, and found 
myself in a pitch dark drawing-room. I returned to 


the boy, who then told me to go up the stairs and turn 
to my left. 

*' I climbed two flights, of homely appearance, and 
found a quite dark landing at the top. As I stood 
uncertain, something stirred in the dark. It was 
very low and dwarfish, and my flesh crept ; it said 
nothing, but moved past, no higher than my waist. 
It seemed, in the glimmer that came from the foot of 
the stairs, to be some awful little thing carrying a big 
bundle on its back or head. I shall never know more 
than this. 

" There was light down a passage, and making for 
it I came to a room with little and big beds jammed 
up side by side, obviously a nursery. There was also 
a nurse. I murmured apologies and fled. The nurse, 
if it were indeed a nurse and not an illusion, took not 
the faintest notice. After various excursions round 
the dark landing, during which the conviction grew 
upon me that I was in a dream, I went back to 
the nursery passage and there met a good little 
slut-tweenie, without cap or apron, who took me 
downstairs and put me right for the meeting, which 
I entered in a state bordering on hysterics. That died 
away very soon under the influence of a very long 
speech about the hire of pianos. Very practical, but 
deadly. The room was interesting, panelled with 
portraits around, and the audience was scanty. . . . 
On the whole I think the information I obtained is 
entirely useless to you, but the mysterious life into 
which I stumbled was interesting, and had a pleasing 
Behind the Looking Glass bewilderment in it. . . . 
This morning I had a tooth out under gas. I am quite 
sure that all gassings and chloroformings are deeply 
uncanny. One dies, one goes off into dreadful vastness 
with one's astral body. That was the feeling. A 
poor little clinging me, that first clung to the human 


body that had decoyed it into B 's chair, was 

cast loose from that, and then hung desperately on 
to an astral creature that was wandering in nightmare 
fastnesses, — (even as I wandered in the Mansion House) 
— quite separate — then that was lost, and that despair- 
ing ME said to itself quite plainly, ' I am forsaken — 
I have lost grip — I don't know how I am behaving — 
I must just endure.' Long afterwards came an 
effect as of the gold shower of a firework breaking 
silently over my head. Then appeared a radiant head 

in a fog— B 's. Delightful relaxation of awful effort 

at self-control, and sudden realisation that the brute 
was out. Then the usual restoration to the world, 

tipped B , put on my hat, and so home. I am 

sure these visions happen when one dies, and I am 
convinced of the existence of an innermost self, who 
just sits and holds on to the other two." 

There came a spring when influenza fell upon Martin 
in London and could not be persuaded to release its 
grip of her throat. It was the second season after I 
took the hounds, and I was at home when, in the 
middle of March, Martin's doctor commanded her to 
lose no time in getting as far South as was convenient. 
I handed over the hounds to my brother Aylmer, 
and started for London at a moment's notice, with 
an empty mind and a Continental Bradshaw. 
In the train I endeavoured to fill the former with 
the latter, and, beginning with France, its towns and 
watering places, the third name on the list was Amelie- 
les-Bains. " Warm sulphur springs, which are success- 
fully used in affections of the lungs. Known to the 
Romans. Thriving town, finely placed at the con- 
fluence of the rivers Tech and Mondony, at the foot 
of Fort-les-Bains. Owing to mildness of climate 
Baths open all the year. Living comparatively cheap." 


The description was restrained but seductive, and I 
brooded over it all the way to Dublin. 

It happened that one of the nice women, who are 
occasionally to be met with in trains, shared a carriage 
with me from Holyhead. To her I irrepressibly spoke 
of Am61ie-les-Bains. It may or may not be believed 
that she had, only the previous day, studied with, she 
said, the utmost interest and admiration, a collection 
of photographs of Am61ie, taken by a brother, or a 
sister, who had spent the time of their lives there. 
(I now believe that the nice woman was herself the 
human embodiment of Am61ie.) I went next day 
to Cook's ; they had never heard of Am^lie. No one 
had ever heard of it, but I clung to Bradshaw and 
my nice woman, and in three days we started, in 
faith, for Am^lie, Martin with bronchitis and a 
temperature, and I with tickets that could not be 
prevailed on to take us farther than Toulouse, and 
with more dubiety than I admitted. As I have, 
since then, met but one person who had ever heard 
of Am61ie, it may not be considered officious if I 
mention that it is in South-Eastern France, Depart- 
ment Pyrenees Orientales, and that the Pyrenees 
stand round about it as the hills stand round about 
Jerusalem, and that " the confluence of the rivers 
Tech and Mondony " was all and more than Brad- 
shaw had promised. 

Martin and I have wandered through many byways 
of the world, and have loved most of them, but I 
think Amelie comes first in our affections. It is 
thirteen years, now, since we stayed at " Les Thermes 
Remains " Hotel. We went there because we liked 
the name ; we stayed there for six delightful weeks, 
from the middle of March to the beginning of May, 
and irrational impulse was justified of her children. 


One feature " Les Thermes Romains " possessed that 
I have never seen reduplicated. It was heated 
throughout by the Central Fires of Nature. From the 
heart of the mountains came the hot sulphurous 
streams that gurgled in the pipes in the passages, 
and filled hot water jugs, and hot water bottles, and 
regenerated the latter, if of indiarubber, restoring 
to them their infant purity of complexion in a way 
that gave us great hope for ourselves. Hannibal had 
passed through Am61ie. He had built roads, and 
dammed the river, and given his name to the Grotte 
d'Annibale. After him the Romans had come, and had 
made the marble baths in which we also tried, not 
unsuccessfully, to wash away our infirmities, and after 
them the Moors had been there, and had built 
mysterious, windowless villages of pale stone, that 
hung in clusters, like wasps* nests, on the sides of 
the hills, and had left some strain of darkness and 
fineness in the people, as well as a superfluity of X's 
in the names of the places. 

While we were at Les Thermes, two little English- 
men strayed in, accidentally, but all the other guests 
were French. Among them was an old gentleman 
who had been in his youth a protegS of Georges Sand. 
He sat beside Martin, and joined with Isidore, the 
old head- waiter, in seeing that she ate and drank of the 
best and the most typical " du pays." " Cest du 
paysy Mademoiselle ! " Isidore would murmur, 
depositing a preserved orange, like a harvest moon 
in syrup, upon her plate ; while Monsieur P. would 
select the fattest of the oHves and tenderest of the 
artichokes for '^ Mees Violette'' Monsieur P. was 
ten years in advance of his nation in liking and 
believing in English people. He told us that Georges 
Sand was the best woman in the world, the kindest, 
the cleverest, the most charming; he loved dogs; 


" Ah, Us sont meilleurs que nous ! " he said, with 
conviction, but he excepted Georges Sand and Mees 

While we were at Amehe, we wrote the beginning 
of " Dan Russel the Fox," sitting out on the mountain 
side, amidst the marvellous heaths, and spurges, and 
flowers unknown to us, while the rivers Tech and 
Mondony stormed " in confluence " in the valley 
below us, and the pink mist of almond blossom was 
everywhere. Dan Russel progressed no farther than 
a couple of chapters and then retired to the shelf, 
where he remained until the spring of 1909 found us at 
Portofino with my sister and a friend, Miss Nora Tracey . 
We worked there in the olive woods, in the delicious 
spring of North Italy, and although it was finished 
at home, it was Portofino that inspired the setting of 
the final chapter. It further inspired us with a senti- 
ment towards the German nation that has been most 
helpful during the present war, and has enabled us to 
accept any tale of barbarism with entire confidence. 

