room, receiving Mrs. Temple's languid | Blunt and Mr. Dorian Chandos should congratulations, Georgy's unusually stiff not have met before." greeting, but all the while with eyes and ears for nobody but Jack.

"Can she have seen them, or has he told her?" thought Christopher.

"Mr. Dorian Chandos, Robin," she heard Christopher saying, and instinct must have made her turn in his direction," for her hand was taken and Jack was speaking — saying something to her something about his surprise at this meeting, his astonishment at seeing her.

"Is it as I fear, that you don't remember me?" he said anxiously, and the poor little hand which lay so cold in his was almost crushed as he waited for the


"I think she is quite overcome by astonishment." It was Christopher who had come to the rescue, and who, by talk ing very quickly to Mrs. Temple and Georgy on the score of unexpected recognitions, endeavored to withdraw their


His face seemed to betray the suspicion, for Georgy in her turn wondered, Does he know?" and then following the eyes of husband and wife, she fancied they exchanged a look of meaning, and the supposition gave a more favorable turn to the opinion she had formed of Robin.

"And if I had kept to my original intention of going away, we might not have met now," was Jack's answer.

He was not going to be put out of countenance by Miss Georgy, still he had no wish just then to enter upon an encounter with her, and to avoid it he turned to Mr. Blunt, and little guessing how sharp were the thorns he stuck, began a conversation in praise of Mr. Veriker.

Robin had to entertain Mrs. Temple, Georgy occupied herself with Christo"Ipher, the three couples talked separately and a little apart from each other.

"Oh yes, I recollect you perfectly," Robin at length found breath to say. was only wondering whether, now that I am married, you would remember me."

Each spoke with hidden meaning. "Remember you!" exclaimed Jack, "is it at all likely I could forget?"

It had just come to him that he was still holding her hand; turning to Mr. Blunt, who sat completely mystified, he said, "Why, I have known her since she was so high, and ran about in pinafores her father was one of my greatest friends." And then smiling as if the thought amused him, he added, "How shall I bring myself to call her anything but Robin, I wonder? and I sha'n't know she is speaking to me, so accustomed was I to hear her call me Jack."

"It's one of the most extraordinary things that I ever heard of in my life," said Mr. Blunt, remembering that he had heard some very fishy reports about the squire; and if he was mixed up with Veriker he hadn't a doubt but they were true.

"It certainly is an odd coincidence," said Mrs. Temple, considering herself appealed to, "isn't it, Georgy?

[ocr errors]

But Georgy, seemingly not one whit interested in the matter, was attentively examining a picture.

Isn't it odd, Georgy?” repeated her mother. "Don't you think so?"

"No; if you ask me, I really don't see anything very odd in it; the odd thing to me is," and she looked pointedly at Jack, "that being in the same place, Mrs. |

Several times Georgy made a movement to go, but her mother, delighted at the chance of pouring her misfortunes into the ear of a new listener, paid no attention to the signs given. Jack seemed equally blind, his whole attention was centred on making himself agreeable to Mr. Blunt, and so successful was he that at parting the old man begged him not to think any more of that little affair about the thicket land; he was only very sorry that they hadn't known each other then as they did now.

"And you'll come again," he said heartily. Pay us another visit soon."

[ocr errors]

Jack declared that he should be delighted.

"I was hoping," and he tried to catch Robin's ear, "that Mrs. Blunt would ask me."

"Oh, you were waiting for that, were you?" Mr. Blunt laughed amusedly, calling out to Robin,

"Come over here, my dear, tell Mr. Chandos how pleased we shall all be to see him whenever he feels inclined to drop in."

Robin seemed to be struck with sudden shyness.

"Oh, but uncle, it is for you to say that. I am not mistress here."

"Yes, yes, you are," said the old man encouragingly, "so long as I'm left master you shall be left missis. Can't say fairer words than that, can I, squire ?"

[ocr errors]

"Certainly not. Then I may come?" | we're concerned for a very long time to - Jack was still addressing Robin come." may I?"

"Yes, if you like to, you may," and she lifted her eyes, and for the first time looked at him, and Jack felt the look had made them friends again; perhaps Robin felt it too, for she gave a little rippling laugh. "I shall be very glad to see you." she said, " and so will Christopher


"Ah, yes, we mustn't forget Christopher!" exclaimed Mr. Blunt loudly.

"That goes without saying," put in Georgy Temple, who had come up behind them. "I feel assured that my cousin finds it impossible that he should ever forget Mr. Christopher Blunt."

"What the "there was just time for Jack's face to ask the question. Already Mrs. Temple was engrossing the father's and son's attention; Georgy had turned towards the door; Robin was saying Good-bye" to her. A minute or so after, they had left the house.

