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An Irish Cousin; vol. 1/2

An Irish Cousin; vol. 1/2
Title: An Irish Cousin; vol. 1/2
Release Date: 2019-01-06
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
Count views: 58
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Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen.
(All rights reserved.)



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The “Alaska” 1
“In that new world which was the old.”
Aunt Jane7
“Sing Hey! when I preside.”
My Cousin Willy27
“Willy’s fair and Willy’s rare,
And Willy’s wondrous bonny.{iv}
The Master of Durrus44
“My father’s brother; but no more like my father than I to Hercules.”
“Groping in the windy stair,
Darkness and the breath of space
Like loud waters everywhere.”
An Irish Sunday70
“In Islington there was a man,
Of whom the world might say,
That still a godly race he ran,
Whene’er he went to pray.”
“Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush suppos’d a bear!”
“Rode he on Barbary? Tell me, gentle friend,
How went he under him?”
“This is the prettiest low-born lass{v}——”
The Turf, the Chase, and the Road114
Ford. Old woman! What old woman’s that?
. . . . . . . . . .
A witch, a quean, an old cozening quean!
Have I not forbid her my house?”
The Moycullen Hounds133
“On the first day of spring, in the year ’93,
The first recreation in this countheree,
The King’s counthry gintlemen o’er hills, dales, and rocks,
They rode out so gallant in search of a fox.”
Nugent O’Neill152
“He is the toniest aristocrat on the boat.”
A Voyage of Discovery165
“And wouldst thou leave me thus? Say Nay.”
A Dinner-Party177
“Go, let him have a table by himself!
For he does neither affect company,
Nor is he fit for’t, indeed.{vi}
In Society199
“Ah! Then was it all spring weather?
Nay, but we were young and together.”
“Society is now one polished horde
Formed of two mighty tribes, the Bores and Bored.”
An American Girl218
“She’s always been kind of off-ish and partic’lar for a gal that’s raised in the woods.”
“I do perceive here a divided duty.”
Potato Cakes263
“The tenacious depths of the quicksand, as is usual in such cases, retained their prey.{vii}
Mrs. Jackson-Croly at Home280
“Fate’s a fiddler, life’s a dance.”
“O’Rorke’s noble feast will ne’er be forgot
By those who were there, and those who were not.”

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“In that new world which was the old.”

There had been several days of thick, murky weather—dull, uncomplainingdays that bore their burden of fog and rain in monotonous endurance. Sixof such I had lived through; a passive existence, parcelled out to me bythe uncomprehended clanging of bells, and the, to me, still moreincomprehensible clatter which, recurring at regular intervals, toldthat a hungry{2} multitude were plying their knives and forks in thesaloon.

But a change had come at last; and on Saturday morning, instead of theusual heaving ridges of grey water, I saw through the port-hole thebroken green glitter of sunlit waves. The s.s. Alaska’s lurchingplunge had subsided into a smooth unimpeded rushing through the water,and for the first time since I had left New York, the desire for foodand human companionship awoke in me.

“Stewardess,” I said, “get me a cup of tea. I am going on deck.”

It was early when I came on deck. The sun was still low in thesouth-east, and was spreading a long road of rays toward us, up whichthe big steamer was hurrying, dividing the radiancy into shining lines,that writhed backwards from her bows till they were lost in the foamingturmoil astern.{3}

A light north wind was blowing from a low-lying coast on our left,bringing, as I fancied, some faint suggestion of fields and woods. Iwalked across the snowy deck, to where a sailor was engaged in asailor’s seemingly invariable occupation of coiling a rope in a neatcircle.

“I suppose that is Ireland?” I said, pointing to the land.

“Yes, miss; that’s the county Cork right enough. We’ll be intoQueenstown in a matter of three hours now.”

“Three hours more!” I said to myself, while I watched the headlandsslowly changing their shapes as we steamed past. It would soon beginnow, this new phase of my life, whether I wished it or not. It had onceseemed impossible; now it was inevitable. My destiny was no longer in myown control, and its secret was, perhaps, hidden among those blue Irishhills, which{4} looked as if they were waiting for me to come and provewhat they had in store for me.

“Well, it has been my own doing,” I thought; “whatever comes of it, Ihave only myself to thank; and whether they like or dislike me, I shallhave to make the best of them, and they of me.”

“First breakfast just ready, miss,” said one of the innumerableship-stewards, scurrying past me with cups of tea on a tray.