Northern Italy was as much in the hands of the 
Huns then as at any time since the days of Attila. 
Even had their table manners been other than what 
they were, Siegfried Wagner, striding slowly and 
splendidly on the Santa Margherita Road, in a grey 
knickerbocker suit and pale blue stockings, or Gerhardt 
Hauptmann, the dramatist, with his aggressively 
intellectual and bright pink brow bared to the breeze, 
posing on the sea front, each attended by a little 
rabble of squaws, would have inspired a distaste 
vast enough to have included their entire nation. 
One incident of our stay at Portofino may be recounted. 
An old Russian Prince had come to the hotel, a small, 
grey old man, feeble and fragile, in charge of a daughter. 
Gradually a rumour grew that he had been a great 
musician. There was a pertinacious fiddle-playing 



little German doctor, whose singular name was Willy 
Rahab, in the hotel ; he had the art of getting what 
he wanted, and one evening, having played Mozart 
with my sister for as long as he desired to do so, he 
concentrated upon the old Prince. There was a long 
resistance, but at last the old Russian walked feebly 
to the piano, and seated himself on so low a stool 
that his wrists were below the level of the keyboard. 
I saw his fingers, grey and puffy, and rheumatic, 
settle with an effort on the keys. He looked like 
an ash-heap ready to crumble into dust. I said 
to myself that it was a brutality. And, as I said 
it, the ash-heap burst into flames, and Liszt's arrange- 
ment of " Die Walkiirenritt " suddenly crashed, and 
stormed and swept. There was some element of 
excitement communicated by his playing that I have 
never known before or since, and we shook in it and 
were lost in it, as one shakes in a winter gale, standing 
on western cliffs with the wind and the spray in one's 
face. Then, when it was all over, the old ash-heap, 
greyer than ever, waited for no plaudits, resigned him- 
self to his daughter, and was hustled off to bed. As 
for the hotel piano, till that moment poor but upright, 
after that wild ride it remained prostrate, and could 
in future only whisper an accompaniment to Doctor 
" Veely's " violin. It transpired that the Russian 
had been the personal friend of Wagner, of Schumann, 
and of Liszt, in the brave days of old at Leipsic, and 
was one of the few remaining repositories of the grand 

We were at Montreuil, a small and very ancient 
town, not far from Boulogne, when " Some Further 
Experiences of an Irish R.M." was published. These 
had appeared in the Strand and other magazines, and 
had gradually accumulated until a volume became 
possible. We had had an offer from an Irish journal. 


then, and, I think, still, unknown to fame, which was, 
in its way, gratifying. The editor offered " to con- 
sider a story " if we would " write one about better 
society than the people in the Experiences of an Irish 
Policeman." We were unable to meet this request. 
For one thing, we were unable to imagine better or 
more agreeable society than is the portion of an Irish 
Policeman. Our only regret was that the many social 
advantages of the R.I.C. were not more abundantly 
within our reach. 

Montreuil was " a place of ancient peace," of placid, 
unmolested painting in its enchanting by-streets 
(where all the children, unlike those of jfitaples, had 
been confirmed in infancy), of evenings of classical 
music, provided delightfully at the studios of two of 
our friends, who were themselves musicians, and were 
so happy as to have among their friends a violinist, 
a pianist, and a singer, all of high honour in their 
profession. Few things have Martin and I more 
enjoyed than those evenings in the high, dim-lighted 
studio, with a misty, scented atmosphere of flowers 
and coffee and cigarettes, and with the satiating 
beauty of a Brahms violin sonata pouring in a flood 
over us. 

It is a temptation to me to dwell on these past 
summers, but I will speak of but one more, of the time 
we spent on the Lac d'Anne9y. We stayed for a while 
in the town of Anne^y, whose canals, exquisite as they 
are for painting, are compounded of the hundred in- 
gredients for which Cologne is famous. From Anne9y 
we moved across the lake to Chavoire, whence the 
artist can look across the water back to Anne9y's 
spires and towers, and can try to decide if they are 
more beautiful in the white mists of morning or when 
the sun is sinking behind them. 

That was in September, 1911, and when we got back 

X 2 


to London, " Dan Russel " was on the eve of coming 
out. An industrious niece of mine, aged some four 
and a half years, toiled for many months at a woolwork 
waistcoat, a Christmas present for her father. It was 
finished, not without strain, in time for the festival, 
and Katharine said, flinging herself into a chair, with 
a flourish of the long and stockingless legs with which 
children are afflicted, even at Christmas time, 

" Now I'm going to read books, and never do another 
stitch of work till I die ! " 

So did Martin and I assure each other, though 
without the gesture that gave such effective emphasis 
to Katharine's determination. 

We stayed luxuriously at our club, and had reviews 
of " Dan Russel," hot from the press, for breakfast, 
and I enjoyed myself enormously at the Zoo, making 
sketches of elephants and tigers and monkeys for a 
picture-book that I projected in honour of the Katha- 
rine above mentioned. 

Passing pleasant it all was ; alas ! that the pleasure 
is now no longer passing, but past. 





While I have been writing this book the difficulty 
of deciding between the things that interested Martin 
and me, and those that might presumably interest 
other people, has been ever before me. In the path 
of this chapter there is another and still more formid- 
able lion, accompanied — as a schoolchild said — ^by 
" his even fiercer wife, the Tiger." By which I 
wish to indicate Irish politics, and Woman's Suffrage. 
I will take the Tiger first, and will dispose of it as 
briefly as may be. 

Martin and I, like our mothers before us, 
were, are, and always will be. Suffragists, whole- 
hearted, unshakable, and the longer we have lived 
the more unalterable have been our convictions. 
Some years ago we were honoured by being 
asked to join the Women's Council of the Con- 
servative and Unionist Women's Franchise Associa- 
tion ; she was a Vice - President of the Munster 
Women's Franchise League, and I have the honour of 
being its President. Since speech-making, even in 
its least ceremonial and most confidential form, was 
to her, and is to me, no less appalling than would be 
" forcible feeding," we can at least claim that our 
constitutional wing of the Movement has not been 
without its martyrs. The last piece of writing together 
that Martin and I undertook was a pamphlet, written 
at the request of the C.U.W.F.A., entitled " With 


Thanks for Kind Enquiries." It set forth to the best 
of our power the splendid activities of the various 
suffrage societies after the Great War broke out, and 
it pleases me to think that our work together was 
closed and sealed with this expression of the faith 
that was and is in us. 