[ocr errors]

If any one, to whom Jack felt bound to give an answer, had asked him why he had returned to Wadpole, he could not positively have satisfied him. He had come back because he could not stay away - that was how it seemed to him; come back, beckoned by an irresistible desire which he had silently combated with until of a sudden his strength had failed him, the temptation had overcome, and he was journeying home, seeking reasons to give to others without striving to find any to give to himself.

His first step was to go to the rectory to see the Temples, and this had led to the arrangements in prospect of the visit which they had just paid.

The clang of the gates as they went out seemed to bring him back to his more sober senses. Up to the present time he had been occupied in what he meant to do; one thought had had possession of his mind: he must see Robin. Well! he had seen her; they had met; they had parted. What did he mean to do now?

Aunt Temple was dribbling out discontent about the luxury of such persons' surroundings; Georgy was walking along silently-evidently her humor was not a happy one. To the admiration bestowed by her mother on Robin she said nothing, but each remark Jack made was met by a snub or a sneer.

"They'll be calling on us. That's the next thing," said Mrs. Temple aggrievedly. "And if they do, there'll be no need to see them. We can say we're not at home."

[ocr errors]

Neighborly!" said Jack sarcastically. "But, Jack, only remember what our drawing-room always is to look at," and its recollection made Mrs. Temple sigh dismally. "I don't mind with people who know us - of our own set- but these purse-proud newcomers -oh! it's terribly humiliating, it really is! "Rubbish! stuff! nonsense!" Jack grew quite energetic. Who, do you suppose, looks at the room so long as those they come to see are in it? I can answer for it that Mrs. Blunt won't. She has never been used to a lot of grand surroundings."

[ocr errors]

"How very strange your knowing her so well before!" Mrs. Temple began digressively. "Of course that'll make a great difference in her to me, and to us all, won't it, Georgy?" Georgy didn't reply. "How surprised you must have been to see her, Jack, weren't you?"

"Oh, I don't know. Not very. People I have met are always turning up somewhere. After all, the world is a very small one."

"Well, yes, I suppose it is. So many people go round it now. In my day it used to be thought wonderful - quite out of the common. I remember a cousin of General White's not the General White who lives at Forder- but that man, don't you know who

[ocr errors]

Mrs. Temple came to a sudden stop. The cross-road reached, Jack had turned to Georgy, saying,

"Do you want to go straight home?" "Not particularly. Why?"

"Do you mind, Aunt Temple, if, instead of the fields, Georgy and I go back round by the common, home?"

Feeling that all these walks must in time lead to the church, Mrs. Temple, swallowing the interruption which in any one less favored would have been resented, raised no objection. At the stile she took her leave of them, while they, getting over it, walked along the lane, the broader part of which skirted the thicket.

"That's your late bone of contention, isn't it?" said Georgy, following the direction of Jack's eyes, which were fixed on the wooded slopes below.

"Well, thank goodness, it's over," she said, answering an appeal made to her. "We've done our duty, and we've paid our call, and there's an end to it so far as i at her. LIVING AGE. 1998


"Yes," he said, without looking round

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

"On the contrary," he said; "I don't think I ever valued them so much, nor you either, Georgy - he had taken hold of her hand, and was looking at her with that wonderfully expressive face of his, which in every appeal he made seemed to carry it at once irresistibly · so you mustn't forsake me." "It will be your own fault if I do," she said seriously.

[ocr errors]

[ocr errors]

My own fault, will it? How so?" "Because you won't trust me." Jack's eyes regarded her inquiringly. He was wondering how much she knew, or was it only a guess she was making? Anyway, he felt inclined to confide in her. Jack was suffering from that sickening despair which comes over most of us at sight of the plans, hopes, wishes, planted out by ourselves, uprooted by another's hand. Life seemed suddenly robbed of all its brightness. He had just had his first sight of what some see very early — he had looked at "happiness through another's eyes." All his future seemed stranded. There was nothing for him to do-nothing for him to care for. Unknown to himself, he was filled with a craving for sympathy, and the chord was vibrating under the touch of Georgy.


more than any words of his could convey.

"Poor fellow!" she murmured involuntarily, and for a minute they walked on silently. "Then had she deceived you, Jack?" she began.

"Deceived me!" and he laughed bitterly. "No, she has no more thought that I care for her in that way than that I care for you. Oh, Georgy, you women are most unaccountable beings; a man may expend all the devotion he can upon you, but unless you hear him say in plain words, 'I love you; do you love me?' it all counts for nothing."

"Yes, but you forget what awful mistakes we might make if we went about judging by mere actions. Do you mean that you never spoke to her then?"

"Never a word. I had known her from such a mere child that, positively, until we had to part I hadn't realized what she was to me; and then, you know, I hadn't anything to offer her. It was on that account that I wrote to Clarkson as I told you."

"I thought you said a friend had advised you.'