I paid no attention to the suggestion, and made my way to a deck chairjust vacated by an elderly gentleman. I could not bring myself to gobelow. The fresh sweet wind, the seagulls glancing against the blue sky,the sunshine that gleamed broadly from the water and made a dazzlingmimic sun of each knob and point of brasswork about the ship,—toexchange{5} these for the fumes of bacon and eggs, and the undesiredconversation of some chance fellow-passenger, seemed out of thequestion.

Moreover, I was too restless and excited to care about breakfast justthen. The sight of the land had given new life to expectations and hopesfrom which most of the glory had departed during the ignominious miseryof the last six days. I lay in my deck chair, idly watching the blackriver of smoke that streamed back from the funnels, and for the firsttime found a certain dubious enjoyment in the motion of the vessel, asshe progressed with that slight roll in her gait which the sea confersupon all its habitués.

Most people appear to think that sea-sickness, if spoken of at all,should be treated as an involuntarily comic episode, to be dealt with ina facetious manner.{6} But for me it has only two aspects—the patheticand the revolting; the former being the point of view from which Iregard my own sufferings, and the latter having reference to those ofothers. In the dark hours spent in my state-room, I had had abundantopportunity to formulate and verify this theory, and I have never sincethen seen any reason to depart from it.

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“Sing Hey! when I preside.”

It may not be a very dignified admission, but one of the main causesthat led to my being at present on board the Alaska, bound forQueenstown, was the incompatibility of my temper with that of my AuntJane.

In self-extenuation, I may mention that I had for the last twelve monthslived in her house, and had thus had ample opportunity of verifying theopinion expressed by many of her most intimate friends—“That JaneFarquharson was the salt of the earth, but{8} as such was better whentaken in very small quantities.”

She was a Scotchwoman of the most inflexible type. Twenty-five years ofsojourn in the United States had modified none of her insularprejudices, and my mother, who was her youngest sister, had never, evenduring her married life, lost belief in the awfulness of her authority.

The Farquharsons were a family whose pedigree was longer than theirpurse; and when her younger brother, my Uncle James, had been compelledto sell the paternal acres and emigrate to California, my aunt haduprooted herself from her native land and followed his fortunes, in thefull conviction that he, excellent young man though he was, would becomealtogether a castaway if once allowed out of range of her vigilant eye.They were orphans, and Aunt Jane, having imposed{9} upon herself theduties of both parents, took my mother with her to the Far West, whereshe maintained on my uncle’s ranch the straitest traditions of theelders.

Uncle James never married. Aunt Jane’s vigilance had been soconscientiously unremitting that no daughter of Heth had ever disputedwith her the position of mistress of Farquharson’s ranch. But theprecautionary measures that had preserved Uncle James from the snares ofmatrimony were a distinct failure in my mother’s case. With theunexpected revolt of a weak nature, she defied her elder sister, andcommitted the incredible enormity of getting married.

Men—with the exception of a legendary Scotch minister, who, iftradition spoke truly, had not long survived his betrothal to AuntJane—were regarded by her as the natural foes of cleanliness, economy,and piety. And of all men she considered Irishmen to be the epitome oftheir sex’s atrocities.{10}

It must, then, be admitted that Fate dealt hardly with Aunt Jane, when,one summer afternoon, her sister Helen came to her and told her that shehad that morning been married to Owen Sarsfield, the good-lookingIrishman who, a few months before, had entered into partnership withtheir brother. My mother has often described the scene to me—how shehad found Aunt Jane grimly darning her brother’s socks; how she hadreceived the news at first in terrible silence; and then how on mymother, white and trembling, had fallen the thunders of her wrath.

“That ne’er-do-weel Irishman! A creature that ’tis well known had toleave his home for Heaven only knows what wickedness! Did you never hearthat a bad son makes a bad husband? I was right when I warned Jamesagainst having anything to do with a vagabond scamp{11} such as he is, andtold him no good would come of handling money that had doubtless beenwon at the gaming-table!”

To all this, and much more, my mother did not attempt a reply; shethought she knew more of Owen Sarsfield than her sister did. She and herhusband settled down in another house on the ranch, and, notwithstandingtheir proximity to Aunt Jane, they were very happy.

My father, in spite of Aunt Jane’s insinuations to the contrary, was anIrish gentleman of good family, and the money which he had put into thefarm had been honestly come by. Perhaps my mother never knew the exactreason of his leaving Ireland. She only told me that money troubles hadled to a quarrel with his father, Theodore Sarsfield,

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