This conscientiously and considerately condensed 
statement will, I trust, sufficiently dispose of the 
Tiger. But who could hope in half a dozen lines, 
or in as many volumes, to state their views about 
Ireland ? No one, I fear, save one of those intrepid 
beings, wondrous in their self-confidence (not to say 
presumption), who lightly come to Ireland for three 
weeks, with what they call " an open mind," which 
is an endowment that might be more accurately 
described as an open mouth, and an indiscriminate 
swallow. Some such have come our way, occasion- 
ally, English people whose honesty and innocence 
would be endearing, if they were a little less overlaid 
by condescension. It may be enlightening if I mention 
one such, who told us that he had had " such a nice 
car-driver." " He opened his whole heart to me," 
said the guileless explorer ; "he told me that he and 
his wife and children had practically nothing to live 
on but the tips he got from the people he drove 
about ! " 

It was unfortunate that I had seen this heart- 
opening and heart-rending car-driver, and chanced 
to be aware that he was unmarried and in steady 

In my experience, Irish people, of all classes, are, 
as a rule, immaculately honest and honourable where 
money is concerned. I have often been struck by 
the sanctity with which money is regarded, by which 
I mean the money of an employer. It is a striking 
and entirely characteristic feature, and is in no class 


more invariable than in the poorest. But, to return 
to the ear-driver, when a large, kind fish opens his 
mouth to receive a fly, and one sees within it a waiting 
coin, it is hardly to be expected that St. Peter's 
example will not be followed. 

As a matter of fact, the Irish man or woman does 
not open his or her " whole heart " to strangers. 
Hardly do we open them to each other. We are, 
unlike the English, a silent people about the things 
that affect us most deeply ; which is, perhaps, the 
reason that we are, on the whole, considered to be 
good company. It is in keeping with the contra- 
dictiousness of Ireland that the most inherently 
romantic race in the British Isles is the least senti- 
mental, the most conversational people, the most 
reserved, and also that Irish people, without distinc- 
tion of sex or class, are pessimists about their future 
and that of their country. Light-hearted, humorous, 
cheerful on the whole, and quite confident that nothing 
will ever succeed. 

Personally, I have a belief, unreasoning perhaps, 
but invincible, in the future of Ireland, which is not 
founded on a three weeks' study of her potentialities. 
No one can " run a place," or work a farm, or keep 
a pack of hounds, without learning something of those 
who are necessary to either of these processes. I 
have done these things for a good many years ; the 
place may have walked more often than it ran, and 
the farm manager may have made more mistakes 
than money, and the M.F.H. probably owes it to her 
sex that she was spared some of the drawbacks that 
attend her office ; but she has learnt some things in 
the course of the years, and one of them is that in 
sympathetic and intelligent service a good Irish 
servant has no equal, and another, that if you give an 
Irishman your trust he will very seldom betray it. 


Not often does the personal appeal fail. Not in the 
country I know best, at any rate, nor in Martin's. 
I have heard of a case in point. A property, it matters 
not where, west or south, was being sold to the tenants, 
" under the Act," i.e. Mr. Gerald Balfour's Land 
Purchase Act, that instrument of conciliation that has 
emulated the millennium in protecting the cockatrice 
from the weaned child, and has brought peace and 
ensued it. I remember the regret with which a woman 
said that she " heard that Mr. Balfour was giving up 
his reins " ; a phrase that has something of almost 
Scriptural self-abnegation about it. On this property, 
all had been happily settled between landlord and 
tenants, when a sudden hitch developed itself; a 
hitch essentially Irish, in that it was based upon 
pride, and was nourished by and rooted in a family 
feud. A small hill of rock, with occasional thin smears 
of grass, divided two of the farms. It was rated at 
9d. a year. Each of the adjoining tenants claimed it 
as appertaining to his holding. The wife of one had 
always fed geese on it, the mother of the other was 
in the habit of " throwing tubs o' clothes on it to 
blaych." A partition was suggested by the agent, and 
was rejected with equal contempt by James on the 
one hand, and Jeremiah on the other. The priest 
attempted arbitration ; an impartial neighbour did 
the same ; finally the landlord, home on short leave 
from his ship, joined with the other conciliators, and 
a step or two towards a settlement was taken, but 
there remained about fifty yards of rock that neither 
combatant would yield. The sale of the estate was 
arrested, the consequent abatement of all rents could 
not come into operation, and for their oaths' sake, 
and the fractional value of fourpence-halfpenny, 
James and Jeremiah continued to sulk in their 
tents. At this juncture, and for the first time. 


the landlord's sister, who may, non-committally, be 
called Lady Mary, seems to have come into the 
story. She interviewed James, and she held what 
is known as " a heart-to-heart " with Jeremiah. She 
even brought the latter to the point of conceding 
twenty yards ; the former had already as good as 
promised that he would yield fifteen. There remained 
therefore fifteen yards, an irreducible minimum. Lady 
Mary, however, remained calm. She placed a com- 
batant each on his ultimate point of concession. 
Then, in, so she has told me, an awful silence, she 
paced the fifteen yards. At seven yards and a care- 
fully measured half, she, not without difficulty, drove 
her walking-stick into a crevice of the rock. Still in 
silence, and narrowly observed by the disputants, she 
collected a few stones, and, like a Hebrew patriarch, 
she built, round the walking-stick, a small altar. 
Then she stood erect, and looking solemnly upon 
James and Jeremiah, 

" Now men," she said, " In the name of God, let 
this be the bounds." 

And it was so. 

What is more, a few Sundays later, one of the 
twain, narrating the incident after Mass, said with 

" It failed the agent, and it failed the landlord, 
and it failed the priest ; but Lady Mary settled it ! " 

As a huntsman I knew used to say (relative to 
puppy- walking), " It's all a matter o' taact. I never 
see the cook yet I couldn't get over ! " 

A cousin of my mother's, whose name, were I to 
disclose it, would be quickly recognised as that of a 
distinguished member of a former Conservative ad- 
ministration, and an orator in whom the fires of 
Bushe and Plunket had flamed anew, once told me 
that he had occasion to consult Disraeli on some 


matter in connection with Ireland. He found him 
lying ill, on a sofa, clad in a gorgeous, flowered dressing- 
gown, and with a scarlet fez on his ringlets. 

" Ah, Ireland, my dear fellow,*' he said, languidly, 
" that damnable delightful country, where everything 
that is right is the opposite of what it ought to be ! " 

There was never a truer word ; Ireland is a law 
unto herself and cannot be dogmatised about. Of 
the older Ireland, at least, it can be said that an 
appeal to generosity or to courtesy did not often fail. 
Of the newer Ireland I am less certain. I remember 
knocking up an old postmaster, after hours, on a 
Sunday, and asking for stamps, abjectly, and with 
the apologies that were due. 

" Ah then I " said the postmaster, with a decent 
warmth of indignation that it should be thought he 
exacted apologies in the matter ; " It 'd be the funny 
Sunday that I'd refuse stamps to a lady ! " 

My other instance, of the newer Ireland, is also of a 
post-office, this time in a small town that prides itself 
on its republican principles. A child deposited a 
penny upon the counter, and said to the lady in 
charge, " A pinny stamp, please." 

" Say-Miss-ye-brat ! " replied the lady in charge, 
in a single sabre-cut of Saxon speech. 