"Yes, and that friend was her father. It was the first time he ever spoke to me of his threatened danger; that led him to speak of his past life, and to give what turned out very good advice to me; and in my turn I begged him to write to these people, who, he said, could give a shelter to his daughter. He did so, the young

"Well," she said, meeting his eyes fear-man came out, and the result of the visit lessly, "are you afraid to do so?"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

No; only first promise to do me a favor?"

She nodded her head in assent. "What is it?" she asked.

"Be kind to that girl we have just left - for my sake-will you? You don't know what a terrible disappointment I have had about her."

He had let go her hand and was look. ing straight in front of him away from her.

"She was the girl you were intending to marry, wasn't she?"

Georgy was trying to help him out with his story.

"Did you guess that? Well, only on Saturday when I parted with you to go into Wadpole, I was as certain of making her my wife as I am now that she belongs to another man. Going into the wood there because I was thinking so much about her and about old times we met, and I had to learn that she was married already."

you see."

"But didn't you ever write to them, didn't she ever write to you?"

"I heard from the father once or twice, and then he wrote to say they were going away from Venice. Oh! I feel sure it was meant to deceive me, for there wasn't a word of this young man, and hardly a mention of Robin."

"And she never wrote herself; hadn't she been used to writing to you?"

Yes, formerly she had, but thenwell-I-oh I didn't feel inclined myself to write in the usual way, and after what had passed I thought I saw why she didn't, either."

Georgy waited, wondering what she had best say; with the gauge she pos sessed of a woman's nature, this silence on the part of Robin was a test of love.

"Don't you think," she said, "that she must have suspected that you cared for her?"

"No-now I don't believe that the thought could have ever entered her head. The face Jack turned to Georgy said | When we met down there, it was delight

at seeing an old friend that she showed | interested in the welfare of Ireland, and me; she was in raptures to think we were consisting for the most part of members going to live near each other; and II of Parliament, was held at the residence wanted never to see her again, to go to of the Duke of Bedford in Eaton Square. the farther end of the world, to put all It was a meeting of practical men for a the space I could between us-it was practical purpose. Only one motive actuthat feeling which sent me away." ated their minds and prompted their action the motive of humanity. They knew, some from personal observation, others from confidential report, the condition of the country, and they could judge its wants. The difficulties which

"And what has brought you back?" Jack felt himself suddenly pulled up short. "Oh-oh," he stammered, "of course I soon got over that; a few hours in the train brought me to my senses and showed me that I couldn't throw every-beset government action in the way of thing to the winds in that wild fashion. immediate and effective emigration were I have duties here, and other people to fully discussed, and equally appreciated think of-oh, it would never have done and understood. It was felt that, irreto go away. No, I must get over it as spective of any public action, there was best I can; live it down; accustom my-a vast field for the exercise of private self to meet her. It would be very dif- effort. So strongly, indeed, did this conferent if there was any feeling on her viction force itself upon the mind of the side, you know; then in honor I should meeting that a committee was appointed be bound not to return." with the object of assisting - or at any rate attempting by way of experiment the emigration of a number of families from the congested districts in the west of Ireland. The sincerity of the philanthropy of the gathering was amply feflected by their generosity, no less a sum than 10,000l. being there and then subscribed. The Duke of Bedford, who, in addition to the great kindness of permitting the meeting to be held in his mansion, contributed 1,000l., was appointed president; Mr. W. H. Smith, M.P., became chairman, and Mr. Samuel Whitbread, M.P., deputy chairman. An acting committee, comprising six or eight gentlemen of various shades of political opinion, was likewise elected, and a few simple rules laid down for the guidance of those who were to undertake and organize the work and control its operations.

[ocr errors]

"I think you would have been much wiser to stay away," said Georgy firmly, "at least for a time; I thought she seemed very ill at ease in your presence." "That was because we had seen each other before, and nobody else knew of it." "Wait, wait," said Georgy, "now I am going to make my confession."

And to Jack's astonishment, she told him how, standing there- pointing back to the tree-she had overlooked them, and that the suspicions it had raised were her reasons for treating Robin so coldly. "But that is past now," said Jack, "and you'll try and like her, won't you? You can't help it, when you know her. Be a sister to her, Georgy, do."

"Are you intending to be her brother then? No; don't look so frightened, I don't mean anything, I assure you. I promise to remember that the squires of Wadpole have always been bachelors."

From The Nineteenth Century.

I say with all the energy of my existence, Let the people leave in any and in every way that may take them out of the slough of poverty and misery in which they are at present sunk. - Connemara Priest, 1881.