« >|c * >|c « 

Martin had ever been theoretically opposed to 
Home Rule for Ireland, and was wont to combat 
argument in its favour with the forebodings which 
may be read in the following letters. They were 
written to her friend, Captain Stephen Gwynn, in 
response to some very interesting letters from him 
(which, with hers to him, he has most kindly allowed 
me to print here). Her love of Ireland, combined 
with her distrust of some of those newer influences 
in Irish affairs to which her letters refer, made her 


dread any weakening of the links that bind the 
United Kingdom into one, but I believe that if she 
were here now, and saw the changes that the past 
eighteen months have brought to Ireland, she would 
be quick to welcome the hope that Irish politics 
are lifting at last out of the controversial rut of 
centuries, and that although it has been said of 
East and West that " never the two shall meet," 
North and South will yet prove that in Ireland it 
is always the impossible that happens. 

V. F. M. to Captain Stephen Gwynn, M.P. 
" Drishane House, 

" Skibbeeeen. 

''Feb. 1, 1912. 

" . . . . The day after was here I rode on a 

large horse, of mild and reflective habit, away over a 
high hill, where farms reached up to the heather. 
We progressed by a meandering lane from homestead 
to homestead, and the hill grass was beautifully green 
and clean, and the sun shone upon it in an easterly 
haze. There was ploughing going on, and all the good, 
quiet work that one longs to do, instead of brain- 
wringing inside four walls. I wondered deeply and 
sincerely whether Home Rule could increase the 
peacefulness, or whether it will not be like upsetting 
a basket of snakes over the country. These people 
have bought their land. They manage their own 
local affairs. Must there be yet another upheaval 
for them — and a damming up of Old Age Pensions, 
which now flow smoothly and balmily among them, 
to the enormous comfort and credit of the old people ? 
(And since I saw my mother's old age and death I 
have understood the innermost of that tragedy of 
failing life.) 

" My Cousin and I, in our small way, live in the 


manner that seems advisable for Ireland. We make 
money in England and we spend it over here. We are 
sorry for those who have to live in London, but Ireland 
cannot support us all without help. 

" You will understand now how badly I bored your 
friend, and how long-suffering he was." 

From Captain Stephen Gwynn, M.P., to V. F. M. 

" House of Commons. 

" Feh. 8tK 1912. 

" Your letter filled me with a desire to talk to you 
for about 24 hours, concerning Ireland. Why snakes ? 
.... what demoralisation is going to come to your 

nice country-side because they send or another, 

to sit in Dublin and vote on Irish affairs, which he 
understands less or more, instead of hanging round 
at St. Stephens ? 

" We have too much abstract politics in Ireland, 
we want them real and concrete. Take Old Age 
Pensions, for instance. I don't for an instant believe 
that the pension will ever be cut down, but I do think 
that an Irish Assembly ought to decide whether 
farmers should qualify for it by giving their farms to 
their sons. I do think that we ought to be able to 
pass a law enabling us to put a ferry across Corrib 
with local money ; it is now impossible because of 
one Englishman's opposition. I think we ought to be 
able to tackle the whole transit question, including 
the liberation of canals from railway control, and 
including also the Train Ferry and All Red Route 
possibilities. In 1871 Lord Hartington said it was 
a strong argument for Home Rule that a Royal Com- 
mission had reported in 1867 for the State control 
of Irish railways, forty years ago, and nothing has 
been done but to appoint another Commission. Poor 


Law, the whole Education system— all these things 
want an assembly of competent men, with leisure and 
local knowledge. You think we can't get them ? 
That is the trouble with people like you. You know 
the peasantry very well ; you don't know the middle 
class .... There are plenty of men in Ireland — men 
of the Nationalist party— brilliant young men, like 
Kettle,* who has also courage and enterprise. He 
once gave us all a lead in a very ugly corner with a 

" Devlin is to my thinking as good a man as Lloyd 
George, and that is a big word. Redmond and Dillon 
seem to me more like statesmen than anyone on either 
front bench. Of course, in many cases here you feel 
the want of an educated tradition behind. No one 
can count the harm that was done by keeping Catholics 
out of Trinity Coll., Dublin. But beside the National- 
ists there will be no disinclination to employ other 
educated men, witness Kavanagh. Some of our 
fiercer people wanted to stop his election, right or 
wrong, but we reasoned them over, and once he got 
into the party no man was better listened to, even 
when, as sometimes happened, he differed with the 
majority .... He would be in an Irish Parliament, 
in one house or the other, and a better public man 
could not be found .... To my mind the present 
System breeds what you have called ' snakes.' In 
Clare, among the finest people I ever met in Ireland, 
you have the beastly and abominable shooting, and 
no man will bring another to justice. They are out 
of their bearings to the law, and will be, till they are 
made to feel it is their own law. And the scandal 
of bribery in ' Local Elections ' will never be put 
down till you have a central assembly where things 

* Professor Kettle was killed, fighting in France, in the Royal 
Dublin Fusiliers at Ginchy, in September, 1916. 


will be thrashed out without any fear of seeming 
to back ' Dublin Castle ' against a ' good Nationalist.' 

" For Gentlefolk (to use the old word) who want to 
live in the country, Ireland is going to be a better 
place to live in than it has been these thirty years — 
yes, or than before, for it is bad for people to be 
a caste. They will get their place in public business, 
easily and welcome, those who care to take it, but 
on terms of equality, with the rest. Don't tell me 
that Ireland isn't a pleasanter place for men like 
Kavanagh or Walter Nugent, than for the ordinary 
landlord person who talks about ' we ' and ' they.' 

" Caste is at the bottom of nine-tenths of our trouble. 
A Catholic bishop said to me, drink did a lot of harm 
in Ireland, but not half as much as gentility. Every- 
body wanting to be a clerk. Catholic clerks anxious 
to be in Protestant tennis clubs, Protestant tennis 
clubs anxious to keep out Catholic clerks, and so 
on, and so on. My friend, a guest for anybody's 
house in London, in half of Dublin socially impossible. 

" I am prophesying, no doubt, but I know, and 
you, with all your knowledge and your insight donH 
know— what is best worth knowing in Ireland, better 
even than the lovely ways of the peasant folk. I've 
seen and rubbed shoulders with men in the making. 

" You don't, for instance, know D. E., who used 

to drive a van in and was a Fenian in arms, 

and the starved orphan of a labourer first of 

all, — and is now the very close personal friend of a 
high official personage. Now, if ever I met Don 
Quixote I met him in the shoes of D. E. ; if you like 
a little want of training to digest the education that 
he acquired, largely in gaol, but with a real love of 
fine thoughts. If Sterne could have heard D. E. 
and another old warrior, E. P. O'Kelly— and a very 
charming, shrewd old person — quoting ' Tristram 


Shandy ' which they got by heart in Kilmainham, 
Sterne would have got more than perhaps he deserved 
in the way of satisfaction. 

" This inordinate epistle is my very embarrassing 
tribute. You know so much. You and yours stand 
for so much that is the very choice essence of Ireland, 
that it fills me with distress to see you all standing 
off there in your own paddock, distrustful and not 
even curious about the life you don't necessarily 

" You and I will both live, probably, to see a new 
order growing up. I daresay it may not attract you, 
and may disappoint me, only, for heaven's sake, 
don't think it is going to be all * snakes.' 

" And do forgive me for having inflicted all this on 
you. After all, you needn't read it — and very likely 
you can't !...." 

V. F. M. to Captain Gwynn, M.P. 
" Drishane House, 

" Skibbereen, 
''Feb. 10, 1912. 
" I do indeed value your letter, and like to think you 
snatched so much from your busy day in order to 
write it. ... By ' snakes ' in Ireland, I mean a set 
of new circumstances, motives, influences, and possi- 
bilities acting on people's lives and characters, and 
causing disturbance. My chief reason for this fear 
that I have is that Irish Nationalism is not one good 
solid piece of homespun. It is a patch work. There 
are some extremely dangerous factors in it, one of 
the worst being the Irish-American revolutionary. 
The older Fenianism lives there, plus all that is least 
favourable in American republicanism. . . . (These) 
will look on Ireland as the depot and jumping-off 
place for their animosity to England. Apart from 


America there is much hostihty to England, dormant 
and theoretical, innate and inherited — and it is fostered 
by certain Gaelic League teachings. Here again I 
speak only of what I know personally. I have seen 
the prize book of Irish poetry given at a ' Feis ' to a 
little boy as a prize for dancing. A series of war 
songs against England. . . . You see what I am 
aiming at. There are dangerous elements in Ireland, 
and strong ones, Irish-American, Gaelic League, 
Sinn Fein, and what I feel very uncertain about is 
whether straight and genuine and tolerant people, 
like you, will have the power to control them. With 
the Home Rule banner gone, what is to keep them in 
hand ? . . . I am sure that you will despise this 
feeling on my part. You feel that the Church of 
Rome is with you, and that with its help all will fall 
into line. And you feel that men of high and practical 
talent are with you and must prevail ... A Roman 
Catholic ascendancy and government will bring 
Socialism, because now-a-days Socialism is the 
complementary colour of R.C. government or 
ascendancy. America will play its part there — ^the 
general trend of the world will continue ; the priest- 
hood knows it, and I am sorry for them. I do not 
want to see them dishonoured and humiliated. I 
know their influence for good as well as I know the 
danger of the policy of their Church. That is my 
second point. A Vatican policy for Ireland it will 
have to be, under Home Rule, or else the Priesthood 
is shouldered aside, and that is an ugly and demoralis- 
ing thing. The religious question is deep below all 
others, and we all are aware of that. There is perfect 
toleration between the Protestants and Catholics 
individually (except for the North). All, as far as I 
have ever known, is give and take and good-breeding 
on the subject. We accept the Holy days of the 


R.C. Church (which are still in full force in the 
West) and they go to early Mass in order that they 
may drive us to church later in the day. There is no 
trouble whatever, and we go to each other's funerals, 
etc. ! But the larger policy of the Church of Rome is 
a different thing, and a dangerous — and Socialism is 
its Nemesis. . . . 

" I wish that I did know the men you speak of. 
I am sure they are tip-top men, and no one realises 
more than I do the talent and the genius that lie 
among the Irish lower and middle classes. I am not 
quite clear as to what either you or I mean by ' middle 
classes,' I think of well-to-do farmers, and small 
professional people in the towns. We know both 
these classes pretty well down here. . . . Last year 
we had a middle-class man at luncheon here, an able 
business man, working like a nigger, and an R.C. 
and Home Ruler. We discussed the matter. 
He said, as all you genuine people say and believe, 
that once Home Rule was granted, the good men 
among Protestant Unionists would be selected, and 
the wasters flung aside. I said, and still say, that the 
brave and fair thing would be to select them before- 
hand, show trust in them, give them confidence, and 
then indeed there would be a strong case for Home 
Rule. His argument was that they must keep up 
this artificial, feverish, acrid agitation, or their case 
falls to the ground. Two exactly opposite points of 

" The people that I am most afraid of are the town 
politicians. I am not fond of anything about towns ; 
they are full of second-hand thinking ; they know 
nothing of raw material and the natural philosophy 
of the country people. As to caste, it is in the towns 
that the vulgar idea of caste is created. The country 
people believe in it strongly ; they cling to a belief in 


what it should stand for of truth and honour— and 
there the best classes touch the peasant closely, and 
understand each other. ' A lady's word.' ^ How 
often has that been brought up before me as a thing 
incorruptible and unquestionable, and it incites one, 
and humbles one, and gives a consciousness of deep 

" I think the social tight places you speak of exist 
just as tightly in England, Scotland, and Wales. 
Social ambition is vulgarity, of course, and even a 
republican spirit does not cure it — witness America. 
It is not Ireland alone that is ' sicklied o'er with the 
pale thought of caste ! ' . . . I venture to think that 
your friend looks on me with a friendly eye, especially 
since I told him that my foster-mother took me 
secretly, as a baby to the priest and had me baptised. 
It was done for us all, and my father and mother knew 
it quite well, and never took any notice. I was also 
baptised by Lord Plunket in the drawing-room at 
Ross, so the two Churches can fight it out for 
me ! . . ." 

V. F. M. to Captain Gwynn. 

" Drishane, 
''Nov. 8, 1912. 

" It is nice of you to let the authors of ' Dan Russel ' 
know that what they said has helped ^ . . . and I 
can assure you that it gives us real pleasure to think 
of it. 

" I am very glad that you yourself like it, and feel 
with us about John Michael and Mrs. Delanty. 

" One does not meet these people out of Ireland ; 
they are a blend not to be arrived at elsewhere. But 

1 To this may be added a companion phrase. " A Gentleman's 
bargain ; no huxthering ! " 

2 See Appendix II. 


I wish there were more John Michaels ; shyness is so 
nice a quahty when it goes deep. In fact all really 
nice people have shy hearts, I think — but their 
friends enjoy the quality more than they do, . . . 
I was up in the North myself at the Signing of the 
Covenant, not in Belfast, but in the country. I went 
up on a visit there, not as a journalist, but when I 
saw what I saw I wrote an article about it for the 
Spectator. I did not know the North at all ... I 
send you what I wrote, because it is an honest impres- 
sion. What surprised me about the place was the 
feeling of cleverness, and go, and also the people 
struck me as being hearty. If only the South would 
go up North and see what they are doing there, and 
how they are doing it, and ask them to show them 
how, it would make a good deal of difference. And then 
the North should come South and see what nice 
people we are, and how we do that ! Your lovely 
Donegal I did not see, but hope to do that next time. 
You need not send back the Spectator, because that is 
a heavy supertax on the reader." 



She hid it always, close against her breast, 

A golden vase, close sealed and strangely wrought, 
And set with gems, whose dim eyes, mystery fraught, 

Shot broken gleams, like secrets half confessed. 

" One day," she said, " Love's perfumed kisses pressed 
Against its lip their perfectness, unsought, 
And suddenly the dizzy fragrance caught 

My senses in its mesh, and gave them rest. 
And life's disquietude no more I feel. 
For now," she said, " my heart sleeps still and light. 
Love's Anodyne outlasts the lingering years ! " 
But in the darkness of an autumn night 
Her heart woke, weeping, and she brake the seal. 
The scent was dead ; the vase was full of tears. 

I HAVE come to what must be the final chapter, 
and the thought most present with me is that in writing 
it I am closing the door on these memories of two 
lives that made the world a pleasant place for each 
other, and I find now that although I began them 
with reluctance, it is with reluctance still that I 
must end them. 