AMIDST the various phases of the everrecurring Irish difficulty, all for the moment developed into acuteness, it is pleasing to turn away for a moment from schemes of repression to measures of relief, from the policy of the one to the practice of the other. A few months ago a private meeting of gentlemen deeply

Having only recently returned from Ireland, where I had spent much time in investigating the condition of the people and in endeavoring to ascertain what lay at the root of all the evil, I was honored by a request from the committee to give practical effect to its resolutions. I knew the responsibility which my acceptance of the post necessarily involved. I knew there was little previous experience prac tically to guide me on the part of others as regards the emigration of Irish families. And yet I felt I could not meet the offer with a refusal. Accordingly I undertook the conduct of the work.

Naturally the first question which arose at the meeting, and the question which arises here, is this: Is emigration from the west of Ireland a necessity, and if so,

why? The stern logic of figures, rein- | persons, living on 63 acres (Griffiths' val forced by fact and confirmed by compe- uation, 431.; actual rent, 827. 18s.). Artent local opinion, combines to afford a rears, three and a half years, 2367.; shop convincing affirmative answer. debts, 1787.: total 4147. On the other In five counties of the west of Ireland, side a careful estimate of the assets becontaining a population of 1,030,000 per-longing to the townlands showed that if sons, living on 158,400 holdings, 77,200 sold up not a shilling would be left for holdings are at and under 47. valuation, the tenants. with rents varying from 10s. to 20s., and 27. to 3, and up to 51. or 61.; the total acreage under tillage being 584,700 acres, of which 255,100 is in oats and 212,700 under potatoes, 116,500 other crops, giv-ernment inspector of these counties, ing an average for each holding, large and small, of about three acres under crop the five counties.


And what on the evidence of those most competent is the every-day condition of these people?

That, in the opinion of the local gov.

There are thousands of families similarly situated. H. A. Robinson.

How much smaller this average must fixed quantity, for Connemara is, sicut erat in As regards the prospects here, poverty is a be for the districts containing the largest principio et nunc et semper et in sæcula, the proportion of holdings under 47. the fol- land of wretchedness and misery. — Connemara lowing figures, taken from unions in Gal-Priest No. 1. way and Mayo, will show.

In the Clifden union (County Galway), population 25,000, there are 4,027 holdings, of which 3,246 are rated at or under 41. The total land under tillage does not exceed 10,800 acres, of which 4,900 are under potatoes and 3,300 in oats and barley, giving little more than two acres for each holding. Again, let it be noticed that this does not specially exhibit the extremely small holdings, the size of which may be estimated by the fact that in one property, a facsimile of many others, eighty tenants are living on land the Griffiths' valuation of which is about 100%.; rents probably from 17. to 34, or


In Belmullet union (County Mayo) there are 3,500 holdings, of which 3,068 are rated at or under 47., and the total acres under tillage do not exceed 9,500, of which 4,000 are in potatoes and less than 4,000 in oats and rye.

In Glenties union (County Donegal) there are 7,855 holdings, 5,577 of which are returned at or under 47, whilst the total acreage under tillage does not exceed 17,200, of which 9,600 are in potatoes and 7,700 in oats.

The majority of the small tenants in these unions are in arrears of rent and arrears of shop debts, varying usually from three to five years. Take the following as actual instances obtained from personal inquiries.

No. Townland. 25 families, comprising 157 persons, living on 57 acres of land (Griffiths' valuation, 367. 5s.; actual rent, 857. 8s.). Arrears, three and a half years, 333. 15s.; arrears of shop debts, 372: total, 7051. 155.

No. 2 Townland. — 29 families, or 146

There are hundreds of families in Clifden union who are not able to afford more than one meal of stirabout a day, some even every other day. No one can comprehend the pov erty of the people who does not live among them. This is the chronic condition they have never recovered since 1879-80. Emigration the only remedy. - Clerk of Clifden Union.

Some are sunk in such poverty and misery that they dare not stir out of their houses. They are ashamed to hold up their heads, and lie still in their nakedness and hunger. Many have only one meal on alternate days. ical Officer, Roundstone District.


Dozens of these unfortunate people, especially those recently evicted, have begged me solely on the pittance granted them by the to lay their case before you; these depend union and the charity of their neighbors. They are only too anxious to emigrate, but have no means, not even the clothing needed. - Medical Officer, Clifden Union.

[blocks in formation]

If the small tenants in Connemara had the

land for nothing they could not live. The holdings are so small, the land so sterile, that these people will always be steeped in poverty.

- Connemara Priest No. 2.

Can any one wonder with this condition around them that the Clifden board of guardians should have passed the following resolution?

That, taking into consideration the poverty and destitute condition of the poorer classes in this Union, particularly those evicted for non-payment of rent, and also those along the seashore holding miserable patches of land, caused by the subdivision of holdings, and who for three-fourths of the year are in a state of semi-starvation, we respectfully request the interference of the governmen: in the way of emigration.

It was a knowledge of the deplorable

« VorigeDoorgaan »