It has been hard, often, to leave untold so many 
of those trivial things that counted for more, in the 
long run, than the occasional outstanding facts of 
two quite uneventful lives. I fear I have yielded 
too much to the temptation of telling and talking 


nonsense, and now there remains only the Appendix 
in which to retrieve Martin's character and mine 
for intelhgence and for a serious concern for the 
things that are serious. 

To return to our work, which for us, at all events, 
if for no one else, was serious. As soon as we had 
recovered from " Dan Russel," Martin set forth 
on what I find entered in my diary as " a series of 
tribal war-dances round the County Galway," which 
meant that she paid visits, indefatigably, and with 
entire satisfaction, in her own county and among 
her own allies and kinsfolk. I should like to quote 
her account of a visit to one of her oldest friends, 
Lady Gregory, at Coole Park, where she met (and much 
enjoyed meeting) Mr. W. B. Yeats, and where she, 
assisted by the poet, carved her initials on a tree 
dedicated to the Muses, whereon A. E., and Dr. 
Douglas Hyde, and others of high achievement 
had inscribed themselves. But I must hold to the 
ordinance of silence as to living people that she herself 
ordained and would wish me to observe. 

No one ever enjoyed good company more than 
Martin, and, as the beggars say, she " thravelled the 
County Galway," and there was good company and 
a welcome before her wherever she went. 

At about this time she and I were invited to a 
public dinner in Dublin, given to Irish literary women 
by the Corinthian Club ; and, having secured exemp- 
tion from speech-making, we found it a highly 
interesting entertainment, at which were materialised 
for us many who till then had been among the things 
believed in but not seen. At this time also, or a 
little later, I re-established the West Carbery Hounds, 
after a brief interregnum. I only now allude to them 
in order to record the fact that when the first draft 
of the reconstituted pack arrived, the lamented 

Y* 2 


" Slipper " (now no more) met them at the station 
with an enormous bouquet of white flowers in what 
might have begun life as a button-hole, and a tall 
hat. He cheered the six couples as they left the 
station yard (accompanied, it may not be out of 
place to mention, ridiculously, by two and a half 
gambolling couples of black and white British-Hol- 
stein young cattle, on a herd of which magpie breed 
my sister and I were embarking), and then, as the 
procession moved like a circus through the streets of 
Skibbereen, " Slipper " renewed the task of drinking 
all their healths, this time at my expense. 

The doctrine that sincere friendship is only possible 
between men dies hard. It is, at last, in the fulness 
of time, expiring by force of fact, and is now, like 
many another decayed convention, dragging out a 
deplorable old age in facetious paragraphs in " Comic 
Corners," where the Mother-in-law, Mrs. Gamp and 
her ministrations, and the Unfortunate Husband 
(special stress being laid on the sufferings endured 
by the latter while his wife is enjoying herself upstairs) 
gibber together, and presumably amuse someone. 

The outstanding fact, as it seems to me, among 
women who live by their brains, is friendship. A 
profound friendship that extends through every phase 
and aspect of life, intellectual, social, pecuniary. 
Anyone who has experience of the life of independent 
and artistic women knows this ; and it is noteworthy 
that these friendships of women will stand even 
the strain of matrimony for one or both of the friends. 
I gravely doubt that David saw much of Jonathan 
after the death of Uriah. 

However, controversy, and especially controversy 
of this complexion, is a bore. As Martin said, in 
a letter to me, 

" Rows are a mistake ; which is the only reason I 


don't fight with you for invariably spelling ' practice,' 
the noun, with an ' s.' " 

Martin had a very special gift for friendship, 
both with women and with men. Her sympathies 
were wide, and her insight into character and motive 
enabled her to meet each of her many friends on their 
own ground, and to enter deeply and truly into 
their lives, and give them a share in hers. 

In spite of the ordinance of silence, I feel as if she 
would wish me to record in this book the names, 
at least, of some of those whom she delighted to 
honour, and, with all diffidence, I beg them to 
understand that in the very brief mention of them 
that will be found in the Appendix, I have only 
ventured to do this because I believe that she 
desires it. 

I suppose it was the result of old habit, and of 
the return of the hounds, but, for whatever reason, 
during the years that followed the appearance of 
" Dan Russel the Fox," Martin and I put aside the 
notions we had been dwelling upon in connection 
with " a serious novel," and took to writing " R.M." 
stories again. These, six couple of them (like 
the first draft of the re-established pack), wandered 
through various periodicals, chiefly Blackwood's Maga- 
zine, and in July, 1915, they were published in a 
volume with the title of " In Mr. Knox's Country." 

We were in Kerry when the book appeared, or 
rather we were on our way there, I remember 
with what anxiety I bought a Spectator at the Mallow 
platform bookstall, and even more vividly do I recall 
our departure from Mallow, when Martin, and Ethel 
Penrose, and I, all violently tried to read the Spectator 
review of Mr. Knox at the same moment. 


I will say nothing now of the time that we spent 


in Kerry ; a happy time, in lovely weather, in a lovely 
place. It was the last of many such times, and it 
is too near, now, to be written of. 

I will try no more. Withered leaves, blowing in 
through the open window before a September gale, 
are falling on the page. Our summers are ended. 
" ' Vanity of vanities,' saith the Preacher." 

I have tried to write of the people, and the things, 
and the events that she loved and was interested in. 
It has been a happiness to me to do so, and at times, 
while I have been writing, the present has been for- 
gotten and I have felt as though I were recapturing 
some of the " careless rapture " of older days. 

The world is still not without its merits ; I am 
not ungrateful, and I have many reasons that are 
not all in the past, and one in especial of which I 
will not now speak, for gratitude. But there is a 
thing that an old widow woman said, long ago, that 
remains in my mind. Her husband — she spoke of 
him as " her kind companion " — ^had died, and she 
said to me, patiently, and without tears, 

" Death makes people lonesome, my dear." 




Charles Kendal Bushe to Mrs. Bushe. 

Waterford. (Undated.) 
Probably July or August, 1798. 

" Within this day or two the United Irishmen rose 
in the Co Kilkenny and disarm'd every gentleman and 
man in the County except Pierce Butler. O'Flaherty, 
Davis, Nixon, Lee, and Tom Murphy was not spar'd 
and they even beat up the Quarters of Bob's Seraglio, 
but he had the day before taken the precaution to 
remove his arms, and among them my double barrell'd 
Gun, to Pierce Butler's as a place of safety, so that no 
arms remain'd but the arms of his Dulcinea, but what 
they did in that respect Bob says not .... The 
United men have done one serious mischief which 
is that they have discredited Bank notes to such a 
degree that in Wexford no one wd give a Crown for a 
national note or take one in payment and here tho 
they take them they wont give Change for them so 
that at the Bar Room we are oblig'd to pass little 
promissory notes for our Dinner and pay them when 
they come to a Guinea. I assure you if you ow'd 
17 shillgs here no one wou'd give you four and take a 
Guinea. As to Gold it is vanish'd. I have receiv'd 


but 2 Gold Guineas in £133.0.0 since I came on 
Circuit. There is a good deal of Alarm about these 
United Men every where." 

Another letter, written at about the same time as 
the above, is dated " Wexford, July twenty sixth. 
1798." It seems to have been written while on circuit, 
a short time after the suppression of the Rebellion. 

Charles Kendal Bushe to Mrs. Bushe. 
" My dearest Nancy, 

" We return by Ross " (Co. Wexford) " both for 
greater safety and that we may see the scene of the 
famous battle." (This probably was Vinegar Hill). 
" From every observation I can make it appears to 
me that this Country is completely quieted ; if you 
were to hear all the different anecdotes told here 
you wou'd suppose you were reading another Helen 
Maria Williams. I shall give you but one— Col. 
Lehunte who is very civil to us was a prisoner to the 
Rebels and tolerably well treated as such till one day 
in the tattering (sic) of his house a Room— furnish'd 
with antique ornaments in black and orange was 
discover'd a small Skreen in the same colours with 
heathen divinities on it. This Skreen was carried 
instantly by the enrag'd mob thro the town as a proof 
of an intended Massacre by the Orange Men. This 
Skreen, says the famous fury Mrs. Dixon, was to be 
the standard of their Cavalry. This, (Hope) is the 
anchor on which the Catholic sailors were to be roasted 
alive— This, (Jupiter's Eagle) is the Vulture that was 
to pick out the Catholic Children's Eyes— She went 
thro the Mythology of the Skreen in this rational 
Exposition and entirely convinc'd the Mob. In a 
moment Col. Lehunte was dragg'd out to Execution 


and his life was sav'd in the same manner his house 
was, by the number of disputants who shou'd take it. 
He received three pike wounds and was beat almost 
to death with sticks and the end of firelocks and at last 
taken back for a more deliberate Execution in the 
morning, being thrown for the night into a Dungeon 
where he lay wounded on fetters, bolts, and broken 
Bottles. This is a venerable old Gentleman, near 70 
years old. 

" We hear many such stories. The Bridge is deep 
stain'd with blood. 

" Ever yours, my darling Nancy, 

" C. K. BUSHE." 

The temptation to quote extensively from these 
early letters of " the Chief " cannot be too freely 
indulged in, but I may include an account, written 
from Clonmel, in about 1797, to his wife, giving an 
account of what he calls " a most novel and extra- 
ordinary and disgusting species of crime " ; which is 
a moderate way of defining the comprehensive atrocity 
of the act in question. 

Charles Kendal Bushe to Mrs. Bushe. 

Clonmel. (circa 1797.) 

" . . . . The woman was clearly convicted and will 
be exemplarily punish'd for it. She robb'd a church- 
yard of the hand of a dead man which she put into 
all the milk she churn'd. Butter making is a great 
part of the trade of the Country and the unfortunate 
Wretch was persuaded that this hand drawn thro the 
Milk in the devil's name would give a miraculous 
quantity of butter, and it seems she has long made it 
a practice." 


From Chief Justice Bushe to Mrs. Bushe. 

" Omagh. Monday August 16. 1810. 

" My dearest Nan, 

" By making a forc'd march with Smyly here I 
have arrived some hours before the other Judge, 
Cavalcade &c. and I have for the first time since I left 
town sat down in a room by myself with something 
like tranquillity, at least that negative Repose that 
consists in the absence of stress or clamour fuss and 
hurry. The day has fortunately been good and with- 
out stopping we rode here, 21 miles across the 
mountains. This I found pleasant and indeed neces- 
sary after the Confinement and bad weather which 
we have had uninterruptedly since we left Dublin. 
You have no notion of such a den as Cavan is. It is 
no wonder that poor Smyly us'd to get fever in it, 
I am only astonish'd that I ever got out of it for I 
was not for a moment well. It lies at the bottom of a 
Bason form'd by many hills closing in on each other, 
and is surrounded by bogs and lakes. The Sun can 
scarcely reach it, you look up at the heavens as you 
do out of a jail yard that has high walls and I was glad 
to have a large Turf fire in my Room. The Water 
is quite yellow and deranges the stomach &c. so that 
my poor head was a mass of confusion and my Spirits 
were slack enough .... After breakfast, bad as the 
day was, I got a boat and went on the lake (Lough 
Erne) and sail'd to the Island of Devenish where there 
is a curious Ruin of an antient place of worship and a 
Round Tower in as perfect preservation as the day it 
was built .... Short as the time was if the weather 
had been favourable I was determined upon seeing 
Lough Derg and St. Patrick's purgatory which is in 
a small island in the middle of it and which is in its 


history certainly one of the greatest Curiosities in 
Europe. 1 It has maintained its Character as the 
principal place of penance in the World since the first 
Establishment of Christianity in Ireland and is as 
much frequented now by Pilgrims from all Countries 
as it was in what we are in the habit of calling the 
darker ages, as freely as if our own was enlighten'd. 
Miller's house is about ten miles from it and he has 
by enquiries from the Priests and otherwise ascer- 
tained that the average number of pilgrims during the 
season which begins with the Summer and ends with 
the first of August exceeds ten thousand. This last 
Season in this present year the number was much 
greater. They all perform their journey barefooted 

1 " Evidence of the widespread fame of St. Patrick's Purgatory, 
Lough Derg, Co. Donegal, in mediaeval days is furnished by a docu- 
ment recently copied from the Chancery treaty roll of Richard II. 
This is a safe conduct issued on the 6th September, 1397, to Raymond 
Viscount of Perilleux, Knight of Rhodes, a subject of the King of 
France, who desired to make the pilgrimage. It was addressed to 
all constables, marshals, admirals, senechals, governors, bailiffs, 
prefects, captains, castellans, majors, magistrates, counsellors 
of cities and towns, guardians of camps, ports, bridges and pass- 
ways, and their subordinates — in a word, to all those who under 
one title or another exercised some authority in those days — and 
recited that Raymond ' intends and purposes to come into our 
Kingdom of England and to cross over and travel through the said 
Kingdom to our land of Ireland, there to see and visit the Pur- 
gatory of St. Patrick, with twenty men and thirty horses in his 
company.' The conduct went on to enjoin that any of the 
little army of officials mentioned above should not molest the said 
Raymond during his journey to Lough Derg, nor during his return 
therefrom, nor as far as in them lay should they permit injury to him, 
his men, horses or property ; provided always that the Viscount 
and his men on entering any camp, castle or fortified town, should 
present the letter of safe conduct to the guardians of the place, 
and in purchasing make fair and ready payment for food or other 
necessaries. The safe conduct was valid until the Easter of the 
following year. Besides showing that over five hundred years ago 
foreigners were anxious to make the pilgrimage which so many 
make in the present age, the document is interesting inasmuch as it 
gives an indication of the difficulties under which a pilgrim or tourist 
travelled in the fourteenth century." {Corh Examiner, August 8, 


and in mean Dress but those of the upper Class are 
discover'd by the delicacy of their hands and feet. 
There is a large ferry Boat which from morning to 
night is employ'd in transporting and retransporting 
them. Each Pilgrim remains 24 hours in the Island 
performing Devotions round certain stone altars calPd 
Stations, at which five Priests perpetually officiate. 
All this time and for some time before they strictly 
fast, and on leaving the Island the Priest gives them 
what is called Bread and Wine, that is Bread and Lake 
water which they positively assert has the Taste of 
wine and the power of refreshing and recovering 
them . . . ." 

The end of this letter, giving a description of a 
visit to Edgeworthstown, appears in the book, 
Chapter II, page 47. 


The following is written by Captain Stephen Gwynn, 
M.P., Member for Galway City, who has very kindly 
permitted me to include it among these memories. 

Probably no one can have really known " Martin 
Ross " who did not spend some time in her company 
either in Connemara or West Cork. I, to my sorrow, 
only met her once, at a Dublin dinner table. That 
hour's talk has left on my mind a curiously limited 
and even negative impression. She looked surpris- 
ingly unlike a person who spent much of her life in 
the open air ; and it was hard to associate her with 
the riotous humour of many " R.M." stories. What 
remains positive in the impression is a sense of extreme 
fineness and delicacy, qualities which reflect them- 
selves in the physical counterparts of that restraint 
and sure taste which are in the essence of all that she 

That one meeting served me well, however, because 
out of it arose casually an intermittent correspondence 
which passed into terms of something like friendship. 
Once at all events I traded, as it were, on a friend's 
kindness ; for when a boy of mine lay sick abroad, 
and I was seeking for acceptable things to bring to his 
bedside, I wrote repeatedly to Martin Ross, provoking 
replies from a most generous letter- writer — letters very 
touching in their kindness. 

But most of our communications had their source 


in the prompting which urged her to speak her mind 
to a Nationahst Member of Parhament, concerning 
happenings in Ireland. These letters show how 
gravely and anxiously she thought about her country, 
and events have written a grim endorsement on 
certain of her apprehensions. She was never of those 
who can be content to regard Ireland as a pleasant 
place for sport, full of easy, laughable people ; or she 
would never have understood Ireland with that in- 
tensity which can be felt even in her humour. If 
her letters show that she was often angry with her 
countrymen, they show too that it was because she 
could not be indifferent to the honour of Ireland. 
September, 1917. 



In trying to include in these divagations the names 
of some of the chief among the friends of Martin 
Ross, I am met at once by the thought of her brothers 
and sisters. These were first in her life, and they 
held their place in it, and in her heart, in a manner 
that is not always given to brothers and sisters. 
Two griefs, the death of her eldest brother, Robert, 
and of the sister next to her in age, Edith Dawson, 
struck her with a force that can best be measured 
by what the loss of two people so entirely lovable 
meant to others less near to them than she. Hand- 
some and amusing, charming and generous, one 
may go on heaping up adjectives, yet come no 
nearer to explaining to those who did not know Edith 
what was lost when she died. Many of the times 
to which Martin looked back with most enjoyment 
were spent with Edith and her husband, Cuthbert 
Dawson. Colonel Dawson was then in the Queen's 
Bays, and Martin's stories of those soldiering days 
were full of riding, and steam-launching, and motoring 
(the last at an early period in history, when, in Conne- 
mara at all events, a motor was described by the poor 
people as " a hell-cart," and received as such). All 
these things, and the more dangerous the better, 
were what she and Edith found their pleasure in, 


with the spirit that took all the fun that was going 
in its stride, and did not flinch when trouble, suffering, 
and sorrow had to be faced. 

Of Robert, she has herself written, and now but 
one brother and one sister of all that brilliant family 
remain ; Mr. James Martin, the Head of the House, 
and Mrs. Hamilton Currey, whose husband, the 
late Commander Hamilton Currey, R.N., was a 
distinguished writer on naval matters, and was one 
whose literary opinion was very deeply valued by 

She was, as Captain Gwynn has said, " a generous 
letter- writer," and I have been allowed by him and 
by one of her very special friends, Mrs. Campbell, 
to make extracts from some of her letters to them. 
Her letters, as Mrs. Campbell says, " have so much 
of her delightful self in them," that I very much 
regret that, for various reasons, I have not been 
able to print more of them. 

Another of her great friends was Miss Nora Tracey, 
with whom she was staying in Ulster at the tremen- 
dous moment of the signing of the Ulster Covenant. 
Few things ever made a deeper political impression 
upon Martin than did that visit, and the insight 
that she then gained into Ulster and its fierce in- 
tensity of purpose did not cease to influence her 
views. Whatever political opinions may be held, 
and however much the attitude of No Compromise 
may be regretted, the impressiveness of Ulster has 
to be acknowledged. No one was more sensitive 
to this than Martin, and an article that, at this 
time, she wrote and sent to the Spectator was inspired 
by what she saw and heard in the North during 
that time of crisis. 

Name after name of her friends comes to me, and 
I can only feel the futility of writing them down. 


and thinking that in so doing it is possible to explain 
her talent for friendship, her fine and faithful enthusi- 
asm for the people whom she liked ; still less to indicate 
how much their affection, and interest, and sympathy 
helped to fill her life, and to make it what it was, 
a happy one. 

A few names at least I may record. 

Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Helps, Rose Helps, Mr. C. 
L. Graves, Lady Gregory, Mrs. Wynne (who is one 
of Lord Morris's daughters, and is one of a family 
of old Gal way friends and neighbours). Miss Gertrude 
Sweetnam, Miss A. S. Kinkead, Sir Horace Plunkett, 
Fan Morris, " Jem " Barlow, and Martin Ross's 
kinsman, Mr. Justice Archer Martin, Justice of Appeal, 
Victoria, B.C. 

It is of no avail to prolong the list, though I could 
do so (and I ask to be forgiven for unintentional 
omissions), and I will do no more than touch on her 
many friends among our many relations. Rose Bar- 
ton, Ethel Penrose (my own oldest friend, loved by 
Martin more than most), Violet Coghill, Loo-Loo 
Plunket, Jim Penrose (that " Professor of Embroidery 
and Collector of Irish Point " to whom she dedicated 
the " Patrick's Day Hunt "), and, nearest of all after 
her own family, my sister and my five brothers, to 
all of whom she was as another sister, only, as the 
Army List says, " with precedence of that rank." 

An end must come. I am afraid I have forgotten 
much, and I know I have failed in much that I had 
hoped to do, but I know, too, however far I may 
have come short, that the memory of Martin Ross 
is safe with her friendsi 



" An Irish Cousin." 1889 : R. Bentley & Son ; 

1903 : Longmans, Green & Co. 
" Naboth's Vineyard." 1891: Spencer Blackett. 
"Through Connemara in a Governess Cart." 

1892 : W. H. Allen & Co. 
" In the Vine Country." 1893 : W. H. Allen & Co. 
" The Real Charlotte." 1895 : Ward & Downey ; 

1900 : Longmans, Green & Co. 
"Beggars on Horseback." 

1895 : Blackwood & Sons. 
"The Silver Fox." 1897: Lawrence and BuUen; 

1910 : Longmans, Green & Co. 
" Some Experiences of an Irish R.M." 

1899 : Longmans, Green & Co. 
" A Patrick's Day Hunt." 

1902 : Constable & Co. 
" Slipper's A B C of Foxhunting." 

1903 : Longmans, Green & Co. 
"All on the Irish Shore." 

1903 : Longmans, Green & Co. 
"Some Irish Yesterdays." 

1906 : Longmans, Green & Co. 
"Further Experiences of an Irish R.M." 

1908 : Longmans, Green & Co. 
"DanRusseltheFox." 1911 : Methuen & Co., Ltd. 
"The Story of the Discontented Little Elephant." 

1912 : Longmans, Green & Co. 
" In Mr. Knox's Country." 

1915 : Longmans, Green & Co.